***WINNER ALERT*** Congratulations to DANIELLE (Comment #8), who won the hardbacked copy of Insatiable! Thanks so much to all who commented! :-)
The apple is dangling on the tree right in front of you. It's deep red in color, ripe and shiny and plump with juices; a perfect orb just begging to be cupped by your hand. One sharp tug and it'll be freed from the tree, ready to be raised to your mouth and bitten; you can practically feel the crispness beneath your teeth. One bite, and there's no going back. The pristine perfection of that shiny, untouched apple can never be regained, lost forever the moment you reach out your hand, and take it.
Do you take it?
Maybe you're not hungry. Maybe you know that it doesn't belong to you, or maybe you don't like apples. Maybe you think it will be there another day, when you are hungry, or (oh, yes!) maybe there's an even better apple on the next tree! Or, (oh, no!) the apple belongs to someone else, and if you eat it, it would be stealing. Even if you just took one bite and gave it back, it would be forever spoiled.
So many decisions. So many complications, when really, all you wanted was a simple bite of an apple.
The cycle of temptation, choice and consequence is a recurring theme in our lives, and why, in my opinion, romance novels are the perfect solution. You can pick up a romance novel, and while you're between those pages, you can sample as many red, juicy apples as you like, no strings attached. With paranormal romance, you can kick it up a notch, and let your imagination go wild! Dark-haired men with magical powers? Open the pages of a romance, and you can try out as many wizards, warlocks, vampires or demons as you like without having to actually take orders from them, cook their dinner or pick up scattered pieces of eye-of-newt. Prefer the sensitive type? Here's a savage, leonine beast with brown hair and green eyes who--at heart--is really a pussycat. Or how about this one, the proud hero with the blood of the Fey in his veins, whose anger threatens to rule his life, but is calmed by the touch of your hand on his brawny, muscular arm?
So many decisions. So many complications, but between the pages of a romance novel, none of them actually affect you! You can finally take bite of that apple.
No guilt, no consequences. A veritable orchard of ripe, crispy apples, waiting to be tasted.
Romance novel sales defied industry trends last year, up $100 million in sales from the year before, in the face of an almost 2% drop in overall book sales.* And yet, we're a genre that still gets very little respect from the general public. Even those of us who read it and love it sometimes feel like reading romance novels is our "dirty little secret".
I, for one, have decided that there's nothing wrong in having a dirty little secret, particularly when it contains forbidden fruit that's perfectly safe to eat. :)
*Bloomberg Businessweek, July 26-August 1, 2010, by Spencer Morgan
The (AAP) Association of American Publishers reports an overall 1.8% drop in book sales for 2009, except for one genre: romance. Romance novel sales in 2009 defied industry trends, increasing 7.7%, up $100 million from the year before, to the tune of $1.4 billion dollars a year. Some 75 million people read at least one romance novel in 2009, and it's the top-performing category on the best-seller lists compiled by the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.