NewMockupI came across some recent stats regarding romance readers and I found some of them interesting. Any of these surprise you? 

* 84% of romance book buyers are women, but 16% of our readers are male!

* 83% of romance readers have been reading it for more than 5 years.

* Majority of our readers live in the south (hello Bible belt!)

* When asked, they reported these as the top 10 favorite romance tropes: (1) friends to lovers; (2) soul mate/fate; (3) second chance at love; (4) secret romance; (5) first love; (6) strong hero/heroine; (7) reunited lovers; (8) love triangle; (9) sexy billionaire/millionaire; (10) sassy heroine

 * When asked about the determining factor for which book to buy, they ranked: (1) The story; (2) The author; (3) Price; (4) Review; (5) Part of a series; (6) Back cover copy; (7) Cover art; (8) Recommendations on a social media site; (9) Deal/bundle/bargain/special offer; (10) An endorsement by another leading author

* In listing the top 10 ways readers find new romance authors, from book samples only made it to #5. 

* Reading stats are nearly identical between print & ebooks. 

  • Print: romantic suspense (53%); contemporary romance (41%); historical romance (34%); erotic romance (33%); New Adult (26%); paranormal romance (19%); Young Adult romance (18%); and Christian romance (17%).
  • E-book: romantic suspense (48%); contemporary romance (44%); erotic romance (42%); historical romance (33%); paranormal romance (30%); New Adult (26%); Young Adult romance (18%); and Christian romance (14%).

**stats found at RWA’s website


ghfghgSo this past weekend former Quill, Emily McKay, and I presented a writing workshop in San Antonio. At the conclusion of our lecture material, we brainstormed a new book idea (not one either of us planned to write) so the participants could see the how-to in action, so to speak. But during the brainstorming, something totally cool happened and it reminded me of how marvelous it is that there are so many different writers out there so that we have so many different story options as readers. 

The story we brainstormed, we pulled straight from the gossip pages – did y’all hear the rumor a few weeks ago about Prince Harry dating Emma Watson (Hermione from the Harry Potter movies)? The internet lit up with this rumor and for a few blessed hours we seemed to have an awesome power couple in the making. Turns out, it was all a rumor. But we ran with that idea as our would-be plot scenario: What happens when a rumor starts that the royal “spare” is dating the actress from a beloved children’s series? Well, if the crown is currently in turmoil, then they make a bargain with both parties to continue their false relationship to busy the paparazzi to deflect from the actual problem. 

So that was the story we bounced around. We got lots of scene ideas and possible conflicts and goals for the two main characters. And then someone asked, well, what if when the crown approaches him about the fake relationship, they leave it up to him to pursue her and she’s not in on the secret? At this point, I got all kinds of excited. This was my kind of conflict. Secrets, the hero as the pursuer, a feisty heroine who will NOT be happy when she discovers whats actually going on. Then we had two clear choices that made for two very different stories. 

Which story would you pick? The one where both the hero and heroine are in on the secret and trying to fake it together? Or the one where only he’s in on the secret and it’s up to him to get the heroine into the relationship (fake or not!)? Why do you think you would choose that over the other option? *Also, how cute would they be as a real life couple? So cute!!!


220px-LikeAVirgin1984You’re welcome for that little ear worm…

I might be opening up a can of worms with this one, but it’s something that’s been bugging me a while. So a while back I ran across this gossip article featuring a handful of stars discussing when they lost their virginity – because frankly I’ll follow nearly any link on Twitter – I once got totally derailed for an entire afternoon looking at celebrity tattoos, something I’m not really that interested in (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog). Okay so I found this blog bothersome. Not only is it disturbing for me to think of my own kids losing their virginity at the tender ages of 11 or 12, but I had to wonder if it wasn’t completely irresponsible for these stars to proclaim their ages.

My main concern is that these people are often looked up to, especially by our impressionable youth. 2006_we_are_marshall_023So let’s say your son really digs Matthew Fox cause you know he was awesome in We Are Marshall, but your boy comes across the article where Matthew proclaims that he lost his v-card at 11. What is your son to think? I’m also bothered because why do we need to know these intimate personal details of movie stars. Granted I’m a total hollywood gossip junkie, I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t check People.com. Still some details seem too personal.

Perhaps I’m sensitive about some of this because of my girls’ pasts. I remember one day in particular while we were waiting outside of family court for one of the hearings regarding the parental rights – there were two other women sitting next to me on the bench and they were talking about their kids. They were on the other side of the court system (parents fighting to get their kids out of foster-care) and at some point one of them says that she had six kids and that she actually found out she was pregnant with her first when she was 11. I was heartbroken, for her, for her children. So I guess in part, I’m coming to this discussion from that angle.

In any case, my question for y’all is two-fold, do you think it’s irresponsible for famous people to declare such things to the media knowing that a child could take it to heart? Also, how early is too early? Both to lose your virginity and when to talk about such things to your children?


just a little humorDear mom I saw at the grocery store:

I saw you there in the cold section, I was picking up yogurt for my family and you were there with your three kids – 2 in the cart and one walking beside you. Your little ones were what people affectionately call chubby, but I want you to know that cute chubbiness is going to change and what happens from there will shape your children’s lives. Your little girl, walking beside the cart, I’m guessing she was 7 or 8 and I’m sure everyone still teases her about her “baby fat” but those eating habits she has right now, they’re only going to get worse.

You see, I was that little girl the one with the baby fat. But once you hit Jr. High, no one calls it baby fat anymore. But then it’s just fat and people will still comment on it. There will be that boy who somehow gets a hold of her yearbook and writes in it cruelly, “save the whales, harpoon the fat chicks.” And there will be that girl who points and tells her that fat girls shouldn’t wear mini skirts. There will be the boy she has a crush on, the one who never looks her way and she’ll go home sad and only get sadder. And bigger.

Mom, know now that you are the one capable of changing her eating habits, of teaching her about healthy choices, fruits and vegetable and no, that doesn’t include french fries. Know that every time you offer her a candy bar or an ice cream cone when she’s sad, that only teaches her to continue to reach for those when she needs some comfort. Know that if you don’t fix it, she will have to, someday when she’s ready, if she’s ready, but that the burden of those extra pounds will cause her health problems and emotional damage that she’ll live with forever.

Mom, I know you love those kids, I could see it on your face, but I glanced in your grocery cart and honestly I don’t mean to judge, but please be careful with those choices for your babies. I know they’re kids, I know they should be able to eat fun “kid food” chips and cookies and every sugary thing in between. But they’re kids and they’ll love fruit if you give it to them, it’s sweet and natural and yes, it can be more expensive, but there is always some fruit in season or there’s frozen fruit. There are ways to do it. And you can do it!

Your window of opportunity is small, eventually this blame will leave you and fall to her. It will be her choices, those things she puts in her mouth. But right now, while she’s still little, you can  help shape her view of food and her body and her health. Right now, you still have time…

****

That’s what I want to tell them, every time I see moms with “chubby” kids. It hurts me. I ache for those children because I know, first hand, how horribly cruel kids can be and it only gets worse as you grow up. I hope that letter doesn’t make it sound like I blame my own mom because I most certainly do not. Things were different when I was growing up, no one knew much about nutrition in the way that we all know now. Convenience was king and still is to some degree, but we’re having a bit of a renaissance where people are getting back to growing their own food and infusing their daily food intake with more whole foods, grains, veggies and the like. We know more now. And for right now while we prepare our kids food, it is our responsibility to teach them about healthy eating. Of course that doesn’t take into consideration the picky eaters…but that is for another blog.

So do y’all ever pass someone you don’t know and want to say something to them – whether good or bad? I mean sometimes I see that frazzled mom at the store and I just want to go up to her and tell her she’s doing a great job. What do you think about the epidemic facing our kids today with the unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles? 

 


Robyn DeHart
Robyn DeHart

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Pretty much everyone I know has a smart phone. I mean even my parents have iPhones (though granted they don’t utilize them for much more than phones). And I’m always on the lookout for a great app that can entertain me, organize me or make things more functional. So without further ado, here are my current five favorite apps (in no specific order).

IMG_0008_21. Fitbit – I love that I can check my steps no matter where I am and that I can check in with my fitbit buddies because I do have that competitive nature. I also love that I can use the app to set silent alarms to remind me to get up and move around. 

2. MapMyWalk – While were already talking fitness related apps, this is my most recent app love. I’ve been using it since January and it’s so nice. It maps my walk (duh!), syncs to Facebook and even lets me listen to my jams while I walk. There are some features that I haven’t used yet so it’ll be interesting to see what other goodies I discover. 

3. Pinterest – I know I’ve mentioned on here (probably more than once) how much I adore Pinterest. It’s totally my favorite social media outlet. I collect research for my books here, recipes for my family and things that make 

IMG_0012_2

me chuckle. And being able to poke around on Pinterest while I’m out and about is so convenient if I’m at the store and I get a hankering to try a new recipe. 

4. IMDB – I mean really, this is like the most useful website/app ever! Well, for me anyways. Maybe no one else is interested in weird movie trivia or when you have to prove to your husband you were right when he asked “Where have I seen that actor before?” and you tell him some obscure episode of CSI. 

5. Kindle – I can’t have a favorite app list without my kindle on it. If I don’t have my actual kindle with me, no problem, I still have all my books right at my fingertips. Can’t beat that!

So how about you? What are your favorite apps?


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