Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Talk Dirty to Me...or Not

Here I am again, asking questions about trends in romance.

Y'all know how I love the genre.

After reading it since the late sixties, I've seen many trends. But nothing like this.


 
So let me qualify some things before I delve into the heart of the matter. First off, I love romance in real life. I love flowers, long heated glances, slow pelvic-grinding dances, intimate whispers and small gestures of love. I also enjoy writing those kinds of scenes, because I feel our stories should reflect what we desire in real life. I desire to be treated with tenderness and respect. In fact, I demand it!
 
For over twenty-five years, I worked in the male-dominated field of heavy metals--and no, I don't mean the music industry. Think Mack Trucks and machines that apply threads to the inside and outside of metal pipes. I worked in the oily muck and mire of industrial manufacturing. And, as one of the few women in a plant of hundreds of men, I was fodder for jokes and innuendos and come-ons. I hated it. But I loved my children and worked those jobs to provide for them.
 
Having strange men walk up to me at work and ask what size bra I wore or if I wanted a quick _uck or if I gave good head birthed a strong feminist nature. My thinking being if a man isn't going to respect me from the get-go, how's he going to treat me when life gets rough? And life has a habit of throwing crap on our driveways, doesn't it? How will he treat me when I'm sick or busy with the kids or too tired from work, cleaning and laundry to rock his world?
 
So imagine my shock and WTF attitude over some recently read romances where the hero talks dirty to the heroine. In the book I just finished last night, the heroine walks into the bar and hustles a game of pool to make some money. The hero can't take his eyes off her. They exchange some cute flirting banter and he leans in to whisper, "You're going home with me tonight and I'm going to be the best _uck of your life."
 
I read that sad line and laughed outloud, knowing how I'd handle Mr. God's Gift to Women. I'd coil my fingers around his wrist, trail a fingertip across his palm and sweetly say, "See this right here? This is all the action you're going to get tonight...Jerk!" Oh yeah, that's how this ol' broad would've handled it.

But what did this young woman do? She was so turned on by his audacity, she went home with him!
 

I wanted to slap my hand over my eyes. What the hell kinda message was this for young women?


He tries ordering her about in all phases of her life and she balks--thank God for something resembling self-respect from the heroine. So he tells her in his commanding attitude, that he'll put up with her sassy mouth and headstrong ways during the day. Excuse me? Sassy mouth and headstrong ways??? I call this independance. He calls it indulging her (Oh God, someone keep me from strangling this guy).

He goes on to say at night, when they are alone in the bedroom, she will obey his dirty talk, because she belongs to him. Kinda like a bicycle or his favorite pair of boots--my thoughts, not his words.
 
Now, I'm all for the alpha male. I enjoy confident men. Love them, in fact. However, I feel a man who's self-assured in his masculinity doesn't need to control a woman by being bossy. She'll respond better to his thoughtfulness and respect.
 
OR is this my age talking?
 
Is the younger generation of women happy to be bossed around like brainless ninnies?

I'm sorry, but if I'm having sex with a guy and he commands me to tell him he's got the biggest cock I've ever had, I'd have to stop and do a comparison. I would purposely let the air out of his ego-filled balloon.  If I'm a passenger in his car and he commands me to pull up my skirt and play with myself while he half-drives and half-ogles, as soon as he stops for the next red light, I am so outta that car.
 
I'm befuddled here, folks. This is the third romance I've read where the hero talks excessively dirty to the heroine and all three books are in the top 1000 rankings at Amazon. Are my alpha heroes with a soft spot for those they love out of style? Am I at the bus station waiting for my ship to come in?

What say you?

71 comments:

Lynne Marshall said...

Ack, Vonnie - I don't know what you're reading, but if I read a book like that, I'd pack in my love for romance and say - forget it. This isn't what I want in a romance, and no wonder romance has to constantly explain itself as a legitimate genre.

Not my cuppa baby. In fact, that behavior always turned me off, way back when any jackass tried to talk that way to me.
Take a hike creep. If bimbo follows you, you two deserve each other.
Romance really isn't all about sex, folks!

Okay - you got my dander up, too.

Thanks a lot!
LOL

Joanne Stewart said...

Oh God, Vonnie, I'm laughing my keester off over here. I snorted you made laugh so hard. I'm total agreement. I HATE the alpha male. I read a book once where the hero was that kind of full of himself alpha jerk. He treated the heroine with complete disrespect, told her if she wanted him to help her, she had to sleep with him. Total blackmail. When she agreed to it, I put the book down. I couldn't respect the heroine anymore. Or him.

I don't and will never write an alpha. I believe our AJ coined the term "balpha" and those are the men I love. Those are the ones that make me swoon. Sadly, though, I see a lot of the alpha jerk in the market and it appears to be very popular. I haven't the foggiest idea why, but it sells.

Alana Lorens said...

I'm right there with you, Vonnie. If I can't respect a heroine, I can't keep reading her story. Now there are circumstances like you said, where she must deal with some sort of difficulty/certain kind of treatment to get through a bad situation, but it shouldn't engender feelings of LOVE. I work with domestic violence survivors every day and that kind of talk reminds me of what some of these abusers say to "keep the little woman in line". Doesn't have anything to do with love--and it certainly has nothing to do with Romance.

Jannine Gallant said...

I haven't read 50 Shades of Gray, but my co-worker told me all about it. Sounds like the same sort of crap. Why are women paying millions of dollars to authors whose message is it's okay to be treated like dirt. I don't get it.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

You know me, Lynne, always eager to help...LOL. We're hearing "mommy porn" more and more in relation to romance. I detest that nickname. I understand many readers enjoy erotica. I have no problems with that, but certainly erotica can be written in a way that validates women, not portray them as mindless ninnies preferring monkey sex over a meaningful relationship. Sadly, this mentality is easing into mainstream romance, and it worries me.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Joanne, I thought of you as I wrote this post. "Wait until Joanne reads this...hehehe." I love the term AJ coined, too, and it aptly describes my heroes. Oh, they can hold their own. They're no pansies by any means, but they're also tenderhearted beneath the rough exterior. And I love leading my readers through the barriors to see and love his tender side.

Juli D. Revezzo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juli D. Revezzo said...

Amen, Vonnie! Me, I think I'd like to slug this guy, if not wave bye-bye with a certain finger. ;) I prefer AJ's Balphas too, personally. Sweet, sensitive, open-minded men are my favorite type of hero. At least a man who respects the woman he's hitting on-- Sheesh!Thanks for this post!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

So true, so true, Alana. My Calvin taught high school for 40 years and still talks about girls who preferred the "cad" type of boy over the type who would make an excellent dad some day. When we look around, we do see women who say they wish they could find a nice guy and yet trapse after the cad, trying to do whatever to gain his attention. My feeling is if we write this kind of hero, we help perpetuate acceptance of this kind of treatment/abuse/violence against women.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I don't get it either, Jannine. Would you want your daughters treated like this? I certainly don't want my granddaughters to fall victim to a nasty-talking guy. That's not to say once you've established the foundations of a relationship, you can't have your own private sexual banter. That's altogether different. I've always been big on respect, whether it's betwen a man and a woman, a parent and child or employer and employee.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I agree, Juli. These arrogant, bossy men are not for me. I fear we're sending the wrong message about romance.

Patricia said...

I'm glad Jannine brought it up first, but this whole discussion shouts Fifty Shades of Grey which is probably still on the best list, but I don't wanna know so I'm not gonna look it up.
But I absolutely hate that type of caveman mentality and behavior and why, oh why, are people so into it? I'm befuddled and confused and pissed at the same time. This is NOT how I'm raising my 14-year-old daughter that's for sure. I've taught her to stand up for herself and get in your face about what she wants and needs and respect is one of them.
AACK.
Patti

AJ Nuest said...

Oh, Vonnie, I just loves ya soooo much. You always find these great, great topics and approach them with such humor and realism. I love that. I agree with Joanne. LOL at your response to the dick for brains who uses that sort of come-on line. No thanks. And a big thank you to her too for crediting me with the term "Balpha". Although, I'm sure I'm not the first to use that term--in fact, I'm pretty positive I stole it from someone else. LOL And yes, those are the men I write because those are the men I know. My dad is a Balpha and so is my husband. But I think a large part of this has to do with the fact I'm just to dang stubborn for an Alpha. I hate people telling me what to do. I hate it. You will get much, much, MUCH farther with me if you ask nicely, perhaps ply me with a small gift or compliment, than you would if you demand something of me. Bleck. Personally, I don't know what the heck is going on with these romances. I think we need Arial. She's excellent at diagramming characterization. Hold on. I'm gonna go get her. LOL

Angel Nicholas said...

It's a fine line we straddle when writing romance, and it's sad when you see an author cross over to the dark side. It is absolutely never acceptable for the hero in your story to disrespect the heroine--or any female, for that matter. If they do, you'd better address it in a manner that somehow transforms one of the characters in a beneficial way.

I don't mind dirty talk in the bedroom, but it had darn well better be prefaced with plenty of respect. I like Alpha men, I like dirty talk, I like things other women don't and vice versa, but if a man doesn't respect me I will put him in his place so fast and so coldly his balls will shrivel to the size of soy nuts. That goes equally for the heroines in the books I read.

Not that I feel strongly about it or anything...

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Nope these weren't fifty shade books I was reading. They were a series of police hero books pubbed by a newer publisher that's growing by leaps and bounds. Honest to Pete, if a guy orders me to pull up my skirt and play with myself while he's driving us to his place, I am jumping out of his man-car at the next red light. Any how, yay you for teaching your daughter to stand up for herself. Life beats us down enough without getting it from a man.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

My previous comment was meant for Patti. Sorry, I forgot to mention address you properly.

AJ, I don't like being told what to do either. A compliment and a kiss and a pat on the behind goes a long way toward getting what you want. I'm no dog, don't order me around like one.

Sawbuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Let's hear it for Soy Nuts!!!

I probably enjoy things in the bedroom others don't, too. But all actions are cocooned in love and respect which makes them okay between two consenting adults.

My concern is the message we're sending to teens who steal their mom's romances to read under the covers. I don't want a younger, less experienced sweetheart to think it's ok for a man to disrespect her like this.

Sawbuck said...

Vonnie - A friend sent me here and I am laughing - but you are SO right. I can remember all the back to "48 Hours" when Eddie Murphy's character asked in less than charming terms for a bar patron to sleep with him by saying approximately "If I don't get some blank soon I am going to die." and she replies "You can't ask any better than that?!"

I am an older man, my Mom passed years ago, but assure you if I ever attempted to hit on a woman in that manner she would reach from beyond the grave and smack me so hard my ears would ring for a week. Assuming the object of the attempt didn't beat her to it. I would certainly expect it.

My advice to men? if you are going to try that, wear a helmet - and a cup.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You'll never find a male like that in one of my stories. What a pig. I am not sure about all the younger generation but my daughter was giving me ideas for my hero at lunch last week. Her comment was the heroine wasn't a dog and didn't need her nose rubbed in it. Yep, you'd love spending time with my baby girl. :)

Christine Elaine Black said...

Totally agree, Vonnie. Some of the stuff out there is mind boggling and it's being bought up like crazy. I don't get it either and I avoid reading it. Thanks for the post.

AJ Nuest said...

LOL Sawbuck! That's awesome. Nice to see a man's POV on this topic. Great comment.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Vonnie, where did you find this book you mentioned? That is not romance, that is heading to BDSM in my opinion. Respect is crucial to any loving relationship. I don't need to be controlled, I need to be loved, respected, and treated as an equal. I thought we'd "come a long way, baby" and wouldn't tolerate less than respect. If I could sing, I'd belt out R E S P E C T about now. LOL

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, a man had stopped in at Vintage Vonnie. Pardon me while I fix my lipstick and spritz on some more Obsession.

**bats eyelashes** Why, hello, Sawbuck, thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. A man's opinion is always appreciated. Your momma raised you right. Women respond to honey quicker than horney. Now, you come back anytime you like, darlin'.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Paisley, I love a fiesty woman. I can't imagine writing a heroine who would put up with such attitude from a guy. Your daughter is alright in my book.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Christine, boggles the mind, doesn't it? No wonder we're fighting the term "mommy porn."

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

You are so right, Caroline, and that's what concerns me. There's a place for BDSM. Many people love reading it. But publishers are allowing the lines between romance and BDSM to blurr and I feel it started with the money fifty shades made. The bottom line is always the almighty dollar. Unfortunately the genre I love is paying the price.

Isabella Leigh said...

I don't think the sweet, sensitive type romance novel hero is dead. At least I hope not, since that's what I write. I would never write a "hero" like that. Now... if it's in their characters for them to talk dirty once IN bed, that's a whole different story. But it all has to be done in the context of love and respect.

My hero that I'm writing now is probably what you're calling a Balpha male. He's strong, powerful, my heroine affectionately calls him her overprotective pain in the ass. But he would never tell her what to do - unless it is genuinely in the context of trying to protect her from something. (Such as when he takes her sword away from her because he knows that she doesn't know how to use it.)

Arial Burnz said...

Okay, here's comes Arial's two pence on this topic. You opened a can of worms, Vonnie, and you can blame AJ because she fetched me for a comment! LOL As a certified hypnotherapist, I have a background in psychology and dysfunctional relationship study and have my own experiences to back it up.

There are a lot of well-adjusted women responding in this group. I applaud you all for have enough self-respect to see through the bullshit men are dishing out these days. The bad thing about our world today is most women are not as well-off as you ladies...50 Shades of Grey is proof. The media today stresses that sex and being sexy equals self-worth. BUUUUZZZZZZ! Wrong answer!

Why are women swooning over these assholes? And why are guys these days such dicks? The answer is the same for both – they’re insecure little boys and girls who want to feel good about themselves. Of course, they’re going about it all wrong.

Writers write what they know…in the case of these bad romance novels, they write about dysfunctional relationships. However, these novels have fantasy endings. Everything turns out okay in the end because they make the characters do what they wish they could do and guide the story to the warped make-believe conclusions they can’t achieve on their own...endings that are NOT realistic. And that’s why readers love these books – they can relate to the characters because they’re reading about their own dysfunctions and the characters STILL live happily ever after. (*Arial turns and pukes*) Ignorance is bliss for them and they get to escape.

A girl walks into a bar...we'll call her Jane. Jane’s dolled up and sporting the latest fashions because her self-worth is in her appearance, not her character. In truth, it’s just a mask she wears to hide the insecure little girl who wants to be loved.

In walks the macho asshole...we’ll call him Dick...who acts tough because that's HIS armor. He puts on a big show because deep inside he's an insecure little boy with soy nuts in his pants. (LOVED that analogy, Angel!) and he wants someone to respect him. For a man, respect = love.

He gets a hard-on over controlling a woman because she listens to him (read “respects him”) and she creams her panties because he tells her how much, how bad and how hard he wants to f_ck her (read “desires her”). She doesn't see that he's trying to control her and boss her around because she’s too busy getting wet over how much he wants her. He doesn't see that she’s needy and desperate to be loved and will suck his soul dry because he’s too busy getting off on how he can make her tremble...and not in a good way, but he’s too self-absorbed to notice. They’re both caught up in what they WANT versus giving the other person what they NEED. In short, they’re immature children who don’t understand anything outside of the realms of “I want, I want, I want.”

When Jane gains respect for herself, she’ll see through Dick’s bullshit. And when Dick learns what being a real man is all about, he’ll run from the Janes of this world who will suck him dry...and I don’t mean below the belt.

*Arial climbs down off her soap box*

And that’s my two pence...
Arial ;)

Lilly Gayle said...

Sadly, I know women in real life who would respond exactly the way that brainless heroine did. Not my children, thank God! But there are women who mistake sexism and verbal abuse for strong and self-assured. Most of the women I know who would consider that sh*t romantic were raised by single fathers or single mothers who dove into the dating scene 15 minutes after the divorce papers were dry--women who brought home boyfriend after boyfriend for "sleep overs" while their daughters were still young and impressionable. Is there a connection? I don't know. Am I just old fashion enough to believe that a REAL man is secure enough in his masculinity to appreciate a strong, independent woman without feeling threatened? You bet ya!

IMHO, a man who uses the F word, best be cursing, because that word has nothing to do with love or romance.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Isabella. My husband's favorite name, by the way. ;-) I enjoy an edgy hero, but like Sawbuck, who was brave enought to respond on a woman's blog, the hero's momma better have raised him right.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Arial, Arial, Arial...you are my heroine of the day. You laid everything out perfectly. Thanks so much. I don't feel so old and odd right now. LOL

You said, "Writers write what they know…in the case of these bad romance novels, they write about dysfunctional relationships. However, these novels have fantasy endings. Everything turns out okay in the end because they make the characters do what they wish they could do and guide the story to the warped make-believe conclusions they can’t achieve on their own...endings that are NOT realistic. And that’s why readers love these books – they can relate to the characters because they’re reading about their own dysfunctions and the characters STILL live happily ever after. (*Arial turns and pukes*) Ignorance is bliss for them and they get to escape."

At the end of this book, the hero was on his knees crying, begging for forgiveness and I thought a.) this is how abusive men manipulate to gain forgiveness for this round of abuse and b.) if this is really how he feels--really and truly--there's been no set-up to validate this side of his persona. It was so blantently fake. And some editor...well...'nuff said.

Thanks for stepping onto your soap box. You did good!!!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Lilly, my husband loved your comment. He's always saying that abused women think their man must really love them because they hit them. The man cared enough to discipline them. I just shake my head in wonderment. Calvin knows if he ever hit me, he'd wake up with a frying pan socked between his eyeballs. The same goes for verbal abuse. I worry...

Mona Karel said...

Having been around animals much of my life I understand the concept of alpha. But I do NOT understand ALPHA as in jerk who wants everything his way, and the female of course wets her panties to do what he wants. Bedroom games are one thing, dominance games, okay if everyone is on the same page. But bossing the woman around. Yeah, not happening here! I write strong men with a good sense of themselves, but I write strong women who nod, smile, and walk away. The wonderful book "Dangerous Men, Adventurous Women" was all about those men with an attitude, and how they are TAMED by the heroine. Tamed, and brought into "normal" society.
Thanks for a wonderful blog!

Angela Adams said...

Vonnie, as always, a great post with lots of food for thought...

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Strong women who smile, nod and walk away. I love that. Thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. Every alpha needs a woman to tame him. That's why we write strong heroines.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I love opening dialogue on issues that affect women, Angela. Thanks for stopping by!

meryvamp said...

I've never read a book where a guy purposefully degrades a woman. I do read books with arrogant jerks though. Take for example, Kim Harrison's The Hollows series. Rachel is a strong, stubborn witch. Trent is arrogant, rich, and good-looking guy. She despises him but has to work with him often. So far, there hasn't been any real romance between them. Both their personalities are too strong to yield to one another. Does that mean the attraction isn't there? No, but Rachel would have to have a major personality change (i.e., become really weak) in order to consider seriously dating him.

Cocky and arrogant guys do make for an interesting read because at one point or another we've all been attracted to one. Still, if the guy has zero redeeming qualities and just degrades the women around him, no woman in their right mind would fall in love with that sort of character. (At least, I know I wouldn't and I know none of my friends would).

If you are gonna have a jerk in your story, he's gotta have layers! He's not ALWAYS a jerk, or if he appears to be, he has a valid reason for doing so, like protecting his family secrets ;)

Janice Hougland said...

No way would I hitch up with a man who talked dirty to me. No respect, no relationship, no time, no way, nohow! jdh2690@gmail.som

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Mery. I'm glad you nor any of your friends would put up with such behavior. Women have worked too hard to gain the level of equality they now enjoy. To allow a man to speak to you or use you in a degrading behavior sets us back to the 1950's. Ack! Who wants that?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

LOL! Oh Janice, you said it SO well.

Karyn Good said...

It's very much a disturbing issue - this idea of women being property and therefore seen, at least at the beginning of the story, as disposable. In these stories it's not about sex, it's about control. And that's red flag anyway you look at it. Patriarchy rearing it's ugly head. The disturbing part being, of course, these stories are written by women. Well-rounded, well-developed characters don't need to resort to such antiquated, caveman tactics. Alpha males can make for fantastic stories and steamy fantasies without coming across as giant asswipes. Heroines don't need to be feisty to keep me entertained but they do need to have a solid foundation and a self-motivating purpose. They need to come into the relationship as an equal. And they know when a man sees them as meat. And they most definitely do not serve themselves up with a side of fries.

Here's hoping equality is the new sexy.

Calisa Rhose said...

Hold on- are we talking dirty...or disgusting? I don't mind a little dirty talk now and again. Then at my growing age some times that's all the action I'm likely to see! Now disgusting...that's another bird altogether. I don't read a lot of romance lines from publishers because I don't care for the alpha male. I mean, there's a time and place for them, true. My wolf series sort of requires them, but ask AJ- I have a hard time maintaining that quality in a hero. They tend to balpha up. I'm good with that, but it doesn't always work for the story line dang it. I completely agree with everyone here about alpha and jalpha (jerk-alpha). I didn't marry one and I don't put up with them. But if the woman goes all noodle legs over a guy like that- I'm done with her and him before the end of the book.
Another great post, V. Loved Dr. Arial's input!

ps- my capcha is 'missionary' Just thought it sort of fit with the topic... *snicker*

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Karyn, I so agree. Yet these books are selling like crazy. I just don't get it. I went back and read the reviews--over 140--and almost all of them were gushing over this hawt, commanding guy. I just shook my head.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

One more thing, Karyn. I'd LOVE for equality to be the new sexy!!!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Arial was excellent, wasn't she, Calisa? She explained it all so well. My men tend to start out alpha and then reveal more of the balpha tendencies.

For years we've joked about sorry-assed men with their adolescent pick-up lines. Now to see them glorified in what is supposed to be a romance just curdles my grits.

Keri Neal said...

I got your back, girl. I read a book last month and I BARELY got through it. I kept thinking "This guy is an ass! I wouldnt give him the time much less sleep with him!" Take 50 Shades for example. I spent the whole trilogy screaming at Ana because she was an idiot for letting Christian treat her that way. And im not even referring to the Playroom ;-)

Rhonda D said...

I totally agree with you Vonnie! I can't imagine letting a man treat me that way. I like your type of hero MUCH better. In fact, I normally don't finish the types of books you mentioned.
Rhonda D

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I'm glad you've got my back, Keri, although sometimes I need someone to cover my mouth. LOL Why do so many women read this stuff? I just don't get it. Amazon rankings for this book was hovering around 1000 during the time I read it. Gushing reviews were rolling in and I thought "has the whole world gone mad?" This guy is a big-feeling jerk!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Rhonda, I hope you always like the heroes with a rough exterior and a creamy, chewy center. A man who adores and respects the women in his life--from his momma to the woman who holds his heart in the palm of her hand.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

So late to the party and then had to go have a cup of coffee before commenting because the type of romance you describe just burns my ass. The comments here restore my faith in the existence of self respecting women and men who appreciate them (*winks at Sawbuck*) But, the trend disturbs me on so many levels, mostly because of what it says about the women writing AND reading it. Whoever said the writers and readers can see themselves in these characters was right. And that's just sad and sickening. I fully understand the attraction of an Alpha male. I've been in love with one since I was little more than a teenager, but there is a big difference between a tough guy and a prick. I have four sisters and if I had a dime for every time our dad told one of us, if you don't respect yourself, why would you expect "Mr. Soy Nuts" to, I'd be a rich woman.

Crap, V, it's too early in the morning to get riled up. I going to need another cup of coffee.

Liz Flaherty said...

If it's your age talkin', Vonnie, mine's saying the same thing to me. Great post!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Good discussion, Vonnie and everyone. Makes me wonder how we categorize such books (different from general steamy romance), avoiding the mistake of buying them. Clearly, the reviewers you talked about liked the book, so I might waste my money on it like you did. Do we need a "Beware: The 'hero' is a Dick" category? Or maybe 'Warped Romance.' I wonder where the bookstore shelves such books (or the Librarian)? Interesting dilemma!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for chiming in, Mac. I don't want my man ordering me about--in or out of the bedroom. He can request, sure. I have no problem with that. But demand? This is not love, this is about "you pleasing me" because I'm so awesome. Gag...

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks, Liz. After reading three of these "fifty-shades copycats" I was really feeling out of the loop. Reviewers were gushing about a confident man who knows what he wants...and all I could think were murderous thoughts in regards to both the hero and the heroine. Totally baffling.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

So true, Rolynn. A delemma and I fear it'll be the downgrading of the genre we've fought so hard to build up.

Joanne Stewart said...

forgive if someone else said this, but I can't reply to the exact reply and I haven't read all the others, but... I recall reading somewhere that the BDSM community isn't happy about it either. That Fifty Shades opened the door to every author who thinks they know BDSM and can write it and that there are a lot of books out there where authors are just getting it flat out wrong. Sounds like you found one of them. I can't recall where I read this, darn it, but if I'm not mistaken, I believe the BDSM community agrees with you--it's about respect and mutal, erm, satisfaction. Not about ordering someone around just to prove you're the boss. I remember someone saying that was definitely just a guy being a dick.

Oh, I lurve this discussion!

Amie said...

Okay, gotta jump in here in defense of the alpha male. I am married to an alpha. Alpha does not equal jerk. I seriously promise this. Arial is right, these men are insecure. True, raised-right alphas don't have to tell you how good it's going to be. I'm alright with dirty talk. I don't write it...I write humor (and some sweet)and it doesn't fit the tone. And if by change a braggy man shows up in one of my books he is just begging to be taken down a notch. LOL But I love when a hero is confident enough to know that he's good in bed but isn't an arrogant jerk about it. And no one does this better than Sarah Grimm! Hope she weighs in soon. Long live the (well-raised) alpha!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Joanne, you are SO right. I once took an online workshop on fetishes because I thought it might be a humorous twist if a hero had a bit of a fetish. The workshop showed me I was so wrong and "full of it." So...trash that idea. But being in the workshop also put me in a BDSM yahoo loop. I ask questions from time-to-time of those in the lifestyle, but mostly I listen to what those who truly live and love this way feel about writers who portray them in the wrong light. They want respect, too, and I feel we should honor that. Just as I want respect as a woman.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Most of us are in agreement with you Ames. Alpha does not equal jerk. Wanting to bend another to his will equals jerk and often paves the way to abuse. My youngest is very alpha, but my DIL has a way of arching one eyebrow before she storms out of the room that sends a shiver down his spine. Or so he's told me.

A little dirty talk between two adults who have established a loving relationship can spice things up...and I'm all for spicing. But these writers are putting the cart before the horse. Show me you respect and cherish me before you talk dirty to me.

Misty Dietz said...

SING IT, SISTER!! What a fabulous dialogue you have goin' here, V!! I'm on the same fast moving train and we're gonna run those POS guys who don't respect women off the pages of our stories. HONK, HONK! :)

Seriously, I hate that because like you said, it fosters the WRONG MESSAGE to impressionable women.

Thanks for the cathartic bra burnin'! xoxo

Alison Henderson said...

Oh, Vonnie! I've never picked up a book like the ones you describe, but I know I'd never be able to read past the first encounter. I doubt I could even finish the scene. I know these are fantasy, but if I ever met a man like that I wouldn't know whether to laugh out loud or start sharpening knives. I think Ariel's assessment is correct, but what does that say about the state of our society?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Misty, nice to see you here. I strongly feel as romance writers, we have an obligation to protray women in a good light. No whiny heoines for me. Or weak ones, either. I don't mind showing my heroine at her lowest point--we've all been there--but you can bet I'm going to cronicle her journey back to the top where she belongs. And she does not belong under a man's thumb. We also need to encourage safe behavior patterns in our heoines, too. Breast checks, responsible drinking, protected sex and using common sense when meeting a guy.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

One young lady told me once, Alison, that she's tired of reading about sensitive men who don't project masculinity. She likes to read about men who aren't afraid to brag about his prowress.

Ok, I get that.

But why does his "chest thumping" have to come at the expense of the heroine? We get so upset over third-world countries who treat their women like chattel...and then rush out to buy books that, in their own way, have men treating women with little respect or tenderness. Makes no sense to me.

Josie Matthews said...

Von!!! I have to say Im torn on this one! I actually love a little dirty talk...now that's not to say degrading dirty talk, but loving, fun dirty talk between two people who respect each other. When I read it in a romance novel, if it is well done and between two people where the love is totally apparent I think a few naughties can show a heightened level of excitement...that 'God Im so turned on I can't control my mouth' talk! Now, degrading comments arent a turn on...but if my man were to say, 'Baby, you've got me so turned on Im gonna f$#k you into next wednesday...I think I'd...c$%*& on the spot! The dirty talk has to compliment the relationship...it has to show a level of explosive passion...not degredation. Love You! Josie Matthews!!!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

No need to feel torn, Josie. As some of us have stated before, a little dirty talk between committed couples adds a delightful spice. But for a man to think he can approach a strange woman and talk like that...and her fall for it was not the message of romance. I remember being in a bar as a younger single woman and a man leaned over my shoulder and said, "Baby, you look better than sliced bread." And I thought is he saying I'm "yeasty"? LOL Poor schmuck! He hadn't a clue! Love you, too, Josie!

Amelia James said...

There's a difference between talking dirty for fun and being disrespectful. Personally, I like a hero with an attitude because it's fun watching the heroine take him down a notch. A power struggle is entertaining, and it gives both the characters room to grow.

Reese Ryan said...

I laughed so hard when I read this post. I'm more of a beta hero girl who loves a reformed bad boy. So I find this new breed of hero who treats the heroine like a petulant child, or worse, his property, horrifying. It makes me want to choke him and slap her. Since I'm seeing this type of hero quite a lot it worries me. I hope young women aren't looking to for this kind of a man or they are much more likely to find a nightmare than a fairytale.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Grimm said...

Vonnie-

You know I love alpha males (at least in my romances) however...a true romance hero DOES NOT degrade women. A true romance hero is not a commanding, condescending asshat - or if he is the heroine quickly kicks him in the pants and he learns how to be so much more. I don't feel that alpha = asshat. At least to me, it shouldn't. :)

I'm also not against dirty talk. (the hero in my WIP is a bit of a dirty talker - though not like you have been reading) It shouldn't be about how large he is or how fantastic he is in bed. And being demanding is not dirty talk in my opinion. Honestly, I don't know how you finished the books. And yes, I find it disturbing that this type of man is becoming accepted and looked at as 'hot' and hero material - at least in romances.

nancy Alfred said...

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