I’m a Romance Junkie

Hi, my name’s Avery and I’m a romance junkie.

It all started in middle school with purloined copies of my mother’s V.C. Andrews and Jackie Collins. So brazen did I become that my sixth grade teacher – oh, she of the see-through blouses – sent my mom a note ratting me out for bringing The Thorn Birds for my independent reading time.

That wasn’t enough to rid me of my demons. No. I scoured used book stores for dogeared Harlequin novels. The sweet and sheltered heroine whose innocence reels in the arrogant and demanding hero (who later in life I realized was often a total prick). I’d devour the books in one marathon session in the tub, refilling it with hot water as necessary. Then I discovered Johanna Lindsey’s regency romance novels. Independent, smart, spitfire heroines out to right a wrong. And the heroes? Oh, yeah. Brawn and brains – and a title to boot.

The list goes on and on, there’s rarely been a romance novel I didn’t caress with lust, eager to rip open the cover and loose myself in the pure joyous high of the happily ever after, the adventure, the intrigue, the mystery, the black moments, the rediscoveries, the plot twists and the laughter found within its pages.

Until recently, I had no idea I had a problem. Sure, it wasn’t unusual for me to burn dinner because I was too engrossed in the tale to pay attention to my cooking. But that happens to everyone, right? At the romance junkie house (AKA the bookstore), the pushers knew me by name. Then, they started sending me e-mails recommending other romance authors they thought I would enjoy. I’d buy the romance books unable to resist their heady charms.

Then a life coach explained that romance novels are addictive and as horrible as porn (I clutched my pearls at the thought because everyone knows only dirty men like to watch porn). Romance novels can cause major problems in a person’s life. She even had the pseudo-science to back up her claims!

The news hit me like a thunderclap. Crack! And here I thought I was doing OK. I graduated from college, own a business, married a devastatingly handsome and smart man, am raising three kids, have good friends, volunteer for local non-profits and donate to charities. But no, I am a romance junkie and it’s time I faced facts.

Fact One: I experience a thrill when I read a romance novel. Goosebumps. Butterflies in my stomach. An overall feeling of happy. We all know there is nothing worse in the world than allowing yourself to experience happiness.

Fact Two: For years, romance novels and their required happily ever after ending have been one of my major stress relievers. Obviously, I should have been scrubbing the floors to work out my stress.

Fact Three: Sometimes, I am so drawn into the lives of the characters that I cry (cry!) when misfortune befalls them. Caring about others? What was I thinking?

Fact Four: The heroines in romance novels have taught me to stick up for myself, to fight for the underdog, to be willing to take risks and to not settle for anything less than I deserve. I need to get back to my subservient role immediately.

Fact Five: Romance heroes have taught me that not all men leave, that strength and intelligence are sexy in men and women, that even boys get scared and that they, too, should not settle for anything less than they deserve. I know now, this is pure poppycock.

Shame is welling up within me as I type these facts. No jury in the world would fail to convict me.

I am a romance junkie.

And I’m off to take another hit.

About Avery Flynn

Writer. Smart Ass. Lover of Chocolate. Bringing steamy romance with a twist of mystery to the masses, one hot book at a time.

46 thoughts on “I’m a Romance Junkie

  1. Hi my name is Dawn, and I too am a Romance Junkie and loving every minute of it!
    Great article.

  2. Add me, too! (and not just for coffee and donuts)

    Avery, this is a wonderful blog post! I suggest sending it to our WRW Update as an article. Then it might get reprinted in other RWA newsletters.

    You should be a writer….I’m just saying…

  3. Hi . . . my name is Loni and I’m a romance junkie. It all started with “Flowers in the Attic” (damn you V.C. Andrews) and teen romances. At 18 I moved up to western/historical romances and all of Zebra/Kennsington books (remember the little hologram) of Victoria Thompson, F. Roseanne Bittner, etc. and then . . . it was a bond between my grandmother-in-law and I to read Harlequin’s in our spare time (we didn’t like soap operas so while the babies were napping we devoured our books and swapped) . . . oh the humiliation! Then I read (gasp) Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Fantasy Lover” and the addiction spread (I even got my sister and mother-in-law to read them). My 15 year old daughter at the time wanted to read them too. (Shamelessly I used the books as incentives when good grades were reported on mid-terms in high school.)

    I am the worst . . . because now, for the past 20 years (4 on a serious level) I have indulged in writing such happy, escape from the horrors of reality, stories. I don’t see a cure in sight and truthfully don’t care to find one. Like all the other meds advertised out there–the cure is probably worse than the disease. (No excess dizziness, urination, constipation, fatigue, lack of sex drive, low tire pressure, etc.)

    1. Lol Loni that was the first series book I read as well and I think I was in 5th grade! I still can’t eat anything with powder sugar on it!!

  4. Hi, my name is Kerri and I am also a romance junkie. I have been so ensconced in reading a Nora book that I missed my stop on the Metro. Then again, the same thing happened while reading Harry Potter. Of course… it was HP book 6. You know, the one with the romance between Harry and Ginny. Hmmmm….

    Great post! 😉

  5. Would we be romance writers if we weren’t romance junkies? This means there are almost 10,000 of us in one place!

    I started with Barbara Cartland (does that reveal TMI) and bought every Harlequin when it came out each month. I agree, you should send this to RWR as an article.

  6. Thornbirds and VC Andrews … hey that was me! I am so ashamed I’m a romance junky as well. Who knew there were so many of us? Oh, every author of romance. ROFLOL! Great post.

  7. My name is Jennifer and I am a romance junkie. I have been since I first peaked at a copy of Judy Blume’s Forever and read Sweet Valley High before sneaking into the Harlequin section and borrowing every romance book with a strong, blonde hero on the cover.

    Oh, no! But wait!

    I married a blonde man. I need some help! Immediately! My obsession with hot, blonde, strong men who respect women and support them has come true. When I read a romance, I see the best traits of my husband. When I write my stories, I use him as a basis for many of the positive characteristics of my hero. Lines of reality have been blurred for me. I’m living in a fantasy world—as evidence by the pseudo-scientific, second-hand report of that life coach person or other.

    The internet does not lie, folks. And she may not be an expert, but her strong opinions are scaring me.

    I need help!

  8. My addiction started with Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. My husband was gone on a patrol (Coast Guard ship) and my neighbor brought over a box of books for me to read. (For the record, Shanna is NOT a good book to read when you don’t have a male companion nearby. It is HOT.) It was a fast plummet from reading that first “gateway” romance book to writing my own.

    1. The gateway romance novel. We all remember it well, the first flush of anticipation, the thrill of the high. Oh yes, we know it well.

  9. Oh my! I had no idea I was a romance junkie. I always thought my drug of choice was soda pop. But now I see the light shich is good because light makes reading romances so much easier.

  10. Hello, I’m a romance junkie. It all started with my mother. She gave me my first historical romance novel. Mind you by then I had five children and needed an addiction. After reading all of her novels, I moved on to the library- in fact I went through six neighborhood libraries and finally the large one in downtown Houston. Still I couldn’t get enough. I fell deeper into the addiction when I decided to write romance. Now several years later the hold romance has on me is stronger than ever and it isn’t one I want to break anytime soon. In fact, I have encouraged my daughters to follow my slippery path, and they are following with enthusiasm and then there are my granddaughters who have been introduced into the world of YA. So, I feel there is nothing left for me, except to pick up my kindle and beginning reading the last novel I purchased.

    Ruth Kenjura

  11. I’m beginning my 12-step program pronto! I, too, am an addict. But I admit it proudly. Now. LOL.
    When I was in eighth grade, I failed Algebra because of romance books. That’s the God’s honest truth. I would bring a new one to school each day, promising myself that I wouldn’t read it during Algebra, but…I had that thin little Harlequin tucked away within the textbook, and man-oh-man my teacher must have thought I was the happiest student EVER. I smiled and smiled. Smiled right through having to repeat that class in ninth grade. But I was one happy romance addict, and my drug of choice has seen me through the past thirty years!
    Those were the quick contemporaries. Then I ventured into historicals with…you guessed it!!! Shanna. Man, is that Woodiwiss pure evil! What a pusher! She managed to convert so many with her addictive drug….
    So, there you have it. Another junkie added to the mix. I sure like the company I’m keeping. 🙂

  12. Hey there fellow romance junkie, can i just say that your blog post gave me goose bumps? Love it.

  13. I too, am a romance junkie. I started reading it at around age 16, although I’ve been in love with romance since I discovered my soul mate Donny Osmond at age 9. Alas, that didn’t work out, but I’ve always been in love with romance. My reading has changed and grown along the way, but I must have some romance in the stories I write or read.

  14. Hi, my name is Dana and I am a romance junkie. And I’m pretty darn sure we should get t-shirts!!! If romance is bad then it is one of my favorite sins (along with chocolate and diet coke) and I’m not likely to give it up any time soon. 😀

  15. Wish I was going too Avery… 🙁 So sad, but I had to choose between Retreat and Nationals this year…

  16. God bless my grandmother and her subscription to Harlequins in the 1970’s. That was my vacation high — an garage filled with paper sacks of the stuff. After all, what else can you do in suburban Atlanta when you aren’t allowed to roam, and your closest friends are senior citizens?
    Thornbirds came later, and my sister’s addiction to Barbara Cartland. Oh, we were wild girls! Sweet Harlequins and trembling historicals, with an occasional trip into the Australian frontier and all the romance it allowed — we were out of control!
    I’ll never recover, you know. Those habits, formed early, and wicked difficult to break. And who would want to?

  17. Avery,
    Great blog, I’ve been an addict since 5th grade. My mother refused to allow me to read those “trashy” books, so I had to resort to hardback books from the school library. She didn’t realize that romance novels came in hardbacks! She even aided my addiction by taking me to the library during summers. Later, when I was able to make my own decisions, I graduated to paperbacks bought at the grocery store. Our meager grocery budget never missed the price of those two or three novels each week. My addiction grew and I found other addicts eager to share their fix with me. One co-worker, bless her heart, handed me a copy of Shanna and my life was complete ruined. I caught the bug that took me to the highest form of addiction! I wanted to write. Yes, Kathleen Woodiwiss was the one who pulled me so deeply into the habit that I have never recovered. Saddly, Kathleen has passed away and I never got to meet her. But there are many, many others that I’ve not only met, but call my friends. I’ll be at National and would love to sport one of those t-shirts!

  18. I read my mother’s VC Andrews, and then I found old historical romances in (gasp!) my high school LIBRARY! I blushed at the first heaving bosoms and heavy groins. I was HOOKED!

    So glad it all got sooooo much better as I got older.

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