Voices of Romance by M. L. Buchman

Hello Melanie & Kristal, a real pleasure to be here!

The first time I ever knowingly read a romance novel was at my first ever writers conference. I traveled to Dallas, Texas in 1996 to attend the Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference. When I arrived, I stepped into a world I’d never imagined. A world of 1,800 women and 7 men. And no, it’s not what you’d think.

These women are serious business professionals. They talk about writing, they study writing, they teach writing to each other, they breathe the romantic fiction genre. At that time, as a male in their world, I was ignored. “Must be someone’s lost boyfriend.” I did meet a gentleman who was there with his wife and another with girlfriend. Leigh Greenwood was the only published male romance author in attendance. And then my publisher had brought four men to prove that we could write romance as well.

The strangest thing was being discounted for my gender. I lived it for four mind-warping days. One session they actually stopped the whole program when I asked a question. They were shocked that I was writer, with a completed manuscript, that had been sold, and would be out the next summer. It was simply out of their realm of experience. I had an agent refuse to talk to me, even though I had an appointment to meet with him. It was a new experience , something that women have pointed out happens all the time to them.

No one, other than the agent, were rude or impolite, they were simply mystified. I was outside their realm of experience. Scroll forward to today. The latest meeting of my local RWA chapter had 40 women and 3 men in attendance. In my personal book study group of 8, the two romance writers and readers are both male. I’ll be going to RWA national this year for the first time since 1998 and I can’t wait to see how it has changed.

I often wonder at the disparity. The first question I ask myself, “Is a romance voice so unique?” Definitely, “YES!” I’ve always had a love story in my novels. A background element, but an important one. For who are we without hope and love, what would be the point? Yet when I set out to write my first romance, I faced huge challenges. Challenges so daunting that I actually discarded several complete manuscripts because I didn’t know how to make them work. Even The Night is Mine was still a thriller rather than a romantic suspense when Sourcebooks purchased it. It was only in working with Deb Werksman, amazing editor by-the-by, that I finally found the missing pieces in my voice. That I finally found how to make the love story the center, the purpose, the reason for the book. And I love that! It’s so much fun!

The second question is, “Why not more men?” You would think what with my being a male romance author I’d have some special insight. I don’t, but I’ll take a stab at it anyway.

A male home sapiens is a terribly linear beast. If I sharpen this spear, learn how to throw, learn where to aim, I bring home dinner. If I go the job, if I hone my skills, I will get better and better at achieving results.

The female is far less linear. I married a single mom. Her entire life was framed by expediency about her child. If I do this step during the nap, this step while she’s in the shower, then I can be set up to complete this before I go to sleep… and my wife carried twenty of this non-linear tasks in her head all the time. And that’s assuming the kid doesn’t interrupt and of those twenty chains.

I don’t think the male, as often posited, is emotionless, but rather that the female is forced into a heightened state of contingency planning and “what ifs” all forcing an intense awareness of the world around her. We’ve selectively bred for women able to feel heightened connections and to be aware of nuanced change, a child’s mood, over a forthright change, a male’s “what’s the next to-do item on the list.”

I think this is changing, in American culture perhaps faster than most. I think that the coming generation will bring male romance readers and writers in droves. I hope so, because I think it will become a kinder, gentler nation for the women if it does. And I’ll freely admit, my heroes act the same way, even if they would never admit it out loud.

THE NIGHT IS MINE BY M.L. BUCHMAN

NAME: Emily Beale

RANK: Captain

MISSION: Fly undercover to prevent the assassination of the First Lady, posing as her executive pilot.

NAME: Mark Henderson, code name Viper

RANK: Major

MISSION: Undercover role of wealthy, ex-mercenary boyfriend to Emily

Their jobs are high risk, high reward:

Protect the lives of the powerful and the elite at all cost. Neither expected that one kiss could distract them from their mission. But as the passion mounts between them, their lives and their hearts will both be risked…and the reward this time may well be worth it. Here’s an excerpt to tease your senses…

“He shouldn’t have done it. He was her commanding officer, for crying out loud. He’d just risked his career for that kiss. And hers, which was truly unforgivable. He hadn’t even realized how badly he wanted her. Until he received the call that she’d been reassigned.

And when Emily Beale closed her eyes on so much pain, he’d given in. If he’d known how much her kiss would rock him back on his heels…

With a smile he’d do best to keep to himself, Mark Henderson decided it was worth all the risk for a kiss like that one.

He flexed his abused hand and wondered how much it was going to hurt to work the chopper’s collective on the flight back to base. A twinge shot all the way into his shoulder where she’d torqued it around before slamming him to the deck. It was going to sting like mad.

She really knew how to handle herself. Damn that was a turn-on. His brain tried to imagine what it would be like to tussle with a woman like that, and his body responded strongly. It made a very nice image.

He pulled the tab on the soda he’d dropped when he went down. It exploded in a cloudy spray of sugar water covering his face and uniform.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. L. Buchman has worked in fast food, theater, computers, publishing, and light manufacturing. It’s amazing what you can do with a degree in geophysics. At one point he sold everything and spent 18-months riding a bicycle around the world. In 11,000 miles, he touched 15 countries and hundreds of incredible people. Since then, he has acquired a loving lady, the coolest kid on the planet, and lives in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit http://www.mlbuchman.com/.

Sourcebooks will be giving away TWO copies of THE NIGHT IS MINE, so don’t be shy;tell us your thoughts on a male author writing a romance novel.

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14 comments on “Voices of Romance by M. L. Buchman

  1. What an interesting post, and kudos to you for breaking into a female dominated area. I think men would enjoy reading “romance” books just as much as women do, well maybe slightly less for some books. Ha! Look at little kid cartoons, there is a love story or tender feelings present, even in the cartoons for boys. Love gives you something to fight for.
    It will be interesting to see if in the future more men infiltrate this female dominated genre.

  2. I must say that I’m very surprised to hear of a male writing a “romance novel”. I’m so used to women writing them. I think that I would like to read this and see how the romance comes across from a male’s prospective as opposed to a female. Yes, I think that this could be quite interesting.

    Thank you for this very unusual opportunity. :-)

  3. I mostly read female authors, but I’m curious to see how a male author handles romance. He may bring a new & interesting perspective to the genre.

  4. I have mostly read female author romance books, but do have some male favs. I just love romance and reading, and don’t care who writes them as long as they are good. I do love trying new authors out. Love a great book or author recommendation. Thanks for the giveaway. would love to win and read this book.

  5. It doesn’t matter to me which gender the author is if it is a good story. There are women writers of Western novels which is a basically male author domain.
    This book has been added to my TBR list.

  6. Congrats on the release M.L. I LOVE the cover, very hot, sexy and love the rifle. I enjoy reading whether written by a male or female. I have no preconcieved notions that romance writers need to be females. If a man can write a story that I enjoy and throw in romance- woo hoo! More power to the men writers out there. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. I loved the excerpt!
    We have 2 men in our RWA chapter, with almost a hundred of us women. They’re terrific & I’m happy they’re there. They’re comfortable with being in a roomful of us romance wtiting ladies, & they know what we’re talking about!
    Love. That!

  8. The joke is, here I am writing in what is, in a way, an expected sub-genre. I mean, if a guy is gonna write romance, it should be military suspense. But I’m about the least military guy you’d ever meet. I respect those who choose to serve immensely, especially those who choose it as a career… and that’s so not me! My idea of a good time is watching a romantic comedy with my wife or writing a romance. I’ve tried to shoot on a range, and I’m a lousy shot, even with practice and mentoring. It just feels wrong in my hands. So that I wrote “military” is as surprising to me, and those who know me, as it is to others that I write “romance.” Go figure. I reminds me to laugh at myself and to keep it light, because I never know where the next character will lead me. The heroine of book #2 “I Own the Dawn” got me into researching snipers and life on the street for kids. I love that about writing.

  9. Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by!! Mr. Buchman, I will admit that I have never read a romance novel written by a man but you have totally peaked my curiosity! The Night is Mine sounds interesting and Mel really seemed to like it so maybe I will hop onto my kindle and order myself a copy! Thanks again for stopping by and for the wonderful post! Good luck at the RWA conference! You should stop back again after that experience and let us all know how it goes for you! :).

  10. Ha! Well at least you find military stuff interesting since you needed to research it for your books, even if it’s so not you. So way to break into two genres out of your comfort zone =)

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