My brother ought to know better. He owns two bookstores, after all. But, as informed as he is, he still uses the term "bodice ripper" in reference to romantic fiction.


I prefer the term "brain chocolate".


I love to read romance. I am educated, informed, feminist, and mature. Why does is seem so odd to read those two sentences together? And when I tell people that I write romance? They get that look. The one that says, "Oh, you're not a REAL writer".


Well, I am. A real reader, a real writer. Women's fiction is the fast-growing majority of book sales. To me, women's fiction is fiction by women, for women, about women. Now what could be more feminist than that?


Is it intellectually stimulating? Not on a regular basis. So, strike the nutritional content. Is it life-changing? Doubtful. Is it going to make you a better woman, a better mother, a better CEO, a better wife? Probably not, although I have heard anecdotal evidence that it improves one's desire for intimacy!


So, why read it? It doesn't heal you, it doesn't change you, it doesn't depress you.


Why eat chocolate? No vitamins, no minerals. Useless stuff, right? But I'm not alone when I say that if all the chocolate disappeared tomorrow, I would have trouble going on with my life.


Romance is brain chocolate. It's fun. It's sexy. It makes you feel good. It's a positive thing in a negative world. What is so wrong with happy endings? Romance is about good people finding each other, overcoming obstacles to be together, and making a reality out of what was once only a dream. Love.


I like that. So tonight, I'm drawing a steaming bubble bath, opening a box of Godiva's, and losing myself in the latest Elizabeth Bevarly novel.


Now THAT'S a happy ending!