By Jeanine Englert
There is something unique to the romance writing community that I want to be sure to celebrate today: acceptance and belonging.
I can still remember my first meeting at Georgia Romance Writers back in February of 2013. I was absolutely petrified about going to my first meeting, but everyone I met was encouraging, friendly, and wanted to know what stories I wrote and who I was as a writer. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a clear answer to either question yet. There was no judgement or expectation but merely acceptance. I remember standing up to introduce myself as a new person and people clapping after I finished. And in that moment, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time: that I was enough, that I was welcome, and that I belonged.
Despite the many controversies that have shifted and stirred the waters in romance writing communities, I still believe and know in my heart of hearts that the people within our community, readers and writers alike, are still incredibly welcoming and accepting. I cannot even count the number of people that have helped me along my way to being published, and I hope that in small ways I can ease the path for others.
Over the years, I have heard many romance writers say that we are not competitors but cheerleaders for one another and that there is always room at the table for another romance author. That one person’s success doesn’t diminish anyone else’s, but that we all rise from romance community wins. I couldn’t agree more.
So, as we celebrate Romance Awareness Month this August, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate all the amazing romance authors who bring those many books and stories to life and to thank all of them for what they have given me as not only a reader but writer of romance.
Care to share a favorite romance community memory? Feel free to drop a comment below to help me celebrate Romance Awareness Month!
Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery.
Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at www.jeaninewrites.com.
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