I've been really busy the past few weeks reading books for RWA's Rita contest. I received 8 books to read and judge and I have until the second week of March to read them. It's a great excuse to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes! After all, I MUST read all these books by a specific deadline. It sort of feels like work, but it's been such a pleasure stashing the current book in my purse and reading it at every opportunity. It's so satisfying when I'm sitting in my favorite chair reading one of my Rita books, and my husband asks me to let the dog out or to pick up the kids. I can look at him over the top of my book and exclaim, "I really have to read this book right now."
What's fun about judging this contest is that I'm receiving books to judge that I might not otherwise pick up and read. I've heard of judges sending books back to RWA because they don't think they can judge them fairly. They're not familiar with the genre or they don't like the genre or the genre offends them. This puzzles me, and I think they're passing up a great opportunity to read something outside their normal realm. Reading books from different genres is a great learning tool too. Most genres have something they must weave into the romance between two people. It's been enlightening to discover exactly how they accomplish this to place their books firmly in their chosen genre.
This time around I got a few Inspirational Romances to judge, which I hadn't read before. I really enjoyed them, and each writer wove the element of faith, God, and the spiritual journey into her story in a unique way. I'm glad I got the opportunity to read this genre.
That's what's fun about reading erotic romances too. They come in all shapes and sizes (no pun intended), so it's almost like reading different genres - they all just happen to contain large dollops of sexuality.
So I'm all for keeping an open mind when it comes to reading Romance. Now I MUST get back to "work" - 3 1/2 down, 4 1/2 to go....