Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fifty Shades of Brown

Fifty shades of brown...I'm a mother and a nurse, this could get ugly. Errr--but I'm really talking about toast--(not coffee.)
A week or so before Christmas my wonderful husband was making breakfast with me in the kitchen one Saturday. He put the bread in the toaster and I so kindly said,
 "ah honey, those back slots in the toaster don't work."

He replied,
  "ah, yes dear they do, look it's all red hot in there." (the conflict rose)

   "But dear, the automatic pop-up part is broke." (he gives me the--I'm right eyeball)

    "Don't worry, I got it," he says--then turns to flip the eggs. We dive deeper into our morning chit-chat and  you guessed it---a plume of smoke is rushing from the toaster under the cabinet ready to torch the kitchen and set off the smoke alarm. (the plot thickened)

He does a crazy dance trying to shut it off, run out the door and throw the charred pathetic piece of toast into the snow where it steamed and sizzled. He came back in looking a bit defeated. (it got hot in the kitchen and I planted a sweet kiss on his cheek)

And... I got him a toaster for Christmas. I love my---err--his toaster. It gets the toast just the right shade of a lovely brown.

And as I marveled over my lovely assembled-in-Canada Kitchen Aid toaster this morning, and the lovely shade of brown, I wondered-----about Fifty Shades of Gray, and what is the just-right shade of romance in a novel?

I've heard that Fifty Shades of Gray was a craze because of its sensuality--at least by someone's definition. I wouldn't know, I didn't read it. Mainly because I'm quite certain it wouldn't fit my definition of acceptable romance.

So, readers. Christian men and women--what is the just right, acceptable definition of romance in a "Christian" novel?

I mean, I like it a little "toasty" in the kitchen with my sweet man.

The publishing houses have guidelines for writer's to follow.

Would you, or have you ever stopped reading a Christian romance because it crossed too far past your definition? or because it wasn't "toasty" enough? 

Have you ever not purchased a Christian romance novel because you were too embarrassed to been seen in public with its "bit too shiny" cover?


  1. I have not NOT read/bought a Christian novel because the romance was too steamy. I don't think I've picked up anything or heard of any that was. BUT I have put away non-Christian novels for that reason and avoided the author thereafter. Yes, I would stop reading if it ever went past my too far definition.

    I almost stopped reading a book once because it had words in it that I didn't think should be in a Christian novel. I was reading it for a review, so I did finish, but I contacted the author and asked WHY!? She gave me her answer, but I don't think it was a good enough answer. The book was good without the words.

  2. For me, I like to read Christian romance and sweet secular romance because I like the whole toastiness of falling in love--the looks, the feelings.
    So far I haven't picked up any yet that had crossed the line of that. :)

    1. Of course, if anyone has ever fallen in love, or hopes one day to fall in love, the experience is unforgettable---one of a kind sort of thing, but God has a million and one different ways of writing His one of kind sort of stories for each person. I love reading romance to experience "that loving feeling" sort of memory once again.

      I agree Jennifer, I haven't stopped reading a Christian romance for any "line-crossing" either. And I don't think that "Christian" romance is less believable because it holds a line. On the contrary, I think it's MORE inviting.

  3. Good point Ladette--I'm guessing that author suggested that those words (or actions in some cases) were "in line" with that character's world/life. But if the story line isn't affected by removal of the "words" or actions, perhaps the author should hit the delete button.

    On the other hand, sometimes we can wind up with cookie cutter, "too cleaned up to believe" type bad boy-characters---in my opinion.

  4. I don't think we need to be cookie cutter, because especially for contemporary fiction that is not always reality. But, I think there are respectful and tactful ways to go about anything that is not 'cookie cutter'. My wip in progress covers some difficult topics, but I'm going to write those moments from my Christian worldview.

    Also, I love the glance,the conversation, the subtle moments of love. That is beautiful and real to me and sometimes more romantic.

  5. Right, great point about writing a difficult scene or topic from "my Christian worldview"--Christians are exempt from the challenges of life, it would be false to assume so. To me it's what we do with those challenges, with Christ working through us, that makes us holy, "set apart", and should ABSOLUTELY inspire hope--because if we miss that, how missional can our writing be?

    "For they overcame him by the word of their testimony, and by the blood of the Lamb." :)

  6. I want my readers to have that "wooooh" feeling, but not let pursuing that rush come between them and reality.
    I have turfed a book or two because I felt the author dwelt just a wee bit too much on the hero's physique. I am married, I know what guys look like. Don't take me where my mind doesn't need and shouldn't want to go.

  7. oops "Christians **aren't** exempt..."


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