My Favorite Short Story Writer, and the Wish: How Would You like to Earn Degrees in Writing Romance Novels, and Would the Potential of These Degrees Leave You Rich or Poor in Old Age?

I’ve read short stories almost daily since June 17, 1959 when I graduated from high school. And I’ve loved most of the stories, cherished them. I even spent four years in college studying how to write short stories and earned a master’s degree in writing fiction, poetry, and short stories with a specialization in writing novels.

But of all the short stories read and dreamed about, the short stories I enjoyed most were the ones I wrote for myself that no one actually read as I was too shy to send them out to publishers. I didn’t need more criticism in my life. What I did need was a ‘real’ job, although I would have settled for a ‘reel’ job behind the cameras. Why I enjoyed Doris Lessing’s short stories seemed to be summed up in one of her quotes, ” Literature is analysis after the event.”

And all my short stories were analysis after an event, be it fiction or real. The creativity bloomed out of some event in history. Women journalists of the past were whom I enjoyed reading most because for many, the past was the prime of my generation, the silent generation of those born between 1929 and 1942. These journalists included Shana Alexander, Vicki Baum, Erma Bombeck, Willa Cather, Carrie Chapman Catt, Dorothy Day, Dorothy Dix, Rheta Childe Dorr, Martha Gellhorn, Ann Landers, Dorothy Kilgallen, Clare Boothe Luce, Frances Marion, Agnes Meyer, Margaret Mitchell, Katherine Anne Porter, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Helen Rowland, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Ida Tarbell, Dorothy Thompson, Rebecca West, and Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

And then there were the short story writers, male and female that I read with joy. What I was looking for was a short story that made me laugh or feel good after reading it. Maybe that’s why I had to write my own collection of short stories and a trilogy of three short novels under one cover, Dogs with Careers.

Sure there may not be much money in writing short stories nowadays for a lot of people. But how would you like to earn a degree in writing the romance novel? That’s what this Sacramento author did many decades ago. Only then the major under the English department had the label English/creative writing emphasis/writing fiction and poetry/specialized genres.

Maybe it would lead to something or maybe, like me, after age 70 you find you’ve written all these novels, and few, if any have ever read the print-on-demand published book you spent your old age savings to publish, only to find that unknown writers really aren’t read very much. But the satisfaction is there that you spent your time writing rather than only reading literature. After all, literature is analysis, and the process had been a way to analyze what needed to be analyzed at the time.

Some of the newer multi-ethnic sub-genres within romance novels also may be domestic violence novels where the character transcends multi-generational abuse. The themes may emphasize how the unfolding of the stories empower women with immortality against the tides of time by allowing emotionally-strong women, powerful heroines to take part in the founding and running of their country against the anti-feminist backlash of their men.

Some of these multi-ethnic themes focus on how the women develop a voice of confidence and resilience as the stories move forward. One example is the time-travel novel, Adventures in My Beloved Medieval Alania and Beyond, featuring young characters. The romance is ‘sweet’ and not graphic, set in the 10th century where the Caspian meets the Volga.

The new genres of romance are of interest to women seeking power over their powerlessness in a society that traded in bartered brides, disallowed women to preach spirituality, and set women free as widows of war to absorb their loss or take their slaps like a soldier and never make a sound.

And that major offered a master’s degree. But there are universities where you can earn a degree in writing romance novels or reading them, for example taking courses in writing the romance novel and/or reading romance novels as literature, electing the courses in romance literature as minor within a larger major such as English. But to go a step further, should any Sacramento college offer a major in writing and reading romance novels?

What about a virtual high school online in Sacramento teaching writing the young adult sweet romance novel? Or can that genre be used to teach reading or help interested students develop an interest in reading the romantic classics? It’s a fiction sub-genre that appeals to women. Why is the market so wide for romance novels, read mostly by women around the world?

Even the male romance novel authors may write under a female pen-name, including when husbands and wives write these novels together. Then there are sub-categories such as Christian romance or romance fiction in various other faiths and ethnic groups, including multi-ethnic romance and Black Romance genres. See, African Romance eBooks |allromanceebooks.com, and How to Write a Christian Romance Novel. There’s also Amazon.com: Jewish Romance Books.

Need more ethnic groups that read and write romance novels? Try Islamic romance novels make splash | The Jakarta Post. Then there’s the Hindu/Indian romance novel writing market and readers. See, Top 10 Romantic Indian Authors and Books. And there’s the Buddhist romance novel market. See, Buddhist nun, 86, writes young adult romance novel on cell phone.

That depends whether a famous romance novel author donates funds to create a Sacramento-based foundation in that person’s name to create course development and research in writing romance novels, a popular genre that sells millions of copies for some authors.

It’s also possible if an older writer leaves in a will about $100,000 or more to do this in Sacramento. But the donation does not have to come from somebody’s will, of course.

Does Sacramento need a college major in writing romance novels? Check out the May 31 PR Web article, “Nora Roberts Foundation gives McDaniel College $100,000 for research, course development.”

Or does Sacramento need a fund that supports not going to college for technical-minded brilliant would-be entrepreneurs or engineering-oriented creative inventors? Check out the article, Tech mogul pays bright minds not to go to college – Sacramento Bee.

There’s room for both. But in Sacramento, writing romance novels is a growing field with numerous attorneys writing very successful romance novels on the side or after retirement from their law careers. Sacramento is proud of its Sacramento Valley Rose chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

Sacramento has a growing number of excellent book authors who write romance fiction including the sub-genres within romantic fiction novels such as thrillers, time-travel romance, adventure, intrigue and young adult, women’s fiction, and other themes within the genre of romance novels.

Should there be a library section in Sacramento devoted to the history of romantic fiction? The Sacramento public library does have early 19th century romance fiction and even clubs devoted to reading the classics such as the books by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen, which have romantic themes.

Current romance novels with suspense or intrigue themes, historical time-travel romance adventure, and other sub-genres of local Sacramento novelists are in the Sacramento and Carmichael public libraries.

For examples some of the novels by this Sacramento author, How to Start Engaging Conversations on Women’s, Men’s, or Family Studies with Wealthy Strangers, Adventures in My Beloved Medieval Alania and Beyond, The DNA Detectives, Dogs with Careers: Ten Happy-Ending Stories of Purpose and Passion, Ethno-Playography, Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome, Ancient & Medieval Teenage Diaries, Is Radical Liberalism or Extreme Conservatism a Character Disorder, Mental Disease, or Publicity Campaign?, Astronauts and Their Cats, Cyber Snoop Nation, The Date Who Unleashed Hell, Cleopatra’s Daughter, Anne Joan Levine, Private Eye, Verbal Intercourse, The Courage to be Jewish and the Wife of an Arab Sheik, and other books by this Sacramento author of a variety of multi ethnic romantic suspense novels that cover a wide range of ethnic groups, are in some branches of the Sacramento public library or the Carmichael library.

A unique sub-genre of romance writing is to write the novel of domestic violence, sometimes followed by a search for romance or finding romance in unique places or through intrigue, thrillers, or time-travel. The paperback books also are on sale from the publisher or at Amazon.com, more than 90 books, of which numerous novels are in the romance or suspense and time-travel genres. How many Sacramento authors will donate money to start a college or community college major in writing and reading the romance novel and its sub-genres for various or all age groups?

The Sacramento group has a large, active chapter. Members range from aspiring authors to authors you’ll recognize from the NY Times best sellers list. The club has monthly meetings and a biannual writers’ retreat at a fabulous getaway in California to inspire your creativity.

This year the group has an incredible line-up of speakers in place that should appeal to writers in every stage of their careers, including Deb Dixon and bestselling authors Alyssa Day and Karin Tabke. Check out the dates at the website of who is speaking at future meetings.

The chapter’s annual three-page read event this year will be after national conference, in the hopes of helping our authors tweak those important first three “hook” pages they plan to send in to the editors and agents they met. This has been a very successful event each year we’ve had it and many previous three page submissions have gone on to become books on the shelves today!

Explore the website, Sacramento Valley Rose and the links provided. If you’re interested in becoming a member, whether you’re close enough to visit the monthly meetings or just want to connect with its outstanding members via a mailing list, the group looks forward to hearing from you.

That’s one of the reasons why Sacramento needs a major or minor in romance fiction, both writing romance novels, stories, and scripts/plays, and reading the literature. In fact, it would be great if CSUS, UC Davis, or American River College started a library of romance fiction and offered courses in the literature and creative writing of romantic-themed novels.

The Nora Roberts Foundation has awarded McDaniel College a $100,000 grant to help advance research and study of romance literature, establish an academic minor in the genre fiction and launch an online creative writing course in romance fiction.

“This gift will allow the college to reinforce Ms. Roberts’ reputation in the academic and literary arenas as a master of and dedicated advocate for the romance genre,” said Roger N. Casey, president of the college, according to the PR Web news release. “It will also raise the profile of the romance novel among scholars and the academic community.”

The college also plans to use the funds toward building a core American romance collection at Hoover Library, including the complete works of Roberts, and to establish an endowed fund to support the collection. The collection’s titles will be available online.

“This collection will constitute a partial canon of American romance, from its Colonial beginnings to its explosive growth in the 20th century and beyond,” Casey added. “The collection will establish McDaniel College as one of the few centers for the study of the romance genre.”

McDaniel English professor Pam Regis, a nationally recognized expert on romance novels and author of “A Natural History of the Romance Novel,” said, according to the PR Web news release, “it has always been an honor and a privilege to further the study of romance, and the generous gift from the Roberts Foundation adds considerable resources to this effort.”

Roberts is the best-selling author of more than 200 romance novels. Her first, “Irish Thoroughbred,” was published in 1981. More than 280 million copies of her books are in print, including 12 million copies sold in 2005 alone. McDaniel College awarded her an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 2006.

An international conference, “Popular Romance in the New Millennium,” will be held on campus November 10-11, 2011, with keynote speaker, Dr. Mary Bly, Shakespearean scholar at Fordham University, and, as Eloisa James, best-selling author of historical romance novels. “The conference will gather presenters who can put the romance in fresh perspective,” said Regis, according to the PR Web news release.

McDaniel College, recognized nationally among 40 Colleges that Change Lives and U.S. News top-tier liberal arts colleges, is a four-year private college of the liberal arts and sciences offering more than 60 undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 20 highly regarded graduate programs.

For other universities, if a successful romance writer who has earned many sales of novels desires to contribute money to a fund to create an actual college major or minor in writing and reading the romance novel, this reality may inspire others to encourage the genre of romance novel writing and reading as a form of popular literature.

This genre does sell not only in the U.S.A., but around the world, in each geographic area, focusing on what the reader expects from reading the highlights of a life story usually molded from the writer’s research and imagination. Finally, a college major or minor that allows people to develop and enhance creativity in entertainment, escape, romance, and popular literature. The type of romance novels that sell the most copies usually have a message to teach that readers can take with them.