Stephanie Scott – No Shame in Romance

Hi friends!

Welcome to the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate this awesome genre! Come back every day to read all three “Power of Romance” posts. Check out the full calendar of authors here. You can also find links to the last four years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook.

Happy August!

#LoveRomance #ThePowerOfRomance

Down with Cover Shame

 I’ve always been a reader, but I have to ‘fess up. I am not a life-long romance reader. Sure, I’d read tons of books with romance in it, but never the ones with ladies in lacy dresses draped against shirtless dudes on the cover. Now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I know those shirtless dude covers hold together great stories. Powerful stories. I just had to get past my own hang-ups. Now I find it a personal challenge to help others get over theirs.

I’m a collector of articles that challenge the assumption that all romance books involve unattainable fantasies and sexy pirates. I keep those articles handy because every four to six months a website or blogger takes on the lofty challenge of kicking romance books back to the curb. It’s almost a paint-by-numbers game: add keyword “bodice rippers,” reference Fabio, and don’t mention a single current romance author other than Nora Roberts and maybe that guy who writes love stories where one of them dies at the end. By the way, referencing Fabio in any piece on modern romance is like writing about the present-day NFL and name-dropping only Joe Montana. Just like football has evolved in thirty years, so has romance.

And even if romance was all unattainable sexy pirates, who is anyone to judge that? Readers gonna read, and the older I get, the less patience I have for judgment on anybody’s reading choices.

When sites like Jezebel and NPR post solid commentary in defense of romance books, I get energized. I share that link everywhere. Because it’s not just about defending bare-chested dudes on covers. It’s about speaking up for the people behind the books; the writers and the readers. You can find romance that’s pure comfort reading and romance featuring marginalized characters struggling against societal injustices – all with a happy ending. Readers have different needs, and some are desperate for an escape and a slice of joy in their day. Attacking romance in turn attacks those who love it.

I share those pro-romance articles widely so other readers won’t make the mistake I made for so long—judging a book because of a cover. Let’s be done with cover shame for good. Sexy pirate, alpha shifter, lacey ladies—whatever it is, own your reading choice. You have the power to read what you want and not be ashamed by it. Wherever you are, hold up your paperback, your hardcover, your ebook, your headphones (audiobook!) and be proud.

You’re reading romance, and there’s no shame in that.


Stephanie recommends:


Sandhya Menon    –     –   @Amazon

debut author of the fabulous YA contemporary WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI. The cover and back cover art are fantastic and tie in perfectly with the characters’ (not so-)meet cute.


Darcy Woods   –     –   @Amazon

her young adult book SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS is delightful, sweet, and swoon-worthy, and is finding recognition among romance fiction awards!


Tif Marcelo   –     –   @Amazon

the debut author of NORTH TO YOU, an adult contemporary romance with all my favorite elements: food, diverse and complicated families, and romance set in the city. The next in the series EAST IN PARADISE releases next month!

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.

For many of us who write young adult, the Twilight series factors in somehow. I have *opinions* on Twilight overall (especially Breaking Dawn), but I will never forget standing in line in 2007 for the book release of Eclipse among a 1000-seat sold out crowd. For a book. About teen vampires. I was already a married adult by this point, but not only had Twilight transported me back to the melodramatic feels of my teen years, I was downright inspired seeing so many teenagers, predominately young women, geeking out over their Edward and Bella scrapbooks and admitting they’d convinced their families to visit Forks, Washington. This was before the movies came out, so it was all book fandom at that point. I’d stood in line to see bands a dozen times over, but I’d never seen anything like that for a book.

Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.

My first car — a secondhand, ice blue Geo Prizm. It had the same body type as a Toyota Corolla but with cheaper parts, like interior door handles that would snap apart. The Prizm was with me at the end of my first long-term relationship and through the start of my marriage. The A/C never worked, but its burst speed from a dead stop was impressive. I drove this car through the worst weather I’ve ever experienced, slept in it overnight at a music festival, and carted friends around in college. A CD lodged in the crack between the dash and the after-market stereo went down with the Prizm on her final ride. She was traded in, but I’m pretty sure the junk yard ended up as the true final destination. RIP to the best car ever.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Independence. I’ve always had an independent streak. I get stuff done, I do my thing, I can entertain myself (an only child). I may not be independent every second of every day, but knowing I can handle something gives me a sense of power.

Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. The story involves an African-American teen girl in a ripped-from-the-headlines situation where a friend is murdered by a police officer at a routine traffic stop. It’s heartbreaking but hopeful, but more importantly, relatable and empathetic. Her voice is so needed in YA right now. Although I did not grow up in suburbia, living in a mid-sized Midwestern city attending a high school with a 50% non-white population, I was raised by white parents with a fair amount of privilege. Knowing people who are different from you is one thing, but knowing their story, and knowing their struggles is transforming. Angie’s book brings you closer to an experience that moves beyond headlines and crime stats. When we understand people at a core level, when we have empathy for injustices others face that we can’t personally fathom, that’s where we can start to change.

Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

My mom is a given and I dedicated my debut to her (hi, Mom!). Beyond that, I’ve been influenced by my Romance Writers Chapter: Windy City RWA. It’s incredibly inspiring to meet up regularly with writers who finish drafts despite everything life throws at them. We’re all busy with different things, but we come together because of a passion for stories. When I don’t feel the writer’s muse (and who does? Where is this mythical muse?) I think of the writers in my group who have battled cancer or who worked to meet a publisher’s deadline at their sick child’s bedside. These are people who are striving toward a passion and they’re doing the work to get there.

Main Drawing:

Stephanie is generously giving away an Alterations ebook with swag prize with bookmark and mini sewing kit. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 23, 2017. (US only)

She’ll be giving away more copies of the book as part of the US  and international bundles, plus she’s sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.


Stephanie Scott writes young adult and romance stories about characters who put their passions first. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and its online YA chapter YARWA, and a current writing mentor in online pitch contests. She enjoys dance fitness and cat memes, and Pinterest is driving her broke.

Her debut ALTERATIONS about a fashion-obsessed loner who reinvents herself is a 2017 finalist for the Romance Writers of America Best First Book RITA® award.


Learn more:     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @StephScottYA


Buy Stephanie’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!


#LoveRomance   #The PowerofRomance    #ReadARomance


Each RARM post will have one main drawing each day (posted above). Authors are also contributing to weekly (US only) bundles, which will be drawn at the end of the week. Each bundle will consist of at least five books and the amount of bundles will depend on the amount of books the authors contribute.

(Stephanie is contributing to the US and international bundles, and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

International friends!

Rather than individual drawings off posts, this year we’ll do sets of books, 3+, depending on how many authors contribute. To enter, send an email to with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 3 contests are Aug 17 through Aug. 24

For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors  are supporting an extra-special drawing – high quality tote bags and mugs printed with a fun, pro-romance image (see below).

Read-A-Romance Month, through the generous support of many of the authors, is giving away at least 30 mug & tote combos.

Plus, at least two lucky winners will win a Read-A-Romance Month “Month of Books” Mega Bundle, consisting of 31 books!

To enter these exciting drawings,  send an email to (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month.

(US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include an international cup/tote combo.)

You will not be automatically added to a newsletter, and I promise not to sell or give your email addresses to anyone. I do reserve the right to send you an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which will also have opportunities to win more prizes and great romance reading tips!



Check out all three great posts everyday in August at  Or you can find the posts on the RARM Facebook page.  Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading  #ReadARomance

  • Anna

    Those articles knocking romance bug the heck out of me. I should do what you do, and collect the articles in defense!

    Thanks for writing!

    • Oh, I know. Those articles come out so often, but I always end up reading them!

  • cheryl c.

    Congrats on the RITA nomination!

    • Thanks! It’s such an honor. 🙂

  • Glenda

    The world would be a happier place if people didn’t’ insist on attacking other peoples choices when those choices don’t hurt anybody physically or mentally. I decided long ago that they people who write these articles trashing romances and romance readers are nothing more than the typical unhappy bullies who have to put down others to make themselves feel better.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I read those articles too. I always think they don’t know what they are missing out on. There is a whole lot to the romance genre.

  • Tori Valenzuela

    I usually just ignore the bad articles and focus on the joy most romance books bring me as a reader 🙂

  • Bonnie Staring

    I’ve helped some friends and coworkers fall in love with romance novels. And when I catch someone dissing romance novels, I gently remind them that a ton of books sold are romance novels, so without them there wouldn’t be a book industry to speak of. Or one that isn’t as rewarding to readers.

    • You’re a book pusher! I’m doing my best to push books on more people. I like the challenge of finding a romance book to fit anyone’s reading taste.

  • Sue G.

    I loved the Twilight books…they got me back to reading again after my 3 girls were all teenagers and reading those books!

    • What was so interesting about Twilight was that i had friends who weren’t readers who were reading it and adult friends who never would touch a young adult book who devoured it.

      • Sue G.

        Yes, my middle daughter never read…not even summer reading books (you know you could just google what it was about) but she just devoured those books. I think she read them like 50 – 60 times! Now, she reads in her spare time during classes at college!

  • Audrey

    I completely agree, Stephanie! There is no shame in romance reading. And, indeed, different readers have different needs, so I love that the genre has something for everyone. Thanks for sharing these words!

  • Nicole Marie

    I really enjoyed reading your post, thanks for sharing your story.

  • Kezia King

    I too stayed away from the books with shirtless dudes on the covers. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually thought they were trash someone slapped together. Now I’m an addict and I have no time for people who wanna judge me by the cover of the book in reading (or the content).

    • The very first ebook I ever read I won from one of Barbara Vey’s contests on her old Beyond Her Book Blog on Publisher’s Weekly. Shirtless dude on the cover, but I gave it a try. Loved it! Strangely enough, it was low on actual sexytimes, so in my opinion, the cover didn’t really fit the book.

  • Pamby50

    New author for me. I haven’t read Young Adult books but that is the beauty of romance. There is always something new to try.