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No love

Dear Mr. Carlson:

You gave an interesting albeit inaccurate portrayal of the romance genre in the July 20 issue of the Independent ("Conventional romance," cover story).

This article was representative of the Romantic Times Booklovers' Convention, a readers' convention held by a fan magazine. Many, though certainly not all, of the authors who attend this convention write for publishers that are not recognized by Romance Writers of America (RWA). In order for a publisher to be recognized by RWA, it must have been in business for a certain number of years, sold a certain number of novels, etc. Simply printing books, which almost anyone can do in this age of computers, does not a publisher make.

In fact, some of the publishers and authors attending the convention that you seem to believe is representative of this billion-dollar genre fall under the erotica umbrella, not romance.

To obtain a clear, honest picture of the romance genre, please refer to the Romance Writers of America National Conference (rwanational.org), which is taking place from July 26 to 29 in Atlanta. I challenge you to find even one cover model strutting about, flexing his muscles or displaying his "washboard abs."

What you will find, Mr. Carlson, are professional writers both published and unpublished there to meet with editors and agents, to learn more about the business and their craft. What you will find, Mr. Carlson, is the truth about romance publishing and women's fiction in 2006. You will also find hundreds of authors and publishers who have raised over $450,000 to help fight illiteracy in this country!

We authors of romantic fiction grow weary of defending our billion-dollar industry, but periodically a so-called journalist publishes a piece similar to yours, filled with innuendo and misinformation.

From the RWA Web site: "Romance Writers of America is the national non-profit association for the authors who write romance fiction. Our 9,500 members write the romance novels that represented 54.9 percent of popular paperback sales, and that are read by 51 million people each year."

In fact, there are several multi-published romance authors right here in the Colorado Springs area, myself included. Pikes Peak Romance Writers is the local chapter of Romance Writers of America. The Web site for our local chapter is pprw.org.

Please get the facts straight. Don't trash an entire genre of fiction without understanding it, sir.

Deb Stover

Palmer Lake

Gag line

There it is, right at the beginning of the paper, the disgusting, stupid and insulting "Consumer Correspondent." I gag and don't know whether to finish reading the rest of the paper. This last letter about a fax extension (July 20) reached a new low and is simply gross. It takes a lot to offend me, but this did, as it certainly did the recipient of his letter. "The Advice Goddess" uses earthy language but does so with finesse.

Why do you persist with this column, which goes all over the states and further tarnishes the reputation of Colorado Springs?

Colleene Johnson

Colorado Springs

Falling for the trap

Re: "Snap!" (July 20, News):

I guess I'm not the only one "incensed" over the decision of the Colorado Wildlife Commission to allow the trapping of mink and pine marten. Trapping is barbaric and should be outlawed all together! The animals suffer unnecessarily. It's disgusting to know that people out there in society still practice trapping! We don't live in the 1800s! It's 2006, people! Wake up! Quit being cruel to our fellow Earth-mates! Maybe we should put the trappers into some full-body traps or legholds and see how they like it!

Jill Crouch

Colorado Springs

Fur-ious

In view of man's inhumanity to his fellow man, it is no wonder that some among us consider trapping to be recreational and fun. Let us remember that we are all members of the animal kingdom, and the wildlife cited in the article "Trap shot" (July 6, News) are all mammals, as are we.

We all have much in common; we value and struggle for life, have need for shelter, food and water, value freedom, feel fear and pain, and nurture our offspring. These non-human animals have enough trouble coping with all that nature throws at them without being pursued by fun and profit-seeking human animals bent on slaughtering them, often using barbaric methods.

We should have long since passed the time for any perceived need to wear someone else's body covering (fur). Vanity is not so fair.

Because current scientific data are missing, the only responsible path is to err on the conservative side. As we usurp their habitat and take the lives of these four-legged creatures, we guarantee that our most out-of-control species will eventually leave in our wake an ecologically impoverished planet.

Anita G. Brown

Colorado Springs

Oh, Canada

Yesterday, I read an article in the Gazette wherein Congressman Hefley replacement hopefuls Lionel Rivera and Jeff Crank were blasting a Christian Coalition mailer that depicted them as soft on gays. Rivera regretted signing a gay pride proclamation some years ago, and Crank was only representing his organization, not his own views, when he said Richard Skorman seemed a decent fellow.

I was awestruck by the nature of the discussion. It seemed only to be about who was less tolerant of gay people, and therefore worthy of support. Your endorsement of John Anderson (July 20) was a breath of fresh air. He seemed actually interested in issues of national merit instead of this hateful silliness.

Although I left Colorado Springs a little over a year ago, I still tune in for news updates on occasion. At times I do feel a little like a deserter, but it is wonderful to live where homosexuality is a fact, not an issue. Canada is certainly not perfect, but it is very empowering to live as a married couple, fully accepted and integrated into society with all the rights and responsibilities of any other married couple.

Paul Weeks

Penticton, British Columbia

Irony or design?

Re: "The dog says "moo,'" (July 13, News):

Focus on the Family now has a dog. A dog named Sherman. How strange that this pup's name could be construed and pronounced as She - r - man! Strange things happen in life. Moo.

Tom Rich

Colorado Springs

Combat zone

This letter is in response to Jennifer McKenzie wondering where military recruits come from ("War's wounds," July 20, Letters). They are the best of American men and women who make a choice to defend people like you, who have their head up their keesters so far you don't have a clue what reality is in combat.

The phrase "War is hell" is true. People do things they would not normally do. They are put in situations where they must react, at times only on instinct. Do you really believe someone wants to kill a 5-year-old? I work with veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder, and none of these people went into combat thinking they would have to kill someone.

If your father was in three combat zones, I am not surprised you think like you do. In spite of what you believe about your hero, he was affected by what he saw and did during combat, and you have been affected by that as well. No one goes through combat and comes home whole. You may not be able to see their disability, but it's there.

So, Jennifer, instead of bitching about your tax dollars, think about what these young men and women are going through. Even the best of people are wounded by what they have been subjected to in combat.

Roxann Crouse

Monument

All together now

Thank you for the cover story ("Pattern of misconduct," July 13). It is not easy to hear such stories, but important to share the soldiers' experiences. A great radio station in Berkeley, Calif., KPFA 94.1 FM at kpfa.org, has a weekly show called the "The Visionary Activist Show." If you go to their Web site and browse the archives, the June 15 show with Ed Tick deals with this subject. His latest book is War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This would be a good follow-up to your article, as it deals with addressing the soldiers' experiences as a community. He looks at the history of the soldier's experience through time.

We should ask ourselves, "What do we mean by "Support Our Troops'?" Are we really willing to be accountable with them for their experiences? If we truly do live in a democracy, then by popular consent they were sent to war. We are all in this together.

Christine Dye

Colorado Springs

Smoker's burden

Regarding the recently enacted smoking ban and all of those who support it: Who do you think you are to tell citizens and business owners in our once-fair state what they can and cannot do? Do you not realize the threat that this legislation poses to small businesses? Of course, the larger chain restaurants may survive, but the smaller mom-and-pop ones may go under.

I feel that it is fundamentally wrong to impose this type of legislation on businesses without their consent. Even if only one small business must close its doors in our state over this legislation, the price is too great.

Where does this "slippery slope" that we are ever sliding down end? Prohibition of all food except health food? Prohibiting the sale of politically inflammatory bumper stickers? When you empower the government to dictate what can and cannot be permitted on private property, that power can and will be abused, as has every previous power granted to the government. We must stop this snowballing power grab of the state Legislature. We must reclaim the power of the people.

At my local bar, I have spoken to the owner repeatedly about this new law. I have told her that if she had insisted that I not smoke in her establishment, I wouldn't, without contention. But a legal mandate stripping her of her rights to determine what can and cannot be done on her private property is something that I cannot easily acquiesce to. She is deeply concerned for the future of her business. In minor defiance, she has posted a sign that reads, "SMOKING, My Business, My Customers. Our Choice!!!!"

Haven't we smokers endured enough persecution? Smokers, who make up about 20 percent of the population, bear almost 50 percent of the tax burden, nationwide. We pay more taxes and have the fewest rights. There are endangered insects in this country with more rights than smokers. We have already been taxed to death. Then we have been prohibited from all public conveyances. Now we are being prohibited from buildings by law. What's next, segregated schools and separate drinking fountains?

Michael Williams

Colorado Springs

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