Forbidden Fruit

By Susan/Miranda:

No, no, it’s not Monday.  You haven’t mislaid the weekend.  It is Wednesday, usually the day for Wench Susan/Sarah.  But she and her entire family have been leveled by the flu, and so I’m filling in for her instead.  Hope you’re feeling better SOON, Susan!

Dutch_fruitAnyone who’s considered sending a book to a publisher for consideration knows about submission guidelines.  No matter how this sounds, they have nothing to do with S&M; instead they’re a quick outline of what works and what doesn’t for that particular publisher.  Some are obvious: how long a manuscript should be, or the preferred font for legibility, of course a publisher specializing in Inspirational Romance won’t have much interest in vampires.  But other guidelines are harder to understand.  This publisher only wants settings limited to the English middle ages and Regency.  Another wants no American westerns, while a third specifically rules out sheiks as heroes.

But there are other taboos, too, that aren’t written down.  Some editors will freely admit that they don’t like, say, red-haired heroes or those with beards.  Others won’t tell a writer outright, but she’ll find out when she gets the cover, and her hero has miraculously become clean-shaven and dark-haired because “marketing says that works better.”

In fact, marketing or the sale reps are almost always either the fall-guys or the voices of reason,Bulldancers_fresco depending on your point of view.  They’re the ones that decree that your modest, fine-boned heroine ends up looking like Pamela Anderson on the cover.  They’re the reason that writers are warned away from heroes who are actors, gymnasts, or criminals, and encouraged instead to make them doctors, lords (anyone in the peerage goes to the head of the character class), firemen, and military officers.  As has been discussed on this blog earlier this week, older heroines and virgin heroes are uncommon.  English country houses are always in favor, while ancient civilizations, Asia, and Africa are as off-limits as the recent historical past of the twentieth century.

This is not to say that a talented author with a good sales record won’t be permitted to push the envelope into brave new worlds.  Even a rat-catcher makes a great hero in the right hands.  It does happen, and it’s a great thing for writers and readers alike when it leads to a fresh, unforgettable book.

Yet most writers have an unwritten story or two that they either have been told not to write just yet (like never), or perhaps haven’t even dared to propose.  It’s a favorite late-night topic in the bar at writers’ conferences, kind of like fishermen with the ones who got away.   I’ve heard of writers who wished they could write a book from the point of view of the characters’ pet animals, or one set among the bull-dancers in ancient Knossos, or a love story between prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp. 

Then there’s another whole crop of unwritten stories that readers maintain they’d love to see, but never find on shelves.  Sometimes it’s an unusual setting, or a sequel that will tie up the loose ends left in another book.  Other readers clamor to read more of a kind of book that’s fallen out of fashion –– Westerns, say, or antebellum stories of the old plantation South. 

And sometimes, too, the “forbidden” breaks through to become a new trend.  A generation ago, there were no books with heroes and heroines of color, and now there are books specifically written for African-American and Latina audiences.  The paranormal elements that are so popular in romance today would have been relegated to fantasy and nowhere else. 

Jane_austenSo what’s your secret "forbidden fruit"?  What stories do you wish you could write and sell, or find for sale in a bookstore? 

Or, for that matter, which ones would you rather never see written again?  Would you banish  the current crop of novels piggy-backing on Jane Austen’s characters, or strike from the shelves forever the bare-chested, time-travelling Scottish lairds with impenetrable, unreadable dialects and too-short kilts?

88 thoughts on “Forbidden Fruit”

  1. Personally, I’d like to write about space aliens and Aztecs, but they’d probably be about as popular as bull-dancers. “G”
    I’m not sure I’d ever rule out any particular category, because as you say, in the hands of the right author, gold can be squeezed from stone. But if an author isn’t writing gold, then she’d better be writing a setting I like!

    Reply
  2. Personally, I’d like to write about space aliens and Aztecs, but they’d probably be about as popular as bull-dancers. “G”
    I’m not sure I’d ever rule out any particular category, because as you say, in the hands of the right author, gold can be squeezed from stone. But if an author isn’t writing gold, then she’d better be writing a setting I like!

    Reply
  3. Personally, I’d like to write about space aliens and Aztecs, but they’d probably be about as popular as bull-dancers. “G”
    I’m not sure I’d ever rule out any particular category, because as you say, in the hands of the right author, gold can be squeezed from stone. But if an author isn’t writing gold, then she’d better be writing a setting I like!

    Reply
  4. Personally, I’d like to write about space aliens and Aztecs, but they’d probably be about as popular as bull-dancers. “G”
    I’m not sure I’d ever rule out any particular category, because as you say, in the hands of the right author, gold can be squeezed from stone. But if an author isn’t writing gold, then she’d better be writing a setting I like!

    Reply
  5. Yumm… I love the “bare-chested, time-travelling Scottish lairds with impenetrable, unreadable dialects….”!!
    I’m not too fond of stories set in the Antebellum days of the deep south nor the civil war; usually. There is always an author or two that can write anything and I’ll go for it. So maybe it’s just that some of the authors that I’ve read I just can’t connect with.
    So far I’m finding pretty much anything that I do like…I have a very wide range of genres that I read, but the one thing that I can’t read, ever, is a book with an unhappy or ‘unfinished’ ending. I need closure and I need a HEA! There have been times that I’ve looked at the synopsis of a book and been interested, until I read the end (I do that)…if the ending isn’t one of the two above, I won’t even look at it. I’ve read books like this and end up feeling disjointed and even slightly depressed. Doesn’t matter how critically acclaimed it is, if I can’t end up feeling positive at the end, it’s really not worth it ~ for me.
    Not sure this really answers the question(s), but that’s my two cents for the day. ^.^
    Kathy

    Reply
  6. Yumm… I love the “bare-chested, time-travelling Scottish lairds with impenetrable, unreadable dialects….”!!
    I’m not too fond of stories set in the Antebellum days of the deep south nor the civil war; usually. There is always an author or two that can write anything and I’ll go for it. So maybe it’s just that some of the authors that I’ve read I just can’t connect with.
    So far I’m finding pretty much anything that I do like…I have a very wide range of genres that I read, but the one thing that I can’t read, ever, is a book with an unhappy or ‘unfinished’ ending. I need closure and I need a HEA! There have been times that I’ve looked at the synopsis of a book and been interested, until I read the end (I do that)…if the ending isn’t one of the two above, I won’t even look at it. I’ve read books like this and end up feeling disjointed and even slightly depressed. Doesn’t matter how critically acclaimed it is, if I can’t end up feeling positive at the end, it’s really not worth it ~ for me.
    Not sure this really answers the question(s), but that’s my two cents for the day. ^.^
    Kathy

    Reply
  7. Yumm… I love the “bare-chested, time-travelling Scottish lairds with impenetrable, unreadable dialects….”!!
    I’m not too fond of stories set in the Antebellum days of the deep south nor the civil war; usually. There is always an author or two that can write anything and I’ll go for it. So maybe it’s just that some of the authors that I’ve read I just can’t connect with.
    So far I’m finding pretty much anything that I do like…I have a very wide range of genres that I read, but the one thing that I can’t read, ever, is a book with an unhappy or ‘unfinished’ ending. I need closure and I need a HEA! There have been times that I’ve looked at the synopsis of a book and been interested, until I read the end (I do that)…if the ending isn’t one of the two above, I won’t even look at it. I’ve read books like this and end up feeling disjointed and even slightly depressed. Doesn’t matter how critically acclaimed it is, if I can’t end up feeling positive at the end, it’s really not worth it ~ for me.
    Not sure this really answers the question(s), but that’s my two cents for the day. ^.^
    Kathy

    Reply
  8. Yumm… I love the “bare-chested, time-travelling Scottish lairds with impenetrable, unreadable dialects….”!!
    I’m not too fond of stories set in the Antebellum days of the deep south nor the civil war; usually. There is always an author or two that can write anything and I’ll go for it. So maybe it’s just that some of the authors that I’ve read I just can’t connect with.
    So far I’m finding pretty much anything that I do like…I have a very wide range of genres that I read, but the one thing that I can’t read, ever, is a book with an unhappy or ‘unfinished’ ending. I need closure and I need a HEA! There have been times that I’ve looked at the synopsis of a book and been interested, until I read the end (I do that)…if the ending isn’t one of the two above, I won’t even look at it. I’ve read books like this and end up feeling disjointed and even slightly depressed. Doesn’t matter how critically acclaimed it is, if I can’t end up feeling positive at the end, it’s really not worth it ~ for me.
    Not sure this really answers the question(s), but that’s my two cents for the day. ^.^
    Kathy

    Reply
  9. Great question! Just when I decide I’m never going to read another “X” again, one of my favorite authors writes a delicious “X.” So I guess anything goes if I like the writer’s voice.
    I really don’t like reading Scottish dialogue, though, and will scour within the plaid-infested book to make sure there’s not too much “dinna, wee and bonnie lassie” stuff. I love a guy in a kilt, mind you—but I have unrealistic expectations for him to speak the King’s English!
    What would I like to see/write? Maybe a New York City late 19th century historical a la Edith Wharton. Historicals set on one of Great Britain’s islands (no trips to London allowed). The Congress of Vienna and all the intrigue. The Restoration era. A frivolous 1920s house party. Ghost stories and family sagas through the ages.

    Reply
  10. Great question! Just when I decide I’m never going to read another “X” again, one of my favorite authors writes a delicious “X.” So I guess anything goes if I like the writer’s voice.
    I really don’t like reading Scottish dialogue, though, and will scour within the plaid-infested book to make sure there’s not too much “dinna, wee and bonnie lassie” stuff. I love a guy in a kilt, mind you—but I have unrealistic expectations for him to speak the King’s English!
    What would I like to see/write? Maybe a New York City late 19th century historical a la Edith Wharton. Historicals set on one of Great Britain’s islands (no trips to London allowed). The Congress of Vienna and all the intrigue. The Restoration era. A frivolous 1920s house party. Ghost stories and family sagas through the ages.

    Reply
  11. Great question! Just when I decide I’m never going to read another “X” again, one of my favorite authors writes a delicious “X.” So I guess anything goes if I like the writer’s voice.
    I really don’t like reading Scottish dialogue, though, and will scour within the plaid-infested book to make sure there’s not too much “dinna, wee and bonnie lassie” stuff. I love a guy in a kilt, mind you—but I have unrealistic expectations for him to speak the King’s English!
    What would I like to see/write? Maybe a New York City late 19th century historical a la Edith Wharton. Historicals set on one of Great Britain’s islands (no trips to London allowed). The Congress of Vienna and all the intrigue. The Restoration era. A frivolous 1920s house party. Ghost stories and family sagas through the ages.

    Reply
  12. Great question! Just when I decide I’m never going to read another “X” again, one of my favorite authors writes a delicious “X.” So I guess anything goes if I like the writer’s voice.
    I really don’t like reading Scottish dialogue, though, and will scour within the plaid-infested book to make sure there’s not too much “dinna, wee and bonnie lassie” stuff. I love a guy in a kilt, mind you—but I have unrealistic expectations for him to speak the King’s English!
    What would I like to see/write? Maybe a New York City late 19th century historical a la Edith Wharton. Historicals set on one of Great Britain’s islands (no trips to London allowed). The Congress of Vienna and all the intrigue. The Restoration era. A frivolous 1920s house party. Ghost stories and family sagas through the ages.

    Reply
  13. Hmm. Books I wish I could find for sale, but not necessarily write myself: colonial American stories, Civil War era stories with Union protagonists, engaging and colorful medievals (though I’m getting a taste of that right now from Judith Merkle Riley’s THE WATER DEVIL), and westerns that are more pioneery than cowboyish or Texas Rangerish, to name a few.
    As for my own writing, I’ve recently decided to try my hand at historical fiction instead of romance. Though I also just had an idea for a historical mystery series that I’m excited about, as well as an alternate history series. (Self to muse: Will you make up your MIND?!) So I’m still trying to figure out the rules for what will and won’t sell in my new home. But I seem to be turning into a military fiction writer. I want to tackle the Napoleonic Wars, well-trodden fictional ground that they are, the Greco-Persian Wars, maybe some Roman stuff–I was just reading a book about the transition from Republic to Empire, and I thought it would be a fascinating era to take a soldier’s-eye view on–Civil War, WWII, especially the Battle of Britain, etc.

    Reply
  14. Hmm. Books I wish I could find for sale, but not necessarily write myself: colonial American stories, Civil War era stories with Union protagonists, engaging and colorful medievals (though I’m getting a taste of that right now from Judith Merkle Riley’s THE WATER DEVIL), and westerns that are more pioneery than cowboyish or Texas Rangerish, to name a few.
    As for my own writing, I’ve recently decided to try my hand at historical fiction instead of romance. Though I also just had an idea for a historical mystery series that I’m excited about, as well as an alternate history series. (Self to muse: Will you make up your MIND?!) So I’m still trying to figure out the rules for what will and won’t sell in my new home. But I seem to be turning into a military fiction writer. I want to tackle the Napoleonic Wars, well-trodden fictional ground that they are, the Greco-Persian Wars, maybe some Roman stuff–I was just reading a book about the transition from Republic to Empire, and I thought it would be a fascinating era to take a soldier’s-eye view on–Civil War, WWII, especially the Battle of Britain, etc.

    Reply
  15. Hmm. Books I wish I could find for sale, but not necessarily write myself: colonial American stories, Civil War era stories with Union protagonists, engaging and colorful medievals (though I’m getting a taste of that right now from Judith Merkle Riley’s THE WATER DEVIL), and westerns that are more pioneery than cowboyish or Texas Rangerish, to name a few.
    As for my own writing, I’ve recently decided to try my hand at historical fiction instead of romance. Though I also just had an idea for a historical mystery series that I’m excited about, as well as an alternate history series. (Self to muse: Will you make up your MIND?!) So I’m still trying to figure out the rules for what will and won’t sell in my new home. But I seem to be turning into a military fiction writer. I want to tackle the Napoleonic Wars, well-trodden fictional ground that they are, the Greco-Persian Wars, maybe some Roman stuff–I was just reading a book about the transition from Republic to Empire, and I thought it would be a fascinating era to take a soldier’s-eye view on–Civil War, WWII, especially the Battle of Britain, etc.

    Reply
  16. Hmm. Books I wish I could find for sale, but not necessarily write myself: colonial American stories, Civil War era stories with Union protagonists, engaging and colorful medievals (though I’m getting a taste of that right now from Judith Merkle Riley’s THE WATER DEVIL), and westerns that are more pioneery than cowboyish or Texas Rangerish, to name a few.
    As for my own writing, I’ve recently decided to try my hand at historical fiction instead of romance. Though I also just had an idea for a historical mystery series that I’m excited about, as well as an alternate history series. (Self to muse: Will you make up your MIND?!) So I’m still trying to figure out the rules for what will and won’t sell in my new home. But I seem to be turning into a military fiction writer. I want to tackle the Napoleonic Wars, well-trodden fictional ground that they are, the Greco-Persian Wars, maybe some Roman stuff–I was just reading a book about the transition from Republic to Empire, and I thought it would be a fascinating era to take a soldier’s-eye view on–Civil War, WWII, especially the Battle of Britain, etc.

    Reply
  17. Pat — I’d LIKE to read that book from you about Aztecs and aliens. You could probably make it work — though I can just imagine your editor’s expression if you ever proposed it! *g*
    Kathy — I know what you mean about the endings. It doesn’t have to be an unhappy ending for me, so much as the “wrong” ending. I can take unhappy if it works, but if abruptly the plot’s been twisted about for convenience, or the characters jerked around to make for a HEA, then I feel cheated.
    Worst cheat-ending I’ve ever read has to be the conclusion of Cold Mountain. No reason at all for that story to end that way — except perhaps shock value. (Or maybe I’ve just been too indoctrinated into HEA, because none of the men I know who read that book were in the least upset with it. Oh, well!)
    Maggie — I’m with you on all those possibilities. Now, if the publishers would only listen to us!

    Reply
  18. Pat — I’d LIKE to read that book from you about Aztecs and aliens. You could probably make it work — though I can just imagine your editor’s expression if you ever proposed it! *g*
    Kathy — I know what you mean about the endings. It doesn’t have to be an unhappy ending for me, so much as the “wrong” ending. I can take unhappy if it works, but if abruptly the plot’s been twisted about for convenience, or the characters jerked around to make for a HEA, then I feel cheated.
    Worst cheat-ending I’ve ever read has to be the conclusion of Cold Mountain. No reason at all for that story to end that way — except perhaps shock value. (Or maybe I’ve just been too indoctrinated into HEA, because none of the men I know who read that book were in the least upset with it. Oh, well!)
    Maggie — I’m with you on all those possibilities. Now, if the publishers would only listen to us!

    Reply
  19. Pat — I’d LIKE to read that book from you about Aztecs and aliens. You could probably make it work — though I can just imagine your editor’s expression if you ever proposed it! *g*
    Kathy — I know what you mean about the endings. It doesn’t have to be an unhappy ending for me, so much as the “wrong” ending. I can take unhappy if it works, but if abruptly the plot’s been twisted about for convenience, or the characters jerked around to make for a HEA, then I feel cheated.
    Worst cheat-ending I’ve ever read has to be the conclusion of Cold Mountain. No reason at all for that story to end that way — except perhaps shock value. (Or maybe I’ve just been too indoctrinated into HEA, because none of the men I know who read that book were in the least upset with it. Oh, well!)
    Maggie — I’m with you on all those possibilities. Now, if the publishers would only listen to us!

    Reply
  20. Pat — I’d LIKE to read that book from you about Aztecs and aliens. You could probably make it work — though I can just imagine your editor’s expression if you ever proposed it! *g*
    Kathy — I know what you mean about the endings. It doesn’t have to be an unhappy ending for me, so much as the “wrong” ending. I can take unhappy if it works, but if abruptly the plot’s been twisted about for convenience, or the characters jerked around to make for a HEA, then I feel cheated.
    Worst cheat-ending I’ve ever read has to be the conclusion of Cold Mountain. No reason at all for that story to end that way — except perhaps shock value. (Or maybe I’ve just been too indoctrinated into HEA, because none of the men I know who read that book were in the least upset with it. Oh, well!)
    Maggie — I’m with you on all those possibilities. Now, if the publishers would only listen to us!

    Reply
  21. The Susans stick together! Thank you, Susan Miranda, for stepping in today when I was under the weather (it’s a wicked bug, my friends – try to keep clear of it! our teenage son brought it into the house and we starting keeling over like tin cans on a fence…).
    Interesting discussion. I don’t quite understand why the Civil War doesn’t sell anymore — well, we keep saying that, and then along comes Cold Mountain and A Widow of the South to prove us wrong. And there’s also a book out about Papa March, can’t remember the name of it now — his journals in the war.
    It’s a heroic, romantic, idealistic, horribly tragic era, and has all the elements of great fiction. In high school and college I read Gone With The Wind at least five or six times, couldn’t get enough of the book or the movie either.
    Maybe so many of us did the same that as readers we’re oversaturated with the CW. With the cyclical nature of all things in publishing, it would seem that it would come back around…but not in a great surge so far, apparently.
    As for Civil War romance, Heather Graham wrote a notable, wonderful series, as have others. But like other devastatingly tragic time periods, it’s hard to set a romance with a happy ending in the CW. Even if the war is over, there’s the depression and reconstruction that followed.
    I’d go on, but I’ve just worn myself out and will crawl back to bed for a wee nap, and then back to the WIP, which must be finished soon, The Flu notwithstanding.
    stay healthy,
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  22. The Susans stick together! Thank you, Susan Miranda, for stepping in today when I was under the weather (it’s a wicked bug, my friends – try to keep clear of it! our teenage son brought it into the house and we starting keeling over like tin cans on a fence…).
    Interesting discussion. I don’t quite understand why the Civil War doesn’t sell anymore — well, we keep saying that, and then along comes Cold Mountain and A Widow of the South to prove us wrong. And there’s also a book out about Papa March, can’t remember the name of it now — his journals in the war.
    It’s a heroic, romantic, idealistic, horribly tragic era, and has all the elements of great fiction. In high school and college I read Gone With The Wind at least five or six times, couldn’t get enough of the book or the movie either.
    Maybe so many of us did the same that as readers we’re oversaturated with the CW. With the cyclical nature of all things in publishing, it would seem that it would come back around…but not in a great surge so far, apparently.
    As for Civil War romance, Heather Graham wrote a notable, wonderful series, as have others. But like other devastatingly tragic time periods, it’s hard to set a romance with a happy ending in the CW. Even if the war is over, there’s the depression and reconstruction that followed.
    I’d go on, but I’ve just worn myself out and will crawl back to bed for a wee nap, and then back to the WIP, which must be finished soon, The Flu notwithstanding.
    stay healthy,
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  23. The Susans stick together! Thank you, Susan Miranda, for stepping in today when I was under the weather (it’s a wicked bug, my friends – try to keep clear of it! our teenage son brought it into the house and we starting keeling over like tin cans on a fence…).
    Interesting discussion. I don’t quite understand why the Civil War doesn’t sell anymore — well, we keep saying that, and then along comes Cold Mountain and A Widow of the South to prove us wrong. And there’s also a book out about Papa March, can’t remember the name of it now — his journals in the war.
    It’s a heroic, romantic, idealistic, horribly tragic era, and has all the elements of great fiction. In high school and college I read Gone With The Wind at least five or six times, couldn’t get enough of the book or the movie either.
    Maybe so many of us did the same that as readers we’re oversaturated with the CW. With the cyclical nature of all things in publishing, it would seem that it would come back around…but not in a great surge so far, apparently.
    As for Civil War romance, Heather Graham wrote a notable, wonderful series, as have others. But like other devastatingly tragic time periods, it’s hard to set a romance with a happy ending in the CW. Even if the war is over, there’s the depression and reconstruction that followed.
    I’d go on, but I’ve just worn myself out and will crawl back to bed for a wee nap, and then back to the WIP, which must be finished soon, The Flu notwithstanding.
    stay healthy,
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  24. The Susans stick together! Thank you, Susan Miranda, for stepping in today when I was under the weather (it’s a wicked bug, my friends – try to keep clear of it! our teenage son brought it into the house and we starting keeling over like tin cans on a fence…).
    Interesting discussion. I don’t quite understand why the Civil War doesn’t sell anymore — well, we keep saying that, and then along comes Cold Mountain and A Widow of the South to prove us wrong. And there’s also a book out about Papa March, can’t remember the name of it now — his journals in the war.
    It’s a heroic, romantic, idealistic, horribly tragic era, and has all the elements of great fiction. In high school and college I read Gone With The Wind at least five or six times, couldn’t get enough of the book or the movie either.
    Maybe so many of us did the same that as readers we’re oversaturated with the CW. With the cyclical nature of all things in publishing, it would seem that it would come back around…but not in a great surge so far, apparently.
    As for Civil War romance, Heather Graham wrote a notable, wonderful series, as have others. But like other devastatingly tragic time periods, it’s hard to set a romance with a happy ending in the CW. Even if the war is over, there’s the depression and reconstruction that followed.
    I’d go on, but I’ve just worn myself out and will crawl back to bed for a wee nap, and then back to the WIP, which must be finished soon, The Flu notwithstanding.
    stay healthy,
    ~Susan Sarah

    Reply
  25. I was thinking about going into a much unused topic, (Amazons) since thereare very few out there, despite the fact that very little is known about them. It would serve as a great meadow to let your mind roam free in. Tell me what you think.

    Reply
  26. I was thinking about going into a much unused topic, (Amazons) since thereare very few out there, despite the fact that very little is known about them. It would serve as a great meadow to let your mind roam free in. Tell me what you think.

    Reply
  27. I was thinking about going into a much unused topic, (Amazons) since thereare very few out there, despite the fact that very little is known about them. It would serve as a great meadow to let your mind roam free in. Tell me what you think.

    Reply
  28. I was thinking about going into a much unused topic, (Amazons) since thereare very few out there, despite the fact that very little is known about them. It would serve as a great meadow to let your mind roam free in. Tell me what you think.

    Reply
  29. I have my own personal likes that I would continue reading, but I don’t see why publishers don’t get out of their comfort zones more and try new things. And you know they are out to make money, so why not try something new, and then they might have their new big thing that they can saturate the market with until the next time they are brave enough to do the cycle all over again? LOL 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  30. I have my own personal likes that I would continue reading, but I don’t see why publishers don’t get out of their comfort zones more and try new things. And you know they are out to make money, so why not try something new, and then they might have their new big thing that they can saturate the market with until the next time they are brave enough to do the cycle all over again? LOL 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  31. I have my own personal likes that I would continue reading, but I don’t see why publishers don’t get out of their comfort zones more and try new things. And you know they are out to make money, so why not try something new, and then they might have their new big thing that they can saturate the market with until the next time they are brave enough to do the cycle all over again? LOL 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  32. I have my own personal likes that I would continue reading, but I don’t see why publishers don’t get out of their comfort zones more and try new things. And you know they are out to make money, so why not try something new, and then they might have their new big thing that they can saturate the market with until the next time they are brave enough to do the cycle all over again? LOL 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  33. If I want to get depressed, I read Time Magazine. I read novels for those happy endings, people. I agree with Kathy K for sure! About time periods and locales- Loretta often takes her Regency era English Characters to other countries- which makes sense, since the aristocracy traveled on the Grand Tour, and people went to Italy for their health, and the Empire was expanding.
    Wish we had more stories set in India and Australia. I’d like to see some “culture clash” romances between the Roman occupation forces and the early Briton or Germanic tribes. Are there any Canadian romantic stories? (besides Evangeline, which is sad.) I think Alaska and the Gold Rush would be a great setting. Early 1900’s New York had enormous waves of immigrants looking for opportunity (and love?) in a new country- some potential there, I think. Say, Wenches, if you use any of these locales can I qualify for a free book? (LOL with snorts) Gretchen F

    Reply
  34. If I want to get depressed, I read Time Magazine. I read novels for those happy endings, people. I agree with Kathy K for sure! About time periods and locales- Loretta often takes her Regency era English Characters to other countries- which makes sense, since the aristocracy traveled on the Grand Tour, and people went to Italy for their health, and the Empire was expanding.
    Wish we had more stories set in India and Australia. I’d like to see some “culture clash” romances between the Roman occupation forces and the early Briton or Germanic tribes. Are there any Canadian romantic stories? (besides Evangeline, which is sad.) I think Alaska and the Gold Rush would be a great setting. Early 1900’s New York had enormous waves of immigrants looking for opportunity (and love?) in a new country- some potential there, I think. Say, Wenches, if you use any of these locales can I qualify for a free book? (LOL with snorts) Gretchen F

    Reply
  35. If I want to get depressed, I read Time Magazine. I read novels for those happy endings, people. I agree with Kathy K for sure! About time periods and locales- Loretta often takes her Regency era English Characters to other countries- which makes sense, since the aristocracy traveled on the Grand Tour, and people went to Italy for their health, and the Empire was expanding.
    Wish we had more stories set in India and Australia. I’d like to see some “culture clash” romances between the Roman occupation forces and the early Briton or Germanic tribes. Are there any Canadian romantic stories? (besides Evangeline, which is sad.) I think Alaska and the Gold Rush would be a great setting. Early 1900’s New York had enormous waves of immigrants looking for opportunity (and love?) in a new country- some potential there, I think. Say, Wenches, if you use any of these locales can I qualify for a free book? (LOL with snorts) Gretchen F

    Reply
  36. If I want to get depressed, I read Time Magazine. I read novels for those happy endings, people. I agree with Kathy K for sure! About time periods and locales- Loretta often takes her Regency era English Characters to other countries- which makes sense, since the aristocracy traveled on the Grand Tour, and people went to Italy for their health, and the Empire was expanding.
    Wish we had more stories set in India and Australia. I’d like to see some “culture clash” romances between the Roman occupation forces and the early Briton or Germanic tribes. Are there any Canadian romantic stories? (besides Evangeline, which is sad.) I think Alaska and the Gold Rush would be a great setting. Early 1900’s New York had enormous waves of immigrants looking for opportunity (and love?) in a new country- some potential there, I think. Say, Wenches, if you use any of these locales can I qualify for a free book? (LOL with snorts) Gretchen F

    Reply
  37. I’d love to read more “Continental European” historicals. Most historicals are way too England-centric, also in their outlook. Many European countries do not even get mentioned, even if they were really powerful at the time! On a less geographical side, I would love to see less heroes/heroines from high society. I sometimes get quite angry at the assumption that only aristocrats had a worthwhile life in the past! Why not have adventuring merchants? Midwifes? Farmers? Professionals? Artists? Actors?

    Reply
  38. I’d love to read more “Continental European” historicals. Most historicals are way too England-centric, also in their outlook. Many European countries do not even get mentioned, even if they were really powerful at the time! On a less geographical side, I would love to see less heroes/heroines from high society. I sometimes get quite angry at the assumption that only aristocrats had a worthwhile life in the past! Why not have adventuring merchants? Midwifes? Farmers? Professionals? Artists? Actors?

    Reply
  39. I’d love to read more “Continental European” historicals. Most historicals are way too England-centric, also in their outlook. Many European countries do not even get mentioned, even if they were really powerful at the time! On a less geographical side, I would love to see less heroes/heroines from high society. I sometimes get quite angry at the assumption that only aristocrats had a worthwhile life in the past! Why not have adventuring merchants? Midwifes? Farmers? Professionals? Artists? Actors?

    Reply
  40. I’d love to read more “Continental European” historicals. Most historicals are way too England-centric, also in their outlook. Many European countries do not even get mentioned, even if they were really powerful at the time! On a less geographical side, I would love to see less heroes/heroines from high society. I sometimes get quite angry at the assumption that only aristocrats had a worthwhile life in the past! Why not have adventuring merchants? Midwifes? Farmers? Professionals? Artists? Actors?

    Reply
  41. Canadian romances? It would have to be Mrs. Mike -although I can’t remember if it is fiction or not. I’ll have to think of others… (The Rogue’s Return or is it Return of the Rogue by Jo starts in Canada!)
    It’s hard to think of a good romance that’s been written about Canada – although I’m sure any one of my ancestor’s could make for a good romance! Now that’s something – lovely immigrant farmer’s daughter falls in love with handsome immigrant boy….

    Reply
  42. Canadian romances? It would have to be Mrs. Mike -although I can’t remember if it is fiction or not. I’ll have to think of others… (The Rogue’s Return or is it Return of the Rogue by Jo starts in Canada!)
    It’s hard to think of a good romance that’s been written about Canada – although I’m sure any one of my ancestor’s could make for a good romance! Now that’s something – lovely immigrant farmer’s daughter falls in love with handsome immigrant boy….

    Reply
  43. Canadian romances? It would have to be Mrs. Mike -although I can’t remember if it is fiction or not. I’ll have to think of others… (The Rogue’s Return or is it Return of the Rogue by Jo starts in Canada!)
    It’s hard to think of a good romance that’s been written about Canada – although I’m sure any one of my ancestor’s could make for a good romance! Now that’s something – lovely immigrant farmer’s daughter falls in love with handsome immigrant boy….

    Reply
  44. Canadian romances? It would have to be Mrs. Mike -although I can’t remember if it is fiction or not. I’ll have to think of others… (The Rogue’s Return or is it Return of the Rogue by Jo starts in Canada!)
    It’s hard to think of a good romance that’s been written about Canada – although I’m sure any one of my ancestor’s could make for a good romance! Now that’s something – lovely immigrant farmer’s daughter falls in love with handsome immigrant boy….

    Reply
  45. Re: Canadian romances
    There have been a few published by Harlequin Historicals in the past few years. One author has a series on Canadian Mounties, and there have been a few east coast Canadian romances in HH.
    One of Jo B.’s latest novels took place partly in Canada.
    Re: Civil War books
    I think the changes in historical perspecitves on slavery and race relations have killed the U.s. Civil War romance. I personally have a terrible time finding any plantation owner terribly symphathetic or heroic.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  46. Re: Canadian romances
    There have been a few published by Harlequin Historicals in the past few years. One author has a series on Canadian Mounties, and there have been a few east coast Canadian romances in HH.
    One of Jo B.’s latest novels took place partly in Canada.
    Re: Civil War books
    I think the changes in historical perspecitves on slavery and race relations have killed the U.s. Civil War romance. I personally have a terrible time finding any plantation owner terribly symphathetic or heroic.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  47. Re: Canadian romances
    There have been a few published by Harlequin Historicals in the past few years. One author has a series on Canadian Mounties, and there have been a few east coast Canadian romances in HH.
    One of Jo B.’s latest novels took place partly in Canada.
    Re: Civil War books
    I think the changes in historical perspecitves on slavery and race relations have killed the U.s. Civil War romance. I personally have a terrible time finding any plantation owner terribly symphathetic or heroic.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  48. Re: Canadian romances
    There have been a few published by Harlequin Historicals in the past few years. One author has a series on Canadian Mounties, and there have been a few east coast Canadian romances in HH.
    One of Jo B.’s latest novels took place partly in Canada.
    Re: Civil War books
    I think the changes in historical perspecitves on slavery and race relations have killed the U.s. Civil War romance. I personally have a terrible time finding any plantation owner terribly symphathetic or heroic.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  49. I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell. I once wrote a book set in India even though I’d heard that Indian settings (even with British protagonists)didn’t sell as well.
    Turns out the conventional wisdom was right. I’ve done several books with exotic Asian settings. (What can I say? I loved those blank areas on the school maps when I was a kid.) None of them were stellar successes.
    Ditto Civil War settings for romance–it’s a painful era and not easy to make romantic. Pat Rice did a great Reconstruction book–SHELTER FROM THE STORM, I think. But such books aren’t light.
    As to bull dancer books–Mary Renault did a great one called THE KING MUST DIE. But that was mainstream. Worth looking for if you haven’t read it, though!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  50. I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell. I once wrote a book set in India even though I’d heard that Indian settings (even with British protagonists)didn’t sell as well.
    Turns out the conventional wisdom was right. I’ve done several books with exotic Asian settings. (What can I say? I loved those blank areas on the school maps when I was a kid.) None of them were stellar successes.
    Ditto Civil War settings for romance–it’s a painful era and not easy to make romantic. Pat Rice did a great Reconstruction book–SHELTER FROM THE STORM, I think. But such books aren’t light.
    As to bull dancer books–Mary Renault did a great one called THE KING MUST DIE. But that was mainstream. Worth looking for if you haven’t read it, though!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  51. I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell. I once wrote a book set in India even though I’d heard that Indian settings (even with British protagonists)didn’t sell as well.
    Turns out the conventional wisdom was right. I’ve done several books with exotic Asian settings. (What can I say? I loved those blank areas on the school maps when I was a kid.) None of them were stellar successes.
    Ditto Civil War settings for romance–it’s a painful era and not easy to make romantic. Pat Rice did a great Reconstruction book–SHELTER FROM THE STORM, I think. But such books aren’t light.
    As to bull dancer books–Mary Renault did a great one called THE KING MUST DIE. But that was mainstream. Worth looking for if you haven’t read it, though!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  52. I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell. I once wrote a book set in India even though I’d heard that Indian settings (even with British protagonists)didn’t sell as well.
    Turns out the conventional wisdom was right. I’ve done several books with exotic Asian settings. (What can I say? I loved those blank areas on the school maps when I was a kid.) None of them were stellar successes.
    Ditto Civil War settings for romance–it’s a painful era and not easy to make romantic. Pat Rice did a great Reconstruction book–SHELTER FROM THE STORM, I think. But such books aren’t light.
    As to bull dancer books–Mary Renault did a great one called THE KING MUST DIE. But that was mainstream. Worth looking for if you haven’t read it, though!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  53. I must second Mary Jo enthusiastically regarding THE KING MUST DIE–a wonderful book. But I think we do need to make a distinction between types of books. Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in. I’d rather fantasize about gorgeous gowns and servants at my beck and call and a wealthy aristocrat weak-kneed when he looks at me than about running out at 3am to help a woman in the slums birth her baby. But Victoria Thompson has done a marvelous job with a midwife in turn of the 20th C New York–in her Gaslight mystery series. Still, like others here, when I read romance, I want the HEA that real life doesn’t offer, and the kinds of characters I’m not going to meet in my everyday life.

    Reply
  54. I must second Mary Jo enthusiastically regarding THE KING MUST DIE–a wonderful book. But I think we do need to make a distinction between types of books. Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in. I’d rather fantasize about gorgeous gowns and servants at my beck and call and a wealthy aristocrat weak-kneed when he looks at me than about running out at 3am to help a woman in the slums birth her baby. But Victoria Thompson has done a marvelous job with a midwife in turn of the 20th C New York–in her Gaslight mystery series. Still, like others here, when I read romance, I want the HEA that real life doesn’t offer, and the kinds of characters I’m not going to meet in my everyday life.

    Reply
  55. I must second Mary Jo enthusiastically regarding THE KING MUST DIE–a wonderful book. But I think we do need to make a distinction between types of books. Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in. I’d rather fantasize about gorgeous gowns and servants at my beck and call and a wealthy aristocrat weak-kneed when he looks at me than about running out at 3am to help a woman in the slums birth her baby. But Victoria Thompson has done a marvelous job with a midwife in turn of the 20th C New York–in her Gaslight mystery series. Still, like others here, when I read romance, I want the HEA that real life doesn’t offer, and the kinds of characters I’m not going to meet in my everyday life.

    Reply
  56. I must second Mary Jo enthusiastically regarding THE KING MUST DIE–a wonderful book. But I think we do need to make a distinction between types of books. Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in. I’d rather fantasize about gorgeous gowns and servants at my beck and call and a wealthy aristocrat weak-kneed when he looks at me than about running out at 3am to help a woman in the slums birth her baby. But Victoria Thompson has done a marvelous job with a midwife in turn of the 20th C New York–in her Gaslight mystery series. Still, like others here, when I read romance, I want the HEA that real life doesn’t offer, and the kinds of characters I’m not going to meet in my everyday life.

    Reply
  57. “I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell.”
    I think almost all readers want some mix of the familiar and the different–we just vary in our preferred balance. I’m probably fonder of variety of setting than most, but nothing makes me happier than a nice long-running series about the same characters.
    Anyway, I do think romance publishing has swung a bit too far in the conservative direction, in that they’re losing readers who are tired of the same old thing and that there are probably untapped markets that they could exploit if they’d just experiment a bit more. But I also realize I’m far from a typical reader, and that I’ll therefore always be a little frustrated with the market.
    “Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in.”
    I guess my issue there is that if that’s not your core fantasy when you visit the past as a reader, you’re not going to find anything on the romance shelves for you. It’s not that I can’t enjoy reading a romance with aristocratic characters–I wouldn’t be here as a fan of the Wenches if I didn’t. It’s just not the only thing I enjoy, and a big part of why I love historical fiction in general is for the adventure, danger, and grit, and most of all the sense of exploring a world that’s a bit less crowded and tamed than this one. But I’m also a sucker for a good love story. And I almost never get that adventure fix and the love story fix from the same book. Maybe I’m not supposed to, and maybe I’m the only person who even *wants* that, in which case I should just sigh and accept that the publishing industry will never cater to a market of one!

    Reply
  58. “I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell.”
    I think almost all readers want some mix of the familiar and the different–we just vary in our preferred balance. I’m probably fonder of variety of setting than most, but nothing makes me happier than a nice long-running series about the same characters.
    Anyway, I do think romance publishing has swung a bit too far in the conservative direction, in that they’re losing readers who are tired of the same old thing and that there are probably untapped markets that they could exploit if they’d just experiment a bit more. But I also realize I’m far from a typical reader, and that I’ll therefore always be a little frustrated with the market.
    “Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in.”
    I guess my issue there is that if that’s not your core fantasy when you visit the past as a reader, you’re not going to find anything on the romance shelves for you. It’s not that I can’t enjoy reading a romance with aristocratic characters–I wouldn’t be here as a fan of the Wenches if I didn’t. It’s just not the only thing I enjoy, and a big part of why I love historical fiction in general is for the adventure, danger, and grit, and most of all the sense of exploring a world that’s a bit less crowded and tamed than this one. But I’m also a sucker for a good love story. And I almost never get that adventure fix and the love story fix from the same book. Maybe I’m not supposed to, and maybe I’m the only person who even *wants* that, in which case I should just sigh and accept that the publishing industry will never cater to a market of one!

    Reply
  59. “I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell.”
    I think almost all readers want some mix of the familiar and the different–we just vary in our preferred balance. I’m probably fonder of variety of setting than most, but nothing makes me happier than a nice long-running series about the same characters.
    Anyway, I do think romance publishing has swung a bit too far in the conservative direction, in that they’re losing readers who are tired of the same old thing and that there are probably untapped markets that they could exploit if they’d just experiment a bit more. But I also realize I’m far from a typical reader, and that I’ll therefore always be a little frustrated with the market.
    “Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in.”
    I guess my issue there is that if that’s not your core fantasy when you visit the past as a reader, you’re not going to find anything on the romance shelves for you. It’s not that I can’t enjoy reading a romance with aristocratic characters–I wouldn’t be here as a fan of the Wenches if I didn’t. It’s just not the only thing I enjoy, and a big part of why I love historical fiction in general is for the adventure, danger, and grit, and most of all the sense of exploring a world that’s a bit less crowded and tamed than this one. But I’m also a sucker for a good love story. And I almost never get that adventure fix and the love story fix from the same book. Maybe I’m not supposed to, and maybe I’m the only person who even *wants* that, in which case I should just sigh and accept that the publishing industry will never cater to a market of one!

    Reply
  60. “I think Wenchlings as a group are adventurous and thoughtful readers, but in defense of the publishers, I have to say that not all readers are. There is a reason why they stick to well-tried settings–they sell.”
    I think almost all readers want some mix of the familiar and the different–we just vary in our preferred balance. I’m probably fonder of variety of setting than most, but nothing makes me happier than a nice long-running series about the same characters.
    Anyway, I do think romance publishing has swung a bit too far in the conservative direction, in that they’re losing readers who are tired of the same old thing and that there are probably untapped markets that they could exploit if they’d just experiment a bit more. But I also realize I’m far from a typical reader, and that I’ll therefore always be a little frustrated with the market.
    “Historical romances involve that wonderful fantasy element, and this is where the aristocratic heroes and heroines come in.”
    I guess my issue there is that if that’s not your core fantasy when you visit the past as a reader, you’re not going to find anything on the romance shelves for you. It’s not that I can’t enjoy reading a romance with aristocratic characters–I wouldn’t be here as a fan of the Wenches if I didn’t. It’s just not the only thing I enjoy, and a big part of why I love historical fiction in general is for the adventure, danger, and grit, and most of all the sense of exploring a world that’s a bit less crowded and tamed than this one. But I’m also a sucker for a good love story. And I almost never get that adventure fix and the love story fix from the same book. Maybe I’m not supposed to, and maybe I’m the only person who even *wants* that, in which case I should just sigh and accept that the publishing industry will never cater to a market of one!

    Reply
  61. I have to agree with MJP — sometimes the publishers’ party-pooping is probably with a good reason. I loved her Silk series books because they were exotic and DIFFERENT — but sometimes such locations do seem to trip up the majority of readers.
    I had one book that I really, really wanted to write, based on Yankee merchant sailors around 1820 or so who were sold into slavery when shipwrecked on the North African coast. I’d read enough first-hand accounts that I was sure this would make a great adventure story — including an escape over cliffs and on camels across the desert, very Indiana-Jones — and I kept badgering my editor to please, oh, please let do it. Finally, after my sales had been rising sufficiently, she let me try. The publisher still hedged their bets, with no camels and no mention of Africa on the cover AT ALL. I was…hurt. Then I saw the sales figures, and I was REALLY hurt. And never wrote African shipwrecks again. *g*
    OTOH, I wrote a couple of other books that were partially set in Scotland because my (different) editor was so sure that Scotland was hot, hot, hot that she pressured me to do it. Now my name may be “Scot”, but I don’t have a real empathy for Scottish settings (the way Susan/Sarah does). I did it, but I didn’t feel it worked, nor did readers, either.
    So there I’ve neatly contradicted myself, haven’t I? *g*

    Reply
  62. I have to agree with MJP — sometimes the publishers’ party-pooping is probably with a good reason. I loved her Silk series books because they were exotic and DIFFERENT — but sometimes such locations do seem to trip up the majority of readers.
    I had one book that I really, really wanted to write, based on Yankee merchant sailors around 1820 or so who were sold into slavery when shipwrecked on the North African coast. I’d read enough first-hand accounts that I was sure this would make a great adventure story — including an escape over cliffs and on camels across the desert, very Indiana-Jones — and I kept badgering my editor to please, oh, please let do it. Finally, after my sales had been rising sufficiently, she let me try. The publisher still hedged their bets, with no camels and no mention of Africa on the cover AT ALL. I was…hurt. Then I saw the sales figures, and I was REALLY hurt. And never wrote African shipwrecks again. *g*
    OTOH, I wrote a couple of other books that were partially set in Scotland because my (different) editor was so sure that Scotland was hot, hot, hot that she pressured me to do it. Now my name may be “Scot”, but I don’t have a real empathy for Scottish settings (the way Susan/Sarah does). I did it, but I didn’t feel it worked, nor did readers, either.
    So there I’ve neatly contradicted myself, haven’t I? *g*

    Reply
  63. I have to agree with MJP — sometimes the publishers’ party-pooping is probably with a good reason. I loved her Silk series books because they were exotic and DIFFERENT — but sometimes such locations do seem to trip up the majority of readers.
    I had one book that I really, really wanted to write, based on Yankee merchant sailors around 1820 or so who were sold into slavery when shipwrecked on the North African coast. I’d read enough first-hand accounts that I was sure this would make a great adventure story — including an escape over cliffs and on camels across the desert, very Indiana-Jones — and I kept badgering my editor to please, oh, please let do it. Finally, after my sales had been rising sufficiently, she let me try. The publisher still hedged their bets, with no camels and no mention of Africa on the cover AT ALL. I was…hurt. Then I saw the sales figures, and I was REALLY hurt. And never wrote African shipwrecks again. *g*
    OTOH, I wrote a couple of other books that were partially set in Scotland because my (different) editor was so sure that Scotland was hot, hot, hot that she pressured me to do it. Now my name may be “Scot”, but I don’t have a real empathy for Scottish settings (the way Susan/Sarah does). I did it, but I didn’t feel it worked, nor did readers, either.
    So there I’ve neatly contradicted myself, haven’t I? *g*

    Reply
  64. I have to agree with MJP — sometimes the publishers’ party-pooping is probably with a good reason. I loved her Silk series books because they were exotic and DIFFERENT — but sometimes such locations do seem to trip up the majority of readers.
    I had one book that I really, really wanted to write, based on Yankee merchant sailors around 1820 or so who were sold into slavery when shipwrecked on the North African coast. I’d read enough first-hand accounts that I was sure this would make a great adventure story — including an escape over cliffs and on camels across the desert, very Indiana-Jones — and I kept badgering my editor to please, oh, please let do it. Finally, after my sales had been rising sufficiently, she let me try. The publisher still hedged their bets, with no camels and no mention of Africa on the cover AT ALL. I was…hurt. Then I saw the sales figures, and I was REALLY hurt. And never wrote African shipwrecks again. *g*
    OTOH, I wrote a couple of other books that were partially set in Scotland because my (different) editor was so sure that Scotland was hot, hot, hot that she pressured me to do it. Now my name may be “Scot”, but I don’t have a real empathy for Scottish settings (the way Susan/Sarah does). I did it, but I didn’t feel it worked, nor did readers, either.
    So there I’ve neatly contradicted myself, haven’t I? *g*

    Reply
  65. Regarding “common folk” in historical romances:
    Isn’t it a matter of what kind of fantasy floats your individual boat? If your life is one endless Casual Friday, then you might well want to escape to a world of elegant manners and clothes and jewels to match.
    But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.
    The bottom line is that I wish the publishers would be a little more adventursome with their offerings, and that readers in turn would be a little adventursome in return, too.

    Reply
  66. Regarding “common folk” in historical romances:
    Isn’t it a matter of what kind of fantasy floats your individual boat? If your life is one endless Casual Friday, then you might well want to escape to a world of elegant manners and clothes and jewels to match.
    But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.
    The bottom line is that I wish the publishers would be a little more adventursome with their offerings, and that readers in turn would be a little adventursome in return, too.

    Reply
  67. Regarding “common folk” in historical romances:
    Isn’t it a matter of what kind of fantasy floats your individual boat? If your life is one endless Casual Friday, then you might well want to escape to a world of elegant manners and clothes and jewels to match.
    But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.
    The bottom line is that I wish the publishers would be a little more adventursome with their offerings, and that readers in turn would be a little adventursome in return, too.

    Reply
  68. Regarding “common folk” in historical romances:
    Isn’t it a matter of what kind of fantasy floats your individual boat? If your life is one endless Casual Friday, then you might well want to escape to a world of elegant manners and clothes and jewels to match.
    But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.
    The bottom line is that I wish the publishers would be a little more adventursome with their offerings, and that readers in turn would be a little adventursome in return, too.

    Reply
  69. “But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.”
    Susan/Miranda, you said what I was trying to say much better than I did! I guess I feel the lack of adventure and unchartedness in my life more than I do the lack of elegance and luxury, so that’s what I’m always hoping to find in a book. I’m also known for wistfully watching shows like Lonely Planet, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and even Rick Steves, all the while wondering if I’ll ever get a vacation beyond taking my daughter to see her grandmothers before I’m too old for the kind of self-sufficient off-the-beaten-path travel I most enjoy.

    Reply
  70. “But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.”
    Susan/Miranda, you said what I was trying to say much better than I did! I guess I feel the lack of adventure and unchartedness in my life more than I do the lack of elegance and luxury, so that’s what I’m always hoping to find in a book. I’m also known for wistfully watching shows like Lonely Planet, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and even Rick Steves, all the while wondering if I’ll ever get a vacation beyond taking my daughter to see her grandmothers before I’m too old for the kind of self-sufficient off-the-beaten-path travel I most enjoy.

    Reply
  71. “But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.”
    Susan/Miranda, you said what I was trying to say much better than I did! I guess I feel the lack of adventure and unchartedness in my life more than I do the lack of elegance and luxury, so that’s what I’m always hoping to find in a book. I’m also known for wistfully watching shows like Lonely Planet, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and even Rick Steves, all the while wondering if I’ll ever get a vacation beyond taking my daughter to see her grandmothers before I’m too old for the kind of self-sufficient off-the-beaten-path travel I most enjoy.

    Reply
  72. “But you might equally want to “visit” with characters crossing the uncharted prarie in a covered wagon because it’s so different from your closed-in daily commute on I-495.”
    Susan/Miranda, you said what I was trying to say much better than I did! I guess I feel the lack of adventure and unchartedness in my life more than I do the lack of elegance and luxury, so that’s what I’m always hoping to find in a book. I’m also known for wistfully watching shows like Lonely Planet, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and even Rick Steves, all the while wondering if I’ll ever get a vacation beyond taking my daughter to see her grandmothers before I’m too old for the kind of self-sufficient off-the-beaten-path travel I most enjoy.

    Reply
  73. Susan/Miranda said…”submission guidelines. No matter how this sounds, they have nothing to do with S&M;…”
    Are you sure Wench Susan? Every time I think about submission guidelines, I feel like I’ve been thwacked with a stick. *G*
    OTOH, I really appreciate your blog topic and all of the published author’s responses. Thank you for sharing your stories.
    It’s hard to say what I would like that I have yet to find on the romance shelves. I do agree that there seems to be a lot of the same thing out there but I’m still having fun. The Wenches do offer such a variety, IMHO.
    As for change, people will often say they want something new and different but when the time comes it’s just too painful to make the leap. For change to truly occur the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo must outweigh the cost of change. The secret to inducing a change is souring the comfort zone. But I like my romances exactly like they are. *G*
    Nina, hoping Susan feels better soon.

    Reply
  74. Susan/Miranda said…”submission guidelines. No matter how this sounds, they have nothing to do with S&M;…”
    Are you sure Wench Susan? Every time I think about submission guidelines, I feel like I’ve been thwacked with a stick. *G*
    OTOH, I really appreciate your blog topic and all of the published author’s responses. Thank you for sharing your stories.
    It’s hard to say what I would like that I have yet to find on the romance shelves. I do agree that there seems to be a lot of the same thing out there but I’m still having fun. The Wenches do offer such a variety, IMHO.
    As for change, people will often say they want something new and different but when the time comes it’s just too painful to make the leap. For change to truly occur the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo must outweigh the cost of change. The secret to inducing a change is souring the comfort zone. But I like my romances exactly like they are. *G*
    Nina, hoping Susan feels better soon.

    Reply
  75. Susan/Miranda said…”submission guidelines. No matter how this sounds, they have nothing to do with S&M;…”
    Are you sure Wench Susan? Every time I think about submission guidelines, I feel like I’ve been thwacked with a stick. *G*
    OTOH, I really appreciate your blog topic and all of the published author’s responses. Thank you for sharing your stories.
    It’s hard to say what I would like that I have yet to find on the romance shelves. I do agree that there seems to be a lot of the same thing out there but I’m still having fun. The Wenches do offer such a variety, IMHO.
    As for change, people will often say they want something new and different but when the time comes it’s just too painful to make the leap. For change to truly occur the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo must outweigh the cost of change. The secret to inducing a change is souring the comfort zone. But I like my romances exactly like they are. *G*
    Nina, hoping Susan feels better soon.

    Reply
  76. Susan/Miranda said…”submission guidelines. No matter how this sounds, they have nothing to do with S&M;…”
    Are you sure Wench Susan? Every time I think about submission guidelines, I feel like I’ve been thwacked with a stick. *G*
    OTOH, I really appreciate your blog topic and all of the published author’s responses. Thank you for sharing your stories.
    It’s hard to say what I would like that I have yet to find on the romance shelves. I do agree that there seems to be a lot of the same thing out there but I’m still having fun. The Wenches do offer such a variety, IMHO.
    As for change, people will often say they want something new and different but when the time comes it’s just too painful to make the leap. For change to truly occur the level of dissatisfaction with the status quo must outweigh the cost of change. The secret to inducing a change is souring the comfort zone. But I like my romances exactly like they are. *G*
    Nina, hoping Susan feels better soon.

    Reply
  77. I’m open to it all, but have to confess the wagon train love story doesn’t appeal to me. A series of 19th Century love stories set in various U.S. towns would be fun, only if well researched.

    Reply
  78. I’m open to it all, but have to confess the wagon train love story doesn’t appeal to me. A series of 19th Century love stories set in various U.S. towns would be fun, only if well researched.

    Reply
  79. I’m open to it all, but have to confess the wagon train love story doesn’t appeal to me. A series of 19th Century love stories set in various U.S. towns would be fun, only if well researched.

    Reply
  80. I’m open to it all, but have to confess the wagon train love story doesn’t appeal to me. A series of 19th Century love stories set in various U.S. towns would be fun, only if well researched.

    Reply
  81. Patricia, Love the aliens and Aztecs, and according to Shirley Maclaine, you wouldn’t be the first to go there. 🙂
    Mary Jo, one of my favorite books I read as a teenager was THE FAR PAVILIONS. Ashok was an incredibly romantic and torn hero.
    Are there cultural anthropologists out there who are studying tastes in popular culture, like romance novels, and trying to determine the forces that drive them? That would be interesting.
    Like, why England as a setting is so popular with American readers? Is the lack of interest in India or the antebellum South due to concerns over orientalism, colonialism, and slavery? Seems to me that logically the class system in England wouldn’t make for very fertile fantasy-ground either, yet it does.
    And I would love stories with a Thousand and One Arabian Nights eroticism, but I’m not gonna go there now. Maybe in twenty or thirty years…
    Cathy, that’s a great idea. Meet me in St. Louis! I had the idea to do a love american style homage to the twentieth century, with a romance story for every decade. That would be fun as well.

    Reply
  82. Patricia, Love the aliens and Aztecs, and according to Shirley Maclaine, you wouldn’t be the first to go there. 🙂
    Mary Jo, one of my favorite books I read as a teenager was THE FAR PAVILIONS. Ashok was an incredibly romantic and torn hero.
    Are there cultural anthropologists out there who are studying tastes in popular culture, like romance novels, and trying to determine the forces that drive them? That would be interesting.
    Like, why England as a setting is so popular with American readers? Is the lack of interest in India or the antebellum South due to concerns over orientalism, colonialism, and slavery? Seems to me that logically the class system in England wouldn’t make for very fertile fantasy-ground either, yet it does.
    And I would love stories with a Thousand and One Arabian Nights eroticism, but I’m not gonna go there now. Maybe in twenty or thirty years…
    Cathy, that’s a great idea. Meet me in St. Louis! I had the idea to do a love american style homage to the twentieth century, with a romance story for every decade. That would be fun as well.

    Reply
  83. Patricia, Love the aliens and Aztecs, and according to Shirley Maclaine, you wouldn’t be the first to go there. 🙂
    Mary Jo, one of my favorite books I read as a teenager was THE FAR PAVILIONS. Ashok was an incredibly romantic and torn hero.
    Are there cultural anthropologists out there who are studying tastes in popular culture, like romance novels, and trying to determine the forces that drive them? That would be interesting.
    Like, why England as a setting is so popular with American readers? Is the lack of interest in India or the antebellum South due to concerns over orientalism, colonialism, and slavery? Seems to me that logically the class system in England wouldn’t make for very fertile fantasy-ground either, yet it does.
    And I would love stories with a Thousand and One Arabian Nights eroticism, but I’m not gonna go there now. Maybe in twenty or thirty years…
    Cathy, that’s a great idea. Meet me in St. Louis! I had the idea to do a love american style homage to the twentieth century, with a romance story for every decade. That would be fun as well.

    Reply
  84. Patricia, Love the aliens and Aztecs, and according to Shirley Maclaine, you wouldn’t be the first to go there. 🙂
    Mary Jo, one of my favorite books I read as a teenager was THE FAR PAVILIONS. Ashok was an incredibly romantic and torn hero.
    Are there cultural anthropologists out there who are studying tastes in popular culture, like romance novels, and trying to determine the forces that drive them? That would be interesting.
    Like, why England as a setting is so popular with American readers? Is the lack of interest in India or the antebellum South due to concerns over orientalism, colonialism, and slavery? Seems to me that logically the class system in England wouldn’t make for very fertile fantasy-ground either, yet it does.
    And I would love stories with a Thousand and One Arabian Nights eroticism, but I’m not gonna go there now. Maybe in twenty or thirty years…
    Cathy, that’s a great idea. Meet me in St. Louis! I had the idea to do a love american style homage to the twentieth century, with a romance story for every decade. That would be fun as well.

    Reply
  85. I tend to follow authors rather than eras. That said, a sudden change of era influences the tone of the book. The non-Regency historicals of Georgette Heyer just don’t appeal to me, though I loved practically everything else she did. I get halfway through and boredom sets in.
    Badly rendered dialect is another turn off. I’d rather imagine a scottish accent than have a US version of scots forced on me. Heyer’s “The Unknown Ajax” has a ton of Yorkshire dialect, but since it is a major plot point it has to be. “Reet” for “right” is pretty annoying after a while though. And patronising to regions really. I mean, is an American reader really imagining accurate RP (received pronunciation) for all the English characters that don’t have a spelt out dialect? Because thats not how everyone would have spoken either.

    Reply
  86. I tend to follow authors rather than eras. That said, a sudden change of era influences the tone of the book. The non-Regency historicals of Georgette Heyer just don’t appeal to me, though I loved practically everything else she did. I get halfway through and boredom sets in.
    Badly rendered dialect is another turn off. I’d rather imagine a scottish accent than have a US version of scots forced on me. Heyer’s “The Unknown Ajax” has a ton of Yorkshire dialect, but since it is a major plot point it has to be. “Reet” for “right” is pretty annoying after a while though. And patronising to regions really. I mean, is an American reader really imagining accurate RP (received pronunciation) for all the English characters that don’t have a spelt out dialect? Because thats not how everyone would have spoken either.

    Reply
  87. I tend to follow authors rather than eras. That said, a sudden change of era influences the tone of the book. The non-Regency historicals of Georgette Heyer just don’t appeal to me, though I loved practically everything else she did. I get halfway through and boredom sets in.
    Badly rendered dialect is another turn off. I’d rather imagine a scottish accent than have a US version of scots forced on me. Heyer’s “The Unknown Ajax” has a ton of Yorkshire dialect, but since it is a major plot point it has to be. “Reet” for “right” is pretty annoying after a while though. And patronising to regions really. I mean, is an American reader really imagining accurate RP (received pronunciation) for all the English characters that don’t have a spelt out dialect? Because thats not how everyone would have spoken either.

    Reply
  88. I tend to follow authors rather than eras. That said, a sudden change of era influences the tone of the book. The non-Regency historicals of Georgette Heyer just don’t appeal to me, though I loved practically everything else she did. I get halfway through and boredom sets in.
    Badly rendered dialect is another turn off. I’d rather imagine a scottish accent than have a US version of scots forced on me. Heyer’s “The Unknown Ajax” has a ton of Yorkshire dialect, but since it is a major plot point it has to be. “Reet” for “right” is pretty annoying after a while though. And patronising to regions really. I mean, is an American reader really imagining accurate RP (received pronunciation) for all the English characters that don’t have a spelt out dialect? Because thats not how everyone would have spoken either.

    Reply

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