Fun in the sun

Mycabbage Hi, this is Jo, in spirit if not in fact — because I’m in San Diego and unlikely to be able to respond to any comments here until I get back. So it’s really talk among yourselves time, though I’m sure some of the homebound Wenches will drop by. So first I’d like to remind you all that Shana Abe will be a guest on WW, probably next Friday 23rd. If you haven’t tried her Drakon books, you’ve missed a treat. Georgian aristocrats were MADE to be shapeshifter dragons of an imperious nature. AND, she’ll be giving away two hardcover books. Spread the word. Next, a few idle questions to see if any spark your interest. If any do, I might expand upon them in future posts. Is there a different appeal in historical, contemporary, and contemporary-paramormal romance? If so, what is it? (If this reminds you of a university exam question, don’t worry. No marking, no failing.) Historicals and contemporary-paranormal often have larger-than-life heroes, even too big for their boots, one could say. Is this the appeal, and if so, why? Straven What’s the draw of dukes? Why won’t a mere viscount cut it? –> my only duke. And they thought he was a vampire.*G* I look forward to your answers.Dragon_1 Best wishes, Jo

48 thoughts on “Fun in the sun”

  1. I don’t think *for me* it’s actualy about larger than life heroes or heroines. Actually, larger than lifeness in heroes and heroines can bug me all to hell.
    I think it’s much more about the potential — not necessarily realised of course — for a more interesting, extreme, larger than life World/Setting. Straight up contemporary (or chick-lit) has to do a lot more work to make the world/setting influential enough over the trajectory of the characters, ideally in a way that’s quirky enough to tickle my fancy, to get me interested. Not that it can’t be done, of course, it’s just a bigger ask when the author’s constrained by having to be in unaltered recognisable mundane reality.
    I guess, my big quirk is that I tend to view the World/Setting as being like another main character in the story. So if it’s just sitting there like a lump not doing anything very much, or I could walk out my front door and see a universe acting pretty similar to that without even cracking open the pages…
    It’s as if one of the most important characters in a story is completely uninspired and utterly stock. Or they’ve gone awol, leaving a big hole right in the story.
    …But then my other main reading genres ever since I was little have always been SF and Fantasy, which are all about the worldbuilding, so it kind of figures that I’d think like that 🙂
    Oh, and that’s one way a I judge whether I’m going to like a paranormal — which are often iffy for me. If it’s just concentrating on having the characters be werewolves or vampires or something, but hasn’t thought about how the existence of such creatures has shaped and changed the world in which they live, then I’m probably not going to be a big fan. I want to see some credible impacts on the personality of my ‘World as Character’, damnit.

    Reply
  2. I don’t think *for me* it’s actualy about larger than life heroes or heroines. Actually, larger than lifeness in heroes and heroines can bug me all to hell.
    I think it’s much more about the potential — not necessarily realised of course — for a more interesting, extreme, larger than life World/Setting. Straight up contemporary (or chick-lit) has to do a lot more work to make the world/setting influential enough over the trajectory of the characters, ideally in a way that’s quirky enough to tickle my fancy, to get me interested. Not that it can’t be done, of course, it’s just a bigger ask when the author’s constrained by having to be in unaltered recognisable mundane reality.
    I guess, my big quirk is that I tend to view the World/Setting as being like another main character in the story. So if it’s just sitting there like a lump not doing anything very much, or I could walk out my front door and see a universe acting pretty similar to that without even cracking open the pages…
    It’s as if one of the most important characters in a story is completely uninspired and utterly stock. Or they’ve gone awol, leaving a big hole right in the story.
    …But then my other main reading genres ever since I was little have always been SF and Fantasy, which are all about the worldbuilding, so it kind of figures that I’d think like that 🙂
    Oh, and that’s one way a I judge whether I’m going to like a paranormal — which are often iffy for me. If it’s just concentrating on having the characters be werewolves or vampires or something, but hasn’t thought about how the existence of such creatures has shaped and changed the world in which they live, then I’m probably not going to be a big fan. I want to see some credible impacts on the personality of my ‘World as Character’, damnit.

    Reply
  3. I don’t think *for me* it’s actualy about larger than life heroes or heroines. Actually, larger than lifeness in heroes and heroines can bug me all to hell.
    I think it’s much more about the potential — not necessarily realised of course — for a more interesting, extreme, larger than life World/Setting. Straight up contemporary (or chick-lit) has to do a lot more work to make the world/setting influential enough over the trajectory of the characters, ideally in a way that’s quirky enough to tickle my fancy, to get me interested. Not that it can’t be done, of course, it’s just a bigger ask when the author’s constrained by having to be in unaltered recognisable mundane reality.
    I guess, my big quirk is that I tend to view the World/Setting as being like another main character in the story. So if it’s just sitting there like a lump not doing anything very much, or I could walk out my front door and see a universe acting pretty similar to that without even cracking open the pages…
    It’s as if one of the most important characters in a story is completely uninspired and utterly stock. Or they’ve gone awol, leaving a big hole right in the story.
    …But then my other main reading genres ever since I was little have always been SF and Fantasy, which are all about the worldbuilding, so it kind of figures that I’d think like that 🙂
    Oh, and that’s one way a I judge whether I’m going to like a paranormal — which are often iffy for me. If it’s just concentrating on having the characters be werewolves or vampires or something, but hasn’t thought about how the existence of such creatures has shaped and changed the world in which they live, then I’m probably not going to be a big fan. I want to see some credible impacts on the personality of my ‘World as Character’, damnit.

    Reply
  4. I don’t think *for me* it’s actualy about larger than life heroes or heroines. Actually, larger than lifeness in heroes and heroines can bug me all to hell.
    I think it’s much more about the potential — not necessarily realised of course — for a more interesting, extreme, larger than life World/Setting. Straight up contemporary (or chick-lit) has to do a lot more work to make the world/setting influential enough over the trajectory of the characters, ideally in a way that’s quirky enough to tickle my fancy, to get me interested. Not that it can’t be done, of course, it’s just a bigger ask when the author’s constrained by having to be in unaltered recognisable mundane reality.
    I guess, my big quirk is that I tend to view the World/Setting as being like another main character in the story. So if it’s just sitting there like a lump not doing anything very much, or I could walk out my front door and see a universe acting pretty similar to that without even cracking open the pages…
    It’s as if one of the most important characters in a story is completely uninspired and utterly stock. Or they’ve gone awol, leaving a big hole right in the story.
    …But then my other main reading genres ever since I was little have always been SF and Fantasy, which are all about the worldbuilding, so it kind of figures that I’d think like that 🙂
    Oh, and that’s one way a I judge whether I’m going to like a paranormal — which are often iffy for me. If it’s just concentrating on having the characters be werewolves or vampires or something, but hasn’t thought about how the existence of such creatures has shaped and changed the world in which they live, then I’m probably not going to be a big fan. I want to see some credible impacts on the personality of my ‘World as Character’, damnit.

    Reply
  5. I think I’m more comfortable with historical/ historical paranormal heroes, because contemp/contemporary paranormal heroes just seem too “real,” if that makes any sense at all. It’s just too hard to be larger-than-life in this mundane world without looking like you’re trying too hard (Donald Trump? Russell Crowe?). The past is a fantasy for me (I don’t think I’ve lived before, at any rate!) so I’m more accepting of that devilish duke or depraved-but-soon-to-be-reformed vampire.

    Reply
  6. I think I’m more comfortable with historical/ historical paranormal heroes, because contemp/contemporary paranormal heroes just seem too “real,” if that makes any sense at all. It’s just too hard to be larger-than-life in this mundane world without looking like you’re trying too hard (Donald Trump? Russell Crowe?). The past is a fantasy for me (I don’t think I’ve lived before, at any rate!) so I’m more accepting of that devilish duke or depraved-but-soon-to-be-reformed vampire.

    Reply
  7. I think I’m more comfortable with historical/ historical paranormal heroes, because contemp/contemporary paranormal heroes just seem too “real,” if that makes any sense at all. It’s just too hard to be larger-than-life in this mundane world without looking like you’re trying too hard (Donald Trump? Russell Crowe?). The past is a fantasy for me (I don’t think I’ve lived before, at any rate!) so I’m more accepting of that devilish duke or depraved-but-soon-to-be-reformed vampire.

    Reply
  8. I think I’m more comfortable with historical/ historical paranormal heroes, because contemp/contemporary paranormal heroes just seem too “real,” if that makes any sense at all. It’s just too hard to be larger-than-life in this mundane world without looking like you’re trying too hard (Donald Trump? Russell Crowe?). The past is a fantasy for me (I don’t think I’ve lived before, at any rate!) so I’m more accepting of that devilish duke or depraved-but-soon-to-be-reformed vampire.

    Reply
  9. “Historicals and contemporary-paranormal often have larger-than-life heroes, even too big for their boots, one could say.” *Oh, yeah!* Give me a bigger than life hero (preferably a second son) that jumps up off the page and grabs me by the emotions and a heroine who has him by the….and knows it. Then put them in a fast-paced, equally challenging world that possesses just enough reality that makes me believe if I clicked my heels hard enough I would be plunged right in there with them. Two perfect examples, Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC and Mary Jo’s STOLEN MAGIC. Both use “common, ordinary things” (a small statue and a horse) and make me think twice every time I see the same in my world.
    Like Skapusniak, I grew up on SF and EHF and I echo her sentiments on world building. It is often a sadly ignored yet *powerful* character. If a writer is going to put Vampires in 18th century France, Werewolves at Waterloo, or shape shifters in Suburbia, make me believe it really happened. If I’m not looking over my shoulder at the grocery store and wondering “could it be true” or flipping open a history book and finding that hole the Writer filled with his/her story… forget it. Make me believe. That’s the only way I’m buying the next book.
    To Jo’s question on the “different appeal in historical, contemporary, and contemporary-paranormal romance”… I prefer either a historical world or a fantasy world. Contemporary is ok, but it’s a harder sell for me. I want to be transported. I’ve read straight contemporary. Pat’s work is among my favorites. And when I want something lite, contemporary is where I turn. I’ve not found any contemporary-paranormal I like. Always seems to turn to vulgar for my taste.
    Nina, who hungers for the supernatural because she wants to believe.

    Reply
  10. “Historicals and contemporary-paranormal often have larger-than-life heroes, even too big for their boots, one could say.” *Oh, yeah!* Give me a bigger than life hero (preferably a second son) that jumps up off the page and grabs me by the emotions and a heroine who has him by the….and knows it. Then put them in a fast-paced, equally challenging world that possesses just enough reality that makes me believe if I clicked my heels hard enough I would be plunged right in there with them. Two perfect examples, Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC and Mary Jo’s STOLEN MAGIC. Both use “common, ordinary things” (a small statue and a horse) and make me think twice every time I see the same in my world.
    Like Skapusniak, I grew up on SF and EHF and I echo her sentiments on world building. It is often a sadly ignored yet *powerful* character. If a writer is going to put Vampires in 18th century France, Werewolves at Waterloo, or shape shifters in Suburbia, make me believe it really happened. If I’m not looking over my shoulder at the grocery store and wondering “could it be true” or flipping open a history book and finding that hole the Writer filled with his/her story… forget it. Make me believe. That’s the only way I’m buying the next book.
    To Jo’s question on the “different appeal in historical, contemporary, and contemporary-paranormal romance”… I prefer either a historical world or a fantasy world. Contemporary is ok, but it’s a harder sell for me. I want to be transported. I’ve read straight contemporary. Pat’s work is among my favorites. And when I want something lite, contemporary is where I turn. I’ve not found any contemporary-paranormal I like. Always seems to turn to vulgar for my taste.
    Nina, who hungers for the supernatural because she wants to believe.

    Reply
  11. “Historicals and contemporary-paranormal often have larger-than-life heroes, even too big for their boots, one could say.” *Oh, yeah!* Give me a bigger than life hero (preferably a second son) that jumps up off the page and grabs me by the emotions and a heroine who has him by the….and knows it. Then put them in a fast-paced, equally challenging world that possesses just enough reality that makes me believe if I clicked my heels hard enough I would be plunged right in there with them. Two perfect examples, Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC and Mary Jo’s STOLEN MAGIC. Both use “common, ordinary things” (a small statue and a horse) and make me think twice every time I see the same in my world.
    Like Skapusniak, I grew up on SF and EHF and I echo her sentiments on world building. It is often a sadly ignored yet *powerful* character. If a writer is going to put Vampires in 18th century France, Werewolves at Waterloo, or shape shifters in Suburbia, make me believe it really happened. If I’m not looking over my shoulder at the grocery store and wondering “could it be true” or flipping open a history book and finding that hole the Writer filled with his/her story… forget it. Make me believe. That’s the only way I’m buying the next book.
    To Jo’s question on the “different appeal in historical, contemporary, and contemporary-paranormal romance”… I prefer either a historical world or a fantasy world. Contemporary is ok, but it’s a harder sell for me. I want to be transported. I’ve read straight contemporary. Pat’s work is among my favorites. And when I want something lite, contemporary is where I turn. I’ve not found any contemporary-paranormal I like. Always seems to turn to vulgar for my taste.
    Nina, who hungers for the supernatural because she wants to believe.

    Reply
  12. “Historicals and contemporary-paranormal often have larger-than-life heroes, even too big for their boots, one could say.” *Oh, yeah!* Give me a bigger than life hero (preferably a second son) that jumps up off the page and grabs me by the emotions and a heroine who has him by the….and knows it. Then put them in a fast-paced, equally challenging world that possesses just enough reality that makes me believe if I clicked my heels hard enough I would be plunged right in there with them. Two perfect examples, Jo’s FORBIDDEN MAGIC and Mary Jo’s STOLEN MAGIC. Both use “common, ordinary things” (a small statue and a horse) and make me think twice every time I see the same in my world.
    Like Skapusniak, I grew up on SF and EHF and I echo her sentiments on world building. It is often a sadly ignored yet *powerful* character. If a writer is going to put Vampires in 18th century France, Werewolves at Waterloo, or shape shifters in Suburbia, make me believe it really happened. If I’m not looking over my shoulder at the grocery store and wondering “could it be true” or flipping open a history book and finding that hole the Writer filled with his/her story… forget it. Make me believe. That’s the only way I’m buying the next book.
    To Jo’s question on the “different appeal in historical, contemporary, and contemporary-paranormal romance”… I prefer either a historical world or a fantasy world. Contemporary is ok, but it’s a harder sell for me. I want to be transported. I’ve read straight contemporary. Pat’s work is among my favorites. And when I want something lite, contemporary is where I turn. I’ve not found any contemporary-paranormal I like. Always seems to turn to vulgar for my taste.
    Nina, who hungers for the supernatural because she wants to believe.

    Reply
  13. I don’t necessarily like larger than life characters as such, but I do like the world I’m reading about to be different from my own, hence my fondness for historical fiction and fantasy. Like Nina and SKapusniak, I value strong worldbuilding, where the setting is a character in its own right.
    And I think I’m just wired to be a history buff, somehow. I mean, I could see myself LOVING a quiet traditional Regency set in a village in 1807 starring a vicar and a governess, especially if the author really brought everyday village life 200 years ago to life. But make it a small town story about a pastor and a schoolteacher in 2007, and that inherent interest isn’t there. I mean, I *am* an everyday person in 2007. Where’s the fun in reading about it?
    And on the larger than life side, well, I’ll accept that the fantasy hero or heroine saves the kingdom or even the world from ever-escalating dangers three times (once per book of the trilogy!). They were Chosen by the Gods, after all. And in a more realistic historical setting, I’ll happily buy that the protagonist gets to meet all the important people and be at all the important places, because then *I* get to see them through the hero or heroine’s eyes, which can be a lot of fun. But in a contemporary setting, it’s a lot harder to suspend disbelief somehow.
    So I just don’t read much contemporary fiction of any genre. In romance, Jennifer Crusie and Kathleen Eagle are pretty much it.

    Reply
  14. I don’t necessarily like larger than life characters as such, but I do like the world I’m reading about to be different from my own, hence my fondness for historical fiction and fantasy. Like Nina and SKapusniak, I value strong worldbuilding, where the setting is a character in its own right.
    And I think I’m just wired to be a history buff, somehow. I mean, I could see myself LOVING a quiet traditional Regency set in a village in 1807 starring a vicar and a governess, especially if the author really brought everyday village life 200 years ago to life. But make it a small town story about a pastor and a schoolteacher in 2007, and that inherent interest isn’t there. I mean, I *am* an everyday person in 2007. Where’s the fun in reading about it?
    And on the larger than life side, well, I’ll accept that the fantasy hero or heroine saves the kingdom or even the world from ever-escalating dangers three times (once per book of the trilogy!). They were Chosen by the Gods, after all. And in a more realistic historical setting, I’ll happily buy that the protagonist gets to meet all the important people and be at all the important places, because then *I* get to see them through the hero or heroine’s eyes, which can be a lot of fun. But in a contemporary setting, it’s a lot harder to suspend disbelief somehow.
    So I just don’t read much contemporary fiction of any genre. In romance, Jennifer Crusie and Kathleen Eagle are pretty much it.

    Reply
  15. I don’t necessarily like larger than life characters as such, but I do like the world I’m reading about to be different from my own, hence my fondness for historical fiction and fantasy. Like Nina and SKapusniak, I value strong worldbuilding, where the setting is a character in its own right.
    And I think I’m just wired to be a history buff, somehow. I mean, I could see myself LOVING a quiet traditional Regency set in a village in 1807 starring a vicar and a governess, especially if the author really brought everyday village life 200 years ago to life. But make it a small town story about a pastor and a schoolteacher in 2007, and that inherent interest isn’t there. I mean, I *am* an everyday person in 2007. Where’s the fun in reading about it?
    And on the larger than life side, well, I’ll accept that the fantasy hero or heroine saves the kingdom or even the world from ever-escalating dangers three times (once per book of the trilogy!). They were Chosen by the Gods, after all. And in a more realistic historical setting, I’ll happily buy that the protagonist gets to meet all the important people and be at all the important places, because then *I* get to see them through the hero or heroine’s eyes, which can be a lot of fun. But in a contemporary setting, it’s a lot harder to suspend disbelief somehow.
    So I just don’t read much contemporary fiction of any genre. In romance, Jennifer Crusie and Kathleen Eagle are pretty much it.

    Reply
  16. I don’t necessarily like larger than life characters as such, but I do like the world I’m reading about to be different from my own, hence my fondness for historical fiction and fantasy. Like Nina and SKapusniak, I value strong worldbuilding, where the setting is a character in its own right.
    And I think I’m just wired to be a history buff, somehow. I mean, I could see myself LOVING a quiet traditional Regency set in a village in 1807 starring a vicar and a governess, especially if the author really brought everyday village life 200 years ago to life. But make it a small town story about a pastor and a schoolteacher in 2007, and that inherent interest isn’t there. I mean, I *am* an everyday person in 2007. Where’s the fun in reading about it?
    And on the larger than life side, well, I’ll accept that the fantasy hero or heroine saves the kingdom or even the world from ever-escalating dangers three times (once per book of the trilogy!). They were Chosen by the Gods, after all. And in a more realistic historical setting, I’ll happily buy that the protagonist gets to meet all the important people and be at all the important places, because then *I* get to see them through the hero or heroine’s eyes, which can be a lot of fun. But in a contemporary setting, it’s a lot harder to suspend disbelief somehow.
    So I just don’t read much contemporary fiction of any genre. In romance, Jennifer Crusie and Kathleen Eagle are pretty much it.

    Reply
  17. I particularly enjoy historicals when the characters care, and care deeply, about ideals that have gone completely out of style. The tensions created by trying to live up to those ideals make for interesting stories. I also appreciate their slower pace and world-building. I enjoy paranormals when there is a redemption aspect–and again, a tension between what the characters want and what seems to be required of them. On the other hand, the situations that create tension in contemporary stories are rarely interesting to me, and neither are the worlds created. Greek tycoons, bleh.

    Reply
  18. I particularly enjoy historicals when the characters care, and care deeply, about ideals that have gone completely out of style. The tensions created by trying to live up to those ideals make for interesting stories. I also appreciate their slower pace and world-building. I enjoy paranormals when there is a redemption aspect–and again, a tension between what the characters want and what seems to be required of them. On the other hand, the situations that create tension in contemporary stories are rarely interesting to me, and neither are the worlds created. Greek tycoons, bleh.

    Reply
  19. I particularly enjoy historicals when the characters care, and care deeply, about ideals that have gone completely out of style. The tensions created by trying to live up to those ideals make for interesting stories. I also appreciate their slower pace and world-building. I enjoy paranormals when there is a redemption aspect–and again, a tension between what the characters want and what seems to be required of them. On the other hand, the situations that create tension in contemporary stories are rarely interesting to me, and neither are the worlds created. Greek tycoons, bleh.

    Reply
  20. I particularly enjoy historicals when the characters care, and care deeply, about ideals that have gone completely out of style. The tensions created by trying to live up to those ideals make for interesting stories. I also appreciate their slower pace and world-building. I enjoy paranormals when there is a redemption aspect–and again, a tension between what the characters want and what seems to be required of them. On the other hand, the situations that create tension in contemporary stories are rarely interesting to me, and neither are the worlds created. Greek tycoons, bleh.

    Reply
  21. It’s not so much what the genre is or whether it contains paranormal elements or not; it’s what the author DOES with it. I love Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books because the paranormal is fitted into the world as we know it. There are problems attached to the magic; it has (one my my favorite phrases) the defects of its qualities.
    I read half of something the other day (can’t remember what or by whom, not surprisingly) wherein the paranormal did nothing but conveniently solve every problem that arose. Feh!
    As for those larger-than-life heros… this connects with something I observed while I was making my list of favorite books in response to Loretta Chase’s earlier blog, namely that a lot of my favorite books have really bright little girls as the main character (e.g. Member of the Wedding and To Kill a Mockingbird). Which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a duke to be convincingly Big. Personally, I think dukedom can give a romantic hero (or maybe his author!) too great an advantage (though I did LOVE St. Raven!). I’d like to see a few more Barons, or even (gasp!) Baronets! A really Manly Man doesn’t require a title to tickle my fancy.

    Reply
  22. It’s not so much what the genre is or whether it contains paranormal elements or not; it’s what the author DOES with it. I love Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books because the paranormal is fitted into the world as we know it. There are problems attached to the magic; it has (one my my favorite phrases) the defects of its qualities.
    I read half of something the other day (can’t remember what or by whom, not surprisingly) wherein the paranormal did nothing but conveniently solve every problem that arose. Feh!
    As for those larger-than-life heros… this connects with something I observed while I was making my list of favorite books in response to Loretta Chase’s earlier blog, namely that a lot of my favorite books have really bright little girls as the main character (e.g. Member of the Wedding and To Kill a Mockingbird). Which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a duke to be convincingly Big. Personally, I think dukedom can give a romantic hero (or maybe his author!) too great an advantage (though I did LOVE St. Raven!). I’d like to see a few more Barons, or even (gasp!) Baronets! A really Manly Man doesn’t require a title to tickle my fancy.

    Reply
  23. It’s not so much what the genre is or whether it contains paranormal elements or not; it’s what the author DOES with it. I love Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books because the paranormal is fitted into the world as we know it. There are problems attached to the magic; it has (one my my favorite phrases) the defects of its qualities.
    I read half of something the other day (can’t remember what or by whom, not surprisingly) wherein the paranormal did nothing but conveniently solve every problem that arose. Feh!
    As for those larger-than-life heros… this connects with something I observed while I was making my list of favorite books in response to Loretta Chase’s earlier blog, namely that a lot of my favorite books have really bright little girls as the main character (e.g. Member of the Wedding and To Kill a Mockingbird). Which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a duke to be convincingly Big. Personally, I think dukedom can give a romantic hero (or maybe his author!) too great an advantage (though I did LOVE St. Raven!). I’d like to see a few more Barons, or even (gasp!) Baronets! A really Manly Man doesn’t require a title to tickle my fancy.

    Reply
  24. It’s not so much what the genre is or whether it contains paranormal elements or not; it’s what the author DOES with it. I love Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books because the paranormal is fitted into the world as we know it. There are problems attached to the magic; it has (one my my favorite phrases) the defects of its qualities.
    I read half of something the other day (can’t remember what or by whom, not surprisingly) wherein the paranormal did nothing but conveniently solve every problem that arose. Feh!
    As for those larger-than-life heros… this connects with something I observed while I was making my list of favorite books in response to Loretta Chase’s earlier blog, namely that a lot of my favorite books have really bright little girls as the main character (e.g. Member of the Wedding and To Kill a Mockingbird). Which just goes to show that you don’t have to be a duke to be convincingly Big. Personally, I think dukedom can give a romantic hero (or maybe his author!) too great an advantage (though I did LOVE St. Raven!). I’d like to see a few more Barons, or even (gasp!) Baronets! A really Manly Man doesn’t require a title to tickle my fancy.

    Reply
  25. From Sherrie:
    I adore larger than life heroes who are dukes and marquesses and earls. I love the powerful privileges that come with the title, because sometimes it makes the hero a little more dangerous than Joe Citizen. I also like the inherent problems that come with the title–responsibilities and class expectations/restrictions to name a few.
    At the risk of sounding silly, I have to say that I’ve never understood the hullabaloo over the apparent proliferation of dukes in novels. I’ve never picked up a romance and said, “Not *another* duke!” I realize there were only a handful of real dukes during the Regency, but I don’t see why that means we must limit our fictional heroes to lesser titles if a duke would better serve the purpose. *g*
    That said, I’ve always wished someone would write a Regency romance where the hero was a butler or a footman.

    Reply
  26. From Sherrie:
    I adore larger than life heroes who are dukes and marquesses and earls. I love the powerful privileges that come with the title, because sometimes it makes the hero a little more dangerous than Joe Citizen. I also like the inherent problems that come with the title–responsibilities and class expectations/restrictions to name a few.
    At the risk of sounding silly, I have to say that I’ve never understood the hullabaloo over the apparent proliferation of dukes in novels. I’ve never picked up a romance and said, “Not *another* duke!” I realize there were only a handful of real dukes during the Regency, but I don’t see why that means we must limit our fictional heroes to lesser titles if a duke would better serve the purpose. *g*
    That said, I’ve always wished someone would write a Regency romance where the hero was a butler or a footman.

    Reply
  27. From Sherrie:
    I adore larger than life heroes who are dukes and marquesses and earls. I love the powerful privileges that come with the title, because sometimes it makes the hero a little more dangerous than Joe Citizen. I also like the inherent problems that come with the title–responsibilities and class expectations/restrictions to name a few.
    At the risk of sounding silly, I have to say that I’ve never understood the hullabaloo over the apparent proliferation of dukes in novels. I’ve never picked up a romance and said, “Not *another* duke!” I realize there were only a handful of real dukes during the Regency, but I don’t see why that means we must limit our fictional heroes to lesser titles if a duke would better serve the purpose. *g*
    That said, I’ve always wished someone would write a Regency romance where the hero was a butler or a footman.

    Reply
  28. From Sherrie:
    I adore larger than life heroes who are dukes and marquesses and earls. I love the powerful privileges that come with the title, because sometimes it makes the hero a little more dangerous than Joe Citizen. I also like the inherent problems that come with the title–responsibilities and class expectations/restrictions to name a few.
    At the risk of sounding silly, I have to say that I’ve never understood the hullabaloo over the apparent proliferation of dukes in novels. I’ve never picked up a romance and said, “Not *another* duke!” I realize there were only a handful of real dukes during the Regency, but I don’t see why that means we must limit our fictional heroes to lesser titles if a duke would better serve the purpose. *g*
    That said, I’ve always wished someone would write a Regency romance where the hero was a butler or a footman.

    Reply
  29. It’s the fantasy for me. I already know what it’s like to be an ordinary person. I want to be shown what it would be like to be extraordinary. A Duke is the lovely in the middle type where you don’t have to actually be royal (thereby competing with actual history), but you have lots of influence/power/money so the fantasy works. A vamp or were is the other type of fantasy where you can be helpless against nature or whacko type rules or instincts. Either way you get to have a powerful, alpha type male without any need to feel realistic in your approach. In real life would we actually like a heap of alpha males bossing us around and being all “take charge”. No, probably not. But in fantasy, heck yeah we can run with that. I don’t want to read about the butler or the footman, well unless they are secretly someone spying or hiding from something. Who wants to read about a poor fellow who works from dawn to dusk and barely has time to tup the upstairs maid whilst worrying unduly about whether the silver is sufficiently polished. I want an independent man of power who has a chance to be interesting, not emptying unmentionables or polishing boots. Yes, I know I’m shallow, but I read for enjoyment and an unashamed fantasy.

    Reply
  30. It’s the fantasy for me. I already know what it’s like to be an ordinary person. I want to be shown what it would be like to be extraordinary. A Duke is the lovely in the middle type where you don’t have to actually be royal (thereby competing with actual history), but you have lots of influence/power/money so the fantasy works. A vamp or were is the other type of fantasy where you can be helpless against nature or whacko type rules or instincts. Either way you get to have a powerful, alpha type male without any need to feel realistic in your approach. In real life would we actually like a heap of alpha males bossing us around and being all “take charge”. No, probably not. But in fantasy, heck yeah we can run with that. I don’t want to read about the butler or the footman, well unless they are secretly someone spying or hiding from something. Who wants to read about a poor fellow who works from dawn to dusk and barely has time to tup the upstairs maid whilst worrying unduly about whether the silver is sufficiently polished. I want an independent man of power who has a chance to be interesting, not emptying unmentionables or polishing boots. Yes, I know I’m shallow, but I read for enjoyment and an unashamed fantasy.

    Reply
  31. It’s the fantasy for me. I already know what it’s like to be an ordinary person. I want to be shown what it would be like to be extraordinary. A Duke is the lovely in the middle type where you don’t have to actually be royal (thereby competing with actual history), but you have lots of influence/power/money so the fantasy works. A vamp or were is the other type of fantasy where you can be helpless against nature or whacko type rules or instincts. Either way you get to have a powerful, alpha type male without any need to feel realistic in your approach. In real life would we actually like a heap of alpha males bossing us around and being all “take charge”. No, probably not. But in fantasy, heck yeah we can run with that. I don’t want to read about the butler or the footman, well unless they are secretly someone spying or hiding from something. Who wants to read about a poor fellow who works from dawn to dusk and barely has time to tup the upstairs maid whilst worrying unduly about whether the silver is sufficiently polished. I want an independent man of power who has a chance to be interesting, not emptying unmentionables or polishing boots. Yes, I know I’m shallow, but I read for enjoyment and an unashamed fantasy.

    Reply
  32. It’s the fantasy for me. I already know what it’s like to be an ordinary person. I want to be shown what it would be like to be extraordinary. A Duke is the lovely in the middle type where you don’t have to actually be royal (thereby competing with actual history), but you have lots of influence/power/money so the fantasy works. A vamp or were is the other type of fantasy where you can be helpless against nature or whacko type rules or instincts. Either way you get to have a powerful, alpha type male without any need to feel realistic in your approach. In real life would we actually like a heap of alpha males bossing us around and being all “take charge”. No, probably not. But in fantasy, heck yeah we can run with that. I don’t want to read about the butler or the footman, well unless they are secretly someone spying or hiding from something. Who wants to read about a poor fellow who works from dawn to dusk and barely has time to tup the upstairs maid whilst worrying unduly about whether the silver is sufficiently polished. I want an independent man of power who has a chance to be interesting, not emptying unmentionables or polishing boots. Yes, I know I’m shallow, but I read for enjoyment and an unashamed fantasy.

    Reply
  33. In all honesty, I am getting bored with dukes and lords as heroes.
    Let me preface this by saying that none of the Wenches earn my ire–you all do a great job of making sure that both heroes and heroines have problems that can’t be easily solved by waving the wand of money and power–but sometimes, the hero is made so much larger than life that the heroine’s problems all stem from the fact that the hero & heroine can’t admit that they’re in love. Once they do, the hero waves his magic wand and pays her debts or sends his dragon of a mother to terrorize the fellow that’s making her upset, and the story ends.
    I’m exaggerating a little, but as a reader, I find this sort of story very unsatisfying.
    The 1800s saw some of the most drastic social change ever. Sure, there were lords. And sure, the lords had footmen and maids. But the 1800s saw the stratification of society break down considerably. The 1800s made the middle class a reality. Suddenly, there were a lot of people who had reasonable lives within their grasps. It wasn’t just the lords who had leisure time. More and more people became educated, had time to read, and began to look to be entertained in a number of ways.
    Many historicals just don’t resonate with me any longer. Some do; there are still a number of authors who are producing good work. I’d like to see fewer lords.

    Reply
  34. In all honesty, I am getting bored with dukes and lords as heroes.
    Let me preface this by saying that none of the Wenches earn my ire–you all do a great job of making sure that both heroes and heroines have problems that can’t be easily solved by waving the wand of money and power–but sometimes, the hero is made so much larger than life that the heroine’s problems all stem from the fact that the hero & heroine can’t admit that they’re in love. Once they do, the hero waves his magic wand and pays her debts or sends his dragon of a mother to terrorize the fellow that’s making her upset, and the story ends.
    I’m exaggerating a little, but as a reader, I find this sort of story very unsatisfying.
    The 1800s saw some of the most drastic social change ever. Sure, there were lords. And sure, the lords had footmen and maids. But the 1800s saw the stratification of society break down considerably. The 1800s made the middle class a reality. Suddenly, there were a lot of people who had reasonable lives within their grasps. It wasn’t just the lords who had leisure time. More and more people became educated, had time to read, and began to look to be entertained in a number of ways.
    Many historicals just don’t resonate with me any longer. Some do; there are still a number of authors who are producing good work. I’d like to see fewer lords.

    Reply
  35. In all honesty, I am getting bored with dukes and lords as heroes.
    Let me preface this by saying that none of the Wenches earn my ire–you all do a great job of making sure that both heroes and heroines have problems that can’t be easily solved by waving the wand of money and power–but sometimes, the hero is made so much larger than life that the heroine’s problems all stem from the fact that the hero & heroine can’t admit that they’re in love. Once they do, the hero waves his magic wand and pays her debts or sends his dragon of a mother to terrorize the fellow that’s making her upset, and the story ends.
    I’m exaggerating a little, but as a reader, I find this sort of story very unsatisfying.
    The 1800s saw some of the most drastic social change ever. Sure, there were lords. And sure, the lords had footmen and maids. But the 1800s saw the stratification of society break down considerably. The 1800s made the middle class a reality. Suddenly, there were a lot of people who had reasonable lives within their grasps. It wasn’t just the lords who had leisure time. More and more people became educated, had time to read, and began to look to be entertained in a number of ways.
    Many historicals just don’t resonate with me any longer. Some do; there are still a number of authors who are producing good work. I’d like to see fewer lords.

    Reply
  36. In all honesty, I am getting bored with dukes and lords as heroes.
    Let me preface this by saying that none of the Wenches earn my ire–you all do a great job of making sure that both heroes and heroines have problems that can’t be easily solved by waving the wand of money and power–but sometimes, the hero is made so much larger than life that the heroine’s problems all stem from the fact that the hero & heroine can’t admit that they’re in love. Once they do, the hero waves his magic wand and pays her debts or sends his dragon of a mother to terrorize the fellow that’s making her upset, and the story ends.
    I’m exaggerating a little, but as a reader, I find this sort of story very unsatisfying.
    The 1800s saw some of the most drastic social change ever. Sure, there were lords. And sure, the lords had footmen and maids. But the 1800s saw the stratification of society break down considerably. The 1800s made the middle class a reality. Suddenly, there were a lot of people who had reasonable lives within their grasps. It wasn’t just the lords who had leisure time. More and more people became educated, had time to read, and began to look to be entertained in a number of ways.
    Many historicals just don’t resonate with me any longer. Some do; there are still a number of authors who are producing good work. I’d like to see fewer lords.

    Reply
  37. So many great discussions, so little time! As both a contemp and historical writer, this discussion is quite enlightening, and I’m hoping more will be added. Admittedly, I enjoy world building, so I try to build a world in my contemps as well as the historicals, but it’s probably a world of characters since, as has been said, we can walk outside our door and see the real world.
    The powerful alpha male thing has always puzzled me though. I’ve learned to do it, but by nature, I’d much prefer to see a man down on his luck succeed beyond all expectation, than watch someone who has everything get more. So I guess I’m messing with reader expectation when I make my guys sacrifice for what they want. “G”

    Reply
  38. So many great discussions, so little time! As both a contemp and historical writer, this discussion is quite enlightening, and I’m hoping more will be added. Admittedly, I enjoy world building, so I try to build a world in my contemps as well as the historicals, but it’s probably a world of characters since, as has been said, we can walk outside our door and see the real world.
    The powerful alpha male thing has always puzzled me though. I’ve learned to do it, but by nature, I’d much prefer to see a man down on his luck succeed beyond all expectation, than watch someone who has everything get more. So I guess I’m messing with reader expectation when I make my guys sacrifice for what they want. “G”

    Reply
  39. So many great discussions, so little time! As both a contemp and historical writer, this discussion is quite enlightening, and I’m hoping more will be added. Admittedly, I enjoy world building, so I try to build a world in my contemps as well as the historicals, but it’s probably a world of characters since, as has been said, we can walk outside our door and see the real world.
    The powerful alpha male thing has always puzzled me though. I’ve learned to do it, but by nature, I’d much prefer to see a man down on his luck succeed beyond all expectation, than watch someone who has everything get more. So I guess I’m messing with reader expectation when I make my guys sacrifice for what they want. “G”

    Reply
  40. So many great discussions, so little time! As both a contemp and historical writer, this discussion is quite enlightening, and I’m hoping more will be added. Admittedly, I enjoy world building, so I try to build a world in my contemps as well as the historicals, but it’s probably a world of characters since, as has been said, we can walk outside our door and see the real world.
    The powerful alpha male thing has always puzzled me though. I’ve learned to do it, but by nature, I’d much prefer to see a man down on his luck succeed beyond all expectation, than watch someone who has everything get more. So I guess I’m messing with reader expectation when I make my guys sacrifice for what they want. “G”

    Reply
  41. I’m late reading the Sunday blog, but since Pat said she’s interested in more input here are my random thoughts.
    As a rule, I prefer historical over contemporary. When I’m browsing for something to read, I usually choose historical and pick up contemporary if I’m reading by author. One reason is that contemporary life is my life so the plot or characters have to be really interesting for me to want to read it. Another reason is that any disbelief is too much in contemporaries; suspension doesn’t really come into it. I’m very likely to be bothered by nit picky details whereas in historicals I can rely on the author since I basically know nothing about historical details. Also, contemporaries are more likely to contain random social or political commentary. I don’t mind a social issue theme if the author weaves it into the the story, but hold the commercials please. I hope this makes sense; it’s mostly a gut level distinction and hard to articulate.
    I like paranormals and don’t care what setting they’re in because, hey, I don’t know anything about the paranormal world. 🙂 Actually, I think of paranormal romance more as an off-shoot of fantasy than historical or contemporary.
    And, Pat, the powerful alpha male is all about the power for me. If it’s not physical alpha power, it can be power of intellect or character. As a matter of fact, I prefer heroes who subvert the alpha pattern. One of my favorites is Nicholas Delaney. I love that he’s a commoner leading a group of aristocrats on the strength of his personality – my kind of hero!

    Reply
  42. I’m late reading the Sunday blog, but since Pat said she’s interested in more input here are my random thoughts.
    As a rule, I prefer historical over contemporary. When I’m browsing for something to read, I usually choose historical and pick up contemporary if I’m reading by author. One reason is that contemporary life is my life so the plot or characters have to be really interesting for me to want to read it. Another reason is that any disbelief is too much in contemporaries; suspension doesn’t really come into it. I’m very likely to be bothered by nit picky details whereas in historicals I can rely on the author since I basically know nothing about historical details. Also, contemporaries are more likely to contain random social or political commentary. I don’t mind a social issue theme if the author weaves it into the the story, but hold the commercials please. I hope this makes sense; it’s mostly a gut level distinction and hard to articulate.
    I like paranormals and don’t care what setting they’re in because, hey, I don’t know anything about the paranormal world. 🙂 Actually, I think of paranormal romance more as an off-shoot of fantasy than historical or contemporary.
    And, Pat, the powerful alpha male is all about the power for me. If it’s not physical alpha power, it can be power of intellect or character. As a matter of fact, I prefer heroes who subvert the alpha pattern. One of my favorites is Nicholas Delaney. I love that he’s a commoner leading a group of aristocrats on the strength of his personality – my kind of hero!

    Reply
  43. I’m late reading the Sunday blog, but since Pat said she’s interested in more input here are my random thoughts.
    As a rule, I prefer historical over contemporary. When I’m browsing for something to read, I usually choose historical and pick up contemporary if I’m reading by author. One reason is that contemporary life is my life so the plot or characters have to be really interesting for me to want to read it. Another reason is that any disbelief is too much in contemporaries; suspension doesn’t really come into it. I’m very likely to be bothered by nit picky details whereas in historicals I can rely on the author since I basically know nothing about historical details. Also, contemporaries are more likely to contain random social or political commentary. I don’t mind a social issue theme if the author weaves it into the the story, but hold the commercials please. I hope this makes sense; it’s mostly a gut level distinction and hard to articulate.
    I like paranormals and don’t care what setting they’re in because, hey, I don’t know anything about the paranormal world. 🙂 Actually, I think of paranormal romance more as an off-shoot of fantasy than historical or contemporary.
    And, Pat, the powerful alpha male is all about the power for me. If it’s not physical alpha power, it can be power of intellect or character. As a matter of fact, I prefer heroes who subvert the alpha pattern. One of my favorites is Nicholas Delaney. I love that he’s a commoner leading a group of aristocrats on the strength of his personality – my kind of hero!

    Reply
  44. I’m late reading the Sunday blog, but since Pat said she’s interested in more input here are my random thoughts.
    As a rule, I prefer historical over contemporary. When I’m browsing for something to read, I usually choose historical and pick up contemporary if I’m reading by author. One reason is that contemporary life is my life so the plot or characters have to be really interesting for me to want to read it. Another reason is that any disbelief is too much in contemporaries; suspension doesn’t really come into it. I’m very likely to be bothered by nit picky details whereas in historicals I can rely on the author since I basically know nothing about historical details. Also, contemporaries are more likely to contain random social or political commentary. I don’t mind a social issue theme if the author weaves it into the the story, but hold the commercials please. I hope this makes sense; it’s mostly a gut level distinction and hard to articulate.
    I like paranormals and don’t care what setting they’re in because, hey, I don’t know anything about the paranormal world. 🙂 Actually, I think of paranormal romance more as an off-shoot of fantasy than historical or contemporary.
    And, Pat, the powerful alpha male is all about the power for me. If it’s not physical alpha power, it can be power of intellect or character. As a matter of fact, I prefer heroes who subvert the alpha pattern. One of my favorites is Nicholas Delaney. I love that he’s a commoner leading a group of aristocrats on the strength of his personality – my kind of hero!

    Reply
  45. Jo here. Better late than never?
    Sorry for not chiming in while away. I didn’t really have the chance.
    I agree about contemporaries. I can adore them, but they have to be especially good because I like a little something extra that comes most obviously from the past or from fantasy, SF and such.
    Thanks for the praise of Nicholas, Mary. When I originally wrote him, I didn’t think about him being a commoner who is undisputed leader of a group that includes a number of higher ranking men. It became a little interesting when Lucien showed he had some resentments.
    San Diego was wonderful, as was the Novelists Inc conference. It will probably inform my next week’s blog in some way, but for the moment, I have to wade back into life and the book.
    Oh — a brush with fame moment. My puddle-jumper plane from Vancouver to Victoria was delayed so Nellie Furtado and some of her people could catch it.(She’s from Victoria, but she’s here mainly to play a concert, I think.) They were booked on it but held up in customs.
    No complaints. I was booked on a later flight and had already squeezed onto that flight because they thought none of her group would make it. So I got home early and she, I assume, made her hotel after what I gather was 24 hours in the air getting there from Sweden.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  46. Jo here. Better late than never?
    Sorry for not chiming in while away. I didn’t really have the chance.
    I agree about contemporaries. I can adore them, but they have to be especially good because I like a little something extra that comes most obviously from the past or from fantasy, SF and such.
    Thanks for the praise of Nicholas, Mary. When I originally wrote him, I didn’t think about him being a commoner who is undisputed leader of a group that includes a number of higher ranking men. It became a little interesting when Lucien showed he had some resentments.
    San Diego was wonderful, as was the Novelists Inc conference. It will probably inform my next week’s blog in some way, but for the moment, I have to wade back into life and the book.
    Oh — a brush with fame moment. My puddle-jumper plane from Vancouver to Victoria was delayed so Nellie Furtado and some of her people could catch it.(She’s from Victoria, but she’s here mainly to play a concert, I think.) They were booked on it but held up in customs.
    No complaints. I was booked on a later flight and had already squeezed onto that flight because they thought none of her group would make it. So I got home early and she, I assume, made her hotel after what I gather was 24 hours in the air getting there from Sweden.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  47. Jo here. Better late than never?
    Sorry for not chiming in while away. I didn’t really have the chance.
    I agree about contemporaries. I can adore them, but they have to be especially good because I like a little something extra that comes most obviously from the past or from fantasy, SF and such.
    Thanks for the praise of Nicholas, Mary. When I originally wrote him, I didn’t think about him being a commoner who is undisputed leader of a group that includes a number of higher ranking men. It became a little interesting when Lucien showed he had some resentments.
    San Diego was wonderful, as was the Novelists Inc conference. It will probably inform my next week’s blog in some way, but for the moment, I have to wade back into life and the book.
    Oh — a brush with fame moment. My puddle-jumper plane from Vancouver to Victoria was delayed so Nellie Furtado and some of her people could catch it.(She’s from Victoria, but she’s here mainly to play a concert, I think.) They were booked on it but held up in customs.
    No complaints. I was booked on a later flight and had already squeezed onto that flight because they thought none of her group would make it. So I got home early and she, I assume, made her hotel after what I gather was 24 hours in the air getting there from Sweden.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  48. Jo here. Better late than never?
    Sorry for not chiming in while away. I didn’t really have the chance.
    I agree about contemporaries. I can adore them, but they have to be especially good because I like a little something extra that comes most obviously from the past or from fantasy, SF and such.
    Thanks for the praise of Nicholas, Mary. When I originally wrote him, I didn’t think about him being a commoner who is undisputed leader of a group that includes a number of higher ranking men. It became a little interesting when Lucien showed he had some resentments.
    San Diego was wonderful, as was the Novelists Inc conference. It will probably inform my next week’s blog in some way, but for the moment, I have to wade back into life and the book.
    Oh — a brush with fame moment. My puddle-jumper plane from Vancouver to Victoria was delayed so Nellie Furtado and some of her people could catch it.(She’s from Victoria, but she’s here mainly to play a concert, I think.) They were booked on it but held up in customs.
    No complaints. I was booked on a later flight and had already squeezed onto that flight because they thought none of her group would make it. So I got home early and she, I assume, made her hotel after what I gather was 24 hours in the air getting there from Sweden.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply

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