Whither Goest Romance?

Cheyennes ladyI’m editing one of my old backlist titles—I mean really old. My first historical romance was sold in 1982, and this one dates to the late 80’s. It’s a western of over 160k words, divided into three sections. I’m seriously considering re-issuing it as three separate books because the range of the story is immense. And that’s what has me thinking about the changes and direction of romantic fiction.

Obviously, the late 1970s and early 1980s, the boom years of historical romance, were an entirely different world. The technological changes since then practically make anything pre-computer seem likeancient history. Until that point, we’d not seen sex on television, and we’d certainly not read it in anything except a Harold Robbins novel or pornography.

We had leisure time for reading huge books since most of us probably had no cable TV. Books became the soap operas we loved. Some authors had their heroines roFlame floweraming from English society to harems, sampling the men along the way. Others gave their heroines a variety of choices of heroes and let them experience poverty and wealth, sailing ships, and frontiers. We could pack all that into a single romance story.

But today’s reader can find sex on her computer, soap operas on every cable channel, and heroes on YouTube. She can go to Netflix and watch movies on sailing ships and harems and castles. What can a romance author offer today’s readers?

And as far as I can see, the answer is still—romance. We still want to experience the breathless sensation of meeting someone special and PatRice_DevilsLady200discovering the heart-racing emotions of new love. Which turns the question into—what exactly constitutes a good romance in today’s world?

Once upon a time we could write about rape and brutality and adventures on the high seas and the hero who learned to love his heroine through all the travails of adventure and pioneering. But highwaymen and pirates don’t seem to appeal to the modern reader. These days, romances need to be cosseted in aristocracy and sumptuous surroundings, and violence of any sort is frowned upon. There are exceptions to every rule—I understand that. But look at the list of bestsellers and tell me nine out of ten of them aren’t about dukes and lords. So how are we celebrating the triumph of romance over adversity when the most dangerous thing a heroine has to do is knee a bad guy in the groin? (which is probably not historically accurate unless the lady is wearing trousers, but that’s another tale)1SpringBridesmall

Humor, clever wit, and strong characters will win me every time, but very few authors can consistently produce these without repeating themselves. I can get hooked on a fascinating clan like Jo Beverley’s Mallorens. Anne Gracie’s whimsical heroines and situations make me smile with delight. Mary Jo’s intensely heroic, intelligent characters provide fascinating psychological studies. So for me, apparently, it’s the characters and not necessarily the adventure that speaks to my desire for that heart-pounding, uplifting sensation of falling in love.

Authors with strong voices carve out a romantic niche that speaks to their readers. What about you? Can you define what makes a romance work for you?

 

175 thoughts on “Whither Goest Romance?”

  1. I’m probably an unusual reader. I’m 36 so I never read the books from the early 80s when they first came out and I have to say that I vastly prefer older titles to today’s exclusively aristocratic fodder. Yes, some of them are a bit rough writing and story-wise, but it’s like old Oscar dresses: at least they’re original. The current crop of beauties are aggressively tasteful, but when was the last time you saw a famous actress with a swan on her head (or sex on horseback)? I do appreciate a more modern approach toward consent, but after reading a bunch of the terribly sexist contemporary category romances of the period, I can even appreciate what readers found appealing about the historicals. I love the ambivalence about whether the characters are good people, a circumstance that seems most easily communicated by some degree of violence or at least more ruthlessness than we get in a lot of current historicals. There often seems to be more at stake in older books. And I like the more diverse settings. Regencies and Victorians are fine, but get repetitive when they encompass nearly every book on the market.
    At this rate, we’re never going to get another Lord of Scoundrels or Flowers from the Storm. I can’t imagine any of the current historical romance bestseller list having that kind of longevity. And historicals hardly rate on overall bestseller lists. Stephanie Laurens is the only one right now in mass market paperback and that series started in 2001! The only other (sort of) historical is Outlander and that was published even earlier.
    As for length, on the contemporary side, Kristen Ashley is doing very well publishing books in excess of 500 pages and dubious consent is in vogue again, albeit in a different form. That speaks to your point about a strong voice and a large following though. I don’t know many who could get away with that. I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke. When I do pick up a new historical, it’s usually queer, self-published or from a press like Samhain, where there seems to be more freedom to explore different character types if not different time periods. Personally, I’ve found my historical sweet spot in the period between 1990 & 2000. There just seems to have been more room for maneuvering.
    Plus I just really love pirates.

    Reply
  2. I’m probably an unusual reader. I’m 36 so I never read the books from the early 80s when they first came out and I have to say that I vastly prefer older titles to today’s exclusively aristocratic fodder. Yes, some of them are a bit rough writing and story-wise, but it’s like old Oscar dresses: at least they’re original. The current crop of beauties are aggressively tasteful, but when was the last time you saw a famous actress with a swan on her head (or sex on horseback)? I do appreciate a more modern approach toward consent, but after reading a bunch of the terribly sexist contemporary category romances of the period, I can even appreciate what readers found appealing about the historicals. I love the ambivalence about whether the characters are good people, a circumstance that seems most easily communicated by some degree of violence or at least more ruthlessness than we get in a lot of current historicals. There often seems to be more at stake in older books. And I like the more diverse settings. Regencies and Victorians are fine, but get repetitive when they encompass nearly every book on the market.
    At this rate, we’re never going to get another Lord of Scoundrels or Flowers from the Storm. I can’t imagine any of the current historical romance bestseller list having that kind of longevity. And historicals hardly rate on overall bestseller lists. Stephanie Laurens is the only one right now in mass market paperback and that series started in 2001! The only other (sort of) historical is Outlander and that was published even earlier.
    As for length, on the contemporary side, Kristen Ashley is doing very well publishing books in excess of 500 pages and dubious consent is in vogue again, albeit in a different form. That speaks to your point about a strong voice and a large following though. I don’t know many who could get away with that. I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke. When I do pick up a new historical, it’s usually queer, self-published or from a press like Samhain, where there seems to be more freedom to explore different character types if not different time periods. Personally, I’ve found my historical sweet spot in the period between 1990 & 2000. There just seems to have been more room for maneuvering.
    Plus I just really love pirates.

    Reply
  3. I’m probably an unusual reader. I’m 36 so I never read the books from the early 80s when they first came out and I have to say that I vastly prefer older titles to today’s exclusively aristocratic fodder. Yes, some of them are a bit rough writing and story-wise, but it’s like old Oscar dresses: at least they’re original. The current crop of beauties are aggressively tasteful, but when was the last time you saw a famous actress with a swan on her head (or sex on horseback)? I do appreciate a more modern approach toward consent, but after reading a bunch of the terribly sexist contemporary category romances of the period, I can even appreciate what readers found appealing about the historicals. I love the ambivalence about whether the characters are good people, a circumstance that seems most easily communicated by some degree of violence or at least more ruthlessness than we get in a lot of current historicals. There often seems to be more at stake in older books. And I like the more diverse settings. Regencies and Victorians are fine, but get repetitive when they encompass nearly every book on the market.
    At this rate, we’re never going to get another Lord of Scoundrels or Flowers from the Storm. I can’t imagine any of the current historical romance bestseller list having that kind of longevity. And historicals hardly rate on overall bestseller lists. Stephanie Laurens is the only one right now in mass market paperback and that series started in 2001! The only other (sort of) historical is Outlander and that was published even earlier.
    As for length, on the contemporary side, Kristen Ashley is doing very well publishing books in excess of 500 pages and dubious consent is in vogue again, albeit in a different form. That speaks to your point about a strong voice and a large following though. I don’t know many who could get away with that. I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke. When I do pick up a new historical, it’s usually queer, self-published or from a press like Samhain, where there seems to be more freedom to explore different character types if not different time periods. Personally, I’ve found my historical sweet spot in the period between 1990 & 2000. There just seems to have been more room for maneuvering.
    Plus I just really love pirates.

    Reply
  4. I’m probably an unusual reader. I’m 36 so I never read the books from the early 80s when they first came out and I have to say that I vastly prefer older titles to today’s exclusively aristocratic fodder. Yes, some of them are a bit rough writing and story-wise, but it’s like old Oscar dresses: at least they’re original. The current crop of beauties are aggressively tasteful, but when was the last time you saw a famous actress with a swan on her head (or sex on horseback)? I do appreciate a more modern approach toward consent, but after reading a bunch of the terribly sexist contemporary category romances of the period, I can even appreciate what readers found appealing about the historicals. I love the ambivalence about whether the characters are good people, a circumstance that seems most easily communicated by some degree of violence or at least more ruthlessness than we get in a lot of current historicals. There often seems to be more at stake in older books. And I like the more diverse settings. Regencies and Victorians are fine, but get repetitive when they encompass nearly every book on the market.
    At this rate, we’re never going to get another Lord of Scoundrels or Flowers from the Storm. I can’t imagine any of the current historical romance bestseller list having that kind of longevity. And historicals hardly rate on overall bestseller lists. Stephanie Laurens is the only one right now in mass market paperback and that series started in 2001! The only other (sort of) historical is Outlander and that was published even earlier.
    As for length, on the contemporary side, Kristen Ashley is doing very well publishing books in excess of 500 pages and dubious consent is in vogue again, albeit in a different form. That speaks to your point about a strong voice and a large following though. I don’t know many who could get away with that. I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke. When I do pick up a new historical, it’s usually queer, self-published or from a press like Samhain, where there seems to be more freedom to explore different character types if not different time periods. Personally, I’ve found my historical sweet spot in the period between 1990 & 2000. There just seems to have been more room for maneuvering.
    Plus I just really love pirates.

    Reply
  5. I’m probably an unusual reader. I’m 36 so I never read the books from the early 80s when they first came out and I have to say that I vastly prefer older titles to today’s exclusively aristocratic fodder. Yes, some of them are a bit rough writing and story-wise, but it’s like old Oscar dresses: at least they’re original. The current crop of beauties are aggressively tasteful, but when was the last time you saw a famous actress with a swan on her head (or sex on horseback)? I do appreciate a more modern approach toward consent, but after reading a bunch of the terribly sexist contemporary category romances of the period, I can even appreciate what readers found appealing about the historicals. I love the ambivalence about whether the characters are good people, a circumstance that seems most easily communicated by some degree of violence or at least more ruthlessness than we get in a lot of current historicals. There often seems to be more at stake in older books. And I like the more diverse settings. Regencies and Victorians are fine, but get repetitive when they encompass nearly every book on the market.
    At this rate, we’re never going to get another Lord of Scoundrels or Flowers from the Storm. I can’t imagine any of the current historical romance bestseller list having that kind of longevity. And historicals hardly rate on overall bestseller lists. Stephanie Laurens is the only one right now in mass market paperback and that series started in 2001! The only other (sort of) historical is Outlander and that was published even earlier.
    As for length, on the contemporary side, Kristen Ashley is doing very well publishing books in excess of 500 pages and dubious consent is in vogue again, albeit in a different form. That speaks to your point about a strong voice and a large following though. I don’t know many who could get away with that. I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke. When I do pick up a new historical, it’s usually queer, self-published or from a press like Samhain, where there seems to be more freedom to explore different character types if not different time periods. Personally, I’ve found my historical sweet spot in the period between 1990 & 2000. There just seems to have been more room for maneuvering.
    Plus I just really love pirates.

    Reply
  6. “I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke.”
    I don’t know how right I am in saying it, I find the average younger reader will gravitate to contemporaries, and more established readers to historical romances. Maybe that has something to do with it.
    The odd thing is that historical heroines are closer in age to younger readers than the contemporary characters they read about (unless it’s NA fiction).

    Reply
  7. “I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke.”
    I don’t know how right I am in saying it, I find the average younger reader will gravitate to contemporaries, and more established readers to historical romances. Maybe that has something to do with it.
    The odd thing is that historical heroines are closer in age to younger readers than the contemporary characters they read about (unless it’s NA fiction).

    Reply
  8. “I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke.”
    I don’t know how right I am in saying it, I find the average younger reader will gravitate to contemporaries, and more established readers to historical romances. Maybe that has something to do with it.
    The odd thing is that historical heroines are closer in age to younger readers than the contemporary characters they read about (unless it’s NA fiction).

    Reply
  9. “I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke.”
    I don’t know how right I am in saying it, I find the average younger reader will gravitate to contemporaries, and more established readers to historical romances. Maybe that has something to do with it.
    The odd thing is that historical heroines are closer in age to younger readers than the contemporary characters they read about (unless it’s NA fiction).

    Reply
  10. “I just lament that historicals don’t sell at the rate they used to because it means that publishers (especially Avon but others too) have run toward the middle where nearly every hero is a Duke.”
    I don’t know how right I am in saying it, I find the average younger reader will gravitate to contemporaries, and more established readers to historical romances. Maybe that has something to do with it.
    The odd thing is that historical heroines are closer in age to younger readers than the contemporary characters they read about (unless it’s NA fiction).

    Reply
  11. Everyone’s locked into what publishers TELL readers they “want” to read!
    I haven’t read that many of those early bodice rippers (like Elisabeth Lane, I’m a bit too young, so have only read what people have loaned me in more recent years). However, even though I can do without all the scenes of the so-called hero beating and raping the heroine, I think they were onto something with the adventure.
    I’d be really interested to see a resurgence of that type of book minus the spousal abuse, but there’s a real prejudice against books with travel and action these days, for some reason.
    Mind you, it is still being managed sometimes. Anne Gracie’s Bride by Mistake comes to mind.
    Even so, I do have a VERY soft spot for British settings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and will never let go of that!
    “since most of us probably had no cable TV”
    Pay TV came a lot later here than in the US. Less than half the people I know have it even now!

    Reply
  12. Everyone’s locked into what publishers TELL readers they “want” to read!
    I haven’t read that many of those early bodice rippers (like Elisabeth Lane, I’m a bit too young, so have only read what people have loaned me in more recent years). However, even though I can do without all the scenes of the so-called hero beating and raping the heroine, I think they were onto something with the adventure.
    I’d be really interested to see a resurgence of that type of book minus the spousal abuse, but there’s a real prejudice against books with travel and action these days, for some reason.
    Mind you, it is still being managed sometimes. Anne Gracie’s Bride by Mistake comes to mind.
    Even so, I do have a VERY soft spot for British settings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and will never let go of that!
    “since most of us probably had no cable TV”
    Pay TV came a lot later here than in the US. Less than half the people I know have it even now!

    Reply
  13. Everyone’s locked into what publishers TELL readers they “want” to read!
    I haven’t read that many of those early bodice rippers (like Elisabeth Lane, I’m a bit too young, so have only read what people have loaned me in more recent years). However, even though I can do without all the scenes of the so-called hero beating and raping the heroine, I think they were onto something with the adventure.
    I’d be really interested to see a resurgence of that type of book minus the spousal abuse, but there’s a real prejudice against books with travel and action these days, for some reason.
    Mind you, it is still being managed sometimes. Anne Gracie’s Bride by Mistake comes to mind.
    Even so, I do have a VERY soft spot for British settings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and will never let go of that!
    “since most of us probably had no cable TV”
    Pay TV came a lot later here than in the US. Less than half the people I know have it even now!

    Reply
  14. Everyone’s locked into what publishers TELL readers they “want” to read!
    I haven’t read that many of those early bodice rippers (like Elisabeth Lane, I’m a bit too young, so have only read what people have loaned me in more recent years). However, even though I can do without all the scenes of the so-called hero beating and raping the heroine, I think they were onto something with the adventure.
    I’d be really interested to see a resurgence of that type of book minus the spousal abuse, but there’s a real prejudice against books with travel and action these days, for some reason.
    Mind you, it is still being managed sometimes. Anne Gracie’s Bride by Mistake comes to mind.
    Even so, I do have a VERY soft spot for British settings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and will never let go of that!
    “since most of us probably had no cable TV”
    Pay TV came a lot later here than in the US. Less than half the people I know have it even now!

    Reply
  15. Everyone’s locked into what publishers TELL readers they “want” to read!
    I haven’t read that many of those early bodice rippers (like Elisabeth Lane, I’m a bit too young, so have only read what people have loaned me in more recent years). However, even though I can do without all the scenes of the so-called hero beating and raping the heroine, I think they were onto something with the adventure.
    I’d be really interested to see a resurgence of that type of book minus the spousal abuse, but there’s a real prejudice against books with travel and action these days, for some reason.
    Mind you, it is still being managed sometimes. Anne Gracie’s Bride by Mistake comes to mind.
    Even so, I do have a VERY soft spot for British settings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and will never let go of that!
    “since most of us probably had no cable TV”
    Pay TV came a lot later here than in the US. Less than half the people I know have it even now!

    Reply
  16. I’ve been reading since – well, for a long time. And, Patricia, I have your older books, as do I have some of the other author’s on this blog. I have tonssss of books in boxes. I find that sometimes when I become frustrated with the current “feel” of books I dig up those old books. I have a cleansing palette moment. Sometimes it works and sometimes I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed over the years. I do have my “gems” which I reread and never grow tired of – such as The Rake which is Mary Jo Putney’s. I also remember Indigo Moon and Mad Maria’s Daughter with fondness.
    In your rewriting of your “older” books are you finding things that make you ask “what was I thinking?” By the way, I think releasing the book in three short novellas is a good marketing idea. You could release them all in one month around Thanksgiving/Christmas.

    Reply
  17. I’ve been reading since – well, for a long time. And, Patricia, I have your older books, as do I have some of the other author’s on this blog. I have tonssss of books in boxes. I find that sometimes when I become frustrated with the current “feel” of books I dig up those old books. I have a cleansing palette moment. Sometimes it works and sometimes I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed over the years. I do have my “gems” which I reread and never grow tired of – such as The Rake which is Mary Jo Putney’s. I also remember Indigo Moon and Mad Maria’s Daughter with fondness.
    In your rewriting of your “older” books are you finding things that make you ask “what was I thinking?” By the way, I think releasing the book in three short novellas is a good marketing idea. You could release them all in one month around Thanksgiving/Christmas.

    Reply
  18. I’ve been reading since – well, for a long time. And, Patricia, I have your older books, as do I have some of the other author’s on this blog. I have tonssss of books in boxes. I find that sometimes when I become frustrated with the current “feel” of books I dig up those old books. I have a cleansing palette moment. Sometimes it works and sometimes I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed over the years. I do have my “gems” which I reread and never grow tired of – such as The Rake which is Mary Jo Putney’s. I also remember Indigo Moon and Mad Maria’s Daughter with fondness.
    In your rewriting of your “older” books are you finding things that make you ask “what was I thinking?” By the way, I think releasing the book in three short novellas is a good marketing idea. You could release them all in one month around Thanksgiving/Christmas.

    Reply
  19. I’ve been reading since – well, for a long time. And, Patricia, I have your older books, as do I have some of the other author’s on this blog. I have tonssss of books in boxes. I find that sometimes when I become frustrated with the current “feel” of books I dig up those old books. I have a cleansing palette moment. Sometimes it works and sometimes I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed over the years. I do have my “gems” which I reread and never grow tired of – such as The Rake which is Mary Jo Putney’s. I also remember Indigo Moon and Mad Maria’s Daughter with fondness.
    In your rewriting of your “older” books are you finding things that make you ask “what was I thinking?” By the way, I think releasing the book in three short novellas is a good marketing idea. You could release them all in one month around Thanksgiving/Christmas.

    Reply
  20. I’ve been reading since – well, for a long time. And, Patricia, I have your older books, as do I have some of the other author’s on this blog. I have tonssss of books in boxes. I find that sometimes when I become frustrated with the current “feel” of books I dig up those old books. I have a cleansing palette moment. Sometimes it works and sometimes I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed over the years. I do have my “gems” which I reread and never grow tired of – such as The Rake which is Mary Jo Putney’s. I also remember Indigo Moon and Mad Maria’s Daughter with fondness.
    In your rewriting of your “older” books are you finding things that make you ask “what was I thinking?” By the way, I think releasing the book in three short novellas is a good marketing idea. You could release them all in one month around Thanksgiving/Christmas.

    Reply
  21. I think I love you. But you have cogently hit on the exact problem–publishers need a huge audience to sell books, so they go straight to the middle. What we need is a good way of finding the indie authors who sell what we like to read. Let me know when you find that!

    Reply
  22. I think I love you. But you have cogently hit on the exact problem–publishers need a huge audience to sell books, so they go straight to the middle. What we need is a good way of finding the indie authors who sell what we like to read. Let me know when you find that!

    Reply
  23. I think I love you. But you have cogently hit on the exact problem–publishers need a huge audience to sell books, so they go straight to the middle. What we need is a good way of finding the indie authors who sell what we like to read. Let me know when you find that!

    Reply
  24. I think I love you. But you have cogently hit on the exact problem–publishers need a huge audience to sell books, so they go straight to the middle. What we need is a good way of finding the indie authors who sell what we like to read. Let me know when you find that!

    Reply
  25. I think I love you. But you have cogently hit on the exact problem–publishers need a huge audience to sell books, so they go straight to the middle. What we need is a good way of finding the indie authors who sell what we like to read. Let me know when you find that!

    Reply
  26. In working through my backlist, I have become more aware of how much spine-tingling adventure we included, and how little spunky dialogue. There have been sea changes over the decades. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to take those old books and bring them up to the level of craft we see today. So I must give today’s books applause for better editing. And I second Anne Gracie as one of the authors with a voice who stand out from the crowd! I think you’ll find most of the wenches are thrill seekers, some just more so than others.

    Reply
  27. In working through my backlist, I have become more aware of how much spine-tingling adventure we included, and how little spunky dialogue. There have been sea changes over the decades. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to take those old books and bring them up to the level of craft we see today. So I must give today’s books applause for better editing. And I second Anne Gracie as one of the authors with a voice who stand out from the crowd! I think you’ll find most of the wenches are thrill seekers, some just more so than others.

    Reply
  28. In working through my backlist, I have become more aware of how much spine-tingling adventure we included, and how little spunky dialogue. There have been sea changes over the decades. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to take those old books and bring them up to the level of craft we see today. So I must give today’s books applause for better editing. And I second Anne Gracie as one of the authors with a voice who stand out from the crowd! I think you’ll find most of the wenches are thrill seekers, some just more so than others.

    Reply
  29. In working through my backlist, I have become more aware of how much spine-tingling adventure we included, and how little spunky dialogue. There have been sea changes over the decades. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to take those old books and bring them up to the level of craft we see today. So I must give today’s books applause for better editing. And I second Anne Gracie as one of the authors with a voice who stand out from the crowd! I think you’ll find most of the wenches are thrill seekers, some just more so than others.

    Reply
  30. In working through my backlist, I have become more aware of how much spine-tingling adventure we included, and how little spunky dialogue. There have been sea changes over the decades. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to take those old books and bring them up to the level of craft we see today. So I must give today’s books applause for better editing. And I second Anne Gracie as one of the authors with a voice who stand out from the crowd! I think you’ll find most of the wenches are thrill seekers, some just more so than others.

    Reply
  31. Thank you so much, Kay! Yes, our reading experience has changed so a lot of the old books don’t work as well as they once did. But I still love the stories. Mary Jo is one of the cleanest (word wise) writers I know, so her books stand up to the test of time. I started earlier than she did–in the typewriter phase–and I cringe at how many extra words I padded into sentences. The plots were often of the “what horrible thing happens next?” variety, but they still work reasonably well. But when I can take 20k words out of a 150k manuscript, you know there was a lot of padding!

    Reply
  32. Thank you so much, Kay! Yes, our reading experience has changed so a lot of the old books don’t work as well as they once did. But I still love the stories. Mary Jo is one of the cleanest (word wise) writers I know, so her books stand up to the test of time. I started earlier than she did–in the typewriter phase–and I cringe at how many extra words I padded into sentences. The plots were often of the “what horrible thing happens next?” variety, but they still work reasonably well. But when I can take 20k words out of a 150k manuscript, you know there was a lot of padding!

    Reply
  33. Thank you so much, Kay! Yes, our reading experience has changed so a lot of the old books don’t work as well as they once did. But I still love the stories. Mary Jo is one of the cleanest (word wise) writers I know, so her books stand up to the test of time. I started earlier than she did–in the typewriter phase–and I cringe at how many extra words I padded into sentences. The plots were often of the “what horrible thing happens next?” variety, but they still work reasonably well. But when I can take 20k words out of a 150k manuscript, you know there was a lot of padding!

    Reply
  34. Thank you so much, Kay! Yes, our reading experience has changed so a lot of the old books don’t work as well as they once did. But I still love the stories. Mary Jo is one of the cleanest (word wise) writers I know, so her books stand up to the test of time. I started earlier than she did–in the typewriter phase–and I cringe at how many extra words I padded into sentences. The plots were often of the “what horrible thing happens next?” variety, but they still work reasonably well. But when I can take 20k words out of a 150k manuscript, you know there was a lot of padding!

    Reply
  35. Thank you so much, Kay! Yes, our reading experience has changed so a lot of the old books don’t work as well as they once did. But I still love the stories. Mary Jo is one of the cleanest (word wise) writers I know, so her books stand up to the test of time. I started earlier than she did–in the typewriter phase–and I cringe at how many extra words I padded into sentences. The plots were often of the “what horrible thing happens next?” variety, but they still work reasonably well. But when I can take 20k words out of a 150k manuscript, you know there was a lot of padding!

    Reply
  36. I just have to say that I really like pirate books. This is one time when I don’t like being an outlier. I want more swashbuckling adventures to be written. I can do without the beatings and rapes, though. Definitely, I agree that the characters trump everything.

    Reply
  37. I just have to say that I really like pirate books. This is one time when I don’t like being an outlier. I want more swashbuckling adventures to be written. I can do without the beatings and rapes, though. Definitely, I agree that the characters trump everything.

    Reply
  38. I just have to say that I really like pirate books. This is one time when I don’t like being an outlier. I want more swashbuckling adventures to be written. I can do without the beatings and rapes, though. Definitely, I agree that the characters trump everything.

    Reply
  39. I just have to say that I really like pirate books. This is one time when I don’t like being an outlier. I want more swashbuckling adventures to be written. I can do without the beatings and rapes, though. Definitely, I agree that the characters trump everything.

    Reply
  40. I just have to say that I really like pirate books. This is one time when I don’t like being an outlier. I want more swashbuckling adventures to be written. I can do without the beatings and rapes, though. Definitely, I agree that the characters trump everything.

    Reply
  41. Moon Dreams is as close as I’ve written to a pirate book, if you want to give it a try. I remember the old Johanna Lindsey books. Avon used to do pirates frequently. Do you think we’re looking for less realism and that’s why the adventure books aren’t being written as they once were?

    Reply
  42. Moon Dreams is as close as I’ve written to a pirate book, if you want to give it a try. I remember the old Johanna Lindsey books. Avon used to do pirates frequently. Do you think we’re looking for less realism and that’s why the adventure books aren’t being written as they once were?

    Reply
  43. Moon Dreams is as close as I’ve written to a pirate book, if you want to give it a try. I remember the old Johanna Lindsey books. Avon used to do pirates frequently. Do you think we’re looking for less realism and that’s why the adventure books aren’t being written as they once were?

    Reply
  44. Moon Dreams is as close as I’ve written to a pirate book, if you want to give it a try. I remember the old Johanna Lindsey books. Avon used to do pirates frequently. Do you think we’re looking for less realism and that’s why the adventure books aren’t being written as they once were?

    Reply
  45. Moon Dreams is as close as I’ve written to a pirate book, if you want to give it a try. I remember the old Johanna Lindsey books. Avon used to do pirates frequently. Do you think we’re looking for less realism and that’s why the adventure books aren’t being written as they once were?

    Reply
  46. What makes or breaks a romance (or any other book, for that matter) for me, is character. I see plot mainly as a way to present characters. When I think fondly of a book I’ve read and cherished, I remember the characters. I remember Ann of Cambray and Raoul (an old book); I remember Sebastian St. Cyr and Hero (a new book). I like English detective stories better than American ones because while nobody beats the Americans for terrific plots, the English -though the books move more slowly – devote more time to developing character. When I think about writing a book myself, I think of the characters first, then try to come up with a plot to tell their story. The quality of writing is also a deal breaker for me. If I don’t like the writing, I can’t read the book. Lately I seem to be shutting more books after the first two chapters than I remember doing in the past. Is it me? Is it that the quality of writing has changed? Perhaps a little of both?

    Reply
  47. What makes or breaks a romance (or any other book, for that matter) for me, is character. I see plot mainly as a way to present characters. When I think fondly of a book I’ve read and cherished, I remember the characters. I remember Ann of Cambray and Raoul (an old book); I remember Sebastian St. Cyr and Hero (a new book). I like English detective stories better than American ones because while nobody beats the Americans for terrific plots, the English -though the books move more slowly – devote more time to developing character. When I think about writing a book myself, I think of the characters first, then try to come up with a plot to tell their story. The quality of writing is also a deal breaker for me. If I don’t like the writing, I can’t read the book. Lately I seem to be shutting more books after the first two chapters than I remember doing in the past. Is it me? Is it that the quality of writing has changed? Perhaps a little of both?

    Reply
  48. What makes or breaks a romance (or any other book, for that matter) for me, is character. I see plot mainly as a way to present characters. When I think fondly of a book I’ve read and cherished, I remember the characters. I remember Ann of Cambray and Raoul (an old book); I remember Sebastian St. Cyr and Hero (a new book). I like English detective stories better than American ones because while nobody beats the Americans for terrific plots, the English -though the books move more slowly – devote more time to developing character. When I think about writing a book myself, I think of the characters first, then try to come up with a plot to tell their story. The quality of writing is also a deal breaker for me. If I don’t like the writing, I can’t read the book. Lately I seem to be shutting more books after the first two chapters than I remember doing in the past. Is it me? Is it that the quality of writing has changed? Perhaps a little of both?

    Reply
  49. What makes or breaks a romance (or any other book, for that matter) for me, is character. I see plot mainly as a way to present characters. When I think fondly of a book I’ve read and cherished, I remember the characters. I remember Ann of Cambray and Raoul (an old book); I remember Sebastian St. Cyr and Hero (a new book). I like English detective stories better than American ones because while nobody beats the Americans for terrific plots, the English -though the books move more slowly – devote more time to developing character. When I think about writing a book myself, I think of the characters first, then try to come up with a plot to tell their story. The quality of writing is also a deal breaker for me. If I don’t like the writing, I can’t read the book. Lately I seem to be shutting more books after the first two chapters than I remember doing in the past. Is it me? Is it that the quality of writing has changed? Perhaps a little of both?

    Reply
  50. What makes or breaks a romance (or any other book, for that matter) for me, is character. I see plot mainly as a way to present characters. When I think fondly of a book I’ve read and cherished, I remember the characters. I remember Ann of Cambray and Raoul (an old book); I remember Sebastian St. Cyr and Hero (a new book). I like English detective stories better than American ones because while nobody beats the Americans for terrific plots, the English -though the books move more slowly – devote more time to developing character. When I think about writing a book myself, I think of the characters first, then try to come up with a plot to tell their story. The quality of writing is also a deal breaker for me. If I don’t like the writing, I can’t read the book. Lately I seem to be shutting more books after the first two chapters than I remember doing in the past. Is it me? Is it that the quality of writing has changed? Perhaps a little of both?

    Reply
  51. Pat, I think that breaking a very long older book down into several sections for a series is a great idea–though that 160K ms. may end up being 120K after editing. *G* But if you can do some restructuring so that each chunk has a satisfactory ending while a larger story arc is going on overhead to pull the pieces into a coherent series, it sould be great. You might as well use all those great plot ideas you’ve always had!
    And thanks for saying I’m really clean with my wording. I absolutely do not see myself that way.

    Reply
  52. Pat, I think that breaking a very long older book down into several sections for a series is a great idea–though that 160K ms. may end up being 120K after editing. *G* But if you can do some restructuring so that each chunk has a satisfactory ending while a larger story arc is going on overhead to pull the pieces into a coherent series, it sould be great. You might as well use all those great plot ideas you’ve always had!
    And thanks for saying I’m really clean with my wording. I absolutely do not see myself that way.

    Reply
  53. Pat, I think that breaking a very long older book down into several sections for a series is a great idea–though that 160K ms. may end up being 120K after editing. *G* But if you can do some restructuring so that each chunk has a satisfactory ending while a larger story arc is going on overhead to pull the pieces into a coherent series, it sould be great. You might as well use all those great plot ideas you’ve always had!
    And thanks for saying I’m really clean with my wording. I absolutely do not see myself that way.

    Reply
  54. Pat, I think that breaking a very long older book down into several sections for a series is a great idea–though that 160K ms. may end up being 120K after editing. *G* But if you can do some restructuring so that each chunk has a satisfactory ending while a larger story arc is going on overhead to pull the pieces into a coherent series, it sould be great. You might as well use all those great plot ideas you’ve always had!
    And thanks for saying I’m really clean with my wording. I absolutely do not see myself that way.

    Reply
  55. Pat, I think that breaking a very long older book down into several sections for a series is a great idea–though that 160K ms. may end up being 120K after editing. *G* But if you can do some restructuring so that each chunk has a satisfactory ending while a larger story arc is going on overhead to pull the pieces into a coherent series, it sould be great. You might as well use all those great plot ideas you’ve always had!
    And thanks for saying I’m really clean with my wording. I absolutely do not see myself that way.

    Reply
  56. Hi, Joan, and welcome! I totally agree that character is essential, which is why it’s a little difficult to develop “original” when all the protagonists are pampered aristocrats. It can be done successfully, but how many times?
    I always read a sample of a book online before buying because writing quality tells me a lot before I even get started. Sometimes the opening is well written but it’s a chatty discourse on the character’s current circumstances. If I don’t get “story” in a page or two, I quit. So it isn’t just the writing. Lots of people have perfected good sentence structure. it’s what they do with it that matters!

    Reply
  57. Hi, Joan, and welcome! I totally agree that character is essential, which is why it’s a little difficult to develop “original” when all the protagonists are pampered aristocrats. It can be done successfully, but how many times?
    I always read a sample of a book online before buying because writing quality tells me a lot before I even get started. Sometimes the opening is well written but it’s a chatty discourse on the character’s current circumstances. If I don’t get “story” in a page or two, I quit. So it isn’t just the writing. Lots of people have perfected good sentence structure. it’s what they do with it that matters!

    Reply
  58. Hi, Joan, and welcome! I totally agree that character is essential, which is why it’s a little difficult to develop “original” when all the protagonists are pampered aristocrats. It can be done successfully, but how many times?
    I always read a sample of a book online before buying because writing quality tells me a lot before I even get started. Sometimes the opening is well written but it’s a chatty discourse on the character’s current circumstances. If I don’t get “story” in a page or two, I quit. So it isn’t just the writing. Lots of people have perfected good sentence structure. it’s what they do with it that matters!

    Reply
  59. Hi, Joan, and welcome! I totally agree that character is essential, which is why it’s a little difficult to develop “original” when all the protagonists are pampered aristocrats. It can be done successfully, but how many times?
    I always read a sample of a book online before buying because writing quality tells me a lot before I even get started. Sometimes the opening is well written but it’s a chatty discourse on the character’s current circumstances. If I don’t get “story” in a page or two, I quit. So it isn’t just the writing. Lots of people have perfected good sentence structure. it’s what they do with it that matters!

    Reply
  60. Hi, Joan, and welcome! I totally agree that character is essential, which is why it’s a little difficult to develop “original” when all the protagonists are pampered aristocrats. It can be done successfully, but how many times?
    I always read a sample of a book online before buying because writing quality tells me a lot before I even get started. Sometimes the opening is well written but it’s a chatty discourse on the character’s current circumstances. If I don’t get “story” in a page or two, I quit. So it isn’t just the writing. Lots of people have perfected good sentence structure. it’s what they do with it that matters!

    Reply
  61. I know you have a mental block on your own material, but I can assure you, every single word in your books count!
    I’ve edited the book down to over 130k by now. But it’s pulling off that satisfactory ending thing that may take some thought.

    Reply
  62. I know you have a mental block on your own material, but I can assure you, every single word in your books count!
    I’ve edited the book down to over 130k by now. But it’s pulling off that satisfactory ending thing that may take some thought.

    Reply
  63. I know you have a mental block on your own material, but I can assure you, every single word in your books count!
    I’ve edited the book down to over 130k by now. But it’s pulling off that satisfactory ending thing that may take some thought.

    Reply
  64. I know you have a mental block on your own material, but I can assure you, every single word in your books count!
    I’ve edited the book down to over 130k by now. But it’s pulling off that satisfactory ending thing that may take some thought.

    Reply
  65. I know you have a mental block on your own material, but I can assure you, every single word in your books count!
    I’ve edited the book down to over 130k by now. But it’s pulling off that satisfactory ending thing that may take some thought.

    Reply
  66. Easy. Humor. If an author can write a story that makes me laugh out loud then I will faithfully read her books. But humor isn’t everything and there are even some authors I follow who don’t use it much at all. In those cases the authors have built a very tightly constructed world that resonates with my own enough that I can easily suspend disbelief and become swallowed by the story. But, for my favorite historical romance writers, for me, it is about the humor. I also appreciate women, not teenagers, who are smart and can hold their own, but understand that they do have limitations and meet and fall for a man that compliments them, not overpowers them. The heroes are protective, yet also able to understand that there are times to let his lady lead and back her up by recognizing her strengths as well. But again, what keeps me coming back, is the humor. Julia Quinn rocks that on all levels for me personally with a lot of others that I am also keen on.

    Reply
  67. Easy. Humor. If an author can write a story that makes me laugh out loud then I will faithfully read her books. But humor isn’t everything and there are even some authors I follow who don’t use it much at all. In those cases the authors have built a very tightly constructed world that resonates with my own enough that I can easily suspend disbelief and become swallowed by the story. But, for my favorite historical romance writers, for me, it is about the humor. I also appreciate women, not teenagers, who are smart and can hold their own, but understand that they do have limitations and meet and fall for a man that compliments them, not overpowers them. The heroes are protective, yet also able to understand that there are times to let his lady lead and back her up by recognizing her strengths as well. But again, what keeps me coming back, is the humor. Julia Quinn rocks that on all levels for me personally with a lot of others that I am also keen on.

    Reply
  68. Easy. Humor. If an author can write a story that makes me laugh out loud then I will faithfully read her books. But humor isn’t everything and there are even some authors I follow who don’t use it much at all. In those cases the authors have built a very tightly constructed world that resonates with my own enough that I can easily suspend disbelief and become swallowed by the story. But, for my favorite historical romance writers, for me, it is about the humor. I also appreciate women, not teenagers, who are smart and can hold their own, but understand that they do have limitations and meet and fall for a man that compliments them, not overpowers them. The heroes are protective, yet also able to understand that there are times to let his lady lead and back her up by recognizing her strengths as well. But again, what keeps me coming back, is the humor. Julia Quinn rocks that on all levels for me personally with a lot of others that I am also keen on.

    Reply
  69. Easy. Humor. If an author can write a story that makes me laugh out loud then I will faithfully read her books. But humor isn’t everything and there are even some authors I follow who don’t use it much at all. In those cases the authors have built a very tightly constructed world that resonates with my own enough that I can easily suspend disbelief and become swallowed by the story. But, for my favorite historical romance writers, for me, it is about the humor. I also appreciate women, not teenagers, who are smart and can hold their own, but understand that they do have limitations and meet and fall for a man that compliments them, not overpowers them. The heroes are protective, yet also able to understand that there are times to let his lady lead and back her up by recognizing her strengths as well. But again, what keeps me coming back, is the humor. Julia Quinn rocks that on all levels for me personally with a lot of others that I am also keen on.

    Reply
  70. Easy. Humor. If an author can write a story that makes me laugh out loud then I will faithfully read her books. But humor isn’t everything and there are even some authors I follow who don’t use it much at all. In those cases the authors have built a very tightly constructed world that resonates with my own enough that I can easily suspend disbelief and become swallowed by the story. But, for my favorite historical romance writers, for me, it is about the humor. I also appreciate women, not teenagers, who are smart and can hold their own, but understand that they do have limitations and meet and fall for a man that compliments them, not overpowers them. The heroes are protective, yet also able to understand that there are times to let his lady lead and back her up by recognizing her strengths as well. But again, what keeps me coming back, is the humor. Julia Quinn rocks that on all levels for me personally with a lot of others that I am also keen on.

    Reply
  71. a very insightful comment, thank you! I adore humor. It’s extremely difficult to do humor that resonates with a large audience, and I’m in awe of the writers who can accomplish it!

    Reply
  72. a very insightful comment, thank you! I adore humor. It’s extremely difficult to do humor that resonates with a large audience, and I’m in awe of the writers who can accomplish it!

    Reply
  73. a very insightful comment, thank you! I adore humor. It’s extremely difficult to do humor that resonates with a large audience, and I’m in awe of the writers who can accomplish it!

    Reply
  74. a very insightful comment, thank you! I adore humor. It’s extremely difficult to do humor that resonates with a large audience, and I’m in awe of the writers who can accomplish it!

    Reply
  75. a very insightful comment, thank you! I adore humor. It’s extremely difficult to do humor that resonates with a large audience, and I’m in awe of the writers who can accomplish it!

    Reply
  76. I have to love the main characters. I have to empathize with them, not of course their circumstances when one is dealing with a duke or diamond, but with their struggles and victories and the little day to day things that make or break a relationship. Where deep down, they’re going through the same things I’ve gone through as far as personal strife goes. I can read a questionable plot, I can overlook a few holes provided the author has made me care about the characters and if they make me cry for them, then I’ll read that story until the book falls apart and then, buy a new one. Gallant Waif, Rose in Winter, Kiss of the Highlander…several others I can’t think of right now. And I think what drew me to your blog so long ago was the fact that your characters all gave me that same feeling. That I loved them enough to cry with them and for them.
    Sheesh! I am such a sap!

    Reply
  77. I have to love the main characters. I have to empathize with them, not of course their circumstances when one is dealing with a duke or diamond, but with their struggles and victories and the little day to day things that make or break a relationship. Where deep down, they’re going through the same things I’ve gone through as far as personal strife goes. I can read a questionable plot, I can overlook a few holes provided the author has made me care about the characters and if they make me cry for them, then I’ll read that story until the book falls apart and then, buy a new one. Gallant Waif, Rose in Winter, Kiss of the Highlander…several others I can’t think of right now. And I think what drew me to your blog so long ago was the fact that your characters all gave me that same feeling. That I loved them enough to cry with them and for them.
    Sheesh! I am such a sap!

    Reply
  78. I have to love the main characters. I have to empathize with them, not of course their circumstances when one is dealing with a duke or diamond, but with their struggles and victories and the little day to day things that make or break a relationship. Where deep down, they’re going through the same things I’ve gone through as far as personal strife goes. I can read a questionable plot, I can overlook a few holes provided the author has made me care about the characters and if they make me cry for them, then I’ll read that story until the book falls apart and then, buy a new one. Gallant Waif, Rose in Winter, Kiss of the Highlander…several others I can’t think of right now. And I think what drew me to your blog so long ago was the fact that your characters all gave me that same feeling. That I loved them enough to cry with them and for them.
    Sheesh! I am such a sap!

    Reply
  79. I have to love the main characters. I have to empathize with them, not of course their circumstances when one is dealing with a duke or diamond, but with their struggles and victories and the little day to day things that make or break a relationship. Where deep down, they’re going through the same things I’ve gone through as far as personal strife goes. I can read a questionable plot, I can overlook a few holes provided the author has made me care about the characters and if they make me cry for them, then I’ll read that story until the book falls apart and then, buy a new one. Gallant Waif, Rose in Winter, Kiss of the Highlander…several others I can’t think of right now. And I think what drew me to your blog so long ago was the fact that your characters all gave me that same feeling. That I loved them enough to cry with them and for them.
    Sheesh! I am such a sap!

    Reply
  80. I have to love the main characters. I have to empathize with them, not of course their circumstances when one is dealing with a duke or diamond, but with their struggles and victories and the little day to day things that make or break a relationship. Where deep down, they’re going through the same things I’ve gone through as far as personal strife goes. I can read a questionable plot, I can overlook a few holes provided the author has made me care about the characters and if they make me cry for them, then I’ll read that story until the book falls apart and then, buy a new one. Gallant Waif, Rose in Winter, Kiss of the Highlander…several others I can’t think of right now. And I think what drew me to your blog so long ago was the fact that your characters all gave me that same feeling. That I loved them enough to cry with them and for them.
    Sheesh! I am such a sap!

    Reply
  81. The books I read and reread combine character, plot, and good writing. My very first reading is sometimes a double trip — I burn through for the story line, return to page one and read luxuriantly for the character development and all the good twists of plot and character. If I don’t like the characters at first, I seldom finish the book. And if I don’t remember this characters fondly I never reread a book and I never keep it.
    I am finding that some of my early books no longer engage my attention. I am gradually removing them from out huge collection of books. But some 19th century authors are keepers as are many from the 20th century and this comparatively new 21st century.

    Reply
  82. The books I read and reread combine character, plot, and good writing. My very first reading is sometimes a double trip — I burn through for the story line, return to page one and read luxuriantly for the character development and all the good twists of plot and character. If I don’t like the characters at first, I seldom finish the book. And if I don’t remember this characters fondly I never reread a book and I never keep it.
    I am finding that some of my early books no longer engage my attention. I am gradually removing them from out huge collection of books. But some 19th century authors are keepers as are many from the 20th century and this comparatively new 21st century.

    Reply
  83. The books I read and reread combine character, plot, and good writing. My very first reading is sometimes a double trip — I burn through for the story line, return to page one and read luxuriantly for the character development and all the good twists of plot and character. If I don’t like the characters at first, I seldom finish the book. And if I don’t remember this characters fondly I never reread a book and I never keep it.
    I am finding that some of my early books no longer engage my attention. I am gradually removing them from out huge collection of books. But some 19th century authors are keepers as are many from the 20th century and this comparatively new 21st century.

    Reply
  84. The books I read and reread combine character, plot, and good writing. My very first reading is sometimes a double trip — I burn through for the story line, return to page one and read luxuriantly for the character development and all the good twists of plot and character. If I don’t like the characters at first, I seldom finish the book. And if I don’t remember this characters fondly I never reread a book and I never keep it.
    I am finding that some of my early books no longer engage my attention. I am gradually removing them from out huge collection of books. But some 19th century authors are keepers as are many from the 20th century and this comparatively new 21st century.

    Reply
  85. The books I read and reread combine character, plot, and good writing. My very first reading is sometimes a double trip — I burn through for the story line, return to page one and read luxuriantly for the character development and all the good twists of plot and character. If I don’t like the characters at first, I seldom finish the book. And if I don’t remember this characters fondly I never reread a book and I never keep it.
    I am finding that some of my early books no longer engage my attention. I am gradually removing them from out huge collection of books. But some 19th century authors are keepers as are many from the 20th century and this comparatively new 21st century.

    Reply
  86. Characters who are emotionally real to me, and a good prose style — which I find more and more in the older books I seek out and read. Except for a handful of authors currently writing (many of whom hang out here), I’m just not interested in current regencies anymore; there’s too much of a sameness, there’s a narrowness of focus, there’s not much history, and the balance of sex to love/romance is way skewed to the sex end of the spectrum. I love finding an old Signet, Fawcett or Harlequin series regency from the 1970s-2000s that I haven’t read yet, and my favorite titles even from people still writing (Mary Balogh for one) are from that era. They seem to me to be fresher, more literate, more complex and more intense than the mechanical stuff being cranked out — by other people! — now 🙁

    Reply
  87. Characters who are emotionally real to me, and a good prose style — which I find more and more in the older books I seek out and read. Except for a handful of authors currently writing (many of whom hang out here), I’m just not interested in current regencies anymore; there’s too much of a sameness, there’s a narrowness of focus, there’s not much history, and the balance of sex to love/romance is way skewed to the sex end of the spectrum. I love finding an old Signet, Fawcett or Harlequin series regency from the 1970s-2000s that I haven’t read yet, and my favorite titles even from people still writing (Mary Balogh for one) are from that era. They seem to me to be fresher, more literate, more complex and more intense than the mechanical stuff being cranked out — by other people! — now 🙁

    Reply
  88. Characters who are emotionally real to me, and a good prose style — which I find more and more in the older books I seek out and read. Except for a handful of authors currently writing (many of whom hang out here), I’m just not interested in current regencies anymore; there’s too much of a sameness, there’s a narrowness of focus, there’s not much history, and the balance of sex to love/romance is way skewed to the sex end of the spectrum. I love finding an old Signet, Fawcett or Harlequin series regency from the 1970s-2000s that I haven’t read yet, and my favorite titles even from people still writing (Mary Balogh for one) are from that era. They seem to me to be fresher, more literate, more complex and more intense than the mechanical stuff being cranked out — by other people! — now 🙁

    Reply
  89. Characters who are emotionally real to me, and a good prose style — which I find more and more in the older books I seek out and read. Except for a handful of authors currently writing (many of whom hang out here), I’m just not interested in current regencies anymore; there’s too much of a sameness, there’s a narrowness of focus, there’s not much history, and the balance of sex to love/romance is way skewed to the sex end of the spectrum. I love finding an old Signet, Fawcett or Harlequin series regency from the 1970s-2000s that I haven’t read yet, and my favorite titles even from people still writing (Mary Balogh for one) are from that era. They seem to me to be fresher, more literate, more complex and more intense than the mechanical stuff being cranked out — by other people! — now 🙁

    Reply
  90. Characters who are emotionally real to me, and a good prose style — which I find more and more in the older books I seek out and read. Except for a handful of authors currently writing (many of whom hang out here), I’m just not interested in current regencies anymore; there’s too much of a sameness, there’s a narrowness of focus, there’s not much history, and the balance of sex to love/romance is way skewed to the sex end of the spectrum. I love finding an old Signet, Fawcett or Harlequin series regency from the 1970s-2000s that I haven’t read yet, and my favorite titles even from people still writing (Mary Balogh for one) are from that era. They seem to me to be fresher, more literate, more complex and more intense than the mechanical stuff being cranked out — by other people! — now 🙁

    Reply
  91. I don’t have to like the characters at the beginning (so long as they’re not hopelessly vile) — but I’d better like them by the end, or I certainly won’t keep it 🙂

    Reply
  92. I don’t have to like the characters at the beginning (so long as they’re not hopelessly vile) — but I’d better like them by the end, or I certainly won’t keep it 🙂

    Reply
  93. I don’t have to like the characters at the beginning (so long as they’re not hopelessly vile) — but I’d better like them by the end, or I certainly won’t keep it 🙂

    Reply
  94. I don’t have to like the characters at the beginning (so long as they’re not hopelessly vile) — but I’d better like them by the end, or I certainly won’t keep it 🙂

    Reply
  95. I don’t have to like the characters at the beginning (so long as they’re not hopelessly vile) — but I’d better like them by the end, or I certainly won’t keep it 🙂

    Reply
  96. I envy you the ability to go back and re-read. I never seem to find the time, and the few times I tried (while culling my keeper stack, sob), I couldn’t remember anything about the book except pieces of plot. And I was sadly disappointed in so many that I finally just closed my eyes and grabbed what would fit in a box. I really need to re-read more often!

    Reply
  97. I envy you the ability to go back and re-read. I never seem to find the time, and the few times I tried (while culling my keeper stack, sob), I couldn’t remember anything about the book except pieces of plot. And I was sadly disappointed in so many that I finally just closed my eyes and grabbed what would fit in a box. I really need to re-read more often!

    Reply
  98. I envy you the ability to go back and re-read. I never seem to find the time, and the few times I tried (while culling my keeper stack, sob), I couldn’t remember anything about the book except pieces of plot. And I was sadly disappointed in so many that I finally just closed my eyes and grabbed what would fit in a box. I really need to re-read more often!

    Reply
  99. I envy you the ability to go back and re-read. I never seem to find the time, and the few times I tried (while culling my keeper stack, sob), I couldn’t remember anything about the book except pieces of plot. And I was sadly disappointed in so many that I finally just closed my eyes and grabbed what would fit in a box. I really need to re-read more often!

    Reply
  100. I envy you the ability to go back and re-read. I never seem to find the time, and the few times I tried (while culling my keeper stack, sob), I couldn’t remember anything about the book except pieces of plot. And I was sadly disappointed in so many that I finally just closed my eyes and grabbed what would fit in a box. I really need to re-read more often!

    Reply
  101. They were certainly more complex if some of my oldies are any evidence! I’m torn on that one. I loved the oldies and I’m not fond of acres of sex, but I also love the dialogue and quick pacing of some of the new authors. So it burns down to whether they can make that pacing work with good characters and story. But yes, the old Regencies…they were a lovely world of their own.

    Reply
  102. They were certainly more complex if some of my oldies are any evidence! I’m torn on that one. I loved the oldies and I’m not fond of acres of sex, but I also love the dialogue and quick pacing of some of the new authors. So it burns down to whether they can make that pacing work with good characters and story. But yes, the old Regencies…they were a lovely world of their own.

    Reply
  103. They were certainly more complex if some of my oldies are any evidence! I’m torn on that one. I loved the oldies and I’m not fond of acres of sex, but I also love the dialogue and quick pacing of some of the new authors. So it burns down to whether they can make that pacing work with good characters and story. But yes, the old Regencies…they were a lovely world of their own.

    Reply
  104. They were certainly more complex if some of my oldies are any evidence! I’m torn on that one. I loved the oldies and I’m not fond of acres of sex, but I also love the dialogue and quick pacing of some of the new authors. So it burns down to whether they can make that pacing work with good characters and story. But yes, the old Regencies…they were a lovely world of their own.

    Reply
  105. They were certainly more complex if some of my oldies are any evidence! I’m torn on that one. I loved the oldies and I’m not fond of acres of sex, but I also love the dialogue and quick pacing of some of the new authors. So it burns down to whether they can make that pacing work with good characters and story. But yes, the old Regencies…they were a lovely world of their own.

    Reply
  106. Marian Chesney (she’ll never be M. C. Beaton to me) and Barbara Metzger top my list of favorite authors for delightful humor—fun characters, clever storylines, and, in Metzger’s case, the most humorous writing style ever. Chesney’s wicked-funny, debutante-fixing sisters pulling each other’s hair out while ROF at Almack’s (but still “good ton”) and Metzger’s Miss Lockharte’s Letters are high points in my Regency reading history. Oh, and (to diverge slightly) anything with “Whistledown” in the title. I like a deeper Regency as well as anyone, but it’s the humorously written ones that stick with me.

    Reply
  107. Marian Chesney (she’ll never be M. C. Beaton to me) and Barbara Metzger top my list of favorite authors for delightful humor—fun characters, clever storylines, and, in Metzger’s case, the most humorous writing style ever. Chesney’s wicked-funny, debutante-fixing sisters pulling each other’s hair out while ROF at Almack’s (but still “good ton”) and Metzger’s Miss Lockharte’s Letters are high points in my Regency reading history. Oh, and (to diverge slightly) anything with “Whistledown” in the title. I like a deeper Regency as well as anyone, but it’s the humorously written ones that stick with me.

    Reply
  108. Marian Chesney (she’ll never be M. C. Beaton to me) and Barbara Metzger top my list of favorite authors for delightful humor—fun characters, clever storylines, and, in Metzger’s case, the most humorous writing style ever. Chesney’s wicked-funny, debutante-fixing sisters pulling each other’s hair out while ROF at Almack’s (but still “good ton”) and Metzger’s Miss Lockharte’s Letters are high points in my Regency reading history. Oh, and (to diverge slightly) anything with “Whistledown” in the title. I like a deeper Regency as well as anyone, but it’s the humorously written ones that stick with me.

    Reply
  109. Marian Chesney (she’ll never be M. C. Beaton to me) and Barbara Metzger top my list of favorite authors for delightful humor—fun characters, clever storylines, and, in Metzger’s case, the most humorous writing style ever. Chesney’s wicked-funny, debutante-fixing sisters pulling each other’s hair out while ROF at Almack’s (but still “good ton”) and Metzger’s Miss Lockharte’s Letters are high points in my Regency reading history. Oh, and (to diverge slightly) anything with “Whistledown” in the title. I like a deeper Regency as well as anyone, but it’s the humorously written ones that stick with me.

    Reply
  110. Marian Chesney (she’ll never be M. C. Beaton to me) and Barbara Metzger top my list of favorite authors for delightful humor—fun characters, clever storylines, and, in Metzger’s case, the most humorous writing style ever. Chesney’s wicked-funny, debutante-fixing sisters pulling each other’s hair out while ROF at Almack’s (but still “good ton”) and Metzger’s Miss Lockharte’s Letters are high points in my Regency reading history. Oh, and (to diverge slightly) anything with “Whistledown” in the title. I like a deeper Regency as well as anyone, but it’s the humorously written ones that stick with me.

    Reply
  111. I have to like the characters. I disliked most of the long ago rape and pillage and pirate books ( except by some one like Sabatini who didn’t write romances.) Joan Wolf was one who got me enthralled with the regency period. In her early books her characters were wonderful and the stories as though etched on glass. I still have many of the older books and reread them.I also like stories with something happening besides the couple falling in love as those stories too often are made of too much of bedroom scenes. I like the romance to take place outside of the bedroom with sex the result of love and not the prelude to it.
    Older books used to contain more descriptions of the setting.
    I also wish the editors didn’t want all heroes to be dukes. There were only 24 at most, not counting royals– in the early 19th century. However, I am a literary snob and want the hero to at least be a gentleman.
    I find I am sticking more closely to favorite authors and rereading books rather than being adventuresome and trying many new ones. Excerpts and free do help acquaint me with new Kindle offerings.

    Reply
  112. I have to like the characters. I disliked most of the long ago rape and pillage and pirate books ( except by some one like Sabatini who didn’t write romances.) Joan Wolf was one who got me enthralled with the regency period. In her early books her characters were wonderful and the stories as though etched on glass. I still have many of the older books and reread them.I also like stories with something happening besides the couple falling in love as those stories too often are made of too much of bedroom scenes. I like the romance to take place outside of the bedroom with sex the result of love and not the prelude to it.
    Older books used to contain more descriptions of the setting.
    I also wish the editors didn’t want all heroes to be dukes. There were only 24 at most, not counting royals– in the early 19th century. However, I am a literary snob and want the hero to at least be a gentleman.
    I find I am sticking more closely to favorite authors and rereading books rather than being adventuresome and trying many new ones. Excerpts and free do help acquaint me with new Kindle offerings.

    Reply
  113. I have to like the characters. I disliked most of the long ago rape and pillage and pirate books ( except by some one like Sabatini who didn’t write romances.) Joan Wolf was one who got me enthralled with the regency period. In her early books her characters were wonderful and the stories as though etched on glass. I still have many of the older books and reread them.I also like stories with something happening besides the couple falling in love as those stories too often are made of too much of bedroom scenes. I like the romance to take place outside of the bedroom with sex the result of love and not the prelude to it.
    Older books used to contain more descriptions of the setting.
    I also wish the editors didn’t want all heroes to be dukes. There were only 24 at most, not counting royals– in the early 19th century. However, I am a literary snob and want the hero to at least be a gentleman.
    I find I am sticking more closely to favorite authors and rereading books rather than being adventuresome and trying many new ones. Excerpts and free do help acquaint me with new Kindle offerings.

    Reply
  114. I have to like the characters. I disliked most of the long ago rape and pillage and pirate books ( except by some one like Sabatini who didn’t write romances.) Joan Wolf was one who got me enthralled with the regency period. In her early books her characters were wonderful and the stories as though etched on glass. I still have many of the older books and reread them.I also like stories with something happening besides the couple falling in love as those stories too often are made of too much of bedroom scenes. I like the romance to take place outside of the bedroom with sex the result of love and not the prelude to it.
    Older books used to contain more descriptions of the setting.
    I also wish the editors didn’t want all heroes to be dukes. There were only 24 at most, not counting royals– in the early 19th century. However, I am a literary snob and want the hero to at least be a gentleman.
    I find I am sticking more closely to favorite authors and rereading books rather than being adventuresome and trying many new ones. Excerpts and free do help acquaint me with new Kindle offerings.

    Reply
  115. I have to like the characters. I disliked most of the long ago rape and pillage and pirate books ( except by some one like Sabatini who didn’t write romances.) Joan Wolf was one who got me enthralled with the regency period. In her early books her characters were wonderful and the stories as though etched on glass. I still have many of the older books and reread them.I also like stories with something happening besides the couple falling in love as those stories too often are made of too much of bedroom scenes. I like the romance to take place outside of the bedroom with sex the result of love and not the prelude to it.
    Older books used to contain more descriptions of the setting.
    I also wish the editors didn’t want all heroes to be dukes. There were only 24 at most, not counting royals– in the early 19th century. However, I am a literary snob and want the hero to at least be a gentleman.
    I find I am sticking more closely to favorite authors and rereading books rather than being adventuresome and trying many new ones. Excerpts and free do help acquaint me with new Kindle offerings.

    Reply
  116. I am afraid there are too many readers like you, Nancy, who are looking for books they can no longer find, and this makes me irrationally sad. The only way authors had to reach readers was the bookstore, where our covers gave you a good idea of what you’re buying. These days…the bookstore is limited and we have no means of reaching our audience. I’m sure it will all settle out eventually, but I’m not sure when!

    Reply
  117. I am afraid there are too many readers like you, Nancy, who are looking for books they can no longer find, and this makes me irrationally sad. The only way authors had to reach readers was the bookstore, where our covers gave you a good idea of what you’re buying. These days…the bookstore is limited and we have no means of reaching our audience. I’m sure it will all settle out eventually, but I’m not sure when!

    Reply
  118. I am afraid there are too many readers like you, Nancy, who are looking for books they can no longer find, and this makes me irrationally sad. The only way authors had to reach readers was the bookstore, where our covers gave you a good idea of what you’re buying. These days…the bookstore is limited and we have no means of reaching our audience. I’m sure it will all settle out eventually, but I’m not sure when!

    Reply
  119. I am afraid there are too many readers like you, Nancy, who are looking for books they can no longer find, and this makes me irrationally sad. The only way authors had to reach readers was the bookstore, where our covers gave you a good idea of what you’re buying. These days…the bookstore is limited and we have no means of reaching our audience. I’m sure it will all settle out eventually, but I’m not sure when!

    Reply
  120. I am afraid there are too many readers like you, Nancy, who are looking for books they can no longer find, and this makes me irrationally sad. The only way authors had to reach readers was the bookstore, where our covers gave you a good idea of what you’re buying. These days…the bookstore is limited and we have no means of reaching our audience. I’m sure it will all settle out eventually, but I’m not sure when!

    Reply
  121. I’m with those who like humor. I have lots of favorite authors, including you, Pat, but my absolute favorite is Barbara Metzger. She can do bust-a-gut-laughing stories while still being historically accurate. Lots of writers can do humor, but none like her. I wish she was still writing.
    That said, I also like long books that let you immerse yourself in the story. While I don’t care for those older books with the Smart Bitches’ “alphole” heroes, those authors could do both the slimeballs and the heroes who will pass muster today. Think Jennifer Blake’s “Royal Seduction” and “Fierce Eden”. In any case, they were always great stories.
    I find many of the stories today thin. The only thing there is the romance, usually with lots of sex that has become more and more explicit over the years. I want STORY! Plus a lot of humor. I don’t think there really is a category of historical romantic comedy. I wish there was.
    Breaking up a long, older book is a good idea. Regencies remain my first choice of book, but I read Westerns, too.

    Reply
  122. I’m with those who like humor. I have lots of favorite authors, including you, Pat, but my absolute favorite is Barbara Metzger. She can do bust-a-gut-laughing stories while still being historically accurate. Lots of writers can do humor, but none like her. I wish she was still writing.
    That said, I also like long books that let you immerse yourself in the story. While I don’t care for those older books with the Smart Bitches’ “alphole” heroes, those authors could do both the slimeballs and the heroes who will pass muster today. Think Jennifer Blake’s “Royal Seduction” and “Fierce Eden”. In any case, they were always great stories.
    I find many of the stories today thin. The only thing there is the romance, usually with lots of sex that has become more and more explicit over the years. I want STORY! Plus a lot of humor. I don’t think there really is a category of historical romantic comedy. I wish there was.
    Breaking up a long, older book is a good idea. Regencies remain my first choice of book, but I read Westerns, too.

    Reply
  123. I’m with those who like humor. I have lots of favorite authors, including you, Pat, but my absolute favorite is Barbara Metzger. She can do bust-a-gut-laughing stories while still being historically accurate. Lots of writers can do humor, but none like her. I wish she was still writing.
    That said, I also like long books that let you immerse yourself in the story. While I don’t care for those older books with the Smart Bitches’ “alphole” heroes, those authors could do both the slimeballs and the heroes who will pass muster today. Think Jennifer Blake’s “Royal Seduction” and “Fierce Eden”. In any case, they were always great stories.
    I find many of the stories today thin. The only thing there is the romance, usually with lots of sex that has become more and more explicit over the years. I want STORY! Plus a lot of humor. I don’t think there really is a category of historical romantic comedy. I wish there was.
    Breaking up a long, older book is a good idea. Regencies remain my first choice of book, but I read Westerns, too.

    Reply
  124. I’m with those who like humor. I have lots of favorite authors, including you, Pat, but my absolute favorite is Barbara Metzger. She can do bust-a-gut-laughing stories while still being historically accurate. Lots of writers can do humor, but none like her. I wish she was still writing.
    That said, I also like long books that let you immerse yourself in the story. While I don’t care for those older books with the Smart Bitches’ “alphole” heroes, those authors could do both the slimeballs and the heroes who will pass muster today. Think Jennifer Blake’s “Royal Seduction” and “Fierce Eden”. In any case, they were always great stories.
    I find many of the stories today thin. The only thing there is the romance, usually with lots of sex that has become more and more explicit over the years. I want STORY! Plus a lot of humor. I don’t think there really is a category of historical romantic comedy. I wish there was.
    Breaking up a long, older book is a good idea. Regencies remain my first choice of book, but I read Westerns, too.

    Reply
  125. I’m with those who like humor. I have lots of favorite authors, including you, Pat, but my absolute favorite is Barbara Metzger. She can do bust-a-gut-laughing stories while still being historically accurate. Lots of writers can do humor, but none like her. I wish she was still writing.
    That said, I also like long books that let you immerse yourself in the story. While I don’t care for those older books with the Smart Bitches’ “alphole” heroes, those authors could do both the slimeballs and the heroes who will pass muster today. Think Jennifer Blake’s “Royal Seduction” and “Fierce Eden”. In any case, they were always great stories.
    I find many of the stories today thin. The only thing there is the romance, usually with lots of sex that has become more and more explicit over the years. I want STORY! Plus a lot of humor. I don’t think there really is a category of historical romantic comedy. I wish there was.
    Breaking up a long, older book is a good idea. Regencies remain my first choice of book, but I read Westerns, too.

    Reply
  126. Barbara is a long time favorite of many of us!
    The lack of word count hurts the ability to do story. We used to write 150k words and now it’s almost half that. So often, authors today have to include sex, which means they have to exclude story. That leaves those of us who prefer the whole enchilada in a hurt!

    Reply
  127. Barbara is a long time favorite of many of us!
    The lack of word count hurts the ability to do story. We used to write 150k words and now it’s almost half that. So often, authors today have to include sex, which means they have to exclude story. That leaves those of us who prefer the whole enchilada in a hurt!

    Reply
  128. Barbara is a long time favorite of many of us!
    The lack of word count hurts the ability to do story. We used to write 150k words and now it’s almost half that. So often, authors today have to include sex, which means they have to exclude story. That leaves those of us who prefer the whole enchilada in a hurt!

    Reply
  129. Barbara is a long time favorite of many of us!
    The lack of word count hurts the ability to do story. We used to write 150k words and now it’s almost half that. So often, authors today have to include sex, which means they have to exclude story. That leaves those of us who prefer the whole enchilada in a hurt!

    Reply
  130. Barbara is a long time favorite of many of us!
    The lack of word count hurts the ability to do story. We used to write 150k words and now it’s almost half that. So often, authors today have to include sex, which means they have to exclude story. That leaves those of us who prefer the whole enchilada in a hurt!

    Reply
  131. For those of us who like reading historical romances the appeal is in the setting of the tale in a different culture to our modern times. Having said that we still want heroes to be rich, noble, gallant, kind, honorable and loving. Even as the stories feature the heroine in many different roles : courageous, creative, rich, poor, defiant, teacher, artist etc. the poor heroes are stuck with fewer dimensions. I would like to read stories of ordinary men of that period that are gallant kind maybe not as rich. Maybe then the setting too will be a rural home, or a market area..or a farm. Just looking for some variety and new parameters in this old genre.

    Reply
  132. For those of us who like reading historical romances the appeal is in the setting of the tale in a different culture to our modern times. Having said that we still want heroes to be rich, noble, gallant, kind, honorable and loving. Even as the stories feature the heroine in many different roles : courageous, creative, rich, poor, defiant, teacher, artist etc. the poor heroes are stuck with fewer dimensions. I would like to read stories of ordinary men of that period that are gallant kind maybe not as rich. Maybe then the setting too will be a rural home, or a market area..or a farm. Just looking for some variety and new parameters in this old genre.

    Reply
  133. For those of us who like reading historical romances the appeal is in the setting of the tale in a different culture to our modern times. Having said that we still want heroes to be rich, noble, gallant, kind, honorable and loving. Even as the stories feature the heroine in many different roles : courageous, creative, rich, poor, defiant, teacher, artist etc. the poor heroes are stuck with fewer dimensions. I would like to read stories of ordinary men of that period that are gallant kind maybe not as rich. Maybe then the setting too will be a rural home, or a market area..or a farm. Just looking for some variety and new parameters in this old genre.

    Reply
  134. For those of us who like reading historical romances the appeal is in the setting of the tale in a different culture to our modern times. Having said that we still want heroes to be rich, noble, gallant, kind, honorable and loving. Even as the stories feature the heroine in many different roles : courageous, creative, rich, poor, defiant, teacher, artist etc. the poor heroes are stuck with fewer dimensions. I would like to read stories of ordinary men of that period that are gallant kind maybe not as rich. Maybe then the setting too will be a rural home, or a market area..or a farm. Just looking for some variety and new parameters in this old genre.

    Reply
  135. For those of us who like reading historical romances the appeal is in the setting of the tale in a different culture to our modern times. Having said that we still want heroes to be rich, noble, gallant, kind, honorable and loving. Even as the stories feature the heroine in many different roles : courageous, creative, rich, poor, defiant, teacher, artist etc. the poor heroes are stuck with fewer dimensions. I would like to read stories of ordinary men of that period that are gallant kind maybe not as rich. Maybe then the setting too will be a rural home, or a market area..or a farm. Just looking for some variety and new parameters in this old genre.

    Reply
  136. I know in my classics I used to do that all the time–the gallant hero who worked his way up from the bottom. These days, if my guy is broke, he’s also an aristocrat. I think the American historicals lent themselves to this theme more.

    Reply
  137. I know in my classics I used to do that all the time–the gallant hero who worked his way up from the bottom. These days, if my guy is broke, he’s also an aristocrat. I think the American historicals lent themselves to this theme more.

    Reply
  138. I know in my classics I used to do that all the time–the gallant hero who worked his way up from the bottom. These days, if my guy is broke, he’s also an aristocrat. I think the American historicals lent themselves to this theme more.

    Reply
  139. I know in my classics I used to do that all the time–the gallant hero who worked his way up from the bottom. These days, if my guy is broke, he’s also an aristocrat. I think the American historicals lent themselves to this theme more.

    Reply
  140. I know in my classics I used to do that all the time–the gallant hero who worked his way up from the bottom. These days, if my guy is broke, he’s also an aristocrat. I think the American historicals lent themselves to this theme more.

    Reply
  141. I read and enjoy so many different kind of romances, that I’m not very sure they’ve got one thing in common. I guess I look for different things in different authors.
    As I started reading romance in the 80s, I know that the world has changed and only Sandra Brown is still one of my favourite authors from the 80s and 90s, and she has nothing in common with some of the authors I enjoy today –Meljean Brook, Joanna Bourne, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sherry Thomas, Pamela Clare, Courtney Milan, KJ Charles, to name a few.
    I’ve been thinking about the books I’ve given a five-star review. What did I found special in this one or another one?
    Splendid worldbuilding. A very accurate historical setting.
    Adult characters that don’t talk or act as teenagers.
    A little bit of complexity in the story itself with different plots that are not all of them related to the love story (spies, the heroine job, family problems, feminism, the way minorities were treated in those times).
    Sexual tension and just a couple of sexually explicit scenes are enough for me.
    But I’m not a trend-setter reviewer. It seems to me that my personal tastes are different from the majority of readers, as I’m not interested in dukes or the nobility, and I’d rather read a book not set in the British Isles.

    Reply
  142. I read and enjoy so many different kind of romances, that I’m not very sure they’ve got one thing in common. I guess I look for different things in different authors.
    As I started reading romance in the 80s, I know that the world has changed and only Sandra Brown is still one of my favourite authors from the 80s and 90s, and she has nothing in common with some of the authors I enjoy today –Meljean Brook, Joanna Bourne, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sherry Thomas, Pamela Clare, Courtney Milan, KJ Charles, to name a few.
    I’ve been thinking about the books I’ve given a five-star review. What did I found special in this one or another one?
    Splendid worldbuilding. A very accurate historical setting.
    Adult characters that don’t talk or act as teenagers.
    A little bit of complexity in the story itself with different plots that are not all of them related to the love story (spies, the heroine job, family problems, feminism, the way minorities were treated in those times).
    Sexual tension and just a couple of sexually explicit scenes are enough for me.
    But I’m not a trend-setter reviewer. It seems to me that my personal tastes are different from the majority of readers, as I’m not interested in dukes or the nobility, and I’d rather read a book not set in the British Isles.

    Reply
  143. I read and enjoy so many different kind of romances, that I’m not very sure they’ve got one thing in common. I guess I look for different things in different authors.
    As I started reading romance in the 80s, I know that the world has changed and only Sandra Brown is still one of my favourite authors from the 80s and 90s, and she has nothing in common with some of the authors I enjoy today –Meljean Brook, Joanna Bourne, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sherry Thomas, Pamela Clare, Courtney Milan, KJ Charles, to name a few.
    I’ve been thinking about the books I’ve given a five-star review. What did I found special in this one or another one?
    Splendid worldbuilding. A very accurate historical setting.
    Adult characters that don’t talk or act as teenagers.
    A little bit of complexity in the story itself with different plots that are not all of them related to the love story (spies, the heroine job, family problems, feminism, the way minorities were treated in those times).
    Sexual tension and just a couple of sexually explicit scenes are enough for me.
    But I’m not a trend-setter reviewer. It seems to me that my personal tastes are different from the majority of readers, as I’m not interested in dukes or the nobility, and I’d rather read a book not set in the British Isles.

    Reply
  144. I read and enjoy so many different kind of romances, that I’m not very sure they’ve got one thing in common. I guess I look for different things in different authors.
    As I started reading romance in the 80s, I know that the world has changed and only Sandra Brown is still one of my favourite authors from the 80s and 90s, and she has nothing in common with some of the authors I enjoy today –Meljean Brook, Joanna Bourne, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sherry Thomas, Pamela Clare, Courtney Milan, KJ Charles, to name a few.
    I’ve been thinking about the books I’ve given a five-star review. What did I found special in this one or another one?
    Splendid worldbuilding. A very accurate historical setting.
    Adult characters that don’t talk or act as teenagers.
    A little bit of complexity in the story itself with different plots that are not all of them related to the love story (spies, the heroine job, family problems, feminism, the way minorities were treated in those times).
    Sexual tension and just a couple of sexually explicit scenes are enough for me.
    But I’m not a trend-setter reviewer. It seems to me that my personal tastes are different from the majority of readers, as I’m not interested in dukes or the nobility, and I’d rather read a book not set in the British Isles.

    Reply
  145. I read and enjoy so many different kind of romances, that I’m not very sure they’ve got one thing in common. I guess I look for different things in different authors.
    As I started reading romance in the 80s, I know that the world has changed and only Sandra Brown is still one of my favourite authors from the 80s and 90s, and she has nothing in common with some of the authors I enjoy today –Meljean Brook, Joanna Bourne, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sherry Thomas, Pamela Clare, Courtney Milan, KJ Charles, to name a few.
    I’ve been thinking about the books I’ve given a five-star review. What did I found special in this one or another one?
    Splendid worldbuilding. A very accurate historical setting.
    Adult characters that don’t talk or act as teenagers.
    A little bit of complexity in the story itself with different plots that are not all of them related to the love story (spies, the heroine job, family problems, feminism, the way minorities were treated in those times).
    Sexual tension and just a couple of sexually explicit scenes are enough for me.
    But I’m not a trend-setter reviewer. It seems to me that my personal tastes are different from the majority of readers, as I’m not interested in dukes or the nobility, and I’d rather read a book not set in the British Isles.

    Reply
  146. Barbara Metzger was writing contemporary urban fantasy for DAW as Celia Jerome. I haven’t heard anything about her lately.

    Reply
  147. Barbara Metzger was writing contemporary urban fantasy for DAW as Celia Jerome. I haven’t heard anything about her lately.

    Reply
  148. Barbara Metzger was writing contemporary urban fantasy for DAW as Celia Jerome. I haven’t heard anything about her lately.

    Reply
  149. Barbara Metzger was writing contemporary urban fantasy for DAW as Celia Jerome. I haven’t heard anything about her lately.

    Reply
  150. Barbara Metzger was writing contemporary urban fantasy for DAW as Celia Jerome. I haven’t heard anything about her lately.

    Reply
  151. Now that I’ve got Scribd, my biggest problem is too many books to read. I am finding all kinds of wonderful stuff on authors’ backlists. Right now I am working my way through some of Nicola Cornick’s old books. I love all types of historicals; travel adventures, mystery, spy stories, drawing room comedy, traditional Regency romance. I have some favorite tropes, like Cinderella stories and marriages of convenience. But the characters have to be well drawn and likeable. Lately I rarely find the books I want at a bookstore, in fact the only 2 I’ve bought in the past few months were Rogue Spy and The Spring Bride. Most of my books come from Amazon, Scribd, Paperbackswap and the library.

    Reply
  152. Now that I’ve got Scribd, my biggest problem is too many books to read. I am finding all kinds of wonderful stuff on authors’ backlists. Right now I am working my way through some of Nicola Cornick’s old books. I love all types of historicals; travel adventures, mystery, spy stories, drawing room comedy, traditional Regency romance. I have some favorite tropes, like Cinderella stories and marriages of convenience. But the characters have to be well drawn and likeable. Lately I rarely find the books I want at a bookstore, in fact the only 2 I’ve bought in the past few months were Rogue Spy and The Spring Bride. Most of my books come from Amazon, Scribd, Paperbackswap and the library.

    Reply
  153. Now that I’ve got Scribd, my biggest problem is too many books to read. I am finding all kinds of wonderful stuff on authors’ backlists. Right now I am working my way through some of Nicola Cornick’s old books. I love all types of historicals; travel adventures, mystery, spy stories, drawing room comedy, traditional Regency romance. I have some favorite tropes, like Cinderella stories and marriages of convenience. But the characters have to be well drawn and likeable. Lately I rarely find the books I want at a bookstore, in fact the only 2 I’ve bought in the past few months were Rogue Spy and The Spring Bride. Most of my books come from Amazon, Scribd, Paperbackswap and the library.

    Reply
  154. Now that I’ve got Scribd, my biggest problem is too many books to read. I am finding all kinds of wonderful stuff on authors’ backlists. Right now I am working my way through some of Nicola Cornick’s old books. I love all types of historicals; travel adventures, mystery, spy stories, drawing room comedy, traditional Regency romance. I have some favorite tropes, like Cinderella stories and marriages of convenience. But the characters have to be well drawn and likeable. Lately I rarely find the books I want at a bookstore, in fact the only 2 I’ve bought in the past few months were Rogue Spy and The Spring Bride. Most of my books come from Amazon, Scribd, Paperbackswap and the library.

    Reply
  155. Now that I’ve got Scribd, my biggest problem is too many books to read. I am finding all kinds of wonderful stuff on authors’ backlists. Right now I am working my way through some of Nicola Cornick’s old books. I love all types of historicals; travel adventures, mystery, spy stories, drawing room comedy, traditional Regency romance. I have some favorite tropes, like Cinderella stories and marriages of convenience. But the characters have to be well drawn and likeable. Lately I rarely find the books I want at a bookstore, in fact the only 2 I’ve bought in the past few months were Rogue Spy and The Spring Bride. Most of my books come from Amazon, Scribd, Paperbackswap and the library.

    Reply

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