My whirlwind affair with the romance genre began with the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Spring Fling Writers’ Conference. It was there, over chocolate fondue, that I discovered the language of love.
It is a surprisingly complex language, for there’s more to romance novels than the bodice-rippers we passed around in eighth grade. There are, in fact, dozens of genres and sub-genres, including paranormal romance, time-travel romance, paranormal time-travel romance, mermaid romance, cowboy romance, and inspirational Christian romance, to name just a few.
This was all news to me. I hadn’t picked up a romance in fifteen years, since Flowers in the Attic, which might not have even been a romance, though there was a lot of disturbing sex.
I read “serious fiction.” I read “classic literature.” I spent last summer working my way down Modern Library’s “100 Greatest Novels” list, crossing titles off one by one with a flourish of my feather pen.
The three free books I received at the RWA conference sat in a sad little heap in the corner of my bedroom for a month.
And then I read The Road and The Long Walk in quick succession. Mired in a dystopian funk, I needed a break from starving, frostbitten, bloodied, blistered men who trudged onward to nowhere until they died. I needed me some cowboys.
So, on the first hot night of summer, I read Joanne Kennedy’s Cowboy Trouble, guaranteed to “put the honky tonk back into your life.” I liked it so much I shared selections with my husband F, who lay in bed beside me reading We Die Alone, a WWII epic chronicling Jan Baalsrud’s escape from Nazi-occupied arctic Norway. F listened politely and returned to his book, clearly preferring the arctic chill to the desert heat.
I read Cowboy Protector, too. And then The Duke and I. They were fun–and nothing at all like Flowers in the Attic. All I remember about that book is a disturbing mix of arsenic-powdered donuts and incest.
I wanted more. I began to visit romance writer blogs. I found myself lingering in the romance section at Borders. And I started outlining the plot of my next novel, in which a paranormal time-traveling mermaid falls in love with a cowboy.
I have fallen for romance.
And so, it came as no surprise when my husband–bookstore manager, reader of epics–sent me this e-mail yesterday:
Some pretty AWESOME romances coming out. hehe.
The best summer reading from best-selling authors:
The Brazen Bride
Stephanie Laurens | Avon
9780061795176 | $7.99 | Mass Market Paperback | Available 6/29/2010
The third book in New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens Black Cobra Quartet.
Tempting a Proper Lady
Debra Mullins | Avon
9780061882494 | $7.99 | Mass Market Paperback | Available 6/8/2010
A brand new Victorian-set series from Debra Mullins about the chaos that can ensue when a finishing governess and a dashing gentleman join forces to stop the wedding of the year!
My Dangerous Duke
Gaelen Foley | Avon
9780061733970 | $7.99 | Mass Market Paperback | Available 6/29/2010
In the second book in New York Times bestseller Gaelen Foley’s Inferno Club series, an innocent beauty is given as a gift to appease the wrath of a fearsome duke.
Cheat the Grave
Vicki Pettersson | Eos
9780061456770 | $7.99 | Mass Market Paperback | Available Now
New York Times bestselling author Vicki Pettersson returns with her fifth explosive supernatural novel of superheroes and dark adventure set behind the scenes of Sin City.
I Kissed an Earl
Julie Anne Long | Avon
9780061885662 | $7.99 | Mass Market Paperback | Available 6/29/2010
The next installment in rapidly rising star Julie Anne Long’s sensual and emotionally charged Pennyroyal Green series.
The Duke’s Captive
Adele Ashworth | Avon
9780061474842 | 7.99 | Mass Market Paperback | Available 6/29/2010
USA Today bestseller and Rita Award winner Adele Ashworth delivers the first of three engrossing new books about dukes.
I’ve got a lot of sizzling summer nights ahead!