by Rain Trueax
Update: Brig, please send me the addy where you want to receive the books at email@example.com. I could throw in one of mine if you want (let me know in the email). Do you prefer contemporary or historical? *s*
Since I began this blog before I became an indie writer (means publishing my own books), I have never had any idea how many of you read romances-- or for that matter, ever read one. One reader wrote, some time back, that she used to read them but no longer. A few, I know still do but not how many. Maybe you've never read one but have been curious what they are about. Maybe you read them but prefer no one knows. Secretive romance readers are not unusual. It is the Cinderella of the publishing business and at the same time, it's the cash cow. Some resent this being a reality and hence put down romances.
It's funny about the ideas promoted regarding romance readers-- that they are lonely, unhappily married, living a dream life and that the romances are unhealthy for them. The truth is, in sociological studies, the ones reading romances are mostly happy in their relationships. Many are in high stress careers where the romances provide the same release that another might find from a Tom Clancy adventure. Romances are not just about the hero and heroine but families and friends. They always end with a feel good, it's part of the requirement (love stories not so much).
Through the years, I've had times where I have read a LOT of romances. My favorites are those with action in them. I found the first ones with sex to be-- like, wow they can really say that. Today, yes, I laugh at some of the euphemisms that were sometimes used (come on, you can enjoy the basic story and still think some of it is funny).
To be honest, if a sex scene goes on beyond a few paragraphs, I skim ahead-- not out of prudity but out of boredom. What I wanted, still want in romances, is the action, the relationships that some fight so hard to have. I though also, like sex for a full relationship, how this couple really come together. Sure, it's idyllic. Better that, then some of the books considered literary, where nothing ever works right. Who wants that for a goal? Not me. Life provides plenty of that. Romances are uplifting as people overcome obstacles. They are often set in worlds most of us don't experience-- sometimes would not want.
Because I began writing books before the romance genre got more 'detailed,' I wondered how mine would fit-- the jury is still out on that one. Romance writing has evolved independent of love stories. Love stories have long been available, but they do not guarantee a happy ending (i.e. Wuthering Heights or Gone with the Wind).
Romances where the couples actually did 'it' in the book, only began in the 70s. They were called bodice rippers for obvious reasons. Where there had always been erotica out there, it wasn't mainstream or in the average bookstores. That changed and women (some men too) discovered the fun of sexy stories, and it did help some marriages with the heat the books generated. Remember, there was a time where sex in a relationship was considered kind of dirty-- even in a committed relationship. Men could lust but women not so much. Romances gave women permission to feel desire, to be the aggressor, and open to new things.
By the '90s, romance novels had changed their emphasis. Having a heroine raped multiple times had lost its appeal (not sure why it ever had it). The difference between porn, erotica and a romance was explored. Authors changed their emphasis and style of writing as they tried to provide what readers wanted. Styles changed, the basic plots, not so much, and a lot of those early themes are still popular today.
The ten books you see in the photo are among the many that I purchased during the '90s, when I was most interested in reading the genre and studying writers. I was curious about how they developed their styles and would follow writers I liked through their backlists. During those years, I haunted used bookstores.
It wasn't easy to find all a writer had written, since bookstores, even the used ones, only wanted the most recently published. Today, Amazon makes this far easier, and I've picked up copies of books that are no longer even in libraries through small mail-order bookstores.
In the years, I was buying a lot, some I'd keep and some give away. Once I was in Massachusetts with my
husband on a business trip (we'd driven out). i was staying in a motel
where the cleaning lady and I would chat. I explored the local used bookstores, and would give her the books I'd
finished, which she would pass onto her daughter. That's how books often
at home, I had a bookcase stuffed full, when I decided I needed its
space for something else (research which I also had a ton of). I packed
the books in boxes and forgot about them. This year, I decided to bring some of the boxes to Arizona and see what I could do about freeing the books from the boxes.
The books had been put into boxes randomly, thus was sorting required. Some readers only enjoy English historical romances and don't enjoy American historical romances. Some I remembered reading but many I had to depend on the blurbs. It turned out I had two boxes of English types and two of American. I found very few contemporary, but there were 5 boxes left in Oregon; so there might be more in them. I have always enjoyed reading a mix of genres.
So, the plan is: A GIVEAWAY (the first of what I hope will be more depending on how it works out). From Saturday, March 24th, until Tuesday, the
27th, if you are interested in receiving the books you see above, COMMENT here, which could
be as simply as-- yes. If you comment and say you don't want the books, that's
okay too. You don't have to sign up for anything. You don't have to have ever commented. You don't have to say you like romances. Maybe this is a chance for you to find out. After three days, we'll
draw a name (hopefully there will be at least one) and morning of the 28th (when Diane posts her new blog), at the top of this post, I'll post the
winner, who will have to send their snail mail to my email (which I'll also post on Wednesday).
For me, this is a way to share
books that influenced my own writing-- might inspire yours; or if you
have no interest in writing, could be fun reads-- or even books to sell or give away. The idea is to get these books freed from their boxes.
Although not erotic, the books are open door on intimate relationships. Many of the authors are still writing
books. A few have gotten their backlists from the corporate publishers
and are now indie writers, with their books at lower prices available for eReaders.
For some, old paperbacks are the only place the stories can be found.
I had my husband, he of the sensitive nose, give them the sniff test and they are not musty smelling.