Tag Archives: historical romance

A Pioneer Hearts Exclusive!

Oct 17, 2014

It’s Friday, and usually I post something about writing on Fridays, but today I’m super privileged to be a part of this absolutely wonderful group of writers who are bringing you a deal and a steal!

I’m so happy to announce the first ever Pioneer Hearts 99c Western Romance Event!

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This sale includes dozens of books for your Kindle, and a selection for your Nook or iBooks libraries, as well. And you know what else is fun? You can win some pretty snazzy prizes! Yes, that’s right, PRIZES!

Take this opportunity to discover your new favorite author….

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Want to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards? Share our sale and follow our authors! You could also win signed books, a beautiful turquoise pendant necklace (voted a favorite by the Pioneer Hearts Readers Group!), and more! See Rafflecopter here and win!

See Nook links here

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Can a Genre Die?

May 15, 2013
Courtesy of Wikicommons

Courtesy of Wikicommons

My little corner of the writer’s world was all in a tizzy last week after an article published at Dear Author that suggested that the Historical Romance genre be allowed to die.

Oh horror!

Of course, when you read the article you see that what the author of Dear Author was getting at is that right now there are just so many Regency novels out there with plots that feel stale and recycled, that it’s time to move on to something else. I believe her argument is that if Historical Romance has nothing more to offer than Regency after Regency, everyone will get bored and go home.

Compounding that problem are the cringe-worthy reports from some of my author friends that the traditional publishing agency is caught between disinterest in signing new authors who write Regency, but being unwilling to take a gamble on non-Regency authors, especially new authors, because Historical Romance in general just isn’t selling right now. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but from what I’ve seen this seems to be more true than not. Continue reading

Crossing the Genre Line

Oct 10, 2012

Okay, who here has read J.K. Rowling’s latest, The Casual Vacancy?  I have a copy but I haven’t had time to read it yet.  But I did read an article about it yesterday.  The article more or less said that it sucked and J.K. Rowling never should have attempted to write regular adult fiction.

Frankly, I think statements like that are a little bit of a slap in the face to one of the greatest authors of our time.  And the friend who loaned me her copy of The Casual Vacancy said that she loved it, no matter how different it was from Harry Potter.  But this does bring up a valid question that has been rolling around in my writer’s brain for a while….

I have been told several times that once you stake your claim in the writing world as an author in a certain genre, you really shouldn’t attempt to write outside of that genre.  The reason given was that it upsets the readers who love what you’ve written in the genre of their choice.  My instant reaction is to balk at that suggestion.  But then came The Casual Vacancy.  It seems as though readers have done exactly what those nay-sayers of genre crossing said they would do.  They rejected Rowling’s non-YA fantasy novel.

But wait a minute.  Several authors out there have made successful transitions from one genre to another, right?  I mean, the one that comes immediately to my mind is Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb.  I’ve read a few of Roberts’ historical and contemporary romances, but I’ve never read anything by J.D. Robb.  I know they’re the same person, but in that tricky place known as my mind they are two distinct authors.  And this might just be the point.  Would I have gotten upset if I’d expected to read a romance and instead cracked open a thriller? …  Actually, I probably would have.  But I wouldn’t have held it against the esteemed Ms. Roberts.

Ah, but there’s another angle to this whole sticky equation that has been weighing on my mind lately.  How specific should you be with the genres that you write and when is it time to use a pseudonym for crossing genre lines?

Here’s my problem.  I write historical romance as myself, Merry Farmer.  I chose not to go with a pseudonym because, vain as I am, I wanted to see MY name in print.  But I can already see a certain amount of writing on the wall with some other name tagged to it.  I’ve got this m/m erotica-ish story, for example, and if I ever publish that you’d better believe I would do it under a different name.  The folks in my hometown do not need to know that my imagination goes there!  On the other hand, I have a really fabulous sci-fi series in the works.  I’ve already written first drafts of the first two books in the series.  In theory I could buckle down and have them near publishable early next year.  But they’re not romance.  So in the interest of not annoying readers should I publish those novels under a different name?

This is where strategy comes into play.  My ego would love to see my name on all of my books, of course it would.  But sci-fi/fantasy is a tricky business.  There seems to be a trend towards initialed authors in that world: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George R.R. Martin.  There also seems to be a slight bias towards male or gender-neutral authors as well, possibly because of the perception that more men than women read the genre.  That being the case, maybe it is a good idea to go with a gender-neutral, initialed pseudonym when crossing genre lines from romance to sci-fi.

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So would The Casual Vacancy have been more successful if the name printed on the cover under the title was something other than J.K. Rowling?  Even if everyone knew J.K. Rowling wrote it?  Granted, it hasn’t exactly been unsuccessful.  The author name itself probably sold more copies of the book than any other name could have.  But according to the article I read, the backlash has been so severe that Rowling has announced she’s going back to kids books for now.  Hmm.Of course, there’s one other aspect to this discussion that’s been on my mind too.  Sure, as authors we can cross genre lines … or can we?  Are we just better at telling one sort of a story than another?

Like I said, I write historical romance.  And sci-fi.  There are actually a lot of similarities between historical romance and sci-fi.  Both involve worlds that are far removed from the everyday.  Both hinge on transporting the reader to an environment that they may be unfamiliar with and sticking to social rules that are different from the world we live in.  That I can do.  But in the last few weeks I started writing a contemporary romance.  It’s got a great premise and by some miracle I was able to write a synopsis of the entire plot before I started.  But at 20k words I got stuck.  I have no idea how to get unstuck.  Which begs the question, should I be attempting to write contemporary romance?  Do I have it in me?

Ultimately, when it comes to crossing genre lines as an author, pseudonym or no pseudonym, it all comes down to what kind of stories you have in you.  I know I don’t have paranormal or horror stories in me.  I’m pretty sure that Michael Crichton didn’t have any historical romances in him.  But evidently Richard Adams had both anthropomorphic stories about rabbits and romantic fantasy in him.  But there was still a thread of the otherworldly connecting Watership Down and Maia.

So what do you think?  Should authors cross genre lines?  Should they use a pseudonym when they do?  Or are there too many people biting off more than they can chew who should stick to what they do best?

Five Reasons You Should Be Reading Historical Romance

Jun 14, 2012

Today in the world of Romance, Paranormal is queen.  I don’t know who started it, Stephanie Meyers or Sherrilyn Kenyon or even Anne Rice.  Whoever gets the credit, the Romance world is awash in vampires, shape-shifters, and even angels these days.

But it wasn’t always this way.  Oh no.  In fact, Paranormal is a brand new baby sub-genre in the grander scheme of things.  Long before there was Bella Swan there was Elizabeth Bennett, Jane Eyre, and even Scarlett O’Hara.  There was a time when the art of seduction was a slow dance at a formal ball, a stolen glance from a theater balcony, or a letter written in the dead of night and delivered by a footman.  There was a time when the touch of a gloved hand revealed more than any howling at the full moon.

Okay, okay, I hear you saying it.  I hear you say that you love your vampires and werewolves.  I hear you saying that history is that stuffy collection of names and dates that old Mrs. Winterbottom made you recite in high school.  Who wants to relive all that when the heroine can have superpowers?

My friends, you don’t know what you’re missing.

And so, to tempt your tastes and tickle your imagination, I present you with five reasons why you should be reading Historical Romance.

1. It’s better than any History class

Think history is all about boring kings and battles and oppressed women?  Think again!  Yesterday’s tabloid gossip is the stuff of today’s textbooks.  Scandals abounded in the past.  Men had very public mistresses and women rocked the social and political world.  In some centuries laws reduced women to no more than property, but in other eras women had as much equality as they do today.  And there’s no telling what went on between a man and a women behind closed doors.  Historical Romance fills in those blanks with delicious detail.

I had a fellow writer remark to me once that he was shocked and amazed at how accurate and well-depicted history is in Historical Romance.  It’s what you learned in school with breasts and hips and sinew.  Historical Romance writers go to great lengths to make sure that what you’re reading is as true and vibrant as possible.  Because every second of history was filled with personality and longing, action and sex.  You’ll never look at your old family pictures the same way!

2. Nothing says sexy like a corset

Let’s face it, the modern world leaves nothing to the imagination.  The modern world has no imagination.  “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am” is a modern invention.  But when a modern vixen wants to get schmexy what does she put on?  A bustier.  And what is a bustier but a nylon corset?

Corsets were meant to shape and lift.  Yeah, sure, they were there to make a lady’s waist small, but more than that they the ultimate push-up bra.  A corset is a garment that constricts while it reveals.  It hides and displays all at once.  And that’s just what you’ll find in a Historical Romance heroine.

The act of removing a corset is as much a metaphor for sex as the act itself.  The breathless anticipation, the straining against bonds until the heroine feels she is about to burst, and the ecstatic relief that comes as the last clasp pops and the flesh is free to be kissed and caressed.  It’s like opening a present on Christmas morning.  The shiny layers come off revealing the pulsing prize beneath.

Give me a book where the hero has to quest his way through corset closures to claim his prize any day!

3. Less is More

Where is the romance in a modern world where we list everything on eHarmony and make spreadsheets of the profiles we study to find “true love”?  How satisfying is it really to notch up your bedpost looking for that one man who will be there in the morning?  Is it the obvious we’re after or is it the hint of what might come?

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The juiciest parts of a good Historical Romance are not laundry lists of positions and speed and friction.  They are the glances across crowded ballrooms, the inappropriate lingering of fingers at the crook of an elbow.  A tender press of lips against the back of a slender neck in a dark garden carries far more titillation than the full monty.History was a subtler time, a suggestive time, a naughty time.  A hero in a Historical has to be clever to seduce his heroine in a world where the strictures of society prevent him from walking right up to the girl and hitting on her.  But does that mean he’s less masculine?  Oh no!  Quite the contrary.  Because….

4. Tight breeches hide nothing

Historical Romance is packed floor to ceiling with some of the most sensual alpha males you’ll ever want to meet.  And the clothes men wore back in the day were tight.  Whether he’s wearing medieval chausses or 19th century breeches, men’s clothes left nothing to the imagination.  Muscle, sinew, and a whole lot more were right there on display.  We’re talking some serious eye candy here!  In the wild it is the male of the species who has the brightest feathers.  The same goes for History.

The past was also a world without texting, without Facebook, and where you could find yourself engaged to a girl if you looked at her wrong.  So men had to become the masters of the stolen glance, innuendo, and unspoken, radiant heat.  Historical Romance heroes ooze sex out every pore while gliding seamlessly through the steps of a formal dance.  They whip out their swords and show their power through action.  Oh, and they occasionally fight duels too.

And it might do to remember that this is the world that your Paranormal vampires come from.  Everything an immortal hero learned about seducing a woman he learned in the past.  Why not take a ride back to his origin to find out what formed him?

5. There’s something for everyone

The sheer variety of Historical Romance, the depth and diversity of all of history, means that no matter what your fancy there’s something for you.  I’ve read pirate romances, Regency romances that take place in the city and in the country, and Georgian romances.  I write medieval romance and western romance.  There are Historical Romances that take place in England, in Scotland, in early America, Ancient Rome, feudal Japan, and everything in between.  You name it, we’ve got it.  And that’s not even counting time-travel romances or steampunk!

So if you think Historical Romance isn’t your thing, if you think that Paranormal is the only thing that will give you a thrill and make your heart beat faster, maybe it’s time to reconsider.  If it’s action you want, adventure you crave, it’s all right there.  If you like tales of suspense mixed in with your love story, yep, we’ve got that.  And we know how to bring the Happily Ever After and bring it in style!

Don’t know where to start?  There are scads of brilliant Historical Romance novelists out there.  Some of my absolute favorites are Elizabeth Hoyt (her novel The Leopard Prince is my favorite romance ever), Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Boyle, and Julia Quinn.  Those are just some of my favs.  Who are yours?

Please leave a comment so that the uninitiated reading this will know who their next favorite author is.