Archive for the 'Romance novels' Category

A Romance Glossary

Lots of great information out this week as part of the So You Think You Can Write online conference and competition, like the infographic below defining romance novel terms. You still have time to submit. The contest closes on Monday. Check out their blog for more great writing advice.

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Romance is my day job

Patience Bloom, senior editor of Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Patience has a blog, Romance Is My Day Job, and she’s invited other romance editors to post. Yesterday was my first contribution, so check it out!

Some of us are just born romantics

Wanting heroes and heroines to get together is part of my DNA. At least it seems that way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve looked for romances everywhere.

The Evidence…

Goal, Motivation, Conflict


I’m reading GMC by Debra Dixon for a book discussion at work. It’s a fast-paced, easy-to-grasp read with practical suggestions about creating solid characters and plots.

The first thing GMC made me think about was writing a book of my own. Yes, I used to write, before I realized I liked editing as much as, maybe more than, I liked writing. The results of my writing experiments were two really bad novels that will remain “under the bed.” Their biggest problems? They had no believable plots. And plot, since it is the core of the story, is kind of important.

The plot how-to laid out in GMC made me think (wish?) that I could fix my plot problems. Not for those two ghastly manuscripts, but for something new. But, since I’m barely hanging on to my once-a-week update here on the blog, writing a new novel seems unlikely.

The second thing GMC made me think about was the really good lunch I had a few weeks ago. During our book discussion, we agreed we liked “something else” to be going on in our books, something in addition to the romance.

Debra Dixon cuts this idea down to its essential elements.

I used to think about “conflicts” in romance novels as being the obstacles, both internal and external, that the hero and heroine must overcome before they can fully embrace a relationship.

But now I have a more interesting way to think about it. The romance—the relationship—IS the conflict. The romance is what’s going on while the hero and heroine are trying to get other things done.

The heroine’s goal in a romance novel is not to fall in love and get married. Ditto for the hero. The last thing on their minds is meeting a soul mate. In fact, it’s darned inconvenient. Romance will be a conflict for your characters.
~~from GMC by Debra Dixon

Penguin’s Sekret Projekt: Book Country

Book Country site

Colleen Lindsay has been dropping tweets about Penguin’s Sekret Projekt for months! First, when she spoke of moving over to Penguin’s Business Development Team. Then, when she tweeted the job requirements for a new assistant.

Yesterday, I just happened to see that she planned to reveal the truth behind the project at her panel this morning at the DFW Writers Conference. Am I in Dallas-Fort Worth? No! Boo! BUT I do have Twitter. And now I know what the Sekret Projekt is…finally!

Drum roll, please…

Book Country, an online community for work-shopping genre fiction. If you click on the link above, the only message available is that it is “coming soon.” I can’t wait to see how it works.

UPDATE: The site is live! Looks like there are lots of interesting elements to explore, and it’s open not only to all writers but to all publishing industry folks, too. (Not just Penguin editors!) I’ll be signing up for a profile soon so I can see what it’s all about. If you do, too, follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook and let me know what you think of the site.

In praise of tolerant mothers and romance novels

[Author’s Note: I did a guest post on the Harlequin Blog this week. In honor of National Womens’ Month, which coincides with Women’s History Month, the blog editors asked contributors to write about the role of romance novels in their lives.

The broad topic led to some interesting musings from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books’ Sarah, Dear Author’s Jane, and two other editors in the NY office, with more posts to come. You can read all of the posts on this topic by clicking here.

Olga, the blog’s editor, subtitled my post “On Why Sneaking Romances is Alright.” But I’m cross-posting it here with a new title because even though my mom put up with my teenage sneaking around, I don’t think she would ever agree that sneaking around is okay! (Right, Mom?) And, she probably would not agree that romance novels are good reading…but moms can’t be right ALL the time. 😉]

Reading romance made me the person I am today.

Just ask my mother.

The other day, she gave my sister, a mother of three, some words of wisdom that were both warning and advice: Monitor your children’s books, because you never know what reading can lead to.

Books, and romance novels, are powerful like that. They can make you see the world in a different way.

Robyn Carr’s medieval romances inspired me to infiltrate the adult section of the library before I was nine. Scarlett and Gone With the Wind made me believe that if I spoke my mind and everyone disagreed with me, it would somehow turn out okay in the end. Reading the Caitlin series gave me a yearning to see New York City, where I now live, and taste cappuccino in a real café, way back before Starbucks. And Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale showed me that loving a man for who he is, instead of accepting who family and neighbors believe him to be, can create the foundation for a 16-years-and-going-strong marriage.

I am thankful every day that my mom taught me to read, took me to the library and let me loose in the stacks. And I’m also thankful she didn’t complain too much when she caught me sneaking around with those clinch covers, letting romance novels have their way with me.

Sex diaries vs. HEA

I heart New York magazine, intensely. And their critical breakdown of the sex lives of New Yorkers, as portrayed in their online Sex Diaries, was a must-read.

Wesley Yang laid out the plagues of being single in the city:
1. The anxiety of too much choice.
2. The anxiety of making the wrong choice.
3. The anxiety of not being chosen.
4. The anxiety of appearing overly enthusiastic.
5. The anxiety of appearing delusional.
6. The anxiety of appearing overly sincere.
7. The anxiety of appearing prudish.
8. Internet-enabled agoraphobia.
9. Separation anxiety.

All this anxiety made me anxious, and I have been monogamous for lo these many years. And the piece also made me sad, thinking of tender NYC youth playing games, telling lies, trolling bars hoping for hook-ups, afraid to care too much.

How antithetical to the fantasy of romance, I thought, where high emotion is expected, encouraged. In the romance novel business, there may be lies, games, sneaking around, and ennui but the conflicts all eventually end in true love. The readers of the Diaries and the readers of romance must live in such different worlds…

But then I read #10:
The anxiety of being unable to love.

And yet perhaps the most surprising psychological attribute of the Diarists, despite weeks upon weeks of guarding their vulnerabilities from the brutality of the marketplace, is their romanticism… [Love] is nonetheless something that the Diarists keep referencing, despite the impression they convey that it is an ever-receding ideal. It’s an odd, negative sort of tribute—a vague longing for something all but lost, but perhaps worth clinging to nonetheless.

We’re all the same after all. Anxiety = conflict; sex = chemistry; love = happily ever after.

For those who prefer to read about NYC lonelyhearts, check out the Sex Diaries. For those who can admit they believe in love, check out the free e-books at

Why category romance rocks

Katie Mack’s post on All About Romance–“Categories: The Bastard Children of Romance“–was well written and thoughtful.

Author Molly O’Keefe summed it up nicely in her comment: Categories focus on what readers crave when they pick up a romance, chemistry and conflict.


I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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