Discussion Forums - Love & Romance Love & Romance

Topic: Essential Reading for Aspiring Romance Writers

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Essential Reading for Aspiring Romance Writers
Date Posted: 4/8/2008 8:33 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

I have a (male) friend who I think would be an outstanding romance writer.  He understands how women think and feel so well, I'm surprised he's not gay.  He's actually considering my suggestion, but I think he needs to read a few to find out what the competition is.  I intend to send him Outlander, Flowers from the Storm, Lord of Scoundrels, Devil in Winter and perhaps Shadowheart and maybe a couple of others.  I don't have any contemporaries, though, since I don't read them.

If you could recommend the #1 best written contemporary romance for an aspiring writer to read, what would it be?

Thanks for your suggestions.  Any essential historicals I'm missing?

Last Edited on: 4/8/08 8:34 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/8/2008 8:35 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
Back To Top

I intend to send him Outlander

Hopefully, he won't think he has to compete with that title, or that it's typical of the genre. :)

Why not send him something by a male author - Nicolas Sparks, Richard Evans? I can't think of any others off the top of my head, but there are probably a few more.

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

Nicolas Sparks, Richard Evans

Do they write romance? What titles?  I've also heard there are some men writing with femal pen names.  Anybody know who they are?

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 8:47 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
Back To Top

I'd have to think on this one..I read contemporary but I generally look for the funny or sexy..sorta relaxing 'fluff' kinda reading I guess you'd say. I'm really enjoying the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr though..read the 1st 2 - Virgin River and Shelter Mountain - whispering Rock is next up and I think there are 4 more coming out starting this December. The other series 'Grace Valley' was more old-fashioned but in this series they talk about women's feelings and honesty, etc. just really good. the only other 'serious' contemporary romance I've read was Kathryn Shay's 'Promises to Keep'b ut that was dealing with school violence not really feelings per se...

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
Back To Top

Robyn Carr, Nicholas Sparks, I love Gena Showalter and Amy Fetzer too.


Date Posted: 4/8/2008 9:25 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
Back To Top

Claudia --  Outlander is a pretty overwhelming story.  I don't think I would recommend that until he got his feet wet :)   For a contemporary I would recommend See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson.  She's the only contemporary author I like.

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

Need specific titles please, not just authors.  thanks for the responses.

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
Back To Top

I like some of those already mentione--Gena Showalter, Rachel Gibson---in addition to Elaine Fox and Deidre Martin.  I like contemporary romances with humor, obviously. 

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

again, titles would be helpful.  Any with flawed, less than perfect characters?  Those are my faves!


Love your guy dawn.

Last Edited on: 4/8/08 12:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/8/2008 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
Back To Top

I would also do Truly, Madly, Yours -or- True Confessions by Rachel Gibson.  In Truly, Madly the guy is emotionally flawed  and really angry.

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

Thanks again.  Is the last one contemp?

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
Posts: 1,010
Back To Top

Nora Robert's Northern Lights.  It is mainly from the heros perspective.  Also J.D. Robb's (Nora Roberts) Naked in Death-a futuristic mystery/romance novel-it is the start of the In Death series. 

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
Back To Top

Yes, Claudia -- everything by Rachel Gibson is contemporary but I only liked True Confessions---Truly Madly Yours--See Jane Score--and It Must Be Love.

Date Posted: 4/8/2008 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
Back To Top

*gasp* Claudia, I can't believe you didn't mention Marsha Canham!  Naughty!  I'd suggest Pale Moon Rider.  A man should be able to read that one, and if he can't, he shouldn't be allowed to write romance:P  On contemporaries, I haven't a clue.

Date Posted: 4/9/2008 7:25 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

Canham noted.  I'll send PMR or the last arrow.  And yes, I have been a bit "naughty" lately--more than you know, but it's been fun.


Last Edited on: 4/9/08 2:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/11/2008 7:10 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

I think I'll also send a Robin Schone.  They're more erotic thriller than romance.  Seems like the sort of thing a man might like or might write.


Date Posted: 4/11/2008 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2005
Posts: 278
Back To Top

how about some oldies but goodies

Whitney my Love by Judith McNaught

A Knight in Shining Armor Jude Deveraux

the Malory family series by Johanna Lindsey

the Cynster Family series by Stephanie Laurens

The Bridgerton family series Julia Quinn

The Bride and the Beast Teresa Medeiros

Lisa Kleypas

Amanda Quick

edited: to add some titles

Last Edited on: 4/11/08 12:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/11/2008 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

too many I think; I"m only sending 4-5 books.

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 427
Back To Top

Leigh Greenwood (Harold Lowry) is a man who writes under a female name. I've read his historicals before. I liked them. I read all his Seven Brides series (All are female floral names. I can only think of Iris and Lily right now). He also did a series about brothers I think. I believe it's the Cowboys series...seems like there's a Buck in that series but can't remember the others just now.


Date Posted: 4/12/2008 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

Can you recommend the best Leigh Greenwood you've read?  I think May McGoldrick is a husband & wife team (very good BTW).


Date Posted: 4/12/2008 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 427
Back To Top

It's been a long time since I read him. I know I just couldn't wait to start and finish each book of the Seven Brides series. I had them on my keeper shelves for years. I think I finally got rid of them when I had to move across several states and needed to thin stuff out.

I went and looked at them on line and read the synopsis so I'd sort of remember what they were all about. I really liked Daisy (such a tortured hero. good book), I also liked Iris a lot. I think Rose was my favorite though. So any of those 3 were good but my fave is Rose.

Hope that helps.

Subject: Books for an aspiring writer...
Date Posted: 4/14/2008 3:43 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
Back To Top

Reading through some of the previous posts, I'd say you've got some pretty heady/intense suggestions here.

If your friend is not yet a published author, the sheer size, plot complexity, etc. for most of these books might be overwhelming. Additionally, the standalone/full-length novel market is very hard for a first-time author to break into.

Many of the most popular authors started their careers writing serials for Harlequin/Silhouette. Those are the books I'd recommend you send to him. Most likely the Harlequin Blaze (erotica lite), Harlequin Intrigue and Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense titles.


Rachel Lee: Conard County series includes award-winning titles.

    1. Exile's End  SIM-449  Sep-1992 (AWARD WINNER)
    2. Cherokee Thunder  SIM-463  Dec-1992 
    3. Miss Emmaline and the Archangel  SIM-482  Mar-1993
    4. Ironheart  SIM-494  May-1993 
    5. Lost Warriors  SIM-535  Dec-1993 (AWARD WINNER)
    6. Point of No Return  SIM-566  May-1994
    7. Thunder Mountain  SS-37  Aug-1994 (Paranormal)
    8. A Question of Justice  SIM-613  Jan-1995
    9. A Conard County Reckoning     Mar-1996
    10. Nighthawk  SIM-781  May-1997
    11. Cowboy Comes Home  SIM-865  Jul-1998
    12. The Catch of Conard County  WMEB-1  Sep-1998
    13. Boots & Badges     Sep-1999
    14. Involuntary Daddy  SIM-955  Oct-1999
    15. The Dream Marine  Oct-2002 (The Heart's Command Anthology)
    16. I'll Be Home  Nov-2004 (A Soldier's Christmas Anthology)
    17. A Soldier for All Seasons SIM-1487 Nov-2007 (Holiday Heroes Anthology)
    18. A Soldier's Homecoming SIM-1519 Jul-2008 (future release)

Beverly Barton: The Protectors series - 29 titles and still going strong! The heroes are all bodyguards.

If you run a search on PBS for 'protectors barton' you should get a list of all of the books in this series.
I submitted the edits myself.

Alison Kent: Files of SG-5 series (black ops/mercenaries) and Harlequin Blaze title The Sweetest Taboo (the literary tools that Kent uses to describe the hero, Sebastian Gallo, is incredibly memorable - he is the ultimate loner: he lives alone, works alone, eats alone, sleeps alone, and he has sex alone... until he meets Erin). Their first meeting in the mailroom of their apartment bldg. lasts 3 pages.

Search for 'The Bane Affair' then click on the SG-5 series tag to see all titles in this series.

Vicki Lewis Thompson: Harlequin Blaze title Acting on Impulse (because romance can be FUNNY and SEXY)

Diana Palmer: Because you can't be a really great romance writer if you can't understand emotional angst.

Older title: Regan's Pride - did you ever want to kill the hero? (she'd been physically abused by her late husband, then his cousin (the man she really loved) verbally abused her very badly)

Lawless: Longer, romantic suspense story

Iron Cowboy: She was too stunned to say no or to yell rape...

I'd also recommend directing your friend to the writer's guidelines at http://www.eharlequin.com.



Last Edited on: 4/14/08 3:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/14/2008 7:25 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
Back To Top

Oh God, thanks for the suggestions, but I despise harlequins and would never recommend reading one to anyone!  IMHO they are the lowest common denominator in Romance--junk food if you will.


My friend is particular too, so I think they would put him off the genre.


Last Edited on: 4/14/08 7:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 4