In the spirit of keeping the momentum up we’re going to open five more categories on the Special Title Listings page. We have been getting such a great response(thank you all!) and we know how important these lists are to you, our readers, that we wanted to get one more update in before the end of the year. So we are pleased to open up the following categories for submissions: (1) Across the Tracks, (2) Christmas Romances, (3) Inter-Ethnic Romances, (4) Special Settings and (5) Luscious Love Stories. These categories will be open for submissions starting today Monday November 12th and ending Sunday November 25th at midnight. Four of the five categories are ones our readers asked to be updated first while the last one, Christmas Romances, seemed like the perfect addition since it’s about that time of the year. Once again, we are looking for the best of the best in these categories and we’ve included the definitions below. We’ve also included links so you can look over the titles currently on each of the lists.
Across the Tracks: These are love stories where the conflict of the romance ‘revolves around difference in social status, either in the past or present’. There’s nothing quite like falling in love with someone you perceive as above (or beneath) your station. In contemporary romance, these perceived notions can be surmounted without too much pressure from society, although there are differences in lifestyle that can provide tense or hilarious moments. In historical romances, however, there is so much more to lose for those living in a hierarchical society. Some may scoff at social positions but it would not only affect the two people involved in the relationship but their families and their prospective children. There would have been immense pressure put on both parties to stop what they were doing. In the end however, we love who we love and reading about two people who find a way to be together and build a life against all odds is what romance is all about.
Christmas Romances: Romances for this category are ‘set during the Christmas season, celebrating the holiday. This list separates full-length novels from anthologies.’ With the season almost upon us we wanted to update this list while Christmas is on everyone’s mind. The season itself is the setting for these stories and help to bring up thoughts of fresh crisp snow, woolly mittens and cozy moments shared in front of a blazing fire. The holiday can be full of bustle in a contemporary romance or much more subdued in many historical romances. While there are full length novels written for this category it’s also nice in this time of ‘go, go, go’ to have a short story to turn to and remember the pleasurable moments the season brings to so many.
Inter-Ethnic Romances: The romances here are ‘between heroes and heroines of different ethnic backgrounds’. While real-life inter-ethnic romances are quite common nowadays in Western society, they are still comparatively rare in romanceland. There are hardly any historical romances that feature this trope, and only a few contemporaries. As with the Across the Tracks list, the romances we’d be most interested in for this list are those in which the differences between the protagonists’ cultural backgrounds and family expectations, and the ways this influences the romance, are explored at some depth. This is especially true for paranormal romances. Many, if not most, paranormal romances feature a couple in which the partners are of different species, and to include all those graded at B- or higher in this list would explode it. So we’d like to ask you to limit your suggestions to those paranormal romances that actually explore the difference in ethnicity/species.
Special Settings: Romances in this category feature any setting that is not considered a staple setting for romance. In historical romances, Highland Scots, Victorian and Regency England have been the mainstay for the genre since, well, Pride and Prejudice. Readers would love to experience new lands in historical romance, Russia, Africa, Asia, to name just a few. Contemporary romances also seem to have the classic setting of the United States and much Chick Lit takes place in England and the USA, but there are so many places to fall in love that readers hunger for new locales. These lists were created to help those looking for new authentic settings for a romance. The setting should be vivid in these romances. Instead of having sections for different romance genres, this list has sections for nine parts of the world. We’ve changed the category previously labeled “Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.” to “Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska. We may eventually add another list to focus on interesting regional settings in the U.S., but for now, we’ll restrict the U.S. settings to the less commonly used Hawaii and Alaska.
Luscious Love Stories: These romances ‘feature the sexiest of love scenes’. Sexy does not necessarily mean lots of sex, but yes, these books do feature sex as a strong part of the development of the relationship. Nowadays, these stories are often rated hot and the sex scenes are integral to the ongoing relationship, and it is apparent to the reader that without these scenes the story would be completely different. The sex scenes allow a new intimacy between the protagonists that can create healing or understanding or can be the culmination of years of emotion. In short, these are love scenes that are hot and steamy.
Have you read a great romance lately that you think fits on one of these lists? The criteria a title must meet, as well as the submission form for recommendations, is available here.
– Cindy Smith, Rike Horstmann, and LinnieGayl Kimmel