Paige Holden is a trainee Private Investigator working pro bono for Maria Munoz, the mother of Ramon, currently in prison for the murder of a woman six years earlier. Maria is convinced that Ramon is innocent and asks Paige to look into it. Early one Tuesday morning, Elena Munoz (Ramon’s wife) is killed in front of Paige and thus starts the roller coaster ride that is No One Left to Tell. Continue reading →
I know there are romantic suspense workshops out there for writers. I’ve seen them mentioned at RWA, among other places. But what makes romantic suspense good for the reader? In reviews, we often mention the balance between romance plot and suspense plot, but I don’t think that’s really all we can go by. After all, you can have a romance that splits the plotting 50-50, but it just never gels. And then there are books like Viper’s Kiss or like many of Karen Rose’s romantic suspense thrillers where the suspense portions of the plot really dominate the story. However, the romance still works. It may get less time and fewer pages, but the leads still have plenty of chemistry. Continue reading →
The recent Labor Day weekend had friends and I discussing the changing job market. Many of us had launched into second (and even third) career paths, something that certainly wasn’t expected when we initially graduated from college. This got me to thinking of others who have a secondary career path (or sometimes even just a second job!); the writers who keep me supplied in romances.
Contrary to what many in the media may think, an author does not, as Eileen Dreyer so succinctly put it, choose this path because she is “a sexually frustrated loser dressed in a robe and bunny slippers who lives in a dreary apartment with my cat and lives vicariously through my devastatingly beautiful heroines.” Most seem to choose it because it is a girlhood dream. And many, many, many of them come to writing only after having pursued another career first. I am fascinated by the diversity of what those careers are and thought others might be to. So here it is, a cataloging of what several of the greats did before they were romance writers.
Linda Howard worked at a trucking company, which explains to me at least why she can create such realistic men. I would imagine working in a male dominated field like that would show one a great deal about how the opposite sex thinks. Susanna Kearsley was a museum curator, and I think that is reflected in the wonderful historical settings of some of her novels. Justine Davis was in law enforcement before being a writer. She writes authentic romantic suspense with an authentic flavor now. And Inez Kelly was a 911 dispatcher and Linnea Sinclair worked as a private detective and also a news reporter before taking on romantic science fiction. Sandra Brown also worked as a reporter, and Pamela Clare “went to work for a newspaper and held almost every position in the newsroom before becoming the paper’s first woman editor.” Karina Bliss, who has received a DIK here at AAR for Here Comes the Groom, worked as a travel journalist. And Carla Kelly? Well, among her many and varied careers, she has worked as a park ranger and was a Valley City Time Record feature writer.
I love going to RWA nationals for a variety of reasons. However, one of the major thrills for me comes from getting to hear about upcoming books and forecasts for various subgenres of romance. This year, hearing about the various trends in publishing really struck me because many of the types of books listed seemed to hit at opposite ends of the spectrum.
On the one hand, we seem to be inhabiting a period of sweetness and light in book choices. Small-town romances with home and family themes seem to sell quite well. Indeed, some authors with small-town series such as Robyn Carr and Debbie Macomber have almost a cult following among readers. Similarly, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen stories about the astounding popularity of Amish/Mennonite romances. Their focus on the simple life and strong family ties again seem to speak to a lot of readers. And in historicals, the light, wallpaper Regency/Victorian is not exactly hard to find either.
Lately (as in during portions of the past few years when I haven’t been too dazed from work to notice), I’ve been seeing fewer and fewer actual romantic suspense books out there. I see urban fantasy and paranormal romance with suspense plots worked in, and historicals with their suspensey and/or spy-related subplots, but not a lot of actual romantic suspense that takes place among humans. I read across a variety of genres, so I almost didn’t notice it at first. However, as I scanned my bookshelves recently, I noticed that I’d been reading plenty of straight mysteries and thrillers, including some with romantic subplots, but I wasn’t seeing a lot of romantic suspense.