Wow – we’ve reached the end of TBR Challenge 2012! This month’s theme was holiday romance, so I had no trouble finding a book in my TBR pile to fit it. In the end, I decided I was in the mood for something contemporary, so I went with Harlequin Superromance’s 2010 anthology, That Christmas Feeling. I read the whole book, but it was definitely a mixed bag. Overall, I’d put it in the B-/C+ range.
The first story, A Dundee Christmas by Brenda Novak, was the most unique but also the most problematic. As it opened, I could tell this wasn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill Christmas story and I found myself looking forward to what might unfold. The heroine, Cierra Romero, is a young woman who came to the States from Guatemala on a visa to marry a much older man. 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.
2010 seems to have been a good reading year for many of our readers and also for AAR staff. Some of the books we’ve loved have gotten lots of buzz, but there are always those buried treasures out there waiting to be found. Some of these books come from new authors or smaller presses, and a few are from bestselling authors who, for whatever reason, just didn’t get the buzz here on the site that staffers felt they deserved. So, here is our chance to point out the books from 2010 that we really think more people need to read.