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Friday, February 4, 2011



I tend to stress the fact that I’ve been reading romance since the “old days.” It’s silly, this nostalgic musing, but I remember when bodices were ripped, gentlemen preferred virgins and there were three subgenres: gothic, historical and more historical. Those were almost always: Medieval, Celtic or Native American.

It’s a brave new world out there, isn’t it?

Let me tell you, it takes some getting used to. I’ll also confess once and for all that I love it. I like the new world that is Romance literature. It’s fresh, it’s free and it’s wide open. (Okay, some of it still makes me blush) Really wide open.

I’m happy that women have stood up and demanded more than heroines that say, “no, no, no, no well okay.” Even if I steer way toward the sweet end in my own work, I think we’ve made great strides for liberty there.

What I’m the most tickled by, however, are the genres. It’s a revolution of crossing genres out there, and I’m swimming quite happily in it. Go, go Science Fiction Romance. Hurray, Paranormal. Was that a Fantasy Mystery Romance that just drove by? Yippee!

Maybe one of the best things about this grand upheaval is the wiggling of the formulas. They do have a place, I suspect, but the loosening of the traditional recipe, the experimental freedom can’t be beat. Sure, some of the old patterns will remain. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? I suspect, what sticks around will be the important core of what makes good romance for most readers. I also find it exhilarating that an author can try new things. I like to break the mold once in awhile, even if it doesn’t always work.

The exercise is what’s important.

It seems like this process, this growing and stretching of the world that is Romance writing and reading, can only make the sum total body of works better. Evolution can be messy, and it takes its time, but usually the end product is better suited for survival. It’s an exciting thing to watch happen. It also makes me wonder, “what’s next?”

If we can change and twist and expand so much, in so many ways, and so quickly, what will the romance book look like after the next wave? I’d love to hear your predictions.

Frances Pauli writes Romance and Speculative Fiction with a romantic twist. More information on her work and upcoming releases can be found at


Michele said...

Oh Yay! I agree 100%, I love the changes and the way heroines are written know, AND the heros. The men aren't totally aggressive and aloof anymore. They talk and bumble through sometimes and I adore it.
I mean, who'd a thought demons and zombies could have a place in romance? Not me...and I still scratch my head about their allure.
But that's what is so great - the changes are wonderful and give a whole other level of escapist reading that is SO much more exciting.
I grew up on those old Harlequins. ::snort:;
We HAVE come a long way.

Michele said...

sorry for typos - I'm at work just finishing my lunch and had to get off a commnet. Loved the post.

Frances Pauli said...

That's funny about the zombies. When I first heard of Zombie romance I almost choked on my coffee. (not easy to do) Then I thought about it, and thought about it, and ended up writing a short about a very alluring Zombie king. You never know.
Of course he has a magic opal that keeps him "very well preserved."
But really, nowadays, you never know!