Wow, it seems romance chat is hitting the airwaves hard and I’m loving it! Unfortunately not always with a positive twist … which I’ve never understood. Here’s my view. If a book has characters working on a relationship (and who isn’t?) then it can fall into the romance genre. They’re likely trying to save the world, bring down the bad guy or save a man/woman from themselves, but still … it’s romance. Not every romance is a Harlequin category. But I think that’s what readers are thinking when they say they don’t like romance.

Just the other day I was chatting with a guy who was surprised to realize romance was so much more than English Lords seducing the naive virgin Countess in hopes of stealing her land. He went so far as to say that perhaps romance writers actually seem to love men and may actually be advocating for wonderfully naughty things to be done to them.

Well no kidding! We romance writers have been yelling this at the top of our lungs. Stamping our feet and asking people to take another look with an open mind.

I got a lot of hits on my Bodice Ripper post. We aren’t going to be able to rid the world of this perception, but perhaps we can educate one human male at a time. As any married woman knows, they’re worth our time and effort. (I’m sure they grumble the same things about the fairer sex when they’re together.)

This guy went so far as to throw down the proverbial white glove and challenged me to recommend my favorite romance of all time. ONE?! I couldn’t possibly name just one. Readers of romance understand there are too many subgenres to name one overall favorite. The books on my keeper shelf are as varied as my moods. (And TRUST me when I say … there are a lot of those!)

For historical romance I turn to Susan Wiggs. I’ve read a lot of her historicals, but the one that stays with me is “The Hostage” set around the Chicago fire. She’s now writing a contemporary series, but it’s her historicals I really enjoy.

Now my go-to author for romantic suspense is Sandra Brown. Again, I’ve probably read my way through all of her titles in the library, but I’ve read “Fat Tuesday” several times. The woman certainly knows how to write edge of your seat suspense. She keeps the intrigue jumping and the romance crackling.

But I love my science fiction. I know… it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m just enthralled by good world building. And Anne McCaffrey is one of the most talented, imaginative writers when it comes to creating new settings. Her “Freedom” series is amazing and sits proudly on my keeper shelf. I pick it up about once a year just to marvel and learn from her writing skills.

But there are soooo many more. I’m loving Jessica Andersen’s “Final Prophecy” series based on the 2012 dommsday prophecy. And I’ve recently found Larissa Ione’s “Demonica” series which has me totally hooked! I don’t read a lot of romantic comedies (though I LOVE to watch that type of movie), but when I’m feeling like something light I turn to Kristan Higgins. There are others who write light comedies, but I just don’t enjoy them.

Which is okay. There are so many romance genres because there are so many readers and their reading tastes vary as much as their culinary tastes. Wouldn’t it be boring if every restaurant served only Italian food? I hope Epic manages to find a great read among all those recommendations. Because as many of us know … you just can’t go wrong with a good romance.

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