Every plan is a tiny prayer to father time

So yesterday I was chatting with an MBA student at my old school about what kinds of books we like to read.

I mentioned that I write historical romance novels as well as read ‘em.

Being a serious-minded MBA student, she sort of looked down at her hands and muttered that she had enjoyed reading such books when she was younger, but she had moved on to more serious literature since then.

Yeah, I said. So had I.

And then you know what happened? I stopped taking myself so goddamn seriously all the time, picked up where I had left off, and started reading trashy romance novels again.

Because why the hell not?

And imagine my surprise, I told her, when I discovered that my old beloved genre from my teenage years had actually come a long, long way since I read Harlequin romances by the bucketful every Saturday morning, locked up in my room with a gallon of milk and a box of Captain Crunch.

Turns out, historical romance novels today can be:

  • Funny
  • Hilarious
  • Silly
  • Awesome
  • Intelligent
  • Socially relevant
  • Heartbreaking
  • Funny
  • And
  • Awesome

…and I never would have found this out if I hadn’t managed to somehow lighten up a little bit and dip back into those paperback novels with the deeply silly cover art.

And I am so glad I did.

In fact, I managed to stumble across several authors right away who spun my head around with what they were doing with the genre. Not only did reading their books make me think This is fantastic and now I will read everything you have ever written, it also made me think I can totally write one of these books.

And so I did.

So I’ve been meaning to introduce you to these folks, so that you might have the fun of reading them, too. And so that I can publicly thank them, and also give them a little internetty high five for inspiring me to stay up all night making up stories about guys in cravats and ladies in curricles.

Because I owe them, big time.

Tessa Dare, in particular, is a huge favorite of mine. Her books are just the right blend of funny, sexy, silly, and smart. I got to meet Tessa when I went to RWA in June, and I’m happy to report that Tessa herself can lay claim to all of those adjectives as well.

If you want to have a taste of her books, I suggest you start with One Dance With a Duke. Read through the whole trilogy, because the hero of book three, Three Nights With a Scoundrel, is one of my favorite heroes yet. You’ll see why.

Oh, sure, she’s got a new series out, but I haven’t read it yet. What?

You guys, I’m up to my earlobes in my own writing at the moment, and if I read the latest work from one of my favorite authors I know perfectly well I’ll just want to chuck my laptop straight into the compost heap.

It’s a common malady among writers, that potent cocktail of disgust and admiration that is brought on by reading good writing. Watching really good TV can do it, too. So I’m sort of in the cone of silence right now, or maybe it’s the cone of illiteracy. Either way. I’m sure her new series is awesome, too. A little too awesome if you know what I mean.

Tessa does her bloggy thing over at The Ballroom Blog, in rotation with a few other authors who write under the same publishing banner. I’m a fan of the blog, too — it features several authors who I also admire and respect, and who I’m sure I’ll get around to gushing over at some other time. But not now.

Because right now I wanted to give some extra love and affection to the Kiss and Teal campaign they’ve been up to over on the Ballroom Blog on behalf of women with ovarian cancer. There’s been a bit of that particular malady in my own circle, y’see, and it’s just not pretty.

The whole point of the campaign is to raise awareness of the symptoms, because this one is a subtle beast, and it takes its victims down fast. So I said I’d lend a hand and help spread the word if I could. Least I could do. The very least.

What’s the least you can do? Simple:

Seriously. One of the reasons why I stopped taking myself so damned seriously in the first place and finally got real about writing silly old romance novels is because I realized that life is short, and nobody’s gonna go after your dreams for you. And the sad truth is, no dream waits forever.

I hope to keep writing long enough to inspire somebody else to start writing again, too.

What do you hope to do?

4 Thoughts.

  1. Beth,

    I’m always impressed by your thought provoking posts. They always speak to me. I hope that someday my writing speaks to someone in their isolated place and tells them they are not alone. Tells them that someone out there thinks and believes and feels as deeply as they do. That there is hope of life, laughter, and love. That is what I aspire to do with my writing.
    (As a side note-I was listening to my RWA recording from the conference and lo and behold I hear my friend Beth Dunn introducing a workshop. I was agog, “Hey kids! I know her.” ;) Fun and well done. *tip of invisible hat*

  2. Pam, Beth was a fabulous moderator.

    What a lovely post. Thank you very much for the KISS and Teal links, and for mentioning the Ballroom, and for … all that other nice stuff. Something just occurred to me – I *totally* thought about James McAvoy when I was creating Julian’s character. The earnestness. Isn’t that funny?

    (It is interesting that you write about palms throbbing. For me, it’s the soles of my feet tingling. I am trying to decide if my palms ever throb. I think this is a good excuse for me to re-read one of the swooniest books I can find and pay more attention.)

    What do I hope to do? Hm. I hope to read a Beth Dunn book someday soon. :)

    I hope to someday live someplace gobsmackingly beautiful. Like, look out my window and lo, there is the Glory of Creation beautiful. It may have to wait until we don’t need to live within a decent school district.

  3. See? I *knew* I loved Julian for a good reason. I could sense the McAvoy in him. (Oooh, the McAvoy is strong in this one…) And I am such a sucker for earnestness.

    I agree that you should take the opportunity to do some research into that tingling feeling. I find that it occurs most powerfully during a really meaty “black moment,” as the kids say. When all seems lost, and the pain is too great to bear.

    Yep. That’s the good stuff.

    I hope you read a Beth Dunn book someday, too. I’ve just stayed up until 5:00 am again in pursuit of that very goal. I figure that the only way I can fail is to stop trying, you know?

    And Pam, where is the link for those recordings? I’d kind of like to relive my moment in the RWA spotlight, such as it was. It’s true that I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t love. Shameful, but true.

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