Saturday, February 4, 2012

Romance Novels

The Super Bowl commercials are once again drawing attention even before the game. Last year they brought back Betty White, in her 80s, and she made a big splash again. This year, they're bringing in Matthew Broderick to reprise his role in the 1986 movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. We can never seem to let go of the past.

While this is all well and good for the Super Bowl commercials and to those who love both the game and the ads, it reminded me of some of my favorite, all-time romance authors.

Ahh, the 80s. I didn't read romance novels even then, for it was well into the 90s when I actually discovered them. Before then I worked all the time, and when I did find time to read a little, I read magazines.

When I found a ten-year-old paperback by Janet Dailey in a used book store, I remembered reading many western novels by Louis L'Amour  and Zane Grey. This novel I held in my hands, though, was a Western Romance novel, titled This Calder Range, the first in a three-book series. The first few pages grabbed me, and I bought the book for 50 cents. Later, I began searching for more of her books, especially the next two Calder novels.
In searching, I found Rosanne Bitner's books, too. She, also, has a prolific career of writing Western Historical Romances. She became one of my favorites, as well. Her byline is "Heart of the West."

Catherine Anderson came next, and her books were much more emotional, often dealing with some  disability, but still...her novels became part of my reading search.

Katherine Stone did not write Westerns, but she introduced me to contemporary romance novels. Oh, she could tear your heart out.

LaVyrle Spencer. My lands, I've mentioned her name a hundred times on-line. She is in a class all by herself. Her romances varied, depending on the whim of her muse, but most..if not all..of her books were set in Minnesota or the Dakotas. She had retired by the time I discovered her, but believe me, I found every one of her books. She is the only author who holds a special place on my book shelf. Every book she wrote is right there.

Sandra Brown really caught my attention with her Western Historicals and Contemporary Westerns. Before I settled in with her writings, she quit and began writing Romantic Suspense. Of course, she's very good, but...I'm still a little angry with her for making this switch.
Kathleen Eagle. Wow, can she write about contemporary Native Americans. I think her husband is NA, so she know whereof she speaks. I adore her stories, and still look for them.

Many of us today are writing Western Romances, some historical, some contemporary. I wonder if twenty years from now some of us might be remembered as I remember these I listed. Are we as good? Can we hold a candle to these successful authors? My goal is always to do the best I can, in school, with my family, in my teaching career, and now with my writing adventure. I wonder, though, if I can ever come close.

Who were your favorites?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas              


  1. Good morning, Celia. I share your admiration for LaVyrle Spencer and would add Maeve Binchy and an English author I know personally, Valerie Wood. All of these authors write about ordinary people in their everyday lives but they cover the gamut of human emotions to touch the heart and make you remember their characters forever. Can any of us achieve that? Only time will tell but we can wish. Who said "Man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for?" Linda

  2. Hi Celia, I suppose it depends how you define success. ;-) So few get very high in the numbers rankings, but if you mean by touching readers' hearts, you're already doing that!

  3. Hi, Celia, we've never met but I feel as if I know you. A very good post. You sparked many memories of the days when I used to prowl around in old, dusty bookstores looking for my favorite authors. You mentioned a couple I never got around to. I'll put then on my TBR list! I really like your updated site. I didn't know one could create pages with BlogSpot. Keep up the good work and keep writing. Yours will be on my keeper shelf! Carra(Gloria Cope)

  4. I did read one of Valerie Wood's books--the one in England 19th century--where the husband dragged his pregnant wife with a rope around her neck to the auction block in the center of town. That book kept me awake at night, thinking about what that poor woman went through. A sign of good book?

  5. Oh, thank you, Loraine--yes, I really do mean touching readers' hearts more than money. Although, the world grades success by the amount of money one earns much of the time.
    For me, the best measure of a good author is if she can make me cry or laugh. Often when I finish a book, I just feel relieved that last page is over.'re very kind.

  6. CARRA--Iknow what you mean. I always say "my Florida friend," or "my Kentucky friend," or "my Oklahoma friend," for I feel like I know these on-line contacts.
    I discovered the page addtion quite some time ago--in fact, I think Blogger announced it--you can add up to ten pages.
    I had two pages on there with very short stories--childhood anecdotal tales I love to write.
    But I thought I'd use them for all my books instead.

  7. Maybe I should scroll down to the bottom half of the page and read the new ideas Blogspot gives us. Novel idea! I usually sprint through my routine too quickly. Anyway, you've done a beautiful job. Thanks

  8. I love LaVyrle, Maeve, Rosamunde Pilcher, Anita Shreve, ... the list goes on and on. Thank you for this post. You've inspired me to revisit those old friends.

  9. Celia, you've summed it up for me the way you always do - to 'always do the best you can.'

    (Sandy - it's great to hear someone else recommending Anita Shreve, she's a great favourite of mine. :)

    Celia - I'm really happy to pass the Liebster award to you! pop over to my blog when you can to see why.

    Jane x

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