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Oct 27 2011 9:30am

Family Ties: LaVyrle Spencer’s Enduring Appeal, Part 2

Separate Beds by LaVyrle SpencerPicking up right where we left off in Part 1, more LaVyrle Spencer favorites...

Separate Beds:  Clay Forrester is a wealthy college grad student working toward becoming a lawyer. His one-night stand with blind date Catherine Anderson (during an off period with his off/on girlfriend, Jill) leads to pregnancy and a marriage of convenience. The marriage will allow Clay to save his reputation and his soon-coming career, while giving Catherine financial security and safety from her abusive father.

What makes it great: His buttery popcorn hands on baby bump, the two of them making a townhouse a home and going from near-strangers to falling in love. Catherine is a very serious heroine, and Clay is an affectionate hero who gets frustrated with Cat’s ironclad lockdown on her feelings. They both grow up through the course of the novel; two kids become two adults, deep in love for each other, and for their baby.

[What else made the list?...]

Oct 26 2011 9:30am

Family Ties: LaVyrle Spencer’s Enduring Appeal, Part 1

The Gamble by LaVyrle SpencerMy very first introduction to romance novels was LaVyrle Spencer’s The Gamble. The Gamble is a story about a Southern gambler who opens a saloon in Kansas—and comes up against a lady prohibitionist. What I like best about Spencer’s writing is the very homey, very traditional American feel. It could be because I’m American, it could be because she’s the first romance author I read, but whatever. I read her historicals and I feel like I’m transported to somewhere I could call home.

Her heroes are kind, honest men. Her heroines are strong and worthy. There’s something unusual about all of her romances; most focus narrowly on the hero and heroine, as well as on family. (What it means, who becomes family, and so on.) They can be sweet or sexy (and sometimes weird *cough*The Fulfillment and Forgiving*cough*) but they always feel epic. Here are some of my well-worn favorites:

[They’re not favorites for nothin’...]

May 15 2011 11:00am

Too Stupid To Live: The TSTL Heroine

Courtney Cox in ScreamDo you know the term for somebody doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? No. It’s not an insane person, though that’s a good guess. Albert Einstein was pretty clever, but he didn’t read romances (well, as far as I know), so he couldn’t possibly know the true answer to that question.

Know it yet? Here’s another clue…the '80s romance heroine was usually this.

Yup! You got it. The TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) heroine.

Pretty much everybody has come across one of these heroines. They’re hard to miss if you read old school romances because Romancelandia was so littered with them that a hero couldn’t trip without falling into onto one. She’s pretty prevalent in romantic suspense (and one of the reasons I don’t read much RS anymore.)

A TSTL heroine does stupid things. She just can’t seem to help it. Like the dumb females in horror movies who always go the wrong way, a TSTL heroine follows the tradition of unthinking idiocy. She’ll run away from the hero and into a nest of bad guys. During a rescue attempt she’ll force the hero to pause in the middle of gunfire for a cross examination of his heart. And she won’t be drugged, like in Knight and Day, which makes that scenario funny.

[Laughter does make up for a lot...]

Apr 30 2011 11:00am

Kiss Prince Charming Good-bye; Say Hello to a Sheikh!

Prince Harry of WalesWith Prince William now married to Kate Middleton and off the market, what’s a gal to do to get her princely fix?

There’s always Prince Harry. He would certainly do, don’t you think? He’s a very cute fellow. On the other hand it might be hard to get his attention. How about a man who’s a little more accessible, someone you can find at your local Big Box Store? There’s always a Prince waiting for you there.

You got me. No. Not a Prince Ken Doll. As great as it is to have Ken and Barbie back together having dream weddings and sharing dream homes again, what I really meant was a Prince you can find anywhere they sell romance books. I’m talking about a sheikh, of course.

[Can't get enough of those Royals...]

Mar 9 2011 9:00am

Author Binge Buys: Gluttonous Shopping Sprees of Epic Proportions

Stack of booksBinge buying is not like binge drinking. Gross. Another turn of phrase for binge buying would be a gluttonous shopping spree of epic proportions. You know the ones I’m talking about, so don’t try to deny it, because I see your credit card, and I know it matches mine.

Binge Buy vs. Auto-Buy:

A binge-buy shopping spree is based off of one or two books by a previously unread author. When you finished reading the first or second book, you knew two things: You loved it/them and wanted more. Auto-buy comes later, when the author has proven to be a consistent favorite.

I have plenty of auto-buy authors, many of whom started out on my shelves from my binge buys. The focus of this article, however, is binge-buy authors, and mine in particular. During my romance career I have had many books by authors start a binge-buy shopping spree. Here are the ones off the top of my head:

[Just can't get enough . . .]