Romance Novels: Your List

Yes, I’ve been absent. Things happened and I’m moving to New Jersey next week instead of in December. Do you know how long it takes to clean out a house this size that has everything I’ve ever owned for sixty-three years? There were a couple thousand books alone to get rid of. (That’s not counting the thirty-six bankers’ boxes of books I’m keeping.) The yarn, the fabric, the clothes (Goodwill got very lucky). Much easier to let go of: furniture. Good think Lani and Alastair like Mission. Also ongoing: The McDaniel classes where I lucked out and got really talented students who are tearing up the place. Which brings us to you.

I think I want to revise the reading list for 521 (beginning class) before I teach it again in January. So I need one romance novel in each of the following genres:

Historical ROMANCE
Contemporary Romantic Suspense (aka ROMANCE)
Contemporary Romantic Comedy (aka ROMANCE)
Paranormal ROMANCE
Women’s Fiction

I have some vague ideas, but I need more to draw on. So I’m asking for your list, the ONE novel you would recommend in each category. If you’re not familiar with that sub-genre, just skip it.

And thank you very much.

Edited to add:
They have to be romance novels.

Critiques: Some Questions

I’m doing a Writewell Lecture on critiques right now, and I need to know more about how writers use them, what they need from them, all that kind of stuff. So . . .

What are your biggest, fears, worries, whatever about having your stories critiqued?

What do you most want from a critique? What’s a helpful critique for you?

Be Yourself Because It’s Too Damn Hard To Be Somebody Else

Robert Parker did his doctoral dissertation on Raymond Chandler, so when Putnam needed somebody to complete Chandler’s last novel, Poodle Springs, they called on Parker. He did a magnificent job of mimicking Chandler’s style, but when Putnam asked him to write another Chandler, he declined. It was just too damn hard writing in somebody else’s voice, even a voice he knew as well as he knew Chandler’s. And now I know what he was talking about.

The assignment for the third McDaniel module in the first romance writing course was to write an original fragment of a fictional narrative in the style of one of the romance novels we had read for the course. Micki, one of our Argh people, asked if I’d do the assignment with them, and I said, “Sure.” Continue reading