Laurie’s News & Views Issue#70

 (April 1, 1999)



Happy (Belated) Anniversary:
A month ago, this column celebrated its third anniversary, but I didn’t realize it until a couple of days ago. I know that this column has meant different things to different people over that time period, and that some of you have read it since the start while others of you are far more recent readers of Laurie’s News & Views. I’ve never been particularly fond of that name, it was not of my choosing, but at this point I wouldn’t want to change it because of that name recognition thing. I hear from readers who, upon discovering the column, set about to read all the back issues. To those of you who have done so, my hat is off to you, especially those of you who have printed out those prior columns. I feel badly for the trees, but if reading the column has helped to create a feeling of community and allowed you to enjoy romance reading and perhaps think about romance novels in new ways, I’m gratified. Thank you all for your support. I’ll continue writing this column until it no longer serves a purpose; I’m sure you all will let me know when that happens.



Kissing Cousins:
In the last edition of this column, I brought up the idea of the “cabin” romance. I’ve been reading a tremendous number of series romances these days (for some reason I’m eating them like they were candies), and the ones I’ve gravitated toward are Cabin Romances. First I read the re-issue of Elizabeth Lowell’s Warrior. Most of this book takes place in an isolated cabin inhabited by the heroine after she rescues the hero from injury and freezing after he falls from his horse and is trapped by debris. Their relationship in this isolated mountain setting is filled with conflict and tension, but the prose was so over-the-top that the book was ultimately unsatisfying.

Then I moved on to Society Bride by Elizabeth Bevarly, which I mentioned in the last issue of LN&V. While the hero’s skepticism about women seemed unrealistic to me, his isolation with the heroine for virtually the entire read grabbed me from the start.

This past weekend Half-Priced Books, a Dallas-based chain of used bookstores, sent out a signal to me and I was impelled to make an extensive visit. I walked out of the bookstore an hour later with fourteen books for fifteen dollars and considered the money very well spent. The very first book I chose to read was The Three Musketeers: Surrender the Dark by Donna Kauffman. It was terrific. Look for this book; you won’t be able to find it as Amazon, but as of today, Hard To Find Books has at least one copy. It’s the first in a trilogy and I’ve already ordered books two and three from HTFB, as well as two other books based on Donna’s comments below. Considering that the first book I read by Donna was just a drop above average, this says a lot about how Surrender the Dark affected me.

What is it about the Cabin Romance that has me so captivated? I think I first became aware of this type of romance when I read Julie Garwood’s One White Rose in 1997, although I didn’t have a name for it yet. I just knew I liked reading a romance wherein the hero and heroine are alone together for most of the book in isolation. It wasn’t until I read that Elizabeth Bevarly that I realized it was a Cabin Romance, and perhaps a kissing cousin to the Road Romance (an original Special Title Listing here at AAR and now found as a sub-list for American/Western, English, Contemporary, Regency, and Medieval romances).

Romance readers have long enjoyed the Road Romance, where a significant portion (or perhaps all) of the story takes place en route from one locale to another. The hero and heroine are often isolated and have to work out their issues in the face of danger along their journey. Oddly enough, the Cabin Romance is kissing cousin to the Road Romance, and I feel safe in saying this because author Barbara Samuels (aka Ruth Wind) agrees with me! The hero and heroine are isolated, often by injury, the elements, or danger from villainous characters and have to come to grips with each other and their problems in a cabin or house (or boat)- usually in the wilderness. As an added benefit, the Cabin Romance may be the ultimate romance for those readers who don’t like separations between the hero and heroine. As Barbara Samuels said, “It’s one of my favorite scenarios. I like it because it forces the hero and heroine to be the only ones on the page for the most part. Makes for a lot of intensity and sexual tension.” I couldn’t agree more.

While there are many of us out there who enjoy this type of book, it doesn’t have universal appeal, although what does? Reader Kitty said that she finds Cabin Romances boring. She added, “I can sort of see a similarity to ‘on the road’ books but also see a huge difference as well. In your typical Road Romance, a lot of the fun is reading the interaction between the main characters and everyone they meet along the way. In a Cabin Romance, that interaction with others is missing and I tend to get bored when there is only the hero and heroine.”

While I enjoy romances with strong secondary characters as well, there’s something about a gripping and dramatic romance between a man and a woman who are fighting their attraction to one another and perhaps fending off danger to boot. Perhaps the shorter length of the series romance is the perfect venue for this type of story, although there are full-length romances that include Cabin Romances as a part of the book. Can two people alone in the wilderness or a boat sustain a full-length read? Hmmm.



A Terrific Cabin Romance:
In Donna Kauffman’s The Three Musketeers: Surrender the Dark, the hero and heroine were by themselves in a small mountain home for 95% of the book. The internal and external conflicts to be worked out created an immense sexual tension that was utterly gripping. I asked Donna to talk about the Cabin Romance. This is what she had to say:

Okay. I admit it. The thought of being stranded with a sexy, strong-willed man in a cabin for a day or two. . . or six. . . nights included, naturally. . . has crossed my mind. Once or twice. It’s like the stranded island romance only better. . . especially when it comes complete with a fireplace and a bear skin rug. Or even better, a big brass bed.Perhaps this is why I’ve always been a sucker for that kind of plot line in the romances I read. I can definitely say that particular fantasy factored in to some of the romances I’ve written. I’ve used more than one “plot device” in stranding my soon-to-be-lovers, from the “need a place to hide” scenario, to the tried and true “trapped in bad weather by accident” storyline. But I’m never satisfied with leaving it at that. It’s the way a writer twists the premise that really fascinates me.

Example. In my Loveswept Wild Rain, the hero and heroine are trapped in her home by an oncoming hurricane. But, never one to settle, I took that one step further and trapped them in a closet. . . under a mattress. . . for a goodly part of the book. The “hideaway” premise holds even more allure for me. I like to put my characters in difficult situations, give them a direct conflict, then force them to deal with it. . . when all they want to do is hide. Especially from each other. In the book mentioned by Laurie above, Surrender the Dark, I use another familiar plot device, that of wounding the hero so he must seek shelter. Yet, again, that wasn’t enough for me. . . so I set it up so that the only available place for him to hide was the mountain home of our heroine. A woman who had good reason to hate him. He’d almost had her killed. Difficult situations, indeed. Yes, those are the stories that get my blood pumping. In yet another Loveswept, Dark Knight, I did a twist on the “trapped in bad weather” scenario. Our hero is using a remote mountain cabin as a base of operations and is snowed in. Our heroine, a highly trained agent who doesn’t let a little snow stop her, must keep our hero in this cabin and out of the way of the rest of her team for a week. Any way she can. She uses a variety of methods. I think I enjoyed the handcuffs and chains best. I know he enjoyed getting out of them. Like Surrender the Dark, this book largely takes place inside that small cabin.

Tight spaces. Trapped. Together. Why does that scenario push the hot buttons of so many readers and writers? Speaking for myself, I think it’s because by putting your hero and heroine in such a difficult spot, with seemingly no way out. . . then tossing in a conflict that they cannot ignore, and cannot avoid, forces them to confront each other right off. . . and often. The focus of the story is thereby completely on the two of them – no distractions, no side trips. And did I mention tension? In this situation, you cannot avoid the kind of tension that is high-wire taut right from the get go. And when you have two combatives. . . who also happen to discover they are wildly, if irritatingly aroused by each other. . . well, screaming sexual tension never hurt a story either.

Well shoot, all this talk about screaming sexual tension in tight little spaces is making my fingers itch to tell another one. Which brings me to the final guilty pleasure of this kind of romance. . . dreaming up new ways to tell the next one!

Donna’s next book, The Legend MacKinnon (which we awarded Desert Isle Keeper status on May 17, 1999), features its own “cabin” segment. One of the three heroines, it seems, heads off to a remove Smokey Mountain cabin she inherited to escape a violent ex-boyfriend. Only, the cabin isn’t as deserted as she had thought. According do Donna, “She opens to door to a towering Scot wearing a kilt, and little else. He claims he owns the cabin – in fact, he claims he’s personally owned it for the past 300 years. It’s the middle of the night and her junker car has died. With nowhere else to turn, she must find a way to deal with him. Whoever. . . or whatever. . . he is. When he finds out she is the last living ancestor of the clan that wiped his out three centuries before, things get a little dicey.”



More on the Cabin Romance:
I hope that if you haven’t identified any romances you’ve read as Cabin Romances, you are at least intrigued by the idea, but if you’re like Kitty, I’ll want to hear from you when it’s time to post to the message board! It’s exciting to try to define a kind of romance that perhaps hasn’t been defined before, but frustrating too, and here’s why. Anne Stuart’s A Rose at Midnight is one of my favorites. When I started to think this past couple of weeks about Cabin Romances and Road Romances, this was the book that had me thinking the two are kissing cousins. The hero and heroine in this book travel by land and sea throughout England, to Italy, then France, and then back to England (or is it Scotland?) Part of the book, a most intense part, is spent at an isolated “cabin,” if you will, in the countryside. It’s not a long part, but a significant part. So, is this book a Road Romance? Is it a Cabin Romance? Is it both? To be either, does some percentage of the book have to take place in a cabin/home/hut/desert isle? To be a Road Romance, how much of the book should the journey signify?

This becomes important because, as AAR Reviewer/Reviews Editor Marianne Stillings pointed out in a recent review, “the abandoned estate cottage is such a worn device. There must be conveniently abandoned cottages every ten feet in England, just filled to bursting with lords and ladies having impromptu trysts. I’m surprised they all don’t bump into each other on the way out.”

In order to present a well-rounded viewpoint of the Cabin Romance, I asked members of AAR’s listserv (fka the Prodigy Romance Listserv) to share their favorites. Of course, they went beyond the Cabin Romance and got into Lighthouse Romances (some of their favorite Lighthouse Romances are:

  • Savage Tides by Mary Mayer Holmes
  • Torchlight by Lisa Bergren
  • The Lighthouse by Linda Eberhardt
  • Lighthouse by Eugenia Price
  • Light for Another Night by Anne Lacey
  • Devlin’s Light by Mariah Stewart
  • The Lightkeeper by Susan Wiggs)

But I digress. . .

What I’d like to do now is list the recommended Cabin Romances (although I’m not going to re-write the titles addressed above) and then open the list up for agreement/disagreement/additions/corrections. I’d like to be able to turn this list into a new list for the Special Title Listings, either as a sub-section, or mixed in with Road Romances. Although, if many of you agree with Kitty’s assessment, the latter would obviously not be a good idea. Keep in mind these key questions when assessing these books: should most of the book take place in the “cabin” or is a crucial segment enough to be part of our final description? For readers like Mary Lynne, such a book “has the h/h in utter isolation for a majority of the story.” Other readers are less stringent, and would include Anne Stuart’s A Rose at Midnight or Merline Lovelace’s Tiger’s Bride which feature crucial parts of the book as part of a larger Road Romance. And, do some of these belong instead on a Road Romance list?


Light of DayRuth WindJezebel’s BluesRuth Windrecommended by Susan Kay LawBreaking the RulesRuth WindHer Ideal ManRuth WindChristmas ForeverRuth Windmotel room/on the run comboRainsingerRuth WindSpies, Lies & LoversSally Tyler Hayescabin/on the run combo recommended by Ruth WindAbsolute TroubleMichelle JerotthouseboatSanta Reads RomanceDara Joyfrom anthology Night Before ChristmasDark & Stormy NightAnne StuartOne Christmas KnightKathleen Creightonmarooned in a big rigLilac AwakeningBarbara DelinskyMontana ManBarbara DelinskyThe Real ThingBarbara DelinskyTwelve AcrossBarbara DelinskyHeartbreak KidAlison KentLove PotionJennifer Greenerecommended by Eileen WilksDear ReaderJennifer Greenerecommended by Eileen WilksThe Loner & the LadyEileen WilksCome SpringJill Marie LandisUpon the StormJustine Davisrecommended by Susan Kay LawDesperadoSandra HillRoman’s HeartSharon SalaA Home for AdamGina Wilkins FerrisBluebird WinterLinda HowardOverloadLinda HowardWhite LiesLinda HowardWhite OutLinda Howardfrom anthology Upon a Midnight ClearWolfIngrid WeaverThe Woman’s Touch Ingrid WeaverGabriel’s AngelNora RobertsOne Man’s ArtNora RobertsTime WasNora RobertsRecklessElizabeth LowellLove Song for a RavenElizabeth Lowellmarooned in a boatJourney’s EndBJ JamesHer Child’s FatherChristine FlynnBaby in his CradleDiana WhitneyDakota DawnDana RansomShadow on the MooonConnie FlynnCast AdriftDonna Carlislemarooned on a small boatOne Lonely NightSusan Kay LawPerfectJudith McNaughtA Special ManBillie GreenTemporary AngelBillie GreenMorgan’s MarriageLindsay McKennaZack’s LawKay HooperTwo AloneSandra BrownHer Child’s FatherChristine FlynnTiger’s BrideMerline Lovelacemarooned on a deserted islandHard-Hearted HeroPamela BurfordBride OverboardHeather MacAllistermarooned on a deserted islandIn Praise of Younger MenLyn EllisTo Love a Dark LordAnne StuartSome Kind of MagicTeresa WeirThe Snow AngelMary BaloghSnow BrideDallas SchulzeWhirlwind CourtshipJayne Ann KrentzUneasy AllianceJayne Ann KrentzCabin FeverTerry LawrenceAn Unexpected DeliveryLaurie PaigeAnother DawnDeb StoverA Willing SpiritDeb StoverImagineJill Barnettmarooned on a desert island

(To see our list of Cabin & Road Romances, please click here.)



Silly Sex Questions:
Anyone who can explain “pouting” or “pouty” breasts, please do! And, aren’t heroes’ afraid they’ll put an eye out when they settle down to feast on those “diamond-hard” nipples?



It’s What I Call Bonding:
Not all that long ago I reviewed Amanda Quick’s I Thee Wed, and I was disappointed in the lack of what I termed “bonding” between the lead characters on an emotional level. I felt an intellectual and physical bond, but I never felt an emotional one. This is something that’s never happened to me w/a book by this author, either as Amanda Quick or Jayne Ann Krentz.

I’ve read romances where the only bond I felt was a physical one (when the characters have an “I hate you, now let’s go to bed” relationship), but to have both an intellectual and physical bond but not an emotional one is something fairly rare for me. Reader Mary Lynne Nielsen feels that there are actually four components of bonding necessary to make a romance work for readers, and you’ll be able to read her rif on this topic a little later in the column. First, let’s see what some other readers had to say about bonding.

Sandi wrote, “I’m intrigued by the question of ‘bonding’. It seems to me in thinking about it that a book where a lack of bonding is an issue would also be a book in which the Big Misunderstanding plays a big part. If characters are bonded wouldn’t it be harder to have the Big Misunderstanding as an issue? I would also think that a book where characters didn’t bond would be a book that doesn’t end up on too many keeper shelves. I think it is the emotional bonding in most cases, that really brings the reader into the story, and results in that smile on the face after the HEA. I also think that those books are the ones that we remember long after we have closed the book.”

I agree that the only memorable romances I’ve read are those in which I felt an emotional bond. The Big Misunderstanding may be among those instances when I didn’t feel a bond – although many times these books manage to have (at the very least) a physical bond. For me, that lack of an emotional bond sometimes comes from having one lead character I’ve not come to like, so I wonder why their partner loves them. If I can’t “get it,” if I can’t fathom why they are loved, than I don’t feel an emotional bond.

In I Thee Wed, there was an intellectual bond and a physical bond, but not an emotional one. Perhaps the reason, which I stated in my review, was that the hero was so enigmatic that I didn’t feel I “knew” him, even after reading the book. Since I didn’t know him, I guess I wonder whether the heroine “knew” him emotionally, and without that knowledge, how could she love him?

They seemed more like wonderful friends who had sexual chemistry than soul mates. But that’s just that book. Other books may have neither of the three bonds I mentioned (physical, intellectual, emotional), just one, or perhaps two. I’m interested in talking about those books and perhaps contrasting them with books with all three.

Beverly Medos (who wrote Beverly’s Book Basket for AAR from of mid-1998 through late 1999), had this to say about the Quick book in specific and her thoughts on bonding in general; I agree with much of what she has to say:

“Are we talking about a case of the relationship actually overpowering the love story to some extent? Meaning they are a couple, they have a relationship of some sort, but at the end of the book you, the reader, end up not really convinced they’re in love. Yes, I could easily see that happening with a JAK book because she tends puts so much emphasis on partnership aspect between the hero and heroine. This is a situation that I would consider the direct opposite of a relationship black hole where the love story moves along without the relationship showing any development through a major part of the story.”Personally, I really do believe that there is an aspect of genre romance which tends to get ignored a great deal – both within and without the genre. Namely that there isn’t only two main characters in a romance, but three – the hero, the heroine and the relationship. All three have to show growth and development for it to be a truly successful genre romance. . . and not simply a love story or general (or woman’s) fiction. Show only one, or even two, of those three changing over the course of the story and you might have a love story, but do you truly have a romance in the genre sense of the term.

“For example, how many times have any of us read a story and thought ‘Oh, wow, what a great love story!’ but have in the back of our brain this true doubt that they will actually last as a couple? To me, that’s a case of either one or both of the hero or heroine showing development towards ‘love’ but the relationship having not shown us enough growth to convince us we actually read a romance.

“Why couldn’t the opposite be true also? In other words, why couldn’t a couple have a relationship which shows growth and development over the course of the story, maybe from being friends to being partners, and yet not show us enough about one or both of them to convince us they’ve actually grown to be in love?

“It would be so seductively like a romance, i.e. a developing relationship between a man and a woman, but would it truly feel like a romance to us in the long run? Is that the bonding, or lack thereof, that you are talking about? Personally, I’d think so. In fact, this may even be an overcompensation that might be developing some of today’s romances. We’ve wanted so much to see the pendulum swing away from the happily-ever-after syndrome where there wasn’t any relationship development at all that now we’re faced with some stories slipping in where there are relationships, good male/female relationships, but the love aspect is getting short shrift.”

And now, here’s what Mary Lynne has to say about the magic of bonding, perhaps more about the reader bonding with the story than her original topic, but still fascinating nonetheless.

I think that when a book works for you, it’s a kind of alchemy. It really is something wondrous and different, and that has to do with what I consider to be the four key elements of reading a romance: the plot, the characterization, the writing style, and the bond between the reader and writer.

The story has to be one that intrigues you, one that you want to find out more about. The characters have to be detailed and interesting, people you’d want to get to know outside the context of the book. The author has to write in a manner you appreciate or that you find approachable. And all of those are achieved by the magic of having an author connect to something deep in the very soul of you as a reader.

If any one of these four elements is lacking, the book probably isn’t that great for you. If you think the plot is silly, or Yet Another Great Misunderstanding plot, it doesn’t matter how nifty you think the characters are. If you can’t identify with or understand the characters, it doesn’t matter how well the author writes. If the author writes in a chunky manner, it doesn’t matter how creative the plot idea is.

Laurie spoke of bonds that she registers when she reads a book: the physical, the intellectual, and the emotional. These are bonds that she, the reader, creates with a character. An aspect of this is the relationship between the hero and the heroine. You can like the hero. You can like the heroine. But if you can’t accept them as a couple, then those bonds aren’t created, because your fundamental belief that these two characters are meant for one another isn’t achieved. If Laurie didn’t perceive an emotional bond when she read I Thee Wed, than something was lacking somewhere for her, because we as dedicated romance readers expect a great romance novel to deliver the whole package.

In a past issue of this column, Laurie mentioned Clive Barker’s comment that the reader is partly the creator of a book when it is read. Without the reader’s input, the book doesn’t come alive. This, I think, is part of what Laurie found in this particular Amanda Quick romance. For every book that I see praised, someone will come back and respond that they didn’t enjoy that novel at all. Many authors inspire strong love/hate reactions from readers – Dara Joy being the most recent example that I can think of. So there are an infinite number of possibilities within the four major elements of a romance novel that I believe are at the heart of the relationship between an author and a reader.

I’ll try to give you some specific examples of romance novels that I think are fantastic and some that I found just wretched. And I’ll try to explain what about them worked or failed for me. I know I may mention someone’s favorites in either category. But that’s the way it is when you look at the unique and varied bonds between books and their readers.

Books I Loved:

The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh:
Mary Balogh is probably my favorite romance writer. She’s also written books I’ve really disliked. But she has a way with words that astounds me. She can write pages about one glance the hero makes, and I’ll devour every word. Of the many books I’ve read of hers that are on my keeper shelf, my favorite is the traditional Regency The Temporary Wife. It’s tough for me to say why. I love the strength of the heroine and the needs of the hero, but I could say that about a number of Balogh’s protagonists. Perhaps it’s the intensity of this story, spent almost completely on a weekend at a country home where Staunton brings his new wife Charity, that registers for me. Perhaps it’s the focus on the hero’s family as the secondary story, since Staunton’s father is one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever encountered. But all four key elements of a good romance novel were present: an interesting plot; a hero and heroine I found believable and believable together; a commanding writing style; and an author whom, when she connects with me, connects in a big way. These combined to create a haunting, enveloping love story that it took me days to let go of.

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase:
Loretta Chase’s brilliant novel is on the top of a lot of reader’s lists, and it’s easy to see why. The characters are rich and wonderful. This is one of the rare cases where I love a book with an alpha hero, but it’s because Chase takes the time to justify exactly why Dain is the way he is that makes the character so successful. Jessica is every bit his match, and just quirky enough to be intriguing in her own right. The plot, while traditional, takes many unexpected twists and turns that make it refreshing. And Chase connects you to all of this through wonderful language and fantastic use of perspective. This is one of those books where it seems that everything came together in an enchanting way.

This is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland:
Lynn Kurland has written half a dozen charming books, but this is my favorite of hers. The plot truly reached out to me because it featured unique elements for a medieval: the heroine has literally never left her home and the hero is blind. From these two damaged souls the author builds a touching, deeply moving love story. The story features enough danger and threats to their situation (from his blindness and from her family) to keep me intrigued. Gillian and Christopher seemed meant for one another in so many ways, and Kurland’s empathetic style helped to bring that across. She is a gentle writer, and that speaks to me in so many ways. There are few medievals that have affected me as much as this one.

Books I Didn’t Prefer:

Knight of a Trillion Stars and Rejar, both by Dara Joy:
Dara Joy is one of those writers that I know lots of folks love, but I don’t. And I know why I don’t like her writing style. It’s too choppy, too abrupt, to suit my needs as a reader. (Basically, I wonder where her editor is when I read her books.) I also don’t like her heroines. They seem to be cut out of cardboard to me compared to the amount of time she spends on her heroes. Deanna wasn’t much to speak of, and Lilac was far worse. A good romance novel has to have a balance between the hero and heroine so that the reader feels each is worthy of the other. Joy’s heroines lack that in my book. So when two of the four major elements are missing, you can understand why Joy is one author I now avoid.

Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss:
I also know that Kathleen Woodiwiss is another icon, but I find her very tough to read. Again, her prose style is just too much for me. It gushes, it undulates – it positively quivers on the page. And it distracts me from the story, which is not a good thing. I also find her heroines frustrating, since they put up with a lot from their alpha heroes, such as Shanna does. Her heroes are too alpha for my tastes, with little of the justification that I found so wonderful in Lord of Scoundrels. When three of the four elements don’t work for me, there’s little to no chance that the fourth will ever happen!

Another Chance to Dream by Lynn Kurland:
I mention this one specifically because I’ve enjoyed Lynn Kurland’s novels so much – every one but this one. I couldn’t stand it, and it was easily the most frustrating book I read last year because I have adored every other one of Kurland’s works. So where did this one go wrong? Well, the plot was a major part of it. I had a lot of trouble reading about a story where the heroine enters into marriage with someone she detests for years of her life and for the majority of the book! I wondered how the hero could stand to serve outside the room where she slept with another man. I couldn’t see how their connection could last, and they certainly didn’t connect to me. Kurland’s writing style was in full evidence here, but it was already too late. I hated the situation of the story and couldn’t justify the hero and heroine’s decisions. It’s tough to see someone you admire fail.

So those are examples of what’s good and bad for me, books that reached right into my heart and touched me deeply and books that made me search for the nearest wall. For you, they’re probably different. But all involve those four core elements:

It’s the three most important words in book writing: plot, plot, plot. It’s the hero and heroine you adore, and the way they work together. It’s the way an author has with words, point of view, and situations. It’s the special, unique, and indefinable way an author speaks to you and you alone.

When you find them all, you’ve found a keeper. And isn’t that a wonderful feeling?



The Message Board:
It’s time to post to the message board again. Please consider the following and comment about any and all the topics discussed in this issue of my column:

histbutHappy Anniversary: Permit me this self-indulgence. How long have you been reading Laurie’s News & Views? What about it do you like?

histbutKissing Cousins: Road Romances and Cabin Romances. Do you like either or both this type of romance? Tell us why! When we create our sub-list of Cabin Romances, should it be separate from Road Romances or included as “kissing cousins?” Which titles on the list should be included or removed, and why? Can a full-length read sustain two people isolated in a cabin or boat or desert island? Should most of the book be about that isolation or just a significant section? Do Cabin Romances bore you or excite you?

histbutFixations and “Callings”: Do you get fixated as I do on a kind of book and want to glom till you drop? Do bookstores call out to you and demand you come and visit them?

histbutSilly Sex Questions: Can you answer the two I posed this time? Can you think of one you’d like answered? Come on, now – don’t be shy!

histbutBonding: Let’s explore bonding, both bonding between the hero and heroine and the bonding between the reader and the romance. Do my comments resonate with you? How about Sandi’s and the Big Misunderstanding? Beverly’s theory of hero, heroine, and relationship? Mary Lynne’s four-part recipe for alchemy?


Until next time, TTFN, Laurie Likes Books
In conjunction with Donna Kauffman and Mary Lynne Neilsen



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