Inside the Push for a More Diverse Romance Genre

It was inspiring to watch the authors picking up trophies at the RT Book Reviews awards ceremony in Dallas. Many were successful middle-aged women who’d started writing romances as a second career, supportive husbands cheering them on. But—as reflects the publishing business overall—it was a fairly white group, and… » 5/22/15 12:50pm 5/22/15 12:50pm

The Perfect Letter Is Chris Harrison's Boring Idea of 'Mommy Porn'

Chris Harrison wrote a romance novel. It took him a couple years and lots of late nights, but given that he’s spent his adult life advising sort of adults how to find love, and given that he’s divorced and has shown no real readiness to settle down again, it seems like that developing this side hustle was time… » 5/21/15 3:30pm 5/21/15 3:30pm

My Hot, Consensual Introduction to the Rape Fantasy Romance Novel

One of the primary elements that’s kept me away from indulging in the wet and wistful pleasures of a good romance novel is that the sex was never rough enough and men were always drippy. They were either counts, billionaires, cowboys, or some other sort of amorphous type of “stud” that I’ve never encountered in Real… » 5/19/15 5:20pm 5/19/15 5:20pm

What Do Romance Readers and Pick-Up Artists Both Obsess About? Alphas.

It’s a common trope in romance novels for the hero to be an alpha male: confident, bold, a natural leader of other men. They are often firefighters, military men, cops, tycoons, or 19th-century dukes in saucy cravats. And in romance’s taxonomy of alpha males, there appears the sub species of the alpha-hole. These men… » 5/15/15 4:30pm 5/15/15 4:30pm

Blinded By the Light (of the Glistening Bare Abs at This Romance Con)

One thing struck me immediately upon my arrival at the RT Booklovers’ Convention, and that was the proliferation of abs. So many abs! Abs on the elevators, abs on the walls, abs in the welcome bag, abs plastered all over the promo materials. Abs, abs, abs, abs. I don’t even care about abs and I’m in female-gaze hog… » 5/15/15 12:50pm 5/15/15 12:50pm

The Lowly Life of a Romance Cover Model

There can never be another Fabio. He belongs to a unique and gauzy time in the late ‘80s when the paperback romance trade had about 50 titles a month by in-house authors. Now there are 500 titles pumped out monthly— not just from major publishing houses but also indie digital publishers, hyper entrepreneurial… » 5/14/15 3:50pm 5/14/15 3:50pm

An Interview With Historical Romance Legend Lisa Kleypas

Greetings from Dallas and the RT Booklovers Convention, where I am currently wandering dazed through a thicket of bare male abs. Expect interviews and other dispatches. And, to kick off our coverage, the folks at Avon sent us the never-before-seen cover of historical romance star Lisa Kleypas’s (much anticipated)… » 5/13/15 5:00pm 5/13/15 5:00pm

We are Virgins Among Cowboys: Jezebel Goes to a Romance Convention

Two brave and sensual members of Jezebel staff (Kelly Faircloth and I, hello!) have come to Dallas to rub elbows with blockbuster romance writers, steely cover models, and wolf-whistling fans at the Romantic Times’ annual convention. Now in it’s 32nd year, the RT Booklovers convention takes all the typical tropes of… » 5/13/15 3:10pm 5/13/15 3:10pm

Yes, That's Totally Hilary Duff You're Flirting With On Tinder

On Sunday, news broke that Hilary Duff, star of Lizzie McGuire and the only celebrity I’ve almost gotten into a fist fight over, miiiiiight have a Tinder profile and may be open to getting pizza with dudes who aren’t Aaron Carter. This morning, The Duffster announced that, yes, that’s absolutely her you could be… » 4/28/15 6:30pm 4/28/15 6:30pm

Fact: The Wacky Fashions of '80s Romance Novels Are the Greatest Thing

Kids today have access to Kindle and Wattpad and a million jillion pages of fanfic. But back when I was first venturing outside teacher-approved reading lists, you had to be sneakier, slipping battered paperbacks from your mother's stash, for instance. Which is how I developed a deep, abiding love for the… » 4/15/15 4:00pm 4/15/15 4:00pm

Hey, Reporters: Never Try to Imitate a Harlequin Romance

In researching my piece on the history of Harlequin, I spent quite a bit of time trawling old newspaper coverage. And I noticed a recurring theme: Reporters tend to treat Harlequin as a joke (despite the fact the company has historically made shitloads of money), and they often think it would be very funny to try… » 3/20/15 2:45pm 3/20/15 2:45pm