I’m delighted to welcome Becky Lower as she introduces her new contemporary romance, Blame It On The Brontes, from Soul Mate Publishing. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win in Becky’s giveaway!
Is It Time For A New Romance Category?
I enjoy reading about two people who are falling in love, regardless of their age (or sex, for that matter). Historical romances deal with women who are just being introduced into society and beginning to look for husbands. A younger heroine and hero in that case, I understand. In the 1800s, if a woman got past the age of 25, she was considered a spinster—past her prime, on the shelf, all of that. But life cycles were much shorter then, and the number of acceptable men was a much smaller pool than it is now.
But why does age matter so much in contemporary romance? Read the submission guidelines from most of the major traditional publishers, and you’ll see they aren’t interested in heroines who are out of their twenties. As if love stops being part of a person’s life once they hit 30. Or 40. Or beyond. What nonsense.
There are a few non-traditional publishing houses who are more willing to take a chance on an out-of-the-box story, but then, these these books suffer with such labels as ‘baby boomer’ novels, or ‘hen lit’. I hate to break it to everyone, but the baby-boomer generation is now reaching the age of retirement. And ‘hen lit’ is just a derogatory term. It’s not funny. While I appreciate their efforts, I don’t like the titles that are attached to this type of literature.
In today’s world, women are still having babies when they are well into their 40s—far different from the life cycles of the 1800s. My contemporary heroines are interested in starting over, due to a change in their lives. They screwed up on their first go-round and are anxious to make a better life for themselves. You can have a do-over until you’ve done it once and failed. Which means most of my heroines and heroes are in their 40s.
They’re either empty nesters, newly divorced, or their parents have just passed on. They are able to make choices they couldn’t have made ten or twenty years earlier. And they’re finding love. Contrary to the opinion of many, love has no age limit. Maybe we should call it “Second-Chances Lit.” There’s a new sub-genre now called New Adult. Maybe we should call it “Mature Adult.” Or do we have to put a label on it at all? How about just “good lit?”
A Giveaway! What name would you give this proposed new genre? I’ll give one commenter an e-book copy of Blame it on the Brontes. Be sure to include your email address so I have a way to contact you.
Blame It On The Brontes
Blurb: Sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronson, each in her forties, are in Puffin Bay, ME for their mother’s funeral and to sink their claws into the fortune each expects to inherit. But their mother has other plans. Her substantial fortune won’t be divided until the trio return to their childhood home and live together for a year.
It’s a request that pits sister against sister but could unite them in a common goal to find the friendship they shared as children, to create a family jewelry business and to win over the men of Puffin Bay. They have a year to figure it all out.
Anne Bronson pressed her foot on the gas pedal, trying to ignore the little red light on the dashboard—the one highlighting the E on her gas gauge. She willed the rental moving truck to make it up the next hill, hunching over the steering wheel to help with the climb. The truck leaned into the steepest part of the incline, its headlights illuminating the crest just as the engine began coughing and sputtering in earnest. No good gas-guzzling piece of crap. Anne directed the truck to the side of the road and set the brake so it wouldn’t drift down the slope. There should have been plenty of fuel to get to the house.
If she hadn’t already maxed out her credit card, she would have gladly paid professionals to move her from New York to Maine. But here she was, driving her own belongings north, and out of gas. Her stomach knotted even tighter. Is this the way a NASCAR driver feels when he runs out of gas on the final lap? Anne’s race was bigger. She had an inheritance at stake. Eighteen minutes till midnight. Damn.
Hauling her purse behind her, she climbed out of the truck. She kicked a tire and let out a half-hearted scream at the damage her instinctive motion caused her black leather Manolo Blahniks. Tapping her fingernails against her teeth, she peered up and down the dark road. No headlights. No life. No sound.
She fished into her purse for her cell phone and stared at it. No signal either here in Backwater Maine, of course. With a deep sigh, she wrestled with her old suitcase with its wonky wheel and strapped her oversized purse across her body as she began to climb the rest of the way up the incline. Two miles to the house. She had eighteen minutes to get there. In six-inch heels. Gazing skyward, she muttered, “Hey, Mom, you up there? If you are, I need a little help right about now.”
Headlights crested over the hill in front of her. Anne blew a kiss skyward. “Thanks, Mom. Always could count on you.”
She put down her purse and bag at the side of the road and moved to the middle, waving her hands, hoping the driver spotted her before the car either mowed her down or went whizzing by. This was a million-dollar hitchhike.
The white car slowed, and then came to a stop about fifty feet away from her. Anne released the breath she’d been holding and escaped the harsh glare of the headlights. As she stepped nearer, she noticed the light bar mounted on top of the car.
Relief flooded her as she realized she had flagged down a police cruiser. A glimpse of the dark-haired officer sitting behind the wheel made her lips turn up into her flirtiest smile. She couldn’t see him well in the dark with just the glow from the dashboard lights across his face, but it didn’t matter. She could work any man.
“Hello, handsome,” she purred as she rested her hands on the car door’s windowsill and leaned down to see him better. “You’ve saved my life.”
She tapped his nametag. “Officer Willoughby. Can I hitch a ride into town?” Not too shabby. She ran through a mental checklist while she waited for his reply. Wavy, dark hair cut a bit long, a fit body, at least what she could see.
“Are you Anne Bronson?”
Anne put her hand to her chest. “You recognize me? Well, how special is that?”
“Get in the car,” the dark-haired man growled.
Anne straightened and backed away a step. She threw a saucy glance his way, to show him she wasn’t intimidated by his gruff manner. “I usually wait for the gentleman to open the door, but I am in a bit of a hurry tonight.” She grabbed her bags from the side of the road and then scurried around to the passenger side, throwing her suitcase into the back seat and hopping in before grumpy Officer Willoughby changed his mind and drove off without her.
She settled her purse on the seat between them. “I live up the road here, only a couple miles away.”
Officer Willoughby was speaking into his police radio. “I found her, and I’m bringing her in now.”
Anne swiveled her head toward him. “Hey, are you talking about me on your radio? You’re bringing me in? For what?”
“For being late.”
“That’s now a crime?” Anne squirmed in her seat. “Listen, Officer, I’m enjoying our time together, but I really, really need to get home before midnight.”
Bio: Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it present day coastal Maine or on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s. Contemporary and historical romances are her specialty.
Becky is a member of RWA, NEORWA and Savvy Authors. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. Visit her website at http://www.beckylowerauthor.com
You can find Becky at:
You can find Blame it on the Brontes at:
Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/blame-it-on-the-brontes/
16 thoughts on “Is It Time For A New Romance Category? Guest Post by Becky Lower, Author of Blame It On The Brontes”
Mid-Life Romance? I agree we do need a new category for this!
Oddly enough, over the past couple of days I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to come up for a new name for this genre.
I really like “Mid-Life Romance” or even “Mid-Life Lit”. It immediately conveys the age of the characters without bringing along that negative baggage so many other words have. I can’t comfortably describe myself as “Prime” or “Mature” or “Refined” or even “Classic.” All of those words have too much additional baggage.
“Mid-Life Lit.” I like it!
This sounds like an awesome book, Becky!
And I totally agree with you on the age thing. I ust hit 30, lol, but experienced so much in my life that all my heroines find themselves in their thirties, at least. Something more authentic about womanhood at that age/stage of life, in my humble opinion…
Keep it up! XOXO
Love the Mid-Life Romance idea. Love can come at any point in one’s life and why not write about it whenever it happens. Age shouldn’t matter.
Good blog. My heroines are usually in their early to mid-30’s. I think 20’s is too young. My heroes are also mid to late 30’s. I don’t know about a title for your new category. Maybe New-Life Romance, Love At Any Age Romance, Love Always. Frankly, although I’m a boomer, I don’t want to read about people my age. Characters in their 40’s fine, but no older. That’s just me. I can see where there’d be a market for characters in their 50’s or 60’s.
Wonderful topic, Becky! I’d call it “Fall Flame” Romance. Midlife is often called “the fall of the year”, and “fall flame” to me calls up the fiery beauty of colorful fall leaves, as well as the heat/passion of love later in life. Of course, The Wild Rose Press already has a line of later-in-life romance called “The Last Rose of Summer.” (firstname.lastname@example.org) — Katie O’Boyle, author
Thank you, everyone, for your comments. And thank you Babette, for hosting me today. I definitely think we need a new category, and judging from the response, I’m not alone. Appreciate your feedback.
I like the sound of “Mid-Life Lit” or “Mid-Life Romance.” Sometimes it’s a journey falling back in love with your own spouse, or starting over after being widowed. Or just learning to love yourself. I’m pushing sixty, so writing for an older audience is easier for me. The heroine in my last book is retired, and in my current WIP she’s in her mid-forties. We need our own category!
I so agree, Patricia! The hot category now is “New Adult”. I think the other end of the spectrum needs exploitation too.
Decadent Publishing is rolling a new category for H/h 45+; there’s an active sub call for this type of romance over there. So there’s definitely a market ready to supply to this demand. Up to us authors now to pen these stories and get them out there! And I love “Timeless”; it has such a classy ring to it! 🙂
Not so sure I like “Mid-Life Lit” or “Mid-Life Romance”. Makes me personally think of men in their 50’s + leaving wives, going out and buying Vettes and…yeah, that.
I like Second Chance Romance or Second Chance Lit. Or how about Timeless Love, cause I firmly believe you’re never too old to find it.
Just my two cents.
Margaret–You’re a girl after my own heart. I like Second Chances or Timeless much better. We’ll have to see what happens.
Timeless Love…great suggestion. I enjoy writing older heroines…they have life experience to add to the mix and a lot of times they’re willing to take chances younger heroines wouldn’t. Right on, Margaret…we’re never too old to find love!
Apparently there are a few small presses taking up the older romance challenge. Sadly, it’s often known as “geezer romance” I’d like to read more of it myself…and have been contemplating writing more romance about people my age!
Sad, isn’t it, the monikers that get attached to things? Geezer romance, indeed. I’m glad there are a few publishers out there willing to take a risk on a portion of the market that gets larger every day. They’ll all figure it out someday.
As a boomer, I can totally agree with you on this! My Viking husband always says we aren’t dead…yet.
Love doesn’t stop when you retire. Bring on the old babes!