Why This is the Best Time for Romance Writers

Please welcome guest author Debra Doggett to the Cafe today!

It’s been a long time since I lived in the Deep South. After twenty years in the southwest, I don’t have much of the accent anymore and I often commit the heresy of saying “you guys” instead of “y’all”. But there are some things that haven’t changed. I like to go barefoot, I still believe cornbread is the most important side dish you can make and I love to leave my door wide open.

An open door symbolizes welcome in a very special way to me. Visualizing an open door can help you achieve the goals you have. It brings in the warmth and sunshine of the world outside. Open doors mean progress, community and new ideas. It clears out the cobwebs and the musty smell that closed ones create. It transforms the room by allowing the sun to shine golden beams inside, bringing warmth, light and clarity.

So what does all this have to do with romance writers? We are lucky enough to have a pretty wide open door these days. To understand how much the world of romance publishing, indeed the entire world of publishing has changed, you need look no further than the bountiful array of books to be found on the shelf.

In years past there were stringent rules about how your story could be written. The rules dictated who could be your hero, your heroine and how the story must end. Don’t get me wrong, I loved a great many of those books. Now that the door has opened, however, everyone can find a book to love. You like the happy-ever-after ending? It’s still there. You’re not so into the happy-ever-after? There’s one for you too. You like it happy in more of a group participation sense? That’s one there. Even if you’re a guy standing in front of a guy, asking to be loved, you can find your romance on the shelf.

Historicals don’t have to all be set in the Regency period or the American west, the happy couple can be a threesome (or more) and the hero/heroine can take a whole series of books to find the right person. Or not stick with one person at all. Our view of romance has broadened to include all the wonderful ways people love. That broader view opens up a broader world for writers whose stories didn’t fit the rigid parameters of the box. And that’s a good thing for all of us.

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A Ghost of a Clue CoverA Ghost of a Clue

Rory DuMont has had enough of hiding the fact that she sees ghosts. Lobster Cove is a new start and she’s determined to shed the mistakes of the past. If that means she ends up alone then so be it. What she can’t seem to shed is Travis Reed, Lobster Cove’s resident skeptic and biology teacher. Sparks fly when the skeptic and the psychic find themselves alone together but the sparks turn into flames when a ghost takes a personal interest in them.


Rory blew out a breath. “If I tell you yes, I’m messing with you when I say there were ghosts here tonight then you’re okay with that. You’re comfortable with it. If I tell you no, that there really was a ghost, two in fact, here tonight, then the train derails and you run for the hills.”

He stared at her for a moment with a thoughtful look on his face. “Tell me what you believe you saw.”

“The truth?”

Travis nodded. “The truth of what you believe you saw.”

“That’s a very guarded way of putting it.”

“No. It’s a very scientific way of putting it. I can’t know what to think if I don’t have all the evidence.”

“Fair enough. I saw two ghosts.”

“Whole images?”

“One fairly solid, a little boy and one kind of wavering, an older woman.”

He watched her face as she said it, and Rory held her breath, waiting for the sneer that had always accompanied any talk of her gift in the past. She would be sorry to see him walk away. Even though it had only been a few weeks, she realized she’d come to enjoy his company. Part of her knew she’d been hoping for something more, no matter how much she told herself she wasn’t going to do another relationship. Still, it would hurt, and she steeled herself for the good-bye. At last he nodded.

“Okay, you saw two ghosts.”

“You’re not headed for the door.”

“The kids aren’t packed up yet.” He grinned. “And the train is still on the tracks, Ms. DuMont. Nothing’s derailed yet.”

Available at The Wild Rose Press

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I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  Being a writer is more than something I do.  It is the way I see the world, the way I process it.  I believe in the power of stories.  They make us smile, make us think and give us untold moments of enjoyment. My stories come from the landscape around me and the worlds I build in my head.  I am proud to be a storyteller, and I hope my work leaves you both satisfied and entertained.


Why This is the Best Time for Romance Writers — 8 Comments

  1. A nice post. I wish I could say I keep up with (and embrace) all the changes, but the truth is I get bewildered here outside the box. :-) I acknowledge that it’s a good thing and am so glad for romance to be INclusive instead of EXclusive, but like everyone else over…ahem…a certain age, there are things from the old days I miss.

    A great excerpt!

  2. So nice to see you here, my fellow Lobster Covian! I too like the way publishing has opened up. I’m not sure I’d ever write M/M or F/F or M/F/M or any of the combinations thereof (although I’ve learned to never say never), authors are free to write them and there is a love story for everyone’s taste. I especially like the way settings have opened up. At one time you couldn’t write a story set in WW2 and now it’s fairly common, which is good for me because it’s one of my favorite time periods. Thanks for being here today!

    • I think the chance to do a wider variety of historical settings is what I like too, Jana. All those great time periods to use make the writing fun.

  3. I find that I have to agree somewhat with Liz’s comment. I love being able to write what I want to write, rather than being restricted by stringent traditional publishing demands. However, I also find the real challenge now is finding your audience, once you have written what you want. That is very challenging! But the artistic freedom, as you’ve pointed out, is awesome now.

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