Crushes. Frank Sinatra sang about them. Everybody has them. I grew up on the Crush in the picture. There is a sweetness (not counting the sugar in the soda) that goes along with the word.
I’ve read Betty Neels since I was in high school. Her 100-plus books, which were all very much the same, broke every rule that was ever invented for early romances. She never wrote a love scene, never had a non-virgin heroine, never had a hero who wasn’t larger than life. Her protagonists ate more meals in one little Harlequin Romance than I ate in a week. But I lost myself in all of those books. If I need a comfort read, I can still lose myself in them.
Then there was Muriel Jensen, who has written 92 books for Harlequin and whose voice resonated with me so much that if I had been the focused type, I’d have probably tried to channel her. However, I’m not, so we became friends instead and part of my pleasure in writing for Harlequin Heartwarming is that she does, too.
I read Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s first book and was amazed at how quickly I became a part of the world she built. If I could have only one favorite (heaven forbid!), she is the one. She doesn’t write nearly fast enough, but that’s okay—I don’t mind reading Till the Stars Fall again. Or again.
I’m pretty sure I would read Jenny Crusie’s and Kristan Higgans’ grocery lists if they published them, and would give them five stars on Amazon and Goodreads along with shouts of “Don’t miss this fabulous story!” I have close friends, Nan Reinhardt and Kristina Knight, whose work I never miss.
These are some of my greatest reading pleasures. By the time I got to this point, I’d thought of at least five more names I wanted to add, but I really need to get to work at some point today.
However, I do have a “yes, but—” to add to this post. One of the definitions I found for the word crush was “an intense and usually passing infatuation.” I guess the gift of these crushes is that they don’t pass. These writers’ voices never age or get boring or go out of style. My keeper shelf and my Kindle make sure the term “out of print” never gets in the way of a nice afternoon in the recliner with a good book I’ve read before. I’ve always said one of the reasons I considered myself the luckiest of people is that I’m a writer. Being a reader is pretty lucky, too.