Romancing the Hop

What is a romance? Or more specifically what is a romance novel?

Did you know that almost every novel out there contains a little romance? Even ones that are strickly aimed at me. Look at the Hunt for the Red October? He has to leave his wife at the beginning of the story, they kiss, he promises to be back soon. Tada ROMANCE.

It happens in little doses like this in most books. There are some that really don’t have any kind of romance but I can’t for the life of me think what they are.

Take Zane Grey. Everyone thinks he wrote westerns. What he really wrote were romances. There is a romance at the center of every one of his novels. Try Riders of the Purple Sage or On Her Majesty’s Rancho just to name two. He was very prolific and very popular. Still is. Every man I know holds up Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour as the pinnacle writers of the western genre. I would add western ROMANCE genre.

Which is what I write. I was introduced to Zane Grey by my older brother who recognized that they were romances and challenged me to read one and tell me they were not. I read Riders of the Purple Sage and discovered he was right. At the center of the book is a great, powerful romance. I went on to read several more and was flabbergasted that my brother, Gene, had been right. Gene is gone now but I am still thankful for what he taught me about books and novels, helping me give my romances more of a western flavor.

Now you may ask, “What about your sci-fi? It’s not western.” Oh, contraire, my friends. What is a scifi romance but a western set in space, on another planet, in an alternate universe? Westerns gave us pioneers, carving out a new life on a new frontier. Sound familiar? Of course, it does. Lots of Scifi novels are books about pioneers carving out a new life on a new frontier (planet). My favorite example of this is Joss Whedon’s television series Firefly.

I didn’t see Firefly when it was on television. I don’t know why except we didn’t watch much that was on Fox at the time. My younger brother gifted us with the DVD’s when it came out. We looked at him in question. He said, “You’ll love them. It’s a western set in space.” He was right. We did love the show and lamented it’s passing and the fact that it was only half a season. I think they should have made many more episodes. Unfortunately there are many current fans, that didn’t even know about it when it was on. Like us.

Don’t get me wrong. Most books contain a romance but not all contain a Happily Ever After, like our books do. Just because you have a romance in the book, doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. Just look at any of those books that Oprah liked to promote in her book club. For the most part, they have what I call shitty endings. In some everyone is the loser. What the heck kind of book is that and why do people like to read them? I can’t answer that, won’t even try, because I simply cannot fathom why you would read a book that moves you to tears and leaves you there.

Okay, enough ranting about what is and isn’t romance. Suffice it to say that I love romance. I write romance. I read romance. That’s me. That’s who I am. Who are you?

Leave me a comment to be entered into the drawing for our Grand prize of a Kindle, second prize of a gift care to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and a third prize of a HUGE swag pack, featuring bookmarks, pens, lip balm, and of course, books by the authors in this blog hop.

Not only that, I’m giving away two $5 Starbucks cards for my personal blog drawing. So remember to leave me a comment and if you want to be entered for the Grand prizes, leave your email in the comment. That is the only way to enter for the grand prize. You must leave your email in the comment.

Happy hopping!!

TAME A WILD BRIDE available at Amazon


Rosemary Stanton stood patiently on the train platform, sweat rolling down her back and between her ample breasts. Waiting. Sweating because it was an unusually hot day in late April. Waiting for her husband. A husband she wouldn’t recognize if he were standing right next to her.

She’d been desperate when she answered the advertisement for a mail order bride. Wanted: Single woman to cook, clean, and care for children on a cattle ranch in southwestern Colorado. Will marry upon arrival.

Well, she was twenty-six with no prospects. Her brother just got married and his new wife, Beatrice, didn’t want Rosie around. She could answer the advertisement or become a governess. Help someone else’s children grow up into adults. Live in someone else’s house. For the rest of her life, she’d have nothing she could call her own.

Rosie wanted a home. Her own home. She wanted a husband and children. All the things she’d never have if she stayed in Philadelphia. When she’d seen the ad in the morning paper, she’d nearly shouted with glee. However, she managed to restrain herself until she retired to her room before she giggled with delight as she pressed her back against the door. The advertisement was tailor-made for her needs. It got her away from Beatrice and got her her own home all in one fell swoop.

Her brother, Robert, though was not happy with the idea of his baby sister traveling across the country to marry a stranger. He grudgingly agreed to give her her dowry to take with her. Five thousand dollars. She’d take the draft to the bank as soon as she arrived in Creede, Colorado, and married Mr. Thomas Harris. Cattle rancher. It was her “in case it doesn’t work out” money. Though she supposed it would belong to her husband once she married. Perhaps she just wouldn’t tell him about it.

Her conscience spoke up. That’s no way to start a marriage. With lies and secrets. Oh, all right. She’d tell him and have him take her to the bank. But not until after she’d taken his measure. She could tell by how he treated his animals what kind of man he was. A man who was cruel to his horses would also be cruel to his wife. If he was a cruel man, she would leave and she sure as heck wouldn’t tell him about her money.

Even the substantial size of her dowry couldn’t seem to provide marriage prospects for Rosie back in Philadelphia. She wasn’t pretty in the conventional sense. She thought her face with its big brown eyes and full lips was pleasing enough, but men apparently hadn’t. Her one beau told her that her eyes were the color of warm brandy. That was before he left her to marry another more suitable woman. More suitable, hah! Richer was more like it.

He’d had expensive tastes and had married a rabbit-faced girl, heir to a substantial fortune to which he’d have access. Well, good luck and good riddance.

She hoped her new husband wouldn’t be as snootish as Paul had been. As a cattle rancher she didn’t know what to expect but the idea of a more earthy, less frivoless man appealed to her.

Rosie did have one extraordinary feature. Her hair. Waist length, wavy and a clear, golden blonde. Right now, standing on the train platform in Creede it was bound up in a loose bun on top of her head under her hat. It, like the rest of her, was covered in white dirt and a nasty grayish soot from the train. Her suit would never be the same again.

She’d discovered on the second day of her trip, she could minimize the grime by sitting in the front of the car with the window closed. But sooner or later the heat and mugginess of the car would force her to open the window. The air came rushing in, cooling her, but bringing with it the dirt and ash from the train’s boilers and whatever the wind picked up along the way.

On the long trip, she’d told herself again and again she’d made the right decision. She was right to make the difficult trip. This was her life and she had to take her future into her own hands.

“Excuse me. Miss Stanton?”

Rosie shaded her eyes from the late afternoon sun and looked up at a tall man with dark hair. His hat was pulled low, hiding his eyes. He had a strong jaw covered with a shadow of whiskers.

“Yes. I’m Rosemary Stanton.”

He took off his hat and held out his hand. “I’m Tom Harris.”

Rosie took his hand. It engulfed hers with a shock of warmth. Her pale skin stood in stark contrast to his tanned one. Calluses rubbed against her soft palm though the touch was not unpleasant. She looked from their clasped hands up into the bluest eyes she’d ever seen.

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Harris.”

“Tom. Call me, Tom.”

“And I’m Rosie.”

“Where are your trunks, Rosie?”

“Oh, I don’t have any trunks. I only brought what I thought I would need out here.”
He picked up the two valises at her feet. “Doesn’t seem like much for an Eastern woman. I’m glad to see you’re practical.”

Rosie felt the heat in her cheeks and knew she blushed at his praise, undeserving as it was. “Well, I didn’t think you’d have any balls.”

He cocked an eyebrow.

100 thoughts on “Romancing the Hop

  1. I got introduced to Firefly from a friend.. so I’ve watched in dvd form.. it’s probably why I like Dr Who too – there is a bit of everything mixed up with the romantic tension.
    Thank you for participating

  2. Oh, how I agree with you about ‘shitty endings’ – I want a romance that at least gives you hope. Maybe the hero and heroine don’t literally walk off into the sunset together, but I do want to know they WILL be happy together!

  3. You crack me up. Your brother knew his stuff when he shared Zane with you. I’ve gotten hooked on western romance. I read a wide range of genres. In your excerpt, Rosie is a hoot! I want this gal as a friend, oh, I have friends like this. Grin.

    Thank you for the entertainment.

  4. I agree with you and love a happy ending. I have a really hard time reading books that don’t have them and try not to.
    molly dot frenzel at gmail dot com

  5. I agree with you, love a happy ending. I too was a great fan of Zane Grey’s books, read a lot of them at one time. Thanks for participating.

    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  6. Great post and excerpt. I’ve been reading romance novels since I was a kid and love all genres. I remember hiding my first Silhouette Romance novel from my parents when I was 14.

    kesummer69 at gmail dot com

  7. I’vbe never see firefly since it wasn’t on tv ion my country but that twice i hear about it in a week so i make some research

    i love romance because it helps to keep hope


  8. Cynthia, you’re so right about Zane Grey. Dean Koontz, who writes horror fiction, even incorporates a romance into his stories…maybe that’s the reason I like him so much.

    qwilliarain at gmail dot com

  9. There is nothing like reading a book while have a big cup of coffee, Thx for a great giveaway.

    blinkysthebest at aol dot com

  10. I so agree that most all books have some snippet of romance in them, some tidbit of a love interest, and so do most movies and TV shows. In today’s hectic world, most people don’t want to read something that will bring them down. They want to feel good about what they are reading. Hence, the romance novel with a happily ever after. Even guys read them. Most are closet readers, well, actually bathroom readers. The woman of the house leaves it hanging around, and he’s looking for something to read. Romance novels are some of the best, most well written books out there, and there’s a book for every taste from the tamest sweet romance to an edge of the seat sexy thriller.
    at (Just put it together)

  11. Totally agree with you about Oprah’s books – for me if it’s on the list it’s a red flag that I probably won’t like it.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  12. I completely agree- romance is pretty much in almost all forms of fiction. As for Firefly- I was lucky enough to go to the 10 year reunion at Comic Con in July- almost 5,000 folks- and a few couple thou more who couldn’t get in. Many of the actors were in tears- and so were alot of us. It was a great show- and the fact it still has that big of a draw says a lot.

  13. Interesting blog! I agree wholeheartedly about the similarities between Westerns, SciFi, and Romance. My favorite definition of Story as a whole is “an appealing character strives against great odds to attain a worthwhile goal.” (It’s been framed on my desk for years.) That definition almost guarantees a satisfactory ending, and it is at the soul of each of the genres = as is romance. Thanks for a good post!

  14. Yeah, I love romance also, even if he does contain the ‘tear jerker’ moments, but it truly does have to have a ‘happy ending’. Like you said, who reads those that leave you feeling miserable? Not this gal….lol
    Thank you for the chance on this hop!
    Sebrina_Cassity at yahoo dot com

  15. I think blog hops are an awesome way to meet new authors especially for someone who is just starting to try her hand at writing.

  16. Firefly rocks. There is also a movie called Serenity. It kinda gives it more closure. I am still mad that it got canceled. For me personally I think a romance needs a HEA or at least a semblance of one. Thank you for the giveaway.

  17. I don’t watch TV much, but i have watched some of the Firefly series, pretty good. Definitely is romance in all sorts of books. I’m hooked on more obvious romance and erotica now, but have liked other genres in the past. Thanks for participating in the hop and for the chance to win. kim

  18. who am I? That is a big question. Sometimes I don’t know who I am. I am a romance reader but also a fantasy, YA, children’s, arts and crafts reader. I love art and seeing all the covers and pictures of books. I love your covers and how you have the people as black silhouettes, you don’t see that too often. Loved your post. Thanks for being a part of the hop. I hope that you have a great labor day weekend!
    jessangil at gmail dot com

  19. I also noticed that just about EVERY book I’ve read had a bit of romance in it. 🙂 I would definitely like to read Tame a Wild Bride. Thank you so much for the giveaway.


  20. Now I’m going to have to check out and read some Zane Grey books! I so agree with youu about the Oprah books. Enjoyed your post and your excerpt.
    mcv111 at hotmail dot com

  21. I agree that almost every books has at least some aspect of romance in it. I also prefer a happy, or at least satisfying ending. I love a book that moves me to tears now and then, but I want that book to end on a happy note or in a way where I know the character are going to be ok.


  22. Love to read romance books because I like to know that at least someone is getting an HEA, even if the characters are only fiction! Thanks for joining the hop and the awesome giveaway!
    ehaney578 at aol dot com

  23. I love romances. Every book in my TBR piles is in the romance genre. I agree that every story has some romance, but I want my stories to be dominated by romance and then have the other aspects. I also have to have my HEA, rather the characters end up with the person I thank they should are not. I just read a novella called the 7 day loan and the characters I was rooting for didn’t end up together,but they were happy in the end. That’s what matters to me.

  24. I’ve always thought a lot of Sci-Fi was a lot like s Western in space. So I completely get what you mean. It’s that whole vibe of the character in a vast setting. Especially with Firefly! I loved that show! I still miss it too!


  25. I am a romance reader and I prefer a HEAs. Sad endings just depress me.

    Thanks for doing this giveaway!
    pinkbonanza{ AT }gmail{ DOT }com

  26. Cynthia, I definitely agree that most genre fiction has some romance in it, though it may be a subplot. I loved Firefly, esp. the sexual tension between Nathan Filion and Morena Baccarin. I so wanted them to get together. Ditto for Jewel Staite’s character and the doctor.

  27. i never thought to much about it, but you are right most stories do contain some romance. and I loved Fire Fly. We watched it on netflix this past spring. Wish the series had not been so short though

  28. Thanks for the awesome hop and giveaways! This is so much fun! Thank you! My favorite thing about romance is the romance. lol I love the characters, the plots, the HEA’s, the love. I love it all!

  29. I love Firefly! It broke my heart when it was not continued. Serenity is also amazing. Thanks for being on the hop.
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  30. I am a reader who loves to read paranormal romance, but I also like to read other book genres.


  31. Tame a Wild Bride sounds like lots of fun! Love reading/discovering new authors. Thank you for being part of the blog hop. 🙂

  32. I resisted Firefly for a while, then fell headlong into it. I love it. Thank you for sharing in the hop!

    doxisrcool at aol dot com

  33. Thanks for participating! Really like the hop so far!! I love reading, especially romance. I love reading contemporary, historical and erotic romance. I love the happy ending that is garenteed at the end. My favorite book is Lover Mine by JR Ward! I love John Matthew and Xhex. My favorite romantic moment was when my fiancé asked me to marry him! We meant two years ago right around when summer was ending! I think it is romantic when he brings me flowers because no one else has ever done it! My friend and I went out for our last big night out before classes started again. Thanks so much! Hope everyone else is having a great long weekend!!

  34. Firefly is kool. I’m sad it ended after only 13 episodes.
    I love reading paranormal romances. I’ve always loved the concept of shifters, especially felines. Gimme an alpha hero or a military hero any day and I’m a happy camper.
    Thanks for participating in the hop and giving us all a chance to win.

  35. I completely agree with you with almost all books having romantic elements to them (convincing my husband of that, however, is a different matter altogether!)

    jochibi AT yahoo DOT com

  36. Agree – Romance is part of everything except maybe technical manuals
    Thanks for the opportunity
    tjandbcd at optonline dot net

  37. I read Zane Grey also when I cleaned the library out of romances available and you are right, it is a western romance! I also didnt watch Firefly on tv but did get the dvd series! Nathan Fillian is an awesome romantic hero to me!

    susanmplatt AT hotmail DOT com

  38. Of course, 99% of all novels & movies have some romance in them. How much of it & how it ends is a different story. #1 reason I prefer Romances over other books is the happy ending. I believe reading romance makes us better, and gives us strength not to settle for anyone, but wait & even maybe fight for our soulmate.

  39. I agree I want a Happy Ending which is why I do stick with romances. I get so upset when it doesn’t happen.


  40. Thank you for the great giveaway! What a fun blog hop I love romance happy endings are my favorite!

  41. Why I like Romance Novels….The reason I like Romance Novels so much is because it is one place where I can be anywhere like England, Scotland, Rome, Ireland, or anywhere in the US. I can also be in any time like 1200’s Scotland, 1500’s England, 1900’s Chicago. I can be anyone like a princess, a servant, a werewolf, a duchess, a vampire, or a lost soul. But no matter what I get the privilege and the experience to overcome many different obstacles and find love. I am a mother of three teenagers as well and there are many days when I need an escape and my heart needs a rest from the trials of being a parent and trying to do what is best for everyone but yourself. I have overcome cancer, loss, and financial problems and Romance Books let my heart soar and feel free. Let me tell you in this world, and during this time where life can have so many struggles it is great that you can be, have, and do so many things to find love and romance and still be yourself!

  42. Thanks everyone for stopping by my blog and all your wonderful comments. The winners of the $5 Starbucks cards are and Susan Smith

    Grand Prize Winners:

    Kindle Fire Winner:
    Laurie Goudge
    (from It’s the Journey that Counts’s Blog)

    $130 Amazon Gift Card:
    (from Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog)

    Swag Pack:
    (from Dana Delamar’s Blog)

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