November 19, 2010
In keeping with the romantic side of life, after the engagement of Prince William and Kate, let's move to romance stories a novel way people can vicariously experience whatever they expect from love, passion, and drama. Though a romantic at heart, I have never read a romance novel, but know people who pour through them endlessly ... to be swept away by the emotions and actions of characters in a book ... just as our time here is a story created in consciousness ... stories within stories within stories that lead to soul reunion. If you've never had romance in your life, you've missed something special.
One of the earliest romance novels was Samuel Richardson's popular 1740 novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, which was revolutionary on two counts: it focused almost entirely on courtship and did so entirely from the perspective of a female protagonist. In the next century, Jane Austen expanded the genre, and her Pride and Prejudice is often considered the epitome of the genre. Austen inspired Georgette Heyer, who introduced historical romances in 1921. A decade later, British company Mills and Boon began releasing the first category romance novels. Their books were resold in North America by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, which began direct marketing to readers and allowing mass-market merchandisers to carry the books.
The modern romance genre was born in 1972 with Avon's publication of Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower, the first single-title romance novel to be published as an original paperback. The genre boomed in the 1980s, with the addition of many category romance lines and an increased number of single-title romances. Popular authors began pushing the boundaries of the genre and plots and characters began to modernize.
In North America, romance novels are the most popular genre in modern literature, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004. The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels appear in 90 languages. Most of the books, however, are written by authors from English-speaking countries, leading to an Anglo-Saxon perspective in the fiction. Despite the popularity and widespread sales of romance novels, the genre has attracted significant derision, skepticism and criticism.
The most famous romance novels come from Harlequin Enterprises (founded in 1949) a Toronto, Ontario-based company that is a leading publisher of series romance and women's fiction. Owned by the Torstar Corporation, the largest newspaper publisher in Canada, the company publishes approximately 120 new titles each month in 29 different languages in 107 international markets on six continents. These books are written by over 1,300 authors worldwide, offering readers a broad range of fiction from romance to psychological thrillers to relationship novels. With 131 million books sold in 2006 - half overseas and 96% outside of Canada - it is both the country's most successful publisher and one of its most international businesses.
Harlequin romance novels have made writers out of many souls seeking to express their feelings in a book.
These days everyone has a story to tell that comes from their heart. Perhaps it is unrequited love, a dream, a catharsis of emotions from a fallen romance, the inner aspect of one's personality yearning to express itself but afraid in their reality, the impact of a past life, automatic writing that suddenly speaks a truth ... or maybe it's just lustful passion as sex in any form naturally attracts most people ... whatever urges the writer to create. As I always say ... if it's fun... go for it.
Romantic barometer ... Ask yourself ... Am I a romantic? Does romantic sex do it for me, or it doesn't matter?
Close your eyes. Envision your perfect romantic interest. What would a perfect adventure with that person be like? Where would you make love? What would happen at the end of the day?
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