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The Reader's Soap Box: Your answers to our questions about the books we all love...

If you could tell the CEO of a publishing house what you want to read in upcoming romance novels, what would you say to him or her?

-- Stop the vampire/witch/warlock idiocy. As a Christian, I find all that "crap" to be offensive. I HATE that some of my favorite authors have switched to the paranormal themes. To me, it's a cop out on their parts. If it's paranormal, they can make the "world" whatever they want, and don't have to worry about being accurate. ENOUGH ALL READY!! And what is with all the "millionaire" books?? Just because ONE book about a millionaire does well, does that mean ALL books have to be about them?  I want humor. I want a good/believable story line.  I want a plot I can't figure out in the first chapter. Make me think.  Make me "SEE" what is going on, not just be spoon-fed it.  I agree with the writers who said to make the women more "realistic", not all barbie clones. And the heros can be good guys, they don't HAVE to be rough around the edges. Leopards don't change their spots. Get real. -- NR

-- I read all the e-mails to Romance Publishers and over all agree with most of their issues. I am also tired of serial killers, rapists, and others who are too sick to read about.[note] after 25 years working in the criminal justice system, I started to read romance books for the escape effect, I love Judith Mcnautht, Jude Deveraux, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Lowell, Linda Howard, Sandra Brown, Geralyn Dawson, Suzanne Brockmann, Diane Mott Davidson, Jill Marie Landis, and Linda Lael Miller. I enjoy witty dialogue that Julie Garwood and SEP uses. Also books by Deborah Smith about families, location and values which are not a current fad. I too have been re-reading many of my former favorites, instead of buying the thrillers on the market today. -- Lucy

-- Dear Publishers - Please don?t be afraid to try publishing something different. A different slant, one that might make some gasp, for example. - Not everyone is into babies and marriage, yet that doesn?t mean she doesn?t wish for the love of a good man in her life. - I read to escape and for educational purposes as I?m one of those aspiring authors. One reason why I can?t quite get a manuscript in the shape I want it is that I want to stick out; I want to catch your attention with a fresh look at problems faced every day in some part of the world. - But I want my heroines between the covers of a book in their thirties at least. - Cat

-- Dear Publishers, you are making big mistakes getting rid of the Medieval Historicals. I used to buy 8 or 10 a month. Sometimes more. I read them also. Now, I do good to read 1 book a week. You are losing money from me.  I want good ones. Like Julie Garwood wrote and some other good authors.  Thank goodness I saved all of her books along with Judith McNaught's. I  have about 500 books of various writers and none are contemporary or  mysteries. I also like the Ghost & Angel books that are funny and well written like Kathleen Kane wrote. It is your choice as to what you publish but it is my choice not to buy them. I know what I like & if I can't buy it, I won't buy. - RJ

-- Ref: what I would like to tell the CEO's of the publishing houses.

I, once being an avid reader since I first picked up a romance novel in the 70's. I feel the market has failed me and may others who share my opinion. What was once my book a day habit has died completely to 1 book possibly every 3 to 4 months if not every 6 months. Feminism has taken over the entire market and I, a strong minded female myself, I feel it has gone to far and destroyed the very novels that kept me addicted. Where are the Alfa males? I am sickened by the historical novels filled with sappy male roles. Where is the dominant males of the 70's? - Shyann

-- I would like to see more books that makes the reader laugh (or cry). I am tired of the hero that has been abused and barely cracks a smile. The books that I enjoy the most are the ones that get me emotionally involved. Also, you can't have enough pirate or time travel books. -- FC

--I would ask for more leeway in contemporary romance with regards to the characters. Sometimes I like to read about that sensitive male but I also like that alpha male (even if only in fiction) to get my mind off of my career for a while. I don't see that kind of thing anymore in contemporary fiction; which is why I read more historicals now than I used to. - Deb

--My favorite "pet peeve" is that some of my favorite ROMANCE writers are changing their genre and are going to mysteries. Really upsets me..Sandra Brown, Judith McNaught, Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood, Elizabeth Lowell.

I quit buying their mysteries. I have all of their romance novels among my collection of 9000 books, but their mysteries turned me off. I am glad that LaVyrle Spencer retired before she started the same thing. (but I wish that she would come back) Surely they havn't run out of ideas have they? I just re-read PARADISE / PERFECT and WHITNEY, MY LOVE (MCNAUGHT) yearly. LUCKY / CHASE and SAGE (BROWN) COULTERS BRIDES series...these are GOOD romances... It just ticks me off.-JD

-- I want MORE paranormals, futuristics, Scottish/Irish medievals, and funny contemporaries-all of which with strong willed heroines/heroes. Please NO MORE hidden child stories, any storylines with children, rape scenes, wimpy heroes/heroines or stupid misunderstandings that last for most of the book. - BR

--I want well-written stories with interesting characters rather than. . .stories that conform to a given topic such as. . .secret babies and marriages of convenience. Enough already!!!! I like some paranormal stories but not those that are too far-fetched to believe, no matter how creatively written. - AL

--I'd tell them to publish more, not less, time-travels. There are a lot of us fans out there. - Allison

--I'd say, "Dear Publisher, I am an avid romance reader. I like all the romance books you've published, but if it is at all possible could you publish more romance books of Medieval, Time-Travel, Magic and Paranormal?" - AY

--I'd like to see more books from writers like Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Amanda Quick, Joan Overfield, Debra Dier, Stephanie Laurens. I like well-done medievals and Regency historicals, but I don't want the current trend toward romantic suspense to take over. I want to see relationships, not gun battles! - BH

--I would probably just beg them to reprint ALL of Georgette Heyer's books (in affordable paperback)!!! I think I'd also like to see some better fact checking or editing...sometimes the errors in currently written regencies are SO glaring! I've only done a minimum of research (most of it on the web!) and I can almost always find errors - such as a title being used incorrectly, etc.

--Stop going overboard with sex description in books. Book Co. have gone too far. We don't need every detail of everything. It ruins the book. - JS

--VARIETY! Don't just have a few eras. It's OK to have Indian, western or time travel. However, have some medieval, some good Viking, pirates stories also. Don't be afraid to have books with more than 300 pages. - JV

--I am tired of reading about beautiful rich jet-setting women meeting and falling in love with beautiful rich jet-setting men. Cinderella stories are okay for a change of pace, but the events must sound true to life like they could have happened. . .I am SICK TO DEATH of second chance love stories. . .And hidden baby stories are even worse - I don't think I could forgive someone hiding my child, and I don't think many other people could, either. I want to read stories about solid honest people who stand on their own feet and have morals and ethics. I like strong women and even stronger men. If dealing with series romance stories, you should never put out two books with the same type storyline in the same month. And. . .amnesia stories have got to stop - as soon as I see something on the cover or in the blurb that says memory loss or amnesia or can't remember, I put the book down and move on. -- LW

--Romance reading is escapism, but it doesn't have to be gimmicky or cutesy. I read for the story, the quality of the story. If that's done well, publishers won't need to come up with themes. I like strong, capable women, and men who aren't threatened by that and who don't feel the need to tame their woman. Give me a break. - Darjo

--With more people looking for "spirit" those books with an angelic (like Debbie Macomber's) or spiritual tone (not toomuch, just touch, values, morals), would be a nice change of pace. - MF

--I have read a lot of Sheik and Viking settings, and would prefer something new, I like kidnap scenarios and Anglo-saxon invasion by the Normans. - Jenny

--There are a few things that I would like to see the authors and publishers address: Why are the "heroes" usually such reprobates? Good men are portrayed as boring at best and more often as prudish, dull, and humorless. . .And when is the last time you knew of any man being "reformed " by the love of a good woman? "Rakes make the best husbands" Baloney! Bad habits are hard to break, unfortunately. Why are women so stupid as to fall for charm rather than genuine worth? I loved Elizabeth Mansfield's HER MAN OF AFFAIRS. I would like to see more like that. - SS


--The Barbara Cartland era is dead for me. As a more mature woman I like reading stories about women, not 17 year old girls with "heart shaped faces and sweet, gently pointed chins." I'd also like to see more stories written about "average size woman" and not have all the heroines be a size 4. . .I would like romance novels to acknowledge that not all woman are perfect sixes, and that the rest of us can and do enjoy romance as well as anyone else! - NP

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