Erotica author, aka Elspeth Potter, on Writing from the Inside

Friday, September 25, 2009

SuperWendy's Keepers - Exploring Category Romance

Please welcome my guest, the incredible SuperWendy!


When Victoria asked me if I’d be interested in doing a guest blog post for her, I immediately said yes, for no other reason than we both adore category romance. Yep, we’re both unabashed, slobbering fangirls for all things Harlequin, and aren’t afraid to declare our love pretty much all over the Internet. So when it came to figuring out a topic for this guest post, I didn’t have to think on it long. Why not highlight some of my favorite category romance novels? The ones I currently have safely tucked away in my keeper stash? Are you ready for the recommendations? Of course you are!

The Man Who Loved Christmas (Harlequin Superromance No. 877) by Kathryn Shay (HSR 877, 12/99) – I know it seems odd now, but at one point books about firefighters were pretty uncommon. Shay helped change that with her America’s Bravest series, which takes place in upstate New York and gasp, features female firefighters! This is book two in the series, and one of my personal favorites. The heroine lost her husband and young daughter around Christmas, so the holiday only holds sad memories. She’s an instructor at the Fire Academy where she preaches caution and safety, immediately butting heads with the hero, a firefighter turned instructor who’s a bit of a maverick and every bit a risk taker.

The Brain & The Beauty (Silhouette Romance, 1605) by Betsy Eliot (SR 1605, 7/02) – Every reader has a “one hit wonder” author and mine is Betsy Eliot. I loved this story for the now defunct Silhouette Romance line and the author hasn’t published a book since. If anyone out there knows Eliot personally, tell her that I hope she’s still writing and if publishers are rejecting her they’re obviously idiots. The heroine in this story is in a bind. She’s a blue collar, single mother who barely graduated high school trying to raise her son, who has an IQ off the charts. The problem is that she can’t find a school willing to work with him. The smarty pants school says he’s too young, and the regular schools say he’s too advanced and they can’t meet his needs. So out of desperation she turns to the reclusive hero, himself a genius, who, until tragedy struck, used to run a school for gifted youngsters.

The Long Way Home (Silhouette Special Edition, 1245) by Cheryl Reavis (SSE 1245, 5/99) – Another book that’s part of a series, but I guarantee you it stands alone well. The heroine is a bit of a villain in one of the previous books (see Little Darlin' (Special Edition , No 1177)) but oh man, what a heroine she is in this story! When her dreams of being a Vegas showgirl go bust, she comes crawling home hoping to reconnect with her young daughter. She also starts visiting her best friend in the hospital, where she quickly runs up against our hero, an Army officer recovering from wounds sustained in the line of duty. He’s ornery as hell, and she’s a straight-shooting, brassy gal. Needless to say, sparks immediately start to fly.

The Temptation of Rory Monahan by Elizabeth Bevarly (SD 1363, 5/01) - Before the Desire line morphed into Harlequin Presents II: The Revenge it was my absolute favorite of all the Harlequin lines. Oh, those were the days! This is part of Bevarly’s series about the Monahan family, and honestly the best book of the bunch (says me). The heroine is a librarian (gee, wonder why Wendy likes this book?) who gets a complaint from someone about the Cosmo-like magazine in the library’s periodicals section. So she takes it home to read, and decides, what the heck? Why not try out some of this sex kitten advice? That’s when the shy, bookish hero starts to take notice. When did the local librarian get Were her lips always that pouty? Her legs always so long? A must read for fans of the Beta hero and any reader curious as to why some of us whine about the transformation of the Silhouette Desire line.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my favorite books, and if you’re curious enough to try some of them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Thanks, Victoria, for hosting my ramblings today. It’s always great fun to revisit some of my favorite books.


Thanks, Wendy! Visit any time!


  1. I always feel so sad for awesome one-hit authors! Maybe your post is just what Betsy Eliot needs :)

  2. Wonderful post, as usual, Wendy.

    That Betsy Eliot sounds pretty darned good. I might have to borrow it some time *coughSaturdaycough*. lol

    While I don't LOVE categories I think they are usually great quick reads and keep a few on my shelves at all times.

  3. Wendy, I usually don't read categories. But since you are personally recommending these, and the summaries sound interesting, I might just give them a try. I am definitely curious :) Great post!

  4. BookMooch was my friend for most of these. Am still waiting for THE LONG WAY HOME. I glommed several Reavis books years ago, but that one's new to me.

    The Eliot was a lot of fun; I actually wanted more about the kid!

  5. Lucy: Every so often I inquire about Eliot, because I really enjoyed that story and felt she had a knack for writing "sweet" without wandering into "syrupy" territory. I hope she's alright, and still plugging away with her writing.

    Tracy: ::making a note to dig out my copy::

    Jill: My advice to readers who don't normally read category is to try as many different lines as possible. Not every line is going to work for every reader - including massive Harlequin Hos like myself.

    Victoria: I read 98% of my Harlequins as ebooks these days, so if it's a fairly recent release I tend to download it. But, much like you do, I use PaperbackSwap to dig up the older titles that aren't available electronically. There was a local UBS that used to have an outstanding category romance section, but sadly they've cut back to only carrying the last 6 months to a year :(

    Glad you liked the Eliot! and can't wait to hear what you think about the Reavis. She's one of those rare authors where I love her historicals and her contemporaries just about equally.

  6. Most of my category romances are ebooks now. However, I do still have auto-buy authors that I always buy paper books. I started reading romances with Harlequin category romances and still love them too this day. I know I've read the Kathryn Shay book, but think I missed the others you suggested.

  7. Liza: I'm pretty much all ebooks now for categories, although I still pick up print copies for older titles I want to scrounge up.

  8. I'll check some of these out, I'm a total Harlequin "ho" myself :) I especially love the Silhouette Desire line.