Monday, April 26, 2010

Guest Blogger - Jules Bennett

Why do we love romance so much? Is it the journey we travel with two unknowing people because we can see the happy ending in sight? Perhaps we cling to each word because we see a piece of ourselves in the heroine. No matter the reason, we're all in agreement that we love a good story!

So, what makes a good romance? Passion is a must, but do you require a little action/adventure or some paranormal activity? For me, I just need a genuine man with a heart of gold who is loyal and has eyes (and hands) for only one woman...a little rugged exterior doesn't hurt, either:).
I positively LOVE when an author can make each page, each emotion come alive. I want to gasp, cry, laugh and sigh. I want those emotions that come along with the highs and lows down the journey to happily ever after.


Yes, I want the realistic feelings that come in a nice fantasy package...is that too much to ask?
What do you enjoy about a romance? Do you have a must for each story you read? Will any romance do, so long as you're guaranteed a HEA? What makes your heart rate pick up, your eyes start to wander on down the page to see what happens next?
I have to be honest, I use romance as a means of escape from my daily life of raising 2 toddlers, working a full-time job, writing full-time and spending quality time with my amazing hubby.
So, now I have 2 questions for you:) What do you seek in a romance and why do you search for it?


I look forward to reading all of the comments! Happy Reading!

83 comments:

chelleyreads said...

i seek that happily ever after when i read romance! i love closing a book with a happy sigh after a HEA because it makes me believe that despite problems and sufferings, love will prevail or everything will be okay as long as you have that one person beside you fighting with you.

Deb830 said...

Welcome Jules!

What I seek in a romance is strong characters with lots of passion & romance, the anticipation of the happily ever after where obstacles are over come, and a little bit fantasy/paranormal. I love letting my imagination drift and a story that just pulls you in and doesn't let you put the book down. Books give me a break from reality and daily life.

deb ;0)

flchen1 said...

I'm with Chelleyreads--I read romance for the HEA. I enjoy the whole journey for the couple from the meeting to the difficulties they encounter to the happy resolution of their problems. Reading other happy stories reminds me of my own blessings and also reminds me of hope on days that I'm feeling down. And it's SO fun to live vicariously through some of these characters and their stories! How else could I "be" a gorgeous teacher? Or a scientist on the run? Or a cat shifter? ;)

nmulder81 said...

Hello! I tend to gravitate towards a romance that has some action and/or paranormal activity. I like my men to be tall, dark and handsome...and flawed. I like my men to have some issues that need to be worked though. I rad romance novel b/ I crave the interactions between characters...I fall in love with them. also like alittle comedy...I like my girls to have a smart mouth...just like me LOL. I also like te girls to not be drop dead gorgeous...but normal...almost under the rader or hotness. Pretty but not supermodel-ish. Oh...and I like the sex HOT :)

Katy M said...

I love both paranormal adventure and contemporary humor/emotional journey. I also enjoy well researched historicals and modern suspense. What makes a book a must for me is liking the author's voice and a good story line that is well written.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips phrases it better than I can on the home page of her web site:

"If you’ve read one of my books, you already know quite a bit about me, but here’s what I know about you… You have a great sense of humor. You believe life it stressful enough without having to read depressing novels. You love a good love story, but you want a little extra, too. A tear. A laugh. A sigh. A sense of recognition."

I've always said that if I wanted to feel depressed, I'd turn on the news. I read for escapism.

Lucy Monroe said...

Romance is affirming for me, it keeps me feeling up and reminds me that life has its own little HEAs when we work for them. Nothing is easy in a delish romance and it isn't in life either. ;-) But it is so worth it!

Thanks so much for being here, Jules! This week is going to be a blast for all of us with such great authors and so many readers joining in. :)

Janet H said...

Hi Jules,
I definitely want the HEA, the one where the h/h are meant to be together. Every love affair should have a happy ending.

mountie9 said...

I need a happy ending, no killing of children and lots of passion! I love to escape in the world of a romance novel especially on days where my hubby and children are driving me CRAZY ; )

s7anna said...

I'm all about the HEA...that's the only requirement I have for a great book. I love romantic suspense stories as well as other sub-genres of romance...plus nothing beats a great erotic romance.

Andrea Becraft said...

I love the Childhood romances! The ones where they have been apart for so long but they belong together kind of thing.

I think it hits home since I am still with my High School Sweetheart!

Stephanie said...

Yes, I have to agree with Lucy, Romance-of any genre-is affirming for me. It shows life is worth the struggle we go through everyday. But it also gives me the escapism to enjoy other peoples' problems and/or the insane situations they get themselves into and out of.

sonya said...

I seek escape from my real life and I live for the HEA just in case mine doesn't have one

Pisceslyttle1 said...

I love the heat.. I like the connection between the characters to be believable but yet irrestible. I love it when there are problems throw in their way and they must over come the challanges to be together, whether it is family, or a serial killer, or some monster on their trail, and of course it has to have some great passionate love scenes. Nothing better than a man that can take care of his woman.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Passion, conflict and always a happy ending.

Jules, love the cover of your book!

red said...

I love reading romance books but it's not only about the HEA- I don't read paranormal romance and I don't mind some action as long as the main plot is the love story.
For me reading romance is also a way to escape really life- not that they are bad LOL but sometimes fiction can be better than really life.
I also love reading emotional books, that can even make me cry, as long as I know that in the end it will all get better- I think really life are full of real sadness so no need to read about it in fiction books.

Moran

Valerie said...

First let me say, I love your recent trilogy on HQN.
The things I look for in a book are an HEA (I like the positive), passion, smart writing, great characters and heroes that I can admire. A little comedy thrown in never hurts. ;)

The only thing I don't look for is time travel, because often these do not have HEA - or at least not my definition of HEA. Who wants an ancestor when you could have had the real thing? LOL

I love when a writer creates a world that is believable, unique and imaginative with heroes/heroines that have all those same qualities.

Chris R said...

I read for the happy ending. Anything I get besides that is just frosting on my cake. I read to escape my everyday life of working full time, commuting an hour each way, health problems for my dh and older teenage problems.

Melanie said...

Just finished Seducing the Enemy's Daughter and can't wait to read Cade's story.

I love books that are a good mix of romance and comedy. I want to believe the story line and close the book feeling like I have been on a great journey.

I have always had a problem with stess and reading was my escape from reality.

Ashley said...

what I want in a romance changes book to book lol For the most part I just want a really good, passionate love story. With some action adventure, drama, sword fighting, demons, vamps, and anything else that's cool along the way lol

Reading romance is a de-stresser and I can use as much of that as I can...and deep down I am a huge fan of happily ever afters

Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi Jules,

I seek the HEA in romance and its away of escapism for me.

robinky42 said...

I love alot of action and adventure with my romance. A hea juist makes it better.

Nova said...

i really like a romance that catches my attention and is written in a way that i can feel what the characters are feeling and see what is going on with them. reading romance helps me to escape for a few minutes to an hour a day. on days when my crohn's disease is acting up, it helps free my mind from the pain i'm having.

Jami Davenport said...

Katy, I have to agree with you. I read romance to feel good, to escape. If I want something depressing, I can watch the news. I love good characters in a book, ones that stay with you long after you've finished the book. One of my all-time favorites is "Mirror Image" by Sandra Brown.

Bonnie said...

I read for enjoyment not to escape my world. A book must have strong characters (I dislike reading about weak women) and a good plot to hold my interest. Once I read a good book, I enjoy reading others about other members in the same family.

CrystalGB said...

I seek a story with strong, passionate characters who don't let anything stop them from going after their HEA.

Joya Fields said...

Thanks for the great comments, Jules. HEA is defnintely part of what keeps me reading romance. It's a nice escape and it offers a little bit of hope, too.
I lean toward suspense because it's nice to know that, even when bad things are happening, it all works out in the end. :)Joya

Tricia Jones said...

Most definitely a HEA, can't read without knowing they'll be an aaahhh moment at the end. I've been known to check out the last page before buying a book, just in case :)

Leni said...

I love to read romance for the happily ever after moments. It's fun to follow the characters on their journey. Reading this type of story is just great escapism and keeps me from becoming too cynical.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

I love to read about people who are 'real' with an edge! People with quirks and flaws who overcome their own fears in order to love and be loved by one special person. I veer towards a hero with some tragedy in his background - tall, dark, handsome and rugged around the edges does it for me! A happy, logical ending is a must.

Jane said...

Like many I read romance for the HEAs, but the journey the characters take to achieve that is also important. Reading these uplifting stories can improve your mood.

Lil said...

I seek a credible romance in my story regardless if there is paranormal or suspense aspects,etc. My marriage is a happy one and so I relive falling in love vicariously through the characters.

Jules Bennett said...

Sorry all! I was visiting my grandmother. Today is her birthday (and possibly her last). I'm so sorry I'm late.

But, I love reading all the different styles you all love to read! My reading depends on my mood that day.

One common thread we all have is we require that HEA! That's why we turn to romance. We're guaranteed a happy life even if it's only fiction:)

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and to the wonderful Lucy for inviting me:)

Thediscoera said...

Hi Jules - I too use romance to escape and imagine what it would be like if I was one of the Heroine. I can only dream to be one of them. It seems like romance is not what it used to be - seems like a chore, so when I read about it, it brings me pleasure and helps me deal with my daily life. I also feel that romance should not be that easily achieved so when action/adventure, some paranormal activity and or some heart wrenching drama is thrown in it, it makes for a much better, interesting story.

goshnsqurrl63 said...

Hi Jules! I love the HEAs....no better escape than to get lost inside of a great love story!!

Armenia said...

When I pick up a romance I know there's an HEA or else I won't consider it. What thrills me is the adventure of two people discovering each other, I want to be swept up in the passion, emotions, and loving tension and touches. LOL, I think its like being a voyeur. But I do enjoy the love that develops between the characters.

Simone Laurence said...

I love the HEA but I want the lovers to work hard to attain it...and I don't want to be able to predict in the first chapter how they will get there. I, too, love the tall, dark, handsome, flawed hero and the smart, but vulnerable, heroine. And I love the way you write, Jules!
Debbi aka Morgan Malone

Lisa F. said...

Most definitely I want a HEA! I love to read an epilogue about the couple showing what has happened in their lives one or even more years later. I want them to have a believable conflict that they have to work on together to overcome it.

Reading is an escape from boredom, the ability to learn about places I know I'll never be able to visit, and it also cements my own HEA when I'm feeling down.

Jules Bennett said...

Ahhh...I love when so many women can agree on one thing:)

I just can't figure people out when they say they don't read "those books". I don't want to know what they're implying as they shove their noses in the air, but I assure you they'd be much happier people if they did read "those books".

Danica said...

I NEED a HEA. Need it. I also look for characters who have a sense of humor even in tough situations, who are strong in the face of impossible odds, and who have enough passion to set the pages on fire. If a book can make me laugh out loud, or make me experience that piercing pain in my chest as I feel what they're feeling...that's a damn good book!

Cathy M said...

I read romance for pure pleasure and consider it my greatest escape from the craziness of my life. I am still an HEA girl, but have been known to grab a HFN when the storyline grabs me.

I love a romance with strong characters,a bit of humor, and off the charts sexual chemistry. Please no whining, lol, I get enough of that in my real life.

Yvette said...

I love to read paranormal romance. It takes me away to another world/dimension which seems so realistic. I love the characters in the books when they come together whether its the main characters or others in the story. I love it when the authors combines tears, humor, sensitivity, passion and ultimately, your happily ever after. It feels good when you read an exceptional book!

Jules Bennett said...

Amen, Cathy, on the no whining! I have a 2 and 4 year old...I know all about whining;)

I can honestly say, since I started reading and writing romance, I've probably only picked up 5 books that aren't romance.

I'm an addict...I admit it;)

shiver said...

Hi Jules...I have to laugh everytime I see "HEA" first time my hubby heard me call him that he thought it was something bad..(can't repeat here..lol) then I told him ..":Happy ever after" he smiled and just like the first time I met him..it warmed my heart..yea and it was love at first site..just took me 30 years to find him...When I read romance it just confirms and reminds me of what I have...blessed and happy..and reading helps me remenber all that I have...

rhianona said...

Happily ever after isn't necessarily important to me. I want something realistic. I want the hero and heroine to come together, be strong and independent but also in love with each other. And maybe, at the end of the book, they're not at the stage for marriage and really? That's okay. Marriage isn't the be all end all. And if the hero treats the heroine terribly, I want there to be consequences. Otherwise, it just reads like dribble and I have no desire to pick up the book anymore.

Jules Bennett said...

Rhianona, I agree with the realistic part and the marriage part. I don't always think the hero and shero are ready for marriage and aren't at a point in their lives when they're ready for a commitment.

But, a HEA, in my opinion, is just the promise that the couple will be happy forever;)

I'm glad you commented. I should've clarified that earlier.

So glad you could stop in!

Judy F said...

Hey Jules. Sorry I am late for some reason blogging isn't allowed at work. LOL

I love the HEA. So much is bad these days you need something to hope for.

I love the rush a good book gives you when you are done. Its like everything is ok.

Barbara said...

Hi Jules-

Like everyone else I like romance for the HEA but I have to have a good tory line too. I use reading as an escapisum to relax after a difficult day at work or to forget about life's problems for a couple of hours. I want the story line to carry me away from my world and into another if you will be it paranormal, romantic suspense or whatever.

Aly said...

Is saying that I read romance for everything about it cheating? LOL!

But most of all I want to connect with the characters. Really well written characters pull you into the story and make you feel. And for me, that and the HEA is the best about reading romance!

Raonaid Luckwell said...

What I seak in a romance aside from a Happily Ever After? Well the development of the emotion between the characters, seeing them blossom and grow. It's really difficult to explain and the depth of the characters. I don't want "The perfect" heroine and hero. No one is perfect. So it's not really realistic. I want to relate to a character, to have that feeling that they are in truth real people (even though I know they are not.)

LM's Drama Queen said...

I would have to say my favorite romance is the one my family is living. I am so lucky to have my wonderful husband, as well as my Dad (Hubcap) and brother-in-law. They spoil us Monroe girls ROTTEN:) As far as romance novels go, I may be biased, but my mom hasn't written a single hero I haven't liked. Sure, I may want to punch them during 75% of the book, but Mom has a way of making them come around and I just happen to fall in love each time. So long as the hero puts the woman first, I am a happy clam:)

Valerie said...

LM - You are very lucky to have that type of situation. I can definitely see where Lucy gets her inspiration. :)

Beth said...

I like reading about the hero and heroine's emotional journey as they find love with each other.
A well written story with a few plot twists, strong characters, sexual tension, and that ends in HEA.

Denise said...

I love to read romance because of the journey that you take with both characters. I like to escape from reality for a while to just get away from life myself. I also just love reading and just experiencing words from different people, to see whats running through their head. I also love Love. Its what binds us all together.



http://thepenmuse.com
http://denisealicea.com

Nicole S said...

I'll read pretty much any romance as long as there is a HEA. One of my favorite parts in the book is the HEA. One reason I read romance because there is romance lacking in my life so I live vicariously through the characters. What I look for is good connection between the hero and heroine. I also love a little humor. The best stories are the ones that pull at all of my emotions.

Sherry said...

Any books I read needs to have a HEA. I love some suspense,conflict and passion.

sstrode@scrtc.com

Lillie said...

The HEA is the biggest must but I also want to connect with the emotions, to feel what the characters are feeling. As long as I have that, I'm a happy reader :)

Jules Bennett said...

I totally agree with the several people who said they love the shero and hero's journey. That is the most important to me. I love seeing how 2 people can discover not only themselves, but each other.

Ahhh...I've got to go read...

Nancy G said...

I must be in the minority, in that I don't require a HEA for a romance to intrigue me. I prefer it have either HEA or HFN, but if the story is good, and the characters engage my attention, it works for me. Passion is a must, and I don't want impossible stuff, but I do want to be drawn in to the story and taken to wherever it is happening.

GladysMP said...

I like characters who are humble, sincere and kind. That includes both heroes and heroines. In real life I don't care for cocky, egotistical people and I guess my feelings stay true in the stories I read. If a hero treats a heroine in a hateful manner I want to tell her to FORGET him.

Refhater said...

I like a little mix of everything in romance. Action/suspense, paranormal, realistic situations, and the happy ending.

One major thing I prefer is that the heroine isn't a "Barbie" clone. I like it when the hero likes that she's not quite perfect on the outside and loves who she is rather than what she looks like.

Jules Bennett said...

There have been some really good points made here. I think we all require a sense of reality to make a way we can all relate to the hero or shero.

I totally agree that I don't like the perfect looking couple...that's few and far between.

I'm so happy you all popped in today! Love chatting books:)

Maria said...

The two things that I search for in a romance are a hero that is true to his love (once he sees her, he is faithful to her and her only) and a happily ever after ending or at least signs of the happily ever after coming down the road.

erahime said...

A romance provides me of the HEA ideal, which is a must in my reading. I am a picky reader, especially after reading so MANY books, in which case I have become particular in my reading. Thus I don't even try to read certain books because it doesn't grab my attention and the story doesn't appeal to me.

A great author brings all my attention on the story. It makes me focus on the characters, interact with them, and grabs all my emotions, be they good or bad. Yes, there are times when I want to shake the character for something I considered "stupid", but isn't that part of the package? The author makes you follow the story and grabs your 'being' so that you just want to...read.

And that is what makes a great story.

Terry's Crafty Fingers said...

I seek the escape that romance gives me. If I can crawl into a good book it helps me to forget the chronic back pain I suffer from. That means one less pain pill to take.

I want strong characters that only grow stronger together and are happy in the end. I love to be drawn into the story as they overcome the odds. I especially love it if it's in a paranormal setting.

WK said...

humm that's hard to answer. For me it depends on my mood. Sometimes I want a funny romance, sometimes steamy sometimes both.......it all depends on my mood.

Great post and questions.
hugs,
WendyK

Rhea said...

I love the HEA and the escape from the day to day life that we have to live.

I love strong, passionate characters who learn to compromise with love.

icia said...

I mostly read to relax. In the beginning I was trying to get my children into reading. It didn't really worked but for me it did. Next to sewing its my only other way to escape.

LDee said...

I love the emotion of Romance. All of it, the passion, the tears, the high and low and knowing that because of love there will be a happy ending.

I love to write romance for the same reason. I can leave the everyday world when I'm reading and writing.

Zina Lynch said...

I too love romance for those same reasons, only I have all 9 of my children still at home plus a SIL and 2 1/2 grandkids, 3 cats and a temp. dog. The only one not here is my husband, he's in the Navy and stationed elsewhere. In the past I learned to shut off certain feelings but since I started reading romance again, we're both happier when he gets to come home.
Zina

donnas said...

I love the HEA. But I have to care about the characters in the book to care about the HEA. I use reading to escape real life for a bit. But I love characters that I can believe it real as well.

kewlmom said...

I love romances with characters that have tons of chemistry and a story line with twist and turns. If they make me laugh and cry, so much the better. Those are the ones I keep on my shelves and read over and over.
I have to admit I am addicted, too. Romance novels are the ultimate destresser!

Joni said...

I love a romance story that has a bit of everything, anticipation, temptation, chemistry between heroine and hero, but most of all it has to have substance and I always look at how the author develops the main characters and secondary characters, making the story enriched with qualities I myself would either wish to have or can relate to from my own experiences. And last but not least, it does have to have a passion, whether sexual or containing chocolate in its various shapes and textures! :-)

Linda Henderson said...

I have two failed marriages behind me so you could say I never got my happily ever after, that's why I look for that HEA in my romance books. I enjoy reading how two people manage to overcome all odds and reach that happy ending. I don't expect or want that journey to be without pitfalls, life doesn't work that way. However, I do want a happy ending. I enjoy reading a lot of different genres, sometimes there the heroine doesn't get together with the hero at the end of every story, but I want to know that at the end of the series (if there is an end) that the couple will be together. So I can wait for that HEA, I just want to know it's coming. I hope that makes sense.

seriousreader at live dot com

Lady_Graeye said...

I seek adventure and romance. Ride the rapids looking for hidden drugs, creep through a cave hunting for diamonds; I want a strong storyline with a great theme. A bit of chase, don't ever give it up to easily. Then let's see what happens. I like HEA but it doesn't always have to happen.

booklover0226 said...

I seek a HEA in the romances I read. After all the trials and tribulations the hero and heroine go through, it's great everything comes to a tidy end.

Why do I seek it? I just love reading a great story. After a hard day at work, I like to escape from reality for a few hours a day.

Thanks,
Tracey D

Sue A. said...

I want to go on emotional journeys when I read a romance. Real life doesn't always give you the full gamut of emotions and often is flat emotionally.

Natasha A. said...

Romance to me is my escape. It's my way of getting away from work for a little bit and living vicariously through an authors writing!
I don't NEED HEA, I NEED a GREAT story!

Margay said...

Wow, interesting questions - and tough! I think it definitely starts with a spark. If the characters don't have chemistry, the story won't work. I have to eagerly anticipate each turn of the page that brings the story closer to a resolution - which has to be believable and satisfying. If I'm losing sleep in favor of reading the book,then it's done its job.
Margay

SiNn said...

honestly i search for passion and realizam i dont like reading something inr omance unless ist romace and fantasy where it just isnt conceievable just seems that it has to be real with action and passion and i search for it for allthe reaosns most do because thats what i like and that my mind makes me feel well relaxed and well i guess its hard to really explain why

Carol L. said...

I love to read all romance novels depending on my mood and what blurb and/or cover has grabbed my attention.I love the passion, loyalty and compassion and also the struggles the hero and heroine go through to end together. I love seeing people finally get the happiness they deserve at the end.
Carol L.
Lucky4750@aol.com

Aimee said...

I tried to get away from the romance books, but was disappointed when everything turned out bad...I kept waiting for the characters to get together. So I will stay romance all the way!!! Thanks for getting them out there! (P.S. I'm Scioto Co. native also!)

Lois said...

Of course, I read them for the HEA, which in turn leads me to the idea that I read them because ultimately when you pick one up and read the back cover blurb, we know what's going to happen. We know those two names are getting together with the HEA; what we are going for are the details on how it happens. So, I like knowing what's going to happen, but following along to get to that moment, and sigh a bit happily at the end. :)

Lois

etirv said...

The happy ending primarily! Also can always rely on a good romance novel unlike American Idol which has been unbearable for me to watch this season!