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Why I write historical romance

First of all, let me apologize for the rather later and rather short post – I spent most of the day preparing a job application (or rather, I spent most of the day tearing my hair out over what to put into the cover letter for the aforementioned job application), and I feel as if my brain has been sucked dry.

In the night from Saturday to Sunday, the whole of the USA turned back their clocks, and the Historical Romance Network took the opportunity to celebrate our genre on social media with the hashtag #FallBackInTime: like last year, people posted selfies with historical romances. Elena, for example, took a picture of herself with one of her favorites from Mary Jo Putney.

Elena reading Mary Jo PutneyOthers ::cough:: me ::cough:: took pictures of their softies reading historical romances. Dragon, Corduroy Wes, and Vampire Teddy did a great job of modeling for me:

Dragon, Corduroy Wes, and Vampire Teddy are reading historical romanceAnd soon, #FallBackinTime was joined by #WhyIReadHistoricalRomance and #WhyIWriteHistoricalRomance — quite fittingly as Sunday also marked the start of this year’s National Novel Writing Month when oodles of people worldwide sit down and begin writing a brandnew story. So it was indeed a good day to think about why we love our genre so much.

For me, it’s the history & the research. I cannot get enough of historical tidbits, historical gossip, the details of life in the past. And the research books! I love (love, love, love!!) obtaining new research material! 🙂

Fall Back in Time is also a good opportunity to add a few more historicals to your TBR. I picked up Royally Ever After, a bundle of two of Loretta Chase’s shorts, which were originally published in different novella collections. I particularly adored “Lord Lovedon’s Duel”, which has got a typical quirky Loretta-Chase heroine and features a most unusual device.

And now over to you: Why do you read (or write) historical romance? And what was the last historical you read?

Posted in Reading | Tagged | 4 Replies

This week, I’m going to start with:


This Saturday is the #FallBackInTime event on Twitter, Facebook, and what not, where your favorite romance authors (and we hope, you, too!) will post a selfie with their first or favorite historical romance novel. And so far, my selfies all ended up looking really dreadful. (More suitable for Halloween, really…)

Selfies are, of course, nothing new. Back in the day before smartphones & cameras they were called self-portraits (and they tended to look fab!) (oh well, but then we typcially only get to see the self-portraits of, you know, real artists instead of those done by amateurs). Some of them are very serious (and done in oil), others are far more cheeky – and naturally, self-portraits by the artists of Punch tend to fall into the latter category.

One of my favorite staff portraits in the magazine itself is the border for the preface to volume 7 from 1844. It was done by Richard Doyle and shows the writers and artists bringing their offerings to Mr. Punch:

Selfie from British magazine Punch
Between Mr. Punch and Toby, his dog, you can see Mark Lemon, the editor, and (I think) one of the publishers, while behind Toby the artists and writers are queuing and waiting to hand over their work. The short guy at the front is probably John Leech, followed by Thackeray (tall + curls + small, round spectacles = super-easy to recognize!) and, at the far end of the queue, by Dicky Doyle himself, holding a gigantic pencil.

Kinda cute, isn’t it?

Well, the same cannot be said about my own selfies, I’m afraid, even though I have a smartphone with a camera and don’t even have to sketch my portrait. But…


Sandra Schwab's Horrible Selfie No. 1
The second attempt turned out even worse:

Sandra Schwab's Horrible Selfie No 3
And the third attempt… At least I managed to keep my eyes open. That’s progress, right???

Sandra Schwab's Horrible Selfie No 2
But still not particularly, er, nice. *sigh*

So I’m coming to you, hoping that you might have some tips for me how to improve my selfie-taking skills before this weekend so that I won’t end up traumatizing the rest of the world with my truly bad selfies. HALP!!!!!

And, of course, I hope you’ll join us on Saturday for the #FallBackInTime event and post your own selfies with historicals that you particularly enjoyed or that started your love affair with the genre. 🙂

Sorry for the alphabet soup in the title!

Diane already talked about the New Jersey Romance Writers conference, where she, Gail and I were fortunate enough to hang out together and celebrate Diane’s finaling in the Golden Leaf with A Marriage of Notoriety. I enjoyed the published authors’ retreat (they serve wine and chocolate pretzels), workshops on the business and craft of writing, and just being with other Regency authors (there are none in my local writing circle). Here are pics of Gail and me at the booksigning.


Gail and I also spent some time on Saturday night brainstorming individual story ideas. I’ll leave it to Gail to talk about hers when she’s ready. All I’ll say is the beginning parts she read to me were delightful! As for me, I’m feeling more ready to go ahead and write prequel and sequel novellas to Lady Em’s Indiscretion.

nanowrimoIn fact, I think I’m going to join others in doing the National Novel Writing Month challenge. For anyone who’s unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, the idea is to draft 50,000 words of a new novel within the month of November.

There are naysayers who say it’s impossible to write 50,000 of publishable, readable fiction in one month. Actually, I know people who can do that (not me!) but for most writers, that is true. I’m sure loads of dreck is produced during NaNoWriMo. Probably some of it will make its way, unedited, into Kindle Direct Publishing but that’s no big deal, really. Others, like me, see the challenge as a fun way to generate ideas. We’re very aware that more time will be spent afterwards to rework and polish our ideas into readable fiction.

In years that I’m busy editing in the fall, I don’t do NaNoWriMo. But when it fits where I’m at in the writing–as it does this year–I join in. I admit, I love watching the progress meter rise! So wish me luck and anyone else doing the challenge, feel free to add me as a “Writing Buddy”. My NaNoWriMo ID is Elena Greene, with just a space in the middle.

Finally, something for all the historical romance lovers out there who would like to spread the word about this wonderful genre. A group of authors have created the Historical Romance Network. One project has been the creation of a video celebrating the variety of historical romance. Check it out here.

You’re all also invited to join the Fall Back in Time Facebook event. On November 1st, post a selfie taken while holding a historical romance. What a great way to celebrate historical romance (and an extra hour of sleep). 🙂


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