Day 1 Stephanie Hyacinth – Celebrating HEAs Everyday

Hi friends, Bobbi here – To kick off RARM, I decided to include a “token romance reader” on the first day. Since last year’s RARM, I’ve become friends with a number of women who share my love of romance novels, yet Stephanie is so eloquently passionate about them that I decided to ask her to participate. I hope you appreciate her essay – and her unapologetic love of the genre – as much as I do. Remember, there would be no romance industry if no one bought the books. Writers write great stories, but if the readers don’t buy them, then there’s no romance genre. (And possibly no publishing industry, since it’s the romances that keep the industry afloat. Brava, romance!)

Celebrate Romance with a Professional Romance Fan

Reading romance and being a Professional Romance Fan (aka Pro Ro) for decades, I take a journey to happy ever after shyacinth w: booksevery time I pick up a romance novel. I want to read romance every day. You don’t want to talk to me on the days that I’ve been unable to read a romance novel. I’ve missed my subway stop, I’ve been late for work, I’ve dropped a cucumber slice on a page (so sorry Vishous!), I’ve laughed out loud, and I’ve not realized I was crying until the tears fell into my ear and then my pillow. I am an unapologetic  romance reader and a romance fan. There are no stealth book covers for my romance novels. There’s no need for me to defend anything. Romance writers and readers are a powerful force for good. We are team Happy Ever After!

I am not a writer; except for when it comes to writing thank you notes to authors I adore – and before the wonders of technology and social media, that’s what I did. I penned “love letters” to favorite authors; and they wrote me back! Now as a Professional Romance Fan and through the power of the Internet – I get to share my love and thanks with passion and immediacy. Though I admit to still sending thank you notes and letters to authors, and for one specific author, flowers (you know who you are).

Reading romance allows me to see into the lives of others without taking planes, trains, or automobiles – without Scotty beaming me aboard (though it would be so much fun if he could beam me to the Enterprise!). I may never live in Virgin River or on Dare Island, or be part of a family of Navy SEAL warriors in Coronado or Little Creek – but reading romance allows me to take those journeys. Where better than romance to learn about families of the heart, community, violence against men, women and children, heroism and terrorism, hatred and prejudice, hope and faith? Romance authors break down barriers and teach us life lessons with subtlety, humor, imagination, and powerful words. Romance authors ensure that no matter how hard the journey, the happy ever after is worth it.

I can read stories with very different, vibrant characters – all with the ability to grab my head and heart and keep me captivated until the very last page – be it Wrath (JR Ward), Lila Emerson (Nora Roberts), Jules Cassidy (Suzanne Brockmann), Lily Yu (Eileen Wilks), Ramsey Westmoreland (Brenda Jackson), Grayson Clark (Catherine Mann), Nola Landry (Sharon Sala), Tom Barlow (Kristan Higgins), or Luke Fletcher (Virginia Kantra). And the best part is it’s not up to me how authors tell their stories; and it’s not up to me how authors decide how the story turns out; it’s up to the writers. I’m along for the ride unconditionally. Write on!

Being a non-stop romance reader means my best choices are what books to buy and then figuring out how many stories I can read at one time. I’m up to four books. My To-Be-Read pile is a constant work in progress, and at this point, is more of a mountain than a pile. Being a Professional Romance Fan means that I get to constantly, profusely, and happily say thank you to every author I’ve ever read – for writing the books of their hearts and sharing them with me. In the beautiful and ever-changing world of romance, there’s a book for every reader and new stories to be told – and I am beyond lucky that I get to read them every day.

Recommendations

I think we’ve established that I’ve been reading romance for a very long time. I have what I call auto-buy authors – and that list is really, really long, and it starts with Suzanne Brockmann. In fact, if not for Suz I would have never met some of my truest romance reader-friends. Suz has launched a thousand friendships through her wonderful stories and her dedication to bringing people together. Please tell me you’ve read the first book in her latest, Reluctant Heroes series, called Do or Die – it’s great. Plus Suz takes the YA plunge with her daughter Melanie Brockmann Gaffney; they have co-authored a book coming out this fall called Night Sky. I can’t wait!

A couple of years ago, I attended a New Jersey Romance Writers conference and picked up a free book by new-to-me author Laura Kaye called Forever Freed. After that book, I started searching for all her wonderful stories – and now I’m reading her newest series the Hard Ink novels, and I love them! Another author I’m really enjoying is Rebecca Zanetti – I especially love her Sin Series featuring the Dean (the gray boys) Brothers.

I would be remiss if I didn’t toss out a running list of my must-reads including anything by: Virginia Kantra, Catherine Mann, Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall, Jesse Hayworth/Jessica Andersen, JR Ward, Nalini Singh, Rachel Lee, RaeAnne Thayne, Lindsay McKenna, Cindy Gerard, Robyn Carr, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Ruth Ryan Langan, Marjorie Liu, Jill Shalvis, Eileen Wilks, Eileen Dreyer, Anne Stuart, Jeannie Lin, and Kristan Higgins. What can I tell you – the list is long!


Questions for Stephanie

1. Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

For some it may come as a surprise, but I am shy. The most daring thing I do is I try to be less shy. For me, the best way to be less shy is to smile a little more and breathe deeply.

2. Tell us about your journey to becoming a romance reader. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I have always been a reader. My grandmother Maria was a reader and when I was a child, she would tell me and my brothers, “If you’re bored, go read a book.” And if and when we professed boredom, she would make us read the dictionary! We had a huge dictionary that rested on its very own desk and came with a magnifying glass. We were never bored. She was the first person to take me to the library and help me apply for my first library card. She read everything and did so in two languages (Spanish and English). When I was 11 years old, she sat me down in her rocking chair and gave me my very first romance novel – a Harlequin Historical. I’ve been reading romance ever since. Thanks granny!

3. Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

When people think of a summer read it’s usually a frothy, fun, beach read. When I think of a summer read, I always pick a deeper, dark, disturbing, and yet hopeful story. In fact, I’ve been picking one “dark” book every summer for about the last 25 years. One summer I chose a book by Lawrence Thornton called Imagining Argentina. It’s a harrowing story of fiction that takes place during the late 1970s when thousands of Argentinians disappeared without a trace to certain death in the torture chambers of the ruling military. The main character, Carlos Rueda’s wife becomes one of the “disappeared” and when this happens he starts having these waking dreams of what has happened to others – yet he is unable to figure out what has become of his wife. His dreams are magical and intense. The writing is crystal clear and quite extraordinary. There is unbelievable cruelty and tremendous courage. Hope endures.

The reason Imagining Argentina is so life-changing for me is that I remember watching on television, the actual mothers of the disappeared, all dressed in white, fearlessly protesting their missing family members in Argentina and Chile – and I tried to imagine such courage. When I read the book, I felt empowered to think about what I would do about injustice especially when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. It brought to mind the idea that everyday people can do extraordinary things. Though I’ve never read the story again – I don’t think I could — its power is ever with me.

Professional Romance Fan Stephanie is generously  donating (1) $10 Amazon Gift E-Card for the winner – and (1) $10 Amazon Gift E-Card for the winner’s friend, domestic only with apologies to international friends.

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Stephanie Hyacinth ProfRomFan PhotoStephanie  Hyacinth is a fundraising professional by day and a Professional Romance Fan 24/7! She is a Vassar alumna. She likes her drinks bubbly. She finds pleasure in shoveling snow, though last winter tested her. She’s a sucker for good cashmere, dogs, pretty jewelry, pens and paper, and funny kids. She is a Star Trek fan and a comic book lover (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D/Sleepy Hollow/Firefly fans unite!), and adores kung-fu and well-made action movies. She is a loyal friend – and  you want be part of her tribe. She dances every day.

 

 

 

 

  • Wonderful essay, Stephanie! Thanks for expressing so eloquently what so many of us feel each time we pick up a romance novel and take another journey to happy ever after.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi PJ – thanks so much for the kinds words and your friendship. Happy reading! xo

  • Sue G.

    I like your sense of humor…a little sarcastic! Just like my hubby. Sounds like you have read some really great stories. I agree, I have to have my happy ending. Nothing ticks me off more than reading a book that has an unhappy ending!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Sue – Enjoy the ride – there’s a book for every reader. all the best!

  • Thanks for your amazing words! Ps I love Laura Kaye too, from Hearts in darkness to Hearts of Anemoi!!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Marinella – thanks for the kind words. Laura Kaye writes great stories – and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her a few times. She is lovely! Happy reading!

      • Dear Stephanie, please next time you’ll meet Laura Kaye do this for me: a big hug for her! And for you too!!

  • cheryl c.

    I agree with her comment, “Romance authors ensure that no matter how hard the journey, the happy ever after is worth it.” I read romance for the happy ever after endings.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Cheryl – welcome home to team HEA. happy reading!

  • Sarah Blumkin

    Bobbi, thank you for including a reader! Stephanie thank you for your post and now my to be read list just got longer.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Sarah – thanks for the kind words. So many books, so little time. 🙂 Happy reading.

  • Toni Linenberger

    Thanks for including a reader. Stephanie was eloquent and wonderful and said it best.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Toni, Isn’t Bobbi terrific. What an honor! Happy reading!

      • awww – thanks so much. Wish I could have a bundle of readers. xo Will have to ponder…

  • mariannewestrich

    Thank you, Stephanie, for putting the love of reading so eloquently! Your list includes a lot of my favorite authors. Bobbi – Brilliant to include a reader. Thank you both!

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks Marianne – welcome to team HEA – happy reading!

  • Jen C

    Oh my god! Did you just get inside my head to write this? I feel like this is my story too.

    • Stephanie H

      Hey Jen – LOL! Happy reading!

  • LisaVH

    it is great to get the view of a reader in defense of romance. I spend years feeling that I had to justify my love of romance. Not anymore! Why invest in something that doesn’t have a HEA? Life is too short. 🙂

    • Stephanie H

      Indeed! No apologies – just lots of good reading.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I loved what you had to say! I also read to travel and live through the characters. I am also a big fan of the HEA.

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks Melissa — what a joy to read romance!

  • Nicole Fortuna

    Wonderful essay! So great to include a reader in the posts. You couldn’t have put it any better. Love that you don’t jusitfy the books you love or hide the covers!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Nicole – thanks for the kind words. Happy reading!

  • Angela H

    I enjoyed reading about you and your post.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Angela – thank you! happy reading!

  • Anne

    Thank you, Stephanie! What an enjoyable essay! Keep reading and thank you for your recommendations.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Anne – thanks for the kind words. happy reading!

  • Mary Dieterich

    It was great to hear about your love of reading and romance.

    • Stephanie H

      Many thanks Mary! Happy reading.

  • Kristan Higgins

    Thanks for being part of RARM, Stephanie! And thanks for the shout-out, too. Always lovely to see your name. (Oh, and Star Trek? The last movie? Saw it 5 times.)

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Kristan – the pleasure is all mine. Thanks for writing such wonderful stories. xo

    • Of course you did — Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban… What’s not to like?? ;o)

  • Patty Vasquez

    Oh, I want to be part of your tribe! 🙂 Thank you for your wonderful essay. I love your unabashed support of romance. As a teacher, summer is my best time for non-stop reading, although I’m never without a reading-book-in-progress. All of my students know that romance is my favorite genre, and I have a particular soft spot for historical and fantasy/paranormal/urban/steampunk novels. Some day I’m going to attend a romance writers convention and meet all the authors whose books are my life-line during the most hectic times of my year.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Patty – thanks for the kind words. Mostly, thanks for being a teacher. Happy reading!

  • Karin Anderson

    I love the idea of being a professional fan! It would be any number of readers’ dream job. 😉

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Karin – being a pro ro brings me great joy!

  • Theresa Stroisch

    Great essay! Wishing you as much love and light as you bring the rest of us.

    • Stephanie H

      Aw thanks sweetie. xo

  • Michelle Harlan

    I love that you’re a Pro Ro! About 2 years ago, I realized that I shouldn’t be ashamed that I love romance novels. Instead, it’s something I should share and celebrate! So happy to be a member of team Happy Ever After!

    • Stephanie H

      way to go Michelle – enjoy the journey and happy reading always!

  • Michelle Fidler

    I love Sleepy Hollow (so spooky!) and I also like Agents of Shield (I still have some episodes to watch on demand). I think 11 is a little young to be reading romances, though. I like action movies too. The last ones I saw were Three Days to Kill and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Wish you had been around to shovel our snow! Here in Toledo, Ohio, we had the most snow that we ever had; it was a record breaker.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Michelle – yes, this is the first time snow became a four-letter word for me. happy reading!

  • M Kuxhaus

    I enjoyed your essay!

    • Stephanie H

      MK, thank you so much. happy reading!

  • Laura Florand

    What a lovely post! And you’ve got great taste in authors. 🙂

    • Stephanie H

      Aw thank you so much! Now I want a piece of 72% dark chocolate. 🙂

  • Jayne Ann Krentz

    Wonderful essay, Stephanie. I love that all of us — writers and readers — respond to the core values of the genre: courage, honor, determination and a deep belief in the healing power of love.

    • Stephanie H

      Many thanks. I love your Dark Legacy stories. It’s my pleasure to read your stories.

  • Mary Anne Landers

    Thank you, Stephanie. If someone were to ask me why I read and write romance, my answer is simple. I’m in love with love.

    Good luck!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Mary Anne – thanks so much for the cartoon! cheers.

  • Stephanie, you do a marvelous job of explaining the appeal of romance novels. Why people (especially the media) disparage them is beyond me! What’s not to like about hope and love and happily ever afters?

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Diane – the world needs all the love it can get. happy reading!

  • Patricia Rice

    As a fellow romance reader as well as author, I heart your passion!

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks so much for the kind words. Thanks for writing!

  • Emily Anne Miron-Neilsen

    I definitely read romances for the HEA … it’s what makes it all worth while 🙂

    • Stephanie H

      Indeed – and each HEA is different according to the stories and the characters. Yay! Happy reading.

  • Stephanie M.

    First, I like your name. 🙂 It’s great to have a reader posting on RARM. I love Suz, too, and can’t wait for her new book with Melanie. I really want a transporter and Scotty of my own, but I guess all the time traveling I do in the books I read will have to suffice until I can make it happen.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Stephanie – re the transporter, a girl can dream! Happy reading!

  • What a beautiful post. You touched my heart! “Romance authors ensure that no matter how hard the journey, the happy ever after is worth it.” Let me add, romance readers make the writing worthwhile! Thank you so much for all your support (and for including me on your list of authors)!

    • Stephanie H

      Aw thanks. It’s absolutely my pleasure. Thanks for writing!

  • Mirmie

    Stephanie is the epitome of a Pro Ro and a fabulously wonderful person IRL, too!!

    • Stephanie H

      Mirm! thanks so much. xo

  • Martha B

    Since I read historical romances (for years), I appreciated your recommendations. It was other readers (like you,) that encouraged me to try contemporaries.

    Now I’ve read Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink books, Rebecca Zanetti’s Sin series plus Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis are auto-buys! Too many books – – so little time!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Martha – so true! Happy reading!

  • Lucy Monroe

    What a fabulous post! I felt like I could be reading my own words. I believe absolutely that we love a world changing genre. My auto-buy list is at least as long and Suz B is on it too. 🙂 Hugs!

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks for the kinds words Lucy.

  • Marcy Shuler

    Hi Stephanie. My grandmother got me started reading romance, too, but she read Harlequin Presents. After she read them she kept them in a box in her closet until she could share them with her friends…where I found them. LOL

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Marcy – grannies are great! My granny read Hqn Presents too, I still own some of hers, an oldie but goodie is by Karen Van Der Zee – I think it’s called Her Secret Sorrow. Happy reading!

  • Marcia Boswell-Carney

    Great job, Steph! You’re the best. 🙂

    • Stephanie H

      M-a-r-c-i-a — thanks so much!

  • Elizabeth Gray

    I love to read. Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series is one of my favorites. It great to see readers being included in the promotion. And Stephanie sounds like she has a very active life.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Elizabeth -Thanks for the kind words. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Laura Kaye a few times and she’s super nice. Happy reading!

  • Christie Ridgway

    Lovely! Though a romance writer I’m a reader first and I feel just like you, Stephanie!

    • Stephanie H

      My thanks Christie! I have so many of your stories. 🙂

  • Lynne Oberdieck Ernst

    Here’s to HEA.

    • Stephanie H

      Hear hear! Thanks Lynne.

  • storywitch

    I can’t imagine a better way to kick of RARM than with the perspective of a reader, the people who keep us inspired and writing! And Bobbi is right – you are incredibly eloquent, Stephanie. I was saying “Yea!” several times during the post (lol). Of course, even without all the wonderful things you had to say about our genre, you would have had me with Firefly (grin – Browncoats forever and Joss is a god). Thank you so much for contributing your post.

    • Stephanie H

      StoryW, my pleasure. Thanks for writing.

  • TrishJ

    This was great!! I love that it was written by a reader just like me. I began my love of reading in grade school. My parents never had to worry where I was, sitting in the corner with a book. But I only read one book at a time, don’t know how you read 4 at a time. You have a great list of favorite authors, I am going to check out the couple I don’t recognize.

    • Stephanie H

      Trish – lol, it can get confusing. I try to read some on my ereader and the others in print. Happy reading!

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    Like you, I started reading at an early age, everything I could get my hands on. I’ve been enjoying it all my life!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Tonda, isn’t that wonderful! I’ll never stop reading romance. with thanks. happy reading!

  • Stephanie, what a wonderful tribute to romance novels! I especially enjoyed the story about your granny giving you a Harlequin Historical to read – I was a big fan of Harlequin Presents as a teen. 🙂 Thanks bunches for including me in your circle. You are, as always, a true gem!!

    • Stephanie H

      Aw thanks Cathy! One my faves is a Harlequin Historical by Valentina Luellen called Madelon. xo

    • Keep in touch, Catherine! :o) xoxo

  • Thanks for kicking things off, Stephanie! Everything a romance author does, it’s for you, the reader. Thank you!

    • Stephanie H

      Thank you so much. Enjoying your Dare to Love series very much.

      • Thanks for reading! These are so new for me and I am loving the freedom to write them 🙂

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks so much Eileen. Happy reading!

  • Teresa Kaplan Biggie

    what a well written post. you should be a writer! I have been reading romances since I was a teen, also. I have my favorites that I read over and over again even if I know how it all ends…happily ever after.

    • Stephanie H

      Thank you Teresa. happy reading!

  • Ann Thayer-Cohen

    Loved the post. I’ve been pondering how to explain why I love romances in answer to Cathy Mann’s question when we’re chatting. Hit some key reasons why romance.

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks sweetie! xo

  • Glenda

    I love that you have a huge recommended reading list too. I hate when people ask the one author I’d suggest they read. There are so many amazing ones out there!

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks Glenda – so many books, so little time. happy reading!

  • Katharine Ashe

    What a wonderful post, Stephanie. The story of the disappeared in Argentina is so powerful and tragic; no wonder it was life altering for you. My favorite books are those with dark elements and themes in them, as well, but that also offer hope in our humanity. It’s lovely to hear your thoughts on this and romance. <3

    • Stephanie H

      Thanks so much Katharine! Thanks for writing.

      • Katharine Ashe

        Please unsubscribe me from messages. Thank you!

        • hmmm – did you sort this out? I think it’s a setting in Disqus and you only get direct responses to your messages. Let me know if you need more info Katharine. xo

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for writing such a great explanation of the appeal of romance.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Sheila – thanks for the visit. As always, happy reading!

  • Sandy Xiong

    I would have thought you were a writer if I didn’t go and reread the title. Your love with the genre that it made me think you are a writer. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t heard of some of the authors that you have listed on your auto buy list yet so I will definitely need to give some of them a try.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Sandy – thanks for the visit. There are always tried and true romance novels that you love, and then you hear something about another story, you read said story, and voila! a new author to explore. How good is that. As always, happy reading!

  • Suzanne Brockmann

    Chiming in a little late with my thanks and kudos for a beautifully written blog, Stephanie! (Rough day at Doggy Recovery Central, but Little Joe also sends her love!) A truly great way to kick off RAR month! (Jules and Robin say hi, too!)

    • Stephanie H

      Suuuuzzzz – I love you. Thanks for the kind words. Hugs to Team Lil Joe! xo to Jules and Robin.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    Fantastic post! I am also a fellow Pro Ro and share many of your other interests as well…dogs, comics, authors, etc. I just recently started interacting with authors more in the last year or so and have has some of the most rewarding conversations ever 🙂 Romance readers and writers are truly a special breed and in my humble opinion, the world is a better place with us in it! Thanks for your essay and I’ll check out your recommendations that I don’t already know/love.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Courtney – how lovely. thank you for the kind words. As always, happy reading!

  • Bernadette Long

    I am so glad to hear about your adventures as a Professional Romance Fan! Keep it up!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Bernadette – it’s a tough job, but I love it. As always, happy reading!

  • Barbara E.

    Loved the post. I’m an amateur romance fan, and I think being a professional would be a lot of fun.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Barbara – it is such fun. Thanks so much for the visit. Bobbi is a genius. Cheers.

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    Yay! How great to hear from another romance reader, sharing your kindness and support to this wonderful community of writers. We have so many author favorites in common, but I need some catching up to do from your list of recommendations. Great interview, Stephanie!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Lorelei – thanks so much. Happy reading!

  • Pamby50

    I can understand your love of reading romance books. Kathleen Woodiwiss was my first. I’ve read so many of the ones you have & thanks to social media, I get to tell them.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Pamby50 – I still my granny’s (and now my) copy of Ashes in the Wind! Isn’t that wonderful – welcome home to romancelandia!

      • Pamby50

        Hi Stephanie. Shana was the first for me. So many friends gave me grief but it never stopped me. Thanks for the welcome to romancelandia!!

  • Joan Varner

    thank you for your essay. Many of the reasons that you described of why you read roman are the same reasons that I read romance. It’s great to see a reader here this year.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Joan – thanks for your kind words — as always, happy reading!

  • Cheryl Hastings

    I love this post!! Everything you wrote about , Stephanie, was like a page from my life! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Cheryl – thank you so much. Isn’t romance wonderful – and the writers more so. Cheers.

  • Loretta Nyhan

    Stephanie, you aren’t a writer? I disagree! This is a beautifully written tribute.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Loretta – aw, thanks for the kind words. Cheers!

  • Lori Foster

    You are the reader that we all write for Stephanie!! It’s not always easy to put into words why you love something, but you did a wonderful job describing your love of all things romance.

    • Stephanie H

      Lori – thanks so much — most of all, thanks for writing. Cheers!

  • Carrie

    I am also a professional romance fan. My mom gave me a box of romances to read when I was in high school and I have been a lover of the genre ever since.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Carrie – isn’t that fab! As always, happy reading!

  • Nina Lane Author

    What a wonderful essay, Stephanie! I love your comment about ordinary people doing extraordinary things – thanks so much for your support and love of all things romance.

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Nina – thank you so much.

  • Lisa Messina

    Stephanie,
    Thanks for inspiring me to want to pick up a romance novel! I have restored my faith in believing in the power of romance, and the great it may ultimately create… I think this is what I need… fuel for a running start.

  • Lisa Messina

    Thanks Stephanie for giving me inspiration to read a romance novel! I have restored my faith in the power of romance and the great it may ultimately create…fuel for a running start:)
    Any recommendations for a first read novel?

    • I hope Stephanie sees this – but if I may, I would recommend anything by Kristan Higgins, but especially The Best Man. Also Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the tops, and it would be hard to pick one, but maybe Dream A Little Dream, This Heart of Mine or Heaven, Texas. Finally, Jennifer Crusie — my faves are Welcome To Temptation or Bet Me.

  • Jen C

    Love this post! Love to hear about other readers!

    • Stephanie H

      Hi Jen – thanks so much. as always, happy reading!

  • Quinn Fforde

    What a wonderful grandmother you had! Thanks for this essay.

  • Sandy Porter

    I enjoyed your essay. I must say Romance Readers & Animal Lovers make a good team. They always see the good in the world. I just wish that would be everybody in the world fit into those 2 catergories!! Thanks again for the essay it was awesome!!

  • donnas

    Great post. Thank you for sharing!

  • Michele H.

    I can certainly relate to the ever growing TBR pile. It is one of the reasons that I am so thankful for summer vacation. As a semipro romance reader, I find that if I haven’t had time to read in more than a week or two during the school year, I get cranky and feel more stressed. Taking a couple hours to read makes everything seem more manageable!

  • rebecca moe

    Awesome post, Stephanie! Thanks so much for writing it 🙂

  • Diana

    Great essay! I started reading romance a few years ago after the loss of a loved one, I couldn’t face reading anything that didn’t have a happy ending.

  • Mary McCoy

    Never heard of a Pro Ro before, sounds like a fun thing to get paid for! Wash is my copilot too! 🙂

  • Texas Book Lover

    Absolutely perfect! You are what I aspire to.

  • Meredith Richardson

    Thanks for sharing with us 🙂 I’m a huge Wrath fan as well!!!

  • Becky in Georgia

    Wow! My Grandmother introduced me to romance stories, tooo.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I enjoyed your essay, Stephanie and your answers to the interview questions. You know, I don’t know how many times I’ve picked up a dictionary and started reading it, usually because I already had it in my hands from looking something up. Sometimes, though, I’ve just picked it up and started reading!

  • PEGGY ALLEN

    Wow. Love your post. I myself am a nonprofessional bookworm.

  • Stephanie Fredrick

    Wonderful post, so sweet. I love romance and like you am not ashamed to show it.

  • Laurie W G

    Luckily I was introduced to the world of books at an early age by my parents. My husband and I encouraged all 4 of our children to love reading.
    I’m an avid reader of all things romance. I need the HEA. Romance has history, suspense, fantasy, intrigue and passion.
    Thank you for sharing your love of romance books.
    I will look for Ms Kaye’s and Ms Zanetti’s books.

  • LSUReader

    Like you, I am a life-long reader; but I’ve only been reading romance steadily for about six years. I enjoyed your post, Stephanie.

  • victoria schultz

    Stephanie I am very shy as well! But since reading romance novels I have met a lot of fun people that it has lessened my shyness! 🙂

  • Chelsea B.

    Pro Ro– LOVE!

  • Adaffern

    Your grandmother sounds like a character, you were lucky to have somebody who encouraged your love of reading at such a young age.

  • Rita Wray

    I was hooked after reading my first Kathleen Woodiwiss.

  • Tina B

    Wow! There are so many recommendations! (Most of which I have not read.)
    I only started reading romance about 5 years ago, but I don’t think that I will ever stop! There are so many different types of stories, styles, authors “voices”.
    Thank you for sharing your love with us, Stephanie!

  • Gretchen

    I agree with you about being able to travel to each place and “live” with each new family in each book. It’s better than reality, because we don’t have to choose! I can live in Maine in the present, or Scotland in the 18th century, or Wales in the 19th. Each time I start a new book, I can live with those characters for a while, without giving up living with my other favorites!

  • Ruth

    I love these recommendations. Some of them are my auto-buys as well.

  • Judy Goodnight

    I love reading romance & after this month, I’ll have a lot more authors to try!