Only the good stuff

When I tell people that I write romance novels, their eyes go wide, their brows lift, their mouths make that perfect O of surprise. They're thinking FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY. I tell them I write for Harlequin, and they are impressed -- a "real" author, they say, with a recognizable publishing house. But they're still scandalized.

Then I tell them I write for Harlequin Heartwarming -- bedroom door firmly closed, language squeaky-clean -- even cleaner than some PG-13 films I've seen.

They give me the same puzzled look I give the hapless someone who offers me a Diet Caffeine-Free Coca Cola. What's the point, they ask, if there's no buzz?

The point is, there's plenty of buzz. Buzz is in the romance, not necessarily the sex. All of my Heartwarming sisters, I believe, have weighed in on this, and I think they've all given a wonderful argument about why we enjoy writing something that could easily be PG rated at the movie theater.

But this weekend, I thought of yet another reason why I'm glad I write for Harlequin Heartwarming.

My daughter.

She is 12, and through no real design by me, she is incredibly sheltered. By the time I was her age, I knew EXACTLY what the birds and the bees were up to, and the hows, if not exactly all the whys.

Now don't get me wrong. We've had not only THE talk, but lots of little talks, where when the time is right, I broach subjects and explain things. She knows the mechanics (or at least, she has been subjected to multiple lectures by me). But she's still (thank you, thank you, thank you!) in that stage where boys are completely "ugh" material.

I credit that to the fact that she is an only child, with no big sister, and no older cousins, and that I've been pretty particular in what I let her watch and read.

But you know what? I could hand her any Heartwarming book -- ANY one of them -- and she would get a good, emotion-filled story that was not too much for her, one that would give her a good sense of what she will hopefully experience when she meets her own Prince Charming. And there would be no need for me to explain anything to her.

That's just one more reason I love writing for Heartwarming!


  1. I agree Cynthia! Also the reason I love writing for Heartwarming!

  2. Cynthia, Not long ago I got an email from a young woman who recently wrote her first book for Harlequin. She said to me, when I was younger your early books for Harlequin Romance were the only romance books my mother let me read. I remember having a lot of young readers with those first six books I wrote as Roz Denny. I felt really responsible for the content I knew was going out to our younger generation. And now Heartwarming offer the same good feelings about love and life. Good post, Cynthia

  3. Cynthia - Good Morning! I wrote for American Romance for a long time and loved the added dimension sexual contact gave the story. (A very good idea to just keep those away from 12-year-old girls.) I also love writing for Heartwarming because our books are all about the emotional adventure in a place without that extra dimension. And I'm sure they're as entertaining for our audience to read as they are for us to write. I gave a copy of mine to my granddaughter this weekend. She's 15 and probably more savvy than I even what to know about, but I was comfortable giving her a love story written by her grandmother.

  4. Hi Cynthia. I know the looks very well! And I agree, its awesome to explain that there are different versions of romance stories. And i love writing for heartwarming. :)

  5. I agree, Cynthia. I love the fact that my teens can read my book and see first hand what mom spends all that time in her office doing ;). I know a lot of grown-ups who want books that are about the character journey...without the extras.

  6. As someone who started reading Harlequin Romances back in 1959 when I was 11 years old, I agree with you. Back then you were happy if the hero kissed the heroine on the last page.

    I'm going to share your book, which I really enjoyed,with my older sister who doesn't like sex filled stories.


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