Monday, February 27, 2006

Romance for Nerds

When I was a kid, I spent hours upon hours in the library reading about history. Fiction, non-, didn't care. I used to daydream that if I lived in the past I might have been popular. Go figure.

Today, I can't get enough historical romance, especially Romance for Nerds. Romances for Nerds are big, beefy historicals that are filled with accurate, impeccably-researched detail. Novels with content that reflects period mores, rather than contemporary ones superimposed on other time periods. I love em.

Or, it could be I just dig a guy who knows how to wield his broadsword.

Why do you like Historical Romance? Or why don't you?
J.R. Ward Watch: 6 days and counting...
Encore! Lois Greiman's "Unplugged" is out TODAY! I think you'll really like this intriguing, funny UN-series which began with "Unzipped."


Lucy Monroe said...

I love historicals, but since I adore researching women's rights activists from as far back as the Middle Ages, you can guess that I also love a heroine who did not adhere to the mores of her day. I love those that do, but two of my favorite authors for historicals are Amanda Quick and Teresa Madeiros. Both write surprising heroines and heroes who are either atypical, but believable for the time or totally blindsided by the women in their lives. Sometimes, it's a little of both.

One author who delivers period detail and time relevant attitudes in spades is Claire Delacroix. Have you read her? If you haven' really need to. She's incredible and a very cool person on top of being such a talented and meticulous writer.

I used to eat up the traditional Regency romances, but my fixation with them dried up about the same time the market did. There are still some amazing authors writing the traditional romance in that setting, but since I prefer sensual romance, I don't find myself reading them as often. But talk about accurate historical detail...

Oh, but your question is why do I love them (because I do)? And the answer is that historicals can do things you simply can't get away with in a contemporary romance. There are themes and plots that wouldn't work anywhere else and I happen to love them, hence my enjoyment of the genre.

I also love people history and a well written historical romance feeds that hunger. It's more than knowing who did what when, but the whys of life in another era fascinate me.

I guess I've gone on enough.

Take care,

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey Lucy; I'm glad you stopped by, cause you write real historicals, not faux: the ones where a writer uses the words chainse and hauberk once or twice and is done with it.

I was stunned when I first learned about women who fought for the smallest rights for other women way back when. And, while I like a nice, cheesy virgin/medieval warlord romance, I love writing of Robin Schone and Pam Rosenthal et. al, who dig beneath the incongruities of time and mores.

Tragedy has struck! My H key just flipped off (I really need a manicure cause my gels are just too wild)and I'm in the middle of cramming the column together. Yikers.

And, to top things off, I just tried to get on the official Team Fenson website to congratulate the Boys from Bemidji, and the forum is locked. I told my husband I want to make a family pilgrimage to Pete Fenson's pizza place, Dave's Pizza. My Dave's finding it strange that his wife, who's never taken an interest in any sport, is suddenly enraptured over curling of all godforsaken sports. Although he likes it, too.

Monica Burns said...

Ah, I see my fellow RWA chapter mate has been here! *grin* I'm with Lucy on loving Amanda Quick and Claire Delacroix! And yes, Claire is DEFINITELY a terrific person. She's also incredibly wise and knowledgeable about the industry and history.

As for why I love historical romance. I'm learning from my own research that things in the past weren't all that much better than we have it here in the present with perhaps the exception of one thing. Honor. There's still lots of that in the world, but it doesn't seem to be as prevalent (if at all) in modern society today as it was in the past. For me, there's nothing more romantic than a guy in breeches (well filled out I might add), with this flowing craveat and a sword in his hand as he fights off the villian. My all-time hero is Sir Percy Blakeney, the Scarlet Pimpernel. Oh WHAT a man. Then there are the heroes, Porthos, Aramis, Athos and D'Artagnan. Yummy!

Ok, I know these heroes probably would have had lousy teeth, bad breath, bathing wasn't exactly top priorty, etc. I've idealized these men, but for me, it's their daring, their chivalry, their sense of honor and justice that do it for me. I like how the heroes and the heroines I read have principles and stick by them no matter what. That's not always easy to do in real life, but it makes for great reading.

I think I'm like a lot of women who read historical romance. We want to be swept off our feet once in a while. We want that Knight in Shining Armor (FABULOUS book by the way!) to come charging in to save us when the kids are screaming at each other, there's dishes in the sink and the DH is whining about whatever (although mine cooks and cleans - and no I don't rent him out! LOL).

Historical romance throws us back to an idealize time when "men were men and women were women." It's fun escapism from the more mundane and harsh realities of our personal existence.

Ok, I don't think you wanted a dissertation, but I generally can't help myself. Guess I need to blog about this on my own blog. *sigh* Nope got to get back to that WIP. Great Question Michelle and I hope your daughter is doing better today. Mine has barely stirred from bed since last night.

Monica Burns

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Actually, Monica, I did want a dissertation! :) I get to read you guys writing the same things I believe, only I don't have to come up with the clever ways to say em.

Have you read Marsha Canham?

Monica Burns said...

ACK! My response didn't post. *sigh* Nope haven't read Marsha. I'll check her out! Thanks for the recommendation.

Have you tried Jane Aiken Hodge? I grew up on her. Never liked Georgette Heyer, but Hodge? WHOA! Not a lot of kissing or touching, but it was the sensuality and sexual tension between the h/h that I remember.

Ok, now I have to get back to writing. LAter.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I haven't read Hodge, but you can be sure I willnow. Ilove Canham, but there is tons of backstory. Her earliest was one of those high seas, she's a pirate's daughter dressed as a boy romances. Many folks may be offended by the Old School nature of it. My favorites of hers, and the most consistent, are three related medievals , one of which is the Last Arrow, with some Robin Hood themes, but not a riff.

I'm on the line now, checking on the missing H situation, hoping I'll be able to fix it when they send me the new keyboard. I'll have to start thinking of adjectives without hs to describe lover eternal...

Lucy Monroe said...

Thanks, Michelle. :) The funny thing about writing historicals is this need to get into the period...I find myself thinking differently when I write them, and sometimes talking differently too. It cracks my family up.

But then right now I'm writing a Texan hero and my family all swears I've developed a drawl. I don't hear it, but they do and they are getting way too much fun out of laughing at me.

I hear you on the nails...I'd gone over month between fills when I went in last week and my sister said I had "Lady Death Claws". My keyboard definitley sighed with relief afte I got them filed down. LOL

Waving to Monica. Hey, sweetie! I loved your dissertation. The concept of honor *is* key in a historical romance. (It's kind of key in my contemps too, but I've got this fixation with integrity...LOL) Anyway, I love how you put it - that we find in a historical what we often cannot find anywhere else. I feel that way too and it's one reason I'll always buy a new Teresa Madeiros or Amanda Quick, no matter how full my TBR bookcase is!

amy kennedy said...

I love historicals, any historicals, but I really love the nerdy ones--I'm pretty sure I learned more history in those nerdy romances than in any history class--well I enjoyed it more.

Monica--Jane Aiken Hodge--yes! I think I lived on her in high school.

Lucy, I just picked up an anthology with you in it--I'm pretty sure the prepositions were not right, but anyway it's Star Quality--very excited to start it.

Michelle, even my Mom has said I belonged in another time, I just could not settle on which one.

Nerds unite! Amy

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I am so glad I can provide this service to writers who, like me, want to avoid writing!

Amy, you're right. We need to embrace our nerdiness and get in touch with our inner Schmedlies. Do you remember that nerd term? As in, "She is such a Schmedly."