6-22 The Fascinating 1920s with Lauri Robinson

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Ring in the New Year with a Good Read!

By: Marcia King-Gamble

I’m starting out 2019 with a shout out to all the readers and writers of contemporary romance, especially those that have pushed the limits, and dealt with issues readers face in their everyday life.

Back in the day, contemporary romance authors were restricted as to what they could write. It was feared that readers would be turned off by reading about serious issues like date rape, autism, abuse, substance dependency etc. It was a constant fight to even have those kinds of stories read by an editor or agent. You would receive an abrupt, “No, thank you,” if there was even an allusion of anything involving the above.

While most of us read to escape, readers engage better given some aspects of realism remain in the story.  It took some time, and probably Indie sales statistic for publishers to realize that they better join the modern age. While readers want to be carried away, they also want relatable reading material. And so, the flawed hero and heroine came to be. Apropos actually, because aren’t love stories about people overcoming all odds to find love? And aren’t these stories about heroes and heroines who change and grow?

Lucky for us, we had talented authors like Jodi Picoult, Helen Hoang and Kati Gardner willing to push the boundaries and tackle these sensitive issues. Of course, Grand Dame, La Nora also pioneered these efforts. Yes, that would be bestselling author, Nora Robert and ,her groundbreaking novel, Dance Upon the Air, released in 2001.

I’ve always been a fan of the contemporary novel, it’s what I grew up on, and in fact it’s what I write. Growing up, the heroes, heroines, and settings of the Mills and Boon novel, opened up a whole new world to me.  Through the decades, I followed the evolution of the alpha male and the virginal female.  I watched the male become a little softer and a lot more beta. I watched his lady love become more assertive,  and a lot more independent. Over time, heroes and heroines of contemporary romance grew and evolved to match readers in the real world.    


As a writer, I have always chosen to tell stories that have depth to them. Come Fall, one of my earlier novels  is about a woman accused of sexual harassment who  goes off to Venice to find her self and  heal.  Jade, one of my bigger books has a heroine who takes off to Vietnam in search of her real mother after she discovers that her father is a Vietnam vet who impregnated a local woman.

Flash forward to 2018 and book 5 in the Eighty-Eight Mississippi series, titled Magnolia Moments. This story features heroine, Danielle Lewis who leaves her job to come to Eighty-Eight when her father becomes ill. She temporarily takes over running an inn where executive recruiter, Bryce Maynard is staying, Bryce is in Eighty-Eight in search of the mother who gave him away.    Here is an excerpt from Magnolia Moments: https://amzn.to/2F7u9d4

“Morgan’s waiting. Won’t want to keep her, now,” Dani said, sniffing.
“She can wait. Let’s get one thing straight. I have absolutely no interest in that woman beyond getting the information I need. Now give me a kiss.”
Dani initially seemed reluctant to even get close. Eventually she relaxed in his arms. And as usual, what was meant to be a meeting of the lips, segued into a heart-shattering kiss of mega proportions. Bryce felt as if he’d been zapped by lightening. He was actually shaking. His inclination was to take Dani to bed right there and then, but the teacher was waiting downstairs, and he would have to put passion on hold. “We’re not done,” he said, putting Dani away from him. 

Rounding out the year was my most recent release, Ringing in the Holidays.  A story about the bad boy who gets his dream girl after years of feeling not good enough. For many years Stefan Davis fought to overcome a speech impediment. Stefan, now a successful investment banker, is back in town on business. Except his business might mean his dream girl loses her job. Here is an excerpt from Ringing in the Holidays. https://amzn.to/2BVngs4

“How did you find this place?” Rianna asked, gazing through the gauze netting at what looked to be several well-heeled clientele. She’d spotted the politically incorrect fur jackets draped over the backs of chairs, and the ladies’ necks draped in expensive pearls and diamonds. 
“A friend recommended it,” Stefan said. “I told him I needed a special place with lots of holiday spirit to take a very special lady.”
Rianna felt her cheeks heat up. She managed a mumbled, “Thank you,” and swept off her tam, shaking out her curls. Stefan swept a wisp of escaping hair out of her eyes.
Things were moving way faster than she was comfortable with. She was just starting to process her feelings for her best friend’s brother, and trying to figure out whether the growing attraction could be attributed to a holiday season when no one wanted to be alone. Were these genuine feelings or brought on by nostalgia? For so much of her young life she had resented him. How could she want him so badly now that he’d become an adult?

  About Marcia King-Gamble
Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, and caring for her animal family.
Visit Marcia at www.lovemarcia.com or “friend” her on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1MlnrIS
Be sure to join her mailing list.


Judith Ashley said...

Marcia, Thanks for the look back at the evolution of Contemporary Romance. Yes, I want to escape into a good story and I want some realism. Enough that I know the author knows what she/he's talking about but not so much I have nightmares. It can be a fine line but if the story is too disturbing, I won't finish it nor will I read that author again. Caveat: When Nora Roberts' main stream books took a darker turn, I stopped reading those but I still read her romance without the paranormal elements or suspense. Well, a modicum of paranormal works ...

Eighty-Eight, Mississippi is a creative series concept. Looking forward to seeing what other stories take place there.

Sarah Raplee said...

Maricia, I love that your books include real world problems readers face. I learn something with every one.

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thanks Ladies. I value your opinion Sarah and Judith and love hearing from you.

Maggie Lynch said...

I agree with you 100%, Marcia. Real world problems is what makes the story interesting to me and to many readers. I also write contemporary romance with real world problems and I have trouble determining the best market for them. It seems to me that they straddle the genres of Women's Fiction and Contemporary Romance. Have you found that with your novels? From the descriptions above and the covers I would beg them more toward the Women's Fiction side.

I'm fortunate in that I have found a readership. They tend to be baby boomers, women who have lived life and want more depth than a meet-cute, a breakup over something easy to solve, and a happily ever after. However, I think there are an equal number of readers (or even cross overs) who do love that simpler romance for pure escape.

I admit I haven't read any of your books, but now with those descriptions I'm going to pick one up. Thanks for this post.