Saturday, May 23, 2015

What Changes Have You Seen in Romance Novels in the Past Decade? By Connie Vines #RR 05/23/15

Topic: What changes have you seen in romance novels in the past decade? Is there a change in romance novel direction? Is there still a market for non-explicit sex stories?

I researched data (2010- 2014)  for this months' Round Robin blog topic .  Multiple sources (online and print) stare that romantic novels are the most popular and most lucrative genre in American publishing, with over $1.35 billion in estimated revenues.  This is almost two times the size of the mystery genre, and nearly three times the size of the market for classic/literary fiction.

Best Books (romance) according to Amazon/reader's choice, 2010:
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
Burning Lamp
Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Sin Undone
Married by Morning
Finding Perfect

The favorites seemed to be evenly divided between: Paranormal/Romantic Suspense/Sweet Homespun.

The 2013 list of Best Books (romance):
Dark Witch
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles)
The Rosie Project
The Sear of Tranquility

Fast forward a decade: Witchcraft/Paranormal/Possible Destruction of Mankind

It seems historical, homespun, chicklit, and the 'classic' contemporary romances are on the back burner.

However, there seems to be exceptions:  Scottish men wearing Kilts are marketable and appearing on the Cable t.v. scene!

What I have seen in the last ten years is less diversity in the romance genre.  Erotica and Vampire/Changeling characters are still dominating the market.  While series novels by Debbie Macomber and Susan Mallery still break into the top 10-with contemporary/sweet romantic theme, becoming the exception (at least statically speaking) rather than the rule.

Does this mean readers no longer hunger for Sweet Romance, Chicklit or Historical Romance?
I don't believe so.  (Hence the popularity of eBooks and re-releases of 1980-90s romantic fiction.)

I believe an author who writes non-explicit romances has a smaller list of publishers to query, and smaller royalties each quarter than in past decades. However, trends peak and fade away and reappear.  If a writer writes to his/her strengths and doesn't randomly chase trends, a readership will develop.

I like a good Zombie/Paranormal story and write 'um too (though with a light touch).  I watch GRIMM and iZombie.  But these are not the only shows I tune in or the only theme in the novels I write.  I suspect this is true with readers and publishers also.

Remember when writing a story not slotted to a 'genre' was the kiss of death, so to speak?

Enter: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Pride Prejudice & Zombies. Who could have guessed such stories could be made into a movie?

The key is writing a story that captures the reader.

Do I have predictions for the upcoming year?

  1. Erotica will climb for a bit longer due to the movie (50 Shades) and general interest.
  2. Pirates and Highlanders, and Vikings will gain and retain popularity.
  3. I'm also thinking contemporary romance sweet/ sexual tension (1-flame) will regain a foot-hold on the market.  Characterization and emotional connection are the backbone of these novels.
What is your take on the matter?  
What books do you plan to focus on this upcoming year?
What are you hungering to read?
What book setting/ theme are you 'not' interesting in reading?

Please post comments/suggestions.

Remember to  Blog Hop and see what the other participants have to say about this month's topic.

Happy Reading!


Fiona McGier
Victoria Chatham
Skye Taylor
Margaret Fieland
Helena Fairfax
Anne Stenhouse
Marci Baun
Diane Bator
Rachael Kosnski
Rhobin Courtright

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Snippets #5 ~ Interview with Pro-Rodeo Cowboy, Lynx Maddox~ #5 05/17/15

I thought I'd share the transcripts from a podcast interview I gave when my first Rodeo Romance, "Lynx" was published by BWL.

Connie: Today’s rodeos feature the most skilled cowboys and cowgirls.  They show off their roping, riding, and many other talents to the world.  Being a rodeo cowboy, especially a bull rider, is a dangerous occupation where the only the strongest and smartest will take home the victory. I’d like to welcome, Lynx Maddox, one of rodeo’s top bull riders, to today. 

Lynx:  “I’d like to thank all of the romance readers and Rodeo fans for  logging on for my interview.” 

Connie:  “For the readers who aren’t familiar  with PRO rodeo cowboys who support community projects  for worthy causes.  Lynx, you were at the Fairgrounds this weekend to support and build awareness for projects to prevent domestic violence, isn’t this correct?”

 Lynx:  “Yes.  Dan and  were at the Snake River Stampede last week where a local band helped collect donations to support a newly built women’s shelter.” 

Connie:  “I know you are reluctant to brag. . .but virtually all former and current  world champions have competed at the Stampede at one time or another. However, few are as generous with donating their purse winning as readily as you are.” 

Lynx:  “Now, I wouldn’t say that.  Everyone does what he or she can to help contribute to these worthy causes. . .be it in dollars or in time. . .Weren't we gonna discuss the sport of bull riding?” 

Connie: “Yes, Wildcat, we are.  According to the ABBI guidelines for judging bull riding, based on five categories:  buck, kick, spin, intensity, and degree of difficulty.  All of which sound extremely uncomfortable for the rider.  Would you mind explaining what this all means?”

 Lynx: Dry chuckle.  “‘Buck’ refers to the height achieved with the front feet and shoulders as a bull begins each jump of a trip. Technically correct bulls will complete this action by kicking their hind legs, however not all will kick, and that is a separate category from buck. Bulls that “get in the air” and get their front feet a foot or two off the ground as they peak and break over get the most credit in the buck category. Another consideration is the number of jumps they complete during the course of the trip. Still another factor can be how much ground they cover.” 

Connie: “I know the ‘Kick’ refers to the extension and snap of the hind legs at the peak of each jump. But I don’t know the determining factors for scoring.” 

Lynx: “Again, the score is determined by how high and how hard the bull kicks, how much vertical body angle he achieves as he kicks, and whether or not he kicks each and every jump. Additionally, bulls that kick at the peak of each jump instead of waiting until their front feet reach the ground deserve more credit in this important category.” 

Connie: “So at any time, a bull rider can find himself falling under one of the massive animals?” 

Lynx: “Well, I reckon so, but that is not the aim of the rider. . .” 

Connie:  “Sorry, but. . .” 

Lynx: “Heard about what happened–” 

Connie:  “In Cheyenne, Wyoming?  Yeah.” 

Lynx:  “The ‘Spin’.”  Takes a sip of coffee.  “Also referred to as the speed category, spin is the most difficult to assess if a bull is only ridden for a jump or two. In this situation, a judge must assume that the amount a bull was spinning (or the number of rounds) would have continued at the same rate for eight seconds. For this reason, it is important, in order to achieve high marks in the spin department, to “turn back” or begin to spin as early as possible so that more time is spent spinning than covering ground.” 

Connie: “The ‘Spin’ is assessed the same way?”

 Lynx:  “Basically yes.” 

Connie:  “The final category is ‘Degree of Difficulty’.  Difficulty equals painful, I take it?”

 Lynx:  “Naw.  By the end of the ride most bull rider’s bodies are numb.” 

Connie: Smothering a laugh.  “Please continue.” 

Lynx: “There are a number of factors that can occur in a bull’s trip that elevate the degree of difficulty, and it is important to note that the bull that does everything else right automatically has a high degree of difficulty for that simple reason. Therefore, just because a bull is honest and doesn’t use tricks to get a rider off, he shouldn’t be penalized in this category for doing things right. Having said that, there are those elements of a trip that some bulls employ that make them harder to ride than bulls that don’t. These things don’t necessarily make a bull better, and again it should be mentioned that the most desirable methods of increasing degree of difficulty are by doing the core elements (buck, kick, and spin) well. Furthermore, the bull that is using time and energy performing some of the trickier elements generally associated with degree of difficulty is usually losing ground in some other area. The most generally defined elements of this category are: drift or fade, accomplished by a bull covering ground as he spins; moving forward in the spin; belly roll; drop; direction change; and lack of timing.” 

Connie:  “Lynx, thank you so much for taking time from your packed schedule to explain the element of rodeo to us .  You make bull riding sound like everyone’s nine-to-five job.  But we all know that isn’t true.  Rodeo is a very dangerous sport.”

 Lynx: “I can’t deny that fact.” 

Connie: “Where are you off to tomorrow?”

 Lynx:  “Tonight.  After I wrap things up at the Fairgrounds, I’m driving up to Running Springs, Montana.”  Rising to his feet, he tips his hand and exits the booth. 

Connie: speaking over the canned music, ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas,”Thank you, Wildcat.  Let’s all thank Lynx Maddox for stopping by today.”

Everyone, stop my next Sunday for more Snippets (and more from Lynx Maddox).

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Remember to visit all of the wonderful authors participating in today's Blog Hop, too!

Ginger Simpson

Tricia McGill

Vijaya Schartz

Jamie Hill