I read this blog in June by author Barbara Wallace and liked it so much I asked if I could reblog it. Originally posted on the Chocolate Box Writers blog and Donna Alward’s Goodreads~ blog The Chocolate Box
June 26, 2014
Five Things Harlequin Romances Aren’t (& One Thing They Are) by Barb Wallace
1. They aren’t formulaic . Unless you count the fact all the books involve a happy ending. Otherwise, you will find that Harlequin Romances often push the envelope in terms of themes and content.
2. They aren’t poorly written. Harlequin’s editorial staff is among the best in the business. What’s more, you’ll find Harlequin romances among the finalists in most romance competitions. Hardly a surprise since the writers work extremely hard to create strong, emotional reads.
3. They aren’t full of simpering, weak heroines. In fact, Harlequin’s heroines are often the epitome of female strength. Harlequin heroines have jobs, they raise children, and most importantly, they seek to control their own futures. What’s more empowering than women controlling their destinies?
4. They aren’t all the same. I’m not just talking about the various lines. I’m talking about Harlequin novels themselves. Every Harlequin author has her own unique voice – and she creates novels that reflect that voice.
5. They aren’t bodice rippers. I won’t even dignify that particular charge.
So what ARE Harlequins?
Harlequins ARE well, written, satisfying, fun, classic romance novels.
About now, my fellow Chocolate Box members are chuckling and saying to themselves “Barb’s on her soapbox again.” Damn right. I can’t help myself — Harlequin Series books are such wonderfully written stories, and yet they go ignored. Not just ignored – disparaged. Put down by other writers and readers who have never picked up a Harlequin in their lives. It ticks me off to see the word Harlequin being used as a synonym for cheesy. Harlequin writers work their butts off to create these stories. We agonize over goal, motivation and conflict as much as any romance author.
And for what? So the major reviewers can pass on us in favor of independent, sexy reads? So readers who would never dream of picking up a Harlequin can turn around and buy a similar book simply because it doesn’t bear the Harlequin logo?
Adding insult to injury, our lines are losing shelf space in our best retail outlets. Those readers who might read us can’t because they can’t find Harlequin books anywhere but online. Even Walmart has reduced shelf space to only one or two lines.
Let’s face it, Harlequin Series is like the Rodney Dangerfield of the Romance world. We never get any respect.
At first blush, this rant might seem a little like preaching to the choir. After all, Chocolate Box readers already appreciate series romance. But that’s exactly why I’m ranting. I’m hoping you’ll help us remind people that there is more to Harlequin than people think. Recommend your favorite books to friend, complain to your local stores if you can’t find your favorite series, and encourage people to #ReadHarlequinRomance. It’s time we start re-educating readers.
Thanks! We appreciate the help. (I’ll step off the soapbox now.)
~ Barb Wallace
I would like to add some facts from Harlequin:
- Harlequin is one of the world's leading publishers of books for women.
- The Toronto-based company publishes more than 110 titles a month in 34 languages in 110 international markets on six continents.
- These books are written by over 1,300 talented authors worldwide, offering women a broad range of reading from bestseller fiction to romance, from young adult novels to nonfiction, from African-American novels to inspirational romance, and more.
- 92 Harlequin titles enjoyed a total of 313 weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists in 2012 with four titles achieving the coveted #1 position.
- Since its inception, Harlequin has sold approximately 6.28 billion books.
- Just some of the top Harlequin authors
- Nora Roberts
- Linda Lael Miller
- Sherryl Woods
- Susan Mallery
- Debbie Macomber
- Gena Showalter
- Susan Wiggs
- Diana Palmer
- Suzanne Brockmann
- An active on line community of readers and writers.
- Global Web Sites:
Australia — http://www.millsandboon.com.au
Brazil — http://www.harlequinbooks.com.br
Denmark — http://www.harlequin.dk
Finland — http://www.eharlequin.fi/
France — http://www.harlequin.fr
Germany — http://www.cora.de
Holland — http://www.harlequin.nl
Hungary — http://www.eharlequin.hu
India — http://www.millsandboonindia.com
Italy — http://www.eharmony.it
Japan — http://www.harlequin.co.jp
Norway — http://www.harlequin.no
Poland — http://www.harlequin.pl
Portugal — http://www.harlequinportugal.com
Spain — http://www.harlequiniberica.com
Sweden — http://www.harlequin.se
United Kingdom — http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/