Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Girl Don't Forget Her First


A few years ago, I picked up TNWLM at a Winn-Dixie in Jacksonville, FL. It was the first romance I'd read, and I was consumed. It was funny! It was sexy! No one was struggling to overcome abuse or bond with her best girlfriends as a way to get through life because her man left her (after abusing her)!

Don't flay the messenger; I'm a feminist and anti-abuse. My point is, after years of a steady diet of cap L Lit, and too many Oprah books, I was jazzed by this zany book and the raucous, joyous sex the hero and heroine were workin on.

The novel started me on my romance obsession, and my career grew from there.

Vicki Lewis Thompson GuestBlogs with us tomorrow, August 10! She'll tell us why "Nerds Like it Hot," and ask for a little help from her nerdy friends. (That's us. And I mean that in the nicest way possible, bless our hearts).

Remember your first? Tell us about the first romance novel you remember reading. How'd you feel about it then? How do ya feel about it now?
***
Thank you, thank you, CARLY PHILLIPS, for holding down the fort here yesterday while I was at the water park with my kids! Awesome GuestBlog. You got the Bellas goin. You are welcome back any time!
Encore! Check back for the winner of Carly's "Cross My Heart" gift set, and the copy of CMH.

46 comments:

rachd said...

Oh, lord, that was YEARS ago. I can't remember the name of the novel because it was one of those ancient ones from Harlequin. My granny must have had every Harelquin Presents and Harlequin Romance written between 1972 and 1992! So, one summer, Jessie and I sat down and read them ALL. Every one we could get our little hands on. I was 14 or 15 at the time.

I remember being a little stunned. The men were capital A Alphas, everyone smoked all the time and the men had no trouble smacking a girl down if she needed it. (From the '70's ones anyway). That part troubled me, and to this day, I'm still bothered by them. If I read a novel where I guy hits a girl, I get rid of it immediately. Nope, don't even finish the story.

The other trouble with those really early romances was the sex scenes. They were kissing, and then there were some metaphors, and then it was the next day. Wha? At 14 or 15 I was anxious for the gorey details!

But, over all, they introduced me to a fantastic world of HEAs and how the h/h got there. Not to mention, those old Harlequins took place in exotic locales such as Australia, Greece, New Zealand, etc. which was a LONG way away from the little hole-in-the-wall village we were living in! I still have a couple of them that I reread just for old times' sake =).



Okay, long-winded today. Sorry ya'll!

Vivi Anna said...

My first was HONEST ILLUSIONS by Nora Roberts, when I was 21. I didn't read romances before then, just Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, anything gory and macrabre...

I ran out of books, asked my mom for a book to read because I was desperate, she handed me Honest Illusions...and that was that...

That book is still one of my favorites because of the character development. Nora is the queen at that. I can still hear their voices in my head...it affected me in the way the story was told still to this day...

Manda said...

I was in about the 8th grade and had just read JANE EYRE and EMMA and was looking for something in those time periods. My first Regency was either a hardback Marion Chesney called THE TAMING OF ANNABELLE or a paperback Warner American Regency called A DUET FOR MY LADY. I remember thinking that ADFML was quite racy because there was a rather intense kissing scene near the end. Of course that was before I discoverd Woodiwiss...

I also recall a series of books that were available from scholastic around that time, which were basically YA romances. There was KATHLEEN about an Irish immigrant servant girl who migrated to the US during the potato famine and fell in love with the son of her employers, then there was CASSIE who was kidnapped by Native Americans in the 19th century American West and fell in love with a snaxy Brave, then there was MARILEE, the indentured servant in Colonial America. I think these may have been gateway romances, because I recall quite distinctly wanting more when I'd finished one. Once I was hooked, there was no going back.

Michelle, VLT is a great intro to the genre. No wonder you got hooked!

Monica Burns said...

{{{{BELLAS}}}}

Had a moment at work to pop in!! I've missed youse guys!

First one?? Well it was a Harlequin Romance, I don't remember the title or author, but I do remember the price. However we will NOT go there girlfriends.

Anyway, it was a story I won't forget. It was about a woman who had amnesia from an accident and the hero was there with her telling her he was her fiancee...so in the end, there's this big climatic scene where she sees him with another woman, and then she remembers what caused her accident in the first place, it was seeing him with the other woman previously. The woman was a CAT BTW...so in the end it all worked out happily, but I never forgot it. Even the cover is sort of a hazy memory. Dark brown/burgundy top with these late 60s early 70s type of clothing.

The second one I got was called To The Beat of a Different Drummer. The book's whole theme was about that.

As for how I think about it, I loved it then, and while I'm not sure I would enjoy it now, I think I would if it were updated. I loved the story itself!

Now I'm submerging again. Ahhooogah! Dive, Dive, Ahhhoooogah!

rachd said...

Mon! Good to hear from you. Hope all is going well!!

Manda, I remember those YA books--I LOVED them. Hmm, maybe those were my first romances. Oh, or was my first one THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND?

I do remember moving on from the tiny Harleqins to BEYOND SCANDAL by Brenda Joyce. Wooh, was that one something! It sure gave my 15 year old heart something to pound about!

rachd said...

Oh, wait, sorry. The Brenda Joyce was SCANDALOUS LOVE. I remember it had Fabio on the cover and I had a hard time imagining the hero because I just didn't find Fabio all that attractive.

Julie in Ohio said...

Yay, VLT is coming!!! My first of her books were NERD GONE WILD and NERD IN SHINING ARMOR. I just loved that color blind nerd who crash landed a plane. Not to discount nerd turned hottie private investigator.

I remember reading Danielle Steel like mad. If there was anything before that I can't remember.

Julie in Ohio said...

Now please don't throw anything at me. Remember I was very young at the time and didn't know any better: when it came to getting books, I wouldn't get ANY that had a guy/girl on the cover. I was so embarrassed to even get caught looking at one let alone reading it.
That is what I liked about DS books, her covers were plain.

rachd said...

I hear ya on the clinch covers, Jules! I never bought them, but had no problem borrowing them from girlfriends who had them ;o).

I LOVED all VLTs nerds! =) Being a nerd myself, I can relate...:oP

Manda said...

You know, Julie, I think that's why I went for Regencies. Compared to the clinch covers, the Regency covers were quite tame and I felt like I could "get away" with them.
Or they at least looked Austenesque.

Rach, so funny you remember those Scholastics YA romances too:) I was looking for a pic and ran across this webpage devoted to those YA romances! http://www.katemonkey.co.uk/sunfire/2004/11/marilee.html

Too funny!

rachd said...

LOL Manda! Thanks for the link, it is too funny! I'm all over those books and now want to find them ;o).

Maybe Julie's hubby's grandma had 'em? :oP Jules??

Manda said...

Haha! Julie, you must tell us if you find them:)

Did you see that people are collecting them like mad now, Rach? I found a whole long list of people selling Marilee on AbeBooks when I googled it. I had no idea anyone else read or remembered those things. I should have known better, I guess:) There's a collector for everything.

Julie in Ohio said...

Who's the author? I'll look for them. :o)
I literally have 2 laundry baskets FULL of books and I know there's more that I haven't pick up yet.

Playground Monitor said...

I was a suspense reader until a fanfiction board I was on had a plagiarism scandal. A gal took a Silhouette Desire, changed the hero and heroine names to the character names on the show and posted it as her own work. Someone recognized it and I was tasked with finding a copy of the book to verify that it was indeed plagiarism. That introduced me to THE FIVE MINUTE BRIDE by Desire author Leanne Banks and I just lost control from there. I loved that book and all the others like it. Sexy heroes, beautiful heroines, hot sex (did I say that???) and a happy ever after ending. Where had these been all my life? And this was just 5 years ago.

I visited that used book store weekly and devoured category romances. Then I started getting into romantic suspense by the likes of Linda Howard and Beverly Barton. Now I read kinda sorta across genres (not really into historicals or paranormals) and reading all the romance rekindled an early love of writing.

Lordy, I love a happy ending!

rachd said...

Manda, it's nutso, isn't it? As soon as I saw the site you sent I remembered the one I loved best of all, SABRINA. =) Isn't that funny? So, of course now that I want to relive my youth they are pricey as the dickens.

OT here, but it sorta fits--have you noticed other toys, etc. from bygone days appearing again, such as Strawberry Shortcacke dolls?

Julie, they are the Sunfire historical romances. You should google it and see if you remember them too!

Jennifer Y. said...

I love VLT!!!

My first romance that I remember reading was For the Roses by Julie Garwood...I was thirteen and didn't realize that I was getting a romance novel. I had seen the TV movie RoseHill that was based on the book and wanted to read it. The book is VERY different than the movie. Boy, am I glad I read it though!!!

I was hooked after that. It was definitely an eye-opener. I started reading more historicals and a couple of years ago started reading contemporaries and other genres of romance. I love reading and always have.

I haven't read FTR in a while, but I still love Julie Garwood's historicals.

amy*skf said...

I, of course read Mary Stewart et al--but my first real romance was indeed a Woodiwiss (Manda) The Flame and The Flower--I was 15, maybe 16 and could not believe I was getting away with reading something like this...been reading them ever since.

But did take kind of a romance vacation, when all I was reading were mysteries--ofg course they all had a dash of romance in them, or at least some rousing good sex...

Julie in Ohio said...

When I got married, I quit reading for a while.
When I came back it was with Julia Quinn TO SIR PHILIP,WITH LOVE. That was the first historical I ever read.

And as they say, the rest is history...

Jennifer Y. said...

I love Julia Quinn's books!

Jennifer Y. said...

I never read a Danielle Steel novel. I like reading the older romances sometimes, but they are hard to find.

Several years ago, my grandmother gave me one romance book that belonged to my great-grandmother, but I can't remember the name of it. My family doesn't read romances so I have no hopes of inheriting large old collections.

rachd said...

My granny was the only one in my family who read romances before Jess and I. So, none to inherit for us either.

Kris said...

My first was So Worthy my Love by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I think I was about 16 It was my mother's and I was desperate for something to read (read mostly fantasy and sci-fi). The rest were Danielle Steel books and the covers were boring, so I grabbed that one.

Kris said...

I cannot wait for VLT. I love her Nerd books, I have all of them and love them. Yeah! I am excited.

Julie in Ohio said...

I'm the only one in my famn damily who reads romance...reads period.
I had to get married before I knew anyone else who did. :o)

Manda said...

I guess I have more romance readers than some in my family--my sister reads my cast offs though she swears she's rather be reading something else (yeah, right!). And I've got an aunt who reads them.

Rach, I think I remember Sabrina, she wasn't the stock market crash of 1929 girl was she? So wierd I'm remembering all those books now. They were way back in my mental hard drive somewhere:) I have noticed the Strawberry Shortcake etc. comebacks. I guess they are realizing the children of the 80's have buying power now...

Amy, I wonder how many young girls Kathleen Woodiwiss introduced to...you know...

Jennifer Y. said...

My mom and sis read romances...sis only reads romantic suspense and mom only reads those with kids or babies in them...not sure why. My mom actually bought me my first romance.

My sis-in-law used to read them back when she had more free-time (pre-kids). My brother even gave her a customized gift once that was a romance novel with their names as the hero and heroine and their pic on the cover. I never read it...would be too weird. LOL

I have read romances since I was 13, and I would put post-its on the more risque book covers when I took them to school...LOL. Didn't want any strange looks from teachers or other students for reading "inappropriate material." Now I don't care.

Jennifer Y. said...

I was trying to think of the romance that I got from my great-grandmother (it was driving me crazy) and when I went to the site that manda sent and found it!!!

It was Amanda by Candice F. Ransom. It is in storage now or I would have known right away. I really enjoyed that book and wanted to read the others, but they were unavailable by the time I got Amanda.

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh and I apologize for posting so much and rambling.

rachd said...

Jennifer, I'm sure I post far more than you,so don't sweat it! LOL

Manda, SABRINA was the one set in Charleston and there was the underground railroad involved. I read the book until it fell apart, lol :oP.

Playground Monitor said...

I'm seeing kids reading the Manga books. Harlequin had samples in Atlanta of several titles they'd worked up. While I was at the book store yesterday, enjoying a cup of tea and trying like heck to get my current short story started, one boy sat in a chair near me and devoured a stack of those books. They're mostly pictures -- like a comic book -- but I suppose it's better than reading nothing.

Marilyn

rachd said...

Marilyn, as a second grade teacher, I can tell you I would rather see a kid read *anything*--CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, comic books, etc.--than sit and watch t.v. or play video games.

Did the short story come to you?

Playground Monitor said...

Oh Lordy did it come to me! It's taken on a life of its own and is traveling in a direction I didn't anticipate. After months and months of battling a stubborn muse it's refreshing to have the story flow. Let's just hope I haven't jinxed it by saying that.

rachd said...

Yay, Marilyn, that's awesome! I'm sure everything is fine and there will be no jinxes upon you. I refuse to allow that to happen (because I control these things you know...) :oP.

Julie in Ohio said...

Alright, ladies, be prepared to be amazed. I am going through grandma's books. It seems she loved the Harlequins and Silhouttes.

I found a book dated 1945. Can you believe it?

She didn't get rid of anything! I can't wait to read it. Although I'm afraid the pages will disintegrate. :o)

Jennifer Y. said...

WOW Julie! I am envious! I wish I had old books like that! I do have an old copy of Tom Sawyer with Samuel Clemens listed as the author instead of his pen name of Mark Twain...not sure how old it is.

I would be interested though to see how romances have changed since your grandma started reading them...maybe you can read some and tell us.

Julie in Ohio said...

The 1945 book wasn't a Harlequin or Silhoutte. I'm afraid I wasn't clear on that. The publisher is listed as Paperback Library.

I need to go back and rescue the rest of the books. This is so much fun.

Rach & Manda, there weren't any Sunfire Romances in this batch but from what I'm seeing, there is still a chance. :o)

Julie in Ohio said...

Oh, Jennifer, going through these books is so much fun. I can't wait to dive in and start reading some.

Michelle, you were looking for some older books to use for your Old Flame column. Have you ever heard of NO PRIVATE HEAVEN by Faith Baldwin? I'll loan you my copy. :o)

rachd said...

My granny had some old romances--neither Harelquin nor Silhoutte, but that size--that I read. One was THE LITTLE GOLD SHOE, and it was from the 1940's or early '50's. The herione was a socialite and she got stranded in a mountain town when the train couldn't get through (or something like that) and she was taken in by a bachelor minister and his mother. I think it was by Grace Livingston Hill. It reminds me a lot of Inspirational romaces from today. I must have read the thing a dozen times to remember it so clearly. =)

There was another oldie that was militarily driven but I don't remember it as well.

So, the moral here Jules is to just read the things and let the pages fall out at will ;oP.

amy*skf said...

Julie--you really do have a treasure there, if for no other reason than to know your grandmother read them and enjoyed them.

Rach--Speaking as a mom,I actually found Captain Underpants a 'laff' a minute. So did the 7 year old. Remember when everyone was up in arms about the Goosebumps books?

Marilyn--no jinxy.

Jennifer--what is this thing you're talking about--too many posts and rambling--pahlease.

Kris, Ive just read my first Nerd book and can't believe what I've been missing.

Manda--a whole group of us read it together, and by that I mean we all had our own copies and read them seperately. Together. Can you imagine a book club of 15 year olds reading Kathleen Woodiwiss--everyone would be giggling and peeing their pants. What fun.

See, Jennifer, this is a prime example of going on too long.

Julie in Ohio said...

Gee, twist my arm, Rach. :P

This is like winning a prize in a bittersweet way. All these great looking books that I've never read by authors I've never heard of...mostly. Grandma did like her Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz, but still she had books that I haven't read.

I may not remember my exact first romance, but I'll remember the oldest book I've ever read. Seeings how I've never read Jane Austin, these books classify as the oldest.

Manda said...

Jennifer, how funny the book you were looking for was on that page! I think I read that one, but don't remember it. Don't worry about multiple postings. We're all about 'em:)

Rach, hmmm maybe I didn't read Sabrina. I need to look more at that website and see if I can figure out which one was the depression one...

Julie, how cool to have romances from that far back!!! There probably aren't any Sunfire romances in there--unless she was into YA. Which could happen, I suppose...

Marilyn, glad to short story went well. I've heard about Manga but never seen one.

Jennifer Y. said...

Thanks for making me feel welcome...LOL...I just discovered this blog a few weeks ago and love it!

rachd said...

Amy, I wasn't trying to be snobby and judgemental--I too LOVE Capt. Underpants. They make me laugh my head off, but they're not exactly something I can recommend that the kids read--some parents aren't as understanding as you ;o).

I just needed an example of something not as "highbrow" if you will.

Happy reading, Jules! =)

Jennifer, we're so glad you decided to come and hang with us =)!

Stacy~ said...

Rach, your first post reminded me of my first HP - Burning Obsession by Carole Mortimer. Older man who smoked and was brutally alpha, young naive heroine who sees hero with another woman and leaves him after she loses their baby. Her dad has an accident and still believes his daughter's married so on the doctor's instruction, they pretend they still are, which rekindles that spark that you don't get to see after the kiss. No gory details...shame.

Tam said...

I don't remember the title of the first romance book I read but, I remember the first romance author I read. It was LaVyrle Spencer. I read one book of hers then I read every book she wrote. From there I went to Dorothy Garlock and read all her books she had out that I could find. I went on to Johanna Lindsey and have read most of her books now. I am reading or have over 75 different romance authors in my book shelves now.

robynl said...

I believe my first romance book was by LaVyrle Spencer but can't remember the name. Then I got hooked on Sandra Brown and Danielle Steele books.