10 February 2012

The Vanilla Romance

First of all HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!  This is the holiday of romantics and since romance is my business I love when February 14th roles. around.  I want to let hose of you following my "Most Romantic List" know that my countdown will continue on the 15th.  Only 5 books left to reveal!

For this blog hop I wanted to write about romance so I thought I'd write about something that has been on my mind-how romance has evolved from predominately "white" perspectives.  So please leave a comment at the end with your contact information because each comment will be entered to win a free PDF version of any of my ebooks, winner's choice.

Thank you!!!
The first romance I ever read was Web of Silk by Yvonne Whittle, a Harlequin Presents set amidst the lush background of South Africa.  Morgan, the heroine, was a titan haired beauty and her hero was an American blond Adonis.  I devourered my mother’s collection of Harlequins the summer before I started fifth grade, not only enraptured by the romance and love but also by foreign locals I was transported to through my imagination.

Growing up in rural Missouri, in a town of about eight thousand people that had not one African-American, it never entered my mind that all the romance books out there only featured white couples.  A decade later, when the 1990’s rolled around, I found myself living in Baltimore working at John’s Hopkins Hospital and taking the bus to work.  My Harlequins, at this point, had graduated to sweeping Zebra Historicals.  One morning I happen to see an African-American woman reading a Zebra novel, with a white couple brazenly displayed on the cover and it made me start to wonder why there weren't love stories featuring a black couple.

Now, this wasn’t a negative thought by any means.  When I went back to the bookstore I started looking at all the covers…and all were, well, vanilla.  I couldn’t help but see a wide gap that even romance novels wouldn’t breach through mainstream bookselling and I thought that was pretty sad.

The internet was just emerging by this point but used mainly for emailing friends because the information highway was a pain the ass since dial-up it took half a night to download anything.  So I didn’t know the name of Elsie B. Washington, widely regarded as the first woman to publish an African American love story in mainstream romance.  Nor did I know of Harlequin publishing the first collection of African American romance novels featuring Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson, and Mildred Riley. 

And then the Nineties gave way to a new century; the internet took off and people started realizing how small the world actually was and how beautiful other cultures are.  Fast forward to the explosion of ebook publishing.  Finally, love is able to dominate.  Interracial couples are in demand and suddenly love is no longer vanilla. I’m so very happy about that.  I have had the delight of reading the most amazing stories, not just about interracial couples but even interspecies couples, ménage stories, and gay romance.  My first male/male romance novella will be released in May, a story that flowed out of my mind through my fingers in two weeks! 

I am so happy and thankful that I live in a time when love can be love, in any flavor.  Thank you for visiting my blog and remember to leave your name and contact info before heading off to the next blog at:


  1. Thank You for your contest. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. I started reading romance with Harlequin Presents also. I learned geography that way. As I've gotten older I have gone on to read more genre books. With e-books there is so much more selection so it's not the same old thing. It's great! Happy Valentine's Day.


  3. Happy Valentine's Day

    debby236 at gmail dot com

  4. Hello Beth,

    Thank you for taking part in Drea Becraft's Valentine's Day Blog.

    I really enjoyed your post, "The Vanilla Romance", Oh I am sooooo glad that we are soooo far away from that now, thank you for the age of eBooks!! LOL Wow my entire eReader would be banned if it was years ago, I don't have ANY "Vanilla" on my Reader...my eBooks set it on Fire, LOL

    Especially because my interest is in Erotic Fiction; M/M, F/F, M/F & Ménage; M/M/M,, M/F/M, F/M/F, F/F/M, M/F/M/F, M/M/M/M, M/M/F/M, M/M/F/M/M....LOL I think you get the idea. I Love sub-genres of Erotic Paranormal; Vampires, Werewolves, Shape-Shifters, Dragons, Demons, Incubus, Mermen, Satyr, Elves, Faeries, Ghosts, Witches, Warlocks, Zombies....as well as the sub-genres of BDSM, Cowboy/Western, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, Futuristic Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense & Historical/Regency....it's just a plus if there's some ManLove going on. ;) LOL I'm sooooo Bad!!!

    Oh & on that note...Congrats on your first male/male romance novella to be released in May, I'll be sure to pick it up! :) I agree so much with what you stated in your Post, if I may quote you; "I am so happy and thankful that I live in a time when love can be love, in any flavor." What a Wonderful time we live in!

    I would very much appreciate if I could be entered in your giveaway for a winner's choice PDF version of one of your ebooks. Thank You.

    Take Care & Happy Valentine's Day
    PaParanormalFan (Renee’ S.)

    PS: I became a Google Friend Connect Follower of your site under the name of: PaParanormalFan

  5. Thanks for the giveaway, Happy Valentine's Day
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  6. Very educational post, thanks for sharing. author_shannon_leigh at hotmail.com

  7. Thanks for being part of this blog hop! I am enjoying learning about new-to-me authors. My TBR list is evergrowing. I think I will have to play hookey to start catching up :)

  8. Thank you sharing and for the great giveaway! Happy Valentines!