Reading My First Romance

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Reading My First Romance

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WINNER!  of the Amazon $10 Gift card is Celina!

Welcome to Marketing for Romance Writer’s Firsts Blog Hop!!!

My name is Marlie and I’m a recovered literary snob.

Years ago, my shelves were filled with books from the literary trade paperback section of the bookstore. You know the ones; somber stories of lost dreams, heartbreaking rites of passage and souls crushed by life’s challenges.

These were books for serious people. People who read the New York Times Book Review. People who listened to NPR radio. People who watched documentaries. Yeah, that was me!

As an avid reader, I devoured one to two of these critically acclaimed books per week. And over time, I found myself feeling slightly morose, lacking the strong sense of hope I had carried in my heart and soul for years. Was life really so gray and hopeless?

I don’t believe I had ever read a romance novel. At that time, I don’t think I could have named one. But one day I was in an airport, traveling for work, and picked up a book that appealed to me just because of its cover.  It was Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I honestly didn’t realize it was a romance. I didn’t really pay attention. I just liked the cover and the blurb.

I started to read it on the plane, and in the taxi to my hotel, and then read while eating my room service meal. Wow, this was romance? It was smart and snappy and serious, too. I fell in love with the genre.

SEP must have had an uptick in sales that month as I devoured everything she had written to date (and still do!). Amazon suggested “similar authors” and I was off and reading everything romance, my usual one to two books a week.  From mainstream romance to the paranormal, I read it all. And found that no matter how dark the story or how challenging the circumstances for the characters, the happy ending made me happy; gave me back my hopeful outlook.

Sometimes in the reality of our everyday lives, we have to replenish the inner well with goodness and hope. That is what Romance does for me. That is why I read it. That is why I write it.

Thank you, SEP.

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card!  Enter your email address in the comment so I can contact you if you win. Write your email address in this format: marlie at marliebridges dot com

About the author

Marlie Bridges
You Belong To Me by Marlie Bridges Available on Amazon

42 Comments so far:

  1. Marlie says:

    Thank you, Nicole!

  2. Rue Allyn says:

    Love SEP and will purchase anything new title of hers sight unseen. Technically Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Trellyn was my first romance (it’s really a gothic, but at the time it was also labeled romance). I became a dedicated fan of the genre, however, at age 13 when I stumbled on my first Georgette Heyer book, Sylvester the Wicked Uncle.

  3. Marlie says:

    Rue – I read Victoria Holt’s Mistress of Trellyn about 10 years ago, right after my romance with romance began. I think a friend said, “You have to read some of the early ones” and so I did. Thank you for the comment!

  4. Ana Smith says:

    I’ve been reading romance for a while. The writer who first got me hooked is Nora Roberts and her book Birthright. Even know, after a countless romance book read I still count it as a favorite. 😀

    anasmith1919 at gmail dot com

  5. Jennifer says:

    Dont’cha just love when you pick up a book and then get completely lost in the story/series – enough so that that author changes something in your life! I’ve been there and will always hold it dear!

    • Marlie says:

      Jennifer – I love a series. I’m working on the next book in the Marshall Family series – Elizabeth’s story. No name for it yet, but I’m having fun writing about it. And a reader sent me a note the other day asking if I was going to write about Elizabeth. Seems readers can leave a lasting impression, too.!

      Thanks for stopping and taking the time to comment!

  6. Celina K says:

    I am a fan of both literary fiction and romance. Romance novels for me are a fun easy break from the more serious novels that I often read 🙂

    dreammie_angel at yahoo dot com

  7. Marlie says:

    Celina – Confession: I still read literary novels. Just not nearly as much. I also read non-fiction like a maniac. Too many books….too little time!
    Thanks for taking the time to stop in and comment!

  8. Jennifer Irving says:

    I love romances. It just seems nowadays there are so many different sub-genres that I can’t find the good old-fashion bodice-rippers. *sigh*

  9. Viola Ryan says:

    I didn’t take writing romance seriously until I heard that Kelley Armstrong was going to the RWA Conference in DC that year. I thought “If what she writes is romance, maybe so is mine.”

  10. You’re so right, Marlie–I got so tired of the “modern” novel with its unpleasant characters and depressing plot. It was like a slow death. Give me an HEA any day! M. S.

  11. Marlie,
    Oprah’s book club always seems to have that literary type book. Real downers, most of them. She want those who have experienced such catastrophic events in their lives to feel upheld and supported–not alone. I applaud that, but heaven knows we need to be uplifted, inspired and entertained as badly!!
    I too admit to being a self help book reader before I wrote my first romance. I always thought there was more learning to be done to better myself. Whilst I still believe that, I love a good love story now! Thanks heavens for romance!!
    Warm regards,
    Christine London

    • Marlie says:

      Christine – I can name most of those Oprah picks. And so many of them left me feeling gloomy. The writing was superb, but the stories…not so much.


  12. Jo Grafford says:

    The Sweet Valley High series – those were my first romance novels back when I was sweet 15 and 16 myself. Soon after, I began devouring classics such as “Gone With the Wind,” “Jane Eyre,” and “The Scarlet Pimpernell.” Eventually I found my way to the romance section and stayed – thanks to Fern Michaels, Jude Deveraux, Barbara Delinsky, Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood, and Nicholas Sparks among many wonderful others. I’ll even admit I’m a serious Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb junkie. I also have developed an immense appreciation for action-packed thrillers with strong romantic elements. Thank you Harlan Coben, John Grisham, and Robert Ludlum. Oh, yeah, and Nelson Demille’s “Spencerville.” Such a good read! Most recently, my teenage son got me hooked on The Wheel of Time series. I read the first book to make him happy and kept reading to book #14, because I simply couldn’t put them down. Yep, I’ve come a long way since my Sweet Valley High years. Nowadays, I’ll pick up just about any really well-written book with a hot streak of romance!

    • Marlie says:

      Jo – so many of those authors are one I love, too. Although I love many of the sub-genres of romance – paranormal, historical, erotic, romantic suspense – sometimes a traditional romance just hits the spot.

      Thank you!

  13. What a great memory. I was in college when I read my first one. Knew it was what I wanted to write from then on. I threw in a lot of Scifi, and it didn’t fit the Scifi world, but it sure was good for the burgeoning Scifi Romance field when I tried that route. Thanks for being part of MFRW’s hop!

  14. Tina Gayle says:

    Enjoying the blog hop so much fun to see different author sites.

  15. Jenna Storm says:

    Great post Marlie. I love to escape the realities of life by losing myself in a great story. It’s also the reason I write too.

    • Marlie says:

      Jenna – escape – that is so true! I’m reading a novel now that I just can hardly put down. When I go back to it, it pulls me in and all the other stuff in my life disappears for a while.

      Thank you!

  16. Theresa N says:

    I read everything, I guess I’m afraid I’ll miss something if I just stick to the same books.
    Theresa N

  17. wanda says:

    I love Susans books too. I am a book addict I v never met a book I didnt like been that way since I first learned to read..

    flanagan @

    • Marlie says:

      Wanda – Book addict – me, too. Since I started going to the library on my bike at about 7 years of age. What would life be without books?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  18. Angela Adams says:

    Where would the literary world be without a good romance? Great post, Marlie!

  19. Stacey says:

    Ohh my…i don’t remember my first, but I was about 11 or 12 and my mom and grandma were avid readers so I just picked one up and was instantly hooked…Cost me all of my allowance every week but, I never looked back!


  20. Veronica says:

    I’m with you. I try to read the “serious”, award-winning book and they are great but I almost always follow it up with something happier (so typically a romance). Something with a happy ending that can give me hope for real life happily ever afters 🙂

  21. My first was MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR, by Herman Wouk. Never looked back after that one!

  22. bn100 says:

    Nice post.


  23. Shadow says:

    Hi! Great post! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for the awesome hop and giveaway!

  24. Sandy Bruney says:

    I nearly decked a guy the other day for trashing romance novels. Told him he ought to read one before making any comments! Most are well written with characters you cheer for, and most of all, have a happy ending–something we need in today’s world. Write on!
    (with apologies for being late to the blog hop)

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