Tuesday, February 19

Contemporary Blues anyone?

Those who have known me for a while know that I prefer contemporary romance over historical. Personally, I think that the author has more freedom when writing contemporary romance and also, the stories can be more original. Granted, at this point in time, it's hard to come up with any sort of new ideas, either it's contemporary or historical, but still... I find most historicals predictable and all the traditions and etiquette, stiffling. However, I do read historicals... mainly, because I've run out of contemporaries, but also because I do enjoy some of them. LOL

Anyway, I was bored on last Friday and decided to go the UBS. See, it's been a while since I last went to the UBS and there's nothing at the bookstores that I want/need to buy. Mostly because I've pre-ordered most of the books I'm looking forward to and already own whatever looks interesting to me. Blame it on boredom. Okay, so I was at the UBS and suddenly, I didn't feel like buying anything. Everything looked meh or blah. Then I asked the UBS lady what was the last GOOD contemporary romance she read. She came up with nada. Well actually, she came up with some suggestions, but most either contained some paranormal elements or I have read them already or I didn't enjoy the author.

Go to a bookstore and cruise through the aisles. There's tons of historicals, a lot of paranormal romances, a fair number of romantic suspenses... but straight contemporary? Where do I have to go to get those?

On top of my head, here are the straight contemporary romances authors I can name that are still writing straight contemporary:

Jennifer Crusie
Rachel Gibson
Susan Donovan
Erin McCarthy
Catherine Andersen
Susan Anderson
Carly Phillips

Okay, so the list goes on and is longer than I thought it would be. However, these authors all come out with one book a year... perhaps two. That makes the wait very long and once you've read them, what can we look forward to?

So why are authors writing less and less contemporaries? Because paranormal romance is hot right now? Because the market for it is down? Because the authors are not interested in writing it? Also, why is historical still going strong?

What do you think? and do you have the contemporary blues like me? By the way, if you can think of new authors or suggestions, feel free :) I would love to get some :)


ames said...

I'm on a contemporary kick right now! The complete opposite. LOL I've read only a handful of historicals this year so far, and usually that's the majority of what I read.

Have you read Vicki Lewis Thompson? She writes about nerds. The few I read I found ok.

Zeek said...

I read contemps, but usually only from authors I know- I don't seek out new ones. (Many you have listed, including SEP and Susan Anderson.)

I used to read alot more of them, but usually those were romantic suspense now that I think about it.

I guess I prefer paranormals and even historicals because of "getting lost" factor. And too I can forgive the characters of their idiosyncrasies easier because I can chalk it up to the times and settings. In modern settings without the paranormal aspect, I have to much of a "get real!" attitude when they do something that bugs me.

No help here!

(Chick lit are the ones I generally avoid.)

Zeek said...

... getting lost as in being absorbed in the story, I meant!

Li said...

I'm not a big fan of contemporary romance myself, mainly because hmmm... it's rare that the "hook" in a contemp keeps me engrossed, so the relationship/romance has to be *perfect* because there's nothing else to distract. Does that make sense?

Having said that, I liked some of Rachel Gibson's books that I read last year, same with SEP.

Oh, Lisa Kleypas's new contemp "Blue Eyed Devil" is coming out in March. That is the only contemporary I have listed on my want list for 2008 :-) And even then, I admit that I'm not 100% if I'm going to get the hardback.

Anne said...

Well, I had a nice post done up and then I got some damn error and lost it all, so all I can be arsed to post now is the authors LOL

First, reading Gena Showalter's Catch A Mate... enjoying it very much.

Authors: Lori Foster, Janet Evanovich (wrong category?), Brenda Jackson, Susan Mallery, Nora Roberts, HelenKay Dimon... and that's all I can think of without venturing into romantic suspense. :-)

Sarah said...

I don't often read contemporary books. I started out in historical, but I find that when i really want to relate to something, I'll snatch up a contemporary. I haven't found a lot of them I like, but I did love "I'm in no mood for love" and "Tangled up in You" by Rachel Gibson.

I'm trying to read more of them, but I've been in a reading funk overall lately and I hate it.

Rosie said...

You have a good list of authors there. Suzanne Brockmann's are contemp but, of course, with a military twist. What about Iris Johansen and her Eve Duncan series? They are contemps. Also I think trying the category romances is good and I know you've been doing that. Every once in a while you find a real treasure in there.

KateS said...

I have to say that editors apparently aren't actively looking for contemporary right now, a sadness to me as the book I'm working on right now IS a straight contemporary, though erotic. I only have hope that by the time I finish the book, it's going to be what the agents and editors are looking for!

nath said...

Hmmm, it seems that most romance readers enjoy historicals more than contemporaries, so I guess that's what is reflected with books on the market. Interesting... LOL :)

thanks for everyone who made suggestions :)

Anne - Thanks for the list :) it's all authors that I'm reading except for HelenKay Dimon, although i do have a book by her in my TBR pile. By the way, i didn't enjoy Catch a Mate. didn't like the heroine.

Li - My wishlist is made up of only contemporaries and fantasy/sci-fi books LOL :) and Blue Eyed Devil is not on it...

Rosie - I don't read Suzanne Brockmann or Iris Johansen... the books don't fit me... LOL :)

Kate - good luck :)

QB said...

LOL, I'm the exact opposite of you, Nath. I read very few non-paranormal, straight contemporaries. Mainly because, to quote myself, "Once a story is set in the real world, I expect it to follow real world rules and most contemps just aren't realistic enough for me, but they aren't fantasy enough to serve as escapist fun either."

Basically, the only contemps I read are gay romances because "I've found that the relationship dynamics in contemporary gay romance stories usually end up being closer to the friendship based relationships that are often a part of real life STRAIGHT relationships." (btw, not quoting myself because I'm pompous, just cuz I'm to lazy to reword it all *g*)

I also seem to have a different perception of new authors/new releases than you. To me, it seems like a whole lot of new authors at ePubs DO write contemps first. I'm guessing that is because it's a bit easier (not that ANY writing should be considered easy) to write based on what you know.

Kristie (J) said...

I love a good contemporary. A few others I've enjoyed you can add to your author list:

Jane Graves
Susan Mallery
Julie Ortolon
Lisa Plumley
Patricia Rice
Jill Shalvis
Diane Lani Rich
Kasey Michaels
Linda Francis Lee

Let me know if you want titles too :)

Brie said...

My first step into romance was Dark Lover by JR Ward. After reading her I would only read paranormals. With time I moved on to historicals and now I read both paranormal and historical. I have not given contemporary a try as of yet. Maybe I should, just to see what I might me missing.

nath said...

kristie - seems to me I'm a contemporary lover, but a picky lover :) I've read most of the authors you've listed except for Patricia Rice...isn't she writing kind of paranormal (witches) books?

Brie - LOL, you've never given contemporary a try? How long have you been reading romance, Brie? LOL, I started out with contemporary... however, there's a lot more historicals than contemporaries, so I guess it'll be a while before you run out of reading material :)

Brie said...

I've been reading romance for about two years, so I'm kinda a novice.

As far as straight contemporary goes; I just haven't had the desire to read it. All contemporary's I read have some paranormal elements. Maybe one day the itch to read straight comtemp will hit me and I'll dig into it.

nath said...

Brie - It's true that two years isn't that long, compared to some other readers. I guess I've always been attracted to contemporaries more :) Ah well, you're going to want to once I give you some suggestions :)

CindyS said...

Nath - when we did the Top 100 Romance polling I mentioned how hard it was to find a straight contemporary romance nowadays. No mystery sub-plot, no military, no suspense, no paranormal. I have tried most of the authors mentioned but they don't have it for me. I was thinking that maybe category romances would be the way to go now. But I haven't tried any in years and don't know if they are now following the trends of paranormal and suspense.


nath said...

Cindy - I know, I'm with you. I like straight contemporary, but turns out I'm very picky... but as most said, you can't chalk up heroines' actions to time period... anyway, most of the authors I named also don't make it for me, it's their writing style... the problem with category romance though is that the plot is not varied enough IMO.