The lazy days of summer are quickly approaching. With them come hours baking on the beach, lounging in a hammock, hibernating in air-conditioned rooms and engaging in other leisurely activities that lend themselves to a little light reading. Often, the books under beach umbrellas are those of the Romance genre.
Browsing sites devoted to romance novels is a fantasy-filled trip in itself. The sites include photo albums of cover models and romantic heroes, bios and pen names of authors, reviews of new releases, excerpts from romance classics and much more.
The first step to becoming a romance reader is finding a good book. Unlike the mammoth bookstores, many independents are dedicated solely to new and used romance novels. Check out Siren Books. Because many romance novels stay in print only briefly, the Hard to Find Online Bookstore and New and Previously Owned Books can help fans find books they may have missed.
Newsletters and e-zines like SLAKE and Romantic Times Magazine offer a myriad of facts and activities for romance junkies. You'll find lists, excerpts and reviews of upcoming titles; bios of romance authors and links to their home pages; lists of top picks in all categories of the genre (historical, African American, native American, mainstream, etc.) and little known facts about books, authors, and fellow romance readers. Chat rooms and bulletin boards give romance devotees a chance to exchange notes.
For a taste of what's out there, visit the following sites:
Though many companies publish books from the romance genre, Harlequin and Avon Books are two of the best known. Each has a site dedicated to its books, characters, authors and readers. eHarlequin.com entices readers with a single chapter of a new book each week. The "Harlequin's Guide to Falling, Being and Staying in Love" offers relationship tips to individuals embracing real life love stories. The Avon Ladies also alerts readers to new titles and posts reviews of many titles. For those who want to see the faces behind the stories, there is a photo album brimming with Avon authors.
Resources for Writers
Other resources cater to writers of romance literature. These sites, including Romance Writers of America, offer networking resources, research tips, publishing advice and special features. The sites also offer links to related resources on the Web.
So next time you're feeling lonely, let a book be your companion....