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The Pioneers of Paranormal Romance

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I was telling a friend of mine about Christine Feehan the other day. I had picked up Dark Slayer to read after a long absence. I realized that if my friend picked up Feehan today that she would think Feehan was derivative. After all Feehan’s books are marked by the soul mate, a group of good vampires fighting against bad vampires, seeking out a life mate to save the good vampire from turning bad. Sounds familiar, right?

But the fact is that Feehan was writing about vampires that would lose their mind unless they found their mate before JR Ward came on the scene. Dark Prince, the first in the Carpathian series, came out in 1999. Susan Sizemore’s fantastic Laws of the Blood series began in 1999. While not romance, it was an interesting look at a vampire world, a kind of progenitor of what is now considered urban fantasy. Sizemore also published a number of other high fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction books with romance plots in the late 90s, early 2000s.

You can’t obliterate what you’ve already read to appreciate the novelty of what Feehan brought to the romance reading genre. But there are those who walked the path of PNR before PNR was very successful. Maggie Shayne wrote about vampires for the Silhouette Shadows series in 1993 with Twilight Phantasies and is part of her overall vampire series that she still writes today.

In the early period of the genre, there were a lot of magic books. Moonlight and Magic by Rebecca Paisley (pub 1990) featured a hapless wannabe witch. Teresa Medeiros Breath of Magic featured a time traveling witch (pub. 1996). The infamous time traveling romance, Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux was published in 1989. Nora Roberts wrote a trilogy of books for Silhouette Special Edition: Captivated, Entranced, and Charmed in 1992 featuring cousins with magical abilities.

There were also the time travel books: Robin Schone, Awaken My Love (pub 1995); Son of the Morning by Linda Howard (pub 1997); books by Constance O’Day Flannery (dubbed as the Queen of Time Travel Romance, pub dates 1986+).

Jayne Ann Krentz penned Sweet Starfire in 1986 starring Cidra in a other planetary adventure. I’m not sure if this would be categorized as a space opera or not. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s first book, Paradise City, published in 1994 was a definitely a space opera complete with spaceship, cranky pilot, and stubborn female mechanic. By contrast, Linnea Sinclair’s first novel was Finders Keepers, published in 2002 and Susan Grant’s Star King and Star Prince in 2000.

In 1995, Rebecca Flanders published her “Heart of the Wolf” series, a trilogy of books released by Harlequin under its Silhouette Shadows line. (I’ve asked Harlequin to re-release these in digital format). The first Silhouette Shadows book, The Last Cavalier, was written by Heather Graham Pozzessere. According to the Romance Wiki (which was started by Kirk Biglione and Kassia Krozser of Quartet Press), Silhouette Shadows ran from 1993 to 1996.

Suffice it to say that the roots of paranormal romance, science fiction romance, and fantasy romance run deep in the romance genre. There is hardly an established long running author who hasn’t dabbled in the other world at one point or another. I think it’s easy to forget that these sub genres have been around for a very long time. Some of these books are worth going back and re-read.

Are there any books you would categorize as “classics” within the romance sub genres of paranormal, science fiction, or fantasy? Any particular titles or authors that you see as the “founders” of romance speculative fiction?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Edie
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 04:04:11

    Linda Lael Millers vampires? They were around the mid nineties weren’t they?
    ed. Yay for fantastic fiction, 1993-1996, those books rocked my socks. (Actually stopped reading rom after them as I couldn’t find anything like the Millers/Shaynes/Kells books, went to fantasy.. lol)
    Don’t know if I am game to attempt to re-read them now though.

  2. RKCharron
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 04:11:04

    Hi :)
    Thank you for the great blog post.
    It is very informative on the history of the paranormal romance.
    I have all of Christine Feehan and Susanne Sizemore’s paranormal romance books.
    I haven’t read the others you cited though.
    Of course, when I read them I thought they were just great fantasy books, now they have their own sub-genre.
    I do not have the requisite knowledge of the genre to suggest any authors you may have missed. I was thinking L.K. Hamilton, but her Anita Blake books aren’t romance. The Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong?
    All the best,

  3. Juliana Stone
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 04:23:15

    Great post!

    I remember reading the Nora Roberts books, Irish shapeshifters I think? If I remember correctly? I do think they were the first paranormal type romance that I read. But it’s Christine Feehan who totally snagged my interest and got me interested in the paranormal genre. I picked up Dark Prince about five years ago and quickly read all of them. Sizemore’s books are ones I loved as well as Kennyon.

    I bow to all of these women, they opened my eyes to a whole new genre of romance.

  4. Joanne O
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 04:49:21

    Elizabeth Lowell’s ‘Dancer’ series which she wrote under the name of Ann Maxwell. I thought these were early 1990’s but when I checked inside them Fire Dancer was published in 1982 and Dancer’s Luck and Dancer’s Illusion were both from 1983.

    I really loved that series and always wanted, at least, a 4th book which I would have called Dancer’s Choice.

  5. Nalini Singh
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 05:23:17

    I love so many of the books you’ve mentioned!

    Another one I’d suggest is Warrior’s Woman by Johanna Lindsey. It still gets me every time.

  6. Nalini Singh
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 05:29:35

    Oh and Kay Hooper!

  7. Emilia
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 05:31:04

    Good point, that there will be people writing amazing books in a sub-genre because they love to write them, and they are just too good not to publish. Then, when we, the audience, catch on to the coolness of them, others (good and bad) are permitted to explode onto the scene.

    Personally, I re-read Sharon Shinn’s Archangel series as my pick for an early romance/SF cross-over favorite!

  8. MicheleKS
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 05:56:24

    I love ‘A Knight in Shining Armor’ but it was one of my first romances so it holds a special place in my heart. Another early paranormal fave was ‘The Wizard of Seattle’ by Kay Hooper.

    When I first got into romance in the early 90’s I remember time-travel was a real big thing along with vampires. But I also remember a slight crash-and-burn with time-travels and other paranormal in the mid-90’s especially after Silhouette closed the Shadows line. Personally, I thought paranormal would be huge and I was right. And another good thing is that it has had to diversify from time-travel/sci-fi/vampire roots to the whole buffet there is today.

  9. Tara Marie
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 05:57:01

    Great post!

    I think I’ve read everything you mentioned. Some were keepers (Son of the Morning, the Nora Roberts series, Sweet Starfire and Knight in Shining Armor, though KISA still makes me cry–loved the Silhoutte Shadow series and have several somewhere in the house.) And yet the Feehan swore me off vampires for years, all the drama–yikes–though I do have a good friend who bugs me about Feehan on a regular basis–I should probably give her a try again.

    You can’t have a discussion about the pioneers without including Justine Dare’s Lord of the Storm and Sky Pirate. I may have to dig them out for a reread. Inter-galactic romance at its absolute best.

  10. Maili
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 05:59:45

    Fantastic post. Off my head: Cherlyn Jac (vampire and time travel). Nancy Gideon wrote vampire romances during early 1990s. Jasmine Cresswell’s vampire romance was memorable because she spun an interesting (and fresh) take on the hero’s vampirism. I think it was called Prince of the Night.

    Maggie Osborne wrote a fabulous category romance featuring hero as a vampire who works as a DJ. :D Love Bites under her other name, Margaret St. George.

    Anne Stuart has a few interesting category paranormal romances – hero’s ability to be invisible in Cinderman, a selkie in One Dark Night; a psychic heroine in Special Gifts, time travel in One More Valentine (modern-day heroine meets 1920s-era hero who was involved with St. Valentine’s massacre), and many more. All were written before 1993.

    There are loads more old category romances like those, so I think category romance authors (and their editors) were the actual pioneers of these sub-genres.

    I keep bringing this book up: Mallory Rush’s genre-defying category romance, Kiss of the Beast, a Harlequin Temptation. It features elements of shapeshifting aliens, SF, virtual reality design, etc. It’s eccentric in its own right. It’s probably memorable for wrong reasons. :D

  11. Tara Marie
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 06:21:41

    @maili–A great reminder that Anne Stuarts career didn’t start with her ICE series. Her early books were incredible.

  12. joanne
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 06:27:34

    Well don’t I wish I still had some memory cells left?

    I bought any book with a cape on the cover back in the day because they were so scarce. Some that I know were good at the time but may have/probably have become dated.

    Karen Taylor’s vampire series from the early 90’s.
    Obsession, Possession & other vampire romances by Lori Herter early 90’s from Berkley Pub.
    Maggie Shayne’s vamp series from Harlequin Intrigue early 90’s.
    Midnight Temptation & other paras from the early 90’s by Nancy Gideon

  13. katiebabs
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 06:28:12

    Would Jayne Castle be one for speculative romance or would she be more sci fi?
    Amanda Ashley had a great deal of vampire romances in the early 90’s before the explosion of those books. Anne Stuart has a few vampire romances also during this time.

  14. Anne Douglas
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 06:30:24

    Were do people put scifi/fantasy books like Anne MacCaffrey’s Pern series? While maybe not ‘true’ romance (I’d consider them cross overs), they still had a lot of romance (some more heavily than others) and they date back to what 1970 something?

  15. DS
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 06:31:38

    Kiss of the Beast is a book I really wish I could forget having read. I need brain bleach!

    ETA: I usually think of JAK’s sf/romance from the 1980’s as businesspersons in space.

    And a lot of the early stuff was rendered annoying by the fact that authors continually wrote books where men and women had separate cultures where the women were all touchy healy and the guys were all warlike. Then one of each would somehow meet and body parts would fly.

  16. Nadia
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 06:32:32

    How about Dara Joy’s REJAR? It blended paranormal / SFF elements (werecat hero from outer space) with historical. :)

    And ditto what Nalini said about WARRIOR’S WOMEN. I adore that book. :)

  17. Tara Marie
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 06:32:53

    One more oldie from the Silhouette Shadows series (SS #51):

    Marilyn Tracy’s Somthing Beautiful.

    It’s worth tracking down.

  18. RStewie
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 07:09:36

    The first paranormals I read, way back when I was still in my teens, were Elizabeth Lowell’s Untamed, Forbidden, and Enchanted, circa ’93-94. I also loved Deveraux’s Knight in Shining Armor, although I always wished the ending were different.

    Even before those I read a full-length vampire romance (I was babysitting, and found it, so I have no idea what the name was)…that was around ’92…it also had a crappy (to me) ending, in which both parties ended up human and found each other later on. I wanted them to be vampires…I didn’t understand why that was a bad thing.

    @JoanneO–I’m with you on the Firedancer series. I’ve held out hope that they’ll be re-released as a series with a finale book wrapping the series up. I don’t know if EL is not interested in revisiting the series or if the publishers just don’t think anyone would buy, but I think it would be a great idea, especially as an e-book.

  19. Gennita Low
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 07:10:24

    I highly recommend the Justine Dares and the Lowells. I have three copies of each because they are so rare :-) (one set signed, in plastic covers, inside the sekret bank vault!). And one must not forget Dara Joy at her zenith, with Knight of a Thousand Stars.

    Feehan’s Dark Prince remains a bi-annual reread for me. Lindsay McKenna’s Hangar 13 is a classic.

    A Paranormal Romance Fan (TM) MUST have a copy of Kay Hooper’s Wizard of Seattle in her library of Keepers. MUST. Jayne Ann Krentz’s Sweet Starfire. Nancy A. Collin’s Sunglasses After Dark was about a vampire hunter who was also a vampire…and it was pubbed 1990(?)! Madeline Baker, who wrote as Amanda Ashley, was also one of the first vampire authors I read.

    I have more but this is off the top of my head.

  20. Christine McKay
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 07:31:56

    I believe Ann McCaffrey wrote “Restoree” back in 1967 with a strong female character and a romance at its core (woman kidnapped by aliens meets hunky alien dude and saves his ass repeatedly). So many people know her for her Pern and dragon series, but she was on the cutting (bleeding?) edge of sci-fi/fantasy romance back then.

  21. Maili
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 07:33:38


    And a lot of the early stuff was rendered annoying by the fact that authors continually wrote books where men and women had separate cultures where the women were all touchy healy and the guys were all warlike. Then one of each would somehow meet and body parts would fly.

    Yes! That’s one of a few things about futuristic and speculative romances that drove me crazy. It used to make me think, “What, it’s still a man’s world 400 years later? Sod that.” I used to jokingly refer them as ‘retro-medieval futuristic romances’. Actually, I think it’s still happening now with some paranormal romances, especially vampire romances.

  22. Gina
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 07:46:31

    One of my first sci-fi / futuristic book was Moondust and Madness by Janelle Taylor (1986) and it remains one of my favorites today.

  23. Joely
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 07:54:13

    Oh, yeah, Warrior’s Woman was one of my faves back in the day. I’ll second Nadia with Rejar – it was one of the first SFR I ever read, along with Knight of a Trillion Stars. I read Feehan faithfully until around the 5th Dark book. Now her loose POV gives me a headache, but I remember Dark Desire very fondly.

  24. Michelle(mlg)
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 07:59:33

    I always think of Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks(1987) as one of the first Urban Fantasy novels. It is a must read. The imagery is wonderful.

  25. Aoife
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 08:04:39

    I’d been reading SF/Fantasy for years, but the first romance-in-space book I can remember reading was Ann Maxwell’s (Elizabeth Lowell) Change published in 1975, and which had all her usual themes of alpha asshole hero, suffering heroine, and which I loved. I’m not sure how it would hold up to a reread now. The heroine had some kind of psychic abilities which made her an outcast, and which the hero shared. IIRC there were also aliens who took the form of giant feline-type animals with whom only she could communicate. Actually, the more I think about it, a lot of the themes that later authors used/use were first used in Romance by Ann Maxwell.

  26. Aoife
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 08:14:55

    I forgot to add that Andre Norton’s Witch World series which began in the mid-60’s, predates any of the recent paranormals with shapeshifters, witches, etc. While not strictly Romance, they certainly had more romantic elements than had ever existed in the genre previously, and you can see bits and pieces of elements that we take for granted now as belonging to paranormals and romantic fantasy. Year of the Unicorn would be a good place to start, even though it’s actually from the middle of the series, but it stands alone well.

  27. maddie
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 08:54:06

    Jayne Ann Krentz’ s Gift of Gold and Gift of Fire had a paranormal slant with Verity Ames being able to touch items and feel the history of items.

  28. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:07:59

    I remember reading Maggie Shayne’s vamp series when I first came out. There was also a vamp series that I can remember reading by Linda Lael Miller, I believe.

    Even though I didn’t start reading Christine Feehan until a few years ago, I’d definitely call her one of the pioneers.

    JAK, as well, for paranormal.

    One of my fave paranormal series that I don’t see mentioned will often is Nora Roberts’ Donovan books. I love those.

    One of the first urban fantasy books I can remember reading was Mercedes Lackey’s Children of the Night. yummy vamp.

  29. Lane
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:16:56

    There’s also Tanya Huff’s The Fire Stone, written in 1990, which had a strong romantic element. Even better, it is one of the early examples of a fairly well portrayed M/M/F.

  30. Tammy
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:31:08

    100% agree with Gennita’s comment that “A Paranormal Romance Fan (TM) MUST have a copy of Kay Hooper's Wizard of Seattle in her library of Keepers. MUST.” Yes, this is an absolutely nummy, memorable book. I also enjoy Dara Joy’s early works, and Nora’s Donovan Legacy series has long been on my keeper shelf.

    For me, the ultimate pioneer is Anne Rice. Her “Interview With The Vampire” pretty much catalyzed my interest in what came to be marketed as paranormal.

  31. Alisha Rai
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:45:54

    Teresa Medeiros had a time travel about a alleged witch from the 1600’s who shoots forward in time…A Touch of Magic? Something like that. The main couple’s daughter’s story was a sequel. I think it was in the nineties, and they were simply lovely.

  32. Patricia Briggs
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:51:23

    I think The Fire Stone (Huff) was more M/M with a strong woman as a third protagonist. Great book.

    There were a whole series of “paranormal” among the gothics of the 60’s and 70’s. Barbara Michaels (who is Barbara Merz and writes as Elizabeth Peters) did a whole series of them. I read Ammy Come Home around 1970, though I believe it was not a new book then. But there are also Witch and The Crying Child which were early in her carrier. Patriot’s Dream I know came out in 1976 and it was, I think, a sort of time traveler novel. All of these have been republished as mysteries, but they were originally gothic romances.

    Roberta Gellis’s Sing Witch, Sing Death, which holds up nicely to rereading today, was first published in 1975.

    Another author I liked a lot and still pick up her books whenever I see them (1970’s paperbacks, so they are very hard to find) is Florence Stevenson. She was very prolific and had a romance series about a witch (sorry, I don’t have titles for those). My favorite, though was The Curse of the Concullens (1972)about a woman from a large family who can hear ghosts who goes to a remote estate in Ireland to be a governess (this is a gothic!) to a boy who turns out to be a werewolf. There is a vampire and a banshee and other assorted supernaturals, all told with a delicate sense of humor — still fun to read today. She also had one about a cat who was murdered (after inheriting a rich old woman’s estate) who comes back in human shape (with cat personality!). I read it when I was in fifth or sixth grade, picked up another copy in high school, but have since lost them, so I am not sure of the title, though I think it was Bianca.

    Except for the Curse of the Cuncullans (which had everything) the supernaturals of choice for the old gothics were ghosts and witches, but I think that they should be credited as precursors to our modern paranormal romances and urban fantasies.

    Patty Briggs

  33. Lynn Raye Harris
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 10:22:54

    Linda Lael Miller’s vampires were the first I remember reading. And I loved them! Oh, Valerian! Great series, really. But Valerian was my favorite.

  34. Karen W.
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 11:14:20

    When I got into the romance genre in the early ’90s (after many years of reading mostly science fiction), there were quite a few futuristic romances being published. Time travel was also very popular. I discovered all those Constance Day-O’Flannery novels and loved them, and I definitely consider her a pioneer.

    I remember Marilyn Campbell was writing futuristics and books with paranormal elements in the early ’90s too.

    Thanks for bringing up WIZARD OF SEATTLE by Kay Hooper. That’s one of my all-time favorite romances. I made a friend read it (who has very similar taste in books to mine), and she loved it too. I think it’s a classic.

    I’m still a huge fantasy/paranormal romance fan, so thanks for the interesting discussion.

  35. Karen W.
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 11:18:27

    P.S. I remember when Jove started three different “paranormal” lines, I think in the ’90s? They had the “Haunting Hearts” line with ghosts, the “Magical Love” line with any kind of magical beings, and the “Time Passages” line for time travel. I believe there was one book released in each line each month. I couldn’t wait for them and bought all the ones I could get my hands on. I think those lines were innovative for the times too.

  36. Heather
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 11:42:57

    Constance O’Day Flannery’s time-travel books were some of my favorites, especially Timeless Passion (1986). My teenage-self adored the epilogue with the heroine’s relative finding a letter in the mansion’s attic.

    I also remember loving Linda Lael Miller’s time-travel books for Silhouette: Here and Then and There and Now (1992). These were probably some of my first keepers — before I even knew that term existed.

    Other commenters have listed the early space opera books and magic series, which were also favorites, as were the books in the Silhouette Shadows line.

  37. Kay Webb Harrison
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 12:12:11

    Jayne Ann Krentz' s Gift of Gold and Gift of Fire had a paranormal slant with Verity Ames being able to touch items and feel the history of items.

    I loved these books, but it was the hero, Jonas, who was gifted with psychometry; Verity served to “anchor” him and in the second book she was also able to “work” crystal.

    Other Jayne Anne Krentz “early” paranormals are Crystal Flame and Shield’s Lady (the only book under her Amanda Glass pseudonym).

    I second the kudos to Andre Norton’s Witch World books. I found The Jargoon Pard (shapeshifter), The Crystal Griffin, and Griffin in Glory, in addition to The Year of the Unicorn, to be especially romantic.

    Kay Hooper’s The Wizard of Seattle is one of my all-time favorite books: magic and time travel.

  38. Chrissy
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 14:35:08


    Warrior’s Woman (1990)
    Keeper of the Heart (1993)
    Heart of a Warrior (2001)

    That was waaaaaaaaaaaay back and I remember everyone being stunned by it… at least the romance junkies my mum hung around with. I had all of them. Wonder if they are still around somewhere?

  39. maddie
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 14:41:15

    Kay Webb Harrison

    I have not read both of those books in a while, but I do know that I need to take my vitamins because my memory is going going gone!

  40. hapax
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 14:59:14

    I’d like to give a shout-out to Karen Harbaugh, who (I think) pioneered the Regency / paranormal crossbreed.

    But a lot of the old Gothics — going back to REBECCA, fercryinoutloud — had a definite paranormal feel to them.

  41. C2
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 16:32:19

    Nina Bangs has all sorts of paranormal books, too. Aliens, vampires, demons, shifters, time travel…you name it. Her first book was published in 1999.

    And Lynn Kurland published her first book – a ghost story – in the late 90s, I think (Stardust of Yesterday), with lots of time-traveling and ghosts and witches, since then.

  42. Michelle (mlg)
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 17:32:54

    The Firestone is an awesome book. I would also recommend her Summon the Keeper series-great Urban Fantasy.

  43. Mary Winter
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 18:02:40

    Evelyn Vaughn’s Circle series for Silhouette Shadows still ranks as one of the best series of Witch romances out there.

    And The Skypirate by Justine Davis (In fact, I’ve loved ALL of her futuristics and quite a bit of her contemporaries) has to be one of the best Futuristic Romances out there.

  44. Debra Date
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 21:37:51

    The book that got me into reading paranormals was Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.

    I read that book so many times that it literally fell apart. I think I’m on my third copy of that book now.

    Up till that point I was a frustrated romance reader who couldn’t understand why HEA’s with kids 2.5 kids and the manor house just wasn’t working for me.

    Outlander is the book that started it all for me !

  45. Mezza
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 02:26:17

    I am thirding the WitchWorld books by Andre Norton, especially ‘Year of the Unicorn’ as a paranormal romance. I bought it in 1973 and still remember picking it up in the bookshop. The Ann Maxwells are also pioneers I think. I have only got back into romance reading in the 2000’s having read fantasy and SciFi for most of my reading life. So when I moved and re-read a lot of my old books as part of deciding what to keep, it blew me away to re-read the Ann Maxwell’s. Post my romance reading return, I now read them as romances. When I had read them earlier I had enjoyed the lushness of her world building and I think I saw the romance elements as part of the good guys winning, everything and everyone reconciled. The romance was a reward for their successful exercise of agency Now I read them differently as romances with the relationships the drivers for the narratives (Lois McMaster Bujold says that fantasy/SF novels are fantasies about ‘agency’ and romance novels are fantasies about ‘relationships’).

  46. DS
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 06:59:45

    @ Patricia Briggs: Loved Sing Witch, Sing Death. I reread it recently and agree it holds up very well. Gellis also wrote at least two sf books under the name Max Daniels in the 70’s. I remember liking both although the titles are escaping me right now.

    Also agree with Florence Stevenson. She wrote the Kitty Telfair series (vol. 1-6). I haven’t read them in ages so they might not hold up. Also I think they kept the same heroine but picked up a new hero in each book– that sounds so odd now, but some of Virginia Coffman’s gothic novels used to do the same thing– the Moura books. It went too far though, when the publisher evidently had her rewrite The Devil Vicar, one of her early novels that I really liked with a HEA ending (or maybe had someone else do the the rewrite, you couldn’t trust ACE in those days), and published it as The Vicar of Moura— And that reminds me of her Lucifer Cove series which unlike the Moura book did have some real paranormal aspects.

  47. K
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 11:07:13

    Nth for Norton, and for wanting a sequel/conclusion to the Fire Dancer series. They were amazing. It’s been a while since I reread them, and now I want to. Has anyone actually talked to Maxwell/Lowell about it?

    Let’s also put in a word for Marion Zimmer Bradley, who started Darkover in the ’50s and really went to town in the ’60s and onward. Telepathic sex! Twins! Forbidden love!

  48. joykenn
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 14:01:56

    So many memories you bring up. I echo Christine McKay’s recommendation of Anne McCaffrey’s Restoree. She published it in 1967. Half SF/half romance with the plain Jane heroine transformed and transported to a new world whose politics she gets involved in. The hero and supporting characters make this book. Anne McCaffrey was one of the pioneers of “soft” SF with great character development and more romance than usual. If she’s chosen to continue writing romances as she did briefly in the 60’s she would have one of the greats in romance writing too, I’m sure.

    Ah, and Florence Stevenson’s Curse of the Concullens was another in a lot of folks keepers pile from 1976. This is pseudonym and the same author also used Zabrina Faire and several other names. This one turns every Gothic convention on its head at the height of the “heroine running away from dark mansion” story. I’m not sure it will be as great reading it now. It was the UNEXPECTEDNESS of these early pioneers that made so many of us older readers keep them and move them from house to house for 30 years or so. After yet another dumb blonde picks up the candlestick and heads off toward the light in the supposedly deserted part of the castle, you wanted to hit her over the head yourself, instead of letting the villain do it! Loved it in one of Elsie Lee’s early gothics when instead of doing what you expected the heroine showed some sense and some spunk. Hey, all us older folks should start listing out of print classics of romance–our paperback keepers that twisted the usual plots around to something different.

  49. Roxie
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 23:15:53

    Don’t forget Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer trilogy. There was just enough romance there to make me spend my minuscule allowance on them. It’s been about five years since I last re-read them – I’m overdue.

  50. Stormy Mazzariello
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 20:56:43

    Lol must feel weird having your mom date someone your age

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