My Mini Just Got Totalled


Yesterday’s giveaway question–How old was I when I sold my first book? (Info on today’s giveaway–more autographed books and a PAX mug–is below.)

When my first child was born, I quit my newspaper job to stay home and write. Five months later, I hadn’t written a word. HOW COULD I? DIDN’T YOU HEAR HIM SCREAMING? I was doing dishes one evening, looking out the window over the sink, thinking about my writing dream. We were planning to have two more children, spaced a few years apart. I said to my husband, “When will I ever get to write?” You know, with ALL THE SCREAMING. :hissyfit:

He said, “I guess when the youngest goes to kindergarten and they’re all in school.”

I did some quick math in my head about how many years that would be…and–NO! I started writing the next day, in spite of all that SCREAMING. I sent my first book to Silhouette Romance. I thought it was so lovely. They wrote me back and explained gently that it was actually quite ugly. Repeat same scenario with a second book. And a third one. Then I heard about a new line called Meteor Kismet Romance. They were looking for books. So, I sent them manuscript number three, thinking that had to be my best one. Apparently, they thought it was just as ugly as Silhouette thought it was–but! A wonderful and generous editor, Kate Duffy, took the time to write me a detailed letter explaining WHY it was so ugly and what I could do about it. I sat down at the computer, opened a blank file and wrote that book over from scratch, using not one sentence from the original manuscript, just using the same idea and same characters–and sent it back.

In November 1992, a few months after I sent that book back to Meteor–and thirteen months after I’d stood at the kitchen sink and vowed I was going to write NOW–Kate Duffy bought my book. NEVER SAY GOODBYE was published in May 1993.

After that, I completely rewrote the first book I’d sent to Silhouette Romance and sold it–to Silhouette Romance!–who didn’t think it was so ugly anymore. Then I went on to write for lots of other lines that folded up just like Meteor Kismet Romance did a couple of months after my first book came out. I am the Fiery Kiss of Death. I’ve written for seven lines and all but the line I’m currently writing for have folded up shop. ALL I HAVE TO DO TO KILL A LINE IS SELL TO IT.

And so now, the answer to yesterday’s contest question is: 28! First person to guess 28: Anna! Anna, send me your address! You’ve won a PAX t-shirt! Other people who guessed 28 after Anna and who win an autographed book of their choice: Elizabeth M, Ruby55, R. Marie, Laurie, Cheryl (the one with the hotmail address), Alyssa, Marcy, Julia, and Robyn. Look for my book titles here (scroll down to see the book list) and send me your addresses and your pick! (And if I missed anyone who also guessed 28, please tell me!)

Now for today’s giveaway!

When I was twelve, I read my first romance novel. It was a Harlequin Romance. I already knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, but I didn’t know what I wanted to write. Well, the instant I laid my hands on that first Harlequin Romance, the heavens opened, a choir of angels sang, and a light shined down upon me. I WAS GOING TO WRITE ROMANCE. I loved Harlequin Romances all through my teens. I was going to go to London, drive a Mini, marry a tall, dark, dangerous man with no POV of his own (remember how in those old Harlequin Romances we never got into the hero’s head?). This week it was announced that Harlequin Romance, along with Silhouette Romance, will cease publication after next year. I feel like my Mini just got totalled. I’m particularly sad about Harlequin Romance dying–the line that made me fall in love with romance and inspired my life’s dream. It’s truly the great-grandma of romance. :love:

So in homage to Harlequin Romance and Silhouette Romance, today I’ll give away your pick of my three Silhouette Romances. All you have to do is raise your hand, tell me which one you want! (Click here and scroll down to see the Silhouette Romance titles.) I’ll give away 20 (if that many people want one). If you don’t want one, please still stay and tell me about the first romance novels you fell in love with, and why. I’ll have my daughter draw one name randomly from today’s comments to win a PAX mug! (You don’t have to ask for a book to be in the running for the PAX mug.)

Today is the last day of the “Celebrating My New Design” contests, but please stick around and talk to me! I love your company and your comments! I’ll be running another week of silly games and giveaways in June leading up to the release of my first PAX book. And finally, I want to say a BIG thank you to everyone who participated this week–you made this so much fun! Thank you!!!:bananadance:


  1. Cheryl S. says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    Your contests are always so much fun! I’d love to win THE BILLIONAIRE AND

  2. Suzanne says:

    You got it!:yes:

    Oh–and to clarify–post here so you can also be in the running for the PAX mug, but if you want a book, also click the Contact button on the menu bar to send me your address!

  3. BJ Deese says:

    I already entered for a book, but I still wanted to say the first books I fell in love with were historicals.

    I lived with my older (by 13 years) sister when I was in high school. I saw her reading them all the time. So, I snuck one from the bottom of her stash and becamed addicted.

    Hi, my name is BJ… :bananadance:

  4. Margery says:

    The first romances I read were by Janet Dailey. I remember distinctly thinking, “I want to write those.” Since I already have ALL your books, I won’t ask for another. But I’d love a PAX mug ❗

  5. Jorie says:

    I fell in love with Shanna. I can’t remember the details, though I think the hero’s name began with R and he was dark. Mostly I remember I was twelve and I’d never felt that way about a book before.

    Oddly enough I didn’t then go out and read a bunch of Woodiwiss. In fact, until recently I didn’t know who had written the book. I did read a bunch of category — probably Harlequin Romances — that belonged to an elderly relative. But it wasn’t the same. They tended to have young virginal heroines and men old enough to be their fathers and only at the end did the heroine realize that they didn’t love the teenaged boy next door but the dour man who knew the ways of the world. Only problem was that, as a teen myself, the boy next store seemed a heck of a lot more attractive.

    But, Shanna was hugely romantic for me. Some day I may reread it, but I hesitate because somehow I don’t think it will be quite the same!

  6. Melissa says:

    Mornin’ Suz! I’d love a copy of THE BRIDE, THE TRUCKER AND THE GREAT ESCAPE? Thanks! :hyper:

  7. Mary says:

    You have the best contests and you are so generous!!

  8. Suzanne says:

    I never read Janet Dailey, but I read Shanna and a bunch of other historicals. I loved Rosemary Rogers and Patricia Matthews and Kathleen Woodiwiss! Sweet, Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers made a major impression!

  9. Alyssa says:

    Hey, Suzanne,

    I’d love to get a copy of THE BRIDE, THE TRUCKER AND THE GREAT ESCAPE.

    The Silhouette/Harlequin Romance news made me a bit sad. I don’t read these lines much anymore (many of my favorite authors have moved to other lines), but I have fond memories of some great books.

    Thanks for the contests. You’re incredibly generous, and they’ve been a lot of fun.


  10. Beth C says:

    I adore that story of how you first broke in. Confirms the power of passion and perseverance. :bananadance:

  11. AngieW says:

    The Beast Within pretty please.

    And I have always wanted a Mini. Always.

  12. AngieW says:

    Ooops sorry about that! The Billionare and the Bassinet.

  13. Mary Stella says:

    I’ve loved reading romances for decades, back when the Harlequins all were set in England or Australia with 18-19 year old heroines and older, wealthier, more-sophisticated men. The book that really hooked me and made me want to write romances was Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain. Oh, how I wish she was still writing!

  14. Laurie says:

    Dear Suzanne,
    I’d love to receive your Sil Rom book “The Bride, The Trucker and the Great Escape”. I loved “The Billionaire and the Bassinet”.

  15. Nicole says:

    Oh, I’d love The Bride, The Trucker, and the Great Escape just to know how it got such a cute title! My first romances were Julie Garwood, really. Though I blogged about my romance reading experience earlier this month when someone asked me how on earth I couldn’t have read some of the romance “greats”.

  16. Kelly says:

    Thank you, Suzanne, for blogging up such a fun week!:thumbsup:

    The first book that made me fall in love with Romance was BORN IN ICE from Nora Roberts “Born” trilogy. :yes:

  17. Amy K. says:

    Since I just won a book from you, I’ll let someone else get a cool Suzanne book. πŸ™‚

    I can’t even remember the first romances I read. I read a lot of Danielle Steel (can’t read her anymore!) although I guess those aren’t technically romance. I read a lot of category at one time too, but I never understood the distinction between the lines. To me they were all good. :thumbsup:

  18. Robyn says:

    I loved the Texas trilogy by Sandra Brown and that got me going. There are many others too numerous to mention.

    Thanks for the win from yesterday, Suzanne.
    A mug would be nice.:hyper:

  19. Jill says:

    Shanna changed my fourteen year old life …

  20. Laurie says:

    Oops…I forgot to include all the Har and Sil Rom…Penny Jordon, Catherine George, Lynsay Stevens, Mararet Way,Janet Dailey, Nora Roberts,Sandra Brown(Rachel Ryan),Barbara Delinsky,Joan Honl, Joan Johnston and Diana Palmer jusy to name a few. HAHA! Seriously, I’m going to really miss the old lines!

  21. Tori says:

    The first romances I read? Must have been my mom’s Harlequin Romances. Then Harelquin Presents.

  22. R. Marie says:

    Wow, thank you for the win. That was
    so much fun guessing. I think you are
    very generous. Thanks once again.
    Congrats to the other winners.:thumbsup:

  23. R. Marie says:

    A mug would be great to win. Janet Daley
    was a good author for me.

  24. Melissa Marsh says:

    I remember the exact moment I wanted to write. I was reading a copy of Rosalind Laker’s “The Smuggler’s Bride.” She remains one of my favorite authors. But I was in the sixth grade, already an avid romance reader, and it was a lazy afternoon after school. I lay on my bed, looking out the window, and thinking, “I could do this!” Thus my first novel, “Depths of Love” was born. And it was and is horrific. But I still have it, tucked away in my huge rubbermaid tub of unfinished manuscripts.

  25. Carol says:

    I would love to have THE BEAST WITHIN. Thank You!
    I first read Gone With the Wind and loved it. After that Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers.

  26. Carol says:

    I may have picked from the wrong books. In that case I would like to have THE BRIDE, THE TRUCKER AND THE GREAT ESCAPE.
    Thank You again!

  27. Tammy C says:

    I’d love to read HER MAN TO REMEMBER!!! The first book I ever read was Flowers in the Attic and it started all the reading insanity! :wall:

  28. Danni says:

    Are you still waiting for 20 people? If I’m not too late I’d love The Beast within!

    I feel like I’ve a beast within today, as I made my daughter’s preschool director cry b/c she “forgot” to tell me about a field trip today and my precious monster missed it. Now she’s at the untender mercy of the otehr brats who (when I left) were still taunting “you missed the SPECIAL kid trip!” :thumbsdown:

  29. Danni says:

    I’m such a dork. The Beast Within is your NEWEST book, not a silrom. Sorry. My, mind has been fried with all the previously mentioned fury. :fryingpan:

    I would really like to have “Make Room for Mommy.” Thanks!

  30. Marcy says:

    You are so generous, Suzanne! :heart:

    :wave: *raises hand* I’d like THE BILLIONAIRE AND THE BASSINET.

    I remember reading ‘The Flame and the Flower’ and ‘The Elusive Flame’, by Woodiwiss, when I was a preteen and loving them! Made me feel so grown up to read a trade size book. LOL


  31. Cheryl S. says:

    I’m not sure when I started reading harlequin romances. I do remember reading Trixie Belden and being jealous of the protectiveness Jim felt for Trixie. And, of course, my Nancy Drew books where Nancy thought Ned was just “so” handsome. That’s probably when the search for that “perfect” man began. :rolleyes: That gets me in the running for the PAX mug, right? πŸ˜†

  32. Anna Lucia says:

    THANK YOU SUZANNE!!! :bananadance:

    Wheeeeeeeee!!! :hyper:

  33. Teresa Balderas says:

    Dang, I guess I’m too late. I’d have loved to have won THE BILLIONAIRE AND
    THE BASSINET. I don’t remember the first Harlequin romance that I read…I guess because I read one after another and couldn’t get enough of them. I love both Harlequin and Silhouette. I’m really saddened by the news. Thanks!

  34. kacey says:

    Suzanne, your blog has been so much fun this week! Can’t wait until you do it again in June! :bananadance:

    (and hey, I think Trixie Beldon counts as a romance… :mrgreen: )

  35. Suzanne says:

    Okay, I count 11 requests so far! So 9 more of my Silhouette Romances are still up for grabs! Let me know if you’re out there and you want one!


  36. ruby55 says:

    Hi, Suzanne,

    My first favorite HR book was called “Hospital Blue” No.477 (1957) by Anne Vinton, who also wrote under her real name Jan Haye and as Juliet Shore (didn’t discover those 2 facts until much later). I particularly liked that one because the heroine fell in love with a new young doctor who is really the son of the matron whom the heroine admires very much. However, the heroine becomes quite ill and almost dies, but of course the hero helps cure her. After many months of recovery, the heroine and hero marry. I’m not sure if this was the first one I read, but I certainly kept it; it’s pretty tattered now.

    I read that as a young teen and then all sorts of other things interrupted my romance reading. It began again when I discovered “Captive Bride” by Johanna Lindsey in a PX store in Germany which the U.S. army allowed me to patronize when I told them that as a Canadian, I had little access to North American books. Then on to “Shanna” and all the rest. BTW, I have “Shanna” in 3 languages: Eng., French, and German.

    I’d like your first SR book, “Make Room for Mommy”.

    I really enjoyed this celebration of your new site.

  37. ruby55 says:

    BTW, I too regret the passing of the HR and SR lines. As some of you said, many have gone on to bigger books, others like Anne Vinton, I presume have died and there are fewer people writing the “sweet” romances. In a way, that is really too bad. Personally, I’m not into the really spicy books. I want more story than is sometimes available in them. As I mentioned in the “condom” quandary, I don’t mind at all if the couples decide to abstain from sex. To me it shows responsibility, self-control and respect.

    I still read some of the authors. I wonder what they’ll do now.:?:

  38. Kim says:

    Thanks Suzanne! You are so generous. I would love a copy of The Bride, The Trucker and the Great Escape.

    I’m sorry to hear about that line going away, too. I enjoy those books.

  39. Suzanne says:

    Does anyone remember Anne Mather and Violet Winspear? ::sigh:: My thudding teenage heart loved their books….

  40. Suzanne says:

    This is probably Too Big of a subject to bring up in a comment, LOL, but re abstaining from sex, the fact is that writers are expected in most of the lines to write love scenes. In order to move on from the shorter books like Silhouette Romance and write more meaty, complicated stories, from an editorial standpoint you’re also expected to provide the open-door love scenes. Do I always want to (if I had my druthers)? No. But I want to write those meatier, more complicated stories that they won’t allow in the “sweet” lines, so it’s a conundrum for the author. Since other lines expect (and even require) open-door love scenes, what I strive to do is make them meaningful and important in context of characterization and plot so they aren’t *just there*. I realize that readers don’t want love scenes that are skimmable, so I try to make them matter and make the plot so that the story wouldn’t work without them (I think that’s the key to a great love scene). So part of the process when moving on to write longer, more complicated books ends up being learning to plot love scenes that matter. It’s a tough job! Someone’s got to do it! :guitar:

    Though I wonder often how readers feel about those love scenes and if they would read the longer books without them. I tend to think they would, but apparently the editors don’t.

  41. Stacey115 says:

    I won this week already,(Suzanne Rules) but if you still have an extra book of ‘The Bride, The Trucker and the Great Escape’ I would love a copy.

    Great week! I realy enjoyed the new site and games.

    My first romance – there were too many to name. I do know I went through boxes of Har & Sil. I still have most of them. πŸ˜‰ I think the lines will be missed. πŸ˜₯


  42. Steph T. says:

    I love your story about starting the book from scratch again – I’ve always wondered if that’s the way to go with one of my first books, where I love the premise but the writing needs a total overhaul…and obviously, judging by your story, it’s a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration to open the scary blank Word file and not just try and rewrite what’s already on the page, especially since I’ve already tried that and it’s not working for this particular ms.:bananadance:

  43. Crystal* says:

    I grew up on Janet Dailey, Jude Devereaux, and several Harlequin books. My grandmother had them in her rumpus room. TONS of them. Bookshelf after bookshelf.
    One of the first ones I remember seemed to be loosely based on “An Affair to Remember.” There were so many similarities. Maybe “An Affair to Remember” was based on it. Dunno.
    The old books had NO sex. Zip. Nada. And when I discovered those…consider me educated. :rotfl:
    Love ’em. Just love ’em.

  44. Carol says:


    I would read the longer books without the open-door love scenes. To me, the most important thing is the story. :yes:

  45. Teresa H says:

    If I’m Not too late I’d love a copy of THE BRIDE, THE TRUCKER AND THE GREAT ESCAPE?

    I started out with romance by reading Gone With the Wind, then started on the books by Victoria Holt/Phillipa Carr and Phyllis A. Whitney, then I found Kathleen Woodiwiss and I was HOOKED, and the rest is reading history. Gosh, that seems like so long ago…

  46. Suzanne says:

    Teresa–not too late! Be sure to send me your address!

  47. Teresa H says:

    Thanks Suzanne! You are sooooooooooo generous!:thumbsup:

  48. Lis says:

    Probably too late (lost count above) but I’d love a copy of THE BRIDE, THE TRUCKER AND THE GREAT ESCAPE.
    That’s such a great title! πŸ™‚