Monday, June 24, 2013

Why I read romance—Michele Stegman

Why I read romance.

                  I love to read. Always have. My mom told me that even as a baby of less than a year old, if she wanted to keep me busy, she set me on the floor with some magazines and books. I grew up reading science fiction and historical fiction. Then I discovered romance—historical romance--and fell in love with reading all over again.

                  I love to learn history, which was my major in grad school, and it is so much fun to learn it from a really good historical romance author. I spend a lot of time looking things up and reading about them further when I read a good historical romance. And I can usually tell, even without looking things up to check, whether or not the author has done her research or if she is just throwing in an occasional "gown, tunic, chain mail, or castle" to make her book sound like it is set in the past.

                  Yes, I know times were grim a few hundred years ago. And still were by the late 1800's. But historical romances are not about the grimness. They are not about the fact that most people didn't reach adulthood with a full set of teeth or that bear baiting and cock fighting were accepted fun sports and that everyone thought a good drawing and quartering were excuses for a day off work. They are about two people falling in love. They are about sweeping capes and plunging horses or clean, gentlemanly pirates. And best of all, they always have an HEA, a Happily Ever After.

                  OK, so I loved fairy tales as a child. Er...still do. And maybe, as some have said, romances are fairy tales for adults—because they have that HEA. But fairy tales had messages and so do romances. They often teach us what a real man is like and how a woman should expect to be treated. There are stories about triumph over tragedy and treating the earth well. It isn't just history we can expect to learn from a romance.

                  But in the pages of a romance, the learning is easy—and fun. And at the end, you are uplifted. You close the cover with a smile.

                  If you read my latest book, Conquest of the Heart, I hope you will be uplifted—and learn just a bit of history.


Her people conquered his country. How can they overcome the distrust they feel to find love? 

Madeline wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she has fallen in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?
Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king , is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in?


She did not cry out or pull away. She opened her mouth farther, inviting a deeper taste of her sweetness, an invitation that this time, he did not ignore. She swayed against him, and the combined heat of their bodies seemed to melt them together, fusing them into one. 

Somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind he marveled at how well their two bodies fit together, curve to cavern, hill to hollow, swell to depression. He started when her hand touched the bare flesh of his back, and again when her other one was also laid upon him, was utterly lost to dignity when they moved over his skin.

His own hands began to explore, almost, it seemed, of their own volition, but he drank in their findings, savoring the slope of her shoulder, the long curve of her back, a cresting buttock. His hands found it all, gliding over her, sending searing sensations to him to feed his hunger for her. But it was an insatiable hunger, a hunger that grew with each touch, each caress, each play of tongue on tongue.

One of his hands searched upward from her waist, climbed the mound of her breast, and was rewarded by a hardening nub at the peak. He pressed closer, wanting that union of flesh with flesh that could not be accomplished through layers of silk and linen. He pressed against her and she stumbled back a step. He turned her so that her back was to the oak and ground into her, tongue thrusting, loins pressing in a frenzy to intermesh.

Her hands moved with an equal searching frenzy across his back, kneading, clawing, wanting, urging him on. He grabbed at her skirt, trying to lift it, but the fullness of it defeated him, slithering back into the path of his groping hand, blocking him from his goal of bared thigh and hip and belly. He heard her moan and its plaintive note lent him new resourcefulness.


  1. So true, Michele--the learning of history thru reading a romance and how HEA's are an adult's fairy tale. That's the reason I enjoy romance, too; the HEA. Of course, getting to the finale is always fun when the characters are delicious and the plot sizzles.

  2. Thanks, Julie! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. You write a great blog, Michele. You and I see eye-to-eye about historical fiction -- one can never have too much good fiction in their life.

    Now, if I could find a woman with a fine mind (and mebbe a "cresting buttock" [g]).

  4. I always learn a bit of history from your books, Michele - I have this one, and am looking forward to reading it!



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