Pleasure Me With Carolyn Jewel

>Carolyn Jewel is a lady with a very sharp wit. I enjoy chatting with her on Twitter, and as a fellow Penguin author, I’m delighted to have visiting today! Please welcome Carolyn for today’s Pleasure Me With Romance guest post.

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Historical Romance, How Do I Love Thee?

I read my first romance when I was in high school. I think I was 17 or so. It was a historical romance, and I’m pretty sure it was Rosemary Rogers’s Sweet Savage Love. All the girls in my ballet class (just about all my friends were from ballet class, not high school) were whispering about this book and how certain “things” happened and oh my, if anyone was caught with this book we would all be in trouble from our heads to the very tips of our pointe shoes.  Naturally the book was passed around like contraband.

Little did I know that some ten years after I read my first historical romance, I would write and publish my own historical romance, because, of course, eventually that wicked book was placed into my hands. Knowing me, I probably returned it the next day, thoroughly devoured as I devoured all books.  A seed was planted that day. 

That book was a sea change for me.  I had never, in all my life to that point, read a book in which a female character mattered in a way that so completely resonated with me.  I remember wishing the hero wasn’t quite so mean to the heroine, but no matter what he did, she prevailed. She triumphed, even. Even when he was acting like a total jerk, she never gave up herself. 

For a very long time prior to this I was a particular fan of Fantasy novels. It was some years later that I found Barbara Hambly and her wonderful novels. Before her, I’d never come across fantasy novels in which the women mattered for themselves. They only mattered insofar as they related to the men who were, by and large, doing all the exciting stuff. I should mention through most of my primary education I read at least ten books a week, probably more.

I grew up in a time when girls were not allowed to play Little League. Not allowed. And it’s not like there was a girl’s Little League. Title IX had not yet come into being (the statue that required equity in men’s and women’s collegiate sports).  Girls who were good at baseball were SOL.  Once in PE, boys and girls were running the mile and I was flying along (ballet is good for


The earl of Banallt is no stranger to scandal. But when he meets Sophie Evans, the young wife of a fellow libertine, even he is shocked by his reaction. This unconventional and intelligent woman proves to be far more than an amusing distraction– she threatens to drive him to distraction. Unlike the women who usually fall at Banallt’s feet, and into his bed, Sophie refuses to be seduced. And soon Banallt desires her more than ever– and for more than an illicit affair.
Years later, the widowed Sophie is free, and Banallt is determined to win the woman he still loves. Unfortunately, she doesn’t believe his declaration of love and chivalrous offer of marriage– her heart has already been broken by her scoundrel of a husband. And yet, Sophie is tempted to indulge in the torrid affair she’s always fantasized about. Caught between her logical mind and her long-denied desire, Sophie must thwart Banallt’s seduction– or risk being consumed by the one man she should avoid at all costs…

endurance AND those fast-twitch fibers) and as I came past some of the male teachers, I heard one of them say, in complete surprise, “That’s a girl!

Think of a life full of little incidents like that, things that subtly and not so subtly reinforce the belief that being a girl was to be less. It’s not that someone was astonished I was fast; someone was astonished that a girl was faster than a lot of the boys and that was shocking.  No one asked me to go out for track. Although I never felt less, it never occurred to me that I could go out for track. Not that I would have. Ballet was my life.

So there I was with Sweet Savage Love, and for all that the novel has roots in false notions about women’s sexual agency (we weren’t supposed to have it — so the heroine had to be forced because otherwise she was a whore) that novel centered on a woman who survived, persevered, loved, had sex and enjoyed it, and in the end, won love on her terms.

I read a lot more historical romance after that. Lots and lots. Some of it was great, some was not so great, but through it all not one of those heroines ever disappeared from the story while the men were doing all the exciting stuff. Her life was front and center and it mattered. And that is why I love historical romance.

Do you remember the first romance you read? If you do, what do you remember about it? If you don’t, do you have any recollections about when and why you started reading romance?

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About the Author
Carolyn Jewel is an award winning author who’s been writing stories ever since she could scribble. Now that she’s grown up (mostly) she writes historical and paranormal romance because she loves history and imagining the lives of people who lived in years past, and because she’s fascinated by the loves and travails of the not-exactly-human in any time period.
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About Monica Burns

A bestselling author of erotic romance, Monica Burns penned her first short romance story at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.

37 thoughts on “Pleasure Me With Carolyn Jewel

  1. >I read a number of YA romance before I found Barbara Cartland and read quite a few of her stories before moving on to Halequin and other romances.

    linze_e at hotmail dot com

  2. >I don't remember the first romance I read, but I do remember it was a part of the Silhouette line. Our local library had stacks upon stacks of them, and I'd always skirt around them carefully when browsing. Then in middle school I realized that there was no one stopping me from reading them but myself, and in love I fell with the genre.

    julieguan AT gmail DOT com

  3. >Hi Monica and Carolyn,
    I got a lat start. Taking care of my 7 kids left me no time too breathe. lol But my very first was Nora Roberts Three Sister's Trilogy. I just knew I loved it and never looked back. 🙂
    Carol L

  4. >I don't remember the very first romance I read (I think I skimmed it)- it was kind of a Gothic one reminiscent of Rebecca. I do remember the one that I read all the way through that got me into reading romance ever since, however. It was Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas. Then I read a whole slew of Amanda Quick romances, and I haven't looked back (although my tastes in historicals have changed somewhat).

    abbydillon16 AT yahoo DOT com

  5. >Artemis: Wow, Dark Lover as your first romance! Now there's an introduction. I LOVED that book. The bookstore had the first three, I only bought the first one because I didn't know if it was any good [page turning montage] The next day I went back and got the rest.

    Sheree: Starting out with Crusie! What a treat that would be.

    Vonda: Thanks so much for your kind words!

    Everyone: Fun stories!

  6. >I read teen romance stuff when I was young, I think starting with Sweet Valley High's Double Love in third grade. Later I moved on to adult stuff when I could sneak it. I don't remember the first book, but among the first was the Nora Roberts Irish "Born In" trilogy that I got at the Y. I've been devouring romances ever since. I've always loved the happy ending, the guarantee that no matter how much adversity had to be overcome, things would all work out in the end.

    jbrink83 at hotmail dot com

  7. >I'm a late bloomer. I only started reading romance novels four years ago. I was in the mood for something completely out of the box for me. It was DARK LOVER by J.R. Ward. It grabbed me by the short hairs and never let go. I was hooked! And I haven't looked back since.

    The cover on SCANDAL is delicious!

    cindersmaria @ yahoo DOT com
    South Carolina

  8. >Wow! What a vivid memory. I cannot remember the first romance I read. I was just thrilled that my aunt liked to read and let me read her Harlequin books, because nobody in my immediate family liked to read. (Thought I was a changeling!)

    By the way, I've been hooked on your books ever since reading Lord Ruin.

    2much2reid {at} comcast {dot} net / Texas

  9. >I do remember the first romance I ever read. It was "Sweet Savage Eden" by Rosemary Rogers. I was a teenager and I can remember how romantic the story was, how sensual the characters were and I remember thinking, "This is what it's like?" 🙂 I've been hooked ever since!


  10. >Aside from a few old Harlequins in college from previous dorm-mates (I was really bored), my first romance was "Anyone But You" by Jennifer Crusie which I read a couple of years ago while sick in bed (I downloaded it on my laptop from the local library). It was available and had a dog on the cover (I was not very picky when sick). It was a fun read and I liked the characters so I continued (also because I was still sick). Plus, my must-read sci-fi authors kept dying on me!

    I never read any romances when I was young (even though most of the girls of my age in my life – sister, friends, cousins – did), preferring mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy. The only book with sex in it that I read in high school was a Heinlein.


  11. >I was 12 when I read my first romance. I don't remember the name of the book, but it was by Barbara Cartland.

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  12. >I know the first romances I read were Harlequins. My Mom loved the historical ones, so I imagine it was a Barbara Metzger. They were always nice stories and no sex, which is probably why my Mom liked them. 🙂 I quickly branched out to contemporary with sex once I could drive and buy my own. 🙂 But, historicals will always be my favorites, with or without sex, but you know. 🙂

    julieboo18 at gmail dot com

  13. >The first romance I ever read was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. To this day she is still one of my favorites. I was so sad when she died. What I remember most about the story was how she had escaped her evil uncle and ended up with the captain of the American ship and how all the missunderstandings all worked out to be true love and a happy ending. I've been hooked ever since.

    Linda Young
    qladyhawke at gmail dot com
    Idaho, USA

  14. >I think my first romance book was when I read Pride and Prejudice. I have always loved paranormal books that had some romance in them, but I found that I really liked different genres of romance when I was forced to read Pride and Prejudice for school. I love the book and have broadened to other types of romance.

    smccar1 at hotmail dot com


  15. >I really envy all the people who had relatives who gave them boxes of romances. That never happened to me!

    I miss the epic sweep of those earlier historical romances. I wish they'd come back into popularity.

  16. >I have always been reading. When I was in middle school I began reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. My favortie parts of these books besides the paranormal element was the romance that was sometimes in them. So while I was reading those I started looking for other books that focused on the romance more. My first was Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith. It was still in the paranormal world that I loved but it focused more on the love between Elena and Stefan. After that I was hooked. I started reading more romance themed books.

    I can't wait to read these books. As you can see I love reading about romance with paranormal elements. I think it makes things a little more interesting.

  17. >I have always read books as far back as grade school but in high school and shortly after I read nothing but horror stories. In my early 20's my grandmother loaned me some books and they were historical romanes. One of my first romance authors and one of my favorite to read is Johanna Lindsey's stories they were full of action and in several of them you really had to pay attention to what she was saying or you would miss a key point. One book I had to read the first chapter three times to figure out what I missed. The book started out with a village girl being attacked when a person came in and beat the attacker in a sword fight he was then made to marry the girl he was attacking to save his life. The guy told the girl that the ruler of the village has a wise son and she replyed he dosn't have a son that's his daughter. What I missed that would have clued me in is that the author never gave a gender reference to the main characters identity you just assumed it was a boy. Several of her books were like this. Things weren't what they seemed and that's the kind of stories I love to read. Fast paced, action filled and full of twist and turns. I also love a women who has a brain in the stories and uses it.

    I am a US ciizen living in Kansas and my email is bkwolf(dot)whitaker@gmail(dot)com

  18. >What an amazing post. I have just finished writing "My Immortial Assasin",and what a great story.I remember my first historical romance that was not a Christian historical was "The Magic of Moonlight" by Fiona Neal,my daughter got me hooked.I didn't think I would like paranormals,but I do if they are not to out there."The Scandal" looks and sounds interesting.I have it on my to get list.Would love to get "My Wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire",will put them on my list also.

  19. >I started reading romance when I was a teen, because my aunt sent me a box of romance books. I remember flipping through them, not expecting to enjoy myself, but instead found a new addiction 🙂


  20. >Oh, fun stories! For anyone wishing they could remember the title of their first romance, I suggest posting a question to Smart Bitches Trashy Novels and their awesome HABO (Help a Bitch Out) section. The speed and accuracy with which readers ID novels from pretty vague details is amazing.

    And thanks to everyone who mentioned Indiscreet! I'm so glad you enjoyed that book!

  21. >I always enjoyed the gothics which was the closest thing they had to romance. I remember reading Rosemary Rogers and Harold Robins but it wasn't until I read Kathleen Woodiwiss that I was really hooked on romance. And now there are tons of choices and lots of mixed genres to enjoy.


  22. >My older cousin's best friend introduced me to romance when I was in high school. She gave me Julie Garwood's "The Bride" to read and I was hooked after that. "The Bride" remains one of my all time favorites.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  23. >Hi Carolyn,

    Thanks for a very interesting post today. I so remember reading Sweet Savage Love (is that the book where the H/H do it on horseback?…I don't remember for sure) and all the rest of authors of that time period.

    While it wasn't the first romance book I read, (Gone with the Wind has that spot) but a good one none the less is 'Forever, Amber' written in 1944 (I didn't read it until the early 60's) by Kathleen Winsor. It was made into a film but doesn't seem to be available on Netflix. Here's a little from Wikipedia about the book: "Forever Amber tells the story of orphaned Amber St. Clare, who makes her way up through the ranks of 17th century English society by sleeping with and/or marrying successively richer and more important men, while keeping her love for the one man she could never have. The novel includes portrayals of Restoration fashion, politics, and public disasters, including the plague and the Great Fire of London." I highly recommend this book if you can get it. It might still be available in some libraries.

    I read the blurb about 'Scandal' and loved it…then I took a look at my TBR mountain range and found a copy, along with about 4 more of your titles. Note to self: pull Carolyn's work to the TOP of the TBR heap!

    kkhaas at bellsouth dot net
    NC, USA

  24. >Probably the first romance books that I read was VC Andrews when I was a teenager. I then switched to suspence books and only started reading historicals and some paranormal romances about 1/2 years ago. Since then, I have read around 200, and quite a few of those repeatedly.

  25. >Hi,

    I don't remember the actual first, but I believe it was one of the early plain Harlequins where the most exciting thing to happen was a chaste kiss. The hero was probably a doctor.

    I was a voracious reader of Barbara Cartland's fine, fine works by the age of 11. Barbara Cartwheel as my brother used to tease me.

    Then at 13 I discovered the racy world of Kathleen Woodweiss (sp?) and others with the one mandatory hot scene. No more Harlequins or Barbara for me.

  26. >Hello Carolyn & Monica!
    I remember reading my mom's copy of the Thorn Birds ages ago. I must have been 9 years old. I remember sneaking around with it so I must have known I wasn't supposed to read it! LOL. Not long after I read the age-appropriate Sweet Valley High books and some V.C. Andrews books. I doubt my mom would have approved of the V.C. Andrews stories if she had read them first!

    GeishasMom73 on twitter
    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

  27. >Good Morning Carolyn and Monica !!

    The first romances I ever read were those of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I was about nine when I read Pride and Prejudice and I swiftly went through all of her books, the Bronte sisters' books, and Georgette Heyer's books too.

    I was so enthralled with them I started (at the tender age of ten) to write a romance novel of my own. HUNDREDS of pages of drivel later I finished my book and even let a couple of retired librarians read it. They actually liked it, but not a soul has read it since!

    I didn't read any of "those" books (you know, romances with actually sex in them!) until I was a freshman in college. The first one I read was The Wolf and the Dove. After that I was HOOKED !!


  28. >Good Morning Carolyn and Monica! Great post….I really can't remember what my first romance was though I'm sure it was a historical because I went through a Barbara Cartland phase but I do remember when I hit high school and the rage was "The Thorn Birds" and I was completely hooked. I read a lot of romantic suspense at first but my younger sister read historical romances and when I ran of my books to read – I would read hers and I loved them so I started to get my own. Now I read pretty much any genre as long as romance is an element of the story.

    US Resident

  29. >HI Carolyn! I want to say that the first romance I read was Shanna, but my mom says no. Honestly neither one of us can remember. One thing I know for sure is that I started out with one of my mom's books and it was either Kathleen Woodiwiss or Rosemary Rogers. I've been hooked ever since!


    New York

  30. >Good morning Carolyn and Monica,
    I do remember the first romance I read it was Once in Paris by Diana Palmer. It was in a box of books my mom gave to me and I hadn't read a romance yet but the back cover for this one sounded good so I started reading it. You could have knocked me over when I found out there was s-e-x in the book. LOL But I loved the story and the characters and started readint he other books in the box that my mom gave to me and I loved them.
    Nevada, USA

  31. >Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland were my first favorites in my youth. However, although they were sweet, many of the books seemed very repetitive, following the same themes over and over.

    Soon after that, it was probably Kathleen Woodiwiss who made me a life-long devotee of the genre. Ashes in the Wind is on my Keeper List but I have read them all more than once. I became a HUGE fan of Judith McNaught, but she has dropped off the map for a long time now…

    More recently, Ms. Jewels' "Indiscreet" was added to my Keeper List. I have her next one on my Wish List so I will receive it as soon as possible.

  32. >The first romance I ever read was one by Emma Darcy, can't recall the title or what it was about. But I loved it, maybe more so cause it was my mom's and she told me I couldn't read it as I was only 14 or 15 years old.

    So it was under the covers with a flashlight. Saying, "No mom don't know where you kept your novel", when I knew it was under my pilow. (Sorry Mom!) But I've been reading them ever since, I'm definitely addicted to romance. 😀

    lotsofgingers AT hellokitty DOT com

  33. >Hello, Carolyn! "Indiscreet" is on my keeper shelf : ) Congratulations on your latest release. I started out as a young romance reader with all the great gothics, plus Georgette Heyer, Jane Aiken Hodge, and Barbara Cartland. I did read Rosemary Rogers, and I would say that she boldy opened some literary doors for other authors to come. I also began a lifetime love of category romance, which in intself has launched the careers of many of today's successful best-selling authors. However, I owe my real appreciation of historical romance to the late, great Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, who lifted me up as a reader and placed me on a higher reading plane. "Ashes in the Wind" is still my all-time favorite book : )

    I am intrigued by "Scandal", and I look forward to reading Banallt's quest to obtain his heart's desire–Sophie!

    VA–USA Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  34. >Good morning, Carolyn! Love the blog. I picked up and read my first romance (a historical), Midnight Magic by Betina Krahn, right after my 16th birthday. Up to that point, I'd read a lot of mysteries and wanted a change. I was immediately captivated by the characters, time, and setting. It was a bit ironic as I didn't really care too much for history back then. Now, I love it. 🙂

    dadaw1321 AT numail DOT org

  35. >Oh, I totally remember the first romance I ever read…I just wish I could remember the title! It was a couple of months before I turned 12, and I picked up a Harlequin romance (white cover) that my mother had left on the coffee table. It had a Greek tycoon semi-asshat hero who was exacting revenge on a former girlfriend (model? actress? party girl?) who had wronged him in some way. I remember he was blind but can't remember if former girlfriend had something to do with that or not. What was he revenge? Marrying former girlfriend's sister who was the antithesis of former girlfriend. Heroine was kind, generous, loving, innocent, etc etc etc. Oh, and blond. So he marries her (perhaps under false pretences — hey, this was 30 years ago and it's a bit hazy) and basically treats her like dirt for most of the book until at the end, after leaving and having some sort of eye surgery to restore his vision, he returns home to declare his love to her. She's pregnant at this point — of course. The original girlfriend came back at some point to cause Trouble but it went no where…I remember a scene where he takes them shopping for furs and the wife just can't stomach the whole idea of wearing fur.

    It made a BIG impression on me at the time. I think once I started reading I spent the entire afternoon on the couch and finished the book!

    I can't believe I remember all these details 3 decades later. Of course, I can't remember where I put my keys after I walked the dog this morning but such is life!

    BabsVick AT gmail DOT com

  36. >I've read a LOT of romances! But… the ones by Kathleen Woodiwiss over 20 years ago (or is it 30 now?) really got me hooked. I even named my son after one of her characters from The Flame & The Flower. Thank you for being here today. I really enjoyed your post and would love to read your books. Please enter me in your drawing…
    Linda T.
    Florida, USA

  37. >good morning carolyn!
    oh yes I remember my first book! I was 14 my sister already had been reading for a while as she is older! 🙂 but she handed me captive bride by Johanna lindsey and I was hooked on books! i have moved around in my genre alot but I do like variety! I do like that in the newer books women get to make more choices than they did in the books written in the 70's or there abouts, I havent read much from before that so I can't say but it seems we have come a very long way! 🙂

    Kris b Indiana
    krysti33 @ frontier dot com