If you've been following my journey as a writer, you know I've been trying to hone my skills at writing clean romance. In fact, I just finished the manuscript for my first-ever clean, historical, secular, pre/post American Revolution romance. Once it's published, I hope to be #1 in that category! (BTW, that was intended to be humor not hubris.)
This new path is not without it's challenges. For one, I grew up reading the 80s bodice rippers. And, when I say "grew up," I really mean that. I remember reading my first adult romance novel in the 7th grade. I think it was a Barbara Cartland though, so I suspect it wasn't all that risqué. It was more of a "gateway romance" that someone offered me during recess. (Not really. It was actually on the shelf in my junior high's library.)
To retrain my thought processes, I knew I needed to read as many clean romances as I could. Secular or faith-based. It didn't matter to me, so long as the physical relationship stopped at kissing above the neck. I suppose hands are OK in the case of a historical, but that can get weird fast in a contemporary.
But, these romances can be hard to find as they are often mingled in with other categories on most sites. It's easy to think you're reading a clean romance only to be surprised. In the end, I found many of the new authors I've tried through GoodReads groups like Clean Romances.
I've run across some doozies and some duds in my pursuit of clean. Actually, the duds weren't bad writers per se. They just weren't my cup of tea. For example, one had a real fascination with wealth distribution a la a Robin Hood-style hero. Not my thing. Another had a hero and heroine who were equally willing to deceive someone (who was not exactly a villain) if it helped them achieve their goals. Personally, I can't believe I finished that one.
Good ones (or at least ones I enjoyed) include writers like Tamara Leigh (going through her stuff like popcorn), Julie Klassen, Joyce DiPastena, and MaryLu Tyndall. Over the next few weeks, I will try to catch up on my reviews so I can share what I've found*. I should be successful if I can stop reading long enough to get something written!
All the best!
* I usually don't do reviews for anything that I can't at least give 4 stars. You can trust that I like what I say I like.