No More Romance Novels

Elyse Douglas photoToday’s guest post is by author Elyse Douglas. Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington.

No More Romance Novels! …. That’s what my high school English teacher told me many years ago, when she found me reading Promise at Midnight by Lilian Peake.  Ms. T. was outraged.  She made me put the sizzling sex-drenched book away.  She threatened to snatch it from me.  “Read something that will improve your mind, young lady!” she said, glaring down at me with her tight lips, tight hair and very tight blouse and skirt.  It suddenly occurred to me that, with her sexy body and wide blue eyes, she could have played the heroine, Shona Carroll, in the movie.

I sat listening to Ms. T’s subject and verb orgy, while dreaming of lip-mashing, heart-pumping, polyester pant suit-ripping sex.  While Ms. T. worked on the coupling of subject and predicate, I worked on recalling how Mr. Faraday’s mouth hit Ms. T’s—no, Shona’s—lips “with a force which ground her lips against her teeth.”

When Ms. T asked us to write all this down, I did.  I wrote, “…force which ground her lips against her teeth.”  Hey, wasn’t there a verb in there somewhere?

Over the years, many romance novels’ plots and characters have been hard-wired into my brain—no doubt altering my already confused and carelessly romantic DNA.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been turned into a romance novel Borg (from Star Trek).

Some days I channel Jane Austen; other days I’m a giddy wench in a Nora Robert’s novel.  In Starbucks, I might be reading a paranormal romance novel, while occasionally studying some rather paranormal activities going on next to me, as two sticky lovers sip Frappucinos, make half-hooded-eye romance, and pretend to study an obese law book.

People pass me as I read and they glance down, disapprovingly, at my romance novel cover—a hard-jawed, dark-haired hero on horseback, muscles chunky and glistening; a worshipping heroine in a ripped, lacy wedding dress, clutching the hero’s arm, obviously begging him not to go. What’s the title?  Something like, Take Me Home to Love.

I can read people’s minds as they pass. “Huh!  Romance novel,” they say, with a supercilious sniff.  “She should stop reading that stuff and read something more intellectual, like The Old Man and the Sea.”  I would read it, if the old man wasn’t so old, if he had lots of money, and if he had a fetching girlfriend who fawned on him with simpering adulation.  But I can’t get excited about a poor old man who blathers on about trying to catch a big fish.

Which brings us back to English class and Ms. T.  “Your assignment this week is to read Ernest Hemmingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea,” she said.  “Then write a two-page book report.”

I drooped, shut my eyes and recalled a few lines from Promise at Midnight. “You felt like a woman who’s been wandering in the desert for months, devoid of all male contact – and do I mean contact!”

I sighed and thought, “Well, I guess I’ll have to stop reading my romance novel and go fishing with that old man this weekend.”


Summer book coverTitle: The Other Side of Summer
Author: Elyse Douglas
Genre: Contemporary Romance


Joanna Halloran, a best selling writer and astrologer, lives in a beach house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. After a violent storm, she roams the beach, glances seaward and spots a man clinging to a piece of wreckage, being tossed helplessly. She dives in and pulls him to safety. Robert Zachary Harrison is from a wealthy, political family. As he slowly recovers from a private plane crash, he and Joanna fall in love and spend passionate and secluded weeks together. But because of family duty, Robert departs, not knowing Joanna is pregnant.

Twenty five years later, Senator Robert Harrison is running for President of the United States.  In the midst of a contentious presidential campaign, Joanna’s beautiful daughter, who has a passion to expose secrets, seeks revenge on the father she has never met.  She also begins a passionate relationship with her father’s adopted son.

Joanna and Robert must confront the past and present.  While the world watches, they struggle with old passions and new secrets that could destroy them both.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Purchase The Other Side of Summer on Amazon

View the book trailer here.

About Elyse Douglas

Elyse Douglas photo

Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington.   Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a degree in English Literature.  She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a  speech-language pathologist.  Douglas has been a musician, a graphic designer and an equity trader.

Elyse Douglas, have completed seven novels: The Summer Diary, Christmas for Juliet, Wanting Rita, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town, The Christmas Diary and The Other Side of Summer.

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