There are plenty of articles on the Internet from psychology resources that state romance novels are bad for women. Some say these books give women unrealistic expectations when it comes to romance and can damage real-life relationships. Perhaps the psychologists think it’s mental porn for women, somewhat like the damage visual porn inflicts on the male species. There’s also another camp that says romance movies are bad for you as well. (Let’s all stick our heads in the sand so no fantasy touches our lives.) Here are a few for your reading enjoyment:

You Won’t Believe How Romance Novels Affect the Psychology of Women (“Leading psychologists are of the opinion that romantic novels can have a huge impact on the psychology of women; sometimes, making it unhealthy for relationships.”)

The Allure of Romance – Why do romance novels sell so well? (Psychology Today says, “And that reason could be that romance novels give women something they need, and do it in a way that the world around us cannot.”)

Are Romance Movies Bad for You? (“Researchers are beginning to ask whether the make-believe world projected in “rom-coms” might actually be preventing true love in real life.”)

In today’s world, there are many other avenues of fantasy that readers take besides romance novels. Readers whisk themselves away in sci-fi planetary adventures or magical make-believe realms with dragons. Are these psychologically damaging as well because it’s not reality? I dare say in this day and age, humans need to escape reality occasionally either in books or film. As we deal with climate change, pandemics, wars, racial strife, and the other ailments of the world, it makes sense to take our minds elsewhere. If we don’t take a step outside reality for a few minutes, we’d all end up in more psychologist’s chairs doing therapy.

Many women read historical romance – both married and unmarried. In fantasy they read their duke-centric historical romance, daydreaming about calling the hero “Your Grace” and being swept off their feet in the Regency era. When the bookmark is placed or the eReader turned off, they lift their eyes to see their husband in a tee-shirt and blue jeans and sigh. The question is does it affect their marriage or does the affection they hold in the world of reality remain? I’m laughing as I write this because, in all honesty, I think most women accept the reality of life but enjoy the soothing thoughts of something a bit different between the words of a romance novel.

On the other hand, there are plenty of unmarried women in no relationship whatsoever. Do historical romance books raise their expectations too high when looking for a man, or does it actually fill a need in their lives to fantasize about what it would be like to be loved. I dare say it fills a void.

In the end, anything we do can lead to unhealthy addictions, but psychologists declaring with certainty that romance novels or romance films are bad for our mental health is a bit of an overstatement. Mentally healthy women can grip reality and “not allow their real life’s happiness to hang in the balance over a fictional character.” ( I found this beautiful quote from someone in Facebook’s Sanditon group, attempting to bring calm to the masses who have lost their senses over Theo James not returning.)

Romantic stories have been around for centuries. Did anyone complain to Shakespeare that his story of Romeo and Juliet was contributing to the high number of suicides by star-crossed lovers? Were Jane Austen’s novels deemed unhealthy for women for the past two hundred years?

Chime in. Why do you read historical romance or enjoy period dramas in film or television? Escape? Relaxation? Daydreaming? Pure enjoyment? What deep psychological need does it fulfill in your life? As Jane Austen once said, “The person, be it a gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Those of you who like the ability to read digital material rather than smelling the scent of the printed page, source your eBooks from a variety of sources. Authors and publishers make those eBooks available to readers on multiple platforms.

This week I have stumbled upon articles about libraries and how the demand for eBooks soared during the pandemic. The increase in demand has created challenges with libraries to continue to obtain the digital rights to those novels. READ HERE (Why 2021 Is Setting Up to Be a Pivotal Year for Digital Content in Libraries).

Authors and publishers distribute eBooks on a variety of platforms. As an independent author, my distributor Draft2Digital distributes my content to libraries through services such as Bibliotheca and Baker & Taylor. However, eBooks are also distributed to digital storefronts such as:

  • Amazon
  • Apple Books
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Kobo
  • Scribd
  • Tolino
  • OverDrive
  • BorrowBox
  • Hoopla
  • Vivlio
  • Others

Downloading those books depends on your digital readers like Kindle, Nook, and other generic electronic devices for PC’s, Mac, and phones.

Naturally, most people think that Amazon is the place where authors have their greatest success, which is probably true for some. However, anything you read as part of Kindle Unlimited on Amazon, you won’t find anywhere else such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, or libraries because of the exclusivity provisions placed upon authors. You can find the paper versions at retailers but not the eBook version. That it itself is a huge loss of content to readers who don’t look to Amazon for everything from eBooks to groceries.

I will admit I have two Kindles, but I find reading makes my eyes blurry. I thoroughly enjoy holding a printed book in my hand and smelling something tangible. Of course, the cost of digital readers eventually pays for itself when individuals can read books for free or 99 cents rather than paying $12.99 for a print copy of your next aristocratic love story.

Naturally, I’m slightly curious as to where you source your eBooks. Do you depend on library content or are you sourcing from retailers? If you’re a book sniffer, chime in too. We all have our addictions.

The matter of freedom of speech is under attack on social media platforms to such a ridiculous extent that I am going to use this forum to express my freedom of speech after being silenced on Facebook.

Recently, a guest post was added to my blog by Brita Addams titled, “A Woman’s Place in History.” It’s an excellent article that reviews the evolution of women’s rights and how authors approach that subject while penning historical romance books. It’s informative, well-written, and historically accurate.

To give this post greater visibility, I paid Facebook to boost the post. It was immediately rejected for the reason below.

Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation. Our policy for running ads about social issue, electoral or politics requires you to get authorized first by confirming your identity and creating a disclaimer that lists who is paying for the ads.

Naturally, I thought it was a mistake. The article does contain the word “vote” in it, so I figured a bot just flagged it as controversial in content. I took the next step and asked for a manual review, and it came back again – rejected.

This level of censorship on Facebook has reached an all-time high when a page cannot post anything historical about the past that shines a light upon social issues. If you don’t think that this practice of censorship is dangerous, then you need a wake-up call. It’s downright outrageous, over-reaching, and threatens our freedom of speech at every level. In today’s society, we are being told how to think, speak, act, and write. The books you love to read may soon be banned or burned, if this is the avenue we are taking.

I am so overwhelmingly angry at Facebook that I could scream. If it wasn’t for the fact that my close family and friends are on the platform, I would shut my account down and walk away without a second thought. If this censorship continues, I might do so anyway.

Please take a moment to read the post and let me know what you think about Facebook’s ability to censorship history. A Woman’s Place in History by Brita Addams (Historical Tidbit!). If you wouldn’t mind, I would also appreciate comments on our Facebook Page in support of this post. https://www.facebook.com/historicalromancepromo

There isn’t too many things in life that ruffle my feathers, but this one really got my 21st-century panties in a bunch.

A keen understanding of the evolution of women’s rights allows us to understand our female characters as they lived in their era. A misstep we sometimes take is viewing the past through today’s prism. We are much more enlightened than our ancestors, borne of accumulated experiences and the hard work done by the strong women who fought so we might, for instance, vote and enjoy the rights we have today.

Prior to the 19th century, laws strictly dictated a woman’s behavior, as well as their right to property. Ever gallant, men of the era protected the “delicate sensibilities” of the ladies in polite society by preventing them from the “vulgarities” of traveling in the funeral procession or attending funerals, even those for close family members. Reflecting on such a dictate makes one wonder if the women of the day balked at such a notion, especially as their closest relations passed on.  

In 1848, New York passed the Married Women’s Property Act which bolstered the rights of married women to own property. At last, women had the agency to conduct business on their own behalf, assume ownership of gifts they received, and file lawsuits. The 1860 Act Concerning the Rights and Liabilities of Husband and Wife acknowledged “mothers as joint guardians of their children.” This allowed married women the legal authority over their own sons and daughters. Can you imagine that such a law needed to be enacted?

Over time, other states emulated and improved upon New York’s laws, which proved a boon for women. By 1900, married women gained significant control over their property. The suffragette’s work culminated on August 18, 1920, when the right to vote gave women a voice in their own destinies. Women still needed their husband’s signature in all financial matters, until the 1970s, when they attained the right to have a credit card in their own name.

The patriarchal society of the past began to crumble as women sought their rightful place in all matters. What a shame it would be if we, as authors, forgot about the struggles of our long passed sisters, and portrayed them with 21st century attitudes and actions. As a writer of historical fiction, I feel compelled to depict my characters, male and female, as they existed in history.

Were there feisty, kick-ass women before the twentieth century? Of course. But overall, most women lived within the laws and expectations of their time. They also dealt with ideas of propriety, held dear by those elders still living. One need search no further than Lady Grantham of Downton Abbey to understand how dearly they held Victorian values. Remember, Lady Grantham is completely entrenched in the prior century. This exchange sums up this point:

Lady Mary: “I was only going to say that Sybil is entitled to her opinions.”
Lady Grantham: “No, she isn’t, until she is married. And then her husband will tell her what her opinions are.”

This encapsulates the attitudes so deeply ingrained in our ancestral sisters. Though laws slowly changed, the elders reinforced the subservient stance of women. As they passed on, a more youthful view took hold, but with a painfully slow transformation. I remember a great deal of male dominance in my childhood home in the 1960s. Father ruled the roost, Mother did as my father told her. Believe me, she had no choice, defiance wasn’t an option. Like other men of his time, he denied her authority over her children. I asked permission once to attend play practice at the high school, and she gave permission, as my father wasn’t home. When I got home, he grounded me, because I hadn’t called him, at work, to ask permission. “Asking your mother is equal to asking your brother.”

I remember the days when women lived this way, though certainly not as restricted as in the 19th century, but restricted nonetheless. I use those memories to construct female characters who, like my mother, are subjected to authoritarian rules, with one big difference. My father’s attitudes toward a woman’s place wasn’t based in law, but in his own upbringing. He emulated what he lived, as did most men throughout history.

As the elders aged and died, so did their antiquated ways. The prevailing attitudes caught up with the laws, and we are better for that.

I’ve heard the unflattering phrase, “too stupid to live” assigned to female characters in historical fiction and romance, who are portrayed as subjects of their father’s, brother’s, or husband’s dictates. They don’t, in any meaningful way, fight back, but accept their place as fact. As a writer, I find this phrase disheartening. These characters behave according to the customs, laws, and mores of their times. Yes, they eventually find comfortable circumstances, but they all are aware that they are the anomaly of their time.

Should we read historical fiction or historical romance, and expect that every female character has 21st century sensibilities? I say no. We either write true to the era, or we’ve simply created a costume drama, with little to associate it with reality.

As a reader, I want reality in character portrayal. That means a female character learns to live within expectations, and if she’s clever enough, she might learn to circumvent some of them. That reality didn’t make the women of the past stupid, and it certainly doesn’t make well-crafted characters stupid either. Realistic? Yes. Full of promise, yes. After all, women have molded men to their will for centuries. I want to believe that women inspired the changes in laws, after they convinced the men the idea was theirs.

Understanding the centuries-long struggle is essential to understanding true characterizations in historical fiction and romance. I remain firmly in the ‘portray women within the restrictions of their times’ camp. Otherwise, we’re simply creating 21st century women in costume.

About Brita Addams

Prompted by her love of history, writer of historical fiction and historical romance, Brita Addams has tromped around old cemeteries and dusty town hall basements for over twenty years as a non-professional genealogist. She’s uncovered some juicy stories about her ancestors that may or may not have already found their way into her writing. For several years, she lectured on genealogy aboard cruise ships, as part of their Enrichment Programs.

Having grown up in blustery Upstate New York, Brita has lived in the sultry South for many years. She has a loving, supportive family, including her native New Orleanian husband, who makes killer gumbo and potato salad. After years in the Big Easy, she and her husband moved to the Frog Capital of the World (yes, that’s a thing,) to be closer to two of their three grown children.

She is Grammie to grandpuppy, Fiona, a maltipoo who has stolen her Grammie’s heart, as well as a treasured grandson and granddaughter. She never misses a chance to relate stories of the past to her grandchildren, as she celebrates life everyday, well aware of how fragile life is.  

On her website and blog, readers will find a complete listing of her works. http://britaaddams.net

I came to Jane Austen late. As a lifelong reader, I do not have a simple explanation for this omission, but when my family decided to read Pride and Prejudice as a family reading project soon after the pandemic forced us into isolation, I jumped at the chance to fill in the gap in my literacy.

Source: Why Did I Wait So Long to Read Jane Austen? ‹ Literary Hub

The story of how Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s disdain for the wealthy, prideful Fitzwilliam Darcy turned to love has never been out of print, and has sold more than 20 million copies since its first appearance more than 200 years ago. Austen’s family, however, probably didn’t see much of that success: She sold the novel’s copyright to her publisher for £110 (just over $10,000 in today’s dollars) and died just a few years later, in 1817. Though the novel was reviewed positively and was well-received by the upper classes at the time, it was no widespread sensation. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the book and its author were rediscovered and lifted to the rarefied place in the English literature pantheon they hold today.

Source: 7 people who hated Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” | Salon.com

Extensive article on the subject and great read.

During the Regency and into the Victorian era, the London social season was particularly busy from April to the end of June, but events were held throughout the winter, starting when Parliament returned in late January and included military reviews, dinner parties, and charity events, and went on to the end of July. Débutante (French for female beginner) balls were a highlight, hosted at the grand houses of the aristocracy. Lord Byron referred to these galas as marriage marts, because it was the best venue for young ladies to encounter possible suitors.

Source: “Coming Out” During the Early Victorian Era; about debutantes | Kate Tattersall Adventures

I have had the great pleasure of visiting this fine home in Manchester during one of my many trips hunting for my ancestors. If you need a bit of a reminder, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote North & South, Wives & Daughters, Cranford, and other works, many of which have been made into major television series.

During my visit to her home, I pulled the same doorbell as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, standing in the same places. If you would like to see pictures of this fine Georgian residence, please visit my website here for information.

Below is an excerpt from their blog, which always has informative information.  If you like to research the past or love any of the stories Elizabeth penned, you should visit often.  It’s a wonderful place for authors and readers.

Tea plays an integral role in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Cranford. Grown in India, a British colony, and imported by the East India Company, tea became a national beverage which could be found in practically every household. But tea was more than just an infusion of dried leaves it was he beverage that was consistently turned to when spirits were in need of reviving. It is a word that prefixes so many others to indicate its numerous uses and association. Just Read more>>

Source: Tea at Cranford: Charlotte Bronte and the Great Victorian Tea Fraud – elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk

Today while I was checking out the Amazon Best Seller list, I glanced at the book prices. A few caught my eye, thinking they were outrageously high. You might assume that books on sale would sell more copies and rise to the best seller list. Apparently, that’s not the case, because many books in the top one hundred are priced far above a 99 cent price point.

To be frank, I wouldn’t pay some of the prices that are being asked by the traditional publishing houses. Nevertheless, others are buying them based on their popularity and the author. Fifty-four of the top one hundred are in Kindle Unlimited, so pricing isn’t necessarily the factor that makes them hit the best seller list — it’s page reads. Yes, it’s that convoluted system that Amazon uses on your Kindle. If you pay for the Kindle Unlimited subscription, then the author you are reading gets paid only when you flip a page. That’s right. When you flip the page with your index finger, an author makes a royalty. Most of the time it’s about a penny or less. Regardless if the book is in KU, it still has a sale price for those not enrolled in the subscription service. Those prices vary, as well as the royalties an author receives from that price point.

What’s the going rate for historical romance? My sampling of the price ranges today on the historical romance best seller list top one hundred are as follows:

21 priced at 99 cents

3 priced at $1.99

10 priced at $2.99

13 priced at $3.99

18 priced at $4.99

2 priced at $5.99

3 priced at $6.99

15 priced at $7.99*

5 priced at $9.99

1 priced at 11.99

2 priced at $19.99**

Odd pricing ranges:

$4.73

$5.49

$5.68

$6.95

*These are all books in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series

**These are two boxed sets which contain three books in the Bridgerton Series ($6.66 per book)

As an author, I tend to price my books based on length. $2.99 for novellas, $3.99 for full-length novels of 80,000 words or above. I do have one perma freebie in the mix, as well as one perma $0.99 as enticements to a series. Most of the time, I think I under price myself in comparison to others.

The range of independently published books seem to be 99 cents to $4.99, while higher priced books are those from main-stream publishers.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the industry news, Amazon and big trade publishers are in hot water, having been recently sued over price-fixing.

Amazon.com and Big Five Publishers Accused of eBook Price-Fixing.” Amazon.com and the “Big Five” publishers – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago.

The end result of price-fixing means higher prices on eBooks for consumers and bigger profits for publishers. The definition of price-fixing per the Federal Trade Commission is:

Price fixing is an agreement (written, verbal, or inferred from conduct) among competitors that raises, lowers, or stabilizes prices or competitive terms. Generally, the antitrust laws require that each company establish prices and other terms on its own, without agreeing with a competitor.

As a reader do you have a price point? How much are you willing to pay for a book? If you’re on a budget, Kindle Unlimited with a flat monthly fee to read as many books as you want might be the way to go. Otherwise, you will pay the price set individually for each book.

Independent authors generally are cheaper. No doubt that is because they put more in their pocket from the royalties they make, but also have expenses to publish a book. A traditional author doesn’t have the expenses, because the publishers pays for the editing, covers, distribution, but they price the book is higher. The publisher takes their profit from each sale, leaving the author with a much lower royalty rate, and perhaps even an agent who gets a cut as well.

For me, I’ll pay up to $4.99 for an eBook. Any more than that, I figure I might as well pay for the print version for a few bucks more and have something tangible to hold. That brings up another subject — electronic or print? Hmm, perhaps I’ll wait to poke at that decision in another post. In addition, I can talk about those crazy resellers on Amazon who have used copies of $10 books for $1,000. Another racket.

Happy purchasing!

Worth the chuckle!  “They did not hesitate to use the worst punishments they knew—excommunication from the church and horrible, painful death. Steal a book, and you might be cleft by a demon sword, forced to sacrifice your hands, have your eyes gouged out, or end in the ‘fires of hell and brimstone.'”

They did not hesitate to use the worst punishments they knew—excommunication from the church and horrible, painful death. Steal a book, and you might be cleft by a demon sword, forced to sacrifice your hands, have your eyes gouged out, or end in the “fires of hell and brimstone.”

Source: Protect Your Library the Medieval Way, With Horrifying Book Curses