Category Archives: Podcast

Sweet Savage Flame Podcast: #6 Sweet And Sexy Heroes from Old School Historical Romances

We’ve compiled a list of six sweet and sexy heroes from some amazing historical romances. These remarkable men will have you swooning with their devoted adoration for their women.

Send in a voice message:
Support this podcast:

Podcast: Defy Not the Heart by Johanna Lindsey

For a while–except for maybe Jude Deveraux–there was no other mass-market romance author in the 1980s to 1990s whose prolific writing achieved such commercial success as Johanna Lindsey. Lindsey reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list with Defy Not the Heart.

Here we at Sweet Savage Flame, we review Defy Not the Heart, which we happily rate a 5-star read!

Send in a voice message:
Support this podcast:

Sweet Savage Flame Podacst 15 Old School Historical Romances That Revolutionized the Genre

Podcast: 15 Old School Historical Romances That Revolutionized the Genre

Sweet Savage Flame Podacst 15 Old School Historical Romances That Revolutionized the Genre

The Sweet Savage Flame Podcast

This Sweet Savage Flame podcast was originally posted as an article, 15 Old School Historical Romances That Revolutionized the Genre. We thought it would make a great subject for a recording. You can listen to this, read it, or both! Just hit play and relax.

Sweet Savage Flame has compiled a list of 15 old-school historical romances that we think are absolute must-reads for those wishing to understand the genre’s roots. Published before the 2000s, they caused radical changes in the industry.

Please note that we haven’t yet reviewed all of these books. However, we recognize their importance to romance history. Our aim is to review all novels on this list in the upcoming year.

Contact Us or Donate

Send in a voice message:

Support this podcast:


Sweet Savage Flame Donation

Please donate $10 to Sweet Savage Flame. This will help support site maintenance, podcasts, and research. Any help would be appreciated!


Podcast: RIP Emma Darcy & Valerie Parv

On April 25, 2021, Australian romance author, Valerie Parv, passed away at the age of 69, just one week shy of her 70th birthday.

She joins her fellow Harlequin/Mills and Boon colleague, Emma Darcy, who predeceased her by 4 months, having passed on December 21, 2020.

Sweet Savage Flame remembers these two romance legends whose combined sales totaled 100 million books worldwide.

Send in a voice message:
Support this podcast:

Sweet Savage Flame Podcast: Discussing Bodice Rippers #1

In the first episode of my podcast Sweet Savage Flame, the topic is Discussing Bodice Rippers #1, where I talk about the origins of the modern romance genre: the much-maligned bodice ripper. Should we keep those un-politically correct books strictly in the past or take the best of what the genre had to offer to reignite a new movement in romance novels?

Jacqueline Diaz is what I am: a writer. I’m an author of two historical romance works-in-progress,The Savage NobleandWhat She Says With Her Eyes,which will both be released in 2021.

I picked up my first romance at age 12 and never looked back. This thrilling genre has enraptured me and I’ve spent years collecting thousands of paperbacks and e-books until my house was bursting with romance novels and more. Vintage historical romances are my favorites, from epic bodice rippers, family sagas, Zebra romances, Harlequin Historicals, and more. As a reader, I also enjoy space operas, cookbooks, true crime, detective mysteries, philosophy, and history–especially anything to do with Spain and/or the Medieval Ages.

My Official Website:

My romance blog:

Twitter: @jdiazromance


You can email me at

Send in a voice message:
Support this podcast:


Podcast: Discussing Bodice Rippers and Historical Romance #1

Podcast: Of Bodices Ripped

Bodice ripper” is used as a pejorative term by people not too familiar with the romance genre. Readers & authors of romance who try to distance themselves from those older “problematic” books hate the phrase.

I stand in defense of the bodice ripper–the true bodice ripper, which is not just old-school historicals. It was that genre that heralded the new era of romance. Bodice Rippers were a new creation never seen before. 

Up until Avon released The Flame and the Flower, romances were limited to:

  • Romantic Comics
  • Barbara Cartland’s vast stable of saccharine Georgette Heyer’s stories
  • Light, humorous Regencies
  • Mild Mills & Boons/ Harlequins
  • Medical romances
  • Gothics
  • Closed-door historical romantic fiction

If a female reader wanted a little bit more raciness, there was the grandmother of the bodice ripper, Edith Hull’s The Sheik and its sequels. Or lurid pulp-fiction released by prolific paperback distributors. There were also authors like Harold Robbins, Jacqueline Susann, and Jackie Collins who had come on the scene in the 1960s.  

Mainstream romance and raciness just didn’t mix. They were always “sweet,” ending in kisses of fade-to-black love scenes.  

Then in 1972, came the (now-reviled) bodice ripper, which at the time was a vaunted expression of women’s liberation.

Thanks to Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, and the women (and men) who followed in their footsteps, romances took on a larger scope. The heroines went through the fires of hell and back to get their love.

And yes, the books could be violent, including issues like forced seduction or even rape. Sometimes the heroine had multiple lovers. In other stories, the hero would be her one and only lover.  

sweet savage love bodice ripper

I Love the Bodice Ripper

Personally, I’m all about the bodice ripper.

Too many modern romances don’t do it for me. I have little interest in reading about the Dukes, Marquesses, and the rest of the exalted gentry who inhabit most contemporary historical romance.

There are scoundrels who aren’t really scoundrels at all. Book titles allude to unnecessary guides to seduction–unnecessary since half of the heroines have no sense of propriety.

Many willingly take on the hero as a lover yet refuse to get married because he doesn’t love her.

So interested in becoming a critique of manners or society a la Jane Austen–just with more explicit sex scenes–many books forget to be, first and foremost, fun

I’m a fan of the old-school, schlocky, purple-prosed-written historical romances & vintage Harlequins Presents, and proud of it. Like good B-movies, they never pretended to be more than what they were.

Maligned as chauvinistic junk (and admittedly, some were, but so what?), many were historically accurate adventurous epics. They had plots that (sans sex) would make Zane Grey or even Sir Walter Scott proud.  

Thanks to romance authors like Roberta Gellis or Deana James, and many others, I know more about medieval politics, the American Old West, nautical terms, archaic social mores, and wars (Napoleonic, American and English Civil, the Crimean, and the American and French Revolutions) than I ever learned in school.

Of course, I got my information from other sources, but the older romances were often quite historically authentic in facts and mindsets.  


Old-School Romance Novels

From what I’ve seen on romance forums and blogs is that among a substantial number of readers, there’s a yearning for a return to the best of “retro.”

Although not necessarily bringing back the raped-by-every-man-the-heroine-meets plot lines nor the absolute requirement of a pure, virginal heroine who stays faithful while the hero sleeps around.

There’s a desire for more variety:

  • Different characters for heroes who have more depth than just being the required alpha rake (which has become a watered-down trope)
  • A heroine who grows from the first page to the last
  • A variety of locations and historical settings besides Georgian, Regency & Victorian Great Britain
  • Fewer wallpaper historicals
  • More adherence to cultural norms than inserting modern mindsets
  • More than just sex to a love story  

Good writing doesn’t hurt, too. Although, readers seem very forgiving in that regard if you give them an engaging story.

The story is paramount; it is for me, anyway. That’s one of the reasons why I love older romances so much; they knew how to keep a reader turning the pages to the very end.  

rose on book near scattered petals
Photo by Teona Swift on

Podcast: Let’s Talk Romance

What do you think about this topic? Are old-school historicals and bodice rippers relics of a bygone era interesting to look at as one would museum artifacts but of no worth to today’s readers?

Do you wish more romances would be like they were in the 1970s, 1980s, or even the 1990s, or are you satisfied with how the historical romance genre has transformed into what is today?  

Please drop a comment, and let’s talk about romance novels!