A Blog & Webiste for Old School Romance
Note: I had meant to write this up for the New Year, but the holidays and illness got in the way. Don’t plans always have a way of getting knocked aside by life? Nevertheless, we keep making them.😀 And making plans are we’re doing for Sweet Savage Flame!
So What’s the Deal With Sweet Savage Flame?
This article was inspired by a question I saw posted on Google: “Is there a website that has a list of all historical romance novels by a publisher?” I thought, of course, FictionDB or Library Thing must have those details. And they do, usually by imprint or series, but sometimes it’s not easy to find all the information at once. This got me contemplating our intentions for Sweet Savage Flame.
More than just a blog where we post reviews of romance novels written prior to 2000, I wanted this place to be a source of valuable information regarding the genre’s history.
I have an anachronistic streak about me, especially regarding media consumption. On My Goodreads bio, I write that for me, pop culture ends in 1999–although that is a bit of an exaggeration. Once in a while, I will discover new talent to get excited about, but my heart turns to the past, especially when it comes to reading romances.
The twentieth century was like no other before, and everything that stemmed from then has historical value for where we have branched today. While I may not produce output in record time, I think it’s essential to have space for a comprehensive record of romance, especially the pivotal latter decades of the 1900s.
I try to be even-minded about the people involved in the industry and the work they created. Perhaps what was published “back then” could never be published today. Nevertheless, I want to know what was written, by whom, and maybe find out why. So, Sweet Savage Flame reviews vintage and old-school romances, we talk about authors, publishers, and cover artists and models. (And we sell some used books at our book store.)
Should we be doing more?
What Sweet Savage Flame Is Not
There are many incredible sites on the web that provide information about romance novels or books in general. There are blogs at Bookriot, Red Feather Romance, and even Amazon. Other sites like AAR (All About Romance), Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and forums on Goodreads provide communities for romance readers to get together and talk. Romance.Io has all the latest reviews grouped into categories and tropes.
For the more scholarly inclined, there is RomanceWiki hosted by the University of Birmingham (UK), and Unsuitable run by Duke University professors who teach “Publishing & Marketing Popular Fiction: A Case Study of the Romance Novel.” Our Twitter pal, Dr. Maria de Blassie, also teaches a college course on the history of the romance genre and posts videos on her site Enchantment Learning. International Association for the Study of Popular Romance is “dedicated to fostering and promoting the scholarly exploration of all popular representations of romantic love.”
In the last year, I’ve met fascinating folks on Twitter and Instagram who are exceptional sources of knowledge regarding the history and relevance of romance. If you have a question about the genre, someone out there knows the answer, and we will try to guide you to it.
I must admit, the bigger the internet gets, the more lost I feel. There were smaller sites ten years ago and more of a local feel. A decade ago, I loved using the Amazon Customer Discussion forums. When they were shut down, a lot of wisdom was erased. (I feel the same way about the loss of the IMDB forums). Little sites like TheRomanceReader folded. Even the long-running magazine Romantic Times stopped publication and was scrubbed entirely from the internet.
I created a blog and website, but I didn’t create a community. A community can’t be made out of thin air. It has to be built. I want to start building one, and I welcome you to be part of it. If you like romance novels that are 20 – 40 years old or more, that’s all you need to come in.
Guest Blogging, Reviewing & Forums
This site has been a work-in-progress, learn-as-I-go sort of thing. After learning to code (very poorly, I might add), performing SEO, searching for the perfect images, reading, researching, writing, formatting, and editing (very poorly, I might add), I post.
Then I expect some magic to occur. I don’t focus on the social aspect as much as I should. So it can seem as if I’m talking to people rather than speaking with them. I don’t always respond to comments promptly, which is insulting to people who spend valuable time here. It’s something that I am working to improve upon, and I hope that we can form some connections.
To that end, I will be attempting to create a forum where people can interact and chat. It will take time because I don’t want this site to get any buggier than it is. I hope to have it up within a month or so. Any comments or input would be appreciated.
More importantly, I am asking you, our readers, for your voice. Sweet Savage Flame does a lot of talking. But what do you have to say?
We’re looking for guest bloggers or reviewers. Have you read a pre-Y2K book so wonderful–or so horrific–you had to write a review and now want to plaster it all over the web? Send it to us, and we’ll post it with your byline below the title.
Do you have any trivia about an author that could make for an intriguing anecdote? Maybe you have an opinion on the state of romance and would like to write an Op-Ed? Perhaps you have a blog and are looking for a guest blog exchange. Are you a BookTuber or Bookstagrammer who’d like to write a one-time spot? There are many ways to make your voice heard, and we’re eager to help.
We all carry personal baggage that wears us down. I have several chronic conditions that make life… interesting. I’ve lived with Lupus for 30 years. The stress on my joints makes it difficult to type, and I am a terrible sausage-fingered, hunt-and-peck typist as it is. You read this site; it’s no stranger to typos, for which I apologize.
I also have other issues for which I take medication. I have ADHD and trouble focusing. Depression and anxiety have plagued me for years. Lexapro has done wonders for depression. However, anxiety still lingers. I panic when performing simple tasks.
Communicating with others is a big trigger. I love when people send me messages yet freeze when responding. I second-guess my word choices. Did that post sound sarcastic? Better add a smiley emoji.
It’s a weird thing to struggle with when running a blog, as this depends upon interaction. Communication is an essential skill, one that I am trying to work on every day.
Since I’m airing all my dirty laundry, I might as well get it all out. I’m no fan of institutional education. I’m a college dropout, having left university with only 40 credits to my name–8 of those due to AP high school classes. I was pregnant at 19 and a mother by 20. Although I homeschooled my daughter on and off for 15 years, the only degree I hold is a high school diploma.
What I’m inartfully attempting to say is that I am no academic when it comes to anything, including literary scholarship. I have not written a thesis or articles on the socio-sexual-political aspects of romances. I have never been published professionally.
But I love history, adore romance novels, and have a knack for solving puzzles. That comes in handy when identifying cover artists or remembering a book title. Collecting data and forming a cohesive whole is like solving a puzzle.
I want Sweet Savage Flame to be where you can get as much information as possible about your favorite vintage romance reads. If we can’t help, we’ll point you in a direction where you can.
Plus, I want this to be somewhere for all people who want to talk about romance come and feel welcome. We may joke around, but there is no judgment here. Like what you want and don’t apologize to anyone for it; certainly not to us.
Let us know how you feel. We love getting feedback, and we take it to heart. As always, drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.