romance blog

Stepback Covers Part VI: Stepback Saturday

A fun way to show off old and new stepback cover art is to post them on “Stepback Saturdays” on bookish Instagram or Bookstagram. Using #stepbacksaturday bookish Instagrammers upload pictures of cover art.

stepback saturday vi

Stepback Covers Part V: 1990s Stepbacks

By 1990 every established publishing house was rethinking the way they did cover art. The stepback was starting to mean something special. Rising stars–both authors and artists–would combine for a winning combination, and no publisher could ignore that.

1990s stepbacks v

Stepback Covers Part IV: 1980s Romance Stepbacks

Throughout the 1980s, romance publishers would use various tricks to catch prospective buyers’ eyes: embossing, foil lettering, bright colors, explicit embraces, big-named artists, superstar cover models, and more. Nevertheless, the stepback was not commonly utilized until the mid-1980s.

1980s romance covers

Stepback Covers Part II: The History of the Stepback

The history of stepback covers goes back to the early-to-mid-20th century. Bantam, Warner, and Pocket Books would be among the first paperback publishers to use this innovative cover design in the 1970s.

stepback 2

Category Romance Review: Moon Witch by Anne Mather

Harlequin Presents #38 Moon Witch by Anne Mather In this vintage romance, a much older man falls for his younger ward. It’s an uncomfortable, but compelling read. 3 1/2 stars

moon witch sinclair

Stepback Covers Are Back & Why We Love Them

Conversations about romance covers always draw strong opinions. Are they a source of cringe or are they a form of art? The stepback cover has been popular in the genre for over 35 years. One reason for that is due to discretion. With stepbacks, you can have your clinch and eat it, too.

stepback covers

Unusual Settings In Historical Romances

Let’s talk about extraordinary settings! I use the term “extraordinary” rather than “exotic” to describe places simply because one person’s idea of “exotic” is another’s idea of home. Whatever word you use, it’s fun to talk about unique settings in romance we don’t often encounter.

love all over the world

5 Romance Tropes We Love

At Sweet Savage Flame talked about tropes before. There are some plot devices and character types that never go out of style. We’ve looked around to seek the most popular tropes in Romancelandia that readers enjoy. Here are five that we think you’ll agree that make romance novels more exciting!

5 tropes we love

Category Romance Review: A> Loverboy by Judith Arnold

Published in 1991, Judith Arnold’s A> Loverboy is the final installment in the Harlequin American Romance line “A Century of Romance” series. A> Loverboy is a humorous romance about two coworkers falling in for each other in an unusual way. Before there was “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, there was this book. 4 stars

A> Loverboy

A Brief Look at Category (aka Series) Romance

Category lines, or series romance, are one of the cornerstones of the romance novel industry. As we document the genre’s past on Sweet Savage Flame, we’ll delve deeper into each individual line. Category romance, as their name implies, are sorted into category lines and defined by tropes.

brief look

The Male Authors of Vintage Romance

While women comprise most of the Romance genre readership and the vast majority of writers, there are many men who enjoy the genre, too. In fact, in the early years of romance, there were quite a few male authors, who had to use pseudonyms to publish their works. Men were a part of the romance revolution of the 1970s and they remain a part of the genre to this day, as writers and readers.

male authors

Updates #8

It’s been a full six months that Sweet Savage Flame has been up and running. We started in early Spring, and now it’s Autumn, my favorite season! We’ve grown from a tiny website to a semi-respectable niche romance blog that has amassed almost 18,000 views in that time. Thank you to our readers for being with us, for commenting, and for spreading the word about us!

red leaf trees near the road

A Closer Look At Sharon Spiak

Illustrator and fine-art painter Sharon Spiak has made a name for herself in the romance industry for producing various gorgeous covers for many bestselling authors. She also had the privilege to paint Fabio almost as much as the Duillo ladies did.

the hawk and the dove

Popular Romance Tropes

In the romance genre, we often see some types of plots or character types repeated. These similarities resonate for myriad reasons. Some tropes are common in vintage or old-school romance, but not so much in modern romances. Then there are tropes that never go out of style.


Why Do I Read Romance?

Blue Falcon’s Romance Journey
In a recent post, Jacqueline asked, “The Hero, the Heroine, or the Love Story?” querying about what people read romance novels for. I answered in the comments section, but I also felt like I wanted to elaborate a bit more. Hence, this post.

black framed eyeglasses on book

Updates #7

There are some brief points to address here about our vintage romance book blog. And yes, some of this is bragging. I’m so happy at the growth of Sweet Savage Flame and the little community we’re building here, so I hope you’ll share in my joy!

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