What is Romance?


What is Romance?

My knee-jerk response to that question is “THE BEST GENRE EVER!” But that might be because I’ve been writing romantic fiction for 17 years and publishing it on every website that would have me for 14.

Not only is it the genre I write, it’s the genre I read to escape from the world. Is there anything more comforting and cozy and immersive than reading about two people beating the odds to fall in love? I can’t think of anything better to be honest, so you can imagine how big my love is for this very special Valentine’s Day issue of SERIAL Magazine.

This issue is anchored by three true blue romances.

  • No Regrets on Fourth Street by Lauren C. Teffeau drops us into a sci-fi future where people are part human and part tech. A woman has been kidnapped and while she fights for her escape and waits for a rescuer she recalls how a man became her lover turned boss turned ex.

  • An Invitation to Darkness by Hailey Piper brings us back to the past. A sea captain looking for a new home finds herself in the home of a woman and her ailing father. As she begins to develop feelings, her beloved pushes her away to mask a dark and horrific secret.

  • The Sun Struck by Gregory L. Norris takes us into the distant future where men live in space and traveling light years is possible. A space captain, often away from his beloved finally returns for a reunion. Space doesn’t stop for love though and the two are forced to deal with enemy attacks as they make every attempt to connect.

These are the stories that evoked a sigh after reading. Because, wow, love is real. Whether you’re gay or straight, whether you’re a chick who likes to live on the edge or a guy who travels a little too much for work or a woman with a dark past…there is still someone out there for you. These authors believe so at least!

Even though I’ve been writing romantic fiction for a very long time, up until a few weeks ago, I never considered myself a romance writer. Why? Well…Romance has some very strict rules. To be considered a true romance, your story must always end with either a Happily Ever After (HEA) ending or a Happily For Now (HFN) ending, although, even HFN endings are sometimes controversial.

As much as I love a happily ever after, I also love stories about messy and complicated characters who abandon traditional romance because it isn’t for them, because the timing is wrong, and / or because their intended isn’t the perfect match. Heartbreak is beautiful. Many will have you believe that a romance isn’t a romance unless two people ride off into the sunset together. But I’d argue the romance genre isn’t complete without the types of stories that round out this issue of SERIAL Magazine.

  • All You Have to Do by Lisa Piazza is about the free spirit, the heartbreaker, the girl who breaks a guy down so he can build himself back up to be a better man for some other girl in someone else’s story.

  • What a Trifle is a Heart by Sarah Milne Das is about the girl so many romance novels start with. She’s been hurt and her reaction isn’t healthy but so many others have been in her shoes.

  • The Wretched Street Bar by J.J. Steinfeld is about the endlessness of possibilities. Two people meet, they connect and you’re left wondering what is this? what could it be? what happened?

When you read these, I encourage you to enjoy the heartbreak, but also consider what happened before and what might happen afterward. In real life, the vast majority of relationships don’t end well, yet folks on this little planet keep on giving love a shot. Every ending is the beginning of another amazing story.


We felt it appropriate to be a bit of a tease for the holiday and included a teaser of Nothing Escapes by Merlin Flower. The first romance novelist I fell in love with was Lori Foster. She’s a modern novelist who writes about alpha males falling for somewhat fiesty and independent women. It’s a very common subset of romance these days and as much as I enjoyed those types of stories in my youth, I knew those weren’t the types of romances I wanted to publish in SERIAL Magazine. I wanted something that felt new. I wanted characters that I hadn’t read before in situations I’ve never considered.

Abasi is a Kenyan girl with acne, dreads, and a possible drug problem. She’s studying abroad in Mumbai where she meets Abhay, a struggling painter with a quirky sense of reality. I was immediately curious. How and why do these two fall for one another? Well…you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

This is our first special issue of SERIAL Magazine and I’m so incredibly pleased with it. I hope you are too.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!