Special Guest: JenB!!!!!! <3

Today, we have Jen B visiting with us! I know I say this a lot (or do I? I think it a lot…) but she’s one of my favorite people [ever]! She’s one of the first few people I started talking to online. I’m not even sure how it happened – I think she visited TGTBTU? And then it was twitter, emails, and instant messaging. We’re very similar, but also very different, and it works. Although we don’t talk as much now because obviously she doesn’t love me anymore and is too good for me. *sobs* It really has nothing to do with her job, or being pregnant (congrats, future mommy! <3) … Hee. Anyway, I obviously need more sugar. Or less. O_o Enough of me. [No really, I’m sure Jen B expected me to do and say something absolutely crazy for her post… she’d be disappointed if I didn’t!]

Hi! I’m Jen B, former blogger/reviewer extraordinaire. 🙂 Lime invited me months ago to come up with a post, and I completely forgot till this week. Eep! Fortunately Lime gave me a gentle reminder. :X (and if you know Lime, you know just how gentle that reminder was) [*Gasp!* I am hurt and outraged you would so malign me on my own blog! Defamation! Libel!]

She said I could talk about anything, be it books, tea, makeup, editing, pregnancy, or gardening. I’ll spare you the pregnancy talk, though it was tempting to describe how it feels to have a fetus using my bladder as a trampoline and my intestines as punching bags. 😉

So I think today I’ll talk about how I became a romance reader.

I’ve always been a reader, and I’ve pretty much always gravitated toward love stories. Even in elementary school, my favorite books were the ones with a boy and a girl who liked each other. If they held hands or kissed, even better! I gobbled up Sweet Valley books like candy. Though I also considered Flowers in the Attic a romance, which might explain my warped reading tastes now… Something for a psychologist to investigate later, I guess. 😉

In college I took a hiatus from pleasure reading. I was a language major (English and Spanish), and all that homework in two languages kept me away from “fun” books for a few years.

In 2007 I got back into reading for enjoyment, and I owe it all to AT&T (I wish they’d pay me to say that). My husband and I were going to convert over to U-Verse, and AT&T “accidentally” disconnected our TV and internet service a week earlier than planned, with no way to reconnect it. No TV! No internet! What were we to do??? We gave it some careful consideration and dragged our grumpy butts down to Half Price Books. Someone had recommended Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, so I picked it up and took it home… And devoured it. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t move from that couch until I’d finished it. Then I went back for more! I consulted the same pal who’d rec’d AKISA, and she listed a few more titles. I think I picked up 10 more books on that return trip to the UBS, all Deveraux and Lindsey. For about a year, I was reading an average of 5 paperbacks a week. I spent hours combing Amazon reviews and discussion boards for my next read, organizing and reorganizing my virtual and physical bookshelves, and for a while my husband and I were spending whatever extra cash we had on books. It was a wonderful time. *happy sigh*

I discovered reviewing during this time too, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of posting my thoughts on Amazon. I discovered m/m romance and e-books as well, and I started a discussion group just for m/m romance fans. Through them I was introduced to my first book blog, which led me to hundreds more. By May 2008 I had my own blog for reviewing and discussing all the books I loved.

In 2008 I also started beta-reading and proofing for a few e-published authors, and by early 2009 I’d snagged my first freelance copy editing job for a m/m romance e-publisher. In March of 2010 I quit my day job and started editing full-time. All romance, all the time. What more could a romance reader ask for?

Reviewing dulled my passion for pleasure reading a little, and editing takes up a lot of time, so I’ve been through several slumps and dry periods, but I’ve never stopped loving romance novels. I still browse Amazon for reviews and recommendations (though nowadays I stay away from the wackadoodles on the Amazon discussion boards). I follow several of my favorite authors and bookish pals on Twitter and Facebook, and I try to keep up with gossip and new releases. And of course I’m still reading an average of 3-5 books a week for work. I still love nothing more than to browse a used book store on a slow afternoon or hit Borders with my husband on the weekend. Sometimes I don’t buy anything. Sometimes I just pick up books, smell them (Don’t look at me like that. You know you do it too!), read the back copy, and put them back.

It’s been so interesting to see how my tastes have changed over the years, and how my preferences cycle. Just recently I gave 5 stars to an urban fantasy romance that had been a DNF for me a year and a half ago. And lately I find myself grabbing books off my shelf that I’d ignored for a year or more—and loving them! It’s been a really fun hobby that’s broadened my horizons and introduced me to many good friends, people I think I’d continue to talk to even if I stopped reading altogether.

These days my pleasure reading has been reduced to about one paperback every 10-14 days, and I’m okay with that for now. I wish I had the time and energy for a paperback a night, but I really can’t complain. Maybe someday I’ll have that old hunger back. I keep thinking I’ll have more time to read in November after the baby gets here and I’m off work for a month, but people keep telling me I’m crazy. 😉 We’ll see!

Thanks for letting me share my story. I hope you enjoyed it. Maybe yours is similar. I’d love to hear all about it in comments. 🙂

Isn’t she adorabubbles? I heart JenB. Who really actually goes by Jennifer, but everyone online calls her “Jen” or “JenB.” Probably because we’re lazy and don’t like typing out 4-5 additional letters. That or we’re a crazy affectionate bunch and like nicknaming everyone. I actually refer to her as “jtgk” often due to her screen/twitter name.

Anyway I’m curious too! What got you started on reading romances? Got a favorite romance to share? Ever give a book a second chance and be glad you did?

0 thoughts on “Special Guest: JenB!!!!!! <3

  1. Raonaid Luckwell

    The Dragon & The Jewel by Virginia Henley was my first romance book to be honest. I gobbled it up and wanted more. Then I got into authors like Johanna Lindsey which I absoltely adored her Malory books.

    I remember, before getting net, finding out there was a new Malory book. “Oh cool a Malory book.” Woman next to me went “Really? Where?” I pointed to it, she grabbed and ran. I was a little more liesurely about my purchase.

    Not sure about a second chance book.

  2. JenB

    I looooved Johanna Lindsey. But you know what’s weird? I read all her others before I ever got into the Malory books. In fact, I think I’ve only read 3 or 4 of those. I adored her Westerns and standalones.

    Never tried Henley. Maybe I should remedy that!

  3. Mary G

    Loved your post JenB. Another book sniffer!! It’s like a drug LOL. I’m showing my age but The Flame & The Flower got me started on romances. Of course I hardly ever read hystericals anymore although some book club ladies got me to read Lisa Kleypas which I totally enjoyed & I have an Anna Campbell one that is in my TBR pile.

    I’d like to know how you went from freelance to full time editor. Do you still work for the same publisher?

    BTW reading after baby: Besides the fact that pregnancy turns your brain to mush for a bit, you’ll be so fascinated with this little being that all you’ll have time for is magazine articles. Big shock to me since I read at about the same rate you do.

    Hi Lime!! It’s okay for you to have other fave people as long as I’m still one of your faves LOL.

  4. Mary G

    BTW Jen. I was also a huge Deveraux & Lindsay fan. I remember Captive Bride by JL started a temporary fascination with Sheiks LOL. THe Enchanted Land by JD started me on a fascination with guys named Seth Colter. I’m sure those names have been reused many times.

  5. JenB

    I’m a weird romance reader. I’ve never read many of the “classics.” No Garwood, Woodiwiss, Rogers, and I’ve only read a handful of Nora Roberts books. Shame on me, I know.

    I no longer work for the very first publisher that hired me. I work for about six publishers now and several independent authors. It’s fun. I’m still freelance, though, just full-time instead of part-time. I transitioned by just gathering enough clients to keep myself busy every day.

  6. Caffey

    Hi Jen!!

    I used to volunteer in the library from middle school through college and always grabbing books off the shelves, but really never found much of romance. When I did, I would read all that authors books. I didn’t discover much historical romance (which is my favorite now) and often would be disappointed reading through a book and it ended up not being a HEA. I used to read too any of Nora Roberts and went through the backlist of the series of hers as well. I was able to find lots in large print! Mostly in teens read series books of my mom’s. When my kids were young, I read lots less and then when I came online! I discovered Writerspace and a bunch of dear readers from yahoo groups who directed me to so much, and remember going to Borders and grabbing books from authors they recommended. I remember one of the first historical then was Lisa Kleypas’s LADY SOPHIA’S LOVER (now I don’t read out of order but back then I learned as I went on about series and related books).

    One of my favorite stories to tell is about trying vampire romance. Christine Feehan had visited and readers were telling me to try hers and I was hesitate because I won’t read horror anymore and they were trying to tell me its different! I went and got DARK GUARDIAN (mind you, right in the middle of her series, LOL) and chickened out and returned it! I told the group and they made me go back and get the first one, and I was up all night reading and love any paranormals (especially vamps) now!

    1. JenB

      Caffey, I still refuse to read any book without a HEA. Can’t do it! And I remember when I first got into vampires and paranormals too. That was an amazing time for me. 🙂

  7. Nicola O.

    I think my first romances were really fairy tales, which probably explains why I’m drawn to fantasy romance as well as historical and contemp. I know I was reading Harlequins by 7th grade, hiding them inside a loose cover that had come off of a copy of Sue Barton, Student Nurse, that looked something like this.

    Then Shanna, because my mom wouldn’t let me.

    Then… everything else. Everything I could get my hands on, since 1978, give or take.

  8. JenB

    Nicola, I was deprived. I didn’t discover Harlequins until just a few years ago. 🙁

    But I did love it when one of my friends would find a “dirty” book at home and then bring it to school to pass around.

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