Classic Romance: African-American 1sts

African-American romance, and its history, is very important to me.  As readers of the genre I feel it should be important to you all as well.  Just like any other other part of our wonderful mosaic of history, the African-American romance community has many firsts to celebrate and to hopefully emulate.   

Rosalind Welles (aka journalist Elsie Washington) is the writer of the first ever multi-cultural/African-American romance ENTWINED DESTINIES and Sandra Kitt’s ADAM AND EVA (1984) is well-known as the first African-American romance (written by an African-American) for romance powerhouse publisher Harlequin. 

As we near the anniversay of the June 1980 release of ENTWINED DESTINIES andcelebrate the first African-American romance writer to hit the New York Times bestseller list (you go, Brenda Jackson!!!)  I thought it would ne nice to highlight these African-American romance firsts as the true classic romance they are: 


ENTWINED DESTINIES (book description): Kathy Godwin is an up-and-coming reporter for a London-based magazine. While covering a major oil business conference, she meets tall, dark and devastating Lloyd Craig, a top echelon executive with TransGlobal Oil. His response to her, as well as to her questions, can best be described as cold and sarcastic, and she wonders how he can dislike her when he doesn’t even know her.

Lloyd’s reaction to the petite beauty is an immediate, intense desire to possess her. Though he’s determined to fight his attraction to Kathy, he can’t help asking her out or stealing a few searing kisses and tender embraces. Despite his growing feelings for her, Lloyd knows they can never be more than friends…that he can never be free from his wounded past to commit to the only woman he’ll ever love.




ADAM AND EVA (book description): When Eva Duncan flees to the Virgin Islands to heal from the double tragedy that took the lives of her husband and young daughter, she meets the most remarkably self- possessed little girl on the plane. Her father is just as irresistible…if only he weren’t so bossy and overbearing.

Still recovering from the pain of his recent divorce, Adam Maxwell is reluctant to open his heart to another woman. Then he starts spending time with his daughter’s new friend in this tropical Eden and Adam’s burgeoning desire has the single dad yearning to be a family again, to have and to hold Eva in his arms forever….




Used copies of these books are available for sale.  Last year I brought ENTWINED DESTINIES for my own personal collection of certain romance favorites.  In fact, that’s a scanned copy of my actual book–it was difficult finding a copy of the cover on the Internet.  I plan to search out an original 1984 issue of ADAM AND EVA as well (the cover pictured is from the 2006 reissue).  These two book should be read and treasured.

Congrats again, Brenda J !!!



Classic Romance III

Cover ImageThe Hand I Fan With is one of my all time favorite books and when you get to the heart of this story it is a big old romance book–well, a big old paranormal romance book that is so…damn…good. I LOVE this book.  Sure, it’s considered commercial or mainstream fiction-but for me the very heart of this story was Lena’s love for Herman (get it Her-man). Of course, Ms. Ansa is a prolific writer that elevates what could have been a simple story to a whole ‘nother level. Love this book. LOVE it.


Bestselling author Tina McElroy Ansa is back with another tale from Mulberry, Georgia, the richly drawn fictional town and home of the extraordinary Lena McPherson.  Lena, now forty-five and tired of being “the hand everyone fans with,” has grown weary of shouldering the town’s problems and wants to find a little love and companionship for herself.  So she and a friend perform a supernatural ritual to conjure up a man for Lena.  She gets one all right: a ghost named Herman who, though dead for one hundred years, is full of life and all man.  His love changes Lena’s life forever, satisfying as never before both her physical and spiritual needs.  Filled with the same “humor, grace, and great respect for power of the particular” (The New York Times Book Review) as her previous critically acclaimed novels, Baby of the Family and Ugly Ways, The Hand I Fan With  is yet another memorable and life-affirming tale from one of America’s best-loved authors.


Classic Romance II

Cover ImageFor me, what makes a classic book–particularly a romance book–is one great memorable scene. Be it a love scene, a fight scene, or a reconciliation scene.  Velvet Angel is one of my personal favs because of one scene: The heroine is kidnapped naked and bundled into a rug and when the rug is unrolled she tumbles out before her hero–a man she absolutely hates. (Oh, yes go on about misogyny and all that. I like what I like. Sorry.) For me, Jude Devereaux is the epitome of a hella good romance novelist and I would like to think that my own fast, witty style is something I picked up after years of DEVOURING her books.  (Hint, hint for unpublished authors: Write the type of books you love to read).

But I digress.

Of course there are other reasons to love this book. Great tension between the hero and heroine. Fiery arguments and that whole “you say you hate me but your eyes and your body say you love me thing”. Great love scenes (to me historical romance writers really know how to write good ones. Or maybe it just feels naughty because of the time period. LOL.) Fast paced writing.  Good backstory. Interesting secondary characters. Excellent storytelling abilities (this is key because some people write but can’t tell a good story–there is a difference).

I could go on and on.

If you haven’t ever enjoyed a good Jude Devereaux book, start with Velvet Angel.  Trust me you won’t be disappointed.