However, in the 1970s the term "romance novel" was hijacked by the romance novel publishing industry and, because of the rigid guidelines imposed by publishers like Harlequin, readers came to have very rigid expectations of romance novels. The heroines would be young, vulnerable and either virginal or widows who were most likely abused. The heroes were robust, manly, alpha-males who were always in control. Above all, the genre romance novel HAD to have an HEA ending -- "happily ever after." True romance has never been the same.
I love the original meaning of romance and, while my stories are not formula romance (I rarely find writing about 20-somethings to be very compelling), I'll never give up on the original meaning of romance: adventure, passion, the quest for the higher meaning.
R is also for Ruby, the heroine of the title story in my collection, My Last Romance and other passions. Of all the female characters I've ever created, Ruby is closest to my inner self.