Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Read Why “Running on Empty” Provides Double the Emotional Impact of a Traditional Romance!

“Running on Empty” is a Stunning 5-Star Example of the new 'Romance Realism'*
 But Are you ready for it?

"Running on Empty"
Ruth Logan Herne
a Kindle book -- 204 pages

Will you become a fan of the new ‘Romance Realism’ that Indie publishing is making possible?

'Romance Realism’ provides the cherished HEA (happily ever after) ending that is the hallmark of genre romance but it also deals with depressing, harsh, and unpleasant themes that almost all Traditional publishers shun.  

These topics include: pedophilia, agoraphobia, spousal abuse, adultery by the hero, long prison terms for the hero who was actually guilty of his crime, abortion, hospice, breast cancer, and other topics rarely found in genre romances.

Why write about these sad topics when romance is often used as an escape from the harsh realities of the world? Well, most Traditional publishers would claim there is no reason to publish such books! The two styles run at cross purposes. After all: what does mainstream fiction exist for if not to deal with such topics?

Many fans may well agree with the Traditional romance genre publishers. But here’s why so many new fans to 'Romance Realism' are going wild over it. Just look on Amazon and see how many glowing 5-star reviews “Running on Empty” has earned. It is phenomenal!  
Why is there such a powerful positive reaction to this book and others like it? 
The author has written four 'Romance Realism' books at this point. Two were so well crafted that her Traditional publisher even took on chance and published them to great acclaim; “Winter’s End”, (hospice)  and “The Lawman’s SecondChance,” (breast cancer affecting both the hero and heroine) -- both these books are by Love Inspired. The other two books are Indie published, “Try, Try Again” (adultery) and “Running on Empty) a theme you’d need to discover as part of the plot. I don’t want to spoil anything in this review. 
'Romance Realism' Offers the Pleasure of a Romance HEA with the Emotional Impact of a Mainstream Novel!
Readers enjoy these books because they ramp up the emotional impact of reading the story. This is in large measure because of the ‘mainstream’ topics these romances deal with. These books take the reader out of the safe and comfortable world of the typical genre romance and instead create an experience that seems literally ripped from the headlines.  
Indeed, a reader might think that “Running on Empty” was taken form recent sensational headlines but it was not. The book was written long before the big stories on the subject made headlines.  

What provides the greater emotional investment and impact experienced from reading a great mainstream novel is not knowing how the story is going to end. In a genre romance the reader knows in advance that all will end well. This knowledge makes the romance somewhat unreal and less powerful in its impact on the reader. Of course, the reader does not mind this. The romance HEA experience is a main reason these books are bought and read in the first place.

The new 'Romance Realism' books give the reader a mainstream reality experience usually never found in a genre romance. This bitter taste can multiply the experience of the HEA far beyond the usual felt in a typical romance. This high emotional impact, when it first occurs, is almost indelibly memorable. Readers are touched and enthusiastic. Thus there are so many great reviews. 
The big question is this: will this initial heightened experience last over time?  How many sad or unsavory themes can one reader endure and still feel good about the HEA experience? 
That’s a big question. And it is a question that big Traditional publishers have long ruled against. I don’t expect Indie publishers to cause much of a change in Traditional publishers when it comes to accepting 'Romance Realism' novels. Traditional publishers have too much invested in their installed base of loyal fans to risk upsetting them.  I’m not sure what the total market will be for 'Romance Realism'. There may be room only for the very best examples of this new subgenre of romance.  Books like “Running on Empty” may have to create their own market.
It is not necessary to go into the plot  of “Running on Empty”. All I need to point out that it is a 5-Star tour de force. It has exploded on the scene and it is well worth reading just to see what all this new style romance is all about.
“Running on Empty” Crosses the Finish Line a 5-Star Winner!
*The term ‘Romance Realism’ is used here because ‘Realistic Romance’ or ‘Romantic Realism’ already exists as ‘Romanticism’ and this genre already has a long established history of unrequited love and unhappy endings. The first great example of ‘Romanticism’ is the “The Sorrows of Young Werther”, by J.W. von Goethe. In this story the young hero kills himself when the heroine fails to return his love. This is not genre romance nor is it ‘Romance Realism’ which still provides an HEA.



  1. I am raising both hands and a foot as a lover and purchaser of Romance Realism (love that term, Vince.) LOVE IT. And agree with everything you said and am so glad these stories are finding their way to the reader like me who want more from novels than boy meets girl, boy pursues girl through a few awkward or expected scenarios, they declare themselves typically after thinking they were lost to each other forever, and live happily every after. I don't dislike those stories, sometimes I want a snack book of puppies and rainbows. But even more I want a book that tells a deep story with struggle and hardship and pain and consequences because more than I want to escape my reality, I want to see someone in my fiction who can share it and still triumph. I root more for those characters and those stories and will snatch them up free or not. I also love everything Ruthy writes for that reason. Great post, Vince.

  2. Well, of course I like them!!!

    Vince, I am both touched and humbled by this post because I think you (among all reviewers) really work to step back and weigh the good, the bad and the ugly and when you noted that a more realistic romance magnifies the pleasure, I totally agree. And while not all of my books go into this kind of depth (purposely because sometimes small problems seem pretty darn big, don't they?) some issues just beg to be handled. I loved your take on this last week, and your emotional investment and I'm linking to this on Facebook and my website because these words are golden. And I wish I could sit down and chat with every one of those Amazon reviewers because I'm so very blessed by their honest recognition of a danger too many of us tend to ignore. Thank you, Vince! And Nancy Kimball, thank you for your kind words! I'm smiling ear-to-ear!!! (Of course I do have big teeth so it happens on a regular basis!) :)

  3. Hi Nancy:

    You wrote: “But even more I want a book that tells a deep story with struggle and hardship and pain and consequences because more than I want to escape my reality, I want to see someone in my fiction who can share it and still triumph.

    That is one of the best summations of what ‘Romance Realism” is about that I think we will ever see. You are a ‘best prospect’ for this new kind of romance.

    Thanks for your insights.


  4. Hi Ruth:

    So nice to read your comments. You do this type of “Romance Realism” so well you may be setting the standards for years to come. Now is the time when the touchstone books are being written. You are a real pioneer. Who would have thought it possible just a few years ago. The field is still so young that every book and break new ground…at least for a while. It will be high enjoyment watching what you come up with in the future.


  5. Vince, you've captured the heart of the new Romance Realism! These books tackling "undesireable" themes deepen the focus of HEA, the effort and obstacles in earning the right to be happy and thankful.

    No one does it better than Ruth Logan Herne! I can't thank you enough for showcasing her work, along with other authors who may not write the material necessary to catch the nod of traditional publishing, yet tell stories that grip the heart of readers eager for depth and Romance Realism.

    You are a wonder and a blessing. Keep up the awesome work, Vince!!

  6. Hi Audra:

    Your kind comments made my day and provide great encouragement to go on doing what I do. However, there are those who are not so appreciative of all my work. Polly Pantser and Beatrice Plotter are sometimes taken too seriously. Those two ladies are just fun to be around. They are really nice when you get to know them. : )