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Fun Facts from the Harlequin Firsts

We have an extra special guest today. Please give a warm Cata welcome to Harlequin’s Executive Editor Marsha Zinberg. Marsha is on a grand tour of the romance community talking about firsts. I know that we’ve talked about this in the past. Take a look back at our Hooked on Romance post a few weeks ago. And we’ve asked authors about their firsts as well…first sales in addition to what got them hooked on romance.

Marsha will be sharing First Fun Facts. And you know how much we love our fun facts here at CataRomance! Thanks so much for dropping by Marsha. And readers, I hope you’ll all chime in with a few fun facts of your own.

Chatting with our Famous Firsts authors did yield a few interesting facts and viewpoints that I thought I’d share with you:

  • Lindsay McKenna claims the distinction of starting one of the first trilogies in romance publishing: The Travis trilogy began publication in 1984.

  • Vicki Lewis Thompson has thought a lot about the Susan Boyle phenomenon. She empathizes with an introvert who wants to be famous. Vicki once stood on a table at a writers’ conference, clicked on some background musical accompaniment (I think it might have been a tape player!) and belted out Aretha Franklin’s Respect! She did a great job. I know. I was there!

  • Stella Cameron considered herself a literary snob, until she read Captive of Desire by Alexandra Sellers. It blew her away!

  • Anne Stuart loves the fact that her books are reprinted in so many languages in so many foreign countries.

  • Lori Foster finally broke into print when she wrote the book that she wanted to read: she wanted to see and experience that love scene!

  • Joan Johnston is a football fan. And she recently learned to play tennis.

  • Linda Lael Miller was out selling girl scout cookies with her daughter when she got the news that she’d sold her first book.

  • Debbie Macomber began writing when her children were small. She’s now a grandmother to eight!

  • Carla Neggers feels fortunate that she began writing for the Temptation line when it was in its infancy. It helped her develop her character as a writer.

Do you have a fun fact to share?

Cataromance has one nostalgia Harlequin tote bag and some Famous First novels to giveaway.

Don’t forget that you can enjoy 16 free Harlequin novels by downloading them at www.HarlequinCelebrates.com. And the Harlequin Cover Art Show in New York runs May 30 – June 12th at the Open House Gallery, New York City (201 Mulberry Street in Soho).

Previous stops include Dear Author, Romancing the Blog, BookBinge, Plot Monkeys, Romance Junkies and the Blaze Authors blog.

Readers, don’t forget to tell us some fun facts about yourself, your reading habits, about your favorite authors. Donna will be here with goodie packets from the Cata Goodie Box! Come back tomorrow for more contests and prizes from Cata authors.

The complete list of the Harlequin Famous Firsts with original pub date:

  • The Matchmakers [1986] by Debbie Macomber
  • Tears of the Renegade [1985] by Linda Howard
  • Tangled Lies [1984] by Anne Stuart
  • Moontide [1985] by Stella Cameron
  • State Secrets [1985] by Linda Lael Miller
  • Uneasy Alliance [1984] by Jayne Ann Krentz
  • Night Moves [1985] by Heather Graham
  • Impetuous [1996] by Lori Foster
  • The Cowboy and the Lady [1982] by Diana Palmer (available in September 2009)
  • Fit to be Tied [1988] by Joan Johnston (available in September 2009)
  • Captivated [1986] by Carla Neggers (available in September 2009)
  • Bronze Mystique [1984] by Barbara Delinsky (available in September 2009)
  • Falcon’s Prey by Penny Jordan[1981] (available exclusively on www.eHarlequin.com October 2009)
  • Reckless Love by Elizabeth Lowell [1989] (available exclusively on www.eHarlequin.com October 2009)
  • Notorious by Vicki Lewis Thompson [2001[ (available exclusively on www.eHarlequin.com October 2009)
  • Heart of the Eagle by Lindsay McKenna [1986] (available exclusively on www.eHarlequin.com October 2009)
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posted Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 | filed under Blog
35 Responses to “Fun Facts from the Harlequin Firsts”

  1. Carol Hutchens said:

    What a fun post! Loved reading the list. Interested by your reference to Susan Boyle. I bet there isn’t a writer out there that doesn’t appreciate the story. It’s perfect.

  2. Celia Jade said:

    Hello CataRomance and hello Ms. Zinberg!

    The very first romance I read was a Harlequin Presents when I was sixteen–so about 23 years ago. It was a book by Anne Mather and after that I was hooked on Harlequin. I’ve collected over a hundred books since then, mainly Presents. I treasure them…although some have been neatly stored in boxes because I don’t have any room left on my bookshelves. I’m a fan of the ethnic series like the Greek Tycoons because I adore dark, alpha men and lovely Mediterranean locales. I’ve also been enjoying the new eBook lines, mainly Spice Briefs–hot stuff!

    An important time in my life was when I decided I wanted to become a writer. After striving for the longest time, I finally did it. I’ve got several books online with two eBook publishers and I absolutely love writing romance–particularly erotic romance.

    I’d love a chance to win a basket of Harlequin books! This is a great treat.

    All the best Harlequin!

    Celia Jade

  3. Roxann Delaney said:

    Fun facts, huh? Two of my favorite authors, Kathie DeNosky and Patricia Davids both received THE CALL on my birthday, although different years. :grin: My call came on my wedding anniversary.

  4. Ellen said:

    A fun fact about myself???? My ex-sister-in-law introduced me to Harlequin romance books AFTER her divorce from my brother. :???: It’s a long story and we are still friends and my brother doesn’t mind.

  5. Lise Fuller said:

    I, too, love the Susan Boyle story. To me it’s just like Cinderella. Well done!

    ~ Lise Fuller

    Guardian Angel out now with Ellora’s Cave.

    How much danger would you face for the perfect romance?

    Lise Fuller, www.lisefuller.com, www.myspace.com/lisefuller

  6. Ellen said:

    Ooops I hit the submit button before I mentioned that I still love reading romance and would love to win a tote bag full of books. There are a couple of the firsts listed above that I actually have on my book shelves.

  7. Eva S said:

    I’ve been reading Harlequin since 1970, my first one was The Arrogant Duke by Anne Mather. Most of my books are on my keeper shelf, and soon my grandchildren read them! Great list, many of my favorite authors still write wonderful books!

  8. ellie said:

    I enjoyed your wonderful post today. It reminded me of all the Harlequin books that I read when I was growing up. I could not resist their pull and their amazing covers. I enjoy fiction, family sagas, and romance which transport me to another realm. Thanks for this look back as it is so important to remember those wonderful times and the books that are memorable.

  9. cheryl c. said:

    A fun fact about me is that I am addicted to books – reading and buying! I have so many books that I have them stashed in various places throughout the house. Some piles are books that I haven’t read yet, and some are “keeper” books that I enjoyed reading and don’t want to part with. (A lot of them are Harlequins.) Don’t tell my husband, but I have some hidden piles that he doesn’t know about! :oops:

  10. Martha Lawson said:

    Really enjoyed the posts. I am a big reader. Silhouette/Harlequin’s were my first love and I still read lots of them. I also am a book addict! I have a “book room” full of books to be read and also that have been read. (Probably close to a thousand) Love my books – can you tell? Did I mention that I’m a librarian? Would love to win this batch of books ( you can never have to many )!!

  11. Sandra M said:

    I have been reading Harlequin books since the early 90s. I thought they were strictly sweet romances until I spotted a Harlequin Intrigue in a Kmart store by my house. Ever since that first Intrigue novel (called Dominoes), I’ve been hooked. I still love the Intrigues, but over the years I’ve also enjoyed Silhouette Shadows, Silhouette Romantic Suspsense (Intimate Moments), Steeple Hill Inspired Suspense and more. Some of my favorite Intirgue authors past and present are/were: Anne Stuart, Kelsey Roberts, BJ Daniels, Dani Sinclair, Amanda Stevens, and Carla Cassidy.
    I will always be a Harlequin fan!

  12. Mari said:

    Hi! Actually, I just recently started reading Harlequin. Until I received my Sony Reader, I mostly went for longer novels, historicals usually. However, then I found a bundle on the bookstore website and decided to try! Now I am addicted to them, particularly the presents line. I am curious about Lowell’s book, since I have mostly read her recent releases.

  13. Cheryl S. said:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your post. There are so many Harlequin lines that I like. The Temptations were my absolute favorites. I’m also a fan of Intrigues, Harlequin Americans and the Blaze line, of course.
    Thanks for sharing some fun facts with us.

  14. Linda B said:



  15. Linda B said:

    :mrgreen: GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!

  16. Sally said:

    I read Harlequin and Silhouette books because I’m a slow reader and I like to finish a book in one day. These books usually take me seven hours, more or less, to read.

  17. Penney said:

    The harlequin books were my first romance books to read way back in 1980′s and still are the best


  18. Kammie said:

    Stopping in after a long, tough day at work. Enjoyed reading the post. Thanks for all those fun facts. Had to laugh when I read the one about Linda Lael Miller. Cute story!

    I remember reading Harlequin when I was in my early twenties. That was a long time ago. Not sure what the first story I read was, but I’ve been reading them ever since. I love the wide variety of stories you can choose from. My favorites are many!

  19. Kimmy Lane said:

    I started reading Harlequin when I was 16. I loved reading and one day I found my mom’s Harlequin romance novels and got hooked on reading romance. I’ve been reading ever since.
    Val Daniels, Brenda Hiatt, Kate Walker, Jacqueline Diamond, Liz Fielding and many more.

  20. Caffey said:

    I started reading the Harlequin Romances with my mom! I used to visit her room each night and we’d talk about the books she read and what I read. Each night I would pick a Harlequin book to read from her. Too I bought books from library for her when she ran out and waiting for the next month’s books to be out. She often read them over again! When I got older, I used to love to beat her to the store and buy all the books out and bring them to her. We’d laugh. She always got to read them before I could! Then I would read and after donate to the nursing homes. They knew when we were coming each month with the books for them. Even when my mom was very ill, I was reading some harlequins to her. I was re-reading some Judith Bowman (sp?) and her Town Of Glory Super Romances. They were ones that both my mom and I loved so I was reading her favorites to her then. I’ve continued to read them since. We had a special relationship because we both loved to read romance! I can’t remember my first book I read but I was reading everything they had out then too!

  21. Sue said:

    :grin: Much like Stella Cameron, I, too, was a literary snob. I vowed never to touch a romance novel, but less go near Harlequin. Well, one day in my early 20s, I had finished the book I was reading and desperate for anything to read, I grab LEOPARD IN THE SNOW by Ann Mather, my very first romance. (Honestly, I picked it because of the cover picture :oops: .) I didn’t just read that book, I devoured it. And the second I read the last word and the end of that book, I immedately turned to page 1 and started rereading it. I had the hotest, most sensual interaction between the H/H, I just fell in love with romances ever since. I still have Ann Mather’s book tucked safely way. I’m 52 now and loving Harlequin and romance. :grin:

  22. Laurie G said:

    I started reading romance books back in 1986. I love the HEA endings. I have read several of the above authors but managed to miss many of their firsts!
    I read a lot of Diana Palmer, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Heather Graham, Lavyrle Spencer, Laurie McBain, and Catherine Coulture too.
    Cats are a favorite because they’re great when you have to wait… picking kids up or doctor’s appointments etc.
    I started with the Romance line, moved on to Presents, Desires,Historicals Temptations, Blazes, Intriques, Inspirationals, Medicals…. I love them all!

  23. Sue said:

    Oops, some of my typos are rather, :oops: er, naughty sounding. The one I need to clear up the most is : IT (THE BOOK) had the hotest, most sensual interaction between the H/H.

    Sorry about that. :lol:

  24. Pamela K. Kinney/Sapphire Phelan said:

    Read Harlequins since the 80s. Love the growth the lines have went through, too.
    As an published writer myself, I guess my first (wasn’t a book or short story) was getting three poems published in a magazine when I was 17 in 1972. Was exciting for a teen to get paid for writing. :grin:

  25. Judith Rochelle said:

    I rewrote my very first manuscript 42 times (I counted) before finally selling it. Now, after 47 releases, Book #One is finally going to be out this fall. Yay!

  26. Desiree Holt said:

    I wrote my first erotic romance as a dare from my husband, who named my characters and the book. Thanks for being here, Marsha, and for sharing all these great Fun Facts with us.

  27. Judith said:

    It looks like all us “sweet young things” from the 70′s were weaned on Ann Mather and never looked back! As I grew older I added a little more spice and was sad to say goodbye to Temptation, but eagerly Blazed into the next series. I also love Romantic Suspense and with soooo many great authors at Harlequin I plan to stay a very long time.
    keep ‘em coming!

  28. Valerie said:


    I live in Germany but am a Brit. I’ve always been a reader since I found out that letters could make words!!

    Meeting favourite authors is more of a dream for me, but I have met a few over here.

    My favourite fantasy author is Terry Pratchett, and I got to meet him, have books signed and have a little chat.

    I’ve also met George R R Martin and Tad Williams.

    In the romance genre, I’ve met Sherrilyn Kenyon, Diana Love Snell, Kathleen Givens, Marie Treanor, Kyla um…um….well, another Scottish authro…sorry. I was at a conference here in Germany where Ellora’s Cave attended, so there were a few authors and……COVER MODELS!!! Including CJ!!

    So, I have been lucky and I am always thrilled and very appreciative when authors over the pond are willing to send me promos or even books!!!

    Hugs all,


  29. MarthaE said:

    Those are very interesting facts! I like Vicki Lewis Thompson singing! That is really neat!

  30. Elaine charton said:

    :roll: Back in the late middle ages, when I first read romances, it was nothing but Harlequin. I have so many authors on my fav list and most of them have written or continue to write for Harlequin.

  31. MarthaE said:

    Oop – bumped the wrong button before I was done! I started reading romance in late 196o’s when the MoonSpinner’s movie came out. Then I read all of Mary Stewart books! Sometime in the 80′s I remember signing up for the Harlequin Mira series… great Romantic Suspense! I collect certain authors and try to get all there back books. I was surprised to find several older Harlequins for Merline Lovelace and at least one for Christina Dodd, two of my favorites! I know I have at least 6 of the books in the above list! I don’t have my book lists here to check some of the others. Thanks to Harlequin for years of great reading! Martha

  32. Pauline Baird Jones said:

    My grandmother introduced me to Harlequin Romances. Her favorite authors were Essie Summers and Betty Neels. She told me she loved them because they took her to interesting places and she liked the romance, too. She was lost of the love of her life at 45.

    She certainly started my life long romance with romance. **g**

  33. Rachel M said:

    It is so nice that the books are being republished because they are very hard to find.

  34. CataAdmin said:

    We have winners!

    Sandra M won the tote bag from Harlequin.

    And our goodie bag winners are Sally, Judith, Valerie and Ellie.

    Also congrats to Roxann Delaney for winning our cover ad prize.

    Readers, please use this link to contact me with you snail mail address: cataromance.com/?page_id=13#ally


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