Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Calling All Harlequin Junkies

Every year my employer wants me to take on a special "project." Essentially something that goes above and beyond my normal job duties. In the past I've done everything from weeding, to committee work (blergh!), to giving a reader's advisory talk on the romance genre. I had my annual review this month, and once again, as am I sure will shock no one (Ha!), it was declared in writing that I am full of awesome. It also means it was time for me to come up with a new "project."

This year the lucky winner is Harlequin. Our branches receive a crap-load of donations, and naturally Harlequin is a healthy representative. The problem? Most of our librarians are confounded by those little category romances. They have no clue where to begin, what they should think about cataloging, and what should be tossed on a cart to sell for 10 cents. I proposed my idea to my boss (who naturally loved it) although I will admit that in the back of my mind I figured the librarians were likely to roll their eyes heavenward and mutter, "Oh dear Lord, Wendy is blathering about romance novels - again."

That is until I went out to a branch a couple of weeks ago and the adult services librarian swept her hands around her office and said, "Wendy, I got five big grocery bags full of Harlequin donations and I have no idea what I'm doing. I added those titles we already had in system at other locations and they've already checked out! Now I'm at a loss. Help!"

Oh Wendy, you're a frackin' genius.

So I'm in the process of putting together a presentation on all things Harlequins, with a strong focus on the category lines (although I plan on mentioning the single title lines like MIRA, HQN, and Spice as well). Now, I need some help from you all.

I want to mention those now-defunct lines from recent memory. The lines that libraries are likely still going to get donations from, but that line itself is no longer in existence at Harlequin. Here's the list I've come up with so far:
I'm also going to mention Bantam Loveswept and Zebra Bouquet - even thought they were never affiliated of Harlequin. They're still category lines, and we still do occasionally get Loveswept (in particular) donations. So probably worth mentioning.

So my question is: am I missing any obvious discontinued lines? Lines that were just discontinued within the last...oh ten years or so?


Phyl said...

Signet Regencies?

Wendy said...

Phyl: Probably worth a passing mention, although I'm not sure if they were classified as "category." The page count and publishing schedule is right, but I'm not sure if Signet ever numbered these. Anyone know for sure?

But yeah, probably warrants a mention along with Loveswept and Bouquet. I also *might* mention Candlelight Ecstasy, even though they stopped existing in the late 1980s - from what I can gather.

Katie Mack said...

I think you've hit all the main ones. The only other one I can think of is Silhouette Sensation, which ended in 2007.

You can also check here: http://www.romancewiki.com/Category:Numbered_Series

This Wiki section lists several pages of all the category lines throughout various publishers' histories.

Lynn Spencer said...

What about Silhouette Shadows? That one's from the early to mid 90s, but I still see it pop up in UBS and libary sales. I once owned every single last one of those books and could kick myself for donating most of them when I moved.

Victoria Janssen said...

I can't think of any others, but would second adding the Signet Regencies.

Olivia said...

First thought: Check your favorite used paperback seller. Mine has a ton of Harlequins...

Rowena said...

Wow, I do envy you your job. To be able to research these kinds of things and present them to my boss while getting paid to do it. That's the dream right there.

Good luck with your presentation sweetie even though I can't help you with it as I have no clue.

Alison Kent said...

Love & Laughter. Yours Truly. Duets. Flipside. Then there was Meteor Kismet. The Romance Wiki page is a great source.

nath said...

Can't help since I don't really read categories... but keep us updated in this project, it sounds really interesting :D

Tara Marie said...

Wendy: We already knew you were awesome :)

If you log into www.fictiondb.com and click on publisher series you will get an incredible list of "series" romance. They also include smaller series like "Fortune Family" and "Montana Mavericks"

Here are just the Harlequin and Silhouette listings:

Harlequin American Romance
Harlequin Harlequin American Romance Premiere
Harlequin Harlequin Blaze
Harlequin Harlequin Crosswinds
Harlequin Harlequin Crosswinds Keepsake
Harlequin Harlequin Duets
Harlequin Harlequin Everlasting
Harlequin Harlequin Famous Firsts
Harlequin Harlequin Flipside
Harlequin Harlequin Gothic
Harlequin Harlequin Historical
Harlequin Harlequin Historical (First Series)
Harlequin Harlequin Historical Subscription
Harlequin Harlequin Intrigue
Harlequin Harlequin Kimani Romance
Harlequin Harlequin Love Affair
Harlequin Harlequin Love and Laughter
Harlequin Harlequin Medical
Harlequin Harlequin NEXT
Harlequin Harlequin Petite
Harlequin Harlequin Premiere
Harlequin Harlequin Presents
Harlequin Harlequin Presents Extra
Harlequin Harlequin Presents Subscription
Harlequin Harlequin Regency
Harlequin Harlequin Romance
Harlequin Harlequin Romance Subscription
Harlequin Harlequin Super Romance
Harlequin Harlequin Temptation

Silhouette Bombshell
SilhouetteSilhouette Desire
SilhouetteSilhouette First Love
SilhouetteSilhouette Inspirations
SilhouetteSilhouette Intimate Moments
SilhouetteSilhouette Romance
SilhouetteSilhouette Romance UK
SilhouetteSilhouette Sensation
SilhouetteSilhouette Shadows
SilhouetteSilhouette Special Editions
SilhouetteSilhouette Yours Truly

michellewillingham said...

You made a funny little slip--you wrote Silhouette BombSELL instead of BombSHELL.

Accurate! Funny! :) Though unintentional, I'm sure.

You got all the ones I could think of, really.

Is Red Dress Ink still publishing?

Wendy said...

Michelle: Maybe if it was BombSELL, they would have sold more and the line wouldn't have been discontinued? LOL

Red Dress Ink is still around - but they only publish 6 (I think?) or so books a year now. Not nearly as many as when they first launched.

Thanks for all your help everybody. The one that was driving me batty was Silhouette Shadows. Couldn't dredge that one up from my memory at all - but did recall that Harlequin did have paranormals pre-Nocturne.

Cece Writer said...

I didn't see this mentioned but there was also Dell Candlelight Ecstasy (which might have gone on to become Loveswept--Sandra Brown wrote for both lines)...and FYI once upon a time, Silhouette was owned by S & S!!


Cece Writer said...

OOPS!! Sorry Wendy. S'what I get for multi-tasking! LOL

Wendy said...

Amie: Heh, that's OK. It's been known to happen to the best of us.

Yeah, I do plan on discussing a little bit of history - which includes Silhouette's early days and their eventual merger with HQ.

joykenn said...

Wendy--back when I was a public librarian (was that one billion years ago or only 1/2 billion?) I noticed that in our book exchange Harlequins brought in was snapped up quickly. So I proposed a "paperback romance collection". Much scoffing and scorn but I persisted. We took paperback romances donated, did minimal cataloging cause they were "ephemeral" in our online catalog, had a volunteer slap a label, etc. on them.

We arranged them by type and then put them in order by date more or less. They were super-popular much to the surprise of some of the more snobbish of my fellow librarians. So much so we started buying them. They would circulate 20 times a year before we weeded them out AND sell well at our annual booksale. Since they were in our online catalog we got ILLs for them and sent them out to other libraries locally--not nationally.

I've long moved on in the library world but they STILL have an excellent romance collection, still have a paperback romance collection and they still circulate (though they've been moving the racks around the building so much they're hard to find now). Ahhhh, my contribution to romance readers in my area is set. I expect a statue any day. (Sigh! I only wish!). Educate those other librarians about genrue fiction. If you have any aspirations to fill the "popular reading center" role for your library, romances are an inexpensive way to make lots and lots of folks very happy.

Wendy said...

Joy: What I'm discovering is that more of our libraries want to offer "browsing" collections like this, get titles cataloged etc. - they just have no idea where or how to start. Also, what I have encountered among my various reader advisory presentations with non-romance reading librarians is how "surprised" they are to learn how much variety is in the genre. They might not sneer at romance, but they are a bit clueless on what the genre currently has to offer.

Which is where I'm hoping this presentation will help. Hopefully.

joykenn said...

Wendy--if you're interested sometimes I'll dig out a copy of my presentation years ago to the PLA conference in San Diego on "The Images of Women in Genre Fiction: Romances, Mysteries, Westerns and Science Fiction" and share it with you. In fact the extensive bibliography I handed out might be in ERIC documents. (I should have written a book!)

Wendy said...

Joy: You should have written a book! The research reading alone would have been oodles of fun.

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll see if I can scour that bibliography up on ERIC.....

Cheryl St.John said...

You are brilliant. I guess that's why you're the Super Librarian.