My Romance Novels, Let Me Show You Them, by Heather Osborn

It’s like a visit to Wonderland, folks: a photographic tour of some of the best of Heather Osborn’s romance collection. Seriously, it’s like a library of awesome up in here.

    Hi all, I’m Heather Osborn, editor of the Tor Romance line. But I don’t just edit romance – I’m a life-long fan of the genre. As such, I have amassed quite the collection, one that has followed me across the country from Southern California, to Ohio, and now to New York. Sarah asked me to give you a peek into my collection, so I’ve picked some of the more unusual and hard to find books to highlight here. So without further ado, enjoy part of my collection with a bit of cover snark and occasional book commentary thrown in!

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Demonwood by Anne Stuart. This is a Candlelight Intrigue that released in September 1979. Needless to say, I tracked this down used. First off, doesn’t the guy on this cover look like Roger Moore? Secondly, if this was an erotic paranormal romance, Demonwood would be the best title ever!

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Cameron’s Landing by Anne Stuart. Another Candlelight Intrigue from May 1979. Would it surprise you to hear that this is a gothic romance? Windswept cliffs, storm-tossed ocean, darkly brooding hero? Yup, it’s a gothic.

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Escape Out of Darkness by Anne Stuart. This is the first of three “Maggie Bennett” novels. Sadly, I don’t have the other two. Because seriously. This is magical. The tagline on the book reads “Danger is her middle name…and romance is her trademark.” Just like Austin Powers!

    Please also take note of Don Johnson circa Miami Vice on the cover. Down to the stubble! I don’t think it’s a coincidence – this book came out in 1987, the era of baby pink blazers and shoes with no socks.

    But let’s not forget the heroine in this picture. Her one-piece royal blue jumpsuit is also breathtaking. What better attire to jump out of an Alpine chalet in?

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Against the Wind by Anne Stuart. Yes, I know this is a lot of Stuart, but how could I leave this out? This gem from 1985 features Mom jeans, a pink satin blouse in the act of being wrenched off, and frosty blue eye shadow. And that’s not even addressing the best thing about this cover: MULLET. A salt and pepper mullet held back by a bandana! Glorious.

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Dead God Dancing by Ann Maxwell aka Elizabeth Lowell, June 1979. These books are really hard to find – I lucked out and found them here and there at thrift stores, used book stores, etc. I also have her Dancer trilogy and the other books that were reprinted in the 90s by Kensington. But I actually have the originals. And who wouldn’t want them? Look at the amazing art! The titles I am profiling here weren’t reprinted, as far as I know. Too bad, because they are actually really great fantasy stories.


I love old cover art, and I love that some books are so hard to find that coming across one in a used bookstore is a thrill like no other. What older books do you wish you could track down – aside from these GEMS of ARTISTIC AWESOME?

Stay tuned for more of the Trip to Wonderland with Heather Osborn – I’ve got more covers, and they are amazing.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Miranda says:

    Demonwood: I don’t know what she’s done to make the butler (or maybe her dad) disapprove of her quite that much.

    Cameron’s Landing must have been rough in those high seas. Probably why she’s so tired.

    Escape out of Darkness: I like the bold gender reversal…girl in blue, boy in pink. It’s edgy!

    Against the Wind: What’s wrong with that poor woman’s left hand?

    Dead God Dancing: Looks more like Dead God having a Nap while suspended.

  2. 2

    Damn, I was released in 1979 (so to speak) and I’m nowhere near as awesome as any of those covers.

  3. 3
    Nadia says:

    Oh, those old Anne Stuarts, I has me all but Demonwood.  I lust over Demonwood! ;) I have the second Maggie Bennett, which has nowhere near the awesomeness of the first cover, although there has been a hero change.  The third one is hella expensive on the used book market, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to pay that much.  Yet.

  4. 4
    DS says:

    I have the 1st ed hardcover of Cameron’s Landing.  I think it’s in the attic so I’m not dead certain about it, but I think it has a pretty basic gothic novel dj.  At least in the pb cover the hero made the cover—usually it was just a woman and a house.

  5. 5
    KristieJ says:

    I thought I had me so old Anne Stuart books – but *g* you win.  Though Against the Wind looks familiar – I just might have that one.
    And there’s something just odd about the second cover – not meaning to sound sexist or anything, but she’s wearing blue and he’s wearing pink – isn’t that backwards? :-)

  6. 6
    Gennita Low says:

    I love Ann Stuart oldies! I spent the last thirty years looking for many of the originals.  I have the ones you have above, except, I think, Against The Wind (I’d have remember that cover!).  I do have all the Maggie Bennett originals, which took a long time to find. It’s always fun for me to play with my Stuart books and your post is tempting me to do it again.

    I used to track down every Nora Roberts originals I could find but there were so many I ran out of shelf space. So I’m now content to look for foreign copies when I go traveling and getting her to sign them.  I love the campy old paranormals and space opera romances (the ones with medieval space visitors who prefer swords over guns, yeahhhhh) and still collect them when I see one at an UBS.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  7. 7
    meoskop says:

    I used to have an astonishing collection, all the avon ribbon books, all the candlelights, etc. I still have a bajillion in storage (i know I have the Ann Maxwell’s for example) but every so often I drag a few boxes to the library book sale. No room in the townhouse!

  8. 8

    Roooaring!

    Escape out of Darkness = Throw Momma from the Train

  9. 9
    Polly says:

    I lucked out—a few months ago, I found a copy of the Windflower at a UBS for $0.50!!! And then I got to enjoy the awesomeness that is the Windflower. For anyone in the Nashville are, McKay’s is the place to get an amazing range of out-of-print titles.

    I’m always on the lookout for the old Heyer paperback covers. The guys always look so weathered, and the women are the oldest 17 years olds ever.

  10. 10
    Tikaanidog says:

    Wow, that’s an Ann Maxwell I’ve never heard of – and for a mere $40 you can get it used on Amazon. Ok, don’t think I need it that bad… (I also have all the Dancer books, at least 2 are original printings)

  11. 11

    I love Maxwell/Lowell for the same reason I love Crais—the plot and the tight writing. I found one SF Maxwell under the ‘plume Charteris, which is a lot like my name so I could remember it easily. and bought it for a buck fifty. Good read; excellent world.

    art67: serendipity for the artist like me who reads and writes too!

  12. 12
    Ann says:

    Some day I want to get a collection of all the books in which Fabio was the cover model. I love me some Fabio…  I still have both his calendars.  And am right now, using my Fabio “I can’t believe it’s not butter” mousepad—at work no less!

  13. 13
    Elise Logan says:

    I actually have A Dead God Dancing, as well as several others of hers – the Dancer trilogy (and I’m very depressed she never revisited that), The Jaws of Menx, and some others. They are very good.

    These are great – it brought back memories of the Linda Howard SIM books – my favorite cover of those is for Heartbreaker. The rerelease has boring cover art, but the original has pornstache, lightning and a horse FTFO in the background (which has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the book). Great stuff.

  14. 14
    DONNA says:

    I KNEW IT! I had the first two Maxwell Dancer books, bought new, but never found a third – even though it was obvious that there was supposed to be a third. And of course, having recently parted with the first two because, really, how long should you hang on to a trilogy without a third installment, it is now confirmed that there was a third book. If only I tried had harder I might have found the third book. I am a fool. Why, why do I try to control the size of my book collection? Getting rid of a book is always a bad idea. My fate is sealed I am 47 cats away from being a horder.

    Fine99?! I am so far from fine.

  15. 15
    donna says:

    Elise, OMG, yes, award winning pornsatche on Heartbreaker!! People you need to find this book cover!

  16. 16

    It’s not a big pic, but here’s what I suspect is the Heartbreaker cover in question.

  17. 17
    donna says:

    Oh, yes that’s it. Meredith Baxter-Birney meets John Holmes, stormy skies and the rearing stallion. Classic.

  18. 18
    meoskop says:

    And of course, having recently parted with the first two because, really, how long should you hang on to a trilogy without a third installment, it is now confirmed that there was a third book. If only I tried had harder I might have found the third book. I am a fool.

    Feel better, Donna. it didn’t really resolve the story. I was so passionate about the topic I wrote her a letter in which I also complained about algebra. (I was very young). She wrote me a lovely note back commiserating on my math based woes and informing me that Lowell was outselling Maxwell like woah, so the series wouldn’t progress. She also directed me to her other pen names, which used all my allowance. Broke and stuck with algebra homework, the trauma!

  19. 19
    Erica says:

    Wait! Is Anne Stuart a great as-yet-undiscovered (by me) author? Or is it just that her covers are, uh, memorable. They do, however, present the opportunity for LOLcovers. (Remember, here at SB, they invented LOLporn.)

  20. 20
    Nadia says:

    Erica,  Anne Stuart is the queen of the morally flexible hero, LOL.  If you like bad boys who do bad things and must redeem themselves before they get to keep the girl, damaged heroines who have to find a way to pull on their big girl panties, and truly disturbing over-the-top villains, she’s your woman. Wrote an assload of categories before moving up to single-title historicals and romantic suspense.  Her most recent, Silver Falls, is not one of her best, IMO, so I wouldn’t recommend starting there.  Black Ice was a breakout hit for her in RS, and the start of a series.  Any of the historicals are good reads, and Cinderman and Catspaw 1 and 2 from series are just plain fun.

  21. 21
    Ann Bruce says:

    Ah, Heather, I’m a bit of an Anne Stuart collector.  You wouldn’t be willing to part with those four books, would you?

  22. 22
    cate says:

    Good God !  I’ve got Anne Stuarts The Demon Count & The Demon Count’s Daughter( sadly I even know that I bought them from Woolworths in Splott ! pushing 30 years ago !!!). But the guy on the Demon Count cover bears a marked resemblance to the actor who played the smoothie in Animal House …Tim ??? something.  Now I’ll have to read them again…Such hardship 1

  23. 23
    sweetsiouxsie says:

    The Pink Dress. I read it in Junior HIgh. It was my first romance novel. Actually, I tracked down a copy of it on Amazon. I was really excited until I saw that the seller wanted $400.00 for it. It is considered a collectors item and there it was on the shelves of our school library.

  24. 24
    Tina C. says:

    I’ve got the 2nd Maggie Bennett novel, Darkness Before the Dawn, and I’ve never been able to get my hands on 1 and 3 (because I’m not willing to pay $40 or more for them).  I’ve also got Against the Wind, which, ridiculous cover aside, is one great book!  I’ve read it multiple times.  Now that I look at that cover with a more discerning eye, doesn’t the hero look like Sam Elliot’s character, Gar, in Mask?

  25. 25
    LitaC says:

    I’m kind of proud to say that based on the covers shown, my library and Heather’s are pretty much the same.

    Regarding Ann Maxwell’s “Dead God Dancing” – the cover art is awesome, and so is the book.  There’s another one, “Name of a Shadow” which has cover art by the same artist (Wikipedia mistakenly gives this a publication date of 1984, but I think it was released a year after DGD).  Both books, as well as “Change” and “The Singer Enigma” are set in the same universe.  Unfortunately, Ann Maxwell is a writer whose writing has gotten less interesting as she’s gotten more popular.  Her science fiction was wonderfully interesting, well plotted and very satisfying.  As good now as it was when it was first published.  I wish I could say the same for what she’s written since.

  26. 26
    Elise Logan says:

    I’m pretty sure that Timeshadow Rider and the Dancer trilogy are also set in the same universe, but in different time periods. all those Zarain bits.

    I am still swamped with woe (WOE!) when I consider that she never wrote or revisited the Dancer books. I want so badly to know what happens there. *whine*

  27. 27
    meganb says:

    OMG!  Last month, after looking for years, I found Get Luckyby Suzanne Brockmann!  I was so excited, I wanted to post here, but it didn’t seem appropriate, but now it is!!  Yay, me!

    FYI, this is the Get Lucky cover, which has the most unattractive SEAL ever on the cover: http://www.suzannebrockmann.com/Lucky_Cover.htm

    This is the new cover for the eBook, which I printed out and pasted on the book while I read it http://www.suzannebrockmann.com/what’s_new.htm
    (4.25 stars out of 5).  Much better than Prince Joe.

    I’ve read a few of Anne Stuart’s newer books (the Ice ones), and the moral flexibility of the hero’s was a deal breaker for me.  I might have to revisit the earlier stuff, based on what I’ve read here.

  28. 28
    Kristina says:

    The logo for the Candlelight books is sparking some long hidden memory in me. 

    When I was much too young for romances my mom’s (single at the time) boyfriend’s mother gave me like 4 paper grocery bags full to the top of these little Reader’s Digest size magazines that had about 3 or 4 condensed romance stories in them.  I can remember that later on when I was like 12-14 I realized that they were abridged stories from some monthly romance novel company like Harlequin or Shilouette, but not them.  I had borrowed a couple of them (the books) from the library and they were the same stories from the magazines.

    Man I would kill to have those little magazines back.  I was probably 8-9 when I got them, maybe younger.  I’m super surprised my mom didn’t trash them before I had a chance to read them.  I remember reading them in grade school that that is what sparked the whole romance reading thing for me.

    Security word= doubt84   – I was given those magazine around 1984, and I doubt my mother (who keeps claiming the basement flooded whenever she throws my stuff away) would have kept these.

  29. 29
    Tamara Hogan says:

    meganb said:

    and the moral flexibility of the hero’s was a deal breaker for me.

    Ah, the moral ambiguity is the thing I absolutely adore about most of Anne Stuart’s “Ice” heroes. I had a chance to tell her this at 2009 RWA National.  She responded as follows: “Morally ambiguous?  You’re being far too polite.  They’re absolutely certifiable.”  Then she threw her back her head and laughed.  She was wearing devil’s horns at the time. 

    I’m getting all verklempt just recounting the story.  I just love her.  She has no fear.

  30. 30
    MaryK says:

    I have a couple of these and am quite jealous of the others.

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