The Story Of A Floundering Romance Novel. It’s A Tear Jerker With An Inconclusive Ending. . .

Do I leave it to wither and die, or give it another chance?

Janice Macdonald
4 min readSep 27, 2022


(author’s photo)

So today’s inconsequential and non-earth-shattering question is this. I have a completed romance novel that’s been on a long and exhausting publishing journey to nowhere. Details follow. Right now, I’m trying to decide whether to leave it in deep freeze or expose it to the light of day on Medium and see what happens.

As some of you know, I used to write for Harlequin. Nine books published for the SuperRomance line — longer books, 75,000 words and the line was considered closer to mainstream fiction than many of the frothier or more erotic lines.

“I wanted to transcend the genre,” she said, her nose in the air.

While that didn’t exactly happen, I did have a couple of great editors who gave me enough latitude with the books that my male and female protagonists didn’t end up walking down the aisle after a five-day whirlwind romance. By book three, they weren’t even talking engagement rings. No throbbing members, or heaving bosoms either.

The format was long enough that I could also create subplots with non-romantic characters — often inspired by people in my life. My mother, for example, in her nineties at the time, was a gold mine of material. She could be infuriating and unintentionally hilarious in equal measure. Just like the fictional mother in my book — although the real mum could see no resemblance.

My mum pretending to understand a computer (author’s photo)

But even with the editorial latitude and some quite decent royalties, by the time I finished the ninth book, I’d had enough of romance writing. I went on to other things, moved to France, completed drafts of a couple of novels — non-romance — and embarked on some other writing projects.

I didn’t really want to return to writing romance, but my financial situation, while not quite on life support, needed the kind of cash infusion I’d once earned from three-book contracts. I contacted my…



Janice Macdonald

At 68, I started a new chapter in my life: I moved to France. Alone. It turned out to be quite the page-turner. Still is — even when age insists on a part.