Dear Flavia: Reading Comfort Zones + Teal Deers

Darlings, I’ve been on a glorious, around-the-world cruise for some time now. It’s been too fabulous, seeing the sights — from glaciers to black, green and pink-sanded beaches (and that’s not to mention the lounging lotharios), but it’s time for me to come back to you, duckies. So much has changed in publishing whilst I was cruising, I feel you need Flavia’s guidance in how to navigate it all. What to read? What to write? Where to publish? I’m here for you, my lovelies.


Dear Flavia,

I’ve always been reluctant to read anything that takes place prior to the Regency era. Don’t know why, it just doesn’t appeal to me. Do you have a “reading comfort zone”? Have you tried to reach beyond it with any success?


Maryann, Darling,

Flavia is a lover of all literature. The world is our oyster, this is why Ben Franklin invented libraries, etc. If you want to expand your reading horizons, why not start slow? You enjoy the Regency, perhaps a trip to the Medieval era is just the ticket. The men are a titch more barbaric — which can be compelling. Why not try the great Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams? The hero — whom everyone refers to as The Wolf — kidnaps the heroine from a convent. It’s quite swoony. Your other option is to leap completely outside your comfort zone — perhaps to a futuristic erotica? Kit Rocha’s Beyond series has given me a case of the vapors more than once. Beyond Shame is where to start — you may want to forewarn any lovers, though, Maryann, as this book is steaming. If neither of these cause your interests to stray from Jolly Old England in the 1800s, that’s quite all right. Read what you love, Maryann dearest, as life is too short to do otherwise. Just ask my four dearly departed husbands.



Dear Flavia,

I just read a fun historical but had to skip/skim through the last few chapters. I admit I am not patient with books, I prefer the shorter length novels or novellas, but really, sometimes I find myself almost yelling at my Kindle, “Oh, for heavens sake! Just get on with it!” Too much detail and too many added chapters beyond where I expected it to end, and it becomes a saga not a novel. Can a book be too long?


Dearest L.C.,

You sound like a passionate reader, just like moi. We love our books, we feel them, we experience them. So when they do go on and on, well, one can be inclined to yell at one’s ereader. I shall not judge. So can a tome be too long? Of course, as in most things in life, it depends. Can your lover send you too many bouquets? A lady only has so many vases, L.C. Can you have too many fabulous hats? We have but one head! As to books, certain authors could go on and on, to my great delight. Take Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Jamie Fraser in a kilt — who couldn’t read about him for days … weeks, even? But other stories surely deserve shorter treatment, especially in this fast-paced world we inhabit. So if a book begins to slow … skim and shout to the heavens, my dear. As kids these days say online, “tl;dr.” Then try a connected anthology. That way if you get bored and want to exit tout suite, you still know what happens.



And now my darlings, I need your help. The first to solve this query will receive a book selected by yours truly, guaranteed to entertain. 

Kelly writes: I am looking for a romance — or romantic suspense — about three people who were part of an abusive cult, or some other situation. The male character was the protector for two girls. He falls in love with one of the women, possibly the more shy, reserved one.

Think you know the title? Leave a comment here and the dolls at RT will choose a random winner. The giveaway is open to U.S. readers only, but guesses from all corners of the world are welcome!

Have a question for Flavia? Email us at, and we’ll track her down for you. 

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