You've been waiting breathlessly for this list, right? Well, I've been doing a LOT of reading lately, and my list of peeves grows longer by the day. So here goes nothing...
1. Abandoning the core couple halfway through the romance. I've read a few books lately where the main couple is all but forgotten for the last half of the book. I love a good sub-plot as much as the next reader, but if you've asked me to commit to your couple at the outset, give me their full story. Please.
2. Data dumping. I don't want to know your characters' entire life story in the first ten pages. Don't do this to me. Nothing is more boring to read than nonstop recitation of past history. There are so many clever ways to get this job done. Please be clever.
3. If you build me up with crackling chemistry and sensual encounters that lead to the happy couple landing on a bed, please oh please do not have the next scene open with the sun creeping through the blinds. I beg of you. Show me what happens. Especially if you are writing for a line that promises a certain heat level. I have expectations. Please meet them.
4. Please remember your characters' names. I recently read a book where the name of a secondary character changed halfway through the book. I notice these things. Please remember the names of the people you create. If you don't, who will?
5. Kids in romances who are bratty, not cute. Thinking of what I would say to the kid takes me out of your story. Please discipline your bratty fictional kids the same way you would if they were actually yours. Don't make me have to do it. Don't make me.
UPDATE: Bonus Peeve that I thought of last night after I posted this: unplanned pregnancies in romance. Sorry, ladies (and gents), it's 2010. We all know how to prevent pregnancy. The unplanned babies need to stop. We're also grown ups, not horny teenagers in the back seat of Dad's car. The minute you foist an unplanned pregnancy on me, I think your characters are too stupid to live. ESPECIALLY if one of those characters work in the medical field in ANY capacity. That makes them even stupider. Now I have a pregnancy SCARE in my next book because of a "malfunction." I think that's different, but you may disagree. If you do, let me have it! :-)
Those are the latest additions to my list. Tell me some of yours!
OH and please don't forget to vote for Love at First Flight for Best Book of 2009 at the Long and Short of It Reviews! We're in 2nd place!!