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Last Modified: February 22, 2023
An open book with red paper hearts gathered in the spine. "Love in the Prairies by Katie O'Connor" is written in white text on a red background at the bottom of the image.

Ah, February. The month of love and passion. Is there anything better?

Nowhere in the world is love more alive than in the romance publishing industry. Alberta is home to dozens, perhaps hundreds, of romance authors. They offer a rich and diverse selection of stories ranging from sweet love to steamy erotic romance; from straight to LQBTQ, and everything in between. Digging into these stories, you’ll find city and rural settings; local and foreign locales; authors and characters of colour. There are romances for teens and there is a recent trend for romances featuring characters who are later in life, colloquially know as silver fox romances. Through all of these, you’ll discover stories that warm the heart and bring you joy. And of course, there is the most important element, the HEA, the happily ever after. What romance would be complete without it.

Alberta’s authors are a mix of traditionally published; independently published; and hybrid. Because of this, readers can choose virtually any topic, social issue, subgenre, character set, or locale that interests them. If you adore quick reads, you’ll find short stories and novellas. Prefer a lengthy tome? There are full length novels and even some with the length and feel of epic sci-fi fantasy (romantasy). Many of these are available from the primary Alberta publisher of romance, Airdrie-based Books We Love.

Local romance stories come in many formats. You can pick them up on virtually all digital reading platforms; find print copies online and in brick-and-mortar bookstores; and in many cases they are available in audiobook format. You’ll even find a few being read aloud on video streaming channels.

The romance publishing industry in Alberta is supported by two primary romance writing groups, both based in Calgary, though they serve the province in its entirety. One is the ARWA, Alberta Romance Writers Association. The other is CaRWA, the Calgary Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Both groups welcome all authors regardless of gender and are dedicated helping authors hone their skills and get their books to market. They offer companionship, mentorship, industry and craft classes, critique groups, and support. Most of all, within the confines of these groups, romance writers will discover lifelong friendships and inspiration.

Some of Alberta’s most prolific and beloved romance authors include: Jean Oram (Whiskey and Gumdrops), Pamela Yaye (Pleasure in His Kiss: Love in the Hamptons), Mandy Eve Barnett (Rython Legacy), Katie O’Connor (Fire Magic), Shelley Kassian (A Sea for Summer), C.J. Carmichael (A Bramble House Christmas), Michelle Beattie (Cowboy Up: Tangled Up in Texas), Victoria Chatham (Envy The Wind: Canadian Historical Brides), H.M. Shander (Serving Up Innocence: An Opposites Attract Romance), Jessica Jackson (Charming Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation), Kat Flannery (Poppy: The Montgomery Sisters), Suzanne Stengl (A Wedding and a White Christmas: A Friends to Lovers Sweet Romance), Roxy Boroughs (Psychic Heat Series), and too many others to list. Other authors, such as S.L. Dickson (Hidden Diary) are former residents of Alberta who set their romances in this wonderful province.

A quick poll of authors reveals that their inspirations to write are as diverse as their stories. These include: something to do during the freezing winters, overheard conversations, snippets of dreams, a way to work out their own emotions, and primarily an imagination that just won’t quit. It’s a way to teach a lesson, open minds, or just entertain readers. My personal favourite reason to write is that, for me, it is a socially acceptable way to tell all the creative lies my brain invents.

If your a romance writer yourself, here’s a little Valentine’s gift for you: Books We Love are currently accepting submissions for historical fiction and non-fiction, literary fiction, all sub-genres of romance, mystery, and western novels.

Whatever your desire, an Alberta romance author is sure to give you what you need!


Headshot of Katie O’ConnorKatie O’Connor lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She married her high school sweetheart and is living her happily ever after. She spends her summers camping at Sanctuary, the forested land she and her husband own near Drayton Valley.

She is the 2023 president of CaRWA, the Calgary Chapter of the Romance Writers of Alberta and the founder of a private romance writing group, The Write Chicks. Aside from writing romance, her life focus is family and mentoring new romance authors from creation to submission of their manuscripts.

She’s the author of the popular Creative Career Planning Workbook for Authors. Her novella, Gingerbread Dreams, was an Amazon Number One title and her long-running series, Coyote Creek, has reached eight very popular novels.

She lives life with humour, hope, and copious quantities of caffeine. But most of all she believes in love, romance, and hope.

Author photo by: Jodi O. of Calgary. Feature image credit: Pexels