I've been moving along pretty good on the newest WIP and as I do research, I've been formulating the characters for the series I've thought up. I like using research from one book to work on another one. That way the time you spend doing the research feels more worthwhile than using it in one book and knowing you only used a sentence here and there of the hours of research you did. But it's all in the giving of detail and not the telling of detail.
I want the story to come across as a real event with real people, not a monologue of historical facts I found. So interspersing the historical information has to be done in snippets that move the story along. This is one of the things I find challenging in writing historical westerns. Keeping the story fictional, yet giving it enough reality to make the reader feel it actually happened. Using real places, name dropping, and event dropping, keep the history alive.
Mystery or intrigue is also something I like to add to my stories. Not only will the hero and heroine have a Happy Ever After, but will they capture the bad guy, or is the bad guy really the bad guy? Maybe something wasn't stolen, but merely lost? It all comes out in the end along with the enduring relationship.
When you read a romance, do you want more to the plot than just the hero and heroine being kept apart by their own preconceived notions or do you want to have something they are both working towards?