Day 28 Beverly Long – Inspired by the Good Guys

Celebrating Romance

I’m delighted to be participating in Read-A-Romance month. When people ask me if I write anything besides romance, I give them the look and Huntedrespond, “why would I?” I fell in love with romance novels the summer I turned sixteen. After my Sunday waitressing shift, I’d swing by the local flea market and use tip money to buy twenty-five used Harlequin romance novels for five dollars. Then I’d fill up my spray bottle of lemon juice and drag my lawn chair into the sunny part of my parents’ yard where I would spend the week lightening my hair and devouring all twenty-five books. The next Sunday the cycle would start over.

I developed some ideas about what I thought was romantic. In no particular order: taking a midnight trip to Paris on the CEO’s private jet; herding sheep in Australia alongside the sexy rancher; and cruising the Mediterranean with the Greek tycoon.

Give me a break. I was sixteen. It was the ’70’s.

Over the years, my definition of what’s romantic has changed. I’m no longer enamored by the money, the power, or what I imagined was a fabulous Australian—put another shrimp on the Barbie—accent. Now I’m hooked on nice guys. Now I think it’s romantic when the guy gets up early, even when he doesn’t have to, to warm up the girl’s car before she goes to work on a cold morning. It is romantic when he spends hours in the yard planting flowers, not because he cares, but because she does. And, oh so romantic, when his eyes still tell her that she’s the prettiest girl in the room.

I blame my husband for all of this. In our many years of marriage, he’s never once offered to rent a plane to fly me to Paris. But he regularly makes me laugh when I’m sad, holds me when I’m scared, keeps all his promises, and would give up his life to protect me or our daughters. It’s his spirit that I try to bring alive in all my heroes. He’ll be embarrassed when he reads this. He’s always dismissed his role in my writing as “happy to help out Stalked coverwith the research” in reference to the love scenes. But now you know the truth. He’s the perfect hero for me.

Romance novels resonate with readers because they’re about the wonder, the sheer beauty of finding the perfect partner who quite frankly, wouldn’t be perfect for anyone else. They remind us of the thrill of new love, the joy of babies, the comfort of enduring love, and the peace of growing old together.

They give us hope. And happy endings.

Really, why would I write anything else?

 

Recommendations:

I’m a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, specifically her Travis Series (Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil and Smooth Talking Stranger).


Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I am not normally terribly adventurous but on this particular occasion, my courage was bolstered by wonderful friends and strong margaritas. I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, celebrating a significant birthday, and the brochure in the lobby promised a tranquil experience in the bioluminescent bay. “We have to do it,” my friends said. “There are only a few places in the world where you can have this experience.”

According to the brochure, the luminescence, or the sparks of light in the water, occurred when physical movement displaced tiny microorganisms known as dinoflagellates or ocean plankton. That sounded interesting.

The brochure wisely left out the part that getting to the bioluminescent bay required navigating a narrow, pitch-black channel, in a 2-person kayak. At the dock, we met the others in our group and waded to our waiting kayaks. Like baby ducks, we dutifully fell in line behind the guide who had a small light affixed to the rear of his kayak. I think he assumed we were keeping up. But some of us were kayak-challenged and soon the light, that at best was bobbing and fading, was gone. Left in the dark, we baby ducks crashed into the mangrove trees that hung over the sides of the channel, crashed into other kayaks, and got so turned around that some of us were headed back to the starting point. Things seemed especially bleak after there was one particularly loud crash, some screaming, and then a quiet proclamation by a strange man with a lovely accent: “I think I’m bleeding.”

I could almost feel the water churning with flesh-eating, blood-thirsty predators. Sometimes, it is not a blessing to have an overactive imagination.

Finally, my friends and I arrived, more or less in one piece, in the bioluminescent bay. This was several years ago, when they still allowed you to get out of your kayak and swim in the bay. With every movement of our arms and legs, we left a trail of light in the water.

It was worth the harrowing trip down the dark channel. The baby ducks were creating magic!

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I grew up in a small town and my parents encouraged me to go to college so that I could get a good job. Good job wasn’t well defined but I can say Trappedwith confidence that I don’t think they were thinking romance novelist.

At the time, I didn’t know any writers and quite frankly, it never crossed my mind to study writing. I ultimately got a bachelor’s degree in human resources management, an M.B.A, and joined the corporate world.

In my mid-thirties, a friend asked me to attend the Romantic Times conference with her. She was interested in writing a romance novel and knew that I was an avid reader of romances. I willingly went along and went back the next year. By this time, I still wasn’t sure if writer was a good job but I’d made the mental leap to say that it was going to be my job.

I discovered Romance Writers of America and joined the national chapter and the nearest local chapter (Chicago North RWA).  Eight years and five manuscripts later, I sold a book to Berkley. It was a time travel romance, titled Stay with Me.  That book, as well as the sequel Here with Me, is still available.

I always credit my success to my early days in the Chicago North chapter. As a critique chapter, members would volunteer to bring in 20 pages of a manuscript to read aloud to the group in exchange for both verbal and written critiques. I listened to these very talented writers read their work and was amazed to learn that they had been writing for 8 or 12 or even 15 years and still were not published. It made me realize that I probably wasn’t going to be published in a year or two and that I was likely going to have to write several books before one would sell. The experience grounded me in reality.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

I’m not sure if it changed my life but I know my resolve to write well was strengthened after reading several of Deborah Smith’s books. In particular, Sweet Hush and A Place to Call Home. She has the ability to create remarkable characters and her pacing makes reading her books very much like listening to wonderful music. Another book that I frequently reread is On Writing-A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King. He reminds writers that the words we choose are very important—that our choices impact our stories in many ways.

Beverly is generously offering two print copies each of Hunted, Stalked and Trapped to U.S. readers only (1 book each to six winners, apologies to international friends). Entry form below.


Beverly Long

After beginning her career writing time-travel romances, Beverly Long is thrilled to now be writing for Harlequin Intrigue. She loves creating stories that have exciting characters, complex situations, and satisfying endings!  Her books Hunted, Stalked and Trapped will be available in August, September, and October respectively as part of The Men from Crow Hollow series. Her April 2013 Intrigue, Secure Location, earned an Award of Merit in the 2014 Holt Medallion Contest in the romantic suspense category and was a nominee for the 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Intrigue.

Her most recent book, Knocking at Her Heart, is a contemporary romance.

Buy Beverly’s Books:

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  • TrishJ

    OMGoodness. I remember trying the lemon sun kissed hair, mine turned kinda orange though. I love getting lost in a book. Time stands still. You know, the best thing about this August blog is find new authors. I am definitely going to check out your books. Thanks for participating.

    • Beverly Long

      Trish, I had replied yesterday but didn’t have it “attached” to your comment and I wanted to make sure you knew that I really appreciated your early participation yesterday morning and so glad to find another lemon-juice devotee.

  • Sara Daniel

    Bev, your husband sounds wonderful! I love the romantic things he does for you. And of course, I share your experience with Chicago-North. I love your journey. Great interview!

  • Loved to hear about your adventure kayaking! What a unique experience! You’re right that romance is finding the perfect match for “you.” My thoughts go to Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory and to Laura–his girlfriend. Weird–but right for each other 🙂 Your romantic husband sounds like he has “the right stuff” for you. Keep writing! Love your books!

    • Beverly Long

      Thanks Kathryn. I had replied yesterday but didn’t have it “attached” to your comment. Isn’t the Big Bang Theory the best!

  • Beverly Long

    Trish, thanks so much. I still cannot smell lemon without thinking of the days I sat for hours in the sun, hoping and praying for some blonde streaks..

  • Beverly Long

    Sara, Chicago North will always have a special place in our hearts.

  • Beverly Long

    Thanks, Kathryn. I may get brave enough to get back in a kayak some day.

  • Bev, oh yes. I remember those fictional Australian ranchers! I read a lot of them and convinced myself that romance in the outback was for me. Loved your bioluminescent bay story. I felt as if I were there (terror and awe and all). This interview made me smile. What a fun way to start the day!

    • Beverly Long

      Myrna, I had replied yesterday but didn’t have it attached to your comment. Wanted you to know how much I appreciated it. So nice to hear from you..

  • alisha woods

    love reading your HQ intrigues

    • Beverly Long

      Thank you very much.

  • Robin Driscoll

    I love how you described your husband and why you write – these books sound great.

  • Beverly Long

    Myrna, so good to hear from you. I miss you.

  • Beverly Long

    Robin, he’s a quiet-kind of guy so I may have embarrassed him a bit. Oh well, that’s nothing new.

  • Beverly Long

    Alisha, thank you so much. Those are words that warm my heart.

  • Toni Linenberger

    Yep, it is the little things. Your husband sounds great.

    • Beverly Long

      Thanks, Toni.

  • mariannewestrich

    You’re one of the many authors who mentioned Stephen King’s book. I just downloaded it so I could glean a little knowledge, too! 😎

    • Beverly Long

      Marianne:
      I doubt that Stephen King needs my help to sell books but I really did enjoy it and frequently reread parts of it.

  • Martha B

    The sentence above that really resonated with me….”finding the perfect partner who quite frankly, wouldn’t be perfect for anyone else.” That is so true!!

    Romantic gestures include emptying out the dishwasher, filling my car with gas, bringing me coffee – lots of actions he knows I don’t expect him to do. Yesterday was a perfect example. He left the house (before I was awake). When I woke up, I stripped the bed and washed the sheets. However, I cannot make the bed (alone), so I was waiting for him, When I returned home (after him,) the bed was made! After 34 years of marriage, I still feel cherished by his acts of love.

    • Beverly Long

      Martha, I love your story. Grand gestures are just gestures–trues acts of love are seeing and doing the little things.

  • Debbie Oxier

    Look forward to reading your work.

    • Beverly Long

      Thank you, Debbie.

    • Beverly Long

      Debbie, thank you.

  • Debbie Fuller

    I’m guessing we are about the same age, per your post, and I totally agree with you about what is romantic. I will have to find your books and start reading, I’m looking forward to reading what romance you write for your heroes and heroines.

    • Beverly Long

      Thanks Debbie. Watch for the simple things!

  • M Kuxhaus

    Your husband sounds dreamy! 😉

    • Beverly Long

      Oh, now he’s going to get a big head. But truly, he is pretty dreamy.

  • Pamby50

    I so understand about your husband. When people ask how you stayed married so long I say, Don’t sweat the small stuff, take time to laugh and it’s not always the big things you remember but the little ones. Definitely checking out one of your books.

    • Beverly Long

      Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

  • Quinn Fforde

    I love your description of your husband!

    • Beverly Long

      Quinn, thank you. I didn’t let him read the post in advance because I was afraid that he’d want me to change it.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I think my husband went to the same school of husbandry as yours. He is so special to do all those things for us too. I enjoyed reading about your journey to become a writer. Thank you!

    • Beverly Long

      Eileen, thank you.

  • Yaritza Santana

    Glad to here you traveled to my native Country.I have heard of the boat going at night and seeing the florescent bugs in the water, but I haven’t particularly done it the times I have went to PR. My parents have an they enjoyed themselves.

    • Beverly Long

      Yaritza, I had so much fun in Puerto Rico. And I loved the fried plantains.

      • Yaritza Santana

        Those are my favorite. Glad you had fun.

  • Emmel

    I think having a husband who does those small things for you is the best! I know I love when mine does those sorts of things for me!

    • Beverly Long

      Emmel, thank you for being part of Read a Romance Month.

  • Sue G.

    Your hubby sounds like a wonderful guy! Congrats to finding each other!

    • Beverly Long

      Sue: thank you for being part of Read a Romance Month.

  • Meredith Richeson Hillenbrand

    I get lost in books all the time. I totally agree with you that nice guys are important in a relationship. Little things are very important. He needs to cherish you as much as you cherish him.

    • Beverly Long

      Meredith, I’ll make sure and remind him of that!

      • Meredith Richeson Hillenbrand

        Yes, no matter how good they are, they still need reminding sometimes. Thanks for reading my comment!

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    Nice to discover you! I didn’t read as teen, I started as an adult and I love Lisa Kleypas, too. Thanks for the chance!

    • Beverly Long

      Lorelei, I think I have read Smooth Talking Stranger from Lisa Kleypas at least 10 times. Thanks for participating in Read A Romance Month.

  • donnas

    Great post and really why would you.

    • Beverly Long

      Romance novels make us happy-end of story!

  • Glenda

    I think it’s wonderful you have such an great husband! He shouldn’t be embarrassed he should be proud. 🙂

    • Beverly Long

      Agree! Thanks for participating in the Read a Romance Month.

  • Rachel F

    Currently I am reading your Romantic Suspense books and thoroughly
    enjoying them! Looking forward to your Contemporary Romance!

    • Beverly Long

      Thank you so much. Knocking at Her Heart will be released as an e-book in just a couple weeks.

  • Patty Vasquez

    I was just telling my husband last night about going outside in the sum after liberally applying lemon juice to my hair! I was 16 in the 70s, too. But, I remember going upstairs to the quiet privacy of my bedroom on the top floor of our house on those golden summer afternoons. There I would share adventures of life and love with the doctor or millionaire or rancher. Those were special summers!

    • Beverly Long

      Yes, the best of times. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  • KEL

    I completely agree that it’s the little things that matter! Laundry and quietly removing the water glasses that I hoard on my nightstand are just a couple examples. I read Hunted earlier this month, loved it, and am looking forward to Stalked and Trapped. Thanks for this post!

    • Beverly Long

      KEL, thank you for participating in the Read A Romance Event.

  • Peni Anne

    Thank you for sharing. Quick question, did the lemon juice lighten your hair? I’ve never heard of that.

    • Beverly Long

      Peni Anne, I can’t remember if it worked or not. I must have thought it did because I kept doing it all summer. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking.

      • Peni Anne

        Thank you.

  • Stephanie M.

    Thank you for your post. I am new to your books and can’t wait to read them. I’m not sure if I would have made it on the kayak. 🙂

  • Cindy A

    My husband (retired) gets up with me (before 7!) to tell me good bye and give me a kiss as I go out the door to school. AND, he has supper ready when I get home! What a sweetie!

  • Erin F

    WOW!!! you had an awesome experience! Definitely in awe 🙂 I remember sneaking the library’s stash of harlequins and romances home when I was a teenager. Thank goodness for backpacks.Thanks for sharing!

  • Sheila M

    I used to go to the library and pick up their excess romance books for ten cents. Purchased a lot of books that way.

  • Vickie P

    Great thoughts…I also read Deborah Smith and loved A Gentle Rain…talk about a cast of characters!

  • rebecca moe

    LOL! “Happy to help out with the research”! What a guy 🙂 He definitely sounds inspirational!

    Great post!

  • Judy Goodnight

    Looking forward to trying some of your books.