Joey W. Hill – Day 12 – Erotic Romance, Universal Love

The Spirit of Romance

You know how people say that you should hold the spirit of Christmas in your heart all year long? When you’re a romance author, you do the same thing with the spirit of romance. For one thing, it helps me write my stories. It’s difficult to craft good romances if I’m feeling like “there’s no such thing as true love, romance sucks and I’m going to shoot Cupid right out of the freaking sky with a BB gun.” But enough about how I feel during the copy-edit phase of my books (laughter).The Lingerie Shop

Romance gets a bad rap, because the media has portrayed it as heroines with heaving bosoms and muscle-bound heroes who can inspire multiple orgasms with a smoldering look. And yes, I’m here to say – WITHOUT APOLOGY – that IS part of romance novels. A delightful part I’d never want to lose. I want a good fantasy when I read a love story. I want that erotic thrill, imagining my hero striding out of a creek in a pair of wet jeans and no shirt, carrying the three-legged puppy that nearly got eaten by an alligator until our hero risked life and limb to rescue him. And then I want to see that hero put the puppy down and ravish the heroine right there on the creek bank, giving her multiple orgasms.

Okay, yeah, I’m exaggerating, but you get the point. I went to college. I read the literary texts and “important” books that are supposed to change my thinking toward the world and make me a more enlightened person. Those books had many good qualities. But no story has ever inspired me to embrace the world and celebrate life like reading a really good romance.

Why? Let me step back a little to explain. So often the skeptics and highbrow academics don’t look past those fun parts to discover the secret that all romance readers know lies between the pages of a great romance. And that’s disappointing, because we’re more than willing to share! Here’s the big secret: the greatest romances are also great love stories. Yes, we like our muscular heroes and our intrepid heroines with long, rippling hair that never frizzes, but what we like even more is what else is part of the story: A love that faces down harsh obstacles, that offers compassion and laughter, that provides unforgettable, tender moments of self-sacrifice, because the very deserving protagonists are willing to do anything that will bring happiness to one another.

Want an example? Anyone a Kathleen Woodiwiss fan? Do you remember this passage from the Civil War romance, Ashes Divine Solace in the Wind, when Cole unwisely teases Alaina? He’s used to her being a stalwart spitfire who holds him at arms’ length. However, in this scene, she’s devastated to discover someone has burned, out of spite, one of the dresses she brought into their arranged marriage as part of her small dowry.

     “It was one of my best. Mrs. Hawthorne helped me to find it.” Her voice began to break. “I wanted you to be proud of me, not because of what you could give me, but because of what I could bring to you.”
     Cole had faced his first wife’s tantrums until they had become just another fact of life, but he felt helpless and unsure before the tears of this small wench.
     Ah, damn! The wisdom burned in his brain. Chide her! Get her dander up a bit! Anything is better than this—he thought.
     “What am I seeing?” he pondered aloud in a gentle, half-teasing tone. “Is this the one who took a mop to a man? Is this the one who dragged me from the river and saved my life in the middle of a war? Is this the same one I see crying over a spoiled dress? Is this Al?”
     Alaina faced him, and Cole realized his failure in the moment. The tears flowed freely now, making light paths through the smudge on her cheek. Her voice trembled with suppressed sobs.
     “I was a young girl with hair hanging past my waist, raised in a fine family to be a fine young lady.” She breathed deeply, trying to fight the heartache and tears. “I watched them all go, one by one. I buried my mother, then I had to cut my hair short and ragged. I had to rub dirt into it and on my face. I had to wear old, stinking clothes from somebody’s ragbag. I had to learn to walk like a boy, talk like a boy, fight like a boy. I had to listen to you prattle about giving me a bath”—she was sobbing aloud now—“when I felt so filthy I could have died.”
     She leaned forward, and the gray eyes searched his face in wonder. “Don’t you understand? Don’t you know?” Her voice broke in a sorrowful wail. “There was no Al! It was always me!” She beat a clenched fist against her bosom. “I have always been Alaina. There—never—was—any—Al!”
     The sobs broke and Alaina fled, still clutching the yellow gown. The sound of her grief dwindled until the bedroom door shut them off, leaving him to bear the oppressive silence alone.

That was the first time I remember crying when I read a book. The funny thing is that particular passage brings me to tears every time. I cried when I typed it into this post. Even more importantly, it captures why a great romance, a great love story, can convey just as many life truths as any other book. Needing the one you love to see who you truly are, and stand by you no matter what, are universal desires. And though Cole made a misstep there, he does exactly that. Through misunderstandings, pain and loss, he has one compass. The hope that Alaina will let go of her grief and misgivings and let him love her openly and forever. He wants her to take the journey with him that all those who fall in love hope to experience. We want to walk through life hand in hand, all the way to the grave.

At its heart, that is the kind of love story a great romance novel offers.

A relationship is a journey of ups and downs, good and bad, and sometimes a lot of stress and sorrows. Yet it’s often a memorable, wondrous thing, and great romances remind us of the good parts of that. It lifts out the important things about love, wraps it in lovely packaging (our handsome hero and brave heroine), gives us a story to cheer for, and makes us feel better about facing our daily lives as a result. It takes the diamonds of love in our own lives and gives them a polish so we don’t miss the shine. When I’ve read a good romance, I notice more of the good things my husband does and complain a little less about the things that drive me crazy. Instead, I think about how lucky I am to have someone in my life to love who loves me back, who can still make my knees weak after 25 years of marriage. And no, he’s no more muscle bound than I am free of cellulite, but he’s my hero.

And one of the main reasons I celebrate romance.

If you haven’t gotten all that from reading a romance, you’re not reading one of the many good ones. Go find an avid romance reader and get a recommendation today. I’m offering some of my favorites here.

Recommendations:

Oldies but goodies (all historical romance, but it was the central love story, not necessarily the genre, made these so memorable to me) – Once in a Blue Moon by Penelope Williamson, Flowers in the Storm by Laura Kinsale and of course Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss, noted in my essay.

Erotic treasures (these are by newer authors, part of the delightful rise of erotic romance) – Daniel’s Surrender by VJ Summers, the Phoenix Rising series by Denise Rossetti, Bound Odyssey by Michelle Polaris and Glitterland by Alexis Hall.


 Questions for the Author:

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

Anyone see Nim’s Island with Jodie Foster? I’m less daring and adventurous than she is. I TOTALLY related to her praying on the plane in the storm, promising she will embrace her phobias and never leave the house again if she can just live through that trip (laughter). So hmm. Let me think about this. Actually, I went and asked my husband, and he reminded me that about 15 or so years ago, we bought a 30-foot sailboat and, with minimal sailing experience, the two of us went to Oriental, North Carolina and sailed it home to our then home in Southport, North Carolina. The journey took three days. He says the most daring thing HE ever did was let me dock the boat when we were fueling. I got it stuck in forward and rammed the fuel dock like a Viking invasion force. Ahem.

That aside, I’d say that trip ranked among some of the more daring things I’ve done. And it was a lovely adventure I remember fondly as a result.

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 started writing in fifth grade, inspired by my love of books, which started pretty much from first conscious thought, since my mother taught me to read well before I ever entered school. Simple cause and effect: I loved reading great stories so much, I wanted to try and write some. And the books that stuck with me the most were always very romantic and character-driven, starting with books about Arthurian legends and Robin Hood, as well as classics like Little Women, Black Beauty and Call of the Wild. I was a big fantasy reader – Lloyd Alexander, Stephen Donaldson, Mercedes Lackey, Raymond Feist, Jennifer Roberson and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Then I moved from that into mainstream and historical romance – Nora Roberts, Valerie Sherwood, Kathleen Woodiwiss, etc. As a result, my first published book was a “fantasy-romance” – a fantasy plot with a very strong central love story.

That didn’t happen until my twenties. I wrote a variety of unpublished novellas and some award-winning short stories until college, then detoured into animal rights for about a decade before I returned to writing. I’ve always been glad I gave myself the time for that life experience, because I think it enhanced my writing considerably. It took about four years to craft my first published book, during which time I learned about the business of queries, synopses, Writer’s Market, etc. However, try as I might, I couldn’t find a home for my book through traditional avenues. While I’m sure being a writer still learning her craft contributed to the rejections, established publishers were also pretty closed to “cross-genre” romance like “fantasy-romance” or “erotic romance” (versus erotica OR romance). They didn’t feel it had a readership. Boy, did that turn out to be wrong! (laughter) Hence the popular categories of paranormal romance, urban fantasy and erotic romance readers enjoy today.

I feel e-publishing had a great deal to do with expanding the choices for readers in that regard, and I was honored to come in on the ground floor with e-publishing and erotic romance, and be part of the phenomenal growth of both. That fantasy-romance book and my subsequent first erotic romance were first published by a couple of small e-publishers that didn’t survive the ups and downs of that medium, but then I landed at Ellora’s Cave with the erotic romance (Make Her Dreams Come True). That’s when my career started to gain momentum and I found the niche I most loved writing – BDSM erotic romance.

That journey has taught me a lesson I continue to try and observe in my writing career. Readers, not marketing departments, determine what books go on their keeper shelf, and that’s my ultimate goal as a writer. I want to write the kind of books a reader doesn’t want to give away after they’ve read them. As a result, I may never be rich, but I do my best to write a character-driven story worth visiting over and over again.

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

I think every romance I read that made it to my keeper shelf probably sculpted me as a writer, and made me feel about romance the way I expressed it in my essay. However, as far as the erotic romance side of things goes, Roarke’s Prisoner by Angela Knight and Exit to Eden by Anne Rice were the first two erotic romances I read that made me think “Yes, THAT’s the way erotic romance should be written.”

I was a romance reader who wanted more erotic content in the books I chose to read, but so many people equated more sex with poor writing quality, i.e. “The author threw in a bunch of sex to save her the hard work of actually writing a story.” Grrrr….

To my way of thinking, a great erotic romance should have every bit of the great characterization, emotional intensity and story development that any other book must have to be a worthwhile read. Because of those two stories, I had more confidence that a BDSM romance could be a keeper shelf book, right there next to any other genre. Thank you, Angela and Anne!

Joey is generously giving away three books (reader’s choice from existing titles, e-book or print). Two to U.S. readers (entry below) and one to an international winner (enter here).


JWHillWinner of the 2011 Romantic Times Career Achievement award, Joey W. Hill has over thirty contemporary and paranormal BDSM erotic romances, including multiple series. Her characters include everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids. Free excerpts from all her works are available at her website, www.storywitch.com. Additional vignettes, character interviews and graphics inspired by the work are at the fan forum site, access info at www.storywitch.com/community. You can also find her on Twitter: @JoeyWHill or Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoeyWHillAuthor.

 

Buy Joey’s Books:

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  • Brenda Roth

    NO APOLOGY!!!!!! Thank you, thank you for saying no apology for ‘ Romance gets a bad rap, because the media has portrayed it as heroines with heaving bosoms and muscle-bound heroes who can inspire multiple orgasms with a smoldering look. And yes, I’m here to say – WITHOUT APOLOGY – that IS part of romance novels.'(Joey W. Hill). More Authors need to be standing up for themselves and for other Authors.

    Awesome write up Joey. Muahs, Lee!

    • storywitch

      Lee, thanks for that! It’s one of my personal soap boxes, because I’ve had my fill of those who consider romances fluffy little books without merit and rave about “literary” books whose main redeeming emotional feature is apparently – despite very good craft – how much they make you want to slit your wrists after you read them (lol).

      • Brenda Roth

        You’re are more then welcome. Short and sweet-I have read these wacko’s write ups on romances ‘do’s and don’ts’. And I have dealt with these wacko’s in book stores. They talk about nothing but ‘realization’ reads. That we all should be reading non-fiction, history, and so on. What is wrong with fiction? What is wrong with wanting to escape from ‘realization’ into a fantasy of beautiful people, and GREAT orgasms. Last-what makes it their business what ‘WE’ read. It’s our time, money, and life!

        • storywitch

          Amen! Couldn’t agree more. Actually, I could expostulate for about an hour on that one topic (lol).

  • LisaVH

    Very well said! “Needing the one you love to see who you truly are, and stand by you no matter what, are universal desires.” Exactly why I read them! No matter what the subject or story line, there is always a moment when the hero or heroine finally accepts and sees the other. I’m a little addicted to the emotional high I get from that. 😉

    • storywitch

      Lisa, I’m the same way. If I can sit down to a good romance, that’s almost better than chocolate. Almost. (wink)

  • Erica H

    Very well said! Thanks.

    • storywitch

      Thank you, Erica!

  • Carol Milstein

    Joey, You’re the best!! Your books embody all the characteristics you describe – love, eroticism, emotional connection. I read Kathleen Woodiwiss when I was younger and also Nora Roberts, Mary Stewart, etc. The best writers make their characters complex and interesting, and the best erotic writers don’t necessarily have sex on every other page, but they take the time to develop the story and make the characters real. (of course the sex is hot too – grins)You do that in spades!!! Thank you.

    • storywitch

      Carol, thank you for that! Nora was very influential on the development of my style of writing. She was the first I read who didn’t use the “misunderstanding” conflict method in romance, instead using emotional issues as conflict points that the hero/heroine resolved together (Daring to Dream series, Chesapeake Bay series, Hidden Riches and Midnight Bayou all great examples of that), so that the romance/sexual tension could be maximized. I love them and they remain on my keeper shelf to this day. Oh and the Crystal Cave series…awesome stuff. Anything with Arthur and his Knights I love. Thank you so much for including me in that amazing list of talent!

  • rebecca moe

    That passage had me tearing up! I’m adding it to my TBR right away 🙂

    Just to be clear–that three-legged puppy is napping on the creek bank, right? Resting from his near brush with danger? Not being emotionally scarred for life as (future?) mom and dad enjoy multiple orgasms? 😉

    • storywitch

      Lol – Rebecca, if the puppy is anything like the animals in my house, he just rolled his eyes, sighed “Humans!” and curled up for that nap in disgust until they were done and ready to do something more important – like get him a biscuit.
      Oh, and if you haven’t read Ashes in the Wind, you’re in for a treat. It will be a little dated of course. I was going to check the original pub date but my copy is so worn and falling apart I actually have that page stapled to the cover (I can’t give it up though because it has the original cover art), so I went to the web and it says 1981, but I don’t think that will detract a bit from the love story. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Felicia M. Ciaudelli

    My first real introduction to romance was Anne Mather and her Harlequin Presents around the time I was a freshman in high school…I had read a few Harlequin Romances when I was around 11, 12 years old, but for some reason, they went right over my head at the time – LOL – Anne Mather totally clicked with me, though, and around the same time I found Anya Seton and Victoria Holt’s works, which introduced me to other realms, as well!

    • storywitch

      Felicia, great choices. Chuckle – yep, me and my close friend Michele were devouring those Harlequins 3-4/week in middle school, though we quickly graduated to Kathleen Woodiwiss, Valerie Sherwood and Victoria Holt. It was the golden age of the sweeping historical romance…happy sigh.

  • storywitch

    Going to run to the dentist for a bit – first trip in a new town, so it might take a little longer, but I’ll be back to play as soon as I return!

  • Gina Burgos

    I remember reading Kathleen Woodiwiss when I first started reading books. These days I don’t read much historical romance 🙂

    • storywitch

      I know – the heyday kind of passed, but that was such a rich area in the 80s, where a lot of the first steps were made into more “racy” bedroom scenes and even deeper emotional explorations, maybe because historical romance was so…romantic (lol). Oddly, I think paranormal romance has kind of stepped into that same gap – taking the reader out of the here and now, letting them explore things at a different level of intensity because of a different setting/reality, etc…but that’s just one author’s opinion (wink).

  • Linnea Bassin

    I started reading historical romances and enjoy all romance even erotica, if it is well written. I couldn’t agree more with strong characterization in a story.

    • storywitch

      Linnea, I think a lot of us began in that arena. There are definitely still some great historicals happening. Outlander, anyone!? Though it was interesting, I saw an interview with DG lately where she didn’t characterize Outlander as a romance because there are so many other subplots, the history arc, etc, but for me the draw of the books are the deep love/romance relationship between Jamie and Claire. I think our definition of romance continues to evolve and expand!
      And as far as erotic romance, I agree wholeheartedly. When I started writing erotic romance, I never for a moment thought it could have one whit less quality in terms of characterization, emotional intensity, story development, etc than any other genre of romance. Women readers demand a great love story with their hot sex, and I’m so glad they hold us authors to that standard. :>

  • Mai Williams

    ❤️ Very well said Joey! Is it any wonder you’re my favorite author, and have been since the day I opened Natural Law lol. It only got better from there!

    • storywitch

      Thank you, Mai! Huge hug!! Mac and Violet have brought me some of the nicest, most wonderful readers. :>

  • storywitch

    Oh, I needed to correct myself. Daniel’s Surrender, one of my favorite erotic ménages, is by Violet Summers, not VJ Summers. VJ is one half of the talented writing duo of Violet Summers. She also writes wonderful stuff under VJ Summers, but I got confused on that one. Sorry for that!

  • Sue G.

    Love the story of ramming the boat into the fuel dock. Been there, done that! Nice write up. 🙂

    • storywitch

      Sue…ah, a fellow sailor who understands the many joys of docking. It makes for a great sailing story – when it happened, it was nowhere near as humorous! A husband-wife double homicide almost happened then and there (laughter). Such are the things that tie the bonds of marriage tighter…lol.

      • Sue G.

        Probably very similar to when I hit the garage trim backing out of the garage with my van’s mirror! Hubby NOT a happy camper! 😉

        • storywitch

          Well, the van had two outside mirrors, right? So one was still okay. Men sometimes miss the positives in such situations (grin).

          • Sue G.

            lol

  • Martha Lawton

    love Kathleen Woodiwiss… my favorite was the Wolf and the Dove

    • storywitch

      That was a fabulous one as well! I know The Flame and the Flower has the distinction of being the first well known romance to take the reader “beyond the bedroom door”, and it was good as well, but Wolf and the Dove was probably my second fave after Ashes in the Wind.

      • Martha Lawton

        Flame and the Flower is number 2 for me. We shouldn’t forget Shanna either. I still have my original copies of her books. I don’t dare read them tho – they are going to fall apart.

        • storywitch

          I know!! Heavens, you all should see my copy of Ashes in the Wind. It’s the original cover (white, with him and her in a small pic up in left corner) so I refuse to let go of it, but it’s held together by a rubber band and is missing the last page or two, so I need to get hold of a more current copy just so I have the full story.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I love that you write books with the hopes that your readers won’t want to give them away after reading them. I have many shelves filled with books that I just couldn’t bear to part with and occasionally I’ll dip in and re-read one of them, especially when I need some guaranteed warm fuzzies. I enjoy all kinds of romance subgenres and even some non-romance categorized books but I really enjoy the steamy stories with characters so well written that they feel like real people to me and I’m sad to see the book end. I think this is a big part of why I like series so much… I don’t have to say goodbye to my favorite book friends 🙂 I will definitely be adding your books to my TBR list and it sounds likely they’ll move to my bookshelves as well! Great essay, thanks for being part of RARM.

    • storywitch

      Courtney, thank you! I hope you enjoy my stories and that they earn a spot on your shelves (or at least give you a few lovely hours of reading). One series that I love in the way you describe is the JD Robb In Death series. While not every one of them is a home run, the characters are like favorite friends, and I read them like candy as soon as I can find the time to read the latest. Roarke and Eve forever! As an author, I can say I enjoy writing series for a similar reason. While usually each of my books features a new main hero or heroine, I love it when those from previous series make guest appearances as vital secondary characters.
      But even that’s not always enough. I have a few characters that I enjoy writing so much, I write free novellas/shorts revisiting them in little slice-of-life vignettes – Christmas shopping, resolving lingering conflicts in steamy ways (wink) – and put them on the JWH Connection fan forum as a big thank you to all my readers. If you do read and enjoy my books, please feel free to go download any or all of these for pure fun – http://www.storywitch.com/community has access info.

      • Courtney Cogswell

        I love Roarke and Eve too. And I have so much fun when I read a book, love the secondary characters and then discover that they have their own book too! Thanks for the info on your free novellas/shorts…I’ll check them out. I’m looking at your Knights of the Boardroom series and I’m looking forward to reading these!

        • storywitch

          Courtney, thank you! Oh, and on that note, there is a FREE prequel about Ben, one of the Knights of the Board Room men, in that vignette section. “Retribution” can be read before reading any of the KOBR series without any spoilers. And you get to meet Celeste, the reporter who gave them the KOBR name, and who will be the heroine in the next book coming up in the series (if I can sit down and write hers and Leland’s story in the next few months – lol). Enjoy!

  • Emmel

    So, did that original fantasy romance ever get reprinted anywhere?

    And if that hero did put that puppy down on the bank of the creek to ravish the heroine, I’d be worried about the alligator joining them. Move to a safe distance! 🙂

    • storywitch

      The alligator was so cowed by our hero’s bravery he slunk under a log to sulk (wink). But I still think your advice is sound!
      No, unfortunately the original fantasy romance has not yet been reprinted. Guardian of the Continuum won a couple awards and did well with its very small readership, but then that epublisher folded, my erotic romance career took off, and it was shelved for the time being. Now, nearly twenty years later from the original writing (it took me four years to write it, it being my first book and me wanting it to be more perfect than a sacred text – lol), it is in need of some serious updating. A vital secondary character is listening to cassette tapes in his BMW, and hacking into computers using viruses loaded on floppy disks, if that gives you any indication (wink). But I am very fond of the story and hope to offer it in some form in the future.
      There was also a sequel written to it, a fantasy/romance/timetravel involving the golden age of piracy, which I hope to prepare and release as well at that point. :>

      • Emmel

        Ah, well do I remember the days of cassettes and floppy discs! But I know that I for one would be interested in reading these books. May they reappear one day!

        • storywitch

          Emmel, I surely hope to do that. I had plans for five books in the series, and unfortunately I’ve cannibalized at least one of those to write another story (In Mermaid’s Ransom, the hero’s character, is greatly inspired by the character I envisioned for the fifth book in the series), but even so, if the time and feeling is right, I’ll bring the series to life again.

  • I have books in a storage unit in Moses lake most of them are yours, I’ll get em’ back come heck or high water. I love getting lost in your stories. Reality is overrated any way.

    • storywitch

      Tracy, I’m so flattered that my books are part of your keepers, and I hope you get them back in hand soon. And I agree – sometimes we need a break from reality, and no better place than a book for that.

  • Hi, Joey – I am so glad to have you here at Read-A-Romance Month. What a great essay, and so nice to see advocates for romance from every avenue of the romance world. xoxo

    • storywitch

      Bobbi, a huge thanks to people like you, who give us places to gather and share that advocacy/love. Thanks for having me!

      • Just a little busy the past ten days! Thanks again, for the comment and your participation. xo

  • I think I will have to buy The Lingerie Shop! I don’t think I have anything of yours Ms Hill

    • storywitch

      Carol, The Lingerie Shop is the first book of the four-novella Naughty Bits series. The good thing is they’re all four available now, so you won’t have to wait month to month. I’ve also heard they’ll be available as one compiled print and ebook set (all four novellas under one cover) sometime in January. Let me know if the journey with them isn’t pleasurable – I always welcome reader feedback!

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Wow!!! Thank you for a well written explanation of why reading romance is a wonderful thing. Your examples explain so much as to why I read them. You are a new to me author & I am going to put The Lingerie Shop on my must read list.

    • storywitch

      Eileen, thank you for that! I put excerpts from all my books on my website under the respective series pages, so you can get plenty of samplers there to determine if my stuff is your cup of tea. Since the four novellas in Naughty Bits were so interconnected, I only have one excerpt representing all of htem, but you’ll find that under The Lingerie Shop page. http://www.storywitch.com/book-nb-ls Thanks for coming by!

      • Eileen Aberman-Wells

        I closed out your page, went to my must read book list only to find that The LIngerie Shop was already listed. So I will definitely be checking out your webpage.

        • storywitch

          Wonderful! Thanks, Eileen!

  • storywitch

    I’m going to head to bed now, but of course I’ll check back tomorrow to see if there are any questions or comments needing response. Thanks for a lovely day everyone!

  • Marcy Shuler

    On man, you had me crying just reading that passage from Ashes In The Wind. It’s been many years since I read it, yet I can still recall much of that story. *sigh* I think it’s time for a reread.

    • storywitch

      I’ve had the same thought. I’ve been re-reading the early JD Robb In Death series just to enjoy how Eve and Roarke’s relationship developed, as well as her relationship with all the many side characters. Re-reading favorite books to me is like seeing a favorite movie over and over. And it’s past time I read Cole and Alaina’s story again. It was just such a moving, beautifully written book.

  • Stephanie Fredrick

    Wonderful post, beautiful explanation on the greatness of romance. Love Joey’s writing, he is so amazingly talented.

    • storywitch

      Stephanie, thank you!! I’m actually a “she” (grin), but no worries on that – the name throws a lot of people. I was actually listed as “male” in third grade because I guess whoever was logging the records didn’t take a closer look at my school picture (I had short hair then, too, but had that androgynous look many kids have around that age). Thanks so much for reading my books, and for the lovely compliment!

      • Stephanie Fredrick

        Hehe, I know, I love your work and follow closely. My auto-correct on my tablet has a habit of changing words on me without me noticing. It likes changing she to he and if to it and for some reason to into yo.

  • Stephanie M.

    Thank you for your post today. I am new to your books and can’t wait to read them. 🙂

    • storywitch

      Stephanie, you’re welcome! Hope you enjoy whatever you select. If you go to my website, http://www.storywitch.com and position your mouse over the Books link, you can scroll through all my series and read chapter one excerpts, blurbs, etc, and see what tickles your fancy (wink). Thanks for visiting us today! :>

  • Hannah B

    Hi JOey, I always enjoy your books and look forward to your latest release.

    • storywitch

      Thanks, Hannah! Hope that will always be the case, but let me know if ever one of them falls short. Readers like yourself help keep us writers on track (wink).

  • Sarah r

    Joey you’re the best! Congrats on 25 years of marriage. I’m so happy that you snagged up a good one, because we readers definitely reap the benefits. When I recommend your books to friends I’m always clear that it’s a beautifully written love story. It may push their boundaries due to the BDSM or D/s relationships but there’s always that underlying love story, it always brings me back for more. Can’t wait for Nighfall! 🙂

    • storywitch

      Sarah, I cherish all my readers, but take a particular joy in the ones who aren’t normally BDSM or erotic readers, but who have indicated they read my books regardless because they get caught up in the characters and the love story. When I was an avid reader, that was what made me decide if a book was a keeper – if I was so caught up in the characters and their relationship, it didn’t matter if it was my favorite genre or not – it became a favorite book. So hearing about readers who took that same leap of faith with my book is always a delight. Thank you for encouraging them in that direction! Oh, and an example of that for me – I’m not a Western romance reader, and yet LaVyrle Spencer’s The Gamble is one of my all time favorite romances. Thanks for the great comment and hope you enjoy Nightfall!

      • Sarah r

        I will continue to encourage them to take that leap of faith, your writing and characters are a great reward!

  • Sheila M

    Wow, it feels like a million years since I read Ashes in the Wind…now I know what I need to reread next.

    • storywitch

      Sheila, I know! I’ve been having the same urge since writing this! :>

  • Kim

    I enjoyed Ashes in the Wind, too.

    • storywitch

      Kim, it’s a classic romance in every way. I’ve nothing against Jane Austen or the other classic romance authors, but when I think of “classic romances”, it’s ones like Ashes in the Wind that come to my mind first!

  • mariannewestrich

    So great to meet you at AAD this year!

    • storywitch

      Marianne, same to you! Thanks for coming and hanging out with all of us (beaming).

  • Jen C

    Aaagggghhhh! That made me cry too! 🙂

  • Elise-Maria Barton

    I *loved* this interview! I truly appreciate the great connection you have with your readers Joey: you make it a pleasure to be a fan. Btw, after reading this I’ve developed a strange hankering for historical romance books. The Wolf and the Dove was my favorite 😉

  • Pamby50

    I loved the interview. I so remember the part from Ashes In The Wind. I loved all Kathleen Woodiwiss’s books. I can honestly say that after reading erotic books many years ago, I thought they were horrible. You make me want to try again.

  • Erin F

    Joey’s books were what got me into erotica!!! Thanks so much for such a fun post!

  • Cindy from TX

    I am so grateful that I discovered Joey’s books at Ellora’s Cave. She was the first author of BDSM erotica that I read, and she is still one of my favorite authors today.

  • Tina B

    Fabulous post, Joey!! I will have to check out your recommendations. 🙂
    I love the way you describe the spirit of romance! I don’t think that I have thought about it that in-depth before. For people who are single, I think it gives them hope and it definitely makes me appreciate my husband more. I have read some of your work and they are on my “keeper” shelf!
    Thank you for sharing and for your wonderful stories!

  • Ruth

    Great post. I appreciate your thoughts on the romance in erotica.