Alyssa Alexander Ahhhh, Romance

It’s Read-A-Romance Month.


Visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about The Joy of Romance. Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo   |   RARM 2015 Calendar    |    RARM on Facebook

The Joy of the Ahhh Moment

I love the Ahhh… moment in romance novels, as I believe most of us romance readers do.9780425269534_large_In_Bed_with_a_Spy I hold my breath through the conflict, the difficulties, and the black moment, knowing there must be a happy ending. Then, as a reader, I can close the book, satisfied all is now right in the romance world and I can let my heart can smile.

But someone once said to me she didn’t read romance novels because they’re not like real life.

That’s true. They’re not. It’s fiction. But we’ve all heard the phrase “art imitates life.” That is also true. It’s why there are true crime novels, whodunits, horror, dramas, comedies, paranormal—all of those genres mimic reality. (Well, maybe not the vampires.)

Romance novels can and do imitate life in a hundred small ways, and it is those small ways that build up to the joy of the Ahhhh… It isn’t only about grand sweeping romances where the girl gets the guy and they live happily ever after. The details of life are echoed on the pages. Making love for the first time and making up after a fight. Asking for forgiveness when necessary and being afraid of asking for help. The terror of being vulnerable and the wonder of being held.

More, there are the day-to-day details, such as the hero arriving with a carton of ice smugglercream to cheer up the heroine, and the heroine cooking breakfast when the hero had a long night. Or, the heroine calling the hero when her car stalls, and the hero contacting the heroine for a last minute birthday gift idea.

All of those and more occur in romance novels. They are the details the relationship turns on, the small gestures that mean so much and move the love story forward.

Those small acts and details also happen in life. No relationship is perfect, but the simple details of love can be the building blocks of romance—whether it’s between the covers of a book or in our daily lives. It’s not the happy ending on page 400 that brings joy, it’s every page before it and the moments created there. They build, one on another, so that we can close the book with an “Ahhh…”

Alyssa recommends:

I’m loving Erica Monroe’s ( ) BEAUTY AND THE RAKE, which is a twist on the class Beauty and the Beast tale. I love this heroine!

Vanessa Kelly’s ( ) HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER has yummy hero and a feisty heroine, and you know I’m all about those! (Read Vanessa’s RARM post here.)

Jessica Peterson’s ( ) third installment in the Hope Diamond trilogy, THE UNDERCOVER SCOUNDREL, released just a bit ago. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the finale!

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

Believe it or not, I felt an absolute joy the first time I ran 1.5 miles. I know, I know, its running. I hate running too. Runners are crazy people. (Psst, yes, I know I’m a runner). It is something I never believed I could do. I have a number of bum body parts that should not allow me to run. But I had always wanted to try a 5k. That’s it—no marathon or Iron Man competition for me. Just a 5k. So I started walking fast, then walk-run-walking. I wore my yoga clothes, because I didn’t believe I was a good enough runner to spend money on real running clothes.

Then, one day, I went 1.5 miles, with no stopping and no walking.

I cried. Cried, and snotted all over, and sweated through my yoga clothes. But the joy of accomplishing something I never thought I could do was overwhelming. I actually did it. 1.5 miles—and you better believe it felt like I was going uphill both ways. Now, a year later, I’m running a 5k. In real runner’s gear!

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

The field behind my house. Absolutely. It’s a hay field, and there is a certain spot on my deck where the neighboring houses disappear and all I see is the sky, the field and the trees edging the far side. In the spring, the green is bright and fresh and brings the promise of sunnier days to come. When the clover grows taller, the wind over the field so it looks like waves flashing in the sunlight. And at some point every summer, the clover blooms purple while small white and yellow butterflies play between the flowers.

When I sit on my deck and watch my field, part of me thinks of the home and family behind me and all the comfort and love there, and another part thinks of the beauty and possibilities of that field. It’s one of my favorite places in the world (aside, perhaps, from a beach in Mexico).

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

I love the sound of a lazy summer day. It’s a compilation of sounds, to be truthful. Cicadas buzzing, distant lawnmowers, the whiz of bicycle wheels on pavement and the tapping of the neighbor’s basketball. They bring me back to my childhood, when it was midsummer, the hot days stretched out ahead of me and I knew it would be weeks before school started again. I still love those deep days of summer!

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

Many, many moons ago, (pun intended) I read ON THE NIGHT OF THE SEVENTH MOON by Victoria Holt. I was in my teens, and I remember the awful frustration of watching a heroine doubt her memories. She knew she had fallen in love, had married—and then was told it was all a lie. As a reader, I was with the heroine every step of the way, never doubting the truth. But when I reached the end, the absolute thrill was a moment I’ve never forgotten!

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

The joy of choice? I choose all of the above. True story. (No, really, Chris Hemsworth!)

Alyssa is generously giving away one copy of The Smuggler Wore Silk and a coffee mug (plus other swag such as pens, bookmark, etc.) to one U.S. reader, and one copy of In Bed With a Spy (e-book or print) and the aforementioned swag to one international reader. 

To enter leave a comment on this post, on the RARM Facebook post or both (you can find the FB post here) before Tuesday Sept. 2 11:59 pm CST. International readers enter through the form below.

Alyssa Alexander - Author PhotoDespite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn’t mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes.

Find Alyssa at or on Facebook.

Buy Alyssa’s books:

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  • Alyssa Alexander

    Thank you so much for inviting me to take part in Read A Romance Month!

  • Linda Henderson

    I also love Victoria Holt. My favorite of hers is the Bride of Pendorric. I have worn out so many copies of that book. My sister loaned me a copy last month so I could re-read it again.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Victoria Holt was one of the first “grown up” authors I was allowed to read. No horror, no naughty bits, nothing too scary or inappropriate. She was and still is one of my favorites, and Bride of Pendorric was a favorite too!

  • catslady

    Oh, sounds like something I would really enjoy – thanks.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sue G.

    Congrats on your running achievement! That is awesome. I can’t run…it hurts the knee joints too much. I’m a walker. I do my 3 1/2 miles in just under an hour a few times a week. I figure it’s better than nothing! 😉

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thank you so much, Sue!! And wow, 3 1/2 miles? I’d say no need to run!

  • Kim

    Congratulations on your running. I’ve tried running, but I haven’t progressed very far.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      It takes time to build up stamina, that’s for sure. I’m not really built for running, which is why my limit is the 5k. But I did it! It was the Color Run! This is a selfie just after the run!

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    I have to disagree about the vampires not imitating real life. I’ve met a few blood-suckers here and there and have always been grateful for the vampire slayers. And yes, I am a feisty enough heroine to slay my own vampires.

  • Jerry Marlatt Pierson

    Congratulations on your running. I have too many health issues to run but I can walk at a slow pace. My son, daughter and daughter’s husband is big on running. My son-in-law use to do all the triathlons. I started reading Victoria Holt, Barbara Cartland and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss books which gave me such joy of reading. I still re-read there books sometimes now. I am reading Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss now. I have moved on to other authors now including you. Thank you for your giveaway and a chance to win.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Great job on walking! Walking is my go-to when I don’t feel like doing an all out run and take the time for the accompanying shower, or my bum body parts aren’t feeling up to it. Enjoy Shanna!

  • Dawn Anderson

    I loved your blurb about yourself. I’m a native Hoosier, so when you’re on your way to a tropical paradise, stop by Indiana and get me.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      LOL. Will do! Those white sandy beaches are calling us… And, you know, if there happens to be a cabana boy, that would be OK too, right?

  • Katy Lee

    I know what you mean about the joy of completing a run. There’s just something empowering about it.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      There is! Sometimes I curse the road all the way through, but I always feel great when I’m done!

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    love your beautiful covers!!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Diana!

  • Karen Mikusak

    I’m also a native Michigander (Detroit currently). I wish you continued success with your writing.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Karen! And a big wave to you from across the Mitten!

  • cheryl c.

    Oh yes, I love closing a book with a sigh of satisfaction.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Isn’t the Ahhh the best?

  • Texas Book Lover

    I read (romance) because I don’t want it to be like real life! And I too love the Ahhh!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      It’s a little bit life, a little bit fantasy, and a whole lot of Ahhh!

  • Rose K

    A man showing up with ice cream to cheer me up truly is the dream 🙂

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Isn’t it? Mr. Alexander regularly brings me cheddar and sour cream chips when I have a bad day. 🙂 I’m a salty girl!

  • Debbie Fuller

    More great recommendations. Thanks for posting here.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      You bet, Debbie! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Melinda

    Hi Alyssa! Greetings from Slovenia! Victoria Holt was one of my first authors too! But my favourite is Julie Garwood! I want to thank you for giving a chance to us international readers! Wishing you all the best!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Hi Melinda! Nice to see you here! I have a long-time love affair with Julie Garwood’s books, too. The Wedding and The Bride are still on my keeper shelf–though it’s been awhile since I’ve read them. I might have to get those out again!

      • Melinda

        Yes Alyssa, I never get tired of reading them again and again. The Bride is my favourite too!
        I want to tell you I love Lilias and Alastair’s story! And I can’t wait to read more!<3

  • Carol Luciano

    Congrats on the running achievement. Knowing you did it. The best feeling right ?
    Thanks for your post.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Carol! I think that 5k will be the limit my body can go, but just knowing I worked hard and was able to do it means so much!

  • LSUReader

    I really like your observation that the simple details of love are the building blocks of romance. Thanks for visiting with us today.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I think the simple details are what holds love together in real life, too. It’s not the grand gesture, but the day to day things!

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    You are a new author for me. I got started on romance novels with Victoria Holt. My local librarian recommended her writing to me. I started out reading Mistress of Mellyn and The Shivering Sands.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Oh, oh! Mistress of Mellyn was a great one! I’ve read that a number of times. Might have to pick it up again!

  • “The terror of being vulnerable and the wonder of being held” : so true your words about moments of romance! Thank you so much and thanks also for the international part and the swag!! Really funny prize!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Love is a rocky road, but one worth traveling!

  • Ellen

    On the Night of the Seventh Moon has always been one of my favorites. As for your Chris answer….a Chris for every mood. Thanks for sharing.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Ha! So true on the Chris for every mood!

  • Aye Lopez

    “Romance novels can and do imitate life in a hundred small ways, and it is those small ways that build up to the joy of the Ahhhh…”

    Love what you said! 🙂

    Thanks for the chance!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      So glad you enjoyed it! I think the small things are what makes life and love wonderful!

  • Ren

    Oh I totally relate to the joy of running 1.5 miles. I have never been a runner but last summer I got up to 5 miles. The first time I ran 3 miles without stopping I text my hubby doing a happy dance. I don’t run much any more because I HATED it but I was still so proud of myself. So good for you!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Congrats, Ren, for doing that happy dance! I think anytime we push ourselves to achieve a goal–whatever it is, running, walking, reading, work, etc.–and meet that goal deserves celebration!

  • T. Rosado

    I have a degree in exercise physiology and can no longer run due to a knee injury, but to say I ever loved it would be dishonest. The joy came from the completion of the run. I was sweaty and exhausted, but rejuvenated. The running was worth the end result. Now I find other forms of exercise to get the same result.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Oh, yes. Having completed a run…Yep. that’s satisfying! I do get enjoyment from the weather or nature if it’s a pretty day, and I love the solitude. But I feel best when the run is over!

  • Pamby50

    Yes I want that aah moment at the end of the book. When I don’t get it, I just want to throw the book. I actually tossed my kindle the other day. My husband wanted to know what was wrong. I said that was not a romantic comedy and that was not how a romance book should end. He looked at me like I was crazy.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I’ve felt the same on occasion! And, Mr. A has looked at me the same way when I cry at the end of a book. But I can’t help it when the happy ending makes me sniffle!

  • May

    I love Vanessa Kelly’s books too! 🙂

    • Alyssa Alexander

      She’s fabulous, isn’t she? Enjoy!

  • Emmel

    Yup, joy is an ongoing Legos project.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      LOL! Since my small boy is utterly quiet during a Legos project (thereby providing me quiet), I agree. And I rather enjoy Legos myself!!

  • Erin F

    The “aha” moment is why I read romance 🙂 Even when things are dire and desperate, I will hang on reading to get to that aha moment. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      It’s the best moment! I truly believe it all builds up to that final ahh on the last page. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Gretchen Miller

    oh so very true

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Gretchen!

  • mariannewestrich

    I love the sound of the field behind your house. We’ve created a reading spot for me in our back yard (a lovely stone bench under a cherry tree surrounded by flowers). I go there as often as I can just for the peace of it. It allows my mind to forget the daily routine and escape into the books!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Oh, your reading spot sounds so lovely! Perfect for escape. Enjoy it!

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    You know a way to a readers heart, a good book and a sweet mug for her coffee/tea to drink while she reads!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      It’s what I like too! 🙂

  • Thanks for making it international! All the best…Nat

    • Alyssa Alexander

      You bet! Thanks for stopping by!

  • marypreston

    The small gestures mean a great deal in real life & in fiction.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      They do. Sometimes the little things are really the big things, aren’t they?

  • kirsten west

    Congratulations on running a 5k!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Kirsten! It felt like a million miles by the time I was done! 😉

  • Lisa Hutson

    That is an amazing thing to run so far. Its wonderful when any of us can reach a goal feel so happy about it. Congratulations to you!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Lisa! Part of me says “it’s ONLY a 5k”, but for me, that’s a long distance. So it was a great moment for me! I hope you reach all of your goals, too!

  • Carlene Reeves

    I love the description of the field behind your house. I grew up in the city and long to have a place like this. It speaks to my soul.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      I grew up in the city too, and lived in one for a long time after we were first married. When we moved out and away to the “country” I found my place. There’s something about the open spaces that feel like home. I hope you find a similar place!

  • Karin

    I love spy Regencies! Thanks for the chance to win a book!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Hi Karin! Thanks for stopping by. So glad you like the genre!

  • Betül

    I love lazy summer day!!!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Aren’t they the best?? Nothing like a fabulous summer day with nothing to do…Except read, of course!

  • Jennifer C

    I really enjoyed reading your essay. I am excited to read your books!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Jennifer! So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Bube

    So true!
    Thank you for the amazing post 🙂

  • Diane Sallans

    I love the sounds from outside too – tho sometimes they can get very loud!

  • Janie McGaugh

    Congratulations on your running achievements!

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Thanks, Janie!

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I love reading romances and have done so for many, many years. They give an escape, a way to dream, a chance to dream. I know the difference between real life and fiction and I am lucky enough to have a real life hero, who even encourages me to read romances.

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Aw, a real hero!

  • Glenda

    It’s not just one thing that makes a romance (and entire relationship) work. It is all the moments and interactions put together. Without them, there’s not much of a story either. 🙂

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Exactly, Glenda! Each day is made up of small moments, and it’s all of those strung together that makes up life!

  • Carin Shaughnessy

    Running. I, too, am learning to run. So far I can make 100 yards at a time, but that is amazing to me that I can even do that. Congratulations on 1.5 miles. Someday I believe I will make that. As an obese woman going to cross fit 3 times a week I am finding I can do so many things I never thought I could. The joy of being able to do all the workout, even if as the last one, is immense. And each week I get that much stronger

    • Alyssa Alexander

      Carin, congratulations on running and your journey to strength!! Keep on going, and know that I’m cheering for you!

  • Michele Hayes

    I love your books, thanks for the chance to win.