Anne Gracie ~ The Various Joys of Romance

August is Read-A-Romance Month.


I hope you’ll visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

(Check out the calendar. And follow RARM on Facebook!)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

The Joy of Being a Romance Writer

It’s August, winter downunder. You’re a romance writer, sitting hunched over a heater, 1SpringBrideMedpounding away on a keyboard. Your deadline is looming. . .

Joy? No, panic. What made you think you could ever make this story work?

You pause, mid-scene, realizing you need to do a small piece of research. You go on-line. . . Two hours later you remember why you went on-line in the first place and realize you haven’t yet looked up that fact you needed or advanced your word count at all. But you have bought some brilliant stuff on line.

You assuage your guilt and boost your energy with chocolate, which everybody knows is a kind of health food.

Joy? No, chemicals — antioxidants and flavonoids increase your serotonin levels, but part of that high is also sugar, caffeine and fat.


Gorgeous Australian cover. xo

You get back to work. You get this email from a reader: “Ur story has totally reminded me of wot it is like to have the hots for someone. I didn’t know I had forgotten!”
Joy? Yep. I love reader letters.
You’re in the zone and the words are flying, but you’re a worrier — is this story too predictable? Then out of the blue, your heroine says something you didn’t expect or plan, it takes the story in an exciting new direction, and you’re off and running again.
Joy? No, it’s not finished yet and could all end in tears.
You’re on the last few chapters, the deadline is screaming, you have no idea whether you winter bridecan make this book work, and then. . . it all starts to come together. You write on, half in disbelief, half in excitement as bit by bit, it all comes together, not quite as you planned it, but even better than you’d hoped. And certainly better than you expected a few weeks ago.
Joy? Maybe. And tinged with anxiety because you just might be ever-so-slightly crazy by now, and imagining things. Probably your editor will hate it.
You get the book in.
Joy? No, relief.
You wait for your editor’s feedback.
And you wait. You clean your house, which had become a disgrace.
Then you get the news — the book has gone through.
Joy? Yep. And relief.
So the book is through, your house is clean and it’s August which is romance conference time downunder. And this year the Romance Writers of Australia national conference is in Melbourne, where you live.
Your romance-writing friends start to fly in from all over the country. You pick them up from the airport in your little car, wearing a hot pink feather boa — the car, not you. A car wearing a hot pink boa is easy to spot, and puts a smile on my friends’ faces.
Joy? Yes indeedy. So good to see my friends.
We arrive at the conference hotel. It’s FULL of romance writers. In the hotel reception area, in the bar, in the elevator there are shrieks of excitement, calls of hello, and everybody’s hugging and grinning and talking nineteen to the dozen. And hugging. And grinning.
Joy? You bet. RWAustralia conferences are occasions full of joy.kelly+and+rosie
Why? For a start it’s because we’re scattered all over a country that’s the same size as mainland USA, but with a population a little bigger than Florida, so most of us only ever communicate on line. And so when we do get to catch up in person — joy!
The conference is like one big party–interspersed with workshops. It kicks off with a fancy-dress themed cocktail party on the Friday night. Most people wear some kind of costume and it’s a great ice-breaker. And first thing on Saturday morning, at the welcome speech, people are presented with their first sale ribbons, and what an occasion for joy that is. Saturday night is awards night — more joy. And so it goes.
Joy? Absolutely, positively, one hundred percent.
Anne recommends:

The new-to-me author I glommed this year was Sarina Bowen, starting with The Year We All Fell Down.It’s the first book in “The Ivy Years” series, about young people in their first years away at university, separating from their parents, growing up, and forming relationships. The Year We Fell Down blew me away and I loved it so much I glommed the rest of the series. The books are about strong heroines, interesting and strong-but-flawed heroes and that very intense, formative and re-formative time of life. Highly recommended. (See Sarina’s RARM content here.)

The other series I devoured isn’t new, but was new to me. It’s the Tairen Soul series, by C.L. Wilson, and it starts with Lord of the Fading Lands. It’s fantasy and romance and adventure and a battle between good and evil — with the lines often deliciously blurred. Again, a wonderful, strong heroine.

Questions for the Author:

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

If we’re leaving aside the big life-changing event kind of joy, one thing that springs to mind is when I collect my dog from the boarding kennels where I leave her when I go away. Her joy is utterly infectious, and I always take her for a long walk around the lake, where she leaps and bounds exuberantly through the long grass like a little dolphin, exulting in the freedom, and racing back every few minutes to check I’m still with her. It’s a small event, but always utterly full of joy.

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

The beach, especially at dawn, when the sand is clean-washed and there’s nobody else there. It’s peaceful, and beautiful and you feel that anything’s possible.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

The sound of magpies carolling in the morning always makes me smile. There’s such unfettered joy in the sound — it’s magic. (I’m not sure whether all magpies sound like Australian magpies, so you can listen to the sound here — a sort of gurgling happiness. It’s not quite the joyous dawn chorus, but it’ll give you an idea.)

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?

I love Eva Ibbotson’s “Magic Flutes” — it’s a romance (of course) with rich and glorious writing, superb characterization, and where goodness and heart triumph in such a wonderful way. It’s one of my all-time favorite comfort reads and always leaves me feeling so happy. (I love Eva Ibottson! Thanks Anne Gracie. xo ~ Bobbi)

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

1ChristopherPlummerPick 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)

I’m going for Christopher Plummer, circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp — and this photo.

Jennifer is generously giving away two of her books; one for US readers, and one for international readers.

1annePicmedBecause of her father’s job, Anne Gracie spent her childhood and youth on the move. The gypsy life taught her that humor & love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are.
Anne started her first novel while backpacking solo around the world, writing by hand in notebooks. Since then, her books have been translated into more than sixteen languages, and include Japanese manga editions, which she thinks is very cool.
Her books have won a number of awards, and five were RITA finalists. A former president and lifetime honorary member of Romance Writers of Australia, she promotes adult literacy, flings balls for her dog, enjoys her tangled garden and keeps bees.
Find her online:    |   Facebook    |    Twitter
Buy Anne’s books:

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(Please note that the Amazon button and most cover images link to an affiliate page that supports Read-A-Romance Month. Thanks so much for your help!)

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  • Thanks for the humorous post! I have a deadline now for writing a school project for Expo2015, so your words have brought me hope and smile! 😉

    • Anne Gracie

      Good luck with your deadline, Marinella. Amazing to think how long Expo has been going. There’s a building in Melbourne from the 1880s that’s called The Exhibition Building, because a world wide exhibition was held there in 1880-something.

  • Jennifer C

    My dad’s job also had us moving frequently. I loved what you said about a book always being there to take you home. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it’s very true!

    • Anne Gracie

      Jennifer, I have a very special shelf on my bookshelves of all the childhood books that survived the moves, and some that are replacements for the ones that didn’t. Books have always been my friend.

      • Jennifer C

        I totally know what you mean about surviving the moves, Anne. Most of mine didn’t, unfortunately, but the memories are there. Just like when I hear a certain song, I can remember when or where I was when I heard it last; I also can remember when or where I read a specific book (or what house we lived in). I like your idea of having replacements on the shelf, too. I am going to do that. Thanks for sharing that with me.

        • Anne Gracie

          Jennifer, I have so few things from my childhood that I treasure what little I have — and then I add to it It started when I saw a beloved book from my childhood sitting forlornly on a table outside a junkshop. I couldn’t leave it there — that book brought me such delight. And after that I kept an eye out. . .

  • Anna

    I love Eva Ibbotson. She has some wonderful stories!

    • Anne Gracie

      She’s a marvelous writer, isn’t she, Anna. I did an interview with her once on Word Wenches. If you type Eva Ibbotson into the search section you’ll find it.

      • Anna

        I’ll definitely have to look for that!! Thank you!!

  • alisha woods

    love the colors on the season books

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Alisha — I’m wondering what color they’ll pick for the Summer Bride.

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    I look forward to reading your books.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Dorothy

  • Molly

    I Loved your spring bride.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you Molly.

  • Sue G.

    I can’t even to begin to imagine the stress of being a writer….but I’m sure the positives outweigh the stress.

    • Anne Gracie

      They absolutely do, Sue, and stress is a healthy thing, really. Like light and dark, it helps you achieve balance in life.

  • Karen Mikusak

    I would love to win! Thanks for the giveaway.

    • Anne Gracie

      Good luck, Karen

  • Patty Vasquez

    The Tairen Soul series is very romantic; excellent recommendation. But then, your recommendations are always spot on. Your recs from last year (Bec McMaster and C.S.Pacat) were very good, as well!

    • Anne Gracie

      Patty I’m so glad you enjoyed them all. I only ever recommend books that I really do love. They’re all wonderful writers, I think, and give much pleasure.

      • Patty Vasquez

        Anne, have you ever read KJ Charles’ A Charm of Magpies series? It’s m/m set in Victorian London with a wonderful pair of protagonists and magic. Another author who writes a series similar to Bec McMaster is Kristin Callihan. Her series is called Darkest London. It’s very well done, also. You might enjoy that one, too.

        • Anne Gracie

          Thanks Patty, I haven’t read KJ Charles at all, but I’ll keep a look out for them. Love the “charm of magpies” name. As for Kristin Callihan, on the Australian Romance readers FB group, someone recommended her to me and I bought my first book of hers last night. Haven’t started it yet.

  • cheryl c.

    I find peace and joy at the beach too. I also give a contented sigh at the happy endings in your books.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you Cheryl — I’m a big fan of a happy ending wherever I find one.

  • jcp smith

    I love your books!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks jcp.

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    love your books!!!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you Diana!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Loved the post, the recommendations and your humor.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Debbie.

  • Kareni

    I’ve enjoyed many of your books, Ms. Gracie; so thank you for adding to my reading joy. I’ve also enjoyed Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series. I’m in total agreement that chocolate is a kind of health food!

    • Anne Gracie

      Kareni, you’re clearly a person of taste.

  • Juanita Decuir

    Anne, I love the ocean sea and beach, miss flying our kites and camping over night as we watched a thunderstorm coming in, such joy!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Juanita — I had such an ocean experience recently. But I haven’t flown a kite since I was a kid. Maybe something to aim for.

  • Kathryn Trask

    Love your Bride books and can’t wait for hopefully The Summer Bride. Thanks for the Ibbotson recommendation just put it into my Audible wish list to listen to very soon.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Kathryn — am working on Daisy’s story now. I think you’ll love the Ibbotson. Also try her “Countess Below Stairs” which was republished recently as “The Secret Countess.” Gorgeous and heartwarming.

  • LSUReader

    I really enjoy your books. Thanks for visiting today.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you. I love RARM. Always leaves me smiling and uplifted.

  • Tracy Solheim Books

    You’ve captured the joy of being a romance author right down to the chocolate! Bravo!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Tracy — though I’m trying to stay off the chocolate at the moment. 😉

  • Jerry Marlatt Pierson

    I enjoy your books. Thank you for your giveaway and a chance to win.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Jerry.

  • Sheryl N

    New author for me, thanks for the great post

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Sheryl — that’s the lovely thing about RARM — you get to know all sorts of people.

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Amy. Good luck.

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    You are a new author for me. I’ll be looking you up on Amazon kindle.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Elizabeth.

  • Sheila M

    I love the beach as well.

    • Anne Gracie

      I wrote a blog about it on the wenches last week, using some awesome photos by my friend Keri Arthur. Makes me want to head straight back there.

  • Randi Rivers

    Awesome post! Cannot wait for the next book–the Chance sisters continue to charm me.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Randi, lovely of you to say so.

  • Diane Blaser

    Thank you for the giveaway; I love finding new authors to try out!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Diane — me too.

  • Julie Ford

    Thank you for the chance.

    • Anne Gracie

      Good luck, Julie.

  • Christyna

    Oh, my dog has leaps and bounds of joy when I pick her up from the groomers. Isn’t that one of the best joys EVER?!

    • Anne Gracie

      It’s gorgeous, isn’t it, Christyna? Dogs are full of joy.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Hi Anne! I think you are safe, by now, in that we will keep buying your books! Glad you are having such a great time catching up with your writer friends!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Sharlene. I *never* feel safe when I’m writing 🙂

  • Aleen D

    That video on the magpies was awesome. I love their sound. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Anne Gracie

      Aleen, when I hear them carolling in the morning in the big tree outside my bedroom, they always make me smile. It’s a great start to the day.

  • Kelly Hunter

    Thank you Anne for that photo memory from the archives. Johnny gives me great joy. Still! Could be I’m simply a fan of crazy spectacle.

    • Anne Gracie

      Could be, Kelly. Could also be you write a great book. 🙂

  • Glenda

    Thanks for the insight on writing and the joy of an RWA conference down under. I can just see you pulling up to the airport in a pink boa wrapped car. 🙂

    • Anne Gracie

      I only go to the pick up area, so it’s fab for helping people to spot my little car among all the others. It also starts the pickup with a smile. 🙂

      • Glenda

        It’s such a fun way to be visible in those crowded pickup areas too!

  • Erin F

    thanks for such a lovely post 😉 so fun!!!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Erin — glad you enjoyed it.

  • K Davis

    I love reading your books. I was reading them in paperback, way before Kindles. Your Chance Sisters books are some of the best. Keep ’em coming!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you so much K Davis — I really appreciate that. See, readers, a huge source of joy. 🙂

  • Marcy Shuler

    Thanks for your post. Anne. I really enjoy your books.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks so much, Marcy.

  • Michele Hayes

    I love finding authors that are new to me. Thanks for the chance
    to win.

    • Anne Gracie

      Best of luck, Michele

  • catslady

    I enjoyed your post and your covers are gorgeous!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks catslady — that’s another source of joy for a writer — lovely covers. 🙂

  • Linda Henderson

    You are a new to me author but I’ll definitely be looking for your books. My sister and I both read historicals so we read a lot of the same authors. So I’ll be sure and recommend your books to her too.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks, Linda — I hope you and your sister enjoy them

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I find that water soothes and calms me whenever I am stressed. I agree that chocolate is a health food. I enjoyed your post and the way you infused humor into it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Eileen, yes water does soothe. So does walking my dog beside the creek.

  • Pamby50

    Anne new author to me. That is one of the things I love about Read-A-Romance month. I am enjoying finding new authors. Your conference sounds like a blast.

    • Anne Gracie

      Pamby we do have a heap of fun. And I love RARM for the same reason — discovering new authors.

  • Carol Marinelli

    I love the sight of you car with it’s pink boa. I can’t wait for Daisy’s story, the Brides series has brought me so much joy cxxx

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Carol — I love collecting my friends from the airport. It’s a good chance to catch up in the car.

  • Make Kay

    I have read all your books and loved them, so I will leave the giveaway to others. Thank you for your wonderful books, they are auto-reads for me!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thank you Make Kay, but if you enter and win, there’s always the new Christmas anthology all the wenches write together — THE LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS BALL.

  • Sharon Forbes

    I really enjoyed reading your post about the Writer’s Conferance! You made it sound like so much fun! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of one of your books!

    • Anne Gracie

      Sharon, our Australian conferences are a LOT of fun. If you’re ever in Australia in August, you might want to come.

  • Carol Luciano

    The stress level of being an Author is unbelievable. I have always been so appreciative of Authors and their research. So I’ll thank you first for all the enjoyable hours I got from reading your books. I agree. The Tairen Souls series is a magical read. Thanks for the giveaway chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Carol. Every job has its own stresses, I think, and with writing, there are some lovely things to balance the stress.

  • Betül

    Love Sarina Bowen books!

    • Anne Gracie

      They’re fab, aren’t they Betul. A friend of mine recommended them, and i read them and told all my friends about them.

  • sj1384

    I went and read through the blurbs on some of your books and I think I’m going to HAVE to read the season brides series. Sounds fun!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks sj — I hope you enjoy them.

  • Texas Book Lover

    I’m hoping to go to my first convention this next year! Sounds like so much fun!

    • Anne Gracie

      They’re great fun. I’m going to my first-ever Romantic Times convention next year, along with two of my fellow wordwenches — Patricia Rice and Mary Jo Putney. I’m looking forward to that.

  • Bernadette Long

    I love your description of your work-in-progress.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Bernadette

  • Diane Sallans

    I love the beach too! Heading there in just over a week!

    • Anne Gracie

      Lovely, Diane — hope you have a lovely relaxing time.

  • Quinn Fforde

    I enjoyed the peek into an author’s world.

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Quinn.

  • May

    Eva Ibbotson’s books… I think she’s so under-rated…

    • Anne Gracie

      May, yes, I practically force her books on people — and after they’ve read it, they’re always “Why hadn’t I heard of her before this?”

  • kirsten west

    Your telling of finishing a book is humorous. I would definitely feel relief!

    • Anne Gracie

      Thanks Kirsten. It’s not a pretty sight, I can tell you

  • Rhi

    Nice choice of Christopher Plummer as your favorite Chris… it’s difficult to disagree with you on that!

    • Anne Gracie

      Yes, that particular photo, too. Though Nicola Cornick picked Christopher Robin in the AA Milne stories, and I thought that was very cute.

  • Dawn Anderson

    I also feel utter joy when I’m reunited with my pets!

    • Anne Gracie

      It’s a dozen smiles a day, even at home, isn’t it, Dawn?

  • Seanna Yeager

    Aww, puppy love.

  • Seanna Yeager

    Aww, puppy love.

    • Anne Gracie

      Yup, they sure do spread the love. Even if I put my dog outside, and come out 10 minutes later, it’s all “Oh I’ve missed you, bounce, bounce, here have you been? wag wag! Isn’t this fun? bounce wag.”

  • Janie McGaugh

    I love C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series, too, and was lucky to meet her a few years ago at Dragon Con.

    • Anne Gracie

      How lovely, Janie — I suspect I’d gush all fan-girl over her. 🙂

  • flchen1

    I’m not sure I’ve ever knowingly heard magpies, Anne! Now I’m curious! LOL! Thanks for the rec for Sarina Bowen–I’ve a couple on the TBR now to try 🙂

    • flchen1

      Thanks for the magpie link! They are a very cheery sounding bird!

  • marypreston

    Happy magpies I don’t mind, but the swooping kind I can do without. Loved the post thank you.

  • Kim

    Knowing that what you write will be loved by many, but also criticized by a few, must be the difficult part of being an author.

  • Martha B

    Enjoying the Chance sisters especially the first book which set the back story for the each of them.

  • Kai W.

    I just love the “Joy” from your interview.

  • rebecca moe

    Fantastic post! Very nice picture of Christopher Plummer, too 🙂

  • Mary McCoy

    Love your description of the stages of joy in writing a romance.

  • Sarah Eisele

    I’m impressed with your ability to choose just one Chris! He was tremendously romantic-looking…