Joey W. Hill – A Genre of Joy

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Romance: The Genre That Writes Joy Like No Other Does

NEWS ALERT! (one I’m sure will be a shock to us all): Quadruple D books (dark, TBV cover 413X628
depressing, dysfunctional and deemed meaningful by the literati) don’t increase joy in the world. They may be thought-provoking and possess beautiful prose, and readers may sound ultra-intelligent when they want to impress their friends and the book club with their reading list. However, when those folks finished reading it, I bet they didn’t have a smile on their face, a warmth in their heart and a generally optimistic feeling about the world that they wanted to spread around. Oh, and did they emerge from that literary masterpiece with the desire to jump their significant other and provide HIM a little joy? I’m thinking not.

I’m not bashing those 4D books. I’m just kind of poking fun of the people who put them on pedestals like they are the be-all, end-all of vital reading material. We need all kinds of books in the world, and a well-written romance is equally critical, because JOY is important in our lives. And I honestly don’t think any genre can express joy as wonderfully as romance does it. Here’s an example. I have a keeper book on my shelf that never fails to make me smile, because of passages like this one (modified/edited for length):

“Ah, God, even angry at you, there’s this craven, aching need in me—” He cut himself off and his hands closed around her shoulders to push her off him.

Jessalyn pressed down hard against him as if she could fuse their two bodies into one. SoulRest-Flower600x900“I will do anything for you, McCady,” she said into his open mouth. “Anything. Except stop loving you.”

He tore his mouth from hers, pulling his head back. She stared, breathless, at the harsh beauty of his face, but the shadows had consumed the suns in his eyes. “Damn you,” he said. “Damn you for being able to do this to me.” He pushed her off him and rolled in one swift, graceful movement to his feet.

And then he was gone.

She lay on the sand until the throbbing in her lips subsided. A wide smile broke over her face, and she spread her arms, embracing the world. He loves me, she thought. He does love me. Only the silly goose didn’t know how to say it yet.

She smiled again as she thought of that long ago summer when the morning breeze had touched her cheeks with fleecy softness and the sea had seemed to pound against the rocks in time with the wild beating of her heart. When every day the sky had stretched above her head, wide and empty and of so intense a blue the soul could not bear it. When she had loved a man with all of her heart and asked for nothing.

But that he love her back.

That’s from Once in a Blue Moon, by Penelope Williamson, a historical romance that has vampire queenremained one of my favorites ever since I read it. I can feel Jessalyn’s joy in this passage. Part of the impact of this excerpt comes from what they’ve endured to get to this point. However, it’s at this pivotal moment, through her happiness, that we know it’s all going to work out for them. She feels it so strongly, she makes us feel it too.

A good romance gives me a sense of hope about family, emotional connection, trust and the power of love to overcome obstacles. A great romance may offer us escapism with fantasy elements like over-the-top erotic tension and a sexy hero, but it also reminds us of the importance of love and relationships in our lives and how we should celebrate that in ways large and small.

I’m a big movie fan, because I love well-told stories in any medium. The subject of joy and romance reminds me how often comedies and comedians have been overlooked for Oscars, despite the fact that every actor knows it is WAY harder to make people truly laugh than it is to get them to cry or think about weighty, important issues. And romantic comedies have always been a great way to fall in love with love again – with a big side helping of happiness and joy.

So embrace your joy, inner and outer, and read a romance!

Joey recommends:

Alexis Hall ( ) He writes absolutely marvelous male/male love stories. I discovered him through Glitterland (which I mentioned last year) but recently read his For Real, which was phenomenal enough I’m going to mention him for the second year in a row.

Sarah Dunant ( )  In the Company of the Courtesan and The Birth of Venus are the two I’ve read by her, and both are beautiful and moving stories. She writes Italian Renaissance historicals that make me feel I’m in the time period, but they don’t throw so much history and proof of the author’s research at me that I lose connection to the characters. In fact, that’s why I love her books – they’re very character-driven, so I not only feel immersed in the time period, but I empathize and become hugely invested in the outcome for her amazing heroes and heroines. I have Sacred Hearts on my shelf and plan to start on that soon.

Questions for the Author:

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

When I was in my thirties, I woke up to find my husband studying me while I slept. When I blinked at him and asked him what he was doing, he touched my face, gave me this indescribable look and said, “You’re so beautiful.” Now I’m not beautiful (though bless him, to him I am) so it wasn’t the surface meaning of the word that made this a joyous moment. It was what was in his voice and expression. Since my husband is a good old shy Southern boy of few words, he’s not a charmer or empty flatterer. He meant that I was beautiful to his heart, because he loved me in a way that would never alter at its core. I understood the miracle of that truth in that second, and whenever we’re going through a rough patch, I go back to that memory.

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

Disney in Florida. I love it. Every time I walk in the gate and see the castle, and hear the swelling overture they play at opening time, it fills me with delight. I usually shed a few happy tears over it. I know a lot of people see the commercialism, but I see Walt Disney’s dream. I think he understood that deep in all our hearts there’s this hunger for magic, romance, fantasy and childlike wonder, a place where we can suspend disbelief and be kids at any age. When I retire, my dream job is to be one of those little old ladies who wanders about sweeping up trash and answering questions to help park guests make the most of their visit.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

The sound of my husband and pets sleeping at night. That rhythmic breathing, the occasional snore. It’s peaceful and happy, and says that everyone is safe and close.

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’ll cite the one I used in my essay. Once in a Blue Moon by Penelope Williamson had such a great mix of emotion, romance, passion and humor I’ve often gone back to it when I need a shot of good feeling, a belief in the wonderfulness of a well-written romance. Somehow, believing in that makes me believe overall in the good that does exist in the world (no matter what the news would have us believe!).

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)

Choose?!  Really? What a hot and sexy lineup. I adore Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk, and don’t get me started on Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy or Jurassic World (happy sigh). Chris Hemsworth’s Thor would have been my choice, EXCEPT you threw in Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp. That character was one of my earliest Dom fantasies, so I’m going to go with him!

Joey is generously giving away three books, print or ebook, of a U.S winner’s choice, and one print or e-book of an international winner’s choice.

BioPhotofromCroppicAAD2010Winner of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement award, Joey W. Hill has published over forty contemporary and paranormal BDSM erotic romances, including six series. Her emotionally-intense love stories offer everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids.

Find Joey online:

Free excerpts from all her works are available at her website, Additional vignettes, character interviews and graphics inspired by the work are at the fan forum site, accessible through

Twitter: @JoeyWHill  Facebook:

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