Christopher Rice – Love For Everyone

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance

Edge Of Your Seat Love

After years of writing thrillers, I was first asked to write a romance by my friend, author 11_1001 Dark Nights Christopher Riceand marketing guru, M.J. Rose. Together with Liz Berry, the executive director of Thrillerfest and a self-described romance “super fan”, M.J was getting ready to launch an exciting new project called, 1,001 Dark Nights, a series of cross marketed novellas, each by a New York Times bestselling author. (Spoiler Alert. Three years later, the project is a big success. They now put out two new works every month.)

If I’d received this invite a year before, I might have turned it down flat. But something happened just a few months prior, something that changed my relationship to the genre. After years of hearing murmurs, most of them disapproving, about romance novels featuring gay male couples but written by cisgendered women, I’d finally broken down and decided to read some of them. Until then, I’d had a dismissive (and uninformed) attitude towards the very idea of someone who was not a gay man writing a love story about two gay men. But I’ve got no patience for contempt prior to investigation when it’s leveled at something I like, so I didn’t want to be guilty of it when it came to a type of novel that seemed to be gaining popularity.

Thanks to Amazon’s algorithms, I came across two titles, DRIFTWOOD by Harper Fox The Desire Exchangeand SPECIAL DELIVERY by Heidi Culinan. As I began to read, I wasn’t angered. I wasn’t disappointed. I was consumed. DRIFTWOOD is a soulful depiction of battle-scarred British men with military backgrounds finding love for each other amidst a starkly beautiful coastal landscape. SPECIAL DELIVERY, on the other hand, took a blast of youthful gay sex fantasy and evolved it into a passionate romance. Set in the Midwest, it begins when a handsome trucker crooks his finger at a young grocery checker, inspiring a hot coupling in the back of his eighteen-wheeler that begins a cross-country romantic odyssey.

I read both books almost simultaneously, a chapter of one followed by a chapter of another. Each new sentence satisfied a thirst, a hunger, I hadn’t been aware of before then. Unlike the gay literature I’d read in college, there was no pervasive gloom, no sense of mandatory loss enforced by an always hostile society. No suicide or murder or mental institution waited on the story’s horizon to consume the hopes, dreams and loves of the gay characters involved.

These weren’t just hopeful novels. Like the best romances, they were aspirational 1001 2016 Christopher Ricenovels, depicting how the authors thought relationships should unfold for the benefit of both parties. Critics of romance novels, I would soon learn, call them delusional at worst, shallow at best. But people who have actually read extensively in the genre know the best romance novels provide road maps to the type of intimacy and selflessness that’s required to make relationships endure. That said, I don’t imagine road maps such as these are all that important to those willing to summarily dismiss an entire genre without having ready any of it.

It’s no small thing that gay romance novels are rising in popularity right at a time when LGBT people are being more included in our public institutions, institutions that include marriage. Now, having been freed from many discriminatory policies and practices that rendered them invisible, an ever increasing number of LGBT people are plotting the course for their intimate relationships and defining their personal romantic needs in the public square. Far from just being some fetishized corner of the romance market intended for women who get turned on by two men kissing, LGBT romances have begun to document this cultural change, this new public exploration of romantic possibilities.

But my reaction to the first ones I read wasn’t just political, but also deeply personal.

They made me feel included. Recognized. One of the most successful genres in publishing – a genre I had always assumed was for “other people”, straight people – was now addressing and depicting my fantasies and emotional needs. And so, a few months later, when I was asked to try my hand at romance for the first time, I was primed.

That said, I had a desire to write more than gay couplings when I finally took the romance plunge. I felt dizzy with possibilities a new genre offered, so in the projects I did for 1,001 Dark Nights, I strolled the letters of the alphabet (MMF, FM, FM with a side of MM, and so on.) While I love a good gay romance – Tere Michaels, Damon Suede, please write faster! – and plan to write plenty in the future, the gender pairing involved is not my sole criteria for selecting a new reading experience. Personally, I’m a sucker for romantic suspense with a heavy plot; the type of mystery or thriller where the lovers involved support each other without fail even as they both face seemingly insurmountable, often life-threatening odds outside the relationship.

I love crime scenes and explosions and action sequences. But there’s a comforting message to romantic suspense that goes deeper for me; it says we’re allowed to have our lives, in all their messy, and sometimes dangerous complexity, and be ourselves and still be loved in the process.

We can have love and solve a murder. We can have love even as we try to save the world from disaster. And yes, we’re worthy of rescue even when our circumstances come with seriously heavy, even dangerous baggage. For the perpetually single among us – raises hand! – who are constantly being told to alter or amend ourselves to better suit an imaginary partner who has yet to show up, this is a soothing message, to say the least.

And it’s what I get from big Nora Robert suspense novels like ANGELS FALL and BLACK HILLS, or Kendra Elliot’s Callahan & McLane series. Or, the novel that became my new gold standard for romantic suspense, BREAKING POINT by Pamela Clare. When a novel that meets these standards has two male heroes, that’s awesome. But if it doesn’t, I still find myself taken in by the message that those of us in peril are worthy of love too.

Christopher recommends:

Pamela Clare      pamelaclare.com      (at Amazon)

For romantic suspense, PAMELA CLARE has become my gold standard. BREAKING POINT, the fifth book in her I-Team series, was riveting and wonderful and hot. I hadn’t read any of the preceding books in the series, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it immensely.

Tere Michaels       teremichaels.com       (at Amazon)

For beautifully written gay romance, I can’t recommend TERE MICHAELS highly enough. Her dystopian take on Batman, WHO KNOWS THE STORM (THE VIGILANTE #1), is my personal favorite, and the first in a planned trilogy. But if contemporary is more your style, check out her novel, FAITH & FIDELITY.

Eric Shaw Quinn       ericshawquinn.com      (at Amazon)

Also on the gay romance front, ERIC SHAW QUINN’S new novel THE PRINCE’S PSALM is a brave and beautiful take on the romantic relationship between Jonathan and David from the Book of Samuel.

Harper Fox      harperfox.net     (at Amazon)

Also writing wonderful gay romance, HARPER FOX. I was a particular fan of THE SALISBURY KEY, an angsty, beautiful book about archeologists and explosive experts working together on the Salisbury Plain in Britain. It deals with some heavy themes, but the writing is beautiful and the romance passionate and uplifting.

Kendra Elliot      kendraelliot.com     (at Amazon)

And back in the FM romantic suspense world, probably my favorite go-to books are the Callahan and McLane series by KENDRA ELLIOT. The suspense level is always high, and FBI Special Agent Ava McLane and police detective Mason Callahan are a smart and resourceful duo. Gritty, determined loners by nature who find passion, comfort and respect in each other’s arms while navigating high stress cases. I can’t get enough.


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

Alright, maybe this is too blunt, and too stereotypically male, but for me, there’s nothing more romantic than make up sex. That first blush of intimacy after you’ve had a real scary, this-might-be-the-end moment with the one you love. It’s happened a few times for me, typically after a fight or a misunderstanding, something that’s required me and the other person to really lay our cards on the table and work through some stuff. The physical intimacy that follows is usually made stronger by the fact that you’ve just spoken the truth in your heart, but with each kiss you’re also incredibly grateful that you’ve both managed to pull your relationship back from the brink. The combination of all those feelings has made for some of the most romantic and passionate moments in my life.

Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

My best friend Eric Shaw Quinn. We talk about everything. He gets to (has to!) listen to every post-date download. He helps me through every break up. In fact, I was so stumped on the first question I actually had to ask him about it before answering. I’ve seen friends neglect their platonic relationships in pursuit of the perfect romance. This is a mistake. I try to remember that non-sexual relationships aren’t second rate or less meaningful than our romantic ones. Sometime they’ll be there for us when all the rest have faded.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?Santa Monica

For some reason, it’s the Santa Monica Pier. I’m not sure why. It’s usually the place I take a guy on the second or third date. It involves lots of walking which means lots of revealing conversation. I was also there recently when a friend texted to say she thought her boyfriend was about to propose. (He was.) And I’ve always wanted to get married in one of the hotels nearby that has a view of the pier and Santa Monica Bay. So many Angelenos I know find the place hopelessly touristy, but I think it’s one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever visited.

 Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

Nox and Cade from WHO KNOWS THE STORM by Tere Michaels. A mysterious vigilante and a high end sex worker whose paths cross in a dystopian Manhattan hobbled by climate change. They’re a perfect, scorching match who free each other from the maw of a dark criminal conspiracy.

Tell us about your dream date. 

I’m a huge commercial aviation nerd. I get unnaturally excited in airports, if I’m not late for my flight. I know all the restaurants in and around LAX that have the best views of the runways. So for me, the perfect date would involve the guy showing some appreciation for this hopelessly geeky side of me. I love light adventure dates, as I call them. They’re less about fancy restaurants, and more about driving to various spots around town that are surrounded by tranquil scenery or have beautiful views. Traversing the town together. Walking along boardwalks. Visiting places both touristy and local in feel. Leisurely drives from place to place with the sunroof open and the windows down. A day spent doing this, that’s my idea of the perfect date.

 

Christopher is generously giving away five copies of his erotic romance, The Surrender Gate, one to an international reader and four to US readers.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Sep 2, 2016.   Good luck!

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading


Black Shirt half smileBy the age of 30, Christopher Rice had published four New York Times bestselling thrillers, received a Lambda Literary Award and been declared one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive. His two novels of dark supernatural suspense, THE HEAVENS RISE and THE VINES, were both finalists for the Bram Stoker Award. He recently entered the erotic romance genre with his new series, The Desire Exchange. His debut novel, A DENSITY OF SOULS, was published when the author was just 22 years old. A controversial and overnight bestseller, it was greeted with a landslide of media attention, much of it devoted to the fact that Christopher is the son of famed vampire chronicler, Anne Rice. Together with his best friend, New York Times bestselling novelist Eric Shaw Quinn, Christopher launched his own Internet radio show. THE DINNER PARTY SHOW WITH CHRISTOPHER RICE & ERIC SHAW QUINN. Every episode of the show is available for download from TheDinnerPartyShow.com and from iTunes. Subscribe to The Dinner Party Show’s You Tube channel to receive the newest content in 2016. He’s currently at work on a top secret project with a top secret collaborator #mumstheword.

Learn more:

christopherricebooks.com     |       Facebook      |     Twitter @chrisricewriter

 

Buy Christopher’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

  • Sue G.

    I agree with you about the makeup sex. All your emotions are raw and exposed!

    • Christopher Rice

      Isn’t that the truth! Now the danger, I guess, is that someone might end up starting fights just so they can enjoy the make up sex afterward.

      • Sue G.

        LOL! Hmmmm????

  • Ken Travers Bob Harris

    Although it’s been awhile since we argued I think you are right on about make up sex…also, the sex shared after a life crisis ) open heart surgery, resuscitations, a broken neck) is intense. Have found those times incredibly intense as I became aware of how lucky I was to still be here and to have ( and be able) to experience my husbands body once more!

    • Christopher Rice

      That’s very moving, Ken. Thanks for sharing.

  • Victoria Clapton

    As another one of those perpetually single people, I don’t wish to alter myself to meet someone else’s expectations nor would I want it of the other person. That’s probably what I love so much about reading romances. They offer hope in a world where we are always told be something we are not.

    • Christopher Rice

      Indeed. I totally agree. And as Eric Shaw Quinn always says, if you alter yourself to suit the tastes of a potential lover, then they’re falling in love with the wrong person.

      • Victoria Clapton

        Smart man. That’s a great motto to hold onto and remember.

      • Laura Watson

        Eric is a smart man.

  • Kareni

    Thanks for an enjoyable post, Christopher. You named several authors above whose work I’ve enjoyed (Pamela Clare, Tere Michaels, and Harper Fox), so I’ll be investigating those two who are new to me. Happy writing!

    • Christopher Rice

      Thanks, Kareni. Hope you enjoy them too.

  • mariannewestrich

    Love 1,001 Dark Nights. It’s brought together such a fantastic group of authors! And if you haven’t tried it, you should read the Cut and Run Series by Abigail Roux. Fantastic! My first read of a M/M romance series and I’m hooked!!!

    • Christopher Rice

      I’ve heard great things about that series. I’ve enjoyed one of Abigail Roux’s novellas.

  • Linda Henderson

    I have read a lot of the 1,001 Dark Nights stories and loved them all. I’ve also discovered a lot of new to me authors from that series. I’ve never been to Santa Monica but the pier looks lovely.

  • Debbie Fuller

    Great post! I’ll be checking out your author recommendations and recommending the books you’ve read and enjoyed.

    • Christopher Rice

      Thank you, Debbie.

  • Shannon McKenna

    Fabulous post, Christopher! I had a good time in San Diego having dinner with you, but you were at the far end of the table, so reading this post was like a long get-to-know-you conversation! Can’t wait to read your stories and all your recommendations, too. I just gobbled up the first of the Lara Adrian 100 Nights stories. Yum! Great to hear your virtual voice again. Best, Shannon McKenna

    • Christopher Rice

      Shannon, let’s have dinner again soon. Was great to meet you at RWA.

  • Justin Longino

    Thank you Christopher for a beautiful and open raw interview. Your romance novels are the ones that actually opened me up the genre. I am currently reading Eric Shaw Quinn’s The Prince’s Psalm. The story is utterly engrossing. I thought it would be “over my head reading” dealing with the Bible Book of Samuel. But when I just focus on the story it’s beautifully written and soulful. I love your article, as well, because it’s always great to get insight to your most favorite author. You always seem so relatable and open, it’s very much appreciated to see this about a admired person.

    • Laura Watson

      I really enjoyed reading The Prince’s Psalm.

  • Sarah Lopez

    I’m another perpetually single person, having exactly 0 experience despite nearing the end of my college career, I take a lot of comfort in romance. I used to think it was silly before I read it for myself. When I did read some, I realized that I needed it. It gave me hope that someone like me could find someone. I actually cried when reading one of your books, Christopher, because not only did it have one of my greatest fantasies (romance with a teacher), but also because of how the man took care of her. I cried and all I could say was, “He’s so nice.” Romance can be escapist , yes, but that’s what people need sometimes. My favorite romances show stable relationships and couples solving problems together. That people could accept each other, flaws and all. If people say it’s shallow, they’re not reading the right authors.

    • Christopher Rice

      Indeed. That you for this lovely note, Sarah. I guess I’m glad I made you cry, but for the right reasons, I hope. “If people say it’s shallow, they’re not reading the right authors.” That pretty much nails it.

  • Shelagh Merlin

    I loved your post Christopher. I’ve been reading romance for as lng as I can remember and it’s fabulous to read your take on the genre and why it matters to you.

    • Christopher Rice

      What a lovely thing to say. Thank you, Shelagh.

  • Laura Watson

    You have managed to capture how I feel about the romance genre with this statement “For the perpetually single among us – raises hand! – who are constantly being told to alter or amend ourselves to better suit an imaginary partner who has yet to show up, this is a soothing message, to say the least.” I am raising my hand high.

  • Mike_Martinez

    Christopher, you really should read Sloan Johnson’s Baseball series and just about anything by TJ Klune. You won’t be sorry

    • Christopher Rice

      *one clicks*

  • The only make up sex I have ever had was the kind I have read about, unfortunately. Singleness has its ups and downs… So happy books like this exist for those of us stuck in backwoods places without the best kind of human interactions. I am a huge fan of JR Ward and Anne Rice romance books so now I can add Chris and some other authors to that list. This is like a giant cosmic explosion of secrets and spiciness. I cant even find the right words….I love this article and hearing about Chris and his ideas and stories. I was one of a thousand who him at the New Orleans signing of The Vines a few years ago. Got a picture of him signing my book. Next time I will have to get up enough courage for a full photo 🙂 All his work is great. I cant wait for more!

    • Christopher Rice

      Happy to post for a photo with you anytime, Aarin.

  • Douglas Kaiser

    Looking forward to reading your romance novels.

  • Kenna Nauenburg

    I loved reading this, Christopher. I’m not surprised to see you’re such a romantic man. You’re going to make someone very lucky someday!
    I also admire your relationship with ESQ. It’s something special to have a best friend who “gets you”…someone you can share anything and everything with. Seeing the two of you together at The Ripped Bodice was awesome. It’s obvious the two of you have a powerful connection.

    I should also tell you, I took your advice on “Who Knows the Storm” a few months back, and it was brilliant! I was so pleased.

    I may be a bit biased, but I think you’re the greatest!

  • Val

    I am a new reader and excited to make it through the list.

  • Matthew Barker

    Love your work, Christopher. I have been one of those people trying to find good quality contemporary gay fiction, but been frightened off by the same worries you expressed above. Having faith in your tastes (just finishing Eric Shaw Quinn’s great The Prince’s Psalm) and love your books, I’m now going to check out your recommendations. Thanks!!!

  • Kathy Valentine

    great interview!!! i love christopher rices books ive read all the books from the desire exchange except for the surrender gate, would love to win this book!!!

  • Pamby50

    The beauty of Read-A-Romance is to introduce us to new authors. These new authors introduce us to genres within the romance community. You listed Damon Suede in your post. Both of you are on my must read list. The picture of the ferris wheel reminds me of the one at Navy Pier in Chicago. A fun place to go on a date or to propose marriage.

  • “People who have actually read extensively in the genre know the best romance novels provide road maps to the type of intimacy and selflessness that’s required to make relationships endure”. These words are amazingly true.
    Thank you for your post so personally rich.
    Marinella from Italy

  • Patty Vasquez

    I love Harper Fox, as well. Life After Joe was the first of her books to get its claws in me. I think Brothers of the Wild North Sea is perhaps my favorite, although I enjoyed her newest, Cold Fusion, too!