Hank Phillippi Ryan – Romance & Expectations

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!


You Never Know With Romance

Packing for a week’s vacation in Nantucket, I realized that selecting what to put in my suitcase was a reflection SAY NO MOREof my expectations for the trip.

A girlfriend had asked me to share a house with her and several other friends. I was the last-minute replacement for her husband, who had decided to stay home and play golf. But that’s a blog for another time.
I was single, happily single, and happy to have a week off from my stressful job as a reporter. But I realized, as I folded T-shirts and khaki shorts, I had no romantic expectations for this trip whatsoever.

I took no lacy camisoles, no slinky bathing suits, no floaty dresses or beautiful hats. I took running shoes, and books, and a tennis racket. I took my bike. (Although I didn’t pack that.)

And sisters, I did not bring any make up. For me, a long time TV journalist, that was unthinkable. But hey, what could happen on a weekend in Nantucket with my girlfriend, another couple, their two sons, and the nanny? It would be fun, it would be relaxing, it would be beautiful, but it would not be romantic.

We traveled on the ferry, across Cape Cod harbor, wind in our hair and with skirl of seagulls, heading for this Drive Timebeautiful island. We arrived at the port, loaded our bikes and luggage onto a van, and arrived at our beautiful house in ‘Sconset.

White wood, lofty windows, a glorious yard, and a fragrant stand of basil along the side. The sun was perfect , lavender hydrangeas in full bloom, and the sea grass whispering. I even remember, so funny, a little brown rabbit hopped across the front lawn.

We opened the door to the house, you can imagine the lofty ceilings and nautical theme. And there, in the living room, wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts of his own, was the handsomest man I’d ever seen.

“Hi guys,” he said. I just stood there, looking at him.

“Hey Jonathan,” my friend said. “I didn’t know you were going to be here!”

“I’m a last-minute addition,” he said. “I didn’t know I was coming until yesterday.”

I just stood there.

“Hank,” she said, “you remember Jonathan?”

“Yes,”  he said. You interviewed me once for a story. Remember?”

Oh, I thought, I did! I do. He’s a lawyer in Boston, and I had interviewed him for a story about one of his clients, a defendant in a notorious murder case.

“Hi, of course,” I said.

But in my mind I was thinking something else. I was thinking: I have no make up! Get me to the drugstore!

But you know what? Two things. One. I did not go to the drugstore. I thought: if this man is going to fall in 35D20389-178B-4EDB-B84B-D14F9373572Clove with me, he will eventually see me with no make up, so it might as well be now.

And two: we have not been apart since that day. And we have now been married for 21 years.

So when it comes to packing, for Nantucket or for life, sometimes our expectations are defied by reality. And, I learned that expecting something wonderful can never hurt.

In fact, Jonathan and I don’t celebrate that day. We don’t celebrate the anniversary of the day we met. We celebrate the anniversary of the day before we met. And we call it “You Never Know Day.”

Because you never know what wonderful romance is around the next corner.

Hank Phillippi Ryan recommends: 

Carla Neggers      carlaneggers.com     (at Amazon)     One of my dearest mentors and guides into the world of romance is the amazing , and she  continues to shine so brightly. (see Carla’s RARM ’15  post here.)

Same for Brenda Novak    brendanovak.com    (at Amazon)   (see Brenda’s RARM ’16 post here)

I honor and revere them both.

But let me introduce you to some wonderful authors in another genre.

The hilarious Rhys Bowen’s Lady Georgie mysteries      rhysbowen.com        (at Amazon)

The psychological suspense of Jenny Milchman      jennymilchman.com    (at Amazon)

and Lisa Unger     lisaunger.com     (at Amazon)

And please please, suspense fans, read Method 15/30 by debut author Shannon Kirk. Amazing.

shannonkirkbooks.com/method-15-33.php        (at Amazon)

Questions for the Author:

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

Since we are talking about Nantucket! That same trip, everyone else had gone to sleep, and Jonathan and I Leonid_Meteorwere out on the back roof deck. It was mid-August, after midnight, and in the midst of the Perseid meteor shower.

But the night was not perfectly clear, and we’d searched and searched for shooting stars, but hadn’t seen any. Then, at the same time we both gasped.

“Did you see that?” We said it at the same time. And we had. It was a gorgeous shooting star.

Jonathan said “You know what you’re supposed to do when you see a shooting star right?”

I said,  “Sure. You’re supposed to make a wish.”

“Nope,” he said. “That’s wrong. You’re supposed to kiss the person you’re with.”

(I know you will roll your eyes at this.)

I replied, arguing. “No, you’re wrong. You’re supposed to make a wish.”

He just looked at me.

And then I thought: Hank! You are an idiot.

“Oh,” I said. “Maybe you’re right.”

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

I do a lot of speeches and presentations to groups of readers and writers. There is such a sense of common ground, and camaraderie, and sharing the joy of books. And sometimes, when the speech is over or the seminar has ended, and the audience stands and applauds, I am so full of love for them all, and for my life as an author, that I almost burst into tears. That’s romance, isn’t it? Gratitude? 

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

 Paris! Cliché, yes, but what can I say. No question about it. That special light, and the history, and beauty around every corner. But wait, no, Nevis. We often travel to this tiny island in the Caribbean, where there is absolutely nothing to do. We sit on the white beach, a vast white stretch of sand with no one else in sight, and look out at the blue Caribbean, and watch the pelicans hover over the waves, then, boom, dive. There’s not a sound but the waves and our own heartbeats.

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

 Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn! Or Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Rick and Ilse. Harry and Sally.  And of course, Jake and Jane. (You won’t believe what’s about to happen to them in SAY NO MORE!)

Tell us about your dream date. 

Dream date?  Am I not very imaginative? I feel as if I have been on them, and luckily, so often I am counting my blessings like crazy.  But if someone said: Want to go off to Scotland and pretend to be in Outlander? I would love that. (Only the romantic parts, not the scary parts.) Or go to Spain and see where they shoot the scenes of Dorne from Game of Thrones. Or a fabulous weekend in New York, with dinner and Broadway shows. Back to Paris? Any time! 


Hank Phillippi Ryan is generously giving away five books: PRIME TIME, FACE TIME, AIR TIME, THE OTHER WOMAN and THE WRONG GIRL, one each to four US and one international 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 August 30, 2016.  Good luck! ***International friends, be sure to include your country in your comment so we know to include you in the international drawing.  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


Hank Phillippi RyanHANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 33 EMMYs, 14 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism.

A bestselling author of eight mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, two Anthonys, the Daphne, two Macavitys, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.”

Her 2013 novel, THE WRONG GIRL, won both the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller. TRUTH BE TOLD is the Agatha Award winner for Best Contemporary Novel, an Anthony Award nominee and a Library Journal BEST BOOK OF 2014.

Ryan also won a second Agatha Award in 2015 for Best Nonfiction, as editor of WRITES OF PASSAGE, an anthology of essays by mystery authors, which was also honored with a Macavity Award and Anthony Award. Ryan’s newest novel, WHAT YOU SEE, is an Agatha and Anthony nominee and a Library Journal Best of 2015, with a starred review which raves “Mystery readers get ready: you will find yourself racing to the finish.” It’s also an RT Book Reviews Top Pick for “Exceptional suspense!” Her first award-winning series starring reporter Charlotte McNally is now available in all-new editions. Ryan is a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.  Watch for SAY NO MORE on Nov. 1—Jeffery Deaver says “Superb!”

Visit Hank online:

HankPhillippiRyan.com    |     Facebook     |    Twitter @HankPRyan


Buy Hank’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!

  • JoAn Varner

    Thank you for sharing your story of the trip to Nantucket. I was glad that you said you didn’t run to the drug store because your thoughts were so true. Thank you for your books, too. They never disappoint.

    • HankPRyan

      JoAn! That is so great to hear..so pleased you love the books. Hurray! And what a gorgeously perfect way to describe that moment–My thoughts were true. Thank you!

  • Linda Henderson

    What a beautiful story of how you meet your husband. That would not have happened to my daughter, she doesn’t go anywhere without makeup on. We will be going to gas up the car or go to Walmart and she has to put her face on. She says every time she goes out without it she runs into everyone she knows. I think you can find romance anywhere, with or without makeup.

    • HankPRyan

      Well, I have to agree with her in some ways–whenever I try to sneak to the post office or grocery store, I always see someone “important.” Thing is–I assume they care how I look! I bet…they don;t even notice. xoxo to you both.

  • Trude Jacobs Vandine

    Loved the story on how you met your husband! With the busy schedule you must have…between writing, TV, and touring…he must be your calm in the storm. I’ve read all your books and am looking forward to the new one. Brenda Novak and Carla Neggers are two of my go to authors for romance/romantic suspense!

    • HankPRyan

      Yes, aren’t they great? And both were such generous mentors to me–I am truly lucky. Love you, dear Trude!

  • Kareni

    What a wonderful story of how you re-met the man you’d marry. And I love the concept of “You Never Know Day.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts and mentioning some new to me authors. Happy writing!

    • HankPRyan

      Thank you! One of the joys of this is introducing readers to my faves–and hearing some of yours! Who would you suggest to me?

      • Kareni

        Hmm, all of your recommendations were in the mystery and/or suspense category, so I’ll suggest The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner (this is the first in a series of regency era mysteries), and A Solitary Man by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy (this is a male/male romance which deals with human trafficking).

        Two books that are totally outside that realm that I’ve enjoyed are: R. Lee Smith’s The Last Hour of Gann (this was a long and fascinating read which is hard to define) and Michelle Diener’s Dark Horse (futuristic science fiction romance).

        • HankPRyan

          Love this! Thank you!

  • Karen

    I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Jake and Jane! Thanks for your fun post!

    • HankPRyan

      I am , too, Karen! I have no idea what’s ahead for them..and cannot wait to find out!

  • catslady

    I really enjoy romantic suspense and enjoyed hearing your story!

    • HankPRyan

      Thank you! Life is neverendlngly surprising, right?

  • “Oh,” I said. “Maybe you’re right.”

    Best words ever!
    Thanks for your romantic and funny post.
    Marinella from Italy

    • HankPRyan

      aw, thank you..we are stiil in mad love now, twenty some years later! xoxo

  • Debbie Fuller

    Loved the post, thank you for sharing and contributing.

    • HankPRyan

      Oh, Denise thank you–I had a crazy day today, and am jus now catching up..

  • mariannewestrich

    Great post! And I love that you didn’t run out to the drug store!!!

    • HankPRyan

      Wasn’t that a momentous and life-changing decision? Thank you! xoxoo

  • Patty Vasquez

    It’s amazing how love will pop up when you lest expect it. My husband and I met while on active duty in the Navy. We were part of a group that worked out together. Sweaty, dusty, and dragging through runs, sit-ups and push-ups. The make-up melted off for sure. But- here’s the important part- I asked him to kiss me!

    • HankPRyan

      LOVE that! SO romantic…you two are amazing..xoxoo

  • cheryl c.

    I love that you celebrate “You Never Know Day”!

    • HankPRyan

      Oh, thank you! And so pleased you know about it now. too… May you have many wonderful celebrations!

  • HankPRyan

    HI all! I had a truly unexpectedly crazy day today…and am just catching up! As a thank you for your patience, everyone who has commented before now (9:24 EST Tues) wins a book–just email me at hryan at whdh dot com and put I Love Read A Romance in the subject line! And now–tell your friends–because there are STILL five books to be won! See you all tomorrow…

  • Sue G.

    I had just broken up with a guy I dated for 1 1/2 years and was looking to just have fun with my girlfriends, I was 17 and wasn’t looking for a new guy…. then boom….2 month later I met a guy who would become my husband! It does hit you when you least expect it!

    • HankPRyan

      It truly does, Sue! You are so right. Isn’t it amazing? xoxo

  • Julie Nieves

    Love at first sight, shooting stars, exotic Caribbean getaways….I’m reading your post first thing this morning and I’m so delighted that my day is starting with these lovely romantic memories you’ve shared. What better way to begin the day? Thank you!

    • HankPRyan

      OH, Julie, my pleasure. Confession: I read it again this morning, too..it’s a beautiful day in August, just like that day,and I am filled with gratitude. oxoo

  • Sally Schmidt

    Awww, Hank! What a sweet story. I can’t believe you didn’t pack your heels, though ha ha ha! Almost missed this post and new website to follow, recovering from the joy of 5 great-grandcooties visiting. Can’t wait to see what happens with Jake and Jane next. And, yep, I would like to pretend to be in Outlander’s romantic parts – but at this point I would definitely need my make-up ;-).

    • HankPRyan

      FIVE!! Good luck to you, sister! xoxoo

  • Amaya

    That is an absolutely beautiful story! Thank you for the amazing post ♡

    • HankPRyan

      AW, thank you, Amaya. I have to say, it still makes me so happy to tell it…xoxoo

    • Ada H

      Hi Amaya, this is Ada and I’m helping with the RARM drawings. You have been chosen as Hank Philippi Ryan’s winner. Please send a message with your email address to me at ada@readaromancemonth.com and we’ll put the author in touch with you. Thanks and Congrats!

  • HankPRyan

    Isn’t it? Aw, thank you…I love it, too.xoxoo

  • Molly

    Beautiful story and thanks for sharing

    • HankPRyan

      Oh, thank you, Molly! It was a joy to write it down! xoo

  • Diane Sallans

    I haven’t read this authors books yet, but I’d like to.

    • HankPRyan

      Oh, so great. Love hearing this, Diane! xxoo

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    Thank you for your post. I’ve heard of you and your books but have not read any as of yet.

    • HankPRyan

      Hurray! I an certainly help make that happen..and so thrilled you are interested, Elleen! xoxo

  • HankPRyan

    WOW! xoxo

  • Pamby50

    I understand about the craziness. This is the first time in 5 days that I’ve had some time to myself. Loved your post. Pack for how you want to spend your time, not who you think you will meet. Hopefully a little get away is on the agenda soon.

  • rebecca moe

    That is a fantastic story about you and Jonathan (both of them)!

    But OMG, no makeup. You are so, so brave. I am pretty sure if I went on a trip when it was going to be just me 24/7 I’d still bring some. Not a lot, and I wouldn’t wear it every day, but no makeup? I just don’t know.

    Lovely post, thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Connie Saunders

    Oh, I love the day you choose to celebrate!!

  • Kristine R

    This was sweet. I love a good mystery book