J. Kenner – Counting How I #LoveRomance

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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!


How Much Do I #LoveRomance? Let Me Count The Ways …

Destiny pegged me as a romance writer long before I even knew the genre existed. As a Hottest Messchild, I would make up stories to entertain myself, and they always, always, always had a romance component. (Granted, some had an over the top romance element, like thirteen-year-old me daydreaming that Harrison Ford would come to my school to speak, meet me, and then sweep me away to … well, I was an innocent kid, so the details of “to” were a little fuzzy. But mostly it was that fluttery feeling in the chest, that sensation of adoring and being adored, that had me all dreamy-eyed.)

Alas, Harrison and I never got together (I like to think that’s only because we never actually met) but my love of romance and all things romantic wasn’t dulled. I added my own personal epilogue to Gone With The Wind. I watched When Harry Met Sally with tears streaming down my face at the end. (Yes! Being with your best friend—what could be more romantic?). I desperately wished that Major Nelson would just finally admit how much he loved Jeannie.  And as for Laura and Remington Steele, my heart just rolled over and pitter-pattered.

I craved romance in all of the books I read, no matter what the genre. I glommed the first several books in Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series, but the parts that really made me smile were the (too infrequent in my mind) romance/flirting/dating bits. I say-my-nameadored the Inspector Pitt mysteries by Anne Perry—yeah, the mysteries were good, but I loved Thomas and Charlotte as a couple. If a book or movie  had the tiniest bit of romance, that’s what I glommed onto — and if that relationship didn’t continue in the sequel, I was always miffed.  (Hello, Indiana Jones. I realize we went back in time, but I wanted Marion in the second movie!).

When I was older, I read Shakespeare and loved the romance between the characters in so many of his plays, both comedies and tragedies.  Even though Romeo and Juliet is not a romance, there are definitely romantic moments and speeches. But it was poetry that really wrenched my romantic heart as a teenager, and still does. My favorite is from Byron, She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

“Feels” seems to be a new buzzword, and while it’s not my favorite newly coined term, I can’t deny that this poem just gives me all sorts of wonderful feels.

So those are my numbers 1 to 4 — I #loveromance in movies and books and plays and poetry.

But it’s not just love that makes me #loveromance — it’s bigger than love. It’s relationships and happiness and a feeling of togetherness and safety and camaraderie and ‘having each other’s back’. Take the musical Wicked, which I’ve scene a bazillion times. The relationship between Glinda and Elphaba is one-hundred percent a romance (complete with full arc, what with the Loathing that starts their relationship).  Wicked, actually, is a brilliant summary of the power of romantic love and romantic friendship. Just take the song “For Good” – I certainly hope that romance and relationships change me for the better, but they have definitely changed me for good.

And, yes, that hits number 5 – I #loveromance in friendship.

Which brings me to songs (picture me raising my hand like Hermione, desperate to add something to the conversation I just thought of).  I’m not knowledgeable about music, but I was weaned on country (I’m a Texas girl), and in that genre there are some of the most romantic songs I know. George Strait’s The Chair, Randy Travis’s Old Eight By bigstock-LAS-VEGAS--APR---George-Str-62945248Ten. Songs that, because I am susceptible to all things romantic, make my heart swell when I hear them.  In fact, romantic commercials similarly get to me. And not just couples, but parents and children.  Anyone remember that commercial about the dad dropping his tween daughter off at McDonalds to see her friends? Let’s say it together — awwwww.  

I guess that’s 6 and 7 – I #loveromance in songs and commercials (we’ll just say all media).

That McDonald’s commercial segues nicely to the idea of romance in family. A dad holding a toddler’s hand. A mom making cookies with her daughter. A family out together for a picnic. Parents dropping a kid off for that first time at kindergarten, a sleepover, an airline trip by themselves – pick your milestone. Reading aloud to a sick MIL and granddaughterkid, or just for pleasure. Cuddling close and watching television. Just spending time. The little moments that you cherish.

I #loveromance that manifests within families and make up those special moments that we cherish and that stay with us.  (Numbers 8 and 9).

But what about 10 of my top ten list?  Well, I guess overall, I #loveromance because of the feeling it gives you of wild possibility. The way you standing in a valley surrounded by rising mountains. Or staring out at the sea that seems to go on forever. Or watching baby birds in a nest or a flower just starting to bloom.

Most of all, romance to me is like standing in the middle of the country on a moonless night with your head tilted back so that the only thing that fills your vision is a blanket of stars blinking against a black velvet background. Huge and vast and full of infinite bigstock-Night-Sky-Bright-Stars-and-Mi-17177165wonder.

So, yes, I #loveromance in all its forms and all its possibilities.

J. Kenner recommends: 

First, Dee Davis    —   deedavis.com      (at Amazon)

My author spouse (see above!).  But I’d mention her even if we weren’t “married” because I absolutely love her writing, from her pulse pounding romantic suspense to her romantic and evocative time travels (Everything In Its Time is one of my favorite books).


Second, Kelly Elliott   —    kellyelliottauthor.com     (at Amazon)

Wonderful author and a genuinely fun person!


Third, K.A. Linde   —    kalinde.com –     (at Amazon)

a somewhat new to me author, but she’s totally sucked me I!


Finally, Katana Collins katanacollins.com –     (at Amazon)

an incredibly talented author who writes amazing characters!

Questions for the Author:

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

This one’s a tear jerker, or at least I’m welling up as I write it.

My mom’s sister and her husband (Aunt Rita and Uncle Max) have been in my life forever. My mom was a single mom (divorced when I was very young) and they would often keep me (an only child) during the summers when my mom had to work.  They Rita and Maxhave two daughters, each of whom have lots of kids. Their family is very close, but it’s their marriage that really blew me away. I can’t remember them ever fighting. They teased each other, hugged, kissed, were always on the same page. Always smiling, always helping each other out and doing little things, like getting coffee or making sandwiches. I loved visiting them because it was always so easy and the house was always so full of love.

Fast forward to the preset. My aunt is living mostly in the past in a nursing home. My uncle ended up there first after a stroke. Neither was living in the present — and yet even when my aunt is a child in her head, Max is there with her. Even when my uncle was lost in his head, my aunt was with him. Maybe it was the 1940s, maybe it was 1966, but they were together.

He passed away not long ago, and I went to the funeral. I listened as his friends and daughters told about their courtship, about growing up in their house, about how incredibly attached they were after decades and decades and decades. You could feel the love and the loss in that room.  It may have been a funeral, but there was no question that romance filled that room. And that their love is going to last through generations.

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

Oh, I’m going to have to go with my bestie, author Dee Davis. We bonded over a love of reading and writing romance novels, and started out as critique partners. When you’re ripping someone else’s work apart, it either fails miserably, or you end up developing a profound trust. That’s what happened with us. We became close through critiquing and just got closer as the years progressed, moving from talking out the problems and triumphs in our stories and careers to the triumphs and problems in our relationships. We traveled together, drank together, gossiped together. We’ve even worked on projects together. We know each other’s kids (and consider them family). At some point, it truly felt like Dee was a sister. Or, honestly, a second spouse.

Which brings me to a funny story …

A few years ago, we were both at the NJRW annual conference. It’s cold in New Jersey, dee-julieand we were walking across the hotel parking lot to get to a restaurant for dinner. I’d forgotten my jacket and asked Dee if I should go back. It was still reasonably early, and since she said it wasn’t that cold, I didn’t bother.  We ate. We drank. We hung out until way past dark. And then we came back.

Ever notice how it gets colder after the sun goes down? Well, I get cold easily, and as we’re walking back, I’m freezing my tail off. I turn to her and grouse that I shouldn’t have listened to her; I should have gone back for my jacket. At which point, without missing a beat, she says (with complete sincerity), “We’ve been married long enough that you should know better than to listen to me about the cold.”

At which point we both stare at each other and burst out laughing. And it’s all the more funny because it’s so damn true … She’s my second spouse and I love her to pieces!

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

Paris. Not only does it have that reputation, but on our first trip overseas together, my husband I went with friends to London and Ireland.  When our friends used one weekend to explore Ireland, Don and I opted to do a weekend in Paris and then meet up with our friends in London.NotreDame

It was amazing! We stayed in this darling, romantic hotel with a sliver-view of the Eiffel Tower (we were on a tiny budget). We had the hotel do our laundry and everything came back folded and stacked and wrapped with a ribbon, including underwear and socks!  We visited the Louvre and Notre Dame (took the attached picture!), walked along the Seine, and more! As for romance, the lights, the vibe, the carousel, the little cafes for sipping wine and drinking coffee and just hanging out with someone you love. Ah, Paris!

We shared a wonderful time, as newlyweds should.  This past summer, we went back with our kids, now 14 and 12. Love that city, but love it more after sharing that trip with my husband, and then with my kids.

 Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

That’s a hard one, but I’m going to have to go with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. I’m a huge fan of romantic comedies, and those two had such a spark together in both real life an in the movies. I also love the fact that he apparently didn’t like her that much when they first met, so their real life was very much like a romance novel!  {{Spencer tracy HW star picture – stock photo from my Big Stock Photo account}}

Tell us about your dream date.

 On an early date, about two weeks into dating, my now-husband and I drove from Los Angeles (where we lived) to Las Vegas. This was back in the nineties, so it wasn’t as built up, and we were (ahem) much younger. We gambled and walked the strip and spent more money on food and drink than we should and, shall we say, did all the kinds of things that happen in Vegas and stay in Vegas. It was an absolute blast. But the best was the way we both felt about each other that weekend. I remember very specifically thinking to myself that I was going to marry that man.  And when he did propose to me about two weeks later (yes, whirlwind), he told me that he wanted to propose in Vegas, but forced himself not to because he figured that was just too soon!

J. Kenner is generously giving away a signed set of J. Kenner’s first in series novels — Release Me, Wanted, Say My Name, Dirtiest Secret — plus assorted swag to one lucky US reader (apologies to international friends).

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 5, 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


J KennerJ. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly,  Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres. Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

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