Ann Marie Walker – Super Powerful Romance

Hi friends!

Welcome to the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate this awesome genre! Come back every day to read all three “Power of Romance” posts. Check out the full calendar of authors here. You can also find links to the last four years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook.

Happy August!

#LoveRomance #ThePowerOfRomance

Transporting Romance

To me, the power of any book is its ability to transport the reader to another world. The superpower, if you will, of romance is to make that world a happy place, or at least one with a happy ending. When I explain the power of an HEA (Happily Ever After) to someone who’s never read the genre, I like to draw a comparison to television. Some folks like to watch the latest crime show at the end of the day, while others will click on a rerun of Friends before bed. (The fact that I have seen every episode of Friends at least six times is probably why I have ultimately gravitated toward romantic comedy.)

But not everyone can appreciate all that the romance genre has to offer. Let’s face it, anyone who writes romance has been met with the knowing smile or even the more direct “so you write the dirty stuff?” I used to just reply with a generic “I write contemporary romance” but now I tend to elaborate. I explain how romance can be dirty, but it can also be far more innocent, (You should see the looks I get when I point out there is even Amish romance!) and that what differentiates romance from other genres of fiction is the guarantee of a happy ending. More often than not, the person who started out with wagging eyebrows probably ends up wishing they had never gotten me started haha but some are intrigued, ask questions and, sometimes, even want me to make recommendations for their next read.

The bottom line: I am proud of my genre. But I will admit, there were times I would make excuses to people who questioned why I didn’t write “real books”. That changed in 2014 when I attended a luncheon where Kristan Higgins gave the keynote address. During her speech, Kristan discussed the accomplishments of her talented family and superhero husband (he’s actually a firefighter, but honestly, isn’t that the same thing?) and how she used to feel as though she didn’t measure up. Then she read a fan letter she had received from a cancer patient who said she had taken Kristan’s books with her to all of her chemotherapy appointments and that the laughter and joy from her books was what got her though each session. If that isn’t power, then I don’t know what is. Since that day, I have proudly owned my title. I am a romance writer. What does that mean exactly? Well to me it’s quite simple: a little lust, a little laughter, and a whole lotta love.

 

Ann Marie recommends:

Tara Thomas (aka Tara Sue Me)  –   tarasueme.com/tarathomas

@Amazon  –   Tara Thomas

@Amazon    –   Tara Sue Me

 

Darkest Night

In this first novel in the explosive, brand-new romantic suspense Sons of Broad series from Tara Thomas comes a novel of deadly secrets and hidden danger. In the sultry streets of Charleston, one family, ruled by its powerful, take-no-prisoners sons, has risen to the top. But a merciless killer is out to destroy them…and everyone they hold close…

Keaton Benedict is the notorious playboy of Charleston’s streets. The youngest brother in the ruthless clan of men that run the biggest shipping industry in the South, he’s got money to burn and time to play. But there’s one woman for whom Keaton would give up everything he has just to kiss her one more time—the beautiful girl he loved when he was just a teenager. And when he finds her waitressing at an upscale gentlemen’s club the same night as a gruesome murder of one of the dancers, Keaton knows he must do everything he can to protect her.

Tilly Brock has learned the hard way to take care of herself. Once the daughter of a wealthy, well-bred Southern family, her life fell apart when her father was accused of embezzling money from Benedict Industries—an accusation that left her family destitute, and ripped Tilly away from the only boy she knew she would ever love. But just as she slowly reenters Keaton’s world of wealth and status, an enemy of Benedict industries is out there, biding his time, waiting to make his next move…

As the killer draws Tillly and Keaton closer into his dark web, they must uncover the threat that hunts them, before it’s too late.

 

Robinne Lee     –    www.robinnelee.com      –    @Amazon

The Idea of You

Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.

  

Rachel Goodman   –  www.rachelgoodmanbooks.com   –    @Amazon

Intercepting the Chef

Gwen Lalonde is a rising star in the eyes of the elite restaurateurs of the world. But when her celebrity chef boss and now ex-boyfriend fires her, she finds herself playing a different game. Forced to flee San Francisco and return home to Denver, Gwen lands a spot as the executive chef at Stonestreet’s, a new restaurant owned by NFL golden boy and Colorado Blizzards quarterback Logan Stonestreet. When Logan starts pursuing Gwen romantically, she pulls a classic duck and weave and avoids any advances by throwing herself into reestablishing her reputation in Denver.

But Logan Stonestreet is persistent—he didn’t become one of the best football players in the league by throwing in the towel at the first rejection. Something about Logan’s unwavering determination—and amazing body—keeps Gwen around, and soon there’s more that’s sizzling than just the steak on the grill. Things are getting more serious than either side cares to admit, and when Logan suffers a severe injury in the playoffs, they’re both forced to make game-time decisions. The perfect romance for football fans and foodies alike, Intercepting the Chef is a delicious read that’ll have you hooked until the very last play.

 


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.

In a way, my answer is really more about the power of romantic comedy. I recently had the pleasure of spending time with readers at the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention. While there, I met a woman who told me that while she had read all of my novels, and considered Hudson Chase to be one of her all-time favorite book boyfriends, it was the advanced copy of my most recent novel. BLACK TIE OPTIONAL, that meant the most to her. When I asked why she told me a very personal story of loss and heartache but though her eyes watered while she spoke, there was also a sparkle in them when she told me how parts of my book had made her laugh out loud at a time when even smiling had been difficult. No review could have ever meant more to me and it was a true testimonial as to the power of romance, particularly the genre of romantic comedy.

Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.

My grandmother gave my mother a pearl ring for her eighth grade graduation, my mother gave it to me for mine, and I gave it to my daughter, Kiley, for hers. The fact that three generations have worn that ring during their teenage years makes it very special to me. Someday I would like to incorporate it into a novel, sort of a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but a ring in one family.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Perseverance. We’ve all heard the expression “nevertheless, she persisted” and while the phrase may have originated on the senate floor, it resonated with women across the globe, sparking everything from t-shirts to tattoos. But there is another saying that spoke to me a few years ago: It is never too late to be what you might have been. These words were written by Mary Ann Evans writing as Victorian author George Eliot. I love the symmetry between the saying that has come to be symbolic of the modern day feminist movement and words written by a woman who couldn’t even claim them as her own. We all have our struggles in life, and each and every one of us most dig deep for the perseverance required to push forward.

Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

I have a confession to make. I’ve never read a Stephen King novel. So when someone told me that On Writing was a must read for any writer, I was admittedly skeptical as to how this man’s words would apply to an aspiring romance author. Boy was I wrong! From his early struggles to his loathing of adverbs, the messages in this book hit me hard and still bounce around inside my head today.

Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

As I sat trying to determine who has influenced me the most, a flood of names came to mind. And then it hit me. There isn’t any one person who has propelled me forward, but rather an entire group. While I realize no community is without its ups and downs, by and large I have found romance writers to be unbelievably supportive. Whether jumping on the phone when you send out an SOS, donating books for a launch giveaway, agreeing to a blurb when they are drowning in their own deadlines, or just sharing a laugh over a cocktail, the writers I have met are my colleagues, not my competition and I am so proud to call each of them friend.

 

Main Drawing:

Ann Marie is generously giving away a digital copy of BLACK TIE OPTIONAL   To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 26, 2017. (open to everyone)

She’ll be giving away another copy  as part of the bundles. (more info. below)

There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.

 


Ann Marie Walker writes steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an episode of Friends, and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl. If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually, but the rest of the year you can find her on Twitter, where she would be happy to talk to you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago

 

Learn more:

www.annmariewalker.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @AnnMarie_Walker

 

Buy Ann Marie’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!

 

#LoveRomance   #The PowerofRomance    #ReadARomance


MORE DRAWINGS!

Each RARM post will have one main drawing each day (posted above). Authors are also contributing to weekly (US only) bundles, which will be drawn at the end of the week. Each bundle will consist of at least five books and the amount of bundles will depend on the amount of books the authors contribute.

(Erika is contributing to the US and international bundles, and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week3@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

International friends!

Rather than individual drawings off posts, this year we’ll do sets of books, 3+, depending on how many authors contribute. To enter, send an email to Week3@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 3 contests are Aug 17 through Aug. 24

For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors  are supporting an extra-special drawing – high quality tote bags and mugs printed with a fun, pro-romance image (see below).

Read-A-Romance Month, through the generous support of many of the authors, is giving away at least 30 mug & tote combos.

Plus, at least two lucky winners will win a Read-A-Romance Month “Month of Books” Mega Bundle, consisting of 31 books!

To enter these exciting drawings,  send an email to August@ReadARomanceMonth.com (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month.

(US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include an international cup/tote combo.)

You will not be automatically added to a newsletter, and I promise not to sell or give your email addresses to anyone. I do reserve the right to send you an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which will also have opportunities to win more prizes and great romance reading tips!

 

 

Check out all three great posts everyday in August at ReadARomanceMonth.com.  Or you can find the posts on the RARM Facebook page.  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  #ReadARomance

  • Sue G.

    It is so awesome to have your Grandma’s ring to pass down to your daughter. What a neat tradition and that does sound like an awesome story! My Grandma had a rose gold watch that she gave to my mom….some day it will be mine. I have 3 daughters but my oldest LOVES rose gold…in fact her engagement ring is in rose gold, so it will go to her some day!

    • Ann Marie Walker

      Sounds like a wonderful tradition!

  • cheryl c.

    Perseverance is a powerful word for me, too. Sometimes, it is easier to give up on our goals, but we must push forward.

    • Ann Marie Walker

      I still have to remind myself of that most days, but onward and upward. Or at least onward and sideways 🙂

  • Tori Valenzuela

    I love the family heirlooms !!!! My husbands family is big on them and he has a few that he will pass to his son…if he ever has one haha we so far have been blessed with 2 beautiful baby girls.

    • Ann Marie Walker

      Congrats! And tell him he can start a few new traditions. 🙂

  • Patty Vasquez

    As a reader, I find it difficult sometimes to own the fact that the only books I read are romance. I need the HEA. It sustains me, especially at the end of a tough day and in these difficult news days. Not everyone gets that. However, because many wonderful authors are becoming more adamant and visible in support of their art, I’m finding it easier to support the reasons for my reading habits without embarrassment.

    • Ann Marie Walker

      Never be embarrassed. I like to tell people “if I can make someone’s day brighter with a smile or a laugh, then what better feedback could I ask for?”

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I enjoyed your story. You are a new to me author and I look forward to reading your books.

    • Ann Marie Walker

      Thank you!!

  • Glenda

    I love the story of your family ring! Since my grandmother died when I was in high school, I have worn the ring my great-great grandmother was given when she got married that my grandmother also was married with. It is not more than a thin gold band, but it means the world to me.

    • Ann Marie Walker

      What a special ring indeed!

  • That ring! Makes my heart happy! Also, so glad you’ve embraced your talent. <3

  • Ellen

    I always feel awful when people say romances aren’t “real books”. Does this mean I read imaginary books? I’m glad you didn’t let it bother you. Your family ring story is special. Thanks for sharing.

  • May

    Oh definitely! Romance books have made me cried and laughed so many times!

  • Kareni

    Thank you for a lovely post, Ann Marie. I enjoyed the story of your pearl ring and hope that you do incorporate it in a book one day. I’ve heard so many good things about Stephen King’s On Writing — now I’m one step closer to reading it! Happy writing.

  • Pamby50

    What a great story about the pearl ring that has been passed down through the generations. I have to agree with you about the romance community. So many wonderful authors and readers. All willing to give you your next book to read.