Cindy Dees – One Thing Matters

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

Love Conquers Everything

The core story that all romance novels tell is exactly the same, every single story, every single book. Ever. And it is that core story we, as readers, go back to over and over with obsessive intensity and unquenchable need. It’s an affirmation to us in the midst of our difficult, sometimes unhappy, stressful, miserable lives that something good may come of it all. What is that core story? Simple. Love Conquers Fill in the Blank.

Which is to say, love conquers whatever challenge we romance writers can think of to throw at it. Love conquers EVERYTHING.

That’s what romance is about, that’s what love is about, and that’s why we read about it again and again and again.

A little over a year ago, I was informed by my doctor that I had cancer. In the very next moment, the most extraordinary thing happened. It was as if the whole world came to a screeching halt. We’re talking a full-on Matrix moment where everything around me went into super slow motion, and I was the only living thing moving and thinking at normal speed.

And in that suspended moment in time, two things became crystal clear to me. Most of what I worried about in my day-to-day life didn’t matter. At all. Not in the least. It was all useless, trivial, time-wasting, energy sapping crap.

And second, the only things in my life that do matter are my family, friends, laughter…and wait for it…love. That’s it. Nothing else matters. The people I love most, the happiness they give me, and the love that binds us—they’re the ONLY things that really matter.

The good news is we caught my cancer very early, we treated it aggressively, and I was declared completely cured relatively quickly.

But the lesson remained. Only one thing matters: Love.

When, for better or worse, everything else falls away in your life, the only thing that will be left is the love you feel for others and the love they feel for you.

In that suspended moment in time, as I was examining my life and grading every aspect of it (I gave myself a solid A minus—I needed to spend more time with my Dad and exercise more…enter hot yoga and long walks with the dog to my life), one more question presented itself to me.

Did I still want to write books, and if so, what kind of books?

I’m delighted to say that the answer to the first question turned out to be a resounding yes. Even if I was dying and had a short time to live, I would have wanted to spend part of it telling my stories. And in answer to the second part of the question, it was in that moment I realized I would want to spend that time telling romances.

Having finally grasped the core importance of romance, having finally understood the power of love to solve all problems and face all challenges, there was simply nothing else left to write about.

The power or romance is its core message that to be human is to love and that love does, indeed, have the power to conquer everything.

 

Cindy recommends:

I have to top my list with the great Jacqueline Carey. Her books are so grand, sweeping,  complex, and passionate that I’m always swept away completely. Her Kushiel’s Dart series has to go down as one of the best romance series ever written.

Jacqueline Carey     –          www.jacquelinecarey.com         –    @Amazon

My newest discovery (and feel free to laugh at me for this) is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Thank goodness she’s written a lot of books  because she’s totally my new addiction. How in the world I managed not to read her until now is a complete mystery to me.

Sherrilyn Kenyon    –         www.sherrilynkenyon.com         –    @Amazon

Also probably no surprise is Sylvia Day. That woman can flat out write. Love, love , love her books. Not once does my internal editor kick on when I’m reading anything by her. Oh, and I can’t forget Courtney Milan as my go-to historical author who just knocks every book she writes out of the park. SUCH a smart writer. Love her stuff.

Sylvia Day     –          www.sylviaday.com         –       @Amazon

Two new writers in the field that I’m loving are Kristin Cast and Gina Maxwell—both super talented writers with funny, smart, sexy voices. I recommend both of them highly!

Kristin Cast     –         www.kcastauthor.com          –    @Amazon

Gina Maxwell      –         ginalmaxwell.com        –      @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

The first fan mail I ever got, shortly after my very first book came out was hand written on stationery from a high school in Washington state. The reader informed me that wildfires had burned her and her husband out of their house. They’d escaped with the clothes on their backs and their cat. They were currently living in the gymnasium of a high school. Hence, the stationery. She went on to tell me that someone had donated a bag of books to the refugees.

She’d found my book and read it. And she wrote to thank me for giving her several hours of escape from the horror that her life had become. She thanked me for reminding her that what mattered were her loved ones—her husband and her cat.

She. Thanked. Me.  Talk about being completely humbled. She was the one who taught me the lesson that day. It’s love that matters. Period.

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

If you ever meet me, you’ll see I wear a gold band on my right hand with five garnets across it. My parents were young and had nothing when they got married at age 21. They took turns, one working and one going to college, for seven years, until they both had college degrees and master’s degrees. I was born during that time, and I remember living through some very lean years.

When my dad finally got his first “real” job as an environmental protection engineer, he bought my mother a garnet ring to thank her for all her years of hard work and support. She wore that ring through my entire childhood and for many years afterward. I always loved that ring (garnet happens to be my birthstone), but I always associated it with my parents’ love for each other.

On my birthday a few years ago, my mother shocked me by giving me her beloved ring. She said she hoped it brought me the same love and meaning that it had brought her.

I still pretty much never take it off. It’s one of my most prized possessions. Someday, I’ll pass it to my daughter with the same wish for her.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Am gonna go off the theme of love here and say, “serendipity”. Besides the fact that the word feels like fizzy bubbles in my mouth and is flat fun to say, I love the notion of lucky coincidence, happy chance. There’s so much joy in serendipity entering into anyone’s life. I hope serendipity strikes each of you!

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

I’m going to have to choose Shanna, by the great Kathleen Woodiwiss. I swiped it from my mother’s bookshelf and read it, hiding in the basement, in the summer before 7th grade. It was the first romance novel I ever read, and it absolutely rocked my world. Besides the fact that if filled in some key gaps in my 6th grade sex education class, I was completely swept away by the passion, the epic grandeur of the tale, the larger-than-life hero and heroine. I have remained hooked on romance novels ever since, and I’ve never lost that sense of wonder and imagination that Shanna sparked in my soul. Someday when I grow up, I would love nothing more than to write a book that has such an impact on future readers.

 

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

When I was 15 years old, I started college at the University of Michigan, where I met a 16-year old named Kathy Eades. We met again a decade later at a Romance Writers of America convention and discovered that we had both become romance writers in the mean time. We’ve been best friends ever since, through our marriages, the birth and raising of our daughters, and through all the ups and downs that come with a writing career.

She’s the sister I never had (I was an only child), she makes me laugh, she’s my muse when it’s time to create characters, and she is so damned brave and funny, I don’t have words to properly describe her.

She’s an artist at heart and keeps me from being boring. She’s wildly creative and pushes me to let loose with my own creativity. She’s the friend I’ll skip taking my pills with in the nursing home and racing our wheelchairs up and down the halls with.

Without her, I would be a pale shadow of the person I am today. She writes under the pen names Jade Lee and Kathy Lyons, and she is truly my best friend forever.  ( jadeleeauthor.com )

 

Main Drawing:

Cindy is generously giving away ARC’s of both of her epic fantasy novels from Tor.  To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 19, 2017. (US only)

She’ll also be giving away copies of some of her recent Harlequin Suspense titles as part of the US bundles, and she’s sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

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

 


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fifty-three books, 2-time RITA winner and five-time RITA finalist, Cindy Dees writes romantic thrillers and epic fantasy novels. A former U.S. Air Force pilot and part-time spy, she draws upon real-life experience to fuel her stories. She is a hybrid author, self publishing and writing for Harlequin, and Tor Publishing.

She loves to talk with other writers and readers, and you can find her on a variety of social media platforms.

 

Learn more:

cindydees.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @cindydees

 

Buy Cindy’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.

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

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week2@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 Week2@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 2 contests are Aug 9 through Aug. 16

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

  • cheryl c.

    What a wonderful story about your mom’s ring!

    • Cindy Dees

      Thanks, Cheryl. Am smiling down at it on my hand, now.

  • Sue G.

    I’m glad to hear you are cancer free. It is something that makes you rethink life, doesn’t it?

    Also, starting college at 15! Wow! Very impressive.

    • Cindy Dees

      Man, and how it made me re-think everything, Sue. Totally, and I mean totally, re-shaped my world. I was lucky to have parents who made sure I didn’t get bored in school. I think lots of kids can handle college academics well before they’re allowed to, but that’s a whole separate essay!

  • Wendi Rogers

    Thank you, for sharing your story. Best of luck.

    • Cindy Dees

      Thanks Wendi! Honestly, I feel massively lucky every day. Life has become mostly radiant joy–with tiny doses of temporary WTF…

  • MaryC

    Thanks for sharing the story about your parents.

    • Cindy Dees

      Awww, my pleasure, Mary.

  • Patty Vasquez

    Wow! What a powerful life lesson. Love is more important than money, a super-clean house, or any of the other inane competitions in which we humans get wrapped up. I’m glad you’re cancer free and still writing romance.

    • Cindy Dees

      LOL, I’m glad I’m cancer-free and writing too! Honestly, my hope is that other women can learn the lesson I did without having to go through a life-threatening disease. Me, I was a wee bit pig-headed, and it took a big life shock to teach me the lesson. 🙂

  • Pamby50

    Congrats on beating cancer! I hear you about Sherrilyn Kenyon. I started reading her after diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease. Who could forget Julian and Grace. We have the same thing in common. My first romance book was Shanna.

  • Kezia King

    I’m so glad your cancer was found and treated early! I agree, love is everything. When people bash romance I always think- it’s love! What’s more important than that?! Thank you for sharing!

  • Nicole Marie

    Great post, thanks for sharing your story!

  • Tori Valenzuela

    Congrats on beating Cancer! Ive had the experience of watching my mother fight cancer in 2014, unfortunately she lost her fight. It was a hard life lesson for me on to never take a moment for granted 🙂

  • Booklover

    I love your books but did realize you wrote epic fantasy, too. And I love Jade Lee! I met her at a convention in 2011. She’s very friendly and has a great sense of humor.

  • Emmel

    Garnets are gorgeous, aren’t they? And Jade/Kathy is simply one of the nicest writers out there. What a great way to reconnect with someone after so many years!

  • catslady

    Kathleen Woodiwiss got me hooked on romances and I never looked back!!!