Erika Kelly – Empowering, Hopeful 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

Nourishing the Wounded Spirit

I didn’t discover romance until my mid-thirties—pretty unfortunate for a girl with the heart of a romance writer. And, as much as I loved literary fiction, it all too often left me frustrated and sad.

At this point in my life I read romance almost exclusively.

Honestly, it nourishes my wounded spirit. It’s not a fairytale, where a prince finds a slipper and the princess finds true love. It’s about people working hard for their goals. It’s about failing and never giving up. Even when they’ve lost everything, romance heroes and heroines get back up. With renewed purpose and a better plan, they go tearing after their goals once again. And they win. What a life lesson that is: hard work and determination pay off. That feeling of hope empowers me.

Romance books inspire. They put us in the hearts and minds of winners. Of people with integrity and honor. Of people who are broken, yet strive to be—and ultimately become— better. With everything coming at me from news and social media, I need to be in a world filled with good people.

And romance heals. It shows us healthy relationships, where broken souls find the courage to trust again. And when they do, they’re awarded the greatest prize of all: true intimacy and unconditional love.

Romance puts sexually empowered women on the page. It depicts sex as it should be: a healthy, vital part of our lives and relationships. Whatever ugliness we’ve experienced in the real world, romance books show us lovers who delight in each other’s bodies, who let themselves go to enjoy the natural expression of their physical love. It shows us sex that’s wholesome. A celebration. I am convinced this is one of the most powerful aspects of romance—showing us what sex should feel like. What we should require from our relationships in order to be whole and balanced human beings.

I write passionate love stories about people finding their one true love because, for me, that’s where the meaning of life is found. My stories celebrate healthy romantic and sexual relationships. I want to live in the worlds I create.

I read romance because it empowers me. It gives me hope. And that’s not something I can live without.

Erika recommends:

Sarah Mayberry  –   sarahmayberry.com    –   @Amazon

Julianna Keyes   –    Juliannakeyes.com    –   @Amazon

Kelly Jamieson   –    kellyjamieson.com   –   @Amazon

Kristen Ashley    –   kristenashley.net   –   @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

The moment I popped out of the womb, I looked around and wondered where he was. I can’t remember a time I didn’t believe my soul mate was out there. But then too many years and bad dates went by, and I just didn’t find him. So, one day, I just let it go. I remember very clearly gazing up at the moon, as a feeling of clarity settled over me. I was going to be okay on my own. And I just…let him go.

A week later—true story—I went to Chicago to visit some friends. We went to a roof party in Old Town, and I led the charge up the stairs. The moment I hit the roof, my gaze connected with a man wearing a white T-shirt and tennis shorts, his hair curling around his ears and at his neck. A voice in my head said, “Oh, that’s what he looks like.” I’m from LA. I grew up in the entertainment industry, and that meant I dated actors, musicians…artsy types.

This man looked like he’d just returned from sailing to Martha’s Vineyard. Totally not my type. We spent the entire night talking, taking a spin around the Old Town art fair, and when we reconnected with our friends in the food court, they all looked at us with expressions that said, Wait, they’re a couple? That was thirty years ago, and I can tell you that he is, indeed, my soul mate.

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

Thanks to a chaotic childhood, I spent a good deal of time with my grandparents. I credit the woman I’ve become with my grandmother who led a very simple and pure life. After picking oranges from the tree in her backyard and squeezing them into juice, she’d tuck me under her arm on the couch and read Wordsworth. She fed me buckwheat pancakes and gave me corks to play with in the bathtub. Before she passed away, she asked all of us what we wanted from her home. I took her potato masher, hardboiled egg slicer, and the clunky, green necklace Grampa bought her in Austria. To this day, I use the kitchen utensils—and always with a smile. They remind me of the joy in living a simple and pure life.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Trust. There were times in my chaotic childhood I thought would never end. But, of course, they did. My first born child cried nonstop for the first three months of his life (I know you think I’m exaggerating. That’s what everyone thought. Until they visited). There were times I thought he’d never stop. That parenting would never get better. It did. All those unbearable times I didn’t know how I’d survive eventually passed. And through it all I learned to trust. One phase rolls into the next, and no matter what happens I’ve learned to trust my inner strength, intelligence, creativity, and self-discipline to get me through.

Trusting yourself is your superpower.

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

I will never forget JoJo Moyes’s Me Before You. I cried great, racking sobs and had a book hangover for a good six months. That book destroyed me, but there is a kind of joy in falling so deeply into a novel that you become part of the story world and are invested so intensely in the lives of the characters that they cling to you for months after reading it. That author’s got some magic in her fingertips. By bearing down on me with two equally strong but competing emotions, never letting me know which one would win, she pulled me in so tightly that when I finally hit the cathartic moment, it about killed me.

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

I’ve lived in 22 cities, 6 states, and two countries. I’ve worked in the entertainment industry, founded and run philanthropic organizations, and raised 4 children. I’ve met so many people from vastly different backgrounds in my lifetime that I can tell you with absolute certainty that the romance writing community is the most generous and inclusive of all. From the moment I joined RWA, I’ve met women—Donna MacMeans, Valerie Bowman, Marcia James, Laura Kaye, Kristan Higgins, Gail Chianese, Jamie Beck—who have taken the time to teach, befriend, and look out for me. There is no more powerful force than women banding together. It’s a win for us individually and as a community.

 

Main Drawing:

Erika is generously giving away a paperback of Take Me Home Tonight.

To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 12, 2017. (US only)

She’ll be giving away 3 more copies as part of the US bundles, and is participating in the international bundles with an e-copy! (see below for more information).

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

 


Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life—she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and finding her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and contemporary women’s fiction novels.

Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but currently makes her home in the Northeast.

 

Learn more:

www.erikakellybooks.com   |     Facebook     |     Twitter @erikakellybooks

 

Buy Erika’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 a 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

  • Kelly Jetzer

    I share your enthusiasm for the romance genre. I haven’t read your books, but I’m about to. What book do you recommend I start with?

    • Erika Kelly

      I’ve got 2 series. The Rock Star Romance series starts with You Really Got Me–and that’s on sale for the first time right now! And the other is the Wild Love series. That starts with Mine for Now. Thank you so much for reading my post!

  • Adriana Kraft

    Great post!

    • Erika Kelly

      Thank you!

  • cheryl c.

    I have begun reading the romance genre exclusively too.

    • Erika Kelly

      Nothing like closing a book and feeling better about the world!

  • Ren

    Love your post. My Grandma was my saving grace growing up so I can totally understand the ‘attachment’ to her cooking tools. thanks for sharing

    • Erika Kelly

      Glad you can relate! And thank you for posting!

  • rebecca moe

    I have some things from my grandmother’s kitchen as well, and it’s amazing that they’re some of the most used and usable items in my inventory!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Erika Kelly

      Same! I still use that potato masher and hard boiled egg slicer!

  • MaryC

    Thanks for sharing the story of how you met your soul mate.

    • Erika Kelly

      Thanks for reading!

  • Ellen

    I enjoyed your post. Funny, how we meet special people when we aren’t looking for them. My Mom has one of those egg slicers, it’s great. Thanks for sharing.

    • Erika Kelly

      Thank you for commenting!

  • Glenda

    So true that love finds us when we aren’t even looking for it!!

    • Erika Kelly

      And it turns out my husband was looking at that same moon having the same epiphany!

  • Pamby50

    Old Town is still the same. I hear my daughter tell me she is going to a roof top party. True love comes to us when we are least looking for it. I was in a swearing off men stage in my life after my divorce. My best friend did not get the memo. Thanks to her we will be celebrating 36 yrs on 9/8.

    • Erika Kelly

      Oh, wow! That’s lovely!! Congratulations!

  • Nicole Marie

    I love the story of how you met your soulmate! Great post 🙂

    • Erika Kelly

      Thank you!

  • Sue G.

    Wow! What a great story! I had just come out of a 1 1/2 year relationship and said I’m not dating any guy for awhile and BAM…two months later I met my husband….fate?…probably!

    Also, when my grandma passed away, I got her potato masher too! 🙂 It’s the fun little things. My sister took her soup ladle!

    • Erika Kelly

      Oh, I love that we’ve had similar experiences!

  • Kezia King

    I love your story about meeting your husband. Mine was similar. I dated lots of awful guys and finally I just said “you know what… no more. I’m not gonna keep sifting through all the random guys out there. I’m gonna live my life and do things that I enjoy and the right guy will appear when he appears.” Bam! Within 2 weeks I met my husband and I knew almost instantly he was the guy.

    • Erika Kelly

      Love that we had such a similar experience!

  • Amy Deluca

    I loved every word of this post. <3