Lisa B. Kamps – Keeping It Real

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

Real Stories, Real People, Real Lives

Most of us have been there before: we’re sitting somewhere, our noses in a book, totally engrossed in the unfolding story, and someone interrupts us. We can see the glint in the eyes, the slightly raised brows. And then…The Question.

What are you reading?

We shift, mentally roll our eyes because we know what’s coming, and answer.

A romance.

Yup, sure enough, the speaker confirms exactly what we were expecting. A snicker. A laugh. That condescending tone as they continue to speak.

Oh, it’s one of those books.

I only read real books.

How can you read that smut?

And one of my favorites: gasp! Mommy porn.

Or another variation of any of those responses that demands we call on infinite patience and control so we don’t curl our fists and take a wild swing (ahem, not that I advocate violence, mind you).

A generic ice hockey ice rink stadium with a frozen surface and a hockey puck under illuminated floodlights

Yes, we’ve all heard the stories. We’ve been there ourselves. And it’s exhausting. Those of us who  write romance are subjected to even more of that condescending drivel.

Yes, I write romance.

I write powerful stories of real people, with real lives and real struggles. Real people with hopes and dreams just like everyone else. Real people searching for happiness.

Not helpless people in search of someone to complete them or make them whole. Yeah—no. Not happening. That’s not what romance is about, especially not today.

My oldest son works for Uncle Sam. The guys in his unit learned that I write romance (turns out the wife of one of the guys was serving overseas and happened to tell her husband that she was reading—and loving!—my books). I’m sure what happened next won’t come as a surprise:

They bought a few of my books.

In paperback.

And read them to my son.

Out loud.

The “dirty parts”, of course. Which just happen to be a bit graphic.

Needless to say, oldest son got a little embarrassed. He stopped by the house one day, his face sporting a bright red blush, and—in a choked voice—told me how embarrassed he was. How he didn’t know I even knew what half those words meant.

Seriously??

Talk about some major eye rolling! And hubby laughed right along with me. How could we not?

And then I had to explain to him how the books aren’t just about sex. How I write real stories about real people with real lives and…well, you get the idea.

Oh, and if any of the guys wanted autographed copies, just let me know.

The guys in his unit eventually moved on, finding someone else to tease about…something. Oldest son thought it was done and over with.

Until he walked into his unit leader’s office one day.

And saw him sitting there…reading one of my books. Oldest prepared himself for more teasing, but the teasing never came. Instead, his officer sat the book down and looked at him, with a vaguely confused expression on his face (or so I was told).

And then the officer told oldest son that the book was really good. That it wasn’t about sex. That it was about real people with real lives and real struggles.

That he got caught up in the story.

That he couldn’t wait to read more.

Well, duh.

That’s the power of romance. It breaks down barriers and brings us together. Reminds us that we’re more alike than we are different, that we all have hopes and dreams.

It reminds us that—no matter who we are or where we are in life—we all want the same thing: happiness.

And that’s pretty damn powerful.

Lisa recommends:

Michelle Monkou      –      www.michellemonkou.com       –      @Amazon

Kate Willoughby      –      www.katewilloughbyauthor.com      –     @Amazon

Jami Davenport      –       www.jamidavenport.com      –      @Amazon

Jaymee Jacobs      –      www.jaymeejacobs.com      –      @Amazon

Mignon Mykel      –        mignonmykel.com      –      @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

This isn’t so much about the power of romance as it is about how much impact we, as writers, can have. I think we tend to forget that sometimes.

I received several emails from readers who had just finished FACE OFF, The Baltimore Banners #10 (released May 2017, find it at most e-retailers here.). This was a tough story to write because it deals with mental illness and depression, and I was so worried how it would be received. So worried I had somehow botched it up or got something wrong.

All of the emails thanked me for writing it, thanked me for tackling an issue that tends to be swept under the rug or downplayed. But one email left me in tears, and I still get choked up reading it. There’s no way I can capture the essence of that email, so I’m pasting parts of it here:

“It’s 4am here in the UK and I’ve just finished Face Off. I’m here all emotional because I’ve never come across a book until now that describes perfectly the battle some of us fight with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues…It reminded me of how far I’ve come and that I’m able to continue moving forwards even when my darkness creeps back in. The ending was brilliant and perfect. I wanted to cry because it was filled with so much love and I’ve never felt like that about an HEA before! I can’t thank u enough because I needed this book and it’s one I’ll read whenever I’m struggling with my darkness because it’ll remind me of what I’ve already achieved and that the battle can be fought…”

And this:

Face Off was amazing and I’m so glad that you’ve written a book that tackles such a difficult subject perfectly and helped to remind me what I’ve achieved. I really needed to read something so beautiful and full of courage like Face Off because I was struggling again but could feel the darkness lifting off my shoulders as I read the story. Face Off touched me somewhere deep that no other book has and I’m still carrying that feeling with me now…”

Never underestimate the power of words…the power of romance.

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

I don’t think I’ve given this one too much thought—but something popped into my head as soon as I read the question, so I guess the answer has always been with me.

It’s my father’s pipe.

I get my love of reading—and writing—from my father. My earliest memories involve him reading to me, and he was always so very supportive and encouraging when I created my own stories when I was little. And he always had a pipe with him.

Dad passed away a few years ago, but I kept one or two of his pipes. I couldn’t bear the thought of parting with them. I keep them on my desk and when I look at them, I see my father, smiling at me, encouraging me, telling me I can do it. I guess I never really made the connection, never gave it any conscious thought.

But yeah, having those pipes is kind of like having my dad with me!

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Hmm…another question I’ve never given much thought to. Can I get back to you on that?

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

Just one? I’ve always been a voracious reader so this is a really tough question to answer. There are so many books that have left an impression on me, for a variety of different reasons, that I’m not sure I can really narrow it down.

But if you’re going to force me…A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

I know, you were probably expecting something different. A heavy classic, maybe. And yeah, okay, Wuthering Heights is right up there, too. There’s just something so deliciously angsty about Heathcliff! And then there’s Tennyson…yes, I read Tennyson. For pleasure.

But my answer is still the same: A Wrinkle in Time.

And now you’re going to ask me why.

Honestly? I’m not sure.

It wasn’t the first book I read. It wasn’t the first book I ever owned. But there was just something about it that drew me in…over and over and over. My first copy was borrowed from the library. My second copy fell apart from reading it so many times. It was just that kind of story. For me, anyway. Maybe it opened up a different world. Maybe it had something to do with the imagery and symbolism.

Maybe it was just a really good book.

I don’t know. But it’s still going to be my number one answer, no matter how many times you ask!

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

Excluding my parents…I’d have to say two of my English teachers in high school…for two vastly different reasons.

The first is Mrs. D. No, I’m not giving you her full name. Why?

Because Mrs. D and I did NOT get along. At all. She had very narrow ideas of what constituted a “good story”—and I didn’t even come close to fitting into that small box she deemed acceptable. She never failed to mark my papers with her bold red pen, always pointing out what was “wrong” and reminding me that I would never succeed in being a successful writer. My stories had no discernible “themes” and focused too much on “emotion”. My prose wasn’t colorful enough. My stories were too real; they bordered on the ridiculous. I didn’t “follow the rules.” I once won a short story contest and she let me know that it must have been a fluke.

Exaggeration? Possibly. But that’s what it felt like at the time, and that was the message I struggled to ignore.

And then there was Mrs. Ostermann. Man, I loved that woman. She shunned the rules and encouraged her students to shun them as well. She wanted us to think outside the box. She wanted us to forget convention and spew emotion into everything we wrote. Write until it hurts. Write until you bleed. Raw. Emotional.

Real.

Tell the story how you want to tell it but never forget to be true: to the story, to the emotion, to yourself.

No, I didn’t ace her class. She demanded more from every single one of her students. She was brutal. Not in a bad way, not in a way meant to demean and belittle. She made me dig deeper. She made me want to grow and break down walls that held me back—often walls I had built myself. And when she praised you? Yeah, that was always something to treasure! She always saw something inside me, in my writing. She pushed me to become better.

Encouraged me to pursue it.

And I did.

 

Main Drawing:

Lisa  is generously giving away winner’s choice of paperback copy of any available title along with small swag pack and tote bag. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 16, 2017. (US only)

She’ll also be giving away copies of her titles Playing The Game, The York Bombers #1 and Dangerous Passion as part of the US bundles and international bundles, plus she’s sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway! (see below for more information)

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

 


Lisa B. Kamps is the author of the best-selling series The Baltimore Banners, featuring “hard-hitting, heart-melting hockey players” [USA Today], on and off the ice. Her Firehouse Fourteen series features hot and heroic firefighters who put more than their lives on the line. She’s introduced a whole new team of hot hockey players who play hard and love even harder in her newest series, The York Bombers.

In a previous life, she worked as a firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department then did a very brief (and not very successful) stint at bartending in east Baltimore, and finally served as the Director of Retail Operations for a busy Civil War non-profit.

Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons (who are mostly sorta-kinda out of the house), one very spoiled Border Collie, two cats with major attitude, several head of cattle, and entirely too many chickens to count. When she’s not busy writing or chasing animals, she’s cheering loudly for her favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals—or going through withdrawal and waiting for October to roll back around!

 

Learn more:

www.lisabkamps.com     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @LBKamps

 

Buy Lisa’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.

(Lisa is contributing to the US and international 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

  • Lisa B. Kamps

    Thank you so much Kathy! Which part of BCo?

    • Kathy Nye

      White Marsh

      • Lisa B. Kamps

        Not too far from the Hereford Zone!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

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

  • Pamby50

    New author for me. I was cracking up about your son. Will I have to read Baltimore Banners in order to understand Face Off or can it be read as a stand alone?

    • Lisa B. Kamps

      Hi Pamby–

      All the titles in all series can be read as stand alones–you won’t be lost at all! I hope you enjoy Face Off if you pick it up–that story will stay with me forever <3!

      Thanks!

  • sasper5

    I have never read any of her books, but always wanted to. I love how she read about the emails her readers sent her. That tells me she writes good books and I am going to Amazon to try one of her books. I love hockey romances. Toni Aleo is one of my favorite hockey writers maybe Lisa will be the next one.

    • Lisa B. Kamps

      Hi Sasper–

      Thanks so much! I’m a huge fanatic and I hope that shows in the stories :). And I agree about Toni, too!

      If you pick up any of my stories, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them <3!

  • Sue G.

    What a great story about your son and your stories! LOL! Whenever anyone pokes fun at me for reading romances, I just tell them that my hubby really benefits from it! 😉 That usually shuts them up!

  • Patty Vasquez

    “Real people, with real lives, and real struggles.” People who make fun of romance novels crack me up. Where do they think authors get their ideas? Unlike the over-the-top spy/espionage/thriller novels that are so well-written (not always), unique (they all sound the same to me), and up-lifting (rarely). I’m not fond of sarcasm, but really, sometimes “Duh” is the only response.

  • Nicole Marie

    You are a new author to me as well, thanks for sharing your story! I look forward to reading your books.

  • Audrey

    I enjoyed reading about your memories of a couple of high school English teachers. Others which who I’ve spoken seem to suggest that their writing teachers, too, are the most memorable ones from all their years–for better or worse! Glad you pursued writing in the way you did, and thanks for sharing this interview Lisa.

  • MaryC

    Thank you for sharing the story about your son.

  • Ellen

    Still don’t understand how people can judge a genre if they haven’t read it. I enjoyed the story about your son and his colleagues. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michele H.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Kezia King

    You are a new author to me but I am definitely gonna check out Face Off. Sounds amazing!

  • I discovered Lisa awhile back and am so glad I did. Her books are so much more than the sex. I love the raw emotion behind it. You can’t help but get caught up in the story. Plus the sex is pretty hot too, ha!