Nicole Helm – Worthy of Love

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

Acceptance & Hope

When I was nineteen or twenty, I read my first romance novel. I was in college, and was visiting my roommate’s family. My roommate handed me a Nora Roberts book off her massive shelf of Nora Roberts books and said: read this.

I was an English major and had been an avid reader my whole life. I always lived for the romance portion of things: Jo and Laurie/Professor Baer in LITTLE WOMEN, Todd and Elizabeth in SWEET VALLEY HIGH, JANE EYRE and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. (Basically anything where the gist wasn’t: women have sex and die so a man can live a great tragedy). Yet I was wholly and totally unaware there was an entire genre out there of love stories.

So, it was a new experience to dive into a world dedicated to romance. I read the book my friend handed me (RIVER’S END) in less than twenty-four hours, ignoring everything and everyone around me. I was swept away, not just by the heart-pounding suspense element, but by a very fundamental idea.

Love.

 I was halfway through college and had never been asked on a date, barely ever talked to a guy I wasn’t related to or didn’t have to do a project for school with. I was debilitatingly shy, and my groups of friends had always been small and about as adept with people as I was. I was quite sure all I had ahead of me was loneliness. It felt as though no one really understood me, and though my family loved me, only because they had to. I think that’s a fairly common teenage thought process: to feel alone and misunderstood, and in books I found my refuge. In romance, I found a promise.

That someone out there would love you for who you were. Awkward or shy, pretty or plain, someone would find you funny, good, smart, alluring. A promise that you didn’t have to change or compromise the good parts of yourself for someone else. You didn’t need a movie style makeover and a sassy friend’s interference to find love and acceptance and a future. A promise that it might not happen now or even soon, but it was possible.

In romance novels, I found my confidence, that mature, adult idea that you focus on yourself, find your own joys and interests, and trust the rest will follow.

The power of romance novels is the radical thought you are worthy of love, worthy of waiting for the person who sees you, as you are. The radical promise someone out there is capable of loving you: faults, arguments, struggles and all. The reminder no matter how hard it seems, how bleak and dark the struggles are, love is the light that pulls us through.

And love…love is for everyone.

We live in an increasingly knowledgeable world, where facts are at our fingertips, and yet as people scream at each other on social media, and in real life, I can’t help but feel more intellect isn’t what we need, it’s more love. More understanding.

Love is what gives us our humanity, our hope, and love will be the thing that keeps us going no matter what the world throws at us.

What is the power of romance? Love. Acceptance. Hope. The things that truly change a man or woman for the better.

Nicole recommends:

I have to say, it’s hard to limit my recommendations to five, or ten, or a hundred. I want to tell you to go read all the books. So, I tried to focus on the theme of ‘power of romance’, and I’ve listed five authors I think you should try—with my favorite titles of theirs, with the “power” of romance their body of work embodies.

 

Victoria Austin     –    www.victoriawaustin.com     –     @Amazon

Family of Convenience —the power of faith.

 

Tamara Morgan    –     www.tamaramorgan.com      –    @Amazon

When I Fall —the power of love as you are.

 

Jackie Ashenden    –     www.jackieashenden.com      –      @Amazon

Make You Mine  —  the power of love to heal.

 

Megan Crane     –      megancrane.com      –      @Amazon

Devil’s Mark   —  the power of love to change your life.

 

Maisey Yates     –      www.maiseyyates.com        –      @Amazon

Wild Ride Cowboy  —  the power of love to help you grow.

 


Questions for the Author:

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

You know that moment when your friend is telling you a story about their significant other and you kind of cringe? Not your average day complaints about messes or toilet seats or arguments over finances, but the big things: loss, disappointment, hardship.

Whenever I hear one of those stories of a non-supportive significant other, I’m always a little grateful for my husband, who has his faults, as I have mine, but I can rely on to always, always step in and support me for the big things, the hard things. I never have to doubt his being a good dad, or a good partner.

I think that’s the power of romance, because finding a life partner is tricky business, and romances (yes, even ones with “alphaholes”) show us the true meaning of a partner. One who supports and loves you through the hard times. Romance tells us about those partners in a million different ways/times/formats/etc.

Because regardless of whether they’re billionaires or average joes, CEOs or farmers, a romance hero loves the heroine for who she is, supports her in her losses, and finds a way to hold her hand toward happily ever after.

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

It seems a little bit odd to talk about it in August, but an object that has powerful memories for me is a glass heart Christmas ornament. When I was a kid, each year my grandma would let all the grandkids pick an ornament off her tree to take and keep as their own (she had a huge collection of ornaments). The ornaments I picked off her tree are ones that always bring me back to her house, the orange carpet, the tree she picked herself from the land around her house that was tied to the staircase with wire—which was one of my absolute favorite places to be, and she was one of my absolute favorite people to be with.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Home. Growing up, my family moved around a lot. “Home” was never one house to me, and in my adolescence I pondered the idea of home a lot. What it meant, what mine was. There’s a lot of connotations that go with the word home depending on how you grew up, and I have a lot of complicated feelings about the word now. Which is why so often my characters are finding their own versions of home —both a physical one, and a home with their HEA.

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

I couldn’t tell you how long it’s been since I first read Nora RobertsBORN IN ICE, or how many times I’ve reread it since, and yet it’s one of those books that has stuck with me across the years—for many of the reasons I talked about above. Brianna is quiet and shy, and yet she knows who she is and increasingly figures it out through the book. Love is the thing that allows her to blossom, and accept herself, as she is.

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

Since we’re talking about romance, I’m going to focus on the powerful influence in terms of my life as a romance writer. And I’m going to cheat a little and not choose a ‘person’ per se.

The road to ‘published author’ isn’t ever a smooth one. I’ve written for as long as I can remember, but for a very long time I didn’t think you could just go get published. The internet was just starting to take off when I graduated college, and with it came more opportunities to google things like how to become published.

At some point in the late 2000s, I stumbled upon the Harlequin message boards. Particularly the “sub care” board, where women—a mix of published and unpublished—talked about their experiences submitting manuscripts, getting rejections, revisions, et cetera and so on, and it demystified the process. Suddenly, it seemed possible to get published writing these stories I’d always loved to write. To make a living doing it.

And that possibility truly changed my life—almost twenty-five published books later, many of them Harlequin titles—I finally have a job I enjoy and am good at.

So, I owe a lot to a message board and the amazing women who shared their journeys.

 

Main Drawing:

Nicole is generously giving away a print copy of the first two books in my Mile High Romance series: NEED YOU NOW & MESS WITH ME.   To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 17, 2017. (US only)

She’ll be giving away more copies of her books as part of the US and international bundles.

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

 

 

 


Nicole Helm writes down-to-earth contemporary romance and fast-paced romantic suspense. From farmers to cowboys, midwest to the west, she writes stories about people finding themselves and finding love in the process.

 

 

Learn more:

www.nicolehelm.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @NicoleTHelm

 

Buy Nicole’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.

(Nicole is contributing to the US and international bundles.)

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.

    Nora Roberts wrote one of the first romance novels I read, and she remains my favorite author.

    • Nicole Helm

      Me too, Cheryl–on both counts! 🙂

  • MaryC

    Totally agree that more love and more understanding are needed.

    • Nicole Helm

      <3

  • Sue G.

    “I can’t help but feel more intellect isn’t what we need, it’s more love. More understanding.” – well said! Love it!

    • Nicole Helm

      Thank you!

  • Nicole Marie

    A lady i used to work with introduced me to Nora Roberts, and I think I’ve read everything she’s written! Great post, thanks for sharing your story.

    • Nicole Helm

      I haven’t read them all, but I think I’m close! 😉

  • Patty Vasquez

    I didn’t read any romance for several years; college, time in the Navy, young children, and a return to school seemed to make reading a luxury. And then I picked up a couple of Nora Roberts books when life seemed to quiet down. One was Carnal Innocence and the other was Montana Sky. Those 2 books are responsible to drawing me back into the romance fold. Yay, Nora! And yay, you, too, for following in her footsteps.

    • Nicole Helm

      Montana Sky is one of my favorites.

  • Ellen

    Nora Roberts’ Born in series is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nicole Helm

      Mine too!

  • Pamby50

    River’s End was a great book to start with. The whole Born In series was wonderful. Brianna touched your heart.

    • Nicole Helm

      She’s a great heroine!

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    I loved your post. I so understand that debilitatingly shyness as I suffered from the same condition. You and your books were recommended to me by Megan Crane and I’m so glad I followed her advice.

    • Nicole Helm

      <3

  • Audrey

    Awesome interview! Great college story of reading your first romance. I also must say I was such a fan of Todd and Elizabeth. I think I read all of the Sweet Valley High series. Now that I think about it, that may have been my stepping stone into the genre . . .

    • Nicole Helm

      I read them all the way into some of the Sweet Valley University books. I certainly think it laid a foundation for me as a future romance reader. 🙂

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    Love and understanding are gifts that we all need.

    • Nicole Helm

      <3

  • Glenda

    I’ve always thought that real love isn’t possible without acceptance of who both people are. You can grow and change, but shouldn’t need a complete makeover. There are some things you really can’t change about yourself.

    • Nicole Helm

      I agree. There’s also a big difference in changing for yourself, and changing for someone else. I love all the different ways romance explores that. 🙂

      • Glenda

        Me too!

  • Kezia King

    Thank you for sharing! You’re a new author to me and I look forward to reading you books!

    • Nicole Helm

      🙂

  • Emmel

    It’s amazing how much we honed in on the romance portions of our childhood reads. Jo/Laurie/Professor Baer, indeed! Then Meg and Calvin in A Wrinkle in Time, Kate and Christopher in The Perilous Gard…..

    • Nicole Helm

      Oh, yes, Meg and Calvin! It’s been so long since I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time, but it was one of those turning-point reads for me.