Tamsen Parker – Powerful HEAs

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

HEAs, No Matter What

During May’s #RomBkLove (I would encourage you to look at the hashtag, there are piles of recommendations and a lot of romance positivity), one of the topics was HEAs. Obviously, if you’re a romance reader, you’re a big fan of the HEA, and I’m no exception. But there are some HEAs I like better than others.

I tweeted about it at the time, but I think it’s worth repeating. There are some HEAs that are particularly close to my heart, that give me a special kind of heart-warming satisfaction. I know for some readers, the bigger and more theatrical the HEA, the better. They love the fireworks and the big brass bands and the grandest of gestures. They love the fairytale ending.

Me? I like smaller, quieter, believable HEAs. Show me progress, good intentions, willingness to keep working and improving. Of course the characters need to overcome enough of what is keeping them apart so we can trust that they will be together, but not everything can be fixed.

This is where the power of romance comes in. Showing Happily Ever Afters where everything is not fixed gives those of us who aren’t perfect—which I’m pretty confident is all of us in some way or another—hope that we, too, can have and are deserving of our own Happily Ever Afters.

Yes, romance is to some extent about escapism, but there are also some things that cannot be escaped from. To tell readers that everything must be perfect in order to find love, happiness, and fulfillment, is disheartening and false. It’s erasure and gives more privilege to people who are already privileged.

It perhaps says something about me that I trust imperfect endings more than perfect ones. When all the obstacles have been removed, when all the hindrances are gone, when the world and the characters are all flawless, shining beacons of perfection, and only then can the main characters find happiness? It leaves a trace of unease for me, because I can’t help wondering what will happen if there are bumps in the road, or they’re faced with a tragedy. If circumstances change, will their HEA fall apart or will they be able to navigate the new waters and still find themselves together?

Which is why I like HEAs which might seem quieter in some ways, and not fairytale perfection. Compromises have been made, circumstances are not ideal, stutters and trauma linger, perhaps families don’t approve, a couple is still infertile, a degenerative disease has not been cured, or some villains have yet to be vanquished or maybe never will be. But our protagonists have found happiness nonetheless. They have persisted, and will continue to in the struggles we all face.

Romance has the power to give representation to everyone, to show every person with all their imperfections that they are capable and worthy of finding and keeping love. And what is more powerful than that?

Tamsen recommends:

Alyssa Cole     –      alyssacole.com     –     @Amazon

Misha Horne    –       mishahornewrites.blogspot.com     –     @Amazon

KJ Charles     –       kjcharleswriter.com     –     @Amazon

Jennifer Hallock     –       www.jenniferhallock.com     –     @Amazon

Sara Taylor Woods      –      sarataylorwoods.wordpress.com     –     @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

One of my most cherished pieces of reader correspondence was from a woman who had read Craving Flight. That book features an Orthodox Jewish couple who happen to find a connection through kink. The heroine, Tzipporah, wasn’t raised Orthodox, but becomes observant later in life and her parents don’t approve. They demonstrate their disapproval by not calling her by the name she’s taken since becoming observant, and by being disrespectful of her observance of the Sabbath.

A reader wrote to me and said that her daughter, like Tzipporah, had become observant after not being raised that way, and that she and her husband sometimes behaved similarly to Tzipporah’s parents. Reading this story from Tzipporah’s perspective had helped her see how hurtful her behavior might be to her daughter. The reader told me she would be better about addressing her daughter by the name she wished to be called, and that she was planning to have a conversation with her daughter about the best way for them to navigate visits around the Sabbath.

It touched me very deeply that a book I wrote might be a catalyst for improving the relationship between this woman and her daughter. The stories we tell are powerful, and you never know who may be picking up your book, and very much needing to hear the story you’ve told.

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

My parents divorced when I was very young, and I have my mother’s wedding ring. It’s always been a powerful object for me, although not always in a positive way. It wasn’t an amicable divorce and as a kid I sometimes struggled with thinking that perhaps my parents would have been happier had they never met, had they never married, even if that meant I wouldn’t be here. As I became older, and especially now that both of my parents are happily partnered with other people, it’s become more a reminder that even if things didn’t work out between them, that I was created out of love.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Oh so many words are powerful for oh so many different reasons. But one of my favorite words in the English language is placket.  I love how it sounds, and to me it is super sexy because the whole purpose of a placket is to help clothing be taken off or put on. More plackets in romance, please!

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

Each of the authors I mention above wrote books I read this year that I found powerful.

Alyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union: You don’t often see historicals set in the US, and especially not during the Civil War. Malcolm and Elle struggle with complicated issues and Cole doesn’t gloss over them.

Misha Horne’s Old School Discipline: Rarely is an author’s tagline so accurate: Come for the filthy, stay for the feels. Horne writes some very dirty, very spanky books—which would be reason enough to read them. But at some point, I found myself feeling very deeply for her characters because she’d worked some kind of emotional magic in amongst all the sexy times.

KJ Charles’s A Seditious Affair: Kink positive historical m/m romance. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this was a book I loved for the imperfect ending for Silas and Dominic.

Jennifer Hallock’s Tempting Hymn: A historical romance set in the Philippines with a stubborn heroine and a steadfast hero, Jonas and Rosa have to overcome myriad obstacles to be together. It’s a quieter and lovely novella that transports you.

Sara Taylor Woods’s Hold Me Down: A coming of age story that is very real about the struggles faced by anyone (but especially young people) who think they might be kinky. It’s sometimes painful in the unflinching way it shows the reactions of people close to Talia as she tries to understand this facet of herself.

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

My friend E has, on balance, been an incredible force for good in my life. He’s the least judgmental person I’ve ever met, and has become so through some less-than-wonderful things that have happened in his life. He is encouraging and empathetic, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the stories I do without him in my life.


Main Drawing:

Tamsen is generously giving away paperback copies of An Extraordinary Union, Tempting Hymn, and Craving Flight to one lucky reader.  To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 17, 2017.  (US only)

She is also participating in the US bundles and sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway.

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


Tamsen Parker is a stay-at-home mom by day, USA Today bestselling erotic romance writer by naptime. Her novella CRAVING FLIGHT was named to the Best of 2015 lists of Heroes and Heartbreakers, Smexy Books, Romance Novel News, and Dear Author. Heroes and Heartbreakers called her Compass series “bewitching, humorous, erotically intense and emotional.”

She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. Aside from good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails, she has a fondness for monograms and subway maps. She should really start drinking coffee.


Learn more:

tamsenparker.com     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @tamsenparker


Buy Tamsen’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


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.

(Tamsen 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