Ruth Kaufman – Reasons to #LoveRomance

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance

Myriad Reasons to #LoveRomanceMyonceandfuturelove_final

I #LoveRomance for myriad reasons, including

  • respite from the stresses of everyday life
  • finding enjoyment during difficult times
  • vicariously inhabiting and the opportunity to learn about other time periods, even other worlds, where the possibilities are endless
  • imagining what it might be like to have a different career or role or even different kind of spouse/relationship by putting yourself in the characters’ shoes
  • the fun and anticipation of finding out how the heroine and hero will eventually get together despite overwhelming odds
  • the satisfaction of seeing people fall in love in different ways
  • just enjoying how a book is written and the intriguing story. A scene from Susan Wiggs’s Vows Made in Wine made me cry not because something sad was happening but because the writing was just that good.

A great book immerses readers not only in the setting, plot, goals, motivations and TheBrideTournamentconflicts, but the emotions evoked by the characters.

To me that’s the key. Some people ask if details of my romantic romps make their way onto my pages. I’m not writing memoirs, and romance novels are about so much more than physical love. I’m sharing various characters’ stories. The fodder to pen sweeping tales of romance and love comes from them.

Usually the idea for the first scene just pops into my head. For example, in my first book, At His Command, I saw the heroine collapsed on a horse walking slowly over a hill. I did a bit of wondering about what happened before that and what would happen next, who she is, who would see her, and how they ended up in that situation. Then the characters took over, showing me their worlds through their eyes, revealing what they wanted most and what stood in their way. Exposing their greatest fears and insecurities. They let me see who they are.

I strive to avoid author intrusion (where readers can tell the author is saying something she wants to include because it seems to come from her point of view rather than that of the character), which is a challenge when my hero and/or heroine do things I don’t think are in their best interests or are dangerous. Or when I know if they would just do X, Y would happen the way they’d want it to. For me, writing can be along the lines of how you might burn to give advice to a friend, but hold your tongue even after you’re proven right.

My characters become my friends because I spend so much time getting to know them, experience their joys and sorrows with them and come to care about them and their fate, just as I hope readers do. At times it can be hard to say farewell when they find their happy ever after. At others, another pair is clamoring to have their story told, and I get to #LoveRomance all over again.

Why do you love romance?

Ruth recommends:

Susanne Lord     —     susannelord.com     (at Amazon)

I’m looking forward to Discovery of Desire, releasing September 6.

Kristi Ann Hunter     —     kristiannhunter.com     (at Amazon)

I really enjoyed her RITA-nominated A Noble Masquerade.

Books on my keeper shelf include:

Julie Garwood      juliegarwood.com     (at Amazon)

and Madeline Hunter      madelinehunter.com      (at Amazon)

(especially their medievals.)


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

The Snowdonia region in Wales in autumn was the essence of romance. All of the amazing yet very different castles built by Edward I, sweeping vistas with mountains and fields along rivers, and quaint towns with changing leaves on trees and vines clinging to stone walls were magical. The air just felt lush. I’m a writer, yet it’s hard to find words to describe the rush of feelings I had walking on the city walls surrounding Conwy Castle. You could sense the people who’d gone before. 

Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

I share romance with the authors with whom I’ve partnered in boxed sets of four novels (including Elizabeth Rose, Laurel O’Donnell, Emma Prince, Ria Cantrell, Sue-Ellen Welfonder and April Holthaus). We all have such love for the genre in general and medievals in particular, and want to put out the best books we can to engage readers. 

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

Medieval dance music means romance to me, because of the period instruments, haunting and enticing tunes and varied tempos. I can see the women in their gowns and headdresses, and men in their tunics, hose and boots moving through the steps while connections are being formed or strengthened. It’s one of the times when you don’t need a lot of dialogue to convey a lot of emotion.

A perfect example is the scene in Excalibur (one of my favorite movies) where Arthur and Guinevere are dancing, then she gives him a special cake. I challenge anyone not to feel the romance between them!  

 Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

One of my all-time favorite keepers is The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I haven’t reread it in a while, yet I still remember some of Aislinn’s and Wulfgar’s scenes. You’re inspiring me to revisit it.

Ruark and Shanna are memorable, too.

Tell us about your dream date. 

My dream date would be a sunset dinner at a trattoria (when the weather was just right) on a hill in Italy (in Cinque Terre or Siena) with fabulous views of the village and water to go with the fabulous meal. The weather would be just right, with a slight breeze. An amazing dessert would definitely be on the menu.

 

Ruth is generously giving away her one copy of each of her e-books AT HIS COMMAND, FOLLOW YOUR HEART, THE BETTER BRIDE and MY ONCE & FUTURE LOVE. Four winners each receive one title.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Sep 3, 2016.   Good luck!

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. 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


RuthKaufmanRuth Kaufman is the Amazon bestselling Chicago author of the Wars of the Roses Brides trilogy and MY ONCE & FUTURE LOVE, Unsung Knights of the Round Table #1. Her first medieval novella, MY ENEMY, MY LOVE, releases September 7. Accolades include 2016 Booksellers’ Best Award winner for Best Historical and Best First Book, and Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® winner. She’s also an on-camera and voiceover talent, storyteller, freelance editor and speaker with a J.D. and a Master’s in Radio/TV who enjoys peanut butter and chocolate milkshakes and singing in a symphony chorus.

Learn more:

www.ruthkaufman.com     |        Facebook        |        Twitter     |     Goodreads

Buy Ruth’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!

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan – Can’t Resist Romance

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance

Some Awesome Romance

We don’t just #LoveRomance. We #Can’tResistRomance — especially when we stumble across our favorite royal wefilms on TV when we’re supposed to be writing. And by “stumble,” we mean, “pore ceaselessly through the program guide looking for a gentle distraction so that we don’t have to solve our own plot problems.”

But it’s more than just wanting to get away from our work. For one thing, a transportive emotional experience is an unparalleled way to lift your mood and focus you on life’s possibilities rather than hardships (and at least with a movie on, you can pretend you’re multi-tasking; no such luck with a book); for another, there is so much inspiration to be had when you are reminded, in the words of one addictive film, that love actually is all around us. The mere sight of Jim Broadbent’s face in Bridget Jones’ Diary once propelled us through a father/daughter moment in The Royal We, and the image of Colin Firth climbing out of the lake in Pride and Prejudice... well, that’s just flat-out life-affirming, and makes even the worst deadline seem doable. Mercifully, the world is a never-ending buffet of romantic comfort food, and we will never judge how you fill your plates — if Jennifer Lopez dating an increasingly confused-seeming Ralph Fiennes in Maid in Manhattan is your jam, who are we to argue? — but we thought we’d share our suggestions for the next time you’re procrastinating. Or battling that old villain, Writer’s Block. Or you just want to laugh and cry at once.

BROADCAST NEWS: Every single bit of this movie is perfect, except maybe for the terrible haircut that Holly messyHunter gets at the end (spoiler?). And while it’s true that it doesn’t have a traditional happily ever after ending, what it does have it is a sparkling script, a heroine who chooses herself and her brain and her professional ethics over sex — a fairly revolutionary act for an 80s flick, especially with William Hurt tempting her at the height of his hotness — a brilliant look at male/female friendships, and a really really brilliant scene about theme songs. Bonus: You can lose more hours trying to figure out how to make that clip your ringtone.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: This is painfully obvious, but it had to be said. If you have not seen it, please go watch it RIGHT NOW and then come find us; you’ll need us to soothe your upset at having lived so long without it.  

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS: Mila Kunis got more attention for “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” but this follow-up is just as able a showcase of her easy charisma. It also boasts a surprisingly decent Justin Timberlake, Shaun White playing a hilariously random version of himself, and a way funnier movie-within-the-movie gag than the one in Trainwreck. It’s not perfect, but it’s so, so watchable.

THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT: He didn’t send the bill to the floor to get her back! And she didn’t come back because he sent that bill to the floor! SNIFFLE. It’s Aaron Sorkin before he got all unbearably Aaron Sorkin-y, and it’s a real grown-up romance between two gorgeous grown-up actors who are sexy and self-effacing and wonderful. Bonus: The return to film of Michael J. Fox, and a sighting of future president Jeb Bartlett of The West Wing.

STOMP THE YARD: It’s low on the comedy, but who cares. You come for the stomping of various yards, and stay for the classic dance-movie romance between the University president’s daughter and the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. It’s impossible not to turn this one on when you come across it.

THE HOLIDAY: Do you want to know a secret? We don’t actually like this movie. And yet we CANNOT RESIST IT. Because, for as cringey and awful as the Kate Winslet storyline is, the parts with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are all cozy winter cottages and soft sweaters and boots and snuggles. Besides, yelling at the cringey awfulness of the Winslet storyline is weirdly satisfying. Warning: Do not watch without a steady flow of hot chocolate and/or hot toddies.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY: A FAR more satisfying Kate Winslet film (although if we’re being honest, we also sense and sensibilitynever pass up a chance to turn on Titanic). If you did not before understand Alan Rickman as a dashing romantic hero, you will. And knowing that Emma Thompson herself married Willoughby in real life just adds to its charms.

BRIDE AND PREJUDICE: If you can resist a Bollywood adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Aishwarya Rai (possibly the world’s best-looking person), Rory Gilmore, hot hot hot Naveen Andrews, and Ashanti playing herself….you are far stronger than we are. Also, why are you trying to resist?

A ROOM WITH A VIEW: We named the jovial, charming younger brother in The Royal We after the jovial, charming younger brother in this film. It truly has everything, from swoony clinches in Italian fields to Maggie Smith to Daniel Day-Lewis being attacked by a bee to full-frontal male nudity. Never let it be said that an intellectual period piece can’t also be naughty.

WORKING GIRL: Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith locking horns over work AND Harrison Ford? While Joan Cusack wanders around in electric eye-makep and hair as tall as the Chrysler Building? Sign us up.

FEVER PITCH: What could possibly be more romantic than a man recommitting, year after year, to his unrequited love of the Boston Red Sox? This was the movie that taught us Jimmy Fallon had oodles of charm, and we love sports, so when the Red Sox win at the end we MIGHT cry. Always.

THE WEDDING SINGER: If Billy Idol bringing about true love on a plane does not slay you, then perhaps you are made of stone.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE: Speaking of wuv… twoo wuv… If you have not experienced it, please refer back to our When Harry Met Sally comments.

BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY: We will watch Colin Firth do anything — even wear reindeer jumpers and help Renee Zellweger cook blue soup. This particular Firth-a-thon is a tremendously delicious two hours to spend with him, given that he’s ably assisted in hotness and ridiculousness by Hugh Grant (who, with our Love, Actually mention up top, has a trifecta of flicks on this list), and that…well, you know. It’s Bridget Jones. We like it very much, just as it is. Indeed, Renee Zellweger may never have been more perfect.

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan recommend: 

Deanna Raybourn     www.deannaraybourn.com    (at Amazon)  

Her awesomeness will not be new to this site, we’re sure, but the world cannot say enough good things about Deanna. Her latest heroine, Veronica Speedwell, suffers no fools and waits for no man. Sometimes the best romance is when you love your life just as much as you love the flesh.

Rachel Hollis      thechicsite.com/start-here    (at Amazon)

Rachel, who also runs The Chic Site, wrote a trilogy — Party Girl, Sweet Girl, and Smart Girl — that not only has plenty of swoon-worthy guys, but also brims with the most important kind of true love: the one you find with your best friends.


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

JESSICA: I firmly believe that there are moments of romance happening everywhere, if you’re just willing to keep an eye open for them. Obviously, we all love that big sweeping moment of a glorious gesture — the violins swelling in the background, your hair looking AMAZING (if just in your mind, even). For me, living in Los Angeles, sometimes even looking out the window at the sunset is romantic — what can I say? I am moved by the fantastic qualities of this city’s natural lighting. There IS a reason we call it Magic Hour; everyone looks like they’re in a movie while the sun is going down.

HEATHER: I agree that sometimes romance is in the little things — the light, the scenery, the mood. I remember just standing on the beach in North Carolina at twilight with my entire side of the family, watching us play with each other’s kids, watching them hug each other… It was a love so powerful it almost knocked me down. There’s romance in realizing your blessings, you know? Changes to all be together are so few and far between, and it was nice to chuck out all the bathwater so to speak and just revel in the big family that grew out of the immediate family we were given. Also… this is going to sound crazy, but two of my best examples involve The Sound of Music. While traveling alone about thirteen years ago, I went on the Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg — in fact, I may have gone out of my way to stop in Salzburg to do this — and it was so wonderful because the bus was chock-a-block with other people who loved the movie. We sang along to the soundtrack. We visited Liesl’s gazebo and that canopy where they skip around singing “Do Re Mi,” and the church where Maria and the Captain got married. And the whole thing made my heart swell. We were all there thanks to a shared love of this movie, which was itself a movie about love (of family, of song, of country), and touching the things that were such a major part of it… for one short afternoon we were all each other’s best friends, and there is a certain romance in that. I got a similar feeling at the Sound of Music Singalong at the Hollywood Bowl, where they play a special print of the film that has the song lyrics at the bottom. When the sun sets — the Bowl is outdoors — the movie begins, and again, you’re united with every last person there by how much you love that movie and how loudly you suddenly want to sing and cry and boo and hiss and cheer. I swear, if we all could have joined hands, we would have.

 Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

JESSICA: Heather and I have a lot of friends with whom we talk about the books that we’re all reading — our friend Carrie, in particular, is a big reader of romance and is always telling us what she’s into at the moment. But the person with whom I share romance the most, I suspect, is Heather — because we’re writing it together and have to plot out what the absolute swooniest gesture might be at any given moment!

HEATHER: I honestly think a real, true friendship is its own kind of romance, so for sure Jessica and I have that. We’ve always put a lot of value in the women in our lives, because those relationships are lifelong love affairs all their own. Romance doesn’t have to be sexual. It can be emotional and mental and spiritual as well. We’re lucky to have even this one friendship that fulfills us each this much, not to mention the ones we have with our other ladies, our siblings, even our readers. Life is rich. We actually try to reflect that as much as possible in our books. Friendships play a huge role.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

JESSICA: I think all my personal romantic highlights have happened in very quotidian locations. But I will note that I think Paris really does live up to its reputation as a highly romantic city — regardless of whether or not you’re there with your sweetie.

HEATHER: Church bells. I cannot hear a lovely clanging bell without feeling a swell in my heart or a lump in my throat. My sister recently lived in Stuttgart, in a wonderful apartment that had a view of the city, and in the mornings on Sundays you could hear a gaggle of pealing church bells for ages, and it was so fabulous that I actually got choked up.

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

JESSICA: There are a ton of couples I’ve gotten attached to over the years — from Dylan and Brenda to Mulder and Scully to Pacey and Joey — that it feels unfair to pick just one. I am a person who finds a couple to root for in basically everything I consume — for example, like all feeling people, I really wanted Chris Darden and Marcia Clark to get together in the recent American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson, even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen in the course of the show. Essentially, I just always want attractive people to make out.

HEATHER: My grandparents. She was a real beauty, and he was a real personality; they were unforgettable together and were married 60 years before we lost him. I will never forget when I was about 14 and my grandmother had cancer, and lost her lovely red curls. It made her terribly self-conscious, so she would wear those little head coverings around the house. One night at dinner she finally admitted that it was really itching her, and although it clearly made her uncomfortable to bare herself, she took it off. My grandfather looked at her with wonder in his eyes and said, “Evie, I never realized what a beautifully shaped head you have.” I am not sure who cried first. Fast forward to this week: My husband and I recently had a (totally shallow) conversation about whether I should grow my hair back our or keep it short, and he said he doesn’t mind because he just likes my hair, period. I joked that maybe I’d shave it off. He said, “Then you’ll probably turn out to have a beautifully shaped head.” I couldn’t believe he used that same phrase. I consider that a good omen. If we can mirror my grandparents’ life together then we have done it right.

Tell us about your dream date. 

JESSICA: I’ve had a lot of good dates in my life, but don’t we all hope that our dream date is still ahead of us — even if we’re happily coupled up? I’ve got my fingers crossed for a impromptu trip to Hawaii, personally.

HEATHER: One guy I was seeing surprised me with an impromptu trip to London for a weekend, which was awesome. But I’ve been married for ten years to my dream date, so pretty much anything we do together is my favorite — be it furniture shopping or groceries or a family trip to Vegas. We did finally get a couple nights away without the kids and we spent them in New York. We saw a show every night, one of which was “Hamilton,” and we ran in the park every morning and went to a bunch of museums, and ate well… that was a really fantastic trip. It’s always romantic when you can take the kids out of the equation and be like, “Yep, I still just really like talking to you, and you make even banal things fun.”

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan are generously giving away a signed copy of THE ROYAL WE. (US only, apologies to international friends.)  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Aug 17, 2016. Good luck! 

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. 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


heatherjessicaheadshotHeather Cocks and Jessica Morgan are the creators of the popular celebrity fashion blog Go Fug Yourself, and have written for New York magazine and Cosmopolitan, among others.

Their novel The Royal We is a national best-seller, and they are also the authors of two young adult novels, Spoiled and Messy.

Learn more:

www.gofugyourself.com      |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Buy Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan’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!

Radclyffe – Loving Romance Writing

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance
Writing Romance: Agony or Ecstasy

Whoever said writing romance was fun? Well, just about everyone who’s ever done it. Maybe I should say The Color Of Love 300 DPIanyone who’s actually gotten to the end of the first manuscript. There are countless things to enjoy about writing romance novels: you get to create characters who ultimately have all of the traits you respect and wish you had (honor, bravery, kindness, passion, valor, devotion); you get to travel with those characters to anywhere in the world, known or imagined; you get to research topics that fascinate and sometimes frighten you, learning more about your world and the world of others in the process; you get to touch other people intimately, through the unique experience of shared words; you get to educate, inspire, entertain, and challenge; and you get to do it all (sometimes) from the comfort of your own home and maybe even while in your pajamas (giving a shout out to Bev Jenkins who noted in Love Between the Covers, the documentary about romance fiction, that yes indeed, writing in one’s pajamas is a perk). With hard work you get to earn money. So if it’s that much fun, why isn’t everyone doing it?

Well, there are a lot of things not to love about writing romance, not the least of which is the dreaded “blank screen.” You know, when you sit down at your computer or if you’re one of those troglodytes that still writes everything out longhand first (of which there are many talented authors) :o), the blank page, and nothing happens. Where to start? The first step can be paralyzing if you think about it too hard. One of the splendors of any art is the marriage of craft and creativity, and in those moments, looking at that blank screen/page, it’s best to let creativity take the lead. If you don’t know where you’re going, take a step and start writing. Yes, it’s aWild Shores jump into freefall, and it’s a risk, but it’s one of the great joys of writing romance as well—when the characters begin to take form page after page, when the key moments of intimacy—the first meeting, the first look, the first touch, the first kiss, the first love scene—become more than story constructs and become living breathing moments unique to the world and the characters you have created. Those make the freefall worth it.

But back to what isn’t so much fun—that would probably be the middle of the book, when you’ve worked your butt off creating dynamic, multidimensional characters, put them in memorable settings, presented them with seemingly overwhelming conflicts and captivating challenges, and now the landscape looks as flat and barren as a desert, no life in sight. The dreaded sagging middle. Usually for a few days you wander listlessly around, muttering and mumbling to those unfortunate enough to be in your company, before you suddenly realize that the middle of the book is actually one of the high points, a key turning point, when the stakes go up and the challenges increase and just by exposing your characters’ deepest needs and fears and desires, you’ve upped the tension. A new game is on, and you start again and the freefall feels just as sweet.

And of course there’s the thrill of the finale, bringing it all together, of reaching the I love you and Yes, I will

RWA panel w/ ML Buchman, Brenda Novak & HelenKay Dimon

Romantic suspense panel w/ ML Buchman, Brenda Novak & HelenKay Dimon at RWA

take this journey into life with you, and you write The End and it’s done. And then it’s not so fun anymore, because after the edits and the edits and the edits and the wondering what will happen when you send this labor of love and sweat out into the world and what will people think of it? Will they understand your characters the way you did, will they love them the way you did? Will they buy the damn book so you can write another one?

When I tell people that writing romance is my job, I mean it in the best possible way—it’s more than a job, it is a labor of love, yes, but be not mistaken—writing a romance novel is work. The best kind of work—the kind that makes you feel good about your own self-worth, your own abilities, and gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride. Now and then it even puts a meal or two on the table.

What could be better than that?

On the heels of the Golden Crown Literary Society annual lesbian fiction conference followed directly by the Romance Writers of America national conference, fourteen days of immersion in the community of authors and readers and publishing professionals who know what there is to love (and occasionally hate) about writing romance, I am reminded once again why I couldn’t have a better job.

Radclyffe recommends:

Aurora Rey   –   aurorarey.com    (at Amazon)
Winter’s Harbor and Built to Last: for those who like their contemporary romances with a little heat and a little sweet

Melissa Brayden    melissabrayden.com     (at Amazon)

How Sweet It is  &  Kiss the Girls (Soho Loft series): romances where friends share the ups and downs of falling in love

Jenny Frame    jennyframe.com    (at Amazon)

A Royal Romance  &   Heart of the Pack:  from a Princess and the Commoner contemporary romance to the leader of the Pack (paranormal romance)


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

Just about every morning when I walk around the farm in the quiet and solitude, letting the animals out, watching their uncomplicated existence unfold. These are the moments that make me want to write about the inexplicable wonder of life, and that always takes me to writing romance.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

Morning doves   

Radclyffe is generously giving away 5 e-books from her backlist, winner’s choice, one each to three US readers and two international readers.

 To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST August 17, 2016.  ***International friends, be sure to include your country in your comment so we know to include you in the international drawing.  Good luck!

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. 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


RadclyffeRadclyffe is a best-selling romance author and LGBTQ publisher. She has written over fifty romance novels, dozens of short stories, and edited numerous anthologies.

The 2014 Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Award recipient, she is the president of Bold Strokes Books, founded in 2004, an independent LGBTQI publishing companies.

Learn more:

www.radfic.com     www.boldstrokesbooks.com     Facebook    Twitter

 

Buy Radclyffe’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!

Lauren Layne – The Butterflies & The Feels

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance

My Love Affair With Romance

I often tell the story of how my first summons to the world of #loveromance was at age fourteen with Nora tohaveandtoholdRoberts’ The Reef, followed soon-after by Judith McNaught’s Perfect. In both circumstances, I was snooping on bookshelves I should not have, discovering books that were probably not what my classics-loving parents would have preferred (to give you some idea, my dad had me read Moby Dick when I was in eighth grade).

But the truth is, my love affair with all things romance started before my Nora Roberts discovery. I was maybe ten or so, already an avid reader after discovering The Boxcar Children a couple years earlier. My parents scrambled to feed the reading-beast, taking me to the library a few times a week to stock up on piles and piles of books from the Children’s section, never looking too closely at my haul.

Somewhere along the line, I discovered the Sweet Valley Twins series. I liked it well enough, but I didn’t love it. Not until I got to #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss. Maybe this is hyperbolic, but I think that one book may have changed the course of my life. I may not have hit puberty yet, but already my heart knew how how to have a crush, and I knew what it was to yearn. Or maybe I just wanted to yearn like Elizabeth did. I can’t remember.

What I do remember is there being a spark—a deep rooted knowledge that I wanted to read more books like that. I didn’t know what the emotion was, I didn’t know it was the romance that I craved, but I chased it for years with mixed results until that fateful day when I stumbled upon Nora and learned that the brief taste of romance I got in Elizabeth’s First Kiss was in fact an entire genre. An endless supply of age-inappropriate Good Girlbooks to give me all the butterflies.

Because really, isn’t that why we really read romance? Not the sex, not even the kissing, but the anticipation of all that. I think that’s why Elizabeth’s First Kiss is such a precious memory to me, one I protect with a little bubble. It’s when I discovered the indescribable feeling of butterflies, the lump in your throat, the way your belly flips when finally, finally, the couple admits their feelings/kisses/more than kisses if the spicer variety.

There are infinite ways to love, all of them as powerful as the next, but there’s something special about romantic love. It’s addictive. It’s all-consuming. It’s nearly impossible to describe. I think it’s why romance has turned into a billion dollar industry. We authors and readers keep trying to capture it—to wrap it up and hold it close so we can cling to that feeling, but the best thing about #loveromance is that it’s intimate, in real life and fictional life. There’s always more feels to be had, and I for one, don’t think I’ll ever be satiated.

Lauren Layne recommends: 

Emma Barry    authoremmabarry.com     (at Amazon)

Christi Caldwell      christicaldwell.com       (at Amazon)

Jamie Schmidt      jkschmidt.com      (at Amazon)


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.laurenlayne-prom

My husband and I are high school sweethearts, which means that some of my earliest and best romantic memories involve him (although if I’m being honest, I did REALLY love the valentine Sam something or other gave me in second grade). But the moment where I think romance really knocked me upside the head involved … pizza sticks. My now-husband and I weren’t quite dating, but he was wooing in subtle ways. Then Valentine’s Day he kicked it up a notch. Lunch period was almost over, we were walking back towards the main building of our high school, and he asked me to hold his pizza sticks (a thing, apparently, at our high school cafeteria), while he went into the front office to get something.

That something? Flowers. My first ever Valentine’s Day flowers, and the first moment that I realized that romance has the power to take your breath away with its sweet perfection. 

Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

I need to do a shout-out to one of my best gal pals here, who just happens to be a fellow author. Not only do Rachel Van Dyken and I talk all day every day about the books we’re working on and the books we’re reading, but the day I knew we were destined to be best friends forever and ever?

We share a love for the TV show Roswell. If you’ve never seen it, you must. Of any tv couple ever worshipped, LaurenLayne-RachelVanDykenLiz and Max are the most deserving. The way Max looks at Liz IS romance, but whenever I try to explain that to people, they’re like: “um, an old TV show aimed at teenagers about an ALIEN is your high-bar for romance?!” RVD immediately GOT it. The second I said “Roswell,” she squealed, I squealed, we all squealed. And are now forever cemented in friendship.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

 Whistler in BC Canada. I’ve always been a sucker for “winter” vacations. Twinkle lights, gently falling snow and a crackling fire are so much more romantic to me than beach vacation. Luckily my husband agrees, and took me to Whistler for our honeymoon. Ten years later, I remember the perfection of sitting in a hot tub, sipping a cocktail, watching the snow fall over Whistler Village like it was yesterday.

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

Probably no surprise here, but Liz and Max from the TV show Roswell. If I had to go with something a bit more grown-up though, I’d probably say Richard Gere and Julia Roberts from Runaway Bride. It’s not even my favorite romantic comedy, but something about the way that romance delivered makes me extra convinced that those two characters are good for each other, and are living happily ever after somewhere. Ooh, I also have to throw in Giselle and Robert from Enchanted. I’m a sucker for fairy tales!

Tell us about your dream date. 

 Despite living in NYC, home of some of the best restaurants in the world, my ideal date actually involves staying “in.” I like nothing more than getting dressed up to stay in, sipping champagne while my husband and I cook together (well okay, I chop a few things, he cooks), listening to Michael Buble, and then lingering over a ribeye and buttery potatoes, or whatever’s on the menu. The key is making an effort to not let it feel “every day.” Put on a cocktail dress, or light a candle, or open a better-than-normal bottle of wine to trigger the sense that it’s a moment worth celebrating.

Lauren Layne is generously giving away 1) an ebook or print version of TO HAVE AND TO HOLD to one US reader, an ebook bundle of the Stiletto series to one reader (open to everyone) and 3) one title,winner’s choice, to an international  reader.

 To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST August 17, 2016.  ***International friends, be sure to include your country in your comment so we know to include you in the international drawing.  Good luck!

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. 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

 


LaurenLayne-Headshot-CropLauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.

Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan.

She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

Learn more:

laurenlayne.com       |     Facebook     |     Twitter

 

Buy Lauren Layne’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!

Sherryl Woods – Transformative Romance

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!

#LoveRomance

Looking For the Romance

I #LoveRomance. No question about it. I couldn’t have written more than 140 books, all of them with romanceInn at Eagle Point at the core—even the mysteries—if I didn’t believe in love and the spark of romance that kicks it off.

There is nothing on earth like that first moment when someone enters your life, and your heart does a little stutter-step, your breath catches and the blood flow to your brain apparently slows as well, sending good sense fleeing. Romance, at least in those early days, is all about feelings. There’s a reason people handing out advice about relationships often say, “Just listen to your heart. It won’t steer you wrong.” The romantic in me cheers at that.

Then reality sets in. The day comes when you’ve gathered too many damp towels from the bathroom floor, picked up too much slack with the kids, had too many arguments over money. Where, oh where is the romance?

That’s when love kicks in, and romance takes a whole new form. When you truly love someone, you have to go looking for the romance, discovering how it’s transformed, finding it in unexpected places. It may not be that quick kick of your pulse when your love walks into a room or touches your hand. Rather it may be when he sees how exhausted you are and brings you a glass of wine or a bowl of your favorite, most decadent ice cream … without being asked. It may not be the sight of his rippling abs or shadowed jaw. Instead, it could be in that moment when he leaps out of bed to take a middle of the night feeding with the new baby or when you find him asleep, the baby resting securely against his chest. It may not Destiny Unleashedbe dancing till dawn, but rather sharing a quiet moment and a cup of coffee at dawn on a deck with a view of the beach.

Yes, I #LoveRomance in all of its incarnations. The key, it seems to me, is recognizing it in all of its forms at all the stages of your life and doing every single thing you can to make sure it never dies. Romance is fueled by hope and anticipation. Love is fueled by belief and perhaps just a touch of imagination. Together, they guarantee a lifetime of magic. Ask a magician about magic, though. It doesn’t happen like, well, magic. It takes a little effort.

Sherryl Woods recommends: 

LuAnn McLane   –  luannmclane.com   (at Amazon)

For fans of any and all small town romances, such as my Chesapeake Shores series, I’ve fallen in love with the Cricket Creek series from LuAnn McLane. The latest, out in May, is Wish Upon a Wedding, but for those who like to start from the beginning, look for Playing for Keeps. This series has charm, great characters and warm romance.

Marilyn Pappano   –    marilynpappano.net    (at Amazon)

Another of my favorites is the Tallgrass series from Marilyn Pappano with its military heroes, strong female friendships, and deep emotions. The latest, A Summer to Remember, just hit bookshelves June 28.

Wendy Wax    –    authorwendywax.com    (at Amazon)

And when it comes to wonderful, complex women and the power of friendship in the vein of my Sweet Magnolias series, give Wendy Wax a try. I love her series that kicked off with 10 Beach Road. The latest addition to that series is Sunshine Beach. And the stand-alone, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, was terrific, too!


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

It was years ago, and I was traveling in Germany with close friends. I’d known Steve since college and his wife since they’d married. We were sitting on the patio of our hotel in Dilsburg at dusk, overlooking the Danube. We had glasses of a crisp German wine and the scent of lilacs—my all-time favorite flower—drifted on the spring air. It was a magical setting, just right for romance. 

Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

Despite living a whole lot of years, I still get on the phone with an old college friend to talk about relationship highs and lows. Who knew that romance at my age could go from giddy to shattering in a heartbeat. It’s why I love writing about romance for all ages! 

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

A slow country song can touch my heart in a way nothing else does.

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?Bogart_and_Bacall_The_Big_Sleep

 The very first image that comes to mind is Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Those smoldering looks on screen were something! I think we all want the heat they had.

Tell us about your dream date. 

I’d go right back to that patio in Dilsburg—or most any waterfront setting—with champagne now, the right man, a setting sun and the scent of lilacs in the air. Oh my!

 

Sherryl Woods is generously giving away five signed copies of the new edition of The Inn at Eagle Point, the book on which the first season of the Chesapeake Shores series on the Hallmark Channel is based. (US only, apologies to international friends.) To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST August 16, 2016. Good luck! 

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. 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

 


Sherryl Woods 7-2016With more than 140 romance and mystery novels to her credit since 1982, #1 New York Times best-selling author Sherryl Woods began her writing career as a journalist. Most of those years were spent covering the television industry. Now, it seems, her career has come full circle with the debut of her popular Chesapeake Shores books as an original Hallmark Channel series beginning Sunday, August 14 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, starring Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Treat Williams and Diane Ladd.

***Read more about Sherryl’s fun activities for the Hallmark series launch on the front page of her website, sherrylwoods.com.

Or check out all the awesome coverage and videos at the Hallmark Channel page devoted to Chesapeake Shores. (Congratulations, Sherryl!)

In her rare free time Sherryl loves to garden, follows tennis (even though it drives her crazy that she can no longer race around a court herself), watches baseball and attends theater in New York whenever she can get there.

Learn more:

sherrylwoods.com     |     Facebook

 

Buy Sherryl’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!