Deeanne Gist – Contemplating 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

 Is Romance Dead?

“Romance is dead.” According to my twenty-six year old son, anyway. “Girls in my generation don’t want to be romanced.”

He’s a Texan who five years ago moved to a city far away from home. Shortly after arriving in his new locale, he took a young woman out and showed up at her door looking nice, smelling nice and holding a small bouquet of flowers. He handed them to her.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” she said. “That’s too much.”

He blinked. “Um … okay.”

She tossed the flowers on a table and walked out to the street. He opened her car door.

“What is it with you?” She gave him an irritated glance. “I can open my own door.”

At dinner, he didn’t dare pull out her chair. He called me the next day completely baffled. “She took all the courtesies I performed as slights when I intended them as gestures of respect. I wasn’t diminishing her. I was putting her first—before me and my needs and comforts. I, in no way, meant to insult her or insinuate that she was inferior—just the opposite.”

Over the course of the next five years, he learned that opening a door, allowing a female to precede him on or off an elevator, or offering assistance in carrying groceries is unwelcome, and, by some, viewed as demeaning. Proof that there is quite a bit of power in these age-old gestures. For him, though, the power came via negative reactions.

I know a lot of women in all walks of life and in all regions of our country who appreciate and even find it romantic when a man performs courtesies for them. So where is the disconnect? Why do some women equate gentlemanly courtesies to insults while it makes others feel cherished, respected and special?

My son no longer performs these gestures until he knows the young lady well and can gauge how she’ll feel about them.

“Except for the elderly, Mom,” he assures me. “I still do all those things when I encounter an elderly woman.”

So, what do you think? Do you find gentlemanly gestures romantic or insulting? And why?

Deeanne recommends:

Kristan Higgans     –       www.kristanhiggins.com     –      @Amazon

My I-buy-without-reading-the-blurb author is Kristan Higgins. If she writes it, I love it.

 

Kellie Coates Gilbert     –     kelliecoatesgilbert.com     –    @Amazon

An up and coming author to keep your eye on. Her new SUN VALLEY SERIES transports you to America’s original ski resort located in the mountains of Idaho. Her LOVE ON VACATION STORIES feature shorter stories with characters who vacation at the iconic Sun Valley Lodge. The books are packed with tales that keep both your emotions and your funny bone engaged.

 


Questions for the Author:

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

One of my favorite things about the wooing stage of a relationship is that our men will do just about anything to win our favor. My man was no exception. When we were first dating, he wanted to teach me how to play to golf. I, however, was much more interested in being romanced than learning to play the game. So I told him I’d go to the course with him if we could take a few pictures to commemorate the event.

Below are the pictures we took. They are both testaments to the power of romance because if my man were not powerfully motivated, there is no way he would pose for these kinds of pictures. (Note the golf ball over his eye in the second one. LOL.)

 

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

A few years back my man offered to buy me a bigger diamond for the wedding ring he put on my finger thirty-five years ago. I gently, but firmly, told him no thank-you. He’d worked all summer long when we were in college to buy me the diamond on my engagement ring. No other diamond in the world could ever mean as much to me as that one does.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Cherish – \ˈcher-ish, ˈche-rish\  to keep or cultivate with care and affection

When you cherish someone you put them before yourself. You show them in countless ways the value you hold for them, the adoration you hold for them, and the love you have for them. One of the brightest moments of my wedding day was when my man promised to cherish me for all the days of this life. And you know what’s really powerful? He didn’t just say the words, he put them into action.

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

I read a book this year called Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. It said the average woman speaks over 20,000 words a day—and that excludes the ones she types online. It offered techniques for checking your impulse to speak when the temptation to gossip arises or when you’re ticked off and might say something that will cause permanent damage you’ll later regret. Made me squirm. Very humbling.

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

I have dyslexia. During my growing up years, I was in the “Blackbirds” reading group. I failed all the standardized tests. In high school my dad was still reading my textbooks to me because I couldn’t read them by myself. Yet I was smart enough to know I was stupid because I couldn’t do what my classmates could.

My parents vehemently denied my claims. “You’re not stupid, Deeanne. In fact, you’re probably smarter than the other kids because you’re passing and you can’t even read!”

I smile just thinking about that statement. It was what got me through, though. I never, miraculously, had to repeat a grade. Then, my senior year of high school, something fused in my brain and I was able to read without assistance. When I graduated from Texas A&M with a 2.3 there was much rejoicing.

I am still extremely slow at reading and I often have to read, re-read and re-read again the pages of the books I’ve grown to love so much. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if my parents hadn’t believed in me, encouraged me and insisted that I was far from stupid. So … yeah. Clichéd though it is, my parents by far had the most powerful influence on my life.

Main Drawing:

Deeanne is generously giving away a hardback copy of the 2016 RITA Award winning novel in Long Historical, Tiffany Girl. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 20, 2017. (US only)

She’ll be giving away another copy as part of the US bundles, and is participating in the the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

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

 


With a million copies of her books sold, international bestselling, award winning author Deeanne Gist has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her original, captivating historicals. Her latest release, Tiffany Girl , was touted as a “Must Read of the Year!” by USA Today  and one of the Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2015 by Huffington Post.

Published by Simon & Schuster, Deeanne’s awards include a RITA for Best Long Historical of the Year, National Readers’ Choice Award, Best Historical of the Year (by RT Reviewers), Librarians’ Choice, Book Buyers’ Best, Golden Quill, Books*A*Million Pick of the Month, Seal of Excellent and Award of Excellence.

Deeanne lives in South Carolina with her husband of thirty-five years.

 

Learn more:

www.IWantHerBook.com     |     Facebook     |     Twitter@DeeanneGist

 

Buy author’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.

(Deeanne is contributing to the US bundles, and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week3@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 Week3@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 3 contests are Aug 18 through Aug. 24

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

Jan Moran – Making Sense Of It All

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

Why I Write…

 When I was a girl, I discovered a slender, mother-of-pearl fountain pen among my grandmother’s treasured belongings in an enormous cedar chest.

“That was my mother’s writing instrument,” she told me, her voice ringing with reverence.

This curious nineteenth-century artifact intrigued me—the writer had to dip it in real ink, for Pete’s sake! Wide-eyed, I gazed at the letters my great-grandmother had written with this pen; they were pure art, with lacy handwriting curling across still-perfumed pages. As I held them in my nine-year-old hands, the crinkly paper became a magical time machine—joyful recollections, thoughtful advice, and heartfelt love swirled from the page and took root in my mind.

If I could only write, too, I thought, yearning to reach across the boundaries of time and unleash stories to entertain and inspire. This idea was enchanting, and to this day, it has never left me.

“Let me tell you a story,” I often say aloud, smoothing my fingers over the beloved mother-of-pearl pen in my drawer before I fire up my laptop. Then, I slide into a world of intrigue and calamity, of beauty and triumph, a world where, despite tragedy, despite the odds, a soul can somehow make sense of it all.

So come with me now, my friend, and let me tell you a story…

 

Jan recommends:

Anita Hughes     –       anitahughesbooks.com      –     @Amazon

romantic women’s fiction

 

Rebecca Forster    –    rebeccaforster.com    –    @Amazon

romance and suspense

 

Finally, my daughter-in-law Ginna Moran    –      ginnamoran.com    –    @Amazon

Young Adult contemporary and paranormal romance. Our books also overlap in the same world (our LA series).

 


Questions for the Author:

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

As a reader, romance novels helped me through tough times in my life when I needed stories to relax and unwind, and I loved the happy endings. I found romance novels filled with positive life messages and smart characters who made things happen in their lives. That’s why I’m drawn to write romantic historical sagas set in the 20th century and contemporary series. I love uplifting stories and my readers tell me they do, too. I’m especially drawn to those romance novels that have extended family themes — I wrote about family relationships in The Winemakers (where both mother and daughter each have romantic relationships). I believe these sagas help us make sense of our own family relationships and comfort us in knowing that we are not alone — and isn’t that the real power of romance?

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

My great-grandmother’s slender fountain pen is a touchstone that reminds me that I am descended from a family of women who used the power of the written word in their lives to great advantage to share personal journeys. When writing my first novel, Scent of Triumph, which is about a French perfumer during World War II, I even included it in the story.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Two words, actually: I can. Often we forget the power that we have to achieve our dreams. To me, “I can” means I have the power to take the first step. I try to instill this in my empowered female characters, too.

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

One I read years ago that I cherish to this day features the gutsy, driven protagonist Emma Harte in A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. (And we share the same birthdate of May 10th!). There is much of the same determination in my characters in The Winemakers, Scent of Triumph, and the Love California series.

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

Fellow writer Rebecca Forster urged me to get my first historical novel, Scent of Triumph, out there. She was an early reader (along with her lovely mom), and she offered praise for my novel. Had she not encouraged me, Scent of Triumph might never have been published.

 

Main Drawing:

Jan is generously giving away copies of Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers, and Flawless to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 20, 2017. (US only)

She’ll also be giving away copies of A Scent of Triump as part of the US and international bundles, plus she’s sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

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

 


Jan is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author published by St. Martin’s Press US/UK, and by Goldmann/Random House in Germany. Her novels include 20th century historicals The Winemakers and Scent of Triumph (St. Martin’s Press), and the contemporary Love, California series. Jan draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details. The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She lives in Southern California.

 

Learn more:

www.janmoran.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @janmoran

 

Buy Jan’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.

(Jan is contributing to the US and international bundles, and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week3@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 Week3@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 3 contests are Aug 17 through Aug. 24

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

Cristin Harber – Strong Women, Strong 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

Powerful Heroines of Romance

One of my favorite things about writing romance novels is penning the women. When I first published, I started to hear readers say things like, “That’s Titan Strong!” Or if they saw a badass video floating around Facebook, I’d see a comment like “That is SO Nicola.” Even when a smoking hot muscle car made it into romance readers feeds, and most of the post likers and commenters had been men, there suddenly was an onslaught of Titan readers tagging me with comments like, “Sugar would drive the heck out of this one!”

And they were right. My heroines have no problem with their heroes saving the day. I mostly write military romance and romantic suspense. Often there is a scene (or, I don’t know, five) where someone has to kick a bad guy’s butt and the couple can share a hot and heavy thank-god-we-lived moment. But, it’s not always the guy doing all the butt kicking. My women like to have a helping hand. They’re not helpless—and, wait for it, my heroes absolutely appreciate that too.

I find when I’m writing romantic suspense, one of the sexiest things I share between the hero and heroine is the couple’s trust and mutual understanding. That’s the basis of their partnership, and from there, no matter what bomb I throw at them, physically or metaphorically, their relationship will be able to withstand the test of three hundred pages, three story arcs, and a dark moment.

When I write my Titan women, they’re likely former military, intelligence, or something along the lines of a CIA-trained operative. Basically, she knows how to kick some serious booty. It would only be respectful for her partner to stand back and let her do what she does best.

Now, if she gets into a pickle, I’m sure she would love for him to be a helping hand. How else can we have those moments where his muscles ripple and flex? (I tease) But they are partners, and by the time they are more than that on a job, for example, they’ll have had a meaningful love connection. Though… it’s always good, clean plot point fun to test that love once it’s been established. *grins* Literary devices of love torture aside, the respect and strength of the heroines makes the couple’s relationship that much more fulfilling for the reader.

\

Cristin recommends:

 

Nikki Sloane  –   www.nikkisloane.com   –   @Amazon

 

Amber Addison   –     facebook.com/AmberAddisonAuthor     –    @Amazon

 

Anna Bishop Barker    –    annabishopbarker.com    –    @Amazon

 

Sharon Kay   –   www.sharonkaynovels.com   –   @Amazon

 

Jessie Lane   –   jessielanebooks.com    –   @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

I’ve always talked about the power of a story, and even given speeches on it. But I wasn’t necessarily aware of the power of romance novels until I wrote two horrific, but sadly, relatable scenes in two different books. One was a rape scene and the other was domestic violence, spousal abuse.

I was shocked by the amount of feedback I received. Some of it wasn’t pleasant. But so many readers contacted me because I provided a happily ever after to women who had been through hell.

One email in particular will always bring me to tears. She told me that she re-read the book where the heroine was in a domestic abuse situation. That from the outside, everything looked amazing, and like the character, this woman was powerful and influential within her industry. She recounted to me little “accidents” from her husband that turned into full-fledged, regularly occurring “incidents”, and she couldn’t see how she allowed the abuse to happen until she read a character with the same thoughts. Together, this woman and the character realized a future was possible where love didn’t mean violence.

The last paragraph of her email was a thank you because the romance novel she picked up with no expectation had changed her life and view on love. She also said she was emailing me after she left her husband who beat her. That is the power of a romance novel.

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

There’s a painting of three mountain peaks in my living room. It’s called Three Sisters after what locals called the three mountain tops that lean close together where the next closest ones are further away and not as steep. When I was in my twenties, I used to sit outside, especially as the sunset, and free write the start to short stories while staring at the Three Sisters. I’m not sure why they could leave me so mesmerized. I was surrounded by a beautiful landscape anywhere I turned. But now, that painting is displayed quietly, though prominently, wherever I live.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

No is the most powerful word I am aware of, and it took a long time before I was aware of its power. No allows me to ignore what I’m told I have to write to stay relevant and stay true to the story the characters want me to tell. No gives me the strength to politely decline things that don’t bring me closer to my priorities: my children, my health, and my career. No gives me strength, and it is hard to harness it, but when I do, no lets me be the best mom, author, and person I can be.

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

Not knowing what I had picked up, I read Story of O when I was in high school. No book has had more of an impact on me in any way in terms of opening my mind and learning possibilities of genres existed that I was very much not aware of.

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

Karen Danca was my high school English teacher. She knew I loved to write, and was well aware that I could but that the stories I penned weren’t typical topics. I took on subjects that were apparently taboo (AIDs stands out in my memory) and relationships that “shouldn’t” have been written about for the topics assigned. I pushed the line. Instead of lecturing me, she helped me focus on my craft, honing my talent by learning to develop the words, how they flowed and their sequence. She encouraged me to keep writing no matter what hurdle (and there were many) slowed me down. Even if she didn’t agree with me, she never let me stop, and I hope everyone has a teacher like that when they need it most.

Main Drawing:

Cristin is generously giving away a gift basket that will include TITAN swag, two autographed books (1st in series Winters Heat and Delta Retribution) and a code for a free audio book (Sweet Girl). To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 20, 2017. (US only)

She’ll be giving away more books as part of the US bundles, and is participating in the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

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

 


Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes steamy new adult, romantic suspense, and military romance.

Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and military romance bestseller.

Learn more:

cristinharber.com       |    Facebook     |     Twitter @cristinharber

 

Buy Cristin’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.

(Cristin is contributing to the US and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week3@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 Week3@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 3 contests are Aug 17 through Aug. 24

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

Cindy Dees – One Thing Matters

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

Love Conquers Everything

The core story that all romance novels tell is exactly the same, every single story, every single book. Ever. And it is that core story we, as readers, go back to over and over with obsessive intensity and unquenchable need. It’s an affirmation to us in the midst of our difficult, sometimes unhappy, stressful, miserable lives that something good may come of it all. What is that core story? Simple. Love Conquers Fill in the Blank.

Which is to say, love conquers whatever challenge we romance writers can think of to throw at it. Love conquers EVERYTHING.

That’s what romance is about, that’s what love is about, and that’s why we read about it again and again and again.

A little over a year ago, I was informed by my doctor that I had cancer. In the very next moment, the most extraordinary thing happened. It was as if the whole world came to a screeching halt. We’re talking a full-on Matrix moment where everything around me went into super slow motion, and I was the only living thing moving and thinking at normal speed.

And in that suspended moment in time, two things became crystal clear to me. Most of what I worried about in my day-to-day life didn’t matter. At all. Not in the least. It was all useless, trivial, time-wasting, energy sapping crap.

And second, the only things in my life that do matter are my family, friends, laughter…and wait for it…love. That’s it. Nothing else matters. The people I love most, the happiness they give me, and the love that binds us—they’re the ONLY things that really matter.

The good news is we caught my cancer very early, we treated it aggressively, and I was declared completely cured relatively quickly.

But the lesson remained. Only one thing matters: Love.

When, for better or worse, everything else falls away in your life, the only thing that will be left is the love you feel for others and the love they feel for you.

In that suspended moment in time, as I was examining my life and grading every aspect of it (I gave myself a solid A minus—I needed to spend more time with my Dad and exercise more…enter hot yoga and long walks with the dog to my life), one more question presented itself to me.

Did I still want to write books, and if so, what kind of books?

I’m delighted to say that the answer to the first question turned out to be a resounding yes. Even if I was dying and had a short time to live, I would have wanted to spend part of it telling my stories. And in answer to the second part of the question, it was in that moment I realized I would want to spend that time telling romances.

Having finally grasped the core importance of romance, having finally understood the power of love to solve all problems and face all challenges, there was simply nothing else left to write about.

The power or romance is its core message that to be human is to love and that love does, indeed, have the power to conquer everything.

 

Cindy recommends:

I have to top my list with the great Jacqueline Carey. Her books are so grand, sweeping,  complex, and passionate that I’m always swept away completely. Her Kushiel’s Dart series has to go down as one of the best romance series ever written.

Jacqueline Carey     –          www.jacquelinecarey.com         –    @Amazon

My newest discovery (and feel free to laugh at me for this) is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Thank goodness she’s written a lot of books  because she’s totally my new addiction. How in the world I managed not to read her until now is a complete mystery to me.

Sherrilyn Kenyon    –         www.sherrilynkenyon.com         –    @Amazon

Also probably no surprise is Sylvia Day. That woman can flat out write. Love, love , love her books. Not once does my internal editor kick on when I’m reading anything by her. Oh, and I can’t forget Courtney Milan as my go-to historical author who just knocks every book she writes out of the park. SUCH a smart writer. Love her stuff.

Sylvia Day     –          www.sylviaday.com         –       @Amazon

Two new writers in the field that I’m loving are Kristin Cast and Gina Maxwell—both super talented writers with funny, smart, sexy voices. I recommend both of them highly!

Kristin Cast     –         www.kcastauthor.com          –    @Amazon

Gina Maxwell      –         ginalmaxwell.com        –      @Amazon


Questions for the Author:

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

The first fan mail I ever got, shortly after my very first book came out was hand written on stationery from a high school in Washington state. The reader informed me that wildfires had burned her and her husband out of their house. They’d escaped with the clothes on their backs and their cat. They were currently living in the gymnasium of a high school. Hence, the stationery. She went on to tell me that someone had donated a bag of books to the refugees.

She’d found my book and read it. And she wrote to thank me for giving her several hours of escape from the horror that her life had become. She thanked me for reminding her that what mattered were her loved ones—her husband and her cat.

She. Thanked. Me.  Talk about being completely humbled. She was the one who taught me the lesson that day. It’s love that matters. Period.

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

If you ever meet me, you’ll see I wear a gold band on my right hand with five garnets across it. My parents were young and had nothing when they got married at age 21. They took turns, one working and one going to college, for seven years, until they both had college degrees and master’s degrees. I was born during that time, and I remember living through some very lean years.

When my dad finally got his first “real” job as an environmental protection engineer, he bought my mother a garnet ring to thank her for all her years of hard work and support. She wore that ring through my entire childhood and for many years afterward. I always loved that ring (garnet happens to be my birthstone), but I always associated it with my parents’ love for each other.

On my birthday a few years ago, my mother shocked me by giving me her beloved ring. She said she hoped it brought me the same love and meaning that it had brought her.

I still pretty much never take it off. It’s one of my most prized possessions. Someday, I’ll pass it to my daughter with the same wish for her.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Am gonna go off the theme of love here and say, “serendipity”. Besides the fact that the word feels like fizzy bubbles in my mouth and is flat fun to say, I love the notion of lucky coincidence, happy chance. There’s so much joy in serendipity entering into anyone’s life. I hope serendipity strikes each of you!

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

I’m going to have to choose Shanna, by the great Kathleen Woodiwiss. I swiped it from my mother’s bookshelf and read it, hiding in the basement, in the summer before 7th grade. It was the first romance novel I ever read, and it absolutely rocked my world. Besides the fact that if filled in some key gaps in my 6th grade sex education class, I was completely swept away by the passion, the epic grandeur of the tale, the larger-than-life hero and heroine. I have remained hooked on romance novels ever since, and I’ve never lost that sense of wonder and imagination that Shanna sparked in my soul. Someday when I grow up, I would love nothing more than to write a book that has such an impact on future readers.

 

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

When I was 15 years old, I started college at the University of Michigan, where I met a 16-year old named Kathy Eades. We met again a decade later at a Romance Writers of America convention and discovered that we had both become romance writers in the mean time. We’ve been best friends ever since, through our marriages, the birth and raising of our daughters, and through all the ups and downs that come with a writing career.

She’s the sister I never had (I was an only child), she makes me laugh, she’s my muse when it’s time to create characters, and she is so damned brave and funny, I don’t have words to properly describe her.

She’s an artist at heart and keeps me from being boring. She’s wildly creative and pushes me to let loose with my own creativity. She’s the friend I’ll skip taking my pills with in the nursing home and racing our wheelchairs up and down the halls with.

Without her, I would be a pale shadow of the person I am today. She writes under the pen names Jade Lee and Kathy Lyons, and she is truly my best friend forever.  ( jadeleeauthor.com )

 

Main Drawing:

Cindy is generously giving away ARC’s of both of her epic fantasy novels from Tor.  To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 19, 2017. (US only)

She’ll also be giving away copies of some of her recent Harlequin Suspense titles as part of the US bundles, and she’s sponsoring the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

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

 


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fifty-three books, 2-time RITA winner and five-time RITA finalist, Cindy Dees writes romantic thrillers and epic fantasy novels. A former U.S. Air Force pilot and part-time spy, she draws upon real-life experience to fuel her stories. She is a hybrid author, self publishing and writing for Harlequin, and Tor Publishing.

She loves to talk with other writers and readers, and you can find her on a variety of social media platforms.

 

Learn more:

cindydees.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @cindydees

 

Buy Cindy’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.

(Cindy 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

Blythe Gifford – Finding My Tribe

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

The Power of the Romance Community

My first thought when I heard the theme “The Power of Romance,” was to write of one of the most powerful things I know: The Romance Community.

The power of those who love romance – readers, writers, reviewers, librarians, and organizations formal and informal – is among the most formidable on the planet.

I learned this early on when, having decided to finally write seriously, I walked into my first Romance Writers of America conference alone, knowing absolutely nothing and no one.  (Those who have attended an RWA Conference will understand the true enormity of this statement.)  But as a naïve innocent, I was immediately swept up by a chapter from Canada (forgive me, I’ve forgotten which one) who took me under their wing so I would not be immediately trampled.  I quickly met members of my local chapter, Chicago North, became a member, and later, served as manuscript chair and chapter president.  Like so many other authors, I can truly say if it were not for RWA, I would not be published.

The power of RWA to bring writers together, to help us write (and publish and sell) better books, and to represent our needs within the industry is something I have seen in no other writing genre.

But the community is more than its formal voice.  The networks of readers and writers of romance are global and take many forms: blogger communities, Facebook and Goodreads groups, book clubs.  When two romance readers meet, there is an immediate sense of kinship.

My romance community exists most strongly in the connections with individual author friends who serve as cheerleaders, counselors, and critics depending on the situation.  Writing IS a solitary job.  You must do it alone.  But as a romance writer, you need never be lonely.

I am part of three informal tribes, whose nicknames are the Divas, the Hussies, and the Hermits, which aptly sums up the various aspects of a romance writer’s life.  The Divas are a group of local writers who get together periodically to catch up on life and the business of writing.  The Hussies are my fellow Harlequin Historical authors.  Scattered across the globe, we bond long distance and help each other navigate not only the realities of our particular publisher and sub-genre, but the million ills that flesh is heir to over a long life and career. Finally, the Hermits gather once a year for a writing retreat.  We have been doing this for more years than I can count and it is a week that sustains us almost until we reach the next year.  The power of these communities to support me, and each other, is immeasurable.

But the power of the community is not only personal.  It is financial.  Romance readers have created and sustained a $1.08 billion market. (Read more at the RWA industry statics  page .)  They have been open to stories that range from erotic to evangelical, from traditional to diverse, and they recognize that love is love is love is love by reading romance that goes beyond a man and a woman.  In in this digital age, they have, and exercise, their power to read widely, to share their opinions, to connect with one another and with authors in a way unimaginable when I started writing seriously more than 20 years ago.  And from the point of view of an author, a note or review from a happy reader is the most powerful force there is when it comes to keeping me at the keyboard.  Readers continue to support and sustain authors and books and we love them all!

So here is to the Power of all aspects of the Romance Community!  Long may we prosper!

 

Blythe recommends:

In connection with my theme, I’d like to mention four authors who have been part of my community:

Jenni Fletcher   –   jennifletcher.com     –   @Amazon

A new friend and fellow Hussy, I mean Harlequin Historical author,  Jenni also writes the medieval time period, so we can bond over the details of medieval clothes, food, and armor.

Beverly Long   –    www.beverlylong.com     –    @Amazon

Harlequin Romantic Suspense author, longtime friend and fellow Hermit.  She and the next writer and I celebrate our birthdays together each year.  Her Harlequin Intrigue, DEEP SECRETS, is nominated for a Maggie Award this year.

 

Michelle Jean Marie    –     www.michellejeanmarie.com     –     @Amazon

Michelle Jean Marie and I met at that very first RWA Conference.  A fellow historical romance writer, she was a Golden Heart finalist, but “life intrusions” made her journey to publication a long one.  Her first book, TEMPTING FATE, has just come out and I couldn’t be happier!

 

Pat White      –      patwhitewriter.com      –      @Amazon

While I’m a one trick pony, my dear friend Pat White is a quadruple threat, writing romantic comedy, romantic suspense, young adult, and screenplays!  I’m in awe!


Questions for the Author:

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

Every year when I walk into the Romance Writers of America Conference I am overwhelmed by the power of this remarkable community – all dedicated believers in the power of a happy ending!  And it astounds me to think of the scope of romance – from the intimacy of two people in love to an international powerhouse of writers and readers.  Wonderful!

 

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

The book that started it all for me was KATHERINE by Anya Seton.  It’s the real life story of the lifelong mistress of the son of the English king.  Late in life, they married, and their descendants sat on the throne of England.  It taught me that love can change the course of history!  And that’s what I write about.

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

I’ll tell you about two!  Michelle Jean Marie and Pat White, mentioned above, have been dear friends of mine for longer than I can count.  Every morning, we sent each other a quick email listing three things we are grateful for from the previous day.  (And a few things on our respective to do lists!)  You’ve probably read the research that proves an “attitude of gratitude” makes a difference and it is true.  This simple practice has changed my life (and theirs, too, I think) and for that, and for their continued friendship, I am truly grateful.

Main Drawing:

Blythe is generously giving away reader’s choice of a print copy of the Royal Wedding Stories: SECRETS AT COURT, WHISPERS AT COURT, or RUMORS AT COURT.  To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 19, 2017. (US only)

She is also sponsoring the tote & cup combo! (see below for more information)

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

 

 


Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold her first book to the Harlequin Historical line.

Set in Medieval England and Scotland, her books incorporate real historical events and characters.  The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.”

 

Learn more:

www.blythegifford.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @BlytheGifford

 

Buy Blythe’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.

(Blythe 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