Lisa Kleypas – Romance Comfort and Joy

Welcome!

Be sure to visit ReadARomanceMonth.com every day in August to see what all 93+ authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

 A Quick Dose Of Joy

When I was a child, my family traveled from Massachusetts to Texas every year or so to 18126966visit relatives. I loved spending time with my cousins, sitting on my grandmother’s blazing hot porch and drinking biting-cold soda from glass bottles—usually Big Red, that brand of cream soda dyed a shade of fluorescent red that I have yet to see in nature.

I remember helping to make ice cream in a wooden bucket filled with ice and rock salt, all of us taking our turns at the hand crank until our arms were so tired we could barely lift our spoons afterward. I can also recall the sweet, pungent smell of my grandfather’s feed store, and how big and blue the sky was, and a million other things, but most of all I remember how dazzled I was by my mother’s four sisters.

My aunts were funny, talkative and beautiful, a gaggle of natural storytellers. When they were together, they would trade stories and break into screams of laughter that approximated the decibel level of a power saw. Our family was, individually and
collectively, incapable of holding back emotion—we were not mysterious people.51xKrpAcfdL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_

All of my aunts read romance novels. I was about twelve when my Aunt Judy gave my mother a raggedy copy of The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and commanded her to read it. Naturally, I sneaked it from the bookshelf when we were back home, and I read it in a day. My life was never the same. I discovered the particular joy of reading a good romance novel, a flavor of joy you can’t get from any other source, not even from a good romance movie.

At least two of my aunts always carried candy bars and romance novels in their purses, because you never know when you might need a snack, or a quick dose of joy. Over the years, every single one of my aunts experienced more than her fair share of tragedy. (Believe me, I don’t use that word lightly.) But they were strong women who carried on, and tacked on those big grins, and comforted themselves in private with the help of those sexy, sentimental books with the happy endings.

Sometimes in speeches I’ve told the story of how my husband Greg and I, and our son, lost everything we owned in a flood in ’98. Everything except the clothes on our backs, and my purse. But when I went to Wal-Mart to load a shopping cart with necessary supplies—toothpaste, socks, Tylenol, etc.—I tossed in a romance novel. (Incidentally, it was by Kathleen Woodiwiss.) And during the next few weeks and months, I carried on, and tacked on a grin, and I kept romance novels in my purse, comforted by the fact that I always had a quick dose of joy just within reach.

Lisa recommends:

I recently had the delight and privilege of having dinner with Tiffany Snow and Sarah Morgan, and I knew that women with such fabulous personalities would write incredible books, so I read some of their work on the plane. I was right!

I enthusiastically recommend “Power Play” by Tiffany Snow, and “First Time In Forever” by Sarah Morgan. (check out Sarah’s 2015 post on 8/30)


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

The week after Smooth Talking Stranger was released, I was anxious to find out if it had landed on the NYT list. I’d never made it into the top ten in hardcover, but I thought if anyone could do it for me, it would be Jack Travis. Greg and I took the kids on a vacation to Hawaii, and we stayed at a hotel with an incredible pool. It had a series of water slides, each one leading to a little pool lower down. So you had to slide down, splash, get up and go to the next slide, and so forth. The kids had been trying all morning to get me to go on those slides, but I am not a water slide person. I alternated between playing in the pool with them, and reclining like a slug on a lounge chair next to my husband.

Then my agent Mel called, and said that the book had landed at number nine. I was ecstatic! Greg went to get a couple of celebratory mojitos. Then my son and daughter pointed out a coincidence that could NOT be ignored—there were exactly nine little slides in that pool. I went with them, of course. And while we were hurtling down those slides, one after another, I had one of those intense happy-to-be-alive moments of pure joy.

Still not a water slide person, though.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

Disney World. I don’t care if that’s shallow. It’s Disney World.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

“I Will” by John Lennon. Audible joy. Any cover of it works for me.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory. Probably the most innocent, joyful, hopeful romance I’ve ever read.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Chris Pratt, with Captain Von Trapp as a very close second.

Lisa is generously giving away an autographed one set of the first 3 of the Travis Series (paperbacks) to one lucky winner and an autographed copy of Again The Magic to another. (U.S. only apologies to international friends.)


LisaK15

credit: Danielle Barnum Photography

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She is a RITA award winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction.

Her novels are published in twenty-eight different languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

You can find her online at LisaKleypas.com.

Buy Lisa’s books:

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Sonali Dev – The Business of Joy

Welcome!

Be sure to visit ReadARomanceMonth.com every day in August to see what all 93+ authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

Romance, The Business of Joy

One of the teachings of Hindu philosophy is that the true nature of the human soul is bollywood affairjoyous. Our natural state or our ‘default setting’ as human beings is Joy, and all suffering arises when we allow our inner selves to transform into other non-joyous states, forcing our inner selves into states from which they must struggle to find their way back to Joy.

I know, sounds incredibly simplistic, especially since joy often feels like such a nebulous emotion to capture with words. But really, is there a simpler, more relatable thing in the world? When I attempt to list the things that bring me joy, I go from having my face slurp-licked by my puppy, to sitting in my sunroom and writing, to staring out at the Rockies across Lake Louise in Banff, to watching my teenagers do something insightful and sensitive spontaneously.

It’s a many splendored thing, this joy business, and for many years I scoffed at the philosophy that choosing and nurturing joy was at the heart of happiness. But then I started to realize that the happiest people I know repeatedly make the choice to love when they could hate, stay calm when they could get angry, and forgive when they could stew. The whole thing about positive people being happier and more successful than negative people, isn’t just the stuff of quotes-of-the-day.

“So what does all of this have to do with reading and writing romance?” you ask. Well, Bollywood-Affairtrue joy, the kind that bursts in your heart and makes you want to throw open your arms and spin around singing, is a form of love. You can’t feel joyous if you don’t feel love: love for yourself, for the world you live in, for those around you, for your puppy, for the things you do.  Love begets joy. See where I’m going with this?

And no, the romance genre might be set within the structure of romantic love, but it really is about love in all its many-facetted glory. The best kind of romance novels aren’t about hooking a guy or a girl (sorry, critics of the genre). What they are about is learning to love yourself, learning to find healing, and learning to make the choice to love when you could hate, to stay calm when you could get angry, and to forgive when you could be stuck in an endless cycle of repeating the mistakes that keep you from finding happiness. And no, I’m not boiling down the journey of finding happiness into the act of finding love. What I am filtering it down to is finding joy. Coming a step closer to our natural human state by reconciling/rejecting the struggles our inner selves get mired in and finding a state of joy where it becomes possible to love and be loved.

This inner journey is why I read romance, why I write it, why I love it with such passion. Other genres focus primarily on the fight between good and evil outside of ourselves. And that’s all good and dandy, but romance novels zero in on the building blocks of the larger worlds other genres are working to save. They focus on saving hearts, one at a time.

Ubiquitous as joy is,  pinning it down when our world spins past us with such purposeful speed isn’t easy. The opportunities to stop and soak up all that is joyous as we chase joy seem ironically sparse. When I read I’m allowing myself a moment to pause, to let myself fall- into joy, into pain, into all the things that make us human. A really good book layers the characters’ experiences on top of my own and makes me aware of how I process them. It becomes not just about the words on the page, or the story those words spin, but about all that it invokes inside me, all the emotions it touches, all the questions it raises, all the beliefs it challenges or reinforces.

A really good romance takes me through the experience of overcoming adversity to heal all that keeps holding me back from joy and helps me grow within myself that which is needed to let love in. Those who don’t get Romance, or don’t see it as anything but escapism, miss the point of it by miles. Romances are relevant at the most personal level, because not everyone can catch killers, win wars, or save planets, but every single one of us, wants to, needs to, and can find joy and consequently love.

Recommendations:

Suleikha Snyder: One of the first Indian commercial fiction authors I ever read was Shobha De and when I read Suleikha I get that same sense of gritty realness I remember from De’s books. Her characters are dark, troubled, and unapologetic, as is her writing, and you emerge from her books feeling as though you were starkly and totally immersed in her world. 

Joanna Shupe: Joanna’s trilogy was the best debut of 2015, in my opinion. In fact, I think her books are the most delightful, hot, and smart historical romances I’ve discovered since Tessa Dare. Her characters are all spunk and social justice with their tongues firmly thrust into their cheeks. Just the kind of writing I can’t get enough of. (Joanna did Read-A-Romance Month content on her site. Read it here.)

Hanna Martine: I love paranormal romances, but the single most important thing for me when I read them is relatability. The world has to feel like one I can slip into but also one I want to slip into. Hanna Martine’s Elementals world is incredibly well set up and absorbing with spot on metaphors for racism and colonization. Plus, her writing and and her settings are so transporting that emerging from her books is almost disorienting. (Hanna did RARM content too! Read hers here.) 

Sonali is also a huge proponent of writers from South Asia. Here are some of her friends and favorites:

Suleikha Snyder   |  Kishan Paul   |    Ayesha Patel 

Falguni Kothari   |   Mina Khan (read Mina’s post here)

Thanks Mina, Joanna & Hanna!

Sonali is generously giving away an ARC of The Bollywood Bride and a pair of handmade Indian earrings. (U.S. only, apologies to international friends.)


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

This moment when I’m writing a piece for RARM where so many of my writing idols are featured is pretty darned joyous. It’s one of those things that you dream of doing some day when you’re aspiring. One of the little dreams that defines your big dream. And hello, I’m posting on the same day as the very person because of whom I knew I was going to write romance, Lisa Kleypas! As a moment of sheer joy, what could get better than that?

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

I’m in Mumbai right now visiting my parents in the home I grew up in. It’s been two decades since I left my parents’ house, but the feeling of home I get when I’m in my parents’ house, especially their room is indescribable. It’s this feeling of all the weight of effort sliding right off my shoulders, all filters gone, of being utterly accepted and entirely myself. It’s the kind of joy that’s the most precious of gifts.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

It’s really quite a joyous coincidence that I am writing this while in India, because as an immigrant you have two parallel sets of memories that invoke entirely different facets of the same feeling. In startling contrast to the quiet of my suburban life in America (which I love), India is rife with sound. Noise pollution is the uninterrupted, loud background score to urban life here (think blasting horns and squeaking breaks and growling engines) but there’s another layer of sound— the call of birds. A mix of coos and chirps and chimes, a medley of notes with a cadence ranging from staccato and rhythmic to lilting and operatic in its endlessly held breath. It’s almost as though the birds have adapted and evolved to be louder than anywhere else in the world in an effort to be heard over all the noise. If there ever was a sound that could instantly transport me to a place if joy, it’s this symphony of birdcalls that my ears thankfully have remembered how to discern.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

This is the hardest question because three minutes after I answer it I’ll think of another book. Because reading is the most joyous of experiences for me. I find Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ and Kristan Higgins’ books incredibly fun, because their characters are just so buoyant of spirit and so funny. Another book that I could read anytime and it just lifts up my mood is Bridget Jones’ Diary.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

It’s a toss up between Chris Pine (there’s just something about cocky, irrepressible men) and Chris Rock (a man who can make me laugh while making wicked social commentary? Come on!)

Sonali is generously giving away an ARC of The Bollywood Bride and a pair of handmade Indian earrings. 


SonaliAward winning author, Sonali Dev, writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after. Sonali’s debut novel, A Bollywood Affair, was one of Library Journal and NPR’s Best Books of 2014. It won the American Library Association’s award for best romance, is a RITA Finalist, RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee, and winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog. Find out more at sonalidev.com.

Buy Sonali’s books:

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(Please note that the Amazon button links to an affiliate portal, which supports Read-A-Romance Month. Thank you!)

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Lorelei’s Lit Lair – A Joyous Journey to Romance

Welcome!

Be sure to visit ReadARomanceMonth.com every day in August to see what all 93+ authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

 

My Path to Romance, a Surprising and Joyous Journey!

Many of you probably discovered romance in your teens through your mom’s stash of RARM tradeLLL1romance novels.  I instead discovered romance through my daughter in 2007, and purely by accident. It all started when she wanted to read the Twilight series. Incredulous as to what drew people to read such tales, I went to the first page, just to check it out and to see what all the commotion was about. Seven days later, I’d read all four books and it was like a switch in me was flipped ON. I went to my library and started reading women’s fiction, mysteries, but I truly found my match in romance! Why? Because I found romances brought joy, laughter and love to my heart. I was inspired by how heroes and heroines overcame obstacles, plus so many other positive traits—and of course the happy endings!

Reading romances made me realize that we’re not alone in certain experiences in our rarmLLLsm1lives. Also, I think subconsciously certain events inspire us to become better people; they inspire us to build a sense of community, to offer a helping hand to our seniors, friends and family. We also learn a great deal of respect and appreciation for others, such as the brave servicemen and women who protect us each day. Romance authors take us on many journeys – sometimes back in time, or to different worlds, or even right here in the present. Their books evoke emotions with such ease that sometimes for a few hours we forget that what’s happening in the story isn’t real. We go through highs and lows with the characters, cheering them on or shedding tears of laughter, joy or sorrow with them. But, in the end, love always prevails.

You may enjoy the sweet kind of romance novels, with kisses that melt your heart or rarmLLLsm2those where passions ignite the pages in flames.  It’s not a one-size-fits -all kind of genre. I quickly discovered the difference when I went from the Twilight Saga to books by Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Cherry Adair and Lisa Kleypas, just to name a few. Yes, there’s drama, action, suspense and happily ever afters, yet the love stories all unfold in very different ways.  While I now know where my comfort zone lies, my book choices satisfy what I’m in the mood for, whether it be for historicals, contemporaries, YA, mysteries, paranormals or military romances. So, whether you prefer reading novels that are one, ten or fifty shades of romance, there’s a book for everyone.

Something amazing happened on my quest to find books in my comfort zone. I felt like Goldilocks and the three bears. I read and read in search of my “just right” authors. I enjoyed all of Suzanne Brockmann’s  books. Prince Joe will forever remain a favorite, asKristan Higgins Waiting on You well as Robyn Carr’s Virgin River. But in 2010 I discovered one particular author and did something I’d never done before. I wrote my first fan mail. Her books had all the elements I was looking for in a story, and I felt the need to let her know.  Honestly, I thought I’d get a response in a month or maybe never. To my surprise she replied the next day! I remember replying, “OMG!” and proclaimed to be her BFF- Biggest Fan Forever. This author was Kristan Higgins. She was so friendly and down to earth, just like her stories.  She invited me to follow her on Facebook. That’s when her daily posts and recommendations opened my eyes to the world of romance writers. I discovered what a supportive, generous and talented community this is.  The romance author community inspired me to create Lorelei’s Lit Lair on Facebook and other social media spots to share with others the amazing authors I discover each day.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Authors are real women, like you and me. Yes, that’s right.  They all have different personalities, hobbies and  interests. Some are shy, Prince Joeothers are outgoing. Many are moms with kids and have pets. Some are even grandparents.They also have good days and bad days. Some enjoy baking, gardening, sewing, running, boxing, etc. Some are afraid of hummingbirds, while others are fascinated with penguins. I’ve noticed most love wine and chocolate. I mention this because we often  forget authors are real people, like us. I’ve met authors who have day jobs and still find time to write amazing stories. Social media has been a wonderful resource to learn more about  favorite authors.  Have you connected with an author lately?

Without a doubt, I can truly say that the anecdotes I share, the causes I’ve supported, the prizes I’ve won, the joy and laughter that  fill my days and most specially the friendships I’ve made with readers and authors around the world, would never have been possible if I hadn’t received Kristan Higgins’ reply.  Romance novels have changed my life in tremendous ways, brightened my days, and become my little escape from this busy and hectic life. Just so you know, Kristan and I haven’t met, but I thank her greatly for leading me to so many amazing friends and authors I have met since 2010. ♥ 

Reading books by these lovely authors has given me hours of entertainment filled with hope, love, laughter and joy.  I hope you participate and experience the joys of romance by connecting with this amazing group of authors and see how they may impact your life as they have mine.

Recommendations:

I have to share this story with you. One time I met a lady at one of those Mall Kiosks.  I told her about so many wonderful authors and books that I’d read and started giving her recommendations, but then she said, “Just tell me which one is the best and I’ll read that one.” You know the deer in the headlights stare? No one had ever asked me that question before! After standing there speechless for a few seconds, I could not pick just one.  I said to her “The best author or book is the one that makes you happy”.

So, here are some authors who have made me VERY happy and I hope they will do the same for you!

(We are doing something special this year with Lorelei, our “token reader.” Lorelei has recommended 31 authors—another month’s worth! We have linked to their sites for their RARM content below, and you can also find one each day on Lorelei’s Facebook page, which is also linked in the sidebar on the right. Thanks Lorelei, for all your great work on this, and your fabulous support of Romance! And readers, enjoy. xo)

Marina Adair  |  Jessica Andersen/Jesse Hayworth  |  Heather Ashby  |  Jolyse Barnett

Jamie Beck  |  Jennifer Beckstrand  |  Patty Blount  |  Marie Bostwick | Marilyn Brant

Caro Carson  |  Gail Chianese |  Beth Ciotta  |  Lauren Clark/Laura McNeill

Katherine Garbera  |  Jennifer Gracen  |  Shirley Jump  |  Tawdra Kandle

Catherine Kean  |  Geri Krotow  |  Erin Knightley  |  Michelle Major  |  Dana Marton

Jeannie Moon  |  Laura Moore  |  Kathleen O’Brien  |  Terri Osburn  |  Sandra Owens

PJ Sharon  |  Liz Talley  |  Nancy Robards Thompson  |  Dianne Venetta


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

I’d say the first time my name appeared in a book!  My name was selected to be a secondary character in Kristan Higgins’  Blue Heron Series! I’m the town BAKER! I danced all around the house and replied to Kristan: “Get out of town!” I was so thrilled! Many authors ask their fans for name or pet suggestions to include them in their stories. And yes, you may get a mention in the acknowledgements. 😀 I can’t tell you how humbled, honored and excited I felt.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

My grandmother’s house. The years go by and I’ve moved around a lot since I was a kid, but her house is a place that’s always there. It brings happy memories of growing up, going to college and visiting with my kids. My grandmother is 93 and my kids have the joy of knowing their great-grandmother. We visit every year and cherish new memories every time.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Nothing brings me more joy than to hear the sound of laughter, especially of babies.  To my kids – if you are reading this, I am not ready to be a grandmother just yet!

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

Well, It’s not so much the book but the experience. When I used to work as an assistant in elementary, the teacher would let me read to our 3rd grade students during snack time. The kids would sit in a circle around me.  I picked one of Junie B. Jones adventures.  As I read aloud, I found a scene so comical, I started laughing so hard I couldn’t finish the sentence. I’m talking tears and belly spasms.  The kids were staring at me, waiting for me to continue. Then one by one each started bursting into laughter, not because of the story, but at my hysteria , they didn’t know yet what was so funny.  It took me about 10 minutes to compose myself (and the kids), and I managed to finish the sentence.  The bright smiles on those kids faces will forever remain a happy memory.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

I’m a big fan of Evans and Hemsworth, I mean they’re super heroes, right? But, let’s not underestimate the superpowers a look or a smile can have on a person. So, my first choice would go for Chris Pine in this list—he has the most mesmerizing blue eyes and the cutest smile, sometimes mischievous, too.

However, my best pick for a Chris is actually Christopher Reeve. (Sorry to be a rebel, but….)

See that picture over there to the right, with the snow outside the window? We went LLL & Christopher Reeveskiing in Vermont on Christmas Day, 1985 and I had the privilege of meeting the lovely man himself. We’d actually arrived very early, put our bags to the side to save the table, but when we returned after skiing, it was taken. When I looked at who sat at our table, I realized who it was: Superman. Christopher Reeve.

He was sitting when I approached him, right there, behind me on that bench. But then he rose and…..I was in awe, and amazed, indeed. I asked if he didn’t mind taking a picture. I was so nervous, I forgot to ask for an autograph. At least this pic came out well. No digital back then.

He was so gracious, allowing us taking a picture during the holidays while he was with his family. After everything he went through and all the years of hope and pain, I’ve never forgotten that day and what a true gentlemen and nice person he was. A true real-life hero.

(I was 18, by the way, though I look 14 or something. I’m the one in blue. A wonderful memory. Sigh…)

Lorelei and three author friends have generous giveaways for three lucky U.S. readers (apologies to international friends): 

** Award-Winning Author of Military Romance, Heather Ashby is donating a signed copy of UNFORGETTABLE and a $15 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

** Award-Winning Author of Medieval Romance, Catherine Kean is donating signed copies of Dance of Desire, My Lady’s Treasure, and A Knight to Remember to one lucky winner!

** Award-Winning, National Bestselling Author, Nancy Robards Thompson is donating a set of 8 books in her Celebrations. Inc. series and a $10 Amazon gift card to one happy winner!


RARM Profile picLorelei is the Creative Director of Lorelei’s Lit Lair on Facebook, Twitter and other social media spots. She is a former Special Ed. paraprofessional and current band mom volunteer. Happily married for 27 years and the mother of 3 wonderful young overachievers, Lorelei enjoys Zumba, music, reading and socializing. She is a fervent advocate of the romance and writing community, and a believer of paying it forward and spreading the love with a perpetual smile.

You can connect with Lorelei at Lorelei’s Lit Lair  on Facebook and Twitter  where you’ll find great books recommendations, giveaways, deals, chats about favorite authors, fun posts and other interesting topics with fans of similar interests.

Buy Lorelei’s suggestions:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

(Please note that the Amazon box is an affiliate link. Any purchases support Read-A-Romance Month. Thank you!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway