L.B. Gregg – Inspired By Connection

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

Good Times

This has been a quiet writing year for me and it wasn’t until mid June—when my twenty year old and I road Blingtripped to a pop-up house show in Ohio—that I found direction again.

My youngest and I share a love for live music, and while it’s not unusual for the two of us to drive four states away to catch our favorite bands, the event in Ohio had all the markers of a cautionary Lifetime Original Movie. A virtually unknown band, playing a venue that was literally some guy’s basement, in Akron. We didn’t know anyone attending, or the hosts (or their real names), because a private Facebook group had thrown the whole thing together. Seriously. I mapped the address on my handy, dandy computer, and I had misgivings.

But this was one week after Orlando. That explains so much, doesn’t it? Early June was a terrible, dark time, and maybe that’s why I ultimately agreed to go with my girl—I needed to take a leap of faith.

It takes roughly nine hours to drive to Akron, in case you’re wondering, and Western Pennsylvania is beautifully green in summer.

We arrived in Akron Saturday afternoon to a tired house in an equally tired neighborhood, and joined a smattering of people waiting outside. We peered hopefully at the other strangers who, like us, had driven sheerTheres Something About Ari across the country to see an obscure band who hadn’t performed in public in years, and who would probably break up again the second they finished.

(true story, they did)

After some tentative introductions, awkward conversation, and the free distribution of water bottles, we all crammed into a filthy, steamy, dirt-packed basement.

I silently planned my escape route should there be a fire.

And when our guy came out, tall and adorable, he played that first bit and man, he was good. So good.

Shoulder to shoulder, sweat glistening, feet tangling, raw, healthy, joyful, youthful enthusiasm followed. The space vibrated as we sang and danced and yelled and pogo’d, and dirt puffed little clouds under our sneakers. No kidding, my face ached from smiling. Time grew luminous and then something better than good happened. I can barely describe it, but in that moment, we all connected. That’s the essence of good music, and good times, and the very heart of all the good, meaningful things in our lives: connection.

I hadn’t read or written anything in months, having lost sight of what to write, and for whom I was writing, and even why my writing was important. But at the end of that fleeting hour, with my ears ringing, and a mass of slimy young people flailing around me, I received a gift.

Inspiration.

Which is no small thing.

Our #LoveRomance connects us as readers. We choose these stories over all the other ones, we love them and honor them, because for us happy endings aren’t just a possibility; they’re a requirement. Through these books we’re able to overcome conflict, suffer awkwardness, survive terrible, dishonorable, soul crushing things, because our journey always offers that promise of lasting love.

And we deserve that good time.

 

LB recommends:

Katherine Ashe       www.katharineashe.com      (at Amazon)

Last winter I craved historical romance and happened, at random, to pick up a copy of Katherine Ashe’s Again, My Lord. I had no prior knowledge of the story and therefore was completely charmed to find it had a delicious, unexpected twist. Spoiler: If you like Regency Romance, and you loved Groundhog’s Day, this is the book for you. Bonus? It’s part of a series.

 

Joanna Chambers        joannachambers.com        (at Amazon)

Put your money on Joanna Chambers to write smart, saucy, sexy m/m historical romances with distinct British flair.

 

Jennifer Crusie         jennycrusie.com        (at Amazon)

And, it almost goes without saying that any reader who loves contemporary romance (and I do) should have Jennifer Crusie’s entire backlist— eBook and print— in their library. Crusie delivers memorable secondary characters, rascally heroes you’d like to hit with a stick, and clever, scrappy heroines you have to root for. Start at Welcome To Temptation and then head to Faking It, and don’t get off that Crusie love train until you reach Bet Me.

 


Questions for the Author:

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

After the birth of our first child, when the three of us were alone together for the first time, I remember feeling that shift from being a couple to becoming a family.

And then my daughter tinkled on us and so began the long, weary road of parenting.

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

RWA Nationals are more than an industry event for me. I get together with some of my closest friends, and in particular, I get to room with my best friend Rosie G.

One time I was feeling under the weather and to keep me entertained, Rosie spent an afternoon performing a dramatic retelling of a Lauren Dane novel. She went into great detail, offering asides, back stories, reflections on later books, and Ro was better than any audio book I’ve ever heard.

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

I read a Fern Michaels book when I was about fourteen—we’re talking the late seventies, and the heroine of that particular novel was a lady pirate. By the end of the story, I wanted to be a lady pirate too. I wrote a compelling essay about myself as said lady pirate for my ninth grade English teacher. She was moved as she, too, pined for the sea. Fern  used the term “sea spray” a lot, which at fourteen wasn’t on any vocab list. I now associate the scent of salty ocean air with provocative, hot, lady pirate love.

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

I can’t count how many times I’ve watched the movie Silver Linings Playbook. There’s something endearing cae7d3e4d780ad3273c28105225eb48dabout Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence on the big screen together. They connect. And, I’d sort of like to BE Jennifer Lawrence in my next life.

You can’t find two more unlikely, unlikable heroes than Pat and Tiffany at the onset of the movie. They’re sad, broken, crazy— the institutionalized kind. Pat is obsessive and weird and he hears voices and most mornings, he runs around the block wearing a Hefty bag. And Tiffany is in a cycle of self-sabotage. She makes bad sexual decisions in order to keep her demons at bay.

Silver Linings can be hard to watch initially, but toward the middle of the movie, you’re rooting for these two. They’re honest and refreshing, and when they’re together, Pat and Tiffany offer a fragile hope. They find balance in their combined weirdness. By the time you reach the big dramatic ending, you want them to have a win. Just one time.

Tell us about your dream date. 

A day spent on a wine tasting, tandem bicycle tour of Sonoma with my globe trotting husband.

 

LB is generously giving away two electronic sets of her Romano & Albright Series—books 1-3—to two lucky readers who loves a side of laughter with their romance, one US and one 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 30, 2016.  Good luck! ***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

I’d love to include a download of my Romano & Albright Series—books 1-3—to some lucky reader who loves a side of laughter with their romance.


lbglassesWhen not working from her home in the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut, author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama– sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny, stories about men who love men.

Her most recent romantic comedy, With This Bling, is the third in her very popular Romano and Albright series.

Look for LB’s upcoming short story, Fragile Bones, coming this winter.

Learn more:

lbgregg.com        |        Facebook       |        Twitter @lbgregg

 

Buy LB’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!

Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Romance Represents

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

Powerful, Valuable Romance

#LoveRomance?First Star

Of course I #LoveRomance. 

What’s not to love?!

If you follow me at all, you’ve probably seen my quote, “Life is too short to read depressing books!”  I firmly believe that.

Too often, literary fiction is depressingas if storytelling is only valuable if people suffer, or life is only real if it’s filled with tragedy.

I’m all for reading uplifting, affirming books, and I most often find those in romance and women’s fiction. These are the stories of love, community, and friendship that make the most sense to me and represent my values. 

What is more valuable, more powerful, than that?

There is nothing better than finishing a romance or women’s fiction novel that is beautifully written, makes me think, makes me feel, and, in the end, gives me a bit more faith in my world and the people in it.

Well, actually, that’s not completely true.

I do love those novels, but to be honest, when I finish them, I feel let down.

When I read a great book, I don’t want it to be finished. I’m so completely wrapped up in the story, the characters, and the world that I don’t want to come out of it.

That’s my greatest compliment to a book—that I’m disappointed when it’s over.

And usually the books that make me feel that way have romance in them, women’s friendships, and definitely a happy ending.

SEP recommends:

Monica McInerney     monicamcinerney.com     (at Amazon)

Monica is a wonderful Australian writer who’s well known in her own country, but not so much in ours. Her book, HELLO FROM THE GILLESPIES, is on my keeper shelf.

Kristin Higgins      kristanhiggins.com      (at Amazon)

I’m loving Kristin Higgins books. She has a wonderful “voice.”  

Jayne Ann Krentz       jayneannkrentz.com     (at Amazon)

I love the way Jayne Ann Krentz delivers great romantic suspense without the gore.

Robyn Carr     robyncarr.com       (at Amazon)

And I can’t wait to dive into the newest Robyn Carr. 


Questions for the Author:

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

Most embarrassing confession ever!  The single most romantic moment of my life I spent with my friend Helen instead of my husband, Mr. Bill.  Helen and I were in Granada, Spain, sitting outside in a restaurant sipping wine and watching the sun set over the Alhambra.  I will absolutely never forget it. And the thing is, I have a sneaky suspicion it wouldn’t have been nearly as romantic with Mr. Bill.  We’d have been talking about kids, golf, writing, the stuff of everyday life, instead of simply taking in the amazing experience. Sigh… 

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

My friend Claire and I fell in love with historical romances in the late 1970s. That’s when we decided to sit down and write one. And, much to our surprise, we completed it.  The Copeland Bride, which was published by Dell in 1982 and is (mercifully) out of print.  

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

The smell of charcoal heating up on an outside grill. It was a few days before our wedding, and Mr. Bill and I were checking out our new apartment. We went outside in the postage stamp, enclosed patio. Someone was grilling nearby, and this incredible sense of yearning, love, hope for the future washed over me. To this day, the smell of charcoal brings that back to me. 

Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

 Historically, it would have to be John and Abigail Adams. But I also have to say there are some political marriages I find incredibly romantic. To be bipartisan about it, Bess and Harry Truman, George and Laura Bush, Michelle and Barack Obama, Gerald and Betty Ford.  (Not, alas, Eleanor and Franklin or Ike and Mamie.) 

Tell us about your dream date. 

I’d like to take Mr. Bill to that same restaurant in Granda, Spain, and see how it would play out.  (See above)

 

SEP is generously giving away two hardcover copies of FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT as soon as they’re available (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 18, 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


SEP New Publicity PhotoSusan Elizabeth Phillips is an international bestseller whose books have been published in over 30 languages. Susan is the creator of the sports romance–especially noteworthy since she is completely inept at any sport involving a ball, although she is a brisk walker. And quite good at Jeopardy.

The newest of her Chicago Stars books, FIRST STAR I SEE TONIGHT, will be on sale August 23, 2016.

Learn more:

susanelizabethphillips.com     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

 

Buy Susan’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!

HerStory: Beverly Jenkins – Celebrating the Unsung

Celebrating Women’s History Month at Read-A-Romance!

Since some of my favorite books are set in a variety of historical time-periods, I thought it would be fun to check in with some great authors in romance and women’s historical fiction, and explore their connection to history. Since the female perspective in history and fiction has been ignored so often, for so long, I find it heartening to see so many books representing romance and/or women’s history, telling such mesmerizing stories against the backdrop of some of the most intriguing and pivotal moments in time. I hope you find these essays as fascinating and fun as I do. You can see the full calendar of authors here.

Did you miss Read-A-Romance Month in August? Be sure to check out all the great “Joy of Romance” essays at the 2015 Calendar and if you’d like, you can follow RARM  on Facebook.

Shining Light on the Unsung

For me, Women’s History Month is every month because in doing research for my historicals, I invariably come across women who are I like to term – unsung.  Women whose names and accomplishments have been lost Forbiddenthrough time. 

Take for example the outspoken 19th century abolitionist Maria W. Stewart, who on September 21, 1832 became the first American born woman to speak to a mixed gender audience.  Before her ground breaking speech that day at Boston’s Franklin Hall, it was deemed unseemly for women to lecture at public gathering.  (Maria Stewart’s Wikipedia page.)

Another formidable unsung is the fearless Apache female warrior Lozen, who fought beside her brother Victorio, and after his death, beside Geronimo in an effort to reclaim the freedom of her people. (Lozen’s Wikipedia page.)

We know the history books used in our schools fail epically when it comes to telling the stories of people of color but the same can be said of their treatment of women, no matter their race. Most American students know nothing about British born Elizabeth Blackwell, who in 1849 became the first woman in America to gain a medical degree, and it is certain they don’t know that fifteen years later, African American Rebecca Lee received her MD from the New England Medical College.  (Elizabeth Blackwell’s Wikipedia page.)

Facts such as these can empower and further the dreams and aspirations of little girls, so I’ve taken it upon myself to bring as many unsung back into the light as I can by using my books to highlight their lives – women like Sissereta Jones, the first African-American woman to sing at what would later become Carnegie Hall and who shared her agent with Mark Twain.  (Sissereta Jones’ Wikipedia page.)

Yes, Harriet Tubman led slaves to freedom but she was also one of the Union Army’s most celebrated spies topazduring the Civil War.  Harriet Tubman’s Wikipedia page

In 1881, the African-American washerwomen of Atlanta staged a sit down strike over wages and conditions that not only brought the city to its knees but paved the way for future labor unions like the AFL-CIO and the UAW. (You’ve never heard of this strike, I’ll bet. .) (Read more about it at the aflcio site.)

So much of women’s history is lost, but if we as moms, authors, teachers, sisters, and aunts take it upon ourselves to bring at least one unsung moment or person back to the forefront, our girls and the nation will reap the benefits.

Beverly recommends:

Two up and coming historical romance writers:

Alyssa Cole  –  alyssacole.com

Piper Huguley  –  piperhuguley.com (Read Piper’s #HerStory post here.)


Questions for the Author

Tell us about a moment when you felt a deep connection to history. 

I felt a deep connection when my fans and I toured some of the African – American history sites in Charleston SC a few years ago.  (watch a video here.) 

Do you have a specific place or sound that makes you feel connected to history? Why? 

I love Savannah, the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia and Charleston SC because the area is so steeped in African- American history.

What is your (or a) favorite historical era or event?

My favorite era is the  19th century.  Favorite event – The Exodus of 1879. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Is there a moment in your research when some specific historical moment or event came to life for you? Tell us about it.

I love westerns, so researching Indian Territory for my historical TOPAZ and learning about great lawmen like  Bass Reeves, Sonny Sixkiller and the Lighthorse Police helped me realize the important roles played by men of color in the Wild West.

And for fun ~ Tell us about your Favorite Historical Crush. ;o) (This can be either a historical or fictional crush.) Why?

Favorite Historical Crush: Deputy Marshal Dixon Wildhorse a Black Seminole lawman I created for TOPAZ. He is all that!

 

Beverly is generously giving away two copies of Topaz. (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 April 10,2016. Good luck!


Bev jenkinsMs. Jenkins is the nation’s premier writer of African – American historical romance fiction and specializes in 19th century African American life. She’s a USA TODAY best-selling author, an NAACP Image Award nominee and has over thirty published novels to date.

Learn more:

www.beverlyjenkins.net        |           Facebook           |        Twitter

 

Buy Beverly’s books:

availableon-amazon        availableon-nook     availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to an affiliate portal that supports Read-A-Romance. Thanks so much for your help!

HerStory: Shana Galen – A History of Dreams

Celebrating Women’s History Month at Read-A-Romance!

Since some of my favorite books are set in a variety of historical time-periods, I thought it would be fun to check in with some great authors in romance and women’s historical fiction, and explore their connection to history. Since the female perspective in history and fiction has been ignored so often, for so long, I find it heartening to see so many books representing romance and/or women’s history, telling such mesmerizing stories against the backdrop of some of the most intriguing and pivotal moments in time. I hope you find these essays as fascinating and fun as I do. You can see the full calendar of HerStory posts here.

Did you miss Read-A-Romance Month in August? Be sure to check out all the great “Joy of Romance” essays at the 2015 Calendar and if you’d like, you can follow RARM  on Facebook.

Not Your Grandmother’s Romance

I’ve always been a feminist. I learned that women have to fight for what they want at my grandmother’s knee. I Kissed A RogueBorn in 1918, my grandmother wanted to become a doctor. She went to college, worked to pay her own way, and took lots of science classes, in which she excelled. When she declared her major as pre-Med, more than a few of her professors raised eyebrows. Several pulled her aside.

“You don’t want to be a doctor. You want to get married and have children.”

“I want to do both,” my grandmother said.

“It’s unseemly for women to become doctors.”

“Then I suppose I’ll be unseemly,” my grandmother replied.

But it wasn’t easy for a woman who was barely twenty to stand up to revered male academics in the 1930s. My grandmother was determined and persistent, but she’d also been taught to respect her elders.

When her biology professor returned her test with a grade of B+ on it, my grandmother reviewed her work and the grade. She realized her professor had made a mistake in tabulating her score, so she approached him after class. When she pointed out his error, noting she should have received an A, the professor told her that if he’d given her an A, she would have scored higher than some of then men in the class. He couldn’t allow a woman to make the highest score in the class. It would make the men feel inferior. When my grandmother Rogue You Knowprotested, the professor argued with her and demanded she give up her foolish dream of becoming a doctor. My grandmother refused, and the professor took his pen, crossed out the B+ and wrote a C on top of it. From then on no matter how well she did, she was always marked lower than the male students.

Under the constant pressure, my grandmother finally gave up her dream and became a science teacher, a job in which she excelled. No doubt she taught many future doctors and scientists—both male and female.

I like to think there’s a little of my grandmother in every heroine I write. Not all of them have to push against stereotypes and gender expectations, but each of my heroines is strong and persistent and determined, like my grandmother. She didn’t realize her goal of becoming a doctor in real life, but my heroines can realize their dreams for all of us who have ever been told we can’t do something, we shouldn’t, or we’d better not.

Writing is empowering. Writing romance is seriously empowering. In my books I have the power to change the world. Women and men can live as equals. Wrongs are righted. The villain is always defeated. And, in the end, love wins the day. That’s the power of romance, and the power my grandmother taught me.Earls Just Want to Have Fun

When I was older I once asked my grandmother if she was angry at her professors. If she ever went back and vented her frustration and fury. Her reply? “I forgave them a long time ago. If you have hate in your heart, there’s no room for love.”

I hope we always have room in our hearts for love.

Shana recommends:

One of my favorite newer authors is Sally Orr   –  www.sallyorr.com  –   If you haven’t read her, put her on your list ASAP. Her debut book was titled The Rake’s Handbook (Including Field Guide) and it’s just as witty and wonderful as the title suggests. I love her humor and am impressed by her research and the way she deftly weaves history into her books. I always come away from one of her stories both educated and amused.


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt a deep connection to history. 

Since I write so much about Regency England, walking past places I have written about, in particular Berkeley Square and White’s club, was really meaningful to me. I remember standing in the cold London afternoon, closing my eyes, and I could picture my heroes entering the club. I could picture my heroines walking through the park. My stories are always real to me in my head, but that was the first time they felt almost tangible.

Do you have a specific place or sound that makes you feel connected to history? Why? 

Listening to opera always makes me feel connected to history. Opera isn’t as popular as it once was, but hundreds of years ago, opera was the people’s Netflix. When I hear an aria by Mozart or a cantata by Vivaldi, I feel as though I share the love of that music with everyone who has every heard it through the ages.

What is your (or a) favorite historical era or event?france

My favorite era is the French Revolution. I find it endlessly fascinating. The tragedy of the deaths of the royal family, the promises of liberty that never materialized for the peasants, the lesson for us all that not only does power corrupt, but it corrupts absolutely.

Is there a moment in your research when some specific historical moment or event came to life for you? Tell us about it.

In the late 1990s I visited Scotland after reading all of the Outlander books that had been published at that time. I’d read several account of the Battle of Culloden, but nothing could compare to the feeling of sorrow and loss I experienced when I walked it. It seemed so small for such a momentous place, and it seemed so lonely and forlorn. I could almost sense the pall of tragedy still hanging over it.

And for fun ~ Tell us about your Favorite Historical Crush. ;o) (This can be either a historical or fictional crush.) shakespeareWhy?

Oh, it has to be Shakespeare. The more of his work I read, the more I am impressed by the depths of his understanding of human nature. He is both witty and profound, crass and eloquent. I don’t think there ever has or ever will be a writer as amazingly talented as he.

Shana is generously giving away  a complete set of the Covent Garden Cubs series (Earls Just Want to Have Fun, The Rogue You Know, I Kissed a Rogue) – US readers only, apologies to 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 March 16 PST . Good luck!


Color Shana Galen L-R-2118Shana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, “The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun,” and RT Bookreviews calls her books “lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city.

Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.

Learn more:

www.shanagalen.com         |          Facebook          |         Twitter

 

Buy Shana’s books:

availableon-amazon        availableon-nook     availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to an affiliate portal that supports Read-A-Romance. Thanks so much for your help!

Drawing Strength from HEAs – Luna Quinn

Read-A-Romance Celebrates Diversity!

Welcome!

This month, we’re celebrating diversity & romance with 31 writers who represent a bright rainbow of nationality, culture, religion, color, ethnicity and orientation. Visit every day in January to check in and show your appreciation for a variety of voices who’ll share their thoughts on the 2015 RARM theme, The Joy of Romance. Let’s celebrate love for everyone! xo

And if you missed Read-A-Romance Month in August, be sure to check out all the great essays at the 2015 Calendar and if you’d like, you can follow RARM  on Facebook.

The Joy & Comfort of Hope

(To avoid confusion I’m going to put the first line of Luna Quinn’s bio here: Luna Quinn is the pseudonym for co-writers Yajaira Diaz and Brittany Marczak. Enjoy! ~ Bobbi)

One of the most beautiful things about the romance genre is the hope you find in its Seducing Chaos novels. Hope to get through the bad day you’re having, the bad week you’re having, or just a sucky situation in your life that you can’t escape. There’s no better feeling than snuggling on the couch after a long day with a great romance book full of joy, laughter, love and, yes, even heartbreak. But the wonderful thing is, in romance, you have a guaranteed happily ever after (or at least a happily for now ending). No matter how bad things get in the plot, or how messed up the characters are, you know everything is going to turn out well in the end. Whereas in real life, the future is often one big question mark. The firm and immovable certainty that everything is going to be okay in the end has gotten us through more than one bad day. It might sound silly to some, but we draw strength from romance books.

When the black moment happens, and tears prick at your eyes while your heart burns for the main love interests, there is also a surge of energy–of hope. And then when the characters reunite in either a grand gesture, or a sweet, private moment, we find ourselves smiling along with the characters through tears, and everything feels right in the world again. When the book is done, we get up and go about our life filled with a new sense of purpose. Those characters were able to fight for love, get past incredible obstacles, and to hold on to a sliver of happiness they found in an unpredictable world. I can have that, too.

This is especially powerful when the characters are flawed in the same ways we are, or are going through problems we or someone close to us is going through. It’s those moments when it feels like we’re looking in a mirror, at a slightly different version of ourselves, and the book is like a great big hug, telling us it’s going to be okay. That no matter how sucky things get, no matter how messed up our mind can be, we can make it to our happy ending.

In our opinion, there is little else in the world that provides such a deep, personal comfort like a good romance book. Some things get close, and nothing can replace the comfort of another person, but sometimes we don’t want to be in the company of other people (and that’s okay!). When we’re struggling with a specific problem, a romance book is often exactly what we need. Not only are they like being in the presence of your best friend, but a great romance will stay in your heart forever. It’s also true that, whenever you’re feeling down, all you have to do is remember a scene you loved, or just a pairing, and that rush of love and hope puts a smile on your face.

Luna Quinn recommends:

Alisha Rai  –  alisharai.net – While all of her books are fantastic, if you want a starting place, we recommend A Gentleman in the Street!

Courtney Milanwww.courtneymilan.com – While I’ve yet to read her historicals, I LOVED Trade Me!


Questions for the Author:

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

Britt: Man, talk about a toughie! I tend to think of sheer joy as not really being those HUGE, once-in-a-life type of moments, but rather those small moments that happen from day to day that you might take for granted, or might not even notice. I have a cup of tea every night, and at that first sip, time pauses for just a little bit while I truly relax and enjoy that moment. Oddly enough, in that moment, I kind of find my center again, and I am wholly me again for another day. Whether it’s tea or coffee providing that little slice of heaven, I think that’s sheer joy right there—and sheer sanity! 😉

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

Yajaira: Definitely my Aunt Gloria’s house. It’s the place where our family gathers and everyone has a key and is always welcomed.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Britt: I love, love, love the sound of cats purring. Whether it’s a shy, soft purr or a loud motorboat purr, it brings an instant smile to my face. It calms me and makes me happy, no matter how tough a day I’m having!

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?

Yajaira: This is always a hard question to answer because there have been so many! The first book that came to mind was ‘The Prince’ by Tiffany Reisz. It was such a beautiful book, I cried tears of joy and sorrow pretty much the entire book.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~ Tell us about your favorite celebrity crush. :o) 

Yajaira: That’s a no brainer! Enrique Iglesias has been my one true love since the fifth grade.

Britt: I’m going to cheat a little and name two crushes. For the past couple of years, Jared Padalecki has been my crush, because not only those muscles, but he has a heart of absolute gold. (Check out Always Keep Fighting if you haven’t heard about it! *You can read the Variety article with lots of links here. ~ Bobbi) And my most recent crush was confirmed when I saw The Force Awakens for the second time and just spent half the movie swooning over Oscar Isaac.

Luna Quinn (aka Yajaira Diaz and Brittany Marczak) is generously giving away a copy of her debut, Seducing Chaos, open to US and international readers. To enter, leave a comment below or on the Facebook post here (or both – show the love!) :o) by 11:59 pm PST Jan 9th. Good luck! 

LQ_SmallLuna Quinn is the pseudonym for co-writers Yajaira Diaz and Brittany Marczak. They began writing together by chance in 2012, and clicked instantly. With ideas to last them the rest of their lives, they work night and day to write the dark, sexy stories they want to read.

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