Spreading ALL the Love – K.M. Jackson

Read-A-Romance Celebrates Diversity!


This month, we’re celebrating diversity & romance with 31 writers who represent a bright rainbow of religion, nationality, ethnicity, culture, color 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.

Happy Ever After Takes Time

Life isn’t always pretty and Happy Ever After often feels like it takes way too long to bounce Jacksoncome around. As a young girl growing up in our small Harlem apartment I always had a very active imagination and was considered quite the dreamer, spending large parts of my day in my own little makeshift sanctuary telling made up stories to my Barbie dolls behind my grandfather’s old leather Lazy Boy recliner. But when my legs got too long and I could no longer hide out behind the recliner I took refuge by burrowing my nose in books and having the stories told to me.

Lucky for me, my grandmother was an avid reader so there was never a shortage of books to be had. And to make me doubly lucky she was a great fan of romance. After a long day spent taking care of young neighborhood children, my grandmother looked forward to her well-deserved take-me-away moment that would mentally drown out the noise of the upstairs neighbor’s banging, the fire sirens from down the block or the loud music seeping through the walls from next door. In an instant she would no longer be a weary African -American caretaker, but transformed, temporarily, to the mind of a cornflower blue-eyed, golden blond being wooed from the back of a horse as it galloped through a meadow. You see there weren’t many books with petite African-American Harlem-ites being wooed so she made her escape with the romance card she was dealt.

Just as I (back then I was and pretty much now am the gawky girl with the thick glasses) threads of desire Jacksonplayed my romance hand. I was the girl standing on the crowded subway balancing the book while trying to make myself invisible on the rocky ‘A’ train, happily transported from that crowded train into the mind of some quick tempered fiery redhead with the heart of gold who just so happened to be the perfect match for an equally fiery tempered Greek tycoon. Apparently Greek tycoons didn’t ride the ‘A’ train trolling for heroines who wore glasses and had overbites.

It was okay though because, like my grandmother, I was grateful to be swept away into those worlds that were so different than my own even though a huge part of me longed to see some of myself in-between the pages. Still those books made my commutes the best part of the worst part of my day. In them I found the Happy Ever Afters that took too long to come in real life, but that I could rely on to come again and again and leave me with a glimmer of hope. My subway balance was always iffy, the triumph of love at the end of a romance book was something I could count on.

I’m so excited now to be contributing to RARM and in a small way be part of this community that has given me so many wonderful and needed much HEA moments. During those early ‘A’ train days with me snagging my grandmother’s romances to borrow for my commutes there were, for the most part, no heroines that looked like me that I could relate to. Now there are so many more that I’m hopeful for the direction of the genre. Readers can find heroes and heroines that have curves, different skin tones, tightly curled hair, even glasses. The choices are endless.  Diversity is alive and well and spreading the love and I’m so glad to be here for it.

Kwana recommends:

Synithia Williams –  synithiawilliams.com – Synithia’s writing is as sweet as it is sexy. Her latest, One Night To Forever, is out now from Crimson Romance.

Farrah Rochon –  www.farrahrochon.com – I will always be a Farrah fan. Her smooth and sexy romances always pull me in from page one. Her Moments in Maplesville Series has me wishing this were a real town. (Free right now! Books 1 & 2 in a bundle: Amazon here or B&N here. ~Bobbi )

Questions for the Author:

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

A moment of sheer joy? Strangely enough all that comes to mind right now as I type this

NEW YORK - JUNE 27: Coney Island's Wonder Wheel on June 27, 2012 in Coney Island, New York City. The Wonder Wheel holds 144 riders, stands 150 ft (46 m) tall, and weighs over 2,000 tons.

NEW YORK – JUNE 27: Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel on June 27, 2012 in Coney Island, New York City. The Wonder Wheel holds 144 riders, stands 150 ft (46 m) tall, and weighs over 2,000 tons.

is being atop a Ferris wheel at Great Adventure in New Jersey or on the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island. I adore Ferris Wheels and my favorite moment is being at the top when you are stuck for just that moment while the operator is letting some passengers off and others on and you have that perfect endless view of what seems to be the whole world below you with endless possibilities all around. That moment brings me joy. Now strangly for others this brings terror, so go figure. LOL.

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

The place that brings me joy is attached to the moment. It would be on the Ferris Wheel at the amusement park. There is always a good time there.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

There is no better sound to me than a baby’s laugh.

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?

A recent book that brought me joy is not fiction but I recently finished Shonda Rhimes’s Year Of Yes and thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed and smiled a lot and felt so in touch with the amazing Ms. Rhimes who keeps me on the edge of my couch and my fingers tweeting as fast as they can every Thursday night.

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

I pick the one and only Idris Elba. Can we just give him ALL the roles this year and I’ll give the theaters ALL my money!

K.M. Jackson is generously giving away 3 e-copies of Threads of Desire, one per winner either U.S. or international (If winner is international, Kwana will send an e-pub file.) To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the Facebook post you’ll find here by 11:59 pm PST Jan 7th. Good luck!

K.M. Jackson authorA native New Yorker, K.M. JACKSON had two dreams: 1. to be a fashion designer, and 2. to be a writer. After studying fashion design and graduating from FIT, she then spent ten years designing for various fashion houses. But after having twins and juggling that and fashion, Kwana took the leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer. Since then she’s won RWA NYC’s Golden Apple Author of the Year Award and is a daily advocate for #WeNeedDiverseRomance. She currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband, twins, and a precocious terrier named Jack that keeps her on her toes.

Visit K.M. online at kmjackson.com or follow her on Twitter @kwanawrites.

Buy K.M.’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 Month. Thanks so much for your help!

Bobbi Dumas ~ #LoveRomance, Love My Life

The Joy of Romance ~ Following My Bliss

I hope you’ve enjoyed Read-A-Romance 2015 and its lovely theme of The Joy of Romance. (Just a reminder, you can find the whole calendar here.)

There have been so many amazing essays this year, I hope you’ll come back and read love romancethem all, especially if you missed any. And if you’ve just discovered RARM this year, then you have a whole wealth of other essays to discover, from 2014 and 2013.

I love romance novels. I love the romance arc. I find it uplifting and affirming and, yes, joyful. I don’t understand why women should be made to feel ashamed for loving these delightful books, especially when a whole cottage industry of self-help books and workshops have grown up around the idea of “How to Be Happy.

Be Happy! these peppy little books tell us, unless, of course, that happiness comes from {insert smug, condescending tone here} romance novels.


I get my fair share of condescension and superciliousness because I write about this beloved genre. Apparently I should not be proud of the fact that I write for Barnes & Noble, Kirkus or NPR, because if I’m writing about romance novels, I should be embarrassed.

The shameful subject evidently overcomes any professional dignity or honor I should proud romancetake from the platforms, or you’d think so from the pompous looks I occasionally get from people when I tell them what I do. Like romance writers who get the “when are you going to write a real book” question, I get the “those aren’t real books, so you must not be a real reviewer/writer” looks.

But you know what?

I don’t tend to like people who want to start a conversation by belittling me, in words or attitude. Perhaps I’m hypersensitive. Perhaps I have a chip on my shoulder. But honestly? I’d rather talk to a romance reader.

Sarah MacLean touched on this in her very eloquent post, and two years ago, Sarah Morgan had a delightfully sly mention of something similar. I also wrote more about this on the first post I ever did for the USA Today/HEA blog, if you’d like to read that.

Romance readers are my tribe.They tend to be so much more open-minded, optimistic and, in my experience, well-read than most other readers I know.

Oh. And Joyful.

Most books don’t touch readers in the same way romances do, and most readers aren’t as emotionally attached to the books and the community as romance readers are.

This is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s a gift.


So much to Celebrate

I have a long, sprawling story as to how I fell into the joy of what I do—reviewing and writing about books, and especially romance novels—but I won’t bore you with it here.

To put it simply, there are days when I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and that I have the most amazing job.

However, it’s not just luck. I work hard and I like to think I’m talented. Three years ago I took the bold step of contacting a major review site and called them out for a review that praised the book and slammed the genre, and in my email I asked, “why not start with reviewers who love the genre?”

They sent me books, I sent in reviews. It all started there.

I did a good job. I contacted authors to ask for interviews. One particular author (and you know who you are) opened an amazing door for me (without my asking!), and to her especially I shall be forever grateful.

But I have three guiding principles, if you will, which I try to adhere to (to varied success, depending on the day):

  1. It’s about romance, more than it’s about me
  2. Do good work
  3. Be grateful

Since the  beginning of this career I have forged, I have tried to remember the gratitude part, especially, and my own self-developed spiritual belief that you can create amazing things when you stay positive and set intentions for the greater good. Read-A-Romance Month was created as a month long celebration of this genre, where some of our best and brightest authors had the opportunity to advocate and honor romance in their own words and ways.

And this is year three. Three fantastic months of breathtaking, profound, brilliant, funny, poignant, tender, angry, thoughtful, stunning essays. Thank you, authors.

It’s the end of Read-A-Romance Month 2015, and I feel like this month has embraced all of these things. Thank you for your continued enthusiasm, support and company.

If you’d like to keep up with my writing and pro-romance work, the best place to follow me is at the Read-A-Romance Facebook page, where I post most articles and essays. Or sign up for my newsletter, 

Read-A-Romance Sign Up

which I hope to send out monthly or so (for those of you who signed up already off of facebook, I haven’t sent one out yet!).

Keep an eye out on the Facebook page this week, because I’ll be posting some big publisher giveaways there over the next few days—a fun way to extend the fun of Read-A-Romance Month a little bit longer. xo

I’ll also be posting my store with the “Smart Girls” logo. (It’s almost ready!)smart_girls_read_romance_0715

As for my giveaway, a few years ago, before I started reviewing, I did some writing and marketing work for a potter in New Hampshire. I had discovered her work in a gift shop and fell in love with it, then contacted her to ask if she’d like me to help her get a newsletter and blog schedule off the ground. She accepted and we became friends.

I am giving away two sets of her Dream Stars and three sets of her Thank Your Lucky Stars. (US only, I’m afraid – the international postage on these is astronomical.) These little sets are beautiful, and a perfect representation of my own balance of gratitude and intention. I love them and I hope you will too.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.05.50 PM

This set of 22 hand-made ceramic stars is imprinted with words of inspiration, guidance and direction. Be inspired to follow your dreams, contemplate your desires and re-examine your life wishes. Includes a scroll with an explanation of each Dream Star word.

This little set of pot and stars is designed to help you express gratitude. Simply drop a Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.09.18 PMstar into the pot as you count your blessings and invite more abundance into your life.

(You can find out more about these sets here:  voiceofclay.com/clay-sustenance/ )

To win one of these five sets, leave a comment below before 11:59 pm CST Sept 7. But I hope if you enjoyed even one RARM post, you’ll leave a comment and let me know. I hope these essays make a difference to you—that they bring you joy, and a sense of celebration and at least one little tiny pinch of love.

Thank you. Brava romance. xo

Caitlin Crews/Megan Crane – Loving Romance

It’s Read-A-Romance Month.


Visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about The Joy of Romance. Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

ReadARomanceMonth.com   |   RARM 2015 Calendar    |    RARM on Facebook

Today is Harlequin Presents Day! We have three terrific Harlequin Presents authors representing this quintessential romance line. Enjoy!

Romance as Medicine

I love romance novels.

I found my first romance novel in the local five and dime when I was twelve and they’ve desert sheikbeen saving my life ever since.

In my hopeless years, romances offered me examples of light and grace, and helped me believe not only that love is real, but that I could love myself when I thought that was impossible.

In my darkest times, romances commiserated with my grief and then, step by step, story by story, showed me the way out.

Romances have made me laugh, made me cry. Vampires have taught me about loyalty and sheikhs have taught me about strength. Billionaires have taught me about honor and cowboys have taught me how to laugh. Heroines have inspired me to be braver than my insecurities, smarter than my weaknesses, and to walk into my fears and vulnerabilities so I might make it out the other side, whole. If I am fierce, if I am strong, if I trust myself, it’s because romance heroines took me by the hand and taught me how.

I think romances are medicine.  The happy ending helps, but it’s all the many paths to getting there, too.  They don’t just pat us on the head and tell us it’s going to be okay, these stories, they show us how.

A few years ago I went through a very tough time as I struggled with miscarriages and makeyouburninfertility.  When I managed to climb out of the dark pit I was in, I started something I called Project Joy, which was about recognizing the dark places we find ourselves in sometimes and climbing our way out of them, step by difficult step.  (Find more information about Project Joy here.) I talked about the way I made it back into the light, and how often I thought I wouldn’t make it at all.  But one of the things I did a lot of in those days was read romances.  So many romances.  So many stories that helped me hope again, when I’d forgotten how. 

Life can be so hard. Romances are joy. 

Page after page after page.

Megan recommends:

A book I loved beyond reason this year was Kulti by Mariana Zapata  (marianazapata.com).  It’s a slow burn between a former German soccer star who is now the celebrity coach of an American women’s soccer team, and I loved it so much I think I’ve raved about it to every person I’ve come into contact with since I read it a few months ago. 

I also loved the latest Nalini Singh ( nalinisingh.com ), Shards of Hope. I’m talking bought it hardcover, took it on a plane trip, and sobbed when it was finished kind of love. 

And another book that grabbed me by the heart and squeezed me tight was Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates ( maiseyyates.com )  It’s the third in her new Copper Ridge series (and I highly recommend the first two as well) but WOW, did I love this book!

Questions for the Author:

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

Last year I decided to do a triathlon. I wanted to make my body bend to my will, which Trathlon Picsmight have been a smarter choice if I was any kind of athlete.  (I am not.) I trained for months. I ran more than I ever have in my life, and it was always hard. I trained and trained. On the day of the race, I discovered that I’d underestimated the swim course and that I probably should have spent more time riding my bike on some hills. (Ouch.) But then I got to the run, the final leg of the race, and everything… shifted. I knew that barring an asteroid taking me out, I would finish, even if I had to crawl. So I enjoyed myself. I was running alongside a beautiful lake in the Napa Valley on a gorgeous spring day. The sky and the water were competing to out-blue each other. I was singing songs in my head with the sun on my face and though I was aware of things that hurt and the intensity of what I’d done already that day, it didn’t affect me. It was 6.2 miles of sheer joy.

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

This is a beach in Cape Cod, where I spent every summer of my life growing up.  When asked to close my eyes and think of my happy place, I think of this.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

It’s always the sea.  It makes me feel like I can breathe.  Pure joy.  Though wind chimes help.

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?

I read a book called Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center recently.  It was magic.  An absolute joy from start to finish.  It kept me up late and left me grinning ear to ear and I still feel a little giddy thinking about it.

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)

Pure joy would be not having to choose!  I like the same Chrises everybody does, of course.  I also have a weakness for early Law & Order Chris Noth.  And I definitely have a thing for Christopher Meloni from Law & Order: SVU.

Megan is generously giving away 5 backlist books, kindle or print, winner’s choice! Open to international readers. To enter, leave a comment here, or on the Facebook post (find that here) or both. International friends, include your country in the comment so we know you’re international. :o) Comments must be left by 11:59 pm CST on Sept 6.

Megan CraneUSA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written more than fifty books since her debut in 2004.  She has been published by a variety of publishers, including each of New York’s Big Five.  She’s won fans with her women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels as well as with the Harlequin Presents she writes as Caitlin Crews. These days her focus is on contemporary romance from small town to international glamor, cowboys to bikers, and beyond. She sometimes teaches creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards and their menagerie of ridiculous animals.

Find Caitlin/Megan online:

megancrane.com     |     About Megan/Caitlin    |     Facebook      |    Twitter


Buy Caitlin/Megan’s books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

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

New Year, New You ~ Shannon McKenna

I am so pleased to welcome Shannon McKenna to Read-A-Romance for the first time! And while I am including her Amazon bio at the end, I encourage you to visit her “meet Shannon” page on her website and learn how she met her Italian musician husband at a Renaissance Fair, how she started her first book during a temp job, and other interesting tidbits on her fascinating life. You can find that here. As for her New Year’s post, I just love what she shares, and I hope you do too! (Notice she mentions The Power of Now, which was one of my January Book-A-Day 2015 titles. Great book!) Her newest book, and the final title in her popular McCloud series, went on sale two days ago, plus all of the previous titles are on sale in their e-published versions. The first one, Behind Closed Doors, is only $1.99. I’ve read a couple of these, and they’re really good! Enjoy. ~ Bobbi

Happy New Year with Shannon McKennain for the kill

Happy New Year! Are you an “I Love New Year’s Resolutions” person, or “I Resolve to Avoid Resolutions” kind of gal? If you like resolutions, do you have any set resolutions for this year? If no, do you do any special goal-setting or reflections at the start of a New Year?

I love resolutions! In fact, I’m a total aspirational lit/blog junkie, and spend way too much time reading about improving myself and somewhat less actually trying to do it.  So far, not a whole lot of what I read has stuck to me, but I’ll keep trying . My resolutions tend to repeat themselves–take better care of myself, i.e. diet and exercise and sleep and mindfulness, getting organized, washing my dishes as soon as I use them, etc, etc! But this year, I’m going to look deeper than just a list of rules to keep me on the straight and narrow, and try to keep my deepest core values in mind, and let them inform everything I do. I want to do things more deeply, more completely. I want to eliminate the noise, and listen more closely, to myself as well as others.

 A friend of mine once challenged me to come up with one word that encapsulated my goals/hopes for the coming strike_450year. I found the activity to be thought-provoking and empowering. I invite you to do this too and share your word with us.

I can’t possibly choose a single word to encapsulate my goals and hopes for the coming year–I’m a novelist! For God’s sake, I can’t even Tweet! That format’s just too damn short for me.  How about three words? LOVE THE PROCESS.  That’s what I want. To be unattached to the results, unafraid of failure, unconcerned with success. Just content with being down in the thick of it, the mess of it. Living there, comfortably. 

Do you have any special rituals or traditions that you and/or your family do to celebrate the New Year?

Not for New Years, no, but whenever I’m lucky enough to get back to my family of origins for Christmas, we have a quirky Christmas tradition–we always watch the Terminator movies! The old ones, the classics, particularly One and Two.  Yes, I know, it’s wacky, but  sometime back in the eighties we did it, and then we did it again, and then it  because something we just had to do.  Go figure. I can just hear that aggressive electronic music of the first movie in my mind’s ear–and associating it with pumpkin and pecan pie, and sage and onion stuffing!move_4001

What is your favorite aspect of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day?

I love looking at my kids, who are growing so damn fast, and reflecting on how much they have developed and changed in the past year. That moves me, every year, seeing Time, marching forward in double-time.

Is there a book that you read every year at the beginning of January? Or Is there a book you are really looking forward to in the first few months of 2015? 

I love to reread Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power Of Now every year, and sometimes even more often. It reminds me that I am not the clattering noise in my head, that I am something bigger, calmer, more connected than that, even if I can’t always feel it. It always gives me a lift, and a nudge back into the right direction, if my steering has gotten a little wonky.

Shannon McKenna and Kensington are generously giving away a copy of In For the Kill. Leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm on 2/5 for a chance to win. Also be sure to use the Rafflecopter entry below to enter the Kensington Month of Romance drawing to win 31 Kensington titles! U.S. only, apologies to international friends. (You can also enter to win on the previous Kensington New Year, New You posts: Susan Fox, Alexandra Ivy and Kimberly Kincaid.)

shannon mckennaShannon McKenna is the NYT bestselling author of over ten action packed, turbocharged romantic thrillers, among which are the stories of the wildly popular McCloud series. She loves tough and heroic alpha males, heroines with the brains and guts to match them, villains who challenge them to their utmost, adventure, scorching sensuality, and most of all, the redemptive power of true love. Since she was small she has loved abandoning herself to the magic of a good book, and her fond childhood fantasy was that writing would be just like that, but with the added benefit of being able to take credit for the story at the end. Alas, the alchemy of writing turned out to be messier than she’d ever dreamed. But what the hell, she loves it anyway, and hopes that readers enjoy the results of her alchemical experiments. She loves to hear from her readers.

Visit her at her website, shannonmckenna.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



New Year, New You ~ Sherry Thomas

Happy New Year with Sherry Thomas

Hi friends! As many of you know, Sherry Thomas is one of my favorite writers, and so I am always glad when sheThe One In My Heart visits Read-A-Romance. :o) By the way, if you like fantasy, I loved The Burning Sky, and I haven’t gotten my ears on a copy of The Perilous Sea yet, but I’m on the hunt. I first heard she was working on a contemporary last fall when I had the honor of doing an interview with her for Kirkus. (If you’re interested, you can read it here.) The title will be out in a couple of months, how exciting is that? I had fun reading Sherry’s New Year’s post. I hope you do too! (And be sure to leave a comment. We’ll give away at least one book. xo) ~ Bobbi

Happy New Year! Are you an “I Love New Year’s Resolutions” person, or “I Resolve to Avoid Resolutions” kind of gal? If you like resolutions, do you have any set resolutions for this year? If no, do you do any special goal-setting or reflections at the start of a New Year?

I am a New-Year’s-Day-is-just-another-day kind of gal–and firmly of the view that if you can’t stick to resolutions started elsewhen during the year, you won’t be able to stick to New Year’s resolutions either.Luckiest Lady

So I don’t have anything new for 2015, just the same improvements that I’ve been trying to make. It did help that I managed to complete the first draft of my upcoming contemporary, The One in My Heart, pretty close to the beginning of the year, so I’ve been on track with my exercise goal of either doing an episode of Classical Stretch or spending an hour on the treadmill desk every day.  (In fact, I am on the treadmill desk right now. I try to do my emails, social media, guest-blogging and such things walking at 2.3 miles an hour.)

A friend of mine once challenged me to come up with one word that encapsulated my goals/hopes for the coming year. I found the activity to be thought-provoking and empowering.

Mine is always self-discipline. Starting to cook dinner at eight means that by the time I finish, folks would have already fed themselves on leftovers. But cooking dinner at five produces nice, hot food for when people get hungry. Leaving laundry in the dryer means children are foraging in there in the morning for clean underpants. Sorting laundry on time prevents just that. There are tons of things in life you just have to do, might as well do them sooner rather than later.

Do you have any special rituals or traditions that you and/or your family do to celebrate the New Year? What is your favorite aspect of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day?Sherry Thomas - My Beautiful Enemy

No special traditions or rituals. But I do love calling my mother at midnight to wish her a very wonderful year. It’s a moment of great cheer and optimism.

Is there a book that you read every year at the beginning of January? Or Is there a book you are really looking forward to in the first few months of 2015? 

Boy, am I missing rituals and traditions in my life! No, I don’t have a book that I reread every year at the beginning of January or any other set time. I am, however, currently slowly rereading The Lord of the Rings. I have a box of RITA books waiting for me—sometimes I discover real gems in there. And after I finish with all those books, I hope to get to The Rosie Project, which I’d heard so many good things about!

(Be sure to see the fun extras after Sherry’s bio.) xo

Sherry Thomas BioUSA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today—and one of the first to be reviewed by the New York Times Book Review.  Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists.  She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award. 

English is Sherry’s second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger’s Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.

Sherry also writes young adult fantasy. The Immortal Heights, volume three of the Elemental Trilogy, releases fall 2015. And her first contemporary romance, The One in My Heart, will be out March 23, 2015.

You can and read  learn more about Sherry’s books at her website, www.sherrythomas.comand read an excerpt from The One in My Heart here. Meanwhile, I thought I’d share this fascinating tidbit about the book (also from Sherry Thomas’ site). A contemporary, first person POV Sherry Thomas romance. I can’t wait!

The Story about the Story

The cover is new and so is the title, but this is a story Sherry has been working on since spring of 2007, right after she turned in the first draft for DELICIOUS, almost a year before PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS, her debut book, hit the shelves in March of 2008. The genesis of the idea could be traced directly to a contest put on by blogger Dionne Galace—Sherry vaguely remembers that participants were asked to write a couple hundred words about a first meeting between future lovers. There were maybe a dozen entries and frankly at least half of them were more exciting than what Sherry submitted: a woman weeping in the rain in the middle of the night and a man stopping by and asking if she would like some tiramisu. But the set-up intrigued Sherry, and she kept coming back to it, every time after she turned in a draft for a historical.

Why tiramisu? Probably because she was very hungry that year, writing her foodie historical romance. And around the time she started fleshing out the story, she attended a day-long financial statement analysis seminar and the gentleman who taught the seminar was from New York City, which gave her the idea of a setting in the Big Apple and the surrounding areas. (In the first iteration of the book, the heroine was a hot-shot financial analyst.)

Sherry loved this book. She luuuurrved it. The historicals she wrote in those years kicked her ass but good—so it was always with relief and anticipation that she returned to her little contemporary. Every line was a thrill and each chapter a fist pump. Imagine her dismay when her agent read it and hated it! How could anyone not love her perfect pride-and-joy?

That was in November of 2009. Early the next year, she would be struck by the one sentence that would beget her young adult fantasy. THE BURNING SKY and THE FITZHUGH TRILOGY took up just about all her time for the next two years. But at some point after that she began to revisit the contemporary. Her agent’s complaint had been that the story had no plot and no conflict. Sherry had come to reluctantly agree that it was true both aspects were lacking. But as was often the case with first drafts, the actual ingredients of the story were already there, obscured by the verbiage and ignored altogether.

She began to fiddle with the beginning, and to build the story back up around the newly discovered conflict. It is still the greatest pleasure to write. Sometimes she toys with the idea of never publishing the story, to let it always be her private playground. And then she comes to her senses. 🙂

By the way, the book has always been in first person, and Sherry is beyond content to experience the hero solely from the heroine’s POV.