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!
Crazy in Love
Romance is about taking a chance. It’s about getting past yourself, and opening up to a bigger world where there is the potential for greater happiness than one has ever known.
When it comes to romance, everyone tends to focus on the object of desire. But for me, a really crucial aspect of it all is the personal quest. Recently, I spoke with a young man who was tortured about the idea of asking out a girl. What if she shut him down immediately, or laughed in his face? It became clear to me that this particular guy had quite an attachment to this girl. You can tell by the dreamy, but desperate expression in the eyes, that telltale glint of a male touched with the craze of romance.
I encouraged him to go for it, but not just for the sake of ‘acquiring’ the girl. I said he should do it because there was value in believing in that bigger, better world that we all glimpse when we fall in love. Certainly, it was much better than settling for a narrower, doubtful existence, not pursuing a dream just because it’s safer. Yes, it might not work out. But that just means that the girl wasn’t the one for him. The idea of a fuller, more vibrant existence, of connecting with someone on a deep level: that’s an ideal that should never be forsaken. That’s something worth fighting for, a worthy personal quest.
Yes, I know I sound idealistic. But I really do believe there is great value in challenging our self-doubts and stepping into risky territory. Why did the knights of courtly romance tend to worship the unattainable (usually married) woman in all the medieval tales? Because she represented an idea. She was not an object to be conquered and acquired. In accepting this idealistic, pure form of love, the knight symbolically equipped himself to undertake a path with considerable challenges and dangers, allowing his soul to strengthen and grow.
I’m not implying that everyone should turn into a Don Quixote, of course. I just mean that true romance isn’t solely about getting the girl or getting the guy. It’s about that first step. It’s about who we are individually and what we will risk for that greater possibility of existence.
We all know the euphoria that comes from being in love. The world is cast in a whole new light. Suddenly, anything seems possible. Doors that seemed closed to us suddenly beckon enticingly. Because we briefly experience the world with so much heightened, even mystical, awareness, it becomes especially painful if the inspiration for that feeling rejects us.
We also all know the ease of being a cynic. On the surface, the cynic seems wiser than the romantic fool. But in reality, the cynic lives in a safer, but narrower, much more sterile world than that chance-taking romantic. Are you familiar with the Tarot’s depiction of the fool? He’s about to merrily walk off a cliff and doesn’t realize it. The fool might be the example a cynic would point to when warning about the risks of falling in love.
But there is great value in the supposed ‘fool’. He believes there is something worth seeking beyond the perilous cliffs. His adventure, the journey itself, has equal, if not greater, value than the sought after treasure. For the romantic fool, the ideal—the chance of a bigger, richer reality, of true, abiding love—is worth the risk.
When it comes to the everyday reality of romance, I think we need to be a bit of a cynic. But I think we should pay respect to that crazy romantic dreamer inside us all, as well. Not just for the sake of being with a lover, but for our own spirit.
Beth Kery recommends:
In my own category of erotic/hot romance, I’d definitely recommend Jaci Burton. Jaci consistently puts out steamy, smart, and totally entertaining books. It’s pretty rare to find an author who doesn’t waver in quality and puts out a reliably excellent book like Jaci does every time.
A new writer in the erotic romance genre that I’m so glad to recommend is Tamara Lush. Tamara has such an engaging voice, sexy, likeable hero’s and heroine’s and a wry sense of humor. I’ve really enjoyed Tell Me a Story.
Sandra Brown is the author that got me hooked on romance. Nowadays, she writes more in the suspense genre, which I really enjoy. But I love—and have inhaled—every romance novel she ever wrote, which is an epic amount. Sandra has this absolutely addictive quality to her writing. I’d like to think I learned how to write sexual tension from her, although she remains the undisputed master of that.
Recently, I’ve gotten hooked on Samantha Young’s books. The romance in them is addictive, but they have that added benefit of being set in locations where I’ve traveled, so there’s that added romance quality.
For smart, sassy romance with a suspense element, I always recommend Julie James’ books. The dialogue is quite possibly the best I’ve ever read in any type of fiction: witty, snappy and sexy. Her heroes are alpha and super sexy while remaining believable. You can actually imagine a JJ hero out there somewhere in the world. If only . . .
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
Travel, in general, is an experience steeped in romance for me. When I went to Bath, England several years ago, I felt like I’d been dropped into the world of a Jane Austen novel. I’d recently watched a version of Persuasion that had been filmed in Bath. Walking in the downtown streets, or seeing the Pump Room, or strolling past the Crescent, I really felt like I was living one of my favorite author’s romances.
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
I’ve been fortunate enough to stay close with all my high school friends. We chat on Viber constantly, and we take a Girlfriend Trip once a year. I talked with these women about crushes and make-out sessions when we were teenagers, and we still gab incessantly about all things romantic: relationships, food, sex, books and movies. As I said previously, travel feels very romantic to me, so it’s such a special, fun thing to travel new places with these ladies and add those experiences to a lifetime of memories.
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
Lake Tahoe is a place that’s rich in romance and beauty for me. I was married there, on a high cliff overlooking the lake. We’ve spent every anniversary of our marriage there. Recently, we bought a town home next to Lake Tahoe, and we spent much of the year in our favorite place
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
My first reaction was to say my parents, who have been married for sixty-two years. From celebrity-land, I’d pick Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. It’s the endurance and the commitment to being faithful that I admire so deeply. I write romance novels, and those are often about the beginning of a relationship, the challenge and the intensity and the euphoria. But it’s the everyday work on a marriage that counts, in the end. I love this video of Paul and Joanne being interviewed and talking about their marriage after fifty years.
Tell us about your dream date.
A dream date, for me, should include some element of glamor. By that, I mean I want to dress up and go out to a fantastic, but intimate restaurant—the kind of place that seats maybe twenty-five people at most, and where we get customized, familiar service. I love to talk on a date with my husband, to really connect over great food and a bottle of excellent wine. Afterwards, maybe the theatre or better yet, relaxing with a drink in front of a fire.
Beth Kery is generously giving away 1 signed copy of The Affair to an international reader, plus four US readers will win one signed copy of the following titles (one book to each winner): Release, The Affair, Glimmer and one especially lucky winner will get an ARC of Beth’s upcoming release Looking Inside.
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 29, 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.)
Beth Kery is the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the innovative serial novels, Because You Are Mine, When I’m With You, The Affair, and Make Me. Beth holds a doctorate in the behavioral sciences and loves using her knowledge of human behavior, emotion and motivation to write characters with depth and complexity.
Beth’s book, Wicked Burn, was chosen as the best erotic romance novel of the year by the All About Romance reader poll and she has been nominated in several categories for reviewer’s choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. Her novels have been translated into fourteen languages.
Buy Beth’s books:
*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!