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!
The Quiet Power of Romance
I’ve always thought the best romances— the ones that sweep you in and linger long after you close the book— that have particularly enthralling emotional dynamics: sparkling passages and gathering tension and thundering crescendos linked by quiet moments, rather like like, oh, Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade or Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” And those quiet spaces between the notes are as important as the music itself; arguably, the spaces are what make it music at all.
I feel the same way about the quiet moments in a romance: they’re every bit as important as the moment where the hero and heroine finally get down to the business of ravishing each other. I believe that’s often where intimacy is born—those little moments of truth and surrender, sometimes where nothing is said but a good deal, perhaps everything, is realized and understood. I actually think they put the “romance” in romance, because these humble, sometimes homely, moments make our heroes and heroines feel that much more real to us. They can in fact have the impact of a cymbal crash.
For instance, in the Pennyroyal Green series book LIKE NO OTHER LOVER, Miles Redmond and Cynthia Brightly are in love—though of course neither one of them have ever uttered the “L” word out loud—but their stations in life prevent them from being together forever. After an uproarious, prickly, passionate and tender association, Miles has made a painful promise: he’ll help impoverished Cynthia find a rich husband, securing her future. When her engagement is all but a certainty, Miles and Cynthia sit illicitly alone on a bench in the garden. Silently, as they both stare straight ahead, “Miles slowly, purposefully, gently, defiantly, slid his fingers through hers until their hands were woven into a single knot…It was gratitude and apology; it was in acknowledgement of all there was between them that would never be spoken. It was reassurance and farewell. And given the voices coming upon them, it was a grave risk.”
They break apart and Miles slips away when other strollers are nearly upon them. But their linked hands resting between them on the bench had already said everything without saying a word.
Or in Beauty and the Spy, when Viscount Kit Whitelaw comes upon Susannah Makepeace in the woods after she’s just been shockingly propositioned by her former fiancee, whom she subsequently slapped across the face. Until then, Susannah has been been the viscount’s assistant and a bit of a thorn in his side, but when he sits next to her on a log as she weeps into his proffered handkerchief, and waits with her quietly as she recovers her aplomb and humor, he offers wry, awkward wisdom and comfort from his own experience. Kit realizes he actually wants to know the contents of her heart. That he admires her resilience. And in that quiet moment, they begin to see each other fully as people, with beautiful breakable hearts, and where once there was only a sort of thorny but undeniable attraction, now we have the beginnings of real love.
In HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON, J.T. McCord compares watching Britt Langley walk away after a passionate encounter, and watching long after she disappears from view, to waiting out that last, never-ending note of the Beatle’s “A Day in the Life.” Because it only makes sense to savor every last drop of something magnificent.
Among the countless reasons to love romance is the opportunity to vicariously live moments like these, moments of bittersweet farewell and the sweetly terrifying beginnings of new love, with the peaceful certainty that all of the moments will conclude in a happily ever after.
Julie Anne Long recommends:
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
To answer this quite literally: The first time I went to a Romance Writers of America conference. Three hundred sixty degrees of romance!
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
My sister and I have traded romances back and forth for eons. This all started when we filched a copy of a Rosemary Rogers’ book out of my mom’s nightstand drawer. The billowing hair and bulging thighs were like catnip to curious girls.
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
Well, music is always involved in some way. You know that Seinfeld episode where Elaine is dating a guy who’s all, “Shhhhh! Shhhhh!” every time he hears “Desperado” on the radio and then goes into a sort of rapturous catatonia? I still kinda do that with “Nights in White Satin.” Other songs, sexy, dangerous, evocative ones—Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” Echo and the Bunnyman’s “Killing Moon,” so many others, set a mood, too. A warm night, driving down the highway with the windows rolled down, the smell of summer wafting in the windows—wildflowers, long grass. The ocean. The moon.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
So hard to narrow it down, for so many reasons! I’m going to answer this off the top of my head: I always go back to Jim and Pam from The Office. Because the friendship is so authentic and lovely, the yearning and angst is so subtle and relatable yet so operatic in its gut-twisting moments, the twists and turns leading to their happily ever after. How they manage to be buddies, while Jim is still so romantic. It’s all good.
Tell us about your dream date.
Hmmm. I guess I don’t really have a dream date. It’s really all about the guy, rather than the staging. Brilliant food, followed by something elegantly transporting (like a brilliant ballet) followed by something gritty (a loud band in a small club), a soft, warm night filled with stars, a breathtaking view of of a body of water, lake or ocean or sparkling city lights or both, fabulous conversation, lots of laughter.
Julie Anne Long is generously giving away a signed copy of THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND and a signed copy of HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON (one title each to two US readers, 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 23, 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.)
San Francisco Bay Area native Julie Anne Long set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. She began her academic career as a Journalism major, then realized Creative Writing was a better fit for her freewheeling imagination and overdeveloped sense of whimsy. She worked a corporate day in finance, software development, web & graphic designs…until the fateful day when playing guitar in dank, sticky clubs by night lost its “charm” and she realized she could incorporate all the best things about being in a band—namely drama, passion and men with unruly hair—into novels.
Since then, her books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Romance Writers of America Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s choice, the Bookseller’s Best and the Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words such as “dazzling,” “brilliant” and “impossible to put down” to describe them. IT STARTED WITH A SCANDAL won a 2015 Romance Writers of America Rita Award for Best Short Historical, and HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON was named the Best Romance of 2016 so far.
Buy Julie Anne Long’s books:
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