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!
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 sheer 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.
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.
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.
Put your money on Joanna Chambers to write smart, saucy, sexy m/m historical romances with distinct British flair.
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 about 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.)
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.
When 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.
Buy LB’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!