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A quick word from Bobbi Dumas, your host.
Hi everyone! Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month. You can find out more about this fun, month long event here. And check out all the great authors taking part this year on the calendar, here.
The theme this year is The Romance Of Reading, The Magic Of Books and we have an awesome assortment of writers – both romance and mainstream fiction authors – sharing about books, reading, romance & magic. I hope you’ll visit everyday.
(Also, be sure to check in to The Romance Of Reading FB page, where one of the RARM authors will be hosting the page each day in August. Today Karen Hawkins will also be on the page.)
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Tamara Lush – Love No Matter What
Many romance authors talk about how they’re writing certain themes in their books. How they sometimes write the same messages, or values, or concepts, again and again. I always wondered about this. What was I really writing about, I’d ask myself.
Obviously, some write about literal magic in their paranormal or otherworldly books. I write contemporary romance, very much rooted in the real world. But there is an element of magic in my books — the magic of unconditional love for difficult people.
This is what I’m writing about, I recently discovered. The answer came after reading a rather critical review of my recent book, ALL I WANT. It’s a review that I’m immensely grateful for, because it helped me define and identify my storytelling on a much deeper level.
The review criticized the heroine for being difficult. And that’s when something crystallized for me.
I write about difficult, often selfish women — and how they deserve love. How they find love, and keep love, despite a world that tells them they’re unworthy.
My heroines aren’t perfect. They’re snarky, sometimes scared, often strong willed, and always flawed. Sometimes they act out of fear, or desire, or stark ambition. Often they don’t know how to express their emotions (a trait that’s all-too tolerated in romance heroes, if you haven’t noticed).
The overarching message in all my books is that flawed women are deserving of love. I’m not saying that love transforms them into “better” people, or that my heroines become kinder, sweeter, or more feminine because of the love of a good man. My heroes love the flawed heroines and embark on lifetime relationships with them knowing they’re flawed. Accepting, and even enjoying, their flaws. Knowing that the difficult women, the broken women, the scared women, are worthy.
My heroines — and all women — deserve love, despite not being perfect.
Even if you’re difficult, broken, or yes, unlikeable, someone in the world will love you — that’s the magic in my books. Isn’t that what romance is about, loving people despite their flaws? Isn’t that a magical, wonderful thing, to be loved for exactly who you are?
That’s the magic I write about.
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Zaida writes high heat, low angst books with diverse characters. She captures that sweet and scorching hot vibe I’m always looking for.
Christina published her first book, How to Stay, this year. It’s a complex story about a kickass rock and roll frontwoman, who must confront the fears of her past to find a future with her first love.
Deborah writes The Unlikeable Demon Hunter Series, about a foul-mouthed, totally unprepared heroine who fights evil. The series is smokin’ hot with a ton of action, with Jewish mythology woven in. Smart and so much fun.
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2019 RARM Questions:
Tell us about a time in your life that felt magical to you.
Marrying my husband at San Francisco City Hall was magic. The entire, soaring space, the hushed silence, the emotional expression in my beloved’s eyes. Then having drinks at the Top of the Mark overlooking the city, and afterward, dinner in a little Italian restaurant on Nob Hill. Sheer romantic magic.
Tell us about a book that was magical for you.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed was magical for me. I adored everything about the book, and found myself sobbing while reading it. This passage was especially inspiring:“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”
Tell us about a “magical moment” in your writing or your career?
My most magical moment happened in the spring of 2018, when someone from RWA called to say I was a finalist in the erotic romance category of the RITA awards for my book Constant Craving. It was especially sweet because I’d self published the book after being rejected by literally every publisher.
For writers who use magical aspects in their books, what attracts you to those elements? For those of you who don’t, are there specific themes or elements you’re attracted to and find yourself going back to? Why do these resonate with you?
What resonates with me is habit and perseverance. I might not be the best writer there is. But I will show up every day and write the words. To me, perseverance is key in this business. Write through all the noise and bullshit (I know it’s difficult) and just keep on keepin’ on.
Creativity is a kind of magical experience. What inspires you, keeps you going, helps you when you lose focus, etc.?
My favorite inspirations are walking on the beach with my dogs, cooking something especially tasty like lasagna, and binge watching European dramas. I highly recommend La Casa de Papel (Spain, on Netflix), Camorra Collection (Italy, MHz Choice), Mafia Undercover (Italy, Amazon) and Il Paradiso delle Signore (Italy, Amazon) for some quality storytelling.
DRAWING – Tamara is generously giving away three audio copies (via audible code) of her RITA-finalist book, Constant Craving (erotic romance – read more here). US and UK only.
To enter, leave a comment below responding to some point in Tamara’s post. Comments must be in before 8/6/19 11:59 pm Eastern for one copy.
For the other two copies, comments must be in before 8/10/19 11:59 Eastern.
All commenters will also be entered to win a bundle of books from the Week 1 participating authors. Must comment by 8/14/19 11:59pm Eastern.
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Tamara Lush writes steamy and emotional contemporary romance stories set in tropical locations. Her new series, PARADISE BEACH, is sweet-hot contemporary romance about a family that runs a resort on a quirky Florida island.
Her book Constant Craving was a 2018 RWA RITA® finalist in erotic romance.
She’s married to an Italian and lives near a beach in Florida. For many years, she was an award-winning newspaper journalist. In 2017, she was one of 24 writers chosen by Amtrak to ride around the United States on a train and write fiction.
Tamara’s a fan of vintage pulp fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, 1980s fashion, tropical chill, kombucha, gin, tonic, seashells, iPhones, Art Deco, telenovelas, coloring books, street art, coconut anything, strong coffee and journalism.
Discover all of Tamara’s books:
*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and text links connect to an affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!