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The Joy of Romance

redman photo 115 fb kids fav scarf vert headshotHi, everyone!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have been invited to participate in the celebration of romance throughout the month of August at READ A ROMANCE MONTH. I was lucky enough to get the invitation because I’m lucky in my wonderful friends. A big hug and big thanks go out to the beautiful Lorelei of Lorelei’s Lit Lair for inviting me to participate. Another hurrah to the amazing Bobbi Dumas, founder of RARM, for being so generous and supportive!

lorelei white t shirt
If you missed Lorelei’s guest blog here, I hope you’ll go back and catch it. And don’t miss her RARM essay, which is wonderfully inspiring! She’s one of the sweetest, most generous people you’ll ever meet, and she’s a great friend of all romance writers!
 

THE JOY OF ROMANCE

Have you ever heard this quote?
 
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

The source of those words is unknown or at least interwebally disputed, but I love the quote, because it’s true. It’s true of the best friends, and I’ve always thought it’s also true of the best romance novels.

Dry rose on an old book/ Vintage Books and Roses

Most of us carry the romance “song” in our hearts. If we’re lucky, if we’ve found the person who makes us come alive, we sing it loud and clear, sometimes from the rooftops, carried away by the bliss of it.

But sometimes we can feel as if we’ve completely lost the melody. We can’t remember how it goes, and everything we try comes out sounding harsh, discordant and wrong.

Young lovely smiling woman wonders on flower, tearing petals, close-up.

Maybe we’re facing a failed relationship, or maybe the person with whom we shared that joy has died. Maybe we’re enduring a rough patch in a committed relationship. Maybe we’re just temporarily overwhelmed by life’s other problems—health, money, deadlines, tragedy—and romantic joy seems like a mirage, shining from a shore we can never reach.

In those moments, a great fictional romance can be a lifesaver. Whether it’s a classic, like Heathcliff and Cathy, or something trendy, like Castle and Becket—or even something futuristic, like The Doctor and Rose—love stories remember the song, and they will sing it to us until we’re ready to try again. Like a lighthouse beacon, like a robin in winter, they remind us never to give up hope.

And so, as Read-A-Romance Month begins, I couldn’t be prouder to honor this wonderful genre. It’s been my nearly thirty-year privilege to write stories for you, and it has been indescribably rewarding to get your notes and emails telling me how much they’ve meant to you in times of sorrow or loneliness.

A big, heartfelt thank you to all the readers who have found joy in my books, and to all the other fabulous authors who have offered their “songs” for me to turn to.
Here’s to the joy of romance–and romance novels! May the song play on.❤

Pink roses and old books on wooden desk

Recommendations:

Have you heard of MIMI WELLS?  Maybe not, because her novella with Tule Publishing has just come out, and it’s only her second published book.  But I hope you’ll make a note to check out THE BILLIONAIRE’S DECEPTION, because it’s fabulous.  All the books in this AMALFI NIGHTS series are (Nancy Robards Thompson, Eve Gaddy, Katherine Garbera and I each have one there, too), and I wholeheartedly recommend every single one.  But I’ve singled out Mimi Wells for a special reason.  I’ve known Mimi for years, and loved her sense of humor and loyalty, her intelligence and spunk.  But when I finally read her work, I was blown away.  She’s marvelous, and I believe she’s someone to watch!

THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Graeme Simsion.  This likely isn’t news for you…I know this book is hugely popular.  But it’s just so wonderful I have to mention it.  I haven’t read the second, THE ROSIE EFFECT, but I can’t wait.  If you’ve read it, please let me know what you think!

AUTHOR QUESTIONS

Describe a moment when you’ve experienced pure joy.

On our tenth anniversary, my husband and I took a trip to Charleston.  We were married in April, so we encountered a city in full spring glory. Wisteria, azalea, dogwood, camillias…everywhere you looked, the gardens were hosting their own parties of riotous color.
closeup roses
I knew he would have planned some special gift, because he’s a traditional kind of guy. No birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day or special holiday ever passes without roses arriving at the door.  But I also knew he hadn’t brought along anything big enough to notice, so I assumed his gift must be something small…like, perhaps, a jewelry box.

Now, as you probably know, receiving surprise jewelry for a special occasion is a little nerve-wracking, even for someone like me, who isn’t exactly a jewelry fanatic.  What if you don’t really care for the piece? You’ll always cherish the sentiment and affection behind it, but will you love wearing it day in and day out? And what if the absolute worst happens, and he can sense your ambivalence?  Hurting your husband’s feelings on a day like this would be unthinkable.

So when, at our lovely Charthouse steak dinner, I saw him reach into his pocket and pull out a little black velvet box, I was prepared. I’d thought it through, and I knew the jewelry didn’t matter.  Only the love mattered, and we had plenty of that to spare.

heart necklace

And then…I opened the box to find that it held the most exquisite little diamond heart pendant I had ever seen.  It was the pendant I would have dreamed of, if I actually dreamed about jewelry, which I don’t.🙂 It’s graceful and sparkly without being gaudy, and I was absolutely enchanted. Not only did he care about me…he knew me.  He understood me.  He understood what I would love.
Publicity shot for Kathleen O'Brien Pynn (Kathleen has royalty free license for image)
He put the pendant around my neck that night, and it’s been there ever since.  We just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary–yes, I was a child bride <g>–so that’s a long, long time. I’ve been forced to take it off now and then, for the births of my children, or mammograms, or cleaning…but otherwise it’s always there.  Sometimes, in tough times, I close my palm around it like a talisman. It holds the memory of that night, and all the nights in between, and the pure joy of being loved and understood.

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

irene at slea head
Dingle, Ireland.  I’m Irish, and the air in Western Ireland just sings to me.  The little beach at Slea Head, with its caves and winds and its crystal water trickling down stony cliffs, is pure magic.  We traveled there as a family a few years ago.  The day we visited Slea Head, my daughter, who has inherited a slightly aloof dignity from her daddy and isn’t a reckless hugger, had reached the beach first. When I arrived she came running up to me, threw her arms around me, and hugged me until I’m quite sure the air twinkled around us with fairy dust.  That memory is like medicine to me, or like a spell to keep away loneliness forever.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

little yellow duckling swimming towards the camera
Moving water.  Waves, rain on water, even fountains plashing or sprinklers hissing.  I grew up in a house that overlooked Tampa Bay, and I think water is the background music to all my happy childhood memories.

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?

The Wishing Star cover
When I was in sixth or seventh grade, I checked out of the library a book called THE WISHING STAR by Norma Johnston.  It was so beautiful, the imagery so vivid, the characters so delightful, that I read it over and over.  I’m pretty sure it was while reading that book that I decided I wanted to be a writer.  I wanted to be able to create sparkling, snowy worlds like that.  When I grew up, I looked for another copy of that book for decades and finally found one, thanks to the power of internet searches! I re-read it every few years, just to remember that joy of discovery.

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer.

Hmmm…from that list, I’d have to say Christopher Plummer.  The Sound of Music is one of my favorite films, and Maria’s softening effect on him makes their romance so touching–a real Beauty and the Beast story!  But if I could pick any Christopher out there in the big, wide world, I’d pick Christopher Eccleston, who played the 9th Doctor on Doctor Who.  He’d be a little gritty for me, ordinarily, but he was the first Doctor I met (I hadn’t ever seen the earlier series), and you know what they say about your first.🙂

DRAWING!

Everyone who comments here will be entered, and on September 1st one randomly chosen poster will be offered a 25.00 Amazon gift certificate, and this wonderful plaque, with the quote I mentioned earlier about the song in your heart.
friend is someone

Here is your winner !

I’m so excited to see FOUR Harlequin SuperRomance books in the list of finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s big award, the RITA.  You know what the RITA is, right?  It’s like the Oscar for romance writers, and it’s a tremendous honor.

Okay, I’d be even more excited if I’d been a finalist, too🙂, but this year belonged to these four great women, all superb authors:

Sarah Mayberry, for HER KIND OF TROUBLE

Tara Taylor Quinn, for ONCE A FAMILY

Emilie Rose, for STARTING WITH JUNE

Liz Talley, for THE SWEETEST SEPTEMBER

Be sure to check out the SuperRomance blog to read more about these great books!

If you’d like to know more, check out the SuperRomance blog at

Prueba1675Hi, everyone! I bet you’re in the same boat I am…already losing the “New Year’s Resolution” marathon and struggling to get your chores and work done so that you can read a good book!

So far 2014 has offered me very little time to sit and read, which is always frustrating. But I just got lucky! I received my packet of RITA contest submissions in the mail, and now my job IS to read! I always find a few gems in my judge packet, and I can’t wait to settle down and “work.”

I hope you get lucky, too–and someone hands you the perfect excuse to sit down, get comfy, and read. If you come across any wonderful books, remember I’m always looking for a recommendation!

And if you haven’t picked up THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND yet, hop over to Amazon and get your copy! The fourth in the Bell River Ranch series, SECRETS OF BELL RIVER RANCH, will be out in May, so you don’t want to fall behind, right?😉THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND COVER FRONT ONLY

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas 2013 Lily and treeI’m not here as often as I’d like to be–if you want to see what I’m blogging about, be sure to check out JauntyQuills.com, where I’m part of a great group of writers blogging about life, books, family…and all kinds of foolishness!

But for those of you who see me only here, I didn’t want to miss the chance to say MERRY CHRISTMAS! You are very special to me, and your support of my books has meant so much. I hope your holidays are filled with joy and family, with laughter and food and fun.

And I hope the new year brings you more of the same! And hey…maybe even a few good romance novels to read?🙂

Meanwhile, Happy holidays, my friends! Snow babies tip top tree

redman photo 115 fb kids fav scarf vert headshotI’m over at Jaunty Quills today, talking about all the great advice I’ve received…but didn’t take.

I might even be complaining, just a little, about all the great advice I’ve given that got ignored.😉

I hope you can join me over there and tell me what the best advice you ever got was. Now that I’m not a kid anymore, I’m absolutely willing to listen!

betting on cowboy box of booksAlso, I’ll be giving away a book to one lucky poster, so if you haven’t read BETTING ON THE COWBOY yet, this is a great chance to win a copy! If you’ve already read it, you can pick another title! You can even put your “win” in a savings account, if you’d like to wait for the newest Bell River book, THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND. It’ll be out in December!

Hope to see you over at JAUNTY QUILLS!

redman photo 107 horiz with book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi, everybody!  I’m guest blogging today over at Tote Bags ‘n’ Blogs …and I’m giving away more books!

betting on cowboy box of booksI hope you can stop by. I’m reminiscing about all the sexy cowboys I’ve never known…and I’d love to hear your stories about your cowboys, too.  The real ones, or the ones who exist only on the screen, on the page, or in your dreams!

I know it’s Wednesday, and everyone has hump-day blues, so a little fantasy time with those long, tall Texans (or, in the case of my new Superromance, Colorado cowboys) might be just what we need to spice things up!

Three lucky posters will receive a signed copy of BETTING ON THE COWBOY.  Or, if you’ve already got one of those, you can request any of my other cowboy titles.  There are actually quite a few cuties in my collection.🙂

See you there!

Big blue monsterThis is my official “start panicking” day. I leave for RWA, the national Romance Writers of America conference, on Wednesday, and, as always, I’m NOT READY.

Not even close.

Why?

I’ve known for months that I was going. Back when I signed up, I was so excited. This time, I told myself, I’d be super pro-active, super organized. I’d exercise and diet and get a great haircut and make promotional materials. I’d email all my long-distance writing buddies and make plans to meet. I’d buy fabulous clothes and shoes and costume jewelry. I’d be waaay ahead on my deadlines. I even thought I’d clean my office and house, grow long fingernails, and learn to dance.

Did I do any of that?

Of course not.

Especially the shopping. Truth is, I’m positively terrified by conference shopping. All that pressure. All that money. All those decisions.

Just yesterday I was at the mall for hours and hours, trying to make up for lost time, and ended up leaving with nothing, practically shaking from the chaos and stress of trying to decide which purse went with which dress, and whether I had the perfect earrings for everything.

hand in shoeAnd, oh, the shoes! Don’t get me started on shoes! My mother ended up practically crippled from bad feet and bad shoe choices, so I’m a bit neurotic about always wearing comfortable shoes.

Ordinarily I just give a raspberry to anyone who doesn’t like it. I am a dedicated walker, and I don’t intend to let anything get in the way of that. I’ll be looping my neighborhood and walking trails when I’m a hundred and fifty, so take that, genetic doom!

But at conference time, when everyone is buying “cute” shoes, I hate my comfortable ones. HATE them. I spend hours cruising the shoe department, picking up shiny ones, glittery ones, colorful ones, spiky ones, wedgy ones, rhinestoned ones, strappy ones, flowery ones…and then putting them back down with a sigh, remembering my mother’s miserable hammer toes.

shoe in glassToday, I’ll go out again and start the process all over. In the end, I will stick with my sensible shoes, because conference is a week, and the ghost of my mother’s misery is Forever. But I’ll be jealous every time I see darling shoes, and that’s a fact!🙂

(Hey…here’s a coincidence! Check out the cute shoe-shopping blog from Mia Marlowe at the Jaunty Quills today. She hates shoe shopping, too, but even she has found an adorable pair for conference!!!)

How about you? Where do you stand on the Great Shoe Question?

Do you own any darling shoes that are ALSO comfortable?

Any suggestions for me?  I leave for the mall in about an hour…🙂