Celebrating the Joy of Romance with RARM! + Giveaway!

shirleyjump_AND_THEN_FOREVER_ebook_final

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First off, happy Read a Romance Month! And thank you to Lorelei’s Lit Lair for including me (read all about Lorelei and the authors she loves here)! I remember the very first romance novels I read. I was staying at my older cousin’s house on Cape Cod, and though I was an avid reader, I had never read or seen a romance novel. I was only fourteen or so, and came across this huge paper bag full of romances in her room. I swear, I read thirty books that week. I was hooked from that instant, swept up into the worlds created by authors that I grew to love.

When I decided to start writing fiction, romance was my genre of choice. Because every time I picked up a small town contemporary or a Regency historical, I was hooked and swept back up into that wonderful rollercoaster of falling in love. I wanted to create books like that, too, so I started writing romance. My journey from dreamer to published author was rocky and tough, but now I’ve got more than 50 books published in 24 countries. My latest two, a novella in ASK ME WHY with Marie AskMe_Why_re_MarieForce, Virginia Kantra and Jodi Thomas, as well as a new indie series set on fictional Fortune’s Island, AND THEN FOREVER, are both out now.

The thing that surprised me most about writing romance wasn’t how joyous the stories made me (and how each novel reinforced my belief in true love), it was the readers who wrote to me about how happy one of my books had made them. To hear that a reader found joy in my words, or read one of my romantic comedies and it helped her get through a dark time, seriously touched my heart. That brought me a whole new kind of joy, and is truly the best part of being a writer.

So tell me, what romance novels have brought you joy? Is there one you remember reading that left you feeling lighthearted and happy? Does a romance novel do the same for you as it does for me—reinforce that belief that happily ever after is possible for all of us? Thank you for being part of Read a Romance Month, and for helping to celebrate the joy of these novels with me and tons of other talented authors!

Read on for more–and a giveaway!

Questions –

1 – Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.

Womens Half 2I started running three years ago and it was seriously one of the hardest things I ever did. I never thought I’d run a mile, much less a 5k or a half marathon. But two years ago, I did just that—I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon, and it was seriously one of the happiest days of my life. It was such a big achievement, such a moment of joy, partly because I knew I was the one who made it all happen, all by myself. I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon this May and felt that same joy at the end. I know not every race will feel that way, but those moments are what make all the hard training days worth it!

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

The beach is my happy place. I could spend every single minute of every single day there. I truly love watching the sunsets, listening to the surf, catching some great local music in a bar on the beach. I am truly blessed to live only a few miles from Clearwater Beach, and to be able to go there several days a week. 11705167_10153018639903364_3992503168432131248_n

3 – Tell us about a sound that brings you joy (or a memory attached to sound — music, laughter, wind chimes… ?)

My children’s laughter. No matter how old they were, every time I heard them laugh, or heard them laugh together, that makes me feel joy. I also love the sound of a clock ringing in the hour. My late mother used to have all kinds of clocks—musical ones, grandfather ones, cuckoo clocks—and when I hear a clock chime, it reminds me of her.

4 – 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 Princess Bride. I love that book and love that movie. I’ve read the book a few times, watched the movie countless times. It’s just a fun, wonderful book, and so very well crafted. TPB pic

5 – And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Hmmm…that’s a tough one! I do like Chris Hemsworth—he’s got those amazing abs and an accent 😉

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate Read a Romance Month, I’m giving away one Kindle or Nook copy of AND THEN FOREVER to a lucky reader, who gets to visit Fortune’s Island in the first book in this new series! shirleyjump_AND_THEN_FOREVER_ebook_final

Recommendations – Please recommend at least another couple of authors.

Virginia Kantra—I love her books and want to be her when I grow up. She’s one of the few authors who makes me totally forget the world when I read her books, and creates such believable characters, I half expect to run into them in the grocery store! Look for her Dare Island novella in ASK ME WHY—another great Kantra read!

Kristin Hannah—if I want to cry and laugh, I pick up one of Kristin’s books. They’re always so emotional and heartfelt and just awesome.

Thank you for celebrating Read a Romance Month with me! And thank you to Lorelei’s Lit Lair for recommending me for this!

Marathon supportShirley
(a pic from before one of my races)

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance so she can avoid the towering stack of dirty dishes, eat copious amounts of chocolate and reward herself with trips to the mall. Look for her all-new novella in the anthology ASK ME WHY (with Marie Force, Virginia Kantra and Jodi Thomas), as well as Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon, and her Fortune’s Island series, starting with AND THEN FOREVER. Visit her website at www.ShirleyJump.com for author news and a booklist, and follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/shirleyjump.author for giveaways and deep discussions about important things like chocolate and shoes.

Weekend Road Trip with Cupcakes :-)

64830_10152730165045230_1913703337_nThis weekend, I got to explore a little more of the state of Florida and meet a TON of wonderful, awesome readers! I was invited to speak at the First Coast Romance Writers meeting in Jacksonville,

Me and Elizabeth Wilson

Me and Elizabeth Wilson

FL., which is kinda diagonal across the state from where I live. When I realized I’d pass right through Ocala, FL, to get there, I knew I had to stop at A Novel Idea Bookstore to do a signing with the wonderful staff there (I had met them at a previous RWA conference).

A Novel Idea is a FABULOUS bookstore (in fact, I think they should add the word FABULOUS in their name. Not just because they serve cupcakes and wine at their booksignings, either. Okay, maybe ESPECIALLY because they serve cupcakes and wine at their booksignings). Honestly, they are warm and friendly and welcoming and I can’t wait to go back. Check out these cupcakes Debbie Barao made. AHHHHHMMMAZING. I wanted to eat all of them but that isn’t really cool when there are other people standing at the table waiting for one. 😉

Me and Debbie Barao

Me and Debbie Barao

She also made awesome carrot cake cupcakes, so clearly, Debbie has mad baking skills!

The booksigning went well–lots of talk about books, shoes, all my favorite things 😉 Here’s some pics (and don’t ask me why I have that weird smile with Debbie, or why I am hanging on her shoulder like some kind of stalker. I think it was because I wanted to stay close to those cupcakes 😉

Me and DJ Kelly Wright

Me and DJ Kelly Wright

If you’re ever in Ocala, definitely stop by their store! They were sooo nice!

Then I drove up to Jacksonville and spent the day talking writing with First Coast Romance Writers. Had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, and made some friends. A great weekend road trip all around (and did I mention DONUTS at the FCRW meeting? I think I’ll have a sugar high for days 😉

Shirley

 

 

 

The Relationship Between Sweet Romance & Erotica

A great guest post by Barbara Wallace today on the relationship between sweet romance and erotica. She’s a fabulous writer (I TOTALLY LOVED her book, THE HEART OF A HERO) and a great person (and super smart!). Also, this is part of our spring blog hop, so be sure to enter at the end!

Recently Esquire Magazine published an essay by Stephen Marche entitled, “The Sex Scene is Dead” in which he noted that graphic movie sex had become old hat.  This got me thinking, would the same thing happen with romance novels?  Is it happening already?

When Fifty Shades of Gray first came out, the romance writing world went crazy.  Granted, erotica had been around for a while, but suddenly, there was real money to be made in pushing the envelope.  Grab your leather and whip, baby, because BDSM was where it was at.  You couldn’t log onto Facebook or Twitter without seeing at least one reference to domination.

Lately, however, I’ve suspected readers might be becoming less enthusiastic then they were two years ago.  Like with the actual Shades of Gray books, BDSM books have gotten repetitive.  I BarbCoversaw one tweet the other day chuckling over how the characters in a book were shocked by sexual activities that she considered ‘been there, done that’.  And on some message boards, a few readers have complained about BDSM and erotica creeping into their romances.  (Thus denoting an important difference between romance and erotic romance, btw.)  To me, these are subtle signs of reader fatigue.  I predict that, in another couple of years, the erotica boom will decline.  Will it disappear?  Never.  Subgenres might shrink, but they never truly dry up.  But the wagon jumpers – the writers who piled on because there was money to be made – they’ll start to depart, leaving the dedicated erotica writers – the ones who were there all along – to satisfy their readers.

So, why do I, a sweet romance writer, care about the BDSM trend?  Because, my friends, the pendulum swings both ways.  You know how, when you’ve had too much candy, you suddenly want something healthy?  Well, that’s how it works with romance novels too.  After awhile, readers want something different.  At conference this fall, a well known contemporary author commented that she saw a growing interest in sweet romances.  A new trend is coming, and for once, I might actually be ahead of the curve.  I’m looking forward to it.

What about you? Do you think the erotica craze is slowing down?  Do you even care?  Do you think readers will be looking for sweeter, gentler romance? 

Barbara

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