Celebrating the Joy of Romance with RARM! + Giveaway!

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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.

Five Tips for Thanksgiving Success and a Giveaway!

This year for Thanksgiving, I’m inviting all my local friends who don’t have any family in the area. It’s going to be a potluck, of sorts, which means I’m giving up control of a large portion of the meal. I’m making the turkey, stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes (okay and some martinis and a cranberry sauce). Everyone else is bringing the rest. I’ve done Thanksgiving dinner for many years now, and wanted to share my tips for success.

1. BRINE THE BIRD: Yes, it’s a little work ahead of time (not that much) and yes, you have another couple steps with the turkey, but it makes the turkey OMG tender. I buy the giant Ziploc bags for the turkey when I can’t find brining bags, and do it the day before. I swear, you could roast that turkey for twenty hours and it would still be tender. Brining is worth it. trust me. If you want to know how I do it (there are all kinds of variations), I have my brining recipe on my blog.

2. PLAN AHEAD: I’m starting my Thanksgiving plan today. I’ll shop tomorrow, and I have a whole long Me and Mandy after making pies 2012list of what needs to be done and when (I keep last year’s plan in a folder so I’m not reinventing the wheel every time). A list, along with a timeline, makes it a LOT easier.

3. DON’T BE A CONTROL FREAK: It’s okay to let your friends and family help. To let your mother-in-law peel the potatoes or your kids roll out the pie crust, or even let someone else make the green beans. Stick to your one main thing (the bird for me) and don’t stress about the rest. Me and Mandy after making pies 2012 (me and my daughter after we finished making pies :-)

4. ENJOY THE DAY: If you plan ahead, you won’t have much to do when guests arrive (except for slicing the turkey, which should rest after it’s done roasting, so even that can be done just before everyone arrives and covered with foil). I try to have everything done and made (mashed potatoes in the crock pot, stuffing in the oven, pies done the day before) at least an hour before guests arrive. Then I’m enjoying a glass of wine with my friends and family when the bird is done.

5. IT’S JUST A MEAL: I learned that lesson the year my husband made the pumpkin pie we were bringing to dinner (this is before I took over, LOL) and added salt instead of sugar. Yeah. I have had stuffings that were too dry. I have forgotten to buy potatoes. Run out of ice, burned the pies. In the end, it’s just a meal, and I’m not going to take it too seriously. Enjoy the friends and family, and don’t sweat the small stuff. After all, there is always dessert (and if it’s been ruined by too much salt, hopefully you saved some Halloween candy! :-)

Shirley

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GIVEAWAY, Grab a Hot Beachy Read for those Cool Fall Nights & First Posse Member of the Month!

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Hi everyone! I hope you are having a fantastic fall so far! I’m in Florida and I have to say, the days are just divine. Perfect weather, perfect temperatures. I’m loving every single day here! IMG_3867

If you’d like to feel like you’re in Florida (especially if you are living in a cold weather place), you can still buy all three books in the Sweetheart Sisters series! The Sweetheart Bargain kicked it off, followed by The Sweetheart Rules and all-new The Sweetheart Secret! Or, if you’re in a cooking mood, check out my Sweet and Savory romances—starting with The Bride Wore Chocolate.

This month, I’m featuring a spotlight presentation on my Posse Member of the Month. The Shirley Jump Reader Posse is a great group of hand-picked readers who help spread the word about my new releases. I love them all, but thought it’d be cool to pick one Posse Member of the Month to focus on and give a little shout-out to. I’m sure you’ll love meeting Ramona, who is an avid reader of Shirley Jump romances and one of the best author cheerleaders I’ve ever known. Read on after Ramona’s profile to see the surprise I have for my readers this month!

RamonaRamona Kersch Kekstadt

From: Chicago, IL

  • My earliest reader memory was 4th grade when I ordered books from the Scholastic order forms. Love Judy Blume books. Read them all.
  • My favorite book now I can read again and again: When Snow Falls by Brenda Novak. It’s just a really feel good book, and I can relate to.
  • My favorite place to read is my couch. That couch is in my kitchen. Funny as that sounds it’s the outside deck furniture moved in for the winter last year and never made it back out. So it’s my peace haven so to speak. Look out to the protective lands in my backyard.
  • My favorite kind of book is contemporary, but love to mix it up. Reason being I love the happily ever start. I’m a big sap when it comes to romance.
  • My favorite Shirley Jump book~The Christmas Baby Surprise. It was my very first book of Shirley’s and I just fell love with the story line. And was hooked on her books.
  • I love Cakes, all different kinds. Chocolate Fudge cake my favorite.
  • I love Dogs, allergic to Cats.
  • A cool fact about me: I love to karaoke.

 

 

To celebrate Ramona’s month, I’m giving away an ebook copy of any of the books I mentioned in the newsletter this month (one of the Sweetheart Sister books or one of the Sweet and Savory books). There’s a ton of ways to enter!

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