In the thick of summer lies Read-A-Romance Month. August beckons our celebration of the romance genre and all the ways we hold this crazy, sexy world in the light.
When the challenge of writing how I celebrate romance began, the wheels spun, wildly kicking earth all over the place as I grappled to come up with an idea. I wanted to tell you how I came to know the genre, the powerful feeling that came over me at my first author event, how exploring the romance genre became a beautiful extension and enhancement in my life. I wanted to tell you about insights and wisdom bestowed upon me by fabulous authors I respect immensely. But, I worried about boring you to tears, so I got a coffee, put on my thinking cap, and this is what I came up with.
I’ve always been an advocate for reading and enjoying the comfort of a good book. For me, the romance genre possesses a seductive genius that forever marks those it ensnares. It’s captivating, can be overwhelming, and emotional. Everyone has suffered a book hangover at some point, right?
I wanted a way to convey that feeling but struggled to connect ink and page. Then I decided to do one of the things I do best… I visualized.
Actually, I fantasized about the physical state of romance. The ideas began to flow, that familiar feeling of tight locks sliding from their holdings radiated throughout my body.
I envisioned a statuesque, virile man with an edgy, gritty roughness. For quite some time we stared at each other, sizing up the competition. Then he gave me a naughty smirk and my thoughts aligned as he began a slow, methodical pace through my mind. I watched his thick, muscular legs straining the fabric of his jeans, how his worn t-shirt maintained a tense grip on those gorgeous sculpted biceps. His boots hitting the floor marked a cadence, a metronome of patience and power.
This man embodies the elements that have supported my evolution, and pushed my agenda, as a writer and as a woman.
He is Romance.
I adore him.
The feelings my vision of Romance evokes are deep and when I think of the word ‘celebrate’ I think of balloons and parties – which is awesome – but I wanted to convey something more. I wanted to express my adoration. So, instead of throwing a rockin’ bash, I decided to celebrate through praise.
Here is my note of devotion, a love letter, to Romance…
My Darling Romance,
I didn’t always believe in you. We were quiet adversaries for many years as you tried to convince me of a world I never believed existed. I fought you. Scoffed that the possibility that I would find anything more than fodder for sarcastic comments and derisive eye-rolls while in your presence.
But, you maintained your stance, unrelenting and stoic. You kept an eye on me, watching as I circled you, a shark in murky water, ready to snap at any attempt to touch the possibilities of what might be.
Then, in the guise of a black jacket warmed with sunset hues, you tempted me. Sly flirtations coaxed me to take your extended hand. With fingers loosely entwined, I hid our relationship, only whispered our connection to friends who I hoped wouldn’t judge. The war between curiosity and maintaining a status quo left me dreaming about stilettos and piercings.
Your grip became a vice, holding me close while pushing the limits of my mind, encouraging the curious exploration of this land. When I took tentative steps, you were my equilibrium. You became the refreshing liquid satisfying my wild thirst for knowledge and experience.
In your presence, the uncertainty began to wash away. Your touch melted the icy cage surrounding my heart and allowed me to feel a warmth I never knew existed.
For the first time in years, my breath expanded the cavern of my chest, no longer held captive by the fear of what others thought. You heard the hushed longing of my spirit, examined the dark recesses of my being, and embraced me.
Your presence became a mantra, the guidance when I faltered. In the depth of doubt and fear, you evoked the passion, and became the heat capable of softening the jagged edges and soothing my soul. We became one. You found me in darkness and pulled me toward illumination.
For these gifts, for you, I am forever at your feet, humble servant, and righteous follower.
Time for a little Q&A fun during RARM!
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspired thing you ever did.
I think the most daring thing I ever did was sneak away from a school trip while overseas to find Jim Morrison’s grave. We pretended to be sick and got out of the hotel, jumped the Parisian subway and found our way. Looking back, I realize that stunt was beyond dangerous and a million things could have gone wrong, but it also sparked my love of adventure and the knowledge that I am capable of doing just about anything…even navigating a subway, a mall, and a cemetery with limited French skills!
Tell us about your journey to become a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
Writing has always been a part of my life – I have all my old journals, the binders from my English writing classes, and the pictures from the week long writing camp I attended.
The concept of Eden has been with me since high school. It’s the place I would go when I was bored or needed to check out. Bain has always been with me and one day, after many years of not writing and not feeling like myself anymore, he got really loud. Then Diesel showed up. I started writing privately and eventually showed drafts to my friends.
A few months later, I contacted an editor and nearly lost my lunch when I sent Diesel out for review. The plan was to take the feedback in stride. If it was a pat on the head and kind consolation, good enough. If found the manuscript something we could work with, rock on.
Thankfully, my editor became a beautiful mentor and helped to navigate the steps for publishing Diesel. Now that the fervor has hit, I can’t stop coming up with ideas.
Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed your Life.
I’m throwing a nod to the old school on this one. Nathanial Hawthore’s The Scarlet Letter. It is a dark tale and while there is no HEA – well, could you argue in death Hester and Arthur were together? – it gripped my heart. During the time I read The Scarlet Letter, I was exposed to wonderful literary works that have stayed with me, Shakespeare, Salinger, Fitzgerald. Personally, I think any book that touches your soul changes you in some way. It provides the foundation to make you think about life, and yourself, in a different way.