Giveaway: The most joyful romances you can read during Read a Romance Month

How many of you have heard of Read a Romance Month (RARM)? It’s a wonderful site that hosts three posts a day from authors and bloggers, giving their recommendations of books to read.

I was so delighted to find out that one of my all-time favorite authors, Anne Calhoun, is recommending my books in her post on Monday! This is a huge deal to me, because Anne’s books are my go-to books when I need smart erotic romance with unfathomable depth. Thank you so much, Anne!

Bobbi Dumas, the founder of RARM, asked if I would like to write a post of my own on this year’s theme, The Joy of Romance, and include my own author recommendations. There are also some questions that all the authors are being asked to answer, so you’ll see mine below. Plus, I’m doing a giveaway. More on that later!

The joy of romance

For me, the most joyful moments come during times of pain or struggle. After all, if your life is chugging along just fine and something wonderful happens, it never feels quite as wonderful as it really is. It’s almost expected, like a neat little bonus.

But when you’re really struggling, when simply getting out of bed seems like a triumphant feat, and then something wonderful happens…it can make all the difference in the world.

Throughout my life, romance novels have been a way of battling depression. I first discovered romance novels when I was about 11. I had very few friends (actually, only one, a girl who was probably also suffering from depression, though we never spoke about it), and life seemed dark. I mostly read fiction that featured the occult. Then a box of Harlequin Presents showed up on my doorstep. I have no idea how I ended up on their mailing list, but I read the first book and I was hooked. They introduced me to a glitzy, glamorous life and gave me hope that being a grown-up would be better than being 11. They were right. (No amount of money in the world would convince me to go back and be 11 again. Give me mortgage payments and job stress any day!)

Since then, I’ve battled my way through several periods of darkness and anxiety, and reading romance has never failed to calm my out-of-control brain. I’m not sure how to describe it other than this: Beautifully written romance novels — the kind that make your heart bleed for the characters — take me away from my own life’s stress. They remind me that triumph over adversity is not only possible; it is joyful.

One of my all-time favorite reviews of one of my books says, “I absolutely love the characters that Kat Latham writes… They are broken but not beaten” (Fiction Fangirls on One Night with Her Bachelor). That statement means so much to me because those are exactly the kinds of characters I love reading about. My author recommendations below are people who write the kinds of books I love, with characters who are broken but not beaten. I hope you read and enjoy them!

My recommendations

Uncommon PassionAnne Calhoun is absolutely amazing and always at the top of my recommended authors to read. They’re sexy, smart and emotional. I can’t get enough of them.

Molly O’Keefe writes books that make me so jealous. Every time I finish reading one, I think, “I wish I could write like that!”

Alison Packard‘s Feeling the Heat is one of my all-time favorite sports romance series. If you haven’t read her books, you absolutely must!

I would read absolutely anything Sarah Mayberry writes, even a grocery list. Her characters are so real and their struggles are wonderfully rooted in real-life problems. I absolutely adore her books!

If you love historical romance, Rose Lerner‘s books are amazing. Her stories are always unique, with storylines unlike anything I’ve read elsewhere. Her research is impeccable, making her books richly detailed.

Cecilia Grant is another historical romance author whose books shine a light on the intensely emotional possibilities of life’s small decisions. Though her characters’ world is far removed from my own, Cecilia Grant always draws out their humanness in ways I can not only relate to but feel deep empathy for.

Laura Kinsale‘s books feature such wonderful adventures that I can read them over and over again. They are brilliantly unusual, full of sensuality and creativity. Rereading her books has helped me stay calm through several bouts of anxiety.

There are so many more authors I love, but I’ll leave it there for now. That should fill up your ereaders!

Questions

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

My babyThe moment I finally realized I was pregnant with my first child. We’d tried for two and a half years to get pregnant, and we were in the process of starting infertility investigations. The doctor had explained that it could be up to a year before we even started treating any problems they might find, and I was heartbroken. I sat in her office sobbing, thinking that medical intervention was our only option. It turned out that I was actually a few days pregnant but didn’t know it. A couple of weeks later, I missed my period but I didn’t believe the positive pregnancy tests. My brain was so conditioned to cope with not being pregnant that it didn’t seem to understand what the little blue line meant (plus, the test’s instructions were in Dutch and there weren’t any helpful illustrations). My husband had to convince me I was actually pregnant. It took three days. We were lying in the park on a hot August day, and my body started feeling strange. A little nauseated. A lot excited. And I turned to my husband and said, “I think I’m pregnant.” He smiled and said, “Yeah, I think you are too.”

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

La Jolla, California. During summer vacations, my mom used to take me and my brother to the La Jolla Cove, a beautiful nature preserve with loads of sea lions and caves. My husband and I got married in La Jolla. It’s gorgeous and relaxing and full of good restaurants.

La Jolla

La Jolla Cove

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

My daughter’s laugh.

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?

Anna Richland’s His Road Home. I read it last weekend, and I already know I’ll never forget it.

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?)

Okay, this is a little embarrassing, but I’ve only heard of Christopher Plummer and Chris Rock. I’m really out of touch with American pop culture! Plus, I always find celebrities disappointing, so I’m going to choose none of the above. Instead I’ll go with my best friend from high school, Christine, who is still a wonderful friend more than two decades after we met.

Giveaway!

I’m giving two winners their choice of an ebook from one of the authors I mention above. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter. Leave a comment on this blog post, either answering one of the questions above or:
1) What kind of romance novels bring you joy?
2) What romance authors would you recommend reading during Read a Romance Month?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great news for historical romance fans!

I’m a huge, HUGE historical romance fan, but I hardly have time to read it anymore so there are only a few authors whose books I make time for. Rose Lerner is number one.

So here’s some great news. Her novel A Lily Among Thorns is being re-released today with a gorgeous new cover, and she’s doing a Lily-themed giveaway with some of the most incredible prizes I’ve seen!

A Lily Among ThornsA Lily Among Thorns

Honesty can be the deadliest policy of all.

Lady Serena Ravenshaw is one of London’s most prosperous women, but she’s never forgotten the misery that set her on the path to success. Nor has she forgotten the drunken young gentleman who gave her the means to start her long, tortuous climb out of the gutter.

When he knocks on the door of the Ravenshaw Arms to ask her help in retrieving a stolen family heirloom, she readily agrees to help, and to let him stay rent-free. After all, Serena prefers debts to fall in her favor.

Still grieving the death of his twin brother, Solomon Hathaway just wanted to be left alone in his dye-making shop—until his highborn uncle sends him to the infamous Lady Serena to scour London’s underworld for the missing bauble.

He’s shocked to discover she’s the same bedraggled waif to whom he once gave his entire quarterly allowance. Yet as they delicately tread common ground, they must negotiate a treacherous world of crime, espionage and betrayal before they can learn to trust—and love—again.

Originally published Dorchester 2011.

Warning: Contains toasty warm pastries, scorching hot chemistry, and a web of treason that just might see England in flames.

Way back in 2011, I wrote a review of A Lily Among Thorns at The Season for Romance. You can read the full review here, but here’s the gist: I highlighted so many passages that made me smile or made my heart clench. Rose Lerner is masterful at bringing out the details that make characters human, in a way that reminds me of Judith Ivory and Meredith Duran.

So, if either of those two authors is on your list of favorites, pick up a copy of one of Rose’s books. (She also has a new series out this year. I read book one, Sweet Disorder, this summer and CAN NOT WAIT to read book two.)

To make it easier for you, I’ve put her books into this handy widget. Seriously, this is how much I love them. They’re smart, well-crafted and beautifully written.

Happy re-release day, Rose!

Winner of the Rose Lerner giveaway!

A Lily Among Thorns coverI loved Rose’s 10 tips on writing characters with accents, and I’m so thankful that she’s giving away a copy of A Lily Among Thorns. I read it a couple of months ago, and I think the winner will absolutely love it.

And that winner is…Susanna Fraser!

Congratulations! I’ve sent you an email asking for your address, so if you haven’t received it then please check your spam folder.

Everyone, this week there’s a copy of Joanna Bourne’s much-anticipated Black Hawk up for grabs, so leave a comment on my interview with Joanna Bourne to enter!

Ten tips on writing characters with accents, by Rose Lerner

Rose LernerAnyone who’s read one of Rose Lerner’s novels (In for a Penny and A Lily Among Thorns) will know that her characters come from a wide range of backgrounds. Rose is a master at writing accents so a reader can hear her characters’ distinctive voices.

She’s very generously written this post on how she writes characters with different accents. Let us know how you deal with characters’ accents in the comments!

Hi everyone! Kat already wrote a great post about how I used accents in In for a Penny and a really awesome post on writing accents generally…I’ll try not to repeat myself, or her!

British people pay a lot of attention to accents. People from different regions and different social classes have marked differences in speech, and everyone is very conscious of that fact. Of course this is true in the States as well, but I really don’t think the degree is comparable.

I can think of several British memoirs off the top of my head that extensively discuss accents, either by referencing others’ accents by specific type or talking about the memoirist’s own accent (poor Roger Moore practically had a complex about not sounding posh enough!), and anyone remember that Monty Python sketch where no one can understand the rural accents and slang at the airfield?

So if, like me, you tend to write romances that have major characters from a variety of places and social classes, paying attention to accents is important. Here are a few guidelines and tips for how I do it:

1. I never write an accent phonetically.

Writing a particular word phonetically because its pronunciation is so different or it’s unique to a particular accent, okay. Writing all a character’s dialogue that way, no. Apart from being sometimes confusing for the reader, I’m going to come right out and say that I think this is rude.

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