Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Debra Dixon - Journaling HOLIDAY

This seemed like such a good idea. Who doesn’t like to watch movies? But let me warn you, this is a *long* blog. This is stream of consciousness. Thoughts that occurred as I watched the movie. I normally try and think about Hero’s Journey as I analyze a film, but remember that Hero’s Journey is not always in perfect order. For instance in Amanda’s journey, I think that her reward comes before the finish of the ordeal. Plus you have multiple story lines in this one.

Have fun. This is all up for debate. Normally I would watch the movie. Wait a couple of days and watch it again to do the analysis. Then study my notes, add some thoughts, organize them and then watch the film again. What you’re getting here today is hot off the press without even a serious attempt at correction. I did these on the computer and remembered why I use an actual paper journal. It forces you to get to the point instead of rambling. I can type much faster than I write. So...long blog.

I will note anything that appeals to me, because I want to remember how details support the themes, the internal conflicts. How contrast can make points for us, etc. Plus if you have trouble writing a synopsis this is a dandy way to give yourself practice "cutting to the chase" and moving the story along. Okay, here we go...

Nonlinear structure to start, it’s all about "compare/contrast" what love is versus what we idealize it as. These vignettes offer something to learn about the characters in this contrast.
I love compare/contrast. I think the reader learns so much.

6 different types of love or love phases.
1 perfect (movie being scored)
2 holding on too tight "blind" to who’s really in the relationship (Miles)
3 love that is fading (Amanda)
4 love lost (Arthur)
5 one night stand or "fleeting" love (Graham)
6 unrequited (Iris)

Discovering Iris - we see her with a beautiful package but no real joy in that gift. It’s sad for her. It has to be hidden away like her unrequited love. Love the metaphor. Inordinate attention to detail. With what he’s done wrong. Her inability to hold back the tears and conversation with friend are clear signal that she’s not come to grips with this situation. The friend is a mentor to tell her she’s not supposed to do his blooming laundry! We get Iris’ confusion about whether Jasper really is gone for good or if he’s maybe coming back. In an ironic twist she is a wedding writer. She writes about the happily ever after that she can’t have.

Ordinary World
Her ordinary world is the newspaper, specifically the office in which she is isolated from the others. The lie about him having bought her a gift creates embarrassment and "undeserved misfortune" which bonds us to a character. Her gift to him is a thoughtful one. However, the excruciating embarrassment is to be publicly assigned to sleeze boy’s wedding. This is clearly an ambush which he allowed to happen. NEED FOR CHANGE. If your characters aren’t getting it you have to punish them. On her way to the cottage it is the perfect picture of her "aloneness." No community. Single girl, tiny but charming cottage. Lived in. Her house is a hodgepodge and she’s also a mess.

Amanda’s world. She has a boyfriend but he’s screwing around. In some ways because she’s a workaholic. Her house is perfect and her life is a mess. COMPARE CONTRAST with Iris. Amanda confronts a problem. Iris avoids. Iris bawls her eyes out. Amanda can’t cry. Amanda wants the blunt truth. Iris is happy with a sweet lie. Amanda will strike a blow and draws a line in the sand. Iris waffles.

The viewer is offered a contrast. A choice. Who do we like better? Neither one is in a good situation. Each handle themselves differently
We see Amanda being competent at her job.

call– The emotional call to adventure is to put sleeze boy behind.
The physical call is to trade houses and get away to reevaluate her life.

Amanda’s call to adventure is the breakup which forces her to face her life...that she doesn’t have one. It’s all work. So, she’s going to take that time, rest, relax. She needs a vacation. Amanda is all about controlling her world.

Their computer exchange offers more characterization. How characters present themselves, the nature of their answers gives the viewer information.

refusal– Iris has a little refusal of the call to forget sleeze boy when she briefly considers ending it all by sucking in the gas from her stove. The duration of the thought and the charming "What are you doing? Low point! Low point!" Help us quickly move on and give a bit of comedy to that sad moment.

mentor– The jingle of the computer instant message jolts Iris out of her gas stove moment. In an odd way the jingle is a momentary mentor. (AFTER THE POSTING CORRECTION: I couldn't stand the typos so I'm clearing some and in the process I think I'll mention that the jingle is actually the herald of the call to adventure.)

Amanda’s fictional life trailers offer her mentoring.

cross threshold– Compare/Contrast in how they get to their destinations. Amanda appears to
be tested before she’s ever really crossed the threshold into the adventure. We like this. This is prepayment for the good stuff later. This blonde chick with lots of money and great sweaters is earning a little sympathy and then her charming happiness at the cottage makes us like her.

Iris is stunned, does nothing hard to cross the threshold, but she goes through a gate, through the door, taking us on a tour of the special world. We know we’re not in Kansas anymore and she’s already earned a little good will from us because of sleeze boy.

Amanda needs intimacy. Iris needs to look up and see the great big world of possibilities. Is it just a happy coincidence that their physical accommodations for Christmas are metaphors for what the girls need to learn? I think not.
tests allies enemies

Amanda - Walking the country lane, driving, finding food, making fire, dealing with her inability to just "be" and relax, her tragic inability to sing. And then comes Amanda’s decision that this relaxing stuff is not for her, she’s getting out her suitcase. Refusal of the call.

Iris- trying to open the gate-test. Miles will be an ally, someone to help her discover new things. (AFTER THE POST CORRECTION: Miles is actually a mentor by bad example and in a classic move the mentor is stripped from Iris when Maggie calls him back/away from Iris who must then face Jasper alone.)

The girlfriend is obviously an enemy in the sense that she offers no encouragement to Amanda and retrieves Miles from Iris’ clutches. Foreshadowing for when she takes him away again. The old man shuffling by will be a test for her. The story of the wind is a mentor. "Anything can happen when the winds blow." Characters need to take the texture of their worlds and apply it to their lives.

Amanda– An ally shows up in the form of Iris’ drunk brother, Graham. He’s a great example of how to take a character who could be negative and presenting him with charm. Despite being drunk, he has manners. He asks if it’s okay to sit. Little things tell us he’s a good guy. He doesn’t drive drunk. Beautiful misdirection as well. He’s the charming wastrel who will transform into the lost widower.

Amanda’s new call – Will she share the house with Graham for the night and that transforms to will she share her vacation with him which transforms to will she share her life with him when he’s everything that is wrong for her.

The kiss between Amanda and Graham is a test. EFFECT is important. Her little stumble afterward is the first moment that we’ve seen her out of control. Big signal. First step in transforming Amanda from the controlled person she is to someone who feels deeply.
Graham’s call to adventure is sex with Amanda which he is reluctant to accept because he’s cast in the role of "cabana boy." COMPARE/CONTRAST Graham’s approach to sex with Amanda’s approach to sex.

What are the conflicts to the adventure with Graham? She’s not staying. Women call him. He’s got one foot out the door the morning after because he assures her there is only grief to be found with him because he’s a mess. He has no follow through. She promises she won’t fall in love with him. They’ve very clearly drawn their conclusions that this is a non-starter from all angles. But, he tosses out a bone about a dinner with friends at a pub.

Amanda says it when she says there’s something about a stranger. Starting fresh in terms of expectations. At the airport, her film trailer mentor encourages her to stay in the adventure, to let life unfold.

Enemy for Iris is Jasper asking her to read pages and starting his assault on her resolve.

Test for Iris is helping the old guy who becomes her mentor. He gives her the best advice about being the leading lady of her own life instead of the best friend. Not that secondary character she’s been playing. What she’s finally learned is how she shouldn’t be behaving. She has yet to learn how she SHOULD be behaving. This is that first nudge toward change. An important character realization.

Iris is rewarded for her kindness by discovering that the old guy is actually a distinguished writer with fabulous stories to tell of an interesting era. He becomes the doorway to her discovering how good men feel about their wives, how gentlemen treat women, how she should be treated.

Test for Amanda and Graham is the "morning after" they didn’t. Graham proves he’s hero material because he didn’t sleep with an unconscious woman. Calls from women create superficial conflict. She’s one of many, not special. The drunk/not sleeping provide scene tension created by Amanda’s embarrassment.

Lunch is a getting to know/trust you tests for both. He proves he can handle strong women because of his mother. Amanda comes clean about the event that triggered he decision to shut down her really deep emotions. COMPARE CONTRAST. We discover that Graham weeps like a baby at the drop of a hat.

Conflict is that Amanda is leaving. She’s not ready for complicated. She puts the brakes on. What I love about this is the lovely, charming way they part without melodrama. Gosh, just like grown-ups. The see the place of perilous danger and uncertainty–a relationship that has so much against it because of the distance and not coincidentally Amanda’s fear of deep attachment.

Back in LA, Miles arrives to complicate Iris’ vacation. He’s a complete contrast to Jasper. We see a little growth in Amanda as she recognizes the blank card is another nail in a coffin. She tosses the pages aside, doesn’t put them lovingly or regretfully down.

We see Iris create community. We learn about Miles as a "one woman at a time guy." We see how alike Miles and Iris are. Miles is making plans with the guys. Miles makes connections, like Iris. Neither are pretentious.

Test is the leave taking at the door with the "twice kiss." But he manages to make it humorous rather than sleezy, hitting on her.

Amanda’s film mentor returns to chastise her about her unwillingness to change and how she pushes guys away. This goads her to action, to pursuing the thing that might turn out badly.
approach inmost cave

Graham’s house functions as the inmost cave, that place of perilous danger and uncertainty. Her brave new offer is shut down as soon as she realizes he’s not alone. Oops! She discovers these are the "women" who have been calling Graham. Lovely flip of people’s expectation!

Widower status is revealed, changing everything she thought about Graham.
Meeting Graham’s kids, surviving the night with all of them.

Moment in their tent when she realizes how much she and Graham have in common about what family life should be like for little girls – "three musketeers." Amanda is one of a group for the first time in the show instead of being the boss or controller. Life is happening around her and she’s letting it happen. The girls adore her and invite her to sleep over. Maybe this can work.

What did the ordeal cost?
Graham doesn’t know how to do this-dating/relationship. Once it becomes serious, he has to back away. He’s afraid of what it might to do to him and his girls if he lets someone in he may never see again. She’s just someone he had sex with once and slept with twice.

NOTE: Graham and Amanda are pursued on the road back to their normal lives by the opportunity to chat through Iris. In which the sex is revealed to Iris. Also its clear that their time alone now weighs on them. And of course, Graham showing up at the door later is a big pursuit.

At this point Iris accepts another call to adventure which is to get Arthur to the award ceremony. Arthur refuses the call. Iris becomes his mentor, encouraging him, etc.
Iris ordeal ?? I believe it may be her reliving the loss of Jasper with Miles playing "her" role. In helping Miles she faces her pain in the sharpest way yet. She finally confronts her situation with Jasper in bold black and white. No more fudging on Jasper and how he made her feel. The loss is sharp, fresh and cutting. Miles articulates Jasper’s devious plan to keep Iris from starting fresh. What does she lose? That little bit of a lie she’d still been holding on to that she wasn’t that stupid. That she hadn’t been so pitifully pathetic and easy to manipulate. But she was. It’s very clear in retrospect. No more hiding from the fact that she was every bit to blame for letting this happen.

Iris reward is the song Miles writes for her.

After sex the same old problem rears its ugly head. Amanda isn’t willing to fully commit. She can’t face the possible loss so she buries the relationship before it starts. And when he says he loves her, she can’t respond from her heart. Her head is still winning. She won’t jump in and commit just as the guy we saw in her first scenes has said. In the limo on the way out, she can’t handle her emotions. For the first time in a long time. She cries and has to run all the way back to Graham, willing to jump in with both feet now. Of course he’s a weeping mess which is great. And when he’s afraid his having the girls will scare her off New Year’s eve, she says that will be perfect.

For Iris her resurrection begins when watching Miles jump to Maggie’s tune again. Here it is. She’s being shoved aside again, #2 in the scheme of things. And to top it off Jasper arrives to romance her but is still engaged. He leads her on using the same half-truths and omissions designed to give her hope. Iris will continue to be a door mat unless she changes, makes different decisions that she has in the past. She has to become the leading lady of her own life. This time she doesn’t accept vague language that her heart wants to hear. She wants blunt words with no ambiguity. She stands up for herself and has the confrontation that has been brewing for three years. We dramatically see her resurrection as someone who is more than she was before. She’s no longer in love with Jasper. She’s going to live her life.

return with the elixir
We see what Iris offers to Arthur. We see her visually lending him strength when she grips his hand, showing that she has enough to spare. Miles arrives just in time. Knowing her has helped him break off the toxic relationship with Maggie and he’s obviously not pining. The girls have a mother again. Iris and Miles pursue their relationship.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Times are changing

I had a really good blog topic planned for today but I need to share some really exciting news going on with me instead. I'll be back the second Thurdsay in September with my originally planned blog.

Today I have really exciting news, I've sold my first full length novel, Getting Lucky with Luciano!! I couldn't be happier. My book will be coming in print from Parker Publishing in 2008! As you can tell I'm so happy about this. I haven't stopped dancing around since I got thephone call. Anyway, I've made a few changes that will be coming up soon. I won't be writing under the name Kelley Vitollo anymore. My new book and everything that is released from here on out will be under the name Kelley Nyrae. I'll be getting everything switched over soon complete with a new, fun, website. My website will still contain links to my current releases, Dream Man and Weathering the Storm but from here on out I'll be going by the new name. Thanks for listening while I shared my fun news. Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What makes a heroine really stand out?

I think we’ve all read the TSTL (too stupid to live) heroines. Oh geez, don’t get me started! None of us ever want to be accused of writing one! So, what makes your heroines memorable—in a good way?

First I’ll talk about some heroines I’ve read and loved.

Christine Feehan—Dark Fire. Tempest. she was a mechanic and I like heroines who don’t have a typical female job.

Lori Foster—Too Much Temptation. Grace. She was so on fire and ready for sex. I loved it! And I enjoyed that she wasn’t a raving beauty. She was plump, but sexy.

Erin McCarthy—The Pregnancy Test. Mandy. She was just freaking hilarious. I’ll never forget her character.

Jaid Black—One Dark Night. Nikki. I loved her secret desire to get involved in a D/s relationship. She was smart and resourceful and that made her character deep and engaging.

Now, onto a few female characters that I’ve written.

TessScandalous Behavior. coming to Secrets volume 25: Wicked Delights. She’s shy and introverted. Intelligent and vulnerable. And when she steps outside her own comfort zone to engage in some naughty office sex, I cheered her on.

Ava--Forbidden Fruit (also coming to Red Sage Publishing). Ava is a tomboy and doesn’t find herself particularly sexy. She’s more comfortable with animals than people. Her feisty attitude was so cool!

Now, which heroine do you love? It can be one of your own or by a favorite author...or both!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Repeat after me....P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-I-O-N

I'm going to ask this question of my fellow authors out there. How many of you put off writing to the last minute? And if you do, why?

I'm a notorious procrastinator. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing that I love more in life than writing. So I don't understand why I put it off until my deadline is looming like an in-coming fog. I often tell myself it's because I work best under pressure, but that's not necessarily true. I have a love/hate relationship with writing. It's like an addiction. I have to get my "fix," yet I know how it'll consume every moment and every breath I take until I'm done. I don't know, maybe it's just me. I thought it would be curious to see how many other authors share this affliction...


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Life Happens

Let's begin with a...way to go, Dara! She got Deb Dixon to guest blog!

Someone needs to be getting something done around here, and for the last week or three, it hasn't been me. Life happened. Oh, I could make a list that would collect hugs, prayers...but really, sometimes the dips help you appreciate the highs.

So...How about a round of to-do lists? As in...what do you need to get done before the end of the month? There are big deadlines coming up...the Brava novella contest, the SuperRomance contest, heck, I had to register my RITA judging preferences today!

  • Polish the partial of Where There's Smoke.
  • Draft a synopsis for Orgasmic.
  • Prep my Writing To Deadline workshop.
  • Complete my handouts for the CORL conference.
  • Fast Draft Getting Personal.
And you? What's on your list?

Jenna is hard at work on her next title for Mills & Boon Modern Extra. In the meantime, check out her website, blog, or reading group, We Call It Research.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Debra Dixon to Guest Blog

Please check back on Wednesday, Aug 29th for the amazing Debra Dixon as she guest blogs about keeping a movie journal and what that will do for your writing. Watch the movie "The Holiday," which she'll discuss as if she's writing in the journal.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Point of view--head hopping

So, today I want to ask you all, writers and readers alike, does it drive you nuts when you're reading a really good story, but the author keeps jumping back and forth between the hero and the heroine? I ask, because I'm reading a book (I won't mention titles and names) and every paragraph the author is switching points of view. I'm getting dizzy here! Usually I love when the author gives me both points of view. In fact, that's the way I write. However, when the author switches every paragraph I start to feel lost and confused. Who's thinking what? Which head am I in now? Ugh!

So, what's your take on this subject? And be honest, I want to know your thoughts!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lets talk about sex, Ba-by!

So, I was on the phone with a good friend of mine recently. She started telling me about a book she was reading about women and sex. There is a section of the book that talks about how women are raised to believe they shouldn't enjoy sex as much as men should. If a woman enjoys her sexuality and exploring it, she's considered a magnitude of not so nice names but for a man, its completely normal not only to enjoy sex but to explore and experiment with sex. This practice goes back for years: men take lovers and its okay but the women who are their lovers are now tainted. Of course, it isn't to that extreme today but I think its still an issue for women. Being raised this way can make it so women are ashamed or afriad to admit their sexual desires, sometimes even to their husbands. What will he think of me? Does it make me weird that I want to try something different in the bedroom?

My friend and I were talking about all of these things and she said that its hard for her to tell her husband what she wants and I think its like that for a lot of women. Will he get offended? Will he look at me differently? I think that romance novels and now erotic romance as well are helping women to free themselves from what they've been taught or witnesses from a young age. Is it okay to enjoy sex? Hell yeah! Does it make you somehow dirty if you want to try new and exciting things with your significant other? Nope! In my opinion it adds to the relationship to share those fantsies with one another. Now does that mean you should sleep with every man you come across? Of course not but I ask: Whats wrong with two adults in a monogomos relationship, (whether the relationship starts out serious or not, most of the time you don't plan a relationship to turn out seriously, you just fall in love and it happens) enjoying one another sexually? Whats wrong with growing together, experimenting together, and playing out one anothers fantasies? Not a darn thing!

Do you agree or disagree with the books description of how women are raised to view sex? Do you think things are getting better? Any other comments?

Happy Thursday everyone!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Hello all! I'm Anne Rainey and this is my first time posting on here. I'm a bit late, because I was on vacation. Yes, finally we took a family vacation. We had so much fun! We visited Maine, a little of Albany New York, and also Niagara Falls, Canada...Lots of money was spent, but it was well worth getting away from it all and spending time with family. No interuptions...just the four of us. I loved it!

And the instant I came back I had a book released! WooHoo! My short story (erotic romance) SUN CITY is now available. I'm mega nervous about this particular book. Oh, I won't lie, authors are nervous about every single book that's released. However, this one is different. I can't really say why, but I'm dearly hoping readers will enjoy Roslyn and Bane's story as much as I loved writing it.

Here's a blurb:
Roslyn Garrison is a spoiled heiress with too much time and money on her hands. Her biggest problem in life is choosing which country to visit next. Everything changes when she's invited to a party at the Palace Resort hotel in Sun City, Africa. The next morning, Roslyn wakes to find the mysterious Bane Riley holding her captive. Afraid for her life, she sets out to do whatever it takes to get free. However, she doesn't count on Bane's ability to set her blood on fire. He promises carnal delights if she'll only give into her desires. Can Roslyn let herself go and submit to the forbidden under the hot African sun or will her stubbornness force Bane to teach her a lesson?

**if this sounds interesting, then go to Lady Aibell Press and you can purchase your very own copy of Sun City!


as for some other fun news...I will be participating in an anthology that comes out later this year. My story is titled, Seizing Midnight. It's my first venture into vampire romance.

Here's a NEW blurb of Seizing Midnight--which will be told in third person point of view:

Upon stumbling across Cain Reed on a dark, lonely New York street, Diamonique Wild is changed forever. With a single bite, she’s given immortality and shown more pleasure than she ever imagined. But his betrayal tears them apart. Now, one hundred years later, Thorne is back to save her from a dark enemy. But, who will protect her from him?

**this is coming to Twilight Fantasies November '07...excerpt coming soon!

Friday, August 10, 2007

An Author's Dream Bookseller

Any one in this crazy business knows how important booksellers are (just as important as readers.) After all, it's the former who get your books into the hands of the latter. Every once in a while you come across a bookseller who'll go out of his/her way to support and promote romance.

Dianne DeFonce of Borders Books in Fairfield, CT, is a tiny, white-haired, dynamo of this rare breed. Once a month, she hosts a New Authors Round Table, where she invites about a dozen new authors to chat with readers. Wednesday's event was a little different: A Romance & Mystery Authors Round Table, and I was fortunate to have been a part of it. Six romance authors and seven mystery authors comprised the round table. I took a train from Grand Central with Caridad Pinero, VP of my local NJRW chapter. Nothing better than having a buddy to talk with during a long ride, is there? During the event, we talked about our books, a little about ourselves, then discussed our favorite romance book of all time. It was a great turnout (over 30 people). Afterward, we did a Q&A and closed with a signing. All in all, a great night.

Dianne is locally renowned for her in-store author events. If you're a new author, and are in the Fairfield area (heck, I'm in NYC and I still dropped by), stop by and say hello. She's a delightful person, and more than likely, she'll invite you to one of the round tables. Can't think of a better promo opportunity than that. How I wish there was a Dianne in every book store!!

left to right: Alisa Kwitney, S.L. Linnea, Dianne DeFonce, Anne Elizabeth, Leslie Waigner, R.Garland Gray, Mary Beth Bass, Caridad Pinero, Karyna DaRosa

My favorite romance book of all time: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

Dianne working the crowd....(Mary Beth Bass, Caridad Pinero, and me in the background).

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It's Tuesday...

Have you tried the Tuesday Three?

Three things you're looking forward too.
  1. The lovely editor falling in love with my Maui book. (Just finished the draft of chapter 1!)
  2. October. Yes, the whole month. I have a library presentation, a conference...and there is Halloween!
  3. Tomatoes. Mine haven't ripened yet...but there are a MILLION OF THEM...just waiting...

so...what are your looking forward to?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Really Super Saturday

Once or twice a year, my RWA chapter hosts a Super Saturday, an all day program with a heavy hitter in the world of romance. Today we hit the jackpot with the amazing Debra Dixon of GMC fame. Yes - the women who literally wrote the book. If you ever have the opportunity to see Deb live - jump on it. (But not on her. She won't take kindly to that). I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned today. Aside from being warm and genuine, Deb is a master teacher who kept the entire audience riveted. So, I'd like to share a few gems she bestowed upon us.
First - watch a lot of movies and keep a movie journal. Keep track of the structure. You can use that info in your books. In the interest of time, you get more bang for your buck watching scores of movies than reading scores of books. (Of course, read, read, read as well).
The Goal is one of the following - posession, revenge or relief. It must be important enough to make your character do something they don't want to.
Motivation makes your character believable. It's the reason they can't turn back, their emotional baggage.
Her charming and no-bull description of Conflict: Two dogs, one bone. I love the simplicity! You must have conflict - it tests your character and forces them to grow.
Deb also spent the afternoon speaking about the Big Black Moment, which she describes as a living, breathing organism you build to. All scenes lead to the BBM. You can have several gray moments to give the reader a false sense that the character will be able to surmount the BBM. The character must solve their own BBM. No one else can solve it for them.
These are only a few points Deb made in the course of the day chocked full of insights and invaluable lessons. If you don't own her Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction, you should order it today. I've had this book for a year now and have read it several times. If you're lucky enough to take one of Deb's workshops, act like a sponge and absorb everything!
Stay tuned to this blog in the coming months. Deb has promised me she'll guest blog!!! You won't want to miss that one.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Romance Rules!

Hello! Welcome to Romance Rules. Today is my first post and I wanted to talk about something most likely near and dear to anyone reading this blog: Romance books. I'm going to admit something to you that I'm not very proud of. It wasn't until the past couple years that I actually started reading romance novels. Before that I was one of those people who snubbed my nose up to romance books. Like I said, I'm not proud of it but its true. I had a friend who used to read romance books and I teased her endlessly. I pictured them all with Fabio on the cover (not that there's anything wrong with those books) but I thought they were all cheesy. Then I moved out of the state I'd lived in most of my life, became a stay at home mom for the very first time and I was the loneliest I'd ever been. My husband worked a lot and I missed all my friends and my old job. On a whim I picked up a book called, A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton. I didn't tell anyone I was reading it but then I didn't really have to. I devoured the book so quickly no one had time to notice. Still not willing to admit I read romance novels I thought, hmmm, maybe it was a fluke.. Then I picked up Lori Foster and fell in love. The stories weren't cheesy at all. The men were strong alphas and the heroines were women I could look up to. I began searching the web and bookstores for all the romance books I could find. Suddenly I wasn't so lonely anymore. I didn't gripe at my husband when we came home because I wanted to go back home or because he had an outlet to the outside world because he worked. I met friends (most online) who loved romance books themselves. We bonded, talked books and our favorite hero's or authors. I felt great. Then my old love for writing started to drift to the surface. I'd always thought I'd write children's books but it just never worked out for me. I couldn't finish. My mind began to wander, maybe I can write a romance book. I sat down to give it a try and found my passion. Besides my family and friends I found something else I loved.

Now I look back on my pre-romance reading and writing days and think, look at all the time you wasted because you were afraid to give something a try. I don't know why so many people refuse to give romance novels a try but I still see it to this day. If I tell some people what I write they give me a half smile saying, "Oh. You write those books." I stand proud behind romance books. They helped out out of a hard time in my life. They gave me an outlet. I'm a better mom and wife because of the books I read and write. If someone asks me if I write romance the only answer I have is a emphatic, "heck ya! I'm a romance lover and proud."

When did you start reading romance books? Have you always read them or were you like me and a little ify at first? How have the books you've read touched your lives?

To celebrate my very first Romance Rules post I'm giving away some magnets, postcards, and a handmade sun catcher to one lucky poster. I'll draw a name Sunday and post the winner in another comment. Have fun everyone and thanks for hanging out with us at Romance Rules.
On Again by Jenna Allen available NOW!
Phaze, HeatSheet, Force Series

When do you give up on love?

The hardest thing Kayla Bentley ever had to do was recognize her husband had checked out of their marriage and asking him for a divorce. She loves him, but would be apart than be forgotten.

How do you get back what you once had?

Paul Bentley couldn’t stand when his drug counselor wife would testify on behalf of addicts he’d arrested. The anger festered until he saw them on opposite sides of the same war. It’s not until he finds a way off the vice squad that he realizes there is a way for them to save their shattered marriage.


"Kay? I'm lonely."

"Better to be lonely alone." Her lip trembled and she prayed it didn't show in her voice.

"Yeah. Look, I know I agreed to leave you alone. I know there's no going back. You're better off without me dragging you down. But I was thinking, maybe I could come over? We could open a bottle of wine and try and talk again."

"You never dragged me down when you were here. It was losing you and having to see you still here that hurt." Her stomach twisted and she inched lower in the tub, letting the water soothe her wounds.

"I feel like I should take that hurt away, you know? I want to hold you and let you know none of it had anything to do with you. I didn't want any of it to touch you."

"I don't live in a bubble, Paul." She took a deep breath for courage. "You don't want to change. You just don't want to be lonely right now. And on again, off again is not good for either one of us."

"We haven't tried on again. Let me come over. I'll bring a bottle of your favorite wine and you can mess up my head. And then once I get it together we can mess up our bed. It's been way too long, Kayla."

"We can talk on the phone." Her eyes felt heavy, tears threatening. She wanted him, the old him, here in the worst way. But she didn't think she had it in her to tell him to leave again.

The phone clicked in her ear. She called his name a few times before giving up and setting the phone on the ground. She closed her eyes, trying not to think of him, but it was too late. His image loomed in her mind, teasing her.