Tag Archives: romance novels

My love affair with romance by Lexie Craig (romantic suspense author)

41euEpRgebL._AC_UL320_SR208,320_silverangelHollywood-Wives-USI’m a romance reader from way back. Like back in middle school, I was sneaking my reading during homeroom. Harlequin Temptation (and later Blaze), Avon and Zebra Historicals (Cassie Edwards and Johanna Lindsey), Jackie Collins (Lucky, Chances, Hollywood Wives) you name it, back in the day I was eyeball deep in it. My parents were never restrictive of what I read, being voracious fiction consumers themselves.41mWqlMg0RL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

And then I read Cry Wolf, by Tami Hoag.

It was summer, I was in high school and this random book on the grocery store shelf caught my eye. Unassuming cover in blues and greens, the back blurb intrigued me, and then I read the first couple pages. It was set in a place I’d never been but wanted to, the characters were immediately relatable, and the hero . . . well, Jack Boudreaux will always be my first bona fide book boyfriend. I bought it and read it that day into the night. Then I read it all over again the next day. I was completely taken and immersed by this world she’d created. It was my gateway drug.

The first thought I had—as a young and definitely naïve high schooler—was ‘I could do this’, followed closely by ‘It’s putting words on a page, how hard could this be?’ Trust me when I say that the negative karma accrued by uttering those two statements alone has long since come and snatched me up. I finished my first romantic mystery the summer between my sophomore and junior years. It was 200 pages of ‘nope’.

70ecbd1f2d832db05aa670c909233839My next attempt at writing happened not long after that, and lasted for 700 pages of family saga from my junior year in high school to the middle of my freshman year of college (’93-’94). It was a brooding vampire/demons/undead pnr/family saga (with liberal doses of lgbt) thrown in as well. I still have it, though it, too, will never see the light of day again beyond my computer screen on occasional bouts of nostalgia.

In this time, around my schoolwork, I was still supremely devoted to contemporary romantic suspense. I have shelves and shelves of books from that period in my life and I discovered many other authors that I love to this day, but the whole time I kept writing. Mostly small fanfiction stuff (X-Philes and others), and in the meantime, I got a job working for the staple of the romantic suspense genre, the police.

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 4.40.30 PMI spent 11 years in communications, doing everything from 911 calls (for six months when I got there) to radio dispatch and control (the officer’s control room for whole sections of the city). I loved it and knew I had to find a way to write about the sublimely funny/smart/scary/crazy/brave/sexy officers and situations that I was privy to daily.

I started no less than four different novels, with four different approaches, and none of them were exactly what I wanted. Finding a way to encompass what I wanted was definitely a trial and error process. Finally I came to rest on Imminent Danger.

Because of the job, I have reasonably unfettered access to the minds of the guys who find the bodies, investigate the homicides, and eventually put people in jail. It’s a researcher’s dream. Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt when you’re interviewing guys hot enough to be in the department calendar. Eye candy is the unspoken bonus.

I remain a devoted reader of crime fiction, romantic suspense, and romance in general.  When I’m not working, I’m usually catching up with my hubby of 18 years, playing with my heathen brood (4 dogs, 3 cats, all geriatric), or working on my next novel.

Give Me Shelter COVERLachesis Publishing author Alexis D. Craig writes sultry and funny romantic suspense (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction). By day Alexis is a police dispatcher so she knows her cops!

You can get Alexis’s romantic suspense Give Me Shelter at Lachesis Publishing and on amazon.com, at Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her website, and on facebook,  twitter and goodreads.

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When a betrayal leads to finding a new love by Elaine Cantrell (romance author)

IMAG004Has a person you love ever betrayed you? If so, you aren’t alone. History seethes with stories of betrayal, many of which are committed by close friends or family members. Take the story of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Guinevere, for example. King Arthur was married to Guinevere who appeared to love him. However, when she met Sir Lancelot, she felt a powerful attraction to him. For a time she denied the attraction and avoided Lancelot, but ultimately she betrayed Arthur and contributed to the fall of Arthur’s kingdom Camelot.

Are you familiar with the story of Samson and Delilah? Samson was a strong warrior whose enemies tried and failed to destroy him. His lover Delilah betrayed him to his enemies by telling them how he could be defeated. He was taken prisoner and blinded. Ultimately, he got his revenge, but it was at the cost of his life.

Modern literature is also rife with betrayals. For instance, think of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. She betrayed her own sister Suellen when she lied to Frank Kennedy and persuaded him to marry her instead of Suellen.

Betrayals aren’t only used as a device in novels. A great many Hollywood movies deal with some type of betrayal. Have you seen Payback with Mel Gibson? In this movie Mel is shot by his wife and best friend and left for dead, but he survives and sets out to get his revenge.

Of course, romantic betrayals aren’t the only kind. Think of how Benedict Arnold betrayed his country. His name is synonymous with treason. Another good example of a betrayal is when Brutus betrayed his good friend Julius Caesar. Brutus was one of the Roman senators who stabbed Caesar to death.

Don’t forget Disney either. In The Lion King, Mufasa’s brother Scar betrays him and manipulates Simba into running away, ultimately leaving the way clear for Scar to take power.

her-kind-of-manOn a personal note, I’ve written some pretty intense betrayals into my own work. Here’s a betrayal scene from Her Kind of Man which was released by Lachesis Publishing . In this excerpt, my heroine Kara and her sister Katie have gone to the movie together. Kara had a date with her fiancé, Brandon, but he called and cancelled. Kelly is Kara’s other sister.

“What a great movie!” Kara gushed as she and Katie left the theater. She tossed her empty popcorn box and leftover soda into the trash can by the door. “Mama and Daddy will want to see it too.”

Katie blew her nose and dabbed at her eyes. “I know. It was too sad for words.”

As they left the theater and crossed the parking lot, Katie turned her head at the sound of a car door slamming. “Why, there’s Kelly and Brandon.”

Kara looked in the direction of Katie’s pointing finger. “Great! They can….” Her voice trailed off as Kelly moved into Brandon’s passionate embrace.

“What…?” Kara’s words choked her as Brandon buried his hands in Kelly’s hair and kissed her as if he held the world’s greatest treasure in his arms.

Katie grabbed her arm. “Come on. We’re getting to the bottom of this.”

Kara dragged her feet as Katie towed her across the parking lot. “Katie, maybe….”

“What’s wrong with you?” Katie glared over her shoulder. “Hurry up!”

Kelly and Brandon were still wrapped around each other when Katie and Kara reached them.

“Kelly!” Katie exclaimed. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Kelly jerked away from Brandon so fast she stumbled and had to grab his arm to keep her balance. Even in the parking lot’s dim light, Kara saw her sister’s face had gone scarlet as had Brandon’s.

Kara didn’t say anything. She couldn’t.

Kelly flinched as Brandon took her hand and squeezed it. “I’m sorry, Kara. We never meant for you to find out this way.”

“What were you going to do?” Katie demanded with a wave of her hand. “Leave her at the altar?”

“No,” Kelly replied. Her eyes glittered like two burning blue coals. “We planned to tell her tomorrow night. That way she’d have the weekend off to…to…to get used to things.”

Brandon looked Kara directly in the face for the first time. “I’m sorry, Kara. You have to know I never meant to hurt you, but I can’t marry you if I’m in love with your sister.”

Kara didn’t bother to answer. She didn’t know what to say anyway. How do you act, what do you do, when you catch the man you love kissing your sister? Her sister! Oh, how could she? This betrayal by one of her nearest and dearest cut to the bone.

She gritted her teeth to hold back her tears and hurled Brandon’s beautiful ring toward him and Kelly. He tried to catch it, but he missed, and the ring landed at his feet.

“Let’s go, Katie,” she said. She spun on her heel and stomped away with her head held high.

Get your copy of Her Kind of Man by Elaine Cantrell for .99 cents at Lachesis Publishing. You can also get it on amazon, BN nook and kobo.

Connect with Elaine Cantrell on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Filed under CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, New Adult Fiction, New Adult Romance, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION

Those Comfort Books on Your Bedside Table by Joanna D’Angelo

mister-mm_450Okay, I must admit that I enjoy reading when I’m settling in for the night, and getting cozy in bed. There are times when I’ll  reach for a book that I’ve already read. I just want to read a passage or a chapter that resonates with me, or gives me comfort, or just makes me smile.

I might want to re-read an illuminating chapter in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (explores the science of habit formation – and even though it’s not a self-help book I found this book really helpful to me in so many ways).

Or I might tuck into my my much-loved (and dog-eared) copy of Julie Garwood’s Ransom (just to read the hilarious and sweet dialogue between the hero and heroine). I love those Scottish medieval romances!

Or I might thumb through Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mister Bridgerton (my favourite of the Bridgerton books and one of my favourite Regency romances ever). Why? Many reasons, one of which is that that the hero and heroine are friends.

For comfort, I have to hold the book in my hands. No e-books. Sorry, but that’s just how I roll.

So what do you read at night or for comfort? What are your go-to books for bed-time reading?

Happy Reading!

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, a good book, and more good books.

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Top 3 Reasons Why I Read Romance Novels by Elaine Cantrell (contemporary romance author)

her-kind-of-man-500x724Reading is so much fun. If I’m in the mood for a good book, chances are I’ll pick a romance novel. So what’s the appeal of a good romance? Why do some many people read them?

1. I think that first of all, most folks are fighting some kind of battle in their lives. Maybe, like my heroine Kara in Her Kind of Man, they’re in a relationship that went bad, and they’ve lost the one they love. Whether it was by divorce, death, or just walking away, it tears a huge hole in someone’s heart. Maybe the problem is health-related. Someone has to accept that there are now limitations placed on them. Have you ever dealt with unemployment? How do you feed your children with no11168092_det paycheck? True romances always have a happy ending which gives us hope that tomorrow things will be better. We can believe that ‘this too shall pass.’  Remember what happened at the end of Gone With the Wind?  Scarlett lost Rhett and collapsed in tears, but then she decided to go home to Tara where she can think of a way to get Rhett back. Human beings are designed to hope.

2. I also think that romances possibly satisfy our craving for justice. In the real world, things don’t always end happily. Children are abused, the missing teen is never found, or our possessions are stolen. In the vast majority of romances you know the bad guys are going to get what’s coming to them. Heroes and heroines sometimes face determined villains, but you can rest easy in the TheFlameAndTheFlowerknowledge that the bad guys will never win.

3. Last, I read romance because I’m a romantic at heart. I just adore a good love story. The first romance I can remember reading was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Anybody ever read it?

Readers, what about you? Why do you read romance? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

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Summer Lovin’ Reads: What books do you love to read in the summer?

Summer time is a great time for reading. It’s the time when many of us take vacation or head to a cottage or cabin on the weekends. The days are longer, we get up earlier and so we have some extra time to tuck into a good book.

1943a51e38f837556c4390de954716b5When I was growing up, my mum worked in a nursing home as a housekeeper. The old ladies loved her and would give her treats to bring home to her girls, including bags of Harlequin romances! I would spend the entire summer reading those books. Okay, okay, many of them had that formula where the guy is a jerk the entire way through and then lo-and-behold at the end of the book he declares his love for her. But some of them were romantic comedies, my favourites, because the hero and heroine were far more engaging and fun.

Of course summer time was also when I’d get to read all my big fat historical romances – which I’ve written about before. One summer I went through all of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s entire collection. I remember everyone was crazy about Shana but I never liked the heroine. The Wolf and the Dove will always be my favourite.

The-Amityville-Horror-Novel-200x321Summer time was also great for reading horror books like The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, but I would always get so scared, I’d end up hiding them behind the other books on my shelf, so I couldn’t see them. One summer I got into the true story books – Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss and The Burning Bed by Faith McNulty. I read a lot of those books. I truly believe that everything I read as a kid had an impact on me – inspiring me to study journalism and film, and eventually becoming an editor. :)

I have a big TBR pile of books I want to read this summer, but for now, I’m enjoying reading through manuscripts.

So what books do you like to read in the summer?

See you next week!

I know that Lachesis Publishing has some great reads for summer right here!

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100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, blogging and summer reading.

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Why do romance novels get such a bum rap?

WEB PIX PURPLE BOOK copyA few years back I made a documentary called “Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings?” It was broadcast on BRAVO! Canada as well as other broadcasters around the globe. Because I had always been a reader of romance novels, I had a particular view of the genre. I didn’t see it as worthless or silly drivel. To me, romance novels were, and are, special. Yes. Special. Why? Because what they offer is hope. Hope that two people can find something fulfilling and meaningful in a relationship. Isn’t that what we all strive for in our own relationships?  Of course.

AS GOOD AS IT GETS, Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, 1997, (c) Sony

AS GOOD AS IT GETS, Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, 1997, (c) Sony

Romance novels tell us that when two people fall in love it won’t be perfect. Stuff always happens, but in the end, we can get through it because we have each other. Remember that great line in the romantic comedy, As Good As It Gets? Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man.” That’s what romance novels do. This is why we love romantic movies so much. We get that same feeling from those films that we do when we read a romance novel.

Recently, New Republic Magazine published an article by William Giraldi that was very critical of 50 Shades of Grey, and romance novels in general.  Then Bobbi Dumas of Kirkus Reviews wrote a great rebuttal. It’s so easy to be dismissive of romance writers and readers. And yet, romance books consistently outsell every other genre and have for decades. The romance industry is the most successful publishing entity there is, and yet it gets little to no respect from the media. Women of all ages and all backgrounds read romance. And what draws us to these books is that the heroines have power. They are empowered in these stories. And to millions of women around the world – that is a very positive message.

At the end of the day readers of romance novels and genre fiction in general all have one thing in common: we love a good story. And more importantly we love the heroes and heroines who live those stories in the pages of those books that we love to read.

If you’re interested in some wonderful romances check out our Lachesis Publishing web site.

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100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, a good romance and a happy ending.

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Filed under book critics, Lachesis Publishing, literary criticism, media critics, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE NOVELS

Five Things Every Good Romance Novel Should Have

I’ve been reading romance novels since I was a teenager and now I get to edit them (along with other yummy genres). There are many qualities that make a romance good but here are a five that I think every good romance novel should have.

Image courtesy telegraph.co.uk

Image courtesy BBC

1. A hero we can fall in love with: I don’t mean in real life, but in “book” life. If the hero doesn’t have the goods then the romance won’t be a keeper. So what makes a hero great? We have to get into his head. When authors don’t give us enough time in the hero’s head to poke around and hang out, then that makes for a less satisfying read. As readers we want to know what he thinks about the heroine. What he thinks about her quirks or the shenanigans she gets herself mixed up in. We want to know how he feels when she’s standing close to him and he can smell the sweet fragrance of her hair or notice the flecks of gold in her eyes. We want to know what he thinks when he’s kissing her and holding her in his arms. We want to know how he feels when he finally realizes that he’s in love with her. All that good stuff. But we also want to know about him. What happened on that fateful day twenty years ago when his parents died? How did he feel when his father ran off with the French opera singer? What was his first experience with a woman like? Anything and everything that pertains to the story and to his burgeoning relationship with the heroine – we want to do know about it!

Image: Miramax/Universal

Image: Miramax/Universal

2. A heroine we can adore and root for: I’ve read many romance novels where the hero is awesome and the heroine is either a bee-otch or a complete dish-rag. C’mon! The heroine has to have spirit and guts but she also has to be loving. We don’t want her acting completely out of character. Or react like a she-devil when the hero does something she doesn’t like. Unless there is a good reason. There has to be a damn good reason. Otherwise we’re not going to buy it. The heroine is our stand-in so she better be worthy of that fella. We want to see her grow throughout the book. We want to see her learn and figure things out. We want her to realize she was wrong and make it right. In other words, we want her to be active. Not passive. Things shouldn’t just happen to her. She has to make things happen too. If she starts out as a shy wallflower, we want to know why she’s that way and then by the end of the book we have to know that despite being that shy girl, she has guts and would make a great partner for the hero. If she’s a flighty young miss then we want to see her grow in depth and maturity throughout the book. If she loses a child or goes through a divorce before falling in love again, we want to experience her pain and then her healing with her. In short, we want to know she’s a human being, with richness and potential for growth. We want to embrace her as a dear friend or sister.

Image: Warner Home Video

Image: Warner Home Video

3. Dialogue so good that we love to quote it or go back and read those delicious bits just for the sheer pleasure of it: I’ve read some great books over the years and the books I keep coming back to have wonderfully rich dialogue. Especially between the hero and heroine. Remember those classic Hollywood romantic comedies with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy? or Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant? Or Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart? (Okay, okay, anything with Katherine Hepburn). If your heroine and hero can relate to each other with that much chemistry then we are going to love your book. We like it when they both have a sense of humour. We like it when they both express emotion. We like it when they say complicated things to each other. We like it when they act silly or say outrageous things. We like it when they communicate. Why? Because communication between the hero and the heroine is at the core of a good romance novel. What they say to each other is important. Their dialogue is what breathes fresh air into the story and what brings the story to life. It’s how you, as the author, can really show your own voice. Describing them or giving them thoughts is important, but you have to give the hero and heroine something to say as well.

4. A sturdy plot: Yeah, yeah, we know that romance novels can get away with a “soft plot”. Since the biggest part of a romance novel is the romance itself, that is the main crux of the story. But stuff needs to happen as well. So pay attention to plot and continuity. If the plot is simply that the hero must find a wife or lose his inheritance then make certain that a series of mishaps and misunderstandings get in the way before he and the heroine can be together. If the plot is about the heroine escaping a ex-boyfriend/stalker, then that boyfriend has to show up in the book and threaten her relationship with the hero – not to mention their lives. The plot is the “bones” of the story so make those bones strong and fortified with calcium. :)

Image: Warner Bros.

Image: Warner Bros.

5. A Happy Ending: You’re damn straight we want a happy ending! That’s the point of a romance novel after all. You better make it good. We want declarations of love. We want the hero and heroine to finally admit things they were holding back. We don’t necessarily need a proposal (although it would be nice). But we want to know that these two people, whom we have grown to love, are going to be together. No, they can’t break up. No, he or she cannot die. Yes, they absolutely have to express their love for each other. A romance has to give us a satisfying ending. Otherwise it is not a romance. Period.

Well, I could go on forever here – but those are five essential things that I look for in every good romance novel. What do you look for?

If you’re interested in some wonderful romances check out our Lachesis web site.

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100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, a good romance and a happy ending.

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