Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne
Aural Pleasures

Songs for Romance Fans, Edited by an Editor

I never used to be a music listener when I was writing or editing. Give me silence or the innocuous buzz of conversation at a coffee shop, but music always distracted me. Until I met a greater distraction: the open-plan office.

I edit Romance and YA over at Diversion Books, big sister of EverAfter. Our office is awesome, but it’s also completely open, so I often need to plug into headphones to avoid getting sidetracked by phone calls, meetings, or constant debates on the best flavor of La Croix. Here’s a sampling of the songs I like to edit Romance to. Hopefully they can inspire you music-listening writers out there, or at the very least provide an outlet for anyone trying to work on sexy scenes while surrounded by coworkers.

Spinners by The Hold Steady

This song reminds me of the way a lot of romances start: with characters who feel lost, who are moving through unsatisfying relationships, who may be trying to escape something. It’s emotional but upbeat, and makes for superb writing or editing music.

Recommended for: Those moments at the beginning before our protagonists have met.

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Guest Post

Heather McCorkle’s Favorite Couples

Love is a powerful and curious thing, and it is powerful and curious couples that draw me to literature. As a reader, forget traditional and predictable formulas, I want unique and wild. The more depth and interest, the more hooked I am. I love writers that push the genre to new places—and no, I don’t mean 50 shades of new places—and take risks with their love story. Here are my top four favorite couples, and why (they might surprise you, you have been forewarned).

Harley and Joker | Marvel’s Batman Series

Yes, oh yes, really. Talk about a quirky, messed up couple. But they also have a devotion so deep that they would do anything for each other. Whether it’s a crime spree, taking on Batman, or trying to take over the city, they stand united in it all. The other’s happiness is paramount to them both and that is a unique thing among couples, especially darker couples.

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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Guest Post

Romance – Is there an app for that? by Kalli Lanford

Dating has sure changed since the last time I was on the market. As a happily married, forty-something with a son in college, I shake my head at the idea of swiping right or left to find love, but at the same time, I find this slightly disturbing convenience delightfully intriguing and one to vicariously explore.

The prude in me takes a back seat when I listen to one of my younger, single friends give juicy highlights of her last date and then pulls Tinder up on her phone to weed through the next batch of guys who she decides are worthy of messaging.

And my friend’s juicy highlights? Yes, they do include sex. Sex on the first date? Not that I hadn’t had a one-night stand when I was in my early twenties, but I didn’t set out to have sex on the nights it had happened. It just happened.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Guest Post

The Tricky Pros & Cons of Dating Your Best Friend

TBF Amazon
The Tricky Pros and Cons of Dating Your Best Friend . . .  as told by Dean Conrad Morello.

I’ve found someone I can trust. Coriander is my human diary, and there’s some attraction there, too. But what now?

It is important to proceed with care and take a moment to consider the pros and cons of taking our relationship to the next level.  


Are you willing to make the sacrifice? It’s always the number one concern when anyone considers dating a friend

What if it doesn’t last? If we break up, we might have to accept that our friendship might be lost forever.


But then again, I’ve known her all of my life. We have a history, been through a lot together.

Our connection is strong. Nothing can go wrong, right?

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Q&A with Anna Brooks | Love, Me

In honor of her new release of Love, Me, we’ve brought Anna Brooks onto the blog and asked her the tough questions. Like, you can only read one book for the rest of your life so what will it be? Those tough questions.

R O M A N C E 

What was the first romance you ever read?

I don’t remember the name of it, but it was one my mom was reading by candle light. I leaned over to try to get a sneak peek of the words on the page and my hair caught on fire. My mom and I ran around screaming as she hit me on the head with the paperback until the fire went out.


What’s a book you could read a million times and never get tired of?

Knight or At Peace by Kristen Ashley. They’re my go-to rereads.


Who are your favorite film and television couples and why?

Favorite television couple is Dan and Roseanne Conner from Roseanne because they’re so real. Favorite film couple is Quincy and Monica from Love & Basketball because their second chance love story was the first one that hooked me. I tend to be a sucker for those… hence why a lot of my books are second chance.

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Guest Post

Falling For The Billionaire Wolf and His Baby by Sasha Summers

Hello, my name is Sasha Summers and I am a romance novel addict.

Seriously. I totally am.

I fell in love with some viscount or duke or lord when I was eleven-ish, thanks to Barbara Cartland. He was beautiful and crabby but I adored him anyway. And when he whisked in to save the heroine, which I totally know he would, I swooned. (Actually, I didn’t. I have never swooned in my life – does this make me less of a lady?)

I could not wait for my first kiss. The earth would stand still. The heavens would part. My heart would pound in my ears and my lungs would ache with the need to breathe. And it would be perfection.

It wasn’t.

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Exclusive Excerpt

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Payback by Christina Phillips

9781633759220 (1)
He’s going to make her pay…

I don’t fuck girls who work for me, but as soon as Amelia turns those big green eyes on me I know she’s trouble. I can’t keep my hands off her, and the almost-but-not-quite-sex we share in the kitchen is the hottest thing I’ve ever had. Except she calls it quits, before we’ve even started.

Instead of moving on, she’s all I can think about and that’s bad news. I’m breaking all my rules for her, and don’t even care.

Until I find out who she is and what she really wants. She’s after payback, but there’s no way she’s going to get it. No way in hell…

Read an exclusive excerpt of Payback below! 

“You’re a member of the Viking Bastards, then.” It’s not a question and I glance at her. She’s a couple of steps behind me, and eyeing the back of my cut.

“That’s right.” She barely reaches my jaw, and her faint scent is driving me wild. I want to bury my face in her hair and breathe it all in.

I should’ve fired her when I had the chance.

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Romance Recommendations

OLD HOLLYWOOD: Movie Spotlight – Lili (1953)

lili 1953 2We’re kicking off our new Romance Recommendations series with one of old Hollywood’s most underrated romances: LILI (1953).

After the death of her father, Lili (Leslie Caron) moves to a new town in search of work and comes across a local circus troupe. Marc the Magician (Jean Pierre Aumont–so handsome) takes her under his wing and gets her a job as a waitress, despite the cynical warnings of Paul the Puppeteer (Mel Ferrer–also so handsome), who doesn’t like Lili at all.

Unfortunately, Lili makes a terrible waitress and gets fired on her first night. She contemplates suicide and begins to climb the ladder to the tightrope when a voice suddenly calls out to her. It’s Carrot Top, one of the puppets, and he talks her back down.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Puppets? No thank you. But wait! These aren’t the puppets from Dead Silence or Annabelle.  These puppets manage to be charming, not sinister, because you know behind their words and kindnesses is a real person–Paul.

The puppets strike up a friendship with Lili that’s sweet, genuine, and complex, but somehow it doesn’t translate to her relationship with Paul, who she hates more than ever. Meanwhile, behind the curtain Paul falls in love with Lili more and more every day.

LILI (1953) is quirky and unsettling and intensely romantic film. It walks a fine line between innocence and darkness, magic and maturity. I highly recommend checking it out!

Cover Reveals

COVER SPOTLIGHT: Gone with the Ghost by Erin McCarthy

Bailey Burke has had a rough six months—it’s not easy thinking your romantic overtures toward your best friend caused him to kill himself. Except that’s exactly what happened. Ryan is very much dead, having shot himself with his own police-issued gun. Guilt and grief shouldn’t cause hallucinations though, but six months after Ryan went into the ground, Bailey is freaking out and swearing his ghost is standing in her kitchen. Which he is…

Ryan claims he didn’t commit suicide, but was murdered, and he needs Bailey to help him find his killer so he can earn his ticket out of purgatory. Which contrary to national opinion is not their hometown of Cleveland. Ryan’s counting on a stairway to heaven, as opposed to wings, since that might be a little unmanly for a cop, even a dead one.

An expert in home design, with her own staging business, Bailey can tell you where to place a couch to improve flow and comfort, but solving a crime? Not her area of expertise. But with help from Ryan’s former partner, Marner, she is unraveling the mystery of what happened to Ryan that day… and unwittingly putting herself in grave danger.

Check out the cover below! 

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Best of...

The Best Second Chance Love Stories

315c3ae24e6c2eb829c6e7a38e498631d7f00be01feada540c9141044f96a11fPerson A and Person B were supposed to be together. We know it, their friends know it, strangers on the street see them together and know it. Person A and Person B used to know it too, but something went wrong and here we are! Can Person A and Person B find their way back to each other? This is a second chance love story.

We love second chance love stories because they raise the stakes to the highest they can be. A second chance love story is a last chance love story. Here is a list of our favorites.


  • say im yours corinne michaelsSay I’m Yours by Corinne Michaels
    • Grace is sick of years of playing games back-and-forth with Trent Hennington. She’s done. And we’re at the first sentence of this roller coaster of a story. Say I’m Yours is the third book in the Return to Me Series by Corinne Michaels.






  • wildfire at midnightWildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart 
    • A romantic thriller, Wildfire at Midnight follows Gianetta Brooks during her stay at a hotel where guests are getting murdered. If you’re not a suspect, you’re a love interest. 50% love story and 50% murder mystery, Wildfire at Midnight is 100% page-turning entertainment.






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