What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic […]
Ally Blue writes evocative male/male romance set in a paranormal world. The final book in her Bay City Paranormal Investigation series, Love, Like Ghosts, provides a satisfying ending, encompassing a range of emotions. Ally’s playlist for the book is equally diverse, and she’s here to share the songs that inspired her while writing the book. Thanks, Ally!
Hello dear readers. My name’s Ally Blue, and I’m here to speak of the profound connection between writing and music. Specifically, between music and writing my gay romance novel Love, Like Ghosts.
Ever since I can remember, music has been an important part of my life. One of my earliest memories is of my dad playing Johnny Cash on his guitar, the whole family singing along. I cut my musical teeth on classic country, Flower Child rock, and Broadway tunes. Now, with some thirty books under my proverbial belt, I still make a playlist for nearly every new project before I start writing. Something to set the mood and help keep my mind in The Zone. My choices probably don’t make much sense to anyone but me. But after all, isn’t music the most personal of the arts? The one most deeply connected to our primitive brains? The most intimately tangled with our emotions? In my very humble opinion, if a song or a piece of music doesn’t make you feel something, then it’s not doing its job. The same might be said of a book, I think.
What I’m most passionate about in my reading of romance now is diversity. I actively search stories that highlight and reflect the diversity in the world — ethnic, social, sexual, physical, etc. And one of the romance series that explores this diversity in a most profound and engaging manner is the Bend or Break series by Amy Jo Cousins.
This is a series of four novels so far, with another full-length novel and a sequel novella coming out soon. They are mostly m/m romances, although the third book, The Girl Next Door, features a m/f couple though the woman is actually bisexual (and there is a super hot m/f/m threesome as well) , so the series can be summed up as diverse queer romance.
It all begins with Tom and Reese in Off Campus — a New Adult college romance that explores serious social issues. Tom’s dad is in prison after committing a Ponzi scheme, so Tom’s is a fall-from-grace situation, and now he’s struggling to stay in college. This story also explores the consequences of being a victim of sexual assault (Reese) and how it affects and changes a person. At the same time it’s a story of self-discovery (Tom is coming to understand that he actually likes both girls and guys) and coming out. One of the main strengths of the series is the way Amy Jo portrays so realistically young, college-age people, with all the confusion and urgency and exuberance of youth. The characters make mistakes, there is miscommunication and some wrong and hasty assumptions made, yet I find them fitting to the young age of the boys and part of their journey into adulthood.
One of my biggest fears is that when I die, I’ll be in the middle of reading a great book, and I won’t get to find out what happens. I fully expect that to be a reality, and I also know that when I die I will likely have hundreds of unread books in my TBR (To Be Read) pile. The TBR pile grows ever larger, with each daily deal, or discount, or autobuy author who releases another book.
You’ve probably got tons of books yet to be read also; how many books are on your TBR pile?
September is the time when television begins to ramp up again (even though it feels as though there are new shows all the time, doesn’t it?), and with new channels, even shows that weren’t renewed on their original network can find life somewhere else. The Mindy Project‘s fourth season starts on Hulu this month, and Hulu is (not coincidentally) offering a Hulu trial of its services.
When last we saw Mindy Lahiri, she was pregnant with Danny’s baby, she’d opened a fertility clinic, and her baby daddy Danny had flown to India to meet Mindy’s parents. So many open threads! So much drama!
Are you hoping those crazy kids Mindy and Danny get themselves together for real? Do you think Danny will let Mindy choose the baby’s name? (Beyonce, perhaps?) What other relationships are you paying a close eye to on television?
If you are looking for a good way to waste many hours of your day, click on over to TinyKittens.com and hit the livestream, where more than ten kittens are to be found sleeping, grooming, playing, or just looking adorable.
We’re sorry you just spent more time than you dreamed possible watching small kittens hanging out.
Alison Kent’s Hope Springs Series continues with The Comfort of Favorite Things, a second-chance romance set in Alison’s fictional Texas town. Like all of us, Alison is an enthusiastic reader who loves series, and is always interested in what — or more importantly, who — is next. She’s here to talk about series romance, and why she keeps returning to Hope Springs. Don’t keep US waiting, Alison!
(Also, check out the giveaway at the end of Alison’s post for a chance to win a copy of The Comfort of Favorite Things! US residents only)
Anticipation … it’s keeping me waiting.
How many times have you read a book series, and kept waiting and waiting for the author to tell the story of your favorite character? Virgin River, the Black Dagger Brotherhood, the McCloud Brothers.
Series pull us into the worlds authors create. We fall in love with the characters. We smell the enchiladas they eat in their favorite restaurants. We hear the beans grinding in their favorite coffee shop. We watch the sun set across the pasture behind the house that is the focal point of their lives.
Today we have Elisabeth Staab answering our questions on how music is part of her creative process and she’s sharing her playlist for her newest New Adult release, Acts of Creation!
He’s living a lie.
Dante Ramos: Champion. Ladies’ man. Party animal. Women want him, and men either want to be him or put his lights out for sleeping with their girlfriends. It’s all an act. Inside, he’s so full of self-loathing he’s on a fast-track to self-destruction.
She’s living in the shadows.
Meeting Michelle at a support group for assault survivors shows Dante a new world of possibilities. Finally, someone in his life might understand him, and she creates in him a fierce need to protect. Trouble is, Dante lives his life in the spotlight, and the only thing Michelle wants is a place to hide.
How do you make your playlists for your books?
I usually start with a song for the couple, one that for me fits the tone of them and their story, and then I build the reset from there. In Acts of Creation it was “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran. After that, everything on the playlist is chosen because it either reminds me of one of the main characters, or the two of them together, or there’s something about the tone of the music that fits the book to me.
Do you use the entire playlist for the whole book or specific parts for certain sections or types of scenes?
Usually I build the playlist for the book as a whole, although sometimes a song evokes feelings for a special scene. In Acts of Creation, I played Springsteen’s “Human Touch” a lot when I was writing the big love scene between Dante and Michelle.
Mary Jo Putney has won some of romance’s most prestigious awards in her amazing career, including the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. (No slouch, our Ms. Putney!) She also moves effortlessly between historical an contemporary romance, and occasionally dabbles in fantasy. She gave us an exclusive excerpt of her latest historical novel Not Always A Saint, Book Seven in her Lost Lords series…enjoy!
Mornin’, campers! Everyone got their coffee? Good, then let’s dive in to today’s Morning Bites…
So here’s the thing…EverAfter Romance has been up and running for a little over two weeks now, and we’ve already had nearly 10,000 people stop by to read posts and explore the site. (10,000 people, you guys!)
But what we’d really like is some feedback from all of you about what your experience has been so far. We’re still a new site, and we’re still tweaking and modifying as needed, looking for ways to make your time hanging out online with us as much fun as possible. And we need your feedback to do that.
You tell us: what do you like about the site? What annoys you? What kind of posts are you enjoying the most? What kind of posts do you want to see more of? If you could wish for any three cool new features, what would they be? (No, we will not give you a pony, and we will not install a WordPress plug-in that offers chocolate cake delivered by a shirtless hunk when you press a button. Nice try, though!) Is there a category of romance we’re not covering enough? Is there something we’re covering too much? What are your opinions on top-knots and man-buns on guys? (Okay, that’s not something the community manager wants to know, but I’m sure curious. I mean, if you’re not an actual samurai, just…why?)
Lastly, if you know someone who would be a great writer for the site, we’d like to know that, too! (Hint: We’re looking for bloggers!)
Basically, we want you to tell us how we can make this site an even better online destination, one worthy of your valuable time for a few minutes every day. So please, jump in and leave us your comments below!
Now I’m off to look for that WordPress magic chocolate cake plug-in…
Courtney Milan writes substantive, nuanced, humorous, intense, passionate historical novels. Her Brothers Sinister series have been bundled up together in one boxed set, conveniently down-priced to $4.99 for four full-length novels and three novellas — but only for a limited time. Sale ends on September 21st!
I’ve read all but two of the three novellas, and can whole-heartedly recommend them. My favorites among the bunch are the full-length The Heiress Effect and the novella-length A Kiss for Midwinter, but all of them are really good, substantial historical reads (no fluff here!)
(If you haven’t read Milan before, here’s an excerpt from her upcoming release The Heiress Effect, to see if you like her distinctive flavor.)
Read on for the blurbs of all the titles included in the set: