The end of romance

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Romance Month, that is

It’s hard to believe we’ve already reached the end of February. It’s a short month that somehow manages to feel like the longest of the year, yet slip through our fingers like late afternoon sunlight through vertical blinds.

Much of the world seems to have been afflicted with stay-indoors weather this month. Snow, wind, freezing rain—it doesn’t look like anyone has escaped, no matter where they live.

On the other hand, it’s been a good month for cozying up, with a good friend or a good book, or even both at once. (Add in cheery fire and a glass or two of red wine and I’m there.)

Romance isn’t going anywhere

Whatever you may think about the romance genre, it’s big. In the U.S. alone in 2017, readers bought some 21.5 million romance books, a close second behind suspense-thrillers at 21.8 million. Year after year, romance account for a fifth of all adult fiction sales.

Romance Month 2019 was good to BestSelling Reads authors and readers. We’ve sampled some sweet and some spicy scenes from DelSheree Gladden and Gae-Lynn Woods, M.L. Doyle, Scott Bury, Raine Thomas and Samreen Ahsan.

Other member authors told us about how romance fits into their books, often in ways readers don’t expect—but that they delight in. Like Alan McDermott, Toby Neal, Caleb Pirtle III and Corinne O’Flynn.

Now it’s ending, but don’t worry—there’s still lots of great stuff to look forward to from your favorite BestSelling Reads authors.

April is going to be mystery-thriller month, and we’ll be featuring some writing that puts you on a roller coaster. In June and July, we’ll showcase our best beach and dockside reading for you. And the fall will bring—what else?—horror, science-fiction and fantasy. And we’re going to end the year with some reading you’ll be proud to give as gifts.

What’s your favorite reading genre?

Your answers will help us make sure we continue to bring you the kind of books you love, while surprising you with authors who know how to break the boundaries. Just click on the form in the right-hand column.

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BSR Romance Month: What’s so great about romance, anyway?

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Romance is the biggest genre in publishing by a long shot. It’s as if the reading world just cannot get enough stories about love, longing, heartache, soaring joy, crushing sorrow and all the big emotions of romance.

But why? What is it about this big, yet ephemeral thing called romance? What pulls so many people from all around the world, to this genre over and over again?

BestSelling Reads asks some of its members: what’ so great about romance? And what’s wrong with it?

Mary Doyle

Author of military mysteries and urban fantasies with a strong romance current, says “The best thing about romance writing is that the fans of the genre are loyal, ravenous fans who gobble up books one after another.

“The worst thing about romance writing is that the fans know the genre so well, that if you fall back on well-known and boring tropes, they will call you on it and not in a good way. Romance fans are demanding and loyal and deserve the best a writer can create for them.”

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

Alan McDermott

Author of bestselling action-thrillers, says “The best thing about romance is that you can base it on your own life. You can’t always do that with action thrillers.”

Visit his BestSelling Reads author page.

Raine Thomas

Author of several series of books in which love and romance is the leading theme, mixed with sports, music or fantasy, knows a thing or two about romance.

“The best thing about romance, especially in today’s world, is it focuses on the most positive and uplifting aspects of life,” she says.

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

Corinne O’Flynn

Author of bestselling mysteries as well as urban and paranormal fantasies, is a strong defender of the romance genre.

“The best thing about romance is the ability it has to raise hope (with all the feels!) in just about anyone,” she says.

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

Samreen Ahsan

Author of bestselling and award-winning paranormal and romance novels, says “The best thing about writing romance genre is that your readers easily fall in love with your characters and wish those characters to be a part of their lives, like having a book boyfriend from your romance novel.

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

Scott Bury

Author of erotic romances, mysteries and fantasy, says “The bad thing about romance is that some authors—none of the members of BestSelling Reads, mind you—think that the literary rules of the romance genre is an excuse to be less than original.

“The great thing about romance is that a really good romance speaks to the most important questions in everyone’s life: who do you love and what does that make you do?”

Visit his BestSelling Reads author page.

DelSheree Gladden

This prolific author of mysteries, romance, fantasy and comedy—and some books that mix them all—says “The best thing about romance is that is reminds you of the importance of connecting with people on a deeper level.”

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

Toby Neal

The author of two bestselling mystery-thriller series plus a series of family romances says “The best thing about romance is that, no matter what happens, there’s a happy ending.”

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

Gae-Lynn Woods

The author of some dark mysteries, as well as a very funny mystery with love and relationships at the core, believes in romance. “The best thing about romance is when flawed people living flawed lives find that happiness does not depend on perfection.”

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

Caleb Pirtle III

Multiple award-winning and bestselling author of over 50 book, Caleb Pritle III sums it up.

“Romance is what you hope to find. Love is when you find it.”

Visit his BestSelling Reads author page.

Why do you read romance?

Do you like to read romance? Or do you avoid it like … a bad romance? Tell us why in the Comments and you’ll be entered in a draw for a free book from one of our members!

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Be our reading Valentines

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It’s Valentine’s Day, and BestSelling Reads’ treat for you are some samples from romance stories you’ll love.

From Limited Partnerships II: Luke

By M.L. Doyle

The problem was, what he’d said, his touch, the way he looked at me, the gasp he made, no matter how fake, no matter how false it all may have been, in a place buried very deep inside me, I wanted what he was selling.

He stood and moved his bar stool a little closer until he sat directly next to me. He leaned his shoulder into mine and continued with his sales pitch.

“Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like? Wondered what would happen if the man you were with was only there to make sure you were pleased?”

Find Limited Partnerships on Amazon.

From One Shade of Red

By Scott Bury

Chapter 24: Hello, Mary-Anne

My new routine set itself so easily during the second week of classes. Lectures, tutorial groups, visits to the library. Mary-Anne seemed to feel sitting together with me in every class and tutorial we shared was also a part of her natural routine.

She brought back the economics textbook as she had promised on Monday.  I spent the whole week looking for her on the campus, breathing in her presence when she was beside me in classes and tutorials, missing her in the evening.

On Friday, Mary-Anne surprised me as we walked out of the last class we had together. “So we’re hanging out tomorrow night, right?”

I felt surprised, delighted, amazed that she still wanted to hang out. It was a date.

Like my old Friday night dates with Kristen. Only … maybe it could be much more.

Shut up, Dick, I thought. I had one more lecture to get to.

I woke up Saturday at noon, thinking of Mary-Anne. I showered, shaved — I was up to shaving twice a week by that time — and while gulping down instant coffee and Cheerios, texted her. Want to go 2 movie 2nite? Cliché, but sometimes, a standard approach is best.

We went to something completely forgettable. I forgot the point and the plot immediately.

I walked her to her dorm room. “No guests inside after 11:00,” she said.

“Wanna come to my place? I live on my own, off campus.”

“Maybe next time.” And then she tilted her head back and closed her eyes. I leaned closer and we kissed. Deeply. When she pulled away, I swayed on my feet. I felt dizzy.

“See you on Monday?” she said as she pushed the lobby door open.

“Why not tomorrow?”

“Okay.”

Morning could not come fast enough. I woke up insanely early and paced my apartment, waiting for a decent hour to call someone. When I picked up my cell phone, the Message icon flashed.

Find One Shade of Red on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Kobo.

From Return of the Ascendant

By Raine Thomas

Just as Kyra neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

Not possible, she thought.

She watched the shadows take shape, growing ever taller. Five feet, six feet, seven feet tall…like a creature advancing and casting a longer and longer shadow. Her heartbeat accelerated. The voice in her head ordered her to flee.

Run now!

Before she could command her limbs to move, she felt her arm taken in a firm grip. She barely avoided issuing a terrified shriek over the contact. Her fear had escalated to a point where she couldn’t even get a sound past her throat.

Her head whipped to the side. She realized the man who had grabbed her was a good eight or nine inches taller than her, even in her heels. She got a sense of a chiseled profile and broad shoulders as he urged her to move. Her gaze flew to the ground as she tried to avoid breaking an ankle. Only when they emerged from the darkness did her sense of panic begin to ease.

Her unexpected companion’s pace also slowed once they reached the light. She turned her gaze to him once again. Had he been the one who had cast the shadow?

She didn’t think so. Although she couldn’t tell much about him from his profile, she didn’t sense that he would harm her.

“It isn’t me you need to worry about,” he said in a deep voice. “You were right to fear the dark.”

Find Return of the Ascendant on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

From Once Upon a [Stolen] Time

By Samreen Ahsan

She’s gifted me with all the colors, but I painted her with darkness.

As much as I crave feeling the sunlight and the flowers against my skin, I want her touch too. I am cursed and doomed to never experience the beauty of the natural world, for all eternity.

She watches me with extreme hatred in her eyes—her gaze throwing fireballs at me. She doesn’t know I’m already burning, but since she despises me so much, I can’t even dare to come close to her. I want to end this tortuous distance between us—but I was the one who created this hatred in her.

She was a beautiful tender rose—I stole her fragrance, crushed her petals and burned her in hell. If I knew the fire with which I was conflagrating her would come to engulf me—I swear I wouldn’t have done it. Her spell is too strong for me not to fall; her curse is too mighty for me to run away.

Her deadly yet magical existence haunts me, excites me and has thrown me into a pit of deep lust. She is my prisoner, but she doesn’t realize that I’m the one who’s already submitted to her slavery, when I first touched her.

Despite being her captor, I am still her captive.

Find Once Upon a [Stolen] Time at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and Chapters Indigo.

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It’s Romance Month

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Image courtesy Creative Commons

February is usually the coldest month of the year on the northern side of the equator. Maybe that’s why Valentine’s Day is in the middle of it: to raise the temperature with thoughts of love, and plenty of books, too.

Why do authors write romance as scenes or themes, or sometimes, whole books? Some members who don’t typically write romance have some thoughts.

M.L. Doyle

When I read a book, whether it’s mystery, thriller, science fiction or fantasy, and there isn’t a little bit of romance in it, the lack of it seems off to me.

Aside from writing the occasional erotica story, I never set out to write romance. When I start a new project, I’m writing mystery or urban fantasy, and the romantic stuff is what happens when I put my characters in a room together. I honestly never feel as if I’m making them fall in love, or get naked with each other. They simply do it on their own and I’m just along to describe it as best I can. In other words, if the romance isn’t organic in the story, I’m not going to make it up.

Do I read romantic literature? Sure. I’ve read piles of romance, from the tame to the downright taboo. Some of it is really compelling.

I read a story about a couple who are about to get married, when one of the man’s old friends shows up. Long story short, they become this threesome. They love each other and they have to figure out how they are going to appear to the outside world. Are they married? Is one just a friend? What happens if she gets pregnant? How do they tell who the father is? And won’t the third guy just always feel like the outsider? It went way beyond the usual romantic elements and was really engaging and well written.

Other stories seem to try too hard.

I think all literature is supposed to move us in some way. If it doesn’t move you, why read it? Romance moves you in specific ways; maybe goes out of its way to manufacture those emotions, but so do horror and thriller and mystery. There’s a lot of bad, trite, trashy romance out there, but there are also gems that reel you in and don’t let go.

I laugh now at how many men are enjoying the show Outlander. When those books came out, they were considered romantic adventure. In any case, they were considered to be well into the romance category and therefore, not “real” literature. Now that they’re on the screen, maybe men won’t be so quick to turn their noses up at the other romantic works.

Alan McDermott

There’s no hard and fast recipe for a successful thriller, but most of the ingredients are the same: a capable, relatable protagonist; a believable villain; lots of action; plenty of intrigue.  One thing that wouldn’t have been high on my list was romance, but looking back, my heroes have had their fair share.

Tom Gray started out a married man, but that lasted one chapter.  Two books later, he had a new love interest, Vick.  Once again, fate intervened, and I must have subconsciously decided to leave him a single man for the duration.  He never found love again, but my new character made up for it.

Eva Driscoll first appears in Run and Hide.  She’s single, but when events conspire to reunite her with an old lover, she soon picks up where she left off. Fast forward to the next book, and the thriller gods have their own plans for the pair.

The last of my characters to get romantic is Simon “Sonny” Baines.  He’s painted as a ladies’ man throughout the series, but never actually got to know anyone.  That is, until my newest offering, Fight to Survive.  Will he get the girl of his dreams?  You’ll have to read it to find out.

Scott Bury

Love and some kind of romance are common to all people, in all cultures, through all time. So a romance can be a part of any kind of story.

I find that a lot of romance stories, especially the big-selling ones, are too predictable. I prefer a story where I don’t see the relationship budding before my eyes. At the same time, I don’t like stories where two personalities who would never be attracted to each other in the real world fall in love despite all the obstacles.

While I don’t set out to write romance (okay, that one time), when I start to write a story, I think about who the characters are, who they are or could be attracted to. Then I can have a lot of fun as I put challenges in front of them. Love or a relationship can grow as two people (or maybe more) work or fight through a challenge. On the other hand, difficulty can destroy a relationship, as we see all the time.

What do you say?

Do you read romance? Tell us why do you do, or why you avoid it, and tell us why in the Comments below. Every one who leaves a comment gets a free e-book from one of our members.

I see my job as a writer as bringing my readers into the story, and making them see what the characters see, feel what they feel, in a way they can believe and that resonates with their own experiences, fears and desires.

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New books to look forward to in 2019

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Your favorite bestselling authors are a hard-working bunch, busy writing new books for you to enjoy. Here are a few of the new titles you can look forward to.

Non-fiction writing Barb Drozdowich is working on a book (or a workshop) around the topic, “Are you talking to an empty room?” “My experience is that authors don’t understand how to figure out what is the best use of their time—things that are hugely time consuming and get little in results.”

Horror author David C. Cassidy plans to publish two titles in 2019: Gateway and 1944, as well as two more short stories in the Dark Shapes, Dark Shadows series, which begins with HauGHnt.

Find out more about David and his books and series on his BestSelling Reads author page.

Mary Doyle is especially ambitious. She will release the second book in her urban fantasy Desert Goddess series, The Bonding Blade in the first half of the year. She will also rewrite and release at least two, perhaps three novellas that she will probably call the Archimedes Ford mysteries, a spinoff of the Master Sergeant Harper mysteries. She will continue as a fiction editor on The Wrath-Bearing Tree on-line magazine. “My goal is to also write more essays which I plan to submit to veteran and war-writing magazines and online outlets,” she says. “I will also be producing a podcast here and there.”

Alan McDermott will publish the third and final Eva Driscoll novel, Fight to Survive, in June. He is now working on something completely new. Watch this space for more news about Alan’s new directions.

Find out more about Alan’s existing series and books on his BestSelling Reads author page.

Scott Bury plans to release the revised and extended Dead Man Lying, the third in his Hawaiian Storm mystery series, and the whole Eastern Front trilogy as a single volume that will comprise the three true-story titles, Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War.

Find out more about Scott’s books and the genres he writes in on his BestSelling Reads author page.

Raine Thomas plans to publish Beautiful Finale, Book 4 in the House of Archer rock-n-roll romance series, and For the Win, a baseball romance. “I also want to be more involved on social media if life allows it!” she says.

Find out more about Raine’s books and series on her BestSelling Reads author page.

Caleb Pirtle III will publish the sequel to Lovely Night to Die by the end of February and the sequel to Bad Side of a Wicked Moon sometime this summer. Then he plans to launch a new three-novella series and is presently torn between two ideas. “By autumn, I’ll have it figured out.”

Find out more about Caleb’s many books on his BestSelling Reads author page.

Samreen Ahsan plan to publish Once Upon A [Fallen] Time, Book 2 of [Stolen] Series, around February. It is the sequel to her groundbreaking time-travel fantasy romance, Once Upon A [Stolen] Time.

Find out more about her books and her series on her BestSelling Reads author page.

J.L. Oakley’s goals for the year is to have her post-World War II novel, The Quisling Factor, ready for publication in late fall. She also plans to publish her collection of cozy mysteries set in Hawaii in ebook format by the end of January, and in paperback by March.

She also has other literary plans: “I’m attending the Historical Novel Society in June as a panelist on two panels: Indie Publishing and Civil War Medicine. I’m hoping that contact with Jake Wynn, the director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine for my panel, will lead to more research on CW Medicine for another work-in-progress.”

Stay tuned for news and announcements about every one of these titles. Better yet, subscribe using the link above to get news in your inbox, and get a free book.

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Happy New Year from BestSelling Reads

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All the best to readers and writers for 2019.

Individually and collectively, we have an exciting year planned. So stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe to our mailing list (to the right) so that you don’t miss your opportunity for great new reads.

BestSelling Reads: great authors, great books.

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