THE ROMANCE REVIEWS 4th Anniversary Party

trrIt’s a month long celebration and I’m there! Well, I’ll be there tomorrow for a Question & Answer type game.   I’m offering up an ebook copy of Drive Me Sane to the person who wins.  And along with me, there are hundreds of other authors with prizes galore!  Head on over to The Romance Reviews for all the details.  Please note that you must be registered and logged into their site to take part in the giveaways.

I must admit, I’m partial to this site.  Unknown to me, my publisher submitted Drive Me Sane to them for a review.  Needless to say, I was beyond words and in tears with their response.  No lie!  I bawled like a baby.

You can find Angi’s 4 Star Review here or below:

“They fell in love as teens but their fears and frustrations as young adults drove them apart. Years have passed and, now, both their lives are on a downward spiral. An unforeseen chance to reconnect is the second chance they both desperately need to exorcise old hurts, as well as conquer the troubles that are currently holding each of them hostage.

Discharged from the Army and suffering PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan, Sera Cavins makes a quiet return to her Uncle Roy’s empty home in Kentucky to attempt to get her broken life back together. The remorse, regret, and guilt she feels has manifested into fears she’s not ready to confess to anyone. Finding her former fiancé Tyler Creech at her uncle’s home brings back even older hurts that make it doubly hard for Sera to hide the many secrets that steal her peace of mind and sap her wounded spirit.

Up and coming country music star Tyler Creech’s life is being consumed by the demands of his career, and his life no longer seems his own. The mounting pressure is taking both a physical and mental toll on him, so a few weeks’ hiatus at his mother and stepfather Roy’s home in Kentucky is where he hopes to work through some of the issues that are leaving him sleepless and torn. He never expected to run into Sera Cavins, the woman who pushed him away and who still haunts him with unresolved heartache and regrets.

If they can bear to share the same roof, maybe they can finally uncover the reasons behind their broken engagement and broken lives, let go the pain and fear and, finally, heal and move forward together.

Debut author Dena Rogers makes a spectacular entrance to the field of romance with this nicely paced emotional tale that’s sole focus is on mending broken hearts and broken lives. In my humble opinion, one can’t help but applaud the author’s tackling of the subject of PTSD in a former female soldier, and I thought her handling of the subject was relevant, vividly moving, and very well done.

With regards to Sera, I found her attempts to repress her emotions, as a means of self-protection, to be utterly convincing and understandable, even though I found I didn’t always like her when she engaged these defense mechanisms. Ms. Rogers nicely countered Sera’s actions with the often understated actions of Tyler, whom she characterized with the compassionate ability to understand and sense Sera’s needs in the face of his own troubled emotions. This balance of give and take in characterization truly enhanced the gradual changes in this couple’s relationship and kept the plot moving with new revelations and just enough valid recriminations to keep Tyler and Sera’s relationship grounded and real.

Despite the novella length of DRIVE ME SANE, this tale has lots of depth, adequate back story, and there are few psychological or emotional issues that are left untouched. Crafting such a compelling story in approximately one hundred pages is a feat that deserves recognition and surely designates Dena Rogers as a talented new author to watch.”

WHY I READ AND WRITE ROMANCE PART II

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“I’d like to bite that lip.” ― E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey

I’ve been thinking about this post all week even before Part I of this story happened yesterday.  I’ve been biting my tongue as I read articles littered with both praise and criticism for 50 Shades of Grey. First, let me say, yes, I read the books.  But going into them, I had no idea what they were about other than being filled with sex.  At times, I tend to get wrapped up in my own world and forget to follow what the masses are doing.  And while a few people had mentioned them to me, no one fully explained what kind of story it was.  So when a colleague loaned them to me and I opened up that first page, I was completely clueless about what I was about to read.

Boy was I surprised!  My first experience with any kind of erotica novel, I became enthralled.  Now, before we go any further, I’d like to acknowledge the books issues.  Yes, there are some problems, but I’m not going to address them here, because that’s not what this post is about.  But, what irritates me with this whole situation, is those that blast the books/movie without reading them.  I’ve seen one author in particular who’s posted something negative more than once a day for the past week.  Really?  It bothers you that much, that you’d spend your time finding these articles to post?  And then she made a comment that she hadn’t read them and wouldn’t because they degrade woman and promote abuse.  Sorry, but that’s been a little over stated.  My advise, maybe she should read them so she can come up with a more original reason for her dislike.  It’s not only this author making these kinds of statements.  There are many …. MANY and almost every one of them have said they hadn’t and wouldn’t read the books.  Hmm … yes, I believe that gives them all the reason in the world to judge them.  Because judging something you haven’t experienced makes all kinds of sense to me?

Now you’re probably scratching your heads asking how 50 Shades of Grey and my story about Hatchet Man from yesterday have anything to do with why I like to read and write romance.  For those that say 50 Shades isn’t realistic, I say you’ve lived a sheltered life.  If you don’t believe there are people that f@#ked up in this world, then maybe you should come sit in my office for a day.

Now, I don’t typically talk about my day job.  Number one reason- I’ve signed so many confidentially agreements I’m sure I’ve agreed to all kinds of bodily torture if I did so, and secondly, eight hours of it a day is enough.  No, I’m not slipping up and telling you where I work.  But I will tell you that it’s not nearly as interesting as you’re probably thinking.  It’s a job, it pays the bills, but I’d like to think what I do, does help people.  With that being said, I will say that I work directly with the public from all walks of life.  And a few of them have walked some interesting journeys. I’ve heard a lot.  A lot!  And every time I think I’ve heard it all … nope!  Someone still surprises me.  Sexual escapades, devious acts, the low down on criminal activity – people like to talk. Sometimes I sit at my desk and think “why on earth would you tell someone this?”   Which brings me back to my story about Hatchet Man.  Ninety nine percent of the folks who land in my office aren’t there because everything is rosy in their life.  Somewhere along the line things went askew or didn’t pan out.  To say the environment can get hostile- um, yeah!  Not everyday, but we’ve had some instances that caused concern.  So, my apprehension with Hatchet Man was somewhat valid.

This past week, I was waiting on a meeting when a gentleman came into the room and sat down.  He immediately began telling me about his reasons for being there- none of which interested me, but since it was just the two of us, I couldn’t avert my attention elsewhere.  He talked and rambled. I shook my head, smiled and added the occasional “I see.”  Unhappy with someone, he explained a long story of a disagreement they’d had.  He then went on to apologize for his rambling and said he hadn’t been sleeping well because of this disruption in his life and that the only thing that brought him comfort was the image of beating the other mans head in with a baseball bat.  I got vivid details of exactly how this might go down.  I’m sure my eyes must have betrayed my horror, because he immediately added that he would never actually do something like that.  I know you’re thinking, he was upset and letting off steam and yeah, you’re probably right.  But it was at that exact moment that it hit me -this is why I read and write romance.  At the end of the day all I want is something to feel good.  A happily ever after, even if I have to make it up.

Back to Fifty Shades.  I’ve probably totally confused everyone with my post, because Fifty Shades has a lot of darkness in it and for the most part, there isn’t anything feel good about it.  So why would I enjoy reading about something so bleak?  And is Fifty Shades really a romance?  I’m glad you asked, because I believe it is.  If you look beyond the BDSM, there is a love story.  Like all relationships, it’s one that’s intense and difficult.  And one that requires give and take from both.  Sure, most of us have never been asked to be flogged by our partners, but that’s what makes this story unique.  The fact that the author took a circumstance not recognized as normal and turned it into a love story.  All romances deal with various shades of darkness.  It’s called conflict.  Some aren’t as black as others, but they all have it.  For me, what makes them enjoyable is the outcome.  The ending. The finding of love beyond all that yucky stuff.  I don’t mind ugliness, but ultimately I want love to conquer all. And that my friends is why I write and read romance.

Off to see the movie with my mom and sister tomorrow, but until then,

Laters, baby.