Welcome to the Nickel Nasties series! In celebration of my first scathing Amazon review for A Ranger's Tale (1 in 58 ain't bad), I've decided to devote February to the stories that garner so much stereotype and ridicule, but still comprise one of the world's best-selling genres: ROMANCE! I hope you'll enjoy this series. Please leave comments for the wonderful contributors. And...don't forget to check out their books!
Romance in the Real World
I’m glad to be here to share why I write and read romance – actually that should be ROMANCE! And of course, why I love the genre to the point that I have shelves upon shelves of keeper novels.
Like everyone else doing the “Nickel Nasty” tour, I began reading romance long before I ever tried writing it. I loved it from the very beginning and I still remember the first two romances I read. The first was amazing and I even keep a copy – not the same book. That one was borrowed from a friend and I had to return it, but when I found it again, it was the start of my collection.
Summer in December by Essie Summers was a Harlequin release about a woman who finds herself trapped on a sheep station in New Zealand. Brave, smart and a bit naïve, she appealed to the teenage me because she was someone who broke rules and won. I followed that book up with The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer and became hooked on the genre. Who wouldn’t admire Prudence Merriot when she risked everything to save her younger brother’s life?
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I grew up in the 1960’s and ‘70’s. In the movie, A Star is Born, Barbara Streisand sang about a “No, You Don’t World – over-run with rules.” It was the way life was, especially for some young girls. My father ruled with an iron fist – no velvet glove - and questioning authority was not tolerated in “his” house. I thought that was the way it had always been, men dominating and women as second-class citizens. Romance novels showed me a different world, one that I wanted to see, to experience, to emulate.
And I didn’t have to buy them. I found them in the school and public libraries. Those libraries provided a sanctuary from home, even if I couldn’t take the books back to “his” house. Slowly, I began to learn the world was bigger than I was told. Romances revealed women making choices in tough situations and I could too. When I ran out of reading material or my books were impounded because I’d expressed an opinion, I started writing my own stories. Not too surprisingly, they included romance.
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The fascination with romance guided my choices for the next several years. It empowered me as it had empowered women for hundreds of years. Joining the Army Reserve, taking classes at Skagit Valley Community College and eventually I attended Washington State University where I majored in English and History. That led to courses in what was called American Studies and Women’s History where I discovered something new and forbidden in my father’s house. As my romance novels taught me, women did things and they’d been doing them for centuries.
Abigail Adams wanted the vote for women during the American Revolution and tried to convince her husband to include it in the Constitution. There were so many other women, abolitionists, suffragists, suffragettes, writers, poets, teachers, scientists, soldiers, doctors, nurses who were actively engaged in building America. So much of the information was recorded. It could be found in diaries, letters, newspaper articles and books written by the women who lived during those times. If they didn’t write about it, they were written about!
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Learning about the women who came before me only made me want to write more stories. It took years to learn my craft. Successful story-telling takes work. It doesn’t happen over-night and romance writers work just as hard as other novelists to create the best possible book. In 2010, I sold my first romance to BookStrand.
A Man’s World is a traditional mainstream Western – well sort of – it is about a woman who masquerades as a man in the old West. My next book is about a divorced mom with two kids determined to replace their dad with a “real” one so The Daddy Spell evolved from there. My most recent release, A Woman’s Place actually linked both books. The heroine travels back to 1888 and discovers she has a Goddess-given “talent” for healing.
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In my latest book, The Hero Spell, my heroine is expected to rescue everyone around her. The two kids from The Daddy Spell are determined to “rescue” her. I have another 30,000 words to write and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when she falls in love with her “hero.” At the moment, she’s in “like” with him – he’s the one person she knows that she doesn’t have to be “nice” to – she can just be herself. And he wants her that way.
Hey, it’s Romance with a capital “R” and don’t we all want someone who loves us, warts, green skin, broom, “flying monkees” and all? That’s why I love romance, reading it, writing it, being it! And I’ll never stop.
I have two different websites so if you like cowboys and western romances, pop in for a visit at www.josiemalone.com I also write young adult fiction so if you’re ready to go to Stewart Falls, see me at www.shannonkennedybooks.com
Either way, it was good to meet you!
Josie Malone – Shannon Kennedy
As a child, I loved to dream away the days in an old cherry tree on my family’s pony farm. In my imagination, the tree became a beautiful Arabian stallion, a medieval castle and even a pirate ship. I got in trouble for making my bratty little sisters walk the plank, but hey, they never broke any bones. On rainy days, I headed for my fort in the hayloft. While the rain thudded on the cedar shingled roof, I read books, eventually trading Carolyn Keene for Georgette Heyer. Today, I live on the family ranch in the Cascade foothills. With all the critters on the ranch, I don’t have time for a husband. As for kids, I have to give back the ones who come to learn how to ride at the end of each day. Now, I’m teaching the kids and grandkids of the ones I taught way back when we started. I’ve had a lot of adventures over the years and I plan to write stories about all of them.
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A WOMAN’S PLACE :
Trailing a serial killer, Homicide Detective Beth Chambers is thrust into 1888 Washington Territory where she encounters injured Rad Morgan, a ruggedly handsome marshal who believes A Woman’s Place is behind her man. Now, Beth must save Rad’s life, apprehend the killer, and prove herself capable as a law officer.
Former soldier and survivor of Andersonville Prison Camp, Marshal Rad Morgan faces his toughest challenge in Beth Chambers, a determined woman from the future who’s never learned “her place.” But when he is shot and left for dead, he must put himself in Beth’s hands if they both want to survive.
Can these two headstrong people put their pride aside and work together to find the deadly killer and stop him before he destroys this world and their future? As they fight for justice, love helps them discover A Woman’s Place is what and where she chooses to make it.