Saturday, February 14, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Sophie Jordan/Sharie Kohler!




Well, today is the big day! And we’re not just talking Valentine’s Day, although we are. Hope you are all having a wonderful, loving, adventurous day, and if you aren’t, grab a good romance novel and get started!

But first, today we welcome IMHO’s final guest blogger speaking on the theme of “What Romance Means to Me.” Sharie Kohler is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance (as Sophie Jordan) and paranormal romance (as Sharie Kohler). Sharie says she penned her first historical romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History. A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature - teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love ANTIGONE, Sharie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.

In less than three years, her first book, ONCE UPON A WEDDING NIGHT, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nominee for Best First Historical, hit book shelves. Her second novel, TOO WICKED TO TAME, released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller's List. Bestselling author Kresley Cole says, “Sharie Kohler knows how to deliver a riveting plot, steeped with sultry sexual tension and unforgettable love scenes between an irresistible hero and heroine.” NY Times Bestselling author Barbara Dawson Smith says, "Sophie Jordan is not to be missed!"

Sharie resides in Houston with her family. She will put two books in the BIG BASKET OF LOOOVE: SURRENDER TO ME by Sophie Jordan and KISS OF A DARK MOON by Sharie Kohler.

IMHO: We’re glad to have both Sharie and Sophie visiting with us today. Welcome, and tell us what romance means to you.

SK: Happy Valentine’s Day to all! TJ, thanks for having me here on this special day … and thanks to all of you who take a break from your love-high weekend to share in the love with me.

When I first mulled over this question, I thought: Oh, no! I’m going to come across as jaded. And how ridiculous is that? A jaded romance author? And then I thought harder and realized, I’m not jaded. I’m a romantic. Just not the romantic I once was at nineteen.

Let me explain:

I don’t think romance has anything to do with flowers or chocolates or jewelry. In fact, hubby and I stopped with all the flowers and candy a couple years ago. Now I’m not criticizing anyone’s significant other arriving home today with an armful of roses and Godiva. :) Score! Give the thoughtful man a kiss! I just prefer a good date night. Give me lobster bisque and a movie night with just the two of us, and I’m in heaven (can you tell I have young children? A night of fun usually consists of a Happy Meal and Sponge Bob). Oh, and let’s not forget a card that he put thought into buying … and then wrote his own note inside.

As I get older, as I watch my children grow from babies, to toddlers, to kids big enough to ask questions that require concentration before answering, I’ve taken a hard look at what I want from the relationships in my life. What I expect. What I can live with and without.

I write romance novels. For me, they’re all about escape, rediscovering the beauty of first love … living it all over again. A vicarious thrill. It’s pretty miraculous that two people can meet, come together, find they like each other – find they love each other – and beat all obstacles to forge a life together. Yes, that’s romance. The euphoria of first love. But it can only be lived once.

So what is romance the rest of time? Through the years?

Sometimes I think about my heroines and heroes when I finish a book. I try to imagine what they would be like fifteen years after the book closes. I don’t see flowers or chocolates or candy in their futures. No more than I really care/need to have it in mine. I see struggles. I see fights. I see reality. But I see love. I see compromise. I see sacrifices, the very test of love.

I create strong characters. They’re going to love each other even when it might not be easy. Love isn’t easy. As my father says, “If it’s easy, it’s not worth much.”
Romance is love in action. It’s not a heart shaped box of chocolate. Romance is my husband cleaning the house because I have a headache and want a nap. It’s year after year of him encouraging me to attend that writing conference. The one I want but don’t need to attend. Want because it energizes my spirit and he wants me to have that. Love is him doing the dishes so I can watch Project Runway. Love is receiving a card on Father’s Day from my husband thanking me – ME?! – for making it easy for him to be a good father. It’s him surprising me with a Starbucks on a morning I’m really dragging. Those are some of the most romantic moments in my life. And I pray every day that they keep coming … that I return those small yet huge gestures of love to him.

As you celebrate Valentine’s Day, think about what you’re doing right, and maybe what you could be doing better. Don’t worry – I intend to remind myself, too. Every chance I get. Remember: romance is love in action. So act.

IMHO: Awww. Don’t tell me you’re husband isn’t a romantic. Remember that e-mail going around a couple of years back that had the title “Porn for Women” and when you opened it, it was pictures of a man cleaning the house? Now that’s love in action. Yep, still does it for me!

Thank you for wrapping up our contest in a big way, Sharie, and folks, remember to leave a comment for Sharie, and at least one other guest host, if you want to win that BIG BASKET OF LOVE full of ten autographed books, including THE LEGACY, rated by All About Romance’s as a Desert Isle Keeper and Buried Treasure 2008. Tell Sharie what one act you plan to do (keep it clean, folks, this is a PG blog) for the one you love, or the one you hope to love.

Today is the final day for comments, and tomorrow, while you all are snoozing in your beds (hopefully after a night filled with romance), I’ll be compiling all the data to determine who our winner of the BIG BASKET OF LOOVE is. Remember to check the rules on my contest page—the winner will have until Feb. 21 to send me an e-mail at tjb @ tjbennett dot com (no spaces) in order to claim the prize, or I’ll choose a new winner. Keep checking back on Feb. 15 until the announcement is made.

And after that, don’t go too far, because I have plans—plans, I say—for another wonderful contest in the works for March. I’ve even got a theme: “The Story Behind the Story.” And a guest host has just confirmedVictoria Dahl, a rising star of romance! So, if you are a fan of historical romance, or would like to try it out for free, check out my new contest in March. I guarantee you will like what you see.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who checked out my contest and I hope you had as much fun reading all the authors’ posts as I did. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list at the top of the page to be notified of more events here at IMHO, and also about the release of my next historical novel, THE PROMISE, rated as a TOP PICK by Night Owl Romance and available for preorder now. AND AND AND ... stop by PASIC's To Be Read blog today and leave a comment for me there. I'm guest hosting and talking about men. Yep, I said that, men. And I'll say it again. Men! Anyone leaving a comment by Feb. 14 gets a chance to win the week's prize, an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of THE PROMISE. Be the first to read about Wolf's mercenary brother, G√ľnter, and the woman he loves.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now go kiss someone you love (but leave your comments for Sharie first).

TJ Bennett

http://www.tjbennett.com/
The Legacy (AAR "Buried Treasure 2008")
--When secrets destroy, can love live on?--
The Promise (May 2009) (Eye on Romance TOP PICK)
--In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....--

29 comments:

Margay said...

Sharie, I have to agree with you that romance can't be found within the heart-shaped frame of a box of chocolates but, rather, in the little gestures that might go unnoticed by others but resonate in a big way with us. Like a back rub when your muscles feel like rocks, or him keeping the children occupied when you need to take a nap. There are better ways to say I Love You than with junk food that'll go straight to your hips anyway and flowers that'll wilt and die (okay, flowers and chocolates are nice, but that is so commercialized now, it doesn't mean as much as it used to).
Margay

sarabelle said...

Excellent post. I do believe that love like holiday cheer has become very commercialized. Love is not bought, your post says it excellently Margay, I would take the little things over the bought things anyday.

Maureen said...

My present for my husband today was to suggest we just go out for Chinese food which relieved him very much. He never knows what to do on Valentine's Day because he knows that I don't like to spend a lot of money on flowers and I definitely don't want candy and any time I don't have to cook dinner it's a good night.

sarah said...

Aggie Husbands make the best husbands ;)

kerribookwriter said...

Hey Sharie!

I love what you said about imagining your characters in the future.

Have you ever thought of doing a follow-up story for any of them? Even for a website freebie short story or something like that?

Happy V-Day ya'll!

Hugs,
Kerri

Minna said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Hey, all - thanks for checking in on this busy "love" day! Glad to see what I said resonates with you all. Was worried I would come off a bit as a cynic on today -- Vday of all days.

Kerri- I love that idea! The epilogue of of all epilogues. I need to do that. What a great gift for readers! Love the comments, ladies. Keep em coming.

Hugs, S

Lynne Marshall said...

You've said it perfectly. And I'm like you, I always think about the hero and heroine ten years down the road. Their love may not be as glamorous or dramatic, but practical, daily love is what it's all about!

Paula said...

Not a cynic but a realist. From what I've been reading in romance writer/reader blogs lately, most romance book lovers share this same opinion of romance.

Just thinking about romance books and the various ways how a girl/boy meets her love in those books, we know it's usually something else than chocolate hearts and roses.

aromagik said...

Hmmm... this really made me think, and what I've come up with will sound pretty lame, but my husband will appreciate it. I'm going to be better at remembering to fill the filtered water pitcher before I go to sleep, so it will be full when he goes to use it first thing in the morning to make coffee.

It's the little things, sometimes. *g*

~Lindy

Anonymous said...

Lindy,

Yay - you mean my post made a difference for you? :) Love that!

Sharie

Judi said...

What an excellent post! It's so true that the little things we do everyday are the ones that count.
Sure, a token gesture on Valentines day is always appreciated, but as in writing, it's the "showing, not telling" that counts the most.

Judi

Estella said...

Great post! The little things done every day for the one you love is what makes the world go round.

Virginia said...

Oh wow, I just found your blog! This is a great contest and I am going to book mark your blog. I am a big fan of historicals, love them. As far as Valentine's Day goes I have spent the day cleaning because hubby had to work all weekend. He doesn't really buy me gifts most of the time anywhys and yes I have to cook dinner tonight.

Its the little things that means the most. Everyone have a very happy Valentine's Day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Virgina, so glad you found TJ's blog, too. Don't work too hard tonight! Maybe you'll get come cozy time in front of the TV.

As for my hubby, he just left, braving the rain for a Chinese run. With luck, we'll be stuffed of lo mein and have the kids in bed by 8!

Keep the comments coming ... those of you who can break away from your night!

Hugs,
Sophie/Sharie

Billie Jo said...

Hi!!

I am a big fan of your Sophie Jordan books but did not know about the Sharie ones.

They look great.

I agree that the little things are the most special way to show someone you love them. Hubby and I do something quirky everyday to show our love.

Billie Jo

Mona said...

Great post. Happy Valentine's Day:)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Billie Jo!

Glad you love the historicals ... I'll have to hook you on my paranormals next!

Sharie/Sophie

Colleen Thompson said...

Happy Valentine's Day, ladies! I enjoyed your post, Sharie, and agree the a more mature love is not about the trappings. It's about being there and working as a team each day.

But the sparks that start a couple down this road are sure fun to read about!

Tai Shan said...

Great post! Although I'm not in a relationship at this time, those were the things that endeared me most in my relationships, more than the candy and flowers (although those were nothing to sneeze at either!) This Valentine's day I have to settle (in a good way) for an invite from my brother and his family for dinner, and I received some cute flowers from my sistwarh! Coolness :). That should hold me for a while.... heh.

Pam P said...

Hi Sharie, I'm a fan of both your historicals and paranormals.

Great post, so true, it's those everyday small things that mean the most when it comes to romance.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Deborah said...

Wonderful post! I completely agree. It's the little things in life that we do every day that really matter. Staying together and getting through the good times and the bad times are what romance is all about.

Kammie said...

Happy Valentine's Day! I had planned to go to a movie and dinner with my husband today. Unfortunately, I woke up sick and slept most of the afternoon. Not feeling very pretty today. lol I agree though, it's the little things that mean the most to me. The hugs, kisses and I Love You's all through out the year.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Colleen, thanks for stopping by - great talk today!

Ladies, I hope you all had a wonderful VDay! I hope romance -- as we all seem to agree it to be -- follows you through every day of the year ... and, hey, if not, we can always read about it in the pages of the books we love so much!! ;)

Hugs,
Sharie/Sophie

Liviania said...

I love the line that romance is love in action. It's very true.

I do not currently have an SO, but when I do, I plan to have a quiet evening together. Homemade dinner (cooked together), a favorite movie or a nice show, and then dessert.

TJ Bennett said...

I see some wonderful comments and some repeat offenders. :-) I'm wishing everybody good luck on the basket win tomorrow! And if tomorrow doesn't turn out to be your lucky day, then be sure to come back in March when I'll be running my next contest. I've had a second host confirm today--Kim Lenox, author of historical paranormal romance (set in Victorian England, no less). Yes, March is shaping up nicely.

And Sharie/Sophie, thanks so much for blogging today. I happen to know this hard-working lady spent the day supporting her fellow writers at an all-day workshop even though she was sick, and responding to comments on my laptop at the same time. :-) This is a real trooper, and we are glad she had time for IMHO's readers today. Thank you, Sharie!

And look for the basket winner announcement tomorrow afternoon, everyone!

TJB

TJB

aromagik said...

Sharie: It did! It's like my Valentine's Day resolution (I don't make them for New Years, but this one should be easy to keep and much appreciated by my hubby!)

BTW, I ADORE your books! XO

~Lindy

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me here, TJ! I had a nice evening last night - kids got their dinner wish of happy meals while me and hubby enjoyed Chinese. Then at 8, we relaxed and got caught up on the BIG LOVE episodes we've missed. Nice VDay!

Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments -- I wish you could all win books!!

Now, off to the store. We need milk.

Hugs,
Sharie/Sophie

Meljprincess said...

Hi Sharie,
I agree with you too even though I got my hubby a 32" flat screen TV and he got me diamond earrings. *g*
I enjoy your books and a good lobster bisque!
Nice to "see" you here on TJ's blog.

Mel K.