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 confirmed—Victoria 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, Günter, and the woman he loves.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Now go kiss someone you love (but leave your comments for Sharie first).
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....--