Saturday, 11 May 2013

Guest post by Christine S. Feldman + Giveaway

Romance’s Little Instruction Book
(or…9 Things I Learned About Life and Love by Reading Romance Novels)
by Christine S. Feldman

Have you noticed that romance novels tend to get a bad rap from certain people? “Romance,” they scoff, waving a hand in dismissal. “Bah. It’s just fluff. It may keep you entertained for an hour or two, but that’s all.”

Source: Magnus Manske/Wiggy

Can romance novels be pure entertainment and escapism? Some of them, sure. But the same could be said about pretty much every other genre out there, and you’ll find a huge range of substance within each one. And yet somehow the romance genre winds up being like your second cousin Scottie who is forced to sit at the kiddy table at family gatherings because there’s never any room left at the one for the grown-ups.

The truth is, there are plenty of wonderful little gems on the romance shelf at your local bookstore that have a lot to teach us about real life. For example, six-pack abs are an absolute must in a soul mate.

I kid, of course. Although six-pack abs can’t hurt…

All kidding aside, I’ve read plenty of romances that touched me or taught me something. To prove my point about their content, I’m offering up here a list of 9 truths commonly found in them that—in my opinion—carry over into real life:

1) True romantic heroes come in all different forms. Whether they be highland warriors, weathered cowboys, or corporate businessmen, the form they take doesn’t matter—and in fact it’s often very different from what the heroine initially thought she wanted. Her perfect partner may be the exact opposite of what she supposed would figure into her life’s plan, and yet the unvarnished reality usually turns out to be so much better than her fantasy ever was. So keep yourself open to possibilities…

2) Secrets have a way of coming out into the open (so you probably shouldn’t keep them in the first place). In a book, the secret may be something like a true identity or a hidden personal connection or even a secret baby, while real-life secrets may not be quite so dramatic—then again, Jerry Springer might argue differently.  But even if you have the best of intentions, keeping a secret from your significant other can lead to whopping cases of hurt feelings and misunderstandings that no amount of flowers can ever quite make right, so think twice before doing it. Flowers aren’t cheap.

3) Nobody likes a jerk. Flawed we’ll accept as long as our leading man is working to overcome his flaws, but a true jerk is never the hero of a romance novel for a very good reason. At least, not a very successful novel. You probably don’t want to invite one into your real life, either. No matter how nice his abs are. (But feel free to post a picture of his abs on Facebook. He might as well contribute to society somehow.)

4) Having the chutzpah to go after what you want can be very attractive. This is true in both heroes and heroines of romance novels. Nobody wants to read an entire book about somebody who sits around passively waiting and hoping that their dreams will come true, do they? We’re also drawn to dynamic people in real life. Just don’t confuse chutzpah with ruthlessness. It’s not a good look on anyone.

5) A healthy bit of humor does wonders for romance. I think half the movies Meg Ryan has ever made support this point far better than any argument I could ever make.

6) You need to hold on to the good stuff. The hero in my book Coming Home reminds the woman he loves how important it is to savor the good moments that come along in life, and I’m a big believer in that myself. They may come sandwiched in between some painful ones sometimes, but they should be appreciated all the more because of that.

7) Your true soul mate is probably going to turn out to be the one person standing beside you when you really need him most. When the chips are down and things seem bleakest in many a romance novel, the heroine often discovers that the hero is willing to stand beside her no matter what the personal cost. If someone in your life does that for you, hang on to him.

8) If you want your happy-ever-after, you’re going to have to be willing to take some risks. It might not involve something quite so flashy as sprinting through the airport to tell your one and only that he’s your one and only, but that doesn’t mean it won’t require some guts and tenacity. Maybe it involves wearing your heart on your sleeve, or maybe it’s got more to do with pursuing a lifelong dream no matter how impractical it seems. But happy endings always seem to require a certain amount of gumption.

Source: Multichill/cyclonebill
9) A man who will fix you breakfast in bed—and then do the dishes, too—is a true keeper. Okay, this one didn’t actually come from a romance novel, but by golly, I think it ought to appear in more of them. (My husband’s specialty is omelets. I’m a lucky girl, and don’t I know it.)

So the next time someone snickers at a romance novel just because it’s a romance novel, maybe you can set them straight. They don’t know what they’re missing.

Have you ever read something in a romance that struck a chord in you?

Christine S. Feldman writes both novels and feature-length screenplays, and, to her great delight, she has placed in screenwriting competitions on both coasts—and has even won a couple of them. In 2012 one of her screenplays was featured as a staged reading in New York City at the Gotham Screen International Film Festival, and later that same year she signed her first publishing contract for her debut novel, Coming Home, with a second one to follow this summer. When she is not writing, she is teaching kindergarten, puttering around in her garden, ballroom dancing with her husband, or doing research for her next project. 

Visit Christine at her website - Facebook - Goodreads

No woman ever really forgets her first love. Callie Sorenson is no exception. Hers was tall, tanned, and—as her older brother’s best friend—completely off limits.

Danny McCutcheon.

It’s a name that Callie hasn’t spoken in years, even if the man to whom it belongs has never really been all that far from her thoughts. Or her heart. But now a twist of fate will bring her back to the childhood home she left behind years ago, and to the hometown boy for whom she secretly longed.

When her mother takes a bad fall and breaks her hip, Callie leaves the bright lights of New York City to fly back west and help with the rehabilitation. It’s a tense homecoming due to a long time estrangement between mother and daughter, and it drives Callie to confront both a painful personal loss and her unanswered questions about the father who abandoned her when she was just a child.

It also brings her face to face with Danny again, and Callie quickly realizes that old feelings die hard.

But for Danny, it’s new feelings that are a problem. Callie is not the young girl he remembers but a woman now, and a very desirable one. They both have reasons to fight the growing attraction between them, but the temptation may just prove to be too much to resist, despite some very real risk to their hearts. The past casts a long shadow over the future, though, and Callie will have to overcome it or else face losing the one man who means the most to her.


Christine has generously offered a $10 USD Amazon gift card to a lucky commenter!

To be entered leave a comment and answer Christine's question: Have you ever read something in a romance that struck a chord in you? Tell us about one of the lessons you learned from romance novels!

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 24 May 2013!

Good luck!

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