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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sneaking a peek with Sandy James

OK, I'm beyond rude and all, but I'm going to cut into this blog post before it even starts! (This is Tami btw~) Sandy has graciously said that one lucky commenter on today's blog will win a copy of a book of their choice. So comment people, comment.......**we now return you to your blog that is already in progress!**

*********

I snuck a read of my first romance novel when I was twelve. My mother had a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and the Dove in a cabinet in our living room. I suppose I could have asked her to read it, but it was, after all, a naughty book. What fun was there in reading it when I had permission? That book would have a long-term impact on my world. I became a rabid fan of romance novels. From my teens on, that genre would be my main source of entertainment.

As romance changed and grew, so did my life. I got married, had a couple of fantastic children, and became a teacher. The authors I followed came and went, although I had my “keepers.” Woodiwiss, Garwood, Devaraux. But the romance novel was always there, a constant I depended upon. I could always count on the hero getting his heroine by the blissful prologue.

We shouldn’t find it at all a surprise that while our economy is struggling and businesses fail due to lack of consumer spending, the romance industry is chugging right along. What better escape from the problems of life, especially when the going is getting really tough? A man and a woman meet, endure trials and tribulations while falling in love, and after conquering what often seem like insurmountable odds, find their own happily ever after. And all that for less money than most DVDs – which, if I may point out, only last a couple of hours. A good book can keep me entertained for a hell of a lot longer than that.

I write great romances. It took me a long time and many affirmations to be able to make a statement like that. I, like many other authors, suffer from an appalling lack of self-esteem. Considering that we’re constantly putting our heart and soul out there for people to criticize, is it any wonder? But I can now say I write great romances because my readers are telling me so as are critics like You Gotta Read’s own Val. (Thanks so much for the “You Gotta Read” rating on Murphy’s Law!) What makes my stories so special? They’re about “real” people with real problems who find happily ever after.

In Turning Thirty-Twelve, I wrote a heroine you don’t often see in romance novels – a forty-something woman. Why shouldn’t forty-year-olds be heroines? They haven’t stopped living. They haven’t stopped loving. They deserve a knight in shining armor of their own. Jackie Delgado takes life by the horns, and despite being left by her husband for a trophy-wife, she keeps on living, laughing, and loving. I was so pleased that this book was chosen as a finalist in the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest. That pat on the back went a long way in giving me confidence in my work.

I write heroines who have the same characteristics as real women. In Free Falling, Laurie Miller calls herself, “A size fourteen in a size four world.” How many women have felt the same way? (Raises my hand!) But Laurie refuses to fit into the cookie-cutter mold of so many romance heroines who wait around to be rescued. She’s strong, self-reliant, and not only compliments her hero but completes him.

And my heroines aren’t the only “real” people. My contemporary romance series is called “Damaged Heroes” for a reason. I don’t write cardboard heroes. I write men who have been hurt and have to deal with the fallout. I write men who’ve made mistakes. I write men who need their women. Take Seth Remington, the damaged hero from Murphy’s Law. He’s a spoiled heir to a computer fortune who most people find a hard time liking in the beginning of the story. Katie Murphy sees past the fa├žade to the man beneath the surface, the man who was raised without a mother’s love or a father’s guidance, and she reaches out to Seth to help him be the man he was destined to be.

I write heroes who’ve lived through some of the worst life has to offer. Lucas Mitchell from All the Right Reasons comes back from Iraq with scars, both on the inside and the outside. Plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder, he find healing in his heroine, Jozsa Kovacs, giving hope to all of our war veterans who’ve shared an experience most of us can only imagine.

Perhaps one day, I’ll be blessed enough to hear from a fan that she feels about my novels the way I have felt about so many I have read – that they’ve added something to her life. I look forward to that day.

36 comments:

lastnerve said...

Don't enter me in the contest as I already have all the books but DANG YA'LL READ THEM ALL! Yes, I am Southern and yes, I do feel strongly enough about these books to write in all CAPS! Outstanding writer and books! I loved the blog today, great to see you Sandy!

Lisa F. said...

I've never read your books but I do like to read books where I can relate to the characters.

Sandy James said...

Thanks so much for the great comments! This week was so crazy at school, I totally spaced my own blog! *slaps forehead*
Val, you are such a sweetheart!
Lisa, I'd be honored if you chose to read one of my stories. Characterizations are what I do best. :-)

Judah Raine said...

Hey Sandy - great blog, as are your books! That many reviews don't lie, lol. Keep writing, whatever you do.
Jude

Miriam Newman said...

Well, Sandy, you got me at the horse on the book cover. I have no experience with Standardbreds, but have been around Thoroughbred racing and foxhunting all my life. Lots of great stories there.

Ellen said...

Hey Sandy!

Wow, me too :) I didn't start out with Woodiwiss though, I started out with Barbara Cartland when I was like 11. But by the time I'd read Ashes In The Wind at sixteen I was a complete goner! Ain't it just the greatest to now be one of the people lucky enough to bring that kind of happiness to others :)

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Sandy James said...

Thanks so much, Jude! Looking forward to reading your new release!

Miriam -- Glad you liked the cover. If you're a horse lover, I'm sure you'd enjoy harness racing. It's like Nascar with sulkies. ;-)

Barbar Cartland. Wow, Ellen. That takes me baack. And I think Ashes is my favorite Woodiwiss. Or maybe Rose in Winter, or maybe... :-)

Sandi S. said...

Good for you! I write about real characters as well :-) And way to go with the great reviews!

Sandy James said...

Hi, Sandi! Love your stories!! And thanks!
:-)

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Sandy, wonderful blog! I think Woodiwiss's Ashes was my first romance but I was old enough I had no issues about Mom knowing I was reading it. ;-) I picked it up as an escape during a hard time. I still tend to pick up romances for that.

Your books are high on my to-read list, guaranteed. Now to find more reading time! I'm in the middle of four right now, I think.

And I'm quite sure you'll get exactly that comment from more than one fan.

lainey bancroft said...

What lastnerve said...minus the southern accent. I'm Canadian, eh? =)

Cathy Shouse said...

Sandy,

Since I started reading more romance, I've been able to see more romance all around me. It's uplifting. :)

I'd love to read Turning Thirty-Twelve. Hint: pick me, pick me!

Sandy James said...

Thanks so much, LK! Looking forward to reading A Different Drummer! :-)

Sandy James said...

Thanks, Lainey! Every time the hubby goes north, he comes back sayind "oot" instead of "out." :-)

Sandy James said...

Hi, Cathy!! You're in the drawing! I'm so glad 30-12 will be in print -- ANY DAY NOW! Amazon and Barnes & Noble will have me arrested for stalking if I check their websites any more often. ;-)

Peggy said...

Sandy, if it's not too late, I would like to be in the drawing too. I want to read Thirty-Twelve, so I would really love a chance to win the drawing for that book. But I would be happy with any of them!

Sandy James said...

Hi, Peggy! We're not drawing the winner until this evening, so consider yourself entered!! Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog! :-)

pams00 said...

Sandy, I have your books except the new one in June ;)! Your work is so awesome. It is hard for me to put them down when I start reading.
For anyone who hasn't gotten a chance to read Sandy's novels, yet they are a must read!

Hope you have a good weekend !!

Pam S

Autumn Jordon said...

I'm there with you, Sandy. Except, I started off reading Mary Higgins Clark and Sandra Brown. Loved both--the suspense and romance. You know what I write. ;>)

Have a great weekend.

Autumn
2009 Golden Heart Finalist
www.autumnjordon.com
http://autumnjordonsnotes.blogspot.com/

Kathleen said...

Ah Kathleen E Woodiwiss, she was one of my first historial reads alongy with Rosemary Rogers and Beatrice Small when I was in my late teens. There books were at the time, to be read in the closed door of my room. Not to let my brothers and father see what Iwas reading. They had Playboy, I had my Tall dark and handsome heroes, who could make you swoon at the turn of a page. And my reading list only got better and better. I love your stories and would be pleased to be able to put them on my "Shelf".

Sandy James said...

*hugs* for all the kind words, Pam!! I think you'll love Faith of the Heart. From all its contest wins, it's my best. :-)

Sandy James said...

Hi, Autumn!! Some good authors got you hooked on romance!! Congrats on the Golden Heart final!! :-)

Sandy James said...

Kathleen -- I'm so glad you'd like to read my stories!! I'd be proud to have my books sitting next to Woodiwiss, Rogers, and Small!! :-)

Edie Ramer said...

Hi Sandy, I've got to say that I know more size 14s than 4. Maybe size 4 is the average heroine in the fictional and tv/movie world, but in the real world, no way!

I started reading romance when my sil dropped a bag of Harlequins off at my house. I must have been about 24. I was hooked! I still am.

Sandy James said...

Hi, Edie!! I'm with you. Heroines in books should be like real women!!

Carolyn Matkowsky said...

Great post, Sandy. I am probably the only romance reader and writer in the world who hasn't read The Wolf and the Dove. I bought the book a few years ago and still haven't read it. I love Woodiwiss' Shanna. Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love was my favorite romance at the time Wolf and Dove came out. Your books definitely sound like great reads. Good luck.

Sandy James said...

Hi, Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by to read my post! If you liked Shanna, YOU GOTTA READ (pun intended) The Wolf and the Dove! :-)

Sandy James said...

BTW -- Thanks to all of you for not mentioning that I said "PROLOGUE" when I meant "EPILOGUE." *smacks forehead* I'm really having an "off" week. :-)

Leslie's Grip for the day said...

I sadly have not read the books yet :( But I would love to read them! But I think the books have a great read to them and can not wait to do so!

Sandy James said...

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog! I sure hope you enjoy the stories!! And you're in the drawing for the ebook! :-)

Tami said...

Leslie's Grip for the day - congrats, you are our winner today.

Please email me at:

tami.winbush @ gmail.com (no spaces)

Thanks for all who entered!

Nancy said...

Sorry to be late, Sandy and Tami. I can hardly wait to dive into Turning Thirty-Twelve!

Light,
Nancy Haddock

Sandy James said...

Hi, Nancy! Thanks so much for stopping by to read my blog! I sure hope you enjoy the story!! :-)

Lynn Reynolds said...

Great blog, Sandy. Yes, we writers definitely do have too many self-esteem issues. Maybe it's because we get so emotionally attached to our own fictional creations and their worlds!

Sandy James said...

Thanks, Lynn! There's definitely something a little "wrong" with us, but I don't think we'd trade it for the world. :-)

Tami said...

Since my origional winner wasn't able to contact me, we have drawn another:

Carolyn Matkowsky

Congrats!