Friday, May 14, 2010

Guest Blogger: Amber Leigh Williams

Why do I write romance? I get this question a lot, as I'm sure many other romance authors do. Not so long ago, it made me go on the defensive. Now I see no reason at all because relationships are a part of everyday life. They fascinate me. Whether it's friendship, marriage, cohabitation or whatever else, the intrigue of relationship dynamics is the reason I turned to the romance genre. Many people think romance is about sex. I don't read or write romance for the lovemaking alone, however. Writing love scenes can actually be pretty excruciating. I write about realistic relationships. And in today's day and age, sex is a factor I can't ignore. Always, though, at the end of the day - it's about the love story. The meet. The build-up. The conflict. The attraction. The climax. And, finally, the resolution/HEA.

A real life love story led me to the premise of my first romance novel, FOREVER AMORE. It was the story of a British WWII soldier who was isolated in the Italian countryside. A local woman named Vonda risked her life by teaching him Italian and helping him to evade the Black Shirts and incoming German army. The story was adapted from Newby's book into a Hallmark film entitled In Love and War. As someone with an ingrained interest in the early '40's, I had planned on setting a historical romance against this backdrop. After watching this movie, my attention fixed on Veneto, Italy and I began to write LASR Best Book of 2009 Nominee FOREVER AMORE:

Was their love destined to last forever …

Engaged in a brutal dogfight, dashing American Lieutenant Charles Tyler crashes his broken plane into the Italian countryside. He prays for divine intervention—and is certain he’s found an angel from the very moment he looks up at Lucille Renaldi’s lovely face. Yet how can he be with her when his sense of duty tells him to stay away?

… or become another casualty of war?

Lucille’s attraction to the American is forbidden, her obligation to her family’s safety overwhelming. At great peril the Renaldis carry Charles from the crash site and disguise him as just another worker in their vineyard. Hidden there inside the ugliness of World War II is the beauty of a growing love, and a danger that could end their lives any day—when all they want is … forever.

Available Now:

I came into romance with romantic suspense when The Wild Rose Press contracted DENIED ORIGIN. Coincidentally, the first romance novel I read was a heart-pounding RS by Nora Roberts, Carnal Innocence. Relationships in RS often involve life/death circumstances. This makes the love story all the more intense. Also an RS trend is the "close quarters" factor. Throw two reluctant members of the opposite sex in grave ticking-time-clock situation and you've got the makings of a hot romantic suspense. This was the case with DENIED ORIGIN. What would happen if I revoked a rich heiress of her life and identity? What if she had to traverse the globe and a deadly terrorist organization to uncover her true life? The only missing ingredient was a sexy bullet catcher who would stop at nothing to see her safe:

Former FBI agent and bodyguard Mark Welles’s career and life are going downhill until he meets Marcisso Tuttora, the man his father died protecting years ago. Wealthy businessman Marcisso puts the life of his only child, Valentina, in Mark’s hands by asking him to return to Rio de Janeiro to guard her.

Less than a week later, Marcisso and his wife are murdered in their beds, and Valentina is running for her life for reasons she cannot begin to guess until she meets Mark Welles. A stubborn heiress to an oil fortune and the son of a highly decorated soldier, they must find a way to escape the country without getting caught and find out why they are chased by a deadly terrorist. In a matter of weeks, they are driven into a scavenger hunt across the globe laid out by Valentina’s parents and embark on a passionate, emotional journey as exhilarating and intense as the race for their lives.

Available Now:

The one sub-genre of romance I never dreamed of exploring was western romance. When broken actress Stella Ridge strolled into my imagination, however, and demanded I send her back home to her ranching roots, I could not ignore her or her silent cowboy, Judd Black. So grateful am I do these characters. Not just because this novella placed 1st in the 2009 More Than Magic Contest's novella category, but because Judd and the heros of both sequels of BLACKEST HEART helped me to understand the romance hero as a whole a heck of a lot more. And, I will admit, writing western romance is just plain fun!

BLACKEST HEART: America's Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family's ranch.

The changes that have taken place since her departure are enough to rock her world again. She uncovers a buried tragedy, struggles with the penetrating stares and questions from townsfolk, and comes up against an intriguing and unexpected spark with the silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black. Their wounded souls draw them together and Stella begins to realize that only in him can she find the solace she sought by leaving the bright lights of Hollywood.

Available Now:

BLUEST HEART: The Wayback bachelor is a dying breed, but that doesn't stop Casey Ridge from wanting to settle down. For this cowboy anyone but Josie Brusky would be an easy wrangle. Unfortunately for him, the Blue Bug singer and owner of Josie's Treasures doesn't believe in commitment much less marriage.

Years ago, Josie lost her heart to Casey's charm and dimpled smile. Since then she has done everything she knows to forget him. After all, she’s known as the local harlot and the daughter of the town’s biggest bigot. Casey could have any girl he wanted. Why would he saddle himself with her? In the wake of a shattering past, she refuses to give up her independence.

Casey digs down deep to win her over, but does he have what it takes to win Wayback's bluest heart?

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BET IT ON MY HEART: Ante up! Keefe Ridge's bronc-busting days are nearly over. Despite that and the fact that he is slowly making his dream business venture a reality, Wayback's wildest cowboy doesn't see any reason to settle down. He is even willing to bet that marriage isn't in the cards at all for him.

Agent Calli Morlani came to Wayback on a mission: to bring Stella Ridge back to Hollywood. When Stella refuses, she dares Calli to take in some local color and see what Wayback has to offer. Whether that includes Stella's devastatingly charming brother becomes irrevelant once Calli finds herself in bed with him - in more ways than one…

Will it take a tough city girl to make the Wayback playboy finally fall long and hard? Or will Keefe give Calli a reason to stay? Place your bet!

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The greatest lesson I've learned from romance is that, despite some preconceived notions, no two romances are the same. And if played out true to character and the right amount of conflict, there's always entertainment! Thank you, Rebecca, for letting me share today here. Readers, you can learn more at my website What's your favorite aspect of romance?

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