Hi PJ! Thanks so much for joining the Book Obsessed Chicks for our CHEERLEADERS FOR ROMANCE SPOTLIGHT. I picked you because you are everything romance! Your enthusiasm is infectious and I love watching you promote what you love!
Thank you so much, Kim. I’m honored to be chosen.
Please tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m a retired banker, widowed, and currently living in North Carolina with my 80-pound lap dog. I run the Romance Dish blog, an upbeat, positive site where we review books, interview authors, have a lot of fun giveaways, and share our love of romance.
When did you fall in love with the romance genre?
I was 13 when I grew bored with the children’s department at my public library. I snuck into the “adult” section one day, discovered Victoria Holt, and never looked back.
What made you decide to help spread the word about romance?
I’ve always been an advocate for romance but didn’t do anything formally until nine years ago when I was asked to review books for a now-defunct website. When that website closed in 2009, three friends and I decided to create The Romance Dish. My friends have all gone on to other endeavors but I’m still happily running the blog. The hope, joy, intelligence, and happy endings found in romance novels bring me reading pleasure and have helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life. My hope is that by spreading the word about the books I’ve enjoyed, I might bring the joy of reading romance into someone else’s life.
Who are your favorite authors?
It’s a long list and I know I’m sure to forget someone so I’ll apologize for that in advance. Some of my favorites are: Julie Anne Long, Mary Jo Putney, Anne Gracie, Robyn Carr, Anna Campbell, Eloisa James, Patience Griffin, Vanessa Kelly, Jill Shalvis, Joanna Bourne, Christina Dodd, Jennifer McQuiston, Sarah MacLean, Elizabeth Michels, Lisa Kleypas, Rose Lerner, Julia Quinn, Sabrina Jeffries, Monica McCarty, Katharine Ashe, Debbie Mason, Tessa Dare, Roxanne St. Claire, Manda Collins, Valerie Bowman, Kaki Warner, Terri Osburn, Virginia Kantra, Eva Leigh, Carey Baldwin, Elizabeth Hoyt, Cathy Maxwell, Miranda Neville, Kristan Higgins, Kate Meader, Emily March, RaeAnne Thayne, Jesse Hayworth, Karen Hawkins, Julie James, and Paula Quinn. To name a few.
Do you have any advice for others who want to be romance cheerleaders?
Do it! With all the social media platforms available to us today, there really is no reason for anyone to not be a cheerleader for the romances they love. My advice would be, if you enjoy a book, post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest…wherever you hang out online and feel comfortable posting. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy post discussing the pros and cons of the story. Sometimes, “Wow! This book is awesome. It kept me reading until 2 AM!” is all you need. Photos are important in social media so it’s a good idea to include one with your Facebook of Pinterest post. And don’t give away spoilers (important to those of us who may not have yet read the book).
What new books have you been shouting out about lately?
Oh, some good ones! There’s The Study of Seduction, a historical romance by Sabrina Jeffries that I think is one of the best she’s ever written. The Infamous Heir by Elizabeth Michels is a terrific historical romance redemption story that takes her writing to a new level. Barefoot with a Bad Boy by Roxanne St. Claire, a contemporary, second-chance love story that I’ve waited years to read, exceeded my every expectation. Barefoot with a Bad Boy is the third book in St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Undercover trilogy. I strongly recommend reading the three books in order. The Untamed Earl, a May 3rd historical by Valerie Bowman that continues her Playful Brides series has my heart singing with joy. And The Saints of the Lost and Found by T.M. Causey isn’t a romance but has romantic elements and a hopeful ending. It’s a stunning contemporary suspense novel with paranormal elements that grabbed me from the first page and refused to let go. It was almost 3 AM before I turned the final page.
I’m also very excited about some debut books coming out in the next few months. There’s Hold Your Breath, an April 5th romantic suspense by Katie Ruggle; How the Duke Was Won, an April 26th historical romance by Lenora Bell, and Hot in Hellcat Canyon, Julie Anne Long’s May 31st contemporary romance debut.
What do you do when you’re not shouting out about great books?
I’m an enthusiastic traveler and photographer. I love getting creative in the kitchen and especially making handcrafted chocolates. I’m a life-long football fan and a dedicated soccer and dance cheerleader for the young people in my life. My dog and I do a lot of exploring on our long walks along my city’s greenway. And, of course, I’m always reading new books to shout about!
Are you a conference attendee? Which ones?
I’ve attended the RWA national conference and Georgia Romance Writers’ Moonlight and Magnolias conference for the past several years. Most of my 2016 schedule is still up in the air but I am registered to attend the inaugural Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, Washington in September. I love the opportunity to meet and mingle with authors and other readers at conferences and I always come home having learned something new.
What does your family think about your love of romance?
Since I’ve had my nose in a romance book for most of my life, I’d guess they’ve pretty much grown used to it.
Your Top 10 in Romance….
My top 10 favorite romances are very fluid. Some titles remain constant but others come and go depending on when I’m asked. So, with that being said, here are my top 10 favorite romances…today.
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Sweet Madness by Heather Snow
A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James
To Scotland With Love by Patience Griffin
The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long
Open Country by Kaki Warner
Barefoot With a Bad Boy by Roxanne St. Claire
The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie
Virgin River by Robyn Carr