T.E.A.M. Dog & Cat Rescue Fundraiser!

corgi pup in hoodie

I am stupidly in love with animals, especially dogs and any sort of fuzzy little baby (and baby elephants, I might add).  Most of my charitable donations every year go to animal charities, especially in the event of a major disaster when the needs of animals–particularly farm animals that are often the sole support of families in the developing world–are often forgotten.

So I’m very happy to be part of a group of romance authors helping out T.E.A.M. Dog & Cat Rescue, a non-profit animal rescue charity based in Toronto, Canada.  This all-volunteer charity rescues at-risk animals and helps them find their forever homes.

T.E.A.M. is currently running a fantastic on-line auction Valentine’s Auction on facebook, with some wonderful auction items.  I’ve already made a financial donation and I’m also part of a fabulous book basket up for grabs, organized by the lovely historical romance writer, Lila DiPasqua.  100% of the money raised will go toward vet bills for the animals who’ve been rescued.  Check out the romance basket up for bid!

romance basket

The basket is just one of the many great items donated for the auction.  So if you’d like to help our furry friends, please check out the Online Valentine’s Auction and consider placing a bid or simply making a donation to the charity.  Even better, why not make a bid on behalf of your sweetie–it’s a great way to show some love this Valentine’s Day!

You can find the auction here on facebook, and also check out the rules and regs for bidding (items can be shipped–you don’t have to live in the Toronto area).

The animals thank you!

Love Between the Covers

Most romance readers are at least vaguely aware of how big the romance publishing industry is, and that romance writers produce an incredibly diverse range of books across the genre. But did you know that romance fiction comprised the largest share of the U.S. consumer market in 2010?  And that revenues from romance fiction far surpass other genres, like classic literary fiction and mysteries?

Despite that, it’s pretty much true that romance novels and their readers don’t get a whole lot of respect.  Laurie Kahn, a respected documentary filmmaker, wants to help change that.  She’s part of the Popular Romance Project, an exciting initiative set up to explore the origins and influence of popular romance.  The Project has a number of cool things on the go, but the one I want to tell you about today is a documentary that Laurie is filming.

The documentary is called Love Between the Covers, and it will be a feature-length film intended for  international television broadcast, focusing on the global community of romance readers, writers, and publishers.  Love Between the Covers will also be used at a symposium at the Library of Congress, in nationwide library programs about popular romance run by the American Library Association, and at a website dedicated to studying popular romance across time and cultures–the prototype of that website is currently at the existing Popular Romance Project website.

I’m thrilled to be part of this project in a small way as a participant in Laurie’s interviews with authors and readers of romance, which include New York Times bestselling writers like Eloisa James, Brenda Jackson and Jayne Ann Krentz.  I know that Laurie is looking at our community in a completely respectful and non-condescending way, and I’m happy to support the project.  I’m hoping you can support it too.

Laurie and her team have done an excellent job thus far of raising funds to film Love Between the Covers.  But she now needs our help to finish making this film. She recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to do just that.  If you go to her Kickstarter page (lovebetweenthecovers.com) you can see a fun and really enlightening video preview of Love Between the Covers.

And if you look real hard, you can see an interview clip with me near the beginning of the film!

Folks, I hope you can take a few minutes to check out the video preview of  Love Between the Covers.  As Laurie herself says in the trailer, it’s time to take a good look at the women who read and write these books, and who fuel this powerhouse of culture and commerce.  Laurie is doing just that in a respectful and supportive way, and that’s something I think we all can support.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yes, it’s here – the Love Day!  Romance readers and writers are experts in matters of the heart, and boy do we ever take flack for it.  How many of you have had to put up with snarky comments or sneering looks from your fellow commuters, just because you chose to read a romance novel on the bus?  Or how about the elitist bookstore clerk who can’t help making a rude remark about that historical or paranormal romance you intend to buy?

Romance writers aren’t immune to that kind of snobbery, either.  I was doing a book signing in a mall a few years ago, and a perfectly normal looking woman made a point of crossing the very wide corridor in front of the store, just to tell me that she didn’t waste her time reading “books like that.”

Well, in the words of New York Times bestselling author Lani Diane Rich, “screw that!”  I saw Lani in a workshop yesterday, and she reminded us that writing romance is a truly awesome thing to do.  We get to write wonderful, heartfelt stories that bring joy to people’s lives, and help them through what might otherwise be a pretty crappy day.  We write about love in all it’s wonderful, mysterious permutations.  We write about a force that is invisible to the naked eye but is as powerful as a category five hurricane, a thing lacking in physical substance but which can remake the world in the most positive, life-affirming ways.

Romance novels seek to capture the essence of that force, and shape it into a story that will have an impact on the reader’s mind and heart.  And make no mistake – romance novels do make a difference in people’s lives.  I recently read a wonderful blog post by the uber-talented Teresa Medeiros, who also happens to be a lovely person.  The name of the post is “SAY IT LOUD AND SAY IT PROUD: I READ AND WRITE ROMANCE!” In it, Teresa talks about why she writes romance:

People often ask me why I write romance. I write romance because the ever expanding boundaries of the genre allow me to express my own heartfelt beliefs in optimism, faith, honor, chivalry and the timeless power of love to provoke a happy ending. In a society gutted by cynicism, we have found the courage to stand up and proclaim that hope isn’t corny, love isn’t an antiquated fantasy, and dreams can come true for women still willing to strive for them.

If you doubt this, you must read about some of Teresa’s friends and fans and the impact of her novels on their lives.  They are truly moving examples of the power of the written word, and of how love and hope can see us through some very dark times.  Trust me.  You owe it to yourself to read Teresa’s post.

To all my readers and friends I send you my gratitude and love, and I wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day.  May it be an awesome one!