Posted in News
August 19, 2014

Celebrating Romance—ALL Shades (Read a Romance Month!)

By Liz Everly

I’m so happy to be asked to be a part of Read a Romance Month (RARM) blogger day, especially during the week when we at Lady Smut are acknowledging one of our own—Alexa Day, whose short story “Turnabout” is published this week!

When I first started writing romance, I read about the “rules ” or “conventions” of the romance genre. Rules about which time periods and settings to write about, rules about how many sex scenes to include, and rules about the mixing of races. Write outside of these conventions and you’d have a hard time snagging an agent or a publisher.

When I wrote my first historical romance, I was inspired by an actual interracial romance where I live. It’s on the books—an ex-slave (Edward Tarr) and white woman who were married and living in the Shenandoah Valley in the 1760s. I mentioned this to my agent, who said, “That will never sell.” And she was probably right. Unfortunately.

But things are changing—very slowly. We’ve discussed this a bit on Lady Smut. We love our men and women of color—Asian, African-American, Latino—and some of us are writing about interracial romances. This week on Lady Smut we are celebrating Alexa Day’s Turnabout, which features an African-American woman and a white man.

This is one HAWT cover, wouldn't you say?
This is one HAWT cover, wouldn’t you say?

Here is the blurb for the story:

The mistress of the manor will finally have the man she longs for … but only if she obeys his every command.

Sugarcane heiress Chloe Newton said goodbye to indentured servant Peter Darrow with her first kiss, on a hillside one long-ago summer night as mechanized cane cutters worked the fields below them. Now Peter’s returned, no longer a boy and no one’s servant, to take charge of the fleet of machines that work Chloe’s estate. On Turnabout Day, Chloe takes on the uniform and duties of a maid, and she seeks the courage to offer Peter more than a celebratory drink. By giving in to his commands, she’ll surrender to his need and become mistress of her own desire.

In my own books, one of my characters is Sanj, who is gorgeous, dark, sexy Indian man featured in all three of my SAFFRON NIGHTS books. He has a serious  affair with a white American woman, then marries a white British woman. His story is mostly told in the the second book in the series, CRAVINGS, which is set in Ecuador and Saint Lucia. Plus, I write about many different nationalities in my EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD SERIES.







For me, variety is the spice of life. Why shouldn’t our romances celebrate diversity? In a genre where we examine love and romance, isn’t it time to embrace all forms of it? From all people? Cultures? Sexualities?

When  Fifty Shades of Grey swept through the charts, it felt to me like that was another kind of celebration and acceptance. Even though I remain unimpressed by the actual writing in the books, I was thrilled that many people who have felt a sense of shame about their proclivities were now celebrating them. I am also ecstatic that it became a little more okay to say among SOME circles “I write erotic romance.”

It’s a fantastic and wild time to be writing (and reading) romance‑whether it’s erotic, sweet, spicy, paranormal, and so on, good romance gets at the heart of what makes us human. Let’s celebrate, my friend.

Here are the questions  asked of all of the bloggers participating in Read a Romance Month:

1 – Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
Hell no. I don’t kiss and tell. Grin.
2 – Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?) I’ve always loved to create stories, which I did on the stage as a dancer and actress for many years. In college, I switched majors to journalism because I thought it was more practical.  During all of this time I wrote fiction and poetry, just for my own entertainment. I started a novel when I was about 12. I started and finished one when I was in high school. Years later, after making my living as a freelancer and mostly nonfiction, I found fiction again. I don’t think there was ever one moment for me. My career path has been non-linear.
3 – Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?) This is a tough one! I suppose I should write something sexy here…Lady Chatterley’s Lover? I loved that book and the way in which it was written so well and elevated the erotic to the literary. But a book I DO return to time and time again is a book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, “Gift from the Sea.” Every time I read it, I take away something powerful and rich from it. It changes my life every time I read it.
To usher in the celebration, I am giving away one of the three books in my SAFFRON NIGHTS series (your choice, e-book versions, only), and one of my EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD serial, PLUS since we are celebrating the release of ” Turnabout” I’ll give away a copy of that, too! Quite a haull! Please leave a comment to be entered to win.


Liz Everly writes under a pen name to escape expectations and to embrace all possibilities.  She’s the author of the SAFFRON NIGHTS SERIES (e-Kensington), the EIGHT LAYS AROUND THE WORLD serial, and a contributor in LADY SMUT’S BOOK OF DARK DESIRES.  She also writes regional bestselling cookbooks and Agatha-award nominated traditional mysteries under her own name. On any given day, you may find her researching and writing about murder, sex, or cooking techniques. She’d not have it any other way. Please stop by her website for more information. Twitter @Lizeverly1. She’s a member of RWA, Kiss of Death chapter, and Washington Romance Writers. Contact her at Lizeverly@rocketmail.com.

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  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    I can’t *wait* to read Alexa’s short story–it sounds fabulous. I have lived in another area where there were interracial married couples living and farming back before the civil war–and people left them alone. Perhaps the large group of freed black American population nearby had something to do with this acceptance–but my feeling is that people back then were exactly like they are now. A few crazy bastards with racist issues, and most other people just wanted to live and let live.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorLiz Everly

      That’s my feeling, too. I found Edward Tarr’s story very inspiring–I think others would, as well.

      Reply to Liz Everly
  • Post authorAlexa Day

    Liz! Thanks for my shoutout! And I’m loving what Read A Romance Month has been doing the last couple of weeks. I have my fingers crossed for Read A Romance Year, in fact. 🙂

    I bet you could sell that historical now. I’m encouraged by where interracial romances are headed these days, especially the historicals. I think publishing was just one of the places that viewed history in general and American history in particular as a series of convenient pigeonholes, but I think that’s changing for the better.

    Just one thing … the heroine in “Turnabout Day” is actually Jamaican, not African American. If I ever return to the alternate history where I set this story, I might find that an American or two has let herself in, but right now, it’s all Jamaican ladies. 😉

    Reply to Alexa Day
    • Post authorLiz Everly

      Ah-ha! Thanks for clearing that up, Alexa!

      Reply to Liz Everly
  • Post authorCourtney Cogswell

    I just discovered your blog from RARM website and I’m super excited to start following. I love romance and just about every subgenre within…especially if there is some good steamy bits 🙂 I have been reading romance for probably over 20 years now and I have never seen as much variety and spice in the genre as there is now. I love that I can find amazing stories about all kinds of people and challenge myself to read about characters that are so different from me. I may not branch out much from the romance genre, but at this point I don’t have to because there is something out there within romance to fit every mood I’m in. Thanks for participating in RARM and I can’t wait to check out your books…they sound right up my alley!

    Reply to Courtney Cogswell
    • Post authorLiz Everly

      Thanks so much, Courtney, for stopping by! I think you’re right–it’s a great time for romance!

      Reply to Liz Everly
  • Post authorbastdazbog

    I am just getting back into reading romances again (I tend to binge read a genre for a couple of years then move on to the next) and it is wonderful to see that interracial romances are so popular! When I was reading my Grandma’s hand-me-down Harlequins the only interracial romances I read were Sheikhs kidnapping white women, and honestly I didn’t find that the Sheikhs were very Arabic in appearance, culture, or behavior. Anyway, all the books sound amazing but the serial “Eight Lays around the World” sounds especially appealing!

    Reply to bastdazbog
    • Post authorLiz Everly

      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. How cool that your Grandma read Harlequins. Mine did, too!

      Reply to Liz Everly
  • Post authorLiz Everly

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    Celebrating Romance—ALL Shades (Read a Romance Month!)

    Reply to Liz Everly
  • Post authorBeauty's Punishment

    I don’t see why we can’t celebrate diverse cultural romance, and not just M/f romance all the time. Why does it just have to be a month?

    I’ve been reading romance novels forever. I like it that Katie MacAllister was one of the first authors to put a woman in her books that isn’t perfect and is usually quirky. I’ve read more than 40 of her books, among countless other author ladies. I don’t want the perfect romance all the time since it’s boring. Give me quirky and funny along with my romance.

    Reply to Beauty’s Punishment

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