Posts tagged with: books

Let’s Talk – Disabilities in Romance

I’m writing this post today from Duke Cancer Center where I will be talking to third-year medical residents as a survivor of ovarian cancer (Survivors Teaching Students is a nationwide program – ).  

As I watch the people move before me, I am awed at some of the conflicts, determination, and love that I see. These people (and I can proudly say that I was one of them) are heroes and heroines, battling against foes plaguing their bodies. They often have husbands, wives, and partners with them.

When we, as authors and readers, talk about increased diversity in romance, we often jump to race and sexual orientation diversity. We’ve made great strides in offering readers wonderful stories in these areas, however, I still do not see many disabled heroes and heroines in romance.

Decades ago I met a young writer at a conference who had just pitched a story idea with a blind heroine. She was told by the agent that she would not be able to sell a blind heroine to a publishing house. Do you think this is still true?

Some say that readers want fantasy when they read romance. That bringing the challenging conflicts that come with a disability to a romantic story could turn readers off. But with television shows like ABC’s Speechless, with a main character with cerebral palsy, I believe the tides have begun to turn.


My Highland Hero shaving my head when my hair started falling out. He shaved his too.

As an ovarian cancer survivor, I’ve thought about writing a heroine with cancer. Of course, she will live as I only write happy endings and that is what readers of romance expect. But as I toss and twist the plot in my mind, I realize that the story actually falls more into the category of realistic fiction than romance because the fight for the woman’s life becomes the focus and not the building relationship. Can such conflicts overshadow the romance, thus shunting the book out of the romance genre?

There are all types of disabilities, some much easier to deal with than others. I could easily see a dyslexic heroine or an amputee. I’d like to read a romance between a cancer warrior heroine and a doctor. The whole taboo thing about patient/doctor boundaries would be so interesting to explore. The military book I read while judging last year’s Ritas had a very strong hero dealing with the loss of his leg and phantom pain. The core story still remained about the growing relationship.

But what about someone with bipolar depression or complete paralysis from a spinal injury? Would these types of disabilities be too much for the casual reader? Or would these books open a view into the struggles that come with these conflicts, pulling readers into the richness of the characters? However, again, would the focus in these books end up being on the physical/mental conflicts rather than the romance, making these books realistic fiction with romantic elements?

What do you think? I think we’ve come a long way in areas of diversity over the last decade, but I still don’t think all people are represented in romance. Do you have examples of diverse heroes and heroines with disabilities? Do you think there is a market for such romance? What type of diverse heroes and heroines would you like to see in romantic literature?


And before you leave, since it is still September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month (and I’ve got my teal on!), please remind yourself of the symptoms of this sneaky, vicious disease.


Bloating that is persistent

Eating less and feeling fuller

Abdominal pain

Trouble with your bladder

Other symptoms may include: fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation, and menstrual irregularities.


Hi! When I’m not writing Scottish Historical romance and driving my kids around, I’m an educator and advocate for Ovarian Cancer Awareness. When I was diagnosed six years ago, I barely knew even one symptom of this very quiet disease, which is the most deadly of the GYN cancers. If you are a warrior, survivor, or just want to chat, please feel free to contact me at . I’m an “open book” when it comes to talking about my OC experiences. Heather




How readers can give back to authors

Loyal readers are an author’s greatest asset–and not just because you buy our books. Any time you share your enthusiasm with someone else, you’ve given back!

Here are seven suggestions for how readers can help their favorite authors–and most of these ideas are free.

Fangirl Friday – June 16

Happy Friday Everyone! 

It’s big weekend for Dad’s with Father’s Day Sunday. Hmmm…how to spoil the men in our lives??? Perhaps a book would be a better gift (anything would be a better gift!). 

Father's day

Hee! Hee! Now on to the seriously awesome Ruby sales and releases!

Elizabeth Langston’s book released this week!

Wish You Were Here

Book 3 of the I Wish SeriesWishYouWereHereFINISHebook4.21 (2) - Copy

She can’t forget what she’s lost. He shows her there’s more to be found.

Months after the loss of her twin, Sara Tucker is still struggling to recover. She ought to be getting ready for college; instead, she’s frozen in place. But when her plans for the future unravel, Sara knows she can no longer handle her problems alone.

Grant is a supernatural being, dedicated to serving humans in need. He’s enjoying his promotion to guardian, but he’s restless, too. There’s someone he met on a previous assignment that he wants to help–except Sara needs wishes, and Grant’s not a genie anymore.

When his league accepts her case, Grant volunteers to go. As he works beside Sara to fix the mess of her life, they may both discover that, sometimes, the best way forward is to find a new path.

Amazon Link

Barnes & Noble Link

Kobo Link

iTunes Link

Also, Shea Berkley has a book on sale for $0.99 starting Monday!

The Marked Son

will be on sale for .99 cents from June 20-26, this coming Monday through Sunday.


The first in the lyrical, exciting Keepers of Life trilogy by new talent Shea Berkley.

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him. When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before in his dreams. He’s felt her fear and heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.

Barnes and Noble Link

Amazon Link

Kobo Link

Powells Link

And check out all the new covers in the series! 




Have a fantastic weekend! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to curl up with a good book. Do you have a release or sale you’d like everyone to know about? List is below in the comments. 

Read a Romance Month


(I’m hi-jacking this post….but Darynda can keep her cute pic up there because she’s the blogger on RARM TODAY – go check out her post!)

So this is Liz Talley and just in case you didn’t know, August is the month of romance! SO this is OUR month, people. It’s our chance to stuff the good wonderfulness of romance books down the throats of all those prigs who scoff and turn their uppity noses to the sky at us and our inferior product. Oh, you didn’t know? Romance is trashy.

Which is why it totally fits me. In fact I may wear white after Labor Day this year. And I know how to tease my hair Texas-sized. Oh, and I’ve been known to mix silver and gold jewelry and I do love a good Moonpie. Yep, I fit right into trashy…except we all KNOW that romance writing is some of the most beautiful, clever, satisfactory writing out there…and we all love it.

Yes, this is our month.

Read a Romance Month was started by Bobbi Dumas RARM pic

The first Read-A-Romance Month was launched in August 2013 by Bobbi Dumas, an unabashed romance fan and advocate. As a freelance writer who specializes in romance and women’s fiction, Bobbi has been privileged to write about the books, writers and other great aspects of the publishing industry, especially as they affect and impact women. She primarily writes reviews and features for NPR and Kirkus, the book media site where she also pens a popular romance blog.

This month over on her website ( you can find 93 award-winning authors blogging and giving away fabulous prizes to help celebrate romance books. Isn’t that fun?

So I decided to ask a few Rubies why they love romance books so much and here are their answers:

Gwynlyn  MacKenzie

Why?  Because sometimes reality sucks.  Between the covers of a romance, the ending is always worth the struggle to reach it, and that translates so well to real life, infusing optimism into the darkest days, kindling the belief there will be light at the end of the tunnel.  Love is the most powerful force on earth.  Romance celebrates it, illuminates it, and shouts to the world that love is now, as it has always been, the answer.

 Anne Marie Becker

 For the escape and for the moment of triumph. When life around me feels crazy, which is most days, escaping into a character’s world for a few minutes is precious relief. And knowing they will overcome all obstacles to achieve the greatest reward is reassuring in a world where there are no guarantees.

 Heather McCollum

 For the escape and for the moment of triumph. When life around me feels crazy, which is most days, escaping into a character’s world for a few minutes is precious relief. And knowing they will overcome all obstacles to achieve the greatest reward is reassuring in a world where there are no guarantees.

Jennifer Bray-Weber

 To live vicariously in a time and place unlike my own. To relive the first blush of love. To sigh in satisfaction of a HEA. Yeah…that’s why.

Tamara Hogan

 I love reading romance because no matter what the era or setting, or how many dire complications might arise, I know the characters will find their way to each other by the end of the story.

 Jeannie Lin

 My first romance novel was handed to me in middle school by my BFF. “You’ve got to read this,” she said. “So we can talk about it after.” That’s how we’d first become friends. In elementary school, we happened to check out the same books at the school library and ended up chatting about them afterwards. This is why I read romance books to this day — to engage in rich and emotional conversation over books. And make new friends.

 June Love

 I read romance because of the roller coaster of emotions. I know the guy will get his girl. I know the woman will get her man. But, it’s their journey that keeps me turning the page. No matter how bad things get between them, love will win. And, that happily ever after is why I keep reading romance.

Elizabeth Langston

 I read romances because they remind me, over and over, of a universal truth. Love is worth fighting for. It takes work. It doesn’t always fall into place at first but we can keep trying and we’ll find it. Love is the most precious thing in my life and yet it’s free.

 Vivi Andrews

I read romance novels because I crave resolution.  In a romance, the questions get answered, everyone works through their issues, the world gets saved, and love conquers all.  And the girl always, always gets her guy.  Justice and symmetry and endings that make you sigh?  Yes, please.

 Diana Layne

Since HEA’s are not guaranteed in real life, I read for escapism, knowing I’ll get my happily-ever-after.

 Elisa Beatty

I read romance because it lets me re-live all the emotions of falling in love: the crazy attraction, the uncertainty, the frustration and fear, the giddiness, the tears, the bliss, the intensity of passion. I don’t want quite that much drama in my real life (I’ve been married almost 20 years, and am very glad to be past the thrill-ride stage), but it’s so much fun to read about it. 

Elizabeth Essex

I read romance novels because the HEROINE ALWAYS WINS. Always. I want the heroine to win the way a plant wants water. Romance books lift me up. They are  empowering, inspiring and just ripping good yarns!

Jackie Floyd

 I read romances for the HOPE they give. The hope that everything will work out and that Happily Ever After is a possibility for everyone.

 Anne Barton

Romances let us experience  that scary, wonderful, crazy feeling of falling in love over and over again. We count on them to make us a little breathless and leave us happy. Who wouldn’t want that in a book?

Laurie Kellogg

 I read romances for the endorphin high I get from the happy ending.  It’s the same as feeling you get from eating chocolate. I’m an HEA addict.

Addison Fox

I read romance because it makes me happy. A genre totally devoted to the idea that love matters. ::sigh:: It doesn’t get much better than that!

Don’t you love those answers? And I bet you’re thinking of exactly why you love having romance novels in your life. And I want you to share with us why you pick up a romance novel as opposed to something else. We know you love all books, but why is romance one of your favorites? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win my two releases this month – The Sweetest September and the re-release of A Little Texas PLUS a $15.00 Starbucks giftcard.

If you want to see why I read romance, you can go to



Cooking Up a Surprise

The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood — publishing quality non-fiction since 2012.

Well, actually that’s not quite true.  If you count our blogs posts — most of which are on craft of writing and business of writing — then I guess we’ve been publishing quality non-fiction since 2009. But I don’t mean blogging. I mean actual publishing . . . of ebooks!

Yes, that’s right, Ruby Readers. The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood has just released our very first ebook — a cookbook! Introducing Eat, Read, Love: Romance and Recipes from the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood!

Cute cover, huh? Special thanks to Laurie Kellogg for designing it. Editing and layout done by Amanda Brice and Kim Law.

So what is Eat, Read, Love? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s a literary cookbook. We’ve compiled 59 recipes inspired by the pages of our books. Whereas some cookbooks pair their recipes with wine, ours are paired with excerpts. In some cases, the characters actually do eat the meal in the excerpt!

And the best part is that it’s 100% FREE. Yes, you read that right. It’s our gift to our readers, old and new.

So what dishes can you expect to see? It’s a very eclectic — and delicious — list!

Main Dishes

Allergen-Free Pad Thai (from Codename: Dancer by Amanda Brice)

Chinese Sausage and Sticky Rice in Banana Leaves (from My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin)

Pernil Al Horno (Puerto Rican Roasted Pork Shoulder) (from Avenging Angel by Anne Marie Becker)

 Jalapeño Chicken (from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell)

Grandma Rose’s Varenyky (Ukrainian Pierogies) (from Pas De Death by Amanda Brice)

Angelo the Mobster’s Pasta Primavera (from The Good Daughter by Diana Layne)

Olivia’s Seafood Salad (from Under Fire by Rita Henuber)

Alaskan Crab Cakes (from The Doctor’s Mile High Fling by Tina Beckett)

Easy-Peasy Meatloaf (from Chase Me by Tamara Hogan)

“Hide the Peas, Please” Chicken Pot Pie (from Intrusion by Cynthia Justlin)


Cole’s Poorman Stew (from In the Presence of Evil by Autumn Jordon)

New Mexican Green Chile Stew (from First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones)

Cock-A-Leekie Stew (from Prophecy by Heather McCollum)

Almost Medieval Leek Soup (from Lady Unbound by Elise Hayes)

Henri’s Turtle Soup (from A Kiss in the Wind by Jennifer Bray-Weber)

Caruru do Pará (Brazilian Shrimp Gumbo) (from Doctor’s Guide to Dating in the Jungle by Tina Beckett)

Abram’s Game Day Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (from Under the Autumn Sky by Liz Talley)


 Abby’s Fatten-up-Mac Green Bean Casserole (from The Memory of You by Laurie Kellogg)

Millie Polk’s Squash Casserole (from Home at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay)

Bacon and Egg Fried Rice (from Taste Me by Tamara Hogan)

Sultana’s Rice (from Kismet’s Kiss by Cate Rowan)

Stasia’s Vinegret (Russian Potato, Beet, & Carrot Salad) (from Underhanded by Shoshana Brown)

Violet Easley’s Okra and Stewed Tomatoes (from Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsay)

Eat These Fries (from Kiss that Frog by Cate Rowan)


Dare To Be Different Barbeque Sauce (from Snow Bound by Dani Wade)

Alex’s Killer Pasta Sauce (from His Witness to Evil by Autumn Jordon)

Annie’s Favorite Hot Sauce (from Waters Run Deep by Liz Talley)

Devil’s Dust (from Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones)


Triple Chocolate Cake (from Caught on Camera by Kim Law)

Summer’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (from Perfect Summer by Katie Graykowski)

Ryker’s Favorite Mint Brownies (from Her Own Best Enemy by Cynthia Justlin)

Tiramisu (from Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash by Bev Pettersen)

Profiteroles (from Party Like It’s 1899 by Amanda Brice)

Hannah’s Heavenly Cinnamon-Almond Squares (from Hypnotic Seduction by L.L. Kellogg)

Picou Dufrene’s Infamous Pecan Pralines (from The Road to Bayou Bridge by Liz Talley)

Tara’s Mother’s Southern Pecan Pralines (from Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly)

Maggie’s Amazing Pecan Pie (from A Little Bit of Deja Vu by Laurie Kellogg)

Jenny Carpenter’s Secret Pie Crust (from Last Chance Beauty Queen by Hope Ramsay)

Cream Cheese Pie (from Only Fear by Ane Marie Becker)

Nicole’s To-Die-For Apple Pie (from Seized by Darkness by Autumn Jordon)

Susanna’s Sonker (from Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston)

Fried Banana Nuggets (from Edge of Light by Cynthia Justlin)

Betts’ Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Place Your Betts by Katie Graykowski)

Jilian’s “Best of Earth” Cookies (from The Source of Magic by Cate Rowan)


T-Bone Carter’s Biscuits (from Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay)

Cinnamon Rolls (from Sugar Springs by Kim Law)

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits (from Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore by Lindsey Brookes)

Lucy’s Rum Cake “Stud Muffins” (from The Ghost Shrink, The Accidental Gigolo, & The Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews)

Sam’s Keep-Dani-Healthy Greek Omelet (from The Great Bedroom War by Laurie Kellogg)        

Huevos Rancheros (from Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones) 

Lucky’s Lucky Charms (from Getting Lucky by Katie Graykowski)


Dani’s Mango Madness Smoothie with Raspberry Swirl (from Pointe of No Return by Amanda Brice)

Homemade Skinny Latte (from Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte by Diane Kelly)

Parish Cocoa (from Ghosts of Boyfriends Past by Vivi Andrews)

Captain Drake’s Rum Drinks (from The Siren’s Song by Jennifer Bray-Weber)

Cookie’s Mucho Magnifico Margaritas (from Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones)

Bonnie Pratt’s Easy-Peasy Peach Sangria (from Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria by Diane Kelly)


Sample Menu from 1890s Dinner Party (from The Vanishing Thief by Kate Parker)

16th Century Herbal Remedies (from Captured Heart by Heather McCollum)

 Hungry yet? I know I’m starved just reading the list!

You can grab your own copy from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, or download a PDF copy right here from this website! (It isn’t at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Sony, or Diesel yet, but we expect it to be soon.)

Be sure to spread the word, and happy cooking!

(By the way, by downloading a copy, you’re actually doing us a big favor, by helping get our numbers up, which increases our exposure. So if you’ve ever been entertained or informed by our blog, this is a great way to thank us!)


As I was thinking about the subject of my blog post, it dawned on me.  I love the blogs all of my Ruby Sisters have been posting – sharp, well-written industry articles that are helpful at any stage of the writer’s journey. I’ve enjoyed reading each and every one of them and look forward to everyone’s collective – and hard won! – words of wisdom.

Holiday Novels—A Boost to Your Spirit

Would you believe I saw a Christmas commercial before Halloween this year?  I remember a time (back in the Jurassic era) when department stores waited until the day after Thanksgiving to unveil the decorations for the holiday season.  If you don’t, you’re probably younger than I prefer to admit being.

The Latest Comments

  • Tamara Hogan: With the plagiarism trash fire raging through Romancelandia right now, let’s just say I have more...
  • Darynda Jones: Agreed on both counts! I’ve always admired your conviction, Tammy. I just cautioned Louisa on...
  • Darynda Jones: GO, VIVI!!!
  • Darynda Jones: Still progress, Willow! good for you! And the writer zone is my favorite zone to be in. lol
  • Darynda Jones: I agree with Janet! It all counts. It’s all progress.