Hi friends! We’re near the end of February, and today we have Farrah Rochon visiting with us. She’s been an ALBTALBS guest before so I think we can all expect good things, yes? 😉
How I Managed My Unwieldy Small Town Romance
I think it’s pretty safe to say that small town romances have become somewhat of a thing. You’d better prepare yourself for a fight if you want to convince some readers that they can’t stop in for a meal at Preacher’s bar in Virgin River or that they can’t get an ice cream cone on the boardwalk over in Lucky Harbor. Lovers of Robyn Carr and Jill Shalvis will know just what I’m talking about. Romance readers (myself included) have fallen in love with the sometimes quirky, often unique, and always entertaining small towns that have become so popular in today’s contemporary romances. Continue reading →
We’ve got fabulous author Farrah Rochon visiting with us today! She’s pretty much all things wonderful – and she’s been here to visit with us before. Whee! Beyond all the usual great things, Farrah loves football too! <3
Breaking Rules with the Unconventional Romance
I’ve always regarded myself as a pretty straight-laced person. I make a complete stop at stop signs, refrain from nibbling on grapes before I pay for them at the grocery store, and I have never slipped into a second theater to catch a free movie. I did steal a Hershey bar from K-Mart when I was six, but my dad paid for that, so it really shouldn’t count.
However, when it comes to my stories, I’ve been known to break a few rules. With my latest release, Always and Forever, the second book in my Bayou Dreams series with Harlequin’s Kimani Romance, I took a sledgehammer to some of those old rules of romance.
Rule #1: Never give your heroine a male-sounding name.
Let me introduce you to Phylicia “Phil” Phillips.
Rule #2: Heroines shouldn’t have male-oriented jobs.
Let me introduce you to overalls-wearing, blowtorch-wielding, home restoration specialist Phylicia “Phil” Phillips.
And don’t get me started on my uber-beta, eco-friendly, architect hero, Jamal Johnson.
These two are as far from the typical romance hero and heroine as you can get, but the chemistry between them sizzles. RT Magazine (which gave the book four beautiful stars, by the way), pretty much sets the tone with this review: “Rochon strays from the norm in a subtle yet affecting way in this novel, making it stand out from the rest. The unpredictable storyline makes this a page-turner and must-read for all.”
Strays from the norm?
Yep, that pretty much sums up my unconventional, but, if I may say so myself, very entertaining romance. Take note of the “must-read for all” line. I agree with that one, too!
What are some of your favorite romances that go against the norm?
Oh, and before you start to think that Always and Forever strays too far from what a romance novel should be, here’s just a sample that shows that it is very much a love story:
After a run of lousy luck, Phylicia Phillips is finally close to reclaiming her cherished girlhood home in Louisiana. But before she can buy it back, Jamal Johnson beats her to the punch. The renowned architect plans to completely renovate the old place—and he wants Phylicia to help him! She doesn’t trust Jamal, but she’s helpless to fight the passion building between them.
Hiring the home restoration specialist to help convert the stately Victorian into a B&B was a stroke of genius. Until Jamal finds out the house was in Phylicia’s family for generations. Blindsided by his desire for this alluring beauty, Jamal vows to transform their working relationship into an intimate one. But will threatening troubles from the past keep them from building a blueprint for love?
“I don’t want to be the one who hurts you, Phylicia.” Jamal reached forward and lifted her ponytail from where it draped along her neck. “I think someone did that already.”
She gazed at him, feeling as if she’d been drawn into a trance by his hushed voice. “Why do you always call me Phylicia?”
The edge of his mouth quirked in a smile. “Because it’s your name.”
“Everyone else calls me Phil.”
“That’s a man’s name. And despite that blowtorch you were wielding a few minutes ago, there’s no denying that you are all woman, Phylicia.”
As he dipped his head toward her, a tiny voice told Phil to move out of his reach. But a much louder voice told her to stay right where she was. It had been way too long since she’d been kissed, and after the day she’d had, Phil couldn’t think of a single thing she needed more.
The moment Jamal’s soft lips touched hers her heart melted. He was gentle in his coaxing, but insistent, his lips enticing her to join in. He cupped the back of her head and slanted his to the side to get a better angle.
Phil heard a moan, but couldn’t tell which one of them had made the sound. Without fully recognizing what she was doing, she linked her hands behind Jamal’s neck and cradled the back of his head. She parted her lips and thrust her tongue inside of his mouth, losing herself in the kiss.
An animalistic growl rose from his throat. Jamal held her in place as his tongue plunged into her mouth. He tasted like cinnamon, spicy and sweet, and as his tongue made itself at home in her mouth, Phil allowed herself to enjoy it. He knew just what to do, applying just the right amount of pressure before pulling slightly away, making her reach for him.
After she had enough fodder to fill her nightly fantasies for a while, Phil ended the kiss, leaving Jamal with a dazed expression, his eyes heavy with desire.
Bio: Farrah Rochon is a chocolate-loving, Broadway show-watching, Disney World-vacationing sports fanatic. She writes romance novels in her spare time. I’ll Catch You, the second book in her New York Sabers football series with Kimani Romance, was a 2012 RITA® Finalist. The first book in her Bayou Dreams series, A Forever Kind of Love, is a 2012 RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice nominee. Farrah is on Twitter more than what many would deem healthy, but she doesn’t care. Find her there, on Facebook, or on her website.
What’d you think of the excerpt? Do you like unconventional romances? How about a favorite unconventional romances to share with us? Come on – I want to hear what you think. (On those questions or anything else.) As incentive, Farrah is giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N!
Today we have Farrah Rochon guesting with us! She and I have totally bonded over football, and we even root for the same teams! It’s just a bonus that she’s an author with some awesome books too. 😀 So everyone please welcome Farrah – whether you’re a football fan or not.
Being a romance reader, I’ve known about Limecello’s blog for a while, but it wasn’t until we “met” on Twitter that I learned a love of romance novels was not all we shared. We are both huge football fans. (Interjecting here, actually, I think the blog first was TGTBTU – definitely we were talking before I started this little venture.)
Football isn’t just something to pass the time for me; it is an all-consuming passion. When Kimani Romance bought my fictional New York Sabers football series, it was like a dream come true. What can be better than having the opportunity to combine my two passions while working in a job with a dress code that consists of yoga pants and t-shirts? It is bliss.
Now, as you can imagine, writing a series about a football team takes much of the guess work out of developing the male characters. But when it came time to match the hot football heroes with heroines, I wanted to bring something different to the table. So far, the series has featured a heroine who is a book blogger (Huddle With Me Tonight) and a female sports agent (I’ll Catch You). Okay, so the female sports agent has been done before, but this agent is as knowledgeable about the game as many of the football players and she is a total bad ass when it comes to negotiations.
Chyna McCrea, the heroine in the latest installment, Field of Pleasure, is a freelance choreographer hired to work with the team’s dance squad. I originally wrote her as a member of the squad, but my editor asked me to change her occupation because of the no-fraternizing rules between players and cheerleaders (but we all know that fraternizing sometimes takes place, right?)
I choose to feature a heroine affiliated with the dance squad after attending a NFL game and overhearing several derogatory comments directed at the cheerleaders. I’ll admit, some of the same thoughts had run through my mind a time or two, but this experience got me to thinking about how the dance squad members were probably being unfairly misjudged.
As I researched real life NFL dance squads, I discovered that many of the squad members are college educated, or current college students. A number of them were married, thus, not likely looking to land a rich husband. For the most part, what I found dispelled many of the stereotypes I had attributed to the women.
With the third Sabers book I wanted to show another side to the NFL cheerleader; that there is substance to these women. I hope I was able to accomplish this with Chyna. Of course, I just had to include a stereotypical, catty character, because, let’s face it, some of them are catty and they are there with one purpose in mind, to catch a husband. Others, however, have been in dance since they first learned to walk, and like the heroine of Field of Pleasure, being affiliated with an NFL cheerleading squad is one way for them to continue to indulge in their love of dance.
So, who will admit to being unfairly judgmental towards cheerleaders? Or, are there any current or former cheerleaders out there who have suffered with the stigma attached to that role?
I’ll offer one one reader their choice of one book in my Sabers series along with a bunch of Farrah Rochon swag (a tote bag, pens, ereader cleaner, etc.).
Bio: Farrah Rochon, award-winning author of the popular Holmes Brothers series, hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her New York Sabers football series for Harlequin’s Kimani Romance imprint. Farrah was named Shades of Romance Magazine’s Best New Author of 2007, and her debut novel, Deliver Me, claimed the prize for Best Multicultural Romance Debut.
I’ve got to add my question here too – have you ever seen those shows, maybe on like NFL free previews, where they follow/document the selection of a team’s dance squad? I’ve seen a few and find them hypnotically compelling. Anyway, answer our questions for your chance to win a book! A football romance!