CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Some great news today. I've invited my friend, critique partner, and romance aficionado, Myra Johnson, to visit the cafe and tell us about her new book. Hint: It's very timely and if you read all the way to the end, we also have a very sweet deal for you.

Welcome, Myra.

Hi, Carla! Thanks for inviting me to join you today and talk a little about my latest release, Romance by the Book (Heartsong Presents, February 2010).

What woman doesn’t long to feel beautiful, cherished, special? I’m sure that’s a big reason romances are so popular, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether we’re single, married, young, or . . . not-so-young. Imagining for a few sweet hours that we are the object of the handsome hero’s desires carries us away from the tedium of everyday life and into a world where the dishes are always done, our jeans always make us look skinny, and there is always a happy ending.

In Romance by the Book, my heroine, Sailor Kern, is so quiet, shy, and plain that she can’t believe anyone would ever be interested in her. Instead, she has centered her romantic yearnings on her favorite romance author, Chandler Michaels. Anyone who writes such heart-tugging love stories, she reasons, must certainly be the most romantic man alive.

But then Sailor has the chance to meet Chandler in person, and he surprises her in more ways than one. By the end of the story she discovers her true hero has been right there all along, and that real life is so much more wonderful than anything she imagined.

The thing about fantasies is that they usually disappoint. The grass only looks greener on the other side of the fence, but that’s only because of all the manure—excuse me, fertilizer—it’s been laced with!

So, while I both read and write romances, I always prefer little doses of realism. A heroine who’d never be a cover girl. A hero who doesn’t quite fit the macho mold. Real-life problems that don’t have easy answers. In the end, it’s always about keeping the faith that somehow, someday, love will conquer all.

About Romance by the Book: In reality, Sailor Kern is a swimming instructor at her local YMCA in Birkenstock, Missouri. But in her dreams, she shares a life with famous romance writer Chandler Michaels. And now she's about to meet him in person! And not only meet him, she gets to be his assistant the whole time he's visiting Birkenstock. But romance and reality don't always mix, and Sailor is in for some big surprises. Will Sailor follow her dream man, or will she see the true hero God has placed before her, right in her own hometown?

About Myra: Myra Johnson’s roots go deep into Texas soil, but she’s proud to be a new Oklahoman. Empty-nesters now, she and her husband share their home with two loveable dogs and a snobby parakeet. Her debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, released in September 2009 from Abingdon Press. She also writes for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line. Autumn Rains, winner of the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript, was a November 2009 Heartsong Presents book club release. Romance by the Book is part of Heartsong’s February 2010 collection, and Where the Dogwoods Bloom is expected later this spring. Myra writes full-time and is active in her church as well as local and national writers groups. The Johnsons, married since 1972, have two gorgeous daughters, two terrific sons-in-law, and five amazing grandchildren.

Thanks bunches, Myra. I'm anxious to meet Sailor and Chandler. NOW, for you readers. You, too, can be romanced by Myra's new book. She's offered to give one reader here a signed copy of Romance by the Book. And to sweeten the deal, I'm throwing in a box of chocolates. Not sure which brand they'll be yet, but they'll be good ones. Creamy and yummy. Maybe nutty. So here's what you need to do. Leave a comment. Tell us your all-time favorite romantic movie AND (this is important), leave your contact information. Don't delay. I'll be drawing for a winner on Valentine's Day either right before or twenty minutes after my hubby and I exchange our Valentines.

Disclaimer: No purchase necessary. US and Canadian residents only (unless prohibited in your area). Book provided by the author.


Deb said...

Sounds like a fun read. Sign me up please! Blessings and love to everyone this weekend!

Carmen7351 said...

My answer will sound old, but I love (Oh I have a mental block)--Julie Andrews in Austria with the 7 kids and the Captain, favorite things! You know which one, right?

Please enter me for the book and chocolates!!! Thank you!
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Doreen said...

As requested, my choice of romantic movie is 'Seven Brides For Seven Brothers'! It's an oldie but it's funny and sweet! :)Thanks for the chance to win!

purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

Carly Kendall said...

I love the Sound of Music too! It doesn't get more romantic than that. Thank you.

Erica Vetsch said...

The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Swoon!

:) This book sounds like such fun.

ericavetsch at gmail dot com

Wyn said...

Doctor Zhivago is my favourite romance movie. The book sounds great. Please enter me.

wyndyc at gmail dot com

carla stewart said...

Thanks, everyone, for chiming in with your favorite romantic movies. Sounds like the musicals are winning right now. "The Hills are Alive" is spinning in my head.

And Erica, who doesn't love a great romantic Western? Anything with JW is good.

Martha A. said...

Huh, Princess Bride or Ever After are some of my favorite romantic movies, but probably my all time favorite is Pride and prejudice!! I know, cliche....but hey, I can watch those over and over and over again!
Nutty chocolates sound good and this book sounds fun! So, if they live in Birkenstock, do they wear birkenstock sandals all the time? = )

mindy said...

i love the jazz singer with neil diamond thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

Koala Bear Writer said...

Shrek. The very first one. I could watch it over and over again. I just love the message there (and the humour). You can email me at bway underscore writer at yahoo dot ca.

Myra Johnson said...

Hi, Carla and friends! Thanks for the lovely turnout! Some great movies mentioned here. I have to agree with Koala Bear Writer--the Shrek movies are really sweet romances. We also just finished watching the three-part Emma on PBS this week--very well done.

Charity said...

Please enter me:) I don't watch many romance movies so my favorite is Fireproof!! I really love it:) Not sure if it counts as to what you are talking about but it is my favorite. Thanks!!


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Myra, I am DYING to read Romance by the Book -- just the title alone had me hooked, but now this interview has cinched it.

And, Carla, my favorite movie? At the risk of boring Myra to death, I will have to go with Gone With the Wind, although I agree with Carman and Carly that Sound of Music is pretty darn good too ... :)


Virginia C said...

Hello! Happy Valentine's Day! Thanks for a great giveaway! Myra, "Romance by the Book" sounds wonderfully romantic! My favorite movie is "Show Boat" (1951), starring Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson. I only recently learned that the two stars actually had an on-again off-again real life romance! It's a spectacular movie in every way, but the "love lost, love found" and redemption and renewal of true love aspect is overwhelming. Awesome : )

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Patti Lacy said...

Good chocolate! You really shouldn't lure hapless women like this.

But sign me up.

Congratulations, Myra!

carla stewart said...

So many romantics in the group. Thank you all for reminding me of these great movies. I've not seen Dr. Zhivago in ages - ooooh, I want to see it again. And Shrek! Who doesn't love that movie? I cry every time.

Julie and Patti, I should have guessed if there was chocolate involved, you'd be here! So glad to have you chiming in. And, Julie, you can mention GWTW anytime. I managed to work it into my debut book which isn't even a romance, but has some tender romantic moments. We'll just ignore Myra.

Myra, see what you started? Now you have everyone wanting to read your book. Wait, that's a good thing, right?

Martha, I wondered the same thing about the Birkenstocks. Guess I'll find out this weekend when I read the book.

The Jazz Singer, Princess Bride (why have I never seen this movie - I hear all the time how wonderful it is), Showboat, Fireproof. . .

Wow. Too many to pick from.

Love you all for stopping by.

scottsgal said...

I love Dirty Dancing - it's the one movie I don't get tired of
thanks for the chance
msboatgal at

katwilla said...

I love "Pure Country" with George Strait! I never get tired of that one. On the other hand, I have to agree with scottsgal, I love to watch "Dirty Dancing" also.

"Romance by the Book" sounds wonderful!

kakihara said...

My favorite romantic movie is "Love Actually" --if you've never seen it you should--it covers all types of Love! Thanks for the chance to win.

Jo said...

I absolutely love "The Sound of Music" as my very favorite romantic movie. I can watch it over and over and enjoy it as much each and every time. Please enter me in the drawing


Kimberly said...

My favorite romantic movie is Pride and Prejudice. Please enter me. kimberlyj503(ay)gmail(dot)com

Casey said...

Please enter me. Thanks :)


carla stewart said...

Can you believe it? Dirty Dancing was one of my mom's favorite movies.

Thank you all for playing the favorite romantic movie game. You all deserve a box of chocolate! (But, alas, there will only be one winner).

Myra Johnson said...

I missed Martha's Birkenstock comment earlier! I actually named the town in RBTB after my own pair of well-worn Birkies. I love them even with the doggy teeth marks on the heel.

Love all the romantic movie choices, and interesting how many of them come from an earlier era . . . not that I'm suggesting any of us are . . . well, let's not go there. ;>D

I remember as a teen I loved the Tammy and Gidget movies! Those were the embodiment of my romantic fantasies back then.

And, okay, two of my favorite romantic not-really-romance movies were Hatari and The Hellfighters (both John Wayne flicks).

Anonymous said...

Carla, late to play, no surprise there, but I wanted to comment on my favorite movie, it's Love Story. I love many of those listed and almost went with a couple of them until I remembered Love Story. That's the movie that gets my pick.

What a great way to promote a book, we are all wanting to read it now.