Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Love. Local. Latebreaking. NBtM

Professional passion in the tradition of Julie James, Love. Local. Latebreaking. is a page-turning romance shining a spotlight into television news.

"Heart-tugging relational tension but with a sophistication that raises it above the romance genre." -- Jlaird, verified purchaser

"Mr. Lareau manages humor beautifully--I was able to envision certain scenes/situations/people so clearly that I was chortling into my coffee. I highly recommend this novel as a light-hearted (and sexy) diversion." -- Sarah K. Clark, verified purchaser

"The heroine had a career that she worked hard for and that she didn't give that career up simply because she'd found love" -- A. Geek, verified purchaser

Local TV news reporter Karli Lewis has one goal: escape Iowa's cornfields and podunk local news scene to hit the bright lights of the Chicago's newsrooms. Karli’s career is on the rise, thanks to her talented, dizzingly handsome, yet enigmatic news photographer, Jake Gibson, a dedicated hometown boy who is staying put. Will Karli listen to her heart, or will she choose a dateline over her favorite date? Can she reconcile her unbridled ambition and her longing for the man she could lose forever?

Her eyes and the smell of her skin and the pulse beating in her neck all told Jake that she was ready to be his. Her raised eyebrows and her erect, squared-off posture told him to stay away. He saw all of this in an instant, then fumbled for something to do that wasn’t kissing, in spite of the thudding pulse and the insistent twitch that urged him—now—to find the sweetness of her lips.

Jake wasn’t thinking through the feelings, the urges, the choices. Evolution or God or something had equipped men—and Jake more especially than most—with a finely calibrated system to gauge a woman’s readiness. Something—the pheromone density in the air or her posture or the pace of her breathing or some combination of those things or some other primal indicator—wasn’t yet right. One more moment of intimacy, though, and they would both be ready. Instinct guided him to the movie’s moment of consummation.

“When the heroine finds out that he really does love her and wants to marry her—that’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?”

Jake knew immediately that he’d said the wrong thing. Karli shook her head slightly and turned her blue eyes from his. She reached up and took Jake’s hand and the napkin it held from her face.

“Shut up,” she ordered him. “You think I was rooting for that insipid girl?” she asked. “No, Jake, I don’t identify with girls who need men to define them. I was cheering for the reporter. He had finally found his way to a real news job in a real market. He had escaped Des Moines.”

Strong Women are Front and Center in the Newsroom Romance Series

Interviewers often ask me how a man can write romance, as though there is something preposterous about the mere idea. When I remind them that—in hetero romances, at least—half of every couple is a man, that’s often brushed off as an insignificant detail. Romances are for women, after all, aren’t they?

Empathy is the centerpiece of every good fictional experience. Not just empathy for the romantic heroine, either. Readers come to novels to experience the feelings of even the peripheral characters—who doesn’t love a good villain, after all, or the walk-on parts played by memorable character actors? Fiction has meaning for readers because they’re engaged with the characters’ journeys and feelings—as long as they are accessible and truthful to human experience.

The hero in Love. Local. Latebreaking. has a uniquely masculine way of processing grief over the death of his karate student in this passage, which concludes a training session where the class was conducted entirely in silence:

Finally, Sensei Jake seated everyone on the back edge of the mat and then strode to one of the gear lockers. He took a two foot-long polished wooden case with a glass front from the locker and walked to the center of the mat. There he bowed formally to all the students and marched close to where they sat on the back edge of the mat. He placed the box down reverently and so the closest students could see the black belt inside with Darrin’s name embroidered in gold thread. As Sensei Jake turned and went toward an equipment rack, students who could see the belt whispered and gestured to the others what was written upon it.
His back to the class, Sensei Jake took a breath deep into his body and visualized each movement of the bo staff kata he had planned to teach Darrin for the January tournament. Finished, he opened his eyes and took a staff from the rack. He then snapped into rigid martial formality and marched to the front of the mat. He bowed crisply to the class and began the kata. Each time Sensei Jake stepped into one of the kata’s many stances, his legs, hips, and core took on a granite-like stability. Extending from that stillness, his arms propelled the bo staff into a furiously blurring aura of wood. The dojo was no longer silent as the staff’s wood stroked the air into a series of humming vibrations, the canvas of Jake’s uniform snapped, and the hissing of his intensifying breath all communicated the irresistible power he focused into each movement.
The performance transfixed everyone in the studio. Mary Rose sat cross-legged on the edge of the mat, a hand under each knee holding her own toes, her astonished mouth hanging slightly open. Senior students watched with rapt attention. The parents and other guests in the gallery sat forward, leaning in to better focus their attention on the barely contained explosion that was Jake’s performance.
Jake finished the kata with a two-beat pause followed by a powerful final strike and a thunderous yell from deep in his abdomen, karate’s spirit-yell or kiai. Coming after more than an hour’s attention to the subtle sounds of a silent training session, the kiai startled everyone in the studio—on the mat and in the spectator’s gallery alike. Sensei Jake then snapped back to attention, breathing heavily, as the small cries of surprise tapered off. He bowed to the room, took up the polished wooden box and placed it with the bo staff on a table a few feet off the training mat. An open book and a pen rested on the table for people to sign and jot memories of Darrin. He signed the book, paused to regard box and staff for a final silent moment, then walked quickly to his office, closing the door behind him.
The sweaty students left on the mat began to murmur questions about what was going on. They were cut off by the man who’d stood when Sensei Jake walked onto the mat, who held a stern finger to his lips and shushed them. He bowed as he left the training surface and went to the locker room without looking back to see that the others would follow. Some headed straight for the locker room, others went to the table to look at Darrin’s posthumous black belt and to sign the book. Others paused in indecision, then headed for the showers so they could sign without dripping sweat all over the book.
As the mat silently cleared and it became obvious that training was over for the night, one of the parents, who needed to talk to Jake about past-due tuition, knocked on the office door.
Quiet sobs from behind the locked door were the only answer.

Good romances share genuine truths about couples’ attraction, conflicts, and fulfilling love. Even men—heck, even a man who is a lawyer by day—can understand those emotional truths. Putting them into a story that is faithful to genuine life experience is manifestly not only feminine territory. Sylvain Reynard is a personal favorite among many authors who bring their male voices and perspective to truly fantastic romance novels. My ambition is to tell good stories where the male half of the romance is not just a heartthrob of a book-boyfriend but also a genuine contemporary man. Billionaires, kilted Scotsmen, and vulgar pirates with hearts of gold are too far removed from real life to be the kinds of men my heroines are interested in.

My heroines are strong women all, and they are front and center in the Newsroom Romance series. Powerful and brilliant women work in television newsrooms across the country, and television newsrooms are uniquely fertile places to grow attraction and conflict. Broadcast journalists work under intense deadline pressures and under microscopic public scrutiny. The wages are typically bad, so most journalists are trying to do work that’s good enough to propel them to bigger cities where they can cover bigger stories and earn something like a living wage. The competition among colleagues is fierce, but the work requires a huge amount of collaboration, too. Here, our heroine, Karli, encounters both the tension and collaborative energy that pull at the heart of most newsrooms:

The day had been so fraught with different, intense emotions that she didn’t think she could’ve handled one more temperamental coworker. Not only had Jake gone bonkers on her right after the bust, she’d had to coax her news director, producer, and assignment editor into letting her do the follow-up series of reports. Which was crazy, since she had enterprised the whole thing, doing preliminary research on drug-induced homicide, cartels in the midwest, addiction rates, and overdose deaths all in addition to the story and all in a single day.
Well, whatever. This was going to be the series that busted her out of Des Moines and into a real market. She had thought deeply about it, and the stories had all the ingredients: her writing and Jake’s shooting would bring out all the sweeping effects and deep public interest in the state’s—no, the region’s—drug problem, as well as the effects that almost certainly were felt as far away as, say, Chicago. Karli knew where this was headed: straight to a major market.
Karli spent the rest of the newscast going over the printouts of her research and her handwritten notes, making to-do lists and outlines for the upcoming series. As she was wrapping up her work for the day and putting her papers in a folder to be organized later, the newscast ended.
“What the hell do you think you’re up to?” Sophia Refai’s deeply feminine voice rolled across the newsroom like autumn thunder. Karli saw the lean, dark figure striding across the room toward her with less of Sophia’s usual runway-model’s stride and more the march of a uniformed officer about to enforce the law.
Oh, no, thought Karli. I’d forgotten about this angle. She looked around, as though the question must have been directed to someone else. But there was nobody else in the newsroom.
“Yes, you, Karli Lewis. The police beat is MY beat, and I do not appreciate you elbowing your way onto my turf,” Sophia said. Karli could tell that the anchor was only barely in control of her anger. “And I’m glad you’ve started the background on the series. Your research will come in handy as I report those stories.”
Karli was taken aback to see Sophia’s elegantly manicured hand outstretched, palm up, waiting to receive her notes and research. “You can’t have this stuff,” Karli gulped. “This is my work. And Jerry already assigned the series to me.” Karli slid the folder between the chair seat and her rear end, then leaned back and folded her arms.
“We will see who gets the series. But I warn you, stay off my beat, or life here will become very difficult for you.” Sophia turned and marched back to the news set to record the evening’s promos to air during prime-time commercial breaks for the 10 o’clock show.
Mary Rose, returning to the newsroom after putting away the camera and light kit, turned to watch the pacing fury, then turned back to Karli with her eyebrows raised in unspoken question.
“Just a little jealous that I covered a police story without her permission,” Karli said in answer to Mary Rose’s eyebrows.
“Just a little?” Mary Rose asked. “That’s enough that I’d change all my passwords and lock my desk if she was stomping around pissed at me like that.”
Not wanting to show that she’d been intimidated by the anchor’s fury, but grateful for the suggestion, Karli began clicking and typing to change her login password. She looked up at Mary Rose while she was making sure she could remember the new password and said, “I’d invite you out for a drink to celebrate the story, but I have to get my hair done. Maybe tomorrow?”
“That would be fun,” Mary Rose said, grinning while holding her lip-ring between her teeth. After a pause, she let go and said, “I really enjoyed working with you on the edit today and that animation a while ago. I’d like to do more stuff like that, but they always have me stuck in the studio or the control room. Let’s try for tomorrow.”
“Great,” said Karli, gathering her notes and purse and phone and stuffing them into her pack. “See you then.” And she grabbed her diet Dew and headed for the door before Sophia could come back off the set.

 To see Jake and Karli come together, read Love. Local. Latebreaking. They’re characters you’ll come to know and root for through their travails and triumphs. They continue their romance in Traffick Report (already available), where journalists continue their good work and come face-to-face with the powerful figures of the legal system.

Here’s to your happily ever after!

Please reach out to me at, or connect at my website; FB: Twitter; or Amazon.

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Author Bio and Links:
H. Laurence Lareau fell in love with romances the first time Pride and Prejudice came home from the library with him. Since that high school summer, he has earned an English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, worked as a television and print journalist, built a career in law, and has remained a Jane Austen junkie through it all.

The Newsroom Romance series draws from his careers, his voracious reading, and his curiosity about the tensions between real life and real love.

Real life now is dramatically different from the real life of Austen’s times—privileged women no longer choose between eligible members of the landed gentry, nor are they imperiled by the sexist mysteries of the entailed fee simple estate in land.

Modern women with the privileges of education rather than birth now embark upon careers that can satisfy many personal and material dreams. Seemingly inevitably, though, careers fall short of the promise that they’ll fulfill women as people.

Strong, modern women have defined Lareau’s professional and personal lives, and strong women fully occupy center stage in their own newsroom romance stories. Their high-profile journalism and legal careers matter deeply to them and to the people they serve.

Then love comes walking in. These book boyfriends don’t have kilts or billions or pirate ships, though. Their career goals meet and often clash with their romantic counterparts, requiring both the men and women to make hard choices about what happily ever after should look like and how to achieve it.

When he isn’t writing, practicing law, or raising children, he’s working on martial arts and music.

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  1. Congrats on the tour and thanks so much for the opportunity to win. I enjoy getting to hear about new books that my family would enjoy reading.

  2. I enjoyed getting to know your book and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Congrats on the book tour. Thank you for hosting the giveaway and giving me an opportunity to win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com