Category Archives: Blogging

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Lynn Chantale

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. In recent years, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Lynn Chantale, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

The Twelfth Wing

 

Romance does not come easy for me. If you’re looking for fancy words or deeds to make the heart melt or bring a tear to the eye, you’ve got the wrong woman. But you write romance, you say. Yes, I can appreciate a sentimental moment or gesture when it’s given.

For me, romance goes beyond flowers, cards, candy and trinkets. Those things are all nice but, they lost some of the awww factor.

Why? Divorce.

Recently,  I gave dating another chance. This time I focused on Meetup groups. This has proven a lot more successful in finding a worthy candidate. In one of these meetings I met a gentleman with a great sense of humor, intelligent, and and has that strong, silent thing going on that romance authors like to create in their heroes.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I’ve read many romance novels in various sub-genres, have written a few myself, but to meet someone who embodies my type of romance changed my somewhat jaded outlook on love.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Romance is so much more than making love at the  end of a great date. It’s offering the twelfth wing, or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. It’s opening doors, holding hands, or a single caress that says; “I am into you.”

In spite of an amicable divorce —I still love the stupid man— and with him getting engaged to a TTF (totally toxic female), I braved the dating world to find a POSiTive love interest.

Brett Jordan, Unsplash

Romance is not lowering your standards, but honoring yourself. When you’re true to who you are, you’re in a better position to receive the twelfth wing or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. I know you’re probably wondering what the heck romance has to do with offering the last of something. It’s simple…I care about you enough to put your wants and needs above my own. I care for your happiness and well-being above mine. I consider your choice before I make mine.

Yeah, so simple a concept that it brought back the awww factor for me.

Briona Baker, Unsplash

Romance still needs consistent open, honest communication and quality time. With that comes the toe-curling, bed-breaking lovemaking at the end of a truly great date.  And yes, when we’re together I’ll offer you the twelfth wing. But be honest in your answer, ‘cause if you say no, I’m going to eat the last piece. 🙂

Nice! How incredibly romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lynn! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Lynn Chantale, a romance novelist, short story writer, and part-time background singer, has published many stories across several genres.  Her works include Sex, Lies, and Joysticks, The Contractor’s Baby, and The Pick-Up Wife, to name a few.

When she’s not taking over the world, she’s dominating her household, family, and her cat, Shakespeare. You can visit her at any of her cyber haunts.

Author Links

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we get booked up fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

 

Thanks again, Lynn, for giving us a peek into what romance means to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next exclusive interview when author Dana Littlejohn visits us on July 23rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Faith, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Writers

Love at First Sight: a guest post by author Holly Bargo

Love at First Sight

by Holly Bargo

 

Immortalized in movie scenes when our hero and heroine exchange that first glimpse from across a room, love at first sight occupies a permanent place within the romantic lexicon. Nowadays, though, it’s called “instalust” or “instalove.”

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

Apparently, that’s more accurate or realistic.

I think it’s derogatory.

What man or woman doesn’t want to feel that moment of instant attraction, that wondrous lightning strike of knowing that he or she is “the One”? That sizzling realization that you’ve just met your one true love can and should knock you off your feet.

Does it happen?

Mohamed Hassan, Pixabay

In fiction, it happens all the time. Consider that ubiquitous fairy tale, Cinderella. The prince gazes across a sea of hopeful ladies to see the glittering beauty of an unknown woman. He rises from his chair, wades through the crowd, and takes the unknown beauty by the hand. They dance all night until the clock strikes midnight and she flees. The next day he goes in search of the woman who captured his interest with just a glance and then took his heart prisoner over a single evening. And he doesn’t even know her name.

Paranormal romance, especially in shifter and vampire romances, capitalizes on love at first sight, using the practically instantaneous attraction and mating instinct possessed by many animals. Our hero (usually a shifter) recognizes his mate (usually a human) and then spends the rest of the story persuading her that he’s going to love her and take care of her forever.

Leandro De Carvalho, Pixabay

I think that most people crave that sort of obsessive devotion, which is why the “love at first sight” trope endures in popularity. However, it has its dark side, too. In Deerskin by Robin McKinley, our heroine’s parents have that sort of single-minded focus upon each other until the heroine’s mother fears the ravages of age and her father transfers his insane focus on his own daughter. The daughter grows up mostly ignored until that creepy and awful transference of obsessive love: her parents cannot focus on anyone but each other. They have no love to spare for their own child.

The ideal of it … ah, doesn’t that make you shiver with the longing to have someone whom you love forsake all others to dedicate himself or herself to your happiness? The trope generally builds upon a man’s instinct to possess and protect, taking those instincts to psychotic levels. The trope generally demands obedience from the submissive in the relationship—usually the female. He takes care, she is cared for—until the tables are turned and she ministers to him.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

Love at first sight hearkens to the ideal of mutual care, mutual benefit, mutual pleasure, mutual support. It takes the concept of a utopian community and applies it to the two-person community of a romance or the slightly larger group of a polyamorous relationship. It takes that idealized, interdependent caring and support and adds sexual attraction.

I love love at first sight. It’s a wonderful catalyst to jump-start a character-driven romance. It complies with my no-cheating requirement in romance and ensures commitment even when intimacy occurs before the ceremony.

Intriguing post ! Thank you, Holly, for giving us a peek into the advantages and disadvantages of the ‘love at first sight’ trope.

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at her paranormal romance? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

This is the blurb for The Eagle at Dawn:

Rachel’s brother uses her as collateral to settle a debt with an outlaw motorcycle gang. She flees to a local bar and pleads with a darkly handsome stranger to help her. His help results in homicide. When eagle shifter Diego’s vacation is interrupted by the innocent young woman he recognizes as his mate, he flees with her across national borders because she’s his and he’s not letting her go.

Having essentially swapped one captor for another, Rachel knows the dashing, sexy Spaniard is keeping secrets from her. He showers her with kindness and generosity in exchange for her obedience. Diego’s control over her and his secrets elicit her distrust and resentment.

When freedom beckons, Rachel answers its call; however, freedom brings hardship and indignity. Will she return to the controlling alpha male who stirs her blood or cling stubbornly to her freedom?

Here is an excerpt.

Rachel awoke to dark liquid eyes staring at her and the gentle stroke of fingers over her cheek and along her jaw. She gasped and drew back, initially confused. Memory slammed into place and she took another deep breath.

“What is it?” she asked, realizing the absence of engine noise and the stillness of the aircraft.

“We’ve arrived, mi encantadora.

She blinked and sat up, rolling her shoulders and stretching. Diego’s gaze sharpened and the small muscle at the base of his jaw clenched. His demeanor subtly changed from tender to ferocious and Rachel wondered what she’d done to anger him. As though realizing that he intimidated her, Diego pressed his full lips together in a thin line, closed his eyes in a long slow blink, and visibly relaxed his muscles.

He held out his hand and she took it, thinking he merely intended to help her up from the cot like the gentleman he claimed to be. However, he did not release her, but reeled her in so that her soft breasts pressed into his body and his heat easily penetrated her thin summer clothes. His other arm wrapped around her and clamped her against him. She inhaled again with sharp surprise at both the unexpected embrace and the surge of arousal that sparked low in her belly.

She swallowed, the sound audible, and blinked rapidly. “What’s going on?”

“Us,” he replied, his voice a husky murmur. Diego’s hand skimmed upward and cupped the back of her head, holding her in place and pressing her ear against his heart. The strong, steady beat thudded and calmed her nerves even as the enticing scent of him stirred her blood. She felt the soft waft of his breath over her hair and then the brush of his lips.

“Why did you kiss me?” she whispered.

“Because you’re not ready for more.”

Rachel gulped again. “What if I’m never ready for more?”

“You will be.”

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/baWNGv

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46421105-the-eagle-at-dawn

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46682405-the-eagle-at-dawn

♥♥♥ Ooh…love the tension! This looks like quite a romantic read! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Holly! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Holly Bargo lives with her husband on a southwest Ohio hobby farm with a menagerie of four-legged pets. Their two children are grown. Holly works full-time as a freelance writer and editor, and has published over 20 titles since 2014. She primarily writes fantasy and romance, often blending the two genres. Her latest release is The Eagle at Dawn, the fourth book in her Immortal Shifters series in which, yes, readers get to experience the effects of love at first sight. Holly enjoys hearing from and meeting readers. She will be at the 2019 Summer Book Fair in Springfield, Ohio. Contact her via the Hen House Publishing website.

 

Thanks again, Holly! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Sierra N. Terry, plus a look at fantasy romance, BENEATH THE SURFACE!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our thirteenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Sierra N. Terry to ILRB! 🙂

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Sierra. Please have a seat.

Author Sierra N. Terry:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Sierra:  I’m in the cleaning field, and yes, I’m good at it! And I definitely don’t like it! I’m hoping one day I will be able to focus on art and storytelling.

Marie: I know exactly what you mean! 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Sierra:  My family is great! My parents tolerate my weirdness and are supportive of all my ideas!

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Sierra:  We moved around a good bit so there isn’t just one I can describe. I think if I had to describe them as a whole, they were all decent enough.

Marie:  Okay.

Do you have any hobbies, Sierra? What do you enjoy doing?

Sierra:  Drawing was always my first passion and still is to this day. I’ll get back to reading to at some point in my life! Ha ha!

Marie:  (Laughs.)

And what is your greatest dream?

Sierra:  To live off of my work, and NOT only get 4 to 5 hours of sleep a day and work two jobs anymore!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😉

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Sierra:  I’d like to be someone less anxious and more outgoing/fun to talk to. I guess what’s stopping me the most is my introvert personality!

Marie:  I can relate to that. Being an author has definitely gotten me out of my shell, but now and then I still have some challenging moments.

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Sierra:  First? Probably someone from a cartoon like Ash from Pokémon or something!

Marie:  All right.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Sierra:  I would have to say it was when I had a weird cyst on my lower back that made it painful to sit or even lay down! My life has been fairly boring so a weird medical thing is the worst I got! Ha ha!

Marie:  Ouch… 😕

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Sierra nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Sierra:  I always had a dream to be a comic book writer and artist. I’ve pretty much wanted something in the creative field since forever! I definitely didn’t achieve that, and I guess it could be because I didn’t ever go to art school/get a degree in writing to even begin to qualify for a job like that. I did, however, start to put my art and stories out there more with my Sailorfrill Studio business, and going around to different conventions.

Marie:  Nice!

So, who is your role model, Sierra?

Sierra:  Definitely my mother! Nobody is so cool, understanding and open-minded as her.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Sierra:  Not really? At least I don’t think so.

Marie:  And what is your deepest desire?

Sierra:  Not to struggle financially anymore would be great.

Marie:  I know, right? 😛

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear?

Sierra:  I’m ~slightly~ concerned I’m going to be dying alone in my car.

Marie:  Oh, no! I really don’t think that will be the case. You sound too awesome to end up alone, hon. 😉

Let’s do something else.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Sierra:

Water

Paper

Pencils

A lighter

And 50 years’ worth of tampons!

Marie:  (Laughs.) Okay.

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jonas Aaronson. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Sierra:  Jonas is a simple guy with a strong sense of justice, which leads him to become a soldier and ultimately meet that mermaid who turned his life upside down!

Marie:  Intriguing…

And what are Jonas’s greatest strengths?

Sierra:  He’s loyal, kind and won’t let an injustice go ignored.

Marie:  Great! 😀

And his weaknesses?

Sierra:  Simpleminded, wears his heart on his sleeve and lost some self-confidence due to some romantic rejections in the past.

Marie:  I’m sure some of us can relate to that one…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are his favorite foods?

Sierra:  Lemon flavored cake and steak with cheesy bacon potatoes!

Marie:  Nice!

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Sierra:  Well, he has a special power that he ignored his whole life, but I don’t want to spoil the story!

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Sierra:  I’m hoping people will like him since he’s good without being perfect. He does do at least one thing in the story that I think a lot of people might be uncomfortable with, but again, I don’t want to spoil it!

Marie:  Makes sense to me… 😉

Now that we have a real taste of Jonas, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Beneath the Surface?

Sierra:  I wasn’t trying! I had just finished writing my first novel, The Longest Knight, and I was lying there in my bed, being happy I’m finished when my mind started talking about a mermaid story. I think my next thought was something like, “Nooooo! I have to write that now.”

Ha ha!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Sierra? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Sierra:  I’m a plotter! I have (sometimes detailed) guidelines I use before all the longhand writing starts. These guidelines leave room for new ideas too, though, and I can make little things up as I go. It keeps things fresh and fun, I think!

Marie:  Awesome!

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Beneath the Surface or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Sierra:  I didn’t really have any issues with writing Beneath the Surface, really. I had much more to say in this one and I’m proud that it’s 450 pages! There’s not too much I will do differently next time (I have three more books to go), since I learned a lot from book 1 (The Longest Knight) and worked out all the kinks back then!

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Beneath the Surface appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

On a seemingly normal night, Jonas, a kind-hearted knight, saves a beautiful young woman from a vicious attack. He quickly finds out the young woman is actually a mermaid and as she disappears into the water, Jonas vows to find her again, so taken by her mere presence. However, ever since they crossed paths Jonas began having strange, ominous dreams about her, making him want to see her again even more. What do these dreams mean and why is he having them all the time? These are just some of the questions Jonas seeks answers to, but all he really wants is a chance to make her his special lady.

The Four Kingdoms Series is a series of novels that are loosely based on one another. Most are romantic but not all, one is erotic but none of the others are quite as intense. Each story takes place in one of the four kingdoms but each individual novel can be read as a stand-alone story (it is highly recommended that you read the book one, The Longest Knight, first). Every story has its own strange uniqueness, and I hope you will stay with me until the very last one is released!

Here’s a peek at the story…

Jonas hears a scream ring out in the quiet night. First one he has heard of in a very long time. Every time he gets night patrol, like today, he always prays to the Four Gods that it’s a boring night. A lot never really happened in his ocean-side town and Jonas likes it that way.

Nonetheless, someone needs help and as a knight, he’s there to protect and serve so he must go investigate what the problem is.

He quietly jogs through the trees towards where the scream came from and as he drew closer to the spot, he can hear more people talking and grunting in agitation.

In a clearing in front of a large clear lake, Jonas spots the disturbance. Two men have gotten ahold of a young woman. One holds her on the ground and the other is trying to get a good grip on her legs to pry them apart. The man at her legs is largely unsuccessful since the woman is thrashing so hard under him, he can’t get a good grip.

“What are you doing?? Hurry up and get her legs open!!” the man holding her arms down yells at the other.

“Can’t you see I’m trying?! This bitch won’t quit!”

Suddenly one of the woman’s legs hits the man in the face and he topples backward, blood quickly staining his lips. Jonas is impressed, her legs are nice to look at and strong.

“Hey, you there!! Let her go!!” Jonas yells out as he reveals himself and rushes towards the scene.

The one man that was kicked is holding his nose in pain still, and the other isn’t doing a lot better. Jonas didn’t see how it happened, but suddenly, the woman’s thick hair is wrapped around the man’s head and now he’s screaming and trying desperately to get it off.

Instead of getting the hair off, Jonas knocks the man out with the hilt of his sword, so he will at least stop screaming and stop hurting everyone’s ears. The other man gets away in all the commotion, but Jonas is certain if he has that guy’s buddy in custody, then he can track the other one down later. Right now, he must tend to the woman and make sure she’s okay.

The woman’s hair untangles itself from the man’s head and returns to normal, but after watching it’s obvious it’s not normal hair.

He slowly kneels next to the woman, who is now panting softly on the ground.

“Hey, are you all right? Did they hurt you?” Jonas asks, placing a hand on her shoulder.

The woman lies there, not responding right away, but this gives Jonas a chance to look her over completely and realizes her beauty.

She’s slender with large hips and smooth, porcelain skin. Her hair is full of big, thick curls that would make any woman jealous. However, it appears to be multicolored, not something he has seen very often.

Jonas is amazed, he’d never seen such a color on a lady or anyone else. It’s mostly a bluish green then changes to a shade of purple at the tips. Even with this strange color, it’s still stunning. No, it’s because of its color that it’s stunning.

Her whole body looks like it’s glistening in the moonlight, even her clothes. She wears a short top that shows off her nicely toned stomach and her long skirt has just as long slits on both sides, leaving nothing to the imagination with her legs.

Jonas gulps.

Those legs are looking more and more tempting the longer he looks at them. He just wants to touch them, maybe rub them for a moment but after what he just saved her from, she probably wouldn’t appreciate that.

Suddenly, she appears to remember Jonas’s presence and the unconscious man, then bolts upright, shoving her body out of Jonas’s reach.

“It’s okay, miss! I won’t hurt you, I’m here to help!”

He tries to calm her, but she scrambles to her feet to run anyway. Her footing is off, her legs wobble and she begins to fall face first back to the ground.

Jonas rushes to her and catches the woman before she hits the ground. Her body is light and incredibly soft to touch. If she let him hold her longer, he’d gladly do it all night. With her so close to him, he can take in her amazing scent: honeydew mixed with the ocean breeze. She reminds him of the sea in the early morning and – good thing for him – he loves the sea.

“Please, don’t!” she finally says to him.

She stares up at him, terror in her soft eyes. Her pink colored soft eyes. There’s no doubt in his mind now, this woman can’t be human.

“I told you, I’m not going to hurt you! You’re safe. Are you feeling okay?”

Jonas feels he must ask that last question. She was doing just fine earlier, thrashing and kicking her legs at her attackers, but now she seems weak and tired like all her energy was drained at once. This beautiful woman is even shaking in his arms and Jonas has, at this moment, no other want but to calm her and make her feel safe again.

“No! Let me go! I need to be in the water!!” she yells at him, shaking her head.

Her hair brushes against his face and it feels like silk.

“The water? Okay, okay, I’ll put you in the lake.”

Jonas slips his other arm under her legs and thanks the Gods in his mind that he got a chance to touch them without appearing creepy.

Sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bOGBG0

Series Link:  https://amzn.to/2XVQt3e

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45274725-beneath-the-surface

https://www.bookbub.com/books/beneath-the-surface-the-four-kingdoms-series-book-2-by-sierra-n-terry

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this fantasy romance! ♥♥♥

About Sierra N. Terry

Born and raised in Central Virginia, there was almost no chance Sierra could have grown up NOT being creative. Her mother was, and still is, highly creative with her drawings and poetry, and she always encouraged Sierra to pursue her work even if she didn’t always like the subject matter!

Sierra realized pretty young she loved to draw and read and despite all the encouragement she had, she somewhat put her creativity on the back-burner until a few years ago. No job ever interested her like art and storytelling did, so in her mid-20s she started her comic again and worked on it like a second job! Since then she has finished drawing the comic, wrote five fantasy novels, and more recently put all her works under the business name Sailorfrill Studio, as well as started selling at anime, book or comic conventions.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Sierra N. Terry, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Sierra N. Terry, the brilliant author of this fantasy romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Isabelle Moss, plus a look at adult literary romance/fantasy, EROS AND THE MAGICIAN!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our twelfth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Isabelle Moss to ILRB! 🙂

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Isabelle. Please have a seat.

Author Isabelle Moss:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Isabelle:  I am a Tantric Transformation and Empowerment Coach for individuals and couples. I love my work. I am very happy doing what I do and helping people live richer and fuller lives. I am also a writer, and am creative all round. I make art in my spare time.

Marie: Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Isabelle:  I am part of a huge family of women – I am one of five daughters, I have four daughters, and I am an aunt to five nieces. My daughters are lively, confident companions and we have loads of fun together. The smell of cake welcomes guests as does the chat around the kitchen table.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Isabelle:  I moved and moved as a child. Every two years I had a new home, but finally we settled in an old stone walled cottage which is as romantic as any house could be. My stepfather was a fantastic gardener so the house greeted us with flowers and plants when we came and went.

Marie:  Lovely! 🙂

Do you have any hobbies, Isabelle? What do you enjoy doing?

Isabelle:  I walk in the woods every day. I love being outside whatever the weather. I do yoga and pilates, and I make art. Collages are my thing at the moment. I also cook and garden. I adore rituals and celebrate life whenever I can. I have just made Beltane wreaths.

Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Isabelle:  My dream is that my book goes out into the world as a vehicle of love. I have three or four others to publish in the series. I think that I am living the dream already. It hasn’t always been so, but I am very happy with where my life is right now.

Marie:  Good! 😀

Let’s try another question.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Isabelle:  I don’t wish to be anybody than who I am right now, sitting here at my computer with the black bird in the garden and the sun coming in the window. Now is what I have.

Marie: Okay.

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Isabelle:  My first love was gorgeous. I met him on a school trip to Russia and I remember walking in the Red Square in the snow, eating chocolate and my heart aching with the intensity of my feelings.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I love romance… ♥♥♥

Tell us something else. What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Isabelle:  I feel grateful that life always changes with this question. I had a long and protracted divorce which wasn’t pleasant in any way.

Marie: Oh, no, sorry to hear that! 😥

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Isabelle nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Isabelle:  I did want four children and am lucky to have them. I remember wanting to be independent, but I imagined that would come earlier. I also wanted to travel and before I married, I worked for an airline and traveled all over the world.

Marie:  All right.

So, who is your role model, Isabelle?

Isabelle:  Do I have to have only one? That seems brutal, but I love the heroines from further back. As a teen I gorged myself on old movies and fell in love with Katherine Hepburn.

Marie:  Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Isabelle:  No! I don’t know the people I dislike!

Marie:  And what is your deepest desire?

Isabelle:  To not be limited by fear.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear?

Isabelle:  That I will never truly fly like a bird.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s do something else.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Isabelle:

  • I’d need a stack of magazines with glue and a scalpel to make pictures, paint and pencils
  • Purple ink and unlined notebooks
  • A carrot cake that never went away and always had a slice left in it
  • A crown and a pair of wings
  • Music, so that I could dance on the beach

Marie:  Nice!

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, the girl. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Isabelle:  She is in the throes of first love and is overwhelmed. Sometimes she is yes, other times she is no. There is a dance between her and the Magician. She is tempestuous and he is steady.

Marie:  And what are her greatest strengths?

Isabelle:  Her greatest strength is her vulnerability. She allows herself to feel everything and is at one with nature.

Marie:  Great! 😀

And her weaknesses?

Isabelle:  She is full of fear and taboos. She is so terrified that she will be consumed by the intensity of the love that she constantly rejects it.

Marie:  I’m sure some readers would be able to relate to that. Sometimes as humans, we run from the things we don’t fully understand.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are her favorite foods?

Isabelle:  Cake, I imagine, and fruit.

Marie:  How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Isabelle:  She is a child of nature with an imagination to go along with it.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Isabelle:  Some will like her, some won’t. It depends on what level the book speaks to them.

Marie:  Okay. Now that we have a real taste of the girl, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

 

What first gave you the idea for Eros and the Magician?

Isabelle:  It sprung from a deep longing inside me to be unconditionally loved in a romantic relationship.

Marie:  And there’s nothing wrong with wanting that! 😉

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Isabelle? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Isabelle:  I am not a plotter. Margaret Atwood said there were two types of writers – plotters and kittens batting a ball of wool across the floor. I am a kitten.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I know just what you mean! I often don’t know where my writing projects are headed at first.

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Eros and the Magician or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Isabelle:  This book flowed out of me. I started with one story one day, and then wrote another the next until the days merged and stories were written. I decided to self-publish. I’m not sure why, but it might be because I wanted everything inside my control. Next time I will leave a longer lead in! I didn’t fully realize how much there would be to do around the marketing. Next time I’ll give myself time.

Marie:  Oh, yes. Spreading the world about a book is challenging.

It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! Thank you for visiting!

And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Eros and the Magician appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

Eros and the Magician is an erotic love story which unfolds in verse. It is set in lush and dreamy landscapes while the girl and the Magician lead us through the yes-no-yes at the heart of our most intimate love affairs. It is a story of vulnerability and the risk we all need to take to be truly loved. The girl and the Magician could be humans, immortals, Gods – we do not know. The story blends eroticism with complex and nuanced personal development.

Release Date: May 4, 2019

Genre: Erotic Romance, Adult Literary Romance, Poetry, Fantasy

Here’s a peek at the story…

Prophecy

 

I am wearing my purple dress,

long to the ground,

heavy rose quartz rests on my chest.

I am walking towards you,

limber, graceful, a Goddess –

a woman who belongs to herself.

I am wearing my purple dress,

long to the ground,

beribboned amethyst adorns my neck.

I am walking towards you,

ripped from the ground –

I am screaming and tearing my hair.

I am dressed in my skin,

bruised and battered,

but resplendent in glory.

I am walking towards you.

You gather me in,

home at last, you say.

 

I

 

The sun sends tendrils of light through

the canopy of leaves.

The song birds chatter,

the crows chase the hawk into the hedgerow.

The Magician sits on the ground,

his back against the trunk of the oak tree,

soaking up its wealth of knowing.

The air smells of resin and freshness.

The girl hums a tune,

starts to dance,

feet on the grass,

dappled with light;

removes her clothing

piece by piece,

as she does truths fall like fruit from her mouth.

When she is naked

she kneels in front of him,

slices the fruit, feeds it to him.

He tastes the sweetness of the fruit,

the saltiness of her fingers:

his c*** thrums,

he hears the pulse of his heart.

Sounds intriguing and sexy! Can’t wait to find out what happens. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/ba28Jx

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45415613-eros-and-the-magician

What are people saying about Eros and the Magician?

“He’s the Magician, but she is holding the love for them in her heart.” – Emily

“Riveting to watch the dance between the girl and the Magician.” – Christina

“Isabelle Moss with her vivid, skillful, playful, whimsical, yet deep and heart and gut-wrenching writing creates a timeless piece of a magic puzzle. I absolutely adore it!

Every time I read a few pieces, I just melt into the story and feel like I am part of it. This rich piece is equally highly entertaining for your fairy loving inner child and for your dark shadow within.” – Inna August (Love, Sex and Relationship Transformation coach)

“These are like I have never read before. Sensual and full.

Your voice

Your vision

Your senses

So good.” – Gina

Luxurious and succulent – Isabelle Moss writes timeless poetry, you cannot help but feel the allure of her intimate heart that seems to link back to an era of time we remember on a soul level. She draws from the depths of life and portrays all the mysteries of love and longing in her work, and it’s provocative! She makes me question all the roles and empowers me to find my own voice in the dance of love. And this is just the beginning, her words seem to spill forth, I know there will be so much more poetry in the future! And I’m excited to read it!” – Lady D, Amazon

Unique, original, dazzling…This tells a story that is spell-binding, in that the reader is quickly bound up in a spell of enchanted words. There is a magic to this story of transformations told from a female point of view. The images are striking and vivid and sensual in this story that reminds me of “Psyche and Eros”. A good Jungian could explore these images and themes for quite a while, but it is a modern story about the need to surrender to the deepest desires of the heart.” – Jim Malloy, Amazon

Riveting, magical, accessible poetry full of feeling and mystery. Moss writes clearly and lyrically about the chemistry underlying the mutual seduction between the Magician and the girl, and captures the power dance between them beautifully. She creates a vivid natural world unto itself, a welcome, exotic and wild escape from our everyday environment. Highly recommend!” – Meg Escobosa, Amazon

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this adult literary romance with erotic poetry and fantasy! ♥♥♥

About Isabelle Moss

Isabelle Moss is a lover of fairytales and myths and lives in a land that is steeped in them. She writes poetry, short stories and novels. She is lucky enough to live beside ancient woodland, in Scotland, where she walks her dog, Oona. She reads and writes everywhere she goes and is a deep romantic never having lost her belief in the redemptive power of love. She has a weakness for afternoon tea and cake which she indulges in when her children come home.  She is a Tantra Coach and loves her work helping couples create more connected relationships. Eros and the Magician is the first in a series of three books and she is looking forward to narrating them as audio books in the near future.

Book:

 

 

 

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Isabelle Moss, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Isabelle Moss, the brilliant author of this steamy literary fantasy romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Literary Fiction, Literature, Message, Poetry, Readers, Romance, steamy, Writers, Writing

14 Memorable Fourth of July Date Ideas

Charles has some great holiday date ideas for you! ♥♥♥

phicklephilly

It’s that time of the year again.

For many of us, the Fourth of July is just another holiday to party hard, sleep in or lounge around at home.

But this time around, it’s time you do some something different with your loved one.

This independence day, indulge in a few activities that are fun and yet, patriotic!

14 Fourth of July date ideas

Do you remember the happy Independence Day celebrations you loved so much when you were a child?

What’s stopping you from doing that, now that you’re all grown up?

Instead of just waiting for the fireworks to light up the sky at night, go on out there and enjoy the day.

Here are 14 great ways to make your Independence Day date memorable, fun and oh-so-perfect!

#1 Raise a flag. This is something you can do first thing in the morning!

Plan ahead the earlier night…

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Filed under Blogging, Dating Tips, Event, family, Holiday, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles, Traditions

Exclusive Interview with author Kathryn Troy, plus a look at time travel/fantasy romance, CURSE OF THE AMBER!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our eleventh official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented multi-genre author. Please join me in welcoming Kathryn Troy to ILRB! 🙂

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Kathryn. Please have a seat.

Author Kathryn Troy:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Kathryn:  My day job is as a professional historian and adjunct professor. I’m also trained as a pastry chef. I love genre fiction, and I love writing genre fiction – I use up all my free time doing it.

Marie: Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Kathryn:  I have a loving husband and two cute kids – one boy and one girl.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Kathryn:  Like a full house – I lived with my parents, my grandparents, two siblings, and a rotation of cousins and aunts and uncles.

Marie:  Wow…I thought five people crammed under one roof was crowded! (Laughs.) But I’m sure you’re all still close-knit.

Do you have any hobbies, Kathryn? What do you enjoy doing?

Kathryn:  I think of writing as my hobby, since I find time to do it rather than clocking in for it, although I probably spend more hours writing each week than I do on anything else. Aside from that, I enjoy traveling as far and as often as possible. Favorites so far are France, Germany, and Hawaii. Next up: China.

Marie:  Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Kathryn:  To fill my passport up with stamps and need a second book.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😉

Let’s try another question.

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Kathryn:  My first love is my still love – my husband Andy. We met as college freshmen, have been together 17 years, and are about to celebrate 13 years of marriage.

Marie:  Yay! 😀 Congratulations!

(Sighs.) I love romance…

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Kathryn nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Kathryn:  I have no idea what my childhood dream was – I changed my mind too often. But I’m a fairly content person. My only aspirations at the moment are to see more of this planet.

Marie:  That I can understand! 😀 I’d like to do more traveling as well…

So, who is your role model, Kathryn?

Kathryn:  Xena Warrior Princess. I’m not joking.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Kathryn:  I can’t answer that. What if they read this?

Marie:  (Chuckles.)

And what is your deepest desire?

Kathryn:  Can I get a clone that does the dishes just the way I like them done? If it could fold laundry too, that’d be great. Really, I just need the maid from The Jetsons.

Marie:  (Covers her ears.) No…now I’ll have that theme playing in my head the rest of the day! (Laughs.)

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear?

Kathryn:  That my clone will be prettier than me. Just kidding! 😉

My biggest fear is probably that my kids will grow up in a post-Columbine, post-Newtown, post-Stoneman school system that did nothing to keep them safe.

Marie:  I agree. The situation is rather terrifying…

Let’s do something else.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Kathryn:

A lifetime supply of bug-killer.

Toothpaste

Deodorant

2-ply toilet paper

The Infinity Gauntlet

Marie:  Okay.

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Asenath Hayes. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Kathryn:  Asenath Hayes is a young archaeologist, orphaned at a young age and fairly independent, even if she’s a little dysfunctional.

Marie:  And what are Asenath’s greatest strengths?

Kathryn:  She’s intelligent and rational, but also very generous with others.

Marie:  Great! 😀

And her weaknesses?

Kathryn:  She’s a generally anxious person, grappling with some not-so-great life choices.

Marie:  I’m sure some of us can relate to that…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are her favorite foods?

Kathryn:  Anything her roommate Ravi makes – including pork vindaloo and butter chicken.

Marie:  Nice!

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Kathryn:  She doesn’t realize what a good friend she is to others, or how self-sacrificing she is for those she cares about.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Kathryn:  She’s flawed, sure, but I don’t give people any real reason to dislike her.

Marie:  Great!

Now that we have a real taste of Asenath, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Curse of the Amber?

Kathryn:  I was reading Anne Rice’s The Mummy, and I felt that some of the storytelling elements were a bit flat. I love the concept of man-out-of-time stories, but I’m not always satisfied by them. I wanted to do something that would be satisfying, unique, and a bit on the darker side.

Marie:  Cool!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Kathryn? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Kathryn:  I plot things out, even if it’s just mentally, getting all the major plot points in order and answering some questions of internal logic. I like to know the trajectory, and then go back for the details and polish later. I also did a lot of research for this book, but like I said, I’m a professional historian. I could’ve written a book about bog bodies and ancient Egypt with the amount of reading I did. I chose to write fiction instead.

Marie:  Awesome!

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Curse of the Amber or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Kathryn:  It’s hard to find the right balance between something that is new, something fresh and original, and something that is clearly categorized and defined. If an agent or editor can’t easily peg the book as belonging to one genre or another, they can’t sell it, no matter how good your prose is. It can be hard to be mindful of the publishing market and marketing strategies while also creating a story. But it’s all about perspective. I’d rather write stories that I want to read, and worry about who else likes it later. It takes away some of the stress of writing to serve a particular audience or literary trend, and the end product tends to be better as a result.

Marie:  I agree!

It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Curse of the Amber appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

A curse, a resurrection, and a centuries old witch hell bent on revenge.

Quintus is a dutiful son and soldier, sent to Britannia to improve his marriage prospects and ensure the Druids never rise again. Roman soldiers destroyed the last Druid stronghold in a battle of blood and fire. So, he never expects to be sacrificed to their sacred bog, trapped forever by the gods below.

Two thousand years later, Asenath Hayes discovers the most well-preserved body in history. And the last thing she needs is for him to wake up.

As the young archaeologist delves into Druidic rituals to grasp why Quintus was offered to a Welsh bog and then resurrected, she is forced to complete her research with the “missing” body, dodge her ex-lover and mentor with his own agenda, and keep her gorgeous new houseguest under wraps.

But, smitten with her as he seems, Quintus says he wants to go home.

Asenath is drawn to Quintus by the secrets they share, even if it scares her. As Asenath is pulled deeper into the mysteries of the bog, she must risk everything to keep him from hell’s cold grasp as she uncovers forbidden rites, awakened deities, and an attraction that transcends the ages.

Here’s a peek at the story…

ASENATH

Chapter 1

 

The sun seems to have forgotten Wales. I didn’t think there was any place on Earth that could make me long to be in Egypt again, but I couldn’t escape the memories that flooded me. I shivered in the absence of the Valley’s merciless heat, where for summers on end its oppressive dryness sucked the life out of my lips and baked my skin into hardened, sand-beaten clay. That dryness had followed Ramesses, Amenhotep, Aken-aten, and his son beyond the world’s suffering down to their resting place, and kept the divine kings ready in the dark, empty stillness.

But the day’s oppression had always faded with the sun. The perfection of those nights on the Eastern Bank, at our host Hani’s home — that was what I missed. Invigorated by the fresh, life-giving breeze off the Nile’s surface and snuggled between my parents under thin woven blankets was a warmth I knew I would never feel again. The cold and damp of Britain, once the stronghold of the Druids, was relentless. The gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach grew, and the thought I’d pushed away more than once made itself more insistent.

This was a mistake. I shouldn’t be here.

My fingertips numbed to the statuette in my hand, a solid representation of the wet chill in the air. Its faceless form was as alien to me as the bog in which I crouched. The shape of the stone fetish was at least interesting, a long, slender column with a severe “V” etched into it. It held more promise than the dozens of thin rings fashioned out of iron, bronze, and even gold, heaped together in a tangle, the clay pottery, now in shards, and scraps of linen that appeared to be tossed desperately into the bog as a last-ditch effort to avoid Roman destruction. But I couldn’t enjoy it for what it was. It was inscrutable, too disconnected from anything familiar. Its primitive, obscure expression reminded me of my own cold thoughts, and as I squeezed the chilled stone in my hand, I doubted if I would discover anything that had once been warm — made of flesh and blood. We were as deep down as the famous bog bodies had been, more so in certain places, and still we had nothing, or rather no one, to show for it.

I lifted my head, trying to shake off my melancholy and averting my eyes from the stone carving that would not reveal its secrets to me. I was too low down to inhale even a whiff of air that wasn’t saturated with the grassy pungency of the bog wall. From my vantage point, huddled low in a deep, man-hewn pit, the sodden depression of the bog appeared even more overgrown on all sides. Birch trees poked out of humble clusters of willows, red-speckled buckthorn, and mountain ash. Except for these trees skirting its outermost edges, the sunken area was wide and open. The cauldron bog retained its secluded atmosphere, despite being carved into a series of waterlogged cavities.

My somber mood deepened when I saw my advisor approach. Up until then I’d been successful at avoiding him. I deliberately didn’t linger, and always found a reason to visit another pit when the one we were in suddenly emptied of other researchers. I’d resisted the wrenching feeling in my gut too long, but as our excavation wound down, it was impossible to ignore, with nowhere for my thoughts to hide — there was nothing left of what used to be my life.

“How’s it going?” Alex asked, and knelt beside me.

“Fine,” I answered, not bothering to look up from the peat I was brushing off of a link of iron rings sunken into the over-saturated soil.

After a long, awkward silence, he said, “It’s okay, you know.”

“What is?”

“If you don’t…if we don’t find one.”

I swallowed hard. The only place for my rising fury to go was back down.

“I just don’t want you to think that this whole thing was a waste—”

“A waste?” I shot back. “I’ve got enough to keep me occupied for the next decade, thank you.” It was true, but that didn’t make the prospect of studying human sacrifice sans a human sound any better. Nothing would tell us as much about the Druids as human remains that had, willingly or otherwise, undergone their practices. It may have been more than anyone else expected, but the bar had been set impossibly high. A human discovery might have been the only way to exceed my father’s own discoveries in the Valley of the Kings and earn the same level of respect in my own right.

“All right, all right,” Alex said, contrite. “I didn’t come over here to upset you.”

“Then why are you here?” There was more bite in my voice than I meant, but he had that amused eyebrow raised again, the one that made my anger meaningless and painted me as a silly, wide-eyed novice with dreams of finding the next Tut.

“I thought you might need a refill.” He offered me a cup of coffee.

A gruff ‘thank you’ was all I could manage. My brain had reached maximum capacity for caffeine, but it went down easy. Milk and two sugars, just the way I liked it. Damn.

Sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to find out what happens. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3LKz6w

Publisher link:  http://smarturl.it/CurseCO

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   http://smarturl.it/CurseGoodReads

https://www.bookbub.com/books/curse-of-the-amber-by-kathryn-troy

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this time travel/fantasy romance! ♥♥♥

About Kathryn Troy

I’m an historian by day, a novelist and baker by night. I like to write what I read – fantasy, romantic fantasy, gothic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, horror, and weird fiction.

Books:

rav

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Kathryn Troy, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Kathryn Troy, the brilliant author of this fantasy romance with a time travel angle, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Time Travel, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

Book Review: Unglorious War by Maxine Flam

Our latest I Love Romance Blog review selection is Unglorious War by Maxine Flam. What a read! 😀

The novel was a gift copy provided well before I became an official reviewer on ILRB. Going into this review, I should state that even though I love reading historical romance, this is not one of my favorite time periods to read about (and I only have two or three that I try to avoid). I don’t claim ignorance about the Vietnam War. My own father served, and has his own stories – at least what he is allowed to reveal. Much of what he did remains classified. However, to be fair as both reader and reviewer, I reserved judgment until the book was finished.

Unglorious War is an appropriate title, for reading the story proved to be a rather enlightening experience. The characters were compelling. Marla, especially, was someone I grew to further respect as the tale progressed. The secondary characters were just as fascinating.

I must congratulate the author for her historical accuracy. She clearly did her research, and this book has the seal of approval from three war Veterans.

One issue I saw – both from the standpoint of a writer and a reader – was the head-hopping interspersed throughout the story. The approach was unusual overall, hinting at more of an omniscient narrator. Still, this fact wasn’t enough to pull me out of the fictional world, in most cases.

The varied emotions on the page were real, and the love story was deeply moving. The connection between Marla and Thomas was believable and heartfelt, even with the threat of war all around them.

As for an HEA or HFN – the one aspect a romance reader yearns for – I’d probably label the novel historical fiction with elements of romance. Possibly with a hint of inspirational romance, and definitely a military romance. We have to be realistic too with any tale about war. With the intent of being remotely authentic, it can’t be all hearts, flowers, and butterflies. I am not a person who likes to give away spoilers. I will do my best to avoid doing so here.

ONE WARNING: When something bad happens, don’t give up on this read. There is so much more to discover, to be resolved. And the ending is…well, open to interpretation.

In any case, my rating for this read is three hearts ❤️❤️❤️ – for a well told story and a realistic romance. Nice job, Maxine! 🙂

Book Info:

Major Thomas Harrison Smith is critically wounded while escaping from a POW camp deep inside Laos during the Vietnam War. Stabilized by medical personnel in Vietnam and Japan, he is flown to Oahu, Hawaii for surgery and rehabilitation. Emaciated, dehydrated, and half-dead from torture and constant beatings, he meets Lt. Marla Bristol, a nurse-therapist assigned to his case. During Major Smith s recovery, he and Lt. Bristol fall in love and marry, but the military wants Major Smith to do another tour of duty and if Major Smith does return to Vietnam, will he see his beloved Marla again?

Who is Lt. Anthony Lambello and what part does he play in whether Major Smith returns from NAM? Thomas and Marla are scared but each pray to God that they should be reunited soon. They find their faith tested and God answers their prayers, but is it the way that they hope for?

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bP0AAr

Here is an excerpt.

AUTHOR: Maxine Flam

TITLE: Unglorious War

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Military Romance

RELEASE DATE: February 19, 2009-2012

PUBLISHER: Flamingo Publications

ISBN/ASIN: 098211740X/9780982117415

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Marie Lavender

You can find an ebook copy for free on Smashwords! 😉

Up next time: Kurt Seyt & Shura by Nermin Bezmen

Thanks for reading our latest book review on ILRB!

 

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, inspirational romance, Military Romance, rating, Readers, Reviews, Romance, score, Writing

We All Have Dreams: a guest post by author Sheri Langer

We All Have Dreams

by Sheri Langer

 

We all have dreams. As a child, mine was to have long polished fingernails, a sparkly diamond ring, a husband, kids, and a puppy. It was my firm belief that my children would be the luckiest on earth because I would love them beyond reason. My only other wish was to be a movie star, admired by all.

We all have dreams that change. As a child I loved movies, especially the ones where sultry, stunning actresses had to do nothing but stand in a room to have every man in sight desire them. Their allure was disarming and enviable and as I got older, I wanted to be one of them. As a teen, it became somewhat painfully obvious that a 5’2”, very bosomy, bottle-blonde was not exactly the ingenue Hollywood was banging down doors to find. I still watched movies with palpable yearning, but as a matter of practicality, I knew I would have to switch gears.

We all have dreams that change us. I went to college because I had no choice but to graduate and be a “something.” I had given up my dreams of being an actress and so I returned to my most organic desire – to be a wife and a mother. My first serious boyfriend didn’t feel ready to comply with my wishes and broke up with me. Shortly after, I met the guy I believed was Mr. Right. He transferred to my school so we could be together. It was all very romantic in the screenplay I was writing in my head.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

We all have dreams that work – until they confuse us.  We got married. I went for my MA in English Ed so I could actually be a “something.” I loved words. The problem was I didn’t want to be a teacher or a journalist. I didn’t want to be anything that required punching a time clock or reporting to a boss. I wanted to write movies, but as far as I was concerned those were created in some far-off land by nameless sprites.

We all have dreams that shape us. I got pregnant and realized that being a mother was my truest calling. Except for the pen and paper that beckoned me in the wee hours, I was a mom all the way from colic to toddlerhood and then onto my next pregnancy, and my next pregnancy, and my next pregnancy. All the while, my movies kept me company. They reminded me, while my own marriage was unraveling, that true love was still out there.

Ani Kolleshi, Unsplash

We all have dreams that save us. I got divorced. It was a blessing, but destabilizing, nonetheless. I was no longer part of a couple. We divvied up the friends, but I got to keep the videos. The weekends I didn’t have the kids became my nights for take-out and rom coms. I needed to reinforce my childhood notions of love. I started dating, which I found was not the way to secure those notions. The more I dated, the more I needed my movies.

At some point, we all stop dreaming and start doing. One day, my sister said, very matter-of-factually, “just write your movie already.” Really? Maybe she was right. Maybe the only way I could have the love I wanted was to create it myself. I started writing a screenplay and while developing the main conflict, decided to reach out to my first serious boyfriend. I was in NY. He was safely tucked away in Florida. Maybe he would be able to explain why I was relationship-challenged.

We all have dreams that come true. My former boyfriend was now divorced and seemed to have been waiting for my call. We kept in touch and after a few weeks he said he needed to see me. Our time together convinced me to keep writing. Upon the advice of my late, treasured mentor, I novelized my screenplay and LOVE-LINES emerged.

My boyfriend moved to NY, proposed, and after a mere dozen years of living together, we got married this past New Year’s Eve.

Brian Hartley, Unsplash

Keep dreaming.

Wow! Thank you, Sheri, for giving us a peek into your life and offering some of us a reason to have hope for our romantic futures. You are so right. Love is worth waiting for, and I’m glad your life journey also led you to writing that book! 😉

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this contemporary romance? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

This is the blurb for Love-Lines:

What if you could find the love of your life just by reading between the lines?

Single mom Fordham Price is juggling her job at a small publisher, her precocious ten-year-old daughter, and her feisty mother. She wants to find time for men, but after a series of dating disasters, her relationship status is still stuck at single.

As if her macchiato lite wasn’t already overflowing, a co-worker gets pregnant, and Fordham is expected to step in and deliver the company’s latest reality read from the Flowers from the Heart series. She must now supplement her own romantic misadventures with tales of cynical cat-ladies, identical-twin husbands, spunky monks, and countless other web-crawlers.
As she wades through the submissions, she finds one from a widower whose story gives her tingles in all the places she forgot existed. His words draw her in until she finds herself daydreaming about him more than she’d care to admit.

Could she have a love like that, or will her romantic fate be forever bound to her philandering ex-husband?

What are people saying about this book?

“Humorous romance. Entertaining tale of a divorcee meeting her Prince Charming but also encountering her first love. Will she rekindle that former romance where her heart was broken? Will she find out who is Prince Charming? Where does her daughter’s handsome principal fit into the story? All the answers will be there, as well as some surprises and laughs along the way.” — Barbara Tobey, Amazon

I must say I’m impressed. I’m not sure if a “virgin” reader’s enthusiasm is a plus or not, because I haven’t read a book in 50 years. No joke, that’s how long it’s been, and that book was the first fiction book I had read. Didn’t like it and figured it would always be like that.
This was fun, lighthearted, cute, serious, sad, happy, ridiculous, confusing, surprising detailed, vividly real as everything I read brought the characters to life in my mind, and they remained unchanged throughout. Most of all, a great read that I reluctantly put down every time I had to stop reading. Kudos, Sheri Langer!
” — Tony, Amazon

I love, love, love this book! Fordham struggles to figure out who she is and what she wants in life after being let down by her father, her first love, and her ex-husband. She finds herself raising her daughter with her mother and doing a job that makes her feel like she’s in way over her head. I enjoyed all of the characters and how you aren’t really sure how it’s all going to work out in the end.” — KReads83, Amazon

“Cute book! I loved all the different characters’ relationships throughout this book. Whether you are young, old or middle aged, love can show up! It was a quick, fun read and I’m looking forward to this author’s next book!” —R. McCleaf, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mv7GN2

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43699742-love-lines

https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-lines-by-sheri-langer

The link to a book excerpt is: https://bit.ly/2DVHsLb

♥♥♥ Nice! This looks like quite a romantic read! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Sheri! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Sheri Langer is a chocoholic writer and editor who routinely feasts on romantic comedies. She’s been known to spontaneously reenact scenes from classic favorites like When Harry Met Sally.

A self-proclaimed moderately talented home-cook, Sheri spends a fair amount of time concocting dishes that can never be repeated. A creative rebel at heart, she has always colored outside the lines and has an instinctive aversion to recipes. To keep the calories from getting too out of hand, Sheri does step and aerobic workouts in the privacy of her bedroom, where no one has to be subjected to her lack of rhythm.

An avid word fan, Sheri frequently plays Just Words, Boggle, and Scrabble, mostly against the computer so she has excellent odds of winning. With her four kids all grown up – three of whom live in various locations across the map – Sheri and her guy, Brad, spend much of their downtime watching General Hospital and football, shopping, and pursuing the best ice cream on the planet. Much to the chagrin of their waistbands, they can often be spotted sitting on a bench outside their favorite creamery, eating obscenely overstuffed giant waffle cones.

Please feel free to connect with Sheri on social media. You can help her procrastinate by engaging in spirited exchanges or viewing pics of her great-looking family and ridiculously adorable cat, Zoe.

 

Thanks again, Sheri! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Blog Tour Feature: Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu Audio Set by Kaitlynzq

.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ FEATURED¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

heart’s wave, heart’s song, heart’s breath

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Kaitlynzq, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your literary romance audio set! :)

Here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering romance books!

Let’s hear a little about this great title…

Nice!

This is the blurb for Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu:

The stories within Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu
connect, unfold, interweave many character’s stories
needs, feelings, desires, dreams

contain words of

caresses around
as a cocoon of soft cashmere
accompanied by sweet aroma
allures to intimate nearness
remains a velvet kiss

their threads as two crescent moons
connected under the firelights
that layer the chords, and form the lyrics

all of you entered my world as dawn’s awakening sky of soft palette
my garnet heart melted in iridescence to bloom in sun’s rays
glow in night’s depth as the stars echo the rhythm of my heart
my insides sigh and expand in delight
harmonious blend as our lives
circle the melody

caresses around
as a cocoon of soft cashmere
accompanied by sweet aroma
allures to intimate nearness
remains a velvet kiss

Information for the audio set:

Included in Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu audio set is
Ancient Script of Lovecontu audio poem
Legend of Song de Light audio book
Legend of Song de Light audio play

A set of interconnected stories with elements from each story that interweave in one another as heart’s wave, heart’s song, heart’s breath into downloadable MP3 files and PDF file.

An audio set that is interwoven in the Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu series that includes:
Ancient Script of Lovecontu audio poem
Legend of Song de Light audio book
Legend of Song de Light audio play
Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu audio set

Kaitlynzq is giving us a peek at her adult literary romance with a touch of poetry, Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu audio set, today.

Great cover!

 

Book Info:

Title: Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu Audio Set

Author: Kaitlynzq

Series: Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu

Genre: Adult Literary Fiction, Poetry, Romance

Here is an excerpt.

“…Oh, actually, that’s how I’m feeling…

A breeze, melodic in pace…”

 

“…And begins to sing…”

 

“…Again and again I muted the caution sign, and proceeded with Kamille, but my mind got even more

insistent as I thought of telling her…”

 

“…The room that is partitioned with a fireplace’s heat wave, and holds teardrop flower petals in the

corners,

flows freely into my heart with each pebble of sand in an hourglass. Wisjvye’s heartbeat radiates…”

 

“ …EUZY

[Spoken lines]

Title of Play: “The Adventure of One Word”

Opening Date: Scheduled for the near future

Inspired By: …

Set Design: A bedroom with cascades of golden fabric on the walls, stone fireplace in the back corner,

And two chairs nestled together with a single footrest.

Music: A melodic hum accompanied with sparkles of fire.

Dance Sequence: Danseur and ballerina begin with one hand on the other’s heart space to form two crescent moons with their arms and geeté, geeté, lahnur, huganto, adream petite . Danseur whispers in ballerina’s ear, and releases her to perform magnifi-gras-se-susay and return to him in truset luh-es-aglo, with an immediate leatur lautu, and repeat…”

Here’s the vocal synopsis…

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Purchase Link:

Kaitlynzq’s Boutique:  https://kaitlynzq.boutique/lovecontu-song-de-light-lovecontu-audio-set

PRAISE FOR LOVECONTU SONG DE LIGHT LOVECONTU:

Legend of Song de Light audiobook wasn’t what I expected, but offers something different from my usual read. Lately, I’ve been stepping outside my box and this was one of my wild cards.

This is the sort of story which should be played loudly to fill the room. The background of the tapes being played etc wants to be heard clearly as it helps understand the switch in characters/time.

The stories show the challenging relationships and culture of the arts. Each character offers a different diversity. This is not a collection of lighthearted love stories. Some of the themes will not be for everyone. The characters are trying to juggle difficult scenarios.

Overall an interesting collection. 4 unique stars out of 5. D.M. (Goodreads)

Sounds like quite a tale!😉

Kaitlynzq is giving away some cool prizes during the tour…

$4 Gift Card to Kaitlynzq’s Boutique – 10 winners

Free Copy of Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu Audio Set – 2 winners

Surprise Gift – 2 winners

Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember, there is a chance to enter everyday so be sure to follow the Blog Tour for the contest and exclusive content. You may find the tour link here.

Thank you for telling us about your audio set, Kaitlynzq!

I listened to the audiobook of Legend of Song de Light and reviewed it on my own, so I can vouch for Kaitlynzq’s unique style! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to grab a copy of this awesome book, or add it to your Goodreads list!

Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu looks great! ♥ We’ll be sure to check it out! Don’t miss the giveaway!

Author Bio

My fictional stories are written from the inside view
of a character’s interior heart-that

beautiful, vulnerable, intimate space
feelings, desires, needs, dreams

a blend of

delicate feather ripples of heart waves
needs, feelings, dreams, desires
quiet, gentle heart strings
tender, continuous
soft, vulnerable air mist
circles, weaves to caress
a sonic sea of heart’s breath

Woven into audio books that are recorded in my voice with a medley of music as a heart’s wave into
downloadable mp3 files; audio plays adapted from the audio books, and layered into pdf files like a
heart’s song; audio poems that are multiple poems designed to connect to form a story as a heart’s breath;
and audio sets that are sets of these interconnected stories with elements from each story that interweave
in one another as heart’s wave, heart’s song, heart’s breath.

Author Links

Website:  https://kaitlynzq.com

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18554610.Kaitlynzq

Vlog:  https://soundcloud.com/kaitlynzq

 

Thank you for telling us about your great book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this adult literary romance/poetry audio set!

Thanks again to Kaitlynzq and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥ Have a great week! 😀

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Filed under audiobook, Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, contest, Event, Fiction, giveaway, Literary Fiction, Literature, music, Poetry, Readers, Romance, Tour, Writing

Heiresses in Love Trilogy by Marie Lavender💕 Spotlight & EXCLUSIVE eBook Bundle Giveaway 💕 (Historical Romance)

PLEASE check out this beautiful post for a chance to win a copy of my historical romance boxed set! ♥

Source: Heiresses in Love Trilogy by Marie Lavender💕 Spotlight & EXCLUSIVE eBook Bundle Giveaway 💕 (Historical Romance)

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book News, Books, contest, Event, Fiction, free books, giveaway, Historical, Historical Romance, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Romance, Writing