Category Archives: Contemporary

Planning A Wedding – The Right Way: a guest post by Dora Potter

Planning A Wedding

– The Right Way

 

It would not be wrong to say that a wedding changes your life completely. We cannot live the same breath as we used to before our wedding. That is why the wedding day is probably the most essential in a person’s life. It is very crucial to keep this day memorable so that we always remember this day in the right words.

Sweet Ice Cream Photography, Unsplash

To do that, we have to plan our wedding in such a way that people love it, and at the same time, your wallet is not hurt.

Hence, get ready to prepare a wedding bouquet as we will show you step by step how to plan a perfect wedding. Make sure you read the full article.

STEPS TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING DAY:

The wedding should be the biggest party that you are ever going to throw. Hence, here we will help you out in planning your biggest day. Please read all the steps. The steps are…

  1.     Plan a budget.

Sit with your elder ones & set a wedding budget. Make a particular figure that you can spend on your wedding. While planning a budget, don’t be a miser as well as don’t waste money on useless things. Plan a balanced budget and make your day the most memorable day of your life.

  1.     Get unique ideas.

This step can make your wedding a unique one. Search on the internet and find out the ways through which you can plan your wedding. You can get inspiration from weddings on any known celebrities. You can also plan your wedding by getting ideas from Instagram or any other social media.

  1.     Create a guest list.

Now again, this point is essential. You should know who and what type of people are coming to your wedding. If you know how many people are coming only, then you will be able to select a suitable venue as well as prepare a proper meal. Without knowing the number of people coming, your wedding will be ruined completely. Hence, create a list and invite only those who are mentioned in that list.

  1.     Select a venue.

After you have prepared a balanced budget, you will know what type of venue you should choose. Choose a venue according to the number of people you have invited. While selecting a venue, make sure you pick dates that are suitable for every guest. It is recommended to choose dates which are of holidays because on such days everyone is available. You can find many venues easily online.

  1.     Create a wedding website.

It seems odd, but this is the best way to keep your relatives and guests in touch. When you have a wedding website, you will be able to put all the information on that website. The information can be timing, venue, dress code, et cetera. In this way, you will not have to call each guest to inform him/her about the changes that you made in initial plans, but you can put that on your website, and your guest will know about it.

  1.     Book vendors.

Vendors are the ones who manage your whole wedding ceremony. It is good to book as many vendors as possible. These vendors will help you out in any way possible. On average, people usually book thirteen to fifteen vendors for each ceremony. Vendors are professionals in their field, and they will make your wedding day a perfect day.

  1.     Purchase attire.

For men, don’t rush while selecting perfect attire. Give yourself time to choose what is best for the best day. Make sure you look better than any other guy on your wedding day. You need to be the MVP of that day & your attire is the only thing that will make you MVP. Hence, make sure to spend the right amount of time in this step.

  1.     Finalize the meal.

Whether it is lunch or dinner, decide this as soon as possible. Make a rough list of meals and show them to catering agencies. The number of meals should be according to the number of guests.

  1.     Plan your honeymoon.

Don’t wait till the wedding ends, or you will never be able to plan your honeymoon. Set up your honeymoon with the wedding plan. It is good to go on a honeymoon right after the wedding. Plan your honeymoon destinations, reserve hotels, and book tickets.

  1. Enjoy Pre-Wedding events.

There are many events that you can enjoy before the primary wedding day. In our culture, we usually celebrate a bridal shower, bachelor party, and many more. Make sure you attend all of these events as a guest of honor.

  1. Get the marriage license.

Now, this is the most crucial step in the whole guide. If you want to marry legally, then attend to the matter of a marriage license. Every country and every state has different laws in this regard. Make sure to read all these laws before applying for the marriage license. In some states, a marriage license takes some time. So, ask for it before planning venues and everything.

  1. Get married!

After all this hard work, enjoy your day and get married. Make your day a memorable day for all. Do everything in your power to make your wedding day the best day of your life.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Keep so many surprises for your partner on the wedding day to impress her. On the wedding day, make sure to kiss your partner in such a way that you never did before.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

CONCLUSION

For many people, a wedding day comes only once in life. Live this day and forget everything about the past and future. After you have married, love your partner with the love she deserves. Do everything in your power to keep her happy.

Created by Whatwolf – Freepik.com

Give her surprises, give her gifts, help her in her work, and be there when she needs you to be there. Be a partner that she wants you to be. In any unwanted situation, understand her feelings and don’t get angry.

If you do all of these, your life will be the happiest.

Created by Freepik

Such great tips!

Thank you, Dora, for this useful article, offering some advice on how to plan a wedding… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dora Potter is from Singapore. She is a wedding planner with exceptional qualities, professionally handling various problems for the success of her projects. Dora ensures to satisfy her customers with her amazing and creative planning skills.

Links

Website:  https://www.secretflorists.com/

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great week!

 

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Filed under Anxiety, article, Blogging, Contemporary, Engagement, Event, family, feature, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Planning an Event, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, stress, tips, Traditions, Wedding

6 Fashion Tips for a Man’s First Date: a guest post by Rebecca Siggers

6 Fashion Tips for a

Man’s First Date

 

Having know-how on what to wear on a first date might be a difficult task for men sometimes. Most men want to leave a message behind with their time after the rendezvous is over. So, are you still wondering what to wear and impress your first date? No, then you are not the only one. A man having a considerable style quotient can impress his girl with full confidence. But then, if you think too casually to wear something while on your first date, you are very much mistaken.

Free-Photos, Pixabay

It is tough deciding on what to wear on a first date, and there are a couple of fashion glitches men tend to make while dressing. The primary one is not dressing appropriately, and the secondary is over-dressing. The following are six essential fashion tips for your first date so that you do not get all wrong and stand-out as a sorry contender for your next date!

●  Look your best

If you plan your first date at a fancy bistro or any pub, prefer going for separates. A crisp and stylish blazer with tailored pants is not a bad idea. But yes, going for your first date in a formal suit is, of course, not recommended. It instead gives the impression that you have just come out of your workplace, and have not much time to spare for your date!

krystian krzewinski, Unsplash

So, your goal for the first date should be a leisurely affair. Be straightforward and sophisticated looking. Many men prefer wearing khakis for their first date, but fashion gurus never recommend that. In recent times, denim is perfectly acceptable in most dating scenarios, barring stylish restaurants, which follow a strict dress code. To look your best, wear basic denim with a dress shirt/t-shirt along with a blazer/sweater, scarf, and a good pair of shoes. You will be the star of the evening.

photo created by javi_indy – http://www.freepik.com

  • Be color-coordinated

A little color will take you a long way. Many men choose only black or dress in full black to impress their first date. On similar lines, opting for beige or neutral color will also not do wonders. Too-flashy attire is going to be a big turn-off. Thus, the trick lies in the addition of color in a subtle manner for an attractive, and not-so-serious appearance.

cihan soysakal, Unsplash

Plan to wear a dress shirt or polo shirt along with forest green, maroon, or at least a blue blazer or pullover. Related colors also work well, by merely combining navy-blue with olive-green along with jeans – and you are ready to go! The complementary colors are the right option, but be a bit cautious with the triad colors.

  • Perfect Dress Shirt

A subtler patterned dress shirt is any day a better choice than a striped one. A striped shirt will only kill your chances of impressing your date. Otherwise, you can always wear a good-looking polo shirt for a casual look and club it tighter with a bomber jacket. Do not let your shirt hang loose. It does not look decent or sober at all. A man looks rather impressive in a tucked-in buttoned-down shirt. It is one of the most straightforward and striking style statement a man can carry always. Right from plain white to chambray and paisley print, you are free to play with various colors, prints, patterns, or textures.

photo created by phduet – http://www.freepik.com

But then, a couple of things are essential – the fitting and the fabric. Keep in mind that your shirt should be slim-fit but not a skinny one. It will then enhance your build, falling squarely on your shoulders and draping in naturally along your torso. Be a true lover of cotton, as this fabric always looks crisp and breathable. Put on a sweater for something extra. A sports jacket also will adjust to the color palette in accordance. Prefer picking lighter tones for the day-time date and dark ones for a night rendezvous.

  • Footwear

Your footwear has never been so significant, but it depends on your dating venue. And also for a woman, a more trusted man is the one who is wearing the nicest and choicest pair of footwear. Thus, portraying him as a more detail-oriented person in every aspect of his life, right from his official life to personal one. Chiefly, your shoe carries the power to accentuate your whole outfit. A gym shoe is never recommended. Go for a leather dress shoe, from monk to derby brogue, or boots. These variations will fit in a leisurely manner over your denim, dress shirt/t-shirt and sweater. When you select your pair, adhere to the dress codes always, generally linked to your date’s venue. Follow the overall aesthetic, while coordinating your pants to your footwear. You can then go for your comfort.

PublicCo, Pixabay

  • Be thorough

Convincing your date can always be easy if you pay much attention to the details. Then, you will be the cut above average on your first date. Your entire outfit will speak volumes of your whole personality. But, be careful while pairing your socks! You should never overlook them. Your pair of socks should always depend on the shoe you are planning to wear with your date-night outfit. Short-statured men should always wear the same color socks as their pants. It will aid in giving the illusion of a longer leg while improving the overall silhouette.

Moreover, it too depends on your choice of footwear. A well-dressed man in brogues should always go with a bright-colored sock. And for gym-shoes, tube-socks are just a perfect match.

●  Accessorize Manly

cocoparisienne, Pixabay

Apart from your positive self, loaded with humor, dignity, wit, and confidence, you should be presentable in whatever you wear on your first date. Remember that the first date counts every bit. Do not be the man who loves overdoing everything. Try to be simple in accessories, as well.

photo created by senivpetro – http://www.freepik.com

Pair a nice-looking wristwatch in one hand along with suave-looking beaded bracelets for men, on the other. Be mindful of not choosing a gaudy looking bracelet. The same should complement your dating attire. Also, do not be the one who bathes in cologne but opts for a modern and unique one, which will be successful in creating interest and avoiding a nose-attack!

Given that…

It is not always dependable to be conscious of your looks while going for your first date. But to be presentable and look sophisticated, you should select your attire complementing the other fashion accessories and the dating venue. Never go overboard, as to make the right impact, you have to look grounded and fashionable.

photo created by javi_indy – http://www.freepik.com

Do not overthink much, as these six fashion tips for men will aid you in deciding what and how to wear on their first date, discussing right from your hair-do to footwear, flattering your time inevitably.

Wow, such great tips!

Thank you, Rebecca, for this useful article, offering some advice for the male perspective on a first date… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Rebecca Siggers is a working Designer and passionate writer. She enjoys writing about the latest fashion tips and lifestyle trends all around the globe.  Through her writing, she hopes to influence as many people as possible to help out.

Links

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/siggers_rebecca

Other Articles by Rebecca:  https://mystoryonline.org/7-style-tips-for-gentlemen-over-thirty/

https://aloha.com/blogs/nourish/6-organic-and-healthy-road-trip-snacks

https://www.teachworkoutlove.com/8-best-vacation-spots-for-military-families/

https://www.confettitravelcafe.com/7-must-visit-new-zealand-attractions/

https://greatlifezone.com/why-traveling-makes-you-a-better-person/

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

Leave a comment

Filed under article, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Guest Writer, Message, New Beginnings, Readers, Romance, romantic ideas, tips

Exclusive Interview with author Angela Ford, plus a look at new adult sweet western romance series, THE HEALING HEARTS RANCH!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our nineteenth 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 Angela Ford to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Angela Ford:  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…

Angela:  Numbers by day…Words by night! I work in Accounting during the day and when evening sets in, words come from my heart. I write romance – happily-ever-afters – sometimes sweet…sometimes spicy…sometimes suspenseful.

Great! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Angela:  Loving…supportive and big…strength in numbers! I have six siblings. I’m the second youngest.

Marie:  Wow, so many!

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?

Angela:  Warm and welcoming. A modest three-bedroom bungalow until Dad finished the basement, with an extra bedroom! But back then it felt bigger…must have been all the love in it!

Marie:  Nice… 😉

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

Angela:  Reading…walking…and chasing that sunset! I love crafts, but it’s not one of my better talents. (Laughs.) I do collect seashells while walking the beach and chasing that sunset! Lately I’ve been autographing those seashells and sending them to my readers as a keepsake…remind me to send you one!

Marie:  Oh, that would be fantastic! Love the beach! 😀

So, what is your greatest dream?

Angela:  I’m living it! Writing from the heart and sharing with my readers 🙂

Marie:  Sounds like a plan. ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Angela:  I like who I am…a kind soul. My mom taught me to treat others the way I want to be treated. Live simply…love generously.

Marie:  All right.

Who was your first love?

Angela:  My mom. The first to give me warmth and love…the first voice I heard…and the first to show me what love really means.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Angela:  I focus on the positives in life…they keep me a strong and kind soul.

Marie:  Okay.

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

[Maggie 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?

Angela:  I’ve always wanted to write…it’s always been in my heart. I have achieved this with over 50 published works and my readers make my heart smile every time we connect.

Marie:  Awesome! 😀

Who is your role model, Angela?

Angela:  I have two! My parents. They’ve loved, taught, guided and supported me through the years. They’re also my ‘fairytale’ couple and inspire the true love in my romance writing.

Marie:  I know what you mean. My parents are a good match, too. 😉

Well, let’s try something else.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Angela:  No, not one soul. There may be some whose behaviors I don’t agree with, but that’s what makes us all individuals and unique.

Marie:  True!

What is your deepest desire?

Angela:  I hope to meet my soul mate in this universe someday and have my own happily-ever-after.

Marie:  (Nods.) And, of course, you deserve it! ♥

Let’s go for a different approach now.

Just curious here, but what is your greatest fear?

Angela:  The time that will, unfortunately, come without my parents.

Marie:  I know. Mine are getting on in age. It is odd sometimes to realize how very short life is.😕

Let’s switch gears for a second.

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

Angela:  Well…if there’s basic food, shelter, safety, and those I love are okay…then I’d pick my laptop (so I can write!), wine, chocolate, music…and Kenny Chesney…a girl can dream!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) 😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

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

Angela:  Raine is in her mid-twenties as the story begins. She’s a social worker, living the city-life until she receives news of her grandfather’s passing and returns to the farm she lived on with her Gramps. Coming home brings her peace and helps her find the love in her heart, through the wise words left by her Gramp’s letter.

Marie:  All right.

And what are Raine’s greatest strengths?

Angela:  She’s a strong, caring, gentle soul with self-driven, hard-working ethics.

Marie:  Nice!

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Angela:  Forgetting who she was and the love she has to offer.

Marie:  (Nods.) It is tough to open your heart again once it’s been bruised.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Raine’s favorite foods?

Angela:  She loves and lives for bacon! Also loves pancakes and the dinners Luke makes…he’s the boy-next-door, her childhood best friend and the one who her heart belongs to. At the end of each book, I share a recipe of one of Raine’s favorites..

Marie:  Cool!

And bacon with pancakes…yes, please! 😉

How about another question?

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

Angela:  Once she’s returned home to the farm and reads her Gramps’s letter…she begins to realize the love in her heart is plenty to share and help other’s hearts heal.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Angela:  They’ll love Raine…she’s a good soul, down-to-earth, caring individual. She’s had her struggles and heartaches to which we can relate to; and her giving, kind heart that keeps us loving her.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Raine, 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 The Letter Left?

Angela:  My daughter requested a YA series…one for her age group. One of the sweet romance genre, and most important…a story based around the love of horses and healing hearts.

Marie:  It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Angela:  I consider myself a planster! I plot to a certain point…then I just write!

Marie:  Me too! 😉

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

Angela:  The Letter Left was my 25th published single title and even with the experience I’ve gained along the way, I continue to challenge myself to improve my writing and my research to make it realistic. A story, we as readers, can relate to as we enjoy the journey. And I will continue to do so with the next story! And to continue to write from my heart, loving what I do!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 

Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Letter Left appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about this series.

Title: The Letter Left (book one of The Healing Hearts Ranch)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western, New Adult, Sweet Romance, Family Saga

Publication date: July 29, 2019

Here is the blurb:

A story of remembrance, a gift, and a love rediscovered through healing hearts.
Angela Ford takes a different direction this time to bring you a new adult series. A story centered around family, horses, true love, and finding your way from the wise words left to you.
Jack Willows was a great man. He always put others first. He’d taught his granddaughter to do the same. Raine Willows left her grandfather’s farm at eighteen to find her way in life. Seven years later, his death brings her back to the farm and her first love–the boy next door.
An empowering story of healing through horses. A farm that introduced her to the boy next door–Luke Daniels. The one she could never forget, no matter how many years and miles came between them. Grief reunites them, horses help heal their hearts, and gives them an idea to help others. An idea that had been her grandfather’s dream for her. The letter he left, changed the direction of her life and her heart.

Angela is giving us a peek at the story…

Raine found Luke in the kitchen cleaning up the breakfast he’d prepared for her. A slight touch of guilt for his gesture crossed her. “Hey.”

​Luke kept washing the dishes in the sink. “Just wanted to clean up my mess before I left.”

​His tone pulled at her heartstrings. Guilt set in a little deeper. “I’m sorry, too. I didn’t mean to be unappreciative of your nice gesture of breakfast. I was just – shocked to find you here.”

Luke reached for the dishtowel and turned to face her as he dried his hands. “But making light of the situation only came across as me being an ass.” He chuckled. “For that, I’m really sorry.” He walked closer to her. “Jack didn’t want you to know about the farm because he knew you’d keep him here, give up your job in the city and take care of him.”

Raine nodded. “And that, he clearly didn’t want.” She would have done it. She would have done anything for Jack Willows.

Luke leaned against the counter. “He loved you, Raine. More than anything. He knew you loved him and would have taken care of him.”

Raine stood quiet for a moment. She knew Luke was right. She was as stubborn as her grandfather. “But why didn’t he mention you were here? Why are you here, Luke?”

Luke took a deep breath. “Jack is”—he corrected himself—“was a great man. After my father passed, I came back to save the farm, but my dad had let it go along with himself. Jack heard about it and asked if I’d do him a favor.” Luke smiled at Raine.“Who wouldn’t do a favor for Jack Willows?”

Raine nodded in agreement and Luke continued with the reason he’d been there. “Jack wanted to leave the farm to you, Raine; but he didn’t want you to turn down the offer at the hospital to care for him. He told me he always wanted you to find your own way in life.” Luke paused with a smile, “But he also said the farm was a big part of you, and when the day came, you’d know what to do.”

Luke turned and opened a drawer. He pulled out two envelopes. One he opened and showed it to Raine. A letter in her grandfather’s handwriting, dated almost two years ago. It was an agreement signed by him and it reiterated what Luke had just told her. Raine looked at Luke and then pointed to the other envelope in his hand. “What’s that?”

Luke moved closer and handed her the envelope. “Jack wanted me to give this to you after his death.”

Raine felt the moisture build in her eyes. With trembling fingers, she took it from Luke’s hand. She stood for a moment in silence. She didn’t know if she could read the last words from her grandfather.

Luke pulled a chair out from the table and motioned for Raine to take a seat. “I’ll give you some time to read that in private.”

Raine smiled. “Thank you.”  She appreciated the respect he offered while she read her grandfather’s letter. He nodded and placed the letter opener on the table and made his way up the back staircase.

Raine reached for the opener and let it slide across the sealed letter. Slowly, she opened the neatly folder paper to find her grandfather’s writing. As she read the words he’d left her with, a solemn tear fell down her cheek. The lump in her throat gave her the sensation it would not be a single tear, but she fought hard against the urge to cry. She needed to relax her tangled thoughts to read his words to her.

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/b6kq6p

Publisher link:  http://bookstogonow.com/books/the-letter-left/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46643279-the-letter-left

What are people saying about The Letter Left?

 

 

What a beautiful second chance romance, a story with mixed emotions of memories, loss, and new beginnings. It is a story of dreams, healing, and renewed sweet romance. The story is a sweet, clean, heartfelt romance with a great cast of characters and interaction. It is the first of several in this new series, The Healing Hearts Ranch. ‘One day at a time.’” – Redrabbit, Amazon

Family love. Separation. Death. Patience. Dreams. This story has everything, absolutely loved it. Sweet, thoughtful and also a tear jerker. Can’t wait for the next book in the series!” – Melissa, Amazon

I REALLY LOVE THE LETTER LEFT. IT IS A VERY EMOTIONAL AND POWERFUL READ WHICH WILL MAKE YOU CRY AND LAUGH. THIS IS A WELL WRITTEN STORY WITH CHARACTERS THAT FELT VERY REAL IN EXPRESSING THEIR EMOTIONS AND GRIEF. THE STORYLINE IS VERY BELIEVABLE AND SO ARE ALL THE CHARACTERS. I THINK THIS IS SOME OF ANGELA FORD’S BEST WRITING. I ENJOYed THE STORY OF HORSES HELPING PEOPLE HEAL I THINK ALL ANIMALS CAN BRING COMFORT TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY NEED IT. THE LETTER LEFT IS A MUST READ. AUTHOR ANGELA FORD NEVER DISAPPOINTS WITH HER WRITING AND STORIES. SHE IS A MUST READ AUTHOR AND IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES.” – Victoria Zumbrum, Amazon

Looks fantastic! 😉

Let’s switch to the sequel…

Title: Harvest Homecoming (book two of The Healing Hearts Ranch)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Western, New Adult, Sweet Romance, Family Saga

Publication date: September 29, 2019

Here is the blurb:

An empowering story centered around family, horses, love and loss, friendship and betrayal, and finding your way from the wise words left to you. The wholesome family saga continues on a ranch in the Montana mountains in the small town of Crystal Creek.

The lazy-hazy days of summer give way to shorter days and endless views of vibrant colors during the town’s harvest festivities. Crystal Creek High kicks off the season’s opening game while seniors, Cassidy and Kaitlyn prepare for the horse show, a cheating boyfriend, and saddle up for a promposal to the homecoming dance.

Love is in the air as the festivities begin. Equine therapist, Dr. Pam Whitfield, arrives at the ranch on the day of Raine and Luke’s engagement party and meets a local farmer in attendance. Jackson Knox makes an impact and she remembers his name like its been engraved on her heart. With the first guests arriving shortly after the festivities, Trainer Kelly Brannan must deal with a past romantic issue which may affect the opening of the Healing Hearts Ranch and her job.

Angela is giving us a peek at this story as well…

Purchase Links:

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

Publisher link:  http://bookstogonow.com/books/harvest-homecoming/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48152900-harvest-a-homecoming

What are people saying about Harvest Homecoming?

 

 

“Crystal Creek felt like home. The Healing Hearts Ranch book series are sweet, wholesome stories that could be read by teenagers as well as adults. The story is a sweet, clean, heartfelt romance with a great cast of characters and interaction. They are full of real-life emotions, young love, new beginnings, old friends, town traditions, and friendships. While this is a saga, the story is well-written and could be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend that you read the first book, The Letter Left, that sets up this series.” – Redrabbit, Amazon

“Sweet, clean and delightful! I really enjoyed Angela Ford’s Harvest Homecoming, her second story in ‘The Healing Hearts Ranch’ series. We get to meet new characters that are charming and lovable. It’s a captivating story focused around family, horses, hope and second chance. It’s also sweet, clean and refreshing! If you love horses, you will easily connect with this new series!” – Nicole Laverdure, Amazon

This was a cute fall read that continues from one of this author’s other books. It has a homey, family feel to it and brings all the loves of fall together!” – Cara C., Amazon

Wow, love these book covers!

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this sweet, new adult modern western romance series, with an occasional YA twist! ♥♥♥

Healing Hearts Ranch – An empowering series centered around family, horses, love and loss, friendship and betrayal, and finding your way from the wise words left.

About Angela Ford

Angela resides in Nova Scotia – Canada’s Ocean Playground. Inspired by sunsets, the ocean, her family, and books! She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Angela is a bestselling and award-winning author who has been in the Amazon top fifty, Readers’ Choice Awards and ScreenCraft. She has over 50 published works in paperback, eBook, audiobook, and foreign translation. An Award of Distinction sparked the idea for her first book Closure, which hit Bestselling Action & Adventure, Women’s fiction. In between mysteries, Angela writes short contemporary romance. She loves to connect with her readers!

Books:

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

 

Once again, I want to thank Angela Ford, the brilliant author of this new adult, sweet contemporary western romance series, with the backdrop of a family saga, 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, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Faith, family, feature, Hope, Interview, Love, New Adult, Readers, Romance, sweet romance, western, Writers, Writing, Young Adult

Stunning Tips to Consider Before Dating: a guest post by Maggie Holmes

Stunning Tips to Consider Before Dating

 

Dating is a part of life that everyone who is old enough goes through. If you want to start dating, you need to know some things that will help you make the right decision.

You can’t assume that just because you like someone that they would be the perfect match for you. Keep in mind that finding the right person is a process.

Make a Positive First Impression

We have all heard the “You make only one first impression” saying. After only five seconds after your date has started, the person will have an impression of you not only because of the way you talk but the way you dress and your body language. A great first impression will help you get the date started and help your relationship in the long run. Building new relationships by making a good first impression is important. Even if you don’t end up together, you can still stay good friends.

Jonathan J. Castellon, Unsplash

How to Leave a Good First Impression on a Date

Yes, some of these tips may seem too obvious, but they are very important.

  • Dress nice – Put on something comfortable but something that you will look your best in. Make sure you are wearing clean, freshly washed clothes.

    Heather Ford, Unsplash

  • Norwood Themes, Unsplash

  • Personal grooming – By looking all nice, you are showing your date that you think they are worth making an effort for.
  • Get to your date on time – If you don’t get to your date on time, you will feel rushed and flustered. That will give off the impression that your time management skills aren’t good.
  • Don’t be on your phone – It is rude to constantly be checking your phone, texting or playing on your phone while your date is talking to you.

    Spencer Davis, Unsplash

  • Be open – A handshake or kiss on the cheek is an appropriate greeting gesture when you meet.

    Freestocks.org, Unsplash

The Importance of Physical Attraction

Many people said that the structure of a person’s face or body, or the person’s smell is the thing that physically attracts them to another person. Men are typically more physically attracted to women with large eyes, a nice smile and long hair. Women are more physically attracted to men that have masculine features. No matter what you like and what your type is, physical attraction is an important part of any relationship.

How Your Physical Appearance Affects Your Date

  • Care about how you dress.

We all know that people respond more positively to those who smell and look nice. Taking good care of yourself will send a positive message, no matter which outfit you end up choosing for your date. When you are asking yourself what you should wear, you should think about what impression you will give off wearing that outfit.

While you are dressing you need to keep in mind that you should dress like you, and choose an outfit that boosts your self-confidence. Because having confidence is the sexiest thing you can have.

  • Always smile.

Everybody enjoys being around a person that smiles. There is a real physical attraction that is linked to the act of smiling. It’s no surprise, negative facial expressions like frowning or making grimaces work diversely, like pushing people away. Instead of pushing them away, use the power of your beautiful smile to draw people in.

  • Speak with your eyes.

Created by Freepik

Eye contact is the most powerful stimulator of love and affection we have. When you are looking someone directly in the eyes, their body will produce a chemical called phenyl ethylamine that can make the person on your date fall in love. If you are a woman, you can have beautiful eyelash extensions as a great way to enhance your eyes.

Long eyelashes are the universal symbol of beauty and you will feel more attractive and confident. They don’t require much care and you can simply take them off anytime you want with an eyelash remover.

In the end, your date might not end up being the one, but all that is important is that you have a good time and that you feel comfortable.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Wow, such great tips!

Thank you, Maggie, for this useful article, offering some food for thought before going on a date… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Maggie Holmes is a passionate blogger keen on writing about beauty and fashion. Her exclusive hobby is to surf the net to find amazing articles that can inspire her with some fresh ideas for article writing. She loathes being a common person who wastes her time.

Links

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/maggie.holmes.31337

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MaggieH04666334

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great week!

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Filed under Anxiety, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, stress

Special Music Feature and Q&A: Christopher Ferguson

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Here is a great new music release by writer and musician Christopher Ferguson. Please help me in welcoming him back to this romance blog! 😉

Christopher Ferguson is giving look at his romance album, With Love, today.

Great cover!

 

This is the info on With Love:

With Love is a project started by the musician/composer, Chris Ferguson of Northern Alabama. Begun originally as a small collection of love songs, the project has grown and become a campaign to offer support for other charitable organizations that offer music, performance and educational services to schools and local communities. The current roster of charities that With Love supports is listed on the webpage http://www.wearewithlove.com. The website also includes original writings that have been featured on NPR, and original songs published on Reverbnation.com.

Currently featured on Reverbnation, the song “Beautiful Tears Will Fall” has 7.3 million listeners worldwide and With Love is ranked #1 locally (Northern Alabama), #1 regionally (Southeast U.S.), #1 nationally (U.S.) and #1 globally on Reverbnation. With a focus on hope, compassion and thoughtful self-reflection, the songs and stories from With Love offer a way for everyone to think of our life experiences as a part of a shared journey.

We also have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak with the musician and composer.

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

Christopher Ferguson:  Hi, Marie! Great to see you again.

Marie:  It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Please tell us a little about With Love. What brought you to create it, and what is your origin story?

Chris:  I met a musician that changed everything that I knew. His name is Tim Noah. I started playing bass for him at his concerts and I saw that what he offered was not just music. It was much more than that. He started a live performance theater and invited anyone and everyone to participate. Young and old, experienced musicians and pure beginners, everyone is welcome to share their talent and message. It created a community that cares for one another. His efforts have been recognized with six Emmy awards. It’s really quite amazing.

Marie:  Nice! 🙂

So…you are a musician, but you are also a writer. Tell us something about that.

Chris:  There is an organization in Northern Alabama called The Huntsville Literary Association (HLA). It has about 200 members, which includes professional writers, university English professors, poets, and novelists. Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird) and Billy Collins (Poet Laureate of United States, 2001-2003) have been members. I was invited to become a member because of a story I wrote that was broadcast on NPR about a 75 mile wilderness hike I took. The Poetry Group of the HLA intrigued me and I joined that group. We meet every month and present new works that we read aloud and everyone offers feedback. It has helped me to write more meaningful messages in the form of poetry that I then turn into songs. The HLA has also helped me to become a better short story writer as well, which I  write for NPR.

Marie:  Wow, isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? And such a great resource for you to develop your writing. Sounds like fun.

Any new works we should know about?

Chris: Well, I like to read the New York Times. Recently, I saw a story about a girl that lived in Sarajevo during the Serbian War in 1993. It was a really touching story. She was in high school and had been asked to go to the prom by her boyfriend. But the war interrupted that and she never got to go. Her family moved away from Serbia and she never saw her boyfriend again. Until twenty years later, when she got a text message from a mystery phone  number. It was her high school sweetheart asking her to go to the prom…again. The story really touched me.

So, I wrote a piece called “A Simple Thing” that presents the story in a narrative and song form. The song features Keith Taylor (piano), and Ingrid Marie (vocal) and myself on upright bass. It was produced by Phil Williams. I really love what he did for the production, a great, artistic result.

Marie:  So cool! Your music and writing resonates with the ILRB audience. It’s great when someone finds us because of a link that was included on another website like With Love.

Chris: Yes, I have been surprised at how the romance novel audience has embraced With Love. It just shows that there are some really passionate people interested in what the I Love Romance Blog offers. Such a cool and fun collaboration.

Marie:  Aww, thanks! Can you tell our readers where and how to find your music and writing?

Chris:  Sure, a new website was created for With Love earlier this year.

Of course, With Love has a Facebook page too.

And the website used for publishing music is called Reverbnation.

Marie:  Thank you so much for letting us know more about your music and your story. I am sure that our readers will find something they can enjoy and share with others. Best of luck!

Chris:  Thank you, Marie. It is always great to talk with you, and the I Love Romance Blog is really what we all need right now, I read it often!

Marie: Awesome! ♥♥♥

Readers, check out one of the songs, “Beautiful Tears Will Fall”, here!

 

Also, here’s Christopher’s new release and single on Reverbnation called “A Simple Thing”, featuring Ingrid Marie on vocal, Keith Taylor (Dean of Music, Univ of Alabama, Huntsville) on piano, and Chris on acoustic bass, produced by Phil Williams. Plus a live verson on YouTube! 😉

Wow! Thank you for telling us about your album! It looks wonderful!  😀

Readers, don’t forget to check this album out at ReverbNation. You’re sure to be moved by these songs!

Writer/Musician Bio

My name is Christopher Ferguson. I am primarily a musician/composer (….a bass guy) and have also been writing for NPR for the last couple of years, as well (mainly just short stories that I narrate and that get broadcast on our local NPR station here in Alabama).

I call my brand of music “With Love”. The music is piano, bass and vocal. It is intentionally not loud or aggressive. I am writing gentle songs, that are soft and require the attention of a listener, with the intent of giving them something to use to reflect upon their own thoughts and feelings of love.

Link

Website:  http://www.wearewithlove.com

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/musicbywithlove/

ReverbNation:  https://www.reverbnation.com/fergusonandwithlove/songs

 

Thanks again, Christopher! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime, perhaps with your next musical release. 

Happy listening, everyone! 🙂

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Faith, Guest Writer, Interview, Love, Message, music, new release, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, score, Writers

Blog Tour Feature with Q&A: Passion Punch by Tricia Leedom

.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

A man who could disappear at any moment and leave her heart in tatters…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Tricia Leedom, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new romantic adventure! :)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for authors!

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Nice!

This is the blurb for Passion Punch, Key West Escape Series, Book 3:

When April Linus’ best friends find themselves in trouble with the Miami Mafia, the former heiress turns to an even more dangerous criminal for help…her father.

Not an easy decision for the young, single mother who found herself pregnant at nineteen and forced to choose between her trust fund and having a baby. April’s father agrees to loan her the money, if she moves home for a few months so he can get to know his grandchild. Before she can decide what to do, she comes face to face with the last man she ever expected to see again…her father’s former bodyguard who disappeared five years ago after she slept with him.

Black Ops operative Jonas Ostergaard made a nearly fatal mistake the last time he was in Key West. After working his way into Philip Linus’ circle of trust, Jonas let the Arms Dealer’s beautiful, kindhearted daughter distract him from his mission. He was yanked off the job by his superiors, but now he’s back to stop Linus from selling a dangerous new technology on the black market.

Needing to prove himself to save his job, Jonas is determined to keep his distance from April this time. But when he suspects she knows more about her father’s illegal business dealings than she admits, he’s torn between protecting her and uncovering the truth.

Passion ignites when April and Jonas end up on the run dodging arms dealers in the steamy Amazon rainforest, but April wonders what kind of relationship she could have with a man who has more secrets than she does. A man who could disappear at any moment and leave her heart in tatters.

Trapped between loyalty to her father and a new allegiance with the man she’s falling in love with, April realizes none of it will matter if they don’t escape the jungle alive.

Tricia is giving us a peek at her adult romantic adventure, Passion Punch, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Author: Tricia Leedom

Series: Key West Escape #3

Genre: Adult, Adventure, Romance

Publisher: Firefly Hill Press

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Here is an excerpt.

Gah! So like a cat. (Laughs.)

Just kidding. Actually, I didn’t receive an excerpt from the tour sponsor, but here’s a teaser from one of the books in the series to give you an idea of how intense Tricia makes the situation for readers… 😉

 ~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4j1pyk

PRAISE FOR PASSION PUNCH

“There is a lot be said in favor of a talented author bringing a combination of romance, heat, and adventure to what otherwise could be a very tired genre. Leedom brings it all!”

Passion Punch is part 3 in an exciting series of action, suspense and romance! Although each book is a stand-alone, you won’t fully understand the story line or the characters unless you start at the beginning. I loved the action and romance in this book…this is a great series and I highly recommend it! – Strider28 (Goodreads)

OMG! Love all the tension coming from book one. ♥♥♥

I can just imagine book three is quite a tale!😉

(Rapid knock on the studio door.)

(Marie frowns.) Who could that be? I’m not expecting a package or anything.

(Footsteps approaching.)

Oh, my! Wow, I didn’t know you were coming…

No excerpt? No problem! This is even better, readers. We have the author, Tricia Leedom, who just dropped in for a quick visit. Let’s give her a warm welcome! 😀

It’s great to have you here, Tricia. Please come and sit down for a sec.

Author Tricia Leedom:  Hi, Marie! Thanks for letting me stop by.

Marie:  Of course, it’s my pleasure! So nice to meet you, by the way! (Shakes hands with her guest.)

Tricia:  Great to meet you too.

Marie:  Well, I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few questions while you’re here?

Tricia:  Sure, I’d love that! 🙂

Marie:  Awesome!

So, can you tell us a little about your background? When did your first book come out and where can we get it?

Tricia:  I have a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. My first book was actually my grad school thesis novel, and it was published in 2017. Rum Runner, Book 1 in The Key West Escape Series, is available on ebook at all major online retailers (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc.) and in print on Amazon and B&N.com.

Marie:  That’s great!

A lot of readers love origin stories. What inspired you to start writing?

Tricia:  I’ve always had a huge imagination. When I was little, I used to make my mother and grandmother sit and listen to stories I made up. However, I wasn’t a reader because I struggled with comprehension and read very slow, because the words danced around on the page. At nineteen, I discovered that I suffered from dyslexia, and I worked to overcome it. I practiced reading with my grandmother’s collection of romance novels, and as reading came easier, I read voraciously. I never lost my love of storytelling, so after reading so many books, I wanted to try writing my own romance novel. I didn’t own a computer, so I wrote in notebooks and filled up four of them by the time I was finished.

From there, I decided I wanted to try writing a movie script. It was an action movie set in London with a female heroine. I was working at a professional theater at the time as a receptionist. I showed the script to some of my co-workers and they loved it so much they suggested I ask the actors who were in residence to do a script reading. Most agreed and so one night, about twenty people – half of them professional actors – gathered around a boardroom table and read my script, acting it out with their voices. It was magical, and I think, if I had to pinpoint a moment when it happened, that’s when I truly fell in love with writing. My co-workers encouraged me to go back to college to study Creative Writing, and I went for it. I’d like to say the rest was history, but there was a ten-year period between graduating from college and my decision to go to grad school where I got away from writing. But, as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and when I came back to it, I was more devoted to my craft than ever and more determined to get published.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! 😉

How did you get into writing Romantic Adventure?

Tricia:  I love action/adventure movies and I love romance novels, but as a reader, it was difficult to find books that blended the two. Everything I’ve ever written has had elements of both adventure and romance. Before I was published, I used to write Historical Romance with elements of adventure. When I went to grad school, I decided to challenge myself to write something contemporary, and I’ve always wanted to write a book inspired by one of my favorite movies, “Romancing the Stone.” That’s how The Key West Escape Series came about.

Marie:  Cool! 😀

What, do you feel, sets Passion Punch apart from other books in the genre?

Tricia:  Passion Punch, and The Key West Escape Series, is considered to be Romantic Adventure, which falls under the umbrella of Romantic Suspense. It’s a little different though, because Romantic Adventure is lighter and funnier than traditional romantic suspense, but it’s still filled with lots of action and suspenseful elements. I’d like to think of my books as action/adventure movies in book form written for women.

Marie:  Nice!

(Phone rings.) 

😥

Oh, no, it looks like our guest had to take a personal call outside. I guess I’ll have to chat with her via email when I get a chance. But in the meantime, she’s given me permission to inform you of a great prize. Let’s find out the details, shall we?

Additionally, Tricia is giving away a Kindle Fire during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. You may find the tour schedule and locations here.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Giveaway Link:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eed0146c10/

Tricia:  Oh no, I missed it. 😦 Sorry to run off like that.

Marie: It’s okay. I was just wrapping up things here. We’re getting short on time…

Tricia:  In that case, I’ll leave you with a short message.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I hope you enjoy Passion Punch, book three in The Key West Escape Series!

Marie: It’s my pleasure, and I’m sure we will. 😀

Thank you for telling us about your new romantic adventure, Tricia! I know I can’t wait to read this intriguing novel! 🙂

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

Passion Punch looks great! ♥ We’ll be sure to check it out! Don’t miss the giveaway!

Author Bio

TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men…even if it’s only in her own mind. When she’s not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs.

Author Links

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tricialeedom.author/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/tricialeedom

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Tricia-Leedom/e/B06XFN32NS/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16493080.Tricia_Leedom

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tricia-leedom

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tricialeedom/

 

Thank you for telling us about your great book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this romantic adventure!

Thanks again to Tricia and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

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

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Filed under Action & Adventure, Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book News, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, contest, Event, feature, Fiction, Gifts, giveaway, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Tour, Writers, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Maggie Blackbird, plus a look at multicultural romance, SANCTIFIED!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our eighteenth 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 Maggie Blackbird to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Maggie Blackbird:  Hi, Marie!

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

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…

Maggie:  I am a full-time author. I write contemporary and historical romance about Canada’s Indigenous People. I sure hope I’m good at it! (Laughs.) And yes, I very much enjoy what I’m doing.

Great! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Maggie:  My family is hubby and two Alaskan Malamutes aka our fur babies. We live a quiet life out in the country. Hubby and I are both from the rez, but we love where we live, although most of our families still live on the reservation.

Marie:  Wonderful! I have fur babies too. 😉

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?

Maggie:  My childhood home was a typical rez house. Box-shaped. Three bedrooms. An oil stove. All the houses from this era look the same because that’s how Indian Reserves built homes. I won’t get into the “why” of it because I’d have to give a lengthy explanation on how housing works on-reserve and its challenges. But I can tell you the hero Jude talks about it in Sanctified, book three in the Matawapit Family Series.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Maggie:  I enjoy walking, exercising, golfing, fishing, and boating. As of late, I haven’t done much golfing, fishing, or boating because of my new job.

Marie:  True. Being an author often keeps us busy…

And what is your greatest dream?

Maggie:  To leave this earth, knowing that I tried my best to make this world a better place. Corny?  Yes. But it’s what I strive for.

Marie:  Nice! Sounds like a plan. 🙂

Let’s try another question.

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

Maggie:  The kind of person who makes people walk away feeling better about themselves after they’ve talked to me. There is nothing stopping me. Many times I pull it off, and other times I fail.

Marie:  All right.

So…who was your first love?

Maggie:  You’re asking me to reach waaaay back. He was a local boy from the rez. A very nice boy. I think he’s living in one of the prairie provinces now.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Maggie:  Losing my niece.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry. 😥

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

[Maggie 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?

Maggie:  My dream was to play music for a living. I have two right hands (am a leftie) when it comes to music. (Chuckles.) So instead of playing music, I appreciate it in every aspect of my life. I cannot function without music. I love love love it.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think I’d be lost without music too. 😉

Well, let’s try something else.

Who is your role model, Maggie?

Maggie:  Mother Theresa.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Maggie:  It’s looking at it from another perspective. There are people out there who probably dislike me and put on a show to pretend they like me. So yes, there are a few people I do dislike, but tolerance and patience are a must. The earth doesn’t revolve around me, I revolve around the earth, so it’s all about how I handle those who aren’t on my favorite list. (Laughs.) It’s a matter of trying to do my best to show them kindness, tolerance, and patience.

Marie:  What an incredibly inspiring outlook to have. How admirable! ♥

Let’s do something different now.

What is your deepest desire?

Maggie:  Burnt popcorn? (Giggles.) What can I say? I love popcorn.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Why not? 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Maggie:  My fears aren’t what they used to be. As I get older, they’ve lessened. I do sleep with the light off now, but the dark was a biggie for me to conquer. I can’t say that I’m totally over that fear, either.

Marie:  It is odd sometimes to be in the dark, especially when things around you don’t sound quite right…it can freak you out! 😕

Let’s switch gears for a second.

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

Maggie:  Essentials. Hmm. My dogs. My husband. Water. Food. And dog food.

Marie:  😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

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

Maggie:  Jude is thirty-eight. Freshly divorced. A father of two children. And the new principal at the school in Ottertail Lake, his home reserve where his parents and younger brother reside. He’s starting over by taking on a new job and new community since he resided in Thunder Bay his whole life.

Marie:  And what are Jude’s greatest strengths?

Maggie:  Jude is a natural leader. He doesn’t panic, and steps in to take charge if everything goes pear-shaped. He’s not a quitter, but a fighter.

Marie:  Cool! 😉

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Maggie:  Jude is on the bull-headed side, he can be a little too controlling, and he isn’t the greatest of listeners. He could try be a bit more sympathetic to the plight of others.

Marie:  (Nods.) Okay.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jude’s favorite foods?

Maggie:  Jude enjoys prime rib (rare), a stuffed baked potato, and a side of greens. He’s a meat, potatoes, and veggie sort of guy.

Marie:  Gotcha!

How about another question?

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

Maggie:  That he can show sympathy, even empathy. It’s a matter of the right person showing him what lies hidden, such as Raven, his leading lady in the novel.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Maggie:  I think they’ll like Jude. My crit partner really liked him. He called Jude “a really great guy.”  I think they’ll like what a great father he is, how he tried to be a good husband in his doomed marriage, and the understanding he shows Raven when they begin dating. How he doesn’t judge Raven even though her past is very shady, and respects her recovery from drug addiction.

Marie:  Sounds like quite a guy! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Jude, 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 Sanctified?

Maggie:  It’s part of a series. Jude’s the eldest, followed by Bridget, and then Emery. Sanctified is the third book. Blessed, Emery’s book, started as a short story and expanded into a full novel. Jude makes an appearance in Blessed, and I wanted to expand on his character. He was living a great life:  six-figure job with a great pension and room for promotion, a stunning wife who also has a great job, two beautiful children, active in his community, lots of volunteer work, his dream home. I wanted everything to fall apart for him and see how he’d handle it.

Marie:  Looks like you have a good sense of the series!

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

Let’s try something else.

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

Maggie:  I’m a planster — (laughs) — part panster and part plotter. When I start a story, I always have a logline and blurb. I also know my beginning, middle, and ending, but I don’t outline it. I let the characters lead the story while I’m fast-drafting.

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

Maggie:  I had no problems getting Sanctified published because I already published two books in the series with eXtasy Books. I just finished the fourth book in the series and subbed it to them on Friday, September 13, 2019. And at the time I’m typing this post (Sept. 17th,, by the way), I’m drafting two short stories for eXtasy Books’ Christmas and American Thanksgiving call-outs.

As for doing something different with the series, I’m famous for saying, “It is what it is.”  But I do think I’d try to get at least the first draft for each story done before tackling self-edits. There was a big lag between Blessed’s release (July 2018) and the second book in the series Redeemed (April 2019). I wouldn’t want the releases to be that far apart again.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😀

(Laughs.) We are twins, I swear. My fiance gets annoyed every time I say, “It is what it is.” He thinks I’m such a stoic.

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

Let’s learn more about the book.

Title: Sanctified (book three of Matawapit Family Series)

Genre: Multicultural Romance

Publication date: September 27, 2019

Here is the blurb:

In the midst of a battle for leadership at their Ojibway community, two enemies of opposing families fall in love…​

After suffering a humiliating divorce, infuriated Catholic Jude Matawapit bolts to his family’s Ojibway community to begin a new job — but finds himself thrown into a battle for chief as his brother-in-law’s campaign manager. The radical Kabatay clan, with their extreme ideas about traditional Ojibway life, will stop at nothing to claim the leadership position and rid the reserve of Western culture and its religion once and for all, which threatens not only the non-traditional people of the community, but Jude’s chance at a brand-new life he’s creating for his children.

Recovering addict Raven Kabatay will do anything to win the respect and trust of her older siblings and mother after falling deep into drug addiction that brought shame and anger to her family. Not only does she have the opportunity to redeem herself by becoming her brother’s campaign manager for chief — if he wins, she’ll have the reserve’s backing to purchase the gold-mine diner where she works, finally making something of herself. But falling in love with the family’s sworn enemy — the deacon’s eldest son, Jude — will not just betray the Kabatay clan. It could destroy everything Raven believes in and has worked so hard for.

Maggie is giving us a peek at the story…

Frost nipped at Raven’s exposed skin, the kind of frost that burned. At least there wasn’t a wind chill, or minus thirty-seven would become minus forty-seven. She scurried from her sister’s truck she’d parked, dashed up the shoveled walkway, and into the school.

All was quiet, classes for the kids having finished for the day. The scent of pine cleaner permeated the squeaky-clean hallway. She hurried to the adult education classroom. Since her vehicle was the lone truck in the lot, she might be the only one here. Even the new principal wasn’t present, unless he’d foolishly walked over.

She entered the classroom to Jude Matawapit sitting at the teacher’s desk, hunched over, writing on some paper.

“I was beginning to wonder if any of my students would arrive.” His strong fingers gripped a pen. His jet-black hair with blue undertones was slicked off his face and tapered to a short-trimmed back. Dark irises richer than a moonless night, so dark his lashes gave the illusion of a generous coating of mascara and liner-rimmed eyes, stared at her.

Not gawked, not ogled, not leered like every other guy did. He simply stared. His plump lips didn’t form into a flirty smile, either.

Jude stood. A white dress shirt hugged his pumped biceps and shoulders that formed into the size of baseballs. A black belt wrapped his ultra-slim waist. And a gold clip kept his line-striped burgundy tie secure. “Have a seat. It looks to be you and me tonight.”

Raven inched up the aisle. Her boldness remained at the door, where she’d probably dropped her tongue. She clutched her books and sat at the desk directly in front of him.

“I’ve been reviewing your file.” He closed the folder, and just like Deacon Matawapit, crossed his strong arms. They even shared the same rich baritone — direct and full of authority. “You were an A-plus student, but as of late you haven’t been handing in assignments. Once you get behind, it’s difficult to catch up. I’ve seen this happen too many times during my years educating others. When a student falls behind, most give up.”

A flame of annoyance flickered in Raven’s stomach. Never mind Jude Matawapit’s handsome white teeth, flawless red-toned brown skin, or run-her-nails-along-his-muscles build. Who was he to talk down to her like a kid? He was worse than her siblings and Mom.

Raven stared up at the white stucco ceiling. “I’ve been extremely busy. Not all of us make big money and do what we please. I’ve been pulling extra shifts at the diner.”

“Did you review your last three assignments, then?” Jude stuck the end of the pen into his mouth.

There was something about the way his red lips and white teeth nibbled on the cap. And she hadn’t witnessed a man in his late thirties gnawing on one like a hungry beaver.

Jude popped the pen cap between his rich lips, as if sucking on a lollipop, and released it. When he rounded the desk, his thick fingers glided across the top. He stopped in the middle, the fingers of his left hand still lingering on the desk’s surface. He rested his buttocks against the edge while crossing his sturdy thighs.

His stance, a get-down-to-business sort of manner, should have intimidated Raven but failed. His brows-bunched-together stare and drawn-in cheeks seemed to coax her to lean in closer and rest her elbow on top of her own desk. She set her chin on her knuckles. “I’m completing them here tonight.”

“Do you have any questions?”

She shook her head, still holding his stare. “I guess I should get comfy, huh?”

“Comfy?”

“Remove my toque and coat.” She sat back, hands brushing the edge of her desk and arms spread wide.

****

Jude shouldn’t care if Raven was about to undress. He’d seen many students remove their outerwear in class. But the down parka on Raven didn’t swallow her ballerina-lithe body like a garbage bag. The coat was the fashionable snug style, silhouetting her supple form. Long strands of black hair lay against her sharper-than-razors cheekbones.

Her perfectly applied winged eyeliner gave her slanted black eyes a mysterious cat-shape appeal. Rich burgundy lipstick, matching the shade of his tie, plumped her lips to a sensual pout, or maybe her mouth naturally retained a pucker. As she stood to drape the parka over the chair, she gave him a nice view of the skinny jeans painted on her slender thighs and gently rounded butt.

She whipped her head around, peeking at him through the fringe of her super-long lashes.

Heat climbed onto Jude’s face. He shoved the pen back into his mouth and chewed on the cap. Adult or not, she was a student — his student. Maintaining a professional distance was a must.

Raven’s moist-looking mouth tugged at the corners. A hint of triumph flashed in her eyes. Well, well, she’d stolen a look purposely, expecting him to check her out. A hot coal flared in Jude’s chest. He rounded his desk, making sure to move slowly, heels clicking one after the other on the floor. She’d get the hint he meant business.

“Why don’t you catch up on your lessons? There’s no point in reviewing the next one until you’ve finished those.” He used his pen to point in her direction. Traditionalist or not, she could suck up his supposed rudeness. In his world, pointing told another a man wasn’t screwing around or willing to play games.

Raven sat. She flipped open her textbook and binder.

“Which lesson are you working on?”

“History. A pity. We are the First People, but it’s all about…those who sailed over here.” Her husky voice, deeper than most women’s, with a light scratch to the tone, was sensual nails grazing Jude’s skin.

He gripped and re-gripped the pen. “At my former school, we were building the curriculum into the current courses.”

“Did you teach high school or elementary? You taught for the Catholic Board of Education, didn’t you?”

“Elementary.”

“I see.” Raven lowered her head. Her black hair veiled her face. Not narrow, like Clayton’s hawkish looks. The hollowed cheeks, delicate long nose, and tapering chin complemented Raven’s smoky eyes and wide mouth. A traditional diamond-shaped face, like the Indigenous people of the old days.

No wonder she’d stolen a glimpse at Jude when she’d removed her parka. Raven was probably used to men gawking at her wherever she went. If the fashion designers ever took a chance on hiring Indigenous women to model, they’d be scrambling to photograph Raven.

Why was he still thinking about her anyway? This was ridiculous.

Jude plopped in the chair. If she didn’t require assistance on her lessons, she should’ve finished her assignments at home. All Raven had done was make him stay late.

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4AxXYo

Publisher link:  https://www.extasybooks.com/978-1-4874-2663-7-sanctified/

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48160324-sanctified

What are people saying about Sanctified?

 

 

Familial & Communal Drama At Its Finest… Chocked with intense, multilayered plot lines, entrenching enough to hook any reader. From spirituality to taboo relationships, substance abuse to criminal activity, these books detail the raw realities of those living in the Ojibway community. In SANCTIFIED, the third installment of the series, Maggie does not disappoint as she masterfully creates yet another character’s struggle to earn familial redemption, career success, and most importantly, love. Raven Kabaray, the book’s female protagonist, once succumbed to a debilitating drug addiction. Now that she’s recovered, she wants nothing more than to earn back the trust and respect of her family.

Matters grow complicated, however, when Raven unwittingly falls in love with Jude Matawapit, whose family’s Westernized beliefs completely clash with the strict, traditional ideals of the Kabaray family. As these two entities fight for communal leadership in the midst of their opposing political views, a relationship between Raven and Jude (who’s dealing with his own fair share of personal issues and struggles) would be deemed highly forbidden. And therein lies Raven’s dilemma; give up genuine love for the sake of her family and career, give up those things for the sake of love, or figure out a way to find common ground amongst both families in order to have it all…

SANCTIFIED is an emotional, fulfilling, well-rounded saga built on unforgettable characters whose complicated circumstances will leave readers riveted as they discover the life-altering outcomes/consequences each character faces.” – Denise W., Amazon and Goodreads

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

About Maggie Blackbird

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes.  When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

Books:

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

 

Once again, I want to thank Maggie Blackbird, the brilliant author of this multicultural 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, Contemporary, Event, Faith, family, feature, Multicultural/Interracial, new release, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Ten Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples: a guest post by Dr. B. Anne Hancock

10 Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples

 

Communication is an essential ingredient in any relationship. For couples, rich conversation makes their relationship delicious. It’s what builds connection and creates intimacy. For couples who’ve been together for a while keeping conversations fresh and interesting can take some effort.

Huy Phan, Unsplash

If you want to keep your conversations fresh and avoid telling each other the same stories, one effective solution is to try conversation-starters. By asking a few new questions, you’ll learn there’s always more to discover in the person you love.

Here are several ideas for opening a dialogue that reignites curiosity, affection and interaction:

  1. What’s your earliest childhood memory?

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Most couples didn’t get to share childhood together, so there’s a wealth of experience just waiting to be tapped for conversation. Asking your partner about an early memory means you get to find out what left an imprint and why. You also gain insight into a part of his or her world that helped shape who your significant other is today.

  1. What do you remember most from our early days of dating?

Here’s a question that can take you both back to your budding love — that place where your connection began.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even better, as you listen to your partner recall happy memories, it may surprise you with what’s remembered, not to mention help stir up fresh affection for you both.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

  1. What’s one of your favorite memories from our wedding day?

Recalling milestones in your relationship is a great way to discuss the happy moments you’ve shared. If you’re married, your wedding day is especially meaningful. Ask your spouse what stands out about that memory and enjoy it from another perspective.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

  1. If you were given the chance to relive one day of your life, what would it be and why?

Maybe your better half would want to revisit a major milestone such as graduation, the birth of a child or your wedding day. Perhaps he or she would like to relive a day with a parent or grandparent who passed away or even an  event from high school or college. You’ll never know until you ask.

Karl Fredrickson, Unsplash

  1. Do you have any dreams you wish you could pursue? Are there ways I could help you try them?

Most adults have abandoned dreams still lurking somewhere inside them. Do you know what dream your partner longs to pursue? It could be something outlandish and surprising and you’ll get to be playful and imagine together. Or, it could be practical, such as taking a class, and you can be the encouraging voice to help your partner get right on it.

30daysreplay (PR & Marketing), Unsplash

  1. When was the last time you felt appreciated?

People don’t always verbalize their feelings unprompted. By asking your partner about what has encouraged and affirmed him or her, you may be surprised at what you hear. You’ll also learn how you can offer up additional support.

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

  1. When was the last time you felt sad?

Milada Vigerova, Unsplash

Likewise, if your partner lets you in and tells you what’s been hurtful and discouraging, you’ll get a sense of what’s truly important. What prompts tears? What feels significant enough to change a mood? By asking…and listening, you get a chance to learn.

  1. If you could turn back the clock ten years, what would you tell your younger self?

This question offers your significant other a chance to assess and evaluate a decade of life, giving you a window into his or her regrets and wisdom gained. This can also start a conversation about moving forward with new information and insight.

  1. Say you won an all-expense paid trip to anywhere in the world, and you can’t consult me before picking the destination. Where would you go?

Paua May, Unsplash

Find out what travel destinations are on your partner’s dream list. Couples who have spent a long time together will often be so used to asking each other about preferences that it’s easy to miss what each one likes. Let your partner know you care about what he or she wants.

  1. If you had to pick three people, who would you say you most admire?

There’s a lot to be said for admiration. The people you highly regard are often the people you imitate — intentionally or not. Ask your partner who he or she looks up to and why. You’ll discover what qualities he or she values.

Hatham, Unsplash

The 10 ideas listed are merely the beginning for prompting meaningful conversations with your partner. Be curious. Ask questions. Invite discussion and keep learning. Continuing to discover each other is what helps your relationship feel alive and exciting year after year.

Hannah Cook, Unsplash

Wow! These are such great tips!

Thank you, Anne, for this illuminating article… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Anne Hancock, PsyD, is a prominent relationship therapist and founder of Wellness Counseling Center. A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hancock specializes in working with couples and families. She has a doctorate in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Hancock always works from a wellness-oriented, non-pathologizing point of view — which means no blame, no shame. In addition to couples counseling services, Hancock also conducts personalized two-and-a-half-day couples intensives.

Links

Website:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/

Blog:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/articles/

Professional Background:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/team/anne-hancock/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/banne.hancock

https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Anne-Hancock-PsyD/436325916561152

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WellnessCNSLNG

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/annehancockpsyd

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/wellnesscounselingcenter/

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by The Smut Report

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on the I Love Romance Blog. 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 blogger The Smut Report, a female team with a few things to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Us?

 

At The Smut Report, we read a lot of romance novels. Like, a LOT of romance novels. And let’s be real – there’s a stereotype floating around that people who read romance novels have a skewed idea of romance and relationships. Obviously, we must be delusional spinsters or miserable sex-starved moms who expect men to read us poetry and/or fight monsters and/or know exactly what we want at all times.

Romance is also super oversimplified. There are pivotal life events like birth and death that, when addressed in literature, are considered really “deep” and vulnerable and raw. This non-genre fiction is lauded for its thoughtfulness and meaning. There’s a whole sub-genre dedicated to “coming of age” and all the inner turmoil that comes with that — but a genre whose sole purpose is to unpack the delicious, unsettling, sloppy moments leading up to individuals falling in love? That’s for unsatisfied housewives.

freestocks.org, Unsplash

Falling in love transforms individual people into something new, something with overlap and grey area and messiness. And strength. In romance we see people coming together to form a stronger whole, yet we also see how having the support of a loving partner can provide a wellspring of strength to an individual.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

But before that can happen, all the messy feelings and social and personal obstacles must be resolved. There are new debates in the romance community every day about whether it’s romance if there’s no happy ending, if there’s no sex, if there’s this, or that, or the other thing. These arguments reflect this messy, sexy, grey area that exists in our lives when we love. This genre, maybe more than any other genre, asks us to be honest about what a satisfying life looks like. And it acknowledges that the answer is different for different people.

Created by Freepik

Even though the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes (Erin likes heroes who ooze power, Holly prefers her books on the sexy side, Ingrid sometimes skips the sex scenes so she can get back to the witty banter), there are a few things that we all love in a romance novel. Far from creating unrealistic ideas of what romance is, the best romance novels feature satisfying portrayals of emotional connection. It makes us ask what pleasure looks like for YOU, what commitment looks like for YOU. You know, that extra spark that brings out the swooning romantic in the most jaded of us. (That would be Holly, in case you were wondering.)

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Romance can be just a fun, sexy romp or a swashbuckling adventure, but it can also bring you closer to yourself. It’s a safe way to examine romance in your own life–your likes, your dislikes, what you want to feel and how you want to be loved. You know it when you read it.

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

We recently went to an author talk in which Sarah MacLean said she loves the increased use of dirty talk in romance because it’s “ongoing consent”. How amazing is that? That there are authors looking for ways to make love scenes more clear, more unfettered, by making sure the consent is obvious AND beautifully done. This stuff matters.

Romance is a largely inclusive genre – and that’s important. The authors who write these books are constantly bursting open doors and welcoming more people in. It matters to have characters that look like real people and who love like real people do. Race, gender identity, sexual orientation–it’s all discussed in the romance literature written every day. Possibly there are not really people in love with shifters, we acknowledge (if there are, Erin would like to hear from you). But in all seriousness, there are so many different combinations of who loves whom (and how many love together) out in the world that it’s appropriate and necessary for such love to be reflected in our literature.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

And where reality fails us, we have the opportunity to explore the notion of romance in the “other” in paranormal, sci-fi, and other sub-genres of romance. The authors who are opening these doors and windows for us readers are also readers themselves, and we support each other. Romance creates community, even if we never speak directly to one another.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In short, romance means a lot to us. It’s been a source of comfort and connection for us for decades. It’s made us think about things in different ways. It makes us test ourselves. It’s made us uncomfortable and angry and happy. We have literally cried and literally laughed so loudly that we’ve scared pets and woken sleeping children.

Ben White, Unsplash

Romance brings us joy. It’s as simple as that.

Lovely! I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post! Great to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

The Smut Report is the brainchild of Erin, Holly, and Ingrid, three thirty-somethings who have been swapping smut books for twenty years. They’ve read a lot of smut and love the genre. They want to share their love of smut with people who already love to read romance, but also with people who are curious about the genre, yet are a little bit scared to dive right in. So, in order to further their goal of sharing the wonderful, witty, and downright weird corners of the world of smut with everyone they know, they started a blog, where they can chat about romance novels to their hearts’ content.

Links

Website/Blog:  https://smutreport.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/smutreport/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/smutreport

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/91403885-smut-report

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/smutreport/

 

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 usually get booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a freelance writer or author, or even from a romantic themed organization. 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, The Smut Report, for giving us your take on what romance (and the book genre) has come to mean to you, plus some food for thought. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next guest post when Dr. Anne Hancock visits ILRB on October 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Special Feature, Stories, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Barbara Wallace, plus a look at contemporary romance, ONE NIGHT IN PROVENCE!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our sixteenth 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 Barbara Wallace to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Barbara Wallace:  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…

Barbara:  I am primarily a writer, but I also work part-time at Barnes & Noble Bookstores. I took a seasonal job there a few years ago and never left.  Not only does it keep me from being isolated in my little office, but it lets me spend time with readers and books. I’ve discovered a lot of new authors through chatting with customers.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Barbara:  I like to think of my extended family as a wonderfully diverse and quirky bunch of people representing a variety of religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Holidays are always entertaining.

As far as my immediate family, my husband and I live with two spoiled cats and a sailboat. (Seriously, my husband thinks of the thing as a child.)  The two of us spend a great deal of spare time reveling in our empty nest status. Our son is grown. He and his wife live a few hours away.

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?

Barbara:  I grew up in the CLEANEST home you’d ever see. My mom was a total neat freak. (I’m sure she’s rolling in grave over the state of my house – especially when I’m on deadline.) Our house was a pretty little Cape Cod with a neatly mowed lawn and an above ground swimming pool in a neighborhood full of pretty little Cape Cod houses with neatly mowed lawns and above ground swimming pools.

Marie:  Lovely! And believe me, I’m just as messy while I am focused on a writing project. 😉

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

Barbara:  When I’m not writing – which seems like always these days – I love to read. I’ve got a stack of books on my end table waiting for me. I wish I could tell you I garden or do some kind of craft, but I kill plants and I’m horribly craft-deficient. Although, I am thinking of taking up crochet this winter.

Marie:  And what is your greatest dream?

Barbara:  Well, my greatest dream used to be to become a published author. Clearly, I checked off that box. Now, I would like to have the freedom to control my own schedule. There are so many things I want to explore in this world, both creatively and literally. My dream is to one day have the freedom to do so without having to answer to a deadline or outside job. To be able to answer only to myself (and my husband, of course).

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Barbara:  I want to be someone who is comfortable being myself. I spend a lot of time being the person other people want me to be. I want to learn to be authentic, even if that means risking disapproval. Why haven’t I become that person? I’m working on it. It takes a lot of work to shake free of your childhood baggage.

Marie:  I agree. And I’ve noticed we are our own worst critics. I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet certain standards and whenever I don’t reach those goals, it’s a huge disappointment.

But I guess I should go a bit easier on me, huh? 😉

So…who was your first love?

Barbara:  His name was John and he played trumpet in the high school band. I was so in love with him. It broke my heart that he didn’t feel the same.

Marie:  Aww. 😥

In any case, life seems to have worked out well for you! 😀

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Barbara:  One very early morning, when my son was four months old, I was in the kitchen trying to wrap a blanket around his squirming body when he suddenly squirmed straight out of my arms. We rushed him to the hospital where they said he suffered a minor skull fracture. Thankfully he recovered. Even though it was a complete accident, the guilt from that day still rips my insides to shreds.

Marie:  Yikes! 😕

At least he’s okay. I guess I can’t blame you for feeling that way.

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

[Barbara 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?

Barbara:  I wanted to be a writer as a child. So, yeah – I achieved it. Of course, in my mind back then, a writer meant being rich and famous with a mansion like Jackie Collins. Turns out, being a writer is a lot of hard work. No one told me the words didn’t just “pour out” of you and onto the page!

Marie:  Right? I had big expectations too! (Laughs.)

Well, let’s trying something else…

Who is your role model, Barbara?

Barbara:  I don’t know if I have one specific role model. There are a lot of people in my life with qualities that I seek to emulate. For example, my husband is a wonderfully charitable man who is always helping others. My best friend is amazingly diplomatic and a natural leader. Both of these people are people I strive to be more like.

Marie:  Cool!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Barbara:  I’ll never tell.  🙂

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No worries, I respect your privacy.

Let’s do something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Barbara:  To be really and truly happy.

Marie:  Sounds like a great goal to me! 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Barbara:  That I passed on my neuroses and tendency for depression to my son.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥

Let’s switch gears for a second…

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

Barbara:

  1. A Gallon of Bug Spray
  2. A super large journal with a forever sharp pencil
  3. Cookware
  4. A sleeping bag
  5. Coffee

Marie:  Can’t blame you on the bug spray! Yikes! We have so many bugs in Indiana. 🙄

And yes, a never-ending journal! 🙂

All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

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

Barbara:  Jenna Brown is a nurse in a nursing home on Nantucket Island. She moved there from Cambridge, which is just outside of Boston. Jenna’s practical and guarded. That comes from having watched her mother’s heart get broken over and over by her callous father. But there’s a part of her that’s longing for romance. She wants to be loved; she’s simply afraid to open her heart to the opportunity.

Marie:  That’s understandable…

And what are Jenna’s greatest strengths?

Barbara:  Her compassion. She’s dedicated her life to helping people who are dying and unable to care for themselves.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

Any weaknesses?

Barbara:  Her stubbornness. She is so determined to protect her heart that she doesn’t see the opportunity that’s right in front of her.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jenna’s favorite foods?

Barbara:  Coffee. And fish. She lives in New England, after all.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Barbara:  She has an adventurous streak that I don’t think she’s ever tapped into before. She’s always so practical. This book gives her a chance to have a real adventure.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Barbara:  Hopefully they will really like her and want her to have a happy ending!

Marie: Of course!

Now that we have a real taste of Jenna, 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 One Night in Provence?

Barbara:  It actually came to me during an editorial meeting. The end of our editorial department said they were looking for ‘author-generated’ series. My bestie, Donna, immediately texted me and said, “We need to work together! We dragged in Nina Singh and the Mills & Boon queen Liz Fielding as well. Someone – I’m betting it was Donna Alward – suggested bucket list vacations. I practically screamed over everyone, “I’m doing a castle in Provence!” Largely because I want to take a vacation in a castle in Provence. LOL.

Marie: (Chuckles.) Awesome!

Oh, yes, I’d love to go to France too.

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

Let’s try something else.

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

Barbara:  I am what you would call a plodder. I plot the book in chunks of three or four chapters. I tend to write mind-numbingly slow as well. I want to make sure the characters drive the plot and that their reactions are in keeping with their personalities. There’s nothing that bothers me more than books that have characters doing things simply to facilitate a plot.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Barbara:  Bear in mind that I was already under a multi-book contract with Harlequin when I wrote this book, so getting it published was a forgone conclusion. The challenge was to write – and then rewrite – a book that was both emotional and uplifting, especially as I was writing this during a very sad period in my life. (There’s a reason Jenna’s a nursing home nurse.)  I ended up taking a lot of what happened and incorporating it into the story.

For aspiring writers – I took 15 years to initially publish. That was, of course, before self-publishing. Nowadays, writers don’t have to battle gatekeepers if they don’t choose to. My advice is simple: if you do want to be published traditionally, don’t ever give up. Keep writing and submitting. The key to success is perseverance.

To my independently published friends…always make sure that you are publishing your best work. Put yourself through the same editing and revision paces that you would experience were you traditionally published.

Marie:  Such sound advice! 😀 Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world.

I look forward to learning about the other books in this series as well.

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 One Night in Provence appears to be… ♥

Title: One Night in Provence

Series: Destination Brides Book Three

Number in series: Third book in a four-book series, can be read as a standalone.

Genre: Romance

‘Spice’ level: Closed door sex

Publication date: August 1st

Publisher: Harlequin (US) / Mills & Boon (UK)

Here is the blurb:

Can an unexpected affair…

…lead to a lifetime of happiness?

In this Destination Brides story, while on vacation in Provence, homebody Jenna Brown embarks on a no-strings affair with a handsome stranger. But there’s more to wealthy playboy Philippe D’Usay than meets the eye. Scarred by loss, Philippe’s committed to being alone. But after their Provençal adventure ends, and Jenna discovers she’s pregnant, they must decide if their short-term connection could become a life together forever.

Here’s a peek at the story…

“Beatrice used to say stuff like that.”

“The woman who left you the money.”

Her smile softened. “She would have liked you. I remember one night we were watching a documentary about some ancient Greek city known for excessive living…”

“Sybaris,” he interrupted.

She looked at him in surprise. “Yes, that’s the one.”

“A lucky guess. I remember the lecture from university.”

“You have a very good memory.”

“It was a very interesting subject,” he said with a shrug.

“Anyway, when the show ended, Beatrice looked at me and said, ‘Those Greeks had the right idea.’”

“My kind of woman.”

“She must have dozed off during the part where the city was destroyed.”

“Yes, but at least they enjoyed themselves on the way out.” Reaching for the champagne, he filled both their glasses. “Vie amoureuse, as they say.”

“She definitely would have liked you.”

“Of course. I am a very likable person. You do not agree?” he asked at her enigmatic smile.

“Oh, I agree.” He watched while she traced the rim of her glass. “You’re extremely likable.”

“And you find that a problem.” A statement, not a question. He’d begun to notice a pattern with his American. Whenever she began to relax and enjoy herself, the wariness would rear its head to cool the enjoyment off. Such as now. Instead of laughing at his silly joke, she responded seriously.

“You do not trust me.” Again, he presented the words as fact.

“You’re a millionaire,” she countered. “Where I come from, millionaires don’t usually take women like me out to dinner.”

“They don’t believe in dating beautiful women?”

“They don’t pull out all the stops unless they have an agenda.”

Before he could reply, they were interrupted by a service. “Pissaladière,” the man announced before lifting the cover to reveal an onion tart, crust browned to perfection.

“I hope you don’t mind,” he said, “but I took the liberty of selecting the menu. Various Provençal dishes I think you would enjoy.”

“Case in point,” she replied.

“If your point is that I am trying to impress you, then I plead guilty as charged.”

“Impress me with the goal of coming back to my room.”

“Again guilty.” Did she expect him to deny human nature? Most women he knew would be swept off their feet by a moonlight dinner. Half of them would be in his arms before the tart arrived. With her, his efforts brought suspicion, despite his openness. It was almost as if she were afraid to enjoy herself.

He would need to rethink his approach.

“You always have the power to say no,” he reminded her.

“So long as we both realize that.” She smiled as she replied, but her eyes were serious.

Ma chère, I never go anywhere I’m not invited. Although I hope you will save your rejection until after the tart.”

He placed a slice on her plate and waited while she took a bite. When her eyes closed, he knew he’d scored his first point. No one could resist well-done French cuisine.

“Amazing,” she replied.

“And that is only the beginning. By the time tonight is over, you’ll have discovered that most things in Provence are amazing. And irresistible.”

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

BAM:  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/One-Night-Provence/Barbara-Wallace/Q393756081?id=7684037147673

Publisher (US):  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488043819_one-night-in-provence.html

Publisher (UK):  https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/products/hqnsingle-07183501

Publisher (Australia):  https://store.millsandboon.com.au/products/one-night-in-provence

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43891484-one-night-in-provence

https://www.bookbub.com/books/one-night-in-provence-by-barbara-wallace

What are people saying about One Night in Provence?

 

 

One Night in Provence by Barbara Wallace is a Hallmark movie wrapped up in book form. Ms. Wallace did such a great job that I could picture everything happening. I felt so bad for these two every time they seemed to make progress then they’d fall back a couple of steps. This book was excellent, and I loved every minute of reading it.” – Karen (Baroness Book Trove), Goodreads and Amazon

I absolutely loved this book the characters were great! The setting was brilliant! I loved how it turn out. I’m looking forward to more in this series.” – Penney Wilfort, Amazon and Goodreads

“Another home run from Barbara Wallace! Two unlikely people from very different worlds who have given up on love and the hope of having a happily ever after come together for one week in Provence, France, a week that will change their lives forever. Perfect, uplifting beach read! You could almost smell the beautiful flowers that go into making perfume from this magnificent region of the world. ” – Valerie DeAngelis, Goodreads

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary, vacation romance! ♥♥♥

About Barbara Wallace

My love affair with writing began the day my best friend, Kim, showed me her “novel”, an illustrated tome about her cat. Impressionable eight-year-old that I was, I decided to write a novel of my own.

Needless to say, that novel, The Adventures of Ginger the Cat, failed to hit the bestseller’s lists. Neither did my second effort, The Tame, Tame East, an all-female version of the Robert Conrad TV series. That didn’t matter. I was hooked. In high school, while other kids played Pac-Man, and checked out the Eagles’ latest, I was in my room pounding out stories on my manual typewriter.

Looking back, I see now that romance played a central role in my stories from the beginning. No matter what genre I wrote (and I wrote all of them), I always inserted a happy ending. Heck, even The Adventures of Ginger featured a wedding. To me, there’s nothing more captivating than the anticipation of seduction, and the rush that comes from finding true love.  However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed me a romance novel that my writing finally found its true home.

For years I limited my dreams to nights, weekends and commuter train trips while working as a communications specialist, PR freelancer and full-time mom.  But then, after years of knocking on doors, I sold to Harlequin Romance. Today, I’ve sold nearly 1 million books world-wide.  And, I couldn’t have done it without you.

A life-long Yankee, I live in New England with my own true love and two spoiled, rescue cats.  They are currently pouting because they’ve been informed neither of them will have a book written about them. Or because they want more food.  It’s a fifty-fifty shot.

 

Books:

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

 

Once again, I want to thank Barbara Wallace, the brilliant author of this modern romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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