Category Archives: Faith

Exclusive Interview with author Linda Diane Wattley, plus a look at inspirational military romance, A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER!

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

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

Author Linda Diane Wattley:  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…

Linda:  I am an Assistant Manager at a union-based company that services membership support to our field staff. I am a talk show host who enjoys interviewing people who have a heartfelt truth they would like to share with the world.

Great! ♥

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Linda:  My family is a small nucleus but filled with a lot of love and loyalty. My mother is 82 years old and so filled with life. My two sons, Marcus and Robert, make me a proud mother as they have a heart for children and their future. Currently they are unified as football coaches who are not coaching them on the football field but the realities of life as well. I am a widow hoping to marry again one day. But in the meantime, I enjoy my beautiful, lovely grandchildren, Jaelynn, Myla, Marcus, Mara and one on the way. Also, two brothers of whom l love dearly.

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?

Linda:  I remember a beautiful white house that my mother kept perfectly clean.

Marie:  All right.

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

Linda:  I enjoy listening to music, especially music from the 70’s. I enjoy reading and writing. Family time means a lot to me. Walking in the park is another favorite. Meditation and Yoga is a practice I hope to improve. Love watching music and going to my sons’ football games.

Marie:  Nice! 😀

So, what is your greatest dream?

Linda:  My greatest dream is to be so free I don’t have a worry in the world!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Let’s try another question.

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

Linda:  A healthy and rich person. For now, I can say I am healthy, but I could do better with fitness. Now being rich, I just don’t know how to make it happen. If my book becomes a movie, that would be great.

Marie:  I know, right? 😉

So, who was your first love?

Linda:  My first love was not the guys I met in school, but the one I met in the United States Army. He was the man in my life who taught me what love looks like. He married me and gave me two amazing sons. Robert D. Wattley III is my heartthrob.

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?

Linda:  Becoming a widow at the age of 27 with two sons to bring up.

Marie:  Oh, goodness, I’m so sorry you went through all of that! 😥

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

[Linda 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?

Linda:  At first, I wanted to be a schoolteacher. Then I wanted to be a psychologist, but all that changed once I had children. I guess I lost myself while tending to my children. Eventually, after realizing the power of words, I wanted to be an author who aided in the healing process of heart and soul.

Marie:  Wow! 😀

Who is your role model, Linda?

Linda:  I do not have a role model, but I can say my sons have taught and showed me many things that make me a better person.

Marie:  Great!

Well, let’s try something else.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Linda:  Interesting question! (Laughs.) None I can recall.

Marie:  Okay.

What is your deepest desire?

Linda:  Great health!

Marie:  (Nods.) Can’t blame you for wanting that! And, of course, you deserve it! ♥

Let’s go for a different approach now.

Just curious here, but what is your greatest fear?

Linda:  Death.

Marie:  That’s an understandable fear. 😕 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.

Linda:  Blanket, iPad, phone, food and water.

Marie:  They all sound good to me! 😀

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

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

Linda:  Leona Tillard is the main character, who shares her journey from being a little girl to becoming a young woman. While growing up, she didn’t see happy adults so she was not in a hurry to grow up, but she does and discovers a world of love and self-awareness that comes with a price that she must grow to understand. Joining the United States Army marked the beginning of how her past experiences affected her understanding of normality and love.

Marie:  All right.

And what are Leona’s greatest strengths?

Linda:  Leona’s greatest strengths are her ability to seek understanding of life, trust God, honesty and compassion.

Marie:  Nice!

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Linda:  She does not trust people and she is naïve.

Marie:  (Nods.)

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Leona’s favorite foods?

Linda:  Cookies, ice cream, chicken, greens and hamburgers.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) All great on their own, of course, but I would never combine them. 😉

How about another question?

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

Linda:  Leona is gifted with intuition and healing others mentally and physically. She is incredibly determined to understand others as well as herself.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Linda:  I believe readers will love Leona because she is not a negative person. Though she was dealt a tough hand, she moves forward and she reveals our human need to understand self, love and life. She refuses to be a victim.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Leona, 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 A Love Story to Remember?

Linda:  I came up with that title based on the loves Leona experiences from birth to becoming a woman. The male roles in this story are real and reveal how men love women who have suffered unjustly in life. It also reveals God’s love for us behind the scenes.

Marie:  Nice! It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Linda:  I am more of a plotter; I believe in having a bottom line and supporting it.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Linda:  I read this book at least twenty times, and every time I read it, I found errors. I had help with editing, but all errors did not go away even then. If you can get a great editor, get one because no one likes to read books with errors. As far as publishing, I knew I wanted a publishing company that listens. The publishers were great.

Marie:  That’s great advice! And believe me, I feel your pain. I learned it the hard way years ago, and was even inspired to write an article on my alternate blog about the importance of editing.  

Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great tale A Love Story to Remember appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about this book.

Title: A Love Story to Remember

Genre: Military Romance, Inspirational Romance

Publication date: September 15, 2019

Here is the blurb:

A Love Story to Remember reveals the intrinsic realities of our need to love and be loved.  There is something about hearing the words, ‘I love you’ that enriches our lives even though its meaning is endless. Leona Tillard, a soldier of the United States Army, woke up one day drowning in the sea of love. ‘I love you’ ruled her life.

She knows God loves her, but she does not know who He has chosen for her to love. Sometimes God speaks through others to reveal answers we seek. Are you chosen to reveal her true love?

Linda is giving us a peek at the story…

“I can’t take any more chances. I don’t want to feel anymore. Don’t you understand? I’m cursed. Stay away from me,” I cried as I ran down the trail into the darkness.

“Leona. Where are you? This isn’t funny, you’re scaring me.”

Tony finally caught up with me. When he did, I placed my arms around his neck and kissed him.

“Whoa, Leona!”

Seeing Tony calm down from my touch reminded me how powerful touch can be.

“I love you, Tony.”

“You don’t have to say that.”

“Yes, I do.”

When we got back to the house, Tony turned off the car and got in a comfortable position and tilted the steering wheel. He looked like a different person than the young man who came to pick me up. I wondered if I looked different as well.

“You’re beautiful, Leona. I just wish you would see it. Let me make you feel good.”

“I don’t think I’m ready for sex yet.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about. I want to touch your heart and mind first, and then your body. I want you to feel me every time you breathe. I want my presence in your life to be the source of your strength, faith, hope, love and certainty. I want your heart and everything in it.”

“You sound like God, you know?” I smiled.

He laughed.

“How did we get on this subject, Leona?”

“You started it,” I said as I laid my head on his shoulder.

Tony and I found each other again. This time it seemed like we had God with us. Talking about God so freely reminded me of the freedom I shared with my first crush, Andrew.

Tony and I spent a lot of time together. He became my healer. I was ready to rejoin my life in the Army. I had one week left before I was due to arrive at Fort Sill, and I wanted to take Tony with me. Even though I was enjoying him, I couldn’t wait to get back into my life as a soldier.

The day I was set to leave, Tony came over and had dinner with us. My mom made the best roast, but it wasn’t enough to kill the sadness hanging over the room. Tony wasn’t himself, and his silence was beginning to make us uncomfortable, so I took him by the hand and pulled him outside to the porch.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing, I do have quiet moments, you know,” Tony answered defensively.

“Talk to me, Tony.”

Tony turned away from me and began walking toward his car.

“Sorry, Leona, I got to go. Have a safe trip.”

“Just like that, you’re walking out on me!  Why?  Be man enough to tell me why!” I yelled as I walked toward his car.

“I will never have you, Leona,” he said mournfully.

I shook my head in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“Did you know you talk in your sleep?  I thought it was no big deal at first. But then one night, no two nights, you cuddled up with me on the couch and called me Doug!  Leona, I can’t compete with a ghost!”

I let out a sigh. “Don’t do this, Tony. My parents are waiting for us. Can we talk about this later?”

Tony shut the car door and walked back up on the porch.

“I would like us to at least make it through dinner,” I said.

After dinner, my dad and Tony watched a football game while Mom and I cleared the table and washed dishes. When we finished washing dishes, Tony and I decided to go out for a while alone. As soon as we got in the car, we both apologized to each other at the same time.

“No, wait; let me say this before we go any farther. I may have said Doug’s name in my sleep, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have room in my heart for you. I was traumatized, Tony. Sudden death is no joke.”

“I know. I guess I was a little jealous.”

“I have a surprise for you. At least, I hope it is a surprise. I wanted our last night together to be special.”

We rode in silence, listening to one of Tony’s jazz list of music. We pulled up in front of a hotel and Tony parked the car, got out, and came over to my side to help me out. With his hand in mine, we walked into the hotel. We didn’t have to check in because he already had the key to our room. I didn’t know how I felt about this. All I knew was he and I were about to be alone. When he opened the door, the candlelight and roses all over the room overwhelmed me. There were rose petals strewn all over the bed. Before I could say anything, Tony picked me up and threw me in the middle of the fragrant pile.

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mqD5av

Publisher link:  https://www.penitpublications.com/product-page/wattley-linda-a-love-story-to-remember

What are people saying about A Love Story to Remember?

 

 

“This book shows us how previous generations can affect later ones. Family issues, trauma, abuse, and mental health can affect us all. Overcoming our past is a part of the human struggle. Very engaging read.” – Earl Hall Studio, Amazon

A Love Story to Remember by Linda Diane Wattley is a fictional love story about life, the need for love, redemption, and personal internal survival. The author draws from her own experiences as a veteran in the United States Army. Even in this fictional account, Linda demonstrates the inner strength to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and find a path to recovery.

I encourage you to read all of Linda’s books and engage with her through her online television show, ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ by TLBTV. This platform and the Liberty Beacon Project has proven to be a powerful beacon of light. Linda is available for speaking engagements, book signings and interviews.
I endorse this book and all of Linda’s endeavors to help PTSD survivors.” – Theodocia McLean, Book Marketing Global Network

 

Looks fantastic! 😉

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

About Linda Diane Wattley

LINDA DIANE WATTLEY is a veteran of the United States Army. She is an advocate for sufferers of PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and for those who have suffered from all forms of victimization to include domestic violence and sexual abuse. Her message is all about getting to the best truths that allows victims to be set free. Linda does this by sharing her gifts and talents that God gave her. One being an author of several books that lead readers to go deep within themselves to find their own inner strength and voice.

Linda was also a contributing columnist with the Frost Illustrated Newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana titled, “THE BEST WILL SHOW THEMSELVES” for over twelve years where she shared truths that stirred hearts and minds of readers in spiritual matters.

Today, she has opened a platform for others to share their truths with the world. Her online television show, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE by TLBTV and the Liberty Beacon Project has proven to be a powerful beacon of light.

Her current book, A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER is a uniquely written book sharing the journey to love after a dysfunctional past. It shows how men love and have their own spiritual understanding of life. Understanding someone with PTSD in relationships brings out the best in you in numerous ways. This love story will have you wondering who the man God has chosen for the main character, Leona Tillard. Will you choose him after reading her story?

Linda Diane Wattley lives to do God’s Will. She is available for book signings, speaking engagements and interviews.

Books:

https://books2read.com/u/mqD5av
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CZPKXQ7/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Linda Diane Wattley, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Linda Diane Wattley, the brilliant author of this military romance with an inspirational romance theme, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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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

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

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

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

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

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

The Twelfth Wing

 

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

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

Why? Divorce.

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

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

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

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

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

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

Brett Jordan, Unsplash

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

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

Briona Baker, Unsplash

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

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

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

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

Author Links

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

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

 

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

 How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships

 

I love, love, love shopping…well, for almost anything! I can never be trusted with a credit card. 😉 Most of the time I resist temptation, but now and then, especially if I have some extra money on my hands, I indulge in one of my hobbies – shopping for clothes, or even books.

Created by benzoix – http://www.freepik.com

But whether you’re browsing online or in the store, shopping for clothing items is a whole other animal. At least with a book, you can be sure you will usually end up a satisfied reader. The only issue, for me at least, might be a bunch of glaring grammatical errors, or so much head-hopping that I get fictional whiplash.

Amanda Jones, Unsplash

Shopping for clothes, however, is a different story.

Created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com

If you’re looking at stores on the internet, you have likely done your research already. Maybe you vetted the company for positive customer feedback. Looking over product reviews is never a bad policy.

When you’re dating, though, it’s not like you can ask your date’s exes how things went in the past, or what pitfalls to anticipate. It’s basically trial and error, right?

Created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com

Sometimes that happens with shopping too. Just because you properly assessed the site, or even had prior experience with it – you got a great bargain and the product was offered in the right size – that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically love the shirt you bought every time. Hell, you won’t know anything until it arrives at your house and you can try it on. Maybe the color is off, or the shirt fits smaller or bigger than advertised. Every brand is different. The problem is there are no guarantees with any purchase.

Same thing goes with dating. Just because your date is handsome – or pretty – doesn’t mean you’ll be compatible. Life is about more than appearances alone. Can you at least carry on an intelligent conversation with this person? Can you tolerate their presence for longer than five or ten minutes? An hour? These are ways to test someone out.

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

If you try on a jacket in a store, you may not love it the same way a week later. If I’m just ‘meh’ about an article of clothing from that first moment in the dressing room, I’ll probably feel that way, or even worse later on. I may have a weakness for shopping, but I am also a highly discerning customer. I know when to go for the hard pass. I usually don’t jump to buy anything without a lot of forethought, or unless I am sure about it right away. Online purchases, though? It’s a toss-up as to whether I’ll be satisfied.

That happens with a relationship too. There is no better version than real, face-to-face human interaction. You can text, email or use social media messaging, even video chat all you want, and it still won’t replace learning about someone in person. Only then can you tell how it will work.

Created by Freepik

What about facades, though?

Just as there are scam artists selling faulty goods online – or leaving you empty-handed – and vendors selling their wares on the street, some people aren’t upfront about themselves with a dating situation. And I don’t mean the horror stories we see on the news. Please refer to Dating Connections’ article from November of 2017 about safely dating in a high-tech world. What I’m talking about it is a fact we often overlook…

Some of us make assumptions about people without knowing the truth. All we see is surface. Keep in mind that it goes both ways. A certain majority of people put up a facade to protect themselves from being hurt. Others may do so for darker reasons, or because they’re shallower than you realize. I think the key here is to take your time when getting to know someone. If you’re serious about dating – and not just playing the field – your instincts will guide you to the right answer, and the perfect fit will find you.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes, and then a month or two later they break? Or, maybe it happened with a purse or your favorite shirt which tore right away. You found out it was made cheaply, or it just didn’t work for another reason.

Your dating journey is about trying on different relationships until you reach the right fit. Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with someone for a long time just because you’re afraid to be alone either. If you’re not meant to be together, you’ll notice the signs or glaringly obvious red flags. Heartbreak is sometimes just a temporary obstacle to finding out what you want in this life.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

But, I can’t emphasize this enough. Identity is everything when finding your soul mate.

Of course, we all come from different backgrounds, affording us various experiences. but the most important thing to remember is to know yourself well first. If you’re aware of all your likes and dislikes – a useful skill we often develop with shopping – that will go a long way toward understanding what you want in a relationship. It’s true that wisdom from experience – maybe going through a couple baddies – can also bring you the same result. But knowing who you are in and out will prevent you from making some crazy mistakes too.

Created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com

Diversely, was there ever an item you didn’t usually wear, such as a scarf or hat, even a dress that you bought on impulse because something about it called to you? Perhaps later, you decided you really liked it after all, simply because it made you feel different. Consider the same with your search for a romantic partner. You may have an idea of the one for you, dreamt that person up in your head for years. However, don’t go looking with a certain image or impression in mind. The right person for you may be completely different, someone you didn’t anticipate at all. Yet, it somehow works.

Whereas we often focus on size, style and color with clothing, personality and compatibility are paramount in dating. Make sure you have a few things in common, but not everything. The best relationship still results in the occasional surprise, to keep things interesting.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

It is pretty rare when you go to a store, try on an outfit, and everything about it works. Later, once you’ve purchased it, you wear your clothes with pride and this feels so natural that you never want to take it off. Falling in love and being in love are similar. It’s a little scary at first to trust someone with your true self, to know that you’re accepted. It’s okay to be yourself around this person, and you won’t be judged. No, life won’t always be beautiful or exciting every day, but you can rest assured that you both respect and love each other. Being in love is like coming home to the open arms that always want you, even if you drive your partner a little crazy sometimes. And vice versa.

Created by Freepik

Having a real relationship takes effort. Dating is work, plain and simple. We all know it; I think that’s why some people do their best to avoid a real relationship.

My advice? Be as discerning in your romantic relationships as you should be as a consumer, out there browsing stores in person or online. So…who is the one person you can still imagine sticking it out with you fifty years from now? Take a risk now and then, and don’t be afraid to look for the right signs that will lead you to the place where you belong.

Bruce Mars, pexels.com

At times we grab the nearest product out of necessity, and then end up disappointed by its contents later on. When you’re dating, don’t settle for a situation you don’t want, simply because you’re lonely or desperate for companionship. You’ll just be miserable in the long run. Believe me, I know.

Finding your soul mate won’t solve all your problems. You have to get yourself together too. Figure out what you want in life and go for it. But having the right person at your side will certainly make the roller coaster of life – the whole journey – a lot more tolerable.

Keep the faith. I know you can do this…

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2yFx62c
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

https://books2read.com/ap/xrv162/Marie-Lavender

Creative Universal Reading List Link:  https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Faith, Hope, Love, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles

Blog Tour Feature: The Destiny Series by Gloria Silk

Will Lia choose duty over the desires of her heart?

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Gloria Silk, an author I met during my journey! We wish you many successes with your series! :)

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

Let’s hear a little about this great book series…

Nice!

This is the blurb for First and Only Destiny, The Destiny Series, Book 1:

Second edition of USA Today Bestselling Author’s debut novel.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
First love has never been more intense, heartbreaking, and oh so worth it!
Shy artist Lia cannot resist gorgeous genius, Devraj. Sparks fly and their families and friends try to break them apart.

FIRST LOVE…
It’s love at first sketch for shy, sheltered art major Lia Abraham, when she meets the Bollywood-gorgeous Devraj Shah at a London university. But she refuses to show her undeniable attraction to the gregarious genius who is being groomed for his family business empire. Nothing can stand between her and her dreams of traveling and teaching art across Europe. No taking risks or detours for Lia!

FIRST KISS…
The last thing Lia needs is a handsome distraction from her true love: art. Although she protests, the charming Devraj, with his dimpled grin and sparkling eyes, convinces Lia to be “just friends”.

But inevitably—with one rain-soaked, sweet yet sizzling kiss—their unleashed desire becomes stronger than their cultural divides—a Hindu boy and a Jewish girl? Gods forbid!

As their friendship flares into an all-consuming passion, the growing pressure from both families changes the landscape of both their lives.

FOREVER LOVE?
Despite loving him to distraction, will Lia’s gratitude to her frail grandparents, who raised her, and her loyalty to her cultural ties, force her to forsake the forbidden fruit of her love for Devraj?

Or can she stand up for her first and only love and face their uncharted future head on?

A PORTION OF ALL GLORIA SILK BOOK PROCEEDS GO TO THE CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY.

Gloria is giving us a peek at at this new adult multicultural romance, First and Only Destiny, today.

Great cover!

 

Book Info:

Author: Gloria Silk

Series: The Destiny Series #1

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural, New Adult Romance

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Chapter One:

University of Central London, eight months earlier

 

Lia stole another glance at the beautiful, exotic young man whose image she was trying to capture in her sketchpad. Ignoring the bustling atmosphere of the campus cafeteria, she focused on the sensuous feel of the charcoal stick within her shaking fingers as it stroked the paper. Surreptitiously, she studied her subject’s confident body language and his slightly amused, slightly superior expression, which acted on all her senses.

Once again, everything around her had faded to background noise as soon as she had seen the tall, young man several yards away, standing with his friends, yet seeming to be apart from them.

What a perfect Rajah he would be, dignified and confident, waiting for his beautiful Hindi bride to appear. Lia imagined the delicate fragrance of a jasmine-and-rose wedding garland around his neck. She resisted the temptation to draw him in a traditional white-and-gold bridegroom’s suit.

Why had she never met a ‘suitable’ Jewish man who captured her imagination like this?

Suddenly, her subject turned away from the girl smiling up at him and looked straight at Lia.

Immediately she glanced away from those bright hazel eyes. Heat flushed her cheeks and her shaking hand stilled above her sketch. Why had she chosen to draw him again? Was she watching too many Bollywood movies with her aunt and grandmother?

Compelled by fascination with the forbidden, Lia hesitantly lifted her head. She watched the young man stride towards her across the short span between them, his gaze never releasing hers.

She gulped, forgetting how to breathe.

Hunching over her sketchpad, she wished she could disappear. He would not understand her interest in him was purely artistic.

Or was it?

Her world slowed as his bold steps covered the distance between them, like a conquering Maharaja with golden-dark skin claiming his bride. The charcoal stick snapped in half in her hand. A sense of inevitability rippled through her as he reached her table and she raised her head to look fully into his face.

Her many sketches had not done him justice.

Drawing in a revitalizing breath, she stared into those amber eyes that seemed to shine from within.

Lia absorbed his relaxed aura and easy-going smile, the tones of his skin, and the shiny black hair stroking his denim shirt collar. Even the slight bump on his regal nose added to his attraction.

His eyes lowered to her sketch.

With clammy, shaky hands, she snapped the pad shut but could not look away from him.

He rested one large, golden, beautifully shaped hand on the edge of the table and leaned toward her.

“Like what you see?” he asked in a rich baritone that caressed even as it teased.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Her face prickled, leaving her as hot as if sunburned. She probably looked as red as a cooked lobster.

Smile widening, he sat opposite her. “Let me see?” his tone a mix of request and demand she found arrogant…and maybe a little attractive.

She clutched her sketchbook. “Absolutely not.”

Her refusal did not dim his smile. “Did you give me horns and crossed-eyes?”

Lia shook her head. “No, of course not! I mean it’s…it’s private.”

He shrugged, studying her. “Well, it’s my image you’re using. I should be allowed to see what you’ve done.”

She took a slow, steadying breath. “I…I’m sorry. I won’t sketch you anymore.”

“I don’t mind. In fact, I’m flattered. I just want to see—”

“Please leave me alone.”

His dark brows rose. “Hey, now. That’s not very friendly. You seemed to be interested—”

“Please?” she interrupted softly, but clearly he heard her because he stopped in mid-sentence and watched her reproachfully.

It was her own fault. She had been staring at him, drawing him, for several days. Treating him as if he were a still life. But he was a live, healthy, attractive man, not a bowl of fruit, so of course he had misunderstood.

She glanced at the group he had left minutes earlier, several young men, as dazzlingly handsome as the hunks in Gillette adverts, and sophisticated girls draped next to them, all students, and all strangers to her.

They had gone silent, their eyes fixed on her with open curiosity. Also obvious was the hostility in the narrowed eyes and flattened lips of one young blonde woman, fashionably dressed, and boldly made up. Her confident and assertive body language proclaimed her a woman who belonged here, not intimidated and out of her depths, like Lia felt.

Heat penetrated from her neck up to her face as Lia shifted her gaze from the scrutiny of this man’s friends and looked up only far enough to focus on his chin. “Please go away.” In the silence that met her words, she suddenly heard how rude, how unfriendly she sounded.

Maybe if she explained. “I’m sorry, I-I’m here…just to study. I’m not supposed to…mingle.”

She watched as he weighed her words, holding her breath, willing him to accept her explanation and simply retreat to his own world.

Instead, he grinned and shook his head. “I’m Devraj, but people call me Dev, or Dave.” The long fingers of his outreached hand drew her attention but she was not supposed to have physical—or any other—contact with men.

Devraj. Even his name was striking, regal. Feeling panicky because she wanted to touch his hand, wanted to feel his fingers on her own, Lia stood so quickly that her chair made a harsh noise against the floor.

Devraj stood up, too. Staring at him, slightly swaying forward Lia suddenly understood how magnetism worked. Grabbing her large cumbersome bag and draping it over her left shoulder she said, “I told you, I’m here, at this school, to study, not t-to meet strangers. I…I have to go. Excuse me.”

Her pulse galloping, Lia clutched her sketchbook to her chest and spun round to flee.

But he blocked her way.

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/31P0Rl

PRAISE FOR FIRST AND ONLY DESTINY

“Beautifully written love story. The prose in this book is extraordinary, the emotions heart-breaking and the author leaves you hanging on the edge right to the end of the story. I could feel the characters’ happiness, confusion, pain and sadness. When it rained, I felt that rain on me, when the characters were laughing, I laughed – it was really that good! I can’t wait to read the next story in this book and will add Ms. Silk to my “must-buy” authors. Love her writing! Ms. Silk fills the pages with emotion – hope, happiness, sadness, guilt, joy – you will run the gamut with this book.”Elizabeth Lennox, Author of the Thorpe Brothers series

The quintessential love story of two people in love who must overcome obstacles that should not make a difference to their happiness; but does!
Will we ever learn? Will there come a time when race, culture and all the other things that supposedly separate us as humans be done away with?
Gloria Silk’s beautifully written “First and Only Destiny” intends to do just that!
Yvonne Finn (Amazon)

I have never been deeply touched by any other book like this one, and to think that I found this through a random search only in my Kindle from Amazon! I’m a believer of first ❤️ love, and this is just the right story for me… well written with amazing characters, incredible racial interactions between two young students belonging to different faiths or beliefs but so much in love, nothing could stop them! Oppositions from both families kept them apart, this heart wrenching love story made me cry, with so many frustrating situations, Devraj’s obsession is incredibly designed by this talented author, hopelessly but determined in his one and only love… we need to follow whats in store for this star-crossed lovers in the second book of this phenomenal story!!! – Maria B (Amazon)

Squee! Love all the tension. ♥♥♥

Here’s the book trailer…

This book is only 99 cents on Amazon, so grab it on sale while you can, readers! 😉

Let’s also check on the second book in the series, see what it’s about…

This is the blurb for Second Destiny, The Destiny Series, Book 2:

From USA Today Bestselling Author, Gloria Silk

The standalone bestseller, First and Only Destiny gave Lia and Devraj their own well deserved dramatic and satisfying happy-ever-after! BUT what if…

What if Lia and Devraj lose each other within minutes and are both left devastated, unable to forget each other?

Second Destiny is an emotional, sensuous story of the star-crossed lovers reuniting 19 years later. Just as Lia discovers her husband’s infidelity, her first love, Devraj is at her door. Lia’s 18-year-old daughter and Devraj’s nephew are repeating romantic history.

Can Lia and the Bollywood-gorgeous hero put their past behind them, or will their sizzling, intense passion reignite and endanger everything in its path?

THE OLDER GENERATION BROKE THEM APART…
Lia Abraham gave up everything for her family and culture—art, autonomy and even self-worth. Worst of all was the sacrifice of Bollywood-gorgeous, idealistic Devraj Shah, when Lia caved in to pressure from both their families. She broke her first love’s heart by marrying the “right” Jewish man.

THE YOUNGER GENERATION REUNITES THEM…
Nineteen years later, minutes after Lia demands a divorce from her cheating husband, her world turns upside down again; Devraj is at her door. His nephew and Lia’s feisty teenage daughter are repeating history. They’re in love, but the now reserved, enigmatic Devraj is dead-set against the couple’s marriage plans. He is convinced Lia’s daughter will ultimately reject his nephew the way Lia had rejected Devraj.

After years of feeling caged in a loveless marriage, Lia embraces her newly found freedom, and her resurgent passion for Devraj is irresistible. Once again, she surrenders to the true love of her life, but their affair re-ignites opposition from both families. Will Lia’s second chance at love again destroy her loved ones and her dreams?

Torn once again between her love for Devraj, her family responsibilities and her need for true independence, will Lia choose duty over the desires of her heart?

Another stunning cover!

 

Book Info:

Author: Gloria Silk

Series: The Destiny Series #2

Genre: Multicultural Romance, Second Chance Romance

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Chapter One:

Something was wrong but Lia could not put a finger on it as she glanced around the long dining table at her in-laws. Her ever-silent father-in-law, Jonathan was nursing his third brandy since their arrival. Nothing new there.

The residual smells of Grace’s famous matzo ball soup, with its swirling rainbow of grease reflecting the chandelier lights, intermingled with the fresh yeasty challa rolls her mother-in-law had baked, as she did every Friday night for Sabbath.

What I wouldn’t give for a bowl of curry at this moment. Maybe tomorrow she would order it with her girlfriends at their bi-weekly lunch date. But tonight routine and tradition ruled this ritual Friday night dinner in London’s suburban Oakwood.

Watching her two silent children Lia concentrated on being in the moment. The only sounds in the slightly oppressive, antique furnished dining room were the delicate clatter of cutlery against the plates and her husband’s response to his mother’s probing questions about his latest problems with his business partner. As usual, mother and son were the two center stage entertainers, while the rest of them were their audience.

Lia observed Howard. Tonight he seemed even more distracted, obsessed, as always searching for bigger ways to promote his cosmetic-surgery practice, and still waiting to be recognized for his genius.

Nothing new here, either.

Studying his roast chicken breast through his designer glasses, Howard said, “Of course I want him out, mother. My solicitors agree that Tom’s got too unrealistic expectations of me, but I have a busy clinicto run.”

Grace expelled one of her loaded sighs. More questions and reluctant answers ping-ponged between them.

Lia was tired of these conversations, but at least no one expected her to contribute. Most of the time she felt invisible, but that freed her to observe everyone.

She had a busy, uncomplicated life, with a beautiful home and great friends. Her parents-in-law tolerated her well enough. Her children were healthy and for the most part happy.

If she had not pursued her art, it was her own choice, and she had made peace with it.

She swallowed the sudden lump in her throat and reminded herself to be more grateful.

Her husband of nineteen years may not be the perfect mate, but he was a good provider and, mostly, an indulgent father to their children.

Swaying her attention back to their children, Lia glanced at her ever silent thirteen-year-old son, Gabriel—nicknamed Gabe and sometimes Gaby—sat slouching beside her. Then Lia regarded Danielle who sat across from her.

Lia’s spine went rigid.

This was where something was definitely wrong.

Her eighteen-year-old had hardly eaten much in the past few weeks. Tonight Danielle seemed extra moody and withdrawn. What was going through the med student’s mind, sitting with her head downcast?

Medicine seemed to be her passion, but she was not the talkative type if she did have any issues with her studies.

At least Danielle had not gone through with the tattoo or belly-piercing rebellion, Lia thanked God.

Where was her funny, vivacious little girl who could not wait to spill her every adventure the moment she burst through the doors after school?

And would she ever resurface?

How could she help her daughter’s somber demeanor, while the teen appeared to act like a caged animal, yet again wearing those dark, tight fitting clothes Howard disliked?

Lia realized she was again twisting her tight engagement and wedding bands around her ring finger as if they were a double noose. She picked up her fork.

Guilt seeped through her. Were her children noticing her growing discontentment? The English spring weather always brought it on, along with the memories of a lost love.

Danielle broke the momentary silence between her grandmother and father. “Daddy, I have something to tell you.” Those wide shining eyes were a warmer shade of her father’s blue eyes.

Electricity seemed to crackle in the air around Danielle.

“What, sugar-plum?” Howard asked just as Gabe reached across the table for another roll.

“Where are your manners, Gabe?” Howard did not raise his voice, but just glared through arctic-blue eyes. “Ask if you want something.”

“S-s-sorry, D-dad.”

Lia’s heart squeezed hard. Gabe’s stutter never bothered him when mother and son were alone.

These days he spent almost all his hours in his room with his books and computer.

Picking up the basket, she held it out to him.

He shook his head. Putting down the basket, she discreetly patted his knee.

He did not pull away, but his expression made her question why she never stood up for him, or took his father to task. Oh, she had, after both children had gone to bed—or in the privacy of their bedroom when they had still shared one—arguing, reasoning with Howard, until she was emotionally exhausted talking to a human equivalent of a brick wall.

“Daddy, will you please listen?” Danielle’s voice broke through her thoughts.

Ever patient with his daughter, Howard glanced at her, resuming cutting his chicken with the precision of a perfectionist surgeon.

“I’ve met my Mr. Right. I’ve been seeing him for a year and I love him. I’d like you to meet him.”

Danielle’s honey-gold bob framed her pale face. She sat reed-straight as if expecting an explosion or at least a rare shouting match. “Sanjay is of a different culture—”

At the mention of this familiar name, Lia’s airways seemed stuffed with hardening cement, choking the breath out of her.

Someone’s cutlery clanged loudly against a plate.

“Sanjay?” Both Grace and Howard pronounced the name as if smelling something disgusting.

A warped sense of déjà vu settled over Lia, heat prickling under her arms, neck and up her face.

Danielle stared back at her father. “He’s of Indian background, but—”

“Danielle, are you out of your mind?” Grace demanded in her haughty over-British voice.

“Let me handle this, mother.” Howard continued glaring at their daughter. Wiping his mouth on his damask napkin, he stood up to his full height of five feet seven inches.

Lia could not move.

“You’ve been seeing him for a whole year.” His eyes narrowed slightly. “Why now? I thought we talked about everything.” Lia heard the tinge of betrayal.

“We do, but at first we were just friends, then it became more important and…I didn’t think you’d accept him because he’s not Jewish—”

“Glad you know your father so well.” He looked at Grace. “That was tasty, mother.” He thanked her as he thanked Lia after every meal.

He squinted back at Danielle through his glasses, his thinning oatmeal hair shone on his pinkish scalp under the chandelier lights. “This was in very poor taste, to come out with this nonsense at your grandmother’s Friday night table. Now you’ve ruined everyone’s dessert with this rubbish. I won’t get angry, but you’ll never see this person again. Or mention him. It stops now! End of conversation.”

Although his voice was firm, he gave Danielle one of the smiles he reserved for his female patients, their best friend and beauty god promising to make them look younger, more beautiful or desirable again.

But as Danielle stared up at him with that brave expression, Lia knew it was far from the end. “No, Daddy. If you won’t meet him, we’ll elope.”

Lia needed water to help her constricting throat, but she could not trust her fingers to pick up the crystal water goblet. Had she not said almost the same words to her grandfather nearly two decades ago, about an intense yet fun loving—Indian—young man?

“If you promise to see Sanjay then I’ll continue my studies after—”

“Like your mother did after I married her?” He sneered. “At least that was only art, no loss to the world. But medicine’s not to be taken lightly, young lady.”

“I don’t care about medicine, never have, and I don’t want a marriage like yours.” Danielle almost shuddered. “I want a real marriage, real love, and I will get it.”

Fists by his sides, lips even thinner, Howard turned to Lia.

For the first time in years, he glared right at her, not through her. “Do you know anything about this, considering the background of this…this…?”

“No, but the boy may be—” She started.

“He’s nearly twenty-one, Mom. He’s hardly a boy.” Without glancing at her, daughter and father dueled with each other with the same challenging eyes. “Sanjay’s smart and kind and such a hard worker, Daddy. He’s doing his MBA, and then plans to join his uncle’s business—”

Howard’s hand shot up in front of him. “Spare me the details.”

Watching, Lia’s sense of déjà vu grew stronger and her chest felt overtaxed from ineffective, too shallow breathing. Devraj had also been subtly groomed for his family business empire. Her memories were torture enough, almost distracting her from the crisis at hand.

“Why have you let this go on, Lia?” Grace asked, blinking profusely while holding her hand against her pearl-clad neck and cream cashmere sweater.

~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Purchase Link:

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

PRAISE FOR SECOND DESTINY

“Beautifully written love story with a perfect happy ever after.” – Elizabeth Lennox, Author of the Thorpe Brothers series

A decision is made at the end of the first book, but is it the right decision? Only time, and the next book, will tell. 🙂 In the second book, an unsettling replay in the younger generation haunts Lia and Devraj, and they face another life-altering decision. I’m so glad I bought both books at the same time so I didn’t have to wait for the answer in these emotionally-charged page turners. Get your hankies ready. – Joan Lecott (Amazon)

Loved this book, couldn’t stop reading it. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened. I suggest reading the first book since this is a continuation of their story. Can’t wait to read more of your books!  Saguaro (Amazon)

This is the story of second chances. It follows through with Lia starting a new job and trying to start life over. She doesn’t want the distraction of dating and her pride is only going to hurt her. The twist in this story from the first story was great. I was happy to see where the author went with this book. – Terry M (Amazon)

Wow, sounds like quite a dramatic tale!😉

Here’s the book trailer…

Both of these titles can be read as standalones.

 

Gloria is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember, there is a chance to enter everyday so be sure to follow the Blog Tour for the contest and exclusive content. You may find the tour link here.

Thank you for telling us about your multicultural romance series, Gloria! I know I can’t wait to read these novels! 🙂

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

The Destiny Series looks great! ♥ We’ll be sure to check it out! Don’t miss the giveaway!

Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling author, Gloria Silk, loves writing sensuous, uplifting and unforgettable romance and women’s fiction. Her powerful stories are filled with passion without cultural borders, which will take you to various exotic locales around the world. Her books focus on the many facets of romantic relationships with strong and complex family bonds.

Born in Russia, her love of travel was ingrained within her from a very young age, as she has lived in various parts of Europe and the Mediterranean. Some of her favorite visited places are Austria, France, the Middle East, Hawaii and Hong Kong. Her next planned excursion is to Australia and New Zealand.

England (where she was brought up) holds a very special place in her heart with all its history and lush, green landscapes. Her background in English literature, writing and psychology help her create well-rounded, unique characters.

After spending many years in London, England, where she met and married her own loving hero, she now lives – and happily writes – in Toronto, Canada.

For a very special reward of a custom book gift set go to gloriasilk.com/books

Author Links

Website:  http://www.gloriasilk.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/glorialsilk

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Gloria-Silk/e/B00IZSLZZS

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8549461.Gloria_Silk

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/gloria-silk

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/gloriasilk5

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

 

Thank you for telling us about your wonderful book series tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of these multicultural romance books!

Thanks again to Gloria and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

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

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Event, Faith, family, Fiction, Gifts, giveaway, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Second Chances, Tour, Writing

New Release Feature: Redeemed by author Maggie Blackbird

•..•Redeemed by Maggie Blackbird•..•

There’s nothing he isn’t willing to do to win back his son–and Bridget…

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Maggie, a talented author I met during my journey! Her new erotic multicultural romance novel, Redeemed, book two of the The Matawapit Family Series, officially released a few days ago!

Yay! That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your new release!

When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Maggie is giving us a look at her steamy multicultural romance, Redeemed, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Redeemed:

A single woman battles to keep her foster child from his newly-paroled father—a dangerous man she used to love.

Bridget Matawapit is an Indigenous activist, daughter of a Catholic deacon, and foster mother to Kyle, the son of an Ojibway father—the ex-fiancé she kicked to the curb after he chose alcohol over her love. With Adam out on parole and back in Thunder Bay, she is determined to stop him from obtaining custody of Kyle.

Adam Guimond is a recovering alcoholic and ex-gang banger newly-paroled. Through counseling, reconnecting with his Ojibway culture and twelve-step meetings while in prison, Adam now understands he’s worthy of the love that frightened him enough to pick up the bottle he’d previously corked. He can’t escape the damage he caused so many others, but he longs to rise like a true warrior in the pursuit of forgiveness and a second chance. There’s nothing he isn’t willing to do to win back his son–and Bridget.

When an old cell mate’s daughter dies under mysterious circumstances in foster care, Adam begs Bridget to help him uncover the truth. Bound to the plight of the Indigenous children in care, Bridget agrees. But putting herself in contact with Adam threatens to resurrect her long-buried feelings for him, and even worse, she risks losing care of Kyle, by falling for a man who might destroy her faith in love completely this time.

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

Adam took another drag. “I’m talking now, ain’t I?”

“True.” The heat in his gaze seemed to touch Bridget’s cheek. She rubbed the purse strap.

“I don’t got nothing to hide. ’Kay?”

“You were hiding something last time?”

“Nope. But I know my not speaking pissed you off.”

“There’s no reason to bring up the past. I told you I’d help and that’s what I’m doing.”

“Yeah, you agreed to help…” His gaze roamed around her face.

Bridget recoiled and glanced away.

“Y’know, kwe, we’re doing a lot of dancing.”

“Dancing?”

“Lookit me.”

She forced herself to raised her head.

His dark eyes smoldered. He leaned forward. His hand stretched out, and he ran his strong fingers along her braid.

Sensuous heat and angry lightning erupted under Bridget’s skin. “Don’t you dare.” The words hissed from her mouth.

“What’re you afraid of, kwe?”

“Quit calling me that.” The order snapped from deep inside Bridget’s constricting chest. “You have no right calling me by that name. Not after what you did.” She stood and yanked her purse off the bench.

He tilted his head up, his jawline tightening. “I know what I did, kwe. You remind me all the time.”

“I do no such thing.” How dare Adam turn this around as her fault.

“Yeah, you do. It’s in your eyes. They hang me like a noose. It’s in your lips. They condemn me like a villain. It’s in your voice. You slap me with your tone.”

“What’d you expect after what you did?” she huffed out. “You were charged with aggravated assault. The judge had every right to throw the book at you.”

“I know what I did, kwe.” Adam’s voice remained flat. “I live with it every day. I don’t take the easy way out and blame it on the booze.”

“You were skidding around for months. I can only imagine what else you did.” And no, she wasn’t jealous.

“I drank. I drank some more. I did something really bad to another human being. Got arrested. Sat in remand until my trial. I won’t say he deserved it. I won’t say anything. I did it. I went to prison for it.”

“And did you only drink?” She silently cuffed her rear end for continuing to poke at the damned same question.

Adam’s thick lips tugged at the corner. “If you mean was I out screwing around? Nope. You’re the only woman for me, kwe.”

Delight exploded through Bridget’s veins. Then she clamped a lock on her heart. Only a moron bought his answer. He’d been drunk for four months in Winnipeg. He must have picked up some woman in a bar.

“I was hurting bad.” His voice sagged. “You think I was happy when you told me to fuck off? You killed me, woman.”

The sharp tone of his last statement was pure insult, an affront to the feminine strength that had dragged Bridget up from the depths of Hell where Adam had stuck her. “If you want to continue speaking, tell Dirty Harry to leave. I only deal with Mr. Darcy.”

Adam stood and set his enormous hands on his hips. “Mr. Who—? Look, I’ll tell Dirty Harry to take a hike if you call off Sarah Conner. I’m not the Terminator sent back in time to harm you.”

At his full height, Adam towered over Bridget, made her five-nine stance shrink to a doll. He’d reduced her to a doll, helpless in the possession of his hands, made to dance, talk, or walk under his orders.

Heat built in her lungs. She was too independent to draw back and scuttle away. No man provoked fear in her. The worst part was, she didn’t fear Adam’s physical presence, she feared the thick, steamy aroma of testosterone he forever used to challenge her, weaken her, seduce her. The masculine aroma dripped from the pits of his arms, his thick chest, and the bulge of his biceps.

“Out of my thirty-eight years, I fucked up thirty-seven of ’em. I ain’t fucking up again.”

“Thirty-seven?” His scent kept assaulting Bridget’s knees, swirling around her, until she wobbled.

“Yeah. Thirty-seven. I can’t count the year the three of us were a family. Me. You. Kyle.”

Bridget’s resolve continued to crumble. Adam kept dusting her femininity with his husky declarations, fierce scent, and sensual stare.

She pivoted on her heel and bolted for the truck. She’d dump him off at the halfway house and go home. If he wanted to tease and torment her during their drive, he could, but she’d don her mask of hate-fueled resentment created by him.

She pushed the button on the keys, and the locked doors opened.

Purchase Links:

Publisher link:  https://www.extasybooks.com/product/product/?series_id=1534&product_id=6400

Publisher: EXtasy Books

Nice tension! Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥

Thank you for telling us about your new book! It sounds fabulous! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this intriguing read! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf!

Author Bio

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.

Author Links

Website:  https://maggieblackbird.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BlackbirdMaggie/

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Blackbird/e/B07KQP1FFG

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18176196.Maggie_Blackbird

LinkedIn:  https://bit.ly/2Ut8kbY

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/maggie-blackbird

Publisher:  https://www.extasybooks.com/maggie-blackbird/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Faith, family, Fiction, inspirational romance, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Writing

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels

 

If you’re a fan of romance, then you’ve probably heard an insult or two regarding your favorite genre. And for those who don’t often gravitate towards romance for various reasons, now is the time to listen up and take this into consideration. You might be wrong about your assumptions! 😉 So, read on and learn more here…

I’ll list some myths that I’ve heard and read before.

  1. “It’s all smut.”

    freestocks.org, Unsplash

    Uggh…this word can annoy an avid romance reader. Some might think this myth is outdated, but there are people who still believe romance novels are smut, or trashy reads.

Bodice rippers went out of style by the mid-80s. The genre, as well as authors and readers, have evolved considerably. Erotica is a different subject matter entirely. Plus, bodice rippers promote rape culture, and most romance novels nowadays don’t even touch on that topic in a romantic relationship. With good reason, of course. Both sexual partners should be willing.

‘Mommy porn’ is also a derogative term which is used by certain parties in reference to romance books. Come on, not every romance author writes Fifty Shades-esque material, and readers are certainly not just mothers. Some are single, professional women. Romance readers are intelligent, capable people just as they are, and they’re not reading ‘smut’ or even ‘fluff’. It takes a lot of effort and smarts to digest a full romance novel (historical romance is heavy on time period description) – or in the case of fantasy and sci-fi romance, lots of world-building – in one sitting, and keep coming back for more.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

And no, we don’t just skip to the good parts! 🙄

  1. “Gross! I’m a guy. Men don’t read or write romance.”

Geez…get with the times! Men like to read romance too. ♥ For God’s sake, my reviewer for this blog is a guy. He adores reading romance books! And yes, he’s also a romance writer. I’ve also met a handful of other male authors who sometimes write in the romance genre.

There’s nothing wrong at all with dudes getting into romance reads, as writers or readers. More power to them! 😀

  1. “These books are so simple. 1+1 = 2, right? It’s not that difficult to understand.”

Actually, romance stories are complicated. It takes a hell of a lot more than just throwing two unique people next to each other, and then expecting fireworks. Life is full of ups and downs, a roller coaster journey, so to speak. Why wouldn’t a romance read have the same drama and tension?

Created by bearfotos- freepik.com

Authenticity is everything. Readers won’t care about characters or a story which isn’t relatable, or read something that couldn’t feasibly occur in reality. Even if the tale has fantastical elements, we have to believe in what’s happening, and see the reason why these characters are compatible.

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

  1. “Romance books are standard, or boring! Not for me…I need something that holds my attention.”

Really? With the constant evolution of multiple themes and sub-genres of romance, we’re not likely to run out of new ideas, nor are readers liable to call it quits any time soon. It’s one of the most popular book categories for a reason! 🙂

If you like shapeshifters, there’s always paranormal romance. Who doesn’t like vampires, werewolves or witches?

Favor a good spy tale or mystery/thriller? Try romantic suspense or a romantic thriller for some heart-pounding action.

Do you crave stories that are…a tad darker? There’s a type called dark romance, and even unique themes such as mafia romance or MC (biker) romances are available.

Prefer adventure tales? Maybe fantasy romance or romantic adventure is more your style.

You could be a science fiction fan, but might be willing to try something with a romantic storyline. As you know, many of the most popular sci-fi films usually have a romance angle to appeal to audiences. Why not go for science fiction romance, dystopian romance or even a good time travel tale?

 

Maybe you like stories about war veterans. Well, we have military romance

In other words, this genre has sooooo many options! ♥

  1. “I don’t believe in love at first sight. I can’t get into romance novels.”

Even as someone who has read tons of romance novels in some capacity since the age of thirteen, I can’t say I go for love at first sight either. However, I do believe that two people can connect right away. Lust also happens pretty fast too, but that’s beside the point. With these two facts, I know it still takes time to build a good relationship. I’ve read plenty of novels that don’t fall into the trap of the love at first sight ideal. I think it’s why the ‘Happy for Now’ ending works so well; most novelists get that this is more realistic on some level. I think that a lot of writers these days are doing their best to show that it’s not really love at first sight – rather it’s more about chemistry and an instant connection evolving quickly into something substantial. And this isn’t unheard of in real life.

But we don’t have 1,000 pages to explain the whole courtship/dating period; therefore it falls on the writer to try to make it a believable story in a short amount of time.

As a writer of romance as well, with twenty-four published books and 125+ works-in-progress, I usually do my best to avoid the idea of immediate love. Chemistry is easy, though.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

It’s everything else that complicates the story. Even in my shorter romantic fiction, I try to explain that enough time – even though I don’t always go into the normal life details – has passed for these two people to actually develop feelings.

With The Missing Piece, a story that was part of a holiday romance anthology and was then made into a single ebook (new adult romance), I was careful to simply show the stirrings of romantic interest in such a short time.

For me, I see insta-love as a notion that often works well for supernatural creatures in fiction, simply because their primal, possessive instincts are winning out over logic. This can merge into affection rather quickly because all of their senses are more heightened than usual. Everything is so vivid that it must be love.

  1. “Romance novels are too sexy. I can’t handle all that heat.”

So steam isn’t for you. We totally respect your preferences! If you find that most romance reads are rife with heated or even graphic content, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Try inspirational romance. Have you seen Amish romance in bookstores? Yeah, that’s one type, among so many others.

But let’s say you’re open to looking outside spiritual reads. Also available on the market are clean romance and sweet romance. Plus, cozy mysteries typically lack sexual content, and amid all the other events in the books, there’s sometimes a romance angle.

In any case, the authors of these clean reads subscribe to the notion of a sweet romance, or at least closed door romance. We’re all adults here, right? But at least if sexual content bothers you in any fashion, you can rest assured that with these types of books, it usually won’t go beyond kissing. And even if it does, what happens is implied and never vividly described. Cut to the next scene!

Anyway, if you believe you can’t read romance because it’s just too hot for your taste, that no longer has to be the case.

  1. “Please…romance novels aren’t even real fiction!”

Hmm…ouch. 😥 Still, this myth is just wrong.

Let’s look at the basic formula for fiction.

The character is introduced. There is some action happening, a type of conflict. Something prevents him from getting what he really wants (usually the antagonist, which can be a person, place, thing, or even a concept). By the end of the story, this character must change in some capacity, internally or externally. The tale reaches its conclusion, however satisfying – or unsatisfying – it may be for readers.

These are the principles of fiction, of course. And you have interactions with secondary characters, dialogue and tension that help shape the story and your idea of who this person is. There’s also the climax of the tale, that pivotal movement when things get really tense for the character – the reader too – and he or she is close to losing everything. But I digress.

Every romance meets the requirements of fiction as well. It’s a lot more than two people being brought together like magnets. Chemistry is just a small part of it. The question becomes…how do we realistically connect these individuals? They have to fit somehow.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Numerous elements go into making that happen. There’s a specific plot, as well as subplots. The character must want something, have a goal in mind. The story isn’t always just about romance, but also the way characters come to believe new truths about themselves. They’re not only capable of love. Maybe the main character wants a promotion. But to do that, she’ll have to step outside her comfort zone to impress her boss. In any case, an HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (Happy for Now) is only possible if the character reaches the proper mindset to have a real romantic relationship. Without that, it’s just attraction – then it becomes erotica alone, which is something else altogether.

For example, being with an emotionally unavailable person is like hitting your head against the wall. In the end, it’s just pointless. For this type of relationship to qualify as a real romance, the characters must change – events might happen in their lives to help adjust their worldview – and they can reach a certain level of happiness. But it’s going to be a hard journey to get there. Romance stories aren’t all hearts, flowers, and butterflies.

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

True fiction is housed in every romance tale. The character still goes through a range of emotions to achieve what he/she wants. As aforementioned, often there is an antagonist preventing the couple from being together, whether it’s a person, a misconceived notion, or another external force that keeps them apart.

Sometimes it’s more than one antagonist. It’s never easy right away. Eventually, the characters must find a way around the barrier. Every relationship in real life takes effort, and these stories are no different.

Oh, wait!

Pixabay, pexels.com

The character wanted something, had a goal in mind. To reach that aspiration, he took action, and then the events that occurred reshaped his way of thinking. But at least he found what he was looking for. And he changed on some level, right? Yep…sounds like fiction to me! 😉

  1. “These books are useless drivel, and they create unrealistic expectations for people.”

To me, that sounds like it’s coming from someone who is afraid of the power of genuine emotion. But, let’s explore the aforesaid theory.

Relationships are hard work, and those in romance novels take just as much effort. If a writer is doing his or her job correctly, this will come out on the page.

Unrealistic? Hmm…if anything, I think the romance reader will see reality for what it is. No, finding happiness is never easy, but it’s worth the journey.

To illustrate this point, I’ll reference the trope often seen in historical romances…Marrying for Convenience versus Marrying for Love.

The truth is that even modern readers understand the benefits of a marriage of convenience. With financial and social stability, it’s a match that makes sense. But more often than not, we’ll root for the opposite outcome.

Why? Are we silly dreamers?

Not at all. It’s just that deep down, we all want to be happy. This is in our nature as human beings. We’re conditioned to know that events should play out a certain way – getting married and having kids is usually expected – but our instincts tell us there’s more to the story. Of course, those eventualities don’t work for every person. Still, why wouldn’t we want happiness for the characters we’ve come to care about?

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

So, is it unrealistic to crave love? I don’t think so. At least in my opinion, romance novels have the power to teach us what we want in life. And who couldn’t use a little more self-awareness? I know I’d rather be in a relationship that works well, which helps me evolve as a person, rather than one that might look okay on paper, yet will only serve to hurt me in the long run.

Plenty of people are unhappy because they made the wrong choices. Maybe they feel trapped, but in the end, they have to figure a way out on their own. Some will settle, others won’t. That’s the thing about life, though. If you make a mistake, the best you can do is try to repair it. And if that’s not possible, you get creative and find a new route to achieve your goal.

Being logical is one way of thinking. Listening to your heart, really opening yourself up to what will make you happy? That takes courage.

I believe romance novels can teach us a lot about ourselves, and help us to understand the motivations of other people too.

Is this realistic? Probably not. But it can prevent someone from making a rash decision, to use their heart and instincts to discover what they want, and determine the best solution for them. How admirable, right? Outsiders can judge all they want, and it won’t matter as long as that person is satisfied with what they’ve chosen.

At any rate, romance novels are lot more complex than they may seem at first glance. Reading these books can offer many benefits – numerous insights and a source of entertainment, just to name a couple! If you’re interested in learning more, you can view a full list of sub-genres and romance tropes below.

https://marielavender.blogspot.com/2016/03/understanding-romance-genre-by-marie-lavender-plus-giveaway.html

https://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/for-writers/romance-tropes/

I hope I’ve reaffirmed some aspects for loyal fans, and offered advice worth considering for people who are new to the romance genre. If you know of anyone who still believes these myths are valid, please refer them to this article. 😉

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Pixabay, Pexels.com

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Why YOU Should Read at Least One Romance Novel in Your Lifetime: a guest post by Lady Silver

Why YOU Should Read at Least One Romance Novel in Your Lifetime

 

When people hear the term ‘romance novel’, usually they think of some cheesy story where true love triumphs at the end and it fulfills someone’s secret desires.

Created by Freepik

However, there is so much more to these stories than just “sappiness” and “smuttiness.” They deal with hard truths about the world and give those who are struggling to find the good in humanity hope. In fact, everyone should read a romance novel at least once in their lifetime because of the following reasons.

  1. Life Lessons

During the course of certain romances, characters have to undergo character development so that they can appreciate the love that they have found. On the way, they learn certain life lessons that can be applied to the real world. An example is in The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter.

The main character has to deal with sexual abuse that caused him to feel worthless and “less-than.” On the way to recovery, he realizes that what happened to him isn’t his fault and that it’s okay to cry over the wrongs done to him. Even the female character has to overcome her own forms of abuse and by the end, they are stronger as individuals and as a couple.

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

There are other lessons that can be taught through these novels such as being compassionate, being loyal, never giving up, et cetera; all of which can be applied to the real-world.

  1. Relationship Advice

Obviously, there will be some relationship drama in a romance novel. However, the journey through the relationships can provide insight into real-life dramas. For example, if the main character finds out that they have a child by another woman in the midst of his current relationship (which happens in almost all of Pippa Grant’s books), then the story deals with how the love interest adapts to becoming a step-parent and how the main character adapts to becoming an actual parent. This scenario is played out countless times throughout the media and in real-life, so it’s good to see a book tackle how to approach this situation.

Guillaume de Germain, Unsplash

Also, everyday struggles like not knowing how to act in front of in-laws and sharing space are all struggles anyone in a serious relationship will deal with, and all are tackled within romance novels.

  1. Comic Relief

Some romance novels have an underlying humor to them. Just like movie goers flock to the cinema in order to see the new Kevin Hart movie, readers love romance novels for their comedy. Humor can bring a happy release at the end of a hard day, joy to a horrible situation, and can lighten a dark mood.

Vanessa Serpas, Unsplash

Romance novels have a lot of funny lines, such as, “I guess I’m the sole monolinguist. Which either means I know a single language, or I’m committed to eating one box” (The Master by Kresley Cole).

They also have hilarious situations like a Greek god popping out of a book naked to the surprise of a modern-day Louisiana woman (Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon).

Either way, the comedic scenarios in these books help lighten their reader’s day. Also, they’re just plain entertaining.

  1. Ideas

Of course, there are plenty of steamy scenes within romance novels, and I would be lying if I said that readers just read them for the above reasons. There is satisfaction in reading a good sensual scene between fictional characters. Sometimes, it’s not the “sex” that makes these scenes enjoyable but the tension between the two that readers love. Not only does it give fuel to fantasies, it also gives ideas for real-life partners who want to “spice it up” in the bedroom. There’s a reason why Fifty Shades of Grey did so well, and it isn’t the plot.

Stokpic, pexels.com

Sure, these scenes bring in readers, but they aren’t the only reason for reading.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

Romance novels give real-world advice on how to handle love and life while still being entertaining and wholesome.

Created by Freepik

Too right!

Thank you, Lady Silver, for offering some great suggestions to non-romance readers, and reaffirming the fascination for loyal fans! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

I am an anonymous blogger who explores how the romance genre impacts the real world while also deconstructing all elements of romance.

Links

Website/Blog:  www.ladysilverfeather.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LadySilver9

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103970957583905254546

 

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

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

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