Category Archives: Guest Writer

A Character Interview with Trini from JASON’S AWAKENING plus a conversation with author Remy Marie!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Linda Diane Wattley’s character back on October 24th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Remy Marie, the author of Jason’s Awakening, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Trini Davos, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Remy in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Trini!

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

Character Trini Davos:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Trini:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Trini:  Right now I work in the Meekins sheriff’s department. I am a deputy sheriff; however, before I moved to Meekins I worked in retail, selling video games and comics at a store call Geek Haven.

Marie:  Cool!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Trini:  It’s a typical American family. I’m an only child, so it was always the three of us. My mom is very supportive of my lifestyle, however my father, not too much. While he’s not supportive of my life choices, I know he loves me. It comes with the territory, I guess. I miss them, though. Since my change, we’ve been forbidden to visit anyone in our past lives to keep the werewolf secret.

Marie:  Oh, no! How unfortunate! 😦

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?

Trini:  I grew up in a trailer park. My parents still live in the same double-wide that I grew up in.

Marie:  All right.

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

Trini:  I am huge geek, like my friends Mohinder and Jason. Therefore, I love playing video games, watching movies, and reading comics and drawing my own heroes. Jason and I once had an idea to start our own comic book. I would do the drawing, while he would write it. We couldn’t come up with anything original, but it was fun just to hang out with him. I’m a huge fan of punk rock as well. If you looked on my Ipod right now, it would contain Fall Out Boy, Green Day, and Blink 182.

Marie:  Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Trini:  That’s a good question. Before everything that happened to me, I was unsure. I was with a deadbeat boyfriend working a retail job that was going nowhere. However, after my transformation, I feel like I can do anything now. You know? I see myself settling down. I wouldn’t mind having kids, but also I wouldn’t mind becoming sheriff of Meekins. I sort of like being a cop.

Marie:  (Nods.) Well, I think you can do whatever you put your mind to…

Let’s try another question.

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

Trini:  I want to be able to protect the ones I love. I never want to see one of my friends or a loved one die again. What’s stopping me? Well, it’s harder to do than explained. If I could be everywhere, I could. Even I’m not fast enough for that. Perhaps it’s a job for Superman or the Flash, depending on who I think is faster.

Marie: It’s understandable to want to keep bad things from happening. I guess the reality is we just can’t. 😦

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Trini:  I would have to say Tobey Maguire from the first Spiderman. However, my first kiss was with Ben Thomas, in sixth grade underneath the bleachers.

Marie: Aww. So sweet. I remember those young crushes. ♥

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Trini:  I would have to say that night in the woods, when we were attacked by the werewolf in white. I’ve never been so afraid before. We lost a good friend that night.

Marie:  Oh no! 😦 I’m so sorry. That must’ve been difficult.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Trini 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?

Trini:  As a kid I always wanted to be an astronaut; it was a dream of mine to travel through space and discover planets and such. My dad was a huge Trekkie, so naturally, I liked Star Trek as well. That is where the dream originated. However, over time, I realized that to be an astronaut you have to learn multiple levels of science and math. Something that I’m terrible at. So that dream was dead. After high school, I started working at Geek Haven, and my dreams sort of disappeared until I met Jason. Jason and Mohinder got me out of that funk, made me see past my current life, towards the future.

Marie:  Nice! So, who is your role model, Trini?

Trini:  Jason Barton; he’s the love of my life, and I thank God that I’ve found him. However, he’s not only that. He’s the sweetest person you could ever meet. His compassion for others is one I strive to copy each and every day.

Marie: How admirable!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Trini:  I would have to say Rose, but that’s a long story I don’t feel like getting into.

Marie:  All right.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Trini:  I would love for everyone to find their happiness. That includes Greg when he gets in his moods, Jennifer and Mohinder when they have their child, and Jason and me as we begin our new life together.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think we all want our loved ones to be content in life…

So, tell me something, Trini. What is your greatest fear?

Trini:  That’s easy. Death. I know it sounds taboo, for someone who can now live up to four hundred years, but my life is suddenly so violent. Before the transformation, I’ve rarely ever got in a fight. Now it’s seems like every month, there’s a new deadly challenge that threatens the people that I love and me.

Marie: A lot of people fear death. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The unknown is often scary. And, of course, for your situation, it increases tenfold. I understand that it must be extremely difficult to feel so uncertain about life.

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Trini. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Remy Marie on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Remy!

Author Remy Marie:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Trini Davos. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Remy:  When you first get a look at Trini Davos, you will typecast her as a goth/geek. However, there’s a lot more to Trini. Each tattoo she has tells a story. For instance, her Powerpuff girls tattoo, on her left arm, is the first tattoo she’s ever gotten. She’s a huge geek who isn’t afraid to talk comics or superheroes with anyone. Her favorite video game is Street Fighter vs. Marvel, and she was ranked in top 100 in the game online. She loves to listen to punk rock, and has a strong sense of adventure. If you ever dared Trini to do something, she would try it without thinking of the consequences.

Marie:  Nice!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Remy:  That’s easy. It’s her bravery. Trini will jump in a burning building without thinking for one of her friends.

Marie:  Wow! Such loyalty…

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Remy:  I would have to say her trust in people. When Trini first meets someone, they instantly become friends, due to Trini’s friendly nature. However, Trini is often blindsided by the people she trusts, and she takes it hard on herself.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Trini’s favorite foods?

Remy:  Trini is a fan of anything with Nutella on it. A typical breakfast for her is a banana covered with Nutella, along with toast covered in Nutella.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I am a chocaholic too!

How about another question?

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

Remy:  I think the one quality that Trini is unaware of is her loyalty. If you’re friends with Trini, she will have your back no matter what. She will take a punch and throw a punch for any one of her friends in a heartbeat.

Marie:  That’s commendable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Remy:  I think many people would like Trini. She was one of my favorite characters to write. She was easy to write due to how many layers she has in her character.

Marie: Great!

Now that we have a real taste of Trini, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Jason’s Awakening?

Remy:  Honestly, it started off as a superhero novel. The three characters, Jason, Trini, and Mohinder were all still there, but the entire plot was different. My wife gave me the idea, of making it a paranormal romance novel instead. So, I rewrote the entire plot and came up with other details as I wrote it.

Marie:  Intriguing!

Let’s try something else.

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

Remy:  I would say it’s a little of both.  Jason’s Awakening was a mixture of plotting and just writing. I feel like that’s a perfect combination. I like to let the story flow without having a structured outline. When I’m writing the rough draft, sometimes what I write there is better material I came up with than when I outline it.

Marie:  (Smiles.) I know what you mean…sometimes I think the characters are directing the story more than I am.

How about another question?

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

Remy:  I would say getting the funds to have it professionally edited and beta read was a challenge. As an indie author, you have to pay for all of it. It’s even worse, when it’s your debut novel, and you don’t have a name for yourself. It seems like I spend more time marketing my book than actually writing it.

Marie:  (Groans.) Oh, me too!

Remy:  What I would do differently is have more beta readers. I only had three for this book, and at the time, I thought it was enough, however some reviews have been blunt on my mistakes and I wish I would have caught them before I published. With more beta readers, I think we could’ve made a good book amazing.

Marie:  Right! The editing stage is quite a challenge. 

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Jason’s Awakening appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this paranormal romance by Remy Marie, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Jason’s Awakening:

Jason Barton isn’t your typical hero. In fact, his small frame, high IQ, and deep compassion for others keeps him in the friend zone most of the time. But despite his anti-hero traits, he still has a one-track mind when it comes to women – mainly the one who has been by his side for the last five years.

Trini Davos is the polar opposite of Jason. She’s a brave, Goth geek, who never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But a brazen attack by a group of rogue werewolves changes everything for her and her long-time friend. They narrowly escape death only to discover that wild beasts are the least of their troubles. An unlikely romance may prove to be the biggest challenge of all for them.

Jason’s Awakening offers a fresh take on the paranormal romance genre. Filled with non-stop action, steamy romance, and twists no one will see coming, this book will keep the reader hooked from start to finish.

Remy is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Gradually, the couple neared a lingerie boutique. Jason couldn’t help but to look inside as he saw the mannequin bust of women displaying the latest lingerie style. There was a particular underwear brand that caught Jason’s attention. It was a pink lace thong with a strappy front and cheeky back. The longer Jason stared, the more he imagined Trini wearing the same article of clothing. Trini suddenly broke Jason’s attention by squeezing his hand.

“You know I have that one. It’s in black,” she added with a devilish grin.

“Wait, a what?” Jason muttered as he was awkwardly awakened from his sexual fantasy.

“I have that style in black,” Trini repeated. “I bought it two weeks ago when it went on sale. It’s a nice fit. I got this month’s catalog yesterday too. Did you want to go inside with me to see their new styles?”

“Are you not hungry?” Jason asked nervously.

“Food can wait. I just got paid this week. Come on, it would be fun. We are just going to take a quick look.” Trini proceeded to drag Jason into the store.

There were countless women in the boutique. There were some men. Most looked annoyed as they watched their partners search for the latest deals. Jason was the opposite. All of his life, he had always walked past this store and not ever gone in, he never had a reason to; today changed that reason.

Trini dragged Jason to the new arrivals section of the store as Trini browsed the new undergarment line. She muttered to herself as she brought up each underwear style and held it up to the light. She finally decided on a black satin push up bra laced with gold trimming and a golden laced black thong.

“What do you think about this?” Trini asked as she placed the bra and underwear over the clothing she had on.

Jason felt his heartbeat quicken. The longer he stared at the outfit, the more he felt his sexual desire grow for Trini. Jason finally managed to stutter, “It looks good, and do you like it?”

“I do, but you can never be too sure about these things. Come with me,” Trini said as she grabbed hold of Jason’s arm. She brought him to the fitting room location where a store clerk stood waiting.

“Men are not allowed in the dressing room,” the store clerk barked. She was an average size woman. She looked like she had already worked two full shifts as her hair was lazily placed into a ponytail.

“Actually, I wanted to come over and say that there is a woman over there who said she needed your help,” Trini said as she pointed to an older lady at the corner of the store.

“Why didn’t she come and ask for help directly from me then?”

“I don’t know? Listen, I work in retail. I know how customers are. Total bitches. I’m just trying to help you get a sale for the commission.”

A smile appeared on the woman’s face. “I do need the extra money, thanks for looking out,” she replied as she left her post.

Trini smiled darkly as she watched the store clerk approached the older lady.

“Okay, the coast is clear. Come on,” Trini said as she dragged Jason into the dressing room.

“Trini, we shouldn’t, what if we get caught,” Jason replied, worried.

“Oh, come on, you wuss. Where is your sense of adventure?” She dragged Jason into an open dressing room and closed the door right after they entered. She gave a flirtatious smile to Jason. “All right, now turn around.”

“Wait, what about Kyle?”

“It’s cool; you’re not seeing me naked or anything. It’s like seeing me in a two-piece. You’ve already seen that before. We’ve known each other for five years. That’s five years of seeing me in a bikini, right?”

“I guess.”

“You see? Nothing to worry about, now turn,” Trini commanded as she grabbed Jason’s shoulders and turned him in the opposite direction. Jason stared at the white wall as he waited for Trini to change. Jason began to stare at the sloppy graffiti written on the wall when he started to notice Trini’s articles of clothing being thrown to the ground. First, it was her tank top, followed by her bra.

She’s topless right now, Jason thought as he felt the sexual urge grow deep within him. Her dark blue skirt and underwear were discarded next. Jason felt his blood pump faster as he realized she was completely nude behind him.  Jason felt his manhood grow stiff as he fantasied about turning around and seeing what Trini’s body looked like at the moment. What I would give to see her now. Jason heard shuffling and the sound of Trini trying on the undergarments.

“All right, you can turn around now. What do you think?” Trini asked as she placed her hands on her hips, modeling the outfit.

Jason had to clench down on his teeth to keep his mouth from dropping. His throat grew dry as he looked at her desirable figure. Jason looked at every curve of her body as his eyes scanned her breasts being pushed up by her bra. Her pale bosoms looked twice as large in her satin bra. His glance made his way down to her stomach. Jason noticed she was trembling as he looked at her flat stomach. Her belly button was pierced with a black U shaped piercing.

I always liked that piercing. He finally made it to her thong, which displayed her toned shaped thighs. She slowly turned around and showed the cheeky backside of the thong. Her pale legs trembled with anticipation, as Jason inspected her. He ogled her sculptured buttock as it gently curved into a muscular shape. The thong fit her body perfectly as it showed a healthy amount of skin but still kept the mystery.

God, she looks sexy, Jason thought as he fought the temptation to touch her.

“So?” Trini asked once more.

“Ugh, you look amazing, or as Mohinder would say smashing,” Jason replied, using Mohinder’s British accent. Trini let out a small laugh at Jason’s comments. “It suits you. I think you should get it.”

“Thanks, I like it too, but I think I’m going to wait till it goes on sale. Are you ready to head out?”

A part of me wants to stay and watch her model more, but I have broken so many friend codes today. Slowly, Jason nodded in agreement.

“Let’s go and get some dinner,” Jason suggested.

“Yeah, let’s go.” Trini gave an irresistible grin to Jason as she used her finger to tell him to turn around. Once Trini was done changing, she placed the undergarments back on a return hanger and left the dressing room. As they left the store, the store clerk gave the couple a dirty look as she realized that she was duped in Trini’s scheme. The couple snickered as they left the store together.

After passing a few more stores, they were at their final destination. G&Fs was a large chain restaurant with a large arcade section in the restaurant as well. Jason loved this restaurant but didn’t eat there often because of how expensive it was.

Mohinder’s twenty dollars should help with the cost, though, Jason thought as he walked inside with Trini. After greeting the hostess, she led Trini and Jason to their table. Once they sat down, she smiled and placed the menus on the wooden table.

“Your server should be with you soon.” She smiled at the couple as she walked away.

“Thank you,” Jason replied as he opened his menu. “What did you want to get?” Jason asked Trini as he searched the menu.

“I like their beer and play special. You know the one where you pick two appetizers and get a bucket of beer and fifty tokens for games. Did you want to do that?”

“Yeah, that sounds amazing,” Jason replied.

“Great, I was thinking of getting the mozzarella sticks.”

“Nice choice as usual. Let’s add chicken spring rolls.”

“Yum, sounds good to me,” Trini responded. When the waiter arrived, Jason placed the order while Trini checked her phone for messages. Once he was done ordering, Jason placed his attention back to Trini.

“Everything okay?” Jason asked

“Yeah, it’s just Kyle is a literal asshole. I swear the man can’t function without any help.” Jason nodded in response and noticed the server returned with the bucket of beers.

“Well, here comes something to put out those flames.” A wide smile appeared on Trini’s face as she grabbed a beer. She managed to chug half a bottle before she placed the bottle back on the table.

“I fucking hate working retail.”

“Why is that?” Jason asked as he took a sip of his beer.

“It’s just too many damn policies to start with. Plus, people are plain rude. They treat you like shit. I’m proud of Mohinder and you, though. It sounds like you guys are kicking ass in school. Congrats on finishing another semester,” Trini said as she held out her beer bottle for Jason to cheers.

“Thanks,” Jason replied as he clashed the beer bottle with Trini’s and took a long swig. Once Jason was done, he placed a beer bottle on the table. “Why not go to school again? You know, for instance, you could go to community college.”

Trini created a fake laugh at Jason comments. “Unlike you, I’m not a genius. I don’t belong in college. I barely passed high school. I don’t really have any special skills. That’s why I’m stuck at some no-name job in the mall,” Trini replied as she finished off her first beer. She reached for a new beer from the ice bucket and swished down a third of the bottle.

“Easy with those. You realize you’re driving back, right?”

Trini raised her eyebrows at Jason.

“I’m fine once I get some food in me, mom,” Trini snapped back in an unusual tone. Judging by the tone, Jason knew not to push the issue further.  The couple was silent until the food finally arrived and Jason grabbed a small plate and placed two mozzarella sticks on it along with one chicken spring roll. Jason took a bite of the hot spring roll and tasted the savory cabbage as he washed it down with his beer.

“Listen, Jason, I’m sorry for snapping at you. I know I need to work on that.”

“It’s okay, we all screw up sometimes.”

Trini nodded as she dipped her cheese stick into her marinara sauce. The couple ate in silence until the two appetizer baskets were empty. “Hey, I know that were supposed to play some arcade games after this, but did you want to get a rain check? We can always come back later.”

“Yeah, sure, I’ll pay for this,” Jason signaled the waiter to pay for their meal.

“Are you sure?” Trini asked.

“Yeah, I got it. I had a great time with you today. You looked great in that lingerie set.”

A grateful smile parted her lips. “I had a great time with you too.” Trini reached across the table and rubbed Jason’s hand. She passionately looked into Jason’s eyes. “I’m sorry I ruined the moment. I didn’t mean to be an asshole. I think Kyle is starting to rub off on me.”

“It’s fine, like I said I had a good time,” Jason said as he took the bill from the waiter. He frowned as he looked at the bill.

“What’s the damage?” Trini asked.

“It’s not too bad. I got it,” Jason lied to Trini as he dug in his pants for change. This is going to set me back for a week, Jason thought as he laid two twenty dollar bills on the check.

“Are you ready to go?” Jason asked.

“Yep, lead the way,” Trini replied.

A half-hour later, Trini and Jason arrived outside of Jason’s apartment complex. Trini kept the engine running as she looked at Jason with a smile. She reached across the vehicle and rubbed Jason’s knee and looked passionately into his brown eyes. Her lips quivered as she gave a flirtatious smile to Jason.

“Listen, I had a great time. We should really consider doing this again. You know, just the two of us,” Trini said as her upper chest clenched forward as she seductively looked at Jason.

Jason gave Trini a strange look. Does she want me to kiss her? Is this the moment that everyone talks about? Jason felt himself moving forward towards Trini’s lips and noticed that Trini was inching closer to him as well. Jason placed his hand on the side of Trini’s face and felt her body slightly tremble from his touch. She let out a soft moan as she embraced his hand on her face. Jason continued to lean towards Trini until he stopped suddenly.

Wait a minute, she has a boyfriend. Don’t be stupid. Kyle may be an ass, but I don’t want to be the guy to cheat on him, Jason contemplated. Jason rejected his movements and reached for the door handle instead. As the door handle unhatched, Trini’s face showed confusion.

“Trini, I had a good time with you. I’ll be back to pick you up around eleven,” Jason blurted out as he hopped out of the car.

Trini shook her head in a negative motion as Jason got out of the car. “Yeah, whatever. I’ll see you at eleven,” Trini said, slightly depressed as Jason closed her car door.

Jason watched as Trini’s car backed out of the parking spot and zoom away.

“What have I done?” Jason whispered as he watched her taillights disappear into the distance.

Wow! Love the sexy tension. ♥♥♥ Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B077SFKGQL

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jasons-awakening-remy-marie/1127616332?ean=9781981472369

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Jasons-Awakening/Remy-Marie/9781981472369?id=7157917489570

IndieBound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781981472369

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

About Remy Marie

Remy Marie is a paranormal and urban fantasy author who loves to write about charming heroes and brave heroines. His passion for creating stories and world building originates from him creating fantasy realms with his toys when he was five years old. While writing never came naturally for Remy, he continued to strengthen his craft, by constantly reading and writing. If he is not writing or reading, he is usually watching TV with his supportive wife, aggressively cheering for his college and professional sports teams, playing video games, or crunching numbers at his daytime job.

Book:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Remy Marie, here are some author links:

Website/Blog:  https://manlymanromance.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/remymarieauthor

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Remy-Marie/e/B077YL6734/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17373475.Remy_Marie

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103932048666368939790

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

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Trini, a female character from Jason’s Awakening, and Remy Marie, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

Tips on Getting A Romantic Partner A Gift for Valentine’s Day: a guest post by Dating Connections

3 Tips on Getting A Romantic Partner A Gift for Valentine’s Day

 

Picking the right gift for your partner can be rather tricky, regardless of whether you date a cowboy, a biker, or someone else entirely, while things get additionally complicated if you’re in a relationship for quite some time and therefore lack original ideas.

PIX1861, Pixabay

They say it gets easier as time goes by, but we have to be completely honest here and tell you this is nothing but a vicious lie. Moreover, people actually want to do their best once they get to know their romantic partners well, and thus tend to get overwhelmed with thinking because they feel like nothing is good enough.

This is kind of logical if you sit down to think about it. We bet you can probably recall being afraid more than once that your choice of a gift would disappoint your partner. All because kindred spirits aren’t supposed to make gift-picking mistakes, right? And this further led you to spend crazy amounts of money and other painstaking strategies which, sadly, didn’t bring desired results.

Created by Peoplecreations – Freepik.com

But, what if we told you there’s an easy way to pick a gift for Valentine’s Day and that all you have to do is keep reading the following paragraphs? Moreover, the tips we’re about to share with you are both unisex and universal so we warmly advise you to stay tuned to find out more!

Tip #1 – Consider Their Likes & Interests

If you’ve been dating him/her for some time or the two of you are already living together, chances are you probably know their favorite TV shows, movies, comic book characters, and video games, which should significantly facilitate your gift-picking quest.

Created by Freepik

On the other hand, there are literally thousands of online shops selling various geeky-oriented merch and they are usually catering to the needs of both male and female audiences. And if you’re pretty much convinced that your bae isn’t a type of person who gets entranced at the very sight of flowers or a romantic poetry book, but wants a Thor action figure instead, we warmly suggest you stick with this option. On the other hand, you can still complement one such gift with a red rose or a box of chocolates to give it a romantic vibe and make it a bit festive.

Tip #2 – Be Inventive Without Keeping Your Brain Too Busy

That’s right. Nowadays, there are many online sellers and shops that specialize in original gifts that are the embodiment of creativity and more importantly – their sole purpose is to be there for you in the times of crisis, which can save you from a lot of pain indeed. Moreover, opting for a kind of a gift that combines authenticity, romance and humor is our warm recommendation for everyone seeking out a well-balanced Valentine’s Day gift for their significant other. These come in a range from fondue sets for two to Kinky Truth or Dare adult games but the options are basically countless nowadays, and it just takes a couple of hours of browsing online.

Tip #3 – Relaxation Gifts Are Always A Win-Win

We all have crazy long working hours these days, so going with a spa coupon or something similar can be a great gift for your partner, regardless of their gender.

Created by Javi_indy – Freepik.com

Massages are also legit, but you can be inventive as well and devise some fun coupons that will include some non-standard – at home – services. The great thing about these is that you don’t have to be skilled with Photoshop, as you can always find some interesting free templates for your coupons, come up with some fun text, then print it and voila! Free cheat tip: Pinterest is basically full of fun DIY massage coupons so go ahead and feel free to borrow some you find the most appropriate.

Ha…nice! These are some cool tips for figuring out what to get the people we love for the upcoming holiday.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

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

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Exclusive Interview with author Nermin Bezmen, plus a look at historical romance, KURT SEYT & SHURA!

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our first 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 the talented author of bestselling novel (also optioned into a television series), Kurt Seyt & Shura. Please join me in welcoming Nermin Bezmen to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Nermin Bezmen:  Hi, Marie! Lovely to meet you.

Marie:  It’s such a pleasure to see 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 any other occupations? Do you believe you’re any good at them? Do you like what you do?

Nermin:  I am an author. I believe I am good at what I am doing, and I do not only like but love writing.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😉

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Nermin:  My family is very loving, kind, considerate and close-knit but everybody with a space of his/her own. We are all very artistic and all have free minds and free souls.

Both my daughter and son left their highly paid businesses to pursue their artistic dreams, and I am so proud of them for they have chosen to do what they love most and not what they earn more from. Earning your money from what you love to do as a hobby is a great happiness, even if it does not pay like the corporate life. I have three sweet grandchildren who are all into art one way or another. My husband is an actor and his son is also another dreamy artist. I think I should convince my son-in-law to spare some time for his drawing abilities in which he is great, but has no time from his corporate life.

Marie:  I love that your family is so creative! As for your son-in-law, I’m guessing he does what he can.

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?

Nermin:  Due to my father’s business (he was a civil engineer), we had to move quite often, and I remember vividly every one of the places we lived in. I loved them all because they were all home for me… home where my mom and dad, then my sister were, and where there was unconditional love — always. Our home was always tidy, neat. Mom made sure everything was in order, no matter what. And she spared time to read to me every morning and night till I learned to read on my own. There were always books. Both my parents read. My grandparents read. I can still smell the delicious cakes mom freshly baked for me every afternoon when I came back from school. I can still picture her singing to my dad at our dinner table and I can hear the tango playing on the radio, and I see my dad and mom getting up from the table to dance. I can see that they are in love. They were always in love…

This is what my childhood home looked like… it looked like LOVE.

Marie:  What a perfect picture for our readers, as we’re all about romance here! ♥♥♥

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

Nermin:  I love reading, listening to music – mostly classical, painting, growing orchids, classic cars, boating, yoga.

Marie:  Wow! Such an eclectic blend of pastimes! 😀

So…what is your greatest dream?

Nermin:  My dreams never end and so there is no such thing like “the greatest dream” for me. One dream that seemed “the greatest” only a few years ago now is realized, so I have new ones on the horizon.

Now that my first novel is published here in America, I am dreaming of Kurt Seyt & Shura climbing to the top of the bestsellers list and then maybe made into a cinema movie and then maybe winning the Oscar. But as much as I work for this dream, I pray to God that I keep my mental and physical health to go on writing and seeing my family grow with love and happiness.

Marie:  Nice! There’s certainly nothing wrong with those dreams…

Kurt Seyt & Shura has such a great cover too!

 

Let’s try another question.

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

Nermin:  I am not a rigid person who goes by others’ rules. Never have been. So unless it hurts somebody or my ethics, I always choose the life I want to live and I can be the person that I want to be. Nothing stopped me, nothing stops me.  I am happy with myself. I like the person in me. This person is in great harmony with this body, this heart, this mind and soul. Although there are people I admire very much, I never envied anybody or wanted to be in someone’s place, no matter how successful or beautiful they are.

Marie:  That’s rather admirable, and refreshing to hear!

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Nermin:  LOVE itself. Since I was a little girl I remember myself wanting to be in love and be loved. I imagined myself deeply, blindly, unconditionally falling in love… so much in love that it even hurt and made me cry. There was no figure, no physical reflection of any body. It was just LOVE itself that I was after. God must have heard me well. When my first husband kissed me for the first time, all of a sudden love gained a physical appearance. After he was gone, I thought I had my share of love and never again could love or be loved. But my prayers must still be echoing that God introduced me with a new love, my second husband.

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

Wow! I’m so glad you were blessed with not just one perfect match, but two.

Let’s try something else now.

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

Nermin:  Quite a few terrible things happened to me, but nothing to call “the most terrible” because I always managed to make something positive out of them.

Marie:  How inspiring!

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Nermin 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?

Nermin:  I have always been a dreamer. There is always a dream in the niches of my grey cells. Most of the time more than one.

My first great dream was to enter and win the examination of AFS (American Field Service) scholarship. I was only seven years old then and to be eligible for AFS, you needed to be seventeen. So for ten years I went to school and studied with that dream. For ten years every night when the lights were out, I dreamed of myself giving a “farewell” speech to my family and friends on my imaginary way to America. When I reached seventeen, my dream was realized and my “farewell” speech was written already. There are so many other dreams that I had and worked hard to make each one come true. For me, dreams are like a lovely sail boat on the horizon while I am sitting on the shore. I don’t just watch it go by, I swim towards it.

Marie:  Such a nice thought! You’re truly a go-getter!  🙂

So, who is your role model, Nermin?

Nermin:  My role models are the women of my family. They are kind, elegant, passionate, loving, hard working, strong, no-nonsense women with great dignity.

My ancestors, both from my father’s and mother’s side have been refugees from different lands. They all had to leave behind once a very good life, great lands, houses and loved ones too, and had to run away on horseback or in a fisherman’s boat. And those women, without nagging, once stood beside their husbands and shared the struggle to start a whole new life from scratch, and raised their family. When some of them lost their husbands, they never bowed down to anybody to make life easier, but proudly took responsibility for their families.

When I was doing research for my novels, I could clearly see how steady they all were and how much pride they had in themselves even during the most vulnerable times.

Marie:  I agree. They all sound quite heroic!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Nermin:  I believe life is too short to pretend. I never pretend for anything. I simply exclude the people I would not like from my life, and keep and pamper those I like.

Marie:  I respect that!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Nermin:  To see the whole world in great harmony of peace and love.

Marie:  I’m with you. There’s far too much hate in the world right now… 😦

So, tell me something, Nermin. What is your greatest fear?

Nermin:  That evil people will not let this happen.

Marie: True enough. 

Readers, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective on some of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero and heroine of your story. Quite interesting characters. Can you tell us a little about them?

Nermin:  Kurt Seyt Eminof is the first son of a wealthy Crimean nobleman, a dashing first lieutenant in the Imperial Life Guard of the last Russian Czar Nicholas II. Injured on the Carpathian front and later sought by the Bolsheviks, he makes a daring escape across the Black Sea. Too proud to accept payment for the boatful of arms he hands over to the Nationalists, he faces years of struggle to make a new life in the Turkish Republic, rising from the embers of the dying Ottoman Empire. All he has is his dignity and love.

Shura  (Alexandra Julianovna Verjenskaya) is an innocent sixteen year old beauty enchanted by Tchaikovsky’s music and Moscow’s glittering lights, who falls in love with Seyt. A potential victim of the Bolsheviks due to her family’s wealth and social standing, she is determined to follow her heart and accompanies Seyt on his perilious flight over the Black Sea.

Their love is the only solace to their crushing homesickness for a land and family they will never see again, two lovers among hundreds of thousands of White Russian émigrés trying to eke out a living in occupied İstanbul.

Marie:  Fascinating!

So, what are your characters’ greatest strengths?

Nermin:

Before revolution: Seyit’s strength, besides his brave character, comes from his family, his title, wealth, education, and his military position. Shura, on the other hand, is protected by her wealthy, aristocrat family, being pampered as the youngest of her five siblings.

After revolution, they both lose all the physical and emotional touch they had with their families, motherland, wealth, titles and what strength remains is only their love and the desire to survive in a foreign country.

Marie:  All right.

And what are their greatest weaknesses?

Nermin:  His pride… Her naiveté.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of their favorite foods?

Nermin:  Karski, kievski, caviar, çibörek.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I’m not familiar with some of those! I guess I’ll have to try them sometime.

How about another question?

What’s a positive quality that your characters are unaware that he or she has?

Nermin:  Both Kurt Seyit and Shura went through so much tragedy and had to endure so many hard times, that there was not a quality left hidden in them. They had to bring out and use them all to survive.

Marie:  I see.

Will readers like or dislike these characters, and why?

Nermin:  It depends on how deeply they will read the psychology behind every action, every decision. While we are sitting in our cozy, warm rooms, cuddled up on a soft sofa it is very easy to judge the characters in the book. One should just dive into the pages and start following the characters on their pathways and feel not only love but also pain, heartache, bloodshed, atrocity, yearning, struggling that they went through and had to endure.

Marie: That’s a fine point!

Well, now that we have a real taste of Kurt Seyt and Shura, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Kurt Seyt & Shura?

Nermin:  Kurt Seyit is no stranger to me. He is my grandfather. I grew up listening to his adventures and for me, he was the Prince Charming that nobody wrote his story. My grandma kept telling me about him and his life each year with more details while I was growing up. And Shura was the most important character of that narration.

Years later, when I decided to write about my grandpa and grandma, starting with the second chapter, Shura was in my life and then I grew such a great admiration and love for this special woman that I decided this first novel would be of Kurt Seyt & Shura and then the second one of Kurt Seyt & Murka (my grandmother). I believed these two very different but great women each deserved a book with their own name on it.

Marie:  That’s awesome! I wish I had all the finer details about my grandparents lives; I might do the same.

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Nermin:  I don’t draw lines for my writing. If I am writing a true story, a true character, it has its own demands and if I am writing a fiction novel, then it’s different.

I generally start writing in my mind with a feeling of “love at first sight” for either a character, or a place, or even a dream. I immediately have the name and the first sentence of the novel that very moment. If it is going to be based on a true story, then comes the deep research, which is very challenging, not just because you keep deciphering a great puzzle but you also have to know when to stop the research and start writing. A thorough research can lead the writer to other stories, too.

Psychology of the characters is very important for me. I work on the psyche of each character like I am sewing a tailored dress made to order, one of a kind dress for them.  It is the psyche of the person, what makes him/her converse, decide, feel, love, hate the way he/she does. It is the core of the novel. After I am happy with the details, I have to start writing… If it is fiction, after the few chapters my characters, mostly my hero/heroine tells me what kind of life they want, who they want to choose as a friend or a lover, where they want to travel, et cetera. So even fiction becomes real for me.

Marie:  Nice! And I think that’s pretty normal for a writer. I know I haven’t touched the deep heart of one of my characters until I laugh or cry along with them while I’m writing a scene.

They definitely have minds of their own, for sure! 😉

So, how about another question?

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

Nermin:  It was twenty-five years ago that Kurt Seyt & Shura was published in my motherland, Turkey. After taking the book to many publishers and being put in line to be reviewed for a year, if not rejected, I was so frustrated. I had already spent four years with very painstaking research, and one more to write it. It was not only years that I put into this novel, it was my heart, soul and many tears. Seeing my disappointment, my dear late husband decided to self-publish it. And on the first week in the book stores, it was a best-seller. After that, the rest of the Kurt Seyit saga followed and many more which made it to the top of the charts.

Now, after twenty-five years, here we are. This time in the United States, and again meeting with our readers with a self-published Kurt Seyt & Shura. Funny? Yes, now it sounds funny, but again I had such heartbreaking times. Kurt Seyt & Shura, having been translated to eleven other languages and adapted into a TV series and touched the hearts of millions all over the world, still got rejection from literary agents. And, you know, in America you cannot reach a publisher if you do not have an agent. So, I decided to go ahead with self-publishing. But my wish would not have come true in such a short time with this accuracy if my darling daughter Pamira did not take the burden of preparing, coordinating, launching the book. She has done wonders and I can’t thank her enough for what she has achieved. She practically left her own business, which is photography, aside and has been dealing with publishing matters for me. And my darling son Pamir Cazım, who has done the cover designs for most of my novels with great perfectionism, now contributed his masterful skill again. The cover has to give the feeling of the interior. He made it happen so beautifully. Dear Feyza Howell’s translation was another exciting process. She is a great translator working on every detail as if she is going to write the book herself.

Create Space editors also did a great job. They worked very meticulously.

Since this was the first self-publishing for us here in the United States, we learned a lot during the process. I am sure next time it will be much easier.

I hope that I will be able to touch the hearts of American readers with Kurt Seyt & Shura like I have done in so many other countries.

Marie:  Well, I’m sure you will!

I’m a bit of hybrid, having been published by a publisher, as well as self-published several titles. It’s a juggling act either way, so I certainly feel your pain.

It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Kurt Seyt & Shura appears to be. Congratulations on your release to the U.S., Nermin!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this sweeping historical romance by Nermin Bezmen, a compelling author! :)

Here is the blurb for Kurt Seyt & Shura:

An instant bestseller since its début in 1992, Nermin Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura is a classic of contemporary Turkish literature, a sweeping romantic drama set as the splendour of imperial Russia is obliterated in the wake of the Great War.

Bezmen tells the story of two star-crossed lovers fleeing the wave of devastation wreaked by the Bolshevik Revolution, and does so with great sensitivity: one half of this couple who sought refuge in the capital of the dying Ottoman Empire was her grandfather.

​Translated into twelve languages, Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura inspired a sumptuous TV series that continues to enchant millions of viewers across the world. With the publication of this novel in English, fans can finally read the true story of this great love affair that triumphed over so much adversity, yet failed to overcome human fallibility.

​In 2012, the prestigious Turkish production company Ay Yapim offered to turn the novel into a television series. The producers pulled together an A Team of cast, crew, and director, who in turn created the acclaimed T.V. series “Kurt Seyit ve Sura”, with Nermin Bezmen’s guidance as a consultant and Ece Yorenc as script writer. The leading roles were played by the talented (and ahem, may we add also gorgeous) duo Kivanc Tatlitug and Farah Zeynep Abdullah. After its initial viewing in Turkey, the series was distributed in many countries, including the United States, where it is currently shown on Netflix. The production reached millions of viewers across the world and stole the hearts of many, creating new excitement and awe around the life story of the two lovers, about 100 years after their first kiss.

​The books in the saga include:

  • Kurt Seyt & Shura
  • Kurt Seyt & Murka
  • Mengene Gocmenleri
  • Shura Paris Years 1924-1927

Main heroes:

Kurt Seyt:

The son of a wealthy Crimean nobleman is a dashing First Lieutenant in the Imperial Life Guard. Injured on the Carpathian Front and later sought by the Bolsheviks, he makes a daring escape across the Black Sea.

​Too proud to accept payment for the boatful of arms he hands over to the Nationalists, he faces years of struggle to make a new life in the Turkish Republic rising from the embers of the dying Ottoman Empire. All he has is his dignity and love.

Shura:

The innocent beauty enchanted by Tchaikovsky’s music and Moscow’s glittering lights falls in love with Seyit at the age of sixteen. A potential victim in the sights of the Bolsheviks due to her family’s wealth and social standing, and determined to follow her heart, she accompanies her Seyt on the perilous flight over the Black Sea.

​Their love is the only solace to the crushing homesickness for a land and family they will never see again, two lovers amongst hundreds of thousands of White Russian émigrés trying to eke out a living in occupied Istanbul.

Nermin is also offering us a peek of the book!

A Night in Petrograd, 1916

Snow fell in fat, lazy flakes, an immaculate white blanket settling over the sleeping city. The carriage turning left at Alexander Nevsky Square laboriously carved a wide arc through the snow that had piled up all night, rounded a corner, and drew up to the pavement outside a three-story house.

A few snowflakes fluttered at the windowsills, stuck to the panes and frozen solid. The coachman gazed upward as instructed; a net curtain parted, and a shaft of light beamed out. A male figure wiped the glass, waved, and withdrew.

 

* * *

The young man consulted the pocket watch he’d left by the lamp on the bedside table: it was coming up to four; he still had plenty of time. Carefully, so as to avoid rousing the sleeping woman, he lifted the duvet and got back into bed. He reclined against the pillow, still holding his watch. Then, a little more determined, he flung aside the covers and got up. He drew the curtain back a little more and looked out. The moon illuminated the whiteness starting directly outside the windowpanes, sweeping unbroken over the garden, the railing, and the broad expanse of road. A world in white. Everything sparkled when the moon shone between the scudding clouds, and the world looked more splendid under this white coat.

Heavy curtains kept the world outside the windows, where it belonged. In the semidarkness, the room spoke in scents: perfume revealed a woman’s presence, and vodka testified to earlier indulgences, both mingling with the lavender emanating from the bed linens.

He turned toward the bed for a look. Amplified by the snow, the moonlight cast a bright-white light on the sleeping woman’s bare back. He recalled what the darkness sought to conceal: the deep auburn of her hair, now cascading over the pillow in waves; the groove of her spine dipping delightfully from the nape all the way to her waist and vanishing under the covers; and the right shoulder glowing in the playful light, a flawless expanse of alabaster.

Seemingly oblivious to the cold, he leaned his bare back against the window; then, grinning at the memory, he moved to the round table by the fireplace. The fruit platter, carafe, and glasses still stood where they had been left: half eaten and half drunk from. She was an impatient one, that Katya. Or was it Lydia? Whatever. The auburn beauty had excelled at entertaining him that night.

He picked up one of the half-full crystal glasses, downed it in one go, and shook his head as the alcohol stung his throat. He lit the pink opaline lamp in front of the mirror, and the soft light of gas spread into the room. Digging into the jumble of garments on the sofa, he gathered his own clothing and collected his underwear. He was moving toward the bathroom when the woman spoke sleepily.

“Why so early, darling?”

He strode toward her, still carrying his clothes. She stirred, rounded shoulders and full breasts braving the cold, her face now more distinct. Sweeping her hair up with one arm, she reached out with the other. He stared with barely disguised lust; the charming armpit thus exposed looked as arousing as the ample breasts bathed in the pink light. The sleepy gaze was not necessarily reserved for this time of night: she had proven her expertise in seduction with those large dark eyes framed by long eyelashes, eyes that spoke of the bedroom, of the pleasures of the flesh. Full lips pouting in anticipation, she waited, eyes shut, arm still outstretched. Smiling at her unrestrained behavior and ravenous appetite, he sat down on the edge of the bed. Her provocative scent mingled with the bedclothes, fragrant from passionate hours.

He yielded to the invitation of the arms wrapped around his neck. Languid eyes smoldered into his as she tugged away the bedclothes separating them to free her warm, buxom figure and snuggle up to him. She stroked his back and the muscles in his arms, pressed his head against her breasts, and presented her nipples to his lips. Effectively captured by her skillful limbs—surprising on such a petite woman—he enjoyed a lingering kiss before drawing back.

“It’s time I got ready. You might like to get up too; I’ll have you dropped off.”

She pouted with a half shrug. “Couldn’t we stay just a little longer?”

“I need to set off.”

“Where to?”

“Moscow.”

“When will you be back? Will you call upon me again?” She stirred as if to get up during this barrage, hoping to tempt him to change his mind.

All she got in response, however, was a jaunty smile and a pinch on the cheek before he walked toward the bathroom. He mused as he washed; he couldn’t remember her name—just another one-night stand. Someone he had met at a wild party where the drink had flowed like water…and they had left together. She was no petty commoner, if the splendor of her dress and jewelry was anything to go by. In all likelihood, she’d arrived on someone else’s arm—probably the man who’d paid for that splendor.

As he shaved, his thoughts strayed to the journey ahead. Best to get a move on, given he had arranged to meet the others at the station in an hour.

By the time he’d returned to the bedroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, she was already dressed. He patted his cheeks and neck with lotion from a bottle on the console. “Wouldn’t you like to take a bath?”

“I never take a bath on my own,” came the flirtatious reply.

An irrepressible grin lit up his face as he combed his hair, thinking, Her husband—or lover, whoever it was—certainly has his work cut out. He dressed, ignoring his audience, who sat on the edge of the bed to admire the view.

Muscular and fit, the young man in his early twenties carried himself with an aristocratic posture and demeanor. His moustache and floppy fringe were chestnut. A cleft chin seemed to complete his striking looks: flashing dark-blue eyes, a straight nose, and a perpetually sardonic mouth.

The redhead patted her curls back into place and sighed. Her questions were destined to remain unasked as the young man, now in full uniform and boots, strode between wardrobe and dresser, clearly lost in his own thoughts. He picked up several items from drawers, and some books went into a suitcase. She watched, astonished that he appeared to have forgotten the many wonderful hours they had shared in bed. Her wiles had failed to hook him. She leaned back with another sigh.

Taking a ring from a box by the mirror, he placed it on his finger and then put a watch in his pocket. She remembered openly admiring them last night—she adored jewelry after all, and he’d said the sapphire-and-diamond ring was a family heirloom. The enameled gold watch adorned with rubies was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II, he’d told her.

Soon they were ready to leave. A muffled clatter rose from the street. The second carriage had arrived. He picked up his coat and hat. “All right, let’s go,” he said. “I’ll have you taken home.”

He extinguished the lamp and walked to the door. She followed, surprised and not a little disconcerted at the absence of one last kiss or a plea for another meeting, as if there had been nothing between them.

The coachmen leaped down and ran over the snow. The young man turned to his guest, took her hand, and said, “Aktem will drop you off. Fare thee well, my lovely.” Her name wasn’t even on the tip of his tongue.

“Will we meet again?” she tried one last time.

“Why not?”

Happier now, she presented her cheek for a kiss, unbothered by the coachmen’s presence. Finally, gathering her courage, and with a bashful smile, she asked the one question that had plagued her all this time. “Tell me your name again?”

His merry laughter rang in the snowy street’s early morning silence. So the night had not been that memorable for either of them! Except for the ending, that is. He bowed, as if they had just met, and enunciated deliberately: “First Lieutenant Seyit Memedovich Eminof.”

 

* * *

As the two carriages drove away in opposite directions, the auburn beauty who had sweetened his night was already slipping from his mind.

Intriguing! I’m curious to find out what happens next… 🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B078T3WPNY

Kindle:  https://www.kurtseytandshura.com/product-page/kurt-seyt-shura-kindle-e-book-english

Website (international shipping for non-U.S. readers) :  https://www.kurtseytandshura.com/buy-kurt-seyt-shura-english-book

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

About Molly V. Lovell

Nermin Bezmen is an accomplished artist, art teacher, yoga instructor and broadcaster whose meticulous research into family history led to the publication of Kurt Seyt & Shura in 1992.

This fictionalized account of her grandfather’s life became an instant bestseller, and is now considered to be a masterpiece of contemporary Turkish literature to the extent that it has reached textbook status in several secondary schools and universities.

Exquisite detail distinguishes her writing as she proves that truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and that our ancestors call out to us all from the pages of history.

Her powerful character analysis and storytelling skills invite the readers to explore their own dreams, sorrows, anxieties and even fleeting fancies.

Bezmen has to date published fifteen novels, two of which are biographical, and one is a fantasy; a children’s novel, a collection of forty short stories and a book of poems. She has two children and three grandchildren and lives with her husband, actor Tolga Savacı in New Jersey and Istanbul.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the intriguing Nermin Bezmen, here are some author links:

Website:  www.kurtseytandshura.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/nbezmen1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2Ao8jjr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1259947.Nermin_Bezmen

Newsletter:  https://www.kurtseytandshura.com/sign-up

Once again, I want to thank Nermin Bezmen, the brilliant author of this fascinating novel, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here!

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Filed under Authors, Books, characters, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Historical Romance, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Singles’ Guide to Surviving This Valentine’s Day: a guest post by Dating Connections

A Singles’ Guide to Surviving This Valentine’s Day

 

Although Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a holiday of love and happiness, there are a lot of people out there who actually resent the date. Most of the people in question are actually single, which leads to being sick of all the lovey-dovey stuff that happens on the 14th of February.

Alina Cerny, Flickr

But what if we told you that you don’t have to be miserable on Valentine’s Day even if you didn’t have any luck with free singles dating sites or with hooking up with someone a week prior?

In fact, there is more than one way you can turn Valentine’s Day from a day you loathe to a fun experience that might even lead you to creating some friendships or even finding love.

1. Occupy Your Thoughts

It can be really difficult to ignore the “love is in the air” vibe that always comes with Valentine’s Day simply because it’s a greatly promoted holiday and it’s something all couples you know will talk about. Still, this is no reason for you to brood throughout the whole day, as there are other things you can do instead.

For starters, the easiest thing to do in order to not kill your mood completely on that day is to occupy your thoughts with something other than Valentine’s Day.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

You can get busy with your hobby, for example, especially if it’s a creative one.

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

Carpentry and sculpting can be of great help here.

Another solution is to cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa and dive into a good book. Before you know it, time will fly by while you get involved with the latest crime-thriller novel by a great writer.

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2. Spend Time in Good Company

It might seem like a longshot on paper, but spending time in the company of good friends can actually be a very enviable situation if luck is on your side.

Namely, hanging out with your buddies and girlfriends that aren’t already involved with the dreaded holiday can take your mind of your love situation just as effectively as any hobby. It actually might be even better than being alone, as socializing with people you like usually brings much more benefits than isolation.

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3. Meet Someone

On the other hand, we have meeting new single people. Similarly to hanging out with friends, this can be a great way to make you involved with something else rather than dwelling on your romantic drought. But wait – there’s more!

Another (possibly more important) benefit of hanging out with other singles on Valentine’s Day lies in the chance of actually meeting someone you can spend the next February 14th with. You’re all singles there, you all dislike Valentine’s Day and none of you have anything better to do on that day – why not try to meet someone new (and single) who might just be your cup of tea and who might make you stop loathing Valentine’s Day?

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Definitely some food for thought here. These are great tips for taking our thoughts away from the dreaded romantic holiday, and possibly keeping our minds open to the idea of meeting someone new.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

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

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Singles, Valentine's

You Complete Me?: a guest post by romance author Bry Ann

You Complete Me?

by Bry Ann

 

From as long as I can remember I have been the most independent person I know. I always believed I never needed anyone. While most girls dreamed of finding Prince Charming, I dreamed of starting my own company. While most girls were straightening their hair, I was diving into my text books so I could learn all I could to be successful. It was never about riches or success in the way most people are thinking. For me it was about building the life I wanted. Working for myself.

Then I don’t know what happened. I started writing. I became fascinated with relationships and how life struggles affected them. I softened up. I read more and more romance novels. One thing that has always stood out to me is the ‘you complete me’ concept in a lot of books. I get it. I really do, but it’s never been my cup of tea. Everything I’ve written and felt has been more along the lines of ‘you make me better and I love you, but I could live without you’. I would one day be okay if we didn’t work out. I wanted to talk a little about that. How to write two independent characters who fall in love and make each other better versus constantly needing each other.

I think a key thing in writing is the difference between leaning on somewhat for support when you are trying to make yourself better or overcome something, versus letting someone do something for you. Letting them fight your battles. For example, Sam and Logan’s story in Saving Her.

Sam leans on Logan a lot throughout her struggles, but never once does she use his celebrity to fight her battles for her. She does it on her own and uses him to help her when she’s down. Emotional support. Love, and sometimes having her back when she needs it. That’s important, and it’s the reason their relationship works. He respects her.

I think another key thing is the character having their own life. For example, in Axel’s story, Aly’s family always pushes her to marry and be a housewife. She is never even allowed to consider another possibility. When Axel helps her get free and makes that an option, she immediately starts working. Even though at the end Axel can easily provide for her and she could spend her days doing whatever, there is no kid, nothing to do. She goes to college, gets an education and starts to figure out what her dreams could be outside of their relationship. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with Aly.

All in all I wanted to throw out another version of relationships. I wanted to bring into a light that codependency can be a very negative thing if your whole identity lies with one person. Respect, dignity, love, healthy competition, attraction all can go hand in hand. In fact I think that when there is a good dose of respect for what the other person is doing, it can strengthen the bond your characters have and make your readers fall in love with both people versus just the relationship itself.

Anyway, thank you guys so much for reading! I hope you will check out Sam and Logan’s story in Saving Her now on Amazon. The story depicts this perfectly and I just know you will love them.

Have a great week!

Wow! Thank you, Bry Ann, for giving us a peek into your writing world and showing us a different spin on relationships.

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this gritty romantic suspense? Sounds like a plan!:)

Great cover! 😀

This is the blurb for Saving Her:

SAM:

What is love?
Is it patient?
Is it kind?
Who the hell knows.
I don’t.
I just know I must save the one person I’ve ever opened my cold heart up to.
I don’t care what it takes to save her.
I sell drugs. I sell my soul. I don’t care. She just has to live.
Then enters Logan Prescott.
He makes sure to screw everything up. He makes me care.
He makes me feel…
And that is just not okay.

LOGAN:

Hollywood.
Lies. Sex. Fans. Attention.
Lonely.
I’ve been alone for far too long, caught up in a world I love but is slowly killing me.
The real me. The one behind the lights.
Then there’s her. The smart ass waitress who hates me with a fiery passion.

Trigger Warning: This is not a typical love story. Sam and Logan’s story contains disturbing scenes, drugs, sex and strong language.

Here is an excerpt.

After two hours of being alone in the dark with no one coming in or out, I was completely lost in the memories. It was like I was in a fog and nothing else existed. The memories wouldn’t stop coming. I closed my eyes and screamed bloody murder. Someone had to save me. I was lost. It seemed so real. I couldn’t go through that again. Even if it was all in my head. A nurse came running in. I just kept screaming and crying. She didn’t exist to me. Nothing did but the pain. She tried to talk me down, but I wouldn’t come down. I couldn’t. I was shaking so badly. I saw her put in the sedative before I could stop her.

“No please! I don’t want to sleep,” I said as my body fell limp. “No.”

“It’s okay, sweetie.”

“Logan, please,” was the last thing I remember saying.

I woke up hours later. It was still dark outside. I shook violently but stopped when I felt a strong hand on my shoulder.

“I’m here, Sam.”

“Logan.” I let all the air out of my lungs. The relief filled me.

“Yeah, it’s me. Sam, what’s going on?”

I somehow managed to get myself up to seated and tuck myself into a ball. I curled myself up as tight as I possibly could and cried. I couldn’t stop. Logan crawled into the bed next to me and pulled me into him.

Safe.

Purchase Links:

 

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B078LN3WZ4

♥♥♥ Gripping! This looks like quite a romantic tale! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Bry Ann! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Bry Ann is a psychology student at Arizona State University. She currently lives up in the Rocky Mountains in Granby, Colorado. She spends most of her free time reading dark romance books, writing anytime she can get her hands on a computer and doing homework anytime she can squeeze it in. Bry Ann has been writing for as long as she can remember. Even from the youngest of ages she was writing about characters with dark pasts and shady stories. As she got older, she decided everyone should get a love story so soon her dark stories got happy endings. She loves to hear from her readers and talk all things books, so feel free to contact her on any of her social media pages!

Author Links

Website:  http://www.authorbryann.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorbryann

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/authorbryann

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2DRO10Y

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17095210.Bry_Ann

Tumblr:  www.authorbryann.tumblr.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/authorbryann

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/authorbryann

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/109937895438594736337

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

How to Survive Holiday Stress With Your Sweetie: a guest post by Dating Connections

How to Survive Holiday Stress with Your Sweetie

 

The Christmas craze is upon us and as much as ladies love to shop till they drop with the greatest excuse of them all (it’s Christmas!), their partners are usually the ones getting the short end of the stick as a gift. Between bringing home half of Pottery Barn’s Christmas collection to capture the holiday spirit, not leaving an ounce of it for anyone else on the planet, and going all out this year in terms of gifts for family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, and various charity organizations, it’s no wonder your partner can feel left out as you two face the stress of the holiday season.

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Let’s take a moment to reflect on an extremely important fact of life here – men don’t care for gifts.

Created by Freepik

They want to have a nice dinner with their ladies over a bottle of wine and some Star Trek (choice of movie optional). They don’t care for shopping, home decor, expensive wrapping paper or Christmas cards, no matter how cute, inspirational or uplifting you may find the latest celebrity snapchats – the holiday edition! With this painful truth in mind, we present the top ways to give your man what he really wants this Christmas season without having to spend a cent on stress relief programs for yourself.

Shower Him with Affection

Your man wants you all year long, and doesn’t care what season it is. Although you’d rather go see that latest museum exhibit only in town until mid-December between picking your company Christmas party dress and getting your hair done before the actual holiday craze even begins, he’d rather lounge around the house with you and lay low until it all passes.

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Keep that in mind the next time you are faced with a tough decision whether to get him that sweater in navy blue or brown. Also, you can use these simple expectations to loosen up and relax with your man after an action-packed day, and get the best of both worlds.

Lingerie As A Gift For Him

If you absolutely must shop, buy yourself sexy new lingerie. He already has a closet full of dress shirts you keep buying that he never wears. But if you surprise him with a cute little hot pink number you’ll find yourself in a win-win kind of situation – you get to shop, and he gets to enjoy it.

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When picking new bras, busties, thongs, or babydolls, keep in mind the things he likes in terms of color, shape, and size. Surprise him by showing how much you’re thinking about his needs and desires, not by getting him tickets to the Christmas ballet show. Following your successful choice of sexy lingerie that he’ll absolutely love, you won’t feel guilty about scheduling that pricey yet much needed appointment at your favorite salon that will ensure you get a stress-free and fulfilling holiday season, too.

Stay Active Throughout The Holiday Season

Regular exercise not only reduces the risk of various physical health problems, but it also puts your mind at ease by reducing the effects of depression, anxiety, stress, and a host of other mental health issues.

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Find the time to decompress at the gym at least 3 times a week as this will help you unwind, lower your stress levels, and spend actual quality time with your partner later in the day. Stretching at home or during your lunch break can also boost your “happy hormones”, and increase your productivity so that you are free to go catch a movie or go for a walk with him, and forget all about the holiday stress.

Created by Bristekjegor – Freepik.com

Don’t Make Him Get Involved

If a man can’t get what he wants, the second best thing that could happen is for him to be left alone. Don’t make him go with you to pick your mom’s present or ask his opinion on every little thing you bring into the house because that is just completely pointless. He doesn’t have an opinion on it, and even if he did, it would be a man’s opinion, which in all likelihood would be contrary to yours. Show you love him by letting him be, and he will be eternally grateful.

Created by Freepik

While you’re at it, enlist the help of your friends, and have yourself a great girl’s night out to talk about all things Christmas and men over some wine and great music. You’ll feel amazing afterwards, and your partner will be happy for you both.

Definitely some food for thought here. These are great tips for staying connected with our partners, and keeping the Christmas hustle and bustle from driving us crazy.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

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

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

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

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, 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 into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Jenny Lynn, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Romance is a moment that we can all feel building up inside us. It can exist when we make fleeting eye contact with an attractive stranger across a room. It can exist in a first kiss that rips through our entire bodies like a forest fire, completely consuming us.

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Or it can exist holding hands during an evening stroll with the person we have loved for years, decades even.

Romance exists all around us, every second of every day. I love to search for it, to observe it, and through my stories – to give it a voice.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

I’ve always been a daydreamer, ever since I was a little girl. I loved romantic stories starting with Disney movies then I eventually discovered my mother’s romance novels and I was hooked. I liked that the stories were never straightforward, that there was always a point when these two people could stop and say, “It’s too hard; we can’t do this.” Of course, they never did. That’s the very essence of true love – believing that what you have is worth fighting for even when the world seems to be against you.

I dated throughout my teens and twenties, enjoying the blossoming excitement of first love and the crushing defeat of heartbreak. I learned who I was and what I wanted. I was so sure of myself. Then I met a man who broke all the rules I thought I had. As much as it sounds like I ripped this from the plot of one of my stories, I moved from a small town to the big city and met a tall, gorgeous tattooed musician who swept me off my feet. I fell hard and fast, and we had an exhilarating courtship that resulted in him proposing outside of an art gallery one evening.

It’s been almost a decade and I am still head over heels for my husband; we have added a cat and a toddler to the busy life we now live. It was with his encouragement that I started writing romance, and it is because of him that I am able to write about love.

My imagination is something that still drives my stories. I like to ask myself, “what if?” I do a lot of self-reflection on the types of fantasies I have, the type of men I find irresistible (mainly confident, somewhat cocky alpha males) and then I bring them to life. My characters tell me what they want to say, how they want to behave, but I tell them how they’re going to meet and how they’re going to fall in love.

In my first set of novels, a duet, I wove a thread of family intrigue and suspense into a billionaire romance first in Falling for the Heir, followed by The Abducted Fiancée.

My new standalone novel, Delicious, comes out December 1st and is a contemporary romance about a cocky New York chef who is hiding his lineage.

My characters come alive for me, and I always feel a sense of responsibility to do their stories justice.

I am in awe of the incredibly talented romance writers I have met while I’m starting out. They have given me so much support and advice, not to mention the readers whose wonderful feedback keeps me writing. Being a part of this world gives me a chance to create happy endings over, and over again. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Nice! I know exactly what you mean… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Jenny! A pleasure to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

I’m a contemporary romance writer who creates complex characters, exciting plot twists, true love and steamy scenes that keep readers up and night wanting to turn the page. When I’m not writing I’m playing with my toddler son, going on dates with my husband, petting my cat or I’m in a dimly lit lounge sipping wine while I daydream about my next story idea. I have a background in creative writing and have had short stories published in multiple literary magazines.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, as the host, 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’re getting booked 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, Jenny, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for  a great guest post by Dating Connections, which details some tips on how to better connect with your partner over the hectic holidays, when the company Dating Connections visits us on December 1st! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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

How to Meet Your Soul Mate in This High-Tech World: a guest post by Dating Connections

Innovative Yet Safe Ways to Meet Your Soul Mate in This High-Tech World

 

We cannot escape the fact that we’re living in the world where basically everything happens online, regardless of whether we’re talking about something as trivial as food ordering or stalking our favorite celebrities on Snapchat.

Still, we can’t help but wonder how does it actually affect our own mission of finding and meeting a soul mate? Is it still mission possible in this high-tech world? Do we actually have more possibilities than before? Well, we’ll try to provide answers to some of these questions in the following paragraphs.

The Rule of Online Dating Sites

According to various findings from Gottman Relationship blog – which tackled the issue of compatibility between the partners amongst many others – some of the most popular dating sites at the moment, such as OKCupid and chemistry.com have come up with some pretty detailed personality tests that every member of the site can take in order to get matched with someone enjoying the same activities and sharing the same values as them. On the other hand, the question that inevitably poses itself is the following: does having the same views on life represent the most important factor in predicting a relationship’s success? Everything indicates it’s far more complicated than that.

Namely, the definition of “soul mate” extends beyond mere compatibility –  this is hypothetically a person who’s looking up to us and admiring us on a daily basis, but is also capable of recognizing our uniqueness, which altogether leads to increased levels of love and affection with the passage of time.

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The Necessity of Excessive Self-Preparations for Meeting a Soul Mate

Believe it or not, this is crucial. The intention behind OKCupid and chemistry.com’s efforts certainly is great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to an instant success. This could happen due to various reasons but the most important one, in our humble opinion, is definitely the one regarding the individual’s readiness to meet their soul mate. Sure, we’re always positively envious on the very notion of some couple’s happiness and properly seduced (especially the ladies) by the romanticized soul mate myth that we often see in movies and TV, but this doesn’t mean that we are actually ready to meet that special someone and thus, we send the wrong signals to the wrong people – which can potentially lead us to more unwanted emotional failures.

What to do?

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  • It is our legitimate right to turn to all high-tech means, meaning the various dating sites and nifty mobile apps in order to try and find our soul mate. Still, we need to be completely honest with ourselves in terms of our own desires. Sure, it’s always great to be optimistic and frank when responding to test questions, but we shouldn’t leave it all to the case, since meeting a soul mate is actually an active process – we’re not just passive participants.

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  • If we decide to pursue our soul mate online, we should definitely take some precautionary measures regarding our personal safety. After all, it’s not unusual for people to lie about themselves online. Sometimes, these are just white lies because we want to feel good about ourselves and the Internet provides us a chance to distort the reality a bit and thus create better and more appealing versions of ourselves.

Still, the existence of actual scammers is part of the same reality, meaning we should never share our personal data such as a credit card number or physical address to anyone prior to meeting them in person. Furthermore, it’s highly recommended to arrange a meeting in public with your online date first and then go slowly from there – and if the other side is genuinely interested in us, then they certainly won’t have anything against the idea.

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After all, there’s no need to rush anything.

  • We should not be ashamed of our true desires and aspirations. It’s perfectly okay, for instance, to seek a partner who will put us in front of everything else because we believe we deserve it. Moreover, it’s highly recommended to stick to more of these positive statements and let the universe take care of the rest.

Created by Photoangel – Freepik.com

  • Getting rid of all negative thoughts from the past and solving various emotional conflicts that keep us from thriving romantically is also a must. Only then shall we be ready to start fresh with a great new person that has just entered our lives, regardless if it’s someone we met at a friend’s party or on some random dating site.
  • One of the keys to success is having faith in the laws of attraction because when we believe in ourselves, we consequently radiate good vibes.

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And it’s one of those universal truths that everyone enjoys the company of positive people who love themselves and are self-conscious about their virtues but are not their biggest critics when it comes to their flaws.

  • Don’t wait for the future to happen to be the best version of yourself – instead, you can start doing it now. You should also have a clear image of your potential soul mate before your eyes in every moment. If you, for instance, would like to find a girl who is an outdoor person, loves dogs and reading, then you should definitely hit dog parks, take regular strolls and go to bookstores and libraries. Don’t just get lost in your fantasies while sitting on a couch; there’s a lot that depends on you.

Created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com

So, what do you think about these tips? Have you already found that special someone? Tell us all about it in the comment section below!

Definitely some food for thought here, and these are great dating tips for the modern crowd.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice on romantic relationships! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉 And have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Technology

Back to Christmas Town: a guest post by romance author Anna Adams

Back to Christmas Town!

by Anna Adams

 

Here we go again, and I am dancing! Every year, a group of Harlequin Heartwarming authors moves to Christmas Town, Maine. We build families and businesses and homes. We visit with all the friends we haven’t seen since last year. And the traditions—Santa comes back to the green, the whole town decorates together, and everyone puts on a Christmas pageant. Most of all, a kiss in the gazebo before midnight on Christmas Eve means a wedding in the new year.

Back in June, I started planning my Christmas Town holiday beneath a blue sky that didn’t seem to threaten with snow. As I dreamed of scenes between my injured soldier and the woman he’d loved and once left behind, the world looked more like this.

I had to take steps, so I turned to my favorite streaming station, Swingin’ Christmas Radio. I have a secret to share—when you’re living in a snowy landscape, surrounded by the sound of your favorite carols, the summer world can turn a little wintry.

I hope you’ll enjoy Santa’s Secret Heart. My hero, Mason Alexander, had no interest in the holidays, so naturally, I thought he needed to learn from inside Santa’s suit.

Mason Alexander has one goal—to get back to his unit on deployment, but Emma Rycroft and her son distract Christmas Town’s newest and most unwilling Santa. When Mason and Emma join forces to restore a child’s faith in the holiday, they also find the love they once lost.

 

Wow! Thank you, Anna, for giving us a peek into your writing world and getting us into the holiday spirit.

What a beautiful cover! 😀

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this lovely Christmas anthology? Sounds like a plan!:)

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Heartwarming Holiday Wishes:

Your favorite Harlequin Heartwarming authors are back with ten all new Christmas stories set in charming Christmas Town, Maine. This year, a stocking brings a special holiday wish to each story.

Save on your next Heartwarming purchase. Details inside the book.

This holiday season, warm your heart with 10 connected sweet, clean & wholesome holiday romances set in Christmas Town from 10 Harlequin Heartwarming authors who are USA Today bestselling authors.

This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release, Christmas, Actually.

Heartwarming Holiday Wishes will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1000 pages.

Santa’s Secret Heart by Anna Adams
Merry Christmas Carol by Melinda Curtis
Miracle on Joyful Street by Liz Flaherty
Finding His Fiancée by Christmas by Cheryl Harper
The Christmas Window by Tara Randel
Mistletoe and Holly by Leigh Riker
Gingerbread Girl by Carol Ross
The Christmas List by Anna J Stewart
A Case for Christmas Magic by Amy Vastine
Jingle Bell Love by Cari Lynn Webb

Check out the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature for a great excerpt!

What people are saying about this holiday anthology:

I do so love it when the holiday books arrive! I enjoy reading them all year long but when fall hits, there is nothing better than a whole box set. I’ve read them all and enjoyed my yearly visit to Christmas Town. I only have one word to describe them all: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” —gds, Amazon

“Loved it! I was torn between reading it quickly because it was so good and reading it slowly to savor it.” —Rachael B., Amazon

I love visiting Christmas Town, Maine. Heartwarming Holiday Wishes lets me enjoy this wonderful town. The love and magic I found here took me to my happy place.” —Rosemary, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B073ZMMYL2

B&N:  http://bit.ly/2u6UHFb

Google Play:  http://bit.ly/2tcPSY8

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/heartwarming-holiday-wishes/id1261084826?mt=11

♥♥♥ Interesting! It looks like special romantic read for the season! 

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

Author Bio

Anna Adams is a USA Today Bestseller, who has written for Harlequin Heartwarming and Harlequin Superromance. She’s working on new contemporary romance stories, and she’s excited about returning to Christmas Town, Maine, where the holidays are always sweet with her Heartwarming friends. You can find her at www.annaadams.net.

Author Links

Website:  http://annaadams.net/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AnnaAdams

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Adams/e/B001HD1C2O/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21942.Anna_Adams

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Guest Writer, Holiday, Love, Message, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Leona from UNFATHOMABLE LOVE plus a conversation with author Linda Diane Wattley!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Molly V. Lovell’s character back on August 29th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Diane Wattley, the author of Unfathomable Love, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Leona Tillard, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Linda in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Leona!

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

Character Leona Tillard:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Leona:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Leona:  I am a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Am I any good at it?  Yes, in less than two years my rank went from Private to Specialist Four as a Finance Specialist.

Do I like it? Yes, the main responsibility I had was making sure everyone got paid and the workload was very fair and purposeful.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Leona:  In the beginning, my family consisted of two brothers and myself. Mark was the oldest, then me, and Dennis was the baby, along with both my mother and father. One day we became a merger family. My parents divorced, and my dad remarried, which put us in a position of now having a stepmother, two stepsisters and a stepbrother.

Marie:  Sounds complicated.

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?

Leona:  It was a beautiful white two-story house with a beautiful backyard with lots of flowers and trees.

Marie:  Great!

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

Leona: I enjoy reading books and going for long walks, especially at the park.

I like reading and writing, listening to music and dancing. I like being alone also.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Well, who doesn’t have those moments, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Leona:  My greatest dream is finding out who I am and understanding what is normal.

Marie:  (Nods.) I think we all should understand ourselves better…

Let’s try another question.

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

Leona:  I wish I could be a person who is happy and fearless.

What’s stopping me?  My past is stopping me because I do not understand why I shy away from people who care about me, and I do not trust myself.

Marie: It’s tough when we have personal demons to work through.

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Leona:  Andrew. We met in Kindergarten and were the best of friends. He was my secret crush until one day he told me we will eventually be more than friends.

Marie: Aww…so sweet. I remember those young crushes. ♥

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Leona:  Learning that my father took my virginity. That was a devastating reality because I wanted to be nun when I grew up. That made it impossible.

Marie:  Oh no! 😦 I’m so sorry. That must’ve been difficult. I have some personal experience with sexual abuse. I recently published a book dedicated to survivors of it. I can only imagine how hard that experience was for you, especially when you were so young and it happened with someone you should’ve been able to trust. I hope you’ve managed to find some peace over the years…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Leona 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?

Leona:  At first it was to be a nun and belong to God. Once I realized I couldn’t be a nun, I didn’t know what else I wanted to be.

I am still looking for a dream. I am still looking for me.

Never will I know if it was what I expected.

I never achieved the dream because I felt you had to be a virgin to be a nun. A nun is all I ever wanted to be when I was a kid.

Marie:  All right.

Again, I’m so sorry. 😦

(Clears throat.)

So, who is your role model, Leona?

Leona:  My grandmother is my role model. She always protected me and talked to me about God. And, she always told me I was special and one day I will understand why.

Marie: That’s wonderful, and she’s so right. She sounds like a wise woman!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Leona:  Myself. I don’t like myself because I feel so unworthy to be anything good or loved because I feel so dirty.

Marie:  It’s really hard to deal with shame. I’m still working through it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Leona:  To begin again and put my past behind me.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think we’ve all felt that at one time or another…

So, tell me something, Leona. What is your greatest fear?

Leona:  Dying is my greatest fear because I don’t know where I will be. I just know it won’t be with my family and friends.

Marie: A lot of people fear death. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The unknown is often scary. My take? I don’t think we’re supposed to look that far ahead. Maybe it’s better to just live your life the best way you can, because you never know when your time will be up. 😉

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Leona. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Linda Diane Wattley on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Linda!

Author Linda Diane Wattley:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Leona Tillard. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Linda:  She is a troubled soul who is trying to find out who she is. In many ways she is an angel. Leona has a big heart to share with others along with a strong need to be loved.

Marie:  Well, I think we all need love in our lives.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Linda:  She is gentle, a good listener, and she has many gifts to share with the world. And, Leona is very smart and spiritual.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Linda:  Low self-esteem, a strong need to be loved and understood, and some self-anger.

Marie:  All right. Many of us have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Leona’s favorite foods?

Linda:  Barbecue, french fries, chicken, mashed potatoes and she loves homemade cookies.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds yummy!

How about another question?

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

Linda:  She has a pure heart and the gift of healing.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Linda:  They will love Leona Tillard because she is damaged merchandise, but she lives life to the fullest and is as real as they come. The reader will understand her choices, even though they are not always the best choices, especially when it comes to love.

Marie: Okay.

Now that we have a real taste of Leona, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Unfathomable Love?

Linda:  The love experiences that come into Leona’s life are overwhelming to comprehend. The love is so deep and intimate, and it happens more than one time for her. Who would you choose for her and why? You too could be making a huge mistake.

Marie:  Intriguing!

Let’s try something else.

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

Linda:  It is so surreal for me to write. I feel like a vessel receiving data to write as the words are revealed to me. There is not a book I have written that does not amaze me. There are underlined messages throughout all my books that I believe God wants people to know in a unique way.

Marie:  (Smiles.) I hear you…sometimes I think the characters are directing the story more than I am.

How about another question?

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

Linda:  No, not really because Charge of Angel was the first book of the series, which made a way for Unfathomable Love to flow through the process very easily.

I might self-publish because it would have been something worth learning, though I am thankful to have a publisher at this time.

Marie:  Right! In some ways, writing a sequel is easier because you already know a lot about the characters. 

And sure, it doesn’t hurt to have a publisher, though indie publishing is also an option.

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Unfathomable Love appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this inspirational romance by Linda Diane Wattley, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Unfathomable Love:

Charge of an Angel, the first of the “Love and Redemption Series”, continues as Leona Tillard, the survivor of an uncensored childhood love, begins her journey into the heart of Unfathomable Love.

When Leona graduated from high school, she joined the United States Army. It was then she learned there was plenty of love to go around; after all, the Army is one place where men outnumbered the women. Her only dilemma was figuring out which love was the best love for her to embrace.

Hearing the words ‘I love you’ heals our souls. The ironic thing about it, very seldom do two people share the same meaning for love. This is usually fine until someone else’s meaning of love changes our lives forever.

In Charge of an Angel, Leona Tillard asked for your help as she survived her daily childhood nightmare. Today, she is asking you to help her to choose the right man to love forever. Do I love the soldiers or do I love my big brother’s best friend?

Sounds like an easy task, doesn’t it? Trust me, you too just might choose the wrong one. Let’s see if we can save Leona once again.

 Lord God, so much love, help me choose!

Linda is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Doug sat down, breathing hard and sweating. He had danced himself out. He put on a slow song, grabbed me by my arm and walked me down to the dance floor. Apparently, another girl had planned to dance with him and met us along the way. He kissed her on the cheek and kept walking while she gave me the evil eye. I smiled and kept on stepping.

He embraced me and our bodies melted together as we swayed to “Breathless” by Corrine Bailey Rae. He put my arms around his waist and I wrapped mine around his neck. Though I was a little taller than Doug, it didn’t take away from his ability to get his bump and grind going. I had never experienced this before. Between the high, his scent, and his perfect body, I was in another world. Each motion of his body felt like a request for a deeper caress. As the music played, our bodies became a new and emerging instrument that played a song so deep with emotions to stop would be a great loss.

My body wanted out of my clothes. I wanted the party to turn into a huge waterbed and everybody to disappear. But, the music began to fade. Abruptly, he released his hold and ran back to the platform to play the next song. Looking at me from a distance, his eyes looking through me, he motioned for me to come to him. I finally exhaled. I didn’t rush to him.  I just stood there and looked at him. The longer I stared at him, the longer and deeper he stared at me. By now the dance floor was filled with people, again.

The crowd danced around me as if I wasn’t there. I began to realize the feelings I felt with Doug were the same feelings I had experienced with Tony a long time ago. He and I met at my brother’s day camp when I was about sixteen years old. Our closeness had been leading to sex, but he cared enough about me to make sure we didn’t do it.

I didn’t know about Doug. He gave my body a lot in a room filled with people. I could only imagine what would happen if we were alone. Just the thought of it made me feel like a lit candle. If he blew on me, I would probably melt completely and disappear without a trace. I decided I’d better get out of there.

I slipped gracefully through the crowd and found my way outside the room. As I went to the lobby of the hotel, I saw a line of cabs waiting to take soldiers back on post. I floated out the front doors to a cab and sat down in the back seat. As the cab began to pull off, I felt wrong for leaving without telling Doug. Then, I realized it felt great knowing he would miss me. After all, he was too sure I was coming to the party.

Wow! Love the tension. ♥♥♥ Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/1975939549

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7522050

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

About Linda Diane Wattley

Linda Diane Wattley is a proud veteran of the United States Army. Born in Akron, Ohio, she attended the University of Akron majoring in Psychology.

Over twelve years, a religious/philosophical columnist for the Frost Illustrated Newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2016, she addressed PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by writing Soldier with a Backpack, Living and Dying Simultaneously which made her a nominee for the ‘Best in Nonfiction’ during the African American Literary Awards Show.

Currently, she shares her “Love and Redemption Series”, which is a dramatically written story revealing intimate truths about molestation and the impact it has on a child’s soul. Leona is the child growing up and sharing her soul.  Keep her close to your heart.

Available today is the first of the series, Charge of an Angel.  Here you witness the early beginnings of the secrets of sexual abuse. And, the second book, Unfathomable Love. Never will you witness a love as unique and beautiful as the love waiting for Leona. God only knows what can become of it. You don’t want to miss it.

Currently she joined TLBTV and the Beacon Project as host of “The Truth Will Set You Free Show”, where you don’t have to be a celebrity to share your truth with the world.

Books:

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

Website:  http://www.lindadianewattley.com/

Blog:  http://www.lindadianewattley.com/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/universalove

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Diane-Wattley/e/B00JNTEYK6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441999.Linda_Diane_Wattley

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LindaWattleydiane

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Leona, a female character from Unfathomable Love, and Linda Diane Wattley, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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