Category Archives: Guest Writer

Top Historical Romance Books We Can’t Stop Reading: a guest post by Dating Connections

Top Historical Romance Books We Can’t Stop Reading

 

Whether you’re in a biker dating rut and need some way to keep things interesting, or are a bookworm that’ll read anything and everything, today we present a short yet comprehensive list of historical romance books that are a true hit with their readership!

Javier García, Flickr

Mostly set in England, these novels will keep you on your toes much like Pride & Prejudice – you know Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth have to get together in the end, but it’s all so complicated that it seems impossible! ♥

#1: Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

The story of Claire Randall is set in the Scottish Highlands just after WWII. A combat nurse just back from the war, Claire is reunited with her husband, but soon finds herself as a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ in a war-torn Scotland when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Claire discovers that her only chance to stay safe depends on Jamie Fraser, a handsome young soldier who steals her heart. She must find her way through the world of danger, passion, and violence as she is trying to reconcile two irreconcilable lives. One of the most popular historical romances (with a time travel slant) on Goodreads with a score of 4.22 out of 5 based on more than 665,000 ratings, Outlander is an explicit book that uses descriptive, energizing and highly engaging writing.

#2: Westcott Series by Mary Balogh (Someone to Love)

The death of Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, leaves behind a fortune and a secret he had kept for so long – a daughter no one ever knew he had. Anna Snow, who grew up as an orphan, learns her father was the late Earl of Riverdale, and she stands to inherit a fortune, but her siblings want nothing to do with her. When the new Earl’s guardian becomes interested in Anna, he assists her with the transformation from an orphan to a lady, stepping in to rescue her only to find himself vulnerable to the feelings he has kept hidden for so long. Someone to Love is the 5th book in a series, but good as a stand-alone as well as evidenced by its rating of 3.8 on Good Reads and plenty of praise.#3: The Hathaways Series by Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight)

When Amelia Hathaway discovers she’s about to inherit a fortune and find herself in London society, she realizes that tending to her two younger siblings is far easier than navigating the ways of the aristocracy. Matters are further complicated when she falls for a tall, dark, and handsome Cam Rohan, who’s unfathomably rich and tired of society’s petty restrictions. He offers only friendship when Amelia reaches out to him for help, but both are soon tempted by the desire that blindsides them both. Mine Till Midnight scored 4.08 out of more than 50,000 ratings on Goodreads, and it’s perfect for anyone who can’t resist love at first sight!#4: The Brothers Sinister Series by Courtney Milan (The Duchess War)

Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled girl who tries hard not to get anyone’s attention. The last time she was at the center of things she had to change her name to escape her scandalous past. Hence, when a handsome duke comes into town, the last thing she wants is to catch his eye, which is precisely what happens. But Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is no fool, and quickly realizes there is much more to Minnie than she lets on, and once things get heated he discovers that this little shy girl could prove to be more than he can handle. Beloved by its readership with a Goodreads rating of just under 4, The Duchess War is a must for anyone looking for steamy historical fiction.#5: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

No list on the most popular historical romance books would ever be complete without Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. One of the most popular novels in this genre, Pride and Prejudice tells a story of incredibly stubborn Elizabeth Bennett, one of five sisters who must marry rich to secure their status, who meets just as incredibly arrogant and rich beyond measure Mr. Darcy. Filled with humorous dialogue, this story of courtships draws readers in with inconceivable force, and delivers a very satisfying finale to the delight of all. With more than 2 million ratings on Goodreads, and a score of 4.25 out of 5, even its old English in which it is written can’t take away from the intrigue and the narrative that are absolutely breathtaking.

#6: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Although depicting some historical accuracy peppered with a little drama for good measure, Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl is a compelling historical novel about two sisters fighting for the affection of the same man, Henry the VIII. When Mary is set off to his court at a tender age of 14, she catches the eye of the powerful king and is soon swept off her feet thanks to his genuine infatuation with her. However, Mary soon realizes she’s a pawn in her family’s scheme to move up the social ladder, and as the king’s interest in her fades, she must step aside for her best friend and mighty rival – her sister Anne. With 4.05 out of 5 on Goodreads, The Other Boleyn Girl is highly praised by its readers for making history so much fun and addictive to read.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

Wow! What a great sampling of historical romance books!

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great tips for our reading lists! ♥♥♥

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/BoyanUlv

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 weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Gifts, Guest Writer, Historical, Historical Romance, Message, Readers, Research, Romance, romantic ideas, Stories, Time Travel

Exclusive Interview with author Karina Bartow, plus a look at contemporary romance, FORGETTING MY WAY BACK TO YOU!

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 third 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 contemporary romance, Forgetting My Way Back to You. Please join me in welcoming Karina Bartow to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Karina Bartow:  Hi, Marie! I really enjoy your blog and your love of romance.

Marie:  Aww, thanks! 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 another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

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

Karina:  I’m a full-time author, and I write love stories and mysteries. I enjoy it very much, but you’ll have to ask my readers if I’m good at it!

Marie:  (Laughs.) I’m sure your books are great, at least judging by what I’ve noticed so far. 😉

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Karina:  My parents have been married for forty-five years, and I have an older sister. She and her husband have an eleven-year-old son, so I enjoy being an aunt.

Marie:  Nice!

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?

Karina:  It was a simple ranch when I was born, but we added a second story and turned it into a Cape Cod style. We live in the country with an acre of land, which gives me good space to drive my prized possession, my golf cart.

Marie:  Awesome!

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

Karina:  Like any girl, I love to shop, but I have a sporty side, too, and I’m a big baseball fan. I also really enjoy listening to music and reading.

Marie:  Wow! Such an eclectic blend of pastimes!

Shopping is my Achilles heel. If I have any spare money, I can get myself into trouble 😉

So…what is your greatest dream?

Karina:  To have a family of my own.

Marie:  Oh, me too! I can’t have biological children, so when my fiancé and I get married, we’ll have to get a little creative.

The closest I’ve come so far is adopting kitties. 😛

But I think life has a way of surprising you just when you need it the most. ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Karina:  I wish I could be someone who, as they say, doesn’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t know what holds me back. Probably age and circumstances.

Marie:  I know what you mean…I wish I could be a bit more casual about everything. I can get too serious about the stuff going on in my life.

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

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

Karina:  Dean Cain in his Lois & Clark days. Needless to say, it was unrequited!

Marie:  (Laughs.) OMG, how did I forget that? I was nuts about him when I watched that show. Those dimples were to die for! 😉

Let’s try something else now.

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

Karina:  Frankly, my disability. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and have tried to make the most of my life, but it affects every part of it. I don’t wallow in that, but I can’t say I’m thankful for it, either.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥 I’m so sorry you have to deal with that, and I can’t blame you for getting discouraged. I have epilepsy, and I’ve definitely had to shape my life around that disability.

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

[Karina 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?

Karina:  To be a published author, and of course, I did achieve it!  It hasn’t been what I expected in that it’s not as glamorous as Hollywood makes it look. Unless you’re well-known, you don’t get a nationwide book tour or a call from Oprah. Authors have to put in a lot of time marketing their work, but I’ve come to enjoy that.Marie:  True enough! I don’t think most people realize how difficult it is to make a name for yourself in the publishing world.

So, who is your role model, Karina?

Karina:  My parents.

Marie:  Lovely! I know my folks were definitely an influence on my outlook with regards to how ‘love’ should be, and I can blame them for my interest in writing romance. At least a little. (Chuckles.)

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Karina:  Nobody truly likes everyone they meet, but I try to be polite, regardless. Some test that, though!

Marie:  For sure! But I like your attitude…we need more of that in the world these days. 😀

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Karina:  To be faithful to God.

Marie:  All right.

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

Karina:  Clowns!

Marie: 😯 Wow, I didn’t see that one coming! Though I guess they are a bit freaky.

I want to try something different next, Karina… 

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

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

Karina:  Charlee works as a physical therapist at a senior center, where her dad lives. She moonlights as a trainer for her alma mater’s football team. At age 29, she’s still single, quietly holding a torch for her high school sweetheart.

Marie:  Nice! I love second chance stories!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Karina:  She’s loyal and devoted to her family.

Marie:  Commendable, of course!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Karina:  She can act in haste, which sometimes leads to disaster.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Karina:  Brownies, coffee, and ice cream—anything sweet!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Oh, I definitely have a sweet tooth too!

How about another question?

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

Karina:  She’s open-minded and trusts people, often giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Marie:  Not such a bad trait!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Karina:  I hope they’ll like her because of her mix of innocence, tenacity, and caring nature.

Marie:  Works for me!

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

What first gave you the idea for Forgetting My Way Back to You?

Karina:  Forgetting My Way Back to You is comprised of parts of my first book, which was about a woman who developed selective amnesia after a head trauma. As young as I was—eighteen—when I started, I’d already experienced some events I wouldn’t have minded forgetting, just to be free of that baggage. Thus, like many stories, it began with the elusive ‘What if?’.

Marie:  Gotcha! Many of my stories launched that way.

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Karina:  Pantster all the way! I enjoyed improv in high school drama class, and that’s how I write. It’s all extemporaneous. I think on where I am in the story throughout my day and sit down with a generic idea of where I want to go, but I never know the details until I’m in the moment.

Marie:  Sounds like quite a ride!

How about another question?

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Forgetting My Way Back to You or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Karina:  It took me nine years from the time I started it to when I signed the contract, so it was a long process. As far as writing it went, I couldn’t find satisfaction in it for a good while, and I think my maturity level played into that. I didn’t have enough experience to write good conflict, so it kept coming out as pretty childish. All in all, though, I wouldn’t change it because I learned a lot about myself and my craft.

Marie:  I know what you mean. My first historical romance took me nine years to write too, and I definitely matured as a woman throughout the experience. 

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 Forgetting My Way Back to You appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, since it just came out in mid-October!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this modern romance by Karina Bartow, a talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Forgetting My Way Back to You:

When Charlee Stoll loses all memory of him, Hunter Jett knows his mistakes led to this moment. Though tempted to give up on their future together, he’s determined to use the twist to right his wrongs.

Through charm and deception, can he win back her love…before she discovers the truth?

Karina is also offering us a peek of the book!

After finishing off the Tuscan chicken and other treats from the buffet table, Hunter and Charlee wandered outside to look at the estate’s breathtaking gardens. In the last seconds of daylight, the colorful flowers’ bright petals stood out under the darkening sky. The staff members around them were busy deconstructing the sites where the two ceremonies had taken place and didn’t notice them at all. A few other guests strolled the grounds, too, but on such a large property, they crossed paths just once with each of them, leaving them alone for the most part.

They came upon a stone bridge, which no doubt had played a part in many weddings and photos over the years, and the two stopped to observe the scene. With the sun dipping out of sight, the stars came out in full display. The lit-up mansion softened the aura of everything that much more, showcasing the late Pennsylvania summer at its best.

“I didn’t think it could look any more beautiful,” Charlee mused aloud.

Hunter wanted to tell her that he thought the same every time he saw her, but he feared it would intimidate her.

“How’d you know about this place, anyways?”

He contemplated his reply, again worrying his honest answer would force her away, but he took the chance. “My grandfather took my grandma here on their first date, and because he’d heard the story of how it swept her off her feet, my dad gave it a try with Mom. Considering that my grandparents stayed together for over sixty years and my folks just celebrated their thirtieth, I figured it’d be a good choice. It beats taking you to a dance where everyone’s pushing us apart, at least.”

“Yes, that’s where we went wrong,” she joked. “But can crashing a wedding set us up much better?”

Hunter chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. “Well, if my family’s tradition doesn’t work out, maybe your dad’s motto will come true: ‘It isn’t about the way you started…’”

“‘It’s the way you finish that matters.’” She completed the proverb her dad had drilled into her head since her days of learning to walk.

He gave her a considering look, trying to discern how far he should take the romancing, before he extended his hand. “Speaking of which…”

She’d resisted taking his hand the whole evening, but she relented, letting him lead her back towards the carriage house. He veered off to the side instead of going into the building, where they could hear the opening words of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ playing inside. He took hold of her, and they danced under the moon the way they had years earlier.

“Was any of this an accident?”

“I may have made a request to the deejay,” he remarked with a grin. “Other than that, though, I could only hope you’d agree to come here with me. That said, I don’t think you and I being together can ever be called an accident.”

History repeated itself once more when he leaned in to kiss her. The same sparks flew, but this time, they glowed brighter.

Wow! I’m curious to find out what happens next in this book… 😀

Purchase Links:

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

Publisher:  https://www.vinspirepublishing.com/forgettingmywabacktoyou

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

About Karina Bartow

Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters that have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding, was released in 2015 and was well-received by readers. She’s excited about her new love story, Forgetting My Way Back to You, available now from Vinspire Publishing. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Karina Bartow, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.karinabartow.com/

Blog:  https://karinabartow.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KarinaBartow

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Karina-Bartow/e/B076L4FCGV/

https://amzn.to/2RyZIz9

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15045283.Karina_Bartow

Google+:   https://plus.google.com/117505120642906778021

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

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A Character Interview with Darryl from BLESSED plus a conversation with author Maggie Blackbird!

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 Amber Daulton’s character back on June 7th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie Blackbird, the author of Blessed, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Darryl Keejik, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Maggie in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Darryl!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Character Darryl Keejik:  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?

Darryl:  Sure.

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

Darryl:  I’m the self-governance coordinator for the reserve. I’d say I’m very good at what I do. I’ve been in this field since I graduated university. I’ve worked for two other aboriginal organizations in Winnipeg before I returned home to Ottertail Lake to help my Ojibway community work towards developing their own model for governing the band.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Darryl:  There’s only my aunt and I. I’ll leave it at that.

Marie:  Okay…I sense there’s a story here, but I won’t push.

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?

Darryl:  It’s one of the first homes built on the reserve, made from logs and constructed by my great-grandfather. My grandfather installed the hardwood floors. It’s nothing elaborate. A simple two-bedroom home with a wood-burning stove for heat.

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies, Darryl? What do you enjoy doing?

Darryl:  I enjoy fishing, hunting, trapping, hiking, and camping. I’m an outdoorsman at heart.

Marie: Nice!

So, what is your greatest dream?

Darryl:  For the Anishinaabe Nation to become a sovereign nation as we once were before.

Marie:  (Nods.) I see…

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

Darryl:  I wish I could be more forgiving, but after what my people experienced at the hands of the government and religious institutions, it’s a little hard to be that person.

Marie: That makes sense.

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

Who was your first love?

Darryl:  Emery Matawapit.

Marie: Aww. I love romance. ♥

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?

Darryl:  Losing my whole family in a boating accident. My parents were drunk, going for supplies. I was at home with my aunt, only four, and too young to go.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry! 😥

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

[Darryl 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?

Darryl:  As I said, my dream was to help my people become a sovereign nation. I’m still working on that dream. It’s a little hard to achieve when band members at our reserve practice different…spiritual ways and have differing beliefs, such as the Matawapit family.

Marie:  I understand.

So, who is your role model, Darryl?

Darryl:  Basil Skunk. He’s the elder for the Traditionalists Society.

Marie: Okay.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Darryl:  I tolerate Deacon Matawapit. We play our little game of politeness.

Marie:  Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Darryl:  A family of my own.

Marie:  Oh, yes, I think a lot of people want that…

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

Darryl:  That I’ll never have a family of my own.

Marie: I have that fear as well. Having kids would be almost impossible for me medically, unless I decide to adopt.

I’m so fortunate you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Darryl. 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 Maggie Blackbird on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Maggie!

Author Maggie Blackbird:  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 male character from your story, Darryl Keejik. Quite an interesting character. He’s a little tight-lipped and stoic. Can you tell us more about him?

Maggie:  Well, as you can see, your interview hit a few nerves with Darryl. He’s having some problems reconciling the past with the present. He’s an inter-generational survivor of the Indian Residential Schools. But I’m rooting for him. Darryl’s a fighter. He won’t give up.

Marie:  Admirable, of course!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Maggie:  His ability to lead. Although Darryl’s stubborn and opinionated, he has a great ability to listen, once he gets past his anger.

Marie:  Oh, we could definitely use better listening skills in the world. Everyone is all ready to jump at the next person for each little thing.

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Maggie:  His inability to forgive. Darryl holds on to past hurts. He’s all about the grudge.

Marie:  Ah. Well, I’m sure some of our readers can relate. It’s not always easy to let go.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Darryl’s favorite foods?

Maggie:  Darryl loves his aunt’s homemade moose stew and bannock. He also enjoys a good shore lunch of walleye, pan-fried potatoes, and corn when he’s out on the lake.

Marie:  Sounds delicious!

How about another question?

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

Maggie:  Darryl doesn’t realize how much love he has to offer others. His resentments stop him from becoming a great leader, because he sincerely loves his people and wants to see them succeed.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Maggie:  It’s a little hard to say.  Some enjoy Darryl, others find him a bit of a jerk at the beginning of the book. Darryl’s an emotional and passionate man with a big chip on his shoulder. His childhood wasn’t the greatest, growing up without a family and raised by his alcoholic aunt who’s an extremely bitter woman. I’d say she passed on a lot of her bitterness to Darryl.

Marie: Okay, that makes sense…

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

What first gave you the idea for Blessed?

Maggie:  I come up with ideas based on the problems the Indigenous People of Canada face. Then I put a spin of “what if” on it.

Marie:  Awesome! Isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Maggie:  I call myself a planster – part panster and part planner. I always have a logline and blurb, my GMC, character arc, and sketches done. But I’m no BIG planner down to the details of chapter goals, scene goals, et cetera. The characters determine those.

Marie:  Nice!

How about another question?

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

Maggie:  Finding a publisher was hard because Blessed doesn’t fit a specific niche, and publishers do have their niches. It’s heavy on religion and spirituality, but doesn’t fit inspirational or Christian fiction because there are some very explicit adult sexual scenes, and profanity. As for doing anything differently, it is what it is. Darryl and Emery wrote their story, and I typed what they had to say. I’m not a writer. I take dictation for my characters. LOL!

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

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 Blessed appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this sexy MM multicultural romance with a slight inspirational angle by Maggie Blackbird, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Blessed, book one of the Matawapit Family Series:

A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling:  the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.

It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man. In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.

Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered: the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery. No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon, and he intends on using his newfound power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and the church.

Hoping to save the church, Emery races home. But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery. Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life: please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.

An erotic spiritual journey…

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

“You see what?” Darryl slapped his thigh. “Dammit, I’m trying to figure out why Basil asked me to talk to you first, instead of Clayton and the kids, ‘cause I knew we’d end up argu—”

“Basil asked you to speak to me?” Great, Darryl hadn’t phoned on his own accord. The elder had forced him to meet Emery.

“Yeah.”

A coward slunk away. A man of courage fought for what he wanted. Emery stood tall. “I appreciate your consideration. Why’d you listen to Basil?”

Darryl continued to glare.

Emery forced a chuckle. Maybe teasing would relieve the tension between them. “I’ve never known you to listen to anyone.”

“I always listen to Basil.” Darryl’s tone could cut rocks.

The anger permeating the air had nothing to do with Clayton, the protest, or Annie. Emery sucked in a breath. “What do you want me to do? Take off my clothes? Is that what I have to do to make you happy?”

“Sarcasm isn’t what I expected from you.” Darryl cocked his brow. “Fine. Take them off. Take them all off. If you need help, I got two willing hands.”

Ripe heat kissed the flesh buried beneath Emery’s underwear. His skin shimmered hot and cold. “I guess… guess I was right.”

“Wrong.”

As Darryl continued to glare, an irritating prickle sprang up at the nape of Emery’s neck. He scratched the mosquito bite.

Darryl turned and stomped around the four-wheeler, his breaths huffing and puffing. “I promised myself I wouldn’t behave like Saint Kateri’s father did. The thing is—I am.”

His face reddened. He kicked the rear wheel of the machine. “You make me so goddamned mad. Fine. I’ll let the youth down. I’ll let Clayton and the Traditionalists Society call me a traitor. And I’ll most likely lose the next election ‘cause I tossed my integrity out the door. Bottom line. I’ll do anything to make you happy. You come before anything that means everything to me.”

Darryl dug out his keys. “And even though I put your feelings first, I don’t expect you to do the same. Go ahead and love your god till the end of time.”

Had a tornado torn through the powwow grounds? This wasn’t how they were supposed to resolve the problem. Emery forced out the words caught in his throat. “Wh-what are you talking about?”

Darryl slid onto the four-wheeler. He jammed the key into the ignition. The engine roared to life. His eyes matched the snarl of the machine. “I’m voting in favor of paying the church’s hydro bill.”

When he revved the throttle, Emery leapt forward. “Oh, no you don’t. You’re not leaving me to eat dust again.” He clamped his hand over Darryl’s.

“You said you’re voting for the church to make me happy.” Emery kept his hand put or he might get run over. “As much as I appreciate what you’re doing, I won’t let you compromise your beliefs. My savior wouldn’t approve. Neither do I. I can’t be happy at another’s expense. At your expense.”

“And what about the people you spoke about earlier?” Darryl’s hand tensed beneath Emery’s. “Your parents? The others who go to church? If you let me vote, they’ll be happy. Don’t they count?”

“The Lord is their savior. They wouldn’t want you to compromise your beliefs, either.” Emery squeezed Darryl’s fingers. “Please, listen to me.”

Jaw clenched, Darryl scowled at the sky.

A few seconds passed. Emery’s heart ceased to beat for a moment. Now what was going through the head of the most stubborn person in the world?

“You got a million mosquitoes swarming you.” The fire in Darryl’s eyes vanished. “We can finish talking at my place.”

Emery’s heart swelled. His happiness did come first. Wait a second. He couldn’t go to the house. People would talk—especially the protesters. For sure they’d call Darryl a traitor.

The word no sat on the tip of Emery’s tongue. He swallowed. If he objected, he’d offend Darryl again. “‘Sure.”

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4AYy8o

Publisher:  http://www.extasybooks.com/maggie-blackbird/978-1-4874-1973-8-blessed/

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40722164-blessed

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

About Maggie Blackbird

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

Book:

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

Website/Blog:  http://maggieblackbird.com/

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

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

Amazon Author Page:  https://amzn.to/2CJUAEs

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

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/105368516440582848319

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/maggie-blackbird-032798169/

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

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

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Darryl, a male character from Blessed, and Maggie Blackbird, 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, Erotica, Event, Faith, family, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, LGBT, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Writing

Twenty Romantic Fall Date Ideas: a guest post by Dating Connections

20 Romantic Fall Date Ideas

 

Although summer just technically ended and some days the heat is so unbearable that it feels like true fall will never come, it will, and soon enough! That’s why we’ve decided to compile a list of the best fall date ideas in case you find love online just in time for the most romantic season of all!

Kelly West Mars, Flickr

#1: A Walk through the Park

As obvious and cliché as this may seem, a walk through a nice park in the early fall before it starts to rain and gets too cold is incredibly romantic.

Leah Kelley, Pexels.com

If you’d rather go for something more creative, go get some dessert together afterwards.

Flavio Shibata, Unsplash

#2: Beer Tasting

In the spirit of Oktoberfest, fall is the season to go beer tasting. Lots of breweries out there offer this service as part of constantly improving patron experience, so pick one that you’ve heard nice things about, but keep in mind that nobody should really get drunk!

Elevate, Unsplash

#3: Camping

If you’ve got a weekend off, use it to go camping this fall and spend time with your date under the stars! Pick early fall dates to avoid the rain, bring a sweater or two, and enjoy each other’s company in the woods.

pxlpusher, Flickr

#4: Visit a Town Nearby

Make it a day trip or another weekend getaway, and go and enjoy the last bout of nice weather before the winter sets in. Take photos and soak up the stunning fall outdoors.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

#5: Go to a Sports Game

Most sports seasons start in the late summer or early fall, making it the perfect time to get a couple of tickets, and make a date out of cheering for your favorite team.

Andrew Gearhart, Unsplash

#6: Go Apple Picking

‘Tis the season for apple picking, and this is not only romantic but it’s highly helpful to the farmers nearby. Check out the orchards in the area, and go celebrate the arrival of the fall and its favorite fruit.

Carolyn V, Unsplash

#7: Make Apple Pie Together

Once you come back with loads of apples, bake an apple pie together!

Created by Freepik

#8: Take a Cooking Class

The fall is a great time to learn a new skill, and why not do it together! Master a few seasonal recipes, and work on improving your cooking with your partner.

Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

#9: Go Hiking

If there are scenic areas nearby, then fall is the perfect time to go check them out and make a date out of it! Breathe in the cooler air, and watch the seasons change before your eyes.

Roberto Nickson, Unsplash

#10: Brunch at a Local Pastry Shop

The smell of freshly baked dough in the fall is exhilarating, and it’s a perfect introduction to pumpkin and cinnamon season. Check out the new seasonal goodies with your partner on a Sunday morning.

Created by Freepik

#11: Picnic in the Countryside

Stock up on fresh bakery goodies, warm blankets, and a few hours of free time, and go have a romantic picnic with your loved one in the country. Or, you can always put your new cooking skills to use and prepare your own picnic food together.

Jelleke Vanooteghem, Unsplash

#12: Snuggle by the Fireplace

When the air gets crisp and the days get shorter, it’s time to turn on the fireplace and enjoy a romantic night in. Pick up a bottle of wine, put on your favorite wool socks, and chill by the fireplace until the wee hours of the night.

Created by Freepik

#13: Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Skip the grocery store this fall, and pick up your pumpkin directly from the source – a pumpkin patch! Make it a date to visit a pumpkin patch, and stock up on pumpkins to decorate.

Hide Obara, Unsplash

#14: Decorate Pumpkins

Decorating those fall pumpkins renews childhood memories, and it can bring you and your partner closer together as it evokes innocent feelings.

Bekir Dönmez, Unsplash

#15: Take a Long Drive around the Woods

Take a long drive with your partner in and around wooded areas and parks, and soak up the fall scenery as you snap photos and enjoy the silence, the smells, and the sights together.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

#16: Visit a Haunted House

Robert Heiser, Unsplash

If you’re both into scary stuff, the fall and winter are the perfect seasons for visiting a local haunted house or taking a ghost tour, which plenty of cities offer, especially in old buildings or castles.

Cederic X, Unsplash

#17: Hit the Farmer’s Market

Fall is one of the richest seasons when it comes to fresh produce, and you should definitely take advantage. Shop till you drop one Saturday morning after breakfast with your sweetheart, and put your newly acquired cooking skills to the test.

Jordan Christian. Unsplash

#18: Watch a Scary Movie Together

Get into the Halloween spirit together by screening a few scary classics just in time for Halloween.

Created by Freepik

You might even get some costume ideas for this year’s party!

Tom Roberts, Unsplash

#19: Hit a Fall Festival

Every town gets rather festive in anticipation of the holiday season, and if there aren’t any fall festivities nearby, check out the area within a 100-mile radius to find a date-friendly event.

Dane Deaner, Unsplash

20: Go Horseback Riding

One of the last outdoorsy activities before the winter hits, horseback riding is not only romantic but it takes a certain level of stamina and an adventurous spirit. Plus it’s a perfect ‘excuse’ to wrap your arms around your partner.

Mohamed Hassan, Pixabay
Free background through Canva

Nice! These are awesome tips for those who need some help thinking of cool activities for you and your loved one this season. I don’t think you can go wrong here!

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/BoyanUlv

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, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

A Radio Interview!

Hi, readers! I have exciting news! ♥

This Thursday, August 30th, yours truly will appear on Thorne & Cross’s Haunted Nights Live! radio show. Favored hosts and writer duo Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne are set to read a cool excerpt from my paranormal romance, Blood Instincts, and they’ll be interviewing me about my work. Yay!

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07DFL8DRR
https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07DFL8DRR

It should be a fun time for all! I’ve been on their paranormal themed show in the past, and it was always an enjoyable experience.

You do not want to miss this radio interview, but if that is the case, it will be uploaded to the site afterward. Here is the link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheair/2018/08/31/marie-lavender-revisits-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

If you’d like to tune in live, you’ll find the details here on BlogTalkRadio, or you can find more updates on the Thorne & Cross blog, and their Facebook and Twitter pages. The show usually runs on Thursdays at 5 pm Pacific, 6 PM Mountain, 7 PM Central, 8 PM Eastern.

Here is the eternal link for the interview, though the aforementioned one should work until the end of the year…

Very exciting! Don’t forget, and enjoy your week! 😉

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Filed under Authors, Books, Event, Guest Writer, Interview, Marie Lavender, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Radio, Readers, Romance, Writing

Why Giving Flowers Shouldn’t Just Be for Holidays and Apologies: a guest post by Dating Connections

Why Giving Flowers Shouldn’t Just Be for Holidays and Apologies

 

According to tradition, pop culture and classic literature, women should expect to get flowers only when they’ve been wronged by their men. For example, if a guy unintentionally flirts with someone, or when he’s caught browsing through BBW dating sites.

On the other hand, it’s also expected that a woman gets flowers as a gift for certain events, like Mother’s Day, Women’s Day, birthdays, anniversary and so on.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

But what if we told you that this shouldn’t be the only occasion upon which a lady should receive flowers? Namely, getting a single flower or a whole bouquet doesn’t have to be conditioned by someone’s wrongdoing or exclusive to certain dates. Here are a couple of reasons why we shouldn’t be limited to presenting flowers to women only when we want to apologize or congratulate them on something, so make sure you keep reading.

Respecting Traditions

Before someone misunderstands our point here, let’s first explain something in regards to giving the gift of flowers to apologize for a mistake or to celebrate an anniversary. We’re not saying that this shouldn’t be done – on the contrary, a single flower or a whole bouquet is one of the best gifts a woman can receive for such things.

Created by V.ivash – Freepik.com

For example, you just can’t go wrong if you give flowers to your girl for Valentine’s day, possibly in a combination with another cute or romantic thing. Furthermore, it’s tradition to present a woman with flowers for Mother’s and Women’s Days, as well, while there’s nothing wrong with bestowing a small bouquet for a marriage anniversary, either.

The Unexpected Flower

Now, let’s talk about why men shouldn’t only think of giving flowers to their ladies when they’ve made an error or when they want to celebrate a certain date.

Thierry Hardoin, Flickr

Some people will say that this should be done approximately two to four times a year, while others won’t be reluctant to bring flowers to their woman constantly. There’s really no rule to this. However, there’s no arguing that your girl will appreciate you giving her flowers “just because.”

Flowers, by definition, are a symbol of beauty, affection, love, caring, and attention. Perhaps not everyone has realized this, but no woman can help but melt when presented with anything from a single beautiful flower to a bouquet of roses.

Being spontaneous about giving flowers to a woman won’t only show that you’re all about giving her your attention, but also that you’re a gentleman before all things. You want to be the perfect guy for your lady, right? Then, make sure that you don’t need a special occasion in order to be compelled to give her flowers.

Created by Freepik

Types and Meanings

Since we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about what kind of flowers you should buy. Many men have a problem determining which type of flowers are suitable for which occasion, so here are a few examples as to which flower suits which situation.

Created by Freepik

For instance, both single roses and bouquets are among the most favorite choices around the world, and there’s no really wonder about it, especially given that a red rose usually stands for love and affection. Still, you should be aware that flower symbolism actually exists and that the color should play an important role when picking flowers, too. That’s right, different colors convey entirely different messages. For example, we suggest you forget all about getting a yellow rose as an anniversary gift, even if your girlfriend or a wife prefers the color because it signifies merely friendship and joy, and is therefore more suitable for your female best friend or a female coworker hosting a casual summer party.

Created by Freepik

On the other hand, if you want something that has a divine smell, looks really cute and can survive for quite a while in a vase, go for lilies. They vary in color and size as well, which means you’ll have a lot of options for your bouquet. Moreover, lilies are also capable of sending different messages to your lady, all depending on their color and subspecies.

Hannah Olinger, Unsplash

Finally, these exotic beauties will not only allow you to pay tribute to your lady’s beauty and coquetry (calla lily and day lily) but also to celebrate her pride and independent personality (tiger lily).

Alexandra Gorn, Unsplash

These are just a few examples but should be enough to give you a proper hint about the possibilities and wealth of the flower language. The language that should be spoken in every home throughout the entire year…

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Nice! These are some helpful tips for anyone with the gift of flowers in mind, or if you want to consider the ‘just because’ theory. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong!

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/BoyanUlv

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 weekend!

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Gifts, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Kieran Blackmore from CAPTIVATING MELODY by Katherine McIntyre

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Katherine McIntyre, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Katherine! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

Writing A Paranormal Rockstar

 

When I sat down to write my Discord’s Desire Series, I wanted to offer a fresh spin on the rockstar romance trope—so I combined it with the paranormal. Writing a band made up of different types of fae let me play around with a whole different reason for the rockstar lifestyle, as well as an entirely new world as I meshed elements of fairy with the contemporary setting of San Francisco.

Thus Kieran Blackmore was born, the lead singer of Discord’s Desire.

File.Army

Charisma tends to run rampant when it comes to the lead singers of bands, and Kieran’s no exemption. However, what sets him apart is the fact that he’s an incubus, a fae who has the power to evoke desire in men and women alike. With a power like that, he could get any woman he wants, which made for a fascinating dichotomy in his character to explore.

Kieran can get anyone he wants with a simple touch, but all he really wants is for someone to want him separate from his abilities. Which of course led to the initial attraction he has for the heroine, Liz. She appears human, but she’s different—immune to his charms, which intrigues him from the get-go. However, the more he gets to know her, how she’s patient where he’s impulsive, how she’s logical where he reacts on emotion, then he ends up falling hard.

The other members of the band are just as fascinating and flawed, shouldering past scars from the complex politics of growing up amidst their kind. Whether it’s the slick siren bassist who always wears a mask, or the banshee guitarist who suffered years under living as a slave, the boys of Discord’s Desire ended up being a fun blend of realistic issues and the paranormal to explore. Each of the boys in the band have their own share of scars, but there’s a very human aspect to the family they’ve created for themselves on the road.

Edward Cisneros, Unsplash

In the first book, Kieran’s past damage is the focal point. He grew up an outcast in his own family who only ever cared about their station in the fae Courts. He’s impulsive and emotional, getting himself in trouble just as often as trouble from his past follows him. While he displays a lot of confidence and charisma, he’s also balanced by a vulnerability Liz is unwilling to offer at first, as she’s spent a life closed off from others.

At the end of the day though, what really drew me in with Kieran’s character was his loneliness and the fear that no one can ever love him as he truly is. He offers his love so freely to everyone around him and will defend his bandmates and Liz with his life, but he’s used to the false desire that comes with being an incubus. The real affection that grows between Kieran and Liz is brand new and thrilling to explore.

The most important thing in writing Kieran Blackmore, even more than his alluring incubus nature or the wild glitz of being the lead singer in their up and coming band, was his human flaws and aspirations as he struggled through the book. As different as the fae and their society in the series can be from real life, readers latch onto those struggles and dreams. Paranormal or not, what makes a hero resonate is the story they tell.

Too right, Katherine! And I adore paranormal heroes.
This book sounds awesome!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Captivating Melody.

Cross a satyr, a siren, and an incubus with rock and roll, and you get Discord’s Desire, a band of panty-dropping hellions whose live shows incite orgies. As booking manager, Liz O’Brien has the monumental task of keeping the boys in line. She’s resistant to glamour of the fae and fame variety, which only makes her more tempting to lead singer, Kieran Blackmore. With his incubus charms, he could have any girl he wants—except Liz, who’s determined to stay professional.

However, when Kieran’s brother sends hitmen after the band, Liz discovers hunters with her abilities who are mortal enemies of the fae. Mercenaries might attack post-show, but Liz has her Beretta to handle that. What terrifies her more than any monster is how she’s falling for Kieran, which triggers every ‘run-away’ sensor in her foster kid handbook. With war brewing between the hunters and the fae, their love can only end in heartbreak.

And Katherine is giving us a peek at her novel!
EXCERPT #1
To her relief, the lights dimmed even more, and the spotlights circled to the front and center stage, casting a hush through the crowd. A smile curled her lips once Kieran’s sultry voice came over the speakers, the effects dropping like a pheromone bomb onto the audience. A visible ripple didn’t cascade through the air, but once his voice reached a familiar intensity and the rest of the band began playing, a huge scream resounded through the crowd.
Even without the incubus abilities at work, she had to admit, the man possessed a toe-curlingly sexy voice. As she scanned over the crowd, the beginnings of the orgy broke out, where strangers locked lips and deepened their kisses. A pair in front of her started getting handsy, and all of a sudden shirts were coming off. They weren’t even finished the first song, and the scent of sex laced through the room.
Liz let out a sigh. This was why she stayed backstage during the shows. Her glamour-resistance turned her into the one sober person at this lust inspired rager. Her dry spell would have to continue for now, since she refused to hook up with the tool next to her and didn’t mainline the swell of sexuality like everyone else. Plus, with Mr. Fae Bartender behind her, she needed to act with extra caution. Bolting from fae sent the same message as a red flag to a bull—pretty please, come chase me.
On stage, Trevor thrummed away at the guitar, his fingers plucking over the strings with the skillful focus he always employed. He leaned up to the mic in front of him to add in the background vocals, the sensual tenor blending with Ky’s baritone. Renn’s hair flew as he thrashed away at the drums, his hands moving lightning fast and his hooves tapping the pedals. Meanwhile Jett romanced the length of his bass, providing the deep undercurrent the siren always did as those notes came out soul-wrenching.
Kieran’s voice reached a crescendo, drawing her attention front and forward. Normally when he sang, his gaze cast far and wide over the audience, as if he were romancing the crowd as a whole, but tonight, his eyes were locked on one person alone. She tried to swallow, but her throat grew dry.
Long strands of his dark hair drifted across his eyes as he clutched the microphone and rocked back and forth with it, the intensity projecting in his voice. He’d tossed his patched leather to the floor, stripped to a black wifebeater that clung to him like a second skin and revealed the intricate phoenix tattoo coiling down his arm. His hips shifted while he moved to the beat of the music, his grey jeans clinging to those powerful thighs. Yet nothing snared her as much as his amber eyes focused straight on her the entire time.
Heat flushed through her at his undivided attention, and while she’d like to blame it on all the bump and grind going on around her, Kieran got her hot and bothered. However, she wasn’t one to sit back and melt. Liz met his eyes and winked with a smirk. She caught the hint of a smile by the crinkle in his eyes as he crooned away.
EXCERPT #2

“Come here often, beautiful?” a smooth, sexy voice drawled from behind her.

Liz folded her arms over her chest before turning around and fixing Kieran with a look. The man, given the chance, would flirt with himself, so she didn’t ever take him seriously. His lips curved in a cocky smile made even more dangerous by the pointed fangs peeking out. He wore his stage clothes from the show—ripped jeans, a gray wifebeater, and a patched leather that had seen better days. Yet combined with the studs in ears, the streaked guyliner, and the labret piercing, the man oozed sex.

“Cool it, rockstar.” She smirked, meeting his teasing eyes. “You’ve got a whole cavalcade of women who’d throw themselves at you in a heartbeat, already fallen under your spell. I’m immune to your hinky fae magic.”

His fingers snuck up faster than she could follow to trail down the column of her throat. “Isn’t that what makes it all the more interesting?”

Liz shivered under his silken touch, ignoring the hoarseness in his voice and the quickened pulse that followed in the wake. The incubus didn’t need any powers to lure women. His voice alone would send them flocking, and with the attractive package it came in—well, he proved damn near irresistible.

Purchase Links:
Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mVBeWZ

 

Wow! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How fun to learn about your paranormal romance, Katherine! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pick up your copy of Captivating Melody today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thank you for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Katherine! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Strong women. Strong words.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes–high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women. Easily distracted by cats and sugar.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816179461992109/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00J8U4VNU

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103953984130384189045

Newsletter Sign-Up:  http://eepurl.com/duIScb

Publisher:  https://bit.ly/2B6QKGa

 

Thanks again, Katherine, for giving us a peek into the world of your character. Awesome! 😀

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, rockstar, Romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Avery Bell from FINDER KEEPER OF MY HEART by Vina Arno

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Vina Arno, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Vina! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

 

3 Reasons to Love A Beta Romantic Hero

 

Romance books and movies are full of swaggering alpha heroes who are larger than life. They are easy to fall for and hard to ignore. And, guess what else? They’re too common. If you’re like me, you probably want the quiet, smart, and sweet beta romantic hero for a change.

Created by Luis_molinero – Freepik.com

Welcome to the club!

When I wrote my second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, I chose a beta hero named Avery Bell. He’s a loner, a sensitive soul. He’s also a brilliant, MIT-educated software engineer who’s working on a super drone. Unlike the typical alpha jock, he’s got the lean-but-strong build of a triathlete.

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Let’s take a look at the top three qualities and reasons why the beta male is irresistible—in Finder Keeper of My Heart and in real life.

Top Three Traits

#1. He’s quiet and mysterious. The beta hero is swathed with layers upon layers of mystery. He’s the opposite of the temperamental alpha male. Avery Bell likes to go camping by himself in Hawaii and read Thoreau. As fate would have it, Emma Munroe gets lost in the jungle and he saves her. Emma gets to know him in the course of her Hawaiian vacation.

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Here’s a passage describing his quiet demeanor:

As the conversation downstairs grew louder, the more attentive he became, like they were the only two people in the world. She loved his ability to focus, on top of his other fine qualities.

#2. Nice guys don’t finish last. Women who are crazy for bad boys haven’t met an honest-to-goodness nice guy who’s also a winner. In Finder Keeper, the beta hero is a young, high-tech whiz who’s working on a super drone designed to provide help during disasters. He’s also a triathlete training for his first Half Ironman race. If you read this novel, you’ll see that whoever said nice guys always finish last is simply wrong.

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#3. He’s more realistic and closer to what most women want in real life. It’s okay to fantasize about the sexy, badass guy who breaks our hearts. But, in real life, most of us just want a guy who will give us a kiss before leaving the house, open the door for us, and cuddle with us on the couch during Movie Night.

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The beta hero does all of these things and then some. Here’s how Emma describes him: “Avery was male in the best sense, without touting it or taking advantage of it—solid, reliable, efficient, intelligent, and too damn hot.”

If you’ve been reading about alpha heroes all along, get to know a beta hero, and share your thoughts with us!

Fascinating, Vina! And I have to admit, I have a soft spot for a total gentleman. In fact, most of the male characters I write about are really good guys. 😉
Anyway, this contemporary romance sounds awesome!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Finder Keeper of My Heart.

Emma Munroe, a Juilliard senior, snags a plum role on Broadway a few weeks before her twenty-first birthday. She travels to Hawaii with her best friends to celebrate. When she gets lost in a jungle during an impromptu hike, she happens upon a waterfall—and a naked hunk bathing underneath it.

When she finds out his name is Avery Bell, she’s dumbstruck. She believes she’s meant to love someone named Avery. It all goes back to a message in a bottle she found when she was nine, a letter written by a soldier called Avery to his sweetheart named Emma. He’d written it in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II. Since then, Emma has been searching (and saving her virginity) for her own Avery.

But Avery Bell is as mysterious as he is irresistible. Emma learns about his family secrets and bitterness. In the course of this vacation, an accident and a tragic death will shake both of them to the core. Her singular faith in him—her unwavering belief in love and destiny—proves to be his saving grace.

And Vina is giving us a peek at her novel!

Emma jogged for the next few minutes. Another brook, then a dry creek, before she faced a second switchback. Shit, she was lost! She slogged along, her legs now aching. Then a faint sound of water. Late July in Hawaii was hot and humid, but the temperature had turned cooler the closer she got to the source of the rumbling water.

It turned out to be a waterfall, partly blocked by overgrown grasses. She descended to the swimming hole and parted the tall weeds with both hands to get a full view.

Omigod! A naked man stood underneath the waterfall, his back to her.

Well, hellooo, hottie. She stood across from him, frozen and mesmerized by his beautiful body—tall build, broad shoulders, toned arms and legs. He braced himself against the water crashing on his face by gripping a boulder with each hand.

All of a sudden, he turned around, his eyes shut. Before she could hide, he stepped out of the cascading water. When he opened his eyes, his gaze shot straight to her. He cupped both hands over his groin.

“I’m sorry!” She swung around. “I’m lost. I need your help.”

He didn’t respond, and she didn’t dare look. Two, maybe three minutes passed.

“Hello? Are you still there?” she shouted without glancing.

“You can look now.” He stood several feet away, dressed in khaki cargo pants and a burgundy T-shirt marked MIT. He carried his hiking boots, socks, and a backpack.

“I’ve been lost forever.” She puffed out her cheeks and blew a gust of air. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

He was probably a few years older than her. He didn’t appear embarrassed after getting caught buck naked, only annoyed.

“And your name is?” he snapped.

Okay, definitely pissed. “Emma Munroe—like Marilyn Monroe, but with a u.” She wanted to shake his hand, but didn’t get a chance since he perched on a big rock and proceeded to put on his socks and boots. When he rose, his dark eyes bored right through her.

He extended his hand. “I’m Avery Bell.”

“Avery?” She shook his hand, dumbstruck. Omigod! She had waited half of her life to meet someone named Avery—ever since she’d picked up a message in a bottle bearing that name.

He gave her a quizzical look.

She cleared her throat, composing herself. “Avery. I love that name.” My soul mate’s name is Avery. Could he be the one she’d been looking for?

He arched an eyebrow, like, really? He hauled his backpack over both shoulders. “How can I help you?”

“I need to get out of here.”

“How did you get here in the first place?”

“How did I get here?” she echoed like an idiot. Her self-confidence withered fast. She described the picnic on the beach and the hike up to the trail’s entrance. “I should have stayed put to wait for my friends, but my curiosity got the better of me. I chased the roosters and turkeys, plus I might have zoned out a little bit. I thought I was retracing my steps. I honestly don’t know how I got here.”

He nodded. “You’ve walked about four miles on the trail. Actually, you were probably not on the Muliwai Trail. You probably followed a fake trail. We’re a couple of miles away from Waimanu Valley.”

“You mean Waipio Valley?”

“I mean Waimanu Valley.”

She’d never heard of the place before. He walked up the weedy slope toward the trail.

She followed him. “Can you help me get out of here?”

He stopped, so she paused, too.

He turned his face to her. “I can take you to Waimanu Valley. I’m camping there.”

“Really?” Hope surged in her chest. He’s got to be the one.

Purchase Links:
Universal Reader link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

 

Yowza! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How fun to learn about your new adult romance, Vina! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pick up your copy of Finder Keeper of My Heart today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thank you for stopping by with your informative guest post, Vina! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Vina Arno is the pen name of Cindy Fazzi, a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. Finder Keeper of My Heart, published by Painted Hearts Publishing, is her second romance book. Her romance debut, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015.  Her first literary novel, My MacArthur, will be published by the Sand Hill Review Press in 2018.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.cindyfazzi.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Fazzi-779654065440439/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CindyFazzi

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Vina-Arno/e/B00R1RYE8E/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9800535.Vina_Arno

Google+:  https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Fazzi-779654065440439/

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

Publisher:  http://www.paintedheartspublishing.com/vinaarno

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/31649

 

Thanks again, Vina, for giving us a peek into the world of your character. Awesome! 😀

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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

Guest Author: Marie Lavender ~ Creating the Other World

A little about how I wrote my paranormal romance series…

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Whenever I write in a new genre, it is daunting at first. I take the time to familiarize myself with books in that category, all the while looking at the rules it takes to write such a story. But I’ll freely admit that by the time I’m done writing a book, I end up throwing half of the rules or guidelines out anyway. I am not a writer who likes to be boxed in too much.

With paranormal romance and urban fantasy, I have been familiar with those genres for many years. I was fascinated with paranormal phenomenon even as a kid, and I read my first vampire romance as a preteen. Still, it takes some finesse and quite a bit of imagination to tackle writing in the paranormal romance genre.

How did this come about?

The idea for Second Nature came to me a long time ago, but I…

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Marie Lavender, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Uncategorized, Writing

How to Design A Camping Trip for the Summer That Will Please Your Romantic Partner: a guest post by Dating Connections

How to Design A Camping Trip for the Summer That Will Please Your Romantic Partner?

 

There are various ways to show your partner how much you care, and putting together a little camping trip for the summer to sweep her off her feet may be just the thing. You’ll have your work cut out for you if she likes the outdoors, but today we offer little tips and tricks if your partner is a city girl who can’t do without the electricity and a full bath. You may be infatuated by cougar dating, or she may be just fresh out of college.

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Whatever the case is, camping will give you a chance to show you’re capable of taking care of her, and below we offer advice on how you can excel when presented with the opportunity deep in the woods.

#1: Put Your Thinking Cap On

People who’ve never gone camping have no idea how much work it entails actually.

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Setting up the tent, tying the tarp to protect it from the rain, organizing all the ‘kitchen’ stuff so that the food is accessible, making meals using nothing but a few raw ingredients and the fire that you have to keep going, and finding the time actually to enjoy the trip isn’t easy at all.

Kyle Glenn, Unsplash

What you’ll need to do to impress your partner is let your boy scout skills shine. Bring an extra umbrella because chances are it will rain at some point, don’t forget an extra flashlight when the batteries in hers die, bring an extra tent in case yours gets wet, and don’t forget a few additional layers of clothing even though it’s summertime.

#2: Feed Her And She’ll Love You Forever

If your camping trip lasts for more than a few days, just bringing food from home is not going to cut it. You’ll have to prepare meals, and ‘survive’ on what you have, which might not be your partner’s forte.

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If you’re a good cook, there has never been a better time to show it. Use the campfire to cook meals, stop by the local market to get fresh fruit, bring plenty of fresh water, and don’t forget to throw away the scraps after you’re done.

Bring a small fridge or two to store the food, and make sure not only that she never goes hungry, but also that she eats tasty, fresh meals to have enough energy for all the activities that go with taking a camping trip.

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#3: Compromise with a Pop-up Camper or RV

Even if in theory they love the outdoors, most women out there tend to get pretty girly and may we say difficult when it comes to actual camping. If you think your girl would spend the entire trip trying to stop the insects from climbing up her hammock, using a pop-up camper or RV could be a great way to compromise and slowly introduce her to nature.

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KounG, Pixabay

Not even all experienced camping fanatics have RVs or campers parked in their backyards, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t rent one for your trip as the first step in helping your girl embrace the simple life out in the woods.

#4: Outdoor Activities Make The Trip

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Camping is all about swimming in the lake, going hiking, riding your bikes all day long, playing badminton, and taking a nap in the shade. Bring a few good books for her to read after lunch, and plan out your activities so that your days are filled, but she’s not beat by 6 pm.

Get up in the morning and go for a quick jog, have breakfast and give your body some time to digest it.

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Go for a swim or a bike ride, and come back to your site when it’s time to prepare another hearty meal.

Take a nap after lunch and go hiking afterward, and sit by the fire and tell scary or romantic stories at night. If there are friends who’ll be joining you on your trip it may not be the most romantic of getaways, but it will be filled with laughter, shared memories, and lots of stories retold in the years to come, plus you’ll both get to enjoy all the camping stuff that much more.

Drew Farwell, Unsplash

Nice! These are some great tips for anyone who wants to introduce their partner to the idea of camping. You definitely need to take a lot into account with this type of venture, but in the end it’s worth the experience…

Take it from me. I used to go on camping trips all the time with my family as a kid.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such wonderful 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/BoyanUlv

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, and Happy Fourth of July tomorrow!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles