Category Archives: Guest Writer

From Friend-Zone to Love Prone: a guest post by Dating Connections

From Friend Zone to Love Prone: When Best Friends Fall in Love

 

We all have them or have had at least one – a best friend of the opposite sex – who maybe when you first met, there could have been a spark, but due to circumstances or already being in a relationship, you simply could not connect with that person in any other way except in friendship. And since you’ve become friends, you realize how perfectly you connect, that they have won a special place in your life, if not your heart.

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So, why go out of your way to meet people online when you might possibly have something magical right under your nose.

But ask yourself…

Outside your family, who knows you best? Your best friend perhaps, who you confide in, spend a lot of time with, and share all your secrets and hidden desires with?

It’s that friend of the opposite sex, who you friend-zoned a long time ago, that deserves a second look. Since, no matter how ‘platonic’ a relationship might feel, the spark for romance and true love is never far when two people share so much energy and emotion. So, if you catch them looking at you, that second or two too long, your best friend might just have the potential to be one of your greatest lovers.

Why do best friends make great romantic partners?

  1. They already know you.

When you start dating a best friend, and make things romantic, you don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t. That means the pretenses are gone, and the courting phase, or getting-to-know-you phase just got skipped because you already have so much in common. That time you spent as friends allowed you to connect at a deeper level, so the hard work is done.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

And the best part is, sex never got in the way of that process.

  1. Sex was not a distraction

So, when you sat through hours of Game of Thrones together, you know that they really loved it as much as you, and when a favorite character got killed, and you wanted to cry, they understood you, and it wasn’t because of sex. Lots of people pretend to have things in common just to get in bed with you. But when your lover is your best friend, you know they are not faking anything.

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  1. Familiarity leads to comfort

When you already feel comfortable with someone, and you know they love you for who you are and what you look like, sex also becomes better. There is no awkwardness and fumbling around each other’s bodies. You know what that person likes, and they know what turns you on, so the communication in the bedroom is really strong and clear. That leads to pleasure for the both of you. Your best friend is less likely to be a selfish lover in bed and will want to connect with you on all levels.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

So, these are just a few things to think about when considering taking your friendship to the next level. At first, you might be afraid to risk losing your best friend, but in reality, if you really are tight, you’ll end up gaining an amazing lover, who can also be your friend.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Awesome! Definitely some food for thought here. With the huge trend in ‘friends to lovers’ romance novels, it’s about time some of us came to the conclusion that the perfect romantic partner needs to be our best friend as well as a lover.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for this 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!  😉

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

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Characters Cassie versus Edric from A SIBLING’S DILEMMA by Molly V. Lovell

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 Molly V. Lovell, who has some things to say about her characters.

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

 

Cassie vs. Edric

In romance novels, we focus on the hero’s relationship with the heroine. This is important, obviously, because it’s a romance novel. If this relationship didn’t exist, we would have no romance. But, I’m going to say something a little controversial: I don’t think that’s the most important part of the book.

In my opinion, if you just focus on the relationship only and not anything else, you’re going to have a boring book. Love is sweet and all, but without showing why the characters are awesome through their interactions with others, we don’t care if the characters get together because we don’t care about them as people. How many romantic heroines have we read where we want to just shake them and say, “Get a life! Stop obsessing over this guy!”? How many heroes have we not cared about because they don’t do anything except fawn over the heroine?

In contrast, look at all the fictional heroes we fawned over: Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Mr. Rochester, Han Solo, Jay Gatsby, Don Juan, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Don Draper, Jax Teller, and the list goes on and on. We love these characters because they’re fleshed out and they do awesome stuff, whether solving mysteries like Sherlock or throwing wild parties like Gatsby. If a hero doesn’t do anything, why should we even like him or care about who he ends up with? Same goes for the heroine—why should we care about her if she only obsesses over a guy?

I tried very hard with A Sibling’s Dilemma to develop well-rounded characters with their own interests and personalities. I don’t know how successful I’ve been; that’s up to the reader to decide. And I’m certainly not comparing Edric Kensington to the great literary heroes that I’ve listed; that would be very arrogant of me to do. But, I hope that readers will pick up my book and care about the characters a little and want them to get together because they’re interesting people.

In my novel, there are three main characters: Ellie Kent, Cassie Kent, and Edric Kensington. Ellie and Cassie are sisters (hence the same last name). Cassie works as a private investigator and, through a strange series of circumstances, she finds herself investigating Edric Kensington. She sends her sister, Ellie, to be a mole in his company.

I tried to make Ellie and Cassie as realistic as possible. While they’re not inspired by any specific people, they face issues that many real women struggle with—insecurities, balancing family and boyfriends, doing what you think is right, et cetera. Their relationship as sisters is just as important as the romantic relationships in the story. Since I went into Ellie’s character in depth with an earlier character interview with this blog, I will discuss Cassie and Edric here.

Cassie considers herself to be a very moral person, but she’s willing to set aside her beliefs—specifically about not dating a married man—when she meets her dream boyfriend. Since she grew up poor and had to work to support herself and her younger sister, she places a high value on material comforts and is attracted to rich, older men. Throughout the novel, she is torn between doing what she thinks is right and doing what her boyfriend wants her to do.

Edric is a pretty complex character. Like Cassie, he had to support his siblings, but, unlike her, he grew up rich. As a handsome and wealthy person, he’s used to getting his own way most of the time. He’s very skeptical of others, since most people just want to befriend him for money or for their fifteen minutes of fame. This has made him skeptical of those he deems to be “outsiders” or “coattail riders.” Even though his employees often describe him as a bit mercurial and tyrannical, he has a softer side to him. This comes out particularly when he interacts with his rambunctious younger brother, Owen. Those who know him best would describe him as a very emotional person, but very, very few people get to see this side of him. As a CEO, Edric works pretty much all the time—about eighty hours a week. He takes his work very seriously and isn’t prone much to flights of fancy.

When Edric meets the Kent sisters, their personalities clash. Cassie and Edric, both being outspoken people, butt heads a lot. Ellie is pretty intimidated by Edric’s strong personality and gets bulldozed over, and needs to learn to stand up for herself. I hope you will chose to learn more about my heroes and heroines and how they interact with each other by reading A Sibling’s Dilemma.

Wow! Fascinating, Molly! This sounds like quite a read!

Congrats on your new release. When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Let’s learn more about the novel with some teasers, shall we? 😉

And here is a peek into the book…

Ellie Kent sat nervously in the top floor of the Kensington group building. She wrung her hands and then fidgeted with the second copy of her résumé.

Am I qualified for this? I hope I’m good enough. I don’t want to let Cassie down.

She made herself as small as possible as she sat in the waiting room chair. Ellie smiled warmly at the nearby workers, turned bright-red, and then looked back down at her resume, avoiding all eye-contact with them once more.

They probably think I’m weird looking, or too scrawny. Ellie frowned. Her heart was racing a mile a minute.

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

“Thank you.” She stood up and then followed the secretary over to the doors. The young woman went to pull the door open, realized that it could only be open by being pushed, blushed, and then pushed it open.

Oh God. I can’t even open a door right.

Ellie walked inside the room and saw Edric Kensington sitting behind his desk. He appeared to be quite bored and unamused. She was surprised by how young he looked, she guessed he was in his early-to-mid thirties. Surprisingly handsome too—he was tall and slightly muscular with strong and symmetrical facial features and unblemished, olive skin. The pictures in the paper didn’t do him justice.

Edric wore a crisp navy-blue suit and had silver cufflinks. His chestnut-brown hair was combed neatly and seemed to frame his face well. Everything about him seemed put together. Ellie immediately felt embarrassed by her own appearance. She wore a light grey skirt suit that she got from the thrift store, which was just slightly too big for her.

The CEO stood up from behind his mahogany desk and walked over to Ellie. She immediately felt intimidated by his height and somewhat muscular stature—it made her feel small and scrawny. And she hated feeling small and scrawny. Suddenly she wished that Cassie were there with her. Someone strong that she could draw strength from.

He reached over and extended his hand to her. “Edric Kensington.”

Ellie reached over to accept the handshake. It was strong and firm. Almost a little too much so; it hurt her small hand.

Oh no, I gave him a weak, limp handshake. I’m not supposed to do that. He probably won’t want to hire me because of it.

“Eleonore Kent.” Ellie’s pale cheeks were flushed red. She averted her eyes to the floor.

“Take a seat.” Edric pointed to the chair opposite his desk. He slowly walked away from the young woman and sat behind his desk—she noticed that he had a confident gait about him.

Ellie knew that she looked flustered. She was never good at faking confidence. Her violet eyes were wide and her cheeks were bright-red. She had a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look about her. When she sat down she made herself as small as possible—hunched over, with her hands curled up underneath her chin. In contrast, Edric sat behind his desk poised confidently.

Ellie took a copy of her résumé —the copy that she didn’t crumple nervously in the waiting room—and quickly handed it to Edric. He held his hand up in a ‘stop’ sign.

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

Ellie returned the paper to her lap and begun to wring this extra copy of her résumé, since she already tore the other copy to shreds.

“Your résumé is strong—I see that you’re probably going to graduate in a few weeks at the top of your class at an Ivy League university, with a master’s degree, no less. Excellent references. I see lots and lots of community service.” Ellie’s blush deepened. “I have one question. Why would you want to work here as my assistant?”

“I-I…” The young woman swallowed deeply. “I’m thinking of starting up a non-profit one day.” She blurted out and then looked at the floor.

“I see.”

He probably thinks my reasons are stupid and that I’m not cut out to run a non-profit or to run anything.

“What do you have to offer this office?”

The way that Edric said the word ‘you’ made Ellie feel even worse.

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

“I’m organized. I work hard. I. Um. I’ll do the job.” Ellie stammered.

Edric scoffed at Ellie and shook his head. She blushed and ran her fingers through her silky white hair. “You’ll start now. If you can make it through the end of the day, you can keep it. You will work nineteen hours a week for the next two weeks until you graduate. Then you will work full-time. Understood?”

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

Edric pointed to a wooden desk in the corner of the room. It was made of mahogany, like Edric’s desk, except it was smaller and less ornate.

“The computer is up to date and you’ll find whatever supplies you need in your desk. The computer has an email installed on it for you to use.” He handed her a large notebook and then began to pace back and forth. “This is my copy of my schedule for the week. You will take over managing it, since my incompetent secretary clearly can’t. Send out an email to my sales department to find out what our sales have been for the past four months then make a spreadsheet detailing these sales to me. Book a room for my four o’clock meeting and write me a report detailing all the people who are attending this meeting.” Edric paused. “Oh, and if you fail, you’re fired.”

Riveting! ♥♥♥ I hope you all get a chance to read this contemporary romance! 🙂

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

Guest Bio

Molly V. Lovell is a law student at William and Mary by day, novelist by night. Her hobbies include writing (obviously), painting, looking at cute puppies, and reading books about political theory, a subject that Molly has a Master’s Degree in. Molly was born and raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts, by her two amazing parents and she now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her loving husband.

Author Links

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Isobelle Cate visits us on September 26th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have lots of other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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

Five Ways to Keep the Romance Going with Your Partner: a guest post by Krissy Henley

Five Ways to Keep the Romance Going with Your Partner

 

Going on dates and meeting new people, or arriving at bars or bookstores and having a conversation with a complete stranger – these are several ways to get to know someone.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

And in time, if you get lucky, you’d end up being in a relationship.

Created by Freepik

But being in a relationship isn’t a walk in the park. There are miscommunications, jealousy and mistrust included in the deal. Staying in a relationship and fighting to maintain the bond is the real challenge for couples. Keeping the love strong and a connection going matters a lot.

Upholding the romantic feelings and reaffirming it throughout your time together, and not only on special occasions like Valentines’ Day and birthdays, is important in keeping your relationship intact. It’s not only about the affection and effort of one party; it needs two to tango. Thus, both partners are enticed to establish bonds of renewing love from time to time.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In strengthening the relationship between you and your partner, passion should never die out. That’s why keeping the fire burning makes a significant difference for the couple. So, what are the five ways that help maintain a romantic vibe with your partner?

1. Little surprises

First, it shouldn’t be daily. Surprises for your loved one can happen at any time of the week or month, as long as it’s heartfelt. But if you are persistent in doing the deed every day, it’s also great. What matters most is the message of affection for your partner.

Here are some of the little surprises you can do: Leaving love notes on the bedside table, or on the bathroom mirror; placing roses or a “thank you, I love you” card on the table; sending a sweet text message during lunch break at work. These are some simple gestures to show that you are thinking of your beautiful partner while you’re not together.

Created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

2. Planning dates

Your relationship should still be comprised of having dates with your partner. Dates continue to take place even after you’re officially a couple. These get-togethers are like refreshing the vibes in your relationship.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Take turns in planning where the next venue of your date would be. The same person shouldn’t repeatedly do the organizing of dates. In taking turns, you will know the favorable location and organizing preferences of your partner.

3. Talking with your partner

In continuing a deeper connection between couples, it’s vital to have clear, direct communication with each other. Conversations that last for a minimum of 30 minutes every day, wherein you talk about your day and something random you realized while on the way home. Some stuff like that strengthens the bond you have with your partner.

Talk to each other and discuss your recent feelings and what new goals you have right now. Communicating with your partner openly makes a big difference in how your relationship will move forward. Being honest towards each other matters in the way you handle the future.

 4. Lazy weekends together

Working couples often spend less time with their partners. Schedules can sometimes hinder the time meant for your loved one. That’s why having a weekend together with your boyfriend or girlfriend is essential for the relationship.

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Spend the weekend on the couch watching your favorite TV series or movies, eating pizza or junk food. Be lazy with your partner once in a while. Do nothing and just enjoy the feeling of being in each other’s company. Feel relaxed and content with the silence surrounding your lazy day together.

5. Never hold grudges

A major problem when in fights with partners is the throwing of past mistakes. People find fault in the past, and sometimes, they’re brought up when conflicts occur. However, resentment and misgivings ruin relationships. It turns everything sour and pointless.

Don’t let grudges kill romance and your relationship. Talk to your partner about the problems you’re encountering in the relationship – just talk it through. Do not settle with the thought that everything is fine when there’s something wrong going on in the relationship. After reconciling with yourself and your partner, let go of the faults and move on.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

Frequently going back to the past will not make the relationship healthy. Understand the situation, feel reassured that it won’t happen again, and continue with the relationship. Letting go of the things that don’t matter besides the feelings you have for each other is necessary for the stability of the relationship.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

This concludes the five ways that keep the relationship strong between you and your partner. In every relationship, it’s important to be confident that you’re on the same page and that you know what you want for each other. That keeps the relationship going.

So true! I think sometimes we all need tips on keeping romance alive.

Thank you, Krissy, for this thought-provoking advice about romantic relationships.

Guest Blogger Bio

Krissy Henley writes different blogs. She’s best known for writing romance, home improvements and language. She also writes for Lexcode translation agency in the Philippines. Krissy finds writing and researching fun. She always dreamed of working in a translation agency when she was a kid. She looks forward to work full time in translation agency sometime.

Links

Employer’s Website:  https://www.lexcode.com.ph/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/krissyhenley.cruz.3

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/106813163546406508865

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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

A Character Interview with Ellie from A SIBLING’S DILEMMA plus a conversation with author Molly V. Lovell!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been quite a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Monice DeSimone’s character back on November 8th of 2016 and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Molly V. Lovell, the author of A Sibling’s Dilemma, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Ellie Kent, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Molly in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Ellie!

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

Character Ellie Kent:  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?

Ellie:  Sure.

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

Ellie:  Um, right now I work at the Kensington Group as Mr. Kensington’s—the CEO’s—assistant. Keeping this between the two of us, I’m just working here because Cassie, my sister and a private detective, wants me to keep an eye out on Mr. Kensington for one of her clients. Although I don’t feel too good about being here as a spy.

Oh, sorry, you asked me if I liked the job too. I almost forgot. Um, I actually like it here. Mr. Kensington and I got off to a um…rough start at first. He can be really intimidating and, well, I’m shy to begin with. Being around him made it so much worse and it was really stressful. But, we’re good friends now so I actually enjoy my job. Although I wish I were there under better circumstances…

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! That’s a tough situation to be in. 😦

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Ellie:  Cassie’s the best sister I could ever ask for. She saved my life when we were younger and she’s sacrificed so much for me. I would do anything for her. She’s so strong-willed and powerful, and if she sets her mind to something, she just does it. I wish that I were as strong as she…

Marie:  Well, I’m sure you haven’t found the one thing that will test you just yet. I think we can surprise ourselves sometimes.

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?

Ellie:  Um…s-sorry. That’s not…um…can we move onto something else? I’m sorry.

Marie:  All right. Sure…let’s see.

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

Ellie:  I know this sounds really boring, but I like playing with my dog, Spots, and volunteering at the soup kitchen down the road. I believe in helping others. I actually just graduated with my degree in social work and I was set to work in that field, but Cassie needed me at the Kensington Group, so here I am. Wait, I think I might have already told you that last bit earlier. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I do that when I’m nervous sometimes…

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No problem! I think we all have a nervous tick or two, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Ellie:  I want to run a non-profit someday and work to eradicate extreme global poverty. I know I won’t be able to end it myself, but with the right capital and money management, I could at least stop a lot of people from dying from malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, and the like.

Marie:  Nice! It definitely sounds like a plan…

Let’s try another question.

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

Ellie:  I wish that I were a stronger person—someone who is confident and voiced her opinions more often. But, it seems like almost every time I go to say something confrontational, I just think ‘who am I to say this? What if I’m wrong?’ and I lose my nerve and I don’t say anything at all. Cassie and Mr. Kensington are always so vocal about what they want in life and I wish I were more like them.

Marie: I think most of us are afraid of speaking out about things, to go against the mold, so to speak. I think that when you find that something worth fighting for, you’ll know it.

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

Who was your first love?

Ellie:  Love is a pretty strong word. I think to love someone is a beautiful thing—you give up a piece of yourself to the other person. The only person I can say that I love is my sister. Not in a romantic way, of course, but I want her to be happy and I’m willing to make sacrifices to see that happen.

There is someone I really like, though—Mr. Kensington. He’s so handsome, smart, and strong-willed. He’s been a good friend to me too. I would say that Edric, I mean Mr. Kensington, is one of the few people that I can talk to where I don’t clam up. I need to get over this infatuation, though; he’d never date a girl like me. All his girlfriends in the past were beautiful models. Maybe if I were prettier he’d like me, but I’m not. It’s never going to happen and I just need to get over this silly crush.

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

I think you should just go ahead and crush to your heart’s content, Ellie. You only live once, right? 😀

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?

Ellie:  I was sick a lot as a kid. I’m not sick anymore though, so it’s nothing to worry about. But, um…I-I don’t like to talk about it much. I’m sorry…

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear it. That must’ve been difficult. I’m glad you’re okay now, though.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Ellie 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?

Ellie:  I didn’t dream of much growing up. I didn’t think I was going to make it to adulthood, to be honest. In a way, being alive, healthy, and able to live a relatively-normal life is a dream come true. On top of all that, I have a Master’s Degree, a decent job, and people that I care about and who care about me. Life is so much better than I expected.

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness. 🙂

So, who is your role model, Ellie?

Ellie:  My role model? For people I’ve never met, I would say Kristine Pearson. She helped to develop a radio that allowed for educational programs and information to be easily accessible in developing countries, even with no power. I would love to make that big of a difference to so many people someday.

For people I know, I would say Mr. Kensington. He’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met. He works, at least, twelve hours a day. And when he’s not working, he spends time with his younger brother and older sister, which is very sweet of him. He’s incredibly smart too—he helped make a brand-new type of video game technology. He’s admirable in those regards.

Marie: Wow! I agree. He sounds like a great man!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Ellie:  I try not to dislike people. Whenever I find myself disliking someone, I put myself in their shoes and see why they act the way they do. Usually, it makes me a bit more sympathetic to them. It’s not always easy, but I try.

Marie:  Well…that is definitely admirable of you! I respect that you can do it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Ellie:  Um…I…um. Wow, I um, feel really embarrassed admitting this but, um, I want to be with Mr. Kensington romantically. I guess if I’m talking about him in that light, I should refer to him as Edric. But I want to be with Edric. I should desire other things that are more beneficial to society, but, um…that’s my deepest desire. I’m so embarrassed. Please, please, please don’t tell anyone. I would be so mortified if Edric were to find out. I don’t think that I could look him in the eye again if he knew I felt that about him.

Marie:  Hey, it’s just us girls here! No worries. Your secret is safe with me.

Plus, who can blame you? He sounds like a total hottie.

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

Ellie:  I would say that my biggest fears are rejection and public speaking. Well, I suppose that I’m afraid of public speaking because I’m afraid of rejection. I always clam up when I talk to new people. Thank you for listening to me, though, and I’m sorry to have just rambled on about myself the whole time. It felt so good to get stuff off my chest, so thank you for that.

Marie: It’s understandable to have those fears. And public speaking? Yikes! Heck, I still get really nervous before my radio interviews. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget an important detail, or sound really dumb, you know? I think we’ve all been there before, hon.

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, Ellie. 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 Molly V. Lovell on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Molly!

Author Molly V. Lovell:  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, Ellie. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Molly:  She’s one of the few characters in A Sibling’s Dilemma that I can say is actually a good person. Her sister, Cassie, tries to be, but is willing to set aside her beliefs to get ahead in life. Edric, Ellie’s main love interest, is good to those he’s closest to, but is mistrustful and can sometimes be cruel to others.

Ellie wants to do the right thing in this story, but she doesn’t quite know what the right thing is. Cassie, a private investigator, wants Ellie to spy on Edric. Ellie reluctantly agrees, but when she gets to know Edric, she thinks that he’s actually a decent person and doesn’t want to be a part of destroying his company. She’s split between helping her sister and doing what she thinks is right. She’s in a rough predicament.

Marie:  No kidding!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Molly:  Ellie’s greatest strength is her compassion. She treats everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. Ellie treats a multi-billion dollar CEO the same way that she treats a homeless person. She doesn’t care much about material things and actually does want to help others.

Marie:  Excellent!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Molly:  I would say that Ellie’s greatest weakness is her insecurity; it causes most of her problems. Ellie can’t seem to trust herself and, since she’s been hurt in the past, she doesn’t really trust others either, with the exception of her sister. I think that’s really sad—no one should have to go through life not trusting themselves or others. Now, Ellie would say that she does, in fact, trust others. She thinks that she trusts other people too. But, her actions show otherwise. She’s very, very guarded and won’t confide in others or let them help her. Getting her to talk about potentially painful things is like pulling teeth out of her; it’s not going to happen easily. Her insecurities and guardedness is something that she works hard to overcome.

Marie:  Okay… 😦 I think we all have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate. And who hasn’t found it difficult to trust before?

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Ellie’s favorite foods?

Molly:  Ha ha…Ellie’s perfect meal would consist of half a tuna fish sandwich to eat, peppermint tea to drink, and tapioca pudding for desert. She eats it literally every day for lunch. Edric sometimes brings her in something different, though, since he thinks that it’s a little sad that she eats just a half of a tuna fish sandwich each day.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Interesting!

How about another question?

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

Molly:  Ellie’s really smart and hard-working. She’s a lot more competent than she gives herself credit for. She can accomplish work-related tasks that are nearly impossible. Since she’s so insecure, she doesn’t notice this about herself, though, and views herself as a bumbling, incompetent person who’s lucky to have a job.

Marie:  Aww…well, maybe she’ll be enlightened about that soon.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Molly:  For the most part, I think that readers will like Ellie because she’s a good person. But, at the same time, they might find her insecurities annoying at certain parts of the story.

I like to make all my characters multi-dimensional. I hope that my readers will both like and dislike my characters during different parts of the book. In life, people are multi-dimensional. I try to have my characters be as life-like as possible. So, long story short, I think that readers will cheer for Ellie sometimes, but want to shake some common sense into her at other times.

Marie: Oh, yes, I know what you mean!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings too.

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

What first gave you the idea for A Sibling’s Dilemma?

Molly: Okay, so originally I wanted to write a novel about a sassy, foul-mouthed private detective (Cassie) that falls in love with a jerk CEO (Edric), who she’s supposed to spy on. But then, I started to really develop the characters. When I fully fleshed out the characters and added in more (like Ellie), I had to re-examine the premise of the story. I moved the main couple away from being Cassie and Edric to Ellie and Edric. The story changed a lot over time.

Marie:  Nice! Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Molly:  I would say that I’m a combination of both. I really, really flesh out my characters. Then, I daydream about certain scenes in the book and I connect them all together. Once I have a general map going, I start to write. When I write, unexpected things come up and I either keep these new plot points, or cut them out entirely. I like to work in drafts. My first draft of A Sibling’s Dilemma was much different than the current version (and not just because my first draft was riddled with typos. Ha ha!).

Marie:  (Laughs.) I hear you…sometimes characters have minds of their own. The ones in Upon Your Love wouldn’t shut up for me until I wrote them into the story too. 😉

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 A Sibling’s Dilemma or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Molly:  Okay, so I didn’t have too many problems with writing A Sibling’s Dilemma. However, I have had problems, in the past, with writing other stories.

My main advice for writing is that you need to love your own story. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to flow well and it’s going to come out bad. Or even worse, it won’t come out at all because you won’t want to write it. This novel just seemed to flow right out of me; it wasn’t super hard to write. Editing it and polishing it up was a whole different ball of wax (I’m eternally grateful for my editor), but the book itself was easy and fun to write.

As for getting published, my main advice is to not get discouraged. All you need is one publisher to say yes. Getting rejected will hurt, but you’ll move on. If you never try to put yourself out there, you’re in the same boat as you would be if you just got rejected. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So, just try to put your work out there. And if you do get rejected, ask why. I know that it’s awkward to ask and having a conversation about all the things that you’ve done wrong. It’s not the ideal conversation that you want to have, but it’s a necessary one if you want to improve. Use that criticism to hone your craft and get even better. If you use the criticism constructively and you never give up, a publisher will eventually say yes. You can do it! 🙂

Marie:  Too right! Often if we try to force writing to happen when our hearts aren’t in the story, it doesn’t work out. 

Still, so much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get. And like you said, we have to try first!

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 A Sibling’s Dilemma appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, Molly!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this contemporary romance by Molly V. Lovell, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for A Sibling’s Dilemma:

Edric Kensington promised himself that he would never be close to anyone outside of his family. Ellie Kent promised herself that she would always do what she thought was right no matter what. Cassie Kent promised herself that she would never date a married man. Sometimes promises get broken. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes friendships collapse. Sometimes standards slip. And yet, sometimes people overcome their flaws and find love.

A Sibling’s Dilemma is a contemporary romance novel that revolves around two sisters: Cassie and Ellie Kent. Cassie is a private detective and Ellie is a recent college graduate. Cassie is hired by Charlie Logan, the CEO of a company specializing in virtual reality games, to spy on Charlie’s greatest professional rival—Edric Kensington. This is no easy task–Edric Kensington is known for being as cold and guarded as he is handsome. To successfully infiltrate Edric’s company, Cassie needs to have an insider work there. Her shy-and-sweet sister, Ellie, is the perfect fit. When Ellie first works for Edric’s company, she is afraid of the cold and aloof CEO, but, over time, she develops romantic feelings for him, just like Cassie develops feelings for Charlie Logan. The two sisters become torn between their friendship with each other and the feelings that they harbor for the handsome CEOs who have stolen their hearts.

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

Ellie Kent sat nervously in the top floor of the Kensington group building. She wrung her hands and then fidgeted with the second copy of her résumé.

Am I qualified for this? I hope I’m good enough. I don’t want to let Cassie down.

She made herself as small as possible as she sat in the waiting room chair. Ellie smiled warmly at the nearby workers, turned bright-red, and then looked back down at her resume, avoiding all eye-contact with them once more.

They probably think I’m weird looking, or too scrawny. Ellie frowned. Her heart was racing a mile a minute.

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

“Thank you.” She stood up and then followed the secretary over to the doors. The young woman went to pull the door open, realized that it could only be open by being pushed, blushed, and then pushed it open.

Oh God. I can’t even open a door right.

Ellie walked inside the room and saw Edric Kensington sitting behind his desk. He appeared to be quite bored and unamused. She was surprised by how young he looked, she guessed he was in his early-to-mid thirties. Surprisingly handsome too—he was tall and slightly muscular with strong and symmetrical facial features and unblemished, olive skin. The pictures in the paper didn’t do him justice.

Edric wore a crisp navy-blue suit and had silver cufflinks. His chestnut-brown hair was combed neatly and seemed to frame his face well. Everything about him seemed put together. Ellie immediately felt embarrassed by her own appearance. She wore a light grey skirt suit that she got from the thrift store, which was just slightly too big for her.

The CEO stood up from behind his mahogany desk and walked over to Ellie. She immediately felt intimidated by his height and somewhat muscular stature—it made her feel small and scrawny. And she hated feeling small and scrawny. Suddenly she wished that Cassie were there with her. Someone strong that she could draw strength from.

He reached over and extended his hand to her. “Edric Kensington.”

Ellie reached over to accept the handshake. It was strong and firm. Almost a little too much so; it hurt her small hand.

Oh no, I gave him a weak, limp handshake. I’m not supposed to do that. He probably won’t want to hire me because of it.

“Eleonore Kent.” Ellie’s pale cheeks were flushed red. She averted her eyes to the floor.

“Take a seat.” Edric pointed to the chair opposite his desk. He slowly walked away from the young woman and sat behind his desk—she noticed that he had a confident gait about him.

Ellie knew that she looked flustered. She was never good at faking confidence. Her violet eyes were wide and her cheeks were bright-red. She had a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look about her. When she sat down she made herself as small as possible—hunched over, with her hands curled up underneath her chin. In contrast, Edric sat behind his desk poised confidently.

Ellie took a copy of her résumé —the copy that she didn’t crumple nervously in the waiting room—and quickly handed it to Edric. He held his hand up in a ‘stop’ sign.

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

Ellie returned the paper to her lap and begun to wring this extra copy of her résumé, since she already tore the other copy to shreds.

“Your résumé is strong—I see that you’re probably going to graduate in a few weeks at the top of your class at an Ivy League university, with a master’s degree, no less. Excellent references. I see lots and lots of community service.” Ellie’s blush deepened. “I have one question. Why would you want to work here as my assistant?”

“I-I…” The young woman swallowed deeply. “I’m thinking of starting up a non-profit one day.” She blurted out and then looked at the floor.

“I see.”

He probably thinks my reasons are stupid and that I’m not cut out to run a non-profit or to run anything.

“What do you have to offer this office?”

The way that Edric said the word ‘you’ made Ellie feel even worse.

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

“I’m organized. I work hard. I. Um. I’ll do the job.” Ellie stammered.

Edric scoffed at Ellie and shook his head. She blushed and ran her fingers through her silky white hair. “You’ll start now. If you can make it through the end of the day, you can keep it. You will work nineteen hours a week for the next two weeks until you graduate. Then you will work full-time. Understood?”

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

Edric pointed to a wooden desk in the corner of the room. It was made of mahogany, like Edric’s desk, except it was smaller and less ornate.

“The computer is up to date and you’ll find whatever supplies you need in your desk. The computer has an email installed on it for you to use.” He handed her a large notebook and then began to pace back and forth. “This is my copy of my schedule for the week. You will take over managing it, since my incompetent secretary clearly can’t. Send out an email to my sales department to find out what our sales have been for the past four months then make a spreadsheet detailing these sales to me. Book a room for my four o’clock meeting and write me a report detailing all the people who are attending this meeting.” Edric paused. “Oh, and if you fail, you’re fired.”

Ouch! He comes on really strong, doesn’t he? But I’m really connecting with Ellie here. I can feel her pain.

Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0746PHKR1

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-siblings-dilemma-molly-v-lovell/1127020533?ean=9781625266231

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7388674

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/a-siblings-dilemma/

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

About Molly V. Lovell

Molly V. Lovell is a law student at William and Mary by day, novelist by night. Her hobbies include writing (obviously), painting, looking at cute puppies, and reading books about political theory, a subject that Molly has a Master’s Degree in. Molly was born and raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts, by her two amazing parents and she now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her loving husband.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Molly V. Lovell, here are some author links:

Website:  MollyVLovell.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MollyVLovell

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Molly-V.-Lovell/e/B0747WCG9Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15587999.Molly_V_Lovell

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/Mollsie18/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Ellie, a female character from A Sibling’s Dilemma, and Molly V. Lovell, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Jeffery Martin Botzenhart

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 Jeffery Martin Botzenhart, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Being invited to offer my thoughts on the theory of Romance, to be honest I’m not sure where to begin in covering what I believe to be such a broad-spectrum concept. Everyone has different notions about romance and how it shapes and influences aspects of their life. And no one is wrong in their belief. Each individual’s perspective feeds into this passionate beast and is clearly displayed by the variety of romantic prose published by countless authors on the subject.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

So what does romance mean to me? I guess I could begin by offering you my thoughts on what I find romantic. For me, the sparkle in her eyes when she looks at me in a dimly-lit restaurant while listening to a cool jazz saxophone playing for what seems like only us is romantic.

I notice how her hands are dirty and the sun-kissed tone of her skin after working in the garden. There are also times when she pushes my buttons, driving me crazy—because she knows she can. Walking hand-in-hand along a deserted stretch of beach, staying quiet and just listening to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore with seabirds calling out to each other is a moment I would relive again and again. And then in the dark after crawling into bed, to lay there and enjoy her soft breath on my shoulder and her hand at rest on my bare chest, feeling my heart beat, which only does because of her, is what I want when falling asleep.

So what about sex? How does it factor in to all this? Hello! I’m a guy! Sex and attraction definitely hold prominence in romance. Sex is great, especially when shared with someone you have a deep emotional connection with. But for me, I want more than that.

Think about this. A man and his wife were married for over fifty years until one day she died suddenly, leaving him heartbroken. And so as years go on, he regularly visits her grave site, bringing fresh flowers to decorate what he now sees as sacred ground. Most times he’ll sit there, staying quiet on the outside while talking to her in his thoughts. When with him, his children don’t understand why bottles of her perfume still sit on the bedroom dresser or why her jewelry box rests untouched. What some may fail to understand is that though her body is no longer there, her spirit lingers in his heart, fueling their romance which transcends the boundaries of time itself.

Created by Freepik

That, my friends, is the ultimate romance in my opinion. Sad? Perhaps for some people it is, but not for me.

As a writer of romantic tales, I channel my belief I’ve shared with all of you into my work. My notions of romance are clearly reflected in the stories I write and the way I lead my life.

             Not everyone, though, is so open about their romantic beliefs. You may see a couple that clearly don’t show much of an emotional connection to each other. Does that imply there’s no romance between them? It shouldn’t.

Created by Freepik

People express romance in different ways, be it elderly couples holding hands in a park, a young couple on a beach who can’t keep their hands off each other, men and women going to a courthouse to marry the ones they love after finally fighting for the right to, or a guy lying on the grass, with his kids piling on him as his wife tends to her flowers. Everywhere you look—you see romance, bold or subtle. What a wonderful world it is.

 

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

Guest Bio

So you want to know about me. Of course you do. So I will indulge your curiosity—at the risk of inciting severe boredom. I was born in 1967 in Warren, Ohio and grew up in a rural, run-down trailer park in Southington, Ohio, where I eventually learned that white and trash were, in fact, separate words.

After graduating from Chalker High School I attended Kent State University, earning a Bachelor’s of Sciences degree in International Relations. Yes, I earned a BS and can now BS in a most educated manner.

During my college years, I enrolled in several courses that fueled my passion for writing. But love, marriage, fatherhood, and paying bills forced writing to take a backseat for a number of years. Finally in October 2014, Clockwork Heart, a romantic steampunk tale I’d written, was published. And thus my side career as a writer began. Still awake?

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’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, Jeffery, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for the next post in our new Heroes & Heroines feature, which details some background on romance characters, when author Molly Lovell visits us on September 5th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Tommy from WITHIN SIX MONTHS by Cleo Scornavacca

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 Cleo Scornavacca, who has some things to say about her character.

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

 

Tommy: The Unforeseen Hero

When I started to write my debut novel Miss Taken, book one in a three book series, I wanted it to be slightly different. I wanted my female lead to have a best friend, but not the typical girlfriend. I wanted her friend to be a guy. One, that as the story developed was not her childhood sweetheart, but instead her childhood hero.

Secondly, I wanted the lead alpha pursuing the female lead to have issues with her best friend, versus the female in the book having jealousy issues over  another woman.

Tommy’s character was all of that and more. The thing is ‘the more’ was very much of a surprise to me. Although he was a secondary character, he was quite strong and almost a third lead.

            That being said, when the books came out I received letters and emails from readers saying how much they loved Tommy. At first I put the comments in the back of my mind…yeah, he is great but he isn’t the alpha.

Tommy to me was the boy next door with the bad boy looks. Yet, because he was written as a secondary character in book one and was not being concentrated on heavily until the end of the book, I hadn’t realized at first what the readers were feeling. My focus was the two main characters and how they grew and interacted with each and with everyone around them.

As Rain’s character had to deal with an incredible amount of turmoil with Dominick in Miss Taken and in the following two books, Tommy become somewhat of the glue or the anchor that held her together, when Dominick wasn’t part of the scenario.

            He was her sounding board, her friend, her devil’s advocate. He was her light at times when there was darkness and he was the person that knew when to step up and to also step away and let her fly on her own.

He knew every part of her…the good, the bad and the ugly, but he was never her lover.

He was the unforeseen hero…especially for me as a writer. He was the character that took me by surprise, the one I didn’t see coming, yet now that I’m writing a new series with him as the alpha, he’s the character whose story I never want to end. The story that I want to do right by…to do Tommy’s character the justice he deserves.

His book, Within Six Months, is due out at the end of summer this year.

It’s the story of a man that always put everyone before himself and now the part of him that he neglected, the selfish part, wants to find true love. You would think with Tommy’s charm and sexy looks it would be easy, right?

Wrong.

You see, Tommy has set his sights on a girl who’s done with men and doesn’t want commitment, and even if Tommy could persuade her, in this story he has something far more difficult to deal with…a memory.

Jade, the female lead, lost a very important man in her life and much of her decision-making comes from the tragedy that took that man’s life. Tommy has learned to accept that he may never find love with her.

There’s only one problem…

She’s the only woman he wants.

The new book takes Tommy on an internal journey of how to cope with his past to move forward towards his future. He’s renovating a beach house, while almost renovating himself.  To top everything off, Tommy has given himself a time frame to get the girl, finish the house and start a family…

…all Within Six Months.

 

Wow! Fascinating, Cleo! This sounds like quite a read!

Congrats on your upcoming release. When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Let’s learn more about the novel with some teasers, shall we? 😉
Nice! ♥♥♥ I hope you all get a chance to read this contemporary romance when it comes out! 🙂

Cleo is giving away book one of the Miss Taken Identity Series, MISS TAKEN, in the cool offer below. 

.•° GIVEAWAY °•.

Instafreebie giveaway

Thank you for telling us about your contemporary romance, Cleo! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of Miss Taken, everyone!

Readers, please check out the whole series! It looks fantastic! And we’re all looking forward to the new series, Wild Roses! ♥

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

Guest Bio

In 2012, Cleo began writing Miss Taken, her debut novel and book one in the Miss Taken Identity Series. Identity, book two, was published in 2014 and The Ties That Bind followed in 2016, which completed the series. In addition, Cleo is currently working on several other titles. Two of which are Within Six Months, one of four standalones in her new Wild Roses Series, which will feature the secondary characters from Miss Taken Identity, and The House On Leighton Avenue, which is an adult romance with a haunting twist; an unusual departure from her other books.

Cleo was honored to be a part of two anthologies. This Beautiful Escape: Volume One, contains her personal short story called “Small Gestures”. All of the proceeds to This Beautiful Escape go to the fund for Ataxia Awareness. Cleo is the senior columnist for Lust Bites Magazine and a proud member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the New Jersey Romance Writers (NJRW) organizations.

When she isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her family, friends and her Dobie, Brayden. Cleo enjoys reading all types romance, books on Italy, listening to 80’s metal bands, watching movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age, indulging in pink Prosecco and of course, squishing her feet in the sand down at the Jersey Shore every chances she gets.

Author Links

Website:  https://www.cleoscornavacca.com/

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/cleoscornavaccabooks

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/cleoscornavacca

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Cleo-Scornavacca/e/B00FW92ILS

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242174.Cleo_Scornavacca

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/115250823507233903870

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

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

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cleo-scornavacca?list=author_books

Booksprout:  https://booksprout.co/author/482/cleo-scornavacca

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Molly Lovell visits us on September 5th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have many other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Can Romantic Love Last A Lifetime?: a guest post by Dating Connections

Can Romantic Love Last A Lifetime? Myth or Not?

 

The first question you have to ask yourself, if you want to know that romantic love can last a lifetime, is do you want it to? There is no doubt that to prolong any romance or romantic sentiment in life, it’s something that must be maintained and nurtured and pursued. You can’t expect to sit back and have some magical force take over and create a lifelong romance in your life. Life is not a fairy tale. Everyone has the chance to meet someone special in life, and if you want to take it further and create special moments in your relationship, then you have to put in the effort. The idea that true love cannot happen more than once is a myth, and as many people into widowers dating know, love can happen many times, but the trick is to keep the romance alive by making a regular effort to connect with that person. Otherwise, left to itself, it will probably fizzle or fade, like any other emotion we experience in life.

Created by Freestockcenter – Freepik.com

Nothing can last forever. That’s the simple physics of the universe, but a lifetime is far from forever, and though sometimes years may seem long, when you see how fast time goes by, you realize how few moments you have with the people you love. So, the key to making love and romance last a lifetime is making all those moments count.

Here’s how you can do that…

Celebrate nothing, and everything

Another myth, that you need an occasion to celebrate something is nonsense. Just waking up alive, happy and healthy with those you love is a cause for celebration. So just choose a random day and make it special, mark it with a nice meal, or walk with a picnic of wine and cheese, or go out for ice cream or anything small but special your partner loves.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

These small rituals of shared or stolen moments create an intimacy and strong bond that big gestures of romance cannot compete with.

Compliment often, criticize less

Never hesitate to give your partner a compliment. From the way they wear their hair, to the smell of their skin and the brightness of their smile, to not holding back when you know they might need a pick me up or kind words because they’re not having a good day. Doing small tasks, like cleaning up or doing the laundry without asking is a small and cute way to let them know you care, when you can see they are tired. And holding back on criticisms, which are so easy to dish out, is one tried and tested way to make sure you don’t spoil the romance and take away from all the special moments you create. Compliments do get you far, but mean them.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

By simply applying these small rules to your life, you can live the dream of having a lifetime long true love. Even if it’s for the second or third time. And for all those who use Widowers Dating and are in that search, they should know the only myth here is that you can’t have it.

Created by Freepik

 

So true! I think sometimes we all need tips on keeping the romance alive.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for this thought-provoking advice about 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!  😉

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

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character George Bramley from DEVIL’S RUN by Beverley Oakley

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 first post in this series.

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

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

Who is George Bramley?

In Devil’s Run, I needed an antagonist to spark my heroine into actions that went against her heart’s desire in one respect, but which, in another way, promised her her heart’s desire.

George Bramley was perfect.

He’s appeared in the two previous books of the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series, always trying to wreck the romances that my matchmaking sisters – Fanny and Antoinette Brightwell –  are trying to orchestrate, but in this book, Devil’s Run, he’s actually the one wanting to marry the heroine. Not because he loves her, mind you.

 

As for my heroine, the penniless, sweet, intensely focused Eliza, she is desperate to be free of her controlling aunt, which leads her to accept the only marriage offer she’s ever received, even if there’s a caveat.

George always has to have his finger in some pie, or be involved in some unsavory wager. And when George learns that Eliza is tipped to inherit her aunt’s fortune, he proposes on the basis that if the aunt dies before their marriage without bestowing her fortune on her niece, George will pull out of the betrothal, but if the aunt is still living at the time of their marriage, he’ll go through with it on the basis that Eliza will ultimately inherit, and he can persuade the aunt in the meantime to favor Eliza.

Now, why would Eliza agree to this?

Well, first it’s because, as mentioned, she’s at the end of her tether having tended to her aunt’s persnickety needs for seven years, and even marriage to a man she doesn’t love is preferable.

Then she discovers that her long-lost illegitimate child, torn from her at three-months old, is a pauper child in George’s household.

But when a very handsome, kind and honorable fellow called Rufus Patmore, arrives at George’s estate to buy a horse, Eliza falls instantly in love.

Rufus is everything she’s ever wanted in a man: He loves children, he is brave, having served during the Peninsular Campaign, and he adores Eliza.

There’s just one problem. Rufus is on the lookout for a virtuous wife of unblemished character to be by his side as he establishes a political career.

And that, Eliza believes, means there can be no future for them.

How intriguing!

Devil’s Run just released yesterday. Awesome! :)

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

Let’s find out more about the novel, shall we? 😉
This is the blurb for Devil’s Run, book three of the Scandalous Miss Brightwell Series:

A rigged horserace and a marriage offer riding on the outcome. When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?

George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.

Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.

But with her heart suddenly engaged by handsome, charming Rufus Patmore who has just bought a horse from her betrothed George Bramley in whose household her son lives as a pauper child, the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.

And here is an excerpt.

This excerpt begins after Eliza has just plunged into the lake to rescue three drowning children and their nanny. Having dragged them – and herself – to shore, she makes a shocking discovery.

Chapter Two

Eliza had forgotten what it felt like to enjoy a man’s attention. He’d started to dry her in a vigorous attempt to warm her but then his touch gentled and he simply stared down at her.

The wonder in his eye as he murmured words of praise was a rare sensation. Embarrassed, she turned away. Yes, turned away because she could not afford to be so obviously disquieted by another man when she was affianced to George Bramley who stood a few feet away from her. He was also staring but there was no softness in his countenance.

Hoping to avoid any more gestures of admiration or kindness from Mr. Patmore, Eliza politely extricated herself and put out her hand to arrest the progress of the Foundling Home lad whom Nanny Brown was pursuing with a piece of dry linen.

His impish grin reminded her of young Miss Katherine’s, Lady Fenton’s daughter. Clearly the two had had a great adventure unlike Young George who was lying on his stomach upon the grass, shaking with sobs.

“Did you drink a lot of water, Young George?” Eliza asked, looking down at the crying boy but he ignored her.

“I said we shouldn’t go out! I said!” He pounded his fists. “No one ever listens to what I say!”

Eliza shared a wry smile with the rather lovely Mr. Patmore whom she found still staring at her but, as he looked about to approach her again, she turned her back on him and instead brought the Foundling Home boy to stand in front of her now that she’d succeeded in catching him. Eliza would not have Mr. Bramley – or anyone else – accuse her of encouraging the attentions of a man not her betrothed.

“Jack – that’s your name, isn’t it? Well, you’ll have something to tell them back at the Foundling Home.” She’d seen him only from a distance and now, mud bespattered and with his hair matted over his forehead, it was difficult to make out his features though she knew from various anecdotes that young Jack distinguished himself for keeping Miss Katherine’s wilfulness in check and peace between Katherine and her cousin, Young George.

Jack stood obediently before her as he started to wring out his threadbare shirt. “Nah, I’m fine, m’lady,” he said, glancing up to reveal a pair of small white teeth in a freckled face. “But thanks for savin’ me, an’ all.”

Eliza was about to let him go. Releasing her grip a second later might have changed the course of her life, she thought later that evening, and perhaps it would have been better if she had. Why repeat the trauma she’d already experienced?

But for now she was acting on instinct and instead of letting him go when it would have seemed natural, her grip on his wrist tightened while the air in her lungs disappeared, and she had to open and close her eyes three times before she was ready to believe what she saw.

“Gideon?” There seemed still no air to say his name. A great pressure was building in her head. Finally she was able to gasp in a breath, forcing herself to resist the urge to draw him into her embrace and wail her joy.

And pain.

How many other boys of seven years sported a tiny extra claw on their left hand? Or had been thrust into the cold, unloving world of the Foundling Home, she thought bitterly.

He stopped what he was doing to look at her uncomprehendingly and she added faintly, “Though that’s not what they call you, of course.”

An amused look crossed his face, making him look older and wiser than his seven years. Nearby, the weeping and wailing George was a puling infant. Smiling at her was a little man.

He pushed out his chest and said in a tone that was neither boastful nor self pitying, “There’s some ‘at call me Devil’s Cub, or bastard, but at the manor here they call me Jack.”

Devil’s Cub? The sixth finger accounted for the nickname, of course.

“Miss Montrose?” In the distance, Lady Fenton was calling her. Eliza was suddenly shaking like one suffering the ague. “Jack,” she repeated in a whisper, still staring at him as she clenched her own fists. Was the child tormented by his deformity? It looked as if not much troubled him though Eliza couldn’t remember how many times Eliza had been told the sixth finger was God’s punishment upon her bastard babe.

“Miss Montrose! Come away! Susan is waiting in the house with a warm bath and blankets. You must be chilled to the bone!”

Vaguely, she could hear the sounds of concern all around her but all Eliza could focus on was the impish face before her: that of her lost child.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B072BNV6DT

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/devils-run-beverley-oakley/1126385396?ean=2940154261316

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/devil-s-run-1

Wow! So intriguing! ♥ I hope you all get a chance to read this historical romance! 🙂

Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember, you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

.•° GIVEAWAY °•.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for telling us about your historical romance, Beverley! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Devil’s Run!

Thank you, Reviews by Crystal, for providing us with all the book details.

Readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series! It looks fantastic!
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Beverley! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately, drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honor – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances starring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

 

Thanks again, Beverley, for giving us a peek into the world of your characters. Exciting! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Cleo Scornavacca visits us on August 17th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Rachael Tamayo

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 Rachael, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love. Romance. Togetherness. Are they the same thing? I’d say it depends. Depends on the person and the situation. Love is what makes the world go round. Love for family, parents and children, a spouse, unrequited love from afar, broken love that shatters the heart.

I watched my parents as a child. I was one of the few kids I knew that didn’t come from a broken home. There wasn’t any time for them for dates, no money for anything special. No expensive gifts shared between them. But I never really doubted that they loved one another. Somehow, I think they shared private moments that we never saw as kids. What I did see, was my mom get up every morning and make my dad coffee and breakfast before he went to work. I saw her sew us kids clothes, knowing that my dad was working as hard as he could, and this was her way to help out so he didn’t have to work more in order to buy us clothes. We were broke. I remember most summers here in the Houston area without air conditioning, my mom taking us to the library just to have a cool place to be outside our sweltering home.

Now that I’m an adult with kids of my own, I realize there is a difference between romance and love. My parents did all that and showed us that they loved us in their sacrifices to make sure we had what we needed. (Except A/C, ha ha). When I think of romance, I think of one thing.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Falling.

I think it’s that feeling of need when you look at him or her. When we are at a party and my husband whispers to me that he wants to go home because he doesn’t want to share me with anyone.

It’s that feeling of falling. Some say love becomes stale, mundane, a day to day drudgery. That may be true, but you get those random moments when you feel that feeling as if it’s new. It hits you when you least expect it.

Created by Freepik

You’re falling over and over again.

When he looks at you just the right way and winks.

When she holds your baby for the first time in her arms.

When he tells you that he wants to just stay home with you and eat takeout in bed and watch movies.

A random text out of the blue.

An ‘I’m sorry’ after a fight.

Created by Freepik

Whatever it may be, you feel it over and over again during the course of the relationship. That out of control feeling that creates a desire to be alone, the warmth you get in your bones when someone else looks at you “like that” and tells you that they want you.

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

I think that’s why we all love to read romance. The tale of one couple finding each other and falling in love, the mad desire that seems to always lie just beneath the surface.

It reminds us of those feelings, or the hope we have to find them for ourselves one day.

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

Guest Bio

Rachael Tamayo is a multi-genre best selling author. Her titles include Chase Me, Claim Me, Gretyl and the Witch, Reach for Me, and The Stones. Her newest book, a psychological thriller, Crazy Love, is due to come out later this summer. She’s living happily in the Houston area with her husband of thirteen years, their four year old son and infant daughter. A part-time writer and full-time 911 dispatcher that spends all her spare time with family.

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’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, Rachael, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Leah Hamrick visits us on August 22nd! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Vivienne Vincent

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 Vivienne Vincent, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

I’ve never been a very romantic person, and romance to me means something different from a rich brat who acts like a bad boy but retains a basic goodness of the heart, eventually, falling for an ordinary woman.

I grew up reading Harlequin and I still read those books because they provide a great escape from reality. I don’t have the patience to sit through a 600-page romance so I prefer fast-paced fiction.

But life isn’t fiction and love doesn’t happen the way it happens in books. We suffer heartbreaks and if we’re fortunate we heal, otherwise we live with the scars. Love doesn’t essentially define the art of living.

To me, the most important thing isn’t getting to know the right man or the perfect woman, but getting to know yourself and staring at your own imperfections. That’s a very difficult process and most of us go through life getting over those who broke our hearts, instead of getting over our super inflated egos.

I was very surprised when people took my first publication, Dandelions, so literally. A man breaks a woman’s heart and then forgets her. Meets her again and falls in love with her. I understand that since the story was told from the woman’s perspective, the evolution of his character isn’t obvious. There’s a sequel where he tells the story. But the bottom line is that it was only symbolic of the horrible things we do and then completely forget how much damage we caused, until one day our actions come back to bite us.  We can justify just about anything to ourselves.

If human nature is so pathetic and inherently selfish, what redeems us? The ability to love someone other than ourselves.

Created by Freepik

I like to read literature from different parts of the world and there’s a beautiful concept in Persian mysticism about experiencing worldly love, which serves as a stairway to experiencing true love. You find a somewhat similar idea looking at the relationship between Socrates and Diotima.

Love only lasts if it’s more than momentary infatuation and lust. It requires you to give and surrender. There’s a wonderful novella Venus im Pelz by Sacher-Masoch (which is where the word masochism comes from, by the way). Another book that captures the essence of surrender is the French novel Histoire d’O. These books symbolize how much love can torture and in the end, break you. There’s no such thing as a happily ever after. There’s no element of winning or being rewarded.

To be honest, Dandelions was always the guy’s story and in the actual story, the girl killed herself in the end. But writing takes a toll on the author’s mind as well, so I decided not to take things that far. The first part of Dandelions that’s been released could be considered a very long prologue to the sequel or the actual story.

In the sequel, I want to highlight a few aspects of how men act toward women and how women respond to those things; not in an imaginary or ideal world, but in real life. I want to have a realistic approach which takes away the element of escapist fiction from my work. It will take at least two years or more to finish the sequel, because I’ve involved men in my process of research and I want some honest answers from them.

There’s a line in the book that “People love God and fancy the devil, but no one likes ordinary, flawed humans, which was what she revealed about me to everyone, myself included.” So I’ll be taking a flawed human and dealing with his flaws. He’s not going to achieve nirvana, but it’s going to be a struggle to improve and become a better person.

That’s what love, or romance if you want to call it, means to me.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

If we have the ability to love another, then we certainly have the ability to be a better human. Because life isn’t about being famous or being the best; it’s about quietly struggling to rise above our animal instincts and maintaining a balance between light and darkness.

 Nice! And how very true… 😉

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

Guest Bio

VivVinc-png

Vivienne Vincent grew up in a fairly conservative environment which ironically sparked her interest in unconventional subjects and romance novels. As a young girl she became interested in novels from the Victorian era as well as modern day romance. She is pretty much obsessed with British and American sitcoms and crime series. Look her up on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with her. She loves to hear from readers.

lavender parfumerie

Author Links

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Vivienne-Vincent-850442295083956/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VivienneVincen8

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2abR73V

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/57734728-vivienne-vincent

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15486427.Vivienne_Vincent

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/vivienne-vincent/

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’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, Vivienne, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Rachael Tamayo visits us on June 29th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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