Category Archives: Guest Writer

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.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

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.

pxlpusher, Flickr

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.

Lukas Budimaier, Unsplash

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.

Created by Freepik

#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.

dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

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

Created by Prostooleh – Freepik.com

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.

Created by Nensuria – Freepik.com

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

Blog Tour Feature: Wolf Around the Corner by Aidee Ladnier

¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

Giving into his wolf’s need for love could risk the quiet life Frank has created for himself—and his heart…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Aidee Ladnier, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new MM paranormal romance! :)

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

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

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Very nice!

This is the blurb for Wolf Around the Corner:

Frank’s family taught him that his wolf was dangerous, unwanted. Now his best friend’s brother wants him in bed and on stage. But giving into his wolf’s need for love could risk the quiet life Frank has created for himself—and his heart.

Settled in the small town of Waycroft Falls, Frank is content to be a lone wolf among the white picket fences and dollar book bins until he finds himself sniffing his best friend’s brother. Tom smells like hot apple pie and his Broadway smile has Frank lolling his tongue. But when the visiting actor learns Frank’s secret and plies him with hot kisses to get him to star in his play, Frank can’t help but wonder if Tom is only acting.

Tom ran away from family obligations to be a Broadway star. If he could make it there, he could make it anywhere…but he didn’t. Trudging home to Waycroft Falls to open his sister’s new performance space brings him face to face with a werewolf—a werewolf that would be perfect for Tom’s shoestring production of Beauty and the Beast. Staying in Tiny Town USA would be worth it if he can somehow convince the sexy wolf to expose his furry condition on stage and howl privately in Tom’s bed.

Wolf Around The Corner, a paranormal semi-finalist in Passionate Ink’s 2017 Sexy Scribbles Contest, is a full-length fairytale romance with a side of wolf shifter. If you like your romance with gorgeous men, humor, and small town magic, you’ll love Wolf Around the Corner! Buy your copy now and settle in to watch the drama unfold!

Ann is giving us a peek at her LGBT paranormal shifter romance, Wolf Around the Corner, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Genre:  Paranormal Romance, MM Romance, Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 3, 2018

Here is an excerpt.

The first thing he always did was take a large lungful of air. It reoriented him to the outside. His animal cataloged the smells—car exhaust, grass, tree pollen, and wait, a mouse skittering in the Dumpster out back. Frank’s urge to run built. He circled the apartments, looking for the storm drain near the landscaping wall. Inside him, his animal wiggled in excitement at the prospect of being freed. Frank shucked his clothes behind the wall and tucked them into the shelter of the pipe, out of view. Then he shifted, his hands lengthening, hair sprouting, and muzzle growing. His point of view shortened, now three feet from the ground as he blinked through the eyes of his wolf-like animal. Frank couldn’t stand still any longer. He sprang into the woods.

Frank ran, crashing through the underbrush and into the darkening shelter of the trees. He leaped over a shrub, felt the give of a sapling as he plowed through the brushwood. The animals and birds quieted at his loud, headlong dash, knowing he wasn’t of the forest, only disguised and playing at being a creature of the wood.

His paws skidded on a pile of old leaves. Frank almost lost his balance as he skipped up and over a fallen log. Around him, the scents of the forest all pushed in on him. Here a whiff of mold, there an astringent sniff of decay, everywhere the menthol of evergreen sap and wild herbs growing scattered on the forest floor.

Dry twigs snapped beneath his paws. His tongue lolled from his mouth, the fresh taste of the woods painting the back of his throat. The sun dipped below the horizon, the sky inking the tops of the trees. And Frank ran on until his limbs stopped, shaky and trembling. He collapsed onto a blanket of pine needles and leaves, moss and fungi cradling him as he panted.

As he caught his breath, the sounds of the woods lapped back around him. Insects and birds first. A harsh caw from a crow shrieked a hundred yards to his right. The chirp of a cricket sawed a few feet away. The rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker echoed above. And the still of twilight calmed him.

When he’d rested enough that his legs would support him again, Frank began the slow jog back to the apartments, letting his nose guide him through the darkening visibility of the woods. He could smell Mrs. Reynolds’s nighttime cocoa, and Mr. Reynolds’s liniment that stank of capsaicin. The lighted windows of the apartment building led him the last few feet, and he scurried up to the storm drain.

But his clothes weren’t there.

The sky darkened into night.

Frank knew Mrs. Anderson was out, but he could try to get the elderly Reynolds couple to buzz him inside. And hope they didn’t ask why he was naked trotting up the stairs.

Or he could stay in wolf form without a tag, which meant a night outside running from animal control and/or dodging every human that would mistake him for a stray dog.

Or wait, a third option. There was an oak that almost reached the ledge of his apartment window on the second floor. He never bothered to lock the window. Frank shifted back to human and sprinted across the yard.

He leaped for the lower boughs of the tree, grunting as the bark dug into the flesh of his palms. Frank swung himself up to straddle a branch, regretting it as the rough wood scraped his thighs. He crouched in the tree, awkwardly trying to shield his more delicate parts from the smaller whiplike twigs. He skirted around the trunk, grimacing as a low branch brushed a little too close to his groin. There. He was now on the side that faced the apartment house.

Frank balanced upright, his arms pinwheeling until he caught another branch higher up to steady himself. The leaves around him shivered on their stalks, the rustling loud. Please don’t let Mrs. Reynolds look out her window.

Using the taller branch as a guide, Frank placed one bare foot in front of the other and inched away from the security of the trunk. The limb beneath his feet shook as his weight tested its strength. He slid a foot farther out on the branch. It dipped, the leaves at the tip brushing against the side of his window. Just a few feet more.

An ominous crack sounded beneath him, and Frank froze. The branch popped again. It wouldn’t hold. He could make a jump for it. Frank swallowed hard. He should make a jump for it.

Frank jumped. And missed the house, falling into the azalea bushes.

Just as his hunky new neighbor from across the hall walked out of the apartment building and down the front steps.

Frank had seen Tom in the hall that morning, carrying boxes. Trying to be neighborly, Frank had introduced himself and offered to help. Tom had turned Frank down but flashed the whitest, most even teeth at him. Frank had seen nothing whiter outside of a movie theater big screen. They’d exchanged pleasantries, commented on the weather, and then gone their separate ways. Or rather, that was what Frank wished had happened. What went down was:

“Need help?” Frank barely got the words out when his new neighbor turned in the doorway. Frank froze. God, the man was gorgeous.

“Naw, man. I got it.” Tom shifted the box in his arms to hold out his hand. “I’m Tom Davidson.”

Frank wiped a clammy hand on his jeans and shook Tom’s hand. “Hot.” And Frank knew his mouth had disclosed the exact thing his brain was thinking. Idiot. Who said that to a guy he’d just met? A guy like Tom already knew he was hot.

Tom tilted his head as if he hadn’t heard Frank right. “Yeah. The temperatures are a little warm for this time of year.”

Frank didn’t dare correct him and kept his mouth shut, afraid he’d say something worse.

“Okay, well then, see you around, Frank.” Tom chuckled and continued into his apartment.

Meanwhile Frank beat it down the stairs, unsure how he managed not to walk into traffic as his mind ran over the exchange fail again and again.

So yeah. That was the less than stellar first impression he’d given Tom this morning. And now Frank followed that up by hunkering down naked in the azalea bushes.

“Are you okay?” The gleam from the safety light caught Tom’s dark gold hair as he tilted his head to peer over the shrubs. The shadows sank into his chiseled cheekbones. He looked like a brooding movie star ready to sweep a celluloid damsel off her feet.

Too bad Frank was a naked man trying to keep from exposing himself. Frank crouched down farther, making himself as small as possible, hoping the azalea’s pink blooms would distract Tom from looking at his hairy backside.

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” Tom leaned closer. “Are you… Do you have any clothes on?”

Frank racked his brain for some reason he’d be naked and hiding in the bushes. “Um, I, uh, just got out of the shower, and I leaned too far out my window.”

“Oh my God. Did you fall from that height?” Tom glanced up to the second floor, to Frank’s closed window and then back down. “Do you need an ambulance?”

Frank sighed. This conversation was only getting worse. Cupping his hands over his privates, Frank rose from behind the bushes.

“I’m okay. Just need to get back inside. I have a hidden key if you can get me past the front security door.”

Tom’s eyes widened when Frank stood. Frank winced, sure he looked like one long scrape covered in leaves. He blew at the hair in his eyes. A twig dangled, caught in an auburn strand, but Frank was unwilling to expose himself to yank it out.

“Sure. Sure.” Tom fumbled for his key and opened the door. Frank half hopped over the acorns and chestnut burrs to slide past Tom. Tom wrinkled his nose as Frank passed. Good old wet dog smell. It always clung to him after a run in the woods.

Frank took the stairs two at a time to escape.

After a shower and shave—why did going furry always lead to needing a shave? The rest of his hair receded. Why didn’t his beard?—Frank spent thirty minutes in front of his bathroom mirror, trying to psych himself up to knock on Tom’s door and invite him over the next day for coffee or to watch football. He scratched behind an ear, feeling the healing scab from a graze he’d gotten when he’d fallen into the azalea bushes. Staring at his reflection, he tried to look earnest and approachable. He could do this. He had game.

“Hey, I know you don’t know many people in town, and I’m a loser, but would you like to spend time with me?” Frank made a face at himself. Probably shouldn’t label yourself as a loser.

“Yo, you want to watch football? No, how about basketball? Baseball? No? What about Mexican wrestlers?” Oh God, what if Tom doesn’t like sports?

“I ordered two large pizzas by mistake tonight, and I could use some help, or I’ll be gorging on pepperoni for a week.”

Lame. Frank’s own gaunt features stared back at him from the mirror. Who was he kidding? He’d always be the guy who lost the genetic lottery and ended up with the family curse.

Galen’s syndrome was rare, only affecting about one in 2,000, but well-known enough that most people had at least heard of it. The Greek surgeon Galen had coined the word lycanthropy to explain the shape-shifting curse that traveled down through a family tree. Like most recessive gene disorders, it only manifested when two genes were passed down to a child, leading early scholars to think the afflicted had been re-cursed or spared for a generation due to divine providence. It was only with modern medicine that curses were found to be attached to DNA, breaking and molding chromosomes like magical radiation. But despite better understanding of the disorder, the stigma remained, not helped by the occasional local television feature linking the disorder to werewolf mythology.

All Frank knew was the recessive curse gene made him even more different from his family. He’d already been pushing it when he came out as gay. Turning into a wolf at sixteen had been…well, more than his father and stepmother could handle. She wanted to protect the kids, she told him. He loved his half siblings, didn’t he? It wasn’t safe to have a wild animal around children.

It had gutted him. They turned him out of his own home. He’d been angry. He’d done something stupid, lashing out, snapping at his sister Robbie. It still hurt, remembering the tears on his baby sister’s face, her eyes wide and scared. Of him. It was then he knew his stepmother had been right. Dangerous animals didn’t belong in a family. So he’d left, traveling all the way across the state until he landed in Waycroft Falls. It had been hard that first year. There were a lot of adult things he still hadn’t figured out.

Like how to ask out a guy who he hadn’t known his whole life. Moving from one small town to another had been a bad idea. Frank bonked his head against the mirror, gazing down into the white porcelain sink. He rubbed at a stray hair that clung to the side.

But on the plus side, small towns meant he rarely needed a car. And he could shift and run if he needed. He should take his clothes with him.

Purchase Links:

Universal reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4DlgQ7

Wow! Love it. ♥♥♥

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Aidee Ladnier, who has some things to say about the book at hand.
Hi, Aidee! ♥ A pleasure you could drop in for a brief chat.
Wolf shifters are very popular. In fact, there are thousands of books out there in this genre. Inquiring minds want to know…
How do you write a shifter story that stands out as distinctive and original? What will readers find in Wolf Around the Corner that’s new and exciting?
Aidee:  Hi! And thanks for having me on your blog. 🙂

This is a great question! Actually, the shifter book saturation issue is why I never thought I’d write a werewolf protagonist. I’ve read a lot of werewolf books and most of the shifter tropes like alpha males, the wolf pack in danger, and fated mates never appealed to me as an author.

But then I imagined a world where lycanthropy was treated more like a very rare medical condition. I renamed the malady Galen’s Syndrome, using the medical convention of naming a disease after the first person to describe it. In late antiquity, the Greek physician Galen described a patient with a ravenous appetite and other qualities of a wolf. If I made Galen’s Syndrome a condition that appeared in less than 1 in 2,000 individuals, it would classify it as a rare disorder and 80% of rare disorders have a genetic component. So I could keep a bit of the magic of werewolves; I made my shifter the possessor of a genetic curse. In other words, if someone is cursed with lycanthropy, the curse becomes a mutation passed down as a recessive gene. Therefore, although individuals could become carriers of the curse and still be normal, if someone gets the recessive cursed gene from each parent, they’ll be able to shift into a wolf.

So I have my werewolf, but I’m still not fond of the shifter tropes. Just to be contrary, I set out to make his story the opposite of all the shifter romance conventions. My shifter, Frank Braden, is insecure and awkward—the opposite of an alpha. He also doesn’t have a pack. In fact, he doesn’t have any friends with the same disorder and he’s even been asked to leave his family home because his father and stepmother are afraid he’ll be a danger to his half-siblings. He’s essentially, a lone wolf. And there are no fated mates in this universe. I love the idea of a fated mate, but if I personally have to go through the embarrassing and excruciating dating dance, I’m going to make sure my characters do too. I won’t give my protagonists any shortcuts to love.

I also made my werewolf the lead actor in a theatrical version of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve known several actors and the transformation scene for this particular fable has always been either to use a mask or a double to allow the main character to run off stage and take off their makeup. I thought a director might faint with joy at having a real life werewolf shift onstage during the transformation scene. Who wouldn’t buy a ticket to see that? Especially in a world where many people think werewolves are folktales. The play would be part sideshow and part theater. Which leads to a built-in conflict—because there’s a person behind that transformation, not just a spectacle to gawk at. I wanted to raise the moral question of how a director could both have an actor use a special trait without making them feel used. Where do you draw the line at exploitation and performance?

But, the book is still very light-hearted and sweet. I grew up in a small town and tried to put my favorite things about small towns in the fictional Waycroft Falls. From niche bookstores, to strange statues, and Founder’s Day bed races. Frank and Tom’s romance doesn’t run smooth, but it does skip along awkwardly to a hopeful beat.

Ooh…it sounds like a sexy, fun tale!

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into the writing experience of Wolf Around the Corner. 😉

Aidee is giving away a $5 Amazon GC, $10 Amazon GC, Ebooks from her backlist, and print books from her backlist. The winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please use the RaffleCopter link below to enter. Don’t forget you have a chance to enter every day, so be sure to visit all the stops on this tour. You may find those locations here.

Link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b56/

Thank you for telling us about your new MM paranormal contemporary romance, Aidee! I know I can’t wait to read this wonderful novel! 🙂

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

Author Bio

Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, believes that adventure is around every corner. In pursuit of new experiences she’s worked as a magician’s assistant, been a beauty pageant contestant, ridden in hot air balloons, produced independent movies, hiked up a volcano, and is a proud citizen scientist. A lover of genre fiction, Aidee’s perfect romance has a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.aideeladnier.com/

Blog:  https://www.aideeladnier.com/blog/

Tumblr:  http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AideeLadnier

Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/aideeladnier

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6570769.Aidee_Ladnier

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/aideelad/

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/aideelad/

 

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

Thanks again to Aidee and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, giveaway, Guest Writer, new release, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, small town, Tour, Writing

A Character Interview with Mason from ARRESTING MASON plus a conversation with author Amber Daulton!

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 Remy Marie’s character back on February 8th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Amber Daulton, the author of Arresting Mason, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Mason Harding, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Amber in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Mason!

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

Character Mason Harding:  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?

Mason:  Sure.

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

Mason:  I’m a mechanic, and yeah, I’m pretty damn good at the job. I like it too. My dad taught me everything I know about cars, and even though we don’t talk anymore, I’m still grateful to him for showing me the ropes. In all honesty, I didn’t plan to be a grease monkey growing up—in fact, I never really thought about the future when I was a stupid teen—but then I landed in prison and everything changed. A few years before my parole, I participated in an automotive work/study program to brush up on my rusty skills.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Mason:  My big brother, Alan, is supportive but overprotective. After all the crap I’ve put him through, though, I understand why he watches over me like I’m still a kid. Alan’s son, Danny, is adorable. I love my nephew to death, and I’m determined to not set a bad example for him. My parents and I are estranged. Alan is pressuring me into making amends with Mom, but I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon.

Marie:  Oh, no! How unfortunate! 😦

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Mason:  It was just a typical two-story, cookie-cutter house in suburbia. You know the type: a big yard to play in, flowerbeds lining the foundation, and nosy neighborhoods. The best thing about my home was that it was only a few blocks from the city’s downtown area, but I guess that wasn’t a good thing after all. I got into way too much trouble back then, and most everything was within walking distance.

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

Mason:  Besides work, which I really enjoy, I like to exercise and read. I picked up both hobbies while locked up, and they seemed to have stuck now that I’m on the outside. I like to keep my body in good shape because I never know if some creep from my past will find me and make trouble. I read when I need to wind down after a stressful day. Disappearing into another world helps take my mind off my problems, you know.

Marie:  I know what you mean! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Mason:  I’d like to stay out of trouble, permanently, and just live my life with Mia at my side. She’s a wonderful woman and doesn’t deserve any of the bad stuff that’s happened to her. If I could forever keep her safe, I’d be happy.

Marie:  (Nods.) That makes sense…

Let’s try another question.

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

Mason:  I want to be a good husband, and I want to give Mia a few babies, but I’m not looking forward to telling my kids about my prison sentence. I’m not necessarily ashamed of my past, but I don’t want my son or daughter to look at me differently after they would know the whole story.

Marie: Well, when they’re grown enough to understand, I think they’ll respect you for making your life better after what you went through.

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

Who was your first love?

Mason:  I’ve had a lot of girlfriends before I met Mia, but never loved them. I cared about them, sure, but after being cheated on a few times, I’d learned to step out first before the girl I cared about stabbed me in the back. I regret doing so, and I’ve vowed to Mia to never hurt her like that. She’s my first love, and I know better than to throw away her trust.

Marie: Aww. I understand that. ♥

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?

Mason:  Most people in my situation would probably say going to prison, but not me. The most terrible thing I ever did was when I robbed a liquor store with some friends. I knew it was wrong, but did it anyway. That mistake affected the outcome of my life, and there’s a part of me that wishes I could take it back.

Then again, I don’t think I would change anything I’ve ever done or had done happen to me because I’m happy right now. I have Mia and a great job, and I probably wouldn’t have either without doing the mistakes I’ve made.

Marie:  That’s true!

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

[Mason 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?

Mason:  Like I said earlier, I didn’t think about the future growing up. I just wanted to have fun and that backfired on me.

Marie:  I see.

So, who is your role model, Mason?

Mason:  Don’t have one.

Marie: Gotcha!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Mason:  No, I’m a pretty honest guy. If I don’t like you, I’ll tell you. No pretending for me.

Marie:  That’s refreshing!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Mason:  Just to live a good life under the radar from cops and criminals alike.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

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

Mason:  That I’ll mess up and land back in prison. Alan and Mia would never forgive me for it, so I try my best to stay out of trouble.

Marie: All right.

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, Mason. 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 Amber Daulton on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Amber!

Author Amber Daulton:  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, Mason Harding. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Amber:  Mason is a very frustrating character. He’s so stubborn with a temper a mile wide, but then he can be so sweet and caring. He definitely swept his lady love, Mia, off her feet.

Marie:  Nice!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Amber:  When he puts his mind to something, he never gives up, no matter the obstacles in his way.

Marie:  How admirable!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Amber:  His temper. He gets upset way too easily and says things he regrets.

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

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Mason’s favorite foods?

Amber:  Anything, really. After being in prison, he’s not picky.

Marie:  Okay.

How about another question?

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

Amber:  His ability to love. Though Mason wants to be a good person, he doesn’t think he deserves to have a woman show him unconditional love and acceptance. But when he loves someone, he doesn’t let anything stop him from showing and proving it.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Amber:  Mason has made a ton of mistakes—everyone has to one degree or another—but he’s ready to change and move on with his life. I think a lot of readers could relate to that, and they’ll like him because he’s a good person beneath all the scars and tattoos.

Marie: Very true!

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

What first gave you the idea for Arresting Mason?

Amber:  A few years ago, I found a submission call for a bad boy anthology, and the stories were supposed to be pretty short. By the time I finished the first draft of my manuscript, I had exceeded the word count and still wanted to add more scenes. So I forgot all about the submission call and kept revising the manuscript until it clocked in at 80 thousand words and sparked ideas for more books, which is now a 5-book series.

For how I came up with the plot, I must thank my subconscious since I dreamed about it. For days after, I kept thinking about the hero, the heroine, and her brother, and the characters wouldn’t leave me in peace until I wrote out a rough plot line. Though it changed quite a bit as I put the dream down on paper (or rather computer), the main premise remained the same.

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

Let’s try something else.

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

Amber:  Both actually. I plot as much as I can, but I get new ideas once I start writing and I usually follow them.

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

How about another question?

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

Amber:  The biggest challenge for me was the word count. As I already said, I needed to write a short story (around 15k word count), but ended up with a manuscript that was around 40k. Then I kept building on it to make it a full length novel. Weaving in all those new scenes was difficult and required lots of re-writing to scenes already done. The only thing I would probably do differently next time would be to plot better.

Marie:  I hear you. I’ve written myself into a corner with plots a time or two.

I was in your situation before as well. Once I had an anthology challenge too, and it was so hard to keep within those guidelines. I think as a writer, I don’t like to be boxed in. (Laughs.)

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 Arresting Mason appears to be. Sounds like it’s right my alley!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this romantic suspense by Amber Daulton, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Arresting Mason:

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

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

“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.

“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”

“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”

His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”

“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.

He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.

Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.”

He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”

Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”

“Take me to your place and you can have me.”

And some teasers!

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

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

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5779-arresting-mason.html

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39005064-arresting-mason

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this romantic suspense! ♥

About Amber Daulton

Writing is the fruit of happiness.

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.

As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Books:

https://books2read.com/u/3nOgre
https://www.amazon.com/Callas-Summer-Fantasy-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B01G99PUB4/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932161&sr=1-14&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Beginnings-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B01IYI0AJK/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932135&sr=1-12&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Valentine-Adventure-Contemporary-Romance-Daulton-ebook/dp/B01BMSI3ZC/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932135&sr=1-8&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Treasure-Trove-Lynette-Sofras-ebook/dp/B019E764YA/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-2&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Mirrors-Time-Samna-Ghani-ebook/dp/B01709VVQA/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-7&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Honor-Mirrors-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B014G2IFJ0/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-9&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Body-Club-Collection-ebook/dp/B00YG0K1HW/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-3&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Cinderellas-Enchanted-Night-Cinderella-Body-ebook/dp/B00Y1DAIKE/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932179&sr=1-11&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Christmas-Collection-Jennifer-Conner-ebook/dp/B00PUM5MQ0/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932464&sr=1-10&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-City-Handmade-Christmas-Book-ebook/dp/B00PE54JEE/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932725&sr=1-13&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Montana-Ranch-Willow-Lightning-Bennett-ebook/dp/B00OJ9LLJM/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932464&sr=1-1&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Lightning-Over-Bennett-Ranch-Collection-ebook/dp/B00KWEFP9K/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932464&sr=1-4&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Sexy-Romances-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00H2WPFVI/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932938&sr=1-15&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Heros-Heart-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B00GFCZI40/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932744&sr=1-6&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Winter-Amber-Daulton-ebook/dp/B00C2DWLWI/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932744&sr=1-5&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY
https://www.amazon.com/Marry-Merry-Christmas-Terry-Long/dp/1938076265/ref=la_B00ALQITWY_1_20?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524932938&sr=1-20&refinements=p_82%3AB00ALQITWY

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

Website/Blog:  http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

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

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Mason, a male character from Arresting Mason, and Amber Daulton, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

4 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writing

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Dating A Single Parent: a guest post by Dating Connections

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Dating A Single Parent

 

Dating nowadays is undoubtedly not a walk in the park, yet dating a single parent introduces a whole new level of hard. Now, we don’t want to imply that it isn’t a worthy and rewarding experience, because it is; it’s just that it requires far more attention, dedication, and empathy.

Namely, there are a quite a few things you should be aware of should you start dating a single parent. As you already assume, it’s entirely different compared to other sorts of dating, such as senior dating for example.

Created by Asierromero – Freepik.com

 

So, what are in our opinion the top five things you should be concerned about when dating a single mom or dad, you ask? Just read the following paragraphs, and you’ll get the idea.

#1 Being A Single Parent is Overwhelming, So Good Date-Planning skills Are A Must.

Single parents usually, but not necessarily, assume the role of both parents. What you should do now is take a moment to picture how often an average individual takes for granted the help they get from the spouse. Or how easily he/she complains about not getting enough sleep or help around the house, often forgetting about the challenges imposed on single parents.

So, in the context of dating and translated to real life, this is how an average single parent usually thinks:

  • It’s the end of the day, and they are finally available for you, so they want to have a fulfilling and meaningful date that will recharge their batteries.

    Created by Freepik

  • They’re looking forward to it and might have a bit higher expectations because they know it can help them get energized appropriately for the following day, with all its challenges and small setbacks that might arise along the way.

We believe that this example perfectly illustrates the possible pattern of a single parent’s way of thinking while teaching us to be creative and caring when organizing dates at the same time.

#2 They Have to Plan Ahead.

Yes, they have to hire a babysitter and make plans far more in advance in order to enjoy their alone/date time. Childless people usually can’t grasp how it’s like because they haven’t walked in a single parent’s shoes.

Free Photos, Pixabay

On the other hand, you should be aware you’re not entitled to plan your partner’s schedule on their behalf whatsoever since it can cause issues, misunderstandings, and other additional problems.

No, no one is blaming you for wanting to head out for a romantic getaway with your partner, but you should understand that this isn’t always possible because their kid might have flu, or the babysitter might have canceled on short notice, just to mention a few possible reasons.

In this light, you’ll often need to be ready to come up with some viable alternatives that will be equally pleasant and will sometimes include your partner’s kid/s.

#3 Say Bye-bye to Spontaneity.

Hitting clubs until wee hours and struggling with massive hangovers is apparently not an option for your partner anymore, regardless of their age.

Created by Freepik

They have to be fully functional the next day since children – especially if younger – require constant commitment and attention.

So, if you can make it work for both sides where you get to enjoy the nightlife without hurting your relationship – great! If not, perhaps it would be a good time to reconsider both your personal desires and mutual goals to determine whether you’re on the same page.

#4 Your Relationship will be Different…

…And there’s no point denying it. Caring profoundly about your partner doesn’t mean buying expensive gifts and taking them out to fancy dinners; it understands accepting them both as a parent and person you’re dating.

It can be confusing at times, we know, and no one expects you to be a parent to their children because they obviously proved they could live their life independently before you entered the scene.

Created by Freepik

Creating a genuine and unique bond with their kid, on the other hand, will reassure them that you’re a right partner for them.

Finally, kids can always tell if you’re a fake and won’t be afraid to express their opinion about it.

#5 They Will Sometimes Fail to Grasp Your Position.

Yes, they won’t do it on purpose, but you should always keep in mind that the person you’re dating will probably struggle to invest equally in their parental efforts, career, and house and that day only lasts 24 hours.

Sure, they might be getting occasional help from family or even an ex-spouse (if they separated on good terms, of course) but sometimes, it might just not be enough.

Created by Asierromero – Freepik.com

Consequently, this can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety that might have a negative impact on your relationship. If this be the case, keep in mind that healthy and straightforward communication can be vital to solving this problem and is otherwise a basis of every stable relationship.

Are you dating a single parent at the moment? Have you done it in the past? We’d love to know all about it so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Created by Freepik

Nice! These are some helpful tips for anyone who has their eye on a single parent. You definitely need to take more into account with this type of relationship, because it’s not just the two of you in this…

Take it from me. I tried dating a single parent once.

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!

1 Comment

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by C.L. Donley

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 C.L. Donley, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

It took me my entire 35 years to realize that I was a romantic person.

It was the last thing anyone would ever accuse me of being. None of the telltale signs were there. I didn’t particularly enjoy romantic movies, never had any bouts of boy craziness or childhood crushes. Certain love songs made me cringe. I was never particularly girly, didn’t go to dances or prom, hadn’t really been on a proper date really. Certainly I wanted to be in love, like any woman. And when I met my husband it was likely all of these misnomers that caused me to accept much less than I deserved. Anniversaries went uncelebrated; Valentine’s was just another corporate holiday. Even birthdays could sometimes be considered vain, if too much money was spent.

Several years and three kids later, after enduring all this, not to mention infidelity and a host of other problems, I found myself wanting to escape. It’s cliché, I know, but which part? The situation itself or my reaction to it?

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

I knew I couldn’t very well get in the car and leave my family behind. If only there were a way to go somewhere without physically leaving. Instinctively, I reached for romance.

At first it was a concession, a guilty pleasure. Like everyone else, I knew all the stigmas attached to the genre. As an English major and writer, I had to get over my own pretenses and open my first romance novel. I chose a Harlequin, being familiar with the name. And it didn’t take long for me begin a steady diet of romance literature.

Within a week I was coming across some really compelling stories and I realized that like anything else, romance could be done well. One day I remember reading something and just feeling completely alive and happy. I realized that I actually was a romantic person. That romance wasn’t necessarily a certain order of outward gestures or traditions. It was the business of loving and being loved and the fruit of that, because all love bears fruit. I learned that it wasn’t romance I lacked, but sentimentality. It’s this lack of sentimentality that makes my voice unique among romance writers.

It didn’t dawn on me at first that I should write romance. I was a writer in denial, on the run. I never wrote for fun; the idea of writing as a job sounded like the worst torture. I pretty much only wrote for school, which was years ago, and after three small kids all under five, the idea of writing for me was pretty much laughable. Part of me was unsettled, because it was the most prominent talent I had. People that barely knew me would ask me if I was still writing, and I would have to break the news to them. In the back of my mind I felt all kinds of guilt that I wasn’t utilizing my gift.

In the thick of a separation from my husband, I was starting to think about the future, and what, inevitably I would have to do for money. I dusted off my résumé, started looking into childcare prices for my kids. In the midst of that I got a germ of an idea. Not unusual. I got story ideas all the time, all of which I ignored. But this one was a romance, and it gnawed at me all day. The thought of taking pencil to paper was nauseating, so I saved an audio note on my phone. And that was the moment the floodgates opened.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

The ideas wouldn’t stop. I wrote for twelve hours that day. I had 12,000 words by the end of the weekend. In three weeks I had the whole novel, the initial draft of what eventually became Amara’s Calling.

Romance saved my life. Not only did it connect me to my heart, but to my identity as a writer. It kept me from taking out my frustrations on my family, propped up a marriage that would’ve otherwise crumbled before its time, and was the hope that kept me buoyant after it was over. It showed me that love was not a matter of being attractive or deserving, but a necessary part of being alive, not to mention a necessary part of being a woman. It made me realize that nothing was wrong with me or my sexuality, that my marital issues were less about my personal failures but more about the fact that I was being starved. Without that realization I might still be blaming myself today.

Created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

I suspect that all women have an infinite capacity to be loved, as in no amount of romance is enough. It sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it isn’t. Do we ever get to the point as humans that we’ve had enough food and we no longer need anymore? No, because it’s not the way the system works. I suspect love is like food in that it can have a variance in quantity and quality, and these variables can positively or negatively affect the health of the individual.

Created by Freepik

Love should be daily, fresh and new in the same way. To me, romance is life itself. And now that I’m waking up every morning, excited to see what more I can create, I’ve never felt more loved than I do now.

Great! Love should improve us in various ways…and like you, I agree that reading and writing romance opens your mind and heart to its possibilities. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, C.L.! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance. Armed with an B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is a natural born writer and can’t wait to be done with this bio so she can get back to it. Her writing style is sophisticated yet simple, apologetically escapist and character driven. She likes to write lovable, redeemable and believable characters and place them in equally lovable, romantic and relatable settings and scenarios– removed from reality just enough so that reader can properly escape, and even revisit!
She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her. Check out her website, Facebook page, Twitter page and feel free to email her at cldonleyauthor@gmail.com.

Author Links

Website:  cldonley.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/AmarasCalling

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/C_L_Donley

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/C.L.-Donley/e/B078Z6TSS8/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17605062.C_L_Donley

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

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

 

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, C.L., for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for a historical romance blog tour feature when author Sofie Darling visits us on April 24th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

3 Comments

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

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Mason Harding from ARRESTING MASON by Amber Daulton

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 Amber Daulton, who has some things to say about her character.

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

Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?

Mason Harding appeals to me as both a reader and a writer because I love redemption and second chance stories. Just because someone makes a mistake (depending on the mistake, really), I don’t think they should be ostracized from society, especially if they’re trying to make amends and trying to live a better life.

The idea for this character and the book came to me in a dream. In my dreams, however, I’m always the leading lady, and I fell in love with a secretive ex-con with a dangerous past. I couldn’t stop thinking about Mason for days after that, and his seductive voice kept urging me to write about him as I tossed and turned in bed at night, so I finally wrote out a tentative plot.

For Mason, he was 18 years old when he and a few friends robbed a liquor store. Two innocent men were shot as a result, but Mason did what he could to save the men’s lives. He went to prison for it and has regretted that night ever since, but he’s thankful he was arrested since he cleaned up and got his life together in the slammer.

Despite his past mistakes, Mason loves his family and friends, and he’s holding down a respectable job. He’s doing his best to be a responsible adult, but his past always seems closer than he likes. Though most people either think him a criminal when they see his scars and tattoos, he’s self-assured and doesn’t let other people’s judgment bother him.

Mason is a good example of someone turning their lives around for the better. Otherwise, his lady love, Mia Eddison, wouldn’t be with him. According to Mia, and I quote: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It’s how you respond to those mistakes, or how you cope, that defines you as a person.” I think that pretty much sums this up. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who can move on and make a good life for themselves and those they love, in spite of any and all adversity, deserves a pat on the back.

So very true!
This romantic suspense sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Arresting Mason.

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life.

That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

And Amber is giving us a peek at her novel!

They reached her store and he stared at her car parked by the curb. “Harper doesn’t know where you live or anything about you. That means you’re safe for now, but he’ll probably search this area to find us. Stay cautious, okay? Drive your car from now on. Don’t walk anywhere.”

“Why are you avoiding my questions? You can tell me anything.”

“Not this. If you trust me, don’t ask those kinds of questions.” He tightened his fingers around her forearm as she tried to jerk free from his grip. “Listen to me, damn it. You mean a lot to me, but I can’t tell you this. At least not right now. That’s nothing against you. It’s all on me. I just need time to take care of this problem. Okay? I’m fucking stressed, in a shitload of pain, and I don’t need you to hound my ass.” He dropped his hand from her arm and scowled as though he just noticed the dirt and blood on his knuckles. “I’d like to go upstairs to clean up before you take me home. I don’t want Alan to know what happened.”

Mia dug through her purse with shaky hands, so angry she didn’t trust herself to speak.

He took the keys from her before the little pieces of metal slipped between her fingers, and he hugged her despite the grime on his skin and clothes.

Tears clogged her throat. Her mind screamed at her to push away from him, but the strength in his arms enveloped her and stole her will. His heartbeat soothed hers, and she no longer cared about his lies or if filth caked him.

At least not at the moment.

“I never meant for this to happen, Mia. I will fix this.”

“I know, but at what cost?” She pried her face from his chest to stare up at him. “You’re nothing if not determined, but I’m scared and confused. You have answers to my questions, but I won’t hound you for them as you so eloquently stated. I just thought we got past this. I thought you knew I would never insult or condemn you for whatever it is you did.”

“And I thought you knew not to push me too fucking hard.” His deep voice sent shivers of unease down her spine. “I have to keep certain parts of my past to myself.”

“Whatever.” Mia finally pushed against his chest for freedom and stomped to the stairwell door.

Amber is such a tease…here is another promo as well to entice you with!

 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

B&N:  https://bit.ly/2uOj90J

iTunes:  https://apple.co/2FVAQMP

Publisher:  http://bit.ly/2FSVvBa

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

How exciting to learn about your romantic suspense, Amber! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pre-order your copy of Arresting Mason today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

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

Guest Bio

Writing is the fruit of happiness.

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.

As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

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

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368 

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

 

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

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, characters, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writers, Writing

Unique Yet Perfect Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank: a guest post by Dating Connections

Unique Yet Perfect Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

 

You might not have even realized that BBW dating was made for you until you met your perfect plus-size lady who turned out to be everything you’d ever wanted and more.

Renepfister, Pixabay

That being said, with as much baggage as any of us have on our shoulders, dating someone new, trying to impress them and give them the world despite the constraints of everyday life isn’t always the easiest thing to do. However, it’s the thought that counts even if the execution is not as splendid as you’d like. At the same time, there are still things you can do to show not only that your heart is in the right place, but also to go a step further and be creative (say, frugal) in your ways of showing how much you care. Today, we explore several unique date ideas that guarantee a good time, and ensure you don’t break the bank in the process.

#1. Seeing a Local Band

If you and your girl like the same kind of music, catching a live show by a local band instead of a world renowned performer is a very unique option to dating on a budget. She might like heavy metal, and even if that is not your first choice, if you can enjoy that kind of music, getting her two tickets to a local heavy metal gig that takes place at a small venue with cheap beer guarantees she’ll appreciate your effort to be creative as you try to get her to fall even more in love with you.

Created by Photoangel – Freepik.com

If the band happens to kill it, your chances will certainly increase!

#2. Taking a Bus Tour

It’s great when you can get two tickets to Mexico on short notice, and take your lady on a 7-day vacation to a 5-star resort, but when you can’t do that keep in mind there are lots of other ways to get out of town, and spend some time exploring new places.

Created by Onlyyouqj – Freepik.com

For instance, remember buses? Those large vehicles that transport people from one place to the next? Well, buses are pretty affordable and you can get two tickets for a daily tour of a sight that is a few hours away from your hometown. You’ll be doing something special for you both – taking a break from the everyday worries weighing you down, and spending quality time together doing something you don’t get to do that often.

#3. Cooking at Home + Going Out for Dessert

The word ‘date’ usually implies going out, but it doesn’t have to be so.

Created by Freepik

You can stay in and have a wonderful time provided you allocate a certain amount of time to each other only, like you would at a restaurant. What you can do is pretty simple – you can prepare a lovely meal for the two of you that you’ll share over a bottle of wine, and once finished you can go out for a walk and get ice cream! You can go out for dessert, as in go to a patisserie and order a waffle or some pancakes, and merge your at-home dinner with getting sweets downtown or wherever you and your honey like to go.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

You’ll save money and ‘go out’ on a date at the same time.

#4. A Stroll Through the Park

Leah Kelley, Pexels.com

Among the weather permitting options, there is always a stroll through the park especially if you and your date are into art, or say, photography. You can take wonderful photos together of the changing seasons, and create stunning posts that you’ll share with your community, or you can start your own personal collection of how things are changing around you as the two of you remain stronger than ever.

To top it all off, you can make sandwiches and lemonade at home, and have a picnic after the walk tires you out.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

#5. Midnight Bike Ride

Turning a date into a workout session is not only unique, but it’s super healthy, and breaking a sweat together usually means your date ends in the shower. But that aside, going to the gym is not as exciting as staying physically active as you spend quality time together. Enter a midnight bike ride.

Everton Vila, Unsplash

At night, there is virtually no traffic so you can bike through the downtown core, provided it’s not the weekend or you don’t live in a big city because if you do, there is just no escaping traffic. But that aside, you can bike through your neighborhood or go wherever you like, and if this idea is outside of your comfort zone, even better because you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline that will bring you closer to your partner.

Nice! These are some helpful tips for couples who are trying to save money these days. Which, I bet, falls on many of us! As for the last point, definitely wear brighter colors for bike-riding, just in case. Safety is everything…

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!

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

Exclusive Interview with author Suzanne Jefferies, plus a look at erotic romance, WATCHED, and giveaway!

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 second 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 erotic romance, Watched. Please join me in welcoming Suzanne Jefferies to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Suzanne Jefferies:  Hi, Marie! Lovely to meet you.

Marie:  It’s such a pleasure to see you here! I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have any other occupations? Do you believe you’re any good at them? Do you like what you do?

Suzanne:  I’m a copywriter, specializing in corporate marketing collateral, government case studies (South Africa), and personal profiles. I’d like to think I’m very good at it! I love it. I get to work on some really exciting client projects from the comfort of my home. Win/win all round.

Marie:  Nice! 

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Suzanne:  Driven. Chaotic. Next question, please.

Marie:  Oh, I hear you there! 😉

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?

Suzanne:  We moved a lot, including from the UK to South Africa. My earliest home was my favorite; surrounded by a cobblestone wall, overlooking the cold, grey Atlantic, and four houses from my best friend. We used to go down to the beach in our Wellington boots, dodging stinging nettles and sheep droppings. Every day was an adventure.

Marie:  Great!

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

Suzanne:  Rolling on the mat at jui jitsu. Running half-marathons with my youngest sister. Drawing stories about the young me adventuring on that cold coast in South Wales.

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

So…what is your greatest dream?

Suzanne:  I’m still single. So, I’m wishing and a hoping for true love/the fairytale/someone who I can partner with. Maybe a family.

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

As I’ve learned, true love 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?

Suzanne:  I could do with being more extroverted. What’s stopping me is my introvert tendencies. I can do extrovert best when I’m a little drunk – that doesn’t roll so well on a Monday morning!

Marie:  (Laughs.) Very true…

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

Who was your first love?

Suzanne:  A boy named Gareth, with a lazy green eye who worked at the Pro Shop and smoked Camel filters. Did he break my heart? With a sledgehammer.

Marie: Aww…okay. I sense a big story there. ♥

Let’s try something else now.

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

Suzanne:  Lots of terrible things happen all the time, and I’ve certainly had more than my fair share. The funny thing, though, about terrible things is that, sometimes, they can lead me on to better, wonderful things. Other times, they’ve led me to the therapist’s door.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

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

[Suzanne 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?

Suzanne:  I wanted to write books. And, yay, that’s what I’m doing.

In a million years, I never dreamt that publishing would be so hard. In my career as a writer I’ve been plagiarized (legal fees nailed that one), had an agent run out on me, had a publisher go bust and close its door weeks before my release, and another publisher used my book as a vehicle to legitimize her self-publishing business. Epic.

For every step forward, another twenty or so back. People think of E.L. James or J.K. Rowling when they think of writers, but they’re outliers. Most writers I know are doing well, but aren’t finding their photo in People magazine.

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, Suzanne?

Suzanne:  Jane Porter. She moved me to tears with her story, because it was my story too. The difference was, she had the guts to stand up there and share. She’s a writer who never gave up, a successful publisher and a dedicated mom. I think she’s awesome.

Marie:  All right.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Suzanne:  Yes. I will not be revealing said person’s name to protect the innocent (me).

Marie:  No problem. I respect your privacy!

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Suzanne:  To have a child of my own (looking super unlikely at this point).

Marie:  I know what you mean. The closest I’ve come so far is adopting kitties. 😉

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

Suzanne:  That it will be too late – that all the things I still want to do and experience in my life, will somehow slip away from me into time’s black hole, and it will all be too late.

Marie: Well, I certainly understand your fears that time is a losing battle. But I don’t think it’s ever too late to accomplish what you set out to do.

I want to try something different next, Suzanne… 

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

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

Suzanne:  Professor Brown, Evie, is newly divorced and questioning everything about her life. All of the roles and titles that seemed to apply, no longer do. She used to love her job, but she feels her passion slipping away. She’s no longer a wife. She’s no longer young. Everything’s changing.

Marie:  I see.

So, what are your characters’ greatest strengths?

Suzanne:  Resilience. She gets up, gets out there and gets on with what needs to be done.

Marie:  Admirable for sure!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Suzanne:  Young men named Cameron! The tendency to look backwards towards the past. That’s not where she’ll find her answers.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Suzanne:  Sushi, vegetarian lasagna, and steak, mid-to-rare, with fries. And Chardonnay.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

Suzanne:  She’s open to change, open to experience, and open to difference. It’s not something she thinks of consciously; it’s part of who she is.

Marie:  Works for me!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Suzanne:  It could be easy to dislike her, considering that she does ‘break the rules’ with Cameron. But it’s part of her breaking her shackles to the past, and the person she was.

Marie: All right.

Well, now that we have a real taste of Evie Brown, 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 Watched?

Suzanne:  Trawling through YouTube videos I came across the Christopher Atkins turkey ‘One Night in Heaven’. Something about the teacher/student angle, had me thinking. And then I watched Laura Branigan’s video for ‘Self-Control’ and somehow the two non-related ideas kind of mushed and melded together (Still not sure how this inspiration thing works!).

Marie:  Gotcha! And I hear you. My story ideas come from all over the place.

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Suzanne:  Pantster all the way! I let the story take me where it wants to go and hang on.  

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 Watched or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Suzanne:  Yes, there was a minor challenge. The relationship with Sophie is fluid, a friends with benefits, casual affair. So, it had to be clear that Evie wasn’t cheating on her. However, Sophie is polyamorous, so it’s not that Sophie would mind particularly. I had wanted to explore this more, but publishers were not so keen. Luckily, I reworked parts of the story and Wild Rose Press was happy to publish.

Marie:  Okay.

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 Watched appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this scorching romance by Suzanne Jefferies, a talented author! :)

Now, let’s learn more about Suzannne’s blog tour going on right now.

Here is the blurb for Watched:

Newly divorced Professor Evie Brown notices her student Cameron Slade and how attentive he seems, so totally unlike her ex-husband. Cameron is also delicious to look at, all taut body, broad shoulders, and hot eyes. He’s forbidden territory, but one late afternoon as she pleasures herself in an empty lecture hall, she looks up to find she’s not alone. He’s there…watching her.

And then there’s Sophie Walker. Ever since Evie met the sensual woman, she’s allowed her inhibitions to unreel, one by one. It’s Sophie who’s been sharing Evie’s erotic awakening, Sophie who she yearns for. Or is it?

Suzanne is also offering us a peek of the book!

I wipe clean the whiteboard, enjoying the push of the felt, swinging from side to side as I move, the squeaking sound it makes as it erases the past three hours’ worth of hard work. An image replays over and over—that unexpected reveal of Cameron’s torso—a handspan of bareness, the grooved shadow of muscle. It was a shock to the sterility of that lecture hall. My mouth waters. Bare, taut skin—that male skin, so much rougher, harsher than a woman’s.

Male.

I replace the lids on the markers and switch off the projector. Alone. Facing late afternoon emptiness.

If Cameron were to give me something I’d like… I’d like him, close to me, all sweet-sandy raw male youth, at my knees. Male.

I swallow back the desire that is starting to slither through me, stroking the space between my neck and collarbone. Cameron. I picture the way he ran his hands through his lightly gelled hair, the bulge in his arms as his hands extended behind his head. The soft curve of his lower lip. That vulnerable stretch of torso that was making my mouth salivate like a beast before its slaughter.

Nice! I’m curious to find out what happens in this book… 🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07B2BR84Z

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/watched-suzanne-jefferies/1128033307?ean=2940159047809

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/watched-19

Plus, Suzanne is giving away some wonderful prizes, two ebooks of Watched, during this tour. Two lucky winners will receive a copy. 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.

.•°☆ RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY °•.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b33/

Let’s offer some kudos to Suzanne’s sponsor as well…

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this erotic romance! ♥ Readers, don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

About Suzanne Jefferies

Suzanne Jefferies loves to write romance. As a member of ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa), she knows that she’s not the only believer in romantic tension and emotional power smacks to keep the romance reader hooked. A movie fanatic, she spends most of her time as a writer-for-hire. Working in communication, she has done more than her fair share of corporate and investor PR, and now freelances in between editorial jobs for big, glossy company magazines. The Joy of Comfort Eating, her first contemporary romance novel, won the 2016 Imbali Award for excellence in romance writing.

Books:

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

Website:  www.suzannejefferies.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/suzannjefferies

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Jefferies/e/B0076INQUU/

https://amzn.to/2GrvJrQ

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8193878.Suzanne_Jefferies

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/115131914653334849624

Once again, I want to thank Suzanne Jefferies, the brilliant author of this hot novella, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here! Fans, enter the cool giveaway while you still can!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, characters, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, steamy, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Bonnie McCune

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

Love at first sight. Many of us, at least the very young and very naïve, believe it happens. But whether love occurs with the speed of lightning or following long and complex efforts at a relationship, most agree romantic love exists.

JD Mason, Unsplash

Being humans, our fascination with romance, our expressions of love take many forms, most of them relatively harmless. We might shower gifts of jewelry on our beloved, share preferences in food and wine, proclaim our feelings on social media. We search for examples of love in films, music, art, and enjoy emotions vicariously.

Recently on opposite sides of the globe, however, authorities are intervening on physical demonstrations of attraction. First up, Vietnam, where the Publishing and Printing Department is cracking down on “clichéd, useless, obscene and offensive” works that are “poisoning” the youth. (This same claim has been used off and on in the U.S. and other regions during various censorship battles.) Furthermore, “government needs to regulate an activity related to culture and people’s way of thinking so that it can benefit people”.

If only. If only all of humanity could agree on a method to truly benefit people. Unfortunately, down through the ages, this activity always seems to include punishing, even destroying those who don’t concur with authorities, like Nazis and various religious fundamentalists.

Created by Freepik

I’m afraid that romance, like hunger, seems to be a basic instinct, and fails to obey rules, laws, even parental decrees. Think of Romeo and Juliet. Heck, think of American teens who not infrequently sneak out windows to meet their crushes. Or the teachers and chaperones who rode herd on necking couples at dances years ago.

Romance often benefits from tangible symbols. Over the years, letter sweaters, going-steady class rings, engagement rings, matching tattoos or nose rings are examples. In Paris, star-struck lovers once attached thousands of locks on bridges and railings as symbols of their relationships.

Pedro Kümmel, Unsplash

Some say Asian tourists started the craze, others that a book and film were responsible. In any case, sections of fencing on bridges were crumbling under the weight, posing a safety risk as well as “degradation of property heritage”, not to mention problems associated with graffiti, pickpockets and street vendors. The city now removes them for auction as mementoes.

Other cities face the problem differently. They don’t remove locks. Instead, in Rome, city officials created official spots—steel posts with chains on the bridge—to eliminate damage to the infrastructure. We haven’t had much luck in the USA catching perpetrators who use graffiti to proclaim their desires. Painting over the results helps but has little effect on carvings.

Created by Freepik

I’m not optimistic any activity can control the interest in and demonstration of romance. Humans are nothing if not creative. We’ve been dodging censors for millennia, and finding creative ways to express emotion even longer. However, the attempts at restraint are ever-changing and as entertaining as the many paths of love.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Seems to me the true symbols of love consist of the length of a relationship and the content of it. I’ve never understood how patronizing or abusive actions can be labeled ‘romance’. Romance should be a positive quality. It should enhance the lives of the people involved. External trappings mean little to me.

My final evaluation, whether of a real-life romance or one in books, is…Does this romance bring out the best in the romantic partners? In Never Retreat, my newest novel, there’s no doubt both Raye and Des wind up as better, more caring humans.

That’s what romance means to me.

Nice! Love should improve us in various ways…and I agree that romance cannot be tamed, despite society’s attempts to control it. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Bonnie! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio
Coloradan Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits, doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/2DE5dW1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436876.Bonnie_McCune

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/117106546075845481531

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111883621680717398231

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

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

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

 

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, Bonnie, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our new exclusive author interview feature when author Suzanne Jefferies visits us on April 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

6 Surprising Ways to Communicate Better With Your Partner: a guest post by Dating Connections

6 Surprising Ways to Communicate Better With Your Partner

 

Good communication is the foundation of any stable relationship. In long-term relationships that are fulfilling and functioning on a day-to-day basis, we often forget to take a step back and treat them like living organisms that they are, ones that could not survive without constant, highly efficient communication. Whether you’re into long-term dating, cowboy dating, casual flings on trips abroad or you’ve settled down with your significant other a long time ago, we bet you’ll find our communication tips useful and adequate in any romantic situation.

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#1 – Learn A New Skill Together

Take a cooking or a photography class together, learn some Spanish or take a dance lesson. Wherever your interests lie, taking a new class and learning new things together can deepen the bond between you and your partner, and as a result strengthen communication.

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You’ll spend more time together, and have new topics to discuss as you master a new skill set.

#2 – Share The Small Stuff

Did a bus driver say something funny to you today? Did you see your spouse’s favorite car painted pink with a set of eyelashes? Share the small, insignificant things, and don’t shy away from small talk. Keeping things serious between you two all the time can get pretty tiring, whereas the stuff that doesn’t matter much can brighten the mood and loosen the tension.

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#3 – Listen More Carefully

Listening to your partner attentively is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship. If you want to show your partner you’re all ears when they’re speaking, encourage them to share their thoughts with you, and comment on them, but not by changing the subject to you. Ask questions, add something, and whatever you do, don’t interrupt them or say they’re too scattered, you can’t follow, or they talk about too much unnecessary detail and they’ll get to their point around this time tomorrow.

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#4 – Talk About Yourself

In addition to small talk, take initiative and talk about your desires, fears and hopes. Don’t take the floor for too long, and do allow your partner to join the conversation or take over if they feel like it, but don’t forget to keep your partner informed about what is going on with you. Often the best way to do this is to go on a low-key date, such as a long walk through town sans any device that could turn your attention away from your partner.

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#5 – Whisper Into Their Ear

Although this tactic could lead to anything but talking, whispering into your partner’s ear heightens intimacy, and resolves any trust issues that are between you.

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It shows you’re not afraid of healthy communication and baring your soul to reveal the most private thoughts and feelings. Whispering suggests secrecy, sharing information that is confidential and reserved only for those who are special..

#6 – Ask Questions And Mean It

Ask your partner questions during the time you spend together, and don’t assume you know the answers. A simple “how are you?” followed by a pause can start a conversation even when you go to bed in the evening after a hectic day at work.

Becca Tapert, Unsplash.

Ask it like you mean it, and listen to what your partner has to say. Ask about the things you know he/she finds important, like their hobbies, interests, or things that preoccupy their mind most of the time. Your partner will feel special, and you’ll see your communication reach new heights.

Nice! These are some stellar tips for improving communication with a significant other.

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!

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

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

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