Category Archives: Love

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

 How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships

 

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

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

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

Amanda Jones, Unsplash

Shopping for clothes, however, is a different story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

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

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

Created by Freepik

What about facades, though?

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

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

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

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

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

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

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

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

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

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

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

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

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

Created by Freepik

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

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

Bruce Mars, pexels.com

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

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

Keep the faith. I know you can do this…

Host Blogger Bio

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

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

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

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

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

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

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

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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

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

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels

 

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

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

  1. “It’s all smut.”

    freestocks.org, Unsplash

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

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

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

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by bearfotos- freepik.com

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

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at the basic formula for fiction.

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

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

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

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

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

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

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

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

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

Oh, wait!

Pixabay, pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why? Are we silly dreamers?

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

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

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

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

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

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

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

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

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

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

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

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

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

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

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

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Pixabay, Pexels.com

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Filed under Action & Adventure, Authors, Blogging, Book News, Book Release, Books, characters, Contemporary, dark romance, Event, Faith, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Historical Romance, Hope, inspirational romance, Love, MC and biker romance, Message, Military Romance, Mystery, New Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Romantic Suspense, Stories, sweet romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writers

Five Ideal Settings for a Marriage Proposal: a guest post by Sarah Jacobs

Five Ideal Settings for a Marriage Proposal

 

So, you’ve FINALLY found the girl of your dreams. She is just perfect! You even finish each other’s sentences.

Ani Kolleshi, Unsplash

But well, marriage, as anyone would know, is not walk in the park. It is more like a battlefield, if you ask any of those veteran married people. But before I scare you off silly, let it be known that all married couples would agree that marriage is an experience like no other. Be it good or bad, it is something that changes and shapes a person, may it be for better or for worse.

I don’t mean to discourage anyone who wants to tie the knot, but marriage is a decision that should not be taken lightly, and emotionally. Marriage would mean having someone in your life. That person will share not only a few hours of your day with you. She will be there at your every moment. You will share not only the good moments, but also all the awkward, angry, sad, and even the most boring moments with her.

Created by Freepik

So before we dive into the engagement preparations and the wedding itself, it would be good to ask the following questions first, just to take a gauge on whether you are ready or not for marriage:

Is your life in order? I am not talking about having your life insurance and your will up and ready should anything happen. It is not even becoming one of those dashing billionaires that she might love reading about in paperbacks. This question is a simple evaluation of being prepared enough to take care of not only yourself in your life.

Are you committed? Sure, marriage sounds good right after the ceremony and the honeymoon. But once the bliss is dissipating, and everyday life becomes the norm, can you really, honestly accept your fate? If you still feel like you need more single time for yourself, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There is no need to push for something that you are not yet ready for.

Have you stopped asking if she is THE ONE? Okay, it might sound counterproductive. But being able to stop asking that question and still feel at peace and contented with life even after a major fight with her (which, BTW, from your point of view, was not your fault), is one way of knowing that indeed you are with the right one. When you no longer see her as a potential soulmate, and you come to that point where she is just someone you cannot picture a future without, even during those ordinary, boring everyday moments (which are a lot) of your future, then I guess, we are off to preparing for the BIG QUESTION.

Gift Habeshaw, Unsplash

Gift Habeshaw, Unsplash

You have scoured the net, consulted all your friends, family, and even that random Uber driver on how you are going to pop the question. You have endless bookmarks, proposal forums, group chats, but still you feel like the perfect moment is not quite ready yet. Well, most of the time, you gotta start somewhere first. To ask the question, you need to answer first the WHERE. Where will that iconic, one of a kind, unforgettable, story-time-with-the-grandkids type of proposal take place? If you still don’t have the answer to that, don’t fret. I got you covered.

THE BEACH

Indeed, the beach is one of those places on earth where romance seems to bloom. From those young loves tentatively testing the waters, to those beautiful couples who have been together for ages, love is always a high tide on the beach. It could be because of the sun, the sand, the waves, the sunset, or sunrise. If you and your girl are beach lovers, then this place holds a special place in your heart and in your relationship.

Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

SECRET HIDEOUT

This could be anywhere that you both consider special to your relationship. It can be a common place, like at your home, or it could be somewhere exotic, like your first holiday trip together. Wherever it may be, this place is where your most memorable moments are. It could be where you first met, or where you first said ‘i love you’.

Clarisse Meyer, Unsplash

FAMOUS LANDMARK 

If you have a dramatic proposal in mind, then a famous place should fit the bill. You don’t need to break the bank to visit the Eiffel Tower, but if you’ve got the budget, and if she digs that, then go for it.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

But there are a lot of sweeping views and majestic landscapes near your place that will surely sweep her off her feet.

GREAT OUTDOORS

Are you both adventurers? If you are the couple who enjoys the outdoors and it has become your haven, then there is no better place to seal the deal than at the place that you love the most. And indeed, Mother Nature simply has the best to offer when it comes to romance.

pxlpusher, Flickr

ADRENALINE RUSH

If none of the regular choices give you the rush, then perhaps proposing while doing some extreme sport might do the trick. If you both love the thrill of adrenaline-pumping-through-your-veins adventures, you can try asking while out on one of those trips. Truly, nothing would make it more memorable than having to put on a ring from the sky, or on a scuba gloved finger.

Pixabay, pexels.com

Oliver Sjöström, pexels.com

But whichever you decide, proposing for marriage is not about where or how you do it. The proposal may be the grandest of all proposals, or it may be as simple as asking her from across your dinner table.

Created by Freepik

What she will be looking for is the truth and sincerity in your eyes as you ask her to be a part of your life…forever.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

 Guest Blogger Bio

Sarah Jacobs is an experienced writer who loves creating articles that can benefit others. She has worked as a freelance writer in the past, making informative articles and fascinating stories. She has extensive knowledge in a variety of fields such as technology, business, finance, marketing, personal development, and more.

Links

Website:  https://giftninjas.co/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/giftninjas.co/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GiftNinjas

 

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, Engagement, Event, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Wedding

National Poetry Month Feature: “Miles of Our Memories” – a poem

Hi, readers! April is here again! 🙂

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I decided to write a romantic poem, inspired by my relationship with my fiancé. Here it is:

 

Miles of Our Memories

A special anniversary approaches…

How many times have we crossed these miles?

More than I can count.

Sapan Patel, Unsplash

Distance separates us again this year,

but I know it will turn out all right.

Still…

I miss your arms wrapped around me,

your special scent in my nose.

Created by Freepik

I miss our unique closeness,

the quiet talks in the night as we lay there,

absorbing breaths and heartbeats.

Becca Tapert, Unsplash.

I miss gazing at you across the table of a romantic meal,

even laughing as we dodged the puddles of a parking lot.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I miss the experiences we shared for years.

Surely we can get some of that back?

It has been too long, my love, since we…

Sat in a dark theater, hands entwined,

Malmanxd, Unsplash

Strolled through a mall, pointing out the wares,

Tossed a ball down a lane, hoping to miss the gutters,

Joseph Costa, Unsplash

Had a picnic, chatting about all those simple things in life,

Went on a walk, hand in hand.

Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash

It has been far too long since our hearts were so connected, and we surrendered to the glee inside us.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

For tonight, let’s cast aside our obligations.

Say you’ll travel with me to the stars and beyond,

Juskteez Vu, Unsplash

where time doesn’t interfere with its incessant, haunting chime,

when we can be us again.

Join me and we’ll find our bliss,

a reprieve from the madness.

I know one day these chains of clock and mile won’t bind us,

and we can be free.

As one.

I live for the moment when I am yours,

tied with paper and mirrored hands.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

We’ll confront this world together,

and then blend into a perfect union of well-matched souls.

I love you and miss you…

Yet I’d wait forever if the fates tried to keep us apart.

Nothing can break us, I swear.

We are stronger than the mere miles that threaten to split this bond.

Sylwia Bartyzel, Unsplash

And I am always,

always yours.

NeONBRAND, Unsplash

© 2019, Marie Lavender.

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Filed under Blogging, Event, Hope, Love, love poem, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Writing

February Romance/Erotica Author Interview Answer #1 “What is your favorite trope in romance?”

Question #1 in a group author interview! ♥

via February Romance/Erotica Author Interview Answer #1 “What is your favorite trope in romance?”

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March 4, 2019 · 2:57 pm

A to Z’s of Romance: a Valentine’s romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

A to Z’s of Romance

 

I launched this blog in 2014. It just occurred to me that I haven’t written a post of my own in a while. Mainly I just share authors’ new releases, interview both authors and characters, we feature guest posts about romance, and we started offering book reviews in the new year. Sure, sometimes I feature love poetry I’ve written, but tackling a new article about romance?

Well…that’s just what ILRB is about, right? So I thought it was apropos to write something that might work for Valentine’s Day. ♥

Without further ado, here is my list of alphabetic advice for romantic relationships:

  1. Affection. By saying ‘I love you’, you can never go wrong. But your partner wants to see proof of your feelings as well.

    Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

    Kiss your girl on the hand or forehead. Hold hands whenever you can. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to show your love. Simple gestures – love notes, for one – that express your affection will make your partner feel appreciated, and he or she will reciprocate in kind.

  2. Be Compassionate. We all have bad days or experience illness at one time or another. Some of us have a jerk for a boss. Listen to your partner and empathize with their problems.
  3. Creativity. If you think your romantic dates are getting stale, or stress is dragging you both down too much, get creative! Think of unique, fun activities to help you connect, and find different ways to appreciate each other.

    Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

  4. Devotion. Stay devoted to your partner, and your relationship will be ‘deliciously dazzling’, and result in something ‘divine’ that you share. Do you see what I just did? 😉
  5. Excitement. When two people stay together in a relationship for a while, things tend to become more relaxed and that initial excitement you experienced evolves into a wiser love. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find some of those butterflies again. Arrange to meet your partner at a bar or other public location. Pretend you’re total strangers, that you’ve just met, and strike up a conversation.

    Created by Freepik

    Or act like it’s a blind date. Flirt a little. Feel free to explore each other all over again. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something new about your lover, and refuel your passion.

  6. Feed Your Partner. Just so you know, guys and gals, cooking a meal once in a while is a great way to show how much you care. You’re taking the time to make something nice that you both can enjoy.

    Created by Freepik

    Plus, as long as you don’t always launch into watching television right away, it can set the stage for a good, intimate conversation.

  7. Go On Dates Together. The origin of the word ‘date’, meaning a romantic liaison, can be traced all the way back to the 1890s and up to 1903 (I am such a word nerd! LOL.). No one is definite on the exact year.

    Created by Freepik

    Anyway…make date night a thing. By doing so, you’ll find ways to reconnect after a busy week and still enjoy yourselves.

  8. Have a Party at Home. How can that be romantic? Let’s find out. Well, you could throw a fun party just for the two of you, even add a theme to make it interesting. Exchange stories about how you fell in love. Share memorable times that made you appreciate your partner more. And heck, go all out with the food and wine. What a night, right?
  9. Identity. Recognize that you’re both unique people. Celebrate your differences and varying interests. For example, if the other person likes action, sci-fi or horror movies, volunteer to watch a film together.

    Created by Freepik

    Even your partner’s favorite one. Listen when they explain why this is their top movie. The experience will bring you closer, and help you understand the other person better.

  10. Just Be Open. Don’t forget to communicate more often. Be honest with each other about anything you’re feeling. Don’t go out of your way to be rude – tact has been tossed out the window these days, even though we should bring it back – but keep the lines of communication open. There’s a difference between texting and sitting down to have a real discussion without the interference of technology. You’ll feel much closer in the process.

    Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

  11. Kissing. A kiss is just a kiss, right? Hmm…not at all! There are different types of kisses. Sexy kisses, platonic kisses, light, affectionate kisses, and the list goes on. But there’s one I call the ‘floaty kiss’, the kiss of love. It’s the kiss where you can tell you’re in love, or at least almost there. How do I describe this? Well, your head spins, you get breathless – except that doesn’t seem to matter much – and the world disappears. All you can do is experience this thrilling, amazing kiss, and keep kissing back until you can no longer breathe. 😀

    JD Mason, Unsplash

    So, explore kissing with your partner. More often than not, this type of kiss happens when you can fully focus on each other. Kiss the one you love, and find a surprise on the journey.

  12. Lovers Rule. You don’t need to schedule your physical intimacy, of course, but if life has gotten in the way recently, try to reconnect in a romantic way. However, a satisfying quickie doesn’t hurt either! 😉

    Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

  13. Memories. Find some way to remember your happy moments together, to bring them to life. Go through pictures you took, or you could even make a collage or scrapbook of your romantic memories.
  14. New Activities. Try something new together. Take a class, go to a new, fancy restaurant, or learn a hobby as a couple. You’ll acclimate to working as a team, and share a new experience in the process.

    Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

  15. Observe. Pay attention to the subtle nuances in your partner’s life. Both men and women can feel taken for granted after a while, so help out with daily tasks when you can. Plus, if your partner has obviously been feeling down about something, go out of your way to make a special gesture that shows you notice him or her.
  16. Protect Your Private Time. It’s so easy to let life get in the way. Make an extra effort to spend more time together.
  17. Quietness. Savor your quiet moments together, even if you’re just cuddling and softly speaking. Life can be too hectic, and these times are precious.

    Created by Freepik

  18. Read a Romance Novel. Ha! Didn’t think I’d throw that one in there, did you? Guys, if you’re still calling these books ‘smut’ or ‘fluff’, get a table at Reality Check Diner. There are so many options with sub-genres now, from fantasy to paranormal, sci-fi and dystopian, all the way to romantic suspense and thrillers (here is a full list to make it easier to understand). There’s something for everyone. Or…maybe you’re into erotic romance. We won’t judge! ♥ Anyway, try reading a few romance books, and see if you still don’t have respect for them. Plus, immersing yourself in this type of fiction might let you know what your wife or girlfriend secretly yearns for. And having that knowledge is a good thing… 🙂

    Created by Freepik

  19. Sweetness and Sensuality. Be sweet and thoughtful with your partner. Never demean or make your significant other feel they aren’t worthy of love and attention. As for being sexy? Don’t be afraid to flirt, dress sexier or dance in front of your partner. Even if you feel foolish – and we understand that putting yourself out there causes vulnerability – your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

    Created by javi_indy – Freepik

  20. Talk. Stay interested in your partner’s life. “What are you doing today?” or “How was work?” are great conversation starters, and it’s better than an awkward silence. Even people who have been together for years develop a certain familiarity with each other and pay attention to unspoken cues. So, if you care, you’ll ask your partner what’s wrong when something is up.
  21. Unite. Make big decisions as a couple, instead of one partner going off and doing their own thing. If this will affect everyone, you should have a say too. Respect each other, honor one another’s opinions, and make an informed decision as a unit.
  22. Valued. Always make your partner feel valued. You want your significant other to see that you care, and you like to spend time with them.

    Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

  23. Wedding…Yes or No? Hey, we get that marriage isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been in a supposedly committed relationship for a long time, and the M word has never come up once, this a RED FLAG. Have a heart-to-heart, and find out if your partner has hang-ups about tying the knot.

    Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash

    Already married? Great! If you’ve been together for years, one idea to celebrate the romance in your relationship is to do it…again. Consider renewing your vows. Wouldn’t that be a fun event? What could be more romantic than remembering why you said yes, and marry your honey all over again?

  24. XOXO. Hugs and kisses are an important way to express how you feel about each other. These gestures can also be therapeutic during rough days. Touch is a big part of a romantic relationship…hey, not just the sexy kind of touching!

    Brooke Winters, Unsplash

  25. Youth Is Overrated. You don’t need to be a teenager or a twenty-something to still want romance in your life. Consider revitalizing your relationship with fun activities. At any age, you can always add in a gesture or two to spice things up.

    Thierry Hardoin, Flickr

  26. Zero. Contributing no effort at all will just cause trouble, at least in the long run. Relationships are hard work, but if you have a strong connection with your partner, none of these ‘little things’ you do for the one you love will ever feel like work.

    Created by Diller – Freepik

    And that’s my take for a prescription to achieve a lasting modern romance…

    So, what do you think? What might you add to this recipe for love? Comment in the thread below, and let’s start a discussion! 🙂 ♥

Host Blogger Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years, and has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.  Since 2010, she has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She is also the moderator of three blogs…the I Love Romance Blog, Marie Lavender’s Books!, and Writing in the Modern Age. She’s the proud recipient of several blogging awards and book awards. Follow Marie via her author website, varied blogs, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, feel free to sign up for her monthly newsletter, and follow her on BookBub. Her books can be located at most online booksellers.

Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:  http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

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

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

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

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

AllAuthor:  http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

Youtube/Book Trailers:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

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

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂 And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Created by starline – freepik

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Dating Tips, Event, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Valentine's

Top Valentine’s Day Traditions around the World: a guest post by Dating Connections

Top Valentine’s Day Traditions around the World

 

To some people, Valentine’s Day is just a ‘Hallmark holiday’, while others take it very seriously.

Created by Freepik

Judging by the traditions discussed below, it’s clear that Valentine’s Day celebrations have been present around the world a lot longer than Hallmark has been in business. Today, we go over some of those traditions and what single women used to do on ‘Lovers’ Day’ to attract the opposite sex in the hopes of marrying. It’s a good thing girls don’t throw mass bonfires in anger due to rejection anymore like they used to do in France and try to find love online in a much more peaceful manner instead! 😉

France

Viewed by many as one of the most romantic countries in the world, it’s no wonder that people have celebrated Valentine’s Day or ‘Lovers’ Day’ for centuries in France. It’s possible that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned at the Tower of London in 1415.

Another rather peculiar French tradition was the ‘loterie d’amour’ or ‘drawing for love’. Men and women would fill houses that faced one another, and then take turns calling out to one another and creating couples. Men who weren’t satisfied with their match could reject it and leave with another woman, and the women who were left without a match would later gather for a bonfire.

During the bonfire, women burned pictures of the men who wronged them and cursed the opposite sex.

Created by alexeyzhilkin – Freepik.com

This tradition became so violent that it was eventually banned by the government.

Paris is the city of love so it’s only natural that it’s had a number of traditions where sweethearts openly confessed their love despite the fact that some of them are now prohibited. The love locks tradition was very popular up until a few years ago and it was characterized by couples in love inscribing their names or initials on a padlock, attaching it to a public structure, usually a bridge, and throwing away the key – permanently sealing their love. The Pont des Arts was everyone’s favorite site for attaching the love locks, but in May 2015 the city council decided to remove all 45 tons of them because they were an eyesore and detrimental to the city’s architecture.

10mosttoday.com

Italy

Much like their French counterparts, Italians have long celebrated Valentine’s Day but originally the celebrations were part of the Spring Festival. In the early days, young people in love would gather in gardens and similar places to enjoy poetry readings and music before going for a walk with their beloved.

Another old Valentine’s Day tradition in Italy was for young, unmarried girls to wake up before dawn to spot their future husbands. The belief was that the first man they saw on Valentine’s Day would become their husband within a year or at least he would strongly resemble their future husband.

Today, Italians in love exchange gifts and romantic dinners. One of the most popular gifts is Baci Perugina, which are small hazelnuts covered in chocolate and wrapped in paper with a romantic quote printed on it in four languages.

Brazil

Given that the carnival takes place in February or March each year, Brazilians skip the February 14th celebrations but don’t skip celebrating ‘Lover’s Day’ or ‘Dia dos Namorados’ on June 12th.

They exchange chocolates, flowers, and cards, and enjoy music festivals and performances held throughout the country. Also, Brazilians exchange gifts with their friends and family as well.

Finally, the following day is Saint Anthony’s Day, which honors St. Anthony, the patron saint of marriage. On this day, single women perform rituals called ‘simpatias’, hoping that St. Anthony would bring them a husband.

The Philippines

People in the Philippines celebrate Valentine’s Day like their Western counterparts, with one bit of difference. A new tradition has developed over the years where many young couples tie the knot on February 14 thus sharing a wedding day, and usually have their ceremonies in public places together.

gettyimages

South Africa

In South Africa, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a more or less expected way with festivals, flowers, and similar tokens of love. However, women in South Africa will wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14 by pinning the names of their crushes on their shirtsleeves, revealing who they like.

Uschi, Flickr

This is how men find out about their secret admirers.

Wow! These sound like some fascinating traditions to keep!

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such an illuminating article…just in time to get us in the mood for the upcoming holiday! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BoyanUlv

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

 

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

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

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Gifts, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, sweet romance, Traditions, Valentine's

2018 Reflections and New Beginnings

2018 Reflections and New Beginnings

 

Hi, readers! Wow, what a year! 🙂

If you’re a loyal follower, then you know I do a New Year’s Eve post every year. With the coming year brings a time of renewal – an opportunity for second chances, and even new beginnings. After a particularly difficult period in our lives, we often think about what it might be like if we ever had the chance to start over.

So today, I’m listing a bunch of books that encompass the ‘new beginnings’ theme.

How apropos for the new year, right? Let’s get started…

‘New Beginnings’ Romances

 

books2read.com/u/47Z7N7

[Disclaimer: These are simply suggestions compiled from titles I found on Goodreads. I have neither read nor reviewed them.]

These books look great, right? Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments at the end of this post.

Also, I’d like to give a BIG shout out, a mega thank you to all the authors, writers and companies that contributed to this year’s guest posts, features and giveaways! Thanks for all your hard work with writing and giving us a chance to see your books featured here on ILRB. ♥

Listed below are the links to all of our posts from 2018.

Character/Author Interviews

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/exclusive-interview-with-author-nermin-bezmen-plus-historical-romance-kurt-seyt-and-shura/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/a-character-interview-with-trini-from-jasons-awakening-plus-a-chat-with-author-remy-marie/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/exclusive-interview-with-author-suzanne-jefferies-plus-erotic-romance-watched-and-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/a-character-interview-with-mason-from-arresting-mason-plus-a-conversation-with-author-amber-daulton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/a-character-interview-with-darryl-from-blessed-plus-a-conversation-with-author-maggie-blackbird/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/exclusive-interview-with-author-karina-bartow-and-a-look-at-contemporary-romance-forgetting-my-way-back-to-you/

 

New Release/Book Features

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/new-release-feature-saving-him-by-author-bry-ann/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/pre-order-release-feature-captive-by-author-jenny-lynn/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/book-feature-the-maze-effect-finding-mr-right-by-author-majel-jay/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/new-release-feature-never-retreat-by-author-bonnie-mccune/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/new-release-feature-undercover-siren-by-author-ellen-mint/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/book-feature-erotic-romance-aurelius-by-author-jessika-klide/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/book-feature-the-milanese-stars-by-author-pamela-q-fernandes/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/new-release-feature-dark-romance-even-at-your-darkest-by-author-aj-love-and-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/pre-order-release-feature-ya-sweet-historical-romance-laras-story-by-author-diane-merrill-wigginton/

 

Film/Music Features

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/special-film-feature-forever-my-girl/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/special-music-feature-christopher-ferguson/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/special-film-feature-twisted-threads-steamy-romantic-thriller-by-kaylin-mcfarren/

 

Blog Tours

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/blog-tour-feature-the-boy-next-door-by-ann-anders/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/blog-tour-feature-hell-yeah-kindle-world-tour-presented-by-sable-hunter-2/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/blog-tour-feature-vegas-gambler-by-adriana-kraft/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/blog-tour-feature-love-at-solace-lake-series-by-jana-richards/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/blog-tour-feature-the-starling-by-ellie-masters/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/pre-release-blog-tour-feature-tempted-by-the-viscount-by-sofie-darling/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/blog-tour-feature-tempted-by-the-viscount-by-sofie-darling/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/blog-tour-feature-military-romantic-suspense-threat-of-danger-by-dana-marton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-collection-vengeance-is-mine-by-kat-henry-doran/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-love-at-rincon-point-by-j-haney-and-s-i-hayes/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/blog-tour-feature-mm-paranormal-romance-boxed-set-weapons-of-redemption-by-saloni-quinby/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-true-by-ann-everett-plus-cool-contests/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/blog-tour-feature-mm-shifter-romance-wolf-around-the-corner-by-aidee-ladnier/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romantic-suspense-besotted-by-madison-michael-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/blog-tour-feature-holiday-paranormal-romance-one-of-a-kind-christmas-by-lexi-post/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romance-moonlight-moet-by-madison-michael/

 

Blog Awards

http://blog.feedspot.com/romance_book_blogs/ (#33)

http://blog.feedspot.com/novel_blogs/ (#73)

 

Personal Book News/Reviews

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/new-release-this-week/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/free-book/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/02/its-here/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/guest-author-marie-lavender-creating-the-other-world/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/a-radio-interview-on-thorne-and-cross/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/free-paranormal-romance-trr-year-end-slash-party/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/winter-loves-a-treat-mega-book-giveaway-and-500th-anniversary-post/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/upon-your-return-by-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/vote-at-the-critters-readers-poll/ (You can still vote for this one!!)

 

Giveaways

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/free-book/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/blog-tour-feature-vegas-gambler-by-adriana-kraft/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/exclusive-interview-with-author-suzanne-jefferies-plus-erotic-romance-watched-and-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/book-feature-erotic-romance-aurelius-by-author-jessika-klide/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/05/blog-tour-feature-tempted-by-the-viscount-by-sofie-darling/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/blog-tour-feature-military-romantic-suspense-threat-of-danger-by-dana-marton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-collection-vengeance-is-mine-by-kat-henry-doran/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/blog-tour-feature-mm-paranormal-romance-boxed-set-weapons-of-redemption-by-saloni-quinby/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/blog-tour-feature-contemporary-romance-true-by-ann-everett-plus-cool-contests/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/28/blog-tour-feature-mm-shifter-romance-wolf-around-the-corner-by-aidee-ladnier/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romantic-suspense-besotted-by-madison-michael-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/free-paranormal-romance-trr-year-end-slash-party/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/blog-tour-feature-holiday-paranormal-romance-one-of-a-kind-christmas-by-lexi-post/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/blog-tour-feature-erotic-romance-moonlight-moet-by-madison-michael/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/winter-loves-a-treat-mega-book-giveaway-and-500th-anniversary-post/

-Authors represented in the big giveaway:

K.C. Sprayberry, Vina Arno, Leslie Hachtel, Maggie Blackbird, Debbie De Louise, David Russell, Bry Ann, Lance and James Morcan, Devika Fernando, Remy Marie, Tanya W. Newman, Tina Donahue, Fiona Tarr, Palvi Sharma, Viviana MacKade, Diane Merrill Wigginton, CJ Warrant, Amber Daulton, Penny Estelle/P.A. Estelle, Carol Ann Kauffman, Kenneth Sumerford, McKenna Dean, Seelie Kay, Beverly Ovalle, Skye McNeill, Raegyn Perry, Alice J Miller, Jenny Lynn, Sofie Darling, Carole McKee, Bonnie McCune, Young (Bernard Foong), Marie Lavender, Cleo Scornavacca, Sable Hunter, Virginia Babcock, Madison Michael, Vicki-Ann Bush, Lisa Doughty, Theresa Sederholt and Lilly Christine.

 

Blog Hops & Personal Romantic Thought Posts

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/a-lovers-vow-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/guest-author-marie-lavender-creating-the-other-world/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/aching-heart-a-poem/

 

Guest Posts

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/you-complete-me-a-guest-post-by-romance-author-bry-ann/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/a-singles-guide-to-surviving-this-valentines-day-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/tips-on-getting-a-romantic-partner-a-gift-for-valentines-day-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-fiction-fact-on-writing-about-love-guest-post-by-author-khaled-talib/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/six-surprising-ways-to-communicate-better-with-your-partner-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/unique-yet-perfect-date-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/five-things-everyone-should-know-about-dating-a-single-parent-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/addressing-anxiety-during-tough-times-with-the-help-of-talkspace-a-guest-post-by-talkspace/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/how-to-design-a-camping-trip-for-the-summer-that-will-please-your-romantic-partner-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/how-will-facebooks-dating-service-work-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/why-giving-flowers-shouldnt-just-be-for-holidays-and-apologies-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/twenty-romantic-fall-date-ideas-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/06/city-of-love-romantic-things-to-do-in-paris-a-guest-post-by-erica-fleming/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/15/top-historical-romance-books-we-cant-stop-reading-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/why-you-should-read-at-least-one-romance-novel-in-your-lifetime-a-guest-post-by-lady-silver/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/04/unique-and-romantic-date-ideas-for-those-crispy-winter-days-a-guest-post-by-dating-connections/

 

What Does Romance Mean to Me? Series Feature

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/special-feature-what-does-romance-mean-to-me-by-bonnie-mccune/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/special-feature-what-does-romance-mean-to-me-by-c-l-donley/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/special-feature-what-does-romance-mean-to-me-by-katherine-mcintyre/

 

Heroes & Heroines Series Feature

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/heroes-heroines-special-feature-character-mason-harding-from-arresting-mason-by-amber-daulton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/heroes-heroines-special-feature-character-avery-beta-hero-from-finder-keeper-of-my-heart-by-vina-arno/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/heroes-heroines-special-feature-character-kieran-blackmore-from-captivating-melody-by-katherine-mcintyre/

 

Poetry

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/a-lovers-vow-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/aching-heart-a-poem/

 

Well, I hope we’ve given readers some new novels to find, as well as fascinating romantic posts to glance over.

In other news, we may start offering book reviews in the future here on the I Love Romance Blog. Don’t get too excited yet and email me, though! A reviewer has reached out to me and when the details are finalized, I’ll put a page up with our review policy, dedicated solely to that service. So keep checking back! 😉

In the meantime, I’m always willing to help out with book features, new release features, author and character interviews, and other types of posts to promote your work.

I hope you have a wonderful, prosperous new year, and it leaves you healthy and content! 😀

And, as always, happy reading! ♥♥♥

2 Comments

Filed under annual, Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Holiday, Love, Message, New Beginnings, Readers, reflections, Romance, Second Chances

Unique and Romantic Date Ideas for those Crispy Winter Days: a guest post by Dating Connections

Unique and Romantic Date Ideas for Those Crispy Winter Days

 

Whether you and your beau have been going out for a long time or you’ve recently met through a BBW dating site, you should take the time to plan your dates and spend quality time together to deepen your intimacy and strengthen your bond. You might learn new things about each other, have fun in unexpected ways, and warm up together under a blanket when you get home from a night on the town.

Created by Freepik

Sure, you can skip the night on the town and go straight under the covers, but if you’d rather leave the house you’ll find our top winter date ideas guaranteed to offer you fun, silliness, and adventure.

Siyuanhua, Flickr

#1: Go Ice Skating

A winter-only activity, ice skating can be incredibly romantic because you can sort of dress up for the occasion and wear a pair of white or predominantly white wool mittens, a white pom-pom beanie hat, and huge scarf and a pair of skinny jeans in which your legs will look longer and leaner thanks to your skates!

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

You’ll look like a snow angel, your partner will be absolutely smitten with you, and you’ll finish the date off with a cup of warm tea or hot chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon – the most romantic winter spice ever!

Mint Owl, Unsplash

#2: A $20-Dollar Gift Challenge

You’ll probably have a few gift challenges this winter, such as Secret Santa at work or with your nieces, but how about you do a $20-dollar-gift challenge with your partner and exchange the gifts over a romantic dinner or when you get home from the ice skating rink? Either make him a present or think long and hard what kind of a funny, sweet or useful gift you could get him for less than 20 bucks, tax included.

Kari Shea, Unsplash

#3: See a Live Show

Another date idea usually associated with the holiday season and Christmas time, catching a live show can be relaxing and entertaining with just a touch of posh.

Peter Lewicki, Unsplash

See a musical that’s on all year long and has exceptional reviews, a famous Christmas ballet, like The Nutcracker, or head to Cirque du Soleil and have dinner or desserts afterward at a café nearby. You can even go Christmas shopping before the show, but try not to look like a bag lady at the theater when you walk in with 5+ shopping bags.

Created by Freepik

#4:  Check Out the Holiday Lights Together

Brave the cold together and go for a walk through the downtown area to check out all the holiday lights or cruise around in a warm car if it’s insanely cold outside. This is your fall walk-in-the-park-to-enjoy-the-colors equivalent that doesn’t have to take all evening but it can still warm your hearts before you head home to have a few cups of eggnog in front of the fireplace.

Rawpixel, Unsplash

#5: Date Plus Hot After-party

Let him plan your date for next weekend even if he’s not particularly good at it and can’t make it past a dinner and a movie, and you plan the after-party. Book a room at a posh downtown hotel, check in at the appropriate time, and come back to the room following your date, especially if the hotel hot tub is open until the wee hours!

Created by Freepik

#6: Book a Trip Somewhere South

You don’t ever get to appreciate the Dominican like you do in January or February, especially if you live in those areas where you don’t see +1 in the weather forecast for weeks on end. Swap your heavy parkas for bathing suits, dry winter indoor air for a summer breeze, and instead of driving through town actually step outside and take a long walk on the beach at sunset.

Syd Sujuaan, Unsplash

#7: Hit an Escape Room

Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

Do you and your beau work well as a team? Test your teamwork skills at a local escape room, and see how the two of you get out of a hairy situation together. You can make it even more interesting and hit that hot tub later but only if you make it out in time!

Sounds like quite a bit for us to do during the winter months!

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

Created by Bristekjegor – Freepik.com

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

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!

1 Comment

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

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

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

 

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

Created by Freepik

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

  1. Life Lessons

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

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

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

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

  1. Relationship Advice

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

Guillaume de Germain, Unsplash

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

  1. Comic Relief

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

Vanessa Serpas, Unsplash

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

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

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

  1. Ideas

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

Stokpic, pexels.com

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

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

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

Created by Freepik

Too right!

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

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website/Blog:  www.ladysilverfeather.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LadySilver9

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

 

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

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

4 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Books, Event, Faith, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Stories