Category Archives: Relationships

Guide to Lesbian Dating: a guest post by Dating Connections

Guide to Lesbian Dating For the Newly Out Lesbian

 

It’s tough being the new lez on the block. Not only is this still a man’s world, but it’s also powered by heterosexual societal norms that are difficult to break. Luckily, every single one of us was fresh out of the closet at some point, lost in the sea of blurred choices and possibilities that somehow always seemed to elude us.

Created by Asier_relampagoestudio – Freepik.com

Fear not because you’re in good hands. Not that long ago I was a lez newbie myself, and have first-hand information on what goes on behind the closed doors you so desperately want a key for. And I have tips for you to get it!

First off, let me say I want to focus on local dating because you need to feel comfortable on your home turf first before you embark on a journey of conquering someone else’s territory. Not that gay women are as territorial as cats, but you know, you should have your ‘hood in the palm of your hand first, a place where you’ll feel the most like yourself. A safe haven, if you will, and here are my tips on how to get there.

#1: Befriend A Lesbian

Gay or straight, women like to be pursued, and love a challenge. If it’s too easy, something’s wrong with it. If it’s secret, hidden deep in the underworld, and available only to those “in the know”, then that’s what we want! And yes, that’s what the lez dating scene is like, too. Therefore, your first step towards getting your foot through the door of those oh-so-super-exclusive-because-we’re-so-special lesbian bars and clubs is getting yourself a gay wingwoman “in the know”!

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Now is the time to talk to that weird dyke cousin of yours who’s been openly gay since high school, and knows all the nooks and crannies of the lesbian underworld. She or someone like her could introduce you to the local lesbian dating scene where you’ll take your first baby lesbian steps.

#2: Start Dating As Yourself

Your next step is to start going out on dates as yourself. This doesn’t just mean as a person who’s finally free from the constraints of a dark and dusty closet, but it also means as the person you truly are.

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If a button down shirt is your go-to piece for a night out, make sure you wear it on a date. If you’d rather be feminine and sensual, go as a lipstick lesbian. The choice is yours; just keep in mind that women love authenticity, and the more original you are, the better, as long as you allow your true self to shine.

#3: Girl-on-Girl Sex is Easy!

Boys are super easy to seduce, while trying to keep one is a whole different ball game. You feel the chemistry, the heat is there, and everything feels right, and you go and sleep with him too soon, and bam – out the door he goes…never to return.

lesbian heart – Flickr

With girls, however, things are much easier in that department. Lesbians will never slut-shame you for sleeping with them on the first date because what would that make them?! If you feel the butterflies in your stomach and you want to go for it, do it! And forget about worrying whether she’d call the next day or think you were too easy. So was she!

Trust your intuition, and let it take you places you’ve never gone before.

Created by Nensuria – Freepik.com

Awesome! Definitely some food for thought here, and these are perfect dating tips for the LGBT crowd.

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

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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

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

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

 

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

Created by Freepik

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

But ask yourself…

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

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

Why do best friends make great romantic partners?

  1. They already know you.

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

  1. Sex was not a distraction

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

Created by Freepik

  1. Familiarity leads to comfort

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

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

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

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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

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

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

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Molly V. Lovell, who has some things to say about her characters.

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

 

Cassie vs. Edric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is a peek into the book…

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

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

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

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

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

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

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

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

“I see.”

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

“What do you have to offer this office?”

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

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

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

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

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

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

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

Author Links

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

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

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

Have a great week, everyone!

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

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

Five Ways to Keep the Romance Going with Your Partner

 

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

Created by Freepik

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

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

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

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

1. Little surprises

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

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

Created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

2. Planning dates

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

3. Talking with your partner

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

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

 4. Lazy weekends together

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

Created by Freepik

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

5. Never hold grudges

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

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

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

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

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

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

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

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

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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

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

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

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

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

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by Freepik

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

 

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

Guest Bio

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

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

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

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tommy: The Unforeseen Hero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong.

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

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

There’s only one problem…

She’s the only woman he wants.

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

…all Within Six Months.

 

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

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

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

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

.•° GIVEAWAY °•.

Instafreebie giveaway

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

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

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

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

Author Links

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

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/cleoscornavaccabooks

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/cleoscornavacca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

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

Can Romantic Love Last A Lifetime? Myth or Not?

 

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

Created by Freestockcenter – Freepik.com

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

Here’s how you can do that…

Celebrate nothing, and everything

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

Compliment often, criticize less

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

Created by Freepik

 

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

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

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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

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

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

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

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

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

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Falling.

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

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

Created by Freepik

You’re falling over and over again.

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

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

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

A random text out of the blue.

An ‘I’m sorry’ after a fight.

Created by Freepik

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

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

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

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by Freepik

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

 Nice! And how very true… 😉

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

Guest Bio

VivVinc-png

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

lavender parfumerie

Author Links

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VivienneVincen8

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

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

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

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

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

Thanks again, Vivienne, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Awesome! 😀

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

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

The Relevance of Romance and Romantic Literature in Modern Society: a guest post by Inkitt

The Relevance of Romance and Romantic Literature in Modern Society

 

Romance has always been a universal theme of literary relevance. While some people today are of the belief that Romanticism has seen its day, many more would argue that it is still alive and well. In fact, one could even present the case that – given its constant presence in the media and news today – Romanticism is and likely always will be interwoven into the very fiber of modern society.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Since the time of forlorn lovers Romeo and Juliet, literature has had a hand in shaping the societal norms and expectations of present-day romance. Often the types of romantic relationships imagined have been limited to a particular perspective, more Gone with the Wind than Twilight, though recent years have seen a shift toward the latter. This can be accredited to the current generation’s fascination with the supernatural. One needs to only peruse the latest list of best sellers to see a theme that almost exclusively involves vampires, witches and werewolves. Yet the foundation of these can almost always be traced back to some aspect of traditional Romanticism.

Of course, with the advent of internet publishing, other alternative modes of romance are now becoming more readily accessible to a much broader audience. The mainstream acceptance of 50 Shades of Grey, for example, only became a reality after it reached a critical mass of readership amongst the romantic fan fiction community. Erotica literature, which was once thought of as taboo, is now seen today as a popular literary genre.

The democratization of access provided by the internet is also having a profound effect on the way the publishing industry is interacting with its readers. Where once literary gatekeepers dictated societal conventions of romance or any other genre, today we are seeing more agency on readers to choose what and how to read. This therefore enables them to determine the type of books they want to see published, and even in what format. This has resulted in a fundamental shift in the way writers, publishers, agencies and their audiences engage and interact.

Another area where Romance and Romantic literature have influenced modern society is in film – and in many cases, in a quite unassuming and/or unexpected way. For instance, blockbuster movies like E.T. and Jaws exhibit the aspect of Romanticism that involves fascination with the unknown, while The Ten Commandments leverages the feature of heroism. Meanwhile, Avatar plays on the appeal of mystery and escapism. Then, of course, there are the more obvious romantic films, like The Sound of Music and Snow White, which contain many of the classic elements of centuries-old Romanticism.

In fact, it would seem to be more challenging to find examples of popular novels, movies, plays, songs or even video games that don’t display certain key elements of the Romantic literature of the past. The fact that many of these fictional works have stood the test of time indicate that Romanticism isn’t merely a genre that peaked in the 1800s, but rather a concept that continues to influence the way we live, interact with one another and are entertained today.

From a literary standpoint, while the storylines and characters may have changed and newer, more daring genres have become an accepted part of society, the inspiration of Romanticism and its many concepts is as prevalent now as ever before.

 

***Patricia Doma, Head of Communications at Inkitt

 

True! I don’t believe romance will be going out of style anytime soon… 😉

Thank you, Inkitt, for this take on the evolution of romantic literature, and how it affects us today.

Guest Blogger Bio

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.

 

Links

Website:  https://www.inkitt.com/

Blog:  https://www.inkitt.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Inkitt

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

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Guest Writer, Historical, Literature, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance