Category Archives: Romance

Blog Tour Feature: J.J. Montgomery’s Gun For Hire Tour presented via Reviews by Crystal

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Reviews by Crystal and J.J. Montgomery, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new comical romantic suspense release, J.J.! :)

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

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love new authors!

Reviews by Crystal is presenting us with a cool giveaway. But first, let’s hear a little about this great book…

Such an awesome cover!

This is the blurb for Excess Baggage:

The job should have been easy—patrol a swank beach that serves as a backyard for Maui’s rich, kick out the riffraff, and get a tan in the process. But rent-a-cop Samantha Winters didn’t anticipate a deliciously grumpy cop, Sergeant Grady Roark, who comes down to the beach to bust her chops and instead leaves her breathless…and wondering why the one man who could help her seems determined to thwart her at every turn.

Grady is keeping secrets from Sam that have him walking the line between attraction and duty. But when Sam becomes the target of a shadowy organization, Grady will have to choose between the law and the temptation of a woman who has him breaking every rule he’s ever known.

The job should have been easy, but when the bullets start flying, Sam learns nothing is as easy as it seems when you’re a Gun for Hire.

J.J. is giving us a peek at her romantic suspense comedy, Gun for Hire, today.

The sunlight was intense after a half hour in that gloomy space, but I squinted hard and kept moving toward a narrow set of steps down to the parking lot. Grady walked a few paces behind me, and if he heard the crinkle of paper as I moved, he elected not to say anything.

Grady hit the remote to his truck and grabbed for the passenger side door, his hand light on my elbow as he helped me up. Paper crackled as my butt hit the seat and Grady’s eyes narrowed. Without a word, he slammed my door and went around to the driver’s side, climbing up into the cab and stabbing the keys into the ignition.

“So, I—” I hesitated as I shifted in my seat and my movement was accompanied by the distinct sound of cardboard bending.

“No,” Grady muttered, and clicked on the radio. “No talking.”

“But—”

“Shh.” Grady put a finger to his lips, his eyes still on the road. “Any minute you’re going to tell me about the felony crime you just committed. And then I’m going to have to deal with the fact that I was an accessory to a felony crime.”

“Umm, yeah.” I reached around to the back of my pants and eased the file folder up from my waistband, working it out slowly so as to not lose anything as Grady headed up the hillside toward his house. As I brought it around to look at it, the red block letters damning me to years of incarceration should I get caught, a muscle ticked in Grady’s jaw.

“You stole classified documents.” He shook his head from side to side.

I looked up at Grady and then down at the mangled file with the red Top Secret heading. I took a corner of the front sheet and ripped across the width of the page, separating the words “Top Secret” from the rest of the paper.

“They’re declassified now.” I crumpled up the classification and shoved it in my pocket.

Grady sighed.

I shrugged and opened the file.

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

What people are saying about this book:

J.J. Montgomery’s debut book will have you smiling and holding your breath and flipping pages to see what happens next.

A great first book! Sam and Grady have an unparalleled attraction to each other. But Grady just doesn’t know what to do about Sam, and Sam is not looking for a relationship. Exactly what I like: funny, suspense, romance and adventure.

Ms. Montgomery has written an exciting, fast-paced story that’s guaranteed to keep the reader on the edge of her seat. If you like lots of action and a truly satisfying romance, this is the book for you. I cannot wait for the second book.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B072DSJ3G5

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gun-for-hire-jj-montgomery/1126256757

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/gun-for-hire-10

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5066-gun-for-hire.html

Wow! Love the tension and the hotness here. ♥♥♥

 

J.J. will be awarding 5 ebooks of Gun For Hire to randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

.•° GIVEAWAY °•.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for telling us about your romantic suspense with a touch of comedy, J.J.! I know I can’t wait to read this riveting romance! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome novel, which is book one of the Maui Heat Series!

Author Bio

J.J. MONTGOMERY writes romantic suspense novels with a sense of humor. Her heroines are as smart as they are smart-mouthed and the men in their lives are just trying to keep up. Gun for Hire is the first book in J.J.’s Maui Heat Series.

If you’d like to know more, including info on her newest book, where she gets her ideas, and how it’s possible she can’t use Facebook, please visit her at…

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

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of it! 😀 Visit Reviews by Crystal to check out the other blog locations on this tour. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway too!

Thanks again to J.J. and Reviews by Crystal! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance, romantic comedy, Romantic Suspense, 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

FREE Book: The Missing Piece by yours truly

I am pleased to announce a cool book offer by, that’s right…me! A new adult romance, The Missing Piece, is FREE via a short Q&A contest on The Romance Reviews only today! How exciting! 🙂

These free offers are awesome for both authors and readers because we get to meet lots of new people! The contest was scheduled from midnight last night to 11:59 PM EST today. You’ll find the contest by scrolling down the page for this book title. So, don’t miss your chance! Swing by and check it out if you can!

I’m giving you a look at my new adult romance story today…

This is the blurb for The Missing Piece:

When Alyssa wakes up on the lawn of a local fraternity, she can’t remember what happened the previous night. A new friend and frat guy, Justin, offers to help her out. As she makes discoveries that force her to accept a different reality, she finds herself drawn to Justin for a number of reasons.

Can the biggest mistake of Aly’s life turn into the promise of new love?

And here is an excerpt and promo to tease you with.

Nausea rose in her throat and she felt as if she’d lose her breakfast at any minute. She didn’t even dance. To think she had been all over some guy she didn’t even know, it was so unreal. “I, I’m sorry. I can’t—”

She turned away and left the house. On the lawn, she tried to breathe slowly to prevent the knot from rising any further.

“Hey, you all right?” Justin was at her side in what seemed like seconds.

She shook her head.

“Can you breathe?” At her gasp, he touched her shoulder then moved a hand to her back. “Just focus on breathing. Don’t think about anything else.” After her breathing slowed, he said, “You panicked, that’s all.”

“Really. You’re a genius.”

He frowned.

She shrugged. “What if I did do that with him? Everything he said… none of that is like me. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Maybe you liked Brendan. You talked for a while.”

“I wouldn’t act like that.”

“How do you know how you would act in that situation? If you were really into someone?”

“I don’t. But I’m usually smarter. I wouldn’t just do that with anyone, someone I don’t know.”

“That makes sense, but maybe it wasn’t as bad as you think.”

“What are you saying?”

“I don’t see the problem.”

“You wouldn’t understand. You’re used to that kind of life, sleeping with utter strangers and all. Taking risks.”

He lifted a brow. “Alyssa, I only mean that I don’t understand why you’re upset. Brendan can be trusted. And he’s not the type you’re talking about. He hasn’t been with many women.”

“How can you know that?”

“He’s my friend.”

“And you’re ridiculously loyal!” When she turned away, he grabbed her arm so that she faced him. He was very close now, too close for comfort. She shivered, an odd response, but she knew it wasn’t due to fear.

“I’m not taking sides,” he said softly. “I just know him. That’s the only reason I can give to keep you from freaking out. I can assure you he’s a good guy. I can’t prove it. I just know.”

“It’s hard to know someone that well. People are surprising sometimes…”

“Maybe, but I’ve known him for a long time. He can be trusted.”

“If so, then why isn’t he here? How did I end up outside? Why can’t I remember it, or him?” She swallowed hard, fighting the power of uncertainty.

He gently cupped her face with his hands. “I don’t know. But I promise we’ll figure it out… together. Okay?”

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/MissingPiece

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/the-missing-piece/

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6933779

 

Readers, don’t forget to enter the contest to get a FREE copy of this new adult romance today! Also, you have a chance to win other great romance books this month with the same event! Cool, right? 😉

 

Author Bio

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. 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 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three 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 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Author 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

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

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

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

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/marie-lavender/

 

Books:

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Marie Lavender, New Adult, Readers, Romance, short stories, Stories

Book Lovers Tag

Here’s a fun post for all. This is a Book Lovers Tag challenge. I came across this great tag over at D.G. Kaye Writer’s blog, where she invited anyone to join in. I thought it would be exciting to jump into the challenge, as besides being an author, I love reading romance novels (hence the blog’s namesake)! So, why not?

Do you have a specific place for reading?

Mostly, I read in bed, but now and then I cart one of my books to the living room or dining room and set up shop. And if I’m feeling really adventurous (this helps if we have pleasant weather, which is never a guarantee in Indiana), then I’ll sit outside on the patio and read to my heart’s content. 😉 Now and then, I actually read on the Kindle app on my tablet, but I’m more of a paperback/hardback kind of girl. The tactile sensation of a page turning still gets my bibliophile obsession going. I think it’s better to find a comfortable spot that practically absorbs you into the environment. The outside world with all its troubles can drift away, and then you’re on your merry way to discovering a new literary realm.

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

Sure, I have bookmarks. I’ve even collected quite a few to hand out at my own release parties. I don’t always use them for my own reading purposes, however. Yeah, I’m one of those freaks that dogears the pages, but I always bend the corner back to its old position when I’m finished. To each his (or her) own, I guess.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?

Oh, I do my best to finish a chapter, unless I get so drowsy that I absolutely have to stop wherever I left off.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

No, I usually don’t eat while reading. Occasionally, I’ll snack on chips or dark chocolate, but mostly, I just keep hydrated. I can’t do much else besides read, especially if the book is that riveting. I like to immerse myself in the literary world and come up for air hours later.

Music or TV while reading?

Not at all. Are you crazy? Why would I let anything else distract me from reading? LOL.

One book at a time or several?

One at a time, but now and then, I’ll gradually work on a Kindle novel in between reading paperbacks.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I often read at home, but I don’t have any trouble reading on a driving trip, as long as the lighting is sufficient. And I always, always take reading material with me when I go on vacation, even if it’s only for a day or two. I never know when the mood will strike me. In college, I used to read out on the quad or in hallways outside classrooms so I really have no trouble reading in the most random place.

Read out loud or silently?

Silently, though I am known to laugh outright at the funniest parts. It’s somewhat satisfying to earn a lifted eyebrow from passersby. I feel like it’s my literary world I’ve fallen into, so I am entitled to the occasional private joke.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

Never! When I was younger, I grew impatient with lengthy descriptions of the curtains and such in historical novels, but once I matured I understood that the novel as a whole made the reading experience. So now, I read everything.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t try to abuse a book in any fashion. But I am known to go back and re-read well-loved books, so they get that creased and worn look on the spine at times. Never broken or bent in half, however. I happen to think those creases are like people. The more they’ve been around, the wiser and more loved the individuals are.

Do you write in your books?

Nope! In college, I used to annotate or highlight certain passages of textbooks for studying, but with the novels I read for pleasure, I want them to look as clean as possible.

That was fun! I invite you all to join the Book Lovers Tag challenge and share your reading habits. Feel free to link back to this post so I can visit and share yours too.

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Event, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Romance, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Belinda Y. Hughes

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 Belinda Y. Hughes, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

When you say ‘romance’ to me, I automatically think of romance novels to escape reality, love songs to restore hope and celebrate love found, dinner and a movie on date night, spontaneous getaways at the advent of a new relationship, lacy satin lingerie, long curly hair, soft-scented skin, candles, poetry and flowers.

Created by Freepik

But in practice, it goes deeper than that.

Lovers and others have taught me a lot about romance in the last fifty years. Romance can be had at any price point, from cooking at home together to dressing up and going out for date night to wedding ceremonies and a renewal of vows. Romance can be as simple or complex as you care to make it. You can leave your lover a voicemail in a husky whisper, study sensual massage techniques and yoga for time together behind closed doors, or clear the family out of the house and have a weekend in the nude. It all comes down to your identity, feelings and self-expression.

Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life?

Yes, I’ve been known to drop whatever I’m doing – even house painting – and make terrible mistakes for the sake of romance. It has caught me when I wasn’t looking and been a pleasant surprise for a time. Sometimes I feel possessed by a higher force sweeping me along as I prepare for a date with a new lover, and that one turns out to last quite a while longer than the rest. Sometimes it’s going out on a limb and risking my heart when I may not even get a kiss in return, even after weeks of exploration.

How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships?

I’m both a fourth generation divorcee’ and the child pawn in my parents’ divorce, so while I always pursued the dream as a Piscean hopeless romantic, the grim prognosis for reality equally always lurked in the background. My longest relationships were 3.5 and 4.5 years. Surprisingly, some of my best relationships were often a year or less. Some might say I simply haven’t discovered that One True Love who is the reason none of the others worked out. I believe that’s possible.

Were other couples influential somehow?

Just as I watch other couples on the dance floor to learn the latest moves, like any writer, I watch others in their practice of romance and take notes, both for my own life and stories.

Created by Freepik

And as I read, listen to music and watch TV and movies, the character couples influence me, as well.

From Mike and Carol Brady, I learned that spouses should be respectful, playful and supportive, and life can get crazy, but love can survive. From Darin and Samantha Stevens, I learned that romance involves timing: a freshly prepared martini as one partner returns home from work; a home-cooked, restaurant-quality dinner served on an attractively set table; flexibility and tolerance can save hours, even days, of dispute; and magic can strike at any moment. From Gilligan’s Island, I learned that you can make romance out of anything, wherever you are.

Created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

My parents didn’t define romance as seen on TV. What I witnessed of their everyday romance consisted of kissing, back scratching, splitting chores by gender and sharing meals. Once, when Dad came in the door asking how he could help, and Mom asked him to check on the baby (me) so she could finish dinner, it didn’t end well. Dad was impressed with my crib-Houdini and highboy-climbing talents and insisted she see it to believe it. Mom, on the other hand, was floored – literally. Not terribly romantic.

My late aunt, famous among our family for her natural beauty and lengthy primping, used to say, “Always remember, your next husband could be right outside that door.” She and my great-grandmother were married at least four times each, and even as a grandmother, that aunt could still attract college boys in California.

My older sister was my most influential role model for romance via her Cosmo-girl sophistication. She taught me how to shop big-city lingerie sales and shared her “trashy paperbacks”, which were quite educational. One of the few romantic yet not-trashy paperbacks she put me onto was Aromatherapy for Women by Maggie Tisserand (ex-wife of Robert, the noted herbalist), which includes aphrodisiacs and recipes for letting go of the cares of the day and getting oneself and one’s partner in the mood for love. Handy stuff, that. When I called home from Dallas in a fit of disappointment over a home-cooked dating disaster, it was my sister who informed me traditional pasta, not spaghetti squash, was the way to a guy’s heart.

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I learned much more about romance from my lovers than anyone else. I started to detail their decadent nuances here, but that would give away my stories before you’ve read them, and we can’t have that now, can we?

How has all this fed into your romance writing process or career?

In my writing process, I often fancy a particular personality or memorable moment (see nuances, above) and somehow work it into a story.

Career-wise, I’ve eschewed traditional publishers, preferring possessive, monogamous relationships with my books. However, since passing the mid-century mark, I’ve become more open-minded and might now consider an indie-trad ménage. Maybe. Watch this space.

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

Guest Bio

Belinda Y. Hughes wears many hats: author, editor, proofreader, blogger, beta reader, author coach, press release and synopsis writer and events coordinator. Her books include Living Proof, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, Blues in the Night, Blues 2: The Colonel and Unit Study: DERELICT by Lisa Cohen. She is currently working on the next in the Confessions, Blues and Unit Study series, as well as a Mail Order Bride trilogy and a poetry collection.

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, Belinda, 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 Vivienne Vincent visits us on June 22nd! 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, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Mega Cool Review for UYL — 5 Stars!

So, I am bursting to give you this news! I just stumbled across this awesome five star review for Upon Your Love, a historical romance/family saga novel and book three of the Heiresses in Love Series.

This is what the reviewer said on Amazon:

I always thought historical romances were boring, but I was wrong!!!, June 13, 2017

This review is from: Upon Your Love (Heiresses In Love Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
The first thing I noticed was the length of the book which might startle a modern-day reader, but this one’s totally worth it. A solid storyline that flows from one page to the next. I think the length of this book is a plus point because it allows you to really, really get to know the characters. So don’t let the number of pages scare you. Most romance novels don’t give you deep insight into the characters. They are all about formulaic plots and stereotypical heroes and heroines. But in this book, the characters felt deeper than a typical romance. It was almost as if the author spent a lot of time building the characters in her head, and as the story proceeded, the characters kept growing.

Although it’s a historical romance, it doesn’t feel dated or stylistic in any way because of the way the author has captured the essence of human nature and relationships. The characters are likable which is no ordinary feat because I find it very difficult to like female protagonists.

Two-thumbs up.”

Wow! Thanks for your kind comments!

Readers, don’t forget to check out the whole Victorian maritime romance series as well! 😉

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Filed under Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Cleo Scornavacca, plus giveaway…

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

You would think that because I love all that is romance…books, movies, songs, real life events and because I’m an author of adult romance; that this title and question it poses would be easy to answer.

Sure, to list everything down on a page in a single line it would, but to honor romance the way it should be honored is a labored task…a labor of love, that is.

As an author, I’d like to think that although my novels are fictional, they try to hold the true essence of reality. The reality when two people who barely know one another develop feelings for each other that can only be explained as a romance in bloom.

Though it goes beyond all of that.

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Ah…those new feelings that bubble up inside one’s self; making you feel playful…alive. Maybe it’s something that the person experienced before and over time it drifted away, until the “right” person finally came along. Maybe it’s something they never experienced, like young love…when you always remember your first.

In a novel, romance can be slightly exaggerated or the story that ensues can be a bit more creative than real life. Yet the old saying of art imitating life and vice versa still holds true. When writing any story, the author builds worlds; some being elaborate windows back in time, for others, small doorways into a more modern and everyday life, yet far from the mundane.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Where does it all come from?

Imagination?

Without a doubt!

But…

Life…living is the real romance.

Romance isn’t just about the sexy alpha that you may reach for in books. It’s not just about the woman of your dreams…no really, it’s not.

For me it’s about so much more; and it’s that more that makes writing so much better.

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More is about a memory box full of “firsts”…visible or invisible…tangible or intangible…but things that made you feel, things you hold close and never want to forget.

Created by Nensuria – Freepik.com

A first kiss, a walk along the beach as the summer sun sets in the distance, a proposal, a birth of a child; their first cries and their first words.  The comfort from a parent when things aren’t going exactly the way you wanted them to and that same comfort you give to someone who cared for you, that in the end you will care for them.

Perhaps it’s a hug from a friend or a letter from a someone you’re close to, but is a million miles away. Maybe it’s romance in a song that you hadn’t heard in ages, but still can sing along to today.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Maybe it’s a movie that you remember all of the best lines to.

Or…

Maybe it’s all of these experiences wrapped up in one. Something that is settled deep within you soul, that puts a smile on your face and when it betrays you… it guts you to your core.

Because…it is you.

Romance is the connection…the love, the passion, the whimsy, the fight. It’s the heart that feels full, that beats loudly and keeps beating even when you hold your breath. It’s the heart that breaks, yet by some invisible thread is sewn back together…a bit tarnished, a bit scarred, but ready to love again.

It’s the we, the us, the them, the they, the me and the you.

Romance…it’s the indescribable, describable everything.

Wow! Very nice and romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉

Win a FREE BOOK, readers (details below)…

 

♥♥♥ GIVEAWAY! ♥♥♥

Head on over to this Instafreebie promo, and have a chance of winning a copy of MISS TAKEN! It’s only for a limited time, so jump on the offer! 🙂

 

Woo hoo! Sounds great!

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! And check out the rest of the series too! 😉

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

Guest Bio

Cleo Scornavacca is an author of Adult Romance, a wife, a mom & a true “Jersey Girl”. She was born and raised in NJ and still resides in the Garden State.

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 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. The second anthology, yet to be released; is for Project Semi-Colon. Cleo’s story is called “A Letter to My Younger Self”.

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 chance she gets.

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Belinda Y. Hughes visits us on June 15th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

Leave a comment

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Tanya W. Newman

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 Tanya W. Newman, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

When I made the decision to write about what romance means to me, I immediately thought back on one of my favorite moments from The Golden Girls.  A character, Blanche (the most promiscuous), has been dating a man who has never made a move on her.  When she asks him why, he says any two people can just sleep together, but what he believes in is romance.  He explains what that means by walking over to Blanche, slowly stroking the side of her face, and kissing her, just once.  He smiles but leaves without a word and as Blanche looks after him long after he has gone, she finally smiles to herself, folds her arms over her chest, and we know that she understands what he means.

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The moment is a small one, but it is one that we know will last in Blanche’s memory.  It is also a moment that illustrates what romance means to me.  Small moments such as this can actually be quite lasting and powerful, and when they occur, mostly in the form of a kiss or even an exchange of looks or smiles, they show a quiet understanding or connection between two people.  Those are the moments that catch my heart and send it racing.  And wow, is it romantic!

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

There are many places where I have come across these small moments of connection.  One of the most recent is in the music video for “Don’t Mean Nothing” by Richard Marx.  In the video, an aspiring actress moves into an apartment complex and is increasingly disillusioned by the industry as well as being hit on by her landlord.  Marx plays a musician living in the complex.  They have several encounters where their eyes meet, but she always looks away.  Finally, near the end, she leaves the complex one morning, looks Marx’s way as he is coming outside with coffee, radiates a beautiful smile, and says, “Hi.”  He nods in return and a moment later, she turns back to smile at him once again and he stares after her.  We don’t know what made her change in this moment, but it doesn’t really matter.  It’s lovely and romantic because there seems to be a knowledge in each character’s smile, showing how they understand what the other goes through day after day trying to “make it” in show business.  They know one another without knowing one another in a sense, and therefore a connection is formed that will probably last—not unlike La La Land, I suppose.

I came to realize how much I value small moments of connection in my own work as well.  In my second novel, Winter Rain, there is a moment when my character, Spencer, offers his hand to another character Isabel, asking her to dance with him.  They are at a party but have found themselves on a balcony, just the two of them.  They’ve barely met or said a word to one another, but as Isabel looks into his eyes, she sees something she hasn’t seen in anyone and Spencer, an otherwise womanizer, sees the same in Isabel.  They come together, dancing slowly and intimately out on that balcony, but never kiss or say another word to one another.  Nonetheless, a connection is felt and it’s one that lasts beyond his friend trying to come between them and have Isabel for himself.  I came to realize here, how romantic I find dancing as well because of its connection without words.  This is not the only instance in which Spencer and Isabel dance instead of talking to one another, how these brief moments of contact replace conversation.

It happens in my other novel, The Good Thief, as well.  In that story, my character, James, asks Scotlyn to dance on their first date and she agrees with heart-pounding nervousness.  But once she is next to him, the panic fades and all she sees or feels is him.  The dance ends in a kiss that lasts in her memory for long after and it is a memory she frequently revisits when she finds herself in danger.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

These men love these women, more than they thought they were capable of loving anyone, and if I do my job right as a writer, then readers are able to see that as the small moments between the characters continue.

There are countless other facets I find romantic but in the end, the moments where two people connect and understand one another are what I find the most romantic. They’re the moments that catch my heart and send it flying.  They’re the moments remind me of what matters most in life.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

And that is what romance means to me, why I write it, and why I love it!

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

Guest Bio

Tanya W. Newman was born and raised in the upstate of South Carolina, where she discovered her love of writing and storytelling, a love that led to a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of South Carolina Upstate, and a Master of Arts in English from Clemson University.

Now married to her wonderful husband, Mark, for twelve years, Newman still resides in the upstate of South Carolina, where she sets many of her stories. When not writing or reading, she enjoys coffee, movies (usually an action/adventure with a love story added in), long jogs, and spending time with her adorable son and daughter.

For more information, visit her website at www.tanyawnewman.com or like her page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authortanyanewman/.

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, Tanya, 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 Cleo Scornavacca visits us on June 13th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Double Reviews for THE MISSING PIECE!

As most of you know, I released this new adult romance short story in February. It originally appeared in the Valentine’s anthology, Cupid’s Arrow, for Solstice Publishing, but the publisher decided to release it on its own as well. Here are two great recent reviews:

Kiss of Love, June 4, 2017
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Missing Piece (Kindle Edition)
“By the time I reached the last page, l was encouraged. I am still smiling. I really enjoyed this story. For sure we need to be reminded, love is a many splendid thing. Excellent writing style for readers seeking a heartwarming experience. Great job!”

 

 The Missing Piece by Marie Lavender #mf #review @marielavender1


addtogoodreads_zps55cd15da14Kim Talks TomesTAG“The Missing Piece is a uniquely done love story where unexpected things happen to a college aged girl. She wakes up on the front lawn of a fraternity not knowing what happened the night before. A boy from the party offers to help her piece together what happened and they end up bonding and sharing a kiss. She begins to feel things she never felt before, until the boy she spent the forgotten night with shows up at her door. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, the author takes a sharp turn and offers up suspense and intrigue. This sweet story is well written and a definitely attention grabber! While I wasn’t immediately wowed by the subject of the story (college kids partying too hard and blacking out), I couldn’t put this book down! Luckily it’s not long and I absorbed it in one night.I highly recommend this book to anyone!”

Woo hoo! Thank you, Linda and Kim, for your kind commentary! ♥

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Filed under anthology, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Marie Lavender, New Adult, Readers, Reviews, Romance, short stories, Stories, Writing