Category Archives: Romance

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

New Release Feature: Directions of the Heart by Marie Lavender

I am pleased to announce a great book release by well, yours truly! My modern romantic drama collection, Directions of the Heart, officially released this week!

Yay! Awesome! :)

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

I am thrilled to show Directions of the Heart to readers today. ♥

This is the blurb for Directions of the Heart:

Embark on a remarkable journey of drama, romance, and passion…

In all of these amazing stories, there’s one burning question…is love worth the risk?

Without You

Reece and Jenna are two childhood friends separated by time and distance. Can they find a way to heal their bond, or perhaps forge a new one?

Strange Heat

Spurred by her friend’s close call, Victoria decides to take a risk and prove the lifestyle she led was her downfall. But as Tory sinks deeper into the tumultuous abyss of desire with the mysterious Rick, can she climb back out before it’s too late? Or does she even want to?

Memories

Struggling to run her family’s farm on her own, Sadie takes on a hired hand, Matt. As they grow closer, so does the danger. Someone wants her legacy. Can they combat this new threat, as well as the demons of the past, before Sadie loses everything, including her life?

A Touch of Dawn

Caitlyn thought she’d be in the dark forever. But with the light came Jack, the police consultant who found her. Can they take a journey of healing together, or will Caitlyn retreat into the darkness of her mind, where she lived for so long?

(CONTENT WARNING: With an abuse awareness theme in this collection, there may be triggers here for past trauma sufferers. However, HEAs are guaranteed.)

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

Here’s the book trailer:

What people are saying about this book:

There were family and friends but also some depraved people in the stories, heartache, fear, sadness, tears, anger, hate, hope, a chance for happiness, healing and peace. There was a nice flow to each of the stories and the characters were multifaceted. What you saw wasn’t always what you got and you had to delve deeper under the surface. All the stories had nice closure and I felt the endings were realistic.” – JoAnne on Goodreads

“Your theme and storytelling are very eloquently tied. I know you put warning labels upfront, but I love your writing, knew you had a happy ending if I would just be brave enough to try to get there despite the scary feels, and I was well rewarded. Your best story ever, hands down!!!” – Belinda, beta reader

“Sensitive issues tactfully interwoven into beautiful stories…I really believe that honest writing puts us in touch with who we really are. As humans, one of our flaws is that we prefer to live in denial about our dark side. But everyone has one and I don’t have the words to express how much I loved reading this unrestrained book. ” – Vivienne, early reviewer

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071WVZZPV

myBook.to/DoH

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/directions-of-the-heart-marie-lavender/1126548251

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/729271

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/directions-of-the-heart-a-romantic-drama-collection

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7239124

 

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

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Directions of the Heart!

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

 

Happy reading, everyone! 😉

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Fiction, Marie Lavender, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, Stories, western, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: Directions of the Heart by yours truly, plus giveaway!

For our 400th post on the I Love Romance Blog, I wanted to pop in here and let you know about a new release by…yes, moi. My modern romantic drama collection, Directions of the Heart, is officially available for pre-order and will be released on July 25th!

Woo hoo! :)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author! So, I am really anxious to show this book to readers!

I’m giving you a look at this dramatic contemporary romance set of four tales, Directions of the Heart, today.

This is the blurb for Directions of the Heart:

Embark on a remarkable journey of drama, romance, and passion…

​In all of these amazing stories, there’s one burning question…is love worth the risk?

Without You

Reece and Jenna are two childhood friends separated by time and distance. Can they find a way to heal their bond, or perhaps forge a new one?

Strange Heat

Spurred by her friend’s close call, Victoria decides to take a risk and prove the lifestyle she led was her downfall. But as Tory sinks deeper into the tumultuous abyss of desire with the mysterious Rick, can she climb back out before it’s too late? Or does she even want to?

Memories

Struggling to run her family’s farm on her own, Sadie takes on a hired hand, Matt. As they grow closer, so does the danger. Someone wants her legacy. Can they combat this new threat, as well as the demons of the past, before Sadie loses everything, including her life?

A Touch of Dawn

Caitlyn thought she’d be in the dark forever. But with the light came Jack, the police consultant who found her. Can they take a journey of healing together, or will Caitlyn retreat into the darkness of her mind, where she lived for so long?

(CONTENT WARNING: With an abuse awareness theme in this collection, there may be triggers here for past trauma sufferers. However, HEAs are guaranteed.)

 

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Western Romance, Romantic Drama Novella Collection

Release Date:  July 25, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071WVZZPV

myBook.to/DoH

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/729271

Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/directions-of-the-heart-marie-lavender/1126548251

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/directions-of-the-heart-a-romantic-drama-collection

CreateSpace link:  https://www.createspace.com/7239124

 

I hope you all get a chance to check out this romance! 🙂

☆.•°☆•°*EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY!*°•☆°•.☆

Just for being great ILRB readers and the fact that this is quite the anniversary for our blog here, I will give one ebook copy away to a random winner today. Simply comment on the thread below with why you’re still fond of romance novels – maybe it’s the hotties that continue to make you sigh! 😉 – and you’ll have a chance to win a free ebook of Directions of the Heart! ♥ Don’t forget to give us your name and email address for swift delivery. (Note: This giveaway will run for a week.)

Also, stop by the Facebook release party on the 25th for a chance to win a signed paperback, as well as other cool prizes, including books by guest authors!

 

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this book with characters that easily captured my heart!

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

 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, western, Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Falling.

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

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

Created by Freepik

You’re falling over and over again.

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

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

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

A random text out of the blue.

An ‘I’m sorry’ after a fight.

Created by Freepik

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

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

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.

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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.

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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.

Created by Freepik

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