Category Archives: Writers

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

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

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

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

 

Tommy: The Unforeseen Hero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrong.

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

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

There’s only one problem…

She’s the only woman he wants.

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

…all Within Six Months.

 

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

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

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

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

.•° GIVEAWAY °•.

Instafreebie giveaway

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

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

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

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

Author Links

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

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/cleoscornavaccabooks

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/cleoscornavacca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character George Bramley from DEVIL’S RUN by Beverley Oakley

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

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

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

Who is George Bramley?

In Devil’s Run, I needed an antagonist to spark my heroine into actions that went against her heart’s desire in one respect, but which, in another way, promised her her heart’s desire.

George Bramley was perfect.

He’s appeared in the two previous books of the Scandalous Miss Brightwell series, always trying to wreck the romances that my matchmaking sisters – Fanny and Antoinette Brightwell –  are trying to orchestrate, but in this book, Devil’s Run, he’s actually the one wanting to marry the heroine. Not because he loves her, mind you.

 

As for my heroine, the penniless, sweet, intensely focused Eliza, she is desperate to be free of her controlling aunt, which leads her to accept the only marriage offer she’s ever received, even if there’s a caveat.

George always has to have his finger in some pie, or be involved in some unsavory wager. And when George learns that Eliza is tipped to inherit her aunt’s fortune, he proposes on the basis that if the aunt dies before their marriage without bestowing her fortune on her niece, George will pull out of the betrothal, but if the aunt is still living at the time of their marriage, he’ll go through with it on the basis that Eliza will ultimately inherit, and he can persuade the aunt in the meantime to favor Eliza.

Now, why would Eliza agree to this?

Well, first it’s because, as mentioned, she’s at the end of her tether having tended to her aunt’s persnickety needs for seven years, and even marriage to a man she doesn’t love is preferable.

Then she discovers that her long-lost illegitimate child, torn from her at three-months old, is a pauper child in George’s household.

But when a very handsome, kind and honorable fellow called Rufus Patmore, arrives at George’s estate to buy a horse, Eliza falls instantly in love.

Rufus is everything she’s ever wanted in a man: He loves children, he is brave, having served during the Peninsular Campaign, and he adores Eliza.

There’s just one problem. Rufus is on the lookout for a virtuous wife of unblemished character to be by his side as he establishes a political career.

And that, Eliza believes, means there can be no future for them.

How intriguing!

Devil’s Run just released yesterday. Awesome! :)

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

Let’s find out more about the novel, shall we? 😉
This is the blurb for Devil’s Run, book three of the Scandalous Miss Brightwell Series:

A rigged horserace and a marriage offer riding on the outcome. When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?

George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.

Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.

But with her heart suddenly engaged by handsome, charming Rufus Patmore who has just bought a horse from her betrothed George Bramley in whose household her son lives as a pauper child, the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.

And here is an excerpt.

This excerpt begins after Eliza has just plunged into the lake to rescue three drowning children and their nanny. Having dragged them – and herself – to shore, she makes a shocking discovery.

Chapter Two

Eliza had forgotten what it felt like to enjoy a man’s attention. He’d started to dry her in a vigorous attempt to warm her but then his touch gentled and he simply stared down at her.

The wonder in his eye as he murmured words of praise was a rare sensation. Embarrassed, she turned away. Yes, turned away because she could not afford to be so obviously disquieted by another man when she was affianced to George Bramley who stood a few feet away from her. He was also staring but there was no softness in his countenance.

Hoping to avoid any more gestures of admiration or kindness from Mr. Patmore, Eliza politely extricated herself and put out her hand to arrest the progress of the Foundling Home lad whom Nanny Brown was pursuing with a piece of dry linen.

His impish grin reminded her of young Miss Katherine’s, Lady Fenton’s daughter. Clearly the two had had a great adventure unlike Young George who was lying on his stomach upon the grass, shaking with sobs.

“Did you drink a lot of water, Young George?” Eliza asked, looking down at the crying boy but he ignored her.

“I said we shouldn’t go out! I said!” He pounded his fists. “No one ever listens to what I say!”

Eliza shared a wry smile with the rather lovely Mr. Patmore whom she found still staring at her but, as he looked about to approach her again, she turned her back on him and instead brought the Foundling Home boy to stand in front of her now that she’d succeeded in catching him. Eliza would not have Mr. Bramley – or anyone else – accuse her of encouraging the attentions of a man not her betrothed.

“Jack – that’s your name, isn’t it? Well, you’ll have something to tell them back at the Foundling Home.” She’d seen him only from a distance and now, mud bespattered and with his hair matted over his forehead, it was difficult to make out his features though she knew from various anecdotes that young Jack distinguished himself for keeping Miss Katherine’s wilfulness in check and peace between Katherine and her cousin, Young George.

Jack stood obediently before her as he started to wring out his threadbare shirt. “Nah, I’m fine, m’lady,” he said, glancing up to reveal a pair of small white teeth in a freckled face. “But thanks for savin’ me, an’ all.”

Eliza was about to let him go. Releasing her grip a second later might have changed the course of her life, she thought later that evening, and perhaps it would have been better if she had. Why repeat the trauma she’d already experienced?

But for now she was acting on instinct and instead of letting him go when it would have seemed natural, her grip on his wrist tightened while the air in her lungs disappeared, and she had to open and close her eyes three times before she was ready to believe what she saw.

“Gideon?” There seemed still no air to say his name. A great pressure was building in her head. Finally she was able to gasp in a breath, forcing herself to resist the urge to draw him into her embrace and wail her joy.

And pain.

How many other boys of seven years sported a tiny extra claw on their left hand? Or had been thrust into the cold, unloving world of the Foundling Home, she thought bitterly.

He stopped what he was doing to look at her uncomprehendingly and she added faintly, “Though that’s not what they call you, of course.”

An amused look crossed his face, making him look older and wiser than his seven years. Nearby, the weeping and wailing George was a puling infant. Smiling at her was a little man.

He pushed out his chest and said in a tone that was neither boastful nor self pitying, “There’s some ‘at call me Devil’s Cub, or bastard, but at the manor here they call me Jack.”

Devil’s Cub? The sixth finger accounted for the nickname, of course.

“Miss Montrose?” In the distance, Lady Fenton was calling her. Eliza was suddenly shaking like one suffering the ague. “Jack,” she repeated in a whisper, still staring at him as she clenched her own fists. Was the child tormented by his deformity? It looked as if not much troubled him though Eliza couldn’t remember how many times Eliza had been told the sixth finger was God’s punishment upon her bastard babe.

“Miss Montrose! Come away! Susan is waiting in the house with a warm bath and blankets. You must be chilled to the bone!”

Vaguely, she could hear the sounds of concern all around her but all Eliza could focus on was the impish face before her: that of her lost child.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B072BNV6DT

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/devils-run-beverley-oakley/1126385396?ean=2940154261316

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/devil-s-run-1

Wow! So intriguing! ♥ I hope you all get a chance to read this historical romance! 🙂

Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner 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 historical romance, Beverley! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Devil’s Run!

Thank you, Reviews by Crystal, for providing us with all the book details.

Readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series! It looks fantastic!
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Beverley! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately, drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honor – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances starring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Cleo Scornavacca visits us on August 17th! Yay! 🙂

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

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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

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!

Leave a comment

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

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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.

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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!

Leave a comment

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

3 Comments

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 Devika Fernando

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 Devika Fernando, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

A few years ago, I decided to become a romance novelist. I’d always wanted to be an author, and romance was the first genre that came into my mind because I’d always been partial to reading it and because I believe in the power of love. But, what does romance mean to me, on a personal level and as a writer?

Sometimes people ask me whether I write from experience. The answer is yes and no. In a way, a little of me finds its way into every character and story. I think it’s inevitable when you write, especially when you think of what and how you want your heroine and hero to be. But, interestingly, the romance part is something certainly not stemming from experience. In fact, it’s my parents’ damaged marriage that paradoxically made me search for love stories that endure. It’s what I witnessed indirectly and directly while growing up that led me to exploring how relationships work, and they may or may not be salvaged. On top of that, I was always the loner and the quiet bookworm, the nerd and writer.

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And looking back now, I think that not only paved my way to becoming an artist but also gave it that much more sense to seek solace in romance novels (reading them and now writing them). Because I understood the yearning to be completed, understood, valued, seen as special and worthy of attention. Because I knew the feeling of wanting someone to scratch the surface and embark to find the real me.

It’s something I ultimately inject in all my romance novels. That’s why I create characters who are flawed and unique, who are believable and struggle and love like all of us. On a subconscious level, it might also be why I chose to write paranormal romance novels like PLAYING WITH FIRE and its two sequels. Writing about a heroine with a magical gift, who was shunned as an outsider and imprisoned in the confines of this world, made it possible to free something and to convey the message that we’re all special and we all yearn for and deserve love.

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That being said, my own ‘romantic story’ has also influenced by novels. When I left Germany after having spent the first 19 years of my life there, I met the love of my life in Sri Lanka. And that changed everything – above all, it made me realize that true love really doesn’t care about ethnicities or family issues or even previous plans for the future. It will find a way, come what may.

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All of this reflects in my multicultural romance novels like SAVED IN SRI LANKA and SEDUCED IN SPAIN.

I write not just about physical attraction and that first rush of falling in love, but also about compromising and trusting, about discovering oneself as one falls for someone else who’s more like a missing piece than a stranger.

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Romance – and love – means all that to me.

 

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

Guest Bio

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet and sensual, deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust.

What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, Devika is a faithful servant to all the cats and dogs she has adopted. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

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, Devika, 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 Tanya Newman visits us on June 8th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

4 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Nikki Ashton

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 Nikki Ashton, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

I’ve seen many articles and musings from scholars and writers that say romance novels can’t possibly qualify as books and that if you read such ‘escapist trash’, it’s pretty sad. Well, that is their opinion and they are entitled to give it; after all, we live in a free world. I, for one, disagree, mainly because I’m a romantic and a writer of romance, but also because I believe it’s a matter of taste. For example, I don’t like Jazz music. I simply don’t enjoy it or feel any sort of emotion from listening to it – I just don’t ‘get it’. However, I would never suggest those that do listen to it are sad; we simply have different tastes and they have poor hearing (sorry…poor excuse for a joke).

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Romance, however, does evoke lots of emotion in me. Romance actually makes me a little giddy, to be honest, and because I believe in fairy tales and happy ever afters, there really wasn’t anything else I could end up doing but becoming a writer of that genre. Even as a child, I had a crush on Prince Charming and desperately wanted Troy Tempest and Marina from Stingray to get married and have lots of babies (anyone younger than 45 probably won’t get that). I even believe that the celebrity ‘love affairs’ that are publicized in magazines are going to last forever. Yes, I am a true romantic, because for me romance and love means a happy ending.

I have often wondered why I’m a romantic and did consider it was because of my parent’s broken marriage. Instead of their divorce making me distrust love, I desperately wanted the two most important people in my life, at that time, to regain those feelings for each other. When they didn’t, I craved it for everyone else instead, if only to prove that true love really does exist. Alternatively, I might be a romantic because I’m a Pisces. Who knows? What I do know is that life should have a happy ending and if the best way to do that is to create it myself, then I’m all in.

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It’s true to say that due to my idealistic disposition, my characters are people that I wouldn’t mind spending time with or, in an ideal world, I would love to be like. Yes, they veer towards the more romantic version of a human being. The women tend to be pretty and feisty with killer bodies and beautiful hair, while the men…well the men just tend to be hot and sometimes a little domineering, in the best possible way.

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Some may say that is a failing in my writing. After all, life isn’t like that – not everyone has the perfect body or a beautiful face and I know that, believe me I do. But I write romance and if you look up a synonym for romance, you would possibly find the following:

Invention, concoction, trumped up story or fantasy

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m proud to be a romance writer and proud of the characters and stories that I create. My books will never send you a life-changing message, or be thought-provoking, or even win a literary prize, but they might just make you smile and put a little flutter in your heart. So, if you too are a romantic, or even if you’re not, why not give them a go? You might just like them.

So, what does romance mean to me – well, it’s everything good and happy and props to it, I say.

 

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

Guest Bio

Nikki lives in Cheshire with her husband, two dogs and lovely mother-in-law who supplies her with endless cups of tea. She writes romance with a touch of humor and lots of love, and hopes that she puts a smile on her reader’s faces.
Her ambitions of becoming a writer started at the age of 10 when she started writing poetry at school, and was given the honor of reading one of her poems to the rest of her year group (a truly embarrassing experience that she will never forget).
Nikki is grateful for the wide variety of strange and wonderful people in her life, otherwise she’d never know what to write about! She is currently talking to family and friends, finding out their innermost secrets in readiness for her next book.
Although all Nikki’s books are stand alone stories characters do make ‘guest appearances’. So, the best order to read them is:

Guess Who I Pulled Last Night
No Bra Required
Get Your Kit Off
Rock Stars Don’t Like Big Knickers
Rock Stars Don’t Like Ugly Bras
Rock Stars Do Like Christmas
Cheese Tarts & Fluffy Socks

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, Nikki, 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 the company Dating Connections visits us on June 1st! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Carole McKee

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 Carole McKee, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

What does Romance mean to me? It’s a wonderful feeling. While candlelight dinners and flowers are great, they are not true romance. Romantic? Yes, possibly.

It’s the little things that make up romance. Roses ordered from a florist are lovely, but that store-bought bouquet picked up at the grocery store, on an impulse, just means so much more to me. And nothing says ‘I love you’ more than when he interrupts a walk in the park to pick a wild flower for his lady. It’s a sweet thing to do.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Romance is sweet. In my opinion, anyway. Subtle acts and small gestures that say “I love you.” A phone call in the middle of the day, just to say, “I’m thinking of you.” These little things are so romantic, and they mean so much. I believe that these romantic gestures lead to love.

Romance is beautiful. The whole world seems brighter; music is sweeter, colors are more vibrant, stars are plentiful, and people are happier when there is romance in the air.

Created by Freepik

Romance is love. Being romantic shows that a person cares. Just by thinking of things to do in order to make the other person happy, is a way to show loving and caring. That’s romance.

Romance can be so uplifting. It makes a woman feel special. Romance makes a woman feel pretty.

I worked with a woman who always looked sad. She was divorced, and had been for several years. Her 50th birthday was fast approaching, and to her, it was depressing. She told me she felt ugly and useless, and unloved. What this woman didn’t know was that there was a gentleman in the next department who was interested in her. He was 52. My mission? To make things happen. Now, I don’t like to play matchmaker, but I’m not opposed to spreading little factual tidbits. I told Jerry that Norma’s birthday was the following Saturday, and I just mentioned in passing that she had no plans to celebrate. Good ole Jerry took the hint. On Friday, flowers arrived at Norma’s desk with a lovely note, saying that he would love to celebrate her birthday with her and could he pick her up for dinner at 7:00 on Saturday?

Created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

Gotta love Jerry!

I saw the biggest transformation I have ever seen. Norma’s face lost ten years right away. Her eyes lifted at the corners, as did her lips. Her face looked brighter, and actually healthier. When she showed me the note, the first thing she said was that she had to get some new make-up and get her hair done. I suggested she go all the way, and buy a new dress, too. For the first time ever, I saw Norma smile and become giddy. She emailed a positive response to Jerry. But it didn’t end there.

Surprisingly, Jerry was the romantic type. Norma and Jerry became an item, and Jerry showered her with compliments, flowers, and little surprises almost every day. I witnessed a wallflower turn into a rose. That’s what romance does for you! Oh, and by the way, Norma and Jerry are married now. They both retired and spend their time traveling, or just staying home. Isn’t romance and love wonderful?

Romance can keep a woman healthy. This may be a stretch, but I don’t think so. Happy people get sick less often. That’s been proven. And what could make someone happier than to have love and romance in their life?

Created by Whatwolf – Freepik.com

I have heard people remark that romance ends after the honeymoon. It doesn’t have to, and it shouldn’t. Why would anyone stop showing love and consideration just after committing to someone, promising to spend forever with that person?

Saying ‘I love you’ can be the beginning of a wonderful life together. Romantic gestures reinforce those three little words. But even before those three words are spoken, the little romantic things two people do for each other make those words flow easily, right from the heart.

Romance doesn’t mean the same to everybody. This is what it means to me. Most importantly, romance is what makes a woman feel cherished, special, and beautiful. Every woman deserves to feel that way.

Created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

I wish I could say that I have experienced true romance, but I was never that fortunate. Since I haven’t, romance is not a driving force in my actual life, but it is so in my writing. I know what romance should be, and my characters experience it. In my first novel, Perfect, there were plenty of romantic overtures.

Nathan and Katrina are truly in love, and Nathan is the master of romance! In all my novels my female characters get treated to wonderful romance, and my male characters get treated as I think a woman should respond to romance.

To me, this is the way it should be.

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

Guest Bio

Carole McKee has been writing since 1996, beginning with a short story written as a tribute to her beloved dog after he passed away. She published her first novel, Perfect, in 2007, followed by the “Choices” series. She recently published four eBooks. Her genres include Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Contemporary Romance. Originally from Pittsburgh, Carole now resides in Clearwater, Florida. Many of her stories take place in Western Pennsylvania, a place she still loves. Prior to becoming a writer, she acquired a widely diversified work history and education.  She now writes full-time, and enjoys retirement life.

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, Carole, 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 Nikki Ashton visits us on May 30th! 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, Romance, sports romance, Writers, Writing