Category Archives: Writers

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Lilly Christine

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 to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Lilly Christine, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

What does romance mean to me?

In both real life romance and fiction, a partner or would-be partner goes the extra mile to create a special experience for their beloved. I hope everyone has memories of first real life romantic gestures…the carnation or special Valentine in middle school, a first dance, prom, et cetera. My first “real” boyfriend would pick me up from work and take me out for milkshakes, so teaberry milkshakes STILL spell *romance* for me!
I write romances because I love developing a journey to love for my characters, and my readers seem to enjoy it, too! My McGreers series features flawed characters challenged by this “thing called love”, sending them on journey that is often inconvenient, difficult, or near impossible. In McGreers #1, Crashing into Tess, the new girl Tess gives up hope before single-dad rancher Jake finally comes around. In #2, Crazy on Daisy, Hank Gallagher’s pined for barrel racer Daisy for years, and in #3-6 Right Kinda Bull/Whole Lotta Bull, Lindsay keeps a secret, testing Ty McGreer more than any of my other heroes.
I also enjoy weaving contemporary challenges couples face into the mix, so in #5, Loving Lulu, Lulu, a young mom, wants a career, which puts stress on her marriage, while her brother Kyle, an Iraq vet and Janie’s beau, struggles with PTSD. In #8, My Kinda Bull, Heath McGreer, a fossil fuel engineer, bumps into Christina Rodriguez, a Greenpeace activist, in Alaska.
My novels mirror the challenges of love-in-real-life, which for me makes writing the stories and crafting the characters that much more exciting. Thanks so much for reading!
Wow! Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lilly! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

lilly-headshot

Lilly Christine’s debut novel, Crashing Into Tess, won TRW’s 2013 “Catherine Award”,  was a 2014 finalist in DRW’s “Best First Book”, and “Best Contemporary” categories, and is the first in the popular McGreers Series. Lilly returns to her birthplace for the setting of “Philadelphia Love!” an exciting new urban rom-com Holiday Novella Series! In 2017, look for Valentine, Baby!, Sing It, Baby! and Independence, Baby?

Lilly currently resides in Reno, Nevada. When not writing, she can be found walking her Daschahuahua rescue puppy on the Truckee River.

Sign up for Lilly News

She’s always available for book-signings, readings and appearances, especially to benefit her reader’s favorite animal shelters and rescues. Contact her at LillyChristine13@gmail.com, or find her on Facebook!

Author Links

Website:  http://lillychristine.com/Books.html

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/3sg8X

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lilly.christine.71

https://www.facebook.com/PhiladelphiaLove1/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lillychristine1

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lilly-Christine/e/B00GLY93A2/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276542.Lilly_Christine

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilly-christine-a4839bbb

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lillychristine1/

 

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, Lilly, for giving us your reasons for writing romance, and how you incorporate your own romantic beliefs into your books. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Cynthia Helwig visits us on March 30th! 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, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Romance, western, Writers, Writing

On Writing Romance: a guest post by Ricardo Mejías

On Writing Romance by Ricardo Mejías

 

Writing, for me, is a second language. I’m not quite fluent in it, but it allows me to see and articulate the world in a very specific yet wonderfully abstract way. I can pick and choose my letters, line them up and listen to their sounds, playfully arranging similes like a child stacking Legos. It’s an experimental exercise, a fun, freeing and fantastic excuse to allow the tongue to sleep and the mind to clear its throat.

I started to write when I was twelve. I typed with my index fingers, very slowly, and very deliberately. I had a story I wanted to get out. No one told me to do it. I wasn’t going to share it with the world, tossing the pages out the window so strangers could say, “This child is a genius!” I was just tired of holding onto the letters in my head, tired of their weight. I had created an entire universe, and if I could only condense it into words then maybe I could be free! Free to think of something else. Free to write more. And when it came time to write another story, I learned to tilt my head to the side—watch as it tumbled out my ear, splashing on the page in a tangle of prose. Then I waited for the rain to fill me whole again, so I could continue the cycle until I ran out of pages, out of words, and out of ideas.

 

Unsplash, Aaron Burden, Creative Commons License.

Writing, as sticky as it is when preserved on the page, is a very flexible tool of expression. Like water, it is fluid, the meaning of a sentence changed by the deletion of a word, the inflection shifted by punctuation. The narrative is a shapeshifter, who might be a suspenseful point of view in one story or a cynical teenager in the next. It is putty in our hands, and we are artists in search of the figures that lie within.

In college I started to try out different styles. I eventually stumbled into a genre I didn’t think I’d ever consider: romance. Not just romance…steamy romance. And though it started as a simple writing exercise, I learned to respect the genre in a profound way. I had taken it for granted. I saw Romance as fluff. It was a guilty pleasure read and nothing more, filled with flowery language and prolonged sex scenes. But the romance genre is one of the few genres where the writer and reader are truly intimate. While other books take a reader’s hand to lead them down a wild adventure, romance stories kiss your hand and bring you closer. They cause you to blush. They whisper in your ear, waiting for you to make the first move: to undress and find pleasure in the state of being vulnerable.

Writing is inherently a close affair between the author and reader. Without you to read these words, I don’t exist. Right now I am closer to you than anyone will ever be, because I have the pleasure of occupying—for a very brief moment—the privacy of your thoughts, and that is a privilege I don’t take lightly. And while other books are granted this privilege as well, what they’re sharing with you isn’t a secret; romance, however, is. When the prose starts to move to the bedroom, the author is taking you along with them. In many ways, the reader is not reading about the heat of his body—she’s feeling it. The reader is not reading about the curves of her figure, he’s exploring them. So as a writer of romance, the reader is allowing me to enact a fantasy with them. It’s a quiet act that only works if one can earn the reader’s trust.

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

I learned this because when I started to write romance I wasn’t sure how to approach it. As it turns out, I wasn’t writing for myself but for you. It was like a relationship, I wanted you to be happy—and not just to be happy, but to enjoy what I was doing. So I treated you as the protagonist, and wrote scenes that only worked if you willingly participated in them, and to do that we needed to reach a level of intimacy other books never had to strive for. You have to woo a stranger before the kiss. When I realized this, it made me look at romance fiction in a completely different light.

And that was how my romance novella, Fixation, came into being. I learned that I couldn’t write it like I had with my other stories. It helped me understand the nature of words and the act of reading them. There is a lot happening between the lines, a playful back and forth that simply feels different when writing romance. It’s flirtatious and fun. I’m still figuring out who I am, but the great thing about words is that it allows me to be formless. Fixation started as a personal challenge, but it turned into a lesson that opened my eyes to the beauty of storytelling. Maybe that is why our language is so rich and overflowing instead of blunt and minimalist, because we know on a deeper level these sounds are doing more than making noises.

They’re asking us to dance.

Wow! As both writer and reader, I totally agree.

Thank you, Ricardo, for that riveting take on writing in the romance genre.

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at one of Ricardo Mejías’ books? Sounds like a plan!:)

Coming soon to major booksellers:

Fixation cover

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Fixation:

Michael has dreams, abstract fantasies of a woman wearing only a smile. He knows she’s not real, but she keeps appearing each night. She wants more than his body, but he can’t figure out what that is. To make matters more complicated, he’s falling in love with his co-worker, Lisa, and this makes the woman in his dreams angry. As the lines between love and lust blur, he must distinguish the difference and make a choice before he loses his soul to his fantasies.

Ricardo is also offering us a sexy excerpt from his upcoming romance novella.

He imagined the heat between her thighs, as if she’d spent the entire day drinking the sun’s warmth, her skin holding onto it like a cherished memory. His ghostly touch wandered playfully along her hips and stomach, stirring the passions until he searched for the one spot that would make her tremble.

“I want you to do exactly as I say.”

“Tell me,” she whispered. A tremor caught on the end of her voice.

“I’m sliding my fingers inside you.”

He heard a rustling sound as she mimicked his instructions. She was concentrating, likely wondering what it would feel like if they were actually together in bed, breathing on each other between long, lip-smacking kisses.

“I want you to come now.”

With an explosive release, she muffled her cries over the phone.

“I’ll call you next week.” He hung up before she could reply then stared at the ceiling, not quite sure what to feel. Phone sex only heightened his sexual frustrations. He was restless, bothered by a strange sensation that had settled uncomfortably on his chest. Emotionally, he felt parched, dehydrated and in need of…what exactly? If he knew what was good for him, he’d stop searching, but he was never one to listen to his own advice. Instead, his monthly credit bills were adding up to amounts that, at a glance, gave the impression there was real value to what he was doing, a tangible reward worth the risk of debt to his wallet and his soul. But he never got off during the calls. A conscious choice. Empty words for an empty orgasm, but he kept calling the 1-900 numbers, a road that led down familiar paths.

First, he’d scroll through porn, drawn by faceless women who promised to quell an urge he didn’t know how to control, only to be numbed by the flesh and fluids. He wanted to stop, to cut off what was an unhealthy habit, but what harm was it doing, really?

And then the dreams started.

The woman’s phone voice was similar to the woman in his dreams, hushed and raspy in the way she pronounced her words, but—

She wasn’t the same.

He glanced at the clock radio. “Crap.” There were still three hours left until he had to get ready for work. He wanted to sleep, to dream of the woman again, the woman who always appeared when he needed her, to tease him like a stripper might tease a crowd, but with a control so absolute it was a law of nature. She was the very definition of lust, the culmination of every man’s fantasy.

But something was very wrong with his dreams. She held the promise of granting him anything he asked for. Those crimson lips, like rose petals bleeding with the kind of sexuality that made him melt, begged him to take her. But she haunted him. He knew what she wanted: to feel his muscles tense, to enjoy the solid weight of his body on hers. But she had a secret agenda, and she was in no rush to reveal it.

Each night he woke up in a cold sweat, confused and dazed by the overwhelming emotions the dreams produced. No other woman had ever made him feel this way, but her love wasn’t any more real than the woman’s on the phone.

♥♥♥ Interesting! It looks like quite a romantic ride! 😀

http://www.twbpress.com/fixation.html

And readers, this riveting novella will be out very soon!

Fixation cover

 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Ricardo, and a look at your upcoming release, Fixation! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Bio Photo

Ricardo Mejías discovered his love for prose in his senior year of high school while taking a creative writing course. He majored in Creative Writing at SUNY New Paltz with a double minor in philosophy. Wanting to learn more about the publishing industry, he pursued an editorial career and worked at Disney Hyperion as an Assistant Editor for five years. During his time there, he personally edited several middle grade novels and successfully helped pitch an idea for publication. Currently residing in New York with his fiancée, he’s now looking to explore new careers as well develop his writing and poetry crafts.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://wanderingprose.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ricardo.mejias.752

https://www.facebook.com/Fixation-124873584255732/

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2aPa10O

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/112907865782283224885/posts

Publisher:  http://www.twbpress.com/authorricardomejias.html

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!   😉

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Fiction, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

The Secret Life of an Erotica Writer: a guest post by Charity Parkerson

The Secret Life of an Erotica Writer by Charity Parkerson

 

Follow just about any Erotica author online and you’ll be treated with pictures of delicious men, snarky jokes about spanking, and tons of other fun tidbits. No doubt, my online search of sexy topics—purely in the name of research, mind you—has landed me on more than one pervy, government watch list. Opening my email has become a daily adventure. I never know what sort of fan mail I’ll find inside. I’ve seen things…horrible things…things I cannot unsee. The award for keeping a straight face while answering questions should arrive in my mailbox any day.
During a recent interview, I was asked to describe a day in the life of Charity Parkerson. This was the moment I realized two important things. Not only is my life vastly different than what people think, I also have not lost the awesome ability to horrify people speechless.  For anyone interested in hearing about a day in the life of an erotica writer, here it is:
After dragging myself out of the bed—kicking and screaming—I get my two boys ready for school, secretly praying they are going to spend the day with someone blessed with infinite patience. Eventually, I discover we are already ten minutes late. I then spend another ten minutes standing by the door screaming for everyone to get their damn shoes on, and praying someone with tons of patience is waiting to greet me at the school. Thirty minutes of travel time from one end of town to the other— in order to drop them at two separate schools— is spent listening to several arguments. The top one usually consists of my youngest accusing my oldest of being mean. The debate landing in second place is the one where I am accused of never seeing how annoying my youngest is being to my oldest. If you add in my fervent prayers for all the wonderful teachers out there to have strength, you have the first couple of hours of my day.

 

coffee-and-laptop

Once I have the house to myself, I drink a ton of coffee while catching up on tweets, Facebook messages, and emails. After obsessively checking my sales ranking and crying into my third cup of coffee, I stare blankly at the wall for four hours while dreaming of hot MMA fighters, police detectives, and demons. When I catch sight of the clock, I spend another thirty minutes wailing over how I’ve wasted the whole day, before going on Facebook to confer with my friends, only to realize they’re doing the same thing. This, of course, makes everything right with the world again. With that said, if it’s a month until my deadline, those four hours are spent alternating between clicking away at the computer keys and hyperventilating into a paper bag. If it’s the day after I’ve completed my manuscript, I’m patting myself on the back and lying about how I wasn’t worried in the least. Oh, and occasionally I spend my day dreaming about an organized computer where all my files are competently labeled, making them easy to find. Then I remember I can’t afford minions and I’m over it.

Sorry to disappoint everyone who believed I spent my day swinging from the chandelier. Maybe one of these days hot cover models will feed me chocolate-covered strawberries. Unfortunately, it will—most likely— only be because I’m in the nursing home and it’s their job. Until then, you could always read about the lives I live inside my mind…

Thank you, Charity, for that amusing take on a daily look at an erotic romance author.

Well, readers, shall we take a look at one of Charity Parkerson’s books? Why not? 🙂

Break

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Break, Hard Hit Series, Book 6: 

 

Noah’s career means everything to him. That is, until he loses his true everything.

Noah has been in love with his best friend, Troy, for as far back as he can remember. There is no one else he can picture spending his life with. After signing a contract with the Blue Fires, Noah heads to New Orleans, ready to start his new life as a pro hockey player. With the career he’s always dreamed of having in his hands and the man he’s always loved in his bed, Noah thinks everything is golden.

But nothing could prepare Noah for how being the star player would change his life. Each time he finds a reporter’s mic underneath his nose, Noah can’t stop himself from pushing Troy farther away, making Troy the dirty secret. That is, until the day Troy has had enough.

With Troy gone, Noah can’t find his footing, but neither does he have the words to fix the things he’s broken. No matter how many times Noah picks up the phone, fear stops him from saying all the words he’s avoided. Until a single call and a tragic accident changes everything.

“He arrived at St. Luke’s Medical Center… Labels no longer counted. Opinions were out the window. Nothing mattered any longer.”

Hurt, anger, and bitterness have Noah throwing back the curtain, showing the world his every secret. But is it too little too late?

♥♥♥ Interesting! It looks like quite a ride! 😀

And readers, while you’re at it, why not add it to your Goodreads TBR list? You can also get this MM romance on pre-order on Amazon.

Purchase Links:

Amazon Universal:  http://mybook.to/Break

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/break-charity-parkerson/1123523392

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6112849

 

Pick this title up on April 18th! 😀

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Charity, and a look at your upcoming release, Break! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Charity Parkerson Facebook pic

Charity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with several companies. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters.

*2015 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
*Winner of 2, 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards
*2015 Passionate Plume Award Finalist
*2013 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
*2013 Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner
*2012 ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance
*Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath

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Author Links

Website:  http://www.charityparkerson.com

Blog:  http://charity-thesinners.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/charityparkerso

Amazon Author Page:  http://author.to/CharityParkerson

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4506281.Charity_Parkerson

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+CharityParkersonAuthor/posts

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/authorparkerson/

Tumblr:  http://thesinnerauthor.tumblr.com/

Shelfari:  http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a2942626/Charity-Parkerson/

Publisher:  http://www.punkandsissypublications.com/charity-parkerson.html

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!   😉

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Erotica, Fiction, LGBT, Message, new release, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

The hard work of being an author

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be an author these days…

katemariecollins

Morning, everyone! It’s spring! Which, around here, means it’s raining. Still. Just a little warmer than it was last week.

People often imagine the life of a published author as one filled with red carpet invites, cavernous offices where we sit in a comfy chair. A maid or butler bringing us lunch on a silver tray so we remember to eat. And so much money in the bank that we don’t blink if our children want to go to Europe for a summer. Or Yale for six years.

Um, nope. This is work. Hard work. Our house is modest. My husband’s job pays the bills. Mine helps with groceries and, currently, the rest is being funneled each month to help make it so our daughter doesn’t start college knowing she’ll graduate with a mountain of debt. That’s the COO salary, anyway. The royalties? I get to go to my favorite…

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Message, Readers, Writers, Writing

Writers are not lazy

Fellow writers, a perfect article to show your families, or anyone who is not supportive of your job or your dreams!

Source: Writers are not lazy

7 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Message, Readers, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

Romantic Reflections: 2015

Romance

heart-shaped-rose

Why do we love romance? Why do we hang onto romantic phrases in love poems, novels, song verses or words uttered by a lover? Why indeed have writers throughout the ages attempted to capture this ideal of “love” so completely with the written word? Because, in some ways, love is elusive, a treasure just out of reach, or rather it’s complex and difficult to describe.

For me, my love of romance is reminiscent of the times when women were considered ‘ladies’ and men were ‘gentlemen’. There was a genteel or eloquent approach to life. There’s a reason some women get breathless with romantic gestures, such as offering a rose or getting down on one knee. These gestures show respect, appreciation and deep affection for the individual they are directed at. And there are millions of other little ways to be romantic, and they don’t have to be big, expensive gestures. All it takes are honest intentions, and a little creativity.

Links to Classic Romance Novels:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10604842/Best-romantic-novels-of-all-time.html

http://entertainment.time.com/2007/02/14/top-10-romantic-books/slide/all/
http://www.datingonline.org/dating/novels/

Links to Top Love Songs:

http://allwomenstalk.com/top-20-classic-romantic-songs/

http://www.billboard.com/articles/list/1538839/top-50-love-songs-of-all-time

http://top40.about.com/od/top10lists/tp/top100lovesongs.htm

Links to Top Romantic Poetry:

http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poems/famous/love/

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/love-poems

http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous_love_poems/

Romance, I think, is a timeless notion, and if you or your partner can manage to bring out these gestures now and then, you can be reminded again of that deep connection you share with that person, and the evolving love between you. For romantic love is not without its hardships. There will be ups and downs, and you’ll grow as individuals. But a lasting love will stand the test of time, and the occasional conflict that arises. Life is pretty nutty sometimes. It can be stressful. But, having a partner who supports you in the good times and the rough times? That’s priceless. And I think that deep, lasting love is the kind of connection that most romance writers are trying to convey.

So, that’s my take on it. Feel free to post your own comments about your take on this – why you love romance – below. I’d love to hear from you! ♥♥♥

Well, as this rounds out another year for us, I thought I’d also give a brief overview of what’s happened on the I Love Romance Blog this year.

On last January 2nd, I did a post about our top blog post for 2014. You can check it out here to find out why it was so popular.

This year, I also offered some book excerpts from some of my works in progress: Upon Your Love, the future book three of the Heiresses in Love Series (historical romance); Blue Vision, a sci-fi romance; and Blood Instincts, the future book two of the Blood at First Sight Series (paranormal romance/urban fantasy). Check them out! 🙂

I also linked to several of my author interviews. Here are the links:

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/author-interview-on-rachael-stapletons-blog/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/marie-lavender-an-interview-from-her-latest-release-second-nature/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/my-author-interview-on-crystal-miles-gauthiers-blog/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/last-monday-with-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/marie-lavender-stops-by-to-chat-old-flames-and-a-new-book/

You can catch some reviews of my books on the I Love Romance Blog as well:

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/5-star-review-for-leather-and-lace/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/double-reviews-for-second-nature/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/a-short-and-sweet-five-star-review/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/double-5-star-reviews-for-uyr-uyh/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/5-stars-for-second-nature/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/great-review-for-second-nature/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/awesome-5-star-review-for-second-nature/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/a-short-and-sweet-review-for-uyr/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/thoughtful-5-star-review-for-second-nature/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/second-chance-heart-by-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/great-4-star-review-for-second-nature-on-readers-favorite/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/5-star-review-for-sch/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/double-reviews-for-sch/

We were very privileged to have many character interviews from some awesome romance novels, as well as chats with those authors, this year! Check out all the highlights here:

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/a-character-interview-with-sophia-marcil-from-curse-of-the-purple-delhi-sapphire-plus-a-conversation-with-author-rachael-stapleton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/character-interview-candy-frost-from-miracles-in-the-making-plus-chat-author-adrienne-davenport/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/a-character-interview-with-kathleen-from-kathleens-undressed-plus-a-conversation-with-author-celia-kennedy/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/a-character-interview-with-keri-sunderland-from-lost-scared-plus-a-conversation-with-author-k-c-sprayberry/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/a-character-interview-with-sepalika-from-saved-in-sri-lanka-plus-a-conversation-with-author-devika-fernando/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/character-interview-with-vikki-ward-from-the-end-of-camelot-plus-author-diana-rubino/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/character-interview-with-robert-from-the-dukes-bedeviled-bride-plus-chat-author-nina-mason/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/character-interview-with-cassandra-from-bound-to-a-vampire-plus-chat-with-author-grey-francis/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/character-interview-with-kyla-from-testosterone-poisoning-plus-chat-author-carole-mckee/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/character-interview-with-francine-hunter-from-the-angler-and-the-owl-plus-chat-with-author-viv-drewa/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/a-character-interview-with-thomas-andrews-from-changing-lives-plus-a-conversation-with-author-tracy-kincaid/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/a-character-interview-with-devereaux-from-devereaux-cox-plus-chat-with-author-palessa/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/a-character-interview-with-nick-from-not-quite-juliet-plus-a-chat-with-author-katherine-rhodes/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/character-interview-with-j-p-ryan-from-crewel-work-plus-chat-with-author-natalie-alder/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/character-interview-with-angel-bennett-from-angeleas-dreams-of-yesterday-plus-a-chat-with-author-linda-l-picl/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/a-character-interview-with-colin-from-my-haven-my-midnight-plus-chat-with-author-isobelle-cate/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/a-character-interview-with-eryn-omalley-from-the-gangsters-woman-plus-a-conversation-with-author-ginger-ring/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/character-interview-with-victor-titus-from-kindred-sacrifice-plus-a-chat-with-author-eryn-black/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/a-character-interview-with-julie-from-julies-ascent-plus-chat-with-author-emily-walker/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/a-character-interview-with-kristen-from-the-guardian-of-my-soul-plus-chat-author-emily-a-lawrence/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/a-character-interview-with-angela-from-the-healer-plus-chat-with-author-c-j-anaya/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/character-interview-with-elizabeth-from-mercys-angels-plus-chat-with-author-barbi-barnard/

So, we had a lot of guests this year, and it was exciting to meet every one of them! 😀

And we had a couple of new release announcements:

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/new-release-donuts-diamonds-and-assorted-details-by-debut-author-skye-mcneil/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/new-release-the-breadth-of-the-soul-by-author-linda-lee-williams/

We also had an awesome dual blog book giveaway around Valentine’s Day!

You can catch some of my original love poems on the blog here:

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/forever-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/lovers-like-us-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/your-kiss-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/in-your-arms-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/a-language-of-our-own-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/home-a-poem/

And here is a review I gave for Kris Tualla’s Discreet Gentlemen Series.

I also participated in a cool blog tour with awesome authors Lois W. Stern, Vicki-Ann Bush, Celia Kennedy, Devika Fernando, Jordyn Meryl, Ella Quinn, Crystal Miles Gauthier, Adrienne Davenport, Beverly Ovalle and E.J. Frost.

On April 20th, guest poet Honcho Mars, visited us to offer some of his great romantic poetry! Yay! 😉 I hope to have more guest posts in the future with regards to the romance theme.

Also, in April I found out that I won Honorable Mention in the BTS Red Carpet Book Awards for my books published in 2014. So, that was exciting! 🙂

On April 25th, the I Love Romance Blog was nominated for an award. Pretty awesome!

In the spring, I won 2015 PnPAuthors Contest for poetry, and my winning poem, “Lovers Like Us”, was featured in the anthology, Poets & Writers in Action. Woo hoo! 😀 Here is the book, which can also be found on my Amazon author’s page and the crazy list of books on my website.

In July, I had a very cool radio interview on the popular Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! show, covering all of my paranormal books. If you missed it, you can still check it out here!

In October, I released a new romance book, Second Chance Heart, a contemporary romance. Very exciting!

As a final send-off for the year, let me leave you with these great romance quotes that I think fit the theme of this blog perfectly:

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Romance Quotes, Best, Cute, Sayings, Opportunity

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So, to sum everything up, a lot happened this year! I hope I’ve given you some food for thought with regards to romance, and perhaps a list of different romance authors to check out! I’d like to personally thank each of my guest authors this year, all 31 of them, as well as our loyal readers! Thank you so much for making the I Love Romance Blog what it has become today! 😀

Happy New Year, readers! I will catch you here next month. 😉

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Hope, Love, Message, poems, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers

Free Romance Books!

Readers, I wanted to direct you to a huge giveaway of books by different authors, which is hosted on my alternate blog, Writing in the Modern Age. It runs until Saturday evening and the giveaway is Halloween-themed, so if you like either paranormal romance, romantic suspense or time travel romance with a bit of mystery thrown in, you’re in for a treat! And the list goes on in case you read other types of genres!

Also, you know I love romance so I can’t resist telling you about it. Scary and lighthearted books await you on the blog…

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You can find the giveaway here:  http://marielavender.blogspot.com/2015/10/halloween-extravaganza-multi-author-book-giveaway-WritModAge.html

Or at the shortened URL here:  http://bit.ly/1ZHmrss

Don’t forget to leave a comment on the Writing in the Modern Age Halloween giveaway post (tell what you like to read and how to contact you), and you’ll be entered into this mega giveaway with over 135 opportunities to win! Yay!  🙂

Remember: there’s a limited time on the giveaway as it ends on Saturday night.

Happy hunting! Or romance reading, as it were…;)

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Books, Children's Books, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller/Suspense, Time Travel, Writers

A Character Interview with Devereaux from DEVEREAUX COX plus a conversation with author Palessa!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Tracy Kincaid’s character on September 8th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Palessa, the author of Devereaux Cox, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Devereaux, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Palessa in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Devereaux!

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Marie Lavender:  Hello, Devereaux.  Please have a seat.

Character Devereaux Cox:  Hello.  Thanks for having me.

Marie:  Of course. We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Devereaux: Sure.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Devereaux:  I play football for the Atlanta Mercury, in the Steinger Football League. It’s a semi-professional league with about 20 teams from all around the country. It’s like the pros, but we have a different way to play the game and I think our fans are more intense that the pro league. Am I any good at it? Do I like it? Well let me put it this way, they call me the Mercury Juggernaut. Plus I get to knock guys on their asses on a regular basis. Who wouldn’t love this job?

Marie:  (Laughs.)

All right. So, what is your family like?

Devereaux:  There’s a lot going on right now, that I’m sorting out or at least trying to wrap my head around. If you’d asked me that question six months ago, I would have had a much clearer response. Right now, all I have is ‘complicated.’

Marie:  Okay. What did your childhood home look like?

Devereaux: It was pretty good. My parents were good. I can’t complain. I was their only concern for seven years until Bryson showed up. (Chuckles.) I always remind him how he ruined my childhood. Nah, I’m kidding. Bry is cool. He’s my little bro and my best friend.

Marie:  Aww…

So, do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Devereaux: Well, right now, my hobbies are on hold because I’m in school. Doing my masters in chemistry so I’m basically on lockdown. I was able to finish up my assignments before the season started so that’s off my chest, but if I’m not practicing or playing or hanging out with my folks for dinner, I’m studying. I know, I know, the exciting life of a football player.

Marie:  All right. So, what is your greatest dream?

Devereaux:  A family. I thought I would have one by now but, things don’t always turn out the way you plan, do they? I suppose one day…

Marie:  I honestly believe everything happens when it’s supposed to.

Lets try something else, okay?

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Devereaux:  I wish I could be one of those guys who just goes home to his wife and kids and just lives that contented life. A lot of people think that’s boring, but there’s something about being with the right person all the time that just makes things click and work. As far as what’s stopping me…something like that doesn’t just happen with anyone. So I guess you could say when I find the right one, it’ll work out.

Marie:  Good point. So I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Devereaux:  She was this girl I met in college. Rebekka. She was just this hard working smart girl and I got to know her and…I’d never felt like that before. But I found out she did something and I tried to look past it, but it was just too much. Funny enough, we found each other again but, it’s like history repeating itself with her and my parents…again, it’s complicated.

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Marie:  All right.

So, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Devereaux: I’ll tell you all about it when it’s over.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter, shall we?

[Devereaux nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Devereaux:  My dream was to be a football player, a professional one. Back then the NFL was looming large but when I learned more about the SFL, I just felt like this was the place for me. It’s like a big family and the fans are an extension of that. I’m glad I’m here.

Marie:  Great!

So, who is your role model?

Devereaux:  My Dad. He’s one of those chill guys. The way he is with my mom, it’s like he just lets her do her thing and then does his. It’s not that they aren’t partners, it’s that they complement each other so well. My Dad is just calm and likes to see all sides first.

Marie:  I can respect that.

Well…you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Devereaux:  (Shrugs.) I don’t have time for that. I figure, if you like me, fine. You don’t, fine. I’m too busy to play pretend.

Marie:  I agree.

Let’s try something else…

So, what is your deepest desire, Devereaux?

Devereaux:  Just being happy, like I was…back then. I want that kind of happiness.

Marie:  What is your greatest fear?

Devereaux:  Losing my family. I just don’t want to miss a thing. Those moments you just can’t get back and they’re important.

Marie:  That’s true.

Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Devereaux. It was so interesting getting to know you!  (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Palessa on the stage today. Hi, Palessa!

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Author Palessa:  Hello.  Thank you for having me here.

Marie:  My pleasure!  We just got to talk to the hero of your story, Devereaux Cox. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about him?

Palessa:  Dev is this big guy with a big heart that packs a punch on the field. Off the field, he’s got his priorities, which is to build on his natural athleticism. Smart guy, really smart and disciplined enough to look ahead to life after football and take care of his business now.

Marie:  I can certainly admire that!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Palessa:  Dev’s smart and fairly well-balanced. He’s not one to fly off the handle.

Marie:  Now let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are his greatest weaknesses?

Palessa:  For Dev, it’s this blind trust he has that comes with being such a big-hearted guy. It also makes him take a bit more time to absorb certain things, which is the opposite of what he’s like on the field, where reaction/response time is critical.

Marie:  All right.  What are some of his favorite foods?

Palessa:  He’s a clean eater for the most part. His body is a well-oiled machine and he’s highly regimented about what he eats and needs to eat to achieve a certain result. That doesn’t mean he’s boring. He’s just got his focus on taking care of his body.

Marie:  Okay. What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Palessa: He’s a lot like his father, Jeffrey even though he may not realize it. Calm but determined to understand when he feels it’s necessary.

Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Palessa: I think they’ll like him, but they’ll remember what he did or didn’t do. He’s human, not perfect and he’s made mistakes that he’s trying to put right. For some, it may be hard to forget and maybe even forgive completely.

Marie:  All right.

Well, now that we have a real taste of Devereaux Cox, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for your book?

Palessa:  The world of American football is fascinating. I’ve always wondered what some of these guys were like off the field because they are these intense, hulking figures that ram against each other for a paycheck and accolades. Of course, we know what some of these guys do, as is evidenced by Michael Vick and Aaron Hernandez and OJ Simpson, but I think that with the sheer number of players in the NFL, it’s like an iceberg. I wanted to create a league where I could go behind the game and see some of these guys and the league itself. It won’t all be love and roses, but I’m prepared to see what I can of the SFL world.

Marie:  Interesting!

So, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Palessa:  My writing style is evolving. Not sure what it’s become yet, but I do some kind of an outline so I can form the idea more clearly. Then I write. Sometimes it’s from start to finish in sequence but lately, some later scenes have come on strong so I’ve had to write those out first and go back. It’s a process.

Marie:  Isn’t it strange how that works out? Only the muse can tell us where to go.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Devereaux Cox or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Palessa:  This book was blissfully smooth. It took me longer to write this than Tobey Fine because it’s a more emotional story and I wanted to really work on that. As far as getting it published, while I’m with Beau Coup, I’m not taking it for granted that they’ll like everything. I just take it one story at a time. What I am doing is I’m working on drafting out a few books in the series at a time. I wrote Tobey Fine and Devereaux Cox together. I did have half-a-draft of book 3 (which is not a full draft), but I’m going to take the time and really work on book 4 and maybe see if there’s a book 5 before I tackle this series again, no pun intended. So just really writing out the first few books of the series is now my game plan. It may take me some time, but I’m more concerned with getting the stories right so it will take as long as it takes.

Marie:  That’s a great plan!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Devereaux Cox appears to be.  I certainly want to learn more!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Palessa, a very talented author! 🙂

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Here is the blurb for Devereaux Cox (Sacked & Tackled, Book 2):

As the six-feet-five juggernaut of the Atlanta Mercury, Christopher Devereaux Cox knows how to make his impact felt on the field. Off the field, he’s the devoted son of a prominent family with ties to presidential history, as well as one of Atlanta’s most eligible bachelors. He is a credit to his family, his team, and his name. Nothing could be more perfect.
Within the SFL, a problem threatens to spread through the organization. Cast as an unwitting scapegoat is Rebekka Stallman, a physiotherapist for the league and the only woman Devereaux ever loved. Seeing each other again after all those years ago when her life took a devastating turn was unexpected, and Rebekka wasn’t about to miss the chance to unleash her fury on her former boyfriend, who turned his back on her when she needed him.
But things aren’t what they seemed then or now.
Secrets and lies will be exposed as Rebekka forces Devereaux to question everything and everyone he ever trusted, including himself. As the dust settles and some facts about the league’s doping scandal come to light, Devereaux must decide whether the life he yearns for with the woman he still loves is worth the price of holding onto his family.

Palessa is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

“I didn’t do it,” she screamed. “I would never do anything like that.”

The man’s voice just as loud but harsher replied, “You were the only one who handled both of them. And one of the other physios told me specifically that you gave him the stuff with a wink and a nod.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? A wink and a nod.”

“I don’t know but until this investigation is done. You’re suspended without pay.”

“You can’t do that. I’m entitled to plead my case.”

The man’s voice was low, mostly inaudible to outsiders, but it was enough to draw out a mighty curse from the woman.

Devereaux slowly walked past the door. Suddenly it opened and a woman bumped into him and seemed to bounce back. Devereaux actually felt the impact of her which caused him to wobble slightly, which was a feat unto itself.

“Sorry,” he apologized, partly for the eavesdropping. “I didn’t—Rebekka?”

When she heard her name, she tilted her head slightly to look at him and he saw the color drain from her face.

“It really was you,” he muttered and he saw her face move from shock to annoyance.

“And this day just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?” She chuckled mirthlessly as she put her hands on her hips and looked at the ground.

“How—”

“You’re seriously going to ask me how I’m doing right now, Chris?” Her voice crescendoed as she spoke, attracting stares from some of his team mates who were exiting the locker room. “I’ve just been suspended, probably fired or worse, for something I didn’t do or even have a clue how to do or whatever. Some asshat claims I gave him some stuff with a wink and nod. Then I bump into you. So this day is just not…it’s going to shit really. Yeah. Total crap.”

She harshly pulled the rubber band that was holding her hair up and shook it out. It was longer than he remembered. Then she stepped past him and briskly walk away.

Stopping midstride, Rebekka turned on her heel and declared, “Give your mother my best.” The sarcasm in her voice was biting. “Oh,” she exclaimed, putting her finger to her temple as if she were trying to remember something. “Wait a minute. She probably wouldn’t want to hear my name after she sandbagged me back at Kenton, would she? So, never mind, Chris. Been fun.”

Devereaux visibly flinched at the bitterness he heard in her voice. He watched the woman he once loved stalk away and shook his head. For the first time in his life, he felt as if he had been run over by a tank.

And he didn’t like the feeling one damn bit.

Riveting! I definitely want to read more!  😀

Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B015C5UR3M

About Palessa

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Palessa started reading her first romance novel at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors, as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. First, it was in her diaries, then she started creating characters, stories about romance, the supernatural and much more. Being an I.B. student as well as entering college, left little time for writing and so she put it and the ideas aside to pursue a career. It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the juices flowing again. After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa’s first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing.

She considers herself just a storyteller that sees no reason to shy away from the juicier romantic elements. She currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.

Palessa’s Books:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Palessa, here are some of her author links:

Website/Blog:  https://authorpalessa.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/authorpalessa

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Palessa/e/B00IMLM4VW/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100266014519625067283/posts

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7765546.Palessa

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

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/palessa/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Devereaux, the male main character of Devereaux Cox, and Palessa, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Radio Spot!

Catch a radio interview this evening when I visit Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross at their cool paranormal radioshow!

Marie Lavender- Multigenre Author

Hi, everyone!  I just wanted to pop in and tell you about this interview going on today at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! It will be live at 6PM PST/7PM MT/8PM Central/9PM EST, and we’ll be talking about my paranormal books. It should be quite the show!  🙂

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For more information, you can also check out the Facebook event here, where I’m sure Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross will be providing more updates as the day progresses! I met them both on my author journey, and I can’t wait to have a wonderful chat with them. I am so excited! I hope you can join in on the fun! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Marie Lavender, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Radio, Readers, Writers, Writing

My awesome author pal Devika Fernando’s big giveaway!

Hi, readers! I just wanted to pop in and mention that my cool friend and fellow author Devika Fernando is running a huge giveaway for a limited time on her blog. With 16 authors and 19 books, how could you possibly go wrong?

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Oh, and they’re all romance books, or related to romance in some manner. Yay! I love romance. ♥♥♥♥♥

Romance novelist Devika Fernando is celebrating her birthday – actually on the 29th, but one can never start celebrating early enough. 😉 Happy birthday, Devika!

You’re cordially invited to join the party by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway. Up for grabs are bookish prices that will make any bookworm’s heart beat faster. If the luck is with you, 19 eBooks by 16 authors from all around the globe will be yours soon! All you have to do is show the authors some love and then raise your glass in a virtual toast.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, stop by Devika Fernando’s cool giveaway within the next 35 hours to compete for a chance to win some free books! Sounds like a great plan to me!  🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Books, Fiction, participants, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing