Category Archives: Writers

Exclusive Interview with author Lisa Doughty, plus a look at historical romance, ELLA AND THE EXPERIMENT!

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our fourth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author of historical romance novels. Please join me in welcoming Lisa Doughty to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Lisa Doughty:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, it’s such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Lisa:  Originally my chosen occupation was in the music industry. I have a degree in Master Engineering – Making records specifically, vinyl records. That probably gives you an indication of how long ago that was. Now they are collector items! In any case, it didn’t matter how good I was at it, there was no money in it. When I met my husband and got married, I was forced to grow up and get a real job. We started our own business together and out of the need to feed myself and a growing family, I settled into the role of CFO. But I never lost my interest in show business. During the years in a job of necessity, I kept one toe in the industry by stage managing at the CMT theatre downtown San Jose and associate produced two indie films “X to Y” directed by Matt Sobel, which won best film at the San Jose film festival, and “Mayra Darnell” starring Lena Olin, which premiered at the SWSX 2017 film festival to great reviews and did well in Europe.

It seemed a natural progression into writing once my kids grew and did not need me anymore. Now partially retired, I can focus on this new career and my new artistic outlet of writing.

Marie:  Great! So, tell us…what is your family like?

Lisa:  I have a wonderful and supportive family. My husband of thirty-two years is encouraging and motivating in this new adventure. He has always gone along with every crazy creative outlet I’ve have indulged in over the course of our marriage with a large amount of enthusiasm. He is especially excited about my writing. He has read my books and feels I have something new to offer. My children think I’m crazy…again, no surprise there. But I love that they see that you should never be scared to follow your dreams, no matter what they morph into over the years.

Marie:  Good point!

Let’s try something else, okay?

If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Lisa:  Hmm, a strange question that I’m not sure how you want answered. Do you mean physically or psychologically? Since I’m sure this is not a psych test, I assume you mean physically.

Imagine your typical 1960’s two story suburban track home – and there you have it.

Marie:  Okay.

Do you have any hobbies, Lisa? What do you enjoy doing?

Lisa:  I love everything and anything artistic. Writing, painting, creating with every possible medium. It’s an OCD thing, can’t settle for just one…

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! The creative monster needs to be feed, right?

So…what is your greatest dream?

Lisa:  To get back into film and theater on the writer/ producer side this time. I am currently working on a series for TV and am halfway through my first play. I’m hoping to produce one of them by the end of 2019.

Marie:  Nice! ♥

Let’s try another question.

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

Lisa:  Okay, now this is really starting to feel like a psych test…

Marie:  (Laughs.) Not a psych test at all. But I know that most readers want to get know authors as people too. 😉

Lisa:  Well, I can tell you honestly that nothing has ever held me back from pursuing what I wished to be. Wherever the wind has taken me over the years, I have boldly jumped in with both feet. Additionally, I am lucky enough to have a great support system to encourage me. They cannot wait to see what I’m going to do next! I am their biggest source of entertainment. In turn, I encourage my children to try everything. To not to be afraid to fail at something.

That is a lesson in itself; we all need to know what we’re not good at so we can find what we are! The true failure is being afraid to try.

Marie:  So true…

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Lisa:  Gary Kibbie, age 7…fell in love with his blonde curls. Broke my heart when he wouldn’t play truth or dare with me. Never forgave him, but married a tall, blond Swedish man that I’m sure is my way of getting over him. Neener, neener!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Well, I am so glad you got your happily ever after. 😀 (Sighs.) I love romance. ♥

Let’s try something else now.

What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Lisa:  Hands down, my father’s death. I’ll leave it at that.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥 I’m so sorry you went through that.

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

[Lisa 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?

Lisa:  I had too many to mention. In a nutshell I wanted to try everything, and although the list is long, I have been slowly been working my way through. Some of them weren’t as fun as others so I dropped those. I’m not done, so I would never say I haven’t achieved one, I’d rather say I haven’t focused on trying that one yet.

Marie: All right.

So, who is your role model, Lisa?

Lisa:  No role models to speak of. I never understood why people have one, actually? Why would you want to be like someone else and not forge your own path? They’ve already forged theirs. Why repeat it? Boring!

Marie:  Okay. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Lisa:  Same answer!

Marie:  Gotcha! Your approach is refreshing. 😀

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Lisa:  To live my life to the fullest, eradicate complacency.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Tell me something, Lisa. What is your greatest fear?

Lisa:  Not to try everything I wanted to. To look back at my life and wish I had put myself out there because I was afraid of what might happen if I did.

Marie:  It would be hard to live with that regret.

So, I want to try something different next, Lisa… 

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Lisa:  Probing question! I need a big island please, preferably in the Caribbean (I hate being cold), because I’m bringing my entire family, a fully stocked Costco, a complete Home Depot including the garden section, my bed, and my laptop.

Oh, I hate cold weather too! Add a long-life battery and magical Wi-Fi to that list, please… (Winks.) I think I would still need a way to do research for my books.

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Lady Cordelia Cromwell, Countess of Middleton Park. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

 

Lisa:  Cordelia is a survivor. Scarred by her father’s abandonment and abused by her first husband, she remains resilient. Even though trapped in circumstances out of her control, she finds a way to make her life her own. Unfortunately, that requires that she build a wall of defenses around herself that threaten to hold her back from a truly fulfilling life. She is frightened to let anyone one in that can hurt her again.

Marie:  I guess I can’t blame her there! I found it hard to trust again too after the debacles with my two exes.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Lisa:  Resiliency and charm. Cordelia learns quickly how to use what tools she has left to rebuild her life. After the death of her husband, she is left with mounting debt and a dilapidated estate. Cordelia uses the only things of value her late husband left behind. Her position and her connections. Coupled with her charm and beauty, she becomes a matchmaker to the elite. Her uncanny ability to match couples soon becomes legendary, and she is sought after for her services from the highest ranked members of nobility.

Marie:  Resourceful!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Lisa:  Cordia is afraid of love for herself. Vowing never to be property of a man again, she pushes everyone away because of her fear. This soon becomes her biggest weakness as The Marquess of Roth, Lord Rhys Drayson starts to break through her defenses. As she falls for the charismatic rake, she realizes how lonely her life really is without someone to love and to love her in return. This starts to crack the foundation she has built and threatens to destroy the world she has built for herself.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Lisa:  Cordelia loves cognac. Usually deemed a gentleman’s drink, she loves that no man can prohibit her from drinking it and loves the sweet, yet strong taste.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

Lisa:  Confidence. Cordelia is unaware that her confidence matched with her beauty makes men off balance around her. She is often unaware of the effect she has on men. As she concentrates on keeping them at a distance, she often misses the effect it has. Instead of repelling them, which is her goal, it makes her mysterious, a challenge and gives her an unobtainable air that makes her even more attractive.

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

Lisa:  I hope they will like her! I want them to identify with her fight for independence, her role as a survivor and respect her for it. Although Cordelia is a fighter, she is also scarred. She deserves happiness, yet is afraid it doesn’t exist for her. I want the reader to understand her fears and wish for her to push through them, rally behind her and want the best for her.

Marie:  Works for me!

Now that we have a real taste of Cordelia, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for The Countess?

Lisa:  The Countess is my eleventh book, The Matchmaker Series my fourth series. I have always loved putting unlikely characters together in a love story. After all, romance is about the journey. But with The Matchmaker Series, I wanted to try a completely different approach. Instead of writing their story toggling back and forth between both of the main character’s point of views, I decided to dedicate the first book The Countessbook one to hers and the second The Marquess-book two to his. This way I could go into much more detail about the characters, and give the readers a much deeper understanding of them. It also was a way to show how differently they perceived the situations they shared and their reactions to them. After all, we, especially men versus women, perceive the exact same event differently. It was fun to show this difference and how it shaped the outcome of their story as a whole.

Marie:  Oh, I love how unique your series is! I look forward to reading it sometime. 😉

Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Lisa:  I design my books specifically to be an easy read. No overly flowery sentences, or need to use a dictionary for every other word. Some may call this rudimentary, but I like and want my readers to be lost in the story, an escape from reality while they read. Not feel like they received a history lesson or a lecture on Literary English. I also try to stay away from too many mundane descriptions of landscapes or the surroundings. To me, endless pages describing buffet tables and furniture settings are tedious to read and often stall the story. I try to give just enough so the reader can get a picture of the setting, but still be lost in the character’s story. I am somewhat of a comedian too, can’t help it, but hope I pull a tear or two at times when the story calls for it.

Mostly, I want you as a reader not want to put it down. Feel anticipation of what might happen at their next encounter and be shocked when it didn’t turn out as you predicted. I used to call these red light reads – books you read at every red light when you are forced to deal with real life but you cannot put the book down.

Marie:  Sounds good!

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 The Countess appears to be. Congratulations on your upcoming release…

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this historical romance by Lisa Doughty, once it comes out! :)

Here is the initial blurb for The Countess:

Lady Cordelia began life abandoned by her father, the Earl of Swanstone, to the Fountain Abbey School for girls after her mother died in childbirth. Cold, detached and heartless, her father never visited his daughter until she became of age, then arranged her marriage, or rather sold her to the Earl of Middleton Park, a man 30 years her senior, infected with the French disease, who was practically destitute thanks to the escapades of his former and now deceased wife. To make matters worse, the earl had very disturbing sexual proclivities. Cordelia, being innocent yet sharp, was forced to endure her circumstances and find a way to survive. However, the encounters with the earl leave her scarred for life, distrusting all men and their treatment of her. When the earl finally succumbs to his illness, she becomes the tenth Countess of Middleton Park at the tender age of twenty-two and vows never to wed or belong to a man ever again.

Left in debt and with a crumbling estate, Cordelia uses the only thing of value left to her by the late earl, her position and her connections. She begins a matchmaking service that caters to nobility, far and near. Clever and shrewd, she joins forces with London’s most sought-after designer Rodrigo, who creates the most exquisite and unique fashions for the debutantes in her service. The transformation of her clients is unbelievable and soon becomes her calling card. That, paired with her uncanny ability to match her clients to the members of the exclusive Ton, soon makes her a lucrative commodity. For the young, beautiful, yet unobtainable Countess this means independence and freedom, and she finally feels as if her life is her own. When she encounters a certain Lord Rhys Drayson, Marquess of Roth, she is taken aback by his handsome face and undeniable charisma. Lord Roth has a well-publicized reputation of being a rake and a womanizer, so Cordelia quickly decides to rid herself of the arrogant lord, who solicits her services at the insistence of his sister Lady Esme Drayson. Unable to escape the Marquess and the undeniable attraction between them, Cordelia soon starts to buckle under the rake’s attentions. As her defenses fall, so does her resolve to never give her heart to a man, until his past follows him to her doorstep and threatens to shatter her heart into a million pieces, despite the undeniable love between them.

Lisa is giving us an exclusive peek at the book! ♥

“Lady Cromwell, Lord Roth, and Lady Drayson,” the butler announced.

Roddy stepped forward immediately. “May I be the first to welcome you, my lord, my lady. I am Rodrigo,” he announced with a flamboyant bow. “And this is Lady Cromwell.”

Cordelia peeked at the couple from behind the brim of her hat.

The lady was lovely indeed, with raven hair and bright green eyes. Lady Drayson was smiling in anticipation, eager to meet her. Cordelia could not see the gentleman’s face. His broad chest and tall stature obscured her view. In a practiced motion, she kept her eyes downcast, watching where she stepped, adjusting her skirt as she turned, and looked at him through her lashes first. Good Lord, Roddy might be right about this one. First, she saw his Hessian boots. No high heels for this one. His black trousers ended inside his boots at the knee, and his muscular thighs strained the material above them. His jacket tails brushed his calves. This gentleman was no dandy, at least not in fashion. When she raised her eyes, they immediately locked with his. Handsome did not describe this man. For the first time her in her life, her heart skipped a beat. He was the male version of his lovely sister, but, where she was soft and feminine, he was rugged and masculine. His green eyes stared in hers with such intensity, it rattled her.

She forced herself to look at his sister and curtsied, bowing her head slightly so the rim of her hat hid her face. She took a shallow breath to compose herself. Roddy was looking at the Marquess longingly. He hadn’t noticed her reaction to the man, thank the Lord! If he had, she would have never lived it down! When she rose, she addressed Lady Drayson directly and did not look at either of the men. Her hat partially obstructed their view, which gave her confidence to speak.

“Lady Drayson, welcome to Middleton Park.”

“Thank you, Lady Cromwell. I have been looking forward to this pleasure for a long time.” Lady Drayson curtsied. “May I present my brother Lord Rhys Drayson, the Marquess of Roth.”

Cordelia smiled demurely and kept her eyes downcast as she curtsied but looked at him as she rose. She had better control of herself this time. She had the same reaction to him, Lord above, this man rattled her nerves. She tried not to stare, although she wanted to. Everything about this man radiated masculinity. His long black hair curled around his collar and forehead. His angular features and strong chin gave him his rugged appearance. But it was his intense green eyes that made her feel naked under his gaze. A thousand needles pricked her skin as he studied her. His eyes drifted to her lips when she spoke.

“My lord, welcome. Thank you for making the trip from London to escort your sister to Middleton Park. It must have been a major inconvenience.”

He stared at her for what seemed like an eternity without answering, his face expressionless. This man was disconcerting. He needed to leave. Luckily, she had already decided not to take Lady Drayson on as a client. Cordelia prayed that once she turned them down in person that they would return to London directly.

“Not at all,” he finally answered. His baritone voice matched his appearance. Cordelia suppressed a shiver as vibrations rolled down her spine. It would be best to get them on their way quickly. As fast as possible!

“Shall we retire to my office and discuss what you require of me?”

“That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, Rhys?” Lady Drayson bumped her brother with her elbow, since he was still glaring at her.

“Of course,” he said, with a wave and a bow. “Lead the way.”

“Will Rodrigo be joining us?” Lady Drayson asked hopefully.

Cordelia had not noticed that Roddy had excused himself. “If we conclude our business today, you can meet with him first thing tomorrow,” she replied, not willing to dash the lady’s excitement in front of her guests or her brother until they were alone. Let her have a meeting with Roddy. He seemed eager enough to have her as a client. Then she could send them on their way, satisfied.

“You are behind the rest of the guests. They have been here for a few days and are well acquainted with each other already. And, if Rodrigo wishes to change your look, there is not much time for him to do it before the ball.” She chuckled, to take the worry out of her statement, but further planted the seed for refusal. Cordelia threaded her arm through Lady Drayson’s, and started toward the house, giving Lord Drayson no choice but to fall in step behind them.

Intriguing!

Additionally, let’s have a look at Ella and The Experiment, book one of the Ladies of Kent Series.

Here is the blurb:

Lady Ella McHenry is a genius like her father. Following her father’s death, she steps into his role at the University as a problem solver and tutor. Now alone, she must contemplate marriage in order to keep the fortune her father left her as well as her independence. Her Aunt urges her to add physical attraction to her list of logical and intellectual attributes she wants in a husband. Not seeing the point, she decides to test her aunt’s theory by conducting an experiment on the subject. When the handsome rake Lord Dexter St Johns comes to her for help on his artillery project, she makes a bargain with him. She will help him with his project if he will conduct an experiment with her. Little did the analytical Lady Ella know how much of her heart would become entangled in her conclusion and how important attraction can be.

Lord St Johns was in a race to be the first to complete a smaller more efficient weapon against his nemesis Lord Vanderguard. Desperate to keep such a weapon out of the warmonger hands, he is forced to enlist help from the most unlikely source, Lady Ella McHenry. At first glance he didn’t believe the petite and rather severe looking young woman could help his cause. Taking a leap of faith, he hands the top secret plans over for her analysis. To his surprise, she turns out to be the one person to solve his issues. When she asks for a favor in return he could not refuse her and blindly agrees to whatever she needs. To his shock, she wants to conduct an experiment that is beyond scandalous and even more exciting than he could imagine. As Lady Ella knocks him off balance and steals his heart, his project and her involvement in it puts her in mortal danger. Now he must not only save her, but his heart as well.

Lisa is also offering us a teaser from the book!

“There she is!”

“Where?”

“There!”

“Don’t point!” Dex hissed as he pushed Devin’s finger down. “Bloody hell, keep your voice down!” he shushed in a harsh whisper. “We are in a library, after all.”

Dex spied Lady Ella McHenry sitting by the window in a blue wing back chair. It fairly engulfed her, she was so tiny. She was much younger than he had expected. In fact, she looked like a child. If her hair wasn’t piled atop of her head in a mature hairstyle, and wearing a prim and proper dress, he would have thought her one. The glasses perched on her nose should have made her look older, but they didn’t. This couldn’t be the genius that Devin had been going on about.

She was engrossed in a book, her brows furrowed as she read. Then, to his surprise, she turned the book sideways, examining it curiously at the awkward angle. What was she reading?

“That cannot be her, Devin. That is a child.”

“It’s her, I swear. She is small, but I assure you, she is fully grown and a genius, just like her father. My dad thinks her intelligence may even surpass her father’s.”

“If this is some kind of joke, my fist is going to find your nose!”

Devin held his hands up in surrender. “I wouldn’t do that to you, Dex. I know how important this is to you. Besides, I like my nose just the way it is, thank you very much.”

Despite his friend’s assurance, he narrowed his eyes at him in warning. He was not in the mood to be trifled with. “Introduce me then. I have no choice but to trust you at this point,” he said, resigned.

****

Ella’s was actually reading book hidden within a book. She couldn’t very well read the Kama Sutra out in the open, after all, so she had hidden it inside a book on mathematics that she had memorized. From the outside, it looked as though she were studying. If anyone asked her a question about it, she could easily answer without hesitation. She thought the illustrations would have made her blush but, to her surprise, she wasn’t embarrassed at all. The cartoon-like drawings were graphic and anatomically detailed, but they didn’t make her uncomfortable at all, as her friend Gerard had predicted.

Ella was beyond determined to learn about sex and understand what all the fuss was about. She was sick and tired of her aunt and uncle asking if she were attracted to her choice of suitor. She could see no logic in picking a husband purely on the basis of attraction. The choice should be made for practical reasons. He should be intelligent, levelheaded and have a mind for business. Her future husband would be responsible for father’s fortune now that it was hers. That had to be priority number one.

Besides, she would not disillusion herself. She was not a classic English beauty that could attract a handsome lord. She was much too petite and plain to be noticed by that sort of noble gentleman. Small like her mother, with her father’s nondescript chestnut hair and brown eyes, there wasn’t much to catch a man’s eye. That had become evident after her one and only season she had had at her aunt’s insistence. The only suitor who had called on her ran for the hills once he found out she intended to participate in all decisions regarding her fortune. When she tested his business knowledge, he failed miserably. She could see no reason to continue the courtship since he would not agree to her terms. He married another heiress within a month. Good riddance.

Since then she decided to pick her candidates using logic. In the year since her failed season, she had tripled her fortune. In fact, her uncle had come to rely on her expertise about his own investments. It was just mathematics after all, simple percentages, profits and losses. It was not as difficult as all that. What she really needed was a business partner, not a husband. Of course, they would have to have an heir to secure the estate, but besides that, she needed a keen business man.

“Ella, I understand you are protective of your fortune,” her aunt patronized. “But you do have to procreate with the gentleman. Surely, an attraction to each other would be desirable, if not necessary. After all, it isn’t a chore that needs to be done. With the right partner, the act of procreation can be quite enjoyable.”

Ha! Attraction? The only men she was attracted to wouldn’t give her the time of day, no matter how large her fortune might be.

“Excuse us, Lady McHenry. May we have a word?”

When she looked up, there were two gentlemen standing in front of her. It was as if her thoughts had manifested into reality. Two of the Ton’s most handsome lords had materialized right in front of her, Lord Devin Armstrong and Lord Dexter St. Johns. Her mouth fell open. She closed it quickly and snapped her book shut to hide its contents. Shocked, she sucked in her breath and accidentally sucked some spittle down her windpipe in the process. Instantly, she started to choke. Embarrassed, she tried not to cough, but she couldn’t breathe.

“Is she choking?” Dex asked, as he watched her struggle for breath. “She is! She’s turning red!”

Wow! I’m curious to find out what happens next… 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3nnv8B

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this historical romance! ♥♥♥

About Lisa Doughty

Lisa Doughty has worked in theater and is also a film producer of X to Y and Maya Dardel starring Lena Olin has always had a knack for creative endeavors and storytelling. As an avid romance novel enthusiastic, she eventually became unsatisfied with the plots consistently having women as the damsel in distress. With her frustration of repetition she began writing. Her inspiration stems from the women who break through society’s suppression and stand out in their era, and that is how her incredibly successful book, The Black Star, was born.

Books:

Coming Soon:

 

Available Now:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Lisa Doughty, here are some author links:

Website/Blog:  https://www.lisadoughty.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lisa.doughty.180

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Doughty/e/B07KWS261Z/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16788681.Lisa_Doughty

Once again, I want to thank Lisa Doughty, the brilliant author of these historical romances, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Katherine McIntyre

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. In 2017 and 2018, 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 Katherine McIntyre, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

In real life, romance has meant different things to me at different times in my life. There’s the brand-new love sort of romance, that addicting thrill of hope and possibility that comes with initial attraction, or that flash of compatibility.

JD Mason, Unsplash

A lot of people get stuck in this cycle, as there’s an addiction to the intensity of the feelings, which can be hard to sustain for the other sorts of romance.

Then there’s the long-term sort of relationships, the goal for many of those early loves, the hope that they mature into something like this. Except one of the things I didn’t realize until I entered into one myself was the amount of work it takes to sustain those relationships. As the adrenaline rush from the beginning fades, then comes the real work. Life gets in the way, and time can dull that initial thrill, which is why I had to learn to continue to feed the romance, to schedule dates and make sure we spent quality time together.

Jelleke Vanooteghem, Unsplash

Created by Freepik

In finding that other sort of romance, the long-lasting kind, it’s not a flash in the pan, but instead a steady hearth stoked over time.

Except the thrill of early relationships, of finding ‘the one’ is seductive. There’s a giddiness that can’t be replicated, the feeling of stepping to the edge of a precipice and daring to jump.

Created by Freepik

Which is exactly what led me to reading and writing romance.

Ben White, Unsplash

Debby Hudson, Unsplash

Through the genre, I’ve experienced love through the eyes of thousands of different characters, which has led to a deeper understanding of why I fell for the genre in the first place.

Romance is this beautiful, healing thing. It’s hope. It’s a force of good, when there is so much sadness and pain in the world. In my Tribal Spirits series, I’ve written romances between a hero and heroine who are equally stubborn and had never managed to find commitment before, and a later book features a couple who both believe themselves too broken to ever find love.

The sheer amount of variability allows me to keep diving into the genre again and again, because as no two individuals are the same, every romance is unique.

What I adore about romance isn’t just the bringing of two people together, but how the relationships impact their individual communities, their families. When people unite, they can become something stronger than when alone, and seeing those individuals bolstered and supported often offers a glimpse of their best selves. Romance becomes a source of power, of strength, and of growth.

Bruce Mars, pexels.com

For me, romance has always meant hope.

Too right! ♥♥♥
Thanks for stopping by with your inspiring guest post, Katherine! Lovely to have you here! 😀
 
Guest Bio

Strong women. Strong words.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes–high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women. Easily distracted by cats and sugar.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816179461992109/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00J8U4VNU

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103953984130384189045

Newsletter Sign-Up:  http://eepurl.com/duIScb

Publisher:  https://bit.ly/2B6QKGa

 

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 always 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, Katherine, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for a romance blog tour feature on November 27th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 🦃

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Faith, family, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Kieran Blackmore from CAPTIVATING MELODY by Katherine McIntyre

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 Katherine McIntyre, who has some things to say about her character.

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

 

Writing A Paranormal Rockstar

 

When I sat down to write my Discord’s Desire Series, I wanted to offer a fresh spin on the rockstar romance trope—so I combined it with the paranormal. Writing a band made up of different types of fae let me play around with a whole different reason for the rockstar lifestyle, as well as an entirely new world as I meshed elements of fairy with the contemporary setting of San Francisco.

Thus Kieran Blackmore was born, the lead singer of Discord’s Desire.

File.Army

Charisma tends to run rampant when it comes to the lead singers of bands, and Kieran’s no exemption. However, what sets him apart is the fact that he’s an incubus, a fae who has the power to evoke desire in men and women alike. With a power like that, he could get any woman he wants, which made for a fascinating dichotomy in his character to explore.

Kieran can get anyone he wants with a simple touch, but all he really wants is for someone to want him separate from his abilities. Which of course led to the initial attraction he has for the heroine, Liz. She appears human, but she’s different—immune to his charms, which intrigues him from the get-go. However, the more he gets to know her, how she’s patient where he’s impulsive, how she’s logical where he reacts on emotion, then he ends up falling hard.

The other members of the band are just as fascinating and flawed, shouldering past scars from the complex politics of growing up amidst their kind. Whether it’s the slick siren bassist who always wears a mask, or the banshee guitarist who suffered years under living as a slave, the boys of Discord’s Desire ended up being a fun blend of realistic issues and the paranormal to explore. Each of the boys in the band have their own share of scars, but there’s a very human aspect to the family they’ve created for themselves on the road.

Edward Cisneros, Unsplash

In the first book, Kieran’s past damage is the focal point. He grew up an outcast in his own family who only ever cared about their station in the fae Courts. He’s impulsive and emotional, getting himself in trouble just as often as trouble from his past follows him. While he displays a lot of confidence and charisma, he’s also balanced by a vulnerability Liz is unwilling to offer at first, as she’s spent a life closed off from others.

At the end of the day though, what really drew me in with Kieran’s character was his loneliness and the fear that no one can ever love him as he truly is. He offers his love so freely to everyone around him and will defend his bandmates and Liz with his life, but he’s used to the false desire that comes with being an incubus. The real affection that grows between Kieran and Liz is brand new and thrilling to explore.

The most important thing in writing Kieran Blackmore, even more than his alluring incubus nature or the wild glitz of being the lead singer in their up and coming band, was his human flaws and aspirations as he struggled through the book. As different as the fae and their society in the series can be from real life, readers latch onto those struggles and dreams. Paranormal or not, what makes a hero resonate is the story they tell.

Too right, Katherine! And I adore paranormal heroes.
This book sounds awesome!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Captivating Melody.

Cross a satyr, a siren, and an incubus with rock and roll, and you get Discord’s Desire, a band of panty-dropping hellions whose live shows incite orgies. As booking manager, Liz O’Brien has the monumental task of keeping the boys in line. She’s resistant to glamour of the fae and fame variety, which only makes her more tempting to lead singer, Kieran Blackmore. With his incubus charms, he could have any girl he wants—except Liz, who’s determined to stay professional.

However, when Kieran’s brother sends hitmen after the band, Liz discovers hunters with her abilities who are mortal enemies of the fae. Mercenaries might attack post-show, but Liz has her Beretta to handle that. What terrifies her more than any monster is how she’s falling for Kieran, which triggers every ‘run-away’ sensor in her foster kid handbook. With war brewing between the hunters and the fae, their love can only end in heartbreak.

And Katherine is giving us a peek at her novel!
EXCERPT #1
To her relief, the lights dimmed even more, and the spotlights circled to the front and center stage, casting a hush through the crowd. A smile curled her lips once Kieran’s sultry voice came over the speakers, the effects dropping like a pheromone bomb onto the audience. A visible ripple didn’t cascade through the air, but once his voice reached a familiar intensity and the rest of the band began playing, a huge scream resounded through the crowd.
Even without the incubus abilities at work, she had to admit, the man possessed a toe-curlingly sexy voice. As she scanned over the crowd, the beginnings of the orgy broke out, where strangers locked lips and deepened their kisses. A pair in front of her started getting handsy, and all of a sudden shirts were coming off. They weren’t even finished the first song, and the scent of sex laced through the room.
Liz let out a sigh. This was why she stayed backstage during the shows. Her glamour-resistance turned her into the one sober person at this lust inspired rager. Her dry spell would have to continue for now, since she refused to hook up with the tool next to her and didn’t mainline the swell of sexuality like everyone else. Plus, with Mr. Fae Bartender behind her, she needed to act with extra caution. Bolting from fae sent the same message as a red flag to a bull—pretty please, come chase me.
On stage, Trevor thrummed away at the guitar, his fingers plucking over the strings with the skillful focus he always employed. He leaned up to the mic in front of him to add in the background vocals, the sensual tenor blending with Ky’s baritone. Renn’s hair flew as he thrashed away at the drums, his hands moving lightning fast and his hooves tapping the pedals. Meanwhile Jett romanced the length of his bass, providing the deep undercurrent the siren always did as those notes came out soul-wrenching.
Kieran’s voice reached a crescendo, drawing her attention front and forward. Normally when he sang, his gaze cast far and wide over the audience, as if he were romancing the crowd as a whole, but tonight, his eyes were locked on one person alone. She tried to swallow, but her throat grew dry.
Long strands of his dark hair drifted across his eyes as he clutched the microphone and rocked back and forth with it, the intensity projecting in his voice. He’d tossed his patched leather to the floor, stripped to a black wifebeater that clung to him like a second skin and revealed the intricate phoenix tattoo coiling down his arm. His hips shifted while he moved to the beat of the music, his grey jeans clinging to those powerful thighs. Yet nothing snared her as much as his amber eyes focused straight on her the entire time.
Heat flushed through her at his undivided attention, and while she’d like to blame it on all the bump and grind going on around her, Kieran got her hot and bothered. However, she wasn’t one to sit back and melt. Liz met his eyes and winked with a smirk. She caught the hint of a smile by the crinkle in his eyes as he crooned away.
EXCERPT #2

“Come here often, beautiful?” a smooth, sexy voice drawled from behind her.

Liz folded her arms over her chest before turning around and fixing Kieran with a look. The man, given the chance, would flirt with himself, so she didn’t ever take him seriously. His lips curved in a cocky smile made even more dangerous by the pointed fangs peeking out. He wore his stage clothes from the show—ripped jeans, a gray wifebeater, and a patched leather that had seen better days. Yet combined with the studs in ears, the streaked guyliner, and the labret piercing, the man oozed sex.

“Cool it, rockstar.” She smirked, meeting his teasing eyes. “You’ve got a whole cavalcade of women who’d throw themselves at you in a heartbeat, already fallen under your spell. I’m immune to your hinky fae magic.”

His fingers snuck up faster than she could follow to trail down the column of her throat. “Isn’t that what makes it all the more interesting?”

Liz shivered under his silken touch, ignoring the hoarseness in his voice and the quickened pulse that followed in the wake. The incubus didn’t need any powers to lure women. His voice alone would send them flocking, and with the attractive package it came in—well, he proved damn near irresistible.

Purchase Links:
Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mVBeWZ

 

Wow! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How fun to learn about your paranormal romance, Katherine! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pick up your copy of Captivating Melody today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thank you for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Katherine! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Strong women. Strong words.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes–high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women. Easily distracted by cats and sugar.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

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

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816179461992109/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00J8U4VNU

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103953984130384189045

Newsletter Sign-Up:  http://eepurl.com/duIScb

Publisher:  https://bit.ly/2B6QKGa

 

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, rockstar, Romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Avery Bell from FINDER KEEPER OF MY HEART by Vina Arno

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 Vina Arno, who has some things to say about her character.

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

 

3 Reasons to Love A Beta Romantic Hero

 

Romance books and movies are full of swaggering alpha heroes who are larger than life. They are easy to fall for and hard to ignore. And, guess what else? They’re too common. If you’re like me, you probably want the quiet, smart, and sweet beta romantic hero for a change.

Created by Luis_molinero – Freepik.com

Welcome to the club!

When I wrote my second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, I chose a beta hero named Avery Bell. He’s a loner, a sensitive soul. He’s also a brilliant, MIT-educated software engineer who’s working on a super drone. Unlike the typical alpha jock, he’s got the lean-but-strong build of a triathlete.

Hotlanta Voyeur, Visual Hunt

Let’s take a look at the top three qualities and reasons why the beta male is irresistible—in Finder Keeper of My Heart and in real life.

Top Three Traits

#1. He’s quiet and mysterious. The beta hero is swathed with layers upon layers of mystery. He’s the opposite of the temperamental alpha male. Avery Bell likes to go camping by himself in Hawaii and read Thoreau. As fate would have it, Emma Munroe gets lost in the jungle and he saves her. Emma gets to know him in the course of her Hawaiian vacation.

Created by Freepik

Here’s a passage describing his quiet demeanor:

As the conversation downstairs grew louder, the more attentive he became, like they were the only two people in the world. She loved his ability to focus, on top of his other fine qualities.

#2. Nice guys don’t finish last. Women who are crazy for bad boys haven’t met an honest-to-goodness nice guy who’s also a winner. In Finder Keeper, the beta hero is a young, high-tech whiz who’s working on a super drone designed to provide help during disasters. He’s also a triathlete training for his first Half Ironman race. If you read this novel, you’ll see that whoever said nice guys always finish last is simply wrong.

Created by Kues1 – Freepik.com

#3. He’s more realistic and closer to what most women want in real life. It’s okay to fantasize about the sexy, badass guy who breaks our hearts. But, in real life, most of us just want a guy who will give us a kiss before leaving the house, open the door for us, and cuddle with us on the couch during Movie Night.

Created by Freepik

The beta hero does all of these things and then some. Here’s how Emma describes him: “Avery was male in the best sense, without touting it or taking advantage of it—solid, reliable, efficient, intelligent, and too damn hot.”

If you’ve been reading about alpha heroes all along, get to know a beta hero, and share your thoughts with us!

Fascinating, Vina! And I have to admit, I have a soft spot for a total gentleman. In fact, most of the male characters I write about are really good guys. 😉
Anyway, this contemporary romance sounds awesome!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Finder Keeper of My Heart.

Emma Munroe, a Juilliard senior, snags a plum role on Broadway a few weeks before her twenty-first birthday. She travels to Hawaii with her best friends to celebrate. When she gets lost in a jungle during an impromptu hike, she happens upon a waterfall—and a naked hunk bathing underneath it.

When she finds out his name is Avery Bell, she’s dumbstruck. She believes she’s meant to love someone named Avery. It all goes back to a message in a bottle she found when she was nine, a letter written by a soldier called Avery to his sweetheart named Emma. He’d written it in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II. Since then, Emma has been searching (and saving her virginity) for her own Avery.

But Avery Bell is as mysterious as he is irresistible. Emma learns about his family secrets and bitterness. In the course of this vacation, an accident and a tragic death will shake both of them to the core. Her singular faith in him—her unwavering belief in love and destiny—proves to be his saving grace.

And Vina is giving us a peek at her novel!

Emma jogged for the next few minutes. Another brook, then a dry creek, before she faced a second switchback. Shit, she was lost! She slogged along, her legs now aching. Then a faint sound of water. Late July in Hawaii was hot and humid, but the temperature had turned cooler the closer she got to the source of the rumbling water.

It turned out to be a waterfall, partly blocked by overgrown grasses. She descended to the swimming hole and parted the tall weeds with both hands to get a full view.

Omigod! A naked man stood underneath the waterfall, his back to her.

Well, hellooo, hottie. She stood across from him, frozen and mesmerized by his beautiful body—tall build, broad shoulders, toned arms and legs. He braced himself against the water crashing on his face by gripping a boulder with each hand.

All of a sudden, he turned around, his eyes shut. Before she could hide, he stepped out of the cascading water. When he opened his eyes, his gaze shot straight to her. He cupped both hands over his groin.

“I’m sorry!” She swung around. “I’m lost. I need your help.”

He didn’t respond, and she didn’t dare look. Two, maybe three minutes passed.

“Hello? Are you still there?” she shouted without glancing.

“You can look now.” He stood several feet away, dressed in khaki cargo pants and a burgundy T-shirt marked MIT. He carried his hiking boots, socks, and a backpack.

“I’ve been lost forever.” She puffed out her cheeks and blew a gust of air. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

He was probably a few years older than her. He didn’t appear embarrassed after getting caught buck naked, only annoyed.

“And your name is?” he snapped.

Okay, definitely pissed. “Emma Munroe—like Marilyn Monroe, but with a u.” She wanted to shake his hand, but didn’t get a chance since he perched on a big rock and proceeded to put on his socks and boots. When he rose, his dark eyes bored right through her.

He extended his hand. “I’m Avery Bell.”

“Avery?” She shook his hand, dumbstruck. Omigod! She had waited half of her life to meet someone named Avery—ever since she’d picked up a message in a bottle bearing that name.

He gave her a quizzical look.

She cleared her throat, composing herself. “Avery. I love that name.” My soul mate’s name is Avery. Could he be the one she’d been looking for?

He arched an eyebrow, like, really? He hauled his backpack over both shoulders. “How can I help you?”

“I need to get out of here.”

“How did you get here in the first place?”

“How did I get here?” she echoed like an idiot. Her self-confidence withered fast. She described the picnic on the beach and the hike up to the trail’s entrance. “I should have stayed put to wait for my friends, but my curiosity got the better of me. I chased the roosters and turkeys, plus I might have zoned out a little bit. I thought I was retracing my steps. I honestly don’t know how I got here.”

He nodded. “You’ve walked about four miles on the trail. Actually, you were probably not on the Muliwai Trail. You probably followed a fake trail. We’re a couple of miles away from Waimanu Valley.”

“You mean Waipio Valley?”

“I mean Waimanu Valley.”

She’d never heard of the place before. He walked up the weedy slope toward the trail.

She followed him. “Can you help me get out of here?”

He stopped, so she paused, too.

He turned his face to her. “I can take you to Waimanu Valley. I’m camping there.”

“Really?” Hope surged in her chest. He’s got to be the one.

Purchase Links:
Universal Reader link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

 

Yowza! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How fun to learn about your new adult romance, Vina! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pick up your copy of Finder Keeper of My Heart today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

Thank you for stopping by with your informative guest post, Vina! Lovely to have you here! ♥
 
Guest Bio

Vina Arno is the pen name of Cindy Fazzi, a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. Finder Keeper of My Heart, published by Painted Hearts Publishing, is her second romance book. Her romance debut, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015.  Her first literary novel, My MacArthur, will be published by the Sand Hill Review Press in 2018.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.cindyfazzi.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Fazzi-779654065440439/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CindyFazzi

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Vina-Arno/e/B00R1RYE8E/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9800535.Vina_Arno

Google+:  https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Fazzi-779654065440439/

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

Publisher:  http://www.paintedheartspublishing.com/vinaarno

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/31649

 

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

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

4 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by C.L. Donley

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 C.L. Donley, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

It took me my entire 35 years to realize that I was a romantic person.

It was the last thing anyone would ever accuse me of being. None of the telltale signs were there. I didn’t particularly enjoy romantic movies, never had any bouts of boy craziness or childhood crushes. Certain love songs made me cringe. I was never particularly girly, didn’t go to dances or prom, hadn’t really been on a proper date really. Certainly I wanted to be in love, like any woman. And when I met my husband it was likely all of these misnomers that caused me to accept much less than I deserved. Anniversaries went uncelebrated; Valentine’s was just another corporate holiday. Even birthdays could sometimes be considered vain, if too much money was spent.

Several years and three kids later, after enduring all this, not to mention infidelity and a host of other problems, I found myself wanting to escape. It’s cliché, I know, but which part? The situation itself or my reaction to it?

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

I knew I couldn’t very well get in the car and leave my family behind. If only there were a way to go somewhere without physically leaving. Instinctively, I reached for romance.

At first it was a concession, a guilty pleasure. Like everyone else, I knew all the stigmas attached to the genre. As an English major and writer, I had to get over my own pretenses and open my first romance novel. I chose a Harlequin, being familiar with the name. And it didn’t take long for me begin a steady diet of romance literature.

Within a week I was coming across some really compelling stories and I realized that like anything else, romance could be done well. One day I remember reading something and just feeling completely alive and happy. I realized that I actually was a romantic person. That romance wasn’t necessarily a certain order of outward gestures or traditions. It was the business of loving and being loved and the fruit of that, because all love bears fruit. I learned that it wasn’t romance I lacked, but sentimentality. It’s this lack of sentimentality that makes my voice unique among romance writers.

It didn’t dawn on me at first that I should write romance. I was a writer in denial, on the run. I never wrote for fun; the idea of writing as a job sounded like the worst torture. I pretty much only wrote for school, which was years ago, and after three small kids all under five, the idea of writing for me was pretty much laughable. Part of me was unsettled, because it was the most prominent talent I had. People that barely knew me would ask me if I was still writing, and I would have to break the news to them. In the back of my mind I felt all kinds of guilt that I wasn’t utilizing my gift.

In the thick of a separation from my husband, I was starting to think about the future, and what, inevitably I would have to do for money. I dusted off my résumé, started looking into childcare prices for my kids. In the midst of that I got a germ of an idea. Not unusual. I got story ideas all the time, all of which I ignored. But this one was a romance, and it gnawed at me all day. The thought of taking pencil to paper was nauseating, so I saved an audio note on my phone. And that was the moment the floodgates opened.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

The ideas wouldn’t stop. I wrote for twelve hours that day. I had 12,000 words by the end of the weekend. In three weeks I had the whole novel, the initial draft of what eventually became Amara’s Calling.

Romance saved my life. Not only did it connect me to my heart, but to my identity as a writer. It kept me from taking out my frustrations on my family, propped up a marriage that would’ve otherwise crumbled before its time, and was the hope that kept me buoyant after it was over. It showed me that love was not a matter of being attractive or deserving, but a necessary part of being alive, not to mention a necessary part of being a woman. It made me realize that nothing was wrong with me or my sexuality, that my marital issues were less about my personal failures but more about the fact that I was being starved. Without that realization I might still be blaming myself today.

Created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

I suspect that all women have an infinite capacity to be loved, as in no amount of romance is enough. It sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it isn’t. Do we ever get to the point as humans that we’ve had enough food and we no longer need anymore? No, because it’s not the way the system works. I suspect love is like food in that it can have a variance in quantity and quality, and these variables can positively or negatively affect the health of the individual.

Created by Freepik

Love should be daily, fresh and new in the same way. To me, romance is life itself. And now that I’m waking up every morning, excited to see what more I can create, I’ve never felt more loved than I do now.

Great! Love should improve us in various ways…and like you, I agree that reading and writing romance opens your mind and heart to its possibilities. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, C.L.! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance. Armed with an B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is a natural born writer and can’t wait to be done with this bio so she can get back to it. Her writing style is sophisticated yet simple, apologetically escapist and character driven. She likes to write lovable, redeemable and believable characters and place them in equally lovable, romantic and relatable settings and scenarios– removed from reality just enough so that reader can properly escape, and even revisit!
She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her. Check out her website, Facebook page, Twitter page and feel free to email her at cldonleyauthor@gmail.com.

Author Links

Website:  cldonley.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/AmarasCalling

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/C_L_Donley

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/C.L.-Donley/e/B078Z6TSS8/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17605062.C_L_Donley

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

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

 

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, C.L., for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for a historical romance blog tour feature when author Sofie Darling visits us on April 24th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

4 Comments

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

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Mason Harding from ARRESTING MASON by Amber Daulton

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 Amber Daulton, who has some things to say about her character.

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

Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?

Mason Harding appeals to me as both a reader and a writer because I love redemption and second chance stories. Just because someone makes a mistake (depending on the mistake, really), I don’t think they should be ostracized from society, especially if they’re trying to make amends and trying to live a better life.

The idea for this character and the book came to me in a dream. In my dreams, however, I’m always the leading lady, and I fell in love with a secretive ex-con with a dangerous past. I couldn’t stop thinking about Mason for days after that, and his seductive voice kept urging me to write about him as I tossed and turned in bed at night, so I finally wrote out a tentative plot.

For Mason, he was 18 years old when he and a few friends robbed a liquor store. Two innocent men were shot as a result, but Mason did what he could to save the men’s lives. He went to prison for it and has regretted that night ever since, but he’s thankful he was arrested since he cleaned up and got his life together in the slammer.

Despite his past mistakes, Mason loves his family and friends, and he’s holding down a respectable job. He’s doing his best to be a responsible adult, but his past always seems closer than he likes. Though most people either think him a criminal when they see his scars and tattoos, he’s self-assured and doesn’t let other people’s judgment bother him.

Mason is a good example of someone turning their lives around for the better. Otherwise, his lady love, Mia Eddison, wouldn’t be with him. According to Mia, and I quote: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It’s how you respond to those mistakes, or how you cope, that defines you as a person.” I think that pretty much sums this up. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who can move on and make a good life for themselves and those they love, in spite of any and all adversity, deserves a pat on the back.

So very true!
This romantic suspense sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀
Here is the blurb for Arresting Mason.

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life.

That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

And Amber is giving us a peek at her novel!

They reached her store and he stared at her car parked by the curb. “Harper doesn’t know where you live or anything about you. That means you’re safe for now, but he’ll probably search this area to find us. Stay cautious, okay? Drive your car from now on. Don’t walk anywhere.”

“Why are you avoiding my questions? You can tell me anything.”

“Not this. If you trust me, don’t ask those kinds of questions.” He tightened his fingers around her forearm as she tried to jerk free from his grip. “Listen to me, damn it. You mean a lot to me, but I can’t tell you this. At least not right now. That’s nothing against you. It’s all on me. I just need time to take care of this problem. Okay? I’m fucking stressed, in a shitload of pain, and I don’t need you to hound my ass.” He dropped his hand from her arm and scowled as though he just noticed the dirt and blood on his knuckles. “I’d like to go upstairs to clean up before you take me home. I don’t want Alan to know what happened.”

Mia dug through her purse with shaky hands, so angry she didn’t trust herself to speak.

He took the keys from her before the little pieces of metal slipped between her fingers, and he hugged her despite the grime on his skin and clothes.

Tears clogged her throat. Her mind screamed at her to push away from him, but the strength in his arms enveloped her and stole her will. His heartbeat soothed hers, and she no longer cared about his lies or if filth caked him.

At least not at the moment.

“I never meant for this to happen, Mia. I will fix this.”

“I know, but at what cost?” She pried her face from his chest to stare up at him. “You’re nothing if not determined, but I’m scared and confused. You have answers to my questions, but I won’t hound you for them as you so eloquently stated. I just thought we got past this. I thought you knew I would never insult or condemn you for whatever it is you did.”

“And I thought you knew not to push me too fucking hard.” His deep voice sent shivers of unease down her spine. “I have to keep certain parts of my past to myself.”

“Whatever.” Mia finally pushed against his chest for freedom and stomped to the stairwell door.

Amber is such a tease…here is another promo as well to entice you with!

 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07BHGMQRK

B&N:  https://bit.ly/2uOj90J

iTunes:  https://apple.co/2FVAQMP

Publisher:  http://bit.ly/2FSVvBa

Riveting! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your romantic suspense, Amber! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Pre-order your copy of Arresting Mason today! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

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

Guest Bio

Writing is the fruit of happiness.

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.

As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Author Links

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

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/14JoZff

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/amberdaulton

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

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/pub/amber-daulton/87/538/368 

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Publisher:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2362_amber-daulton

 

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

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

4 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, characters, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Writers, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Bonnie McCune

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 Bonnie McCune, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love at first sight. Many of us, at least the very young and very naïve, believe it happens. But whether love occurs with the speed of lightning or following long and complex efforts at a relationship, most agree romantic love exists.

JD Mason, Unsplash

Being humans, our fascination with romance, our expressions of love take many forms, most of them relatively harmless. We might shower gifts of jewelry on our beloved, share preferences in food and wine, proclaim our feelings on social media. We search for examples of love in films, music, art, and enjoy emotions vicariously.

Recently on opposite sides of the globe, however, authorities are intervening on physical demonstrations of attraction. First up, Vietnam, where the Publishing and Printing Department is cracking down on “clichéd, useless, obscene and offensive” works that are “poisoning” the youth. (This same claim has been used off and on in the U.S. and other regions during various censorship battles.) Furthermore, “government needs to regulate an activity related to culture and people’s way of thinking so that it can benefit people”.

If only. If only all of humanity could agree on a method to truly benefit people. Unfortunately, down through the ages, this activity always seems to include punishing, even destroying those who don’t concur with authorities, like Nazis and various religious fundamentalists.

Created by Freepik

I’m afraid that romance, like hunger, seems to be a basic instinct, and fails to obey rules, laws, even parental decrees. Think of Romeo and Juliet. Heck, think of American teens who not infrequently sneak out windows to meet their crushes. Or the teachers and chaperones who rode herd on necking couples at dances years ago.

Romance often benefits from tangible symbols. Over the years, letter sweaters, going-steady class rings, engagement rings, matching tattoos or nose rings are examples. In Paris, star-struck lovers once attached thousands of locks on bridges and railings as symbols of their relationships.

Pedro Kümmel, Unsplash

Some say Asian tourists started the craze, others that a book and film were responsible. In any case, sections of fencing on bridges were crumbling under the weight, posing a safety risk as well as “degradation of property heritage”, not to mention problems associated with graffiti, pickpockets and street vendors. The city now removes them for auction as mementoes.

Other cities face the problem differently. They don’t remove locks. Instead, in Rome, city officials created official spots—steel posts with chains on the bridge—to eliminate damage to the infrastructure. We haven’t had much luck in the USA catching perpetrators who use graffiti to proclaim their desires. Painting over the results helps but has little effect on carvings.

Created by Freepik

I’m not optimistic any activity can control the interest in and demonstration of romance. Humans are nothing if not creative. We’ve been dodging censors for millennia, and finding creative ways to express emotion even longer. However, the attempts at restraint are ever-changing and as entertaining as the many paths of love.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Seems to me the true symbols of love consist of the length of a relationship and the content of it. I’ve never understood how patronizing or abusive actions can be labeled ‘romance’. Romance should be a positive quality. It should enhance the lives of the people involved. External trappings mean little to me.

My final evaluation, whether of a real-life romance or one in books, is…Does this romance bring out the best in the romantic partners? In Never Retreat, my newest novel, there’s no doubt both Raye and Des wind up as better, more caring humans.

That’s what romance means to me.

Nice! Love should improve us in various ways…and I agree that romance cannot be tamed, despite society’s attempts to control it. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Bonnie! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio
Coloradan Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits, doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/2DE5dW1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436876.Bonnie_McCune

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/117106546075845481531

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111883621680717398231

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

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

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our new exclusive author interview feature when author Suzanne Jefferies visits us on April 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

9 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Jenny Lynn

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 Jenny Lynn, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Romance is a moment that we can all feel building up inside us. It can exist when we make fleeting eye contact with an attractive stranger across a room. It can exist in a first kiss that rips through our entire bodies like a forest fire, completely consuming us.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Or it can exist holding hands during an evening stroll with the person we have loved for years, decades even.

Romance exists all around us, every second of every day. I love to search for it, to observe it, and through my stories – to give it a voice.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

I’ve always been a daydreamer, ever since I was a little girl. I loved romantic stories starting with Disney movies then I eventually discovered my mother’s romance novels and I was hooked. I liked that the stories were never straightforward, that there was always a point when these two people could stop and say, “It’s too hard; we can’t do this.” Of course, they never did. That’s the very essence of true love – believing that what you have is worth fighting for even when the world seems to be against you.

I dated throughout my teens and twenties, enjoying the blossoming excitement of first love and the crushing defeat of heartbreak. I learned who I was and what I wanted. I was so sure of myself. Then I met a man who broke all the rules I thought I had. As much as it sounds like I ripped this from the plot of one of my stories, I moved from a small town to the big city and met a tall, gorgeous tattooed musician who swept me off my feet. I fell hard and fast, and we had an exhilarating courtship that resulted in him proposing outside of an art gallery one evening.

It’s been almost a decade and I am still head over heels for my husband; we have added a cat and a toddler to the busy life we now live. It was with his encouragement that I started writing romance, and it is because of him that I am able to write about love.

My imagination is something that still drives my stories. I like to ask myself, “what if?” I do a lot of self-reflection on the types of fantasies I have, the type of men I find irresistible (mainly confident, somewhat cocky alpha males) and then I bring them to life. My characters tell me what they want to say, how they want to behave, but I tell them how they’re going to meet and how they’re going to fall in love.

In my first set of novels, a duet, I wove a thread of family intrigue and suspense into a billionaire romance first in Falling for the Heir, followed by The Abducted Fiancée.

My new standalone novel, Delicious, comes out December 1st and is a contemporary romance about a cocky New York chef who is hiding his lineage.

My characters come alive for me, and I always feel a sense of responsibility to do their stories justice.

I am in awe of the incredibly talented romance writers I have met while I’m starting out. They have given me so much support and advice, not to mention the readers whose wonderful feedback keeps me writing. Being a part of this world gives me a chance to create happy endings over, and over again. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Nice! I know exactly what you mean… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Jenny! A pleasure to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

I’m a contemporary romance writer who creates complex characters, exciting plot twists, true love and steamy scenes that keep readers up and night wanting to turn the page. When I’m not writing I’m playing with my toddler son, going on dates with my husband, petting my cat or I’m in a dimly lit lounge sipping wine while I daydream about my next story idea. I have a background in creative writing and have had short stories published in multiple literary magazines.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, as the host, 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, Jenny, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for  a great guest post by Dating Connections, which details some tips on how to better connect with your partner over the hectic holidays, when the company Dating Connections visits us on December 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, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Josh from FAT GIRL BEGONE! by D.E. Haggerty

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 D.E. Haggerty, who has some things to say about her character.

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

 

How Josh – the big ‘ol jerk – Came Into Being


Josh is a Big. Fat. Jerk.

Seriously, I can’t emphasize that enough. The first time we meet the man he’s dumping our home girl, Everly, because she diets too much. That’s right. He dumps her because he’s tired of her dieting. Everly is not actually fat. Sure, at five-feet-four-inches and 160 pounds, she’s a little on the chubby side, but she’s not Fat. What she is, is a yo-yo dieter. Something I know more than I little about.

I’ve spent most of my life yo-yo dieting with the best of them. You could call me an expert – I certainly do! Most yo-yo dieters consider yo-yo dieting a way of life, but is it possible to break the habit? And what would it take for a person to end their yo-yo dieting ways? Would a break-up be enough? Hmm… sounds like a book idea.

So, I knew when I invented Josh’s character that our first glimpse of the man would be him dumping the heroine. I didn’t want Josh to leave Everly because she was fat, though. Not only is that a bit cliché (and yes, I realize making a slight tweak doesn’t completely take away the cliché), but it also didn’t seem like enough motivation to force a yo-yo dieter out of her yo-yo dieting ways. Oh, sure, I could have her lose a ton of weight and then she rides off into the sunset with some guy, but what happens after that? Does she go back to her yo-yo dieting ways? Losing weight because a guy dumps you doesn’t end the cycle of yo-yo dieting. Nope. It’s just another reason to hit a low on your scale before the yo-yo rotates and starts climbing again.

I needed more of a reason for Everly to give up her yo-yo dieting ways. But what?

That’s when I realized I had a perfectly good example to follow – my hubby. My husband is one of those annoying people who doesn’t seem to gain weight and stays in good shape. Sure, he puts effort into it, but it seems effortless – if that makes any sense. But what does this type of man – the type for which slim fit clothes were invented – think of having a wife who yo-yo diets? He isn’t bothered. Naturally, he’s proud of me when I lose weight, but when I gain some of those kilograms back, he’s not disappointed with me. If I’m upset, he’s upset on my behalf, but he doesn’t really care about how much I weigh. He loves me just as I am.

There is one thing that does bother my husband, though. He doesn’t like how I let my weight affect my life. When I was younger, I could be quite emotional about the ups and downs my scale experienced. That bothered him. He’d often tell me to just accept the higher number and let all the emotional baggage go. I didn’t take that advice – who listens to advice from a man about weight? – but I did learn to be less emotionally invested in the number on the scale.

Thinking about the hubby and how he deals with his wife’s yo-yo dieting, I came up with the idea of Josh leaving Everly because of her dieting instead of her actual weight. I thought this could be a good impetus for Everly to learn to deal with her dieting and weight instead of just losing a bunch of weight. It also opened the door for a possible return of Josh when Everly loses some weight, but that’s a different story.

It sounds a bit strange to say that the ‘bad’ guy in my novel was inspired by my husband of twenty-one years, but it’s the truth.

 

Fascinating, D.E.! Isn’t it bizarre how the muse works? 😉
Anyway, this romantic comedy sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we, readers? 😀


Here is the blurb for Fat Girl Begone!.

I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it. Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business. Just call me Ms. Drama.

Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.

Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.

And D.E. is giving us a peek at her novel!

After twenty minutes on the bike, I’m ready to go home. I know I’m supposed to do that circuit thingy with the machines, but I can skip it for this once. No one needs to know. I slowly sneak my way to the women’s locker room.

“Hey, Everly.”

Crap. Gabe’s standing right in front of the door to my freedom. I wave. Yep, I’m a total dork.  “Hi.”

“I saw you out there on the bike. Looking good.” He winks. Damn, he looks absolutely scrumptious standing there with his arms crossed over his chest. Trust me, it’s an impressive show of muscles. Not huge like a body builder but big enough to grab onto. “Looking for your clipboard?”

And there goes any chance I have of sneaking out of the gym. “Just refilling my water bottle before moving onto the weights.” I hold up my obviously full water bottle and try not to cringe.

“Sure, babe, but make sure you get your weight training done as well. A woman with muscles is hot.” With another wink, he takes off.

Did he seriously wink at me? Is this part of the personal trainer service? Flirt with the customers to ensure they want to do your bidding? Even in my head that sounded crazy. That hot man of muscles would never want me and my jiggly bits. I shake my head and force my legs to the personal trainers’ section to grab my clipboard.

If I thought the bike was boring, I was wrong. Doing a circuit of weight machines is what’s boring. I should download some podcasts or something. Or maybe some books on tape? Do they hire men with scorching hot voices to read the male parts in romance novels? Definitely need to do some research.

I quickly towel off the last machine and grab my water bottle. I stand from picking up my clipboard and nearly run straight into someone. “Shit! I didn’t realize anyone was standing there. Did you want this machine?”

“Nah.” He shakes his head. “How are you doing, Everly?”

It’s the guy I ran into on Wednesday. Shoot – what was his name again? “Um, hi.” If that’s not embarrassing enough, I do a little wave but the clipboard is still in my hand and I end up smacking him in the stomach. Thank goodness, I missed any important bits. “Shit. Sorry.”

He laughs and grabs the clipboard from my hand, presumably before I can do any more damage. “It’s Carter. Do you want to grab a smoothie?” My face scrunches up at the thought of a smoothie. He chuckles. “Or a coffee or something?”

“Um. I was going to head home like this.” With my now free hand, I indicate my ratty gym clothes.

Carter shrugs. “That’s okay. We can get a quick drink at the bar here.”

I can’t exactly say no after I ran into the guy and then hit him. “Okay, let me grab my stuff.”

He smiles and nods. I rush off with my thoughts whirling. Is he just being nice? Friendly? Or is this like a date thing? I’m not ready to date. Do I tell him that? Crap. It’s only a coffee. It doesn’t have to mean anything. But what if it does mean something? Can I give myself a concussion from thinking in circles?

D.E. is such a tease…here are some promos as well to entice you with!

Purchase Links:

How exciting to learn about your romantic comedy, D.E.! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Fat Girl Begone! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf, readers!

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

Guest Bio

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.

After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.

But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague, where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

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

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Aaron Betts from FULL COUNT by Lynn Stevens

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 Lynn Stevens, who has some things to say about her character.

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

 

Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last

Everyone knows the cliché ‘Nice guys finish last’.

It’s ingrained in our brains. It’s an excuse for all the nice guys who lose out on the job or on the girl. And it’s an excuse for nice guys to do bad things.

Aaron Betts is a nice guy. He’s a good ole country boy with a heart of gold, dedication to his family, and respect for others. In a literary world full of alpha males and bad boys, he breaks free of that mold.

FULL COUNT began as a NaNoWriMo project. I started it because there weren’t enough guys like Aaron Betts out there. Don’t get me wrong, he’s far from perfect. He makes mistakes, some of which are catastrophic. To quote Aaron, “I’m bound to do something stupid. I’m a guy.”

I failed miserably, stopping around 34,000 words after three weeks. About eight months after I gave up, Aaron Betts was still in my head, still whispering at me to tell his story. To finish what I’d started. I picked up where I left off and completed the first draft. As I was adding words, I realized how important his story was. Aaron’s got more to offer than just nailing every girl he sees. He’s got more integrity than thinking life is just sex, sex, sex. Not all guys are like that. Not all guys want to be like that. Aaron’s a one-woman man from the get go. I found that refreshing and honest. He didn’t want to sleep around. He wanted someone to love long term. He wanted to be loved long term. Definitely not the typical alpha male who changes his ways for the right woman.

Another one of my favorite things about this character is his loyalty to his sister. Chelsea and Aaron have a special bond that warmed my heart. They would do anything for each other, and they clearly love each other. His parents are loving too, even when they are at odds with their son. It’s a family not devoid of drama, but one that doesn’t thrive on it either. A true All-American family.

And Aaron’s pure of heart, even pure of intention. He’s deep and shallow, hard and soft. He’s the polar opposite of himself at times. Much like we all are. He has to work to get what he wants. He has to pay the price for his mistakes.

He has to live.

There is no cheating, no insta-anything with Aaron. He puts himself through the ringer and he has to pull himself out the other side.

We all make our choices. We have to live with consequences. That’s the way life is. And that’s why Aaron’s story was so important for me to write. His choices, his consequences, they needed to be shared. Nice guys don’t always finish last. Some of them don’t even finish. And a lot of them just don’t finish where they think they will.

 

Fascinating, Lynn! And seriously, gentlemen are my weakness. For all that people appear to like bad boys, the bad ones in my life only made me miserable.
Anyway, this book sounds great!
Let’s learn more about the novel, shall we? 😉
Here is the blurb for Full Count.
Anyone who says they’re having the worst day hasn’t met me. My girlfriend cheated, I blew out my knee, and probably trashed my chance of going pro. All in one day. Then my jerk professor tells I’m almost on academic probation.
Awesome. Now I get to find a tutor.
Enter Mallory Fine, quiet, a little intense, and my kind of gorgeous. Who also happens to hate baseball and any guy who plays it.
Hello, curiosity.
I tell myself this will be nothing more than a tutoring relationship. I’m a liar. I want this girl. How hard can her secrets be to unravel? It might be a challenge, but so is getting back on the ball field and I’m determined to make that happen—no matter the cost.
And Lynn is giving us a peek at her novel!

We’d only been playing about five minutes when I went down. The rookies kicked the soccer ball right at Chuck, who caught it against his chest. I broke down the field as he flung the ball toward me. The throw was perfect, hitting the grass in front of my feet. I deked left to fake out Rosenthal, a freshman pitcher who could clock ninety-nine on the gun. He was also tall and a bit of a klutz. He raced my buddy Seth, who blocked for me. Seth was fast, but the lanky freshman’s stride was too much. Rosie’s long pipe cleaner of a leg caught my calf as I fell. My knee bent in a way God never intended, and I hit the dying grass with a thud.

I think I screamed. I think I cried. I know I passed out, because I woke up in the hospital.

Fluorescent lights flashed over my head as the EMT rolled me down the hallway. My eyes burned at the glare. We weren’t in any hurry. The guy grunted and turned the gurney right. The room was small—no window, just a bunch of machines, a bed, and a small TV high on the wall without any sound.

“All right, Mr. Betts, let’s get you on this bed,” the EMT said, blowing his coffee-scented breath over my face.

I held him off, using my own strength to get from the gurney and onto the bed. It felt like someone stuck my knee into a blazing fire and decided to stoke it with a sharp poker. My teeth ground together as I tried not to let the EMT see how much it hurt.

My father always told me, “Never let them see you flinch.” It was a lot harder than it sounded.

“You okay, Mr. Betts?” he asked.

Was I okay? Fuck if I knew. Why did I play that pickup game? If Chuck hadn’t insisted it was my responsibility as co-captain to haze the rookies, I wouldn’t have bothered. I hated soccer.

Baseball was my game. And I was damn good at it.

The EMT glanced around the too-bright room for a moment before grinning down at me. “Saw you play last year against Stilton. Took my boy over to the game and watched you hit for the cycle.” He chuckled at the memory. “When you smashed that 3-0 count over the right field wall, Malcolm about lost his voice from screaming. Had to buy him a Hawks shirt. He wears it almost every day now. Wants to play for Westland, too.”

Despite my pain, I smiled at his excitement. That had been one of the best games I’d ever been a part of.

“Can I ask you something?” He paused and waited for my consent. Most people usually just asked away. “Heard you got drafted out of high school. Why’d you turn it down?”

I snorted. It wasn’t the first time someone asked me. The minute I stepped into our team meeting at Westland my freshman year, five guys asked me in five minutes. “I can do better than the thirtieth round.”

“Then why didn’t you go to a Division 1 school? I heard Texas and Iowa wanted you.”

Texas and Iowa did want me, but they offered partials. Westland offered a full ride. Besides, I’d dreamed of playing baseball at the same college my father played. My parents only had to shell out the cash for food and a room. Everybody understood the money, but nobody understood the sentiment.

Trish had her heart set on Westland, too.

I shrugged with a grin. “Why do men always screw up their lives? For a girl.”

That sent him into a belly laugh. “Ain’t that the truth.” He clasped my shoulder and squeezed. “You take care, Mr. Betts. Hopefully we’ll see you on the field this spring.”

The little drip of happiness our conversation gave me dried up. That had been my first thought as soon as my knee turned into scrambled eggs. The way it bent before separating and snapping back together, the fact that my kneecap wasn’t in the right place anymore…I doubted I’d be out in centerfield this spring. But maybe I was wrong. I had to be. The draft was in June, and I was eligible again. Not playing would drop me out of the first round, probably even the second, if not completely. Every day I wasn’t on the field lessened my chances.

Sighing, I glanced at the bandage holding the ice pack to the bowling ball that was now my knee. There wasn’t anything I could do to change what had happened. Any of it.

That’s the shitty thing about “the past.” It’s unchangeable.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071J7CGTT

B&N:  https://goo.gl/79zZej

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Full-Count/Lynn-Stevens/Q472301342?id=6842447479054

Kobo:  https://goo.gl/Ddf8rc

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7209956

Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/full-count.html

Ouch! But intriguing! I definitely want to know what happens next! ♥♥♥

How exciting to learn about your new adult sports romance, Lynn! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Full Count!

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

Guest Bio

Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can’t read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee she can’t pronounce and sips tea when she’s out of coffee. When she’s out of both, just stay away.

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Publisher:  https://entangledpublishing.com/author/lynn-stevens

 

Thanks again, Lynn, 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 D.E. Haggerty visits us on October 17th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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