Category Archives: Writing Tips

Exclusive Interview with author Linda Diane Wattley, plus a look at inspirational military romance, A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our twentieth 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. Please join me in welcoming Linda Diane Wattley to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Linda Diane Wattley:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, 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…

Linda:  I am an Assistant Manager at a union-based company that services membership support to our field staff. I am a talk show host who enjoys interviewing people who have a heartfelt truth they would like to share with the world.

Great! ♥

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Linda:  My family is a small nucleus but filled with a lot of love and loyalty. My mother is 82 years old and so filled with life. My two sons, Marcus and Robert, make me a proud mother as they have a heart for children and their future. Currently they are unified as football coaches who are not coaching them on the football field but the realities of life as well. I am a widow hoping to marry again one day. But in the meantime, I enjoy my beautiful, lovely grandchildren, Jaelynn, Myla, Marcus, Mara and one on the way. Also, two brothers of whom l love dearly.

Marie:  Wow, so many!

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?

Linda:  I remember a beautiful white house that my mother kept perfectly clean.

Marie:  All right.

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

Linda:  I enjoy listening to music, especially music from the 70’s. I enjoy reading and writing. Family time means a lot to me. Walking in the park is another favorite. Meditation and Yoga is a practice I hope to improve. Love watching music and going to my sons’ football games.

Marie:  Nice! 😀

So, what is your greatest dream?

Linda:  My greatest dream is to be so free I don’t have a worry in the world!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Let’s try another question.

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

Linda:  A healthy and rich person. For now, I can say I am healthy, but I could do better with fitness. Now being rich, I just don’t know how to make it happen. If my book becomes a movie, that would be great.

Marie:  I know, right? 😉

So, who was your first love?

Linda:  My first love was not the guys I met in school, but the one I met in the United States Army. He was the man in my life who taught me what love looks like. He married me and gave me two amazing sons. Robert D. Wattley III is my heartthrob.

Marie:  Aww! ♥♥♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Linda:  Becoming a widow at the age of 27 with two sons to bring up.

Marie:  Oh, goodness, I’m so sorry you went through all of that! 😥

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Linda 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?

Linda:  At first, I wanted to be a schoolteacher. Then I wanted to be a psychologist, but all that changed once I had children. I guess I lost myself while tending to my children. Eventually, after realizing the power of words, I wanted to be an author who aided in the healing process of heart and soul.

Marie:  Wow! 😀

Who is your role model, Linda?

Linda:  I do not have a role model, but I can say my sons have taught and showed me many things that make me a better person.

Marie:  Great!

Well, let’s try something else.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Linda:  Interesting question! (Laughs.) None I can recall.

Marie:  Okay.

What is your deepest desire?

Linda:  Great health!

Marie:  (Nods.) Can’t blame you for wanting that! And, of course, you deserve it! ♥

Let’s go for a different approach now.

Just curious here, but what is your greatest fear?

Linda:  Death.

Marie:  That’s an understandable fear. 😕 It is odd sometimes to realize how very short life is.

Let’s switch gears for a second.

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

Linda:  Blanket, iPad, phone, food and water.

Marie:  They all sound good to me! 😀

Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Leona Tillard. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Linda:  Leona Tillard is the main character, who shares her journey from being a little girl to becoming a young woman. While growing up, she didn’t see happy adults so she was not in a hurry to grow up, but she does and discovers a world of love and self-awareness that comes with a price that she must grow to understand. Joining the United States Army marked the beginning of how her past experiences affected her understanding of normality and love.

Marie:  All right.

And what are Leona’s greatest strengths?

Linda:  Leona’s greatest strengths are her ability to seek understanding of life, trust God, honesty and compassion.

Marie:  Nice!

Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?

Linda:  She does not trust people and she is naïve.

Marie:  (Nods.)

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Leona’s favorite foods?

Linda:  Cookies, ice cream, chicken, greens and hamburgers.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) All great on their own, of course, but I would never combine them. 😉

How about another question?

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

Linda:  Leona is gifted with intuition and healing others mentally and physically. She is incredibly determined to understand others as well as herself.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Linda:  I believe readers will love Leona because she is not a negative person. Though she was dealt a tough hand, she moves forward and she reveals our human need to understand self, love and life. She refuses to be a victim.

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

Now that we have a real taste of Leona, 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 A Love Story to Remember?

Linda:  I came up with that title based on the loves Leona experiences from birth to becoming a woman. The male roles in this story are real and reveal how men love women who have suffered unjustly in life. It also reveals God’s love for us behind the scenes.

Marie:  Nice! It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Linda:  I am more of a plotter; I believe in having a bottom line and supporting it.

Marie:  Okay.

So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Love Story to Remember, or in publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Linda:  I read this book at least twenty times, and every time I read it, I found errors. I had help with editing, but all errors did not go away even then. If you can get a great editor, get one because no one likes to read books with errors. As far as publishing, I knew I wanted a publishing company that listens. The publishers were great.

Marie:  That’s great advice! And believe me, I feel your pain. I learned it the hard way years ago, and was even inspired to write an article on my alternate blog about the importance of editing.  

Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great tale A Love Story to Remember appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about this book.

Title: A Love Story to Remember

Genre: Military Romance, Inspirational Romance

Publication date: September 15, 2019

Here is the blurb:

A Love Story to Remember reveals the intrinsic realities of our need to love and be loved.  There is something about hearing the words, ‘I love you’ that enriches our lives even though its meaning is endless. Leona Tillard, a soldier of the United States Army, woke up one day drowning in the sea of love. ‘I love you’ ruled her life.

She knows God loves her, but she does not know who He has chosen for her to love. Sometimes God speaks through others to reveal answers we seek. Are you chosen to reveal her true love?

Linda is giving us a peek at the story…

“I can’t take any more chances. I don’t want to feel anymore. Don’t you understand? I’m cursed. Stay away from me,” I cried as I ran down the trail into the darkness.

“Leona. Where are you? This isn’t funny, you’re scaring me.”

Tony finally caught up with me. When he did, I placed my arms around his neck and kissed him.

“Whoa, Leona!”

Seeing Tony calm down from my touch reminded me how powerful touch can be.

“I love you, Tony.”

“You don’t have to say that.”

“Yes, I do.”

When we got back to the house, Tony turned off the car and got in a comfortable position and tilted the steering wheel. He looked like a different person than the young man who came to pick me up. I wondered if I looked different as well.

“You’re beautiful, Leona. I just wish you would see it. Let me make you feel good.”

“I don’t think I’m ready for sex yet.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about. I want to touch your heart and mind first, and then your body. I want you to feel me every time you breathe. I want my presence in your life to be the source of your strength, faith, hope, love and certainty. I want your heart and everything in it.”

“You sound like God, you know?” I smiled.

He laughed.

“How did we get on this subject, Leona?”

“You started it,” I said as I laid my head on his shoulder.

Tony and I found each other again. This time it seemed like we had God with us. Talking about God so freely reminded me of the freedom I shared with my first crush, Andrew.

Tony and I spent a lot of time together. He became my healer. I was ready to rejoin my life in the Army. I had one week left before I was due to arrive at Fort Sill, and I wanted to take Tony with me. Even though I was enjoying him, I couldn’t wait to get back into my life as a soldier.

The day I was set to leave, Tony came over and had dinner with us. My mom made the best roast, but it wasn’t enough to kill the sadness hanging over the room. Tony wasn’t himself, and his silence was beginning to make us uncomfortable, so I took him by the hand and pulled him outside to the porch.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing, I do have quiet moments, you know,” Tony answered defensively.

“Talk to me, Tony.”

Tony turned away from me and began walking toward his car.

“Sorry, Leona, I got to go. Have a safe trip.”

“Just like that, you’re walking out on me!  Why?  Be man enough to tell me why!” I yelled as I walked toward his car.

“I will never have you, Leona,” he said mournfully.

I shook my head in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“Did you know you talk in your sleep?  I thought it was no big deal at first. But then one night, no two nights, you cuddled up with me on the couch and called me Doug!  Leona, I can’t compete with a ghost!”

I let out a sigh. “Don’t do this, Tony. My parents are waiting for us. Can we talk about this later?”

Tony shut the car door and walked back up on the porch.

“I would like us to at least make it through dinner,” I said.

After dinner, my dad and Tony watched a football game while Mom and I cleared the table and washed dishes. When we finished washing dishes, Tony and I decided to go out for a while alone. As soon as we got in the car, we both apologized to each other at the same time.

“No, wait; let me say this before we go any farther. I may have said Doug’s name in my sleep, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have room in my heart for you. I was traumatized, Tony. Sudden death is no joke.”

“I know. I guess I was a little jealous.”

“I have a surprise for you. At least, I hope it is a surprise. I wanted our last night together to be special.”

We rode in silence, listening to one of Tony’s jazz list of music. We pulled up in front of a hotel and Tony parked the car, got out, and came over to my side to help me out. With his hand in mine, we walked into the hotel. We didn’t have to check in because he already had the key to our room. I didn’t know how I felt about this. All I knew was he and I were about to be alone. When he opened the door, the candlelight and roses all over the room overwhelmed me. There were rose petals strewn all over the bed. Before I could say anything, Tony picked me up and threw me in the middle of the fragrant pile.

Intense! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mqD5av

Publisher link:  https://www.penitpublications.com/product-page/wattley-linda-a-love-story-to-remember

What are people saying about A Love Story to Remember?

 

 

“This book shows us how previous generations can affect later ones. Family issues, trauma, abuse, and mental health can affect us all. Overcoming our past is a part of the human struggle. Very engaging read.” – Earl Hall Studio, Amazon

A Love Story to Remember by Linda Diane Wattley is a fictional love story about life, the need for love, redemption, and personal internal survival. The author draws from her own experiences as a veteran in the United States Army. Even in this fictional account, Linda demonstrates the inner strength to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and find a path to recovery.

I encourage you to read all of Linda’s books and engage with her through her online television show, ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’ by TLBTV. This platform and the Liberty Beacon Project has proven to be a powerful beacon of light. Linda is available for speaking engagements, book signings and interviews.
I endorse this book and all of Linda’s endeavors to help PTSD survivors.” – Theodocia McLean, Book Marketing Global Network

 

Looks fantastic! 😉

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

About Linda Diane Wattley

LINDA DIANE WATTLEY is a veteran of the United States Army. She is an advocate for sufferers of PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and for those who have suffered from all forms of victimization to include domestic violence and sexual abuse. Her message is all about getting to the best truths that allows victims to be set free. Linda does this by sharing her gifts and talents that God gave her. One being an author of several books that lead readers to go deep within themselves to find their own inner strength and voice.

Linda was also a contributing columnist with the Frost Illustrated Newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana titled, “THE BEST WILL SHOW THEMSELVES” for over twelve years where she shared truths that stirred hearts and minds of readers in spiritual matters.

Today, she has opened a platform for others to share their truths with the world. Her online television show, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE by TLBTV and the Liberty Beacon Project has proven to be a powerful beacon of light.

Her current book, A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER is a uniquely written book sharing the journey to love after a dysfunctional past. It shows how men love and have their own spiritual understanding of life. Understanding someone with PTSD in relationships brings out the best in you in numerous ways. This love story will have you wondering who the man God has chosen for the main character, Leona Tillard. Will you choose him after reading her story?

Linda Diane Wattley lives to do God’s Will. She is available for book signings, speaking engagements and interviews.

Books:

https://books2read.com/u/mqD5av
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CZPKXQ7/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Linda Diane Wattley, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Linda Diane Wattley, the brilliant author of this military romance with an inspirational romance theme, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Exclusive Interview with author Chris Ann Yim, plus a look at military romance, LIAISON IN LYUDINOVO!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our seventeenth 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. Please join me in welcoming Chris Ann Yim to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Chris Ann Yim:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, 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…

Chris:  I am a former history teacher turned military romance author. I LOVE writing in this genre. I have to say, the more I write the better I become. Reading and learning from other authors has been tremendously beneficial to me as well.

Marie:  Wow, that’s awesome! 😀

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Chris:  I am married to an Army veteran who treats me like a queen. He provides for our family, allowing me to write full-time from home. We were both only children and have an only child cat.

Marie:  Wonderful! I have fur babies too. 😉

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?

Chris:  I grew up in a suburban ranch home with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Dad added a second bathroom when I was in middle school, and we got central air when I was twelve. Harvest gold kitchen from 1969 with knotty pine cabinets. It was full of love, and there was an RV in the backyard. I wouldn’t trade my years there for anything.

Marie:  Nice! 😉

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

Chris:  Writing used to be my hobby. Now that I write full time, photography has become my biggest hobby. I enjoy capturing the essence of Southern American culture, whether it be muggy sunsets, cornbread, or old cemetery headstones.

Marie:  Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Chris:  At this point in my life, my greatest dream is to raise a healthy, well-adjusted family with the love of my life.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan. 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Chris:  The one thing that I haven’t perfected is being patient. However, if I were still in my twenties, I’d tell you that I want to become the person that I am today. My thirties have been extremely enlightening. After finishing school, finding my husband, changing careers, and all of the other tedious steps that I took to get to age 31, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I just have to hone my craft of writing. I think that comes with time.

Marie:  True. I wish I could be a little more patient as well.

So…who was your first love?

Chris:  My father was my first love. He is a strong man who’s been seasoned by life’s many trials and experiences. He also has a love of muscle cars and America like I do. He has really affected my outlook on life, and I am very thankful.

Marie:  Aww! ♥

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Chris:  When I broke up with my college boyfriend, after three and a half years of dating, I would have told you that it was the most terrible thing that ever happened to me. That was tragedy to my twenty-two year old brain. Two years later, when I got broken up with from my first G.I. Joe, I knew my life was over because he was my dream man. I know now that my life was just beginning.

I’ve lost a best friend. I’ve battled not being able to use a limb after major surgery. I’ve struggled with depression. My husband and I struggled with infertility. But, I feel like every ‘tough’ experience I’ve ever gone through has made me stronger. It’s forged my steel. I’ve gone through some rough times, but nothing screams ‘terrible.’ Thanks to the good Lord, I’m incredibly blessed.

Marie:  Yikes, so many things! 😕

But what an incredibly inspiring outlook to have. How admirable! 😉

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Chris 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?

Chris:  My dream growing up was to be a psychiatrist, but the Lord changed my path in the middle of organic chemistry lab, junior year of college. I know that it was divine intervention. Thinking about it now, I would still be in an incredible amount of debt from medical school, and I have a habit of shouldering people’s problems. My brain would be racked with worry because I honestly care too much.

So, when that didn’t pan out, my next dream was to be a history teacher. Did that. Then, I quit that profession to start a family and write novels. Working on that now. Bette Davis said it best, “Success only breeds a new goal.”

Marie:  So true!

Well, let’s try something else…

Who is your role model, Chris?

Chris:  All praise to my mother. She did it all; school, work, family, cooking, cleaning, helping others. She never cracked, either. At least, not in front of me. She is the strongest woman I know. If I even manage to somehow be half of the woman she is, I will have succeeded. She’s just that amazing.

Marie:  Nice!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Chris:  I don’t think it’s possible to like everything about everyone. I have people that I completely dislike, but I pray for them…sometimes. I try to be nice. I know some people don’t like me. I don’t even like everything about myself. So, overall, no.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Okay.

Let’s do something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Chris:  Unconditional love. Also, warm summer nights riding around in my Mustang. Drinking a chocolate malt. Listening to Junior Kimbrough with my man by my side. I’m not complicated in my desires. I value my Southland, my family, and my faith more than anything.

Marie:  They sound like great goals to me! 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Chris:  Losing everything due to something unforeseen or uncontrollable. Losing my family or my home. I just have to keep on believing that won’t happen and be thankful because…I have it all. I truly have it all. And, I don’t mean that in a prideful way. I just know that the Lord has gotten me this far. He’s not going to forsake me now.

Marie:  True…

Let’s switch gears for a second.

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

Chris:  If we can forgo practical things like shelter, showers, and basic food, I would NEED an air conditioner, a bible, a radio, and a full service BBQ restaurant. Sweet tea included…of course.

Marie:  😀

All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jackson Lee of Palmer Lake, Colorado. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Chris:  Jackson is an engineering sergeant with the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group. He is a highly trained builder and demolitions expert. He grew up on a horse ranch outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and values the simple things in life like his team and his family.

Marie:  Nice…

And what are Jackson’s greatest strengths?

Chris:  Jackson is great at solving problems and tackling just about anything that comes his way. He is also a good judge of character.

Marie:  Any weaknesses?

Chris:  Jackson gets in his own way sometimes. He lets his mind overthink what his heart needs.

Marie:  (Nods.) I think a lot of people do that.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jackson’s favorite foods?

Chris:  He loves a rare steak and a good beer.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Chris:  Jackson has a way of making those around him feel safe. He is very intelligent, but sees himself as an ordinary guy.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Chris:  Readers will like Jackson more and more as the book progresses. He is a good-looking guy who doesn’t know it, and he gets slightly nervous when a woman takes an interest in him. He is innocently adorable, despite the fact that he works on a team of trained killers.

Marie:  Aww…

Now that we have a real taste of Jackson, 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 Liaison in Lyudinovo?

Chris:  For the basics like espionage and Russia, I looked to television and movies. I took a trip to Russia with my husband, and my Dad also worked there for a brief time when I was a kid.

For the heart of the story, I looked to my personal experiences. I adore Fort Carson, Colorado. I spent a considerable portion of my life there and know it like the back of my hand. That became my secondary setting. After meeting so many soldiers during my life, finding a team of guys to carry out the mission in the story was easy. They are a conglomerate of friends and acquaintances.

My heroine, Sam, was a completely new creation. She shares some qualities with me, but really has a lot of qualities that I’d like to have. It took a bit of research to create her.

Marie:  Cool!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Chris:  I’m both. I start out as a panster. I get an idea, run with it, and then plot along the way.

Marie:  (Laughs.) That sounds like me! 😉

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

Chris:  I wouldn’t do a thing differently. Writing is a process, and there is not one, single formula that can accurately tell all authors how to go about making their careers successful. Authors are all unique, and success is relative.

Writing the book was the first hurdle. Liaison is the third novel I’ve written. It took the writing of the first two to show me who my characters would be in this novel, now the first in the series. I got attached to the characters in my other novels and had to force myself to create new ones. Once I got rolling, I fell in love with these characters just as much. Point being, you have to write and write…and write some more to be able to find your niche.

Editing was the second hurdle. I can edit my manuscripts all day long, but quickly learned the value of a professional editor. The editing process was incredibly beneficial. It forced me to go back and rethink plotlines, deepen characters, and improve my writing skills.

Publishing was the third hurdle. I’d already pitched my first novel to an agent from L.A. That was only because he was at a writer’s conference that I attended. It’s not like he answered one of my 86 query letters that I sent all over the United States. He told me after one minute of me describing my southern book to him to get out of the south and travel the world. He said I should come back when I had lived more life. WHOO BOY. What he didn’t realize was that I already was a world traveler with three college degrees. I had lived all over the country, not just in the south. I was a woman of thirty years with a bevy of unique experiences under my belt that he couldn’t possibly comprehend. And, the book I was pitching was written about THE SOUTH. So, at first, I was mad. He didn’t know me. How could he say that to me? In my mother-in-law’s words, “Hasn’t he ever read Gone with the Wind or heard of Harper Lee?” Well, I was still bummed. HUGELY BUMMED. Was I missing something? Were my life experiences not adequate enough content for me to consider myself an author? I felt defeated. So, I almost gave up.

I thought traditional publishing was the only way to go because that’s what the agent told me. He quickly shot down mine and other author’s questions about self-publishing. Well, now that I think about it, that makes sense. He was in the traditional publishing world. But, I sat on that glorious, southern novel that I was so proud of, traveled the globe some more, then met some fantastic, supportive writers in my local community. TURNING POINT OF MY CAREER. You have to network and make friends. This is something that can be difficult for introverted writers. Some in the group were self-published authors and some were traditionally published, but they all told me to do what worked for me. So, I quickly realized, SELF-PUBLISHING IS A THING! And, not only that, it’s okay. I had been told my whole writing life that you had to have an agent, you had to have a New York publishing house behind you, and you had to do this ‘writing thing’ a certain way. NOT SO.

So, the moral of this story is, DO NOT get discouraged! The important thing to know as a writer is that you have to keep on writing, keep on reading, and keep on keeping on. True writers don’t write for the fame. They write with their hearts and souls about the things they love. If you hear back from a publisher, FANTASTIC. You’ve beat me at that game. If you don’t hear back, you CAN do it on your own. If you need help, message me, I’ll help you. We have to support each other because our chosen path as writers is quite solitary. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of us. We are just individually out there in our cozy little spaces, pouring our hearts out into stories.

Marie:  Such sound advice! 😀

Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world. But I’m glad you figured it out.

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 Liaison in Lyudinovo appears to be… ♥

Let’s learn more about the book.

Title: Liaison in Lyudinovo

Genre: Military Romance

Publication date: August 6, 2019

Here is the blurb:

Sam Browning is a feisty and romantically jaded young CIA case officer who has uncovered a problem involving one of the Agency’s own. But she doesn’t have the evidence to expose the man she assumes to be a traitor working for the Russian government.

That was six years ago. Now she has what she needs to take the operative down and a skilled team of unique men working alongside her. Can they bring an end to a deadly operation and two high-value targets in defense of the United States? Then this life of government espionage will be behind her. But not before she discovers an unexpected bond with an untrusting, reserved member of the team.

Will this group of men teach Sam the final lesson of her career? Will the end of this case mean the end of Sam’s life? Just how strong can a bond be between those who defend the land of the free?

Chris is giving us a peek at the story…

 

Excerpt #1:

He smiled. “You okay, killer?”

She darted her eyes back and forth. “Well, I sort of need a little help in here.”

Jackson un-propped himself and went through the partially cracked bedroom door. He put his back to it and shut it behind him, looking at Sam in her dress.

Sam’s eyes trailed up his built, sophisticated form, taking in the wide-eyed expression on his face. He looked different without his beard. Younger.

“Too much?” she asked, looking back over herself.

“Uh.” Jackson shook his head. “Uh…no.” He blinked several times. “No, ma’am.”

“It’s red,” she said, hesitantly.

Jackson nodded, slowly, taking in every inch of her body under that red fabric. “I can see that.”

Excerpt #2:

About a mile from the cabin, Jackson pulled off onto a side road.

“What are you doing?” Sam asked, pushing the cuticles back on her fingernails.

He smiled. “Samantha Browning, have you ever driven a stick shift?”

Sam hesitated and looked away from him at the sky like a spaceship could land at any second. “Why?”

“Because the only reason you didn’t drive today is the car is a manual.”

She continued her fake search of the skies for anything to keep her eyes off him. “How do you know—”

“Come on now, Officer Browning,” he said to her as if he were trying to get a kid to fess up to a lie. “Your V8 Mustang is an automatic. You obviously like power, but you don’t know how to handle it.”

Well, that got her fired up. “Listen, Jackson Lee, I can ​handle power just fine. My Daddy tried to teach me once, but I just…I just…” She clenched her fists.

“You want to know a secret?”

“O…kay?” She shrugged.

“You know that you can try again, right? Some humans do that when they fail at something. Don’t let the secret out, though.”

She rolled her eyes. “Now? You want me to try now?”

“Now,” he repeated as he glared at her. “Do you and the guys have some sort of quilting contest going on back at the cabin, or do you want to learn?”

“Jackson Lee, we are not in a country where we can be distracted from the mission, shooting off on back roads for the enemy to find us. This is not the place to—”

“Do you trust me?” Jackson interrupted her.

She eyed him and shrugged. “This has nothing to do with—”

“Do you trust me?” he asked again, more firmly this time.

She hesitated but nodded. She didn’t like not knowing how to drive a stick shift, but she got frustrated easily with this particular skill.

“Did the Agency not require that you know how?” Jackson asked her.

Sam hem-hawed around at the question. “Well, yes-ish. I took the test.”

Jackson stared into her eyes, waiting on the rest of the story.

“I didn’t really pass the test, but to be fair, I tried. And, I’ve never had trouble since. I’m very thankful for that. And, I know it ​could have gone pretty bad in some situations, but…”

Jackson’s eyes were narrowing in question. “Do I even want to know how any of that went down, the not passing and yet surviving in foreign lands with foreign vehicles?”

Sam rubbed her forehead. “Eh?”

“Fine. Another day,” Jackson said, “but today, you’re learning.”

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

Add it to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47551036-liaison-in-lyudinovo

What are people saying about Liaison in Lyudinovo?

 

 

“Spy and romance – what more could you want? This book is amazingly written. You feel you are there. Gets intense and you are right there feeling it. Love this brilliant writer!!!” – Connie King, Amazon

“Romance with military special ops. Author has researched the proper tactics, language and weapons for authenticity. Loved the romance part also.” – Deborah Palmer, Amazon

What a fun, suspenseful read!” – Robert G. Karcher, Amazon

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

About Chris Ann Yim

Chris Ann Yim is a historian and author of the new novel Liaison in Lyudinovo. As the wife of an Army veteran, she holds an appreciation for the relationships between military service members and their families. With a background in the social sciences, she has spent the majority of her life researching military leadership, the psychology of war, and the development of culture in societal groups. Chris is a cat mom who enjoys Blues Rock and Big Band music, drag racing, and photography. She lives and works out of her home on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, and spends her vacations eating good food and traveling the globe with her husband. Her claim to fame was once being chosen as a contestant on ‘The Price is Right’, and in the future she aspires to go an entire week without tripping over her own feet or spilling a glass of sweet tea down her shirt.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Chris Ann yim, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Chris Ann Yim, the brilliant author of this military romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Military Romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, spies, Thriller/Suspense, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

Exclusive Interview with author Barbara Wallace, plus a look at contemporary romance, ONE NIGHT IN PROVENCE!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our sixteenth 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. Please join me in welcoming Barbara Wallace to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Barbara Wallace:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, 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…

Barbara:  I am primarily a writer, but I also work part-time at Barnes & Noble Bookstores. I took a seasonal job there a few years ago and never left.  Not only does it keep me from being isolated in my little office, but it lets me spend time with readers and books. I’ve discovered a lot of new authors through chatting with customers.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Barbara:  I like to think of my extended family as a wonderfully diverse and quirky bunch of people representing a variety of religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations. Holidays are always entertaining.

As far as my immediate family, my husband and I live with two spoiled cats and a sailboat. (Seriously, my husband thinks of the thing as a child.)  The two of us spend a great deal of spare time reveling in our empty nest status. Our son is grown. He and his wife live a few hours away.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

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?

Barbara:  I grew up in the CLEANEST home you’d ever see. My mom was a total neat freak. (I’m sure she’s rolling in grave over the state of my house – especially when I’m on deadline.) Our house was a pretty little Cape Cod with a neatly mowed lawn and an above ground swimming pool in a neighborhood full of pretty little Cape Cod houses with neatly mowed lawns and above ground swimming pools.

Marie:  Lovely! And believe me, I’m just as messy while I am focused on a writing project. 😉

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

Barbara:  When I’m not writing – which seems like always these days – I love to read. I’ve got a stack of books on my end table waiting for me. I wish I could tell you I garden or do some kind of craft, but I kill plants and I’m horribly craft-deficient. Although, I am thinking of taking up crochet this winter.

Marie:  And what is your greatest dream?

Barbara:  Well, my greatest dream used to be to become a published author. Clearly, I checked off that box. Now, I would like to have the freedom to control my own schedule. There are so many things I want to explore in this world, both creatively and literally. My dream is to one day have the freedom to do so without having to answer to a deadline or outside job. To be able to answer only to myself (and my husband, of course).

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Barbara:  I want to be someone who is comfortable being myself. I spend a lot of time being the person other people want me to be. I want to learn to be authentic, even if that means risking disapproval. Why haven’t I become that person? I’m working on it. It takes a lot of work to shake free of your childhood baggage.

Marie:  I agree. And I’ve noticed we are our own worst critics. I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet certain standards and whenever I don’t reach those goals, it’s a huge disappointment.

But I guess I should go a bit easier on me, huh? 😉

So…who was your first love?

Barbara:  His name was John and he played trumpet in the high school band. I was so in love with him. It broke my heart that he didn’t feel the same.

Marie:  Aww. 😥

In any case, life seems to have worked out well for you! 😀

With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Barbara:  One very early morning, when my son was four months old, I was in the kitchen trying to wrap a blanket around his squirming body when he suddenly squirmed straight out of my arms. We rushed him to the hospital where they said he suffered a minor skull fracture. Thankfully he recovered. Even though it was a complete accident, the guilt from that day still rips my insides to shreds.

Marie:  Yikes! 😕

At least he’s okay. I guess I can’t blame you for feeling that way.

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Barbara 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?

Barbara:  I wanted to be a writer as a child. So, yeah – I achieved it. Of course, in my mind back then, a writer meant being rich and famous with a mansion like Jackie Collins. Turns out, being a writer is a lot of hard work. No one told me the words didn’t just “pour out” of you and onto the page!

Marie:  Right? I had big expectations too! (Laughs.)

Well, let’s trying something else…

Who is your role model, Barbara?

Barbara:  I don’t know if I have one specific role model. There are a lot of people in my life with qualities that I seek to emulate. For example, my husband is a wonderfully charitable man who is always helping others. My best friend is amazingly diplomatic and a natural leader. Both of these people are people I strive to be more like.

Marie:  Cool!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Barbara:  I’ll never tell.  🙂

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No worries, I respect your privacy.

Let’s do something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Barbara:  To be really and truly happy.

Marie:  Sounds like a great goal to me! 😉

And what is your greatest fear?

Barbara:  That I passed on my neuroses and tendency for depression to my son.

Marie:  Oh, no! 😥

Let’s switch gears for a second…

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

Barbara:

  1. A Gallon of Bug Spray
  2. A super large journal with a forever sharp pencil
  3. Cookware
  4. A sleeping bag
  5. Coffee

Marie:  Can’t blame you on the bug spray! Yikes! We have so many bugs in Indiana. 🙄

And yes, a never-ending journal! 🙂

All right, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Jenna Brown. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Barbara:  Jenna Brown is a nurse in a nursing home on Nantucket Island. She moved there from Cambridge, which is just outside of Boston. Jenna’s practical and guarded. That comes from having watched her mother’s heart get broken over and over by her callous father. But there’s a part of her that’s longing for romance. She wants to be loved; she’s simply afraid to open her heart to the opportunity.

Marie:  That’s understandable…

And what are Jenna’s greatest strengths?

Barbara:  Her compassion. She’s dedicated her life to helping people who are dying and unable to care for themselves.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

Any weaknesses?

Barbara:  Her stubbornness. She is so determined to protect her heart that she doesn’t see the opportunity that’s right in front of her.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jenna’s favorite foods?

Barbara:  Coffee. And fish. She lives in New England, after all.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Barbara:  She has an adventurous streak that I don’t think she’s ever tapped into before. She’s always so practical. This book gives her a chance to have a real adventure.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Barbara:  Hopefully they will really like her and want her to have a happy ending!

Marie: Of course!

Now that we have a real taste of Jenna, 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 One Night in Provence?

Barbara:  It actually came to me during an editorial meeting. The end of our editorial department said they were looking for ‘author-generated’ series. My bestie, Donna, immediately texted me and said, “We need to work together! We dragged in Nina Singh and the Mills & Boon queen Liz Fielding as well. Someone – I’m betting it was Donna Alward – suggested bucket list vacations. I practically screamed over everyone, “I’m doing a castle in Provence!” Largely because I want to take a vacation in a castle in Provence. LOL.

Marie: (Chuckles.) Awesome!

Oh, yes, I’d love to go to France too.

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Barbara:  I am what you would call a plodder. I plot the book in chunks of three or four chapters. I tend to write mind-numbingly slow as well. I want to make sure the characters drive the plot and that their reactions are in keeping with their personalities. There’s nothing that bothers me more than books that have characters doing things simply to facilitate a plot.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Barbara:  Bear in mind that I was already under a multi-book contract with Harlequin when I wrote this book, so getting it published was a forgone conclusion. The challenge was to write – and then rewrite – a book that was both emotional and uplifting, especially as I was writing this during a very sad period in my life. (There’s a reason Jenna’s a nursing home nurse.)  I ended up taking a lot of what happened and incorporating it into the story.

For aspiring writers – I took 15 years to initially publish. That was, of course, before self-publishing. Nowadays, writers don’t have to battle gatekeepers if they don’t choose to. My advice is simple: if you do want to be published traditionally, don’t ever give up. Keep writing and submitting. The key to success is perseverance.

To my independently published friends…always make sure that you are publishing your best work. Put yourself through the same editing and revision paces that you would experience were you traditionally published.

Marie:  Such sound advice! 😀 Indeed, it is tough to navigate the publishing world.

I look forward to learning about the other books in this series as 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 One Night in Provence appears to be… ♥

Title: One Night in Provence

Series: Destination Brides Book Three

Number in series: Third book in a four-book series, can be read as a standalone.

Genre: Romance

‘Spice’ level: Closed door sex

Publication date: August 1st

Publisher: Harlequin (US) / Mills & Boon (UK)

Here is the blurb:

Can an unexpected affair…

…lead to a lifetime of happiness?

In this Destination Brides story, while on vacation in Provence, homebody Jenna Brown embarks on a no-strings affair with a handsome stranger. But there’s more to wealthy playboy Philippe D’Usay than meets the eye. Scarred by loss, Philippe’s committed to being alone. But after their Provençal adventure ends, and Jenna discovers she’s pregnant, they must decide if their short-term connection could become a life together forever.

Here’s a peek at the story…

“Beatrice used to say stuff like that.”

“The woman who left you the money.”

Her smile softened. “She would have liked you. I remember one night we were watching a documentary about some ancient Greek city known for excessive living…”

“Sybaris,” he interrupted.

She looked at him in surprise. “Yes, that’s the one.”

“A lucky guess. I remember the lecture from university.”

“You have a very good memory.”

“It was a very interesting subject,” he said with a shrug.

“Anyway, when the show ended, Beatrice looked at me and said, ‘Those Greeks had the right idea.’”

“My kind of woman.”

“She must have dozed off during the part where the city was destroyed.”

“Yes, but at least they enjoyed themselves on the way out.” Reaching for the champagne, he filled both their glasses. “Vie amoureuse, as they say.”

“She definitely would have liked you.”

“Of course. I am a very likable person. You do not agree?” he asked at her enigmatic smile.

“Oh, I agree.” He watched while she traced the rim of her glass. “You’re extremely likable.”

“And you find that a problem.” A statement, not a question. He’d begun to notice a pattern with his American. Whenever she began to relax and enjoy herself, the wariness would rear its head to cool the enjoyment off. Such as now. Instead of laughing at his silly joke, she responded seriously.

“You do not trust me.” Again, he presented the words as fact.

“You’re a millionaire,” she countered. “Where I come from, millionaires don’t usually take women like me out to dinner.”

“They don’t believe in dating beautiful women?”

“They don’t pull out all the stops unless they have an agenda.”

Before he could reply, they were interrupted by a service. “Pissaladière,” the man announced before lifting the cover to reveal an onion tart, crust browned to perfection.

“I hope you don’t mind,” he said, “but I took the liberty of selecting the menu. Various Provençal dishes I think you would enjoy.”

“Case in point,” she replied.

“If your point is that I am trying to impress you, then I plead guilty as charged.”

“Impress me with the goal of coming back to my room.”

“Again guilty.” Did she expect him to deny human nature? Most women he knew would be swept off their feet by a moonlight dinner. Half of them would be in his arms before the tart arrived. With her, his efforts brought suspicion, despite his openness. It was almost as if she were afraid to enjoy herself.

He would need to rethink his approach.

“You always have the power to say no,” he reminded her.

“So long as we both realize that.” She smiled as she replied, but her eyes were serious.

Ma chère, I never go anywhere I’m not invited. Although I hope you will save your rejection until after the tart.”

He placed a slice on her plate and waited while she took a bite. When her eyes closed, he knew he’d scored his first point. No one could resist well-done French cuisine.

“Amazing,” she replied.

“And that is only the beginning. By the time tonight is over, you’ll have discovered that most things in Provence are amazing. And irresistible.”

Ooh…love the tension! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

BAM:  https://www.booksamillion.com/p/One-Night-Provence/Barbara-Wallace/Q393756081?id=7684037147673

Publisher (US):  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488043819_one-night-in-provence.html

Publisher (UK):  https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/products/hqnsingle-07183501

Publisher (Australia):  https://store.millsandboon.com.au/products/one-night-in-provence

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43891484-one-night-in-provence

https://www.bookbub.com/books/one-night-in-provence-by-barbara-wallace

What are people saying about One Night in Provence?

 

 

One Night in Provence by Barbara Wallace is a Hallmark movie wrapped up in book form. Ms. Wallace did such a great job that I could picture everything happening. I felt so bad for these two every time they seemed to make progress then they’d fall back a couple of steps. This book was excellent, and I loved every minute of reading it.” – Karen (Baroness Book Trove), Goodreads and Amazon

I absolutely loved this book the characters were great! The setting was brilliant! I loved how it turn out. I’m looking forward to more in this series.” – Penney Wilfort, Amazon and Goodreads

“Another home run from Barbara Wallace! Two unlikely people from very different worlds who have given up on love and the hope of having a happily ever after come together for one week in Provence, France, a week that will change their lives forever. Perfect, uplifting beach read! You could almost smell the beautiful flowers that go into making perfume from this magnificent region of the world. ” – Valerie DeAngelis, Goodreads

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this contemporary, vacation romance! ♥♥♥

About Barbara Wallace

My love affair with writing began the day my best friend, Kim, showed me her “novel”, an illustrated tome about her cat. Impressionable eight-year-old that I was, I decided to write a novel of my own.

Needless to say, that novel, The Adventures of Ginger the Cat, failed to hit the bestseller’s lists. Neither did my second effort, The Tame, Tame East, an all-female version of the Robert Conrad TV series. That didn’t matter. I was hooked. In high school, while other kids played Pac-Man, and checked out the Eagles’ latest, I was in my room pounding out stories on my manual typewriter.

Looking back, I see now that romance played a central role in my stories from the beginning. No matter what genre I wrote (and I wrote all of them), I always inserted a happy ending. Heck, even The Adventures of Ginger featured a wedding. To me, there’s nothing more captivating than the anticipation of seduction, and the rush that comes from finding true love.  However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed me a romance novel that my writing finally found its true home.

For years I limited my dreams to nights, weekends and commuter train trips while working as a communications specialist, PR freelancer and full-time mom.  But then, after years of knocking on doors, I sold to Harlequin Romance. Today, I’ve sold nearly 1 million books world-wide.  And, I couldn’t have done it without you.

A life-long Yankee, I live in New England with my own true love and two spoiled, rescue cats.  They are currently pouting because they’ve been informed neither of them will have a book written about them. Or because they want more food.  It’s a fifty-fifty shot.

 

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Barbara Wallace, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Barbara Wallace, the brilliant author of this modern romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, vacation romance, Women's Fiction, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

Exclusive Interview with author Jamie Schulz, plus a look at dystopian western romance, JAKE’S REDEMPTION!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our fifteenth 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. Please join me in welcoming Jamie Schulz to ILRB! 😀

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

Author Jamie Schulz:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, 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…

Jamie:  I am a romance author who writes mashup genres that are just a little different from the norm. I have a broad range of stories floating around in my head, so there’ll be some of the normal genres too, like contemporary romance, romantic suspense, maybe even some paranormal romance in the future (I really like Dragons!).

Am I any good at it?

In a word? Yes. (Well, at least, I’d like to think so, but it’s up to the reader to decide for themselves.)

Do I like it? I love it!

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Jamie:  Right now, it’s just my wonderful husband and myself with our little fur baby, but we’re hoping to add one more to our number soon.

Marie:  That’s wonderful! ♥

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?

Jamie:  Your typical one-story rambler. It was cozy and comfortable. I have many fond memories of the place.

Marie:  Lovely!

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

Jamie:  I have a few. Reading has always been a favorite, of course, but I also like to draw, and play the piano (when I can get my hands on one) and guitar. I love music and gardening too.

I really enjoy writing and making up stories. I love to see where they go, because it’s not always to where I’d thought they would when I started. I like to camp, garden, can our vegetables and fruit, and go for walks outside.

Marie:  Nice!

And what is your greatest dream?

Jamie:  To be an author and reach the bestseller lists.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😉

Let’s try another question.

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

Jamie:  I wish I could be as athletic as I used to be and not worry about anything.

What is stopping me? Getting older and old injuries from being athletic and not always so smart when I was young

Marie:  Okay.

Who was your first love?

Jamie:  Hmm… He was a friend, we were kids, and we never dated. Sad, I know.

Marie:  In any case, life seems to have worked out well for you! 😀

So, with the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…

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

Jamie:  If you’re talking about accidents or bad choices, I have one. Getting a big, heavy car stuck in a snow bank on Easter Sunday, miles and miles from a main road with no way to pull the car out, and all through no fault of my own. This was before the proliferation of cell phones, so we couldn’t just call someone, even if there was service out there. Ended up staying the night. We were planning on walking out the next morning, but luckily a forest Ranger was checking the roads and he happened upon us. Fortunately, he had a rope to pull us out. Not a fun trip.

Marie:  Yikes! 😕

At least you got out safely.

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Jamie 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?

Jamie:  To have a family and to be a successful author.

Did I achieve that dream? I’m still working on both, but I’m far closer to them now than I was even a year ago.

In what ways was it not what I expected? The author part involves a lot of things I didn’t expect to have to do. I’m an Indie author, so I don’t have a crew of people to help me with formatting, editing, story development, cover art, book description, publishing, social media, and marketing. I had to learn how to do all those things, and I’m still learning every day.

The family part I always thought would take care of itself, but it didn’t turn out that way. We’re still working on it and hope it will be resolved very soon!

I didn’t meet the right person and the situation didn’t present itself for a long time. Now that I have a great guy in my life, it’s time to add that extra piece.

The author dream got put on hold for a really long time due to life and all the crap it can throw at you. Now that I’ve got to a relatively comfortable place, I have some time to devote to what I love to do. I hope to be able to do it full-time at some point.

Marie:  Oh, I know exactly what you mean! I hope to have both of those as well…

So, who is your role model, Jamie?

Jamie:  My mom.

Marie:  Cool!

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Jamie:  There are a few of these, but I’ll never tell you who they are.

Marie:  No worries, I respect your privacy.

Let’s try something different.

What is your deepest desire?

Jamie:  To be a full-time author with a family.

Marie:  And what is your greatest fear?

Jamie:  That my dream of a family will never come true.

And hornets! I hate those mean little things.

Marie:  Oh, no! I really don’t think that will be the case. It will work out one way or another. 😉

And, oh, man, bugs drive me crazy. We have so many in Indiana. 🙄

Let’s switch gears for a second…

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

Jamie:  A trunk full of my favorite books. My husband and fur baby (does that count as two?). Some lounge chairs. A comfy bed. And sun screen.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Yes, why not? I think I’d bring all the Black Dagger Brotherhood books I’ve collected. What else could pass the time? Well, other than spending time with my fiancé, of course.

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

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jake Nichols. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Jamie:  Jake is a tenderhearted guy who’s gone through a lengthy, very traumatic experience. At the beginning of the story, Jake is an imprisoned slave and is worried that he will die in the dark cell where he’s been confined. Through the story, he thinks about his best friend and misses him more than he wants to admit. He’s afraid of women due to his experiences, but is still attracted to them (some of them, anyway).

Marie:  Intriguing…

And what are Jake’s greatest strengths?

Jamie:  His integrity, kindness, intelligence, and loyalty.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

And his weaknesses?

Jamie:  His fear of his tormentor and his worry that he’ll never be the man he used to be again.

Marie:  I’m sure some of us can relate to that one…trauma definitely changes you.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are Jake’s favorite foods?

Jamie:  He’s not picky. After living in the wild for a number of years, he’s learned to eat what he can get.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question?

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

Jamie:  His loyalty makes him a very good friend, and his kindness makes people trust him.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Jamie:  I think readers will like Jake very much for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, plus there’s the fact that he’s far better looking than he believes. 😉

Marie: 😛

(Laughs and fans herself.) Hot gentlemen book boyfriends are my weakness!

Now that we have a real taste of Jake, 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 Jake’s Redemption?

Jamie:  Well, I actually wrote the first five books of the series before I even thought of writing Jake’s story. But, the more I got into the story, the more I felt that Jake needed one that was all his own. Parts of his tale are told in more detail later in the series when he feels his best friend Bret needs to know, but I thought it was important that readers knew what brought him and Monica together before they got to know Bret and Angel.

Marie: That’s sort of what happened with book three of my historical romance trilogy. Suddenly, I realized that readers needed a glimpse into certain characters that had always been in the series, but I’d never gone into too much detail in the past. So it became a family saga as well as a Victorian romance.

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Jamie:  Actually, I’d say I’m a ‘plantser’. I do plan out the story and make outlines, but a lot of the time the story evolves as I’m writing and I have to edit the original idea. Most of the time this is good. Sometimes it gets messy, but it’s how I work and it works for me.

Marie:  Awesome!

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

Jamie:  Learning how to navigate all the marketing was a nightmare. I’m still wading through how to reach the right readers, but I’m slowly getting better. Then there was how to build a mailing list and how to use it. That’s not as easy as it sounds and I’ve made some mistakes. Luckily, I found some great online mentors to ask questions of who helped me understand much of the process, and who are still doing so, for me and many others.

As far as writing, development editing can be hard as you often end up rewriting or deleting whole chapters. It was difficult to do at first, but once you realize how much better the story is, the process gets easier.

What I’d do differently? Well, if I have the money, I’d hire someone to do a beautiful cover (which I may do with Jake’s Redemption anyway), as well as hire a virtual assistant to take care of all the small tasks that take up so much of my time. That way I’d have more time to write. I work full time and am working on that family thing I mentioned earlier, so it can be very difficult to find time to write or edit, especially when there’s so many other things to do.

Marie:  Oh, I hear ya! 😀 It is tough to navigate the publishing world.

As for the cover, I think it’s perfect! I look forward to learning about the other books in the series as 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 Jake’s Redemption appears to be… ♥

Jake’s Redemption is the first book in the Angel Eyes cowboy dystopian romance series.

If you like scorching-hot chemistry, clever post-apocalyptic worlds, and star-crossed love stories, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s captivating tale.

Genres: Romance, Cowboy/Western, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Sci-fi, Suspense

Here is the blurb:

An imprisoned cowboy. An empowered woman. When true love is forbidden, opening their hearts could destroy them both…

Chained and enslaved, Jake Nichols is convinced he’ll die alone. In this new order where men are stripped of all power, he endures brutal torture at the hands of his female captor. But when he’s hired out to build a ranch home for an outspoken beauty, his dreams of escape transform into visions of passion.

Monica Avery struggles to fill her heart in a loveless society. With marriage outlawed and romantic partners reduced to pawns, she’s given up hope of finding her soul mate. But watching the rugged rancher hard at work on her shelter awakens her deeply buried desires.

As the project comes together, Monica discovers a kindred spirit in the tenderhearted Jake. But despite their growing attraction, he still belongs to a cruel woman who’d rather see him dead than free.

Can Monica save Jake, or will their love lead to a tragic tomorrow?

Here’s a peek at the story…

JAKE NICHOLS knelt in defeat on the cold ground of the mountain meadow, directly beside his best friend, Bret Masters. Defenseless, with their fingers laced together behind their heads, their eyes scanned the surroundings for any escape from the Raiders who had attacked their camp in the early morning hours.

Both men scowled up at their captor, a woman Bret had foolishly—and against Jake’s repeated warnings—loved to distraction. Jake risked a quick glance at his friend, knowing the pain Bret must be suffering in the wake of her betrayal. He felt the bite of it too, only for a different reason. Bret was family, and what hurt him, hurt Jake. His protective nature made him long to shield Bret from the misery this woman inflicted.

“I don’t care for you,” Amy had said only moments ago, indifferent to the devastation Jake saw in every line of Bret’s granite-hard face. What made her confession even worse was the bit she added about only wanting to use his body.

“You do have such a pretty face, but no brains in your head,” she went on, and then laughed at Bret’s seething look. His expression made Jake ache for his friend, and he silently hoped she had nothing more to torment him with. But Amy wasn’t done with Bret yet.

“How could you think any self-respecting woman would want you for anything more than your gorgeous face and hard body?” she asked, not waiting for a reply. “A decent woman would never accept you as an equal. Any woman who would is worse than the slave you will shortly become.”

A deep growl rumbled up from Bret’s chest, and to Jake’s surprise, Bret lunged to his feet and attacked her. Seeing an opportunity, Jake and all the other prisoners immediately joined him in a last, desperate attempt to gain their freedom. Their female adversaries, however, had a new genetic advantage. It may have taken a few seconds for the hysterical-strength to kick in, but once it did, the fight, strength-wise, was no longer in the men’s favor.

The skirmish didn’t last long, but in a brief moment before it ended, Jake turned to see Amy about to drive a long-bladed knife into his best friend’s back. Jake didn’t think, he moved, tackling Amy as her weapon plunged downward from its high arch. Amy tried to wiggle away from him, but he held on, desperate to keep her from harming Bret.

“Run!” He heard Bret’s frantic shout. “Run!” The sound of pounding feet and continued battle assaulted Jake’s ears. He tried to roll away from Amy, but now she held on to him. On his hands and knees, he jerked his arm to shake her loose and follow his friend into the forest, but she wouldn’t let go.

Pain bloomed sharp and bright in his ribs as a booted foot slammed into him—once, twice—and he fell. The boot kept coming. He curled up, protecting his vulnerable areas, but his assailant still landed several blows to his head and back.

“Enough!” Amy’s voice rang out, and the assault ended. Jake spit blood from his mouth and struggled to catch his breath. The dizziness in his head and the stabbing ache in his side told him getting to his feet might be harder than it was a few minutes ago.

Definitely broke a rib or two, he thought, tonguing his split lip and rapidly cataloging the pain in the rest of his body.

“How many do we still have?” Amy shouted to someone nearby.

“Ten got away,” a woman said. “With this one,” Jake assumed she was pointing at him, “we still have twenty-seven men, along with some traitorous women and children too.”

“Is there a tall man, black hair, green eyes, very good-looking, among those we recaptured?” Amy asked, describing Bret to a tee.

“No.”

“That sappy, pretty-boy son of a bitch,” Amy swore, undoubtedly meaning Bret. “I should’ve known he’d try something like that.” She cursed again.

“You know their hiding places now,” the other woman said. “We’ll catch them and their friends too.”

Jake and Bret had come across Amy by accident—or so they had thought at the time—almost seven months before as they traveled the mountains, hunting for food. She’d been hungry and in need of aid. Unsurprisingly, she took an immediate interest in Bret. Although he had a mistrusting nature, she spared little time wrapping his love-starved heart around her finger. Jake had never liked her and the two friends argued about her more than once, but despite his misgivings about Amy, Jake refused to alienate his boyhood friend. Yet as a result of her relationship with Bret, she now knew the location of most of their woodland hiding places.

“That’s true,” Amy replied to the other woman’s comment. She tapped her chin with her index finger as if considering, and then she glanced down at Jake.

He had lain very still during their interaction, hoping against hope they might forget about him.

No such luck.

“And you,” she said coming toward him. “You—”

He didn’t give her a chance to finish; he had a fairly good idea of what came next. Instead, he ignored his dizziness and the pain in his chest as he surged to his feet, pushed her aside, and ran for the trees. He’d made it six feet when he heard a crack behind him. Then something hard and thin snapped around his neck and yanked him backward. He saw stars as his head and back slammed to the ground, sending a new wave of misery through his abused body. He groaned, trying to place what just happened, and then Amy was leaning over him.

She jammed her knee into his chest, and pain shot through his damaged ribs. He lifted his arms to shove her away, but the leathery rope wrapped around his neck yanked at him again, choking off his air. Desperate, needing to get her off him, needing to breathe, he tugged at the cord strangling him. His eyes widened as Amy grabbed him by the hair and tilted his head back to expose his throat. He reached for her again, but the minute the edge of her knife grazed his flesh, his arms collapsed to the ground and he froze.

The binding around his neck loosened and fell away as Amy glared into his face. Blessed air came freely, but the simple act of breathing caused his ribs to twinge more.

With the suffocating rope gone, his hands automatically lifted off the ground to defend himself. Amy’s knife cut a tiny fraction deeper. Blood tickled his neck as the warm liquid trickled over his cool skin, and he froze once more, afraid to even breathe.

“Uh-uh,” Amy warned as she increased the pressure slightly, widening the gash a bit more and digging the point of her blade into his Adam’s apple.

His mouth went dry. Is she going to slit my throat?

“Looks like Bret didn’t value your friendship as much as you thought, huh, Jake?” Amy said with a nasty smile, her dark brown eyes glittering down at him. Jake cringed inwardly. He knew that wasn’t the case. In the chaos, Bret probably hadn’t even realized Jake had been captured, and wouldn’t until he failed to show at their rendezvous point. But her implication twisted at his guts nonetheless.

A second woman stepped up behind Amy, coiling the long black length of a bullwhip in her hand.

So, that’s what was strangling me…I should’ve known.

“You fucked up my plans, Jake, just as much as your damned friend,” Amy hissed at him when he didn’t respond to her earlier comment. “If it weren’t for you, he’d be mine and you’d both make me rich. Now, I have to settle for you and those other losers we caught today.”

“What’re—you going—to do with me?” He stifled a groan for his halting speech and glared daggers at the woman hovering over him.

“Oh, I think you know what we do with captured men,” Amy chuckled. She tilted her head, and a strand of her amber-blonde hair fell into her face as her eyes raked over him.

“You know, Jake,” she said reflectively, “you’re a good-looking guy. If Bret hadn’t been around, you would’ve been my target. It’s only next to a man like him that you’d seem second best. But then, you were always suspicious of me, weren’t you? Maybe once you’ve been trained, I’ll pay you another visit.”

He clamped his jaws tight and didn’t respond, but his mind was in overdrive. He wanted to fight, but moving meant death. He didn’t want to know what it was like to bleed to death from a severed artery. Instead, he scowled all the more. If he wanted to live, it was all he could do.

The woman beside Amy crouched down, but he couldn’t see what she was doing. The next thing he knew, he jumped as a needle jammed into his hip and something injected into his body.

Ah, shit… He knew what that was; he’d heard dozens of stories about it but luckily had never had to deal with the drug, until now.

It started working almost instantaneously, driving up his anxiety level, making him shake and cringe. A few seconds passed, while Amy’s gaze bore into his, and the effect of the chemical doubled.

Oh, God, this is worse than I thought it would be. He had never felt so weak and vulnerable in his life.

“Now,” Amy said as she removed the blade from his throat and stood. She tucked the knife in her boot and then plopped her rear down on his chest, knowing he would be too terrified, thanks to the drug, to do anything to save himself. “What shall I do with you?” She ran a finger down the side of his face.

He flinched away.

You could let me go, he thought and tried to force out the sarcastic remark, but the substance surging through him wouldn’t allow it.

“I think you deserve a particularly horrible punishment for always interfering in my plans with Bret,” she said, answering her own question while tapping his bearded chin with one finger. The slight contact amped up his anxiety, and he shivered. “He may have listened to you complain about me, but he loved me.” Her derisive tone told him what she thought about that. “He would’ve never turned me out the way you kept telling him to do. And now, you’ve ruined my chance to have him how I always wanted him: in chains. So, how shall I make you pay for all of it?”

Jake’s body shook with fear, both real and chemically induced. Amy was far more lethal than he had once thought.

“I know just the place you should go,” she continued with a bright smile, as if she’d come up with a brilliant idea. “I have an acquaintance near here, a woman who’s exceptionally adept at training men to be perfect little slaves. I’ll bet she’d jump at the chance to make you a willing breeder. You’ll make her a lot of money. Once she pays me a high price for you that is.”

“P-Please…” Jake pleaded involuntarily, the drug wreaking havoc with his willpower. No matter how much he wanted to resist begging, he couldn’t stop now that he had started. “P-Please…” he muttered again, his voice shaking while fighting the drug—and losing. “Let me go…”

Amy laughed.

“Darla’s going to tear you to pieces, Jake,” she told him, her sinister smile sending waves of dread prickling up and down his spine. “A little bit at a time, she’ll peel away your pride—”

Sounds intriguing, suspenseful and sexy! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

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

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42607132-jake-s-redemption

https://www.bookbub.com/books/jake-s-redemption-the-angel-eyes-series-prequel-by-jamie-schulz

What are people saying about Jake’s Redemption?

 

Also, check out what our former ILRB reviewer, Kevin, had to say about this book back in March! https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/20/book-review-jakes-redemption-by-jamie-schulz/

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this dystopian western romance with a touch of suspense! ♥♥♥

About Jamie Schulz

Jamie Schulz lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, her husband, and their fur babies. Writing has always been a big a part of her life.

Cowboys, ice cream, and reading almost any kind of romance are among her (not so) secret loves. To her, every one of her stories, no matter how dark, must have a happy ending, and she strives to make them impossible to put down until you get there.

She balances her free time between reading her favorite romance authors—in genres ranging from erotica and dark romance to sweet historicals and contemporary romance—and spending time with her family.

Her debut novel, Jake’s Redemption, was released in February 2019 and is available for sale on Amazon.

Readers can connect with Jamie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads, or follow her website.

Book:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Jamie Schulz, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Jamie Schulz, the brilliant author of this dystopian western romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Exclusive Interview with author Kathryn Troy, plus a look at time travel/fantasy romance, CURSE OF THE AMBER!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our eleventh 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 multi-genre author. Please join me in welcoming Kathryn Troy to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Kathryn Troy:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, 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…

Kathryn:  My day job is as a professional historian and adjunct professor. I’m also trained as a pastry chef. I love genre fiction, and I love writing genre fiction – I use up all my free time doing it.

Marie: Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Kathryn:  I have a loving husband and two cute kids – one boy and one girl.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

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?

Kathryn:  Like a full house – I lived with my parents, my grandparents, two siblings, and a rotation of cousins and aunts and uncles.

Marie:  Wow…I thought five people crammed under one roof was crowded! (Laughs.) But I’m sure you’re all still close-knit.

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

Kathryn:  I think of writing as my hobby, since I find time to do it rather than clocking in for it, although I probably spend more hours writing each week than I do on anything else. Aside from that, I enjoy traveling as far and as often as possible. Favorites so far are France, Germany, and Hawaii. Next up: China.

Marie:  Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Kathryn:  To fill my passport up with stamps and need a second book.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😉

Let’s try another question.

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

Kathryn:  My first love is my still love – my husband Andy. We met as college freshmen, have been together 17 years, and are about to celebrate 13 years of marriage.

Marie:  Yay! 😀 Congratulations!

(Sighs.) I love romance…

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Kathryn 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?

Kathryn:  I have no idea what my childhood dream was – I changed my mind too often. But I’m a fairly content person. My only aspirations at the moment are to see more of this planet.

Marie:  That I can understand! 😀 I’d like to do more traveling as well…

So, who is your role model, Kathryn?

Kathryn:  Xena Warrior Princess. I’m not joking.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Kathryn:  I can’t answer that. What if they read this?

Marie:  (Chuckles.)

And what is your deepest desire?

Kathryn:  Can I get a clone that does the dishes just the way I like them done? If it could fold laundry too, that’d be great. Really, I just need the maid from The Jetsons.

Marie:  (Covers her ears.) No…now I’ll have that theme playing in my head the rest of the day! (Laughs.)

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear?

Kathryn:  That my clone will be prettier than me. Just kidding! 😉

My biggest fear is probably that my kids will grow up in a post-Columbine, post-Newtown, post-Stoneman school system that did nothing to keep them safe.

Marie:  I agree. The situation is rather terrifying…

Let’s do something else.

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

Kathryn:

A lifetime supply of bug-killer.

Toothpaste

Deodorant

2-ply toilet paper

The Infinity Gauntlet

Marie:  Okay.

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, Asenath Hayes. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Kathryn:  Asenath Hayes is a young archaeologist, orphaned at a young age and fairly independent, even if she’s a little dysfunctional.

Marie:  And what are Asenath’s greatest strengths?

Kathryn:  She’s intelligent and rational, but also very generous with others.

Marie:  Great! 😀

And her weaknesses?

Kathryn:  She’s a generally anxious person, grappling with some not-so-great life choices.

Marie:  I’m sure some of us can relate to that…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are her favorite foods?

Kathryn:  Anything her roommate Ravi makes – including pork vindaloo and butter chicken.

Marie:  Nice!

How about another question?

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

Kathryn:  She doesn’t realize what a good friend she is to others, or how self-sacrificing she is for those she cares about.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Kathryn:  She’s flawed, sure, but I don’t give people any real reason to dislike her.

Marie:  Great!

Now that we have a real taste of Asenath, 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 Curse of the Amber?

Kathryn:  I was reading Anne Rice’s The Mummy, and I felt that some of the storytelling elements were a bit flat. I love the concept of man-out-of-time stories, but I’m not always satisfied by them. I wanted to do something that would be satisfying, unique, and a bit on the darker side.

Marie:  Cool!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Kathryn:  I plot things out, even if it’s just mentally, getting all the major plot points in order and answering some questions of internal logic. I like to know the trajectory, and then go back for the details and polish later. I also did a lot of research for this book, but like I said, I’m a professional historian. I could’ve written a book about bog bodies and ancient Egypt with the amount of reading I did. I chose to write fiction instead.

Marie:  Awesome!

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

Kathryn:  It’s hard to find the right balance between something that is new, something fresh and original, and something that is clearly categorized and defined. If an agent or editor can’t easily peg the book as belonging to one genre or another, they can’t sell it, no matter how good your prose is. It can be hard to be mindful of the publishing market and marketing strategies while also creating a story. But it’s all about perspective. I’d rather write stories that I want to read, and worry about who else likes it later. It takes away some of the stress of writing to serve a particular audience or literary trend, and the end product tends to be better as a result.

Marie:  I agree!

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 Curse of the Amber appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

A curse, a resurrection, and a centuries old witch hell bent on revenge.

Quintus is a dutiful son and soldier, sent to Britannia to improve his marriage prospects and ensure the Druids never rise again. Roman soldiers destroyed the last Druid stronghold in a battle of blood and fire. So, he never expects to be sacrificed to their sacred bog, trapped forever by the gods below.

Two thousand years later, Asenath Hayes discovers the most well-preserved body in history. And the last thing she needs is for him to wake up.

As the young archaeologist delves into Druidic rituals to grasp why Quintus was offered to a Welsh bog and then resurrected, she is forced to complete her research with the “missing” body, dodge her ex-lover and mentor with his own agenda, and keep her gorgeous new houseguest under wraps.

But, smitten with her as he seems, Quintus says he wants to go home.

Asenath is drawn to Quintus by the secrets they share, even if it scares her. As Asenath is pulled deeper into the mysteries of the bog, she must risk everything to keep him from hell’s cold grasp as she uncovers forbidden rites, awakened deities, and an attraction that transcends the ages.

Here’s a peek at the story…

ASENATH

Chapter 1

 

The sun seems to have forgotten Wales. I didn’t think there was any place on Earth that could make me long to be in Egypt again, but I couldn’t escape the memories that flooded me. I shivered in the absence of the Valley’s merciless heat, where for summers on end its oppressive dryness sucked the life out of my lips and baked my skin into hardened, sand-beaten clay. That dryness had followed Ramesses, Amenhotep, Aken-aten, and his son beyond the world’s suffering down to their resting place, and kept the divine kings ready in the dark, empty stillness.

But the day’s oppression had always faded with the sun. The perfection of those nights on the Eastern Bank, at our host Hani’s home — that was what I missed. Invigorated by the fresh, life-giving breeze off the Nile’s surface and snuggled between my parents under thin woven blankets was a warmth I knew I would never feel again. The cold and damp of Britain, once the stronghold of the Druids, was relentless. The gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach grew, and the thought I’d pushed away more than once made itself more insistent.

This was a mistake. I shouldn’t be here.

My fingertips numbed to the statuette in my hand, a solid representation of the wet chill in the air. Its faceless form was as alien to me as the bog in which I crouched. The shape of the stone fetish was at least interesting, a long, slender column with a severe “V” etched into it. It held more promise than the dozens of thin rings fashioned out of iron, bronze, and even gold, heaped together in a tangle, the clay pottery, now in shards, and scraps of linen that appeared to be tossed desperately into the bog as a last-ditch effort to avoid Roman destruction. But I couldn’t enjoy it for what it was. It was inscrutable, too disconnected from anything familiar. Its primitive, obscure expression reminded me of my own cold thoughts, and as I squeezed the chilled stone in my hand, I doubted if I would discover anything that had once been warm — made of flesh and blood. We were as deep down as the famous bog bodies had been, more so in certain places, and still we had nothing, or rather no one, to show for it.

I lifted my head, trying to shake off my melancholy and averting my eyes from the stone carving that would not reveal its secrets to me. I was too low down to inhale even a whiff of air that wasn’t saturated with the grassy pungency of the bog wall. From my vantage point, huddled low in a deep, man-hewn pit, the sodden depression of the bog appeared even more overgrown on all sides. Birch trees poked out of humble clusters of willows, red-speckled buckthorn, and mountain ash. Except for these trees skirting its outermost edges, the sunken area was wide and open. The cauldron bog retained its secluded atmosphere, despite being carved into a series of waterlogged cavities.

My somber mood deepened when I saw my advisor approach. Up until then I’d been successful at avoiding him. I deliberately didn’t linger, and always found a reason to visit another pit when the one we were in suddenly emptied of other researchers. I’d resisted the wrenching feeling in my gut too long, but as our excavation wound down, it was impossible to ignore, with nowhere for my thoughts to hide — there was nothing left of what used to be my life.

“How’s it going?” Alex asked, and knelt beside me.

“Fine,” I answered, not bothering to look up from the peat I was brushing off of a link of iron rings sunken into the over-saturated soil.

After a long, awkward silence, he said, “It’s okay, you know.”

“What is?”

“If you don’t…if we don’t find one.”

I swallowed hard. The only place for my rising fury to go was back down.

“I just don’t want you to think that this whole thing was a waste—”

“A waste?” I shot back. “I’ve got enough to keep me occupied for the next decade, thank you.” It was true, but that didn’t make the prospect of studying human sacrifice sans a human sound any better. Nothing would tell us as much about the Druids as human remains that had, willingly or otherwise, undergone their practices. It may have been more than anyone else expected, but the bar had been set impossibly high. A human discovery might have been the only way to exceed my father’s own discoveries in the Valley of the Kings and earn the same level of respect in my own right.

“All right, all right,” Alex said, contrite. “I didn’t come over here to upset you.”

“Then why are you here?” There was more bite in my voice than I meant, but he had that amused eyebrow raised again, the one that made my anger meaningless and painted me as a silly, wide-eyed novice with dreams of finding the next Tut.

“I thought you might need a refill.” He offered me a cup of coffee.

A gruff ‘thank you’ was all I could manage. My brain had reached maximum capacity for caffeine, but it went down easy. Milk and two sugars, just the way I liked it. Damn.

Sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to find out what happens. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3LKz6w

Publisher link:  http://smarturl.it/CurseCO

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   http://smarturl.it/CurseGoodReads

https://www.bookbub.com/books/curse-of-the-amber-by-kathryn-troy

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this time travel/fantasy romance! ♥♥♥

About Kathryn Troy

I’m an historian by day, a novelist and baker by night. I like to write what I read – fantasy, romantic fantasy, gothic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, horror, and weird fiction.

Books:

rav

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Kathryn Troy, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Kathryn Troy, the brilliant author of this fantasy romance with a time travel angle, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Exclusive Interview with author Sheri Langer, plus a look at contemporary romance, LOVE-LINES!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our tenth 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 multi-genre author. Please join me in welcoming Sheri Langer to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Sheri Langer:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  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…

Sheri:  At this point, I’m an author/screenwriter who does freelance writing/editing work when it comes my way. I can’t comfortably pigeonhole myself into a specific genre since my first venture, DEX, written as Sheri Lynn Fishbach, is a YA novel.

I’d certainly like to believe I’m GREAT at it – who wouldn’t want to think they can make extraordinary contributions to their craft/profession? I love what I do, even when I’m frustrated and think I don’t.

Marie:  I know what you mean! 😉

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Sheri:  My family is wonderfully eclectic. I have an awesome new husband who used to be my boyfriend when were kids, and four amazing adult kids from a previous marriage. One daughter who’s in grad school lives at home and the three others have us hopping around the map.

Marie:  Cool!

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?

Sheri:  In my earliest years we lived in an apartment in the Bronx (NY). It had two bedrooms, a foyer, a small kitchen, and a prized sunken living room filled with plastic-covered French provincial furniture and a great wall of large mirrored tiles. The room was very off-limits except for special occasions, or when I sneaked in to play with the fascinating lamp that featured a small wooden harp.

Marie:  Wow…

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

Sheri:  I dabble in kitchen adventures, love watching movies, and play word games with a modicum of fanaticism.

Marie:  Okay.

So…what is your greatest dream?

Sheri:  World peace. But if that’s perceived as a cop-out, I’ll go with having a prolific career that produces the kind of work (novels, movies, TV shows) that entertains and inspires.

Marie:  Can’t blame you for wanting all of that! 😉

Let’s try another question.

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

Sheri:  Most of us would probably enjoy having the opportunity to change some things that trip us up here and there, but for the most part, I am the kind of person I’d like to be. I think habit often impedes change.

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

Sheri:  My husband will want me to say him, but there were several before him that captured my heart in some intense way that led to a plethora of B-poems.

Marie:  (Chuckles.)

All right, let’s try something else now.

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

Sheri:  Breaches in family connections. I hold relationships in high regard and am crushed when they fall apart and lead to estrangement.

Marie:  I can see how that would be heartbreaking.

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

[Sheri 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?

Sheri:  I wanted to be an actress and spent many years in acting classes and workshops. The thing is, Hollywood isn’t interested in short women with big boobs, so I adjusted my reality. As it turns out, I’m even happier writing the scenes than acting out those written by others. 

Marie:  That I can understand! 😀

So, who is your role model, Sheri?

Sheri:  I adored Nora Ephron. Her humor, perceptions, and style resonated with me and now that she’s gone, I hope I can emulate her truth in an equally pleasing manner.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Sheri:  I’m not being disingenuous when I say I don’t dislike anyone. I typically look for the good in those who cross my path.

Marie:  Great to hear!

And what is your deepest desire?

Sheri:  We’re back to world peace – and I want to be enormously successful at what I do.

Marie:  I see.

So…what is your greatest fear?

Sheri:  My work not making a difference.

Marie:  Let’s try another question.

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

Sheri:  A laptop loaded with music, movies, and TV shows, chocolate – I think that comes to a square five.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds perfect!  😀

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, Fordham Price. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Sheri:  Fordham Ruth Price is a neurotic survivor who, because of her insecurities, doesn’t recognize her true strengths and abilities. After a devastating divorce and the loss of her father, she has to come to terms with what truly matters in her life and what she can do to secure her desires.

Marie:  Okay.

And what are Fordham’s greatest strengths?

Sheri:  She’s tenacious, driven, loving, and above all else, refuses to quit no matter the challenge.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

And her weaknesses?

Sheri:  Due to her lack of confidence, she sells herself short.

Marie:  😦  I think a lot of people feel that way…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of her favorite foods?

Sheri:  She enjoys chocolate, ice cream, caviar, and salad.

Marie:  I’m a chocoholic too! 😉

How about another question?

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

Sheri:  She’s unaware of most of her attributes, but I think she’s more nurturing than she thinks she is.

Marie:  I see.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Sheri:  Readers will love her because she is quirky, enigmatic, funny, honest, and relatable.

Marie:  Great!

Now that we have a real taste of Fordham, 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 Love-Lines?

Sheri:  Love-Lines came to me when I received an email asking for my contribution to a book about dating and relationships. I started thinking about the kind of submissions the editors would get, and then I found myself crafting a story about receiving those submissions as opposed to writing one of my own.

Marie:  Lovely!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Sheri:  Since I enjoy writing dialogue, I typically write the screenplay first and then use it as an outline to shape my novel. Yes, it’s nontraditional, but I pride myself on being unique. That said, I think what often happens is that the story takes on a life of its own and so what I thought was going to happen changes. I guess, in answer to your question, I’m going to say I lie somewhere in between.

Marie:  Awesome!

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

Sheri:  Writing is a passion, a calling, if you will. I don’t think it’s something you choose as a career; I think it chooses you. It’s demanding, exhausting, and consuming – and that’s on a good day. My advice is, if you’re good at anything else and can see yourself doing that – do it. But, if you can’t imagine a life without creating your own people and worlds, you’ve found your home.

Now, it’s time to embrace it. Pick up your pen, clutch it, and don’t let go…

Marie:  Great advice!

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 Love-Lines appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

What if you could find the love of your life just by reading between the lines? 

Single mom Fordham Price is juggling her job at a small publisher, her precocious ten-year-old daughter, and her feisty mother. She wants to find time for men, but after a series of dating disasters, her relationship status is still stuck at single.

As if her macchiato lite wasn’t already overflowing, a co-worker gets pregnant, and Fordham is expected to step in and deliver the company’s latest reality read from the Flowers from the Heart series. She must now supplement her own romantic misadventures with tales of cynical cat-ladies, identical-twin husbands, spunky monks, and countless other web-crawlers.
As she wades through the submissions, she finds one from a widower whose story gives her tingles in all the places she forgot existed. His words draw her in until she finds herself daydreaming about him more than she’d care to admit.

Could she have a love like that, or will her romantic fate be forever bound to her philandering ex-husband?

The link to a book excerpt is: https://bit.ly/2DVHsLb

Sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to find out what happens. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mv7GN2

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43699742-love-lines

https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-lines-by-sheri-langer

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

About Sheri Langer

Sheri Langer is a chocoholic writer and editor who routinely feasts on romantic comedies. She’s been known to spontaneously reenact scenes from classic favorites like When Harry Met Sally.

A self-proclaimed moderately talented home-cook, Sheri spends a fair amount of time concocting dishes that can never be repeated. A creative rebel at heart, she has always colored outside the lines and has an instinctive aversion to recipes. To keep the calories from getting too out of hand, Sheri does step and aerobic workouts in the privacy of her bedroom, where no one has to be subjected to her lack of rhythm.

An avid word fan, Sheri frequently plays Just Words, Boggle, and Scrabble, mostly against the computer so she has excellent odds of winning. With her four kids all grown up, three of whom live in various locations across the map, Sheri and her guy, Brad, spend much of their downtime watching General Hospital and football, shopping, and pursuing the best ice cream on the planet. Much to the chagrin of their waistbands, they can often be spotted sitting on a bench outside their favorite creamery, eating obscenely overstuffed giant waffle cones.

Please feel free to connect with Sheri on social media. You can help her procrastinate by engaging in spirited exchanges or viewing pics of her great-looking family and ridiculously adorable cat, Zoe.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Sheri Langer, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Sheri Langer, the brilliant author of this romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Trini from JASON’S AWAKENING plus a conversation with author Remy Marie!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Linda Diane Wattley’s character back on October 24th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Remy Marie, the author of Jason’s Awakening, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Trini Davos, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Remy in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Trini!

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

Character Trini Davos:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Trini:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Trini:  Right now I work in the Meekins sheriff’s department. I am a deputy sheriff; however, before I moved to Meekins I worked in retail, selling video games and comics at a store call Geek Haven.

Marie:  Cool!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Trini:  It’s a typical American family. I’m an only child, so it was always the three of us. My mom is very supportive of my lifestyle, however my father, not too much. While he’s not supportive of my life choices, I know he loves me. It comes with the territory, I guess. I miss them, though. Since my change, we’ve been forbidden to visit anyone in our past lives to keep the werewolf secret.

Marie:  Oh, no! How unfortunate! 😦

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?

Trini:  I grew up in a trailer park. My parents still live in the same double-wide that I grew up in.

Marie:  All right.

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

Trini:  I am huge geek, like my friends Mohinder and Jason. Therefore, I love playing video games, watching movies, and reading comics and drawing my own heroes. Jason and I once had an idea to start our own comic book. I would do the drawing, while he would write it. We couldn’t come up with anything original, but it was fun just to hang out with him. I’m a huge fan of punk rock as well. If you looked on my Ipod right now, it would contain Fall Out Boy, Green Day, and Blink 182.

Marie:  Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Trini:  That’s a good question. Before everything that happened to me, I was unsure. I was with a deadbeat boyfriend working a retail job that was going nowhere. However, after my transformation, I feel like I can do anything now. You know? I see myself settling down. I wouldn’t mind having kids, but also I wouldn’t mind becoming sheriff of Meekins. I sort of like being a cop.

Marie:  (Nods.) Well, I think you can do whatever you put your mind to…

Let’s try another question.

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

Trini:  I want to be able to protect the ones I love. I never want to see one of my friends or a loved one die again. What’s stopping me? Well, it’s harder to do than explained. If I could be everywhere, I could. Even I’m not fast enough for that. Perhaps it’s a job for Superman or the Flash, depending on who I think is faster.

Marie: It’s understandable to want to keep bad things from happening. I guess the reality is we just can’t. 😦

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Trini:  I would have to say Tobey Maguire from the first Spiderman. However, my first kiss was with Ben Thomas, in sixth grade underneath the bleachers.

Marie: Aww. So sweet. I remember those young crushes. ♥

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Trini:  I would have to say that night in the woods, when we were attacked by the werewolf in white. I’ve never been so afraid before. We lost a good friend that night.

Marie:  Oh no! 😦 I’m so sorry. That must’ve been difficult.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Trini 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?

Trini:  As a kid I always wanted to be an astronaut; it was a dream of mine to travel through space and discover planets and such. My dad was a huge Trekkie, so naturally, I liked Star Trek as well. That is where the dream originated. However, over time, I realized that to be an astronaut you have to learn multiple levels of science and math. Something that I’m terrible at. So that dream was dead. After high school, I started working at Geek Haven, and my dreams sort of disappeared until I met Jason. Jason and Mohinder got me out of that funk, made me see past my current life, towards the future.

Marie:  Nice! So, who is your role model, Trini?

Trini:  Jason Barton; he’s the love of my life, and I thank God that I’ve found him. However, he’s not only that. He’s the sweetest person you could ever meet. His compassion for others is one I strive to copy each and every day.

Marie: How admirable!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Trini:  I would have to say Rose, but that’s a long story I don’t feel like getting into.

Marie:  All right.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Trini:  I would love for everyone to find their happiness. That includes Greg when he gets in his moods, Jennifer and Mohinder when they have their child, and Jason and me as we begin our new life together.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think we all want our loved ones to be content in life…

So, tell me something, Trini. What is your greatest fear?

Trini:  That’s easy. Death. I know it sounds taboo, for someone who can now live up to four hundred years, but my life is suddenly so violent. Before the transformation, I’ve rarely ever got in a fight. Now it’s seems like every month, there’s a new deadly challenge that threatens the people that I love and me.

Marie: A lot of people fear death. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The unknown is often scary. And, of course, for your situation, it increases tenfold. I understand that it must be extremely difficult to feel so uncertain about life.

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Trini. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Remy Marie on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Remy!

Author Remy Marie:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Trini Davos. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Remy:  When you first get a look at Trini Davos, you will typecast her as a goth/geek. However, there’s a lot more to Trini. Each tattoo she has tells a story. For instance, her Powerpuff girls tattoo, on her left arm, is the first tattoo she’s ever gotten. She’s a huge geek who isn’t afraid to talk comics or superheroes with anyone. Her favorite video game is Street Fighter vs. Marvel, and she was ranked in top 100 in the game online. She loves to listen to punk rock, and has a strong sense of adventure. If you ever dared Trini to do something, she would try it without thinking of the consequences.

Marie:  Nice!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Remy:  That’s easy. It’s her bravery. Trini will jump in a burning building without thinking for one of her friends.

Marie:  Wow! Such loyalty…

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Remy:  I would have to say her trust in people. When Trini first meets someone, they instantly become friends, due to Trini’s friendly nature. However, Trini is often blindsided by the people she trusts, and she takes it hard on herself.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Trini’s favorite foods?

Remy:  Trini is a fan of anything with Nutella on it. A typical breakfast for her is a banana covered with Nutella, along with toast covered in Nutella.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I am a chocaholic too!

How about another question?

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

Remy:  I think the one quality that Trini is unaware of is her loyalty. If you’re friends with Trini, she will have your back no matter what. She will take a punch and throw a punch for any one of her friends in a heartbeat.

Marie:  That’s commendable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Remy:  I think many people would like Trini. She was one of my favorite characters to write. She was easy to write due to how many layers she has in her character.

Marie: Great!

Now that we have a real taste of Trini, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Jason’s Awakening?

Remy:  Honestly, it started off as a superhero novel. The three characters, Jason, Trini, and Mohinder were all still there, but the entire plot was different. My wife gave me the idea, of making it a paranormal romance novel instead. So, I rewrote the entire plot and came up with other details as I wrote it.

Marie:  Intriguing!

Let’s try something else.

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

Remy:  I would say it’s a little of both.  Jason’s Awakening was a mixture of plotting and just writing. I feel like that’s a perfect combination. I like to let the story flow without having a structured outline. When I’m writing the rough draft, sometimes what I write there is better material I came up with than when I outline it.

Marie:  (Smiles.) I know what you mean…sometimes I think the characters are directing the story more than I am.

How about another question?

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

Remy:  I would say getting the funds to have it professionally edited and beta read was a challenge. As an indie author, you have to pay for all of it. It’s even worse, when it’s your debut novel, and you don’t have a name for yourself. It seems like I spend more time marketing my book than actually writing it.

Marie:  (Groans.) Oh, me too!

Remy:  What I would do differently is have more beta readers. I only had three for this book, and at the time, I thought it was enough, however some reviews have been blunt on my mistakes and I wish I would have caught them before I published. With more beta readers, I think we could’ve made a good book amazing.

Marie:  Right! The editing stage is quite a challenge. 

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

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 Jason’s Awakening appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this paranormal romance by Remy Marie, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Jason’s Awakening:

Jason Barton isn’t your typical hero. In fact, his small frame, high IQ, and deep compassion for others keeps him in the friend zone most of the time. But despite his anti-hero traits, he still has a one-track mind when it comes to women – mainly the one who has been by his side for the last five years.

Trini Davos is the polar opposite of Jason. She’s a brave, Goth geek, who never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But a brazen attack by a group of rogue werewolves changes everything for her and her long-time friend. They narrowly escape death only to discover that wild beasts are the least of their troubles. An unlikely romance may prove to be the biggest challenge of all for them.

Jason’s Awakening offers a fresh take on the paranormal romance genre. Filled with non-stop action, steamy romance, and twists no one will see coming, this book will keep the reader hooked from start to finish.

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

Gradually, the couple neared a lingerie boutique. Jason couldn’t help but to look inside as he saw the mannequin bust of women displaying the latest lingerie style. There was a particular underwear brand that caught Jason’s attention. It was a pink lace thong with a strappy front and cheeky back. The longer Jason stared, the more he imagined Trini wearing the same article of clothing. Trini suddenly broke Jason’s attention by squeezing his hand.

“You know I have that one. It’s in black,” she added with a devilish grin.

“Wait, a what?” Jason muttered as he was awkwardly awakened from his sexual fantasy.

“I have that style in black,” Trini repeated. “I bought it two weeks ago when it went on sale. It’s a nice fit. I got this month’s catalog yesterday too. Did you want to go inside with me to see their new styles?”

“Are you not hungry?” Jason asked nervously.

“Food can wait. I just got paid this week. Come on, it would be fun. We are just going to take a quick look.” Trini proceeded to drag Jason into the store.

There were countless women in the boutique. There were some men. Most looked annoyed as they watched their partners search for the latest deals. Jason was the opposite. All of his life, he had always walked past this store and not ever gone in, he never had a reason to; today changed that reason.

Trini dragged Jason to the new arrivals section of the store as Trini browsed the new undergarment line. She muttered to herself as she brought up each underwear style and held it up to the light. She finally decided on a black satin push up bra laced with gold trimming and a golden laced black thong.

“What do you think about this?” Trini asked as she placed the bra and underwear over the clothing she had on.

Jason felt his heartbeat quicken. The longer he stared at the outfit, the more he felt his sexual desire grow for Trini. Jason finally managed to stutter, “It looks good, and do you like it?”

“I do, but you can never be too sure about these things. Come with me,” Trini said as she grabbed hold of Jason’s arm. She brought him to the fitting room location where a store clerk stood waiting.

“Men are not allowed in the dressing room,” the store clerk barked. She was an average size woman. She looked like she had already worked two full shifts as her hair was lazily placed into a ponytail.

“Actually, I wanted to come over and say that there is a woman over there who said she needed your help,” Trini said as she pointed to an older lady at the corner of the store.

“Why didn’t she come and ask for help directly from me then?”

“I don’t know? Listen, I work in retail. I know how customers are. Total bitches. I’m just trying to help you get a sale for the commission.”

A smile appeared on the woman’s face. “I do need the extra money, thanks for looking out,” she replied as she left her post.

Trini smiled darkly as she watched the store clerk approached the older lady.

“Okay, the coast is clear. Come on,” Trini said as she dragged Jason into the dressing room.

“Trini, we shouldn’t, what if we get caught,” Jason replied, worried.

“Oh, come on, you wuss. Where is your sense of adventure?” She dragged Jason into an open dressing room and closed the door right after they entered. She gave a flirtatious smile to Jason. “All right, now turn around.”

“Wait, what about Kyle?”

“It’s cool; you’re not seeing me naked or anything. It’s like seeing me in a two-piece. You’ve already seen that before. We’ve known each other for five years. That’s five years of seeing me in a bikini, right?”

“I guess.”

“You see? Nothing to worry about, now turn,” Trini commanded as she grabbed Jason’s shoulders and turned him in the opposite direction. Jason stared at the white wall as he waited for Trini to change. Jason began to stare at the sloppy graffiti written on the wall when he started to notice Trini’s articles of clothing being thrown to the ground. First, it was her tank top, followed by her bra.

She’s topless right now, Jason thought as he felt the sexual urge grow deep within him. Her dark blue skirt and underwear were discarded next. Jason felt his blood pump faster as he realized she was completely nude behind him.  Jason felt his manhood grow stiff as he fantasied about turning around and seeing what Trini’s body looked like at the moment. What I would give to see her now. Jason heard shuffling and the sound of Trini trying on the undergarments.

“All right, you can turn around now. What do you think?” Trini asked as she placed her hands on her hips, modeling the outfit.

Jason had to clench down on his teeth to keep his mouth from dropping. His throat grew dry as he looked at her desirable figure. Jason looked at every curve of her body as his eyes scanned her breasts being pushed up by her bra. Her pale bosoms looked twice as large in her satin bra. His glance made his way down to her stomach. Jason noticed she was trembling as he looked at her flat stomach. Her belly button was pierced with a black U shaped piercing.

I always liked that piercing. He finally made it to her thong, which displayed her toned shaped thighs. She slowly turned around and showed the cheeky backside of the thong. Her pale legs trembled with anticipation, as Jason inspected her. He ogled her sculptured buttock as it gently curved into a muscular shape. The thong fit her body perfectly as it showed a healthy amount of skin but still kept the mystery.

God, she looks sexy, Jason thought as he fought the temptation to touch her.

“So?” Trini asked once more.

“Ugh, you look amazing, or as Mohinder would say smashing,” Jason replied, using Mohinder’s British accent. Trini let out a small laugh at Jason’s comments. “It suits you. I think you should get it.”

“Thanks, I like it too, but I think I’m going to wait till it goes on sale. Are you ready to head out?”

A part of me wants to stay and watch her model more, but I have broken so many friend codes today. Slowly, Jason nodded in agreement.

“Let’s go and get some dinner,” Jason suggested.

“Yeah, let’s go.” Trini gave an irresistible grin to Jason as she used her finger to tell him to turn around. Once Trini was done changing, she placed the undergarments back on a return hanger and left the dressing room. As they left the store, the store clerk gave the couple a dirty look as she realized that she was duped in Trini’s scheme. The couple snickered as they left the store together.

After passing a few more stores, they were at their final destination. G&Fs was a large chain restaurant with a large arcade section in the restaurant as well. Jason loved this restaurant but didn’t eat there often because of how expensive it was.

Mohinder’s twenty dollars should help with the cost, though, Jason thought as he walked inside with Trini. After greeting the hostess, she led Trini and Jason to their table. Once they sat down, she smiled and placed the menus on the wooden table.

“Your server should be with you soon.” She smiled at the couple as she walked away.

“Thank you,” Jason replied as he opened his menu. “What did you want to get?” Jason asked Trini as he searched the menu.

“I like their beer and play special. You know the one where you pick two appetizers and get a bucket of beer and fifty tokens for games. Did you want to do that?”

“Yeah, that sounds amazing,” Jason replied.

“Great, I was thinking of getting the mozzarella sticks.”

“Nice choice as usual. Let’s add chicken spring rolls.”

“Yum, sounds good to me,” Trini responded. When the waiter arrived, Jason placed the order while Trini checked her phone for messages. Once he was done ordering, Jason placed his attention back to Trini.

“Everything okay?” Jason asked

“Yeah, it’s just Kyle is a literal asshole. I swear the man can’t function without any help.” Jason nodded in response and noticed the server returned with the bucket of beers.

“Well, here comes something to put out those flames.” A wide smile appeared on Trini’s face as she grabbed a beer. She managed to chug half a bottle before she placed the bottle back on the table.

“I fucking hate working retail.”

“Why is that?” Jason asked as he took a sip of his beer.

“It’s just too many damn policies to start with. Plus, people are plain rude. They treat you like shit. I’m proud of Mohinder and you, though. It sounds like you guys are kicking ass in school. Congrats on finishing another semester,” Trini said as she held out her beer bottle for Jason to cheers.

“Thanks,” Jason replied as he clashed the beer bottle with Trini’s and took a long swig. Once Jason was done, he placed a beer bottle on the table. “Why not go to school again? You know, for instance, you could go to community college.”

Trini created a fake laugh at Jason comments. “Unlike you, I’m not a genius. I don’t belong in college. I barely passed high school. I don’t really have any special skills. That’s why I’m stuck at some no-name job in the mall,” Trini replied as she finished off her first beer. She reached for a new beer from the ice bucket and swished down a third of the bottle.

“Easy with those. You realize you’re driving back, right?”

Trini raised her eyebrows at Jason.

“I’m fine once I get some food in me, mom,” Trini snapped back in an unusual tone. Judging by the tone, Jason knew not to push the issue further.  The couple was silent until the food finally arrived and Jason grabbed a small plate and placed two mozzarella sticks on it along with one chicken spring roll. Jason took a bite of the hot spring roll and tasted the savory cabbage as he washed it down with his beer.

“Listen, Jason, I’m sorry for snapping at you. I know I need to work on that.”

“It’s okay, we all screw up sometimes.”

Trini nodded as she dipped her cheese stick into her marinara sauce. The couple ate in silence until the two appetizer baskets were empty. “Hey, I know that were supposed to play some arcade games after this, but did you want to get a rain check? We can always come back later.”

“Yeah, sure, I’ll pay for this,” Jason signaled the waiter to pay for their meal.

“Are you sure?” Trini asked.

“Yeah, I got it. I had a great time with you today. You looked great in that lingerie set.”

A grateful smile parted her lips. “I had a great time with you too.” Trini reached across the table and rubbed Jason’s hand. She passionately looked into Jason’s eyes. “I’m sorry I ruined the moment. I didn’t mean to be an asshole. I think Kyle is starting to rub off on me.”

“It’s fine, like I said I had a good time,” Jason said as he took the bill from the waiter. He frowned as he looked at the bill.

“What’s the damage?” Trini asked.

“It’s not too bad. I got it,” Jason lied to Trini as he dug in his pants for change. This is going to set me back for a week, Jason thought as he laid two twenty dollar bills on the check.

“Are you ready to go?” Jason asked.

“Yep, lead the way,” Trini replied.

A half-hour later, Trini and Jason arrived outside of Jason’s apartment complex. Trini kept the engine running as she looked at Jason with a smile. She reached across the vehicle and rubbed Jason’s knee and looked passionately into his brown eyes. Her lips quivered as she gave a flirtatious smile to Jason.

“Listen, I had a great time. We should really consider doing this again. You know, just the two of us,” Trini said as her upper chest clenched forward as she seductively looked at Jason.

Jason gave Trini a strange look. Does she want me to kiss her? Is this the moment that everyone talks about? Jason felt himself moving forward towards Trini’s lips and noticed that Trini was inching closer to him as well. Jason placed his hand on the side of Trini’s face and felt her body slightly tremble from his touch. She let out a soft moan as she embraced his hand on her face. Jason continued to lean towards Trini until he stopped suddenly.

Wait a minute, she has a boyfriend. Don’t be stupid. Kyle may be an ass, but I don’t want to be the guy to cheat on him, Jason contemplated. Jason rejected his movements and reached for the door handle instead. As the door handle unhatched, Trini’s face showed confusion.

“Trini, I had a good time with you. I’ll be back to pick you up around eleven,” Jason blurted out as he hopped out of the car.

Trini shook her head in a negative motion as Jason got out of the car. “Yeah, whatever. I’ll see you at eleven,” Trini said, slightly depressed as Jason closed her car door.

Jason watched as Trini’s car backed out of the parking spot and zoom away.

“What have I done?” Jason whispered as he watched her taillights disappear into the distance.

Wow! Love the sexy tension. ♥♥♥ Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B077SFKGQL

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jasons-awakening-remy-marie/1127616332?ean=9781981472369

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Jasons-Awakening/Remy-Marie/9781981472369?id=7157917489570

IndieBound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781981472369

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

About Remy Marie

Remy Marie is a paranormal and urban fantasy author who loves to write about charming heroes and brave heroines. His passion for creating stories and world building originates from him creating fantasy realms with his toys when he was five years old. While writing never came naturally for Remy, he continued to strengthen his craft, by constantly reading and writing. If he is not writing or reading, he is usually watching TV with his supportive wife, aggressively cheering for his college and professional sports teams, playing video games, or crunching numbers at his daytime job.

Book:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Remy Marie, here are some author links:

Website/Blog:  https://manlymanromance.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/remymarieauthor

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Remy-Marie/e/B077YL6734/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17373475.Remy_Marie

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103932048666368939790

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

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Trini, a female character from Jason’s Awakening, and Remy Marie, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Leona from UNFATHOMABLE LOVE plus a conversation with author Linda Diane Wattley!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Molly V. Lovell’s character back on August 29th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Diane Wattley, the author of Unfathomable Love, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Leona Tillard, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Linda in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Leona!

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

Character Leona Tillard:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Leona:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Leona:  I am a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Am I any good at it?  Yes, in less than two years my rank went from Private to Specialist Four as a Finance Specialist.

Do I like it? Yes, the main responsibility I had was making sure everyone got paid and the workload was very fair and purposeful.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Leona:  In the beginning, my family consisted of two brothers and myself. Mark was the oldest, then me, and Dennis was the baby, along with both my mother and father. One day we became a merger family. My parents divorced, and my dad remarried, which put us in a position of now having a stepmother, two stepsisters and a stepbrother.

Marie:  Sounds complicated.

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?

Leona:  It was a beautiful white two-story house with a beautiful backyard with lots of flowers and trees.

Marie:  Great!

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

Leona: I enjoy reading books and going for long walks, especially at the park.

I like reading and writing, listening to music and dancing. I like being alone also.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Well, who doesn’t have those moments, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Leona:  My greatest dream is finding out who I am and understanding what is normal.

Marie:  (Nods.) I think we all should understand ourselves better…

Let’s try another question.

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

Leona:  I wish I could be a person who is happy and fearless.

What’s stopping me?  My past is stopping me because I do not understand why I shy away from people who care about me, and I do not trust myself.

Marie: It’s tough when we have personal demons to work through.

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Leona:  Andrew. We met in Kindergarten and were the best of friends. He was my secret crush until one day he told me we will eventually be more than friends.

Marie: Aww…so sweet. I remember those young crushes. ♥

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Leona:  Learning that my father took my virginity. That was a devastating reality because I wanted to be nun when I grew up. That made it impossible.

Marie:  Oh no! 😦 I’m so sorry. That must’ve been difficult. I have some personal experience with sexual abuse. I recently published a book dedicated to survivors of it. I can only imagine how hard that experience was for you, especially when you were so young and it happened with someone you should’ve been able to trust. I hope you’ve managed to find some peace over the years…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Leona 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?

Leona:  At first it was to be a nun and belong to God. Once I realized I couldn’t be a nun, I didn’t know what else I wanted to be.

I am still looking for a dream. I am still looking for me.

Never will I know if it was what I expected.

I never achieved the dream because I felt you had to be a virgin to be a nun. A nun is all I ever wanted to be when I was a kid.

Marie:  All right.

Again, I’m so sorry. 😦

(Clears throat.)

So, who is your role model, Leona?

Leona:  My grandmother is my role model. She always protected me and talked to me about God. And, she always told me I was special and one day I will understand why.

Marie: That’s wonderful, and she’s so right. She sounds like a wise woman!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Leona:  Myself. I don’t like myself because I feel so unworthy to be anything good or loved because I feel so dirty.

Marie:  It’s really hard to deal with shame. I’m still working through it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Leona:  To begin again and put my past behind me.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think we’ve all felt that at one time or another…

So, tell me something, Leona. What is your greatest fear?

Leona:  Dying is my greatest fear because I don’t know where I will be. I just know it won’t be with my family and friends.

Marie: A lot of people fear death. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The unknown is often scary. My take? I don’t think we’re supposed to look that far ahead. Maybe it’s better to just live your life the best way you can, because you never know when your time will be up. 😉

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Leona. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Linda Diane Wattley on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Linda!

Author Linda Diane Wattley:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Leona Tillard. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Linda:  She is a troubled soul who is trying to find out who she is. In many ways she is an angel. Leona has a big heart to share with others along with a strong need to be loved.

Marie:  Well, I think we all need love in our lives.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Linda:  She is gentle, a good listener, and she has many gifts to share with the world. And, Leona is very smart and spiritual.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Linda:  Low self-esteem, a strong need to be loved and understood, and some self-anger.

Marie:  All right. Many of us have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Leona’s favorite foods?

Linda:  Barbecue, french fries, chicken, mashed potatoes and she loves homemade cookies.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds yummy!

How about another question?

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

Linda:  She has a pure heart and the gift of healing.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Linda:  They will love Leona Tillard because she is damaged merchandise, but she lives life to the fullest and is as real as they come. The reader will understand her choices, even though they are not always the best choices, especially when it comes to love.

Marie: Okay.

Now that we have a real taste of Leona, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Unfathomable Love?

Linda:  The love experiences that come into Leona’s life are overwhelming to comprehend. The love is so deep and intimate, and it happens more than one time for her. Who would you choose for her and why? You too could be making a huge mistake.

Marie:  Intriguing!

Let’s try something else.

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

Linda:  It is so surreal for me to write. I feel like a vessel receiving data to write as the words are revealed to me. There is not a book I have written that does not amaze me. There are underlined messages throughout all my books that I believe God wants people to know in a unique way.

Marie:  (Smiles.) I hear you…sometimes I think the characters are directing the story more than I am.

How about another question?

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

Linda:  No, not really because Charge of Angel was the first book of the series, which made a way for Unfathomable Love to flow through the process very easily.

I might self-publish because it would have been something worth learning, though I am thankful to have a publisher at this time.

Marie:  Right! In some ways, writing a sequel is easier because you already know a lot about the characters. 

And sure, it doesn’t hurt to have a publisher, though indie publishing is also an option.

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

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 Unfathomable Love appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this inspirational romance by Linda Diane Wattley, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Unfathomable Love:

Charge of an Angel, the first of the “Love and Redemption Series”, continues as Leona Tillard, the survivor of an uncensored childhood love, begins her journey into the heart of Unfathomable Love.

When Leona graduated from high school, she joined the United States Army. It was then she learned there was plenty of love to go around; after all, the Army is one place where men outnumbered the women. Her only dilemma was figuring out which love was the best love for her to embrace.

Hearing the words ‘I love you’ heals our souls. The ironic thing about it, very seldom do two people share the same meaning for love. This is usually fine until someone else’s meaning of love changes our lives forever.

In Charge of an Angel, Leona Tillard asked for your help as she survived her daily childhood nightmare. Today, she is asking you to help her to choose the right man to love forever. Do I love the soldiers or do I love my big brother’s best friend?

Sounds like an easy task, doesn’t it? Trust me, you too just might choose the wrong one. Let’s see if we can save Leona once again.

 Lord God, so much love, help me choose!

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

Doug sat down, breathing hard and sweating. He had danced himself out. He put on a slow song, grabbed me by my arm and walked me down to the dance floor. Apparently, another girl had planned to dance with him and met us along the way. He kissed her on the cheek and kept walking while she gave me the evil eye. I smiled and kept on stepping.

He embraced me and our bodies melted together as we swayed to “Breathless” by Corrine Bailey Rae. He put my arms around his waist and I wrapped mine around his neck. Though I was a little taller than Doug, it didn’t take away from his ability to get his bump and grind going. I had never experienced this before. Between the high, his scent, and his perfect body, I was in another world. Each motion of his body felt like a request for a deeper caress. As the music played, our bodies became a new and emerging instrument that played a song so deep with emotions to stop would be a great loss.

My body wanted out of my clothes. I wanted the party to turn into a huge waterbed and everybody to disappear. But, the music began to fade. Abruptly, he released his hold and ran back to the platform to play the next song. Looking at me from a distance, his eyes looking through me, he motioned for me to come to him. I finally exhaled. I didn’t rush to him.  I just stood there and looked at him. The longer I stared at him, the longer and deeper he stared at me. By now the dance floor was filled with people, again.

The crowd danced around me as if I wasn’t there. I began to realize the feelings I felt with Doug were the same feelings I had experienced with Tony a long time ago. He and I met at my brother’s day camp when I was about sixteen years old. Our closeness had been leading to sex, but he cared enough about me to make sure we didn’t do it.

I didn’t know about Doug. He gave my body a lot in a room filled with people. I could only imagine what would happen if we were alone. Just the thought of it made me feel like a lit candle. If he blew on me, I would probably melt completely and disappear without a trace. I decided I’d better get out of there.

I slipped gracefully through the crowd and found my way outside the room. As I went to the lobby of the hotel, I saw a line of cabs waiting to take soldiers back on post. I floated out the front doors to a cab and sat down in the back seat. As the cab began to pull off, I felt wrong for leaving without telling Doug. Then, I realized it felt great knowing he would miss me. After all, he was too sure I was coming to the party.

Wow! Love the tension. ♥♥♥ Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/1975939549

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7522050

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

About Linda Diane Wattley

Linda Diane Wattley is a proud veteran of the United States Army. Born in Akron, Ohio, she attended the University of Akron majoring in Psychology.

Over twelve years, a religious/philosophical columnist for the Frost Illustrated Newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2016, she addressed PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by writing Soldier with a Backpack, Living and Dying Simultaneously which made her a nominee for the ‘Best in Nonfiction’ during the African American Literary Awards Show.

Currently, she shares her “Love and Redemption Series”, which is a dramatically written story revealing intimate truths about molestation and the impact it has on a child’s soul. Leona is the child growing up and sharing her soul.  Keep her close to your heart.

Available today is the first of the series, Charge of an Angel.  Here you witness the early beginnings of the secrets of sexual abuse. And, the second book, Unfathomable Love. Never will you witness a love as unique and beautiful as the love waiting for Leona. God only knows what can become of it. You don’t want to miss it.

Currently she joined TLBTV and the Beacon Project as host of “The Truth Will Set You Free Show”, where you don’t have to be a celebrity to share your truth with the world.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Linda Diane Wattley, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.lindadianewattley.com/

Blog:  http://www.lindadianewattley.com/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/universalove

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Diane-Wattley/e/B00JNTEYK6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441999.Linda_Diane_Wattley

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

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Leona, a female character from Unfathomable Love, and Linda Diane Wattley, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Faith, Fiction, Guest Writer, inspirational romance, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Ellie from A SIBLING’S DILEMMA plus a conversation with author Molly V. Lovell!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been quite a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Monice DeSimone’s character back on November 8th of 2016 and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Molly V. Lovell, the author of A Sibling’s Dilemma, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Ellie Kent, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Molly in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Ellie!

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

Character Ellie Kent:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Ellie:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Ellie:  Um, right now I work at the Kensington Group as Mr. Kensington’s—the CEO’s—assistant. Keeping this between the two of us, I’m just working here because Cassie, my sister and a private detective, wants me to keep an eye out on Mr. Kensington for one of her clients. Although I don’t feel too good about being here as a spy.

Oh, sorry, you asked me if I liked the job too. I almost forgot. Um, I actually like it here. Mr. Kensington and I got off to a um…rough start at first. He can be really intimidating and, well, I’m shy to begin with. Being around him made it so much worse and it was really stressful. But, we’re good friends now so I actually enjoy my job. Although I wish I were there under better circumstances…

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! That’s a tough situation to be in. 😦

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Ellie:  Cassie’s the best sister I could ever ask for. She saved my life when we were younger and she’s sacrificed so much for me. I would do anything for her. She’s so strong-willed and powerful, and if she sets her mind to something, she just does it. I wish that I were as strong as she…

Marie:  Well, I’m sure you haven’t found the one thing that will test you just yet. I think we can surprise ourselves sometimes.

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?

Ellie:  Um…s-sorry. That’s not…um…can we move onto something else? I’m sorry.

Marie:  All right. Sure…let’s see.

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

Ellie:  I know this sounds really boring, but I like playing with my dog, Spots, and volunteering at the soup kitchen down the road. I believe in helping others. I actually just graduated with my degree in social work and I was set to work in that field, but Cassie needed me at the Kensington Group, so here I am. Wait, I think I might have already told you that last bit earlier. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I do that when I’m nervous sometimes…

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No problem! I think we all have a nervous tick or two, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Ellie:  I want to run a non-profit someday and work to eradicate extreme global poverty. I know I won’t be able to end it myself, but with the right capital and money management, I could at least stop a lot of people from dying from malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, and the like.

Marie:  Nice! It definitely sounds like a plan…

Let’s try another question.

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

Ellie:  I wish that I were a stronger person—someone who is confident and voiced her opinions more often. But, it seems like almost every time I go to say something confrontational, I just think ‘who am I to say this? What if I’m wrong?’ and I lose my nerve and I don’t say anything at all. Cassie and Mr. Kensington are always so vocal about what they want in life and I wish I were more like them.

Marie: I think most of us are afraid of speaking out about things, to go against the mold, so to speak. I think that when you find that something worth fighting for, you’ll know it.

Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Ellie:  Love is a pretty strong word. I think to love someone is a beautiful thing—you give up a piece of yourself to the other person. The only person I can say that I love is my sister. Not in a romantic way, of course, but I want her to be happy and I’m willing to make sacrifices to see that happen.

There is someone I really like, though—Mr. Kensington. He’s so handsome, smart, and strong-willed. He’s been a good friend to me too. I would say that Edric, I mean Mr. Kensington, is one of the few people that I can talk to where I don’t clam up. I need to get over this infatuation, though; he’d never date a girl like me. All his girlfriends in the past were beautiful models. Maybe if I were prettier he’d like me, but I’m not. It’s never going to happen and I just need to get over this silly crush.

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

I think you should just go ahead and crush to your heart’s content, Ellie. You only live once, right? 😀

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Ellie:  I was sick a lot as a kid. I’m not sick anymore though, so it’s nothing to worry about. But, um…I-I don’t like to talk about it much. I’m sorry…

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear it. That must’ve been difficult. I’m glad you’re okay now, though.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Ellie 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?

Ellie:  I didn’t dream of much growing up. I didn’t think I was going to make it to adulthood, to be honest. In a way, being alive, healthy, and able to live a relatively-normal life is a dream come true. On top of all that, I have a Master’s Degree, a decent job, and people that I care about and who care about me. Life is so much better than I expected.

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness. 🙂

So, who is your role model, Ellie?

Ellie:  My role model? For people I’ve never met, I would say Kristine Pearson. She helped to develop a radio that allowed for educational programs and information to be easily accessible in developing countries, even with no power. I would love to make that big of a difference to so many people someday.

For people I know, I would say Mr. Kensington. He’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met. He works, at least, twelve hours a day. And when he’s not working, he spends time with his younger brother and older sister, which is very sweet of him. He’s incredibly smart too—he helped make a brand-new type of video game technology. He’s admirable in those regards.

Marie: Wow! I agree. He sounds like a great man!

Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Ellie:  I try not to dislike people. Whenever I find myself disliking someone, I put myself in their shoes and see why they act the way they do. Usually, it makes me a bit more sympathetic to them. It’s not always easy, but I try.

Marie:  Well…that is definitely admirable of you! I respect that you can do it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Ellie:  Um…I…um. Wow, I um, feel really embarrassed admitting this but, um, I want to be with Mr. Kensington romantically. I guess if I’m talking about him in that light, I should refer to him as Edric. But I want to be with Edric. I should desire other things that are more beneficial to society, but, um…that’s my deepest desire. I’m so embarrassed. Please, please, please don’t tell anyone. I would be so mortified if Edric were to find out. I don’t think that I could look him in the eye again if he knew I felt that about him.

Marie:  Hey, it’s just us girls here! No worries. Your secret is safe with me.

Plus, who can blame you? He sounds like a total hottie.

So, tell me something, Ellie. What is your greatest fear?

Ellie:  I would say that my biggest fears are rejection and public speaking. Well, I suppose that I’m afraid of public speaking because I’m afraid of rejection. I always clam up when I talk to new people. Thank you for listening to me, though, and I’m sorry to have just rambled on about myself the whole time. It felt so good to get stuff off my chest, so thank you for that.

Marie: It’s understandable to have those fears. And public speaking? Yikes! Heck, I still get really nervous before my radio interviews. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget an important detail, or sound really dumb, you know? I think we’ve all been there before, hon.

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Ellie. It was so interesting getting to know you!  🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Molly V. Lovell on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Molly!

Author Molly V. Lovell:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Ellie. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Molly:  She’s one of the few characters in A Sibling’s Dilemma that I can say is actually a good person. Her sister, Cassie, tries to be, but is willing to set aside her beliefs to get ahead in life. Edric, Ellie’s main love interest, is good to those he’s closest to, but is mistrustful and can sometimes be cruel to others.

Ellie wants to do the right thing in this story, but she doesn’t quite know what the right thing is. Cassie, a private investigator, wants Ellie to spy on Edric. Ellie reluctantly agrees, but when she gets to know Edric, she thinks that he’s actually a decent person and doesn’t want to be a part of destroying his company. She’s split between helping her sister and doing what she thinks is right. She’s in a rough predicament.

Marie:  No kidding!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Molly:  Ellie’s greatest strength is her compassion. She treats everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. Ellie treats a multi-billion dollar CEO the same way that she treats a homeless person. She doesn’t care much about material things and actually does want to help others.

Marie:  Excellent!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Molly:  I would say that Ellie’s greatest weakness is her insecurity; it causes most of her problems. Ellie can’t seem to trust herself and, since she’s been hurt in the past, she doesn’t really trust others either, with the exception of her sister. I think that’s really sad—no one should have to go through life not trusting themselves or others. Now, Ellie would say that she does, in fact, trust others. She thinks that she trusts other people too. But, her actions show otherwise. She’s very, very guarded and won’t confide in others or let them help her. Getting her to talk about potentially painful things is like pulling teeth out of her; it’s not going to happen easily. Her insecurities and guardedness is something that she works hard to overcome.

Marie:  Okay… 😦 I think we all have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate. And who hasn’t found it difficult to trust before?

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Ellie’s favorite foods?

Molly:  Ha ha…Ellie’s perfect meal would consist of half a tuna fish sandwich to eat, peppermint tea to drink, and tapioca pudding for desert. She eats it literally every day for lunch. Edric sometimes brings her in something different, though, since he thinks that it’s a little sad that she eats just a half of a tuna fish sandwich each day.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Interesting!

How about another question?

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

Molly:  Ellie’s really smart and hard-working. She’s a lot more competent than she gives herself credit for. She can accomplish work-related tasks that are nearly impossible. Since she’s so insecure, she doesn’t notice this about herself, though, and views herself as a bumbling, incompetent person who’s lucky to have a job.

Marie:  Aww…well, maybe she’ll be enlightened about that soon.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Molly:  For the most part, I think that readers will like Ellie because she’s a good person. But, at the same time, they might find her insecurities annoying at certain parts of the story.

I like to make all my characters multi-dimensional. I hope that my readers will both like and dislike my characters during different parts of the book. In life, people are multi-dimensional. I try to have my characters be as life-like as possible. So, long story short, I think that readers will cheer for Ellie sometimes, but want to shake some common sense into her at other times.

Marie: Oh, yes, I know what you mean!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings too.

Now that we have a real taste of Ellie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for A Sibling’s Dilemma?

Molly: Okay, so originally I wanted to write a novel about a sassy, foul-mouthed private detective (Cassie) that falls in love with a jerk CEO (Edric), who she’s supposed to spy on. But then, I started to really develop the characters. When I fully fleshed out the characters and added in more (like Ellie), I had to re-examine the premise of the story. I moved the main couple away from being Cassie and Edric to Ellie and Edric. The story changed a lot over time.

Marie:  Nice! Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Molly:  I would say that I’m a combination of both. I really, really flesh out my characters. Then, I daydream about certain scenes in the book and I connect them all together. Once I have a general map going, I start to write. When I write, unexpected things come up and I either keep these new plot points, or cut them out entirely. I like to work in drafts. My first draft of A Sibling’s Dilemma was much different than the current version (and not just because my first draft was riddled with typos. Ha ha!).

Marie:  (Laughs.) I hear you…sometimes characters have minds of their own. The ones in Upon Your Love wouldn’t shut up for me until I wrote them into the story too. 😉

How about another question?

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Sibling’s Dilemma or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Molly:  Okay, so I didn’t have too many problems with writing A Sibling’s Dilemma. However, I have had problems, in the past, with writing other stories.

My main advice for writing is that you need to love your own story. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to flow well and it’s going to come out bad. Or even worse, it won’t come out at all because you won’t want to write it. This novel just seemed to flow right out of me; it wasn’t super hard to write. Editing it and polishing it up was a whole different ball of wax (I’m eternally grateful for my editor), but the book itself was easy and fun to write.

As for getting published, my main advice is to not get discouraged. All you need is one publisher to say yes. Getting rejected will hurt, but you’ll move on. If you never try to put yourself out there, you’re in the same boat as you would be if you just got rejected. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So, just try to put your work out there. And if you do get rejected, ask why. I know that it’s awkward to ask and having a conversation about all the things that you’ve done wrong. It’s not the ideal conversation that you want to have, but it’s a necessary one if you want to improve. Use that criticism to hone your craft and get even better. If you use the criticism constructively and you never give up, a publisher will eventually say yes. You can do it! 🙂

Marie:  Too right! Often if we try to force writing to happen when our hearts aren’t in the story, it doesn’t work out. 

Still, so much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get. And like you said, we have to try first!

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

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 A Sibling’s Dilemma appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, Molly!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this contemporary romance by Molly V. Lovell, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for A Sibling’s Dilemma:

Edric Kensington promised himself that he would never be close to anyone outside of his family. Ellie Kent promised herself that she would always do what she thought was right no matter what. Cassie Kent promised herself that she would never date a married man. Sometimes promises get broken. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes friendships collapse. Sometimes standards slip. And yet, sometimes people overcome their flaws and find love.

A Sibling’s Dilemma is a contemporary romance novel that revolves around two sisters: Cassie and Ellie Kent. Cassie is a private detective and Ellie is a recent college graduate. Cassie is hired by Charlie Logan, the CEO of a company specializing in virtual reality games, to spy on Charlie’s greatest professional rival—Edric Kensington. This is no easy task–Edric Kensington is known for being as cold and guarded as he is handsome. To successfully infiltrate Edric’s company, Cassie needs to have an insider work there. Her shy-and-sweet sister, Ellie, is the perfect fit. When Ellie first works for Edric’s company, she is afraid of the cold and aloof CEO, but, over time, she develops romantic feelings for him, just like Cassie develops feelings for Charlie Logan. The two sisters become torn between their friendship with each other and the feelings that they harbor for the handsome CEOs who have stolen their hearts.

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

Ellie Kent sat nervously in the top floor of the Kensington group building. She wrung her hands and then fidgeted with the second copy of her résumé.

Am I qualified for this? I hope I’m good enough. I don’t want to let Cassie down.

She made herself as small as possible as she sat in the waiting room chair. Ellie smiled warmly at the nearby workers, turned bright-red, and then looked back down at her resume, avoiding all eye-contact with them once more.

They probably think I’m weird looking, or too scrawny. Ellie frowned. Her heart was racing a mile a minute.

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

“Thank you.” She stood up and then followed the secretary over to the doors. The young woman went to pull the door open, realized that it could only be open by being pushed, blushed, and then pushed it open.

Oh God. I can’t even open a door right.

Ellie walked inside the room and saw Edric Kensington sitting behind his desk. He appeared to be quite bored and unamused. She was surprised by how young he looked, she guessed he was in his early-to-mid thirties. Surprisingly handsome too—he was tall and slightly muscular with strong and symmetrical facial features and unblemished, olive skin. The pictures in the paper didn’t do him justice.

Edric wore a crisp navy-blue suit and had silver cufflinks. His chestnut-brown hair was combed neatly and seemed to frame his face well. Everything about him seemed put together. Ellie immediately felt embarrassed by her own appearance. She wore a light grey skirt suit that she got from the thrift store, which was just slightly too big for her.

The CEO stood up from behind his mahogany desk and walked over to Ellie. She immediately felt intimidated by his height and somewhat muscular stature—it made her feel small and scrawny. And she hated feeling small and scrawny. Suddenly she wished that Cassie were there with her. Someone strong that she could draw strength from.

He reached over and extended his hand to her. “Edric Kensington.”

Ellie reached over to accept the handshake. It was strong and firm. Almost a little too much so; it hurt her small hand.

Oh no, I gave him a weak, limp handshake. I’m not supposed to do that. He probably won’t want to hire me because of it.

“Eleonore Kent.” Ellie’s pale cheeks were flushed red. She averted her eyes to the floor.

“Take a seat.” Edric pointed to the chair opposite his desk. He slowly walked away from the young woman and sat behind his desk—she noticed that he had a confident gait about him.

Ellie knew that she looked flustered. She was never good at faking confidence. Her violet eyes were wide and her cheeks were bright-red. She had a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look about her. When she sat down she made herself as small as possible—hunched over, with her hands curled up underneath her chin. In contrast, Edric sat behind his desk poised confidently.

Ellie took a copy of her résumé —the copy that she didn’t crumple nervously in the waiting room—and quickly handed it to Edric. He held his hand up in a ‘stop’ sign.

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

Ellie returned the paper to her lap and begun to wring this extra copy of her résumé, since she already tore the other copy to shreds.

“Your résumé is strong—I see that you’re probably going to graduate in a few weeks at the top of your class at an Ivy League university, with a master’s degree, no less. Excellent references. I see lots and lots of community service.” Ellie’s blush deepened. “I have one question. Why would you want to work here as my assistant?”

“I-I…” The young woman swallowed deeply. “I’m thinking of starting up a non-profit one day.” She blurted out and then looked at the floor.

“I see.”

He probably thinks my reasons are stupid and that I’m not cut out to run a non-profit or to run anything.

“What do you have to offer this office?”

The way that Edric said the word ‘you’ made Ellie feel even worse.

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

“I’m organized. I work hard. I. Um. I’ll do the job.” Ellie stammered.

Edric scoffed at Ellie and shook his head. She blushed and ran her fingers through her silky white hair. “You’ll start now. If you can make it through the end of the day, you can keep it. You will work nineteen hours a week for the next two weeks until you graduate. Then you will work full-time. Understood?”

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

Edric pointed to a wooden desk in the corner of the room. It was made of mahogany, like Edric’s desk, except it was smaller and less ornate.

“The computer is up to date and you’ll find whatever supplies you need in your desk. The computer has an email installed on it for you to use.” He handed her a large notebook and then began to pace back and forth. “This is my copy of my schedule for the week. You will take over managing it, since my incompetent secretary clearly can’t. Send out an email to my sales department to find out what our sales have been for the past four months then make a spreadsheet detailing these sales to me. Book a room for my four o’clock meeting and write me a report detailing all the people who are attending this meeting.” Edric paused. “Oh, and if you fail, you’re fired.”

Ouch! He comes on really strong, doesn’t he? But I’m really connecting with Ellie here. I can feel her pain.

Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0746PHKR1

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-siblings-dilemma-molly-v-lovell/1127020533?ean=9781625266231

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7388674

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/a-siblings-dilemma/

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

About Molly V. Lovell

Molly V. Lovell is a law student at William and Mary by day, novelist by night. Her hobbies include writing (obviously), painting, looking at cute puppies, and reading books about political theory, a subject that Molly has a Master’s Degree in. Molly was born and raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts, by her two amazing parents and she now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her loving husband.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Molly V. Lovell, here are some author links:

Website:  MollyVLovell.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MollyVLovell

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Molly-V.-Lovell/e/B0747WCG9Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15587999.Molly_V_Lovell

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/Mollsie18/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Ellie, a female character from A Sibling’s Dilemma, and Molly V. Lovell, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here!

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Astrid Angleton from A COWBOY’S TRUE COLORS plus a conversation with author Lana K. Dempsey!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Isobelle Cate’s character on July 22nd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Lana K. Dempsey, the author of A Cowboy’s True Colors, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Astrid Angleton, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Lana in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Astrid!

AstridandVictorinBlanket

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

Character Astrid Angleton: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Astrid: Okay.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Astrid:  I’m about to start college, so my jobs will include eating pizza and hanging out with my hot boyfriend, Victor! Oh, and I suppose some studying would be good too. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.) Yeah, I remember those college days…

Astrid:  And yes, I think I’m very good at hanging out with Victor. Ha! Ha!

Teasing aside, I do love to learn. I was lucky enough to take some college courses in high school. Long story short I was able to skip my freshman year in college, which will allow me to move through school very quickly. I’m looking into studying psychology, or something in the sciences. I’ve not decided. So yes, I’ll work hard and play hard as the saying goes.

Marie:  Wow! That’s great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Astrid:  My family is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, and a whole lot mystical. My mom was raised on Buckshaw Ranch and has more cowboy hats than anyone I know. My dad is a city man, and most likely always will be. This year has been rough. Dad abandoned the family. My sister, Cammie, had moved out prior so Dad being gone isn’t in her face every day like it has been for my brother Luke and me. I’m concerned about Luke; he’s not his usually jovial self. Luke is enrolled at the University of Texas and I’m worried what’s going on at home will distract him from his studies.

Let’s talk about something more positive. One of the best parts of my family is we all have some unique talents. I’ll tell you about mine, I can see emotions. It’s not the same as reading someone’s mind, but I can see what they’re feeling in the form of colors and shapes surrounding them. It can be intense and very personal at times, but it has proven to be very useful and has even helped save my life.

Marie:  All right. Hey, that’s a cool power!

Let’s try something else.

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

Astrid:  I spent summers and any time off at Buckshaw Ranch, which is a sprawling property not far from Austin, Texas. During the school year we lived in remodeled historic home in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood. I loved that house, but with all the changes going on in our family we couldn’t stay there. Anyway, I doubt we’ll stay in Austin much longer. Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

I’m feeling a need to draw the family to Buckshaw Ranch. I think it will bring good things.

Victor and I have yet to decide where we’ll call home, whether it’ll be Buckshaw Ranch or WilLo Ranch, owned by his family. For now, we aren’t really sure.

Marie:  I don’t think you’re supposed to know all the answers at that age…;)

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

Astrid:  Did I mention my hot boyfriend? Ha, ha!

We spend weekends either at my family’s ranch or Victor’s family’s ranch. We like being out in the open spaces. I love to read, of course. I’m also taking some cooking lessons from Victor’s brother Reggie. Reggie is Victor’s twin. A while back, there was some crazy stuff happening and Reggie began baking to distract himself. Now, he can whip up a pie like nobody’s business. He’s certainly made that oven his bitch! Ha, ha! Now, we just need to find him a woman.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds like a plan…

And what is your greatest dream?

Astrid: I want to find a way to use my talent for reading emotions to help make the world a better place. I haven’t worked out how to do that yet. Of course, it’s not something I tell most folks, so it has to be on the down-low, which is why I’m thinking psychology for a major. Not sure how that’ll pan out just yet, but I’m working on it.

Marie: Psychology always fascinated me too, how people tick. I guess that’s partly why I found myself writing.

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

Astrid:  College is stopping me, and well… I guess it’s starting me too. I mean, I feel impatient having to take the time to finish school. I’m ready to get on with a career and family. Education is important, even if you end up choosing a different path. I want to be independent and contribute to society. Once college is under my belt, then I’ll feel more like my life is beginning.

Marie: That makes sense to feel that way, but don’t forget to have some fun while you’re there too!

I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Astrid:  Victor Berenger. He’s hard to miss; he’s the giant cowboy waiting for me outside. See that vintage Ford truck outside? That’s him. He’s on the phone with his ranch hand. Victor’s parents are having him manage WilLo Ranch more and more these days, so he’s on the phone a lot.

Marie: (Waves to Victor.)

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

Astrid: Last year I saw a set of colors with no person attached. It took me a second to realize what I was seeing was a ghost. I never ran so fast in my life!  I was terrified that day, but it was nothing compared to the events that would come not long afterwards. Events that almost cost me my life.

Marie:  Scary indeed!

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Astrid nods.]

Who is your role model?

Astrid:  My role model is my mother, Kell. She held us all together when things got rough, still does. My Dad has some addiction issues and for a while there…well, let’s just say my mom rocks! Now she’s following her heart and I’m so impressed. I definitely want to be like Mom.

Marie: Well, I certainly admire the way you feel about your mother…

Sounds like she’s a special person.

All right…now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Astrid:  Myself. I used to anyway. I was very insecure and I faked my confidence level for most of high school. I’m happy to say I’ve matured a great deal in just these last few months. I understand now that love is a complex thing and no one is perfect. I’ve really come to appreciate my uniqueness.

Marie:  Lovely to hear!

Can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Astrid: I want to contribute to the world in some way, but I also want to have a family. I think Victor’s combination of strength, intelligence, and patience will make him a great father. I also want to pass on some of the traditions of Buckshaw Ranch.

There are some other deep desires Victor helps me fulfill on a regular basis as well. 😉

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Ah, let’s move on to another topic.

I do appreciate that you want a family with Victor, though. I love romance. ♥

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So, how about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Astrid:  My greatest fear is losing those I love. Victor is the man of my dreams and if something happened to him, I know I would never love like this again. Losing my mom or my siblings would devastate me. I have some really good friends as well, so losing any of them would hurt so much. I want to keep them all safe and protected. It’s all about those we love. Nothing is more important in life than our loved ones.

Marie: You’re right about that.

I think we all have that fear sometimes, to lose the people we care about the most. Perhaps it’s what keeps us from taking them for granted.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Astrid. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Lana K. Dempsey on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Lana!

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Author Lana K. Dempsey: Hi there, Marie, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor. (Bows pretending to curtsy.) I love your blog!

Marie: Oh, goodness! (Blushes.) Such a magnanimous entrance there. Thank you so much! 😀

Really, it’s always a total pleasure to have you on my blogs.

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Astrid Angleton. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Lana: Yes, I’d love to. Astrid is part of a group of eighteen-year-olds who are gifted with above average maturity along with some subtle supernatural talents. They’re drawn together to right a very ancient wrong. She’s very strong and quite often unaware of her own strength.

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Lana: Astrid is humble. Too humble. Victor and her friends have to beat her over the head to get her to take on the role that will one day be hers. She just doesn’t fully grasp her own value.

Marie:  Well, I think we all feel that way at times.

And what are some of Astrid’s favorite foods?

Lana: Astrid loves French fries, her mother’s cooking, and Victor’s brisket.

Marie:  (Smiles.)

How about another question?

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

Lana: Astrid will be a role model and leader for other women. A few more life lessons and she’ll begin to understand.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Lana: Readers will relate to her as if she’s a friend of theirs. Astrid is a compassionate and loyal ally. You definitely want her in your corner. She’s someone I’d love to know.

Actually, I’d love to BE Astrid! Ha! Victor Berenger would be one hell of a catch!

Marie: (Laughs.) All right.

Now that we have a real taste of Astrid, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for A Cowboy’s True Colors?

Lana: The story is the beginning of a series of books called The Mystical Traditions of Buckshaw Ranch. I had the basic plot, but when I started writing, the story line for book one popped up first and became the foundation. That happened again when I started book two, WHERE A COWBOY HANGS HIS HAT, which was just released on July 15th. This is also why the characters in the first book are so young.

I have a novella coming out as part of Sable Hunter’s Hell Yeah! Kindle World which will be released on August 11, 2016. It’s a stand alone, but it’s officially a Buckshaw series story, as well. So now, book four is getting started and it should be the final stage in the original story. But, as history has shown, the characters sometimes make other plans while I’m foolishly plotting the story.

Marie:  That’s for damn sure! Interesting how the muse works, huh? :)

Let’s try something else.

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

Lana:  Mostly a pantster. I love that word, by the way. However, there is a lot to consider in a series, so I’ve been known to plot simply to keep it all straight. I’m a hybrid, I guess. Hopefully that means I’m good for the environment! Especially the Kindle environment. Ha, ha!

Marie:  I am a hybrid as well…I do both.

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing A Cowboy’s True Colors or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Lana: The main thing I would advise is to finish your darn book! I missed opportunities because my book was still in the first draft stage. Also, I think finding a local writers group to help you with beta reading and feedback. Both of those things would have been wonderful to have on the front end. Finally, I would have gotten help earlier with the things I’m not so good at, such as the technical stuff. More than anything, you need support on all levels. You need a community, but I can say that goes for everyone whether or not they are a writer.

Marie:  Very true! And I agree completely. So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

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 A Cowboy’s True Colors appears to be.

Lana: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Marie: It’s my pleasure!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy, new adult Western paranormal romance by Lana K. Dempsey, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for A Cowboy’s True Colors:

Everyone’s last year in high school is always chaotic. This is especially true for Astrid at White Wood School. As if having a bully, an absentee father, and a best friend with a big problem weren’t enough – she also has to deal with having a secret power. Anytime she sees someone, Astrid also sees a kaleidoscope of colors surrounding them. Each individual’s emotions swirl in a changing pattern, allowing her to know what they’re feeling. This sixth sense complicates her life further, especially when she meets the one person who’s colors she can’t read – Victor Berenger, a tall, handsome cowboy with smoldering eyes. Every time Astrid is around him, she thinks her heart will beat out of her chest. When she finds out he is equally drawn to her, she’s thrilled. The man certainly knows his way around the bedroom. Life seems just about perfect…until the day Astrid’s vision takes a new twist. A set of colors appear on the school grounds–only this time they aren’t attached to a human! A mystery unfolds that threatens Astrid and her friends. To her surprise, Victor holds a piece of the puzzle. Join these two as they learn one another’s secrets, as well as the hidden, magical history of White Wood School.

*Content Warning: Contains explicit scenes and language. Intended for 18+ Audience

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

For the briefest moment he stopped his scan of the room and studied her. Or was she remembering that wrong? She was never sure. Either way, his expression didn’t change and he continued his inventory of his fellow classmates. After that, he hadn’t spoken to her until the last couple of days.

“Ah, yes. I’m sorry about that, I was a bit distracted. It wasn’t for lack of interest, I assure you.” Victor pressed himself a little closer to her under the blanket.

“You don’t seem very distracted now.”

This made him laugh. “Honestly, I’ve been worried about my brother. Right now he seems a bit taken with your friend, so I feel a little less guilty about indulging in my own interests.”

“Is Reggie okay?” she asked.

When Victor didn’t answer right away, her mind raced through various possibilities. Maybe Reggie was sick. He hadn’t been to school; they’d only just met him tonight.

“I’m sorry, I really can’t share that with you right now.”

Astrid instantly regretted having asked. The lighthearted mood was gone. Dang it! She chided herself for having brought it up. Then she had an idea. Before she could talk herself out of it she leaned into him and with her open palm drew a long caress down the length of his thigh. She felt him freeze up. Afraid she might have offended him with her forwardness, she paused and tilted her head up a little bit in an attempt to read his face in the dim light.

How wrong she had been.

Victor met her upturned face with the full force of his lips on hers. His leather jacket whispered as he reached around and grabbed her by the back of the neck to pull her closer to him. Despite her heart beating so hard it seemed about to jump out of her chest, she turned into him draping her knee over his leg. She brushed against the bulge between his legs with her thigh. The warmth there and the image of what lay beneath those Levi’s made her melt entirely.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you for so long.” Victor practically growled the words when he finally pulled away from her long enough to speak.

“I want to do more than kiss you.”

The feel of her voice, hot and sultry against his neck, was enough to drive him wild. How had he held this in for so long?

“That can be arranged,” he told her, thinking ahead of places he could get them some privacy. Maybe next time at her house, before her mom comes home, he plotted.

“Where can we go? I’m not kidding, I want you now.” The urgency inside her would not be ignored. This new, demanding part of herself seemed to be taking over.

“Now?” His heart stuttered a beat as he realized she was completely serious. Again he grabbed her by the neck and kissed her long and hard, this time pushing his warm tongue past those sweet lips. Eagerly she responded, pressing her chest up against him and letting out a tiny moan.

That was it, he was completely undone. I will have her now, he said to himself. “This way.” His voice was thick with the ache of desire. Gathering up the blanket he draped it over his shoulder and grabbed her by the hand.

She followed silently, her body alive, vibrating to an age old rhythm. Watching him walk ahead of her, she suddenly felt a proprietary right to watch the roundness of his behind without restraint. It was beautiful and she couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh.

Ooh! So sexy! ♥♥♥ 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/ACowboysTrueColors

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cowboys-true-colors-lana-k-dempsey/1123825650

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6238772

Lana teaser

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

About Lana K. Dempsey

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I’m Lana, a lifelong Texan, dog lover, and writer of sensual romance. When I say ‘sensual romance’ I mean I include real life in my stories, and real life includes sex.

I divide my time between Austin Texas and a small family ranch not far from Shiner. Shiner is the home of Shiner beer, I’ve been known to stop off at their tasting room before rolling up my sleeves to get to work on the ranch. Like many Texans I’ve got a bit of everything in me, German, Native American, and some Creole influence. Nothing like a little spice to liven things up.

Writing is much like reading; I need to feel the story in the same way a reader would. I adore leading men who are strong, but aren’t afraid to love. My goal is to fall in love as I write, it’s the only way my reader will as well.

Come with me and get to know a hot cowboy or two. It’ll be fun!

Books:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Lana K. Dempsey, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.lanadempsey.com

Blog:  http://www.lanadempsey.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lanadempsey1

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Lana-K.-Dempsey/e/B01DWSO7LO/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15166226.Lana_K_Dempsey

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Astrid, a female character from A Cowboy’s True Colors, and Lana K. Dempsey, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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