Category Archives: Writing

Book Feature: Sweet Reunion by author CJ Warrant

I am pleased to announce a great book by CJ Warrant, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her awesome modern romance, Sweet Reunion, which released back in November!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover new authors and books. 😀

CJ is allowing us a look at her cool contemporary romance, Sweet Reunion, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Sweet Reunion:

On the brink of losing her bakery, Beth Monroe must accept help from Bryce Landry, the college love who broke her heart, or watch her dream fail.

After a broken engagement, Bryce gave up on the idea of real love until he walks into Beth’s bake shop. He has no clue why she is curt with him. But to get into her good graces, Bryce gives her an offer she can’t refuse, which opens up both their hearts and exposes the love they had for each other.

And here is an excerpt to tease you with.

BETH

Beth Monroe thought it was a joke when she got a call from the bank saying that her business partner, Hannah Larson, had emptied out their business accounts.

Not believing for one moment that her friend of seven plus years could betray her, Beth tried numerous times to contact Hannah on her cell phone, but her calls went straight to voice mail.

Worried that it could be foul play—that someone actually forced her take the twenty thousand of their hard earned cash, Beth contacted the police. If there was foul play involved, she hoped Hannah was alive and safe. Money could be replaced, but not a friend.

Beth trusted her partner wholeheartedly. She never thought Hannah would do something so terrible as stealing. They’d each put their heart and sweat into Sweet Cupids, a bake shop they had opened up in the South Loop of Chicago three years ago.

They were equally passionate about the bakery. Or so Beth thought until the cops confirmed that Hannah had in deed acted on her own accord.

After the police ran through the security cameras, which showed her walking into the bank alone and withdrew all of the money, they checked Hannah’s apartment. It was empty with all the furniture gone, except for a broken coffee table and the fridge.

Beth hadn’t thought twice and filed a police report. Although she was baffled—and angry for what Hannah did. How could she not see the signs? If Hannah wanted out of the partnership, all she needed to do was open her mouth and say something. No, instead she stole the damn money—all of it. There was no money to pay for any additional needs for the shop. Nothing.

After leaving the station that morning, Beth had opened a new account at a bank down the street from the shop. She had to transfer some money from her personal account—which wasn’t much, but barely enough to cover the bills. Thank God, she hadn’t had a chance to deposit what the weekend had brought in, but Beth knew it wasn’t enough.

Rent was due, plus the upcoming expenses of supplies and employees salaries had to be paid, leaving only a few hundred dollars for Beth’s personal needs. What was worse? Christmas was less than two weeks away and she wouldn’t have enough money to cover their supplies through the New Year.

“God, why, Hannah?” Beth leaned against the black marble frosting bar at the back of the bakery. She contemplated on what she had done to deserve this lousy crap happening in her life.

Beth assumed their friendship was tight. They had been friends since their NIU days. How could she not know, or see through Hannah’s treachery?

Yet, it didn’t matter anymore. Twenty thousand dollars were gone, and Beth couldn’t get it back. Well, not right now anyways.

She wiped a runaway tear from her cheek.

What the hell was she going to do if she had to close the shop?

Get a grip. You know you can do it.

Yes. Beth knew what she needed to do. Sweet Cupids had to survive. Her livelihood hung in the balance. And there’s no way in hell was she going to run back to her parents and ask them for help either. They would only sneer at the news about Hannah stealing the money.

They were against the partnership from the beginning, but I had calmly explained to them that Hannah had the revenue while Beth had the ingenuity to get the business to take off.

Beth thought it was a perfect partnership. What did they see that she didn’t?

“Damn it, Beth. Stop blubbering,” she scolded herself while wiping away the tears with her not-so-clean floured apron. It had been four days since Hannah split, and not a single word or update from the police on the whereabouts of Hannah. And, every night Beth worried the shop wouldn’t earn enough revenue to stay afloat.

A chime from the front door caught Beth off guard. Crap. She forgot to lock it again. She rushed to the front of the shop and said, “Sorry, we’re closed. We’ll be opened tomor…” Beth’s words faltered the second she locked eyes with the and only, Bryce Landry.

Oh. My. God. Her breath hitched in her throat and her heart thrashed against her chest so hard that it hurt to breathe. Her college love stood just inside the doorway with a tentative smile across his handsome face. Even more attractive than when he left for Harvard four years ago. Bryce was the one who got away. Or actually, she ran away so she wouldn’t have her heart broken by this man.

Oh, boy, he was still beautiful. Sun-kissed blond hair, combed back as though he’d used his fingers. Beth always loved that disheveled look on him. His strong, squared jaw showed a five-o’clock shadow. And his beautiful full lips were still very much kissable. She had dreamed many times of his mouth bearing down on her, on her body, and her sex.

“Hey, Bethie.” Those two words pulled her out of her revelry. How she hated him calling her that.

His voice was the same. Just as deep and hypnotic as ever. His glorious blue eyes instantly woke the side of her she had hidden—no, packed up with duct tape and thrown into the deepest recesses of her mind.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/Sweet_Reunion

Wow! ♥♥♥ Love the tension. This looks like quite a tale!

Thank you for telling us about your book, CJ! I know I can’t wait to read this romance!

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! 🙂 Or you can add it to Goodreads! And by the looks of things, we have sequels to look forward to as well. 😉

Author Bio

CJ Warrant is an Award Winning Author for dark romantic suspense and contemporary romance.

A lover of strong coffee, baking and family, but not in that order.

She’s a wife, a loving mother of three and worked in the beauty industry for many years until the stories in her head took over. Now she’s a full time author, CJ brings her dark gritty stories to life.

Author Links

Website/Blog:  www.cjwarrant.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/cjwarrantauthor

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/cjwarrant

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/cjwarrant

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cjwarrant

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/CJ-Warrant/e/B01BTK1T40/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14714883.C_J_Warrant

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Readers, Romance, Writing

Chivalry Doesn’t Have to Be Dead: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Chivalry Doesn’t Have to Be Dead

 

It isn’t a reach to suppose that many romance readers spent part of their childhoods dreaming of sweeping fairytale relationships, comprised of a white knight on a steed coming to a maiden’s rescue after slaying a dragon for her.

Created by Freepik

Or, for a feminist type, perhaps she was indeed the one saving her chosen male. Why not? Such individuals not only still savor a great romantic tale, but also most likely continue to admire happy couples around them. We’re looking for that elusive ‘soul mate’. Some of us, myself included, took it a step further, and now write those sweeping romance stories that might capture readers’ hearts.

Created by Awesomecontent – Freepik.com

I always dreamt of a love that would stand the test of time, a true romance like my parents had. Not an easy love, by any means. Even in romance novels, the journey includes ups and downs, as in life. But I hoped – and yes, even prayed – to find my soul mate, someone who understood me, accepted my dreams, weathered the storms of existence with me. And I would do the same for him. I poured that yearning into my stories, telling complex tales of imperfect people who found each other despite the obstacles thrown in their direction. For it’s true that real people are flawed. We live, love, hurt, and keep repeating the cycle. That’s life. I guess it’s one reason I launched the I Love Romance Blog – to not only discover new romance novels and the talented authors who wrote them, but also to learn how other people view romance. What were their romantic adventures? What advice might they offer up to readers?

I believe that within us thrives a light, a little hope for a companion to stand up and support us during our greatest accomplishments, as well as when life just gets too crazy. A partner, so to speak.

Yet, the perfect partner isn’t a perfect person. He or she has probably done something foolish before, and they might have a few regrets. There will be similar interests, but you’ll have a few differences as well.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

It’s true that I am fortunate. I found my soul mate. We’re creative people, and I love that I’ll never have to explain the intricacies of the muse to the man I love. But, there are occasional days when we disagree, when one of us tries to needle the other. I like to make plans, and my fiancé is definitely more casual about life. Though that might seem like a nutty match, it actually works because our differences make us stronger. Those little things complement each other.

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As partners, we challenge one another, and thereby put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. We’re both Libras too; so that makes for an interesting decision-making process when it comes to trivialities such as what to eat for dinner or which film to watch for the evening. We agree on so much, and yet there are traits that make us entirely unique. Still, at the end of the day, we have treasured moments of peace, cuddling and finding comfort together when words are no longer necessary.

Created by Freepik

My point here is that whoever you imagine will be your soul mate might not be the person who ends up as the one tailor-made for you. It’s okay to be surprised. Life is unpredictable. Keep an open mind on the journey. Don’t close the door to new experiences. You just might find that your destiny turns out even better than you planned or imagined.

Created by Freepik

Be your own white knight. Open yourself to the world, and enter it with a kinder heart. And this suggestion isn’t merely because Christmastime, the season of giving, is upon us. This is a year-round request. Do something nice for your neighbor, or the next person you see on the street. Of course, you can do that without seeming like a stalker. Just be kind. Open a door for someone, offer a smile. Give that person a rose from Roses Only.

Created by Freepik

You never know how that small kindness will impact another soul, how many ways it might inspire. Perhaps by doing so, you’ve given them a small slice of hope, and it just might be enough to jumpstart them on their own new journey.

Someone out there is your perfect match, not because he or she is, in fact, perfect (no one is), but rather because that individual was made for you. When you’re both ready, at a precise moment in time, you will find the one. In the meantime, keep everyone else open to it too.

 

Romance is a dream we hold tight inside our hearts. But it’s not fictional at all. Romance can be a mere thought, a word, or an act. Something as simple as holding a person’s hand is a tactile gesture that can change your entire perspective. As reading can open new worlds us, so can our own dreams of romance. Think about the traits you might like in a mate. Someone trustworthy, dependable…perhaps inventive? Jot them all down, if you prefer. Remember not to limit your imagination, but don’t get tied down to appearances either. There are those who prefer blondes or dark-haired individuals. In reality, it’s superficial. Though it’s possible the person meant for you might have one of those specific traits, in all likelihood they may not.

Let me explain. In the dictionary, a soul mate is defined as “a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs”. Sure, that makes sense. You’d want to have similar values if you were dating someone. The earliest known use of the word soul mate was when Samuel Taylor Coleridge implemented the term in a letter to a young lady, claiming that a person shouldn’t “settle, but rather [choose someone] whose character and sensibilities [are of] a nature suitable to [their] own”. It’s not about looks, but rather about two souls connecting.

That’s a better way of saying it, right? Opt instead for the person who is the perfect accompaniment to your own unique tune, and together you’ll create the best symphony in the world.

Created by V.ivash – Freepik.com

Anyway, that’s my take on it! ♥♥♥

Host Blogger Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She is also the moderator of three blogs…the I Love Romance Blog, Marie Lavender’s Books!, and Writing in the Modern Age. She’s the proud recipient of several blogging awards and book awards. Follow Marie via her author website, varied blogs, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Her books can be located at most online booksellers.

Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:  http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

AllAuthor:  http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

Youtube/Book Trailers:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday season!

Created by Sabrin_Deirani – Freepik.com

I’ll check back in for our end of the year post. 😉

 

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Dating Tips, Faith, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

Cool Book Nomination!

Hi, readers! I’m so excited because Directions of the Heart, my romantic drama collection, was just nominated for the 2017 Readers Choice Awards!

Please vote for it at www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting. You can find DoH listed in #7, the Romance Category. Scroll down the page to find the book cover. Feel free to skip through to get to the right category, or vote for each one!

Have an awesome holiday season! 🙂

via Cool Nomination!

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Filed under Authors, Award, Books, Contemporary, Drama, Event, Fiction, Marie Lavender, New Adult, Readers, Romance, western, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: Kurt Seyt & Shura by author Nermin Bezmen

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Nermin Bezmen, an author I met during my journey! Her historical romance, Kurt Seyt & Shura, officially went up for pre-order and will be released sometime in December on Amazon!

That’s awesome! Congrats on your new release!:)

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

Nermin is giving us a look at her dramatic historical romance and international bestseller, Kurt Seyt & Shura, today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great cover!

Let’s learn about Kurt Seyt & Shura, a story of Love, Passion and Longing:

An instant bestseller since its début in 1992, Nermin Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura is a classic of contemporary Turkish literature, a sweeping romantic drama set as the splendour of imperial Russia is obliterated in the wake of the Great War.

Bezmen tells the story of two star-crossed lovers fleeing the wave of devastation wreaked by the Bolshevik Revolution, and does so with great sensitivity: one half of this couple who sought refuge in the capital of the dying Ottoman Empire was her grandfather.

​Translated into twelve languages, Bezmen’s Kurt Seyt & Shura inspired a sumptuous TV series that continues to enchant millions of viewers across the world. With the publication of this novel in English, fans can finally read the true story of this great love affair that triumphed over so much adversity, yet failed to overcome human fallibility.

​In 2012, the prestigious Turkish production company Ay Yapim offered to turn the novel into a television series. The producers pulled together an A Team of cast, crew, and director, who in turn created the acclaimed T.V. series “Kurt Seyit ve Sura”, with Nermin Bezmen’s guidance as a consultant and Ece Yorenc as script writer. The leading roles were played by the talented (and ahem, may we add also gorgeous) duo Kivanc Tatlitug and Farah Zeynep Abdullah. After its initial viewing in Turkey, the series was distributed in many countries, including the United States, where it is currently shown on Netflix. The production reached millions of viewers across the world and stole the hearts of many, creating new excitement and awe around the life story of the two lovers, about 100 years after their first kiss.

​The books in the saga include:

  • Kurt Seyt & Shura
  • Kurt Seyt & Murka
  • Mengene Gocmenleri
  • Shura Paris Years 1924-1927

Main heroes:

Kurt Seyt:

The son of a wealthy Crimean nobleman is a dashing First Lieutenant in the Imperial Life Guard. Injured on the Carpathian Front and later sought by the Bolsheviks, he makes a daring escape across the Black Sea.

​Too proud to accept payment for the boatful of arms he hands over to the Nationalists, he faces years of struggle to make a new life in the Turkish Republic rising from the embers of the dying Ottoman Empire. All he has is his dignity and love.

Shura:

The innocent beauty enchanted by Tchaikovsky’s music and Moscow’s glittering lights falls in love with Seyit at the age of sixteen. A potential victim in the sights of the Bolsheviks due to her family’s wealth and social standing, and determined to follow her heart, she accompanies her Seyt on the perilous flight over the Black Sea.

​Their love is the only solace to the crushing homesickness for a land and family they will never see again, two lovers amongst hundreds of thousands of White Russian émigrés trying to eke out a living in occupied Istanbul.

And here is an excerpt to entice you with.

A Night in Petrograd, 1916

Snow fell in fat, lazy flakes, an immaculate white blanket settling over the sleeping city. The carriage turning left at Alexander Nevsky Square laboriously carved a wide arc through the snow that had piled up all night, rounded a corner, and drew up to the pavement outside a three-story house.

A few snowflakes fluttered at the windowsills, stuck to the panes and frozen solid. The coachman gazed upward as instructed; a net curtain parted, and a shaft of light beamed out. A male figure wiped the glass, waved, and withdrew.

 

* * *

The young man consulted the pocket watch he’d left by the lamp on the bedside table: it was coming up to four; he still had plenty of time. Carefully, so as to avoid rousing the sleeping woman, he lifted the duvet and got back into bed. He reclined against the pillow, still holding his watch. Then, a little more determined, he flung aside the covers and got up. He drew the curtain back a little more and looked out. The moon illuminated the whiteness starting directly outside the windowpanes, sweeping unbroken over the garden, the railing, and the broad expanse of road. A world in white. Everything sparkled when the moon shone between the scudding clouds, and the world looked more splendid under this white coat.

Heavy curtains kept the world outside the windows, where it belonged. In the semidarkness, the room spoke in scents: perfume revealed a woman’s presence, and vodka testified to earlier indulgences, both mingling with the lavender emanating from the bed linens.

He turned toward the bed for a look. Amplified by the snow, the moonlight cast a bright-white light on the sleeping woman’s bare back. He recalled what the darkness sought to conceal: the deep auburn of her hair, now cascading over the pillow in waves; the groove of her spine dipping delightfully from the nape all the way to her waist and vanishing under the covers; and the right shoulder glowing in the playful light, a flawless expanse of alabaster.

Seemingly oblivious to the cold, he leaned his bare back against the window; then, grinning at the memory, he moved to the round table by the fireplace. The fruit platter, carafe, and glasses still stood where they had been left: half eaten and half drunk from. She was an impatient one, that Katya. Or was it Lydia? Whatever. The auburn beauty had excelled at entertaining him that night.

He picked up one of the half-full crystal glasses, downed it in one go, and shook his head as the alcohol stung his throat. He lit the pink opaline lamp in front of the mirror, and the soft light of gas spread into the room. Digging into the jumble of garments on the sofa, he gathered his own clothing and collected his underwear. He was moving toward the bathroom when the woman spoke sleepily.

“Why so early, darling?”

He strode toward her, still carrying his clothes. She stirred, rounded shoulders and full breasts braving the cold, her face now more distinct. Sweeping her hair up with one arm, she reached out with the other. He stared with barely disguised lust; the charming armpit thus exposed looked as arousing as the ample breasts bathed in the pink light. The sleepy gaze was not necessarily reserved for this time of night: she had proven her expertise in seduction with those large dark eyes framed by long eyelashes, eyes that spoke of the bedroom, of the pleasures of the flesh. Full lips pouting in anticipation, she waited, eyes shut, arm still outstretched. Smiling at her unrestrained behavior and ravenous appetite, he sat down on the edge of the bed. Her provocative scent mingled with the bedclothes, fragrant from passionate hours.

He yielded to the invitation of the arms wrapped around his neck. Languid eyes smoldered into his as she tugged away the bedclothes separating them to free her warm, buxom figure and snuggle up to him. She stroked his back and the muscles in his arms, pressed his head against her breasts, and presented her nipples to his lips. Effectively captured by her skillful limbs—surprising on such a petite woman—he enjoyed a lingering kiss before drawing back.

“It’s time I got ready. You might like to get up too; I’ll have you dropped off.”

She pouted with a half shrug. “Couldn’t we stay just a little longer?”

“I need to set off.”

“Where to?”

“Moscow.”

“When will you be back? Will you call upon me again?” She stirred as if to get up during this barrage, hoping to tempt him to change his mind.

All she got in response, however, was a jaunty smile and a pinch on the cheek before he walked toward the bathroom. He mused as he washed; he couldn’t remember her name—just another one-night stand. Someone he had met at a wild party where the drink had flowed like water…and they had left together. She was no petty commoner, if the splendor of her dress and jewelry was anything to go by. In all likelihood, she’d arrived on someone else’s arm—probably the man who’d paid for that splendor.

As he shaved, his thoughts strayed to the journey ahead. Best to get a move on, given he had arranged to meet the others at the station in an hour.

By the time he’d returned to the bedroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, she was already dressed. He patted his cheeks and neck with lotion from a bottle on the console. “Wouldn’t you like to take a bath?”

“I never take a bath on my own,” came the flirtatious reply.

An irrepressible grin lit up his face as he combed his hair, thinking, Her husband—or lover, whoever it was—certainly has his work cut out. He dressed, ignoring his audience, who sat on the edge of the bed to admire the view.

Muscular and fit, the young man in his early twenties carried himself with an aristocratic posture and demeanor. His moustache and floppy fringe were chestnut. A cleft chin seemed to complete his striking looks: flashing dark-blue eyes, a straight nose, and a perpetually sardonic mouth.

The redhead patted her curls back into place and sighed. Her questions were destined to remain unasked as the young man, now in full uniform and boots, strode between wardrobe and dresser, clearly lost in his own thoughts. He picked up several items from drawers, and some books went into a suitcase. She watched, astonished that he appeared to have forgotten the many wonderful hours they had shared in bed. Her wiles had failed to hook him. She leaned back with another sigh.

Taking a ring from a box by the mirror, he placed it on his finger and then put a watch in his pocket. She remembered openly admiring them last night—she adored jewelry after all, and he’d said the sapphire-and-diamond ring was a family heirloom. The enameled gold watch adorned with rubies was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II, he’d told her.

Soon they were ready to leave. A muffled clatter rose from the street. The second carriage had arrived. He picked up his coat and hat. “All right, let’s go,” he said. “I’ll have you taken home.”

He extinguished the lamp and walked to the door. She followed, surprised and not a little disconcerted at the absence of one last kiss or a plea for another meeting, as if there had been nothing between them.

The coachmen leaped down and ran over the snow. The young man turned to his guest, took her hand, and said, “Aktem will drop you off. Fare thee well, my lovely.” Her name wasn’t even on the tip of his tongue.

“Will we meet again?” she tried one last time.

“Why not?”

Happier now, she presented her cheek for a kiss, unbothered by the coachmen’s presence. Finally, gathering her courage, and with a bashful smile, she asked the one question that had plagued her all this time. “Tell me your name again?”

His merry laughter rang in the snowy street’s early morning silence. So the night had not been that memorable for either of them! Except for the ending, that is. He bowed, as if they had just met, and enunciated deliberately: “First Lieutenant Seyit Memedovich Eminof.”

 

* * *

 As the two carriages drove away in opposite directions, the auburn beauty who had sweetened his night was already slipping from his mind.

Book Info:

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date:  December, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Book link:  https://www.kurtseytandshura.com/buy-kurt-seyt-shura-english-book

Wow! ♥♥♥ This looks like an intriguing tale!😉

Thank you for telling us about your book, Nermin! I know we all can’t wait to read this romance! 🙂

 

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this popular book!

Author Bio

Nermin Bezmen is an accomplished artist, art teacher, yoga instructor and broadcaster whose meticulous research into family history led to the publication of Kurt Seyt & Shura in 1992.

This fictionalized account of her grandfather’s life became an instant bestseller, and is now considered to be a masterpiece of contemporary Turkish literature to the extent that it has reached textbook status in several secondary schools and universities.

Exquisite detail distinguishes her writing as she proves that truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and that our ancestors call out to us all from the pages of history.

Her powerful character analysis and storytelling skills invite the readers to explore their own dreams, sorrows, anxieties and even fleeting fancies.

Bezmen has to date published fifteen novels, two of which are biographical, and one is a fantasy; a children’s novel, a collection of forty short stories and a book of poems. She has two children and three grandchildren and lives with her husband, actor Tolga Savacı in New Jersey and Istanbul.

 

Author Links

Website:  www.kurtseytandshura.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/nbezmen1

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2Ao8jjr

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1259947.Nermin_Bezmen

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

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

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

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

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

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

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

Readers, stay tuned for  a great guest post by Dating Connections, which details some tips on how to better connect with your partner over the hectic holidays, when the company Dating Connections visits us on December 1st! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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

Book Feature: King in Chains by author Grey Francis

I am pleased to announce a great book by Grey Francis, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her awesome paranormal erotic romance, King in Chains, which released back in September!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover new authors and books. 😀

Grey is allowing us a look at her sexy paranormal romance, King in Chains, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for King in Chains:

Two hundred years. For two hundred years, vampires Alastair and Cassie lived without their Master, Killian. Killian’s return is cause for rejoicing—and nights of unquenchable, burning passion—but Alastair still harbors the fear that his True Mate will abandon them once again.

Complicating matters, Killian still refuses to take his place as the rightful Vampire King, leaving it to Alastair to rule in his stead rather than serving as the Arm of Power.

As Alastair struggles with his doubts, a new threat appears in London. A new Master Vampire stalks the streets, launching brutal attacks on Alastair’s warrior patrols. When this dark new presence makes a brutal attempt on the life of Alastair’s son, war becomes a certainty.

With Cassie and Killian away on important business, Alastair must lead this war alone. He faces a dangerous foe: a necromantic Master Vampire of intense power and uncertain motivations—and intimate ties to Alastair’s past.

The second installment of Grey Francis’s erotic Into the Dark Woods series, King in Chains continues the sensual tale of Alastair and his lovers—and threatens to rip their eternal passion to shreds.

Ooh..interesting!

Let’s hear from the author! Hello, Grey! 🙂

Hi, readers!

Lovely to have you here, Grey! Tell us a little about this book.

A psychologically compelling and literary erotic novel, King in Chains reveals hidden secrets as a new enemy threatens all of Vampire Kind, one who offers the tormented Vampire King, Alastair, something his lovers, Cassie and Killian, never could. With the second novel, I was able to delve deeper into the psychology of the compelling but complex Alastair. As he struggles to resolve the scars of the past that still haunt him, he is confronted by a powerful and sadistic enemy, who threatens to destroy all those he loves and the realm he has built. I wanted to make King in Chains the story of a warrior’s reawakening, as Alastair discovers how to truly love and trust again. He must confront his darkest memories and greatest truths and learn to accept his fate as King, while fighting for those he loves.

Fascinating! King in Chains is the second erotic paranormal romance novel in the Into the Dark Woods series featuring the vampire trio Cassandra Monteclaire, Killian Monteclaire, and Alastair St. Germaine. What’s new for the trio in this sequel to Bound to a Vampire?

In the same way that Bound to a Vampire was told primarily from Cassandra’s perspective, focusing on her history and her journey, King in Chains is Alastair’s story. From his near death on a battlefield at age 10, to his early years as Killian’s Protector and Mate, this book sheds new light on the two men’s tumultuous and passionate relationship. In current day, the story picks up where Bound to a Vampire left off. Only now, it is Alastair who seeks answers. He questions Killian’s devotion to the sacred threesome when he refuses to take his place as King. Unlike the first book, there is a formidable single enemy, a female vampire from Alastair’s past threatening destroy all those Alastair loves and the realm he rules. It is his turn to fight, to visit the past and face his demons, seeking the answers he needs to save himself and his Mates.

Much of King in Chains focuses on Alastair’s mental state. What are some of the psychological issues he deals with in this novel?

When the book begins, Alastair is in therapy, trying to reconcile the trust issues he has with his Master and Mate, Killian. Two hundred years apart after being abandoned has left scars. However, Alastair carries with him a much deeper wound. Inside him lives a very real death wish. He will always feel guilty for being the only survivor of a battle during the 1600’s. As a Protector, warrior and later as a King, he has always believed his fate would eventually catch up with him. Twice now, his death has been predicted by Seers. The first time, he was resigned to it, but against all odds, Cassandra beat fate and brought him back. Now, centuries later, his death has been seen in a vision experienced by his son Haven. Haven is a precognitive and his visions of death are never wrong. Only this time, Alastair is up against an extremely dangerous enemy. But instead of telling his Mates, whose presence in battle would greatly better his chance of survival, Alastair tells no one of the vision, once again accepting his fate as a warrior and validating his own sense of sacrifice.

A necromantic Master Vampire of intense power stalks the streets of London in this novel. What can you tell us about this new villain, and how does it threaten Alastair and the rest of the vampire world?

Ever since Ashen was a little girl, she could speak to the dead. Her ability has always been exploited, but none worse than by her Vampire Masters, Violet and Ambrose. Ashen was also unfortunate enough to fall in love with Alastair after being sent to seduce him. Ultimately, she fails to break up Alastair and Cassandra, a plan orchestrated by her jealous Masters in exchange for eternal life. The last anyone saw Ashen, three centuries earlier, she had been sold to the vampire King of Russia, a collector of curiosities. In time, he would ultimately turn her into a vampire. But when Ashen becomes immortal, her dark gift transforms into something much more powerful and dangerous. Ashen, in her new form, can command the dead to do her bidding. And Ashen wants power. Even the strongest vampires cannot fend off her unearthly electrical attacks. But more than power, Ashen wants Alastair, the only man she’s ever loved, the vampire who rejected her, and the vampire who shares her she wolf spirit. She has waited a long time and now that the Russian King has been murdered, she has nothing holding her back.

What themes are explored in this novel and how do they affect Alastair, Killian, and Cassandra?

There are a few dominant themes in this book. The first is trust. Much of Alastair’s destructive actions throughout the book are driven by a lack of trust, primarily in Killian’s commitment to him when he refuses to take the throne that Alastair has held safe for centuries. Another important theme is the gift of life. Alastair has always struggled with his own long life when he believes he should have been dead centuries earlier. Alastair, deluded by the idea of sacrificing himself for the survival of his family, is forced to come to terms with the true value of his life and all those who depend on him. In a dream-like afterlife, wandering through death’s landscape, Alastair must revisit key moments in his long life to truly appreciate what a precious gift his life has been. And what it could be again – as a King, as a father, and a Mate. And what it means to lose it all.

King in Chains is your second erotic paranormal romance. What do you find challenging and/or interesting about this particular genre, and what have you learned after having written two books in this type of series?

The biggest challenge for me when writing this series is deciding which character’s story I want to tell next! I feel completely committed to Alastair, Cassandra and Killian’s world and all the fascinating vampires who inhabit their past and present. If I could change anything, it would be the ability to write faster! Writing erotica is very interesting because it needs to stay fresh and interesting. You don’t want to write the same bondage scene over and over. It needs to personify the characters and what they are personally going through at that moment. There is also a psychological component playing out in most of the erotic scenes. A Master must understand what each submissive needs in order to feel loved, safe and fulfilled. For Alastair, this might mean pain. For Cassandra it means to be completely overtaken. Balancing the psychological and erotic is always interesting for me. It became especially interesting with a character like Ashen, who simply doesn’t understand love and only wants control. That led to some pretty rough scenes. Going to the edge without going over it is a delicate balance and stretches me as a writer.

Are you working on another book and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Yes! It’s called The Shapeshifter’s Heart, and it focuses on Tristan, Forrest, and Eloise. Tristan is such an interesting character to me. The ability to transform into any human or vampire opens the door for all sorts of exciting storylines. Aside from being completely devastatingly attractive and irresistible to both males and females, Tristan is very old, a political mastermind, and a renowned Sexual Dominant. Even though he has been mated for centuries to Eloise, his heart stopped beating the minute his Natural Mate, Bella, was murdered by Torians in the 1500’s. In a way, Tristan takes care of everyone in his realm, including his King, but he is unable to truly feel anything for himself.  When Tristan takes over for Killian on a diplomatic mission across Europe while mentoring Forrest, Tristan discovers that Forrest’s former boss, and guardian, Cyril Winterman, who betrayed the entire Sentient organization, is hiding out in Scotland. In Scotland, Tristan finds himself in tremendous danger as he confronts the very vampire who killed his human clan and made him a vampire. Facing danger and exploring their growing bond to one another, Tristan and Forrest set out on a journey that will reveal great truths and change them both forever.

Sounds intriguing! Let’s read an excerpt from King in Chains

England, 1648

With Alastair tucked inside his cloak, the Scotsman moves fast, giving him the sense they are soaring through the night sky. When they stop, he hears the Scotsman talking to someone. Alastair opens one blurry eye and sees a young warrior standing at the doorway of a fancy carriage. The next time he wakes, the ground is moving beneath them, the carriage rumbling along the muddy road. Alastair is given something warm and strange to drink but he never opens his eyes to see what it is. He only knows it takes the pain away and makes him feel stronger. Alastair continues to sleep against the Scotsman’s chest for several hours, inhaling his wondrous scent, too exhausted to lift his head. Dreamlike, he hears the Scotsman talking to the warrior.

“He’s a wee lad. How could anyone put him out there?” the younger voice says disdainfully.

The Scotsman chuckles. “He’s a little warrior. I doubt he gave them much choice.”

“How’s the wound?” the younger voice asks.

“No longer bleeding . . . ” the Scotsman responds in a low, concerned voice.

After a long pause, the younger man asks, “What is it? Is something wrong with him?”

“No. Quite the opposite,” the Scot says, something unsteady in his commanding voice. “He doesn’t smell or taste like anyone I’ve ever met.”

“Killian, would it be best if I held him for a while?” the younger man responds with concern in his voice.

Killian.

“No,” Killian answers sharply. “It was just a moment. I can control myself.” There’s a long pause and Alastair senses Killian’s hand on his forehead, stroking him. “We must take care of him, Finn. He is someone to me.”

That is all Alastair hears before falling back to sleep. He wakes to find himself alone in the carriage, sleeping on a cushioned bench, a blanket tucked around him. They are stopped along a roadway, some sort of commotion taking place outside. Alastair moves tentatively at first because of his wound, but quickly realizes with astonishment there is no more pain. He pulls up his torn, bloodstained shirt and sees that his wound is wrapped in clean dressing and is no longer bleeding. Even the bite on his leg and the deep slice on his arm have miraculously begun to heal. His mind spins, trying to remember what the Scotsman did to him, what he drank. It had been something warm and strangely quenching, and not from a cup. The shouts outside quickly distract him and he moves to the window.

He sees that soldiers have stopped Killian, Finn, and their driver. Alastair’s heart pounds with fear, wondering if this has something to do with him. Listening closer, Alastair realizes the soldiers are asking for papers and hassling his rescuers. What fascinates him is how indifferent Killian and Finn seem to this inconvenience. They have no fear of these soldiers. On the contrary, Alastair gets the sense the Scotsman is goading them.

The next thing he knows, weapons are being raised and in a blur, Killian is no longer standing next to the carriage but in front of two soldiers, splitting them open and slashing their throats with what appears to be very long, sharp claws, leaving both men dead before they hit the ground. Finn takes the other two soldiers down in fast, lethal strokes of a blade. The last soldier, stunned and having no time to react, is clutched in the Scotsman’s arms, his head bent back as Killian sinks huge fangs into the man’s neck and drinks, blood pouring down his face. Killian’s two young warriors merely watch impassively, Finn whistling as he wipes off his sword and returns it to its sheath.

Observing this, Alastair breaks out in a cold sweat, coils of fear gathering inside him. Killian is no human. He’s seen the creature’s sharp fangs and claws, and the power and speed with which he killed the soldiers, as if they were made of straw. It also explains how he drove off the scavengers in seconds, killing most of them. Killian is some sort of monster that drinks blood—an undeniable and frightening fact. But watching Killian slaughter soldiers from the same army that annihilated his regiment is a spectacular sight to behold. Never had he seen faster or more ruthless kills, all done without a single weapon.

Darker thoughts dawn on Alastair. Impressed as he is, maybe he is being naive. It’s possible Killian only saved Alastair to feast on his fresh young blood later. Breathing hard and ready to flee, Alastair finds himself conflicted. It would be easy to slip out of the carriage with Killian busy feeding and Finn occupied with collecting the bodies into a heap. But something stops him. Perhaps it is the feeling of safety he experiences being close to Killian that still lingers seductively inside him. Never has Alastair known such a feeling. If Killian wished him harm, he had had plenty of opportunity. And why go to so much effort to heal his wounds if the Scotsman only means to kill him later? If anything, he seems highly protective of him.

He touches his wound, something coming back to him. A taste left in his mouth. It had been blood, Killian’s blood. That was what Alastair drank, not from a cup, but from the flesh. Thoughts begin to fit together, stories told around the fire, folklore. He should be afraid, very afraid, but instead he cannot pull his eyes away from Killian, fascinated by a creature of such power and speed, beauty and brutality. A vampire. A real, sodding vampire.

What people are saying about this book:

It is exciting, perplexing, heart-breaking, sexy and superbly entertaining!” – C.J. Populus, Amazon

It was a book that was never dull, and putting all of the sex and torture aside, it is a story of a deep never ending love between the three main characters. I recommend reading the books in order and I can’t wait till the next book in the series.” – Linda, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B075V5LRQR

 

Wow! Great excerpt. ♥♥♥

Thank you for telling us about your book, Grey! 🙂

You can check out book one of the series too…

 

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! Or you can add it to Goodreads! 😉

Author Bio

Grey Francis, a native of Los Angeles, graduated with BA in Journalism before setting off for the New York publishing world. She later relocated back to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. She eventually put her fascination with the paranormal to work as a screenwriter, but it wasn’t until the birth of her series, Into the Dark Woods, that she found her voice as an erotic writer and novelist. Her first book, Bound to a Vampire, was published in January 2015 and the sequel, King in Chains, was released in September 2017.  Francis is currently hard at work on her third book in the series, The Shapeshifter’s Heart. When she isn’t writing, Francis is a busy full-time mother of two wonderful kids.

Author Links

Website:  http://greyfrancis.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/grey_francis

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13504371.Grey_Francis

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

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Dark Fantasy, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing

Back to Christmas Town: a guest post by romance author Anna Adams

Back to Christmas Town!

by Anna Adams

 

Here we go again, and I am dancing! Every year, a group of Harlequin Heartwarming authors moves to Christmas Town, Maine. We build families and businesses and homes. We visit with all the friends we haven’t seen since last year. And the traditions—Santa comes back to the green, the whole town decorates together, and everyone puts on a Christmas pageant. Most of all, a kiss in the gazebo before midnight on Christmas Eve means a wedding in the new year.

Back in June, I started planning my Christmas Town holiday beneath a blue sky that didn’t seem to threaten with snow. As I dreamed of scenes between my injured soldier and the woman he’d loved and once left behind, the world looked more like this.

I had to take steps, so I turned to my favorite streaming station, Swingin’ Christmas Radio. I have a secret to share—when you’re living in a snowy landscape, surrounded by the sound of your favorite carols, the summer world can turn a little wintry.

I hope you’ll enjoy Santa’s Secret Heart. My hero, Mason Alexander, had no interest in the holidays, so naturally, I thought he needed to learn from inside Santa’s suit.

Mason Alexander has one goal—to get back to his unit on deployment, but Emma Rycroft and her son distract Christmas Town’s newest and most unwilling Santa. When Mason and Emma join forces to restore a child’s faith in the holiday, they also find the love they once lost.

 

Wow! Thank you, Anna, for giving us a peek into your writing world and getting us into the holiday spirit.

What a beautiful cover! 😀

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this lovely Christmas anthology? Sounds like a plan!:)

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Heartwarming Holiday Wishes:

Your favorite Harlequin Heartwarming authors are back with ten all new Christmas stories set in charming Christmas Town, Maine. This year, a stocking brings a special holiday wish to each story.

Save on your next Heartwarming purchase. Details inside the book.

This holiday season, warm your heart with 10 connected sweet, clean & wholesome holiday romances set in Christmas Town from 10 Harlequin Heartwarming authors who are USA Today bestselling authors.

This collection of PG-rated holiday romances are all set in Christmas Town, Maine, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release, Christmas, Actually.

Heartwarming Holiday Wishes will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1000 pages.

Santa’s Secret Heart by Anna Adams
Merry Christmas Carol by Melinda Curtis
Miracle on Joyful Street by Liz Flaherty
Finding His Fiancée by Christmas by Cheryl Harper
The Christmas Window by Tara Randel
Mistletoe and Holly by Leigh Riker
Gingerbread Girl by Carol Ross
The Christmas List by Anna J Stewart
A Case for Christmas Magic by Amy Vastine
Jingle Bell Love by Cari Lynn Webb

Check out the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature for a great excerpt!

What people are saying about this holiday anthology:

I do so love it when the holiday books arrive! I enjoy reading them all year long but when fall hits, there is nothing better than a whole box set. I’ve read them all and enjoyed my yearly visit to Christmas Town. I only have one word to describe them all: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” —gds, Amazon

“Loved it! I was torn between reading it quickly because it was so good and reading it slowly to savor it.” —Rachael B., Amazon

I love visiting Christmas Town, Maine. Heartwarming Holiday Wishes lets me enjoy this wonderful town. The love and magic I found here took me to my happy place.” —Rosemary, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B073ZMMYL2

B&N:  http://bit.ly/2u6UHFb

Google Play:  http://bit.ly/2tcPSY8

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/heartwarming-holiday-wishes/id1261084826?mt=11

♥♥♥ Interesting! It looks like special romantic read for the season! 

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

Author Bio

Anna Adams is a USA Today Bestseller, who has written for Harlequin Heartwarming and Harlequin Superromance. She’s working on new contemporary romance stories, and she’s excited about returning to Christmas Town, Maine, where the holidays are always sweet with her Heartwarming friends. You can find her at www.annaadams.net.

Author Links

Website:  http://annaadams.net/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AnnaAdams

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Adams/e/B001HD1C2O/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21942.Anna_Adams

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

4 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Guest Writer, Holiday, Love, Message, Readers, Romance, Writing

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Josh is a Big. Fat. Jerk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Here is the blurb for Fat Girl Begone!.

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

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

Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.

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

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

“Hey, Everly.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

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

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

Fat girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last

Everyone knows the cliché ‘Nice guys finish last’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

He has to live.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You okay, Mr. Betts?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trish had her heart set on Westland, too.

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links:

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

B&N:  https://goo.gl/79zZej

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

Kobo:  https://goo.gl/Ddf8rc

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

Sign up for Lynn’s newsletter for news on upcoming releases and monthly giveaways.

Author Links

Website:  www.lstevensbooks.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LStevensAuthor

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Stevens/e/B072C947B9/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16771319.Lynn_Stevens

Newsletter:  http://lstevensbooks.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9a853c02e8bcbb7b82724c274&id=690e626c95

Tumblr:  http://lynnstevensauthor.tumblr.com

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

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

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author D.E. Haggerty visits us on October 17th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, New Adult, Readers, Romance, sports romance, Writers, Writing