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Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels

 

If you’re a fan of romance, then you’ve probably heard an insult or two regarding your favorite genre. And for those who don’t often gravitate towards romance for various reasons, now is the time to listen up and take this into consideration. You might be wrong about your assumptions! 😉 So, read on and learn more here…

I’ll list some myths that I’ve heard and read before.

  1. “It’s all smut.”

    freestocks.org, Unsplash

    Uggh…this word can annoy an avid romance reader. Some might think this myth is outdated, but there are people who still believe romance novels are smut, or trashy reads.

Bodice rippers went out of style by the mid-80s. The genre, as well as authors and readers, have evolved considerably. Erotica is a different subject matter entirely. Plus, bodice rippers promote rape culture, and most romance novels nowadays don’t even touch on that topic in a romantic relationship. With good reason, of course. Both sexual partners should be willing.

‘Mommy porn’ is also a derogative term which is used by certain parties in reference to romance books. Come on, not every romance author writes Fifty Shades-esque material, and readers are certainly not just mothers. Some are single, professional women. Romance readers are intelligent, capable people just as they are, and they’re not reading ‘smut’ or even ‘fluff’. It takes a lot of effort and smarts to digest a full romance novel (historical romance is heavy on time period description) – or in the case of fantasy and sci-fi romance, lots of world-building – in one sitting, and keep coming back for more.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

And no, we don’t just skip to the good parts! 🙄

  1. “Gross! I’m a guy. Men don’t read or write romance.”

Geez…get with the times! Men like to read romance too. ♥ For God’s sake, my reviewer for this blog is a guy. He adores reading romance books! And yes, he’s also a romance writer. I’ve also met a handful of other male authors who sometimes write in the romance genre.

There’s nothing wrong at all with dudes getting into romance reads, as writers or readers. More power to them! 😀

  1. “These books are so simple. 1+1 = 2, right? It’s not that difficult to understand.”

Actually, romance stories are complicated. It takes a hell of a lot more than just throwing two unique people next to each other, and then expecting fireworks. Life is full of ups and downs, a roller coaster journey, so to speak. Why wouldn’t a romance read have the same drama and tension?

Created by bearfotos- freepik.com

Authenticity is everything. Readers won’t care about characters or a story which isn’t relatable, or read something that couldn’t feasibly occur in reality. Even if the tale has fantastical elements, we have to believe in what’s happening, and see the reason why these characters are compatible.

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

  1. “Romance books are standard, or boring! Not for me…I need something that holds my attention.”

Really? With the constant evolution of multiple themes and sub-genres of romance, we’re not likely to run out of new ideas, nor are readers liable to call it quits any time soon. It’s one of the most popular book categories for a reason! 🙂

If you like shapeshifters, there’s always paranormal romance. Who doesn’t like vampires, werewolves or witches?

Favor a good spy tale or mystery/thriller? Try romantic suspense or a romantic thriller for some heart-pounding action.

Do you crave stories that are…a tad darker? There’s a type called dark romance, and even unique themes such as mafia romance or MC (biker) romances are available.

Prefer adventure tales? Maybe fantasy romance or romantic adventure is more your style.

You could be a science fiction fan, but might be willing to try something with a romantic storyline. As you know, many of the most popular sci-fi films usually have a romance angle to appeal to audiences. Why not go for science fiction romance, dystopian romance or even a good time travel tale?

 

Maybe you like stories about war veterans. Well, we have military romance

In other words, this genre has sooooo many options! ♥

  1. “I don’t believe in love at first sight. I can’t get into romance novels.”

Even as someone who has read tons of romance novels in some capacity since the age of thirteen, I can’t say I go for love at first sight either. However, I do believe that two people can connect right away. Lust also happens pretty fast too, but that’s beside the point. With these two facts, I know it still takes time to build a good relationship. I’ve read plenty of novels that don’t fall into the trap of the love at first sight ideal. I think it’s why the ‘Happy for Now’ ending works so well; most novelists get that this is more realistic on some level. I think that a lot of writers these days are doing their best to show that it’s not really love at first sight – rather it’s more about chemistry and an instant connection evolving quickly into something substantial. And this isn’t unheard of in real life.

But we don’t have 1,000 pages to explain the whole courtship/dating period; therefore it falls on the writer to try to make it a believable story in a short amount of time.

As a writer of romance as well, with twenty-four published books and 125+ works-in-progress, I usually do my best to avoid the idea of immediate love. Chemistry is easy, though.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

It’s everything else that complicates the story. Even in my shorter romantic fiction, I try to explain that enough time – even though I don’t always go into the normal life details – has passed for these two people to actually develop feelings.

With The Missing Piece, a story that was part of a holiday romance anthology and was then made into a single ebook (new adult romance), I was careful to simply show the stirrings of romantic interest in such a short time.

For me, I see insta-love as a notion that often works well for supernatural creatures in fiction, simply because their primal, possessive instincts are winning out over logic. This can merge into affection rather quickly because all of their senses are more heightened than usual. Everything is so vivid that it must be love.

  1. “Romance novels are too sexy. I can’t handle all that heat.”

So steam isn’t for you. We totally respect your preferences! If you find that most romance reads are rife with heated or even graphic content, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Try inspirational romance. Have you seen Amish romance in bookstores? Yeah, that’s one type, among so many others.

But let’s say you’re open to looking outside spiritual reads. Also available on the market are clean romance and sweet romance. Plus, cozy mysteries typically lack sexual content, and amid all the other events in the books, there’s sometimes a romance angle.

In any case, the authors of these clean reads subscribe to the notion of a sweet romance, or at least closed door romance. We’re all adults here, right? But at least if sexual content bothers you in any fashion, you can rest assured that with these types of books, it usually won’t go beyond kissing. And even if it does, what happens is implied and never vividly described. Cut to the next scene!

Anyway, if you believe you can’t read romance because it’s just too hot for your taste, that no longer has to be the case.

  1. “Please…romance novels aren’t even real fiction!”

Hmm…ouch. 😥 Still, this myth is just wrong.

Let’s look at the basic formula for fiction.

The character is introduced. There is some action happening, a type of conflict. Something prevents him from getting what he really wants (usually the antagonist, which can be a person, place, thing, or even a concept). By the end of the story, this character must change in some capacity, internally or externally. The tale reaches its conclusion, however satisfying – or unsatisfying – it may be for readers.

These are the principles of fiction, of course. And you have interactions with secondary characters, dialogue and tension that help shape the story and your idea of who this person is. There’s also the climax of the tale, that pivotal movement when things get really tense for the character – the reader too – and he or she is close to losing everything. But I digress.

Every romance meets the requirements of fiction as well. It’s a lot more than two people being brought together like magnets. Chemistry is just a small part of it. The question becomes…how do we realistically connect these individuals? They have to fit somehow.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Numerous elements go into making that happen. There’s a specific plot, as well as subplots. The character must want something, have a goal in mind. The story isn’t always just about romance, but also the way characters come to believe new truths about themselves. They’re not only capable of love. Maybe the main character wants a promotion. But to do that, she’ll have to step outside her comfort zone to impress her boss. In any case, an HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (Happy for Now) is only possible if the character reaches the proper mindset to have a real romantic relationship. Without that, it’s just attraction – then it becomes erotica alone, which is something else altogether.

For example, being with an emotionally unavailable person is like hitting your head against the wall. In the end, it’s just pointless. For this type of relationship to qualify as a real romance, the characters must change – events might happen in their lives to help adjust their worldview – and they can reach a certain level of happiness. But it’s going to be a hard journey to get there. Romance stories aren’t all hearts, flowers, and butterflies.

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

True fiction is housed in every romance tale. The character still goes through a range of emotions to achieve what he/she wants. As aforementioned, often there is an antagonist preventing the couple from being together, whether it’s a person, a misconceived notion, or another external force that keeps them apart.

Sometimes it’s more than one antagonist. It’s never easy right away. Eventually, the characters must find a way around the barrier. Every relationship in real life takes effort, and these stories are no different.

Oh, wait!

Pixabay, pexels.com

The character wanted something, had a goal in mind. To reach that aspiration, he took action, and then the events that occurred reshaped his way of thinking. But at least he found what he was looking for. And he changed on some level, right? Yep…sounds like fiction to me! 😉

  1. “These books are useless drivel, and they create unrealistic expectations for people.”

To me, that sounds like it’s coming from someone who is afraid of the power of genuine emotion. But, let’s explore the aforesaid theory.

Relationships are hard work, and those in romance novels take just as much effort. If a writer is doing his or her job correctly, this will come out on the page.

Unrealistic? Hmm…if anything, I think the romance reader will see reality for what it is. No, finding happiness is never easy, but it’s worth the journey.

To illustrate this point, I’ll reference the trope often seen in historical romances…Marrying for Convenience versus Marrying for Love.

The truth is that even modern readers understand the benefits of a marriage of convenience. With financial and social stability, it’s a match that makes sense. But more often than not, we’ll root for the opposite outcome.

Why? Are we silly dreamers?

Not at all. It’s just that deep down, we all want to be happy. This is in our nature as human beings. We’re conditioned to know that events should play out a certain way – getting married and having kids is usually expected – but our instincts tell us there’s more to the story. Of course, those eventualities don’t work for every person. Still, why wouldn’t we want happiness for the characters we’ve come to care about?

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

So, is it unrealistic to crave love? I don’t think so. At least in my opinion, romance novels have the power to teach us what we want in life. And who couldn’t use a little more self-awareness? I know I’d rather be in a relationship that works well, which helps me evolve as a person, rather than one that might look okay on paper, yet will only serve to hurt me in the long run.

Plenty of people are unhappy because they made the wrong choices. Maybe they feel trapped, but in the end, they have to figure a way out on their own. Some will settle, others won’t. That’s the thing about life, though. If you make a mistake, the best you can do is try to repair it. And if that’s not possible, you get creative and find a new route to achieve your goal.

Being logical is one way of thinking. Listening to your heart, really opening yourself up to what will make you happy? That takes courage.

I believe romance novels can teach us a lot about ourselves, and help us to understand the motivations of other people too.

Is this realistic? Probably not. But it can prevent someone from making a rash decision, to use their heart and instincts to discover what they want, and determine the best solution for them. How admirable, right? Outsiders can judge all they want, and it won’t matter as long as that person is satisfied with what they’ve chosen.

At any rate, romance novels are lot more complex than they may seem at first glance. Reading these books can offer many benefits – numerous insights and a source of entertainment, just to name a couple! If you’re interested in learning more, you can view a full list of sub-genres and romance tropes below.

https://marielavender.blogspot.com/2016/03/understanding-romance-genre-by-marie-lavender-plus-giveaway.html

https://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/for-writers/romance-tropes/

I hope I’ve reaffirmed some aspects for loyal fans, and offered advice worth considering for people who are new to the romance genre. If you know of anyone who still believes these myths are valid, please refer them to this article. 😉

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 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 writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
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http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
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Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

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Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Pixabay, Pexels.com

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Blog Tour Feature: Indigo Knights Series by A.J. Downey

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by A.J. Downey, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your contemporary romance series! :)

When a series is completed, it is both a thrilling and bittersweet time for authors!

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering new romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this MC romance series…

Such great covers!

Let’s learn a little more about the Indigo Knights Series…

This is the blurb for Her Thin Blue Lifeline, book one:

Chrissy Franco has every reason to take one hell of a victory lap around the courtroom. She’s just defended her client to the best of her ability and what’s more? Her client was actually innocent. Oh, she’d killed her husband, baseball legend Skip Maguire, alright; but he’d been about to hit a homerun with Miranda’s head.

His rabid fan base doesn’t agree with the verdict, and they’ve set their sights on Chrissy as the one to blame. One of them is about to set into motion a dangerous game when he publishes poor Chrissy’s address online…

Enter Tony McCormick, a detective with the right kind of attitude and Chrissy’s sort of ex-boyfriend. When he’s called to Chrissy’s apartment, he’s prepared for the worst. He’s a homicide detective after all. When he arrives, it seems that someone might have forgotten to check to see if Chrissy was still alive… now it’s everything he can do to find the man who did this and the other behind it all before it’s really too late.

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, second chance, MC romance, mystery, suspense

Length: Novel

Release Date: June 28, 2017

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Here are some teasers to entice you with.

Purchase Link:

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

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38310257-her-thin-blue-lifeline

This is the blurb for His Cold Blue Command, book two:

Assistant District Attorney Damien Parnell leads a double life above and beyond his membership with the Indigo Knights. Driven by dark desires considered shameful by most, he covets the one thing he can’t allow himself to have – a real relationship.

Enter Ally Blaylock, an innocent by Yale’s standards. She’s the sweet and beautiful girl who makes his coffee at the café across the street from his office. She’s done her best to flirt off and on with the high powered attorney and he can’t help but be drawn to her whimsical charm.

When Ally finds her world tipped on its axis, Yale goes against his better judgment and offers her some unlikely help. He knows better than most that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but in this particular case, could it be the opposite? Could Allison Blaylock be the start down the road to his salvation?

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Heat Level: Steamy, some BDSM

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Here are some teasers…

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/38xZQ6

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36380279-his-cold-blue-command

This is the blurb for A Low Blue Flame, book three:

Lillian Banks’ career took off like a house on fire and she’s on top of the world. Great job that she loves, moved to a great city, into an opulent new condo, in one of the world’s premier smart buildings no less; all she was missing was the kind of romance to set her soul aflame. She thought she’d found it but instead, found herself burned.

Backdraft knows what it’s like to get burned and not just by fire. His ex, Torri, did quite the number on him recently by banging one of his firehouse bros behind his back. He’s sworn off love and dating altogether for the time being and is happier for it. He just wishes he could get the time he wasted with that crazy skank back again.

Out of the ashes, an unlikely friendship is formed. Backdraft and Lilli could find themselves rising if only they can get past their hurts and give things a chance. Of course, lasting happiness is no guarantee, no matter how much they might burn for each other. After all, sometimes what was doesn’t want to let go.

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Some more teasers…

Purchase Link:

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

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40015086-a-low-blue-flame

This is the blurb for His Wild Blue Rose, book four:

Alyssa isn’t completely honest when she answers the ad for a roommate online. True, she needs a place to live; true, she’s getting a divorce; true, he’s a cheating jerk. There’s just a little bit more to it than that. So when the ad comes across her screen Indigo City beat cop looking to rent out a fully furnished room… she jumps on it, because what could be safer than living with a cop?

Golden isn’t too keen on living with a chick, but after posting online looking for a roommate, he’s found the pickings are slim. The softly spoken brunette doesn’t seem like she’s much trouble, plus she’s got the cash up front, so what the hell? She’ll just have to get over his bringing home badge bunnies from the 10-13. He’s got a stressful job, and the best way to blow off steam, in his estimation, is hot sex.

It’s a pressure cooker waiting to blow and it turns out the new roomie has moxie, which gets Golden to thinking, which leads to him feeling. This is either going to be a really good or a really bad idea.

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Release Date: July 17, 2017

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

Quite a few teasers for you to enjoy…

Purchase Link:

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

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40390125-his-wild-blue-rose

This is the blurb for Her Pained Blue Silence, book five:

Everleigh has had a wandering spirit since the day she was born. Her boring, small town could barely contain her and at the first opportunity, she fled. It was only natural falling in line with the freedom that MC life brought to her. The allure of never being told what to do a strong one. Sadly, she found herself trading one cage for another. Given the road name Silence, for her shy lack of voice, she’s been a part of a motorcycle gang out of Maryland. A rough and tumble lot believing in sovereignty, running guns and drugs through Indigo City.

Narcos has been undercover with the outlaw MC, the Knights of Crescentia for more than a year. In that time, he’s seen and heard all sorts of things, except for Silence’s voice. She’s the president’s Ol’ Lady and probably knows infinitely more than he does as a prospect to the club. All that is about to change. Narcos is about to be patched in. Unfortunately, patching in means going to an extreme he’d never thought he’d be pushed to and Silence is in the crosshairs.

How will he get through this, through to her, and keep them both alive?

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, MC romance, suspense

Length: Novel

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

More teasers for you…

Purchase Link:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/b6x8O6

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42975298-her-pained-blue-silence

✫✶•Releasing in April•✫✶

 

This is the blurb for A Code Blue Call, book six:

It was a dark night of the soul for Angel, the night she appeared like his namesake. He would have liked to have known her, but she was gone the next morning. Now, more than a year later, he was doing much better, continuing his work in Indigo City’s streets as a paramedic, responding to medical emergencies.

Claire could never forget the medic whose life she saved just by being in the right place at the right time. Still, it wasn’t enough to rescue her from her own dark night of the soul and unlike him, she followed through.

Fate had other ideas for the both of them and for whatever reason, their paths crossed again at exactly the right moment. Both of them were now determined to not let this second chance pass them by, not like the first…

Book Info:

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Keywords: contemporary romance, second chance, MC romance

Length: Novel

Release Date: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Second Circle Press

Cover Artist: Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs

A few teasers…

Pre-order Link:

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

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43563810-a-code-blue-call

Love the tension and the steam in this series. ♥♥♥

 

Plus, A.J. is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card during this tour. Follow the book tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

.•°GIVEAWAY LINK°•.

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/indigo-knights-book-tour-and-giveaway

 

Thank you for telling us about your new steamy MC romance, A.J.!

I know I can’t wait to read this sexy series! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of the Indigo Knights Series!

Author Bio

A.J. Downey is a born and raised Seattle, WA native. She finds inspiration from her surroundings, through the people she meets and likely as a byproduct of way too much caffeine.

She has lived many places and done many things though mostly through her own imagination…

An avid reader all of her life, it’s now her turn to try and give back a little, entertaining as she has been entertained. She lives in a small apartment in a quiet neighborhood with a larger than life fiancé and two cats.

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this delicious and suspenseful MC romance series!

And don’t forget to enter the cool giveaway!

Thanks again to A.J. and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Book Release, Books, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, giveaway, MC and biker romance, Mystery, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Second Chances, steamy, Tour, Writing

A Character Interview with Elizabeth from MERCY’S ANGELS plus a conversation with author Barbi Barnard!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed C.J. Anaya’s character on December 18th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Barbi Barnard, the author of Mercy’s Angels, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her  characters, Elizabeth Clayton, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Barbi in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Elizabeth!

Elizabeth

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

Character Elizabeth (Momma) Clayton: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

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

Elizabeth: Okay.

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

Elizabeth:  I am self-employed. I own a bar/ pool hall.

Am I any good at it? I think so. I make a good profit and have a steady clientele. People enjoy coming here and return again and again.

Do I like it? I like that my bills are paid and I can support my girls the way I want to. I’m happy with being my own boss and doing things the way I want. I like not answering to anyone.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!  😉

So, tell us. What is your family like?

Elizabeth:  Female! I have a step-daughter and an adopted daughter. My daughter Jenni is grown and married, and my adopted daughter Tiffi just graduated college. I have been separated from my husband twice as long as I was with him, so I don’t count him. I love the fact it was just girls. I never had to have the puberty talk with a male child.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Okay.

What did your childhood home look like?

Elizabeth: Typical small wooden two bedroom clapboard home. Nothing fancy. My mother kept it clean and decorated for a family. My father took pride in his yard work.

Marie:  I see.

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

Elizabeth:  Quilting and reading. I enjoy going to my pond and watching the ducks and swans swimming. It’s restful to me. When the weather is bad, I enjoy reading fiction.

Marie:  (Smiles.) Reading is awesome!

So, tell us…what is your greatest dream, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  To see my girls do everything they can dream of. I want them to be happy and successful in whatever they choose.

Marie:  All right.

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

Elizabeth:  A little more confident and assertive. What’s stopping me? Insecurities from childhood have carried over and sometimes I don’t feel confident. When it comes to my girls, I can find the courage to speak up for them but not always for myself.

Marie:  Yeah, I think sometimes it is hard for us to defend ourselves as women.

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

Who was your first love?

Elizabeth:  A sweet young man who seemed larger than life to me. Sometimes I think he was just a figment of my imagination.

Mercy's Angels

Marie:  Ooh, I would love to press for details, but I  see you’re trying to be mysterious. Still, I just love romance so I can’t help but want to hear it…

All right. So, let’s try something else.

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

Elizabeth:  I was held hostage for close to six years. Abused in every way imaginable.

Marie:  I’m so sorry to hear that. That’s horrible. 😦 

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

I can see this is difficult for you. Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Elizabeth 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?

Elizabeth: I wanted the fairy tale. Children and a husband. A happy family that spent a weekend with the grandparents. Did I achieve that dream? No. I have my girls, but there are no grandparents to visit and no husband. I didn’t have a happy marriage. And never had any children of my own. Both my parents are deceased. I have tried to do right by my girls and to be everything they need, but I worry they missed out on a “normal” childhood.

Marie:  Well, I think you can only do your best. And you sound like a great mother. 😉

Let’s try something else.

So, can you tell us…who is your role model, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  I honestly can’t say I have one. I try to be one, but I brought myself up and never had a mentor. In a way I guess my girls are role models for me as I live vicariously through their success.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Elizabeth:  Yes, a few actually. Mostly men I have come across in my life. In business, you have to smile through a lot of negative things.

Marie:  I hear that.

So, what is your deepest desire?

Elizabeth:  To live life happy and content. And to visit a foreign country.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question…

What is your greatest fear, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth:  To relive my past or to have my girls live my past. I donate money to shelters for women. I never want someone to not have help when needed.

Marie:  How admirable!

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

Elizabeth:  Thank you for having me, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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Author Barbi Barnard:  Hello, Marie!  A pleasure to meet you.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

So, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Elizabeth. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Barbi: Elizabeth is a survivor. She doesn’t see her own strength and how her strength impacts those around her. She has let herself become an introvert and isolated herself.

Marie:  I think we all struggle to see ourselves the way others do…

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Barbi:  She has a strong independent nature. She can do anything without any help. She makes things happen. She can see a problem and find a solution for it.

Marie:  Awesome!  And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Barbi: Her insecurities. She is afraid to let people get close to her. She doesn’t trust people. She is afraid of people she lets into her circle hurting her.

Marie:  That’s sad, but knowing her past, I can understand her hesitance.

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Barbi: Elizabeth loves Mexican food. Chicken enchiladas are her favorite.

Marie:  Those are pretty good!  🙂

How about another question?

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

Barbi:  She has an inner strength. She has no idea how others see her. She feels shame from her past and sees it like a cloak when looking in the mirror. No one else sees it. They see a strong, confident woman.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Barbi:  I believe they will love her. She comes from a background that few have lived. Her survival of that makes her a hero to some and a strength to others.

Marie:  Great!

So, now that we have a real taste of Elizabeth, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Mercy’s Angels?

Barbi:  I was told to write what I know. To put on paper the thoughts that plagued me. There is a lot of truth in the stories. Some are happy, and some are dark and twisted.

Marie:  Okay.

Let’s try something else.

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

Barbi:  Definitely a pantster. I tried the plot outline and having a plotted out story line for each chapter. When I look back on the notes, I see so much that went way off track.

Marie:  I can respect that. Sometimes it’s better to listen to the muse.

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

Barbi:  Getting published these days is just a matter of clicking a mouse, but having something worth reading is harder. You have to take the time to have it edited and proofread. I thought I did an okay job and when I see the original file, I cringe. Nothing beats a professional editing job. Talk to others. There are plenty of Indie writers that are willing to give advice or just be a sounding board for every aspect of your project.  What would I do differently the next time? I would have spent more time with the characters’ development. Let the reader see more of what made them who they are.

Marie:  That’s sound advice! And I have to agree. It’s certainly not good to rush into publishing. And readers will call you out for those mistakes. I’m glad you figured it all out, hon.

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 Mercy’s Angels appears to be.

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

Mercy's Angels

Here is the blurb for Mercy’s Angels:

First in the Mercy’s Angels Series.

This is also the story of three women who all have one thing in common: Angels Mercy MC.

Elizabeth forced to live the club life by threats and violence.

Jenni watched in disgust and confusion.
Tiffi heard the stories from her family.
Three women. Three tales of courage, determination… and a little humor. Find out how “Momma” became the owner of a Motorcycle Club…

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

The sound of the bikes coming in through the back has me rising out of my chair and throwing my e-reader to the floor. I can see four of them through the doorway, coming up from the path by the pond. I miss that sound, of multiple engines rumbling along.

Some would be afraid. Not me. It brings a sense of security to my heart. The memories of riding in a group of hundreds, going on a day trip to a park are fond. The charity rides and relays where we met lots of other charters and clubs were great. Too bad the memories of the people I was forced to live with aren’t.

Greg looks good. He has grown into a good-looking man. He doesn’t look old like some bikers do. His eyes are bright, his skin is smooth, and his clothes are clean and new. The exact opposite of what my mind remembers from my youth.

He sees me and his smile is big. He takes a step to walk to me and stops. Is he unsure of his welcome? I walk out the door toward him and see the smile on his mouth curl up to his eyes. He is now running to me. I am crushed to a broad chest and spun around.

“Oh, baby girl. You are beautiful. I’m so sorry I didn’t stay around for your transformation into a woman. Wayne is one lucky f****er,” he laughingly tells me.

I have to swat him for the remark. “Your mouth hasn’t changed, but the rest has. You look good,” I snort at him between laughs.

“Clean living, little sis. Clean and sober living.” He looks into my eyes, so I know he means it.

I gasp. “Are you telling me the truth? How can you be clean and still wearing an Angel cut? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I cry.

He laughs. “The club is all clean. Nothing dirty at all. We lost a lot of our members to other charters because of it. I think it was worth it and as it was my turn to hold the chair, I brought it to the table for a vote. Those that wanted to stay, did. And those that wanted to transfer out, left. It is that simple.”

My head is spinning and my knees are weak. I can’t picture a clean club. I was born into the drugs and guns. The sex and mistreatment of women. People naked on the bar. Men ripping clothes from the women and forcing them to take on two or three men at a time. It’s a wonder I didn’t turn into a nun from what I lived through.

“I’m so glad for you,” I tell him. “I worried you would walk the path Richard walked. I never want that for you.”

“Not to worry, baby, I have a legitimate job and I stay on the right side of the law and government. I’m a productive member of society with not even a pimple of a criminal record,” he boasts.

This makes me happy. I jump and crash myself into his chest. My hold on him would strangle a smaller man.

“Come meet the guys. I told them about you on the way here and I don’t think they believed me,” he tells me.

Ooh…I definitely want to know what happens next!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B013OGE96M

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1NzCv9u

CreateSpace:  http://bit.ly/1mfny3b

About Barbi Barnard

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Barbi Barnard is a native of North Louisiana. Married with grown children. And a growing amount of grandchildren (eleven at last count). Barbi went to college after the youngest started school and has a degree in Office Management and Accounting. Barbi loves to spend time with her family. With such a large family, a revolving door would help as there are always people coming and going in the Barnard house. The need to read books was instilled at a young age as it was the preferred pastime of the adults that influenced her life.

Barbi’s Books:

[Coming Soon]

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[Available Now]

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Mercy's Angels

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/dubsdoll

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/1NIGA99

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13688579.Barbi_Barnard

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100596288266654182721/posts

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/503629170808547347/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/barbi-barnard

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Elizabeth Clayton, the female main character from Mercy’s Angels, and Barbi Barnard, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

 

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