Tag Archives: blog

Book Lovers Tag

Here’s a fun post for all. This is a Book Lovers Tag challenge. I came across this great tag over at D.G. Kaye Writer’s blog, where she invited anyone to join in. I thought it would be exciting to jump into the challenge, as besides being an author, I love reading romance novels (hence the blog’s namesake)! So, why not?

Do you have a specific place for reading?

Mostly, I read in bed, but now and then I cart one of my books to the living room or dining room and set up shop. And if I’m feeling really adventurous (this helps if we have pleasant weather, which is never a guarantee in Indiana), then I’ll sit outside on the patio and read to my heart’s content. 😉 Now and then, I actually read on the Kindle app on my tablet, but I’m more of a paperback/hardback kind of girl. The tactile sensation of a page turning still gets my bibliophile obsession going. I think it’s better to find a comfortable spot that practically absorbs you into the environment. The outside world with all its troubles can drift away, and then you’re on your merry way to discovering a new literary realm.

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

Sure, I have bookmarks. I’ve even collected quite a few to hand out at my own release parties. I don’t always use them for my own reading purposes, however. Yeah, I’m one of those freaks that dogears the pages, but I always bend the corner back to its old position when I’m finished. To each his (or her) own, I guess.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?

Oh, I do my best to finish a chapter, unless I get so drowsy that I absolutely have to stop wherever I left off.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

No, I usually don’t eat while reading. Occasionally, I’ll snack on chips or dark chocolate, but mostly, I just keep hydrated. I can’t do much else besides read, especially if the book is that riveting. I like to immerse myself in the literary world and come up for air hours later.

Music or TV while reading?

Not at all. Are you crazy? Why would I let anything else distract me from reading? LOL.

One book at a time or several?

One at a time, but now and then, I’ll gradually work on a Kindle novel in between reading paperbacks.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I often read at home, but I don’t have any trouble reading on a driving trip, as long as the lighting is sufficient. And I always, always take reading material with me when I go on vacation, even if it’s only for a day or two. I never know when the mood will strike me. In college, I used to read out on the quad or in hallways outside classrooms so I really have no trouble reading in the most random place.

Read out loud or silently?

Silently, though I am known to laugh outright at the funniest parts. It’s somewhat satisfying to earn a lifted eyebrow from passersby. I feel like it’s my literary world I’ve fallen into, so I am entitled to the occasional private joke.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

Never! When I was younger, I grew impatient with lengthy descriptions of the curtains and such in historical novels, but once I matured I understood that the novel as a whole made the reading experience. So now, I read everything.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t try to abuse a book in any fashion. But I am known to go back and re-read well-loved books, so they get that creased and worn look on the spine at times. Never broken or bent in half, however. I happen to think those creases are like people. The more they’ve been around, the wiser and more loved the individuals are.

Do you write in your books?

Nope! In college, I used to annotate or highlight certain passages of textbooks for studying, but with the novels I read for pleasure, I want them to look as clean as possible.

That was fun! I invite you all to join the Book Lovers Tag challenge and share your reading habits. Feel free to link back to this post so I can visit and share yours too.

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Event, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Year of Romance: 2016

Hi, readers! As you know, the I Love Romance Blog is a place to celebrate all things “love”, including tips on romantic relationships, as well as reading love poems, exploring romance novels and perhaps finding a new, favorite romance author. With 2017 approaching quickly, it becomes clear that the New Year offers hope, the promise of good things to come, just like a fine romance.

So, to honor how much we love romance, as well as the idea of renewal, or even new beginnings, I thought we’d go a step further. Why not give readers a list of great romance novels that encompass the New Year’s theme? Let’s get started, shall we?

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[Disclaimer: These are simply suggestions compiled from books I found on Amazon. They are merely meant to give you New Year’s options for romance books to read. I have neither read nor reviewed them.]

How about that? Romance authors really can cover any topic. This list looks like a great set of novels to get us started for 2017.

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And to fully honor our wonderful 2016, I’d like to thank all the talented authors who stopped by to visit ILRB. We had 54 authors, either guesting or had books spotlighted, on our blog alone this year.Many thanks to our readers as well, for giving the blog a chance!

Here are some highlights from 2016:

Character/Author Interviews

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/a-character-interview-with-amy-from-the-lie-plus-chat-with-author-k-c-sprayberry/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/character-interview-with-emmi-vendetta-from-emmis-pride-plus-chat-with-author-jill-marie-denton/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/new-release-feature-starlights-curse-by-author-k-c-sprayberry/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/a-character-interview-with-logan-gray-from-texas-c-h-a-o-s-plus-a-conversation-with-author-sable-hunter/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/a-character-interview-with-luke-bryce-from-be-mine-plus-a-chat-with-author-isobelle-cate/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/a-character-interview-with-astrid-from-a-cowboys-true-colors-plus-a-chat-with-author-lana-k-dempsey/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/a-character-interview-with-izzy-from-dandelions-plus-a-chat-with-author-vivienne-vincent/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/character-interview-with-zoey-from-second-half-plus-chat-with-author-monica-desimone/

 

 April A to Z Blog Challenge Posts

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/a-to-z-challenge-awakening-the-fire-ally-shields/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/a-to-z-challenge-blood-brothers-by-nora-roberts/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/a-to-z-challenge-courting-the-countess-by-barbara-pierce/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/a-to-z-challenge-devils-embrace-and-devils-daughter-by-catherine-coulter/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/a-to-z-challenge-elsewhere-by-linda-lee-williams/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/a-to-z-challenge-face-the-fire-by-nora-roberts/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/a-to-z-challenge-goddess-of-the-hunt-by-tessa-dare/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/a-to-z-challenge-heart-of-gold-by-j-r-ward/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/a-to-z-challenge-identity-by-cleo-scornavacca/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/a-to-z-challenge-jewels-of-the-sun-by-nora-roberts/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/a-to-z-challenge-key-trilogy-by-nora-roberts/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/a-to-z-challenge-lover-unleashed-by-j-r-ward/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/a-to-z-challenge-marthas-way-series-by-mika-jolie/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/a-to-z-challenge-no-longer-a-stranger-by-joan-johnston/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/a-to-z-challenge-one-illicit-night-by-sophia-james/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/a-to-z-challenge-playing-with-fire-by-devika-fernando/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/a-to-z-challenge-queen-of-babble-by-meg-cabot/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/a-to-z-challenge-raising-landry-by-andee-michelle/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/a-to-z-challenge-sisters-of-the-night-by-linda-lee-williams/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/a-to-z-challenge-to-tempt-a-scotsman-by-victoria-dahl/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/a-to-z-challenge-unhallowed-ground-by-heather-graham/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/a-to-z-challenge-victory-lane-by-shelly-davis/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/a-to-z-challenge-weather-the-storm-by-jean-ferris/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/a-to-z-challenge-x-treme-dating-by-cathy-mcdavid/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/a-to-z-challenge-you-make-me-feel-brand-new-by-chicki-brown/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/a-to-z-challenge-zenith-rising-by-marilyn-campbell/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/a-to-z-reflections/

 

 New Release/Book Features

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/cover-reveal-feature-foil-by-author-isobelle-cate/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/cover-reveal-feature-texas-stand-off-by-author-sable-hunter/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/cover-reveal-feature-backfire-by-author-keri-lake/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/new-release-feature-sins-against-the-sea-by-author-nina-mason/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/new-release-feature-starlights-curse-by-author-k-c-sprayberry/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/new-release-feature-love-me-i-dare-you-by-author-sable-hunter/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/new-release-feature-a-vindicated-heart-by-author-c-l-bush/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/new-release-feature-turpitude-book-4-a-provocative-true-story-a-memoir-a-harem-boys-saga-by-author-young-bernard-foong/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/prologue-reveal-feature-somewhere-to-begin-poison-and-wine-series-by-author-mika-jolie/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/new-release-feature-kidnapped-in-love-2-backfire-by-author-jamela/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/book-feature-the-good-thief-by-author-tanya-w-newman/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/pre-order-release-feature-a-pawn-for-malice-by-author-cynthia-roberts/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/new-release-feature-new-year-baby-philadelphia-love-series-by-author-lilly-christine/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/new-release-feature-desert-deception-by-susanne-matthews/

 

Blog Tours

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/blog-tour-feature-hell-yeah-kindle-world-tour/

 

Blog Awards

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/liebster-award/

 

Personal Book News/Reviews

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/great-4-star-review-for-sch/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/4-stars-for-second-chance-heart/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/second-chance-heart-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/second-chance-heart-by-marie-lavender-2/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/solstice-rocks/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/paranormal-romance-review-magick-and-moonlight-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/scifi-romance-spotlight-blue-vision-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/review-of-blue-vision-code-of-endhivar-1-by-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/que-sara-sera-review-for-blue-vision-by-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/vote-for-blue-vision/

 

Giveaways

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/tuesday-giveaway/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/romance-and-food-go-hand-in-hand/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/free-book-feature-ill-see-you-in-my-dreams-by-author-sable-hunter/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/free-book-feature-a-cowboys-true-colors-by-author-lana-k-dempsey/

 

Guest Posts

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/the-eyes-of-love-by-dr-matthew-anderson/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-secret-life-of-an-erotica-writer-by-charity-parkerson/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/on-writing-romance-a-guest-post-by-ricardo-mejias/

 

Poetry

 

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/yearning-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/guest-poet-spotlight-honcho-mars-returns/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/poetry-romance-themed-winner-empress-of-the-universe/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/the-other-side-of-our-dreams-a-poem/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/you-and-the-muse-a-poem/

Well, I hope we’ve given readers some new novels to find, as well as some interesting romantic posts to glance over.

I wish you all the best in 2017! Happy New Year!

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I’ll catch you on the other side… 😉

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Romance

A Character Interview with Zoey from SECOND HALF plus a conversation with author Monica DeSimone!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Vivienne Vincent’s character on August 16th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Monica DeSimone, the debut author of Second Half, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Monica in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Zoey!

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

Character Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy: 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?

Zoey:  Sure.

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

Zoey:  Founder of the Coach’s Shadow Foundation. I like to think that I am. I have a tendency to be tenacious at times so that I get what I want.

Do I like it? Absolutely love it!

Marie:  Great to hear! 😀

Tell us…what is your family like?

Zoey: Both of my parents have passed away so I’m pretty much an orphan! LOL.

My family is amazing, I have a loud, involved, often times obtrusive family that I have had from birth as well as those that I have chosen over the years.

Marie:  Oh…😦 Sorry to hear about your parents. I’m glad you have other family, though.

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?

Zoey:  Considering that Derrick and I live there now, it is an amazing home. Traditional Cape Cod with a lot of extensions added onto it. I think my mother originally fell in love with it because she didn’t want kids. It was often lonely and cold but Claire, my sister, made it a home.

Marie:  All right.

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

Zoey: I run. A lot. It is as much a passion for me as running the Coach’s Shadow Foundation and football.

In my down time I love watching Sci-Fi movies and reading. Oh and shoes! I love, love, love shoes! I also enjoy throwing a great gathering with my family and friends. But I hate to cook. So I do the planning and shopping, and Derrick makes my menus come true.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Zoey:  Derrick.

Marie:  Indeed! (Sighs.) I love romance…♥

Okay, back to the interview.

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

Zoey: I have pretty much accomplished what I wanted to be. It may not be in the traditional way, and I had to take a very dark journey to get where I am, with several set backs, but I’m here. I’m alive, happy and just keep going every day. The one personality trait that I wish I could be better with is not to be so ready to forgive the wrongs that have been done to me.

What is stopping me? My heart and ability to lose.

Marie: I think we all feel afraid sometimes that we’ll lose everything we hold dear. Faith gets us through it all.

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

Who was your first love?

Zoey:  Derrick Hendrickson.

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Marie: But you got a second chance, right? That’s great!

So…let’s try another question.

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

Zoey: At twenty-one I fell into a deep depression and attempted suicide.

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Zoey 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?

Zoey:  No. I floundered with what I wanted to do in the months, years really, after my attempted suicide. I was so tired of people telling me that I would find my way. At the time the darkness was all consuming and I didn’t see the light. I was really good at faking things, though; so I faked my way happy. Forced myself to push through the darkness. I finished my degree in English Literature, got a job in corporate America. I loved doing what did. It allowed me to nourish the part of myself that had always felt left behind. Wanting to be a combination between Betty Crocker and a Mother Hen while allowing me to be creative yet in charge behind the scenes, because I hate the spotlight, was my end result.

I ultimately found my dream. My own happiness, which has brought me true contentment. The Coach’s Shadow Foundation was born out of sorrow and guilt. However, it was through that sorrow and guilt that I proved to myself that I am no longer the broken girl who was left behind by both her mother and lover. It took a lot for me to realize that where I am today is exactly where I am meant to be.

Marie:  Wow! Tough times.

I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness. ♥

So, who is your role model, Zoey?

Zoey:  My sister Claire. She is everything that I strive to be. Strong, independent, courageous, and kind.

Marie: Great! It sounds like your sister is a very special person.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Zoey:  I absolutely hate Matt, Derrick’s agent. I always feel as though I need a shower after being around him.

Marie:  Oh, that’s not good…maybe your intuition is trying to tell you something?

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Zoey:  To be loved.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

What is your greatest fear?

Zoey: Spending my life alone and unloved.

Marie: It’s understandable to have that kind of fear, but I believe there is a stronger force guiding us, that good things come to good people. And I know you’re one of the good ones. 😉

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Zoey. 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 Monice DeSimone on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Monica!

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Author Monica DeSimone:  Hi, Marie. Thank you so much for having me.

Marie: Oh no, the honor is mine.😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy, or rather, just Zoey. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Monica: Zoey is so tenacious and vibrant. She encompasses everything that I had ever wanted to be. I think that is because she has come so far in her battle with depression. She has fought for what and who she is today. Zoey loves deeply and carries her emotions on her sleeve. The obstacles in which she has overcome, although yes somewhat self-inflicted, are an admirable quality about her. The struggle of depression is overwhelming and all consuming. For Zoey to have pulled herself out of that, yes with help, and still be a kind, loving and generous person is amazing. She gives with all her heart and truly wants the best for everyone. Not everyone has the mental wherewithal to be able to pull themselves from that hole. It is admirable. Although it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have flaws as well as a bit of a mean streak. Which I have to admit that I love.

Marie:  (Laughs.)

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Monica:  Zoey loves with everything in her being which feeds her ability to forgive. This can be considered a strength as well as a weakness, but forgiveness would have to be Zoey’s greatest strength. That and not willing to give up on anything she believes in.

Marie:  Definitely admirable!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Monica:  Because of her capacity to forgive Zoey is often left open to be hurt by those she believes in.

Marie:  Sorry to hear that… 😦

What are some of Zoey’s favorite foods?

Monica:  Gosh, Zoey is “technically” an overall healthy person. A lot of greens and proteins. However, if you put a bowl of Utz Cheese Balls in front of her I would watch out. She is a kind person but sharing those yummy treats aren’t in the cards.

Marie:  (Giggles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

Monica:  Zoey is a lot stronger then she gives herself credit for. She is the heart of her family. Not necessarily the core of it, because that is Claire, but she is a fierce protector with a strength that she often underestimates.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Monica: I think that most readers will appreciate how damaged Zoey is and how far she has come to pull herself out of her depression. However, I also think that it is a toss-up if people will love her or want to hit her. If a reader can understand that forgiveness isn’t a weakness, that it is truly a strength and that love often has no rhyme or reason and that sometimes, not always, “soul mates” do exist, truly exist. If they can understand that, appreciate it, then I think that they will love her.

Marie: Definitely!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings anyway. Don’t you?

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

What first gave you the idea for Second Half?

Monica: I had been writing my entire life, so when my father passed away in April 2015, I promised myself that I would finish one of my books. I have a few sitting on my laptop. One night in December 2015, I had just finished reading A Lover’s Lament by AL Greyson and BT Urruela, and Zoey started talking to me. God, she is a pushy little thing too because it wasn’t until she finally made a deal with me – she would be quiet so that I could work and sleep if I promised to tell her story. That was January 3, 2016. I finished Zoey and Derrick’s story and sent it to my editor on May 17th.

Marie:  Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Sorry to hear about your dad. 😦

Let’s try something else.

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

Monica: I’m a character-driven writer. As such I like to be surprised. You have to remember, ultimately I’m a reader. So if I can “Holy Sh**” myself, it’s a good day.

I am totally a pantster. My mother always said that I was a fly-by-the seat-of-her-pants girl. My writing isn’t any different. It makes it difficult for Nadine Winningham, my editor, but I think it makes it more enjoyable for everyone.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Hey, whatever works for you…

I am also a character-driven writer. They often bug me before I go to sleep. 😉

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

Monica: I reached out to a first-time writer, thinking that because they were up and coming they would be receptive in offering any advice. That was a mistake. After multiple emails, I finally got a response. It was not at all generous and honestly quite hurtful. Which caused me to become blocked. That was my fault, allowing the words of someone else to affect me. But in my defense, I respected this person and what they had accomplished. I was unable to write for six weeks. It wasn’t until I met, rather apprehensively, other authors at a signing and seeing first-hand the openness and kindness within the community that allowed me to get past the block and finish Second Half within three weeks.

What would I do differently the next time? I self-published and I wouldn’t change one thing about that. I was told by a very wise woman that this is a business and that you better treat yourself and writing as such. That my first product better be as good as my most current one. Because someone will always go back and read that first book. I took those words to heart, finished the book and with the help of some amazing people put a product out there that I will never be ashamed of. Whether someone is reading my first book or being introduced to me on my tenth, God willing, book they will find a superior product that they won’t be disappointed in reading.

Marie:  Wow! Sorry you had such an unfortunate experience with that writer! 😦

But I’m glad it all worked out for you, that you didn’t let a bitter person ruin your journey.

And you’re right. Generally, there is a nice community of authors who are willing to offer advice, or at least direct you to someone who can answer those questions. So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

Thanks for the additional tips!

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 Second Half appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this modern sports romance by Monica DeSimone, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for Second Half:

Zoey McEvoy is a strong, sassy, independent woman that has vowed to herself that she will never allow anyone the opportunity to determine her emotional well-being again. After a battle with depression that ended in an attempted suicide, she has clawed her way out of the all encompassing darkness. Founding the Coach’s Shadow Foundation in honor of her father, Zoey finds herself thrown back into the life of the man that emotionally destroyed her eight years earlier.

Derrick Hendrickson chose his career over Zoey and is now back to recapture the love that he so recklessly tossed away. Unaware of the devastation his departure caused, he has to reestablish the trust that he lost when he left her. With the help of their best friends and Zoey’s sister Claire, Derrick has a strong chance of proving that he never stopped loving her. However, Zoey’s trust issues are major hurdles that need to be crossed. Will Zoey ultimately find the strength to forgive and allow Derrick and love back into her life, proving that the Second Half can be so much brighter?

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

MY ALARM GOES OFF and I don’t even remember setting it. I always use my cell phone as an alarm, never the actual alarm clock. It is purely for decoration and is actually across the room on my dresser. So the fact that it is going off right now is confusing. I roll over to get out of bed and run smack into a solid mass. I know that I had an emotional day yesterday, but not so rough that I would forget having someone in bed with me.

Derrick. I burrow my nose into his back for just a second, and burn his scent into my memory so that I have it there for later. It’s been so long since I’ve felt him next to me. But then I remember where we are, what year it is, and that he isn’t mine any longer. Jumping out of bed faster than I have ever gotten up, I’m slightly dizzy and trying to gather my bearings.

As I’m getting my feet fully under me, Derrick says, “Duchess, shut off the alarm will you? I don’t have to be at the training facility until eight.”

What the fuck? What did I miss last night? No more blue Xanax, Zoey.

Recovering quickly, or as quickly as I can, I walk to the end of the bed and shove Derrick’s foot buried under my comforter.

Rolling over, Derrick looks all sleepy, disheveled, and sexy as hell. His right arm, the one that has the half sleeve of tattoos on it, is draped over his chest. The chest that is perfectly muscled and beautiful, and that I just want to lick. As I devour him with my eyes, I notice that there is a tattoo on his left ribcage. It’s a saying or something, I can’t tell exactly from this distance and I want a closer lick, I mean look of it.

Jesus… pull it together, Zoey!

“What, Zo?” I’m literally just standing at the foot of the bed, the alarm blaring, gawking at this beautiful man. “You gonna turn that off?” he asks, shifting his head toward the noise. “Then you can come back and cuddle with me.” He’s smirking now. Bastard! He knows that I love to cuddle, and Derrick was always the best at it— warm, strong, and soothing.

“What the fuck, Derrick? Why are you in my bed? With me?” I ask, attempting to recover some of my brain cells and come back to reality. “And where are my dogs?” I’m a horrible pet mom; instead of ogling the hot half-naked man in my bed, I should have realized that Reilly and Steeler aren’t where they always are. “What did you do with my dogs, Derrick?”

“Calm down, Duchess, they’re right here.” He shifts, and I see not just Reilly and Steeler on the right side of him, but that Sam is there as well. Oh… my… God… even my dogs prefer him. Traitors.

“Can you please shut that thing off? I have a hell of a headache and that isn’t helping.”

Walking over to the dresser, I turn off the offending alarm. I still don’t know how it got set, but really, I have bigger things to worry about. Like why there is a six-foot-five-inch god in my bed. Is that a V peeking out from under the covers? Zoey! I chastise myself. I’m staring, hell I’m more than likely drooling.

Recovering as quickly as I can, I ask, “Why are you in my bed, Derrick?”

“I needed to be close to you,” he says as he gets out of bed.

The boys jump to the floor, not liking that Derrick was starting to move around, but knowing that with their humans up they will get fed and go outside. They are now sitting on the bench at the foot of my bed.

As Derrick stands to his full height, I have to bite my lip to hold in the moan. The man has a body that only ancient gods had. I notice his tattoos that are covering half of his shoulder. Yum! He is turning around when I gasp in shock. There are a pair of eyes on his left shoulder, adjacent to his heart. But they aren’t just any eyes… they’re mine.

Ooh! Interesting! I love the tension here…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01LWIPOLT

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-half-monica-desimone/1124603461

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Second-Half/Monica-Desimone/9781483580494

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/second-half

iBooks:  http://ibookstore.com/products.php?i=B01LWIPOLT

BookBaby:  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Second-Half

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this sporty romance, book one of the Coach’s Shadow Trilogy! ♥

About Monica DeSimone

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Monica lives in northern New Jersey with her three dogs, Sam, Reilly, and Steeler. Raised by a football coach in the heart of Texas, football is a passion that is deep rooted. Introduced to Nora Roberts by her mother at the age of thirteen, she spawned a lifetime love affair with books, all things romance and happily-ever-afters. Outside of writing, you will find Monica on her back porch enjoying time with her “boys”, family, friends, and a really good Dirty Martini.

Book:

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

Website:  www.monicadesimone.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Monica-DeSimone-Author-859944790794911/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MonicaDe12

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15808209.Monica_DeSimone

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/monicade12/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Zoey, a female character from Second Half, and Monica DeSimone, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, sports romance

A Character Interview with Izzy from DANDELIONS plus a conversation with author Vivienne Vincent!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Lana K. Dempsey’s character on July 28th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Vivienne Vincent, the debut author of Dandelions, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Elizabeth Goodenough (Izzy for short) from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Vivienne in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Izzy!

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

Character Izzy: 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?

Izzy:  Sure.

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

Izzy: When I was younger, I wanted to be an Ivy League student. But my family did not have enough money and I failed to get a scholarship. Which is sad because I was a really good student until Saber came along and broke my heart. The worst part is, I was in the final year of high school.

Later I took a few courses that qualified me to work as a typist. I was able to get a menial secretarial job at a newspaper office.

I was not in love with my job because I was overworked and underpaid. Also, my boss was always trying to flirt with me. He would keep staring at me which made me uncomfortable. But life does not always offer enough options to walk away.

Marie:  Oh… 😦 Sorry to hear that. I think we’ve all had those jobs that we’d rather not have…

And you’re right. It’s not always easy to get out. Let’s try another question.

Tell us…what is your family like?

Izzy: My parents died in a car crash soon after I was born. I was raised by my Grandma who was a fabulous woman. She used to work for Saber’s family. She bought me a puppy when I was eight. Saber named my puppy Dandelion.

Dandelion died when I was eighteen. And soon after I finished high school, Grandma also left me. It was just an awful year for me.

So I moved to New York to live with my uncle whose wife was a real shrew. Once I found a job, I left their place and moved into a studio apartment.

There was no real family after Grandma until Saber came back into my life.

Marie:  Really so sorry to hear you’ve had such misfortune…

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?

Izzy:  Oh, it was a very small house. Grandma and I did not share a room but it was quite cramped. I loved flowers so much but there was no garden. Although, later I learned that as long as you have a roof over your head, you should not be complaining.

Marie:  Very true…

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

Izzy:  I enjoy reading books. I love Emily Dickinson. When I was little I used to read a lot of fairy tales. When I grew up I fell in love with stories about vampires. I love watching cartoons and dunking muffins in a warm cup of tea. Muffins taste so much better that way.

Oh, and I read the tabloids regularly.

Marie:  Hmm…I’ll have to try that muffin thing. And I can’t blame you about the vampires! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Izzy: As a little girl, the dream was to marry Prince Charming and live happily ever after. After the evil wizard broke my heart, I pretty much lost track of everything.

I spent a lot of time daydreaming, though. I kept telling myself that Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs made it so there was no reason that I couldn’t. Of course they were only pipe dreams.

But now that Saber and I are back together and he’s promised to become a better person, I want to see him live up to his promise. I am sure he will not let me down.

Marie: All right.

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

Izzy:  Well, if you look at my life, it’s pretty clear what went wrong. But life does not always work the way we think it should. All we can do is choose the best possible option.

Marie: That’s true.

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

Who was your first love?

Izzy: Saber, and he is the love of my life. I know he has his flaws and perhaps I forgave him too easily. But I don’t like to be a drama queen. Also, when you are in love, you can either play tough and be egotistical, or understand and accept the other person.

Marie: That’s right. And it’s better to realize someone has flaws, loving them for every facet of their character than to love an idealized version of that person.

So…let’s try another question.

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

Izzy: Life is a series of events. It’s difficult to pinpoint a single moment. I don’t think that one tragic event alters a person altogether. For me, it started when my dog died. Saber picked the worst moment to do what he did. He broke me so bad that I was no longer able to focus on my studies.

Then Grandma passed away and putting up with my aunt was nothing short of torture.

And, of course, the mistake that I made at the newspaper office, which brought me face to face with Saber, was a nightmare.

It’s been a tough journey but I am glad that things worked out.

Marie:  Me too! I’m still sorry about your hardships…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Izzy 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?

Izzy:  Well, in one sense I did not achieve my dream but in another way I did. I did not get to be an Ivy League graduate. I was not able to have the kind of financial security and independence a stable job would have provided. But I am glad that Saber and I ended up together.

Marie:  Indeed! (Sighs.) I love romance…♥

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So, who is your role model, Izzy?

Izzy:  I admired my Grandma a great deal. She was honest, hard-working, and very wise. After Saber broke my heart, she told me that “There are no Rhett Butlers and Darcys in real life. Only Heathcliffs.”

Grandma was tough but she was also incredibly kind and gentle. Sometimes I wonder if Saber had had her for a mother figure instead of his Grundy grandmother, he would have been very different.

Marie: That’s possible, but we also can’t change the past, no matter how much we wish. All we can do is make the best of what happened, try to better ourselves for the future.

It sounds like your grandmother was a very special person.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Izzy: Not really. I am not much of a diplomat.

Marie:  Okay.

Can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Izzy:  At this point in my life, I just want to see Saber live up to his full potential. I think that he has a good heart. But peer pressure combined with other factors can make people do things that are contrary to their nature.

Marie:  That’s true.

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Izzy:  I don’t have any fears. Not anymore. I feel safe with Saber. He has given me a great deal of confidence.

Marie: That’s great!

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Izzy. 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 Vivienne Vincent on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Vivienne!

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Author Vivienne Vincent: Hi, Marie, thank you so much for having me.

Marie: Really, the honor is mine. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Elizabeth Goodenough, or rather, Izzy. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Vivienne: Izzy is an ordinary girl. I think she is pretty easy to relate to. Over the course of the book, we can see her evolve. She is very dreamy and naïve. She has a good heart, which makes her vulnerable. She is not a strong, feminist role model. But the way the book ends, I think that she has the potential to become one.

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Vivienne:  She is a good girl. She’s very kind. Because she has such a good heart, she thinks that the world works the same way. Being too naïve is certainly a flaw but she learns. She is very smart and intelligent. She is witty. She has the ability to become a strong woman who can bring out the very best in others as well.

Marie:  Great!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Vivienne: I think her love for Saber could be considered a weakness. She is too dreamy and gullible. She lives in a world of her own where she forgets that fairy tales might have a Prince Charming but there’s often an evil wizard involved. When reality slaps her in the face, she is unable to deal with it. Our perception of the world depends on how we treat others. So her attitude toward Saber might be a weakness, but I cannot call it a flaw.

Marie:  I think we all have certain people we can’t resist, for one reason or another.

So, what are some of Izzy’s favorite foods?

Vivienne: She is a simple girl. She does not have expensive taste. You might remember how much she hated caviar? She likes pizza, tea, and muffins. She also likes to munch on junk food late at night.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Well, who doesn’t?

How about another question?

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

Vivienne: One important thing to remember about Izzy is that we do not see the complete evolution of her character in the book. The book ends with the possibility of what is going to happen next. The way I see it, refusing to sign the prenup and taking a stand so that Saber will apologize means she is ready to become a more resilient woman. She starts becoming aware of what she is capable of.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Vivienne: That is something only the readers can tell. I have received some really, really hateful comments about Saber but the good thing is that most of the people admitted that they were eventually able to forgive him.

Izzy, on the other hand, is a likable character. There might be times when the reader wonders who is that dumb? But if we remember being young and vulnerable, all of us have been there. We learn with experience.

I never meant to create characters that my readers will fall in love with. No one is perfect or absolutely adorable. But I think that Izzy is likable and Saber is memorable.

Marie: Thank you for your honesty.

And you’re right. No one can be perfect. I think that most readers like to see ‘human’ characters who have strengths and flaws just like anyone else.

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

What first gave you the idea for Dandelions?

Vivienne: Four years of unemployment. I had so much free time on my hands and I thought why not write a book? The kind of book you read for fun when life starts to get on your nerves. Saber’s character had been there inside my head for quite some time along with a few other male protagonists. Actually, this was Saber’s story, not Izzy’s.

Marie:  Interesting how the muse works, huh? :)

Let’s try something else.

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

Vivienne: With Dandelions, I was a total pantser. When I started writing, all I had was Saber’s character in my head. Details of his interaction with Izzy were vague. But I have definitely learned my lesson. I want to be a plotter in the future.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there…I am a little of both. I let the ideas flow as much as I can, and then I start plotting around what I already have.

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

Vivienne: I think that writing is very difficult. It requires focus and women have to juggle so much at the same time. As a writer you don’t get to take a break. Ideas are always there; they pop up at random moments, and if you don’t jot them down right away, they vanish into thin air.

Like any other writer, I had my fair share of writer’s block. But there was something worse. When changes were suggested during edits, first of all, I could not figure out what and how to change. I would make one little change and that would change the entire chapter. Sometimes the whole book was affected.

During the course of edits, I had to do a lot of research which should have been done when the book was written. But I did not always plan to publish it.

I have been a Harlequin reader for a very long time, so I sent it to one of their imprints. I was rejected. I sent it to a lot of other publishers and agents. All of them turned me down. I think I must have sent it to more than a hundred publishers, I cannot even recall how many. Maybe fifty agents. Those who were nice enough, politely turned me down. Most of them didn’t even reply.

But I was determined so I thought about self-publishing. And then out of the blue, one publisher told me that it’s an interesting story but there are certain flaws; rapid shift of POV, head-hopping, and telling the story instead of showing etc. I had no idea what those terms meant but I was glad to receive constructive criticism and I started working on the book again so that I could resubmit the manuscript.

But then, I received an e-mail from Solstice. They accepted the manuscript and assigned an editor, Debbie Rowe, who helped me overcome a lot of problems. Dandelions was written in third person and Debbie told me to rewrite the book in first person so that I could avoid certain issues.

And it has been an amazing experience.

For my next book, I want to have a better outline and work at a consistent pace instead of sleep deprivation and starvation.

Marie:  (Laughs.) If you’re anything like me, sleep deprivation and starvation are pretty much a part of the job description.

It’s fascinating to hear about your journey, and what you learned from it. 😉

So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

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

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this sexy, contemporary romance by Vivienne Vincent, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for Dandelions:

“There are no Rhett Butlers and Darcys in real life. Only Heathcliffs.”

An avant-garde romance that goes beyond sexual chemistry and digs deep into human nature and relationships.

Elizabeth Goodenough met Saber Fergus for the first time when she was eight and he was twelve. He broke her heart when she was eighteen. Ten years later, an unwitting mistake on Izzy’s part once again brings her face to face with the same one-night stand that once brutally crushed her.

But something seems different this time. Has her dark knight really transformed into a knight in shining armor, or is he playing her all over again?

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

At this point, Saber cracked a crooked grin and asked, “What’s his name?”

His flat voice became ebullient. His mischievous smile created subtle wrinkles around his deep-set, ebony eyes. They were shining far more brightly than the stars I spent hours staring at trying to figure out which ones were my parents.

“I haven’t named him yet. I got him only about a week ago. I am still thinking of a name.”

“Got him or stole him? Just like you were trying to steal our flowers.”

He was teasing me and it was working.

“You cannot steal flowers. Flowers belong to Mother Earth and Mother Earth belongs to all of us.”

“This part of Mother Earth belongs to me, so I own everything in here including wicked little girls with their hideous looking sons of bitches.”

The way that stiff-necked boy retaliated right away, it became clear that he was not someone easy to take down.

He continued. “So since both of you belong to me, why don’t I name him for you? Dandelion. How is it?”

“Dandelion?” The name made me smile. “I like it. I will call him Dandelion. Now he has an actual name. Grandma says once you have a name, you become a real person. Dandelion too is a real person now.”

“No, he is still an ugly son of a bitch. Do you like the dandelion collection over there?”

“It’s beautiful. I wish I had some in my house, but our house is too small and we don’t have a garden.”

“You can take one from here. Come with me.”

Saber moved toward the garden and I followed him. He plucked a dandelion and handed it to me. It was my first time holding one. I was staring at the delicate dandelion when Saber came close and blew right into it making it vanish into thin air. I was still trying to figure out what had happened when I heard a giggle.

“You are a meanie,” I told him.

“Am I?”

His eyes shone like a polished apple. He snatched the stem out of my hand and flicked it. It fell on the ground.

“Dandelions are far too delicate. They are just an illusion. They look real but they never last. Here.” He plucked a red rose and gave it to me. “Take this instead. Red roses are far more resilient.”

Ooh! Interesting! 🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01IG97RCU

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dandelions-vivienne-vincent/1124112948

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6423501

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/dandelions/

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

About Vivienne Vincent

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Vivienne Vincent grew up in a fairly conservative environment which ironically sparked her interest in unconventional subjects and romance novels. As a young girl she became interested in novels from the Victorian era as well as modern day romance. She is pretty much obsessed with British and American sitcoms and crime series. Look her up on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with her. She loves to hear from readers.

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Book:

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

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Vivienne-Vincent-850442295083956/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VivienneVincen8

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2abR73V

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/57734728-vivienne-vincent

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15486427.Vivienne_Vincent

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/vivienne-vincent/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Izzy, a female character from Dandelions, and Vivienne Vincent, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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

A Character Interview with Astrid Angleton from A COWBOY’S TRUE COLORS plus a conversation with author Lana K. Dempsey!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Isobelle Cate’s character on July 22nd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Lana K. Dempsey, the author of A Cowboy’s True Colors, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Astrid Angleton, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Lana in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Astrid!

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

Character Astrid Angleton: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Astrid: Okay.

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

Astrid:  I’m about to start college, so my jobs will include eating pizza and hanging out with my hot boyfriend, Victor! Oh, and I suppose some studying would be good too. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.) Yeah, I remember those college days…

Astrid:  And yes, I think I’m very good at hanging out with Victor. Ha! Ha!

Teasing aside, I do love to learn. I was lucky enough to take some college courses in high school. Long story short I was able to skip my freshman year in college, which will allow me to move through school very quickly. I’m looking into studying psychology, or something in the sciences. I’ve not decided. So yes, I’ll work hard and play hard as the saying goes.

Marie:  Wow! That’s great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Astrid:  My family is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, and a whole lot mystical. My mom was raised on Buckshaw Ranch and has more cowboy hats than anyone I know. My dad is a city man, and most likely always will be. This year has been rough. Dad abandoned the family. My sister, Cammie, had moved out prior so Dad being gone isn’t in her face every day like it has been for my brother Luke and me. I’m concerned about Luke; he’s not his usually jovial self. Luke is enrolled at the University of Texas and I’m worried what’s going on at home will distract him from his studies.

Let’s talk about something more positive. One of the best parts of my family is we all have some unique talents. I’ll tell you about mine, I can see emotions. It’s not the same as reading someone’s mind, but I can see what they’re feeling in the form of colors and shapes surrounding them. It can be intense and very personal at times, but it has proven to be very useful and has even helped save my life.

Marie:  All right. Hey, that’s a cool power!

Let’s try something else.

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

Astrid:  I spent summers and any time off at Buckshaw Ranch, which is a sprawling property not far from Austin, Texas. During the school year we lived in remodeled historic home in Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood. I loved that house, but with all the changes going on in our family we couldn’t stay there. Anyway, I doubt we’ll stay in Austin much longer. Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

I’m feeling a need to draw the family to Buckshaw Ranch. I think it will bring good things.

Victor and I have yet to decide where we’ll call home, whether it’ll be Buckshaw Ranch or WilLo Ranch, owned by his family. For now, we aren’t really sure.

Marie:  I don’t think you’re supposed to know all the answers at that age…;)

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

Astrid:  Did I mention my hot boyfriend? Ha, ha!

We spend weekends either at my family’s ranch or Victor’s family’s ranch. We like being out in the open spaces. I love to read, of course. I’m also taking some cooking lessons from Victor’s brother Reggie. Reggie is Victor’s twin. A while back, there was some crazy stuff happening and Reggie began baking to distract himself. Now, he can whip up a pie like nobody’s business. He’s certainly made that oven his bitch! Ha, ha! Now, we just need to find him a woman.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds like a plan…

And what is your greatest dream?

Astrid: I want to find a way to use my talent for reading emotions to help make the world a better place. I haven’t worked out how to do that yet. Of course, it’s not something I tell most folks, so it has to be on the down-low, which is why I’m thinking psychology for a major. Not sure how that’ll pan out just yet, but I’m working on it.

Marie: Psychology always fascinated me too, how people tick. I guess that’s partly why I found myself writing.

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

Astrid:  College is stopping me, and well… I guess it’s starting me too. I mean, I feel impatient having to take the time to finish school. I’m ready to get on with a career and family. Education is important, even if you end up choosing a different path. I want to be independent and contribute to society. Once college is under my belt, then I’ll feel more like my life is beginning.

Marie: That makes sense to feel that way, but don’t forget to have some fun while you’re there too!

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

Who was your first love?

Astrid:  Victor Berenger. He’s hard to miss; he’s the giant cowboy waiting for me outside. See that vintage Ford truck outside? That’s him. He’s on the phone with his ranch hand. Victor’s parents are having him manage WilLo Ranch more and more these days, so he’s on the phone a lot.

Marie: (Waves to Victor.)

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

Astrid: Last year I saw a set of colors with no person attached. It took me a second to realize what I was seeing was a ghost. I never ran so fast in my life!  I was terrified that day, but it was nothing compared to the events that would come not long afterwards. Events that almost cost me my life.

Marie:  Scary indeed!

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Astrid nods.]

Who is your role model?

Astrid:  My role model is my mother, Kell. She held us all together when things got rough, still does. My Dad has some addiction issues and for a while there…well, let’s just say my mom rocks! Now she’s following her heart and I’m so impressed. I definitely want to be like Mom.

Marie: Well, I certainly admire the way you feel about your mother…

Sounds like she’s a special person.

All right…now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Astrid:  Myself. I used to anyway. I was very insecure and I faked my confidence level for most of high school. I’m happy to say I’ve matured a great deal in just these last few months. I understand now that love is a complex thing and no one is perfect. I’ve really come to appreciate my uniqueness.

Marie:  Lovely to hear!

Can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Astrid: I want to contribute to the world in some way, but I also want to have a family. I think Victor’s combination of strength, intelligence, and patience will make him a great father. I also want to pass on some of the traditions of Buckshaw Ranch.

There are some other deep desires Victor helps me fulfill on a regular basis as well. 😉

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Ah, let’s move on to another topic.

I do appreciate that you want a family with Victor, though. I love romance. ♥

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So, how about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Astrid:  My greatest fear is losing those I love. Victor is the man of my dreams and if something happened to him, I know I would never love like this again. Losing my mom or my siblings would devastate me. I have some really good friends as well, so losing any of them would hurt so much. I want to keep them all safe and protected. It’s all about those we love. Nothing is more important in life than our loved ones.

Marie: You’re right about that.

I think we all have that fear sometimes, to lose the people we care about the most. Perhaps it’s what keeps us from taking them for granted.

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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Author Lana K. Dempsey: Hi there, Marie, thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor. (Bows pretending to curtsy.) I love your blog!

Marie: Oh, goodness! (Blushes.) Such a magnanimous entrance there. Thank you so much! 😀

Really, it’s always a total pleasure to have you on my blogs.

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

Lana: Yes, I’d love to. Astrid is part of a group of eighteen-year-olds who are gifted with above average maturity along with some subtle supernatural talents. They’re drawn together to right a very ancient wrong. She’s very strong and quite often unaware of her own strength.

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Lana: Astrid is humble. Too humble. Victor and her friends have to beat her over the head to get her to take on the role that will one day be hers. She just doesn’t fully grasp her own value.

Marie:  Well, I think we all feel that way at times.

And what are some of Astrid’s favorite foods?

Lana: Astrid loves French fries, her mother’s cooking, and Victor’s brisket.

Marie:  (Smiles.)

How about another question?

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

Lana: Astrid will be a role model and leader for other women. A few more life lessons and she’ll begin to understand.

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Lana: Readers will relate to her as if she’s a friend of theirs. Astrid is a compassionate and loyal ally. You definitely want her in your corner. She’s someone I’d love to know.

Actually, I’d love to BE Astrid! Ha! Victor Berenger would be one hell of a catch!

Marie: (Laughs.) All right.

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

What first gave you the idea for A Cowboy’s True Colors?

Lana: The story is the beginning of a series of books called The Mystical Traditions of Buckshaw Ranch. I had the basic plot, but when I started writing, the story line for book one popped up first and became the foundation. That happened again when I started book two, WHERE A COWBOY HANGS HIS HAT, which was just released on July 15th. This is also why the characters in the first book are so young.

I have a novella coming out as part of Sable Hunter’s Hell Yeah! Kindle World which will be released on August 11, 2016. It’s a stand alone, but it’s officially a Buckshaw series story, as well. So now, book four is getting started and it should be the final stage in the original story. But, as history has shown, the characters sometimes make other plans while I’m foolishly plotting the story.

Marie:  That’s for damn sure! Interesting how the muse works, huh? :)

Let’s try something else.

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

Lana:  Mostly a pantster. I love that word, by the way. However, there is a lot to consider in a series, so I’ve been known to plot simply to keep it all straight. I’m a hybrid, I guess. Hopefully that means I’m good for the environment! Especially the Kindle environment. Ha, ha!

Marie:  I am a hybrid as well…I do both.

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

Lana: The main thing I would advise is to finish your darn book! I missed opportunities because my book was still in the first draft stage. Also, I think finding a local writers group to help you with beta reading and feedback. Both of those things would have been wonderful to have on the front end. Finally, I would have gotten help earlier with the things I’m not so good at, such as the technical stuff. More than anything, you need support on all levels. You need a community, but I can say that goes for everyone whether or not they are a writer.

Marie:  Very true! And I agree completely. So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story A Cowboy’s True Colors appears to be.

Lana: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Marie: It’s my pleasure!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy, new adult Western paranormal romance by Lana K. Dempsey, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for A Cowboy’s True Colors:

Everyone’s last year in high school is always chaotic. This is especially true for Astrid at White Wood School. As if having a bully, an absentee father, and a best friend with a big problem weren’t enough – she also has to deal with having a secret power. Anytime she sees someone, Astrid also sees a kaleidoscope of colors surrounding them. Each individual’s emotions swirl in a changing pattern, allowing her to know what they’re feeling. This sixth sense complicates her life further, especially when she meets the one person who’s colors she can’t read – Victor Berenger, a tall, handsome cowboy with smoldering eyes. Every time Astrid is around him, she thinks her heart will beat out of her chest. When she finds out he is equally drawn to her, she’s thrilled. The man certainly knows his way around the bedroom. Life seems just about perfect…until the day Astrid’s vision takes a new twist. A set of colors appear on the school grounds–only this time they aren’t attached to a human! A mystery unfolds that threatens Astrid and her friends. To her surprise, Victor holds a piece of the puzzle. Join these two as they learn one another’s secrets, as well as the hidden, magical history of White Wood School.

*Content Warning: Contains explicit scenes and language. Intended for 18+ Audience

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

For the briefest moment he stopped his scan of the room and studied her. Or was she remembering that wrong? She was never sure. Either way, his expression didn’t change and he continued his inventory of his fellow classmates. After that, he hadn’t spoken to her until the last couple of days.

“Ah, yes. I’m sorry about that, I was a bit distracted. It wasn’t for lack of interest, I assure you.” Victor pressed himself a little closer to her under the blanket.

“You don’t seem very distracted now.”

This made him laugh. “Honestly, I’ve been worried about my brother. Right now he seems a bit taken with your friend, so I feel a little less guilty about indulging in my own interests.”

“Is Reggie okay?” she asked.

When Victor didn’t answer right away, her mind raced through various possibilities. Maybe Reggie was sick. He hadn’t been to school; they’d only just met him tonight.

“I’m sorry, I really can’t share that with you right now.”

Astrid instantly regretted having asked. The lighthearted mood was gone. Dang it! She chided herself for having brought it up. Then she had an idea. Before she could talk herself out of it she leaned into him and with her open palm drew a long caress down the length of his thigh. She felt him freeze up. Afraid she might have offended him with her forwardness, she paused and tilted her head up a little bit in an attempt to read his face in the dim light.

How wrong she had been.

Victor met her upturned face with the full force of his lips on hers. His leather jacket whispered as he reached around and grabbed her by the back of the neck to pull her closer to him. Despite her heart beating so hard it seemed about to jump out of her chest, she turned into him draping her knee over his leg. She brushed against the bulge between his legs with her thigh. The warmth there and the image of what lay beneath those Levi’s made her melt entirely.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you for so long.” Victor practically growled the words when he finally pulled away from her long enough to speak.

“I want to do more than kiss you.”

The feel of her voice, hot and sultry against his neck, was enough to drive him wild. How had he held this in for so long?

“That can be arranged,” he told her, thinking ahead of places he could get them some privacy. Maybe next time at her house, before her mom comes home, he plotted.

“Where can we go? I’m not kidding, I want you now.” The urgency inside her would not be ignored. This new, demanding part of herself seemed to be taking over.

“Now?” His heart stuttered a beat as he realized she was completely serious. Again he grabbed her by the neck and kissed her long and hard, this time pushing his warm tongue past those sweet lips. Eagerly she responded, pressing her chest up against him and letting out a tiny moan.

That was it, he was completely undone. I will have her now, he said to himself. “This way.” His voice was thick with the ache of desire. Gathering up the blanket he draped it over his shoulder and grabbed her by the hand.

She followed silently, her body alive, vibrating to an age old rhythm. Watching him walk ahead of her, she suddenly felt a proprietary right to watch the roundness of his behind without restraint. It was beautiful and she couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh.

Ooh! So sexy! ♥♥♥ 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/ACowboysTrueColors

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cowboys-true-colors-lana-k-dempsey/1123825650

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6238772

Lana teaser

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

About Lana K. Dempsey

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I’m Lana, a lifelong Texan, dog lover, and writer of sensual romance. When I say ‘sensual romance’ I mean I include real life in my stories, and real life includes sex.

I divide my time between Austin Texas and a small family ranch not far from Shiner. Shiner is the home of Shiner beer, I’ve been known to stop off at their tasting room before rolling up my sleeves to get to work on the ranch. Like many Texans I’ve got a bit of everything in me, German, Native American, and some Creole influence. Nothing like a little spice to liven things up.

Writing is much like reading; I need to feel the story in the same way a reader would. I adore leading men who are strong, but aren’t afraid to love. My goal is to fall in love as I write, it’s the only way my reader will as well.

Come with me and get to know a hot cowboy or two. It’ll be fun!

Books:

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Lana K. Dempsey, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.lanadempsey.com

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lanadempsey1

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Lana-K.-Dempsey/e/B01DWSO7LO/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15166226.Lana_K_Dempsey

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Astrid, a female character from A Cowboy’s True Colors, and Lana K. Dempsey, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, western, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Luke Bryce from BE MINE plus a conversation with author Isobelle Cate!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Sable Hunter’s character on July 14th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Isobelle Cate, the author of Be Mine, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Luke Bryce, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Isobelle in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Luke!

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

Character Luke Bryce: 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?

Luke: Okay.

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

Luke:  I’m the CEO of Bryce Engineering and I’m good at it. I built it from the ground up.

Marie:  Wow, that’s impressive!

Luke:  People call me a maverick. They’ve been waiting for me to make a mistake. I don’t make mistakes when it comes to my company. It’s my baby. That is, before Gracie Sinclair, who’s the love of my life.

Marie:  All right.

Tell us…what is your family like?

Luke: I only had my mother, the first woman I ever loved and respected. But she died when I was young. She was my only family. Now my family is Gracie and Flynn and our baby that’s coming.

Marie:  Sorry to hear about your mother. 😦

Let’s try something else.

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

Luke: My grandparents left their house to my mum. It wasn’t much but I was happiest there. The house had gables and there were three bedrooms on the upper floor. Christmases were some of the best times because there was a little more food than my mum and I were used to or could even afford. There was only a pocket garden which Mum cultivated with herbs. But when got sick, the garden became overgrown. I don’t have a green thumb and I didn’t know the first thing about gardening.

Marie:  I am the same way! I love flowers and such, but I really wouldn’t know how to take care of them.

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

Luke:  Hobbies? Women. Enjoy doing? Having a different woman every weekend.

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Okay…

So, what is your greatest dream?

Luke:  To make Bryce Engineering a force to be reckoned with.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 🙂

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

Luke: I’ve already achieved what I want to be. I’m my own man now. I don’t need to live in my father’s shadow.

Marie: (Holds up her hands.) Yikes! All right, I sense a touchy subject there.

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

Who was your first love?

Luke: My mum, I guess. She taught me to see the good things in people. I lost that when I found out who my father was.

Marie: Well, I certainly admire the way you felt about your mother…

Sounds like she was a special person.

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

Luke: When my father’s wife and his daughters stopped me from seeing my younger sister, Felicity.

Marie:  Wow! Sorry to hear that happened.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Luke 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?

Luke:  I dreamt of getting to know the half-sister I didn’t know I had. Felicity reached out to me even when I was suspicious of her motives. She was rich and legitimate. I wasn’t any of those. I lost that dream when her mother and sisters successfully plotted to keep us apart. I met Lisse again when Gracie and I bumped into her during the Christmas rush in Manchester. I achieved that dream in the most unusual of circumstances. You just need to read the story to find out how.

Marie:  Intriguing, for sure!

So, who is your role model, Luke?

Luke: Can’t think of anyone at the moment.

Marie:  All right.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Luke:  Cilla Williams.

Marie:  Okay.

And can you tell us something else? What is your deepest desire?

Luke: To grow old with Gracie.

Marie:  Aww…I love romance. ♥

Be Mine

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Luke: To lose Gracie.

I think we all have that fear sometimes, to lose the people we care about the most. Perhaps it’s what keeps us from taking them for granted. But I think you have nothing to worry about. 😉

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

Logan:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

Isobelle

Author Isobelle Cate: Hi, Marie! So happy to be here once again.

Always an honor. 😀

We just got to talk to a male character from your story, Luke Bryce. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about him?

Isobelle: Yes, he is interesting. Very driven to achieve all that he wants.

As Luke has said, he’s the CEO of his own company and a perfectionist. Be Mine begins with Luke burned out from working and he can’t wait for his vacation to begin.

Marie:  Well, can’t blame him there! I think we all feel that way at times. You just need to get away… 😉

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Isobelle:  He is driven, ambitious, and will do almost anything to get what he wants. He’s also the typical alpha male who is very possessive of the woman he loves.

Marie:  All right.

What are his greatest weaknesses?

Isobelle:  Gracie Sinclair. If Luke could give Gracie the moon, he would.

Marie:  So sweet! ♥ ♥ ♥

Let’s try something else.

What are some of Luke’s favorite foods?

Isobelle:  He used to like Pad Thai. However, after what happened to his friend Oliver Cray and his sister, he’s changed to steak.

Marie:  Bummer! Pad Thai is good. But, if it was a bad experience, I can see why he’d avoid it. (Winces.)

How about another question?

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

Isobelle: That he is capable of being loved for who he is. Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks shouldn’t be seen as a stigma. It doesn’t define a person.

Marie:  Very true.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Isobelle:  I think readers will like this character because of the way he makes Gracie fall in love with him.

Marie: All right.

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

Isobelle:  Bring it on. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.)

What first gave you the idea for Be Mine?

Isobelle: Be Mine was almost two years in the making, not because I agonized about what to write. It was because I concentrated on my paranormal series. Be Mine was supposed to be the intermediate book between the paranormal titles so that readers had something different from me.

Well, it sounds like a decent plan. But don’t feel bad. My latest historical romance, which was just accepted by my publisher, took me much longer than planned to finish. 🙂

Let’s try something else.

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

Isobelle:  A pantster, although with both my series growing, I am leaning now towards being a plotter.

Marie:  Yeah, I can see the appeal…

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

Isobelle:  I think the challenge for me was changing the writing style I had for the paranormal and not using it in my contemporary romances. I wanted each series to be unique. I think I’ve done it but only the readers will know for sure.

Marie:  Oh, I completely agree! I think every writing project is different.

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here again on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Be Mine appears to be.

Isobelle: Thank you for having me. I truly appreciate it.

Marie: Really, it’s an honor to have someone like you on here. And seriously, your books always look really hot and romantic. I can’t wait to read them!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy contemporary romance by Isobelle Cate, a very talented author! :)

Be Mine

Here is the blurb for Be Mine:

Gracie Sinclair just wants life to return to normal.

Now a widow and picking up the pieces after the death of her husband, she delves into her work, seeking a new normal, until she bumps into a handsome stranger who derails her orderly life completely.

Luke can’t wait for the week to be over. Having built an engineering company into a multi-million pound enterprise in record time, he feels…empty. Nothing satisfies him anymore, not even having weekenders in his bed. But when he bumps into a woman—literally—on his way out of a bar, realizing she is his last meeting before he goes on holiday, his plan of staying away from relationships takes a nose dive. He wants Gracie Sinclair.

Gracie learned a long time ago how insincere love can be, so when Luke decides to become part of her life, she tosses up every obstacle to dissuade him until he breaks down her walls and makes her realize that her life can only be complete with Luke by her side.

However, something sinister from Luke’s past threatens the happiness they have struggled to find. If he concedes, he will become criminally liable and lose everything.

If he refuses, he loses Gracie’s heart…  

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

Minutes later sunshine replaced the grey clouds, a precursor for better things to come. Gracie and Noreen had just put the finishing touches to their table when cars started coming inside the manor’s grounds. Children waited inside the cars before parents and grandparents opened their doors to let them out. Colorful jackets, coats, and parkas made for a rainbow that decided to take a break from arcing over the skies. Smells of sausages and grilled hamburgers with a pinch of strong coffee soon wafted through the fare. People queued for food. Others perused the items on sale, from pottery and glass jewelry to different cheeses made in several parts of the country. Tasting trays of small breads and crackers with dollops of jam or cheese made their way on food stall tables for people to sample. Some crowded a few booths while other booths waited for people to gather around them. By noon, the swell of chatting groups and shouts of butchers selling fresh slabs of meat mixed with the shrieks, laughter and whining of children.
“Thank you.” Gracie smiled at a buyer, while Noreen handed over the change for another purchase.
“Oh my God, Gracie, can you believe it?” Noreen’s face had a happy smile. “The fair isn’t closing for a few hours yet and we’re down to just one crate.”
“And I should say well done, you.” Gracie enveloped her friend in a warm hug.
“Girl, they didn’t just buy my stuff. They also bought yours.” The lilt in Noreen’s voice belied her serious face. “Well done, apprentice.”
Gracie laughed. “Thank you. I have a wonderful teacher.”
A dusky blush colored Noreen’s caramel skin. She was the epitome of elegance no matter even if she was in dungarees. Her braided hair was tied with a piece of cloth at the nape of her neck, where several necklaces with tiny ceramic beads clicked against each other whenever she moved. Her softly kohl-rimmed eyes sparkled with excitement and could be liberally laced with mischief, but not this time. Pure joy radiated through her in the way her mouth lifted in the biggest of smiles and the way she engaged potential buyers in conversation. Her enthusiasm, contagious.
Noreen waved her hand dismissively at Gracie’s compliment. “We will start trading compliments very soon.”
Gracie grinned, shaking her head. She bent down to get more ceramic bowls from the crate, gently taking them out from the bed of bubble wrap, unmindful of the quiet behind her. “We’ll need to take out this blue and grey set of salad bowls, Noreen.” She straightened up, turning towards her friend. “Where should I put…” Surprise slammed into her like a freight train. “these…”
“Hello, Gracie.” Whatever chill she felt abated in the banked fire in his blue eyes.
“What are you doing here?”
His eyes gleamed with amusement. “It is the weekend fair. People come to enjoy it.”
Color flooded her cheeks. Dumb, Gracie. Just dumb. “Yes. Right. Well…enjoy the day then.” She turned to Noreen, who watched the exchange with curiosity. “I’m going to get coffee. Do you want anything?”
“I’ll get it,” Luke interjected. Noreen had just opened her mouth to speak and kept it open as she turned to Luke before she pursed her lips.
“It’s not necessary,” Gracie said.
“Gracie, please let me.”
“Why don’t you both go and get me coffee,” Noreen retorted wryly. “Better yet, get me the huge cafetière because seriously I feel like I’m watching a table tennis match.”
Gracie scowled. Luke chuckled.
“Good idea,” he said. “Gracie?”
Not wanting to belabor the point, Gracie turned to get her small purse and slung it diagonally across her chest. She refused to acknowledge the sudden loud thudding of her heart and the turmoil that seemed to be usurping the calm inside her belly. She could also feel Noreen’s gaze on her, but refused to look at her friend, opting to make her way out of their stall to join Luke.
“Luke! Baby!”
The strong cloud of perfume arrived first before a woman flung herself at Luke, capturing his mouth in a kiss that had a few passers-by gawk, glance with surprise, and snicker. Gracie stopped mid-stride, sighing and shaking her head.
She gave Noreen a curt smile. “I’ll be back with the coffee.”
“Gracie!”
She continued walking, her wellies splashing over puddles that hadn’t been dried by the sun. The warmth she felt at the sight of Luke became colder than the fall weather. She ground her teeth at his girlfriend’s shrill laughter.
She was such a fool. She felt used. Degraded.
Betrayed.
She swallowed against the lump lodged in her throat. She wasn’t going back to the stall. Noreen would understand her need for silence. For solace. Knowing Luke’s penchant for following her, Gracie allowed herself to be lost in the crowd, choosing to weave her way through the thickest group of people. Not even the obnoxious dressed for the Ascot races man, sputtering his importance at a group of rowdy teenagers, made her stop. She stole a glance back. Luke was nowhere in sight. Relieved, she made her way to the stall from where the aroma of rich, strong coffee came from. She groaned in frustration. A lot of people seemed to have the same idea as the queue formed a straight line perpendicular to the stall. If she went to the end of the waiting line, Luke would no doubt see her and that was the last thing she wanted. She nearly stomped her foot in annoyance.
“Bloody nuisance,” she gritted before she abandoned her mission and opted to leave the fair for the quieter part of the manor grounds. Fishing out her mobile, she typed a quick text to Noreen.
Just needed to get away. Will be back in half an hour.
A few minutes later, her phone vibrated. Okay, but you owe me an explanation. And who the hell is the woman nearly clinging around your guy like a boa constrictor?
Gracie’s thumbs flew over the QWERTY board. He’s not my guy!
Noreen texted back. Uh huh.
Gracie huffed, not bothering to reply.

Riveting! 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://mybook.to/BeMine_ICate

B&N:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Nook

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Kobo

Inktera:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_ICate_Inktera

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1084614110

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

About Isobelle Cate

Isobelle

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations: the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fueled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend.

Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

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Books:

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You and I Cover

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Be Mine

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

Website:  www.isobellecate.weebly.com

Blog:  http://isobellecate.weebly.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Isobelle-Cate/e/B00E5OD27K

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191925.Isobelle_Cate

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

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/bMmwT5

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/isobelle-cate

Microcerpt:  http://microcerpt.com/isobellecate/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Luke, a male character from Be Mine, and Isobelle Cate, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Logan Gray from TEXAS C.H.A.O.S. plus a conversation with author Sable Hunter!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed K.C. Sprayberry’s three characters on April 26th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Sable Hunter, the author of TEXAS CHAOS, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Logan Gray, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Sable Hunter in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Logan!

Logan and Jenna

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

Character Logan Gray: Thank you for having me, Marie. I tell you it’s hot out in this Texas sunshine. Talking to you gives me a chance to come in and cool off.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Logan: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Also, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Logan: Well, to answer your question, I’ve been lucky enough to have two missions in life that I feel are worthy callings. I am Fire Chief of the Stonewall Volunteer Fire Department which is located between Austin and Fredericksburg, a small rural community in the Texas Hill Country. We are proud to protect our community and serve them in their hour of need. My other job is owning the Gray Wolf Guest Ranch. My family helps with this endeavor but we provide a place where guests can get a taste of the cowboy life and see a genuine, Texas rodeo. I am also a stock contractor for rodeos. In other words, I keep busy.

Marie:  Wow, that’s impressive!

As for the other questions…

Logan: Am I any good? Hell, yes. I’m good at both of my jobs. I don’t tolerate slack attitudes from any of my men or my employees and I sure don’t tolerate it from myself. What I do can mean the difference between life or death for some folks. I have to approach it with all seriousness.

Do I like what I do? Yes, I am fortunate to be able to do two things I love. Protecting my friends and neighbors with the Fire Department is something that I am honored to do and the ranch gives me a chance to indulge my love of the outdoors and dealing with horses and cattle. I am a cowboy at heart.

That’s great!:)

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Logan:  Well, my parents are still alive and I am glad of that for many reasons. When Dad retired from the military, they moved in with me to help with Gray Wolf Ranch. When Jenna came to live with us, I gave Mom and Dad the big house so Jenna could have some privacy and I moved into what used to be the foreman’s house. My parents are wonderful, overprotective, supportive, bossy – ha! My mom is a wonderful cook and I’m grateful they have accepted Jenna with their whole heart. They saw what was between Jenna and I before I was willing to admit it to myself.

Marie:  Yes, those closest to us can often see things we don’t notice ourselves.

Can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

Logan: I was raised in a military family. We moved from base to base, so we never were able to put down roots. I guess that nomadic lifestyle was the reason I bought a piece of land as quickly as I could. I wanted a home; now I’m fortunate enough to have one.

Marie:  I’m so glad you found one! 😉

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

Logan: Well, my work as Fire Chief keeps me busy. Gray Wolf Ranch is more than a hobby, but I guess the horses and the rodeo that we have there would classify as what I enjoy doing the most. Outside of those two things, and loving on my Jenna, I don’t have a lot of time to spare.

Marie:  Okay.

So…what is your greatest dream?

Logan: The day I stood on a ladder and pulled my Jenna from a fire, I held my dream in my arms. I fought it, hell, I thought I was too old for her. But heaven smiled down on me and she loved me right back. Even when I was still trying to keep her at arm’s length, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. So, being with her, married to her is my greatest dream. Now, we have a baby on the way and things are more than perfect. Apart from my family, my next greatest dream is being my brother’s keeper and I do that by fighting fires and helping my neighbors and friends by protecting their lives and their property.

Marie:  That’s very admirable.

Let’s try another question.

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

Logan: I intend to be the type of person that my loved ones and friends can rely on. I’m a big guy, but I want my heart and my capacity to care to be just as big. I want to be Jenna’s rock, I never want her to have a moment when she doesn’t feel like the center of my universe. And when the baby comes…I intend to spoil my little girl rotten and make sure she doesn’t get married until she’s 42.

Marie: (Laughs.) Aww…

Logan: What’s stopping me? You know, I almost messed things up with Jenna because I was worrying about what other people might think about our age difference. Being in the public eye, a public servant if you will, I am conscious about being above reproach. I almost let the best thing in my life slip through my fingers because I was worried about people thinking I was robbing the cradle. Jenna and others set me straight. She is perfect for me in every way and those that love me, are happy for us both.

So sweet.

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

Who was your first love?

Logan: Oh, I had crushes on girls. What guy doesn’t? And I have had casual relationships, I’m not a saint. But Jenna was my first and only love.

Marie: Happy to hear it! (Sighs.) I love romance…

Texas Chaos

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

Logan: As a fireman, we see terrible things. We lose people, even after we do our very best to save them. The most terrible thing that ever happened to me, though, was the moment I arrived at that rodeo arena and saw my Jenna on the back of a bucking bull. And when she was thrown and hit the ground…I flew over that fence to her side. From that moment, I vowed to keep her safe – so I married her.

Marie:  Yikes! Sorry to hear that happened, but I’m glad you guys got married.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Logan 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?

Logan: My dream growing up was to be a cowboy. I wanted to ride the range and sleep outdoors. The houses we lived at on the base never had a very big yard, so I was hungry for adventure. My dream to be a fireman came later, after I watched a group of brave men battle a fire at a home in our neighborhood. They saved a little boy that day, and I knew that I wanted to do the same thing.

I’m lucky enough to have achieved both my dreams. I even achieved a dream I didn’t know I had until I looked into Jenna’s beautiful eyes.

Being a fireman seems exciting to a little boy, and it is. But when you’re young, you don’t think about people dying, or finding out how it feels to not be able to save someone, no matter how hard you try. As far as the cowboy thing goes – just like any other dream, you learn there are harsh realities. When you raise cattle, you lose some. The work is hard, hot and grueling. Even with my dream about Jenna, there are days when I’m sure she’d like to wring my neck. You take the bad with the good, and at the end of the day, you just know that you’ve done your very best – and that feels pretty damn good.

Marie:  All right.

Who is your role model, Logan?

Logan: My role model is my dad. He served his country, yet always made me feel loved and important. Another role model of mine, my old Fire Chief, I looked up to him. He was a fine role model as far as the work, but I almost let his failures in his marriage cause me to fail with Jenna. I learned never to measure your own chance at happiness against someone else’s. Jenna and I are different people than Jay Hodgins and his Sierra – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Logan: Well, there was – his name was Damien Wade, he was the Fire Chief over in Wimberley. I worked with him, but there was always something about him that bothered me. Now, I know my instincts were right. My friend Titan Sloan discovered that Damien was abusing his wife. Turns out he was an arsonist too. He even set some fires over here in my district. A firebug who hides behind a fireman’s badge is the worst kind of coward. Titan has his job now, and his wife. I’m glad it all worked out for the best.

Marie:  I can’t blame you for feeling that way.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Logan?

Logan:  My deepest desire is to keep Jenna, my wife, safe and to make her happy. She lost her parents in a fire, and my folks have tried to fill that gap. I want to give her everything she’s ever dreamed of – a home, a family and all the love my heart can hold.

Marie:  Sounds like the perfect plan…

How about another question?

What is your greatest fear?

Logan:  My biggest fear is losing Jenna. She’s had two close calls, and I don’t want her to have another. If I can keep her sweet little butt off the back of a bull, I’ll feel better about it. Until then, I’ll keep my eye on her – after all, she’s mine.

That’s right. I think you have nothing to worry about, though. 😉

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

Logan:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

sable

So, we just got to talk to a female character of your story, Logan Gray. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about him?

Author Sable Hunter: Logan Gray is a man’s man. He is big, strong and sexy as they come. Somehow he’s managed to reach his late 30’s without falling into the matrimonial trap – -and it’s time. He’s been waiting for the right woman to come along and when she does, he’s afraid to reach out and grab her with both hands because he thinks she is too young for him. Little does he know…

He’s good with animals, he is a stock contractor for the rodeo, but he always puts the welfare of the animal first. He is a giver – a good son, a brave firefighter, a good friend. I want a Logan Gray of my own.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! 😉 He sounds awesome!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Sable: Logan’s greatest strength is his ability to put everyone else first – be it people he is saving from a fire; a fireman he is going an extra mile to train or the woman of his dreams when he tamps down his own desires to make her dreams come true. For a man like that – a woman would do most anything.

Marie:  For sure!

And what are his greatest weaknesses?

Sable: I never understood it, but Logan doubted that he would be enough for someone. He saw tying Jenna to him for life as limiting her horizons, setting boundaries on what she might be able to accomplish. Logan wanted to give Jenna her freedom so she could accomplish her dreams – he didn’t realize that he was her dream, he would be any woman’s dream. With a man like Logan at your side, a girl could touch the sky.

Marie:  So true…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of his favorite foods?

Sable: Logan is definitely a meat-eater. He loves beef, of course. But he also loves pizza, Cajun food and Mexican food. And chocolate – of course.

Marie:  (Laughs.) A man after my own heart! Chocolate is my weakness. 😀

How about another question?

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

Sable: A positive quality that Logan has that he isn’t aware of – – is that he makes everyone feel safe. He’s a natural leader, but he doesn’t lead just by intimidation; he makes you want to follow him because you want to make him proud.

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

Sable:  Readers will love this character – he’s hot as hell, sweet, alpha as they come and really good in bed. I’d take him in a heartbeat.

(Giggles.) I’m sure they will too!:)

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

What first gave you the idea for TEXAS CHAOS?

Sable:  I always start with a hook, or a trope, a challenge. I wanted to do an older guy/younger woman story. The Texas Heroes series began with TEXAS WILDFIRE which was in the Cowboy 12-pack, and it did well. So, I created another firemen/cowboy book to go with it, weaving in a few of the other firemen characters so I could continue the series if I wanted. In researching firemen stuff, as I am apt to do, I came upon the jargon “CHAOS” which was something the firemen will say when their boss shows up, probably for the same reason any of us would, to warn one another to look busy – ha! Anyway the CHIEF HAS ARRIVED ON SCENE, just hit me as something to show that the big guy is there, all is well, the situation is in hand. I tried to get that feeling across – both for his men and for Jenna; when Logan arrived, they knew everything would be okay.

Great! I love how the muse works.

Let’s try something else.

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

Sable: I write every day, full time, from my recliner with the TV on and two doxies by my side. I occasionally get up to go to the bathroom. – ha!

Marie:  All right.

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

Sable: No, it went smoothly. I loved the story line and it flowed well. And since I’m indie and publish my own, I’m in the driver’s seat.

Differently? Well, I took a drive out to Stonewall, which is next to LBJ Ranch and close to Fredericksburg with beautiful Enchanted Rock and Luckenbach, of country music fame on the way. I love to research my novels by walking where they walk and eating where they might eat. So, I guess if I had it to do over again – I’d go twice. Peach season is amazing and there are a few vineyards out there where you can stop and taste – and taste – and taste.

Marie:  Sounds like a blast!

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 TEXAS CHAOS appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful yet sexy, Western romance by Sable Hunter, a very talented author! :)

Texas Chaos

Here is the blurb for TEXAS CHAOS:

The letters C. H. A. O. S. don’t just refer to reality out of control, it’s an alert–the Chief Has Arrived On Scene! Logan Gray is that chief. He covers the ground he stands on and people show respect when he walks by. In his late thirties, Logan is a confirmed bachelor. While he may adore the young Jenna from afar, at 18, he considers her to be a lifetime too young for him.
Jenna is of another opinion. Logan Gray is everything to her. He rescued her from a fire at 16. His parents took her in when she had nothing and no one. Raised on his Gray Wolf guest ranch, Jenna learns how to trick-ride and perform in the rodeo. When Logan’s not looking, she even loves to try her hand at bull-riding. And now, she is ready to go after what she wants most–Logan Gray.
Ignoring the fact that his heart and body craves Jenna like a drug, Logan does what he thinks is best and gently turns her down. What happens next turns his world on end. Logan learns that love can’t be defined by a number and life without Jenna is no life at all.
Sable is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

As Jenna sat on the brown leather couch adjacent to the fireplace, Logan flipped on a lamp. When he did, Jenna could see him clearly for the first time since leaving the bar. What she saw made her breath hitch in her throat.
He was aroused.
Big time.
There was no denying what she saw. Logan had a hard on.
For her?
She let him walk off while her mind spun. Was this possible? She jumped up and began to pace. What if he did want her? What if all of this was some grand gesture on his part because of their age? What if she could make this right?
Before she could change her mind, Jenna began to remove her clothes. Oh yea, she was inexperienced, but Jenna had one advantage in the situation.
She had fantasized about him so much and so often, Jenna knew exactly what she was going to do.
Seduce Logan Gray – or die trying.
In the kitchen, Logan put on his old fashioned percolator, then hung over the sink, splashing water in his face while the coffee brewed. Was he crazy? The woman he adored was in the next room. He could count the times on one hand that he’d allowed them to be totally alone with each other. And now – she was here, she was legal and most importantly – she wanted him.
“Logan?”
Logan jerked up right, running both hands through his hair. “Yea?”
“Could you come here for a second?”
“Coffee’s not done, I’ll be there in a minute.” He needed just a bit more time to get his errant dick in line. Now that he had her here – what could he say? What could he do? He’d hoped to get her to go home to Gray Wolf where he’d know where she was, and that she was safe.
“I don’t want any coffee,” she called. “There’s something else I want. Something I need.”
With only a moment’s hesitation, Logan left the kitchen. “What can I do for you, Jenna?” When he stepped around the corner, he froze – he couldn’t move, speak or think.
Jenna, his Jenna was lying on the couch. Her head on a pillow, her eyes on him, that sweet tongue of hers peeking out and licking her top lip. One leg was bent, her back arched – her incredible breasts thrust up. And God help him…
She was gloriously, stupendously nude.
Completely naked.
“Jenna?” His whole body blazed red hot. Electric. If he’d thought his cock was hard before, now it was huge, rock-solid and throbbing.
“Logan?” She held her hand. “Make love to me.” She ran one hand over her breasts, down her middle to tease the top of her mound. “Please?”
“This is…this is not why I brought you here.”
He didn’t take his eyes off of her. She could see his chest moving up and down, taking in deep breaths. But still…he didn’t move.
Well, if the man won’t come to Jenna, she’d have to go to her man. “No? I can’t think of a better reason. I’ve wanted you for years.” Gracefully, she rose and began walking toward him slowly with catlike grace.
Logan’s mouth was dry; his body shook. The woman was fuckin’ perfect. Over the years, he’d envisioned how beautiful she must be under her clothes.
Damn, he wasn’t even close.
“You’re magnificent,” he whispered. The truth couldn’t be contained. Every part of her was utterly delectable.
“No strings attached. No expectations. No promises. Just love me.”
God, he loved her. He’d always loved her. That wasn’t the problem.
Logan was still stuck in his tracks. His mind wasn’t functioning worth a damn. “Jenna, this…”
“Is what I want.” She stepped up to him, her swollen nipples grazing his chest. “You’ll never know how I’ve dreamed of this moment.” Placing her hands on his shoulders, she rose up on tiptoe and fitted her mouth to his. “Kiss me.”
One touch, that’s all it took and Logan was free. Free to touch, free to hold, free to join their lips and inhale her like she was life-giving oxygen. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. She was small, delicate. When she was nestled against him, his body enveloped hers – and he never wanted to let her go.
Jenna began working on his shirt as they kissed, undoing buttons and tugging it from his pants. When he tried to stop her hands, “Baby, baby, we…”
She went with step two.
“We can do anything we want to do.” Turning in his arms without breaking contact, she placed her bottom against his swollen package and rubbed – up – down, looking over her shoulder and up into his eyes.
Up. Down.
He was so big and hard, she felt like she was rubbing against a steel rod.
Logan was hyperventilating. He was about to die. There was no way in hell he could keep his hands off of her. Wrapping an arm around her, he covered one breast with a big palm – and rubbed.
She purred, the woman fuckin’ purred.
Logan didn’t have a chance.

Ooh…so hot! 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/TexasCHAOS

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this riveting tale! ♥

About Sable Hunter

sable

Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 50 books in 7 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales where the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.

Books:

Love Me I Dare You

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Texas Chaos

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

Website:  http://sablehunter.com/

Blog:  http://sablehunter.com/sables-blog.html

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Sable-Hunter/e/B007B3KS4M/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Logan, a male character from TEXAS CHAOS, and Sable Hunter, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

5 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, western, Writing

A Character Interview with Emmi Vendetta from EMMI’S PRIDE plus a conversation with author Jill Marie Denton!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed K.C. Sprayberry’s character on March 1st and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Jill Marie Denton, the author of Emmi’s Pride, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Emmi Vendetta, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Jill Marie in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Emmi!

Emmi

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

Character Emmi Vendetta: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

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

Emmi: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Also, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Emmi:  I’m the vocalist, manager and agent for Second, a rock band my friends and I formed eighteen or so years ago. Fortunately for us, we’re well-received by the media and our fans, and have a few awards to back up our skill set, so I can claim to be good at it, yes. It’s been a whirlwind but I can’t imagine a better way to spend two decades.

Marie:  Wow, that’s great! 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Emmi:  I do my best to shield my family from the mayhem. My childhood was fairly normal, and based on their preferences and my own, I prefer to not answer questions about them.

Marie:  All right. I can respect that.

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

Emmi:  It was suburbia in its purest sense. I’m the all-American middle-class girl you imagined living next door in your cul-de-sac. I just took a more publicized route in my teens, but the house and the people inside were as typical as they come.

Marie:  I see.

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

Emmi: Hobbies are a hard thing to find time for, but I spend a good majority of my time with music on in the background. It’s essential that I stay on top of trends and what’s prevalent in music, but it keeps my mind on track, too, while I’m pushing paper around. I’ve been writing lyrics most of my life, and I’m constantly writing phrases that might become lyrics on any paper within reach. I don’t enjoy the treadmill but I lean on it pretty fiercely. Being fuller-figured in the media is always a source of antipathy, so I just shoot for ‘healthy’ and let the chips fall where they may. Other than that, I just enjoy every moment of this life and all the beautiful opportunities our hard work has provided.

Marie:  Okay.

So…what is your greatest dream?

Emmi: If you’d asked me this a few years ago, I’d have told you I wanted time off. I’m a little wiser now, and know I’m glutton for punishment in the form of work. Nowadays, I just look forward to having a home base, someplace where I can sort my work and start more memories. Being on the road, touring endlessly since my early twenties has made me crave a bed and home of my own.

Marie:  That’s understandable.

Let’s try another question.

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

Emmi: I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve become the person I was meant to be. I knew that I needed more than a calm, steady and domesticated life and I went out and achieved it. While the success is a little overwhelming at times, I know in my heart that I took the right path with both my education and Second. I always have other skills to lean on, but for now, I love being Emmi, with all the pros and cons rolled in.

Marie: Lovely to hear that! 😉

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

Who was your first love?

Emmi: Other than music icons, I assume. Those are always the first men that pop into my mind when I think back on love. In truth, love’s always been second in line behind some other duty, but I think the boy that made me realize what love was and how it felt to have my heart sputter was Robert. I wish I remembered his last name. In any case, he sat in front of me in some trivial computer course in middle school. I always wanted to touch his long hair or wear his flannel shirt. Ah, the nineties.

Marie: (Chuckles.)

All right. Let’s try something else.

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

Emmi: Professionally, I’d invested some hard earnings into a band a few years back, forming them from a group of talented misfits and naming them like a set of quads I’d birthed personally. I spent so many hours of my time coaching, producing, and finessing only to have their tour cancelled due to the lead singer’s inability to commit. I lost quite a bit, both monetarily and in reputation, when that happened, and had to eat crow with quite a few club owners and venue organizers to rebuild relationships I’d meticulously built. Personally, I had to accept that sometimes, no matter how much money you throw at it or how hard you try, some people will never understand and never support your ambition. Sometimes those people are close to you, and you have to let go of the toxicity before it destroys your dreams. Accepting that truth was devastating, and is still something I live with every day.

Marie:  Yikes! Sorry to hear that.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Emmi 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?

Emmi: Well, I think I achieved the dream of many, not just myself, but it certainly wasn’t the glorious, laid-back road I dreamed of as a child. There’s a reason that bands break up, a reason that so many friends end up hating each other once they’re forced to work, live and eat together for years. I’d anticipated rocky roads, bitch-fests, and attitude because I’m always pushing for better, but I’m fortunate to have partners in crime that understand how hard it is to maintain fame and how fleeting it can be. They, for the most part, are patient with their perfectionist, workaholic boss, but they also know how to deal with me after two decades of friendship. I didn’t expect to have to tour as much as we did, to lose as much sleep as we have, but in retrospect, it’s been worth it.

Marie:  The good dreams always are…;)

Okay, let’s try something else.

Who is your role model, Emmi?

Emmi: It’s likely you won’t know this gent, but the first name that I thought of was Ian MacKaye. I’ve been a fan of his music since childhood when I discovered punk rock and realized it was a great outlet for me. Ian succeeded where others failed, starting a recording label, producing some top-notch talent and continuing to record unique songs by his own set of guidelines. So many in this industry have to do what they’re told, conform to some set of commandments set by their labels or the media. He never accepted their money to do what they wanted. He always set his own rules, let the fans decide, and it ended up serving him well. It was wonderful to have such a talented, headstrong and inventive idol over the years.

Marie:  He definitely sounds amazing!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Emmi: The media, especially the paparazzi, but that comes with the territory. Without fan interest, there’d be no clandestine photos taken and no gossip in circulation, so it’s par for the course. But I could live without their hounding, assumptions and speculation, as could a few other celebrities, I’m sure.

Marie:  All right. I can’t blame you there.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Emmi?

Emmi:  Secretly, I hope that one day, heaven deigns to send me someone to share my passions with. For the moment, I’m fine being the solitary wolf, the headstrong female with the career, but I hope I realize when he comes along that not every relationship is a burden and not every love is destined for despair. When he comes along, I hope I’m smart enough to realize it and not be skeptical, like I’d normally be.

Marie:  You’re right. It does take courage to let someone get that close to you. I have no doubt you’ll find him. (Sighs.) I love romance. ❤

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How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Emmi:  That all we’ve accomplished as a band will fade before we’re ready to say goodbye to it. Success is so fleeting, so elusive, that if we look away or lose focus, it’ll be gone before we can argue. I believe that success is a measure of effort, so we’ll keep pressing forward, going for broke, until we’re ready to hang up the instruments for good.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan, but I think you have nothing to worry about. 😉

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

Emmi:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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Author Jill Marie Denton:  Hi, Marie!  A pleasure to be here.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  :)

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

Jill Marie: She’s the epitome of career professional, just in an occupation that usually ends quickly and tragically. During the course of her rise in Second, she achieved a doctorate in general medicine and a law degree. She’s intelligent, witty, and undeniably charismatic, though the media browbeats her about her curves and blondness, insinuating she’s an over-eater and loose in morals. Having to rise above, to reshape their opinions, has brought out the prideful, self-reliant side she shows to the world.

Marie:  She sounds awesome!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Jill Marie: Emmi is a go-getter in every sense of the word. She’s built her successes and wealth through years of living on a tour bus, studying the industry, passing the bar exam in various states and not compromising to make life easier. She’s the first in and the last out, the type of worker that makes those around her step up and follow suit. And she’s lovely inside and out, once she accepts you and drops the barbed wire fence around her heart.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Jill Marie: Her unwillingness to compromise, to accept second best, often puts her at odds with those who won’t step up. Untrusting and unwilling to let a task be done imperfectly, she carries the workload herself. She’s also emotionally distant from those outside her circle, afraid to show vulnerability to the critical and judgmental media. With her band mates, she is a true, loyal and expressive friend, but outside that group, she is guarded, suspicious and overly careful.

Marie:  Well, I think we can all be somewhat protective of ourselves…

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Jill Marie: Emmi is a vegetarian as much as her life permits. She prefers to “save animal meat for the other animals,” to quote her directly. She loves Italian food like her family prepared growing up, heavy on tomato and herb. She also loves ginger, including drinks and treats. Her ideal meal is iced mint tea, vegetable lasagna and bread so garlicky, it scares off the undead.

Marie:  (Laughs.) All right.

How about another question?

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

Jill Marie: She’s selfless in ways she doesn’t realize, and she has a maternal streak that makes her insistence easier to handle. She manages the band of friends like a den mother, though she considers herself a despot.

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

Jill Marie:  My hope is that readers will enjoy her, though at times her reasoning and considerations can be illogical. Women are tricky, especially the headstrong and dedicated ones, and Emmi is no different. I love writing strong women, the kind that younger generations can relate to, and in time, I’m sure readers will enjoy the compromises she makes in pursuit of love.

Marie:  I’m sure they will too!:)

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

What first gave you the idea for Emmi’s Pride?

Jill Marie: I’ve had these characters, Emmi and her Second mates, in my head for the better part of twenty years. They’re based on bits of me and friends I’ve had. Their stories were begging to be told, and once I realized that a handsome, persuasive and passionate actor she crushed over would be a perfect antagonist for the careful musician, the book practically wrote itself.

Marie:  Great! I love how the muse works.

Let’s try something else.

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

Jill Marie:  I’m a little of both, to be honest. I think conversations in books need to be “pantsy” in that they should flow the way a normal chat would. Planning it too carefully makes it sound contrived. I enjoy having a rough path in mind before beginning a story, though. Having an idea of where to start and end is crucial in managing a novel’s length and flow, but adhering too closely to an outline makes it easy to disregard new ideas as they come.

Marie:  Oh, I fully agree. I dance around in both realms as well.

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

Jill Marie:  I’ve had issues with writer’s blocks during the novel writing, and found myself utterly unable to form sentences with any sort of cohesion or develop dialogue anyone would relate to. I had to take a few breaks to read, re-imagine and reinvigorate before writing again. I also felt the constant need for feedback during the writing process, unsure if anything I wrote was worthy of publishing. In doing this, I realized a lot of writers have anxiety over the same issue, and end up giving their books away to willing readers simply to exploit reviews and encouragement. Finding a publishing deal is incredibly difficult, takes thick skin and many hours of labor, potentially resulting in decline after decline. If all else fails, for your first efforts, create an eBook and price it reasonably. Market yourself around that eBook, create a name for yourself and never give up!

Marie:  Thanks for the tips!

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 Emmi’s Pride appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this wonderful book by Jill Marie Denton, a very talented author! :) This contemporary romance debut novel just released on April 8th!

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Here is the blurb for Emmi’s Pride:

Emmi Vendetta is the charismatic lead singer of Second, a rock band on an unstoppable trajectory. Blonde and curvy, she captivates on stage, forming a powerful and sultry image for the five-female group. But as the band manager and agent, she is Second’s professional face, and offstage, she takes that role, and her dedication to it, seriously.

One night, she stumbles into the man of her dreams, dark and handsome British actor Simon Piers. Suddenly, the safe, cold wall she puts between her heart and the speculative media is threatened. Her body craves what her steadfast and cautious mind fears most; media critique, dismissal of her proficient image and Second’s downfall at the hands of outside interests. But their gravitation is inescapable, and her desires cause her resolve to falter.

Will Emmi’s pride stand in the way of the happiness Simon promises, or will she find room in her life for a chance at true love?

Jill Marie is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Her ear came alive with voices not in the room as two of their guards were discussing an incoming paparazzi blitz. The word was out on their attendance. Both were asking them to retreat with as much dignity as possible and to cut their evening short before the reporters burst through the paltry line of security the benefit had hired.

That was her cue. No one hated invasive paparazzi more than Emmi, and Deis was quickly whisked from the circle of thanks by her manager’s fierce grip.

“They’re coming,” Emmi said hurriedly, moving with Deis to the front entrance, where the limo would be waiting.

Not needing to be convinced, Deis hurried out the door and down the grand steps to the guard, poised at the car door. She knew not to argue with her manager about avoiding undue publicity.

Emmi was a few steps behind when she ran fully into a black-garbed wall of man.

The movement into her path was so sudden, so unanticipated, that she couldn’t catch herself. Heeled feet slid on the granite as she toppled into the figure she’d nearly bowled over. She didn’t have the chance to be embarrassed, to say a single word in defense. He was holding her biceps before she could regain her footing, kept up right by his warm hands. Fortunately for them both, his body was poised to catch her forward momentum. She gasped as he held her steady.

He was silent as she lifted her head and met his intense yet concerned gaze.

Holy hell. It was him.

Simon Piers, in all his dark and dangerous glory.

He was dressed in a flawless black suit, classy in a white shirt and matching tie. When he finally released her arms, all she could do was try to recover. No words would come.

For the first time in her life, she was caught utterly and foolishly unprepared. She’d seen him for months, on her tablet screen or when she closed her eyes. Her band mates all teased her about her infatuation. His chestnut hair cut modestly, eyes like molasses, body firm like she’d seen on Netflix, and that smile that crossed from one cheek to the other coyly. She’d imagined smiling charmingly and being he confident rock star she could be when she met him. But now, with his body pressed to hers and in his grasp, she was wholly undone.

She finally caught her breath, which had whooshed out violently at contact, pulled herself together and met his gaze with as much pride as she could muster. How long had she been out of sorts?

It felt like minutes. She feared her look came off as panic, or even amazement, instead of the quiet confidence she willed herself to portray.

Deis raised her voice from the backseat of the limo. “Come on!”

She glanced over his shoulder at her band mate, then back at him. He was smiling now, his eyes narrowed slightly at her torn expression. His breath was soft, slow, compared with her embarrassed panting. He had to recognize her, but didn’t bother to add to her shame by asking for a thing. She managed a polite smile, averted her eyes hastily and continued down the steps without looking back.

As the limo drove away, he stood near the door, eyeing its escape down the narrow street. They were long gone and his mind was pouring over their momentary encounter, a grin on brazen display, when he finally ducked into the white-collar crowd.

Ooh…Interesting!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01E0ZGIVK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-saga-book-one-jill-marie-denton/1123581095

Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Second-Saga-Book-One/Jill-Marie-Denton/9781634912358?id=6582324584278

Book Locker:  http://booklocker.com/books/8508.html

About Jill Marie Denton

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Jill Marie is a long-time fan of women’s fiction and rock music, marrying her two interests in Second Saga. She is also a classically-trained French chef, Human Resources professional and Master’s student in her home state of Delaware. Aside from reading, writing and cooking, she is also a dedicated contributor to women’s websites and online magazines, such as BE, for romantic fiction and culinary development. Above all, she delights in creating strong-willed, relatable characters for her audience in her novels, and continues to write to help women realize their inner strength and the power of their passion.

Jill Marie’s Book:

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

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JillMarieDenton

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Jill-Marie-Denton/e/B01D3HTLVA/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15103692.Jill_Marie_Denton

Publisher:  http://booklocker.com/books/8508.html

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Emmi Vendetta, a female character from Emmi’s Pride, and Jill Marie Denton, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

8 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

Liebster Award

I have exciting news, which also works very well for ILRB’s 300th post! The I Love Romance Blog  was nominated by the It’s Good to Be Crazy Sometimes blog for the Liebster Award.

liebster2

Thank you so much! ♥♥♥ Please go check out that blog:

https://itsgoodtobecrazysometimes.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/the-liebster-award-2/

Here are the rules.

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who gave you this award and link back to their blog.
  3. Answer 11 questions given by your presenter.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award.

My Answers:

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  1. Hide up a tree or in a bush? Probably a bush. I’m a little afraid of heights.
  2. Favorite Cartoon? I assume an animated film counts? Let’s try Beauty and the Beast.
  3. Do you like splashing in puddles? Sure, when the mood hits me.
  4. How loud could you scream? This one is hard. I can’t force a scream; I never could. Even when I was a kid, when my cousins and I would play a ‘screaming game’, I tried, but it was almost impossible. Now, in the bedroom… that’s a different story! But, I’ll keep this answer clean. LOL. 😉 I have screamed pretty loud when I was in pain before, in the midst of an injury. I still often wonder if I really could scream if I were being chased or something.
  5. How close are you to your parents? Pretty close. We have a tight-knit family.
  6. Do you have siblings? Yes, I have an older brother and sister. I’m the youngest.
  7. Are you stubborn? Good Lord, yes! It’s sometimes a flaw of mine.
  8. Best Childhood memory: There are so many! I guess the best ones were when we visited my grandparents’ house. We there so often, it was like a second home. Now, the memories are bittersweet because they are gone and I miss them a lot.
  9. Favorite snack: Um…chocolate, of course! Is there any other kind of snack? LOL.
  10. Are you Pink or Blue? Definitely pink! I love hot pink!
  11. Can you guess the sort of theme? Something to do with childhood, perhaps?

My nominees:

http://www.devikafernando.com/blog

http://www.nothinganygood.com/

https://theowlladyblog.wordpress.com/

https://johncoyote.wordpress.com/

https://cherylanne57.com/

https://morganbradham.com/

https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/

https://elizabethnnewton.com/

https://ramonacrisstea.com/

https://abozdar.wordpress.com/

https://lostinsweetwords.wordpress.com/

My questions for other bloggers:

  1. If money wasn’t an option, where in the world would you visit?
  2. Describe yourself using three words.
  3. As a child, how did you answer that age old question: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’
  4. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what five things would you need with you to survive or remain sane?
  5. Do you have any pets? Children? Plants?
  6. What do you do outside of your job for fun?
  7. What was the last book you read? What types do you usually read?
  8. What is your favorite meal, either at a restaurant or at home?
  9. Do you often listen to music? What kind?
  10. If you could describe it succinctly, what would your life motto be?
  11. Give us one fact your blog readers might not know about you.

Well, it’s that simple! Thank you for the nomination, and I hope the other bloggers get a chance to participate! As always, it’s been a pleasure! 😀

 

Thank you card

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12 Comments

Filed under Award, Event, Message, Readers, Romance, winner, Writing

POETRY: Romance Themed Winner – Empress of the Universe!

I have some pretty exciting news! I just found that I won the ‘I Love You’ themed poetry contest on Poetry Universe on Facebook! Yay! 😀

I thought it was fun and worth mentioning, and apropos for the I Love Romance Blog here. LOL.

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Here is my winning poem for the theme of “I LOVE YOU”:

 

Yearning

 

The moon over this cool night appears lonely,

its solo, pale white disc yearning for another,

perhaps even for its fiery opposite which rises each dawn.

 

I imagine the moon is a bit like me tonight,

somewhat heartsick,

waiting for a hand to hold.

You see, I yearn for you like no other.

A thousand years could pass and I’d still want you,

need you,

love you.

This isn’t some temporary fling.

This is real, and I can’t stop this yearning within.

 

I know regardless of what I do,

what I accomplish,

how I laugh or cry,

I’ll still want you by my side.

That’s my unspoken vow.

 

We’ve expressed our feelings many times,

marveled at the deep connection between us,

but I don’t think you understand how much you make me whole,

on fire,

alive,

fearless even.

 

Without you, I know I’d try to dig deep,

I’d do my best to survive,

I might even accomplish something.

But life would be duller,

a part of me missing,

yearning for you,

waiting to find you once more in another life.

And even if I had never met you,

well, I’d still search for you like a time traveler who’s lost his way.

 

When we met, I found the mate of my soul,

my counterpart, so to speak.

Maybe I took time to admit it, and I love you for being so patient,

but the moment we met…

 

It was fate.

The stars brought us together that night,

sought to align us like a constellation,

two halves of a whole.

For I knew even then,

strolling and talking for hours so easily,

a conversation that had no end and somehow began like the echo of an old song,

I knew this was different,

special.

 

I know now that night after night,

I’ll still gaze up at this brilliant moon and still yearn for you,

time endlessly passing…

but the heart doesn’t care for trivialities.

 

I know if I bide my time,

perhaps in a few days,

maybe next week,

even if a month has passed,

before I know it,

you’ll be at my door,

and I’ll be in your warm arms again,

absorbed by your love.

 

I have this ring that speaks my promise,

the symbol that is solely ours.

And I have you in my heart.

Your voice over the phone is some comfort.

The little notes you send are evidence of how you feel.

We talk like old friends,

we always have.

 

But still, I’ll yearn.

And I won’t be whole until you’re here, my head cradled against your heart.

And I won’t be complete until we say the vows that make us one.

Until then, my love,

I will wait.

I will yearn,

until our eyes and hearts meet again…

 

© Marie Lavender, 2016.

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