Tag Archives: connection

Ten Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples: a guest post by Dr. B. Anne Hancock

10 Effective Conversation-Starters for Couples

 

Communication is an essential ingredient in any relationship. For couples, rich conversation makes their relationship delicious. It’s what builds connection and creates intimacy. For couples who’ve been together for a while keeping conversations fresh and interesting can take some effort.

Huy Phan, Unsplash

If you want to keep your conversations fresh and avoid telling each other the same stories, one effective solution is to try conversation-starters. By asking a few new questions, you’ll learn there’s always more to discover in the person you love.

Here are several ideas for opening a dialogue that reignites curiosity, affection and interaction:

  1. What’s your earliest childhood memory?

Rene Bernal, Unsplash

Most couples didn’t get to share childhood together, so there’s a wealth of experience just waiting to be tapped for conversation. Asking your partner about an early memory means you get to find out what left an imprint and why. You also gain insight into a part of his or her world that helped shape who your significant other is today.

  1. What do you remember most from our early days of dating?

Here’s a question that can take you both back to your budding love — that place where your connection began.

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Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even better, as you listen to your partner recall happy memories, it may surprise you with what’s remembered, not to mention help stir up fresh affection for you both.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

  1. What’s one of your favorite memories from our wedding day?

Recalling milestones in your relationship is a great way to discuss the happy moments you’ve shared. If you’re married, your wedding day is especially meaningful. Ask your spouse what stands out about that memory and enjoy it from another perspective.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

  1. If you were given the chance to relive one day of your life, what would it be and why?

Maybe your better half would want to revisit a major milestone such as graduation, the birth of a child or your wedding day. Perhaps he or she would like to relive a day with a parent or grandparent who passed away or even an  event from high school or college. You’ll never know until you ask.

Karl Fredrickson, Unsplash

  1. Do you have any dreams you wish you could pursue? Are there ways I could help you try them?

Most adults have abandoned dreams still lurking somewhere inside them. Do you know what dream your partner longs to pursue? It could be something outlandish and surprising and you’ll get to be playful and imagine together. Or, it could be practical, such as taking a class, and you can be the encouraging voice to help your partner get right on it.

30daysreplay (PR & Marketing), Unsplash

  1. When was the last time you felt appreciated?

People don’t always verbalize their feelings unprompted. By asking your partner about what has encouraged and affirmed him or her, you may be surprised at what you hear. You’ll also learn how you can offer up additional support.

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  1. When was the last time you felt sad?

Milada Vigerova, Unsplash

Likewise, if your partner lets you in and tells you what’s been hurtful and discouraging, you’ll get a sense of what’s truly important. What prompts tears? What feels significant enough to change a mood? By asking…and listening, you get a chance to learn.

  1. If you could turn back the clock ten years, what would you tell your younger self?

This question offers your significant other a chance to assess and evaluate a decade of life, giving you a window into his or her regrets and wisdom gained. This can also start a conversation about moving forward with new information and insight.

  1. Say you won an all-expense paid trip to anywhere in the world, and you can’t consult me before picking the destination. Where would you go?

Paua May, Unsplash

Find out what travel destinations are on your partner’s dream list. Couples who have spent a long time together will often be so used to asking each other about preferences that it’s easy to miss what each one likes. Let your partner know you care about what he or she wants.

  1. If you had to pick three people, who would you say you most admire?

There’s a lot to be said for admiration. The people you highly regard are often the people you imitate — intentionally or not. Ask your partner who he or she looks up to and why. You’ll discover what qualities he or she values.

Hatham, Unsplash

The 10 ideas listed are merely the beginning for prompting meaningful conversations with your partner. Be curious. Ask questions. Invite discussion and keep learning. Continuing to discover each other is what helps your relationship feel alive and exciting year after year.

Hannah Cook, Unsplash

Wow! These are such great tips!

Thank you, Anne, for this illuminating article… ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Anne Hancock, PsyD, is a prominent relationship therapist and founder of Wellness Counseling Center. A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hancock specializes in working with couples and families. She has a doctorate in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Hancock always works from a wellness-oriented, non-pathologizing point of view — which means no blame, no shame. In addition to couples counseling services, Hancock also conducts personalized two-and-a-half-day couples intensives.

Links

Website:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/

Blog:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/articles/

Professional Background:  https://thewellnesscounselingcenter.com/team/anne-hancock/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/banne.hancock

https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Anne-Hancock-PsyD/436325916561152

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/WellnessCNSLNG

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/annehancockpsyd

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉 Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by The Smut Report

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

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to blogger The Smut Report, a female team with a few things to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Us?

 

At The Smut Report, we read a lot of romance novels. Like, a LOT of romance novels. And let’s be real – there’s a stereotype floating around that people who read romance novels have a skewed idea of romance and relationships. Obviously, we must be delusional spinsters or miserable sex-starved moms who expect men to read us poetry and/or fight monsters and/or know exactly what we want at all times.

Romance is also super oversimplified. There are pivotal life events like birth and death that, when addressed in literature, are considered really “deep” and vulnerable and raw. This non-genre fiction is lauded for its thoughtfulness and meaning. There’s a whole sub-genre dedicated to “coming of age” and all the inner turmoil that comes with that — but a genre whose sole purpose is to unpack the delicious, unsettling, sloppy moments leading up to individuals falling in love? That’s for unsatisfied housewives.

freestocks.org, Unsplash

Falling in love transforms individual people into something new, something with overlap and grey area and messiness. And strength. In romance we see people coming together to form a stronger whole, yet we also see how having the support of a loving partner can provide a wellspring of strength to an individual.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

But before that can happen, all the messy feelings and social and personal obstacles must be resolved. There are new debates in the romance community every day about whether it’s romance if there’s no happy ending, if there’s no sex, if there’s this, or that, or the other thing. These arguments reflect this messy, sexy, grey area that exists in our lives when we love. This genre, maybe more than any other genre, asks us to be honest about what a satisfying life looks like. And it acknowledges that the answer is different for different people.

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Even though the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes (Erin likes heroes who ooze power, Holly prefers her books on the sexy side, Ingrid sometimes skips the sex scenes so she can get back to the witty banter), there are a few things that we all love in a romance novel. Far from creating unrealistic ideas of what romance is, the best romance novels feature satisfying portrayals of emotional connection. It makes us ask what pleasure looks like for YOU, what commitment looks like for YOU. You know, that extra spark that brings out the swooning romantic in the most jaded of us. (That would be Holly, in case you were wondering.)

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Romance can be just a fun, sexy romp or a swashbuckling adventure, but it can also bring you closer to yourself. It’s a safe way to examine romance in your own life–your likes, your dislikes, what you want to feel and how you want to be loved. You know it when you read it.

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

We recently went to an author talk in which Sarah MacLean said she loves the increased use of dirty talk in romance because it’s “ongoing consent”. How amazing is that? That there are authors looking for ways to make love scenes more clear, more unfettered, by making sure the consent is obvious AND beautifully done. This stuff matters.

Romance is a largely inclusive genre – and that’s important. The authors who write these books are constantly bursting open doors and welcoming more people in. It matters to have characters that look like real people and who love like real people do. Race, gender identity, sexual orientation–it’s all discussed in the romance literature written every day. Possibly there are not really people in love with shifters, we acknowledge (if there are, Erin would like to hear from you). But in all seriousness, there are so many different combinations of who loves whom (and how many love together) out in the world that it’s appropriate and necessary for such love to be reflected in our literature.

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And where reality fails us, we have the opportunity to explore the notion of romance in the “other” in paranormal, sci-fi, and other sub-genres of romance. The authors who are opening these doors and windows for us readers are also readers themselves, and we support each other. Romance creates community, even if we never speak directly to one another.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In short, romance means a lot to us. It’s been a source of comfort and connection for us for decades. It’s made us think about things in different ways. It makes us test ourselves. It’s made us uncomfortable and angry and happy. We have literally cried and literally laughed so loudly that we’ve scared pets and woken sleeping children.

Ben White, Unsplash

Romance brings us joy. It’s as simple as that.

Lovely! I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post! Great to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

The Smut Report is the brainchild of Erin, Holly, and Ingrid, three thirty-somethings who have been swapping smut books for twenty years. They’ve read a lot of smut and love the genre. They want to share their love of smut with people who already love to read romance, but also with people who are curious about the genre, yet are a little bit scared to dive right in. So, in order to further their goal of sharing the wonderful, witty, and downright weird corners of the world of smut with everyone they know, they started a blog, where they can chat about romance novels to their hearts’ content.

Links

Website/Blog:  https://smutreport.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/smutreport

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/91403885-smut-report

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

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

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

Thanks again, The Smut Report, for giving us your take on what romance (and the book genre) has come to mean to you, plus some food for thought. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next guest post when Dr. Anne Hancock visits ILRB on October 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Special Feature, Stories, Writing

National Poetry Month Feature: “Miles of Our Memories” – a poem

Hi, readers! April is here again! 🙂

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I decided to write a romantic poem, inspired by my relationship with my fiancé. Here it is:

 

Miles of Our Memories

A special anniversary approaches…

How many times have we crossed these miles?

More than I can count.

Sapan Patel, Unsplash

Distance separates us again this year,

but I know it will turn out all right.

Still…

I miss your arms wrapped around me,

your special scent in my nose.

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I miss our unique closeness,

the quiet talks in the night as we lay there,

absorbing breaths and heartbeats.

Becca Tapert, Unsplash.

I miss gazing at you across the table of a romantic meal,

even laughing as we dodged the puddles of a parking lot.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I miss the experiences we shared for years.

Surely we can get some of that back?

It has been too long, my love, since we…

Sat in a dark theater, hands entwined,

Malmanxd, Unsplash

Strolled through a mall, pointing out the wares,

Tossed a ball down a lane, hoping to miss the gutters,

Joseph Costa, Unsplash

Had a picnic, chatting about all those simple things in life,

Went on a walk, hand in hand.

Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash

It has been far too long since our hearts were so connected, and we surrendered to the glee inside us.

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For tonight, let’s cast aside our obligations.

Say you’ll travel with me to the stars and beyond,

Juskteez Vu, Unsplash

where time doesn’t interfere with its incessant, haunting chime,

when we can be us again.

Join me and we’ll find our bliss,

a reprieve from the madness.

I know one day these chains of clock and mile won’t bind us,

and we can be free.

As one.

I live for the moment when I am yours,

tied with paper and mirrored hands.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

We’ll confront this world together,

and then blend into a perfect union of well-matched souls.

I love you and miss you…

Yet I’d wait forever if the fates tried to keep us apart.

Nothing can break us, I swear.

We are stronger than the mere miles that threaten to split this bond.

Sylwia Bartyzel, Unsplash

And I am always,

always yours.

NeONBRAND, Unsplash

© 2019, Marie Lavender.

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Filed under Blogging, Event, Hope, Love, love poem, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Writing

A to Z’s of Romance: a Valentine’s romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

A to Z’s of Romance

 

I launched this blog in 2014. It just occurred to me that I haven’t written a post of my own in a while. Mainly I just share authors’ new releases, interview both authors and characters, we feature guest posts about romance, and we started offering book reviews in the new year. Sure, sometimes I feature love poetry I’ve written, but tackling a new article about romance?

Well…that’s just what ILRB is about, right? So I thought it was apropos to write something that might work for Valentine’s Day. ♥

Without further ado, here is my list of alphabetic advice for romantic relationships:

  1. Affection. By saying ‘I love you’, you can never go wrong. But your partner wants to see proof of your feelings as well.

    Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

    Kiss your girl on the hand or forehead. Hold hands whenever you can. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to show your love. Simple gestures – love notes, for one – that express your affection will make your partner feel appreciated, and he or she will reciprocate in kind.

  2. Be Compassionate. We all have bad days or experience illness at one time or another. Some of us have a jerk for a boss. Listen to your partner and empathize with their problems.
  3. Creativity. If you think your romantic dates are getting stale, or stress is dragging you both down too much, get creative! Think of unique, fun activities to help you connect, and find different ways to appreciate each other.

    Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

  4. Devotion. Stay devoted to your partner, and your relationship will be ‘deliciously dazzling’, and result in something ‘divine’ that you share. Do you see what I just did? 😉
  5. Excitement. When two people stay together in a relationship for a while, things tend to become more relaxed and that initial excitement you experienced evolves into a wiser love. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find some of those butterflies again. Arrange to meet your partner at a bar or other public location. Pretend you’re total strangers, that you’ve just met, and strike up a conversation.

    Created by Freepik

    Or act like it’s a blind date. Flirt a little. Feel free to explore each other all over again. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something new about your lover, and refuel your passion.

  6. Feed Your Partner. Just so you know, guys and gals, cooking a meal once in a while is a great way to show how much you care. You’re taking the time to make something nice that you both can enjoy.

    Created by Freepik

    Plus, as long as you don’t always launch into watching television right away, it can set the stage for a good, intimate conversation.

  7. Go On Dates Together. The origin of the word ‘date’, meaning a romantic liaison, can be traced all the way back to the 1890s and up to 1903 (I am such a word nerd! LOL.). No one is definite on the exact year.

    Created by Freepik

    Anyway…make date night a thing. By doing so, you’ll find ways to reconnect after a busy week and still enjoy yourselves.

  8. Have a Party at Home. How can that be romantic? Let’s find out. Well, you could throw a fun party just for the two of you, even add a theme to make it interesting. Exchange stories about how you fell in love. Share memorable times that made you appreciate your partner more. And heck, go all out with the food and wine. What a night, right?
  9. Identity. Recognize that you’re both unique people. Celebrate your differences and varying interests. For example, if the other person likes action, sci-fi or horror movies, volunteer to watch a film together.

    Created by Freepik

    Even your partner’s favorite one. Listen when they explain why this is their top movie. The experience will bring you closer, and help you understand the other person better.

  10. Just Be Open. Don’t forget to communicate more often. Be honest with each other about anything you’re feeling. Don’t go out of your way to be rude – tact has been tossed out the window these days, even though we should bring it back – but keep the lines of communication open. There’s a difference between texting and sitting down to have a real discussion without the interference of technology. You’ll feel much closer in the process.

    Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

  11. Kissing. A kiss is just a kiss, right? Hmm…not at all! There are different types of kisses. Sexy kisses, platonic kisses, light, affectionate kisses, and the list goes on. But there’s one I call the ‘floaty kiss’, the kiss of love. It’s the kiss where you can tell you’re in love, or at least almost there. How do I describe this? Well, your head spins, you get breathless – except that doesn’t seem to matter much – and the world disappears. All you can do is experience this thrilling, amazing kiss, and keep kissing back until you can no longer breathe. 😀

    JD Mason, Unsplash

    So, explore kissing with your partner. More often than not, this type of kiss happens when you can fully focus on each other. Kiss the one you love, and find a surprise on the journey.

  12. Lovers Rule. You don’t need to schedule your physical intimacy, of course, but if life has gotten in the way recently, try to reconnect in a romantic way. However, a satisfying quickie doesn’t hurt either! 😉

    Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

  13. Memories. Find some way to remember your happy moments together, to bring them to life. Go through pictures you took, or you could even make a collage or scrapbook of your romantic memories.
  14. New Activities. Try something new together. Take a class, go to a new, fancy restaurant, or learn a hobby as a couple. You’ll acclimate to working as a team, and share a new experience in the process.

    Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

  15. Observe. Pay attention to the subtle nuances in your partner’s life. Both men and women can feel taken for granted after a while, so help out with daily tasks when you can. Plus, if your partner has obviously been feeling down about something, go out of your way to make a special gesture that shows you notice him or her.
  16. Protect Your Private Time. It’s so easy to let life get in the way. Make an extra effort to spend more time together.
  17. Quietness. Savor your quiet moments together, even if you’re just cuddling and softly speaking. Life can be too hectic, and these times are precious.

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  18. Read a Romance Novel. Ha! Didn’t think I’d throw that one in there, did you? Guys, if you’re still calling these books ‘smut’ or ‘fluff’, get a table at Reality Check Diner. There are so many options with sub-genres now, from fantasy to paranormal, sci-fi and dystopian, all the way to romantic suspense and thrillers (here is a full list to make it easier to understand). There’s something for everyone. Or…maybe you’re into erotic romance. We won’t judge! ♥ Anyway, try reading a few romance books, and see if you still don’t have respect for them. Plus, immersing yourself in this type of fiction might let you know what your wife or girlfriend secretly yearns for. And having that knowledge is a good thing… 🙂

    Created by Freepik

  19. Sweetness and Sensuality. Be sweet and thoughtful with your partner. Never demean or make your significant other feel they aren’t worthy of love and attention. As for being sexy? Don’t be afraid to flirt, dress sexier or dance in front of your partner. Even if you feel foolish – and we understand that putting yourself out there causes vulnerability – your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

    Created by javi_indy – Freepik

  20. Talk. Stay interested in your partner’s life. “What are you doing today?” or “How was work?” are great conversation starters, and it’s better than an awkward silence. Even people who have been together for years develop a certain familiarity with each other and pay attention to unspoken cues. So, if you care, you’ll ask your partner what’s wrong when something is up.
  21. Unite. Make big decisions as a couple, instead of one partner going off and doing their own thing. If this will affect everyone, you should have a say too. Respect each other, honor one another’s opinions, and make an informed decision as a unit.
  22. Valued. Always make your partner feel valued. You want your significant other to see that you care, and you like to spend time with them.

    Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

  23. Wedding…Yes or No? Hey, we get that marriage isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been in a supposedly committed relationship for a long time, and the M word has never come up once, this a RED FLAG. Have a heart-to-heart, and find out if your partner has hang-ups about tying the knot.

    Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash

    Already married? Great! If you’ve been together for years, one idea to celebrate the romance in your relationship is to do it…again. Consider renewing your vows. Wouldn’t that be a fun event? What could be more romantic than remembering why you said yes, and marry your honey all over again?

  24. XOXO. Hugs and kisses are an important way to express how you feel about each other. These gestures can also be therapeutic during rough days. Touch is a big part of a romantic relationship…hey, not just the sexy kind of touching!

    Brooke Winters, Unsplash

  25. Youth Is Overrated. You don’t need to be a teenager or a twenty-something to still want romance in your life. Consider revitalizing your relationship with fun activities. At any age, you can always add in a gesture or two to spice things up.

    Thierry Hardoin, Flickr

  26. Zero. Contributing no effort at all will just cause trouble, at least in the long run. Relationships are hard work, but if you have a strong connection with your partner, none of these ‘little things’ you do for the one you love will ever feel like work.

    Created by Diller – Freepik

    And that’s my take for a prescription to achieve a lasting modern romance…

    So, what do you think? What might you add to this recipe for love? Comment in the thread below, and let’s start a discussion! 🙂 ♥

Host Blogger Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years, and has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.  Since 2010, she has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She is also the moderator of three blogs…the I Love Romance Blog, Marie Lavender’s Books!, and Writing in the Modern Age. She’s the proud recipient of several blogging awards and book awards. Follow Marie via her author website, varied blogs, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, feel free to sign up for her monthly newsletter, and follow her on BookBub. Her books can be located at most online booksellers.

Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

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

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

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

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon Author Page:  https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD

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

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

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

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

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

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

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂 And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Created by starline – freepik

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Dating Tips, Event, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Valentine's

“Aching Heart” – a poem

Aching Heart

Taillights easing farther away,

my eyelids shutter.

Patrick Tomasso, Unsplash

Even before you’ve left, I ache for you.

Missing you is pain.

In bed I yearn for your arms to hold me tight once more,

yet the room is dark and cold.

Ahmed Ashhaadh, Unsplash

All I have are memories,

the remnant of your kiss on my lips,

your scent surrounding me.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even though I know you’re driving home,

I worry for you, hoping you’ll get there safe,

just as I always have.

Joe Gardner, Unsplash

These miles separate us too often…

Digital messages pale to the real thing…just having you beside me is a blessing.

Still, I ache.

I keep myself busy each day, but there there’s that moment,

when a joke comes along, or a sight I want to share…

William Iven, Unsplash

but you’re not here.

It’s frightening to need someone this way.

Yet I know it’s love,

the true kind.

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Yearning for the day we can finally be together without the world getting in the way…

it’s a long wait to say ‘I do’.

Brian Hartley, Unsplash

But I’ll keep going.

You are my strength,

my hope,

my heart,

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the only one I want to touch me in a million ways.

You mean so much to me.

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Before I say goodnight – knowing that maybe…just maybe I’ll see you in my dreams –

I will state one last thing you’ll never have to doubt.

I am…

always,

always yours.

Brooke Winters, Unsplash

© Marie Lavender, 2018.

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Filed under Blogging, Hope, Love, love poem, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

“A Lover’s Vow” – a poem

A Lover’s Vow

Well over ten years have passed…

Still every touch,

every word,

every look feels right.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

When you hold me close at the day’s end,

once all our obligations have subsided,

and I can at last rest against your chest as we talk softly,

you’re the only home I’ve ever wanted or needed.

Created by Freepik

It’s always been easy between us,

a cosmic thread dragging us toward each other.

Especially when life got in the way,

still we’re here.

Through long talks and silly spats,

laughing until we cry,

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

wins and losses,

even personal heartaches,

our bond hasn’t changed.

It’s unbreakable,

just like the ever-flowing tides of the ocean.

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My love for you is steady and deep.

Attraction aside, I need you the way I require my next breath.

Your face,

your voice,

the heart that I crave,

completing our circle of hearts and minds as we explore the world together.

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We chose an eternal symbol to represent who we are…for plenty of reasons,

but I’d live whole lifetimes with you,

and perhaps we have before,

in past lives,

our souls connecting many times.

Everton Vila, Unsplash

Just know you mean everything to me,

and I yearn for the day I can proudly claim to be your wife.

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Until the moment our hearts and hands become one,

I’ll keep praying for your smile,

your touch,

your laugh and every part of you,

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as you continue to brighten each day of mine.

This is my vow…

 I will always be yours.

JD Mason, Unsplash

© Marie Lavender, 2018.

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Filed under Blogging, Hope, Love, love poem, Lovers Like Us, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

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

Chivalry Doesn’t Have to Be Dead

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Anyway, that’s my take on it! ♥♥♥

Host Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

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

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

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

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

How to Survive Holiday Stress With Your Sweetie: a guest post by Dating Connections

How to Survive Holiday Stress with Your Sweetie

 

The Christmas craze is upon us and as much as ladies love to shop till they drop with the greatest excuse of them all (it’s Christmas!), their partners are usually the ones getting the short end of the stick as a gift. Between bringing home half of Pottery Barn’s Christmas collection to capture the holiday spirit, not leaving an ounce of it for anyone else on the planet, and going all out this year in terms of gifts for family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, and various charity organizations, it’s no wonder your partner can feel left out as you two face the stress of the holiday season.

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Let’s take a moment to reflect on an extremely important fact of life here – men don’t care for gifts.

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They want to have a nice dinner with their ladies over a bottle of wine and some Star Trek (choice of movie optional). They don’t care for shopping, home decor, expensive wrapping paper or Christmas cards, no matter how cute, inspirational or uplifting you may find the latest celebrity snapchats – the holiday edition! With this painful truth in mind, we present the top ways to give your man what he really wants this Christmas season without having to spend a cent on stress relief programs for yourself.

Shower Him with Affection

Your man wants you all year long, and doesn’t care what season it is. Although you’d rather go see that latest museum exhibit only in town until mid-December between picking your company Christmas party dress and getting your hair done before the actual holiday craze even begins, he’d rather lounge around the house with you and lay low until it all passes.

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Keep that in mind the next time you are faced with a tough decision whether to get him that sweater in navy blue or brown. Also, you can use these simple expectations to loosen up and relax with your man after an action-packed day, and get the best of both worlds.

Lingerie As A Gift For Him

If you absolutely must shop, buy yourself sexy new lingerie. He already has a closet full of dress shirts you keep buying that he never wears. But if you surprise him with a cute little hot pink number you’ll find yourself in a win-win kind of situation – you get to shop, and he gets to enjoy it.

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When picking new bras, busties, thongs, or babydolls, keep in mind the things he likes in terms of color, shape, and size. Surprise him by showing how much you’re thinking about his needs and desires, not by getting him tickets to the Christmas ballet show. Following your successful choice of sexy lingerie that he’ll absolutely love, you won’t feel guilty about scheduling that pricey yet much needed appointment at your favorite salon that will ensure you get a stress-free and fulfilling holiday season, too.

Stay Active Throughout The Holiday Season

Regular exercise not only reduces the risk of various physical health problems, but it also puts your mind at ease by reducing the effects of depression, anxiety, stress, and a host of other mental health issues.

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Find the time to decompress at the gym at least 3 times a week as this will help you unwind, lower your stress levels, and spend actual quality time with your partner later in the day. Stretching at home or during your lunch break can also boost your “happy hormones”, and increase your productivity so that you are free to go catch a movie or go for a walk with him, and forget all about the holiday stress.

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Don’t Make Him Get Involved

If a man can’t get what he wants, the second best thing that could happen is for him to be left alone. Don’t make him go with you to pick your mom’s present or ask his opinion on every little thing you bring into the house because that is just completely pointless. He doesn’t have an opinion on it, and even if he did, it would be a man’s opinion, which in all likelihood would be contrary to yours. Show you love him by letting him be, and he will be eternally grateful.

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While you’re at it, enlist the help of your friends, and have yourself a great girl’s night out to talk about all things Christmas and men over some wine and great music. You’ll feel amazing afterwards, and your partner will be happy for you both.

Definitely some food for thought here. These are great tips for staying connected with our partners, and keeping the Christmas hustle and bustle from driving us crazy.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉 Have a great rest of your week!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

Five Ways to Keep the Romance Going with Your Partner: a guest post by Krissy Henley

Five Ways to Keep the Romance Going with Your Partner

 

Going on dates and meeting new people, or arriving at bars or bookstores and having a conversation with a complete stranger – these are several ways to get to know someone.

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And in time, if you get lucky, you’d end up being in a relationship.

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But being in a relationship isn’t a walk in the park. There are miscommunications, jealousy and mistrust included in the deal. Staying in a relationship and fighting to maintain the bond is the real challenge for couples. Keeping the love strong and a connection going matters a lot.

Upholding the romantic feelings and reaffirming it throughout your time together, and not only on special occasions like Valentines’ Day and birthdays, is important in keeping your relationship intact. It’s not only about the affection and effort of one party; it needs two to tango. Thus, both partners are enticed to establish bonds of renewing love from time to time.

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In strengthening the relationship between you and your partner, passion should never die out. That’s why keeping the fire burning makes a significant difference for the couple. So, what are the five ways that help maintain a romantic vibe with your partner?

1. Little surprises

First, it shouldn’t be daily. Surprises for your loved one can happen at any time of the week or month, as long as it’s heartfelt. But if you are persistent in doing the deed every day, it’s also great. What matters most is the message of affection for your partner.

Here are some of the little surprises you can do: Leaving love notes on the bedside table, or on the bathroom mirror; placing roses or a “thank you, I love you” card on the table; sending a sweet text message during lunch break at work. These are some simple gestures to show that you are thinking of your beautiful partner while you’re not together.

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2. Planning dates

Your relationship should still be comprised of having dates with your partner. Dates continue to take place even after you’re officially a couple. These get-togethers are like refreshing the vibes in your relationship.

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Take turns in planning where the next venue of your date would be. The same person shouldn’t repeatedly do the organizing of dates. In taking turns, you will know the favorable location and organizing preferences of your partner.

3. Talking with your partner

In continuing a deeper connection between couples, it’s vital to have clear, direct communication with each other. Conversations that last for a minimum of 30 minutes every day, wherein you talk about your day and something random you realized while on the way home. Some stuff like that strengthens the bond you have with your partner.

Talk to each other and discuss your recent feelings and what new goals you have right now. Communicating with your partner openly makes a big difference in how your relationship will move forward. Being honest towards each other matters in the way you handle the future.

 4. Lazy weekends together

Working couples often spend less time with their partners. Schedules can sometimes hinder the time meant for your loved one. That’s why having a weekend together with your boyfriend or girlfriend is essential for the relationship.

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Spend the weekend on the couch watching your favorite TV series or movies, eating pizza or junk food. Be lazy with your partner once in a while. Do nothing and just enjoy the feeling of being in each other’s company. Feel relaxed and content with the silence surrounding your lazy day together.

5. Never hold grudges

A major problem when in fights with partners is the throwing of past mistakes. People find fault in the past, and sometimes, they’re brought up when conflicts occur. However, resentment and misgivings ruin relationships. It turns everything sour and pointless.

Don’t let grudges kill romance and your relationship. Talk to your partner about the problems you’re encountering in the relationship – just talk it through. Do not settle with the thought that everything is fine when there’s something wrong going on in the relationship. After reconciling with yourself and your partner, let go of the faults and move on.

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Frequently going back to the past will not make the relationship healthy. Understand the situation, feel reassured that it won’t happen again, and continue with the relationship. Letting go of the things that don’t matter besides the feelings you have for each other is necessary for the stability of the relationship.

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This concludes the five ways that keep the relationship strong between you and your partner. In every relationship, it’s important to be confident that you’re on the same page and that you know what you want for each other. That keeps the relationship going.

So true! I think sometimes we all need tips on keeping romance alive.

Thank you, Krissy, for this thought-provoking advice about romantic relationships.

Guest Blogger Bio

Krissy Henley writes different blogs. She’s best known for writing romance, home improvements and language. She also writes for Lexcode translation agency in the Philippines. Krissy finds writing and researching fun. She always dreamed of working in a translation agency when she was a kid. She looks forward to work full time in translation agency sometime.

Links

Employer’s Website:  https://www.lexcode.com.ph/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/krissyhenley.cruz.3

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/106813163546406508865

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Jeffery Martin Botzenhart

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

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

Being invited to offer my thoughts on the theory of Romance, to be honest I’m not sure where to begin in covering what I believe to be such a broad-spectrum concept. Everyone has different notions about romance and how it shapes and influences aspects of their life. And no one is wrong in their belief. Each individual’s perspective feeds into this passionate beast and is clearly displayed by the variety of romantic prose published by countless authors on the subject.

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So what does romance mean to me? I guess I could begin by offering you my thoughts on what I find romantic. For me, the sparkle in her eyes when she looks at me in a dimly-lit restaurant while listening to a cool jazz saxophone playing for what seems like only us is romantic.

I notice how her hands are dirty and the sun-kissed tone of her skin after working in the garden. There are also times when she pushes my buttons, driving me crazy—because she knows she can. Walking hand-in-hand along a deserted stretch of beach, staying quiet and just listening to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore with seabirds calling out to each other is a moment I would relive again and again. And then in the dark after crawling into bed, to lay there and enjoy her soft breath on my shoulder and her hand at rest on my bare chest, feeling my heart beat, which only does because of her, is what I want when falling asleep.

So what about sex? How does it factor in to all this? Hello! I’m a guy! Sex and attraction definitely hold prominence in romance. Sex is great, especially when shared with someone you have a deep emotional connection with. But for me, I want more than that.

Think about this. A man and his wife were married for over fifty years until one day she died suddenly, leaving him heartbroken. And so as years go on, he regularly visits her grave site, bringing fresh flowers to decorate what he now sees as sacred ground. Most times he’ll sit there, staying quiet on the outside while talking to her in his thoughts. When with him, his children don’t understand why bottles of her perfume still sit on the bedroom dresser or why her jewelry box rests untouched. What some may fail to understand is that though her body is no longer there, her spirit lingers in his heart, fueling their romance which transcends the boundaries of time itself.

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That, my friends, is the ultimate romance in my opinion. Sad? Perhaps for some people it is, but not for me.

As a writer of romantic tales, I channel my belief I’ve shared with all of you into my work. My notions of romance are clearly reflected in the stories I write and the way I lead my life.

             Not everyone, though, is so open about their romantic beliefs. You may see a couple that clearly don’t show much of an emotional connection to each other. Does that imply there’s no romance between them? It shouldn’t.

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People express romance in different ways, be it elderly couples holding hands in a park, a young couple on a beach who can’t keep their hands off each other, men and women going to a courthouse to marry the ones they love after finally fighting for the right to, or a guy lying on the grass, with his kids piling on him as his wife tends to her flowers. Everywhere you look—you see romance, bold or subtle. What a wonderful world it is.

 

Nice! How incredibly romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Jeffery! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

So you want to know about me. Of course you do. So I will indulge your curiosity—at the risk of inciting severe boredom. I was born in 1967 in Warren, Ohio and grew up in a rural, run-down trailer park in Southington, Ohio, where I eventually learned that white and trash were, in fact, separate words.

After graduating from Chalker High School I attended Kent State University, earning a Bachelor’s of Sciences degree in International Relations. Yes, I earned a BS and can now BS in a most educated manner.

During my college years, I enrolled in several courses that fueled my passion for writing. But love, marriage, fatherhood, and paying bills forced writing to take a backseat for a number of years. Finally in October 2014, Clockwork Heart, a romantic steampunk tale I’d written, was published. And thus my side career as a writer began. Still awake?

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

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

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

Readers, stay tuned for the next post in our new Heroes & Heroines feature, which details some background on romance characters, when author Molly Lovell visits us on September 5th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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