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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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Rachael Tamayo

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 Rachael, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love. Romance. Togetherness. Are they the same thing? I’d say it depends. Depends on the person and the situation. Love is what makes the world go round. Love for family, parents and children, a spouse, unrequited love from afar, broken love that shatters the heart.

I watched my parents as a child. I was one of the few kids I knew that didn’t come from a broken home. There wasn’t any time for them for dates, no money for anything special. No expensive gifts shared between them. But I never really doubted that they loved one another. Somehow, I think they shared private moments that we never saw as kids. What I did see, was my mom get up every morning and make my dad coffee and breakfast before he went to work. I saw her sew us kids clothes, knowing that my dad was working as hard as he could, and this was her way to help out so he didn’t have to work more in order to buy us clothes. We were broke. I remember most summers here in the Houston area without air conditioning, my mom taking us to the library just to have a cool place to be outside our sweltering home.

Now that I’m an adult with kids of my own, I realize there is a difference between romance and love. My parents did all that and showed us that they loved us in their sacrifices to make sure we had what we needed. (Except A/C, ha ha). When I think of romance, I think of one thing.

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Falling.

I think it’s that feeling of need when you look at him or her. When we are at a party and my husband whispers to me that he wants to go home because he doesn’t want to share me with anyone.

It’s that feeling of falling. Some say love becomes stale, mundane, a day to day drudgery. That may be true, but you get those random moments when you feel that feeling as if it’s new. It hits you when you least expect it.

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You’re falling over and over again.

When he looks at you just the right way and winks.

When she holds your baby for the first time in her arms.

When he tells you that he wants to just stay home with you and eat takeout in bed and watch movies.

A random text out of the blue.

An ‘I’m sorry’ after a fight.

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Whatever it may be, you feel it over and over again during the course of the relationship. That out of control feeling that creates a desire to be alone, the warmth you get in your bones when someone else looks at you “like that” and tells you that they want you.

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

I think that’s why we all love to read romance. The tale of one couple finding each other and falling in love, the mad desire that seems to always lie just beneath the surface.

It reminds us of those feelings, or the hope we have to find them for ourselves one day.

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

Guest Bio

Rachael Tamayo is a multi-genre best selling author. Her titles include Chase Me, Claim Me, Gretyl and the Witch, Reach for Me, and The Stones. Her newest book, a psychological thriller, Crazy Love, is due to come out later this summer. She’s living happily in the Houston area with her husband of thirteen years, their four year old son and infant daughter. A part-time writer and full-time 911 dispatcher that spends all her spare time with family.

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Leah Hamrick visits us on August 22nd! Yay! 🙂

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Vivienne Vincent

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 Vivienne Vincent, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

I’ve never been a very romantic person, and romance to me means something different from a rich brat who acts like a bad boy but retains a basic goodness of the heart, eventually, falling for an ordinary woman.

I grew up reading Harlequin and I still read those books because they provide a great escape from reality. I don’t have the patience to sit through a 600-page romance so I prefer fast-paced fiction.

But life isn’t fiction and love doesn’t happen the way it happens in books. We suffer heartbreaks and if we’re fortunate we heal, otherwise we live with the scars. Love doesn’t essentially define the art of living.

To me, the most important thing isn’t getting to know the right man or the perfect woman, but getting to know yourself and staring at your own imperfections. That’s a very difficult process and most of us go through life getting over those who broke our hearts, instead of getting over our super inflated egos.

I was very surprised when people took my first publication, Dandelions, so literally. A man breaks a woman’s heart and then forgets her. Meets her again and falls in love with her. I understand that since the story was told from the woman’s perspective, the evolution of his character isn’t obvious. There’s a sequel where he tells the story. But the bottom line is that it was only symbolic of the horrible things we do and then completely forget how much damage we caused, until one day our actions come back to bite us.  We can justify just about anything to ourselves.

If human nature is so pathetic and inherently selfish, what redeems us? The ability to love someone other than ourselves.

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I like to read literature from different parts of the world and there’s a beautiful concept in Persian mysticism about experiencing worldly love, which serves as a stairway to experiencing true love. You find a somewhat similar idea looking at the relationship between Socrates and Diotima.

Love only lasts if it’s more than momentary infatuation and lust. It requires you to give and surrender. There’s a wonderful novella Venus im Pelz by Sacher-Masoch (which is where the word masochism comes from, by the way). Another book that captures the essence of surrender is the French novel Histoire d’O. These books symbolize how much love can torture and in the end, break you. There’s no such thing as a happily ever after. There’s no element of winning or being rewarded.

To be honest, Dandelions was always the guy’s story and in the actual story, the girl killed herself in the end. But writing takes a toll on the author’s mind as well, so I decided not to take things that far. The first part of Dandelions that’s been released could be considered a very long prologue to the sequel or the actual story.

In the sequel, I want to highlight a few aspects of how men act toward women and how women respond to those things; not in an imaginary or ideal world, but in real life. I want to have a realistic approach which takes away the element of escapist fiction from my work. It will take at least two years or more to finish the sequel, because I’ve involved men in my process of research and I want some honest answers from them.

There’s a line in the book that “People love God and fancy the devil, but no one likes ordinary, flawed humans, which was what she revealed about me to everyone, myself included.” So I’ll be taking a flawed human and dealing with his flaws. He’s not going to achieve nirvana, but it’s going to be a struggle to improve and become a better person.

That’s what love, or romance if you want to call it, means to me.

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If we have the ability to love another, then we certainly have the ability to be a better human. Because life isn’t about being famous or being the best; it’s about quietly struggling to rise above our animal instincts and maintaining a balance between light and darkness.

 Nice! And how very true… 😉

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

Guest Bio

VivVinc-png

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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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/

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, Vivienne, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Rachael Tamayo visits us on June 29th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Cleo Scornavacca, plus giveaway…

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 Cleo Scornavacca, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

You would think that because I love all that is romance…books, movies, songs, real life events and because I’m an author of adult romance; that this title and question it poses would be easy to answer.

Sure, to list everything down on a page in a single line it would, but to honor romance the way it should be honored is a labored task…a labor of love, that is.

As an author, I’d like to think that although my novels are fictional, they try to hold the true essence of reality. The reality when two people who barely know one another develop feelings for each other that can only be explained as a romance in bloom.

Though it goes beyond all of that.

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Ah…those new feelings that bubble up inside one’s self; making you feel playful…alive. Maybe it’s something that the person experienced before and over time it drifted away, until the “right” person finally came along. Maybe it’s something they never experienced, like young love…when you always remember your first.

In a novel, romance can be slightly exaggerated or the story that ensues can be a bit more creative than real life. Yet the old saying of art imitating life and vice versa still holds true. When writing any story, the author builds worlds; some being elaborate windows back in time, for others, small doorways into a more modern and everyday life, yet far from the mundane.

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Where does it all come from?

Imagination?

Without a doubt!

But…

Life…living is the real romance.

Romance isn’t just about the sexy alpha that you may reach for in books. It’s not just about the woman of your dreams…no really, it’s not.

For me it’s about so much more; and it’s that more that makes writing so much better.

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More is about a memory box full of “firsts”…visible or invisible…tangible or intangible…but things that made you feel, things you hold close and never want to forget.

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A first kiss, a walk along the beach as the summer sun sets in the distance, a proposal, a birth of a child; their first cries and their first words.  The comfort from a parent when things aren’t going exactly the way you wanted them to and that same comfort you give to someone who cared for you, that in the end you will care for them.

Perhaps it’s a hug from a friend or a letter from a someone you’re close to, but is a million miles away. Maybe it’s romance in a song that you hadn’t heard in ages, but still can sing along to today.

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Maybe it’s a movie that you remember all of the best lines to.

Or…

Maybe it’s all of these experiences wrapped up in one. Something that is settled deep within you soul, that puts a smile on your face and when it betrays you… it guts you to your core.

Because…it is you.

Romance is the connection…the love, the passion, the whimsy, the fight. It’s the heart that feels full, that beats loudly and keeps beating even when you hold your breath. It’s the heart that breaks, yet by some invisible thread is sewn back together…a bit tarnished, a bit scarred, but ready to love again.

It’s the we, the us, the them, the they, the me and the you.

Romance…it’s the indescribable, describable everything.

Wow! Very nice and romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉

Win a FREE BOOK, readers (details below)…

 

♥♥♥ GIVEAWAY! ♥♥♥

Head on over to this Instafreebie promo, and have a chance of winning a copy of MISS TAKEN! It’s only for a limited time, so jump on the offer! 🙂

 

Woo hoo! Sounds great!

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! And check out the rest of the series too! 😉

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

Guest Bio

Cleo Scornavacca is an author of Adult Romance, a wife, a mom & a true “Jersey Girl”. She was born and raised in NJ and still resides in the Garden State.

In 2012, Cleo began writing Miss Taken, her debut novel and book one in the Miss Taken Identity Series. Identity, book two, was published in 2014 and The Ties That Bind followed in 2016, which completed the series. In addition, Cleo is currently working on several other titles. Two of which are Within Six Months, one of four standalones in her new Wild Roses Series, which will feature secondary characters from Miss Taken Identity; and The House On Leighton Avenue, which is an adult romance with a haunting twist, an unusual departure from her other books.

Cleo was honored to be a part of two anthologies. This Beautiful Escape, Volume One, contains her personal short story called “Small Gestures”. All of the proceeds to This Beautiful Escape go to the fund for Ataxia Awareness. The second anthology, yet to be released; is for Project Semi-Colon. Cleo’s story is called “A Letter to My Younger Self”.

Cleo is the senior columnist for Lust Bites Magazine and a proud member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the New Jersey Romance Writers (NJRW) organizations. When she isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her family, friends and her Dobie, Brayden. Cleo enjoys reading all types romance, books on Italy, listening to 80’s metal bands, watching movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age, indulging in pink Prosecco and of course, squishing her feet in the sand down at the Jersey Shore every chance she gets.

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, Cleo, for giving us your perspective on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Belinda Y. Hughes visits us on June 15th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Tanya W. Newman

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 Tanya W. Newman, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

When I made the decision to write about what romance means to me, I immediately thought back on one of my favorite moments from The Golden Girls.  A character, Blanche (the most promiscuous), has been dating a man who has never made a move on her.  When she asks him why, he says any two people can just sleep together, but what he believes in is romance.  He explains what that means by walking over to Blanche, slowly stroking the side of her face, and kissing her, just once.  He smiles but leaves without a word and as Blanche looks after him long after he has gone, she finally smiles to herself, folds her arms over her chest, and we know that she understands what he means.

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The moment is a small one, but it is one that we know will last in Blanche’s memory.  It is also a moment that illustrates what romance means to me.  Small moments such as this can actually be quite lasting and powerful, and when they occur, mostly in the form of a kiss or even an exchange of looks or smiles, they show a quiet understanding or connection between two people.  Those are the moments that catch my heart and send it racing.  And wow, is it romantic!

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There are many places where I have come across these small moments of connection.  One of the most recent is in the music video for “Don’t Mean Nothing” by Richard Marx.  In the video, an aspiring actress moves into an apartment complex and is increasingly disillusioned by the industry as well as being hit on by her landlord.  Marx plays a musician living in the complex.  They have several encounters where their eyes meet, but she always looks away.  Finally, near the end, she leaves the complex one morning, looks Marx’s way as he is coming outside with coffee, radiates a beautiful smile, and says, “Hi.”  He nods in return and a moment later, she turns back to smile at him once again and he stares after her.  We don’t know what made her change in this moment, but it doesn’t really matter.  It’s lovely and romantic because there seems to be a knowledge in each character’s smile, showing how they understand what the other goes through day after day trying to “make it” in show business.  They know one another without knowing one another in a sense, and therefore a connection is formed that will probably last—not unlike La La Land, I suppose.

I came to realize how much I value small moments of connection in my own work as well.  In my second novel, Winter Rain, there is a moment when my character, Spencer, offers his hand to another character Isabel, asking her to dance with him.  They are at a party but have found themselves on a balcony, just the two of them.  They’ve barely met or said a word to one another, but as Isabel looks into his eyes, she sees something she hasn’t seen in anyone and Spencer, an otherwise womanizer, sees the same in Isabel.  They come together, dancing slowly and intimately out on that balcony, but never kiss or say another word to one another.  Nonetheless, a connection is felt and it’s one that lasts beyond his friend trying to come between them and have Isabel for himself.  I came to realize here, how romantic I find dancing as well because of its connection without words.  This is not the only instance in which Spencer and Isabel dance instead of talking to one another, how these brief moments of contact replace conversation.

It happens in my other novel, The Good Thief, as well.  In that story, my character, James, asks Scotlyn to dance on their first date and she agrees with heart-pounding nervousness.  But once she is next to him, the panic fades and all she sees or feels is him.  The dance ends in a kiss that lasts in her memory for long after and it is a memory she frequently revisits when she finds herself in danger.

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These men love these women, more than they thought they were capable of loving anyone, and if I do my job right as a writer, then readers are able to see that as the small moments between the characters continue.

There are countless other facets I find romantic but in the end, the moments where two people connect and understand one another are what I find the most romantic. They’re the moments that catch my heart and send it flying.  They’re the moments remind me of what matters most in life.

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And that is what romance means to me, why I write it, and why I love it!

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

Guest Bio

Tanya W. Newman was born and raised in the upstate of South Carolina, where she discovered her love of writing and storytelling, a love that led to a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of South Carolina Upstate, and a Master of Arts in English from Clemson University.

Now married to her wonderful husband, Mark, for twelve years, Newman still resides in the upstate of South Carolina, where she sets many of her stories. When not writing or reading, she enjoys coffee, movies (usually an action/adventure with a love story added in), long jogs, and spending time with her adorable son and daughter.

For more information, visit her website at www.tanyawnewman.com or like her page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authortanyanewman/.

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Cleo Scornavacca visits us on June 13th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Devika Fernando

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 Devika Fernando, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

A few years ago, I decided to become a romance novelist. I’d always wanted to be an author, and romance was the first genre that came into my mind because I’d always been partial to reading it and because I believe in the power of love. But, what does romance mean to me, on a personal level and as a writer?

Sometimes people ask me whether I write from experience. The answer is yes and no. In a way, a little of me finds its way into every character and story. I think it’s inevitable when you write, especially when you think of what and how you want your heroine and hero to be. But, interestingly, the romance part is something certainly not stemming from experience. In fact, it’s my parents’ damaged marriage that paradoxically made me search for love stories that endure. It’s what I witnessed indirectly and directly while growing up that led me to exploring how relationships work, and they may or may not be salvaged. On top of that, I was always the loner and the quiet bookworm, the nerd and writer.

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And looking back now, I think that not only paved my way to becoming an artist but also gave it that much more sense to seek solace in romance novels (reading them and now writing them). Because I understood the yearning to be completed, understood, valued, seen as special and worthy of attention. Because I knew the feeling of wanting someone to scratch the surface and embark to find the real me.

It’s something I ultimately inject in all my romance novels. That’s why I create characters who are flawed and unique, who are believable and struggle and love like all of us. On a subconscious level, it might also be why I chose to write paranormal romance novels like PLAYING WITH FIRE and its two sequels. Writing about a heroine with a magical gift, who was shunned as an outsider and imprisoned in the confines of this world, made it possible to free something and to convey the message that we’re all special and we all yearn for and deserve love.

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That being said, my own ‘romantic story’ has also influenced by novels. When I left Germany after having spent the first 19 years of my life there, I met the love of my life in Sri Lanka. And that changed everything – above all, it made me realize that true love really doesn’t care about ethnicities or family issues or even previous plans for the future. It will find a way, come what may.

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All of this reflects in my multicultural romance novels like SAVED IN SRI LANKA and SEDUCED IN SPAIN.

I write not just about physical attraction and that first rush of falling in love, but also about compromising and trusting, about discovering oneself as one falls for someone else who’s more like a missing piece than a stranger.

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Romance – and love – means all that to me.

 

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

Guest Bio

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet and sensual, deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust.

What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, Devika is a faithful servant to all the cats and dogs she has adopted. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Tanya Newman visits us on June 8th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

My Romantic Thought of the Day 50

The person who’s right for you may not come in the package you’re expecting, so keep an open heart and an open mind.

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Filed under Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance