Tag Archives: connection

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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Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Tina Donahue

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 Tina Donahue, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

From the time I first read Gone with the Wind in high school, I was hooked on historical tales. To me, the interaction between the heroines and heroes gives romance emotional weight rather than simply being plot driven. If I care about the people who populate a novel, I read on. If not, I’ll look elsewhere. Romance, to me, is a deeply personal connection between the world the author has created and the reader. It’s like growing to like and love someone, and inviting that person into your life as a trusted friend or lover. It doesn’t get more personal than that.

I’ve often heard that writing romance is easy. You know the old phrase: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. Generally speaking, that covers the plot but not the emotions. Romance, more than any other genre, is driven by feelings. Getting those emotions down on paper is exceedingly difficult. There are visceral reactions (palms sweating, heart pounding) and personal ones (If I give my heart will s/he treat it well or will s/he disappoint me as others have done in the past?).

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Romance is about trust and taking chances. For example, in my historical series Pirate’s Prize, nothing is as it seems, at least to the heroines. In the initial book, First Comes Desire, Diana is convinced Tristen Kent is a murderous pirate. In truth, circumstances beyond his control drove him to where he is. Whether he’ll be able to convince Diana of that remains in question until he proves himself and their emotional bond grows. In a plot-driven book, narration would tell you that they’ve connected. That’s not enough, at least for me. I want to feel their burning need for each other. That comes from shared experiences, friendship, and loyalty. An easy matter to plot, but quite difficult to get on the page. Watching these two connect and fall in love is what romance means to me. That moment when a woman knows this is the man who’ll stay by her side for a lifetime, no matter the difficulties he’ll face. And when he understands what a woman truly needs: fidelity and respect.

In Days of Desire, the second book in the series, I upped the ante between the heroine and hero: Simone and Royce. He’s a disgraced noble on a mission to destroy the island paradise where she lives. She’s an islander, considered less by those who live in the so-called civilized world. In this instance, romance is about cultural problems that don’t need to exist and about giving your heart to someone no matter what the rest of the world thinks. Heritage and ideology have no hold where love is involved, nor should they. To witness Royce forsaking everything he’s been taught to embrace a life with Simone is what romance means to me. It’s risking everything for the one person you simply have to have and defending that individual against anyone who dares try to ruin the connection.

Far beyond being an entertainment vehicle, romance means showing the world that we’re all simply people with the same needs and dreams. Once we dismiss the unnecessary obstacles society puts in our way, we can find that one person who makes our heart sing, brings passion to our days, and secures our future.

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

Days of Desire is available for pre-order. Ready to read July 4th.

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

Guest Bio

Tina Donahue is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary, and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times, and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, RWA awards – Holt Medallion and NEC, and won a Book of the Year award. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company. You can find her online at:

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, Tina, 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 Carole McKee visits us on May 25th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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

“Dream with Me” – a poem

Dream with Me

My yearning for you is strong,

something I’ve never felt for anyone else…

There are nights like tonight,

when I ache so much for you that sleep eludes me.

With bated breath

I remember our last embrace,

savoring your arms around me,

the warmth of your body against mine,

your chest beneath my ear as I witness the steady beats of your heart,

a constant comfort.

I recall our quiet talks about nothing and everything,

our shared laughter.

You’re the only one who reaches me on all levels,

physical and emotional.

But the convenience of technology – firing up a text thread or dialing your number –

is a poor substitution for the real thing.

The truth is

I need you in my life.

It’s a forever kind of thing.

With the storm striking outside – rain pattering against the panes of glass,

the occasional rumble of thunder

and each curse of lightning –

despite it all, I’ll do my best to keep you safe in my heart tonight.


maybe not tomorrow,

possibly in a week or so,

I’ll see you again and then our bond will be reaffirmed.

We’ll be one once more.

There are few things in this world that last,

even fewer powers resilient against time, hate or destruction.

But, love? Love will stand up to anything.

If you were lost to me,

I’d go anywhere,

do anything to search,

to find you again.

You mean that much to me.

It has nothing to do with loneliness.

This is about two hearts that were born for each other,

Two halves of a whole.

When we met, we spoke like old friends.

It was different yet utterly natural.

And no matter what happens in our lives,

this bond cannot bend or be broken.

This is love.

So close your eyes tonight and think of me, my love.

Dream with me…

Imagine a place of peace,

with lush, green land,

endless blue skies and beautiful seas.

A place where we’re together, dancing clumsily,

laughing and resting in one another’s arms.

Keep me in your heart, the same way I keep you.

I’ll see you soon,

on the other side of this hazy, slumberous journey,

to a world where eternity resides.

I wake to your face,

your warm smile,

the sound of your soothing breaths beside me.

And I know this is right where I belong.

© Marie Lavender, 2017.

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

“Home” – a poem



In your arms I am home,


all concerns escape my mind.

The warmth of your body calms me,

the light in your eyes a balm for any fears.


In your arms I am free,

I don’t have to play any roles as I do at other times during the day,





Instead I am me,

only me,

and that appears to be all you need.


In your arms I’ve found my solace,

my comfort from all worries,

a place to retreat to when the world gets too hard.

Your heart is the place I rest,


and it strengthens me for the next challenge I face.

In your arms I know what home means,

what love means.

You’ve taught me so much,

how to love deeply,

without limits,

how to take risks on the important things.

I can do anything.


You’ve even taught me that the simplest things can make you happy.


In your arms I’ve found the one place I belong,

even with my oddities you still seem to get me and ask for nothing in return.

But I get you too,

and I’d have it no other way.

In your arms I am at peace,

our quiet breaths calm me,


the heat of your touch surrounds me,

our heartbeats in unison a panacea to all ills.

In your arms I want to be nowhere else.


This is the heart I belong to,

the lips I was born to kiss,


the arms I was made to stand within.

This love is infinite,

lasting lifetimes.

At the same time, it’s simple and there’s only one way to describe our connection.

Call it fate,

even call it serendipity that we stumbled across each other years ago.


And yet, it’s more…

In your arms I am,

and will always be,


forever yours,


ever at peace,

infinitely belonging,

and most of all…

In your arms I am,

at last,




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

My Romantic Thought of the Day 49

True love is when two separate people can be a complete mess, but still find union and happiness.



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My Romantic Thought of the Day 48


Real love is being with someone who knows your flaws, and despite the hard times, still finds you amazing and sticks around.



Filed under Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing