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Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Carole McKee

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 Carole McKee, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

What does Romance mean to me? It’s a wonderful feeling. While candlelight dinners and flowers are great, they are not true romance. Romantic? Yes, possibly.

It’s the little things that make up romance. Roses ordered from a florist are lovely, but that store-bought bouquet picked up at the grocery store, on an impulse, just means so much more to me. And nothing says ‘I love you’ more than when he interrupts a walk in the park to pick a wild flower for his lady. It’s a sweet thing to do.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Romance is sweet. In my opinion, anyway. Subtle acts and small gestures that say “I love you.” A phone call in the middle of the day, just to say, “I’m thinking of you.” These little things are so romantic, and they mean so much. I believe that these romantic gestures lead to love.

Romance is beautiful. The whole world seems brighter; music is sweeter, colors are more vibrant, stars are plentiful, and people are happier when there is romance in the air.

Created by Freepik

Romance is love. Being romantic shows that a person cares. Just by thinking of things to do in order to make the other person happy, is a way to show loving and caring. That’s romance.

Romance can be so uplifting. It makes a woman feel special. Romance makes a woman feel pretty.

I worked with a woman who always looked sad. She was divorced, and had been for several years. Her 50th birthday was fast approaching, and to her, it was depressing. She told me she felt ugly and useless, and unloved. What this woman didn’t know was that there was a gentleman in the next department who was interested in her. He was 52. My mission? To make things happen. Now, I don’t like to play matchmaker, but I’m not opposed to spreading little factual tidbits. I told Jerry that Norma’s birthday was the following Saturday, and I just mentioned in passing that she had no plans to celebrate. Good ole Jerry took the hint. On Friday, flowers arrived at Norma’s desk with a lovely note, saying that he would love to celebrate her birthday with her and could he pick her up for dinner at 7:00 on Saturday?

Created by Valeria_aksakova – Freepik.com

Gotta love Jerry!

I saw the biggest transformation I have ever seen. Norma’s face lost ten years right away. Her eyes lifted at the corners, as did her lips. Her face looked brighter, and actually healthier. When she showed me the note, the first thing she said was that she had to get some new make-up and get her hair done. I suggested she go all the way, and buy a new dress, too. For the first time ever, I saw Norma smile and become giddy. She emailed a positive response to Jerry. But it didn’t end there.

Surprisingly, Jerry was the romantic type. Norma and Jerry became an item, and Jerry showered her with compliments, flowers, and little surprises almost every day. I witnessed a wallflower turn into a rose. That’s what romance does for you! Oh, and by the way, Norma and Jerry are married now. They both retired and spend their time traveling, or just staying home. Isn’t romance and love wonderful?

Romance can keep a woman healthy. This may be a stretch, but I don’t think so. Happy people get sick less often. That’s been proven. And what could make someone happier than to have love and romance in their life?

Created by Whatwolf – Freepik.com

I have heard people remark that romance ends after the honeymoon. It doesn’t have to, and it shouldn’t. Why would anyone stop showing love and consideration just after committing to someone, promising to spend forever with that person?

Saying ‘I love you’ can be the beginning of a wonderful life together. Romantic gestures reinforce those three little words. But even before those three words are spoken, the little romantic things two people do for each other make those words flow easily, right from the heart.

Romance doesn’t mean the same to everybody. This is what it means to me. Most importantly, romance is what makes a woman feel cherished, special, and beautiful. Every woman deserves to feel that way.

Created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

I wish I could say that I have experienced true romance, but I was never that fortunate. Since I haven’t, romance is not a driving force in my actual life, but it is so in my writing. I know what romance should be, and my characters experience it. In my first novel, Perfect, there were plenty of romantic overtures.

Nathan and Katrina are truly in love, and Nathan is the master of romance! In all my novels my female characters get treated to wonderful romance, and my male characters get treated as I think a woman should respond to romance.

To me, this is the way it should be.

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

Guest Bio

Carole McKee has been writing since 1996, beginning with a short story written as a tribute to her beloved dog after he passed away. She published her first novel, Perfect, in 2007, followed by the “Choices” series. She recently published four eBooks. Her genres include Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Contemporary Romance. Originally from Pittsburgh, Carole now resides in Clearwater, Florida. Many of her stories take place in Western Pennsylvania, a place she still loves. Prior to becoming a writer, she acquired a widely diversified work history and education.  She now writes full-time, and enjoys retirement life.

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, Carole, 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 Nikki Ashton visits us on May 30th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

5 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Susanne Matthews

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 Susanne Matthews, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

What does romance mean to me?

Hello, Marie, and thank you for the opportunity to participate in your latest venture. Since I consider myself a romance author this should be an easy question to answer, but it really isn’t. Old-school as I am, I opted to check the online dictionary definition for ‘romance’.

Noun: 1. A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. “In search of romance”

Synonyms: amorousness, love, passion, ardor, sex, desire, eroticism

  1. A quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. “The beauty and romance of the night”

Synonyms: mystery, glamour, excitement, exoticism, mystique

Verb:1. Court; woo. “The wealthy estate owner romanced her”

Synonyms: woo, chase, pursue

  1. Another term for romanticize. “To a certain degree I am romancing the past”

Synonyms: idealize, glamorize, exaggerate

Wow! Talk about extremes. What’s a person supposed to take away from such a definition? I once had an editor tell me that her company published romances, not love stories—love stories came after the romance. Confusing? I thought so until I realized that while love may be a synonym of romance, it really doesn’t mean the same thing.

To me, romance is a complex and complicated word denoting several different aspects of human relationships. Person A meets person B, and they both live happily ever after, is a simplistic explanation for one of life’s most difficult challenges.

Regardless of who is involved, I see romance as the initial stage in a relationship between individuals, but one that may not necessarily end as the relationship progresses. This early stage can occur at different times and in hundreds of different ways and can certainly be a time of mystery and excitement. I had a friend at university who loved the romance aspect of a relationship. She saw it as the time when people went out of their way to impress the other person. As she put it, it’s the chocolate and flowers season. It’s a time to get to know one another, warts and all. Personally, I grew up when romance didn’t involve sex the way it does in many cases today. People dated, walked hand in hand, kissed, fell in love and went steady, and while someone might get to “first or even second base,” rarely did they “get to third and score a home run.” Not having that level of physical involvement made it easier in some ways for people who didn’t fall in love to let the relationship fizzle and die. Maybe that’s why marriage and relationships lasted longer than they do today.

The most common route to romance starts with attraction, a kind of undefined magnetism that draws individuals together. In a perfect world, that attraction becomes infatuation, which grows into desire. In some cases, the desire will grow into love. In others, the flames will burn hot and heavy, eventually extinguishing themselves. Not every romance leads to happily ever after.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

There are times when the initial attraction doesn’t ramp up to infatuation right away and develops into a deep friendship instead. For some, that friendship stays as is and endures a lifetime. My first real boyfriend is still a cherished friend and married to my best girlfriend. I even introduced them, and they’ve been together 44 years.

Sometimes, romance develops when people are thrown together by circumstances, which is often the case in my books. Initially, they may not feel that instantaneous magnetic appeal, but there is something about the person they admire. Often, that admiration will grow into respect and that respect into love. Since I frequently put my characters in danger, there is a protective instinct that often comes into play.

I consider myself extremely lucky. I met my husband at university. The first time we met, there were sparks of interest, and when he asked me out, I accepted. On our first date, we talked for hours, getting to know one another. The following week, he sent me a funny card, something he did quite often. Over the course of two years, we dated exclusively and married shortly after he started his first job. We’ll celebrate 46 years together in September and he is still my best friend. Time changes relationships, especially marriages, but we both worked hard to keep the romance in ours. Even when the children were young, we had date night. It might only have been a romantic candlelight dinner after all the kids were in bed, but we made time for one another.

Today, now that we are in our so-called golden years, we still have date night and romance in our lives. We travel just the two of us, enjoying the things we’ve come to love together, understanding the limitations age has put on both of us. We have time with the children and grandchildren, but when it comes right down to it, we are a couple and the romance is still very much alive.

Getting to know one another, sharing and caring, doing whatever it takes to make the other person feel loved and cherished, to me, that’s what romance is all about.

When I create my characters, I try to give them the time to get to know one another. I make sure the reasons they don’t commit to one another are logical and understandable. I don’t have perfect people in my books, but flawed characters who have to overcome both physical and emotional issues before they can admit to themselves how they feel and commit to the other. In my novel, The Price of Honor, I have two old friends who are reunited by circumstances, but the past is as much what draws them together as it is what keeps them apart. The romance is there as they get to know one another all over again, searching for the truth and maybe saving the colony in the process.

For me romance is a journey of discovery that hopefully ends in a happily ever after.

Wow! I couldn’t have said it better myself…
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Susanne! Lovely to have you here! ♥
And gosh, I love that cover!

Guest Bio

Amazon bestselling author Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Not content with one subgenre, Susanne writes romance that ranges from contemporary to sci-fi and everything in between. She is a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traveling to interesting places she can use as settings in her future books. In summer she enjoys camping with her grandchildren and attending various outdoor concerts and fairs. In winter, she likes to cuddle by the fire and watch television.

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, Susanne, 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 Tina Donahue visits us on May 18th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

2 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Ricardo Mejías

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 Ricardo Mejías, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

Romance in a relationship is a lot like dancing. Not the spontaneous kind, but one that requires practice. There’s an art to it, and when it comes to art there is always an ideal form one aspires to; dancers appear surreal to those watching; elegant in motion, graceful, years of hard work made to look effortless. But no one can be perfect. They can have moments, beautiful and brief moments that take our breath away, but even perfect moments are only meant to be remembered, not lived. And this can be disheartening, always trying to be at your best, straining to get it right.

This is only one point of view. Just as there are many ways to dance, there are many ways to interact with love. But for me, romance is a passionate exercise in living outside yourself. It is learning to dance with your partner. Discovering how they move, the beauty in their steps so refreshingly new and yet complementary to your own; figuring out ways to glide and sashay across the floor, together; knowing you are only as strong as your partner, savoring in the ache of your muscles, relishing in the many mistakes that will follow because that means there is still work to be done.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Ineffable, tinged in sadness, made to look elegant and is in constant motion, forever practicing with the one you love on a vast stage. It is hard and never truly ends. It is sweat and tears. It is earned.

I find the more beautiful an idea or object, the greater the weight of sorrow it carries. It can be easy to fall into the fantasy of pure romance, with stories ending on a note of warmth and comfort because they, by nature, necessitate a beginning and end. But we do not live in chapters, and because we inherently know this we can be pulled even more towards that ideal—ironically adding to the pain we seek to avoid.

My writing has always been infused with this sentiment. Romanticizing love’s other half, celebrating the elegant figure of Imperfection but always keeping the bigger picture in mind; you may trip and hurt yourself in the process, but it is worth it. There are very few happy endings to my stories. My prose is never settled, never really content with itself. It can always be better, and a lot of times I hate it. But I keep writing, and when I edit my work I am flirting, knowing I will always come back for more even if it is not exactly how I want it, that sometimes I may have writer’s block and sometimes I will have so much to say but no words to write them down, yet the page will always be waiting for me, whispering gently: there will be moments…brief, perfect moments to remember.

And how incredibly romantic is that? I fall for it every time.

So true! Life is a lot like writing; there are often hurdles to overcome, but in the end it is a worthy endeavor. I believe the same about romance. Those very real, normal moments and struggles combine with the small, beautiful, perfect ones to create a canvas. And from that you can build a future with the person that calls to your soul. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Ricardo! A pleasure to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

Ricardo Mejías discovered his love for prose in his senior year of high school while taking a creative writing course. He majored in Creative Writing at SUNY New Paltz with a double minor in philosophy. Wanting to learn more about the publishing industry, he pursued an editorial career and worked at Disney Hyperion as an Assistant Editor. Currently residing in New York with his wife, he’s now looking to explore new careers as well as develop his writing and poetry crafts.

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, Ricardo, 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 K.C. Sprayberry visits us on May 9th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

1 Comment

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Debbie White

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 next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Debbie White, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

When I was asked if I’d like to participate in Marie’s theme of what romance meant to me, I was hoping I could truly make it work with my schedule. After all, I am a romance writer. As I sat and contemplated with my hands positioned on the keyboard ready to type away, I realized that romance is more about the journey for me than an actual moment or incident. I’ll explain.

Just as in my romance books, the couple doesn’t start off being romantic. They build up to it.  They meet, they talk, they gather information that leads them to their next step in the romantic dance.

Romance, for me, is the same way. We just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary. That’s a big deal, especially in today’s throw-away world. It hasn’t always been easy. Oh, heck no. We got married young and so financial worries were always front and center. Back then, romance was probably kissing and well…you know the other stuff young people do. Then we had a family and life got pretty busy. After taking care of babies all day, exhausted and often falling into bed with my clothes on, romance was the last thing on my mind. As the kids got older, we seemed to be even busier if that was possible. Often it was while lying in bed with our eyes shut, resting from the day’s work, that we’d snuggle and talk.

During those years, romance was probably more about celebrating anniversaries with a nice dinner out.

Then we fast forward to our soon to be retired years. We’re empty nesters now and have a few more pennies to our name. We still find time to be romantic – we have more free time, that’s for sure. But for me, romance is about remembering me with a thoughtful gesture or an unexpected bouquet of flowers or taking me out to dinner at the spur of the moment – no special day to celebrate, just celebrating each other. Or when he tries his hand at cooking dinner and even sets the table with candles and flowers, or when he surprises me with a thoughtful gift – just out of the blue. These are the romantic moments that make up our journey and what ultimately romance means to me.

And the two things we’ve done from the very beginning of our life together have been to start the day with a kiss and words of wishes for a great day, and end the day with a kiss and I love you. It’s worked for 42 years and no matter how angry, upset or tired we are, we always make sure we say and do this little ritual. Even at four in the morning when he’s leaving for his long commute to the city, he doesn’t leave the bedroom before kissing me and telling me he loves me. Sometimes my reply is a mumble, but I always let him hear those words from me before he starts his day.

Romance can be different things to different people, but for me, it’s the regular and mutual showing of appreciation and caring every day and not just on special days.

Very true! You made some great points there. Oh, and Happy Anniversary! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by with your heartwarming guest post, Debbie! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

Debbie currently lives in northern California where the jagged coast meets rolling hills dotted with vineyards. When she’s not writing the next best-selling romance novel, she’s spending time with her family, traveling, wine tasting and anything to do with the outdoors.

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, Debbie, for giving us your take on what romance itself has come to mean to you. Beautiful! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Lashanta Charles visits us on April 27th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

5 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Romance