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A Character Interview with Leona from UNFATHOMABLE LOVE plus a conversation with author Linda Diane Wattley!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Molly V. Lovell’s character back on August 29th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Diane Wattley, the author of Unfathomable Love, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Leona Tillard, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Linda in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Leona!

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

Character Leona Tillard:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Leona:  Sure.

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

Leona:  I am a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Am I any good at it?  Yes, in less than two years my rank went from Private to Specialist Four as a Finance Specialist.

Do I like it? Yes, the main responsibility I had was making sure everyone got paid and the workload was very fair and purposeful.

Marie:  Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Leona:  In the beginning, my family consisted of two brothers and myself. Mark was the oldest, then me, and Dennis was the baby, along with both my mother and father. One day we became a merger family. My parents divorced, and my dad remarried, which put us in a position of now having a stepmother, two stepsisters and a stepbrother.

Marie:  Sounds complicated.

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

Leona:  It was a beautiful white two-story house with a beautiful backyard with lots of flowers and trees.

Marie:  Great!

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

Leona: I enjoy reading books and going for long walks, especially at the park.

I like reading and writing, listening to music and dancing. I like being alone also.

Marie:  (Chuckles.) Well, who doesn’t have those moments, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Leona:  My greatest dream is finding out who I am and understanding what is normal.

Marie:  (Nods.) I think we all should understand ourselves better…

Let’s try another question.

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

Leona:  I wish I could be a person who is happy and fearless.

What’s stopping me?  My past is stopping me because I do not understand why I shy away from people who care about me, and I do not trust myself.

Marie: It’s tough when we have personal demons to work through.

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

Who was your first love?

Leona:  Andrew. We met in Kindergarten and were the best of friends. He was my secret crush until one day he told me we will eventually be more than friends.

Marie: Aww…so sweet. I remember those young crushes. ♥

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Leona:  Learning that my father took my virginity. That was a devastating reality because I wanted to be nun when I grew up. That made it impossible.

Marie:  Oh no! 😦 I’m so sorry. That must’ve been difficult. I have some personal experience with sexual abuse. I recently published a book dedicated to survivors of it. I can only imagine how hard that experience was for you, especially when you were so young and it happened with someone you should’ve been able to trust. I hope you’ve managed to find some peace over the years…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Leona nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Leona:  At first it was to be a nun and belong to God. Once I realized I couldn’t be a nun, I didn’t know what else I wanted to be.

I am still looking for a dream. I am still looking for me.

Never will I know if it was what I expected.

I never achieved the dream because I felt you had to be a virgin to be a nun. A nun is all I ever wanted to be when I was a kid.

Marie:  All right.

Again, I’m so sorry. 😦

(Clears throat.)

So, who is your role model, Leona?

Leona:  My grandmother is my role model. She always protected me and talked to me about God. And, she always told me I was special and one day I will understand why.

Marie: That’s wonderful, and she’s so right. She sounds like a wise woman!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Leona:  Myself. I don’t like myself because I feel so unworthy to be anything good or loved because I feel so dirty.

Marie:  It’s really hard to deal with shame. I’m still working through it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Leona:  To begin again and put my past behind me.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think we’ve all felt that at one time or another…

So, tell me something, Leona. What is your greatest fear?

Leona:  Dying is my greatest fear because I don’t know where I will be. I just know it won’t be with my family and friends.

Marie: A lot of people fear death. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The unknown is often scary. My take? I don’t think we’re supposed to look that far ahead. Maybe it’s better to just live your life the best way you can, because you never know when your time will be up. 😉

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

Author Linda Diane Wattley:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

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

Linda:  She is a troubled soul who is trying to find out who she is. In many ways she is an angel. Leona has a big heart to share with others along with a strong need to be loved.

Marie:  Well, I think we all need love in our lives.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Linda:  She is gentle, a good listener, and she has many gifts to share with the world. And, Leona is very smart and spiritual.

Marie:  Nice!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Linda:  Low self-esteem, a strong need to be loved and understood, and some self-anger.

Marie:  All right. Many of us have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Leona’s favorite foods?

Linda:  Barbecue, french fries, chicken, mashed potatoes and she loves homemade cookies.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds yummy!

How about another question?

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

Linda:  She has a pure heart and the gift of healing.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Linda:  They will love Leona Tillard because she is damaged merchandise, but she lives life to the fullest and is as real as they come. The reader will understand her choices, even though they are not always the best choices, especially when it comes to love.

Marie: Okay.

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

What first gave you the idea for Unfathomable Love?

Linda:  The love experiences that come into Leona’s life are overwhelming to comprehend. The love is so deep and intimate, and it happens more than one time for her. Who would you choose for her and why? You too could be making a huge mistake.

Marie:  Intriguing!

Let’s try something else.

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

Linda:  It is so surreal for me to write. I feel like a vessel receiving data to write as the words are revealed to me. There is not a book I have written that does not amaze me. There are underlined messages throughout all my books that I believe God wants people to know in a unique way.

Marie:  (Smiles.) I hear you…sometimes I think the characters are directing the story more than I am.

How about another question?

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

Linda:  No, not really because Charge of Angel was the first book of the series, which made a way for Unfathomable Love to flow through the process very easily.

I might self-publish because it would have been something worth learning, though I am thankful to have a publisher at this time.

Marie:  Right! In some ways, writing a sequel is easier because you already know a lot about the characters. 

And sure, it doesn’t hurt to have a publisher, though indie publishing is also an option.

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

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

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this inspirational romance by Linda Diane Wattley, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Unfathomable Love:

Charge of an Angel, the first of the “Love and Redemption Series”, continues as Leona Tillard, the survivor of an uncensored childhood love, begins her journey into the heart of Unfathomable Love.

When Leona graduated from high school, she joined the United States Army. It was then she learned there was plenty of love to go around; after all, the Army is one place where men outnumbered the women. Her only dilemma was figuring out which love was the best love for her to embrace.

Hearing the words ‘I love you’ heals our souls. The ironic thing about it, very seldom do two people share the same meaning for love. This is usually fine until someone else’s meaning of love changes our lives forever.

In Charge of an Angel, Leona Tillard asked for your help as she survived her daily childhood nightmare. Today, she is asking you to help her to choose the right man to love forever. Do I love the soldiers or do I love my big brother’s best friend?

Sounds like an easy task, doesn’t it? Trust me, you too just might choose the wrong one. Let’s see if we can save Leona once again.

 Lord God, so much love, help me choose!

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

Doug sat down, breathing hard and sweating. He had danced himself out. He put on a slow song, grabbed me by my arm and walked me down to the dance floor. Apparently, another girl had planned to dance with him and met us along the way. He kissed her on the cheek and kept walking while she gave me the evil eye. I smiled and kept on stepping.

He embraced me and our bodies melted together as we swayed to “Breathless” by Corrine Bailey Rae. He put my arms around his waist and I wrapped mine around his neck. Though I was a little taller than Doug, it didn’t take away from his ability to get his bump and grind going. I had never experienced this before. Between the high, his scent, and his perfect body, I was in another world. Each motion of his body felt like a request for a deeper caress. As the music played, our bodies became a new and emerging instrument that played a song so deep with emotions to stop would be a great loss.

My body wanted out of my clothes. I wanted the party to turn into a huge waterbed and everybody to disappear. But, the music began to fade. Abruptly, he released his hold and ran back to the platform to play the next song. Looking at me from a distance, his eyes looking through me, he motioned for me to come to him. I finally exhaled. I didn’t rush to him.  I just stood there and looked at him. The longer I stared at him, the longer and deeper he stared at me. By now the dance floor was filled with people, again.

The crowd danced around me as if I wasn’t there. I began to realize the feelings I felt with Doug were the same feelings I had experienced with Tony a long time ago. He and I met at my brother’s day camp when I was about sixteen years old. Our closeness had been leading to sex, but he cared enough about me to make sure we didn’t do it.

I didn’t know about Doug. He gave my body a lot in a room filled with people. I could only imagine what would happen if we were alone. Just the thought of it made me feel like a lit candle. If he blew on me, I would probably melt completely and disappear without a trace. I decided I’d better get out of there.

I slipped gracefully through the crowd and found my way outside the room. As I went to the lobby of the hotel, I saw a line of cabs waiting to take soldiers back on post. I floated out the front doors to a cab and sat down in the back seat. As the cab began to pull off, I felt wrong for leaving without telling Doug. Then, I realized it felt great knowing he would miss me. After all, he was too sure I was coming to the party.

Wow! Love the tension. ♥♥♥ Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/1975939549

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7522050

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

About Linda Diane Wattley

Linda Diane Wattley is a proud veteran of the United States Army. Born in Akron, Ohio, she attended the University of Akron majoring in Psychology.

Over twelve years, a religious/philosophical columnist for the Frost Illustrated Newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2016, she addressed PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by writing Soldier with a Backpack, Living and Dying Simultaneously which made her a nominee for the ‘Best in Nonfiction’ during the African American Literary Awards Show.

Currently, she shares her “Love and Redemption Series”, which is a dramatically written story revealing intimate truths about molestation and the impact it has on a child’s soul. Leona is the child growing up and sharing her soul.  Keep her close to your heart.

Available today is the first of the series, Charge of an Angel.  Here you witness the early beginnings of the secrets of sexual abuse. And, the second book, Unfathomable Love. Never will you witness a love as unique and beautiful as the love waiting for Leona. God only knows what can become of it. You don’t want to miss it.

Currently she joined TLBTV and the Beacon Project as host of “The Truth Will Set You Free Show”, where you don’t have to be a celebrity to share your truth with the world.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Linda Diane Wattley, here are some author links:

Website:  http://www.lindadianewattley.com/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/universalove

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Diane-Wattley/e/B00JNTEYK6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441999.Linda_Diane_Wattley

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

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Leona, a female character from Unfathomable Love, and Linda Diane Wattley, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Faith, Fiction, Guest Writer, inspirational romance, Interview, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

A Character Interview with Ellie from A SIBLING’S DILEMMA plus a conversation with author Molly V. Lovell!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been quite a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Monice DeSimone’s character back on November 8th of 2016 and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Molly V. Lovell, the author of A Sibling’s Dilemma, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Ellie Kent, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Molly in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Ellie!

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

Character Ellie Kent:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Ellie:  Sure.

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

Ellie:  Um, right now I work at the Kensington Group as Mr. Kensington’s—the CEO’s—assistant. Keeping this between the two of us, I’m just working here because Cassie, my sister and a private detective, wants me to keep an eye out on Mr. Kensington for one of her clients. Although I don’t feel too good about being here as a spy.

Oh, sorry, you asked me if I liked the job too. I almost forgot. Um, I actually like it here. Mr. Kensington and I got off to a um…rough start at first. He can be really intimidating and, well, I’m shy to begin with. Being around him made it so much worse and it was really stressful. But, we’re good friends now so I actually enjoy my job. Although I wish I were there under better circumstances…

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! That’s a tough situation to be in. 😦

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Ellie:  Cassie’s the best sister I could ever ask for. She saved my life when we were younger and she’s sacrificed so much for me. I would do anything for her. She’s so strong-willed and powerful, and if she sets her mind to something, she just does it. I wish that I were as strong as she…

Marie:  Well, I’m sure you haven’t found the one thing that will test you just yet. I think we can surprise ourselves sometimes.

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

Ellie:  Um…s-sorry. That’s not…um…can we move onto something else? I’m sorry.

Marie:  All right. Sure…let’s see.

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

Ellie:  I know this sounds really boring, but I like playing with my dog, Spots, and volunteering at the soup kitchen down the road. I believe in helping others. I actually just graduated with my degree in social work and I was set to work in that field, but Cassie needed me at the Kensington Group, so here I am. Wait, I think I might have already told you that last bit earlier. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I do that when I’m nervous sometimes…

Marie:  (Chuckles.) No problem! I think we all have a nervous tick or two, right? 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Ellie:  I want to run a non-profit someday and work to eradicate extreme global poverty. I know I won’t be able to end it myself, but with the right capital and money management, I could at least stop a lot of people from dying from malnourishment, unsanitary conditions, and the like.

Marie:  Nice! It definitely sounds like a plan…

Let’s try another question.

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

Ellie:  I wish that I were a stronger person—someone who is confident and voiced her opinions more often. But, it seems like almost every time I go to say something confrontational, I just think ‘who am I to say this? What if I’m wrong?’ and I lose my nerve and I don’t say anything at all. Cassie and Mr. Kensington are always so vocal about what they want in life and I wish I were more like them.

Marie: I think most of us are afraid of speaking out about things, to go against the mold, so to speak. I think that when you find that something worth fighting for, you’ll know it.

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

Who was your first love?

Ellie:  Love is a pretty strong word. I think to love someone is a beautiful thing—you give up a piece of yourself to the other person. The only person I can say that I love is my sister. Not in a romantic way, of course, but I want her to be happy and I’m willing to make sacrifices to see that happen.

There is someone I really like, though—Mr. Kensington. He’s so handsome, smart, and strong-willed. He’s been a good friend to me too. I would say that Edric, I mean Mr. Kensington, is one of the few people that I can talk to where I don’t clam up. I need to get over this infatuation, though; he’d never date a girl like me. All his girlfriends in the past were beautiful models. Maybe if I were prettier he’d like me, but I’m not. It’s never going to happen and I just need to get over this silly crush.

Marie: Aww…(sighs.) I love romance. ♥

I think you should just go ahead and crush to your heart’s content, Ellie. You only live once, right? 😀

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Ellie:  I was sick a lot as a kid. I’m not sick anymore though, so it’s nothing to worry about. But, um…I-I don’t like to talk about it much. I’m sorry…

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear it. That must’ve been difficult. I’m glad you’re okay now, though.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Ellie nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Ellie:  I didn’t dream of much growing up. I didn’t think I was going to make it to adulthood, to be honest. In a way, being alive, healthy, and able to live a relatively-normal life is a dream come true. On top of all that, I have a Master’s Degree, a decent job, and people that I care about and who care about me. Life is so much better than I expected.

Marie:  Happy to hear it!

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

So, who is your role model, Ellie?

Ellie:  My role model? For people I’ve never met, I would say Kristine Pearson. She helped to develop a radio that allowed for educational programs and information to be easily accessible in developing countries, even with no power. I would love to make that big of a difference to so many people someday.

For people I know, I would say Mr. Kensington. He’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met. He works, at least, twelve hours a day. And when he’s not working, he spends time with his younger brother and older sister, which is very sweet of him. He’s incredibly smart too—he helped make a brand-new type of video game technology. He’s admirable in those regards.

Marie: Wow! I agree. He sounds like a great man!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Ellie:  I try not to dislike people. Whenever I find myself disliking someone, I put myself in their shoes and see why they act the way they do. Usually, it makes me a bit more sympathetic to them. It’s not always easy, but I try.

Marie:  Well…that is definitely admirable of you! I respect that you can do it.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Ellie:  Um…I…um. Wow, I um, feel really embarrassed admitting this but, um, I want to be with Mr. Kensington romantically. I guess if I’m talking about him in that light, I should refer to him as Edric. But I want to be with Edric. I should desire other things that are more beneficial to society, but, um…that’s my deepest desire. I’m so embarrassed. Please, please, please don’t tell anyone. I would be so mortified if Edric were to find out. I don’t think that I could look him in the eye again if he knew I felt that about him.

Marie:  Hey, it’s just us girls here! No worries. Your secret is safe with me.

Plus, who can blame you? He sounds like a total hottie.

So, tell me something, Ellie. What is your greatest fear?

Ellie:  I would say that my biggest fears are rejection and public speaking. Well, I suppose that I’m afraid of public speaking because I’m afraid of rejection. I always clam up when I talk to new people. Thank you for listening to me, though, and I’m sorry to have just rambled on about myself the whole time. It felt so good to get stuff off my chest, so thank you for that.

Marie: It’s understandable to have those fears. And public speaking? Yikes! Heck, I still get really nervous before my radio interviews. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget an important detail, or sound really dumb, you know? I think we’ve all been there before, hon.

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything. 😉

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

Author Molly V. Lovell:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

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

Molly:  She’s one of the few characters in A Sibling’s Dilemma that I can say is actually a good person. Her sister, Cassie, tries to be, but is willing to set aside her beliefs to get ahead in life. Edric, Ellie’s main love interest, is good to those he’s closest to, but is mistrustful and can sometimes be cruel to others.

Ellie wants to do the right thing in this story, but she doesn’t quite know what the right thing is. Cassie, a private investigator, wants Ellie to spy on Edric. Ellie reluctantly agrees, but when she gets to know Edric, she thinks that he’s actually a decent person and doesn’t want to be a part of destroying his company. She’s split between helping her sister and doing what she thinks is right. She’s in a rough predicament.

Marie:  No kidding!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Molly:  Ellie’s greatest strength is her compassion. She treats everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. Ellie treats a multi-billion dollar CEO the same way that she treats a homeless person. She doesn’t care much about material things and actually does want to help others.

Marie:  Excellent!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Molly:  I would say that Ellie’s greatest weakness is her insecurity; it causes most of her problems. Ellie can’t seem to trust herself and, since she’s been hurt in the past, she doesn’t really trust others either, with the exception of her sister. I think that’s really sad—no one should have to go through life not trusting themselves or others. Now, Ellie would say that she does, in fact, trust others. She thinks that she trusts other people too. But, her actions show otherwise. She’s very, very guarded and won’t confide in others or let them help her. Getting her to talk about potentially painful things is like pulling teeth out of her; it’s not going to happen easily. Her insecurities and guardedness is something that she works hard to overcome.

Marie:  Okay… 😦 I think we all have certain insecurities, so I’m sure a lot of people can relate. And who hasn’t found it difficult to trust before?

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Ellie’s favorite foods?

Molly:  Ha ha…Ellie’s perfect meal would consist of half a tuna fish sandwich to eat, peppermint tea to drink, and tapioca pudding for desert. She eats it literally every day for lunch. Edric sometimes brings her in something different, though, since he thinks that it’s a little sad that she eats just a half of a tuna fish sandwich each day.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Interesting!

How about another question?

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

Molly:  Ellie’s really smart and hard-working. She’s a lot more competent than she gives herself credit for. She can accomplish work-related tasks that are nearly impossible. Since she’s so insecure, she doesn’t notice this about herself, though, and views herself as a bumbling, incompetent person who’s lucky to have a job.

Marie:  Aww…well, maybe she’ll be enlightened about that soon.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Molly:  For the most part, I think that readers will like Ellie because she’s a good person. But, at the same time, they might find her insecurities annoying at certain parts of the story.

I like to make all my characters multi-dimensional. I hope that my readers will both like and dislike my characters during different parts of the book. In life, people are multi-dimensional. I try to have my characters be as life-like as possible. So, long story short, I think that readers will cheer for Ellie sometimes, but want to shake some common sense into her at other times.

Marie: Oh, yes, I know what you mean!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings too.

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

What first gave you the idea for A Sibling’s Dilemma?

Molly: Okay, so originally I wanted to write a novel about a sassy, foul-mouthed private detective (Cassie) that falls in love with a jerk CEO (Edric), who she’s supposed to spy on. But then, I started to really develop the characters. When I fully fleshed out the characters and added in more (like Ellie), I had to re-examine the premise of the story. I moved the main couple away from being Cassie and Edric to Ellie and Edric. The story changed a lot over time.

Marie:  Nice! Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Let’s try something else.

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

Molly:  I would say that I’m a combination of both. I really, really flesh out my characters. Then, I daydream about certain scenes in the book and I connect them all together. Once I have a general map going, I start to write. When I write, unexpected things come up and I either keep these new plot points, or cut them out entirely. I like to work in drafts. My first draft of A Sibling’s Dilemma was much different than the current version (and not just because my first draft was riddled with typos. Ha ha!).

Marie:  (Laughs.) I hear you…sometimes characters have minds of their own. The ones in Upon Your Love wouldn’t shut up for me until I wrote them into the story too. 😉

How about another question?

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

Molly:  Okay, so I didn’t have too many problems with writing A Sibling’s Dilemma. However, I have had problems, in the past, with writing other stories.

My main advice for writing is that you need to love your own story. If you don’t love it, it’s not going to flow well and it’s going to come out bad. Or even worse, it won’t come out at all because you won’t want to write it. This novel just seemed to flow right out of me; it wasn’t super hard to write. Editing it and polishing it up was a whole different ball of wax (I’m eternally grateful for my editor), but the book itself was easy and fun to write.

As for getting published, my main advice is to not get discouraged. All you need is one publisher to say yes. Getting rejected will hurt, but you’ll move on. If you never try to put yourself out there, you’re in the same boat as you would be if you just got rejected. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So, just try to put your work out there. And if you do get rejected, ask why. I know that it’s awkward to ask and having a conversation about all the things that you’ve done wrong. It’s not the ideal conversation that you want to have, but it’s a necessary one if you want to improve. Use that criticism to hone your craft and get even better. If you use the criticism constructively and you never give up, a publisher will eventually say yes. You can do it! 🙂

Marie:  Too right! Often if we try to force writing to happen when our hearts aren’t in the story, it doesn’t work out. 

Still, so much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get. And like you said, we have to try first!

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story A Sibling’s Dilemma appears to be. Congratulations on your new release, Molly!

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this contemporary romance by Molly V. Lovell, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for A Sibling’s Dilemma:

Edric Kensington promised himself that he would never be close to anyone outside of his family. Ellie Kent promised herself that she would always do what she thought was right no matter what. Cassie Kent promised herself that she would never date a married man. Sometimes promises get broken. Sometimes feelings get hurt. Sometimes friendships collapse. Sometimes standards slip. And yet, sometimes people overcome their flaws and find love.

A Sibling’s Dilemma is a contemporary romance novel that revolves around two sisters: Cassie and Ellie Kent. Cassie is a private detective and Ellie is a recent college graduate. Cassie is hired by Charlie Logan, the CEO of a company specializing in virtual reality games, to spy on Charlie’s greatest professional rival—Edric Kensington. This is no easy task–Edric Kensington is known for being as cold and guarded as he is handsome. To successfully infiltrate Edric’s company, Cassie needs to have an insider work there. Her shy-and-sweet sister, Ellie, is the perfect fit. When Ellie first works for Edric’s company, she is afraid of the cold and aloof CEO, but, over time, she develops romantic feelings for him, just like Cassie develops feelings for Charlie Logan. The two sisters become torn between their friendship with each other and the feelings that they harbor for the handsome CEOs who have stolen their hearts.

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

Ellie Kent sat nervously in the top floor of the Kensington group building. She wrung her hands and then fidgeted with the second copy of her résumé.

Am I qualified for this? I hope I’m good enough. I don’t want to let Cassie down.

She made herself as small as possible as she sat in the waiting room chair. Ellie smiled warmly at the nearby workers, turned bright-red, and then looked back down at her resume, avoiding all eye-contact with them once more.

They probably think I’m weird looking, or too scrawny. Ellie frowned. Her heart was racing a mile a minute.

“Mr. Kensington is ready for your interview.”

“Thank you.” She stood up and then followed the secretary over to the doors. The young woman went to pull the door open, realized that it could only be open by being pushed, blushed, and then pushed it open.

Oh God. I can’t even open a door right.

Ellie walked inside the room and saw Edric Kensington sitting behind his desk. He appeared to be quite bored and unamused. She was surprised by how young he looked, she guessed he was in his early-to-mid thirties. Surprisingly handsome too—he was tall and slightly muscular with strong and symmetrical facial features and unblemished, olive skin. The pictures in the paper didn’t do him justice.

Edric wore a crisp navy-blue suit and had silver cufflinks. His chestnut-brown hair was combed neatly and seemed to frame his face well. Everything about him seemed put together. Ellie immediately felt embarrassed by her own appearance. She wore a light grey skirt suit that she got from the thrift store, which was just slightly too big for her.

The CEO stood up from behind his mahogany desk and walked over to Ellie. She immediately felt intimidated by his height and somewhat muscular stature—it made her feel small and scrawny. And she hated feeling small and scrawny. Suddenly she wished that Cassie were there with her. Someone strong that she could draw strength from.

He reached over and extended his hand to her. “Edric Kensington.”

Ellie reached over to accept the handshake. It was strong and firm. Almost a little too much so; it hurt her small hand.

Oh no, I gave him a weak, limp handshake. I’m not supposed to do that. He probably won’t want to hire me because of it.

“Eleonore Kent.” Ellie’s pale cheeks were flushed red. She averted her eyes to the floor.

“Take a seat.” Edric pointed to the chair opposite his desk. He slowly walked away from the young woman and sat behind his desk—she noticed that he had a confident gait about him.

Ellie knew that she looked flustered. She was never good at faking confidence. Her violet eyes were wide and her cheeks were bright-red. She had a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look about her. When she sat down she made herself as small as possible—hunched over, with her hands curled up underneath her chin. In contrast, Edric sat behind his desk poised confidently.

Ellie took a copy of her résumé —the copy that she didn’t crumple nervously in the waiting room—and quickly handed it to Edric. He held his hand up in a ‘stop’ sign.

“I already have a copy, Eleonore.”

Ellie returned the paper to her lap and begun to wring this extra copy of her résumé, since she already tore the other copy to shreds.

“Your résumé is strong—I see that you’re probably going to graduate in a few weeks at the top of your class at an Ivy League university, with a master’s degree, no less. Excellent references. I see lots and lots of community service.” Ellie’s blush deepened. “I have one question. Why would you want to work here as my assistant?”

“I-I…” The young woman swallowed deeply. “I’m thinking of starting up a non-profit one day.” She blurted out and then looked at the floor.

“I see.”

He probably thinks my reasons are stupid and that I’m not cut out to run a non-profit or to run anything.

“What do you have to offer this office?”

The way that Edric said the word ‘you’ made Ellie feel even worse.

“I…” Her hands started to shake.

Don’t cry, Ellie.

“I’m organized. I work hard. I. Um. I’ll do the job.” Ellie stammered.

Edric scoffed at Ellie and shook his head. She blushed and ran her fingers through her silky white hair. “You’ll start now. If you can make it through the end of the day, you can keep it. You will work nineteen hours a week for the next two weeks until you graduate. Then you will work full-time. Understood?”

Ellie nodded her head. “Yes.”

Edric pointed to a wooden desk in the corner of the room. It was made of mahogany, like Edric’s desk, except it was smaller and less ornate.

“The computer is up to date and you’ll find whatever supplies you need in your desk. The computer has an email installed on it for you to use.” He handed her a large notebook and then began to pace back and forth. “This is my copy of my schedule for the week. You will take over managing it, since my incompetent secretary clearly can’t. Send out an email to my sales department to find out what our sales have been for the past four months then make a spreadsheet detailing these sales to me. Book a room for my four o’clock meeting and write me a report detailing all the people who are attending this meeting.” Edric paused. “Oh, and if you fail, you’re fired.”

Ouch! He comes on really strong, doesn’t he? But I’m really connecting with Ellie here. I can feel her pain.

Can’t wait to read this book…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0746PHKR1

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-siblings-dilemma-molly-v-lovell/1127020533?ean=9781625266231

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/7388674

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/a-siblings-dilemma/

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

About Molly V. Lovell

Molly V. Lovell is a law student at William and Mary by day, novelist by night. Her hobbies include writing (obviously), painting, looking at cute puppies, and reading books about political theory, a subject that Molly has a Master’s Degree in. Molly was born and raised in Amesbury, Massachusetts, by her two amazing parents and she now lives in Hyattsville, Maryland, with her loving husband.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Molly V. Lovell, here are some author links:

Website:  MollyVLovell.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MollyVLovell

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Molly-V.-Lovell/e/B0747WCG9Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15587999.Molly_V_Lovell

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/Mollsie18/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Ellie, a female character from A Sibling’s Dilemma, and Molly V. Lovell, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here!

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

New Release!

Here’s my latest release! ♥♥♥♥

Marie Lavender- Multigenre Author

The Missing Piece, my new adult romance, is finally out on its own! Yay! ♥

missing-piece-001-final-cover

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06W5RYBD8

myBook.to/MissingPiece

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/the-missing-piece/

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6933779

Wow! ♥♥♥ Thanks, Solstice, for giving my work a wonderful home!😉

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Love, Marie Lavender, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, short stories, Stories, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: The Angel Alejandro by author Alistair Cross

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Alistair Cross, an author I met during my journey! His riveting dark fantasy/romance, The Angel Alejandro, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on January 25th!

That’s awesome, Alistair! Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

alejandro-book-cover

Alistair is giving us a look at his intriguing dark fantasy with a touch of romance, The Angel Alejandro, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for The Angel Alejandro:

A Man without a Past

After a near-fatal accident, Madison O’Riley is faced with an astonishing problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro … and he has no memory of his past. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes he harbors deep – and otherworldly – secrets that will shatter her understanding of reality … secrets that may put her in grave danger.

The Devil in the Details

And now, there’s another stranger in town. Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a small price, he’s willing to make a deal. By day, he walks the streets of Prominence in top hat and trench coat, tempting the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he and his legion of insatiable acolytes corrupt the locals at Club Mephistopheles, a den of unholy delights housed in an abandoned church.

The Battle has Begun …

The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …

What people are saying about Alistair’s books:

HELLNOTES
“The Crimson Corset is a good read. There is a colorful cast of characters, a clever plot, and an intricate structure … there are surprises and jumps and starts, sex and death, beauty and gore, something for everyone … if you’re looking for set-up and payoff, this novel will not disappoint.”

Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL
“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”

Q.L. Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS
“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the SAINT-GERMAIN CYCLE
“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.”

Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID
“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, The Crimson Corset – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”

Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural
“Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest.”

****

And here is a teaser plus a short excerpt to entice you with.

alejandro-promo

A mouth covered hers, blew, and Madison’s lungs expanded with borrowed breath. As if the man were blowing on dying coals, warmth glowed inside her, spreading and swelling through her solar plexus, expanding, reaching her limbs, bringing heat to her skin and clarity to her mind. She could breathe, she could see, and what she saw was the stranger’s face.

Handsome. Full lips, strong cheekbones, eyes she couldn’t yet fathom. Close-cropped, golden hair backlit by a near-blinding halo of light. Yes, she knew him from somewhere – but where?

The warm buzz swam through her. Her fingers and toes tingled. She was losing consciousness again, but she didn’t care; the panic was gone. As the world pulsed in and out, the man leaned over and blinked black-lashed silver eyes at her. Not gray, but silver. Bright and shining, like disks of polished steel. The light behind him swelled and brightened just before the world relapsed into black and nothingness wrapped itself warm around her.

-Excerpt from The Angel Alejandro, by Alistair Cross
Copyright © Glass Apple Press 2016.

Whoa! What a thrilling excerpt!  🙂

Book Info:

Genre:  Dark Fantasy, Romance

Release Date:  January 25, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01N347ZE8

What an interesting story! ♥♥♥ This looks like quite a ride!

Thank you for telling us about your book, Alistair! I know I can’t wait to read this new dark fantasy/romance! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

alejandro-book-cover

Author Bio

ac-headshot

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Visit Alistair @ alistaircross.com

Author Links

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CrossAlistair

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Alistair-Cross/e/B00N446AZS/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Alistair_Cross

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

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/107331425042802585965

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, dark romance, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: Heart of a Savage by author LaShanta Charles

I am pleased to announce a great new release by LaShanta Charles, an author I met during my journey! Her fascinating new adult sports romance, Heart of a Savage, officially went up for pre-order and will be released at the end of the month!

Yay! Just in time for Valentine’s Day! That’s awesome, LaShanta! :) Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

2017-967-ebook-lashanta-charles-heart-of-a-savage

 

LaShanta is giving us a look at her new, intriguing MMA romance, Heart of a Savage, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Heart of a Savage:

Bailey Ross-O’Malley has spent her whole life catering to others. She used to enjoy it. Until her father died. In an attempt to protect her, her father chose Connor to be her husband, but that was a mistake. Connor was supposed to love her, be her rock – but some rocks need to be tossed as far away as possible. She only has one source of happiness now, her son, and if Connor doesn’t get his way, he’ll take that joy from her as well.

MMA fighter, Dominic Prince, has only one mission in life: forget his past. Forget the pain, the drama, and the loss of things taken away from him too soon. He’s guarded and secretive and that’s the way he likes it. He was doing a damn good job of keeping it that way. Until her. Bailey showed up and Dominic’s life became a minefield. He can’t decide if he wants to kiss her or shake her, but he does know that he’ll fight to keep her safe. He’ll be as savage as he is in the octagon, outside of it.

Neither of them wants to accept it happening, but the past has a way of sneaking into the present. Hearts will be shattered and bonds will be broken. Will they survive it?

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

teaser01-1500x760

teaser03-1500x760

Thrilling!  🙂

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Sports, Suspense

Release Date:  January 31, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01M7YMJK6

B & N:  http://bit.ly/2jfFWZw

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lashantacharles

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/2idni2o

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32868147-heart-of-a-savage

What an interesting story! ♥♥♥ This looks like a riveting ride!😉

Thank you for telling us about your book, LaShanta! I know I can’t wait to read this new adult sports romance! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

2017-967-ebook-lashanta-charles-heart-of-a-savage

Author Bio

me

LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Romance has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and released the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, in February 2014. Her third novel, Splitting Karma, was released in October 2014. She lives in Yelm, WA, with her husband and three children and also serves in the US Army. She’s a home body who enjoys SLEEPING, reading, SLEEPING, eating, SLEEPING, white chocolate mochas, SLEEPING, sexy alien romances, and of course, writing. Oh, and she hates spiders; they’re extremely creepy, why do they need eight legs??

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://randomlymeandyou.blogspot.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/twiety01

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lashanta-Charles/e/B0083HO95Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6984092.LaShanta_Charles

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

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/104019449563926608746

 

Well, I certainly have to agree about the spiders. LOL.

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, sports romance, Writing

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

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

zoey

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

Character Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Zoey:  Sure.

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

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

Do I like it? Absolutely love it!

Marie:  Great to hear! 😀

Tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

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

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

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

Marie:  All right.

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

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.) Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Zoey:  Derrick.

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

Okay, back to the interview.

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

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

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

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

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

Who was your first love?

Zoey:  Derrick Hendrickson.

secondhalf2-full-cover

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

So…let’s try another question.

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

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

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Zoey nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

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

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

Marie:  Wow! Tough times.

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

So, who is your role model, Zoey?

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

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

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

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

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Zoey:  To be loved.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

What is your greatest fear?

Zoey: Spending my life alone and unloved.

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

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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

Marie: Oh no, the honor is mine.😀

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.)

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  Definitely admirable!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

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

Marie:  Sorry to hear that… 😦

What are some of Zoey’s favorite foods?

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

Marie:  (Giggles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

Marie: Definitely!

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

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

What first gave you the idea for Second Half?

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

Marie:  Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Sorry to hear about your dad. 😦

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for the additional tips!

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

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

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Here is the blurb for Second Half:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus… pull it together, Zoey!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ooh! Interesting! I love the tension here…🙂

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Monica DeSimone

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

Book:

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

Website:  www.monicadesimone.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MonicaDe12

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

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

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

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

2 Comments

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

Pre-order Release Feature: A Pawn for Malice by author Cynthia Roberts

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Cynthia Roberts, an author I met during my journey! Her thrilling romantic suspense, A Pawn for Malice, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on November 7th!

Yay! That’s awesome, Cynthia! :) Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

Cynthia is giving us a look at her new, intriguing romantic suspense, A Pawn for Malice, today.

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Great cover!

This is the blurb for Pawn for Malice:

Does an ex-cop ever lose his “nose” for investigating? Freshmen Senator, Bryon Gallagher, certainly hasn’t, when the love of his life, Jessica, is kidnapped by a mad man. No stone is left unturned, as he plays the role of senator by day and rogue detective by night, calling in favors and working his past snitches to the bone to find her. The only problem is, who does he focus his efforts on … her deranged, former father-in-law who lusts after her, a crazed felon hell-bent on revenging the execution of his brother put to death under the Senator’s newly passed Death Penalty Bill, or an unknown psycho, looking for his “moment of fame”?

A Pawn for Malice is a thrilling, passionate, and suspenseful romance that entails self-discovery, survival and a love that is so strong, it conquers the evil trappings of a criminal mind.

Read the first two chapters of A Pawn for Malice on Cynthia’s website here. Subscribe to her email list and you’ll also automatically be registered to win one of (2) $25 Amazon Gift Cards.

How exciting!  🙂

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Suspense

Book Heat Level: R

Release Date:  November 7, 2016

Pre-order Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01LZUXZ1Q

B & N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-pawn-for-malice-cynthia-roberts/1124676776

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666822

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-pawn-for-malice

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-pawn-for-malice/id1157620765?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D10

What an interesting story! ♥♥♥ This looks like a riveting ride!😉

Thank you for telling us about your book, Cynthia! I know I can’t wait to read this romantic suspense! 🙂

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Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

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Author Bio

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My love of reading romance fiction goes back to those early years when I was raising a young family. It wasn’t until much later in life I actually took up the pen to write my first historical romance, Wind Warrior. I really don’t fit into one specific niche.  Once a story starts to flow, it’s only then I know what genre/sub-genre it will fit under.

I have only one regret, and that is not getting to this point in my career much sooner, rather than later.  Life has a way of setting up road blocks, which for me, was supposed to work out that way.  Because of those detours, I have become a more passionate and expressive writer, allowing me to create the kind of raw human emotion I want my readership to feel.

It is my hope you walk away with not just an entertaining read, but the importance in knowing, “Without imagination & dreams, we lose the excitement of wonderful possibilities.”

Author Links

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

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Cynthia.Roberts.Author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cynthiasromance

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EDT9E4M

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3433035.Cynthia_Roberts

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

Instagram:  https://instagram.com/romauthorcroberts/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/100112528079816795315/posts

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller/Suspense, Writing

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

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

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

Character Izzy: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Izzy:  Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

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

Marie:  Very true…

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

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

Oh, and I read the tabloids regularly.

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

So, what is your greatest dream?

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

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

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

Marie: All right.

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

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

Marie: That’s true.

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

Who was your first love?

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

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

So…let’s try another question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Izzy nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

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

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

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So, who is your role model, Izzy?

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

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

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

It sounds like your grandmother was a very special person.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

Marie:  Okay.

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

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

Marie:  That’s true.

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

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

Marie: That’s great!

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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

Marie: Really, the honor is mine. 😀

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

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

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  Great!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

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

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

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.) Well, who doesn’t?

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

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

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

Marie: Thank you for your honesty.

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

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

What first gave you the idea for Dandelions?

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it has been an amazing experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Here is the blurb for Dandelions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was teasing me and it was working.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You are a meanie,” I told him.

“Am I?”

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

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

Ooh! Interesting! 🙂

Purchase Links:

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

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

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

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

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

About Vivienne Vincent

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

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Book:

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VivienneVincen8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Astrid: Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  Wow! That’s great!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

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

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  (Laughs.) Sounds like a plan…

And what is your greatest dream?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who was your first love?

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

Marie: (Waves to Victor.)

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

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

Marie:  Scary indeed!

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Astrid nods.]

Who is your role model?

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

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

Sounds like she’s a special person.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

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

Marie:  Lovely to hear!

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

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

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

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

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

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So, how about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

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

Marie: You’re right about that.

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

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  All right.

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

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

And what are some of Astrid’s favorite foods?

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

Marie:  (Smiles.)

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Nice!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

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

Marie: (Laughs.) All right.

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie: It’s my pleasure!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You don’t seem very distracted now.”

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

“Is Reggie okay?” she asked.

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

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

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

How wrong she had been.

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

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

“I want to do more than kiss you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ooh! So sexy! ♥♥♥ 

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/ACowboysTrueColors

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

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

Lana teaser

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

About Lana K. Dempsey

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

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

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

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

Books:

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

Website:  http://www.lanadempsey.com

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lanadempsey1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Character Luke Bryce: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Luke: Okay.

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

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

Marie:  Wow, that’s impressive!

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

Marie:  All right.

Tell us…what is your family like?

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

Marie:  Sorry to hear about your mother. 😦

Let’s try something else.

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

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

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

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

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

Marie:  (Clears throat.) Okay…

So, what is your greatest dream?

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

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 🙂

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

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

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

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

Who was your first love?

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

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

Sounds like she was a special person.

Okay, let’s try something else.

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

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

Marie:  Wow! Sorry to hear that happened.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Luke nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

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

Marie:  Intriguing, for sure!

So, who is your role model, Luke?

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

Marie:  All right.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Luke:  Cilla Williams.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Luke: To grow old with Gracie.

Marie:  Aww…I love romance. ♥

Be Mine

How about one last question?

What is your greatest fear?

Luke: To lose Gracie.

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

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

Logan:  Thank you for having me here, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

Isobelle

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

Always an honor. 😀

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

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

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

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

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

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

Marie:  All right.

What are his greatest weaknesses?

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

Marie:  So sweet! ♥ ♥ ♥

Let’s try something else.

What are some of Luke’s favorite foods?

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

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

How about another question?

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

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

Marie:  Very true.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

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

Marie: All right.

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

Isobelle:  Bring it on. 😉

Marie:  (Laughs.)

What first gave you the idea for Be Mine?

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

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

Let’s try something else.

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

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

Marie:  Yeah, I can see the appeal…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Mine

Here is the blurb for Be Mine:

Gracie Sinclair just wants life to return to normal.

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

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

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

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

If he refuses, he loses Gracie’s heart…  

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

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

Riveting! 

Purchase Links:

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

B&N:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Nook

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_Cate_Kobo

Inktera:  http://bit.ly/Be_Mine_ICate_Inktera

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

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

About Isobelle Cate

Isobelle

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

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

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Books:

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You and I Cover

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Be Mine

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

Website:  www.isobellecate.weebly.com

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

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

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

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

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/bMmwT5

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

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

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

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