Tag Archives: inspirational

A Character Interview with Darryl from BLESSED plus a conversation with author Maggie Blackbird!

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 Amber Daulton’s character back on June 7th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Maggie Blackbird, the author of Blessed, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Darryl Keejik, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Maggie in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Darryl!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Character Darryl Keejik:  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?

Darryl:  Sure.

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

Darryl:  I’m the self-governance coordinator for the reserve. I’d say I’m very good at what I do. I’ve been in this field since I graduated university. I’ve worked for two other aboriginal organizations in Winnipeg before I returned home to Ottertail Lake to help my Ojibway community work towards developing their own model for governing the band.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Darryl:  There’s only my aunt and I. I’ll leave it at that.

Marie:  Okay…I sense there’s a story here, but I won’t push.

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?

Darryl:  It’s one of the first homes built on the reserve, made from logs and constructed by my great-grandfather. My grandfather installed the hardwood floors. It’s nothing elaborate. A simple two-bedroom home with a wood-burning stove for heat.

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies, Darryl? What do you enjoy doing?

Darryl:  I enjoy fishing, hunting, trapping, hiking, and camping. I’m an outdoorsman at heart.

Marie: Nice!

So, what is your greatest dream?

Darryl:  For the Anishinaabe Nation to become a sovereign nation as we once were before.

Marie:  (Nods.) I see…

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

Darryl:  I wish I could be more forgiving, but after what my people experienced at the hands of the government and religious institutions, it’s a little hard to be that person.

Marie: That makes sense.

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

Who was your first love?

Darryl:  Emery Matawapit.

Marie: Aww. I love romance. ♥

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?

Darryl:  Losing my whole family in a boating accident. My parents were drunk, going for supplies. I was at home with my aunt, only four, and too young to go.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry! 😥

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

[Darryl 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?

Darryl:  As I said, my dream was to help my people become a sovereign nation. I’m still working on that dream. It’s a little hard to achieve when band members at our reserve practice different…spiritual ways and have differing beliefs, such as the Matawapit family.

Marie:  I understand.

So, who is your role model, Darryl?

Darryl:  Basil Skunk. He’s the elder for the Traditionalists Society.

Marie: Okay.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Darryl:  I tolerate Deacon Matawapit. We play our little game of politeness.

Marie:  Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Darryl:  A family of my own.

Marie:  Oh, yes, I think a lot of people want that…

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

Darryl:  That I’ll never have a family of my own.

Marie: I have that fear as well. Having kids would be almost impossible for me medically, unless I decide to adopt.

I’m so fortunate you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Darryl. 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 Maggie Blackbird on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Maggie!

Author Maggie Blackbird:  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 male character from your story, Darryl Keejik. Quite an interesting character. He’s a little tight-lipped and stoic. Can you tell us more about him?

Maggie:  Well, as you can see, your interview hit a few nerves with Darryl. He’s having some problems reconciling the past with the present. He’s an inter-generational survivor of the Indian Residential Schools. But I’m rooting for him. Darryl’s a fighter. He won’t give up.

Marie:  Admirable, of course!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Maggie:  His ability to lead. Although Darryl’s stubborn and opinionated, he has a great ability to listen, once he gets past his anger.

Marie:  Oh, we could definitely use better listening skills in the world. Everyone is all ready to jump at the next person for each little thing.

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Maggie:  His inability to forgive. Darryl holds on to past hurts. He’s all about the grudge.

Marie:  Ah. Well, I’m sure some of our readers can relate. It’s not always easy to let go.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Darryl’s favorite foods?

Maggie:  Darryl loves his aunt’s homemade moose stew and bannock. He also enjoys a good shore lunch of walleye, pan-fried potatoes, and corn when he’s out on the lake.

Marie:  Sounds delicious!

How about another question?

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

Maggie:  Darryl doesn’t realize how much love he has to offer others. His resentments stop him from becoming a great leader, because he sincerely loves his people and wants to see them succeed.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Maggie:  It’s a little hard to say.  Some enjoy Darryl, others find him a bit of a jerk at the beginning of the book. Darryl’s an emotional and passionate man with a big chip on his shoulder. His childhood wasn’t the greatest, growing up without a family and raised by his alcoholic aunt who’s an extremely bitter woman. I’d say she passed on a lot of her bitterness to Darryl.

Marie: Okay, that makes sense…

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

What first gave you the idea for Blessed?

Maggie:  I come up with ideas based on the problems the Indigenous People of Canada face. Then I put a spin of “what if” on it.

Marie:  Awesome! Isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Maggie:  I call myself a planster – part panster and part planner. I always have a logline and blurb, my GMC, character arc, and sketches done. But I’m no BIG planner down to the details of chapter goals, scene goals, et cetera. The characters determine those.

Marie:  Nice!

How about another question?

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

Maggie:  Finding a publisher was hard because Blessed doesn’t fit a specific niche, and publishers do have their niches. It’s heavy on religion and spirituality, but doesn’t fit inspirational or Christian fiction because there are some very explicit adult sexual scenes, and profanity. As for doing anything differently, it is what it is. Darryl and Emery wrote their story, and I typed what they had to say. I’m not a writer. I take dictation for my characters. LOL!

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

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 Blessed appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this sexy MM multicultural romance with a slight inspirational angle by Maggie Blackbird, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Blessed, book one of the Matawapit Family Series:

A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling:  the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.

It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man. In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.

Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered: the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery. No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon, and he intends on using his newfound power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and the church.

Hoping to save the church, Emery races home. But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery. Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life: please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.

An erotic spiritual journey…

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

“You see what?” Darryl slapped his thigh. “Dammit, I’m trying to figure out why Basil asked me to talk to you first, instead of Clayton and the kids, ‘cause I knew we’d end up argu—”

“Basil asked you to speak to me?” Great, Darryl hadn’t phoned on his own accord. The elder had forced him to meet Emery.

“Yeah.”

A coward slunk away. A man of courage fought for what he wanted. Emery stood tall. “I appreciate your consideration. Why’d you listen to Basil?”

Darryl continued to glare.

Emery forced a chuckle. Maybe teasing would relieve the tension between them. “I’ve never known you to listen to anyone.”

“I always listen to Basil.” Darryl’s tone could cut rocks.

The anger permeating the air had nothing to do with Clayton, the protest, or Annie. Emery sucked in a breath. “What do you want me to do? Take off my clothes? Is that what I have to do to make you happy?”

“Sarcasm isn’t what I expected from you.” Darryl cocked his brow. “Fine. Take them off. Take them all off. If you need help, I got two willing hands.”

Ripe heat kissed the flesh buried beneath Emery’s underwear. His skin shimmered hot and cold. “I guess… guess I was right.”

“Wrong.”

As Darryl continued to glare, an irritating prickle sprang up at the nape of Emery’s neck. He scratched the mosquito bite.

Darryl turned and stomped around the four-wheeler, his breaths huffing and puffing. “I promised myself I wouldn’t behave like Saint Kateri’s father did. The thing is—I am.”

His face reddened. He kicked the rear wheel of the machine. “You make me so goddamned mad. Fine. I’ll let the youth down. I’ll let Clayton and the Traditionalists Society call me a traitor. And I’ll most likely lose the next election ‘cause I tossed my integrity out the door. Bottom line. I’ll do anything to make you happy. You come before anything that means everything to me.”

Darryl dug out his keys. “And even though I put your feelings first, I don’t expect you to do the same. Go ahead and love your god till the end of time.”

Had a tornado torn through the powwow grounds? This wasn’t how they were supposed to resolve the problem. Emery forced out the words caught in his throat. “Wh-what are you talking about?”

Darryl slid onto the four-wheeler. He jammed the key into the ignition. The engine roared to life. His eyes matched the snarl of the machine. “I’m voting in favor of paying the church’s hydro bill.”

When he revved the throttle, Emery leapt forward. “Oh, no you don’t. You’re not leaving me to eat dust again.” He clamped his hand over Darryl’s.

“You said you’re voting for the church to make me happy.” Emery kept his hand put or he might get run over. “As much as I appreciate what you’re doing, I won’t let you compromise your beliefs. My savior wouldn’t approve. Neither do I. I can’t be happy at another’s expense. At your expense.”

“And what about the people you spoke about earlier?” Darryl’s hand tensed beneath Emery’s. “Your parents? The others who go to church? If you let me vote, they’ll be happy. Don’t they count?”

“The Lord is their savior. They wouldn’t want you to compromise your beliefs, either.” Emery squeezed Darryl’s fingers. “Please, listen to me.”

Jaw clenched, Darryl scowled at the sky.

A few seconds passed. Emery’s heart ceased to beat for a moment. Now what was going through the head of the most stubborn person in the world?

“You got a million mosquitoes swarming you.” The fire in Darryl’s eyes vanished. “We can finish talking at my place.”

Emery’s heart swelled. His happiness did come first. Wait a second. He couldn’t go to the house. People would talk—especially the protesters. For sure they’d call Darryl a traitor.

The word no sat on the tip of Emery’s tongue. He swallowed. If he objected, he’d offend Darryl again. “‘Sure.”

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4AYy8o

Publisher:  http://www.extasybooks.com/maggie-blackbird/978-1-4874-1973-8-blessed/

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40722164-blessed

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

About Maggie Blackbird

An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

Book:

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

Website/Blog:  http://maggieblackbird.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BlackbirdMaggie/

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18176196.Maggie_Blackbird

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/105368516440582848319

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/maggie-blackbird-032798169/

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/maggie-blackbird

Publisher:  http://www.extasybooks.com/maggie-blackbird/

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Darryl, a male character from Blessed, and Maggie Blackbird, 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, Erotica, Event, Faith, family, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, LGBT, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Writing

New Release Feature: Never Retreat by author Bonnie McCune

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Bonnie McCune, an author I met during my journey! Her new clean contemporary romance with a touch of suspense, Never Retreat, officially released last week!

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

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

Bonnie is giving us a look at her suspenseful, inspirational romance, Never Retreat, today.

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for Never Retreat:

A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.

Years ago, Ramona (‘Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving con man knocked her up. Now at thirty-something, she’s concentrating on her career in a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality for a guy Raye should avoid. Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple, Raye and Des, face their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their difference to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.

Here is an excerpt to entice you with!

“I won!” Raye’s handful of lottery scratch tickets, fanned out on the staff room table in front of her, glowed in a multitude of bright colors. She plucked the one nearest to her. “Forty dollars!”

Julia failed to respond. “He’s gorgeous. Just gorgeous.” Her unfocused eyes and neglect of the bear claw pastry in one limp hand showed how absorbed she was in telling Raye Soto about the new man striding around corporate headquarters in Denver.

“Didn’t you hear me? My winning ticket must be an omen I’ll get a big prize. You know how much I need it to cover Andy’s college. No student loans! Whoo-ee!”

“Not necessarily. You’ll have better odds at happiness if you notice a male hunk in front of your face. You haven’t even had a date in years.”

“Wouldn’t start with a good-looking guy. He’d be the most dangerous type. Anyway, you’ve never won awards for your taste in men,” Raye teased back. Her quick survey of the modest dining area showed no other people on break, so she geared up her joking. “Wasn’t your last crush the barista over at Java Hut? The one who drew your initial with cream on the top of your cappuccino, then pocketed the change you were due? And the one before rode a motorcycle and crashed at least once a month?”

“You’re one to talk!” Julia returned to consciousness, leaning back in her chair and tapping her index finger, this week manicured in turquoise blue with tiny spangles, on the veneer-topped table. “Your ex-, who hardly qualifies as an ex since he was only around for a few months, partied so hard and so often, he forgot to come home at night.”

“Let’s not get into odious comparisons. I got Andy from the experience, and that’s enough for me.” Raye pushed back her chrome-wire chair, stood, and began wrapping the remains of her meal.

“This guy, his name’s Des Emmett, would be perfect for you. If you’d drop the attitude.”

“How old do you figure he is?” I can’t possibly be considering Julia’s suggestion, can I? Raye thought.

“I’d say thirty-six, thirty-eight. He mentioned eight years in the service, and I know from his resume, which passed through my grubby paws when he transferred here, that he has a solid ten years in the corporate world. Most recently, at the highest levels.”

“And he’s not married?” With her free hand, Raye stuffed the winning lottery ticket in her pocket, then grabbed the remainder in a fistful jumble.

“No.”

“Why not? What’s wrong with him? Is he gay? Abusive?”

“Wait a minute,” Julia said. “You’re thirty-four and not married.”

“But I have been.” She considered the super-sized fruit yogurt she now balanced. The treat wasn’t finished yet, so she covered the container to tote to the staff refrigerator. “I admit he’s good-looking. Those ice-blue eyes, the casual dark curls.” In fact, he’s too good-looking. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, she thought.

“Those molded lips, the bottom one a little fuller than the upper. The brooding brow.” Julia gathered her snack leavings, then walked to the refrigerator and leaned against the open door next to Raye to continue. “I think you’re ticked off because he treats you like an employee, not a woman. He shouldn’t be snubbed for that.”

“Absolutely wrong! I learned long ago not to trust charm and good looks. Anyway, why are you pushing him on me? Don’t you want to try your luck?”

Julia looked up at the ceiling tiles. “I haven’t told you, but things are getting serious between me and Eric. We’ve been talking about marriage.”

“Eeek!” Raye’s shriek echoed from inside the refrigerator. She pulled her head out. “That’s wonderful.”

“Nothing’s definite yet, so don’t mention it. I’m entertaining the idea because I hate to see a guy as nice as Eric go to waste. Or get picked off by a sneaky man-eater, like Krystle.”

“I remember two years ago when Krystle got tipsy at the holiday party. She kept rubbing her hands all over Eric, then tried to pull him into the hall for a necking session,”

Julia sniggered. “Fortunately he refused to surrender. That’s when I first guessed I could trust him.”

“Yeah, and he’s been hanging around you ever since,” said Raye. “That’s going somewhere permanent?”

“I sure hope so. The huuuge barrier right now to any kind of development is that car loan my folks took out and now can’t pay. Can’t get married, can’t even move in together because I have to help the family out. Anyway, a more cheerful subject, I first saw the new director of security this morning before he even got in the office. I was walking down the sidewalk past the entrance to the parking garage when he buzzed by on a motorcycle, tall and solid as a soldier. . .”

“A motorcycle!” Raye slammed the refrigerator door closed. “You know how much I hate those. You’re not building a case for my becoming besties with Mr. Desmond Emmett with that bit of information. Smelly, noisy, dangerous machines.”

A stricken look passed over Julia’s face. “I’m so sorry. I totally spaced on what happened to your brother.” Wrapping both arms around her friend, Julia hugged hard, and Raye let her. “You still miss him, don’t you?” Julia whispered.

“Like the devil. Every day. Even though it’s been years. Damn his infatuation with motorcycles! I hear about the Broncos winning, and I think, ‘boy, that’ll make Carlos happy,’ then I remember he’s not here. Or the first snow, I want to run in and wake him up so we can walk in the park, until I remember there’ll be no more times like that. He’ll never know his nephew graduated at the top of the class, or that Dad and Mom both have new romances going.” Raye stepped back after a final squeeze. “Thanks for not hesitating to mention him. That helps. Many people act like he never existed.”

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://getBook.at/NeverRetreat

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

Intriguing! Gotta love this sneak peek. ♥♥♥

 

What are people saying about this book?

“A breathtaking page-turner that will leave you exhausted but wanting more!” —Corinne Joy Brown, award-winning author of Hidden Star

“Likable, relatable characters…a real treat!” —Cindi Myers, author of The View from Here

“Intriguing…engaging…A great vacation read for sure!” —Meg Benjamin, author of the Brewing Love Trilogy

“A compelling story about a hard-working single mom who faces adversity head-on, learns from her mistakes, and perseveres.” —Kim McMahill, author of Marked in Mexico

“Few novels operate on such different levels, moving their characters to challenge not just each other, but their own perceptions…McCune provides just the right blend of comic relief, interpersonal encounters, and outside environment changes to make her story a powerful blend.”—Midwest Book Review

Awesome!

Thank you for telling us about your new book! It looks great! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this riveting book! Or add it to your Goodreads bookshelf!

Author Bio

Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem about rain rushing down the gutter to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits, doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program.

Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her civic involvement includes grass-roots organizations, political campaigns, writers’ and arts’ groups, and children’s literacy. For years, she entered recipe contests and was a finalist once to the Pillsbury Bake Off. A special love is live theater. Had she been nine inches taller and thirty pounds lighter, she might have been an actress.

Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/2DE5dW1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436876.Bonnie_McCune

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/117106546075845481531

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111883621680717398231

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

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

Publisher:  http://www.imajinbooks.com/bonnie-mccune/

 

Thanks again, Bonnie! 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, inspirational romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Women's Fiction

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

New Release Feature: The Depth of the Spirit by Linda Lee Williams, plus giveaway!

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Linda Lee Williams, an author I met during my journey! Her contemporary inspirational romance, The Depth of the Spirit, officially released in late January! Yay! That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your new release!:)

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

Linda is giving us a look at her inspirational romance, The Depth of the Spirit, today.

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for The Depth of the Spirit:

When an accident leaves Thomas crippled and in a wheelchair, he resigns himself to life as a bachelor—not an easy thing for a young man to accept.  Then fate drops Margot in his lap.  Margot understands the frustrations and challenges of Thomas’ disability.  She knows the pain of loss.  Has serendipity brought Thomas and Margot together?  Or has his dead friend’s prophecy come true?  Only Kayla knows for sure…

And here is an excerpt from The Depth of the Spirit to tease you with.

Midweek, I’m mired in policy renewals and quotes.  My mother quit her job as an X-ray technician to care for me.  Now, she works as my assistant.  The phone in the office den rings, and a man asks for Joyce.  “For you, Mom,” I say.  She turns from the file cabinet and picks up on her extension.  I smile as she schmoozes with the client.  She’s a natural.

While she’s talking, my cell sings out a Coldplay number.  I swallow.  Holy crap.  Margot.  Did her truck break down again?

“Hi, Margot.  Everything okay?”

“I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided we should definitely be friends.”

“Hmm.  In that case, I have a favor to ask of you.”

“Really?  Anything.  What can I do?”

A nectar feeder hangs under the eave outside the window.  Trilling, a male hummingbird flies in.  He hovers, sips, and flashes his magenta throat.  I draw in a breath.  “Will you go to a graduation party with me a week from Saturday?  If you’re not working, I mean…”

“I’d love to!  Is the graduate a relative?”

“Sort of.  My best friend’s kid sister.”

“Dustin?” Margot says.

I’m shocked she remembers—shocked and pleased.  “Yeah.  You can meet him at the party.  He’s an okay guy.  Better than okay, actually.  You’ll like him.”

“If he’s your best friend, I’m sure I will.”

I relish the sound of her voice, the thought of seeing her, even if I am essentially fixing her up with Dustin.  Lots of girls crushed on him in high school, but his heart belonged to Kayla, and it still does.  Maybe Margot can change that.  Although regret ripples through me at the prospect, I’m doing the right thing.  I have a chance to honor Kayla’s last request, whether I imagined her visitation or not.  She would want Dustin to be happy again.

My mom ends her call.  I swivel away from my tabletop desk and out into the foyer.  “So, can I pick you up at one, Margot?”

“Sure.  Why not?”  I hear the teasing smile in her voice.

“Hey, that’s my line…”

She laughs.  “Let’s get together before then.  Are you free Friday evening?  We could meet for dinner somewhere?”

Rat-a-tat-tat goes my heart.  I glance behind me, but my mom is typing at the computer.  “Uh…yeah, that would be great.  What did you have in mind?”

“Chili’s again?  I think we should make it our place.”

Our place?  There isn’t an us, is there?

“Okay,” I say.  “What time?”

“Five?  That way, we can beat the rush.”

“Fine with me.  I’ll see you then.”  I mumble goodbye before she can renege.  Part of me is elated, the other part numb.  Margot asked me out on a date.

What people are saying about this book:

“This is a beautiful story. The series title is a perfect description for the feelings in this story. You do not need to read the first one at all to understand what’s going on, but my advice is to read it just because it’s another amazing story by Linda.

It’s such a lovely, sweet story! I really enjoyed reading it. If you like feel-good stories, don’t pass this up. I loved it!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01N27T4T2

Wow! Love the tension here. ♥♥♥ It looks like quite a story!😉

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

 

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

You can take a look at book one in the Faith, Hope & Love Series too!

Oh, it almost skipped my mind. Drum roll please…*** This wonderful author has a great deal for you today. Just head on over to the Amazon Kindle purchase page for this new release! The Depth of the Spirit is free today through Saturday! Who doesn’t love free? ***

So, check out this great romance novel! ♥

Author Bio

Linda Lee Williams lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and their sweet dog, Bart.  Over the years, she’s taught creative writing classes, hosted a writers’ group, and written a variety of contemporary romances with a paranormal twist.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.lindaleewilliams.com

Blog:  http://indielindy.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/author.linda.lee.williams

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/williamslindal

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Lee-Williams/e/B00CB1K7SG/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7123006.Linda_Lee_Williams

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/lindaleewilliam/my-novels

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/117461809421118231313

eNovel Authors At Work:  http://www.enovelauthorsatwork.com/linda-lee-williams/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Faith, Fiction, Hope, inspirational romance, Love, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing