Tag Archives: LGBT

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

Blog Tour Feature: Wolf Around the Corner by Aidee Ladnier

¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ NEW RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

Giving into his wolf’s need for love could risk the quiet life Frank has created for himself—and his heart…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Aidee Ladnier, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new MM paranormal romance! :)

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

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering new romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Very nice!

This is the blurb for Wolf Around the Corner:

Frank’s family taught him that his wolf was dangerous, unwanted. Now his best friend’s brother wants him in bed and on stage. But giving into his wolf’s need for love could risk the quiet life Frank has created for himself—and his heart.

Settled in the small town of Waycroft Falls, Frank is content to be a lone wolf among the white picket fences and dollar book bins until he finds himself sniffing his best friend’s brother. Tom smells like hot apple pie and his Broadway smile has Frank lolling his tongue. But when the visiting actor learns Frank’s secret and plies him with hot kisses to get him to star in his play, Frank can’t help but wonder if Tom is only acting.

Tom ran away from family obligations to be a Broadway star. If he could make it there, he could make it anywhere…but he didn’t. Trudging home to Waycroft Falls to open his sister’s new performance space brings him face to face with a werewolf—a werewolf that would be perfect for Tom’s shoestring production of Beauty and the Beast. Staying in Tiny Town USA would be worth it if he can somehow convince the sexy wolf to expose his furry condition on stage and howl privately in Tom’s bed.

Wolf Around The Corner, a paranormal semi-finalist in Passionate Ink’s 2017 Sexy Scribbles Contest, is a full-length fairytale romance with a side of wolf shifter. If you like your romance with gorgeous men, humor, and small town magic, you’ll love Wolf Around the Corner! Buy your copy now and settle in to watch the drama unfold!

Ann is giving us a peek at her LGBT paranormal shifter romance, Wolf Around the Corner, today.

Great cover!

Book Info:

Genre:  Paranormal Romance, MM Romance, Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 3, 2018

Here is an excerpt.

The first thing he always did was take a large lungful of air. It reoriented him to the outside. His animal cataloged the smells—car exhaust, grass, tree pollen, and wait, a mouse skittering in the Dumpster out back. Frank’s urge to run built. He circled the apartments, looking for the storm drain near the landscaping wall. Inside him, his animal wiggled in excitement at the prospect of being freed. Frank shucked his clothes behind the wall and tucked them into the shelter of the pipe, out of view. Then he shifted, his hands lengthening, hair sprouting, and muzzle growing. His point of view shortened, now three feet from the ground as he blinked through the eyes of his wolf-like animal. Frank couldn’t stand still any longer. He sprang into the woods.

Frank ran, crashing through the underbrush and into the darkening shelter of the trees. He leaped over a shrub, felt the give of a sapling as he plowed through the brushwood. The animals and birds quieted at his loud, headlong dash, knowing he wasn’t of the forest, only disguised and playing at being a creature of the wood.

His paws skidded on a pile of old leaves. Frank almost lost his balance as he skipped up and over a fallen log. Around him, the scents of the forest all pushed in on him. Here a whiff of mold, there an astringent sniff of decay, everywhere the menthol of evergreen sap and wild herbs growing scattered on the forest floor.

Dry twigs snapped beneath his paws. His tongue lolled from his mouth, the fresh taste of the woods painting the back of his throat. The sun dipped below the horizon, the sky inking the tops of the trees. And Frank ran on until his limbs stopped, shaky and trembling. He collapsed onto a blanket of pine needles and leaves, moss and fungi cradling him as he panted.

As he caught his breath, the sounds of the woods lapped back around him. Insects and birds first. A harsh caw from a crow shrieked a hundred yards to his right. The chirp of a cricket sawed a few feet away. The rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker echoed above. And the still of twilight calmed him.

When he’d rested enough that his legs would support him again, Frank began the slow jog back to the apartments, letting his nose guide him through the darkening visibility of the woods. He could smell Mrs. Reynolds’s nighttime cocoa, and Mr. Reynolds’s liniment that stank of capsaicin. The lighted windows of the apartment building led him the last few feet, and he scurried up to the storm drain.

But his clothes weren’t there.

The sky darkened into night.

Frank knew Mrs. Anderson was out, but he could try to get the elderly Reynolds couple to buzz him inside. And hope they didn’t ask why he was naked trotting up the stairs.

Or he could stay in wolf form without a tag, which meant a night outside running from animal control and/or dodging every human that would mistake him for a stray dog.

Or wait, a third option. There was an oak that almost reached the ledge of his apartment window on the second floor. He never bothered to lock the window. Frank shifted back to human and sprinted across the yard.

He leaped for the lower boughs of the tree, grunting as the bark dug into the flesh of his palms. Frank swung himself up to straddle a branch, regretting it as the rough wood scraped his thighs. He crouched in the tree, awkwardly trying to shield his more delicate parts from the smaller whiplike twigs. He skirted around the trunk, grimacing as a low branch brushed a little too close to his groin. There. He was now on the side that faced the apartment house.

Frank balanced upright, his arms pinwheeling until he caught another branch higher up to steady himself. The leaves around him shivered on their stalks, the rustling loud. Please don’t let Mrs. Reynolds look out her window.

Using the taller branch as a guide, Frank placed one bare foot in front of the other and inched away from the security of the trunk. The limb beneath his feet shook as his weight tested its strength. He slid a foot farther out on the branch. It dipped, the leaves at the tip brushing against the side of his window. Just a few feet more.

An ominous crack sounded beneath him, and Frank froze. The branch popped again. It wouldn’t hold. He could make a jump for it. Frank swallowed hard. He should make a jump for it.

Frank jumped. And missed the house, falling into the azalea bushes.

Just as his hunky new neighbor from across the hall walked out of the apartment building and down the front steps.

Frank had seen Tom in the hall that morning, carrying boxes. Trying to be neighborly, Frank had introduced himself and offered to help. Tom had turned Frank down but flashed the whitest, most even teeth at him. Frank had seen nothing whiter outside of a movie theater big screen. They’d exchanged pleasantries, commented on the weather, and then gone their separate ways. Or rather, that was what Frank wished had happened. What went down was:

“Need help?” Frank barely got the words out when his new neighbor turned in the doorway. Frank froze. God, the man was gorgeous.

“Naw, man. I got it.” Tom shifted the box in his arms to hold out his hand. “I’m Tom Davidson.”

Frank wiped a clammy hand on his jeans and shook Tom’s hand. “Hot.” And Frank knew his mouth had disclosed the exact thing his brain was thinking. Idiot. Who said that to a guy he’d just met? A guy like Tom already knew he was hot.

Tom tilted his head as if he hadn’t heard Frank right. “Yeah. The temperatures are a little warm for this time of year.”

Frank didn’t dare correct him and kept his mouth shut, afraid he’d say something worse.

“Okay, well then, see you around, Frank.” Tom chuckled and continued into his apartment.

Meanwhile Frank beat it down the stairs, unsure how he managed not to walk into traffic as his mind ran over the exchange fail again and again.

So yeah. That was the less than stellar first impression he’d given Tom this morning. And now Frank followed that up by hunkering down naked in the azalea bushes.

“Are you okay?” The gleam from the safety light caught Tom’s dark gold hair as he tilted his head to peer over the shrubs. The shadows sank into his chiseled cheekbones. He looked like a brooding movie star ready to sweep a celluloid damsel off her feet.

Too bad Frank was a naked man trying to keep from exposing himself. Frank crouched down farther, making himself as small as possible, hoping the azalea’s pink blooms would distract Tom from looking at his hairy backside.

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” Tom leaned closer. “Are you… Do you have any clothes on?”

Frank racked his brain for some reason he’d be naked and hiding in the bushes. “Um, I, uh, just got out of the shower, and I leaned too far out my window.”

“Oh my God. Did you fall from that height?” Tom glanced up to the second floor, to Frank’s closed window and then back down. “Do you need an ambulance?”

Frank sighed. This conversation was only getting worse. Cupping his hands over his privates, Frank rose from behind the bushes.

“I’m okay. Just need to get back inside. I have a hidden key if you can get me past the front security door.”

Tom’s eyes widened when Frank stood. Frank winced, sure he looked like one long scrape covered in leaves. He blew at the hair in his eyes. A twig dangled, caught in an auburn strand, but Frank was unwilling to expose himself to yank it out.

“Sure. Sure.” Tom fumbled for his key and opened the door. Frank half hopped over the acorns and chestnut burrs to slide past Tom. Tom wrinkled his nose as Frank passed. Good old wet dog smell. It always clung to him after a run in the woods.

Frank took the stairs two at a time to escape.

After a shower and shave—why did going furry always lead to needing a shave? The rest of his hair receded. Why didn’t his beard?—Frank spent thirty minutes in front of his bathroom mirror, trying to psych himself up to knock on Tom’s door and invite him over the next day for coffee or to watch football. He scratched behind an ear, feeling the healing scab from a graze he’d gotten when he’d fallen into the azalea bushes. Staring at his reflection, he tried to look earnest and approachable. He could do this. He had game.

“Hey, I know you don’t know many people in town, and I’m a loser, but would you like to spend time with me?” Frank made a face at himself. Probably shouldn’t label yourself as a loser.

“Yo, you want to watch football? No, how about basketball? Baseball? No? What about Mexican wrestlers?” Oh God, what if Tom doesn’t like sports?

“I ordered two large pizzas by mistake tonight, and I could use some help, or I’ll be gorging on pepperoni for a week.”

Lame. Frank’s own gaunt features stared back at him from the mirror. Who was he kidding? He’d always be the guy who lost the genetic lottery and ended up with the family curse.

Galen’s syndrome was rare, only affecting about one in 2,000, but well-known enough that most people had at least heard of it. The Greek surgeon Galen had coined the word lycanthropy to explain the shape-shifting curse that traveled down through a family tree. Like most recessive gene disorders, it only manifested when two genes were passed down to a child, leading early scholars to think the afflicted had been re-cursed or spared for a generation due to divine providence. It was only with modern medicine that curses were found to be attached to DNA, breaking and molding chromosomes like magical radiation. But despite better understanding of the disorder, the stigma remained, not helped by the occasional local television feature linking the disorder to werewolf mythology.

All Frank knew was the recessive curse gene made him even more different from his family. He’d already been pushing it when he came out as gay. Turning into a wolf at sixteen had been…well, more than his father and stepmother could handle. She wanted to protect the kids, she told him. He loved his half siblings, didn’t he? It wasn’t safe to have a wild animal around children.

It had gutted him. They turned him out of his own home. He’d been angry. He’d done something stupid, lashing out, snapping at his sister Robbie. It still hurt, remembering the tears on his baby sister’s face, her eyes wide and scared. Of him. It was then he knew his stepmother had been right. Dangerous animals didn’t belong in a family. So he’d left, traveling all the way across the state until he landed in Waycroft Falls. It had been hard that first year. There were a lot of adult things he still hadn’t figured out.

Like how to ask out a guy who he hadn’t known his whole life. Moving from one small town to another had been a bad idea. Frank bonked his head against the mirror, gazing down into the white porcelain sink. He rubbed at a stray hair that clung to the side.

But on the plus side, small towns meant he rarely needed a car. And he could shift and run if he needed. He should take his clothes with him.

Purchase Links:

Universal reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/4DlgQ7

Wow! Love it. ♥♥♥

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Aidee Ladnier, who has some things to say about the book at hand.
Hi, Aidee! ♥ A pleasure you could drop in for a brief chat.
Wolf shifters are very popular. In fact, there are thousands of books out there in this genre. Inquiring minds want to know…
How do you write a shifter story that stands out as distinctive and original? What will readers find in Wolf Around the Corner that’s new and exciting?
Aidee:  Hi! And thanks for having me on your blog. 🙂

This is a great question! Actually, the shifter book saturation issue is why I never thought I’d write a werewolf protagonist. I’ve read a lot of werewolf books and most of the shifter tropes like alpha males, the wolf pack in danger, and fated mates never appealed to me as an author.

But then I imagined a world where lycanthropy was treated more like a very rare medical condition. I renamed the malady Galen’s Syndrome, using the medical convention of naming a disease after the first person to describe it. In late antiquity, the Greek physician Galen described a patient with a ravenous appetite and other qualities of a wolf. If I made Galen’s Syndrome a condition that appeared in less than 1 in 2,000 individuals, it would classify it as a rare disorder and 80% of rare disorders have a genetic component. So I could keep a bit of the magic of werewolves; I made my shifter the possessor of a genetic curse. In other words, if someone is cursed with lycanthropy, the curse becomes a mutation passed down as a recessive gene. Therefore, although individuals could become carriers of the curse and still be normal, if someone gets the recessive cursed gene from each parent, they’ll be able to shift into a wolf.

So I have my werewolf, but I’m still not fond of the shifter tropes. Just to be contrary, I set out to make his story the opposite of all the shifter romance conventions. My shifter, Frank Braden, is insecure and awkward—the opposite of an alpha. He also doesn’t have a pack. In fact, he doesn’t have any friends with the same disorder and he’s even been asked to leave his family home because his father and stepmother are afraid he’ll be a danger to his half-siblings. He’s essentially, a lone wolf. And there are no fated mates in this universe. I love the idea of a fated mate, but if I personally have to go through the embarrassing and excruciating dating dance, I’m going to make sure my characters do too. I won’t give my protagonists any shortcuts to love.

I also made my werewolf the lead actor in a theatrical version of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve known several actors and the transformation scene for this particular fable has always been either to use a mask or a double to allow the main character to run off stage and take off their makeup. I thought a director might faint with joy at having a real life werewolf shift onstage during the transformation scene. Who wouldn’t buy a ticket to see that? Especially in a world where many people think werewolves are folktales. The play would be part sideshow and part theater. Which leads to a built-in conflict—because there’s a person behind that transformation, not just a spectacle to gawk at. I wanted to raise the moral question of how a director could both have an actor use a special trait without making them feel used. Where do you draw the line at exploitation and performance?

But, the book is still very light-hearted and sweet. I grew up in a small town and tried to put my favorite things about small towns in the fictional Waycroft Falls. From niche bookstores, to strange statues, and Founder’s Day bed races. Frank and Tom’s romance doesn’t run smooth, but it does skip along awkwardly to a hopeful beat.

Ooh…it sounds like a sexy, fun tale!

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into the writing experience of Wolf Around the Corner. 😉

Aidee is giving away a $5 Amazon GC, $10 Amazon GC, Ebooks from her backlist, and print books from her backlist. The winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please use the RaffleCopter link below to enter. Don’t forget you have a chance to enter every day, so be sure to visit all the stops on this tour. You may find those locations here.

Link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b56/

Thank you for telling us about your new MM paranormal contemporary romance, Aidee! I know I can’t wait to read this wonderful novel! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to grab a copy of this awesome book! Or add it to your Goodreads list!

Author Bio

Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, believes that adventure is around every corner. In pursuit of new experiences she’s worked as a magician’s assistant, been a beauty pageant contestant, ridden in hot air balloons, produced independent movies, hiked up a volcano, and is a proud citizen scientist. A lover of genre fiction, Aidee’s perfect romance has a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.aideeladnier.com/

Blog:  https://www.aideeladnier.com/blog/

Tumblr:  http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AideeLadnier

Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/aideeladnier

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6570769.Aidee_Ladnier

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/aideelad/

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/aideelad/

 

Thank you for telling us about your great book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this delicious romance!

Thanks again to Aidee and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, giveaway, Guest Writer, new release, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, small town, Tour, Writing

Blog Tour Feature: Weapons of Redemption by Saloni Quinby

¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ BOXED SET¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

While plotting to destroy the man who, centuries later, still thinks he owns them, they use their powers to protect other victims…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Saloni Quinby, an author I met during my journey! Many successes on your MM paranormal romance boxed set! :)

Here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering new romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Nice!

This is the blurb for Weapons of Redemption:

Five men, enslaved by a vampire pirate and forced to do his bidding, rebelled against their master and earned the wrath of a monster. Now, while plotting to destroy the man who, centuries later, still thinks he owns them, they use their powers to protect other victims.

Whips and Chains: In a seedy underworld of sex and violence, a serial killer is stalking men and Guy is called upon to find the murderer. Ryan, a professional Dom known as the Beast Tamer, specializes in meting out pleasure and pain to oversized men. Is the sexy young man with a mysterious past the next victim — or the killer?

Sword and Shield: Rule coped with his abduction by the vampire pirate Tarun by cutting off his emotions. After centuries of self-control through punishment, he found a man who finally reached his heart. Now it’s up to Rule to save his former lover, but once he sees Joel again, will Rule be able to resist him?

Cloak and Dagger: When police detective Bryce Tarunson arrests a man who looks just like his lover from two thousand years ago, he’s pulled closer to the vampiric master he hates. The bond between Bryce and Shane forces them into a battle that might end in the destruction of the Weapons of Redemption.

Marksmen: Ansley and Brayden were stolen as boys by the hated vampire pirate, Tarun, to work aboard his ship. As men, their friendship blossomed into a deep, undeniable love. In the final battle between the vampire pirate and the Weapons of Redemption, Ansley and Brayden’s love for each other will either save or destroy them.

Fangs and Floggers: To lure his rebellious blood children back into the fold, ancient vampire Tarun abducted the hunter Adrian. He hadn’t bargained on his human prisoner being a match for him in every way — including his darkest desires. Though Tarun warns Adrian he won’t like what he hears, the hunter is determined to uncover the secrets of the vampire’s twisted past.

***Publisher’s Note: Weapons of Redemption includes the previously published novellas Whips and Chains, Sword and Shield, Cloak and Dagger, Marksmen, and Fangs and Floggers.

Saloni is giving us a peek at her LGBT paranormal romance, Weapons of Redemption, today.

Intriguing cover!

Book Info:

Genre:  Paranormal Romance, MM romance

Here is an excerpt.

Guy released a breath as he let his whip fly. It struck his old friend, Ruliff, or Rule, as he preferred to be called. Rule stood, his hands suspended from manacles dangling from chains overhead.

Even if Rule screamed, no one would hear him, deep in the cellar of this mansion owned by their vampiric kin, Ansley and Brayden. Rule wouldn’t scream, though. It wasn’t in his nature to show what he believed to be weakness. To drag more than a groan from Rule, Guy would be forced to practically kill him and his sessions weren’t meant to cause permanent damage. They had already been at it for longer than usual, even for someone with a supernatural constitution.

Five more times Guy struck him with strategically placed blows before he paused and approached Rule. Using the handle of his whip, he traced an especially fierce-looking welt on Rule’s sweat-slicked back. Rule had a tremendous capacity for pain. Always had.

Guy recalled the days when they, along with Brayden, Ansley and the fifth member of their “family,” Bryce, had sailed with Tarun, a genuine monster. The five men had shared a strange and violent past, one that could have destroyed them, but together they had overcome it. Still their days at sea with the vampire pirate — the master who had tried to mold them in his image — had left scars on their souls as well as their bodies. These sessions with Rule reminded Guy of how strong yet vulnerable they all were, even if they refused to admit it.

Rule could be stubborn to the point of stupid.

Guy tightened his hand around the whip and struck Rule again with a blow that would have had most men screaming. A strangled groan escaped the tall, dark-haired man and Guy curled his lip in disgust.

He loved the whip and was an expert with it. Like his vampire kin, he had taken what he’d learned about pain and battle from their hated master and made it a form of expression. They had ultimately used their skills to fight back, not only for themselves but for victims who crossed their path. Each of the five men had mastered certain weapons. Guy’s obsession was the lash. From bullwhips to floggers, all were slaves to him, bringing pleasure or pain as he saw fit. His love of leather had melded into every part of his life, including sex. He used his floggers to pleasure and punish, sometimes separately, sometimes both at once.

Long ago, Guy had honed his skills on his willing brothers, except for Bryce, who refused to submit to anyone, even for fun. Only Rule to this day came to Guy for regular sessions. Guy decided this one had gone on long enough. He knew Rule would push himself past his limits. He needed a strong but sensitive Dominant who knew when to stop.

Glancing at Rule, Guy noted that he seemed to be in a trance. His blue eyes were narrowed to slits, his lips parted and his breathing shallow. Wet black curls clung to his perspiring forehead and neck. Blood trickled from his lower lip where he’d pierced it with his fangs.

“Our session is over for today,” Guy said without room for argument.

Rule ignored his authoritative tone and said in a deep, hoarse voice, “More.”

“Your name might be Rule, but you don’t rule here,” Guy said.

“Fine. Release me then.”

“Not until you calm down.”

“I am calm.”

“You forget how well I know you.”

Rule’s cool facade snapped. Bellowing, he yanked at his bonds.

Now he screams, Guy thought, but he knew it was probably a good thing. Rule wouldn’t allow Guy to comfort him like some clients enjoyed after a session. Guy worked mainly with supernatural beings — vampires, wizards, and even an occasional werewolf paid well for him to tease and torment them with his leather and chains. But even those creatures had a tender side. Rule’s was buried deep and Guy hoped that eventually someone would reach it.

Despite Rule’s impressive strength, he couldn’t break the chains. Guy’s survival often depended on knowing how to properly bind supernatural beings.

Guy placed his whip next to a heavy purple flogger on a table covered in red plastic. He’d clean his tools later. He was about to clean Rule’s back when his cell phone rang.

He knew who it was by the ringtone.

He picked up the phone and said, “What’s up?”

“It’s Bryce. I need your help. It’s business.”

Although the five men had different careers in the human world, their true purpose was to protect those in need. The weapons they had once used as criminals were now their means of redemption.

Bryce worked as a police officer in the city. Sometimes he called upon his brothers to help him resolve crimes in which the human world could offer no justice.

“What does he want?” Rule asked, having ceased his rampage when the phone rang. “Is there a case for us? Let me go!”

“Do you have Rule strung up in the dungeon again?” Bryce asked.

“Yes. I’m putting you on speakerphone.”

“You don’t have to. I can hear him quite well,” Rule said, straining to look at Guy over his shoulder.

Though keen senses were an advantage of vampirism, the speakerphone would make a three-way conversation easier.

“I’ve been working on what we believe are serial killings,” Bryce said. “You’ve probably heard about them. The media calls them the Bodybuilder Murders. We’ve found a common denominator and, Guy, I believe you can get the evidence I need. Will you help?”

“You have to ask?” Guy said.

“Can you use me?” Rule asked.

“Right now this is a one-man job,” Bryce said. “But thanks.”

Rule looked a bit disappointed, but with all the trouble in the world, he was sure to have another case to work on soon.

“Guy, can you meet me in an hour?” Bryce asked.

“Absolutely. Where?”

“Stay put. I’ll come to you.”

Purchase Links:

Universal reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bP5Kkl

Publisher:  https://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=2638

Wow! Sounds like a riveting tale here. ♥♥♥

Saloni is offering a $15 Amazon GC to one lucky winner during the tour. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Please use the link below to enter. Remember, you may enter every day for a chance to win so be sure to follow along with the blog tour. You may find the locations for the rest of the tour here.

Link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/801c221b58/

 

Thank you for telling us about your MM paranormal romance boxed set, Saloni! I know I can’t wait to read this fascinating collection! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this awesome book! Or add it to your Goodreads list!

Author Bio

The child of a painter and a psychic dreamer, Saloni Quinby feels spirituality and storytelling go hand-in-hand. She loves the scent of gardenia, the sound of wind chimes and the taste of honey. By listening to what isn’t said, she creates works based on unspoken desires. Saloni prefers blurred gender lines and many varieties of romance. In a world where passion must at times be restrained, she believes erotica is a pleasure to be shared. With her stories she would like to make her fantasies yours and hopes you enjoy the ride. She also writes under the name Kate Hill. Please visit her online.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.katehill.com

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

https://www.facebook.com/compellingbeasts/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/katehillromance

https://twitter.com/compbeastsblog

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Hill/e/B002BLS7OW/

https://amzn.to/2JTabXb

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16157.Kate_Hill

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5037108.Saloni_Quinby

 

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this delicious romance!

Thanks again to Saloni and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

4 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, LGBT, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Tour

Guide to Lesbian Dating: a guest post by Dating Connections

Guide to Lesbian Dating For the Newly Out Lesbian

 

It’s tough being the new lez on the block. Not only is this still a man’s world, but it’s also powered by heterosexual societal norms that are difficult to break. Luckily, every single one of us was fresh out of the closet at some point, lost in the sea of blurred choices and possibilities that somehow always seemed to elude us.

Created by Asier_relampagoestudio – Freepik.com

Fear not because you’re in good hands. Not that long ago I was a lez newbie myself, and have first-hand information on what goes on behind the closed doors you so desperately want a key for. And I have tips for you to get it!

First off, let me say I want to focus on local dating because you need to feel comfortable on your home turf first before you embark on a journey of conquering someone else’s territory. Not that gay women are as territorial as cats, but you know, you should have your ‘hood in the palm of your hand first, a place where you’ll feel the most like yourself. A safe haven, if you will, and here are my tips on how to get there.

#1: Befriend A Lesbian

Gay or straight, women like to be pursued, and love a challenge. If it’s too easy, something’s wrong with it. If it’s secret, hidden deep in the underworld, and available only to those “in the know”, then that’s what we want! And yes, that’s what the lez dating scene is like, too. Therefore, your first step towards getting your foot through the door of those oh-so-super-exclusive-because-we’re-so-special lesbian bars and clubs is getting yourself a gay wingwoman “in the know”!

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Now is the time to talk to that weird dyke cousin of yours who’s been openly gay since high school, and knows all the nooks and crannies of the lesbian underworld. She or someone like her could introduce you to the local lesbian dating scene where you’ll take your first baby lesbian steps.

#2: Start Dating As Yourself

Your next step is to start going out on dates as yourself. This doesn’t just mean as a person who’s finally free from the constraints of a dark and dusty closet, but it also means as the person you truly are.

Created by Javi_indy – Freepik.com

If a button down shirt is your go-to piece for a night out, make sure you wear it on a date. If you’d rather be feminine and sensual, go as a lipstick lesbian. The choice is yours; just keep in mind that women love authenticity, and the more original you are, the better, as long as you allow your true self to shine.

#3: Girl-on-Girl Sex is Easy!

Boys are super easy to seduce, while trying to keep one is a whole different ball game. You feel the chemistry, the heat is there, and everything feels right, and you go and sleep with him too soon, and bam – out the door he goes…never to return.

lesbian heart – Flickr

With girls, however, things are much easier in that department. Lesbians will never slut-shame you for sleeping with them on the first date because what would that make them?! If you feel the butterflies in your stomach and you want to go for it, do it! And forget about worrying whether she’d call the next day or think you were too easy. So was she!

Trust your intuition, and let it take you places you’ve never gone before.

Created by Nensuria – Freepik.com

Awesome! Definitely some food for thought here, and these are perfect dating tips for the LGBT crowd.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for this great advice on lesbian romantic relationships! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

Dating Connections is a site that offers the opportunity for you to explore a variety of dating tips, previous relationship experiences and interact with other people!

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

Blog:  http://datingconnections.org/category/blog/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/101423157749445118069

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, LGBT, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

63 FREE Romance Books!!

Hi, readers! I wanted to pop in here today to let you know about a very cool, mega giveaway going on over at the Writing in the Modern Age blog this week. Among other genres, 63 romance novels are available.All you have to do to enter the contest is comment on the thread with all your genre preferences as well as a contact email, and you’ll have 164 chances to win books! Awesome, right?

Here is a list of some of the books offered. They’re in no particular order, but I’ve included the subgenres so you know how varied the giveaway is.

Sports Romance

Paranormal Thriller with Romantic Elements

 

Mystery Romance with Horror

Multicultural Romance

Historical Romance

Paranormal Romance

Science Fiction Romance

Erotic Romance

Romantic Comedy

Holiday Romance

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Romantic Suspense

Contemporary Romance

Romantic Thriller

 

Western Romance

 

LGBT Romance

Time Travel Romance

YA Romance

Inspirational Romance

Fantasy Romance

This contest is exciting! There are swag prizes too! 🙂 If you’d like to participate, please jump on Writing in the Modern Age to put in your entry (you can also email me directly at marieannlavender@gmail.com with the subject heading ‘Early Autumn Giveaway entry’, in case you’re a little shy about including your personal info).

The giveaway will run until Friday at midnight EST, but winners won’t be chosen until the weekend.

http://marielavender.blogspot.com/2017/09/400th-anniversary-post-early-autumn-mega-book-giveaway.html

So, why not go for it? These are FREE books! You won’t be sorry! 😉

As always, happy reading, everyone! 😀

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Giveaways, Books, Contemporary, Erotica, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, inspirational romance, LGBT, Marie Lavender, Mystery, New Adult, Readers, Romance, romantic comedy, Romantic Suspense, sports romance, Thriller/Suspense, Time Travel, western, Writing, Young Adult

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Belinda Y. Hughes

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Belinda Y. Hughes, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

When you say ‘romance’ to me, I automatically think of romance novels to escape reality, love songs to restore hope and celebrate love found, dinner and a movie on date night, spontaneous getaways at the advent of a new relationship, lacy satin lingerie, long curly hair, soft-scented skin, candles, poetry and flowers.

Created by Freepik

But in practice, it goes deeper than that.

Lovers and others have taught me a lot about romance in the last fifty years. Romance can be had at any price point, from cooking at home together to dressing up and going out for date night to wedding ceremonies and a renewal of vows. Romance can be as simple or complex as you care to make it. You can leave your lover a voicemail in a husky whisper, study sensual massage techniques and yoga for time together behind closed doors, or clear the family out of the house and have a weekend in the nude. It all comes down to your identity, feelings and self-expression.

Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life?

Yes, I’ve been known to drop whatever I’m doing – even house painting – and make terrible mistakes for the sake of romance. It has caught me when I wasn’t looking and been a pleasant surprise for a time. Sometimes I feel possessed by a higher force sweeping me along as I prepare for a date with a new lover, and that one turns out to last quite a while longer than the rest. Sometimes it’s going out on a limb and risking my heart when I may not even get a kiss in return, even after weeks of exploration.

How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships?

I’m both a fourth generation divorcee’ and the child pawn in my parents’ divorce, so while I always pursued the dream as a Piscean hopeless romantic, the grim prognosis for reality equally always lurked in the background. My longest relationships were 3.5 and 4.5 years. Surprisingly, some of my best relationships were often a year or less. Some might say I simply haven’t discovered that One True Love who is the reason none of the others worked out. I believe that’s possible.

Were other couples influential somehow?

Just as I watch other couples on the dance floor to learn the latest moves, like any writer, I watch others in their practice of romance and take notes, both for my own life and stories.

Created by Freepik

And as I read, listen to music and watch TV and movies, the character couples influence me, as well.

From Mike and Carol Brady, I learned that spouses should be respectful, playful and supportive, and life can get crazy, but love can survive. From Darin and Samantha Stevens, I learned that romance involves timing: a freshly prepared martini as one partner returns home from work; a home-cooked, restaurant-quality dinner served on an attractively set table; flexibility and tolerance can save hours, even days, of dispute; and magic can strike at any moment. From Gilligan’s Island, I learned that you can make romance out of anything, wherever you are.

Created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

My parents didn’t define romance as seen on TV. What I witnessed of their everyday romance consisted of kissing, back scratching, splitting chores by gender and sharing meals. Once, when Dad came in the door asking how he could help, and Mom asked him to check on the baby (me) so she could finish dinner, it didn’t end well. Dad was impressed with my crib-Houdini and highboy-climbing talents and insisted she see it to believe it. Mom, on the other hand, was floored – literally. Not terribly romantic.

My late aunt, famous among our family for her natural beauty and lengthy primping, used to say, “Always remember, your next husband could be right outside that door.” She and my great-grandmother were married at least four times each, and even as a grandmother, that aunt could still attract college boys in California.

My older sister was my most influential role model for romance via her Cosmo-girl sophistication. She taught me how to shop big-city lingerie sales and shared her “trashy paperbacks”, which were quite educational. One of the few romantic yet not-trashy paperbacks she put me onto was Aromatherapy for Women by Maggie Tisserand (ex-wife of Robert, the noted herbalist), which includes aphrodisiacs and recipes for letting go of the cares of the day and getting oneself and one’s partner in the mood for love. Handy stuff, that. When I called home from Dallas in a fit of disappointment over a home-cooked dating disaster, it was my sister who informed me traditional pasta, not spaghetti squash, was the way to a guy’s heart.

Created by Freepik

I learned much more about romance from my lovers than anyone else. I started to detail their decadent nuances here, but that would give away my stories before you’ve read them, and we can’t have that now, can we?

How has all this fed into your romance writing process or career?

In my writing process, I often fancy a particular personality or memorable moment (see nuances, above) and somehow work it into a story.

Career-wise, I’ve eschewed traditional publishers, preferring possessive, monogamous relationships with my books. However, since passing the mid-century mark, I’ve become more open-minded and might now consider an indie-trad ménage. Maybe. Watch this space.

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

Guest Bio

Belinda Y. Hughes wears many hats: author, editor, proofreader, blogger, beta reader, author coach, press release and synopsis writer and events coordinator. Her books include Living Proof, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, Blues in the Night, Blues 2: The Colonel and Unit Study: DERELICT by Lisa Cohen. She is currently working on the next in the Confessions, Blues and Unit Study series, as well as a Mail Order Bride trilogy and a poetry collection.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Vivienne Vincent visits us on June 22nd! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

1 Comment

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Dianne Hartsock

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

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

What does romance mean to me? You’d be surprised how many times the answer has changed over the course of my life!

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

When I was fifteen reading Jane Eyre, Little Women, and the sweet romances of Gene Stratton-Porter, I would have sworn it was the glorious pain of separation, the unrequited love which left me in the depths of despair, and the unequaled joy of reunion. My lover on his knees pledging undying hopelessness if I didn’t return his love would be the ultimate happy ending.

In my twenties it was dinner and dancing at a favorite club and drinks by a fire afterwards, or watching the moon set over the mountains and a very early breakfast before tumbling into bed together, tired and happy.

When my kids were little, it was the height of romance when my husband would come home from work and kick me out of the house to have dinner or watch a movie with friends. Or those precious hours on a Saturday afternoon when he would take over, leaving me free to do whatever I wanted. That usually meant antique shopping and used book stores and a coffee shop afterwards without little hands touching everything. I loved my kids, still do! But those hours saved my sanity.

As they grew older it was the stolen weekend at the beach or mountains with my husband while Grandma watched the kids. We’d get a room and order room service, sleep, make love, sleep some more, hardly leaving the hotel except for the occasional walk or trip to a nearby coffee shop.

Nowadays, things are different. The kids are grown, but thank goodness they both live an hour’s drive from my front door, so we get to see them often. Romance means quiet evenings by the fire while we cuddle on the couch with a favorite glass of wine. It’s my husband walking downtown with me to my favorite coffee shop, even though he doesn’t drink coffee. It’s out to dinner for no other reason than I’ve worked hard and come home tired.

It’s putting in the new kitchen sink we’d been talking about as a surprise for Valentine’s Day and the million little things he does around the house that shows his love.

So, what does romance mean to me in my writing? Why, all of the above! And all the sex I don’t talk about in my personal life. Because yes, we can have romance without sex, but I think it’s the funnest part.

My men meet and there’s that spark of something between them, the racing pulse, anticipation and exquisite attraction. Who is this person? They have to get to know them. Maybe one has that delicious self-confidence I love and buys the other guy a drink. Like the beginning of most relationships, everything is wonderful—at first, even the way he smiles at everyone.

Wait. Did he just flirt with that other guy? Weren’t they going to be exclusive?

The doubts we all have rush in. I try to keep the angst to a minimum, but sometimes it’s hard when you see the person you love with someone else, even if you’ve misinterpreted the situation.

But with my characters, as in my own life, I have them sit down and discuss what is wrong, work through the problem, and listen to each other.

It’s the little things they do that shows their love. A phone call when they’re going to be late. Surprise dinner at a favorite restaurant. A flower or—my personal favorite—a cup of coffee in the morning, just because.

And then there’s the sex. I do write m/m erotic romance, after all, and my stories not only have some hot sex, but they show the emotion behind the act. All the feels. Because romance, at the end of the day, is how that special someone makes us feel. And I believe this is when we fall in love. Love at first sight? I believe in lust at first sight, that overwhelming need to be with someone. But love comes gradually, whether we want it or not. And romance is how we express this most delicious, consuming feeling. Hopefully it is returned in full.

Wow! So true…
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Dianne! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, M/M romance, and anything else that comes to mind. She lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Susanne Matthews visits us on May 16th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

4 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, LGBT, Love, Message, New Adult, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

New Release Feature: TURPITUDE Book IV – A Provocative True Story, A Memoir – A Harem Boy’s Saga by author Young (Bernard Foong)

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Young (Bernard Foong), an author I met during my journey! His riveting LGBTQ erotic romance memoir, Turpitude, officially released this month!

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

new-release-tour

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

Bernard is giving us a look at his new MM erotic romance memoir, Turpitude, today.

turpitude

Great cover!

about

This is the blurb for Turpitude, book four of A Harem Boy’s Saga Series:

Turpitude is the fourth book to A Harem Boy’s Saga, a provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society through his UK boarding school. From there, he was spirited to the Middle East to attend the Bahriji (Oasis) School in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for Harem services for the wealthy elite.

It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother,’ and his ‘Valet,’ who served as his chaperones and mentors.

This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their fourth Arabian Household, the Assalamu Alaikum (Peace Be with You) Harem. There, they became confidants to a sheik, assistants to his numerous international ventures, especially that of a film production: “Kāmasūtra – Lover’s Tale.” The teenagers continue to apprentice and model in a controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places.”

This story is an account of the author’s experiences. Through these truths, often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnation and negativity related to sexuality, love, and personal freedom.

A Harem Boy’s Saga series – Film Contract has been secured with an independent UK Producer, operating in Hollywood.

excerpt

And here is an excerpt to tease you with.

“Norway of Arabia”

“Sex is emotion in motion.”

Mae West

Our helicopter flew towards the picturesque Musandam Dibba Al Hisn, a hidden pene exclave that belonged to Sharjah but was located within the Sultanate of Oman (and which the Omanis referred to as the ‘Norway of Arabia’). I was awed by the imposing mountains and the rugged coastline that surrounded the fertile Gulf of Oman, where colorful marine life swam placidly within this aquamarine sanctuary.

It was of little wonder that Fahrib chose this haven to dock his competitive vessel in readiness for his upcoming Acapulco race. His luxury sailboat was primed and ready for us when we arrived at the marina.

In normal circumstances, Fahrib’s crew would be at the ready to set sail as soon as their commander-in-chief gave them a thumb’s up. In this instance, the crew members consisted of Jabril, Victor, Andy, me, and a handsome Arabian compadre of the sheik whom I had not met before. When our host introduced him as Tad, he said, “My sailing buddy here is a ‘gift from Allah.’”

The man riposted jestingly. “Are you referring to yourself, Fahrib?” before he gave our captain a fraternal hug. The Arabs laughed at their insider’s joke while we looked on with befuddlement, though I would soon discover that this man was indeed a gift to any who had the opportunity to experience his sexual prowess.

As I stood watching our attractive crew get the boat in motion, a sense of freedom overcame me. Suddenly, it dawned on me why my Master kept coming to the “Norway of Arabia” – not only to get away from his nagging wives, but most importantly, to disappear from the maddening crowd and from his public identity.

This narrow entryway that protrudes into the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula had given rise to a hidden paradise, a place for the unsolicitous to rediscover equilibrium within their harrowed souls. It was a safe haven for the next in line to the throne to set aside what was expected of him and to simply be a man whose carnal desire happens to be for his own sex. In us he’d found valiant camaraderie, a roborant masculinity as old as ancient Hellenism and as new as contemporary bromance.

As soon as we were out of sight of dry land, Tad advocated we strip bare to enhance our seafaring experience. Jabril seconded his motion, followed by our commander-in-chief. We E.R.O.S. recruits had no qualms about being naked, and neither did Victor, who was an ex Enlightened Royal Oracle Society member.

As each of us revealed our nakedness, Sharjah’s cover-ups and pretexts seemed to tumble away. I felt liberated from society’s constraints as my last item of clothing was discarded.

The sheik’s playful bon mot with his pal certainly proved true when he revealed all of himself. Tad’s and Fahrib’s imposing looks, combined with their formidable endowments, were impressive to behold. I couldn’t help but steal secret glances at their ‘Allah’s gifts to mankind.’ They were not just majestic in girth but resplendent in length, even when flaccid. Any hot-blooded male or female to witness such plumpness would undoubtedly deem my perception accurate. It was of little wonder our captain’s wives craved their husband’s attention.

Comfortable in our skins, we cruised along the majestic mountains, the sweltering sun beating upon the fjords of Oman. The steamy crew had fueled my heightened libido as my erection bobbed to the rhythmic motion of the rocking boat. We made no effort to hide our arousal as we worked tirelessly at our assigned chores.

Captain Fahrib had assigned me as an assistant steerage to Tad, the red-hot Arabian helmsman. My job was to help him keep the boat’s wheel in check so wind wouldn’t steer the vessel off course. He said jokingly while studying a map, “Ready about… hard-a-lee?”

I stared at him, befuddled. He laughed at my nautical ignorance.

“What? What did you say?” I queried in all seriousness.

He smiled wryly at my erection before answering, “Don’t be embarrassed by your excitement. We sailors are in tune with nature’s wonders.” He made no effort not to look at my length. He resumed, “Even though we take japes at nautical idioms when sailing in the buff.” He gave me a cursory look.

Up until this juncture, I’d had no idea that the helmsman was an accomplished member of the sheik’s sailing team, bound for the 1968 Summer Olympics, not to mention being a champion polo player and a titlist camel racer.

I gave the man a comely smile before inquiring, “What’s hard-a-lee?”

Instead of responding, he tapped my erection, which bounced uncontrollably. His hardness had grown during our flirtatious intercourse, its bulbaceous size stirring my concupiscence to flutter as his sturdy hand stroked me into a dizzying spell. He pulled me to him, French kissing me passionately.

Spellbound by his erotic expertise, I lost all sense of propriety. The feel of his bearded chin and hairy chest spawned my stiffness to drum incessantly against his furry torso.

I had desired this sinewy helmsman from the moment we met. When he gave me the traditional nose-to-nose greeting, he’d stared at me unflinchingly. He had claimed my person with his assertive eyes then; now, thrills of chilling excitement coursed through my body as he cupped and squeezed my buttocks, teasing my tenderness with his manly hands.

As we continued our alluring foreplay, the boat had drifted into an aquiline cove. It was then that I noticed my beloved Andy observing us by the doorway. My Valet gave me his approval to continue appeasing the beguiling athlete as he stared, mesmerized, at our erotic performance. He, like me, was entranced by Tad’s virility. He was witnessing a reflective manifestation of our intimate moments together in which I had surrendered myself fully to his maleness, as I did now to the helmsman.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  viewBook.at/Turpitude

getBook.at/Turpitude

Ooh! Pretty hot! ♥♥♥ This looks like an interesting book!😉

Thank you for telling us about your book, Bernard!  🙂

Readers, here is a little more about the series.

series

A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young…

A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print, audio and E-books internationally. 

A Harem Boy’s Saga series Film Contract has been secured with an independent UK Producer, operating in Hollywood.

aharemboysaga123

Books I, II, & III

http://bit.ly/GetAHaremBoysSaga

aharemboysagaseries

Great News!!!

If you haven’t started this series yet, this is the perfect opportunity! 

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER,

Starting today, Book I-‘Initiation’ has begun an 

Amazon Kindle Countdown!

Get your copy of Book I quickly!

initiation

The price goes back to normal($5.99) on September 17th!

http://bit.ly/GetInitiationKCD

Also, enter this awesome giveaway as part of the new release tour!

giveaway

Enter For Your Chance to win!!!

  • Authors have a chance to win a $10 Service From Rukia Publishing Book Promotions 
  • Readers have a chance at winning a $10 Amazon Gift Card 

All entrants will receive a copy of No Distance Between Us

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link:  https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9ad07a2936/

Good luck in the giveaway, readers! 🙂

Wow, this new title looks great!

book

Author Bio

bernard

Young alias Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences. 

~By Christine Maynard

(screenwriter and novelist)

Read More about ‘Young’

Watch Life on Maui with Steven Freid ~ Guest: Bernard Foong, Author

Author Links

Website:  http://aharemboysaga.com/

Blog:  http://bernardfoong.typepad.com/in_the_harem/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/people/Bernard-Foong/100009118503200

https://www.facebook.com/bfoong1

https://www.facebook.com/aharemboysaga

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/YoungFoong8

https://twitter.com/aharemboysaga

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Young/e/B00CENKJKM/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2992700.Young

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

 

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Historical, LGBT, Memoir, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

The Secret Life of an Erotica Writer: a guest post by Charity Parkerson

The Secret Life of an Erotica Writer by Charity Parkerson

 

Follow just about any Erotica author online and you’ll be treated with pictures of delicious men, snarky jokes about spanking, and tons of other fun tidbits. No doubt, my online search of sexy topics—purely in the name of research, mind you—has landed me on more than one pervy, government watch list. Opening my email has become a daily adventure. I never know what sort of fan mail I’ll find inside. I’ve seen things…horrible things…things I cannot unsee. The award for keeping a straight face while answering questions should arrive in my mailbox any day.
During a recent interview, I was asked to describe a day in the life of Charity Parkerson. This was the moment I realized two important things. Not only is my life vastly different than what people think, I also have not lost the awesome ability to horrify people speechless.  For anyone interested in hearing about a day in the life of an erotica writer, here it is:
After dragging myself out of the bed—kicking and screaming—I get my two boys ready for school, secretly praying they are going to spend the day with someone blessed with infinite patience. Eventually, I discover we are already ten minutes late. I then spend another ten minutes standing by the door screaming for everyone to get their damn shoes on, and praying someone with tons of patience is waiting to greet me at the school. Thirty minutes of travel time from one end of town to the other— in order to drop them at two separate schools— is spent listening to several arguments. The top one usually consists of my youngest accusing my oldest of being mean. The debate landing in second place is the one where I am accused of never seeing how annoying my youngest is being to my oldest. If you add in my fervent prayers for all the wonderful teachers out there to have strength, you have the first couple of hours of my day.

 

coffee-and-laptop

Once I have the house to myself, I drink a ton of coffee while catching up on tweets, Facebook messages, and emails. After obsessively checking my sales ranking and crying into my third cup of coffee, I stare blankly at the wall for four hours while dreaming of hot MMA fighters, police detectives, and demons. When I catch sight of the clock, I spend another thirty minutes wailing over how I’ve wasted the whole day, before going on Facebook to confer with my friends, only to realize they’re doing the same thing. This, of course, makes everything right with the world again. With that said, if it’s a month until my deadline, those four hours are spent alternating between clicking away at the computer keys and hyperventilating into a paper bag. If it’s the day after I’ve completed my manuscript, I’m patting myself on the back and lying about how I wasn’t worried in the least. Oh, and occasionally I spend my day dreaming about an organized computer where all my files are competently labeled, making them easy to find. Then I remember I can’t afford minions and I’m over it.

Sorry to disappoint everyone who believed I spent my day swinging from the chandelier. Maybe one of these days hot cover models will feed me chocolate-covered strawberries. Unfortunately, it will—most likely— only be because I’m in the nursing home and it’s their job. Until then, you could always read about the lives I live inside my mind…

Thank you, Charity, for that amusing take on a daily look at an erotic romance author.

Well, readers, shall we take a look at one of Charity Parkerson’s books? Why not? 🙂

Break

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Break, Hard Hit Series, Book 6: 

 

Noah’s career means everything to him. That is, until he loses his true everything.

Noah has been in love with his best friend, Troy, for as far back as he can remember. There is no one else he can picture spending his life with. After signing a contract with the Blue Fires, Noah heads to New Orleans, ready to start his new life as a pro hockey player. With the career he’s always dreamed of having in his hands and the man he’s always loved in his bed, Noah thinks everything is golden.

But nothing could prepare Noah for how being the star player would change his life. Each time he finds a reporter’s mic underneath his nose, Noah can’t stop himself from pushing Troy farther away, making Troy the dirty secret. That is, until the day Troy has had enough.

With Troy gone, Noah can’t find his footing, but neither does he have the words to fix the things he’s broken. No matter how many times Noah picks up the phone, fear stops him from saying all the words he’s avoided. Until a single call and a tragic accident changes everything.

“He arrived at St. Luke’s Medical Center… Labels no longer counted. Opinions were out the window. Nothing mattered any longer.”

Hurt, anger, and bitterness have Noah throwing back the curtain, showing the world his every secret. But is it too little too late?

♥♥♥ Interesting! It looks like quite a ride! 😀

And readers, while you’re at it, why not add it to your Goodreads TBR list? You can also get this MM romance on pre-order on Amazon.

Purchase Links:

Amazon Universal:  http://mybook.to/Break

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/break-charity-parkerson/1123523392

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/6112849

 

Pick this title up on April 18th! 😀

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Charity, and a look at your upcoming release, Break! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Charity Parkerson Facebook pic

Charity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with several companies. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters.

*2015 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
*Winner of 2, 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards
*2015 Passionate Plume Award Finalist
*2013 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner
*2013 Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner
*2012 ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance
*Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath

unnamed(3)

Author Links

Website:  http://www.charityparkerson.com

Blog:  http://charity-thesinners.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/charityparkerso

Amazon Author Page:  http://author.to/CharityParkerson

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4506281.Charity_Parkerson

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

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/authorparkerson/

Tumblr:  http://thesinnerauthor.tumblr.com/

Shelfari:  http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a2942626/Charity-Parkerson/

Publisher:  http://www.punkandsissypublications.com/charity-parkerson.html

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!   😉

3 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Erotica, Fiction, LGBT, Message, new release, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

A Character Interview with Mary Susan from THE ISLAND AND THE KITE plus a conversation with author Aurora Zahni!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Barbi Barnard’s character on December 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 Aurora Zahni, the author of The Island and The Kite, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Mary Susan Bennett, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Aurora in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Mary Susan!

MaryS

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Mary Susan.  Please have a seat.

Character Mary Susan Bennett: Thanks for having me here.

Marie:  Sure!

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

Mary Susan: Okay.

Marie:  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Mary Susan:  My name is Mary Susan Bennett and I am from Heller Park, New Jersey. I come from a place where we don’t spend a lot of time describing what we look like, but I suppose I’m a frumpy redhead whose girlfriend describes as “curvy.” You can read about my adventures in The Island and The Kite by Aurora Zahni.

Marie:  Great! Thank you for that succinct description.

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

Mary Susan:  I am currently a waitress at a wonderful coffee shop named Cybele’s Reverie. I am a great waitress and can currently not think of a better way to spend my time and get paid for it.

Marie:  Well, it’s awesome that you enjoy your job so much. 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Mary Susan:  Small. Both my parents passed away recently and I lost touch with a lot of my other relatives after my cousin Coralie was also tragically taken away from us.

Marie:  Oh, no! I’m so sorry to  hear that. 😦

That must have been very hard.

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

Mary Susan:  It was a simple ranch style house. When I was twelve, my parents let me take over the basement.

Marie:  (Smiles.) All right, I can tell there’s a story there, but I won’t pry.

Do you have any hobbies, Mary Susan?  What do you enjoy doing?

Mary Susan:  I like to listen to music and meet new people. When I meet someone, I try to connect with them and learn what they are passionate about. Shared experience is the cure for the human condition.

Marie:  Oh, I fully agree! And what a refreshing take to hear that!

So…what is your greatest dream?

Mary Susan:  I just want to make it through this world leaving a positive mark on the Universe.

Marie:  That’s certainly admirable.

Let’s try another question.

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

Mary Susan:  I don’t understand. I am precisely who I am, can’t be anything else really and nothing stops me from doing anything really.

Marie:  Good to hear!

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

Who was your first love?

Mary Susan:  Stefi Angel. Is this a trick question and did Stefi put you up to this?

Marie:  Nope. (Winks.) I swear I didn’t know about you two before today.

In any case, it’s good to hear you say that. I just love romance, if the name of the blog wasn’t an indication. (Chuckles.)

The Island and the Kite

All right. So, let’s try something else.

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

Mary Susan:  I can’t talk about it. My entire existence is based upon moving forward.

Marie:  Okay, I respect that. I won’t push. I can see this is difficult for you.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Mary Susan 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?

Mary Susan: I had such a carefree childhood that I never thought about it. I’ve always mostly accepted things for their own intrinsic beauty and appreciated what the Universe offered up to me. So I guess, yes, I have achieved my dream.

Marie:  Well, great!  😀

Let’s try something else.

So, who is your role model, Mary Susan?

Mary Susan:  My boss, Hilary Palmer who I think saves the world on a regular basis and would probably be much better for an interview.

Marie:  (Waves a hand.) Nonsense. You’re doing great! But, it’s good to hear that you admire your boss.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Mary Susan: I’ve never done that. Why would you?

Marie:  Indeed! That’s an excellent point. I wish everyone could be so genuine.

So, can you tell us something? What is your deepest desire, Mary Susan?

Mary Susan:  Desires are never deeply hidden in me. I can get caught up in it on a moment’s notice.

Marie:  All right.

How about another question…

What is your greatest fear?

Mary Susan:  To fake anything in life.

Marie:  And it’s certainly refreshing that you’re not! 😉

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

Mary Susan:  Thank you for having me, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Aurora Zahni on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, Aurora!

71TV9edSpbL._UX250_

Author Aurora Zahni:  Hello, Marie!  A pleasure to meet you.

Marie:  The honor is mine.  🙂

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

Aurora:  Mary Susan is the best of me. She doesn’t judge and lives in harmony with the world around her. She has come through tragedy with a strengthened point of view, which she inherited from her parents.

Marie:  And as I was saying before with Mary Susan, I think that’s very admirable.

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Aurora: She is often nonplussed by conflict. She is so easy breezy that she can face off with just about anything like a champ.

Marie:  Wow. I wish I had about ten cups of that! (Laughs.)

That’s awesome!

And what are her greatest weaknesses?

Aurora:  She doesn’t judge anyone, good or bad. She is just as often hurt by this as she is saved by it.

Marie:  All right. So, a sensitive soul…I can relate to that.

Let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Aurora: She loves eating, and her favorite treat is a Binkie, which is a bacon laced cream filled angel food cake pastry which may or may not remind you of a Twinkie from both heaven and hell.

Marie:  Good Lord! That sounds evil and scrumptious! 😉

How about another question?

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

Aurora: Ha, “being unaware.” It’s like they say, birds don’t know they are flying. Mary Susan doesn’t realize that she has any positive or negative properties, just hopes she does good in the Universe.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I wish we were all so innocent.

So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Aurora: If you don’t like Mary Susan, I don’t want to know you. Mary Susan, however, would still be nice to you.

Marie:  (Smiles.) Great response.

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

What first gave you the idea for The Island and The Kite?

Aurora: Mary Susan had a small part in my first novel. She always stuck out to me as a character, and I wanted to give her a proper showcase. I wanted to send her on an adventure filled with trials and tribulations to see how she fared. And hey, I even gave her a love story, which I never do.

Marie:  Great!

Let’s try something else.

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

Aurora: I pants to plot points. I never plan out an entire book, because I feel that it guides the story too much and allows for “Hand of God” moments, as opposed to the organic development of a the plot. So I just write and revise often so I can always have an idea of what is ahead and keep it all in continuity.

Marie:  I can respect that. Sometimes it’s better to listen to the muse.

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

Aurora: This is my third published novel and it went fairly smoothly. I tend to write self-indulgent stories, but after two of those I was a lot more open to writing for an audience this time.

That balance is something important all writers need to address. You need to write the story only you can write, but that anyone can read.

Marie:  That’s good advice!  We should cater to different audiences at once.

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 The Island and The Kite appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Aurora Zahni, a very talented author! 🙂

The Island and the Kite

Here is the blurb for The Island and The Kite:

Two girls. Two stories. One day.

A murder spree and magic tea help two star crossed lovers see the light.

 Mary Susan and Stefi Angel are two constant exes who can never get it right, always as eager to give up as they are to start up again. But one day in New York City helps change that forever.

The city is in a panic as the T and S Killers rising body count has everyone on edge. Free spirit Mary Susan just wants to see a movie and ends up trapped in Hell’s Kitchen being chased by vigilantes and murderers alike. She spends the night trying to escape the city that never sleeps and deciding if she should give Stefi another chance.

Star basketball player Stefi Angel can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to love…until she drinks magical tea and suddenly has all the questions and the answers. She just hopes she can get Mary Susan to believe they have the kind of love worth fighting for and that it’s not too late.

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

“So…” Stefi took a deep breath. “How am I doing, red?”

“Not bad. Maybe you’ll get most of me after all.”

“I want it all this time.”

“We’ll see.” Mary Susan laid her head on Stefi’s shoulder. “Hey.” She poked Stefi’s arm. “I have a gift for you back at my place.”

“I bet you do. Just let me get you cleaned up first.”

“No, silly. A real gift in a box with a bow and everything.”

“I think I have everything I need.”

They devoured their breakfast and Mary Susan napped on the drive back to her place. “Where’s your roommate?” Stefi asked when they got there.

“At work.” Mary Susan removed her outer layer of clothing and announced, “I need to shower.”

Stefi smiled and took off her shoes and socks. “Okay.”

“That wasn’t an invitation. I’m filthy and I really need to shower. Will you wait for me?” Stefi nodded and then watched Mary Susan and the curves she loved walk to the bathroom in her skivvies. Be a better girlfriend. Stefi brought down all the shades and curtains in the room and put on some music at a low volume. When Mary Susan got out of the bathroom, she was already in bed waiting for her.

“Stefi…it’s been a long day. I don’t know what you think is going to happen here.”

“Be quiet and come here and trust me.” Mary Susan listened to her and then cautiously slid under the covers. Stefi put both her long arms around her and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “Now I want you to sleep. I’m here. I’m yours. And I’m not going anywhere.”

The Island and The Kite Teaser

 

Ooh…this sounds really good!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00OOAXZYK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-island-and-the-kite-aurora-zahni/1120965559

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/5189750

About Aurora Zahni

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Aurora Zahni is a former rebel who’s trying to bring a little bit of Judy Blume and Sylvia Plath to the Twilight Generation. Over the years, she has given half-assed / full throttle contributions to numerous zines and blogs, written a web movie and done significantly well in countless competitive eating events. When she was in the 8th grade, she was on the local evening news. A dead body was being lifted out of the water at a marina by the Meadowlands and you could clearly see her standing in the background watching, looking a bit excited for the camera. Looking back it may have been the highlight of her entire childhood.

Aurora’s Books:

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The Island and the Kite

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/aurorazahni

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Aurora-Zahni/e/B00I3JC9I6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7092273.Aurora_Zahni

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/shirley5283/aurora-zahni/

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/aurora-zahni/

Radio:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beaucouppublishingllc/2014/12/09/a-bc-chat

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Mary Susan Bennett, a female character from The Island and The Kite, and Aurora Zahni, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

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