Tag Archives: life’s challenges

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

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

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

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

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

Created by Freepik

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

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

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

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

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

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

Guest Bio

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

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

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

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Carole McKee visits us on May 25th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

2 Comments

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

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

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

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

What does romance mean to me?

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

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

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

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

Synonyms: mystery, glamour, excitement, exoticism, mystique

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

Synonyms: woo, chase, pursue

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

Synonyms: idealize, glamorize, exaggerate

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

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

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

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

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

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

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

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

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Tina Donahue visits us on May 18th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

2 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by 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!

3 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by K.C. Sprayberry

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 to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author K.C. Sprayberry, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

Romance with Gray Hair and Saggy Skin

 

What images come to mind when you hear about a new romance book? Are the couple young, beautiful, and out to set the world on fire? Does the cover entice you with in-shape people who look as if they have their lives ahead of them? Does the story promise a long courtship or short period of getting to know each other before they settle into creating a family and living out their lives in what most assume must be boredom?

Most think a book where one of the characters decides on career over marriage and children wouldn’t be a romance. They’d decry that book if it was the woman making this decision. Yet, in our modern world, more and more women are putting aside romance and marriage to focus on a career. Yet, once that career is over and they’re facing retirement, they see their friends have something they lost along the way and they wonder… what if I’d taken the shot at a family?

Two Hearts One Soul is about such a couple. Beginning in the 1970s, Mel receives a proposal from Joe. She’s so focused on making a career in the Air Force she doesn’t think twice about telling him no. In her mind, he’s her best friend and had held that honor for years. Joe is lost and angry when she turns him down, so much so that he doesn’t reenlist, instead returning home to marry another girl on the rebound and raise a family.

Flash forward nearly thirty years and this is when the story of romance for those over fifty begins. There are no nursing homes, no couple that is less than healthy living out their last days. Mel and Joe rediscover what they lost. Can they make it as a couple?

This short story examines the difficulties of restarting a relationship and how they are overcome when both parties realize how much they still mean to each other. Has their love cooled? Or has it been simmering in the background, only to be revived once they’re in the same room? Is their romance one of the hot, passionate whirlwind associated with love for the twenty or thirty year old set? Or do they have a cautious approach, one where both are afraid they might never have this chance again?

Created by Freepik

For that, you’ll have to read the book and discover how a woman without children can reconnect with a man who has a passel of them. Perhaps along the way you’ll learn that gray in the hair and saggy skin doesn’t mean the heart doesn’t beat a little faster when that special person walks into the room. There are still discoveries to be made for those of retirement age; it only takes people with the desire to find them to be willing to accept they may or may not reconnect with an old love.

Two Hearts One Soul is available on Amazon, a short read that will confirm that those of us over fifty still have romantic hearts.

Wow! Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, K.C.! Lovely to have you here! ♥
And, of course, age has no bearing on a good romance…
Guest Bio

Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.

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, K.C., for giving us a peak into romance for the retirement set, and how you’ve incorporated your own romantic beliefs into your books. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Dianne Hartsock visits us on May 11th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

4 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Lashanta Charles

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 Lashanta Charles, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

For me, romance means life and insanity. It’s said that insanity is constantly doing the same things over and over, hoping that you’ll get a different outcome. Isn’t that what we do in our never-ending quest to find that perfect romance? In life, we search and we search and then we search just a little bit more, always trying to find that one person who completes us. That one person who will make us feel cherished. Appreciated. Needed. We want someone or something that will give us purpose, other than living, other than existing. And what could be better than that feeling of surprise and wonder that we get when we’re presented with just because gifts? Or when we’ve had the day from hell and our significant other makes it an all about you night?

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

We spend so much time vying for that moment where we can have that goofy smile and starry-eyed look, yet we fail to realize that it isn’t always perfect, nor is it always easy. Romance is just as much work as love, and what’s that old saying – love is never easy. Well, my friends, neither is romance. I’ve centered my writing career on the highs and lows of romance, and even in the fictional words and characters I create, it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. I absolutely live for my next book boyfriend, no matter if it’s one I create or if it’s one that another author creates. Yet, knowing they aren’t real and neither are those scenes where they go all in and confess their undying love in the most amazing way possible, I still yearn for it. I swoon. I cheer them on. I laugh with them and I cry with them and when it’s all said and done, I do it all over again – INSANITY!!

I began writing romance novels because, at the time, I was missing that aspect in my life. I saw romance as the elusive and dangerous creature that I wanted to hunt down and make my tame little pet. I wanted so badly to feel the romance that I’d read about in countless books or saw in the plethora of movies I’ve watched. I wanted my very own hero to come and save me (who cares if I wasn’t in danger), my very own bad boy who reformed his ways just to make me happy, my very own prince to whisk me off to his castle where I would eventually become a queen and rule by his side.

I never got that! Insane, right?? Because I totally deserve that! What I did get was my husband who I’ve been married to for nearly a decade, and I love that man like it’s nobody’s business. Is he as romantic as I had hoped? Not a chance in hell! Would I trade him for that hero, bad boy, or prince? You bet your sweet bottom I wouldn’t! He is mine and I am his and we are perfectly flawed, but together we are perfectly phenomenal. He makes me laugh, yet he makes me cry. He makes me feel appreciated, but manages to forget things that I think are important (news flash, I’m so much worse at this than he is – guess who forgot our anniversary last year . . . not him). He tests my patience even more than our kids do, but his soul is beautiful and he chose to share that astounding soul with little old me. How romantic is that, right?!

Adapted from vector created by Freepik

I still read just about any romance novel I can get my hands on, no matter how cheesy (I’m a sucker for insta-love and paranormal romances with the whole one true mate – le sigh) and I still watch the movies with perfect romantically nice endings, getting lost in those fictional worlds, but once they’re over I’m right back to my reality, my husband. And I always realize that romance isn’t something that’s set in stone. It isn’t a written rule that everyone has to follow. It’s just you and your relationship, regardless of if that’s with a real person, one you’ve read about, or one you saw in a movie. It’s all yours and it’s what you have, so enjoy it to the fullest. And, in the meantime, if you’re in desperate need of a book boyfriend, I encourage you to meet Nico…

So true! I happen to believe that those very normal moments are exactly what help to encourage and strengthen a romantic bond. If you can get through that, while slowing down occasionally to appreciate the little things we often take for granted, then you can handle anything. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lashanta! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

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

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Ricardo Mejías visits us on May 4th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

4 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Lilly Christine

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 to the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback.

Without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Lilly Christine, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

What does romance mean to me?

In both real life romance and fiction, a partner or would-be partner goes the extra mile to create a special experience for their beloved. I hope everyone has memories of first real life romantic gestures…the carnation or special Valentine in middle school, a first dance, prom, et cetera. My first “real” boyfriend would pick me up from work and take me out for milkshakes, so teaberry milkshakes STILL spell *romance* for me!
I write romances because I love developing a journey to love for my characters, and my readers seem to enjoy it, too! My McGreers series features flawed characters challenged by this “thing called love”, sending them on journey that is often inconvenient, difficult, or near impossible. In McGreers #1, Crashing into Tess, the new girl Tess gives up hope before single-dad rancher Jake finally comes around. In #2, Crazy on Daisy, Hank Gallagher’s pined for barrel racer Daisy for years, and in #3-6 Right Kinda Bull/Whole Lotta Bull, Lindsay keeps a secret, testing Ty McGreer more than any of my other heroes.
I also enjoy weaving contemporary challenges couples face into the mix, so in #5, Loving Lulu, Lulu, a young mom, wants a career, which puts stress on her marriage, while her brother Kyle, an Iraq vet and Janie’s beau, struggles with PTSD. In #8, My Kinda Bull, Heath McGreer, a fossil fuel engineer, bumps into Christina Rodriguez, a Greenpeace activist, in Alaska.
My novels mirror the challenges of love-in-real-life, which for me makes writing the stories and crafting the characters that much more exciting. Thanks so much for reading!
Wow! Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Lilly! Lovely to have you here! ♥
Guest Bio

lilly-headshot

Lilly Christine’s debut novel, Crashing Into Tess, won TRW’s 2013 “Catherine Award”,  was a 2014 finalist in DRW’s “Best First Book”, and “Best Contemporary” categories, and is the first in the popular McGreers Series. Lilly returns to her birthplace for the setting of “Philadelphia Love!” an exciting new urban rom-com Holiday Novella Series! In 2017, look for Valentine, Baby!, Sing It, Baby! and Independence, Baby?

Lilly currently resides in Reno, Nevada. When not writing, she can be found walking her Daschahuahua rescue puppy on the Truckee River.

Sign up for Lilly News

She’s always available for book-signings, readings and appearances, especially to benefit her reader’s favorite animal shelters and rescues. Contact her at LillyChristine13@gmail.com, or find her on Facebook!

Author Links

Website:  http://lillychristine.com/Books.html

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/3sg8X

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lilly.christine.71

https://www.facebook.com/PhiladelphiaLove1/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lillychristine1

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lilly-Christine/e/B00GLY93A2/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7276542.Lilly_Christine

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilly-christine-a4839bbb

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lillychristine1/

 

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, Lilly, for giving us your reasons for writing romance, and how you incorporate your own romantic beliefs into your books. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Cynthia Helwig visits us on March 30th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

A to Z Challenge: Raising Landry by Andee Michelle

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

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For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating!❤

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Raising Landry by Andee Michelle

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Genre: Romantic Suspense

Blurb:

After having her heart broken on her wedding day, Carson Breaux flees her New Orleans home for the bright lights of Seattle. Determined to start over and finally pursue her own dreams for once, Carson spends years working towards her goals.

When a car accident takes her best friend LuAnne, Carson finds herself the guardian of LuAnne’s five-year old little girl, Landry. Between mourning the loss of her dearest friend, raising Landry, and trying to get justice for Lu, her life becomes a whirlwind of drama.

Kyler Richards grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, although he worked hard to accomplish his own goals. He meets Carson during a brief encounter but can’t shake the pull he feels to her. The friendship between the two quickly becomes the potential for more but when Carson’s life is turned upside down by the accident, both their worlds are torn apart.

Can their relationship survive everything that’s thrown at them?

**Author’s Note** Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

What people are saying about the book on Amazon:

What an amazing debut by Andee Michelle. Strong writing. Strong characters. Lots of feels! Take the journey with Carson. You won’t be disappointed.

5 stars – Great read and a page turner

Great read and a page turner!! Read it in one sitting. Loved it and can’t wait to read her next books 🙂

Pretty amazing book for someone’s first! I have never read a book that made me have so many emotions. Loved, loved, loved, this book!!!

5 stars – Great job!!

I totally enjoyed reading this book! For a first book, I think she did a great job! Looking forward to reading more of her books!

Fantastic read. I’m not a book person, I don’t like reading at all. I couldn’t put this book down. The emotional roller coaster kept me in suspense the whole time. Read more

5 stars – Carson is on an emotional ride in this book. …

Carson is on an emotional ride in this book. Book kept me on my toes. Read it completely in one sitting. Can’t wait for next book♡

5 stars – Holy debut novel! Loved!

Awesome, awesome debut novel! I loved this so much! My heart hurt, was happy, swooned and soared. Definitely something you need to read!

It was good but not great. It didn’t get my pulse racing wondering if things were going to end up like I wanted. However it was good. Read more

 

An incredibly easy book to lose yourself in. Full of emotion that left we wiped out. (In a good way)❤

My Score:

Andee Michelle’s debut novel looks promising! How can I resist? This book appears sweet, emotional and with enough action to keep things exciting. I had to add it to my Wishlist. I definitely can’t wait to read it! 😉

I give this one four hearts.

four hearts

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Romantic Suspense