Tag Archives: love is beautiful

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by The Smut Report

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on the I Love Romance Blog. In recent years, 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 blogger The Smut Report, a female team with a few things to say about the question at hand.

What Does Romance Mean to Us?

 

At The Smut Report, we read a lot of romance novels. Like, a LOT of romance novels. And let’s be real – there’s a stereotype floating around that people who read romance novels have a skewed idea of romance and relationships. Obviously, we must be delusional spinsters or miserable sex-starved moms who expect men to read us poetry and/or fight monsters and/or know exactly what we want at all times.

Romance is also super oversimplified. There are pivotal life events like birth and death that, when addressed in literature, are considered really “deep” and vulnerable and raw. This non-genre fiction is lauded for its thoughtfulness and meaning. There’s a whole sub-genre dedicated to “coming of age” and all the inner turmoil that comes with that — but a genre whose sole purpose is to unpack the delicious, unsettling, sloppy moments leading up to individuals falling in love? That’s for unsatisfied housewives.

freestocks.org, Unsplash

Falling in love transforms individual people into something new, something with overlap and grey area and messiness. And strength. In romance we see people coming together to form a stronger whole, yet we also see how having the support of a loving partner can provide a wellspring of strength to an individual.

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

But before that can happen, all the messy feelings and social and personal obstacles must be resolved. There are new debates in the romance community every day about whether it’s romance if there’s no happy ending, if there’s no sex, if there’s this, or that, or the other thing. These arguments reflect this messy, sexy, grey area that exists in our lives when we love. This genre, maybe more than any other genre, asks us to be honest about what a satisfying life looks like. And it acknowledges that the answer is different for different people.

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Even though the three of us have somewhat divergent tastes (Erin likes heroes who ooze power, Holly prefers her books on the sexy side, Ingrid sometimes skips the sex scenes so she can get back to the witty banter), there are a few things that we all love in a romance novel. Far from creating unrealistic ideas of what romance is, the best romance novels feature satisfying portrayals of emotional connection. It makes us ask what pleasure looks like for YOU, what commitment looks like for YOU. You know, that extra spark that brings out the swooning romantic in the most jaded of us. (That would be Holly, in case you were wondering.)

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

Romance can be just a fun, sexy romp or a swashbuckling adventure, but it can also bring you closer to yourself. It’s a safe way to examine romance in your own life–your likes, your dislikes, what you want to feel and how you want to be loved. You know it when you read it.

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

We recently went to an author talk in which Sarah MacLean said she loves the increased use of dirty talk in romance because it’s “ongoing consent”. How amazing is that? That there are authors looking for ways to make love scenes more clear, more unfettered, by making sure the consent is obvious AND beautifully done. This stuff matters.

Romance is a largely inclusive genre – and that’s important. The authors who write these books are constantly bursting open doors and welcoming more people in. It matters to have characters that look like real people and who love like real people do. Race, gender identity, sexual orientation–it’s all discussed in the romance literature written every day. Possibly there are not really people in love with shifters, we acknowledge (if there are, Erin would like to hear from you). But in all seriousness, there are so many different combinations of who loves whom (and how many love together) out in the world that it’s appropriate and necessary for such love to be reflected in our literature.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

And where reality fails us, we have the opportunity to explore the notion of romance in the “other” in paranormal, sci-fi, and other sub-genres of romance. The authors who are opening these doors and windows for us readers are also readers themselves, and we support each other. Romance creates community, even if we never speak directly to one another.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

In short, romance means a lot to us. It’s been a source of comfort and connection for us for decades. It’s made us think about things in different ways. It makes us test ourselves. It’s made us uncomfortable and angry and happy. We have literally cried and literally laughed so loudly that we’ve scared pets and woken sleeping children.

Ben White, Unsplash

Romance brings us joy. It’s as simple as that.

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

Guest Bio

The Smut Report is the brainchild of Erin, Holly, and Ingrid, three thirty-somethings who have been swapping smut books for twenty years. They’ve read a lot of smut and love the genre. They want to share their love of smut with people who already love to read romance, but also with people who are curious about the genre, yet are a little bit scared to dive right in. So, in order to further their goal of sharing the wonderful, witty, and downright weird corners of the world of smut with everyone they know, they started a blog, where they can chat about romance novels to their hearts’ content.

Links

Website/Blog:  https://smutreport.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/smutreport

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/91403885-smut-report

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

 

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 usually get booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a freelance writer or author, or even from a romantic themed organization. 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, The Smut Report, for giving us your take on what romance (and the book genre) has come to mean to you, plus some food for thought. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next guest post when Dr. Anne Hancock visits ILRB on October 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

4 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, feature, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Special Feature, Stories, Writing

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Lynn Chantale

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. In recent years, 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 Lynn Chantale, who has a few things to say about the question at hand.

The Twelfth Wing

 

Romance does not come easy for me. If you’re looking for fancy words or deeds to make the heart melt or bring a tear to the eye, you’ve got the wrong woman. But you write romance, you say. Yes, I can appreciate a sentimental moment or gesture when it’s given.

For me, romance goes beyond flowers, cards, candy and trinkets. Those things are all nice but, they lost some of the awww factor.

Why? Divorce.

Recently,  I gave dating another chance. This time I focused on Meetup groups. This has proven a lot more successful in finding a worthy candidate. In one of these meetings I met a gentleman with a great sense of humor, intelligent, and and has that strong, silent thing going on that romance authors like to create in their heroes.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I’ve read many romance novels in various sub-genres, have written a few myself, but to meet someone who embodies my type of romance changed my somewhat jaded outlook on love.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Romance is so much more than making love at the  end of a great date. It’s offering the twelfth wing, or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. It’s opening doors, holding hands, or a single caress that says; “I am into you.”

In spite of an amicable divorce —I still love the stupid man— and with him getting engaged to a TTF (totally toxic female), I braved the dating world to find a POSiTive love interest.

Brett Jordan, Unsplash

Romance is not lowering your standards, but honoring yourself. When you’re true to who you are, you’re in a better position to receive the twelfth wing or the last slice of chocolate fudge cake. I know you’re probably wondering what the heck romance has to do with offering the last of something. It’s simple…I care about you enough to put your wants and needs above my own. I care for your happiness and well-being above mine. I consider your choice before I make mine.

Yeah, so simple a concept that it brought back the awww factor for me.

Briona Baker, Unsplash

Romance still needs consistent open, honest communication and quality time. With that comes the toe-curling, bed-breaking lovemaking at the end of a truly great date.  And yes, when we’re together I’ll offer you the twelfth wing. But be honest in your answer, ‘cause if you say no, I’m going to eat the last piece. 🙂

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

Lynn Chantale, a romance novelist, short story writer, and part-time background singer, has published many stories across several genres.  Her works include Sex, Lies, and Joysticks, The Contractor’s Baby, and The Pick-Up Wife, to name a few.

When she’s not taking over the world, she’s dominating her household, family, and her cat, Shakespeare. You can visit her at any of her cyber haunts.

Author Links

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 get booked up 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, Lynn, for giving us a peek into what romance means to you. Awesome! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next exclusive interview when author Dana Littlejohn visits us on July 23rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Faith, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Writers

National Poetry Month Feature: “Miles of Our Memories” – a poem

Hi, readers! April is here again! 🙂

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I decided to write a romantic poem, inspired by my relationship with my fiancé. Here it is:

 

Miles of Our Memories

A special anniversary approaches…

How many times have we crossed these miles?

More than I can count.

Sapan Patel, Unsplash

Distance separates us again this year,

but I know it will turn out all right.

Still…

I miss your arms wrapped around me,

your special scent in my nose.

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I miss our unique closeness,

the quiet talks in the night as we lay there,

absorbing breaths and heartbeats.

Becca Tapert, Unsplash.

I miss gazing at you across the table of a romantic meal,

even laughing as we dodged the puddles of a parking lot.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I miss the experiences we shared for years.

Surely we can get some of that back?

It has been too long, my love, since we…

Sat in a dark theater, hands entwined,

Malmanxd, Unsplash

Strolled through a mall, pointing out the wares,

Tossed a ball down a lane, hoping to miss the gutters,

Joseph Costa, Unsplash

Had a picnic, chatting about all those simple things in life,

Went on a walk, hand in hand.

Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash

It has been far too long since our hearts were so connected, and we surrendered to the glee inside us.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

For tonight, let’s cast aside our obligations.

Say you’ll travel with me to the stars and beyond,

Juskteez Vu, Unsplash

where time doesn’t interfere with its incessant, haunting chime,

when we can be us again.

Join me and we’ll find our bliss,

a reprieve from the madness.

I know one day these chains of clock and mile won’t bind us,

and we can be free.

As one.

I live for the moment when I am yours,

tied with paper and mirrored hands.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

We’ll confront this world together,

and then blend into a perfect union of well-matched souls.

I love you and miss you…

Yet I’d wait forever if the fates tried to keep us apart.

Nothing can break us, I swear.

We are stronger than the mere miles that threaten to split this bond.

Sylwia Bartyzel, Unsplash

And I am always,

always yours.

NeONBRAND, Unsplash

© 2019, Marie Lavender.

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Filed under Blogging, Event, Hope, Love, love poem, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Writing

“Aching Heart” – a poem

Aching Heart

Taillights easing farther away,

my eyelids shutter.

Patrick Tomasso, Unsplash

Even before you’ve left, I ache for you.

Missing you is pain.

In bed I yearn for your arms to hold me tight once more,

yet the room is dark and cold.

Ahmed Ashhaadh, Unsplash

All I have are memories,

the remnant of your kiss on my lips,

your scent surrounding me.

Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

Even though I know you’re driving home,

I worry for you, hoping you’ll get there safe,

just as I always have.

Joe Gardner, Unsplash

These miles separate us too often…

Digital messages pale to the real thing…just having you beside me is a blessing.

Still, I ache.

I keep myself busy each day, but there there’s that moment,

when a joke comes along, or a sight I want to share…

William Iven, Unsplash

but you’re not here.

It’s frightening to need someone this way.

Yet I know it’s love,

the true kind.

Created by Freepik

Yearning for the day we can finally be together without the world getting in the way…

it’s a long wait to say ‘I do’.

Brian Hartley, Unsplash

But I’ll keep going.

You are my strength,

my hope,

my heart,

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the only one I want to touch me in a million ways.

You mean so much to me.

Created by Vectorpouch – Freepik.com

Before I say goodnight – knowing that maybe…just maybe I’ll see you in my dreams –

I will state one last thing you’ll never have to doubt.

I am…

always,

always yours.

Brooke Winters, Unsplash

© Marie Lavender, 2018.

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Filed under Blogging, Hope, Love, love poem, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

“A Lover’s Vow” – a poem

A Lover’s Vow

Well over ten years have passed…

Still every touch,

every word,

every look feels right.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

When you hold me close at the day’s end,

once all our obligations have subsided,

and I can at last rest against your chest as we talk softly,

you’re the only home I’ve ever wanted or needed.

Created by Freepik

It’s always been easy between us,

a cosmic thread dragging us toward each other.

Especially when life got in the way,

still we’re here.

Through long talks and silly spats,

laughing until we cry,

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

wins and losses,

even personal heartaches,

our bond hasn’t changed.

It’s unbreakable,

just like the ever-flowing tides of the ocean.

Created by Kireyonok_Yuliya – Freepik.com

My love for you is steady and deep.

Attraction aside, I need you the way I require my next breath.

Your face,

your voice,

the heart that I crave,

completing our circle of hearts and minds as we explore the world together.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

We chose an eternal symbol to represent who we are…for plenty of reasons,

but I’d live whole lifetimes with you,

and perhaps we have before,

in past lives,

our souls connecting many times.

Everton Vila, Unsplash

Just know you mean everything to me,

and I yearn for the day I can proudly claim to be your wife.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Until the moment our hearts and hands become one,

I’ll keep praying for your smile,

your touch,

your laugh and every part of you,

Created by Freepik

as you continue to brighten each day of mine.

This is my vow…

 I will always be yours.

JD Mason, Unsplash

© Marie Lavender, 2018.

2 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Hope, Love, love poem, Lovers Like Us, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

The Relevance of Romance and Romantic Literature in Modern Society: a guest post by Inkitt

The Relevance of Romance and Romantic Literature in Modern Society

 

Romance has always been a universal theme of literary relevance. While some people today are of the belief that Romanticism has seen its day, many more would argue that it is still alive and well. In fact, one could even present the case that – given its constant presence in the media and news today – Romanticism is and likely always will be interwoven into the very fiber of modern society.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Since the time of forlorn lovers Romeo and Juliet, literature has had a hand in shaping the societal norms and expectations of present-day romance. Often the types of romantic relationships imagined have been limited to a particular perspective, more Gone with the Wind than Twilight, though recent years have seen a shift toward the latter. This can be accredited to the current generation’s fascination with the supernatural. One needs to only peruse the latest list of best sellers to see a theme that almost exclusively involves vampires, witches and werewolves. Yet the foundation of these can almost always be traced back to some aspect of traditional Romanticism.

Of course, with the advent of internet publishing, other alternative modes of romance are now becoming more readily accessible to a much broader audience. The mainstream acceptance of 50 Shades of Grey, for example, only became a reality after it reached a critical mass of readership amongst the romantic fan fiction community. Erotica literature, which was once thought of as taboo, is now seen today as a popular literary genre.

The democratization of access provided by the internet is also having a profound effect on the way the publishing industry is interacting with its readers. Where once literary gatekeepers dictated societal conventions of romance or any other genre, today we are seeing more agency on readers to choose what and how to read. This therefore enables them to determine the type of books they want to see published, and even in what format. This has resulted in a fundamental shift in the way writers, publishers, agencies and their audiences engage and interact.

Another area where Romance and Romantic literature have influenced modern society is in film – and in many cases, in a quite unassuming and/or unexpected way. For instance, blockbuster movies like E.T. and Jaws exhibit the aspect of Romanticism that involves fascination with the unknown, while The Ten Commandments leverages the feature of heroism. Meanwhile, Avatar plays on the appeal of mystery and escapism. Then, of course, there are the more obvious romantic films, like The Sound of Music and Snow White, which contain many of the classic elements of centuries-old Romanticism.

In fact, it would seem to be more challenging to find examples of popular novels, movies, plays, songs or even video games that don’t display certain key elements of the Romantic literature of the past. The fact that many of these fictional works have stood the test of time indicate that Romanticism isn’t merely a genre that peaked in the 1800s, but rather a concept that continues to influence the way we live, interact with one another and are entertained today.

From a literary standpoint, while the storylines and characters may have changed and newer, more daring genres have become an accepted part of society, the inspiration of Romanticism and its many concepts is as prevalent now as ever before.

 

***Patricia Doma, Head of Communications at Inkitt

 

True! I don’t believe romance will be going out of style anytime soon… 😉

Thank you, Inkitt, for this take on the evolution of romantic literature, and how it affects us today.

Guest Blogger Bio

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.

 

Links

Website:  https://www.inkitt.com/

Blog:  https://www.inkitt.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Inkitt

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

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Guest Writer, Historical, Literature, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

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.

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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!

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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 Cleo Scornavacca, plus giveaway…

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 Cleo Scornavacca, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

You would think that because I love all that is romance…books, movies, songs, real life events and because I’m an author of adult romance; that this title and question it poses would be easy to answer.

Sure, to list everything down on a page in a single line it would, but to honor romance the way it should be honored is a labored task…a labor of love, that is.

As an author, I’d like to think that although my novels are fictional, they try to hold the true essence of reality. The reality when two people who barely know one another develop feelings for each other that can only be explained as a romance in bloom.

Though it goes beyond all of that.

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Ah…those new feelings that bubble up inside one’s self; making you feel playful…alive. Maybe it’s something that the person experienced before and over time it drifted away, until the “right” person finally came along. Maybe it’s something they never experienced, like young love…when you always remember your first.

In a novel, romance can be slightly exaggerated or the story that ensues can be a bit more creative than real life. Yet the old saying of art imitating life and vice versa still holds true. When writing any story, the author builds worlds; some being elaborate windows back in time, for others, small doorways into a more modern and everyday life, yet far from the mundane.

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Where does it all come from?

Imagination?

Without a doubt!

But…

Life…living is the real romance.

Romance isn’t just about the sexy alpha that you may reach for in books. It’s not just about the woman of your dreams…no really, it’s not.

For me it’s about so much more; and it’s that more that makes writing so much better.

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More is about a memory box full of “firsts”…visible or invisible…tangible or intangible…but things that made you feel, things you hold close and never want to forget.

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A first kiss, a walk along the beach as the summer sun sets in the distance, a proposal, a birth of a child; their first cries and their first words.  The comfort from a parent when things aren’t going exactly the way you wanted them to and that same comfort you give to someone who cared for you, that in the end you will care for them.

Perhaps it’s a hug from a friend or a letter from a someone you’re close to, but is a million miles away. Maybe it’s romance in a song that you hadn’t heard in ages, but still can sing along to today.

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Maybe it’s a movie that you remember all of the best lines to.

Or…

Maybe it’s all of these experiences wrapped up in one. Something that is settled deep within you soul, that puts a smile on your face and when it betrays you… it guts you to your core.

Because…it is you.

Romance is the connection…the love, the passion, the whimsy, the fight. It’s the heart that feels full, that beats loudly and keeps beating even when you hold your breath. It’s the heart that breaks, yet by some invisible thread is sewn back together…a bit tarnished, a bit scarred, but ready to love again.

It’s the we, the us, the them, the they, the me and the you.

Romance…it’s the indescribable, describable everything.

Wow! Very nice and romantic. I couldn’t have said it better myself… 😉

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Head on over to this Instafreebie promo, and have a chance of winning a copy of MISS TAKEN! It’s only for a limited time, so jump on the offer! 🙂

 

Woo hoo! Sounds great!

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! And check out the rest of the series too! 😉

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Cleo! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Cleo Scornavacca is an author of Adult Romance, a wife, a mom & a true “Jersey Girl”. She was born and raised in NJ and still resides in the Garden State.

In 2012, Cleo began writing Miss Taken, her debut novel and book one in the Miss Taken Identity Series. Identity, book two, was published in 2014 and The Ties That Bind followed in 2016, which completed the series. In addition, Cleo is currently working on several other titles. Two of which are Within Six Months, one of four standalones in her new Wild Roses Series, which will feature secondary characters from Miss Taken Identity; and The House On Leighton Avenue, which is an adult romance with a haunting twist, an unusual departure from her other books.

Cleo was honored to be a part of two anthologies. This Beautiful Escape, Volume One, contains her personal short story called “Small Gestures”. All of the proceeds to This Beautiful Escape go to the fund for Ataxia Awareness. The second anthology, yet to be released; is for Project Semi-Colon. Cleo’s story is called “A Letter to My Younger Self”.

Cleo is the senior columnist for Lust Bites Magazine and a proud member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the New Jersey Romance Writers (NJRW) organizations. When she isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her family, friends and her Dobie, Brayden. Cleo enjoys reading all types romance, books on Italy, listening to 80’s metal bands, watching movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age, indulging in pink Prosecco and of course, squishing her feet in the sand down at the Jersey Shore every chance she gets.

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, Cleo, for giving us your perspective on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Belinda Y. Hughes visits us on June 15th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

1 Comment

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Tanya W. Newman

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 Tanya W. Newman, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

When I made the decision to write about what romance means to me, I immediately thought back on one of my favorite moments from The Golden Girls.  A character, Blanche (the most promiscuous), has been dating a man who has never made a move on her.  When she asks him why, he says any two people can just sleep together, but what he believes in is romance.  He explains what that means by walking over to Blanche, slowly stroking the side of her face, and kissing her, just once.  He smiles but leaves without a word and as Blanche looks after him long after he has gone, she finally smiles to herself, folds her arms over her chest, and we know that she understands what he means.

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The moment is a small one, but it is one that we know will last in Blanche’s memory.  It is also a moment that illustrates what romance means to me.  Small moments such as this can actually be quite lasting and powerful, and when they occur, mostly in the form of a kiss or even an exchange of looks or smiles, they show a quiet understanding or connection between two people.  Those are the moments that catch my heart and send it racing.  And wow, is it romantic!

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There are many places where I have come across these small moments of connection.  One of the most recent is in the music video for “Don’t Mean Nothing” by Richard Marx.  In the video, an aspiring actress moves into an apartment complex and is increasingly disillusioned by the industry as well as being hit on by her landlord.  Marx plays a musician living in the complex.  They have several encounters where their eyes meet, but she always looks away.  Finally, near the end, she leaves the complex one morning, looks Marx’s way as he is coming outside with coffee, radiates a beautiful smile, and says, “Hi.”  He nods in return and a moment later, she turns back to smile at him once again and he stares after her.  We don’t know what made her change in this moment, but it doesn’t really matter.  It’s lovely and romantic because there seems to be a knowledge in each character’s smile, showing how they understand what the other goes through day after day trying to “make it” in show business.  They know one another without knowing one another in a sense, and therefore a connection is formed that will probably last—not unlike La La Land, I suppose.

I came to realize how much I value small moments of connection in my own work as well.  In my second novel, Winter Rain, there is a moment when my character, Spencer, offers his hand to another character Isabel, asking her to dance with him.  They are at a party but have found themselves on a balcony, just the two of them.  They’ve barely met or said a word to one another, but as Isabel looks into his eyes, she sees something she hasn’t seen in anyone and Spencer, an otherwise womanizer, sees the same in Isabel.  They come together, dancing slowly and intimately out on that balcony, but never kiss or say another word to one another.  Nonetheless, a connection is felt and it’s one that lasts beyond his friend trying to come between them and have Isabel for himself.  I came to realize here, how romantic I find dancing as well because of its connection without words.  This is not the only instance in which Spencer and Isabel dance instead of talking to one another, how these brief moments of contact replace conversation.

It happens in my other novel, The Good Thief, as well.  In that story, my character, James, asks Scotlyn to dance on their first date and she agrees with heart-pounding nervousness.  But once she is next to him, the panic fades and all she sees or feels is him.  The dance ends in a kiss that lasts in her memory for long after and it is a memory she frequently revisits when she finds herself in danger.

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These men love these women, more than they thought they were capable of loving anyone, and if I do my job right as a writer, then readers are able to see that as the small moments between the characters continue.

There are countless other facets I find romantic but in the end, the moments where two people connect and understand one another are what I find the most romantic. They’re the moments that catch my heart and send it flying.  They’re the moments remind me of what matters most in life.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

And that is what romance means to me, why I write it, and why I love it!

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

Guest Bio

Tanya W. Newman was born and raised in the upstate of South Carolina, where she discovered her love of writing and storytelling, a love that led to a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of South Carolina Upstate, and a Master of Arts in English from Clemson University.

Now married to her wonderful husband, Mark, for twelve years, Newman still resides in the upstate of South Carolina, where she sets many of her stories. When not writing or reading, she enjoys coffee, movies (usually an action/adventure with a love story added in), long jogs, and spending time with her adorable son and daughter.

For more information, visit her website at www.tanyawnewman.com or like her page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authortanyanewman/.

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, Tanya, 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 Cleo Scornavacca visits us on June 13th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

4 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Devika Fernando

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 Devika Fernando, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

A few years ago, I decided to become a romance novelist. I’d always wanted to be an author, and romance was the first genre that came into my mind because I’d always been partial to reading it and because I believe in the power of love. But, what does romance mean to me, on a personal level and as a writer?

Sometimes people ask me whether I write from experience. The answer is yes and no. In a way, a little of me finds its way into every character and story. I think it’s inevitable when you write, especially when you think of what and how you want your heroine and hero to be. But, interestingly, the romance part is something certainly not stemming from experience. In fact, it’s my parents’ damaged marriage that paradoxically made me search for love stories that endure. It’s what I witnessed indirectly and directly while growing up that led me to exploring how relationships work, and they may or may not be salvaged. On top of that, I was always the loner and the quiet bookworm, the nerd and writer.

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And looking back now, I think that not only paved my way to becoming an artist but also gave it that much more sense to seek solace in romance novels (reading them and now writing them). Because I understood the yearning to be completed, understood, valued, seen as special and worthy of attention. Because I knew the feeling of wanting someone to scratch the surface and embark to find the real me.

It’s something I ultimately inject in all my romance novels. That’s why I create characters who are flawed and unique, who are believable and struggle and love like all of us. On a subconscious level, it might also be why I chose to write paranormal romance novels like PLAYING WITH FIRE and its two sequels. Writing about a heroine with a magical gift, who was shunned as an outsider and imprisoned in the confines of this world, made it possible to free something and to convey the message that we’re all special and we all yearn for and deserve love.

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That being said, my own ‘romantic story’ has also influenced by novels. When I left Germany after having spent the first 19 years of my life there, I met the love of my life in Sri Lanka. And that changed everything – above all, it made me realize that true love really doesn’t care about ethnicities or family issues or even previous plans for the future. It will find a way, come what may.

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All of this reflects in my multicultural romance novels like SAVED IN SRI LANKA and SEDUCED IN SPAIN.

I write not just about physical attraction and that first rush of falling in love, but also about compromising and trusting, about discovering oneself as one falls for someone else who’s more like a missing piece than a stranger.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

 

Romance – and love – means all that to me.

 

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

Guest Bio

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet and sensual, deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust.

What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, Devika is a faithful servant to all the cats and dogs she has adopted. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

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, Devika, 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 Tanya Newman visits us on June 8th! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

5 Comments

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