Tag Archives: message

“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.

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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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by C.L. Donley

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 C.L. Donley, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

It took me my entire 35 years to realize that I was a romantic person.

It was the last thing anyone would ever accuse me of being. None of the telltale signs were there. I didn’t particularly enjoy romantic movies, never had any bouts of boy craziness or childhood crushes. Certain love songs made me cringe. I was never particularly girly, didn’t go to dances or prom, hadn’t really been on a proper date really. Certainly I wanted to be in love, like any woman. And when I met my husband it was likely all of these misnomers that caused me to accept much less than I deserved. Anniversaries went uncelebrated; Valentine’s was just another corporate holiday. Even birthdays could sometimes be considered vain, if too much money was spent.

Several years and three kids later, after enduring all this, not to mention infidelity and a host of other problems, I found myself wanting to escape. It’s cliché, I know, but which part? The situation itself or my reaction to it?

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I knew I couldn’t very well get in the car and leave my family behind. If only there were a way to go somewhere without physically leaving. Instinctively, I reached for romance.

At first it was a concession, a guilty pleasure. Like everyone else, I knew all the stigmas attached to the genre. As an English major and writer, I had to get over my own pretenses and open my first romance novel. I chose a Harlequin, being familiar with the name. And it didn’t take long for me begin a steady diet of romance literature.

Within a week I was coming across some really compelling stories and I realized that like anything else, romance could be done well. One day I remember reading something and just feeling completely alive and happy. I realized that I actually was a romantic person. That romance wasn’t necessarily a certain order of outward gestures or traditions. It was the business of loving and being loved and the fruit of that, because all love bears fruit. I learned that it wasn’t romance I lacked, but sentimentality. It’s this lack of sentimentality that makes my voice unique among romance writers.

It didn’t dawn on me at first that I should write romance. I was a writer in denial, on the run. I never wrote for fun; the idea of writing as a job sounded like the worst torture. I pretty much only wrote for school, which was years ago, and after three small kids all under five, the idea of writing for me was pretty much laughable. Part of me was unsettled, because it was the most prominent talent I had. People that barely knew me would ask me if I was still writing, and I would have to break the news to them. In the back of my mind I felt all kinds of guilt that I wasn’t utilizing my gift.

In the thick of a separation from my husband, I was starting to think about the future, and what, inevitably I would have to do for money. I dusted off my résumé, started looking into childcare prices for my kids. In the midst of that I got a germ of an idea. Not unusual. I got story ideas all the time, all of which I ignored. But this one was a romance, and it gnawed at me all day. The thought of taking pencil to paper was nauseating, so I saved an audio note on my phone. And that was the moment the floodgates opened.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

The ideas wouldn’t stop. I wrote for twelve hours that day. I had 12,000 words by the end of the weekend. In three weeks I had the whole novel, the initial draft of what eventually became Amara’s Calling.

Romance saved my life. Not only did it connect me to my heart, but to my identity as a writer. It kept me from taking out my frustrations on my family, propped up a marriage that would’ve otherwise crumbled before its time, and was the hope that kept me buoyant after it was over. It showed me that love was not a matter of being attractive or deserving, but a necessary part of being alive, not to mention a necessary part of being a woman. It made me realize that nothing was wrong with me or my sexuality, that my marital issues were less about my personal failures but more about the fact that I was being starved. Without that realization I might still be blaming myself today.

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I suspect that all women have an infinite capacity to be loved, as in no amount of romance is enough. It sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it isn’t. Do we ever get to the point as humans that we’ve had enough food and we no longer need anymore? No, because it’s not the way the system works. I suspect love is like food in that it can have a variance in quantity and quality, and these variables can positively or negatively affect the health of the individual.

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Love should be daily, fresh and new in the same way. To me, romance is life itself. And now that I’m waking up every morning, excited to see what more I can create, I’ve never felt more loved than I do now.

Great! Love should improve us in various ways…and like you, I agree that reading and writing romance opens your mind and heart to its possibilities. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, C.L.! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance. Armed with an B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is a natural born writer and can’t wait to be done with this bio so she can get back to it. Her writing style is sophisticated yet simple, apologetically escapist and character driven. She likes to write lovable, redeemable and believable characters and place them in equally lovable, romantic and relatable settings and scenarios– removed from reality just enough so that reader can properly escape, and even revisit!
She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her. Check out her website, Facebook page, Twitter page and feel free to email her at cldonleyauthor@gmail.com.

Author Links

Website:  cldonley.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/AmarasCalling

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/C_L_Donley

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/C.L.-Donley/e/B078Z6TSS8/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17605062.C_L_Donley

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

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

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for a historical romance blog tour feature when author Sofie Darling visits us on April 24th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

3 Comments

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Bonnie McCune

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 Bonnie McCune, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love at first sight. Many of us, at least the very young and very naïve, believe it happens. But whether love occurs with the speed of lightning or following long and complex efforts at a relationship, most agree romantic love exists.

JD Mason, Unsplash

Being humans, our fascination with romance, our expressions of love take many forms, most of them relatively harmless. We might shower gifts of jewelry on our beloved, share preferences in food and wine, proclaim our feelings on social media. We search for examples of love in films, music, art, and enjoy emotions vicariously.

Recently on opposite sides of the globe, however, authorities are intervening on physical demonstrations of attraction. First up, Vietnam, where the Publishing and Printing Department is cracking down on “clichéd, useless, obscene and offensive” works that are “poisoning” the youth. (This same claim has been used off and on in the U.S. and other regions during various censorship battles.) Furthermore, “government needs to regulate an activity related to culture and people’s way of thinking so that it can benefit people”.

If only. If only all of humanity could agree on a method to truly benefit people. Unfortunately, down through the ages, this activity always seems to include punishing, even destroying those who don’t concur with authorities, like Nazis and various religious fundamentalists.

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I’m afraid that romance, like hunger, seems to be a basic instinct, and fails to obey rules, laws, even parental decrees. Think of Romeo and Juliet. Heck, think of American teens who not infrequently sneak out windows to meet their crushes. Or the teachers and chaperones who rode herd on necking couples at dances years ago.

Romance often benefits from tangible symbols. Over the years, letter sweaters, going-steady class rings, engagement rings, matching tattoos or nose rings are examples. In Paris, star-struck lovers once attached thousands of locks on bridges and railings as symbols of their relationships.

Pedro Kümmel, Unsplash

Some say Asian tourists started the craze, others that a book and film were responsible. In any case, sections of fencing on bridges were crumbling under the weight, posing a safety risk as well as “degradation of property heritage”, not to mention problems associated with graffiti, pickpockets and street vendors. The city now removes them for auction as mementoes.

Other cities face the problem differently. They don’t remove locks. Instead, in Rome, city officials created official spots—steel posts with chains on the bridge—to eliminate damage to the infrastructure. We haven’t had much luck in the USA catching perpetrators who use graffiti to proclaim their desires. Painting over the results helps but has little effect on carvings.

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I’m not optimistic any activity can control the interest in and demonstration of romance. Humans are nothing if not creative. We’ve been dodging censors for millennia, and finding creative ways to express emotion even longer. However, the attempts at restraint are ever-changing and as entertaining as the many paths of love.

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

Seems to me the true symbols of love consist of the length of a relationship and the content of it. I’ve never understood how patronizing or abusive actions can be labeled ‘romance’. Romance should be a positive quality. It should enhance the lives of the people involved. External trappings mean little to me.

My final evaluation, whether of a real-life romance or one in books, is…Does this romance bring out the best in the romantic partners? In Never Retreat, my newest novel, there’s no doubt both Raye and Des wind up as better, more caring humans.

That’s what romance means to me.

Nice! Love should improve us in various ways…and I agree that romance cannot be tamed, despite society’s attempts to control it. 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Bonnie! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio
Coloradan Bonnie McCune has been writing since age ten, when she submitted a poem to the Saturday Evening Post (it was immediately rejected). This interest facilitated her career in nonprofits, doing public and community relations and marketing. She’s worked for libraries, directed a small arts organization, and managed Denver’s beautification program. Simultaneously, she’s been a freelance writer with publications in local, regional, and specialty publications for news and features. Her true passion is fiction, and her pieces have won several awards. Never Retreat is her third novel and her fifth book of fiction. For reasons unknown (an unacknowledged optimism?), she believes one person can make a difference in this world.

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

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

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

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

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

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

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

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

 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our new exclusive author interview feature when author Suzanne Jefferies visits us on April 3rd! Yay! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

8 Comments

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

The Fiction Fact on Writing About Love: a guest post by author Khaled Talib

The Fiction Fact on Writing About Love

by Khaled Talib

 

I queried a UK book blogger a while back about the possibility of reviewing my newly released thriller, Gun Kiss. She agreed to read it, but it didn’t turn out well for me. The blogger was abusive in her review of my book, highlighting nothing positive about it. In fact, she even went to the extent of saying that it was not a book she would recommend to anyone. Yet she cared enough to publish the review on her blog, book cover and all. Why bother if you hate it that much?

Of course, I didn’t agree with the reviewer’s unsubstantiated comments even though the blogger was just one of the many reviewers that I had contacted. So, it’s not the end of the world. I am accustomed to receiving criticisms. And just like other authors, I have enjoyed my fair share of positive reviews. Gun Kiss was no exception as it also received praise from some renowned critics.

I could have responded to all her nitpicking, but I didn’t see the need because other reviewers and readers didn’t have problems with them. However, the blogger highlighted something that I felt compelled to write in this article in a counter-attempt to defend my writing. She complained that my protagonist fell in love with the co-protagonist “like instantly” after seeing her once. She added: “Had seen her once, when he rescued her and now he [sic] in love.”

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If the reviewer had paid more attention to my words, she would have noticed the depth of the story. I had explained the protagonist’s reaction when he first sees the co-protagonist, who happens to be a famous Hollywood movie star despite the circumstances they were both embroiled in. I explained the excitement and infatuation amidst chaos, then later some reflection of thoughts when the protagonist was in a better situation.

But really, what’s the problem with someone falling in love instantly? It’s not unnatural. Must the setting be languid and calm as opposed to a tense backdrop? I knew someone who fell in love with his wife instantly at university, then proposed to her after two weeks. I also know cases of men who got married within a day’s notice. Hell, I also read a newspaper article where a couple fell in love when they met at a funeral! Some people might fall in love slowly, but it can be lightning speed for others. What has time got to do with falling in love?

The one thing authors learn about the craft of novel writing is that the story must sound believable. It must sound real. To do that, all writers know that they must control their imagination while injecting information or facts that sound realistic albeit in the realm of fiction. While writing Gun Kiss, I didn’t stray from the lessons I’ve learned. I did no wrong in creating scenes where the protagonist expressed his love for the co-protagonist. In fact, I wrote those scenes reinforced by fact.

It was reported in the media that scientists claimed it takes only 8.2 seconds for a man to fall in love at first sight. Imagine that! Based on a study, they discovered that the longer a man’s gaze rests on a woman when they meet for the first time, the more interested he becomes. The report highlighted that if it lasts just four seconds, the person may not be all that impressed. But if it breaks the 8.2 second barrier, he could already be in love. There you go… I didn’t embellish my story. I was not even lazy in my description and I certainly did not go out of my way to produce the unbelievable. I wrote the novel based on possibilities by simply translating fact into fiction, according to acceptable standards. Now had I written a supernatural work of fiction, that would be an entirely different story. You could fall in love in two seconds by taking a pill or some injection in the world of science fiction.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

I am not an expert in behavioral science, but I am aware that nobody on this planet, not even book bloggers, have answers about what causes men and women to relate to each other. Rumi can talk about love, but he for sure knows Jack shit how it works. So, who is to tell me why my protagonist can’t fall in love the first time he sees the movie star?

I am not about to delve into this crazy topic of love; it has been written a gazillion times. I cannot add any new theories to it. But I don’t think I was wrong in describing my male protagonist’s reaction. The story was intended to be that way. As a storyteller, I am entitled to write however I want the story to be so long as it doesn’t appear unfocused.

Stories with love themes have been written before I was even born. So many different angles, plots and themes have been taken. Some have been rehashed and recycled. All I did was to put a fresh spin as they were intended to be.

You might agree with me or you might not, depending on your own personal experiences and observations of other people. All I know is this: when it comes to love, 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2. And that, my friend, is a fact…

Wow! Thank you, Khaled, for giving us a peek into your writing world and showing us a different spin on relationships. You are so right. Love is quite complicated, its intricacies oftentimes inexplicable. My fiancé claims he fell in love with me right away, but was hesitant to admit it for a while until he was sure we were a perfect fit. For myself, being both a romance reader and author, I have no doubt that people can fall in love quickly. After all, this is the I LOVE ROMANCE BLOG, right? 😉

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this romantic thriller? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

This is the blurb for Gun Kiss:

A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue…

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.

What are people saying about this book?

“From Washington, D.C. to Hollywood and Veracruz, Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib is a terrific adventure involving the FBI, drug lords, movie stars, and Russian generals. Grab your copy, drop into your favorite reading chair, and prepare yourself for breathless suspense.” — Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins

Gun Kiss is a whip-smart thriller that brings to mind Don Winslow’s masterful work that includes, most recently, The Force. Khaled Talib rockets to the top of the pop culture pack with a tale in which every page is chock full of angst-riddled action and searing suspense. Gun Kiss manages to be hot and cool at the same time, a genre bender that breaks a host of rules while crafting new ones in their place. Featuring both a classic man-of-mystery hero and an equally classic femme fatale, this is reading entertainment of the highest order.” — Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of The Rising

“Take a deep breath, because Gun Kiss‘s special brand of high-octane action is on its way to market, and it’s a hell of a ride especially recommended for thriller readers who like their action not only nonstop, but tempered with a bit of romance and a lot of world-hopping political confrontations…with a range of subplots designed to keep Gun Kiss unpredictable, unexpected, and sometimes unsettling as events keep on creating new connections and surprises…Readers experience a supercharged plot that grabs interest tightly and does not let go. The mark of a superior thriller lies in its ability to seamlessly transcend borders, boundaries, and special interests to provide a series of interwoven subplots that all come together in a satisfying crescendo of intrigue designed to keep readers on edge right up to the end. Take a deep breath before reading Gun Kiss. Its special brand of activity and complex personal and criminal interactions makes it hard to put down, and highly recommended for thriller and crime readers alike.” — Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Talib’s wisecracking hero in Gun Kiss propels readers on an unforgettable ride across several continents. This blockbuster thriller offers the perfect mix of elements to satisfy any reader, including the quest for historic artifacts, a fierce battle against drug lords, and a memorable romance with a Hollywood starlet. Add it to your must-read list.” —K.J. Howe, author of The Freedom Broker

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B077GF1Z67

 

♥♥♥ Nice! This looks like quite a riveting romantic read! 

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

Author Bio

Khaled Talib is the author of Gun Kiss, a thriller published in December 2017 by Imajin Books in Canada. He is a former magazine journalist and public relations practitioner. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines. The author’s debut thriller, Smokescreen, was listed by Indie Reader as one of the six “boundary breaking” indie novels while his second novel, Incognito, won the 2017 AuthorsDB Silver Award for its cover. Khaled is a member of the International Thriller Writers.

Author Links

Website:  www.khaledtalibthriller.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/khaled.talib/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KhaledTalib

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Khaled-Talib/e/B00DYPSB72/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6940359.Khaled_Talib

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

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

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

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

6 Comments

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Romantic Suspense, 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.

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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,

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as you continue to brighten each day of mine.

This is my vow…

 I will always be yours.

JD Mason, Unsplash

© Marie Lavender, 2018.

1 Comment

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

You Complete Me?: a guest post by romance author Bry Ann

You Complete Me?

by Bry Ann

 

From as long as I can remember I have been the most independent person I know. I always believed I never needed anyone. While most girls dreamed of finding Prince Charming, I dreamed of starting my own company. While most girls were straightening their hair, I was diving into my text books so I could learn all I could to be successful. It was never about riches or success in the way most people are thinking. For me it was about building the life I wanted. Working for myself.

Then I don’t know what happened. I started writing. I became fascinated with relationships and how life struggles affected them. I softened up. I read more and more romance novels. One thing that has always stood out to me is the ‘you complete me’ concept in a lot of books. I get it. I really do, but it’s never been my cup of tea. Everything I’ve written and felt has been more along the lines of ‘you make me better and I love you, but I could live without you’. I would one day be okay if we didn’t work out. I wanted to talk a little about that. How to write two independent characters who fall in love and make each other better versus constantly needing each other.

I think a key thing in writing is the difference between leaning on somewhat for support when you are trying to make yourself better or overcome something, versus letting someone do something for you. Letting them fight your battles. For example, Sam and Logan’s story in Saving Her.

Sam leans on Logan a lot throughout her struggles, but never once does she use his celebrity to fight her battles for her. She does it on her own and uses him to help her when she’s down. Emotional support. Love, and sometimes having her back when she needs it. That’s important, and it’s the reason their relationship works. He respects her.

I think another key thing is the character having their own life. For example, in Axel’s story, Aly’s family always pushes her to marry and be a housewife. She is never even allowed to consider another possibility. When Axel helps her get free and makes that an option, she immediately starts working. Even though at the end Axel can easily provide for her and she could spend her days doing whatever, there is no kid, nothing to do. She goes to college, gets an education and starts to figure out what her dreams could be outside of their relationship. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with Aly.

All in all I wanted to throw out another version of relationships. I wanted to bring into a light that codependency can be a very negative thing if your whole identity lies with one person. Respect, dignity, love, healthy competition, attraction all can go hand in hand. In fact I think that when there is a good dose of respect for what the other person is doing, it can strengthen the bond your characters have and make your readers fall in love with both people versus just the relationship itself.

Anyway, thank you guys so much for reading! I hope you will check out Sam and Logan’s story in Saving Her now on Amazon. The story depicts this perfectly and I just know you will love them.

Have a great week!

Wow! Thank you, Bry Ann, for giving us a peek into your writing world and showing us a different spin on relationships.

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this gritty romantic suspense? Sounds like a plan!:)

Great cover! 😀

This is the blurb for Saving Her:

SAM:

What is love?
Is it patient?
Is it kind?
Who the hell knows.
I don’t.
I just know I must save the one person I’ve ever opened my cold heart up to.
I don’t care what it takes to save her.
I sell drugs. I sell my soul. I don’t care. She just has to live.
Then enters Logan Prescott.
He makes sure to screw everything up. He makes me care.
He makes me feel…
And that is just not okay.

LOGAN:

Hollywood.
Lies. Sex. Fans. Attention.
Lonely.
I’ve been alone for far too long, caught up in a world I love but is slowly killing me.
The real me. The one behind the lights.
Then there’s her. The smart ass waitress who hates me with a fiery passion.

Trigger Warning: This is not a typical love story. Sam and Logan’s story contains disturbing scenes, drugs, sex and strong language.

Here is an excerpt.

After two hours of being alone in the dark with no one coming in or out, I was completely lost in the memories. It was like I was in a fog and nothing else existed. The memories wouldn’t stop coming. I closed my eyes and screamed bloody murder. Someone had to save me. I was lost. It seemed so real. I couldn’t go through that again. Even if it was all in my head. A nurse came running in. I just kept screaming and crying. She didn’t exist to me. Nothing did but the pain. She tried to talk me down, but I wouldn’t come down. I couldn’t. I was shaking so badly. I saw her put in the sedative before I could stop her.

“No please! I don’t want to sleep,” I said as my body fell limp. “No.”

“It’s okay, sweetie.”

“Logan, please,” was the last thing I remember saying.

I woke up hours later. It was still dark outside. I shook violently but stopped when I felt a strong hand on my shoulder.

“I’m here, Sam.”

“Logan.” I let all the air out of my lungs. The relief filled me.

“Yeah, it’s me. Sam, what’s going on?”

I somehow managed to get myself up to seated and tuck myself into a ball. I curled myself up as tight as I possibly could and cried. I couldn’t stop. Logan crawled into the bed next to me and pulled me into him.

Safe.

Purchase Links:

 

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B078LN3WZ4

♥♥♥ Gripping! This looks like quite a romantic tale! 

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

Author Bio

Bry Ann is a psychology student at Arizona State University. She currently lives up in the Rocky Mountains in Granby, Colorado. She spends most of her free time reading dark romance books, writing anytime she can get her hands on a computer and doing homework anytime she can squeeze it in. Bry Ann has been writing for as long as she can remember. Even from the youngest of ages she was writing about characters with dark pasts and shady stories. As she got older, she decided everyone should get a love story so soon her dark stories got happy endings. She loves to hear from her readers and talk all things books, so feel free to contact her on any of her social media pages!

Author Links

Website:  http://www.authorbryann.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorbryann

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/authorbryann

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2DRO10Y

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17095210.Bry_Ann

Tumblr:  www.authorbryann.tumblr.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/authorbryann

Pinterest:  www.pinterest.com/authorbryann

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/109937895438594736337

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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

Special Music Feature: Christopher Ferguson

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Here is some great romantic themed music by Christopher Ferguson.

Please help me in welcoming our first musical post to this romance blog! With Love, an album featuring some romantic songs, is available on ReverbNation.

First of all, I’d like to point out that Christopher reached out to me after a reader of the I Love Romance Blog referred him to us.

That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your album! 😉

Let’s take a look at this romance themed album, With Love, today.

Nice cover!

This is the info on With Love:

Check out one of the songs, “Tell You Hello”, here!

Sounds great! This song features Keith Taylor (Dean of Music, University of Alabama), Ami Kim (vocalist from Memphis) and Christopher Ferguson on upright bass.

Also, listen to “My Heart”, here!

Wow! Thank you for telling us about your album! It looks wonderful! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to check this album out at ReverbNation. You’re sure to be moved by these songs!

Musician Bio

My name is Christopher Ferguson. I am primarily a musician/composer (….a bass guy) and have also been writing for NPR for the last couple of years, as well (mainly just short stories that I narrate and that get broadcast on our local NPR station here in Alabama).

I call my brand of music “With Love”. The music is piano, bass and vocal. It is intentionally not loud or aggressive. I am writing gentle songs, that are soft and require the attention of a listener, with the intent of giving them something to use to reflect upon their own thoughts and feelings of love.

Link

ReverbNation:  https://www.reverbnation.com/fergusonandwithlove/songs

 

Thanks again, Christopher! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime, perhaps with your next musical release. 

Happy listening, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Contemporary, Drama, Event, Faith, Hope, Love, Message, music, Readers, Romance

Chivalry Doesn’t Have to Be Dead: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Chivalry Doesn’t Have to Be Dead

 

It isn’t a reach to suppose that many romance readers spent part of their childhoods dreaming of sweeping fairytale relationships, comprised of a white knight on a steed coming to a maiden’s rescue after slaying a dragon for her.

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Or, for a feminist type, perhaps she was indeed the one saving her chosen male. Why not? Such individuals not only still savor a great romantic tale, but also most likely continue to admire happy couples around them. We’re looking for that elusive ‘soul mate’. Some of us, myself included, took it a step further, and now write those sweeping romance stories that might capture readers’ hearts.

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I always dreamt of a love that would stand the test of time, a true romance like my parents had. Not an easy love, by any means. Even in romance novels, the journey includes ups and downs, as in life. But I hoped – and yes, even prayed – to find my soul mate, someone who understood me, accepted my dreams, weathered the storms of existence with me. And I would do the same for him. I poured that yearning into my stories, telling complex tales of imperfect people who found each other despite the obstacles thrown in their direction. For it’s true that real people are flawed. We live, love, hurt, and keep repeating the cycle. That’s life. I guess it’s one reason I launched the I Love Romance Blog – to not only discover new romance novels and the talented authors who wrote them, but also to learn how other people view romance. What were their romantic adventures? What advice might they offer up to readers?

I believe that within us thrives a light, a little hope for a companion to stand up and support us during our greatest accomplishments, as well as when life just gets too crazy. A partner, so to speak.

Yet, the perfect partner isn’t a perfect person. He or she has probably done something foolish before, and they might have a few regrets. There will be similar interests, but you’ll have a few differences as well.

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It’s true that I am fortunate. I found my soul mate. We’re creative people, and I love that I’ll never have to explain the intricacies of the muse to the man I love. But, there are occasional days when we disagree, when one of us tries to needle the other. I like to make plans, and my fiancé is definitely more casual about life. Though that might seem like a nutty match, it actually works because our differences make us stronger. Those little things complement each other.

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As partners, we challenge one another, and thereby put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. We’re both Libras too; so that makes for an interesting decision-making process when it comes to trivialities such as what to eat for dinner or which film to watch for the evening. We agree on so much, and yet there are traits that make us entirely unique. Still, at the end of the day, we have treasured moments of peace, cuddling and finding comfort together when words are no longer necessary.

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My point here is that whoever you imagine will be your soul mate might not be the person who ends up as the one tailor-made for you. It’s okay to be surprised. Life is unpredictable. Keep an open mind on the journey. Don’t close the door to new experiences. You just might find that your destiny turns out even better than you planned or imagined.

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Be your own white knight. Open yourself to the world, and enter it with a kinder heart. And this suggestion isn’t merely because Christmastime, the season of giving, is upon us. This is a year-round request. Do something nice for your neighbor, or the next person you see on the street. Of course, you can do that without seeming like a stalker. Just be kind. Open a door for someone, offer a smile. Give that person a rose from Roses Only.

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You never know how that small kindness will impact another soul, how many ways it might inspire. Perhaps by doing so, you’ve given them a small slice of hope, and it just might be enough to jumpstart them on their own new journey.

Someone out there is your perfect match, not because he or she is, in fact, perfect (no one is), but rather because that individual was made for you. When you’re both ready, at a precise moment in time, you will find the one. In the meantime, keep everyone else open to it too.

 

Romance is a dream we hold tight inside our hearts. But it’s not fictional at all. Romance can be a mere thought, a word, or an act. Something as simple as holding a person’s hand is a tactile gesture that can change your entire perspective. As reading can open new worlds us, so can our own dreams of romance. Think about the traits you might like in a mate. Someone trustworthy, dependable…perhaps inventive? Jot them all down, if you prefer. Remember not to limit your imagination, but don’t get tied down to appearances either. There are those who prefer blondes or dark-haired individuals. In reality, it’s superficial. Though it’s possible the person meant for you might have one of those specific traits, in all likelihood they may not.

Let me explain. In the dictionary, a soul mate is defined as “a person who strongly resembles another in attitudes or beliefs”. Sure, that makes sense. You’d want to have similar values if you were dating someone. The earliest known use of the word soul mate was when Samuel Taylor Coleridge implemented the term in a letter to a young lady, claiming that a person shouldn’t “settle, but rather [choose someone] whose character and sensibilities [are of] a nature suitable to [their] own”. It’s not about looks, but rather about two souls connecting.

That’s a better way of saying it, right? Opt instead for the person who is the perfect accompaniment to your own unique tune, and together you’ll create the best symphony in the world.

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Anyway, that’s my take on it! ♥♥♥

Host Blogger Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She is also the moderator of three blogs…the I Love Romance Blog, Marie Lavender’s Books!, and Writing in the Modern Age. She’s the proud recipient of several blogging awards and book awards. Follow Marie via her author website, varied blogs, or on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Her books can be located at most online booksellers.

Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:  http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

AllAuthor:  http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

Youtube/Book Trailers:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday season!

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I’ll check back in for our end of the year post. 😉

 

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Dating Tips, Faith, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

How to Survive Holiday Stress With Your Sweetie: a guest post by Dating Connections

How to Survive Holiday Stress with Your Sweetie

 

The Christmas craze is upon us and as much as ladies love to shop till they drop with the greatest excuse of them all (it’s Christmas!), their partners are usually the ones getting the short end of the stick as a gift. Between bringing home half of Pottery Barn’s Christmas collection to capture the holiday spirit, not leaving an ounce of it for anyone else on the planet, and going all out this year in terms of gifts for family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, and various charity organizations, it’s no wonder your partner can feel left out as you two face the stress of the holiday season.

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Let’s take a moment to reflect on an extremely important fact of life here – men don’t care for gifts.

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They want to have a nice dinner with their ladies over a bottle of wine and some Star Trek (choice of movie optional). They don’t care for shopping, home decor, expensive wrapping paper or Christmas cards, no matter how cute, inspirational or uplifting you may find the latest celebrity snapchats – the holiday edition! With this painful truth in mind, we present the top ways to give your man what he really wants this Christmas season without having to spend a cent on stress relief programs for yourself.

Shower Him with Affection

Your man wants you all year long, and doesn’t care what season it is. Although you’d rather go see that latest museum exhibit only in town until mid-December between picking your company Christmas party dress and getting your hair done before the actual holiday craze even begins, he’d rather lounge around the house with you and lay low until it all passes.

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Keep that in mind the next time you are faced with a tough decision whether to get him that sweater in navy blue or brown. Also, you can use these simple expectations to loosen up and relax with your man after an action-packed day, and get the best of both worlds.

Lingerie As A Gift For Him

If you absolutely must shop, buy yourself sexy new lingerie. He already has a closet full of dress shirts you keep buying that he never wears. But if you surprise him with a cute little hot pink number you’ll find yourself in a win-win kind of situation – you get to shop, and he gets to enjoy it.

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When picking new bras, busties, thongs, or babydolls, keep in mind the things he likes in terms of color, shape, and size. Surprise him by showing how much you’re thinking about his needs and desires, not by getting him tickets to the Christmas ballet show. Following your successful choice of sexy lingerie that he’ll absolutely love, you won’t feel guilty about scheduling that pricey yet much needed appointment at your favorite salon that will ensure you get a stress-free and fulfilling holiday season, too.

Stay Active Throughout The Holiday Season

Regular exercise not only reduces the risk of various physical health problems, but it also puts your mind at ease by reducing the effects of depression, anxiety, stress, and a host of other mental health issues.

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Find the time to decompress at the gym at least 3 times a week as this will help you unwind, lower your stress levels, and spend actual quality time with your partner later in the day. Stretching at home or during your lunch break can also boost your “happy hormones”, and increase your productivity so that you are free to go catch a movie or go for a walk with him, and forget all about the holiday stress.

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Don’t Make Him Get Involved

If a man can’t get what he wants, the second best thing that could happen is for him to be left alone. Don’t make him go with you to pick your mom’s present or ask his opinion on every little thing you bring into the house because that is just completely pointless. He doesn’t have an opinion on it, and even if he did, it would be a man’s opinion, which in all likelihood would be contrary to yours. Show you love him by letting him be, and he will be eternally grateful.

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While you’re at it, enlist the help of your friends, and have yourself a great girl’s night out to talk about all things Christmas and men over some wine and great music. You’ll feel amazing afterwards, and your partner will be happy for you both.

Definitely some food for thought here. These are great tips for staying connected with our partners, and keeping the Christmas hustle and bustle from driving us crazy.

Thank you, Dating Connections, for such great advice! ♥♥♥

Guest Blogger Bio

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

Links

Website:  http://datingconnections.org/

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DatingConnect

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

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉 Have a great rest of your week!

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Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Guest Writer, Holiday, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

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

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 Jenny Lynn, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Romance is a moment that we can all feel building up inside us. It can exist when we make fleeting eye contact with an attractive stranger across a room. It can exist in a first kiss that rips through our entire bodies like a forest fire, completely consuming us.

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Or it can exist holding hands during an evening stroll with the person we have loved for years, decades even.

Romance exists all around us, every second of every day. I love to search for it, to observe it, and through my stories – to give it a voice.

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I’ve always been a daydreamer, ever since I was a little girl. I loved romantic stories starting with Disney movies then I eventually discovered my mother’s romance novels and I was hooked. I liked that the stories were never straightforward, that there was always a point when these two people could stop and say, “It’s too hard; we can’t do this.” Of course, they never did. That’s the very essence of true love – believing that what you have is worth fighting for even when the world seems to be against you.

I dated throughout my teens and twenties, enjoying the blossoming excitement of first love and the crushing defeat of heartbreak. I learned who I was and what I wanted. I was so sure of myself. Then I met a man who broke all the rules I thought I had. As much as it sounds like I ripped this from the plot of one of my stories, I moved from a small town to the big city and met a tall, gorgeous tattooed musician who swept me off my feet. I fell hard and fast, and we had an exhilarating courtship that resulted in him proposing outside of an art gallery one evening.

It’s been almost a decade and I am still head over heels for my husband; we have added a cat and a toddler to the busy life we now live. It was with his encouragement that I started writing romance, and it is because of him that I am able to write about love.

My imagination is something that still drives my stories. I like to ask myself, “what if?” I do a lot of self-reflection on the types of fantasies I have, the type of men I find irresistible (mainly confident, somewhat cocky alpha males) and then I bring them to life. My characters tell me what they want to say, how they want to behave, but I tell them how they’re going to meet and how they’re going to fall in love.

In my first set of novels, a duet, I wove a thread of family intrigue and suspense into a billionaire romance first in Falling for the Heir, followed by The Abducted Fiancée.

My new standalone novel, Delicious, comes out December 1st and is a contemporary romance about a cocky New York chef who is hiding his lineage.

My characters come alive for me, and I always feel a sense of responsibility to do their stories justice.

I am in awe of the incredibly talented romance writers I have met while I’m starting out. They have given me so much support and advice, not to mention the readers whose wonderful feedback keeps me writing. Being a part of this world gives me a chance to create happy endings over, and over again. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Nice! I know exactly what you mean… 😉
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Jenny! A pleasure to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

I’m a contemporary romance writer who creates complex characters, exciting plot twists, true love and steamy scenes that keep readers up and night wanting to turn the page. When I’m not writing I’m playing with my toddler son, going on dates with my husband, petting my cat or I’m in a dimly lit lounge sipping wine while I daydream about my next story idea. I have a background in creative writing and have had short stories published in multiple literary magazines.

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, as the host, 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, Jenny, for giving us your take on what romance has come to mean to you. Lovely! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for  a great guest post by Dating Connections, which details some tips on how to better connect with your partner over the hectic holidays, when the company Dating Connections visits us on December 1st! Yay! 🙂

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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