Tag Archives: multicultural romance

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?

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

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.

Created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

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.

Created by Freepik

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!

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

Book Feature: The Maze Effect – Finding Mr. Right by author Majel Jay

I am pleased to announce a great book by Majel Jay, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her awesome modern multicultural romance, The Maze Effect: Finding Mr. Right, which released back in January!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover new authors and books. 😀

Majel is allowing us a look at her cool contemporary romance, The Maze Effect: Finding Mr. Right, today.

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for The Maze Effect: Finding Mr. Right:

Every woman wants the perfect man… or at the very least, a decent man.
“Mr. Right”
How do you find him?
What does he look like?
Is there a formula to know who he is?
Just ask Kimberly Kay Nezda, a successful young diva with a budding career in a big city. She had it all, or so she thought. She had many encounters and was confident she had finally found Mr. Right.
A rich, handsome suitor, the mark of perfection, but did she let him walk “The Maze?”
Was it the perfect love story or the perfect storm?
The Maze Effect is a steamy, riveting short story about dating, sex and falling in love. You’ll be captivated as you read Kimberly’s story of an epic life-changing journey into love and finding Mr. Right.

And here are some excerpts to tease you with.

EXCERPT 1

I caught myself and regained my focus quickly just in time to check him out from head to toe without being obvious. He wore a well-tailored, ash blue suit, custom made, I’m sure. The material was of excellence and so was the stitch work. Under his jacket, he wore a light, smoky baby blue shirt that was missing a tie and had the first three buttons open, exposing a bit of his neckline. His shoes were a mixture of ostrich skin and what appear to be soft baby calf leather and another skin I couldn’t decipher. Damn! I thought… his shoes looked as if it cost my whole entire wardrobe collection. He smelled divine. Without skipping a beat, I replied to his question.  “Sure, I have a little time. Jaz, do you mind?”

I turned to look at Jaz who was already prompted and ready to go.

“Yup!” she stated.

That’s my girl, I thought. I can always count on my ace to be down when need be.

He gently held my hand and beckoned for us to follow him. Through the crowd and back into the now emptying dining hall we went. He led us to a quiet corner where he proceeded to properly introduce himself.

EXCERPT 2

We stood outside the door bidding each other a good night, but neither of us moved. I looked into his face; he was pure perfection. The intense chemistry between us pulled us close without me even noticing it. Our lips touched and fireworks went off inside me. His lips were soft and full. I gently slid my tongue into his mouth and he willingly received it. He slowly cupped my tongue in his and sucked gently. Chills went down my spine. My body shivered as he pulled me into the warmth of his body and clasped me up in his arms. It was beautiful… He was beautiful. After our lips separated, I quickly sucked in a gulp of air. Marcus had officially taken my breath away.

He tenderly caressed my face and, looking deep into my eyes, he said, “Good night.”

I stayed up the rest of the night as I couldn’t sleep. The scenes of the day we spent together played in my mind like a looping video clip.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0792656KC

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-maze-effect-majel-jay/1127960722?ean=9781983975929

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Maze-Effect/Majel-Jay/9781983975929?id=7205747130327

IndieBound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781983975929

Wow! ♥♥♥ Love the steamy tension. This looks like quite a tale!

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

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! 🙂 Or you can add it to Goodreads!

Author Bio

I grew up in a big city, where I currently reside with my husband and dogs. I’m an all American girl that enjoys traveling and experimenting with different foods. I love life and believe in enjoying it to the fullest.

My writing was inspired by the way I was brought up. My mother spent a lot of time teaching me how to love myself and others. I wanted to bring this across, in a simple way, to women of all ages. I want all women to know that they are precious, priceless and irreplaceable.

Author Links

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/100197961282853855523

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Majel-Jay/e/B079FYMWFJ

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17627975.Majel_Jay

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, short stories, Stories, Writing

A Character Interview with Trini from JASON’S AWAKENING plus a conversation with author Remy Marie!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. I know it’s been a while since we did one of these. If you remember, we interviewed Linda Diane Wattley’s character back on October 24th, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Remy Marie, the author of Jason’s Awakening, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Trini Davos, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Remy in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Trini!

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

Character Trini Davos:  Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Trini:  Sure.

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

Trini:  Right now I work in the Meekins sheriff’s department. I am a deputy sheriff; however, before I moved to Meekins I worked in retail, selling video games and comics at a store call Geek Haven.

Marie:  Cool!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Trini:  It’s a typical American family. I’m an only child, so it was always the three of us. My mom is very supportive of my lifestyle, however my father, not too much. While he’s not supportive of my life choices, I know he loves me. It comes with the territory, I guess. I miss them, though. Since my change, we’ve been forbidden to visit anyone in our past lives to keep the werewolf secret.

Marie:  Oh, no! How unfortunate! 😦

Let’s try something else, okay?

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

Trini:  I grew up in a trailer park. My parents still live in the same double-wide that I grew up in.

Marie:  All right.

Do you have any hobbies, Trini? What do you enjoy doing?

Trini:  I am huge geek, like my friends Mohinder and Jason. Therefore, I love playing video games, watching movies, and reading comics and drawing my own heroes. Jason and I once had an idea to start our own comic book. I would do the drawing, while he would write it. We couldn’t come up with anything original, but it was fun just to hang out with him. I’m a huge fan of punk rock as well. If you looked on my Ipod right now, it would contain Fall Out Boy, Green Day, and Blink 182.

Marie:  Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Trini:  That’s a good question. Before everything that happened to me, I was unsure. I was with a deadbeat boyfriend working a retail job that was going nowhere. However, after my transformation, I feel like I can do anything now. You know? I see myself settling down. I wouldn’t mind having kids, but also I wouldn’t mind becoming sheriff of Meekins. I sort of like being a cop.

Marie:  (Nods.) Well, I think you can do whatever you put your mind to…

Let’s try another question.

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

Trini:  I want to be able to protect the ones I love. I never want to see one of my friends or a loved one die again. What’s stopping me? Well, it’s harder to do than explained. If I could be everywhere, I could. Even I’m not fast enough for that. Perhaps it’s a job for Superman or the Flash, depending on who I think is faster.

Marie: It’s understandable to want to keep bad things from happening. I guess the reality is we just can’t. 😦

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

Who was your first love?

Trini:  I would have to say Tobey Maguire from the first Spiderman. However, my first kiss was with Ben Thomas, in sixth grade underneath the bleachers.

Marie: Aww. So sweet. I remember those young crushes. ♥

So…not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.

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

Trini:  I would have to say that night in the woods, when we were attacked by the werewolf in white. I’ve never been so afraid before. We lost a good friend that night.

Marie:  Oh no! 😦 I’m so sorry. That must’ve been difficult.

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Trini nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Trini:  As a kid I always wanted to be an astronaut; it was a dream of mine to travel through space and discover planets and such. My dad was a huge Trekkie, so naturally, I liked Star Trek as well. That is where the dream originated. However, over time, I realized that to be an astronaut you have to learn multiple levels of science and math. Something that I’m terrible at. So that dream was dead. After high school, I started working at Geek Haven, and my dreams sort of disappeared until I met Jason. Jason and Mohinder got me out of that funk, made me see past my current life, towards the future.

Marie:  Nice! So, who is your role model, Trini?

Trini:  Jason Barton; he’s the love of my life, and I thank God that I’ve found him. However, he’s not only that. He’s the sweetest person you could ever meet. His compassion for others is one I strive to copy each and every day.

Marie: How admirable!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Trini:  I would have to say Rose, but that’s a long story I don’t feel like getting into.

Marie:  All right.

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Trini:  I would love for everyone to find their happiness. That includes Greg when he gets in his moods, Jennifer and Mohinder when they have their child, and Jason and me as we begin our new life together.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there! I think we all want our loved ones to be content in life…

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

Trini:  That’s easy. Death. I know it sounds taboo, for someone who can now live up to four hundred years, but my life is suddenly so violent. Before the transformation, I’ve rarely ever got in a fight. Now it’s seems like every month, there’s a new deadly challenge that threatens the people that I love and me.

Marie: A lot of people fear death. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. The unknown is often scary. And, of course, for your situation, it increases tenfold. I understand that it must be extremely difficult to feel so uncertain about life.

But, I’m so glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.

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

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

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

Author Remy Marie:  Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Trini Davos. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Remy:  When you first get a look at Trini Davos, you will typecast her as a goth/geek. However, there’s a lot more to Trini. Each tattoo she has tells a story. For instance, her Powerpuff girls tattoo, on her left arm, is the first tattoo she’s ever gotten. She’s a huge geek who isn’t afraid to talk comics or superheroes with anyone. Her favorite video game is Street Fighter vs. Marvel, and she was ranked in top 100 in the game online. She loves to listen to punk rock, and has a strong sense of adventure. If you ever dared Trini to do something, she would try it without thinking of the consequences.

Marie:  Nice!

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Remy:  That’s easy. It’s her bravery. Trini will jump in a burning building without thinking for one of her friends.

Marie:  Wow! Such loyalty…

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Remy:  I would have to say her trust in people. When Trini first meets someone, they instantly become friends, due to Trini’s friendly nature. However, Trini is often blindsided by the people she trusts, and she takes it hard on herself.

Marie:  I see.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Trini’s favorite foods?

Remy:  Trini is a fan of anything with Nutella on it. A typical breakfast for her is a banana covered with Nutella, along with toast covered in Nutella.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I am a chocaholic too!

How about another question?

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

Remy:  I think the one quality that Trini is unaware of is her loyalty. If you’re friends with Trini, she will have your back no matter what. She will take a punch and throw a punch for any one of her friends in a heartbeat.

Marie:  That’s commendable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Remy:  I think many people would like Trini. She was one of my favorite characters to write. She was easy to write due to how many layers she has in her character.

Marie: Great!

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

What first gave you the idea for Jason’s Awakening?

Remy:  Honestly, it started off as a superhero novel. The three characters, Jason, Trini, and Mohinder were all still there, but the entire plot was different. My wife gave me the idea, of making it a paranormal romance novel instead. So, I rewrote the entire plot and came up with other details as I wrote it.

Marie:  Intriguing!

Let’s try something else.

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

Remy:  I would say it’s a little of both.  Jason’s Awakening was a mixture of plotting and just writing. I feel like that’s a perfect combination. I like to let the story flow without having a structured outline. When I’m writing the rough draft, sometimes what I write there is better material I came up with than when I outline it.

Marie:  (Smiles.) I know what you mean…sometimes I think the characters are directing the story more than I am.

How about another question?

So, now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Jason’s Awakening or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Remy:  I would say getting the funds to have it professionally edited and beta read was a challenge. As an indie author, you have to pay for all of it. It’s even worse, when it’s your debut novel, and you don’t have a name for yourself. It seems like I spend more time marketing my book than actually writing it.

Marie:  (Groans.) Oh, me too!

Remy:  What I would do differently is have more beta readers. I only had three for this book, and at the time, I thought it was enough, however some reviews have been blunt on my mistakes and I wish I would have caught them before I published. With more beta readers, I think we could’ve made a good book amazing.

Marie:  Right! The editing stage is quite a challenge. 

Thanks for the additional tips aimed toward our aspiring writers out there!

Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Jason’s Awakening appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this paranormal romance by Remy Marie, a very talented author! :)

Here is the blurb for Jason’s Awakening:

Jason Barton isn’t your typical hero. In fact, his small frame, high IQ, and deep compassion for others keeps him in the friend zone most of the time. But despite his anti-hero traits, he still has a one-track mind when it comes to women – mainly the one who has been by his side for the last five years.

Trini Davos is the polar opposite of Jason. She’s a brave, Goth geek, who never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But a brazen attack by a group of rogue werewolves changes everything for her and her long-time friend. They narrowly escape death only to discover that wild beasts are the least of their troubles. An unlikely romance may prove to be the biggest challenge of all for them.

Jason’s Awakening offers a fresh take on the paranormal romance genre. Filled with non-stop action, steamy romance, and twists no one will see coming, this book will keep the reader hooked from start to finish.

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

Gradually, the couple neared a lingerie boutique. Jason couldn’t help but to look inside as he saw the mannequin bust of women displaying the latest lingerie style. There was a particular underwear brand that caught Jason’s attention. It was a pink lace thong with a strappy front and cheeky back. The longer Jason stared, the more he imagined Trini wearing the same article of clothing. Trini suddenly broke Jason’s attention by squeezing his hand.

“You know I have that one. It’s in black,” she added with a devilish grin.

“Wait, a what?” Jason muttered as he was awkwardly awakened from his sexual fantasy.

“I have that style in black,” Trini repeated. “I bought it two weeks ago when it went on sale. It’s a nice fit. I got this month’s catalog yesterday too. Did you want to go inside with me to see their new styles?”

“Are you not hungry?” Jason asked nervously.

“Food can wait. I just got paid this week. Come on, it would be fun. We are just going to take a quick look.” Trini proceeded to drag Jason into the store.

There were countless women in the boutique. There were some men. Most looked annoyed as they watched their partners search for the latest deals. Jason was the opposite. All of his life, he had always walked past this store and not ever gone in, he never had a reason to; today changed that reason.

Trini dragged Jason to the new arrivals section of the store as Trini browsed the new undergarment line. She muttered to herself as she brought up each underwear style and held it up to the light. She finally decided on a black satin push up bra laced with gold trimming and a golden laced black thong.

“What do you think about this?” Trini asked as she placed the bra and underwear over the clothing she had on.

Jason felt his heartbeat quicken. The longer he stared at the outfit, the more he felt his sexual desire grow for Trini. Jason finally managed to stutter, “It looks good, and do you like it?”

“I do, but you can never be too sure about these things. Come with me,” Trini said as she grabbed hold of Jason’s arm. She brought him to the fitting room location where a store clerk stood waiting.

“Men are not allowed in the dressing room,” the store clerk barked. She was an average size woman. She looked like she had already worked two full shifts as her hair was lazily placed into a ponytail.

“Actually, I wanted to come over and say that there is a woman over there who said she needed your help,” Trini said as she pointed to an older lady at the corner of the store.

“Why didn’t she come and ask for help directly from me then?”

“I don’t know? Listen, I work in retail. I know how customers are. Total bitches. I’m just trying to help you get a sale for the commission.”

A smile appeared on the woman’s face. “I do need the extra money, thanks for looking out,” she replied as she left her post.

Trini smiled darkly as she watched the store clerk approached the older lady.

“Okay, the coast is clear. Come on,” Trini said as she dragged Jason into the dressing room.

“Trini, we shouldn’t, what if we get caught,” Jason replied, worried.

“Oh, come on, you wuss. Where is your sense of adventure?” She dragged Jason into an open dressing room and closed the door right after they entered. She gave a flirtatious smile to Jason. “All right, now turn around.”

“Wait, what about Kyle?”

“It’s cool; you’re not seeing me naked or anything. It’s like seeing me in a two-piece. You’ve already seen that before. We’ve known each other for five years. That’s five years of seeing me in a bikini, right?”

“I guess.”

“You see? Nothing to worry about, now turn,” Trini commanded as she grabbed Jason’s shoulders and turned him in the opposite direction. Jason stared at the white wall as he waited for Trini to change. Jason began to stare at the sloppy graffiti written on the wall when he started to notice Trini’s articles of clothing being thrown to the ground. First, it was her tank top, followed by her bra.

She’s topless right now, Jason thought as he felt the sexual urge grow deep within him. Her dark blue skirt and underwear were discarded next. Jason felt his blood pump faster as he realized she was completely nude behind him.  Jason felt his manhood grow stiff as he fantasied about turning around and seeing what Trini’s body looked like at the moment. What I would give to see her now. Jason heard shuffling and the sound of Trini trying on the undergarments.

“All right, you can turn around now. What do you think?” Trini asked as she placed her hands on her hips, modeling the outfit.

Jason had to clench down on his teeth to keep his mouth from dropping. His throat grew dry as he looked at her desirable figure. Jason looked at every curve of her body as his eyes scanned her breasts being pushed up by her bra. Her pale bosoms looked twice as large in her satin bra. His glance made his way down to her stomach. Jason noticed she was trembling as he looked at her flat stomach. Her belly button was pierced with a black U shaped piercing.

I always liked that piercing. He finally made it to her thong, which displayed her toned shaped thighs. She slowly turned around and showed the cheeky backside of the thong. Her pale legs trembled with anticipation, as Jason inspected her. He ogled her sculptured buttock as it gently curved into a muscular shape. The thong fit her body perfectly as it showed a healthy amount of skin but still kept the mystery.

God, she looks sexy, Jason thought as he fought the temptation to touch her.

“So?” Trini asked once more.

“Ugh, you look amazing, or as Mohinder would say smashing,” Jason replied, using Mohinder’s British accent. Trini let out a small laugh at Jason’s comments. “It suits you. I think you should get it.”

“Thanks, I like it too, but I think I’m going to wait till it goes on sale. Are you ready to head out?”

A part of me wants to stay and watch her model more, but I have broken so many friend codes today. Slowly, Jason nodded in agreement.

“Let’s go and get some dinner,” Jason suggested.

“Yeah, let’s go.” Trini gave an irresistible grin to Jason as she used her finger to tell him to turn around. Once Trini was done changing, she placed the undergarments back on a return hanger and left the dressing room. As they left the store, the store clerk gave the couple a dirty look as she realized that she was duped in Trini’s scheme. The couple snickered as they left the store together.

After passing a few more stores, they were at their final destination. G&Fs was a large chain restaurant with a large arcade section in the restaurant as well. Jason loved this restaurant but didn’t eat there often because of how expensive it was.

Mohinder’s twenty dollars should help with the cost, though, Jason thought as he walked inside with Trini. After greeting the hostess, she led Trini and Jason to their table. Once they sat down, she smiled and placed the menus on the wooden table.

“Your server should be with you soon.” She smiled at the couple as she walked away.

“Thank you,” Jason replied as he opened his menu. “What did you want to get?” Jason asked Trini as he searched the menu.

“I like their beer and play special. You know the one where you pick two appetizers and get a bucket of beer and fifty tokens for games. Did you want to do that?”

“Yeah, that sounds amazing,” Jason replied.

“Great, I was thinking of getting the mozzarella sticks.”

“Nice choice as usual. Let’s add chicken spring rolls.”

“Yum, sounds good to me,” Trini responded. When the waiter arrived, Jason placed the order while Trini checked her phone for messages. Once he was done ordering, Jason placed his attention back to Trini.

“Everything okay?” Jason asked

“Yeah, it’s just Kyle is a literal asshole. I swear the man can’t function without any help.” Jason nodded in response and noticed the server returned with the bucket of beers.

“Well, here comes something to put out those flames.” A wide smile appeared on Trini’s face as she grabbed a beer. She managed to chug half a bottle before she placed the bottle back on the table.

“I fucking hate working retail.”

“Why is that?” Jason asked as he took a sip of his beer.

“It’s just too many damn policies to start with. Plus, people are plain rude. They treat you like shit. I’m proud of Mohinder and you, though. It sounds like you guys are kicking ass in school. Congrats on finishing another semester,” Trini said as she held out her beer bottle for Jason to cheers.

“Thanks,” Jason replied as he clashed the beer bottle with Trini’s and took a long swig. Once Jason was done, he placed a beer bottle on the table. “Why not go to school again? You know, for instance, you could go to community college.”

Trini created a fake laugh at Jason comments. “Unlike you, I’m not a genius. I don’t belong in college. I barely passed high school. I don’t really have any special skills. That’s why I’m stuck at some no-name job in the mall,” Trini replied as she finished off her first beer. She reached for a new beer from the ice bucket and swished down a third of the bottle.

“Easy with those. You realize you’re driving back, right?”

Trini raised her eyebrows at Jason.

“I’m fine once I get some food in me, mom,” Trini snapped back in an unusual tone. Judging by the tone, Jason knew not to push the issue further.  The couple was silent until the food finally arrived and Jason grabbed a small plate and placed two mozzarella sticks on it along with one chicken spring roll. Jason took a bite of the hot spring roll and tasted the savory cabbage as he washed it down with his beer.

“Listen, Jason, I’m sorry for snapping at you. I know I need to work on that.”

“It’s okay, we all screw up sometimes.”

Trini nodded as she dipped her cheese stick into her marinara sauce. The couple ate in silence until the two appetizer baskets were empty. “Hey, I know that were supposed to play some arcade games after this, but did you want to get a rain check? We can always come back later.”

“Yeah, sure, I’ll pay for this,” Jason signaled the waiter to pay for their meal.

“Are you sure?” Trini asked.

“Yeah, I got it. I had a great time with you today. You looked great in that lingerie set.”

A grateful smile parted her lips. “I had a great time with you too.” Trini reached across the table and rubbed Jason’s hand. She passionately looked into Jason’s eyes. “I’m sorry I ruined the moment. I didn’t mean to be an asshole. I think Kyle is starting to rub off on me.”

“It’s fine, like I said I had a good time,” Jason said as he took the bill from the waiter. He frowned as he looked at the bill.

“What’s the damage?” Trini asked.

“It’s not too bad. I got it,” Jason lied to Trini as he dug in his pants for change. This is going to set me back for a week, Jason thought as he laid two twenty dollar bills on the check.

“Are you ready to go?” Jason asked.

“Yep, lead the way,” Trini replied.

A half-hour later, Trini and Jason arrived outside of Jason’s apartment complex. Trini kept the engine running as she looked at Jason with a smile. She reached across the vehicle and rubbed Jason’s knee and looked passionately into his brown eyes. Her lips quivered as she gave a flirtatious smile to Jason.

“Listen, I had a great time. We should really consider doing this again. You know, just the two of us,” Trini said as her upper chest clenched forward as she seductively looked at Jason.

Jason gave Trini a strange look. Does she want me to kiss her? Is this the moment that everyone talks about? Jason felt himself moving forward towards Trini’s lips and noticed that Trini was inching closer to him as well. Jason placed his hand on the side of Trini’s face and felt her body slightly tremble from his touch. She let out a soft moan as she embraced his hand on her face. Jason continued to lean towards Trini until he stopped suddenly.

Wait a minute, she has a boyfriend. Don’t be stupid. Kyle may be an ass, but I don’t want to be the guy to cheat on him, Jason contemplated. Jason rejected his movements and reached for the door handle instead. As the door handle unhatched, Trini’s face showed confusion.

“Trini, I had a good time with you. I’ll be back to pick you up around eleven,” Jason blurted out as he hopped out of the car.

Trini shook her head in a negative motion as Jason got out of the car. “Yeah, whatever. I’ll see you at eleven,” Trini said, slightly depressed as Jason closed her car door.

Jason watched as Trini’s car backed out of the parking spot and zoom away.

“What have I done?” Jason whispered as he watched her taillights disappear into the distance.

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

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B077SFKGQL

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jasons-awakening-remy-marie/1127616332?ean=9781981472369

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Jasons-Awakening/Remy-Marie/9781981472369?id=7157917489570

IndieBound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781981472369

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

About Remy Marie

Remy Marie is a paranormal and urban fantasy author who loves to write about charming heroes and brave heroines. His passion for creating stories and world building originates from him creating fantasy realms with his toys when he was five years old. While writing never came naturally for Remy, he continued to strengthen his craft, by constantly reading and writing. If he is not writing or reading, he is usually watching TV with his supportive wife, aggressively cheering for his college and professional sports teams, playing video games, or crunching numbers at his daytime job.

Book:

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

Website/Blog:  https://manlymanromance.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/remymarieauthor

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Remy-Marie/e/B077YL6734/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17373475.Remy_Marie

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/103932048666368939790

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

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

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Trini, a female character from Jason’s Awakening, and Remy Marie, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, characters, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips

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.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

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.

Created by Freepik

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.

Created by Whatwolf – Freepik.com

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!

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

A to Z Challenge: You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

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

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

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

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

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

You Make Me Feel Brand New by Chicki Brown

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Genre: Multicultural Romance

Blurb:

One year ago, personal chef Jan Davis signed her divorce papers after a miserable twenty-five-year marriage. She is single again, and romantic attention is as foreign to her as ancient Carthaginian cuisine. When she meets her new client, sports management agent Mac Sinclair, who is eleven years younger, Jan’s life takes a complete turnaround. She’s thrilled, but everyone in her life isn’t as pleased.

A few choice lines from the book:

youmake1

youmake2

My Score:

This story certainly looks interesting! I am an avid believer in destiny, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. So, I say despite the age difference, should that really keep a fated couple apart?

Probably not.

I just added this book to my Wishlist, and I look forward to seeing how Jan and Mac’s story unfolds, how they finally figure everything out.

I give this one four hearts! 🙂

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

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

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

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

This is my scoring system:

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

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

Martha’s Way Series by Mika Jolie

Martha's Way-Mika Jolie

Genre: Multicultural Romance

Blurb for The Scale:

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*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Twenty-seven year old, African-American, Minka Greene has to endure watching her twin sister marry the man she loves. Her weight is up, and her confidence is down. Not exactly the ideal time to meet the real man of her dreams.
The Scale opens in Martha’s Vineyard with Minka attending Keely and Blake’s engagement party at Martha’s Way, the beautiful inn owned and operated by the tall, blond, tattooed man with the piercing blue eyes. It just so happens Jason Montgomery is also Blake’s childhood friend and the best man. Dealing with a whirl of emotions, Minka faints in Jason’s arms.
When she wakes up naked in Jason’s bed after a night of passion, the Vineyard confirmed bachelor struggling with his own demons and the woman filled with self-doubt and pining for another man are joined in an experience that will change their lives.

The Scale is book 1 of the Martha’s Way series. All the books in the Martha’s Way series can be read as a standalone.

A few choice lines from the book:

“Why aren’t you comfortable with my nudity?”

It’s not just your nudity that I’m not comfortable with. As a distraction to hide the unsettling feeling inside, she sucked in a deep breath and walked across the room to retrieve what appeared to be her bra.

“I like your name. Minka,” he said from the bed. “It’s different.”

“I’ll be sure to pass the compliment on to my parents. Please put some clothes on.”

Jason laughed off her obvious discomfort. “Come back to bed, darling. I can call Blake and let him know you’ll be late.”

She stood there watching him. Her lips drawn, her eyes narrowed.

“And Minka, did you like the sex?” He waved a long finger in the air. “Ah, don’t lie.”

“I was drunk. You took advantage. Please put some clothes on.”

“I never take advantage of a woman. And you weren’t drunk.” He patted the empty space on the bed next to him. “So how did we compare to your college make-out session?”

The man was impossibly conceited. Did he really need to hear that was the best sex she’s ever had? Walking past the bed, she murmured, “I have to go.” But damn it, he was coming to his feet, off the bed, in all his glory. Don’t look!

Once again, she failed. She looked at his wide shoulders, his tattoos, his flat abdomen, and…

Seriously, she needed to stop gawking as if she had never seen a beautiful naked body before. Well, she hadn’t but she didn’t have to make it so obvious. Minka caught her breath as he came to stand very close to her, leaving only inches between them. Out of desperation, she tried to increase the space between them by taking a step back. To her surprise, he turned on his heels and walked toward the dresser, giving Minka a full view of his flawless ass. He pulled out a pair of black boxer briefs and lazily slid long, toned, tanned legs into them as if he was very aware she was examining his every move. She hated to give him that satisfaction, but her eyes were glued to him, even when he turned to face her, in the sexiest pair of boxer briefs she had ever seen on a man.

He took two long strides to close the space between them. Minka automatically took several steps back until her back was pressed against the wall. Toned arms came to rest on the wall, his eyes locked into hers, holding her prisoner. “Don’t go yet, Minka.”

Really, did her name have to sound like silk coming out of his mouth? “I must go,” she heard herself say in a whisper. Minka wondered who she was trying to convince. At this point, she wasn’t so sure.

“I want to see you again.”

Were her ears deceiving her? A gorgeous hunk of a man wanted to see her again after a night of sex. This couldn’t be. She wouldn’t allow herself to entertain the idea. He was too beautiful. He belonged with someone just as beautiful, someone like Keely. At that thought, her heart sank. But it was better she protected herself from any more humiliation.

“I have a boyfriend,” she said out of desperation.

A soft laugh escaped his throat. “You just told me you were single.” As he spoke the words, he drew his face closer to hers, his lips inches away from hers. He was about to kiss her again; only this time she was one hundred percent sober. Minka toyed with the idea of begging him to have a little mercy on her. But she didn’t, instead her long lashes fluttered when he paused for a mere second.

Then he was kissing her, another mind-blowing kiss. His lips felt just as great as they had last night, if not better. Minka heard a soft noise from her throat as he deepened his hold on her. Against her lips, he whispered, “God, you feel good.” His voice was raspy as he spoke the words, the heat of his mouth caressing her lips. “Let’s go back to bed.”

She wanted to, oh how she really wanted to go back to bed with him one last time. “I really have to go. I promised Keely I’d go to her fitting with her.” Where she found the voice to speak, Minka wasn’t sure.

“Otherwise you would have stayed,” he challenged, still standing way too close to her, his lips too close.

“Yes, probably.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“Yes,” she admitted. At least for one last time, she would have stayed.

He nodded and took a few steps back away from her, seeming to understand her dilemma. The space unexpectedly left her feeling empty. He walked over to the bedroom door and opened it.

She quietly followed him as he led her down the spiral mahogany stairs. The house, she realized, was quite large with a certain charm. A Victorian style house that was clearly a work in progress, with what appeared to be freshly stained and finished floors, newly painted walls and sparse furniture. With the exception of his bedroom and the big leather sofa in the living room accompanied by a big screen television, it didn’t look like any other furniture had been purchased. She wondered who was actually behind the man and why he lived in this big old house alone. Was he coming fresh off a relationship, perhaps a divorce? And if so, had he gotten his heart broken or had he been the heartbreaker? Minka decided it was probably the latter.

“So, should we try this again?”

Lost in her thoughts, the question caught her off guard and she bumped into him. Her hands landed on his bare chest and stayed there for a second too long. She really should have insisted he put a shirt on as well. Not that the sexy, thigh-hugging boxers were helping much. “We should try this again,” he repeated, but not as a question this time. “I want to see you again, Minka.”

“I can’t.”

“Because…”

Okay, so he was persistent. Because next time, there won’t be any alcohol. Because next time you will see I’m not built like a model. Because next time, I won’t be good enough.

“Because whatever kinky sex we had was induced by alcohol, and that wasn’t me,” she said instead. Her voice sounded almost remorseful.

Blurb for Need You Now:

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The best relationships usually begin unexpectedly.

Puerto-Rican, American Liliana Serrano has never been one to let others determine her future—certainly not her pack of three overprotective brothers. She always stands on her own, which is exactly how she entered her arrangement with Adam Aquilani. The hot formula one driver is aloof, detached, and not interested in relationships. Fresh off a broken engagement with a cheating fiancé, no-strings-attached sex was just what she needed.
Except one year later, she never expected their hook-ups to have consequences.

Haunted by his past, Adam Aquilani is a man who lives on the edge. The absence of commitment and emotional attachment in his year-long relationship with Lily was just what he needed. Until he discovers the rules have changed, and he must decide to let her go, or give her full access to his well-guarded life.

As the two take a journey of discovery, secrets are revealed which test the strength of their connection.

Can they accept what is? Let go of what was and accept what will be?

*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

A few choice lines from the book:

Lily reached the doorway when Adam caught her hands. The whole thing happened too fast. His fingers laced in hers, chests pressing against one another. With his weight he directed her to the wall, raised her arms up over her head, and caged her in. Not one to cower, she looked straight into his eyes.
“You don’t love me,” she whispered.
His jaw tightened, but he made no attempt to dispute otherwise. Her heart scattered in tiny little pieces. She hadn’t expected a declaration of undying love, but the reality still stung.
“I need love, Adam. That mad, passionate love. It should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.” She examined his stoic expression, and her posture sagged. The fact she was forever bonded to a man who didn’t love her smacked her in the face. It shouldn’t. She already knew that. But…still, reality sucked. “That’s not who we are.”

Blurb for Tattooed Hearts:

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*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Being someone’s first love is unforgettable. Being their last is immeasurable.

Claire Peters should be on top of the world. She owns the radio waves and has a budding movie career. But her heart longs to be rooted. Ten years ago, she fled Martha’s Vineyard to pursue her dream and to make something of herself. But there’s still a void. After a decade of running, she returns to the island hoping to find her happiness with the man she’s loved all her life.

When a tragic event shatters Dr. Forrest Desvareaux’ well-balanced world, the Vineyard’s hometown good guy discovers everything in his life is based on lies. Angry and betrayed, he turns to Claire – the one woman who has indelibly marked him.

Is it possible to run back to the person who broke you?

Forever linked, Forrest and Claire are an unending continuum. But she’s a wildflower and Forrest’s roots run deep on the Vineyard. Can they accept home is not a place but a feeling?

A few choice lines from the book:

She knocked on the door and waited. Nothing. She knocked again, a little firmer this time. Still nothing. Claire reached in her purse and grabbed her phone. Damn, no freaking signal. Another perk of living on the island. Phone signals were capricious.

She turned on her heels to the back of the house where she knew he kept the emergency key, then headed back to the front. The night wind penetrated the wool coat with absurd ease, making her shiver. She drew her shawl around herself more tightly to keep out the cold as she fumbled with the key. The door slowly creaked open; she stepped inside and was greeted by a muted house, which was not typical of Forrest. She headed down the hall, the click of her heels amplified with each step on the wooden floor. She entered the family room. In here, ESPN always blared in the background. Tonight, there was nothing but an eerie, hollow silence.

A bad feeling slithered up the back of her neck. She dug in her purse for her phone again. One finger dragged along the screen; it lit up. Still no signal. A knot of fear twisted in her gut.

“Claire.”

The sound of Forrest’s voice, infused with a question mark, caused her heart to jump and fill with joy, relief. She whipped around and faced the main reason she came back to Martha’s Vineyard.

Blurb for Wrapped in Red:

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*All the books in the Martha’s Way series are standalone and can be read out of order.*

Christmas is a time to be merry and bright. For Minka Montgomery, it’s anything but.

While the small towns of Martha’s Vineyard burst with festive lights and good cheer, a black shadow parades around and within Minka. With her Christmas spirit conspicuously absent, her marriage to Jason Montgomery has snowballed and is spiraling out of control. The weight of motherhood – and her new role as a wife – presses on her shoulders. Self-doubt creeps in and swiftly turns to hopelessness.
As her anxiety level rises, can she share what’s in her heart with her husband? Is there a branch of hope to hold on to? With Christmas only twelve days away, can she find her Christmas spirit and rediscover the true meaning of the season?

A few choice lines from the book:

The door creaked open. She stepped in just as Jason threw his shirt on the bed, naked from the waist up—every muscle well defined, ripped to perfection, and covered with various tattoos.

Heat.

Fire.

And crazy need stirred between her thighs. No surprise there. Jason naked, half-naked, or fully dressed, always managed to produce a reaction. Lately, she just couldn’t follow through.

A thick blanket of guilt smothered her heart.

They held each other’s gaze for a few seconds. “I don’t know where to start,” she said into the silence.

“Try the beginning.”

My Score:

I was fortunate to be a beta reader for The Scale, the first book in this series, and I absolutely loved it! The passion between Minka and Jason was scorching and I found the heroine to be a very relatable character. With her insecurities about her weight and some pretty tangled romantic history, she was a character I really wanted to root for.

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Now, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading the other books in the series, but they are on my Amazon Wishlist. I can’t wait to dive in and learn about the rest of the characters we got to meet in the first book! 🙂

I give this series five hearts.

five hearts

Grab a copy when you get a chance!

Martha's Way-Mika Jolie

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A Character Interview with Sepalika from SAVED IN SRI LANKA plus a conversation with author Devika Fernando!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed K.C. Sprayberry’s character on March 3rd and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it.  I had the pleasure of meeting Devika Fernando, the author of Saved in Sri Lanka, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Sepalika, from the book.  We’ll get a chance to talk to Devika in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Sepalika!

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

Character Sepalika:  Hello.  Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We’re going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Sepalika: Of course.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Sepalika:  (Smiles.) I work as a tour guide in Sri Lanka, and I absolutely love my job. I get to watch people while they catch a glimpse of my country. It’s fascinating witnessing all the different reactions and creating little stories about them. I do think I’m good at my job because I add some fun and spice to routine.

Marie:  That’s great!  So, what is your family like?

Sepalika: (Frowns and sighs.) I wish you hadn’t asked. My father is suffering from chronic kidney disease. The doctors have only given him a few more months to live. As for my mother, she’s devastated…and worried about me. I don’t have any siblings, and I don’t really bond with any of our relatives.

Marie:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Let’s try something else.

What did your childhood home look like?

Sepalika:  I grew up in my mother’s ancestral home in a small village off Kandy amidst paddy fields, but we moved to Colombo when I was small, so after that it was modern city life for me. It was a huge change from the old, big house open to wilderness surrounding it, to the small, neat apartment surrounded by traffic and noise.

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

Sepalika:  I love history and reading. Actually… (blushes.) I love dancing and singing too, but I hardly ever let that side of me out.

Marie:  I love reading too!

So, what is your greatest dream, Sepalika?

Sepalika:  I’d love to visit Australia one day.

Marie:  Well, that’s certainly a worth goal! (Smiles.)

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

Sepalika: I hate being such a coward. I wish I had the courage to stand up for my own happiness and really live life the way I want it. But that’s not easy if you live in Sri Lanka…and if you have a family to take care of.

Marie:  I see.  Yeah, obligations can often tear you away from what you want.

Okay, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now.  Who was your first love?

Sepalika:  I’ve never really been in love. I did have a huge crush on an English student when I went to university in London, but our relationship was doomed to fail. Now though, I think I’ve found the one… (Stares dreamily into the distance.)

Marie:  Well, that’s great that you found someone new! I’m happy for you. I won’t beg you to tell me more, though I’m dying to know…(Laughs.)

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So, Sepalika, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Sepalika:  Finding out that my father has less than a year to live because of kidney failure. I’d give anything to save him.

Marie:  How terrible! I’m sorry. I wish I could do something…😦

Well, let’s move on to something a bit lighter, shall we?

[Sepalika nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Sepalika:  I always wanted to see more of the world, and I’ve achieved that partly because I spent years studying in England. But I’m not sure I’ll ever get another chance to travel…

Marie:  I see.

So, who is your role model?

Sepalika:  All those great women in history who took life into their own hands and proved that they’re worth just as much as men, if not more.

Marie:  I agree. How inspirational!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Sepalika:  Erm, quite a lot of people, to tell you the truth. It’s the only way to stay sane in this society… There’s a certain Mrs. de Souza – no, I won’t say more, I’ll just get worked up.

Marie:  All right. I’ll let you get away with being vague. (Winks.)

So, what is your deepest desire?

Sepalika:  Finding someone who recognizes the real me and loves me for who I am.

Marie: Yes, I believe we all want that…

Let’s switch to another question.  What is your greatest fear?

Sepalika:  Living a loveless life full of pretense.

Marie:  All right.

Well, I hate to say it, but we’ve run out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Sepalika.  (Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have Devika Fernando on the stage today. Hi, Devika!

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Author Devika Fernando:  Hi. Thank you so much for having the two of us over, Marie! 🙂

Marie:  My pleasure! 

As you know, we just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Sepalika. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Devika:  Sepalika is pretty modern for a Sri Lankan, you could say, almost “Western”. She’s stuck in an awful situation that makes it difficult for her to live the way she wants and deserves, but I know she’ll find a way out because she’s stronger than she thinks.

Marie:  (Nods.) I gathered some of that from talking to her. 

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Devika:  Her kindness and her intelligence.

Marie:  Now let’s take the opposition on that. 

What, do you feel, is her greatest weakness?

Devika: Her self-doubt.

Marie:  So, what are some of her favorite foods?

Devika:  She loves traditional Sri Lankan food like spicy vegetable curries and fish. And she’s a big fan of all the exotic fruits growing in her family’s garden, like guavas, mangoes and papayas.

Marie:  Well, I can’t blame her. I love papayas!

Let’s try something else.

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

Devika:  She’s really good at explaining and teaching things.

Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Devika:  So far, readers really liked Sepalika because she is fighting for her own happiness but also always putting others first.

Marie:  Well, that is certainly honorable.  Now that we have a real taste of Sepalika, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Saved in Sri Lanka?

Devika:  I’ve had many people tell me they’d love to read a romance novel set in Sri Lanka because I live here and am half Sri Lankan. I immediately knew if I ever wrote a story like this, I’d want to include a hero from a European country. And I’d want to show off this island’s beauty. The story sort of wrote itself then, with Daniel as the hero from Ireland and Sepalika as the tour guide falling in love with him.

Marie:  That’s great!  It does sound lovely.

So, Devika, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Devika:  A mix of both, I guess. I do write a plot outline, plan the first few chapters and create character profiles, but I don’t go into too much detail and see where the story is taking me.

Marie:  (Nods.) I do both as well. I let the story come out naturally in scenes, then I start doing heavy plotting and character work-ups. I write more from there, but I will still let the characters interfere with my plans if they have more to say.

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

Devika:  I found myself including too many descriptions, country facts and backstory. It always happens with my stories, but I cut those scenes out during my four or more rounds of editing. I’m very thankful for my awesome beta readers, they’re a big help.

Marie:  I know exactly what you mean! I don’t know what I’d do without my beta readers, critique partners and my proofreader.  🙂

Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog.  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Saved in Sri Lanka appears to be.  Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome new book by Devika Fernando, a very talented author!

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Here is the blurb for Saved in Sri Lanka.

Some people are destined to meet.

It sure feels that way when Sri Lankan tour guide Sepalika meets Daniel. The mysterious tourist from Ireland steals his way into her heart and makes her question everything her life is built upon. Instant attraction turns to love – but does he feel the same? And what about the secret she’s hiding from him?
Follow the two on their quest for a happy ending amid the beauty and wonders of the tropical island paradise of Sri Lanka.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00U5ZY8AI

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saved-in-sri-lanka-devika-fernando/1121331845

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/524106 

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/saved-in-sri-lanka

Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Devika_Fernando_Saved_in_Sri_Lanka?id=QsreBgAAQBAJ

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/saved-in-sri-lanka/id973289991

About Devika Fernando

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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, yet 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, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Having always loved to read and write, Devika made her dream come true in 2014 when she became a self-published novelist. The Amazon bestselling author has published several eBooks in the genres contemporary romance, paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Her German and Sri Lankan roots influence her writing.

Devika’s Books:

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6560661

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4986055

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Devika Fernando, here are some of her author links:

Website:  http://www.devikafernando.com

Blog:  http://www.devikafernando.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Author_Devika

Amazon Author Central:  http://www.amazon.com/Devika-Fernando/e/B00ISH0RD2/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/devikafernando1/

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7980006.Devika_Fernando

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Sepalika, the female main character of Saved in Sri Lanka, and Devika Fernando, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so fun to have you here! Readers, don’t forget to check out this awesome new release!  🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Multicultural/Interracial, Readers, Romance, Women's Fiction, Writing, Writing Tips