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My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations

 

Ever since I got engaged to my soul mate a few years ago, I’ve thought about the perfect locations for a wedding.

Sweet Ice Cream Photography, Unsplash

My fiancé and I have entertained big and small celebrations, anything from local to international ceremonies. And yes, most options tend to depend on the size of your wedding budget and the number of guests you intend on having.

Now, even though I’m a dreamer by nature, I am also a realist. That must be the Libra in me, weighing both sides! LOL. But in real life, I am much more likely to see the glass as half empty than remotely full. Lately, though, I have begun to see the benefits of taking an optimistic approach with some facets of life. Why not dream a little after all? What could it hurt?

Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

So if money was no issue, where might I choose for my wedding location? Well, I can’t pick one right now, but I will try to narrow down the regions a bit.

  1. England

My familiarity with British TV shows and movies has always led to a fascination with areas ‘across the pond’, so to speak.

Benjamin Davies, Unsplash

           A. London

  • Museum of the Moon

Located inside the Natural History Museum, this is a very modern event space which is only available from May to September. Looks like a cool place to hold a wedding reception, right? 😉

Natural History Museum – London

  • Sky Garden

With its stunning panoramic views, a wedding there is bound to be an unforgettable event.

  • One Marylbone

If you’re looking for an elegant place for a wedding and reception, this seems like a good choice.

  • Porchester Hall

This modern event space with different rooms is rather versatile, suitable for any type of occasion.

  • The Penthouse – Brick Lane

This private event space at a bowling alley might not seem like a great idea at first, but if you’re set on a casual yet intimate atmosphere, and aim to treat your guests to a lot of fun, it’s just perfect!

For London and its surrounding regions, Canvas Events is a great source for reserving a venue. You can even book Kensington Palace!

Wild, right? 😀

     B. Castles/Manors

I have a weakness for historical romance novels, and I’ve always wanted to visit all the lovely castles in Europe. Let’s look at some fancy venues in England.

  • Hedsor House – a country house with an Italianate style on the Buckingham-Berskshire border, and set amongst 100 acres of historic parkland.
  • Hengrave Hall – a Tudor style mansion complete with great halls and elegant chambers in the Suffolk countryside.
  • Chiceley Hall – a Georgian country mansion, decked out in the Baroque style with 48 rooms, a restaurant and a bar.
  • Clevedon Hall – a huge wedding venue in Somerset, situated on seventeen acres and boasting 25 luxurious bedroom suites.

C. Hotels

  • Dumbleton Hall Hotel – a 19th century Cotswald stone manor house with nineteen acres of gardens and a private lake.
  • The Grand Hotel – located at Tynemouth, close to the beach with a clifftop overlook. It has quite a history, having been originally built as a home for the Duchess of Northumberland.
  • Matfen Hall Hotel – a 19th century country mansion in Northumberland, located on 300 acres of parkland. They recently added a newly refurbished wedding space.
  • The Lodore Falls Hotel – situated on the shores of Derwentwater in Borrowdale, Cumbria in Lake District National Park. The site has 40 acres of tranquil land with a waterfall and a lakeshore.

These are all great choices! Here are some other venues to discover in England.

 

  1. Ireland

Let’s explore more of the U.K.

I have always been drawn to Irish mythology and Celtic music. So when I found out about two years ago that my great-grandfather was a full-blooded Irishman, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that Ireland has been one of my top bucket list locations.

Patrick Metzdorf, Unsplash

          A. The Cliffs of Moher

Despite my fear of heights, this vista, which spans about eight miles across the Irish coast, is just too amazing to pass up! So, why wouldn’t it be an interesting locale for a wedding?

Jesse Gardner, Unsplash

  • Hotel Doolin Located in County Clare on the West Coast of Ireland and famous for its traditional Irish music, this contemporary hotel has spacious, modern rooms.

Let’s explore some other great wedding venues in Ireland.

       B. Drenagh Estate a 19th-century house, complete with a tree-lined driveway and richly wooded grounds.


       C. Ballyfin Set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the center of Ireland, Ballyfin is an exclusive luxury five star hotel, situated on 614 private acres of parkland with a 28 acre lake.

       D. Dunluce Castle This medieval castle is on a cliff overlooking the sea in Northern Ireland, and is arguably one of the best and most memorable castles in the country, despite its state of ruins. It isn’t surprising that visitors go for the dramatic views, and yes, some choose to have a wedding ceremony there.

       E. Huntington Castle a 17th century house situated on more than 160 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland. And you might even spot the occasional peacock or rooster!


       F. Baily Lighthouse On cliffs extending into Dublin Bay from Howth, this is one of Ireland’s most photographed lighthouses on the eastern coastline. The cliff walk/path appears to be stunning and quite a romantic adventure. It’s no wonder some have chosen to set their wedding locales in clear view of the lighthouse!

       G. Ashford Castle (explore more wedding photos on the site here) A medieval castle which was transformed into a five star luxury hotel, situated on 350 acres of parkland, this castle has always appealed to me. I’ve been getting their brochures for years, and I can’t deny the pull I have to it!


       H. Adare Manor Set on 840 acres, this neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece, once the family seat of the Earls of Dunraven, has been transformed into a five star hotel and golf resort. Such stunning views!


        I. Castlemartyr Resort –The resort consists of a grand 17th century country manor house that sits adjacent to the ruins of an 800 year old castle. The five star hotel includes a 10 treatment room Spa and a luxurious golf course. With open meadows, manicured lawns and formal gardens, as well as a 24,400 square foot wellness, spa and fitness center, guests truly will want for nothing more.


        J. Castle Leslie – One of the finest castle luxury estates in Ireland, set on 1000 private acres of rolling hills, parkland and lakes to explore…why wouldn’t this be an idyllic countryside, just perfect for a dream wedding?

        K. Castle Durrow an 18th century country house in the Irish midlands – just an hour from Dublin – which was transformed into a luxury castle hotel. Looking over the wedding gallery on the site, the location has such picturesque gardens, and it’s easy to see why couples have chosen this site again and again.

Stunning! Here’s hoping that I make it to Ireland someday! Fingers crossed! 😉

Disover this link with more information on wedding locations in Ireland.

 

  1. New Zealand

Ömer Faruk Bekdemir, Unsplash

From bustling cities to dramatic mountainscapes to forests to scenic waterways, this country appears to have it all. At least everything you could want for a destination wedding. Here are some options, just to name a few.

           A. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Set on 6000 acres near Matauri Bay, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Situated atop a cliff and overlooking three pristine private beaches, alongside offering the amenities of a serene spa and a golf course, as well as a hotel restaurant, numerous local activities, and spacious suites to stay in, you just can’t go wrong!


           B. Huka Lodge Regarded as one of the top luxury lodges in New Zealand, surrounded by seventeen acres of countryside on the banks of the Waikato River, the Huka Lodge features an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, free airport transportation and a hot tub. It has air-conditioned suites with a private terrace and lovely river views. It’s only a 10-minute walk to the famous Huka Falls. Sounds like a great place to visit!


           C. Blanket Bay Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Wakatipu on a 10,000 acre high country farm with quintessential South Island lake and mountain views, Blanket Bay Lodge offers guests a relaxing hot tub and rooms with stunning views. The staff at this luxury lodge in a majestic mountain setting can arrange mountain bike tours, jet boating and Milford Sound tours. What a perfect wedding or honeymoon retreat, right?

    D. Annandale Coastal Farm Escape and Luxury Villa In one of the world’s most spectacular coastal locations, this is a rare 4000-acre sheep and cattle farm which also offers exclusive use of four multi award winning luxury villas.

Here is a list of other options in New Zealand.

 

  1. Turks and Caicos

With such clear blue beauty, what couldn’t be better than this view during a wedding ceremony? ♥♥♥

tkelly8843496, Pixabay

Here are some locales for a destination wedding. I won’t go into much detail with each site from now on, as I think I’m starting to sound like a travel agent. LOL. I figure you can decide for yourself where you’d like to base your dream wedding, and if any of the pictures appeal to you.

             A. East Bay Resort

            B. Blue Haven Resort and Marina

            C. Beach House

            D. The Regent Palms

 

  1. USA

Why not go for something more local? I have always dreamed of living by the ocean, so I wouldn’t mind a beach wedding in the U.S. either! 😉

Lauren Richmond, Unsplash

Especially if it’s a little easier to get to, here in my homeland. Hmm…let’s see what’s possible.

A. Florida

Jorge Vasconez, Unsplash

These are some venues in this beautiful, sunny locale.

  • Hollywood Beach Marriott
  • Panama City Beach Legacy By the Sea

Barefoot Hide A Way Grill

  • Miramar Beach Sol Mate (vacation rental home which is sometimes used for a wedding venue)

  • Destin Emerald Grande

  • Fort Walton Beach Holiday Inn Resort

For more information on Florida venues, click here.

 

B. California

Maarten van den Heuvel, Unsplash

  • Muir Beach Pelican Inn

  • Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Dream Inn
  • Monterey Monterey Tides Hotel

  • Laguna Beach Surf & Sand

  • Santa Monica Shutters on the Beach

  • Ventura Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

  • Santa Barbara Rincon Beach Club

  • Redondo Beach Chart House

For more California sites, click here.

 

C. Maine

  • Bar Harbor Harborside Hotel

Bar Harbor Inn

French’s Point

For more places in Maine to have your dream wedding, go here

 

D. Hawaii

  • Koloa The Beach House

Sheraton Kauai Resort

  • Lahaina Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Montage Kapalua Bay

  • Kapolei Paradise Cove

For more places to have a wedding in Hawaii, click here.

 

E. Georgia

1778011, Pixabay

  • St. Simons Island

The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort

The Golden Isles

  • Jekyll Island Villas by the Sea Resort & Conference Center

For more wedding venues in Georgia, click here.

 

F. North Carolina

AJ Gallagher, Unsplash

  • Manteo The Outer Banks of North Carolina

  • Nags Head Jennette’s Pier

  • Ocean Isle Beach Oceanfront Weddings of N.C.

  • Duck Sanderling Resort

  • Wilmington Southern Beach House

  • Havelock Neuse Breeze

  • Kitty Hawk Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks

For more locations in North Carolina, explore this link.

 

G. Massachusetts

skeeze, Pixabay

  • South Yarmouth Red Jacket Beach Resort & Spa

  • Mashpee The Club at New Seabury & The Popponesset Inn 

  • Provincetown The Provincetown Inn

  • Dennisport – The Sea View

Corsair & Cross Rip Oceanfront Resort

  • Hyannis Cape Codder Resort and Spa

  • North Falmouth Sea Crest Beach Hotel

  • Nantucket Galley Beach

Westcliff

Check out some more locations here for Massachusetts venues. And this is a link to additional sites in the U.S.

 

  1. France

Oops, I almost forgot! Can’t overlook France. It’s breathtaking!

Augustin de Montesquiou, Unsplash

So…I’ve always wanted to visit Paris for a vacation, but if I was going for a wedding venue? Nah, I’d probably pick something more natural or unique. Perhaps a villa, castle, a vineyard, or even some lavender fields.

  • Provence Chateau de Tourreau

Château d’Alphéran

Bastide St Mathieu

  • Loire Valley – Chateau de Jalesnes

La Chatellerie

Château de Chissay

Here is a link which includes more options in France.

Wow, lots of choices to go over!

Well, I hope I covered everything. Maybe this post sparked your own ideas for a dream wedding, huh?

Tyler Nix, Unsplash

So after all this, what place have we as a couple chosen for the big day? That will most likely depend on the date of the wedding and our budget for the event. Okay, so maybe I didn’t narrow them down all that much. I like to have some variety! 😉

I just hope this helped you in your own search. I’ll keep you informed of our decision, however…

As always, happy reading, and have a beautiful summer! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 20 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category of the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie 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 writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
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http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
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Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2yFx62c
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Creative Universal Reading List Link:  https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks

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Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Engagement, Event, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, travel, Wedding

Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman: a guest post by author Kai Nicole

Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman

by Kai Nicole

 

Let’s face it, dating in this digital era is getting a bit crazy. We are in a cultural shift where women have a lot more money and freedom than they used to have, all while traditionalism is still desired by many. So, how are modern women to navigate the madness? Here are 10 tips to help the single women out there:

  1. Be Whole

Do not date with the expectation that there is someone else outside of you who will complete you. You are a complete person, and you should date like one.  If you don’t feel fully complete then dating should not be your priority. You should take the time to focus on yourself becoming whole and happy.

Happy women always have a better dating life.

  1. Be Open

One of the biggest reasons women are disappointed with their dating experiences is because they have so many expectations that cannot be met. In order to have better dating experiences, you have to be open. That means no expectations! Let the dates flow and enjoy the moment!

  1. Stop “Husband Shopping”

“If you are one of these women who is searching for a husband, you are not dating, you are shopping. You are looking for a guy who fits some requirements you have created in your mind – a fantasy. Stop doing that. If you want to date, you need to understand the reality. Dating is taking time to get to know someone. That’s it. You give your time and in turn a man gives his time to you so that you both get to know each other.” – Date Like A Woman

  1. Only accept dates from men who are genuinely interested in you

Clarisse Meyer, Unsplash

How can you tell that a man is genuinely interested? He will risk rejection. Ladies, if a man risks nothing, especially public rejection, he really isn’t that interested in you, period. You are just some woman to pass the time with. When a man is REALLY interested in you, he is going to make sure you know it even at the risk of being embarrassed. Because in his mind you are worth it. The men who risk something to ask you out, those are the men you should date. They are genuinely interested.

  1. Date In Your Circle

When it comes to dating, there are many types of circles/leagues. However, your dating experiences are best when you date within your leagues/circles. I talk about dating circles more in-depth in my book. If you want to know what circles you are in, you should take a look at your own life. Chances are you spend time with those who are most similar to you. The men who are most similar to the folks you hang around are the men who are in your circles.

Pixabay, pexels.com

Why are dating experiences with men in your circle better? Because you have more in common and will have more to share and talk about.

  1. Avoid online dating and dating men who only send you DMs

As I like to say, “shoot your shot in public so I know it’s real.” Men who only date online or shoot their shot in DMs lack either true interest in the woman or their ability to talk to women is lacking in some way. When a man is not genuinely interested in a woman, the dating experience is always subpar.

While online dating and DMs have made it easier for men to access women, especially men who are scared to speak to women in person, the increased access to women means there is a decreased chance of genuine interest. Of course, many people love to fight me on this point, stating that they either met their spouses online or know someone who has met a spouse online. Whenever this happens, I simply point out that the success rate for online dating is 5%. That means 95% (that’s ninety-five percent) of the time online dating does not work. On top of that, the online dating business is worth $2 billion dollars. Online dating sites make more money if they keep you single. So, if you are okay with that, then please, by all means, keep dating online.

  1. Be more than a pretty package

Matthew T Rader, Unsplash

Focus less on how you look and more on who you are as a person when you date. “You must be more than just a pretty face. If you aren’t interesting, men are not going to be interested in you. You must be more than just a ‘wrapping.’ You have to give your date more than just an appearance. You have to give your date something to get to know.”’ – Date Like A Woman

  1. Date more than one man at a time

If you are not in a relationship, you’re single. Act like it. DATE!

Huy Phan, Unsplash

 

Shanique Wright, Unsplash

  1. Learn to let go

If a date doesn’t go the way you want it to, don’t sweat it. Letting go and moving on when things aren’t “right” is one of the key components to a great dating life.

Created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com

Remember, this is dating, not a relationship! If one guy isn’t for you, date a different one!

  1. Buy Date Like A Woman!

Get Date Like A Woman, the BEST dating guide for women, if you really want a better dating life!

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

 

Want to read more dating blogs? Check out DateLikeAWoman.com’s Blog. Be sure to also check out Kai’s personal blog at FlyMommy.net! And, don’t forget to buy the best dating book for women, Date Like A Woman!

Too right! Thank you, Kai, for giving us your impression of how to navigate dating in this modern age.

Well, readers, shall we take a look at the book on which her philosophy is based? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

Here’s the blurb for Date Like a Woman:

Date Like A Woman (DLAW) is for the 21st century woman who is ready for a new narrative about dating, romance, sex and life!  DLAW helps women move from fear to freedom. It offers practical dating advice, teaching women to navigate through the often challenging and daunting dating world, while countering the sexist, stereotypical and, frankly, stupid “instructions” spewed at women by self-professed male “dating experts.”

DLAW puts the FUN back into dating while also providing no-nonsense guidance that empowers and encourages women who have grown weary, been disappointed, and are still holding on to outmoded and unrealistic expectations about their dating choices. DLAW reminds women of their worth, helping them understand that they do not need to fit some antiquated model of being “accepted” or “chosen” by men.

For women who are so ready to sever the cord – quickly, forcefully and permanently – that has kept them bound by dangerous dogma and silly, sexist “thought leaders,” DLAW offers fresh, funny advice for discovering themselves, deciding what they really want, and enjoying dating!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/0692864350

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36164605-date-like-a-woman

♥♥♥ Ooh…love it! This looks like such a helpful read! 

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

Author Bio

Published author, blogger and attorney Kai Nicole has emerged as an exciting and unique voice on dating and relationships. A graduate of Harvard University and Howard University School of Law, Kai’s professional experiences encompass diverse fields including legal, tech, and entertainment. She is a mother, world traveler, foodie, and lifestyle enthusiast.

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles, Traditions, Writers, Writing

How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

 How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships

 

I love, love, love shopping…well, for almost anything! I can never be trusted with a credit card. 😉 Most of the time I resist temptation, but now and then, especially if I have some extra money on my hands, I indulge in one of my hobbies – shopping for clothes, or even books.

Created by benzoix – http://www.freepik.com

But whether you’re browsing online or in the store, shopping for clothing items is a whole other animal. At least with a book, you can be sure you will usually end up a satisfied reader. The only issue, for me at least, might be a bunch of glaring grammatical errors, or so much head-hopping that I get fictional whiplash.

Amanda Jones, Unsplash

Shopping for clothes, however, is a different story.

Created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com

If you’re looking at stores on the internet, you have likely done your research already. Maybe you vetted the company for positive customer feedback. Looking over product reviews is never a bad policy.

When you’re dating, though, it’s not like you can ask your date’s exes how things went in the past, or what pitfalls to anticipate. It’s basically trial and error, right?

Created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com

Sometimes that happens with shopping too. Just because you properly assessed the site, or even had prior experience with it – you got a great bargain and the product was offered in the right size – that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically love the shirt you bought every time. Hell, you won’t know anything until it arrives at your house and you can try it on. Maybe the color is off, or the shirt fits smaller or bigger than advertised. Every brand is different. The problem is there are no guarantees with any purchase.

Same thing goes with dating. Just because your date is handsome – or pretty – doesn’t mean you’ll be compatible. Life is about more than appearances alone. Can you at least carry on an intelligent conversation with this person? Can you tolerate their presence for longer than five or ten minutes? An hour? These are ways to test someone out.

Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

If you try on a jacket in a store, you may not love it the same way a week later. If I’m just ‘meh’ about an article of clothing from that first moment in the dressing room, I’ll probably feel that way, or even worse later on. I may have a weakness for shopping, but I am also a highly discerning customer. I know when to go for the hard pass. I usually don’t jump to buy anything without a lot of forethought, or unless I am sure about it right away. Online purchases, though? It’s a toss-up as to whether I’ll be satisfied.

That happens with a relationship too. There is no better version than real, face-to-face human interaction. You can text, email or use social media messaging, even video chat all you want, and it still won’t replace learning about someone in person. Only then can you tell how it will work.

Created by Freepik

What about facades, though?

Just as there are scam artists selling faulty goods online – or leaving you empty-handed – and vendors selling their wares on the street, some people aren’t upfront about themselves with a dating situation. And I don’t mean the horror stories we see on the news. Please refer to Dating Connections’ article from November of 2017 about safely dating in a high-tech world. What I’m talking about it is a fact we often overlook…

Some of us make assumptions about people without knowing the truth. All we see is surface. Keep in mind that it goes both ways. A certain majority of people put up a facade to protect themselves from being hurt. Others may do so for darker reasons, or because they’re shallower than you realize. I think the key here is to take your time when getting to know someone. If you’re serious about dating – and not just playing the field – your instincts will guide you to the right answer, and the perfect fit will find you.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes, and then a month or two later they break? Or, maybe it happened with a purse or your favorite shirt which tore right away. You found out it was made cheaply, or it just didn’t work for another reason.

Your dating journey is about trying on different relationships until you reach the right fit. Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with someone for a long time just because you’re afraid to be alone either. If you’re not meant to be together, you’ll notice the signs or glaringly obvious red flags. Heartbreak is sometimes just a temporary obstacle to finding out what you want in this life.

Created by Jcomp – Freepik.com

But, I can’t emphasize this enough. Identity is everything when finding your soul mate.

Of course, we all come from different backgrounds, affording us various experiences. but the most important thing to remember is to know yourself well first. If you’re aware of all your likes and dislikes – a useful skill we often develop with shopping – that will go a long way toward understanding what you want in a relationship. It’s true that wisdom from experience – maybe going through a couple baddies – can also bring you the same result. But knowing who you are in and out will prevent you from making some crazy mistakes too.

Created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com

Diversely, was there ever an item you didn’t usually wear, such as a scarf or hat, even a dress that you bought on impulse because something about it called to you? Perhaps later, you decided you really liked it after all, simply because it made you feel different. Consider the same with your search for a romantic partner. You may have an idea of the one for you, dreamt that person up in your head for years. However, don’t go looking with a certain image or impression in mind. The right person for you may be completely different, someone you didn’t anticipate at all. Yet, it somehow works.

Whereas we often focus on size, style and color with clothing, personality and compatibility are paramount in dating. Make sure you have a few things in common, but not everything. The best relationship still results in the occasional surprise, to keep things interesting.

Created by Senivpetro – Freepik.com

It is pretty rare when you go to a store, try on an outfit, and everything about it works. Later, once you’ve purchased it, you wear your clothes with pride and this feels so natural that you never want to take it off. Falling in love and being in love are similar. It’s a little scary at first to trust someone with your true self, to know that you’re accepted. It’s okay to be yourself around this person, and you won’t be judged. No, life won’t always be beautiful or exciting every day, but you can rest assured that you both respect and love each other. Being in love is like coming home to the open arms that always want you, even if you drive your partner a little crazy sometimes. And vice versa.

Created by Freepik

Having a real relationship takes effort. Dating is work, plain and simple. We all know it; I think that’s why some people do their best to avoid a real relationship.

My advice? Be as discerning in your romantic relationships as you should be as a consumer, out there browsing stores in person or online. So…who is the one person you can still imagine sticking it out with you fifty years from now? Take a risk now and then, and don’t be afraid to look for the right signs that will lead you to the place where you belong.

Bruce Mars, pexels.com

At times we grab the nearest product out of necessity, and then end up disappointed by its contents later on. When you’re dating, don’t settle for a situation you don’t want, simply because you’re lonely or desperate for companionship. You’ll just be miserable in the long run. Believe me, I know.

Finding your soul mate won’t solve all your problems. You have to get yourself together too. Figure out what you want in life and go for it. But having the right person at your side will certainly make the roller coaster of life – the whole journey – a lot more tolerable.

Keep the faith. I know you can do this…

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 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 writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2yFx62c
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

https://books2read.com/ap/xrv162/Marie-Lavender

Creative Universal Reading List Link:  https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Faith, Hope, Love, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels

 

If you’re a fan of romance, then you’ve probably heard an insult or two regarding your favorite genre. And for those who don’t often gravitate towards romance for various reasons, now is the time to listen up and take this into consideration. You might be wrong about your assumptions! 😉 So, read on and learn more here…

I’ll list some myths that I’ve heard and read before.

  1. “It’s all smut.”

    freestocks.org, Unsplash

    Uggh…this word can annoy an avid romance reader. Some might think this myth is outdated, but there are people who still believe romance novels are smut, or trashy reads.

Bodice rippers went out of style by the mid-80s. The genre, as well as authors and readers, have evolved considerably. Erotica is a different subject matter entirely. Plus, bodice rippers promote rape culture, and most romance novels nowadays don’t even touch on that topic in a romantic relationship. With good reason, of course. Both sexual partners should be willing.

‘Mommy porn’ is also a derogative term which is used by certain parties in reference to romance books. Come on, not every romance author writes Fifty Shades-esque material, and readers are certainly not just mothers. Some are single, professional women. Romance readers are intelligent, capable people just as they are, and they’re not reading ‘smut’ or even ‘fluff’. It takes a lot of effort and smarts to digest a full romance novel (historical romance is heavy on time period description) – or in the case of fantasy and sci-fi romance, lots of world-building – in one sitting, and keep coming back for more.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

And no, we don’t just skip to the good parts! 🙄

  1. “Gross! I’m a guy. Men don’t read or write romance.”

Geez…get with the times! Men like to read romance too. ♥ For God’s sake, my reviewer for this blog is a guy. He adores reading romance books! And yes, he’s also a romance writer. I’ve also met a handful of other male authors who sometimes write in the romance genre.

There’s nothing wrong at all with dudes getting into romance reads, as writers or readers. More power to them! 😀

  1. “These books are so simple. 1+1 = 2, right? It’s not that difficult to understand.”

Actually, romance stories are complicated. It takes a hell of a lot more than just throwing two unique people next to each other, and then expecting fireworks. Life is full of ups and downs, a roller coaster journey, so to speak. Why wouldn’t a romance read have the same drama and tension?

Created by bearfotos- freepik.com

Authenticity is everything. Readers won’t care about characters or a story which isn’t relatable, or read something that couldn’t feasibly occur in reality. Even if the tale has fantastical elements, we have to believe in what’s happening, and see the reason why these characters are compatible.

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

  1. “Romance books are standard, or boring! Not for me…I need something that holds my attention.”

Really? With the constant evolution of multiple themes and sub-genres of romance, we’re not likely to run out of new ideas, nor are readers liable to call it quits any time soon. It’s one of the most popular book categories for a reason! 🙂

If you like shapeshifters, there’s always paranormal romance. Who doesn’t like vampires, werewolves or witches?

Favor a good spy tale or mystery/thriller? Try romantic suspense or a romantic thriller for some heart-pounding action.

Do you crave stories that are…a tad darker? There’s a type called dark romance, and even unique themes such as mafia romance or MC (biker) romances are available.

Prefer adventure tales? Maybe fantasy romance or romantic adventure is more your style.

You could be a science fiction fan, but might be willing to try something with a romantic storyline. As you know, many of the most popular sci-fi films usually have a romance angle to appeal to audiences. Why not go for science fiction romance, dystopian romance or even a good time travel tale?

 

Maybe you like stories about war veterans. Well, we have military romance

In other words, this genre has sooooo many options! ♥

  1. “I don’t believe in love at first sight. I can’t get into romance novels.”

Even as someone who has read tons of romance novels in some capacity since the age of thirteen, I can’t say I go for love at first sight either. However, I do believe that two people can connect right away. Lust also happens pretty fast too, but that’s beside the point. With these two facts, I know it still takes time to build a good relationship. I’ve read plenty of novels that don’t fall into the trap of the love at first sight ideal. I think it’s why the ‘Happy for Now’ ending works so well; most novelists get that this is more realistic on some level. I think that a lot of writers these days are doing their best to show that it’s not really love at first sight – rather it’s more about chemistry and an instant connection evolving quickly into something substantial. And this isn’t unheard of in real life.

But we don’t have 1,000 pages to explain the whole courtship/dating period; therefore it falls on the writer to try to make it a believable story in a short amount of time.

As a writer of romance as well, with twenty-four published books and 125+ works-in-progress, I usually do my best to avoid the idea of immediate love. Chemistry is easy, though.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

It’s everything else that complicates the story. Even in my shorter romantic fiction, I try to explain that enough time – even though I don’t always go into the normal life details – has passed for these two people to actually develop feelings.

With The Missing Piece, a story that was part of a holiday romance anthology and was then made into a single ebook (new adult romance), I was careful to simply show the stirrings of romantic interest in such a short time.

For me, I see insta-love as a notion that often works well for supernatural creatures in fiction, simply because their primal, possessive instincts are winning out over logic. This can merge into affection rather quickly because all of their senses are more heightened than usual. Everything is so vivid that it must be love.

  1. “Romance novels are too sexy. I can’t handle all that heat.”

So steam isn’t for you. We totally respect your preferences! If you find that most romance reads are rife with heated or even graphic content, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Try inspirational romance. Have you seen Amish romance in bookstores? Yeah, that’s one type, among so many others.

But let’s say you’re open to looking outside spiritual reads. Also available on the market are clean romance and sweet romance. Plus, cozy mysteries typically lack sexual content, and amid all the other events in the books, there’s sometimes a romance angle.

In any case, the authors of these clean reads subscribe to the notion of a sweet romance, or at least closed door romance. We’re all adults here, right? But at least if sexual content bothers you in any fashion, you can rest assured that with these types of books, it usually won’t go beyond kissing. And even if it does, what happens is implied and never vividly described. Cut to the next scene!

Anyway, if you believe you can’t read romance because it’s just too hot for your taste, that no longer has to be the case.

  1. “Please…romance novels aren’t even real fiction!”

Hmm…ouch. 😥 Still, this myth is just wrong.

Let’s look at the basic formula for fiction.

The character is introduced. There is some action happening, a type of conflict. Something prevents him from getting what he really wants (usually the antagonist, which can be a person, place, thing, or even a concept). By the end of the story, this character must change in some capacity, internally or externally. The tale reaches its conclusion, however satisfying – or unsatisfying – it may be for readers.

These are the principles of fiction, of course. And you have interactions with secondary characters, dialogue and tension that help shape the story and your idea of who this person is. There’s also the climax of the tale, that pivotal movement when things get really tense for the character – the reader too – and he or she is close to losing everything. But I digress.

Every romance meets the requirements of fiction as well. It’s a lot more than two people being brought together like magnets. Chemistry is just a small part of it. The question becomes…how do we realistically connect these individuals? They have to fit somehow.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Numerous elements go into making that happen. There’s a specific plot, as well as subplots. The character must want something, have a goal in mind. The story isn’t always just about romance, but also the way characters come to believe new truths about themselves. They’re not only capable of love. Maybe the main character wants a promotion. But to do that, she’ll have to step outside her comfort zone to impress her boss. In any case, an HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (Happy for Now) is only possible if the character reaches the proper mindset to have a real romantic relationship. Without that, it’s just attraction – then it becomes erotica alone, which is something else altogether.

For example, being with an emotionally unavailable person is like hitting your head against the wall. In the end, it’s just pointless. For this type of relationship to qualify as a real romance, the characters must change – events might happen in their lives to help adjust their worldview – and they can reach a certain level of happiness. But it’s going to be a hard journey to get there. Romance stories aren’t all hearts, flowers, and butterflies.

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

True fiction is housed in every romance tale. The character still goes through a range of emotions to achieve what he/she wants. As aforementioned, often there is an antagonist preventing the couple from being together, whether it’s a person, a misconceived notion, or another external force that keeps them apart.

Sometimes it’s more than one antagonist. It’s never easy right away. Eventually, the characters must find a way around the barrier. Every relationship in real life takes effort, and these stories are no different.

Oh, wait!

Pixabay, pexels.com

The character wanted something, had a goal in mind. To reach that aspiration, he took action, and then the events that occurred reshaped his way of thinking. But at least he found what he was looking for. And he changed on some level, right? Yep…sounds like fiction to me! 😉

  1. “These books are useless drivel, and they create unrealistic expectations for people.”

To me, that sounds like it’s coming from someone who is afraid of the power of genuine emotion. But, let’s explore the aforesaid theory.

Relationships are hard work, and those in romance novels take just as much effort. If a writer is doing his or her job correctly, this will come out on the page.

Unrealistic? Hmm…if anything, I think the romance reader will see reality for what it is. No, finding happiness is never easy, but it’s worth the journey.

To illustrate this point, I’ll reference the trope often seen in historical romances…Marrying for Convenience versus Marrying for Love.

The truth is that even modern readers understand the benefits of a marriage of convenience. With financial and social stability, it’s a match that makes sense. But more often than not, we’ll root for the opposite outcome.

Why? Are we silly dreamers?

Not at all. It’s just that deep down, we all want to be happy. This is in our nature as human beings. We’re conditioned to know that events should play out a certain way – getting married and having kids is usually expected – but our instincts tell us there’s more to the story. Of course, those eventualities don’t work for every person. Still, why wouldn’t we want happiness for the characters we’ve come to care about?

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

So, is it unrealistic to crave love? I don’t think so. At least in my opinion, romance novels have the power to teach us what we want in life. And who couldn’t use a little more self-awareness? I know I’d rather be in a relationship that works well, which helps me evolve as a person, rather than one that might look okay on paper, yet will only serve to hurt me in the long run.

Plenty of people are unhappy because they made the wrong choices. Maybe they feel trapped, but in the end, they have to figure a way out on their own. Some will settle, others won’t. That’s the thing about life, though. If you make a mistake, the best you can do is try to repair it. And if that’s not possible, you get creative and find a new route to achieve your goal.

Being logical is one way of thinking. Listening to your heart, really opening yourself up to what will make you happy? That takes courage.

I believe romance novels can teach us a lot about ourselves, and help us to understand the motivations of other people too.

Is this realistic? Probably not. But it can prevent someone from making a rash decision, to use their heart and instincts to discover what they want, and determine the best solution for them. How admirable, right? Outsiders can judge all they want, and it won’t matter as long as that person is satisfied with what they’ve chosen.

At any rate, romance novels are lot more complex than they may seem at first glance. Reading these books can offer many benefits – numerous insights and a source of entertainment, just to name a couple! If you’re interested in learning more, you can view a full list of sub-genres and romance tropes below.

https://marielavender.blogspot.com/2016/03/understanding-romance-genre-by-marie-lavender-plus-giveaway.html

https://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/for-writers/romance-tropes/

I hope I’ve reaffirmed some aspects for loyal fans, and offered advice worth considering for people who are new to the romance genre. If you know of anyone who still believes these myths are valid, please refer them to this article. 😉

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 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 writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Pixabay, Pexels.com

6 Comments

Filed under Action & Adventure, Authors, Blogging, Book News, Book Release, Books, characters, Contemporary, dark romance, Event, Faith, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Historical Romance, Hope, inspirational romance, Love, MC and biker romance, Message, Military Romance, Mystery, New Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Romantic Suspense, Stories, sweet romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writers

A to Z’s of Romance: a Valentine’s romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

A to Z’s of Romance

 

I launched this blog in 2014. It just occurred to me that I haven’t written a post of my own in a while. Mainly I just share authors’ new releases, interview both authors and characters, we feature guest posts about romance, and we started offering book reviews in the new year. Sure, sometimes I feature love poetry I’ve written, but tackling a new article about romance?

Well…that’s just what ILRB is about, right? So I thought it was apropos to write something that might work for Valentine’s Day. ♥

Without further ado, here is my list of alphabetic advice for romantic relationships:

  1. Affection. By saying ‘I love you’, you can never go wrong. But your partner wants to see proof of your feelings as well.

    Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

    Kiss your girl on the hand or forehead. Hold hands whenever you can. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to show your love. Simple gestures – love notes, for one – that express your affection will make your partner feel appreciated, and he or she will reciprocate in kind.

  2. Be Compassionate. We all have bad days or experience illness at one time or another. Some of us have a jerk for a boss. Listen to your partner and empathize with their problems.
  3. Creativity. If you think your romantic dates are getting stale, or stress is dragging you both down too much, get creative! Think of unique, fun activities to help you connect, and find different ways to appreciate each other.

    Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

  4. Devotion. Stay devoted to your partner, and your relationship will be ‘deliciously dazzling’, and result in something ‘divine’ that you share. Do you see what I just did? 😉
  5. Excitement. When two people stay together in a relationship for a while, things tend to become more relaxed and that initial excitement you experienced evolves into a wiser love. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find some of those butterflies again. Arrange to meet your partner at a bar or other public location. Pretend you’re total strangers, that you’ve just met, and strike up a conversation.

    Created by Freepik

    Or act like it’s a blind date. Flirt a little. Feel free to explore each other all over again. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something new about your lover, and refuel your passion.

  6. Feed Your Partner. Just so you know, guys and gals, cooking a meal once in a while is a great way to show how much you care. You’re taking the time to make something nice that you both can enjoy.

    Created by Freepik

    Plus, as long as you don’t always launch into watching television right away, it can set the stage for a good, intimate conversation.

  7. Go On Dates Together. The origin of the word ‘date’, meaning a romantic liaison, can be traced all the way back to the 1890s and up to 1903 (I am such a word nerd! LOL.). No one is definite on the exact year.

    Created by Freepik

    Anyway…make date night a thing. By doing so, you’ll find ways to reconnect after a busy week and still enjoy yourselves.

  8. Have a Party at Home. How can that be romantic? Let’s find out. Well, you could throw a fun party just for the two of you, even add a theme to make it interesting. Exchange stories about how you fell in love. Share memorable times that made you appreciate your partner more. And heck, go all out with the food and wine. What a night, right?
  9. Identity. Recognize that you’re both unique people. Celebrate your differences and varying interests. For example, if the other person likes action, sci-fi or horror movies, volunteer to watch a film together.

    Created by Freepik

    Even your partner’s favorite one. Listen when they explain why this is their top movie. The experience will bring you closer, and help you understand the other person better.

  10. Just Be Open. Don’t forget to communicate more often. Be honest with each other about anything you’re feeling. Don’t go out of your way to be rude – tact has been tossed out the window these days, even though we should bring it back – but keep the lines of communication open. There’s a difference between texting and sitting down to have a real discussion without the interference of technology. You’ll feel much closer in the process.

    Created by Bearfotos – Freepik.com

  11. Kissing. A kiss is just a kiss, right? Hmm…not at all! There are different types of kisses. Sexy kisses, platonic kisses, light, affectionate kisses, and the list goes on. But there’s one I call the ‘floaty kiss’, the kiss of love. It’s the kiss where you can tell you’re in love, or at least almost there. How do I describe this? Well, your head spins, you get breathless – except that doesn’t seem to matter much – and the world disappears. All you can do is experience this thrilling, amazing kiss, and keep kissing back until you can no longer breathe. 😀

    JD Mason, Unsplash

    So, explore kissing with your partner. More often than not, this type of kiss happens when you can fully focus on each other. Kiss the one you love, and find a surprise on the journey.

  12. Lovers Rule. You don’t need to schedule your physical intimacy, of course, but if life has gotten in the way recently, try to reconnect in a romantic way. However, a satisfying quickie doesn’t hurt either! 😉

    Created by Pressfoto – Freepik.com

  13. Memories. Find some way to remember your happy moments together, to bring them to life. Go through pictures you took, or you could even make a collage or scrapbook of your romantic memories.
  14. New Activities. Try something new together. Take a class, go to a new, fancy restaurant, or learn a hobby as a couple. You’ll acclimate to working as a team, and share a new experience in the process.

    Created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com

  15. Observe. Pay attention to the subtle nuances in your partner’s life. Both men and women can feel taken for granted after a while, so help out with daily tasks when you can. Plus, if your partner has obviously been feeling down about something, go out of your way to make a special gesture that shows you notice him or her.
  16. Protect Your Private Time. It’s so easy to let life get in the way. Make an extra effort to spend more time together.
  17. Quietness. Savor your quiet moments together, even if you’re just cuddling and softly speaking. Life can be too hectic, and these times are precious.

    Created by Freepik

  18. Read a Romance Novel. Ha! Didn’t think I’d throw that one in there, did you? Guys, if you’re still calling these books ‘smut’ or ‘fluff’, get a table at Reality Check Diner. There are so many options with sub-genres now, from fantasy to paranormal, sci-fi and dystopian, all the way to romantic suspense and thrillers (here is a full list to make it easier to understand). There’s something for everyone. Or…maybe you’re into erotic romance. We won’t judge! ♥ Anyway, try reading a few romance books, and see if you still don’t have respect for them. Plus, immersing yourself in this type of fiction might let you know what your wife or girlfriend secretly yearns for. And having that knowledge is a good thing… 🙂

    Created by Freepik

  19. Sweetness and Sensuality. Be sweet and thoughtful with your partner. Never demean or make your significant other feel they aren’t worthy of love and attention. As for being sexy? Don’t be afraid to flirt, dress sexier or dance in front of your partner. Even if you feel foolish – and we understand that putting yourself out there causes vulnerability – your efforts won’t go unnoticed.

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  20. Talk. Stay interested in your partner’s life. “What are you doing today?” or “How was work?” are great conversation starters, and it’s better than an awkward silence. Even people who have been together for years develop a certain familiarity with each other and pay attention to unspoken cues. So, if you care, you’ll ask your partner what’s wrong when something is up.
  21. Unite. Make big decisions as a couple, instead of one partner going off and doing their own thing. If this will affect everyone, you should have a say too. Respect each other, honor one another’s opinions, and make an informed decision as a unit.
  22. Valued. Always make your partner feel valued. You want your significant other to see that you care, and you like to spend time with them.

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  23. Wedding…Yes or No? Hey, we get that marriage isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve been in a supposedly committed relationship for a long time, and the M word has never come up once, this a RED FLAG. Have a heart-to-heart, and find out if your partner has hang-ups about tying the knot.

    Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash

    Already married? Great! If you’ve been together for years, one idea to celebrate the romance in your relationship is to do it…again. Consider renewing your vows. Wouldn’t that be a fun event? What could be more romantic than remembering why you said yes, and marry your honey all over again?

  24. XOXO. Hugs and kisses are an important way to express how you feel about each other. These gestures can also be therapeutic during rough days. Touch is a big part of a romantic relationship…hey, not just the sexy kind of touching!

    Brooke Winters, Unsplash

  25. Youth Is Overrated. You don’t need to be a teenager or a twenty-something to still want romance in your life. Consider revitalizing your relationship with fun activities. At any age, you can always add in a gesture or two to spice things up.

    Thierry Hardoin, Flickr

  26. Zero. Contributing no effort at all will just cause trouble, at least in the long run. Relationships are hard work, but if you have a strong connection with your partner, none of these ‘little things’ you do for the one you love will ever feel like work.

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    And that’s my take for a prescription to achieve a lasting modern romance…

    So, what do you think? What might you add to this recipe for love? Comment in the thread below, and let’s start a discussion! 🙂 ♥

Host Blogger Bio

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years, and has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.  Since 2010, she has published 24 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 Instagram. Also, feel free to sign up for her monthly newsletter, and follow her on BookBub. 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

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon Author Page:  https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD

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

Publisher:  http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

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

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

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂 And Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Dating Tips, Event, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, Valentine's

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!

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

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!

Created by Sabrin_Deirani – Freepik.com

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

My Romantic Thought of the Day 50

The person who’s right for you may not come in the package you’re expecting, so keep an open heart and an open mind.

Created by Whatwolf – Freepik.com

https://twitter.com/marielavender1/status/865283970656849923

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Filed under Love, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance