Tag Archives: romantic fantasy

Exclusive Interview with author Sierra N. Terry, plus a look at fantasy romance, BENEATH THE SURFACE!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our thirteenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Sierra N. Terry to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Sierra N. Terry:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Sierra:  I’m in the cleaning field, and yes, I’m good at it! And I definitely don’t like it! I’m hoping one day I will be able to focus on art and storytelling.

Marie: I know exactly what you mean! 🙂

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Sierra:  My family is great! My parents tolerate my weirdness and are supportive of all my ideas!

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

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?

Sierra:  We moved around a good bit so there isn’t just one I can describe. I think if I had to describe them as a whole, they were all decent enough.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Sierra:  Drawing was always my first passion and still is to this day. I’ll get back to reading to at some point in my life! Ha ha!

Marie:  (Laughs.)

And what is your greatest dream?

Sierra:  To live off of my work, and NOT only get 4 to 5 hours of sleep a day and work two jobs anymore!

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😉

Let’s try another question.

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

Sierra:  I’d like to be someone less anxious and more outgoing/fun to talk to. I guess what’s stopping me the most is my introvert personality!

Marie:  I can relate to that. Being an author has definitely gotten me out of my shell, but now and then I still have some challenging moments.

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Sierra:  First? Probably someone from a cartoon like Ash from Pokémon or something!

Marie:  All right.

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

Sierra:  I would have to say it was when I had a weird cyst on my lower back that made it painful to sit or even lay down! My life has been fairly boring so a weird medical thing is the worst I got! Ha ha!

Marie:  Ouch… 😕

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Sierra 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?

Sierra:  I always had a dream to be a comic book writer and artist. I’ve pretty much wanted something in the creative field since forever! I definitely didn’t achieve that, and I guess it could be because I didn’t ever go to art school/get a degree in writing to even begin to qualify for a job like that. I did, however, start to put my art and stories out there more with my Sailorfrill Studio business, and going around to different conventions.

Marie:  Nice!

So, who is your role model, Sierra?

Sierra:  Definitely my mother! Nobody is so cool, understanding and open-minded as her.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Sierra:  Not really? At least I don’t think so.

Marie:  And what is your deepest desire?

Sierra:  Not to struggle financially anymore would be great.

Marie:  I know, right? 😛

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear?

Sierra:  I’m ~slightly~ concerned I’m going to be dying alone in my car.

Marie:  Oh, no! I really don’t think that will be the case. You sound too awesome to end up alone, hon. 😉

Let’s do something else.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Sierra:

Water

Paper

Pencils

A lighter

And 50 years’ worth of tampons!

Marie:  (Laughs.) Okay.

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jonas Aaronson. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?

Sierra:  Jonas is a simple guy with a strong sense of justice, which leads him to become a soldier and ultimately meet that mermaid who turned his life upside down!

Marie:  Intriguing…

And what are Jonas’s greatest strengths?

Sierra:  He’s loyal, kind and won’t let an injustice go ignored.

Marie:  Great! 😀

And his weaknesses?

Sierra:  Simpleminded, wears his heart on his sleeve and lost some self-confidence due to some romantic rejections in the past.

Marie:  I’m sure some of us can relate to that one…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are his favorite foods?

Sierra:  Lemon flavored cake and steak with cheesy bacon potatoes!

Marie:  Nice!

How about another question?

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

Sierra:  Well, he has a special power that he ignored his whole life, but I don’t want to spoil the story!

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Sierra:  I’m hoping people will like him since he’s good without being perfect. He does do at least one thing in the story that I think a lot of people might be uncomfortable with, but again, I don’t want to spoil it!

Marie:  Makes sense to me… 😉

Now that we have a real taste of Jonas, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Beneath the Surface?

Sierra:  I wasn’t trying! I had just finished writing my first novel, The Longest Knight, and I was lying there in my bed, being happy I’m finished when my mind started talking about a mermaid story. I think my next thought was something like, “Nooooo! I have to write that now.”

Ha ha!

Marie:  (Chuckles.) It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Sierra:  I’m a plotter! I have (sometimes detailed) guidelines I use before all the longhand writing starts. These guidelines leave room for new ideas too, though, and I can make little things up as I go. It keeps things fresh and fun, I think!

Marie:  Awesome!

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

Sierra:  I didn’t really have any issues with writing Beneath the Surface, really. I had much more to say in this one and I’m proud that it’s 450 pages! There’s not too much I will do differently next time (I have three more books to go), since I learned a lot from book 1 (The Longest Knight) and worked out all the kinks back then!

Marie:  Happy to hear it! 😀

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 Beneath the Surface appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

On a seemingly normal night, Jonas, a kind-hearted knight, saves a beautiful young woman from a vicious attack. He quickly finds out the young woman is actually a mermaid and as she disappears into the water, Jonas vows to find her again, so taken by her mere presence. However, ever since they crossed paths Jonas began having strange, ominous dreams about her, making him want to see her again even more. What do these dreams mean and why is he having them all the time? These are just some of the questions Jonas seeks answers to, but all he really wants is a chance to make her his special lady.

The Four Kingdoms Series is a series of novels that are loosely based on one another. Most are romantic but not all, one is erotic but none of the others are quite as intense. Each story takes place in one of the four kingdoms but each individual novel can be read as a stand-alone story (it is highly recommended that you read the book one, The Longest Knight, first). Every story has its own strange uniqueness, and I hope you will stay with me until the very last one is released!

Here’s a peek at the story…

Jonas hears a scream ring out in the quiet night. First one he has heard of in a very long time. Every time he gets night patrol, like today, he always prays to the Four Gods that it’s a boring night. A lot never really happened in his ocean-side town and Jonas likes it that way.

Nonetheless, someone needs help and as a knight, he’s there to protect and serve so he must go investigate what the problem is.

He quietly jogs through the trees towards where the scream came from and as he drew closer to the spot, he can hear more people talking and grunting in agitation.

In a clearing in front of a large clear lake, Jonas spots the disturbance. Two men have gotten ahold of a young woman. One holds her on the ground and the other is trying to get a good grip on her legs to pry them apart. The man at her legs is largely unsuccessful since the woman is thrashing so hard under him, he can’t get a good grip.

“What are you doing?? Hurry up and get her legs open!!” the man holding her arms down yells at the other.

“Can’t you see I’m trying?! This bitch won’t quit!”

Suddenly one of the woman’s legs hits the man in the face and he topples backward, blood quickly staining his lips. Jonas is impressed, her legs are nice to look at and strong.

“Hey, you there!! Let her go!!” Jonas yells out as he reveals himself and rushes towards the scene.

The one man that was kicked is holding his nose in pain still, and the other isn’t doing a lot better. Jonas didn’t see how it happened, but suddenly, the woman’s thick hair is wrapped around the man’s head and now he’s screaming and trying desperately to get it off.

Instead of getting the hair off, Jonas knocks the man out with the hilt of his sword, so he will at least stop screaming and stop hurting everyone’s ears. The other man gets away in all the commotion, but Jonas is certain if he has that guy’s buddy in custody, then he can track the other one down later. Right now, he must tend to the woman and make sure she’s okay.

The woman’s hair untangles itself from the man’s head and returns to normal, but after watching it’s obvious it’s not normal hair.

He slowly kneels next to the woman, who is now panting softly on the ground.

“Hey, are you all right? Did they hurt you?” Jonas asks, placing a hand on her shoulder.

The woman lies there, not responding right away, but this gives Jonas a chance to look her over completely and realizes her beauty.

She’s slender with large hips and smooth, porcelain skin. Her hair is full of big, thick curls that would make any woman jealous. However, it appears to be multicolored, not something he has seen very often.

Jonas is amazed, he’d never seen such a color on a lady or anyone else. It’s mostly a bluish green then changes to a shade of purple at the tips. Even with this strange color, it’s still stunning. No, it’s because of its color that it’s stunning.

Her whole body looks like it’s glistening in the moonlight, even her clothes. She wears a short top that shows off her nicely toned stomach and her long skirt has just as long slits on both sides, leaving nothing to the imagination with her legs.

Jonas gulps.

Those legs are looking more and more tempting the longer he looks at them. He just wants to touch them, maybe rub them for a moment but after what he just saved her from, she probably wouldn’t appreciate that.

Suddenly, she appears to remember Jonas’s presence and the unconscious man, then bolts upright, shoving her body out of Jonas’s reach.

“It’s okay, miss! I won’t hurt you, I’m here to help!”

He tries to calm her, but she scrambles to her feet to run anyway. Her footing is off, her legs wobble and she begins to fall face first back to the ground.

Jonas rushes to her and catches the woman before she hits the ground. Her body is light and incredibly soft to touch. If she let him hold her longer, he’d gladly do it all night. With her so close to him, he can take in her amazing scent: honeydew mixed with the ocean breeze. She reminds him of the sea in the early morning and – good thing for him – he loves the sea.

“Please, don’t!” she finally says to him.

She stares up at him, terror in her soft eyes. Her pink colored soft eyes. There’s no doubt in his mind now, this woman can’t be human.

“I told you, I’m not going to hurt you! You’re safe. Are you feeling okay?”

Jonas feels he must ask that last question. She was doing just fine earlier, thrashing and kicking her legs at her attackers, but now she seems weak and tired like all her energy was drained at once. This beautiful woman is even shaking in his arms and Jonas has, at this moment, no other want but to calm her and make her feel safe again.

“No! Let me go! I need to be in the water!!” she yells at him, shaking her head.

Her hair brushes against his face and it feels like silk.

“The water? Okay, okay, I’ll put you in the lake.”

Jonas slips his other arm under her legs and thanks the Gods in his mind that he got a chance to touch them without appearing creepy.

Sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bOGBG0

Series Link:  https://amzn.to/2XVQt3e

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45274725-beneath-the-surface

https://www.bookbub.com/books/beneath-the-surface-the-four-kingdoms-series-book-2-by-sierra-n-terry

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

About Sierra N. Terry

Born and raised in Central Virginia, there was almost no chance Sierra could have grown up NOT being creative. Her mother was, and still is, highly creative with her drawings and poetry, and she always encouraged Sierra to pursue her work even if she didn’t always like the subject matter!

Sierra realized pretty young she loved to draw and read and despite all the encouragement she had, she somewhat put her creativity on the back-burner until a few years ago. No job ever interested her like art and storytelling did, so in her mid-20s she started her comic again and worked on it like a second job! Since then she has finished drawing the comic, wrote five fantasy novels, and more recently put all her works under the business name Sailorfrill Studio, as well as started selling at anime, book or comic conventions.

Books:

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Sierra N. Terry, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Sierra N. Terry, the brilliant author of this fantasy romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Exclusive Interview with author Isabelle Moss, plus a look at adult literary romance/fantasy, EROS AND THE MAGICIAN!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our twelfth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Isabelle Moss to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Isabelle Moss:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Isabelle:  I am a Tantric Transformation and Empowerment Coach for individuals and couples. I love my work. I am very happy doing what I do and helping people live richer and fuller lives. I am also a writer, and am creative all round. I make art in my spare time.

Marie: Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Isabelle:  I am part of a huge family of women – I am one of five daughters, I have four daughters, and I am an aunt to five nieces. My daughters are lively, confident companions and we have loads of fun together. The smell of cake welcomes guests as does the chat around the kitchen table.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

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?

Isabelle:  I moved and moved as a child. Every two years I had a new home, but finally we settled in an old stone walled cottage which is as romantic as any house could be. My stepfather was a fantastic gardener so the house greeted us with flowers and plants when we came and went.

Marie:  Lovely! 🙂

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

Isabelle:  I walk in the woods every day. I love being outside whatever the weather. I do yoga and pilates, and I make art. Collages are my thing at the moment. I also cook and garden. I adore rituals and celebrate life whenever I can. I have just made Beltane wreaths.

Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Isabelle:  My dream is that my book goes out into the world as a vehicle of love. I have three or four others to publish in the series. I think that I am living the dream already. It hasn’t always been so, but I am very happy with where my life is right now.

Marie:  Good! 😀

Let’s try another question.

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

Isabelle:  I don’t wish to be anybody than who I am right now, sitting here at my computer with the black bird in the garden and the sun coming in the window. Now is what I have.

Marie: Okay.

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Isabelle:  My first love was gorgeous. I met him on a school trip to Russia and I remember walking in the Red Square in the snow, eating chocolate and my heart aching with the intensity of my feelings.

Marie:  (Sighs.) I love romance… ♥♥♥

Tell us something else. What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Isabelle:  I feel grateful that life always changes with this question. I had a long and protracted divorce which wasn’t pleasant in any way.

Marie: Oh, no, sorry to hear that! 😥

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Isabelle 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?

Isabelle:  I did want four children and am lucky to have them. I remember wanting to be independent, but I imagined that would come earlier. I also wanted to travel and before I married, I worked for an airline and traveled all over the world.

Marie:  All right.

So, who is your role model, Isabelle?

Isabelle:  Do I have to have only one? That seems brutal, but I love the heroines from further back. As a teen I gorged myself on old movies and fell in love with Katherine Hepburn.

Marie:  Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Isabelle:  No! I don’t know the people I dislike!

Marie:  And what is your deepest desire?

Isabelle:  To not be limited by fear.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear?

Isabelle:  That I will never truly fly like a bird.

Marie:  Okay…

Let’s do something else.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Isabelle:

  • I’d need a stack of magazines with glue and a scalpel to make pictures, paint and pencils
  • Purple ink and unlined notebooks
  • A carrot cake that never went away and always had a slice left in it
  • A crown and a pair of wings
  • Music, so that I could dance on the beach

Marie:  Nice!

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, the girl. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Isabelle:  She is in the throes of first love and is overwhelmed. Sometimes she is yes, other times she is no. There is a dance between her and the Magician. She is tempestuous and he is steady.

Marie:  And what are her greatest strengths?

Isabelle:  Her greatest strength is her vulnerability. She allows herself to feel everything and is at one with nature.

Marie:  Great! 😀

And her weaknesses?

Isabelle:  She is full of fear and taboos. She is so terrified that she will be consumed by the intensity of the love that she constantly rejects it.

Marie:  I’m sure some readers would be able to relate to that. Sometimes as humans, we run from the things we don’t fully understand.

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are her favorite foods?

Isabelle:  Cake, I imagine, and fruit.

Marie:  How about another question?

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

Isabelle:  She is a child of nature with an imagination to go along with it.

Marie:  All right.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Isabelle:  Some will like her, some won’t. It depends on what level the book speaks to them.

Marie:  Okay. Now that we have a real taste of the girl, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

 

What first gave you the idea for Eros and the Magician?

Isabelle:  It sprung from a deep longing inside me to be unconditionally loved in a romantic relationship.

Marie:  And there’s nothing wrong with wanting that! 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Isabelle:  I am not a plotter. Margaret Atwood said there were two types of writers – plotters and kittens batting a ball of wool across the floor. I am a kitten.

Marie:  (Laughs.) I know just what you mean! I often don’t know where my writing projects are headed at first.

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Eros and the Magician or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Isabelle:  This book flowed out of me. I started with one story one day, and then wrote another the next until the days merged and stories were written. I decided to self-publish. I’m not sure why, but it might be because I wanted everything inside my control. Next time I will leave a longer lead in! I didn’t fully realize how much there would be to do around the marketing. Next time I’ll give myself time.

Marie:  Oh, yes. Spreading the world about a book is challenging.

It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! Thank you for visiting!

And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Eros and the Magician appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

Eros and the Magician is an erotic love story which unfolds in verse. It is set in lush and dreamy landscapes while the girl and the Magician lead us through the yes-no-yes at the heart of our most intimate love affairs. It is a story of vulnerability and the risk we all need to take to be truly loved. The girl and the Magician could be humans, immortals, Gods – we do not know. The story blends eroticism with complex and nuanced personal development.

Release Date: May 4, 2019

Genre: Erotic Romance, Adult Literary Romance, Poetry, Fantasy

Here’s a peek at the story…

Prophecy

 

I am wearing my purple dress,

long to the ground,

heavy rose quartz rests on my chest.

I am walking towards you,

limber, graceful, a Goddess –

a woman who belongs to herself.

I am wearing my purple dress,

long to the ground,

beribboned amethyst adorns my neck.

I am walking towards you,

ripped from the ground –

I am screaming and tearing my hair.

I am dressed in my skin,

bruised and battered,

but resplendent in glory.

I am walking towards you.

You gather me in,

home at last, you say.

 

I

 

The sun sends tendrils of light through

the canopy of leaves.

The song birds chatter,

the crows chase the hawk into the hedgerow.

The Magician sits on the ground,

his back against the trunk of the oak tree,

soaking up its wealth of knowing.

The air smells of resin and freshness.

The girl hums a tune,

starts to dance,

feet on the grass,

dappled with light;

removes her clothing

piece by piece,

as she does truths fall like fruit from her mouth.

When she is naked

she kneels in front of him,

slices the fruit, feeds it to him.

He tastes the sweetness of the fruit,

the saltiness of her fingers:

his c*** thrums,

he hears the pulse of his heart.

Sounds intriguing and sexy! Can’t wait to find out what happens. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/ba28Jx

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45415613-eros-and-the-magician

What are people saying about Eros and the Magician?

“He’s the Magician, but she is holding the love for them in her heart.” – Emily

“Riveting to watch the dance between the girl and the Magician.” – Christina

“Isabelle Moss with her vivid, skillful, playful, whimsical, yet deep and heart and gut-wrenching writing creates a timeless piece of a magic puzzle. I absolutely adore it!

Every time I read a few pieces, I just melt into the story and feel like I am part of it. This rich piece is equally highly entertaining for your fairy loving inner child and for your dark shadow within.” – Inna August (Love, Sex and Relationship Transformation coach)

“These are like I have never read before. Sensual and full.

Your voice

Your vision

Your senses

So good.” – Gina

Luxurious and succulent – Isabelle Moss writes timeless poetry, you cannot help but feel the allure of her intimate heart that seems to link back to an era of time we remember on a soul level. She draws from the depths of life and portrays all the mysteries of love and longing in her work, and it’s provocative! She makes me question all the roles and empowers me to find my own voice in the dance of love. And this is just the beginning, her words seem to spill forth, I know there will be so much more poetry in the future! And I’m excited to read it!” – Lady D, Amazon

Unique, original, dazzling…This tells a story that is spell-binding, in that the reader is quickly bound up in a spell of enchanted words. There is a magic to this story of transformations told from a female point of view. The images are striking and vivid and sensual in this story that reminds me of “Psyche and Eros”. A good Jungian could explore these images and themes for quite a while, but it is a modern story about the need to surrender to the deepest desires of the heart.” – Jim Malloy, Amazon

Riveting, magical, accessible poetry full of feeling and mystery. Moss writes clearly and lyrically about the chemistry underlying the mutual seduction between the Magician and the girl, and captures the power dance between them beautifully. She creates a vivid natural world unto itself, a welcome, exotic and wild escape from our everyday environment. Highly recommend!” – Meg Escobosa, Amazon

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this adult literary romance with erotic poetry and fantasy! ♥♥♥

About Isabelle Moss

Isabelle Moss is a lover of fairytales and myths and lives in a land that is steeped in them. She writes poetry, short stories and novels. She is lucky enough to live beside ancient woodland, in Scotland, where she walks her dog, Oona. She reads and writes everywhere she goes and is a deep romantic never having lost her belief in the redemptive power of love. She has a weakness for afternoon tea and cake which she indulges in when her children come home.  She is a Tantra Coach and loves her work helping couples create more connected relationships. Eros and the Magician is the first in a series of three books and she is looking forward to narrating them as audio books in the near future.

Book:

 

 

 

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Isabelle Moss, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Isabelle Moss, the brilliant author of this steamy literary fantasy romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, characters, Erotica, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Literary Fiction, Literature, Message, Poetry, Readers, Romance, steamy, Writers, Writing

A Character Interview with Miranda from THE END OF HATRED plus a conversation with author Rebecca Hefner!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Amber Daulton’s character in March, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Hefner, the author of The End of Hatred, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Slayer Princess Miranda, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Rebecca in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Miranda!

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

Character Miranda:  Thank you for the invite, Marie.

Marie:  It’s my pleasure!

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

Miranda:  Sure.

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

Miranda:  Well, my current occupation is training to kill the Dark Lord Crimeous. He kidnapped my mother a thousand years ago, tortured and murdered her, and thrust the Slayers into an endless war with the Vampyres. So, yeah, I want him gone from Etherya’s Earth and I won’t stop until every memory of him is vanquished.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Miranda:  My mother, Rina, was a bright light in our world. She was taken when I was eight-years old and I remember how she would look at me with her olive-green eyes, filled with so much love. My father, King Marsias, was distraught at her abduction and never recovered.  I think he wants to love me, but it’s hard for him. Everyone says I’m the spitting image of Mother, so I think he sees her when he looks at me. Thankfully, my cousin Kenden is my rock and my confidante.  I love him more than anything in the world. He’s the commander of our army and has taught me to fight from a young age. He’s made me into the warrior I am today and has always loved me, even when I’m being a pain in the ass. Which he says is pretty much always.

Marie:  (Chuckles.)

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

Miranda:  I grew up in the Slayer castle, on the main Slayer compound of Uteria. It seems so magical and mystical, and I guess it is, but it’s also always seemed so cold to me. Perhaps because my father longs for Mother so much. His grief seems to permeate every room of the castle. But I do love Uteria and our satellite compound of Restia. I spend a lot of my time working on improving the parks and outdoor spaces. It’s important to me that my people have a beautiful world to live in and I also want to encourage the children of my kingdom to play outside. Human children stay indoors too much, with their video games and social media, and I want Slayer children to enjoy the sunny days we have on Etherya’s Earth. We’re safe in the sun since the Vampyres can only hunt us at night, thank God.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Miranda:  I’m a huge heavy metal fan. If you come between me and my iPod when I’m working out, you’re probably toast. I love jogging and sparring with Kenden. I have to keep my warrior skills sharp if I’m going to beat Crimeous!

Marie:  So, what is your greatest dream?

Miranda: (Sighs wistfully.) For my people to live in peace. We’ve been stuck in an endless war for a thousand years. The Vampyres raid us constantly and now Crimeous’ Deamons are growing stronger. All I want is to wake up one day and have a world where my people can thrive, without the threat of war and death. I’m determined to make it happen.

Marie:  I see…

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

Miranda:  I’ve been groomed to be queen since I was born. I’ll take the throne one day, but for now I’m content to let my father rule. I’m the rightful heir, since I have my grandfather Valktor’s blood, but father does a great job.  Although, once I kill Crimeous, I intend to claim my crown. I’m sure my father will support me in that. Of course, he will…

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

Who was your first love?

Miranda:  I haven’t actually been in love yet. I’ve had a few lovers. The Slayer traditions are extremely outdated. Young Slayer women are taught to save their virginity for marriage. I’ve always thought that incredibly sexist, as Slayer men are expected to sow their oats before getting married. I’ve never given a fig for any rule that some old curmudgeon decreed centuries before the Awakening, so I decided early on that if I felt comfortable with a man and cared for him, I would sleep with him. Sam was the sweet boy I dated in the first century. He was a bit timid and quite innocent in his avowals of love for me. Then there was Madu, and Ergon after him. They were both badasses who liked heavy metal too. I probably only dated them because it infuriated my father. After that, there was a long break with no dating and much training. Around the eighth century I dated  a soldier named Goran. Sadly, he was abducted in one of the Vampyre raids, never to be seen again.

There isn’t much time for love when you’re protecting your people. I wonder if I’ll ever experience it. I’m not sure I will…

Marie:  Well, I think it’s never too late.

(Sighs.) I love romance…

(Clears throat after a few moments). So, ah, 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?

Miranda:  I would say my mother being kidnapped but, honestly, every time there’s a Vampyre raid and we lose more soldiers, I feel it down in my gut. I’m so tired of the constant fighting. We have to do better. Every soldier’s death is a weight on my soul and each one hurts so fiercely.

Marie:  😥 I can only imagine. That’s rough…

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

[Miranda 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?

Miranda:  Mother was taken when I was still so young. I think I’ve always had the same dream; to help create a world where my people live in peace. If I can do that, I’ll be happy.

Marie:  How admirable! 😀

Who is your role model, Miranda?

Miranda:  Wow. That’s a tough one. Being a traditional society, women are taught to be reticent and silent. I’ve fought to break that and to level our society so that women are seen as equals. I don’t remember much about Mother, but I know that she challenged Father at every turn. So, I guess you could say that I aspire to live up to her and I definitely share her passion for helping our people.

Marie:  Cool!

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Miranda:  My father is insistent on cementing a marriage between me and Kalil. He’s descended from a very old line of Slayer aristocrats and Father believes he’d make an excellent husband. I keep telling him that he should marry him, then.  (Shrugs.) Anyway, I guess I like Kalil, but he drives me a bit nuts. First of all, he’s boring as hell. Sorry, but I said it. Second, he’s a bit snobbish. There’s an inherent classism that runs through our people and, more often than not, aristocrats think they’re better than laborers and servants. That’s just not true. A person can’t control who their parents are or what bloodline they have. I believe that all people are equal and have tried hard to instill this in our society. I haven’t quite succeeded yet, but I’ll never give up the fight!

Marie:  Go, girl! 😉

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Miranda:  Again, not to be repetitive, but my people need to be free from war. It’s all I’m focused on right now. Once that happens, I can move on and focus on myself.

Marie:  What about your greatest fear?

Miranda:  That the Slayers will be eradicated, either by the Vampyres or the Deamons. It’s terrifying and I’m at the point where I realize we need to change tactics or that won’t happen. So, I’m leading the charge and if my father, or anyone else, doesn’t like it, I don’t give a damn.

Marie: Can’t blame you there…

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

Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Miranda. 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 Rebecca Hefner on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Rebecca!

Author Rebecca Hefner:  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, Miranda. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us about her?

Rebecca:  Miranda is an absolute badass. She’s determined to right the wrongs committed by her grandfather centuries ago and won’t stop until she brings peace to her people. Her determination is amazing and I’d like to be her when I grow up!

Marie:  Awesome!

What are your character’s greatest strengths?

Rebecca:  Her love for her people. Her ability to see the bigger picture, even through the hatred. Her ability to love, even when others have a hard time loving her back. I see that with her father and it’s very heartbreaking.

Marie:  And your character’s greatest weakness?

Rebecca:  Miranda is stubborn, sometimes to her benefit and sometimes to her detriment. She’s also quite impulsive and is working on taking deep breaths so she doesn’t fly off the handle. I think it’s half-working.

Marie:  (Laughs.)

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are some of Miranda’s favorite foods?

Rebecca:  She loves seafood. The castle’s housekeeper, Jana, is a lovely woman who makes steamed halibut for Miranda at least once a week, knowing it’s her favorite!

Marie:  Yum!

How about another question?

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

Rebecca: Her fearlessness. I’ve never met anyone as strong and sure as Miranda. She was born with a sense of inner-belief and confidence, and I know it will aid her in saving her people.

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

Rebecca:  I think readers will love her! She’s so strong and kick-ass, but down to earth as well. She loves heavy metal and has a great, snarky sense of humor. Her strength is admirable and we all can see a bit of ourselves in her faults.

Marie:  I’m sure they will adore her!

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

What first gave you the idea for The End of Hatred?

Rebecca:  This is the first book in the series and it’s the story of two age-old enemies aligning to combat a common foe. So, ending the hatred seemed on point!

Marie:  Nice!

Isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? 😀

Let’s try something else.

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

Rebecca:  I sit down and write out a broad storyline, as well as any scenes that have appeared in my head. Then, I begin to write. The characters always take me to a much better place than I ever could’ve imagined. It’s as if they live in my imagination!

Marie:  (Nods.) I think sometimes our characters know best. 😉

How about one last question?

Now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The End of Hatred or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Rebecca:  I decided to self-publish because I felt that was the right path for me. I probably have a much different path than many others. I was a successful medical device sales rep in Corporate America for twelve years. I only left recently to pursue writing full-time. I’ve been writing these stories for decades so, once I decided to publish them, I didn’t want to wait another year or two to wade through submissions, et cetera. I also self-published because I wanted to retain creative control of my stories.

With that being said, I hired an amazing editor at NY Book Editors and, if any author is considering self-publishing, it is imperative they hire a professional editor. It’s respectful to your readers and they will appreciate your books even more.

There are many advantages to self-publishing and to traditional publishing, and every author has to figure out which one will work best for them.

Marie:  So true! 😉

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 The End of Hatred appears to be.

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

Here is the blurb for The End of Hatred, book one of Etherya’s Earth Series:

These are dangerous times on Etherya’s Earth…

Slayer Princess Miranda, heir to the throne, has hated the Vampyres for a thousand years. Since the Awakening, she’s fought to protect her people, choosing to be a warrior more than a royal. When a female Vampyre washes up on the shore of her compound’s riverbank, she seizes the moment to take the offensive.

Sathan, King of the Vampyres, distraught at his sister’s disappearance and captivity, agrees to travel with Miranda to resurrect the Blade of Pestilence, also hoping to change his people’s state of endless war. Although the woman hates him due to the constant raids on her compound for the Slayers’ life-giving blood, he can’t help but admire the stubborn and strong princess.

As their journey progresses, both begin to understand that they are aligned in their hatred of Crimeous, leader of the Deamons, as well as their hope for peace between the Slayers and Vampyres. Determined to fight their growing attraction, they forge a tentative truce. But old wounds run deep and trust is scarce. Their faith in each other must remain strong or all will be lost…

Rebecca is also offering us a little excerpt from the book!

Latimus pulled up to the barrier that surrounded the compound. As the three brothers exited the black Hummer, he addressed Sathan. “Be careful. We’re here if you need us.”

Sathan nodded and walked to the wall. The stones were cool against his palm under the dark sky and silver moonlight. The force-field that Etherya had implemented around the wall vibrated against his hand. Pushing against the rocks, they swung open and he walked through.

About twenty feet away he saw a black SUV, the headlights bright. He walked slowly toward the car.

“That’s far enough,” a female voice said.

“Where’s my sister?”

“She’s being held in a safe place not far from here.”

The woman walked forward and he studied her in what little light he had. Silky, raven-black hair fell straight to her shoulders. Camouflage pants were tucked over black army boots and she wore a black tank top. Approaching him, he noticed how small she was. Probably about a foot shorter than his six-foot, eight-inch frame.

She stopped about two feet in front of him and lifted her chin, training her gaze on his. He felt a sharp clenching sensation in his solar plexus when he saw her irises. Like wet leaves that glistened on the tree after a rainy day, they were the deepest green he had ever seen.

“You have dragged me here,” he said, regaining his composure. “What do I have to do to get her back?”

“Do you know who I am?” she asked. Her voice was clear and firm without a trace of fear.

“The Slayer Princess Miranda,” he said.

She nodded and looked down at the grass for a moment. He wondered if she was more nervous than she appeared. Looking back up at him, she said, “I have no wish to hurt your sister. I wish to use her to ask you to help me.”

“Force me to help you,” he said, bitterness lacing his tone.

“If you like,” she said with a deferential shrug of her shoulders. “Our people have been at war for a thousand years. We are locked in a stalemate that neither side seems to be able to win. I have come to the conclusion that we need to change our tactics.”

“I’m listening.”

She inhaled a deep breath before continuing. “I’ve grown weary of fighting your people. I wish to form a temporary truce with you so that I can accomplish something of great importance.”

“Right,” he said, his tone suggesting that he trusted her about as far as he could throw her. “And what is it you need from me?”

“As the first-born descendants of Valktor and Markdor, our shared blood stream could release the Blade of Pestilence. Once I have it, I will use it to kill Crimeous and I will return your sister to you.”

Sathan blinked a few times, unsure he’d heard her correctly, and then he laughed incredulously. “Wait, are you serious?”

She stood still and mute, her chin thrust up in the air, waiting for his response.

“You want me to travel to the Cave of the Sacred Prophecy with you, release the Blade of Pestilence and then just let you go on your merry way after you’ve kidnapped my sister?”

“Yes,” she said, as if his statement hadn’t been dripping with sarcasm. “Except that I didn’t kidnap your sister. She washed up on the shore of our riverbank. I actually employed our doctor in nursing her back to health. You’re welcome, by the way.”

What a patronizing, cocky little bitch, Sathan thought. Although he had to admire how she stood her ground against him. His physical dominance over her alone should’ve had her cowering. He tested her will by taking a step forward, closing the distance between them. She stood firm, tilting her chin up even more to hold his gaze, and reluctant admiration for her courage coursed through him.

“You want me to thank you for keeping alive a hostage that you’re now using to negotiate with me?”

“It would be nice,” she said flippantly, “but I won’t hold my breath. So, what’s it going to be?

She stared up at him expectantly, as if she hadn’t just asked him to trek over four-hundred miles with her to rescue a weapon from an ancient prophecy.

“No. Now give me my sister. I don’t know what game you’re trying to play, but you’re obviously physically outmatched here. I’ll give you five seconds to hand her over or—”

A sharp pain stabbed in his chest and he gasped. Lowering his gaze to the left side of his chest, he realized that the woman had stabbed him with some sort of contraption.

“It’s a mini-blade-loaded-eight-shooter, you fucking bastard,” she said, spittle flying from between her clenched teeth as she pushed the contraption further into his chest. “The blade on the top of the barrel will only hurt, since you fuckers seem to heal like some goddamn miracle. But if I pull the trigger it will deploy eight tiny bullets right into your black fucking heart. Don’t make me do it.”

Pain coursed through him, as well as a healthy dose of anger. And yet, as he looked down on this tiny she-devil of a woman, he felt a jolt of respect. She had gotten the upper hand on him. Bracing himself, he pushed his chest further into the blade. An intense pleasure ran through him when her eyes widened in surprise.

“Go ahead,” he said, daring her. “Shoot me, princess. Let’s see if you have the courage.”

Tiny nostrils flared as she struggled to compose herself. Moments stretched by in silence as they stood locked in a dance of wills. “Well?” he jibed. “Haven’t you the bravery to kill me?”

Stepping back, she pulled the blade from his chest but kept the weapon aimed at his heart; her finger on the trigger. “Just like a stupid man,” she said, disgust lacing her voice. “Killing someone does not indicate courage or bravery. It’s the will to find a peaceful solution that shows one’s true strength.”

Huh. He didn’t expect that one. Not from the princess of the people who were his sworn enemy. He lifted his hand to put pressure on his bleeding wound. “Releasing the Blade of Pestilence will not find you peace. It will lead to more war if you wish to use it to kill Crimeous.”

“Perhaps,” she said. “But like I said, our tactics have to change. If you help me release the Blade, I promise I will return your sister to Astaria unharmed.”

He realized he believed her. Although she was a Slayer and had just stabbed him in the chest, she betrayed a firm genuineness. “And what about your father? The raids we hold against your people? Surely you cannot ask me to journey with you to the Cave, knowing my army will attack your people in another fortnight.”

Her face contorted into a withering scowl. “Yes, of course. How terrible of me to deny you the sport of hunting and killing my people.”

Remembering his earlier visit to the dungeon, he shook his head. “And now look who’s stupid.”

“What does that mean?” she asked.

Choosing not to answer her, he continued. “We’re almost out of rations from our last raid. If we don’t obtain more Slayer blood over the next fortnight, my people will begin to starve. Ruler to ruler, what would you have me do?”

“My cousin, our army commander, has agreed to supply your compound with blood from the injured soldiers we currently have in our infirmary. He will bank it for you daily and deliver it to this spot while we travel to the Cave.”

“Well, you’ve just got it all figured out, don’t you?” he asked sarcastically.

“It’s better than continuing this madness that’s been going on for centuries, isn’t it?” she asked, her tone just as biting. “Surely you can agree that it can’t hurt to employ new tactics in this age-old war. I mean, ruler to ruler, right?” She placed her free hand on her hip and her eyebrows jutted up as she waited for him to answer. Snarky little minx, this one was.

“Even if I agreed to your plan, how could I guarantee that my sister would be safe? For all I know, you could have your guards murder her as soon as we leave on our journey.”

“You’ll just have to trust me, I guess.”

“Says the woman holding the eight-shooter to my chest.”

Ever so slowly she lowered the weapon to her side. “I don’t want to hurt her. I’m sure you understand that if you hurt me, she will be immediately killed. I am trusting you not to harm me until I have the Blade in my possession. After that, once you return to your compound and I return to mine, we can assess how cooperative we’ve been toward each other and chart a course forward.”

And just like that, Sathan thought, the world had gone insane. The Slayer princess was standing in front of him, asking for a truce so that they could work together to rescue the centuries-old blade that her grandfather used to kill his parents. Fucking insane.

But what was even more insane was that he was considering it. After all, he had become frustrated with the current state of events as well. This cycle of endless war and destruction had them on a constant loop with no end in sight. What if he could actually work with the princess to change the course of history?

“Your father is on board with this plan?” he asked.

“Yes.”

Studying her, he narrowed his eyes. “I am intrigued by your proposal, but I need to discuss it with my brothers. If we are going to move forward with this, I would ask that you turn my sister over to me and trust that I will keep my word. How am I supposed to trust you if you do not trust me in return?”

“Good try, but no fucking way,” she said, shaking her head. “This trust thing is going to go one way and one way only. You’ll trust me to keep her alive and you’ll earn my trust by helping me.”

“She is an inexperienced female not used to the world outside our walls. I worry for her health—”

“She’s doing just fine. All you men think that we women just sit around waiting for you to let us live our lives. Your sister is strong and has already threatened to kill me about a hundred times. She’s got more spirit than I’ve seen in half our soldiers. I don’t wish to hurt her and I won’t as long as you help me.”

His heart warmed at the thought of Arderin putting up such a brave fight against her captor. “I need twenty-four hours to discuss with my brothers. I will meet you back here then.”

“I want an answer now—”

“No,” he said, lowering his hand from his now-mended chest. Self-healing abilities really were amazing. “The fact that I’m even considering your plan is making me doubt my sanity. I need to discuss with my brothers, who are my closest advisors. If you can’t grant me that, then we are at an impasse.”

“Fine. I’ll give you until sunset tomorrow. I’ll be here. Don’t be late.”

With one last look at the impertinent little princess, he turned and exited through the wall. His brothers were going to think he’d gone mad for even considering this. Of that, he was sure.

Ohh! ♥♥♥ Love the tension! Can’t wait to read this book and find out what happens next…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/ba2el2

Add it to your Goodreads or BookBub bookshelf:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42895210-the-end-of-hatred

https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-end-of-hatred-etherya-s-earth-book-1-by-rebecca-hefner

Link to the series on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/2XxJyN7

What are people saying about The End of Hatred?

Absolutely one of the most interesting, well written, intriguing romance books that i’ve read in a long time. I’ve already ordered book 2. Quirky twists. Unexpected developments with surprisingly believable characters. Can’t believe that this is Rebecca’s first book! I await many more!!!” – Judy H. Eubanks, Amazon

This book has everything you want in an epic novel. Great love stories, battles. The history of all three immortal races, especially between the Vampyres and Slayers is very unique. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series.” – Jolyane Justice, Amazon

New favorite series! I loved this book. The story had me on the edge of my seat the whole read. There was so much action as well as great lead characters. The romance and character development between Sathan and Miranda was fun too! I cannot wait to read the second book!” – Sonya Genesius, Amazon

 

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

About Rebecca Hefner

Rebecca Hefner grew up in Western NC and now calls the Hudson River of NYC home. From a very young age she used to sneak into her mother’s bedroom and raid the bookshelf, falling in love with the stories of Judith McNaught, Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts. Years later that love of a good romance, with lots of great characters and conflicts, has extended to her other favorite authors such as J.R. Ward and Lisa Kleypas. Also a huge Game of Thrones and Star Wars fan, she loves an epic fantasy and a surprise twist (Luke, he IS your father).

Rebecca published her first book in November of 2018. Before that, she had an extensive twelve-year medical device sales career, where she fought to shatter the glass ceiling in a Corporate America world dominated by men. After saving up for years, she left her established career to follow the long, winding and scary path of becoming a full-time author. Due to her experience, you’ll find her books filled with strong, smart heroines on a personal journey to better themselves and fight sexism and misogyny at every turn. She would be thrilled to hear from fans any time at rebecca@rebeccahefner.com.

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

Website:  https://www.rebeccahefner.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RebHefnerAuthor

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

Amazon Author Page:  http://author.to/RebeccaHefner

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18637390.Rebecca_Hefner

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rebecca-hefner

Newsletter Sign-Up:  https://www.rebeccahefner.com/#news

 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Miranda, a female character from The End of Hatred, and Rebecca Hefner, the brilliant author of the book, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, Character Interview, characters, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Exclusive Interview with author Kathryn Troy, plus a look at time travel/fantasy romance, CURSE OF THE AMBER!

Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our eleventh official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.

We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented multi-genre author. Please join me in welcoming Kathryn Troy to ILRB! 🙂

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

Author Kathryn Troy:  Hi, Marie!

Marie:  Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!

I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.

Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…

Kathryn:  My day job is as a professional historian and adjunct professor. I’m also trained as a pastry chef. I love genre fiction, and I love writing genre fiction – I use up all my free time doing it.

Marie: Nice!

So, tell us…what is your family like?

Kathryn:  I have a loving husband and two cute kids – one boy and one girl.

Marie:  That’s wonderful!

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?

Kathryn:  Like a full house – I lived with my parents, my grandparents, two siblings, and a rotation of cousins and aunts and uncles.

Marie:  Wow…I thought five people crammed under one roof was crowded! (Laughs.) But I’m sure you’re all still close-knit.

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

Kathryn:  I think of writing as my hobby, since I find time to do it rather than clocking in for it, although I probably spend more hours writing each week than I do on anything else. Aside from that, I enjoy traveling as far and as often as possible. Favorites so far are France, Germany, and Hawaii. Next up: China.

Marie:  Cool!

And what is your greatest dream?

Kathryn:  To fill my passport up with stamps and need a second book.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! 😉

Let’s try another question.

Not to pry too much, but who was your first love?

Kathryn:  My first love is my still love – my husband Andy. We met as college freshmen, have been together 17 years, and are about to celebrate 13 years of marriage.

Marie:  Yay! 😀 Congratulations!

(Sighs.) I love romance…

Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?

[Kathryn 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?

Kathryn:  I have no idea what my childhood dream was – I changed my mind too often. But I’m a fairly content person. My only aspirations at the moment are to see more of this planet.

Marie:  That I can understand! 😀 I’d like to do more traveling as well…

So, who is your role model, Kathryn?

Kathryn:  Xena Warrior Princess. I’m not joking.

Marie:  All right.

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Kathryn:  I can’t answer that. What if they read this?

Marie:  (Chuckles.)

And what is your deepest desire?

Kathryn:  Can I get a clone that does the dishes just the way I like them done? If it could fold laundry too, that’d be great. Really, I just need the maid from The Jetsons.

Marie:  (Covers her ears.) No…now I’ll have that theme playing in my head the rest of the day! (Laughs.)

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear?

Kathryn:  That my clone will be prettier than me. Just kidding! 😉

My biggest fear is probably that my kids will grow up in a post-Columbine, post-Newtown, post-Stoneman school system that did nothing to keep them safe.

Marie:  I agree. The situation is rather terrifying…

Let’s do something else.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.

Kathryn:

A lifetime supply of bug-killer.

Toothpaste

Deodorant

2-ply toilet paper

The Infinity Gauntlet

Marie:  Okay.

Readers, let’s shift somewhat and get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.  🙂

We’ve heard rumors about the heroine of your story, Asenath Hayes. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?

Kathryn:  Asenath Hayes is a young archaeologist, orphaned at a young age and fairly independent, even if she’s a little dysfunctional.

Marie:  And what are Asenath’s greatest strengths?

Kathryn:  She’s intelligent and rational, but also very generous with others.

Marie:  Great! 😀

And her weaknesses?

Kathryn:  She’s a generally anxious person, grappling with some not-so-great life choices.

Marie:  I’m sure some of us can relate to that…

Let’s try something fun, shall we?

What are her favorite foods?

Kathryn:  Anything her roommate Ravi makes – including pork vindaloo and butter chicken.

Marie:  Nice!

How about another question?

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

Kathryn:  She doesn’t realize what a good friend she is to others, or how self-sacrificing she is for those she cares about.

Marie:  How admirable!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Kathryn:  She’s flawed, sure, but I don’t give people any real reason to dislike her.

Marie:  Great!

Now that we have a real taste of Asenath, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.

What first gave you the idea for Curse of the Amber?

Kathryn:  I was reading Anne Rice’s The Mummy, and I felt that some of the storytelling elements were a bit flat. I love the concept of man-out-of-time stories, but I’m not always satisfied by them. I wanted to do something that would be satisfying, unique, and a bit on the darker side.

Marie:  Cool!

It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😉

Let’s try something else.

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

Kathryn:  I plot things out, even if it’s just mentally, getting all the major plot points in order and answering some questions of internal logic. I like to know the trajectory, and then go back for the details and polish later. I also did a lot of research for this book, but like I said, I’m a professional historian. I could’ve written a book about bog bodies and ancient Egypt with the amount of reading I did. I chose to write fiction instead.

Marie:  Awesome!

I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Curse of the Amber or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?

Kathryn:  It’s hard to find the right balance between something that is new, something fresh and original, and something that is clearly categorized and defined. If an agent or editor can’t easily peg the book as belonging to one genre or another, they can’t sell it, no matter how good your prose is. It can be hard to be mindful of the publishing market and marketing strategies while also creating a story. But it’s all about perspective. I’d rather write stories that I want to read, and worry about who else likes it later. It takes away some of the stress of writing to serve a particular audience or literary trend, and the end product tends to be better as a result.

Marie:  I agree!

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 Curse of the Amber appears to be… ♥

Here is the blurb:

A curse, a resurrection, and a centuries old witch hell bent on revenge.

Quintus is a dutiful son and soldier, sent to Britannia to improve his marriage prospects and ensure the Druids never rise again. Roman soldiers destroyed the last Druid stronghold in a battle of blood and fire. So, he never expects to be sacrificed to their sacred bog, trapped forever by the gods below.

Two thousand years later, Asenath Hayes discovers the most well-preserved body in history. And the last thing she needs is for him to wake up.

As the young archaeologist delves into Druidic rituals to grasp why Quintus was offered to a Welsh bog and then resurrected, she is forced to complete her research with the “missing” body, dodge her ex-lover and mentor with his own agenda, and keep her gorgeous new houseguest under wraps.

But, smitten with her as he seems, Quintus says he wants to go home.

Asenath is drawn to Quintus by the secrets they share, even if it scares her. As Asenath is pulled deeper into the mysteries of the bog, she must risk everything to keep him from hell’s cold grasp as she uncovers forbidden rites, awakened deities, and an attraction that transcends the ages.

Here’s a peek at the story…

ASENATH

Chapter 1

 

The sun seems to have forgotten Wales. I didn’t think there was any place on Earth that could make me long to be in Egypt again, but I couldn’t escape the memories that flooded me. I shivered in the absence of the Valley’s merciless heat, where for summers on end its oppressive dryness sucked the life out of my lips and baked my skin into hardened, sand-beaten clay. That dryness had followed Ramesses, Amenhotep, Aken-aten, and his son beyond the world’s suffering down to their resting place, and kept the divine kings ready in the dark, empty stillness.

But the day’s oppression had always faded with the sun. The perfection of those nights on the Eastern Bank, at our host Hani’s home — that was what I missed. Invigorated by the fresh, life-giving breeze off the Nile’s surface and snuggled between my parents under thin woven blankets was a warmth I knew I would never feel again. The cold and damp of Britain, once the stronghold of the Druids, was relentless. The gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach grew, and the thought I’d pushed away more than once made itself more insistent.

This was a mistake. I shouldn’t be here.

My fingertips numbed to the statuette in my hand, a solid representation of the wet chill in the air. Its faceless form was as alien to me as the bog in which I crouched. The shape of the stone fetish was at least interesting, a long, slender column with a severe “V” etched into it. It held more promise than the dozens of thin rings fashioned out of iron, bronze, and even gold, heaped together in a tangle, the clay pottery, now in shards, and scraps of linen that appeared to be tossed desperately into the bog as a last-ditch effort to avoid Roman destruction. But I couldn’t enjoy it for what it was. It was inscrutable, too disconnected from anything familiar. Its primitive, obscure expression reminded me of my own cold thoughts, and as I squeezed the chilled stone in my hand, I doubted if I would discover anything that had once been warm — made of flesh and blood. We were as deep down as the famous bog bodies had been, more so in certain places, and still we had nothing, or rather no one, to show for it.

I lifted my head, trying to shake off my melancholy and averting my eyes from the stone carving that would not reveal its secrets to me. I was too low down to inhale even a whiff of air that wasn’t saturated with the grassy pungency of the bog wall. From my vantage point, huddled low in a deep, man-hewn pit, the sodden depression of the bog appeared even more overgrown on all sides. Birch trees poked out of humble clusters of willows, red-speckled buckthorn, and mountain ash. Except for these trees skirting its outermost edges, the sunken area was wide and open. The cauldron bog retained its secluded atmosphere, despite being carved into a series of waterlogged cavities.

My somber mood deepened when I saw my advisor approach. Up until then I’d been successful at avoiding him. I deliberately didn’t linger, and always found a reason to visit another pit when the one we were in suddenly emptied of other researchers. I’d resisted the wrenching feeling in my gut too long, but as our excavation wound down, it was impossible to ignore, with nowhere for my thoughts to hide — there was nothing left of what used to be my life.

“How’s it going?” Alex asked, and knelt beside me.

“Fine,” I answered, not bothering to look up from the peat I was brushing off of a link of iron rings sunken into the over-saturated soil.

After a long, awkward silence, he said, “It’s okay, you know.”

“What is?”

“If you don’t…if we don’t find one.”

I swallowed hard. The only place for my rising fury to go was back down.

“I just don’t want you to think that this whole thing was a waste—”

“A waste?” I shot back. “I’ve got enough to keep me occupied for the next decade, thank you.” It was true, but that didn’t make the prospect of studying human sacrifice sans a human sound any better. Nothing would tell us as much about the Druids as human remains that had, willingly or otherwise, undergone their practices. It may have been more than anyone else expected, but the bar had been set impossibly high. A human discovery might have been the only way to exceed my father’s own discoveries in the Valley of the Kings and earn the same level of respect in my own right.

“All right, all right,” Alex said, contrite. “I didn’t come over here to upset you.”

“Then why are you here?” There was more bite in my voice than I meant, but he had that amused eyebrow raised again, the one that made my anger meaningless and painted me as a silly, wide-eyed novice with dreams of finding the next Tut.

“I thought you might need a refill.” He offered me a cup of coffee.

A gruff ‘thank you’ was all I could manage. My brain had reached maximum capacity for caffeine, but it went down easy. Milk and two sugars, just the way I liked it. Damn.

Sounds intriguing! Can’t wait to find out what happens. 😀

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/3LKz6w

Publisher link:  http://smarturl.it/CurseCO

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   http://smarturl.it/CurseGoodReads

https://www.bookbub.com/books/curse-of-the-amber-by-kathryn-troy

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this time travel/fantasy romance! ♥♥♥

About Kathryn Troy

I’m an historian by day, a novelist and baker by night. I like to write what I read – fantasy, romantic fantasy, gothic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, paranormal, horror, and weird fiction.

Books:

rav

And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Kathryn Troy, here are some author links…

 

Once again, I want to thank Kathryn Troy, the brilliant author of this fantasy romance with a time travel angle, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥

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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/
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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/2SMRcRD
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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

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Pixabay, Pexels.com

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Book Review: Jake’s Redemption by Jamie Schulz

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Jake’s Redemption By Jamie Schulz. By now, if you’ve seen my past reviews, you know that I love a book with role reversal – this is that on steroids.

In a post-war, dystopian Pacific Northwest, women have found that, in fear or anger, they are physically stronger than men. With a (un)healthy dose of medication that makes men panicky and fearful, women rule their world.

It’s never made clear if this type of society has taken over the whole country, or just this small patch of land East of the Cascade Mountains. Here, we find Jake and his best friend Bret who are set upon by a group of bandits. Jake is taken prisoner and Bret makes his escape into the woods. Sold into slavery, Jake endures unimaginable torture, rape, and abuse.

Side note: Though the book’s Amazon listing does mention “unsettling and violent subject matter”, it should definitely include a trigger warning for sexual assault victims. I’m just sayin’.

While owned by a true sadist named Darla (I pictured a grown up version of the girl from Finding Nemo the whole time), Jake is loaned out for his skills in construction and ranch handling. With his temporary owner, Michelle, Jake finds a slave plantation owned by a woman who isn’t mentally disturbed (Michelle’s home is never called a slave plantation, btw, but if it walks like a duck…)

The romance formed between Jake and Michelle really is touching. He has a lot of baggage from his time with Darla (being shaken in that little fish bag of hers…if it were filled with chains, whips, and rape), and she has the burden of being a slave owner.

The conflict moving the book along is Jake’s impending return to Darla the Devil. Should he run and surely be killed? But, in the end Jake is saved from having to decide by being purchased by another woman (and friend of Michelle’s) named Angel. For the first bit that we see Angel, I wasn’t sure if she was another sadistic sex fiend, but after bouts of depression and an attempted suicide, Angel turns out to be one of my favorite characters.

When I finished reading this book, knowing that it was a prequel, I was eager to see how things continue in this story. I will certainly be anticipating the release of the first official book in the series.

As a closing, I’m just going to throw this out there. As a gay man living in the Pacific Northwest just outside Tacoma, WA, I had to wonder – what happened to the gays?! Outside of Washington’s few big cities, this state is really no friend to the LGBTQ community.

So, in this story, where we are of no use as “breeders”, were we just killed off? Or are we still chained up and raped for our swimmers? I am intrigued and troubled to see how or if the author touches on this subject.

For its romance and train wreck society that kept me reading – I give Jake’s Redemption By Jamie Schultz 3 STARS!

Book Info:

An imprisoned cowboy. An empowered woman. When true love is forbidden, opening their hearts could destroy them both…

Chained and enslaved, Jake Nichols is convinced he’ll die alone. In this new order where men are stripped of all power, he endures brutal torture at the hands of his female captor. But when he’s hired out to build a ranch home for an outspoken beauty, his dreams of escape transform into visions of passion.

Monica Avery struggles to fill her heart in a loveless society. With marriage outlawed and romantic partners reduced to pawns, she’s given up hope of finding her soul mate. But watching the rugged rancher hard at work on her shelter awakens deeply buried desires.

As the project comes together, Monica discovers a kindred spirit in the tenderhearted Jake. But despite their growing attraction, he still belongs to a cruel woman who’d rather see him dead than free.

Can Monica save Jake, or will their love lead to a tragic tomorrow?

Jake’s Redemption is a full-length book in the Angel Eyes cowboy dystopian romance series. If you like scorching-hot chemistry, clever post-apocalyptic worlds, and star-crossed love stories, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s captivating tale.

Buy Jake’s Redemption today to see if love can brighten a dark world!

This prequel has an HFN ending and opens the door for the next book in the Angel Eyes Series.

This story would appeal to those who found the adult scenarios in books like A Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games intriguing. Or who enjoy the writing of other romance authors like Maisey Yates, Pam Godwin, Karen Robards, and Nora Roberts, or who simply love cowboys.

Please note: Intended for mature audiences. This story contains some unsettling and violent subject matter that sensitive readers may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGnKX

Here’s a peek at the book…

AUTHOR: Jamie Schulz

TITLE: Jake’s Redemption

GENRE: Dystopian Romance, Romantic Fantasy

RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2019

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B07K5L411H

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Get your copy on Kindle Unlimited here.

Up next in the first week of April: The Homecoming by Tammy Tate

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Book Review: The Key of F by Jennifer Haskin

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is The Key of F By Jennifer Haskin. With paranormal and sci-fi elements, this full-length novel is a great read.

Fale, who is as down-to-Earth as she is incredible, begins a journey to find out exactly who she is. When she starts having visions of the future and trying to do something about it, will she change it for the better or worse?

Really, I cannot say enough good things about this book – the storyline is well thought through, the dialogue is believable and relatable, and the interactions between the main characters keep you reading.

This book is extremely well-written and thought out and I look forward to reading the next one in the series – I give The Key of F By Jennifer Haskin 5 HEARTS!

Only $.99 on Kindle.

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Fale, Takanori warrior-in-training, begins having visions on her eighteenth birthday. When she realizes the visions are coming true, she intervenes and changes one to save the life of her crush. Soon after, thugs climb out of the woodwork chasing them with the intent to kill. Their only clue lies in the key Fale wears, given to her by her father on his deathbed. Could the key have something to do with her destiny? Can they live long enough to find the answers?

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bW9G0D

Here’s a peek at the book…

AUTHOR: Jennifer Haskin

TITLE: The Key of F (book one of the Freedom Fight Trilogy)

GENRE: paranormal romance, urban fantasy, some YA elements

RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2018

PUBLISHER: Rogue Phoenix Press

ISBN/ASIN: B079P7DMQ4

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Undercover Siren by Ellen Mint

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Paranormal Romance Review: Magick and Moonlight (Marie Lavender)

If you liked Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, one-click Magick & Moonlight by Marie Lavender. Both Jessie and Ethan are hiding in small-town Oregon from something in the p…

Source: Paranormal Romance Review: Magick and Moonlight (Marie Lavender)

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A to Z Challenge: Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

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?

The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

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Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Blurb for Key of Light:

51VBBiDAMrL._SX296_BO1,204,203,200_

An invitation to unlock your dreams…Three women. Three keys. A unique series with a twist—Nora Roberts opens the door to one woman’s search for truth and passion in the first Key Trilogy novel.

A few choice lines from the book:

Key of Light -excerpt1

key of light-excerpt2

key of light -excerpt3

key of light-excerpt4

Blurb for Key of Knowledge:

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In the second installment of Nora Roberts’ thrilling Key series, Dana Steele is forced to face her past with the handsome Jordan Hawke when he writes a book that connects him to her quest for the Key of Knowledge. Now, Dana must seek out the truth from among deception and lies––or succumb to her worst nightmares.

A few choice lines from the book:

Oh, God, not him. Not now.
“What do you want?” she snapped. “Go away. I’m busy.”
Before she could slam the door, he slapped a hand on it.
“I want to talk to you about … What is it?”
She was white as a ghost, her dark eyes enormous, and glassy with shock.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
The shakes started up again, harder this time. “I don’t want to … oh, the hell with it. You’re better than nothing.”
She simply fell against him. “I’m so cold. I’m so goddamn cold.”
He scooped her right off her feet, then booted the door shut behind him. “Couch or bed?”
“Couch. I’ve got the shakes. I can’t stop.”
“Okay. It’s okay.” He sat, kept her cradled in his lap as he tugged the throw off the back of the couch. “You’ll warm up in a minute,” he comforted, and tucked the
throw around her. “Just hold on to me.”
He rubbed her back, her arms, then just wrapped his own arms around her and banked on body heat to do the rest. “Why are you wet?”
“I was in the tub. Then I wasn’t. I don’t know how it works.” Her hand was fisted in his jacket, kneading there as she fought to steady herself. “The son of a bitch
got inside my head. You don’t even know it’s happening, it just does. I’m not going to make any sense for a couple more minutes.”
“It’s okay. I think I’m following you.”
His stroking hands bumped the band that tied her hair up. Without thinking, he slipped it off, combed his fingers through. “It was Kane? He was here?”
“I don’t know.”
Exhausted, she laid her head against his chest. She had her breath back at least. It no longer felt as if a hand was squeezing her racing heart. “Like I
said, I don’t know how it works. I wanted to take a bath, relax.”
To give her something else to think about, he deliberately sniffed her neck. “You smell terrific.Tasty. What is that?”
“Mango. Cut it out.” But she made no attempt to get off his lap.

Blurb for Key of Valor:

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A woman’s quest for courage opens her heart to love in the third Key Trilogy novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts.

Join Zoe in the ultimate quest for courage.

A few choice lines from the book:

excerpt - Key of Valor

My Score:

In this series, three women who’ve never met before receive a bizarre invitation to a fine mansion and an offer to participate in an unusual endeavor, locating rare, mystical keys for a large sum of money. Oh, and it’s all to free a trio of goddesses.

The first book is Malory’s story. She just got fired from her job and now feels obligated to play this game she’s not so sure is real. She meets Flynn in the process of attempting to locate the key, except she doesn’t realize he’s directly tied to one of the members of the group.

This series is really interesting! Lots of romance, sexy tension, intrigue and some mystical forces to complicate things further. Dana and Zoe have some pretty great tales as well. Check out these interesting books!

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I give the series four hearts!  🙂

four hearts

 

 

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A to Z Challenge: Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

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?

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Blurb:

Book One of the Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy

In Gallagher’s Pub, where the fire is burning low and the pints are waiting, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts has a story to tell…

Determined to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees America to take refuge in Faerie Hill Cottage, immersing herself in the study of Irish folklore and discovering hope for the future of the magical past.

Finally back home in Ireland after years of traveling, Aidan Gallagher possesses an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. Although he’s devoted to managing the family pub, a hint of wildness still glints in his eyes—and in Jude, he sees a woman who can both soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her—while they create a passionate history of their own.

Also in the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy:
Tears of the Moon
and
Heart of the Sea

 

A few choice lines from the book:

For himself, Aidan was content in where he was, and what he did. He’d learned a great deal of himself and of life during his rambles. The itchy feet were said to come from the Fitzgerald side, as his mother had, before she married, traveled a good bit of the world, with her voice paying the fare.

He’d strapped on a knapsack when he was barely eighteen and traveled throughout his country, then over into England and France and Italy and even Spain. he’d spent a year in America, being dazzled by the mountains and plains of the West, sweltering in the heat of the South, and freezing through a northern winter.

He and his siblings were as musical as their mother, so he’d sung for his supper or tended bar, whichever suited his purposes at the time. When he’d seen all he longed to see, he came home again, a well-traveled man of twenty-five.

For the last six years, he’d tended the pub and lived in the rooms above it.

But he was waiting. He didn’t know for what, only that he was.

Even now, as he built a pint of Guinness, drew a glass of Harp, and tuned in with one ear to the conversation in case he was obliged to comment, part of him sat back, patient and watchful.

Those who looked close enough might see that watchfulness in his eyes, eyes blue as a lightning bolt under brows with the same dark richness as the prize bar where he worked.

He had the rawboned face of the Celts, with the wild good looks that the fine genes of his parents had blended, with a long, straight nose, a mouth full and shamelessly sensual, a tough, take-a-punch chin with just a hint of a cleft.

He was built like a brawler – wide of shoulder, long of arm, and narrow of hip. And indeed, he had spent a good portion of his youth planting his fists in faces or taking them in his own. As much, he wasn’t shamed to admit, for the fun of it as for temper.

It was a matter of pride that unlike his brother, Shawn, Aidan had never had his nose broken in battle.

Still, he’d stopped looking for trouble as he’d grown from boy to man. He was just looking, and trusted that he’d know what it was when he found it.

When Jude walked in, he noticed – first as a publican, and second as a man. She looked so tidy, with her trim jacket and bound-back hair, so lost with her big eyes scanning the room as a doe might consider a new path in the forest.

A pretty thing, he thought, as most men do when they see an attractive female face and form. And being one who saw many faces in his career, he noted the nerves as well that kept her rooted to the spot just inside the door as if she might turn and flee at any moment.

The look of her, the manner of her, captured his interest and a low and pleasant hum warmed his blood.

She squared her shoulders, a deliberate move that amused him, and walked to the bar.

“Good evening to you,” he said as he slid his rag down the bar to wipe up spills. “What’s your pleasure?”

She started to speak, to ask politely for a glass of white wine. Then he smiled, a slow, lazy curving of lips that inexplicably set her insides a fluttering and turned her mind into a buzzing mess of static.

Yes, she thought dimly, everyone was gorgeous here.

He seemed in no particular hurry for her answer, only leaned comfortably on the bar, bringing that truly wonderful face closer to hers, cocking his head and his brow at the same time.

“Are you lost, then, darling?”

She imagined herself melting, just sliding onto the floor in a puddle of hormones and liquid lust. The sheer embarrassment of the image snapped her back to herself. “No, I’m not lost. Could I have a glass of white wine? Chardonnay if it’s available.”

“I can help you with that.” But he made no move to, just then. “You’re a Yank, then. Would you be Old Maude’s young American cousin come to stay in her cottage awhile?”

“Yes. I’m Jude, Jude Murray.” Automatically she offered her hand and a careful smile that allowed her dimples a brief appearance in her cheeks.

Aidan had always had a soft spot for dimples in a pretty face.

He took her hand, but didn’t shake it. He only held it as he continued to stare at her until – she swore she felt it – her bones began to sizzle. “Welcome to Ardmore, Miss Murray, and to Gallagher’s. I’m Aidan, and this is my place. Tim, give the lady your seat. Where are your manners?”

“Oh, no, that’s-”

But Tim, a burly man with a mass of hair the color and texture of steel wool, slid off his stool. “Beg your pardon.” He shifted his gaze from the sports event on the television over the end of the bar and gave her a quick, charming wink.

“Unless you’d rather a table,” Aidan added as she continued to stand and look mildly distressed.

“No, no, this is fine. Thank you.” She climbed onto the stool, trying not to tense up as she became the center of attention.

My Score:

I love Nora Roberts’ books, and to make things sweeter, this is part of an Irish trilogy. Ireland is a place that calls to me like no other. I guess it must be my Irish heritage.

This is such a great series! I fully recommend it!

Irish Series

Jude goes to Ireland to get in touch with her roots, and to satisfy her restlessness back at home. She doesn’t expect to find the handsome Aidan Gallagher or a mysterious ghost in her cottage.

This is a lovely romance, rich with Irish culture and a touch of the paranormal. A perfect five hearts, in my opinion!

five hearts

And I’d say the same for the sequels as well! 😀

Irish Series-1

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