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

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Bonnie McCune, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

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

JD Mason, Unsplash

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

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

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

Created by Freepik

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

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

Pedro Kümmel, Unsplash

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

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

Created by Freepik

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

Created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com

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

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

That’s what romance means to me.

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

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

Author Links

Website:  www.BonnieMcCune.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/authorBonnieMcCune

Twitter:  twitter.com/bonniemccune

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

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

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

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

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/BonnieMcCune

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

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

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

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

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

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Jenny Lynn, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

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

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Bio

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

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, as the host, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

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

We may have other posts before then, though.

Have a great week, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Jeffery Martin Botzenhart

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Jeffery Martin Botzenhart, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Being invited to offer my thoughts on the theory of Romance, to be honest I’m not sure where to begin in covering what I believe to be such a broad-spectrum concept. Everyone has different notions about romance and how it shapes and influences aspects of their life. And no one is wrong in their belief. Each individual’s perspective feeds into this passionate beast and is clearly displayed by the variety of romantic prose published by countless authors on the subject.

Created by Ijeab – Freepik.com

So what does romance mean to me? I guess I could begin by offering you my thoughts on what I find romantic. For me, the sparkle in her eyes when she looks at me in a dimly-lit restaurant while listening to a cool jazz saxophone playing for what seems like only us is romantic.

I notice how her hands are dirty and the sun-kissed tone of her skin after working in the garden. There are also times when she pushes my buttons, driving me crazy—because she knows she can. Walking hand-in-hand along a deserted stretch of beach, staying quiet and just listening to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore with seabirds calling out to each other is a moment I would relive again and again. And then in the dark after crawling into bed, to lay there and enjoy her soft breath on my shoulder and her hand at rest on my bare chest, feeling my heart beat, which only does because of her, is what I want when falling asleep.

So what about sex? How does it factor in to all this? Hello! I’m a guy! Sex and attraction definitely hold prominence in romance. Sex is great, especially when shared with someone you have a deep emotional connection with. But for me, I want more than that.

Think about this. A man and his wife were married for over fifty years until one day she died suddenly, leaving him heartbroken. And so as years go on, he regularly visits her grave site, bringing fresh flowers to decorate what he now sees as sacred ground. Most times he’ll sit there, staying quiet on the outside while talking to her in his thoughts. When with him, his children don’t understand why bottles of her perfume still sit on the bedroom dresser or why her jewelry box rests untouched. What some may fail to understand is that though her body is no longer there, her spirit lingers in his heart, fueling their romance which transcends the boundaries of time itself.

Created by Freepik

That, my friends, is the ultimate romance in my opinion. Sad? Perhaps for some people it is, but not for me.

As a writer of romantic tales, I channel my belief I’ve shared with all of you into my work. My notions of romance are clearly reflected in the stories I write and the way I lead my life.

             Not everyone, though, is so open about their romantic beliefs. You may see a couple that clearly don’t show much of an emotional connection to each other. Does that imply there’s no romance between them? It shouldn’t.

Created by Freepik

People express romance in different ways, be it elderly couples holding hands in a park, a young couple on a beach who can’t keep their hands off each other, men and women going to a courthouse to marry the ones they love after finally fighting for the right to, or a guy lying on the grass, with his kids piling on him as his wife tends to her flowers. Everywhere you look—you see romance, bold or subtle. What a wonderful world it is.

 

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

Guest Bio

So you want to know about me. Of course you do. So I will indulge your curiosity—at the risk of inciting severe boredom. I was born in 1967 in Warren, Ohio and grew up in a rural, run-down trailer park in Southington, Ohio, where I eventually learned that white and trash were, in fact, separate words.

After graduating from Chalker High School I attended Kent State University, earning a Bachelor’s of Sciences degree in International Relations. Yes, I earned a BS and can now BS in a most educated manner.

During my college years, I enrolled in several courses that fueled my passion for writing. But love, marriage, fatherhood, and paying bills forced writing to take a backseat for a number of years. Finally in October 2014, Clockwork Heart, a romantic steampunk tale I’d written, was published. And thus my side career as a writer began. Still awake?

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

Readers, stay tuned for the next post in our new Heroes & Heroines feature, which details some background on romance characters, when author Molly Lovell visits us on September 5th! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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

Special Feature: What Does Romance Mean to Me? by Rachael Tamayo

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked both authors and romance readers to come to me with their responses to this big question: “What Does Romance Mean to Me?” I was genuinely interested in what made us all tick, what continued to draw us to the genre. Why do we love “love” so much? I wanted to dig deep into the heart of each person. And I’ve gotten some incredible feedback. Today is the next post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Rachael, who has some things to say about the question at hand.

Love. Romance. Togetherness. Are they the same thing? I’d say it depends. Depends on the person and the situation. Love is what makes the world go round. Love for family, parents and children, a spouse, unrequited love from afar, broken love that shatters the heart.

I watched my parents as a child. I was one of the few kids I knew that didn’t come from a broken home. There wasn’t any time for them for dates, no money for anything special. No expensive gifts shared between them. But I never really doubted that they loved one another. Somehow, I think they shared private moments that we never saw as kids. What I did see, was my mom get up every morning and make my dad coffee and breakfast before he went to work. I saw her sew us kids clothes, knowing that my dad was working as hard as he could, and this was her way to help out so he didn’t have to work more in order to buy us clothes. We were broke. I remember most summers here in the Houston area without air conditioning, my mom taking us to the library just to have a cool place to be outside our sweltering home.

Now that I’m an adult with kids of my own, I realize there is a difference between romance and love. My parents did all that and showed us that they loved us in their sacrifices to make sure we had what we needed. (Except A/C, ha ha). When I think of romance, I think of one thing.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Falling.

I think it’s that feeling of need when you look at him or her. When we are at a party and my husband whispers to me that he wants to go home because he doesn’t want to share me with anyone.

It’s that feeling of falling. Some say love becomes stale, mundane, a day to day drudgery. That may be true, but you get those random moments when you feel that feeling as if it’s new. It hits you when you least expect it.

Created by Freepik

You’re falling over and over again.

When he looks at you just the right way and winks.

When she holds your baby for the first time in her arms.

When he tells you that he wants to just stay home with you and eat takeout in bed and watch movies.

A random text out of the blue.

An ‘I’m sorry’ after a fight.

Created by Freepik

Whatever it may be, you feel it over and over again during the course of the relationship. That out of control feeling that creates a desire to be alone, the warmth you get in your bones when someone else looks at you “like that” and tells you that they want you.

Unsplash, Alejandra Quiroz, Creative Commons license.

I think that’s why we all love to read romance. The tale of one couple finding each other and falling in love, the mad desire that seems to always lie just beneath the surface.

It reminds us of those feelings, or the hope we have to find them for ourselves one day.

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

Guest Bio

Rachael Tamayo is a multi-genre best selling author. Her titles include Chase Me, Claim Me, Gretyl and the Witch, Reach for Me, and The Stones. Her newest book, a psychological thriller, Crazy Love, is due to come out later this summer. She’s living happily in the Houston area with her husband of thirteen years, their four year old son and infant daughter. A part-time writer and full-time 911 dispatcher that spends all her spare time with family.

 

Wait, we’re not quite finished!

So, I put the question to you as a reader today as well. What does the word ‘romance’ really mean for you? Is ‘romance’ a driving force in your life? How have your beliefs about romantic relationships informed your own relationships? Perhaps seeing other couples (parents or friends) were some kind of influence. By reading romance novels, does that help to reaffirm things for you?

If you’d like to participate in this special feature, please contact me at marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll schedule a spot for you. As you can tell from the schedule on the right hand side of the page, we’re getting booked fast, but don’t hesitate to join in! You do not need to be a writer or author. We want to hear from anyone. We’d love to get your take on how you feel about romance, and why you keep reading our books! ♥♥♥ 

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

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Leah Hamrick visits us on August 22nd! Yay! 🙂

We’ll definitely have other posts before then, though.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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