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Pre-order Release Feature: Directions of the Heart by yours truly, plus giveaway!

For our 400th post on the I Love Romance Blog, I wanted to pop in here and let you know about a new release by…yes, moi. My modern romantic drama collection, Directions of the Heart, is officially available for pre-order and will be released on July 25th!

Woo hoo! :)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author! So, I am really anxious to show this book to readers!

I’m giving you a look at this dramatic contemporary romance set of four tales, Directions of the Heart, today.

This is the blurb for Directions of the Heart:

Embark on a remarkable journey of drama, romance, and passion…

​In all of these amazing stories, there’s one burning question…is love worth the risk?

Without You

Reece and Jenna are two childhood friends separated by time and distance. Can they find a way to heal their bond, or perhaps forge a new one?

Strange Heat

Spurred by her friend’s close call, Victoria decides to take a risk and prove the lifestyle she led was her downfall. But as Tory sinks deeper into the tumultuous abyss of desire with the mysterious Rick, can she climb back out before it’s too late? Or does she even want to?

Memories

Struggling to run her family’s farm on her own, Sadie takes on a hired hand, Matt. As they grow closer, so does the danger. Someone wants her legacy. Can they combat this new threat, as well as the demons of the past, before Sadie loses everything, including her life?

A Touch of Dawn

Caitlyn thought she’d be in the dark forever. But with the light came Jack, the police consultant who found her. Can they take a journey of healing together, or will Caitlyn retreat into the darkness of her mind, where she lived for so long?

(CONTENT WARNING: With an abuse awareness theme in this collection, there may be triggers here for past trauma sufferers. However, HEAs are guaranteed.)

 

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Western Romance, Romantic Drama Novella Collection

Release Date:  July 25, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071WVZZPV

myBook.to/DoH

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/729271

Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/directions-of-the-heart-marie-lavender/1126548251

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/directions-of-the-heart-a-romantic-drama-collection

CreateSpace link:  https://www.createspace.com/7239124

 

I hope you all get a chance to check out this romance! 🙂

☆.•°☆•°*EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY!*°•☆°•.☆

Just for being great ILRB readers and the fact that this is quite the anniversary for our blog here, I will give one ebook copy away to a random winner today. Simply comment on the thread below with why you’re still fond of romance novels – maybe it’s the hotties that continue to make you sigh! 😉 – and you’ll have a chance to win a free ebook of Directions of the Heart! ♥ Don’t forget to give us your name and email address for swift delivery. (Note: This giveaway will run for a week.)

Also, stop by the Facebook release party on the 25th for a chance to win a signed paperback, as well as other cool prizes, including books by guest authors!

 

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this book with characters that easily captured my heart!

Author Bio

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. 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 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Author Links

Website:  http://marielavender.com/

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

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

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

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/marielavender1

Amazon Author Page:  Author.to/MarieLavender

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

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

 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Giveaways, Book Release, Books, coming soon, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, western, Writing

New Release Feature: Druid’s Portal: The First Journey by Cindy Tomamichel

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Cindy Tomamichel, an author I met during my journey! Her time travel romance, Druid’s Portal, officially released this week! Yay! That’s awesome! :)

Congrats on your new release! 😉

When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Cindy is giving us a look at her “timey wimey” (Yes, I’m a Doctor Who nerd) romance, Druid’s Portal: The First Journey, today.

Cool cover!

This is the blurb for Druid’s Portal:

A portal closed for 2,000 years.

An ancient religion twisted by modern greed.

A love that crosses the centuries.

An ancient druid pendant shows archaeologist Janet visions of Roman soldier Trajan. The visions are of danger, death, and love—but are they a promise or a curse?

Her fiancé Daman abandons her before the wedding, her beloved museum is ransacked, and a robed man vanishes before her eyes. Haunted by visions of a time she knows long gone, Janet teeters on the edge of a breakdown.

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and 2,000 years back in time, Janet’s past and present collide. Daman has vowed to drive the invaders from the shores of Britain and march his barbarian hordes to Rome. Trajan swears vengeance against the man who threatens both his loves—Janet and the Empire.

Time is running out—for everyone.

And here is an excerpt from Druid’s Portal: The First Journey to tease you with.

“Sister, may I speak with you? I’ve been having dreams, visions of the past.”

“And these worry you, my dear?”

“Yes, I’m afraid . . .”

“That you’re losing your mind?” the gentle nun smiled. “Janet, my dear child, you’re perhaps too sane for your own good. What you have experienced has made you strong, but you ignore the truth of your heart. Perhaps these visions are your heart talking to you.”

“My heart?” stammered Janet, thinking of Trajan.

“There are many mysteries in these dark forests that science struggles to explain. People born here have the weight of history and the forest secrets in their bones. This is your heritage, too, to see things that may be hidden. But one mystery is hope. Your heart hopes and yearns for love, despite the pain inflicted by Daman. The human heart—your own heart—is a mystery.” She placed her hand gently on Janet’s shoulder. “Maybe it is time you listened to yours. Follow where it leads you.”

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071LBLQ1G

Wow! Love the emotional struggle here. ♥♥♥

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

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

Author Bio

Cindy Tomamichel is a writer of action adventure romance novels, spanning time travel, sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal genres. They all have something in common – sword fights! The heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.

Cindy’s recent published work includes winning a fractured fairy tale competition with a twist on the Rapunzel story. The fundraising event Madwomen Monologues has presented two of her monologues on stage. She also has poetry and short stories in two anthologies by Rhetoric Askew.

Author Links

Website:  www.cindytomamichel.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CindyTomamichel

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Tomamichel/e/B07148BH5Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16194822.Cindy_Tomamichel

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

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Time Travel, Writing

New Release Feature: Timberline by Skye McNeil

I am pleased to announce a great book release by Skye McNeil, an author I met during my journey! Her contemporary romance, Timberline, officially released in April! Yay! That’s awesome! :) Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it’s always an exciting time for an author!

Skye is giving us a look at her modern romance, Timberline, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Timberline:

After leaving heartache in the Midwest, Jessamine Davis ventures to the mountains of New York City to pursue her dreams of editing best-selling novels. At the top of her game, Jessie sees no pitfalls in her future until a wedding invitation makes its way from Colorado. After her assistant mistakenly sends her RSVP, which includes a plus-one to attend her ex-fiancé and sister’s wedding, Jessie searches for a picture-perfect date to drag across the Rockies.

Asher Whitaker is in a writing slump. The words that usually flow screeched to halt a year ago. Hoping to gain inspiration, he takes a part-time job at his favorite coffee shop. Nothing could have prepared him for the unusual meeting with a gorgeous tea fanatic. Despite his reservations, Asher agrees to accompany Jessie to a week of family time on Mount Princeton.

Hilarity ensues as the two strangers attempt to pass off their faux relationship to the onslaught of her family. Torn between wanting to keep her distance from the ex-Army Ranger turned barista, Jessie begins to feel something other than repulsion for the opposite sex. Asher isn’t the typical Wall Street type, so her attraction to him startles her. With his bold tattoos and teasing demeanor, Asher mirrors everything she didn’t think she craved in a man. His dimpled smile and tall stature puts her at ease and creates havoc in her celibate mind.

Between fishing and four-wheeling, Asher’s connection to Jessie deepens along with the tall tales he spins regarding the real reason he left his mundane side job. Every hour he spends at Jessie’s side only furthers his desire to be more than a boyfriend. Yet, his secret identity holds him back from fully disclosing the truth.

Though they had ulterior motives for their hiatus, the two discover something greater in each other.

In a moment of irony, Jessie discovers who the tattooed barista truly is—a well-known author of novels that leave women weak in the knees—but more importantly, the man she was supposed to sign with her publishing house before leaving New York City.

Jessie’s time spent with Asher forces her to choose between being scorned by love or transforming her heart for the future.

And here is an excerpt from Timberline to tease you with.

The commercial airplane taxied down the runway while Asher studied the sports magazine in his hands. It was opened to an article about baseball, a subject that enraptured him a majority of the time. Any words he read were lost to him. He couldn’t keep his attention fixed on anything with Jessie so close. She smelled like books. Freshly printed books with a hint of lemon. He might have been able to handle karma’s bitch-slap if she wore her hair up in a bun again.

Swiveling his eyes to her in a stealthy manner, he steadied his breathing at the sight of her mildly curled hair, which fell below her shoulders by a good four inches. That, coupled with her deep blue blouse and tan capri pants that exposed toned calves, sent him reeling. Today, Jessie didn’t look like the uptight executive who spilled her tea over them both. She looked normal. Well, normal for a New Yorker. The knowledge that she wasn’t born and raised in the city startled him at first. Her go-getter temperament and drive was typical for the bustling hub. Not many outsiders thrived under the circumstances. Many moved to the suburbs to escape the havoc, but she admitted to living in the heart of the city that never sleeps.

“What did you say you do for work again?” he pestered when he realized they never touched on the subject other than her offering to get him a job. He was shocked at her proposition, but then again, she knew him as a barista and that was all. He would never accept her job offer, but she didn’t need to know yet. Though he didn’t want to divulge his mainstream of income, he was interested as to hers.

Jessie tucked a curl behind her ear. “Oh, I um.” She stumbled as if in search for the right words. “I work in the publishing sector. Nothing too fancy. Books, magazines, websites, etc.”

Asher let his face relax, but only slightly. The little research he did online of her was somewhat satisfactory. In her personal life, she was an internet ghost, save one social media account which was marked as private. As to her occupation, Brecon Books boasted her as an established editor. Her titles varied were predominately romance, but a few mystery, and non-fiction titles had her name attached to them. A stray thought filtered through his mind, but he shoved it aside. Jessie didn’t recognize him, so she couldn’t be the editor who was supposed to meet with him from the publishing house.

“What about you? Is barista your sole job title?” Jessie asked, shuffling through pages of the latest fashion magazine.

“As a matter of fact, no. I’ve dabbled here and there with other professions,” he clarified, skirting the whole truth. She didn’t need to know the reason behind his coffee shop experiment. It would make things awkward.

“So a nomad hippie?” she asked with a disconcerting tone. “They will love it.”

The seatbelt sign flipped off, so Asher turned in his seat to face her. If she knew the truth, her family would love him. He didn’t like to deceive her, but the exposure on the other end was a far cry from the quiet getaway he longed for. “Yeah, it’s not a very stable occupation, but I’m fond of it.” She flipped another page. Her cavalier nature unnerved him. “Since you’re not a fan of me being a barista, what should we tell your relatives? Should we make up a profession? I can play along.”

Closing the magazine, Jessie eyed him from head to toe. As a rule, he would encourage such exploration, but the way her icy blue eyes slid over him was in no way seductive. “You’re an actor too? I guess it works to our advantage.”

Asher opened his mouth to explain, but slammed it shut as she continued. “Nothing pretentious. My mom will look you up online the instant she hears your name, so a quiet profession would be best.”

Asher grinned at the thought of a maternal form of Jessie. He pictured her now as a warm and nurturing type who had a bit of a stalking tendency when it came to the men her daughters dated. “Don’t worry. There isn’t much online to find about me. I’m not very active on the social media platforms. I like my privacy,” he concluded in partial truth. Her mom wouldn’t find anything about Asher Whitaker that wasn’t positive. Without a doubt, she would discover his military history, but it wouldn’t be so bad.

“So do I.” She unbuckled her seatbelt. “It looks like we have one thing in common.”

“Oh, I’m sure there’s more than one.” He plastered a grin on his face and it deepened when her face turned a shade of red. “Anyway, my occupation.”

Jessie tapped her index finger against her knee, deep in thought. “You were in the military, so what about a facet off that? A security company or military recruiter?” she proposed with a hopeful smile.

Thinking over those options, Asher figured they were safer than business. He was horrible at business. He had Mike to deal with the money side of things. “I could pass for a recruiter.”

“Perfect.” Jessie produced a book from her oversized satchel and handed it to him. “This should give you a rundown on what you need to know, although, I’m certain you already know most of it.”

Staring at the thick book, Asher held in his surprise. It was apparent that she’d thought this through last night. She managed to find a book on his fake career named The Basics of Recruiting. The humor wasn’t lost to him on the title either. Opening the bright green cover, he sucked in his breath. He could pass as a recruiter without reading this mumbo jumbo, but she seemed adamant he read it. “Thanks, Mina. It was real nice of you.”

Jessie’s blue eyes darted to his face at the nickname derived from her full name. “It’s Jessie not Mina.”

“Whoa, calm down there, Mina. Why the temper? It’s part of your name after all,” he prodded, skimming her features with his eyes. She was frustrated at his attempt at a nickname. He’d never met a girl named Jessamine before, and though he was surprised she chose Jessie instead of Jessa as a nickname, he liked to play with names. It was one of his favorite parts of his real job. The way her eyes turned to fireballs was irresistible.

“Because he called me Mina,” she somehow seethed through clenched teeth.

Asher understood the dilemma, and right off hated the man who turned Jessie to stone. It wasn’t fair of her ex to monopolize her future. He liked the nickname and he wouldn’t stop because another man tainted it.

Leaning toward her, he lowered his voice. “The best revenge is to move on and be happy. If your ex sees a new man calling you the same name, one I know you secretly love, he will accept the fact you’re over him.” Opening his mandated book to a new chapter, he added, “Plus, I like the name.”

He watched as her face went from prissy to understanding. “My dad wanted boys, but he didn’t get them, so he named us. Jessie for me and Bobbi for my sister. My mom was the one who fancied the names up so people knew we were girls.” She slapped a hand over her mouth. “I don’t know why I told you. Just forget it and read your book.”

Asher watched with vigilance as she jammed ear buds into her diamond-studded ears. The accidental tidbit told him quite a bit about his week-long girlfriend. She didn’t want to be a woman with a flowery name. She wanted to be mistaken for a man. A woman whose desire was to run with the big dogs of New York City.

He smirked when she all but scooted to the edge of her seat as though her insight somehow changed his perception of her. It did, in reality. Her slip up still resonated through her slender frame. The more he learned about her, the more Asher was enthralled. She would make an excellent story character.

Settling back into his seat, he skimmed the pages of the book which was altogether worthless. He was positive his date had also stuffed a book about the security profession in her bag, in case he opted for the other route. Holding in a grin when she mouthed the words from the song playing in her ears, Asher did his best to mind his own business. When she crossed her legs and sat upright like a jolt of lightning hit her, his focus was on her alone. “Everything all right?”

“The list. I forgot to go over the list with you,” was her stammered reply.

“What list?”

Her hands dove into her carryon and produced a notebook with scribbled handwriting in black ink. “I wanted to go over some ground rules for this week.”

Intrigued by her incentive to write out rules, he set his homework aside. “All right, shoot.”

Jessie licked her lips and kept her eyes on the book. “No ifs, ands, or buts on not sleeping together.” She looked up and explained, “My family has this rule where you can’t sleep in the same bedroom unless you’re engaged.”

Asher couldn’t help but insert, “We could pretend to be engaged.” The flush on her cheeks was worth the glare that followed.

“No.” She ticked the sentence off her list. “I’m not a real touchy-feely type of person, so limiting our physical interactions would be appreciated.”

Crossing his arms, he shook his head. “Well, I’m a very hands-on person. If your relatives are supposed to believe we’re together, some touching will be required.”

She narrowed her eyes but then relinquished her prude statement. “Fine, but minimal.”

“Unless you beg for more,” he said under his breath.

“What was that?”

Asher hid a smirk. “Nothing, Mina. What’s next?”

It was clear the use of his nickname aggravated her, but she didn’t correct him. “My mom is nosy, so try not to make up some outlandish story about us.”

“Duly noted.” He pointed to the next one. “No showering together? What? Now, that’s just irresponsible.”

Jessie’s face smeared in panic. “What? It’s not on there.”

“Oh, so we can shower together to conserve water? I know it’s important in the mountains.”

Her eyes flashed annoyance. “Not what I meant when I put ‘abide by mountain rules.’” Lickety-split, she scribbled more words after the sentence. “Yes, we need to conserve water and the like, but not by doing so together.”

“Mmm, you say so now.”

“Asher, be serious.” Jessie offered him a stern glance.

“Proceed.” He held out his hand, giving his approval.

For the next five minutes, the beauty next to him rattled on about the dos and don’ts of the week ahead. Well, five days, but who was counting? It was clear Jessie was a control freak, and her tendencies didn’t stop when they flew over the Midwest states.

By the end, he was somewhat peeved at her requirements. “If I’m getting this right, you want a perfect boyfriend for the week. Sound accurate enough?”

Jessie stuffed her notebook into her purse. “In essence, yeah. I mean, not too perfect, though, because they’ll see through you.”

“Right, because that would be horrible.” He let out a frustrated breath. “I don’t know why you want perfect, Mina. No one is perfect.”

“It’s what I want,” she said, her mind obviously set on that fact.

“And now I know why you’re single,” Asher pointed out, settling back into his seat. He didn’t bother to look over at the expression of malice which covered her face. It was an intentional jab. She desired perfection in an imperfect world. Though sad, it opened his mind to the real reason why her fiancé cheated on her.

The pilot announced their turbulence over the intercom and Asher buckled his seatbelt. He was in for one hell of a ride, beginning with navigating the dicey waters running through Jessie’s veins.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B06XQXR5VR

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/timberline-skye-mcneil/1126183742

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/712494

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/timberline-2

Wow! Love the tension here. ♥♥♥

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

 

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

Author Bio

Skye McNeil began writing at the age of seventeen and has been lost in a love affair ever since. During the day, she moonlights as a paralegal at a law firm favoring criminal law.

Skye enjoys writing romantic comedies and cozy mysteries, novels that leave readers wanting more and falling in love over and over. She writes contemporary and historical novels ranging from sweet and sassy to steamy and sultry.

Her constant writing companions are two cats and two dogs. When she’s not writing, Skye enjoys spending time with family, photography, volleyball, traveling, and curling up with a cup of coffee and reading.

Author Links

Website:  www.skyemcneil.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Skye_McNeil7

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Skye-McNeil/e/B017Y63B6C/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14437675.Skye_McNeil

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

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: Hard to Love by author S. Jones

I am pleased to announce a great new release by S. Jones, an author I met during my journey! Her contemporary new adult romance, Hard to Love, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on May 3rd!

That’s awesome! Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author! Also, this is S. Jones’ debut novel, so there’s even more cause for excitement! Welcome to the romance genre!

S is giving us a look at her intriguing new adult romance, Hard to Love, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Hard to Love:

Leaving a safe, predictable relationship and falling straight into the center of a whirlwind was never part of Emily’s plans.

From that very moment when the stranger’s hand takes her by the wrist, she is thrust into a world where she is flooded with feelings she cannot ignore.

Torn between her head and her heart, she quickly realizes that fighting her attraction to Chase Newman is an impossible task. He’s a man who always gets what he wants and with his sights set on Emily, she doesn’t stand a chance. A one-night stand will never be enough, though, when she wants so much more than that.

When secrets and lies threaten to destroy the trust between them, Emily starts to question her own decisions. With doubt and suspicion plaguing her mind, is what they have worth fighting for? Or will the truth tear them apart?

And here is a teaser to entice you with.

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary, New Adult Romance

Release Date:  May 3, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  myBook.to/HardtoloveSJones

Wow! I love the emotions here. ♥♥♥ This looks like a great novel!😉

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

☆.•°☆•°*S. JONES RELEASE DAY & GIVEAWAY!*°•☆°•.☆

Head on over to Sandra’s Facebook page to enter her giveaway for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, Signed Paperback AND a Alex & Ani Bracelet. 

 

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this wonderful book!

Author Bio

Sandra Jones lives in Upstate, N.Y with her husband, her two teenage children, and her adorable golden retriever Marley. She is a wine lover, coffee drinker, domestic chef, housekeeper, chauffeur, dog walker, and world traveler… Oh, and she is also a hopeless romantic!

When she’s not doing laundry, mowing her lawn or taking care of her family, you can usually find her on the computer planning out her next vacation, having a drink with her friends or reading a nice juicy book.

She loves to hear from her readers. You can connect here.

Author Links

Website:  https://www.sjonesauthor.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sandyjones23

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Alistair-Cross/e/B00N446AZS/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/64271197-sandra-jones-author

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

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

Guest Poet Spotlight: D.L. Owens

Hi, readers! Now and then on the I Love Romance Blog, I recognize poets and their wonderful, romantic poems. Today D.L. Owens has stopped by to showcase some of her work for us.

I love poetry, almost as much as I love romance! It is music for my eyes, and a song in my heart. 🙂

poetry

Honestly, I spend quite a bit of time stalking poetry groups on Facebook just to see what my fellow writers are doing these days. And D.L is one talented poet!

So, hello, D.L! Welcome to ILRB! 🙂

fullsizerender_poet-picture

D.L. Owens: Hello! It’s a pleasure to be here, Marie.

Marie:  The honor is mine, believe me. Thank you for visiting us. We’re so glad you came to the I Love Romance Blog, where we get to talk about my favorite subject – love!

And how fitting is it that we have D.L. today to show us some of her love poems, especially this close to Valentine’s Day?

So, take it away, D.L., and give us a peek at what you’ve brought to thrill our romantic hearts…

 

four hearts

Poems by D.L. Owens

poet

Remind Me Again

Remind me again of how it use to be

When innocence was like being free

When laughter was sincere

When one could speak with no fear

Remind me again when a friend was a friend

When a sin was a sin

When holding hands meant a lot

When a hug hit the spot

Remind me when love was love

When long lasting emotions rose above

When kissing was something we missed

When talking was as soothing as a kiss

follow

Passions Following Me

So how does the journey began

With a stare, a hug, a kiss

Will the rainfall frame our passion

Or will passion frame love’s bliss

My lips stay ready

My eyes fixed on you

My body is sensing

You want me, too

Rendezvous to the woods

Far from others’ calls

Where obsession, caressing

Will live outside all walls

Love is in us, tracing us

Trying to find ways to connect

There is no lock, nor key

Just passion trying to unite you and me

passion

Passion Becoming Poetry

Do you desire to kiss these lips

Taste these lips

Do you long to hold my body in your arms

And let my passions inhale your charms

Love is flying high

And I am sprouting wings

Love is soaring through the sky

And making my passion sing

Heat is soaring low

Almost walking the streets

Melting love beneath guided feet

Warming the passion in our souls

Can you feel me trying to feel you

Can you hear my body talking to you

If yes is unanimous then come in, close the door

And let our love roar

marking

Marking the Heart

Looks are mostly deceiving

They are definitely appealing

Second looks worth stealing

But what is uncontrollably the binding

Is that everlasting feeling worth finding

The one that won’t ever leave you sighing

The sticker to the core of the hearts twining

The permanent glue that can never be pulled apart

The one that captures all of you from the very start

Leaving a stain, an embedded memory, a permanent mark

Just from lassoing your soul through the eyes of your heart

love

Love of My Life

he watched in remorse

as she walked away

her trailing fragrance

of Japanese honeysuckle

wrapping around his face

he was wishing his pride would die

so he would beg her to stay

instead of crying inside

he just watched her walk away

dreams

Dream Stalker

he’s in all my dreams

in all my life themes

i cannot inhale

enough of him

until his fingers

touched the long

of the back of my neck

soothing my heart

calming my breath

midnight

At Midnight

our bodies form deep shapes in the sand

he looks over, throws a kiss, takes my hand

wants to make love under the endless stars

while the blue milky sky ocean’s the dark

climbing waves wet soaks us, calms our heat

journeying us to retreat our rapid heartbeat

Alejandra Quiroz, Unsplash.

Alejandra Quiroz, Unsplash.

 

 

♥♥♥ Perfect, D.L.! So romantic! Thank you! ♥♥♥

Poet Bio

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D.L. Owens began writing poetry at the age of eight. She would write on anything she could get her hands on: toilet paper, card stock sleeves from her mother’s nylons, paper bags from the market even the palm of her hands. This went on for a while until one day her mother realized this was not a phase. This prompted the purchase of a manual typewriter which quickly became her best friend. Years later, when D.L. (Lulu) became a proud mother of a beautiful daughter, she switched gears and wrote children’s stories and poetry.

Her poetry is comprised of the tempers surrounding her, from a baby crying for her mother’s touch to a couple smiling at each while holding hands. Her longer pieces vent from everything engrossed in her mind and from her dreams pouring into the pages like a love story. This “moody writer” writes poetry of all sauces with love and romance as a part of it. However, when it comes to short stories, novellas and longer pieces she finds herself locked in a mixture of sci-fi, mystery, fantasy mixed with a taste of romance.

Her addiction to writing and painting takes up much of her time when she’s not spending it with family and friends. Lately, she has been creating illustrations for the books written for her daughter. When she’s not doing this she loves to cook, make greeting cards and take pictures of the glorious nature.

Poet Links

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/a_moody_poet

Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/dlowens

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/d.-l.-owens/id1126390032?mt=11

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

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

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Artwork/Illustrations:  https://www.instagram.com/a_moody_artist/

Artwork:  https://twitter.com/a_moody_artist

Photography:  https://www.instagram.com/a_moody_photographer/

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Books

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Once again, I want to thank our distinguished guest and poet, D.L. Owens, for stopping by the I Love Romance Blog!  It was such a pleasure to have you here! Readers, don’t forget to follow this wonderful poet’s work! 🙂

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Filed under Event, Guest Writer, Love, love poem, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, Romance, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: The Angel Alejandro by author Alistair Cross

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Alistair Cross, an author I met during my journey! His riveting dark fantasy/romance, The Angel Alejandro, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on January 25th!

That’s awesome, Alistair! Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

alejandro-book-cover

Alistair is giving us a look at his intriguing dark fantasy with a touch of romance, The Angel Alejandro, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for The Angel Alejandro:

A Man without a Past

After a near-fatal accident, Madison O’Riley is faced with an astonishing problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro … and he has no memory of his past. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes he harbors deep – and otherworldly – secrets that will shatter her understanding of reality … secrets that may put her in grave danger.

The Devil in the Details

And now, there’s another stranger in town. Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a small price, he’s willing to make a deal. By day, he walks the streets of Prominence in top hat and trench coat, tempting the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he and his legion of insatiable acolytes corrupt the locals at Club Mephistopheles, a den of unholy delights housed in an abandoned church.

The Battle has Begun …

The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …

What people are saying about Alistair’s books:

HELLNOTES
“The Crimson Corset is a good read. There is a colorful cast of characters, a clever plot, and an intricate structure … there are surprises and jumps and starts, sex and death, beauty and gore, something for everyone … if you’re looking for set-up and payoff, this novel will not disappoint.”

Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL
“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”

Q.L. Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS
“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the SAINT-GERMAIN CYCLE
“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.”

Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID
“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, The Crimson Corset – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”

Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural
“Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest.”

****

And here is a teaser plus a short excerpt to entice you with.

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A mouth covered hers, blew, and Madison’s lungs expanded with borrowed breath. As if the man were blowing on dying coals, warmth glowed inside her, spreading and swelling through her solar plexus, expanding, reaching her limbs, bringing heat to her skin and clarity to her mind. She could breathe, she could see, and what she saw was the stranger’s face.

Handsome. Full lips, strong cheekbones, eyes she couldn’t yet fathom. Close-cropped, golden hair backlit by a near-blinding halo of light. Yes, she knew him from somewhere – but where?

The warm buzz swam through her. Her fingers and toes tingled. She was losing consciousness again, but she didn’t care; the panic was gone. As the world pulsed in and out, the man leaned over and blinked black-lashed silver eyes at her. Not gray, but silver. Bright and shining, like disks of polished steel. The light behind him swelled and brightened just before the world relapsed into black and nothingness wrapped itself warm around her.

-Excerpt from The Angel Alejandro, by Alistair Cross
Copyright © Glass Apple Press 2016.

Whoa! What a thrilling excerpt!  🙂

Book Info:

Genre:  Dark Fantasy, Romance

Release Date:  January 25, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01N347ZE8

What an interesting story! ♥♥♥ This looks like quite a ride!

Thank you for telling us about your book, Alistair! I know I can’t wait to read this new dark fantasy/romance! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

alejandro-book-cover

Author Bio

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Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Visit Alistair @ alistaircross.com

Author Links

Website/Blog:   http://www.alistaircross.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CrossAlistair

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Alistair-Cross/e/B00N446AZS/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Alistair_Cross

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

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/107331425042802585965

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, dark romance, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

Meet Monday- Marie Lavender Interview and Spotlight.

Meet Marie Lavender! A little about the author- At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a…

Source: Meet Monday- Marie Lavender Interview and Spotlight.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Historical, Interview, Marie Lavender, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Science Fiction, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: Heart of a Savage by author LaShanta Charles

I am pleased to announce a great new release by LaShanta Charles, an author I met during my journey! Her fascinating new adult sports romance, Heart of a Savage, officially went up for pre-order and will be released at the end of the month!

Yay! Just in time for Valentine’s Day! That’s awesome, LaShanta! :) Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

2017-967-ebook-lashanta-charles-heart-of-a-savage

 

LaShanta is giving us a look at her new, intriguing MMA romance, Heart of a Savage, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Heart of a Savage:

Bailey Ross-O’Malley has spent her whole life catering to others. She used to enjoy it. Until her father died. In an attempt to protect her, her father chose Connor to be her husband, but that was a mistake. Connor was supposed to love her, be her rock – but some rocks need to be tossed as far away as possible. She only has one source of happiness now, her son, and if Connor doesn’t get his way, he’ll take that joy from her as well.

MMA fighter, Dominic Prince, has only one mission in life: forget his past. Forget the pain, the drama, and the loss of things taken away from him too soon. He’s guarded and secretive and that’s the way he likes it. He was doing a damn good job of keeping it that way. Until her. Bailey showed up and Dominic’s life became a minefield. He can’t decide if he wants to kiss her or shake her, but he does know that he’ll fight to keep her safe. He’ll be as savage as he is in the octagon, outside of it.

Neither of them wants to accept it happening, but the past has a way of sneaking into the present. Hearts will be shattered and bonds will be broken. Will they survive it?

And here are some teasers to entice you with.

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Thrilling!  🙂

Book Info:

Genre:  Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Sports, Suspense

Release Date:  January 31, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01M7YMJK6

B & N:  http://bit.ly/2jfFWZw

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lashantacharles

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/2idni2o

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32868147-heart-of-a-savage

What an interesting story! ♥♥♥ This looks like a riveting ride!😉

Thank you for telling us about your book, LaShanta! I know I can’t wait to read this new adult sports romance! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

2017-967-ebook-lashanta-charles-heart-of-a-savage

Author Bio

me

LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Romance has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and released the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, in February 2014. Her third novel, Splitting Karma, was released in October 2014. She lives in Yelm, WA, with her husband and three children and also serves in the US Army. She’s a home body who enjoys SLEEPING, reading, SLEEPING, eating, SLEEPING, white chocolate mochas, SLEEPING, sexy alien romances, and of course, writing. Oh, and she hates spiders; they’re extremely creepy, why do they need eight legs??

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://randomlymeandyou.blogspot.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/twiety01

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Lashanta-Charles/e/B0083HO95Y/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6984092.LaShanta_Charles

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

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/104019449563926608746

 

Well, I certainly have to agree about the spiders. LOL.

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, New Adult, new release, Readers, Romance, Romantic Suspense, sports romance, Writing

Scifi Romance Spotlight: Blue Vision (Marie Lavender)

Coming November 15th! 🙂

Belinda Y. Hughes: Writing, Editing & Social Media

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Had enough of current affairs? Run away on a romantic winter vacation with your brand-new book boyfriend of another color! One-click Blue Vision, the new scifi romance by Marie Lavender and step into the snowy woods of Montana – and the extraordinary eyes of Colin Fielding. You’re welcome.

Brooke Sanders just wants to get away from her life for awhile. A remote cabin in Montana fits the bill. She doesn’t expect to encounter a mysterious stranger with unusual blue eyes, or events that cannot be explained…

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Colin Fielding is on a mission – scout a planet and return home to Endhivar. Simple really. What he doesn’t anticipate is that fate has a pretty twisted sense of humor. Suddenly, this human calls to him, every part of him, like the call of a true mate, and he can’t deny the connection as he gets closer to her.

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Little do they know, someone is out to do…

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A Character Interview with Zoey from SECOND HALF plus a conversation with author Monica DeSimone!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Vivienne Vincent’s character on August 16th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Monica DeSimone, the debut author of Second Half, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Monica in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Zoey!

zoey

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

Character Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy: Thank you for having me, Marie.

Marie:  Of course! It’s my pleasure!

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

Zoey:  Sure.

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

Zoey:  Founder of the Coach’s Shadow Foundation. I like to think that I am. I have a tendency to be tenacious at times so that I get what I want.

Do I like it? Absolutely love it!

Marie:  Great to hear! 😀

Tell us…what is your family like?

Zoey: Both of my parents have passed away so I’m pretty much an orphan! LOL.

My family is amazing, I have a loud, involved, often times obtrusive family that I have had from birth as well as those that I have chosen over the years.

Marie:  Oh…😦 Sorry to hear about your parents. I’m glad you have other family, though.

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?

Zoey:  Considering that Derrick and I live there now, it is an amazing home. Traditional Cape Cod with a lot of extensions added onto it. I think my mother originally fell in love with it because she didn’t want kids. It was often lonely and cold but Claire, my sister, made it a home.

Marie:  All right.

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

Zoey: I run. A lot. It is as much a passion for me as running the Coach’s Shadow Foundation and football.

In my down time I love watching Sci-Fi movies and reading. Oh and shoes! I love, love, love shoes! I also enjoy throwing a great gathering with my family and friends. But I hate to cook. So I do the planning and shopping, and Derrick makes my menus come true.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Nice! 😉

So, what is your greatest dream?

Zoey:  Derrick.

Marie:  Indeed! (Sighs.) I love romance…♥

Okay, back to the interview.

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

Zoey: I have pretty much accomplished what I wanted to be. It may not be in the traditional way, and I had to take a very dark journey to get where I am, with several set backs, but I’m here. I’m alive, happy and just keep going every day. The one personality trait that I wish I could be better with is not to be so ready to forgive the wrongs that have been done to me.

What is stopping me? My heart and ability to lose.

Marie: I think we all feel afraid sometimes that we’ll lose everything we hold dear. Faith gets us through it all.

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

Who was your first love?

Zoey:  Derrick Hendrickson.

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Marie: But you got a second chance, right? That’s great!

So…let’s try another question.

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

Zoey: At twenty-one I fell into a deep depression and attempted suicide.

Marie:  Oh no! I’m so sorry…

[Briefly touches her guest’s hand.]

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

[Zoey 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?

Zoey:  No. I floundered with what I wanted to do in the months, years really, after my attempted suicide. I was so tired of people telling me that I would find my way. At the time the darkness was all consuming and I didn’t see the light. I was really good at faking things, though; so I faked my way happy. Forced myself to push through the darkness. I finished my degree in English Literature, got a job in corporate America. I loved doing what did. It allowed me to nourish the part of myself that had always felt left behind. Wanting to be a combination between Betty Crocker and a Mother Hen while allowing me to be creative yet in charge behind the scenes, because I hate the spotlight, was my end result.

I ultimately found my dream. My own happiness, which has brought me true contentment. The Coach’s Shadow Foundation was born out of sorrow and guilt. However, it was through that sorrow and guilt that I proved to myself that I am no longer the broken girl who was left behind by both her mother and lover. It took a lot for me to realize that where I am today is exactly where I am meant to be.

Marie:  Wow! Tough times.

I’m so glad you found a light to pull you through that darkness. ♥

So, who is your role model, Zoey?

Zoey:  My sister Claire. She is everything that I strive to be. Strong, independent, courageous, and kind.

Marie: Great! It sounds like your sister is a very special person.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Zoey:  I absolutely hate Matt, Derrick’s agent. I always feel as though I need a shower after being around him.

Marie:  Oh, that’s not good…maybe your intuition is trying to tell you something?

Let’s try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Zoey:  To be loved.

Marie:  Can’t blame you there!

What is your greatest fear?

Zoey: Spending my life alone and unloved.

Marie: It’s understandable to have that kind of fear, but I believe there is a stronger force guiding us, that good things come to good people. And I know you’re one of the good ones. 😉

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

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Author Monica DeSimone:  Hi, Marie. Thank you so much for having me.

Marie: Oh no, the honor is mine.😀

So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story, Zoey Elizabeth McEvoy, or rather, just Zoey. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Monica: Zoey is so tenacious and vibrant. She encompasses everything that I had ever wanted to be. I think that is because she has come so far in her battle with depression. She has fought for what and who she is today. Zoey loves deeply and carries her emotions on her sleeve. The obstacles in which she has overcome, although yes somewhat self-inflicted, are an admirable quality about her. The struggle of depression is overwhelming and all consuming. For Zoey to have pulled herself out of that, yes with help, and still be a kind, loving and generous person is amazing. She gives with all her heart and truly wants the best for everyone. Not everyone has the mental wherewithal to be able to pull themselves from that hole. It is admirable. Although it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have flaws as well as a bit of a mean streak. Which I have to admit that I love.

Marie:  (Laughs.)

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Monica:  Zoey loves with everything in her being which feeds her ability to forgive. This can be considered a strength as well as a weakness, but forgiveness would have to be Zoey’s greatest strength. That and not willing to give up on anything she believes in.

Marie:  Definitely admirable!

And what are your character’s greatest weaknesses?

Monica:  Because of her capacity to forgive Zoey is often left open to be hurt by those she believes in.

Marie:  Sorry to hear that… 😦

What are some of Zoey’s favorite foods?

Monica:  Gosh, Zoey is “technically” an overall healthy person. A lot of greens and proteins. However, if you put a bowl of Utz Cheese Balls in front of her I would watch out. She is a kind person but sharing those yummy treats aren’t in the cards.

Marie:  (Giggles.) Nice!

How about another question?

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

Monica:  Zoey is a lot stronger then she gives herself credit for. She is the heart of her family. Not necessarily the core of it, because that is Claire, but she is a fierce protector with a strength that she often underestimates.

Marie:  Great!

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Monica: I think that most readers will appreciate how damaged Zoey is and how far she has come to pull herself out of her depression. However, I also think that it is a toss-up if people will love her or want to hit her. If a reader can understand that forgiveness isn’t a weakness, that it is truly a strength and that love often has no rhyme or reason and that sometimes, not always, “soul mates” do exist, truly exist. If they can understand that, appreciate it, then I think that they will love her.

Marie: Definitely!

And I prefer characters to be real, flawed human beings anyway. Don’t you?

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

What first gave you the idea for Second Half?

Monica: I had been writing my entire life, so when my father passed away in April 2015, I promised myself that I would finish one of my books. I have a few sitting on my laptop. One night in December 2015, I had just finished reading A Lover’s Lament by AL Greyson and BT Urruela, and Zoey started talking to me. God, she is a pushy little thing too because it wasn’t until she finally made a deal with me – she would be quiet so that I could work and sleep if I promised to tell her story. That was January 3, 2016. I finished Zoey and Derrick’s story and sent it to my editor on May 17th.

Marie:  Interesting how the muse works, huh?

Sorry to hear about your dad. 😦

Let’s try something else.

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

Monica: I’m a character-driven writer. As such I like to be surprised. You have to remember, ultimately I’m a reader. So if I can “Holy Sh**” myself, it’s a good day.

I am totally a pantster. My mother always said that I was a fly-by-the seat-of-her-pants girl. My writing isn’t any different. It makes it difficult for Nadine Winningham, my editor, but I think it makes it more enjoyable for everyone.

Marie:  (Laughs.) Hey, whatever works for you…

I am also a character-driven writer. They often bug me before I go to sleep. 😉

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

Monica: I reached out to a first-time writer, thinking that because they were up and coming they would be receptive in offering any advice. That was a mistake. After multiple emails, I finally got a response. It was not at all generous and honestly quite hurtful. Which caused me to become blocked. That was my fault, allowing the words of someone else to affect me. But in my defense, I respected this person and what they had accomplished. I was unable to write for six weeks. It wasn’t until I met, rather apprehensively, other authors at a signing and seeing first-hand the openness and kindness within the community that allowed me to get past the block and finish Second Half within three weeks.

What would I do differently the next time? I self-published and I wouldn’t change one thing about that. I was told by a very wise woman that this is a business and that you better treat yourself and writing as such. That my first product better be as good as my most current one. Because someone will always go back and read that first book. I took those words to heart, finished the book and with the help of some amazing people put a product out there that I will never be ashamed of. Whether someone is reading my first book or being introduced to me on my tenth, God willing, book they will find a superior product that they won’t be disappointed in reading.

Marie:  Wow! Sorry you had such an unfortunate experience with that writer! 😦

But I’m glad it all worked out for you, that you didn’t let a bitter person ruin your journey.

And you’re right. Generally, there is a nice community of authors who are willing to offer advice, or at least direct you to someone who can answer those questions. So much goes into the process, and we need all the help we can get.

Thanks for the additional tips!

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 Second Half appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this modern sports romance by Monica DeSimone, a very talented author! :)

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Here is the blurb for Second Half:

Zoey McEvoy is a strong, sassy, independent woman that has vowed to herself that she will never allow anyone the opportunity to determine her emotional well-being again. After a battle with depression that ended in an attempted suicide, she has clawed her way out of the all encompassing darkness. Founding the Coach’s Shadow Foundation in honor of her father, Zoey finds herself thrown back into the life of the man that emotionally destroyed her eight years earlier.

Derrick Hendrickson chose his career over Zoey and is now back to recapture the love that he so recklessly tossed away. Unaware of the devastation his departure caused, he has to reestablish the trust that he lost when he left her. With the help of their best friends and Zoey’s sister Claire, Derrick has a strong chance of proving that he never stopped loving her. However, Zoey’s trust issues are major hurdles that need to be crossed. Will Zoey ultimately find the strength to forgive and allow Derrick and love back into her life, proving that the Second Half can be so much brighter?

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

MY ALARM GOES OFF and I don’t even remember setting it. I always use my cell phone as an alarm, never the actual alarm clock. It is purely for decoration and is actually across the room on my dresser. So the fact that it is going off right now is confusing. I roll over to get out of bed and run smack into a solid mass. I know that I had an emotional day yesterday, but not so rough that I would forget having someone in bed with me.

Derrick. I burrow my nose into his back for just a second, and burn his scent into my memory so that I have it there for later. It’s been so long since I’ve felt him next to me. But then I remember where we are, what year it is, and that he isn’t mine any longer. Jumping out of bed faster than I have ever gotten up, I’m slightly dizzy and trying to gather my bearings.

As I’m getting my feet fully under me, Derrick says, “Duchess, shut off the alarm will you? I don’t have to be at the training facility until eight.”

What the fuck? What did I miss last night? No more blue Xanax, Zoey.

Recovering quickly, or as quickly as I can, I walk to the end of the bed and shove Derrick’s foot buried under my comforter.

Rolling over, Derrick looks all sleepy, disheveled, and sexy as hell. His right arm, the one that has the half sleeve of tattoos on it, is draped over his chest. The chest that is perfectly muscled and beautiful, and that I just want to lick. As I devour him with my eyes, I notice that there is a tattoo on his left ribcage. It’s a saying or something, I can’t tell exactly from this distance and I want a closer lick, I mean look of it.

Jesus… pull it together, Zoey!

“What, Zo?” I’m literally just standing at the foot of the bed, the alarm blaring, gawking at this beautiful man. “You gonna turn that off?” he asks, shifting his head toward the noise. “Then you can come back and cuddle with me.” He’s smirking now. Bastard! He knows that I love to cuddle, and Derrick was always the best at it— warm, strong, and soothing.

“What the fuck, Derrick? Why are you in my bed? With me?” I ask, attempting to recover some of my brain cells and come back to reality. “And where are my dogs?” I’m a horrible pet mom; instead of ogling the hot half-naked man in my bed, I should have realized that Reilly and Steeler aren’t where they always are. “What did you do with my dogs, Derrick?”

“Calm down, Duchess, they’re right here.” He shifts, and I see not just Reilly and Steeler on the right side of him, but that Sam is there as well. Oh… my… God… even my dogs prefer him. Traitors.

“Can you please shut that thing off? I have a hell of a headache and that isn’t helping.”

Walking over to the dresser, I turn off the offending alarm. I still don’t know how it got set, but really, I have bigger things to worry about. Like why there is a six-foot-five-inch god in my bed. Is that a V peeking out from under the covers? Zoey! I chastise myself. I’m staring, hell I’m more than likely drooling.

Recovering as quickly as I can, I ask, “Why are you in my bed, Derrick?”

“I needed to be close to you,” he says as he gets out of bed.

The boys jump to the floor, not liking that Derrick was starting to move around, but knowing that with their humans up they will get fed and go outside. They are now sitting on the bench at the foot of my bed.

As Derrick stands to his full height, I have to bite my lip to hold in the moan. The man has a body that only ancient gods had. I notice his tattoos that are covering half of his shoulder. Yum! He is turning around when I gasp in shock. There are a pair of eyes on his left shoulder, adjacent to his heart. But they aren’t just any eyes… they’re mine.

Ooh! Interesting! I love the tension here…🙂

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01LWIPOLT

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-half-monica-desimone/1124603461

BAM:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Second-Half/Monica-Desimone/9781483580494

Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/second-half

iBooks:  http://ibookstore.com/products.php?i=B01LWIPOLT

BookBaby:  https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Second-Half

We’ll be sure to get a copy of this sporty romance, book one of the Coach’s Shadow Trilogy! ♥

About Monica DeSimone

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Monica lives in northern New Jersey with her three dogs, Sam, Reilly, and Steeler. Raised by a football coach in the heart of Texas, football is a passion that is deep rooted. Introduced to Nora Roberts by her mother at the age of thirteen, she spawned a lifetime love affair with books, all things romance and happily-ever-afters. Outside of writing, you will find Monica on her back porch enjoying time with her “boys”, family, friends, and a really good Dirty Martini.

Book:

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

Website:  www.monicadesimone.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Monica-DeSimone-Author-859944790794911/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MonicaDe12

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

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15808209.Monica_DeSimone

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/monicade12/

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Zoey, a female character from Second Half, and Monica DeSimone, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! :)

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