Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Marie Lavender, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Uncategorized, Writing

Guest Author: Marie Lavender ~ Creating the Other World

A little about how I wrote my paranormal romance series…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Whenever I write in a new genre, it is daunting at first. I take the time to familiarize myself with books in that category, all the while looking at the rules it takes to write such a story. But I’ll freely admit that by the time I’m done writing a book, I end up throwing half of the rules or guidelines out anyway. I am not a writer who likes to be boxed in too much.

With paranormal romance and urban fantasy, I have been familiar with those genres for many years. I was fascinated with paranormal phenomenon even as a kid, and I read my first vampire romance as a preteen. Still, it takes some finesse and quite a bit of imagination to tackle writing in the paranormal romance genre.

How did this come about?

The idea for Second Nature came to me a long time ago, but I…

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Authors, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Radio, Readers, Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writing

Radio Interview!

For our lovers of paranormal romance, you’ve gotta check this out…

Later today, I’ll be chatting with awesome author team and radio hosts of the Haunted Nights Live! show, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. This radio show is quite popular, and the Thorne & Cross team has seen some very famous authors on there. Check out the list of past guests here.

Check us out at 8PM EST to get some sneak peeks of two books I have coming out later this year, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy, Blood Instincts, book two of the Blood at First Sight Series, and Awakening, a paranormal romantic thriller collection.

Plus, for those who have a fascination with the supernatural, we’ll be talking about that too. 😉

So stop by tonight! You can call in with questions or sit back and listen in. I’m not sure if the interview will be posted right away on the site, but you should be able to hear it as it airs.

Here is the official link:

Follow the Haunted Nights Live! duo on their Facebook page here, or check out their Twitter handle and blog.

As always, thanks so much for being great readers on the I Love Romance Blog! ♥♥♥

Happy reading, and have a wonderful day! 🙂

Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

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


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

This is my scoring system:

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

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

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts


Genre: Fantasy Romance


In the conclusion to her acclaimed Three Sisters Island trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts masterfully evokes the quaint charm of New England, weaving a spellbinding tale of true love—and sheer magic…

Mia Devlin knows what it’s like to love with your whole heart—and then watch your love walk away. Years ago, she and Sam Logan shared an incredible bond built on passion, legend, and fate. But then one day he fled Three Sisters Island, leaving her lost in memories of the magic they shared—and determined to live on her own…

As the new owner of the island’s only hotel, Sam has returned to Three Sisters with hopes of winning back Mia’s affections. He is puzzled when she greets him with icy indifference—for the chemistry between them is still sizzling and true. Angry, hurt, and deeply confused, Mia refuses to admit that a desire for Sam still burns in her heart. But she’ll need his help—and his powers—to face her greatest, most terrifying challenge. And as the deadline for breaking a centuries-old curse draws near, they must take the first step toward destiny—and come together to turn back the dark…

Don’t miss the other books in the #1 New York Times bestselling Three Sisters Island trilogy…
Dance Upon the Air
Heaven and Earth

A few choice lines from the book:
From across the street, he studied Café Book. He should have known Mia would have taken what had been a neglected building and turned it into something lovely, elegant, and productive. The front window held a display of books and potted spring flowers scattered around a lawn chair. Two of her deepest loves, he mused. Books and flowers. She’d used them both in a way that suggested it was time to take a break from the yard work, sit down and enjoy the fruits of the labor with a ride in a story. He stood where he was, hands in his pockets, until he realized he was procrastinating. There was little more turbulent than Mia Devlin in full temper. He expected her to lash out at him in blistering fury the minute she laid eyes on him again. And who could blame her? Then again, he thought with a grin, there was little more arousing than Mia Devlin in full temper. It would be…entertaining to strike words with her again. Just as it would be satisfying to soothe that temper away.

He crossed the street and opened the door to Café Book. Lulu was behind the counter. He’d have recognized her anywhere. The tiny woman with a gnome’s face almost swallowed up by silver-framed glasses had, essentially, raised Mia.
Because Lulu was ringing up a customer’s purchases, he had a moment to look around the store. The ceiling was pricked with lights for a starry effect and made the prospect of browsing through books a festive one. A cozy seating area was arranged in front of a fireplace with a hearth, scrubbed and polished, used as a haven for more spring flowers.Glossy blue shelves held books—an impressive array, he reflected as he wandered through, and as eclectic as he would have expected of the proprietor. No one would ever accuse Mia of having a one-track mind. His lips quirked as he saw that other shelves held ritual candles, Tarot cards, runes, statues of faeries, wizards, dragons. An attractive arrangement of another of Mia’s interests, he thought. He’d have expected nothing else there, either. He plucked a tumbling stone of rose quartz from a bowl, rubbed it between his fingers for good luck. Though he knew better. Before he could replace it, he felt a blast of frigid air.

Smiling easily, he turned to face Lulu.

“Always knew you’d come back. Bad pennies always turn up.”

This was his first barrier, the dragon at the gate. “Hello, Lu.”

“Don’t you hello-Lu me, Sam Logan.” She sniffed, skimmed her gaze over him. Sniffed a second time. “You buying that or do I call the sheriff and have you hauled in for shoplifting?”

He laid the stone back in the bowl. “How is Zack?”

“Ask him yourself, I don’t have time to waste on you.” Though he had her by a foot in height, she stepped forward, jabbed her finger at him, and made him feel twelve years old again. “What the hell do you want?”

“To see home. To see Mia.”

“Why don’t you do everybody a favor and go back to where you’ve been gallivanting these past years? New York City, Paris, and oo-la-la. We’ve all done fine without you taking up space on the Sisters.”

“Apparently.” He gave the store another casual look. He wasn’t offended. A dragon, in his mind, was meant to be devoted to its princess.

In his memory, Lulu had always been up to the job. “Nice place. I hear the café’s particularly good. And that Zack’s new wife runs it.”

“Your hearing’s just fine. So listen up. Go on and get.”

Not offended, no, but his eyes turned edgy, the green in them deepening. “I came to see Mia.”

“She’s busy. I’ll tell her you stopped by.”

“No, you won’t,” he said quietly. “But she’ll know in any case.”

Even as he spoke, he heard the sound of heels on wood. It could have been a dozen women, descending the curving steps in high heels. But he knew. As his heart stumbled in his chest, he stepped around the bookshelves and saw her just as she made the last turn. And the look, that one look at her, sliced him into a thousand pieces.The princess, he thought, had become the queen.

My Score:

This novel is part of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy. It’s actually the third book in the series, and I have all of them on my shelf at home. I just adore Nora Roberts’ style. She tells it like it is, no holds barred.

Mia and Sam have a troubled romantic history, and when Sam returns to the island, they are both in for some big surprises. There is so much tension between these two, and the sparks literally fly. I love a good second chance romance. Add to that a trio of powerful witches, and you’ve named my weakness! I love witch stories. I would seriously recommend the whole series!

Threesisters island trilogy

I give this one five hearts, for creativity, lots of passion and heart-stopping supernatural danger to keep things really interesting. Grab a copy if you can! I doubt you’ll regret it! 🙂

five hearts

Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Shocker! For the month of April, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging.


And to stay with our romance theme, I thought I’d do a book a day. By that, I don’t mean that I’m doing official book reviews on the blog, by any means. What I will do, however, is offer an overview of either a book currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what inspires us as authors) or one that is on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few choice lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And why not give a score as well, huh?

This will be my scoring system:

Though I put all scores for the sake of common sense, I probably won’t be giving anything below three hearts. I hope these suggestions will help you find a new favorite romance author, or cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into our first book, all right?

Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields


Genre: Paranormal Romance


Guardian Witch Book One

Arianna Calin has sworn to keep the peace in Riverdale. Most of the Otherworlders prefer to haunt the Olde Town district—partying at vampire strip clubs, dining in elegant supper clubs, and inhabiting the cliffside caverns along the Mississippi. Being a cop is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, and Ari’s got her gun, a good sharp knife, and a few handy charms against things that go bump in the streets. She’s also a fire witch—a pedigree that comes in handy, since her partner’s only human.

But when a virtual reality drug hits the streets, people (and non-people) start to die, and an elusive pack of werewolves threatens the status quo. Ari and Ryan are drawn into a web of murder and evil that will lead sworn enemies to a confrontation, and while the city simmers around them, only Ari can prevent an all-out supernatural war…

A few choice lines from the book:

The vampire’s coal-black eyes found her and silken threads of magic wrapped her in a soft web. The room faded away. She floated as in a dream, warm and safe. A place to linger forever. Her witch magic began to sing in concert with his, and Ari called it back to her. The effort brought her out of his web with a jolt.

Damn, how strong was he? She wrapped her magical aura around her. As long as she kept it in place, his magic was held at bay. Then, mercifully, the song was over. Andreas bowed to a wildly applauding audience and left the stage.

“Good evening.” Startled, she stared at him.

“Uh, hello.” How did he move so fast? He produced a polite smile.

“If you will come this way.” He waved a hand toward a hallway on the left.

Ari hesitated. A meeting in private? She hadn’t anticipated that.

His brows rose. “We have twenty minutes.”

Swallowing her doubts, Ari preceded him down the hall. It was better this way, she told herself. Fewer interruptions. At least she knew her time parameters. He ushered her past four closed doors, not stopping until they reached an exit door at the end. He touched a security panel, the door opened, and they stepped into a paved lane leading to the rear parking lot. Dense trees lined the opposite side of the lane. Total privacy.

The night was pleasantly cool. The crisp cleanness of fall filled the air. Ari hung back and watched her companion as he stopped in the middle of the lane. Andreas arched his shoulders and threw back his head, breathing deeply. For a moment all Ari could think about was how sexy he looked.

“I hope you don’t mind talking out here. It has been a long evening, and I needed the fresh air.”

“Not at all. It’s nice.” She looked up at the stars, pinpoints in an uncluttered sky, to keep from looking at him. “What was that last song you sang?”

“An Italian love song. Did you enjoy it?”


He turned to look at her. “It was, or I was?” His voice invited a broader interpretation.

She smiled. “Both,” she said, not bothering to hedge. “But who’s fishing for compliments now?”

“Touché.” His familiar laugh came then, rich and intimate, strangely companionable.

My Score:

I haven’t read this book yet, though I plan to. I added this one to my Amazon Wishlist long ago and anytime I see a post on Twitter about it, I just keep on yearning to pick it up. SO want to read! 🙂

I want to read the entire seven-book series.

Guardian Witch Series

What’s not to love about witches, vampires and shifters? I love all of them. Oh, yeah, and when magic kicks butt, sign me up. 😉

To be fair, let’s go with four hearts for this one, because I can’t wait to read it!

four hearts

Authors, Books, Character Interview, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing, Writing Tips, Young Adult

A Character Interview with Angela from THE HEALER plus a conversation with author C.J. Anaya!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Emily A. Lawrence’s character on December 8th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting C.J. Anaya, the author of The Healer, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her  characters, Angela Beaumont, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to C.J. in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Angie!


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

Character Angela Beaumont: Thank you for having me here.

Marie:  Of course!

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

Angela: Okay.

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

Angela:  Occupation? I’m currently maneuvering my way through the drudgery of what we all call high school. Gag. I’m extremely good at annoying my teachers, dating as many boys as I possibly can, and belittling freshman whenever I get the chance. So, yes. I’m very good at what I do.

Marie:  (Laughs.) All right.

So, tell us. What is your family like?

Angela:  Dad split when I was two. Good riddance. It’s just me and mom, but she’s MIA quite a bit due to her single mom status. I rely on my best friend Hope and her father Dr. James Fairmont to get me through the week.

Marie:  Sorry to hear about your father. 😦

Let’s try something else, shall we?

What did your childhood home look like?

Angela:  It’s a home, I guess. Four walls, a roof, and a huge Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. Thank the good Lord for that unexpected addition.

Marie:  Okay.

So, do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Angela:  My hobby is more like a life calling that was thrust upon me at birth, and I fully intend to chew out the higher powers that be who assumed I would appreciate the ability to view a person’s death upon physical contact. Usually has to be skin-to-skin, though. There went my social life. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to be making out in the back seat of some hot football player’s car only to see that in exactly seven days, six hours, and fourteen minutes he’s going to break his neck on the football field after a particularly nasty tackle? Mood killer. Then I’m scrambling to find ways to prevent him from playing which usually involves getting him suspended from the team in some sneaky, underhanded way. He’ll thank me later.

Marie:  Wow! That’s tough.

So, tell us…what is your greatest dream, Angie?

Angela:  I’d just like to be normal, to be honest. It’s a bit demoralizing to run into strangers, see their deaths, and then have no way of finding them to prevent the accidents or even murders that are about to happen. It’s even worse when I do know the person, but misread the situation. I lost an owner of a really tasty restaurant because I thought the kitchen fire she died in was at her eatery. Apparently, it was in her own house. Survivor’s guilt is a way of life for me, and watching people burn to death in visions without being able to actually save them sends me to a dark place that not even Hope can immediately pull me out of. So, yeah. Order me up a side of normal please.

Marie:  Sorry. 😦

Let’s try a different question.

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

Angela:  Well, if we’re picking anyone in the world, I’d like to be a celebrity with loads of money, buy myself an island to rival that of any island Johnny Depp owns, and surround myself with animals instead of humans.

Okay, fine. I’d like to be someone like Hope. She’s kind, caring, patient, and sees the good in everyone. I wish I could be as optimistic as she is, but I’ve seen too many things to make me believe that the human race is really worth all of the effort she puts into caring. Which is a bit ironic when you consider how often I try to save every single stinking human I see expiring from preventable deaths.

Marie:  I see.

All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Angela:  Never had one. I only date a guy if I’ve seen his death and I’m trying to figure out a way around it. Or if I’m due to let off some steam in the back of their car. Relationships are a no go for me. I can’t imagine loving someone and being witness to the various ways they’re going to die. I’d spend my life in constant contact with that person and never have a moment’s peace. Hope is the only person I can be around who doesn’t have that effect on me. When I touch her, I see nothing but light. It’s odd. I have no idea why I can’t see her death, but I’m not complaining. I consider it the one thing going right for me.

Although, recently Hope and I have run into two guys who are exactly like she is. Tie, blond, tan and gorgeous is all light as well. I can’t pick up anything with him, and it’s obvious he’s smitten with Hope. Victor is the hottest Asian dude I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and he falls under the light category as well. I must admit that every once in a while, I have fantasies that Victor and I will go live on our own secluded island where I’ll never have to see another person’s death ever again. Of course, he’s completely into Hope as well. I’m not jealous because Hope is amazing, but I am sad that the only two people I could possibly have a normal relationship with are so obviously infatuated with Hope. Ah, well. Guess I’m just meant to be lonely…and a total lip whore while I’m at it.

Marie:  That is rough. Sorry.

Let’s try something else.

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

Angela:  The first time I had a vision of another person’s death was when I was seven, right after a really bad fall from Hope’s tree house. I could have sworn I died and saw my grandma on the other side, but when I woke up, I was in a hospital with only a few bumps and bruises. My mom came in to check on me, grabbed my hand, and wham…I saw her getting into a car wreck that very night. I generally see things from the person’s point of view and experience the pain as they do. It was awful. I thought I was losing it and began screaming like a crazy person. Of course, my mom stayed with me after that. Crisis averted in that respect, but after telling her what I was seeing, my mom thought I really was crazy and that’s when the therapists came into play. I learned very quickly that sharing the details of another person’s eventual death gave people cause to lock you up. Not to mention the fact that it makes them fear you and the possibility that you could be right. No one wants the frailties of their human existence broadcast to them through a detailed description of their death. Best to keep that stuff to myself. I’ve never even discussed it with Hope, and since I never have to worry about her death, it works out for us.

Marie:  Wow. 😦

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

[Angela 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?

Angela:  My dream is to find someone I can have a normal relationship with. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can see and prevent unnecessary suffering and death. It took me a while to get on board with that, but if my role in life is to save people then so be it. I just wish I didn’t have to feel so lonely while doing it.

The Healer

Marie:  Well, I don’t think it’s too much to ask really. And I have faith that you’ll find what you’re looking for. 😉

So, can you tell us…who is your role model, Angie?

Angela:  Every fabulously dressed celebrity ever. I love fashion and generally follow all of the celebrities with voracious interest. My appearance is the one thing I can control in my otherwise abnormal existence so I pay attention to the details. If you were looking for something inspiring or empowering…I got nothing. I’ll always want to be like my best buddy Hope, but I think our differences work for us.

Marie:  Okay.

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

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Angela:  Nope. If I don’t like you, you’ll be the first to know about it. I’m not one for brown nosing, and I don’t suffer fools well. Life’s too short for that crap.

Marie:  Very true.

Let’s try another question.

So, what is your deepest desire?

Angela:  I would like to see where things go with Victor. So, yeah, I really don’t want to be alone anymore.

Marie:  You have plenty of time. And I bet Mr. Right is just around the corner…

How about something else?

What is your greatest fear, Angie?

Angela:  Someone finding out what I can do and locking me up for the rest of my life, or people believing I’m crazy…and locking me up for the rest of my life.

Marie:  Aww…well, I suppose that’s a reasonable fear. But I think things will work out for you. (Pats her guest’s hand.)

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

Angela:  Thank you for having me, Marie!

Marie:  My pleasure!

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author C.J. Anaya on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, C.J.!


Author C.J. Anaya:  Hello, Marie!

Marie:  It’s good to see you again!  The last time I saw you was during your interview on the Writing in the Modern Age blog.

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

C.J.:  Angie is an exact carbon copy of my best friend, Jennifer Earl. Snarky, sarcastic, tough, compassionate, and fiercely loyal. You definitely want Angie on your side in a fight.

Well, yeah!  🙂

So, what are your character’s greatest strengths? Weaknesses?

C.J.:  Angie comes across as a bit abrasive at times, but her erratic, sometimes self-destructive behavior is something she does to cope with the visions of death she constantly sees. She craves companionship, but that physical contact comes with serious strings attached. She is trustworthy and loyal, but she doesn’t believe that she is worth much of anything when it comes right down to it.

Marie:  That’s very sad. Having that kind of gift must be extremely hard. 😦

So…let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

C.J.:  Angie is all about double cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes.

Marie:  Can’t blame her there!  😉

How about another question?

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

C.J.:  Angie doesn’t realize how selfless she is. She puts her life on the line to save other people, but always berates herself if she isn’t able to prevent a death in time. She’ll spend more time focusing on that than on all of the good she has accomplished.

Marie:  Okay.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

C.J.:  Readers will love Angie. She’s that type of friend who is wild and crazy. The life of the party, a bit irreverent at times and honest to the point where a little diplomacy and tact would be useful, but she’s so ready and willing to get in a fight for you. Her sarcasm and snarky attitude covers a multitude of pain and heartache. Her tough exterior covers a softer side of Angie that makes her a very likable, complex character.

Marie:  All right.

So, now that we have a real taste of Angie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for The Healer?

C.J.:  I had a really amazing dream involving a spirit trapped in a Japanese statue. Then I developed the main character, Hope and her best friend Angie, from that dream. Even though this series focuses mainly on Hope, we see a lot of Angie in it, and fans of the series have loved her so much that I have decided to write a follow up series telling Angie’s story.

Marie:  Oh, that’s great!

Let’s try a different question.

What is your writing style like, C.J.? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

C.J.:  I’m a little of both, actually. I do a lot of discovery writing, and I certainly outline, but I find that I have to be willing to break away from that outline when the story and characters carry me in a different direction.

Marie:  I hear that!  Characters can certainly have a mind of their own.

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

C.J.:  I had to learn my own writing process and realize that it was okay and necessary to write a crappy rough draft. The important thing is to get it out there so you can go back and edit everything. Flesh out the scenes, the characters and the plot and structure once you’ve knocked out that first rough draft. Don’t edit yourself in the creation process. Wait to edit later. I think that for me, the next time I write a series, I will get all the books written and then release one every month or so just so people don’t have to wait so long for the next book, and I don’t have to feel the pressure of finishing a series that people are frustrated they have to wait for.

Marie:  Sounds like a plan! Thank you for the great advice. And I have to agree. As writers, we have to allow ourselves to make mistakes during the writing process, and still enjoy the arduous journey involved in it. The editing can come later.

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

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by C.J. Anaya, a very talented author! 🙂

The Healer

Here is the blurb for The Healer:

A girl, a prophecy and two warring gods equals destiny!

Seventeen-year-old Hope Fairmont longs for a normal teenage life, but with a gift like hers, normal equals healing illnesses and injuries instantly. Keeping a secret like that isn’t easy, but a small town is the perfect place for her to heal those who can’t heal themselves, and an even better place for her father, James Fairmont, to hide his daughter from the rest of the world.

Life takes an unexpected turn when two handsome strangers move into town and begin unearthing other secrets concerning Hope’s future and past, revealing to Hope that her gift for healing may be the fulfillment of an ancient, Japanese prophecy gone wrong.

Staying away from these mysterious newcomers would be the smart thing to do, but Victor’s gentle, easy manner, and Tie’s mixed signals and strange mood swings draw her hopelessly closer to revealing the secret she and her father have been so desperate to hide.

Hope’s life is complicated further with visions of a previous life and the arrival of an unknown enemy sent to assassinate her before she learns what she is truly capable of.

With the support of her father, the fiery loyalty of her best friend Angie, and the child-like love of Kirby, a ten-year-old patient, Hope must fight against the forces of a relentless demon god while unwinding the tangled pieces of her past, proving to herself and those she loves that destiny isn’t determined by some cosmic reading of the stars, but by the individual choices one makes.

Embark upon a journey of heart-stopping adventure in this contemporary young adult paranormal romance filled with mythological creatures, Japanese gods, divine healing powers and a romantic love triangle. A romantic story of love, loss and second chances, this clean teen paranormal romance infuses traditional mythology, fantasy and contemporary themes to create a thrilling story readers are sure to enjoy.

C.J. is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

Sandy nodded and gave Victor a flirtatious wink. He smiled bashfully. He didn’t seem to realize how attractive he was. It made me like him more. Sandy moved her attention back to me.

“So, what have you got for us this visit?”

“Huh?” was my dumb response.

“Your song for tonight. Are you entertaining us with something bluesy or maybe a nice up tempo rock song?” she pressed.

Realization came crashing down around me. “Oh, no. I’m not doing anything tonight. I’ve been a little busy, and I don’t really have anything ready.” I kept my eyes locked on Sandy’s and silently begged her to read the panic in them.

“That’s not true, Hope,” I heard Angie say.

My head flipped around, and I watched her hold up a folded piece of paper.

“What’s that?” asked Victor.

“The song Hope wrote today. At least I think you wrote it today.”

“Where in the world did you get that?” It was the song I’d written in my car before I’d left to see Kirby. The one helping me release all of Tie’s emotions from my system.

“I found it in your pants pocket at the hospital. The lyrics are pretty good. I can’t wait to hear you sing it.”

Her comment was given innocently enough, but her eyes gleamed wickedly, and full comprehension of her intentions for tonight became crystal clear. She’d set me up. She’d found the song and orchestrated this little date to Expresso to get me to showcase my singing capabilities in front of our dates. I was going to kill her.

“I didn’t know you wrote music, Hope,” Tie commented. “You seem to be endowed with several amazing talents.”

My discomfort was growing, as was his infuriating smile.

“Are you going to sing for us tonight?” asked Victor who seemed genuinely interested.

“Not a chance.” My reply was sharper than I’d intended. “That song isn’t finished yet, and I haven’t run the music by the band. They’d need a couple of practice runs before getting it right.”

“Oh, come on, Hope. You’ve done a lot of impromptu performances without practicing beforehand, and the band is always able to follow you,” Sandy argued.

“No worries. I made copies of Hope’s song at the hospital and already passed them out to the band. They should be good to go,” Angie said giving me a triumphant grin.

Sandy’s eyes lit with happiness. “I’ll go tell Jackson you’ll be singing next,” she said, jumping up quickly and heading toward the lead guitarist.

I wanted to leap up and run out the door. This date had been a mistake. Beads of sweat began forming along my hairline. I could hear Tie chuckling softly. I gave him an icy glare and then turned the full force of it onto Angie. “You are by far the worst best friend I’ve ever had,” I said.

“You’ll thank me later.” She reached across the table and gave me my lyrics. I ripped them from her hand and did my very best to hold back the biting remarks floating in my head.

There was some tapping on the microphone and a bit of feedback as Jackson cleared his throat. “Excuse me, everyone. Our next performance will be by one of our most popular musicians tonight. Please give it up for Hope Fairmont.”

Ooh…love it! I definitely want to know what happens next!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:

Barnes & Noble:


About C.J. Anaya


C.J. Anaya began writing short stories for family and friends when she was thirteen years old. This soon morphed into an extensive project every year during Christmas as a way to create a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift.

Her passion for reading and writing led her to following her own dreams of becoming a published author. She was born in Utah and raised everywhere else. She even lived a few years in Brazil, enjoying the people, the culture and learning the beautiful language of Portuguese.

As a mother of four children she can be found at any given time changing diapers, playing dress-ups with her daughters, getting her fanny kicked in Mario Kart by her snarky little son, and escaping into a corner of the house with her kindle for a nice, quiet (LOL, in her dreams) read. She is also married to the most deliciously, handsome looking Latino. As always, she has plenty to write about.

C.J.’s Books:





The Healer

And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing C.J. Anaya, here are some of her author links:





Amazon Author Page:





Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Angela Beaumont, a female character from The Healer, and C.J. Anaya, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

Authors, Award, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical Romance, Love, Marie Lavender, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing

Vote for Solstice Publishing’s Author of the Year!

Hello, readers! It’s that time of year again, when Solstice Publishing gears up for their Author of the Year contest! Readers get to cast their votes for their favorite author. How exciting, right? So, before I tell you to go ahead and cast your vote for your favorite romance author at Solstice, let me tell you that, yes, I am on the list. This is, however, not shameless begging on my end for you to vote for me. That is certainly your choice. There are lots of talented authors at Solstice, and I respect all of my fellow authors!

But, just in case you’re interested, here is a list of my Solstice book titles in order of recent to oldest, as well as their descriptions. Since this blog is all about romance, I thought it would be apropos to include romance books…


Second Nature, Book 1 of the Blood at First Sight Series

She never expected it…
Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
She was unlike any other…
Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.
Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?


Upon Your Honor, Book 2 of the Heiresses in Love Series
Deception is a dangerous path…
New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms. As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.
Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life. But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.
Magick & Moonlight, Book 1 of the Magick Series
Messing with free will is always a bad idea…
Ethan Hamilton moves to a lazy little town in Oregon, hoping to escape his demons. But, instead he discovers a woman dancing nude in the moonlight. This woman who claims she is a witch dazzles him with her sensual presence. He thinks she’s crazy, but what if she’s not?
Jessie Anderson has been taught that her kind hides who they really are. And she has a problem on her hands. Someone knows her secret and she has to do all she can to protect herself. What other choice does she have? Jessie casts a love spell on a good man, a man with whom she can’t fight her attraction. The spell doesn’t work quite as planned – she ends up falling for Ethan.
To top it off, Ethan’s treatment of her, his “love”, is so addictive. Deep down, she knows the spell will wear off, and yet his feelings seem genuine. It’s just a spell…right?
 Upon Your Return, Book 1 of the Heiresses in Love Series

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life.
But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position.
Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms.
Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…

So, there you  have it! I’d post my fellow authors’ books as well, but we have a good 300 authors at Solstice. Lots of peeps, huh? But, to be fair, I’m going to include a link to some of our romance books at Solstice.
Anyway, if you’re interested, here is the place to vote for Author of the Year at Solstice Publishing. Or the direct URL:
However, if you would like to vote for moi, you’ll find my author name (Marie Lavender…yes, I know the blog doesn’t say Marie Lavender’s I Love Romance Blog…just letting you know my name in case you don’t already know I’m the moderator) about six names up from the bottom of the page.
Happy voting, of course!
And as always, happy reading! VGwy3SJLNYjpgFind a romance book to dive into! You know I would! 😉



Books, Romance, Writing

Official release of MAGICK & MOONLIGHT!

I am so excited to announce the official Amazon release of my paranormal romance, Magick & Moonlight, through Solstice Shadows, a division of Solstice Publishing.

Tagline:  Love spells are dangerous, even more dangerous for those who cast them…


Messing with free will is always a bad idea…

Ethan Hamilton moves to a lazy little town in Oregon, hoping to escape his demons. But, instead he discovers a woman dancing nude in the moonlight. This woman who claims she is a witch dazzles him with her sensual presence. He thinks she’s crazy, but what if she’s not?

Jessie Anderson has been taught that her kind hides who they really are. And she has a problem on her hands. Someone knows her secret and she has to do all she can to protect herself. What other choice does she have? Jessie casts a love spell on a good man, a man with whom she can’t fight her attraction. The spell doesn’t work quite as planned – she ends up falling for Ethan.

To top it off, Ethan’s treatment of her, his “love”, is so addictive. Deep down, she knows the spell will wear off, and yet his feelings seem genuine. It’s just a spell…right?

Magick and Moonlight