Being A Keeper

It goes without saying that this is the month for love. If you read any of this month’s posts you will see why we write romance, why Valentine’s Day is awful and that marriage is good for you.

Each post holds a bit of one author’s perspective and those perspectives are all true. But beyond all the wonderful things said about love and romance, we all write it because we love the simple joy of it.Valentine-Couple-Resized

There is nothing more basic as one girl and one boy getting together to share a lifetime full of happiness and love. Sure, there are bound to be bumps in the road, and they can take many forms, but the message in most of our stories is geared toward that happily ever after. Today, the HEA has a sister and that’s been named happily-for-now.

I’m not so much into HFN but I get it. In today’s fast paced world, people move around, people change jobs and their perspective changes. Things that worked before don’t always work in the new place and some of those that go by the wayside are those relationships that maybe started as an office romance. For me, the real story is getting that relationship to work. And I know it can happen because I’ve had friends who are married after doing those distance marathon relationships. After all, love conquers all.

Now there have been other twists in the romance world. Bet many of you didn’t know that in days gone by, science fiction and fantasy really didn’t have romantic relationships. Sure, there might be a girl and guy paring but it wasn’t the norm. Relationships did happen more in fantasy because of its very nature of sword and sorcery. After all, people did have Tolkien to read and in those books relationships abound.

But in science fiction, since it was a male dominated world, for many years romance was strictly taboo. People did not have relationships in space nor did they have sex or children or anything people would do in a normal life on earth. This gave me pause and then I’d snicker only to go into a full out laugh. What?!? No relationships in space?!? Who were these people kidding? Well it turns out they were kidding themselves. People will fall in love no matter what the venue. People are meant to be in love and form long term relationships and commitments. It makes us feel better and whole. I had quite a few closet sci-fi romance stories because that’s one of the genres I love to write. What is more exciting than to be in love and working in space…I can’t think of a thing.

For many years, it was thought that only humans could feel love. Even our closest relatives on the humanoid family tree didn’t form long term relationships. Theirs all happened in a completely different hierarchy and love wasn’t even a component of the system. But recently, someone hooked up a dog’s brain to a monitor and found that the same portions of their brains light up as our own when they see their humans. And that tells me that love is universal. There is no stronger bond than a dog and its master.

Today, the state of romance is a good one. Romance is still the number one top seller of all books in all forms. Love is still a money maker in terms of weddings and honeymoons and all the trappings associated with becoming a unit. Like purchasing homes and having children. These are things of a lifetime commitment that people do to fulfill their dreams.

When I was growing up I was determined I was never going to marry someone like my Dad. Don’t get me wrong, my Dad’s a great guy but he was a farmer and a construction worker. I wanted something more refined and exotic. Then my mother got ill with Alzheimer’s and I watched my father care for her every day. It broke my heart and when we were talking to the minister about what to say at her funeral, my father explained his love for her in this one sentence, “She was a keeper.” I knew then I had been wrong about my father for all those years. I wanted a man just like him. I wanted someone to tell others I’d been the keeper.

Thank god I’m lucky enough to have found that man. And what about you all? Have you found the love of your life? Do you believe that romance is an everyday occurrence?

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

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Unconditional Love

uncondlove

First off, I want to say thank you to Lori and all the ladies of the Heart Shaped Glasses blog for allowing me to post today.

Since its February, the month of love, I wanted to talk about what I consider to be the ‘big’ love. Love that lasts regardless of belief, words, looks, and endures all storms. I’m talking about unconditional love.

Unconditional simply means that there are no conditions, no stipulations. While I’ve had many people express love for me, not many can say they hold unconditional love for me. Somewhere along the way I make a decision they don’t like, chose to do things in a manner in which they don’t approve, or vote for a person they don’t appreciate. Once you begin imposing stipulations on your love for someone it’s easy to let those stipulations rule your feelings.

I believe in loving people unconditionally. I love my friends for their different beliefs, their different ideas or opinions, and their different styles. Political or religious, black or purple—the differences inspire my love versus stifling it. Now, I admit to be human and not perfect. So finding the way to love unconditionally wasn’t something I immediately grasped. As a grew I realized how much joy can be found to love without expectations. To appreciate every person for whom they are, even when some of the things they do may not be what you do, is rewarding and yields so many experiences.

In my book, What You Need, my characters are seeking acceptance and unconditional love; though they may not admit it at first. It’s not easy to find love without conditions and thankfully they’ve got Madame Eve, owner of the exclusive 1Night Stand dating service, to help them find the person who can love without stipulations.

My Question(s): How would you define unconditional love? And have you experienced such a love? 


1Night Stand Series

What You Need

by Landra Graf

WhatYouNeed200A sexual submissive, Royce wants a woman who’ll make his fantasies come true. The last thing he expects on his 1Night Stand is to be paired with Victoria, his ex-best friend. Haunted by their past, he refuses to deny his newfound attraction or his need for answers. This time, he doesn’t plan to let her go.

Victoria has loved Royce forever, but the sting of his rejection is not so easily forgotten. No longer the naïve girl he knew, she’s matured into a sexual dominant. This domme demands a chance to restart their relationship—on her terms. Knowing that one night will never be enough, she plans a seduction that will last forever.

Amazon | Decadent | All Romance Ebooks

About the Author:

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Contact Details:

Website: http://riseoftheslush.blogspot.com
Email: landra.graf7@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/landra.graf
Twitter: @riseoftheslush

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Sassy humor for the heart, captivating contemporary romance for the soul.

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Yes, I write romance!

CupckaesandCupid 200x300Last month, during an informal interview of sorts, a man asked me, “so, you write romance…why?”

It would have been easy enough to answer with the standard canned response, “because everyone loves a happy ending.” But honestly, it’s so much more than that.

There is no such thing as your average, run of the mill, romance novel, no matter what the critics of the genre spout. Stories range from sweet to scorching hot and can take place in any time…even in the future or a paranormal world of the authors creation.  There is truly a romance for every taste. Like shapeshifters and vampires? We’ve got you covered. How about a cowboy or a pirate? Yup…they’re here too.

But at the heart of every romance is a story anyone can relate to, they are stories about the human condition, about being accepted and loved. Romances have the ability to cross cultural lines, they transcend social classes, and they have the ability to strip even the most alpha hero down to his soul. A romance can warm you heart and make you believe that good really does exist in a world that can often feel cold. (And I ask you, who wouldn’t want to make people feel good?)

The exhilaration of falling in love, of being loved, and sharing love, is a universal emotion, it’s part of being human. Young or old, looking for first love, hoping for a second chance at love or holding the hand of the love of your life after sixty years of marriage…don’t we all really want the same thing – to find someone to share our world with?

And isn’t that worth celebrating everyday?

That’s why I write romance. I may never be a household name, I may never win any awards or top the NY Times bestsellers list, but if I’ve made someone smile and spread a little bit of joy…that’s success enough for me.

Happy Valentine’s Day. May love be your journey not just your destination. 🙂

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

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Everyday Romance

Didn’t you think Misty’s post was fabulous? I just loved it, and it’s going to be a hard act to follow, but I’ll give it shot.SmallHeartCloud

We don’t normally celebrate Valentine’s Day at our house. For the past several years we’ve been stuck on very difficult job sites where after a twelve hour day, we’ve looked at each other, wished each other a happy day and then went to get Chinese take-out, headed back to the hotel and gone to sleep. Isn’t that romantic? And there you have it. The secret to a happy relationship. Take-out food and a good hotel.

But on a serious note, we both agree Valentine’s Day is simply a retail venture. Love is constant and something you live every day. Especially for your mate. That person deserves your best because they’ve seen you at your worst, and they still love you and stand by you.

Now that’s romance!

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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Guest Post — Misty Dietz

Mars vs. Venus: Who’s feelin’ the love?

Happy weekend, everyone! I was without my Valentine for the first time in fifteen years yesterday, but frankly, I can take or leave the holiday. The noisy restaurants, the guilt-motivated flower buying, the obligatory boxes of chocolates that only have three flavors I actually like…meh.

But of course when my husband offers to take me out, I never refuse! Ha!

loveWhatever your feelings about Valentine’s day, however, let’s have some fun and dish about what really defines relationship happiness. Based on a super scientific poll that I conducted on Facebook recently (*snort*), I think I have the elusive answer, people!

The poll was very simple. I asked my Facebook buddies to fill in the blank: “I feel love when my partner….” Then I asked them to tell me how long they’d been in that relationship so I could see if there was any correlation between any of the answers. Here’s a sample of the responses I received.

I feel loved when my partner…

  • brings me coffee in the morning  (20 yrs, 2 mo, 2 secs) <<<SECONDS, they gave me SECONDS! See, I said it was scientific! LOL
  • cleans the kitchen/house while I work (43 yrs 7 mos 5 sec)
  • actually notices when something is wrong and does something unexpected for me that I was dreading doing myself! (22 yrs, 7 months)
  • leaves me notes in unexpected places (1 year, 2 months, 33 sec)
  • takes over minor housework details so I can keep on writing (10 years, 8 months and 28 days)
  • closes the door and kisses me against the wall (19 yrs, 360 days) <<<Whoa, this guy ought to teach seminars, right?!
  • our eyes meet and I know we are sharing a memory, an inside joke, or an emotional connection with an intimacy I’ll never have with another person. (34 years, 4 months, and 9 days) <<< Cue the sighs 🙂
  • offers advice to help me solve a problem where he has no stake in the outcome. (19 years)
  • treats my 5 year old daughter like his own. (1 year, 9 months and 1 week)
  • makes me laugh, calls me by my pet name, and does things like get my car detailed—just because. (16 years, 10 months, 2 days, 40 seconds)
  • has my coffee ready to go in the morning, or when he sneaks up behind me and kisses my neck (together for a little over 3 years, married for 2 but he was my middle school sweetheart so 25 plus year

Interesting, huh? No matter how long the couple had been together, not once did anyone mention flowers or trips or jewelry or shopping of any sort. Let that sink in for a moment.

What does all this tell us?

It’s so simple, really. What makes us most happy in our closest relationships are the little things. The mundane, everyday stuff of life that we do for each other that quietly—and often silently—demonstrates our commitment to one another. Things that make us get through our days easier. The little touch points that make us feel connected, and like we have someone in our corner no matter what the world chooses to dole out.

The key is to initiate a conversation with your love about what those little things are because, not surprisingly, they’re different for each of us. When I asked my guy what I do that makes him feel loved, he mentioned putting technology away and spending undistracted time together. Spending time together in nature is also important to him.

Such simple requests…and good reminders. I mean, I knew all that about him, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve consciously thought about it, and then put that knowledge to productive, happy use. Its simplicity is very humbling—and encouraging—if you ask me.

Next, I asked my children the same question because I wanted to know what touched them and made them feel closer to me. It was a great conversation as we cuddled together in bed. Their answers were very basic and also boiled down to simply spending time together. They never once mentioned getting new toys or electronics.

So what do you think? Have you asked the important people in your life what specifically makes them feel loved? What makes you feel loved by your partner, and have shared that lately? 

~*~*~

Misty18bMisty’s love affair with words started in middle school with moody stories set in exotic locales she knew nothing about. In college, her boy-angst erupted in disturbing reams of poetry. After grad school, the writing went into hibernation until she found her own happily-ever-after with an ultra linear man who is the long-suffering counter-balance to her zig-zagging ways. Now, she spends her days writing sexy, adrenaline-fueled stories, enjoying family and friends, and praying her children don’t come home with math homework.

HSGlasses is delighted to have Misty on the blog today. 🙂 A great writer with fabulous stories to tell. You can find her online….

HOME ~*~Facebook~*~Twitter

And for those interested in a little peak at her latest book, Come Hell or High Desire….

Her fingernails suddenly raked at her skull. “Lord! I almost forgot. We have to go back to Ann’s. She has a diary!”

He swerved into an empty parking lot and swiveled to face her, blood pounding in his ears. “What are you talking about?”

“Ann keeps a diary. We have to find it.”

“You’re just telling me this now? You should have goddamn said something right away!”

“Don’t you dare curse at me like that, you seismic jackass!”

CHOHD smallHe had to get out. He flung the truck door open and strode onto the cracked asphalt. Her door slammed shut moments later, and within seconds she was wagging a finger in his face. “And don’t you walk away from me, either!”

“Then don’t be such a damn shrew.”

Color flooded over her cheekbones seconds before she punched him in the gut. Hard. An ancient fire lit up his nerve circuits and adrenaline had him widening his stance. His heart gunned.

His groin tightened.

And she was still shrill.

“I’m not a shrew! How am I supposed to act in a situation like this? You think I’m enjoying this? I hate it! But unfortunately I have a conscience which would haunt me for the rest of my life if I don’t follow this through until we have some answers. You came to me and wanted to rule out the church first. Then with everything that happened, I forgot about the diary until right now. That clear enough for you, you—”

Clear enough, honey.

He vised her head between his palms and kissed her. He hadn’t meant to, but the moment her mouth opened to his, he was lost. Not breaking contact with her mouth, he wrapped one arm around her, his hand splaying across her ass, locking her hips against him. Her hands were in his hair, her hips grinding, driving him crazy. They feasted on each other’s mouth, tongues dueling, daring, seeking. He felt her fingers between their bodies, slipping underneath the waistband of his jeans, pulling at the hem of his shirt. Her fingernail scraped his abs and he groaned. She leaned away from his mouth, her eyes dead sexy. Liquid brown. He was gonna—

A car horn blew, jerking him back to life. Back to the parking lot. He looked over to see a man in a black minivan at a stoplight giving them the thumbs up. He honked twice more, waved, and

Sloane burst into a fit of laughter that quickly dissolved into tears. drove on.

And that clinched it. He’d woken up this morning in some creepy-assed Twilight Zone.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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Marriage is Romantic!

dreamstimefree_238290Hey, all! Jennifer here.

Did you know it’s National Marriage Week this week?

Yep. And the National Marriage Week website says this:

Marriage works. It makes people happier, live longer, and build more economic security. Children with married parents perform better in school. Click here for new research on “Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from Social Science.”

Marriage breakdown is costly to our kids and to society at large. Divorce and unwed childbearing cost the U.S. taxpayers a whopping $112 billion annually. In these economic challenging times, building stronger marriages helps build a stronger nation.

Cool, huh?

As romance writers, our books always end in a happily ever after and 9 times out of 10 that’s going to include a wedding or proposal of marriage.

WHY? Because it definitely signifies a lifelong commitment our characters are making to one another. True Romance.

Are you married? Want some great marriage tips? With Valentine’s Day coming up, you’ll want to check out this page: http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/marriage-tips

Or maybe you’re more interested in some good books on marriage. Check out this page: http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/recommended-reading

Let’s strengthen our marriages. There’s nothing more romantic than that. 🙂

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her upcoming sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH releasing December 5, 2016.

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  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.