AuThursday – Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender Logo_400Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my family and two cats. I love reading, writing, and shopping. I am obsessed with using colored gel pens! I studied Creative Writing in college, and I earned a Bachelor of Arts. To date, I’ve published twenty-one books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction, and poetry. An avid blogger on the side, I write adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and have recently started some young adult fiction. I also contributed to several anthologies. Though there are some standalone titles on the market, my current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series, The Misfits Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. 

How do you make time to write? 

When I am immersed in a project, I just do my best to work a little on that story every day, even if all I accomplish is writing a paragraph or just researching an integral topic. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, I’ve had it in the past. I think it can affect any writer. But I think the malady can be overcome as well. 

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

Marie Lavender banner - FacebookI am a multi-genre writer, so though I feel more comfortable writing romance stories (I am a hopeless romantic!), I leave myself open to trying other types of stories. For example, I published a children’s fantasy a few years ago. And I also have a psychological thriller and a horror project in the works. 

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both) 

I went indie with Chasing Ginger, a steamy romantic comedy. Though I am all too familiar with rom-com books and films, it is my first attempt at a humorous take on romance. Also, the final book of the series will be an LGBT romance, and I didn’t want to use a traditional publisher for my initial foray into that category. 

Universal reader link for Chasing Ginger: https://books2read.com/ChasingGinger 

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work? 

Ah, usually an introvert. Being shy by nature makes it more difficult for me to do public events such as radio interviews. I still go for them, but I get really nervous. I’ve grown in recent years, though, and I’m a little more willing to try new things than I was before. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

Natalie Goldberg Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

I think there’s a lot of useful content in the unknown, in those places we’re afraid to look at too closely. We should be willing to get a little uncomfortable during the creative process, to bring forth a naked truth. It can be cathartic. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Persevere, yet be patient and kind to yourself. This is not an overnight journey. It will take as long as it takes to get there. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:

http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

http://marielavender.blogspot.com/ http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58 https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender https://twitter.com/marielavender1 http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/MarieLavender https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

Universal Reading List links:

https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks https://books2read.com/ap/xrv162/Marie-Lavender http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/ https://www.booksradar.com/lavender-marie/lavender.html http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

Fan mail email: marielavender@writeme.com 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? 

ChasingGingerFinalCoverEscape, she thought. Now. Panic mode set in, and she stumbled away from the hardwood counter, treaded straight for the exit. A hand caught her arm and spun her around. 

A man with sandy blonde hair, brown eyes, and handsome features appeared before her. “Ginger, baby, come on. Where are you going? The party has just begun.” 

She shrugged his hand off. “I’m sorry. I have to go. I need to cancel—” 

He frowned. “But we had a date.” A nice face didn’t equate to decent moral character. 

“No, I don’t remember you,” she breathed. 

“I saw you and knew I had to have you. You’re mine.” His eyes flashed. 

Ginger stepped back a bit. Seriously? What the hell was up with him? They were virtual strangers. 

“What’s wrong, baby? Haven’t had one like me before?” He flexed his muscles, as if to illustrate a point, and then glanced down at her with a wide smile. It was clear he, in fact, thought he was something. 

At that moment, she noticed the line of quarterbacks not too far behind him. Never one to waste an opportunity when she had it, Ginger ducked under his outstretched arm and beelined around the crowd in the opposite direction. Though there was only one exit, she hoped the man might get stuck by the traffic jam in the main aisle. Once on the sidewalk outside, she ran as fast as her legs would take her in those stupid high heels on the hard pavement. This was insane. 

Surely InstaSin hadn’t caused such chaos? She couldn’t believe that. Maybe it was just poor planning. A guy might take it the wrong way if you went ahead and set up another date after him. Still, most men knew those dating sites weren’t exclusive. So, why get too possessive? The ownership on all their faces was worrisome, to say the least. She’d never met them before today and could just remember a handful of names. Thank God surnames were concealed on the site, or she’d be in real trouble once she got out of this. How many G. Halloway’s could exist in San Francisco? 

After a couple blocks, Ginger paused to take a breath or two. But they’d give up by now, right? Hell, maybe it was paranoia and all those men weren’t after her. Of course not. This was just a bizarre mix-up… 

“Ginger! Stop!” She looked over her shoulder and froze. Sure enough, almost two football teams had come after her. Dressed in various types of attire, from dress casual to ultra-casual, with the same hard look on their faces. It was all about the prize. She hadn’t wanted this, though. 

There was an obvious hunger in their eyes too. The dangerous kind. 

Nausea shifted through her belly, threatened to evacuate the diet sodas she’d had at work, and Ginger veered off to the right. She didn’t know where she was heading, but couldn’t wait to get in a cab and speed toward her apartment. This unique experience wasn’t relished at all. A scream tore out of Ginger as someone snagged at her hair, and she yanked away, stumbling across the street. The pull on her scalp was nothing compared to the panic she felt now. She doubled her efforts as she raced down the pavement, feet pounded in her green heels. Please, please, God. I’ll never use a dating site again if you just get me out of this right now. 

A hand shot out, grabbed her arm, and she screeched again. 

“Darlin’, come on,” a male voice coaxed, and a wonderful scent drifted in her nose. 

But everything happened so fast, she couldn’t register what it was.

 “There’s no time. You’ll be safe in here.” The voice was soothing. 

Ginger calmed at once and found she was led up a short stairway into a tall, light gray structure. Inside, she backed away from the glass a little, breathed a sigh of relief as she saw the group pass by after a few moments. Each breath was labored, and her forehead, upper chest, and lower back were sweaty. Her feet and legs ached. She felt like this when she visited the gym, exhausted, practically passed out, draped over the treadmill’s handlebars. Now, each breath hitched in her chest. And the boob pain wasn’t a joke. She winced, passed a hand down her face, and turned to confront the new threat. 

He was a looker, for sure, with deep brown, spiky hair and nice blue eyes. The man wore a gray business suit. He’d obviously just come from work. And Jesus, he was tall and muscled, topped six feet no problem. He had handsome features, with a Roman nose and somewhat full, made-to-be-kissed lips. Get ahold of yourself, Ginger. His eyes widened as he took in her appearance. 

“Not you too,” she moaned. But hell, for all she knew, maybe he’d never seen a melting green marshmallow before. 

“Are you okay, ma’am? Why were those men chasing you?” 

She managed, “I don’t know.” That was the truth. They hadn’t warned InstaSin would be like this, and it was just twenty-four hours in. Extreme sexiness? Check, if the response she’d received was any indication. Grounds for a restraining order? Nope. They certainly hadn’t covered this in the drug’s description.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Saturday Excerpt – Directions of the Heart by Marie Lavender

Directions of the Heart - eBook coverHe pushed past her, casting pleasantries aside. “How is she?” he demanded as he turned to face her.

Mrs. Johnson wrung her hands. “I don’t know. I’m not sure what’s wrong. She…” She shook her head.

“Where’s Caitlyn?”

The woman pointed the way.

Jack followed a corridor to a small bedroom. Pink walls, pink spread. Caitlyn had thrown a red blanket over the window to block out the light. He saw a huddled form beneath the bedspread, reached out and threw back the fabric.

He sat down to get a look at her. Caitlyn rocked, wet tracks down her face. She must’ve been crying. Her eyes were shut tight and her hair was wild. She wore a pair of lavender sweats, and was pretty much unresponsive to his touch. He checked for marks on her arms and wrists, but found nothing. So she hadn’t tried to hurt herself.

He suspected what was happening, but could only try to pull her from the nightmare. It was too easy for someone who had been traumatized like she had to revert to a catatonic state and he wished that hell on no one.

“Caitlyn? Caitlyn, it’s Jack. Jack Thomas, remember?”

No response.

A small sound came behind him, and he glanced back to see her mother cover her mouth. It didn’t matter right now. It couldn’t.

“Come on. Come back to me. Caitlyn, can you hear me? It’s going to be okay. I’ll help you get through this,” he vowed, and almost choked on the words. He pushed through the panicked flutter in his chest, gathering her into his arms.

“Caitlyn, I won’t let them hurt you anymore, okay? No one will. It’s just you and me. You. And me. I’m going to take care of you, I swear,” he said with his lips pressed to her temple. “Come back to me, sweetheart. Come on.”

He tried once more, unaware what words spilled out of him. Desperation alone drove his actions. As he cradled her to his chest, a fruity scent drifted into his nostrils. Strawberries, he thought. He felt the strangest combination of rightness and deep concern. “The world needs you, darling. Don’t hide away. Come back to us. Please.”

After a few moments, a shudder went through her and a small voice whispered, “Jack?”

“That’s right. I’m here, honey.”

Tears filmed her eyes. “I, I was back there again. In the cellar.”

“Shh…I know. I’m so sorry. But you’re here now. You’re safe in this house, and with me. You just go ahead and cry it out, hmm? Then you can sleep.”

She sobbed hard as he held her tight. Soon, she quieted to the occasional sigh and he pulled back to look at her. Her face was flushed and wet from her tears. He caressed her cheek. “How ya doing?”

She shook her head.

“All right. That’s fine. It’s a hard road, but I know you can do it. I’ll help you.”

“You really mean it,” she whispered, her tone incredulous.

He nodded. “Yeah, I do.”

“Okay.”

Her skin was so soft beneath his hand and he had to stop himself from stroking further. “How are you sleeping?”

She didn’t answer.

“That’s what I thought.” He looked at her mother. “Mrs. Johnson? Could you get her sleeping pills?”

The woman slipped out of the room.

“What about your antibiotic? The pain medicine? Have you been taking those?”

“Yes. They make me a little nauseous.”

“Sorry to hear that, sweetie, but they are necessary. And if you do use the sleeping pills, don’t try to drive, okay?” She murmured an agreement.

When her mother returned with the pill bottle and some water, Jack measured out a tablet, then watched as Caitlyn took it, eyeing her throat. “Good, that’s good. I’ll stay till you get to sleep, but we need to talk this out soon. All right?”

She nodded.

Satisfied, he held her against his shoulder, the minutes passing, until she went limp and her breaths evened out. It shook him that he could’ve held her forever, and he wouldn’t have had a problem with it. He checked her eyelids to be sure she slept before he covered her up with the bed’s blanket and spread, and cleared out of the room.

Mrs. Johnson followed him. “What was that? What’s going on?”

“Your daughter almost went into a catatonic state. What happened was too traumatic for her.”

She sat down on the sofa abruptly as if she’d lost the strength to stand. “But…I assumed I could handle her. I thought she would be okay.”

“This is more than anyone can handle alone. And she won’t be all right for some time.”

 

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.)

Tags: Contemporary Romance, Dramatic Fiction, PTSD Awareness, Anthologies and Collections

Goodreads link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31351684-directions-of-the-heart

Purchase links:

Amazon Universal 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

Create Space link:  https://www.createspace.com/7239124

#AuThursday – Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender LogoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, I am a multi-genre author of 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. And the list just keeps growing. Some of my works in progress include comedy, time travel or dystopian tales.  I come from the Midwestern U.S., and I live with my family and three cats. I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to be a writer, at least since I was old enough to officially write stories.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m actually more introverted, though my writing career has forced me to be more public than I’m accustomed to. I guess you could say it’s a bit harder to put myself out there, but I do it anyway. I’ve had several radio interviews, I host three blogs and I have moderated lots of major book giveaways. I like meeting new people. Now and then, I still get nervous, though.

How do you make time to write?

When I’m balancing a side job and family obligations, it can be difficult. I usually aim to work a little on my current project every day, even if it’s a paragraph or a scene, or just researching different aspects of the story.

What excites you most about your current WIP?

The book I’m currently editing is Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy which is also book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. I adore the characters, and designing the Other World. I’m very excited for fans of Second Nature, the first book, to read its sequel!

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

Oh, I received quite a few when I was submitting Upon Your Return, my first historical romance, to agents and publishers. Whenever I’d get a rejection, I forced myself to feel more determined. I just sent out another five submissions to other places. Perseverance is a good quality to have in this business. And my persistence paid off. Not too long after that, I received my first book contract!

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Actually, I have. I am in the midst of writing a romantic suspense novel with another writer. It’s titled Certain Death.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

They can find me at my author website, through my blogs at the MLB blog, the I Love Romance Blog, or Writing in the Modern Age. They can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I also have an author newsletter, which I send out monthly, so feel free to subscribe!

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share for Saturday?

DoHpromo15

Sure! This one is from my new release, Directions of the Heart, a modern romantic drama collection, which just came out on July 25th!

Join me on Saturday as we read an excerpt from “Directions of the Heart” by Marie. ~Tina