Win a Literary Lover's Prize Pack
Are you a literature lover? Do you want to start the year off with this fun prize pack, including a huge Book Nerd mug?
Head over to the pinned post on my Facebook for a contest that's super easy to enter...and super fun to win. Join my tribe in celebrating sweet, genuine love stories for your chance to win this gift pack.
Have you ever felt like your past won’t let you chase your happiest present or future? Are you stuck living in a moment that you can’t forget?
For me, writing All of You was about more than just a romance. It was about the fact that sometimes our lives aren’t clean slates, and we don’t all come from picture-perfect pasts. Too many times, I’ve read about characters who seem to have it all together, or who have problems that seem either too hard to relate to or too simple.
I wanted to portray a different reality, one that’s a little bit more intense but a whole lot more real.
All of You is about the idea that we all have demons haunting us, some bigger than others. We all are held back sometimes by preconceived notions about us, our lives, and what we should do. We don’t always chase what we want in life because sometimes we just feel like we can’t.
This book is about how we can overcome the demons of our pasts and the ideas about ourselves that hold us back. It’s about how sometimes love can actually help us do that.
Through Marley and Alex’s story, I found an inner truth I’ve really come to believe: The best kind of love helps make you the best version of yourself. Marley and Alex’s vulnerabilities help them open up to each other and become even truer, happier versions of who they are. It is their love story that opens up new possibilities. It is their love that helps them shut the door on expectations, on the past, and on the pains they both know.
Real life is messy, complicated, and complex. These are the words I’d use to describe Marley and Alex. This is not your typical, nice-and-neat love story. It has rough edges. The characters are gritty and raw. There are heavy complexities and sometimes a paradoxical feel to who they are.
But Marley and Alex, through all of their difficulties and struggles, taught me that life isn’t a nice-and-neat package--but that’s okay. It is through struggle and complexity that we can uncover our own truths and that love can take on a new meaning.
Do you enjoy reading realistic love stories even if they’re a little heavy and complex? Feel free to hit comment and tell me what you think of a complex, emotional kind of love story.
A Look At All of You's Marley Jade
I’ve come to learn one thing over the years of being an adult: Life is so hard. Truly.
When we’re young, we picture everything working out exactly as we want. We set out our life plan, picture our rosey vision for the future, and feel like the pieces will all fall into place.
Sometimes, though, that’s not what happens.
Whether it’s hauntings from our past or unexpected hurdles that surface, our lives are never, ever a perfect path to happiness. Suffering, hard choices, sadness, and pain are all a part of the human experience.
When I sat down to write All of You, I’d just finished writing the first book in my beachy series, Lines in the Sand. I love writing romantic comedies because it’s fun to explore the humor in life and expand upon it. However, as a writer, I also pride myself on not being one-dimensional. I want to capture real life, which means that for every romantic comedy, somewhere deep within is also a romantic drama.
Marley Jade from All of You is a very different character than so many of my female protagonists. She’s got a heavy past, probably the heaviest I’ve written. Her life is scarred by relics of a past she can’t quite get over. Like so many of my characters, her twenties aren’t exactly what she had pictured for herself. However, unlike my other characters, Marley Jade feels trapped by loyalty, responsibility, and the ensnaring power of her past.
Marley Jade was the first piece of the puzzle in writing All of You. As I started writing for Hot Tree Publishing Rescue Me collection, I knew for a fact that I didn’t want to just write about a physical rescue. I wanted to tackle something a little bit bigger and somewhat more taboo in our world-- I wanted to tackle the realism of a mental and emotional rescue. I wanted to highlight that in real life, the emotional and mental rescues are sometimes even harder to endure and to pull off.
More than that, I didn’t want Marley Jade to be the victim or the rescued. Sure, she has her issues. However, I saw in her a resilience and a strength I hadn’t detected in any of my other characters. In her signature red hat and somewhat wild sense of fashion, she exudes confidence in a way only those who have survived the unsurvivable can.
Alex Evans saves Marley Jade in more ways than one… but he is also saved by her. Living a serious life dictated by familial expectations and pressure, Alex doesn’t even realize he needs saved from a life that isn’t his own.
As Marley and Alex’s characters developed, I realized that there was a simple beauty in their love story that wasn’t in any other book I’d written. Out of the wreckage of sadness that swirls in this book came a love story more beautiful, more powerful because it was such a contrast to the heavy moments presented.
All of You isn’t a light read. It deals with hard issues and topics we don’t always like to talk about. However, for me, that’s what makes this a book I’m proud of. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s true to life.
Scroll down to read the blurb for All of You and see if this sounds like your kind of book. Feel free to hit reply and tell me if Marley and Alex’s love story sounds like your kind of read and if you’re ready to add it to your Goodreads TBR list.
All of You Blurb:
There’s no such thing as impossible when it comes to saving the one who holds your heart.
A sexy doctor who’s restricted by expectations.
A quirky poet who’s defined by her dark past.
All it takes is Alex Evans saving Marley Jade one fateful night for their futures to be realigned. And when a passion sparks between them, they must decide if they can piece each other back together and make love work.
Visit me on Facebook for more info about my next release, All of You
To All Women Hoping For Big Changes In the New Year
Some years are harder than others, both personally and as a society.
For many, 2017 was a tough year. Whether it be some of the major tragedies occurring in the world, stark realities about injustice in our society, or personal turmoil, many women are ready to say farewell to this year and start fresh.
It seems that with the switching of the calendar to a new year, the feeling of a blank slate is a given. For many of us, January 1st is the start of new promises and visions for a brighter year. We’ve got 12 months left to prove to ourselves we can better our lives, find more fulfillment, and uncover joy we were maybe missing in the previous year.
I’ve found that many women are seeking big changes for 2018, which can be an inspiring thing.
Some of us are searching for fulfillment in new careers. Some of us want to get right with our health and our bodies. Some of us crave self-acceptance of who we are.
Some of us are looking for stronger senses of spirituality, of joy, of appreciation. Some of us need to find a new relationship or a new sense of purpose. Some of us are seeking love and a cure to loneliness.
Many of us are looking for big changes in social views, political truths, and cultural values.
In truth, many of us are searching for big changes in some aspect of our lives... the question becomes: How do we make those big changes we are seeking a reality?
When the confetti has settled and the champagne from New Year’s Eve is gone, how to we make sure our midnight vows to ourselves materialize in the coming year? How do we find the strength to clutch tightly to our dreams for 2018 long after we’ve flipped to January on the calendar?
For so many of us, the fear of failure stares us in the face. Any change in life comes with risk, and many of us are so afraid of failure that we don’t even try. For so many women especially, failure feels like the ultimate death of a dream and the ultimate thing to be avoided.
Nonetheless, I’ve come to learn this over the years: Failure isn’t always the riskiest thing in life or the worst possible outcome. Sometimes, it is the status quo that truly threatens our success, our fulfillment, and our true purpose.
A stagnant life can be even less fulfilling than a life full of failure.
So to the women looking for big changes in 2018, whether they be personal, social, or global, I give you this advice:
Find your voice.
Find your courage.
Find your passion.
Above all, don’t settle for the status quo, and don’t settle for another year of the same.
And, when we prepare to say goodbye to 2018, whether you’ve achieved your goals successfully or whether you’ve tried and failed, the key will be that you discovered the bravery to chase your dreams. You found the strength to go after what you wanted, and you were wise enough to recognize when change was needed.That will be the thing you hang your pride on when you leave 2018 behind.
These are the qualities a fulfilling life is built upon. As one of my favorite authors, Jojo Moyes, wrote in one of my favorite books, Me Before You:
You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.My wish for you in 2018 is that you go out and live your life as fully as possible, chase those changes you are seeking, and find a way to support the other women in your life who are also looking for a brighter, better year.
Happy 2018 to you. May you be brave enough to chase those changes you want most of all.
Lindsay Detwiler is a contemporary romance author with Hot Tree Publishing and a high school English teacher. Learn more about her works and her dedication to sweet, genuine love stories by visiting her blog.
Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See Offers Deep, Introspective Value
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"It was enough when Werner was a boy, wasn't it? A world of wildflowers blooming up and carrot peels and Frau Elena's fairy tales. Of the sharp smell of tar, and trains passing, and bees humming in the window boxes. String and spit and wire and a voice on the radio offering a loom on which to spin his dreams."
All the Light We Cannot See is an emotional novel that looks at war, survival, and the interesting ways that fate and choices bring us together. The novel drips with depth and gorgeous imagery.
The story follows Marie-Laure Leblanc, a girl who is blind during WWII, as she struggles with the loss of her father and the dangers of trying to do the right thing. Werner Pfennig, an orphan, is the other major protagonist of the novel. Through a twisting plot line, their stories become clearly connected as they fight for survival and to overcome lives that suddenly don't feel like their own.
Doerr's style is truly poetic. From page one of the novel, it is clear that he isn't just an excellent storyteller but a word master:
"At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country."
Throughout the entire novel, the reader roots for both characters despite their very different circumstances. The novel reminded me that there truly are no winners or losers in war--just people desperate to survive, to protect their dreams, and to hang on to the ones who matter to them while maintaining a sense of dignity and humanity.
The middle of this book was a bit slow-moving for me. I felt that the pace could have been a bit faster. Nonetheless, Doerr's skill at bringing the entire story together underscored the depth and meaning of this work.
This book reminded me of one of my favorites, The Book Thief, because of its focus and style. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a book with deep meaning and purpose.
View all my reviews
Win a Winter Wonderland Bookworm Prize
***WINTER WONDERLAND BOOKWORM PRIZE PACK*****
Enter to win a winter wonderland prize pack, pictured here! Prize includes a scarf, signed copy of Remember When, necklace, and socks. To enter, all you have to do is:
1. Support my Thunderclap with Facebook or Twitter by clicking here: https://www.thunderclap.it/…/64647-all-of-you-by-lindsay-de…
2. Comment Done here OR onmy Facebook page.
3. Get an extra entry for tagging a friend.
Thanks for helping me spread the word about my next sweet release, All of You!
Romance Writers: Here's How To Be Successful
I write sweet romance.
I’ve been a published romance author for almost three years now, but I’ve spent most of those years trying to shrug off this sentence, to run from it. I’ve tried to make my descriptions of what I write more sexy, more risqué, and I’ve sometimes tried to portray my work as something it just isn’t. I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out how to sell my fade-to-black romance as something more marketable. I’ve attempted, at least mentally, to worm my way into the most popular segments of the genre only to find myself not quite fitting.
It’s not that I’m ashamed to write sweet romance. It’s just that for most of my career, I’ve found myself in a defensive position of my writing. It is through these defenses, however, that I’ve learned a lesson valuable to any writer, but especially to those in the romance genre.
Taking Heat For Not Turning Up the Heat
I didn’t start my writing journey determined to focus on sweet romance; it just sort of happened. When I put my fingers on those keys and drafted my first novel, sweet romance just flowed out.
I could attribute my sweet romance and lack of sex scenes to many things. Perhaps it was my love of Nicholas Sparks that encouraged me to write books focused on the emotional side of relationships. Maybe it’s that my introverted, conservative personality never allowed conversations about sex to be quite comfortable. Or maybe it’s partially the fact that as a high school teacher, I knew I didn’t want to have to blush knowing some of my students were reading those scenes.
Whatever psychoanalysis we want to attribute to the cause, I know the outcome is that my works are lacking in the hot sex-on-the-page sort of scenes.
It’s not that my characters are chaste or that I can’t appreciate the value of sex in romance. I truly do. I think we all have our preferences when it comes to spice in our novels, though, and I believe there’s a place for all types of heat levels in the romance genre.
Regardless, I’ve found myself “taking heat” for my notable lack of heat. Over the years, I’ve heard comments about the lack of sex in my books and the disappointment over the lack of physicality. The words “sweet romance” seem to incorrectly conjure images of cheesy, unrealistic scenes where everyone is constantly happy, and life is perfect. I’ve been accused of skipping crucial segments of the genre.
Again, I get that and appreciate the value of those comments. We each have our preferences and our tastes. These are the greatest gifts literature gives us—stories to fit everyone’s desires and the freedom to critique the stories that don’t speak to us. As an English teacher, I try to impress upon my students the idea that every single book has value, even if it doesn’t strike a chord with you.
Nonetheless, for so long, I’ve had a hard time appreciating the value of my own work. Daunted by a market that is seemingly owned by books with heat, I’ve questioned my writing. I’ve felt the “sex sells” society values creeping in on me. I’ve questioned what could happen if I just jumped the “no sex” hurdle. I’ve tried in my drafts to be sexier and more risqué. I’ve considered crossing that not-so-invisible divide within the genre.
And you know what? It didn’t feel right. At all.
It was with my last release, which is perhaps one of my sweetest romances, that I realized one important thing: Your own truth is the one you should value when it comes to your writing.
For me, that truth is that I am a sweet romance writer. I will never fit into the Fifty Shades kind of world in the romance genre, and that’s not a bad thing.
It is only when I had this epiphany that I realized my own value as a writer and the worth of my stories. It was when I came to terms with exactly who I am as a romance writer that I could better appreciate my successes and stop focusing on what I am not.
Write Your Story
It’s not just sweet romance that is marked by incorrect stigmas. At several book events recently, I’ve seen the other side of the spectrum. When I mention the word “romance,” I see a shriveling of the nose accompanied by one of the following statements:
Through these comments I realized: No matter what type of romance you write, spicy or sweet, you’re going to have critics. You will never suit everyone’s tastes.
And you know what? That’s perfectly okay.
As romance writers, we cannot measure success by what’s popular or what the market demands. We can’t base the heat level of our book on marketing trends or on variables like reader preference and opinions of strangers.
At the end of the day, we must learn to value our own instinct, our own passion, and our own voice. We must learn to be true to our stories and characters. We must write in the way we are called to write. We must tell the stories we yearn to tell in exactly the way we want to tell them.
It is only when we learn to listen to our own voices and let our guts be our guides that we can truly reach success in the genre.
So sweet or spicy, sex or not, learn to write the story that speaks to you, and the rest of this arduous but rewarding writing journey will lead you to the exact point you are supposed to be.
Lindsay Detwiler is a contemporary romance author with Hot Tree Publishing, a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post, and a high school English Teacher. To celebrate sweet love, visit her on Facebook.
Meet Maylee and Benson...
"You two are going to make the nerdiest little glasses-wearing babies someday… I’m already getting visions of these little nerd children running around using words like corpuscular."
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Beauty Products Actually Worth Your Hard-Earned Cash
Yes, I'm a beauty and hair product addict. I've earned my Ulta VIP status and then some. I've racked up Sephora points like it's my job. I've collected countless lotions and potions in the hopes of finding the miracle product that was going to tame, defrizz, smooth, unwrinkle, define, improve, and everything else the beauty world promises.
I've spent way too much money--and I've been way disappointed so many times.
However, with my trial and error, I can say I've found quite a few products over the years that are actually, truly worth your time. Here are my top 5 products worth the price tag.
1. Dry Bar Shampoo and Conditioner
Sephora sent me a sample of Dry Bar Sake Bomb Shampoo and Conditioner... and my wallet was forever ruined.
This shampoo and conditioner is pretty expensive... but it's the only shampoo/conditioner combo I would actually classify as life-changing.
I'm always looking for that perfect shampoo to take my hair up a few levels, and this one does it. After one wash, my hair was noticeably softer and easier to style.
I recently got theDry Bar Charcoal Shampoo and Conditioner kit from Sephora. It is equally as life-changing. The dry shampoo is also on its own level. I definitely recommend any of these products... it's worth the dent in your pocket, trust me.
2. Tarte Rainforest By the Sea Foundation
I found this miracle foundation from Christen Dominque's Youtube channel. This water-based foundation is like none-other. It essentially melts into your skin but still gives you adequate coverage. It is by far my favorite foundation of all time... and I've tried a few dozen.
3. It Cosmetics Brushes
I used to think all brushes were the same and, thus, the cheaper the brush, the better. I went for quantity over quality.
And then I triedIt Cosmetics' eye shadow blending brush. My eye shadow game went up a couple of notches. I invested in a set of brushes from Ulta and realized the brush really does make the face.
I have a set that includes the foundation brush, powder brush, concealer brush, and two eye shadow brushes. They are worth the money because they truly make every step of your makeup look more natural.
4. Hot Tools Curling Iron (24k gold)
Again, I was always convinced curling irons were all the same. I was using the cheapest curling iron possible and couldn't figure out why my curls were falling flat by noon.
I finally invested in a Hot Tools gold-plated curling iron. Now, my curls seriously last over a day without any extra steps.
5. Too Faced Chocolate Palettes
I'm an Urban Decay eye shadow fan, but when my mom bought me the Too Faced Chocolate palette, I fell in love. When you don't have time for ten steps of eye shadow application, this palette is perfect because you can swipe on a single color and be ready for the day. Each shade is perfectly shimmery and pretty by itself. They are super blendable and smell amazing. I love this set of eye shadows for my everyday wear, and they are easy for beginners. You don't have to be a blending pro to get these super smooth shadows to look angelically pretty.
What would you add to the list? Comment below with your suggestions
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