My "Made It Moment" on Jenny Milchman's blog

*This originally posted here, but I will put it below as well.

October 27, 2013

Made It Moment: Marie Lavender

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 7:08 pm 
Upon Your Return

One of the things I have always loved about the Made It Moments forum is that it welcomes such a wide variety of writers. We’ve had Edgar winners and nominees, we’ve had the greenest of debut newbies, we’ve had people trying out brand new micro presses, people who reached the top of bestseller lists–both on their own and with a publisher behind them–authors made into international hits and people who said “heck no” to the traditional publishing scene. Today’s Momenter has tried both, and has very strong feelings about where she wanted to wind up, at least for a while. I found her reasoning and her process interesting, and I think you will, too.

Marie Lavender

My made it moment commenced in August of 2012.  I received an email from the editor-in-chief of Solstice Publishing, telling me they were interested in my historical romance.  Included in the email was a contract, which I poured over eventually.  Mainly what I felt when I received the email was shock.  I probably sat there for a good twenty minutes with my mouth hanging open.  I was practically in tears I was so exhilarated.  That was one of the best moments of my life.  I had self-published books before, but this…this was different.  A publisher had accepted my manuscript after the whole submission process.  It was exciting.

The next moment came when I received the cover image from the cover artist.  Honestly, up until that point, none of it seemed real.  I probably stared for a bit at the cover too.  I was just so overwhelmed.  And it was perfect, exactly what the characters would have looked like.

When the e-book was released, I held an event on Facebook and invited all of my connections.  Though not too many people joined, because I was basically unknown as an author, it was very validating to have people commenting on the book and to have them as excited about it as I was.

The final made it moment occurred when I received my proof copy.  It came in the mail.  When I finally had the book in my hands, I felt a mixture of awe and pride.  I did it!  I published a book traditionally.  And what really cemented it was the fact that the book was the culmination of a very long project for me.  Later came the reviews, of course, and that was so wonderful because more than anything, I wanted people to love the characters like I did.  It had nothing to do with money or fame, but just a wish for people to enjoy the book.  So it was all very exciting!  I still can’t believe it sometimes.  I made it!

At the tender age of nine, Marie Lavender began writing stories. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. After graduating, she sought out her dream to publish a book. Since then, Marie has published sixteen books. Her real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

The Fantasy Principle

This is something I ran into recently with a story by one of my favorite paranormal romance authors.  Maybe you've had this problem too.

Have you ever read a book or story by an author you are familiar with and you felt...well, less than satisfied?  Have you ever felt like the author didn't go into enough detail, or maybe the story/book felt too short?  And yet, the story was still compelling enough to read, wasn't it?  You may have stumbled across the "fantasy principle".


So, you may wonder, "What is this fantasy principle?"  In Creative Writing, part of it is referred to as "suspension of disbelief", or the ability to make a reader accept a story as it is.  Obviously this doesn't happen in every case.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course.  For the purposes of this argument, let's say you believe wholeheartedly in the author's tale.  The characters are compelling, the plot has been developed and all of the necessary elements are there.  All of us want to walk away from a book satisfied.

If you don't, maybe it's not the fact that the writer didn't do his or her job.  Consider that you may have been affected by the fantasy principle, for lack of a better term.  You are going along, reading the book and suddenly it ends.  As you analyze it further, you realize it was buttoned up and all of your questions were answered.  In a romance, the hero got the girl.  In literary fiction, the character changed or learned something very important.  The list for genres goes on, of course.  The story moved you.  So...why are you dissatisfied?

You may be suffering from the fantasy principle if you want the book to go on.  Logically, we know stories don't go on forever.  But, reading isn't a logical exercise, is it?  It is about imagination.

There is a whole world we fall into when we read a book.  The need to ride it out with the characters for another few minutes or hours doesn't exactly dissipate.  Who hasn't prayed that their favorite author would write a sequel so they could revisit the characters from a great book?  Who doesn't want the story to go on?

When you close a book with a thump or close out of your e-reader, there is a finality to things.  I think most avid readers are tempted to pick up another book to fill the void the previous book has created.  And yet, in the back of our minds, we're still working on that story we just read.  Do character A & B stay together?  Do they have kids?  In a police procedural mystery, do you wonder what the detective's next case is and if it's just as exciting?

Do not despair.  Be satisfied that the author has created a tale so wonderful, so fascinating that you simply don't want the story to end.

I think writers suffer from the same problem though.  We don't want to step away from our characters either.  After you finish writing a book, even after you publish, there is almost a period of mourning for your characters.  Of course, during the promotion of a book, it is impossible to step away completely.  At some point, you do feel it, however.  It is hard to say goodbye to those characters.  Do I still let my mind wander, entertain new scenes of Fara and Grant?  Sure.  But, that is me wanting to hang on.  Perhaps that is why some writers choose to write sequels.  They know the story is not quite over yet.  Or maybe it's only to put the spotlight on new characters, with only a small glimpse at the earlier ones.  Whatever the reason, it isn't any easier for writers to let go of a story than it is for a reader.

So, the next time you feel dissatisfied with a book, really think.  Is it possible you are a victim of the fantasy principle?  Has the author taken you so far into that other world that you don't want to leave?  Don't worry.  That is a good thing.

Top 50 on Authors Database!

*This was updated to reflect recent changes.

November 2, 2013

I made the Top 50 on Authors Database!  I only found out through a tweet!  Here is the link to my author profile page and the badge.

This is so exciting! 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

I made the Top 100 on Authors Database!  I only found out through a tweet!  Here is the link to my author profile page and the badge.

This is so exciting! 

STRANGE HEAT Excerpt on Eat Sleep Write

*This was originally posted here, but I will put it below as well.

posted October 25, 2013 by Adam Scull

Strange Heat - Excerpt by Erica Sutherhome

Short blurb:  Victoria Weston hits the club scene in order to prove that her best friend's lifestyle caused her to get attacked. She meets an attractive stranger there, but doesn't realize that the facade she puts up may actually cause more complications.


The soft, steady beat of the Latin music was a rhythm they followed instinctively.  Tory met his gaze and his dark eyes were bright with something she could not identify.  And yet, she'd seen it before.  

Every part of her was awake and feeling his presence.  She felt his hand resting possessively against her backbone and felt the entire length of his body pressed so closely to hers.  His body emanated a strange welcoming warmth, and she wanted to rest her head against the solid contours of his chest as he held her.  


A TOUCH OF DAWN Excerpt on Eat Sleep Write

This originally posted here, but I will post below as well.

A Touch of Dawn Excerpt 2 - by Erica Sutherhome

posted October 23, 2013 by Adam Scull

She was quiet for a moment.  It was a lot to take in.  She just couldn’t dwell on it all right now.  She wet her dry lips with her tongue.  “I don’t remember my family.  My life.  I only remember fragments from the past.  But, nothing informative.”
            “I know.  It will come back to you.”
            She nodded, then bit her lip, aware that ever since she’d been rescued, the tears were closer to the surface than ever before.  “Is it always like this?  The way it was today?”
            “It never gets any easier.”
            The strange tone in his voice caused her to glance at him.  She couldn’t dismiss the brief flash of pain in his eyes.  “I’m sorry.”
            He frowned.  “What do you have to be sorry for?”
            She shrugged.  “It must be hard on you, too, is all.”
            He didn’t respond to that.
            She sighed.  “Is this what you specialize in?”
            He gave a brief nod.  “Yes.”
            They were quiet for several more minutes.  Caitlyn was exhausted.  She leaned her head back against the seat and closed her eyes.  God, what she wouldn’t give for oblivion.  Her life back.  Her memories.  Why couldn’t she remember who she really was?
            “Your eyes still hurt?”
            She looked at Jack, saw the naked concern in his eyes.  “No.  Not in the dark.”
            He nodded and grew quiet again. 
            It was for the best.  Caitlyn feared she would be terrible company besides. 
            “We’re here.”
            Her eyes snapped wide and she glanced out the window to see a small one story house.  The details were fuzzy at night, but it looked cozy.  But really, what did it matter where she was as long as she was out of that cellar?
            “Are you ready?” he asked gently.
            “I think so.”
            She followed Jack out of the car, felt better when he put his arm around her as they walked up to the house.  The lights were on inside.  They stood on the porch for a few moments.  She glanced at Jack.  “What will she want from me?”
            He shook his head.  “You’re her daughter.  I think she just wants you safe.”
            Caitlyn wanted that to be enough, but suspected her mother would want her to remember her life.  And she couldn’t do that right away.  She feared she never could. 
            All of a sudden, the door opened.  She saw a brief swatch of dark blonde hair before the woman flew at her.  She wasn’t prepared for the embrace or the tears from her mother.

UPON YOUR RETURN book promo on The Virtual Bookcase

*This originally posted here, but I will post below as well.

Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender


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…

Purchase Links

Amazon e-book:
Amazon print:

Author Bio
At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories.  Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play.  Even growing up, she entered writing contest and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one.  She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer.  While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal.  After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book. 
Since then, Marie has published sixteen books.  Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories.  Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them.  Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel.  Feel free to visit her website at for further information about her books and her life.  Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender:  Upon Your Return (Book 1 of the Heiresses in Love Series)
Erica Sutherhome:  Hard to GetMemoriesA Hint of ScandalWithout YouStrange HeatTerror in the NightHauntedPursuitPerfect GameA Touch of DawnRansom
Kathryn Layne:  A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse:  Express CafĂ© and Other RamblingsRamblings, Musings and Other ThingsSoulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Interviews and Guest Blogs: 

"I Love You"

Just a few words, a little poem for the man I love...

"I Love You"

Sometimes when we are alone, you show me how you feel.  Not with words, but with your body.  Touch is required then.  

But, you always show me, even in a crowd.  You hold my hand or wrap an arm around my waist.  

I need to be that close too.  The demands of life create a distance.  

When the world has quieted down, when our minds have rested, you kiss me slowly.  There is that special kiss, the one we labeled “ours”.  

I remember the first night you kissed me, the both of us so uncertain of what the other was thinking.  I dared you, and you took the chance.  You held me close right outside my door, placed your mouth on mine.  Sometimes I think history was made then.  My life changed.  Certainly my idea of a kiss did.  No one had ever taken the time to kiss me like that, like the world had stopped and it was just us.  I think I started to fall for you then.

How can you describe what falling in love feels like?  It’s almost like you blink and you can’t remember not feeling that way.  It’s silly because everyone knew except me.  How I felt.  I was so afraid of being hurt again.  Good thing we were on the same page.  You told me first how you felt.  But, I’d heard “I love you” before, from men who never meant it, who didn’t have a clue what the true meaning of love was.  It took awhile for me to realize you did mean it, that I could trust you.

 Oh, foolish heart.  How could you not fall for such a man?

You are my hero in every way.  Even when we bicker about silly things, you always bring me back.

So, what should “I love you” mean?

It should mean a man is there for you, to hear your worries, to care.

It should mean that there is a shoulder to lean your head on as you lay quietly.

It should mean a touch that can rouse you to passion in an instant, but not push when you’re not in the mood.

It should mean whispered words in the night and shared secrets.

It should mean the most soothing hand you’ve ever felt and a voice that can make you laugh.

It means that real love never takes, but gives.

I hope I am all of these things for you too.  You are my life.  I love you.

Taking a Break from MLB

Yes, readers, that's right. I'm on hiatus for a while. I know I haven't posted for a bit, and that's really the reason why I...