2016 Reflections

2016 Reflections

With the holidays wrapping up and a new year just on the rise, it’s a good time to look back on all the things that happened this year. 

As is my habit, I’ll do a brief overview of some events that occurred in 2016, offering highlights month by month. Because of space and time constraints, I won’t be able to tell you everything, however. For more details you can check my author newsletter archives here, subscribe to upcoming issues, and you’ll also find more information by following my website and other two blogs, Writing in the Modern Age and the I Love Romance Blog (ILRB). 

Well, shall we get started?

The Year 2016


On January 2nd, I received awesome news from WordPress about ILRB. In 2015, the blog had 64,000 total views! So, that was very cool! Two days later, I visited Gloria Weber’s blog in a fun, superhero themed interview. On January 8th, Second Chance Heart (SCH), my short contemporary romance, got a spotlight on Bernard Foong’s blog. You can see some excerpts from the book here! The following day, I wrote a love poem titled “Yearning”, which was inspired by my fiancĂ©. You can view the poem here on the I Love Romance Blog. On January 12th, I had an author interview on Dan Buri’s blog, Nothing Any Good. It was a pleasure to visit! The following day brought a spotlight for SCH on Frederick H. Crook’s blog. Check out some teasers here! On January 15th, I learned that I made the TOP 25 Authors List for the week on Author Database! How exciting! :) From January 15th to the 22nd, I hosted a fun, multi-author book giveaway on the Writing in the Modern Age blog (#WritModAge). We had 62 participating authors, 107 titles and over 200 chances to win, all from various genres! I was not only a host, but I also offered a few of my books as donations. Check out the cool details for the mega book giveaway here! On January 20th, Second Chance Heart had a spotlight on Diana Rubino’s blog, and she interviewed me there as well. Find out what makes me tick in the feature here. Also in January of 2016, I received some wonderful news. A Little Magick (ALM) made the TOP 5 in the P&E Reader’s Poll for Children’s Books published in the year 2015!

And, to top it off, SCH made #6 on the Romance Short Story Category! So exciting!

On January 26th, I had an interview on Carl R. Brush’s blog. Two days later, Mercedes Fox interviewed me on her blog. Check it out to learn all manner of things about me and my writing! On January 30th, SCH got a new four star review on Big Al’s Books & Pals site. Thank you so much for reading Second Chance Heart! ♥♥♥



The first of February brought an author timeslot at the Dangerous Ties Release Party on Facebook, which was so much fun. I love meeting new readers! On February 2nd, fans got a chance to win a copy of SCH during the Mega Anniversary & Valentine’s Party on The Romance Reviews’ site. In February, I found out that during the week of February 6th, I made the TOP 10 Authors List on Authors Database. So exciting! On February 6th, Upon Your Honor (UYH), book two of the Heiresses in Love Series as well as my second published historical romance, received an awesome new review on Amazon. Thank you for your kind words, Joanne! On February 12th, I had an author interview on Penny Estelle’s blog. See the details here! The following day, SCH, my contemporary romance, earned a four star review on the Lost in Sweet Words blog. Thank you for your kind words, Nikki! On February 15th, I had a fun author interview on Meglena Ivanova’s blog. Find out more about me and my writing process in the interview here. February 20th brought a detailed interview with yours truly on Dante Craddock’s site. Check it out here. You’ll learn some fun facts about me, my writing and publishing journey, and a little more about SCH! Two days later, my lighthearted romantic fantasy, Magick & Moonlight (M&M), received a nice book review on the Online Book Club. You can view it here! Also on February 22nd,  I found out I’d won the ‘Broken Heart’ themed poetry contest for Poetry Universe. What an honor! You can see the winning poem in this post.


On March 2nd, official reviewer Don Sloan was kind enough to leave some wonderful feedback on Amazon for Second Chance Heart (SCH) in the form of a five star review. Wow! He also posted it here on his blog. Thank you for your generous words, Don! Two days later, I wrote an article for the Writing in the Modern Age blog about the romance genre and how to better understand it. I also hosted a small giveaway on there. Check it out! You may learn something new about romance novels! On March 6th, I discovered I won the ‘I Love You’ themed poetry contest on Poetry Universe. Yeah! Double awesome! I landed the title ‘Empress of the Universe’ twice. So, that was pretty cool! Check out the poems that won those titles here and here. On March 11th, SCH got a spotlight on Stefan Vucak’s blog here. On the same day, Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series, received a pleasant review. Thank you so much, Amorina! 


Four days later, I was finally able to give readers access to the radio interview I had on February 26th. This was hosted by Carol Graham on her show, Never Ever Give Up Hope. On March 18th, I had a children’s author interview on Karen King’s blog. Check it out here, and get a glimpse of my children’s fantasy, A Little Magick


March 22nd brought a cool book cover competition on Ultimate Fantasy Books. SCH was in the running as number 56 on the list. Check out more details about the competition here, and find out who the winner was for 2016! On the 29th, I hosted a mega romance giveaway on Facebook, with 84 prizes and about 47 participating authors who donated lots of cool book prizes and swag! Also, during the week of March 25th, I made the TOP 10 Authors List on Authors Database! How exciting! The following day, I had a guest article on Diana Rubino’s blog, and it was titled “A Writing Community is a Godsend!” Also on the 30th, I had an interview on Tina Donahue’s blog. Check it out, and learn a little more about my writing process, some writing tips, and other miscellaneous information.


In April, I participated in a large-scale blog event on the I Love Romance Blog (ILRB). This was a blogging challenge using the alphabet and specific themes. For the April A to Z Challenge, I chose a mild form of book reviews or ratings for certain romance books. Here is the “reflection” post for the blog challenge, which explains a bit more about it and offers links to posts from the beginning to the end of the month. Yeah, I totally survived this challenge! 

On April 6th, I had a fairly detailed author interview on pulp fiction and science fiction author Tom Johnson’s blog. Two days later, a guest article of mine appeared on Jill Marie Denton’s site. Check it out here and learn all about the life of a writer, as well as my difficult, yet rewarding author journey! Three days later, Natalie Silk interviewed me on her site. Check out this fun interview and get a deeper look into why I wrote Second Chance Heart! Also on the 12th, I imparted some exciting news to readers on the same blog. ILRB was nominated for the Liebster Award for blogging. Yay! On April 16th, cool reviewer Iris gave my historical romance, Upon Your Honor (UYH), book two of the Heiresses in Love Series, an excellent five star review on Amazon! Thanks so much, Iris! :) 


At the end of the month, I had an author timeslot at the book release party for Diana Wojdacz’s new contemporary romance, Faith Provides. I got to meet new people and chat about my books, which is always fun!


On May 1st, I wrote an article for Writing in the Modern, entitled “Readers Need A Say Too”, invoking the idea that drawing readers into the writing process can be a valuable tool and highly rewarding. Five days later, the Blood at First Sight Series, my paranormal romance trilogy, got a cool feature on Bernard Foong’s blog. Starting on May 18th, I had a temporary hiatus. Sometimes a writer needs a break from everything. The month of June brought some events trickling back in, though. 


In June, I launched a company called Ambrosia Innovations, which offers premade and custom book covers for authors, logos, graphic teasers and other promotional materials, as well as book trailers and marketing videos for any company.  


On June 12th, Second Nature received an excellent five star review. So, thank you for your kind words, Karen! At the end of June, I completed final edits on Blue Vision, my new sci-fi romance and book one of the Code of Endhivar Series, and sent it to my publisher. Yay! And on June 24th, I wrote a love poem titled “The Other Side of Our Dreams”. That posted on the I Love Romance Blog. 


I just have a couple of things to mention for July, but I think they’re pretty noteworthy. On July 2nd, I officially hit the ‘submit’ button for Upon Your Love, a historical romance as well as book three of the Heiresses in Love Series, and it was sent to the publisher. And on July 18th, I learned my publisher accepted both of my manuscripts, including the science fiction romance. Woo hoo!


On August 23rd, I had a fun radio interview on Writer Groupie Podcast. This was hosted by Kim Smith. In this interview, I talked about my writing and some books coming out soon. Three days later, I wrote an article titled “When the Voices Talk Back”, and it was featured on Writing in the Modern Age. In the post, I target what writers can do when a character isn’t cooperating. On August 30th, I had an author interview on Natalie Silk’s website. Check it out for some exclusive teasers from my sci-fi romance, Blue Vision, and learn more about me as writer!



On September 6th, I had an author interview on Uvi Poznansky’s blog. In the interview, we focused on Upon Your Return, book one of the Heiresses in Love Series, how I came up with the titles for the series, as well as the character names in the first novel. You’ll see a short excerpt there too. It looks like she has reshuffled things since then, so you might not find it there. If you’d like to see the interview in full detail, please contact me @ marieannlavender@gmail.com and I’ll send you a copy. On September 13th, I was interviewed by A.B. Funkhauser. In the interview, she asked me about a few of my recent awards, my efforts with Writing in the Modern Age, the release of my sci-fi romance, Blue Vision, as well as some information about my new graphic design company, Ambrosia Innovations. It’s always fun to talk to A.B.! She’s a fascinating, generous person with a couple of humorous horror books out. Three days later, I had an interview on Laura Ranger’s blog. You’ll need to scroll down the page about halfway in order to locate the Q&A, but you’ll see my author name in big letters in an aqua hue. Among a few books featured, Laura asked me about Blue Vision, as well as my favorite book characters, the writing process, some of my hidden talents, and a few miscellaneous questions!


On October 2nd, I wrote a 450th post on the MLB blog about my book release, a reveal for the cover of Upon Your Love, a historical romance/family saga novel which should be out next year, a cover makeover for Upon Your Return, the first book in the series, and a cool book giveaway of paranormal romance, Second Nature. So, check it out! 

Three days later, I had an interview on Margaret Egrot’s Writing and Breathing blog. In the interview, she asked me about my sci-fi book, Blue Vision, some of my reading preferences, as well as a couple of questions about writing. I was honored to be featured there. Also in October, Jannette Fuller interviewed me on her site. Check out the Q&A here to learn a bit about my writing, and a few miscellaneous facts. On October 30th, Belinda Y. Hughes was kind enough to offer a stellar book review for Magick & Moonlight, my romantic fantasy, on both her blog and Amazon.
And the following day, I had an interview on the Literature and Lamp Posts blog


On November 1st, I had interview on author David Ellis’ Too Full to Write blog. It was very fun! Also in November, the Magick Series was featured on the Winsome books site. Check out this page and scroll down a bit here, and you’ll see a wonderful feature for A Little Magick, my children’s fantasy novella. The first book in the series, as well as an adult romantic fantasy, Magick & Moonlight, is on the front page in the sidebar. You’ll see it as the ads change. This is so exciting! 


On November 6th, Blue Vision had a book feature on Bernard Foong’s blog. Three days later, the book was also spotlighted on C.L. Bush’s site, as well as a brief Q&A. The following day, Debbie De Louise interviewed me on her site, and it was quite enjoyable! Also on the 10th, Blue Vision had a little spotlight on Belinda Y. Hughes’ blog. The following day, a very cool event occurred on Writing in the Modern Age. I was able to participate with 44 other authors in a big writing process post. On November 13th, Blue Vision, my science fiction romance, officially released and on the 15th, we had a cool release party for it. 


Also that day, it was featured on Linda Lee Williams’ blog. November 15th brought some very cool reviews for Blue Vision, one on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog and one on Amazon. Thanks, Amy and JoAnne! Three days later, the book also had an official review on Hines and Bigham’s Literary Tryst. Thanks for your beautiful words, Jennifer! Also on the 18th, the same book was featured on K.C. Sprayberry’s blog. The same day brought a guest article from yours truly on the Writing Greyhound blog, titled “Writing Out of Your Comfort Zone”. The following day, official reviewer Sara offered an amazing review for Blue Vision on her blog and Amazon. As well November 19th, I had an interview on Amy Shannon’s site. It was fun! Check it out and get to know a little more about me! Eight days later, Maighread MacKay was kind enough to interview me on her blog


During this lovely month of December, some things happened too. On December 5th, I wrote a love poem, titled “You and the Muse”, and it was featured on the I Love Romance Blog. Four days later, Blue Vision was featured on Susanne Matthews’ blog. On December 16th, the book got a decent review on the Reading Room, as well as on Amazon. Eight days later, it also got a pretty good review on Amazon. So, thank you, J.C.! A few days ago, I found out Blue Vision was nominated in two categories in the P&E Readers’ Poll! Wow! Check out this post here, and cast your votes in either the romance or sci-fi/fantasy category to keep the book at the top of the list in the poll! 


With regards to books coming out in 2017, Upon Your Love, the third and final book of the Heiresses in Love Series, will definitely be released in the new year. Final edits at the publisher are done and I’m just waiting on a scheduled release date. But it will most likely be as early as possible. You’ll see more updates on that here on my website, and also in my monthly newsletter

On February 14th, a new adult romance short story, titled The Missing Piece, will be published in a cool Valentine’s anthology, Cupid’s Arrow. Also coming soon is a contemporary romance/romantic drama collection, Directions of the Heart. I’m wrapping up edits on this book and it should be ready for beta readers and critique partners soon. 

Additionally, I’m almost finished writing Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy and book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. So we should all see that out in the coming year. These are my character muses...

I hope to work on and release Awakening, a paranormal romantic thriller collection too. 

Those are the book projects planned this year, but as you all know very well by now, the muse has a way of surprising me. :) Feel free to follow not only my website and blogs for further updates, but also my personal Facebook profile, Facebook author page, my Twitter handle and my Google+ page for other news.

One more thing I’d like to add here is an extra special thank you to all of my guest authors on my blogs, specifically here on the MLB blog. 

We had 55 guest authors on this blog alone in 2016. You can check out my end of year posts for my other blogs here and here. I appreciate all of our guests, as well as our blog readers, for visiting and making this blog spectacular! Here is a brief listing of our guest author posts categorized by each type of format. Hey, maybe you’ll find some you missed!


Book Spotlights

New Releases and Blog Tours

Readers, thank you all so much for being a great part of my author journey this year! 

Here’s to an awesome 2017! Happy New Year, everyone!

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...