Can love be more than a four-letter word?
Lissa Blanc is a painter on a mission. She filters the world through a lens of color, line, and form and hides her ambition behind a delicate smirk that lets her critics believe life comes easy. To her, art isn’t what she sees. It’s what she feels. Few know that behind the glitz of a prodigious upbringing, she’s driven to emerge from the shadow of painful memories that insist she’ll never be a renowned talent in her own right.
Cole Rathlen is a photographer on the mend. A crippling grief has stifled his once-rising career and compromised his creative instincts. Knowing he can’t stagnate forever, he seeks a twisted absolution in the form of a woman whose paintings give life to the emotions he won’t let himself imagine, let alone feel.
When the two partner for a prestigious project that will pull them from the mountains of Colorado to the palaces of India, Lissa quickly realizes that more than diverging ideals hinder their search for success and salvation. Was Cole’s life upended by a tragic but unavoidable choice or something more sinister? While Lissa can’t delve into the mystery but not the man, Cole can’t resist a tenacious soul that refuses to leave him chained. As the truth closes in on a project finally sprouting wings, will Lissa sacrifice her chance at success to set Cole free? Or will Cole shrug the chains of lingering regrets to prove that those who love the most, love again
Art-Crossed Love Guest Post
Each book in the Second Chances series includes both mystery and travel elements. With LOVE ME LATER, Ethan and Scarlet tackle a business deal in Copenhagen, Denmark. In ART-CROSSED LOVE, Cole and Lissa find themselves in northern India (Delhi and Agra) for an artistic endeavor.
A common question I receive is, “Do you visit these places before writing them?”
The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
Resounding because the question harkens back to an age-old conundrum: What came first, the chicken or the egg? Translated for me: Do I write to travel, or do I travel to write?
Both of these travelling vs. writing scenarios apply, but I definitely began my affair with worldwide travel long before I considered writing even one page of fiction. If my extra money and time don’t go toward a real-life adventure, then they get me a story about one (unless, of course, I make an exception for shoes, which I consider a worthy endeavor in their own right!).
To me, travel naturally appeals to readers and vice versa. The purpose of reading fiction, and especially romance, is often escapism. Reading takes us to a place and a life we don’t regularly, if ever, live. Travel does the exact same thing.
ART-CROSSED LOVE finds Cole and Lissa in northern India, a place I found myself in early 2012. While Cole has been many times before, Lissa is a first-time visitor. She’s led a privileged life, and I enjoyed watching her face each new challenge and each new wonder with equal fervor.
Lissa and Cole witness crippling poverty, but also the hope evident when people find joy where others can’t imagine: an impromptu game of cricket, a spicy road-side meal, a Coca-Cola made with real sugar in a tall glass bottle. They also witness the world’s most chaotic traffic, stunning natural beauty, one-of-a-kind architectural wonders, and the eye-watering power of thousands of dung fires burning to keep a city warm and fed.
Notably, I tell stories of other lands from the standpoint of a visitor, not a native. That way, I know my descriptions of the sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and impressions are realistic. They’re realistic because they are what I, as an actual visitor, have experienced. In fact, most of the things Lissa and Cole see and do in India—from the people they meet to the places they go—are variations on my own personal journey.
I believe writing and travel go hand in hand. Not only do I get my best ideas when on the road, but the moments that have most impressed me, whether amazing or terrifying, have almost written themselves.
Any writer will tell you that when that happens, keep at it!
Right now, I have plans for the Second Chances series to take readers to Hungary and then Japan. After that, we’ll see where in the world I end up. My characters will surely follow!
Paperback set of Love Me Later and Art-Crossed Love
Before becoming a writer, Libby was first a mechanical engineer in the data acquisition industry (voltmeter anyone?). Preferring writing to technical design, Libby headed to law school and eventually practiced patent law for several enterprising years (patent application covering a voltmeter anyone?). Finally realizing that technology just wasn’t her bag, she traded the voltmeters for alpha heroes and the women who love them.
Today, Libby writes contemporary romances from the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where she lives with her husband, a bona fide rocket scientist (he stuck with the voltmeters!). When not writing, Libby loves good food, even better wine, and traveling the world in search of the next great story.
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