Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Story We’re Compelled to Tell

Congratulations to "Jcp", the winner in Miranda's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

From the first moment the idea for CAN’T STOP LOVING YOU popped into my head, I dreaded it! I told myself, no way, I am not going there. I didn’t tell my friends or even my critique partners about it for the longest time for fear everyone would shake their heads and totally second that motion!

Ah, but I did go there, strangely compelled to tell the story of the ill-fated love affair between Arabella D’Angelo and Roman Spikonos.

Arabella fell in love hook line and sinker with Roman in high school. Their love was explosive, wonderful, and all-consuming…until she found herself pregnant, causing her to leave her Catholic high school and give up her scholarship to the university in Chicago she’d dreamed of attending. Yes, she was that girl in high school. Just like that, all her dreams fell apart. The life she’d imagined was nothing near the life she was suddenly forced to live.

And because of the anger of her traditional Italian father, she had to make an awful, heartbreaking choice that cost her everything. And then she had to somehow find the strength to move forward with her life.

If you know of me, you know my books are emotional, but mostly lighthearted, even though the lightheartedness often couches over some more serious issues. But this one definitely made me sweat blood and tears. Especially when my editor said, stop glazing over your heroine’s pain, making me go back and dig deeper.

That’s the thing with writing. I’ve always have said I could never write sad books because as an author, you feel everything you write as if it were real. Those feelings tend to linger, at least for me, long after you step away from your keyboard. So digging deeper on this one was somewhat of a scary thing for me.

I hope you enjoy the result of my pain, lol! My heroine undergoes a tremendous amount of growth as she is forced to confront and face feelings that she swept under the rug for years, not only with Roman but also with her very supportive friend Ethan, and of course her own father.

I hope the end result is an emotional, raw but hopeful read and a beautiful love story that took a very bumpy path to come full circle.


Just then, Bella saw a man walking toward her from across the square. She looked the other way, pretending to be fascinated by a couple of little kids kicking up leaves. Because shed know that sweeping, confident gait, that straight-as-a-cornstalk carriage, those big, strong shoulders anywhere. And the way her limbs were going weak, the way her heart had catapulted into her stomach like a basketball and her breaths were coming raggedly, her body knew it, too. All that told her that the man striding quickly toward her was no surfer guy. It was Roman.

She glanced up to find him standing there, wearing jeans and a black sweater. Looking like sin, as usual.

Oh, its you,” she said, trying to sound disappointed, but she couldnt help smiling a little. “Im expecting my big, burly, blond Swedish date.” When she showed him the photo on her phone, his response was an emphatic grunt.
He sat next to her on the bench, his leg grazing hers unapologetically. He smelled like woodsy cologne and shaving cream, and it was making her giddy. Like hed just had a shower and was going out for the night. Maybe he was. An image of him on a date with some gorgeous woman floated through her mind. Him laughing and sipping wine with someone and caressing her hand across the table.

She pushed back that image. It made her uncomfortable. Sad. It was only a matter of time before he met someone. He was too good looking, too funny, too chivalrous. Too everything.

His leg touched hers again, but he didnt say anything, like excuse me or oops. It seemed . . . intentional. Yet he sat there, focused on watching the sun sink over those gorgeous trees, that New England autumn post-card view . . .
She couldnt take it anymore. She moved away into her own personal space. “Oh, for the love of God, what are you doing here?”
He sat up a little straighter. Eyeballed her in a way that confused her . . . he seemed hesitant, very unlike him, who usually said what he meant and didnt play games. Finally he spoke. “Your dates not showing tonight.”

Oh.” Great. Apparently she was being stood up based on appearance only, since Jess had told her shed e-mailed her date a photo. That was confidence inspiring. And worse was that Roman knew she was being stood up. Not only knew but came bearing the news. Wait a minute . . . She stopped in the middle of gathering up her purse. “How do you know that?”

He leaned forward on the bench, resting his elbows on his legs, tapping his fingers together. “Trust me, hes not your type.”

You interfered with my date? How could you? I thought we talked about this.”

Roman sighed heavily. He turned toward her and spoke. “Your dates not showing because he doesnt exist.”

Her heart skipped a beat. Or two. “Did you annihilate him?”

No, I made him up. I gave Jess a stock photo to show you.”

To play a joke on me?” Why would he do that? Her throat felt lumpy. Through everything, she thought at least they were friends. “That is the lowest—”

He grabbed her by the shoulders. “Bella,” he said and shook her a little. “Look at me.”

She did, through narrowed eyes. When she saw his face, all the fight whooshed right out of her, like a balloon let loose before its tied. There was something different about him tonight. A graveness. The way he looked at her was just different, like he was not joking or being sarcastic. In fact, he looked dead serious, those big brown eyes staring right at her, those long, lovely lashes looking sinfully angelic on such a gorgeous hunk of man.

I did it because I want to be your date for tonight.” She must have still looked confused, because he said, “I knew youd never agree to it the regular way.”

All Bellas critical body parts were humming. She was filled with elation, with hope. Maybe it was wine or desperation or the upcoming birthday, she didnt know. But she had the distinct feeling she was about to do something reckless, and like it.

She must’ve looked dumbstruck because he repeated, “I want to take you on a date.”

“Take me on a date?” she echoed. A bright bulb, she was indeed.

“Yeah, you know”—he pointed back and forth between the two of them—“go out together, you and me. Tonight.”

“I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Our history, you know.” Their history was a mess, and they both knew it.

“Right, right,” he said, pretending to contemplate that. “But still.”

But still what? “Why me?” she asked. It came out sounding very quiet and clogged, because she was having difficulty getting the words out.

“I think you know why.” His eyes dropped to her lips. Her stomach dropped to her feet. Oh God.

Date him? That would be foolish. Do him? Even worse. To her horror she realized she wanted to. A lot.  


When it comes to her heart, Arabella D’Angelo has moved on—even though she still lives in Mirror Lake, Connecticut, a little tourist town with a long memory for mistakes. Ever the dutiful daughter of a cantankerous widower who holds grudges, Bella has spent the past twelve years raising her younger brother and making a name for herself as a successful psychologist. Now, when she isn’t counseling a lonely-hearts club for senior women, she’s humoring her matchmaking girlfriends. Bella resists the romancing of their blind dates, yet her friends hope she’ll fall for a local and scrap plans for a fresh start in Chicago.

Then, just before Bella’s thirtieth birthday, her first love, Roman Spikonos, returns to Mirror Lake. When he moves next door to her family’s garden-center business to run his grandparents’ orchard, it stirs up gossip—and a tempest of passions—just in time for pumpkin harvest. As Roman and Bella once again get caught up in a swirl of desire and heartache, not to mention her overprotective father’s fury, Mirror Lake will soon find out whether the Italian hometown beauty and her unforgettable Greek god can stand a second chance.

Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She’s a former Golden Heart winner who writes contemporary romance for Montlake Romance, Entangled, and soon for Grand Central. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, three kids, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude.

Once I was on a plane reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book and nearing the end.  One of the characters had a baby and it was very emotional and I started balling my eyes out just as the plane landed. I was a wreck and it felt like everyone was staring at me as I struggled to get it together! What's your take on books that might make you cry as well as laugh?

Miranda will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry. 

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST December 7th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 


  1. I love books that play on my emotions as in making me cry, laugh, even mad; really applaud the author who made those roller-coaster of emotions. I would certainly look for more of that sort of awesome books! :)

    1. Oh, I forgot to put my email addy:
      puspitorinid AT yahoo DOT com

    2. Hi Dee--thanks for entering. It's always good to read a book that makes you feel something! I always hope the predominant feeling is happiness :)

  2. It's a true testament to the author's writing if she can get me in the feels. Writing laughter is fairly easy but hitting you in the guy with the emotions, now that is art. I love it though because you really feel like you've felt the characters and their HEA so it means more.

    ahui89 at hotmail dot com

    1. Hi Ada, you're right, my favorite authors make me feel just like that!

  3. I'm not a fan of overly emotional books, especially when authors try to evoke emotions by torturing characters for tortures sake, but I do love an occasional tearjerker. It just has to be a situation that is credible and relatable.


    1. Yes, I really hate when I feel like the author has manipulated the plot or characters just to squeeze out a tear. Thanks for stopping by, Natalija :)

  4. depends

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  5. Hi!
    I enjoy books that make me cry and make me laugh out loud. I once read one that did both within about 7 pages of each other. Now THAT I found amazing since the storyline made absolute sense.
    Maureen has my email address....

  6. For me, the best books touch my emotions... give me a good laugh or cry anytime!

    1. Me too! As long as the laughing comes at the end, not the crying :)

  7. I like to know the book is going to be emotional ahead of time

    alysap at yahoo dot com

    1. Oh, that's interesting. Maybe so you can stock up on the Kleenex? I think you're right, I don't like to be taken by surprise.

  8. I love a book that makes me feel a range of emotions. For me, this book has the perfect balance of really emotional moments (that are raw and real, not at all contrived) and moments that made me smile or outright laugh.

    (Commenting just to give love to a great book, not entering the giveaway :) )

  9. I would definitely be embarrassed in that scenario too! :)

    I do love books that make me feel though! I love to laugh out loud, I love to feel their pain right along with them and to share in their happiness!

    RLR888 @ aol.com

    1. I really dislike it when a book ends badly or ambiguously. I don't mind crying, but I like knowing things turn out well in the end :)

  10. Love them!

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  11. I like books that make me feel for the characters...but most of the time I don't want to read something I know is going to make me cry. I love when a book makes me laugh out loud though!

    Goldgirl149 at hotmail dot com

    1. For me, the laughter has to trump the crying, for sure! Happy crying is okay, though :)

  12. I love books that make me feel the range of emotions. I get more attached to the characters laughing and crying with them, makes them feel like friends.

    thebigbluewall77 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

    1. I just read this somewhere...something like, it's not that authors have something to say, it's that they have something to feel. I think the feelings are the reasons why we read--and write--books! Thanks for stopping, Anita!

  13. I love books that make you experience all kinds of emotions. I have been known to laugh out loud and also cry while reading. I can get emotionally invested in the characters and love to read books that are related so you can revisit your favorite characters.

    linda dot henderson70 at yahoo dot com


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