Allowing Others to Love You #RachelleAyala @mimisgang1 #mgtab

Or letting love happen this Valentine’s Day …

Photo by Анна Хазова

Valentine’s Day is a day of celebrating romantic love, and that’s exactly what we romance writers do best. We are in love with love, and we want all our characters as well as friends and family and even strangers to find love.

Funny thing though, love is sometimes an elusive being when you go out to find it. Is it hiding underneath a rock? Or could it be lurking in the pages of a book? How about it’s gone on a long vacation with no itinerary of returning? Maybe it’s staring you in the face and you’re not seeing it!

This is exactly what happens to many of my heroes and heroines, as well as friends and even myself in real life. Most of my romances, especially the friends to lovers, or even the enemies to lovers stories have this theme. Two people may be insanely attracted to each other but they have all sorts of reasons why this person is absolutely the wrong person for them. My job as the writer is to go behind the character’s doubts and insecurities and figure out fun and exciting scenarios for my hero and heroine to get past their roadblocks to love.

In most cases, the issue isn’t that they’re not lovable. Or that they don’t want love, no matter how loudly they deny that’s the case, but that they’re afraid to be vulnerable. That they make it difficult to let others love them. There are barriers and walls that might be built from past traumas or simply distrust that others have their best interests in mind. Perhaps deep inside, they don’t feel they deserve love.

Our characters are a lot like us. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself. A common theme in my romances are characters who feel like they don’t belong or are hard on themselves and distrustful of people’s motives. They push those away who try to get close and struggle to accept love and affection, or even small favors that their friends want to do for them.

You know the type. If someone asks if they need anything, they’re always “fine.” They’re cheerful to help another but can fathom sitting back and letting others shower them with affection.

Here are some steps to help you start allowing others to love you:

  1. Acknowledge your fear.

Many of our issues stem from fear. We can start by acknowledging the fear that’s holding us back. This fear could stem from past hurt and disappointment, or it could be a general fear of vulnerability and intimacy. Take some time to reflect on what might be causing your fear and either write it down in a journal or talk about it with a friend. It might be hard to admit it but knowing yourself is the first step.

  1. Realize your worth.

Self-love is the foundation of all healthy relationships. If you don’t love yourself, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fully accept love from others. That’s because you don’t feel worthy of love. Realize that you are worthy and figure out the things that make you happy. Don’t worry so much about how you look to others. Surround yourself with positive people, do things you’re interested in, and speak kindly to yourself. Most of all, if you have faith in God, you know that you are so worthy that he gave the ultimate sacrifice to redeem your soul. He loves you unconditionally and entirely in perfect love.

  1. Learn to trust others.

If you’ve been hurt in the past, it can be difficult to trust others again. However, trust is an essential component of healthy relationships. Start small by opening up to people you already trust and gradually building up to those you’re less familiar with. Trusting isn’t blind, however, and therefore you need to always be discerning and prayerful about letting someone into your life. Give it time and go for the slow burn. As you become more discerning and yet open to new experiences you will trust your own judgment and intuition better and avoid being hurt.

  1. Be open and honest.

One of the biggest reasons why we struggle to accept love from others is because we’re not open and honest about our needs and feelings. When we keep our feelings bottled up, it can be difficult for others to understand what we need from them. We’re always telling our friends we’re fine and ignoring what’s bothering us. We want to go it alone and not ask for help. I’m not saying to be needy or clinging, but being honest about your feelings and needs goes a long way toward building a loving relationship with another human being.

  1. Be patient.

Allowing others to love you takes time and patience. It’s not something that happens overnight, and there will likely be bumps along the way. Be patient with yourself and others, and remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. It’s no wonder that 1 Corinthians 13 starts with: Love is patient, love is kind.

Did you find any of these steps helpful? My wish for you is that you are loved not only on Valentine’s Day but every day of the year. As a writer of over 80 romance novels and stories, I’m always conjuring up new ways for my characters to fall in love. Some are sweet and cute and others are out of this world. So have a Happy Valentine’s Day, and if you like, pick up Red Hexed: Ruby, on sale for 99c – an unlikely love story between a Viking sword-bearer bent on stopping Ragnarok and a modern-day beauty queen who was burned on half of her face.

Red Hexed: Ruby

Lemon Curd Filled Cake by @Donna_Fasano

It’s February and we’ve been experiencing a lot of gray, rainy, winter days. Whenever I need a sunny pick-me-up, I bake something lemony. This Lemon Curd Filled Cake is just delicious. Lemon is used three ways: to flavor the cake, the filling, and the icing. And the curd is so easy because it’s store-bought (see notes for more information). It would make a great Super Bowl Party dessert. And if your Valentine loves lemon, this would make a wonderful “I love you!” surprise.

Lemon Curd Filled Cake

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 2 tablespoon lemon rind, finely minced**
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Pre-heat oven 350° F. Prepare 2 eight-inch round banking pans by spraying with cooking spray. Line bottoms with circles of waxed paper (optional).
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine well.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake 30-35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out cakes onto wire rack to cool completely.
Lemon Curd Filling


  • 1 small jar lemon curd (about 10 to 12 ounces)***
  1. Place one cake layer on the plate upside down and spread the entire jar of curd on the flat side just to the edges.
  2. Top with second cake and frost the cake with Lemon Icing.
Lemon Icing


  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon rind, finely minced**
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add lemon juice and rind to the melted butter. Stir to combine.
  2. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and stir to combine. Add more sugar until desired consistency is reached.


I like a thinner icing so I can smear it over the top and let the icing drip down the sides of the cake. See picture.

* If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can create sour milk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or vinegar) to a measuring cup and top off with milk to reach the 1 cup needed. Let sit for several minutes to curdle.

**I use a microplane/zester to remove the yellow part only of the lemon. The white pith can be bitter.

***Most grocery stores sell lemon curd in the jelly/jam section. Look on the top shelf, near the specialty jellies. Amazon also sells lemon curd. Or you can make your own.

This February, I’m offering SECOND CHANCE VALENTINE on sale for just 99¢. This book is part of my Ocean City Boardwalk Series.

Second Chance Valentine


February – The Month of Love and Romance

Usually, the first of every month brings an exciting travel blog written by our very own Mona Risk. However, Mona is under the weather this week, so I’ve decided to step in. Everyone knows that February is the month of love and romance. Lovers all over the world celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th. The authors here at Authors’ Billboard have oodles and oodles of boxed sets that cost next to nothing yet are filled to the brim with flirty love, passionate romance, mysterious who-done-its, intense suspense, and much, much more. I invite you to take a look at some of our bundles.

Unforgettable Devotion: Passion and Pain


One can be smitten by a person
but Unforgettable Devotion leaves us truly breathless, satisfied… and complete.

Unforgettable Valentine

Unforgettable Valentine

To honor the happy lovers celebrating Valentine’s Day everywhere, six New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors have joined together to offer you UNFORGETTABLE VALENTINE, a beautiful collection of holiday romance stories. From full-length books to novellas, they all have one thing in common—a thrilling happily-ever-after that will make your heart beat faster. Every story in this collection is… UNFORGETTABLE!

Irresistible Valentine


Celebrate the season of love with EIGHT BRAND-NEW, NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED STEAMY STORIES From Nine New York Times & USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.

Sweet & Sassy Small Town Romances

Sweet & Sassy

Get ready for another Sweet & Sassy Six-pack! Twelve people finding their way through life and crashing into their futures with a passion we can only dream about.

Murder Is Scheduled for Monday


Are you hungry for more intriguing cozy mysteries? Look no further! Murder is Scheduled for Monday has everything you’re looking for.

Irresistible New Beginnings with a First Love – Coming Before Valentine’s Day!

Irresistible New Beginnings

Six full-length steamy stories from New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors about new beginnings for couples reuniting with their first love.

See all the Authors’ Billboard Bundles by clicking here.

Happy February!


What is YOUR FAVORITE February Holiday?

February HolidayIt seems as if we’ve had one, long on-going party this month. So I have to ask… what is your favorite February holiday? February is the shortest month of the year, but my-oh-my wait until you read what a fantastic month it is!


Okay, we all know that it is Valentine’s Day in the middle of the month, but have a glimpse of all the special ways Americans celebrate February!

  • 4th – NATIONAL THANK A MAIL CARRIER DAY! Hope you didn’t miss it!
  • 5th – ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST DAY! Especially loved by all children!
  • 6th – NATIONAL CHOPSTICKS DAY–bet you didn’t see that one coming!
  • 9th – NATIONAL PIZZA DAY! Bet no one missed that!

Let’s skip ahead to:

  • 13th – SUPERBOWL SUNDAY! A day to pretend to love Football, unless you do!
  • 16th – FAT TUESDAY! We can eat all we want!
  • 18th – NATIONAL DRINK WINE DAY–Yippee!
  • 21st – PRESIDENT’S DAY!
  • 29th – LEAP DAY!

Bottom line—you can celebrate anything you want on any day you want—and nobody will know the difference!

We all need to celebrate, don’t we? Forget the dark days and look up to see the sun, or glimpse a falling star, a full moon in all its glory. I enjoy celebrating all the wonders of the world for we are fortunate to live on this beautiful planet.

Author Billboard always has a great many books for FREE or ON SALE every month! Please check them out!

For most of February, I have discounted SERENDIPITY FALLS, 3 book set. You will fall in love with the mischievous Cupid and the magic of love.

Serendipity Falls 3-bk set