On the movie screens, love is a foot fitting perfectly into a glass slipper. Love is a frog transforming into a handsome prince. Or, love is a magic wand that waves away life’s troubles. Behind the screen, however, love is a different story.

Philadelphia author Ashley M. Coleman’s latest book, “Love on Purpose,” describes the times when the slipper doesn’t fit perfectly.

“So many of us are searching for the fairy tale not knowing what it really means to be in the trenches of love,” Coleman said. “I’ll never forget talking to my husband when we were dating and hearing him say: ‘Love is a choice.’”

The 30-year-old’s latest book serves as a follow-up to “Dear Love,” which was published in 2014. Coleman got her start writing love letters and publishing them on Instagram. Her love letters attracted a following, and users began asking Coleman to compile the letters in print. “Dear Love” flew off the bookshelves and ended up selling out.

“’Dear Love’ was the appetizer. ‘Love on Purpose’ is the meat and potatoes,” Coleman said.

For Coleman, love is more than just a choice between two partners. In “Love on Purpose,” Coleman shares how she learned to love family and her friends. “There are things on communication, how to be vulnerable, how to trust people,” she said. Coleman’s book also explores her relationship with her faith.

“I’m sharing from my personal experience,” she said. “When you surrender to God you’re able to surrender to each other.”

When it comes to relationships within the Black community, Coleman says both Black men and women struggle with being vulnerable. Black women suffer from the stereotype of being too emotional. On the opposite end, Black men struggle with being open about their emotions.

“Women are feeling uncared for, and men feel unable to be gentle in the relationships,” Coleman said. “We’re constantly running into those two things.”

Coleman regularly writes about relationships online through her blog WriteLaughDream. Her blog started in 2008 as an online space for her inner thoughts. Now, Coleman helps other writers share their voice and put their online ideas to print.

With Valentine’s Day approaching Coleman has one piece of advice: Don’t believe the hype. “My husband is traveling for Valentine’s Day, and that’s not a big deal to me because he is loving on me 364 days of the year,” she said.

Like Valentine’s Day, Coleman also says people should not get wrapped up in the pressures of “relationship goals.” Instead, she recommends finding what works best in the relationship.

“My theme for 2017 is understanding what you need from your relationship and not getting caught up in what society is saying,” she said.

“Love on Purpose” is currently available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Signed copies are for sale on the website loveonpurposebook.com. Coleman is working on a Kindle version of the book to be released on a future date.

mearls@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5732

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