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  • Writers on Wednesday
    Blog

    Writers on Wednesday with Shail Rajan

    Writers on Wednesday

    Today for Writers on Wednesday we have a Q&A with debut author Shail Rajan

    Shail rajanShail is a contemporary women’s fiction writer and the author of The Summer Breeze, her debut novel which celebrates the role family, friendships, food, and falling in love play in our everyday lives. Shail lives in the Bay Area with her husband and three wonderful, noisy, mischievous children. When she is not writing and reading, she serves as the president of a non-profit, cooks nonstop, tackles the occasional DIY project, and obsesses over her vegetable garden. Don’t be surprised if you hear your stomach growling while reading her books because Shail is a serious foodie and often includes vivid descriptions of the food her characters are eating. If you feel the urge to cook something up, she often shares her recipes on her website and social media!

    1. Why do you write in the genre, you do?

    I’ve always been drawn to stories about strong women taking control of their lives and doing it with grace, kindness, and humour. I love stories which center around new beginnings and second chances. My writing contemporary women’s fiction is just a natural extension of what I love to read.

    1. When did you take up writing?

    I started writing as a way to pass the time back in 2003. Since then, The Summer Breeze and other partially completed manuscripts have been waiting patiently on my laptop. At the end of 2020, I finally mustered up the courage to send my first book baby out into the world!

    1. How important is setting/place in your writing?

    It’s always been very important to me for my readers to be able to vividly imagine setting/place throughout my books. What I wasn’t prepared for was how it would resonate with them. In so many reviews and so much of the feedback I’ve received, people have appreciated the visual imagery I’ve created. It’s a great feeling.

    1. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?

    Callie, the female protagonist in The Summer Breeze, is my absolute favorite. She’s kind, independent, flawed, funny, a foodie, and unstoppable. I think there’s something inherently relatable about a woman who is so multi-dimensional – like so many of us.

    1. Do you have a schedule for writing?

    I’ve always been an early bird and usually wake up a couple of hours before the rest of my family. I try to take advantage of the quite time and focus on my writing in the mornings. I’d love to be able to do more during the day, but it’s been challenging with three kids learning remotely. Once they’re back in school full-time, I think I’ll be able to dedicate even more time creating these stories and characters that I absolutely love.

    1. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?

    When I started out on my writing journey, I tried to wing it. However, I quickly realized I needed to be more of a plotter because I was writing over such a long span of time (years!) that I found myself forgetting details about certain characters and events. Now, since I have committed myself to chasing this dream, I’m writing at a much quicker pace and I’m able to wing it because I can get fully emerged in the story.

    1. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?

    I recently finished reading American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Both books moved me in different ways, but both educated me about journeys vastly different from my own. Anyone who loves to read knows this is one of the best things about books: the ability to engender empathy for the lives of others.

    For me, American Dirt was a page turner from start to finish. Whenever I had to put it down to do something else, I was eager to get back to it to learn what was coming next. I found myself feeling the stress, anxiety, fear, and hope of the characters throughout the book.

    Know My Name literally pried my eyes open. Learning about the experience of sexual assault through the eyes of the victim – starting with the days and hours leading up to an assault, the actual assault, the response of first responders immediately after, the fear of telling family and friends, the trial and subsequent appeals, and of course, the emotional upheaval that the victim and her family face – was truly an emotional education. Did it make me feel uncomfortable? Yes, incredibly so. Will I have my children read it when they’re older? Most definitely.

    There are also two books that I always have on my nightstand. The first is Pride and Prejudice because I absolutely love everything about Jane Austen, from her writing style, to her description of setting, to her wonderful female characters. And of course, Mr. Darcy.

    The second is A Town Like Alice by Nevile Shute. I came across this book years ago and loved it so much that my husband managed to find a first edition copy which I have read and re-read numerous times. There is something so magical for me in the emotional journey of the main character Jean Paget.

    Note from Monique: A Town Like Alice is also one of my favorite books!!!

    1. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?

    I’m working on two projects right now, and I’m so excited about both of them!

    The first is book #2 in The Summer Breeze series where readers will be able to catch up with all their favorite characters from The Summer Breeze Bed and Breakfast! Callie will continue her unsuccessful attempts to not meddle in her guests’ lives, eat even more mouth-watering food, and try to keep her head on straight when Nick is around. Two weddings and a catastrophe will be the backdrop to Callie’s life in the beautiful lakeside town of Seneca Springs.

    My second projects is a romantic suspense novel that I’m having a the best time researching and writing. Stay tuned for more info on how small town life takes a dark turn when a rock star comes to Sycamore Ridge!

    1. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?

    Do NOT stop. Write every chance you get and be prepared for bumps and detours along the way. I started writing The Summer Breeze in 2003. Take a minute to let that sink in! It took me 18 years to put my dream back at the top of my to-do list and make it happen. But I’m here now, and I’m having the best time ever!

    The Summer Breeze

    The Summer Breeze

    Tired of her fast-paced life in NYC, Callie Williams leaves her successful career and demanding fiancé behind and makes a life-changing decision to open a bed & breakfast in the lakeside town of Seneca Springs. Navigating the complexities of small-town life, Callie forges lifelong friendships, eats more than her fair share of delicious food, and tries not to meddle in the lives of her guests. The only thing hindering her newfound happiness is the attraction she feels for Nick, a rough-around-the-edges construction worker who is determined to get under Callie’s skin.

    Buy Links:

    https://bit.ly/TheSummerBreezebyShailRajan

    Social Links:

    Website: https://www.shailrajan.com/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shailrajanauthor/

    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20957911.Shail_Rajan

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shailrajanauthor

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShailRajan

  • Cinnamon Bay booksin KU
    Blog

    A renewed commitment to blogging

    A little catch up on what’s happening in my author life.

    Cinnamon Bay booksin KU
    Get these Cinnamon bay Romances in KU today

    I’m sitting here in my office on a very damp Sunday afternoon blogging. Meanwhile most of the East Coast of my home state of NSW is having an “extraordinary weather event” in the form of way too much rain. Flooding, bursting dams and road closures are affecting a lot of people. Fingers crossed everyone stays safe and dry.

    It’s what you’d call “wonderful weather for writing”, but some days you just feel like curling up with a good book. Am I right? I know that’s what I’ll be doing next.

    The books in the original Cinnamon Bay Series are now all in Kindle Unlimited so if you’re a KU subscriber they’re free for you and if not, you can still buy them on Amazon.

    It’s 9 years since I started this blog and I realised over the last few days I really needed to get back to blogging, so hopefully you’ll start to see some more activity here in the coming weeks.

    There have been some changes on social media platforms of late that have made a lot of people nervous about how much visibility we will continue to have. You don’t own your content o Facebook for example but here this is my own domain (and domain name ha ha!)

    If you talk to any writer, they’ll tell you there are a lot of balls to juggle behind the scenes and sometimes things slip. Hopefully, it won’t be my blog  slipping anymore. I’ll be back hosting cover reveals and other writers here, as well as getting back to some of the memes  (Musical Monday, Taste of Tuesday) I loved during the week.  Thanks for hanging in with me during the leaner posting period.

    Apart from secret pen name projects – which I can’t discuss because they’re secrets –  I’m currently working on Any Way You Wish It, Book 9 in the Upper Crust series and Saltwater Wishes, Marlin Shores Book 3…both will be out mid-year. Both stories are pretty fun ones to write so I hope they become fun to read as well.

    If you have any questions about my writing or anything you’d like to see on the blog please leave me  comment below.

     

     

  • Blog

    Marching into March – an update from my desk

     

    saltwater wishes Fb banner

    The month of March is upon me and I’m wondering how that is possible.

    January is always a crazy month here because of summer vacation, and I had some family commitments that ate into the start. I released Saltwater Tears in January, so it wasn’t a total loss. I hope you enjoy reading Banner’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    February I’ve been hunkered down in my writing cave, mainly working on projects for a couple of pen names and planning out my books for 2021. I’m happy to say I have a Cinnamon Bay romance out in June, which is all plotted and the next (and final Upper Crust Novel) will be ready for Christmas in July. I’ve started that one at least and it is all plotted too. I’m still trying to see if I’ll be releasing Saltwater Tears – the third Marlin Shores book in May or August – I’ve also started Tony’s story, and it’s a fun one to write.

    2021 for me is about reflection – I’ve written over 40 books, over 50 if we count pen names and I love writing but I’m considering moving in a new direction with my books so I guess that will take thought and planning. When I started out, I wanted to write a book, then I wanted to publish, then I wanted to see if I could do it again…and again. I’ve reset my goals many times to include being more productive, grow things like my social media following or release more often.

    Aside from my financial goals, I’ve hit every writing target I’ve aimed for. Maybe that’s where my focus needs to be in 2021.

    Meanwhile, there’s a sneak peak, of the cover for the cover for Saltwater Wishes above.

    I hope you have a wonderful month.

     

  • Blog

    Love in the City Box Set Launch

    Love in the CityI’m excited to share the Love in the City Box Set launch with you – lots of these ladies are online writing friends of mine and I’ve been lucky enough to meet several of them in person including – Sariah Wilson, Becky Monson,  Melissa Baldwin and Kathryn R Biel who I met at the RWA in Denver a couple of years ago now. I also gotto hang out with the gorgeous NZ author both at the RWA and in Australia when she visited. I know this boxset will not disappoint. It’s just 99cents this week!

    Get ready for thirteen heart pounding and laugh out loud rom-coms from thirteen bestselling and award winning authors, including Amazon chart toppers and USA TODAY bestsellers. Filled with mystery, second chances, soulmates, brother’s best friends, bad boys, nobility, and the cute guy in the cubicle next to you, these stories will captivate you and leave you wishing for more.

    Download this limited edition box set while you can and indulge in these sweet and sexy leading men and strong and beautiful heroines while they fall in love in cities around the world.

    Sariah Wilson – All’s Fair in Love and War
    Becky Monson -The Love Potion
    Jennifer Peel – Love the One You’re With
    Kirsty Greenwood – Love Will Save the Day
    Whitney Dineen – Love for Sale
    Aven Ellis – Love, the Viscount, & Me
    Shari L. Tapscott – Little Lost Love Letter
    Lucy McConnell – Can’t Forget a Love Like That
    Kate O’Keeffe – A Very English Love Story
    Erin Huss – Love, Lies, and Limo Rides
    Melissa Baldwin – Thanks for the Love
    Stephanie Fowers – Love at the Masquerade
    Kathryn R. Biel – Vision of Love

  • Shine
    Blog

    Happy New Year and welcome to 2021

    Shine

    Welcome to 2021 my lovely readers. Happy New Year!

    I think we’re all more than ready to embrace the new although I don’t think 2021 will be the instant panacea to 2020 many of us are hoping for. I’m optimistic it will be better.

    My word for the year is SHINE. I hope to shine brightly in 2021.

    I had lots of plans for last year and I achieved some. I did write a lot of words. I have a couple of secret pen names and published under those and my own name. 

    I definitely didn’t release everything I wanted to but that’s okay. I became a USA today Bestseller, I came second in the Australian RUBY Awards novella section and released several new books. We’ll take it.

    We moved out of our home of over 24 years and relocated to a new town with about 6 weeks’ notice, so I’m being kind to myself about my lack of accomplishment in the final quarter of 2020.

    The good news is those projects will be completed in the first half of 2021 so all is not lost.

    I started serializing Playing With Trouble in 2020, and I promise to get back to that and share the rest of it with you in 2021. You can catch up here with the opening meanwhile.

    The next books in the Marlin Shores world will be out in January and March and I can’t wait to share those as well. You can preorder Saltwater Tears here.

    Have you read the prequel Kissing The Captain? If not grab your copy here for free.

    We have big plans for the Cinnamon Bay romance world in 2021 so look out for news about that soon.

    I also have Upper Crust Series news…meanwhile have you seen the box sets I made for the Upper Crust series? You can grab them here and they are free in Kindle Unlimited.

    There are a couple of other exciting projects looming in 2021 so stay tuned.

    Happy New Year – 2021 here we come!

    Playing with Trouble