• Newcastle Writers Retreat 2022
    Blog

    A November wrap up – a little late

    We’re drawing to the end of 2022 if you can believe that. No, I can’t either.

    It’s been a crazy year with lockdowns and life changes and adjustments for me.

    Compared to recent years, it looks like I’ve had a light publishing schedule, but the truth is I’ve been working away on a couple of pen names that have kept me very busy. These pen names write books in different genres and they’ve been lots of fun to develop.

    So while books under  my Monique McDonell  name, there have been fewer books, I will have published 9 full-length novels, 2 novellas and 7 short books (10k) this year. That’s around 500,000 words…and I also have my March 2022 Monique McDonell novel drafted so that’s another 50,000 words. No wonder I’m a little tired.

    Anyway, what I’m here to talk about is my November (yes I am aware it’s now December). As well as finally getting to see family after 4 months and some travel to see my daughter who lives 6 hours away (Sniff. Sniff) I did some cool writing things.

    First of all one of the great gifts of 2022 for me has been the writing community here in Newcastle, NSW where I now live. I was invited to join both the Hunter Romance Writers and the Newcastle Romance Writers groups. There is some overlap of membership but the groups are quite different and I love both for different reasons. The Hunter group is smaller, tends to meet online but has more indie authors like me, whereas the Newcastle group meets in person and is a wider cross-section of people (more chances to make friends).

    Newcastle Writers Retreat 2022
    Newcastle Writers Retreat 2022 Attendees

    Anyway, to that end I helped organise and was lucky to attend the first Newcastle Romance Writers Rereat in November.  We probably shouldn’t call it a retreat – it was more of a one day conference. regardless of the name it was a truly awesome day.

    It was a full day of writing, presentations and roundtables. Eighteen of us attended to discuss everything from great openings to conflict to book marketing.

    As none of us can get to the Romance Writers of Australia conference due to COVID travel restrictions and border closures, this was a nice dose of professional development and camaraderie in a year where both have been lacking.

    Lighthouse Arts

    Lighthouse Arts CollageAnother exciting thing that happened this November was I’ve been part of the inaugural group of Artists in Residence in the Lighthouse Arts Program.

    Here’s a little about the program. Lighthouse Arts aims to increase the sustainability and visibility of the arts and culture sector of
    Newcastle City and the Hunter region.
    Lighthouse Arts is an initiative of Hunter Writers Centre inc., a not-for-profit, incorporated
    association established in 1995 and the peak literary hub of the Hunter region NSW.
    Initial funding for Lighthouse Arts has been received via the Industry Response Taskforce grant from the City of Newcastle to provide support for cultural practitioners. Access to Nobbys-
    Whibayganba headland has been obtained under a licence agreement between Hunter Writers Centre and Port Authority NSW.
    The project site is Nobbys-Whibayganba headland. Read its history here.
    Lighthouse Arts’ purpose is to provide supportive, professional and accessible spaces and
    presentation opportunities that foster the development of creative practitioners affected by
    Covid-19, to build a legacy for future creatives and for audiences to experience diverse art forms
    and culture.
    The project includes: Studio Spaces for Artists-in-Residence on weekdays and, on
    weekends, a live events space, an Arts Trading Store and an exhibition space known as The House
    of Stories.
    The program invites creative practitioners to help build a community to produce or advance works
    and offer your original, contemporary creations for exhibition and for sale.

    The project was meant to kick-off mid year, but it didn’t due to more lockdowns, so we headed up the hill to the Lighthouse in early November. My residency has included a gorgeous office every Tuesday to focus on my writing in. I’ve met loads of other writers and creatives as well. I applied to participate with the key objective of connecting with local creatives and I’ve done that.

    Sadly, I have only one more week, but it’s truly been a privilege to have the experience and the opportunity.

    National Novel Writing Month

    Nanowrimo winner badge

    Once again I participated in National Novel Writing Month. If you follow this blog at all you’ll already know it’s a global challenge where authors, established and aspiring, commit to writing a 50,000 word novel – the first draft at least – in a month. If you’re new to my blog, you can get the scoop here.

    I’ve been doing it on and off since about 2006 and most years – unless I’m travelling – I manage to hot that target. This time I was working on a book for a new multi-author series I’m part of in 2022.

    Anyway, as that little image shows – I completed my book. Yay for me!

    So no wonder it took me a little while to get to this blog post – that was a lot to cover and catch up from.

    Onward through December and into an amazing 2022, I hope.

     

     

  • Writing Book Blurbs that sell
    Blog

    Writers on Wednesday with Belinda Williams author of Writing Book Blurbs that Sell

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose

    Today for Writers On Wednesday Blog I have my lovely friend Belinda Williams.

    Belinda and I met at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference a few years back. (Belinda is giving a blurb writing workshop at the RWA2021 on the Gold Coast) She lived close to me in Sydney and we’ve met up several times since for a coffee and a chat about all things publishing. Belinda writes romantic comedies, but she also has a blurb writing business and has released a book about blurb writing for authors – Writing Book Blurbs that sSell.
    I asked Belinda what are the three most common mistakes we writers make in blurb writing- check out her answers below.
    3 Book Blurbs Mistakes Writers Make
    • Your blurb reads like a synopsis. A book blurb should never detail your complete storyline. It’s as much about what you don’t say as what you do say.
    • Your blurb is too long. I recommend keeping book blurbs to under 250 words, ideally somewhere between 150 and 200 words if you can, otherwise you risk losing readers.
    • Failing to pinpoint the main conflict. Writers generally know it’s important to include stakes in a book blurb, but unless these are linked to the main conflict of your story, your blurb will most likely miss the mark with potential readers.
    Writing Book Blurbs that sell
    Writing Book Blurbs that Sell

    Now here’s the official book blurb:

    Enticing a reader to buy your book relies on an intriguing blurb that captures attention and encourages people to hit the ‘buy’ button. Unfortunately, not all book blurbs are created equal, and the difference between a good or bad book blurb can impact your sales.

    In this no-fuss, actionable book, you’ll learn the art of writing book blurbs with one main aim: to sell more books. Topics covered include:

    • What a book blurb is, and more importantly, what it isn’t
    • The essential components of a book blurb
    • What to include in a book blurb and what to leave out
    • Examples from a range of fiction genres
    • How a book blurb should look (and why)
    • The difference between fiction and non-fiction book blurbs
    • Terrific taglines, tone of voice, plus much more!

    Whether this is your first or twentieth book, your book deserves an impossible-to-resist ‘I want to read more’ book blurb that converts book browsers to readers and proves to the world that your book is worth reading. This book will show you how.

    Visit her website to learn more about her books.

    About Belinda Williams

    Belinda Williams is a copywriter turned fiction author with more than twenty years of experience in marketing. She can switch from writing steamy romance to punching out attention-grabbing sales copy before you have time to say, ‘book blurb!’ With her unique skill set, she aims to help other authors market their books.

    Belinda Williams

    Belinda Williams is a marketing copywriter who fell in love with romance and writes romantic comedy as well as romantic suspense featuring good guys. She’s occasionally tempted by bad boys, but prefers to write strong women characters and men with big hearts.

    When she’s not writing, Belinda is a music lover who sings lead vocals in cover bands, and her eclectic taste forms the foundation for many of her writing ideas.

    Her other love is the water. She can often be found counting laps instead of words at her local swimming pool. Or you might also spot her boating on the harbour with her husband and son in her home town of Sydney, Australia.

  • Happy Blogaversary
    Blog

    This blog is officially 9 years old!

    Happy Blogaversary

    So this is what 9 years of blogging looks like

    Mr Right and Other Mongrels Mug and Postcards Promotional Material
    How adorable was my original cover and swag? Pity about the poor photography skills!

    I started my blogging journey as a way to talk about my books and my writing 9 years ago because that’s almost how long it’s been since my first book, Mr Right and Other Mongrels was published. I never would have imagined back then I would have published over 40 books across multiple pen names and over thirty in my own name.

    Since then I’ve hosted hundreds of authors on here doing Q&A’s and other posts. Those have also been shared on my Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest accounts as well.

    I’ve announced many, many new releases and hosted umpteen cover reveals.

    We’ve shared book recommendations, favourite songs, and some cracking recipes over the years too.

    There have been the highs and lows of my publishing career – though I tend to keep the lows to myself because nobody cares about those except me.

    It’s been a fun journey. I haven’t always been consistent, and I have certainly considered quitting. I used to think I was a quitter, but it turns out that isn’t always true – I just quit the nasty stuff.

    Anyway, a huge thank you to the many authors, editors, VA’s and friends from across the globe who have been part of my blogging journey with me. Along the way this blog has helped me feel part of a community, make friends, discover new authors and new books and learn an awful lot about publishing.

    This month, as well as the regular features I run, I’ll be revisiting some memories, running some giveaways and looking to the future. So hang on and enjoy the ride. (Or is that read?)

    Monique McDonell Kindle Digital Launch Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    Release day for Mr Right and Other Mongrels.

     

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday – A Q&A with author Sophie Barlow

    Writers on Wednesday

    Today Sophie Barlow talks about the inspiration for her Swan Harbor series.

    1. What was the inspiration for your current novel?

    A swan. I find them to be fascinating and when I created my town of Swan Harbor, I began researching. There are ‘beliefs’ behind swans that revolve around hope and communication and purity. I’ve taken that and in several books have this: 

    “Swans are symbols of purity, beauty, grace and love. Some say when they are around, they help your communication with other people. Some say they are a sign of marital fidelity. And others say they combine the elements of air and water and embody eternal life. And what is the first step to forever?”

    Hope.

    And I’ve tied the ‘hope’ of the town and whether it can survive or not to a swan, Jonesy. He is first talked about in this Kittens, Puppies & Love. And then the story of hope plays out through five books. Swan Harbor’s Hope. 

     2. Why do you write in the genre you do?

    I love to read romance and mysteries. I also love interconnected stories where couples come in/out. A what better way to combine all of those then to write small town romantic mysteries.

    3. When did you take up writing? 

    I’ve always had an active imagination but after 30+years working w/ adult strokes, it is fun to jump into something totally different. 

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

    Huge. I have tried to set up my small town of Swan Harbor as a character in and of itself. I want people to want to live there and to be able to picture it in their heads. And as a visual person, I have created an interactive map on my website. It’s still a work in progress but fun. Some of the spots have ‘pictures’ of the owners and I talk about which I saw stories the place in.  Interactive map.


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

    I love Captain Jack. He’s an eccentric older guy who believes he can understand a swan and who seems to know what others need before they ask. And if I had to cast him, Sean Connery fits the image in my head.  

    6. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?

    That each scene needs to push the plot. Don’t use the same words in a paragraph and/or to start each sentence. Read out loud when editing.  

    7. Do you have a schedule for writing?

    Whenever I can. If I’m in the middle of a book, I’ve been known to write all day. But I still work as a speech/language pathologist Tues/Wed/Thurs so those days, it’s a bit different. And lately, I’ve been trying to learn the marketing end, which means my writing has been limited to making notes. 

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

    Generally, I fly by the seat of my pants. I know the name of the characters and that’s about it. But if I get ‘ideas’ while writing another book, I jot notes. I also don’t write in order. In Hope, I wrote an ending scene before the beginning and then I wrote chapters 2-26 before I wrote chapter 1.

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

    This is hard because I am horrible at keeping track of titles. But I like just about anything by Nora Roberts. Same for Lisa Jackson. Shannon McKenna has series , The McCloud Brothers, that stand out in my mind.

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

    My next book is going to be pulling from a thread I left dangling in my first book, From Darkness into Love. And while it will have a story that has a beginning/end, inside of it there will be two other threads that lead into the next 5 books. (wish me luck)

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

    Start with fanfiction. You can get feedback and you don’t have to worry about creating the entire picture. Plus, you don’t have to worry about creating an entire story. It can be just scene or two. 

    Blurb:

    The word cloak means to cover, hide, or disguise. 
    Would you shed yours and expose your heart for love?

    Veterinarian Emma Foster arrives in Swan Harbor with her goal list in one hand and clinging to the many layers of her cloak with the other. But she didn’t anticipate the lure of the small town or the pull of a man’s magnetic blue eyes. Their potent combination threatens to derail her well-ordered plans. 

    Investigator Killian Reade has used his good looks, flirty talk, and sexy accent to layer masks over his true self. Until a flash of yellow peels off one. And the people of Swan Harbor add cracks in another. But when Emma looks through him, instead of at him, he’s forced to take a journey. One that has him searching for the man he’s meant to be. 

    As their barriers begin to fade, an off-hand comment made by Emma leads Killian to uncover disturbing behavior in their small town. When all is revealed, will they wrap the layers tighter or will they allow love in and set their hearts free?

    Buy Links Kittens, Puppies and LoveKittens Trailer  I also have a prequel novella that is free on my website as well as on StoryOrigin  Free Novella Guided by Light

    Social Links   https://sophiebartow.com/      https://linktr.ee/sophiebartow 

    Also, I’m part of an author group who just started a new FB group. We talk about books, movies, etc.  Adventures in Book Reading: Romance, Mystery & More  

    Author bio: Sophie is a married mother of four who has spent the last 30+ years as a Speech/Language Pathologist working with adult post-stroke patients. Now that her youngest (twin girls) are freshmen in college, it’s time for a new journey. I love books that have complex characters, romance, and a touch of mystery and strive to include those in all my stories.

  • 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

  • Blog

    Writers on Wednesday with Renee Dahlia author of The Shipwrecked Earl’s Bride

    Writers on Wednesday - Rose

    This week for Writers on Wednesday we have a Q&A with Renee Dahlia author of new release The Shipwrecked Earl’s Bride

    Author Renee DahliaAbout Renee

    Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side note of awkward humour.

    1.What was the inspiration for your current novel, The Shipwrecked Earl’s Bride?

    Our family booked a trip to Italy last year but had to cancel due to the pandemic. It was a frustrating process, as we’d saved up for a couple of years for the trip, and didn’t end up getting refunds until months after the trip was cancelled. This novella came from a need to do some travelling! I imagined an Earl on his way home from a Grand Tour getting shipwrecked on a Spanish beach, and it just fell into place from there.

    2. Why do you write in the genre you do?

    I write both historical and contemporary romances, across a range of heat levels and pairings. Why? Because I write to entertain myself and I don’t like feeling restricted to one time period or place. My ideas are often chaotic before they become books. They come from little pieces of conversations that I overhear, or non-fiction that I’m reading, and a whole bunch of other places. I keep all the ideas in a big file and let them kind of roll around for a while until they form enough of a story to become a book. All my books are listed on my website with heat levels and pairing type.

    3. When did you take up writing?

    My first book, To Charm a Bluestocking, was published in 2017. I’ve written non-fiction for about a decade prior to that, mostly magazine articles. Oddly, I didn’t want to be a writer when I left school, and studied science instead. I fell into writing almost accidentally when I was asked to write a series of articles that explained statistical results to non-mathematicians.

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

    Not very! Description is my least favourite part of writing. My first drafts are mostly dialogue with a few notes, and I add the descriptions later.

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

    I’m fickle! My favourite is always the one I’m writing right now! In my novella, The Shipwrecked Earl’s Bride, the heroine Sofia is a Spanish fisherman’s daughter who has taught herself to read English from books washed up on their beach. Her family supplement their income with things they find from shipwrecks, and they dismiss her need for reading. Reading shows her the world, and when Rupert washes up on her beach, she takes the chance to leave. When I first started to write, I imagined her as quite aspirational, but as I wrote, she turned out to be more empathetic and unsure about the decision to leave.

    6. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?

    Read a lot. Read in the genre you want to write in, so you understand what readers love about it, and better yet, write the genre that you love to read because then that understanding comes naturally.

    7. Do you have a schedule for writing?

    Yes. I have a spreadsheet that I’ve designed that tracks both my daily word count and my writing schedule by book.

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

    Somewhere in the middle. I like to have a good idea of where I’m going, so I set out the book’s basic plot with a few one liners that indicate the emotional arc for the two characters, then I just let the dialogue go where it feels natural. Sometimes I end up in places that I didn’t intend, and have to adjust either the dialogue or the vague plot notes, but that doesn’t happen often.

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

    I’ve just finished reading Talia Hibbert’s Brown sisters series which is really adorable. My favourite historical novels are Olivia Waite’s The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and Courtney Milan’s Duchess War. I adore Alexis Hall’s writing – the characterisation in Glitterland is outstanding. How can anyone pick just four books?

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

    I’m currently writing a medium heat contemporary lesbian romance series set in a Burlesque club in London.

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

    Read and write. Practice will make you better.

    The Shipwrecked Earl’s Bride

    Blurb:

    LORD RUPERT STANMORE was banished to the continent for a grand tour after being caught kissing his best friend, Lord Benburgh. Two years later and life back in England has caught up to him. His father died recently and now he’s the latest Earl of Stanmore. On the way home, his ship is wrecked in a storm, and he washes up on a beach in Spain, only to be rescued by a beautiful woman. As the Earl, he has an obligation to marry. He’d rather be hung for sodomy than allow his mother to choose his bride, and who better to annoy his proper and distant mother than a poor foreigner as a bride? He plots for Sofia to fall in love with him, not expecting to fall for her.

     

    SOFIA LUCIANA RIAL is the only daughter of a fisherman in Spain. She taught herself to read English from books washed up on their beach, a skill her widowed Father sees as pointless. In his opinions, she should spend all, not most, of her time doing domestic work. When a man washes up on the beach near their cottage, she realises he might be her ticket out of poverty. She sets about to make him fall in love with her so he can take her to England where she will never again have to worry about where her next meal will come from. Only her plan fails when she falls in love with him. But how can she convince him that her love is real?

     

     

    You can learn more about Renee here: 
    Twitter
    Facebook 
    romance.com.au
    Instagram 
    BookBub

     

  • 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.

     

  • 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

     

  • Blog

    July 1 – an update on my writing life

    More Thank Ornamental Graphic
    more than ornamental graphic

    It’s been a while since I posted here so I thought I’d give you a little update on what I’ve been busy doing as it clearly hasn’t been blogging.

    In June I wrote 90,000 words. That’s my biggest writing month yet. I wrote 44,000 on one novel, 10,000 on another, 20,000 on another and some words for a secret project as well…so that was a whole lot of writing and it didn’t leave a whole lot of room for other things.

    Yesterday I launched More Than Ornamental – a sweet single dad Christmas romance (It originally appeared in the 2019 Romancing the Holidays Boxset). In October and November of 2018 I asked my Facebook followers a ton of questions about what sort of story they wanted to read including tropes, location, character roles and names and this is the novella that came out of it. More Than Ornamental is set on the Australian coast so if you’ve ever wondered what Christmas downunder is like, this is the book for you.

    My next No Brides Club book releases in September and it’s almost ready to go off the the editor, fingers crossed for this week. The Sweet Kisses Limited Edition Box Set releases this month too.

    Kissing the Captain, my contribution is a prequel to my next series which will launch with a trilogy in the next couple of months…I’m expecting to get my covers this week and I can’t wait to share them with you.  He’s the cover of Kissing the Captain with the boxset.

    Kissing the Captain and the Sweet Kisses Box Set
    Kissing the Captain coming soon in the Sweet Kisses Box Set

    So that’s enough to keep me out of mischief for July I think.

    I promise the next chapter of Playing With Trouble will be live this week.

    Anyway, I hope your July is off yo a cracking start!