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  • Blog

    Weekly Blog Challenge – My Favourite Memory and why

    I’d like to call “not fair” on this topic. In a life well-lived we all have so many wonderful moments to remember and it’s almost impossible to pick one. So many moments of friendship, of lost loves and departed relatives to sift through.

    I’m very lucky to have lots of friends that have been in my life for decades. Sometimes when we get together we talk about incidents that still have us laughing until we cry. What about the years of Christmas parties when my house was overflowing with kids and adults, where people came for my ham and the paella, for the icecream sunday bar, the waterfights and the outdoor movies?

    What about the moment I got married? Or met my husband? When we bought the block of land for our house, buidling it together, moving in? What about all the travel we’ve done or the candlelit dinners.

    What about the Christmases? Or the day we surprised our daughter with a puppy? Or riding Central Park in a horse drawn carriage with my parents after seeing the Rockettes at radio City Music Hall? Or the first time I went to Disneyland?

    Yet I have to choose one. So that’s what I’ll do.

    To say the journey to having my daughter was fraught would be an understatement. She remains to this day my greatest achievement and my greatest joy. I never wanted anything more than to be a mother and I was told that it was essentially impossible. Somehow I got my miracle. I had the worst pregnancy (my green bucket and I went everywhere together and I was hospitalised I was so sick). I always wanted a girl but I told myself and everyone I was sure it was a boy. I convinced everyone so no one, especially me would be disappointed if that happened. (truthfully I’m sure I wouldn’t ahve been but this was a one-shot deal.)

    baby feet
    baby feet

    I won’t say giving birth was a great memory but later that night after my family left and my husband had given our baby her very first bath we were sitting in the hospital room. It was dark and the ward was quiet because it was after midnight.

    I was holding her and I looked at him and said. “Can you believe we have a baby?”

    He looked back at me and smiled. (He was already smiling. We smiled non stop for months even through tears and sleepless nights ( I always say I had post-natal euphoria I was on such a high)).

    Anyway, he said. “Yeah, I can believe we have a baby, but I can’t believe we actually got a girl.”

    Somedays you get everything you want. Not every day and not often but some days are perfect.

    To read all the other responses go here.

     

  • Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge
    Blog

    Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge – What kind of exercise do I enjoy?

    This week’s challenge topic is exercise that I enjoy – based on my performance in the challenge so far you’d think it was running…as in running late. (Drum roll for the dad joke please). That would be incorrect. I am generally disgustingly punctual and I hate to run.

    I in fact do not enjoy the exercise at all. Yes, that’s correct an woman who spends her entire life at a keyboard  or trying to find time to read doesn’t like to use that time sweating – that’s quite the shocking revelation isn’t it?

    There are however two exceptions.

    If you follow me on social media you’ll see that I’m very lucky to live in Sydney’s gorgeous Nrothern Beaches area and just as the name suggests there are lots of gorgeous beaches to wander along. So I do spend a lot of time walking along the beach. I don’t know if it counts as exercise if you’re holding a cup of coffee and chatting with a friend but it gets those elusive ten thousand steps in that we all aspire towards.

    The second exception is tennis. I wanted to play tennis from the time I could walk. Who knows why? I liked the pom pom socks and the frilly tennis knickers I know that but I think it just looked like a good social game as well. my mum always worked but when I was sick i’d stay with her friends who were stay at home mum’s and I often ended up at tennis where the women laughed and had a game and then ate moning tea. There was something about that combination that appealed to me immensely.

    The world has changed because when I was seven my mum had to beg the tennis intructors to give me lessons because I was too short to see over the net. (Fast forward to the 21st century and it’s almost too late to start if you want to be a champion at 7). From then on until I went away to college I played tennis every weekend, had a lesson every week and went to tennis camp in the school holidays.

    After uni I played mixed doubles for a couple of years and even met my husband on a tennis court…(that is a whole other blog post). After I had my daughter I played weekly tennis with a group of friends I still call “the tennis gals” even though we haven’t played for six years.

    What I have done however, is channel that love of tennis into writing and started my Courtside Romance series which features Australian tennis players on the international tennis circuit.

    That’s about it for me an exercise…don’t forget to hop  over to Long and Short Reviews  and see what the other more active participants are doing  with their free time to keep fit and fabulous!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge
    Blog

    The 3 in 1 Weekly Blog Challenge (or already playing catch up)

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    I’m aready behind on the Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge and there’s no way I can pretend it is Wednesday anywhere on the planet so I thought I’d get creative and do a 3 in 1 post to catch me up.

    I missed best book/ movie/tv couples, my celebrity crush and books I want to reread or have already.

    Let’s go in ascending order because that’s starting with the easy stuff.

    I’ve reread a lot of books. I used to do this much more when I was relying on paperbacks which are around $20 a pop here in Australia and one can’t always go get a new $20 book (and don’t even talk to me about libraries because library fines and I are well-acquainted).

    Now I can’t even remember what I’ve reread but certainly  as a kid the What Katy Did series, Little Women,  all the Beatrix Potter, Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie, the Naughtiest Girl in School series by Enid Blyton, War Games (the book based on the movie starring Matthew Broderick – this nicely segues into celebrity crushes and he was one of my first).

    I’m not really much of a celebrity crush swooner. I’m not sure why that is exactly. I’m pretty much more about character and personality in my book heroes and my movie heroes so while I like the handsome it isn’t my main thing.

    Still to answer the question properly I really like Jason Baldoni from Jane the Virgin – mainly for the way he looks at Jane like she hung the moon. (I’m two seasons behind so don’t spoil it for me). I’m not going to lie Chris Hemsworth is a cutie. All the Chris’s are right?

    Now for TV couples. Did you ever watch Psych? My daughter and I watched every epiosde together – for a while it was our thing.  It was like a cozy mystery with comedy. My answer is the unconventional answer of Shawn and Gus, sure they were buddies but the banter between them was amazing. They were like an old married couple. I also loved Shawn and Jules in that series. Another couple I loved were Lily and Marshall in How I Met Your Mother. I loved that he was the sweet senstive one and she was tough as nails. I also liked that they broke up and got over it without bitterness, you don’t get that a lot on TV.

    How did my express 3 in 1 blog go? I’ll try and do better moving forward. Just like characters in books I’m imperfect. I have to hope my flaws are endearing rather than the kind that make you shut the book never to return.

  • Blog

    Weekly Blog Challenge – New Hobby I’d like to try

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    I’m back for the weekly challenge and hey it may be Thursday in Australia but it’s still Wednesday in the Northern hempishere so  – yay me!

    This week’s topic is  – a hobby I’d like to try. I’m not very good at arts and crafts and my follow through is terrible so I just channel my creative energy into my books. I already bake for pleasure and I enjoy entertaining though I’ve really pulled back from that the last couple of years.

    In 2019 I took up Jazzercise with a group of women I used to play tennis with. My work schedule and the location meant I ended up stopping which was a shame because, yes it may be a 1980’s throwback,  but it was fun and we had a good laugh while we were there. The steps change a lot so that means you need to think as well as move and that’s good for the brain and the body. One of my friends dropped about 10kg just from the exercise so there was a lot to recommend about it.

    My daughter is away at university so it’s just Mr Monique and I at home. He has the world’s least consistent schedule so it makes couples activities really hard. One week he starts at 5am and the next at noon (dealing that is a whole blog post in itself so we’ll let that go for now).

    Anyway, I’ve been looking for something fun that gets us off the sofa that we can do together and I think I’ve found a Cuban dancing class that runs at 8pm on a Wednesday night that we should be able to take together. It should be amusing and then maybe we can hit some latin dance clubs on weekends once we skill up.

    This will no doubt be us but hey it does look fun. I’ll report back when I get going and let you know how bad we are – or maybe we’ll be awesome – okay not likely but possible. A girl must dream.

    Don’t forget to see what everyone else in the challenge has planned in the Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge here.

     

     

  • Blog

    Books I’d like to read in 2020 and why.

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    I know I’m late but I’m no quitter and especially not in week 2!

    This post is supposed to be about what books I’m looking forward to reading in 2020 and you want to know something weird – I don’t even know.

    This seems like a strange thing for a person who reads over 200 books a year but it happens to be true.  I think part of that is because I read what appeals to me when I find it. I’m on the mailing lists for loads of authors I love and when I see they have a new book out I am all over it. If I love your books I download them on release day and if I find a new author I love I literally read every one of their books.

    I have authors who, in 2019, I read fifteen or more books of theirs because I “discovered” them. I’m what writers call a whale reader. We’re the big fish everyone wants to catch. If those authors whose names I probably don’t even know – seriously I’m the worst – put a book out I will buy it.

    I saw Lucy Score has a new book out soon. I will buy that. Kristan Higgins has a new book out mid-year, yes I will but that as well. I’ve read Whitney Dineen’s newest series recently, I’ll get book three when it comes out. I read everything Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery publish even though I prefer their older series to the new. That’s about all I can remember of the top of my head.

    Maybe that’s because I have so many friends who are authors and I buy all their books and maybe it’s because I’m on every known email about new books and my inbox is bombarded daily with new releases and I just but the shiny thing that catches my eye, who knows.

    What I can tell you is I look forward to voraciously reading my way through 2020. I hope I discover lots of new series to devour and I hope some of those are unknown authors who crack the big time. I hope some of my favourite authors create new worlds I can delve into. I hope my chicklit friends write funny books that make me laugh and I hope my romance friends write me some swoon-worthy heroes.

  • Blog

    Goals for 2020 – the 52 Week Blogging Challenge

    Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

    Well you’re reading this blog post on my shiny new website so I’ve already achieved one goal that I’m pretty happy about. And I’m a few hours late but I’m participating in this  Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge  over at Long and Short Reviews as well so 2020 isn’t off to a bad start so far.

    I also have new covers for lots of my books that I spent much of 2019 getting ready to go so I feel like I’m in a good place to leap into the year ahead.

    I have very specific publishing goals in 2020 which include participating in three box sets, two books in the No Brides Club series for Sweet Promise Press (March and September) and finally releasing the final two books in the Courtside Romance Series.

    Beyond that I also have a new trilogy I’m excited to kick off this year.

    Aside from publishing new titles I have some box sets coming of my older series which I’m really looking forward to. As an author my main goal in 2020 is to monetize my back-list. I’m just shy of 30 books published and it’s time I started making some serious money from them.

    If you’re a regular follower of me or this blog you’ll know I often talk about how so much of being an author, especially and indie author is embracing new technology.  There are so many platforms and pieces of technology you can use to help you but each one however amazing has it’s own learning curve.

    The past eighteen months I’ve been so exhausted from a combination of life and my day job situation that I’ve shied away from new platforms to my own detriment.  (I continued to write and publish because for me that’s the joy of being a writer – I’m a story teller at heart ).

    So one of my major goals in 2020 is to embrace the technology I need to in order to succeed as an author.

    That’s probably enough for one year. My experience with goal[i] setting is that I’m better to concentrate on a few bigger goals rather than lots and lots of little ones.

  • Blog

    Holiday Wishes Romance Giveaway – enter today!

    12/9/2019

    Holiday Wishes Romance Giveaway Promo
    HOLIDAY WISHES ROMANCE GIVEAWAY
    December 5-25
    A Sleighful of Prizes and Video Holiday
    Greetings from the Authors!
    https://bookwrapt.com/holiday-wishes/

    Come listen and watch as some of your favorite romance authors give you their best wishes for the holiday in a special video! To celebrate the season, they’re giving away a grand prize package that includes a Kindle Fire, 6-months of Kindle Unlimited, and a $20 Amazon gift card. Santa also has a bag full of runners-up prizes, including gift cards and ebook prize packs.
    Still want more? Check out the fantastic reads in the Holiday Wishes All Romance Genres Book Fair, and play the Scavenger Hunt Game for your chance at a $50 Amazon gift card!
    https://bookwrapt.com/holiday-wishes-book-fair/

    (This giveaway is sponsored by the authors listed below)

    Allyson Lindt • Amanda Uhl • Angelica Kate • Anne McClane • C.A. King • C.D. Gorri • Crystal Dawn • Danielle M Haas • Debbie White • Diane Benefiel • Elizabeth Rose • Elsie Davis • Emmanuelle de Maupassant • G.K. Brady • ID Johnson • Jacqueline Diamond • Jacquie Biggar • JC Andrijeski • Jina Bacarr • Joanne Dannon • Josie Riviera • Judith Sterling • Karen Michelle Nutt • Kat Drennan • Kat Samuels • Kerry Blaisdell • Keta Diablo • Kristy Tate • Laurel O’Donnell • Liz Durano • Maria Elena Alonso Sierra • Melissa McClone • Michelle Jo Quinn • Mona Sedrak • Monique McDonell • Naomi Bellina • Penelope Wylde • Ravyn Wilde • Regan Walker • Rhondi Ann • Samantha Keith • Sara Beth Williams • Shana Gray • Sofie Darling • Soraya Naomi • Stormy Legend • Tammy Andresen • Victoria Saccenti • Zoe Dawson • Aileen Harkwood

  • Blog

    Sunday Funday – play these adorable No Brides Club puzzles today.

    11/30/2019

    Look – how fun are these babies? Puzzles for the No Brides Club Books
    One of the things I’ve loved about 2019 is that I’ve been part of so many amazing collaborations. Collaborating with other people means I’m exposed to their talent, their skills and their ideas. Together we’re better…

    Well look at these amazing puzzles Becky Muth made for the Sweet Promise Press No Brides Club series. Aren’t the fun? I just discovered them this morning and I’m tickled pink. Have a play and do the puzzles.

    The No Brides Club Logo

    First 6 No Brides Club Books

    My favourite – No Time for Temptation

    If you haven’t downloaded the latest book in the series No Time for Goodbyes grab your copy today.
    No Time For Goodbyes - Kindle Cover

    Comment

    Lori Plach
    12/2/2019 04:04:40 pm

    These books look incredible and need to go on my To Be Read Stack.

  • Blog

    Let’s get festive – an advent calendar full of gorgeous Christmas reads

    11/29/2019

    Every year author Elizabeth Ellen Carter collates this gorgeous Christmas Advent calendar and I’m exited to be part of it once again.

    Want to discover a new Christmas book every day this month…then this Christmas calendar is for you? Twenty four fabulous festive reads.  You can’t click until the day rolls over in your timezone…look out for some books by me, my lovelies.

    Don’t forget that I have lots of fun and excitement happening on my Facebook page in December so pop on over there regularly this month and join in the reindeer games with me.
  • Blog

    Let It Be Me Blog Tour – welcoming Laura Chapman

    10/27/2019

    Let It Be Me Banner

    This is my stop during the book blitz for Let It Be Me by Laura Chapman. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 21 till 27 October. See the tour schedule here.

    Let It Be Me - Cover
    Let It Be Me (Amarillo Sour #2)
    By Laura Chapman
    Genre: Romantic Comedy
    Age category: Adult
    Release Date: September 30, 2019

    Blurb:
    Who says history is boring?

    Professor James Mitchell has a rock star reputation. With a waitlist for all his classes, a best-selling book, and the requisite leather jacket, the university and publisher are eager to capitalize on this British sensation. But after his girlfriend leaves him for another man, James goes from rising scholar to spiraling bad boy. Forget contracts and tenure, James wants out—of his job, his book deal, and, better still, the country. He’s well on his way when his boss’s daughter walks into his favorite bar . . .

    Aspiring filmmaker Ali Ferguson-Day doesn’t scare easily. She’s been given the means to make a film of her own—on the condition she tames the professor. As the daughter of a famed documentarian and a renowned historian, she’s more than ready to step out of her parents’ shadows and shine on her own. She won’t let anyone—not even an unexpected charmer—get in her way.

    James and Ali butt heads from the start, but it isn’t long before their sparring gives way to attraction. There’s the promise of even more, if they can get past the fear of history repeating itself to let love in . . .

    You can find Let It Be Me on Goodreads

    You can buy Let It Be Me here:
    Amazon
    Barnes & Noble
    Kobo
    Apple
    Google Play

    Check out book 1 in this series: Counting on You
    Counting on You - Cover
    Is love worth the risk?

    Links:
    Goodreads
    Amazon
    Barnes & Noble
    Kobo
    Google Play
    iTunes

    About the Author:
    Laura Chapman is the award-winning and Amazon best-selling author of sweet and sexy romantic comedies. A born and raised Nebraska girl, she loves watching football, traveling, crafting, and baking. When she isn’t writing her next story, she is probably working at a museum by day and binge-watching Netflix with her cats Jane and Bingley at night. So, basically, she’s living large.

    You can find and contact Laura Chapman here:
    Website
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Goodreads
    Amazon
    Instagram
    Newsletter

    Giveaway
    There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Let It Be Me. One winner will win a $20 Amazon gift card.

    For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WRIpMmoaSds/Vjaa9IJymkI/AAAAAAAAEAM/myK-dXbbudM/s1600/LolasBlogToursBanner.jpg
    Let It Be Me - CoverExcerpt – Let It Be Me
    James Mitchell didn’t need a PhD to figure out why he’d been called into the department chair’s office. Unzipping his leather jacket, he slouched into the chair usually reserved for harried professors and students pleading for extra credit. Today, he was neither.
    Still nursing a bit of a hangover from the previous evening, he didn’t bother to cover his mouth as he yawned and made himself comfortable.
    He figured they might be in there a while.
    Dr. Ferguson—chair of the history department and, more importantly, his boss—didn’t waste time on salutations.

    It’s come to my attention that you failed to have your ‘War in the Middle Ages’ class on Monday.” Her ice-cold stare met his from across the desk, threatening to give him frostbite. “Again.”
    That simply wasn’t true. James was more than willing—eager, even—to accept blame for any and all of his missteps. But he wasn’t about to let people spread lies about him.
    “Actually, we held class.”
    “But you didn’t lecture, did you?”
    On that point, he could agree. Partially. “I provided an alternative educational experience.”
    Her eyes narrowed into slits. “You showed a movie.”
    “A movie set during the Middle Ages.”
    He’d even selected one about the Crusades, which even Dr. Ferguson—a post-Enlightenment scholar—had to know was period appropriate.
    “You played Robin Hood.”
    A movie set, in part, in a medieval battle zone. It was on topic.
    He studied the cuff of his leather fencing jacket. “It illustrates domestic issues and conflicts of the time shown through a mythical story.”
    Granted, the Robin Hood in this particular adaptation didn’t have a British accent. So it wasn’t accurate, strictly speaking. Still, if he—a displaced Brit—could tolerate Kevin Costner and Christian Slater, his boss should too.
    If possible, her scowl grew even more ferocious. There was no accounting for some people’s taste, he supposed.
    She shook her head. “I could look past the movie if you hadn’t called in sick on Tuesday.”
    “Yes, I . . . came down with something.”
    “It would seem you ‘came down’ with soccer tickets.”
    He flinched inwardly at her word choice. Before he could explain that everyone else in the world called it football, Fergie flipped her computer monitor around. There, in full color, was the Manchester United exhibition match held in Kansas City earlier that week. And there, in the middle of the photo, he stood with his face painted in red and white.
    “That could be anyone,” he lied.
    “Manchester United has quite a following, even over here.”
    Wordlessly, she clicked over to the next photo. In it, a pretty brunette held up a sign that boldly said, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES!” with an arrow pointing right at him.
    Based on the set of Dr. Ferguson’s jaw, he gathered she wouldn’t care that the woman was just a friend. The bartender at his favorite pub no less. She also probably wouldn’t care that the tickets had been a present from Sidney and Ford, the bar’s owner.
    He lifted a shoulder. “They’re my team. It was my first chance to see them play live since I moved here.”
    As a lifelong fan, it had been a miserable two years.
    “You also have a job to do here,” she reminded him. “One that your status in this country depends on.”
    He knew that, of course, but he was glad she was well aware of that fact too.
    “I covered the class,” he said.
    “You had your teaching assistant give a repeat showing of Robin Hood.”
    “It was ‘Introduction to the Middle Ages.’ They hadn’t seen it yet.”
    She muttered under her breath. He wasn’t certain, but she might have been counting to ten. In Old French.
    After taking a moment to recover her patience, she slid on a pair of glasses and read from a notebook. “You slept through your office hours on Wednesday morning.”
    The drive back from Kansas City had taken longer than expected. He’d been tired.
    “You told Dr. Anderson to ‘sod off’ when he asked you to peer review his paper.”
    Dr. Anderson should have known better than to ask. He specialized in the American Gilded Age. Their areas of expertise weren’t remotely close in geography or time.
    “You skipped the planning meeting for our upcoming Renaissance fair.”
    Again, not his area of study. Even if it was, he wouldn’t be caught dead at such a mockery of an event. The inaccuracies would drive him mad. While he could forgive Hollywood for its anachronisms, scholars should be held to a higher standard.
    “And you missed your deadline with the press.” She frowned. “The first draft of your new book was due last night.”
    “Actually, it was due in January.” At least according to his copy of the contract with the university’s press. “This was the extension.”
    “It was your extension’s extension.” She dropped the notepad and ripped off her glasses. “Your editor tells me you won’t even answer her calls.”
    “Do let her know I received the fruit basket she sent over. The kumquats and persimmons were a particularly nice touch.”
    If possible, her scowl grew even more ferocious. “This is simply unacceptable.”
    He certainly hoped so. “Understood.”
    “You do realize what this means?”
    He did. He was in breach of contract. Combined with his increasingly erratic behavior and his failure to complete his duties, there was no way she could let him get away with it any longer.
    Thank God for that. James was running out of ideas on ways to get fired.
    ***