• Falling for the Hokcey Player
    Blog

    Q&A with Jayne Kingsley to launch Falling for the Hockey Player

    Hopeless Romantics banner

    I’m doing Q&A’s with all the Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge Authors and this week it’s Jayne Kingsley’s turn.

    Jayne is a fellow Australian author who I have been lucky enough to meet in person! We’re looking forward to getting together to celebrate the launch of this series.

    1. What made you decide to write about this particular hero? 

    I love ice hockey and have always wanted to write a sweet ice hockey romance
    2. If you could spend an hour in Willow Ridge where would you go? 
    The book store of course! Followed by a trip to Latte Da to grab a coffee and then I’d meander to the Village Green and find a spot near the gazebo to read. Bliss!
    3. What did you enjoy most about writing this story? 
    I loved writing the meet cute between Georgia and Blake- they have a past where she left him so it was nice to turn the tables a little (hehe).
    4. What’s your favorite thing about writing small town romance? 
    The community and secondary characters. I love to include a few quirky characters and cute pets
    5. Are you or have you ever been in a bookclub yourself?
    No I haven’t! I’d love to join one though.

    Falling for the Hokcey Player

    Falling for the Deputy: A Small-Town Southern Romance (Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge Book 4)

    Can a group of hopeless romantics finally find love? Or are they destined always to be a bridesmaid and never the bride?

    After losing at love twice, Barbara Wilton needs a change, some place far from her home in Boston, so she takes a position as manager of a small branch bank in Willow Ridge, Georgia. She’s done with relationships and ready to concentrate on her career. The experience in Willow Ridge will help her move forward in the banking industry, but she doesn’t plan to stay there permanently. Nevertheless, an invitation to join the Hopeless Romantics book club, a position on a planning committee, helping a little league team that needs coaching, and being adopted by a stray dog begin to wind her into the community.

    Chris Harper was a police officer in Charlotte until his marriage fell apart. With his mother and elderly aunt in deteriorating health, Chris returns home to Willow Ridge to help them and takes a job as chief deputy to the local sheriff. The wound left by his failed marriage is still raw and, despite his mother’s nagging, he’s not interested in pursuing any relationship, even with the attractive new bank manager.

    Fate, helped by a few local residents, conspires to push Barbara and Chris together. They meet during a false alarm at the bank and then he assists her with a car problem. But when his aunt receives a foreclosure notice on her house, Chris is angry with Barbara for not warning him that his aunt was behind on her payments.

    She agrees to help him work out the problem with the bank, but the deeper issues between them keep flaring. Can two wary, wounded people learn to trust again and find happiness together? Find out in this sweet, second chance, enemies to lovers romance.

    The Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge series are sweet, small-town contemporary romances. Each book is a standalone and can be read individually or as part of the series.

    Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge series
    Book 1: Falling for the Boss
    Book 2: Falling for the Fireman
    Book 3: Falling for the Doctor
    Book 4: Falling for the Deputy
    Book 5: Falling for the Hockey Player
    Book 6: Falling for the Single Dad
    Book 7: Falling for the Farmer
    Book 8: Falling for the Scotsman

    Get it here

    And if you’d like to see the previous week’s Q&A click here.

  • Karen McCulloch release week banner
    Blog

    Q&A with Karen McCulloch to launch Falling for the Deputy

    I’m doing Q&A’s with all the Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge Authors and this week it’s Karen McCullough’s turn.

    Happy release week for Falling for the Deputy by Karen McCullough

    3. What made you decide to write about this particular hero?

    As a long-time mystery writer as well doing romance and fantasy, I’ve spent a fair amount of time around police and other law enforcement officers. U like and admire them. Most of them are good people, trying their best to help others and keep peace. I was intrigued by the idea of a man moving from the fast-paced life of a police officer in a large city (Charlotte) to a small town to become the Chief Deputy.  Why would he do that and how would it affect him?

    2. If you could spend an hour in Willow Ridge where would you go?

     Latte Da!  Love coffee and it seems like a warm and friendly place. Plus Georgia’s pastries…

    3. What did you enjoy most about writing this story?

    Pretty much everything. The heroine of the book is partly modeled after my sister, who is a banker, but not in a small Southern town. I knew that both my hero and heroine were coming off heart-breaking losses and that recovering from those and being open to a new relationship wouldn’t be easy. And of course I threw a few other obstacles in their way as well. But I also brought in the stray dog Mookie, and he tried to steal the show, along with my heroine’s heart.  Once I had the basic idea of what would happen, the book almost wrote itself.

    4. What’s your favorite thing about writing small town romance?

    As best I can remember, this is actually my first small-town romance and it’s required a considerable change of mindset. I grew up in a suburb of New York City and have lived in cities (or their suburbs) all my life. My books generally have urban settings. However, my husband is from a very small town in South Carolina, and we’ve spent enough time there and in other small towns in the southeast that I’ve been able at times to immerse myself in that culture and get the feel for it. There are a lot of things to like about writing in a small town setting – a warmth and friendliness to the people that you often don’t find in larger cities; the fact that everyone knows everyone else and their history;  and a simpler, more down-to-earth culture.

    5. Are you or have you ever been in a bookclub yourself?

    No, but I know people who are. I’ve been tempted to join because, of course, I love to read and do it a lot, but I think an author has very different perspectives on books and I’m not sure it would be helpful to other readers.

    Falling for the Deputy

    Falling for the Deputy: A Small-Town Southern Romance (Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge Book 4) 

    Can a group of hopeless romantics finally find love? Or are they destined always to be a bridesmaid and never the bride?

    After losing at love twice, Barbara Wilton needs a change, some place far from her home in Boston, so she takes a position as manager of a small branch bank in Willow Ridge, Georgia. She’s done with relationships and ready to concentrate on her career. The experience in Willow Ridge will help her move forward in the banking industry, but she doesn’t plan to stay there permanently. Nevertheless, an invitation to join the Hopeless Romantics book club, a position on a planning committee, helping a little league team that needs coaching, and being adopted by a stray dog begin to wind her into the community.

    Chris Harper was a police officer in Charlotte until his marriage fell apart. With his mother and elderly aunt in deteriorating health, Chris returns home to Willow Ridge to help them and takes a job as chief deputy to the local sheriff. The wound left by his failed marriage is still raw and, despite his mother’s nagging, he’s not interested in pursuing any relationship, even with the attractive new bank manager.

    Fate, helped by a few local residents, conspires to push Barbara and Chris together. They meet during a false alarm at the bank and then he assists her with a car problem. But when his aunt receives a foreclosure notice on her house, Chris is angry with Barbara for not warning him that his aunt was behind on her payments.

    She agrees to help him work out the problem with the bank, but the deeper issues between them keep flaring. Can two wary, wounded people learn to trust again and find happiness together? Find out in this sweet, second chance, enemies to lovers romance.

    The Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge series are sweet, small-town contemporary romances. Each book is a standalone and can be read individually or as part of the series.

    Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge series
    Book 1: Falling for the Boss
    Book 2: Falling for the Fireman
    Book 3: Falling for the Doctor
    Book 4: Falling for the Deputy
    Book 5: Falling for the Hockey Player
    Book 6: Falling for the Single Dad
    Book 7: Falling for the Farmer
    Book 8: Falling for the Scotsman

    Grab it here now.

    See my previous Q&A with Cindy Ray Hale here.

  • Falling for the Deputy
    Blog

    Release Week for the first three books in the Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge Series

    Release day banner 2

    Finally, it’s release week for the first books in the Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge series!

    As of today, the first three books in the Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge Series are live.  Falling for the Boss, Falling for the Fireman and Falling fot the Doctor are all available to start reading today and they’re all in Kindle Unlimited. I’m so excited they’re live and can’t wait for the release of the rest of the series in the coming weeks.

    I asked Cindy Ray Hale, author of Falling for the Doctor a few questions about the inspiration for her book. (I’ll be asking the authors this through the release process in the coming weeks so come back to read their answers.)

    release banner for Falling for the Doctor1. What made you decide to write about this particular hero? 

    I know what it’s like to be a single mom, and my son just had tubes in his ears. Also, I was a home health aide to my grandpa who had dementia.   

     2. If you could spend an hour in Willow Ridge where would you go? 

    Anywhere near the water. Or Latte Da. It sounds like a fun coffee shop. I’d love to hear the gossip.   

     3. What did you enjoy most about writing this story? 

    I loved the part about going to Blackbeard Island and boating. It made me miss sunshine and summer.  

     4. What’s your favorite thing about writing small town romance? 

    I love the town gossips and how the entire town pulls together to help each other.  

     5. Are you or have you ever been in a bookclub yourself?

    Yes. I’ve been in many book clubs. I’m not in one currently, and it’s really too bad. It was great to connect with the other readers, eat good food.

    You can get Falling for the Doctor here.

    And you can check out the whole series here!

    See Karen McCulloch’s interview here.

     

     

  • Blog

    New release Friday February 2022

    Another month has flown by – here are some February New Releases from my author friends. Some are sweet, some are steamy and some are just a little bit scary so be sure to check those blurbs before you download!

     

    New Release Friday

    1998 (90s Flashback Series Book 3)

    1988A magical romantic comedy from bestselling author Kirsty McManus!

    Anna finally has it all: a gorgeous partner, a successful business, and the best friends a gal could ask for.

    But just when she thought she’d finally achieved her happily ever after, she finds herself alone again.

    Kurt, her soulmate, is leaving the country for three whole months—and while he’s gone, he’s given her some serious decisions to consider. Anna must rely on her support network—plus her trusty time-travelling compound—to get her through.

    However, soon after Kurt’s departure, Anna’s ex-husband makes a reappearance—and until she finds a way to banish his demons, neither of them can move forward.

    But once she tackles that problem, a worse one arises.

    Could the secret she uncovers derail the life she’s worked so hard towards?

    Time travel has a lot to answer for.

    Get it here

    Dead HeatDead Heat

    Sofia Aves’ Dead Heat is an enemies-to-lovers, athlete workplace romance in K. Bromberg’s Driven World.

    KC Hawk has his mind on the game. Specifically the one that makes the wheels cross the finish line first at the end of every race.

    While his team is hand-picked from the best talent there is, he’s missing that pizazz factor. And Hawk knows just where to get it. The cheerleader for his greatest rival would be a great asset on his team, and in his bed.

    Sunny Cooper loves her job as PR agent for one of the hottest new talents on the track. Sure, he can be a little enthusiastic and turns up with the party boy attitude, but he brings the trophies in, and Sunny gets to have her dream job.


    Until KC Hawking offers her a better one—and ruins her dreams in a single night.

    Get your copy here…

    Already GoneAlready Gone: A Miranda Jack Novella Kindle Edition

    Prequel to crime thriller Already Dead.
    Two months has passed since Miranda Jack’s husband Nick was killed in a hit-and-run and she is no closer to understanding why. The police have stopped taking her calls so Jax has gone back to the street where Nick was found in search of her own answers.
    Eighty-five year old Irene Newton has been haunted by the death of a man on the road beyond her fence two months ago. The appearance of his wife at her door reawakens painful memories of the daughter she lost and the questions she was told to forget.
    Jax is horrified Irene has waited forty years for answers and frightened she could face the same fate. But when the questions surrounding Nick’s murder won’t let her rest, Jax reaches for Irene’s mystery – because finding any answers is better than finding none.
    Until the questions become dangerous.

    Get it here

     

    Penalty Shot

    Penalty Shot: A Best Friend’s Little Sister Forbidden Romance (A Minnesota Raiders Novel)

    I take my superstitions seriously in hockey; when the Raiders are on a winning streak, I don’t shave my beard.

    A woman like Lena Torsten doesn’t want a beast.

    It doesn’t matter, anyway. She’s off limits. She’s my best friend’s little sister and he’s asked me to watch over her while she’s in town. I’ve never been allowed to want her. I’ve never even let myself think about having her:

    Until she ends up staying with me at my cabin and I can think of nothing but Lena. If Mark ever finds out what I want with his sister…well, my time is up.

    Beauty and the Beast is nothing but a fairy tale. Those kinds of happy endings don’t exist, do they?

    PENALTY SHOT is book 7 in the Minnesota Raiders series.

    Get it here

  • New Release Friday
    Blog

    New Release Friday

    New Release Friday

    Time for New Release Friday. Here are some new releases my author friends have put out so far this year. I’ve read some but not others. If you read them let me know your thoughts in the comments.

    I hope you find something to enjoy – if so; I know they’d love a review.

    The Paid Bridesmaid: A Novel

    The Paid Bridesmaid

    From Sariah Wilson, the bestselling author of Roommaid, comes a captivating romantic comedy about what happens when a wedding party mixes business with romance.

    Rachel Vinson is a bridesmaid for hire: part confidante, part wedding planner, and one hundred percent pretend BFF. Discretion guaranteed. Her next gig is a destination wedding—livestreamed and sponsored—for an Instagram influencer. That means a paradise of new contacts, which could be a boon to her already booming business. If Rachel can keep the very handsome and slightly too interested best man at bay, that is.

    High-tech entrepreneur Camden Lewis must know: Who is this gorgeous, intelligent, and mysterious woman? Too good to be real. Convinced she’s a corporate spy out to tank his company, Camden’s not letting her out of his sight. But the constant surveillance is also opening his eyes to things about Rachel that he likes. If she’s a spy, she’s certainly the cutest one he’s ever seen.

    As the week’s worth of wedding events march along, Rachel and Camden are learning almost everything there is to know about each other. Rachel’s made a career out of always a bridesmaid…but perhaps there’s a chance for her own trip down the aisle?

    Get it here

    Fight the Burn: A Steamy Forbidden Love Firefighter Romance (A Cinnamon Bay Romance, Collection Four, Book 1)

    Fight the Burn

    A blind date gone horribly wrong…or horribly right?

    Adam Schiffman isn’t opposed to being set up on a blind date, until the woman in question turns out to be the one he isn’t allowed to want. After all, he and her husband were firefighters together, and Gabe’s death is on Adam’s shoulders.

    Madeline Monroe doesn’t blame him. In fact, they’ve always had a flirtatious relationship, and have been friends for as long as she can remember. But she is Adam’s opposite. She has a past outside of her control and a dead husband under her belt. It’s a line they should not cross. Until she needs someone to come to her sister’s baby shower to pretend to be her rebound guy. Not a problem. Adam a stand-up man who doesn’t hesitate to do anything for the people he cares about. Including Maddie.

    Now he needs a wedding date, and no one else is biting on the line. What would one little date hurt? It’s not like Mad Maddie a bad person. In fact, she’s a very good person. Kind and compassionate and yeah, sexy as hell. He has to admit it.

    They don’t want to resist each other but they know they have to. It isn’t right. Especially since some people in town blame Adam for what happened in the past. Can these two get over the sins of the past? Or has this forbidden love been doomed from the start?

    FIGHT THE BURN is book 1 in A Cinnamon Bay Romance, Collection 4.

    Get it here

    The Buy-In: A Sweet Small-Town Romantic Comedy (Graham Brothers Sweet Rom Com Series Book 1)

    The Buy In

    “You can’t Schitt’s Creek a town, Tank.”
    “And you can’t 
    verb a noun, son.”

    When a family of former pro football players buy a small Texas town, they didn’t intend to start a war with its residents … or to fall in love.

    Ever since his career-ending injury, Pat has bounced from job to job, idea to idea, short-lived relationship to short-lived relationship. But when his father purchases the town of Sheet Cake, Pat suddenly sees his life with clear purpose: get his brothers on board with his dad’s wild idea and win back the one woman who got away.

    Lindy was supposed to be traveling the world, not stuck in a small town, caring for her niece. But she would do anything to keep custody of Jo–even if that looks like a marriage of convenience with the man who already broke her heart once.

    Now if she can only keep herself from falling back in love with her husband…

    This is a small town, marriage of convenience romantic comedy with plenty of sizzle while keeping the bedroom door closed. It’s the first in a spinoff series following Harper’s brothers (from Falling for Your Best Friend). You don’t need to have read the Love Clichés series first to enjoy this book.

    Get it here

    Falling for The Suitor: A sweet, reality show rom-com (Suitor Science Book 1)

    Falling for the Suitor

    Finding love on a reality show isn’t possible. It can’t be real. Or can it?

    “I DEVOURED it in a single day…deliciously fun read!”

    Bexley:

    It wasn’t my idea to try out for The Suitor, because who really falls in love after twelve weeks with every move televised? I’m not good at love… or being camera-ready 24/7. But now that I’m here, I’m in it to win it. To be the last woman standing. To find…love? At least like, because falling in love is too much to ask for.

    Until I meet The Suitor—Grayson Grant, former player on and off the field, and with the smile that can light up a city—and the spark between us makes me forget all the reasons I didn’t want to come on the show.

    I’m going to win this. I’m going to win him.

    Unfortunately, twenty-five other women think the same thing.

    Grayson:

    Getting your heart broken on a reality show will do great things for your popularity. But what viewers don’t know is that my heart wasn’t really broken. I’m back for a second chance to get back into the game and this time I get to choose. There’s twenty-five gorgeous women up for grabs, and twelve weeks to decide.

    And then I meet Bexley. It’s over for me.

    Except there’s all these other women standing in my way of being with Bexley at the end, and my contract clearly states they need a chance too.

    The course of true love never runs straight, especially not on reality TV.

    Falling for The Suitor is the first in the new Suitor Science Series, a charmingly sweet, dual POV, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy full of sparks and power surges. You’ll be rooting for a happily ever after for your new favourite couple. You’ll fall for The Suitor!

    Get it here

    Hazard’s Mistress: Hearts in Hiding

    hazard's mistress

    Drab companion by day, dashing gambling queen by night!

    Having disgraced herself by ‘chasing the scarlet’ in her youth, Louisa Stapleton has endured nine years of drudgery as penance.

    Now a marriage proposal from the unctuous Mr. Rivers, who promises to redeem her stained’ character, looks likely to compound her woes; for Louisa’s aunt, to whom she is beholden, has threatened to cast her out if she refuses.

    Will a night-time subterfuge, which enables Louisa to reveal her true self in the company of handsome and dashing Felix Evesham, be the catalyst for long-lasting happiness?

    Or will discovery put an end to her hopes for a love-filled future?

    Find out in another exciting romance from the Hearts in Hiding series where enterprising heroines must hide their hearts to escape danger in order to find their happily-ever-after.

    Get it here.

    Snap Shot: A One Night Stand, Enemies to Lovers Romance (A Minnesota Raiders Novel)

    Snap Shot

    There’s nothing wrong with a little sexy foreplay for your Vegas one-night stand, am I right? It only becomes a problem when you get home and realize your hook-up now has naked photos of you in your full glory (and I am glorious, don’t worry about that). Now I have no way to track her down.

    Maybe she won’t sell the pictures to the press, even if I am a NHL hockey player and she stands to make a mint. There might still be good–and really, really smokin’ hot–people out there. I’m staking my career on a stranger’s moral compass.

    That’s what I hope for, at least, until I discover that Smithy aka Morgan Smith is now moonlighting as a paparazzi. She needs the money to help her kid and I can’t tell if she’s playing me or if she’s actually a decent woman who won’t resort to blackmail.

    I don’t want to believe she’ll sell my pictures, but she’s in a very, very tight spot. So am I: those pictures can ruin my career.

    Is it wrong that I’m still madly attracted to the one woman who can destroy me?

    I need a solution to this dilemma so we can both move on with our lives and go our separate ways. Because I am not the kind of guy who falls for anyone, least of all his one night stand. No matter how badly I want her.

    SNAP SHOT is Book 6 in the Minnesota Raiders Series

    Get it here.

    A Sinful Start

     

    Dangerous, wild, sinful.

    Innocent. 

    A sinful startOnce unguided, our paths were obscured until she gave us purpose.

    Mother.

    Our introduction to a group of women who fight for the right side of wrong.

    Men. Sex. Sin.

    We ruin the rules, and we revel in it.

    We became the Sisters of Sin.

    Vanity.

    Aggravate.

    Pride.

    Read three origin stories to the femme fatale SISTERS OF SIN series by USA Today and bestselling romantic suspense authors Sofia Aves, Terry Wells-Brown and Heather Osbourne in one stunning volume.

    Get It Here

     

  • Hopeless Romtics banner
    Blog

    Announcing the Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge

    Hopeless Romtics banner

    I’m so excited to be announcing the Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge. It’s a while since I’ve had a new series to share with you.

    This fun new sweet, small town romance series is launching in March 2022 and I’m a part of it. I think you’re going to love all the women of Willow Ridge and their fun bookclub.

    Here’s the blurb for my book Falling for the Fireman

    Can a group of hopeless romantics finally find love? Or are they destined always to be a bridesmaid and never the bride?

    Falling for the firemanBronte Fishburn loves her hometown of Willow Ridge and her job as an elementary school teacher, but she wishes she could find someone to spend her life with. Someone who loves this town and wants to settle here as much as she does. She used to dream that someone would be her neighbor Ben, but he left her behind years ago and it’s time she created a new dream. Except now Ben is back, sleeping in her spare room and a constant reminder of what she can’t have.

    Firefighter Benjamin Wakefield vowed never to return to Willow Ridge. But his grandfather needs his help to clean out his house and move to a retirement community, so after ten years away he’s back in a town that seems unchanged. Another thing that hasn’t changed are his feelings for Bronte, who is brighter and more beautiful than the day he left. But she’s still too good for him and he’s still not planning to stay. He needs to resist the urge to ignite that growing spark between them to be the good guy she thinks he is.

    Is the pull between Ben and Bronte enough to build a future on? Find out in this friends to lovers, boy next door small town romance.

    The Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge series are sweet, small-town contemporary romances. Each book is a standalone and can be read individually or as part of the series.

    Hopeless Romantics of Willow Ridge series

    Book 1: Falling for the Boss

    Book 2: Falling for the Fireman

    Book 3: Falling for the Doctor

    Book 4: Falling for the Deputy

    Book 5: Falling for the Hockey Player

    Book 6: Falling for the Single Dad

    Book 7: Falling for the Farmer

    Book 8: Falling for the Scotsman

    You can preorder the whole series here.

  • Marlin Shores series
    Blog

    Looking back on 2021 and towards 2022

    Wow, that’s a wrap on 2021 and I can’t say I’m sorry. I thought I’d kick off looking back on 2021 and towards 2022 for my writing life.

    The year started with my father going to hospital on the first and honestly it’s been a mixed bag since. I lost the first two weeks of January and I was playing catch up for months. (An excellent lesson in not being so last-minute).

    I do try to find the good, so here we go:

    Marlin Shores series

    1. I released Saltwater Tears and Saltwater Wishes in the first quarter of 2021. I love these stories and the town of Marlin Shores – I have ideas for some more stories set there.
    2. I finished my Upper Crust Series with Any Way You Wish It – there may be a spin off trilogy, we shall see.
    3. I released 7 shorts for one pen name in the first half of 2021. That was a lot of fun and that pen name taught me a lot!
    4. I walked away from a couple of writing commitments that were no longer brining me enough joy for the time invested. (This was huge for me!)
    5. I went to Melbourne in May for a week long intensive with a fellow writer and I got all my admin done and that hard work tripled my income in 2 months.
    6. My co-author and I released 6 novels and a list building novella between June and December for our shared pen name. This pen name has been a source of both joy and success for me and the highlight of my year in so many ways.
    7. My March release for a new multi-author series is already written.
    8. My newsletter building/free novella for another new pen name is already written.
    9. I joined two writing groups here in the Newcastle/Hunter region and made lots of new writing friends.
    10. I started doing plotting consults for Love Kissed Promotions and that’s been lots of fun and super interesting.

    Next year:

    1. I have a new release in March.
    2. I will put together a box set for the Marlin Shores trilogy in the first half of 2022
    3. I’m launching a new pen name in March and plan to release 4 books for that name in 2022
    4. I’m expanding my online paperback store to include more of my newer titles in January/February
    5. My co-writer and I have at least 10 books planned for our shared pen name
    6. I’m on the schedule to speak at RWA (Australia) in August about surprise surprise, Launching a Niche Genre Pen Name. (I don’t know that I’ll get to go with border issues, but I’ll cross my fingers)
    7. I’m hoping to go to 20booksvegas – an awesome writing conference I made it to in 2018 and for obvious reasons didn’t get back to.
    8. I’m rebranding a couple of my series
    9. I’m hoping to get my business Indie Author Rescue running properly so I can assist more authors (I do know how to finish a book, manage my time and launch a book that much i certain)
    10. I know it will be my best year yet!

    I hope you have big plans for 2022, do share them with me.

  • Writers on Wednesday
    Blog

    Let’s talk about making friends as an adult…

    Reflection and life advice at the end of 2021

    So a little context here if you’re new to my blog – in late August 2020 (yes, already a tough year, and if I’m honest, my 2019 was already a doozy for me personally) my husband got transferred for work. We packed up our life,friends rented out our house (which needed more than a little TLC before we could do that), we found somewhere to live and moved to Newcastle, located about 2.5 hours north of Sydney (depending on traffic).

    We lucked out on a great apartment, and my husband went to work. As a writer who also does some professional consulting, I gave myself the rest of the year to adjust and went to work writing…or recovering. It was a brutal move.

    It was the suddenness, I think, combined with the fact that we’d built our house and our college aged daughter had never lived anywhere else. Although I never believed she’d permanently live with us again, our new home was not/is not her home. She has no friends here and no emotional connection to the place.

    Layer on the fact that we’re not people who whine and I’m a big believer in making the best of things. Our photos of the local beaches or the view from our balcony made our new life look awesome. And there’s nothing at all wrong with it, but it wasn’t home and the friends I’d spent a lifetime making were not around the corner.

    Let me be frank, I consider making friends very important. I always have.

    My New Year’s resolution every year includes – make a new friend.

    At every job I start, or every new hobby or activity I commence, I make it a goal to make a new friend. Sometimes I just make one. Sometimes I make many.

    I don’t lack for friends. In fact, I was so overwhelmed by the number of people I needed to put on my list and include for my last significant birthday, I took a vacation instead. I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

    I have high school friends, college friends, mother’s group friends, tennis friends, P&C (PTA friends), bookclub friend, writing friends not to mention the aforementioned work friends – it’s probably lucky I worked alone so much or it would be overwhelming .

    I collect people happily.

    Sometimes, but very rarely, I shed friends. This always makes me sad and I always have regrets about it, especially if I messed up. None of us is perfect. We’re going to say things or make mistakes and that’s painful to deal with. It happens. That doesn’t mean you should stop putting yourself out there and get bitter.

    All this might lead you to believe I’m an extrovert and you would be dead wrong.

    I’m the biggest home body you’ve ever met – I just also like people. I spend hours and hours alone, in silence and I’m 100% okay with it.

    So what’s the point of this blog post? Making friends as an adult is a skill and most of us don’t develop it.

    As kids opportunities for friendship abound – school, sports, activities. As we grow and go to college, and have kids at school those opportunities seem endless, but for adults without children and empty nesters the opportunities come to you less and less.

    It’s hard work putting yourself out there. It’s hard to make the first move. When I arrived in Newcastle, I knew a couple of writers from RWA conferences and several from online writing groups. At the conferences in the past, I always tried to be friendly, and to talk to people who were standing alone or looked lost. Some of these people I saw for a couple of days once a year but not always.

    Anyway, I didn’t know that some of those efforts of putting myself out there when I could have stood with my friends in the corner would pay off years later.

    I was so grateful when these women invited me to join their writing groups. I started 2021 as part of two writing groups. One meets mainly online and the other in person monthly. Here’s the truth – I really did not want to join a writing group – I just wasn’t in the headspace for it but I knew if I didn’t that I wouldn’t get invited again so I said yes to both.

    They have both been sources of great joy and companionship for me. As a result, I’ve had walks, coffees, Zooms, dinners, and glasses of wine with lots of lovely people and I’ve made new friends…and so have they.

    I started writing this after a morning tea with one of these writers. She asked to meet up and I could read even in her email that she was nervous to reach out. She’s a smart and accomplished woman but I suspect it’s a while since she made a new friend. We had a lovely outing and have plans to do it again. I could see how happy and relieved she was that it went well.

    Why am I writing this?

    Never underestimate the difference your offer of friendship might make to someone and try to make new friends. Yes, it can be risky putting yourself out there. Sure someone people turn out to not be your people but you won’t know unless you try and you never know when that skill might be needed more than you ever expected.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • Blog

    New release Friday – it’s back after a hiatus!

    New Release Friday
    New Release Friday

    New release Friday is back!

    I haven’t done this in a while but I have a lot of friends with new books out this week so I thought why not share the excitement.

    These books range from sweet to steamy, so be sure to read their blurbs before downloading if you’re adverse to anything hot.

    Second Shot Pippa Green

    Second Shot: A Fake Relationship Sports Romance (A Minnesota Raiders Novel)

    I’m Seamus Byrne, professional hockey player. I’ve been called a beast on the ice because I never let anything slow me down. But that was before an unfortunate knee injury takes me out of the game for the rest of the current NHL season. As if that isn’t enough, my wife decides she wants a divorce and drops that bomb on me immediately after my injury.

    Talk about kicking a man while he’s down.

    But what’s that old saying about silver linings? My silver lining through it all is my awesome doctor, Nicole Stewart. She’s stubborn and sweet and has a few secrets of her own. She’s also a fighter, and she won’t stop fighting for me to heal and get my career back. Her genuine concern makes me wonder if she and I could ever…

    But I’m all kinds of wrong for her. I should stay away.

    Then I go and do something so impulsive that it puts her future in jeopardy. Now I’m the one who has to fight for her, and I can’t exactly say it’s a hardship.

    Because I’m starting to see how a great woman like Nicole could give a guy like me a second shot at true love.

     

    Whatever it takes

    Whatever It Takes: A Second-Chance Musical Theater Romantic Comedy (A Center Stage Love Story Book 3)

    Leslie:
    Do your best. Be the best. Whatever it takes.

    It sounds like a line from some superhero movie, not a family motto. Except it is the Moose family creed. We even have it on T-shirts. Snazzy apparel aside, it means I’ve grown up with a lot of pressure to, well, be the best.

    Except I’m not. No matter how hard I’ve worked, it’s time to face the fact that I’m never going to have a career as a professional ballerina. I’ll do the next best thing—I can dance in the theatre. Thanks to that eight-week drama camp when I was a teenager, as well as a stubborn-to-the-point-of-foolish drive, I’m ready to take on this challenge, even if it means moving from New York City to a small Upstate town.

    Especially if it means I get to be reunited with the boy I fell in love with at that camp…

    Josh:
    Oh no. I’m not working with her.

    She broke my heart, ghosting me after the most incredible summer together. But now, here she is, and we need her to make The Edison successful. The stakes are high, and if this show works out, there’s a shot I’ll finally get my chance to bring the production I’ve been writing ever since she left me to the stage.

    The show must go on. Whatever it takes.

    USA Today Bestselling Author, Kathryn R. Biel, takes you back to The Edison Theater for Act Three in this powerful and moving tale of second chance love and finally loving yourself.

    Tinsel and Tatas

    Tinsel and Tatas: A Holiday Romantic Comedy Anthology Kindle Edition

    Get a head start on the holiday spirit by reading for a great cause! Nearly twenty of today’s most entertaining rom-com authors have teamed up to sell #Books4Boobs. This collection of holiday shorts ranges from sweet to steamy and promises to entertain. 100% of proceeds will benefit the Young Survival Coalition, an international organization focusing on women ages 40 and under who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Titles and Authors

    • Wilder for the Win by Serena Bell
    • Last One Gets the Booby Prize by Kilby Blades
    • Tattooed Tatas by Kameron Claire
    • Mixing Merrymas by Dylann Crush
    • A Trivia Pursuit by Hope Ellis
    • Two Nights to Believe by Melonie Johnson
    • Tits the Season by Tawdra Kandle
    • Decidedly with Tinsel by Stina Lindenblatt
    • The Great Christmas Race by Elizabeth Lynx
    • All I Want is You by Claire Marti
    • Wreath this Ring by MK Meredith
    • Star Bright by Susannah Nix
    • Ta Ta To Heartbreak by Tracey Pedersen
    • Pretty Packages by Marika Ray
    • Rock, Paper, Santa by Piper Rayne
    • Tinsel Bomb by Arell Rivers
    • A Brit Under the Mistletoe by Brenda St John Brown
    • Booby Trapped by Sylvie Stewart

    Mistle text

    Mistle Text: ‘Twas the Text Before Christmas … (An Accidentally in Love Story Book 5)

    ‘Twas the text before Christmas…

    I’m Holly Snow and I’m in desperate need of a miracle.

    I’ve been raising my five-year-old niece, Faith, since she was a baby. As much as I love her, I was twenty-three when my sister died. There was no way I was ready to be a single mom.

    A few months ago, I managed to get Faith a partial scholarship to a ritzy preschool for gifted children. I’ve been struggling to make my portion of the tuition payments ever since. The bottom line is that I need to make more money. At this point, I’ll take any job that allows me to look after Faith while I work—as it doesn’t involve anything weird or illegal.

    So, when my bestie, Toni, tells me her tall, dark, and Scroogy boss needs a personal shopper to take care of all his Christmas needs, I leap at the opportunity.

    When I say yes, I have no idea Mr. Incredible will also end up needing a fake girlfriend.  Apparently, he’s got to prove to his family that he’s the marrying type or they won’t be turning over the keys to their investment brokerage to him come January.

    I should definitely say no, but I’d be crazy not to take the obscene amount of money he’s throwing my way. (Besides, who wouldn’t want to live in the lap of luxury in a Newport mansion for a few days?)

    As a bonus, Faith and I get completely new wardrobes so we can fit in. Now, I just have to promise myself not to fall in love with him.

    Which is easier said than done.