Friday, September 17, 2021

Book Feature: Forever Winter by Amber Daulton

A perfect Christmas wedding, a snowstorm, and a shocking secret. What could go wrong?

Susanna Lorican must marry the man she loves before the truth is discovered, or face the gossip of the ton. With an unexpected snowstorm injuring the minister, her future hangs in the balance.

Viscount Camden Beckinworth vows to keep his bride safe, even if he must betray her confidence. When their love is put to the test, how will he uphold her honor without jeopardizing his own?


Sweet and cute romances — a big all genre giveaway



Enjoy the swoony September weather with these cute, sweet and clean romantic reads. Giveaway ends 1st Oct 2021.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Is it really September already?

We're more than a fortnight into the month, and I still can't believe it's September already. I still remember the goals I set at the start of the year — finishing The Guy from the Library was certainly one of them — as well as all the projects, scheduling troubles, and other personal admin follies I knew I'd be contending with. I guess I just can't believe a brand new year will be starting soon.

Right now, I'm working on another Somerville Story, The Guy from the Park, though I really should get a wriggle on with The Guy from the Wedding. But I've hit a snag with that one. The old outline I was using when I started that story isn't working for me anymore. It didn't give me enough room to explore the characters' personalities enough to let them shine through in the story.

I stumbled upon a new planning system, and now that I've reconsidered Wedding in that light, I may go back to the drawing board. Hopefully a revised outline will mean faster chapter updates once things get going again.

Hopefully 🀞

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Guest Feature + Giveaway: An interview with Kerry Evelyn, author of Cruising on Ice

On the blog today, I'm pleased to feature Kerry Evelyn, author of a newly released sweet friends-to-lovers hockey romance, Cruising on Ice.

Remember to enter the giveaway — you'll find details at the end of this post!


Kerry, what are your favorite hockey teams, and do you have a favourite player?

My favorite teams are the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and my hometown Orlando Solar Bears! Don’t laugh, but my assistant asked this question recently, and I named off 15 players! Here they are, in ABC order by last name: Noel Acciari, Ray Bourque, Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde, Wayne Gretzky, Spencer Knight, David Krejci, Nikita Kucherov, Pat Maroon, Cam Neely, Bobby Orr, David Pastrnak, Brayden Point, Luc Robitaille, and Tyler Seguin.


How did you choose your pen name?

My grandmother, Evelyn, was my best friend and greatest encourager. She died while I was writing my first book. Now our names are linked together on books, swag, social media; everywhere! I miss her so much.


Can you, for those who don't know you already, share something about yourself and how you became an author?

I’ve been an avid reader since I borrowed Boy Crazy Stacy from my friend Kate in fourth grade! I’ve always been a writer; at three years old I wrote letters to my nana in heaven. By middle school, Zelda inspired me to draw my own fairyland maps and write stories about the characters who lived there. In high school, I wrote a children’s book and wrote for the school paper, and was co-editor for a year. I wrote feature articles for my college’s newspaper, and when I graduated, I wrote children’s stories for the kids in my elementary school classes. I was always the one to offer to write the newsletter in the groups I belonged to. But it wasn’t until 2015 I decided to give writing a novel a go. I always wanted to, but I lacked the skills and confidence to do it. When I was challenged to put on my big-girl pants and butt-kickin’ boots and do it already, I decided to take some classes and give it a try. Six years later, I’ve published eight novels and over a dozen short stories. I pinch myself daily. 


What is something unique/quirky about you?

I put ketchup on my mac-n-cheese. I really love the tomatoey sweetness on melted cheddar. It’s not so weird, I think – lost of people put ketchup on cheeseburgers, haha!


What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who drive in the rain without their lights on. It’s the only way to see a white car in a snowstorm and a silver car in a steamy Florida summer deluge!


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Dartmouth, on the SouthCoast of Massachusetts. It’s a charming college town on Buzzards Bay, halfway between Providence Rhode Island Cape Cod. It’s got everything – farms, a state park, beautiful beaches, a mall, and Padanaram, a gorgeous historical village right on the water. Across the peninsula is Clark’s Cove and the city of New Bedford where I lived and taught elementary school for a couple years. The Covewalk, “floating” lighthouse, and coastal geography partially inspired my fictional town of Crane’s Cove.


If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

If I was healthy, I’d take everyone I knew to Disney World and spend the day soaking in all the magic, until the last firework fizzled out. If I was bed-ridden, I’d want to be on a balcony overlooking the ocean, with my family and friends holding my hands and praying over me, and drift off to the peaceful sounds of the waves. 


What kind of world ruler would you be?

I’m a Hufflepuff, so I’d need a second-in-command to keep me from ruling with my emotions, which would end in disaster. 


What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like to just sit. With a book, with a drink, with a person, with my laptop or notebook, etc. Just sit and enjoy the peace of being content. 


How to find time to write as a parent?

Every year has been different! At first, I’d write while my kids were napping or after they went to bed. Then, while they were at school. Now I’m the study hall monitor at their school, and I get a lot of writing done while I’m watching the kids!


Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Takes the road less traveled! I never do anything status quo. I felt Dumbledore’s words when he spoke about choosing what is right versus what is easy. 


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve been writing my whole life. I had work published in high school publications and wrote for the school newspaper and became co-editor-in-chief my junior-senior year. I always thought I would go into journalism, but it was too heart-wrenching for me. I wrote feature articles for my college paper, and took a children’s writing course when I graduated. Teaching elementary school gave me a ton of opportunities to make up stories and curriculum, and for a while it was enough. In 2015, after being challenged at a conference, I decided to finally write that novel I’d always aspired to create. 


Do you have a favorite movie?

Depends on the day! My top two are The Sound of Music and Gone with the Wind!


Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

Oh, any of them! They’re all such feel-good stories. But I think Love on the Edge would do the best in the theaters. The added element of suspense combined with my characters’ emotional wounds and kickass determination to get the bag guy would translate awesomely to film!


What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

Every place I travel to is a literary pilgrimage! If it’s not a place I’ve already written, I treat it as a future setting. I read all the things, visit all the things that interest me, and make note of everything I love about it for possible future reference. 


As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Definitely a swan! My grandmother, Evelyn loved swans. They’re beautiful, full of grace, and mate for life. Perfect for a romance novelist!


Friday, September 10, 2021

Some things you can't duck — a guest post from Vida Li Sik

Visiting today is author Vida Li Sik, author of sweet South African romances Remember Me, Caught and Bowled, and Bowled Over. She's here to tell us a bit about love in the Rainbow Nation, and share the story of her latest release, Curveball.


Here in Africa, there is an interesting custom to pay lobola—a dowry for the bride based on her education, job and skills. This age-old tradition is meant to build a bridge between the two families, but it's a process that can become quite stressful when the woman's family sets the "price of cows" too high. These days, there is even an app to help you calculate how much a bride is worth!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Romance Book Giveaway on StoryOrigin


A reader lives a thousand lives before they die. This is an all-genre, all heat level giveaway for romance reads. Ends 1 Oct 2021.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Guy from the Library is here!

Well, now! It seems like the most effective way for me to get things done is not to share them as goals on this blog. After finishing a couple of big projects in July, I finally got a chance to put my head down and finish The Guy from the Library, a short sweet romance featuring two sensitive souls ready for their next chapter.

Check it out:


The Guy from the Library

She's ready for a new chapter.

Andrea trusts books more than boys. After all, they don’t embarrass you or make mean jokes, and they’re certainly clear about their intentions. But Jackson from the library seems genuinely friendly amidst this sudden puppy situation. Is it possible he could be her next chapter?

"The Guy from the Library" is a short and sweet sudden puppy story, set in the world of Somerville Downs.

If you're already subscribed to my newsletter, you can download your copy for free on StoryOrigin. You'll be asked to confirm the email address you're signed up with.

If you're NOT subscribed to my newsletter and would like a free copy, here's where to find it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The true-to-life tempest of C.J. Campbell (book feature + giveaway)

Please welcome C.J. Campbell, author of Tempest, an exciting, just-released YA fantasy romance. I asked C.J. about the unique experiences in her own life that inspired this book. Here's what she shared...

  

A little less than a decade ago my life was very, very different. The year was 2013, and oft, that year had sucked. I’d been through a heck of time with the worsening of a serious, physical illness, and lots of other not-so-nice things and I was wrecked—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Most days I barely had the strength to put one foot in front of the other. I was a hot mess. I was young, early twenties, and should’ve been filled with life but instead I was filled with pain. My mother, she knew I loved anything Tolkien related, and so The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug had just released in the theatre—this would be something good to do together.

But, when the day arrived, I remember not even wanting to go. It had been an awful day. Just the worst, probably the darkest up until that point. But, we went despite the heaviness.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

A decades-old scandal. A mysterious inheritance. An interview with Nola Li Barr.

I'm not sure what it was about Nola Li Barr's Skyline Mansion series that caught my eye. Maybe it was the beautiful cover, the AAPI themes, the intriguing premise of solving a family mystery and finding love along the way, or some combination of all three.

With the recent release of Secret Blossom, the third book in Nola's women's fiction series, I wanted to know all the goss behind the Skyline Mansion, and get the lowdown on the author herself.


Friday, August 13, 2021

Fully vaxed and feeling fine!

Enough time has passed that both doses of my COVID vaccine have settled down, and my immune system is now loaded with the world's tiniest defence force. The side-effects I experienced were nowhere near as intense as I was expecting, something that many of my friends reported as well.

Fatigue was the most common reaction we had in our little network. On top of that, I had a mild and somewhat amusing gut reaction, while my partner seemed to respond with unpleasant moods. But it was all very manageable, and I'm so very thankful that for all the faults and foibles in our system, things still seem to be ticking along in WA.

Thinking of you lots, friends in other states. Here's hoping things get better soon πŸ’™

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Guy from the Flower Shop — moving house!

Heads up, everyone!

The Guy from the Flower Shop will be coming to Kindle Unlimited ebook retailers later this year, so this is the last month you'll be able to get a copy of it free with my newsletter.

UPDATE 30/08: Due to unforeseen but entirely unsurprising events, "Flower Shop" will no longer be coming to Kindle Unlimited. However, it's already available on Kobo Plus, and should soon be available through digital lending libraries using OverDrive.



Friday, July 30, 2021

WIP sneak peek: "The Guy from the Library"

I've been working on The Guy from the Library, the next short story in the Somerville Stories collection. The creative process stalled for a long time late last year/early this year. Work and life got hectic and anything Somerville-related took a back seat.

But I have a little excerpt to share with you today. It's from the unedited and still-going first draft, so please excuse any typos and errors. They should be ironed out by the time this is ready for publish. I hope you like it!
Andrea froze. Never in her life had she asked for a guy's number. Especially for a guy she'd only just met.

But this wasn't the same thing, was it? For starters, she wasn't asking for a phone number in that way, and neither was he. This was purely about the dog. She had no reason to feel shy about this. She bit her tongue and vowed not to make a big deal of this very simple exchange.

Still, she fumbled her phone when she handed it to him. Jackson caught it deftly in one hand and she couldn't help but stare at the intricately woven red, yellow and black threads of his bracelet while he typed out his number.
Stay tuned for more news about The Guy from the Library.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Guest Post: Why, Why, Why by Christina Bauer

As part of the launch tour for my newest book, FAIRIES AND FROSTING, the lovely folks at Birdie’s Song’s Blog asked me to share a bit about my “why,” as in: Why do I write? Why do I write in this genre? And, why did I create this book?

Without further ado, here goes!

Friday, July 23, 2021

My newsletter is now powered by SendFox

My newsletter is now powered by the SendFox platform.

Hopefully everything runs smoothly when the next issue goes out in a week or so.

If not, I hope you'll be patient with me as I'm still learning how to use this system!

Photo by Joe Green on Unsplash

Friday, July 16, 2021

My perfect weekend getaway (a staycation)

For all intents and purposes, we are homebound at the moment. Not housebound — we're very much out and about within our city's COVID-safe rules. But between work commitments, life commitments, "being good" spending and "being good" saving, we have no plans to leave town anytime soon.

We are, however, doing the responsible thing and getting vaccinated this month, and have decided to preempt the appropriate immune response symptoms with a mid-week getaway homeaway staycation 😎

So, under conditions like these, what would make a perfect weekend holiday? Here's what I reckon:

Camping on the couch
This is nothing like actual camping — not even close. What this looks like on a cold Perth July day is two cosy bods cocooned in all the quilts and blankets you can find around the house. It can be wonderfully romantic if you want, or simply the perfect way to keep warm and enjoy the winter vibes.

Movie marathon
Streaming on-demand video more than makes up for the demise of the video store around the corner. Back in the day, you'd get a 5 for $10 weekend special. Now it's an endless selection on Netflix/Stan/BritBox/Prime, whether it's movies or a good old-fashioned series bingewatch. My favourite "couples viewing" is a hilarious comedy or suspenseful drama.

Games and puzzles
I'm a nerd and definitely not ashamed of it. Multiplayer games are a hilarious (if, at times, frustrating) opportunity to work and strategise together towards a common goal, aka. an awesome bonding experience for partners who thrive on collaborating with each other. If you need a break from tech, grab a jigsaw puzzle, crossword or Sudoku sheet.

Snacks, all the snacks
Sweet, savoury, healthy, indulgent — it doesn't matter. When you're staycationing at home, you need sustenance. Some people like preparing finger foods in advance (eg. biscuits, sandwiches, bars, balls, etc.), but we're fond of gathering simple ingredients and assembling them on the spot (eg. cheese board, mini-wraps, etc.).

A little body-moving
This last one may be contentious, but I count exercise as a leisure activity. Forget "toning up" or "losing weight", this one's all about feeling good. Get blood flowing and oxygen to the brain, then feel great when you sit back and relax again πŸ˜„


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

An excerpt from Tell Me S'more by Beth Merlin (plus giveaway!)

  

“Perry, don’t be mad,” Gigi said from inside the bedroom’s closet.

“I’m not mad, exactly. I just don’t understand why your mother’s so well informed of our financial situation.”

She slowly stepped out of the closet doorway. “Because I’ve had to borrow some money from my parents, that’s why.”

I stood up from the corner of the bed. “What do you mean? How much money?”

“Enough to meet a few mortgage payments.”

“How long’s that been going on?”

When Gigi finally decided to pursue her dream of designing instead of law school, her parents cut her off financially. She used every penny of her Top Designer winnings for the down payment of her tiny Hell’s Kitchen apartment. That apartment was not only our home, but her work studio, and sanctuary. I knew it must’ve taken every ounce of pride for her to ask for the money.

She swallowed hard. “The last four months.”

I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. I breathed in a deep sigh and ran my hand down my face. “Gigi, why didn’t you tell me?”

“It’s my apartment and my responsibility.”

“Your name might be on the deed, but I live there too. It’s our responsibility.”

She sat down beside me on the bed. “You’ve been working so hard on Frostbite. I didn’t want to add any more stress to your plate, especially not now that you’re so close to being finished.”

She looked so positive, so optimistic, the very last thing I wanted was to burst her bubble, but it was time to stop pretending. I swallowed hard and let the truth pour out. “I didn’t want to get your hopes up, but I had an interview for the Artist-in-Residence Program at Ars Nova. They turned me down.”

Her face softened into a smile. “Money is futile and fleeting. Always has been, and always will be. But writing a musical is your dream, and you can’t give up on that.”

I caressed the side of her face and held her chin in my hand. “I can, especially now that I’ve found an even better one. I love you, Georgica. I want us to start to build a life together.”

She leaned into my chest. “I want that too.”

Gigi smoothed my hair and kissed my forehead. “I’ll support you whatever you decide. But please don’t give up. Not just yet. Your musical’s out there, just waiting to be written.”

“When you speak like that, I can almost believe it.”

“Believe it. More importantly, believe in you,” she said, tapping the tip of my nose. “I do.”

I wrapped my arms around her waist and pulled her into my chest. “How’d I get so lucky?”

She turned to me, her face serious and intense. “Luck had nothing to do with it. Meeting you at Camp Chinooka, that was fate. Letting you in when I was at my lowest, that was a choice. But falling in love with you, well that, that was simply beyond my control.”

Friday, July 2, 2021

Writing rules I don't care about as much as I used to


1. "Show, don't tell"

Just about every writer on earth will have heard this one. It's a great bit of pocket wisdom to pass down to a beginner, but the more I write—and read—the more I realise this advice is to be wielded like a tool. You need to pick the right moments to use it and, more importantly, the right moments not to use it.

Does your reader really need to know about the warm, mushy, bitty texture of the sweet and milky substance in your protagonist's mouth? Or can you get by just letting them know she had oatmeal for breakfast?

My advice to intermediate writers would be to aim for a balance between showing and telling, depending on the pace and tone of your story.

2. "Write every day"

I'm not fond of the implications that tend to come with this advice. That you must force yourself to write, that you'll never "make it" if you don't, that all the great writers did because they had to. These suggestions are often sold with such confidence, it's hard for a new, impressionable writer to question them without feeling silly.

Sure, the more you write, the more opportunities you potentially give yourself to practice your craft. But if you're exhausted or overloaded, how likely is it that you'll use these opportunities well? Wouldn't it be better to take a break and come back stronger the following day? What good are you to anyone if you let yourself get burnt out?

Think of creativity like breathing. There's certainly no shame in inhaling when you need to.

3. "Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation"

When I first started writing, I was a stickler for this. But as I read more and learned more about how culture shapes language (and vice versa), I stopped worrying so much. First of all, there's no one "proper grammar, spelling and punctuation". Heck, I can name at least 5 same-same-but-different guides on how to write good English.

In fiction, I personally feel the world of your story should determine the grammar, spelling and punctuation you use. In which case, you might not italicise "foreign" words because they might not be foreign to your characters. You might not use American standard English because your characters are Australian. Or you might use more traditional turns of phrase rather than modern ones.

"Proper" is primarily defined by the culture that shapes the language of your story. Presenting it in such a way that your target audience can appreciate, I believe, offers the reader a more immersive and empathy-stoking experience of a different world.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Three things I learned while writing "The Guy from the Internet"

When the blog coordinator from Romance Writers of Australia asked me to share three things I learned while writing The Guy from the Internet, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say. Truth is, writing that book taught me a lot about a lot of things, so it was hard to pick just three.

The post is up on RWA's offical blog now, and I'm most excited to be sharing it with you.



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Book Feature + Giveaway: Distracting the Deputy by Shanna Hatfield

Distracting the Deputy
Shanna Hatfield
(Summer Creek, #4)
Publication date: June 22nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Western

Trouble is coming, but for whom?

When he’s not evading grabby-handed octogenarians, mentoring troubled teens, or rescuing rascally youngsters from disaster, Deputy Knox Strickland can be found upholding the law in the eastern Oregon region he patrols. He avoids making plans for tomorrow, focusing instead on doing his best today. Then one chance encounter with a beautiful woman in a wheat field turns his world upside down. Knox is left questioning what secrets she’s hiding, and how hard he’ll have to work to scale the fortress she’s built around her heart.

Zadie Redmond isn’t like most women. A life spent looking over her shoulder has destroyed the promising future she’d once envisioned. Her days are spent leading hunting and fishing adventures or teaching tiny ballerinas the proper way to pliΓ©. She fills her evenings with do-it-yourself projects while worrying about the day her past catches up with her. In an unexpected moment, the local deputy swoops into her world like a storybook hero and she knows nothing will ever be the same. Zadie will do anything to keep Knox safe from the danger lurking in the shadows, even if it destroys her chance at love.

Will Knox convince Zadie she can trust him with her secrets and her heart?

A sweet romance full of quirky small-town fun, Distracting the Deputy is a story of hope, help, and hanging on to what matters most.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Something about the strong, square jawline seemed oddly familiar. Then he looked over his shoulder, and Zadie’s jaw fell open. The hunky guy in the hero costume wasn’t a stranger after all.

“Knox? He’s Captain America?” Zadie whispered, feeling things she’d rather not acknowledge or explain, even to herself.

“The one and only,” Jossy said in a sing-song voice, then gave Zadie a nudge forward just as a loud pop signaled the beginning of the parade.

Zadie found herself pushed along and glanced up to see Knox looking down at her. He’d somehow finagled his way back through the line to walk beside her.

“You are the most gorgeous fairy I’ve ever seen,” he said, giving her an admiring glance.

Her cheeks warmed as she tried not to stare at the muscles of his chest, perfectly outlined by the tight T-shirt. “You look …”

“Ridiculous,” Knox grumbled. “My friend Wes’ wife suggested this would be a good costume. I already had the pants. The shirt and other stuff were easy to find when I was in Portland. She told me to get the shirt on the snug side.” He sighed and swept a hand in front of his chest. “I look like an idiot.”

Idiot was not the first, or even fortieth, word Zadie would have chosen to describe Knox’s appearance. Hunk. Hottie. Captain Cutie all came to mind.


Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes. When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter / Pinterest / Bookbub


GIVEAWAY!

For a chance to win, fill out this form. The prize includes autographed copies of the Summer Creek series, Dilettante peppermint truffle crΓ©mes (these are SO good!), a cute notebook, a bottle of You’re the One lotion, a Hopeless Romantic dish towel and potholder set, and a swag bag to carry it all! (Value $100+)

One entry per person. Entries must be received by June 30, 2021. Winners will be notified by July 15 and will be given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics. The giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Guest Post: 1st Anniversary of “Finding Love at Compassion Ranch” by Gayle Irwin

Visiting today is author Gayle M. Irwin. It's National Adopt-A-Cat Month where she's from, and she's here to celebrate the first anniversary of her animal rescue romance, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch.

Friday, June 18, 2021

What I would have liked to write for Jedda

Writing The Guy from the Internet was an odd personal experience. It's the first time I've ever drawn so much from real life for my fiction work. And one side-effect of trying to cram so much in was that I didn't get to dig into all the elements I would have liked.

Jedda in particular comes to mind. She is Holly's thoughtful, cheeky, confident best friend and colleague. I mentioned last month that I won't be writing Jedda's story, but I often look back on what I would have liked to explore. If not write, then at least research and learn about so I can understand the world a bit better.

Here's my top three:

1. Her life between separated parents and households

"Internet" gives us a couple of passing references to Jedda living between Perth and Bunbury. Sharp-eyed readers may already have guessed that between the lines, this means she lives between her white family in Perth and her Aboriginal family in Bunbury. Which entails a whole host of interesting challenges and circumstances she would have grown up with — racial, social, economic, regional, linguistic, dialectic, familectic, and more.

From hearing the experiences of my friends who grew up between households, it seems so different from my own single-household upbringing, and yet so similar to living as a transplant in a culture I wasn't born into. This may explain how Holly and Jedda became such good friends to the point where they're sending biscuits to each other's families.

2. Her unique life experiences

What were the factors in Jedda's life that made her so outgoing, take-charge and confident, and so proactively supportive of Holly's endeavours?

Though I'm fascinated by all the talk of birth order versus personality, I picture Jedda as a second-born whose early childhood experiences in the shadow of an older sibling (a brother, perhaps?) combined with a more independent stretch of teenage years, resulting in the strong, level-headed, witty woman we get to see in the book.

I would have liked to see what the dynamic would be between her and [SPOILER REDACTED] when Holly takes them both out to brunch. Those three personalities together are sure to spark a ton of fun and banter.

3. Her Noongar heritage

Like many Noongar women today, Jedda's relatives and ancestors would have been subject to the horrifying effects of colonialism. The more I learn about this, and how much still carries on today, the more I realise that what we do get told just barely scratches the surface of what really went on.

For example, one popular holiday destination an hour out of town is only a few minutes from an old interment camp. One that only closed down less than 50 years ago. How many tourists visit and make merry these days, and never know the truth about that place? And how many of them would really understand or think about what it means if you were to let them know?

There are so many stories to be told, and none of them belong to me. This is the number one reason I had to leave Jedda's character in peace, because as an Asian immigrant in Aboriginal country, I'm still just listening and trying to learn.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Book Feature: Duty Bound by Jessica James (99c until June 10)

When I first heard of Jessica James's new book, Duty Bound, it got me curious. And how could it not, with a review like this:
“It is a book that I think could have the impact of a ‘Gone With the Wind.” – J. Noyalas, Assistant Professor of History about Shades of Gray
Anyway, without further ado, here's the lowdown on this decorated romance author's latest release...


Friday, June 4, 2021

Goals for June 2021

Darn, I have really fallen off the goals wagon lately. Actually, that's not true. I've been working really hard on one particular goal — to clean up all the little messes that pepper my life. I have a long laundry list of unfinished business, unfiled paperwork, and someday to-dos that just keeps getting longer each year.

But I am writing. And I am cleaning things up (slowly).

For June, this little birdie has just one goal:

Work on The Guy from the Library.

Yes, there's another Somerville Story on the way. It's been in the works for almost as long as The Guy from the Wedding, but every so often, my schedule gets clear enough that I can move things along a little further. I hope to share a little excerpt with you next month.

Short and sweet, hey? Now, what are your goals?

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

An excerpt from Huntress by Christina Bauer (plus giveaway!)

 


Gage

Nine (And A Thousand) Years Old


Hide in the shadows.


Breathe low.


Stay alert.


With careful steps, I stalk my prey through the empty tunnels under the Bulwark Mountains. A stale and coppery smell fills the air. Around me, the rock walls glisten with condensation. Humidity presses against my skin. A single question repeats in my head.


Is an orcneas here?


My pulse beats so hard, I feel it in my throat. The metallic scent grows stronger. This time, the smell is undercut with the foul edge of brimstone. A bead of sweat rolls down my back.


The monster is close. 


A series of low hisses snap through the air. Up ahead, a lanky humanoid lumbers into a pool of pale light. Instead of skin, this creature is covered in exposed red muscle. A cowl of bone loops around its head and stretches down its back. I suck in a shaky breath.


That’s my target. An orcneas.


You wouldn’t think I stand a chance against this thing. Sure, I’m a glass dragon shifter, but I’m only nine years old. Orcneas claws can easily tear through my leather body armor. There’s nothing about my dark eyes, brown hair, or strong bone structure that could help in a fight. I do have a tail in both my human and dragon forms, yet that won’t cause much damage against an orcneas. Not much does.


This monster should be able destroy me, no problem. 


Only I’m not so easy to kill. 


I’m the last of my family line, the Beaumonts. As such, I inherited memories from my ancestors. It’s a special kind of magic called transference. I think of it as the last chance for a dragon shifter family to keep their history. Essentially, I was born with an ancient mind inside a baby’s body. You’d be surprised how often it comes in handy, though. The orcneas should fear me, not the other way around.


Up ahead, the monster speeds around another corner. I rush forward as well.


Sadly, I don’t get too far.


Guest Feature + Giveaway: The Somewhere I See You Again by Nancy Thorne

 

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Guy from the Internet paperback is coming soon!

The Guy from the Internet paperback edition is coming soon! Wanna see some pretty proofs? πŸ˜„




This paperback has just been submitted for publishing. It should be available in the next couple of days, and almost certainly by 1 June 2021.

πŸ“š Check it out on Amazon πŸ“š

Friday, May 21, 2021

Real life events that have inspired my writing

"Write what you know," the experts will tell you. I was not one for good advice when I started writing The Guy from the Internet, but I somehow ended up going down that road anyway. And today, I'm going to tell you a bit about that.

Here are three real-life experiences that inspired elements of this book:

Friday, May 14, 2021

Friday, May 7, 2021

Yummy Aussie bushfoods

We have a very hot food trend going on here at the moment — Aussie bush tucker. It started a few years ago and has seen some pretty consistent growth in popularity here in Perth, though I understand it's happening all across the country.

The Guy from the Internet includes a couple of delectable treats, namely lemon myrtle biscuits and wattle seed coffee, both hailing from Holly's best friend, Jedda. I didn't get to detail this in the book, but for anyone interested, Jedda is of mixed-race with the Aboriginal side of her family from Bunbury. Which I think may make her a Pinjarup Noongar woman. (For the record, I won't be writing a story for Jedda, but if you are interested in reading Aboriginal romance, start with this cute and hilarious one.)

I digress. This post is supposed to be about Aussie bushfoods. Namely, my five favourite Aussie bushfoods. Let's begin...

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Welcome to my refurbished home on the web

Do people still say "home on the web" these days? Well, I certainly do.

If you've visited this site before, you'll notice some layout changes today. Last night, I cleaned up some of my admin and merged my old Weebly website with this Blogger blog.

The irony of calling that website "old" is not lost on me. Weebly's templates are distinctly more modern in design than Blogger's, and I deliberately chose this theme for its dated look and feel. I miss the days of the web before it got as commercialised as it is today, before Facebook got big. And while there's so much about today I wouldn't give up, there's still a warm place in my heart for a little old-school style.

Poke around, have a read. And if you're in the mood to read one of my WIPs, you can find it here:


Sunday, May 2, 2021

My blue oyster mushrooms

I am simultaneously excited and creeped out by my new blue oyster mushroom crop. Here are a couple of photos (behind the cut) so you can enjoy this confusing excitement-squick feeling too.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Writing through the seasons

I'd love to write with the consistency of a professional. Someone who can sit at their computer (or typewriter) and bash out hundreds, if not thousands, of words each day. All my writing heroes are prolific, capable, dedicated. It's something I aspire to be, thought it often feels so far away.

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Guest Post: The Sweetness of Springtime by Gayle Irwin

Visiting us today is romance author Gayle M. Irwin, author of Rescue Road and the newly released novella, My Montana Love, a pet rescue romance.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Guest Post + Giveaway: The Name Game — Goldy Moldavsky

Oh, what's in a name? Author Goldy Moldavsky is here to tell us. When you're done reading her post, check out her newly released thriller, The Mary Shelley Club, and remember to enter the giveaway!

THE NAME GAME by Goldy Moldavsky

Naming book characters should be one of the most fun parts of writing a novel (they could be anything—what freedom!) but I’ve always found this to be a task best put off until the last possible minute. I never know what to name my characters, despite having a running list of fun (read: ridiculous) names that I keep tucked away in my idea notebook.

Instead of letting my indecision about names bog me down while I’m writing, I simply move along with placeholders in my wake. This is why, in my notes and early drafts, my main character almost always goes by the groundbreaking moniker of MC. (Main Character—get it?) Their love interest? You guessed it: LI.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Book Feature: Happy Birthday to Rock House Grill πŸ₯³πŸŽˆπŸŽ‚ by D.V. Stone

Today, author D.V. Stone is celebrating the birthday of her 2020 sweet romance, "Rock House Grill". I had no idea this book was a NaNoWriMo alumni story. NaNo is an awesome challenge and so many published books got their start in that word-count flurry.

Over to D.V. to tell us more about her journey to this momentous milestone.

Friday, April 2, 2021

On location — Mount Lawley, Perth

I don't talk much about Mount Lawley in "The Guy from the Internet", save for late in the piece where, admittedly, it sounds a little desolate. But that's just Holly's hangover talking — I promise.

In real life, Mount Lawley is a lively precinct once lovingly referred to as Perth's "hipster central". It's a little grubby and a little shiny, with burger places, international cuisine, bars and beer gardens, boutiques, and staple venues for live shows.


The main drag, Beaufort Street, is a long arterial road that extends from the city to the northern suburbs. Off it are little streets and avenues lined with quaint houses and apartments with diverse styles. The residential areas of this suburb are really quite lovely.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Learning to slow down

Phew! I've been struggling with motivation lately. Work has been ramping up and I've had an unusually social week. I'm going to try and slow down this weekend, focus on the things I can control, and find serenity in the face of things I can't 🧘🏻‍♀️ Maybe a little gym session or YouTube yoga will set me straight.

Hope you all are faring better!

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Friday, March 19, 2021

For Fruits Basket — Okazaki Ritsuko (Fruits Basket theme song)

I've not watched anime in a long time, but one of my favourites from back in the day was Fruits Basket, a sweet supernatural romantic comedy based on the 12 animals zodiac.

These days, listening to anime theme songs, and any J-pop really, takes me back to the days of watching thoughtful and funny TV shows in my parents' house in the suburbs. Here's a little taste:





Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Do you believe in writer's block? (a guest post by Jillian Boehme)

How beautiful is the cover for Jillian Boehme's new book, "The Stolen Kingdom"? It had me immediately intrigued. I'm excited to feature Jillian on the blog today with her take on writer's block.
 

Do you believe in writer's block?

By Jillian Boehme

In a word, no.

I do, however, believe in PLOTTER’S BLOCK, which might be what folks mean when they talk about “writer’s block”. Let me explain.

One can always sit down to write words—there is nothing (aside from unconsciousness) that can stop this flow. If you get “stuck” in the middle of writing, you can always write something else for a while. There are all sorts of ways to get your creativity flowing, and all you need is a willingness to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, more likely).

Plotter’s block, however, is the monster that stops me dead. A well-plotted story has certain points that need to be hit at a certain time. Planning these plot points, for me, is an excruciating business, and my longest bouts of staring-into-nothing are directly related to my inability to figure out the next logical thing to happen.

The same thing can happen if you’re the type of writer who likes to plot-on-the-go (“pantsing”, it’s often called). When you get stuck on a plot point, it may feel like writer’s block because you’re in the middle of your story and you don’t know what to write next. But trust me – it’s the plot that’s got you stuck, and not the writing.

The better my planning on a given novel, the easier my drafting process. (“Easy” is relative; drafting isn’t my favorite part of writing, either!) It’s true that I still end up staring sometimes—but it’s not writer’s block. It’s painstakingly deciding on exactly the right line of dialogue or the perfect sentence to end a chapter.

Staring at nothing is an unfortunate part of the writing process. But it’s not writer’s block. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to eat something chocolate. Which is definitely not something to complain about. 


The Stolen Kingdom
by Jillian Boehme
Genre: YA Fantasy


A bold girl, a kingdom under attack, magic everywhere—I devoured it in one sitting! This book is one wild ride!” —Tamora Pierce on Stormrise


Nothing is quite as it seems in this thrilling YA fantasy adventure by Jillian Boehme, The Stolen Kingdom!

For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner's daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.
When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love.



**Join the Live Chat Author Event March 5th here!**





Jillian is known to the online writing community as Authoress, hostess of Miss Snark's First Victim, a blog for aspiring authors. In real life, she holds a degree in Music Education, sings with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and homeschools her remaining youngster-at-home. She's still crazy in love with her husband of more than thirty years and is happy to be surrounded by family and friends amid the rolling knolls of Middle Tennessee.






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Latest on my blog

Out Now: The Guy from the Internet

A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.

Holly Chee does not have her life together. She's flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancΓ©e-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents.

But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France... assuming he's even who he says he is.

The Guy From The Internet is a sweet #OwnVoices Asian-Australian romance novella, set in the world of Somerville Downs.

Now available on Amazon in digital and paperback.


Would you like to sample my work?

The Guy From the Library is a sudden puppy short story, free for my newsletter subscribers, available now on StoryOrigin.