Today's blog post won't have too many words. Sometimes it's best to just sit quietly and appreciate the beauty at this time of year. That's why I asked my fellow RWW members:
Today, let’s fill our blogs with Fall Photos! Share what it looks like around your part of the world at this time of year.
Usually by this time in September in Northern British Columbia we would have had our first frost. But we haven't yet, and the night continue to be cool and mild. That does mean some of our trees aren't quite as colourful as they might be, although the golds and oranges (and a few reds) are definitely making an appearance.
The next stop on your fall photo tour is Clair Brett. Check out her part of the world by clicking here!
Launching a new book is always an exciting, nerve-wracking and anxious time. I've lived with the characters and the story for months by the time the public reads it, and it is a little like sending your child off to kindergarten. You hope they make new friends, but you know not everyone will like them.
I just checked my notes, and I started writing AFTER WORDS in August 2019. That's more than a year ago! I've mentioned before how it was the easiest book I've ever written. The story flowed so smoothly, mostly because I had William Henry's Smith journal to guide me. I knew how I had gone about trying to find him, so Leeza and Gavin did the same things - with much better (fictional) results, of course!
This story spans times, crosses Canada, and reunites families. I really hope you love it as much as I do.
You can pre order your ebook from your favourite retailer by clicking here. For those of you who prefer print books, the pandemic has delayed that process a little, but I hope to have the proof in hand very soon. As soon as I can confirm it is good to go, I will hit publish on that as well.
Thank you so much for joining me on this writing journey. Happy reading!
The only rule for writing romance is that the main characters must come to a happy, committed relationship at the end of the book. Other than that, there are no restrictions when it comes to characters, setting, plots, or eras. I think that’s why it is THE most widely read genre out there – because there truly is something for everyone.
This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, I asked my fellow members to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while now -
Falling in love isn’t restricted to twenty-year-olds. Share your favourite book that celebrates the relationship between older characters.
When I first realized I wanted to write a romance with mature characters – well, mature in age, at least LOL! – I started paying attention to the ages in the books I was reading. To be honest, I am surprised how many there are that feature heroes and heroines in their late thirties, and even forties. But they aren’t always advertised as seasoned romance (ageism is a whole other topic, and not limited to romance novels).
One of the first I remember reading with an older heroine is BLACK ROSE from Nora Robert’s In the Garden Trilogy. Roz, a widow with a disastrous second marriage behind her, falls reluctantly in love with the man she hires to look into her family’s history. Like all of Nora’s books, it is an excellent romance with strong female characters.
A recent Regency romance from Courtney Milan, MRS. MARTIN’S INCOMPARABLE ADVENTURE, has main characters in their sixties and seventies. The two women come from completely different backgrounds, and appear unloveable to the rest of the world, but their devotion to each other is lovely to see grow.
If you’re interested in exploring more romances with older characters, here’s a link to a list on GoodReads with all sorts to choose from. And, of course, you might be interested in my upcoming release, AFTER WORDS. This time next week I should have a release date confirmed, and will be blasting it from the roof tops!
Now, head on over to Jenna Da Sie to see what books she recommends!
We didn’t have much of a summer here in Northern BC. The temperatures were well below average and the rain fall well above. We tried to appreciate the hot, sunny days we had, but they were few and far between. Now that we’re in September, I can stop moaning about the lost summer and look forward to crisp and colourful autumn days. This week on the RWW Blog Hop, Clair Brett asks:
What is your favorite fall go to comfort food. Why is this your favorite?
If you joined me from A.S. Fenichel, welcome!
I use my slow cooker all year long, but fall is often when it starts to get a really good work out. Stews, chilis, and soups are all wonderful autumn meals. Since I’ve shared a lot of those recipes already, I thought I’d offer something different this week – my favourite fall dessert.
You may know it by a different name, but we call this recipe Apple Betty. You can use fresh apples (always plentiful at this time of year) but I usually use home-canned, provided by my mother. That's one of the reasons it is a favourite - it is a family recipe using family-fresh ingredients. And it is SUPER EASY for this non-baker!
2.5 to 3 cups apples (one large canning jar)
Sugar, cinnamon, butter
Pour apples into greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Drop pats of butter (about 5 teaspoons) randomly on top.
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
2/3 cup butter
Mix above three ingredients together to form clumpy mixture. Spread over top of apples.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350. Best served hot with ice cream!
In my upcoming release, AFTER WORDS, Leeza likes to bake when she is stressed. Apple Betty is one of the treats she makes. You can do what she did, too – let it cool after baking, wrap it up well and freeze it. Then just take it out and reheat when you need it.
Now, head on over to the instigator of this week’s hop, Clair Brett to see what recipe she has chosen to share.
Book Four in Clair's "Improper Wives for Proper Lords" series is now available for pre order!
A lady and a courtesan...
After the man she loves is forced to marry another, Lady Sarrafinna Lennox remakes herself into the most famous courtesan in England. If she cannot have love, she will have freedom. But freedom alone cannot fill an empty heart. When fate puts her in the path of her greatest regret, will rekindled passion offer a second chance?
A hero and a spy..
After his wife’s death, diplomat to the crown, Lord Kendrick Chase returns to London to be closer to his daughter. But when a friend taps his expertise to help smuggle a rebel into Denmark, a simple favor may be Kendrick’s end. Now, hunted by his own government and running out of options, fate drives him to the doorstep of the one woman he wants most to avoid. The woman he still loves, even as she offers herself to everyone else.
With the fate of a nation in their hands...
Love binds them. Passion pulls them closer. Will deception, secrets and murder drive them apart again... and destroy the future of a nation?
My next release is a project especially close to my heart. I stumbled upon the idea for the story quite by accident, and everything fell into place after that. To be completely honest, it was the easiest book I've ever written - and early readers think it might be my best so far. Here's what AFTER WORDS is all about:
As we get closer to launch date, I'll be sharing more stories about Leeza (she loves to bake), Gavin (still waters run deep in this one) and more. To be part of all that, be sure to join my newsletter. You will immediately get a free short story, just for subscribing. I hope I'll see you around!
Happy August, everyone! We are finally getting some summer-like weather here in Northern BC and my mood has improved along with the temperatures.
This week on the blog hop, it’s Flash Fiction time!
Write 500 words and include Pickle, Letter and Looking Glass.
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome. And without further ado, here is my short but (hopefully) sweet contribution.
Jacinta was in a pickle. And it was her own fault.
What had possessed her to read the letter? It wasn’t her fault she’d opened it—it had been in a stack of office mail, and it was her job to open everything addressed to her boss. Once she’d realized it was a personal letter, she should have immediately folded it away and put it aside. But she hadn’t realized until she’d read the first few lines, and by then it was much too late to stop. And now that she’d read it once, she couldn’t help but read the short missive over and over.
I know you told me never to get in touch, but I am hoping you might have found a little forgiveness by now. You will never be able to forget the hurtful things I said. That is too much to wish for. And yet I do wish it.
If a reconciliation between us is at all possible, please meet me Thursday at one o’clock at the park. You know where I mean. If you do not appear, I will never bother you again.
“Jacinta? Can I see you for a moment?”
She looked up, flushing guiltily. As if summoned by the words on the page, Alexander McIntyre stood in her doorway. She’d been his administrative assistant for two years now, and their relationship was strictly professional.
Other than the fact her toes curled when she looked at him. Every. Single. Time.
Reading the letter from his mother had been a horrible violation of that trust, and she had no idea what to do about it.
“Jacinta?” He frowned. “Are you okay?”
Her blush deepened and sweat prickled between her shoulder blades. “Yes, I’m fine. What do you need?”
His glance narrowed. “Are you sure? You look a little feverish.”
Maybe it was better just to get it over with. She had to give him the letter, and there was no way to seal the envelope again to make it look unopened, as she’d slit the seam with a letter opener.
She held it out. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I shouldn’t have opened it, but I didn’t know.”
He took it from her and slid the single page out. His entire body seemed to freeze in place. Fury replaced the confused expression her words has sparked. “Did you read it?” The words were clipped and cold.
“I’m sorry,” she repeated helplessly. “I couldn’t help it.”
“You had no right.”
“I know. I’m so, so, sorry.”
For a moment she thought he was going to throw the page to the floor and stomp out. But as quickly as his fury had flared, it faded, leaving him looking lost and lonely. It gave her the courage to speak.
“Is there anything I can do?” she said softly.
He shook his head. “This isn’t anything my administrative assistant can fix.” His gaze locked on hers. “No matter how wonderful she is.”
Feeling like Alice stepping through the looking glass, she said the words that would change their relationship forever. “What about your friend? Is it something she can fix?”
Well, I’m over the 500-word limit, so I guess I’ll have to leave you hanging. 😊 But I hope you enjoyed this little scene. Now hop over to Leslie Hachtel to see what she came up with.
Why not check out Leslie's paranormal romance, THE DREAM DANCER, only 99 cents right now!
Lady Bryce has a gift.
She can enter dreams and persuade her will onto others.
It has served her well, especially in eliminating unsatisfactory suitors of her father's choosing.
But when she encounters Lord Rowland she wants him more than anything and decides to visit him in his sleep and make him desire her above all others.
When she has driven Rowland to the edge of longing, she extracts a promise that he will marry her.
As time passes, Bryce and Rowland fall in love.
But will their love be able to conquer all once Bryce’s secret is revealed? Rowland must decide if he truly loves her or has been bewitched.
Available to purchase here!
I’m afraid Leslie Hachtel’s topic this week is not quite appropriate for the summer we’ve been having in Northern BC.
It’s summer and it’s hot. What is your favorite meal to cool off? Recipe please.
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome!
We’ve been having a rainy and cool summer so far where I live, which seems especially unfair since the season is short to start with. But we are supposed to be heading into a stretch of heat this week, so hopefully we’ll get some sun and a lot less rain!
When the weather is really hot, my favourite meals are salads. While a juicy steak on the barbeque is a summer favourite, some times you just don’t want something that heavy in the midst of a heat wave. One of my go to recipes is this Tortellini Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette Dressing from 365 Great Barbecue and Grilling Recipes by Lonnie Gandara.
¾ pound frozen tortellini (either meat or cheese filled)
½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut bite-sized
½ pound cherry tomatoes, halved if large
In separate pots, cook tortellini and green beans until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Add tomatoes. Toss with dressing below.
Dressing (makes enough for two salads)
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 tbps. Lemon juice
2 tbps. Plain yogurt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 large garlic gloves, crushed
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp. hot pepper sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil
Mix all ingredients except the oil in a jar with lid. Add both oils, cover tightly, and shake until well blended. Store up to 5 days in refrigerator.
Discover a new summer recipe with Jenna Da Sie, next on the blog hop!
When we left our careers in television and radio early in 2020, Mr. C and I planned to do a lot of travelling.
Anyway – the last few months don’t mean we can’t look forward to new adventures some day. So this week on Romance Writers Weekly, I suggested we go on a Travel Hop! I asked my fellow members the following:
Share the places and activities in the area around your home that you would recommend to someone visiting. Include photos and links so we can make future plans.
I live very close to the geographic centre of British Columbia. My hometown, Prince George, has about 80,000 people, and is a hub for government, health, mining and forestry for the northern half of the province. We are surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests, and have a vibrant arts community.
One of the unique places to visit within the city is Northern Lights Estate Winery. It is BC’s northernmost winery, and produces red, white and fruit wines from locally grown produce. There is a lovely riverside bistro and they host tours of the orchard and facility.
While there is a lot to do right in the city, short drives in all directions will bring you to amazing locations.
About 1.5 hours to the east is the Ancient Forest/Chun T'oh Whudujut Provincial Park. In the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh and BC’s newest provincial park, this area protects a portion of the only inland temperate rainforest in the world. Some of the western red cedars are more than 1000 years old, and these pictures don’t do justice to their massive size.
Stuart Lake, one of the largest natural lakes in BC at 70 km (44 miles) long, is less than 2 hours away to the northwest. There is plenty of camping and fishing, or spend the day hiking Mount Pope for amazing views of the surrounding area. As well, the Fort St. James National Historic Site, a restored fur trading fort is a must-see.
Another National Historic Site is only a short drive away, this time to the south. During the Cariboo gold rush in the 1860’s, Barkerville was known as the largest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. Today it is the largest living historic museum in western North America and a National Heritage Site of Canada. It is actually two historic sites in one, as it includes The Chee Kung Tong Building - a rare surviving example of Chee Kung Tong architecture in Canada, a living testament to the large Chinatown that existed in Barkerville. (By the way – my current work in progress links into this amazing site and history).
There are so many other great places I could share with you, but I hope this has whet your appetite to visit my part of the world some day. Now, on to Clair Brett for another virtual travel tour!
Three of our RWW members are pleased announced the Regency Romance Anthology ONCE UPON A TWELFTH NIGHT! Congratulations to A. S. Fenichel, Clair Brett, Christina Alexandra – this looks delicious!
The honor of your presence is requested by The Earl and Countess of Stapleton at their house
party to celebrate TWELFTH NIGHT. Festivities include: a titillating masked ball, ice skating, a
romp in the local village, a naughty treasure hunt, midnight kisses in the garden and the Twelfth
Night Ball where holiday magic brings about seven perfect matches.
Available July 28 - preorder now!
I never considered my self a terribly social creature, but the last few months have shown me that I may have taken for granted the joy of simply sitting and talking with someone face to face. Which makes this week’s blog hop topic a little...unsettling. Leslie Hachtel asks:
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you and why?
If you joined me from A.S. Fenichel, welcome!
I suppose a deserted island would be the ultimate in social distancing, wouldn’t it? 😊 Not very long ago I might have yearned for a chance to read uninterrupted by other human beings, but it doesn’t seem quite as appealing right now. That being said, here’s my list:
I love this week’s topic! A.S. Fenichel asks:
How do you choose your characters’ names? Do you have a system, a book, an app or is it random?
If you joined me from Caro Kinkead, welcome!
When I was pregnant with our first child, I thought picking a name would be fun and exciting. I had no idea how stressful it would be. Names are powerful and can evoke strong emotions. If someone treated you poorly as a child, that name is often tainted for the rest of your life. If you liked a person, that name is attractive to you. When it comes to character names, I feel the same pressure.
As I’m brainstorming a new story, I’ll make lists of names, trying them on to see how they fit. But I don’t always get it right the first time. I’ve actually changed names part way through writing because the one I started with just never sat right.
For my main characters, I want names that are unique and interesting, but not so unusual they distract the reader. I think my most unusual name was Justice in WHEN TIME FALLS STILL. I saw a sign advertising Justice Motorcycle Repair and almost immediately the idea for the character popped into my head—although he had nothing to do with motorcycles. ?
Minor characters are often the hardest to name. If he or she is only appearing in a scene or two, I often don’t bother, because I don’t want the reader to think they are more important than they are. But if they are necessary to the plot, they need a name, so I have to spend some time thinking about it.No Life But This - Excerpt
Anne Bishop (if you haven’t read her, you really should. I love her The Others series) uses the names of people she knows, and then acknowledges those people in an Author’s Note. I did this for a minor character in NO LIFE BUT THIS, but am going to consider doing that more often. For my upcoming new release (sorry, no title or date yet!) I ran a contest where readers could submit their own names to be one of two minor characters. That was a fun and stress-free way to come up with a name!
When I come across a name that sparks my imagination, I make a note of it, because chances are I won’t remember it when I need it! I also scroll through baby name lists on the internet (I like the ones that are listed gender neutral so I don’t have a preconceived notion of the person it is meant for). While I’ve used random name generators (the program I write my first draft on, Scrivener, has one built it), I find those names often feel as if they are trying too hard.
In my current work in progress, I had to come up with a name for an art conservator. I was already using the name of a real museum, so I checked the staff list on their website, chose a first and a last name from two different people, and voila—a character was born!
If I am making up a name, I immediately do a Google search to see who else might have it. That has saved me some embarrassment when it turns out it already belongs to a well-known person - sometimes even one I've heard of (there was a reason it sounded good)!
Now hop on over to the originator of this topic, A.S. Fenichel , to see how she comes up with names for her characters!