Note: This post is about Exactly Like You, which is on sale this week until December 1. Here’s a quick buy link from Amazon or hop over to the book’s page for a list of retailers.

Further note: I discuss in this post heroines I’ve written with depression and one who is a former cutter, so trigger warning.

When I wrote my last book, Exactly Like You, I wanted to do something I didn’t often see done–tackle depression in a hero/heroine. I know I’m not the first to write about this, and won’t be the last. And that’s great news because the stigma associated with mental illness needs to be blown away.

Roxie’s life had been decimated by some difficult situations (her sister’s suicide and a traumatic event at her former job as a social worker). She’s not sad or down; she’s lost in the quagmire of clinical depression. And it scares her parents and, eventually, Aidan so much they sort of stop seeing her and only see the disease.

I wanted to accurately portray the illness; no instantly getting better because of true love’s first kiss or anything. And I think I did a good job. The Genre Minx, who reviewed the book, had this to say:

I loved that Ms. Sizemore was able to write a story dealing with a difficult subject and not make it cliche or overly dramatic. Roxie’s struggle is real and she owns her struggle.

Natalie Rowe gave this glowing praise on the topic in her review on Goodreads:

The story tackles an issue of depression, it also portrays it so well! Roxie’s mental battle is so well written, you can really understand her anxieties and irrational thoughts that come with depression. I’ve read a lot of books where somebody is battling with depression and everything is just constant sadness. Which isn’t what depression is. This book portrayed it perfectly.

Falling in love doesn’t solve every problem and it shouldn’t make a character complete. What it should do, in fiction and in real life, is make us want to be a better version of who we are, the whole person we can be–if we’re willing to put in the work.

It’s why I love writing romance and why I’ll keep creating messy, real characters to populate my books. Next year, the first book in my Viva Las Vegas series, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, debuts on February 6. The heroine of that book is a former cutter who uses photography as an outlet for the strong urges she still has to bring emotional relief with cutting. I love her, I love the hero and heroine’s journey.

For now, check out Exactly Like You while it’s on sale and get ready to Vegas it up next year, fifties style.

Today, I’m interviewing a friend and critique partner. I’m so excited for her new book which hit online retailers yesterday.

Are you working on another book? 

I am currently writing the first full-length novel in the Serendipity series. It will follow one of the characters readers will be introduced to in What if We Break, Justice Morgan

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would probably hang out with Dakota Bryant, the heroine in What if We Break. We’ve all experienced loss, and like so many people it seems, I fight with depression and anxiety, which plays a part in Dakota’s character. We would probably go for coffee, or maybe grab a drink, somewhere chill. A place where you could just hang out, maybe grab a bite, and just talk.

What is your book about?

This particular book is kind of an introduction of sorts to the fictional small town of Serendipity, Texas. In What if We Break, the readers get to meet Dakota and Kreed Bryant, a married couple who at the start of the book are separated. They’ve faced a lot of trials in their marriage and struggle to come back on common ground. There will be more books in this small town, but this really gave me a chance to explore the town and some of the handful of characters that have been occupying my mind lately.

What is your favorite part of the book?

Ooh…my favorite part, without giving too much away, is what the hero, Kreed Bryant, does to try and set things right with his wife.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?

I do have another job! I work as a barista in a family owned coffee shop in my small town of Cedar City, Utah. It is such a blast…and in some ways (as my niece has informed me) is very 90s cliché for an author.

Blurb

Sometimes the holidays can be complicated…

Dakota Bryant has had more than her share of heartache, especially around the holidays. With her best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her estranged husband in the wedding party, she’s not likely to catch a break. Hopefully, she can survive the Christmas week with her heart and sanity still intact.

War and loss left Kreed Bryant a shell of the man he once was. Returning home for the holidays to play his role as best man to his closest friend is simple. Facing his biggest challenge… setting things right with the one woman he vowed to move Heaven and Earth for is a lot more complicated.

To find their way back to the love they once had, they will have to be honest about who they are and learn that every journey to happiness is not easy or without heartache.

Buy Links

Amazon

Book Info

Title: What if We Break – A Serendipity Holiday Novel

Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Publisher: Clean Reads

Format: eBook

Author Bio

Author. Hopeless romantic. Overall mess.

That sums Kinsey Corwin up in a nutshell. But, if you would like a little bit more info on her, she was born in San Antonio, lived in the Southwest most of her life with a brief stint in Panama and California during her childhood. The majority of that time has been among the glitz and glam of Neon Lights known as Las Vegas, until recently when she relocated to a small college town in Southern Utah.

She loves baseball, has an obsession with the Boston Red Sox although she’s never been to the East Coast, and she had a real ugly cry going when Big Papi retired.

She’s a Contemporary Romance author who loves the idea of small town romances, friends to lovers, and rekindled or second chance loves. Her heroes can range from cowboys to musicians, soldiers to sheriffs, wannabe chefs or mechanics. The stories are usually fueled by her love of the water, country music, childhood memories as a military brat, and her own deep love of creative pursuits which include cooking, writing, and drawing. You will often find these elements present in the tales she weaves in one form or another.

Author web links

Website: http://kinseycorwin.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/corwinwrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kinseycorwin

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kinsey-corwin

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/corwinwrites/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kinsey-Corwin/e/B01FNE9DMI

Newsletter: http://kinseycorwin.us16.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=7b4f60d4a927342562db64929&id=cb4773c4ee

Today, I’m interviewing a fellow Cupid’s Cafe author. If you enjoyed Exactly Like You, step back into that mystical matchmaking environment with Captured Memories.

What inspired you to write this book?

This book leapt out of me in a sweep of pure inspiration. Honestly, it’s thanks to the concept of Cupid’s Café. I loved the idea of writing romances where the hero and heroine are both struggling with real world problems and issues that weren’t getting talked about. While Lori wrote a beautiful book on depression and healing from loss, and Landra’s riveting read featured bipolar disorder and bulimia, I wanted to tackle issues that were near and dear for me. While I’ve never experienced either myself, close women in my life have struggled with the aftermath of assault, and I’ve witnessed friends fight the battle of addiction. Captured Memories is the way I chose to honor the difficult battles those close to me wage every day, and I was so grateful for the opportunity that After Glows and the other Cupid’s Café authors provided in the concept and message of this series.

What do you love most about the writing process?

A couple things. The moment I first start a manuscript is like crack. It’s like the beginning of a relationship, all full of excitement and all the potential in the world. I’m smitten with that moment almost as much as I’m smitten with the point where you write those final lines of your story. Both of those experiences are absolutely exhilarating. After the manuscript is done, I have a favorite aspect of editing too. While writing brain is totally a creative mindset, there’s a different sort of creativity involved with editing that I adore, all the problem solving aspects. In total, despite the times when I’m sitting there staring at a blank page or running through the manuscript to cull extraneous adverbs, the highs of the writing process always outweigh the more tedious things.

What is your writing style? Pantser or Plotter? Pen and paper or computer? Do you write Alone or in public? Music or silence? Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes

I’m a notorious pantser. While I’ve gotten a bit better with fleshing out the worldbuilding ahead of time, I prefer not to know much more than a couple chapters ahead of what I’m working on, apart from a couple bullet points with the eventual progression of the story. As I push ahead, the story unfolds on its own, and I end up excited and surprised by the twists and turns along the way. The couple of times I’ve plotted in entirety, the stories end up static and I usually don’t finish them. As for where I write—always, always, always alone. As an extrovert, I have no focus when other people are around because I want to talk to them! I also have individual soundtracks for each manuscript I work on, because that helps me sink into the scene as well. I keep myself to rigorous writing goals every week, which works so, so well for me. If I waited until inspiration struck, I’d never get any writing done because the more I stay in the groove, even on the tough days, the more it becomes reflex.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?

This is one of my favorite questions, but also an intimidating one since there’s always so much out of my control. I love thinking about the future and love making future plans, however, a large portion of your career trajectory is entirely out of your control. There’s so much in the hands of publishers, agents, readers, etc when it comes to publishing and finding success with writing. However, one of the ways I continue plugging ahead is by continuing to work on the stories most important to me. My immediate plans for the next couple years are to finish my Take to the Skies series, a steampunk adventure (one book left!), as well as my Tribal Spirits series, a shifter romance (three or four books left to write!). I’m also hoping to have one of my young adult manuscripts picked up in the next five years so I can work on one of those series! As long as I can keep getting new contracts in the next five years, I’ll be happy.

What made you want to become a writer?

Time for a little real talk. I’ve always been an avid reader, ever since I was a kid. I was also an incredibly shy extrovert with social anxiety, which meant I didn’t have many friends. So, I’ll be honest, my earliest friends were the protagonists I read about in book after countless book. Books became my steadfast companions, ways to be stronger, and braver, and more ferocious than I could ever imagine in real life, and the escape to fantastical realms was always one I treasured. From an early age, the only thing I ever wanted to be was an author. That has always been one constant in my life and my direction from an early age. There are so many stories I want to tell, and so many people I want to reach. Even though I’ve overcome my shyness and social anxiety over the years, writing remains my favorite avenue to connect.

Captured Memories (Cupid’s Cafe #3)

An invitation to Cupid’s Café will change your life.

After the incident that caused Liv Morozov to drop out of college, years later she’s still trying to pick up the pieces of her life. She’s managed to carve out a career for herself as a photographer, but when it comes to guys? Her issues send them running for the hills, every damn time.

Zane Parata has declared himself off-limits for relationships. Between trying to maintain sobriety and the long hours he works as a chef, no one wants to deal with his brand of damage, and he wouldn’t want to burden them in the first place.

When Liv shows up at Cupid’s Café, she never expected to find Zane, her brother’s former best friend who had vanished one day and never returned. The sparks that surged when they were both teens rekindle stronger than ever, and all too fast, Liv and Zane entangle in each other’s lives, breaking their own rules. Except with both struggling with the demons from their past, the love that’s begun to grow is one lapse away from shattering the two of them beyond repair.

Goodreads | Amazon

Excerpt

The date started as bland and was speeding right along to abysmal.

Liv sucked on her straw, taking in an extra hefty helping of her black-and-white milkshake, as if the creamy goodness could block out the absolute drivel coming out of this guy’s mouth. He hadn’t seemed like this much of a twat online, but hey, dating profiles lie. The overhead lights of the Denny’s blared down on her, and the rattle and chill of air conditioning blasting through this place made her skin prickle.

“So you take photographs, right?” Kyle asked, his smarmy grin the kind she itched to punch off his face, and the Drakkar Noir he’d slathered on making her stomach churn. “What’s your real job?”

Liv swigged so much milkshake it went straight to her head, but even brain freeze melted in the fury his question inspired. So far he checked off every item on her ‘Shit that Makes Liv Morozov Rage’ list. Acting like her career wasn’t a legitimate profession tended to top that, along with the territorial way he leaned forward, his hand inching across the laminate table as the minutes wore on.

“Professional Emasculator. I’ve been told that’s why I’ve got such a problem keeping a man,” she drawled, batting her eyelashes innocently while the venom poured from her mouth. This had been a bad idea from the start, spurred on by the promise she made to Tessa to give the dating pool a fair try again. Common sense-wise, making connections she might be able to use for her quite-real job as a photographer didn’t hurt, and she figured she could slice through any assholes who came her way.

Looked like right off the bat they lined up for the slaughter.

Author Info

Strong women. Strong words.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty Irish chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women. Easily distracted by cats and sugar.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Katherine McIntyre’s Support Squad

Cupid’s Cafe Facebook Group | Website | Amazon | Goodreads Author Page

One of the big things I struggle with when starting a story is likeability. The general premise is that a reader needs to be able to connect with a character, that the character should have redeemable qualities so that the reader can like him or her.

I have two issues with this. First of all, I’ve written nice alphas and I’ve written jerky alphas–no one cares. These guys don’t have to be likable. They need to be heroic. They can be jerks and still live by their own code of ethics. I have zero problems pulling this off, but it bugs that heroes are given so much more latitude than heroines.

Second, I have a hard time making likable heroines. I’ve written everything from the wilting flower (who everyone loved, right off the bat–not my typical heroine) to, shall we say, more abrasive heroines (these are the ones I usually start out with). I prefer to think of them as complex.

Because, here’s the thing. My characters are not happy when the story starts. Their lives are usually in shambles or, they think they have everything under control, but it’s all just a house of cards waiting to fall. And people with difficult lives are not happy, likable people.

It really annoys me that I have to try to make my heroine conform to being “likable” in order for her to be identifiable. Um, look… I’m a likable person. But sometimes, I’m a wreck. Sometimes, I’m a handful. And, you know what? I think more people can identify with me than can not.

Starting right now, I’m going to fight this stereotype–that women only like to read about sweet, light, giving creatures. The Snow White, whistling while she works as birds light upon her finger. I never even liked Snow White. Or Cinderella. They were both basically doormats for their antagonists. Why would I want to write that?

Please, give me your opinion on heroines at the beginning of a story. What do you love and hate to see? Call it research, because I really need to know.

Today, I’m interviewing Peggy Jaeger, a fellow author from The Wild Rose Press, and really sweet human being. She’s releasing a new title, Passion’s Palette, which sounds wonderful.

Tell us a little about yourself, perhaps something not many people know.

While I come across as assertive (some would say aggressive at times), I am in reality very introverted and shy. I’m always nervous I am going to the say the wrong thing to someone unintentionally, or hurt someone’s feelings unknowingly. Because of this I have a huge personal space bubble around me and I don’t let very many people passt it.

What is your book about?

Passion’s Palette is the 5th book in my MacQuire Women series and tells the love story of artist Serena MacQuire and veterinarian Seamus Cleary. This is actually the second prequel I’ve written in the series. The first book to be published was the story of Serena’s niece Tiffany (SKATER’S WALTZ) then the next two were about Serena’s twins Moira (THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME) and Padric ( FIRST IMPRESSIONS.) After those three were written, I really wanted to explore the two mothers of all these people. I wrote Carly, Serena’s older sisters’ story, first ( THE VOICES OF ANGELS) and then I knew Serena needed to share her own love story with the romance reading world.

What inspired you to write this book?

Part of that question I’ve just answered, but the rest of the reason is that I wanted to show how losing people you love – and not only people! – doesn’t have to close off your heart to ever finding love again. My grandmother was only 33 when she lost my grandfather. She had three little girls to raise and was left penniless. This was in the 1930’s before welfare and government assistance for children and mothers. My grandmother never married again, and never engaged in any kind of romantic relationship, even when her daughters where grown and out on their own. She simply closed her heart to ever finding love again, and that just made me so sad for her. So I wrote a tragic past for Serena along the same vein, and had her closing her heart to ever being able to love a man again without being fearful she’d lose him. Seamus Cleary is the man to break that wall down and claim her heart, thereby freeing her from a lifetime of loneliness.

What is your writing style?

Before I tell you I have to tell you that, as a nurse, I have a scientific background and I use that knowledge base to guide me through life, decisions and problems. What that means is that I look at a problem from every angle, figure out where I want to go in solving that problem, and then think of events that would deviate me from solving it. So, that’s a longwinded way of saying I am a plotter first, last, always. Before I ever type Chapter One on my laptop, I know every single facet of my H/H’s lives. I do a full story bible, write my GMC ( Goal, motivation, Conflict) out on a dry erase board for clarity, and then troll the internet and magazines for images of what I think my H/H look like. I make Pinterest boards for my books in progress, and I do vision boards for each story so I can visually refer to them during the day when I write. All this planning takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks, so when I actually start to write, I know where I am going, and when and how I am going to get to the end. I have a minimum daily ( 5 days a week) writing goal of 2500 words, but most days I exceed that, which is why I can churn out an 80,000 word first draft in about 6-8 weeks.

What advice would you give a writer just starting out? Share 3 pearls of wisdom.

A. First and foremost, write the story of your heart-do not write for what’s trending at the moment. Fads change. Today’s vampire love story will morph into something new in a heartbeat. If you’ve got a story about a newly divorced 45 year old with three kids and she needs to move to Antarctica to survive – then write that story and make it the best story you can. B. Try to write every day. I heard Nora Roberts once say writing is like exercising a muscle. If you don’t use the muscle, it weakens and atrophies. I think this is the same for writing. Even if you don’t work on your current story every day, post something you’ve written on your website, or a diary, or write a piece for another writers’ blog. Just utilize those writing muscles so they keep strong and toned. C. Go to a romance writing conference like RWA or RT, or any of the dozens of writing chapters around the country and soak up as much knowledge as you can. While there do not be afraid to ask questions of other writers – even the really famous ones! Believe me, they are willing to talk to you. They remember what it was like to be a fledgling, unpublished writer and I’m sure they wished they had asked questions of their idols that they didn’t take the opportunity to.

Blurb:

Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he’s looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?

Excerpt:

With a hip resting against the tabletop, he browsed through her paints and brushes, lifting one color pot, then another. “So. You’re an artist.”

She nodded.

“What do you paint?”

As he opened and closed the pots, Serena observed his hands, silently assessing the length and width of his fingers. Her mind registered the dexterous movements of each action, the deliberate, studied way his hands performed each task.

“Portraits, mostly.”

His eyebrows rose. “This is pretty big equipment for a portrait. Where do your pictures hang? In castles?”

“Three do,” she told him, charmed when his neck reddened. “But this stuff will be for a mural I’ve been commissioned to do for a hospital.”

His eyebrows lifted. “Impressive. You must be good.”

Allowing a smidgeon of playfulness to creep into her voice, Serena gave him a shrug that rivaled his own. “Better than some. Not as good as others.”

He returned her smile with one of his own.

Serena’s heart giddyapped.

Buy Links:

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

Author Bio:

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Social Media:

Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Instagram

Thanks so much to Peggy for sharing her new release and letting us get to know her better!

Blurb:

Two years after her husband’s death, Kelly believes her romantic life is done. Until she reconnects with her girlhood crush on social media, and as fate would have it, he lives across the street.

James is over the whole true-love thing. His grasping ex-wife tore that belief out of him, when she left him for a rich, old man. Then he finds out his first love moved to San Diego too, and their attraction burns as hot as ever.

What they don’t know is that Fate didn’t bring them together – the Guardian Angel Corps did, led by two unlikely Cupids – Kelly’s late husband and Zane, a rough and tumble, 19th century cowboy. When a Fallen Angel decides to tear Kelly and James apart, cherubs and harps aren’t going to cut it, and Zane’s unique skills might be just what they need to get a second chance at their first love.

Excerpt:

She flashed a bright smile at her old friend,  “I sent a friend request to Susie Davidson, and I want to see if she’s responded.”

“Susie Davidson,” Grace’s voice dripped with disdain, “we didn’t badger you into doing this so you could reconnect with Susie Davidson.”

“Hey, what’ve you got against old Susie? She was an integral part of our nerd squad in high school,” David said. “Right, Kel?”

When she didn’t reply, he glanced over at his old friend to see her frozen at her computer, all the color drained from her face. “Kel, what’s wrong?”

“I didn’t hear from Susie, but I did get a message from James Flynn,” she whispered.

David jumped to his feet and peeked over her shoulder at the computer screen. “Yummy James Flynn from Rye?”

Grace snickered, “Sounds like a sandwich. I’ll have a Yummy James Flynn on rye. Hold the mayo.”

Kelly and David swung their heads in unison to stare at her.

“What? It’s not my fault you two come from a town named after a bread.”

David shook his head mournfully and intoned, “Californians.”

“Native, baby.”  The blonde woman grinned playfully, “And don’t you New England Yankees forget it.”

“What does he say, Kel?” David asked with interest.

Kelly gulped, “He wanted to get in touch and maybe meet for a drink.”  She twisted her head to look up at David, her eyes huge on her pale face, “He lives here, David. In San Diego.”

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Amazon UK | The Wild Rose Press

Author Bio:

My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

Contact:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Today’s the day these two characters I’ve grown to love so much get set free into the wild (that’s your, the reader’s, hands). Hint: If you make it all the way to the end of this post, there’s a giveaway.

Read a little more about them…

Former social worker Roxie Fisher believes she’s cursed to never find happiness and an invitation to Cupid’s Café isn’t going to change her situation. All the same, against her better judgment, she gives it a try. What else does she have to lose?

After the death of his wife, accountant-turned-firefighter Aidan Craig, can’t stop taking ridiculous risks and never turns down a dare. So an invitation to Cupid’s Café is an offer he can’t refuse. What he doesn’t expect is to meet the social worker who helped him through the darkest days of his life. Now she’s the one struggling, and he’s compelled to help.

The two experience an immediate attraction, but Aidan swore to never become involved in another relationship, and Roxie can’t imagine daredevil Aidan being interested in a boring, cat-rescuer like her.

Can Roxie find the simple joy of taking a risk? Is Aidan willing to risk his heart? Or will they both lose out on a chance at true love?

Buy Links

I’ll update these as I can. For now:

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Scribd

A hot little excerpt when you click read more (and giveaway details)…

Read More →

I make a soundtrack for every story I write. I use them to help me write individual scenes and to create a sense of the full story. Following the advice of Lani Diane Rich (author and creator of Chipperish media), I find one song to be the song that would play over the ending credits of my book. It embodies the fullness and catharsis of my ending.

Exactly Like You had an ending credit song I’d never paid attention to (since I was about 8 when it was released). I’m not entirely sure how I ran across the song, unless it was just story fate, but it was Caught Up in You by 38 Special. Every day, when I prepared to write, I started the playlist with this song. I knew whose viewpoint that song was from and, so, who had to be the one to make the grand gesture at the end.

But I’m jumping ahead. This playlist was heavy on acoustic covers (which makes it my very favorite playlist ever) especially from the 80s. Why? I don’t have a clue. It’s just where my prewriting led me.

In the first kiss scene at a party, I relied heavily on two songs. A cover of I Wanna Dance with Somebody (all slowed down) by Rachel Brown and Crazy For You (a la Madonna but even better) by Alice Lamb. It was an intense scene with a lot of conflicting feelings and these two songs diluted it down to the essence of what was happening emotionally.

Roxie suffers from depression and it was very important to me that no one refer to her as crazy except for Roxie herself, and then only once. All the same, that feeling — that you’re crazy — can be very pervasive when trying to claw your way out of depression. This song, originally by Gnarls Barkley, Crazy covered by Mysha Didi helped me to get in Roxie’s head.

Honorable mention for that falling-in-love-feeling, at least from Roxie’s perspective, was Boom Clap covered by Lennon & Maisy. Roxie was feeling again, which is a relief after depression, and it felt great and scary all at once. Aidan, on the other hand, was less than happy to be falling in love after losing his wife two years ago.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite cover of Bad Romance as done by Lissie. Wow, so powerful. So true to the feeling of wanting someone even when you know you’re broken and they’re broken, but you might be whole together.

I could go on and on about how, song after song, this soundtrack is just righteous and perfect. I miss listening to this soundtrack as I fell asleep every night over the five weeks that I wrote the story. I hope you’ll give Exactly Like You a chance and, if you do and you love it, check out the soundtrack. It’s sort of a music behind the story encyclopedia.

(All links open in Spotify)

The music behind the story, Exactly Like You, available now. http://bit.ly/2q71ely Click To Tweet

ALL IN FOR LOVE

An Inn Decent Proposal By Sharon Buchbinder

Perfect Odds By Lashanta Charles

A Ghost To Die For By Keta Diablo

Raising Kane By Kat Henry Doran

For Money Or Love By Margo Hoornstra

Take A Chance On Me By M.J. Schiller

About ALL IN FOR LOVE

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense Anthology

Release Date: June 1, 2017

ASIN B071V94BWM

Six award-winning authors bring you six *sweet to sensual* romances filled with suspense, thrills and maybe even a ghost or two—for less than the price of a cup of coffee—99 cents!

Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!

With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart at La Bonne Chance than a hand of poker. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef–when it comes to love, the stakes are high.

Thank goodness what happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance….

Ready to roll the dice?

An Inn Decent Proposal, Sharon Buchbinder
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?

Perfect Odds, Lashanta Charles
When a jilted bride meets the man of her dreams, will she embrace the new plan, or cling stubbornly to the old one?

A Ghost To Die For, Keta Diablo
She didn’t believe in ghosts…until one showed up in her room.

Raising Kane, Kat Henry Doran
Funny how a night in jail will change a woman’s outlook on life.

For Money Or Love, Margo Hoornstra
She’s the one woman he can’t afford to lose.

Take A Chance On Me, M.J. Schiller
Who do you count on when the chips are down?

Giveaway

To add to the fun, we are giving away one gambling themed handmade item to ONE lucky commenter who will be selected by a Random Number Generator.

Links

Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071V94BWM

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/allinforloveanthology/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35052000-all-in-for-love

Webpage http://lucky6authorsblog.blogspot.com/  

Want to read excerpts and more about the authors?

Read More →

Today, this super-smart scientist/writer/daydreamer extraordinaire is joining us to answer some questions about herself, her writing, and how to succeed as a writer. She’s also brought her book, A Hundred Kisses, and a killer excerpt.

What made you want to become a writer?

I am a daydreamer. I love art. I love words. I love to lose myself in the beautiful – be it another world or nature and art. My first role model was my mom, who would spend hours at her easel drawing and painting. She also incorporated poetry into her art. My elementary school art teacher was also an inspiration. As much as I loved to draw, I found myself pulled to the art of stories. It began as girlish fictional stories and teenager angst-heartbreak-filled poetry. This morphed into my love or romance in college. Even as I took a career path in science, the desire to write remained steadfast. And here I am.

What are your books about?

I like happy endings. Up until last year, I only wrote historical romance. I dabbled in a time-travel book (that one’s on hold). My next project is the prequel to A Hundred Kisses. However, people remark that you should “write what you know,” so I jumped genres completely for my latest manuscript (in the submission process), which is a contemporary mainstream women’s fiction novel inspired by personal experiences. I’ve also been working on getting some children’s picture books out there (with an autistic main character; again writing from life experiences). I also write for travel magazines. Perhaps I have too many ideas! But I’m enjoying dipping my fishing poles in a variety of pools.

What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Aside from the actual writing itself… the things that have taken more time and effort include research, editing, learning the business, and honing my craft/skills. While writing the first few books (my “practice novels”), I spent much of my time learning the process, understanding the craft. There is no shortage of writer’s resource books on my shelf; some I still return to with each manuscript. Research is also par for the course, and I enjoy what I learn along the way, even if it doesn’t make it into the book. Learning the business is worth the time investment, too. That comes with plenty of networking and reading. Editing – the bane of most writers’ existence – is a necessary evil. And now, the next chapter in my writing journey has opened: marketing and promoting my book!

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

It depends on the book [wink, wink]. My historicals are completely fictional (although real history is packed in there). Of course , here is a little of the writer in all her characters.  Two very minor characters in A Hundred Kisses, Peter and Sham, are actually named from a town (Petersham) I drove through one day. My contemporary books tend to have more real-life inspirations. People I know. Family members. People who have wronged me or a loved one. Yup. No one is safe! I will say that I do love my secondary characters. On the querying road, I’ve had some agents say that they detract from the central story (of hero/heroine), where others have enjoyed their presence. I lean toward the later. In fact, the secondary characters quite often become leads in a future novel idea. I feel that a well-rounded cast brings life to a story.

What advice would you give a writer just starting out. Share three pearls of wisdom.

My three P’s:

  1. Patience. There is a lot of waiting in writing. It all works out on its own timeline, not ours. What to do while waiting (impatiently)? Write something else. Read. Research. Network. Do something to kill the time while you wait.
  2. Perseverance. Never, ever give up. No matter how many rejections or no’s you get, don’t give up if it’s your dream. I wrote 3 novels before the fourth one finally made it. It took me 19 years. Granted, there was some stopping and starting in there for jobs and early childrearing years, so it took a while. Rejections can hurt. Use them for good. How can you take that rejection and spin it to help you? (e.g. agent/editor/fellow author feedback on your writing/characters/plot – use that in the next manuscript or revise with that feedback in mind – that’s exactly how A Hundred Kisses came to be! I took the advice from an agent and ran with it.)
  3. Put in the time. This ties into #1. It takes time. There is no magic formula for writing success. I am still at the beginning of my publication journey. I put plenty of time into learning, honing, understanding. I am still journeying and learning. Like any career, it takes some time before you can truly blossom to your full potential. So this also ties into #2. Don’t give up.

Author bio:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

Website: http://www.jeanmgrant.com

Twitter: @JeanGrant05

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanmgrantauthor/

Buy Links

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press: E-book or Paperback

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.