All posts by Melanie

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR & IMPOSTER SYNDROME

Award-winning author. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. I certainly don’t feel like an award-winning author, but then how are you supposed to feel? Yet, here’s the proof — the silver badge.

award-winning author

In the beginning, the cover didn’t fit the genre, so I tarted it up on the ebook version because it was the easiest. The plan was to wait until closer to the next print run before putting the full cover wrap on it (which has been done with the award gracing the front – same as the ebook).

award-winning author

And further proof that I’m an award-winning author. Bang, right there on the cover. So why don’t I feel comfortable shouting it out to the world that I’m an award-winning author? Why do I feel like a fraud?

Ah, that’s the dreaded imposter syndrome.

I was so excited when the announcement I was a recipient of a silver badge. I shouted out the fact my book was a silver medalist – not me. But, if I didn’t write the book, it wouldn’t have received the award.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation, don’t you think?

Maybe, I’m merely feeling sorry for myself because my book sales have been flat thus far in 2020. Flat to the point of being non-existent. More fuel to the imposter syndrome feelings.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? If so, how did you overcome it?

 

 

I Hear Voices … and I’m not crazy (jury’s still out on that)

I Hear Voices …

After a lengthy silence, Melissa, the main character in the third “It Happened” book decided she would speak to me again. She never said why, but I assume it’s because her book got shuffled from number 2 in the series to number 3. I started to hear voices about 3:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day. She shared a lot of interesting stuff, some of which was quite heartbreaking. But, I can’t tell you any more than that because that would create a spoiler, and we don’t want that now do we?

What I can tell you is Melissa is Roger Scott’s youngest sibling. Remember Roger from It Happened on Dufferin Terrace? Well, this is his baby sister’s book.

I can also tell you the location I’m using. This “It Happened” book will be set in the village of Percé, on the Gaspé Peninsula of the province of Québec.

Just off the shore is the famous Percé Rock which is where the “it happened” moment will take place.

I hear voices

At low tide, you can walk out to the rock, but you have to pay attention or you could find yourself trapped by the incoming tide.

But that’s enough about this book. I hope I’ve tempted you with these snippets of information.

Want to start at the beginning of the series? Here’s what the first book is about.

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle…I hear voices

Toronto business consultant, Serenity Layne, knew the only person she could depend on was herself. Busy with her career, she has no time for other pursuits and life’s intangibles

Widowed for three years, Roger Scott, a data security specialist in Quebec City, is a single parent to his ten-year-old son, Adam.

On a day out on the Plains of Abraham with their black Labrador Retriever, Roger’s cell phone rings incessantly. Adam has played matchmaker and put his father’s profile on a number of online dating sites.

The week before Christmas, Serenity is heading up a series of meetings after a six-month study of the Canadian retail chain, jonathans. After an unpleasant encounter with one of the store managers, she escapes from the boardroom of the Château Frontenac Hotel, only to be bowled over by Roger and Adam’s dog.

Guilty over the accident, Roger invites Serenity out for a drink by way of apology. Over the course of the week, and spending time together, feelings long dormant for Roger are re-awakened. At the same time, emotions foreign to Serenity fill her with contentment and happiness.

Will the couple get their happily ever after?

BUY LINKS

amazon

kobo

A warm welcome to 2020! What will you do in the new year?

welcome 2020

A warm welcome to 2020!

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be long since asleep. Thank goodness for the ability to schedule, so before I fall asleep, I wish a warm welcome to 2020!.

I’m not much of a night owl anymore. I prefer early to bed and early to rise. Those few hours when the house is quiet allow me to formulate ideas for my books, which is best done while working something ‘mindless’ like jigsaw puzzles online. I love doing them, and usually, during the process, I come up with some crackers!

My 2019 achievements

2019 was a great year for me. I crossed an item off my bucket list – train trip to and from Vancouver on The Canadian.

On our return trip, the idea for a children’s book came to me and All Aboard the Canadian with Buddy and his Four Fantastic Furry Friends! came to be. Currently, it’s only available in paperback from me, but in the new year, I plan on getting it formatted for kindle and kobo.

Something that is unheard of for me is I released two books in 2019. The above-mentioned children’s book and the second in my It Happened Series – It Happened in Gastown.

My crowning achievement, YESTERDAY TODAY AWAYS, received a silver Recommended Read Badge in the mystery/thriller category!

a warm welcome to 2020

So now that I’ve given you the highlights of 2019, let’s give a warm welcome to 2020!

I’m hoping to cross another item off my bucket list – The Ocean from Montreal to Halifax. That way I can say I’ve travelled across Canada from coast to coast by train.

Book three in the It Happened Series (It Happened at Percé Rock) takes place in the Canadian province of Québec on the Gaspé peninsula in the quaint village of Percé. A time-honoured tradition is to walk to the rock and back from the mainland at low tide. Needless to say, that event features heavily in the story.

Unfortunately, my characters aren’t cooperating at the moment and not talking to me. I have the plot outlined (sort of). Actually, I think they’re miffed at me because this was supposed to be book two in the series, but got shuffled back.

The idea for a third time-travel book featuring Sarah Shand, so perhaps it will be my 2020 release.

What are your plans/goals for 2020?

 

 

Silver Badge “Recommended Read”

Wow! I’m so excited. YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS won a Silver Badge “Recommended Read” in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards!

silver badge

Isn’t it gorgeous? It looks even better on the cover, don’t you think?

silver badge

I must admit, I didn’t think I won anything because the email didn’t come in early this morning, like the announcement that I moved on to Phase 2 did.

You can imagine my surprise when I checked the mail on my iPhone, and there was the news. Well, let me tell you, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

The next stage begins on January 15th, 2020.

That is the date Author Shout begins the following benefits of my silver badge.

Promotion – YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS will receive six months of promotion in which it will be featured as a Silver Badge “Recommended Read Reader Ready” book in its category on their website, shared across all of their social media platforms and featured spots in the newsletter.

Graphics Pack – YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS will receive a “Silver Badge Recommended Graphics Pack” consisting of a 3D book cover mockup, teaser banners, animated teaser banners, and a book teaser video all with my Silver Badge on my book cover.

Author Teach Access – I will receive six months of free access to Author Teach (http://authorteach.com/). Author Teach is a members-only community of authors teaching authors with a focus on sharing tips, tools, techniques, resources, and networking opportunities.  My six months of access to Author Teach will include a featured author interview, my very own landing page inside the community, access to a private Facebook group, and more.

Blurb and buy links

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

It contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

kindle

Kobo

B&N nook

iBooks

And the winner is … #giveaway #sweetromance

As part of my launch for Book 2 in the It Happened series – It Happened in Gastown – I ran a giveaway for the book that started it all – It Happened on Dufferin Terrace. Only five people left comments, two of which didn’t want to be entered in the giveaway. That left three. So, I’ve decided there won’t be just one winner, there will be three!

And the winners are …

Yvonne – who commented at Beverly Stowe McClure’s blog

Carolyn Howard-Johnston – who commented at Joan Y. Edwards’ blog

and

Nancy Jardine – who commented at Chris Longmuir’s blog.

Congratulations to each winner! I’ll be in touch through your blog host to find out in which format you’d like your copy of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace – mobi for kindle, epub for other readers or pdf.

If you didn’t win, you can buy It Happened on Dufferin Terrace for only $0.99/£0.99.

She’s married to her job… He’s a widowed father…
winner

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle…

Toronto business consultant, Serenity Layne, knew the only person she could depend on was herself. Busy with her career, she has no time for other pursuits and life’s intangibles

Widowed for three years, Roger Scott, a data security specialist in Quebec City, is a single parent to his ten-year-old son, Adam.

On a day out on the Plains of Abraham with their black Labrador Retriever, Roger’s cell phone rings incessantly. Adam has played matchmaker and put his father’s profile on a number of online dating sites.

The week before Christmas, Serenity is heading up a series of meetings after a six-month study of the Canadian retail chain, jonathans. After an unpleasant encounter with one of the store managers, she escapes from the boardroom of the Château Frontenac Hotel, only to be bowled over by Roger and Adam’s dog.

Guilty over the accident, Roger invites Serenity out for a drink by way of apology. Over the course of the week, and spending time together, feelings long dormant for Roger are re-awakened. At the same time, emotions foreign to Serenity fill her with contentment and happiness.

Will the couple get their happily ever after?

BUY LINKS

amazon

kobo

 

 

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS reaches Phase 2 of the Author Shout Reader Ready awards

Phase 1 of the Author Shout Reader Ready awards closed to entries at the end of October. November 15th, the announcement of the books that made it through that phase came through.

author shout reader ready

My, romantic suspense/psychological thriller, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, made it through to Phase 2. *queue fist pumps*

Judging in the first phase was based on the following criteria:

Section 1: Book Cover

Below is a list of the criteria we are considering in this section

FRONT COVER (eBook and Print)

I scored well in this category.

My cover is visually compelling, very well colour coordinated with good use of font, and the use of the tag line is great!

The only downside is, I still have the original cover on the print version which could be confusing to readers. At the time I changed the ebook cover, I still had a number of print copies in my inventory and wanted to wait until stocks with that cover got lower before updating the whole cover wrap.

Section 2: Book Description

Again, I scored well.

My description is clear, concise and hooked the judge right in. As well, it didn’t leave it up to the imagination what the book was about but left enough intrigue to want to read more.

It was recommended that I put my opening statement/tag line in bold. I don’t have much luck with getting html to work at amazon – hence no bold.

Section 3: Look Inside Sample

The fact I didn’t bother with a table of contents scored well. I jumped straight into the book.

The ‘look inside’ sample is free of grammatical and spelling errors, and has a nice flow/pace, making it a good read to continue.

It was suggested I have a link to my website and my other books in this area, but that could backfire and lead readers away from purchasing the book. I include my other books and a link to my website at the end of the book which isn’t available to look at in the ‘look inside’ sample.

Section 4: Overall Feedback

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS is highly competitive in the criteria considered during this phase of the judging.

*****

So, now it’s on to Phase 2 of the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards. I’ve already sent off the kindle version of the novel for appraisal.

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

kindle

Kobo

B&N nook

iBooks

It Happened in Gastown (It Happened Book 2)

The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! At least I hope you’ve all been waiting for it. 😉 Drum roll, please … Here for the first time is the beautiful cover of  Book 2 in my It Happened series – It Happened in Gastown – a sweet romance with suspense.

Here we go, without any further ado, I give you

It Happened in Gastown

 

it happened in gastown

Isn’t it beautiful?

Blurb

Trainspotting meets Hot Pursuit…

Hilary Dunbar is a uniformed constable with the Vancouver Police with an agenda to rid the streets of drugs, especially the bad ones the notorious dealer, Carlos Navarra, is trafficking.

Heroin addict, Erik Layne, has lived on the streets of Gastown for as long as he can remember, having left home and Toronto as a rebellious teenage addict. His and Hilary’s paths cross when she finds him unconscious in an alley after injecting a batch of the contaminated drug. He must fight for his life to keep from dying, not only from the tainted smack but also from the man who provided it.

A domestic disturbance call goes wrong, and Hilary suffers life-changing injuries as a result. As luck would have it, she and Erik are hospitalized in the same ward at Vancouver General Hospital. When she sinks into a deep depression, it’s he who pulls her out of her doldrums.

But will Hilary’s obsession with bringing down Navarra and others like him destroy their relationship and, more importantly, jeopardize their lives?

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Out on routine patrol, Constables Hilary Dunbar and her partner Lukas Stephanopoulos drove north on Cambie Street towards the Gastown Steam Clock. As they passed the end of Blood Alley, she shouted, “Back up. Something’s down there.”

“Your imagination getting the better of you again?” He teased, but pulled over to the curb and slowly reversed until they blocked the mouth of the narrow passage.

Originally they called the lane Trounce Alley. Some maps still referred to the laneway as that. Others labelled the back street Blood Alley. Given the appearance, Hilary thought the latter more appropriate.

Window down, she trained the beam from the powerful spotlight mounted on the cruiser’s mirror into the alleyway. “See, beyond those dumpsters.”

“Likely just garbage.”

“Wait here; I’m going to take a closer look.”

Before exiting the car, she plucked a pair of nitrile gloves and the naloxone kit from the glove compartment. Once out, she shoved them in the pockets of her trousers. With the fingertips of her right hand brushing her gun holster and gripping the barrel of the torch in her left, she sidled towards the object.

Graffiti tags covered the walls of the buildings as well as the wooden hydro poles. The farther into the confined space she crept, the hairs on the nape of her neck bristled beneath the bun in which she styled her black hair. Whatever was down there wasn’t rubbish, as Luke said. The pong of stale urine made her eyes water.

Past the second dumpster, the body of a young man leaned against the wall. Dishevelled and filthy, his body odour was strong enough to make the foulest of skunk spray seem mild. At first glance, he appeared dead. His skin had a bluish tinge, and weeping sores dotted his face. Dark circles surrounded his eyes. Inching forward, Hilary squatted beside him.

A blood-filled syringe protruded from his left arm. Flashlight held under her chin; she donned the synthetic rubber gloves she brought with her and felt his neck for a pulse. The rhythmic throbbing beneath her fingertips, barely discernible.

The naloxone. The kit had been made available to officers who wanted the medication. Luke was against carrying the opioid blocker in the cruiser, but Hilary persuaded him. Now was the time to use it. She took the package out of her other trouser pocket, peeled the wrapper open and placed the nozzle in the victim’s left nostril and pressed the plunger.

She keyed the mic on her handset and started to speak. “Constable Dunbar.” As though on cue, the nearby Steam Clock began whistling — no sense in trying to outperform the contraption. Wait for the completion of its proclamation of the top of the hour — Westminster chimes followed by singular whistle blasts counting out the time. Soon relative quiet returned and Hilary tried again. “Constable Dunbar. Badge 8652. I need an ambulance at Blood Alley and Cambie Street. Suspected drug overdose. Have administered four milligrams of Narcan nasal spray. No response as of yet.”

By now, Luke had the cruiser’s roof lights on. Blue, red and white alternating then running from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side of the vehicle.

The wail of the siren grew louder. In minutes, paramedics jumped out and trundled a stretcher and medical equipment to the stricken person.

Hilary stood back, letting them do their jobs. “I gave him Narcan,” she said, handing the spent plastic bottle to one of them.

“He’s alive … just. You found him in time. We’ve bagged the needle so they can run tests on the contents at the hospital. Figure out what he shot into his veins.”

Buy Links

It Happened in Gastown releases on December 1st, but you can pre-order your copy now for the low price of $2.99/£2.99.

Kindle

Kobo

Book 1 in the series – It Happened on Dufferin Terrace is on sale for $0.99/£0.99 or you can enter my giveaway to win a kindle or kobo copy.

To enter, leave me a comment. Your name will be entered in a draw on December 1st (launch day for It Happened in Gastown).

The Shadow Prince ~ a Mortal Enchantment Novella

shadow prince

 

shadow prince

Blurb

THE SHADOW PRINCE is a prequel novella to the award-winning YA fantasy series Mortal Enchantment. Discover a world of elemental powers, courage, duty, sacrifice, forbidden romance, and a war for the very elements of life.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan is an elemental prince. Banished to the mortal world, he doubts he will ever return to Avalon and claim the fire court throne. Until he receives a challenge from his estranged mother. If he slays Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental princess and heir to the court of air, she will abdicate her throne. Is he capable of completing such a heinous task? And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas.

My Review

I have to admit I was out of my element here with a fantasy novel. I’m more apt to settle in with a police procedural, cozy mystery or a romance. But I’m keen to discover new authors.
The Shadow Prince didn’t disappoint. It was fast-paced and kept me turning the pages. Stacey O’Neale did a fantastic job of creating the setting for the elementals’ world. With a well-placed portal, these elementals can pass through to the land of mortals. Interesting concept.
As I said in the beginning, I was a bit out of my element, but having read this book, I’m anxious to read the entire series.

About Stacey O’Neale

shadow princeAward-winning author, Stacey O’Neale, lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult fantasy and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. You can also visit her blog at staceyoneale.com/.

 

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SHADOW PRINCE

My Halloweenie #halloween # dachshund #wienerdog

There has been a multitude of photographs making the rounds on social media of wiener dogs in Halloween costumes – aka Halloweenies. Well, Buddy had to show off his costume and here he is – my little Halloweenie.Halloweenie Doesn’t he look cute dressed as a ladybug?

Little Seaumus, not to be outdone, had to have his own costume. What do you get a Scottie dog wearing a tartan coat? A vampire cape, what else?

Halloweenie

The two went to the market in costume with me this past Saturday to promote their book, All Aboard the Canadian with Buddy and his Four Fantastic Furry Friends!, but being outdoors and temperatures barely above freezing early in the morning, my phone locked up and I lost the picture of ‘the kids’.

Halloweenie

This picture was taken the previous week. At least the pumpkin lights were on the table and the spider web. You’ll have to use your imagination to see the two boys in their “Halloweenie” costumes.

Robbie Raven who promotes my novella, The Secret of Hillcrest House felt a little like a poor cousin because he didn’t have a costume. I let him try on the vampire costume. It suits him well, don’t you think? I might have to go buy him is own.

Halloweenie

If you’ve enjoyed my short story, A Halloween Tale, in the past, you can read it here.

Happy Halloween everyone!

 

 

Progress Report ~ It Happened in Gastown #sweetromance

progress report

Progress Report

I’ve been conspicuously absent from my blog, so I thought it was about time I got my skates on and wrote a post. This one is a progress report on my work-in-progress – It Happened in Gastown.

The book is written. Yay! There could be an epilogue but that can be written and edited separately.

Currently, this episode of the “It Happened” series is longer than the first (It Happened on Dufferin Terrace), but that’s okay. Many series have different length books in them. Harry Potter comes to mind.

It Happened in Gastown has been through Grammarly – copied and pasted from Scrivener one scene at at a time – and corrections made in both applications.

Next, I compiled the entire document to word format (.docx) using Scrivener and imported it to Autocrit. That process wasn’t without its challenges. It seems the version of Safari I’m running on my MacBook Air and Autocrit didn’t like each other. Only a portion of my document loaded. Nothing past chapter 15 and there are 21 chapters in total.

Thanks to Kevin at Autocrit, that problem is sorted and I’m happily editing away using Chrome. Again, I’m making the changes in both applications so if something goes pear-shaped (as things sometimes do), I’ll have an up-to-date copy.

The Office 365 version of Word has the ability to read your manuscript back to you, but since I don’t have that version, I depend on either Scrivener or Natural Reader to do this step for me. The beauty of doing it in Scrivener is the corrections only need to be made once.

Finally, it’s off to my readers who will undoubtedly pick out errors that slipped through the cracks.

My plan is to post a cover reveal at some point during this process with pre-order links for kindle and kobo.

If you would be interested in hosting a cover reveal for It Happened in Gastown, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you with the details.