Category Archives: Novels

Hooray for Read a Book Day! #amreading #amwriting

Hooray for Read a Book Day!

Hooray for Read a Book day! Here in North America, it’s our Labour Day weekend, so we can extend our “bookish” holiday into another full day of reading enjoyment.

Hooray for Read a Book Day!
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

What’s your preferred medium for reading? Are you a fan of ebooks or do you prefer print, either paperback or hardcover?

And then there are genres? Which do you like to read? Crime? Thrillers? Horror? Romance? Historical? Or a blend of all of the above.

I’m lucky in that being an author, I’ve met authors from other countries around the world – England, Scotland, Australia, France, the US, and back here at home in Canada.

I write in a number of genres, but my favourite is romance. You can see my books here. To find out more about any particular title, click on the cover and you’ll be taken to the book’s page where you’ll be provided with the description and buy links should you be so inclined to purchase.

possibly a title or two you might be interested in?

My brand “where fact and fiction meet” stems from the fact I take real events and spin fictional stories around them, changing place and characters’ names to protect the ‘guilty.’ 😉

Now before you think this blog post is all about me, I’m going to introduce you to two authors you might not have heard of before.

I’ll start with Chris Longmuir. Chris and I first met virtually in early 2001 when she contacted me asking permission to use a photograph. We met in person later that same year and see each other as often as possible.

Another is Wendy H. Jones. I’ve not known Wendy as long, but she Chris and I make up the Princesses of Pandemonium. While their books are crime – gritty, humourous or historical – we have a great time when we get together.

Here we are outside the Old Town Jail in Stirling, Scotland.

And inside one of the cells.

I hope you enjoy Read a Book day, and maybe even discover some new-to-you authors.

National Book Lovers Day

Think this girl will get through that stack of books today?

 

 

Box Set Blurb – How do you write yours?

Creating an enticing back cover blurb is difficult enough, but when you’re trying to come up with a box set blurb for the first time, it’s even harder.

With Amazon, you want to be able to pack as much of a punch in as possible before the reader has to click on the “read more” link.

box set blurbs

I’ve wanted to sell A Shadow in the Past and Shadows From Her Past together as a box set in ebook format for quite some time. Anyone who has seen me at various events knows I sell the paperbacks together at a reduced price. When you’re talking face to face with folks, it’s easier to convey the subject matter without going into a lot of detail and postcards and other promotional material on hand also helps.

But in the big, bad online world, you don’t have that personal touch.  You’ve got to get your blurb, single title or box set right or people aren’t going to see your product … and then there are the dreaded keywords. That could be another post on its own.

This is what I’ve come up with so far for my box set blurb.

Past and present collide in the Sarah Shand time travel romance series – a dual-timeline romance set in contemporary and Victorian-era Scotland.

Book 1:  When Sarah Shand plunges back in time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past.

When she realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

Book 2: When Sarah Shand finds herself back in the 21st century, the people and the life she knew in the Victorian era are Shadows From Her Past.

This year, the winter solstice and lunar eclipse occur on the same day. Will a trip to one of Aberdeenshire’s stone circles, located on the family farm, during this combination of events create the magic Sarah needs to return to 1886 and her family there? Or, will she remain in the present and make a life with David, himself a descendant of the man she fell in love with in the past?

A Shadow in the Past brought a unique new voice to time travel.

A charming time-slip love story with vivid description and authenticity throughout!

Shadows From Her Past is a wonderful story of love and life, both modern and in the past.

Melanie Robertson-King has a special touch when creating her characters. The author weaves a mystery, a romance, and a family that you hope will find happiness in their lives.

box set blurbs

I’m not completely happy with what I’ve written thus far, so I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have.  Please leave your ideas in the comments.

Thanks!

 

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

I’m thrilled to be part of this reveal, but before I show you the beautiful cover for The Women of Chateau Lafayette, I’d like to share this …

Q&A WITH STEPHANIE DRAY

What made you fall in love with Adrienne Lafayette and why do you think readers will fall for her as you did?

Thanks to a popular musical, the Marquis de Lafayette is known to a new generation as “America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman”–and there’s good reason for that. He’s easily the most lovable of our Founding Fathers, and his wife, whom he called his dear heart, is just as lovable if not more so. Adrienne was our French Founding Mother, so right up my alley as a heroine, but at first I worried she was too sweet, devoted, and forgiving. In short, too gentle for a novel. Little did I realize that more than any other historical heroine I’ve ever written, Adrienne fought and sacrificed for her principles, courageously threw herself into danger, confronted tyrants, and endured trials that would have broken lesser mortals. She truly humbles me, and when I talk about the Lafayette legacy, I think of it as every bit as much hers as it is his.

How long did it take you to write this book? Did the story evolve as you researched, or did you always know you wanted to take on the lives of these particular women?

I was always interested in Lafayette–an interest that grew as Laura Kamoie and I co-authored America’s First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton. I think I had the germ of the idea for a Lafayette novel at least seven years ago, but I had other projects in the way. And I was always in search of an angle that would be fresh and unique. That came to me when I discovered that Lafayette’s castle in Auvergne, which had been purchased and renovated by Americans, served to shelter Jewish children from the Nazis. Knowing how deeply the Lafayettes both felt about religious freedom, I knew this would have pleased them, and it touched me. I was then determined to know which Americans had purchased the chateau, and when I found out, yet another glorious chapter in the Lafayette legacy was born. That’s when the story took shape for me about one special place on this earth where, generation after generation, faith has been kept with principles of liberty and humanity. I find that very inspirational, now more than ever.

The book is centered around Lafayette’s castle, the Château de Chavaniac, and the pivotal role it played during three of history’s darkest hours—the French Revolution and both World Wars. If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive) at Chavaniac, who would you choose and why?

Believe it or not, this is actually a difficult choice because so many incredible men and women passed through those doors. I’d have to start with the Lafayettes–though I hope they would not serve me pigeons, which were a favorite at their wedding banquet. To join us for dinner, I’d choose the colorful stage-star of the Belle Epoque, Beatrice Chanler, because she was a force of nature without whom Chavaniac might not still be standing. Actress, artist, philanthropist, decorated war-relief worker and so-called Queen of the Social Register, she was as mysterious as she was wonderful, and even after all the startling discoveries I made researching her larger-than-life existence, I have a million questions about the early life she tried so hard to hide. I can’t wait for readers to meet her!

ABOUT THE BOOK

An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy in three of humanity’s darkest hours.

Most castles are protected by powerful men. This one by women…

A founding mother…

1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband’s political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary…

1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing–not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what’s right.

A reluctant resistor…

1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan’s self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.

Intricately woven and beautifully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we find from standing together in honor of those who came before us.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for! I give you the cover…

The Women of Chateau Lafayette

You can pre-order at https://bit.ly/3iLkURa

Add The Women of Chateau Lafayette to your Goodreads list here.

Sign up for Stephanie’s newsletter here.

You can enter for a chance to win an advanced digital review copy of the book here: https://bit.ly/SDCoverSweeps. (NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. US Residents, 18+. Ends 7/19. See official rules at the official website.)

 

And the survey says …

The big day has finally arrived. It’s time to find out what the survey says.
survey

Which of my books received an award in the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready awards?

Was it It Happened on Dufferin Terrace?

survey

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?

Or was it It Happened in Gastown?

survey

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?

Or did they both receive an award?

Drum roll, please …

Image by succo from Pixabay

 

And the survey says!!!

I received the ‘official notification’ at 11:11 a.m. Of course, the 15th would fall on a day that I’m working in the office rather than from home. When I’m at home, I don’t have to maintain a sense of decorum like I do at work.

Well, without further ado, let me shout it from the rooftops that both It Happened on Dufferin Terrace and It Happened in Gastown won the “Recommended Read” award for 2020!

Whoop!!!

While this isn’t my official badge yet, I did take the liberty of using my handy-dandy snipping tool and extract it from the header of all the badges in a previous blog post.

Yippie!!! I’m happy dancing in my chair and shouting (under my breath) from the rooftops!

 

It’s almost time for the Author Shout Reader Ready winners to be announced!

June 15th is only a few short days away. It’s almost time for the announcement of the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

I’m both excited and nervous. The two books I entered have made it this far. Will they have what it takes to be a winner? I sure hope so.

Both books were fun to write. Old Quebec City, where It Happened on Dufferin Terrace is set, is one of my favourite cities in Canada to visit and until this year, have done so regularly. I’m not sure if a visit this coming November will happen or not. It will be a waiting game, thanks to COVID-19.

time

Ah, the majestic Hotel Chateau Frontenac. It’s such an impressive structure any time, but especially when viewed from across the river. The huge castle-like building stands guard over the city from atop the cliff.

Remember the movie Miracle on 34th street, where Doris had lost faith in the world and brought her daughter up, not believing in fantasies? That’s where I got the inspiration for my character, Serenity.

Roger, a widowed father with a precocious son, came to me through the film Sleepless in Seattle.

The other book, It Happened in Gastown, set in one of the older neighbourhoods of Vancouver, in particular, was researched thanks to Google maps. I did cross an item off my bucket list when I went there in 2019 to ensure what I had written was accurate. Four days on the train to the fair city, four days there and four back.

time

Google is a fantastic resource, but you don’t get the full effect looking at a city virtually. I’m glad I went. I loved the train trip (a bonus). As far as neighbourhoods go, I was spot on. 🙂

The steam clock on Water Street in Gastown, Vancouver was the impetus for the second book in the series. I first saw it on info breaks on Knowledge Network between programs and watching the CBC television series, DaVinci’s Inquest.

Stay tuned. As soon as the results are received, I’ll be shouting from the rooftops, or sobbing in a corner. Let’s hope I’m shouting.

 

 

Not only one book, but two!

It’s the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Awards so I entered not only one book, but two!

After success with my novel, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, in the 2019 Author Shout Reader Ready awards, I decided to enter the contest again. For a mere five dollars more, I could enter not only one book but two. So, I did.

Look at all those pretty badges. This year an additional one has been added – the Editor’s Choice. One of these would look great on either book but finding a location where said badge won’t cover something important could be a challenge.

Not only one book

I decided to enter the two published novels in my It Happened series. Both had previously won Chill with a Book awards so I thought they would be the best choices for this contest. Also, sweet romances are supposed to be a hot commodity this year according to the various analytics reports I’ve seen.

On May 15th, I received a generic email stating, “Your book(s) have been selected to proceed to the next round of the 2020 Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.” As no feedback report accompanied this email, I naturally assumed both books so promptly sent off the two Mobi files.

Although no feedback reports have been received, I did get confirmation that both novels did indeed make it to the next round!

The next important date in the contest is June 15th. That’s when the winners are announced. Be sure to save the date. Mind you, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops if either book receives an award and will be over the moon if they both do.

Not only one book

Here are refreshers on the two (thus far) books in the It Happened series.

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle…

Not only one book

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

and

Trainspotting meets Hot Pursuit

Not only one book

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?

Buy Links

Kindle

Kobo

 

 

An April Chill with a Book Readers’ Award goes to …

Drum roll, please …

Every month, a number of books are selected by the discerning panel at Chill with a Book for an award. Not every book receives one, but when you do, it’s extra special because you must meet the following criteria win.

Were the characters strong and engaging?

Was the book well written?

Did the story/plot have you turning the page to find out what happened next?

Was the ending satisfying?

Would you recommend to someone who reads this kind of story?

Chill with a Book
Image by succo from Pixabay

It Happened in Gastown!
Chill with a Book

Doesn’t the cover look fabulous with the award emblazoned on it?

Chill with a Book

So what’s the book about, you ask?

Blurb

Trainspotting meets Hot Pursuit

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?

Buy Links

Kindle

Kobo

And because I won a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award in April, I’m automatically entered in the cover of the month award, too.  Wish me luck!

Right now, we all need some escapism and what better place than into an award-winning book.

 

 

5 ebook copies of YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS up for grabs

5 ebook copies

5 ebook copies up for grabs!

I’m a guest on Marie Lavender‘s blog today, and I’m giving away 5 ebook copies of my romantic suspense/psychological thriller.

YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS recently won a silver badge in the Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

This is what the book is about…

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?

 

Excerpt

~ 1 ~

31st December, 2010

He stepped out from the entrance of the Vue Cinemas. One day she would be his. But not today. Now was not the right time. He was not ready. No instructions came from within his brain. The voices hadn’t spoken to him yet. Only when they did, would the time be right.

In the month since his arrival, he spent hours at the Central Library searching through the city directories to confirm ownership of As the Pages Turn. The business had not changed hands. In addition to those, he perused back issues of The Press and Journal on microfilm for more information about the shop and its owners.

The streets were busy tonight. A group of giggling young women, their skirts too short, and their heels too high, wearing far too much makeup, walked past his hiding place forcing him to retreat further into the shadows. Any one of these girls could be his, but his heart was set on the one with the fiery red tresses. The owner of the bookstore.

Captivated by her beauty, he emerged from the darkness and started across the street, careful not to be seen by the CCTV camera. He crept to the corner of the casino building giving the video surveillance a wide berth.

Back garden fireworks popped and banged. The occasional starbursts of red, green, blue and white rose above the buildings. One, louder than the others made him jump – so nearby it could have been set off beside him. Aberdeen’s official display wouldn’t start until midnight. The clock, barely visible over the rooftops read fifteen minutes to six.

His threadbare overcoat was useless in this cold, damp night air. He rubbed his hands up and down his upper arms in an attempt to warm himself but the action only provided temporary relief.

He pressed himself against the back wall under the shelter of the roof. He could see her clearer. No one could notice his interest in her.

Oblivious to his presence, she carried on as usual. Just the way he wanted. She couldn’t be aware of him. Not now. Not yet. He was the invisible man, skulking in the gloom a short distance from her store. Just beyond her vision. He didn’t exist to her, as it had to be for now. But the day would come and she would be the first to know when he was ready to reveal himself.

This book contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended, so bear this in mind when entering the giveaway. If that’s not your cup of tea, you likely won’t enjoy the book.

You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway on Marie’s blog or here for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you aren’t lucky enough to win a copy in the giveaway, here are the buy links for kindle and kobo.

kindle

Kobo

 

 

If it’s February 9th, it’s Read in the Bathtub Day!

Happy Read in the Bathtub Day!

Read in the Bathtub Day!

There’s nothing like a long, leisurely soak in a hot bath. Add bubbles, a book and something to drink, perhaps a glass of wine, or maybe a cup of cocoa, and it becomes heavenly. Read in the Bathtub Day is the perfect occasion to take part in this relaxing past time. So what if you spend so much time in the tub, your toes end up shrivelled like prunes? It’s the reading in the bath that counts.

Reading in the bathtub works much better if you have more than one bathroom. I mean, you don’t want people pounding on the door to get in. You want to be able to relax and spend as much time as you wish, soaking up the hot water and bubbles, and the prose you’ve chosen as your reading material.

To properly enjoy Read in the Bathtub Day, you should have a caddy for your tub. After all, you don’t want to drop your tablet, or heaven forbid, a physical book in the water.

Read in the Bathtub Day!

These caddies come in all shapes and sizes – in bamboo, teak, stainless steel and more. Some are fancier than others like the one above, which also has a place for a wine glass.

So why not buy yourself a book (preferably one of mine), run a bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine (or your tipple of choice) and escape for some self-indulgence.

Not sure which of my titles you fancy? Click on any of the images in the sidebar and you’ll be taken to your amazon store where you can read the decription and, if you so choose, purchase the book.

Sorry for the shameless self-promotion. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. 🙂

 

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?