Tag Archives: authors

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

 

 

Stepping into a new role: Stories from Stepmoms #review

Becoming a stepmom is like walking into a minefield. One wrong move and everything could explode. Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms explores the situation in stories by women who have navigated the stormy seas of stepmothering.

Stories from Stepmoms

Stories from Stepmoms

Book Blurb:

Author Shawn Simon thought being a stepmom would be easy until her stepdaughter spit on her dog. That’s when she knew a long road lay ahead. So she decided to make it her mission to meet other stepmoms and hear their stories. Once she did, she felt supported and no longer alone, and she decided to write a book. This collection of stories from stepmoms contains tales of inspiration, triumph, tribulations, and joys of being a stepmom. It’s like a stepmom support group in writing.

My Review:

Would you want to walk into the minefield of stepmothering without some kind of guide to help you? Not clinical but from people who have been there.

Author, Shawn Simon, shares her voyage into uncharted waters and when she couldn’t find a self-help book out there set out to write her own. She interviewed other women who found themselves in the same situation and I’m sure speaking out about their experiences was cathartic for them.

The book is well-written. I breezed through it in a couple of days (life and day job interrupted me). Some of the stories were heartbreaking while others were amusing. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

I highly recommend it for any woman who is about to take on the role of stepmom.

About the author:

Stories from Stepmoms

Shawn Simon, MA, is a Board Certified Educational Therapist who works with children. Therefore, when she met the man of her dreams, who just happened to come with a couple of kids, she thought being a stepmom would be a breeze. She was wrong. However, as someone born with only one arm, she’s learned to overcome obstacles. Thus, she knew she could face the challenges of step-mothering. Shawn is published in the Association of Educational Therapists’ Journal and is an award-winning inspirational speaker in her field. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two step-kids, two rescue dogs, and one sixteen-year-old cat. Shawn is currently at work on more books for stepfamilies.

You can follow Shawn on:

Facebook: Stepmom Shawn Simon Says 
Twitter: @shawnsimon44
 

And you can buy her book here:

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.

 

 

Shawn Simon talks about her debut book Stories from Stepmoms!

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Shawn Simon, debut author with 4RV Publishing to visit here today. Make yourself comfortable, Shawn, and we’ll get down to business.

First of all, let’s have a look at the cover of your book.

Shawn Simon

Book Blurb:
Author Shawn Simon thought being a stepmom would be easy until her stepdaughter spit on her dog. That’s when she knew a long road lay ahead. So she decided to make it her mission to meet other stepmoms and hear their stories. Once she did, she felt supported and no longer alone, and she decided to write a book. This collection of stories from stepmoms contains tales of inspiration, triumph, tribulations, and joys of being a stepmom. It’s like a stepmom support group in writing.

Can you tell us something about yourself that isn’t included in your author bio?

Yes, in addition to my step-parenting books, I’m also working on a book about differences. I was born with one arm, so I know what it’s like to feel odd and left out. From working with kids with learning differences, I realized their stories are similar to mine. This prompted me to include all kinds of differences in this book, which will be a similar style to my stepmom book. It will include my stories as well as the stories from the people I interviewed. My goal is to shed light on people identified as different in the hopes of helping the world see we are more alike than we realize.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

In terms of writing, I think it’s believing in myself as a writer and believing that I have something worthwhile to share with the world. I’ve always been a helping kind of person, wanting to encourage others to see their worth. My hope is for my books to be like support groups in writing.

Without going into too much detail, what was one of the most difficult challenges in your stepmom journey?

Feeling connected to my stepkids and dealing with their mother. Those two areas caused me the most distress and ultimately prompted me to write my book.

How long (or has it happened yet) did it take for you to feel completely accepted by your stepchildren?

I feel connected and close to both my stepkids now. My stepson and I have always gotten along and have always butted heads. We are a lot alike, in both good and not so good ways. But my stepdaughter had a harder time connecting with me. She ran hot and cold for the first five years or so of our relationship. Now, I’m happy to say; I am her go-to person when she needs advice or help.

About the author:

Shawn Simon

Shawn Simon, MA, is a Board Certified Educational Therapist who works with children. Therefore, when she met the man of her dreams, who just happened to come with a couple of kids, she thought being a stepmom would be a breeze. She was wrong. However, as someone born with only one arm, she’s learned to overcome obstacles. Thus, she knew she could face the challenges of step-mothering. Shawn is published in the Association of Educational Therapists’ Journal and is an award-winning inspirational speaker in her field. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two step-kids, two rescue dogs, and one sixteen-year-old cat. Shawn is currently at work on more books for stepfamilies.

You can follow Shawn on:

Facebook: Stepmom Shawn Simon Says 
Twitter: @shawnsimon44
 

And you can buy her book here:

Sunshine Blogger Award Nominee

sunshine blogger award

Sunshine Blogger Award

I’m thrilled to be selected for a Sunshine Blogger award by fellow author, Jo Lambert.

This Award allows bloggers to celebrate other bloggers who are creative and bring positivity to the blogging community.

Part One of the challenge is to answer the questions Jo has sent me.

Part Two is to nominate a further 11  bloggers and send them my own set of 11 questions. My questions for them are at the end of this post.

Jo’s questions for me

What makes me happy?

I love curling up with a blanket and a book on a cold day. Add a mug of hot chocolate, and it’s absolute heaven.

What is my favourite holiday destination, and why?

Scotland hands down, but with my many trips to Vieux Québec, it’s running a close second.

If I could ask one question of a historical figure, who would I choose, and what would that question be?

Bram Stoker. Finally, put it to rest was it Cruden Bay or Whitby that inspired him to write Dracula. Both places claim it was them. I prefer to think it’s Cruden Bay and the ruins of Slains Castle on the north-east coast of Scotland.

Sweet or savoury – what’s my favourite dish?

Savoury, definitely. I don’t eat a lot of sweets. Anything Indian as long as it’s not too spicy, or a Sunday roast with all the trimmings works for me.

If I could live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?

Somewhere in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, close to where my father was born. I was twelve when he died and, at that age, not interested in my roots. When I got old enough to embrace my heritage, I regretted not doing it sooner.

What is my favourite colour?

Blue, although if you looked at the history of the colour of cars I’ve owned over the years, you would think red. Blue in all of its shades is my favourite of all. It reminds me of clear skies, the rivers and oceans and being outdoors.

What is my all-time favourite movie, and why?

The Guns of Navarone. Yup, a war movie. I think it’s because my Dad served in WWII, and I love to read books set in that era.

How would I prefer to spend your weekend? Trekking in the Brecon Beacons or a relaxing spa break?

Trekking. If I’m wandering about in the Brecon Beacons, I’m not far from Scotland, where I can do more hillwalking.

If I could go back in time, would I have chosen a different career, and if so, what would that be?

I think it would still be something in the financial field, although after having done payroll for over thirty years, I’m not sure what area. Maybe something completely different so I wouldn’t have “auditors” periodically. 😉

Are you happy with the name your parents gave you? If not, what would you have chosen?

I got my name from my mother’s favourite character in the movie Gone with the Wind. Back when I was born, there weren’t many girls around with that name. I think that’s cool. My father wanted to name me Heather, but I’ve never seen myself as a Heather. So at the end of the day, I’m Melanie Heather Ann Robertson (happily married to a King) and love it.

Who is my favourite actor/actress, and why?

I love Maureen O’Hara. I should say loved since she passed away in 2015. The characters she played were larger than life, spunky, yet could be tender and loving. My two favourite movies she starred in are The Quiet Man and McLintock!

There are my eleven questions answered, now to move on to the next part.

The eleven bloggers I nominate are:

  1. Joan Y Edwards
  2. Chris Longmuir
  3. Beverly Stowe McClure
  4. Maggie Wheeler
  5. Rosemary Gemmell
  6. Ali Bacon
  7. Sandra J Jackson
  8. Jennifer C Wilson
  9. Suzy Turner
  10. Dr. Bob Rich
  11. Lizzie Lamb

My eleven questions:

  1. If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings?
  2. Are you a night owl or a morning person?
  3. PC or Mac. Which camp are you in?
  4. Which is your favourite blogging platform? WordPress, Blogspot, etc.
  5. What is your favourite summer past-time and why?
  6. Do you prefer print or ebook and why?
  7. What is your favourite food and why?
  8. Are you a fitness freak, couch potato or somewhere in between?
  9. Share a single photograph that depicts who you are (adventurous, laid back, etc.)
  10. You have the chance to take a once in a lifetime train trip. Which one would you choose and why?
  11. When you’re watching TV, do you prefer sitcoms or dramas and why?

 

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

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