Tag 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?

 

 

It’s National Book Lovers Day!

Today is National Book Lovers Day!

National Book Lovers Day
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

How will you celebrate, participate?

This year on National Book Lovers Day, I currently have two books on the go – one fiction, one non. Thunder Bay by Douglas Skelton is a crime novel set in Scotland.

The non-fiction is Marketing Matters by Wendy H Jones. Right now, I need all the help I can get in this department.

In addition to reading, I’m also working on Book 3 in my It Happened series set in the village of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula of the province of Quebec.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve struggled with writing, but my reading has flourished. According to my 2020 Goodreads challenge, I’m nine books ahead of schedule. That should give you an idea of how I’ve been spending much of my spare time.

Some of these books were already on my TBR (to be read) list having languished on my shelves or Kindle for some time. Others were new purchases that I just “had” to get. Still, others were review copies.

What to read?

There are many genres out there to choose from – crime, romance, erotica, YA, memoirs, creative non-fiction, and the list goes on.

All these main genres have a multitude of sub-genres as well, so there is something out there for everyone’s taste in reading.

I write romance, primarily, although YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS has a psychological thriller element included. It’s probably my darkest work yet. I remember when I was having the computer read it back to me, my husband entered my ‘writing cave’, and the particular segment scared him. I guess I nailed the creepy, unnerving bit.

You can check out all my books on the novels page on my website. Perhaps, you’ll find a little something to your liking.

What format do you prefer to read?

Are you a hardcover fan? Paperback (trade size or mass market)? E-book (kindle, kobo, nook, or other)? Or do you read from a combination of all of the above?

Leave a comment staying what your favourite genre and format is. I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences.

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.)

 

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.

 

 

AllAuthor Cover of the Month contest!

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!

I’m getting closer to clinch the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor! I’d need as much support from you guys. Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here:
Click to VoteAllAuthor cover of the month

in the AllAuthor Cover of the Month contest!

Doesn’t this cover make you want to open the book and start reading?

Blurb

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?

Whet your imagination?

You can buy YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS from Amazon and Kobo for $2.99.

kindle

Kobo

 

A snippet from It Happened at Percé Rock

a snippet from

A snippet from Book 3 in my It Happened series. I recently posted about hearing voices and that after a long silence my main character started talking to me. And in the wee hours of the morning, no less. Well, she had quite the story to tell.

Here’s what may or may not be in the book, but it sheds some light on why she escaped to the village Percé where the famous rock is located.

Snippet…

Melissa Scott raced along Water Street carrying the bed-in-a-bag she’d purchased from jonathans. The cranberry and navy tartan quilt, bed skirt, and pillow shams were perfect for the bed that, after her wedding, would grace the one she and Iain would share.

The package wasn’t heavy, but the narrow cords on the large paper shopping bag cut into her fingers, forcing her to switch it from one hand to the other as she walked.

A large ship was docked at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal near the Saint John Port Authority, almost directly across the street from her future home. Once she moved in with Iain after they were married, this would be an everyday commonplace view. Diamond Jubilee also had a terminal on this side of the Saint John River, but it was closer to the Bay of Fundy.

Her fiancé worked as a guard at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre on Old Black River Road and scheduled to be on duty. She planned to drop the purchase on her lunch break so that after work, she could go straight home and take her black and tan dachshund, Buddy, for a walk. The condominium would be empty, so there was no need to stick around. Drop the package inside the door and leave.

Outside the front door, Melissa pulled the key from her purse, unlocked the deadbolt and walked in. Everything seemed fine until she turned to leave. Articles of clothing littered the stairs to the upper level, most noticeably Iain’s uniform shirt. If he was at work, why was it there? Any other time she’d dropped packages off, their future home was immaculate. Things didn’t add up. Tiptoeing up the wrought iron-railed oak staircase, she pushed a white T-shirt, another piece of his clothing, aside with her foot.

When she reached the landing, grunts and moans emanated from the master bedroom. Melissa crept to the door, and reached for the knob, but pulled her hand back. Did she want to discover the cause of the noises? She sucked in a deep breath and swallowed, then turned the knob and flung the door open.

Iain’s naked back and broad shoulders filled the gap, and a pair of slender feminine legs encircled his waist. He was in their future marital bed with someone else.

“I-I-I,” she stammered, unable to form the words. A strangled moan formed within her and intensified in volume.

He immediately froze then leapt out of bed, pulling his uniform trousers on as he went. The woman he’d been making love with, grabbed the sheet and pulled it up to her chin to cover her nakedness.

Melissa turned and ran down the stairs.

a snippet from

I’m surprised she didn’t kill him on the spot, but this is a sweet romance, not a murder mystery. If I revealed she committed the crime in the first scene, the premise of the book is gone.  😉

Anyway here’s where the series started – on Dufferin Terrace in Quebec City.

a snippet fromMiracle 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?

Kindle
Kobo

And book 2 in the series, set in the Gastown neighbourhood of Vancouver.

a snippet fromTrainspotting 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?

Kindle
Kobo

I’ve learned from various writers’ conferences and workshops, that knowing where the story begins is important. Cut the first two chapters and start with the third, etc. Time will tell if I do that and reveal her fiancé’s infidelity through backstory, which also causes problems, like info-dumps. An author must skillfully weave backstory into the plot in little snippets.

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?