30 Days, 30 Stories may be over but I am still writing…well, not today because I am ill…

30 Days30 StoriesYesterday marked the end of the 30 Days, 30 Stories challenge. I was hoping to end it with a personal piece, but I started feeling ill on Wednesday and by Friday it was a full-blown cold. Any attempts at writing were aborted due to my head feeling like it was the size of a pumpkin. Instead, I shared the opening scene from a WIP novel that I haven’t quite figured yet.

Many thanks to all of you who followed the progress of the stories on my Facebook author page. You can now find all thirty stories here on wattpad. At some point, I will compile them into a proper e-book. It will have to be later rather than sooner. This cold has sapped me of any energy.

Hopefully soon I’ll also be able to get back to you all with release dates for Maybe Tomorrow and Maybe Forever. I’d initially planned to have both books ready by March, but that’s not going to happen. Work + life + writer’s block got in the way.

Before I sign off I want to give a shout out to Carrie Elks, Christina C. Jones and Inger Iversen–congrats, ladies, to launching new books this week! I’ve got them all lined up on my Kindle. :)

I will try to write today. I don’t have any high hopes of greatness unless it’s thanks to a Nyquil-induced haze. Happy weekend…happy reading (and maybe even happy writing).

Inside Out Book Tag

Just found out I was tagged by Hermione Fowl for the

inside-out-book-tag

I’m ready to tackle the questions, so here goes…

Inside flap / Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough (Discuss)

If the inside flap or back cover blurb tells the whole story, then I don’t buy the book. If the inside flap or back cover blurb only contains snippets of other authors saying how brilliant the author’s other books are, then I don’t buy the book. I want a taste of what to expect. I don’t think I’m asking for too much.

New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: audio book, e-book, paperback, or hardcover?

Lately, nearly all the books I buy are e-books. But I still love paperbacks and hardcover books. If it’s an author I adore, I will buy both the e-book and the paperback (or hardcover) edition.

Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

I write in my books. If I see a line or a passage that speaks to me, I underline it. I write notes to myself. If there are foreign words in the book, I look up the translations and write them in the margins. If I’m reading an e-book, then I put e-notes in the books for things I like or things that jump out at me.

In your best voice, read for us your favourite first sentence from a book.

My favorite first sentence from a book…? I’ve always liked the opening line of Bret Easton Ellis‘s The Rules of Attraction.

…and it’s a story that might bore you but you don’t have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that.

I’m also rather partial to the opening lines of A Nice Girl Like Me by Abigail Bosanko.

My best friend, Flora, is a professional whisky connoisseur. For around three hundred pounds you could spend some time with her at the Whisky Society in Edinburgh, sampling fine single malts while she explains the art of nosing and tasting…

Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

A writer’s gender doesn’t make much difference to me. If their story sounds interesting, then I’ll buy the book.

Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

If I am not enjoying a book, I will read ahead just to get through it faster. Or if the sex scenes are way too long, then I will skip ahead. I love a sexy book; I don’t love when the sex scenes take over.

Organized bookshelves, or outrageous bookshelves?

Once upon a time, my bookshelves were perfectly organized. I love organized bookshelves–I used to maintain beautifully organized bookshelves when I worked in a bookstore. Now, I find my bookshelves are outrageously messy. Maybe that should be my weekend project: organizing my bookshelves again.

Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

Yes. And I’ve also NOT bought books because the covers were simply too tacky or too ugly for words. I can’t abide a tacky cover. I don’t care how good the story is–invest in a great cover! I know the old saying is that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but if the cover is messy or unprofessional-looking, then you’ve lost me as a reader.

Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I read everywhere. When the weather is nice, I read outside. When it’s cold, I find somewhere cozy to sip coffee and get lost in a good book. More often than not, you’ll find me reading on a bus or subway. Or a plane.

And now that I’ve answered every question, I encourage you to join in the fun! I’m tagging some of my other writer friends. I hope they’ll join too! :)

Are you up for it?

Xio Axelrod

Nia Forrester

Tia Kelly

Twyla Turner

All about the spice!

Spice-Aisle-LogoI’ve had a secret for a few weeks that it’s been hard to keep. No, no publication dates yet…I promise I won’t hide those from you. ;) No, this is something completely different! Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to read a new blog I’ve joined–it’s called the Spice Aisle and it’s made up of a group of authors (Xio Axelrod, Veronica Forand, Jami Denise, Sarah Hegger, SC Mitchell, Rhenna Morgan, JR Richardson,  Susan Scott Shelley and yours truly) who all love to write romantic fiction (among other things). We’ll be sharing a little of everything with you there–book and film reviews, recipes…general musings and even snippets of our latest works (or soon-to-be-released works).

So make sure you head over to the Spice Aisle–today is our launch day! Check us out, follow us and let us know what you think! :D

Spreading a little love

Linger_ a short story, new cover-3Valentine’s Day is not my favourite holiday, but I do like the idea of spreading love. So to get in the spirit of things, I’m giving you a little Valentine’s Day present–my Kindle-only short story “Linger” is free all weekend! So from now until Sunday evening you can either get your own copy or gift it to a friend who hasn’t tried my writing yet.

Think of it as a starter–I’ve already decided that I am going to expand “Linger” into a novella or a novel. If you haven’t read it, it’s set in Stockholm and it’s about a woman and her husband’s ghost. It’s not a Stephen King-esque ghost story (though I do have an unfinished ghost story that is and I really should finish writing it–it would make my writing buddy, Kim Kane, very happy if I did). :) Keep an eye out for it…but you know I will keep you posted on its progress. It might be ready by late summer.

And then, to continue spreading the love, I’m sharing teaser images of love messages from Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight all weekend. Keep an eye out for them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and tsu.

Hope you all have a great Valentine’s Day weekend–happy reading (and whatever else you get up to)… ;)

30 Days, 30 Stories Compiled on Wattpad

30 Days30 StoriesEarlier today, while sitting in a meeting at work, I started thinking about my 30 Days, 30 Stories challenge and how it would be great to have all the stories in one place where people can read them. I’ve been sharing them on my Facebook author page and on Goodreads, now I’m sharing it on Wattpad as a compiled book–and, yes, it’s free.

Are the stories perfectly edited? Nope, and they probably never will be until I decide to use them in some future project. But if you want to read them on your phone or your tablet as a proper e-book, you can read them for free by using this link, http://embed.wattpad.com/story/32495751.

Or, if you’re already a member on Wattpad, add it to your library. I’ll be updating until the end of the month. One of the stories, “Drive”, is the first chapter of a novella I’m working on about Jesper, Niklas’s teenage son from Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight. You’ll see it later this spring. I’ve got to finish a couple of other projects first. :)

30 Days, 30 Stories – A taste of what’s to come

30 daysI thought I’d share with you one of the stories I’ve written for the 30 Days, 30 Stories Writing Challenge. It’s from a novella I am working on that is set in the same fictional Vermont town as Snowbound. Yes, Mia & Jake are in the novella. No, they are not the main characters. This one will focus on another couple, Asha & Nick. If you want to follow the rest of the stories, head over to my Facebook author page. At the end of the month, I’ll add a section here on the blog where you’ll be able to read all of the stories.

Story #8: Dance


Asha extended her left leg and then tested her pointe shoe. It was pliable enough now that she’d warmed it a bit. She rose up en pointe, keeping her upper body perfectly balanced and still, then raised her arms, imagining they were feathery wings as she moved across the floor.
Careful, she reminded herself. It’s been months since you’ve done this.
Yes, her muscles were a little stiff, but she could still do a perfect jeté and relevé. And to feel her body moving again without the pinching soreness or the ache of healing fractures, oh…what freedom. She tested her battements, moving from adagio to allegro and then drifting to the floor in the most graceful of bows.

“That was beautiful.”

She raised her head enough to see Mia Wilkinson standing in the door. She applauded as Asha stood and curtsied for her. “Just wanted to test the old gams, see if they could still do it.”

“You’ve still got it,” she said. “And you’re still so tiny.”

“No, I’m not.” Asha walked over to her, a little self-conscious at being caught out dancing. It was so silly. Dancing was her life. It had always been. She reached for her wrap sweater. “At least it doesn’t hurt anymore.”

Asha shrugged on her sweater and then pressed the stop button on the stereo. She tied the stays on her sweater. The dance studio was chilly even with the old steam radiators hissing at full blast. She’d have to talk to Horace about it. The little girls she’d taught this morning were covered in goosebumps by the end of their ballet lesson.

“I still remember when you and I used to take lessons together with Madame Vivienne.” Mia grinned. “You were always so much better at it. Even then.”

“I practiced,” Asha reminded her old friend, “while you mooned over Owen Cudahy.”

“Well, yeah, you were in pursuit of dance, I was in pursuit of love.” Mia linked arms with Asha. “And now I’m in pursuit of lunch. Aunty Mo’s?”

Asha’s stomach growled in reply. She didn’t remember when she’d last eaten. Had she even had breakfast? “Aunty Mo’s—just like old times.”

 

A new challenge…30 Days, 30 Stories

30 daysLast week (I think) fellow author Nia Forrester mentioned the 30 Days, 30 Stories challenge and I said I was game. So what is it? Starting 27 January, we post one very short story or vignette per day. Of course, I missed the first two days–I blame it on still having a case of mushy brain from having lots to do at the office–but today I posted my first vignette on my FB author page.

Head over and have a look.

Waiting For It: Are Erotic Romances Rushing to Sex?

Kim Talks Books:

I loved Alexa Day’s post on when sex is too soon in erotic romance. Now it’s got me thinking…when is it too soon? And have I been guilty of having my characters get it on too soon? What do you think?

Originally posted on Lady Smut:

Hold on, buddy. Can we not wait another few pages? Hold on, buddy. Can we not wait another few pages?

By Alexa Day

Last week, I got to hang out with a colleague of mine for burgers and beer. After the Pro Bowl ended and before we started talking about whether Tom Brady’s balls were indeed perfect, we chatted for a moment about our writing.

Okay. Mostly, she indulged me as I complained about one of my pet peeves: erotic romances where the hero and heroine have sex too soon. Way too soon. Like within the first 15 pages. This is not the awkward near-miss that might have been sex or mere sexual thoughts or something like that. This is the hero and heroine having sex before I’ve really gotten comfortable with them.

It’s not so much that I object to sex between strangers in my romances. I’m a firm believer in the “slutcelebratory” romance, after all. I guess my…

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Happy Birthday to me!

Image Credit: Sebastien Millon

Image Credit: Sebastien Millon

Oh my…it’s my birthday! So what am I going to do today–besides write? Well, I’m going to get a haircut, look into airline ticket prices for going to Matera in June, look into airline tickets for my next US trip (still not sure which month, but feeling a tad bit homesick) and then I’ll be in revising/editing mode for a while. I’m thinking of revamping the format of my newsletter too.

If this were a perfect world, I’d be writing this message from a beach on Mauritius or some other tropical paradise, but I’m still in Stockholm, where at least the sun is shining today even if the temperature is far from tropical. Maybe next year. ;)

Last night, while I was revising, I realised that I wanted to expand the penultimate chapter of Maybe Forever. I am going to experiment with it today. I have it ending while they are still in Florida–but perhaps I should take them back to where they started, back to Copenhagen. Will give it a shot and see how it feels. I also worked a bit on Maybe Tomorrow, so we’re making progress.

That’s it but let’s have a little fun with Game of Game of Thrones…just so we can get a glimpse of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, my inspiration for Mads. ;)

My Top Ten Books of 2014

Kim Talks Books:

Happy New Year, everyone! I woke up this morning to news that Maybe Baby was one of the best books of 2014, according to Musings of an IR Romance Junkie! Thanks so much! I’m in great company! :D

Originally posted on Musings of An IR Romance Junkie:

Top-10-Defined-Contribution-ArticlesI was having a convo with some friends on Facebook last night, and we were talking about all these high profile romance top 10 lists for 2014. Notsurprisingly, there wasn’t a single interracial or African-American romance on the list. You can ask yourself why, but deep down we know why even if we don’t want to admit it…

With that being said, I thought long and hard about what my top 10 would look like. I’ve literally read hundreds of books this year, and this was a relatively easy decision. My criteria was simple:

  1. Enjoyment factor
  2. Good plot
  3. Actual romance (okay, sex dammit)
  4. Likeable characters (even the assholes)
  5. Re-readable (muy importante!)

So I give you my Top 10 Romances of 2014 (in no particular order):

81-mqYHZbfL._SL1500_ Probably one of the most slept-on books of the year. Compelling storyline; sexy, loveable hero; likeable, relate-able heroine; foreign locale; just the total package

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