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Photo credit: Kim Golden.

This weekend, I am in Skåne in southern Sweden. It’s a beautiful place–especially here in Yngsjöstrand, near Åhus (famous as the birthplace for Absolute Vodka–and yes, the Absolut distillery is still here). Autumn has already arrived here in Sweden–the leaves are turning colors and the air is chilly, the days are shorter… and it’s making me long to get cozy.

So what’s a girl to do? Make a wish list of what she needs to get through the chilly autumn. I think five things could keep me going until Christmas. Yes, I mentioned the “C” word even though we still have a few months until it’s upon us. But these things would keep me happy until that time when we need to think about presents and all the yada yada around it.

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A cozy armchair

I keep testing different armchairs, hoping that I will find the perfect one. The Twist armchair from Mio might do the trick. It looks comfortable enough for a lazy afternoon of reading. And it’s affordable enough that I won’t have to put myself on a ramen noodle diet if I buy it.  A bookworm/writer like me needs a cozy place to sit, to ponder, to come up with ideas, to lose myself in words.

Why not get lost in this armchair? Now…I am not sure about the color. I think I’d want it in a snazzier color like crimson or maybe teal, but I could live with anthracite as long as I had a nice throw pillow in a funky shade or pattern.

So I think I will test it out at Mio during my lunch break.

 

 

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NaNoWriMo

Every year I love planning for NaNoWriMo–or National Novel Writing Month for those who’ve never heard or tried it. During the month of November, thousands of us around the world (yes, I know that makes it international) come together to write a 50K+ novel in 30 days. I wrote my first novel, Snowbound, as a NaNoWriMo project. Maybe Baby and Maybe Forever were also NaNoWriMo projects.

NaNoWriMo is tough but it helps me get through the dark Swedish winter. It keeps me focused and–when I am focused–I don’t get depressed because of the gloomy days. When I am writing stories I love, I don’t feel like Swedish winter is eating away at my soul.

This year, I am not sure which project I will work on. Either my android novel (check out my flash fiction and you’ll see what I mean) or a standalone novel in the Maybe… series, this one featuring another of Mads’s cousins–Ragnar, whose been unlucky in love with a Swedish-Chilean woman and who goes to Italy to figure out what he wants.

Whichever I choose to write, I know I will be happy. NaNoWriMo is a labor of love and it fulfils me.

 

 

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A weekend in Copenhagen

Whenever I need a quick break from Stockholm, a weekend in Copenhagen does the trick. Not only is it close enough that going there doesn’t feel like a chore (it’s only an hour’s flight away), I always get inspired when I am there.

A summer visit inspired Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight. Another weekend there inspired Maybe Forever. The Danes like to joke that they do it better and maybe they do. They seem to enjoy life more than many Swedes and they don’t take things as seriously. As much as I love living in Stockholm, Sweden, there is something about how laid-back Copenhagen is that makes it the perfect weekend getaway. And even if I sometimes spend most of my weekend strolling with no destination in mind, I always end up seeing or overhearing something that clicks and gives the spark for a new story.

 

 

 

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Every now and then, my five-year-old MacBook Air does something to let me know it wants to be retired. So far, I ignore it. I keep telling myself it can chug along a little while longer. Sooner or later, I will have to get a new one. I am loath to buy a new one. I’ve written four (finished) novels and a few unfinished ones on this one, and I love it. I think I could go a little while longer without buying a new one, but the siren song of a new MacBook Air is hard to resist. For now, I will pretend I don’t hear it, but if my next novel hits the bestseller’s list, then I will feel like I’ve earned a new computer and then I’ll treat myself to one.

 

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A writer’s retreat

I’ve been thinking of treating myself to a writer’s retreat at Retreats for You in Devon UK. It looks so cozy (and I love cozy). I think it would be a great place for an autumn retreat. I know I won’t be able to do it this year, but a girl can dream.

In the meantime, I will save my pennies and then treat myself to a retreat there either next spring or next autumn. Maybe I could start NaNoWriMo there next year. It looks like a great place to sit and write.

What’s on your autumn wish list? Drop a line and let’s compare notes.

 

81-mqYHZbfL._SL1500_After spending many hours in transit from Philadelphia to Stockholm (via London) I arrived home to a very happy husband and news that the Maybe… series made it through the second round of voting for the Reader’s Choice awards  for Best Cover and Best Series in the Swirl Awards. Maybe Baby is also a finalist for Best Contemporary while Maybe Tonight is in the finals for Best Short Novel.

So what are the Swirl Awards? Every year, the Swirl Awards recognise diversity in romantic fiction. They make no distinction between traditional published and indie writers, and they help promote books that often go overlooked simply because they do not fit mainstream molds.

Maybe Tonight Cover for WPWe writers of interracial and multicultural romantic fiction do not have the easiest time getting our names out there. Having the team behind the Swirl Awards in our corner is a huge honour and benefit for us.

If you love the Maybe… series and want to show your support, you can vote once a day for Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight for Best Cover and the Maybe… series for Best IR/MC Series until September 30.

Thanks in advance and keeping my fingers crossed that I can stay in the running! 🙂

Maybe Trio

There’s a reason I no longer play sports and concentrate on writing: I have *zero* coordination. Today, while walking, I managed to sprain my ankle. I stepped on what looked like a pretty solid piece of pavement with a bit of gravel on it–turned out to be a pile of gravel–and my foot went in one direction, my body in the other. Yes, it hurts. A lot. And the outer side of my left ankle is swollen and tender as is part of the top of my foot.

I’d take a picture, but I don’t think you want to see my battle-weary foot. I’ve propped up my foot and making sure I do a good job of feeling sorry for myself. 😉

Earlier today I worked on formatting Maybe Forever so that I can get the e-ARCs ready to send out. I still have a bit to do, but I think I should be done in 2-3 days. I hope everyone who loved Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight will enjoy the continuation of Laney and Mads’s story.

I’m still working on Maybe Tomorrow. Not sure why it’s taking me so long, but that’s the deal at the moment. I’ve set a deadline for myself since I plan on publishing it in July. And I am working on a story board/plot outline for a new idea featuring a companion robot who falls in love. I’ve also got another story idea I am working on that’s a little more down to earth. 😉

Not much else to tell you today, but I hope the rest of you are having a great Sunday.

magic size (1)Fellow author Caroline Bell Foster and I are on simultaneous blog tours this week! 😀

I’ll be sharing insight into Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight, and Caroline will be giving us the scoop on Call Me Lucky! Get to know us, our books and our characters a little better, and find out what we’ll be up to next. 🙂 We always love to hear from our readers, so check out our tour schedules and pop by!

Here’s my schedule  and here’s Caroline’s. Many thanks to the team at Diverse Book Tours for helping us arrange our mini-tours!

Other news? I should be getting Maybe Forever back from the editor tomorrow, so soon I’ll now how much of a rewrite is necessary. 🙂 Once that’s done, I’ll finally be able to share a release date with you. 🙂

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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 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. 🙂

Ryan Goslng New Year I know this is that time of year when I’m supposed to post about how I reached all of my publishing/writing goals and tell you how great I am and make you think I am super-organized/ambitious/fill-in-the-blank. But…I’m not going to do that.

Why? Because it’s boring. Instead, I thought my buddy Ryan and I would simply wish you a happy new year and let you know that we’ve got some great things planned for 2015.

Initially, I had this really witty post planned, but I’ve been ill with the weirdest cold/flu/whatever-this-is since 17 December and my brain is still not quite unfuzzed from all the cold medicine I’ve had to take to facilitate sleeping and not coughing myself to death. So that essentially means this will be a meandering post. 😉

But anyway, 2015…I’m looking forward to finishing some projects I started in 2014–namely Maybe Tomorrow and my NaNo2014 novel, Maybe Forever. You may remember that Maybe Tomorrow follows Eddy’s path to new love and Maybe Forever picks up Laney and Mads’s story, four years and two kids later. I spent most of Christmas revising Maybe Forever. There are still some scenes that need to be added, but soon it will be ready to be sent to beta readers.

Maybe Tomorrow ‘s draft should be ready to send to beta readers and an editor by mid-January. I’ve already got a cover for it, designed by the insanely talented Arijana K. at Cover It! Designs. I don’t remember if I’ve shared it with you already…hmm. Soon then. I think you’ll love it as much as I do. Arijana’s working on the cover for Maybe Forever as well. 🙂

Someone asked me if there would be more Laney and Mads stories once I finish Maybe Forever. I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. There will be a short story about Jesper, Niklas’s son (remember him? He showed up at Laney and Mads’s apartment in Maybe Tonight). I’ve also got some ideas for stories in the Snowbound universe. I’ve got a few other ideas up my sleeve. 😉

So tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and then a few days after that it’s my birthday. One of the first thing’s I’ll do to start off the new year is send my donations to Girls Write Now, Stockholms Stadsmission and Covenant House. This year has been sluggish compared to last year, but I think we’ll still be able to make good-sized donations to all three charities.

Well, that’s it for today’s post. I am in the mood to write fiction, so off I go! Happy New Year, everyone! And thanks for your support! 😀

Only one more week until NaNoWriMo and I am nearly done with my outline. I’m getting really anxious to start. I don’t remember feeling this excited last year–which is probably why I didn’t finish my 2013 NaNoWriMo effort.

This year, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be returning to Copenhagen and writing about Laney and Mads. We meet them four years after the end of the Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight. I’ve made a vision board for the novel and it’s been a great help during this outlining stage.

I wasn’t going to share the plot just yet, but I changed my mind. Here’s the gist of the story I’ll be working on:

Add text-2Now married with two kids, Laney and Mads are finding life together is not as simple as it used to be. Laney is struggling with juggling a new baby and her four-year old daughter, Liv, and pressure to come back to work early from her maternity leave. She’s also worried that she and Mads are drifting apart. He’s so caught up in his furniture making business that he’s forgetting promises made to Laney and to Liv. And he’s missing signs that all is not well with Laney…

When the pressure gets too much for her, Laney takes the kids and goes to the US, hoping to find sanctuary with her aunt Cecily, a former school teacher who now teaches yoga and meditation to pensioners and at-risk teenagers in Florida.

Will Laney and Mads find a way back to one another…or is it too late?

Next Saturday I’ll be ready…and I will probably exhaust myself (and my fingers) the first few days, but I’ll keep writing. I’ll also have a temporary page here on the site where you’ll be able to read the very, very rough versions of the chapters I pen. I hope you’ll cheer me on. If you want to follow my NaNo progress, save this link.

By the way, the cover image is just inspiration. It’s not the final cover. I made it just to keep me motivated. When it’s time for publication, I’ll be contacting Arijana at Cover It! Designs for another amazing cover. 🙂

I wonder how many of you will be joining me for the NaNoWriMo challenge…drop a line and let me know! 🙂

 

Every year, I (and loads of other writers) go a bit bonkers in the pursuit of completing a 50K+ word novel in a month. Yes, I mean NaNoWriMo.

 

 

My 2011 NaNo novel became my first novel, Snowbound, which I published last autumn. I had a blast writing it and a lot of people enjoyed reading it, even though some people thought Mia didn’t deserve an HEA. Well, I am already working on a little story about Mia & Jake so that might be a Christmas present to their fans. 🙂

My 2012 NaNo novel became my second novel, Maybe Baby, which I published in March, ended up for a while in the Kindle Top 100 list for its genre and won an award. It also caused many women to fall in love with Mads, the Danish sperm donor/furniture maker. I don’t blame them. I have a bit of a crush on my own creation too. 😉

Last year was not a good NaNo year for me. I managed to write a 25K manuscript, come to the realization that I hated what I was writing and couldn’t muster the energy or resolve to finish.

But this year is different…I feel ready to write my heart away, and we’ll be returning to Copenhagen for more of Laney & Mads’s story. So this weekend, I’ll be prepping an outline so I won’t find myself sitting in front of my MacBook Air and wondering what the heck I am doing. I’ll also interview my characters and update  my dreamcast–which I always do when I write–so that I can envision each chapter like scenes in a movie. Here’s the dreamcast that helped me write Maybe Baby.

Dreamcast Maybe Baby Collage

 

I’ve already decided that my new novel will feature the same cast of characters as Maybe Baby, with a few extras, so most of my dreamcast work is done. I just need to find 3-4 new characters and also imagine some of the locations. Maybe I need to take another trip to Copenhagen too. 😉

I don’t want to reveal too much of the story…but I’ll tell you it takes place a couple of years after Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight and, unlike my WIP Maybe Tomorrow, the focus will be on Laney and Mads.

Come November, I’ll keep you updated here with progress reports. I’ll even post excerpts so you can see what’s going on–but keep in mind it will be a very rough draft and probably full of typos. 🙂