Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Release

Never Look Back:  Book Three in The Women of Independence series.
Maya Kincaid lacks for nothing. At least that’s what she tells herself. Sometimes an entire day will go by when she doesn’t think about the man who still owns her heart; the man she met for a few dazzling, sun-filled days all those years ago. The man she’s never forgotten.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sex or Story?

As a romance author, I read a lot. In between reading romance, I delve into other genres and over the past couple of years I’ve found many great new authors. New to me, that is. Among them:

Russell Blake:  Russell has exploded onto the scene in the past couple of years, garnering a legion of fans with his Jet series, his Assassin series, and his newest, featuring Artemus Black, a series he describes as ‘hard-boiled, noir detective’. I’ve read and enjoyed most of Russell’s books.

George Wier:  George’s book, Long Fall From Heaven, co-authored with Milton T. Burton, has recently been named as one of MysteryPeople’s Top 5 Texas Mysteries of 2013.

Nick Russell:  Nick’s newest, Dog’s Run is receiving rave reviews. More than a finely crafted mystery, it picks you up and sets you down in a small Ohio town in the 1950s. The language, the descriptions, the undercurrents are so powerful you feel you’re there!

   But I digress... as usual. For those of you who read romance, you can’t help but notice the trends these days. All the ‘grey’ covers, for example. Now where did that idea come from? All of the bared chests with sharply defined abs. Shirts hanging open. And billionaires. According to the current wave of romance books, in most big cities, women must be wading through waist-deep piles of billionaires!
   Am I knocking these things? Absolutely not. That’s what romance is, after all... it’s fantasy. I have plenty of fantasy in my own books, and it’s fun.
   So what’s my point? My point is that in most of the romances I’ve read lately, the story takes a back seat to the sex. Romances are becoming little more than a series of sex scenes, linked by the thinnest story line you can possibly imagine. And that bothers me.
   Give me some story with my sex. Please. Make me care about the characters. Tell me why they do what they do. I don’t care if they have sex the day they meet, or a month later, or ten years later. I personally feel that a romance needs some sex – be it implied, or explicit. But please! Give me a story as well to hold my interest. Without that, frankly, too many of the current romances out there are boring.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Endings

Friends often ask me which of my books is my favourite. I invariably fall back on the overused comment about choosing between our children. You’d think I could come up with something more original, but there you go...
I’ve been putting together a couple of ‘bargain bundles’ the past few days, which entails scanning through the formatting.  While doing so, I found myself pausing here and there to admire a well constructed sentence, or an evocative turn of phrase. What’s that you say? I’m not supposed to admire my own writing? Too bad; every writer does it.
Where was I? Oh, yes. I love endings. Maybe because I write romance, and to my way of thinking, romance endings should be positive, if not an outright happily-ever-after love fest.
Let’s face it, you know within the first chapter or so, who’s going to get together. Rarely are we fooled about that. I prefer to weave the romance in and around an interesting storyline, but that’s just me, trying to give the reader her/his money’s worth.
I have a few movies I’ll watch just for the endings. I love the ending of the first part of the Bourne Trilogy, where Jason Bourne walks into the scooter rental shop. And I really love the ending of The Shawshank Redemption, where Red walks down the beach at Zihuatanejo.
This ending is one of the sweetest I’ve written. It’s from Fallen Angel, and I tear up every time I read it. There’s a lot going on in this book, so I won’t spoil that for you. But here’s the ending:

Epilogue

Ten months later.
“Do I have to wear this?” Mark tugged impatiently at his bow tie.
“Yes.” Bradley straightened it for the third time.
“But why?”
“Because your mother wants you to.” He checked his own reflection. “See...we match.”
Mark gave him a look that made it clear what he thought of that.
“Come on, we’re supposed to be out there first.”
They walked out into the sunlight. All of their friends and family were there, plus Candy and Matt, Faith and Jason, Fran Shaw and her husband, everyone from the law office; even Will and his new lady friend. Her father and his new wife were in the front pew, next to Laura’s grandmother, who had tears in her eyes when Bradley walked down the aisle with his best man, Mark.
As they approached the white tent a jet flew overhead and Bradley shielded his eyes to look up.
“What is it?” asked Mark. It was a game they played all the time.
“It’s a private job. A Citation. Nice ride.”
“Yeah, nice ride. Can you fly it?”
“Oh, I think so.” Bradley grinned.
“Would you teach me how to fly some day?” His hand crept into Bradley’s.
“Yes, I will.”
“Promise?”
“Promise.”
Laura and Hayley appeared on the steps. Laura in a simple white sheath that touched the grass and Hayley in a pale pink chiffon dress that she had picked out herself. They both wore baby’s breath in their hair. They walked together up the aisle and Bradley bent over to pick up his daughter.
“Hey, Mom.” Mark tugged at her dress, and she looked at her son. “Dad says he’s going to teach me to fly! Can you believe it?”
“Sure can,” she said, looking at Bradley with love in her eyes. “He teaches me to fly every day.”

* * *

Fallen Angel is available as a stand-alone book, and is also included in my new Canadian Romance Collection #2. A real bargain, by the way!

Link to Fallen Angel on Amazon: 
 
Link to Canadian Romance Collection on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H92024G




Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hot New Cover - Same Great Story

My cover designer, Suzie O'Connell of Wellman Creek Books has done it again. I asked her to update the cover for Deception, and here's what she came up with:


...and in case you haven't read Deception, here's the first chapter. Do I want you to buy it? You bet I do!  By the way, I'm offering this book at the greatly reduced rate of $0.99 during the week of December 9th, so mark your calendar.
Here are the Amazon Links:
And here's that first chapter:





Chapter One

“You want me to do what?” Justine froze, coffee cup in mid-air. “Why on earth would I do something like that?” Impossible as it seemed, her former college roommate could still surprise her.
“Come on, Justine. You’re in New York now. Besides, it will be fun…that’s why I agreed in the first place.” Olivia spotted a shrimp in her salad and speared it, undeterred by the horrified look on her friend’s face. “And you’d be doing me a huge favor by taking my place.”
“But Livvy. To parade myself in front of a group of strangers.” She shuddered. “Men, who would be bidding on me. It’s…” she groped for the right words. “It’s demeaning.”
“Nonsense. It’s for charity.” Olivia edged forward on her chair, suddenly serious. “Okay, here’s the deal. One hundred percent of what we raise goes directly to inner city children. Every penny, and they desperately need our help.” She broke into a brilliant smile. “Besides, since when have you been shy about parading around in front of people?”
“That was different.” Justine lowered her fork. “And in case you’ve forgotten, I quit modeling.”
Olivia searched her friend’s face. Justine had been tired when she arrived last night, and they hadn’t talked much. “Are you going to tell me why?”
Justine’s long, elegant hands were restless and Olivia’s instincts kicked in. A skilled journalist, she knew when not to press. She sat back quietly, waiting for her friend to speak.
“As they say on the talk shows, I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment.”  Taking a sip of mineral water, Justine’s gaze drifted over the other diners, but it was easy to see that her thoughts were somewhere else. “We were on a shoot in Central America. You know the type of place. Five star hotels filled with ‘beautiful’ people, designer shops in the arcade, breathtaking scenery, but the local people are so poor it makes your heart ache.” She watched a droplet of condensation roll down the side of her glass. “Anyway, we’d just completed a shot and they were setting up for the next one when I started to look around and it hit me. Here I was, getting paid more for one hour of work than some of those people earn in a year.” Her eyes flashed, and Olivia caught a glimpse of her friend’s passionate nature. “I was ashamed that I’d never considered it before.”
Olivia nodded. “I can see how that would get tiresome. After all, it must be tough being one of the most sought-after models in America, raking in all that money. Television shows. Print ads. Catalogs. Boring, boring, boring.”
“You’re missing the point.” Justine glared at her friend. “On purpose.”
“No I’m not.” Olivia raised an eyebrow, refusing to back down. “It’s just that you sound like you belong on daytime television, spilling your guts or something. But I’m glad you’re here.”
Justine eyed her friend affectionately. “I’m glad to see nothing has changed with you, Livvy. You still tell it like it is.”
“Is there any other way? Besides, we’ve been friends for too long.” Olivia lounged back in the comfortable chair. “You know, I can still remember the day we met at college. There you were, a tall, gangly California girl standing in the doorway with a piece of paper in your hand.”
Justine smiled at her friend. “And you. As English as the day is long. I was so envious of your beautiful complexion, I remember that.”
“But you had that tan. And that California body.”
“There! You see? It was always about the body. Nobody ever saw me.”
Her friend’s impassioned outburst made Olivia stop, but only for a moment. “Fair enough. But why did you quit?” Olivia’s brow furrowed. “You never really told me.”
Justine paused, gathered her thoughts. “In the beginning it was an exciting combination of hard work and glamorous locations. But it didn’t take long until I began to detest being treated like a commodity.” She slanted a glance at her friend. “Okay, I know what you’re thinking. A very high-priced commodity. But soon even the travelling became tiresome. You of all people can understand that, with the number of miles you log every month. Anyway, when Mom died I took some time off. It was wonderful. I hadn’t realized how much I missed going to art galleries and museums.” She spread her hands. “So I worked out all my contracts, tied up the loose ends and decided it was time I had a serious look at New York.”
Reaching across the corner of the table, Olivia placed her hand on Justine’s arm. “I’m sorry about your Mom, but I’m glad we’re finally here at the same time. Especially since my London editor has given me enough assignments over here to last three or four weeks. Those quick overnight visits we’ve managed to squeeze in over the past few years haven’t been enough. How long can you stay?”
“I’m not sure I want to stay, but I’ll have to find a place until I make up my mind. I hear that’s not an easy task.”
Olivia pulled back. “Don’t be a goose. You’ll stay here, with me. You’ve seen the size of the flat. Dad never uses it, and he’s made it clear that it’s mine for as long as I want. On the rare occasions that he comes to town he stays at his club.” She shook her head.
“What about your Mom? Doesn’t she use it?”
Olivia gave a short laugh. “Mummy doesn’t particularly like New York. She’s happy as a lark at home working on her charity events. I doubt that she goes into London more than a few times a year. I don’t understand her, but there you have it.”
“Don’t knock it. At least you have a mother.” Justine smiled weakly.
“Do you want to talk about it? About your mom?”
Justine shook her head. “I’m still finding it hard. It was such a shock when she died, and I’m just starting to get over it.” She lifted her coffee cup but didn’t drink, setting it down again with a trembling hand. “No, that’s not right. I’ll never get over it. She was everything to me, Livvy. I didn’t know my father, and somehow she made my life so complete that I never missed having one. When I look back now, I realize that all she ever wanted was for us to have a good life together. And we did.” She crumpled the linen napkin, her breath catching in her throat. “And to think that she died because of a drug that was supposed to help her. It’s not right. It’s just not right.” Tears streamed down her face.
“What did her doctor say?”
“He was useless.” She made a futile attempt to flatten the napkin in her lap. “He told me some story about PharmOmega being one of the most respected drug companies in the world, that they only release new drugs after extensive testing. You know how they all back each other up.” She raised her eyes to see her friend looking at her oddly. “Well they do, you know. It’s well documented. I even found out later that they withdrew the drug from the market. Now that should tell you something.”
Olivia nodded, unusually quiet.
Justine drew in a deep, ragged breath. “See? That’s why I shouldn’t talk about it. I get all carried away.”
“Not at all. Isn’t that what friends are for?” Olivia tugged on her earlobes. “Any time you feel the need to vent, I’m here. Two ears. No waiting.”
Justine smiled wistfully. “Remember how we used to say that? We thought we were so clever.”
“We were. The cleverest.” Olivia grew pensive. “You know, that year at Stanford was probably the best of my life. Sharing a flat with you was the icing on the cake.”
“It was fun, wasn’t it?” Justine smiled at her friend. “So...one more time. Tell me about this auction.”
Olivia leaned forward eagerly, glad of an excuse to change the subject. “I wish I could say it was my idea, but it wasn’t. I’m in favor of anything that will encourage people to donate to this particular charity.” She signaled for more coffee. “Stephanie and Rand Brampton are hosting a party at their estate in the Hamptons. He’s a brilliant investment banker, and Steph is a dear. You’ll like them, I’m sure. Anyway, it’s tomorrow night. There are fifteen women in the auction, and the successful bidder takes his prize to dinner. What could be simpler than that?”
Justine still wasn’t convinced. “I don’t know why, but it makes me uncomfortable.” She shot a sudden look at her friend. “What do we wear?”
“There are no rules. Wear anything you like. Whatever will make them bid the most for the pleasure of your company. You can even be anonymous if you like.” She shot an impish grin at her friend.
Justine was intrigued. “And how would I accomplish that?”
“The women to be auctioned will be wearing masks as they circulate among the other guests. Isn’t that a hoot? I thought it sounded like fun, that’s why I agreed.”
“A mask? What had you decided on, Elvis or Nixon?”
“No, silly. Beautiful, elegant masks. Beaded, feathered, sequined…you name it. Feminine masks. And if they wish, the women can continue the charade when they go out to dinner.”
“Oh sure.” Justine shot a wry glance at her friend. “Can’t you just see me walking into Le Cirque with a mask on?”
Olivia frowned. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead, but I can see where that would present a problem. Why, were you thinking you’d stay anonymous? That is if you agreed to do it,” she added quickly.
Justine picked up the dessert menu and pretended to study it. In spite of her initial reaction, a shimmer of excitement rippled down her spine. It was the sensation she’d sometimes get at a shoot, when everything came together to create what she knew would be a memorable picture. She had to admit that the idea of the auction was starting to appeal to her. “Is there anything else I should know?”
“That’s about it. Of course I’ll have a car for you. That way, you can be independent and come home anytime you like. The ‘date’ for want of a better word, is to be arranged between you and the successful bidder.”
“What type of men are they likely to be?”
“If Steffi has anything to do with it, they’ll all be perfectly respectable. CEOs, investment types, entrepreneurs. Your average run-of-the-mill millionaires.”
“Okay, I’ll do it.” Justine leaned forward, eyes sparkling. “I’ll take your place, but I don’t want anyone to know I’m your friend. And since I can be anonymous, I’d like to take it one step further and become someone else. You know, make myself up to look different. I could change my eye color with contacts.” She fingered her hair, a soft ash blonde. “I’ll curl my hair and put in some color. There’s an amazing new product that washes out. I only wish you were doing it too.”
“That’s the trouble with being a journalist. Opportunities rarely come along when it’s convenient. This rock group is the hottest in the country right now, and when I asked their manager if I could travel with them to their next concert it was just a shot in the dark. I had no idea he’d agree. It’s a great scoop, and my editor’s delighted.”
“He should be. I’ve read everything you’ve written, and you’ve done some great stuff.” Pausing, she cocked her head. “What’s the group’s name again?”
“They’re called Inside Out.” Olivia shrugged. “Makes you wonder who comes up these names.”
Justine tapped her teeth thoughtfully. “Speaking of names, that’s another thing I can do. I’ll call myself something different.” She thought for a moment. “How about Jasmine? It’s close enough to my name that I’m quite sure I’ll remember to respond.”
“It’s brilliant.” Olivia clapped her hands. “You’re a natural.”
Justine laughed. “We’ll see about that. When do you leave?”
Olivia consulted her PDA. “The band’s charter leaves at eight thirty tomorrow night. Not too long after you leave for the Hamptons. I’ll be able to help you get ready.”
* * *
Justine gazed at herself in the mirror, pleased with the transformation. Her eyes glowed with an almost feral cast from green contact lenses. A riotous mass of curls tumbled about her face and shoulders, rich auburn with gold highlights. Skillfully applied blush skimmed her high cheekbones, and tawny lipstick shimmered on her generous lips. She looked familiar and yet different. Slightly exotic…that was it. She turned to face her friend.
“The car is here.” Olivia stopped in the hall, speechless for once.
“Well, what do you think?” Justine did a slow pirouette. “Will I pass?”
Olivia swallowed. “For a moment there I didn’t recognize you.” She circled her friend, eyes alight. “I always knew you were a chameleon, and this proves it.”
Justine waved the delicate mask that matched her outfit. “Even so, I’m glad I can hide behind this.”
“Just remember to have fun.” Olivia hovered in the open doorway, still staring at her friend. “Have a good time, Justine, and thanks for going in my place.”
A soft ‘ping’ announced the arrival of the elevator. “Olivia?”
“Yes?”
The doors opened soundlessly and Justine stepped inside, an enigmatic smile flirting with her lips as the elevator doors closed. “Call me Jasmine.”
Olivia closed the door and walked slowly back into the apartment. It was good to be alone, to have a moment to think. There’d been little time for thinking in the whirlwind of packing and getting Justine ready for the party.
She wandered to the large windows overlooking Central Park but she didn’t see the spectacular view. Ever since Justine’s anguished outburst over lunch yesterday, she’d been torn between two loyalties. Loyalty to her friend, who had so recently lost her mother, and loyalty to someone she’d known and admired since childhood – Alexander Melrose, the CEO of PharmOmega. She breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that Alex had declined her invitation to attend the auction.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And the Last Two Covers Are...

Brush With Destiny.
This story is close to my heart, as I love the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia. They're wild, beautiful and sophisticated all at once, and are positioned in an area where Orca pods J, K and L can be seen. The romance is sad in some parts, but it's also uplifting, and ultimately satisfying. I hope you agree.


Here's the Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Brush-with-Destiny-ebook/dp/B00A9SCZO2








The Reluctant Rockstar


The Badlands of Alberta make a wonderful setting for a romance about a journalist and a palaeontologist who shuns interviews. The story is peopled with interesting characters, as well as being set in Canada's dinosaur country. Just enough technical stuff to make it interesting, without interfering with the romance. I hope you'll give it a try.


Here's the Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Rockstar-ebook/dp/B00A2NHMDS

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sometimes I Surprise Myself

No kidding. I can still do that!
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’d thought that my five books with my former publisher would languish and eventually fade away. I was ready to accept that, albeit reluctantly.
  As a goodbye gesture, I re-read them, just before Amazon’s Montlake Press took them over. And surprise, surprise, these are great story lines! Yes, there are the traditional romantic entanglements, but the stories are fresh and unique. I’m proud of them, and now even moreso, with Montlake’s new covers.  Here are two more:

But Not For Me
Many of us can relate to this story. Erin is a chef, and frankly, a little heavier than she’d like to be. She accepts a new position at a floating fishing lodge on the West Coast of British Columbia. On the way there, the boat she’s traveling in sinks, and she’s stuck with three other people on the beach. I like this one, and am so happy to see it revived.
Here’s the link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A9T5W50









The Shell Game
I was inspired to write this one when I visited cottage country in Ontario. The Muskokas are famous as boating and cottage country, and my husband grew up in the area. Rebecca inherits a bed and breakfast lodge when her grandmother dies, but her wily grandmother has left a surprise:  She must share it with the man who broke her heart on the night of her school graduation. Fun, light, and ultimately romantic, it’s a great story.
Here’s the link:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A2FTIQK

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thank You, Montlake Press

It's been about a year and a half since Amazon acquired my former publisher. To be honest, I hadn't expected that those five books would see the light of day again. Boy! Was I wrong about that.
  As you can imagine, it's been a huge undertaking for Amazon's Montlake division (romance) to get a handle on all those books. As one of their many authors, I requested that they consider creating new covers for my books. Let's be honest, the old covers were some of the worst ever designed.
  Just today, Montlake has completed the new designs and uploaded them to the Amazon sales pages. They've done a great job in branding my books so they're recognizable as being from the same author. Great job, Montlake.
   My worst cover - hands down - was for my last book for that publisher: The Gift. Here's the new cover they gave it. So attractive... and it's actually a scene from the book. I've always liked this story; it takes place just north of where I live now, on a large lake known all over North America for houseboating.
  If you'd like to check it out, here's the link on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Gift-ebook/dp/B00A9TOWJC/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Last Goodbye is Live

    I'm delighted to announce that Book Two of The Women of Independence series is now live at Amazon.com
Here are the links, and I hope you'll check it out:


Thanks! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Clever Words

You don't have to be a writer to appreciate wordplay.

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

 Here are the winners:

 1.Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

 2.Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

 3.Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

 4.Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a democrat.

 5.Bozone
( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future. Typically found around democrats as a yellowish, gray bluish deformed elongated halo. 

 6.Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

 7.Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

 8.Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

 9.Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

 10.Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

 11.Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

 12.Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

 13.Glibido: All talk and no action.

 14.Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

 15.Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

 16.Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

 17.Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.


 The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

 Here are the winners:

 1.Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

 2.Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

 3.Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

 4.esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

 5.Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

 6.Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

 7.Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

 8.Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

 9.Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

 10.Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

 11.Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

 12.Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

 13.Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

 14.Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

 15.Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

 16.Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Singing Praises...

How refreshing. Sometimes I feel that all I do is talk about myself... mainly my books. Sure, I want you to like them enough to buy them, but first they have to catch your eye, and that's where my cover designer, Suzie O'Connell comes in.

Suzie has done quite a few of my covers. You can probably tell which ones; they stand out from the others. I met her through a writer's group, where she did a quick cover concept for someone else, and I fell in love with what I think of as her "brush-stroke" style. She uses this effect cleverly, sometimes blurring the otherwise hard edges of an image, or to create a plain background for title/author name, and other times the 'brush strokes' blend two images together.

Today I'm debuting the new cover Suzie has created for Book Two in my series The Women of Independence. I was torn between two breathtaking images, one with a sunburst, and one with the image of the woman on the horse. Suzie combined the two images and I'm sure you'll agree the finished product is amazing.

I'm still writing the story, but the work has become much easier now that I have this lovely image sitting beside my computer. If you haven't read the first book in the series, it's called Loving From Afar. Guess who did the cover art?
Loving From Afar links:
Suzie's website:  http://www.suzieoconnell.com/indieproud/servicesandprices.html

Friday, September 6, 2013

I actually enjoyed this interview!

This interview is with Fiona McVie. See link at bottom of page.

Mona:  Hi, Fiona. Glad to be with you.
Where are you from?
 I live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Think a long, sparkling lake with plenty of beaches. Add in orchards, vineyards, ski hills in the winter, golf courses galore, and you get the picture.
Tell us a little about yourself.
  I spent my younger years in northern British Columbia, then went to UBC for a couple of years, before going to the Sorbonne in Paris for French immersion. When I came back, I went to work in Vancouver for a travel agency, and stayed in travel-related jobs for most of my working life. I’m lucky to have travelled extensively; it opens the imagination.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news
I’ve recently released my eighteenth book on Amazon. It’s the first in a series called The Women of Independence, and it’s entitled Loving From Afar. It’s a romance with a difference. I like to describe it as a book that will break your heart, then put it back together.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve read all my life. My mother took us to the library from a young age. Sometimes I can still recall the smell of the books as we sat on the floor for story hour.  As I read more as an adult, there were many times I thought “I can do this”, so I did. I was naïve enough to think that I’d write a best-seller right out of the gate, but of course that didn’t happen.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t think about it very much. I rarely tell people what I do. I’ve made that mistake a few times and they give me odd looks. I think they’re wondering if I’m going to put them in a book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
 I like to think of my style as casual. I don’t care for over-blown romance novels. I also enjoy putting in a twist here or there. The reader usually knows it’s coming, but we both pretend we don’t, and discover the surprise together.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
 Loving From Afar is a story about a young woman who’s had everything stripped away from her, and yet she continues to love a young man from her past. It’s as though she’s watching life from a distance.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t write books to impart a message. I leave that to people who are much wiser than I, but I would hope that the book gives them something to think about.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I try hard to make it all realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life
Not really, but I can easily imagine a young woman going through these trials.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I really enjoy Maeve Binchy.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Four Fires by Bryce Courtenay.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I read constantly, but I confess I don’t pay much attention to the names. I’m more likely to remember author names when the books are poorly written.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m writing book two of the series The Women of Independence. This one is titled The Last Goodbye.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members
I dreamed of writing for many years before I started. My friends put up with me during those long years. They were so patient!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Not originally, but now I can’t stop.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This new book focuses on Danielle, the closest friend of the main character in the first book. A Hollywood film company comes to shoot on her uncle’s ranch, and Danielle is attracted to the producer.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping my butt in the chair when it’s sunny outside.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’d have to say Bryce Courtenay. He has an uncanny ability to tell a story from the POV of a young child, and I find that charming.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
  I’ve done so much already, it’s usually not necessary.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Suzie O’Connell. She does amazing work.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be prepared to work hard and develop a thick skin.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve always been interested in advertising, in writing ad copy.

To buy Loving From Afar click on the link below


Sunday, July 28, 2013

What's in a name?

There’s been a lot of chatter this week about naming the royal baby. That's prompted me to share a little story my husband told me. Back in 1939, King George and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada by rail. The train went through Orillia, Ontario, where my hubby lived, and being a fanatic train lover, as well as being curious to see the royals, Jack was there. As was customary, the King and Queen came out onto the back of the last rail car to greet the assembled people. When the train stopped, it was oddly quiet, as opposed to the usual cheers. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, a farmer called out from the back "Hiya King!". King George smiled and said "Hi yourself." Jack never forgot that.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thank You, Digital Book Review

A shout out to Anthony Wessell, of Digital Book Reviews for featuring one of my most popular books today.

I won't bore you with the recap of Full Circle - you can read that on the E-Books page. I mainly wanted to say 'thanks' to Anthony for supporting independent authors. His site is great for authors and readers alike.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beautiful British Columbia

  
Just back from a quick trip to Vancouver Island. Gorgeous sunny weather to highlight the (as usual) outstanding scenery. Spent a couple of nights in Sidney, and the first night Mount Baker was clearly visible in all its ice-cream-sundae splendour.
   Coming back on the ferry, I was struck by how often I include this spectacular area in my books. In Fallen Angel, Laura goes to a rehab on Vancouver Island by ferry, and in the same book, Bradley, the male love interest, travels from the island to the Okanagan Valley by ferry. In Fixing Freddie, Freddie takes Samantha over to Pender Island for lunch and a shopping trip. In Promise Me, there are several scenes on the beaches of the island, and in my latest, Loving From Afar, there's a scene where Cole leaves the island when his father gets sick, and the final scene of the book, on a beach.
   I suppose it would be fair to say I love the Island, and I'm proud to do so. Here are a couple of pictures I took on the way back.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thanks for voting!

A big thank you to everyone who voted for my cover in the Story Finds cover contest. My cover artist did an amazing job for this, my latest release. It's up against some stiff competition, but I've enjoyed putting it out there for everyone to admire.
Thanks again... oh, wait... here's the link to the book on Amazon if you'd like to take a look. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DGFXDLO

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Available Now at Amazon

Loving From Afar is Book One in The Women of Independence series.

This book has it all: despair, sorrow and romance. I enjoyed writing it, and based on initial reaction, readers are enjoying it as well.  Here's a brief description:

  What would you do if your perfect life was shattered by a series of uncontrollable events?
  Allison Ransome loses everything; everything except her love for Cole Slater, the young man she planned to marry after graduation.
  Gutted by Allison’s perceived treachery, Cole moves on with his life. Ten years later, he returns home, telling himself he will avoid the woman who broke his heart.
   But nothing goes as planned. Can Allison and Cole forget the past and come to terms with the events that tore them apart?

Available now at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DGFXDLO




Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hockey fever strikes again...

... at least here in Canada, where hockey is a right of passage. I daresay if you asked some children to hum the national anthem, you'd get the theme from Hockey Night In Canada.
   Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But since we're in the middle of the playoffs, I thought it a good time to release my newly designed cover for Blogging From the Heart.
   It's the story of a young woman who blogs about violence in hockey while she's falling for a man she doesn't recognize as being a hockey player.
   A charming story, it's novella-length at 25,000 words. You could probably read it in the time it takes him to watch the game!! Enjoy!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

That certain feeling...


I like every book I write. I wouldn't be much of an author if I didn't.
  But the one I'm writing now feels special. I wasn't going to talk about it, but it's been poking and prodding at me to let it out... to share it with you, the readers.
   I've always wanted to write a series, and I'm finally indulging myself. Perhaps that's why it feels so special; it's been waiting in the wings for years.
   The series is called The Women of Independence, and the stories, which are individually titled, are romances at heart.
    But perhaps not your average romance. This series more closely resembles the life we all live every day. Life with its ups and downs; scenarios that are gritty, perhaps hard to take at times, but always true to life. And as I said, in the end they are romances. Because that's what life is, isn't it? One long journey in search of love?
   I'll keep you posted as I get closer to release date, which I hope will be mid-June. The first one in the series is called Loving From Afar. Can't wait to share it with you.

 

Friday, May 10, 2013

A couple of things...

I don't often post about my freebie offerings here, but since I'm ramping them down, I thought I'd share the current one with you.
FOOL ME ONCE is free through 11 May, and it's currently #2 on the Free in Kindle Store list. For those of you who don't know, that's pretty amazing.
Here's the link:




Next, I'm proud to show you the new cover I've had designed by a talented cover artist.
It's for my book Moonlight Dancer, and sales have already picked up, thanks to the new design. This pleases me, because it's a good story that had been overlooked in the past. It's a special story to me, because I was inspired to write this book when I saw an actual Dance Hall in a small community in southern Saskatchewan. Built around 1929/1930, it was the centre of the community and guess what? It's still going strong! If you'd like the name of the artist, message me through my facebook page and I'll be happy to send you a link to her site.

Here's the link to Moonlight Dancer: 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This one, I'll savour...

I'm in mourning today. No, not because the Canucks lost, but because I just discovered that my all-time favourite author died last November. Bryce Courtenay was famous for The Power of One, which was an amazing book (I've read it several times), but my personal favourites are The Four Fires, and Whitethorn. He has a new book out now, which I snapped up, called Jack of Diamonds. It starts in Toronto, in the 40s. Can't wait to get my 2K words done today so I can go down to the park and start reading!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CI7IL1I

Friday, May 3, 2013

Better Late Than Never

It looks as though B&N are going to allow Nook users the option to download from Amazon.  My friends who are tech savvy inform me that the present upgrade applies only to the Nook HD and Nook HD +, not the older versions.  You can read the story for yourself at:
...and, of course, all future Nooks will be updated with the new interface. It’s about time!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tell Me A Story

This was my first blog post, almost one year to the day, on 19 April, 2012. I think it's worth repeating:

  I saw a television story a few years ago about Don Hewitt, the creator of 60 Minutes. According to the program, he would ask his journalists to “Tell Me A Story”.
  I love telling stories. If it’s a good story, readers will want to read it, and that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
  Is storytelling becoming a lost art? Are we so inundated with digital content that we’ve forgotten the art of sitting around a campfire, swapping stories? Consider the societies in the world that pass on knowledge verbally. Stories handed down for hundreds of years, virtually verbatim. It boggles the mind. Could we do that? I doubt it.
  I find myself wishing that I had listened more closely to the people in my life who had unique stories to tell. My grandfather on my father’s side worked on building the CPR across Canada. He was obviously highly skilled, as he was allowed to bring his family on the train as they moved. What I’d give to go back in time and hear his experiences.
  My grandmother on my mother’s side emigrated from Ireland with my mother after her husband was killed in WWI. She must have been a great storyteller because I recall her telling me how she worked in the linen factory. The details escape me, but she was young at the time and worked in a confined space where the looms whizzed very close to her. Come back, Grandma. I’d like to hear more.
  My own father rode the rails with a friend across Canada in the “dirty thirties.” He and a Peeler were hauled off the train by the police in Alberta and sent to work on a farm. Probably the best food they had; they went back the following year and worked there again. He told me about the hobo camps along the way, and how he actually rode on Kettle Valley section of the railway, only a portion of which still exists as a tourist destination in the town where I now live. Dad also worked in a gold mine in northern Quebec as a mucker. His knuckles were misshapen for the rest of his life, but he was still a sight to behold when he was fly fishing. How many people do you know would say "no thanks" when National Geographic asked to film him fishing? That was my Dad.
  My husband told me stories about a year spent commercial fishing off the west coast of Vancouver Island. He told me of foggy nights in his bunk, listening to the screws of huge tankers coming close, closer, and then finally passing. Or of circular bait balls of fish measuring fifty feet across, dotting the surface of the ocean as far as could be seen.
  I can’t get those stories back now, but these days I’m more likely to slow down and say “Tell Me A Story.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

All That Glitters...

  There’s been a lot of chatter in the past few days about the plunging price of gold, resulting in a torrent of online advice. Sell, don’t sell; panic, don’t panic.
  Of course that got me thinking about writing. Again.
  Okay, so I’m a bit obsessive about writing. But every once in a while I try to step back and take a look at the what and the why of this third career path I’ve chosen for myself. Or is it the fourth? Who’s counting?
  All writers read, and if they don’t, they’re probably not real writers. As a result, we can’t help but absorb the current trends. Stick with me here, I’m getting to the point.
   The point is: as with the gold, do I follow the trends, or don’t I? Why do we all think we have to know what’s trending every minute? Why can’t we be original?
  In my case, if the pack leads me to a best seller, instant fame and untold riches, I’m your man... or in this case, your woman. Just kidding, but it’s tempting.
  So where does that leave me? Surprisingly, it leaves me satisfied at the end of each day’s writing. I’ve finally stopped worrying about what everyone else is doing. I’m doing my own thing. I’m delving a little deeper when I write, and it feels good.
  I can’t stop reading, of course. I think my head would explode if I couldn’t read every day, but when I go back to the keyboard, it’s with a smile. And we all know the world can use more smiles.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Blog About Nothing

   My father used to have an expression that stuck with us kids. We'd giggle behind our hands because Daddy was being naughty. He'd say "I'm running around like a blue-ass fly," with that charming Angle grin. All of my uncles had that grin, come to think of it.
   Can't say I ever saw that blue-ass fly. Oh, wait...of course I didn't; it was too busy.
   More and more I'm feeling like that fly. There just isn't enough time to do everything that needs doing. I try to carve out four or five hours every day for writing, but 'must-do' writing-related chores pop up with such regularity, it's a miracle if I manage to write three days in a row. And that's a pity, because I'm happiest when I'm writing. Being connected, and taking care of business are unavoidable, but for me writing is what it's about. It's my joy.
   Last night (after knocking off 2000+ words),  I saw a blog by Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. We women have heard this message many times before: Take Time For Yourself. Jeff's advice isn't quite that simple, but it stuck with me overnight, and this morning I went back and read it again. It's worth a read, and as a bonus, it isn't too long!  Read Jeff's post here. It's about nothing.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Something new...

   Some readers have told me recently that they missed my announcements about new releases and special offers, which include free e-books from time to time.
   Can't have that, so I've added a tab to my facebook page, where you can sign up to receive Special Offers, as well as my monthly Newsletter, if that interests you.
   I won't be filling your inbox with spam...trust me! So go here to sign up, and don't miss out!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Perfect Side-Kick

Hi everyone! This post originally appeared on Shirley Bourget's blog, under Buzz From The Best, but I kinda like it, and thought I'd share it here, as well.

Andy Griffith and Barney Fife?

...or Laverne and Shirley... or The Lone Ranger and Tonto?
Okay, you get the idea. It’s about the sidekick.
I don’t think I’ve written a book yet that doesn’t have a strong sidekick. I write contemporary romance, so the sidekick is generally a friend, or a roommate. Or in some cases, a pet. I grew up with both dogs and cats. Love ‘em both, but if there’s an animal involved, it’s usually a cat.
I’m not fond of stories in which the main character is too introspective. That type of structure usually leads to long paragraphs of telling instead of showing. Boring, boring, boring. But on the other hand, if we impart the information via dialogue with the sidekick, it’s alive, and ultimately, interesting. If not, it shouldn’t be there.
I use the sidekick to say things the reader might be thinking. For example, the main character utters some emotionally charged dialogue, and you just know the reader is rolling her eyes and saying “give me a break”. Eh voila – the sidekick can say “give me a break”. This allows you to include that small, overly-dramatic but necessary scene, and yet keep it real, thanks to the sidekick.
Creating this character is something I enjoy...perhaps more than I should. Because the sidekick is me. Wait, let me qualify that. It’s the me I’d like to be. I’d like to be tall, slender, dress in a bomber jacket, tight leather pants, and be an international correspondent. Something ‘glamorous’ like that. What’s that you say? The job of an international correspondent isn’t all that glamorous? Never mind; you know what I mean. Besides, this is romance, and romance is mostly fantasy.
Do you notice how often the secondary character is the complete opposite of the main character? There are many ways this can be accomplished, but one of my favorites is age. Several of my stories have older women mentoring the heroine. A surprising number of readers have said that they’d love to read a story about the older characters. In Then Came Love, the older woman is named Agnes. She’s a feisty old broad who has outlived several husbands. We like her immediately, and she becomes integral to the story.
Yes, sidekicks aren’t only fun to write, they enrich our stories. Let’s hear it for the Barney Fifes of the world, and may our characters be as memorable.