Writing Tips – Negative Emotions

How can we express negative emotions without using…I felt guilty/angry/afraid/stressed?


What does guilt feel like? Heavy? Embarassing? Uncomfortable?

Shoulders drooping, downcast. The heavy burden of undeniable guilt.

Where are they feeling the guilt? Shoulders, gut?

The guilt ate away at me, piece by piece. A hollow shell of my former self.

How do they express rage? Shouting, screaming, hitting, punching?

She left. It was only a matter of time before his mistook her face for a wall. No amount of cheap plaster could fix that.

How does anger make them feel?

Nails digging so deep into my palms they drew blood. I smiled. Never, not in a million fucking years, would I give him the satisfaction.

What are they afraid of?

Clowns. Of course, it had to be clowns. Spiders and snakes I could handle, but greasepaint and squeaky red noses, never. Not today, Krusty, not today.

What are the signs of stress?

Rob clutched his chest, forced out another labored sigh.
“You okay, mate?”
“Yeah, just a bit tired.”
I walked over to his desk, pressed a hand into his shoulder. “Go home, mate. Put your feet up, treat the wife to a takeaway. This can wait until tomorrow.”
He nodded, didn’t even reply. Even the will to argue had been sucked out of him.

Countdown to Valentine’s Day – Coco Thrift

Hi and welcome to the sixth and final romance author interview in the Countdown to Valentine’s Day. today I’ll be talking to Coco Thrift, author of the first in a new series of paranormal novellas, Half Moon Academy: Demon Daze.


Do you think Delta and her suitors would celebrate Valentine’s Day, if so how?

Well, I’ve got about one woman and four hotties since it’s a reverse harem for this series, so buckle up!

Our main woman, Delta, is a scrappy young agent for a supernatural agency that’s meant to protect the world from overall mayhem. If she was in a relationship, she’d demand a cheap buffet restaurant and some nice whiskey on the rocks with plenty of kisses… too bad she’s busy with her job of busting baddies.

Atlas: Our main bad boy, Atlas, is a vampire so he’s way too cool (and undead) to find much joy in Valentine’s Day besides sucking some necks on occasion. He’s not lurking out of windows to watch young maidens sleep… they usually come to him.

Vine: Actually, I think the playboy, Vine, would actually enjoy Valentine’s Day chocolate but never admit it—he’s a demon. They’re so touchy.

Collin: I love this hot nerd. Think Sherlock meets a naughty version of Newt Scamander with a penchant for evil spells that make him wealthy. OK, scene: You’re flipping through a book in the library. He surprises you. He takes a step toward you, tossing that gorgeous head of blond hair over his sweater. He would be the type to whip out some old obscure poetry while smirking, knowing your knees are going weak. I’m very into these smart types.

Alek: Oh, I’m a sucker for a shifter. We have a wolf shifter because I wanted to write a book with all manner of paranormal men I lusted after as a teenager. Is my series essentially a potluck of hot paranormal men, trotting up to offer their supernatural services? Yes. Yes, it is. Alek might howl at the moon and pledge his devotion after Delta’s won him over.

What would be something romantic Delta would do for any of her sexy dudes?

Oooh, the best part about reverse harems is that you get to write so many hot options. We won’t see lovey dovey romance for a while in this series, but there will be cute scenes among the steamy ones. Paranormal romance means expressions of love happen a bit differently. You know, girl meets guy. Guy has fangs. Girl is a witch. Also, there’s three other guys. They have steamy moments and live happily ever after.

Delta would be smart enough to cater her romantic gestures. After all, you can’t invite a vampire out to a lovely Italian dinner because of the garlic. I think her biggest gesture would be to open up because she’s a closed-off person. I love writing complex women.

I never thought about the fact that vampire’s can’t eat Italian food, lol. A little bit about you now, how do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

I like Valentine’s Day as an excuse to eat chocolate and a fine dinner, but I basically like anything as an excuse to eat. For the actual holiday, I don’t think about it too much. It’s cute, but I think there’s so much pressure to have a good time, which I don’t like.

So does this mean you’d consider writing a Valentine’s Day themed book or novella?

Oh, for sure. I have some contemporary WIPs that need some dusting off or I could see myself doing a Valentine’s Day novella for one of my future series. I don’t think it’s a must for a romance writer, but I do think it can be fun.

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Chocolate, wine, and dinner. Or eating leftover takeout food for a date at home.

What would your ideal Valentine’s Day date consist of, money no option

I was super extra when it comes to some holidays when I was younger. If I had the time and the money, I’d been known to plan intricate scavenger hunts and the like. I’m more into chill holidays now though, so I’d just opt for a nice dinner and something intellectually fun. If I had my ideal conditions, I’d love to do a full day date. Coffee shop with some brunch, trip to a bookstore, outing to some cute shop or gallery, then following it up with lots of conversation before a lovely restaurant dinner at some cozy hole-in-the-wall place.

A scavenger hunt? That’s awesome. Have you ever done one for anybody?

I did a complete scavenger hunt for my first high school boyfriend. We went to a boarding school and our campus was shared with the local college, so there was a lot of room to leave hints. I arranged about eighteen different clues and he was psyched to do it. I worked so hard on the hunt and I think it took him a few hours to complete. There were math problems, puzzles left with other people, library hints to decode… I told you I was extra. I hand-drew and designed many of the hints.

That sounds pretty romantic, has anybody ever done anything as romantic as that for you?

Ooh, I have a good one. In college, I dated this super sweet guy. At one point, I mentioned that when I was a young girl, I was obsessed with both Pocahontas and cherry coke. I know, I know. Weird combination, but I promise it makes sense in the end. I went on a lot of hikes when I was kid during one summer with my dad’s girlfriend. She used to tell me that Pocahontas ran through our forest and that if I was lucky, one day I could see her. I never caught her, but she did leave me gifts. She would “hide” cherry coke cans for me to find in the forest. I used to get so EXCITED about Pocahontas and her apparent need to caffeinate me.

So, I told this college boyfriend that, and didn’t think much more of it. I got to bed the night before Valentine’s Day and think I heard some weird noises around my front door but chalked it up to my roommate. I walk outside to head to class and what greets me?

A heart made entirely of suspended cherry coke cans hanging from the overhang of my front porch! In each coke can, he hid a chocolate heart. It was so sweet. I was over the moon with it, because I love big gestures. We only dated for about half a year, but I still think back fondly to it! It was so unique!

Thank you Coco, just goes to show that romance isn’t about how much you spend it’s all about the thought that goes into it.

Coco’s first book in her new series is out on Valentine’s Day, here’s a little taster to get you clicking on the link below…


Delta Moore likes spiced rum, her leather jacket, and busting supernatural baddies. As the youngest investigator of the Otherworldly Association, she uses her half-witch powers to get to the bottom of crimes. She kicks butt at her job, but her boss is about to hand over her biggest challenge yet.

Her mission? Infiltrate Half Moon Academy, a renowned supernatural university with some suspicious activities. The headmistress wants Delta to investigate The Four, a group of extremely powerful and drop-dead gorgeous supernatural dudes.

After disastrous first meetings with The Four, Delta realizes this mission might be more dangerous than she imagined. The Four seem intent on luring her into bed…and she’s not sure she can resist the call.

Half Moon Academy is a Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance for 18+ and filled with delicious dialogue, sizzling moments, and fun characters that will leave you wanting more. It includes supernatural types of all kinds: witches, wizards, vampire, werewolves, demons, and more!



Countdown to Valentine’s Day – Guinevere Jordan

Hi, welcome to day five of my Valentine’s Day romance author interviews. Today I’m talking to Guinevere Jordan, author of Coming Home, published in the Wrapped up in Love anthology released late 2019, in aid of breast cancer.

3SpYTybm.jpg medium

In your short story, Coming Home, ex-lovers Susie and Simon meet up after a long time apart. Do you think these busy single-parents would find time to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day can be tricky with kids. I think they would celebrate it but not in an over-the-top kind of way. Simon would probably take the day off work so he and Susie could spend some alone time together while the little girls are at school. You know, adult fun without the potential of a little child needing a drink of water, having a nightmare or going to investigate why Aunt Susie is making weird noises.

Which of the two would be the most romantic on the day?

I think it would definitely be Simon doing something romantic for Susie, because she’d just forget what day it is. He could cook her a yummy dinner, and make her his mashed potatoes because he knows they’re her favorite. I think he may enroll the help of Adelie and Ariel to make her a card/choose her a present she will like.

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Do you think your opinion on it influences how you might write about it?

It’s not really a big deal to me. I don’t see the point of showing someone you love that you love them on this one day. That said, it’s always nice to sneak away for dinner together, more doable now we have a teenager who is old enough to babysit. It probably does influence how I write about it. For me, it’s not about expensive gifts, it’s about quality time together and this is a belief I think my characters would have too.

If you haven’t already, would you consider writing a Valentine’s Day themed book or novella?

I started one a couple of years ago, another second chance romance (or sorts, they only ever shared this one kiss). So far, it’s 5k long and I’m still undecided about what to do with it. I thought it was finished for a while but then I started to think of how I could make it longer.

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day?

No plans yet. If we have enough money we might go out for dinner or lunch together, but in all likelihood, it will just be another day for us! I don’t know, maybe the whole idea of Valentine’s Day is bigger in America and Europe? It doesn’t seem to be a big deal here in New Zealand.

Excluding your partner, who would be your ideal Valentine’s Day date? Where would you take them?

If you asked my wife, she’d say, ‘That’s easy. Richie McCaw, and you’d climb him like a tree!’. He’s the former captain of the national rugby team here in NZ and I kind of have had a crush on him for like 8 years. I’m not so sure I’d take him out for a Valentine’s Day date (all my fantasy boyfriends have girlfriends or wives!)

I love your partner’s turn of phrase.

What is the most romantic gift you have ever given?

Early in our relationship, Mother’s Day was approaching and my wife mentioned she’d never got a Mother’s Day present. So I got her some chocolate, a wooden letter J to remember the baby she lost, a pot of her favorite ice cream, some nice hand cream and some other stuff I can’t remember now (possibly a nice notebook because she loves notebooks). Last year I got her a copy of The Odyssey from 1885.

What is the most romantic gesture somebody has ever done for you/gift someone has given you?

My wife always gets me a little gift to mark my daughter’s birthday (she was born sleeping in 2006).


Thanks Guinevere. If you haven’t already, you should definitely get right onto Amazon and one-click the amazing anthology, Wrapped up in love, full of lots of winter tales to warm you up on cold February nights. Remember all proceeds from the sale of this book go to fighting breast cancer. If ever there was a reason to treat yourself to a little something for Valentine’s Day, this is it!

Coming Home

Coming Home by Guinevere Jordan

Eighteen-year-old Susie left Newcastle-upon-Tyne and her boyfriend behind to follow her dreams in London. Twenty years later, she moves back home to look after her recently orphaned niece and bumps into Simon, who has a daughter the same age. Susie quickly realises she needs to decide if it is a sign from the universe or a chance at closure.


 WRAPPED UP IN LOVE: A Winter Contemporary Collection from the Romance Café (Romance Café Collection Book 5) (Romance Café Books)

True love and heart-warming romance. Take a break from holiday chaos and escape into these sassy and spicy short romances.

Breast cancer affects one in four women. Here’s your chance to read a swoon-worthy book and help other women at the same time.

Curl up in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and know that every book purchased, and every page read raises money for breast cancer research.

This contemporary romance collection has it all:

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Friends to lovers
  • Marriage of convenience
  • Seasoned romance
  • Multicultural couples
  • Strong female leads & hot dudes reading
  • Christmas, snowstorms, and seasonal cheer

Get Wrapped Up in Love today for romance with all the feels.

***ALL proceeds go to fund research in the fight against breast cancer. ***



Countdown to Valentine’s Day – Sara Ohlin

Hi, welcome to day four of my Countdown to Valentine’s Day romance author interviews. Today we’re talking to Sara Ohlin, author of the Rescue Me series and Handling The Rancher, the first in the Graciella series. Her latest novel, Seducing the Dragonfly, is available for pre-order now.


Hi Sara, we’re all excited to go back to Graciella and meet Lily and Turner in March. In the meantime will they be celebrating Valentine’s Day?

I have a feeling Lily, in Seducing the Dragonfly, would try to fly under the radar for Valentine’s Day, but would secretly love it if Turner surprised her with a fabulous romantic day full of surprises. And Turner would be all about celebrating a love holiday. After finding Lily, I feel like he’s going to be acting like a kid on Christmas morning enjoying all the holidays with her.

Sounds like Turner is a bit of a romantic. What would he surprise Lily with on the 14th?

In Seducing the Dragonfly, Turner is all about wooing Lily, even after she’s fallen under his love spell. And I think for their first Valentine’s Day he would surprise her with a trip to Germany, somewhere he knows well, but she’s never been. I imagine it would be snowing and they’d tuck into all the lovely small restaurants and sit next to each other to enjoy wonderful food and wine, like in a city similar to Munich. They’d tour all the amazing architecture and museums. And of course there would be a fabulous hotel with a fabulous bed!

That does sound romantic. What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

I love the romance aspect of Valentine’s Day. Love and happily ever after. I think there’s a lot of pressure for people, though around the holiday and that can be stressful and often highlight loneliness.

Before I met my husband, when I didn’t have a special date for Valentine’s Day, I made cards and sweets for my friends because I enjoy the love aspect of the holiday, and putting love out into the world, even if it isn’t romantic.

That is so sweet of you. I imagine you’d be up for writing a Valentine’s Day book then?

I would love to! Especially a story involving sweets to really play with the senses and food and how amazing foods can connect us. I almost always play up the food aspects in my romance novels anyway, but a Valentine’s Day one would be so much fun.

You’re clearly a romantic, what do you and your husband get up to on the big day?

My husband and I are actually going out this year. Usually we stay home and cook for each other. But this year we’re going to a special multi-course dinner at a restaurant on Whidbey Island that serves amazing farm to table dishes. Now I just have to find something romantic to wear.

Gosh, you weren’t kidding about loving your romantic food, that sounds delicious. In my other interviews I’ve asked our authors who they might take on a date, in the case of their partner not being available but I think I’ve already guessed your reply.

I’m a dork. I’d probably take a group of girlfriends to Hawaii for a month. No kids, no dishes, no laundry!

A month in Hawaii? Sign me up!

So do you and your husband exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day?

One year I made my husband a photo album of our first few years together including pictures and poems. It was before kids. Seems like a lifetime ago.

And is he a bit of a romantic?

My husband makes me the most amazing coffee every morning and he cleans the French press for me every night. Seems like such a simple act, but it makes my day. Every day.

I’m sure all the coffee drinkers out there would agree that that’s pretty sweet. Thanks Sara.

If you want to learn a bit more about Lily and Turner, take a look below then click on the pre-order link. Only a month to go.


Can an independent, successful designer learn to trust her heart with the one man who crushed it twelve years ago?

After twelve years away, international real-estate guru, Turner Brockman finally returns home to the Oregon town of Graciella to annihilate the ghosts from his past of growing up as cruel patriarch, T.D. Brockman’s favorite son. Intending only to make amends with his family for disappearing, Turner’s balance is tipped off kilter when he encounters independent, creative Dragonfly Design & Construction owner, Lily Moreno, who can’t stand Turner and isn’t shy about showing it.

Unknown to Turner, Lily fell in love with Turner as a girl and before he left, he crushed her heart, crushed her love, crushed her desire to ever trust a man again. Creating and owning the top construction company on the West Coast and loving her friends and family are Lily’s only desires. Afraid to take a chance on true love again, Lily has no desire to reconnect with Turner, or so she tells herself. Even while acknowledging the intense chemistry between them, and giving in to it, she slams her heart closed after every encounter.

Welcomed back into the beauty of Graciella and the family farm with love and open arms, Turner falls quickly for Lily and wants to make a home with her. He faces his greatest challenge seducing Lily into trusting him completely. Will his intense love, patience and good old-fashioned wooing be enough to make Lily fall?

Pre-order links



Countdown to Valentine’s Day – Lauren H Mae

Hi, welcome to day three of my Countdown to Valentine’s Day romance author interviews. Today we’re talking to Lauren H Mae, author of The Catch.


Hi Lauren, your first novel, The Catch, came out last month, it feels like Josh and Cat only just got together. Do you think they’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?

Josh and Cat would definitely celebrate Valentine’s Day, but they don’t do the fancy dinner reservation thing. They make a nice dinner at home and let things develop from there.

What would be something romantic Josh would do for Cat?

Josh is pretty traditional, so he’s going to send Cat flowers at work. But he’s not boring, so they’ll be peonies instead of roses—a nod to the first flowers he brought her.

Cat is the type to let the day go by casually, but surprise Josh with some new red lingerie that night.

They sound like they’re fans of the holiday. What about you though, how do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Do you think your opinion on it influences how you might write about it?

I actually hate Valentine’s Day and I have another heroine in a WIP that feels the same way and expresses it. It was fun to write that, but I can put aside my dislike for the characters who I think would enjoy it. Especially the ones who enjoy it reluctantly, like Cat.

If you haven’t already, would you consider writing a Valentine’s Day themed book or novella? Do you think this is a must for a romance writer?

I hope it’s not a must! I can’t bring myself to do it. Christmas novella? I’m in.

If you’re not a Valentine’s Day fan, is the 14th just another day for you? What have you got planned?

Stealing the kids’ candy from their classroom parties. My husband usually buys me flowers which is sweet.

Is there a fantasy celebrity date who could convince you to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I would use any excuse to go on a date with Andrew Lincoln. I would just walk around listening to him talk.

What is the most romantic gift you have ever given?

Oh wow. This interview is making me realize I’m the least romantic romance author ever! I asked my husband to answer this and he said having his kids was the most romantic thing I’ve given him. I think that answer might be a runner-up for the next question.

What is the most romantic gesture your husband has ever done for you?

When I had surgery a few months ago, my husband texted me while I was under, having a full on, one-sided conversation. I woke up to all of the text messages. It was the sweetest, most genuine gesture.


Thanks Lauren, your husband sounds like a sweetheart, I guess Andrew Lincoln will just have to find something else to do on the 14th!

Lauren’s book, The Catch, came out only a few weeks ago, just in time to treat yourself to a little Valentine’s Day romance reading. Here’s a little resume to get you in the mood for this hot summer romance.


The Catch

Catia Roday has learned the hard way that love always disappoints, so when she finds herself falling for Josh Rideout—the handsome, charming, seemingly-perfect guy she just met on vacation—only to find out they hail from neighboring towns, she has one question: what’s the catch?

Unwilling to let love make a fool of her again, Cat tries desperately to ignore the chemistry between her and Josh, but it isn’t easy when their vacation plans keep overlapping. With the universe constantly throwing them together, and her friends practically staging an intervention to tell her she’s making a huge mistake, she decides to prove her point once and for all. On the way home, she makes a bet. She’ll take her budding vacation romance back to the real world, and when she proves Josh is too good to be true, she wins! (And she avoids another heartbreak.)

What ensues is a series of tests and games with Josh one step ahead of her the whole time, until Cat realizes the friendly wager has her betting against the one man who may be able to revive her faith in love. Worse yet, it turns out Josh might not be the gambling type.

Countdown to Valentine’s Day – Lucy Hudson

Hi, welcome to day two of my Countdown to Valentine’s Day romance author interviews. Today we’re talking to Lucy Hudson, author of the Falling for You series and the Happy Holidays series.


In The Star Spangled Weekend we got to meet Everly and Wick. do you think they would celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Everly and Wick would TOTALLY celebrate Valentine’s Day. But more in a let’s order food and eat naked in the living room rather than a fancy restaurant sort of way.

What would be something romantic Wick would do for Everly?

On their first Valentine’s Day, Everly and Wick would both give each other old school mysteries, as that’s what they bonded over during their bookstore meet-cute.

Ooh, as an author I very much approve of giving books as gifts! So let’s talk about you,  how do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Do you think your opinion on it influences how you might write about it?

I feel fine about Valentine’s Day. Right now, with four little kids, it’s more about them than my husband and I. We do still do try to go out near the actual day. Our dang babysitter has a boyfriend and usually has plans. More about the second half of that question below.

So, in your Happy Holidays series you’ve written about the 4th of July and Halloween is there a Valentine’s Day book planned?

I have one in the works. It won’t be ready for this Valentine’s Day, but it will be coming out Valentine’s Day 2021. It’s friends-to-lovers and one of them absolutely hates Valentine’s Day. I like the idea of disliking a day dedicated to romance, but being dragged into your own anyway.

You mentioned four little kids, does that leave you any time to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

During the day, there will be lots of valentines making and chocolate eating with the children. Fingers crossed we can get someone to watch our kids so we can grab dinner alone! But, if not, we’ll probably order some fancy food and Netflix and chill after bedtime, wink wink.

So, if you can’t get a sitter, which fantasy date would take you out on Valentine’s Day and where would the lucky guy take you?

Ooooh I just watched The Witcher so I’m going to have to go Henry Cavill. And I’m going to be predictable and say Paris.

Henry is a popular date choice, Charish Reid chose him yesterday too! Paris is such a romantic place, have you ever been there?

When we were twenty, hubs and I went to Paris for Valentine’s Day. We had no money and stayed in a crappy hotel, but it was still amazing. We fell in love with the city and made the most of our three days, exploring every last corner!

Your husband sounds very romantic, is that always the case?

When I told my husband I was pregnant with our first baby, he went out and got me flowers and three jars of olives. I had eaten nothing but olives for the last two days because of cravings and it was so sweet. He also gave me a heating pad the size of my back that Valentine’s Day when I was pregnant and miserable. He gives very creative gifts.

Thank you so much Lucy.  If you can’t get to Paris and you’re feeling the February chill why don’t you warm up with Lucy’s summer romance?

The Star-Spangled Weekend high res

One Hot Weekend…

For Everly Patterson, a trip home to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for the Fourth of July weekend usually means food, fireworks, and deflecting her mother’s questions about her lack of a relationship. But this year, a few minutes at the bookstore has her all hot and bothered, and it’s not because of a romance novel.

Wick Holstein was trying to get a weekend away from work with some college buddies, that is until a gorgeous, redheaded bookworm caught his eye. Oh, he’ll be passing on beers and brats with the boys if it means gazing at this bombshell.

With an attraction and connection neither of them could deny, can Everly and Wick dodge nosy parents, escape work that won’t stay at home, and beat the ever-approaching end to the weekend?

This book is light on conflict, high on steam, and guaranteed to leave you smiling!

The Star-Spangled Weekend is a standalone novella with no cliffhangers, an HEA. Not intended for audiences under 18.

Barnes and Noble

Available soon on Kobo and IBooks.

Countdown to Valentine’s Day – Charish Reid

Hi and welcome to the Countdown to Valentine’s day series of romance author interviews. My first guest is Charish Reid, author of The Write Escape and the recently released Hearts on Hold.


Hi, Charish. Let’s start by talking about your new book. Do you think Victoria and John, from Hearts on Hold, would celebrate Valentine’s Day, if so how?

Even though Victoria is very good at dates and schedules, I have a feeling she’d still forget about Valentine’s Day. When it’s John who reminds her, she’d probably feel embarrassed! She’d probably scramble to make last minute plans just to prove she still has her act together.

What would be something romantic that John would do for Victoria?

John would most likely take Victoria to the university greenhouse for an after-hours private dinner amongst her favorite orchids.

If you haven’t already, would you consider writing a Valentine’s Day themed book or novella? Do you think this is a must for a romance writer?

I don’t think the holiday is a must for romance authors. I managed to make Halloween pretty damn sexy in my book Hearts on Hold. But I could see myself writing about Valentine’s Day as well! I would just like to make it funny…and then romantic.

So tell me a little about you, how do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Do you think your opinion on it influences how you might write about it?

I’ve never actually cared for Valentine’s Day. I certainly didn’t care about it when I was single, but even after being married for a decade, I think it puts too much pressure on people to perform. I’m sorry that’s not very romantic! If I write about it, I think there will be more hi-jinks and blunders before it gets romantic.

So you won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day then?

Oof…*cringe face* Neither my husband nor I have planned anything (that I’m aware of), but luckily it falls on a Friday this year! I have the whole weekend to throw something together, lol!

Excluding your partner, who would be your ideal Valentine’s Day date? Where would you take them?

Since Romancelandia can’t get enough of him right now, I choose Henry Cavill. I want to go to a fancy restaurant where the chef makes a tasting menu of eight-courses.

What is the most romantic gift you have ever given?

I had to ask my husband, since “romantic” is in the eye of the beholder. According to him, he thinks I’m romantic everyday when I give him a kiss, first thing in the morning and right before he goes to sleep. I’m going to take him at his word, lol!

That is so sweet. Is your husband a bit of a romantic too?

When my then-boyfriend and I were walking home, one wintry night, he stopped along the way, took my hand, and said: “We need to get married!” with a goofy grin on his face. I was drunk at the time and said yes. The next morning, when I asked him if last night’s declaration was still on the table, he kissed me and said “of course!” We got married about four months later.

Aw, that’s pretty romantic! Thank you Charish.

If you haven’t already ordered your copy of Hearts on Hold (and why not, what are you waiting for?) here’s a little teaser to show you what you’re missing…


What happens in the stacks stays in the stacks…

Professor Victoria Reese knows an uphill battle when she sees one. Convincing her narrow-minded colleagues at the elite Pembroke University to back a partnership with the local library is a fight she saw coming and already has a plan for. What she didn’t see coming? The wildly hot librarian who makes it clear books aren’t the only thing he’d like to handle.

When a tightly wound, sexy-as-hell professor proposes a partnership between his library and her university, children’s department head John Donovan is all for it. He knows his tattoos and easygoing attitude aren’t quite what she expected, but the unmistakable heat between them is difficult to resist.

And then there’s the intriguing late fee on her record. For the Duke’s Convenience… A late fee and a sexy romance novel? There’s more to Dr. Reese than she’s letting on.

John might like to tease her about her late fee, but when he teases her in other ways, Victoria is helpless to resist. Mixing business with pleasure—and oh, it is pleasure—always comes with risks, but maybe a little casual fun between the sheets is just what Victoria needs.

Hearts on Hold,

To Writers with Love, Mary Wibberley


In a bid to share as many useful writing aids as I can, I will be posting reviews of popular books about writing over the next few weeks (as I plod through them, time permitting).

To Writers with Love, published in 1985, is still relevant today. Sadly the lovely Mary Wibberley is no longer here, but her legacy lives on in this book, as well as the 48 romance novels she wrote for Mills & Boon.

Inside the book we find advice on plotting, character development and how to start your novel.  Much more than that though, it is filled with tidbits and experiences from being a top selling romance writer.  Mary explains how she came to be an author and shows the process from writing your first word to publishing it.

It took her seven years and seven books to get published, but she persevered, and thank goodness she did!

“The writing flowed, no hesitation, no mental blocks, just a glorious certainty as the words came spilling out on to the paper, and oh how I enjoyed writing it!”

Her dialogue advice, using excerpts from her own works, is as interesting as it is instructive. The chapter on romance novelists, which contains interviews with several writers from the eighties, is fascinating.

“It is essential, especially at the beginning, that the dialogue and narrative are interspersed so that the reader is informed painlessly of both setting and circumstances.”

Obviously certain parts have become a bit dated.  The chapter on heat levels is more suited to books published in the seventies/eighties.  Whilst her advice on subtlety, building up heat levels etc., is absolutely spot on, she makes it very clear that she doesn’t approve of lots of naughty goings on.  I’m not sure what she would have made of the Fifty shades of Grey era!

“But is it necessary to describe in lurid detail what is essentially a very private act? Some writers think so. Many do not.”

There is also a chapter about declaring your VAT, which, despite discussing the tax advantages of typewriter repair, is probably just as relevant today as it was back then, with the basis of the advice being, ‘get yourself an accountant’.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  As an unpublished writer I need books about writing to answer my questions and give me solid, useful advice.  Mary does this, and more, in a perfectly delightful way.  She understands the neurotics of being a writer, but at the same time regularly reminds you that to get published you have to actually sit down and write. Mary isn’t accepting any of your lame excuses!

“Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes, if I had to. I’d decided that nothing was going to stop me – and it didn’t. So please, don’t let anything stop you. You will find out why for yourself. Good luck new writer.”

My copy of  To Writers with Love (Buchan and Enright, 1987) came from my mum’s local charity shop, but you can find second hand copies on Amazon and other online dealers.