The question of secrets within family is often used as the plot for books. For me I was more interested in how a lifelong secret can affect a person’s emotional development and what consequences this would have on their life. A stone in the pond ripple effect was my suspicion and it certainly turned out that way as I delved into how a secret affair by a mother impacted the lives of her three daughters.
‘The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover’ is the first book in the Baxter Sister series. It’s about the eldest sister Natalie. By the time she is of marriageable age, she doesn’t want a fiery relationship like her parents had. She chooses a cool calculating business acquaintance but his calm exterior is a front, his terrible temper has dire consequences. He dies in a car accident that almost takes Natalie’s life and she loses the baby she was carrying. Once she is physically healed she takes a job in Scotland organizing a fundraising ball to benefit orphans. But she accidentally has a once night stand with her a kind client before finding out who he is. She agrees to a secret affair for the month she’s living in his castle in Scotland while organizing the ball. If her parents weren’t the sort of people who kept secrets she wouldn’t be able to see having a secret affair as an option. The problem is falling in love leads to heartbreak because to secure the future of the orphans, her client, a Scottish lord must have an heir to inherit the trust. Natalie is unable to conceive again. Their secret affair becomes a secret love that can never be openly acknowledged.
In writing these stories I wanted to show the far reaching impact that a secret can have on the people close to the person keeping the secret. That having a secret might be something that is done to protect yourself and others but that the truth will find a way to surface and then everyone has to deal with the real situation when the false one that is hiding the truth is swept away.
‘The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby’ is the second in the series about the Baxter sisters. The youngest daughter, Katrina is really her mother’s lover’s baby girl. Although both parents knew they decided to keep it a secret and she was never told that the man she thought was her father wasn’t her biological parent. Although he wanted to raise her as his own he was never able to completely forget that she was living evidence that his wife had been unfaithful. Poor Katrina didn’t know why he couldn’t look at her properly or showed more affection to her sisters. She internalized the blame, thinking it was something wrong with who she was, and that made her struggle for success as a ballerina to win her father’s approval.
The secret about Katrina’s parentage was finally outed when her parents died in a car accident. Katrina was shocked but also deeply wounded because a bedrock truth in her life had been a lie. She had turned to her biological father, a man who had paid for her private school and ballet classes but was again rejected. He didn’t want his son to know he’d been unfaithful in his marriage. Even becoming a prima ballerina wasn’t enough to heal her self esteem, and she gave up on ever being a woman that any man would love. After all if her own Daddy didn’t love or want her, who will? This devastating impact of being the victim of a family secret creates even more serious consequences when she falls pregnant to a man she loves but can’t believe he would ever really love her.
The final story in the series is yet to be published. It’s about the middle sister, Ruby. She’s a loner with no friends. Artistic like her parents, she’s out of place in her private school with her dyed, bright red hair. Jarrod is a popular young man, being groomed to take over his father’s fashion business. He recognized her talent for designing fashion when he saw her sketch pad. He encouraged her and saw through her rebel disguise to the soul of an artist.
When Jarrod tells his father about Ruby, his father is horrified that his son is falling for the half sister of his illegitimate daughter. He actively discourages their relationship and refuses to help Ruby in her career. When Jarrod’s parents separate he is asked to stay with his Dad. He’s devastated about his family breaking up and wanting to support his father so he backs away from Ruby.
When Jarrod steps back from her, Ruby doesn’t understand but what can she do but shut down and keep away? She finishes high school still mad with Jarrod for having led her on and worse than that, she believed he was different.
Years later she is working for Jarrod’s family friend. Jarrod is running his father’s company since he passed away. When he hears that Ruby has been accused of stealing designs, he doesn’t believe it’s true. Jarrod knows she has talent and has been set up. He makes a plan to right wrongs of the past and present but getting Ruby on board proves much harder than he imagined.
‘The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover’, ‘The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby’ and ‘The Australian Billionaire’s Secret Marriage Deal’, completes the series about the Baxter sister’s secrets, yet I think there is so much to untangle when a secret comes to light that I'm also working on a new story about a hero and heroine with family secrets. The healing that comes from secrets being unearthed is an uplifting process so it’s very satisfying to write about characters’ struggling with this journey.
PS. I’m working on having Ruby’s story, 'The Australian Billionaire's Secret Marriage Deal', out in Spring 2018
As promised last week, I'm posting pictures of this year's Christmas decorating. I haven't finished but am happy to share what I've done so far in the family room and bedroom.
The traditional colors of red and green are a feature, but there is more focus on green and natural this year. I'm working on the theory that adding some natural touches to the decorations I have, and paring some of the glitzy gold and silver back a little, will bring a calmer vibration to my home.
You can see in the close up picture above, I haven't used my red ribbon from last year on the tree and I've kept the decorations lighter in color with touches of red. The use of blush pink or rose gold balls helps to soften the overall effect. I still have some clothes peg stars to make and add to this tree, also some burlap ribbon bows so I'll post an update when that's been done. I also post to Instagram so you can keep a look out there too.
The coffee table has a magazine tree that I made from folding the pages in at an angle. On the wall I have a wreath but there is still too much red, so I plan to switch the bows to burlap ones. Same as the ones I'd like to add to the tree. I also need something above the TV. Any suggestions?
In the bedroom I kept my neutral linen look bedspread and only added a cranberry throw and pillowcase covers, from Laura Ashley, this year. Normally I'd use the whole doona set. I've added green picks with berries and fruit to some faux plants on the bedside tables.
The reindeer pillow feature in the middle of the bed is there year round but needed something to tie it in with the theme, so I added a red bow to its antlers. Now I think he looks very festive but the cool blue/grey background ties the bed in with the grey feature wall.
There's still some craft and things to do in December and I plan to take my time and get as much entertainment from this time of year as I can. Come back to see how my wooden clothes peg stars turn out and I might have a surprise project to share also.
Over December I'll also be working on the third book in the Baxter Sister series. I'm hoping to have it ready for release next March.
Here are links below to the first two. Also I just want to mention that the Scottish Billionaire's Secret lover is set right before Christmas. The epilogue has a lovely Christmas day scene that can't fail to make you sigh with warm feelings. So if you like a Christmas read this is a story you'll enjoy.
It’s nearly the end of November and this is the time of year my mind turns to decorating the house for Christmas and what presents I will buy for family and friends. I usually approach this preparation time with joy and confidence that I’m going to have a lovely time. In the past that has always been the case but this year it’s different for me.
I’ve had so much sympathy for people who aren’t looking forward to the festive season. Many times have I heard people say, I don’t like Christmas it’s a sad time of year for me? I really feel for those people, and to help them cope I have suggested they take time to be sad but also focus on who they currently have in their life. To be sad at a time when everyone else seems to be happy makes it all the more poignant, so to be able to feel that you still have some joy is important.
This year I have a taste of what they’re talking about and it’s my turn to practice my own advice. It’s the very first Christmas I’ve faced without my mother. She has been in my life since my first breath and now she’s not here and a large hole is left. Mum always made the Christmas plum pudding and added a generous amount of cheer. She had a warm and excited-to-see-you greeting for all that was infectious. Her gift to me is the example she set. Her mother passed when I was a teenager but Mum kept making Christmas day special for us. I’ll honour her by carrying on in the way she would want me to.
She taught me how to make a plum pudding so I’ll be making one this year. And I’ll be focussing on the people I have in my life: my dear partner Sam; Dad; my kids and their partners; and Sam’s and my sisters and their families. Mum always decorated the house for Christmas so I plan to do that this week too.
I’ve been watching Christmas decorating videos on YouTube for inspiration and motivation, fortunately that has been working. Below, I've included a video I made of my home last year if you’d like to have a look.
I really always did love Christmas, the joy of buying gifts for loved ones and adding to my stash of pretty decorations. I think family and love are the themes that make Christmas so special and warm my heart. That still is so important to me. I included a Christmas scene in the epilogue of my book ‘The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover’, because it was a way to show how wonderful it is for family to gather and give to each other.
My recently released book The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby” was inspired by an overseas trip to Italy that my darling mother paid for. I can’t believe she’s gone but I can believe that her love goes on and that she inspires me every day, also that Christmas day will be no exception.
I encourage you to stay tuned for updates on the Christmas decorating I’ll be doing. There will be a blog about it with photos next week.
In case I’ve piqued your interest in either of my books, the buy links are below.
Natalie and Alessandro's careers bring them together in Melbourne, a meeting that makes sparks fly on the racetrack and in the bedroom. Together they've created a baby that Alessandro wasn't ready to have. Now he's discovered his child and wants to reunite with Katrina, but having broken her trust, he has to begin again with her. Katrina and Alessandro both love their son and this love has a lot to teach them about commitment and trust and sharing their deepest secrets. Will they be able to acknowledge just how much they really love each other?
It's such a treat to be able to bring you a romance novel that I've been nurturing carefully for so long. It's with pride I let it go out of my hands and into yours, the reader.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt from 'The Italian Billionaire's Secret Baby.'
The glint of fire in his eyes betrayed his relaxed stance. His brow pressed downward, creating a crease across the top of his aristocratic nose. His gaze fixed on her sore knee as he took a step closer.
“You should get ice on that soon,” he said.
Ice would need to wait.
She made a show of checking her watch and twisted the end of the towel around her palm. “Are you going to tell me what you want?”
“You’re as beautiful as ever, mia sposa. Your flushed cheeks remind me of the times when I was the reason for your pink glow.” He tilted his head sideways as he narrowed his gaze and showed her the angle of his strong jaw.
His words slammed into her like burning wind across a sand baked desert. Unbidden memories swam in her mind’s eye. Her womanly places tingled and plumped. She exhaled slowly to control her racing pulse.
“Get to the point, Alessandro. I don’t have time.”
“We have unfinished business.”
“I know it’s not a mistaken belief we might still share something. I’ll see a lawyer and have divorce papers sent to you.” There was nothing to be gained from continuing a marriage that had outlived the rush of their whirlwind romance. Even so, she couldn’t regret it. She’d gained something very precious to her, something Alessandro had never wanted.
“I didn’t come here for a divorce. There’s something you have that I want. Can you think what it might be?”
She had no idea. She hadn’t taken any of Alessandro’s things when she left Milan two years ago. Even her wedding ring had been left on the bedside table. The memory of that morning chilled her blood. Their marriage was over, irreconcilably. “I can give you directions to the airport.”
“I want my child,” he growled.
A cold chill seized her heart. “You, what? How did you find out?”
“I found out in an email from the ballet company that you’ve won a new mother grant.”
Of course. Alessandro was a major benefactor to the ballet in Milan and Australia.
“I’m sorry you found out like that. I didn’t think…”
“I’m a father. You didn’t think to pick up the phone at any time over the last two years?” He raised a black eyebrow and drew his lips in tight, as if holding back a flood of sadness. His hands remained in his pockets. Usually, they’d be waving in the air when he spoke.
His reaction unnerved her but she’d had terrible sadness caused by him. “Two years and not one phone call from you either.” All the pain of hoping he would call during those years rose in her throat and silenced her.
“I had no idea you were pregnant when you left my townhouse in Milan.” He cleared the sadness from his eyes and leveled a glare at her that stopped her heart from beating. “I would never have let you get on the plane.”
Another shiver stole through Katrina. She’d stood in the first class lounge hoping he’d come through the doors and demand that she stay. If only she’d simply said it, I’m pregnant, but the words had stuck in her throat. Had she made a mistake? No the risk was too great.
Her biological father didn’t want her when she’d found him. He’d taught her that blood meant nothing at all to a driven man. If she couldn’t have Alessandro’s heart, she wouldn’t trap him with a child, but to have him reject that child… If that hadn’t kept her painfully silent her sister, Natalie’s experience would have. Her first husband didn’t want their baby. In a fit of rage he drove through a red light and killed himself, their unborn child and almost killed her sister.
“You’re a racing car driver who cannot consider having children. Children and racing don’t mix. Isn’t that what you said when I was trying to talk to you just before you walked out?”
He looked as if he’d been shot. He closed his eyes and tilted his head to the ceiling. He shook himself and looked at her again with those brown glissening eyes. “What I said then is irrelevant now. The child is mine.”
My grandmothers listened, guided and helped me where they could. They didn’t have the important responsibility to raise me or pay for my shoes or doctors’ appointments. They’d done all that with one of my parents. Now was their time to enjoy children and to offer unconditional love and a wise word here and there. When creating my heroines, I always seem to think about not just her mother and what she was like but also who was her grandmother and what influence did she have. In my latest book, Katrina’s mother was a successful artist and worked a lot, so it was her grandmother who provided the stability and attention that little Katrina craved. Having had a close and loving relationship with both of my grandmothers, who were there for me when my mother couldn’t be, enriched my life beyond measure. I like to share a little about them with you.
My Nana (Dad’s mum) lived a few houses away in the same street. She was the social outgoing type who always came to see me dance at my annual ballet concert. I would call in and see her whenever I liked and was welcomed with a warm smile and offered a packet of chips, a treat that I promptly ate. She had fun loving friends who came to play cards. Sometimes I would call in after school and find them laughing and sitting around a card table in the lounge playing ‘Stop The Bus’. A chair for me would be pulled up and a pile of copper coins placed at my disposal. Under the window sat a coffee table. On here she had photos of her seventeen grandchildren displayed under glass. She called all of us ‘Dear’ because she used to get our names mixed up. Parties at Nana’s were a highlight at Christmas with all her children and grandchildren arriving for a sing-along and sometimes there was dancing. I used to love playing in her crystal cabinet. I was actually dusting it, but it was like playing to me. She left me that cabinet (see the photo above) and I will cherish it always.
My Granny (Mum’s mum) lived in the next suburb but it was there I had many sleepovers when Mum and Dad went out. She was an older grandmother and had been the head Sister in a country hospital before she married. She was a quiet woman who liked a simple life and kept her country ways even though she now lived in a big city. She taught me how to knit and crochet and to make paper pieced patchwork. A wood fired stove turned out scones and sausage rolls and an open fire in the lounge room was a special delight. There was a pot of tea with cups and saucers brought into the lounge on a tray, and Cadbury milk chocolate for supper.
I remember asking her some of the big questions. Like ‘Aren’t you scared of dying now that you’re old?’ I cringe now when I think about my young self being so tactless, but she gave me an answer that has stayed with me all my life. She explained that she wasn’t scared because she’d lived a long life and was tired now. She also told me that I didn’t have to worry because I’d be ready too when I was old and my time came. I stopped worrying about what lay ahead in all areas of my life. I assumed I’d be ready when the time came. She let me play with her makeup and I’d put on her red lipstick and bright rouge although I never saw her wear it and I assume it was kept solely to entertain her granddaughters. I was allowed to look through the jewelry that she kept in a crystal bowl. She left that bowl to me and I keep it in my study where I write.
I’ve dedicated “The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby’ to my grandmothers because of the love they gave me, and all their grandchildren, for the stability and quiet confidence that came from being family women who’d lived through all the stages of womanhood. They knew what lay ahead for me and did their best to help me see a light inside myself. They were giving in their time and showed how happy they were to see me whenever I visited.
Katrina, pretty ballerina, as I like to call her, had a close relationship with her grandmother. Because of this she wants her son to get to know his grandmother in Italy. I believe I could write this lovely lady from the heart because I had some wonderful women to inspire me.
If you’d like to order a copy of The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby.’ Follow the links below.
Kindle e-book buy link
Paperback buy link
I was sitting in the library during a class at primary school, when I chose a book to read simply because there was a fairy-like ballerina on the cover. Her light as air fluffy tutu and her elegant hair pulled back into a bun made me want to be her.
I don’t remember the name of the book but I have vague memories of a girl coming from a poor home. Her life was spartan and she fed the mice in the attic to make pets of them. I don’t think I’m mixing this up with Cinderella but you never know. I’ve had a look on Amazon and it may have been ‘Dance of the Swan’ A biography of Anna Pavlova. Her mother was poor after her father died. Born in Russia, she could learn to be a ballerina at the government-run school once she turned ten years old. It changed her life. She worked hard and endured painful feet to become a famous prima ballerina. I really wanted to be her. I wanted to be a beautiful woman who rose from obscurity and danced on a stage to the applause of hundreds.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait until I was grown up to have that experience.
I told my mother I wanted to learn ballet. Luckily there was a school in our neighborhood and although we weren’t well off, Mum somehow found the money for the fees, leotard, pink tights and of course the coveted shoes. To my extreme surprise and severe disappointment, they weren’t toe shoes. At only 10 years old I had a while to wait.
I was amazed at how strict but kind the teacher was. I knew I couldn’t dance very well, but she praised my determination to give it all I had when it came to the complicated steps and jumps. She was so elegant and graceful and was precisely what a ballet dancer should be.
At the end of the year, I had my first exam. I was so nervous and I remember her kissing me on the top of my head and saying I’d be okay. I could hardly breathe when I went into the room and began going through the steps I’d learned before a panel of three judges.
When I got to my next class, I raced with all the other girls to the notice board to find out my results. We crowded around and I heard them say they had got honors with pride or that they’d got a credit with not quite as much enthusiasm. Me, I was just praying for a pass. When I finally found my name and a pass next to it, I think I felt happier than any other girl in my class.
Near the end of the year, we began rehearsing our concert dances so extra classes were scheduled. I loved Saturday afternoons when the older girls came in to dance with us. I was transfixed watching them dancing on their toes. Like magic fairies, four girls danced with interlocked hands and bounced on toes doing a famous dance from Swan Lake. I was one of the many flowers that grew around the lake, in the background watching on.
Our concert was held at the town hall in front of a large audience. The buzzing excitement of being dropped off at the stage entrance by Mum was just the beginning. I was helped to dress in a gorgeous tulle costume and had my makeup done. It was a highlight experience of my childhood. We filed up a wooden staircase to one side of the wings and waited there with the fellow flowers, listening to orchestra music and the applause at the end of each scene. We gradually descended the stairs as each set of dancers went on stage and did their performance. Finally, it was my group's turn and I ran onto the stage. It was so dark out there but I sensed the audience and knew my mother, sister and grandmother were all watching me.
I danced my piece with the flower chorus and then stayed on stage but standing at the back I watched the beautiful older girls dance their piece. Then the audience clapped so loud. It was thrilling and exciting and happy but too soon it was time to leave. I ran as I’d been taught on tippy toes across the stage and out into the wings. I was hooked. I loved every minute.
I kept dancing for another few years until illness made me retire. I never did get a pair of the much-coveted toe shoes. I probably never would have become a real ballerina anyway. I was too uncoordinated, too tall and gangly but that doesn’t dim my enjoyment in the memories I have. I did get to dance on stage and hear thunderous applause that lifted me out of my ordinary life, and for one evening a year, I was a ballerina who danced on a stage.
As a romance writer, I get to live out the dreams of my childhood through my characters. Katrina Baxter is a prima ballerina. Dancing helped shape her identity and has been the one constant love in her life until she met Alessandro Rinaldo, a very determined Grand Prix champion. Each of them is 100 percent committed to their career until a little boy captivates their hearts and makes them see that there is more to life and to love than their careers.
I suppose we all have dreams of what we want to be when we grow up and for a lot of us it doesn’t work out that way. I don’t think it matters that much. In researching the book I discovered how much pain ballerinas endure for their craft and I know I wouldn’t want to have the arthritis a lot of them end up with. Perhaps having the dream, the imagining of how it would be, is the best part. In my case, I was lucky to have some part of the dream come true. The experience I had was enough, so that when it was time to let it go I was okay with it.
You can find my e-book about Katrina, Alessandro and their baby ‘The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby’ on Amazon Available at the special pre-order price of 99cents until the released date on Nov 14th when it will be $2.99.
I'm giving a free advance copy away. For a chance to win it, leave a comment telling me what wanted to be when you grew up.
I grieved and spent a lot of time crying because I was so sad about it being over but even then I knew that I wasn’t giving up on love. I had faith that I would love again and that I’d find someone who wanted to be with me.
When I was ready I spent time reflecting on what did and didn’t work in my last relationship and what I might do differently next time around. I looked at what I could do about my fears and personal issues that got in the way of my relationship and I had counselling to help me navigate my way to healthier thinking.
Then I set out to find someone, I began internet dating and met some very nice men but they weren’t the right ones for me. I kept trying and eventually I met Sam. He came into my life at a time that was perfect to show me he was capable of being with me and that my health issues (what I feared most would scare a man away) didn’t faze him for a second.
I did a blog post about how we met. It’s called ‘A Little Christmas Romance’. He moved in with me last year and this year we bought a fixer upper house together and have done it up. He’s my second chance at love and I call him my Happily Ever After.
I suppose second chances are why I love reunion stories. My second chance story called ‘The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby’ is about a couple who broke up because they weren’t ready to take on the responsibility of being parents together. Only Katrina was up to the task of being a parent and so she decided she’d raise her baby alone. Her two fathers had given her no reason to believe any man would care about her. Both dismissed her needs and when Alessandro (a man she truly loved) did that also, she gave up.
I wanted so much to prove to Alessandro how wrong he’d been and to learn how to be the man Katrina needs. He doesn’t get it straight away of course but his passion for Katrina turns to love. That combined with meeting his dear little toddler son makes him go the extra mile to get it right this time.
I hope you like my new cover for the book. There’s a second chance story in how this came into being also. I had a cover that I thought was very nice and even did a cover reveal on social media. A writer friend was concerned that I didn’t have a cover that really fits my sexy genre so she reached out to help. At first I was hesitant, having already done a reveal but then I thought, this is a second chance to get it right so I accepted her kind offer with gratitude.
She not only redid this cover but also one for my first book in this series too. The covers are so amazing and much better than I could have imagined. I want to thank Fiona Miers for her generosity in giving her time and for the gift of commissioning the covers on my behalf. I’m so grateful for her help. Fiona also has a billionaire book coming out next month and it’s available for pre order right now.
It’s called ‘Her Billionaire Stepbrother’. So if you love billionaire stories, November is a great month for you.
My book “The Italian Billionaire’s Secret Baby” will also be released next month and is available for pre-order now on Amazon at 99 cents until the release date on November 14th and it will then be $2.99.
Happy reading and remember to always be ready to jump on a second chance.
It’s late on Sunday night when I’m typing this. I’ve been packing boxes today but didn’t get as much done as I would have liked to. Fatigue just creeps up on me and even though I’m not moving fast I’m breathing hard like I’ve been running. However, with frequent rest breaks, I’ve managed to pack a whopping eight boxes filled with books, study notes and financial records. They’re labelled and taped up ready for Thursday—moving day. But there’s still a lot more to do.
In my head I thought I knew exactly what needed to be packed, it would just be a matter of setting aside some time. But once I got into the garage I discovered sooooo much more. I have three boxes filled with ornaments! How did that happen? I guess my sister was right when she said I like to have my treasures around me. I have a lot of treasure.
Minimalist I’ll never be. I like a decorated nest. I need beautiful things to look at and I need to be able to change them out from time to time so I don’t get bored. Lucky I have a lot of boxes. I’d been thinking there were too many, but now I think I might need a few more before I’m finished.
I’m moving in with my sister for a couple of months until our renovations are completed at the new house. It’s very exciting seeing it slowly transform but as site manager my head is full of the many decisions that have to be made and what is on tomorrow’s to do list.
A quick update on our progress includes the tiles having been chosen for the kitchen and ensuite. I’ve posted pictures of the tiles for the new ensuite on Instagram and Facebook, also last week the kitchen design was finalised. We chose our carpet and had the rooms measured up and got a quote from a floor sander/polisher for the pine floorboards in our living areas. I’m waiting on the Tiler, Plumber and Blinds man to come out and give us quotes and I’m looking for a carpenter who can pull out the old kitchen and ensuite in the next two weeks.
While I’ve been packing, I’ve discovered a couple of tricks to share with you.
Once you’ve done a complete cupboard wipe it out and then put the packed boxes back in the cupboard. Squat boxes fit into normal kitchen cupboards but are also easier to pack and they aren’t as heavy to carry around once they’re full.
If you have a box that isn’t quite full, use your plastic containers as packing filler. This picture shows a box of saucepans that would rattle and shake when being moved because they don’t come all the way to the top of the box. Instead of using newspaper I found the right size plastic container. It reduces the amount left to pack from the overflowing plastics draw too.
If you have any packing tips you can share with me I’d love to hear them. I’ll be doing very little else for the next couple of days.
The season for romance is creeping up on us. It's in the shops, mugs with hearts and Teddy bears holding messages of love are waiting to be purchased and given to celebrate a special bond.
I've been watching Valentine's Day craft You tubes videos. My favorite one is a shadow box with hearts in it. I've also written romantic short story to be released in A Taste of Romance Anthology on Valentine's Day.
This year I'll be moving out of my home the day after Valentine's Day so it will be a challenge to think of something special for my parter, Sam. I have to make a conscious effort to think about what I'll be doing so it doesn't get lost in the exhaustion of packing up a house. Last year I gave him a framed photo of the two of us. I know he loves red so I'll be on the lookout for that colour. We've been together for three years so I might go for red boxershorts this year. Is that too soon?
Because it's Summer in Australia, I'd like to have a picnic by our local lake at dinnertime. The menu could include his favorite bottle of red wine and some chicken and salad followed by chocololate cake. I think it's important that I plan something to take us out of the moving day clutter and give ourselves a breather and some time to chill out together.
Even before I met Sam, I made sure I celebrated Valentine's Day. Sometimes with my girlfriends in a dinner out or if I was at home alone that night, I bought myself flowers earlier in the day, watched a favorite romantic movie and ate chocolates. No calories counts allowed.
What are your plans this year? If you don't usually do anything I have something to give you a little push to put your romance thinking cap on. It involves taking the cap off your camera or swiping the icon on your phone. But more about that in a minute.
It's connected to my short story, being released on Valentine's day in the MRWG's Taste of Romance anthology. Brave in Love is an unusual story for me because it fit's into the suspense subgenre. But this is a stalker story with a difference. It's a shark stalking Portia while her beloved yacht is slowing sinking.
How does that fit into getting in the mood for Valentine's Day? To celebrate the Taste of Romance going live on Amazon for pre order, the contributing authors (me included) have a contest running. All you need to do is post a picture of what you feel inspires romance or you think is romantic on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hash tag #tasteofromanceread and you could win a $50 Amazon voucher. The competition is running for another two weeks and there's a winner each week. Click here to go the MRWG competition page for all the details and conditions. Don't forget to include the hashtag #tasteofromanceread so we can find your photo and include you in the random draw. Also if you preorder the Taste of Romance Anthology it is only 99cents for 16 short stories. After the 14th of Feb it goes up to $2.99US. So that's a good reason for getting romantically inclined early.
Also I'd like to invite you to sign up for my inaugural newsletter. I'm going to be sending out my very first one on the first of February so I hope you'll find it entertaining. I have a little story about Sam's and my first Valentine's Day date that I'll only share with my subscribers. I'll also give you a sneak peak of my next book The Rinaldo Heir which won't be released until April. There will be a recipe, updates on my new home, which we're renovating.
I'd be grateful for your feedback and would love to hear what you'd like me to include in future editions.
Wishing you the best of luck and a very happy, romantic February.
So It's our first Christmas together and Sam and I have bought a house. We're thrilled and can't wait to get into our new bigger place but we'll have a little while yet to wait.
We don't settle until January and there are renovations needed so I've been driving myself crazy with a Pinterest addiction. I can't stop my fingers from wanting to scroll on my phone through the many possibilities that I could use to decorate our new home.
If you follow me on Facebook you'll already have that news along with my extended family that my house has sold. My family had our once a year catch up/Christmas party last weekend and everyone was thrilled for us having read our news online. After the excitement of my auction was over, we moved Sam's furniture in to my house. It went from spacious luxury to cramped elegance. But it's worth it. We now have two TV's. That is heaven. I love watching home reno shows that are on at the same time as Sam's favorite Sixty Minutes or Sunday Night.
We decided as it's out first year living together we'd like to do a combined family lunch so we will be setting up tresle tables in the loungeroom and serving Turkey and Ham buffet style. It feels strange to be having Christmas in a house I've sold. It's a kind of limbo land, living in a house that won't be mine for much longer. It's promised to another family and I feel like a caretaker on some level.
I'm finding a way to decorate in a more restrained way this year, going for red and white mainly, Pinterest is full of inspiration and motivation. Sam and I have collected a few ornaments during our excersions to Christmas shops and they are on a smaller tree than I usually have. So the house feels a bit different this year. But once the family arrive and the bon bons are snapped it will have the feeling I love.
Not all our loved ones will be at the table this year. Some have other places to be and one very special person has gone to heaven. But I know that the love we have stays constant no matter where our loved ones are. We'll drink a toast to absent family and enjoy the company of those who can be sitting at the table with us.
I don't know if we'll be hosting next Christmas in our new home or who will be able to join us but I know one thing for sure, I'll be spending it with Sam and some of our family somewhere, and that's what Christmas is all about. Because I love it so much I couldn't help putting a Christmas scene in the epilogue of 'A Dance with the Laird'. There's something about family coming together to give to each other that makes me happy and want to cuddle someone. Even though I'm having Christmas in limbo land, I'll have the company of people I love and it will be just fine.
I love writing romance novels, creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style, living a loving, romantic life filled with family, friends, and exploring lovely places with Sam.