Christmas falls as the year comes to a close but it's a hopeful festival that celebrates new life. I have always found Christmas carols joyful and uplifting. They're a soothing remedy for the disappointments suffered during the year. A romance novel is like Christmas in that it's also hopeful, a story of overcoming difficulty and finding joy.
Being a romance writer I must have a story of hope to write. It must solve the characters' problems through a journey that heals and brings lasting happiness to their lives. It must show love growing and sacrifices being made for that love.
While I don't think romance novels faithfully represent people's reality, in my life there has been struggle and my romantic nature and attitude has paid off. I never gave up hope of finding a loving partner after my divorce. I remember when I was lonely on my own, imagining a loving man holding me as I fell asleep, then one day it became a reality.
This year my dear Sam and I moved into a home we bought together. Decorating and settling into this home has been a labor of love and also represents a new start in my life. It's my first official home with my Italian heritage hero. I've learned to make espresso coffee just how he likes it and he still holds my hand when we go out together. As a couple we're very happy and have great hope for our future. So perhaps there's a bit of reality in the novels I write.
This year I released the second book in the Baxter sister series and I updated the title of the first book in the series to "The Scottish Billionaires Secret Lover". A Scottish lord and an Australian event organizer plan a fundraising ball for third world orphans. They also desperately wish a home is found for a sweet little boy who needs a family in Scotland. There's a Christmas scene at the end of this book to make anyone feel hopeful for the future.
To inspire me I even have a hope sign on the bookcase in my study and the Father Christmas I placed there sits quite comfortably next to it. I've signed up to be part of a Christmas anthology for next year so the picture at the top of this blog will come in handy as inspiration while I'm working on it.
To be first to hear about the Christmas novella and other new releases, my newsletter is the way to go. It Also lets you behind the scenes to stuff happening in my life. You can subscribe below.
Last but not least I want to wish you all a very merry, hopeful, Christmas and a wonderfully happy and prosperous new year.
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.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, including rescuing a couple of old rose bushes and planting new ones.