Monday, June 22, 2020

Pre-order Time for Madison Michael's Book Dare to Hope

Dare to Hope
Double Dale Romance Series (Book 1)
By Madison Michael

Maddy is offering a few lucky readers the chance to win an ebook of Dare to Hope from ibooks or another ebook format. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter! You may enter each day for a chance to win so be sure to follow along with us on the Pre-Order Tour.

♥♥Pre-Order Details ♥♥

Dare to Hope is now available for Pre-Order on B&N, Apple Books or Kobo. After it's release it will only be available on Amazon, so Hurry! Go Pre-Order your copy if you prefer these formats for reading.

About Dare to Hope: 

She’s Betting on Love and the Stakes are High

The “Crazy Eights,” eight women who have been friends for 30 years, have a powerful connection yet rarely see each other. At a pivotal time in their lives, they create a way to remedy this predicament, an audacious dare contrived to bring them together for weddings – each participant must get married within twelve months. The stakes are high. Win the bet and lose your heart; or lose the bet and perform a personally mortifying task.

In the first of their stories, we meet Eliana, beautiful and brilliant, but starting over, focused on her career, not on some foolhardy dare. Longing for a family but recently divorced and on her own, Eliana sets her sights on a new job, a new home and accepting her single, childless status. Independent and determined, she has no idea that in less than six months she will both win and lose her heart’s desire.

Jeremy Klein, genius engineer and inventor, is also making life changes. He’s sold his startup to a major medical device company, becoming President and CEO, and a billionaire before he is forty. Although he’s gun-shy about the dating game, Jeremy knows it’s time to apply his smarts, sex appeal and new-found success to finding true love.

When Eliana meets Jeremy, they bond quickly. The couple has so much in common and a chemistry that sizzles. Winning Eliana feels like a fantasy come true to Jeremy. Their attraction is immediate and electrifying, and a one-night stand morphs into planning a future. But plans change. On track to wedded bliss, baby and all, Jeremy and Eliana are derailed by accusations that threaten their relationship, Eliana’s career and Jeremy’s future as CEO.

Spies, lies, allegations and misunderstandings abound, threatening to destroy their happiness. That is, until those “Crazy Eights” get involved, scheming and manipulating to win Eliana her happily ever after. Can a group of determined friends help Eliana and Jeremy hold onto love?

In the tradition of The Beguiling Bachelor Series, Madison Michael creates a romance series about independent and sassy women, sexy and successful men, true love, and lasting friendships.

Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance

Buy Links:


An Excerpt from Dare to Hope:

His grin was devastating up close – wide and welcoming, with a hint of naughtiness and the promise of shared pleasures. But it was his eyes, deep coffee brown and fringed with long dark lashes that were his best feature; piercing, intelligent and inquisitive eyes, trained on her.
Please, God, Eliana prayed quickly, do not let this man be the new sales manager. It would be lamentable if she had to keep him at arm's length. He was the first man Eliana had felt drawn to since Nico. If she was honest with herself, he was the first man she had ever felt this attracted to so immediately. It was enough to make her believe in love at first sight or fate.
"Hi," he stepped closer, ignoring the empty stool beside her to halt just inside her personal space. Usually, Eliana would have reflexively backed up, but she savored his closeness, the power emanating from his presence. Even in this stuffy bar, he smelled good – fresh, like soap and good whiskey. And up close, his eyes were more magical – a hint of gold dancing in their depths.
"Hi," she responded on a breath, letting the single word hang there for a moment before adding "You aren't in sales, are you?"
"Nope." If he thought it was a strange conversation starter, he kept it to himself. "Engineering and design, although I have dabbled in sales. I could be in sales for you," he offered in a voice smooth as brandy, redolent with sexual promise and a hint of curiosity. She laughed at his offer. "Are you in sales?"
"Yes, I am. I was thinking of what a crime it would be if you turned out to be my new boss. I'm meeting him tomorrow."
"Jeremy," he responded, extending his hand to shake hers. "Not in sales. Is your boss named Jeremy?"
"Thankfully, not." Eliana extended her hand, savoring the moment as Jeremy wrapped his long fingers around hers. She noticed there was no wedding band as she admired the strength and length of his fingers, the fine hairs on the back of his hand, and his grip - warm and dry. His skin was soft over fine bone and healthy muscle. Everything about him captivated her. "Eliana."
Jeremy seemed in no hurry to release her hand, but after several beats too long for politeness, Eliana pulled hers from his. "Is this seat taken?" he asked, already sitting down, not thinking twice about it. "Or perhaps that table against the wall? I am anxious to learn why you don't know who you work with, Eliana."
Eliana laughed and watched as Jeremy's breath stopped. His every emotion was transparent, especially the desire flaming in his eyes right now. A passion she reciprocated. Wholeheartedly. She couldn't remember such an instantaneous attraction. But with Jeremy, she felt electricity and lust move through her entire body, just from the touch of his hand and the sound of her name spoken in his rich baritone.
"Eliana," he rolled the word around his mouth as if tasting a fine wine. "What a lovely name." Eliana panties dampened. He was just saying words, but their underlying promise was undeniable. She wanted to be alone with him. She wanted to be naked with him. And all she knew was his first name.
Eliana nodded toward the table, questioning her sanity. She was sure about what this man wanted, but after only minutes, her body governed her head. Jeremy spoke briefly with the bartender, passed him a fifty like it was a single, and motioned for her to lead the way to the empty table. Before they had settled in their chairs, both had fresh drinks. Earlier, the bartender had responded to her beauty with decent service and half-hearted flirting, but he reacted with alacrity to the big tip.
"So, spill," Jeremy directed, leaning forward on his elbows and putting his mouth dangerously close to hers. Just a few inches, Eliana imagined, and they could be kissing. "I am dying to hear your story. I want to know absolutely everything about you." The way he lingered on the word 'everything' made Eliana wetter still. Oh man, she was in way over her head.


Meet Madison Michael:

Madison Michael loves to binge news, movies, books, Oreos and romance – reading romance novels, writing romantic stories, watching Rom-Coms over and over. Maddy has spent her self-isolation fretting about the health of her friends and neighbors and catching up on TV programs from ten years ago. Hunkered down with her cat, Gracie, and a Zoom life-line to the world, she is wondering how people date and social distance, how much junk food she can consume in a day and why Gracie only wants to play when Maddy needs to work.

Oh, and Madison is also hard at work on the rest of the Double Dare Romance series. Watch for more of the series in Autumn and Winter, 2020.

Madison’s Social Links:

All Caught up on Madison’s Books?

The Beguiling Bachelor Series – 
Four Successful, Sexy Men meet their matches – and how!
The B&B Billionaire Books – Second Chance at Love stories set in small town America
Standalone Stories – from Sweet Time Travel to Sexy May-September Romance
(available only when you sign up to be an Insider)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Cat Therapy Hook - #MFRWHooks

Every Wednesday, Marketing for Romance Writers holds a book hooks blog hop. I decided to take part this week to show some love to my book and other authors too.

If you want to take part, click here:

So, what hook am I going to use? That's a hard one.

Well, one of the biggest themes threading through my book, Cat Therapy, is cats. We are on Level 3 Lockdown in our country. That means we can do most things but we're still not allowed to have social gatherings. So, we're still kind of isolated. The other thing is it's a cold winter for us here in South Africa. Our cats become extra-friendly in this weather. They lie on our laps, purr, knead, burrow under our blankets. And they provide the healing, love, and comfort and companionship we really need at this time. My kids and I have been loving our two cats. They've even become more tolerant of one another. They normally avoid each other, but due to the cold, have been quite happy to lie quite close. That's a miracle in itself.
They also like lying in a sun spot - my daughter took this pic and darkened out the background.

Cat Therapy is about a woman who has tapped into the healing potential and power of cat love for hurting humans. She is brave enough to open up a bed and breakfast facility so guests can avail of the love of cats. But in the process, she has to choose between her feelings for the handsome yet interfering new vet and the gentle and comfortable widow whose son needs Cat Therapy.

You can purchase my book on Amazon here:

If you'd like to sign up for MFRWHooks, please go here: Marketing for Romance Writers

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

What is Demisexuality

It's pride month and I thought I would talk about an often seldom-talked-about sexuality - demisexuality.

Demisexual Pride Flag

What exactly is demisexuality?

Well, demi means half and it's like halfway towards the asexual spectrum. Asexual people don't experience sexual attraction and don't crave a sexual relationship. They may crave romance and be happy to share intimacy with someone they are romantically attracted to, but they don't long for it.

Demisexuality is when a person isn't attracted to anyone until they experience a deep emotional bond first. That may sound like what several people feel - they don't want to sleep with anyone until they have a solid, exclusive relationship first. But...there's a difference - demisexuals genuinely can't get themselves interested until they have a solid emotional connection first. They're not just being sensible about it. So, they may feel left out growing up as they're not into as many crushes and hookups as other young people. It's not that they don't have a sex drive, or don't have a desire for a sexual relationship; it's just that it doesn't happen as easily for them. For them, hookups and casual relationships are unpleasant and unfulfilling. They don't desire people just for nooky-nooky.

Isn't that like what religious people do? They don't want sex until marriage? No, that is a choice; although from what I've heard, not that many religious people have the strength and willpower to stick to that choice. For demisexuals, it's not a choice but a sexuality, an aspect of their natural bent.

The reason why I'm talking about this particular bent is that I think I'm partly demisexual. The reason I say "part" is that I can be attracted to someone straight away, but...I just can't get interested in a sexual relationship too soon. Growing up in a strict religious path, I didn't realise this about myself because we were required to wait it out. But there are several signs that I've got some demisexuality in me:

1. I wasn't boy crazy like other girls growing up. I often felt odd and different to others. I used to get crushes but they were really rare and part of the reason I got them is I felt I had to find a boy to crush on because everyone else was talking about it and I felt left out. There was only one time I developed a genuine crush on a guy and I think that's because he was really sweet and friendly toward me. Sadly, he decided to date my friend instead and I was devastated. At that age, it affects you so much. But yes, I didn't have posters up on my wall. I did get celebrity crushes though, which many demisexuals say they don't get.

2. I've never been into those pinups of bare-chested guys on book covers, etc. I could never understand what all the fuss was about. I tried to write erotic romance for a few years because I thought that would sell, but I really wasn't good at it, lol. That's because erotic romance is based on first a sexual relationship which then leads to something more. My erotic romances were just not sexy enough. I don't enjoy reading the genre either. Says a lot about me. I always prefer the slow-burn romances.

3. When I dated my first husband, I wasn't that into him at first. But we developed a special bond because we had a lot in common. Plus we did some fun things together. Suddenly, he became deeply attractive to me.

4. I am battling to date nowadays. With the advent of online dating, sadly we have become a hookup culture. Because there is such a choice out there now at the click of a button or a swipe right, people realise that they can have casual relationships so easily. Almost every relationship I've tried has ended in me breaking up with the guy because he wanted a sexual relationship almost straight away. There was only one guy I dated that didn't try to kiss me on the first date and he was religious. I thought maybe there was something wrong with the men nowadays but I've discovered that many women are also like that. As much as I may find a guy attractive, for some reason, I can't really enjoy a kiss on the first date. I think hookup culture isn't a good thing and is preventing a lot of young people from doing the hard work of building true intimacy.

But in the end, I'm still not sure I'm totally demisexual as I do feel attracted to people early on when I find them an appealing human. I wonder if my religious upbringing has played a part in the way I think and feel. I no longer believe it's good to wait until marriage anymore. I believe it's good to get to know someone sexually before you make that strong commitment. So, my religion isn't holding me back, but it could be subconscious. I know a lot of ex-religious people who have very active sex lives though.

Even though I'm not totally demisexual, I want to honour those who are. May you feel seen and heard and wish for others not think you're some strange anomaly. You are you and you deserve honour as a sexual being too. You do you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Communal Grief Poem

I feel the world's grief today,
It's a sadness inside my being,
For unspeakable injustice,
For aching loss.
Even though the crime took place across the seas,
I feel the pain of many lives
Who bear the grief of a good man
Taken too soon.

I feel the grief of injustice, of prejudice, of hatred,
That the world needs something drastic to change its tune,
But I know that one day,
Things will be better,
That love and peace will prevail,
That equality will be a strong pillar,
Across the land.
Come quickly, that beautiful day.
Move in the hearts of man,
May he never be the same,
From now on,
Until forever.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Finding Peace in the Chaos

Yesterday I went off Facebook because I became so anxious every time I opened it. There were so many posts about a planned pandemic, and evil vaccines, and how our government is ruining our lives. I understand. People are afraid and they are looking for answers. They don't trust the media anymore. We live in such uncertain and confusing times.

But we can still maintain a semblance of peace in our inner being. We have to. Our mental health is vital for our survival - if we're mentally healthy, it keeps us strong.

I read this beautiful poem in a blog I follow and I thought I would share it. Let's try to make the most of every moment, try to be grateful for the littlest things, and find joy. Cut off those negative things from your life that bring you down and focus on nourishing and strengthening your family. Realize that strength doesn't mean ignoring your emotions and needs. In fact, taking care of your mental health is a strength.

"I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; it’s just not their task.
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; it already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness.
I believe, I Believe."
-Mary Anne Perrone

Sending lots of love and peace to my beloved readers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Working with My Shadow and Inner Child

As some of you may know, I am going to bring out a second self-love book. The plan is for it to be edited in April and hopefully brought out late April, early May. It's called "Falling Even Deeper - 30 More Days of Self-Love." Sometimes, our ability to love ourselves gets challenged by life and difficulties and relationships. We need to go deeper so we can rise up to meet those challenges and love ourselves through them. The book was born out of a challenging time after I wrote the first book - when my self-love got tested.

Two topics I touch on in the book are working with your shadow self and your inner child. I feel that this is a lifetime work and I only skimmed the surface in the book. This month I've gone inward a bit to work on those two areas some more.

It started after I went on a couple of dates with a guy I met. I really liked him and saw a potential between us, but then, after a few weeks, he told me he wasn't in a place for a relationship. He has gone through a lot of transition and stress lately. I told him I understood, but I was deeply disappointed. I've been struggling with it on and off since. Maybe it's because he's a guy I feel I have a lot more in common with than other ones I've gone on dates with. We have similar beliefs about life and religion and we share other similarities. Sure, I don't know him that well, but I felt an emotional bond with him almost from the beginning. I'm very cautious and I test the waters in a new relationship. Possibly my reticence put him off; I don't know.

Anyway, I felt ready to find someone this year, and I hoped that this was my chance. The longing to have a relationship has become stronger and stronger as I've healed from my divorce. I think about it often. Sometimes, I feel sad and lonely. I have my wonderful kids and they are great friends. They really are amazing people. But sometimes, I want that romantic relationship that fills a different spot. It's not that I'm not a happy person; in fact I have so many wonderful things in my life that fulfil me, but this desire for a romantic relationship doesn't seem to want to go away.

Anyway, I kind of got tired of this feeling the past few weeks. It doesn't help that online dating is a complete dead end. It seems that people go on dating sites either for hookups, catfishing, or to get validation that women like them, but they don't actually message you back or make any effort to start a relationship. A lot of the guys on the sites have had their pictures up for years and never taken them down. Sometimes, the dating sites do that. I work from home and most of my social groups comprise of women. How do I find someone, I keep thinking. Anyhoo...

I tried to think where this all-consuming need for a relationship has come from. I mean, many people have learned to be totally fulfilled as singles. The idea that we need to have a partner is something our culture has blown out of proportion. It's made out to be the answer to all our needs. Surely, I can do well without a partner. Photo by nappy at

So, why was I still feeling this empty spot? I thought back to a time when I was a kid, after my mother died. I felt really lonely then. I didn't have great friendships at school; my brother was a whole lot older than me and we didn't play together; my dad was battling his own grief and stress as a single dad. I used to write down everything I did each day in my diary. That was the only way I could get things off my chest. That feeling of abandonment was real. And I think that's the shadow work that I need to work on. I decided to do an inner child healing meditation this morning. It was really powerful. I thought back to that time in my life when I only had a diary to pour out my feelings on. I loved on that child. I loved my inner child. I told her I appreciated her. I told her sorry and please forgive me (based on the Ho'oponopono prayer) and I gave her a hug. And then it just hit me - like right between the eyes, ha. I suddenly realised that I had to go through that for a reason. I believe that we choose the lessons we have to learn in this life but that we are never alone. Whatever you believe is your higher power, and the angels, and guides, are with us all the time. We are always surrounded by love, more than we could ever imagine. That lonely feeling is just an earthly thing that we go through - I see it almost as a veil over our eyes that one day will be taken off.  It's a heavy earthly energy that we CAN overcome! We are always supported. I was never alone through those moments and the moments when my ex left me or I lost a relationship. I am always surrounded by love and those who love me, in the physical human world, and in the spiritual world. And I can be there for myself.

The thing is - writing in my diary was the first glimmers of my writing passion, or my life calling. It got me onto that road. And I thought of all the wonderful things I had in my childhood - my father spoiled me with a beautiful room, with a fancy hi-fi set and so much music, and I had many fun experiences, and he was really good to us. As in the present, we need to look at the good things in our lives and be grateful, so I had an opportunity to go back into my past and change my whole perspective of that lonely moment. It healed me. I was buzzing with joy and life afterward.

There are so many benefits with going inward in silence or in meditation and working with our inner child. Anyone can benefit, even if they had a close to perfect childhood. Because we need to get in touch with our inner child as it's a part of us that needs love, even when we're ninety years old. Our inner child taps into our passionate, innocent, free, joyful side. We need to get that back because sometimes we can be way too serious. I'm talking to myself here too. It's a part of ourselves that's in touch with our raw, basic need for love, attention, validation. When we deny that we have those needs, they get suppressed. When we condemn them or send ourselves shame for longing for those things, we actually make them scream out louder. But when we accept that there is a raw, childish, needy part of ourselves, and love on that part, we heal and grow and become more loving and peaceful toward ourselves and others.

I hope this blog post has spoken to you. I'm definitely still all for romance - I mean, I write romance. So even though I've been doing this work, it's still in my heart to find a beloved partner one day. I believe that this inner work is actually preparing me for a wonderful relationship. Hopefully soon! 💗

Friday, February 21, 2020

Author Interview - Cynthia Terelst

Today, I am doing a spotlight on Cynthia Terelst's contemporary romance, The Cat's out of The Bag. Ooh, and it has cats! There's something magical about a man and woman taking a road trip together and discovering each other. So, there's that too. I've also interviewed Cynthia so you can learn more about her.


One van. Two hearts. Thousands of kilometres. 

Jesse’s a self-made billionaire who yearns to get away from his empty life and the money-hungry parasites who inhabit it. The plan? Go to Australia, tell no one about his money and find himself. Instead of finding just himself, he finds Evie, who is everything anyone should aspire to be. Now, what he aspires to be, is hers. But to be hers, he needs to tell her everything.

Evie has left her past behind. She has rebuilt herself, and her life, into one of happiness. After she meets Jesse, while volunteering at a cat shelter, memories of her past filter back in. She is stronger now and wants to trust him. But after all she has been through, is trust even possible?

The quest to find a cat a forever home leads them to travel across the country together. Can the close quarters drive them to open up to each other? Or will it drive them apart?

Short Excerpt


The wave petered out, and I paddled back to the line-up. Sitting, watching, waiting. The constant breeze in my ears and the sound of waves breaking relaxed me. Lulled by the gentle rise and fall of the swells, I thought about Evie.

She was one of the most complicated people I’d ever met. Whatever she had been through had made her strong and independent. But underneath, she was all doubt. I could see her trying to be brave, but that could change in an instant as her insecurities took over. I felt like it was a fight between Nick and me, and I didn’t even know the guy. I didn’t know how to beat a ghost. But I would. I would figure it out, and I would gain Evie’s trust, bit by bit.

Her. Me. That’s what I would strive for.

Buy Link

Author Bio

Cynthia Terelst is a project officer by day and a writer by night. She is a contemporary romance writer who likes to share a little bit of history, some Australian scenery and a whole lotta love. Cynthia does not shy away from difficult topics, as she feels that they should not be ignored.

She lives in Queensland, Australia, where the sun shines at least 283 days a year.

Social Media Links




Twitter @CynthiaTerelst

Author Interview

1. What is the best thing for you about being a writer?

The best thing is that I can let my imagination run loose. I love making up characters and telling their stories. I like to share Australian culture, history and scenery in my books while creating love stories people can feel.

2. What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
The hardest thing for me is marketing. It’s fine to say you have written a good book and you have done everything you can to make that book polished, like professional cover art, editing and proof reading, but getting it in front of your audience is the hard part. There are so many different aspects to marketing that it can make my head hurt.

3. What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I write young adult and contemporary romance. My latest release is The Cat’s out of the Bag which is based in Australia.

4. What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?

I have learned amazing things over the past year, which was my first year of writing with the aim of being published. I have learned about the three-act structure – most books follow this. I have learned the importance of character arcs – how your characters change throughout the novel. I have learned about beta reading and the fact that there are three types of editing. There is so much to know about writing that I will never have time to learn it all.

5. Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?

My favourite heroine is Evie. She came out of a bad relationship and rebuilt her life. She always has a positive outlook and tries to extend herself.

6. Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.

· My daughter and I travelled around Australia for three years with our cat and dog

· I foster kittens for a local rescue

· I have swum with sharks, jumped out of a plane, swum with seals, rode a bike around a dormant volcano, jumped off cliffs and white-water rafted.

7. What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?
It depends on the day. Some days I like to work in the quiet and other days I like to have some background noise. In my latest book I mention Elton John, which then led to me listening to his greatest hits while writing.

8. Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.

I like to write about difficult subjects. Some that I have touched on are bullying, sexual harassment, domestic violence and loss. They are all good subjects to base emotional wounds on. I add some comedy into the story line because I don’t like to read a romance filled with heavy scenes. But no matter what the situation, there is always hope and love, and a happily-ever-after.

9. What book would you like to work on next?
My next book, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, is the second in my Love Down Under series. It is a second-chance romance based around a scavenger hunt created by Shepherd in an attempt to win back his lost love, Tara.

Wow, that sounds so interesting, Cynthia. You are so adventurous!