Tuesday, July 6, 2021

I'm Adapting a New Mindset about My Writing

My writing burn-out started in about late 2015 after three years of publishing about 15 books. I would not recommend that to anyone. I felt like my writing wasn't coming from my heart anymore, and I was going through the motions. I didn't want to give up on my dream, so I kept going. Then my marriage fell apart in July 2016. I fought hard for it, but it was unsalvageable, and I moved back to my home city in February 2017. Life was stressful in the beginning as a single mom. I now had to work hard to earn money to help pay for a second household. Besides struggling with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, I had safety and other issues to deal with. In the throes of the difficult time since July, I managed to write a fantasy novel called Angeline 43, and it was published by Clean Reads on my birthday! The book was a cathartic release for me of all my heartache and pain. It pretty much was a once-off thing, and I'm not sure if I'll ever write a fantasy novel again - not to say I wouldn't like to, but it doesn't come as naturally to me as romance. At the time, though, it just flowed.

As I adapted to my new lifestyle, I found solace in writing my book about cats which was published as Cat Therapy in 2019 but will be republished under a new name soon - The Cat Love Hotel. My heroine was a divorcee, and I poured a lot of myself into the book. I enjoyed writing the book so much, but it wasn't always easy, as I was still coming out of my writing burn-out and I had far less time on my hands. I had hope, though, that I would come out of the burn-out fully. 

I did gradually come out of the burn-out and wrote two contemporary romances in the last few years. At first, romance was hard for me, as my romantic and idealistic view about romantic relationships had been shattered by the divorce. It slowly healed, though. I'm excited to share that my first in the contemporary romance series is with my editor at the moment. I hope to self-publish it sometime this year. I'm doing the process so much slower now, but I prefer it. I get to savour each moment and not rush things. I'm also actually putting decent money into the process this time because I'm discovering that's the only way to make it work.

But, I have a confession to make: I have been struggling with writing so much the last few years. It's not the burn-out anymore. I don't know how to describe it. I start writing a book and write a couple of pages, and then this depression sinks into me as I stare at the pages and try to write more. It's so weird and it's so upsetting. The thought of writing the book makes me feel almost sick. I have started up so many books and never gotten further than Chapter One. Thankfully, I managed to get the two contemporaries out although I did struggle with the second one a bit. It's not that I didn't enjoy the story, but I had to work hard to stick to it until the end. As far as my self-love books go, that problem didn't feature. They came from somewhere up in the clouds. I know that sounds funny, but I feel like I didn't even really write them, that they were bigger and stronger than me. I sincerely believe they came from my higher self or were channeled.

I have been butting heads with myself for years now, trying to get the writing to flow. On Saturday, I was part of a team of mentors in a Zoom meeting, and we were chatting to some new authors about writing. One of the mentors spoke about sticking to writing every day, and I just cringed inside. I felt like such a hypocrite. How could I help newer authors if I wasn't writing properly myself? I felt like a fake wanting to be a writing coach even though I spend my day editing books and have plenty of hands-on experience with the work of authors. I keep asking God / The Universe / Source how I can get my writing mojo back. I keep asking for a breakthrough or inspiration, or something. It's been so frustrating. And worst of all, the guilt has been strong. I know that sounds strange. It's not like I rely on my writing to support my family, so why do I feel this guilt that I'm not producing content? Because I firmly believe and feel deep inside that it's one of my purposes in this life. I've been given this one thing to do, and I'm not doing it. Hence the guilt.

Then, something happened inside me a few days ago - like a realisation. I think I'd reached a head with this struggle, as if I needed answers, and I needed them now. I've been reading a book by the Newton Institute that goes into hypnotherapy sessions that people have that take them to the "life between lives" place, where they speak to spirit beings and find out why they came to the Earth in this life and the purpose of their life. The one lady knew she'd been lazy in her life and wasn't doing all the things she was meant to do. My stomach churned when I read that. But then another woman felt that she just needed to relax and be and not strive - that her beauty would shine out by just being herself. I wondered which one I was. Was I failing by not writing and following my dream? I so want to write. I feel like I'm failing myself, too. 

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev from Pexels

So, what happened a few days ago is this thought just came to me - like a knowing voice inside me. It said I must stop striving for inspiration. I must stop trying to find a book to write and think up a decent idea that's going to stick. I must just be, and the inspiration will flow TO ME at the right time. I don't have to stir up a muddy pond, searching for some gem inside it, but rather, I must wait for that beautiful, clear stream to flow toward me and engulf me so that I'm flowing again.

Then today, I read about the turtle spirit animal. I love the turtle spirit animal and feel a kinship with him. He's a slow-mo guy. He takes his time with life and just enjoys being. I need to just trust, and the inspo will come at the right time. I also did a guided meditation this morning, and it was about finding joy, about how we are worthy of experiencing joy no matter what. She said that one of the things that stops people from feeling that they deserve joy is that they think they have to work hard before they can reap the reward of joy. It's so embedded in our culture and in some people growing up that we feel we don't deserve joy until we have achieved something. That's how I feel about my writing. Yes, there is always the natural joy that comes from finishing a writing project, but that doesn't mean I can't have joy now. I don't have to feel I'm not worthy of joy because I'm not working on another book. I will get there - at the right time.







Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Sweet Songs of Summer Playlist

PEEPS, IT'S RELEASE DAY TOMORROW!!!!!

The authors of the Sweet Songs of Summer Sweet Romance Anthology have come up with a playlist for their short stories. I love the songs on this playlist, and I am fussy with music. Anyway, each author has explained why they chose their song. It's so interesting to see everyone's perspective and what inspired some of the stories.

Thank you so much to Francine Beaton and Meg Chronis for organising this YouTube playlist. The group of authors have been awesome in their promotions. I admit, I've been slack the past few weeks as I've been inundated with multiple editing jobs.

Anyway, ENJOY...

Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

ALISSA BAXTER – IS THIS LOVE?

Garth Brooks – To Make You Feel My Love

I chose To Make You Feel My Love because the words are relevant to the circumstances my heroine finds herself in. Jennifer is recovering from a significant trauma and needs to find the courage to move forward with her life. The song I chose is from the soundtrack for the movie Hope Floats.

https://bit.ly/3fsCdpi

 

FRANCINE BEATON – CHANCES

If you’ve read any of my books, you may know by now, I’m a huge Ronan Keating and Ed Sheeran fan. I’ve used their music as inspiration in most of my books. For Chances I’ve chosen Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. As this is a ‘friends to lovers (or rather sweethearts)’ trope, one part of the lyrics resonated with me:

'Cause we were just kids when we fell in love

Not knowing what it was

I will not give you up this time

And just because in the official music video Ed and the girl is so sweet. How could I not choose it?

https://youtu.be/2Vv-BfVoq4g

 

 LARA VAN LELYVELDT

“Marry you” by Bruno Mars. Kind of a spoiler, but the joyfulness of the song is fitting, I think!

https://bit.ly/3yso1p5

  

LORNA KELLY  - A TASTE OF ROMANCE

The song I chose for my inspiration is Love Bites by Deff Leppard. My story is about love between an emotionally wounded photographer who takes on a new assignment to try to recover from her cheating fiancé, and her client who is a very successful cookery author. The combination of love and food, and photography. What’s better? It’s a stunning song and also allowed for a bit of dedication to the hero’s late mom, as his friend called his restaurant Leppards, after her favorite group.

https://bit.ly/33V5iUO

  

PG BARKER – I FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL

My choice of song is  'WOMAN IN LOVE' sung by Barbra Streisand

It's a song of deep feeling but of uncertainly.  The protagonist is an attorney so the line in the song "It's a right I defend" resonates with a phrase a lawyer would use often. The protagonist is in love with her movie maker boyfriend but her nasty stepsister keeps reminding her that the media says he is in a relationship with somebody else.

https://youtu.be/hDAZg7AORaY

 

 MELISSA VOLKER – THE POOL GUY

Mine is Seeing Blind by Niall Horan & Maren Morris 

The reason I chose my song, Seeing Blind is because, in life and in my story, people are often not who they seem

https://youtu.be/cKbl19xeSIQ

 

 MEG CHRONIS – SECOND FIDDLE

Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley

When I was first asked to write a short, I was asked to take my inspiration from a song off a list of the ten greatest love songs of all time. I chose Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” It was just the sort of song the string quartet in the story would play at a wedding, and it turned out to be the perfect, schmaltzy piece for the big romantic gesture at the end.

https://youtu.be/J7S5viqJT9o

 

KATHY BOSMAN – EVERY MOMENT

Moments – Westlife

My short story is entitled "Every Moment" because when two people fall in love, they need to savour every moment they have together. As beautiful as love is, it may not last forever. Life can throw us curveballs such as loss, change, separation, conflict, growing apart. Every moment with the one you love is special and needs to be cherished. Westlife conveyed this idea so much in their song, "Moments." They conveyed how much my hero, Craig, enjoyed every moment he shared with Carla. She'd brought something into his life he'd needed for a long time. Every relationship we experience grows us and brings us closer to love, whether it lasts or not. True love changes us and empowers us.

https://bit.ly/3eW2364

 

 TLALANE MANCIYA – STATE OF THE HEART

At my worst – Pink Sweat$

I chose the song because it relates so much to my story in a certain way, and it's one of my favourite songs. The song is about being loved at your worst, to get that person who will love you no matter what the world throws or whatever burdens one may carry. Being loved when things are smooth and nice is good, but the greatest test of how much love can endure is when one has to see a person's worth through those challenging moments, even at their worst moments.

https://youtu.be/K_zylJH4PRI

 

 Melissa Volker created a playlist for all the songs, you can find here:

https://bit.ly/3v9GLaR

 

 So, this week you’ve read more about the authors, their stories, and now the songs which inspired them. Tomorrow is release day. Go play those songs to get you in the mood – then pre-order it at your favorite Amazon store right here:

US: https://amzn.to/3yb02dE

UK: https://amzn.to/3onBJVm

CA: https://amzn.to/3wbSjtZ

AU: https://amzn.to/3orx1pQ

Monday, April 12, 2021

Cover Reveal for ROSA Sweet Romance Anthology

I'm so excited to share the cover for the anthology I've taken part in. It's organised by Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa.



Sweet Songs of Summer: An Anthology

Add to TBR: https://bit.ly/3rY7sg2 
Bloggers Sign up: https://forms.gle/9uyb4fAzg44SgT1J6

The Romance Writer’s Organisation of South Africa brings you an anthology featuring new and seasoned authors. 

We all need a little bit of sweet in our lives. And that’s why the authors at ROSA, thought it would be a wonderful idea to bring you the Sweet Songs of Summer! Join nine authors as they bring you romance wrapped up in a beautiful, pink bow!

The wonderful words of Alissa Baxter, Francine Beaton, Lara van Lelyveld, Lorna Kelly, PG Barker, Melissa A Volker, Meg Chronis, Kathy Bosman, Tlalane Manciya in a sweet, romantic collection of stories to happily ever after. 





About My Story

Recently unemployed, Carla takes up her friend Milly’s offer to house-sit her beach house and look after her dog Katie. Milly assures her that the guy staying there already has a girlfriend and won’t mess with Carla’s tender heart. Carla has come out of another toxic romantic relationship and doesn’t want her heart broken again.

Photo by Nguyễn Thanh Ngọc from Pexels

Brit Craig is busy shooting for the lead role in a movie, and he’s not in the mood for having a strange woman in the beach house at such a busy time. But almost as soon as Carla arrives, he’s shocked at his intense attraction to her. Carla finds herself warming up to Craig’s easy and friendly manner way faster than she’d ever have anticipated. And, well, his girlfriend is just a relationship of convenience. But she doesn’t recognise that he’s a Hollywood celebrity. 

Is a non-celeb from another country worth Craig risking his reputation and precious time? Carla fears the worst about relationships. Is it even safe to risk an affair with the cute, mysterious friend of a friend?


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Book Love - Saved by a Warrior Dog: A Military Romance

Today, I want to introduce a writer friend and client's book. Cassidy Wells writes the most beautiful and enjoyable romances set in a place called Ridgeville, Tennessee. As far as I remember, Ridgeville is a fictional small town. Anyway, this one has a furry friend and goes deep into a tender and important subject - PTSD in veterans.

Cassidy Wells has a special discount on her latest small-town romance from her Ridgeview, Tennessee Series, today through August 17th, and she’s asked me to share it with you.

The book is Saved by a Warrior Dog: A Military Romance (Ridgeview, Tennessee Series, Book 4) and it is ON SALE on Amazon.com from August 13th-August 17th for $.99.

You can also get it FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Check it out through this link: http://amazon.com/dp/B086KNZJGJ

She’s heartbroken.
He’s one of the walking wounded.
Can man’s best friend come to their rescue?


Shy librarian Mary Jane “MJ” Van Buren feels like her world has ended. Eight months have passed since the only man she ever loved was killed in action in Afghanistan. Her emotions take another spin when his handsome buddy shows up to deliver the late Marine’s trusted military service dog into her care…

Rob Michelini is struggling to find his way. After a medical discharge from the USMC, he fulfills a promise to bring his deceased friend’s bomb-sniffing dog to the woman he adored. And though he agrees to remain long enough to teach her how to command the traumatized canine, his developing feelings for the small-town beauty inflame his sense of guilt.

When Rob’s apartment is torched, MJ invites him to stay with her, despite their strong attraction. And once they’re sharing living space, he fears the threat to their growing desires could come from a bitter enemy… and unresolved issues in their own hearts.

Can the damaged pair recover from invisible injuries to reach their forever?

Saved by a Warrior Dog is the fourth book in the emotional Ridgeview, Tennessee small town romantic suspense series. If you like compelling characters, touching stories, and a dash of suspense, then you’ll love Cassidy Wells’ tale of true healing.

Take advantage of this limited time discount—

Buy Saved by a Warrior Dog to overcome trauma together today!




Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Cover Reveal for Falling Even Deeper

I'm so excited to share the cover for my second self-love book. I chose to write a second book as my self-love got tested and battered by life. I knew I had so much more to learn and that writing another devotional would help me. The writing process taught me so much, and every step of the way in writing and preparing this book has helped me grow in self-love.

Blurb:

Loving yourself isn't always easy. Once the honeymoon stage of falling in love with yourself is over, you have to dig deeper to keep the love alive and strong. When life bombards you from all sides, and your self-love gets tested, sometimes you don't know where to turn. What if difficult circumstances and other's opinions of you make you doubt your worth and beauty? 

Falling Even Deeper is a 31-day devotional with snippets of wisdom and nuggets of love to help you deepen your self-love relationship. Each day covers a new topic and shows you ways to confront your shadow side - the part of you that you don't like or wish to ignore. It's done with gentleness and kindness and enhanced by real-life examples and daily affirmations to build a deeper and more solid and grounded love relationship with yourself.


Falling Even Deeper is still in the editing stages. I'm hoping to release it soon but I can't give you an exact date yet.

Here is a small excerpt from Day 2 - Give and Receive, Baby:

What about if your needs aren’t being met? What do you do about it?

I admit that I’ve struggled with this so much in the past. Sometimes, a certain area of our lives has a dryness about it, like the flow has dried up. Maybe it’s the area of finances, or maybe it’s socially, or it could be in our creative flow.

Oftentimes, we struggle to come to terms with the fact that we do deserve abundant flow. We believe we deserve the dryness (for some or other reason). Yes, there are times of stillness—like winter, where we go into ourselves and do some inner shadow work, but those seasons are temporary, and they are meant to improve the ground of our hearts for new growth and a bigger harvest next time.

I’m not saying that we don’t go through difficulties; in fact, some people do have very difficult times in their lives. But there may sometimes be a blockage to receiving. There could be something in us that is holding us back from receiving with open arms.

I believe if we make peace with our inner child, it could open up our heart to receive. Love ourselves completely as if we were a child.

If we’re lacking love from others, there is enough love for us—from ourselves and from the many wonderful spiritual beings in The Universe. We are ultimately going to be okay. We are never alone. Just believe it.

New Release for Dare to Hope + Author Interview with Madison Michael

Today, I want to welcome Madison Michael, contemporary romance writer, to my blog. She's sharing about her new release Dare to Hope. At the end of the post is her delightful author interview. You have to take a look! There is also a giveaway to enter.



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

♥♥GiveAway♥♥
Maddy is offering a few great prizes. 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 New Release Tour.

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)




Author Interview with Madison Michael



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

The fans. Without a doubt. I love writing, getting to know my characters intimately until they speak to me, but email from fans, reviews, people taking time to share because my book touched them – there is nothing like it.



2. What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?

Without a doubt, it is planning ahead for a series. I always box myself into a corner in an early book then have trouble working around it in a future book. I haven’t learned that lesson yet. And with my current series, the plots run simultaneously. That is tough to keep track of and hard to manage so I don’t give away anything from another story.


3. What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?

I write contemporary romance, billionaire romance particularly. My heroes are always successful, and they fall in love with strong, independent women. Real life characters with the usual flaws, set in a world we only wish we lived in.

My latest book, Dare to Hope, kicks off the new Double Dare Romance series. Eight friends helping each other find love. Some billionaires, but not entirely. I love the enduring friendship of the women, and the passionate romance. I always write with a bit of steam.


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

The pandemic has shaken me and my writing has suffered, I admit. It is harder for me to concentrate, and sometimes to feel relevant in these uncertain times.

I have combated this uncertainty by trying to hone my craft more – to write a better book –and to support my community during these trying times. It helps a lot. Now if I could just focus more…


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

Sloane Huyler is by far my choice. She is the wicked bitch of Bedazzled who learns a painful lesson in Beholden that turns her from a woman you hate to a heroine you cheer for. I love her journey of redemption and her hero’s too.


6. What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.

I write Mr. Darcy’s – pampered, spoiled and imperfect men who learn and grow through finding love. They are my favourite heroes. Think Christian Gray, sexy, rich and flawed, but with less kink.


7. Tell us about your journey in writing this book.

Dare to Hope was a particular joy for me. I spent a long weekend with friends I have known for almost 30 years. I was so sorry to leave them at the end of our holiday that I took them with me, or traits of theirs, as the inspiration for the “Crazy Eights.” The Crazies are the protagonists in the new Double Dare Romance Series. I am enjoying watching my friends discover themselves in the book too.


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

1/ I love anything Hello Kitty.

2/ I have a thing for shoes.

3/ I lived in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, North Carolina and California before settling back down just outside Chicago, only a mile from where I grew up.


9. What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?

I like to write early in the morning, with lots of coffee and silence. Lots and lots of coffee. My cat, Gracie, curls up near me, the sun shines through the windows, and I get in the zone.


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

Unique – All of my books except Moonlight & Moet have a Chicago connection. I love living here – the food, the lakefront, the open land and parks, the museums, the Cubs.

My writing style is always character-driven. I know these people well enough that they tell me the plot. No, I am not crazy and I don’t hear voices. I just get a strong sense of how they would behave and that drives my stories.


11. What book would you like to work on next?

I am currently working on three Double Dare romance novels, part of the new series. I am working on Cassie’s story – she has been widowed for more than a year and needs to get out from under the burdens her husband left her. I am also working on Avery’s tale. Poor Avery, she is challenged by this dare. How is she to find a husband in less than a year when she has never even been on a date? And then there is Rachel – wild and unpredictable. It will take me a while to tell all these women’s stories, but they will be worth the wait.


THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Thoughts About a Bad Review

I received my first review for Cat Therapy and it was a two-star. I was gutted, as the British say. It's so hard to get reviews nowadays. There are so many books out there and reviewers are inundated. To find someone who has time to read your book is like finding a gem in the sea sand. I contacted a lady who has a review blog and asked her to review my book. I'm very grateful that she took the time to do that. I don't blame her for not liking my book. Sure, in the beginning, the negative emotions like anger, disappointment, discouragement, and hopelessness swamped me, but after a few days I calmed down. And now I'm just grateful - at least I have a real review by an objective party. An honest one, too.



But it wasn't easy to come to this state. I struggled. I've always felt like my books aren't that popular, that they don't get read by the mainstream readers. I think that's true in a way, but it's also my mindset. For one, I haven't spent tons on marketing as it's just not possible, especially with our crummy exchange rate in South Africa. So, my books don't get seen all over. For two, I think I could've improved on some of my earlier books which set the tone for my work. But...I have had people say that I am a good writer. You can never know for yourself as you can't see your work objectively. In fact, I tend to be overly critical of my work.

But as the years have gone by, my dream as a writer has transformed. In the beginning, I loved writing, but I also wanted success. That was most important to me. To first get that publishing contract, and then to sell my books well. The first success came, but the second one eluded me. As the second success eluded me, I wanted to give up so many times. I thought - what's the point? But I can't give up on my writing, even if that dream of success never happens because writing is my passion. And even though I hardly get time nowadays, it's always at the back of my mind as the thing I really, really want to do when I get a chance. It's something that always lives inside of me.

Writing is a release for me - it's cathartic, even when I write fiction. I put a part of my heart and my thoughts about life into my books. That's why I don't care if the reviewer didn't like Cat Therapy. It came from a well inside me mixed with my imagination. Sure, maybe it will hardly be read, but I did it for me. Of course, I'd so love lots of people to read my books. That dream will never die. Maybe one day...

Another thing that helped me not to stew on the bad review was believing in myself. As I have written and worked on the edits of my second self-love book, I've grown even more in my self-love. It's been shiny, glorious, healing, empowering. I have learned to value myself and my work. It doesn't have to be liked by everyone.

My second self-love book is in edits and the cover is being designed right now. I'll do a cover reveal and excerpt soon.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I'm grateful to all my writer friends and readers.



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

♥♥GiveAway♥♥
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:



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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.

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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)

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