Rights of Way – in Romance and in Life #newbooknews #romanticnovels #contemporaryromance #reading #writing

Falling in love can’t be planned but it also can’t be avoided

New Book News

Only two more weeks until Baby Steps is published and don’t you love that cover! You can find out more about the book later in this post – but first I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve been having about my writing as publication day draws near.

Writing Romance

I write romance novels. So, as per the rules of this genre my novels have two main characters who meet, overcome any obstacles there might be to them falling in love, and then they enter into a happy-ever-after relationship. I accept those rules as it’s what my readers expect.

However I don’t accept some other rules dished out to me in the past by publishers and literary agents. Rules that suggest readers of romance do not want to read about anyone over thirty falling in love – especially if that anyone is a woman. Or the rule that romance readers don’t want to read about ‘difficult subjects’ such as cancer, bereavement or human rights.

Not all romances have to be rom-coms

While I enjoy reading romantic comedies, I don’t believe, that all stories with a romance at their hearts have to be light-hearted. They can be dark, they can be serious, they can make you think. I’d go so far as to say that sometimes they should make you think and they should reflect real life.

So, while I stick to the conventions when writing my contemporary love stories I also like to include some challenging issues for my characters to deal with along the way.

Women’s Rights

And one of the main things I always ensure is that my female characters are no pushovers. For one thing, they not only show that while the road to true love rarely runs smoothly, it also isn’t closed to those older than thirty. They also stand up for themselves and they value their hard won equality. They seek out and follow their own paths through life, making the decisions that are right for them.

They have the right of way when it comes to living their life – in romance and in every other way.

In Baby Steps, my latest novel, the female main character, Sophie has to deal with is an unplanned pregnancy. Fortunately she has choices. Choices fought for and achieved by previous generations of women. She exercises those choices.

In a far from happy coincidence, as I write this post, the news has broken of the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse legislation giving women the right to abortion. I find this to be a sad, distressing and backward step. And along with other backward steps that are threatened for women’s rights here in the UK, I must admit to being concerned for the future rights of my daughter’s and granddaughters’ generations.

Not Helpless

But concerned as I am, I refuse to feel subdued or defeated. I may not be a political activist, I may only be one small voice, but I will continue to uphold women’s right of way in my conversations, in my writing and in my life in general. We can all fight back in our own ways.

Meanwhile in happier news …

And breathe. The good news is my above-mentioned new novel, Baby Steps will be released later this month. So not long to wait now. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is it about?

Estranged from her mother, cheated on by her ex and grieving the loss of her brother, emotionally distraught Sophie Campbell decides she needs to focus on her career as a researcher for a TV and radio broadcaster. What she doesn’t need is a man in her life. And as for marriage and children – definitely not.

Honourably discharged from the British army following life-changing injuries sustained while serving in Afghanistan, Steven Jackson is rehabilitated and embracing life to the full. Working as the manager of a support centre for military veterans brings him a great sense of pride and achievement. But he wants more. He wants to meet the love of his life, and to one day be a husband and father.

When Sophie and Steven meet through work, there’s an undeniable chemistry between the two thirty-somethings. But will Steven’s open, caring and patient ways be enough to break down Sophie’s barriers and allow a relationship to develop between them?

Set in the Scottish city of Glasgow, Baby Steps is a contemporary romance which tells a story of love against the odds.

**************

Baby Steps is a spin-off novel from Anne Stormont’s Skye Series of novels. Sophie is the daughter of Rachel one of the main characters in that series and features as a character in the supporting cast, as does Steven. However, Baby Steps can be read as a standalone.

When and where will it be available?

It will be published as an ebook and as a paperback on 18th July 2022. It will be available on Amazon or you can ask your local bookshop to order it in.

Want to Read the First Chapter of Baby Steps?

Subscribe to my newsletter – if you’ve not already done so – and as well as getting the free book of short stories that all my new subscribers get – you’ll also a sneak preview of the first chapter of Baby Steps in my next email. You can sign up here

As always, thank you for reading my post and please do feel free to leave a comment below.

Newsletter Announcement: Sign up and get a free book too. #news #writing #books #reading

New Newsletter News

I know there’s a lot of use of the word ‘new’ up there in the heading but all will be explained – as will the presence of that book cover image above.

You could also be forgiven for wondering why there’s been a bit of a gap since my last post here on the blog. No, I’ve not retired from blogging or from writing, but I have been majorly distracted.

Not only have I been finishing my latest novel – more on that in a later post – but I’ve also been getting to grips with setting up a subscription newsletter.

The setting up of the subscription process here on my website was, for me, such a steep learning curve that at times it felt more like scaling a sheer mountain face. I’m so untechie (yeah, I know that’s not actually a word but it should be) it was at times just as daunting and scary as that mountain face. But I persevered and I succeeded. *Pause while Anne punches the air*

Blog versus Newsletter

Yes, nothing is too much trouble if it means I can have both a line of communication and a closer relationship with my loyal readers. ‘But why?’ I hear you ask. ‘Why the need for a newsletter when you have this blog?’

Good question. I suppose, while I see my blog as a sort of magazine for my readers, a newsletter will be something more personal and more sharply focussed on my own writing. I think of it as being a sort of readers’ club.

On the blog I cover all sorts of writing-related topics. I have posts on the various aspects of the writing life – including interviews with other writers. I also write about the latest books I’ve read and enjoyed. And I write reflective pieces too.

My newsletter will, however, be just that. It will contain my latest writing news. As a subscriber you’ll receive an email whenever I have a new book coming out – BUT in between times you’ll receive emails containing other writing-related stuff too.

And don’t worry I won’t be bombarding you with emails. You’ll hear from me approximately once per month at the most.

So what can you expect if you sign up?

 You can expect at least one of these items in each email:

  • Exclusive offers, excerpts and bonus scenes
  • Prize draw giveaways
  • Sneak peeks at my work-in-progress and pre-publication previews
  • Publication announcements – so you’re among the first to know when I have a new book coming out
  • Requests for your opinions on my writing dilemmas
  • Heads up on any good books I’ve recently read
  • Insights into my writing life

Tempted to subscribe? I do hope so. If you are, just click the ‘Yes Please’ below and you’ll not only start to receive my monthly newsletter but you’ll also get A FREE BOOK as a thank you from me to you. The book is a collection of some of my short romances and is called – yes, you guessed it from the picture at the top of this post – Follow Your Heart.

YES PLEASE SIGN ME UP

Thank you in advance if you do!

It’s All about the Books: Works in Progress, Christmas Reads and Book of the Year 2021 #reading #writing #bookofthe year2021 @alison_morton @Heidi_Swain @Sue Moorcroft @KittyWilson23

photo by Andreea Radu

Quite a Year

Hello to all my blog followers. And thank you to you all for visiting, reading and commenting on yet another year of posts here. I do appreciate it.

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again! Time to pause and reflect on 2021 and time to look ahead to a brand new year.

Thank Goodness for Books

I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that that the last twelve months have been a bit of a roller coaster – what with one thing and another. Yes pandemic, I’m looking at you. However, I’ve found lots to enjoy and be grateful for too. And along with time spent outdoors, and time with family and friends, it’s been books – reading them and writing them that have provided a lot of comfort and joy.

Writing

Temporarily Stalled

At the beginning of the year I was busy writing a novel but as spring arrived, I was finding it harder and harder to focus on it. Long story short (yes, I know, that’s hard for a writer to do 😊) Covid related anxiety and depression were causing a bit of brain fogging and concentration was proving difficult. But with the appropriate help I got better.

Writing Therapy Leads to New and Unexpected Novel

However, I still didn’t feel ready to get back to the novel. So instead I decided to have a go at some short stories. For the first one, I picked a couple of minor characters from my Skye series of novels – Sophie (daughter of Rachel, one of the main characters) and Steven. And I began to tell the story of how these two thirty-somethings they met and fell in love. But then, before I knew it, it had gone way beyond a short story and was fast becoming a novella, and then I found I had a whole novel on my hands. It’s now with my editor and I’m hoping for a February publishing date. Watch this space.

Readers Club Newsletter

Meanwhile I’m back writing short stories – and yes, they will remain short – and the plan for them is to give them away as a free collection to people who sign up to subscribe to my Readers’ Club newsletter. That’s another thing I’ve been working on – it’s been a steep learning curve – and it’s been something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. So again, watch this space.

The Other New Novel

Looking ahead to the new year, I’ll be getting back to writing the temporarily abandoned novel and I actually can’t wait. I’m more than ready to get back at it and I’m raring to go. It has the working title of Happiness Cottage and it’s the first of my planned brand new series of contemporary romances which will all be set in the Scottish Borders. Just as in my unexpected/unplanned novel above, the main characters are thirty-somethings – rather than my usual forty and fifty somethings. And you know what, I’ve rather enjoyed going a bit younger with my lead couple, but the series will also include romantic leads who are older too. I do like a bit of variety.

And yes, you guessed it – watch this space for updates on progress.

Reading

During 2021 I’ve read a lot of books. They have included some non-fiction, historical fiction, and crime fiction but, of course, it’s been mostly contemporary romance. No surprises there. There have been a few which I didn’t especially enjoy but I’ve loved the vast majority of the books that have come my way. So picking out my books of the month each month and now also choosing my book of the year has been really difficult. But I’ve applied myself and I’ve done it.

So what books are they?

Christmas Books of the Months November and December

As this will be my last post for this year I’m combining my November/December books of the month choices. All three are lovely Christmas romances.

Underneath the Christmas Tree by Heidi Swain

From the back cover:

Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?

Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft

From the back cover:

Christmas. A time for family, friends – and rekindling old flames…

When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.

Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.

However, time stands still when she sees her old flame, Grady Cassidy – and it’s soon as if they’ve never been apart. But through her happiness, Laurel remembers why she left the village all those years ago, as she recalls a dark night and Grady’s once-wayward brother, Mac…

Can Laurel learn to forgive and forget? Or will her chances of Christmas under the mistletoe with Grady remain a dream?

Every Day in December by Kitty Wilson

From the back cover:

Two people. One month to fall in love.

‘The perfect Christmas story, full of heart and hope’ Sandy Barker

Belle Wilde loves December. Yes, she’s just lost her job and Christmas is not a good time to find yourself ‘financially challenged’. And yes, her parents are still going on about the fact that she really should have it all together by now. But Belle believes that in December, magic can happen.

Rory Walters hates December. Whilst it looks like his life is together, he’s still reeling from a winter’s night five years ago when his life changed forever. Now back at home, he’s certain that this will be yet another Christmas to endure rather than enjoy.

But as midnight on December 31st draws closer, Belle and Rory’s time together is coming to an end. With a little help from a Christmas miracle could Belle find the one thing she really wants underneath the mistletoe?

Book of the Year 2021

Shock, horror it’s not a romance! It’s actually a crime thriller, and it is:

Double Identity by Alison Morton

From the back cover:

Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.
It’s three days since dual-national Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.

Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.

But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover—and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.

Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?

My thoughts:

This was a gripping, unputdownable read. The lead characters of Mel and Jeff are magnificent. The plot is expertly crafted. The settings and the details make it all feel so real. I especially loved the well-judged pacing and oh, feisty Mel, was amazing – her fight scenes just awesome. Be prepared to put everything else on hold when you start reading this – it will quickly have you gripped.

That’s All Folks!

So all that remains is to wish you all a peaceful and joyful festive season spent doing whatever is meaningful and fun for you. And a happy, healthy, and book-filled new year to you all.

As always, feel free to leave your comments below and/or to share your favourite reads of 2021.

And again, thank you for being here.