If you’ve been following my blog for a while, and/or read some of my stories, you’ll know I don’t write romance per se, but some of my stories do have romantic elements. Writing romance was a part of the craft I needed to improve, which is why I joined Romance Writers of Australia.
As it is now winter here, I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to be a guest on their blog and talk about my comfort read.
But be warned – my book of choice does not fit the modern definition of a romance novel. 😉
So, grab a cuppa. I hope you join me. ☕
Speaking of romance…
In other news, Christmas has come early!
If you’re looking for a romantic read this month, I’ve got together with romance writers to celebrate ‘Christmas in July’.
In fact, I’ve joined two promotions, so there’s over a hundred books for you to choose from!
My book, First Christmas, is included and contains two paranormal romance short stories.
Here it is everyone! I can finally reveal the cover for my upcoming novella, ‘The Curse of Marsden Hall.’
With this book, I decided to experiment and do something a little bit different. I asked for opinions from some friends on Facebook and was pleased with the feedback I received.
That experiment was putting my other creative side to the test and creating my own cover. As this is the first book in a series (I have two more in the pipeline), I will be creating the covers for those as well. I hope you like it!
Here is the blurb: –
Some things are better left alone.
Successful businessman, Richard Marsden, is going to marry his sweetheart and has built the house of his dreams. Despite the scenic location, Richard’s house in the Wolfrose Mountains sits on land with a chequered past, one full of violence, witchcraft, and murder. He does not believe in curses or superstition.
When something unexpected happens, he wonders if the land he built on is indeed cursed and begins to question his own sanity.
Meanwhile, someone or something is watching… waiting.
* * * * *
‘The Curse of Marsden Hall’ will be released on 21 May. I’ll let you know when it’s ready for pre-order. 🙂
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir has always been one of my favourite movies. A romance with a ghost— what’s not to love? And with Valentine’s Day upon us, February is the perfect time to watch it.
If you’re unaware of the plot, the story involves Mrs. Lucy Muir, a widow with a young daughter. She decides to move into a seaside cottage, despite being told that it has a ghost. In fact, she rather relishes the idea! She encounters the ghost of a former sea captain, Daniel Gregg, and soon become friends.
One of the things I’ve always liked about this film is the banter between the two main characters, which demonstrates their growing relationship. Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison) even has a special name for Lucy Muir, which I think is rather sweet. Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney are perfectly suited in the roles, and it would have to be my favourite film of Rex Harrison’s. Seeing George Sanders in the role of Miles Fairly (children’s author ‘Uncle Neddy’) always felt appropriate to me. He played the role of Jack Favell in Rebecca (1940), so he plays a charming rake very well. It’s great to see a young Natalie Wood as Anna, and I enjoy her performance, although her American accent does stand out amongst the English setting.
The music and lighting help adds to the atmosphere and gives it a sense of place. The special effects are deftly done, blending in well, and do not detract from the story. Although sometimes, I can’t help but look at the seagulls outside the bedroom window!
I really like the sets, especially ‘Gull Cottage’, where the story mainly takes place. It makes me wistful for a seaside cottage of my own. I also like the set of the lavishly appointed home of Miles Fairly and wish there were more scenes shot here (yes, I’m a hopeless romantic and a sticky-beak 😉).
The most heart-breaking scene of the film is where Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison) leaves, saying goodbye to Lucy as she sleeps. It’s such a touching scene and beautifully done.
The ending, although sad, is to be expected, but it is also a happy ending, of sorts.
If you’re looking for a romantic movie with a difference this Valentine’s Day (or any day, for that matter), I highly recommend this film.
Speaking of ghosts, are you interested in a ghostly read?
This month, I’ve partnered with other authors to bring you some spooky reads. The collection is a mix of genres, including mystery, romance, fantasy, and horror. All with a ghost (or two), so there’s something for everyone.
My recent book of short stories, ‘First Christmas’ is out! In fact, with all the goings-on around its release, I failed to mention it on the blog. I think that officially puts me on the naughty list!
‘First Christmas’ has been out for three weeks now and I’d like to thank those of you who pre-ordered or have bought a copy since. I really do appreciate it.
Shortly after its release, and out of curiosity, I snuck a peek at the US Amazon site. ‘First Christmas’ made the Top 100 in the ’30-minute Romance Short Reads’ Category. I had no idea such a thing existed, but I’ll take it! It certainly looked out of place among all those ‘naughty housewives’ though! 😉
Here’s the blurb: –
Christmas spirit comes in the most unexpected ways.
In 1916, young newlywed, Caroline Owens spends her first Christmas alone. Or is she?
Shy nurse, Linda Graham, struggles with a tragic loss. Can a ghost help restore her broken heart?
Normally, I don’t write anything with a particular theme in mind, but this one has a bit of history behind it. And let’s face it, 2020 has been a pretty crappy year.
Before Christmas, 2019, as part of the Romance Writers of Australia, the aspiring group held a competition. We were given prompts in which to write a 1,500-word short story, which was to be judged and awarded prizes. My short story did not get a prize and I didn’t have a problem with it, as I was stepping out of my comfort zone. I was, however, encouraged by the judge’s feedback: –
‘Such a beautiful, evocative story. An emotion-filled tale that would appeal to many readers who like historical novels too.’
After this, I decided with some hesitation, to enter my first RWA ‘Sweet Treats’ competition. There are three judges to this competition and ‘the third judge’ is well known for being not only the deciding factor, but brutal. I called them ‘the hanging judge’ and the feedback I received was indeed harsh. As a result, I can honestly say that: –
It took me a few months before I could look at my story again, as well as read the feedback with a critical eye, and
I won’t be entering any RWA competitions in a hurry. 😉
I, therefore, chose to focus on the positive feedback from the other two judges, which basically said that it showed promise.
‘Plot and characterisation great! The reader wants the MC to be happy after so much sorrow, and that matters. Tightening up the story will let these lovely characters shine.’
Like my first story, I believed in this one too. I didn’t wish to be put off by one judge’s opinion. I wanted readers to decide.
If I worked on it and did a bit of tweaking, I could put them both into a book and publish it in time for Christmas. The end result is First Christmas.
These stories are a bit different to what I usually write, but 2020 hasn’t been the best of years, and I wanted to write something with a bit of hope. Both short stories have a paranormal bent but are romantic in nature.
I’m working on having First Christmas released in November, so watch this space. 😊
Have you received negative feedback in a writing competition? Do you write with particular themes in mind? Given the current COVID-19 situation, have you written something different than usual this year?