Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Selkie Sorceress Giveaway Winners and Announcing a New Trilogy!

I am excited to announce the winners of The Selkie Sorceress Giveaway:

Winner of $25 Amazon Gift Card: Holly L.
Winner of signed paperback copy of The Selkie Spell: Alyson C.
Winner of signed paperback copy of The Selkie Enchantress: Janhvi
Winner of signed paperback copy of The Selkie Sorceress: Cristi R.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you all so much for entering! There will be many more giveaways in the future so stay tuned. :)

In other news, I've started working on a new romance trilogy, and the first book will release Fall 2013! The Heron Island Trilogy features a new cast of characters who I hope you will love as much as the characters in the Seal Island Trilogy. The new series takes place on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, on an island in the Chesapeake Bay. Here's a little bit about the first book:

Wind Chime Café
Heron Island Trilogy, Book One
When single mother, Annie Malone, purchases a quirky Main Street café on Heron Island, she thinks she's finally turned her dream of opening her own restaurant into a reality. Hearing rumors that a developer is about to build a five-star resort on the sleepy Chesapeake Bay island, she plans to transform the café into a premier upscale bistro. But Navy SEAL, Will Dozier, has no intention of selling his grandparents' property to a developer. Back on Heron Island for the first time in ten years and secretly struggling with PTSD, Will decides that a fling with the new girl is the perfect way to help him "get his head straight." The last thing Will expects is to fall in love...with his hometown and with Annie. But Will's life and career are in San Diego with the SEALs. Will Annie's love and the healing magic of the island be enough to convince him to stay?
I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Chesapeake Bay culture is very near and dear to my heart. I started a Pinterest Board with Chesapeake Bay images in case you want to get a feel for the place. I'm really looking forward to sharing this new series with you.

As always, thank you for your support of my stories. And a huge thank you to those of you who took the time to post a review for The Selkie Sorceress on Amazon. I really, really I appreciate it. :)

For those of you in the US, I hope you all enjoy a nice long Memorial Day weekend, get to spend some time in the sun with friends, and celebrate the official start of summer!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hoping for a Glimpse of Nora Roberts in Boonsboro

Most of you probably know by now that I'm a huge fan of Nora Roberts. Sea Swept was the first romance novel I ever read, and it was *the book* that made me want to become a writer. After graduating college and finishing my first romance novel, I learned about Romance Writers of America, and signed up for their annual conference. At the time, I was working as a journalist for my small town newspaper and I asked Nora Roberts' publicist if she'd grant me an interview. She did--which I'm still kind of amazed by to this day! I got to meet my favorite author, shake her hand, and interview her. Plus, she signed my copy of Sea Swept. :)

At that first RWA conference, I learned so much about writing and I realized I had a lot to learn before starting a new book. I began to study writing: reading books on craft, going to workshops, joining writers groups, and finding critique partners. I spent a lot of time learning the process, but you know what taught me to write more than anything? Reading Nora Roberts. I spent months taking her books apart, dissecting them chapter by chapter, scene by scene, trying to figure out how she created such memorable characters and stories I wanted to stay up all night reading. Once I'd learned how to put those pieces together, I tried again and wrote The Selkie Spell.

Since its release, The Selkie Spell has had over 100,000 downloads (including both free and paid) and consistently landed on bestseller lists at Amazon. I recently released the third book in the Seal Island Trilogy, The Selkie Sorceress, and thanks to my readers, I am now living my dream and working as a full-time writer. To celebrate finishing my first trilogy, I thought it would be fun to take a trip to Nora Roberts' hometown, Boonsboro, Maryland! Luckily, one of my best friends just moved into a house a few miles outside Boonsboro, so she gave me the grand tour. :)

I arrived late afternoon and we popped into Dan's Restaurant and Tap House to grab a pint and watch the Kentucky Derby. Dan's is rumored to be owned by one of Roberts' sons. I have no idea what he looks like, so I can't say if we saw him or not!

We passed by the Inn Boonsboro, which Nora Roberts owns. The guest rooms are named after famous literary couples from Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Thin Man, and The Princess Bride.

The next morning, we went for a stroll through neighboring Antietam National Battlefield. I couldn't help thinking of the romances Roberts' has written that include ghosts from the civil war era. I imagine this battlefield offered some inspiration.

It's a beautiful place, but I'll admit, it starts to feel a tad unsettling after a while...
Then we headed back into town to Nora Roberts' Turn the Page Bookstore, which is run by her husband.

Look! There she is! No, just kidding. That's actually a cardboard cut out of Nora Roberts, but this entire back room is filled with her books, DVDs of movies based on her books, and the table in the middle contains a line of Inn Boonsboro soaps, perfume, and candles.

In all seriousness, I would like to say thank you to Nora Roberts, for teaching me how to write and for unknowingly showing me the path toward my dream of being a writer. Maybe one day I'll get to shake her hand again and tell her that.

What about you? Readers, what was the first romance novel you ever read? Writers, is there an author or a book that changed your life, and made you realize you wanted to become a writer?

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Selkie Sorceress Featured in USA Today!

I'm excited to announce The Selkie Sorceress was featured in USA Today on May 3, 2013! To celebrate the release of Book Three of the Bestselling Seal Island Trilogy, I have written a very special article that has never been published or appeared anywhere else online. The piece explains the enduring popularity of the romance novel through time, and how the genre's success relates to its ability to adapt to shifting social constructs. It is a condensed version of a longer academic piece that explores the persistence of the "Romance in Literature" from Medieval times to present day. You can read the article on USA Today here. I'd love to hear your thoughts!