Category Archives: Travel

Release day for Dominican Stars

It’s here!

If you need a break from digging out after the latest snowfall, or want to escape to someplace warm and margarita-filled while your little darling has you sitting in the arena for practice, may I suggest taking a quick $0.99 trip to the Dominican Republic.

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All Julie Beresford wanted was a vacation fling, something to distract her from the most important decision of her teaching career. What she gets is a man who not only captures her heart but pushes her to face her fears.

Contractor Dennis Wilson is supposed to be on a father-son bonding trip, but after that turns into a solo vacation at the last minute, Julie is an intoxicating distraction from the disappointment.

When his son arrives unexpectedly, Julie’s presence throws a spanner into an already tense situation. Can Dennis salvage both relationships, or is one doomed to break?

Find the e-book at AmazoniTunesKoboBarnes & Noble

One week from today…

I will be helping register people for ROMANCING THE CAPITAL, in Ottawa, Ontario with the ever-awesome Sadie Haller.

The event has sold out, but there is a FREE BOOK FAIR OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ON SATURDAY, MAY 7th FROM 2 to 4 PM. If you are in the area, please come by and say hello! I’ll have paperbacks to sell, AND a free giveaway!  Plus, there are 50 other amazing authors who would love to meet you. Seriously, bring a friend. You’ll both score big!

Romancing the Capital 2015

Romancing The Capital

Last weekend I went to my very first reader convention. I’ve been to writer conventions before, where the emphasis was on craft workshops and editor pitches, but I wasn’t sure what to expect at a reader con.

The answer is EXPECT AWESOMENESS!

I was a romance reader before I was a romance author. I have favourite authors and auto-buys and I’m always on the lookout for more to add to my never-ending list. This convention was both good and bad to that.

I’m not always good at approaching strangers but I had a built in topic to talk about. We were all romance fans – it was the reason we were there. So whenever I met somebody, I asked who their favourite authors were and which book they’d recommend to a new reader.

It was a bad idea.

Not that anyone refused to talk to me. In fact, I met a lot of people and even made some new friends out of the deal. Hello, new friends!

The problem is now that I have a bunch of new authors and books to try and I don’t have the budget to get them all at once. I’m talking over two pages of recommendations spanning at least four different genres. How amd I supposed to ration my reading when the list is sitting beside my computer taunting me?

Okay, it’s not a truly terrible problem to have. Especially since I won an Amazon gift card and got a veritable bagful of free books and other swag from the super generous authors who attended.

If you are a romance fan, I cannot say enough good things about this conference. You should definitely put this into your calendar; the most amazing Eve Langlais is already planning a sequel in 2016. (Give her a few days to get the website updated.) It is so much fun. And it’s in the nation’s capital. Next year I’m going to take a couple of extra days and play tourist.

I wish I had a photo of all the swag and gifts I won, but frankly I came home and slept for two days. Maybe soon.

Not family friendly

I recently went to Disneyworld, which indeed is the happiest place on earth. It’s also supposed to be family friendly, but when you are a romance writer, it skews your perspective. For example, any one of these is fine in its own, but together in the same place, these gave me the giggles.

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And I don’t think I need to say any more.

You really can’t take me anywhere.

And proud of it

I recently returned from two writing conferences (posts to follow). One was the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle, Washington put on by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America, and the other was the Surrey International Writers Conference in Surrey (Vancouver), BC. ECWC is all romance, all the time. It’s why attendees show up. When somebody asks you “What do you write?”, and you answer “Historical” or “Contemporary” the “Romance” is assumed. We were loud and proud, and often raunchy since romance often involves sex.

At SIWC, when asked what I wrote, I said, “Contemporary romance.”  One woman’s jaw literally dropped at my answer. “You are the first person I’ve met here who admits to writing romance. Everybody else says “Women’s fiction with an element of romance” or “historical with a secondary love story”. Nobody says they’re a romance writer.” Because, you see, romance isn’t literary and isn’t spoken of in polite writing society.

I AM A ROMANCE WRITER AND I’M PROUD OF IT, BABY!  I like my sweet stories and my super-sexy reads and everything in between. I like reading them, writing them, and talking about them. If you are a fellow romance reader, writer or fan, stand up with me. Be loud and proud. I love romance and I’m not going to let anyone try to shame me about it!

Quick, give me a recommendation – who’s your fave romance author and which book should I start with?

Last chance for a free copy of CUBAN MOON

Cuban MoonThis is it, folks, your last chance to get a free copy of CUBAN MOON from Amazon.  Lisa and Hank’s tropical romance is FREE on October 18th and 19th. If you use another e-reader, don’t forget you can download the free Kindle app and get a copy that way. I love these guys… and only partially because they are in hot, sunny Cuba right as we are starting to dig in to survive another winter. **** If you’re obliged to attend a family event, there are worse options than a tropical destination wedding in February. Lisa Kleyson, representing the bride, didn’t intend to hook up with anybody while on her first Caribbean vacation ever, but when she lays eyes on the groom’s brother, her best laid plans go out the window. She knows she’s not doctor’s wife material … but he’s not on duty. Dr. Hank Anderson, representing the groom, will do his duty to his brother but he’d much rather be spending time with the music teacher who’s caught his eye. It’s nice to be the one doing the chasing instead of fending off women who want to take advantage of his position. Hank’s pursuit is booby-trapped with a stalking maid-of-honor, a Gilligan-worthy boat tour and bad crab cakes but he is determined to catch Lisa and convince her to start a romance under the Cuban Moon. PS – If you like this story, check out PUERTO VALLARTA SUNSETS to find out what Dena and Curtis did on their winter vacation. PPS – Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for chances to get free copies of my books!

Where in the world

We are down to single digit temperatures in Winnipeg and you know what that means? It means it’s time to start making escape plans for February.  I’ve been to Varadero, Cuba and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and loved both experiences so much I set books there. Since I’m running out of places to set my resort romances, I think I have to book a new destination – for research purposes only. I promise not to enjoy myself at all.

Option one is Hawaii. Where in Hawaii? I really don’t care.  Any trip that starts of with you getting lei’d when you get off the airplane can’t be bad (yep, I went there 🙂 )  Seriously, there is some incredible history there and tons of gorgeous beaches for inspiration. And there’s a volcano. I’ve always wanted to visit a volcano!

Option two is Jamaica. I’m more of a vodka girl but there is an entire subset of rum named after this Caribbean island. That must mean they know how to party. Again, there are amazing beaches from what I hear.

Option three is a cruise. The Caribbean is broken into three segments so I could go to any islands I wanted. Unfortunately, the island stops are only for the day. I left this one for last because although I hear the food and shows are decadent, I’ve never been at sea before.

I don’t actually get to book any of these trips. It’s all a nice daydream. In the real world, I’ll curl up under a blanket and keep a sharp look-out for falling white stuff.

CUBAN MOON is free on Amazon

Cuban MoonCUBAN MOON is free on Amazon for the next three days – September 27-29.

Sorry, other-format-readers, this is only at Amazon. But, if you read off a computer, tablet or an iThing, you can download the free Kindle app and then get my book for free that way.

Hank and Lisa are waiting for you in romantic Havana. Find them (and possibly Nemo!) in this fun short story.

PS – If you like this story, check out PUERTO VALLARTA SUNSETS to find out what Dena and Curtis did on their winter vacation.

PPS – Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for chances to get free copies of my books!

Duty-free

Not the responsibility kind of duty. The tax kind.

I recently went on my first cross-border shopping trip to Fargo in over a decade. My observations about driving from Winnipeg to Fargo include.

1. There are two ten-mile (16 km) sections of highway under construction, one on either side of the border. That’s a lot of construction.

2. Just after Morris, MB the speed limit increases from 100 km/h to 110 km/h. That’s not much but it is noticeable. Once you cross the border it jumps to 75 mph, which is 120 km/h. That is very noticeable. I have decided I don’t enjoy driving that fast, at least not in my lightweight Mazda 3.

3. Winnipeg needs a Chili’s restaurant.

4. And a Chico’s ladies wear store.

5. Thank goodness they raised the duty-free limit to $800 if you stay for longer than 48 hours. Note to self – get a bigger trunk next time.

6. Make sure you look at the clock when you cross the border. I was praying the cars in front of me had problems because I timed it too close. My time in the US – 48 hours, 15 seconds.

7. You can bring back cold viruses duty-free. When the border guards asked what I was bringing back, I was going to say “the plague” but with the Ebola scares going on right now, I decided silence was the better part of valour.

8. Travelling is wonderful but there is no place like home.

Disney California Adventure

DSCF1107So right across the plaza at Disneyland is Disney California Adventure. Unfortunately, I spent most of the day at Disneyland proper and I didn’t know what to expect when I checked it out. People, give yourself extra time to check it out! It turns out DCA is very much about the new animated movies. In fact, the thing based on a live-action movie I saw was when the Newsies appeared during the parade.

By the way, it was totally cool that I caught a parade. The actors really know how to interact with the crowd, hence the picture of Woody taking a picture of me while I took a  picture of him. Jessie was on a trapeze-type bar on a moving float and looked like she was about to take flight.

DSCF1073Two rides I didn’t do were Paradise Park (a monster rollercoaster) and monster ferris wheel (where the cages are on tracks and slide around as the wheel revolves!). I did do a mini-rollercoaster called Goofy’s Flight School. It was precisely my speed. Other rides that were my speed were “The Little Mermaid Ride” and the “A Bug’s Life” show.  I’m not super-adventurous and with all the goodies there, I could say at almost any time “I just ate.”

DSCF1080There was also a really cool animation section. They even had a person drawing cartoons in the store, as well as technical displays that were very interesting. I mentioned the forced perspective in Disneyland. In DCA we had the street where the hero and heroine walk off into the sunset.

DSCF1079Looks pretty normal, right. Look again. It looks fine until you see that the sky changes colour. In the first picture, two of the buildings have pieces that stick out to give it three dimensions. The rest is all paint. These people are soooo talented, especially when you consider how recently computers came into filmmaking. It all used to be done by hand. It boggles the mind.

DSCF1114One of the reasons I went to DCA second is because in the evening they have something called the World of Water light show. Basically, there are a series of fountains in the huge lagoon in the middle of the park, and they are set up to continually have a wall of water up. Scenes from pretty much every Disney classic are projected onto the water screen and a soundtrack is played along with it. Before it starts, the ferris wheel is shut down so it can be part of the show. The show is stunning and highly recommended; you have to stay for it.

Well, that ends day one of my time in Los Angeles. I only had 3 full days there so I motored. Next time, Universal Studios…