Sunday, February 18, 2018

I am a queen and this is my castle by @elle_rush

Just because I live in

doesn't mean I exist in a world of ice and snow.

Except when I do. For the first time ever, we in the 'Peg we visited by the ice castle fairy. It was created during our brutally cold December, but I got lucky and was able to visit it during the warm (-5) streak we had in the middle of January. This amazing #icecastle was created with over 25 tons of ice and had lights built into the wall, giving it an ethereal glow.

It was spectacular.

You may be saying, "Elle, what kind of date is this?" For most people, date night means fancy clothes, nice hair, and maybe a fireplace. They generally don't mean layering on the long underwear, snow pants, toques and scarves.

But those people don't live in Winnipeg.

For one night, we got to wander through this:

Be jealous, Elsa. Be very jealous.

The walls were made of icicles. There were twenty-foot tall  ice arches to walk under And I don't know how they did it, but they had a fountain made of ice that was actually shooting up streams of water. We went when the temperatures were just below freezing. I don't know if this would even work when it's -20C.  (That's the Museum of Human Rights in the back right.)

They also had an ice slide, but the line was insane. I held mittened hands with my sweetie, and only part of it was because it was really slippery inside. It was freezing and dark and still romantic.

For those of you who are interested, it was down at the Forks, which also had a skating path through the area and onto the river, a skating ring, a toboggan hill, and a crockicurl patch, so it could have been an all day date. But the ice castles were enough for me.

If you haven't had an outdoor winter date with your significant other, I highly recommend it. Bundle up and go for a walk in the dark (it's extra romantic if you do it when there is snow lightly falling.) (LIGHTLY falling, don't do it in a blizzard.) (And shovelling your driveway doesn't count.) Go somewhere with lots of lights that can reflect off the snow, smile with your eyes since that's the only part you'll be able to see of each other, and when you get home, make some date plans for summer.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines Day! Special excerpt. Uninterrupted. Bound4Ireland Short Story. @tdanielsauthor

I haven't forgotten about you lovelies. Today, instead of my usual ramblings I've decided to share with you an excerpt from my Valentine Short story... Uninterrupted.
It is a short story that is best read after finishing the entire Bound4Ireland Series but even if you haven't read it,  I think you will enjoy and appreciate this excerpt.


Ethan stands in the doorway, watching Olivia distribute lunches into four jam-packed backpacks. Six months ago, she was pregnant with twins but you’d never know it. She’s always had curves in all the right places. All his favorite places to be exact. He crosses the room and wraps his arms around her from behind, brushing his lips on her cheek. “Good morning, Beautiful,” he says, in his sensual Irish brogue.
Olivia stops what she’s doing and enjoys the attention. Leaning back against his chest, she lets him find his way to her lips. A quick glance around the corner, confirms that the kids are engrossed in a show on the television. He tightens his grip, banding his arms around her waist and nips at the sensitive skin on her shoulder. He smiles at her sharp intake of breath as she responds to his touches and pushes back against his hips. He lets out a low feral growl, as he presses her firmly against the counter. “I have half a mind to make love to you right here,” he breathes heavily into her ear.
His words make her twitch. “Do it,” she pleads.
“Tempting.” He reaches up and takes her breast in hand, giving it a firm tug. “But we both know you’re a screamer.”
She squirms in his hold, becoming more aroused by the muscular body holding her captive. “Whose fault is that?” she protests.
“Oh, I’m not complaining about your audible appreciation of my skills, Mrs. O’Connell. But there are children in the other room.” He slides his hand down her stomach, expertly maneuvering into her panties and making her moan. “Something you need?” he asks, as he teases her.
“Bedroom,” she pants.
“As you wish.” He releases her and makes his way out of the room. She grabs his arm, stopping him at the door. Startled, he looks at her confused.
She places her finger to her mouth. “Shhh.” She nods in the direction of the kids. “Be really quiet,” she mouths.
Ethan nods and winks, then begins to hum the theme song to ‘Mission Impossible’ as he crosses the foyer to the other side of the hall without being noticed. He peeks around the corner to ensure the kids are still preoccupied then waves her over. Olivia flashes him a threatening look as she tiptoes across the wooden floor and hits the squeaky spot.
“Go… go… go…” she whispers anxiously as she reaches the other side. Pressing her hand on his back, she pushes him down the hall toward the bedroom. She locks the door behind her and turns quickly. Grabbing his belt buckle, she tugs, releasing it. Pausing, she looks up into his meadow green eyes.
“What’s the matter?” he asks concerned.
“I’m having that déjà vu feeling again.”
He laughs once, dropping his trousers to the floor. “I should think so, it’s not the first time you’ve been in my pants.”
Olivia jumps into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist. He kisses her with a hungry, long overdue passion, as he moves to lay her down on the bed. She lifts her hips, allowing him to lift her dress and rid her of her panties in one swift motion. Electricity pulses through her veins making her impatient. When he fails to join her on the bed, she opens her eyes. “What are you doing?” She watches exasperated as he languidly unbuttons his dress shirt.
“Hanging up my shirt. I just ironed it.”
“Are you kidding me? I’m laying here half naked and you’re worried about your shirt getting wrinkled?”
He stops mid-button and considers what she’s said. “Feck, what’s happened to me?” Tossing it on the floor, he climbs in on top of her. “Now, where were we?” He brushes the hair out of her eyes and then pauses, quirking a curious brow. “What’s that sound?”
Olivia stiffens beneath him. “No. No. NO!”
“It’s the reminder alarm on my phone. It’s time to get them ready to leave for school.” She attempts to sit up but he thwarts her efforts.
“Be late,” he suggests as he moves his hand to her throat, closing it gently around it as he claims her lips.
Her fingers rake playfully through his hair.
When he pulls away, he leans back, supporting himself on his muscular forearms. Moving his hips, he adjusts his position, preparing to enter her. She takes short anticipating breaths and arches her back, forcing him in.
The look of desire on her face makes him twitch and lengthen. “You’re so beautiful,” he whispers as he thrusts his hips forward, sinking himself all the way in. “It feels so good,” she purrs.
He teases her with a slow retreat, followed by another inspired thrust, then stops.
His body tenses as the door rattles several times and the knob begins to turn.
“Mommy? What are you and Daddy doing in there?”

Until Next Month, Live your life so it's a story worth telling ! 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The joy of finding your Tribe @SusanHayes

Writing is a weird profession. We wordsmiths tend to spend extended periods of time sitting and staring into space, spinning words into worlds and listening to the voices of characters only we can hear. To the outsider, it can look a lot like daydreaming, laziness, or outright insanity. I’m okay with people not understanding my process. (Sometimes, I don’t get it, either.)

What I’m not okay with is when people I know dismiss what I do as a hobby. They call me an author, but there’s a set of air quotes (and on one occasion, actually written quotes) wrapped around the title, deliberately diminishing it. Sometimes its because they don’t believe that any artistic endeavor has value, but most of the time, it’s because of what I write: romance. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been asked when I’m going to write a real book. Most of the time, I can brush it off and keep moving forward. I love writing. I love writing romance. That’s not going to change. 

There are days though, when even though I know better, the weight of all that dismissal and diminishment starts to crush my creativity.

That’s when I reach out to the ones I know will understand - My tribe.

For me, my tribe is made up of romance writers. We’re from different countries, time zones, and backgrounds, but we share the same passions and many of the same challenges. We talk each other “off the ledge”, cheer each other on, and keep each other strong. This week, I needed them, and they helped me climb out from underneath the crushing weight of doubt and got me back on track again.

I’m blessed to have found my tribe. If you haven’t found yours yet, keep looking. Embrace your passion. Chase your dreams, and let your light shine brightly so that others can find you.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Make your own romance (no, not like that!) with @elle_rush

Canadian romance fans in Winnipeg (or those within driving distance), lend me your ears!

Are you an aspiring romance writer in the Winnipeg area, or do you know one? I am putting on a one-night "Introduction to Romance Writing: workshop in conjunction with the Manitoba Writers Guild on February 15th starting at 6pm.

We'll be discussing the basics of romance publishing, as well as how to craft a romance novel.

I'd love to see you there.  Tickets and more information here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A sneak peek at "Al Dente," a sexy short from @LeoRosanna.

Those of you who follow my blog will have heard I have some book news. My short story “Al Dente” was recently accepted to be part of the sexy anthology, Craving: One Night, coming to Crave Publishing this spring.
I couldn’t resist giving you a sneak peek. My hero is a famous Italian chef by the name of Matteo Rinaldi and my heroine is a Toronto food blogger named Ruby Zhang. The story begins with Ruby winning tickets to be part of a private couple’s cooking class with Chef Matteo.
Only she loses the other half of her couple right before the event.
I'm pleased to offer you this sneak peek at the story. I hope you enjoy this excerpt!
“Al Dente”
It wasn’t so much that her boyfriend had taken dick pics.
It was more the fact he’d sent them to the entire internet.
Not the entire internet, of course, Ruby Zhang corrected herself. Just about half of it. The female half.
At least she assumed Steve hadn’t sent photos of “Moose” to the male half. If he had, that opened up a whole can of worms she wasn’t prepared to confront. It was bad enough knowing he’d cheated.
“I didn’t cheat, babe, I swear.” Steve had tried to justify his actions once discovered. “You went away for the weekend with your sisters and I drank too much. I was just bored one night. Those women meant nothing to me.”
“Wow,” she’d countered. “You actually think that qualifies as an excuse.”
He might as well have cheated and probably had. It was the only reasonable assumption, although she hadn’t stuck around long enough to ascertain the particulars.
Either way, he’d unleashed Moose. That was his pet name for his dick, given to him by an ex because of its admirable dimensions. He’d liked it so much he’d kept it and used it as much as possible. At first, Ruby had thought it was cute. Now, it made her want to vomit.
Eighteen months with a man who likened himself to a huge mammal known for its annoying moans and inability to sustain its energy after rutting.
Yup, that was Steve in a nutshell.
Still, they’d talked marriage … that is, they’d talked about it being a possibility one day. Those plans were over. Less than two weeks later, Ruby was still reeling.
However, life would have to go on.
That was why she now stood in front of Toronto’s Ristorante Al Dente. Although it was Valentine’s Day evening, the restaurant was closed to the public for a special event. And not just any special event.
Months ago, Ruby had entered a draw to win a private couple’s cooking class with famed Italian chef Matteo Rinaldi. As a food blogger, Ruby had followed Rinaldi’s career and tried many of the recipes featured in his popular cookbooks. In fact, she owned the entire collection of books and most of the pages were dog-eared and covered in splotches of sauce because they were such a treasured feature in her kitchen. The handsome chef wasn’t just an author, though. He’d hosted numerous cooking specials on TV and Ruby had been glued to every single one.
Matteo Rinaldi might possess some incredible knife skills but he was also so gorgeous most soap opera actors would hurl themselves over the nearest cliff out of insecurity.
Meeting the chef would be a dream come true.
Learning to cook with his instruction would be heaven.
When she won the tickets, she’d been over the moon, despite Steve’s indifference. When she broke up with Steve, she’d contemplated giving the tickets to some friends. After all, it was supposed to be a couple’s cooking class and she was no longer part of a couple.
Ruby had waffled for all of five minutes. After a short period of wallowing, she’d cuddled her aging pet rabbit Shania and said, “Fuck that shit.”
Shania always helped her channel her inner badass. The rabbit was the equivalent of one hundred human years old and had that effect on people.
Only now, standing in front of Al Dente on a cold February night, Ruby was losing her courage. What would Chef Matteo say? On TV, he seemed like a nice man but what if he was haughty and disparaging in real life? Ruby had met a lot of chefs in her line of work. They weren’t always known for their humility.
The wind whipped through her, compelling her to make a decision. She took a deep breath.
Resolved, she grabbed the door handle and walked inside.
For more on "Al Dente" and the rest of my books, please stay in touch at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Are those resolutions on track by @elle_rush

I read a statistic at some point that said sixty percent of all New Year resolutions were abandoned by the end of the January. We're almost at the end of the third week. How are you doing?

Personally, I'm barely scraping by. I made three real resolutions at the beginning of the year. And I made them on a weekly basis. I know myself. If I tried to do a daily goal I'd be two days behind by the fourth, throw up my hands in frustration and abandon the whole project.

1. Exercise.  This is the one I've been best at! I'm right on track to exercise three times a week. I'd like to do longer sessions, but at the moment I do half-mile walks three times (minimum) a day on the treadmill in my office. I do this at least three, sometimes four, days a week. It averages to walking a mile a day. It's not a lot, but it gets me out of my desk chair three times a day.

2. Work. I gave myself a weekly word count. I made the first week. I caught up for the second week on Monday of week two. Now we're in the second half of week three and I'm horribly behind. I'll be lucky to hit half the goal I set. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude and say that I'm still making progress, but it's difficult. (The good news is I'm really enjoying the new book I'm working on. I'm inspired to catch up. More news on this in March).

3. Languages. I studied French, Spanish, and German in university. And haven't used them since I left. I planned to crack open my old text books for an hour a week. I could find an hour. I'm 2 hours behind (it'll be 3 hours on Sunday.) I may catch up, or I may just decide this is not a good plan for me. However, I'm heading to Mexico in March, and would like to remember at least the basics of Spanish. I can catch up three hours right? (Tell me I'm right.)

But the very best part of resolutions, aside from you making the decision to improve your life somehow, is that you can do it any time. Have you messed up your new year's goals? You can restart them at any time. When I was on Weight Watchers, if I had a bad week, I reset myself every Wednesday (the day I weighed in). Mondays are another great time. New week, fresh slate.

Are you keep your resolutions?
Do you want to do a reset like me?
Whatever you decide, I'm here for you, cheering you on!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Back home in Canada, Love, Advice for a friend, Kindle Unlimited Release. @tdanielsauthor

Hey! I'm finally back on Canadian soil and so glad to be home. I missed my last post with my busy corporate career and a current work project that has kept me out of the country for 8 of the last 12 weeks. I have to tell you, if you have to work out of the country, the Philippines is a fantastic place to be. It was my first time there and I have to tell you that I LOVED Manila.  The people there are the kindest people I have ever met. We managed to spend some weekend time on some of the smaller islands and enjoy their beauty. I would definitely go back again just to vacation. Now that I'm back, I can start to concentrate more on my stories and future releases. I can't wait to get them to you. 


I'm happy to report that romance has found its way back into my life after a brief time of… let’s call it ‘settling in’. I was scared for a little while that it was lost, but it was still there. I just needed to stop my girl brain from over thinking. In talking with friends and family members, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who was feeling a little ‘lost’. With that ‘special day’ quickly approaching… you know the one. The one that every man would like to avoid and every woman dreams about. Nobody wants to be alone on Valentine’s Day. A friend messaged me the other day confessing that she can’t get her ex-boyfriend out of her head. They had a very tough relationship year. She was miserable after he moved out, at her request. Recently, he dropped in at the house a few times and offered to help her out with some chores. She admitted that it was tough to see him leave again and that she was extremely lonely. She's having a hard time moving on.

She said she needed some girl talk and asked me for my opinion. I’m not sure I’m the best to give advice on relationships. I’m the girl who proposed to my man and sent our relationship into a downward tailspin from which I wasn’t sure we’d recover. But this I know… Love is complicated and worth fighting for until the bitter end.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t change people. You can’t fix them or make them do things your way. Your partner in life must be able to fulfill your most important needs in life, whatever that may be; financial security; intellectual stimulation; stability; emotional & intimate support. Everything else is a compromise. You shouldn’t feel angry or anxious all the time when you’re together, nor should you feel like you don’t want to go home to that person at the end of every day. If you volunteer for overtime every night so you don’t have to deal with them, there’s a problem.

I know that he loves her; I could see it in the way he looked at her. Sadly, sometimes love is not enough. There has to be an equal effort to meet in the middle on the important things and a willingness to let go of the things that aren’t. If your partner can’t meet you in the middle of the road, then maybe you need to take a different road all together. Do you walk away because the going gets tough? Absolutely not. But only she knows for sure if she any fight left in her. I want her to be happy, but if he’s not the right one, then I don’t want her to settle for comfort and convenience.
Every woman deserves to find a partner who lifts her up, and makes her feel excited. Second, third or fourth chances shouldn’t be needed.

Sometimes relationships are easy. Sometimes they are a lot of hard work. They are ALWAYS complicated and confusing. I was so afraid that I was going to fall for the same kind of guy as my ex that I rejected all men for over 18 years. I know what she means when she says she’s lonely for companionship and intimacy. I do know that eventually the ‘right’ guy will come along. I’m not the most patient girl, but I’m really glad that I waited. The love of my life finally found me and although there are some twists and turns on our happily ever after journey, we are equal partners in life. Best friends. Lovers.

I guess to make a long story short my advice, to her and any of you who who need to hear it... Don’t settle. You deserve to be loved. 

Intractable Souls is now on Kindle Unlimited!

If you're looking for something different then this is the series for you. Award winning with almost 100 5 star reviews, reviewers say this is the series you don't want to miss. Ethan O’Connell, alpha with an Irish accent, arrives from Ireland and is drawn to a woman he feels a strong connection with. When he starts having flashbacks, dreams and déjà vu moments, he’s convinced that they were lovers in a past life. She too begins to share those memories and dreams, but this lifetime throws them twists and turns that makes it difficult to believe that they can find that love once again. Ethan O’Connell is not the type of man to give up so easily, and he will find a way to prove to her that Love is the only true magic; for only true love transcends all time. This is the first book in the Bound4Ireland Series. #bound4ireland #triciadaniels #intractablesouls #freebook #bookseries #kindleunlimited