September Musings

September always feels like the start of the new year, rather than January. I love the return to routine after going this way and that way and packing in as much summer goodness as I can into July and August. September is a time to get back at it, whatever your ‘it’ is. Even though we’re in the midst of the 4th wave of this pandemic, and there is a federal election looming, and we’re all tired and frustrated (possibly angry), September is a time to set things back to rights.

My house is relatively organized except for two rooms, my office and the basement bedroom. Oh, and one very large cupboard that is full of memories. My wedding dress is in there. My childhood memories are stored in there. Our children’s memories. This cupboard is packed with all the feels. There is also a tent. I don’t know why.

Reorganizing is a priority right now because we are about to begin renovating the upstairs of our house which was built in the 70s. Very little has changed on our top floor during that time. Removal of wallpaper and painting of bedrooms. Goodbye blue carpet and ugly wallpaper. Have I mentioned that there was either wallpaper or a wallpaper border on every wall of our house. There are also hanging snowflake lights in our bedroom. And a mirrored wall.

Getting everything ready means purging some things that should have gone long ago. Not only the dated decor, but the other stuff. Things that I’ve tucked away and haven’t dealt with. Which makes me wonder why I’m hanging onto certain things. I’m asking myself who will want it? Our children are busy accumulating their own stuff and filling their own nooks and crannies with things that are special and important to them.

I found the article, The psychology of clutter: Why we hold onto ‘stuff’—and what that may be teaching our kids, gave me some insight into why I’m hanging onto an endless amount of craft supplies. I mean I might find a use for them some day, right? Probably not. Why have I held onto it. The answer is guilt. And it will come as a surprise to no one that guilt is not a good reason to hold onto something.

This article was also helpful: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter.

I’m relieved to say I’ve made a dent in things. And excited to welcome in the new. Like vinyl plank flooring, soothing spa colours. Fresh, modern, accompanied by less of everything.

What I’m reading:

Print: Bombshell (Hell’s Belle, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean. Finishing the very last few pages of Sesily and Caleb’s story. Sooo good! Definitely recommend.

eBook: Just started an ARC of The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen coming out in early 2022. I’m fascinated by writing duos. And this book is off to a great start!

Audio: A Perilous Undertaking, A Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book 2, written by Deanna Raybourn and narrated by Angele Masters. LOVING this series! Both the story and the narrator.

Until next time…

Who else thinks of September has the true beginning of the year?

Love Audiobooks

Escaping our daily worries can be a challenge, especially these days, and it is no secret that reading can be a powerful tool in balancing our mental health. So, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not reading. Listening to audiobooks provides the same benefits as reading print or ebooks. Each of them is a different experience, but each are valuable. Audiobooks are simply a different way to consume content. They offer us an opportunity to fit books into our day in a new way.

Ways I Listen to Audiobooks and Some Suggestions:

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of listening to the latest hit single on the radio for the 100th time, so instead I might listen to something like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, narrated by Rosamund Pike. Hopefully we’ll be out in our yards and gardens soon. This is one of my favourite times to listen to audiobooks. What better way to pass the time pulling weeds, then listening to something by Nora Roberts, like Northern Lights, narrated by Gary Littman. I’m also clumsy. But I can walk and listen without the fear of getting a concussion. Maybe try a Susanna Kearsley book, like her latest The Winter Sea, narrated by Rosalind Landor. And, these days, when keeping our distance is essential, why not try listening to Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, narrated by Adjoa Andoh, while shopping for groceries and take the boring out of picking out fruit.

The popularity of audiobooks show there is a real thirst for audio content. And as much as audiobooks are for those of us who love reading, they are also popular who people who don’t love books. Not everyone consumes content in the same way. As much as they are a boon to those of us who can’t read enough, they are essential to people who can’t read print or ebooks.

The video below has some great tips on how to get started with audiobooks!

I’m always about romance novel recommendations! Check out Audiofile Magazine’s Listen To These Five Scandalous Romances. “Judge for yourself if these couples are outrageous, skirting propriety, or simply falling in love on their own terms.” With audiobooks by Mary Balogh, Olivia Dade, Rosie Danan, Carly Phillips, and Hadley Beckett.

My romantic suspense series, Aspen Lake (Backlash, Exposed, and Gone), is available in audiobook. So is my romantic suspense, Off The Grid.

I read all three types of books: print, ebook, and audiobook. I don’t have a preference. I just love reading!

Until next time…

Do you enjoy audiobooks? Do you have a favourite narrator? When do you listen to audiobooks? Or drop a recommendation in the comments!

Creating Secondary Characters

In every book I write there is a secondary character who’s tried to take over the story. In OFF THE GRID it was Sophie’s sister. I could have written a whole series based around Marnie’s character as a Finder in the infamous Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. In BACKLASH it was Jason, Lily’s student, a teenage boy who was targeted by gang members. In EXPOSED, Sunni, the mistress of Kate’s father, Bill Logan, drew me in and she could have had her own story, too. Ian Connelly in GONE stole my heart from the beginning with his silence and his gruffness.

They are essential in helping tell the story of the protagonists by either supporting or resisting them. They are a great way to drop hints, reveal information the reader needs to know but the protagonist might not, and to foreshadow events. They also represent the state of the world being created in the story. They have essential knowledge of the inner workings of your world, be it contemporary, paranormal, or historical. They have secrets, their own lives, and their own motivations but remain in the background. They are the stalwart mentor, the quirky best friend, the loyal confident, the cynical co-worker, or the jealous family member.  

If you’re a Harry Potter fan and I mention Dolores Umbridge, her snickering laugh and pink outfits will instantly come to mind and make you shudder. Large Marge in Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a strong, resilient big-city transplant who represents the landscape of Alaska and what is needed to survive there. Often in romance, secondary characters are way to introduce the protagonists of the next book in the trilogy or series. They are a way to carry the theme or premise of the series to the next book and give us a delicious insight to what will happen next.

And, ultimately, they exist to help keep us entertained!

Until next time…

Who are some of your favourite secondary characters?

Jana Richards’ New Small Town Contemporary Romance!

It’s Friday and you’re asking yourself: “What should I read this weekend?” If you like small town, contemporary romance, then I’ve have just the book for you! And if, like me, second chance romances are you’re absolute favourite, then this is the book for you! If you like tales of forbidden love, family conflict, and babies, then same! Bonus – you get a chance to enter Jana’s giveaway!

Five Things You Need to Know About the Masonville Series

  1. This small-town series is set in the fictional town of Masonville, North Dakota. I’ve given the town a population of 6,000 because I once lived in a town of that size. It’s big enough to have a lot of services, like a hospital and vet clinic, but small enough that everyone knows your business!
  2. In each of the books, the characters have a past trauma or unhappiness they must work through before they can be whole again. And before they can accept love into their lives.
  3. Right now I have four books planned for the series. Several of heroes and/or heroines in each book work in the town’s veterinary clinic. Two of the heroines and one hero are brother and sisters from the Saunders family.
  4. This is the fourth romance series I’ve written. I think I’m getting the hang of this thing! Each book in the series will be a stand-alone story, but as with every series, I think the reading experience is enhanced when read in order.
  5. I am currently at work on book 2 of the series, Garrett and Blair’s story. Garrett is Lauren’s brother, the heroine from CHILD OF MINE, book 1, and Blair works at the vet clinic with Cole, the hero from book 1. See? It all fits together!  

Lauren didn’t intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband’s funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she’s not sorry. Cole’s given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He’s been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she’s afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn’t his.

Cole’s been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother’s. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren’s heart ever be his?

Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

Amazon * B&N * iBoooks

You can find Jana Richards on Goodreads! Twitter! Facebook! Bookbub!

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I also have a giveaway happening, so if you want another chance at a $25 Amazon gift card visit HERE!

Until next time…

What’s you’re plan for the weekend?

Introducing Jana Richards (Love At Solace Lake Series)

I’m so happy to be able to tell you about my friend, Jana Richards‘ newest releases. Her Love at Solace Lake Series is available this month. All. Three. Books! Can you believe it? No waiting months to see how the story ends. Part of me is very unhappy with you, Jana! It takes commitment and organization to be able to deliver three books in one month. Lies and Solace, Book One was available March 14. Secrets and Solace, Book Two is available today. The final instalment of the trilogy, Truth and Solace, is available for pre-order and will be delivered to your ereader on March 28.

Jana Richards

Love is worth the risk…

When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.

As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.

Five Things you need to know about Solace Lake

  1. It’s based on a real place in Minnesota. Sort of. North-central Minnesota is a lovely place with lots of trees and beautiful lakes. My husband and I have golfed in the area a couple of times, and we stayed at a very nice golf resort. I used that resort as the model for Miller’s Golf Resort, the neighbour to the Solace Lake Lodge, and the place of employment for Harper, the heroine of book 1, LIES AND SOLACE. However, Solace Lake and the fishing lodge that Harper is trying to save are entirely products of my imagination.
  2. A murder/suicide took place in Solace Lake. Twenty-two years before book one begins, the Lindquist sister’s parents died in the lake in what the police called a murder/suicide. The sisters, then aged ten, eight and sixteen months, were raised by their maternal grandparents at the fishing lodge.
  3. Their parents’ deaths leave scars on each of the sisters. Harper is left with feelings of abandonment. Scarlet feels guilty, somehow responsible for their deaths. Maggie never knew her parents. Everything she knows about them came from someone else’s remembrances. She feels cheated.
  4. The Hainstock brothers come from a dysfunctional family. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother an enabler. Their childhoods were chaotic, and both of them, especially Cameron, have vowed that they won’t do that to their own children.
  5. Luke and Maggie have a history – They first fell in love when Maggie was fourteen and Luke eighteen. But too many years, and too many secrets have put a wedge between them that’s going to be difficult to overcome.

Jana Richards

She can’t live with one more lie. He can’t tell the truth.

Harper Lindquist is convinced she’s found the answer to her financial prayers. Unless she pours cash into crumbling Solace Lake Lodge, she’ll lose her family’s legacy. Her would-be savior arrives in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard and she’s determined to prove to her reluctant, and trapped, financier the lodge is a sound investment. But Harper isn’t completely honest with him. And she has no idea the lake is hiding secrets of its own.

Ethan James is a liar, but his money is very real. He isn’t convinced a broken-down inn is a smart investment opportunity. But the more he understands Harper’s dreams and desires, the more he wants to be the man to make them come true. The trauma in both their pasts means neither can fully trust the other. They must find the courage to love, to trust, and to accept, or yesterday’s sorrows will keep them apart.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079TDDSY4

UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079TDDSY4

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079TDDSY4

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079TDDSY4


Jana Richards

No matter how deeply buried, secrets rise to the surface.

Scarlett Lindquist has agreed to help her sisters rebuild the dilapidated fishing lodge in Minnesota they inherited from their grandparents. Although the lengthy restoration is bringing the three sisters closer together, Scarlett’s support is temporary. Her leave of absence from her job in Chicago is temporary and she has no intention of staying at Solace Lake Lodge, where the lake holds dark secrets. When frightening childhood memories resurface, they are tempered by her fascination with an irritating contractor. If only she could trust her feelings for him. If only he could trust her.

Cameron Hainstock meets Scarlett at his brother’s wedding to her sister and their attraction is instantaneous. But Cam avoids the beautiful marketing executive. All his efforts are aimed at battling for custody of his only child. When the unimaginable happens and Cam faces the biggest challenge of his life, he’s reluctant to accept help to halt his downward spiral. Can they learn to trust each other and fight for a future together or will they go their separate ways?

US: http://www.amzn.com/B079WGSNWD

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079WGSNWD

CA: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079WGSNWD

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079WGSNWD

Jana Richards

The truth could destroy them. Or set them free.

Maggie Lindquist left Solace Lake determined never to return. Circumstances have pulled her back and she’s helping to restore her family’s dilapidated fishing lodge. When she agreed to the plan she didn’t expect to have to work side by side with the man who abandoned her ten years earlier. She didn’t expect to like him, or want him ever again. But can she trust him as she once did?

Luke Carlsson rushes home to tend to his ailing mother. Her lengthy illness means he needs to stay, at least temporarily. And to stay, he needs to work. Solace Lake Lodge offers him a job and an opportunity to work with the woman he’s never stopped loving. But the restoration is unleashing secrets hidden for decades and no one is left unscathed. Especially not Maggie and Luke, whose love needs to be resilient enough to forgive, and strong enough to build a future together.

US: http://www.amzn.com/B079WFZXV2

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079WFZXV2

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079WFZXV2

Au: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079WFZXV2

Congratulations again, Jana! Book One is next up on my ereader! I can’t wait to learn more about the Lindquist sisters and Solace Lake!

Dear Reader, do you love romances set in remote communities? Small Towns? or Resorts? I know I do!