Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Visiting Ally Shields

Today, I'm visiting Ally Shields's blog to talk about my new book and how I've been writing.

Read the interview

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

5 things I'm thankful for in 2020

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Perth, but some folk still observe it informally, especially when it comes to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Well, there may not be pumpkin pie and turkey near my dinner table, but I still like to take the opportunity to think about what I'm thankful for.

There are evergreen things I give thanks for all the time, like my health, access to clean water and food, a loving partner, a caring family (even if we get on each other's nerves sometimes!!), great weather, and nourishing friendships.

But then there are things exclusive to the year. And, oh, how special 2020 has been...

Photo by Kiy Turk on Unsplash

1. Lockdown was bearable in WA


There's talk of a second wave coming to Western Australia next year, but that doesn't stop me feeling grateful for how bearable our first wave's lockdown was, compared to many other places in the world. We could have had it a lot worse.

2. Getting more opportunities to learn and talk about important issues


I don't like the circumstances leading up to the BLM eruption earlier this year, but the worldwide protest and visibility has made it so much easier to have difficult conversations about injustice, oppression, race, misunderstandings and misgivings. At least in my social bubbles, there's common ground now for learning together and educating each other. I'm very thankful for that.

3. Releasing two books!


For a while, I worried that I wouldn't achieve anything this year, only to find that looking at writing as a matter of "achievement" is what would hold me back. Switching to a "just learning and having fun" mindset got me back on track with my writing, and got both "The Guy From The Flower Shop" and "The Guy From The Internet" out into the world.

4. Finding a good physiotherapy studio


Sometimes you don't know you're missing something until you stumble upon it. The studio I'm at now has such a welcoming vibe about it, the staff are so friendly, and there's a positive atmosphere. I don't want to blame the old place I was at, because they do help a lot of people. But I was hoping for a more wellness-focused vibe, which this new place seems to have plenty of. Lesson learned: never be afraid to shop around! What a lucky find. I'm thankful there are places like this, and hopeful that they stay this way for the long term!

5. The option to switch off


I don't take this for granted at all, especially knowing that not everybody gets the choice to do this. And I think it's important to make the distinction between feeling guilty for what you have (definitely don't feel guilty!) and showing gratitude by appreciating what you have and trying to help lift others up. Everyone deserves a break and a fairer life. Everyone.

To all of you who celebrate at this time of year, have the happiest of happy Thanksgivings 🧡

Friday, November 20, 2020

A Little In Love With Death by Anna M. Taylor

Today's guest post is about a gothic romance by New York native, Anna M. Taylor. If this genre floats your boat, be sure to check out Anna's website for some gorgeous inspiration shots that make up the settings in her books.

Ps. How awesome is the excerpt!!


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The "family dinner" scene

I want to talk about that family dinner scene in "The Guy From The Internet". Although it was an awkward experience for Holly, I found it one of the most natural scenes to write. The Chee family's energy, their dialogue, the little bubbles of chaos that pop every now and then — all of it felt very real to me, even though I was just sitting at my computer, probably eating some very non-Asian snacks.

This book isn't based on a true story, nor are the characters based on real people, but I loved getting to draw from real qualities in people I know. A couple of characters' quirky turns of phrases and exchanges — like "Dad" Chee telling Alain to excuse him because he's talking to "his daughter" — are things I've certainly heard around my family's dinner table, and around the tables of other families I've had the pleasure of joining for dinner.

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

When I started writing this novella, I didn't mean for it to be culturally infused family drama in addition to a romance. I didn't think anyone in my readership would care about the weirdness that is the Southeast Asian language and culture.

But after a while, I realised it's the sharing of culture that makes it less "weird", and that I still love it even if my friends may never understand it. Then, it became really important to me to let the quirks shine through in Holly's family.

Now that the book is out, a small part of me wishes I could have shared a little more. Maybe showed some of Candace's love-and-friction dynamic with "Ma" Chee, or more of Alain's relationship with his sisters. I would have liked to have dug into Florian's background a little more, and explored how Jedda's relationship with both sides of her family led to her and Holly becoming friends.

Well, shoulda, woulda, coulda, as they say around here. "The Guy From The Internet" is a lean little romance, and I hope you like it.

Happy reading!



Friday, November 13, 2020

What makes a good gift?

I'm visiting Jana Richards today to talk about what makes a good gift.

Gifts aren't my primary "love language", so every Christmas and birthday presents a fresh puzzle of what to get someone. If you take the love languages test linked in the post, feel free to come back here and let me know what your results were (and what you reckon makes a good gift).

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Friday, November 6, 2020

Linda O'Connor on success (and her brand new book!)

The last time Linda O'Connor visited, she talked about the creative endeavours keeping her busy. Well, she's certainly been busy over the last couple of months, getting her brand new book ready for release.

She's here today to tell you a little more about it, and about how she defines success in her author career.

Linda, what does success mean to you?

I feel successful every time I finish a novel. My books are all around 50,000 words in length. The sense of accomplishment after plotting, planning, wading through the mushy middle, and pushing through to the end is like none other. It gives me a feeling of pride – even after 15 published stories. I would love to have earn enough from my writing to support myself but that would be icing on the cake. Real success, to me, is getting the stories in my head written and out there for others to enjoy.

This month, I’m celebrating the release of Don’t Mess with Christmas, the fourth book in the Dr. Brogan Corkie Matchmaking Doctor series. The medical romantic comedies in this series are all stand-alone stories. It’s matchmaking at its funniest! 

Don’t Mess with Christmas

Dr. Brogan Corkie is happily semi-retired from medicine and now has time for other hobbies. Her passion for food is second only to her skill at matchmaking!

Parker Roy grew up in the middle of four brothers and has lived with enough testosterone to last her a lifetime. She’s finally moved out and made a life of her own. Between putting the finishing touches on the set for Mapleton’s Christmas play, plowing snow, and transforming her hydroponic greenhouse into a Christmas wonderland, it’s ramping up to be a hectic season. 

Dr. Julian Murphy, the only allergist in town, has his eye on the woman behind the set design of the holiday play. He’s volunteering backstage in the hope of getting to know her. There’s a bit of a snag when she’s referred to his clinic for a rash – doctors aren’t allowed to date their patients – but Dr. Brogan Corkie doesn’t see it as an insurmountable problem and steps in to give their romance a nudge. She’d better be right because, if not, it could seriously mess with Christmas.

The allergist or the rash– which itch does Parker want to scratch?

Series: Dr. Brogan Corkie Matchmaking Doctor (Book 4)
Release date: November 2, 2020
Publisher: Interlock Publishing
Genre: Medical Romantic Comedy
Rating: PG-13

Excerpt

Get a grip. Mary’s Boy Child. Dates are supposed to be fun. Parker’s shoulders sagged. If only. 
She blew out a breath. Was this all worth it? She could be in comfy sweats, with a big bowl of buttered popcorn, curled up on her favourite chair watching a movie. Cozy, fun, stress-free. 
Her cell phone rang making her jump. “Hello?” 
“What are you wearing?”  
Parker smiled reluctantly. Hailey Gibson, her best friend since grade two, got right to the point. “Yoga pants and a hoodie.” 
“March yourself into that bedroom and change right now. You are going on that date.” Hailey tsked. “I’ll be there in five.” 
“No need. I’m kidding.” Parker pursed her lips. “I’m wearing black plants and a blue sweater.” 
“The fitted ones that go to your ankle?” Hailey’s voice was suspicious.  
“Yes.” 
“The cashmere sweater with the low back and pearl buttons?” 
“Yes.” 
“Jewelry?” 
Parker rolled her eyes. “Pink and yellow crystal pendant with the matching earrings – the dangly ones.” 
“Perfume?” 
“Definitely not.” 
“Okay, maybe you’re telling the truth.” Parker imagined the consternation in Hailey’s blue eyes. “Maybe.”  
Parker laughed. “I am. I can send you a pic.” She leaned against the bathroom counter. “Oh ye of little faith.” 
“Huh. I know you too well, Parker. Any little excuse and you’d be backing out of that date. I’m not going to let that happen. Should I come over to drive you?” 
Parker sighed. “How did you know I was having second thoughts?” Her voice was quiet. 
Her best friend didn’t even say I told you so. “Twin vibes.” Parker’s eyes filled. “Parker, just relax and try to enjoy yourself. You put too much pressure on yourself. You think every date is an interview for marriage. Don’t. Sometimes people get together to have fun and…enrich their souls.” 
Parker harrumphed. “I don’t need my soul enriched.” 
“Maybe Julian does. Look, he sounds like a great guy – talented, smart, easy on the eyes. And he’s taking you to Fire and Ice. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night. Pretend he’s one of your brothers. No scratch that. Pretend you’re meeting to discuss the stage set. Just give him a chance – get to know him.” 
Parker made a face. “I always seem to say something stupid and blow it.” 
“You can’t blow it, Parker. You can’t have a relationship if you have to watch what you say. Your true soul mate will overlook an occasional blunder.” 
“Is that supposed to be reassuring?” 
“Yes.” 
Parker held the phone away from her ear. Ouch. 
Hailey continued at a lower volume. “If you don’t jibe, it wasn’t meant to be. No harm, no foul.” 
“I suppose.” 
“And if you don’t mesh, you can get the rash sorted out. It’s a win-win.” 
Parker laughed ruefully. “I guess. In a pique of bravado I told him that all my dates were fantastic. Nothing could be further from the truth.” 
“Repeat after me. I am kind and considerate, have a great sense of humour, am a smart, successful businesswoman, and I’m fun to hang out with.” 
“I’m a mess.” 
Hailey laughed. “No, that you are not. You’ve got your shit together, Parker. You just need to ratchet that confidence up a notch.” 
“I’m trying.” 
“You go, girl. It’s 6:40. No more stalling. Put on some lipstick so you don’t look anemic, a little blush to cover the pallor, and get ’er done.” 
“All right. Will do.” 
“Send me deets.” 
Parker shook her head with a laugh.  
“Have fun.” Hailey had been a cheerleader in high school. Pep talks were her thing.  
“I’ll try.” 
“That’s the spirit,” Hailey said dryly.  
Parker hung up the phone with a chuckle.  
She fastened the necklace and earrings, her hands no longer shaking. She looked at herself once last time in the mirror and squared her shoulders. “Here goes nothing.”

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About Linda O'Connor

Award-winning author Linda O’Connor started writing romantic comedies when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at a local home décor store. Her books have enjoyed bestseller status. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic. She shares her medical knowledge in fast-paced, well-written, sexy romances – with an unexpected twist. Her favourite prescription to write? Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Visiting Ally Shields

Today, I'm visiting Ally Shields's blog to talk about my new book and how I've been writing. Read the interview