Posts Tagged ‘Women’s Fiction’

Title: Lonely Dove
Author: Sonee Singh
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: September 27, 2022
 
 
 
 
Anji felt it was her life’s mission to find her soulmate.
 
Anji is forty-one, single, of Indian origin, and grew up in Colombia. Now a successful journalist in New York City, she’s missing only love in her life. Then a vision reveals her soul mate; he calls her “lonely dove”-two words that describe her perfectly-but she cannot see his face. Determined to find this mysterious man, she draws on all her work and personal resources to find him.
 
As Anji embraces the signs and visions she receives, she discovers a need to heal from her past relationships. Will she ever find her twin flame-and will she be ready when she does?
 
 

“Anji had loved all things bright and beautiful, especially her beloved Bollywood movies and Latin American telenovelas, where the girl always got the guy of her dreams. Anji had spent her lifetime wishing, with every fiber of her being, for her happily ever after, certain it would happen when her soulmate appeared.

Now aged forty-one and still single, she thought of how gullible she had been to be conned by the idea of soulmates, much less to think she would marry the person. She had learned that life was filled with eternal struggles to find her soulmate. Her frustration reached a new level after she’d had that vision a couple of weeks before. That, and this meeting with Danny, felt like unnecessary provocations, the universe daring her to hold onto the childish notion.”

 
SONEE SINGH is a cross-cultural seeker of deep knowing. She is of Indian descent, born in Mexico, raised in Colombia, and resides in the United States. Sonee writes stories of self-discovery to encourage people to accept themselves and live life on their own terms. The mystical and spiritual are integral in her storytelling, as is her multicultural background.
When not traveling, reading, or writing, she indulges in meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology and society, a Master of Management in hospitality from Cornell University, and a Master of Science in complementary alternative medicine from American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Metaphysical Sciences. Sonee has published a collection of poetry, Embody, and has been published in two anthologies: Blessing the Page and The Colours of Me. She has multiple articles published in Elephant Journal.
 
 
 
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Title: Lonely Dove
Author: Sonee Singh
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Anji felt it was her life’s mission to find her soulmate.
Anji is forty-one, single, of Indian origin, and grew up in Colombia. Now a successful journalist in New York City, she’s missing only love in her life. Then a vision reveals her soul mate; he calls her “lonely dove”-two words that describe her perfectly-but she cannot see his face. Determined to find this mysterious man, she draws on all her work and personal resources to find him.
As Anji embraces the signs and visions she receives, she discovers a need to heal from her past relationships. Will she ever find her twin flame-and will she be ready when she does?

SONEE SINGH is a cross-cultural seeker of deep knowing. She is of Indian descent, born in Mexico, raised in Colombia, and resides in the United States. Sonee writes stories of self-discovery to encourage people to accept themselves and live life on their own terms. The mystical and spiritual are integral in her storytelling, as is her multicultural background.
When not traveling, reading, or writing, she indulges in meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology and society, a Master of Management in hospitality from Cornell University, and a Master of Science in complementary alternative medicine from American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Metaphysical Sciences. Sonee has published a collection of poetry, Embody, and has been published in two anthologies: Blessing the Page and The Colours of Me. She has multiple articles published in Elephant Journal.
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Title: Dissatisfied
Author: Ksenija Nikolova
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: April 29, 2022

Who is to be blamed for a woman’s unhappiness?
Margot’s unhappiness is contrary to what you might expect, considering that she lives in Paris and is married to a handsome, successful man she loves. However, as time passes, she feels more certain about her emptiness and realizes how little time her husband Arthur has for her. Finally, she decides to leave him, but then something changes. Not only does Margot not know her husband as well as she thought she did, but she also comes to see that she didn’t even know herself that deeply.
Margot’s life starts changing when she discovers countless new things about her marriage, which also reawakens old traumas.
But have these signs always been there?
Has Margot’s journey been waiting for her long before she became aware of it, and can her marriage be saved?
Margot is surprised to discover Arthur knew her much better than she ever thought possible.
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Title: Turning Tables
Author: Alice Takawira
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: May 5, 2022
 
 
Two lovers. Two Continents. Two Cultures. One unforgettable love story.
 
Maita, a Zimbabwean graduate student, has returned to London on summer break with one goal: to reunite with Ade, her Nigerian ex-boyfriend. She made a terrible mistake when she broke up with Ade—and now she wants him back. On the flight to London, she meets Chris, a British gentleman who is instantly captivated by Maita and pursues her relentlessly.
 
When Ade rejects Maita’s efforts to rekindle their romance, she turns to Chris. As a couple, Maita and Chris are forced to confront racism, the complexities of an interracial relationship, and their insecurities.
 
But Maita has never forgotten Ade…nor has he ever gotten over her. Then, in a sudden turn of events, a determined Ade resurfaces and attempts to reconnect with Maita. But Chris is doubly prepared to keep her at any cost, unleashing a dangerous chain of events that will forever alter the course of all three lives.
 
How far will each man go to win her love?
 
Turning Tables explores the challenges and triumphs of multicultural and multiracial relationships—a poignant and engaging story of the power of love, missed opportunities, second chances, and the pitfalls of obsession.
 
 

 

★★★★★ Goodreads Review – “​​What a great debut novel! Masterfully written by Alice Takawira 👏🏽”


★★★★★ Goodreads Review – “A well written page turner that explores the choices the characters make the very things we value but mostly the beauty of second chances.”

★★★★★ Goodreads Review – “Wow!!! What a brilliant first book! I just couldn’t put it down.”
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 
 
 
Alice Takawira was born and raised in Zimbabwe. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy from the University of Zimbabwe, she relocated to London for work. In 2004, she moved to America to attend Emory University and graduated with a master’s in public health. Alice currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and two kids. When she’s not working as a geriatric physical therapist, or chauffeuring her children from one after school extracurricular activity to another, she enjoys relaxing with a glass of wine and binge-watching foreign-language dramas. Whenever possible, she likes to travel, taste exotic foods, and learn some words/ greetings in a foreign language.
Alice is the proud creator of the Verenga Girls Book Club on Facebook, a place to connect with fellow book lovers. To learn more about Alice and her work, visit:
 
 
 
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Title: Abolish the Rose
Author: Alanna Irving
Genre: Adult Women’s Fiction
Release Date: April 10, 2022
Cover Design: Matthew Fielder

“Surely I have better things to do with my time.”


Camille Addison resents the hand life has dealt her. Enrolling in an evening class to distract herself from memories of frustration, she finds herself instead turning to face the tumult of relationships, loss and love that has led her to where she is.

Abolish the Rose takes us on a journey through the traumas of the past in search of meaning in the present. Through a vivid catalogue of heart-warming and harrowing life experiences, we are drawn to question, along with Camille – how much control do we have over the path our lives take? Would we change the past if we had the chance? What is a life well lived?

Content notes
Trigger warning: miscarriage (non-graphic)

Author Q&A


What inspired you to write this book?

I actually started writing it out of petulance. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in the library, and I felt like every blurb I read was the same: „X was perfectly normal….and then something horrific happened!“ Or sometimes, „X seemed perfectly normal, but something horrific had happened in the past!“ 


I told myself, if this is what I need to write to be published, I’ll come up with the most horrific thing I can and write about it. As it turned out, I did have a story to tell, and some themes I wanted to explore, and I think it turned into the best novel I’ve written so far.


How long did it take you to write this book, from the first idea to the last edit?

I wrote the first draft in a little over a month in about 2015. I then worked on it for six months or so, didn’t get anywhere with it, and put it away. I spent another few months tinkering with it in about 2017/18, then put all my writing on hold while I did my Masters degree. I returned to writing in 2020 and started a completely different novel, but I still felt like I wasn’t finished with this one, so I came back to it again. From starting with Atmosphere Press to release date will have been about 7 months. So, overall, a long journey!


Who would enjoy reading your book? 

I write the kind of books I’d want to read, which are books with real, flawed characters, difficult topics, and no guaranteed happy ending. I like books that don‘t spell everything out for me; the reader has to do some of the work, join the dots, form their own opinion. 


What’s something you hope readers would take away from it?

I want readers to take away whatever message it is they find or need to find – one of the beautiful things about stories is that they can speak to everyone differently. For me it’s a message about the constant pressure we’re under these days to be happy, to fulfil dreams, to be constantly productive and filling our time with worthwhile, soul-nourishing, Instagrammable activities. Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan and time is wasted and there isn’t a shiny happy social media feed, and maybe that’s ok too. 

Do you have a favourite quote or scene in the book that you find yourself going back to?


I loved him, I did. I just also blamed him for stealing thirty-three years of my life.


I love a short, punchy ending to a chapter. At this point in the book you don’t know who she’s referring to, and it really sums up the main character’s struggle with her conflicting emotions. 


What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

The best advice I ever received was when I first started dancing salsa. My teacher said there are only two things you need to do to be a good dancer: „Relax, and keep moving.“ It’s great advice for salsa and it’s great advice for life. 


If you could give a shout out to someone(s) who has helped in your writer journey, please feel free to mention them below!

There have been lots – my endlessly supportive parents, my highschool English teacher, the publisher I met who said my books weren’t right for his publishing house but spent months working on my manuscripts with me because he saw potential in them. Even my Director of Studies at university, who told me I was unteachable, at the wrong university, and had no talent at writing – that just made me even more determined to prove her wrong! 

Week Two

In the second class I sit next to Alberta. She’s a fifty-two-year-old housewife suffering – as she keeps telling us – from empty nest syndrome.

‘Adrian, my oldest, is in his third year at Warwick,’ she boasts, and I can almost see her fluffing her feathers, ‘and Heather went off to Durham this September.’ She wears a lot of headscarves and headbands and other assorted headwear, which sort of jar with the rest of her image, but in a good way. In a very her way.

I find I like sitting next to Alberta most. She is by far and away the most talented of the group. Her paintings are of things, as opposed to Becca’s abstract shapes and splodges of colour. She paints landscapes, trees, beauty. She shies away from praise though, it makes her uncomfortable.

‘My pictures are too static,’ she says. I have given her a compliment, not knowing yet that she likes to be unrecognised. ‘I want it to tell a story, I want people to look at them and think about what’s going on.’ She shrugged. ‘I don’t know. It’s stupid.’ The phrase grates on me. It sounds like a line from an American sitcom. It’s stoo-pid.

But Alberta I like. She seems shy, she’s like a child trying to discover herself.

‘I’ve been a wife and a mother for so long,’ she says. ‘And don’t get me wrong –’ American phrase again ‘– I love it, but now the kids are grown up, I want to find out who I am on my own again. I mean, not on my own, I’m still married, but Jonathan works all day, and I have to be by myself, I have to have things for myself now. Does that makes sense?’ I nod, but she doesn’t need me to say anything. ‘Do you have children?’

I look down, unscrewing the paint.

‘No, I don’t,’ I say. ‘No children.’

*

I wish I could say I looked into the cot and felt nothing. 

I was very aware of the noises around me. Beeping and whirring and the squelch of a mop in the corridor, the undercurrent of murmuring voices and shoes tapping or squeaking or scuffing. I was alone in the room, I remember, though I don’t know where everyone else was. A nurse would enter in a minute or two and ask if I wanted to hold him, but for that minute or two, it was just him and me. 

I looked at him.

He was small and red and a little crusty round the edges. His tiny limbs moved jerkily, as though separate entities from him. His mouth opened and closed. I didn’t know what newborns were meant to look like. His head seemed very large and heavy – but wasn’t that normal? His ears were a little small, I supposed. His eyes were very small, and far apart, squinted into deep creases. One of his hands stretched out towards me, like a miniature high five. I looked at it, tiny lines and tiny nails and tiny knuckles.

I looked down at him and I hated him.

*

As a child, I had a new dream every week. I wanted to be an astronaut, a chef, a ballet dancer. None of them were really serious. For a while in primary school I insisted I was going to be a nurse when I grew up, but that was only because I wanted to be like my mum. I wanted to impress her, to make her proud of me. I never really had the temperament for a caring profession; too impatient, too rough, too squeamish. In the early years of secondary school I toyed semi-seriously with the idea of being an illustrator, but, having no idea how one would go about earning a living illustrating, decided that success was too unlikely, and probably I wasn’t good enough anyway. When people asked, I would shrug and scuff my toes on the floor and say I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school.

I was smart enough and well-off enough to go to University, and it seemed a good way to put any career decisions off further. Out of my little gang of schoolfriends, only myself and my best friend Maria were aiming for higher education – the rest went to work in a dress shop, as a nanny, or got engaged. Maria and I sat at the back of our class and looked at hairstyles in magazines and tried to meet the others for coffee or a cigarette or to discuss wedding dresses, but the times never seemed to work out. We stayed behind after school to do our homework together, and watched the boys from the boys’ school down the road play rugby on the sports field.

History was my best subject, and my most encouraging teacher, and so I applied to do History, not really knowing where I could go with it, but not caring too much about that either. I had no destination in mind, but my horizon was limitless.

Maria wanted to be a nursery-school teacher, had been decided on it for as long as I’d known her. Her path was as clearly mapped out for her as mine was hidden from me. We said a tearful goodbye at the end of our last summer as we set off in different directions, promising to write and visit and keep in touch. The promises were empty, and they broke easily. 

*

Our mid-way perambulation. I find myself falling into step with Eamonn.

‘You know,’ I say after a beat. ‘Sometimes, I’m not entirely sure if you’re running an art class or a therapy session.’

Eamonn smiles benignly at his boots.

‘Does it have to be one or the other?’

*

I got pregnant, once. 

I’d had my suspicions for a while; I’d done the maths. My husband – though we weren’t married yet – had to go away, for a funeral, and was going to stay on for a fortnight to help out his family. I took the opportunity, when I was alone, to make an appointment with the doctor. I was in the shower when my hand strayed to my abdomen. Was it a phantom swelling I was feeling? I imagined the baby, a perfect human in miniature, an entire tiny future-person beneath my fingers. I wondered if it was something I could do, raising a baby. Again. 

First, I thought I could. I felt those maternal feelings I’d always heard of rise in my breast. I imagined a child of mine and his, to love and raise and be a part of us. 

And then I knew it was stupid. We couldn’t afford it, the time or the money, and – though it was the hardest thing for me to admit – I didn’t want to. I had spent my early twenties being kept awake by a crying baby, and now, as a more mature thirty-something-year-old, I didn’t want to shackle myself to that, again. I wanted to move towards independence, not away from it. I didn’t want to lose myself, sacrifice myself, again. I didn’t want the exhaustion and the worry and the mess, I didn’t want any of it. 

But I wasn’t imagining it. It was happening. I knew there were options, I knew I could get rid of it – but I also knew that I wouldn’t. Leaning against the sink, I saw my mother looking back at me from behind the fogged mirror. I couldn’t do that to her. And could I do that to him, my boyfriend, my one-day-to-be-husband? Could I deny him the chance of being a father?

I wondered how I was going to tell him. Would he be excited? Would he be angry? Anxious? Was this something he wanted to do with me? Would I dare bring up the idea of adoption? I couldn’t bear to spark hope in him only to snuff it out again. 

Sometimes, just sometimes, I caught myself daydreaming about a little girl, a daughter. Our daughter. 

It happened in the night. Four days before my appointment, I was woken by stabbing pains in my lower back, and lay there for a moment, clutching the edges of my mattress like I was going to fall off. Another cramp shot through me and I cried out, then bit down on my pillow and prayed I hadn’t woken anyone. 

I sat on the toilet and squeezed my eyes shut and tried to breathe through the pain. I tried not to think about what was happening, about what was leaving my body. I was being emptied, and the void hurt.

I took a shower afterwards. Red ran down the insides of my legs and pooled around the drain. I let hot water drip down my face and stood there until it was over. Almost over. It didn’t completely stop for days. I stripped my bed and scrubbed at the stains until my hands were raw. I cleaned the bathroom. I bought new sheets. I didn’t attend my appointment. When two months had passed, I knew I was sure. There was no baby.

I still didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t find the words. There was nothing to be done about it now, anyway. There was no point in telling my boyfriend, giving him the pain of losing something he hadn’t known he had. I fed Robert and cared for him and cooked for my father and saw my boyfriend and went to work, and life carried on.

My overwhelming feeling was relief, and I was scared of being judged for it.

What inspired you to write this book?
I actually started writing it out of petulance. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in the library, and I felt like every blurb I read was the same: „X was perfectly normal….and then something horrific happened!“ Or sometimes, „X seemed perfectly normal, but something horrific had happened in the past!“
I told myself, if this is what I need to write to be published, I’ll come up with the most horrific thing I can and write about it. As it turned out, I did have a story to tell, and some themes I wanted to explore, and I think it turned into the best novel I’ve written so far.
How long did it take you to write this book, from the first idea to the last edit?
I wrote the first draft in a little over a month in about 2015. I then worked on it for six months or so, didn’t get anywhere with it, and put it away. I spent another few months tinkering with it in about 2017/18, then put all my writing on hold while I did my Masters degree. I returned to writing in 2020 and started a completely different novel, but I still felt like I wasn’t finished with this one, so I came back to it again. From starting with Atmosphere Press to release date will have been about 7 months. So, overall, a long journey!
Who would enjoy reading your book?
I write the kind of books I’d want to read, which are books with real, flawed characters, difficult topics, and no guaranteed happy ending. I like books that don‘t spell everything out for me; the reader has to do some of the work, join the dots, form their own opinion.
What’s something you hope readers would take away from it?
I want readers to take away whatever message it is they find or need to find – one of the beautiful things about stories is that they can speak to everyone differently. For me it’s a message about the constant pressure we’re under these days to be happy, to fulfil dreams, to be constantly productive and filling our time with worthwhile, soul-nourishing, Instagrammable activities. Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan and time is wasted and there isn’t a shiny happy social media feed, and maybe that’s ok too.
Do you have a favourite quote or scene in the book that you find yourself going back to?
I loved him, I did. I just also blamed him for stealing thirty-three years of my life.
I love a short, punchy ending to a chapter. At this point in the book you don’t know who she’s referring to, and it really sums up the main character’s struggle with her conflicting emotions.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
The best advice I ever received was when I first started dancing salsa. My teacher said there are only two things you need to do to be a good dancer: „Relax, and keep moving.“ It’s great advice for salsa and it’s great advice for life.
If you could give a shout out to someone(s) who has helped in your writer journey, please feel free to mention them below!
There have been lots – my endlessly supportive parents, my highschool English teacher, the publisher I met who said my books weren’t right for his publishing house but spent months working on my manuscripts with me because he saw potential in them. Even my Director of Studies at university, who told me I was unteachable, at the wrong university, and had no talent at writing – that just made me even more determined to prove her wrong!
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Title: Abolish the Rose

Author: Alanna Irving
Genre: Adult Women’s Fiction
Release Date: April 10, 2022
Cover Design: Matthew Fielder
“Surely I have better things to do with my time.”


Camille Addison resents the hand life has dealt her. Enrolling in an evening class to distract herself from memories of frustration, she finds herself instead turning to face the tumult of relationships, loss and love that has led her to where she is.

Abolish the Rose takes us on a journey through the traumas of the past in search of meaning in the present. Through a vivid catalogue of heart-warming and harrowing life experiences, we are drawn to question, along with Camille – how much control do we have over the path our lives take? Would we change the past if we had the chance? What is a life well lived?

Content notes
Trigger warning: miscarriage (non-graphic)

Week Two

In the second class I sit next to Alberta. She’s a fifty-two-year-old housewife suffering – as she keeps telling us – from empty nest syndrome.

‘Adrian, my oldest, is in his third year at Warwick,’ she boasts, and I can almost see her fluffing her feathers, ‘and Heather went off to Durham this September.’ She wears a lot of headscarves and headbands and other assorted headwear, which sort of jar with the rest of her image, but in a good way. In a very her way.

I find I like sitting next to Alberta most. She is by far and away the most talented of the group. Her paintings are of things, as opposed to Becca’s abstract shapes and splodges of colour. She paints landscapes, trees, beauty. She shies away from praise though, it makes her uncomfortable.

‘My pictures are too static,’ she says. I have given her a compliment, not knowing yet that she likes to be unrecognised. ‘I want it to tell a story, I want people to look at them and think about what’s going on.’ She shrugged. ‘I don’t know. It’s stupid.’ The phrase grates on me. It sounds like a line from an American sitcom. It’s stoo-pid.

But Alberta I like. She seems shy, she’s like a child trying to discover herself.

‘I’ve been a wife and a mother for so long,’ she says. ‘And don’t get me wrong –’ American phrase again ‘– I love it, but now the kids are grown up, I want to find out who I am on my own again. I mean, not on my own, I’m still married, but Jonathan works all day, and I have to be by myself, I have to have things for myself now. Does that makes sense?’ I nod, but she doesn’t need me to say anything. ‘Do you have children?’

I look down, unscrewing the paint.

‘No, I don’t,’ I say. ‘No children.’

*

I wish I could say I looked into the cot and felt nothing. 

I was very aware of the noises around me. Beeping and whirring and the squelch of a mop in the corridor, the undercurrent of murmuring voices and shoes tapping or squeaking or scuffing. I was alone in the room, I remember, though I don’t know where everyone else was. A nurse would enter in a minute or two and ask if I wanted to hold him, but for that minute or two, it was just him and me. 

I looked at him.

He was small and red and a little crusty round the edges. His tiny limbs moved jerkily, as though separate entities from him. His mouth opened and closed. I didn’t know what newborns were meant to look like. His head seemed very large and heavy – but wasn’t that normal? His ears were a little small, I supposed. His eyes were very small, and far apart, squinted into deep creases. One of his hands stretched out towards me, like a miniature high five. I looked at it, tiny lines and tiny nails and tiny knuckles.

I looked down at him and I hated him.

*

As a child, I had a new dream every week. I wanted to be an astronaut, a chef, a ballet dancer. None of them were really serious. For a while in primary school I insisted I was going to be a nurse when I grew up, but that was only because I wanted to be like my mum. I wanted to impress her, to make her proud of me. I never really had the temperament for a caring profession; too impatient, too rough, too squeamish. In the early years of secondary school I toyed semi-seriously with the idea of being an illustrator, but, having no idea how one would go about earning a living illustrating, decided that success was too unlikely, and probably I wasn’t good enough anyway. When people asked, I would shrug and scuff my toes on the floor and say I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school.

I was smart enough and well-off enough to go to University, and it seemed a good way to put any career decisions off further. Out of my little gang of schoolfriends, only myself and my best friend Maria were aiming for higher education – the rest went to work in a dress shop, as a nanny, or got engaged. Maria and I sat at the back of our class and looked at hairstyles in magazines and tried to meet the others for coffee or a cigarette or to discuss wedding dresses, but the times never seemed to work out. We stayed behind after school to do our homework together, and watched the boys from the boys’ school down the road play rugby on the sports field.

History was my best subject, and my most encouraging teacher, and so I applied to do History, not really knowing where I could go with it, but not caring too much about that either. I had no destination in mind, but my horizon was limitless.

Maria wanted to be a nursery-school teacher, had been decided on it for as long as I’d known her. Her path was as clearly mapped out for her as mine was hidden from me. We said a tearful goodbye at the end of our last summer as we set off in different directions, promising to write and visit and keep in touch. The promises were empty, and they broke easily. 

*

Our mid-way perambulation. I find myself falling into step with Eamonn.

‘You know,’ I say after a beat. ‘Sometimes, I’m not entirely sure if you’re running an art class or a therapy session.’

Eamonn smiles benignly at his boots.

‘Does it have to be one or the other?’

*

I got pregnant, once. 

I’d had my suspicions for a while; I’d done the maths. My husband – though we weren’t married yet – had to go away, for a funeral, and was going to stay on for a fortnight to help out his family. I took the opportunity, when I was alone, to make an appointment with the doctor. I was in the shower when my hand strayed to my abdomen. Was it a phantom swelling I was feeling? I imagined the baby, a perfect human in miniature, an entire tiny future-person beneath my fingers. I wondered if it was something I could do, raising a baby. Again. 

First, I thought I could. I felt those maternal feelings I’d always heard of rise in my breast. I imagined a child of mine and his, to love and raise and be a part of us. 

And then I knew it was stupid. We couldn’t afford it, the time or the money, and – though it was the hardest thing for me to admit – I didn’t want to. I had spent my early twenties being kept awake by a crying baby, and now, as a more mature thirty-something-year-old, I didn’t want to shackle myself to that, again. I wanted to move towards independence, not away from it. I didn’t want to lose myself, sacrifice myself, again. I didn’t want the exhaustion and the worry and the mess, I didn’t want any of it. 

But I wasn’t imagining it. It was happening. I knew there were options, I knew I could get rid of it – but I also knew that I wouldn’t. Leaning against the sink, I saw my mother looking back at me from behind the fogged mirror. I couldn’t do that to her. And could I do that to him, my boyfriend, my one-day-to-be-husband? Could I deny him the chance of being a father?

I wondered how I was going to tell him. Would he be excited? Would he be angry? Anxious? Was this something he wanted to do with me? Would I dare bring up the idea of adoption? I couldn’t bear to spark hope in him only to snuff it out again. 

Sometimes, just sometimes, I caught myself daydreaming about a little girl, a daughter. Our daughter. 

It happened in the night. Four days before my appointment, I was woken by stabbing pains in my lower back, and lay there for a moment, clutching the edges of my mattress like I was going to fall off. Another cramp shot through me and I cried out, then bit down on my pillow and prayed I hadn’t woken anyone. 

I sat on the toilet and squeezed my eyes shut and tried to breathe through the pain. I tried not to think about what was happening, about what was leaving my body. I was being emptied, and the void hurt.

I took a shower afterwards. Red ran down the insides of my legs and pooled around the drain. I let hot water drip down my face and stood there until it was over. Almost over. It didn’t completely stop for days. I stripped my bed and scrubbed at the stains until my hands were raw. I cleaned the bathroom. I bought new sheets. I didn’t attend my appointment. When two months had passed, I knew I was sure. There was no baby.

I still didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t find the words. There was nothing to be done about it now, anyway. There was no point in telling my boyfriend, giving him the pain of losing something he hadn’t known he had. I fed Robert and cared for him and cooked for my father and saw my boyfriend and went to work, and life carried on.

My overwhelming feeling was relief, and I was scared of being judged for it.

What inspired you to write this book?
I actually started writing it out of petulance. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in the library, and I felt like every blurb I read was the same: „X was perfectly normal….and then something horrific happened!“ Or sometimes, „X seemed perfectly normal, but something horrific had happened in the past!“
I told myself, if this is what I need to write to be published, I’ll come up with the most horrific thing I can and write about it. As it turned out, I did have a story to tell, and some themes I wanted to explore, and I think it turned into the best novel I’ve written so far.
How long did it take you to write this book, from the first idea to the last edit?
I wrote the first draft in a little over a month in about 2015. I then worked on it for six months or so, didn’t get anywhere with it, and put it away. I spent another few months tinkering with it in about 2017/18, then put all my writing on hold while I did my Masters degree. I returned to writing in 2020 and started a completely different novel, but I still felt like I wasn’t finished with this one, so I came back to it again. From starting with Atmosphere Press to release date will have been about 7 months. So, overall, a long journey!
Who would enjoy reading your book?
I write the kind of books I’d want to read, which are books with real, flawed characters, difficult topics, and no guaranteed happy ending. I like books that don‘t spell everything out for me; the reader has to do some of the work, join the dots, form their own opinion.
What’s something you hope readers would take away from it?
I want readers to take away whatever message it is they find or need to find – one of the beautiful things about stories is that they can speak to everyone differently. For me it’s a message about the constant pressure we’re under these days to be happy, to fulfil dreams, to be constantly productive and filling our time with worthwhile, soul-nourishing, Instagrammable activities. Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan and time is wasted and there isn’t a shiny happy social media feed, and maybe that’s ok too.
Do you have a favourite quote or scene in the book that you find yourself going back to?
I loved him, I did. I just also blamed him for stealing thirty-three years of my life.
I love a short, punchy ending to a chapter. At this point in the book you don’t know who she’s referring to, and it really sums up the main character’s struggle with her conflicting emotions.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
The best advice I ever received was when I first started dancing salsa. My teacher said there are only two things you need to do to be a good dancer: „Relax, and keep moving.“ It’s great advice for salsa and it’s great advice for life.
If you could give a shout out to someone(s) who has helped in your writer journey, please feel free to mention them below!
There have been lots – my endlessly supportive parents, my highschool English teacher, the publisher I met who said my books weren’t right for his publishing house but spent months working on my manuscripts with me because he saw potential in them. Even my Director of Studies at university, who told me I was unteachable, at the wrong university, and had no talent at writing – that just made me even more determined to prove her wrong!
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Yuletide by J. Haney & S.I. Hayes
 
 
Series: Welcome to…
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 

 

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J. Haney
 
S.I. Hayes

 

 
 
 
Just an hour North East of Bar and Winter Harbours, is the sleepy little town of Hollyhock, Maine. With its border on the Arcadian National Park, it is the perfect place to get away for a long weekend or in the case of Seraphine Haven maybe the rest of your life.
 
Jaded from a lost relationship she has come to town to remake herself and serve up a few sweet concoctions. Little did she know the meddling that was about to fil her days and cold winter nights this Christmas.
 
Issac Skuyler has failed to land, as his father puts it. The son of a florist and longshore fisherman it was the creative blooms that attracted him and kept him home. At thirty-five he’s single and running his own shop, but there’s just one small hitch – he’s still in his father’s house – specifically his basement.
 
When the cold November air blows in a pretty stranger will it be enough to turn Issac’s head or will his family push too hard leaving Issac to the flowers and wreaths for the rest of the Yuletide season?
 

 

★✩★ RELEASE BLITZ ★✩★

SLEIGH BRIDE

(Mistletoe Montana)

By XAVIER NEAL

Genre: Holiday Romantic Comedy

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Available in KINDLE UNLIMITED

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BLURB:

Tis the season to lie to your parents…

No?

Just Lark Wellington?

Well, it seems like the best idea Lark could come up with when his holiday-loving parents surprise him with a holly jolly visit he actively tried to avoid.

The lie?

He’s engaged to his best female friend, Da’Nika Martin – after all she’s the only person willing to go in on the crazy, last-minute scheme.

And now that we’re talking about the snowflake white lie?

It just may cost him a lot more than coal in his stocking if he isn’t careful…

Sleigh Bride is a short, sweet, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s jam packed with all new characters, all the cheer, and all the Christmas cookies you need to put a smile on your face this holiday season!

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About Xavier Neal

 Xavier Neal is a best-selling romance author who enjoys hopping from sub-genre to sub-genre like a game of Hopscotch she can’t resist.

In between writing, she loves to read (everything from romance to self-improvement books), watch movies (old and new), eat too much Tex-Mex (her Chuy’s t-shirt collection is out of control), and watch AHL hockey games LIVE (preferably against the glass whenever possible).

She currently resides happily in Texas with her bearded husband “Lumberjack”.

 

 

 

 

 

When the Wind Chimes by Mary Ting
 
 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 
Follow the Author
 
 
SOMETIMES ANGELS COME IN HUMAN FORM.
 
Kaitlyn Summers is heartbroken.
 
When she receives an invitation to spend Christmas with her family on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, she feels it may be the perfect medicine.
 
She throws herself into helping her sister’s struggling art gallery, even taking a temporary job for extra money by looking after a little girl from her nephew’s school. She also begins to paint again, something she’s been unable to do since her breakup. It’s tempting to stay on Kauai, but she has obligations back in Los Angeles.
 
Life gets more complicated when circumstances keep putting her close to Leonardo Medici. Not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, he’s a local celebrity. But Kaitlyn can’t shake the feeling he’s hiding something.
 
Should she believe the rumors that he’s romancing half the island’s singe women? Or is the random sound of wind chimes when he’s close-by a sign  that an angel is near and the secret to her happily ever after? 

 

 

 

 
Experience by Jeanne McDonald
 
Available for Pre-Order!
 
Series: Taking Chances; Book 3
Genre: Erotic Romance
 
 
 
 
Taking Chances Series 
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Welcome to Indulgence, the annual New Year’s Eve erotic masquerade ball where all of your sexual fantasies can come true!
 
For years, Jacoby Cross has heard about the infamous masquerade party, but never in his wildest dreams did he imagine himself in attendance. The idea of exploring his hidden desires and unbridled passions with a group of masked strangers both terrifies and excites him.
 
While he can’t deny his curiosity about the event, he fears the ramifications it might have on the life he cherishes.
 
Is one night of indulgence worth potentially losing everything he loves for a new experience?