Sample Saturday, “Rose in Bloom”

Hi, everyone. Today’s snippet is from my brand new friends-to-lovers contemporary romance novella, Rose in Bloom. The book is already nominated for a 2023 Global eBook Award. Enjoy this little peek into Rose’s psyche.

Rose in BloomOne of the things I’d loved most about Aunt Susan when I was a kid was how lively and colorful she was. Her blonde hair was long and curly, her make-up and jewelry were bold, and she wore bright, flowing clothes.

I wanted to be just like her. I loved the kind of costume jewelry that my mother, Julia, called “gaudy.” I made scarves into skirts that I wore over my little jeans and t-shirts until Mom took them away when I was about six years old.

“You need to be practical, Rose,” she’d said, tucking a lock of her brown, bobbed hair behind one ear. She wore pearl button earrings, a plain gold wedding band, a polo shirt and khaki pants. It was pretty much her uniform.

“You’re six years old,” she continued. “You need to stop playing pretend. You need to get serious. My sister is no role model. Your father and I have discussed the matter, and there will be no arguments.”

I didn’t understand why my mother was so upset, but I wanted to make her happy. So, I pushed the things that made me smile to the back of my mental closet.

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Rose Davis always prided herself on being sensible. But when she loses her job, she takes an uncharacteristic leap of faith and agrees to spend six months living in Wisteria Cottage, just outside of the tiny village of Shalbourne, England. It will give her the chance to fulfill her secret dream of writing a book, and an opportunity to figure out next steps.

What she doesn’t reckon with is Welsh gardener Gareth Llewellyn. With his long hair and scruffy beard, he’s definitely not Rose’s type. And yet, there’s something about him …

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To find great female novelists, stop looking in Jane Austen’s shadow – The Washington Post

Shouldn’t we have discovered more Austens and Brontës — or even another writer as singular as Mary Shelley — among these pioneering hundreds by now? A cynic might answer that we haven’t because there aren’t any others. To this way of thinking, three female geniuses (or five, maybe six, if we include every Brontë and George Eliot) survived because a meritocracy of authorship worked out perfectly.

A more optimistically patient person might answer that, even after all these years of feminist archaeology, we still haven’t looked hard enough. It may be that finding female fiction writers who’ve been absent from history for more than a century requires another century for collective recognition and rediscovery.

But perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that the ways we’ve been looking are part of the problem. When we go in search of new Austens or Brontës, we’re imagining we’ll find novels that remind us positively of theirs. We claim we’re searching for something new, and equally original, but in effect we’re seeking out literary echoes, not wholly distinct virtuoso performances.

To find great female novelists, stop looking in Jane Austen’s shadow – The Washington Post

I was a little disappointed not to see Sophia Lee (“The Recess”) included in this article; her book is widely reputed to be the first historical novel, published in 1793. But it was nice to see Jane Porter, and her excellent “The Scottish Chiefs,” get a nod.

Weekend Reads: “Crimson Summer”

Crimson Summer (Amy Larson & Hunter Forrest FBI #2)Crimson Summer by Heather Graham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amy and Hunter are vacationing together when a tiny red horse is delivered to their hotel with room service,

Meanwhile, a tour boat in the Florida Everglades stumbles upon a number of dead bodies … and it’s apparent that these two events are related, because a tiny red horse is found there, too.

Pretty soon, Amy’s on loan to the FBI as she and Hunter investigate the killings, and how they might be related to their previous case (on that one, a tiny white horse was found at several sites).

There are twists and turns, and a ton of suspects … enough that I genuinely did not see the big reveal coming. This book is equal parts thriller and fair play puzzle, so it’s beautifully constructed.

Hunter and Amy’s deepening relationship is a relatively minor plot point, but I can see how it will complicate things going forward as they work together.

Nicely executed, and highly recommended.

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