Change can be good.

You may have noticed a lot of my recent posts have dealt with change. That’s because I’ve encountered a fair share of it in my life over the past while and I’m learning some lessons (re-learning, in some cases). I’m not an expert on the topic. I’m not a life coach or a therapist. I’m just a woman and an author, grappling with events that are often beyond my control.

Some time ago, one of my publishers made the painful decision to close up shop. I took the information in stride, although I was disappointed and saddened by the news. I held out hope this too might change but it doesn’t appear that way. I realize in this business, publishers come and go, but this one was considered established and was well-respected. Everyone who worked for them was thrown for a loop.

What can I do about this news? Nothing, when you get right down to it. My other two publishers seem to be going strong, but do I know for sure? That might change as well.

The world at my day job is also in a state of flux. Positions might be reviewed. New technologies and automation are coming into play. I know many of my co-workers have concerns.

Add to all that my recent medical issues (not life-threatening but annoying) and it begins to feel like a lot to endure at once.

What do I do with all this transition? With much of it, I cannot alter the course. It is already set. So what’s left?

I must change.

I’ve chosen to see this period as one of personal growth and risk-taking. I know I need to try things that might frighten me but there’s no going back now. Looking back never helped anyone.

As far as my day job goes, I look forward to exciting new opportunities for training and development. Yes, my role there might be altered but I will do everything in my power to embrace it and make it as fulfilling as I can.

With my physical issues, I have decided to try yoga. People have told me I should for years. I probably should have listened then. It’s time to push myself and (literally) stretch.

What about my writing and my publishers? Well, I just completed a new manuscript and the start of a new series. I have ventured outside my comfort zone in this sense as well. I have made the decision to pitch it to larger publishers, much larger than any with whom I’ve ever worked. Cross your fingers!

Not every change feels right. Not every metamorphosis results in a butterfly. But I can handle these changes. I can learn from them. And by the time I’m done, I may just have a bright new pair of wings to flap.

Use it before you lose it.

I had the most interesting session with my physiotherapist this morning. I’ve always fancied myself limber. I’m not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination and never have been but I’ve had moments of earnest exercise in my life. Moments, mind you.

However, this morning my physiotherapist stretched out one of my legs today, taking it in a direction I never thought it could travel, and I almost saw God. It burned. If I possessed a little less propriety, I probably would have turned the air above my exam table blue.

Once I got over the imagined indignity of being spread wider than a broken wishbone at Thanksgiving, I began to wonder if perhaps it was a stretch I needed. After all, although I do try to take the stairs and watch what I eat, I’m probably not as fit as I should be. In some ways I’m lucky because my day job keeps me on my feet and moving, but I know I can do more to improve my level of fitness.

I tend to neglect exercise because I tell myself I should be writing instead. I think most writers probably use this excuse (please tell me so) and then we end up with what used to be called “Secretary’s Spread.” I prefer to think of it as Lazy Writer Ass. Today it occurred to me exercise and writing really should go hand in hand.

After all, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Isn’t this what we’ve been told?

Certainly I have found if I take a long break from writing, it can be difficult to find inspiration to pick up the pen again. I work better when I work consistently. It turns out my body operates the same way. If I neglect the old girl, she feels older and exhausted. I don’t want to be exhausted. I want to be vibrant and healthy and I want my writing to sound the same way.

Today, as my physiotherapist twisted me into a pretzel, I made a vow to move. Perhaps it’s not such a sin to take half an hour away from my writing and dedicate some time to improving my quality of life. My brain will likely function better too. Double win, right?

I issue a challenge to all my fellow writers out there, and also to those who’ve been searching for a reason to get up and go. Feeling less than fit? Move with me! It doesn’t matter how, as long as we do it.

If we use it, we won’t lose it. So let’s use it together.

One year later. A family lives with grief.

Grief. It seems like a strange topic to be discussing at a romance blog, doesn’t it? Sadly, it is part of life and romance novels are a representation of life.

Tomorrow, it’ll be one year since my mother-in-law Gail passed away. For a couple of months, my family members have been in a state of quiet dread, not knowing how the anniversary would feel. I have been on tenterhooks, waiting for signs of sadness in others.

Several friends told me the first year is hardest and that reaching milestones without that family member can be hard. I’ve learned this is true. Although everyone in my family has been stoic, I could see the milestones were tough to swallow. Everyone seems ready to assume the burden of the others. My eldest came to us the other day, so concerned about how my father-in-law was doing. Meanwhile, he was having a bad day himself.

In some ways, Gail resides with us still. We joke about her a lot in an attempt to keep her memory alive for our sons. Gail loved her wine (“Red, please!”). We sometimes talk about how she never has to worry about what time it is in Heaven. It’s always happy hour.

I know tomorrow will be difficult but I have no idea yet exactly what form the grief will take. Perhaps some quiet introspection or a prayer or two. Perhaps we’ll see some tears and punching of pillows. No matter what, Gail is not forgotten and there will definitely be a glass of red wine in my immediate future.

We miss you, Gail.

Hugs.

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

Thanks so much to Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup.

I’m pleased to be part of the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop. Running until April 21, this is just the breath of fresh air that I’ve needed after a long winter.

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There are quite a few stops on this hop and we’ll all be sharing some of our favorite reads for the season.  Head on over to the first stop on the hop for a complete list http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com/ or click the button above.  Make sure you visit each one to take advantage of as many giveaways as possible.

As for me, I’ll be giving away a copy of my recent paranormal romance release Night Lover. Read on for more details on how to win!

Night_Lover-Rosanna_Leo-500x800

What do I look for in a spring read? First of all, I want escapism, and that’s pretty much something I look for all year round. One of my favorite reads is the S.E.C.R.E.T. series by L. Marie Adeline.

S.E.C.R.E.T.-by-L.-Marie-Adeline

Another thing I enjoy in the nicer weather is reading about tropical locations. Living in Canada, we experience lots of cold weather. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend time with author KaLyn Cooper and her Mayan Riviera-inspired romances?

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Finally, I look for a story of enduring love. Some of my faves include paranormal romances like teen romance Fallen by Lauren Kate. You can’t get any more enduring than immortal angels!

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Now…how to win a copy of Night Lover? Simply comment on my blog post and tell me what sorts of spring reads entice you. At the end of the hop, I will award my book to one lucky reader.

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Blurb:

Canadian soprano Renata Bruno is tired of waiting for her big break. Unfortunately, her boss, the conductor of a chamber ensemble, sees her as little more than background material. When she learns of an opportunity to sing solo with a different troupe in England, she knows she must seize it. Especially when she hears the group is to perform Mozart’s Requiem, her favorite work.

As soon as Renata decides to make her move, a strange, sultry presence invades her life. She begins dreaming of a man, one who makes love to her, bewitching her. It isn’t long before her night lover leaves startling proof of his nocturnal presence, making her doubt her senses.

To compound her discomfort, she learns her new conductor is the college boyfriend who broke her heart years ago. As Renata grapples with old hurts and renewed passion, she must also fend off the increasingly fervent advances of her night-time visitor. She realizes she is under the influence of an incubus, a sexual demon.

It becomes harder to resist the incubus when she learns he has a name and had a tragic history. The more she discovers about his past, the more she realizes they are linked in more ways than one. Renata begins to rediscover love and her sense of faith, but will it be enough to save her night lover from an evil curse? And will it destroy her in the process?

Excerpt:

When I saw the face in this painting, I gasped, feeling as if someone had punched me in the gut.

Him.

It was the portrait of a man, much in the style of a Gainsborough painting. Full-length, it displayed the man in Regency dress. Tall Hessian boots reached up over his pants, accentuating his height. A waistcoat peaked out from under his soft blue riding coat. I looked up to the face above the coat, clean-shaven and somehow boyish with its round features. His hair was the color of honey and quite curly, with long sideburns travelling down his cheeks. Although he bore a fashionably serious countenance, his blue eyes smiled.

It’s him.

The man from my recurring dream, the man from the theater mezzanine in Toronto. I blinked several times, not believing my eyes.

I couldn’t move. I returned the stare of the man in the portrait. A friendly face, it still managed to unnerve me. The artist must have been a master because its subject seemed to be looking right at me. His pale eyes bore into mine. As I continued to gaze at my dream man, other objects in the background began to blur. The portrait frame and the wallpaper behind him dissolved into nothingness. I could only make out the man, and his gaze seemed to issue me a challenge, daring me to look back at him. My head swam. My tongue grew thick. Pain shot through my stomach and I clutched it so I wouldn’t keel over.

Lizzy came out of nowhere and bounded up behind me. “What’s up? Ooh, he’s cute.” She, too, had noticed the portrait. She also saw how intently I stared. “Hey, are you okay?”

“No.” I couldn’t look away from him, couldn’t stop myself from raking my gaze over every painted inch. “It’s him. The man from my dream.”

“Yeah, right.” She frowned.

Finn walked up to us and put a hand on my back, oblivious to my shock. “So you’ve found the lord of the manor.”

“Huh?”

“Hugh Dawlish, scion of Dawlish Manor. The women in the ensemble love this portrait because they think he’s, ah…easy on the eyes. So, shall we rehearse?”

I let him lead me away, but I couldn’t stop looking back at Hugh Dawlish’s portrait.

He was real. Not a wraith from my imagination.

Real. And dead.

Lizzy elbowed me. “You look like you’re going to pass out.”

“I’m fine.”

As we left the room, I looked back once more. The eyes of Hugh Dawlish followed me. I shivered.

A slight smile played on his lips.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Lover-Rosanna-Leo-ebook/dp/B016TMOHT2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/586040

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/night-lover/id1051759451?mt=11

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-lover-rosanna-leo/1122845405?ean=2940150787360

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/night-lover-1

Are: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nightlover-1918934-149.html

 

 

 

 

Allie Ritch. Children of Nanook series.

I’m pleased to welcome author Allie Ritch today as she introduces her Children of Nanook series. I’ve had a chance to read Allie’s work and I know you’ll enjoy this series.

Welcome, Allie!

*****

The Children of Nanook Series by Allie Ritch

Like many authors, I started out writing single-title works. If I had an idea for a story, I wrote it, and that was it. It was only later that I began to get into writing series, which carry with them a whole new world of possibilities and complications.

When I first wrote Mating Season, I only intended it to be a single-title novella. I wanted to write something with a winter theme, and since I enjoy both the paranormal and sci-fi genres, I created a bunch of frost bear shifters on an arctic planet. Although I was happy with the work, I never anticipated the overwhelming response I would get from readers. Mating Season was and continues to be my bestselling book to date. And fans wanted to see more.

All of a sudden, I was confronted with the challenge of adding to that single book and making it into a series. It took some time, but I eventually realized that the hero’s best friend could use his own book. In Season was born.

I was flattered when most of the readers told me they not only liked it, but wanted to know when the next book would come out. Although I didn’t have another sequel planned at the time, I did write a short story, “Breeding Season.” In it, two male shifters are fighting over a woman, and only one comes out the victor. And then it hit me. What about the shifter who was defeated?

That was how Pleasure Season, the third book in the Children of Nanook series, came about. Undeterred by defeat, Tuaq continues to look for a mate, and one whiff of Sorena’s scent tells him he might have found her.

After revising Mating Season and In Season to ensure consistency across the series, I’ve re-released both books alongside the brand-new release of book 3, Pleasure Season. Each book can be read as a standalone work, or readers can follow along from the beginning. I’ve included the short story “Breeding Season” in the same volume as In Season so that readers can read all the stories in order, if they choose.

The journey from a single novella to a complete series has been a wonderful, though sometimes harrowing adventure. I hope readers will enjoy my frost bear shifters in all their forms.

MatingSeason

Mating Season — It’s mating season on the arctic planet of Jensen, time for eligible men to winter with a potential spouse. In the past, Koll’s enormous size and gruff disposition have scared off available women. When Shila literally falls into his arms, he hopes maybe this year will be different. Shila belongs to a race of shifters who are able to transform into enormous frost bears. She loves Koll’s big body and sexy growl, and she understands the benefit of having a strong protector. With two male shifters stalking her, she needs Koll to keep her safe. But can he defeat the competition?

 

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InSeason

In Season — All Gilby wants is to find a female who will spend the mating season with him. Yes, he’s short. And yes, he talks too much and doesn’t often watch what he says. But he has a lot to offer.

Rejected by her fellow shifters because she can’t change into a frost bear, Miksa travels to the clawless people’s village to look for a mate. With his sexy scent and good humor, could Gilby be the male for her? Can he help her unlock the magic that will let her shift?

Love comes in all different shapes and sizes, and sometimes it even has claws. 

And also in this volume is the bonus story “Breeding Season.” For the Children of Nanook—shifters who can take the form of the deadly frost bear—passions run high during breeding season. Desna has already chosen the mate of her heart, but can Karpok defeat the male who wants to take her from him?

 

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PleasureSeason

Pleasure Season — Sorena is prepared to spend another arctic winter alone, talking to herself and going mad with lust. Then she comes nose to nose with a giant frost bear that changes into a man right in front of her eyes. A very sexy, naked man. Tuaq is a Child of Nanook—a shifter who changes between man and bear—and one whiff of Sorena’s scent makes him think he might have found his mate. He agrees to spend the winter with her. And when another male tries to take her from him? His claws and fangs aren’t just for show.

 

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Author Bio:

Allie Ritch is a multi-published author of sizzling sci-fi and paranormal romance. She has an active imagination and enjoys entertaining others through storytelling. Allie lives in her own little world in the Southeastern United States, where she spends time appreciating the ocean and sunshine. Follow Allie at https://allieritch.wordpress.com or on Twitter https://twitter.com/AllieRitch

 

Author Links:

 

Website/Blog: https://allieritch.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AllieRitch

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/allieritch

Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/AllieRitch

Google+: https://plus.google.com/111312224583397875521/posts

Going forward. This author’s plan. #amwriting

Anyone who follows my blog knows this year has been one of introspection and evaluation for me. Lately, I find myself in the position of having to answer some tough questions and most of them have an impact on my writing, or at least my availability to write.

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The simple fact is I can’t afford to spend as much time writing as I have the past four years. This is not me giving up. This is me adapting. I have walked a particular path for some time and it’s not getting me to my destination. The only correct assumption is I’m not on the right path.

I have devoted almost every free moment I have to crafting my romances. If I haven’t had a shift at my library job or commitments with family, I have been writing. I’ve given it my all. Although I’ve received some terrific reviews and even a couple of accolades, sadly sales are not where I need them to be in order to continue at this pace.

As I said, this does not mean I am putting a period on my writing career. I need to write. It is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done as far as my work goes. However, I do need to provide for my family as well. Considering the many changes taking place in this industry, I need to think hard about what comes next. Publishers are closing. Self-publication is a factor. Pirating runs rampant. All these factors play a part in my next move, as they no doubt do for so many of us.

What does this mean for my fans? You will continue getting books from me but perhaps not as often. I will still take as long as I need in order to create the best stories I can. I will not short change you on this. If I bother to publish a book, you’d better believe it’ll be the best book I can manage. I will never “call it in.”

Will I finish my Gemini Island Shifters series? You bet. I will write Predator’s Salvation as soon as I can. I have almost finished book one of my new contemporary series as well and hope to find a home for it soon. That being said, I will be very careful which home I choose. This has to be a time of change for me. Every decision counts and I owe it to myself to make the best decisions possible.

You may not see me online as often as before. I will still endeavor to be as available to my readers as possible but, again, I may just need to be more careful with my time.

They say “a writer writes.” I know that is accurate. I will keep writing but will I be as prolific as before? That, I can’t answer. I have no clue what the future has in store. You might not see books from me as often as you have over the past few years, but you will see them. And when you do, you will know they came straight from my heart.

That’s all I’ve ever offered my readers. I will never offer anything less.

Thank you,

Rosanna

Find me a “Connor” contest!

Those of you who read my Gemini Island Shifters series will know I am currently working on Predator’s Salvation. This will be the 8th and final book in the series. I can’t wait to bring you this story and hope you find it a satisfying resolution to a series that came straight from my heart.

GI Shifters

As you may know, book 8 will be Elaine and Connor’s book. If you read Predator’s Rescue, book 7, you’ll know this couple was left in a lurch. They are old friends, bonded by grief and admiration. Connor would do anything for Elaine, the widow of his best friend Lloyd. And Elaine thinks the world of Connor for supporting her through the greatest heartache she’s ever known. But can that regard blossom into love?

I already have photographic inspiration for Elaine. Born a human, she became a bear shifter after mating with Lloyd. This is how I see her:

Elaine- Predator's Salvation

However, I have no photo inspiration for Connor and desperately need a male Muse. Can you help me?

This is what I can tell you about him so far. Connor has dark hair and dark eyes. He is a mountain lion shifter and works as a security expert at the Ursa Resort on Gemini Island in Northern Ontario. Needless to say, he is well built. No tattoos. He has been a bit of a playboy at times, a prankster and is a loyal friend to everyone at the Ursa. Like all my shifters, he is brave, ready to lay down his life for his friends. After Lloyd’s death, Connor experienced tremendous grief. He still does. Suddenly, his playboy ways don’t seem all that important anymore. He is searching, but isn’t quite sure what he is searching for.

If you’d like to share your vision of Connor with me, visit my Facebook page and post your picture. www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

If your picture inspires me, you will receive an acknowledgment in Predator’s Salvation and a $10 Amazon gift card. The contest will remain open until the end of April, or until Connor is discovered.

Thank you! Now go find me a man.