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Romancing the Vine: Storyteller 'Got Away' Cabernet Sauvignon

I write romances that are set all over the world. I particularly like writing about vineyards and countries that produce wine. Italy, France, Germany, the USA, Canada and more are places to explore and discover wonderful wines. I also like to find wines with unique labels or have a reference to my writing world in some way.

And I am not a rich person so I like my wine to be affordable and under $20 if at all possible. Heck, I like a wine to be under $10 if I’m drinking it every day! And I usually do have a few glasses every day.

After I sold my first book— THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION — to Entangled Publishing. I participated in a lot of reader functions where baskets were raffled and given away to lucky winners. I like wine. I write about wine. So I would often add a bottle to the baskets I made for these functions.

My celebration wine for the re-release of WRONG PRINCE, RIGHT LOVER. It’s going to get poured today!

My celebration wine for the re-release of WRONG PRINCE, RIGHT LOVER. It’s going to get poured today!

And that’s how I discovered STORYTELLER wines. They’ve got a Happily Ever After vibe on their labels and are reasonably priced. I currently have a bottle of Storyteller Got Away Cabernet Sauvignon which I purchased for $14.99. And it’s quite yummy!

Now I’m not a wine snob. I more like The Reverse Wine Snob so I’m not going to get into all the crazy with descriptive notes about this wine other than to give you the basics. It’s a California red and it’s rich in flavor. You can pair it with steaks, burgers, strong cheeses and more. Personally, I pair wine with whatever I have in the house. Today that’ll be pizza and grapes and maybe some smokey almonds.

Today’s bottle is being uncorked to celebrate my next release. WRONG PRINCE, RIGHT LOVER was part of the Royal & Reckless Boxset which hit the USA Today Bestselling list in September 2018. A thrilling day and one that definitely gave me a Happily Ever After moment! Now I’m thrilled to release it as a standalone book!

Let me know if you give this cabernet sauvignon a try and I’d love to get recommendations for wines that have cool labels and flavors for all my future releases!

:)

Between the Covers: The Movie Star's Red Hot Holiday Fling

I wrote THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING as a prequel to the first book I sold and debuted with Entangled Publishing. There were a lot of firsts with this story:

  1. I never wrote a novella length story before and my word count had to be no more more than 25,000. This was very short even for me. So I spent a great deal of time reading other novellas and analyzing them. I also utilized my HOW OPPOSITES ATTRACT: Plotting the Emotional Turning Points of a Romance Novel to frame my story. I wanted to make sure that the reader got a full, emotional experience despite the shorter length.

  2. I set the story six years earlier from the THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION which meant I could show the readers a peek at Kennedy and Zach’s first kiss. And I got to build on a character who I’d not even known truly existed until after I’d revised the Maverick. There were a lot of new avenues to explore, both overwhelming and exhilarating. I love a challenge. And this story presented me with a lot of challenges!

  3. I got to explore the dynamics of how a young woman, injured while overseas fighting for this country, overcame her grief, survivor’s guilt and found a way back to herself after losing her ability to serve. This meant doing lots of research, asking many of my military friends about their experiences.

This is how my cover art people envisioned my hero, Blake Johnston AKA Big Screen Sex Machine and Action Hero Quinn Sawyer! I think he’s the perfect hero for my feisty Marine, Jessie Sullivan! And I loved the Cinderella feels in this story!

This is how my cover art people envisioned my hero, Blake Johnston AKA Big Screen Sex Machine and Action Hero Quinn Sawyer! I think he’s the perfect hero for my feisty Marine, Jessie Sullivan! And I loved the Cinderella feels in this story!

4. Blake Johnston is an Alpha hero, but he’s also an honorable man. He quit college to raise and support his younger sister after their parents died. Using his gorgeous looks and physique, he became a model and then a movie star. But Blake is so much more than a Big Screen Sex Machine, he’s a man with a huge heart who yearns to be respected for his work behind the camera. He takes on the challenge of helping Jessie Sullivan regain her confidence and inner joy after her mother asks him to help out. And he chooses to do so even though he was at Sweetbriar Springs Resort to give his younger sister a paparazzi free wedding of her dreams. And in the end, this big-hearted mega star gains so much more when he offers to give his mother’s childhood friend his support. You see, all Blake ever wanted was a family, a safe place to fall. And he discovers that with Jessie.

5. One of the themes I return to a lot when I’m writing is people aren’t always what and who they seem to others. Jessie has a huge chip on her shoulder, and who can blame her? She’s been injured, can’t return to her call to serve, and she’s lost some of her best friends due to an EOD detonation. But when she challenges Blake about his fake hero status, he shows her who he truly is on the inside. Blake’s revelation, his willingness to be vulnerable to her, is what draws her to him.

Here’s a peek Between the Covers from THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING

“If you’d ever been called to real action, you’d know why I am.” She’d been born to serve. And damn it, she’d push herself to regain part of what she’d lost that day on the battlefield when everything that had given her life meaning had been demolished.

“Park your attitude,” Blake said.“Not every call to serve is about protecting our country.” He replaced his weights, giving her a most excellent view of his sexy, sculpted behind.

One she still wanted to kick.

Jessie took off her weight gloves and shoved them into her fleece jacket’s pockets. “You got a better definition?” She was itching to fight something, someone, somewhere. And Blake provided all three options in stellar proportions.

He turned his head to give her an even, heart-stopping gaze. “Try Parenting 101 without a manual. Better yet, try explaining to your kid sister that you’ll take care of her ’cause the doctors couldn’t save her parents. Try doing all that without anyone to help you figure out how the hell to explain it to yourself.”

Blake Johnston is an honest, honorable, amazing hero. And when Jessie finally lets down her guard with him, their passion is believable and real because they’re real to me. If you want to discover how these two people find their way to each other and get the Happily Ever After they deserve, grab your copy of THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING today!

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Digging Out of Distraction: The Climb to the Top

Many years ago, before I sold my first book and released it into the world, I wrote about the journey toward publication. DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION had motivational pieces, craft ideas, shared my ups and downs as I struggled to find a publishing home for my stories. After I sold to Entangled in 2013, I compiled the blog posts into a volume and published it on Amazon. I also have a nice motivational workshop/presentation with the same title that has, I hope, inspired and encouraged other dreamers to keep on trying no matter what.

My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

But… attaining this dream didn’t change the realities facing me prior to publishing.

Quite frankly, the romance publishing industry has changed tremendously since my debut novel THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION released in June 2014 with Entangled Publishing. And the challenges facing romance writers and authors are manifold. I’ve learned that there a lot of authors out there who want their stories to get discovered. Certainly, I do, but I’ll be honest. Getting discovered is hard on a shoestring budget and in the face of all the competition.

There have been moments of discouragement and I’ve struggled to maintain my motivation at times when sales have lagged or contracts dried up. But I pushed through and decided I had an opportunity to continue publishing as an Indie author who controlled her own world. If the money ever followed, great. If not? I still need to write about as much as I need to breathe to live. So the writing will always be a part of who I am.

But how do I keep my motivation and my butt in the chair writing stories along with performing all the other jobs in my empire?

I go back to my roots. To the beginning. When everything was possible. And I refresh my memory about how everyone’s publishing & writing journey is unique. We’re all climbing the same mountain, but there’s no one right way to get to the top. While it’s daunting to see those authors who are ahead of me… how could I even compete with these powerhouses… I know there are also people climbing behind me.

After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

And we all have different ways of approaching the summit along with different resources to do so. Some people are steadfast, eye on the prize, only write… publish… market… repeat… and they keep going even on bad days. Others need to take breaks, look at the view, set up base camp with their friends and relax while enjoying each other’s company. Some take side paths, going in different directions for a while. They want to explore different facets of the mountain, then they resume climbing.

At the end of the day, my personal climb up the mountain has been a combination of all the above. I’ve stayed head down and super focused without having a break, then I’ve come up for air and realized… hey… I want to hang out with the other people at this point of the journey. And I want to look at the view for a while, take in the vistas and rest before I continue climbing.

Ultimately, reaching the summit only leads to another discovery… there are always other mountains to climb, valleys to traverse and if we don’t learn how to be at peace with where we are in our own journey, we’ll never enjoy the fruits of our writing successes.

So focus forward, aim high and remember not to compare your ascent up the mountain to anyone else’s climb. Embrace your journey and you’ll have a lot more fun while you’re climbing to the top of this mountain. And then… when another mountain comes into view… you’ll be eager to climb again!



Digging Out of Distraction: When Life Happens

My writing slowed down during the summer for a few reasons. One: I had surgery. Nothing major—I thought. Unfortunately, I ended up having a post-op complication which meant staying in the hospital for a few nights. I’m better now, but it did put a major dent in my writing schedule. Frankly, I was exhausted and emotionally drained. The ER experience was a NIGHTMARE—more about that in a Healthy Writer Blog—and I just lost some of my mojo.

Then we went on a trip to Europe. And I deliberately used that time to rest, rejuvenate my spirits, and enjoy a laid back life. I had fun. I saw my friends. I laughed so hard I cried. And I healed emotionally from the trauma.

My body slowly knitted together too, but it’s hard to get back in the writing chair and focus after a long break. Plus, I had another life happening with the Career Girl. She needed my help and still does so I had to reevaluate my schedule and my high expectations before I sat down to write again.

And every moment spent away from the story means I have to fight harder to get my brain back in the game. Writing novels is a lot like Shonda Rhimes says in her book THE YEAR OF YES: laying down railroad track. The first five miles are tough, but once you get rolling it’s awesome and flows. Do not, repeat, do NOT interrupt a writer when she is the writing groove and laying down tons of track. If you do, prepare for her to yell or snap because she’s got to start laying the first five miles all over again.

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Well, I feel like I’ve been laying down the first five miles for about a month now. Not getting enough track going before I get interrupted by LIFE. However, those pesky interruptions aren’t going away. Not soon. I have a trip to Austin this month that wasn’t expected, but my Career Girl needs me so off I go to Texas.

So here’s the deal: the family and my health ALWAYS come first. They have to because my family is a gift and I love my people. They support me and love me too. We are a team. Team Glover. And writing can’t give me hugs or tell me I love you or comfort me when I have a scary post-op complication. So I treat my peeps like gold.

And my health is a priority. I just overcame a major health issue and that enabled me to lose 40 pounds. I also am working out and taking care of myself physically. I need to be healthy to write my words. So working out comes before the writing.

Frankly. My LIFE has to come first. I need my people time and I need to be part of the world by exploring it and interacting with new people too. Without these experiences, I won’t have anything of value to put on the page. I need a full heart to write characters who jump off the page and connect with the readers at a deep emotional level.

So I decided not to stress out about the tracks I have to lay down. I gave myself a low key schedule until the first of the year. I workout in the mornings, come home and write until noon, then I stop to regroup and do the other part of my life as a writer: marketing, promo, critiquing, and editing.

This career. This writing gig. It’s part of me, but it’s not the only thing that defines me as a person. Ultimately, I think taking the time to look after myself and my people will make me a better writer. Which means y’all will get better stories to read because they will reflect a full, rich life.

So don’t expect me to crank out a crazy bunch of books per year. But do expect me to publish stories with heart, soul and characters that’ll make you want to meet them in real life.


☆*´¨`*:☆ROYAL & RECKLESS BOXSET: Spotlight on Author Sylvie Stewart☆*´¨`*:☆

I'm so excited to host one of the Royal & Reckless Boxset Authors on my blog. Sylvie Stewart graciously sent me a lot of information about her journey to publication and more. And best of all, y'all get a sneak peek at her fun cover and her story BETWEEN A ROCK AND A ROYAL for the fabulous boxset today! Even better, you can PREORDER ROYAL AND RECKLESS now!! 

Excerpt

Mister Awkward had officially left the building and Prince Charm-Your-Panties-Off was back and getting down to business.

I’d been going back and forth in my mind about how far I wanted to take things with Leo, but I eventually decided to go with the horny part of my brain that rationalized he’d already been all up in my lady bits, so I may as well check out the other ways Leo Baxter could rock my world.

He was off to a killer start. His warm, demanding lips collided with mine and I didn’t hesitate to wrap both arms around him and pull him in. He was back to the white t-shirt and jeans and his feet were bare, a small detail that I found both adorable and sexy. I never really thought I had a type, apart from my misguided foray into bad-boy land, but Leo’s whole sexy-nerd thing was doing it for me big time.

 

FIND SYLVIE!!

http://sylviestewartauthor.com

http://facebook.com/SylvieStewartAuthor

http://instagram.com/sylvie.stewart.romance

 

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Can you share a little about your journey to publication?

I must have started writing a dozen books by the time I was in college (which are so painful to read now – LOL). Then life moved on and I didn’t think about it much until I hit my forties and my kids started school. I’d just put down the fifth book in a row that I couldn’t bring myself to finish reading. I was frustrated that I wasn’t finding any satisfying reads (I just happened to be in a rut at the time—I know the world is filled with tons of fabulous books. Unfortunately, none of them were on my Kindle at that moment). I sat down at my computer and figured I’d take a crack at writing a book I’d love to read. Everything took off from there and it’s been better than I ever expected!

What authors do you like to read?

I have a special love for Kristen Ashley. I want to have her babies. She writes in so many different sub-genres that there is always a book of hers that fits my mood. I also love how she does her own thing, regardless of what anyone might say.

Do you have a favourite genre in books (to read and/or to write)?

Romantic Comedy all the way!

Is there a genre you’d like to try writing and haven’t yet?

I’m toying with the idea of Romantic Suspense and Westerns, but they’d all have to be funny too.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I want so badly to be a plotter, but the pantser in me keeps getting in the way!

Do you have a favorite character in your books?

That’s so hard. It’s usually whoever I’m writing at the moment, but Fiona from my Carolina Connections series holds a special place in my heart. And she’s the most fun to write—that’s why she keeps cropping up in all the other books, I guess.

What makes a great romance hero?

I love the guys who show some vulnerability. The whole cocky alpha thing can be really hot, but I love it when a hero opens himself up.

What makes a great romance heroine?

I love a woman who gives as good as she gets!

What is the nicest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?

This one is hard too! But this review is a definite favorite: “Fun, fulfilling and fast-paced, Sylvie Stewart’s latest book, The Spark, is also a masterclass in how to write a strong, sexy heroine with a hint of vulnerability that a reformed playboy hero simply can’t resist.” – After the Rain Comes Sunshine Blog

How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?

In a word, terribly. LOL

What do you like best about being a writer?

Getting to do what I love and sharing it with all the readers out there. It’s like a little club—I love it!

What do you like the least about being a writer?

I never feel like I’m “off.” My brain is always working on a new story or thinking about the ten-mile-long to do list waiting for me.

If you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?

Get involved in the author community first so you can get your ducks in a row. Then start thinking about publishing. I did it in the wrong order and have regretted it since.

Steamy romance, erotic romance or erotica – what is the difference in your view?

Steamy romance, to me, is when it’s story-driven but there’s hot sex in it. Erotic romance is when there’s an interesting story to follow, but more than half the book is sex scenes with very detailed descriptions and sexual adventures outside the “mainstream.” I classify a book as erotica if removing the sex scenes leaves no real story. Just my opinion.

Tell us more about your upcoming title in the Royal and Reckless Collection.

My book for the Royal and Reckless boxed set is called Between a Rock and a Royal. It’s really fun, steamy, and sweet all a once. Ruby is a North Carolina girl who likes wearing heels and working on cars, and she’s unfailingly loyal to her family—which gets her in a jam. Leo is a prince visiting the U.S. with his brother, and the two of them end up on an adventure that puts them in Ruby’s path. Sparks fly between Ruby and Leo, but they’re both keeping secrets. I love the chemistry between those two!

Can you please share the blurb?

Two foreign princes, one local girl in a serious jam, and a ’65 Mustang headed for Georgia. What could go wrong?

LEO: My brother likes to think he’s the clever one, and I usually let him. He’s the crown prince, after all. But he’s cocked things up royally this time, pardon the pun. It will take some quick thinking and a heavy dose of luck, but I’ll pull us out of it. Even if it means putting my trust in a stranger … a tempting stranger who carries a wrench and an attitude.

RUBY: I knew before I even agreed that this would be a bad idea. But given my circumstances, I had little choice but to take these two rich country-club rejects up on their offer. A ride in exchange for the money my uncle and I owe. How bad could it be? I’m sure I’ll survive and hopefully fix my problems in the process, but my heart might not be so lucky.

 What appeals to you about writing a story featuring a royal?

I actually never planned on it. Most of my books are about “regular folk.” But it’s been a fun departure—so much so that another book featuring Leo’s brother is in the works!

Why do you think readers love stories featuring royals?

Let’s face it—most people who read romance have seen Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding more than once. And the fact that they got divorced hardly even matters! It’s the fantasy. If we actually knew any royals, we probably wouldn’t be interested in reading romances about them - LOL

☆*´¨`*:☆ROYAL & RECKLESS BOXSET: Spotlight on Author Maggie Carpenter☆*´¨`*:☆

I'm so excited to host one of the Royal & Reckless Boxset Authors on my blog. Here's a neak peek at Maggie Carpenter's fun cover and her story SINS, SECRETS & SPIES for the fabulous boxset today! Even better, you can PREORDER ROYAL AND RECKLESS now!! 

Here's the Blurb!!

She’s searching for love. He’s hunted by a deadly assassin. Can one stormy night save her heart and his life...?

Lady Verity James is famous for her beauty, and infamous for her scandalous behavior, but no man has brought her the unique passion she shared with her late husband. Does the rain-soaked foreign stranger at her door have what Verity has been seeking?

Dantae Fellini, a swarthy Italian with dark mesmerizing eyes, has just escaped an assassination attempt. Struggling through a ferocious storm he has stumbled upon the elegant manor house. He hopes for safety, but when he sees the winsome widow with sad eyes, he wonders if the house might offer more than shelter.

Dantae is bringing danger to her home, and though she senses shes inviting trouble, she finds herself inviting him to stay.

Mystery, secret passages, surprising spies and tall, dashing, handsome heroes fill the pages of this suspenseful romance. If you like sizzling chemistry and heart-stopping romance, you’ll love this stormy love story.

NOTE: This book was previously published under the title, The Wanton Widow.

Digging Out of Distraction: Quality Over Quantity

The Physicist & I have been participating in a program called Naturally Slim. Frankly, this is the first time I've been completely happy with a lifestyle change because it's not about counting points, carbs, or calories. It's about learning how to eat like a True Thin and how to live a fit and full life. This has been revolutionizing the way we think about ourselves and our future. We're not just losing weight, we're gaining valuable insights about ourselves. 

In addition to the Naturally Slim program, I've been involved in a new Life Makeover Journey. Many years ago, I and a few close friends decided to go on the journey together. That journey led to my writing my first novel and now, all these years later, I'm published and continuing to write books, edit, and present workshops to other writers about how to stay focused and in the chair. I figured I had the program locked in place, but a new friend propelled me to revisit the Life Makeover with her. I'm so glad I did. I'd forgotten some of the valuable lessons within the program and I needed a mental and emotional reboot. 

Both programs, along with really good articles I've read in the Romance Writers of America's monthly magazine RWR by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, have reinforced my desire to live a quality life over chasing a life filled with quantity. 

My desire to have a quality life has given me a brand new perspective on the choices I make as an author, a wife, a friend, a mother, and for me. I believe that as I lost the weight I gained and as I rebuilt my fitness, I also discovered my spirit needed a little help. I'd smothered her in a pile of fat and frustration. I'd allowed negative words to creep back into my vocabulary. I started to believe I might be a failure because I didn't excel at marketing my books and I wasn't taking on enough projects and I didn't get everything completed on my to-do lists.

But my best friend gave me a wake-up call in January 2017 that began my transformation physically, emotionally and spiritually. I needed this wake-up call. Then the hard work began both physically and mentally. First, I identified what my spirit didn't need.

Just as my body doesn't need to stuff itself with food to bury her negative emotions, my spirit doesn't have time for pettiness, mean words, or people using her confidences as weapons against her. My spirit doesn't want to be attacked when she can't or won't say yes to other people. My spirit doesn't want negativity in her life. 

My spirit doesn't chase dollars or write twenty books in a year in an effort to remain relevant. My spirit doesn't need to eat food that isn't delicious and special. My spirit craves physical activity. My spirit yearns for quality one  on one time with quality people who edify her and make her stronger. 

In searching for the things that fill my spirit, I've actively been gathering strong and supportive people in my life. I've focused on building the relationships that matter to me. Some I've had for decades, others are new and special too. And in focusing on the positive, I've been given a fabulous new treasure trove of stories to write in my time and in my way and with the support of people who believe in my ability to do so. This brings me so much joy! Now my spirit is full, happy and determined to live a centered, quality life.

Doing something I love in the time I want while nurturing special relationships and bringing others support and encouragement is my passion. My sincere wish is for all the people in my corner of the world to find their passion too.

 

☆*´¨`*:☆Win a #Kindle Fire and 20+ Steamy #Romance Ebooks☆*´¨`*:☆

The authors of the Royal and Reckless boxed set are giving away a brand new Kindle Fire and over 20 steamy romance novels! You can enter the contest for a chance to win here:

Royal & Reckless Steamy Romance Boxset Sweepstakes

While you’re at it, pre-order the set for only 99c!

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Which royal will rule your heart?

Power, money, and fame aren’t the only noble pursuits. Enter the world of the Royal and Reckless, where the blue bloods run red hot, and scorching secrets lie just beneath the polished surface.

Inside these pages, you’ll find stranded royals, fake fiancées, reverse harem kingdoms, and more than one compromising position. From hidden royalty to secret babies, plots and twisted games, there’s something for everyone in the steamy scandals behind the crowns.

Join the Royal and the Reckless with more than twenty sizzling tales of sex, love, intrigue, betrayal, and blackmail! PREORDER TODAY!

 

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