Moving along, very slowly

So 2020 is over, but the new year didn’t start on the right foot and the level of stress hasn’t decreased at all. Talking about stress, how do you cope and survive? How do you deal with that unbearable itching that seems to eat at your heart?

Last year I locked myself at home, avoiding public places since March 2020: no supermakets, no restaurants, no hairdresser, no dentists, no ophthalmologist, no mall, no retail stores,…

The doctors’ appointments were all postponed until further notice. My hairdresser went out of business. Our ophthalmologist died and our dentist moved to another state.

My husband handles the grocery shopping and I haven’t seen my friends in ages. After avoiding the grandchildren for a couple of months, now we meet them on the beach–one of the benefits of living on the ocean.

I learned to overcome my fear of height and walk for hours on the terrace of our high-rise where no one ever comes. My biggest problem is nibbling non-stop, mostly on dry fruits and frozen fruits, since I don’t like chocolate–dried plums with breakfast, dried figs and dates for snack, dried mango with a 5:00 o’clock tea at 4 pm, dried apricot for dessert with frozen mixed berries. The only dried fruits I threw away were the gingers. After I opened my mouth to scream at the bitterness, I couldn’t even close it. But the ginger chews are delicious and excellent for the stomach.

Writing helped me keep my sanity. Between September and December 2020, I published the following books: Sunshine Over Snow; His Son, Her Daughter; Half a Dozen with Love; Love in the ER; Love on the Slopes.

Secret Kisses is released today, and Between Babies and Girlfriends will be my Valentine book.

In addition to the above, there are five books that were part on ABB boxes and will be published later in 2021: Dalia’s Christmas Wish, Baby Plans, Rescue Plans, Sailing Away Plans, Flirting Plans.

SECRET KISSES: Love You Doc Series, book 4

Katy Mahoney, Hoda Seif, and Sarah Kohn. Three girls from different backgrounds and religions pledged to maintain their friendship forever.

Worried that their daughter Hoda might adopt the behavior and habits of the Western world, her parents choose an Egyptian fiancé, eager to immigrate to the United States. Too young to know any better, Hoda agrees, until she meets Katy’s cousin, the handsome medical resident, Liam Olson, and receives her first kiss. With Katy’s help, Hoda stays in touch with the man of her dreams.

On high school graduation day, things get complicated when Hoda’s fiancé shows up to claim his reluctant bride. and doesn’t hide his concern about her negative attitude, especially once he notices her lovely friend, the bubbly Sarah, and falls in love with her.

Meanwhile Katy meets Hoda’s oldest brother Tarek, a dark and handsome medical graduate who can’t take his eyes off her. The graduation weekend ends with Hoda and Omar breaking off their engagement, Omar renting a room in Sarah’s house, and Tarek and Katy going on their first date. Three best friends, three secret and forbidden romances. For five years, the three friends meet and exchange confidences and advice.

Will the three friends manage to convince their families to let them marry for love or will tradition tear the lovers apart?

SEXY and SEDUCTIVE HEROES!!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MWK9PCT/

Do you believe in the magic of Christmas?

They say Christmas is the most magical time of the year, that miracles can happen on the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I don’t particularly believe in miracles, but there’s still some magic of the winter holidays left in my heart.

I loved Christmas when I was a child, even though my parents were not wealthy and we never had a pile of gifts under the tree. But we were better off than a lot of other people, and I’m grateful for that now.

As I became an adult, the practicalities and problems that come with being a grown-up took away a little of my holiday enthusiasm each year. Stretching the budget, organizing things, breaking my back in the kitchen… The real tree turned into a plastic one to avoid the hassle and the mess, buying gifts turned into a stressful process, even going shopping is less fun every year because of the growing lines and interminable city traffic.

However, this year I believe in the magic of Christmas more than I ever had. Why? Because my friends in the Authors’ Billboard practically put the most amazing present under my tree: a USA Today bestseller badge!

A little over a year ago, the seed of what seemed like a crazy dream took root in my mind: to become a USA Today bestselling author. Not only that, but I realized that if I made it, I would be the first Romanian in history to achieve this prestigious title. Since that moment, I worked relentlessly toward this goal, and I’m still amazed by how many incredible people I met on the way, people who joined me in my journey and fought hard to help me achieve my dream.

Together, we did it with the anthology Love, Christmas 2!

My story in this box set is a romantic comedy called Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas.

THE DESPERATE YET HUMOROUS QUEST OF AN AMERICAN BRIDGET JONES TO FIND A BOYFRIEND IN THE SEVEN DAYS SHE HAS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Thirty-three-year-old librarian Andrea Sachse doesn’t have the time or skills to date. No man can ever live up to her dreamy book boyfriends, so why bother? But with her parents looking more desperate each time she shows up solo for their annual Christmas party, this year she’s determined to find herself a boyfriend by any means—fair or foul.

There are so many people I owe this accomplishment to, and who deserve a special THANK YOU:  Carmen, Mimi, my editor Sue, Jackie, all my wonderful co-authors of Love, Christmas 2 and of course, all of you, our dear readers and friends, who bought this box set.

The most meaningful THANK YOU goes to my husband, for being there for me, for believing in me, for offering moral and financial support, emergency hugs, pep talks, for playing housekeeper, tear-wiper, even chef when I was too exhausted, and never complaining when I worked twelve hours a day until 2 or 3 am, for keeping my spirits up with his endless supply of optimism, and for putting up with me – which is no easy job.

Each and every one of you who read this post, this victory is yours, as much – or even more – than it’s mine.  ♥ ♥ ♥

Now do you believe in the magic of Christmas? Here’s something that will make your holidays even more fun:  We’re looking for Santas and Reindeer! Visit our December Contest and YOU could win gift cards, paperback books, and book bundles. Click here to play! 

Wishing you the best holidays ever!

My favorite question: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

My husband would tell you that he’s the inspiration for everything I write. Perhaps there is a little bit of truth to that. The things I write about are often taken right out of the things I see around me. For example: The Butterfly MurdersI first got the idea for this when a story broke in my home town of Rochester, NY about funeral homes taking bones, replacing them with PVC piping, and selling the bone marrow. I thought, what if someone was murdering people who had received organ donation? I know, it sounds dark, and it is a little bit on the dark side, but this is really a romance. A second chance romance. One of my favorite tropes. It’s really about two people who for whatever reason, spent time a part, lived separate lives, and came back together to help solve a crime and save the hero’s young son. I just got chills!

I also tend to write about the places I’ve lived, or visited, that I have strong ties to and the biggest one is Lake George, NY. Do you every close your eyes and you think of your childhood, specific memories stick out? When I think of my summers spent in Lake George, I can see the clear crystal waters. Feel the chilly air in August against my skin. Smell the fire crackling while we roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories. And I remember the feeling of climbing on the back of a State Trooper’s bike at age 8 and going for a ride down to the country store for an ice cream. I can feel how the State Trooper Helicopter swooped down low over the lake when I was 10 and I saw the entire SCUBA team moon me! What a treat for a little girl, LO.

I wrote a 7 book series set in Lake George, NY: The New State Trooper Series. Every single book is based on a location that has very strong memories for me. The first book in the series I borrow from the servants house we rented and my best-friend’s home at the time. I write about a big white hotel (changed the name) in the middle of Lake George, and a pub that was in my backyard where I used to pick big, plump raspberries. Each book has slightly different location on the 32 mile lake, but each one holds something special in my heart.

 

But, I also get inspired by mine and other people’s emotions. Their strengths and weaknesses. Their greatest moments and those times in life that bring into a dark place. My contribution to Love, Christmas 2 came to me when I thought of my best girlfriend who lost her husband and everything she has done over the last four years to help her children cope with the loss of their father, something I also know a little about since my father passed away when I was 17. The premise is based on a Hallmark movie, but the emotions are raw.

It’s often said that writers bleed on the page. I believe that is true. A little piece of me, my life experiences, my emotions, my perception of my past and my dreams of the future, all end up in my stories.

10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO A WRITER’S CONFERENCE…EVEN IF YOU AREN’T A WRITER

malice-signings_11_-_webI’m throwing energy bars, running shoes, “author clothes,” sample books, and 3-oz. travel containers of shampoo, sun block, and mouth wash into a rolling suitcase. I really don’t have the time for this trip…and it won’t do my budget any good. “This is nonsense!” I tell myself. “I should be staying home and writing.” But I’ll drag myself out of bed tomorrow morning at 3 a.m. in order to get to the airport for my crack-of-dawn flight. And I’ll stay in a strange city for 5 days in spite of all of the arguments against making this trip.

Why?

Because there are a ton of really great reasons why writer’s conferences are worth the time, expense, and inevitable travel annoyances. Let me share ten of them with you…

1)      No matter how many writer’s conferences I attend, I always learn something new that will help me write better or further my publishing career. Plus! Conferences are about the only way to meet literary agents, face-to-face, and pitch your book. (Eeeek!)

2)      Attending a large, well-managed writer’s conference energizes me and my muse. We NEED this time away from our comfort zone to recharge our creativity. I know I’ll return home eager to plunge back into my WIP.

3)      The writing community is a shockingly small world. Even if 2,000 people attend your chosen conference, you’ll run into familiar faces and friends you met previous years. This social aspect is healthy and comforting when in a strange city. And besides, now you have a face to put to those emails you’ve been receiving from folks who love to read and write your kind of story.

4)      Most conference attendees—whether writers, readers, literary agents, or publisher’s acquiring editors—are friendly people. They come expecting to talk to others and share their knowledge. Now—how refreshing (and valuable) is that!

5)      If you’re taking writing classes and/or actively writing and submitting your stories for publication, you are justified in using travel expenses and conference fees as business-related expenses when you do your taxes. You don’t even need to have sold your work, yet. You are preparing for a new career.

6)      Writer’s conferences usually take place in large, interesting cities. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the city where this year’s conference is being held, this is a wonderful chance. At least some of your expenses will be offset at tax time, and conference organizers often arrange for fun side-trips—like ghost tours, history lectures, or group walking tours.

7)      If you’re an avid reader of a particular genre, but not actually writing, you may get a chance to meet some of your fave authors. Many conferences aren’t just for authors. They’re for anyone who appreciates their kind of story—whether it’s mysteries, romances, thrillers, children’s literature, or…whatever.

8)      If you’re a novice writer, you’ll get to chat with others interested in what you’re working on while you encourage other writers. And these conversations around the banquet table, in panel sessions, or in the bar will help you learn the ins and outs of the publishing biz.

9)       Publishing is an ever-changing business. By attending conferences where the pros share their insight, authors have a better chance of keeping up with changes that could affect their careers. And readers get to enjoy being insiders!

10)   Conferences are just plain fun! They offer stimulating conversation, time spent with other people who share your interest in writing and reading, plus—auctions, raffles, games, and (sometimes) Dessert Parties that are a chocoholic’s paradise.dreamstimesmall_575330041

So next time you read in Writer’s Digest about a writer’s conference, or hear that a friend is attending one—give it serious thought. It may be just what you need to jump-start your writing, or introduce you to a new author you’d love to read. And if you’re attending Bouchercon: The World Mystery Conference, September 15-19 in New Orleans, stop me and say “Hey!” because I’ll be there, too. If I can just get this darn suitcase closed!