A Pandemic Story?

We have been in a pandemic state for more than a year. Wearing a mask, keeping distance, avoiding crowds, working from home is our new reality. Should we, authors, set our new books in this new reality? Here are a few difficulties if we try to be realistic:

1-Love at first sight would be out of the question, unless we have our heroine remove her mask for a minute—maybe to sneeze or blow her nose—long enough for the lucky hero to catch a glimpse of her lovely features.

2-We still can describe a handsome hero, his tall frame, wide shoulders, and solid chest. But how will you describe a heroine’s gorgeous features when half of her face is covered by a mask? Will the eager hero fall in love just by admiring her long, silky hair and her sky-blue eyes?

3- Where would the hero and heroine meet if they work from home, avoid public transportation, and stay away from gatherings?

4- Assuming they manage to overcome the above obstacles and start a relationship, where will they meet to sustain their flame if they can’t go to restaurants, theaters, or gym? Maybe they can stroll on the beach if we set their story in summer or if they live in Florida.

5-We should remember to have them wear their masks every time they leave the house.

6- More importantly, would my hero or heroine feel comfortable kissing a partner they met during pandemic? Should they start a romantic moment with, “I’m dying to kiss you. Did you test negative? Did you get the vaccine?

We authors have a wide imagination. I’m sure we can get around any problem when writing a great story. How about having our hero/heroine meeting during a Zoom meeting? I saw my son and daughter-in-law working from home. He donned a serious button-down shirt, but didn’t bother to change his shorts, no one could see. She wore a fashionable blouse, combed her hair, put makeup on and earrings. If these virtual meetings occur often, my hero and heroine may manage to get attracted to each other.

Still, I am not comfortable enough to write a Pandemic story. Too many people —twelve so far— I personally knew, from among my family, extended family and friends died within the past thirteen months and one is on life support. I am trying hard to forget last year and its depressing moments and wouldn’t want to relive it through my writing. So don’t count on me to offer you a Pandemic story.

Instead, I’d rather talk about the eight romantic comedies and romance novels I wrote last year or the many boxes the ABB group put together.

BETWEEN BABIES AND GIRLFRIENDS: Romantic Comedy. He’s the serious Dr. Brian Dutton. His former girlfriend is the sassy, passionate daughter of the Governor of Buenos Aires, in Argentina, and she returns to the USA to play nanny for the twin babies abandoned in his office, but his fiancée doesn’t like the babies or the nanny. Can it get more complicated? Yes when his mother thinks the babies are his, and volunteers to take care of them.

HALF A DOZEN WITH LOVE: Romantic Comedy. The Foster Care system wants to separate Tammy’s five young siblings. Her grandmother’s surgeon, Dr. Jack’s unusual solution keeps the family together but complicates Tammy’s life and could bring her in his arms. https://www.amazon.com/DP/B08HKQSRYC

UNFORGETTABLE LOVERS
IRRESISTIBLE SPRING INTO LOVE
SEXY AND SEDUCTIVE

A Wee Bit Sassy by @AyalaRachelle #mgtab

Hello Readers! Spring is here and everything is turning green. From California to North Carolina, everyone is a wee bit sassy, reminding me of the bunnies, bears, and fawns coming out from hibernation in the Bambi movie.

I’ve been traveling this week and visiting with my newest granddaughter. She’s a sweet and feisty little one, loves to stretch out, and making the cutest little sounds of squirming and squealing. So I’ve been babysitting, baby clothes shopping, and loving on the little one, and thinking about writing sassy romances that are neither squeaky sweet nor hot-pepper steamy–what I call a sassy romance.

How do I define sassy? It all has to do with the heroine. She’s got game. She’s flirty and suggestive, but not overly aggressive and demanding. She can be nice but she’s got a bark when you cross her. A sassy heroine might have a snarky mouth but deep insides, she’s vulnerable and wants to be loved and accepted. She just doesn’t go about it by being sweetie-pie nice. She’s selective to who she opens up to.

That said, it takes a special kind of hero to tango with a sassy heroine. He’s strong and has his own issues, but knows the give and take of the two-step. It’s a give and a take with strong sexual attraction but a slow burn on the falling in love. The clothes stay on and our sassy heroines and heroes don’t get ahead of themselves, but neither do they play hide and seek with their feelings. It’s too naughty to be nice, plenty flirtacious and feisty without steaming up the sheets, and a lick and a tease on the physical size.

I love writing sassy romances. I’ve marked my books [Sweet, Sassy, Steamy] on my booklist https://rachelleayala.net/books

Some of my favorite sassy heroines are Marisa Monroe who’s an outspoken nursing aide who’s bossy but always down on her luck. Seems she’s a little too abrasive for most of the bad boys she meets–until she hires not one, but two (mistakenly) for a dating reality show she’s determined to win. Check out her Irish (St. Patrick’s Day) romance for FREE [March 13-17], sassy as can be. Bad Boys for Hire: Liam

Don’t forget to enter the monthly contest here at Authors’ Billboard! There are so many wonderful books and stories, sweet, sassy, and otherwise!

Top 3 Funniest Love Declarations in Books

Howdy, everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a while, but I’m working on several projects at a time. I must say, building a multilingual career as an author is unexpectedly exhausting, and the rewards are slow to come, especially during these times.

As always, reading is what helps me stay sane, and last night I got the idea for this post while I was re-reading Nora Roberts’s “Angels Fall”, a book I particularly enjoy. The excerpt I’ll reveal below made me laugh out loud, as it does every time. The story’s main characters are Reece – a troubled woman who’s trying to escape some deep traumas, and Brody – a man who’s apparently an unfeeling jerk, but who develops a soft spot for the heroine in which many women will find themselves.

Unlike the typical, syrupy love stories, their romance is more interesting and unusual. So, without further ado, here is my Top Three Funniest Love Declarations in Books:

Love you worse 2

#3 is a scene from the very Queen of Comedy, Janet Evanovich and her well-known screw-up heroine, Stephanie Plum, forever torn between the love of two men, Ranger and Joe Morelli:

“How could you be tired? It’s eight o’clock. It’s time to get up! I’m leaving. Don’t you want to kiss me good-bye?”

Nothing. No answer. I whipped the sheet off him and left him lying there in all his glorious nakedness. Morelli still didn’t move.

I sat on the bed next to him. “Joe?”

“I thought you were going to work.”

“You’re looking very sexy . . . except for Mr. Happy, who seems to be sleepy.”

“He’s not sleepy, Steph. He’s in a coma. You woke him up every two hours and now he’s dead.”

“He’s dead?”

“Okay, not dead, but he’s not going to be up and dancing anytime soon. You might as well go to work. Did you walk Bob?”

“I walked Bob. I fed Bob. I cleaned the living room and the kitchen.”

“Love you,” Morelli said from under the pillow.

“I l-l-l-like you, too.” Shit.

 ~Eleven On Top, JANET EVANOVICH

 

#2 presents Claire and Jamie Fraser, the famous characters from “OUTLANDER”, the equally famous odyssey written by Diana Gabaldon, which has inspired Starz to create the TV series with the same name. This is when Claire first declares her love to her new husband:

“Oh, Jamie, I do love you!”

This time it was his turn to laugh. He doubled over, then sat down at the roadside, fizzing with mirth. He slowly fell over backward and lay in the long grass, wheezing and choking.

“What on earth is the matter with you?” I demanded, staring at him. At long last, he sat up, wiping his streaming eyes. He shook his head, gasping.

“Murtagh was right about women. Sassenach, I risked my life for ye, committing theft, arson, assault, and murder into the bargain. In return for which ye call me names, insult my manhood, kick me in the ballocks and claw my face. Then I beat you half to death and tell ye all the most humiliating things have ever happened to me, and you say ye love me.” He laid his head on his knees and laughed some more. Finally he rose and held out a hand to me, wiping his eyes with the other.

“You’re not verra sensible, Sassenach, but I like ye fine. Let’s go.”

~Outlander, DIANA GABALDON~

 

And now…

Periods love

#1, the excerpt that has started this post, and one of the many reasons I love Nora Roberts’s books, full of edgy humor, among other things:

“I love you. I’m in love with you.”

She heard absolutely nothing for ten full seconds. And when he did speak, she caught the faintest trace of fear mixed in with the annoyance.

“Hell. No good deed goes unpunished.”

She laughed, rich and full and long. And the warmth of it soothed her raw throat, her raw nerves. “And that’s why, I must be out of my mind. Don’t worry about it, Brody.”

~Angels Fall, NORA ROBERTS~

 

And speaking of romance and fun, do check The Authors’ Billboard new release, Summer Shorts!

From sweet to spicy, and contemporary to suspenseful, these sixteen Summer Short Stories will be sure to heat up your heart and help you escape reality in a blaze of fun, drama, and romance.
Sixteen NY Times & USA Today popular authors have put together these delightful novellas to give you that spurt of entertainment you can often finish in one sitting. These Summertime stories will delight the romance lover until the sun sets in a blaze of glory.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if it put a smile on your face, as it was intended, feel free to share the fun! And don’t forget to enter our monthly home page contest! 😉

New Release News- The Player by Jacquie Biggar #RomCom #SportsRomance @jacqbiggar @mgtab

I have a new release and it’s a Rom-com!

When I started writing the second book in the Men of WarHawks series I had in mind a suspense novel with a female antagonist because I’d read somewhere that something like one in ten women are criminals. Enter Olivia Brandt- psycho stalker.

Excerpt from Villain’s POV

Unable to help herself, Olivia lifted the spyglasses just as Roy got out of the car and went around to open the door for the chunky woman who climbed out and stared up at the rather impressive log cabin in front of them. What did he even see in her? She had no style sense—seriously, bubble coats when you’re plump is like adding wrapping paper to a watermelon, there is no hiding those curves—and what was with those glasses and hairstyle? Did she dream of becoming the next Marilyn Monroe?

Roy put a hand to the woman’s elbow and solicitously helped her over the icy gravel drive and up the stairs to the wraparound porch. They paused for a moment while he unlocked the door, then ushered her inside. Olivia’s blood boiled. She threw the binoculars onto the seat—where they promptly bounced to the floor—and smacked a gloved hand on the steering wheel.

“She’s going to pay for getting in my way,” she vowed.

“You’re going to jail, is what’s going to happen,” Mike retorted. “C’mon, sis, you already have a restraining order against you thanks to this guy, isn’t that enough?”

Heat rose up her chest and coated her cheeks. “I told you, it’s a misunderstanding. Once I get a chance to speak to Roy, he’ll clear it up. That’s why I need you.”

He rolled his eyes. “You’re making excuses. He doesn’t want anything more to do with you. He’s moved on, why can’t you?”

Rage rose in a tidal wave. Before she knew what she was doing, Olivia reached down, grabbed the binoculars, and rammed them into her brother’s face.

“Ow, you bitch,” he yelled, putting both hands up to protect his bleeding nose. “What the hell was that for?”

The anger ebbed, the monster in her head silent for now. She started the truck and backed down the drive until they were out of sight of the house. A couple of maneuvers later, the four-by-four was turned around. Olivia glanced at Mike and frowned. She threw a roll of paper towel from under the seat in his direction. “Clean yourself up, we have a date with a rental agency.”

“You’re fricking crazy,” he mumbled.

She laughed, exhilarated now that the time was near. Soon we will be together, darling. And no one was going to stand in her way.


As you can see, Olivia has a few issues. But, as well as her character came together, I couldn’t tame my protagonists into having the proper respect and solemn attitudes given the seriousness of the situation.

Roy Donaldson is an attitude-ridden hockey player, frustrated with his general manager’s request demand to take time away from the game to get his personal life in order, and Patience Kennedy is the unfortunate PA hired to help him. Roy figures he can boss the PA into leaving so he can get back on the ice, but Patience isn’t the pushover he expects.

Short Excerpt between Roy and Patience

Roy stripped down in the empty locker room and stepped into the shower, sighing as the warm water massaged his back. He’d paid a hefty price to get the arena to himself, but it was worth the fee to escape the merciless eyes of the press. If he wasn’t under contract… hell, who was he kidding? His career was all he had left, he wasn’t going anywhere. His cell phone jingled, wrecking the quiet. He tipped his head back, letting the water roll off his face. Olivia. Again. He had nothing to say to her. She’d made a fool out of him in front of his entire team—unforgivable.

He rubbed his face and blinked unseeingly at the tiled wall. Two months. He and Olivia had been happy together—well, content. God. If he hadn’t come home early that day and found her ensconced in his bed…

They’d agreed to take things slow, enjoy the natural growth of their relationship. Instead, she’d stolen his keys, inserting herself into every part of his life. Calling his mother, arranging a dinner with his teammates, adding her name—in a relationship—to his Facebook profile. He pounded the wall, then bowed his head, failure ringing in his ears.

He rinsed off and left the shower stall, hands squeezing the water from his over-long hair—he needed a cut. A startled screech stopped him in his tracks. A curvy brunette sat half-turned on the bench. She’d covered her eyes and held out his towel, reminding him of a pinup from the fifties with her flouncy dress, short sweater and colorful knotted headscarf.

“Who the hell are you?” he snarled, making a grab for the towel to cover his privates—though it was probably too late for modesty. So much for having this place to himself.

“Umm, P… Patience Kennedy.” She peeked at him from an oversized pair of mint green glasses that made her brown eyes look huge.

Great, they were sending ingénues for reporters now. Didn’t matter, he wasn’t buying into it. “Well, Patience Kennedy, this is the men’s locker room. You aren’t supposed to be in here. Tell whatever rag you’re working for the whole sex kitten thing is wasted on me.” There, that should send her running in…

One.

Two.

The young woman erupted off her seat in the most interesting flurry of bounces and wriggles. Hands on hips, she glared at him in all her bifocaled glory. “That is a horrible, sexist thing to say.” Her eyes lowered to his bare chest and the towel tucked haphazardly around his hips. She jerked her gaze up, cheeks flushing a becoming pink. “This is a misunderstanding. My boss suggested I come down and introduce myself after your practice. I wasn’t expecting…” Her hands flapped in front of her like a frightened peacock attempting to take flight.

Unexpectedly, he grinned. “Never see a naked man before, Patience Kennedy?” He double-checked the towel and chuckled when she sealed her eyes shut. “Don’t worry, your virtue is safe with me.” The smile faded. “I learn from my mistakes.” He looked around for his clothes, realized he’d left them in his locker and Kennedy stood in his path.

“I wish I could say this has been fun, but…” He waited until she reopened her eyes, then jerked his chin in the direction of the other room.

She tipped her head and a heavy sweep of chestnut hair slipped over her shoulder to cover the plump fullness of her breast—not that he was looking. “Sorry?”

He saw the moment the lightbulb went on. Her eyes widened and her mouth made an oh that hooked his attention. She had a beauty mark. “My clothes are behind you—unless you plan on holding me hostage until you get your story?” And why the hell did that not sound like a bad idea?

She jumped out of his way and promptly twisted an ankle on the wet bricks. “Ouch,” she cried, leaning over to cradle the injury.

That damn sweater was too small, her breasts were hanging out of the top, jiggling with every pained breath she took. He was such a pervert. He crouched to get a closer look at the injury, tucking the towel between his legs. Yep, she’d sprained it. Who came into a locker room in three-inch heels anyway?

“You’d better sit down. You can’t walk on it like that.” He rose and took her elbow, frowning when she jerked away.

“Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do. It’s fi… fine,” she groaned as she put her weight on the foot in question. Her face paled and she reached behind her for the bench, easing her rump down. “Dammit, what else can go wrong?”


If you’d like to find out how these two survive themselves and the crazy Olivia, check out The Player releasing Feb 28th!

The Player: Men of WarHawks- Book 2

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083CZVVLG

International: https://books2read.com/ThePlayer

TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50439233-the-player

Recommend on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-player-men-of-warhawks-book-2-by-jacquie-biggar

Sometimes, love happens when we least expect it…

NHL defenseman Roy Donaldson lives for the game. When an ex-girlfriend/stalker causes trouble for the team, Roy gets benched.

And the only way he can return to the rotation…? Accept help from sassy, sexy PA Patience Kennedy.

Patience is one step away from a junior partnership– all she needs to do is restore a sullen, annoying, attractive hockey player’s image.

Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Early Reviews

Oh this one took a surprising turn and I couldn’t put it down. I won’t give any spoilers but it is a doozy! It is well written and a nice blend of sports player, strong woman, romance,a touch of humor, twists, family and yes, suspense!

Bookbub reviewer- The Player

I love sports stories (especially hockey ones) and Jacquie gives us Roy who gets sidelined from NHL thanks to his stalker ex so he ends up needing some little help from a PA Patience … so you can imagine the good laughs and antics and aww moments she mixed up for us and to be frank, I think the story would have deserved to be longer! I for sure will keep my eyes open for more by Jacquie!

Bookbub Reviewer- Irresistible Valentine Anthology