Melissa Baldwin is an avid runner, planner obsessed, and has always had a love for writing. She is a wife, mother, and avid journal keeper who took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember...or Forget. Melissa writes about charming, ambitious, and real women and is now a published author of seven Romantic Comedy novels and novellas.
When she isn't deep in the writing zone, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy spending time with her family, chauffeuring her daughter, traveling, running, indulging in fitness, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.
Long ago I gave up my dreams of creating the perfect hair-bows for my daughter or learning how to sew my own designer gowns. And after many failed attempts at making the yummiest gourmet recipes found on Pinterest, I accepted that frozen pizza is okay once in a while. Speaking of Pinterest, those boards are still full of crafting and organization ideas that I have yet to implement into my busy life. I do consider myself a master at multi-tasking, but even I have sat in the middle of my bedroom floor doing the ugly-cry. I remember many days that I asked myself what else am I supposed to be doing?
It was New Year’s Day 2014, I began that day at the gym, climbing the dreaded revolving stairs trying to loose the many pounds of holiday treats I’d consumed between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. I was even listening to Tony Robbins in search of the ultimate method to motivate me. It was at some point during those forty minutes that I asked myself this question… “What do you love to do? Find that and do it.”
That’s all I remember. At that point I was ready to chase after my dreams and for once actually catch them.
Six months later I finished writing the book I had started over and over again. And with the help and advice from a wonderful friend, I published it.
What an amazing feeling! I still remember the day that I held the beautiful paperback in my hands. My eyes filled with tears as I flipped through the pages that I created. I actually did it, I followed through with something I had always thought about doing but never thought I could. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say… Oh I could never do that or I wish I could do this?”
The worst part is that it never stops, no matter how much we grow, learn and accomplish our tasks. We will always want to be better. This is not a bad thing as long as we’re happy with where we are in the present. We can continue to strive to accomplish our goals and when we do, we can add another to that never-ending bucket list.
Since publishing my first novel in 2014, I haven’t stopped writing. I just finished the first draft of my tenth book. In March, I signed a contract with my publisher for two more books coming in 2018. The story ideas are endless and I love every second of it.
I have to say my favorite part of becoming an author has been the friendships I’ve made and the many talented authors I have met along the way. Next up on my bucket list, to meet the one and only Sophie Kinsella. If I’ve learned anything on this journey, it’s that anything can happen.
To Spring with Love
To Spring With Love: A Novella
Summer Peters is thrilled to be done with the frigid winter. Spring is in the air, and she’s ready for a fresh new start. Her career is thriving, she’s searching for a new place to live, and she’s finally ready to take her relationship with Alexander Williams to the next level.
What she doesn’t expect is to be blindsided by Alexander’s assistant, Melanie, who seems to be up to her old tricks, even stooping as low as dating Summer’s ex-boyfriend, Jake. Once again, Summer is faced with the dilemma of having to share Alexander with a woman who’s out to destroy their relationship.
To add to these challenges, she receives devastating news from her best friend, Angie. At a critical time when she may need her best friend the most, she learns Angie may not be there for her. She quickly realizes that she may need to lean on someone she never expected during this time of change.
Continue to follow Summer on her wild one-year journey in this third book of the Seasons of Summer Novella Series. Stay tuned for the final installment coming Summer 2017.
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Where to Buy To Spring with Love
Cristina Hodgson, mother of two, born in Wimbledon, London, currently lives in southern Spain. Cristina had a long career in sport, reaching national and international level and still actively participates in Triathlon races and enjoys outdoor activities. In her spare time she also enjoys reading and writing. She won a sports scholarship to Boston College. After a period in Boston, she returned to the UK and graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Sports Science.
A LITTLE OF CHANTELLE ROSE is her debut novel. Amazingly, it has nothing to do with running!
My debut novel, which was released just recently, was actually written thirteen years ago. After graduating from Loughborough University with a degree in Sports Science, I travelled and worked in various jobs. One of which was as an extra in a British produced gangster film which was filmed in Nerja, Spain. It goes without saying that my sport mechanics and kinetic energy knowledge wasn't put to maximum potential in this part-time job. But it was certainly a fun and unique experience, but most importantly it gave me an idea.
A year later I sat down and within three months I had written my 90 K novel. Little did I know that what I'd achieved was actually the easy part. The road to publication was about to begin and it was going to be a long and almost impossible journey.
Thirteen years ago, the publishing industry was still largely virgin to e-books. It was all print and the Big Four book publishing houses only accepted manuscripts through agents. And agents only accepted printed copies of the first three chapters that had to be sent with a query letter and a S.A.E. I was living in Spain and the postal cost to send my work to the UK was quite expensive. I carefully went through a list of agents accepting fiction in my genre, contemporary women's romantic comedy and selected just a handful to send my work to. I remember excitedly posting off my work in the innocent belief that I'd get accepted straight away.
What I didn't know is that most agents and publishers can receive up to 40 + query letters per day. Now, I’ve never been a whiz at arithmetic, but this is pretty basic maths: 40 x 5 (let’s make it a 5 day working week) = 200 manuscripts per week. Your basic agent's staff will be working a 40 hour week. That’s 5 query letters to get through per hour . Dedicating an average of 12 minutes (not counting "wee" stops) per letter, (opening/ reading and deciding course of action). It takes me longer just trying to decide which shoes to wear in the mornings! So it’s quite a feat to get through all those submissions on a daily basis! And of course all the agents that I had so painstakingly selected, rejected me. I was disheartened to say the least and gave up, pushing from my mind all thoughts of getting my work published.
The years went by and the manuscript sat in a corner collecting dust. Until a couple of years ago, when my dad, who'd read the original manuscript and loved it (as only dad's can of course) encouraged me try and get it published again. I now found myself in a full time job, with two young children to look after, never mind the house work / cooking and trying to keep up some sort of social life etc. etc. and it took me over a year to re-edit and up-date it.
This time I sent it straight to several small independent publishers who accepted non solicited and non agented work. With the emergence of e-books, the book market and the publication process had changed and developed. The up-front cost to produce an e-book is minimum and most paper back books are printed on demand. This in turn has led to the the growth of smaller Independent publishers more willing to give authors that golden chance.
So after months of e-mail torture and nail-biting web searching, I received the e-mail of my dreams; that my work has been accepted for publication! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is without a doubt one of the most magical and incredible moments that any author will feel in the road to publication.
It has taken me longer to find a publisher than it did for me to actually write my book! And I still sometimes sit in awe, and wonder if I have, in fact, dreamt the whole thing up!
The first step is to have a dream, the second is to make it a reality! Believe in yourself, believe in your work….
One author who I greatly admire and would have loved to have met, is Agatha Christie. Not just because of her world renowned writing talent, best known for her 66 detective novels, 150 short stories and her famous sleuths Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple, but also because her fascinating life outside the literary world.
A Little of Chantelle Rose
At the age of twenty-four, Chantelle Rose has all a city girl can expect: a tiny bed-sit in South London, a lousy poorly-paid job, a tyrannical boss, and quite a few exes added to an ever-growing list.
Desperate for change, she becomes an extra in a seedy crime film. When that leads to the opportunity of a lifetime – a role to play with a million dollars to win and seemingly nothing to lose – she accepts without thinking twice. After all, what could possibly go wrong? In any event, she´ll earn enough to buy her dream home, set up her own business and never worry about money again.
And what about love? Two men have won her heart: Robbie – sultry, silent, mysterious; and Lionel – Hollywood heart-throb, charm, wealth, adventure.
But who can she trust? Who is bent on scaring her away, and why?
There seems to be more at stake than just her heart. Will a million dollars be worth it?
Where to Buy A Little of Chantelle Rose
Jennie Marts is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”
She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.
Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.
Hi there. I’m Jennie Marts. I’m a hybrid author from Colorado that is sadly addicted to Diet Coke and Cheetos and wishes that typing burned more calories.
I started writing as a career about seven years ago. I’d always considered myself a writer and had dreamed of someday writing a book. As my kids were getting ready to graduate and leave the nest, I was evaluating what was next for me now that my role of mom was changing and decided to just go for it. And I’m thrilled and so happy that I did.
I knew that I wanted my first book to be fun and light and to be filled with scenes that conveyed laughter, romance, the friendship of women, and a little mystery and intrigue.
I independently published my first book, Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body, at the very end of 2012. It was the first in my romantic comedy/cozy mystery Page Turners series. The series is about a group of women in a book club who search for clues and romance while eating really great desserts. Each book follows a different woman in the book club and the first is about Sunny, an ordinary schoolteacher who discovers that dating can be deadly as she goes on six blind dates and one of them might be with a murderer.
After indie-pubbing my first book, I got my first three-book deal with Entangled Publishing for the Hearts of Montana series. These books follow my passion for stories set in small towns with warm summer nights, spunky heroines, and hot, hot cowboys. Tucked Away, the first book is about a city girl who inherits a farm in Montana and discovers a lonely teenage girl, a goat named Clyde, a super-cute cowboy, and a place she can finally call home. Hidden Away and Stolen Away complete that set.
After that, I became a true hybrid, splitting my books between traditional publishing and indie-publishing. I continued to write the Page Turner mysteries, but also branched out into a series of hockey-playing brothers in the Bannister Brothers series and hunky Colorado country boys in the Cotton Creek Romantic Comedy series. And I now have written nineteen books and have seventeen published, and have a new three book cowboy series debuting with Sourcebooks Casablanca next spring.
I knew that I wanted this writing career and have gone after it with all I have. One of the key things that changed my life and turned my writing career around was when I discovered writing sprints and found my ‘sprinting tribe’. The concept seems so simple: set a timer and write during a set amount of focused time. But having the support and accountability of the others in my sprinting group makes all the difference. And suddenly I went from writing two books a year to writing four to six books a year.
Learning to sprint really changed everything for me, so I decided to write my first non-fiction book, and created a Writing Sprints Journal, a way to manage your time and increase your writing productivity. I published the journal last month and hope that it helps other writers in their journey. You can find my Writing Sprints Journal here: http://a.co/dPGMjff .
I think the world of publishing has changed so much and so fast that as writers we feel the need to write faster just to keep up. The support I’ve received from my sprint partners has been tremendous. I truly believe having a group of writer friends, whether in person or online is one of the best gifts that a writer can give themselves. And the romance industry is great at supporting each other.
My tagline is love, laughter, and always a happily ever after, and I love to make readers laugh and cry and fall in love with a swoony hero. I have been inspired by writers like Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich. I adore Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and when I met her in person the first time, I started crying as I tried to tell her how much she inspired me. She was, of course, wonderful and gracious and simply gave me a smile and a hug. I’d like to be her when I grow up.
For now, I’ll keep writing stories about cute cowboys and hot hockey players who fall for cupcake bakers and the coach’s daughter. My newest release is Skirting The Ice, the third book in the Bannister Brothers series and this one is so much fun because the heroine is actually the hockey player and the hero is Jack, the third brother who is a cute-as-sin nerd. Murphy is wild and reckless and Jack is steady and solid, and declares his love in a math equation.
This book is so much fun. You can find it on Amazon at: http://a.co/bNUWvKn and the whole Bannister Brothers series is Free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
I love to hear from readers. You can find me on Facebook at Jennie Marts Books, or Twitter at @JennieMarts. And visit www.jenniemarts.com to sign up for my newsletter and keep up with the latest sales and new releases.
Skirting the Ice
"The Bannister Brothers series has everything I love...hockey, humor, and heart!" - Kristin Miller- New York TimesBestselling author
Buttoned-up accountant Jack Bannister lives an uncomplicated life until his teenage crush moves back into the house next door—all grown up and sexy as hell. Murphy Ryan is still wild and reckless, and danger has followed her to Colorado. Jack will do whatever it takes to protect her, even it means letting her go…again.
Murphy Ryan is focused on building a new NHL women’s hockey team. But staying on her game is hard with the distraction, and the memories, of the hot nerd in the house next door. Jack Bannister had been her first kiss, and she wants him to be her last. With his dry humor and sexy glasses, being smart never looked so good.
Jack’s been given a chance to win back the one that got away, but worries this gorgeous hockey player is still out of his league. He’s kept his heart on ice, but now that Murphy’s back, she might be the one to finally thaw it.
Where to Buy Skirting the Ice
Originally from small-town Southeast Texas, Natalie Giarratano earned her MFA & Ph.D. in creative writing from Western Michigan University. She is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, February 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Sakura Review, Beltway Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, Best New Poets, and TYPO, among others. A multi-genre editor, she lives near the foothills of Northern Colorado with her partner, their daughter, and old-man pup.
Maybe it was the poet in me who would cry at slow songs as a child because the music seemed sad (no matter what the lyrics might convey). Maybe the writer began in between Ramona and Beezus in a Beverly Cleary book or lost within the ornate descriptions of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. As a child, I read whatever I could get my hands on. And the worlds I created in my head were so much less bleak than the one created by my narcissistic father who could knock down his four daughters with a few stunting words. But I loved words. I wanted them to work for me, not against me. Writing stories and later on poetry became ways to reclaim and repurpose language.
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.
Be My Guest!
#WhatsYourStory? Are you an author? I'd love to hear your story and so would my readers. Email me for more information.