Author of Sweet Hope and Happy Endings

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Book Birthday! A Promise To Keep

I’m happy to celebrate fellow Anaiah Press and Canadian author friend, Melony Teague’s book birthday! I’m about halfway through her 2020 debut read, A Promise To Keep.

If you look really hard at the book cover, you might notice a shared North American heritage site – Niagara Falls.

Happy book birthday Melony! Now over to you….

Thanks for having me on your blog, Ann!

Why I Love Reunion Romances

First off, I have a confession to make.

I am a hopeless romantic. I just can’t fathom reading a story where there isn’t some sort of love story. Whether it be a story of a developing relationship between a couple, or the love story of how a parent loves their child with that parental love, or how someone loves someone with that unconditional and sacrificial love. For me, there’s always gotta be love in there somewhere.

Which brings me to why I love second-chance romances.

First, as a reader, I love the idea of a second chance at love. After loss, the optimist and romantic in me wants to see another happy conclusion.

As an author, I love reunion, or second chance romances because the romance usually kicks off with a pair who have known each other before and have a history of some sort. Whether that is a past relationship or friendship or even if they were enemies, I love the fact that the story can kick off with a bang without the need for small talk and the characters getting to know each other. These kinds of stories lend themselves to the characters having some sort of issue they need to work through in order to move forward.

In A Promise to Keep, Savannah is a newly widowed woman. Not only does he have to learn to love and care for herself again, but she has to overcome her fears. Some of them are rooted in the fact that she’s getting over the trauma of watching her cancer ridden husband deteriorate and has been his caregiver for years, and some of it is because she’s wounded and vulnerable. Savannah is afraid to get hurt again.

Enter Michael, who had his heart broken in the past, and we have two characters who have issues. Michael is not the reckless troublemaker that he was in high school and Savannah is taken back by the change in him.
I loved figuring out just how they’d sort it all out and Michael is the perfect counter act to Savannah. Can you say, opposites attract?

Readers, what do you think? Do you prefer strangers to lovers or second-chance romances?

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Promise. A High School Reunion. And a pact that proves harder to keep.

Research librarian Savannah Sanderson wants nothing more than to escape into her happily-ever-after novels with their larger-than-life fictional heroes. But a promise to her late husband has her attending her dreaded twenty-year high school reunion, drinking ghastly punch, and taking desperate measures just to keep her vow, even if she has to hide behind the décor to do it.

Once a reckless troublemaker, Michael McCann fled town after graduation. Now a professional technical rescuer, he’s back for the reunion, but on his trip down memory lane, he soon comes face to face with unresolved issues, namely Savannah. Before the night is over, a pact between these two old friends will lead them on an adventure into uncharted emotional territory where Michael must confront his past regrets and find the courage to reveal the truth. But can Savannah fly from her sheltered nest and risk her heart on a real-life hero?

LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT OF CHAPTER ONE of A PROMISE TO KEEP HERE

ABOUT MELONY

Melony Teague is a freelance writer who believes everyone has a story to tell. As co-author of As the Ink Flows, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words. With foamy lattes in-hand, she writes Contemporary Romance with a dash of humor. Though she has no hobbies outside of reading, writing, and eating chocolate, she is a member of ACFW and The Word Guild. She teaches seniors in her community to write their memoirs. She confesses with no shame that she has a strong belief that pumpkin pie is an acceptable breakfast food since it’s mostly vegetables. Her Fiction Debut, A Promise to Keep, released in Jan 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her husband, their two teenagers, and two cats who think they’re humans.

Connect: Website Facebook GoodReads

ENTER TO WIN THE GIVEAWAY HERE

Find the full blog schedule with other fun posts here.

2021 Reads On My TBR List

As a book reviewer, I’m blessed to have access to books not released yet to the public. With the privilege comes a responsibility to read and give an honest review of the novels coming out.

And you lucky reader, have access to all of my book reviews here on the blog.

Some books I’ve already reviewed. Others, I haven’t read yet but they are definitely on my WTR list – Want To Read.

2021 Releases I Can’t Wait to Read

Top Reads of 2020

Despite the global pandemic, not all of 2020 was bad.

When looking back through my book list of books read, I’m surprised at how many are on my list. My goal of reading 24 books through the year was shattered. It’s a new record for me and probably one I likely won’t repeat as the world opens up again.

2020 was a special year for me. My debut novel, Snowbound in Winterberry Falls released on November 6. If you haven’t read it, you should try it (of course, I’m not biased… wink).

But all joking aside, here are the books, in no particular order that I enjoyed and would put in my TBRA pile – To Be Read Again.

Contemporary

Suspense/Procedural

Historical/Regency

Christmas

Worth Mentioning

These books were interesting reads, but didn’t quite make it in my I’ll definitely read these again category (but there’s also a good possibility I will). They were totally worth the investment of time I made reading them.

I have a bunch more books on my bookshelf to read that released in 2020, but I didn’t have time to get to them. I hope to read them as time permits and will post reviews either on my blog or at least a starred review on GoodReads.

How about you? Are any of these books on your list?

WRITING THE EPIC NOVEL

From Idea to Publication: The Journey of a Published Novel

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels
Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

The opening scene.

It has to be catchy and grab your reader’s attention from the very first sentence. Never open with a dream sequence. Never start with a character driving back home. Never talk about the weather. And the list. Goes. On.

Talk about pressure for writing a novel you hope to publish someday!

Well. I have to admit, I did break some of those rules but after MUCH study of other novels which have done the same. I wrote my first chapter and revised it several times before I found a satisfying opening. Not long after I wrote my first chapter, I took an agent boot camp where an agent reviewed my first ten pages and gave feedback on that passage. This was a tremendous help to me and after making the suggested changes, I started entering contests. To my surprise (and delight) my entry placed in two of four contests entered. With all the feedback I received, I worked the section more until I just couldn’t squeeze anything else out of it on my own.

By the time I’d entered the third contest, the full manuscript had been written. I used my romance beats, my character sketches and the feedback from contest entries to work through the story. It took from the end of January to the end of June to write all 50,000 words of what would be considered a short contemporary romance novel.

Research Takes Time

What eats away at writing time is finding all those little details. For example, my heroine is Type 1 diabetic. I had to do a lot of research on the disease itself to make sure my facts lined up. Having been gestational diabetic for three pregnancies and having a grandmother who was type 1, I was able to draw from personal experiences. But it’s been awhile since I’ve had to track my glucose levels or manage proper diet and my grandmother has long since passed away. What snack would I likely have on hand at all times in my purse? If sugars are low, what are my symptoms? If sugars are too high, what are my symptoms? How do I fill the needle with insulin or glucagon? Things like that would pull me away from writing a scene until I had that one little tiny detail to add. I might need it for one sentence. Perhaps the sentence is better left out, perhaps not.

Either way, researching the details makes a huge difference in your overall story. Readers will catch you if you’re wrong (as one judge did when I entered my story in a contest – I made the changes as per her suggestions since she IS type 1!).

Have The Essentials Ready

Basically, I found the story wrote itself. Having the beats somewhat figured out and knowing the background (or backstory) of characters, the narrative took me where it wanted to. I just had to plant myself in my seat and press my fingers to the keys.

For this planner (or maybe sometimes plantser), having my outline, beats and character sketches helped tremendously in the writing process.

BONUS TIP

Oh, and one tip that’s been invaluable I came across – never end your writing session with punctuation. End it mid-sentence so you have some place to start when you sit down the next time to write. I can’t tell you how many times that little piece of advice came in handy. So if there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be that.

2020 DEBUT AUTHORS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

2020 has been a challenging year – I don’t think I need to convince you of that. For some of us, 2020 was supposed to be the year we FINALLY did it. When we finally saw our dreams realized of becoming traditionally published authors.

But it hasn’t exactly been an easy year to release a book into the world.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

No book signings. No in person launch parties. No book tours or book talks.

Nothing that resembled the kind of year many of us expected it to be as we put the final touches on our books.

So, instead – we got together for support and encouragement. And two of our amazing members put this holiday gift guide together – a book and suggested pairings.

Have a book lover to buy for? Flip through our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide to find something for the bookworm(s) in your life.

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

As a bonus: stop by 2020 Debuts Facebook page for daily feature books.

AND wait…there’s more!

On Friday, November 27, 2020 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm EST, The Write Review will be speaking with authors about the 2020 Gift Guide. Details can be found on the 2020 Debuts Facebook Page.

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