The authors of Enchanted Publications have come together for a fun giveaway hop to celebrate Halloween. Trick or treat to each author’s stop for a chance to win eBooks, signed paperbacks and..
A GRAND PRIZE $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD!!
Just visit any of the stops listed below between October 26th and October 31st to enter that author’s giveaway. Then head to the next stop and enter to win more awesome prizes – including the $50 Amazon gift card!
We’re right in the middle of election season (don’t worry, no politics allowed on this blog… well, apart from fictional politics), so what better time to take a look at the fabulous Politically Incorrect by Jeanne McDonald. Jeanne is a friend, colleague and all-round-fabulous person, and when I received an ARC to read I was pretty much bouncing off the walls.
If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at the book yet, scroll down for more information, and the buy links, plus the fabulous rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom. Enjoy!
Title: Politically Incorrect
Author: Jeanne McDonald
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Sex. Lies. Greed. Power. Scandal. Politics.Political strategist, Elizabeth McNeal has been called a lot of things throughout her career—bitch being at the top of the list—but she doesn’t let it get to her. She’s bold, she’s blunt, and she takes orders from no one. This is how she’s survived working in a man’s world. She’s the master of diversion, and her specialty is winning an election—no matter the cost.
That is, until she meets her new client, Democratic candidate, Congressman William Baxter. Kind, considerate, insanely handsome, honest, and ten years her junior, he’s a unicorn among politicians. He infuriates her. He challenges her. Most of all, he makes her see past the scandalous world of politics and helps her to discover the heart of the woman inside her.
With sparks flying between them and the election rapidly approaching, the last thing either of them need is to be caught in a compromising position. Some lines are meant to be crossed and some rules broken, but for Elizabeth and Liam is it worth the cost of being politically incorrect?
My brain was on overload. His close proximity was killing my resolve. I pushed back against the very thing I wanted the most – to simply give into my desires. The pragmatic side of me took over, scratching and clawing to regain control.
“Congressman, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been busy doing what you hired me to do.”
“I did hire you for a job. And I’ve been satisfied with you, until today.”
“I beg your pardon?” I gasped.
“I’ve just spent the last several hours selling you like you’re God himself. Not to mention all the hours I’ve invested in this campaign.”
“All of that’s true, and I thank you, but at this moment I don’t really care about the campaign.” He chuckled, taking a step forward, forcing my back against the lockers. I hit the metal with an oomph. My hands flattened against the cold steel. My eyes darted to the left and then to the right. This was bad. So bad. I began to freak over what our little standoff might look like to the media.
“Liam, we can’t do this here. What about the media?” I tried to push him back, but his large form wouldn’t budge.
“I don’t care,” he stated intensely.
“But I do. After tonight’s rally…” The corner of Liam’s mouth quirked upward. “Forget the rally or the media. Tell me why you’re avoiding me.”
He dipped his head, his lips brushing the shell of my ear. I withered at the feel of his tongue flicking my earlobe. All control was gone now. Kaput. Vanished. I was falling apart in his arms, which was the complete opposite of how he appeared to be.
Teeth grazed along my neck, a flick of his tongue followed. A small squeak and a heavy gasp expelled from me. My hands reached around his back, digging into the fabric of his jacket.
“Because I can’t resist you anymore.”
Damn him for being able to pull the truth out of me.
Jeanne McDonald is an author, a mother, a wife, a student of knowledge and of life, a coffee addict, a philosophy novice, a pop culture connoisseur, inspired by music, encouraged by words, and a believer in true love. When she’s not spending time with her family, she can be found reading, writing, enjoying a great film, chatting with friends or diligently working toward her bachelor’s degree in literature. A proud Texan, Jeanne currently resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her family.
Ernest Hemingway once said that “Writing, at it’s best, is a lonely life.” and it’s as good a description as any of the lifestyle that many authors lead. The very essence of what we do requires us to sit at a table, or a desk, or with a laptop on our knees, and really concentrate on the words that we type onto the screen. The stories we write come from inside us — thoughts that sometimes are so deeply buried in our imagination that they take some coaxing to get out — and though we may talk about our stories, collaborate on them, share them with beta readers or friends, at the end of the day it’s still just us, our minds and a piece of paper.
However, if there’s one thing I’ve discovered about this writing life, it’s that there’s a community out there to suit everybody. Though the writing itself may require us to be alone, there’s so much more to an author’s life than this.
I first found my tribe when I was writing fan fiction. I posted my first few chapters, and somebody reviewed and suggested I friend them on Facebook (thanks Mere!). And through that one message, I found a community of literally hundreds of women who loved reading and writing the same kind of stories that I did. We became friends over the internet — on Facebook or twitter — and then as things grew, I met some of them face to face. Suddenly my quiet little writing world had exploded into glorious new friendships that still remain to this day.
When I became a published author, my friendship circles expanded again. First of all I met other indie authors — the most supportive and friendly bunch you could ever want to know. Then I met readers, cover designers, models, photographers, and all of us shared a true love of the writing world. We started organising signings — weekend long events where authors, readers, editors and models would all mingle together. We drink wine and dance and have a great time. (If you want to see where I’ll be signing in the next 2 years, check my news page out).
Then, after Fix You was published, I joined the Romance Novelists’ Association, and found a whole new tribe. The RNA has amazing Christmas and Summer parties that so many wonderful authors attend, and also has local chapters that meet regularly. I belong to my local (Chelmsford) chapter, and we meet monthly for lunch and a chat. It’s one of the highlights of my month.
So now if I go back to Hemingway’s quote, I can see how narrow it is in its scope. Of course the actual act of writing can be lonely, but the writer’s life can be anything but. Whether you’re an author, a photographer, or have any other kind of interest, there’s a tribe out there just waiting for you to join them. They may be on Facebook, they may be on twitter, they may be on a whole other site I don’t even know about. But look for them, find them, join in. There’s nothing more satisfying that finding a group of people who share your passion. I know, because I’ve found my tribe!
Last year I was proud to be part of a charity anthology raising money for MIND, a wonderful mental health charity here in the UK. This year I’ve teamed together with 13 other authors to raise money for another deserving charity – the NSPCC (a national children’s charity). Each of us have written a short story that revolves around bullying from different perspectives. The book will be released on November 14th, but is already up for pre-order here.
Want to know more about the anthology? Please read on…
Introducing . . .
To coincide with National Anti-Bullying Week in the UK, 14 writers have come together to write about bullying from a variety of perspectives. We think this is still an issue that needs more of a spotlight – now more than ever unfortunately. Forget what you read in the media, these stories will tell you what is really going on in schools, behind closed doors and in places you never thought to look. The pressures our social workers face when it comes to bullying and abuse are immense but it doesn’t stop there. Sometimes bullying gets brought to the attention of head teachers, or the police, then the parents (of both the bully and bullied). Maybe a friend steps in. Maybe a stranger steps in. Or even a family pet. So many people are affected by the malicious acts of one or more instigators and the cycle threatens to repeat.
Perhaps, bullying doesn’t stop though. Ever. Maybe it ends in death. Maybe we can’t break the cycle, or can we? Perhaps bullying isn’t straightforward; maybe it’s sometimes mistaken for jest. You really need to read on… because bullying isn’t an issue limited to childhood. It’s all around us and sometimes escalates into devastating abuse. Sometimes it’s verbal, sometimes physical, maybe even both, but whichever form it comes in, it always has an impact. These stories might make you reach out to a certain person in your life you’ve never really questioned until now – because most victims are still suffering in silence. This is for them.
When I read all of these stories, I was reminded how amid the hustle and bustle of life, it’s so easy to overlook those around us who are coping on their own and not telling us what’s going on in their lives. Each and every story presented here is individual, many of them set in the UK and some set in the USA.
Essentially, this is a book of hope. This is a book proving we can break the cycle. Maybe it won’t be easy, but we can do it. Some of these stories may send you into sensory overload and some may even leave you devastated. Some stories will lift you up, others might prompt you into action. Many will have you nodding your head or being taken back to a familiar scenario of the past.
The main message of “Break the Cycle”, is that children are what matters and as children, we are at our most vulnerable and most easily influenced. It’s those less fortunate than others that we really need to protect because among them are potential future leaders, policemen and women, teachers, poets, artists and icons.
Due to some adult language and upsetting situations, I would give this a recommended reading age of 12+ but parental discretion is advised.
Recently I’ve been trying to improve my health. Simple steps like drinking less wine, and trying to walk 10,000 steps a day. It’s amazing how having a sedentary job can help pile on the pounds, and I’m hoping that a few tweaks here and there will counter the sitting around all day! Anyway, as part of my plan, I’ve started to listen to writing podcasts as I walk. Most of them last for around an hour, which is enough time for me to get in around 8,000 steps (I do the final 2000 steps at night).
This week I listened to Joanna Penn’s latest podcast about creating a successful author mindset. She gives a lot of great tips, which I won’t repeat here, but if you’re a writer and suffer from doubt, prevarication, or any of the other things that actually stop us from getting the words on the page, I urge you to give her podcast a listen.
Anyway, one thing that really struck me in her podcast was when she mentioned Imposter Syndrome. Her brief allusion to the way that success can make you feel like a failure really struck a chord with me, and made me want to learn more.
According to Wikipedia (and I don’t have to repeat that Wiki isn’t always the best source for information, but I will anyway!) the term Imposter Syndrome was was coined in 1978 by psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. In essence it refers to a state of mind where you’ve achieved something, but have failed to internalise the achievement. Instead, you tend to think you’re a fraud and that you didn’t deserve the success.
Looking back, I can see a number of times I’ve suffered from something similar to this, and it explains a lot about my mindset. Not just in writing, but also in other aspects of my life. And though I’m no doctor, it may well explain some of these experiences I’ve had.
The first time I can really remember feeling this way was back when I was ten years old. I was learning to play the clarinet (though I was never very good) and I had to go through an audition to attend a music school on a Saturday morning. Long story short, I passed, but one of my friends who was better than me didn’t. My first thought — they’ve got us mixed up, and as soon as I arrive at school they’ll tell me there’s a problem and send me home.
Of course they didn’t tell me that. And quite honestly, I wasn’t much of a success at the clarinet either. Suffice to say I left a couple of years later and never played the clarinet again!
In more recent times, being a published author has brought some of these feelings to the surface once more. When people ask me how I managed to get where I am, I tend to tell them I was in the right place at the right time. Not that I wrote a good book, or that it was worthy of getting published, but that I was lucky.
The problem is, if you think you’ve been lucky, what happens when your luck runs out? In the mind of somebody suffering from Imposter Syndrome, that’s when they get ‘found out’. People will suddenly realise the Emperor is wearing no clothes and laugh at them. And even though I have an agent, a book published in six different languages, and another four contracted for publication from 2017, I still feel that way.
According to Wiki, Imposter Syndrome is particularly found among high achievers, and though it’s prevalent in both genders, women are more willing to own up to it than men. I know from speaking with many of my writer friends that I’m not alone in feeling this way, as I wonder if the next book is the one where people will realise I’m a fraud. The saddest part is that it stops us from enjoying our successes, because they’re always tempered with a fear that they cannot continue.
So what do we do if we suffer from Imposter Syndrome? This article from Psychology Today suggests we go public about it (hence this post). It also suggests that a certain level of impostership is healthy, as it helps us remain humble. This article from the Shriver Report suggests 10 ways to battle these feelings, including internalising the external validation, talking to like-minded people, and taking stock of your success. In all the articles I’ve read, what comes through is that by talking about it, we lessen the effect of what we’re going through. As with so many mind-based issues, suffering in silence is the worst thing we can do.
So today I’m going to go and look at my books and hold them in my hand and tell myself that I made these. They have some wonderful reviews (as well as a few one stars) but each time somebody contacts me to tell me they loved them, I need to realise they’re talking about my words making a difference in their lives.
How about you — does any of this ring true for you? What do you plan to do today to make yourself realise that, in the words of Aibileen in The Help (Kathryn Stockett) “You is kind, you is smart, you is important”?
Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna DaSie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week we’re talking about the fall television schedules. What TV shows are we watching, and why do we love them?
I’m a sucker for a good TV show. I think I was born with square eyes, and my earliest memories (apart from reading) revolve around great television shows. Of course in those days there weren’t a lot of Kids TV programmes, but I didn’t care. As long as it moved and was on the screen, I was happy to watch it.
Nowadays I’m a little more discerning, but as soon as the Autumn TV schedule starts, I’m still like an over-excited puppy with a new toy. Here are a few of the shows that have grabbed my attention this autumn, and the reasons why!
1. The Fall (BBC)
This BBC crime drama stars Gillian Anderson (with a British accent that is 100% better than mine) as a talented police detective, and the rather scarily good looking Jamie Dornan as the serial killer she’s hunting. Over here it’s on the third series, and the first episode begins with Jamie’s character, Paul Spectre, in hospital with a gunshot wound, while Stella Gibson (Gillian’s character) is being questioned for her poor handling of his shooting.
I’ve loved this show from the start (and if you have Netflix, you can catch up on all the seasons). Its dark portrayal of Belfast as a city under the threat of a serial rapist and killer has me on the edge of my seat. It’s scary, thrilling, and easy to get lost in. Can’t miss TV!
2. Victoria (ITV)
I’ve always been a fan of historical dramas, and this portrayal of a young Queen Victoria (from her rise to the throne at the age of 19), is fast becoming one of my favourites. It has all the elements; a coming of age story, as Victoria grows into her role, a romance between Victoria and her German cousin, Albert, plus some drama and intrigue as various enemies conspire against her. In my books, I love writing about strong heroines with mountains to climb, and they don’t get much stronger than this!
3. Marvel’s Luke Cage (Netflix)
I’m secretly a bit of a comic-book lover, and when Marvel’s Luke Cage came onto Netflix this fall, I added it to my list of things to watch straight away. The story of an ex-convict who has superhuman strength (and skin a bullet can’t pierce) it’s the ultimate story of good versus evil.