Favourite Reads of 2020

2020 was an odd year for reading. I usually read on average a book or two a week. This year I went through phases were I didn’t read for ages then I read five books in a week. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourites from the past twelve months.

They are in no particular order. (Well, technically I’ve put them in alphabetical order)

  • A Match Made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau
  • Demons Do It Better by Louisa Masters
  • Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera
  • Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman
  • Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole
  • Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspooon
  • The Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series by Kerry Greenwood – No lie, I read the entire series about three times this year.
  • Thicker Than Water by Becca Seymour

What about you?

What were some of your favourite reads this year?

Guest Post – Not So Bleak Winter

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Blurb:

Some Christmas surprises change everything.

Getting ready for a quiet Christmas as the vet on call, Rick got the surprise of a lifetime when a gorgeous woman appeared in his office with a bleeding deer in her arms. Not only is he able to learn about a world that he never knew existed, but maybe he is about to experience a Christmas miracle of his very own.

Link: mybook.to/NotSoBleakWinter

Price:  .99 cents

Excerpt:

With only five minutes until closing, he was in back cleaning when he heard the bell on the door ring. A frantic feminine voice called out, “Is someone here? I need help! Help!”

Rushing out, Rick saw the woman cradling a small deer in her arms as she sat on the floor. In just a few moments, a pool of blood had already formed and started to spread on the stark white tiles. For a moment, he wondered at how such a small woman could have carried a deer inside without help, but then he figured panic could cause endorphins to kick in. “What has happened? Was it hit by a car?” Rick knelt down to examine the animal.

“No, she was shot. Some bastard shot her, even though it’s way past hunting season. Plus, she was on my land to begin with,” the woman said, tears streaming down her face even as anger entered her voice.

Changing his approach to search for a gunshot, Rick got the shock of a lifetime when the deer seemed to yell, “Ouch!”

He had touched the wound and was checking for an exit wound when he stopped shocked. Then he shook his head; he must be hearing things. Getting back to work, he gently felt beneath the poor animal, and there he found the exit hole. “The bullet passed through. That’s good news. If I can get the bleeding stopped, then I can stitch her up, and she should be fine. I need to get her back to the operating room. I can handle it from here.” He picked the deer up and stood.

“I’m staying while you operate. I need to know that she will be fine,” the woman said, also standing and moving with him. “Besides, are you alone here? I can help. Just tell me what to do, and I will assist you as best I can.”

“Do you have any sort of medical training?” Rick started to argue, but then the deer in his arms turned its head towards him, and he almost dropped her. “What the hell?” he asked. The deer stared back at him with human eyes and a pained expression on an almost human face, but with the face of a deer mixed with it. “What kind of creature is this?” Despite his shock and confusion, he automatically kept walking towards the operating room. Whatever he held in his arms, he had to help the poor thing.

Author Links:

Website: https://authorsherivelarde.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSheriVelarde

What’s your writing kryptonite?

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I think every author has a kryptonite. An aspect of writing that is difficult for them. Or, at least, I DEFINITELY do.

I thought I’d share my kryptonite with you.

  1. Editing, in general. We hates it, precious. I mean, I love my editor (love you Liv!) but I hate editing.
  2. Commas.
  3. Commas.
  4. Commas.
  5. Forgetting a word and changing an entire paragraph to compensate so I can use another one.

What about you? What’s your kryptonite?

Character Exploration

What secondary characters do I wish I could explore?

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(Me to my muse.)

This is a dangerous topic to discuss. My muse has a habit of running away with me when I’m supposed to be focus on a specific story. But, I thought it would be fun to talk about the various secondary characters in all of my books that I wish I could’ve explored further or written something for.

I picked just three either individuals or couples. There were a few others but if I give my muse too much temptation, I might get myself into trouble.

1. Silus/Zeb

The first one who came to mind was Silus and Zeb from The Sin Bin. Remi’s cousin and Scottie’s little brother who develop a romance in The Lion Tamer. I’ve always wanted to write their romance, but things just didn’t work out there. Maybe one day.

2. Jesse

The second person who came to mind was Jesse from Found You.

Here’s the intro you get to Jesse in the book:

Jesse had lived in Key West for almost twenty-three years. He’d arrived on Dusk’s seventh birthday, having drifted ashore in a banged-up life raft, looking like a cross between Santa Claus and a starved pirate. The man had claimed to have no memory of where or when his boat had sunk or what his last name was. No one knew his true age or name, though he appeared now to be in his late sixties. A jack of all trades who had done stayed on the island, doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

I have ALWAYS wanted to delve deeply into the mysterious past of Jesse and what led up to him getting shipwrecked in Key West. Maybe one day.

3. Remi/Sara

A couple we see in The Sin Bin books. I’ve written a flash fiction for them at one point. But I think it would be brilliant to dip into their backgrounds. Remi and Sara both have some interesting family dramas to cope with. We only get the slightly hint about them in the series and again in Forged in Flood.

Honorable Mentions: Ahmed from The Misguided Confession, Dr. Gen from The Caretaker, and Bishan’s siblings in The Grasmere Trilogy.

My Editing Process

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I’m pretty sure my editor doesn’t think I have a process.

(She might be right. Love you, Liv!)

So…here’s what usually happens for me throughout editing.

  • It starts while I’m writing. I generally send each finished chapter to two of my betas. I find it helps me with keeping tracking of things, though that’s not always successful either.
  • Finish the book! (Yay! Collapse in a heap. Throw confetti. Have a nap.)
  • Do a round of edits.
  • Send to my last beta who works magic for me.
  • Do another round of edits.
  • Do a third round with Grammarly.
  • Submit my book to my publisher after whining endlessly about writing a synopsis.
  • Multiple rounds of edits with my editor and publisher.
  • So many rounds.
  • All the edits.

 

 

Choosing Favourites

AKA how many times can I use the word favourite in a blog post.

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One question I see a lot is ‘What’s your favourite book you’ve written?’

And I always try to avoid the question. How do you pick your favourite? Or maybe, the truth is how do you admit to having a favourite? Gasp. Horror.

I do have a few books that are at the top of my list.

From The Blackbird Series:

Lorcan.  Lorcan is definitely my favourite from the Blackbird Anthology. I adore Ronan and Lorcan. They were such fun to write. And they had the most interesting time together.

From The Sin Bin:

This one is tricky. I love the entire series and all of the couples. I think The Caretaker is my fave, though. There’s something about Freddie and Tens’ relationship that just stands out to me from the others.

From my Standalones:

Hmm. I had a rough time with this one. My standalones are all so varied and even in different genres. But of them all, Found You is probably the one I’d choose.

it was fun to write and some of the lines still make me laugh so hard.

From my Cozies:

Oh, this one hurts. Cozy mysteries are my preferred genre to read and to write most days. I think Poisoned Primrose is going to be at the top of my list. To be honest, it’s at the top of  the entire list (even though I put it last.) And it all boils down to Motts, the main character. She’s the best character I’ve ever developed. I adore her and the story.

Here Comes The Groom

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Weddings appear a few times in my novels. I’m one of those authors who honestly believe not every romance story needs to end with an engagement or wedding. Happily-ever-afters don’t always come with a ring and a ceremony.
Some of my couples have been happy without a paper saying they’re promised to one another. BC and Graham, for example, were perfectly content without a wedding. Bishan and Valor were quite vocal while I wrote the Grasmere series about it, as well.
I’ve personally been married twice. We won’t talk about the first one. =) Neither of my marriage involved actual ceremonies. My anxiety would not have handled a wedding ceremony/reception, and financially it wasn’t feasible anyway.
I did greatly enjoy the two weddings in the Sin Bin series. Planning those out was so much fun. I tried to honour the individuals and their backgrounds with the ceremonies, which required quite a bit of research on my part.
For Freddie and Taine, from The Caretaker, I wanted to combine Freddie’s Jewish heritage with Tens’ Maori/Samoan traditions. I also tied in a few Welsh aspects as well. I genuinely adored the Welsh lovespoon concept so I used it as well.
I loved their wedding. The haka performed by the Sin Bin lads. The literal cheese cake that Freddie drooled over. It was the perfect ceremony, reception, and honeymoon for the two of them.
The other wedding I planned in the Sin Bin was for Akash and Wyatt in The Royal Marine. Theirs was a lot easier. Wyatt wasn’t bothered. He didn’t have any traditions he cared to honor while Akash wanted to please his family.
Are you married? Did you have a big ceremony or just got hitched without all the drama?
(Image by Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay)