Ready for Romance? A Peek into My New WIP …

What happens when an arrogant, washed-up TV actor & a bestselling author with an extreme case of writer’s block come together?

In a word: Trouble.

Who’s ready for romance? I am knee deep in a new story about a bestselling author with writer’s block and a divorced television actor facing a dead-end career. In an attempt to escape their current realities, they flee to an isolated boardinghouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where they meet, butt heads, and end up passionately entangled. And assisting in their ill-advised romance is the sweet, middle-aged boardinghouse owner with her own idea about romance.

Add to the mix actor Roan’s two young children, author Tessa’s overprotective brother, and the romantic secrets of boardinghouse owner Magda’s past coming back to haunt her and this story is an absolute tornado of chaos, passion, and humor.

I am so excited about this book! Writing it has been an absolute delight so far. My transition from Historical to Contemporary only had a few bumps and, in all honesty, I haven’t actually made a full transition! I am also in the midst of writing the second book of an 18th century Historical Romance series. Both books are so different, it’s sometimes hard to keep up but I never did like writing the easy way.

NC Beach 2One of my favorite things about writing something new are all the inspiration pictures I get to gather. Believe it or not, pictures really do help the writing process. Sometimes, I sit down at my computer and there is a total lack of inspiration. Pictures go a long way to help get the first word, then a sentence, then, before you know it, a whole paragraph onto the page. I’ve always enjoyed finding some of the most beautiful pictures of scenery or characters to help me develop and advance in a novel.

In my current Contemporary WIP you will meet sweet introvert, Tessa Walker. A Tessabestselling author who would rather bury her nose in a book–or hide behind her laptop–than socialize, she finds herself at the mercy of her keyboard, unable to get a single word on the page for a novel that’s due in a month. Badgered by her intimidating agent, pushy publisher, and even by a few eager fans, Tessa flees her home in Manhattan for the quiet, secluded shores of Currituck County. There, she meets her warm, lovable hostess, Magda Campbell, who is quite certain the only thing Tessa needs for inspiration is a handsome man to sweep her off her feet.

Enter Roan Darrow, a washed-up television actor waiting with breath held for his agent to call with his next big role. Fifteen years on the same show didn’t make him, it broke Roanhim. Now, he isn’t seen as anything but the handsome ladies man he portrayed on screen and it’s killing his future. Living miles away from his two young children and with a bitter ex-wife who won’t let them come for their usual visit–again–all Roan wants is to escape his life, even if only for the summer. When he discovers the isolated boardinghouse in North Carolina, he thinks it’s the perfect place to hide. He never counts on running into a beautiful woman like Tessa Walker–or rather, walking in on her in the tub!

This is like nothing I’ve ever written before and I am so thrilled! These two opposites run straight into the fire, believing they are risking nothing before soon discovering they are risking everything. Particularly, their hearts. I am enjoying the rollercoaster ride that makes up Tessa and Roan’s story so far. Not to mention a little bit of romance on the side for Magda, who is reunited with the man who broke her heart over twenty years ago (ah, the delights of complicated romances).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into my WIP! On a side note, though … I have a giveaway going on for the fourth book of my fantasy series! If you enjoy fantasies, you might enjoy my series so be sure to enter the giveaway on Goodreads for a chance to win the fourth book, Winter’s Light! Maybe you’ll win and decide to read the first three too. 😉

Goodreads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/309992-winter-s-light

The Romance Authors Who Inspire Me

So why Romance? What made me make the switch?

Before, I didn’t think Romance was much of an option for me. Because I realized, if I was going to do Romance, I was going to run with it to a level that people wouldn’t expect from me. I was worried for a very long time about being judged for that, so I avoided writing romance.

But no more!! I am so excited to be writing romance. I have a ton of ideas bottled up in this brain of mine and I can’t wait to share them with you. Now, I’d like to talk about some of the romance authors who have inspired me over the years. These authors went a long way in my making this switch, urging me with each page of their beautiful works to begin my journey toward the Romance genre.

As most of you know, my library was limited for a very long time to Christian Fiction. However, a few years ago, I decided to pick up a few books from the general market. And which category did I pick? Romance, of course. 😉

First, let’s talk about the Romance author who taught me what passion could look like on the page. That would be, of course, Christian author and one of my favorites, Julie Lessman. Reading her novels, Julie taught me so much about the romance genre. She was the first author who taught me that putting passion on the page could be meaningful and beautiful and have a real purpose. She turns up the heat while also weaving faith and hope throughout.

Now, we all know that every genre has their Queen (or King in some cases). For me? The Queen of Contemporary Romance is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The first novel I pickedSEP Books up from a general market publisher was It Had to Be You. Then, I discovered it was the first book of a series so, of course, I had to read the rest! The Chicago Stars series absolutely blew me away and opened up a whole new world to me. The depth of feeling, the authenticity, of It Had to Be You was like nothing I’d ever experienced before and had me laughing, crying, and bubbling with excitement for more!

 

 

In keeping with my love of Historical Fiction, the second novel (or I should say series) I picked up from a general market publisher, was Elizabeth Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers seriesI have since read her Princes Trilogy, Maiden Lane series, and am looking forward to her Greycourt series! Her variety of characters, unique style, and her ability to draw you into a story has been a source of inspiration for me for the past four years and I am thrilled to call myself a fan of hers!

Another favorite who inspires me to mix humor and spice, Tessa Dare! My reading journey with Tessa began with the first novel of her Castles Ever After series Romancing TD Booksthe Duke. Tessa has had me in stitches on more than one occasion and every time I hear of a new release, I am right there pressing the pre-order button! These Regency era romances are true gems, mixing humor and passion in the most brilliant of ways. Without a doubt, Tessa will remain one of my top favorites in the Romance genre!

 

 

Now, on to two new-to-me authors!

I am a new fan of Sarah MacLean. After reading the first book in her Scandal & Scoundrel trilogy, I was hooked. I ate up the other two and immediately went online to purchase a whole bunch more! Let me just say, of the three books of her Scandal & Scoundrel series, book 3, The Day of the Duchess, was my favorite! That book was like a T&S Books 2punch to the gut (which is one of the marks of a great author, by the way!). I had a lump in my throat for most of it and I absolutely LOVED the ending!

Another new-to-me author is the amazing Talia Hibbert! I am still reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown and I am absolutely enchanted. This author’s ability to create characters you instantly love from the very first page is phenomenal. I have never read anything like this before in Contemporary Romance and I am racing through GALCB so I can move on to book 2, Take a Hint, Dani Brown!

 

Unlocking the chains I put around my own wrists, I have opened a whole new world to myself in the writing world. I am no longer afraid to write my stories the way I see them–no longer looking for ways to cut or edit around things I think people might judge me for. How people react–love or hate or disapproval–is up to them!

I came to realize that nothing I do will ever be considered perfect. While my crazy, OCD brain sometimes freaks out over the possibility that I will appear less than perfect–that I will receive a lack of understanding and judgment for human mistakes I make–I have to write what makes me happy. I have to write what makes my heart soar and makes the butterflies in my stomach run wild!

These authors went a long way to helping me discover this freedom.

 

Next Up: Ready for Romance? A Peek into My New WIP …

Coming August 8th!

The Start of Something New …

I have gone over and over what I want to say in this post. But I guess I should start with the obvious.

By the Book: Diary of a Bookaholic is no more. Other Worlds is no more.

I have transformed By the Book into a brand new blog with an entirely different theme. This decision was a long time coming. After a lot of thought, soul-searching, and prayer, I realized By the Book had to go. I started this blog a long time ago when I was very young and as I have grown and developed in my writing pursuits, I have also grown away from the blog that was primarily meant for book reviews. I tried to keep the blog (its name and its purpose) for a long time while also using it to talk about my passion for writing.

It didn’t work.

For months I wouldn’t even look at the blog, much less write a post. With the release of my latest novel Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen, #4) I didn’t even stop by to announce its publication. That was when I truly realized something was wrong here. I had no motivation to come by, not even to see if I’d had any recent visitors.

The same was going on for my Speculative blog Other Worlds. It did not receive the response or the results I was hoping for in order for me to feel it was worth my giving so much time to continue it. While that saddens me a great deal because I’d love to dedicate an entire blog to the promotion of a genre that could use the exposure, I simply cannot find the motivation to put so much of my time into it.

Something had to change. Recently, it seems everything is changing. Particularly with my efforts as an author.

Can change be scary? Absolutely.

Can it also be exciting & invigorating? Heck yeah!

I’ve realized over time that everything about my becoming a published author was rushed. I was twenty-three when all of this started. I was young, excited, and wanted to be published so badly! When a publisher showed interest, I jumped in. I’m not saying that was an entirely bad thing because, hey, I have five published books! Woo-hoo! What I am saying is that it all happened so quickly, I was completely unprepared. I didn’t know what I was doing which made it hard for me to build audience, platform, and promote properly.

Do I know what I’m doing now? Not entirely, haha. But I’ve got a pretty good idea where I want to start. Because that’s what I plan to do. I am going to start over. With the conclusion of my fantasy series, I’m ready to begin fresh and new with something that’s been on my heart for a while.

I am no longer going to base my style and themes on what other people want or expect from me. I am no longer going to conform my writing to what other people think I should be writing either. I am simply going to write the way I want to write–what is on my heart to write, and not worry about what people I don’t know or barely know might think of it. How that writing translates to the page, you’ll just have to wait and see and, hopefully, you’ll love it!

Am I saying I don’t care what my readers think or want? Absolutely not! I’m saying I was influenced too many times in my young life, before I was even published, into what others told me I should be writing or what I should be reading and, now that I’m older, I realize how stifling that was. How much it held me back from the stories I actually wanted to tell.

I have grown and developed from that girl who was so afraid of being judged. My stories have grown and developed as well. How I write them has grown and developed. This brings me to my next announcement …

You all know I consider Historical Fiction to be my primary genre. I still do. HOWEVER, my focus is now going to shift to the Romance genre and I am so excited!! Historical, Contemporary, you name it! I am turning up the heat, people, so watch out!!!

With this change, comes another one. I now have a brand-spanking new website and it is NOT a WordPress website! I decided to keep WordPress for my blog only and step away from it for my official author website. Want to check it out? Please do!

Click Here: https://www.ericamariehoganauthor.net/

With all of that being said, let me welcome you to my brand new blog: Coffee, Chocolate, & Romance: Turning Up the Heat on Every Page!

On this blog, I will talk about writing & reading romance and annoy you with my addiction to vanilla lattes & chocolate! I hope, with this new theme and this new start on my writing journey, you will be hearing a lot more from me than you were before! I also hope you will give this new direction I’m taking a chance and still enjoy visiting my blog.

I plan to post here at least twice a month, if not more. Check in to learn about my progress on new projects I’m working on and stop by my new website to learn about the WIP I’m working on right now!

Thanks for stopping by today! Happy 4th of July!!!

 

Next Up: The Romance Authors Who Inspire Me …

Coming July 25th!

The Old, the New and the End of 2019

Merry Christmas!!!

I can hardly believe Christmas is less than two weeks away! 2019 has been a tumultuous year for me. There have been equal amounts of tears and laughter this year, along with periods of grief and anger that made me wish to the heavens 2019 would come to a hasty conclusion so I could start fresh in 2020. That being said, I am sorry I have been so silent this year! I am hoping to blog a lot more in 2020 (I know, I know, I say that every year but hopefully this time it will actually happen!).

For now, I hope you will join me in looking back over my 2019 year!

Early in the year, I received a wonderful and overwhelming gift. My sweet, loving Me & MaMagrandmother made it possible for me to attend my 2nd ACFW conference. Shortly thereafter, this wonderful woman who I loved with all my heart passed away. I cannot even begin to describe what it was like, waiting for months after she passed to attend the conference, knowing I would not have been able to go this year if not for her.

Then, something beautiful happened. ACFW (America Christian Fiction Writers) often has a worship period during the meals they provide for the attendees. On the first night of the conference during the welcome dinner, we all stood up to sing during the worship. Standing next to me at the table to my left was a sweet older lady who kept glancing my way. Then, without a word, she reached across the space between me and put her arm around me.

Everyone–I kid you not–she was wearing my grandmother’s perfume. I nearly broke down in tears right then and there. Until that moment, I’d had a lot of trouble grieving for my grandmother. I have always been the type to grieve in private, but even that had been difficult for me this year. I thanked God over and over for that moment, because when that lady (who had no idea who I was or what I was going through) put her arm around me it was like my MaMa was giving me a hug! Finally, I allowed myself to grieve and I was so relieved.

This year, I suffered another loss. A friend who I hadn’t seen in a few years died tragically. I felt numb when I heard the news, because he was one of those friends you always think you’re going to see again someday, even though there are so many miles between you now. This added to the grief that made me want 2019 to come to a quick end. I miss him very much and hope he is at peace now.

This year, with as much grief as there was, there was also joy. I had another book release in June! Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) is now available to order on Amazon! I am so excited this book is available now, but also sad. Because this means I COF - 1have only one more book to tackle in this series before I officially close out my fantasy series and will no longer visit the land of Nfaros. I am hard at work writing Winter’s Light, the fourth and final book of my fantasy series. I’ve hit a few snags so far, trying to bring every character’s plot to an end in a satisfying way without leaving behind too many holes in the storyline.

Considering these books are made up of SO MANY characters, this is harder than you might at first think! I need to keep the story interesting while also tying up any loose ends from the previous books while ALSO creating intense situations for some new characters that were introduced in Crown of Flames. All the same, I am enjoying writing Winter’s Light and hope that, if I finish within the next two months, I will have a release date along with a cover to share with you soon!

Now I’m going to do some major self-promoting … 😉

That being said, have you had a chance to catch up on the first three books of The Winter WQ SERIES INSTAGRAMQueen Series? No? Why wait?

Catch up by reading Winter Queen (The Winter Queen Series, #1), Dance of Shadows (The Winter Queen Series, #2) & Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) now! Want them the easy way? All three are available together on Amazon Kindle for $13.47!

Travel to the beautiful land of Nfaros and catch up with the fierce Sundragon sisters as they fight to regain their father’s throne. Journey with the courageous Jandry siblings across treacherous lands. And fly with the People of the Dragon over the Nfaros Sea in the first three books of my series and be prepared for Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen Series, #4)!

In September, as I mentioned above, I attended the ACFW conference, and what an experience it was! I was able to connect with some wonderful people AND I heard Frank Peretti speak! Along with his keynote address, I attended several amazing workshops and learned so much.

I was also able to connect with the lovely Laurie Lucking who was nominated for a Carol Me & LaurieAward for her novel, Common! I was so excited to meet Laurie because she has supported my fantasy series from Book 1 and has written beautiful endorsements for all three of the books for me.

She is such a lovely person and an incredible author! If you haven’t read her book, Common, then I highly recommend it! I am a lover of love stories, and this one was a great one! Not to mention it fell in the Young Adult/Speculative category, which I also love! As I say in my tagline: when it comes to genre, there are no limits. And I mean that in both writing and reading!

I met so many wonderful people at the conference this year and reconnected with some of my favorite people as well. I was especially excited to attend author Pepper Basham’s workshop! Pepper is one of my favorite authors and such a sweet person. She also endorsed my debut novel, The Lost Generation: A Novel of World War I, so when I had the chance to meet her at my first conference in 2017, I didn’t hesitate.

Speaking of The Lost Generation, have I mentioned the paperback is available on26536218 Amazon for $9.99? If you love historical fiction, then grab your copy now!

And speaking of historical fiction …

I did something else new this year. I wrote a World War II era novel. I finished it at a whopping 92,048 words and 350 (Microsoft Word) pages! It is currently titled The Good German Girl and I am so excited about it! I have stepped away from it for now because writing it was emotionally draining, but am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this novel.

I rediscovered my love for Historical Fiction while writing The Good German Girl and realized I wanted this genre to be my primary genre. That being said, The Good German Girl inspired several other World War II era stories that I have made a part of a series tentatively titled A League of Extraordinary Women Series.

NaNoWriMo WinnerThis led me to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time! And … I won! I wrote 51,346 words in November, beating my goal of 50,000 for the next book in my World War II era series in the month of November! What a satisfying feeling it was too, as I hadn’t written that many words in a single month in a while. I was very proud of myself and still am.

I loved participating in NaNoWrimo! I received so much support as I struggled through to achieve that very large word goal. I wrote even on days I didn’t want to write, and kept writing even when I felt like what I was writing was absolutely awful. As a writer, that’s very hard to do because I want everything about my story to be perfect. So when it’s imperfect, it’s hard to not simply stop and walk away for the rest of the day. NaNoWrimo pushed me to set a goal and stick to it and at the end, I was so very pleased.

Oh, and did you notice? I became a redhead this year! That’s right, I made the transition from brunette, to blonde, to redhead! And, may I say, this is my favorite color so far. Could it be? Have I finally made a permanent decision about my hair? Will I remain a redhead to the end of my days? You’ll just have to keep checking in on my blog to find out, I guess. 😉

Well, I think that’s all for now, folks. Thank you for stopping by and reading this incredibly long post.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I’ll see you in 2020.

Cover Reveal, Endorsements, & Reviews!

Good Morning everyone!

I am so happy to announce I finally finished Book 3 of The Winter Queen Series! This was, perhaps, the hardest one I wrote so far. I was so certain I would be finished with it before the end of 2018, only to discover my characters had their own plans. New faces popping up and unexpected plot twists held me back from finishing when and where I thought I would. Then, the moment I finally wrote the last sentence, I was overcome with exhaustion and relief! Until I remembered now the editing had to start … 😉

But even with the long road of editing in my future, I am very happy with where this story is going. I had such a clear picture in my mind of how this ongoing tale would begin and how it would end. But the middle had always been a bit fuzzy for me. Now that I’ve battled through the in-between (books 2 and 3, respectively), I am looking forward to starting the finale! Book 4, Winter’s Light, has begun!

I am now excited to reveal the cover of Crown of Flames to you! Along with a little blurb to get you excited to read. 🙂

 

COF - 1The Almaër Dominÿe has risen from the flames 


Damari Kael has been transformed into the Almaër Dominÿe, as was foretold. But with this title, comes the responsibility of a people Damari knows nothing about. She knows only that their country is under attack, and she must go to war against those she once called family.

Clea Jandry has invoked a birthright she did not know belonged to her. In search of the Summer Flower to strengthen her weakening magic, Clea finds herself tested by a king long thought dead.

Far away, in the heart of Sunkai, Gelsey Malaki of the Night Wood attempts to hold the throne against a mounting evil. But Raphaela Kael’s power has increased since she left the Mother City for Kaldon, awakening a darkness which covers all the land in the evil of the Abyss.

In the north, Adlae Sundragon has received a message from the shadows. She now knows her fate and must act. Yet even as loyal men and women gather from across Nfaros to her side, she feels the Abyss growing stronger. Only in the Circle of the Sundragon—only within the crown of flames her family created—will Adlae find the answers to destroy the darkness.

Add Crown of Flames to your Goodreads list HERE.

This is one of my favorite covers so far! I was so pleased with how it came out, and struggled so much holding back from revealing it until now! I hope you find it just as captivating as I do.

I’m also excited to announce we already have a release date! Crown of Flames will release on June 7th 2019!!! Commit to memory and be sure to look for it!

Now, I have a request! In the past, I’ve always waited until the last minute to make this request, scrambling so close to my release date for assistance. So I thought I’d ask in advance this time around.

To all Authors: I need endorsements! I understand this is the third book of a series, and perhaps you are afraid of being totally lost if you haven’t read the first two books. As the author, I can tell you that there are certain themes in the novel that might warrant explanation from the previous two books. However, Crown of Flames stands pretty well on its own in my opinion and I hope, even if you haven’t read 1 & 2, that you will consider contacting me about writing an endorsement! Remember, release date is June 7th, so there’s lots of time to read! You can find me on Facebook and private message me, or contact me here through my blog. 🙂

To all Readers: I need reviews! If you’ve read books 1 & 2, please consider leaving a review for me on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other social media site where my books appear. But I’d also like to have two or three advance reviews online for Crown of Flames. My book probably won’t appear on Amazon very long before the release date, however if you could have a review ready that would be amazing! And it’s already up on Goodreads, so a review there would be great too.

Everyone, please keep in mind the advanced copy of Crown of Flames you receive will only be partially edited. If you could overlook any errors, that would be greatly appreciated as Book 3 is still being worked on by me and my editor.

Thank you all for your consideration and for stopping by my blog today! I hope you’re as excited about Crown of Flames as I am and I look forward to sharing more about the book as we move closer and closer to the release!

Cover Reveal!!

So, the moment has arrived! It is time for me to reveal to you the BEAUTIFUL cover for Book 2 of The Winter Queen Series.

I am excited to say I am now in my second round of edits for A Dance of Shadows! We are one step closer to publication!

And now 
 drumroll please 


Tada!

RGB_Dance of Shadows

A Dance of Shadows should be coming your way this October as long as all goes well! I am so very excited for you to find out what happens to our characters in this next installment of my fantasy series, as well as for you to be introduced to some new people and places!

Now, to finish up, here’s the summary for A Dance of Shadows!

The Winter Queen has brought the storm 
 
and the Abyss roams the halls of the Blood Keep.

Ten days have passed since Sundragon blood was shed for a sacrifice by Raphaela Kael. Ten days since Lathan and Maxx Jandry fled the city in search of Princess Damari Kael and their niece, Noelle. Brecken Jandry, Brae’s loyal husband, remains a tortured prisoner in the Kael dungeons and no one in Sunkai is safe from Roderick and Raphaela’s wrath.

Damari Kael flees Sunkai with little Noelle Jandry, determined to deliver the child to the safety of the Shadow Lands, even as her own power emerges within her. The Eventide Sisters embark on a mission to join the Winter Queen. Across the land, Clea Jandry arrives in her birthplace of MolderĂ«in where she is met with a savagery she thought long dead. Afra Malaki seeks the Creator’s will and the Queen of the Woodlands prepares for battle.

In the peaceful city of Quintaria, the Winter Queen grieves. But the shadows are coming for her. They carry a message for Adlae Sundragon, and they will not rest until all is revealed.

Don’t forget to add A Dance of Shadows to your to-read list on Goodreads, here!