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!

It’s Here!!!

Good Morning everyone!

I am SO excited! Dance of Shadows, book 2 in The Winter Queen Series, released on October 29th! Who’s ready to get reading? Book 2 was so fun to write. There’s more of everything in this book. More danger, romance, dragons, and new characters! Everyone from book 1 grows and develops a little more in this story and it was such a thrill for me to write about them.

FBPost4I received so much support with this second book! If you were able to stop by Facebook on Monday evening, then you know the launch party was a huge success! I was joined by four other wonderful authors who made the night even better with games, giveaways and live videos. I’m so looking forward to repeating the experience next year with book 3!

Dance of Shadows is now available on Amazon and you can purchase your paperback copy HERE. Also, keep your eyes open! A Goodreads Giveaway will be coming up soon for your chance to win a signed copy of Dance!

Now, just to refresh your memory, here is the back cover blurb for Dance of Shadows! I hope you enjoy this second installment of my fantasy series, and don’t forget to leave a review! 😉

The Winter Queen has brought the storm … RGB_Dance of Shadows (1)
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 Molderëin 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.