Glory be! I’ve finally joined the Indie author ranks with my self-pubbed novella Christmas Wishes New Year Kisses, which was part of last year’s Hot Christmas Night’s Box Set (which was released with some of my fellow LoveCats). Here's the back cover blurb to whet your appetite ;-) :
When small-town veterinarian Josh Halliday drags his stressed best friend and business partner to a tropical beach for some much-needed R&R, he hadn’t counted on the sight of her in a bikini rocking his world. Realising the treasure that’s been under his nose all these years, can he convince Erin to take a chance on love…with him?
Erin Timms has all she can handle right now. Her friendship with Josh is one of the few things she can rely on and she’s determined not to let him ruin a perfectly good friendship for sex. Which would be easier if she could resist the heat that’s rising between them.
The novella has one of my all-time favourite tropes—it’s a friends-to-lovers story. There’s so much at stake when you become lovers with your very best friend…but so much to gain if it works out! That tension is one of the reasons I love the trope so much. The other reason is how well the heroine and hero know each other, and the insights we get into their friendship—the in-jokes, the way they can read each other at a glance, their teasing and the games they play.
Josh and Erin have known each other since kindergarten. They went to school together, graduated from university together, and have set up their own veterinarian practice together. Ever since they’ve known each other they’ve play a particular game—the What-Would-I-Choose? Game.
Example 1 (when they’re still home in Bell Trees):
“Meet me down at the waterhole?”
She blinked. The waterhole on the edge of town had been a favorite haunt of theirs as teenagers. “Why?”
“I have chocolate milk in the Esky and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. A big bag.”
He hadn’t answered her question, but when he dangled a family-sized bag of crisps at her she didn’t care. “You had me at chocolate milk.”
His laugh warmed her. “See you there in five.”
When Erin arrived at the waterhole, Josh was already sitting on a blanket in the flatbed of his truck. “If you had to give up chocolate milk or salt and vinegar chips,” he said, as she climbed up beside him, “which would you choose?”
Example 2 (after they’ve arrived at their resort in tropical Queensland and Erin has gone into transports of delight that the fruit bowl in her room is replenished with mangoes every day):
It was his turn to laugh. “You can add the ones from my fruit bowl too if you want.” Mangoes were an expensive rarity in Bell Trees. He rested back on his towel. “If you could eat only one fruit for the rest of your life, what would you choose?”
Beside her, her phone buzzed. She glanced at the screen, read the incoming text and some of the light went out of her face. She put the phone back down. “Apples.”
He sat back up. “Apples? Why apples when you could have mangoes or strawberries or peaches?” She loved all of those things. Apples were so…
“I grant you that mangoes are one of the most divine foods on earth, but you can’t throw one into your bag—or your truck—to snack on later. They bruise too easily. A mango is not a food you can eat on the run. An apple, though, can take you a long way.”
An apple was so darn practical! When had she stopped reaching for the more exciting things in life? When had she started settling for apples?
Example 3: (after things have heated up between them and they’re desperately trying to get things back on an even footing):
“It’s so quiet here in the morning.” She tore open one of the bags of crisps. “Which would you choose? To live on a beautiful twenty-acre property—it’s your dream parcel of land—but you have to live in a caravan, or would you rather your dream house—it has everything you’ve ever wanted in a house—but neighbors hem you in on all sides?”
[Spoiler alert: Josh chooses the house that has a theatre room, a three car garage for all the toys, and…and a fireman’s pole. Erin chooses the acreage with her own private lagoon and an orchard.]
So let’s play the game too—and to make it more exciting I’ll give away one copy of Christmas Wishes New Year Kisses to one commenter. :)
Here’s my question: If you could only read romances set in small country towns or romances set in the glitz and glamour of the city, which would you choose?
Christmas Wishes New Year Kisses is available now!
Firstly I loved this story when I read it such a great friends to lovers story moving and special :)
That question is a hard one because I do like to travel and change scenery when I am reading but this morning I would take small country towns it is overcast and raining here today so being in the country on a big verandha would be great :)
Thanks for the kind words, Helen. So glad you loved the story. :-)Delete
The question is quite impossible, isn't it? It was a little evil of me to ask it, I think.;-) But, you're right -- today a big old country veranda sounds perfect. :-)
You're asking a Presents author such a question?!!! Actually, I love both country and glitz and glamour and often take my characters to both locations.ReplyDelete
Love your set up, Michelle, and so exciting to see you branch into self-pubbing.
I know, Melanie! I can't answer the question either. :-) The location is such a mood thing for me, and I do appreciate books that give me both. :-)Delete
P.S. It is rather exciting to branch out in new directions. Thanks for you good wishes!
Well, that's a tough choice. The thing I love most about the romance genre is the choices...one for every mood, one for every day of the week. But seeing as I have to choose, I'm going for the exotic, the glitz and glamour because that is a fantasy I only experience in books. Country and small-town is my reality (although I love reading about the many flavours within the broad genre.)ReplyDelete
PS: Congrats on your debut indie release, Michelle. I adore friends-to-lovers stories for exactly the reasons you give.Delete
Bron, I agree that it's a tough choice! I expect I'd give a different answer depending on the day of the week. ;-) Ah, the glitz and glamour of the exotic...happy sighs. :-)Delete
Oh, and thanks for the congrats! I'm ridiculously excited about my new venture. :-)
Always, always glitz and glamour! I grew up in a small town so I've personally always been drawn to escapist reading 😍 And congrats on the indie publication! XReplyDelete
I grew up in a small country town as well, Clare, so I adore exotic locations too... But then I do find that there's something wonderful about reading a romance set in a place I know well. A different sort of fantasy perhaps. Thankfully in real life we don't have to choose!Delete
And thanks for the congrats! :-)
Oh, no fair! You know I can't possibly choose. I want both. That's why I read so many romances!ReplyDelete
I have to say I loved the excerpt about the mangoes. So real and touching and fascinating about apples being prosaic and reaching for your dreams. Beautiful writing, Michelle. Congratulations on this release - just in time for Christmas!
LOL. I know, Annie -- it's one of those impossible questions, isn't it?Delete
And so glad you loved my mango excerpt! :-)
Rural any day of the week. I've had enough of glitz and glamour to last me a lifetime after living in the UK about 40 miles north of London. Mixed in some pretty heady circles by way of my equestrian skills and schooling horses. Even became an 'accidental' chauffeur for a while too. Very eye opening indeed. Come to think of it, lots of subject material for a novel - more so the ones where I had to sign the official secrets act, but unfortunately, my lips are sealed on some of the best stories ever. Bummer.ReplyDelete
Ooh, what am absolutely exciting life you'd led, Pam. It sounds very...um, interesting. ;-) I've visited London and I love it with all of my madly beating heart, (but have never moved in elite circles).Delete
I love rural stories too, though. There's something about that "this could happen to me" feeling from them that is rather seductive. :-)
Definitely small town romances for a simple reason that I find it easier to relate to the characters. Glitz and glamour are good is small doses :)ReplyDelete
That's one of the reasons I love small town romances too, Natalija! They feel like they could happen to me or sister or my best friend. :-)Delete
Good grief, Michelle, why don't you ask a hard question or something!? ;-)ReplyDelete
To be honest, I think small town romances really do it for me. I love the deep sense of community and the quirkiness of the inhabitants of the small town. I guess we have quirky in the bigger towns but they get lost in the grey haze of city living.
Best wishes for spectacular sales and congrats on your first solo Indie book!
LOL, Yvonne, it's a doozy of a question, isn't it? ;-)Delete
I love a sense of community in romances too, quirkiness will always win me over, and small town romances can definitely have those things in spades.
Oh, and thanks for the congrats! :-)
I *Loved* this story!! Wishing you gazillions of sales!ReplyDelete
Hmmm....you've given us a tough choice here. But I'm a city girl through and through so I'll go for glitz and glamour.
Aw, thanks, Louisa! :-)Delete
The sheer escape that comes with glitz and glamour can be hard to beat. And it's such fun too. Happy sighs.
The winner of CHRISTMAS WISHES NEW YEAR KISSES is Pam Swain. Congratulations, Pam! Send me an email at michelle (at) michelle - douglas . com to collect your prize. :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks for playing everybody! :-)