Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

It is.

Sometimes I think I should not even write at all any more. I mean, life seems to be sucking free time out of me anyway. 

Furthermore, so many people have already written, and are still writing, so many phenomenal books (my TBR pile is humongous) that nobody will miss my stories. 

And then an idea comes, or my characters come whispering, or I tell my story to some children… and the spark just won’t be extinguished. I don’t write with an agenda – I write because it has always been a part of me.

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A little surprise! Announcing my new children’s book by July/August 2017, these 2 ebooks are on special summer offer! You might want to grab them – each has special activities for adults who read to/with kids or kids who read by themselves! 

#kidlit #childrensbooks

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Who is SHE? – Deb McEwan

Today I have another wonderful guest – award-winning author Deb McEwan. She opens up about a number of things in this no-questions interview where I ask authors to write down what some key words mean to them. Thank you, Deb, for taking the time to do this.

Dreams – I’ve had vivid dreams for most of my life. There’s nothing worse than somebody telling you they had a weird/bad/whatever dream the night before then going into every single detail. For this reason I won’t bore you with my dream stories, suffice to say that I’ve been woken up for shouting at or hitting my husband due to something that’s going on in my head while sleeping. I often nod off again and return to the exact part of the dream where I woke up – like an episode in a series. My husband is very happy that I now write novels. I don’t dream like I used to and wish I’d known years ago that writing was the creative outlet I needed to stop the weird or frightening dreams.

I only want to know about your dreams if they are uber original or unusual. Any takers?

Stress – The good or the bad? Let’s take the good first. Anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and it’s not only physical like abseiling or a tough session with my personal trainer for example. (Though it’s a while since I’ve done any abseiling). Giving a presentation to a room full of people or the final minutes before a job interview are the situations that normally cause my good stress. I usually enjoy the buzz after the event!

Like most people, I don’t thrive on bad stress generally caused by having unrealistic deadlines thrust upon me, the thought of having to do housework or having to attend health and safety lectures. I might have mistaken the latter for boredom and don’t have to attend health and safety lectures these days. This sounds flippant I know and there are plenty more triggers that cause bad stress. I’m a bit more serious about this under the Journey heading.

Release – Sport or walking generally does it for me. Any tension melts away following a good workout. The ideas floating around in my head always take shape during a long walk and it’s my way of either escaping from real life, or working through any problems.

Support – You sometimes expect support from family members but can’t beat the support of your good friends who choose to be there for you. As far as writing is concerned, the Indie Author Community are a marvellous bunch, who help each other without expecting anything in return.

Model – the first image that springs to mind are the waif-like serious looking females who strut up and down the catwalk. Images of these ladies have been blamed for many eating disorders in young girls who aspire to be super skinny. I read something the other day that models in France now have to have a healthy BMI before being employed in the industry. Don’t know if this is true but I hope it is. Should the model industry reflect all different shapes and sizes like the real world? You tell me?

Journey – When I was younger I discovered I had a 50/50 chance of inheriting the Huntington’s Disease gene. There are so many awful illnesses and diseases but I believe the worst is the one that may affect you, your family or any others you love. The relief of discovering that I didn’t have the gene was tempered by the guilt when I found out that other family members did. Up until that point I’d always thought I wasn’t good enough to do many things, including writing. Discovering that I wasn’t going to die from Huntington’s was a major turning point; I felt like I’d been given another shot and now embrace life to the full.

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– Writing. My characters talk to me all the time and the urge to get their words onto the computer is simply irresistible.

Relevance – According to Wikipedia: “Relevance is the concept of one topic being connected to another topic in a way that makes it useful to consider the second topic when considering the first. The concept of relevance is studied in many different fields, including cognitive sciences, logic, and library and information science.”

So there you have it.

Some believe there’s a reason for everything and that everyone is connected. Maybe this makes it easier to understand seemingly random events? Nobody knows for certain. Isn’t the majority of science best guess?

Joy – Loads spring to mind.

Spending time with the people I love is top of the list.

The sun is shining and birds are chirping away to the background music. I’m chilling with the people I love (husband, family, friends) in the pool and a glass of something is waiting in the fridge, for when I/we dry off.

Then there’s the random stuff like hearing children giggling, reading a fab book, or having a good old belly laugh.

Haven – Don’t know why, but I’ve always loved being around water. Walking in the rain, cwtched up at home reading while it’s raining outside, listening to the sea, taking a long shower, sitting under a tin roof listening to the rain. I think you’ve got my drift.

Deb’s writing news

I write in various genres. It all started with songs, followed by a book for children. The first, ‘Reindeer Dreams’, is a quirky rhyming Christmas story featuring Barry the reindeer and his family. My books for grown-ups started with the Aliens series. The Afterlife trilogy came next with a few ‘Jason the Penguin’ books in between.

The first book in my ‘Unlikely Soldiers’ series (free on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook) is set in 1970s Britain, with others to follow through the decades.

I’m currently working on a story about netball players, due out in the autumn.

Details of my books and some of my songs (co-written with musicians and I’m not singing thankfully) are on my website.

One was written for my husband for our 25th wedding anniversary – but that’s another story…

Thank you so much for sharing! Happy writing!


Independent Authors’ Bookstore – Pipe & Thimble

This is too good not to share! Congratulations to the Lieberman ladies for promoting indie artists!

Wishing them all the best on their selfless journey. If the road takes you to California, give them a big hug from me, buy a work by an independent artist and leave a review. And enjoy yourself!

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Reviews anywhere

Finally caught some time to check out my #goodreads #author page. Pleasantly surprised by some reviews. Seeing as I am not one to check my reviews all the time, I had not ‘liked’ them before (naughty author, naughty;), as I was not aware of some of them at all. My favourite unexpected reviews are for The Threshold and Winky’s Colours. 
Please know that reviews help authors a lot, guiding them on their path of improving their craft, finding their target audience, but also as proof to other readers that books are being read and what may be good in each. I am truly grateful to anyone who leaves at least a line or two.

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Who is SHE? – Elizabeth Horton Newton

One of my favourite indie authors, a lady with an incredibly big heart and a curious knack for psychological horror and mystery, is the fabulously supportive Eluzabeth Horton Newton. She is here today to do a no-questions interview and share some of her writing news with her fans. I asked no questions; she just got some words to prompt whatever it did, be it about herself, the world or writing.

Elizabeth Horton Newton

Who me?

Dreams – I’ve always felt my dreams are somewhat precognitive. I will dream about people or places and sooner or later, somewhere down the road, I will see the place or meet the person. At first I thought I would simply have forgotten a prior incident. However, I have come to accept I have some sort of little old fortune teller living in my head. Often I will use things I dream in the stories I write, with a bit of elaboration of course.

Stress – My husband insists stress is bad for me. I disagree. I work best when I am stressed or on a time limit. I love the challenge of pushing myself harder.

Release – It’s rather embarrassing but I have always found release to be a sexual word. It brings to mind orgasms. Perhaps that’s why I did such a good job with the steamy love scenes in my book, “Carved Wooden Heart”.

Support – Bra. That’s it. You reach my age and that’s what you need.

Model – A model is something you put together a piece at a time; for instance a model of a ship. My father used to make models when I was a little girl and we would often work on them together. We did ships and movie monsters. Now you see why my stories can be somewhat gruesome.

Issue – Social issues; homelessness, domestic violence, child abuse, so many social issues that need to be addressed. I’m involved with a few social issues in my state and wish I could devote more time to working with groups.

Journey – Life is a journey; an exhilarating journey with twists and turns down winding paths. I love looking back on my life and I love hearing about the life journeys of others. We all have a lot more in common than we realize. We may come from different parts of the world but there are still things that are remarkably similar.

Relevance – This word has a legal connotation for me. What is the relevance of your information to the substance of this case? How does what you know apply to this crime? Perhaps I watch too much “Law and Order”. 

Joy – Joy is such an understatement for the unbridled ecstasy of being on the deck of a ship at sea. The ocean stretches out in all directions, meeting the sky on the horizon. It makes me conscious of how small we all are on this planet we call home. We came from the sea, crawling out as small, insignificant creatures and have developed into what we are now. We are now able to sail on the seas. It all makes my heart swell with joy.

Haven – A haven is special, secret place, safe from all outside bothers. It’s a spot where I can go to let my imagination run free.  Everyone needs and should have a haven. We all need to disconnect sometime.

I am currently working on two books; “Stolen” has been almost finished for over a year but I keep getting involved in other projects. It’s a story about a young girl who finds out she was kidnapped as a small child and raised by a Gypsy couple. As more of her story is revealed, she learns she was supposed to be in the Witness Protection Program but was “lost”. There’s romance, mystery, and action in this book. It comes complete with Gypsies, drug cartels, incompetent federal agents, and, of course, a twist at the end. The other book I’m working on is tentatively called “Murder on the Highway of Tears”. It is based on a factual place and real life events. There is a stretch of highway in northern British Columbia where a significant number of indigenous girls and women have either been murdered or disappeared. The government is just beginning to take notice. It has largely been overlooked because natives in that part of the world are viewed as unimportant. My story revolves around a native police chief who is investigating recent murders of native girls. A writer and a photographer from a travel magazine are in the area doing a story on adventure travel. They get caught up in the occurrences. As with some of my earlier works the story addresses the social issues surrounding the illegal adoption of and removal of native babies from their biological families. I’m anticipating having both books completed and available by the end of 2017.

I have a short science fiction story titled, “From Where I Come” coming out in an anthology at the end of May. The collection is called “Gems of Freedom” and all the stories revolve around female soldiers or freedom fighters. It’s the third in a series from a group called The Sisterhood. I have another short story, a detective noir, in a soon to be released collection called, “Cons, Dames, and G-Men”. My story is called “Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and is full of the flavor of 1940’s film noir.

Author Website:

Author Blog: “Between the Beats”


Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:

Linked In:







Thank you, Elizabeth. Always great to have you over and looking forward to your new thrillers!


Time to give thanks

As an amazing thing happens, I feel the need to thank readers, bloggers and authors who help me on this writing journey in any way they can. 

My small steps will eventually lead me where I make them go, and these days they have taken my books to the shelves of our local town library. A few years ago I never would have thought it possible, and yet now – I still feel as if it is happening to somebody else. Onwards and upwards we’ll go, though slowly, as my teaching job still takes up a big chunk of my time, mind and heart.

More news soon, as the school year comes to a close and my new children’s book sees the light of the published world, encouraged by some wonderful advanced reviews and constructive criticism.

Meanwhile, do keep reading and consider leaving a review on the purchase site, Goodreads or your book club. It helps authors keep writing.

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REJECTED WRITERS TAKE THE STAGE by Suzanne Kelman – my review

When a book starts off with this chapter title – FROZEN YETIS & SCOTCH TAPE SHENANIGANS, you know you are in for a fun(ny) ride. If you have had the chance to read the first book in the Southlea Bay Series, The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, and liked it as I did, then you are looking forward to each of these chapter titles, each of the darling characters and their quirky mishaps and strong friendship. If you enjoyed Suzanne Kelman’  witty writing, you will have high expectations. 

And the author sure delivers. Yet again. Her charming tale of a group of average (ha-ha) small-town ladies, an unlikely bunch but a band of bonded pals nonetheless, joins to save a member of their Rejected Writers’ Book Club from financial ruin and losing her family farm estate (turned into a dog shelter). Do they simply pitch in with money? No. They are average people with average incomes. Do they go begging online? No. They are average (some even elderly) ladies on a remote island with an age-appropriate reluctance for social media. They set up a charity musical. Can they dance, sing or direct? No, but why should that stop them, especially with their town matron Doris pushing and pulling them all? Enough spoilers from me – let me just say the story will have it all – from feathery boas and a run-down theatre to a love triangle, catastrophe and (re)birth. And fear not, the author skillfully introduces a few segments which can help you follow even if you have missed the pleasure of reading the first part.

What I love most about the series are the characters – a cast of everyday people we all know and love, or love to hate, and I am happy to find some new ones in this book, a very welcome addition to the Southlea Bay family. I admit I would have slapped Marcy, the vixen, on several occasions, and yet she did make a certain process possible eventually. (Come to think of it, I could have even knocked some senses into Dan a few times, but yes, we all know such naive men, too.) Doris is the sort of lady we all get annoyed by, but when trouble comes knocking, you always want them on your side, Lottie and Lavinia are unique in their duality, Janet is the not-always-loud voice of reason, Martin is phenomenal and so on. Gladys is my absolute favourite although she’d (only) be getting supporting role award if it came to filming this. (What’s the hold-up, by the way?)

There is friendship and kindness in this book which is so rarely found these days; and that good feeling is what you are left with after you read it. The laughs, the giggles and chuckles, too. It reminded me in spirit to The Darling Buds of May, one of my favourite TV comedy series. So there – if you want to feel like that, read it. You may just hug your family more, call your friends again. Or simply tickle someone, just for laughs. Well done, Suzanne Kelman! Comedy with heart is not easy to do. We should all laugh more often. Thank you.

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Who is SHE? – Claire Plaisted

Claire Plaisted, a New Zealand force of nature in the form of a mother, author, editor, publisher and book promoter, has agreed to take some time to do my no-question interview and say what my key words mean to her…



What are dreams? Where do they come from and what do they mean? In the literal sense, I have no idea. Dream Therapy isn’t something I’ve touched in my life so far.

Going back to my childhood my dream was to marry, though not a red head…Oops.  After 25 years of marriage to my darling redhead, I found it was the best thing I ever did.  Of course, as your grow and change your dreams for your future change as well.  By the time I was at High School I wanted to be a computer tech. Computers were just starting to emerge to the public and at schools.  I loved them.  Uploading from a tape recorder, drawing houses with a set of numbers in a certain sequence.  It was cool.  Then came the disappointment.  I wasn’t allowed to take computer studies because it was just a fad… Another oops.  Never mind I plodded onwards.  Never really getting the career I wanted. It seems reality was going to wipe away my dreams.

Growing up we used to receive gifts from New Zealand. The country and culture intrigued me. I had a new dream. I wanted to have a holiday there. I got that dream in 1989 and for once, I never looked back. You see I fell in love and ended up living in New Zealand. I love this country, the culture, my family. It is an amazing place to be, though a tad expensive these days.

All I dream for now are grandchildren.  Going to be waiting a long time for them, so meanwhile I enjoy my friends’ photos of grandchildren on social media.


Stress to me is a negative word which I try to remove from my life as much as possible.  Like a lot of people, I have depression.  Most of the time I’m lucky and it doesn’t rule my life, however there have been times then I have literally disappeared into a fog and taken several weeks to shift the stress away from me so I can recover.  With every negative which touches me, I try and find the positive within. I also suffer anxiety in various situations. To be totally honest my crashes generally arrive if or when several negative things happen at once.  The rest of the time I deal.  


Release a breath of satisfaction of surviving another day surrounded by those I love and those who love me.


Support is something you give and can receive in life.  I am one of those people who likes to give support, to help people find the positives, to teach and show them what is possible.  I support my family with love as I do with my friends. I must admit I am not good as asking or taking support when I need.  I tend to think I am self-sufficient, when I know I’m not. I block it away and keep moving forward.

I love to see people grow and change. One lady in particular who I admire is Patty Fletcher.  She has changed so much in the last two years, growing and taking back her positive attitude. Building on what she knows and learning new things to better herself. Enjoying her life more and helping others where she can.  Her strength is amazing.

Support is also what I do with my marketing magazine, helping Indie Authors get their books out there.  I have no idea how widely shared the magazine is. I think it does need more support to make it grow.  The thought of how many I email it to who don’t open it at all…is to a degree sad.  I am hoping to find a way to gather more support and keep the light burning. I am amazed the magazine has been running for over a year. 


With the world model usually comes those stick thin women who walk down the runway.  Well with me it was models of a different kind. Airfix Kits, be them figurines of kings and queens, ships, animals and aeroplanes. They brought us hours of JOY and family time.


Children or magazine.  They are different, though both have a life of their own.  I have three out of four beautiful children.  All grown up now, though my son is in his final year at high school.  All still live at home though perhaps not for much longer.  You see it is travel time, though I’ll cover that as part of JOURNEY.

Magazine – I issue a free marketing magazine out every month for Indie Authors and those who support them.  It helps to widen everyone’s social media presence.  It covers all genres and is family friendly. With ‘The Indie Publishing News’ magazine doing so well I have recently started one up for Erotic Indie Authors.  The first issue goes out this month.


My journey in life not just in writing and business.  Life has a way of making you realise every moment is different and for a reason.  Your life is your journey to learn what you need to know, perhaps what you missed in a different life.  We are all born to a body, though our souls continue until they have learnt what they need to go to the next level.  We all live for a reason—it is finding the reason that is your journey.  Are you there yet?

Personally, I have no idea.  I had a wonderful childhood even though I didn’t have many friends.  I journeyed through been bullied from age 7 – 18.  How it affected me, how it affects different people—is what you need to learn to move forward.  Some don’t, which is very sad, though I believe when your journey is over, then it is over. 

I have had many different types of journeys in this life giving me a wide range of information, ideas and learning which I can share. These experiences have made me who I am today. Though I’d probably not like anyone seeing deep inside me. That stone wall won’t be toppling any time soon and when it does god help me.  

I have had several journeys with my children – from perfections to disabilities.  What a learning curve that was and still is today. As a mother I am over protective, which is probably why my children still live at home.  Four journeys through birth, several journeys though death and the best journey of all is with LOVE.  My husband is amazing. He is my world. Our journey in marriage and family has had many ups and downs, though we stay strong and committed to each other, looking forward to travelling and retirement.  Our next journey starts later this year or perhaps next year.  We shall see.


I suppose there is a lot of relevance in my life these days.  In the past walking in my ancestors’ footsteps became my family history research.  These days my writing of books moved my journey towards publishing and helping others.  Life interconnects in many different ways.


Joy is my marriage, the birth of my children and one day (hopefully) the birth of grandchildren.  Joy is family, respecting, helping, learning, teaching and so much more.  It is positive energy which I love to share. Joy is a hug and a smile. It is an acknowledgement of so much the human race is missing.  I wish JOY was the thing which made the most profit in this world and then perhaps we could be at peace with each other.


My Haven is my sanctuary of peace and love of the positive life I try and lead.

Claire’s news

The latest book by me is Princess of the Earth.  It is an old story which I have republished after reworking it and making a new book cover and teasers.

It is about a young girl called Zoe who have her own journey of discovery with myths and legends which she only thought were stories.  With Fairies, Nymphs, Old Father Time, Gaia on the good side and Cronus, Trolls and Ogres on the bad side it is a battle to see who wins the day.

Links for Claire

Dear Claire, thank you so much for sharing this side of you with the readers! Happy journey!


Who is SHE? – Phoenix Rainez

Author Phoenix Rainez  a true romantic at heart, has also generously agreed to do my non-question interview and to explain what my key words remind her of. Meet Phoenix form a different perspective…


DREAMS – there is one special dream I have, that I wish would come true and that is to find that perfect hideaway and spend endless time filling pages, with the stories that are crowding my head. A place where there is no concept of time, where days just filter into one long writing scene with no disruptions except for the necessary body functions.

STRESS –  A word that pushes so many buttons… I think my typical stressful times is when I have a deadline to meet or a course I need to work through and pass for my day job. As a full time, live-in-carer for the elderly, I have regular courses to update and pass to get that valuable certificate that qualifies me to continue in this field of work.

Do I find writing stressful you may ask? Only when I hit a stumbling block, a blank page staring at me and not knowing what to write or how to carry on from the next chapter. Let’s not forget the editing process and rewriting repeatedly till not only your editor is satisfied but you are too.

Definition of a writer’s stress – blood, sweat, tears, chewed finger nails, endless cups of coffee, chocolate fixes, sleepless nights and puffy eyes are but a few of the signs of a writer’s stressful times.

RELEASE – As I’m going through writer’s stress now, my release would have to be reading other writers books and wondering how they found it so easy to write and publish such an amazing story. Sometimes I will escape into a world of writing poems, my full proof escape from staring at a blank page I cannot fill with words.

SUPPORT – My husband is very supportive of my writing and will always give me the time and space I need to write, never complaining when I’d be up all night writing and sleeping late in the morning.

Friends and family have been very complimentary, supporting my writing and buying my books. I’d be rather disappointed if they didn’t (winking). Here I must mention my friends Terry and Paul, who first put me in touch with Wattpad, an online writing community, where you share your stories, one chapter at a time and get instant feedback. This is where I started and gained the support and confidence to publish my first novel SECOND CHANCES on Amazon, after securing a place in the top 25 semi-finalists in the Harlequin/Wattpad (SYTYCW) contest. Without the Wattpad readers support and encouragement I doubt I would have had the confidence to publish my first novel.

MODEL –  I think the person I look up to would have to be Nikki Kelly, author of the Styclar Saga Series, who I met and became friends with on Wattpad. Book 1 of her series was such a hit on Wattpad, she landed a traditional publishing deal with an international publisher and went on to America to promote her book. She gave up her day job to live her dream and write full time. I have all three of her hardback books on my bookshelf and looking forward to the day I can meet her for coffee in London, to get her books signed.

ISSUE – I would have to say my biggest issue with writing is time. Keeping up with social media is very time consuming but necessary to stay in touch with your readers. In between this is your family’s needs and socialising with friends. It is a fact that writers often become hermits and seldom realise they have not surfaced to see there are other people around wanting their attention.

Let’s not forget the trillion times you re-write and edit your story, a serious time stealer when all you really want to do is continue writing the stories filling your head-space.

JOURNEY – Writing has been an incredible journey for me. I have found a voice in my head that has been buried for years and it’s exciting to know that I have so many stories still to write.  Writing my way down this exciting road I have been very fortunate to meet so many talented writers, whose books I buy and continually add to my “to read list”.  

Writers are such a unique group of people whose friendship albeit online, is a journey in itself. Their continual support, advice and confidence boosting chats all help towards encouraging each other to keep writing. 

Reading books opens up a whole world of endless possibilities. You may travel through time, journey into a world of fantasy or magic and swoon over a romance that brings you to tears and even hide under the covers as you creep through the pages of a horror story. Let’s not forget the science fiction and paranormal worlds that have you gasping at the unimaginable.

RELEVANCE –  it’s not easy to be a parent. You learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. Depending on your childhood, you may take pages out of your parent’s book and follow in their footsteps or you may choose to follow your own path, but whatever you do, will depend on what your learnt growing up and will make an impact on you as a parent and how you bring up your own children.

The same applies to writing. I learn from reading other writers books and joining writer’s online groups. I think it’s important for my writing to be a member of these groups, to learn from those more experienced and join in discussions, talking about any problems you may be experiencing and possibly helping with promotions or beta reading. I have found the most important and relevant part of being a writer is reading as many books as possible. This is where I am learning how to be a better writer, from the words of others.

JOY – my happiest moments are spent with my family. I am blessed with two beautiful daughters and four wonderful grandchildren. Celebrating special occasions with them are memories I treasure and photograph at every opportunity. One of the most incredible moments in my life as a parent was witnessing the birth of my first grandchild. I was thrilled and apprehensive when my eldest daughter asked me to be her birth partner, along-side her husband. Watching your child in pain is not the easiest of things to do but when my granddaughter’s head crowned the emotions were unbelievable. Of course, I cried. I had never witnessed anything so amazingly beautiful. I must’ve done something right as she asked me to be her birth partner when her son was born too.

As a writer, the most exciting moment is holding my paperback copy of the first novel I’d published. To see your words in print is overwhelming.

HAVEN – ANITA’s BLOG is a part of her charming personality and character. She is always willing to help support other authors and this shows in her blog post when she features other writers and give them the opportunity to show case themselves and their books through her delightful interviews.

I have no new releases at this time but hoping to publish my children’s illustrated story book, The Magic Chicken, at the end of this year. It is presently in the hands of the illustrator and I have recently seen the sketches and quite excited to see it all come together in colour. I do hope to be able to publish my new poetry book, Whispered Love, at the end of this year too and fingers crossed I may have my fantasy romance, The Colour of Love, ready for publication early in 2018. Editing and rewriting for this fantasy romance has been nightmarish for me and not sure if I will ever venture this route again. I have the greatest admiration and sympathy for my beta reader who has pain stakingly been guiding me through the rewrites and putting up with my endless ranting and bad tempered moments. I will be forever grateful for his patience, without which I know I would never see this book in print.

Covers for these books are still being worked on. 

Thank you so much, Phoenix. Happy writing!