Archive of ‘Blog’ category

Gage and Meredith are here!

So excited for today’s release of The Rancher’s Second Chance! I hope you fall in love with Gage and Meredith as much as I have!

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Starting over and starting a whole lotta trouble…
Meredith Anderson left her difficult past behind to create a new life for herself in Tall Pines – where she can be the independent, confident woman she always dreamed of being. Now she’s a partner in her sister’s wedding planning business, helping brides realize their happily-ever-afters…even as she promises herself to never fall in love.
Meredith’s sweetness and vulnerability brings out the protective side of rancher Gage Mackenzie – even though their worlds are miles apart. All it takes is one night for desire to take hold of them both, a sizzling encounter that can only lead to the promise of more. But Meredith isn’t looking for more, and even if she was, Gage is set to leave Tall Pines behind him…

Have you subscribed to my newsletter? If so, watch out for a chance to win early review copies of my upcoming novella, Sweet Surrender. Haven’t signed up? You can here: Victoria’s Newsletter

Victoria, xo

Car accident yesterday…Book release tomorrow…

It had started out to be a fabulous weekend. Saturday I had gone into the city (Toronto) to attend a Toronto Romance Writer’s meeting-all the members are such fabulous, giving people and I had a great time and met knew people and saw some familiar ones as well. The highlight was meeting and listening to the extraordinary, Candace Havens. She was so engaging, so wonderful-and her fast draft workshop was absolutely perfect and just what I needed. She’s a big believer in no excuses-the only excuse is if you’re dead. Which means today, I will write, regardless of a stiff neck or an over-active imagination, remembering yesterday’s events.

Yesterday (Sunday) was one of those days I will remember for the rest of my life. I am overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude and still shocked by the very real reality of what could have been.

We were at a fun party for one of my daughter’s friend’s. I had a great time chatting with the other moms and my 4YO had a great time playing games and of course, eating cake. The party had ended and we were on our way home to pick up my husband and son so that we could go to my mother’s 70th birthday. We were stopped at a red light. The light turned green and I accelerated through the intersection normally-only to be struck by a speeding, large SUV that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere-he ran a red light. There’s a crazy moment when it seems as though everything stops, time, reality, and I remember bracing myself, airbags were deployed and the car finally stopped moving. It was completely surreal. As any parent would know, the first words out of my mouth were my daughter’s name. She responded right away with a terrified, “mama.” I have never been so shocked, so completely dazed then at that moment. I knew we weren’t seriously hurt. Our SUV was completely totalled.

Seconds later, witnesses opened our door, holding our hands, talking to us, informing us they’d already called 911. Within five minutes paramedics had arrived, police had arrived. The entire intersection had been blocked off. I knew we were okay. As we exited our car, I scanned the area for the other SUV. Even though I was numb and trying to pretend like it was all no big deal for my daughter’s sake, I had this insane urge to run up to the other driver and yell, “WTF were you doing, ***hole! You could have killed us!” And it was that, the idea of what could have been, how much worse this all could have been that kept me up last night.

Anyway, the 4YO was a total little Miss. She wasn’t hysterical, she answered questions like a big girl, and let the paramedics check her out. And I have to say, all the men in uniform everywhere? They were awesome. They were so sweet to us, to my little girl. They kept her talking, kept her distracted, and even commented on her pink sparkly shoes. These were all big, strapping guys, and were so sweet. The mom in me? Felt completely safe, completely grateful. The romance writer in me? Each and every one of those guys have now been cast in future books :).

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the ER. One of the police officers came with us to take my statement. Luckily, there were witnesses who saw him run the light-at top speed. WTF he was doing, I have no idea.  I’ll know all the details today, but the other driver was charged.

My husband and son met us at the ER and then my parents and brother arrived. It was such a surreal day.

I am so grateful that we weren’t hurt. But last night every time I shut my eyes I relived the accident, the impact of that SUV hitting us, and of course, thinking of what *could* have happened. I guess that’s normal and the memory will fade.

Today will be dealing with insurance, taking advil, etc. On the plus side (I’m a pretty positive person and really hate to dwell on the negative) I said to my husband last night-at least we don’t have to clean our car. We had been talking about how gross the inside of our car was. We’d had it since our daughter was born and it had all that gross kid dirt in it and we’d been planning on cleaning it out this spring-or forking over the big bucks to get a detailing done. Now? Not needed! There’s my attempt at looking at the bright side.

Oh, also? Gage and Meredith’s book is out tomorrow! Even though that means a lot of work, I think it will be a good distraction for me.

 

 

Gage, Matt, Ethan…

shutterstock_100010231Yup, my week will be divided amongst these men…it’s a tough job ;-).

Gage is of course, from the second Rancher book…Matt is from the first Still Harbor book…and Ethan-remember him?? He’s Jackson’s best friend from The Billionaire’s Christmas Baby! If I can find a coherent excerpt I’ll post on Tuesday.

So it’s been busy, busy, busy over here. We were down with influenza-seriously it took a week to feel human again. Three of us caught it, but the Mr. managed to escape the plague, lucky him. That week off means I have so much to catch up on. I have three books due in the next 3 months…plus revisions on two other books.

Revisions have landed for Still Harbor Book one, and I handed those in on the same day I came down with the plague, talk about timing! Revisions for Gage are due on Monday. Thankfully revisions for both these books have been super light and easy.

One of the projects due in the next three months is still a secret at this point, but I’ll be able to share soon!

I made out a long To-Do list this morning, because that always makes me feel like things are under control…even though they are NOT! But I can’t complain…I’ve got books to write and for that I’m very grateful.

I’ll be back soon guys with that excerpt! Hope you’re all well, xo.

 

 

The Justina Jar

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Sometimes it feels like once we’ve solved one set of problems with the kids, another one pops up.

One of the things we’ve struggled with is instilling in our kids a sense of gratitude and giving. It’s difficult for kids to truly understand how blessed they are when they live in a good middle-class neighbourhood where all their friends are in the same boat. They play sports, go to birthday parties, have birthday parties, get presents, have food on the table, clothes on their backs. We donate and collect gifts for the needy and do extra during the holidays. Their schools do various charity drives throughout the year that they actively participate in. But often that gets forgotten as the year goes on and whining for new Lego (um, when did Lego become so freaking expensive??) or Frozen swag becomes the focus.

So this year we decided to ‘adopt’ a little girl in Zambia. We were able to see her picture and see exactly how our monthly donation would help her and her family. Because we wanted this to be a family project, we set up a collection jar in the kitchen and we all have to contribute during the month. At the end of the month, the eldest (8YO) will count all the money. We thought that was important because we didn’t want this to just be mom and dad adding another expense onto the credit card. We want this little girl to be a part of our daily lives. Her name is on the jar, which sits on our counter.

The kids immediately ran to their piggy banks and filled up the jar and are excited and proud. It’s a damn fine way to start the year ;-). Oh and that paper you see in the jar? The 4YO drew her a picture and put it in-I think she thinks we’re physically mailing that jar to Africa every month :). And there’s the minor problem of the 4YO thinking that we’re taking a trip to Africa soon to meet her…oh well, one problem at a time, lol. 

It’s a start. It’s one way we can help out, but obviously there’s so much more we can do as a family. Right now, this clicked with the kids and it’s something they can both understand. This little girl has become real to them and they refer to her by name. They wonder about her life and what kind of house she lives in, about if she has clean clothes and food to eat. The 4YO was whining about a pair of pants that she hated and didn’t want to wear when we were going out for dinner one night. I left the room and told her she wasn’t coming to the restaurant unless she wore the pants. Then I eavesdropped with my husband as the 8YO went in and told her she should wear them because “think of Justina, who has to wear mud pants.” Okay, we probably should have corrected that, but it worked because then they started talking about her, the 4YO wore the pants and they stopped thinking about themselves.

What about you guys? Any family goals or projects you’re working on? Any traditions or interesting ways you give back as a family?

The Monday Rush…

It was another packed weekend over here.

I love that Saturday mornings-even though the days of sleeping in no longer exist-there is no school rush, no lunches to be packed, or racing out of the house in the frigid winter temps. I love having that extra cup of coffee with my husband while listening to the kids play (or argue) in the other room. I love winter mornings-well, I love being inside on winter mornings, especially if there’s snow on the ground or falling from the sky.

This Saturday we also had some good friends over for coffee-during the day. This was a new one for us. We always used to get together with this couple in the evening, but now they have their own wee one. They have an adorable 5-month old little boy. And we haven’t seen them in ages and the kids were dying to meet the baby. Funny how things change. This was a couple we’d enjoy having a few drinks with-he’s an absolute riot and I laugh in anticipation before he even starts telling us one of his crazy stories. But now we all have kids and this visit was fun and very family oriented…but different.

Sunday was lunch at my parents house-Nonna and Nonno’s house. Sunday lunch is sacred-you miss it and you will be guilted forever-Italian mother’s have mastered the ability to guilt. :).

Sunday night we had another couple come over, this time after the kids were in bed. It was catch up with all the friends we hadn’t seen in a few months.

It’s still amazing to me how fast life is going, especially with kids. We had a funeral to go to last week and it just made me stop and think about how we really need to embrace each day. To see the joy in each day-and be grateful we’ve been given another day with the people we love so dearly.

I also managed to cram in some writing time. I’ve got a super packed schedule this year-some projects that I haven’t announced yet, but I will soon :-).

If I can find something decent in the current book I’m working on, I’ll post a teaser tomorrow.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

xo

Teaser Tuesday + A Contest!

shutterstock_83592382If you’ve read the first book in the Tall Pines series, you’ll know remember Gage and Meredith. I purposely left a few unanswered questions at the end of The Rancher’s Second Chance, because I knew I had to write Gage and Meredith’s book. If you haven’t read The Rancher’s Second Chance, you needn’t worry, because this book works as a standalone. Of course, if you have read the first book, you know I love you ;-).

I had a hard time picking an excerpt from this book. These two were so dynamic and hilarious and heartbreaking to write at the same time. So for those of you who haven’t met Gage, he’s this  rough, hot, cowboy who’s had a thing for Meredith the moment she fell into his arms (literally) at a wedding. And Meredith…this is a woman who walked away from a controlling relationship and family, turning her back on a massive fortune in order to start a new life. These two are opposites…and that’s part of what made this book so fun to write.

“Yes. I drive you to the main house. I go back to my house. Alone.”
            She shook her head.
            He nodded.
            “Please,” she whispered.
            He shut his eyes for a moment and his jaw started ticking. In a precise rhythm. Almost like the ticking of a clock. “No way. You don’t even know the rules-”
            She folded her hands in front of her. Maybe she was getting somewhere. At least he was engaging her on the subject. “Well then tell me. I love rules. I play by the rules all the time, so this should be easy.”
            Gage rubbed a hand over his stubbly, sexy jaw, and then looked at her dead on. A delicious shiver stole through her as he took a step forward, a gleam in his eyes. “You need to tell me one more time why you’re doing this.”
            She drew a long breath and shifted her eyes from his intense stare. It was next to impossible to think when Gage was looking at her…like he was actually thinking about taking her up on her offer. Why was she doing this? Because she had been a sham her entire life. She had lived by everyone else’s rules. And she had finally figured out that the people doling out all the rules were the most messed up people she’d ever met.
            She glanced up at Gage again. He hadn’t so much as moved one perfectly sculpted muscle. The other reason. The other reason was because she wanted to know if Ron was right about her. Was she really just the woman that she was with him…or was she more? Yes, she was more. She had to be. There had to be more. She wanted to go to bed with a real man. And she wanted a real man to make love to her. And she didn’t know of any other man more purely male than Gage Mackenzie.
            “Well?”
            She cleared her throat and tapped her index finger on her mouth. She couldn’t very well tell him any of her thoughts. No. She’d just play this cool and calm. “This is part of the new Meredith. The one I was telling you about in the bar earlier.”
            “The one who wants the Bite Me shirt?”
            Meredith snapped her fingers. “Exactly.”
            “See, here’s the thing, darling. You’re not that girl. And I’m not really looking forward to teaching you the rules and seeing you upset when it’s over-”
            “Whoa, back it up there, cowboy. Your tone is slightly patronizing. I watch TV. I know how this works. No feelings, no commitments. Just one night. That’s all. Don’t worry, Gage, there won’t be any tears. I won’t be begging you to marry me tomorrow. Seriously, it’s a little egotistical of you to assume that I won’t be able to get enough of you.” She had to clear her throat after that statement, because his eyes went all dark and the gleam in them was heated. She crumpled her brow, trying to stay on track, praying he wasn’t going to turn her down and then she’d have to pretend to try and pick up someone else. Which she couldn’t do. There was one man for this and sadly for her, he was trying to get out of it.
            “This isn’t a TV show. It would complicated everything-”
            “So here it is in a nutshell: I’ve never been with anyone other than my loser ex, Ron. And let’s just say it was less than…satisfying. In fact, let’s say it bordered on the horrid. I’m not looking for commitment, I’m not looking for love. I know these things don’t really exist for everyone. I’m fine with that. But if I die tomorrow, I would at least like to know that I’ve had-” Omigod, shut. Up. Meredith.

OMG, I cringed for Meredith so many times during this book. But, the girl came a long way and I love when a character grows. And Gage…love :).

Also-just wanted to thank all of you newsletter subscribers for entering the New Year’s contest-the winner was picked this weekend-congrats to Lori M! Not on my newsletter list or following my blog? Sign up! Lots of exclusive giveaways :).

Leave me a comment and sign up to follow my blog and I’ll pick 2 random winners tomorrow-one will get a PRINT copy of The Rancher’s Second Chance and the other will get a Kindle copy. If you’ve already signed up for my blog earlier, you can still enter the contest-just leave a comment. xo

Good luck!

Taking the time to not Multitask

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Photo Courtesy of “Auntie Jackie.”

I like to think I’m the queen of multi-tasking around our house…okay, I don’t really have much competition because my husband just…can’t multitask. Just like every other woman on the planet, multi-tasking is the way to knock off so many items from the to-do list. I’ve also come to realize though, that I have to let myself-not multitask, or I’ll miss out on some of the best moments. I don’t want to just be there physically, I want to be fully engaged.

Last year, the 8YO (then 7) decided he wanted to try out for the all-star t-ball/baseball team in addition to playing house league. It was a big leap for him, because he’d only played one season before and there were very limited spots available. But we absolutely encouraged him, because he LOVED, lived and breathed everything  baseball. During the winter he’d be outside in the snow (hello, Canadian winter??) practicing his swing and hitting countless balls over the neighbours fence. So when it was tryout time, my BFF (known as the beloved Auntie Jackie around our  house) and I sat on the sidelines and watched. He didn’t make the cut. He didn’t even get a call-back for the next set of tryouts. He was crushed. We were crushed for him. I was worried it was going to discourage him from trying harder. Instead the kid, with total alpha-determination said he was going to practice and keep going and try again next year. We were so proud of him.

Turns out he didn’t have to wait till next year. We got a call from the coach-there was a spot for him if he wanted to play one year down. He was thrilled. He did. And it was the best summer ever. He shone. He went from barely making a team, to always being in the starting line-up. He played third base and excelled. He hit home runs. He learned the value of being part of a team, good sportsmanship and he made new friends. I brought work with me to the games and practices…and didn’t take it out of my bag. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to miss a thing.

This year, even though the season doesn’t start until April, he’s determined to make the 8YO team. We told him that if he’s serious, we’d take him to a baseball training clinic for kids so he’d be able to get ready for the season. He loves this place. Twice a week for an hour, he goes and gives it his all. Again, I have a notebook with me, but it just sits in my purse. I love watching the determination on his face. Or the pride when he makes an awesome play or when the coach says something encouraging. He’s come a long way. He’s learned the value of perseverance and hard work. I’ve learned how to sit and enjoy the moment, without thinking of all the other things I need to do. They’ll get done. These are the moments that will last forever…cheesy, yeah maybe, but true. When he talks about the session after, I want to be able to analyze it with him, not look away guiltily because I wasn’t watching.

Obviously we can’t be there for every single moment and work is a priority. And there are some days that the work just needs to get done, no matter how crappy it feels to miss out on stuff. But it is okay to make the time and to see the importance in the little things.

We’re gearing up for the season, even though it’s only January. Tryouts are in April. I’ll let you know how it goes ;-).

How about all of you? Multi-tasking too much? Or do you know when to shut it off?

My New Year Office Clean-Up

bookshelfSorry for the picture quality of these, it was night time!

I hate a messy workspace. My home office is a small space right of the main foyer. Of course that means everyone passes through here-for anything and everything. There’s a French door, so even the cat will sit there and stare at me through it until I open.

One of the reasons we bought this house was because it had 2 separate rooms that could be used as home offices. I’m on the main floor and the husband is upstairs…it works well.

My office is also where I keep baskets for kids school work and files, family business files, and my writing. This Christmas I got a new book shelf. My husband put a TV up there but I don’t think I ever turned it on-he will if he’s escaping the kids.

I repurposed an old vintage table into my new coffee station. I love that the 8YO felt the need to write WORK HARD on my white boards and that one of the most striking items on the bulletin board is a yellow cow with googly eyes created by the 4YO old.

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Across from my desk is a Trisha Romance painting that I never get tired of staring at. The window looks out mostly at our neighbours brick wall, but the way my desk is facing I also get a view of the ravine in the distance.

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So what do you think?? Where do you get your work done? Did you do a post-holiday clean-up?

 

New Teaser-Matt and Kate’s Story!

The first book in the Still Harbor series, is Matt and Kate’s book. I ADORE autumn, so I purposely set the book around Halloween. Still Harbor is a town that’s not as small as Red River, but not a city either. It’s a place with big front porches and a tight-knit community. For three women who always dreamed of having a family, and never truly having a home, it’s the perfect place to settle.

Kate’s a woman with a past and a lot of secrets. She also has a thing against cops-and Matt’s just the guy to prove her wrong. She’s defensive and wary, but she has reason to be. She’s also very protective of her daughter, Janie for good reason…

This teaser is when they’re about to go out on their first date. It’s not really a ‘date’ because she thinks the only reason they’re going out is for the fundraiser she’s organizing…of course, Matt has other plans ;-). He also had no idea she had a kid…and when three little girls answer the door, the poor guy has no idea what he’s gotten himself into ;-).

“I just want to be clear,” she began softly. “I’m not looking for anything other than a donation. And I can tell you’re surprised that I have a daughter.” Her head was tilted back so that she could look at him squarely in the eye. And did she have a stare, glittering eyes and firm chin. But he wasn’t a liar. Never had been. 

            But there was something about her. Something about her that hinted at a courage, a vulnerability that tugged at him. Her eyes sparkled with challenge, defiance, and…disappointment. Like she had thought he was different. And for the briefest of seconds he wished he could be.

            He cleared his throat. “So only one is yours?”

            Kate surprised him by smiling. And he found himself smiling in return. And then looking at her mouth. She was not what he’d expected. And his attraction to her was only increasing instead of diminishing. And that should have sent off some warning bells.

            “Yes. The little girl with glasses, Janie, is my daughter. I adopted her. There is no father, no husband, no anyone,” she said softly, but in a voice that was filled with conviction. Slightly defensive. And she took a step toward him, and hell if she wasn’t openly challenging him.

            He stared at her, speechless. Impressed. She made him think of all the good women in his life. The ones that had sacrificed and loved him. She made him think all the naïve thoughts he’d once had about people when he was little. Before he learned how horrible people could really be. Her expression reminded him of himself-when he’d defiantly look up to his father, hoping for acceptance, but bracing himself for the worst.

            He swallowed, hard. “Why didn’t you introduce me to your daughter?”

            Her eyes narrowed. “I read the expression on your face. I saw the shock and I have no intention of introducing my daughter to someone that won’t be around tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’ve gotten used to it. I also know that I’ve had to choose my…friends wisely. I don’t put up with crap from people, so if you want to donate, it will be greatly appreciated. If you were after something else, and now want out that’s fine too. Just don’t waste my time and don’t bother acting all charming if you’re just after a quick screw, I don’t work that way,” she said backing up abruptly.

            Matt grabbed her hand, finding his voice, his conviction. “Don’t do that. Don’t assume that I’m like everyone else.” He didn’t know what the hell he was doing, or what he was promising. But he didn’t want to be that guy she was describing. And he didn’t want to say goodbye to Kate. 

 

So, what to you guys think?? When I have a release date, I promise I’ll let you know. Be sure to check out the new page dedicated to Still Harbor.

 

A Brand New Series!

Still Harbor

Last year I sold a three book series to Entangled’s Bliss imprint. What’s it about? Below is the blurb I handed in with the book proposal that later sold.

I’ve set up the Still Harbor Series page, filled with the pictures that inspired me. I loved writing the first book, because the heroine is the kick-ass, no-nonsense type on the outside. She’s learned that she can protect herself that way. And the guy she falls for? He’s a rough, tough, ex-cop with a heart of gold…

Across a rowdy, overcrowded table in a group home, three quiet girls make eye contact-a visceral connection instantly forming and bonding them together. The relationship forged that day between the three orphans is the beginning of a friendship that transcends time, foster homes, and broken hearts. 
Their pact to always remain ‘sisters’ stays in their hearts and twenty years later, they fulfill the first part of their dream and are reunited. As they settle into the idyllic family-town of Still Harbor, they embark on a journey that will force them to deal with the pain in their past in order to claim their happily ever after. They purchase a home together to raise each of their adopted daughters, vowing to provide a secure and positive home for the children. Their next project is to obtain funding and permission to open a home for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.
With three children in their care, the building of their shelter, and three careers to maintain, their lives are full and content. Or so they think…as they begin this new chapter in their lives, true fulfillment comes when they open their hearts to the enigmatic, passionate men who will make them whole and give them the family and unconditional love they have always yearned for.

So, what do you all think?? I’ll be posting a teaser from the first book, Matt and Kate’s story, soon!

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