Autumn Feels

Every autumn, shades of amber, copper and cranberry bathe me in electric desire to create. Fall has always signified a chance to invigorate my goals. My commitment to nutrition and exercise increases, my inspiration to write is off the charts and I am giddy with anticipation for the wonderful things fall brings: Thanksgiving, Halloween and the countdown to Christmas – all of which are celebrated very well in my home with my family.

This year, these feelings have been more touch-and-go…I feel more ambivalence about starting things or committing to things. My energy has been so focused on cancer treatment and recovery, that I feel like I have none left for the things I’ve always loved. Cancer has changed everything – except when my kids are in the midst of their everyday needs, cancer has changed nothing. (insert smirk here)

I stepped up for Thanksgiving and Halloween (in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October) – a pandemic would not stop our little family from celebrating and being deeply grateful for my health. Yet, there was still a void deep inside. Something yearning or perhaps waiting for my attention.

I watch as the gorgeous colours of fall fall away, leaving branches bare. The days are darker and shorter and colder. I dig deep and struggle with the shadows threatening me. I get messy and let my husband see my fears, my mess, my loss of self. I reach for the love I have for my children and offer myself the same unconditional love. I reach for my faith and universal guidance. I reach for the archangels whom have been supporting my entire journey. This is what it takes to finally feel like I can overcome the shadows. And, I actually smile, because it is still fall and I can still gather the energy that I’ve always found in this wonderful season to regroup and keep moving forward. I can look cancer in the face and tell it, it will not run my life.

I am regrowing my hair, relearning my body, reconnecting to the things I truly love. I do not have the energy of autumns past – but I am learning a new way of being. Less frenetic. Less hectic. More genuine. My rhythm has changed this fall – from the relentless energy to DO, to the more calming energy to BE. Peppered with the learning of setting up boundaries for my kids – but that’s a post for another day 🙂

Fall 2020 has certainly been different for all of us. Have you noticed a difference in how you react to the seasons and holidays? Has it changed for you this year, and how have you managed?

Thanks so much for reading and connecting!

Friends to Lovers Regency Romance

When I started to write Charlotte’s story, I was certain she would be the peeress and the man she would find happily ever after with had to be someone for whom a title held little appeal. It was also known to me from the very beginning, that in order for her to trust, she would have to know the man for a long time – hence, the best friends to lovers trope. I have a few scenes from Charlotte and Matthew’s childhood adventures which didn’t make the book, but they really helped to give me a sense of how deep their friendship runs.

When I found this quote on-line and was taken to Seventeen magazine’s website for romantic Valentine’s Day sayings, I knew it described Charlotte and Matthew completely. What I love about the protagonists of Capturing a Countess’ Heart is that they can truly be themselves without any reservations or angst. Their primary goal isn’t love, it’s besting or beating each other, or simply being together. When the spark hits them, it gets confusing, but the knowledge that at the bottom of every flurry of emotion is true friendship gives them the edge and confidence they need to move forward. So much fun to write.

Whether Charlotte and Matthew are racing through their lands, helping Matthew navigate PTSD at a party, or dealing with a revenge-thirsty duke, they are happiest and most themselves when they are together. They are also stronger together.

How do you feel about the friends to lovers trope?

Five Years of Writing

The seed for Capturing a Countess’ Heart was planted late one night when I finished a swoon worthy Amanda Quick novel. I researched the author for a few minutes and realized how very normal her start was. My immediate next thought was, “I can totally do this”. Within minutes, I had my protagonist, Charlotte, and I knew I wanted her to be the one with the title. And, I wanted her to struggle with the idea of giving herself up to love.

The next morning, once I did the morning routine with my two small children (at the time) and did the daycare and school drop-offs, I drove to work in silence. Except, my mind was filled with colourful thoughts and images of how I would bring my Countess to life.

Within that short twenty minute drive, I made up the basic plot for the novel, developed the title and the title of the entire series, The Chronicles of the Heart, because the other three books would also have Heart in the title.

All of this happened within a day. Five years ago.

The next four years were spent writing whenever and wherever. Mainly, that meant during my daughter’s nap times (she was little then and still napped) and once the kiddos were in bed. I completed three drafts this way.

Then, I put the novel away for a month while I sent it to dear friends to give me any feedback they could to help improve it – advising them my feelings would not be hurt. Because, as any writer knows, I need time away from my project in order to come back to it with an objective mind. I was very clear that I didn’t have a budget for an editor, so I had to approach each draft ruthlessly once my friends gave their honest reviews.

Each time I saw an area for improvement I loved it so intensely because it meant I would be able to elevate my work. And, each time I hit a roadblock, the universe would inadvertently answer my question by bringing me the information I required. It truly was inspirational.

By draft five, my children were older, and I started to bring my laptop to soccer practices, gymnastics or dance classes, to piano lessons…anytime there was a block of time available to me, I took it. So, I never waited for inspiration to come, I became disciplined to write what needed to be written, to edit what needed to be edited in the time I had, not when I felt I could do it.

At this point, I had the confidence to start sending out my manuscript to agents, publishers and a few contests. And, it would go through a few rounds of “send us more”, but ultimately was not accepted by agents or publishers. And, while it didn’t win any contests, it would come in the top half of all submissions and be returned with tonnes of coaching from the expert panel of judges. Each rejection from publishers and agents also came loaded with questions and ways to improve the novel. I took every single comment as free editing and gleefully set out to write the best novel I could with all of this free advice from people in the industry.

Drafts six, seven and eight were edited in this fashion. Then came, the now what? I knew I wanted to publish, but I was so overwhelmed because I didn’t know where to start.

Then, as seemed to be the case with this entire journey, divine intervention came to help me and the universe brought me this post by the author who reintroduced me to my love of historical romance, Claire Delacroix, who also writes under Deborah Cooke. Find her blog at Deborah Cooke & Her Books. I couldn’t believe that the author whom reawakened my love of historical romance eight years ago had now written a step-by-step outline on what to do to publish your own work exactly at the moment I needed said list.

Talk about universal guidance!

The past year has been focused on following that list. I have learned so much about formatting and book covers to the myriad of tiny details required for every single step and every single platform. I’m still navigating publishing on Apple Books – you’d think it would be the most user friendly one!

And, now, here I am. A book published and currently writing book 2. The second book in the series is already easier to write because of everything I learned during the writing of book 1. It has been an absolutely incredible journey and one I am so happy to have said yes to.

My hope for you, if you are someone who is toying with entering any kind of creative/artistic endeavour, is that you take the plunge and answer the call of your creative soul. The universe will provide the answers as you go, as it did for me, and you will have fun every step of the way.

I am a published auhor

It has actually happened and I couldn’t be more happy or more proud. Funny, though. It isn’t the jump out of my seat, holler from the rooftops kind of happiness. It is a such body hugging warmth. I feel accomplishment. I have reached my goal. It is so calming and peaceful the sheer joy which is radiating through every single cell.

Available here.

Capturing a Countess’ Heart

Two more sleeps and my work is out in the world ~ what a lovely thought.

Pre-order on Amazon and Kobo.

Hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it. Here’s a short “what’s it about?”

#Reading The Merest Loss by Steven Neil

Excited to sit with my next read courtesy of #IndieApril. I realize it’s May; however, I committed to reading and reviewing this book in April. I believe that still counts!

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris. When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet? Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father? The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36514982-the-merest-loss

Looking forward to what sounds like a great read!

Every Little Bit Counts

Regardless of how much or how little is accomplished, I do something, anything, every day which gets me one step closer to my goal.

The list is long and it is absolutely a labor of love…of passion for writing and working on getting my work out into the world.

I could spend entire days after days on amping up my social media presence…preparing future blog posts…finishing the final read through of my present MS…completing the next MS in the series….

The truth is, I can’t.

I beg, borrow and steal time to chip away at this monumental dream I have of publishing my first novel. And, while some days feel like this is impossible…I may as well give up….on most days, I know I can’t.

Giving up would mean waking up in ten years and thinking why didn’t I just try? It would also mean a lot more sleep and time for my family…but I’m prepared to make sacrifices, to let go of the small things which need to be done in order to focus on this huge thing which needs to be done. For me. For my soul. For reaching readers who like me want romance set in the Regency which focuses on smart, whole hearted heroines and dashing, strong heroes – and, whom are both vulnerable and real.

I make a commitment every day to engage in action which will lead me to my goal – I write or edit or blog or tweet or post or research or simply manifest the day it happens and what it will be like.

One thing I know for sure – every little bit counts. The universe understands my goal and is in creation with me.

Capturing a Countess’ Heart will be in reader’s hands and I absolutely can’t wait for you to have it!

Rainy Days Were Made for Writing

It is a grey, damp day in my corner of the world. Most people around me carry on mumbling about April showers and how sick they are of the weather. When you live in a place ruled by the four seasons, the weather plays a definite factor in how people live and how people connect, or commiserate, over nature’s whims. Toronto’s weather is not for the faint of heart.

I relish it.

The changing of the seasons is an opportunity to reconnect to ourselves and our goals. There is a chance to start over four times a year and use the energy of the equinox or solstice to center your focus so you can manifest your goals.

Back to today’s rainy weather – while I’m very much looking forward to the sunny days of summer (sans smog alerts, *sigh*) – they are also full of pressure of having to do something because the weather is so nice.

But, not today.

Today, the world functions at a low hum. I can hide away and tinker at the keyboard to my heart’s content. Well, at least until the children come home from school.

Fellow writers and readers, would you concur about rainy days?

Snail’s Pace #AmWriting #Publishing

home-office-336377_640Becoming a writer has been a life-long dream. And, the thing is, I am a writer. An unpublished writer. Ugh.

I’ve blogged here and at Bookmarks. I’ve written short stories and a children’s novel.

More recently, I followed my heart and wrote what I love: a romance novel. A Regency to be exact. I have a shaky platform and virtually no writing credentials – at least none that publishing houses would take seriously.

So I have edited my manuscript, sculpted it by using every bit of research on editing I can find. And, I am so very proud of the final product.

Except, it’s as ready as I can make it. With numerous beta-reads, proof-reads, editing for continuity of character, plot, theme, setting and dialogue, there’s not much more I can do.

Now I face the prospect of publishing – which strangely enough has had me stuck for the past two months. I’ve used the excuse of summer holidays and busyness with the family to delay the inevitable. School’s back in. I’m working part-time – I have the time to see my dream through.

The choice now seems to send it off for more rejection letters OR perhaps, I will finally dive and tread my way through the self-publishing sea.

I believe it will be the latter for me.

Any advice?

Caryn Emme Sign Off

Confident or Brat? #AmWriting

There is a fine line between a man who knows what he wants and will not stop until he gets it, and the man who makes a lot of noise expecting others to get him what he wants.

The first kind of man inspires confidence and admiration because those in his circle know he will achieve his goal with dignity and grace.

The second causes groans, tension, stress and the inevitable eye-roll.

How to make sure your hero is the first kind of man, not the second? Here’s a checklist for you:

  1. Your hero takes responsibility for his behaviour and words.
  2. Your hero never blames anyone else for the circumstances in which he finds himself.
  3. Your hero loves your heroine so fully he does not look to her to feel more of a man or to heal any residual pain from his past.
  4. Your hero leads gently but firmly and cares for those under his protection.
  5. Your hero knows his mind and understands the consequences of his decisions – especially how the heroine will be impacted.

How to spot a brat in your hero? Here’s another checklist:

  1. Your hero deflects the influence of his words or actions.
  2. Your hero looks for places/people who are responsible for his angst/plight.
  3. Your hero needs your heroine rather than loves her. (It’s ok for him to need her love after love has flourished, but if she is needed for psychological well-being rather than being pursued for who she is – there is a fundamental flaw in the hero)
  4. Your hero mistreats those who serve or help him.
  5. Your hero acts rashly refusing to weigh the consequences of his decisions on the heroine or those under his care.

What are your definitely/definitely-not traits when creating the hero for your novels? I hope you’re inspired to keep writing swoon-worthy men.

Caryn Emme Sign Off

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