It’s been a while since I posted an update on writing, but I’m nearing the end of a novel! I’m extra excited about this one because it’s another book my wife Ruby and I are writing together! We’re in the editing stages now so our hope is that Stay With Me will be finished by the end of June 🙂
This book has been a LONG time in the making. To give you a reference point, when we started writing it, gay marriage wasn’t legal in Maine yet (it’s set in Maine).
The inspiration for the story was a weekend Ruby and I spent at a bed and breakfast on the coast during a humongous spring storm. The entire town flooded, including the attached basement tavern, and we spent the weekend holed up in a gorgeous room (they upgraded us because so few guests showed up) or running around having adventures in the torrential rain.
Like that vacation, Stay With Me begins with a storm and an inn on the Maine coast. Lynn hopes that a romantic weekend getaway with her girlfriend will save their rocky relationship, but when her girlfriend is a no-show, it seems like things can’t get worse. Dana owns the inn and with mistakes from her past coming back to haunt her, her life isn’t in the greatest shape to begin with. Then the storm happens, and she and Lynn form an instant bond that weekend. They both recognize how happy they could be together, but their lives are both a mess of roller coasters…so how could things possibly fall into place?
This novel has a lot of history with us, and I can’t wait to share it with you. It’s so full of longing and ups and downs and triumphs. We’ll be working on a cover soon and I’ll be making some teaser images!
Hi everyone! Happy February 🙂 This month my next book, Guarding Her Heart, will be released. I made some teasers using lines from the book, and I’ll be posting them here and on my Facebook page. I’m in love with this story and these characters, so I can’t wait to release them into the world 🙂
Ash is former military and works as a bodyguard now. She’s stubborn and gruff, and she’s pretty sure she’ll never be able to charm a woman. She thinks she has zero chance of ever finding love, even though she’s got a secret romantic streak a mile wide. The one time she puts herself out there, it ends in disaster.
Serena is a rising star in the business world and has spent her whole career learning to never show weakness. She’s too busy for romance and she gets cold feet whenever things progress past the physical anyway. She’s just as stubborn as Ash, but then she starts getting threats and she’s forced to let somebody else take control of her life for a while.
And they fight crime! (Well, sort of.) Does anyone else remember that character generator website, They Fight Crime? It would spit out random descriptions of a crime-fighting duo, like “He’s a washed-out Australian puppeteer with LSD flashbacks who farms goats. She’s a fast-talking champion pumpkin pie-eater who’s on the run from the mafia. And they fight crime!”
Back when I was in college (oh god how many years ago?) my friends and I used to have a blast using that for writing prompts 🙂 Anyway, here are the first two teasers!
I just finished Wind and Sea by C.L. Ryder, and it was a very sweet beach romance. Here’s my review! There are spoilers in the second half, so I’ll put a couple of lines in case you want to avoid that.
Wind and Sea by C.L. Ryder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There were a lot of good things about this book! I really liked the setting and how the writing made me feel immersed in the beach culture of Orange County. The characters were fun, particularly Cammy’s little sister Abby. There was a sweet theme of destiny that ran through the story: Cammy’s dream led her to Lei and little details were woven together to show that Cammy and Lei were meant for each other. I thought that was pretty romantic. There were also some parts where I really couldn’t put the book down, which is unusual for me.
The only thing I didn’t like was the whole concussion/coma thing. Lei told Cammy she was absolutely straight, and then Lei hits her head on a rock while scuba diving, has to be put into an artificial coma, and when she wakes up…she tells Cammy she’s now attracted to women.
If Lei had woken up from her coma and the accident made her realize that she’d fallen in love with Cammy, that would’ve been fine and totally understandable. But it was treated like fact that a concussion and coma could change someone so that they were no longer straight. Especially since Lei’s parents, who were very conservative, immediately asked the doctor to “turn her back.” It made it sound like being queer is something you can change by surgery or injury, and it scares me that people might think that.
Over all, though, I enjoyed Wind and Sea. It was sweet and I liked being immersed in the beachy setting.
View all my reviews
Hello friends! I’ve started to be more active on my Goodreads account, and I thought I’d repost my reviews of books I’ve read lately here. So here are the most recent three I’ve done!
Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was honestly one of the best romances I’ve ever read. It was full of high emotion, compelling and well-rounded characters, beautiful scenery… Everything I want in a novel. I have a special place in my heart for seaside communities, having grown up in one (although in Maine in the U.S. and not in Australia) and I loved the attention N.R. Walker gave to the setting. Also, Aubrey and Patrick’s relationship was so warm and soft and safe, and it constantly had me going “Augh, they are so CUTE together!”
I’m not sure it’s worth mentioning, but one of the characters has panic attacks, and they’re very skillfully described. So if you’re like me and essentially watching someone have a panic attack makes you start to have one, just know this in advance. Utterly worth it, at any rate.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was one of the weirdest, most interesting books I’ve ever read. I started out skeptical, because through the first chapters I felt like it was putting the establishment of the characters’ personalities over the plot. But as it went on, I was caught up in the bizarre and pretty horrifying atmosphere of Hill House. It wasn’t that I was looking for answers about what was going on in the house–I didn’t expect to get any–but I DID always want to know what would happen next. I guess that means I was more interested in the writing and action than in any explanation or resolution? Either way, it was definitely an experience.
Sunscreen & Coconuts by Eliza Lentzski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’d give this a 3.5. The writing was good and the tropical atmosphere was really evocative, but I just couldn’t get myself to sympathize with the main character. I did really appreciate the way the narration was so immersed in Mercy’s super-cautious outlook, though. It took good advantage of first person in doing that, but at the same time it put me off because I just wasn’t very interested in Mercy herself. I honestly didn’t find the arc of the romance very romantic. In the end, I think this was a well-written and well-constructed novel about characters and a relationship who just weren’t my type.
AAAHHH, IT’S HERE! I’m super psyched to share my newest novel, The Makeover Challenge! You can get it on Amazon, or read it for FREE with Kindle Unlimited! I’ll be releasing the paperback version soon.
All of my books are really important to me, but this one… This might be one of my VERY favorites, up there with THE ACTRESS and PRAIRIE HEART and HEREAFTER. It was such a joy to write, and I hope so much that you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it ❤
The Makeover Challenge on Amazon
Who expects to fall in love on reality TV?
Certainly not Charlie Vega, a burnt-out fashionista in desperate need of inspiration. Neither does Francesca Davies, a rock-climbing internet celebrity with a family who thinks a woman’s worth is measured by her husband. The two of them are competing on the hit reality series “The Makeover Challenge” for very different reasons, but when they get paired up as a team, the road to victory gets a lot more complicated.
With so little in common, it’s surprising that their chemistry is immediate, but it isn’t long before each woman finds herself intensely attracted to the other. With their complicated baggage, neither is exactly ready for love, but they’re certainly not averse to some steamy encounters…that are bound to get them into hot water.
Could they even make a real relationship work on a show that’s actually nothing like reality?
It’s cover reveal daaaay!
I’m super happy to share with you the cover of THE MAKEOVER CHALLENGE, my upcoming novel. I’m deep in edits right now and I’m so pleased with how this story is turning out. And I think the cover really matches the fun, sexy tone
I’ll be posting teaser images (created by my wife!) over the next several days, so keep an eye out for those!
I’ve been hard at work on a new novel, The Makeover Challenge, and I’m so excited that it’s nearing completion!
This is such a fun one, you guys. I write romances with all sorts of flavors: dramatic, heartwarming, serious, weighty, fluffy… All of my stories have a firm basis in the idea of two women overcoming hurt and setbacks to become better together. Since The Makeover Challenge is centered around two women on a reality TV show, it gave me the chance to write a story that’s both dramatic and fun, with a little bit of silliness and a lot of self-realization. It is a makeover story, after all!
The premise of the TV show is that pairs of people from different backgrounds work together to teach each other their specialty and then compete in challenges. My novel is the story of Charlie, a burnt-out fashion vlogger, and Francesca, a mountain climber who has a successful YouTube channel but also has a ton of debt and a family that thinks she’s worthless. They get paired together…and all sorts of feelings and craziness ensue 🙂
Charlie’s lost her passion for her work and she’s afraid she’ll never get it back. She auditions for “The Makeover Challenge” television series on a whim, hoping for a shot of inspiration, and she’s totally shocked (and elated) when she actually gets accepted. Francesca, on the other hand, really needs the cash prize to keep school loan creditors at bay. It would also help convince her family that there’s more to a woman than how good of a husband she can bag.
Charlie and Francesca are so good for each other and share so much chemistry, but even if they can get past their emotional walls, there’s no way they’ll get any privacy on a show where the point is to follow them around with cameras.
I’m going to be working on the cover today, so I can’t wait to show it to you!