Monday, March 19, 2018

Guest Post: Inspiration behind EYE ON THE BALL by Francine Beaton #Romance #Rugby

New from Francine Beaton!

Eye on the Ball
Playing for Glory #1
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Contemporary Romance Novel
Release Date: March 19, 2018

What would prove stronger? Love or Loyalty?

Top professional rugby player Jakes du Plessis desperately wants to keep his team's vow of celibacy in order to win the new International Rugby Club Competition, but he didn’t count on meeting ethereal artist Angie Summers.  Even a promise to his friends and teammates, demons from his past, and a distance of more than 9000 miles, could not stop Jakes from falling in love with Ange.  In the end, it took teamwork, perseverance and a whole lot of grovelling from Jakes’ side for them to overcome these obstacles, and find their Happily Ever After.



The inspiration behind Eye on the Ball
by Francine Beaton

Maybe years of following rugby and the increasing popularity of the game, had been the inspiration behind, or the reason for the series, Playing for Glory, of which Eye on the Ball is the first book to be published.
When you meet a fellow rugby enthusiast on a boat cruise on the Hudson during the Fourth of July celebrations, there had to be a reason why such a meeting made an impression. It was only on the long flight from New York to Johannesburg that the idea of the series started to form. Before then, I never considered writing about my beloved sport, not even romances. For the eight months since that New York trip, I plotted and wrote the first six books in the series and outlines of several other books. None of them was Eye on the Ball.
The first scene of Eye on the Ball came while watching a Six Nation’s Rugby Match on television. I got up, went to my study to type it up. When I was finished, I had the names of the two characters, Jakes and Ange, and I had the first scene of the book, but that was it.
When I plotted the series approximately eight months before, I created a team list. I planned the first six books, and built the team around the characters in those books, which I’ve written in that eight months. The only character that I had on my team list who might have been Jakes was the eighth man, JJ du Plessis, who didn’t have a story. He was just a number in the team. After I wrote that first scene, I thought it was going to be a Christmassy kind of story and called it, Under the Mistletoe.
After writing that first scene, Jakes kept on popping in my head and I spent more time thinking about him than I did the manuscript I’ve been working on. A few days after I’ve written that scene, the rugby world was shocked by the passing away of the Wallaby Dan Vickerman. There were many panel discussions and articles about his passing, but a discussion on a New Zealand talk show about Dan’s death and the struggles of professional sportsmen and women, really caught my attention. One panellist said that it was not uncommon that men in a macho environment don’t talk about their emotions and fears as they don’t want to appear weak. That phrase caught my attention and stuck.
I thought about it constantly. The only research before I continued writing was what could cause men in macho environments to fear that they were weakor any man for that matter. I had my story in a matter of minutes.
The following morning I woke up at four, went to sit at the computer and started writing. It was amazing. It just flowed. The rest of the research I had to do along the way or afterwards. When I finished with the first draft barely a week after I’ve started, I had more than 130000 words.
After writing Eye on the Ball, I realized that this was not going to be the typical sports romance I envisioned when I planned the series. Jakes was the catalyst, I guess. Although Jakes had the looks, the physicality, macho male image, the intelligence and other attributes to make him an alpha male, Jakes wanted to highlight important issues that had nothing to do with his looks. I had no choice other than to comply.
Eye on the Ball is about a man who struggles to keep his focus on what he felt was important—his teammates, his team and their end goal. It is also about a woman who is strong enough to deal with Jakes’ fears and insecurities, although it may not sound like it. It sounds like Jakes’ story and it mostly is but Ange is one of those women who doesn’t need the limelight. It doesn’t make her weak.



Born and brought up in Pretoria, South Africa, Francine had no choice but to fall in love with rugby at a young age. With three older, rugby-playing brothers and a father who was a fanatic supporter of the local team and the Springboks, Francine adopted the motto, If you can’t beat them, join them. After trying to play one game, Francine gave up the idea to play rugby. She opted to watch the boys from the side.

At the tender age of ten, she discovered the romance section in the local library and that was it. She was a fan. By fourteen, she had read all the ones in the Afrikaans section and switched to the English section. There was a time when Francine briefly abandoned her favourite genre to lose herself in crime novels, but as they say: you never forget your first love.

Rugby, romance and writing is not all that keep Francine busy. If she does not spent time with her Scottish husband and teenage daughter either at home or travelling, Francine loves to read, or dabbles in photography and painting.

She is a member of the Romance Writers Association of South Africa (ROSA).


Monday, March 5, 2018

Guest Post: Inspiration behind TRUST by Avery Woods #NewRelease #NALit #Excerpt


Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 5, 2018
Publisher: Roane Publishing

Why does society treat you as an outcast when you're single? Is it not bad enough that I have my two best friends pressuring me to date every chance they get. It's probably because I still haven't told them the reason I've avoided dating: The fact that I am HIV positive. It's this dirty little secret I've been keeping to myself for the last two years. I've tried telling my friends and family numerous times, but something always gets in my way. At least that's what I tell myself. Don't worry, I'm ninety percent sure you can find my picture under the word cynical in the dictionary.

Since my ex-boyfriend basically called me a walking disease, I've lost a bit of my self confidence you could say. I mean, how am I suppose to tell my friends and family? I guess writing a letter to my parents won't cut it.

More importantly, how is Travis, the new guy I like going to take the news? He is perfect, and I am far from it. I have to trust him, but trusting someone is easier said than done.

If dealing with HIV wasn't enough, the bombshell my mom decided to invoke on my sister and I sure takes the cake. At least that's what I thought, until I attended Lauren's birthday party. Who knew that would be a night I would never forget.

Who would have thought ripping off a band aid would be the most painful route to take?




Inspiration for Trust

When I am not writing, I work as a Registered Nurse. I'm privileged to work with individuals and families who live and deal with chronic illnesses. Not only does my job involve treating sick individuals, but educating individuals on how to manage chronic illnesses, such as HIV.

In my third year of nursing school, my class was studying communicable diseases. One of the diseases we briefly learned about was HIV. One of my nursing instructors organized for a presenter to come talk to our class about HIV. During this presentation, I was astounded on how much I learned about HIV. I couldn't believe how much research there was on HIV, and how far the medications have come to treat HIV. Although HIV is currently not curable, I was amazed on the advancements regarding limiting the transmission of HIV from person to person. The presentation had greatly altered my perception on HIV.

As a nurse, I work with individuals who are HIV positive. Each individual has their own story of how they contracted HIV, and how the illness affects them on a day to day basis. It's unfortunate, but I find there is a negative stigma associated with HIV. Because of this stigma, I wanted to write about a character who was embarrassed to disclose her HIV status. Having my protagonist have a bad experience disclosing her status with an ex-boyfriend, enhanced her insecurities about telling her friends and family. It was after writing that scene, that I realized, disclosing one's status to another person involves an enormous amount of trust. The approach of how one would disclose their status to a loved one, piqued my curiosity, and I decided to write about it.

HIV is a preventable illness, which assisted me in developing the internal dialogue of my protagonist. Because my character's HIV could have been prevented, it was interesting tackling the guilt my character felt about contracting the illness. I find that understanding one's illness and accepting an illness are two different concepts. My protagonist went back and forth numerous times on how she knew she couldn't 'undo' her illness, yet at the same time she had difficulty accepting her illness. I hope this is a concept that others could relate to.

In nursing school, the idea that an illness is a part of a person, but does not solely identify them, is a theme I tried to relay in the book. I wanted my protagonist to continue on and achieve her goals, as she would have, if she was never diagnosed with HIV. At one point in the book, my protagonist talks about how easy it is to hide her illness, as others couldn't necessarily 'see' her illness. I purposely wrote this to enforce the idea that the HIV is a part of my protagonist, but does not solely represent her. Her one decision does not have to dictate the rest of her life. I included characters in my protagonists life, such as her friends and family, who were supportive of her because I think support is truly important to have. 

~ Avery Woods



This isn't good. She knows, damn it. I can't even lie to her and tell her I take the

medications for a different reason. She knows what the medications are for. I completely

forgot I had my medications in my purse when I gave her permission to go in it to grab the

tampon. I mean, I wasn't thinking. I was half asleep.

I don't know what to say. She’s caught me off guard. I stay silent.

"The medications are anti-retroviral medications. They are used to treat HIV."

Cori gasps, completely shocked. Cori looks at me, but I turn my head. I can't look at her. "Do you have HIV?" She asks.

I stand up to clear my plate. I've lost my appetite. What am I supposed to say?

"Those aren't mine."

Brennley stands up. "Hayden, I saw your name on them."

I get defensive. This is my worst case scenario. I wanted to be the one to tell them on my own accord, so Brennley finding out this way? It’s awful.

"Maybe I took them out under my name for someone else, did you ever think of that? Maybe someone who’s ashamed of having to go to the pharmacy to buy them, worried they will be judged? Did you ever think of that?" Okay, that was a horrible lie, but I'm feeling cornered.

Brennley blows out a breath, and scratches her head. "No, I didn't. I wasn't accusing you of anything. I was just stating what I saw."

I'm angry, but only because they found out like this. "Well, don't jump to conclusions."

I look over at Cori and I can see tears forming in her blue eyes. "Hayden, just be honest with us. Whose medications are those?"

I squeeze my eyes shut. I will not cry. "No one's!" I shout.

I look over and see tears now forming in Brennley's eyes. I can't do this. There are too many emotions floating throughout this room. I'm sad, hurt, angry, devastated, frustrated, and feeling very, very guilty.

"They aren't mine," I sob. My shoulders begin to shake. Cori comes over and lifts my hands away from my face and wraps me in a hug.

"Hayden, it's okay if they are yours, just be honest with us. We don't care if they are yours."

You know the feeling you get when you are about to cry and someone asks you if you are alright, and it's them saying that, that makes you ultimately cry? That's what I'm feeling right now. I release Cori's grip on me and gently push her away. I turn and walk to the other side of the kitchen. I turn to face them. I wipe the tears that have spilled down my cheeks. I shake out my hands. My heart is hammering in my chest. My chest feels tight, like an elephant is sitting on it. I feel a bit dizzy, like the room is moving and I'm having trouble seeing straight. I take a deep breath until both of them come back into focus.

I decide it's time for the truth to come out. Although when I tell them I can't look at them. I'm scared to see their reaction.

"Alright, I give up. Those pills are mine." I cry. "Because I am, in fact, HIV positive."


About the Author:

Avery Woods lives in beautiful, but sometimes rainy Vancouver, BC, Canada. In addition to writing, Avery Woods works as a full time Registered Nurse. When she's not writing or working as a nurse you can find her consuming books by the minute. Trust is her first book.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Release from @RoanePublishing SECOND GUESSING #Romance #Contemporary #Sweet


Second Guessing
A Contemporary Romance
by Gail Ward Olmsted
Release Date: February 5, 2018

Jill Griffin & Ben Fein are meant to be together…said no one ever!

Jill has built a successful career writing romantic ballads for many of today’s top performers. Since the tragic end of her marriage a couple years back, the 40-something single mom has all but abandoned hope for a love story of her own.

Ben is a brash, young boy-band singer seeking a solo career who hires Jill to write for him. He’s got a dark secret from his past that he wants to keep hidden.

The attraction between the two is red-hot and when Ben falls hard for Jill, he doesn’t care who knows it. Jill’s been burned before and wants to take things slow, keeping their relationship out of the glare of the media. After a gossip columnist exposes their affair, she’s forced to decide if she can risk letting go of her past in order to build a life with Ben.

When Ben’s past makes headlines, Jill begins to wonder how well she really knows him. But as Ben climbs to the top of the pop charts, he’s determined to succeed… at convincing Jill to take a second chance on love.

Second Guessing is the love story of Jill and Ben, who are so wrong for each other that they may actually be right!


Ben popped a dumpling into his mouth and chewed and they grinned at each other happily. They managed to make short work of the appetizers and Jill moaned with pleasure as, after removing the empty plates, their server replaced them with huge bowls of pork fried rice, shrimp lo mein and chicken in a garlicky sauce. Their dinner was served family style, and Jill helped herself to large portions of everything. They ate in companionable silence, punctuated by Jill’s moans of delight as she sampled each dish. After she had eaten most of the food she had taken, she drank some water, and then sat back with a satisfied sigh.

“Carly says I could have a food baby and no one would even notice.” God, where had that come from?

“No one, huh?” he said with a smirk. When he saw Jill blush, he sat back and smiled. “I’m dying to know more about you, Jill Griffin.”

Jill shrugged her shoulders. Always shy and intensely private, she had grown increasingly wary over the years and disliked talking about herself. She had been burned a few times by those claiming to be interested in her, when all the while they only wanted to learn something about James, as if she would relay some juicy bit of gossip about him, posthumously or not.

She knew that since Ben was well on his way to the level of celebrity James had enjoyed, it was highly unlikely Ben had any kind of ulterior motive. He was probably sincere in wanting to get better acquainted with her. But even though she felt comfortable with Ben, she was out of practice with any sort of personal narrative.

“Not much to tell. I was married to James and we had Carly and then James died.”

Ben frowned at her and his brown eyes looked sad. “I’m not asking about Jill the wife or Jill the mother.”

“Well, that’s all there is to me, I’m afraid.” Jill laughed nervously.

Ben was shaking his head at her. “I think you’re wrong. I see so much more than that. I see a beautiful woman. A talented woman. A woman I want to get to know much, much better.” Jill put down the cloth napkin she had been folding and unfolding underneath the table. She had regained some of her self-confidence and she watched him closely as she spoke.

“A mature woman. Ben, I’m 42 years old. I have an 18-year old daughter. I don’t know what you want from me. I’m not a ‘Mrs. Robinson’ okay? You’re so…young,” she ended weakly.

But Ben was not to be put off. “I like you Jill. Yeah, I’m a little younger than you, but so what? Just a number, am I right? I want to know what makes you tick. How you come up with all those amazing song lyrics. What you love, what you wish for. And more than anything, I want to know how it will feel to hold you in my arms. What it will be like to kiss those lips. What you taste like…” He stopped as he noticed Jill was staring at him, open-mouthed. He pushed his chair back and slipped over next to her in the banquette.

Jill needed to say something, before she started kissing him like she had been dreaming about all day.

“I just want to keep this private, okay? I haven’t been with anyone since, well, you know. Carly says she’s ready for me to start dating again, but I’m not at all sure I believe her. You and I kind of work together, and I have to keep it professional. And there’s going to be a big tribute concert for James this fall and there will be a ton of press. I can’t have this, whatever it is, taking center stage. So this is just between us, okay?”

Ben was watching her closely and at his nod of agreement, she continued.

"And just for the record,” she whispered, “I imagine I taste like Whoppers and garlic sauce.”

Ben took her in his arms and just before he started kissing her, he assured her, “That’s my favorite.”



My first visit to Sedona, AZ prompted me to start writing JEEP TOUR, my first novel. I fell in love with the red rocks and blue skies and I couldn’t imagine a better place for a do-over. Second Guessing is my fourth novel and the theme of second chances and fresh starts has stayed with me. A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. I am mom to two young adults and two crazy cats, and I enjoy reading, boating, music and travel.I am a professor of marketing in the School of Business & Information Technology at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA. I was the recipient of the Deliso Endowed Chair Award and was recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Department of Higher Education as one of “29 Who Shine”.


A $10 Roane Publishing Gift Card!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use a Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing's marketing department.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Guest Post: From Short Story to Series by Sharon Hughson #RealityEverAfter #Romance #Giveaway


Reality Ever After
Virtual Match #3
By Sharon Hughson
Release Date: Jan. 22, 2018

Keywords: Contemporary, Romance, Novella, Sweet, Virtual Dating, Series

Happily ever after collides with reality to make or break their love.

Systems architect Marcus Jordan proclaims his love for career girl Veronica Shay, but life keeps hurling obstacles into their relationship. When Ronnie’s niece is born prematurely, Ronnie rushes to be the big sister Tony needs, knowing she is to blame for his fear of failing at fatherhood.

Marcus decides to help put their daddy issues to rest, but his discovery sends Ronnie into a tailspin. Ronnie already knows trusting men risks her heart and stability. Why would she want to meet the first man who rejected her?

An even bigger secret about Ronnie’s father convinces Ronnie to give him one chance to explain, never knowing it will bring her face to face with the true source of her trust issues.  Will the revelation come too late to restore the happiness she’d found with Marcus?


Guest Post: From Short Story to Series 

REALITY EVER AFTER, which releases today, is the third novella in the Virtual Match series. When the heroine, Veronica Shay, first visited me, she offered up a short story about the need for an invisible boyfriend. We both thought it was a “one-and-done” deal. 


The short story soon evolved into a 15,000-word novella that appeared for six months in a boxed set with seven other stories (by various indie romance authors) featuring one common thread: Virtual Match. My story generated a few exciting reviews (like this one and that kept Ronnie and Marcus in the forefront of my mind. 

Once the VIRTUALLY YOURS party ended, I wondered if I could find a home for this story. Imagine my pleasure when Roane Publishing started a line of sweet romance novellas. 

I dug out Ronnie’s story, embellished it a little, spiffed it a LOT and submitted it. And because I write elaborate backstories for most characters, I realized Veronica Shay had a closet full of secrets.  

So a second novella forced its way from my fingers into a Word document. This one had serious flaws, but there was a story. 

After some hard editing, the second chapter of Ronnie and Marcus’s love story hit the digital bookshelves. By that time, the conclusion of their story was flowing onto the page in my writing sanctuary. 

Today, you can read the culmination of more than two years with this cast of characters. 

To Veronica I’ll say, “You’ve come a long way baby.” 

Every interesting character believes a lie (or two) about themselves. The complex ones have a deep wound associated with this lie. And most of them are so busy lying about the wound that the lie becomes part of who they are. 

Until something shakes them up and forces them to take a hard lookAnd they discover that their painful past has built a fabrication around them. 

In the end, the truth about what they always thought comes out. 

If they accept it, they can evolve to a new level. But if they seek the safety the lie provides, they’ll end up in a worse state than where they started. 

That’s the journey Ronnie and Marcus take in REALITY EVER AFTER. They enter the dark land of lies. Their wounded hearts try to pull them into the hopeless abyss of “I can’t be loved.” 

I knew Ronnie’s wound ran deeper than the secret she reveals in book two. But it was such an old scar that she’d forgotten all about it. 

Until her brother’s insecurity in the face of fatherhood brings snatches of it floating to the surface. 

A good series need two things: 

  1. Separate story problems and goals for each installment of the series.  
  1. One over-arching problem that is introduced in the beginning, but isn’t resolved until the climax of the final installment. 

But all series must come to an end. Am I sad to say goodbye to these characters? Yes and no. 

Yes, because they’re finally getting to the “real life” phase of their relationship. The one where love takes the reins from romance and drives the couple into the sunset. 

But also no. They’ve been rumbling around inside my heart and mind for thirty-nine months and I’m ready for them to move along. 

I have plenty of other characters who want their stories told. Every goodbye to one story ushers in a hello to another. 

What’s your favorite series? Why is it your favorite? 

- Sharon


Links to other books in the series:



Since adventuring in Narnia as a trouble youth, Sharon Hughson has embraced the magical portal of reading. As a child, she wrote her first story and discovered a passion for creating new worlds. These days, with help from three cats, Sharon pens romance, young adult fantasy, women’s fiction, and nonfiction (too many story ideas for a single genre).

When summer turns to autumn, she picks up her substitute teacher satchel and ventures into the real world for new inspiration. She and her high school sweetheart (and husband) live near the Columbia River in Oregon, not too far from their adult sons. When she isn’t writing or reading, Sharon enjoys walking, hiking, crocheting, playing the piano and scrapbooking family memories.

Sharon has multiple short stories and three novellas published with Roane. She gladly credits them for launching her fiction writing career. For more information about any of her books visit




A $10 Roane Publishing Gift Card!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use a Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing's marketing department.