Down to Earth Romance

Archive for the ‘Writer’s Life’ Category

Rainbow Over The Coronavirus #AmWriting #WritersLife #WritersCommunity #Coronavirus #Covid19 #BeachLife

Like many people, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the Coronavirus2020 pandemic and the need for self isolation. A few days ago, despite the rain, I decided to get out of the house and away from the news to take a ride to a popular bay side beach. Even though the beaches are closed on both the bay and the ocean sides of Delaware, seeing the sand and water can make me feel better about almost anything. (Plus, there’s a takeout ice cream store nearby, which makes a beach visit especially worthwhile.)

I sat alone in my car in the rain, enjoying my chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles, with my eye on the bay through the windshield, when, suddenly, the rain stopped and the sun came out so fast it was like somebody hit a light switch. Just as fast, a rainbow formed in the distance. I grabbed my iPhone, jumped out of my car, and shot this picture seconds before the rainbow disappeared behind more cloud cover. If you look closely at the horizon, you just might see the arch.

Can’t see the rainbow?

I’ve highlighted the photo below.

I know these aren’t great pictures, but my photography skills, or lack of them, aren’t the point of this post. I’m a romance author, after all. Something beautiful and unexpected had occurred in the midst of a storm, during the worst health care crisis our country has known in my lifetime, and if I hadn’t paid attention, I would have missed it. The moment seemed like a metaphor for something I needed to learn.  Despite the wildly obvious cliches about rainbows and ice cream cones, I felt better.

My mood lifted, and on the drive home I became hopeful that our country and the world will heal from this virus, maybe sooner than we know. The sun will shine again. Our lives will return to normal, or a new normal. I thought about changes I can make to improve my own life post-Coronavirus, and how to implement them. When that happens, chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles at the beach will taste better than ever.

~Best, Adele

Guest Blog-Author Marianne Bayliss Offers Readers French Chocolate #SweetRomance #Books #RomanceAnthology #WritersLife #WritersCommunity @CamdenParkPress

Australian author Marianne Bayliss has been invited here to share the inspiration behind her short story “Sweet Provence” in the LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES romance anthology.

I greatly enjoyed Marianne’s story, set in the beautiful southeastern region of France, and hope you will too. Download a copy of the collection or buy the print version from your favorite online retailer, lift the cover, and delight in the sweetness of love and chocolate inside. ~Best, Adele

***

From Marianne Bayliss:

The inspiration for my story SWEET PROVENCE came from a wonderful holiday I shared last April with my 21-year-old daughter.

Our globe-trot included one glorious week in Paris, four days in Provence and ten days in Italy. We loved it all, but we loved Provence the most.

In Provence, we made our base in Aix- (pronounced: ‘aches’) -en-Provence and booked mini-van day tours to surrounding towns, just as my heroine did.

While each town was charming, with specific traits that made them unique, we discovered similarities that linked them.

First, the light. It’s golden. Everything appeared tinged in a caramelised aura. It had us turning our face to the sun and basking in the gentle glow: something we rarely do in the harsh Australian sunshine. While now I can’t remember the exact shade, I still recall the impression of the faint butterscotch blush and I tilt my head up when I call it to mind, as though the memory and the action are linked. It was easy to see why the great painters Cézanne and Van Gogh favoured this unique light and created their most famous paintings in this area.

Second, the scenery. Every aspect is postcard worthy. I was producing photos similar to those filling my ‘365 days in France’ calendar. I, as the photographer, needed no skill; Provence did the work. Each cobbled-stone laneway, fountain and potted plant appeared to have been designed with the camera in mind (yet with that nonchalance at which the French excel). While we, the models, may not have always photographed our best, Provence provided the perfect backdrop without fail.

Third, the food. Buttery, flaky croissants accompanied by creamy coffee or rich hot chocolate for breakfast. Crunchy baguettes filled with fresh produce for lunch. Whole roasted Camembert topped with stewed cinnamon apples for dinner. Need I say more?

Fourth, the friendliness. To be fair, I speak basic conversational French and tried to use it as much as possible, but we found the locals were warm and helpful. Our experiences started with a Boulanger, sucking a cigarette outside his bakery, who fixed a problem with our accommodation then gave us crisp pastry treats in a sweet little bag to enjoy while we waited. Two waiters shared a Limoncello with us ‘on the house’ during their shift. A stall holder in Roussillon engaged us in charming conversation after having seen us wander the market in Saint-Rémy the previous day. And a married couple from Marseille, who we met on the flight from Provence to Venice, insisted we join them in their private water taxi from Venice airport to the main island, instead of travelling by crowded water bus!

Outside Aix-en-Provence is the village of Puyricard, and home of France’s famous chocolaterie of the same name. This became the inspiration for my hero’s world and the location for much of my story. (My daughter and I actually outlined the story one evening on the walk from our accommodation to the café; by the end of dinner we had full stomachs and a basic plot!)

In SWEET PROVENCE, children’s book author and illustrator, Katie Monroe, seeks inspiration when she travels to Provence. But romance finds her in the form of Luc Julienne, the owner of France’s famous chocolaterie.

When distance and work conflicts threaten their relationship will Katie choose the job she loves or the man who has melted her heart?

LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES presents sixteen stories that capture both the sweetness and variety of a box of chocolates. Ranging from new loves to rekindled relationships, these stories are filled with sweet meet-cutes, nutty quirks, and the unexpected richness hidden beneath the surface of the characters and their developing relationships.

You can purchase a copy of Love is Like a Box of Chocolates from your preferred retailer here:

www.books2read.com/LoveIsLikeChocolate

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084S7D6NC

Winter At The Beach by Adele Downs #photography #beachlife #writerslife #authorslife

It’s winter here at the beach, but spring is in the air. Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog from the town of the same name, predicts when spring will arrive based on whether or not he sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, February 2.

Phil predicted an early spring for 2020, and I believe him. My daffodils and crocus are already out of the ground.

Thanks, Phil!

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2020

LOVE and CHOCOLATE #SweetRomance #Anthology @CamdenParkPress #WritersLife #WritersNetwork #WritersCommunity

LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES Sweet Romance Anthology is a special new release for me. It contains my first published story since my dear husband of thirty years passed away suddenly in March 2018.

Steve’s death leveled me emotionally. I couldn’t work, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t get through a day without crying. Grief counseling helped and became my focus for many months. Friends and family were lifelines. However, I worried that my creative spirit was gone forever and that my writing career was over. I wondered if I would lose my readers along with the love of my life.

Then, quite by chance, (or maybe kismet) I read on Facebook about an open call for *sweet romance short story submissions from small independent publisher Camden Park Press, and decided to go back to my desk and try to make the words come. Over the next few weeks I poured myself into writing, revising, and then submitting my story about falling in love at middle age.

To say I was thrilled when editor Lyn Worthen contacted me to say “Catch Me” had been accepted for the romance anthology LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES, and that my story was ‘just what she was looking for’ is an understatement. Despite my struggle with grief and loss, my creativity was revived, and so was I.

I do hope you’ll download a copy of LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES from your favorite online retailer, or order a print copy from Amazon if you prefer paper to e-book. There are sixteen heartwarming, diverse, and entertaining stories in the collection; and any one of them can be read in about an hour. This book is perfect for the beach, quick reads inside waiting rooms or before bed, and also makes the perfect gift for friends and loved ones.

*By the way, in case you were wondering what “sweet” romance means, it’s code for ‘only contains a kiss.’

Buy The Book!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084S7D6NC

Books To Read: https://books2read.com/LoveIsLikeChocolate

The Inspiration for CATCH ME-Love Is Like A Box of Chocolates #SweetRomance #Anthology @CamdenParkPress #WritersLife #WritersCommunity

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2020

This is the bicycle that inspired my short story “Catch Me” in the sweet romance anthology LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES. It’s not a particularly sexy bike; it’s sturdy with thick tires and a foot brake instead of the hand brake installed on racing bikes. It’s a Schwinn, and almost exactly like the bicycle I rode as a child, which is probably why I picked it out and brought it home from the local big box store.

Riding the bike, however, has been a challenge. I’m scared of my Schwinn. My fear of falling has taken some of the shine off my exercise good intentions and visits to neighbors. Understanding that practice might ally that fear hasn’t helped much. Riding my bike has become more about gritting my teeth and getting from point A to point B than the elated air-and-sunshine freedom at the beach I anticipated. However…I’m not giving up. This year, I intend to make my bicycle my friend… I hope.

My fear of falling off my Schwinn sparked the idea for my LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES short story “Catch Me.” My creative spirit invented the heroine, Lilly, and the handsome construction worker, Theo, who meet after Lilly hits the asphalt when she loses control while riding beside Rehoboth Bay (pictured). Their happily-ever-after is a much better ending than the one I fear for myself. But, who knows, maybe with determination and practice I will regain the bike riding confidence of my childhood, soar beside the water, and make exciting new friends in my community along the way.

Buy the Book!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084S7D6NC

Books To Read: https://books2read.com/LoveIsLikeChocolate

January Beach by Adele Downs #photography #beachlife #writerslife #authorslife

It’s winter at the beach. I live in the southernmost part of Delaware, where the weather is generally milder than neighboring states to the north, but not as warm as those in the US Deep South. It’s 46 degrees here, and dreary, and though the ocean and our beaches are ever present, they seem just out of reach. The best we can do is walk along the shoreline and breathe its briny scent while we wait for spring sunshine and the heat of summer.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2020

Mornings By The Bay: Personal Shell Collection #amwriting #WritingCommunity #writerslife #beachlife

Good morning from the beach! A friend of mine found this large, round basket at the Home Goods store, which turned out to be the perfect container for the oversized shells in my collection. They’d been displayed individually throughout my house, but I think showcasing them together creates more impact. There’s a story behind each item in the basket, collected over the course of my life. To name a few:

-The starfish my daughter found as a child, attached to a bulkhead at Gordon’s Pond beach.
-Driftwood my late husband found while we walked along the shoreline in Rehoboth.
-The horn shell I bought from a fisherman on a beach in Jamaica.
-The conch shell I found while exploring The Bahamas.
-Brain coral given to me by my parents decades after their 1960’s Caribbean cruise.

Each item inside the basket is a cherished memory, and I look forward to adding to the collection for years to come. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to display your own collection of personal treasures to beautify your home and brighten your spirit.

Speaking of collections, I finished writing a short story for an anthology scheduled for publication in February 2020. If the story is accepted by the publisher, I’ll be sure to tell you about this exciting project.

Have a great week!
Best–Adele

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2019

Saying Yes to 2019 #NewYear #2019goals

Thank you, blog subscribers and fans of my books, for sticking with me through the lean times when I had—have—no new releases to offer. Yet.

The year 2018 was an unusually tough one for me, and I’m not sorry to see it end. For those who might not have read my earlier posts about my bereavement, I lost my wonderful husband of 32 years in March. After 10 months of grieving, I still have a long way to go in the process, but I’m beginning to feel better. And that means I’m thinking about going back to work.

There are completed novels stored on my flash drive that need to be submitted to publishers; I’ve gotten the rights back to several previously published books I intend to revise, expand and re-release; and … I plan to start writing a new book. It takes enormous amounts of physical and creative energy to write a story, and it might be a bigger challenge than usual for me to delve into a new work. However, my goal for 2019 is to move forward. Fingers crossed.

May 2019 bring you and your loved ones all good things. Happy New Year.

Wishing you Thanksgiving Peace

Wishing my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving filled with the love of family and friends.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

October Beach by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

I finished the final draft of a new novel, then took a walk on the beach, imagining my love was with me.

Except for my signature, this photo is unaltered.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

October Beach Day by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

On the beach on a warm October 2 afternoon, after a morning of writing. Yes, I’m writing again!

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

A Personal Message To My Readers @Adele_Downs #Bereavement

Life often gets in the way of our plans, but the loss of a loved one can derail us like nothing else. Since the death of my dear husband of 30 years earlier this year, I have placed my publishing career on hold while I grieve.

To keep my creativity alive I’ve put my love of reading to work by becoming a professional reader for NetGalley, by cooking unique and healthy meals for one, through long walks and Tai Chi classes, and by taking photographs to share with you. But I won’t lie; the grieving process is brutal, relentless, and slow going.

Soon, I hope the writing will come. Publishing has been a huge part of my personal identity for many years and I can’t imagine life without it. I also know that the pieces of my broken life and broken heart will be reshaped in the months and years ahead, and that’s bound to be reflected in the stories I write. We’ll see. When I’m ready to publish a new book, you’ll be the first to know. I hope you’ll be here to welcome me back.

Best–Adele

Madeline Hunter-Join Us! Workshop For Writers @VFRomanceWriter @MadelineHunter

You’re invited to an all-day writing workshop offered by Valley Forge Romance Writers, featuring NY Times best-selling historical romance author Madeline Hunter, at Montgomery County Community College in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Register now and join us September 15, 2018!

 

Bring a work-in-progress or a new story concept and leave with a conflict driven synopsis for a book that will wow readers and editors!  For more information visit Valley Forge Romance Writers.

Madeline Hunter-Workshop For Writers @VFRomanceWriter @MadelineHunter

You’re invited to an all-day writing workshop offered by Valley Forge Romance Writers, featuring NY Times best-selling historical romance author Madeline Hunter, at Montgomery County Community College in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Join us September 15, 2018.

.

Bring a work-in-progress or a new story concept and leave with a conflict driven synopsis for a book that will wow readers and editors!  For more information visit Valley Forge Romance Writers.

Little Library At The Beach

Greetings from the beach! I moved from my family home in Pennsylvania to my vacation home in Delaware full-time and dove straight into summer. As part of my new routine, I’m taking early morning walks on the boardwalk along the ocean. The air at dawn is cool and refreshing, and I’m learning to appreciate rising early to work out. By 8 AM, the sun starts to get hot, and my enthusiasm for exercise declines with every uptick of the thermometer.

Near the end of my route, a sign for a Book Box takes me a few yards off the boardwalk to an adorable little free library. Book Boxes are popping up all over the country, and book lovers and authors like me are thrilled by the trend. The process is easy–take a book, give a book. No library card or membership of any kind is needed and you can borrow or donate at any time.

There might be a little Book Box or two in your community. If not, maybe you and an organization close to your heart can start one in your neighborhood. Reading is fun!

Happy summer!

How could I resist taking a look?

Following Ms. Bunny to the Book Box.

Built by the Village Improvement Association.

Take a book. Donate a book. Easy.

I’ll be glad to donate signed copies of my books.

**

Photos copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Hurry! Enter The Sheila Contest Before Deadline! @VFRomanceWriter #romance

Are you an aspiring romance author or a published romance author who’d like feedback on your manuscript from trained, experienced judges? The Sheila Contest, hosted by Valley Forge Romance Writers, is one of the most respected writing competitions in the industry. Low entry free, helpful feedback, the opportunity to have your book read by editors and agents, and a generous cash prize for the best of the best. The deadline looms, so hurry to enter!

Deadline is April 7, 2018.

Here’s the link for details. Good luck!

https://valleyforgeromancewriters.blogspot.com/p/2018-sheila-contest.html

March Issue of InD’Tale Magazine, Available Now! @InDTaleMagazine #books #romance

InD’Tale is a digital monthly magazine covering our favorite subject–books–and specializes in titles written by indie authors and those who write for small presses. I’m pleased to share that my article “Pen Names–Your Personal Brand” is featured in the March 2018 issue. I hope you enjoy the magazine, subscribe (it’s free!), and will check out my article.

http://magazine.indtale.com/magazine/2018/march/

GRAND OPENING! New Website! AdeleDowns.com

Celebrating the GRAND OPENING of my redesigned author website!

Visit Adele Downs at http://adeledowns.com and check it out.

Sign up for my newsletter and be automatically entered to WIN a gift card from your choice of Amazon, Starbucks, or Dunkin’ Donuts. Newsletter includes exclusive excerpts, advance new release info, contests, giveaways and more.

I hope you enjoy viewing my new site. Comments and suggestions welcome.

New Website Coming Soon!

I’m building a new website for my books and will post the link and the invitation to visit when it’s ready to go. Hopefully, I’ll still have hair and nails left by the time it’s done. Whew!

Best–Adele

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