Melissa Abigail was born in the southern U.S.A. to South American parents, lived in the borough of Brooklyn, N.Y., and was raised in the humble suburbs of southern Ontario. A citizen of the world, she’s managed to fit in nowhere in particular but everywhere at the same time. A lifelong writer, creator and artist, she embraces thought-provoking ideas and diversity in film, fiction & life.
Haruna felt a small amount of relief bubble to the surface. They were going to finish it after all. But best of all, Ryu had good ideas. Great ideas. She rested her chin in her hands and watched him thoughtfully as he looked into his copy of the Merchant of Venice. She laughed to herself, and he glanced at her with raised eyebrows.
“I was just thinking—you’re really good at this, Ryu. You’re like a natural philosopher.”
“Is that a compliment?” Ryu asked in a flat tone that matched his look of scepticism.
“I just didn’t know you had it in you is all. Why do you act like someone who doesn’t care about school when you’re this smart?”
Ryu sighed, then bobbed his shoulders.
“Because I don’t care about school. What’s the point? Why do we do anything? What motivates us? What motivates you? Besides grades, of course.”
“Well what motivates you? Are you going to say ‘nothing?’”
“I never said nothing motivates me. Just school isn’t the most important thing, that’s all.”
“Then tell me. What’s most important?”
Ryu paused. His mouth lolled open. His eyes glazed over.
Eva King was born in Spain. During her teenage years, she moved with her mother to Scotland, where she fell in love with the culture and one of its men. She now lives in Barcelona with her husband, two children and a cat called Hamish.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her, sitting right beside her.
“Nothing really,” she attempted, still not looking right at me.
I nudged her, trying to get her to open up without speaking.
She looked at me and smiled. “You promise not to say I told you so?”
“Nope,” I joked. “I promise to try my best.”
Her eyes watered as she told me, “You were right about Jason. He….”
“He what? Did he try to hurt you?”
I had to stand up even though I knew she needed comforting. It was hard to hold back the anger that bubbled inside me. I would kill the arsehole if he’d hurt her.
“No, not at all. But… you know.” She stopped, trying to find the right words, then she wiped her eyes. “He tried to go further than I was ready and… when I made him stop, he started calling me a tease. That’s when I left and… now I’m here.”
She stood up and gave me a weak smile.
“Come on then, just say it. I know you’re dying to,” she said, stepping closer to me. Close enough to touch, enough to smell her shampoo.
Tania Joyce is an Australian author of contemporary and new adult romance novels. Her stories thread romance, drama and passion into beautiful locations ranging from the dazzling lights of Sydney Harbour or the glitter of New York, to the rural countryside of the Hunter Valley or Darling Downs.
She’s widely traveled, has a diverse background in the corporate world and has a love for shopping, shoes and shiraz. She’s rarely seen without glitter, sparkle and stilettos.
Tania draws on her real-life experiences and combines them with her very vivid imagination to form the foundation of her novels. She likes to write about strong-minded, career-oriented heroes and heroines that go through drama-filled hell, have steamy encounters and risk everything as they endeavor to find their happy-ever-after.
Tania shuffles the hours in her day between part-time work, family life and writing. One day she hopes to find balance
Two suitcases packed to the brim. One suit bag bulged at the seams. Nate Somers stood beside his bed and assessed the luggage lying before him. He rubbed the back of his neck with the palm of his hand as he surveyed his room yet again. What else will I need? He was unsure if he’d packed enough—he’d never stayed in one location for more than a few weeks at a time since his university days.
Living in Sydney for the next six months overseeing the opening of the new hotel for his family’s business on one hand was exhilarating and exciting, while on the other it was making him apprehensive. Because this was his project. The first one he’d seen from the ground up. Location, designs and plans had all been his idea.
Out of the bay window of his Chelsea home he caught a glimpse of the dawn erasing away the night sky, and the glow from the streetlights shimmering upon the murky waters of the Thames River. He hesitated for a moment to take in the view before he crossed the room and drew the curtains closed. This time leaving London somehow felt different. He tried to shrug off the niggling sensation that had settled in the center of his shoulder blades. Surely it was nothing. Maybe it was because he had no idea when he’d be back here again.
He made one last round of his rooms to make sure he hadn’t missed anything. In his office, his desk was all in order. Not a pen out of place. Just the way he liked it. Back in his bedroom, the metal runners on his drawers glided smoothly on their tracks when he opened them. They were nearly bare of all contents. A few neatly folded socks and jocks remained. His walk-in robe echoed with the sound of his movements as he skimmed his eyes over the railings where only a few suits and shirts hung, half still wrapped in their dry cleaning plastic. In the bathroom he checked his toiletry tote again before packing it into his luggage. He should’ve found the time to go shopping because he didn’t like the toothpaste from Japan that tasted like strawberries, or the mouthwash from China that was too sickly and sweet. But yet again this had been a fleeting visit. He spent more time away from his home than he cared to think about.Continue reading “FEATURE: Tania Joyce”→
Mary Ellen Woods was born into a military family the likes of Lieutenant Dan of Forrest Gump. Just about every male member of her family past and present has served in the U.S. military dating from the American Revolution to the current conflict in Afghanistan. Between her family background and traveling across the country as her father moved from one duty station to the next, it is not surprising she developed a keen interest in U.S. History.
This led Mary Ellen to a career as a history teacher. She was best known for her Civil War Studies class, a course for which she wrote the curriculum and taught for over twenty years. A lifelong avid reader, her love of literature led her to weave captivating narratives into her instruction to help her students connect to the people of the past. Mrs. Woods unique approach earned her the honor of being named Teacher of the Year for her high school in 2006.
Upon retirement, Mary Ellen combined her interests with her talents writing novels featuring military men as the heroes in both contemporary and historical settings. Her self-published debut novel, released in 2016, is out of the ordinary as a steamy romance with a couple over the age of 50. Her upcoming release is also unusual, a Civil War Era trilogy which features a female physician, as the heroine. A common theme in all her novels is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and she contributes part of the profits from her novels to veterans charities.
I am so over death certificates, life insurances, wills and other post-mortem related paperwork. I have to get away from it. I visit my nephew and his wife in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Yep, Camp Lejeune, the biggest Marine Corps base on the East Coast. There have to be some eligible fiftyish men here, right? Somebody’s wife finally had enough of military life and divorced him. Somebody’s wife died of…fill in the blank with illness…or a horrible accident.
I forgot I said it. Drew, my nephew, reminded me. I made a comment, trying to lighten the mood at the wake, that I needed a “replacement Marine.” Drew took me literally. He thought that is why I’ve come to visit, which, now that he mentions it…
I’ve had time to consider the possibility I could grow old and die alone in one of those homes. I will not turn into one of the old widows who flirt with the maintenance guys or physical therapists who are young enough to be their grandsons. I want quality golden years, and I want someone who will live long enough to share them with me. Marines have to meet fitness standards so they have to be in decent shape at whatever age.
Truthfully, I am casting a line. I don’t have time to waste. My body has always been my greatest asset. My face makes up well, but I’m not what one would call naturally beautiful. Problem is I’m on the down slope. To keep looking good for my age, I exercise like a fiend, eat like a bird, and bathe in moisturizer while hating every minute of it.
Phillipa Nefri Clark lives in country Victoria with her husband, two sons, and a gorgeous black Labrador. Working a dual role in marketing and retail in the family’s pet supplies business, Phillipa uses her skills to write engaging copy whilst loving every minute spent with customers and their owners.
Her published work includes many non-fiction expert pieces about dogs, three international specialist dog yearbooks, newspaper articles, science fiction fanzine stories, and a series of short film scripts used by a NZ Film school.
When not working or writing, Phillipa loves reading everything from romance to thrillers and speculative fiction, enjoys growing vegetables and roses, and being with her much loved family.
The inspiration for The Stationmaster’s Cottage came from the real life cottage nearby, a childhood spent in coastal towns, and the poignant reunion with her sister after a lifetime apart. It was registered initially as a screenplay in 2005 with WGA and conceived in 2002. Phillipa is a member of Romance Writers of Australia.
Slinging her handbag over a shoulder, she collected her wet clothes and damp shoes. The house was deserted, so she wandered outside to a dramatic sunset of gold and red.
Martin stood at the railing staring out over the sea, wearing dry jeans and a dark blue T-shirt. Randall ate dinner from a stainless steel bowl, briefly lifting his head as Christie stepped out. She paused to take in the view and Martin turned around.
Christie appeared fragile, smaller in the oversized T-shirt. Still-damp hair curled around her face. The colours from the sunset created an ethereal aura that turned her into something out of an artist’s imagination. She was breathtakingly natural and beautiful and was unaware of it. Martin could not take his eyes off her.
“Funny how things work out.” she said.
“I’m supposed to be on Lizard Island enjoying sunsets, the ocean and cocktails.”
“Would you settle for a sunset, the ocean and a local chardonnay?” Martin picked up two glasses of white wine from the small table near the deckchairs and held one out to Christie.
Surprised, she hesitated. Was this a truce of kinds? Should she even be here, with a man who was little more than a stranger? Martin watched the brief battle in her eyes, curious about what she was thinking.
“Thanks.” Something deep inside her wanted this to continue so she proposed a toast. “To sunsets, the ocean, and chardonnay.”
“To things working out the way they’re meant to.” Martin counter-proposed and they touched their glasses together with a clink.
Christie put her clothes, shoes and handbag on one of the deckchairs and joined Martin at the railing. She sipped on the wine, relaxing for the first time in oh so long. The sun dropped below the horizon, leaving a trail of fading pink and a soft golden glow across the sea. A light breeze carried the salty tang of the ocean, complementing the heady scent of jasmine along the railing.