Patricia Preston Gives Away Great Writing Advice, Free Books, and An Amazon Gift Card!

Hello readers! I’m delighted to return and host self-published romance writer Patricia Preston. Patricia seems to have reached a happy place with her writing and publishing, and in this interview, she shares her journey to publication. She also tells you how you can win FREE books and a $20 Amazon gift card!!!! Enter a comment here and/or on Patricia’s website for chances to win!

What made you decide to write romance novels?

I like positive, fun stories with a happy ending and characters who are heroic, even though sometimes they make mistakes. I love stories with a positive message and where the good guys win and love conquers all and for a little while, I like making all that seem possible for a reader.

What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?

When it comes to writing, I would have not written anything “according to category guidelines.” When I started, I knew was trying to write a category romance, and so I jumped on the bandwagon, which was stupid of me. Writing to specific guidelines suppressed me as a storyteller. I regret the loss of that time in my life and that’s one thing I would do differently. As a writer, you should always do what works best for you and your stories. I had a lot of friends who wrote according to publisher guidelines and enjoyed it.

Can you imagine having a different career? What would it be?

I can imagine a lot of fun things. But writing tends to suit me best.

How has the market changed since you first published?

Greatly. I mean, it is totally different with ebooks. I wish it would have been this way years ago. I love all the different opportunities writers have nowadays. Best time ever to be a writer.

What was your biggest challenge when it comes to publishing?

Nowadays, a writer has to make choices. Whether you want to go traditional or indie. Because each has a different route. Right now, I’m working with a traditional publisher, and I enjoy it. But that isn’t to say I’ve given up indie publishing. I have several short stories I want to write, but I signed a three-book contract, and I have to spend my time getting those books written. I also have a part-time job in healthcare as well as writing, so there’s only so much I can do.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

Wonderful! The first story I published was The Yard Sale. I had no expectations. I just wanted to see what it would be like. It turned out to provide me with one of my best writing moments ever. It was such fun to write and I had been depressed over some losses in my life during the past year. It really helped me emotionally and set me on a new path as far as writing goes. The first day of its release, it made the top ten in comedy and for a while, it was in the number 1 spot on Amazon’s Best Seller list in Comedy. I almost passed out!

What is the single most important thing a writer should do?

Regardless of a writer’s publishing status, you should focus on writing the best book you can.

How has your life changed as you have published more books?

I write more. Like every day. Seven days a week. Seriously.

What is your perfect writing place?
I like what I have right now. But, if we’re talking wishful thinking, it would have a wall of windows overlooking forested hills and a vibrating recliner. LOL!

What advice do you have for new writers?

Work at the craft. Never stop learning or trying new things. Write what you love. Be sure to finish the book you start.

OneWeekInYourArms_blue_600 Jpg_RT

Patricia’s newest book, ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS, is mainstream contemporary romance filled with witty, charismatic characters. The fun, fast-paced plot features a secret baby, a billionaire baby daddy hero who needs a pretend girlfriend for a week, and a pretty doctor who is desperate to keep her child a secret. Unfortunately for the intrepid heroine, Marla, she needs money for her community clinic so she has no choice but to spend a week in paradise with the one man who can destroy her life. How can she say no?

ONE WEEK IN YOUR ARMS is the first book in Love Heals All series where romance causes havoc, heartache, and humor for a cast of unsuspecting doctors until they realize love heals all. published under the Lyrical Shine imprint of Kensington Books. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. They do feature the same location and continuing characters. The next book in the series is EVERYTHING HIS HEART DESIRES, coming in Jan 2017.


She picked up the letter opener. Her heart palpitated in sheer terror as she slid the opener under the flap of the envelope. With the envelope open, she peeped inside to see one folded sheet of stationery.

After six years, what could he possibly have to say?

She pictured him, standing beside a black truck in the drive of Royal Oaks, an old estate belonging to his grandmother. She recalled the date. June twenty-eighth. The day they had said goodbye had been a warm, blustery day in Tennessee. A summer storm was heading toward the rolling hills near Nashville.

The wind made a mess of Carson’s unruly dark hair. His dark blue eyes were hidden by a pair of mirrored lens aviators, and his alpha-male physique tested the seams of his polo shirt.

“If I’m ever back in town, I’ll look you up,” he promised as their casual affair came to an inevitable end. For three weeks, they had been together and finally, the time had come for them to go their separate ways. She hadn’t realized it would be so difficult.

“Sure.” She forced a smile of goodwill. After all, they weren’t parting in anger, or in love for that matter. And it was unlikely that she would ever see him again.

“I had a great time,” she confessed boldly. She’d loved every minute of their brief, steamy affair. Talk about a summer break to remember. She grinned.

He gave her cheek a stroke. “You’ll make a great doctor.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah.” He grinned. “You certainly know all there is to know about male anatomy.”

“Yours, at least.” She laughed. Then she hopped up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss. “Goodbye, Carson Blackwell.”

She stepped away from him. Now was the time to face what was ahead. A grueling three-year residency. There would be no more time for long summer nights, tangled sheets, and sighs against swollen lips. She walked toward her small, sturdy hatchback. Before she opened the driver’s door, she looked up and met his gaze.

“Goodbye,” he called.

At that moment, she’d had an odd sensation in her chest that her life was never going to be the same.

Buy Links:

PPreston HS 250


Patricia Preston writes mainstream romances where love matters most. You are her reader if you like fun, passionate, feel good reads. Must haves in her writing cave include sweet tea and music. Besides writing, she loves music, history, taking road trips, and anything containing chocolate. Her dream-come-true would be a townhouse in the French Quarter. She never misses Supernatural or the Walking Dead. She is repped by the Seymour Agency and currently working on a contemporary romance series, Love Heals All, for Lyrical Shine imprint of Kensington Books.

Available titles include Amazon best sellers, “The Yard Sale” and “Laid to Rest,” as well as historical romances: To Save a Lady and Almost an Outlaw. Coming in September is the first book in the Love Heals All series from Kensington Boos, One Week in Your Arms. Also available for pre-order is the second book in the series, Everything His Heart Desires.

Author Links:


Patricia is celebrating the coming of fall and the release of her first book in her new contemporary romance series by giving away a batch of her Kindle ebooks and a $20 Amazon gift card. You can enter by leaving a comment and email address on this blog and add extra entries by going to her Giveaway post on her blog: Drawing will be on Sept 30th. Winner notified via email.


Linda Bradley Gives Away A Copy of Maggie’s Way!

Looking for the perfect gift for the book lover in your life? In need of a gift for yourself after all the cooking, cleaning, and Black Friday shopping? Linda Bradley is giving away one paperback copy of Maggie’s Way, a story of a cancer survivor whose life changes during her summer of solitude and recuperation.

Earn a chance to win with each like or comment on the Facebook page (Romance Debuts), tweet @romancedebs, and/or like or comment on the blog post.

“Sometimes you havmaggie's waye to lose your way to find yourself.” –L. Bradley

Middle-aged Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.


“Linda Bradley’s fresh voice will keep readers riveted from beginning to end. Bradley delivers a heart-warming story full of disarming honesty and beautiful drama…This one stands out!” -Jane Porter, New York Times and USA Today Best Seller, Author of Flirting With Forty and It’s You

“Maggie’s Way is a heart-warming tale of love and loss, fear and friendship. With charming characters and a moving plot, Linda Bradley’s lovely debut gently reminds us that it’s never too late for second chances.” -Lori Nelson Spielman, International Best Seller, Author of The Love List and Sweet Forgiveness


For Author Marianne Kavanagh, the Sixth Time’s The Charm

Marianne FOIML-cover2-360x570Kavanagh hit the ground running last year with her debut novel, For Once In My Life, published by Simon & Schuster. She just released her second novel, Don’t Get Me Wrong, a book that has been described as “Pride & Prejudice for the modern era.”

Here, Marianne shares her experiences with the challenges of writing, including the ruination of both her social life and her leisurely mornings!

How long did it take to publish your first book?

Some writers manage to get their very first novel published. The rest of us just refuse to give up…Don’t Get Me Wrong is my sixth novel. Over the years, four previous completed novels had been turned down by various publishers and agents (one of my rejection letters said, ‘This isn’t a novel.’) I finally made it with For Once In My Life, which was published last year in the UK, the US, Australia and countries all round Europe.

How long did Don’t Get Me Wrong take to complete?

Don’t Get Me Wrong took me about eighteen months. I spent a year writing the first draft, and then another six months editing and rewriting.

Did you work on simultaneous projects?

I’ve worked as a freelance journalist for many years, so I carried on writing features for magazines and newspapers while I was working on Don’t Get Me Wrong. I was also starting to plot out my next novel, which I’ve just delivered to my agent…

What was the rest of your life like while writing the book? How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?

I’ve never been very good at getting up early. But the house is often so full of family, friends and visitors that the only way to be sure of a completely uninterrupted space in which to write is to get up at about 5am. Once I get stuck in, I can ignore people having breakfast, asking for socks and trying to find lost phones. I work through until 10am, when I go for a walk, and then carry on until I can’t do any more, which is usually around 3pm. I get very excited about being rewarded with a glass of wine at 6pm, but can’t do late nights because of the early starts. Writing fiction ruins your social life.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book? Were you involved in a writer’s group?

My poor husband is the one who has to answer strange and random questions at all times of day (‘Who can tell me about hedge funds?’/’What medical tests do you need for RSI?’/’Would Eva like Bob Dylan?’). I have been known to wake him up on a Sunday morning when I’m stuck.  My son Ben vetted the stand-up comedy sections, and my daughter Alice gave me courage to stick with Kim’s least likeable characteristics. My friends Yvonne, Alex and Sally read the first draft and scribbled queries all over it, and my agent suggested cutting a couple of scenes, which I did. I’ve never been involved in a writers’ group, but I’m a member of the London writers’ organisation Spread the Word, and have been to many of their workshops and seminars over the years.

Did you work with an agent? 

I parted company with my first agent just as the second book was beginning to sell to different countries. After that, I looked very carefully for someone new to represent me and was delighted when Veronique Baxter from David Higham Associates agreed to take me on. My friend Chris Keil who is a brilliant novelist (Flirting at the Funeral is published by Cillian Press) doesn’t have an agent, so you don’t have to have representation to get published. But I think you have to be quite brave and determined to go it alone. Some publishers won’t even read your novel unless it comes through an agent.

What has surprised you most about this process?

Writing a novel is just the first step. If you want people to read what you’ve written, there’s still a huge amount to do   –  from getting a publisher interested to the whole business of marketing and publicity. That’s true of anything creative, I think. You need a bit of talent or skill to start with. But the rest is just like any other job  –  long hours, tight deadlines, and a lot of criticism when you get it wrong. On top of that, it’s a very solitary occupation.  Most of the time, you have only your own thoughts for company. That’s why I’m so anxious when people at parties with interesting, secure and well-paid jobs say, ‘I’ve always wanted to write a novel.’ I think, ‘Really? Are you sure?’

Don't Get Me Wrong jacket

Londoners Kim and Harry can’t see eye to eye…until the life of the person they both love most hangs in the balance. Kim has never grasped what her big sister Eva sees in a money-loving banker like Harry. He meanwhile finds everything about Kim funny—her beliefs, her friends, her job—and spends his life trying to wind her up. Both Harry and Kim are too trapped in their prejudices to care about what’s really going on in each other’s lives—until the worst of all tragedies strikes and long-buried secrets come to a head in ways that will change them forever. 

Marianne Kavanagh author photo

Marianne Kavanagh is a writer and journalist. She has worked on staff for Woman, Tatler, Sunday Telegraph Magazineand Marie Claire, and has contributed features to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, including theTelegraph, the Guardian, Daily Mail, Woman & Home, Good Housekeeping, Easy Living, Red and My Daily. She lives in London.

From Cancer Survivor to Debut Author: Linda Bradley Will Inspire You!

linda bradley photo

I am so pleased to host Linda Bradley, debut author of Maggie’s Way, described by New York Times and USA Today best selling author Jane Porter as “a heart-warming story full of disarming honesty and beautiful drama.” In this post, Linda describes how writing Maggie’s Way gave her a fresh start after her battle with cancer.

And you thought you were busy?! Just read about all that was happening in Linda’s life when she was writing her debut!

When did you decide you wanted to write a book?

I always thought I’d publish children’s books, but when I started reading women’s fiction in healthy doses, I realized I wanted to write books for women about women. When Maggie and Chloe popped into my head, they stayed, and that’s when I found my voice. Maggie’s Way is my debut women’s fiction novel.

What inspired you to write this story?

I had been thinking about the story line, but it was filed in the back of my brain with a clutter of other ideas. After seven weeks of radiation treatment for breast cancer, I decided it was time to start fresh so with a new plan to keep myself organized, I connected with my characters, and started writing.

How long did it take you to complete?

I wrote Maggie’s Way in about three to four months. I had started it near the end of the summer then finished it with the NANO challenge.


Do you work on projects simultaneously?

This past year I did because I wanted to enter a short story contest and I had another idea for a women’s fiction book with magical elements, completely not related to the Montana Bound Series. That project gnawed at the edges of my mind until I just had to stop what I was doing and get it on paper.

What was the rest of your life like while you were writing the book?

Well, I was recuperating from cancer and I am happy to say, I have a clean bill of health. I was planning my wedding, teaching full time, working at a clothing store a few hours a week and raising two boys. My youngest was away at Michigan State and my oldest was at home working and going to school. It was crazy, but somehow the busy schedule forced me to buckle down and focus on getting the words on the page.

How do you fit writing in?

I plan ahead. I know what my schedule entails. I make a goal and try to stick to it. Let’s say, I don’t watch much television.

Who gave you feedback while writing this book?

No one, really. I just wrote it and then gave it to my mom, who reads everything I write. After that I gave it to my friend Pam, who is now my trusted beta reader. I will bounce ideas off people, anyone who will listen. If I jabber for a bit I can work out my roadblocks.

What kept you going?

I loved my characters. I also read the book, The 90 Day Novel. I knew it was my time and stayed focused.

How many submissions did you make?

That’s hard to say because I had queried agents and worked with editors on critiques for other projects. My Greater Detroit Chapter has a holiday dinner every year, and there are always prizes for published and unpublished authors. I pitched to Debby Gilbert from Soul Mate Publishing at one of our meetings and she requested the full manuscript. I can say that it took about ten years to be published.

What happened in between hearing yes and getting the book in print?

More writing. I drafted the second book, Maggie’s Fork in the Road, and the third book, Maggie’s Montana for the Montana Bound Series.

What would you change if you could?

I’m not sure I’d change anything because I’m one to believe that things happen for a reason. I kept on writing, doing research on marketing, and focused on edits to make my next piece even stronger.

maggie's way

“Sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself.” –L. Bradley

Middle-aged Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.

linda bradley 2

Linda Bradley’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments that make readers connect with her characters. Maggie’s Way is her debut novel, in her Montana Bound Series. She is currently working on Maggie’s Fork in the Road and Maggie’s Montana. Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA. You can follow her on Twitter @LBradleyAuthor, Facebook and Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.