#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

#TheLeftoverBride Media Kit is here!

#TheLeftoverBride Media Kit is here and you can access the full pdf here or by scrolling below. It includes: summary, buy links, link to cover picture, early reviews, author bio and author picture, author interview and more..

For fans of second chance romance novels, holiday romance novels, rom-coms, and small-town romance novels.

All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist, such as staying away from Swans Cove and getting his career back on track. And he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.

When wedding dress designer Sorcha O’Connor got stranded at the altar and went viral as #TheLeftoverBride, she lost her fiancé, her thriving business, and her dreams. To forget the upcoming first anniversary of that fateful day, Sorcha is ticking items off her “31 Things to Do Before the 31st” list and working day and night to get her life back on track. Not on her list? Falling for her former best friend, Ryan Sawyer. Again.

Ryan Sawyer skated out of Swans Cove right out of high school. Since then, he busted his ass, making sure he always had the perfect excuse to stay away: hockey. But even his own hashtag, #HockeyHottie, couldn’t keep his injuries from possibly shattering his career. With the holidays and his mother’s birthday coming up, Ryan’s back in Swans Cove for a quick visit. Even though he’s supposed to lay low, he can’t stop thinking about Sorcha, the redhead who knows him better than even his therapist.

When Sorcha’s former #RunawayGroom becomes the Most Coveted Bachelor in America, virtual eyes turn to Sorcha again. This time, Ryan won’t bolt—even as Sorcha blurts out on national TV that both she and Ryan are working on their so-called “Happy Lists” over the holidays…together.

Will the spotlight finally work in Sorcha and Ryan’s favor? Or will their past—and their hashtags—get in the way of their Happily Ever After?

#TheLeftoverBride is a second chance romance set during the holiday season in a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: full of laughter and heartwarming moments (and some sexy moments), checklists, family dynamics, a stubborn cat, and a rescue dog.

Link to cover picture.

  • Second chance holiday rom-com;
  • Wedding dress designer & injured hockey player (not a sports romance);
  • Small town romance;
  • Funny & sexy w/ OCD & anxiety rep.;
  • Viral moment gone wrong;
  • Bucket lists, cute pets, family dynamics…

Available on

Early reviews:

“This book is so much fun! The perfect combination of romance, angst, and humor, it’s your favorite Hallmark movie’s sassier, sexier cousin. ” (Amazon reviewer)

“Sweet, sassy and fun!” (Amazon reviewer)

“The Leftover Bride is one of the perfect books to help get me ready for the holiday season. It’s got a great cozy feel to it w/out being sticky sweet and unbearable. I will say that if you are looking for a sports romance, this is not the book for you. Yes the H is an injured hockey player, but if you read the synopsis you will see that he returning to his home town and not currently playing due to said injuries. So, don’t one click expecting a lot of sport references and what not. You should however one click this if you are looking for a fun story with lots of chemistry set during the holidays!

I hate reviews that recap the entire book, so this isn’t one of those (obviously) but here’s a quick little check list:

1. Animals and their antics! (check)

2. Intense chemistry between the H and h (check)

3. Angst (check)

4. Light hearted moments (check)

5. Immensely enjoyable (double check)”

(Amazon reviewer)

About the author:

Elodie Nowodazkij writes about first times, second chances, things that scare the crap out of her and things that make her laugh out loud. She was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives close to DC with her husband, Plato The Dog and Bobbie Voltaire The Cat. She’s also a serial smiley user, an audiobook narrator, a freelance researcher, has a weekly podcast and is learning how to code.

Link to author picture.

Find Elodie online:

How to pronounce Elodie Nowodazkij?

If you’d like to know how to pronounce Elodie Nowodazkij, you can listen to the pronunciation (by the author) here.

A few things you may not know about Elodie Nowodazkij:

  • She met the Nobel Prize of Economics 2014 before he received the prize at a conference and he helped her with her suitcase.
  • She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2017. After many treatments, including an autologous stem cell transplant, she’s currently in remission and regularly raises awareness and money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as well as the Ulman Foundation. She’s written several blog articles on the topic.
  • She’s a hybrid author: both indie author and traditionally published. Several of her books were indeed published in France via a traditional publisher.
  • She speaks three languages fluently (English, French and German) and a tiny bit of Spanish and Russian.
  • She loves food, all kinds of food but always drops something at the most inappropriate time like during a business lunch in an 15th century dining room with very important people at the table. The key is to continue talking as if nothing happened and smile.
  • She shook the hand of the former Chancellor of Germany and the current Prime Minister of Italy.
  • She broke her arm in two places when she was about twelve…her gym teacher didn’t believe her at first and told her to shake it off.
  • She spent lots of my time at her grandparents after breaking her arm and freaked out because the cast was red. She convinced herself she was bleeding profusely. Her grandma had a hard time making her understand the red on her cast was just the reflection of kitchen tiles…

Interview with the author:

  • Where did you get the idea for this book?

I started writing this book after my autologous stem cell transplant and wanted to write something that made me smile and laugh. The meeting of Ryan and Sorcha in the parking lot is the first scene that came to me and after that, I needed to write the rest to see what happened between them. And writing that book definitely made me smile and laugh and swoon.

  • What traits and other tidbits do you share with your main character?

I love food. All types of food. And I’m very lucky my husband enjoys cooking and loves food as well, so we get to try out new recipes and new restaurants together.
After my stem cell transplant, I had a difficult time with OCD in addition to anxiety and I used some of that experience to inform my writing of Sorcha (even if our OCDs are not exactly similar).

I love my sisters and my family and I think that has definitely influenced how I wrote Aisling and Roisin (and the entire O’Connor family). 😊

  • Did any of your inspiration for this book originate in your real life experiences?

Swans Cove and Ryan’s house. The name “Swans Cove” originate from a writing retreat I did in March 2020. It was my first weekend away since September 2019 and the last weekend away until July 2021. The house we stayed at had a gorgeous water view with a lot of swans. It definitely inspired Ryan’s house and the name Swans Cove was the result of a brainstorming with my writer friends.

  • What was the most fun about writing #TheLeftoverBride?

I love writing second chance romances, especially with couples who were together when they were in high school and see how they can make it work years later. Sorcha and Ryan were fun to write because of their friendship in addition to their chemistry. And they have a lot of chemistry. 😊 Putting them into funny situations made me smile.

Another real fun part to write? Writing Tiramisu The Cat and Fluffy Napoleon The Dog. They’re just adorable and so cute.

  • Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it/what are they?

So. Many. I’m currently outlining and drafting #SweetsForLove (Aisling’s story) as I’m gearing for the French translation of #TheLeftoverBride to be published mid December 2021. I’m also outlining Miss Me, Miss Me Not: the fourth book in my Gavert City series. If you like the TV show Criminal Minds, this series is for you. And I’m drafting a new adult contemporary romance novella which I will publish under a pen name. Projects after projects. 😊

#TheLeftoverBride Book Club Kit

If you’d like to discuss #TheLeftoverBride with your book club, don’t hesitate to use the book club kit (including possible discussion questions).

Available as pdf or online.

Other books by Elodie Nowodazkij

For details on all Elodie’s books, visit: https://elodienowodazkij.com/my-books/

  • A Summer Like No Other (Nick & Em #1)
  • Always Second Best (Nick & Em #2)
  • One Dream Only (Natalya’s story prequel)
  • One Two Three (Natalya’s story)
  • Love In B Minor (Lucas & Jen’s story)

Gavert City series: romantic suspense

  • Fear Me, Fear Me Not (Erin & Dimitri)
  • See Me, See Me Not (Tessa & Luke)
  • Trust Me, Trust Me Not (Lacey & Hunter)
  • Miss Me, Miss Me Not (Nadia & Gabriel – coming soon)

Books available as audiobook:

  • Fear Me, Fear Me Not (Narrated by Megan Carter)
  • See Me, See Me Not (Narrated by Megan Carter)
  • A Summer Like No Other (Narrated by Megan Carter)
  • Love in B Minor (Narrated by Kasi Hollowel)

Bilingual books:

  • If you’re learning another language, Elodie has several books (One Dream Only & A Summer Like No Other especially) available as bilingual edition (English/French, English/German, English/Italian and more…). She’s in the process of adding Duo Bilingue as author and editor for all her bilingual editions.

Follow me on Instagram – Bookbub – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – TikTok

Oh, and did you know I have a podcast about being an indie author?

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…
#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

#TheLeftoverBride is available as hardcover!

Did you know that #TheLeftoverBride is now available as hardcover on Amazon? 🙂

It is also available in Kindle Unlimited/Kindle and as paperback...

For fans of second chance romance novels, holiday romance novels, rom-coms, and small-town romance novels. Make sure you one-click this “Hallmark movie’s sexier and sassier cousin”…

All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist, such as staying away from Swans Cove and getting his career back on track. And he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.

When wedding dress designer Sorcha O’Connor got stranded at the altar and went viral as #TheLeftoverBride, she lost her fiancé, her thriving business, and her dreams. To forget the upcoming first anniversary of that fateful day, Sorcha is ticking items off her “31 Things to Do Before the 31st” list and working day and night to get her life back on track. Not on her list? Falling for her former best friend, Ryan Sawyer. Again.

Ryan Sawyer skated out of Swans Cove right out of high school. Since then, he busted his ass, making sure he always had the perfect excuse to stay away: hockey. But even his own hashtag, #HockeyHottie, couldn’t keep his injuries from possibly shattering his career. With the holidays and his mother’s birthday coming up, Ryan’s back in Swans Cove for a quick visit. Even though he’s supposed to lay low, he can’t stop thinking about Sorcha, the redhead who knows him better than even his therapist.

When Sorcha’s former #RunawayGroom becomes the Most Coveted Bachelor in America, virtual eyes turn to Sorcha again. This time, Ryan won’t bolt—even as Sorcha blurts out on national TV that both she and Ryan are working on their so-called “Happy Lists” over the holidays…together.

Will the spotlight finally work in Sorcha and Ryan’s favor? Or will their past—and their hashtags—get in the way of their Happily Ever After?

Scroll up and one-click today “if you’re in the mood for a fun story with lots of chemistry set during the holidays”!

#TheLeftoverBride is a second chance romance set during the holiday season in a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: full of laughter and heartwarming moments (and some sexy moments), checklists, family dynamics, a stubborn cat, and a rescue dog.

What do readers say about #TheLeftoverBride?

Readers are loving #TheLeftoverBride. Here are a few reviews…

This book is so much fun! The perfect combination of romance, angst, and humor, it’s your favorite Hallmark movie’s sassier, sexier cousin.

Amazon reviewer

Great book to get you in the holiday spirit. Super cute and loving. 

Netgalley reviewer

I loved it. (…) It was sweet and sprinkled with funny scenes, romantic angst and steamy moments, but it also had a unique way of seeming real and relatable.

Netgalley reviewer

Thank you so much for reading!

Follow me on Instagram – Bookbub – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – TikTok

Oh, and did you know I have a podcast about being an indie author?

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…
#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

More reviews for #TheLeftoverBride !

The reviews for #TheLeftoverBride are still coming in. And readers are falling in love with Sorcha and Ryan and Swans Cove….

Have you already grabbed your copy? (Amazon Kindle & Kindle Unlimited PaperbackHardcover)

Perfect book for the Holiday season! Would make a perfect Hallmark movie! Sorcha and Ryan are one steamy couple! I loved the small town story and how they both were “famous” in their own way. I would love to see where their story goes from here. A sequel perhaps?

Netgalley reviewer

The characters are heartwarming as they reconnect and work on getting their lives back in order. Having the background of best friends, they can support each other and laugh much easier than strangers could. The storyline has plenty of drama, laughs, big decisions, surprises and steam. Loved the situations, time of year and the locale that pulls it all together. Can not wait to see where this series goes next..

Amazon reviewer

Don’t let this one sitting around! The Leftover Bride is one of the perfect books to help get me ready for the holiday season. It’s got a great cozy feel to it w/out being sticky sweet and unbearable. I will say that if you are looking for a sports romance, this is not the book for you. Yes the H is an injured hockey player, but if you read the synopsis you will see that he returning to his home town and not currently playing due to said injuries. So, don’t one click expecting a lot of sport references and what not. You should however one click this if you are looking for a fun story with lots of chemistry set during the holidays!

Amazon reviewer

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…

Follow me on Instagram – Bookbub – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – TikTok

#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

#TheLeftoverBride Book Club Kit

Are you thinking about reading #TheLeftoverBride with your book club? This book club kit includes possible discussion questions as well as behind-the-scenes info and more… Click here to access the pdf.

“This book is so much fun! The perfect combination of romance, angst, and humor, it’s your favorite Hallmark movie’s sassier, sexier cousin.”

Amazon reviewer

All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist, such as staying away from Swans Cove and getting his NHL career back. And he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.

A little excerpt:

He shouldn’t be here. He moved to the West Coast right after high school. The first chance he got to leave our little town? He grabbed it with both hands and never skated back here. And now what? He shows up unannounced in my parking lot? In snow boots, jeans that hug his strong thighs, and a parka that doesn’t hide his muscular frame.
Everywhere he goes, Ryan Sawyer always looks like he owns the place.
Like he owns a piece of my heart.
And goddamn him, he does.

Grab your copy of #TheLeftoverBride:

Would you like to invite the author (virtually) to your book club?

Don’t hesitate to email me directly: authorelodienowodazkij@gmail.com to check her availability. I would either participate at a Q&A at the beginning or end of your book club or I could join the discussion (up to 45 minutes). If you’re wondering how to pronounce my name, click here. Oh, and Plato the Dog as well as Bobbie Voltaire the Cat may do a special appearance (but this is not guaranteed).

Possible topics of discussion & questions.

Question 1:

Second chance romance: why do you think Sorcha and Ryan were able to make it work this time around? What other second chance romance books have you read?

Question 2:

Sorcha, Ryan and Nathan all have very different experience with their stories and themselves going viral. Why do you think that is? How do you think you would react if a moment of your life went viral?

Question 3:

In Chapter 3, Sorcha says, “You can get warm and fuzzy feelings for characters with a redeeming storyline. Right? Asking for me.”: What do you think? What “difficult” topics are part of this romantic comedy? In Sorcha’s life? And in Ryan’s?

Question 4:

Sorcha and Ryan’s lists: What top 3 items would you have on a “List of Things To Do Before …”?

Question 5:

Ryan’s injuries may have pushed him to come back to Swans Cove but do you think his return had been brewing no matter what? Why?

Question 6:

#TheLeftoverBride is set up in a small town in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Do you think the story would have been different if it was set up in a big city? Why?

Question 7:

The story starts a few days before Christmas and ends a bit after New Year’s Eve, including a polar bear plunge: have you ever participated in one? How do you think the family dynamics played a role within this context?

Question 8:

Who would be your dream casting for #TheLeftoverBride?

Question 9:

What moment(s) in #TheLeftoverBride made you smile?

Little known facts about #TheLeftoverBride (from the author):

Did you know that in a previous draft …

  • Sorcha had four siblings instead of three.
  • Sorcha didn’t live with her sister but with her best friend.
  • Pops and Ryan’s father were the same, then I split them into two different characters. 
  • The Christmas scene was way, way different: the grandparents were also present and there was a big big fight during that evening, where people slammed doors and left. There’s still some tension but the sweet and then funny scenes weren’t there.
  • Sorcha and Ryan didn’t have that big fight in the bar – they had it later.
  • Ryan was a baseball player. While this isn’t a sports romance, hockey plays a part into who Ryan is – and he just wasn’t a baseball player.
  • Nathan and Ryan had never crossed paths before.
  • When Pops and Ryan’s father were the same character, he didn’t like Sorcha.
  • The dog Sorcha adopted was a beagle at first – but knowing how much beagles bay, I thought it would be hard in the apartment. Plus, when we adopted Plato The Dog with The Chemical Engineer, he was already two years-old and it took us a bit of time to housetrain him. And with Sorcha so busy I didn’t think it would work or would need way more scenes to make it work. So the beagle became a dog in the shelter, ready to be picked up by a Beagle Rescue Association and that beagle is now in the epilogue.

The magic of revision:

See the magic of revision by looking at one paragraph with track-changes…

Ryan & Sorcha’s Favorite Book Club Snacks:

  • Sorcha would ask Aisling and Ava to help her bake cookies: the ones with marshmallows and chocolate and butternut scotch. And then, she’d bring a cheese plate with delicious crackers.
  • Ryan… well, Ryan might have to go all the way. First, he would bake snickerdoodles because those are his favorite cookies (even if he doesn’t bake super often) and he would bring Goldfish because these were, apparently, some of Julia Child’s favorite snacks. Then, he would bring jalapeno poppers filled with crab cake and he might try his hand at Julia Child’s Spinach Souffle.

About Elodie (Newsletter with bonus scenes, Readers’ Group, Podcast, and more).

  1. If you’d like to receive #TheLeftoverBride bonus scenes, make sure you sign up to Elodie’s newsletter.
  2. She also has a readers’ group on Facebook: Elodie’s Cozy Nook.
  3. Are you interested in the behind-the-scenes of writing and publishing? Elodie has just the podcast for you.

Happy Reading!

www.elodienowodazkij.com

www.theleftoverbride.com

Follow me on Instagram – Bookbub – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – TikTok

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…
#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

The reviews are in for #TheLeftoverBride and they are raving!

The reviews for #TheLeftoverBride are in. And they are raving… Have you already grabbed your copy? (Amazon Kindle & Kindle Unlimited Paperback)

The story was enjoyable and kept my attention from beginning to end. Humor really makes a difference for me and the author sprinkled it liberally throughout. Well done!

Amazon Top 500 reviewer

Sweet, sassy and fun! (…) This story reads like a Christmas Hallmark movie with lots of STEAMY moments and I’m excited to see where she takes the next story in this romantic series.

Amazon reviewer

This book is so much fun! The perfect combination of romance, angst, and humor, it’s your favorite Hallmark movie’s sassier, sexier cousin.

Amazon reviewer

Great job by the author letting me escape reality into a funny but believable and hot romance!

Amazon reviewer

Another great book!

Amazon reviewer

The Leftover Bride was one of the best books I’ve read in a while (…) It’s like a Hallmark movie, only better.

Amazon reviewer

 (…) a Hallmark worthy light fun read. 

Amazon reviewer

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…

Follow me on Instagram – Bookbub – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – TikTok

#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

#TheLeftoverBride Diary – Three things I’m grateful for…

Today, I am sharing an additional diary entry from Sorcha (aka #TheLeftoverBride). Ryan & Sorcha’s story in the book takes place at the end of December, but Sorcha’s been writing in her diary ever since Nathan jilted her at the altar. Here’s her entry for September 21st :-).

#TheLeftoverBride is already available. Grab your copy now: Kindle, Kindle Unlimited & paperback. If you’ve already read it: don’t forget to leave a review. 🙂

Dear Diary, Dear Unknown Reader of The Future, Dear Alien archiving information about humanity,

Why are all my designs so shitty right now?

The dress I finished drawing a few minutes ago looks like crap. Literally. A mountain of crap. And I’m being generous. It’s too much and yet not enough. Even Tiramisu turned his back on the paper he usually loves to lay on.

It’s the fifth design I have to trash today. Should I count it toward the “Design 5 more wedding dresses” item on my “31 things to do before the 31st list”? Maybe. We’ll see. I’ll give it another go tomorrow, even if ever since Nathan jumped on his horse and jilted me at the altar, inspiration has been lacking.

Understatement of the century.

My inspiration and any scrap of talent I had leaped behind #TheRunawayGroom and will never be seen again.

Another design bites the dust.

Time to get on with my list. Because that’s one of the few things I can control. Well, at least a little.

It’s September 21st and for the past two months, as part of my list, I’ve been writing three things I’m grateful for every evening.

So here we go for today.

Three Things I’m Grateful For:

Think, Sorcha, think. You actually smiled today. Stop staring at your shitty designs and think.

Okay.

  1. I had a pumpkin spice latte and a pumpkin scone after lunch. Aisling’s trying yet another recipe and she doesn’t lack inspiration. The frosting she added on top with the vanilla beans is mouthwatering delicious;
  2. Ava and I watched that baking show she loves with the actor Aisling totally has a crush on (I need to write that letter to him);
  3. Ryan’s mom told me his physical therapy seems to work. Yes. Knowing Ryan is feeling better makes me smile. But that’s because I’m a genuinely kind person, right? Not because the butterflies in my stomach are thinking about taking a dancing class to waltz around every single time I think about Ryan.

#TheLeftoverBride is out now… Kindle & Kindle Unlimited & Paperback!

A second chance romance set during the holiday season in a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: full of laughter and heartwarming moments (and some sexy moments), checklists, family dynamics, a stubborn cat, and a rescue dog.

All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist. First, he wants to stay away from Swans Cove. Second, he wants his NHL career back. And third, he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.

GRAB IT ON AMAZON (KINDLE & KU)GET A PAPERBACK COPY

Thank you so much for reading!

Follow me on Instagram – Bookbub – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – TikTok

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…
#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

#TheLeftoverBride is out in the world! (+ read the first three chapters!)

Today is the official release of #TheLeftoverBride and I’m crossing my fingers this book of mine will make you smile (Amazon (Kindle) – Google Play  Kobo – iTunes – Scribd – Paperback is also already available for $9.99).

I don’t know if you watch Ted Lasso but if you do, you have to tell me if you see a sliver of Roy Kent in Ryan’s demeanor. Yes, I may want to go around around and yell, “My book is here. It’s here, it’s f… everywhere.” 

“Funny (…) and hot romance. This was one of the most delightful books I’ve read in a while. It absolutely made me smile, and had me legit laughing.” 

“It’s emotional in places, and it’s absolutely hilarious in just the right spots. It’s like a Hallmark movie, only better.”

All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist. First, he wants to stay away from Swans Cove. Second, he wants his NHL career back. And third, he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.

Amazon (Kindle) – Google Play  Kobo – iTunes – Scribd – Paperback is also already available for $9.99

  • Second chance holiday rom-com
  • Wedding dress designer & injured hockey player 
  • Viral moment gone wrong
  • Funny & sexy w/ OCD & anxiety rep.
  • Bucket lists, cute pets, family dynamics

Have you read the first two chapters?

Dear Diary – Day Minus 12

Dear Unknown Reader of the Future, or alien archiving information on humanity (I have so many questions for you), Christmas is in the air. Well, not Christmas per se. But melted butter, cinnamon and … Is that ginger? Yes, ginger and candied pecans. Aisling’s perfecting a new apple pie recipe with a sugary and nutty crumble on top, and she will need someone to taste it to make sure the flaky crust has enough butter and the caramelized apples melt in your mouth. And this is only one perk of having my sister, Aisling, as a roommate. She’s determined to find the perfect recipe to bring more customers to the bakery. Our parents’ bakery. Our family legacy that is close to bankruptcy. Just like me.

Because of me.

And the crappy design in front of me won’t help my non-existent career: the square neckline isn’t as original as I’d like it to be, while the glittery details on the bodice overshadow the everlasting grace of the lace. And don’t get me started on the back. The crisscross I drew thinking it would add a touch of drama sinks the entire concept. This dress is a rehearsed performance instead of timeless romance. And no matter how many times I rearrange the fabric on the mannequin standing by my sewing machine, the softness of the tulle and the smoothness of the silk under my fingers don’t refill my creative well.

Nothing does.

I’ve lost my touch. And this “31 things to do before the 31st of December” list is the only thing propping me up. If I cross off all the items of that list, the familiar feeling of failure creeping up my throat might vanish and be replaced by inspiration.

This list I can control. Everything else is slipping through my fingers.

So, let’s do this.

Countdown: Day – 12 … Twelve days until New Year’s Eve and what should have been my first wedding anniversary.

Dear Reader, I have breaking news: I can now type “First wedding anniversary” without a seam ripper tearing apart the stitches keeping me together. Go, me. It might be because Nathan wasn’t selected as Most Coveted Bachelor in America. The Forever Love show decided to go with rockstar David Jay and, thanks to that decision, I no longer toss and turn for hours every night. Not that I don’t wish Nathan happiness, but having a video of him jilting me at the altar on repeat every week on national TV isn’t my idea of fun. And it wouldn’t have helped my designer block.

Status of the “31 Things To Do Before the 31st of December List”:Almost done.

Tomorrow I should hear from the Bridal Dreams representative about their Annapolis flagship store carrying a few O’Connor dresses, the ones I created before my reputation as a wedding dress designer got torched by social media and critics alike. And the mountain of stress building up in my chest is impossible to ignore. If Bridal Dreams backs out of our agreement, it will not only make it harder to pay the bills, it’ll be another nail in my Mamó’s dreams for me. My grandmother taught me everything I know about sewing and the magic one can create with different patterns and fabric. She also taught me to believe in love. And while the last year has proven to test that concept at every corner, tomorrow evening I’m going on my first blind date ever. Me. The Leftover Bride. On. A. Blind. Date.

After, I’ll have five items left to cross off my list, which is totally feasible. Do you remember my post about the 10k walk on the Bay Bridge? How high that bridge is? How long and hard it felt? (That’s what she said.)

Last Google search (related to The List): Has Ryan Sawyer ever been on a blind date? Apparently, yes. Once. One of his teammates set him up and he ended up dating her for three months after. And yes, I also checked out his team’s social media. But for only five seconds. He didn’t play most of last season after getting into a brawl that worsened his knee injury, and his argument with the team’s owner still has the hockey world buzzing, but he’s hanging on to their roster. Reconnecting with Ryan has been on my list ever since he rushed into the Pacific Ocean to save a little girl. When he got swallowed in by the waves, my heart came to a standstill—until he reemerged, sputtering with the little girl in his arms. After watching that video more than a hundred times, the dread cascading down my chest only subsided when I added Reconnecting With Ryan to my list. This is all about mending bridges. This has nothing to do with my heart and my mind not agreeing on the concept of letting Ryan Sawyer go.

Moving on.

Why did I add a blind date to my list? Good question, past Sorcha. No matter what happened, I want to believe in Happily Ever After. Plus, blind dates can be fun. Right? Rom-com and Hallmark movies have taught me that blind dates can lead to epic love stories.

If I check on IMDb’s website, it will show you … oh no.

One of the top movies on IMDb’s “Most Popular Blind Date Movies and TV Shows” is the 2007 movie Zodiac … about the Zodiac Killer.

How? Why? Wait … does that mean I shouldn’t go on that blind date?

Deep breath, Sorcha, deep breath.

Tomorrow: Let’s do this.

The Blind Date. Not the Zodiac Killer movie.

CHAPTER 1 – SORCHA

When Tiramisu the Cat yowled inches from my face way before my alarm rang, his I-devoured-my-wet-food breath wasn’t the only reason I groaned. A thunder of panic rumbled in the back of my mind and after staring up at the ceiling fan for what seemed like an eternity, I gave up on sleep. Even my favorite cup of piping hot coffee mixed with sweet Italian cream didn’t settle the anxiety churning in my stomach. Still, I settled at my computer to work before sunrise and plowed away at my daily to-do list. Between updating a database for a real estate agency in Connecticut, fixing one of my niece’s favorite shirts and doing research for a true-crime podcast that started two months ago, I barely had time to grab lunch and definitely didn’t have time to rework the design I messed up yesterday.

Throughout the day, the sense of impending doom lingered, but I ignored all the signs: Tiramisu coughing up a hairball on my favorite tulle fabric; my sister messing up a chocolate soufflé, leaving a burned smell in the entire building; the hot water in our shower stopping to work halfway through washing my hair.

There’s no way I’m ignoring the signs now. Not after receiving that email from Bridal Dreams.

There’s no way I’m going on that blind date.

Nope. Not happening.

Instead, I’ll immerse myself into the Zodiac movie while sipping chianti. That sounds like the perfect way to end this crappy day.

As Tiramisu leaps on my drawing desk, I extend my hand toward him. “Come here, Tiramisu. Psstt … Come here.” Despite using my Tiramisu-voice, all high-pitch and cajoling, my cat doesn’t even throw a pity glance my way but struts toward the sign hanging over my sewing machine. After sniffing it, his mood switches and he attacks the pink ribbon, holding the sign with his teeth. Is the logo of my bankrupted store giving him nightmares, too?

The blue wooden sign with the words “Happily Ever After” should be in the dictionary next to “crushed dreams.” One day, you believe in fairytales. And the next day, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, your only hope at salvaging your business refuses to carry your designs in the new spring line of their flagship store. Bridal Dreams used to praise my intricate use of French lace in my dresses—now they deem a collaboration with me “detrimental to their image.”

A sharp needle sews a thread of defeat around my throat, once, twice. Take a deep breath, Sorcha. You’ll figure something out. Don’t cry. But my tears don’t pay attention to my pep talk. I wipe them away with a swift gesture, leaving a smudge of black mascara and eyeliner on my hand.

Fuck. Fuckidy. Fuck.

Tiramisu’s claws get stuck in the sign and he pulls on it so hard it clatters on my sewing machine, but doesn’t fall. After giving the wooden sign one last disdainful sniff, Tiramisu whirls away and jumps on my bed.

My eyes dart from the wooden plank to the window, and the urge to hurl it out roars within me. Who knows? It could land on a handsome stranger from New York who got lost in our little town. I’d convince him to quit his corporate job and we’d open a vintage dress shop together. Every year on Christmas Eve, we would tell our epic love story to our grandkids: Once upon a time, Grandma, who was drowning in debt, threw the sign you see above the fireplace. Instead of suing her for compensation, Grandpa took her out for a mulled wine. And the rest is history.

But in my case, the sign would crack the handsome stranger’s skull and after a visit to the ER, he would sue me. Influencers, journalists, and people around the world would splatter the news over the internet: #TheLeftoverBride sentenced for attacking lawyer with two-ton plank.

I’d have to file for bankruptcy. Again.

To not tempt fate, I straighten the sign back and slide to the floor between gowns that will never become a fond memory or a family heirloom, never grace the pages of a wedding album or get their own hashtags. 

It all started with a hashtag …

My own digital fairytale.

Once upon a hashtag, the digital princess had all her dreams come true.

“Sorcha?” Aisling knocks at my door, left ajar when I snuck into the kitchen to steal some dough. “Did you decide on what you…?” Her mouth doesn’t gape open at the chaos that is my bedroom because she’s seen worse, but she does a double-take around the room to my hiding spot. Three mugs are balancing on my nightstand—the result of working overtime and a tendency to be messy when I’m under deadlines. Fabric hangs all over the place and crumpled papers full of bad-to-worse drawings are scattered around, forgotten like my career as a wedding dress designer. “What’s going on?” Her hand waves toward where I’m plopped down on the ground.

“I’m not going.” I lift my chin, peeking from in-between the dresses. “Not going.” My voice wavers and my fingers brush against my favorite dress: cream lace with a scoop neck and an open back. The one I thought I’d wear on my wedding day with Mamó’s veil. Instead, I designed another dress, even as Sophie—my best friend and wedding planner—questioned my reasoning. She told me I needed to look deep within. I told her to mind the canapés and the color scheme. And then apologized for snapping at her.

It was going to be the wedding of the year.

I should have worn Vera Wang. If my almost-husband Nathan had run off while I was wearing a Vera Wang, no one would have batted an eyelash.

That video wouldn’t have gone viral. I’d still have a life.

A thousand tiny needles coat my throat, preventing me from swallowing. Aisling marches into the room, flour in her auburn hair and a juice box in her hand. One of Ava’s, my niece. “You’re going. You can’t let Roisin down.” Oh, the family pull. Because, of course, you don’t let the family down. The O’Connor motto.

“I don’t want to.” I whine like a three-year-old who missed nap time, but I don’t give a flying organza gauze.

“You can’t cancel now. The guy’s probably on his way and Roisin is counting on your feedback before rolling out the app to more users.” Aisling pushes her glasses up her nose and shoots me one of the looks she’s been practicing for years. The one that tells me she’s right.

“Not going,” I repeat, even though uncertainty laces my tone.

Aisling’s gaze softens, and she holds her hand out. After helping me up, she points to the paper on the side. “It’s on your list. You wrote it. You laminated it. And you’re writing in your diary about it.” My sister got me there.

Even though Aisling isn’t taller than me, she’s towering over me—with that big-sister-I-know-better vibe. “I’m sorry Bridal Dreams canceled, but you sold most of your dresses online before.” It’s true. People loved my Artful shop—they’d send in their measurements for one of my ballerina-dresses and we’d work on each step together. If their measurements ended up changing before their wedding for whatever reason, they could send the dresses back to me for alterations. If there was no time, I helped them find an alteration specialist close to them and worked with that specialist via video chat, unlike many other online stores. All of that attention to detail didn’t change what happened to my store.

“Yes, but …”

Aisling doesn’t let me finish. “You could rebuild a clientele online, too.”

To rebuild a clientele, I’d need to have new designs. But talking about the block that has been preventing me to draw dresses worth sewing is impossible through the lump in my throat.

Plus, that’s not the only reason I can’t build a clientele online.

Aisling knows it as well as I do, and yet she continues, “You could restart from scratch.” She waves to all the dresses waiting to be worn.

“Not with the curse.” My eyes dart around, expecting all the brides who claim my dresses destroyed their weddings and subsequent marriages to appear and scream at me with pitchforks in their hands.

“Your dresses are not cursed.” Aisling’s tone could be convincing if I didn’t know better.

I stare at the picture I haven’t brought myself to throw out, just in case it’s the catalyst for more bad luck. “Tell that to Esperanza.”

Aisling settles the apple juice on my overcrowded nightstand and puts her hands on her waist, looking at me with the patience she usually only gives her daughter Ava. “Esperanza married a guy she’d known for five minutes. Their annulment five days later wasn’t all that surprising.”

“How about the bride who tripped on her dress, broke her arm, and threatened a lawsuit?”

“She didn’t trip on her dress. She was running after the ring bearer and tripped on the stairs. Your dress is not responsible. She didn’t have a case,” Aisling retorts, like she’s heard it all before, which she has many times. I have an entire list of “mishaps” featuring my designs and she has an answer for all of them.

Or almost all of them.

I remind her of what happened only a month ago. “Tell that to the brides whose dresses both caught fire as they were saying their vows. They wished they had changed their minds about wearing dresses they bought more than a year ago.”

Aisling doesn’t miss a beat. “Wind and too many candles. Not your fault.” She pauses to grab her apple juice again, takes another sip, and then adds, “I didn’t wear one of your designs when Rob and I eloped. And we aren’t together anymore. With your logic, we should be blissfully happy.”

“How about what happened to me?” I hate how small my voice sounds. Mainly because it’s not about Nathan leaving me. It’s about his timing. If we had gotten through our vows, all the perfect wedding dresses in the world wouldn’t have changed the fact that we were more mismatched than all the socks I’ve ever lost in the dryer.

But him sprinting away from me as I was sauntering to the altar in one of my designs cemented my dresses’ bad luck reputation. Plus, Nathan not only dashed away. Oh no, no, no. After racing past me, he jumped on his horse, who was supposed to carry us to the reception, as if he had been hired as an extra in The Runaway Bride movie that was filmed less than an hour away from here. Following that spectacular exit, there was no stopping the urban legend that if you wear a Sorcha O’Connor design at your wedding, you won’t get a happily ever after.

There are Reddit threads about my dresses. YouTube videos. TikTok trends. People dedicated Instagram accounts to the so-called curse. The sleuths claim they want to ensure I am not tricking clients online under a pseudonym. Even if I wanted to or still had talent … I couldn’t sell my designs online. I can’t even get a job as a seamstress for any of the wedding dress shops around the area.

“It sucks. But you added going on a blind date on your list for a reason. All you do is work.” Aisling’s tone isn’t accusatory. It’s gentle, too gentle. I can argue until I run out of breath, but I’m not sure how to deal with gentleness.

That’s why I stick my tongue out. “All you do is work.”

“Nice comeback.” She rolls her eyes and we’re back on less dangerous territory: the sister bickering territory.

After letting out a long sigh, I put the laminated list on my desk. Right next to the picture of me with designer extraordinaire Christian Giovanni. Sophie took it right after getting the news I had gotten through the audition process and was going to be a contestant on Christian’s TV show: I Dream Of A Dress. The perfect mix of Say Yes To The Dress and Project Runway.

A lifetime ago.

On the wall, another picture catches my attention: Aisling and Ava bursting out laughing with ice cream on their noses. I turn back to my sister, hope knocking at my chest. “How about you? You could help Roisin. You could go instead of me.” I give her my best puppy eyes. “Ava and I can have a pajama party tonight. She’d love that.”

Aisling raises her gaze to the ceiling like she used to do when I was twelve and begged her and my older brother to let me tag along. “I’m baking.” At those words, my shoulders slump. Nothing—except Ava—is more important than baking for Aisling. The entire apartment smells like fresh-baked cookies, covering the chocolate soufflé disaster from this morning. And those cookies are my favorite ones: they crumble in your mouth, full of morsels of chocolate and butterscotch. Another reason to stay home.

But Aisling looks me up and down and adds, “Granted, you need to redo your makeup. You’ve got eyeliner and mascara all over. But if you didn’t want to go, why did you change?”

She’s right. Of course, she’s right.

My heavy wool vintage dress is dark blue and comfy with pockets. A design copied from a picture I saw of our grandma. Maybe I should change. What if wearing this dress means this date will be awful?  But what if changing into a different outfit means I will never again sell any of my dresses?

Not focusing on the OCD-induced non-ending questions, I roll my shoulders, but the tension lodged in my spine doesn’t loosen. “I swear if that guy created a hashtag for this date, I will never, ever listen to Roisin or you again.”

Aisling pets Tiramisu, who purrs for her. Traitor. “And if he’s a jerk, you don’t have to stay.” She finishes the apple juice. “You can come home. Ava is excited about trying on her swan costume. She raved about it to all friends, gushing how amazing her aunt is.”

“Anything for my favorite niece.” I crack a smile, thankful that my niece asked me to help her with her costume. This is the proudest I am of a design I created in the past twelve months.

“She’s your only niece,” Aisling points out before squishing the apple juice box. “Text me if you decide to stay out all night.” Her attempt to sound light and playful almost works, but then her tone turns more serious. “And for Bridal Dreams, I’m really sorry. It sucks. I’ve said it before but let me say it again: you should contact Christian.”

As if contacting Christian would do me any good when my signature ballerina designs are all pale copies of my previous work. “I’ll figure something out.” Doubts fill Aisling’s eyes and my mind. When the tulle hit the fan, Christian distanced himself from me, too. But if I go down that bleak rabbit hole now, even my favorite cookies won’t cheer me up. Plus, crossing another item off my list is bound to send some much-needed endorphins my way. “You make the best dessert ever while I meet …” I pause. “Um. Wait.” I pull up the app to double-check. “Trevor, his name is.” True to the legend that I either never answer my phone or that it’s off, my phone’s battery is at 25%. It has been draining faster than usual.

“Go have fun. I’d hug you but I’d ruin your outfit with flour.” She does a happy dance as she strolls back out of my room.

After adding a charger to my purse, I do damage control on my make-up and as I use a waterproof mascara, the neon yellow post-it with the words “You got this” I added to the mirror during my Let’s-be-positive phase twirls to the ground. Is it another sign I should stay home? I stick it back up but it falls again and the churning in my stomach intensifies. Even taking a deep, calming breath doesn’t help. So, I do the next best thing: I run my fingers through my shoulder-length, curly red hair. Not auburn, like Aisling’s. Not copper like Roisin or Liam. Red. Anne of Green Gables Red. Like Mámo. And right now, it’s behaving the way I want it to.

As I put on boots over my tights and shimmy inside my oversized coat, I give myself another pep talk: The post-it is right, Sorcha. You can do this. Your next adventure awaits.

There. That’s the spirit.

The parking lot behind my parents’ bakery is all decked up with Christmas lights. This time, when I inhale deeply, the crisp air fills my lungs and my jittery nerves quiet down. This guy, um … I really should remember his name. Trevor. That’s it. Could Trevor be The One? The One for Now or The One for Forever? Since the only way to find out is to get moving, I square my shoulders and stride toward my car.

My right foot slides on a patch of ice.

“Shit!” I yelp as I fall on my ass. The snow soaks through my coat and my dress. In one of the romance novels my best friend Sophie and I devour, the hero would have chosen this exact moment to appear and sneak his powerful arms around my waist to prevent me from falling.

No such luck.

“You okay there, Swan?” A baritone voice that used to be the soundtrack of my dreams asks in an amused yet slightly concerned tone.

My stomach flutters in a way I thought long forgotten, buried deep under years of missed chances and pillows soaked with tears.

Only one person calls me “Swan.”

He started during my Twilight phase. Not only because I was accident-prone like Bella Swan or because I inhaled all the books one after the other, barely coming back up for air. But it’s also during that time that I devoted hours to drawing swans everywhere.

That Halloween, he even dressed as a vampire and told me that, unlike Edward, he would bite me with no hesitation.

I raise my gaze, and there he is, leaning against my car. A car that used to be his.

And the fluttering turns into a confused dance.

He shouldn’t be here. He moved to the West Coast right after high school. The first chance he got to leave our little town? He grabbed it with both hands and never skated back here.

And now what? He shows up unannounced in my parking lot?

In snow boots, jeans that hug his strong thighs, and a parka that doesn’t hide his muscular frame.

Everywhere he goes, Ryan Sawyer always looks like he owns the place.

Like he owns a piece of my heart. And goddamn him, he does.

CHAPTER 2 – RYAN

I can’t believe I’m back in Swans Cove. The town that’s filled with some of my best memories … and some of my worst.

My plan was to go straight to my parents’ house, but I had to stop at the bakery. After all, Mom loves their lemon pie. And what son who hasn’t come home in over ten years would pass on surprising his mom with her favorite dessert? Nothing to do with the breathtaking redhead staring up at me like I stomped all over her heart. My jaw clenches with years of regrets, remorse, and fucked-up chances.

“Are you okay?” I repeat, this time without using the nickname she used to love. Based on the way she scowls when she glances up again, she hates it now or hates me.

She probably hates me.

I can’t blame her.

Still, I hold out my hand to her—like she did to me on my very first day at Swans Cove Elementary School. Back then Pops, who’d been raising me since I was two, was my hero. Not only did he know what to say when I woke up terrified of a nightmare, he carved out time in his busy schedule to take me fishing and to teach me how to throw a ball. Too young to fully understand that Pops’ injuries meant his professional baseball career was over, I definitely didn’t understand the pills he relied on to ease the pain would be the beginning of an on-again, off-again relationship with addiction.

That morning, Pops stumbled into the bushes right by the bus stop.

I called his name—not too loudly because I didn’t want people to see him like this. Pops’ exaggerated laughter boomed, as if falling into the bushes was the funniest thing ever. Part of me was ashamed of him, and for a very long time I’ve hated that part of myself. Hours of therapy helped me with coming to terms with those memories.

I wanted him to get up, to disappear, to be okay.

As he stared up at me, his eyes widened and his laughing turned into a whimper. The look on his face was a mixture of I’m sorry and Nothing to see and when he crawled out of sight, I overheard a mom saying, “Be nice to Ryan. He looks like he’s about to cry.” Unsure of what to do with the embarrassment and worry, I clenched my fists, but before I could totally lose it, Sorcha slid next to me and talked to me like a friend.

“I’m Sorcha. I came to your house with my mom, my sisters, and my brother yesterday. You were playing with Ms. Locelli’s dog. I want a dog. Mom said I might get one soon. I would name him Muffins.” The words were tumbling out of her mouth. “My mom and your mom are friends and my mom said we might become friends, too.” Then she lowered her gaze to the ground, her face flaming, and she muttered something to herself before lifting her eyes back to me. “If you don’t want to be my friend, that’s okay.” She opened her lunch box. “My dad made me snickerdoodles. Do you want one?” And she gave me a homemade snickerdoodle cookie, standing by my side until the bus arrived. When we climbed onto the bus, a kid pointed at my dad staggering back home, mocking him, and tears burned the back of my throat, until Sorcha pulled me down to a seat next to hers and held my hand until we got to school.

She’s not holding my hand right now. She’s not even looking at it.

“You … you didn’t even text.” Her voice breaks, sucker-punching me. And the way she purses her lips tells me she’s erecting a shield to protect herself. “Whatever.” Her brown-green eyes turn icier than any arena I’ve ever skated in and regret slithers in my gut, knowing I let her down despite my promise to always be there for her. “Whatever,” she repeats louder. “It doesn’t matter.” Her tone is flat now and she doesn’t spare me another glance as she scrambles to get back up. When her foot slides again, her hand grabs my upper arm and we end up holding on to one another to not fall on our asses. My knee doesn’t fail me this time, but I lose my balance in more ways than one and my other arm tightens around her waist. Feeling her fingers on me and getting a whiff of her coconut-scented shampoo reignites an uncontrolled wildfire through me that I had thought long under-control.

My fingers raise up automatically, like a play that’s so ingrained you don’t need to think to set your target and put the biscuit in the basket.

Sorcha’s eyes widen slightly, but she doesn’t move. Instead, her lips part and she lets out the softest exhale. Because she knows what I’m about to do. I raise an eyebrow. Not a challenge, but a question. And she raises hers in response. Not a question, but a challenge. And then she gives me the signal I’m waiting for: her head makes a slight, quick downward movement and tilts to the side to give me better access. My fingers brush against her skin and slowly trace the heart-shaped tattoo on her neck, hidden behind the thick red curls.

When the Fashion Institute rejected her, we snuck away to Ocean City. There was a tattoo shop that didn’t look at IDs too closely on Saturday mornings if you came in before opening. So, we stayed in a condo on Friday night. One of my teammates’ mother managed several rentals and he had gotten the code for one of them. It was the first time I skipped practice, but it wasn’t our first time sneaking away without our families knowing.

That night, I kissed her. Not for the first time and not for the last time. But when she kissed me back, her hands roamed under my shirt and then one of them slipped in my boxers, while she whispered about how much she wanted me. Her coconut shampoo hung in the air, mixed with the salty smell of the ocean outside our windows. Are you sure? I asked her and when she nodded without a word, I asked her again. As she murmured, “yes,” and then her lips nibbled my lower one, my heart sprinted out of my chest.

And then my hands cupped her face and I kissed her again, more deeply. We didn’t stop kissing when my fingers trailed down and traced the scar she got on her knee when she jumped from the swing at the highest point and fell on gravel. We didn’t stop kissing when the curves I had dreamed about for years pressed against my chest. We didn’t stop kissing when my fingers tugged under her shirt and danced over her waist, discovering her soft skin and she giggled under my breath.

Then I ran my lips over her jaw, down her throat to the pulse hammering in harmony with mine and she fumbled with unbuttoning my jeans. And while I had dreamed about her moaning my name, there was a lot more laughter than screams of pleasure during our first time together. And our second time.

I never laughed that way with anyone else.

Her lips part again. Maybe she remembers it, too. I remember every fucking detail of what happened next: the waves crashing on the sand and the tiny birthmark on her shoulder I loved to kiss and the sound she made when she came. After laughing and getting lost in one another and laughing some more, I asked her to show me what I could do. Her eyes widened and she bit her lower lip for a second, before dropping a kiss on my neck and laying on that blue sheet again. And there had never been anything hotter than Sorcha O’Connor pleasuring herself with the ocean in the background.

Tethered to her reactions, my fingers trace the path from her tattoo to her collarbone and as her lips form a small smile, my heart does a victory lap. But when I inch forward, needing to be even closer, her smile vanishes and the trip down memory lane screeches to a halt. My hand drops to my side and I take a half-step back, a gust of wind howling between us.

Another scent hangs in the air. Not her coconut-shampoo and not the sort of flowery perfume she used to wear that always reminded me of summer. A touch of vanilla? Like those cupcakes she used to love. I want to ask her when she changed her perfume and what else has changed and if she still invents stories in her mind and if she’s okay. And if she got other tattoos. The heart-shaped tattoo on her neck was a reminder that she loved designing—even if it wasn’t at the school she’d been yearning to go to. And she whispered before the tattoo artist started, “It’s a reminder of this weekend, too. Of us.” A nervous energy full of urgency hums through me, fanning the fire.

Where is the TARDIS? I need to turn back time to that day.

But with the way her eyes shoot needles my way, I’m not even sure turning back time would solve our issues. With my fingers burning with the memory of her skin, I give her even more space by stepping away from her car. That used to mine.

Sorcha opens the door. “I have to go. I have a date.” Instead of sliding in, she spins back around. “Please tell me, Aisling, Roisin, and Sophie didn’t make this up.” She groans. “Please tell me the date isn’t with you.”

“I have no clue what you’re talking about.” And my voice doesn’t sound half as thunderstruck as I thought it would. Because seeing her, feeling her skin, wanting to press pause and rewind to change how we ended things is precisely what I thought was going to happen, but I thought the next time we’d see each other, she’d be married and happy and successful. I didn’t think she’d look as sad as I probably did that day she gave me that snickerdoodle.

The way she angles her head to the side is a clear sign she’s assessing whether I’m telling the truth. Years ago, she could tell by the pitch of my voice or by the way I crossed my arms over my chest if I was lying. She should know I’m not lying right now. But she blinks rapidly and seems to be doubting herself, and there’s a sour taste in my mouth.

“I swear, if it’s you, Sawyer…” Her tone is the one I’ve learned long ago not to mess with.

I wish she was going on a date with me. But let’s face it: I’m pretty sure her sisters Aisling and Roisin and her best friend Sophie would cut off my balls if they saw me right now. Her older brother Liam would join the fun, too. The entire O’Connor clan would happily slice my balls into tiny pieces and I wince at the pain that’d cause. I like my balls. I want to keep them. I glance around, almost expecting Aisling to jump out of the shadows with a cake knife. And I breathe easier when no one else shows up in the parking lot.

“Hello?” She sounds concerned, but then she laughs, not her happy, carefree laugh, but a laugh I’ve never heard before. And not knowing she changed perfume is one thing. But not recognizing her laugh is proof I stayed away far too fucking long. Not from Swans Cove, but from her. “Of course, it’s you. I’m going to kill them.”

“It’s not me. I’m not the lucky guy.”

There’s a flash of something in her eyes. Disappointment? Or is that my wishful thinking? After blinking a few more times, she slides into Thunder, further away from me, not giving me any more time to analyze what may be happening in her mind.

“How is Thunder even still on the road?” I call out in one more attempt to reconnect with her, knowing she won’t pass an occasion to defend Thunder.

 “She’s nine years old.” Her tone is protective. “She’s still got some miles in her.” She pats the steering wheel of my old Honda tenderly, and for a split second, I’m jealous of a car. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date to go to. See you probably never. Your glamorous life is waiting for you back in Washington.” She pauses. Looks down. Looks back up. “Aren’t you supposed to be with your team right now? You can’t play. But aren’t you supposed to be with them? Your team is playing the Boston Bruins tonight.”

The way she presses her lips together tells me she didn’t mean to ask so many questions and also shows she must have read one article about me or at least didn’t tune out someone talking about my injury. Could she still care? At least a little. I’m tempted to crack a smile.

But my knee injury isn’t the only issue. The problem is that my shoulder’s been problematic, too. And in the past year, I got caught on video again bitching about the team owner, Stevens, and how he’s handling the team. Articles after articles have been written about arguments in the locker room with the team’s coach and my legendary feisty attitude. That problematic attitude was confirmed when I shoved my asshole sperm donor, known in the hockey world as Sergei The Great, into a table full of cocktail shrimp and champagne at a black-tie event. And right before getting benched due to my knee injury, I got involved in a fight that resulted in several players facing playoff disqualification.

My agent Tom and the team’s publicist Bria are working overtime to clean up my mess.

“Where do I start?” I sound as worn out as Mom after she and Pops threw my asshole sperm donor out of the house when he demanded I stop reaching out to him. Yet, a sliver of hope sneaks into my tone at the possibility that Sorcha doesn’t completely hate my guts.

“Nowhere. Not my business.” And her voice should come with a warning: stay the fuck away. She clears her throat. “But I’m glad you’re here for your mom’s birthday. Your dad … they must be happy to see you.”

She slams Thunder’s door, and I swear I hear her apologize to the car before carefully driving out of the parking lot.

The chuckle I can’t hold back is full of memories. Because, of course, Sorcha’s still talking to Thunder. She’s friendlier to the car than she is to me, but she’s not wrong. That car probably never let her down.

Thank you so much for reading!

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Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…
#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

Don’t forget to pre-order this “funny but believable hot romance”… #TheLeftoverBride is “like a Hallmark movie, only better.”

The characters are fantastic with personality to spare. It’s emotional in places, and it’s absolutely hilarious in just the right spots. It’s like a Hallmark movie, only better.

Amazon reviewer

Great job by the author letting me escape reality into a funny but believable and hot romance!

Amazon reviewer

#TheLeftoverBride comes out tomorrow (September 14th). And you now have less than 24 hours to pre-order it for only $0.99! (The price will rise to $3.99 tomorrow during the day)

The Chemical Engineer even recorded a video to help promote this book on both TikTok and Instagram… I mean… 🙂

*** Special pre-order price of $0.99 ****A second chance romance set during the holiday season in a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: full of laughter and heartwarming moments (and some sexy moments), checklists, family dynamics, a stubborn cat, and a rescue dog.

All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist. First, he wants to stay away from Swans Cove. Second, he wants his NHL career back. And third, he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.

When wedding dress designer Sorcha O’Connor got stranded at the altar and went viral as #TheLeftoverBride, she lost everything: her fiancé, her thriving business, her glowing reputation, and her dreams. To forget the upcoming first anniversary of that fateful day, Sorcha is ticking items off her “31 Things to Do Before the 31st” list and working day and night to get her life back on track. Not on her list? Falling for her former best friend —at one point more than best friend—hockey star Ryan Sawyer. Especially since he’s now known as the #HockeyHottie; Sorcha’s got enough hashtags for a lifetime.

Ryan Sawyer skated out of Swans Cove right out of high school. And since then, he stuck to the one item on his wishlist he could control. He busted his ass, making sure he always had the perfect excuse for avoiding Swans Cove: hockey. But thanks to his injured shoulder, rumors about his uncertain future at the Tacoma Angels, and his mother’s birthday, he’s back for a quick visit. His agent and the team’s publicist were crystal clear—Ryan’s got to avoid stirring up trouble or risk losing his spot on the team. But he can’t stop thinking about Sorcha, the redhead who knows him better than even his therapist. Ryan wasn’t there for her when she needed him most, and for that, she might want to shred him with her dressmaker’s shears, though… Maybe he could just pass by and say hello?

When Sorcha’s former #RunawayGroom becomes the Most Coveted Bachelor in America, virtual eyes focus on Sorcha again. This time, Ryan’s not going to bolt—even when Sorcha blurts out on national TV that both she and Ryan are working on their so-called “Happy Lists”…together.

Will the spotlight finally work in Sorcha and Ryan’s favor? Or will their past—and their hashtags—get in the way of their Happily Ever After?

Follow me on Instagram – Bookbub – Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads – TikTok

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…
#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

Read the beginning of #TheLeftoverBride! :-)

Are you ready to read the first chapters of #TheLeftoverBride? 🙂 If you receive my newsletter, you’ll notice one paragraph has been slightly updated from the previous version. The version below still needs to be proofread.

Don’t forget you can already pre-order #TheLeftoverBride for only $0.99! (Amazonother e-retailers)

Dear Diary—Day 12

Dear unknown-reader of the future, or alien archiving information on humanity (I have so many questions for you), Christmas is in the air. Well, not Christmas per se. But melted butter, cinnamon and… Is that ginger? Yes, ginger and candied pecans. Aisling’s perfecting a new apple pie recipe with a sugary and nutty crumble on top, and she will need someone to taste it to make sure the flaky crust has enough butter and the caramelized apples melt in your mouth. And this is only one perk of having my sister, Aisling, as a roommate. She’s determined to find the perfect recipe to bring more customers to the bakery. Our parents’ bakery. Our family legacy that is close to bankruptcy. Just like me.

Because of me.

Not thinking about this right now.

Countdown: Day – 12Twelve days until New Year’s Eve and what should have been my first wedding anniversary.

Dear reader, I have breaking news: I can now type “First wedding anniversary” without feeling like a seam ripper is destroying the stitches keeping me together. Go, me. It might be because Nathan wasn’t selected as most coveted Bachelor in America. Apparently, the show decided to go with rockstar David J. And thanks to that decision, I can sleep again at night. Not that I don’t wish him happiness, but having our past and him jilting me at the altar on repeat every week on national TV isn’t my idea of fun.

Status of the “31 Things To Do Before the 31st of December List,” also known as the “What was I thinking? List”:Almost done.

Tomorrow I should hear from the Bridal Dreams representative about them carrying a new O’Connor line in their spring catalogue, and I am also going on my first blind date ever. Me. The Leftover Bride. On. A. Blind. Date.

After, I’ll have five items left to cross off my list, which is totally feasible. Do you remember my post about the 10k walk on the Bay Bridge? How high that bridge is? How long and hard it felt? (That’s what she said).

Last Google search (related to The List): Has Ryan Sawyer ever been on a blind date? Apparently, yes. Once. One of his teammates set him up and he ended up dating her for three months after. I also checked out his team’s social media. But just for a few seconds. He hasn’t played most of last season after getting into a brawl that worsened his shoulder injury, and his argument with the team’s owner still has the hockey world buzzing, but he’s hanging on their roster. Reconnecting with Ryan has been on my list ever since he almost drowned, saving a little girl and her mother. It has nothing to do with my heart and my mind not agreeing on the concept of letting Ryan Sawyer go.

Moving on.

Why did I add a blind date to my list? Good question, past Sorcha. Blind dates can be fun. Right? Rom-com and Hallmark movies have taught me that blind dates can lead to epic love stories. If I check on IMDb’s website, it will show you… oh no.

One of the top movies on IMDb’s “Most Popular Blind Date Movies and TV Shows” is the 2007 movie Zodiac… about the Zodiac Killer.

How? Why? Wait… does that mean I shouldn’t go on that blind date?

Deep breath, Sorcha, deep breath.

Tomorrow: Let’s do this.

The Blind Date. Not The Zodiac Killer movie.

CHAPTER 1 – SORCHA

When Tiramisu The Cat yowled inches from my face way before my alarm rang, his I-just-ate-my-wet-food breath wasn’t the only reason I groaned. A thunder of panic rumbled in the back of my mind, making it impossible to fall back asleep. After convincing myself my ramped-up anxiety was playing tricks on me, I let a cup of piping hot coffee mixed with sweet Italian cream wake me up and settled at my computer to work before sunrise. Between updating a database for a real estate agency in Connecticut, fixing one of Ava’s favorite shirts and doing research for a true-crime podcast that started two months ago, I barely had time to grab lunch. Yet, the sense of impending doom lingered.

I’ve ignored the signs all day: Tiramisu coughing up a hairball on one of my latest designs; my mother messing up a chocolate souffle, leaving a burned smell in the entire building; the hot water in our shower stopping to work half-way through washing my hair.

There’s no way I’m ignoring the signs now. Not after receiving that email from Bridal Dreams.

There’s no way I’m going on that blind date.

Immersing myself into the Zodiac movie while sipping chianti sounds like the perfect way to end this crappy day. Tiramisu leaps on my drawing desk, but instead of coming to me when I call his name, he attacks the ribbon holding my store sign with his teeth like he’s mad at the logo. Did he read my mind?

The blue wooden sign with the words “Happily Ever After Then & Now” hanging over my sewing machine should be in the dictionary next to “crushed dreams”. The familiar feeling of failure creeps up my throat. One day, you believe in fairytales. And the next day, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, your only hope at salvaging your business refuses to carry your designs in their new spring line. Bridal Dreams used to praise my intricate use of French lace in my dresses—now they deem a collaboration with me “detrimental to their image.”

An invisible corset tightens around my chest. Take a deep breath, Sorcha. You’ll figure something out. Don’t cry. But my tears don’t pay attention to my pep-talk. I wipe them with a swift gesture, leaving a smudge of black mascara and eyeliner on my hand.

Fuck. Fuckidy. Fuck.

The sign taunts me, and the urge to hurl it out of the window roars within me. Who knows? It could land on a handsome stranger from New York who got lost in our little town. I’d convince him to quit his corporate job and we’d open a vintage dress shop together. Every year on Christmas eve, we would tell our epic love story to our grandkids: Once upon a time Grandma, who was drowning in debt, threw the sign you see above the fireplace. Instead of suing her for compensation, Grandpa took her out for a mulled wine. And the rest is history.

But in my case, the sign would crack the handsome stranger’s skull open and after a visit to the ER, he would sue me. Influencers, journalists and people around the world would splatter the news over the internet: #TheLeftoverBride sentenced for attacking lawyer with two-ton plank.

I’d have to file for bankruptcy. Again.

Needing to step away from the sign, I slide to the floor between gowns that will never become a fond memory or a family heirloom, never grace the pages of a wedding album or get their own hashtags. 

It all started with a hashtag…

My own digital fairytale.

Once upon a hashtag, the digital princess had all her dreams come true.

“Sorcha?” Aisling knocks at my door, left ajar, when I snuck into the kitchen to steal some dough. “Did you decide on what y-?” Her mouth gapes open at the chaos that is my bedroom. Three mugs are balancing on my nightstand—the result of working overtime and a tendency to be messy when I’m under deadlines. Fabric hangs all over the place and crumpled papers are scattered around, forgotten like my stellar reputation as a wedding dress designer. “What’s going on?”

“I’m not going.” I lift my chin, peeking from in-between the dresses. “Not going.” My voice wavers. My fingers brush against my favorite dress: cream lace with a scoop neck and an open back. The one I thought I’d wear on my wedding day with Maimeó’s veil. Instead, I designed another dress, even as Sophie—my best friend and wedding planner—questioned my reasoning. She told me I needed to look deep within. I told her to mind the canapes and the color scheme. And then apologized for snapping at her.

It was going to be the wedding of the year.

I should have worn Vera Wang. If my almost-husband Nathan had run off while I was wearing a Vera Wang, no one would have batted an eyelash.

That video wouldn’t have gone viral. I’d still have a life.

A thousand tiny needles must coat my throat because I can’t seem to swallow. Aisling marches into the room, flour in her auburn hair and a juice box in her hand. One of Ava’s, my niece. “You’re going. You can’t let Roisin down.” Oh, the family pull. Because, of course, you don’t let the family down. The O’Connor motto.

“I don’t want to.” I whine like a like a three-year-old who missed nap time, but I don’t give a flying organza gauze.

“You can’t cancel now. The guy’s probably on his way and Roisin is counting on your feedback before rolling out the app to more users.” Aisling pushes her glasses up her nose and shoots me her you-know-I’m right look she’s been practicing for years.

She’s not the only one who’s been practicing that look for several decades. I may not wear glasses, but I can still pull it off.

“Not going,” I repeat, even though uncertainty laces my tone.

Aisling’s gaze softens, and she holds her hand out. After helping me up, she points to the paper on the side. “It’s on your list. You wrote it. You laminated it. And you’re writing in your diary about it.” Aisling’s got me there.

Even though Aisling isn’t taller than me, she’s towering over me—with that big-sister-I-know-better vibe. “I’m sorry Bridal Dreams canceled, but you sold most of your dresses online before the show. And you could rebuild a clientele online too.”

“Not with the curse.” My eyes dart around, expecting all the brides who claim my dresses destroyed their weddings and subsequent marriages to appear and scream at me with pitchforks in their hands.

Aisling shakes her head. “Your dresses are not cursed.” She pets Tiramisu, who purrs for her. Traitor.

I stare at the picture I haven’t brought myself to throw out, just in case it’s the catalyst for more bad luck. “Tell that to Esperanza.”

Aisling waves her hand in the air. “Esperanza married a guy she’d known for five minutes. Their annulment five days later wasn’t all that surprising.”

“How about the bride who tripped on her dress, broke her arm and threatened a lawsuit?”

“She didn’t trip on her dress. She was running after the ring bearer and tripped on the stairs. Your dress is not responsible. She didn’t have a case.” Aisling retorts, like she’s heard it all before, which she has many times. I have an entire list of “mishaps,” featuring my designs and she has an answer for all of them.

Or almost all of them. Instead of hiding behind the dresses until the end of time, I remind her of what happened only a month ago. “Tell that to the brides whose dresses both caught fire as they were saying their vows. They wished they had changed their minds about wearing dresses they bought more than a year ago, before the curse.”

Aisling doesn’t miss a beat. “Wind and too many candles. Not your fault.” She pauses. “I didn’t wear one of your designs when Rob and I eloped. And we aren’t together anymore. With your logic, we should be blissfully happy.”

“How about what happened to me?” I hate how small my voice sounds. Mainly because it’s not about Nathan leaving me. It’s about his timing. If we had gotten married, it would have been a hurricane of disasters.

But him sprinting away from me as I was sauntering to the altar in one of my designs cemented my dresses’ bad luck reputation. Nathan not only dashed away, he jumped on his horse that was supposed to carry us to the reception like he was an extra in The Runaway Bride movie that was filmed less than an hour away from here. After that spectacular exit, there was no stopping the urban legend that if you wear a Sorcha O’Connor design at your wedding, you won’t get a happily ever after.

There are Reddit threads about my dresses. YouTube videos. TikTok trends. People dedicated Instagram accounts to the so-called curse. The sleuths claim they want to ensure I am not tricking clients online under a pseudonym. Even if I wanted to… I couldn’t sell my designs online. I can’t even get a job as a seamstress for any of the wedding dresses shops around the area.

“It sucks. But you added going on a blind date on your list for a reason. All you do is work.” Aisling’s tone isn’t accusatory. It’s gentle, too gentle. I can argue until I run out of breath, but I’m not sure how to deal with gentleness.

That’s why I stick my tongue out. “All you do is work.”

She rolls her eyes. “Nice comeback.”

Letting out a long sigh, I put the laminated list on my nightstand. Right next to the picture of me with designer extraordinaire Christian Giovanni. Sophie took it right after getting the news I had gotten through the audition process and was going to be a contestant on Christian’s TV show: I Dream Of A Dress. The perfect mix of Say Yes To The Dress and Project Runway.

A lifetime ago.

On the wall, another picture gets my attention: Aisling and Ava bursting out laughing with ice cream on their noses. I turn back to my sister, hope fluttering in my chest. “How about you? You could help Roisin. You could go instead of me.” I give her my best puppy eyes. “Ava and I can have a pajama party tonight. She’d love that.”

Aisling raises her gaze to the ceiling like she used to do when I was twelve and begged her and my older brother to let me tag along. “I’m baking.” At those words, my shoulders slump. Nothing—except Ava—is more important than baking to Aisling. The entire apartment smells like fresh-baked cookies. She made a batch with my favorite recipe: the one that crumbles in your mouth full with morsels of chocolate and butterscotch. Another reason to stay home.

But Aisling looks me up and down and adds, “Granted, you need to re-do your makeup. You’ve got eyeliner and mascara all over. But if you didn’t want to go, why did you change?”

She’s right. Of course, she’s right.

My heavy wool vintage dress is dark blue and comfy with pockets. A design copied from a picture I saw of our grandma. Maybe I should change. What if wearing this dress means this date will be awful? What if changing into a different outfit means I will never again sell any of my dresses?

Ordering my OCD-induced anxiety to get lost, I roll my shoulders, but the tension lodged in my spine doesn’t loosen. “I swear if that guy created a hashtag for this date, I will never ever listen to Roisin or you.”

Aisling finishes her apple juice. “And if he’s a jerk, you don’t have to stay.” She squishes the juice box. “You can come home. Ava is excited about trying on her Swan costume. She raved about it to all friends, saying how her aunt is amazing.”

“Anything for my favorite niece.” I crack a smile.

“She’s your only niece. Text me if you decide to stay out all night.” She winks, but then her tone turns more serious. “And for Bridal Dreams, I’m really sorry. It sucks. I’ve said it before but let me say it again: you should contact Christian.”

“I’ll figure something out.” Now, if only I sounded convincing. When the tulle hit the fan, Christian distanced himself from me, too. “You make the best dessert ever while I meet…” I pause. “Um. Wait.” I pull up the app to double check. “Trevor, his name is.” True to the legend that I either never answer my phone or that it’s off, my phone’s battery has been draining faster than usual.

“Go have fun. I’d hug you but I’d ruin your outfit with flour.” She does a happy dance as she strolls back out of my room.

After adding a charger to my purse, I do damage control on my make-up and as I use a waterproof mascara, the neon yellow post-it I added to the mirror during my Let’s-be-positive phase falls to the ground. Is it another sign I should stay home? The post-it says, “You got this”. I stick it back up but it falls again and the churning in my stomach intensifies. Even taking a deep, calming breath doesn’t help. I run my fingers through my shoulder-length, curly red hair. Not auburn, like Aisling’s and Keira. Not copper like Roisin or Liam. Red. Anne of Green Gables Red. Like Mámo. And right now, it’s behaving the way I want to.

As I put on boots over my tights and shimmy inside my oversized coat, I give myself a pep talk: The post-it is right, Sorcha. You can do this. Your next adventure awaits.

There. That’s the spirit.

The parking lot behind my parents’ bakery is all decked up with Christmas lights. This time, when I inhale deeply, the crisp air fills my lungs and my jittery nerves quiet down. This guy, um…I really should remember his name. Trevor. That’s it. Could Trevor be the One? The One for Now or the One for Forever? Since the only way to find out is to get moving, I square my shoulders and stride toward my car.

My right foot slides on a patch of ice.

“Shit!” I yelp as I fall on my ass. The snow soaks through my coat and my dress. In one of the romance novels my best friend Sophie and I devour, the hero would have chosen this exact moment to appear and sneak his powerful arms around my waist to prevent me from falling.

No such luck.

“You okay there, Swan?” A baritone voice that used to be the soundtrack of my dreams asks in an amused yet slightly concerned tone.

My stomach flutters in a way I thought long forgotten, buried deep under years of missed chances and pillows soaked with tears.

Only one person calls me “Swan”.

He started during my Twilight phase. Not only because I was accident-prone like Bella Swan or because I inhaled all the books one after the other, barely coming back up for air. But it’s also during that time that I devoted hours to drawing swans everywhere.

That Halloween, he even dressed as a vampire and told me that, unlike Edward, he would bite me with no hesitation.

I raise my gaze, and there he is, leaning against my car. A car that used to be his.

He shouldn’t be here. He moved to the West Coast right after high school. The first chance he got to leave our little town? He grabbed it with both hands.

And now what? He shows up unannounced in my parking lot?

In snow boots, jeans that hug his thighs, and a parka that doesn’t hide his muscular frame.

Everywhere he goes, Ryan Sawyer always looks like he owns the place.

Like he owns a piece of my heart. And goddamn him, he does.


ARE YOU READY TO READ THE THIRD CHAPTER? I’ll be sending it to my newsletter on August 20th 🙂 So don’t hesitate to sign up!

And if you’d like to receive a extra bonus scene, make sure you pre-order #TheLeftoverBride for only $0.99 (Amazonother e-retailers) and then click here for all details on how to receive that extra scene.

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Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…
#THELEFTOVERBRIDE

#TeaserThursday for #TheLeftoverBride

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this book? 🙂 And how much I love making it shine? #TheLeftoverBride is already available for pre-order for only $0.99. And today I’m sharing one line that made me smile.

And don’t forget: if you want an early copy (whenever available), you can add your email here.

All Sorcha O’Connor wants for Christmas is for her life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier. Ryan Sawyer has a few things on his wishlist. First, he wants to stay away from Swans Cove. Second, he wants his NHL career back. And third, he wants Sorcha. Always has, always will.

Have you already pre-ordered your copy? Available for a special price of $0.99!

Here’s a one-sentence teaser. 🙂

Some days, I wish I could be as confident as my cat…

Excerpt from #TheLeftoverBride

This special pre-order price of $0.99 is for a limited time. Choose your favorite e-retailer here: https://books2read.com/TheLeftoverBride!

And/or add it on Goodreads and enter the Goodreads Giveaway

Thank you so much!

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Listen to my podcast: A Self-Published Author’s Diary

Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high … A self-published author's diary

Today, I talk about keeping track of indie author conferences as I completely missed the Romance Author Mastermind conference. it does require an invitation but I only saw talks about it after it happened (or while it was happening) so making sure I'm adding the link to it to my favorites. I also mention the 20booksto50k conference and Inkers Con.  During the week, I also updated my author newsletter landing pages to make them less convoluted and I'm currently experiencing the very fun writing high of starting to write a story I've been thinking about for several months now. Links from this episode: Romance Author Mastermind (https://romanceauthormastermind.com/) 20booksto50k conference (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCl3DWM-P5iOtytsCGsdrLmfjqQjAH8Jm) Inkers Con (https://www.inkerscon.com/) And as always: Ask me a question (per email: authorelodienowodazkij AT gmail.com or by leaving me a voicemail: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message) Follow A Self-Published Author's Diary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aselfpublishedauthorsdiary Visit my website: http://www.elodienowodazkij.com — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. Ep. 40 – Keeping track of indie author conferences, updating newsletter landing pages and the writing high …
  2. Ep – 39: Good news, using Netgalley as an indie author (part 1), getting a spike in free ebooks in Germany (not sure why)…
  3. Ep. 38 – Another (hard) lesson learned as indie author, getting back into a writing routine and more…
  4. REPLAY – Interview with audiobook narrator Megan Carter
  5. Ep. 37 – Not writing for a few days and a SEE ME, SEE ME NOT audiobook preview…