#SweetsForLove

#SweetsForLove is out in the world!

#SweetsForLove is out in the world. Readers are loving it and I love it. 🙂

A baking competition for the Happily Ever After channel could bring success to my small-town bakery… and one night of toe-curling passion that would keep me warm for years to come. But nothing more. Because I don’t have time for love. Right? Right.

And yes, maybe my mom shouldn’t read that one… I mean, mom, you can but maybe don’t tell me. 🙂

I was re-reading some excerpts yesterday and it is steaammmmmmmmmmy. There’s a moment in the first chapter in the elevator and one in chapter 9 in the hallway that … *blush*.  And then later on, oh my. Think a notch (or two) below Tessa Bailey’s books’ heat level. But just a notch (or two).

And it has so many funny and heartwarming moments! I feel like those characters just grab you by the heart and you can’t help but root for them. ❤

One reader told me two days ago that this book is in their top 5 for the year. TOP. FIVE! ***Tearing up***…

It’s available on ALL e-retailers (Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play, Nook and so much more) and also available in print.  

And if you have a few minutes after reading it, leaving a review is another way to make this writer go all “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww”. 🙂 Thank you SO MUCH!

PS: Do you want to see the unboxing video? (it’s really an unwrapping video)…

BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022) A self-published author's diary

There are a lot of sites listing Black Friday deals for writers such as Kindlepreneur Black Friday Deals For Writers 2022. The list below is made up of three Black Friday Deals I’m either going to use or am thinking about using. One Stop For Writers (40% for 6 month plan with BF2022): I’ve been using One Stop Writers for more than a year, I think, and it has helped me so much. I don’t use all the features (yet) but I always turn to it when I’m revising. The emotion thesaurus, emotions amplifier, colors and patterns and so much more have been so so helpful to me. I have also used The Character Builder to help me craft Alessandro. So, if you’ve enjoyed #SweetsForLove and the grumpy yet charming bodyguard, part of his characteristics came from using One Stop For Writers. Inkers Con 2021 on Demand (currently 50% off): I really learned a lot during the 2022 Mini-Con (it had four classes, including one with Becca Syme and another on budgeting which has helped me making profits this year – so yay!). There are 27 presentations in Inkers Con and so many I’d like to listen to from the 2021 Inkers Con. 2021 Inkers Con classes on sale for HALF OFF this weekend only (ends Monday at midnight ET). The normal price is $245 but use coupon code HALF21 and pay only $122.50 (or break it into two payments). Access is for 6 years with 100% money-back guarantee. ProWritingAid: : ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, style editor, proofreader, and writing coach all in one. I’ve been using ProWritingAid since August 2022. And I personally like it more than Grammarly. The one thing holding me back from the lifetime deal is that my current yearly subscription is ending in August 2023 and I don’t get a pro-rated discount for the other months… so I might wait until then to see if they have another discount. Or I’ll wait until next November. Buuuuut if you’re currently looking to use ProWritingAid, they’re currently running a 50% off for selected plans. Okay, I know I said three … but here’s another one… 100 photo/vector downloads from Depositphotos (lifetime) for $39 – it’s great for promo or covers… I won’t be using – but only because I use Canva Pro and still have pictures available on Depositphotos from a past deal. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022)
  2. Defining "success" as a self-published author …
  3. Kickstarter for Authors: What To Do When Your Kickstarter Does Not Get Funded … (and what I would do differently)
  4. Ten days after my latest book release (sold copies, reviews and what comes next) and a peek inside this author's day on release day.
  5. Trying out a new book review strategy and SO MANY emotions about the release of #SweetsForLove
#SweetsForLove

#SweetsForLove Teaser Tuesday…

#SweetsForLove comes out in two days. TWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYS…

And the first reviews are definitely making this author smile.

A Hot Romance with Sweet Treats!

Amazon reviewer

 Full of sass and sizzle, she brings romance in a small town with reality TV twists and turns. I absolutely love the characters and all of the book boyfriend references. This is a holiday romance sprinkled with A LOT of sizzle.

Goodreads reviewer

Are you ready for a preview of the book? (which is available on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Scribd, Overdrive and more …)

CHAPTER 1–AISLING

Note to self: do not shove Marion Sinclair into the sparkling, heated pool—even if she crowned your bakery “Most Likely to Disappear in the Next Three Years” in her latest post.

“Aisling! Whoo-hoo!” Marion—the influencer of the wedding cakes world, newest Wedding Bells magazine contributor, and forever nemesis—waves my way. She takes a selfie with her Santa hat and the Vegas Christmas in July banner, screeching at an employee to smile in the background. Because, of course, she needs to manufacture every moment for her flawless-yet-flawed-but-happy brand.

At least that gives me a minute to find the perfect escape route.

I slide my glasses up my nose, and my eyes dart to the side. What if I dived under the cocktail table? Too dramatic. Plus, if the shrimp tumbled on me, I’d smell like shellfish for an eternity. Instead, I force my PRBF (Permanent Resting Bitch Face), as my sisters call it, to relax into a fake smile.

“Hi, Marion. I still need to check in.” I point to my small, battered suitcase and rush away before she can pepper me with pretend enthusiasm and backhanded compliments.

The full of temptation Las Vegas hotel Lily-of-the-Valley fragrance with a sultry note of musk blasts in my face as I swerve into a couple making out right next to the oversized Christmas tree.

“I’m so sorry.”

No answer.

The woman’s wedding veil cascades to the floor, and the man’s hands travel down her back. Even though PDA isn’t my thing, and there are not enough hours in my days for a relationship, a familiar pang of longing resonates in my chest.

Stupid heart.

“Happily ever after in Sin City,” a deep and smooth voice chuckles next to me. His bergamot and old spicy wood cologne draw me to him.

I turn around and lift my chin up.

And… huzzah.

Smoldering dark eyes grab ahold of mine. I readjust my glasses.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, this man offers exactly what I have been craving: a toe-curling passion that leaves you completely spent and satisfied.

And I’m in dire need of sleep.

So what if it feels like forever and a day since a man has looked at me this way? And an eternity since I’ve wanted to see what the night could bring.

Step away from the sinfully sexy stranger, Aisling.

After all, I’ve listened to enough true crime podcasts to know not to talk to strangers. Right?

Right.

My spine straightens. “Maybe ‘or a happily for now.’” At least my tone isn’t all breathy and needy. But there’s a tiny crack in my I’m-a-pro-at-hiding-what-I-feel façade as warmth sneaks up my neck, probably revealing a blush. I push my glasses up again and purse my lips in my usual Aisling way.

He raises an eyebrow. “Those can be good, too.”

Why does his rough voice make me want to tell him I’ve been naughty this year? My heart flutters. Wait… what? My heart doesn’t do flutters. Get away now! The alarm in my mind blares with urgency, but my feet must be anchored to the ground with the best sugar glue in town because I can’t move.

Instead, I take in every enticing detail: his angular chin covered with a three-day beard, his shit-eating grin like he knows and loves the thoughts bouncing around in my head, his slightly crooked nose that gives him a rugged look.

His polo shirt emphasizes his broad shoulders, and… is that a What Would Elle Woods Do? pin on his collar?

“You’re a Legally Blonde fan?”

I narrow my eyes, and his chuckle is a sound that should be recorded for ringtones.

“Yep.” His fingers brush over the pin. “Got it as a gift and always wear it,” he tells me. Whoever he’s here with maybe gave it to him. Reality-check meet Aisling. But as I’m about to step away, he adds, “My grandmother really knows me.”

My fingers play with the bracelet my own late grandmother gave me.

“It is a good movie,” I say after a few seconds.

“Iconic.”

He chuckles again as my gaze travels from the pin to his strong arms. How many tattoos does this man have? Am I salivating over his forearms and… his hands? They’re powerful hands. Capable. Full of promises. And carrying one of the Triple O Annual Naughty or Nice Conference promotional bags I’ve seen in the lobby.

I’ve got three of their toys, and they keep their promises.

“I’d love one of those,” I blurt out before my mind can even process what I’m saying.

His lips lift into a half-grin full of confidence. “An orgasm?”

Why does this sound like a promise?

Heat creeps up my neck, and I point to his hand. “The bag, I mean.”

He leans forward. “It’s yours.”

His breath is minty fresh, and I’m tempted to check mine. As he gently wraps the bag around my wrist, his fingers graze my skin, and Hi, desire, my old friend. Long time no see. 

I clear my throat. “Thanks.”

The butterflies flapping their untrained wings in my stomach are demanding I throw caution and responsibilities to the wind and ask him for dinner, a kiss, a night. But I squash them.

Being “spontaneous” isn’t on my to-do list. Neither is he. As I whirl back around, a swarm of people cuts me off. They flock toward one giant sign that reads, Meet Grant Torre, Your Santa Claus for the Day.

“Grant! I’m coming!”

A woman steamrolls me, and the stranger’s muscular arms sneak around my waist to keep me steady. My body melts into his, and my suitcase slips out of my grasp, scattering to the ground. Another woman stomps on it.

“Watch out!” I reluctantly detach myself from the stranger.

As the crowd thins in their search for Grant Torre, I pick up my suitcase.

Dildos and butt plugs and cuffs tumble out.

My mouth gapes open. How? What? Why?

Without a word or even a chuckle, the man bends down to shove them back inside the suitcase.

“I-I got it,” I tell him with such a no-nonsense, this-happens-every-day voice that I’d high-five myself if my hands weren’t full with Triple O toys.

“You wanted my bag when you got all of those?”

“These aren’t mine.”

I drop the toys into the suitcase before rubbing the spot between my eyebrows, but that doesn’t prevent the splitting headache from thundering.

“I assumed not all of them were yours. Unless you’re a vendor. Or a model for…” His voice trails off as I struggle to take a deep breath, realizing my plans for tomorrow’s Spoon Up competition vanished with my way-too-generic suitcase.

“No, no, no,” I mutter.

A fist of dread sneaks up my throat, tightening around it. My suitcase was supposed to be safely tucked in the overhead bin, but due to space issues, the airline checked it in instead. At the baggage claim, there must have been three blue suitcases looking exactly as old as mine. I had tied one of Ava’s ribbons to the handle, but it was nowhere to be seen.

So, whoever grabbed my suitcase now has all my trusted baking utensils while I have their entire brand-new line of Triple O toys.

I’m not going to be able to whip up a three-layered wedding cake with a Christmas-inspiration gingerbread frosting with a butterfly clit vibrator.

One “spoon up” and your bakery is inundated with orders. We need those orders—especially as I’m trying to reinvent our bakery to become the holiday bakery of the Eastern shore.

“You okay?” the stranger who no longer feels like one asks as his hands settle on my shoulders.

The wave of panic recedes. Is he a magician headlining a magic show in Las Vegas? I could be his talking puppet. He could do whatever he wanted to me with those hands.

“I have to go.” Because if I don’t, I might either cry on his shoulder or ask him to go upstairs with me. Not happening.

Instead, I keep my chin up and stroll to check in as if everything is absolutely fine.

After all, I’m sure I’ll come up with the perfect cake—no matter what.

As Marion Sinclair always claims in her videos: It’s going to be the absolute best.

***

Fifth. I placed fifth in the competition.

Despite hiding my disappointment in the bar far away from the entrance, Marion settles next to me. Her Aisling is desperate radar to zero in on me when I least want to see her has been refined over the years. She touches my arm in one of those aww-poor-Aisling ways, and I should get extra points for not swatting it away.

“You’re a trooper for traveling to Vegas when so many people are canceling their orders.”

 “The unpredictability of business.” Shoot. Did my voice go all high-pitch?

“Sure. But with what happened with your sister being jilted at the altar and with your croquembouche signature cake turning into a recipe for Disaster-Ever-After—”

You called it that.”

“Oh, I did. Didn’t I?” She takes a sip of her bright pink cocktail. “That post got so many likes. I couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of comments.”

The glint in her eyes tells me she expects me to lose it any minute now. But my sisters didn’t nickname me “Miss Perfection” growing up for nothing. Aisling O’Connor doesn’t lose it—especially not in public.

“I don’t follow your account. I must have seen it because it’s one of those paid promoted posts you spend tons of money on. Didn’t you get in trouble for that before? Something about not being transparent about your reach?” Before she can reply, I continue. “I was so happy to be back this year.” Liar, liar, pants on fire, the voice in my head singsongs, sounding very much like my five-year-old daughter. “You all did an amazing job.” My voice is steadier, more self-assured. I’ve got everything under control except my auburn hair that’s all over the place and my glasses that keep on sliding down.

My phone vibrates in my pocket. “I have to take this.” I wave my phone in the air. “You have fun tonight. Sorry I can’t join.” More lies.

“Hope to see you soon.”

My bullshit sensor beeps so loudly I’m surprised it doesn’t set off the hotel alarm. I wait until she and the group are out of the bar, then check no one else is too close to me before clicking on Accept.

Mom’s face appears on my phone as the bartender slides the eggnog I ordered toward me. “How was everything?”

A waste of time and money and self-esteem.

But I can’t say that.

“Great.” Another lie.

“That’s wonderful. What did they think about your new layered cake recipe?”

“I had to change plans.” My suitcase never arrived. So not only did I have to change course, but I also spent money I don’t have on new clothes. “They loved the fondant cake demonstration.” They didn’t. 

“And…?”

I sigh. “I’m coming home early tomorrow. I almost made it to the Spoon Up ultimate competition… but… you know… next time.”

“Of course.” Mom is using her You got this, baby girl! tone, even though I turned thirty last year. “Ava wanted to tell you goodnight again.” Mom hands the phone over to my daughter.

“I love you, Mommy. Have fun in Lost Vegas.”

Las Vegas.”

“Hmm-hmmm. Goodnight, Mommy.”

“Goodnight, Ava, my lovie.” I force my voice to sound upbeat, but as I hang up, waves of crushing disappointment roll through me. The judges’ words echo in my mind: “Too careful. Too bland. Too predictable.”

The only reason people approached my booth was to inundate me with questions about my sister Sorcha getting jilted at the altar and going viral as #TheLeftoverBride.

A guy who must have bathed in his cologne invades my personal space. The bar isn’t crowded, and he doesn’t need to be this close to me. He’s wearing a Sit on my Lap shirt with a drunk Santa. Classy. The way he stares down my décolleté gives me major creepy vibes, and annoyance drips down my spine.

His hand settles on the back of my chair. “You look like you need another drink.”

Even his tone is sleazy. And dealing with him right now sounds as appealing as listening to Marion telling me again how she should have won that Wedding Cake competition ten years ago.

Squaring my shoulders, I stand up. “Actually, I’m meeting someone.”

And I rush toward the back of the bar, waving like I saw the person I had been waiting for.

A man with a three-day beard and dark smoldering eyes waves back.

My heart sprints before screeching to a halt.

Him.

He’s changed into dark pants and a gray dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. And he still has that small pink pin.

“Say the word, and I’ll escort him to the other side of the world.”

My first knee-jerk reaction is to square my shoulders. I don’t need to run away, and I don’t need help.

“I can take care of him.” But I sound as exhausted as I feel, and Smoldering Eyes isn’t patronizing. He looks at me like he understands me. And what am I doing? Stepping into my favorite romance novel? This day is clearly taking a toll.

Smoldering Eyes tilts his head. “One word, and he’s out of here.”

Creepy Guy clears his throat behind us. “Hey sweetie, are you one of Santa’s helpers? I have a few wishes you could help me with.”

“Uh. Word,” I reply.

He shoots Creepy Guy a get-the-fuck-away look and does a quick gesture with his hand. A man that could be security approaches Creepy Guy, who leaves without protesting.

“He won’t annoy you or anyone tonight.”

The way he says it is reassuring.

“Thank you.”

I raise an eyebrow, and he does the same in response—before tipping an imaginary hat to me with that confident half-grin I’ve noticed before. I’m noticing way too many things about him.

“I have a way.” He watches me in such a way that I might combust here and there. “At your service.” His deep voice does something to me. Is this what he says in bed, too? I imagine him rough and gentle, demanding and giving. I need to get ahold of myself.

Or not.

I tilt my head. “Are you a serial killer?”

He raises one amused eyebrow. “Nope.”

“Married? Engaged? Seeing someone?”

“Nope. Nope. And nope.”

“Me neither.”

And because I’m arching my back, just thinking of how that three-day stubble might feel on my skin. And because no one ever has to know. And because I won’t see ever see him again…

I toss the last slice of caution to the wind full of need that envelops me. “Can I kiss you?”

“Can I kiss you back?”

His gaze drops to my mouth, and my breath hitches.

“Yes.”

“Then, yes, please.”

Do you want to keep reading?

Be sure to pre-order #SweetsForLove today (for only $3.99)

Available on Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, Google Play and more …

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

#SweetsForLove

Cover reveal: #SweetsForLove

The cover for #SweetsForLove is here… I repeat, the cover for my next romcom #SweetsForLove is here. And I love it. And not only because I designed it. The illustrations of Alessandro and Aisling were designed by Qamber Emporium.

#SweetsForLove cover designed by me (Elodie Nowodazkij) with illustrations from Qamber Emporium and DepositPhotos.

A baking competition for the Happily Ever After channel could bring success to my small-town bakery… and one night of toe-curling passion that would keep me warm for years to come. But nothing more. Because I don’t have time for love. Right? Right.

***Make sure you pre-order it today!***

Alessandro Torre marches back into my life with the same tattooed broad shoulders, half-grin and smoldering-dark eyes that had me melting like butter almost a year ago. I was never supposed to see him again. To me, he was Thor (because of his hammer). But now, we’re stuck together with the best sugar glue in town. A former grumpy bodyguard (and so stubborn!), he’s the head of security of Sweets For Love, the baking show I have to join if I want to save my bakery. This time around, I won’t throw caution to the wind. Maybe, except for one night. Just one. Right? Right.

Jamie Bond, or should I say Aisling O’Connor? Here we are. Again. For months, I dreamed about seeing her again. Touching her again. Finishing what we started almost a year ago in that elevator. But now, there are rules in place. She has a daughter, and she’s even more stubborn than I am. Plus, I learned the hard way I can’t trust anyone. All I need to do is finish this stupid assignment with my dickhead of a brother and move on. I promised my men I wouldn’t let them down. Nope. Not happening. Except maybe for one night. No feelings. I don’t do relationship and love isn’t on her agenda.

No one else can know. Because if they do, we might lose everything.

Don’t forget to pre-order #SweetsForLove today! (AmazoniBooks – Kobo – B&N)
Add it on GoodreadsAdd it on BookBub

If you want regular excerpts, make sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter (plus you get access to all bonus content…🙂

Other standalone in the Swans Cove series: #TheLeftoverBride

For fans of second chance romance novels (in this case… more third chance romance novel). Make sure you one-click this holiday rom-com that reviewers have praised as “Hallmark movie’s steamier 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.

If you’re looking for ways to help Ukraine:

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

A Self-Published Author’s Diary podcast:

BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022) A self-published author's diary

There are a lot of sites listing Black Friday deals for writers such as Kindlepreneur Black Friday Deals For Writers 2022. The list below is made up of three Black Friday Deals I’m either going to use or am thinking about using. One Stop For Writers (40% for 6 month plan with BF2022): I’ve been using One Stop Writers for more than a year, I think, and it has helped me so much. I don’t use all the features (yet) but I always turn to it when I’m revising. The emotion thesaurus, emotions amplifier, colors and patterns and so much more have been so so helpful to me. I have also used The Character Builder to help me craft Alessandro. So, if you’ve enjoyed #SweetsForLove and the grumpy yet charming bodyguard, part of his characteristics came from using One Stop For Writers. Inkers Con 2021 on Demand (currently 50% off): I really learned a lot during the 2022 Mini-Con (it had four classes, including one with Becca Syme and another on budgeting which has helped me making profits this year – so yay!). There are 27 presentations in Inkers Con and so many I’d like to listen to from the 2021 Inkers Con. 2021 Inkers Con classes on sale for HALF OFF this weekend only (ends Monday at midnight ET). The normal price is $245 but use coupon code HALF21 and pay only $122.50 (or break it into two payments). Access is for 6 years with 100% money-back guarantee. ProWritingAid: : ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, style editor, proofreader, and writing coach all in one. I’ve been using ProWritingAid since August 2022. And I personally like it more than Grammarly. The one thing holding me back from the lifetime deal is that my current yearly subscription is ending in August 2023 and I don’t get a pro-rated discount for the other months… so I might wait until then to see if they have another discount. Or I’ll wait until next November. Buuuuut if you’re currently looking to use ProWritingAid, they’re currently running a 50% off for selected plans. Okay, I know I said three … but here’s another one… 100 photo/vector downloads from Depositphotos (lifetime) for $39 – it’s great for promo or covers… I won’t be using – but only because I use Canva Pro and still have pictures available on Depositphotos from a past deal. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022)
  2. Defining "success" as a self-published author …
  3. Kickstarter for Authors: What To Do When Your Kickstarter Does Not Get Funded … (and what I would do differently)
  4. Ten days after my latest book release (sold copies, reviews and what comes next) and a peek inside this author's day on release day.
  5. Trying out a new book review strategy and SO MANY emotions about the release of #SweetsForLove
#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

BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022) A self-published author's diary

There are a lot of sites listing Black Friday deals for writers such as Kindlepreneur Black Friday Deals For Writers 2022. The list below is made up of three Black Friday Deals I’m either going to use or am thinking about using. One Stop For Writers (40% for 6 month plan with BF2022): I’ve been using One Stop Writers for more than a year, I think, and it has helped me so much. I don’t use all the features (yet) but I always turn to it when I’m revising. The emotion thesaurus, emotions amplifier, colors and patterns and so much more have been so so helpful to me. I have also used The Character Builder to help me craft Alessandro. So, if you’ve enjoyed #SweetsForLove and the grumpy yet charming bodyguard, part of his characteristics came from using One Stop For Writers. Inkers Con 2021 on Demand (currently 50% off): I really learned a lot during the 2022 Mini-Con (it had four classes, including one with Becca Syme and another on budgeting which has helped me making profits this year – so yay!). There are 27 presentations in Inkers Con and so many I’d like to listen to from the 2021 Inkers Con. 2021 Inkers Con classes on sale for HALF OFF this weekend only (ends Monday at midnight ET). The normal price is $245 but use coupon code HALF21 and pay only $122.50 (or break it into two payments). Access is for 6 years with 100% money-back guarantee. ProWritingAid: : ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, style editor, proofreader, and writing coach all in one. I’ve been using ProWritingAid since August 2022. And I personally like it more than Grammarly. The one thing holding me back from the lifetime deal is that my current yearly subscription is ending in August 2023 and I don’t get a pro-rated discount for the other months… so I might wait until then to see if they have another discount. Or I’ll wait until next November. Buuuuut if you’re currently looking to use ProWritingAid, they’re currently running a 50% off for selected plans. Okay, I know I said three … but here’s another one… 100 photo/vector downloads from Depositphotos (lifetime) for $39 – it’s great for promo or covers… I won’t be using – but only because I use Canva Pro and still have pictures available on Depositphotos from a past deal. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022)
  2. Defining "success" as a self-published author …
  3. Kickstarter for Authors: What To Do When Your Kickstarter Does Not Get Funded … (and what I would do differently)
  4. Ten days after my latest book release (sold copies, reviews and what comes next) and a peek inside this author's day on release day.
  5. Trying out a new book review strategy and SO MANY emotions about the release of #SweetsForLove
#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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BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022) A self-published author's diary

There are a lot of sites listing Black Friday deals for writers such as Kindlepreneur Black Friday Deals For Writers 2022. The list below is made up of three Black Friday Deals I’m either going to use or am thinking about using. One Stop For Writers (40% for 6 month plan with BF2022): I’ve been using One Stop Writers for more than a year, I think, and it has helped me so much. I don’t use all the features (yet) but I always turn to it when I’m revising. The emotion thesaurus, emotions amplifier, colors and patterns and so much more have been so so helpful to me. I have also used The Character Builder to help me craft Alessandro. So, if you’ve enjoyed #SweetsForLove and the grumpy yet charming bodyguard, part of his characteristics came from using One Stop For Writers. Inkers Con 2021 on Demand (currently 50% off): I really learned a lot during the 2022 Mini-Con (it had four classes, including one with Becca Syme and another on budgeting which has helped me making profits this year – so yay!). There are 27 presentations in Inkers Con and so many I’d like to listen to from the 2021 Inkers Con. 2021 Inkers Con classes on sale for HALF OFF this weekend only (ends Monday at midnight ET). The normal price is $245 but use coupon code HALF21 and pay only $122.50 (or break it into two payments). Access is for 6 years with 100% money-back guarantee. ProWritingAid: : ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, style editor, proofreader, and writing coach all in one. I’ve been using ProWritingAid since August 2022. And I personally like it more than Grammarly. The one thing holding me back from the lifetime deal is that my current yearly subscription is ending in August 2023 and I don’t get a pro-rated discount for the other months… so I might wait until then to see if they have another discount. Or I’ll wait until next November. Buuuuut if you’re currently looking to use ProWritingAid, they’re currently running a 50% off for selected plans. Okay, I know I said three … but here’s another one… 100 photo/vector downloads from Depositphotos (lifetime) for $39 – it’s great for promo or covers… I won’t be using – but only because I use Canva Pro and still have pictures available on Depositphotos from a past deal. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/elodie-nowodazkij/support
  1. BONUS – Three Black Friday Deals For Writers (2022)
  2. Defining "success" as a self-published author …
  3. Kickstarter for Authors: What To Do When Your Kickstarter Does Not Get Funded … (and what I would do differently)
  4. Ten days after my latest book release (sold copies, reviews and what comes next) and a peek inside this author's day on release day.
  5. Trying out a new book review strategy and SO MANY emotions about the release of #SweetsForLove