From Melody Johnson:
“We all need a little escape from reality sometimes, and I hope this anthology of short stories will help readers get into the holiday spirit,” says Melody Johnson. “The holidays are sometimes a reminder of the people or traditions that one has lost, but through the magic of storytelling, we are never alone.”
Melody is one of fourteen First Coast Romance Writers (FCRW) contributing to Romancing the Holidays, Vol. 2, the second installment in the group’s holiday anthology series. This compilation of short stories transports readers from Halloween and Thanksgiving antics to Christmas and Valentine romantics with over a dozen unique happily-ever-afters, ranging from sweet to steamy. Readers who enjoy contemporary, historical, or paranormal romance will be whisked off their feet and away to worlds where love prevails.
“Usually, I write full-length novels, so participating in this annual anthology is both fun and challenging,” says Melody. “Fun because I love taking a break from the project I’m currently working on to return to Witchy Business, a world I’m already in love with. But challenging because developing a relationship, motivation, high stakes, and finding a satisfying resolution in only thirty pages is a wild ride. I hope people take as much pleasure in reading these stories as we did in writing them.”
In addition to Melody, the other contributing authors in this anthology include: Debby Grahl, Elise Darby, Barbara Whitaker, Maggie FitzRoy, Leah Miles, Karen Renee, Sara Walker, Vickey Wollan, Abigail Sharpe, Gloria Ferguson, Laura Salas, P.K. Brent and Candese Nieves. All fourteen women are members of FCRW, and proceeds from this anthology benefit their organization, a non-profit chapter of Romance Writers of America®, that helps writers hone their craft and expand their knowledge of the publishing industry.
“I’ve been a member of First Coast Romance Writers for six years. I’m a past Event Coordinator, Treasurer and President of the chapter, and have helped to bring publishers, agents and other industry professionals in person to speak to our members. But participating in this anthology is the accomplishment I’m most proud of,” says Melody. “It just feels right that we are writers raising money for our chapter by doing what we’re most passionate about: writing romance.”
Melody’s contribution to this year’s anthology is Fated by Fire, a Halloween romance and the third installment in her Witchy Business short story series. When the hero of Fated by Fire, Marcus Kyle, stops to assist a stranded driver change a flat tire, the last person he expects to face is Jenavieve St. Clair, the young witch whose unnervingly accurate visions consistently cast him as the harbinger of death and destruction for their covens. Crossing paths with her is unsettling, but perhaps fate has intervened on his behalf, granting him the opportunity to prove to her that he’s just a man, not the monster that her visions predict him to be.
“I chose to feature Halloween for this anthology because what better holiday to frame a romance brimming with witches, sparking with magic and fighting against fate?” says Melody. “I’m a voracious paranormal romance fan. My heroes are Laurell K. Hamilton, Chloe Neill, Anne Rice, and Karen Marie Moning. Besides the obvious perks to the genre—danger, action and adventure—I’m drawn to paranormal romance because of the world building. I love taking a beloved genre and putting my spin on it with my rules in a world of my creation.”
In addition to her contributions to Volumes I and II of Romancing the Holidays, Melody has also published the “out of this world” full-length sci-fi romance novel Beyond the Next Star and the gritty, four-book paranormal romance Night Blood Series with Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press. The New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Lynsay Sands “laughed out loud” reading Beyond the Next Star, and Kirkus Reviews praised is as, “an engaging and unusual otherworldly tale.”
Romancing the Holidays, Vol. 2, releases the first day of fall, September 22, 2021, and is available online in ebook and paperback formats. Preorders are available at https://books2read.com/RTHVol2.
Excerpt from Fated by Fire:
Rumor had it Dr. Marcus Kyle could siphon as well as merge magic, and if he chose to, he had the power to drain entire covens to husks with a single, powerful flex of his will.
In her vivid and increasingly—frighteningly—accurate visions, he was often testing the limits of that power in a parody of Carrie, wearing the blood of his slaughtered witches and warlocks with trembling glee.
In reality, his cheeks dimpled when he smiled.
Jen stood to face him, leaving her lug wrench on the asphalt where she’d dropped it mid-spin at the sight of him. No need to call attention to the fact that in addition to the lug wrench, she’d also dropped her car, having stuttered on her levitation spell. Goddess help her if he’d noticed.
He paused at her rear tire, looking a bit sheepish. “You’ll have to excuse the get up. I was on my way to a costume party, but I couldn’t pass by without asking if you might need help changing that tire?”
Breathe. She’d seen Dr. Kyle’s face in her mind’s eye for years, but her visions hadn’t prepared her for the heat of his direct gaze nor the distraction of his angled jaw. From the curls of his faux hawk to his perfect teeth, beaming at her from behind those lush, parted lips, and every smooth-as-caramel, baby-faced feature in between, he was fresh and friendly. Adorable, even.
She supposed the wrath and violence in her visions had prevented her from truly appreciating his appearance because before this moment, she would have described Dr. Marcus Kyle as dangerous, vicious, and volatile. Now that he was before her in the flesh, the phrase “cutie pie” came to mind.
And holy mother of Earth and Rain, she wanted a bite.
About the Anthology:
Over a dozen ways to fall in love at the holidays…
Looking for a Happily Ever After? How about fourteen of them?! Romancing the Holidays, Volume 2 is a collection of romantic short stories all with the happy ending you crave. Genres include: contemporary, historical, paranormal, romantic suspense and young adult.
And what better time to find romance than during the holidays? Escape into these Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Three Kings Day and Valentine’s Day adventures, and swoon anew with each couple as they fall in love.
Proceeds from this anthology benefit First Coast Romance Writers, a non-profit chapter of Romance Writers of America that helps writers hone their craft and expand their knowledge of the publishing industry.
Romancing the Holidays (Vol. 2)
On Sale: September 22, 2021
Genre: Holiday Romance Anthology
Purchase Info: https://books2read.com/RTHVol2
Melody is generously donating one (1) digital download copy* of Romancing the Holidays Volume 1: A Dozen Ways to Fall in Love at the Holidays to give to one (1) lucky winner. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form AND leave a comment at the end of this post letting us know which seasonal setting is your favorite to read about? The giveaway is open during the time specified on the Rafflecopter form. Winner(s) chosen at random from all eligible entries. This contest is open internationally where not prohibited by law. Open to participants, 18 years or older, who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor. Prize will be delivered by the author. This blog, its reviewers, and the owner are not responsible for lost items. By entering this giveaway, participants agree to abide by these terms.
*the digital download copy is via Bookfunnel.
About First Coast Romance Writers:
First Coast Romance Writers, an affiliate of Romance Writers of America®, is an organization for both published and unpublished writers, as well as any individuals involved in the writing and publishing industry. The membership includes writers of all levels, from those working on their first manuscripts to multi-published, award-winning authors. The chapter is dedicated to promoting excellence in romantic fiction through monthly meetings and workshops in a comfortable forum where published and unpublished writers share knowledge about the constantly evolving publishing industry. FCRW strives to help writers become published and establish careers with innovative programs, networking opportunities and pertinent information on effective marketing techniques for members’ novels. Find FCRW online at https://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com