Goodbye, 2020...I'm Looking Forward to a Better Year

 2020 Memories and What to Look Forward to in 2021

I'm sure we're all thinking the same thing. When can we just forget the past year? It's time, right? Yes, too much chaos happened to us, to...well, everyone, actually. But before we throw out 2020 just like we did with last week's trash, let's have a look at some of the things that went on this year. And I don't mean all that stuff you saw on the news.

With the onslaught of all the Coronavirus craziness, some of you might've missed my newsletters, perhaps even updates about new releases and such. To help out, I’ll do a brief overview of events that occurred in 2020, offering highlights month by month. Because of space and time constraints, I won’t be able to go into everything, however. For more details you can check out my author newsletter archives here, join our mailing list on this blog, and you’ll also find more information by following my website and looking at the Updates/News page over there. That will always give you a good sense of things.

In any case, let’s get started, okay?

Author News from 2020


On January 2nd, Blue Vision was nominated for the book cover of the month contest on AllAuthor. And the same book was nominated for the Critters Annual Readers Poll, a contest for titles published in 2019. From the 1st to the 14th, readers could vote for books. Votes were tallied, and my sci-fi romance was a TOP 10 FINISHER IN BOTH the Romance and Science Fiction categories! ♥♥♥


That reminds me. You can also still vote for Blue Vision in TCK Publishing’s big 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards contest. Blue Vision was nominated, voting is valid through mid-January! Scroll through to Category 7 – ‘Romance’ and vote for my book. Yay!


Additionally, voting is now open for the 23rd Annual Critters Readers' Poll (You’ll notice nominations for my books and yours truly in the following categories: Romance Novels, Romance Short Stories, Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Stories, Book Cover Artwork, and Authors. The categories cover all relevant works, authors, editors, artwork/artists, and services which were active or published in 2020. )

On January 19th of 2020, I signed a contract with Foundations Books, and Upon Your Return was set to come out sometime this year. Additionally, the publisher took on the other two books in the series. Woo hoo!


Starting the next day, a huge event on Writing in the Modern Age began. Readers could participate in an awesome mega book and swag giveaway, comprised of different formats and book genres. The contest ran for a week. Nice, right? πŸ˜‰

On January 27th, there was a nice, new five star review for Blue Vision on Amazon


From January to March, another opportunity to win a copy of my science fiction romance, Blue Vision, came up. Readers could headover to Tina Donahue’s blog and participate in her big Rafflecopter giveaway to celebrate the launch of her sexy new romance release at the time, Thrill Me. With a chance to win $55 in gift cards and tons of ebooks, it sounds pretty cool, right?




On February 10th, I learned that yours truly was listed as one of the top 5 ‘authors who write compelling romance’ on Awesome, right? And seriously, the accompanying promo video is awesome! ;) 


The next day brought a guest post by Rebecca Siggers on ILRB, as she gave us seven romantic winery destinations to visit all over the world for Valentine’s Day. Some travel ideas for future reference, anyway. Tuscany looks especially lovely! On the 13th, Angela Burks offered some great tips on boosting those romantic feelings while traveling with your sweetie. Check out her article on my romance blog here


In my newsletter, and in honor of Valentine's Day in 2020, I offered the following tips to make your romantic partner feel truly special. I think we all get so bogged down in the hectic chaos of our lives that we often don’t slow down to appreciate each other, to show why we feel connected to that person in the first place. 


Here are those romantic ideas…and they might help too, if your love life together is starting to feel a bit stagnant. Or, this could give you some inspiration for that oh-so-special holiday coming up in February. πŸ˜‰

1.      Make his/her favorite meal. This could be breakfast in bed, or a special romantic dinner for just the two of you.


2.      Compliment your partner/spouse, and say what you appreciate about them. Of course we all want to feel beautiful to someone, but go further than that by picking out a couple things about them that you admire. It will show your loved one that they’re noticed or heard.


3.      Recreate your first date (at least, if it was a good one!), and add a creative touch.


4.      Always try to ask about his/her day. Make an effort to listen. This is a key ingredient of good communication in a relationship.


5.      Read together. Has your partner been reading a certain book title? Read it too on your own, and once he/she has finished their copy, ask what they thought about it. When they launch into their take on the book, participate and have a book discussion. Your loved one will appreciate that you took an interest in something they liked.


6.      Greet your spouse or partner at the end of a long work day with a nice surprise. You could make dinner while they unwind or offer to prepare a relaxing bath for him/her.


7.      Suggest tackling a long-discussed home DIY project together, such as repainting a room. The experience should be entertaining and will bring you closer in the process. Successful couples work well as a team!

8.      Text a sweet message to your spouse now and then just to show they’re loved and appreciated.


9.      Consider getting away for a weekend together, even if you choose a more affordable, yet pleasant option. Life often gets in the way, and these little random trips will strengthen the intimacy between you. You can relax and have fun without worrying about the day to day stuff.


10.  Say ‘I love you’ in multiple ways. There are numerous methods to show how much you love someone. And even if you’re not used to expressing yourself, just using those three little words now and then can mean the world to a person, especially if you mean them. 



The ups and down of life can cause inertia, but sometimes we must stop and think about what we could do to fully appreciate the one we love. In any case, putting forth an honest effort will not only offer various rewards, you’ll know you’ve expressed your love in ways you never thought about before. And perhaps you will get in the habit of being romantic more often, hmm?


An exciting development occurred on February 28th…I hosted a giveaway for Melanie Robertson-King’s romantic suspense/psychological thriller novel, Yesterday Today Always, on Writing in the Modern Age. It went very well, with hundreds of views. I really caught on to how I can use Rafflecopter for giveaways from now on. ;)

Another event on February 28th was the second edition launch of The Missing Piece, a new adult romance story which I originally came out in 2017. There was a cool book cover redesign as well. I have a soft spot for Alyssa, the main character, and I hope you will too…




On March 3rd, there was a new book review for my futuristic paranormal romance, Blood Instincts, featured on Belinda Y. Hughes’s blog. Thanks for your complimentary words, Belinda!  



Two days later, there was a book spotlight for my new rom com, Chasing Ginger, on Bernard Foong’s blog. On March 9th, I wrote an article about how some authors are moving farther away from Amazon these days when they release their books. This post was featured here on the MLB blog. With the following day came some fun news. Chasing Ginger was officially released through all booksellers online. Check it out!

I also hosted a Facebook launch party that day.

I’m so excited for you all to check out this steamy romantic comedy/BBW romance/billionaire romance and book one of The Misfits Series! :)

I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to Ginger’s special journey, and, of course, the rest of The Misfits as each book comes out. This novel is my first published tale about a plus-sized heroine, and so far, I plan to write two more (one will be a standalone historical romance). Please like the Facebook page for The Misfits Series to keep updated on any interviews or spotlights regarding the new book. I am really stoked about this new series, and I hope you like it as much as I’m falling in love with the characters. Also, you may follow me on BookBub or on Amazon to stay informed about new releases or discounts with my books!

On March 12th, and a spotlight for that book popped up on Devika Fernando’s blog. Two days later, I had a guest post on the Just Contemporary Romance reader site. Read my article all about friendship! ;) Also on the same day, I participated in a ‘Never Have I Ever’ writer tag/blog hop, and you can look at my diverse responses over on my author blog. This might also provide some insight on authors too, for book lovers, to see if any of us are guilty of falling into these stereotypes. On the following day, an interview materialized on Chris Rice Cooper’s blog, this time with a focus on my sci-fi romance, Blue Vision. Scroll down the page a bit to see the Q&A.

On March 16th, there was an interview/children’s book spotlight for my kid’s fantasy story, A Little Magick, on Jemsbooks blog


Also, check out DD Gott’s stellar impression of my first foray into romantic comedy! Next, from March 18th to the first of April, a new release feature and giveaway for my steamy yet emotional rom com, Chasing Ginger, were held on the Romance Novel Giveaways blog. Plus, the winner also had a chance to win a bookmark bundle from yours truly! 😊


I reviewed a historical romance novel from my TBR list on my romance blog on the 19th. Check out Eleanor Webster’s Twelfth Nightesque take on the Regency era with A Debutante in Disguise. Love this cover too!

March 21st brought a book release interview feature for Chasing Ginger on KayelleAllen’s Romance Lives Forever blog. Three days later, the main characters from the same book, Lance and Ginger, were interviewed on Devika Fernando’s blog. Check out this unique take on the Q&A format!



Finally, on March 29th, I had an author interview on Vincent Lowry's E-Author Resources blog. Learn about my new book, and some random facts about me! Also on the same day, I found a great book review for Chasing Ginger on Amazon. Thanks, JoAnne! And then another popped up on BookBub, from Julie Burns

Thank you for your kind words! πŸ˜‰




Starting from April 1st, readers were allowed to vote for my new adult romance story, The Missing Piece, in the Cover of the Month Contest on AllAuthor. The second day of the month brought a bit of a surprise – the relaunch of my contemporary romantic fantasy, Magick & Moonlight. Check it out here, complete with a new book cover and an all-new scene!  



From April 6th to the 13th, I hosted a giveaway for David Boiani’s psychological thriller, The Redemption, over on Writing in the Modern Age. It went very well! 😊 On the 7th, Johnny Oddsocks invited me on his blog to talk about my children’s fantasy story, A Little Magick. Read all about what inspired me with this series, as well as some of my interests!

I know we're all mega stressed right now with what’s going on in the world. Scary to have a pandemic on your hands! It was hard not to stay glued to one's TV screen or phone to catch the latest news about developments on the virus. But, at least for now, with a vaccine on the horizon, perhaps we'll start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes you just need to unwind, get away from the drama, right? For the month of April in 2020, I chose to recognize 'Reach As High As You Can Day' on the 14th. Basically, what I’m saying here is that we should start thinking about some goals we’ve maybe left behind, take a risk and just go with it.

Also, use the time when you’re stuck at home -- in quarantine or otherwise -- to truly enjoy yourself. Come up with some creative projects to do together with your family, and have fun! :)

Short on time, or you can’t figure out some good meals to cook up? Here are some options… – One Pot Dinners – Simple Meals to Make Using Pantry Ingredients

On the 9th, Rebecca Siggers offered an article, which really came just in time for our lockdown procedures– a way for couples to enjoy some exciting locations abroad, only with a virtual approach. This guest post was featured on ILRB. Check it out, I promise you won’t regret it! Five days later, Christi Williams offered a spotlight for Chasing Ginger, on her Some Like It Hotter blog. Take care and use oven mitts with this book, as there are some sizzling scenes to be found! πŸ˜‰ 


This same book was also featured the following day on the Socrates’ Book Reviews site. You’ve really got to read this teaser from the book…it’s one of my favorite moments between the characters!

Around the middle of the month, we marked a special occasion on my romance blog. As April is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d invite someone on to spotlight their poetic talents. This time, we had J. Simon Harris with his all-new English translation of Pablo Neruda’s romantic poetry novella, Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair. Love the book cover, and the sample poems are compelling!  


On the 18th, I had an interesting interview spot on CHAT AND SPIN RADIO in the U.K. You can listen in here, and find my Q&A with Ron and Ian about 47 minutes into the clip. On the following day, readers could find dual book reviews for the second editions of Magick & Moonlight and The Missing Piece on The Reading CafeAnd from April 20th to the 27th, I hosted a giveaway for Lance Morcan’s legal thriller with a touch of romance, Mr. 100%, on WritModAge

In any case, you should expect sequels for all my aforementioned books, with the exception of the new adult romance story, The Missing Piece. ALM, a kid’s fantasy which was featured in the Johnny Oddsocks’ interview, is actually the youthful follow-up to Magick & Moonlight. Share the standalone book two with your kids, and you can read the adult books on your own (yes, there will be another contemporary romantic fantasy in the future). 




On May 1st, I wrote a guest article for the Totally Addicted to Reading site. Check it out here, and learn about why I chose a plus-sized heroine for Chasing Ginger. From the first of the month to the 7th, the new book cover for Magick & Moonlight was nominated and voting began for AllAuthor’s Cover of the Month Contest. Cast your votes for the finalists on this month's contest! On the 6th, a guest post landed on the MLB blog from Rebecca Siggers, providing some tips on planning your next trip while you’re stuck in lockdown. So helpful! πŸ˜‰ On the 7th, Tina Holland interviewed me on her blog. Discover a little more about me here, as well as my steamy rom com novel! 

Three days later, I found a new book review for the second edition of my lighthearted contemporary romantic fantasy, Magick & Moonlight. Thanks for your kind words, Barbara!

On May 14th, Gabi Levi offered a unique take on romance on ILRB, insisting we should try reading erotica to understand our fantasies a little better before finding the right romantic partner. Some food for thought there! Four days passed, and Chasing Ginger had a spotlight on the Reading Nook blog. Consecutively, three of my guest posts were featured on various blogs. I wrote an article, titled ‘How to Build Your Author Brand the Right Way’ for Dan Buri’s site, Nothing Any Good. That posted on the 19th. For the following day, I had submitted a guest post about my writer's journey for Fiona Tarr’s blog. You can read it here. Additionally, catch an overview of my indie publishing experience, part of a big post in which fifteen authors shared their insights about the industry to help out beginning writers, featured on OutwitTrade.


Bizarre & Unusual

If you’ve followed my newsletters thus far, then you know it’s my habit to include a bizarre or unique holiday for the month. In May, I picked World Sauntering Day on the 19th and Camera Day for June 29th.

When the weather is decent enough, you can still walk outside and around your neighborhood for a brief period of time. You could also take a trip to a local small park – one which isn’t too busy – and just enjoy nature. Even if you must keep your distance from other people in these strange times, you can still appreciate the beauty of the world around you. 


Dennis Ottink, Unsplash


Take a selfie with the backdrop of pretty scenery to send to your loved ones, or snap some shots of the park itself. Getting temporarily outside of your own unfortunate situation can help your outlook on life in considerable ways. And who couldn’t use a mental health boost? Lose yourself in nature, but also consider the following questions…


What can I do today to feel better about the restrictions set for everyone? How can I refocus my mind toward accomplishing more productive goals rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of life?


So, take advantage of World Sauntering Day and Camera Day to capture a few special moments in your community, or focus on reveling in the natural world you’ve encountered ‘in your own backyard’. Go on a journey of self-discovery, and create a temporary walkabout.

Additionally, please check out my official author website and visit the ‘Curious about Marie’ page, then add your questions in the ‘leave a reply’ section at the bottom and post the comment, or email your inquiries to me at using the subject heading ‘Questions for your Author FAQs page’. 


Or, you may submit inquiries through Goodreads. Ask me whatever you’ve been wondering about for the last while. Thanks!



On June 1st, I discovered a new book review for Chasing Ginger on Hooked by That Book blog and Goodreads. Thanks, RolΓ©! The next day brought a cool post I did about the characters from Magick & Moonlight – Ethan and Jessie. You’ll see it here on my author blog. This Q&A was originally exclusive to Mary E Thompson’s newsletter subscribers, but I decided to spread the word…


From the 19th to the 26th, I hosted a big giveaway on Writing in the Modern Age for Caroline Beauregard’s romantic thriller novel, Express Pursuit, with a prize of five ebook copies. Readers also had a chance to win again, with a secondary giveaway the author was running (a crime thriller novel by J. Philip Horne and an Amazon gift card as the reward). Awesome, right? 😊

By June 22nd, there was an author/book spotlight for Magick & Moonlight’s second edition on Azaaa Davis’s blog. Three days later, RebeccaSiggers offered a guest post for the I Love Romance Blog, providing couples with several options on places to visit after all the lockdowns end. Cool! 


The 27th brought an author interview for me on Petra van der Ploeg’s site. Since her blog is directed toward aspiring indie writers, you’ll find a lot about my journey, as well as how my writing process works. Check it out here!


In other news, I’ve closed down official book review requests on my romance blog. My review list was too long, and with stress from the state of things in the world lately, plus numerous health issues and family obligations this year, it became too much for me to handle on my own. I probably won’t do more book reviews in the future on that blog, except for the titles I promised to read from before, or unless I can find a couple reliable reviewers to help out. Get a cool chance to review my paranormal romance with a somewhat futuristic twist, BLOOD INSTINCTS! Click here.

Bizarre & Unusual


If you’ve followed my newsletters thus far, then you know it’s my habit to include a bizarre or unique holiday for the month. For that newsletter, though, I did a mash-up. In honor of National Anti-Boredom Month for July, I want to combine it with July 26th’s unique holiday of ‘All or Nothing Day’. Therefore, it’s time to put up or shut up. Go for that dream or goal you’ve procrastinated about for so long. No matter what it takes, right? I think you might regret not jumping on this one.

Our aspirations are a big part of our identities. Likes and dislikes – and even big things we’re passionate about – make up your character. These all form a foundation, and when you suppress a dream, bury it so deep inside, you forget to put yourself first.


I know you might say, “That’s so easy for you to go on about, Marie. You’re already an author.”


But it’s not easy at all, and I’d never assume otherwise. I still struggle, just as everyone does each day. Are there times I’d like to give up, when everything is too difficult? Sure. But that’s not who I am, not really. Just because I entertained the idea of letting go of my ambitions, it doesn’t mean I will. The thing is, I know I’d hate it in the long run. The idea that I hadn’t tried hard enough would just weigh on me. And that kind of pressure on yourself isn’t fun, folks. It can manifest itself in many ways and is more than likely detrimental to your health.


Yes, it’s hard to put in the effort, to go for your dream. It’s much easier to overlook what you’ve always wanted. But I guarantee it hurts more.



Or…don’t go for it, I guess. That’s the beauty of this celebration. ‘All or Nothing Day’ is voluntary. You can decide not to act, of course, as free will is everything to us. I just hope I’ve managed to urge you to think about working on an important goal of yours…


First, I’d like to draw your attention to three new reviews from April, June, and July for Magick & Moonlight’s second edition, over on Amazon and Goodreads here, here, here, and here. Oops! Somehow they were overlooked in my hurry to finish this post. Thanks so much for your kind comments, Julie, Devika, Sue, and Judy/Marianne!


On July 9th, you could spot a copy of my steamy romantic comedy, Chasing Ginger, offered in a cool contest during the TBRPile’s Contemporary Romance Week. Six days later, Rebecca Siggers offered her advice the next day in a guest post on ILRB, about weekend activities for couples visiting the UK. Nice! I'd like to travel abroad....well, after this pandemic gets wrapped up. The following day brought a detailed interview of mine on the Whispering Stories blog. Check out some fun info about me and my rom com, Chasing Ginger!


With July 22nd came MaggieHolmes's visit on my romance blog, when she told readers some adorable methods to include a pet in a wedding. Six days later, Hayley Zelda offered some great advice, when shecame to the same site with an article about book promotion strategies that other romanceautors are using, which we can implement as well. How useful!


On July 29th, Bill Marcia introduced a cool activity for couples to try together – a painting party – which might help bring them closer. This was a guest post over on my romance blog. Hey, what a great idea…I should try that with my fiancΓ©! πŸ˜‰


Oh, man. This was a strange year all-around. With regards to my writing, I haven’t accomplished as much as I assumed I would have by now. With the constant chaos of stress, health issues, home renovations, family emergencies, and the Coronavirus, it’s been one distraction after another. I admit it’s not the greatest excuse, and I’m sure you have better things to stick around for.  However, my plan is to go on a big break starting in mid-February. Perhaps then, I can start to make considerable headway when it comes down to my projects.


In early July , I went away for a week to a lake on vacation, and I managed to write a couple scenes on a new historical romance project. It's always enjoyable to find myself in 'the zone'. So, who knows? That could be the next book I work on.


Getting away for a bit was relaxing. I can't suggest it enough for preserving your mental health, but do try it safely. In fact, there are ways to create these restful moments, even at home.


Try to unplug from the world. Step away from social media. Ignore your tweets, Facebook comments, and Instagram notifications. Don't get distracted by TikTok or YouTube. Turn off the news. Just be at peace. To invoke a sense of ‘gratitude’, you can also do one other thing. Remember to step back and acknowledge that you’re still alive, that you have many days left to enjoy, and recognize the people who were a part of getting you here. Send thank you’s to your parents or grandparents, even your siblings and friends. They were all in on your journey in some capacity. You’ve made it to this exact moment in life, and you can feel grateful for that. No matter how bad things might seem sometimes, I guarantee there’s someone else on the planet who has it so much worse. So, you must take advantage of this time to understand that you’re lucky in many ways. You’re here, and that’s a miracle. 😊 


Be at peace with yourself and your surroundings. Even if you don’t believe you’ve accomplished everything you’re meant to do in life, there’s always time. Just as long as you try.


So, take a second and be grateful for your existence. Enjoy the relief of not getting obsessed with the trolls on social media who thrive on making your life a living hell. Simply be you, and enjoy your day. That’s the only thing you need to do next.


Sounds good for a change, right? I hope you’ve managed to carve out some time to escape from the utter chaos that surrounds us, and just find a little peace.




In August, the book cover for my new adult romance story, The Missing Piece, was nominated for the cover contest on AllAuthor. View the winners for the month here! 


On the 10th, I had an author interview on Lori’s Book Loft blog. Find out my take on body image portrayed in my books, as well who my favorite character might be. Eight days later, the owner of One Book More offered me two separate features – a fun yet detailed author interview and an official book review for my steamy rom com, Chasing Ginger. With August 21st came a spotlight for the same book on the Musings with Nancy Lee Badger blog. Also on that day, there was a feature on the Behind Closed Doors Book Review site. Both excerpts are different, yet still intriguing!

During the month, I participated in a brief author interview on the Romance Hideaway. On August 23rd, there was an author interview on A Life Among the Pages blog. Robert Zimmerman was kind enough to host me on his site. Two days later, I had an interview on Lynelle Clark’s Inspire to Read blog. Amidst the thousands of questions (just kidding!), you’ll find a list of all my published books. 


Also on the 25th, I discovered a new, four star book review for Chasing Ginger on the Echoes in an Empty Room blog, as well as on Goodreads. Thanks for your complimentary words, Hannah!


The next day brought an interview on A Blue Million Books blog. I really enjoyed the host’s questions, as Amy would ask me something, then flip it around from the opposite angle. So much fun! πŸ˜‰ 

Three days later, there was another book review for Chasing Ginger on Goodreads and The Magical World of Reading blog. Thank you for reading my first published rom com, Ana!


And at the end of August, I found out the official release date for the new historical romance novel from my publisher. It was set for November. Yay! 


Stay tuned for more details...




With the first week of September came some interesting posts. On the 1st, freelance writer and surfer Michelle Williams dropped by the MLB blog to talk about the topic of ‘kayaking’ while paired with traveling in Australia. Check out the guest post, and consider renting a kayak in the future, if you don’t already have one – this type of recreation might surprise you. Seven days later, Rebecca Siggers offered a guest post with romantic camping ideas, featured on my romance blog.

Three days passed, and there were two features for yours truly on ‘Ellie Is Uhm…A Bookworm’ blog; one was a spotlight for Chasing Ginger, while the other showcased two of my upcoming books. On September 17th, Lance, a character from Chasing Ginger, was interviewed on Dawn’s Reading Nook blog. Discover what he has to say and read a sexy excerpt on the post! πŸ”₯ πŸ”₯ πŸ”₯ πŸ”₯ The 22nd brought a cool article from Angela Burks on ILRB, where she detailed some unique options for doing a date night at home.


Wow…thanks, Angie!  


Three days later, I got some unfortunate news. My dad was set to have sudden triple bypass surgery on his heart. We were so worried! :(

(UPDATE: He's safely in recovery at home. It has been an adjustment, for sure, during the past few months, but he is doing well.)

From September 23rd to the 30th, something exciting happened…a huge event over on the TBR Pile for Sci-Fi Fantasy Week.


I donated an ebook copy of my science fiction romance, Blue Vision, to the cause. The image below shows all the giveaways that happened on the day of my book’s contest

On September 25th, I found a fantastic, five star review for Chasing Ginger on Goodreads. Woo hoo! Thanks, Tia! 😊 Two days later, there was another official review for my steamy rom com on the Girl Who Reads blog, only thistime you can find the review alongside nine others for various romance reads. They all sound like lovely titles! Thank you for your kind comments, review team!  

Also, don’t miss a great guest post from Mia Ackerson on ILRB. At the end of September, she offered some cool options on bridal accessories for your wedding day in a helpful article. Nice! πŸ˜‰



On October 7th, an official book review for my children’s fantasy story, A Little Magick, popped up on the Bound 4 Escape blog. Thank you so much, Dawn! Also, there was a new review for my romantic comedy, Chasing Ginger, posted by the Book Worm over on Goodreads. Additionally, you can discover a book review for the same title on Diary of a Wannabe Writer blog, as well as Goodreads. Thanks, Anie! October 15th arrived, and I hosted a feature and brief interview with author and psychologist Dr. Thomas Jordan, about his book, Learn to Love, on my romance blog. This guidebook contains some helpful tips for relationships! 


Next, a very cool event occurred on Writing in the Modern Age. From the 19th to the 26th, I ran a big multi-author Halloween themed book and swag giveaway. It was so much fun, and we had a lot of great prizes in the contest! πŸ˜‰


And for the following day, I told readers on my romance blog all about the free romance reads offered in the thrilling event. On October 24th, Betanda offered a new book review for my steamy rom com, Chasing Ginger, on Goodreads. Thanks! 




November 9th – cover reveal and Q&A for new edition of UYR on Diana Rubino’s blog.

November 9th – article – “How to Revive an Old Story in Your Backlist” on Writing in the Modern Age blog.

How to Revive an Old Story in Your Backlist by Marie Lavender

November 11th – author interview and spotlight for Chasing Ginger on Lisa Haselton’s blog.

November 12th – book review for Chasing Ginger from Lynelle on Goodreads and Amazon.

November 13th – coming soon feature on Kayelle Allen’s Romance Lives Forever blog.

Blue Vision was nominated, voting is valid through November 13, 2020! Scroll through to Category 7 – ‘Romance’ and vote for my book in TCK Publishing’s big 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards contest. Yay!

November 18th – author interview on Henry Mitchell’s Drovers Gap blog.

November 20th – interview on A.A. Schenna’s blog on Goodreads.

November 22nd – early book review for UYR on Amazon.

November 23rd – new release feature on Bernard Foong’s blog.

November 23rd – official release date of Upon Your Returns second edition (Thank you, Foundations Books! ).

November 23rd – review for UYR on Goodreads.

November 23rd – new review for UYR on Amazon and Goodreads.

November 24th – other review for UYR on BookBub.

November 25th – book review for Upon Your Return on Amazon.

November 25th – other review for UYR on BookBub.

Historical Romance New Release

November 25, 2020

 November 27th – new review for UYR on Amazon.

November 27th – other book review on BookBub.

November 30th – new review for Chasing Ginger on Goodreads.

The official cover reveal for the second edition of my first historical romance novel, Upon Your Return, landed on Diana Rubino’s blog. Also, check out a cool Q&A! Also on November 9th, I wrote an article on the Writing in the Modern Age blog, about ways to revive old stories from a writer’s backlist.

UYR is coming back! #CoverReveal and Q&A with yours truly on Diana Rubino's blog...check out the book excerpt & my responses to Diana's detailed questions!

#comingsoon #HistoricalRomance #RomanceReaders

November 10

Woo hoo! The ebook price of UYR has been lowered to $2.99 for release week! Grab it on sale while you can!…

#NewRelease #discount #historicalromance #RomanceReaders

November 19


Two days passed, and a fun author  interview and book spotlight happened for Chasing Ginger on Lisa Haselton’s blog. On November 12th, there was a new book review for Chasing Ginger on Goodreads and Amazon. Thanks, Lynelle!

(insert Chasing Ginger book cover)

The 13th brought a coming soon feature for UYR on Kayelle Allen’s Romance Lives Forever blog.

(insert promo graphic for UYR)

Cover reveal - UYR - returning this month

New Release and Sale for This Week


As aforementioned, from the same day through this January 2021, voting was valid for TCK Publishing’s big 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards contest. You can find my science fiction romance, Blue Vision, listed in Category 7 – ‘Romance’. Help us out, and cast your vote for this title, as well as any others you may notice from other categories!

(insert award image - 2020-1.png (768×582) (

Six days later, an author interview with yours truly landed on Henry Mitchell’s Drovers Gap blog. On November 20th, you could find another interview on, this time on A.A. Schenna’s blog on Goodreads. Two days passed, and the first early book review for Upon Your Return appeared on Amazon. Thank you, Crystal!

So…the official release date for UYR was November 23rd.  Grab a copy today, as the Kindle version is still on sale for the holidays! 

Foundations Book Publishing Company

November 23  ·

Happy release day to Award Winning Author Marie Lavender! Upon Your Return is now LIVE on all retail sites. 🌸

Get it here>>

#foundationsbooks #marielavendar #uponyourreturn #historicalromance #historicalfiction #amreadingromance #amreadinghistoricalfiction #amreading #bookstagram #bookaesthetic #forfansof #tessadare #juliaquinn


Also on the same day, a new release feature posted on Bernard Foong’s blog. In the next few days, other book reviews for this historical romance popped up on various sites. To make it easier, I’ll just list them below…

November 23rd – review for UYR on Goodreads.

November 23rd – new review for UYR on Amazon and Goodreads.

November 24th – other review for UYR on BookBub.

November 25th – book review for Upon Your Return on Amazon.

November 25th – other review for UYR on BookBub.

November 27th – new review for UYR on Amazon.

November 27th – other book review on BookBub.

Three days later, Chasing Ginger had a new review on Goodreads. Thanks, Pamela! 





December 1st – 7th – start voting for Upon Your Return‘s book cover in the ‘Cover of the Month’ contest on AllAuthor.

New Book Reviews and a Poll!

Dec. 9th – Tina Donahue’s advertisement of release party/new release –> 

December 9th – official launch party for second edition of UYR on Facebook. Facebook Live video here.

December 24th – January 14thvoting is open for the 23rd Annual Critters Readers’ Poll (You’ll notice nominations for my books or yours truly in the following categories: Romance Novels, Romance Short Stories, Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Stories, Book Cover Artwork, and Authors. The categories cover all relevant works, authors, editors, artwork/artists, and services which were active or published in 2020.)

In the first week of December, voting started for the ‘Cover of the Month’ contest on AllAuthor, and Upon Your Return was nominated in the first round. On December 3rd, Jessica Fernhof’s article posted on ILRB. Check out her advice about ‘what to wear on a date this winter’! On the 4th, I ran a poll for readers, to try to determine the best approach in doing a more one-on-one chat with readers. Discover it here! Three days later, Liz Butcher’s author interview appeared on Writing in the Modern Age. Learn all about her young adult horror novel, LeRoux Manor.

(insert book cover)

Two days later, the official launch party for UYR was on Facebook. This included a cool Facebook Live video/Q&A reader session with yours truly! πŸ˜‰ You can see an ad for it here, as author Tina Donahue shared it in her newsletter.

(insert another UYR promo graphic)

Dec. 9th

Please visit my Facebook author page for the Live Q&A video. It should be up shortly, as soon as I start recording. I will share the full link to the post later.

 If you have a moment, please stop by our book launch party!


Also on the 9th, Rachel Carrington stopped by ILRB to tell us about her holiday romance, Making Christmas Magic. Nice cover!

(insert cover)

Two days later, Kathrin Hutson’s interview appeared on Writing in the Modern Age. If you have a moment, definitely check out her dark urban fantasy adventure read, The Witching Vault! Three days passed, and Miranda Oh got a spotlight on the same blog. Learn all about her chick lit tale, Just Breathe: Chin Up, Tits Out. On December 16th, Maggie Holmes offered readers on my MLB blog some cool beauty tips on looking younger, with her helpful article. Two days later, an interview with author Jenna Greene posted on Writing in the Modern Age. Discover her dystopian fantasy novel, Reborn!

(insert book cover)

On the 21st, J.E. McDonald came to the same blog to tell us about her writing journey and her latest book, a paranormal romance with a touch of humor, Ghost of a Gamble. It looks like such an intriguing read! 

Christmas Romance Titles for Your Reading Pleasure

December 23, 2020


Four days ago, I posted on ILRB, offering readers a look at the top Christmas romance reads on Amazon, just in time for the holiday season. Discover all these great books!

And…that brings us to the present. Let’s glance over some spotlights for other authors’ books and such, as well as informative guest posts, which were featured here on the MLB blog.

Features for Other Authors & Books on MLB

Guest Articles

 My Personal Book News Posts/Articles
Shares from Other Blogs

Book News Today 

As you know, one of my latest book releases was Upon Your Return. This was the second edition release, this time through my new publisher, Foundations Books. UYR is the start of a Victorian maritime romance saga. The second book in the series will be out sometime in 2021.

The next edition of Second Nature, a paranormal romance and book of the Blood at First Sight Series, just came out. I got the rights back from my former publisher. The ebook is available now, and the print version is coming soon.

Eventually, Blood Instincts – book two of the series – will be released back to me as well. Additionally, I’m planning to put out a supernatural romance series starter boxed set, comprised of Blue Vision, Magick & Moonlight, and Second Nature. Phenomenal Touch will give interested readers a chance to sample my more supernatural work, rather than jumping into each series separately. Sound good? πŸ˜‰ 


Here’s a sneak peek of the book cover.

In any case, look out for the following book releases in 2021: 


-Phenomenal Touch (supernatural romance series starter boxed set)

-First Target (romantic mystery collection)

-Upon Your Honor, the sequel to Upon Your Return (but UYH has more maritime and suspense elements)

-The Trouble with the Truth (short YA mystery)

-another novella collection if I complete it in time – perhaps Dark Secrets (romantic suspense)

2022 Project/Release Schedule: 

-Upon Your Love (I really don’t know how closely Foundations will want to release the sequel to UYH)

-Magick Sunrise (light contemporary romantic fantasy – book three of The Magick Series

-Midnight Kiss (or A Rogue’s Kiss – still deciding on official title) – my only BBW historical romance WIP

-at some point, I imagine Foundations Books will put out a boxed set for the Heiresses in Love trilogy

 -Also, I’ll be organizing a duology which contains the adult romance fantasy titles of The Magick Series


2023 Project/Release Schedule: 

-Out of This World – sci-fi romance and book two of the Code of Endhivar Series

-The Bloodseer Legacy – paranormal dystopian romance and book three of the Blood at First Sight Series

-Sharon’s Dirty Little Secret – steamy billionaire rom com and book two of The Misfits Series

-Awakening (paranormal romantic thriller collection)

-Yuletide Heart (holiday romance story, sequel to Second Chance Heart and book two of the Eternal Hearts Series)

-eventually I’ll have a boxed set for my paranormal romance trilogy


2024 Project/Release Schedule: 

-Madame Aubergine’s Compendium of Ramblings – literary fiction and poetry collection

 -The Wager (contemporary romance)

-Spellbound – historical fantasy romance and book one of the Witches of Moonhaven Series

-The Game – a romantic adventure saga with some light bondage

-Deadspeak – paranormal mystery romance


Obviously, these are loosely planned projects. All release dates will depend on how quickly the books get completed, polished and published. Additionally, for some titles, their progress will be determined by my publisher’s availability.


Upcoming Events for Marie

December 24th – January 14th voting is open for the 23rd Annual Critters Readers' Poll (You’ll notice nominations for my books and yours truly in the following categories: Romance Novels, Romance Short Stories, Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Stories, Book Cover Artwork, and Authors. The categories cover all relevant works, authors, editors, artwork/artists, and services which were active or published in 2020.)


And don't forget ‘Make Your Dream Come True Day’ on January 13th. Get out there and do something about that dream of yours. Most people choose to ignore their dreams. Perhaps one day…and so on, and so forth. But taking action will allow you to feel useful, and get you that much closer to achieving what you want. 



"If you can dream it, you can do it." – Walt Disney


Visit this page to witness a cool web series with videos about people who left their day jobs to chase their dreams, no matter what.

So, what are you waiting for? Just go for it!

Feel free to select an unusual holiday of your own, hopefully one that motivates you to reach for the stars, so to speak. And maybe just a way to have a little fun! πŸ˜‰

(insert January bizarre and unusual holidays list)

In other news, here are a few special recent releases from my author pals!



#1 Home for Christmas: A Heartwarming, Feel Good Christmas Romance




When coming home means finding love again…

Nothing says Merry Christmas like impending divorce. *eye roll*
It would be great to ignore the season altogether until Ethan and I officially end things on December 31st.
But before we can sign the final papers, I need to make it through Christmas week back in my hometown in Grandma’s house with the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with.
It’s far from ideal.
Yet, the longer we’re forced to cohabitate, the harder it is to ignore that what drew us together still exists.
Our marriage is on the brink of divorce because we thought we wanted different things, but maybe our Christmas miracle is getting a second chance by finally coming home.

Fans of Robyn Carr and Susan Mallery will be swept away by Home for Christmas, a small town, second-chance standalone holiday romance. It’s the perfect Christmas read.


Genre: Holiday Romance


Universal Reader Link:


#2 The Christmas Proposition: Christmas of Love Collaboration




Could my fake fiancΓ© be my Christmas miracle?

What’s a girl to do when the man who dumped her for bright lights and big city dreams comes home with his new fiancΓ©e for Christmas?
If you’re me, you ask your hot, tattooed, sexy firefighter best friend to be your pretend fiancΓ©.
It’s the perfect plan.
But in Santa Claus, Indiana around Christmas, things are never that simple.
As best friends, Dax and I have made it through braces, breakouts, and bad breakups. Can we survive faking a relationship when there’s spiked eggnog, mistletoe magic, a roaring fire, and very real feelings involved?

The Christmas Proposition is a heartwarming, feel good, friends-to-lovers, fake fiancΓ© Christmas romance guarantees to light up your holiday season. Escape with us to Santa Claus, Indiana, celebrate the holidays, small-town traditions, and this magical time of year.


Genre: Holiday Romance


Universal Reader Link:


#3 Three to Tango and Other Tales




When the mysterious Tatee walks into the renowned Manhattan Tango Studio all hell breaks loose, not a single person stays unaltered: old friendships are challenged and put to the test; seemingly confident women are alarmingly threatened by the novel newcomer’s presence; cool sleek men lose their steps, stuttering incomprehensible disobedient words. Unprepared for surreal and outlandish relationships she takes the role of an intrigued observer witnessing the unfolding drama where the dance floor reveals a theatre of the absurdity of human nature.

The other stories explore the profoundness of human psyche where joy, suffering, humor and even madness can all be found. Encounter stories about cult escapees, an incompetent lawyer, a liberated husband, a case of mistaken identity and the serendipitous nature of synchronicity.


Genre: Literary Fiction, Collection


Universal Reader Link:


And here’s a brief reading from Branka’s new collection of short stories.


#4 KINGS OF THE HUNTER CLUB: A Dark Enemies-to-Lovers High School Romance




Shh...Silence...You have no say!

It’s the forbidden club at the exclusive Bay Area Elite Private Academy.
I am not welcome there.
But then I lied.
I told the world I was dating three hot guys from the Elite HUNTER CLUB.
Oh, there’s just one problem.
I made it all up. including the names.
But then they really exist and word goes around the campus.
That I am dating them.
And you know what?
They are not happy about it!
Oh, well... Here goes nothing!


Genre: Dark Romance, New Adult Romance


Universal Reader Link:


#5 Into the Dragon's World





A woman who needs protection. A dragon who fears he won’t be able to save her.

Stuff like this never happens to people like me.
One day I’m studying for my PhD, the next I’m running from a stalker.
But not just any stalker. Oh, no. It’s my English professor. And he’s a bear shifter.
Just my luck.
When my best friend Jasmine tries to help me, she introduces me to her boss. To him.
Brady Markonian.
Owner of the Paradigm, a nightclub almost exclusively for shifters.
Guardian of the Arch, the secret doorway between our world and theirs.
Sexy. Gorgeous.
And a dragon.
I wanted him from the first moment I met him.
There was something about him that I trusted. Something that made me feel safe.
When he transports me to his shifter world for safety, I realize that want has turned into love.
It’s a wonderful escape for a while…
But when my stalker threatens the lives of everyone I love, I know I have to make a choice.
My life…or theirs.

The last thing I needed was some helpless female to babysit.
For the last few years, I’ve been alone and I liked it that way.
No one to worry about. No one to lose.
But then Casey slams into my life like a whirlwind and I’m shaken to the core.
She’s beautiful. Brave. A smart-ass.
I want to help her despite myself.
When the only way to protect her is to take her to my world, she’s not afraid to trust me.
I can’t help but want her. All of her. Body and soul.
I know that we are fated to be together. I’ve found my true mate.
But happily ever after might not be in the future for us, not as long as her stalker’s alive.
And when I learn that Casey is going to be the mother of my child, I know that I’ll do anything it takes to keep them safe.

Can the fury of a dragon be enough to save the life of the woman he loves?

Note: Adults Only!


Genre: Paranormal Romance


Universal Reader Link:


#6 Shifter's Redemption





Darric is struggling with a moral issue after their last mission. Why are they doing all of this? What’s the point? He’s never had a problem doing what was asked of him before. He would attack or shoot first and ask questions never. But lately, he’s seeing how the guys around him are all starting to settle down and it makes him think about the lives he’s ripping apart. He doesn’t understand why any of this is happening and something feels wrong. He thinks that they might be used for something but he has no proof.
When he tries to figure out what’s going on, he’s punished and put in his place – Slater doesn’t approve if anyone steps out of line. Darric slowly starts to lose his mind. He doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not and he feels like his animal is far too close to the surface.
When he meets Nicole, everything changes. She’s a secretary at the base and he realizes that every life is worth something. He can’t just kill and destroy without knowing what he’s doing. He wants to take action but it will get him put in solitary confine if he’s not careful, and if that happens he’ll lose it completely. A wolf should never be cut off from his team. Nicole is the one who brings him around and the guys agree together that they should stand up and fight, but do it the right way.


Genre: Paranormal Romance, Military Romance


Universal Reader Link:


#7 New Year's Eve Shorts


Ring in the new year with a fantastic collection of TEN short stories from the Author’s Billboard.

NEW YEAR’S EVE SHORTS includes nine NEW romances guaranteed to lift your spirits with tales of second-chances, adventure, overcoming obstacles, celebrating the holidays, and finding love in unimaginable places. Whether our couples are in a barn, a bar, by the ocean, or in quaint Irish towns, join them as they celebrate love and New Year’s Eve with this box set meant to be enjoyed year-round.

Mimi Barbour – You’re the Boss – NEW! Once again, she’s a wallflower at the company dance, a role she plays well.

Susanne Matthews – Buck’s Fizz – NEW! You can run away from some things, but you can’t hide from yourself.

Stacy Eaton – Finding Love with a Champagne Toast – NEW! When the week is over, will they go their separate ways after sharing a champagne toast?

Rebecca York – Out of Time – NEW! Can love bridge time?

Nancy Radke – Changing Horses – NEW! When the love of his life shows up wearing a ring that isn’t his, the young rancher has to look again for a woman he wants to marry.

Rachelle Ayala – Happy Goose Year – NEW! Will Pete’s idea of rekindling his romance with a cooked goose backfire before the countdown drops to zero?

Taylor Lee – Judge: The Justice Brothers Series – Only the indomitable Judge would propose that his four grandsons and their women participate in an outrageous adventure: a four-couple New Year’s Eve wedding.

Susan Jean Ricci – Tumbling into Midnight – NEW! When a stunt double’s sweet on her leading man, remaining casual is almost impossible – until a near-fatal accident reveals many secrets.

Callie Bardot – Rescuing Ebony Blue – NEW! Finding a guy in your barn the day before New Year’s Eve with no ID, dressed in prison orange, should be no big deal, right?

Josie Riviera – A Chocolate-Box Irish Wedding – NEW! A woman who wanted more. A man who wanted her. Can they find love in the seaside town where it all began?

**May contain Adult Content**


Genre: Holiday Romance


Universal Reader Link:


And more options here…


Also, below you’ll find several links to get free reads and other cool prizes (I haven't vetted these again, so I don't know if all of them are still valid):

Clean Historical Romance -

Steamy Historical Romance -


NOTE: As a reminder, please help out a little if you have a chance and go vote for my titles in the Critters Annual Readers Poll. There were nominations for my work in the following categories: Romance Novels, Romance Short Stories, Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Stories, Book Cover Artwork, and Authors. Feel free to vote in the rest of the categories as well! 😊

The classifications in the poll cover all relevant works, authors, editors, artwork/artists, and services which were active or published in 2020.


Also, please visit my other two blogs soon, to discover our special annual on New Year’s Eve posts over there…go to Writing in the Modern Age (#WritModAge) and the I LoveRomance Blog (ILRB), for more details.

Beyond that, if you need to reach me for information about my books or just to say hello, please contact me at my new fan mail email address:

Well, that time has come once more. For now, please stay safe, and I wish you every ounce of happiness and success which can flutter your way! Have a wonderful year!


Fara and Grant from UYR wish you a Happy New Year as well!

Take care for now, and, as always, happy reading! 😊

Taking a Break from MLB

Yes, readers, that's right. I'm on hiatus for a while. I know I haven't posted for a bit, and that's really the reason why I...