Respecting Other Women’s Choices

the-photo-shoot-669199_1280The no kids club.  Not the book by Talli Roland (although that may well be worth a read).  Following on from my post on C-Section Shame, another thing I don’t understand (there are many) is why choosing to not have kids is considered by some to be unacceptable.

It’s not so long ago that women would usually marry whomever their father chose (if they were rich) or whoever they could get (if they were poor).  Few women remained unmarried by choice, because their options for supporting themselves were so limited and staying single meant no sex or children. If their marriage was unhappy, they could either stay and endure, or leave and be left destitute and lose their children.  And they had no way to prevent children coming, even if the family couldn’t afford to feed another mouth, or their own health was failing to the point where pregnancy put their life at risk.

In the UK, we’re in the run up to a general election and there’s various things going round prompting women to vote, because other women endured so much and sometimes even gave their lives in campaigning for it.  But it wasn’t really about the vote.  The right to vote was, as much as anything, a symbol of equality.  What they were really campaigning for was for women to have choice and control in their lives.  For them not to be forced to enter or remain in situations that made them miserable because they had no good alternative.

baba3e11a456141db4a589c250b0277aSome people claim that it’s a betrayal of those brave women to be a housewife and mother, or to enter a traditionally-female occupation such as nursing or teaching, or basically do anything that women could always expect to do.  That’s nonsense.  We really betray them when we criticize another woman for exercising her freedom to choose a certain lifestyle.  By implying that she should care more about what other people think that what her own heart tells her is right for her. If her actions are not directly harming others then they are none of our business.  Even if we fear she is making a decision that she will come to regret, we have to let her make it anyway.  We cannot see the future anymore than she can, but unlike her we also cannot see inside her head.

This post has been part of:
Skip the Housework Link Party @ Reasons to Skip the Housework

6 Pinterest Boards Chick Lit Readers Should Follow

Like using Pinterest to find your next great read? Here are six boards for finding great chick lit books you’ve missed.

Follow Elizabeth’s board CHICK LIT AUTHORS on Pinterest.

Follow Rachel’s board Chick-lit, Romantic Comedy, Women’s Fiction, & Romance on Pinterest.

Follow Jennifer Gilby Roberts’s board Chick Lit Books 2015 Releases on Pinterest.

Chick Lit/Contemporary Novels – Book Junkie

Books We’ve Reviewed – Chick Lit Central

Books Reviewed on Novelicious – Novelicious

Any other great boards for finding chick lit books?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Don’t Buy or Borrow Kindle Unlimited Rip-off eBooks | lisa maliga

A very valuable article on how to recognize scam non-fiction ebooks before you follow incorrect – or even dangerous – advice.

Don’t Buy or Borrow Kindle Unlimited Rip-off eBooks | lisa maliga.

Work in Progress (April 2015)

Missed last month, didn’t I?  I’m afraid there wasn’t much to report.  Here’s the state of play now:

Magical Weddings

Caution is a Virtue coverI ended up abandoning the story I talked about last time, because I just didn’t feel it was working.  Hopefully I’ll be able to return to it later on.

Instead, I decided to try something different.  I’ve been wanting to write a regency romance story for a while and, since most of the authors involved in the box set write romance rather than chick lit, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  That story, titled Caution is a Virtue, is out with beta readers at the moment.

The Magical Weddings box set will be available for pre-order on 25 May (a Facebook launch party is in the planning stages) and for sale on 16 June at the ridiculously small starting price of 99c.

Parker Sisters Series

I haven’t tackled further edits on PS3 yet, but I have written a bit more on PS4.  I think that’s my favourite book so far.  The Parkers are turning into quite a Modern Family

Summer Anthology

CoverDraft1_SmallWe’ve set a deadline for stories of the end of May, so it should be out sometime in June.  Since I’ve been busy writing for Magical Weddings, my plan is to re-edit Flights of Nancy, take it off individual sale and make it part of the anthology instead.

Some of the authors involved in this and Cupid on the Loose! also contributed to Fool’s Rush In (also free), which was organised by Cupid author Celia Kennedy.  She also hopes to put together a Christmas anthology, to which I will hopefully submit a story (possibly the one I started writing for Magical Weddings, since it takes place at Christmas).

Audio Books

Good news and bad news here.  The bad news is that the audio book of But I Said Forever has been delayed indefinitely, because my narrator has suffered a bereavement and is unable to work.  The good news is that I have now signed a contract with someone else to produce Early Daze, so that will hopefully be available late this year.

Non-Amazon Sites

I’m in the process of pulling all my books out of Amazon’s Select programme and making them available on other sites.  The only one that isn’t out now is The Dr Pepper Prophecies, which has another ten days to go in its contract period.  Right now you can pre-order it on the other sites.

I’m afraid that means Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited customers can no longer get my work free, but it does mean that it’s available for loads of new readers to enjoy.


I just started a new group board on Pinterest for chick lit 2015 releases.  There are so many great books already out or coming soon, so come and follow to discover ones you may have missed:

To get emailed when I release new work, sign up for my mailing list.

C-Section Shame

Photo by Jason Pratt at Flickr
Photo by Jason Pratt at Flickr

Apparently there’s a “Christian” group on Facebook who’ve been posting things claiming women who have c-sections don’t really give birth (and worse – don’t google it if you’ve had one).  This whole c-section = failure thing is something I’ve been bothered about ever since I became aware of it.  I think it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

Now, I agree that the ideal is a drug-free vaginal birth.  I also agree that c-sections aren’t something to be done without a good reason – it’s major abdominal surgery, after all.  But, apart from a small minority of cases, c-sections aren’t done without a good reason.  They’re done because the birth is not going “naturally” and mum and/or baby are at risk.  In the old days, what happened was that one or both of them died.  Now, fortunately, doctors can intervene and (usually) save both.  Now that’s a miracle.

I have given birth once and, as it turned out, it was a “natural” birth with no pain relief to speak of.  Would you like to know how I managed that?  One, my baby was born three months early so she was a lot smaller than a typical newborn, which made it a lot easier.  Two, it was luck.  She was in the ideal position, didn’t get stuck, wasn’t distressed, the placenta didn’t get in the way – basically everything went fine.  And that wasn’t because I did special preparation (did sod all, since I thought I still had months to go), or because I am “godly” (don’t pray, don’t go to church, never christened) or because I am “superior” (just trust me on that one).  I was just plain lucky.  Apart from the whole three months early thing.

Among my friends, reasons for having c-sections include: really big baby/small woman (she pushed for an hour – you can’t say she didn’t try), baby in distress, risk of permanent paralysis from vaginal birth due to SPD and placenta previa (baby would have suffocated, mum likely bled to death).  Those sound like damn good reasons to me.  If I’d had the same complications, I’d have had a c-section.  If I have another baby, maybe I’ll need one. “Giving birth” is getting baby from inside-mum-and-attached to outside-mum-and-detached.  It doesn’t make a blind bit of difference what happened in between, so long as mum and baby are both okay.

There’s a lot of talk about cases where a c-section could have been avoided if the mother had been left to go at her own pace rather than speeding things up with drugs (leading to more painful contractions, leading to epidural, leading to trouble pushing etc. etc.).  This may be true and may not be – we can’t know for sure what would have happened if we’d done things differently (probably just as well in some cases). Even if it is true, in many cases labouring mothers are pressured into interventions by well-meaning doctors and birth partners.  It’s hard to stick to your guns when you’re in that much pain.

The crucial thing is, even if we know we’ve made a mistake in the past, we can’t go back and change it.  All we can do is to move forward.  Regardless of your beliefs, to shame a woman for something that she can do nothing to change is just plain cruel.

Follow Jennifer Gilby Roberts’s board Motherhood on Pinterest.

This post has been part of:
Parenting Pin-It Party @ Bug, Bird & Bee

Where to Find Free ePub Books (Kobo, Nook, iPad)

Where to Find Free ePub BooksDo you read ebooks on a Kobo, Nook, iPad or other non-Kindle ereader?  Then you’re probably tired of sites that ignore your existence.  Here’s the ones that don’t.

Got a kindle instead? See my posts on 50 Places to Find Free Kindle Books and Where to Find Free Kindle Books for the UK.

Classics & Permanently Free ePub Books

These sites deal with public domain books (those old enough that the author’s copyright has expired) and some books made permanently free by the publishers.

Project Gutenberg

Open Library

Digi Libraries

Many Books

Internet Archive


Ebook Sellers

Kobo, Nook, iPad (and pretty much every ereader except the Kindle) work with epub files, so you can use any of these ebook stores.  There’s also Smashwords and Bookrix.

You can also borrow ebooks from your local library (through Overdrive).

Alert Sites for Free Epub Books

These sites let you know about books that are (usually) only free for a short time.  All include links to Kobo, Nook and iTunes (where the books are available on those sites – a lot of books are Kindle-only).  Some of them post the links on their sites, but for some you have to join their email lists.


eBook Soda

Freebooksy (their sister site Bargain Booksy does cut price deals)

Reading Deals

My Romance Reads

eReader Utopia

eBook Deal of the Day

Do you know of another place to download free epub books?  Leave a comment and let me know.

This post has been part of:
Thrifty Thursday @ The Thrifty Couple
Frugal Friday @ Sarah Titus
Share the Wealth Sunday @ Eat, Drink & Save Money

Early Daze Has Been Nominated for an Award!

BigAl's Books and Pals Readers' Choice Award Nominee 2015I had a lovely and unexpected email today to say that Early Daze has been nominated for a Readers’ Choice Award at BigAl’s Books & Pals. The nominees are books they have reviewed that they felt “stood out from the pack as exceptional examples of Indie (self-published and small press) writing”, so I’m feeling quite chuffed.

Voting is open from today until midnight Mountain time on March 28th. Each vote you cast (one per category) gets you one entry into their giveaway, which has some great prizes (the grand prize is a $75 Amazon gift card for UK or US).

Early Daze is in the Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit category. I encourage you to read BigAl’s reviews of all the nominees in the categories that interest you. You might just find your next great read!

BigAl’s Books and Pals: 2015 BigAl’s Books and Pals Readers’ Choice Awards.

What I’m Reading (Feb 15)

Missed a couple of months, haven’t I?  It’s amazing how long it can take to get going again after the Christmas “break” (yeah, not in this family).

Secrets of Sir RichardAnyway, mostly I’ve been working my way through the books of Julia Quinn.  I managed to borrow her new one, The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, from the library – yay!  It was one of those where something’s clearly going on but the main character doesn’t know what and, while it wasn’t my favourite book of hers overall, the mystery definitely held my interest and I didn’t guess it ahead of time.

I’ve also read two more of the Rules of Scoundrels series by Sarah MacLean and I really want to read the fourth, Never Judge a Lady by her Cover, which sounds like the most intriguing of the lot.

I’ve also been trying out a new author (to me).  As suggested by Ginger Cat, I’m reading M.C.Beaton.  Her a house for the seasonbooks are interesting.  The first book I tried I didn’t especially like, but I’m getting on quite well with her The School for Manners series.  Her characters are certainly very vivid, although I’m surprised at the amount of bad language some of them use.  The A House for the Season series is my favourite so far.

She’s a modern writer, but I think she’s imitating the writing style of the time (the Regency period).  She’s clearly done a lot of research (and at times is a little over-eager to show it). Her heroines often seem to change their minds rather suddenly about the heroes.  I also find that her characters – while certainly not wooden – aren’t quite hitting the spot.  You know how, in the best books, the characters become like real people to you?  They aren’t managing that for me, although I can’t put my finger on why.  But they’re very enjoyable books none the less.  They’re also much shorter than average, so good when you want a quick read.

How to be a HeroineI’ve also picked up a very interesting-looking book from the library.  It’s called How to be a Heroine: (Or, what I’ve learned from reading too much), which should appeal to book lovers everywhere.  In it, the author re-reads the books that gave her her childhood heroines and re-examines them from her adult perspective.

Meanwhile, Toddler is obsessed with a book called A Squash and a Squeeze and anything featuring Spot.  So if you want to entertain a three-year-old…

What are you reading at the moment?

How Old do You Need to be to Understand the Word ‘No’?

8540673936_74ece04b5f_hSomeone posted a link on Facebook to a story about a mother’s reaction to her daughter’s bra strap being undone by a boy at school and it reminded me of an incident from my own past. Now, I don’t seem to have the greatest memory for my childhood.  My mother despairs of how much seems to be a complete blank.  This, however, I have not forgotten.

I would have been about 10.  I had entered puberty, but did not yet have any real interest in boys.  There was a boy in my class who had a crush on me.  He was a sort-of-friend (as much as boys and girls seemed able to be friends at that age in my school), but I didn’t share his feelings.  Everyone else in our class was convinced that I was just ‘shy’ or ’embarrassed’, which was annoying but tolerable. Then, a girl in my class had a party.

It was a big party, held in a hall somewhere.  All our parents were invited too and were sat around at tables, in full view of the dance floor where we kids were.  After the party games had finished, there was a disco.  My friends and I were sat on the stage at the back of the dance floor.  The inevitable slow song began and the boy who liked me wanted to dance with me.  He came and asked, and I said no.

This is where it goes downhill.  Ignoring my refusal, he used his greater strength to force me onto the dance floor.  I recall hanging onto the edge of the stage with one hand while he pulled the other.  Eventually, I lost my grip and he dragged me to the floor and held me tightly while we swayed so I couldn’t get away without hurting him.  Sadly, I didn’t.

I can still remember my face burning with utter humiliation.  This had happened in front of all our class and our parents.  Worse still, I felt let down.  Not only had no one intervened and told him to let me go, my friends had helped him and the parents were laughing and making comments like, “He got there in the end!” It was years before I could stand to listen to that song again (incidentally, it was I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston).

Now you may say “you were just kids” and that is true, but kids need to be told when their behaviour is not acceptable, so that they don’t grow into adults who think it is. All but a tiny minority of children understand the meaning of ‘No’ before they are two years old.  And the fact that they don’t necessarily obey it at that age doesn’t mean you stop saying it when they do something dangerous or unkind. Every parent knows that consistency is vital in establishing boundaries.

Should I ever see this happen to my daughter, I will intervene.  Should she ever have to use force to stop someone from harassing her, I’ll be behind her all the way, because she’ll be in the right. I never, ever want her to feel that she should put up with someone treating her badly, or not respecting her right to say no.  Is there any mother out there who does?

Follow Jennifer Gilby Roberts’s board Motherhood on Pinterest.

Work in Progress – Feb 15

EditingParker Sisters 3

I’m delighted to tell you that I have finished the first draft of this book.  It’s still pretty rough in places and I expect it to go through at least two more drafts before I’m happy with it, but I now have a complete story to work with.

I expect it to end up around the same length as But I Said Forever and it will hopefully be ready in May/June.  Book 4 should then be out later in the year.

Magical Weddings

I’ve been invited to write a story for a box set called Magical Weddings, which will be published in June.  The 14 writers involved are drawn from chick lit, contemporary romance and paranormal romance, so the “magical” part will sometimes be literal and sometimes not.  Stories can be between 10k and 65k and it’s going to be on sale for 99c, so it’ll be a massive bargain.

My story for this is already underway.  I can tell you that it’s about a new character. I am considering connecting it with the Early Daze “world” and possibly using the same character in a sequel to that, but before I decide I’d better finish this one!  I expect my offering to be 10-15k (for comparison, 2-3 times the length of Wedding Hells).

Summer Anthology

Also in the planning stages is a second short story anthology.  A lot of the Cupid on the Loose! authors are likely to be involved again, but hopefully there will also be some new names.  Watch this space…

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