April Showers Anthology: The Umbrella Diaries by Stella Quinn: Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Today on the blog I have Stella Quinn who is one of the authors in the April Showers Anthology. This anthology is from Literary Crush Publishing and will hit the shelves on April 9th. It’s full of swoon and romance and I hope you like it as much as I did. Since Stella knows my blog is geared toward reading and travel, she decided to share the destinations that two of her books take place in. Don’t forget to look below for a giveaway of April Showers and check back on Friday for a post from Rachael Eliker, the author of another story in the April Showers Anthology!

Three things every romance reader needs: romance, adventure and escape

Hi, my name is Stella Quinn, and I believe romance is our chance to say goodbye for a while to the humdrum of work, drama and bills, and say hello to a well-earned book holiday where we can indulge ourselves in the thrill of reading about two characters overcoming challenges and capturing for themselves a well-deserved Happy Ever After.

And hey – if we’re having an indulgent book holiday, why not set the book somewhere delicious? Like the South Pacific? Or the Caribbean? Or a fictitious historic town set between mountain and lake where the people are adorable and the air smells like fresh-cooked cinnamon donuts?

Romantic destinations in fiction are such a treat to visit. They are even more of a treat to write. Today I’m going to share with you two locations I’ve used.

Romantic destination #1: Cathedral Springs, Upstate New York

Okay, I made this place up. But I made it up to be beautiful, as I am writing a small-town romance novel series set there. I needed historic buildings, snow-capped mountains, and a lake large enough to have an old paddlesteamer still operating on it as a tourist boat during the summer months. I needed grassy valleys where horse studs could be found, and I needed the sound of church bells ringing on Sundays. I needed an old-fashioned cinema, and a new coffee shop with a charming barista who made world-class coffee.
Sound like a nice place? Sounds like heaven to me. You can read about Cathedral Springs in my novella, The Umbrella Diaries, which was launched on April 9 by Literary Crush Publishing in the latest of their popular seasonal romance anthologies, April Showers, which you can find here. Here’s a sneak peek in which we meet the hero, Duncan James:

The Umbrella Diaries – extract from Chapter Two

Duncan hated the autumn rain. On an ordinary day it was a nuisance, a wet menace, a sure sign that his boofhead of a dog would go and roll in some filthy puddle and require a bath, which neither of them would enjoy. But when it rained on the day of a funeral … that’s when he hated rain the most.

He stood on the top floor of his home watching the mourners gather in the churchyard below. Not a crowd today, not in this weather, but enough people to keep Reverend Jones and her husband busy in the great hall after the service, dispensing fruitcake and milky tea by the fire. Good. The busier the Reverend was over there, where she belonged, the less likely she’d be pestering him.

An odd noise sounded, filtering up through the timber floors somewhere in the house below him. A banging. A shutter loose in the wind, perhaps? He eyed the oak tree in his side yard, one he had climbed as a boy. Even a small breeze could set its upper limbs to shivering, so an adventurous lad could imagine himself up a mast and out at sea, on the hunt for desperate pirates. But the giant oak was still; not a twitch disturbed its wet, leafless branches. Not a shutter banging, then.

He cocked his eyebrow at the dog. “Well? Aren’t you the security around here? Go and see what it is, you great lump.”

The dog rolled onto his back and gave a wide yawn.

“Thanks, pal.” The noise stopped and then started up again, and Duncan finally realized the banging was coming from his own front door. When had he last heard that?

Sighing, he gripped the handle of the cane he still needed to navigate stairs and gave the dog a whistle. “On your feet, Jelly Bean. We’ve got someone at the door who needs sending on their way. Try and look vicious, would you?”

The old Labrador skidded down the stairs ahead of him, his nails clicking on the polished wood. Duncan followed at a slower pace, cursing with every step. The physiotherapists reckoned he’d be off the cane by spring, and the day couldn’t come too soon. He was looking forward to having a ritual burning of it in the back yard. That’d give the Reverend and her husband something to talk about.

The sound died off as he rounded the final newel post and arrived, out of breath, in the hallway. Typical. He’d risked his barely working limbs to hurry downstairs so he could shout at whoever was banging on his door to clear off and leave him be, and now that he was finally at the door, they’d gone and left.

He looked at the dog.

The dog looked at him, gave a whiffle, then pushed at the door with his nose.

“Oh, I suppose you can go out,” he said. “Make it quick, and no rolling in puddles. You hear me?”

He limped over to the door, stroked the dog’s soft ears to take the sting out of his words, and pulled back the heavy bolt. “Off you go, pal.”

But when he pulled his front door open, the porch wasn’t empty. A woman stood there, dark haired, dark eyed, dressed in a riot of color that lent a cheerful note to the bleak grey of the day.

Too bad he was in no mood to be cheered up.

Romantic Destination #2: The Australian Outback

Okay, I made this place up too, but I based it on pictures of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. And hey – I’ve seen Crocodile Dundee. I used a fictitious hiking trail in the outback as the setting for a short story called The Crocodile Track. This story needs a rugged, harsh landscape because its heroine, Lara, needs to go on a journey of redemption. She’s lost in life – and she needed to get lost in the outback to remember who she was.


Lara Campezi is not coping. She’s left her job, she’s sublet her apartment, and she’s given away her furniture. The only things she’s kept are her camera and the rose quartz necklace her father gave her before he died; quartz he collected himself from the remote North West of Australia.

Lara decides to go on a journey to see the land where her father once walked. She doesn’t know what she’s expecting to find, but it’s definitely not Charlie Flinders, the guy she had a crush on twenty years ago when she was sixteen.
Anything can happen when you’re on the journey of a lifetime in the remote Australian Outback. Even romance.

The Cockatoo Track is free to download for the month of April 2019 for everyone who subscribes to my mailing list – and the plus side is, then I can let you know when the next Cathedral Springs story is coming out (hush … it’s a secret .. but The Patchwork Project, a full-length romance novel starring café-owner Vera and town vet Josh will be out before Christmas.

To join in and read The Cockatoo Track, click on this link. If that doesn’t work, type this into your browser:

How to get in touch with Stella:
Amazon Author Page | Facebook
Website | Goodreads

Where to buy:

Giveaway: Ebook of April Showers

Ends on April 19, 2019 and winner must have a valid kindle email.


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