The Best Laid Plans…

The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Boy howdy, was he right! I’ve been telling you all that my next novel, Grace Under Pressure, would be available in August. What I didn’t count on was life throwing a bit of a curve ball. My husband, The Dude as I like to call him, had a bit of a medical scare which meant the last thing I was thinking about was writing. He’s fine now and things are getting back to normal.

In light of what happened, it got me thinking about things like gratitude and love. Gratitude that The Dude is doing great and back to his super chill self. Also, so much gratitude for the doctors and medical staff at our local hospital who took such good care of him. Perfect example; he was in the hospital on our wedding anniversary. Not exactly the place we expected to be for the celebration. But the medical staff all knew about it and one of the nurses went down to the gardens surrounding the hospital, waded into the flower beds, and brought us a pretty bouquet of fresh cut posies to celebrate. She didn’t have to do that but she did, and that small act of kindness made all the difference. Let me just say that nurses, medical technicians, and service workers are unsung heroes and they deserve our kudos, applause, and I’ll say it again, gratitude.

Now, about this thing called love. As a romance author I live for the happily ever after. Writing about the rush of early love (and lust), and the butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling early on in a relationship are the things I love most about writing in this genre. As we celebrated our own wedding anniversary at the hospital, I remembered the vows we took to love and cherish in sickness and in health. Needless to say, that really hit home. Love isn’t just about those roller-coaster emotions that often take center stage in romance novels that make them so much fun to read. Sometimes love shines brightest in the simplest ways. Doing the laundry (and folding it too!) when you’d rather not but he wants to wear his favorite rugby shirt. Making her favorite comfort food for dinner when work has been a grind and she’s wiped out. And yes, even sitting in a hospital room together watching bad television and counting down the time until you can be together at home.

Thank you for indulging me in this post. It’s been a crazy, stressful time. I promise the wait will be worth it for Grace Under Pressure.

Character Snapshot – Grace Moretti

Last month I shared a character snapshot of Mac Galbraith, the romantic interest in my upcoming novel Grace Under Pressure. Today I thought it was high time you met Grace Moretti, the main character of the novel. As you can tell from the image above and her name, she is 100% Italian.

I love Grace because she’s a bit sarcastic, with a huge heart and a massive amount of talent (which you’ll discover when you read the novel). Let’s get to know about Grace….

  • Name: Grace Angelina Moretti
  • Age: 36 – Birthday: June 17, 1987
  • Looks: 5′ tall, short black curly hair with dark brown eyes. She has an easy smile. A lovely woman but not a classic beauty. Petite with an hour glass figure.
  • Education: BFA from NYU in Theatre Arts
  • Occupation: Recently left a managing director position at North End Theatre, an off Broadway theatre in NYC, and is now the executive director of the Mountain Glen Resort and Theatre.
  • Status and money: Comes from a blue collar family. Dad is a plumber and mom is the bookkeeper for the business, so the family is well off but Grace has a no nonsense respect for money.
  • Family/Ethnicity: 100% Italian. Mom is from Sicily and Dad is from Florence.
  • Relationships: Loves her parents and her brother Tony. She is a woman who forms lasting bonds with people. Henry Michaels is her best friend, along with Brad, his husband. She has a large group of friends from the NYC theatre community as well as Mountain Glen.
  • Places: Lives in a cute cabin in Mountain Glen. Her office is in the lodge but she’s typically moving around the property and rarely there.
  • Possessions: Her car, a chili red Mini Cooper she named Blaze. When she broke up with her ex, she didn’t leave with much. She made a clean break and moved on. Packed her clothes, her espresso maker, and a couple of boxes of books.
  • Recreation, hobbies: A runner and a reader, also loves to sing and sometimes misses her years of performing.
  • Obsessions: Grace loves to obsess about many things: making sure the resort and theatre are a success. Concerned that she does the best job possible and will stick with a project until the bitter end–sometimes at her own peril (like her last personal relationship). Likes to set rules for herself.
  • Beliefs: Any situation in life can be summed up best by Shakespeare.
  • Sexual history: She’s had her share of healthy sexual relationships but when the story opens she’s broken up with a guy she’s been with for years. The sex was ‘meh’ and the guy was toxic.
  • Ambitions: To be the best she can be at whatever she does. Always pushing herself to do the best she can–hence, the title of the novel, Grace Under Pressure.
  • Superstitions: She’s Italian and a theatre person–yes, she’s superstitious.
  • Fears: Deep down she’s afraid she’ll always pick the wrong guy and never have a relationship like her parents. There is a push and pull between a successful career vs. a successful relationship.
  • Attitudes: The world is better with family and friends.
  • Character flaws: Can have a bit of a temper but it doesn’t last long. Will take a lot of crap but when she pushes back, watch out. Grace is short of stature so she’s sensitive about not being taken seriously, especially in male dominated business situations.
  • Character strengths: Defender of the underdog, loves with her whole heart, even when it gets stomped on, intelligent, honest, and loyal.
  • Taste in books, music, etc: Loves musical theatre soundtracks (of course), jazz, and pop. When it comes to books she loves a naughty beach read or the classics. She’s got a soft spot for Shakespeare too.
  • Food preferences: Likes all foods but especially loves her mom’s home-cooked Italian food.
  • Astrological sign: Gemini

I am so looking forward to bringing Grace and Mac’s story to you later this summer. I’ve been having an absolute blast with the writing process. Next month I’ll share with you the “elevator pitch” for the novel. Until then, enjoy the spring (or fall for those of you in the Southern hemisphere).

xoxoxo – Nikki

Italian flag image courtesy of

Character Snapshot – Mac Galbraith

What’s up with the Scottish tartan, you may ask? Well, my dear readers, this pattern belongs to the Galbraith clan. When I’m creating characters for my novels, I like to learn about what part of the world they come from as well as what makes them tick. It’s so much fun spinning these people out of my imagination but I find it helpful to know something about their culture and traditions as a jumping off spot. Side note: once I have a clear picture of who my characters are they tend to take over once the writing process starts. Honestly, they really do tell me where the story will go. Also, sometimes I have to rein them in!

In my current work-in-progress, Grace Under Pressure, the main male character (MMC) is Malcolm Galbraith–Mac for short. I knew he was going to be Scottish because, as you can tell from one of my recent Instagram posts, I have a weakness for a man in a kilt. If you’re not following me on Instagram, I’ve inserted a QR code at the end of the post for you to check it out.

So here are some fun facts about the Galbraith Clan. Slip some of these tidbits into conversation at your next dinner party.

  • The clan motto is Ab obice sauvoir. Which roughly translate from Latin to “Sweeter for there having been difficulties.”
  • The first record of the name is when Gillescop Galbraith acted as a signed witness to a charter created by the Lord of Lennox in 1208.
  • The name can be traced back to Angus in Northeast Scotland.
  • Finally, the ancestral seat of Clan Galbraith for over 700 years is Culcreuch Castle. It was until recently a hotel but I believe it is now closed, which really bums me out because I would love to go there!

But what about Mac, you may be asking? Who is he and what’s he about? Well, I always complete a worksheet that paints an overview of each character that I can reference back to when writing. Here are some details about our handsome Scotsman.

  • Name: Malcolm Andrew Galbraith
  • Age: 37 – Birthday: May 7, 1986
  • Looks: Tall (6’), brilliant blue eyes, dark auburn hair with close cropped beard and mustache, handsome and well built.
  • Education: Finished secondary school (high school) in Scotland then apprenticed in the theatre trades, building and designing sets.
  • Occupation: Set designer, carpenter, now Director of Facilities and Operations at Mountain Glen Resort & Theatre.
  • Status and money: Comes from money but doesn’t flaunt it.
  • Marital status: Never married. Came close once but ended up with a broken heart–more on that once the novel is published!
  • Family/Ethnicity: Scottish through and through
  • Relationships: Strong family relationships, friendships through his work in theatre.
  • Places (home, office, car, etc.): Home and office are the resort, ancestral home in Scotland outside of Edinburgh, with an additional family cottage on the Island of Lewis and Harris.
  • Possessions: Books and antique bookcase, an old drafting table that he’s had for twenty years where he creates set designs, his black Jeep that he bought when he moved to the US.
  • Recreation, hobbies: Avid reader, especially fond of Shakespeare and classics, enjoys swimming, sketching.
  • Obsessions: Mac is not a guy prone to obsession. Pretty levelheaded.
  • Beliefs: Loyalty, honesty, standing up for what is right.
  • Sexual History: He’s a hot guy, had his share of physical relationships. In other words, he knows his way around a woman’s body, but he isn’t a creep. Isn’t into one night stands.
  • Ambitions: Creating a successful career as a set designer, making Mountain Glen Resort & Theatre a success.
  • Superstitions: Has a healthy respect for some Scottish and theatre superstitions.
  • Fears: Losing a loved one. After his father suffered a stroke, he rushed to his side in Scotland and stayed until he recuperated.
  • Attitudes: People will eventually show their true colors, for good or ill.
  • Character flaws: Can be incredibly stubborn, stoic, guarded until he gets to know someone.
  • Character strengths: Loyal, honest, gives everything he has with his whole being, passionate.
  • Taste in books, music, etc: Enjoys classical literature and plays—especially Shakespeare. Eclectic taste in music but leans toward rock.
  • Food preferences: Meat and potatoes kind of guy, but always willing to try new things. Enjoys an occasional fine Scotch whisky.
  • Astrological sign: Taurus

Next month I’ll give you a breakdown on Grace Moretti, the Grace in Grace Under Pressure. I hope you love her as much as I do! Oh, and the manuscript will be going to my editor in early July 2023 so expect a release date by August–just in time for some late summer beach reading.

Nikki Long Writes Instagram link.

It’s Official!

Delighted to announce my new novel, Just Lucky, is released on Amazon today. I love the characters of Lily Vincent and Evan Connor so much and I hope you will too. It’s available in paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited for you die-hard readers out there. Check out the details on Amazon at this link:

I’d like to thank my book designer/illustrator, Karin Star for her beautiful work on the cover. She captures the romance and magic, not only of the characters but the landscape as well. She even gives you a sneak peek of the four witches on the back cover.

If you enjoyed my debut novel, Ghost of a Chance, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Just Lucky to ring in the New Year with romance! And I’ll leave you with a little video I created. Hope you like it. And as always, thanks so much for your support.

Happy Fall!

Fall is my favorite time of year. It’s spooky season after all, and there’s nothing I like better than a dark night with the moon peeking out from behind the clouds while the wind rustles the leaves that still cling to the branches. The crisp temperatures and the vibrant colors add to the magic. Plus, there’s nothing I love more than a cozy sweater and a hot chocolate–or perhaps a wee dram of my favorite whiskey–while curled up with a good book. What about you? What’s your favorite season?

On the writing front, Just Lucky is on its way to my editor for a final pass. I want to thank all of the people who volunteered to beta read for me and I’m sorry I couldn’t use more of you. Hopefully, I can tap into your skills on the next novel, which is well underway. Once the edit and the cover design are complete I plan on releasing Just Lucky in mid-to-late November–just in time for the holidays. I’m super excited about this novel and I’ll keep you posted once the release date is set.

If you’re wondering about my next novel, the title is Grace Under Pressure, and I’m already in love with my characters and the location. I promise lots of sexy romance and fun with my protagonist Grace Moretti and her hot Scotsman Mac Galbraith, set in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. I don’t know about you but I’ve never been one to resist a man in a kilt! More coming on that soon. In the meantime, enjoy the change of seasons!

xoxoxoxox — Nikki

Leaf image courtesy of Autumn Vectors by Vecteezy

Persuasion for the Masses?

This post is a little different in that I want to share my take on the new Netflix movie Persuasion. You may or may not agree, but it’s just my take on the newest adaptation of Jane Austen. Don’t hate me if you don’t agree (and thanks for indulging me). On a different note–I can tell you that I’ve finished my second novel “Just Lucky” and am in the process of editing. More on that in a later post!

I have a masters degree in English with a focus on literature and creative writing. One of my favorite writers in the “canon” is Jane Austen. Suffice to say I’ve read her novels, studied them critically, and seen a lot of the film adaptations of her work. So, I’d like to think I’m no dummy when it comes to the study and interpretation of her work.

For anyone who might not know, Persuasion is Jane Austen’s last complete novel and was published about six months after her death. It is one of her more melancholy works about Anne Elliot, a youngish–but close to spinsterhood–woman who was persuaded to cut ties with the one man she truly loved, Fredrick Wentworth, a young sailor of no consequence. Eight years go by with her tending to her selfish family–quiet, introverted, kind, and still pining away for the love that got away. Of course, the story has a happy ending, but it is a much more mature, dramatic ending because the characters are no longer young and impulsive. And friends, if you ever want to know how to write a love letter–by all means read Wentworth’s letter to Anne in Chapter 23 of the novel. Swoon!

I watched the new Dakota Johnson-Netflix Persuasion with equal parts confusion and amusement, and found myself wondering on more than one occasion if they’d even bothered to read the novel. The choices made to turn the character of Anne Elliot into an alcoholic, sarcastic, extroverted flirt, who spends about 75% of the time breaking the fourth wall to tell the story instead of–oh, I don’t know–hiring a screenwriter who would read the darned novel and write engaging dialogue between the characters–made me cringe. Plus, they used modern language in a period piece–calling Wentworth her “ex” and having a group of women rate men as a “10.” It was a series of weird choices all around.

Seriously, I think the director/writers/producers watched the Bridgerton series and thought they’d goose up one of the most beloved writers in the English language. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bridgerton, but I also know it is a contemporary take–historical romance with a wink and nod towards the classics. It’s sexy, high-spirited, and all ’round great fun. Yes, please! But that’s not Persuasion, like it or not.

I’m all for modernizing takes on Austen. One of my favorites is Clueless, a fantastic update on Emma. And while I haven’t seen it yet, I hear Fire Island is a pretty faithful LGBTQ adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. With this new Netflix adaptation of Persuasion, it seems as if it’s trying to be too many things to too many audiences. I will say this movie does a great job of color-blind casting, has lovely cinematography, and the characters are all very, very pretty. If it engages viewers I just hope they make the choice to read some of Austen’s work. And I hope they aren’t disappointed when the book, or Anne Elliot, is nothing like the movie.

Ireland – Place of Dreams

A view of Hore Abbey from the Rock of Cashel. Photo credit – Nikki Long

First of all, Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day! If you’ve read my novel Ghost of a Chance, then you know how much I love Ireland. My husband and I were lucky enough to visit in October of 2017. We had plans to return in 2020 but a certain pandemic changed our plans. I’m really hoping we’ll be back in 2023.

Why do we want to return? There are several reasons:

  • First, the people! Everyone is so kind and welcoming and I really appreciate their sense of humor. Plus, the taxi drivers in Dublin are the best! They kept us laughing with their running commentary on just about everything as they navigated the chaotic Dublin streets.
  • Second, the country itself. As the photo above shows, it is one of the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited–and I’ve traveled a lot.
  • Third, would have to be the libations. Irish whiskies and beer? Yes please! Nothing is finer than sitting in a pub, sharing in the craic while sipping a fine Irish whiskey or a pint of the black stuff-Guinness.
  • Fourth, but definitely not last, the sense of magic that seems to permeate the air, land, and the buildings. History is a living, breathing thing in Ireland and you can sense it wherever you go. A few days into our 2017 trip we arrived in Cashel after a few hair-raising hours of learning how to drive on the left-hand side of the road. There was a soft rain falling as we stood on top of the rock, the sounds of birds calling to each other bouncing off the stone walls of the ruin. I felt such an overwhelming connection to the place and those who had lived on the land. It was emotional, spiritual, and beautiful–one of those magical moments when you travel somewhere new and yet you feel as if you’ve been there before.

So, is it any surprise that my next novel takes place in Ireland? I’m still figuring out the title, and I’m in the process of wrapping up the ending–happily ever after of course–but it’s almost done. Here’s a quick sketch of the characters/plot:

The main character is Lily Vincent; a thirty-seven years old, recently divorced, Midwesterner. One day, when out trying to find an apartment on her meager salary, Lily stops in the local convenience store and buys a mega-millions lottery ticket. Later that night, she is stunned to discover she has won $365 million.

Fast forward to the (fictional) town of Ballymeade on the southwest coast of Ireland where Lily has purchased, sight unseen, a large parcel of land that includes a lighthouse, cottage, and two large outbuildings–one of which is a whiskey distillery. The first night on the property she meets her tenant, Evan Connor, a forty year old, drop-dead gorgeous movie star who wants nothing more than to get out of the movie business and devote his time to making whiskey and having a simpler way of life.

Sparks fly from their first meeting, and while both Lily and Evan are mindful of their hearts, it isn’t long before romance is in the air on the beautiful shores of Ireland. This is a story about two people, both searching for their purpose in life, all with some spicy romance for good measure! Add in some local characters from Ballymeade, an aging starlet who has set her sights on getting Evan back in her life, and four witches from centuries past who give Lily sage advice for living her best life. You knew I had to throw in some magic and ghosties somewhere, right?

Stay tuned for more updates and as always, thanks for your support!

Romance in the Air!

Valentine’s Day! This is a romance writer’s favorite time of year. I mean, this is what we LIVE for–romance in all it’s varied and wonderful forms. And while I’m never one to turn my nose up at a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a decadent box of chocolates, those are not the first things that pop into my head–or heart–when it comes to romance. So, I thought I’d ask, what’s the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you–or you for them? And it doesn’t have to be tied to St. Valentine’s Day. I’ll start us off with one of the most romantic things my husband has ever done for me–and believe me this is just a sample of the wonderful things he’s done. And yes, I really, really, really lucked out when I found him.

I was in graduate school and working full time. In addition, I was attempting to finish my first novel for publication. Was I stressed out? Oh yeah! One of the classes I took in my graduate studies included a study abroad component in Rome, Italy. It was a quick trip and while I love Rome and was happy to be returning to the Eternal City, I felt weird about going without my husband. Of course, he was super supportive, as he always is, so I left for ten days of Roman history, literature, and la dolce vita.

Montecassino, outside of Rome. Is that a romantic view or what?

Italy was as I remembered it. Historic, beautiful, breath-taking, and chaotic. But after about five days all I could think about was getting home. It just wasn’t the same without “The Dude” to share it with. Of course, we FaceTimed every day and he made sure to get the dogs and cats into the frame whenever he could, but still, I was ready to go home. He happened to mention on one of our calls that he was working on a little project at the house.

Now, we live in a one-hundred-year-old farm house near Lake Michigan. The second floor houses my writing studio, which at the time was a perfect reflection of a graduate student, full time employee/part time writer’s space. In other words, it was a nightmare. Books stacked everywhere, furniture shoved in without a lot of thought, and no art on the desperately-needing-to-be-painted walls. It was serviceable but not very comfortable–and certainly not a great incubator for creativity!

When I returned home I was so happy, and also exhausted. For the first couple of days I was home, I didn’t even go upstairs to my studio. Finally, my husband said, “Will you please go upstairs!?” Up I went, with him right behind me, and when I opened the door I was blown away. Freshly painted walls, furniture carefully placed, and a brand new 27″ monitor on my desk. It was beautiful! His thoughtfulness brought me to tears. While I was running around Italy, enjoying everything the country offered, he was home, making my writing studio absolutely magical. And every time I come up to write (like I am right now), I think of him. Pretty romantic–am I right?

So please, share your most thoughtful actions/romantic moments in the comments. Who knows, maybe it will eventually end up in one of my novels! But don’t worry–I’ll change the names to protect the innocent!

Love image by Valentine Hearts Vectors by Vecteezy

Reflecting on 2021

You’ll probably notice I’ve given the website a bit of a facelift. I thought going into the new year I’d start with a clean slate—visually, at least! Let’s face it, I think we can all agree that 2021 was quite… well… let’s just say that it’s going out the way it came in. I won’t rag on about the pandemic that we still find ourselves in. I’ll just say that I hope you do everything you can to keep yourselves and your loved ones healthy as we roll into 2022.

Since this is the season when we all look back at what has happened in our lives over the past year—reflecting on the good and bad, I hope you’ll indulge me as I share some changes and milestones that I experienced in 2021.

  • Celebrated 10 years of marriage. Let me tell you, I won the lottery when I found him. Supportive, intelligent, funny, and one of the best cooks around. And he puts up with me!
  • Finished my master’s degree. That was a long slog and I’m so happy I did it. Walking across the stage at commencement was truly a highlight of 2021.
  • Released my first novel, Ghost of a Chance. So happy to say I am now a published author. And I’m currently working on my next novel which I hope to release in spring 2022.
  • I found a new job. While I wish I could spend every day in my writing studio, unfortunately, I have bills to pay. Damned reality!!! I’ve worked in higher education for twenty-five years and this year I landed at one of the finest and most well-respected universities in the country. Another plus, I work with incredible (and funny) people. When they found out I was a writer, their only concern was how soon it would be before some of our more colorful co-workers ended up in one of my novels.

So, all in all, I have to say that it’s been a good year, despite everything the world has thrown my way. Sure, there were weeks where I was ready to throw in the towel, but I persevered. Life would be nothing without challenges.

Before I close out 2021, I want to send out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported me this year. Reading your comments and reviews, realizing I wrote something that entertained you and hopefully let you forget some of life’s challenges—nothing made me happier. You have given me a precious gift. Now, on to 2022 with more strange ideas and impure thoughts!



Happy New Year! Photo Credit – Albert George

Happy Holidays!

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year when everyone is feeling the pressure to find the perfect holiday gift. Well, I’m moonlighting as a holiday elf and offering Ghost of a Chance, my debut contemporary romance novel, on sale through December 26th. The paperback is now $8.99 and the e-book is $2.99. AND if you are on Kindle Unlimited you can now read it free! I hope you’ll take this opportunity to pick up a copy for the romance reader in your life–and maybe get a copy for yourself too! You can find it on Amazon here.

Even though we are in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle, I’ve been busy writing my next novel. I’m hoping to have the first draft completed by December 31st. I’ll then be looking for beta readers before I send it off to my editor. If you have an interest in joining my beta team, drop me a line at More details forthcoming but you’ll find an excerpt at the end of Ghost of a Chance.

Thank you all for your support this year. Words alone can’t reflect my gratitude for your positive comments and reviews. May the holidays, however you celebrate, bring you peace and joy, now and in the New Year.

Love to all!


P.S. Here’s a picture of our cat Lola, basking in holiday cheer. And yes, one of the trees decided not to light. Ah the joys of holiday decorating!

Ho ho ho! Where’s my dinner!