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.

Three, two, one…

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season–however you celebrate. I’ve been as busy as Santa in his workshop trying to wrap up my most recent novel, Just Lucky. I had hoped to release it in time for Christmas but the stars just didn’t align. But I’m happy to report that within the next few weeks–maybe even days– I’ll be releasing it on Amazon. Watch this space for the book cover preview and your chance to win a signed copy of Just Lucky!

In the meantime, I wish you a safe and happy New Year filled with joy, peace, and most of all ROMANCE!

xoxoxo – Nikki

Image courtesy of: Happy Vectors by Vecteezy

Book Blurb

Hello friends! It’s a cold and rainy day in my corner of the world as I put the finishing touches on Just Lucky. There is a lot that goes into self-publishing in addition to the writing. I’m a one-woman author/marketer/business shop, and when I’m getting ready to publish there’s a massive to-do list.

Right now I’m working on the very important BOOK BLURB. That’s the text that goes on the back cover and engages potential readers–YOU! It gives a glimpse of what the story is about without giving away too much. The hardest part is the blurb should only be around 150-200 words. Believe me, once you’ve been living with a story for a year, reducing the sales pitch to 200 words isn’t easy.

Here’s where you come in. Below is the draft of the Just Lucky book blurb. Give it a read and let me know in the comments if you would pick up the novel. I appreciate it!

Oh, and I’m still aiming for a early holiday release–hopefully by December first. As always, thanks for sticking with me on this adventure and I hope you enjoy the stories I deliver. Oh, and I promise there will be a few give aways too!

How would $365 million change your life?

After winning the mega-millions lottery, recently divorced Lily Vincent fulfills a lifelong dream of owning a lighthouse on the west coast of Ireland where she can spend her days writing and looking out to sea. What she doesn’t expect to find is Evan Connor, her only tenant who happens to be a drop-dead gorgeous movie star.

Evan has been in the movie business since he was twenty years old, but now all he wants to do is focus on his fledgling whiskey distillery and enjoy some peace and quiet. The idea is even more appealing when he meets his new landlady—the tall, dark-haired American who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Set against the backdrop of the pretty seaside village of Ballymeade, Ireland, it isn’t long before Lily and Evan realize there is an undeniable spark between them. Everything should be smooth sailing until an aging starlet sets her sights set on getting Evan back in her life. Lucky for Lily, she discovers four witches from centuries past who give her sage advice on trusting her instincts and living her best life.

A lifelong dream, new friends, and some sexy romance leave Lily believing she’s just lucky but maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it’s fate—plus a sprinkling of magic.

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

Just Lucky!

Four Leaf Clover Vectors by Vecteezy

Can you hear my cheers of happiness from where you are? That would be me putting the final touches on my next novel, Just Lucky. I’m making a few final tweaks before sending it to beta readers.

Are you interested in being part of my team of beta readers? For your efforts you’ll receive a signed copy of the paperback and my undying appreciation! The novel is currently running around 71,100 words and is a contemporary romance with hints of the paranormal. There are also tasteful but explicit sex scenes.

I gave a brief synopsis of the storyline in a previous post but here’s a reminder:

Lily Vincent is a forty year old, recently divorced, Midwesterner. One day, while out trying to find an apartment on her meager salary, she 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 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-two 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 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 story is 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.

Lily thinks for once she’s just lucky–but maybe now fate plays a hand.

If you’re interested in giving me feedback on the draft, all that’s required is your honest appraisal of the novel: character development, pacing, story flow. Basically, is it something that you enjoy and holds your interest? Let me know by dropping me a line at and I’ll give you more details and a contract to sign.

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!

Ghost of a Chance Launch Date!

I’m thrilled to announce that my debut contemporary/paranormal romance novel, Ghost of a Chance, will launch on Friday, September 3, 2021 on Amazon. More details to follow on pre-orders, as well as other available online retailers, but I can confirm that there will be both paperback and digital downloads available.

One of the most exciting aspects of launching a novel is working with other artists. Believe me, there is no way you can do this alone. The illustrator for Ghost of a Chance (or GoaC for you cool kids into acronyms) is none other than the super-talented Karin Starr. I was lucky enough to meet Karin virtually through the ALA Book Club on Facebook. Seeing her beautiful illustrations influenced by the Discovery of Witches trilogy made me realize that only Karin could bring my characters to life. And WOW! She captured Kate, Pete, and Abigale just as I imagined them. When she sent me the final illustrations I cried tears of joy.

So, without further delay… drum roll please. I am honored to share with you the cover art for GoaC.

Contest alert: I will be giving away five signed copies of Ghost of a Chance. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter here: to be eligible to win.

Oh, and please visit Karin’s shop at to see more of her beautiful work!