The most amazing thing is how often we DO get second chances. Not just at love, but at life. There is definitely a place for chocolate and cuddling the cat - in lieu of Mr Darcy or Mr Butler - but as a lifestyle? Not so much. And sitting around waiting for them to come knocking is probably not going to bring that Second Chance along. Very often it doesn't even encourage the First Chance to spring for flowers, polish its spats and tootle round to your front door with tickets for the theatre tucked into its jacket pocket and a scrumptious dinner in the offing.
Something, clearly, must be done. But what?
I've recently read 'The Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell. On the romance scale of sweet to hot - let's just say that it doesn't feature. In fact, all of the usual requirements for a good romance book are completely missing. Except two - plot and character. But, I hear you ask, probably with a puzzled frown, aren't they the two most important aspects of any book, let alone a romance novel?
Well, yes. But...
Let me explain. Mr Gladwell's book's subtitle is The Story of Success. It does a masterful job of explaining that there's no such thing as a self-made man. There are a number of factors that go into building one's success, including Chance and Opportunity. I found, after closing the book with a thoughtful twist to the eyebrows, that I probably didn't match most of the criteria Gladwell had mentioned. Apart from the aforementioned Chance and Opportunity, which always seem to be lurking around if one learns to differentiate them from the loungers on the corner all going by the names Chancer and Con.
There were, I realised, thank goodness, others he hadn't mentioned which I could put into action. Namely, waking up, smelling the coffee, or roses depending on my inclination on the day - but certainly smelling something with an attractive aroma, paying attention and - taking chances. It's the old Carpe Diem adage packaged with a delightful beverage and perfumed foliage.
Plot - otherwise known as Life. Life can be a bully. It tends to throw things at one that one wasn't expecting and aren't exactly high on anyone's list of 'Things to Experiencing Before I Pop My Clogs'. But this is where Character comes in - that's you, my sweet petunia. The choices we make every day either open or close the doors to those chances, be they First or Second ones. If Life has poked you in the snoot and you're staggering around dazed, confused and pain, wondering where your copy of Pride and Prejudice is lying and if the cat has finished all the chocolate, then it's time to remember that now is the perfect opportunity for a Second Chance.
Plot and character will always play a large part in one's success - whether it be selling popsicles or finding true love. Carpe that diem by the throat and shake it 'til something good falls out its pockets is what I say!
E.A. West, Pravina Maharaj, Patricia Kiyono, Kathy Bosman and Leenna Naidoo have written five sweet stories in this anthology and I urge you to get a copy. It's all for a good cause. All the proceeds go to HIC Childrens' Home in Newcastle, South Africa. If you comment on this blog, tweet about the giveaways and other exciting things, you could also win a bundle of other romance novels. One, by yours truly - Harcourt's Mountain. Check out Second Chances Facebook Page for more details. The link is at the end of the blog.
Here's the blurb from the anthology, 'Second Chances'
When a couple falls in love, sometimes their relationship doesn’t work out and they part ways. One day they may meet up again. The sparks fly. The hurtful memories rise to the surface. Is it possible for them to heal the rift between them and start all over again? Can they have a second chance at love? Or is it too late? Find out in this feel-good anthology of five unique, sweet romances.
Story One: Escaping the Past by E.A. West
True love never dies, but can it overcome mistakes of the past?
When Felicia Coronado’s soon-to-be ex-husband kidnaps her daughter on a remote mountain road, she must rely on the assistance of a group of soldiers in the area for a training exercise. She’s stunned to discover the soldier in charge is the high school sweetheart she never thought she would see again. Lieutenant Mark Benson never stopped loving Felicia, even after she dumped him before their senior prom. Now, six years later, he learns the truth behind why she left him. Can he forgive her for the past and give her a chance for the future once her divorce is final, or will he help find her missing daughter and leave Felicia behind?
Story Two: Giovanni’s Christmas Bride by Pravina Maharaj
Mistletoe Magic. Two Passionate Hearts. A Christmas Wedding to Remember.
Italian billionaire Giovanni Ferruccio had sworn never to forgive Brennan Shaw for breaking off their engagement and marrying his cousin Anthony.
Five years later, when fate delivers a widowed Brennan and her young son Luca to Giovanni's door, he is determined to discover the reason for Brennan's betrayal. But after one too many kisses under the mistletoe, Giovanni realises he can’t let go off Brennan and wants to make her his Christmas bride.
Story Three: Flowers for Maddy by Patricia Kiyono
Sometimes the roadblocks in your life aren’t as high as they seem.
Maddy Benning’s life has been full of missed opportunities. She’s had to settle for commuting to local colleges rather than attending the school she and her high school boyfriend had chosen, and spend all her time either working or taking care of her mother. She’s resigned herself to a life void of excitement and love. Meeting Jake again opens new hurts—but can it lead to new joys?
Jake Warner gave up his teaching position to return to his Lake Michigan hometown and care for his father. But it looks like the job is more than he can handle on his own. While looking for appropriate care, he runs into a girl from his past. Years ago, their parting had been painful. But was there more to the story than he’d realized?
Story Four: His Treasure by Kathy Bosman
What Treasure from the past will Dale find?
Bridget is the new chairlady for the Treasure Hunter’s Club, a hobby she’s taken up to fill the loneliness after breaking up with her boyfriend Dale. The magic has left her life too, or so it seems, because the magic matchmaking photo album told her Dale was the right man for her. So when her ex-boyfriend walks into the club meeting, she’s barely able to make her speech. Dale can’t believe he’s in the same room as the woman who broke his heart and made him lose interest in dating. Being together for a night might be too painful to bear.
Story Five: Three Million's a Crowd by Leenna Naidoo
3 Million eyes, 2 desperate hearts, 1 second chance.
Munro Calliston needs to win a few million. Vivian Francis needs to win back Munro. The TV reality show Treasure Seekers seems the perfect route to a win-win situation...But can two so very wrongs ever make things right?
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