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Guest blogger: Renee Dahlia

16 January 2022

Love in the COVID pandemic

There has been a lot of debate in writing circles about whether we should include the COVID pandemic in our books. Hell no! Yes, we can’t ignore history. And all the grey zones in between.

I’ve taken a mixed approach with my own writing; ignoring it in one series (Gambledale Racing; coming end 2022) and embracing it in others (Seraph’s Burlesque Club is set in London with everyone vaccinated).

Together with Ebony Jean, I came up with an idea for an anthology based on the question ‘What happens when COVID stops a travel blogger from travelling?’ The anthology—Pictures of You—releases on 15 January and is a collection of contemporary romance novellas that all have some connection to one travel blogger. Philly has to hustle to change her income source during the first lockdowns of the COVID pandemic, and each story relates to this somehow.

In my story, Count Me In, Philly’s aunt Hermione Bates runs a scrapbooking business. She has many clients who need help sorting out photos, and that’s where Philly steps in. Philly’s ability to organise her own travel photos becomes a way to survive lockdown, and a new opportunity for Philly is created. As for Hermione, she’s divorced, finally comfortable in her own skin, and has exactly the life she wants.

Sierra Street—ex-rock star and now delivery driver—urgently needs somewhere to live after being evicted by her landlord. It shouldn’t be that hard, except most landlords aren’t keen about her pet goat, Grohl.

When Hermione offers her a room until she finds something more permanent, neither of them expect their friendship to grow into love.

The challenge of finding ways for two people to meet during COVID, and to have a reason to stay together while they figure out love, was a fascinating puzzle. I enjoyed writing this novella so much that I’ve written two more in this world; featuring the other members of Sierra’s old band. I plan to release them once this anthology is ended. Pictures of You is available on Amazon and in KU for the next six months.

Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side note of awkward humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse-racing industry doing data analysis and writing magazine articles. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée spends her time with her partner and four children, usually watching them play cricket.

You can find Renée here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Pictures of You

Authors: Demelza Carlton, Liv Arnold, Susanne Bellamy, Renee Dahlia, Listya Elliott, Nicole Hurley-Moore, Fiona M Marsden, Heidi Wessman Kneale, Ebony Jean, Caitlyn Lynch

A collection of swoon-worthy and sparkling contemporary romance novellas.

Featuring your favourite tropes: Holiday flings that become something so much more, first loves, second chances and seasoned romances.

Each story is linked to a travel-blogger-turned-photo-organiser, Philomena Grant. ‘Philly’, as she likes to be known, is forced to set aside her global wonderlust because of *everything going on right now*. As she sorts through people’s memories, she spots couples who look awesome together. Are they still together now, and if not, why not? They totally should be!

Each story revolves around a family member, friend or fan of Philly’s. The results are magical and romantic and in a few cases some fabulously sexy times too.

Available here.

  1. Anonymous permalink
    16 January 2022 10:40 am

    I’m rapt to be in this anthology with you, Renée.

    • Anonymous permalink
      16 January 2022 10:41 am

      Oops, sorry, should have added a name – it’s Ebony. A goat named Grohl will stay with me for a long time to come. Love it!

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