Category Archives: A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts

One week from today!

Join me and many other Romance Authors next Saturday, July 29  at the Dolphin Resort in Walt Dinsey World for a mega book signing.I’ll be there from 3-5pm EST with copies of COOKING WITH KANDY and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS to sign.  The money that’s paid for the books goes to the Nora Roberts Foundation for Literacy – so you not only get to meet your favorite authors, you get to support Literacy too! How cool is that?!!

 

Can’t wait to meet you all!

 

 

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Sometimes, I get it right…..

You never know if what you are writing is going to be received well. It’s like a comic performing in front of an audience for the first time. He knows he’s funny. He likes his jokes, his routine, but he’s just not sure the audience is going to “get it.”

That’s typically the way I feel when I write. Is anyone going to “get it?” Are they going to understand what I mean? The intention behind the innuendo? My weird sense of humor?

Well, today I know someone got it – and a big someone at that. I received my first professional review for a story that is as near and dear to me as my own family – A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.  I’ve included a link to the review here because I sososososo want to brag about, er… share it! The review is from LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS and I’ve been hoping they would review something of mine since my first book was released. It took two years and 7 books, but they finally did and I just have to pull a Sally Field and say “she liked it! She really liked it!!!”

Here’s the link to the review LASR

Here’s a little about the book:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Excerpt:

After an hour of helping people move supplies from cars, I passed by mama who was carrying a humongous plastic swaddled baby Jesus statue for the crèche when she called out, “The new guy is here.”

“Where?” I put down the ladder I’d been carting and looked in the general direction of where she’d pointed her chin since her arms were full of the Lord.

I found him in an instant. It wasn’t difficult to do because he was the only guy in the parking lot I didn’t recognize who was under sixty. Plus, he was dressed head to toe in basic clergy black. Black long sleeved shirt under a black vest over black trousers and standard issue shiny black boring priest shoes.

His back was to me and he was carrying a table, but after he put it down and turned around I got a good look at the front of him.

And Holy Mary, Mother of God, what a front he had.

Close cropped military style hair the color of wind blown wheat topped a head which stood – truly – head and shoulders above everyone else around. The guy had to be six-three at least. Sharp, etched cheekbones God cut with a knife, sat under oval eyes which looked deep and dark from where I stood. His face was a composite of planes and angles, the carved cheeks meeting up with a chiseled-from-stone chin. Hardened concrete looked softer than this guy’s jawline. His nose was perfectly fixed in the center of his face, the slight aquiline bend at the tip bringing to mind Michelangelo’s David, the cupid’s bow under it deep and pronounced. Clean shaven, his mouth was full and thick and – God help me – looked utterly kissable.

I could tell even with the chunky vest covering his torso, he was closer to thin than stocky, but if I could guess from the way his biceps pulled against his sleeves, he had some muscle to him.

And some pair of legs. They went on forever, from heaven to earth in a full, hard line.

I don’t know how long I stood there, just gawking with my mouth open looking like a cannoli waiting to be filled, but I’m being truthful when I say I couldn’t move. My feet were frozen to the ground, my knees had locked, and my hips weren’t taking me anywhere soon.

This was one beautiful man.

The old masters would have used him as a springboard for their work, and I could actually picture him in a Botticelli fresco, garbed in Roman robes, lounging with naked, buxom-breasted plump women surrounding him, feeding him grapes and sweetmeats.

In the time it took for a hummingbird to flap its wings once, I pictured myself as one of those women.

Buy Links: Amazon //Wild Rose Press //  kobo   // Nook // 

When I’m not basking in the fabulousness of this review, you can find me here:

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Christmas in July…Bah Humbug??? Maybe not.

I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you one of the things I hate, historically, has been what’s called Christmas in July by the retail and commercial selling world. Christmas is Dec. 25 a winter holiday, so I have never understood why Hallmark and the Christmas Tree Shops, just to name 2, go bat-shit crazy during one of the hottest months of the year promoting the holiday shopping season.

Since I’ve published a Christmas-themed novel, though, my thoughts have changed. I now understand the WHY of such early promo. You want your readers to start reading and reviewing your holiday works so that when the actual dates roll around, the gift-of-a-book-buying public will choose yours, based on buzz.

I get it now. In spades.

Or maybe that’s in Christmas cookies(!)

For my Christmas in July, here’s A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS from The Wild Rose Press. The book is also up for a Contemporary  Romance Writers STILETTO AWARD this year. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m a finalist and the winners are announced on July 28!

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your holiday appetite.

Blurb: 

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Excerpt:

He came toward me and I could see every ripple of muscle, every action and reaction of his gait, every blink of his eyes, as it happened. Detailed, distinct, delicious.

The bright sun shone low due to the hour, but it haloed around his form, bathing him in light.

He looked like an angel.

A dressed-all-in-black angel, but an angel, nonetheless.

“Need some help?” he asked when he was within a foot of me.

I still hadn’t moved, my fingers cemented around the ladder rungs. I couldn’t feel them anymore. Merda, I couldn’t feel anything I was so numb from just looking at him.

But I could hear. My blood, as it river rafted crazily through my temples; my heart drumming like a heavy metal band in my chest.

And his voice. Mio Dio, his voice.

When I was six I had a terrible chest cold. Wheezing, choking on phlegm, unable to cough anything up. The doctor told mama to keep me warm and hydrated and the cold would ride itself out in time. Nonna Constanza, ancient even when I was a kid, scoffed and prescribed her own old world remedy. She sat me in her lap, cooing to me with her singsong voice and held a tiny shot glass up to my lips coaxing, “Tu bevi, Gia bambina. Tu Bevi.”

Drink, Gia baby. Drink.

She tilted the glass back into my mouth and I did. I drank every drop.

I don’t remember much after because Daddy told me I slipped into a mini-coma for about sixty-two hours, bombed out of my head from the anisette nonna had dosed me with.

But this is what I do remember. The amber colored liquor slipped down the inside of my mouth to the back of my throat and onward into my belly, tasting of melted marshmallows and warming each place it touched like a million little hits of heat popping everywhere inside me. When it reached my tummy it settled and dug in, filling my senses with the sweet flavor of mama’s Sunday morning caramel rolls and sugar.

That’s what his voice sounded like: warm and sweet, thick, delicious, and soothing.

My entire body relaxed when I heard it. My paralysis flew and my frozen-in-place digits melted.

He’d held my stare the entire time, never wavering, never becoming distracted by something else. He looked straight at me; just me. Like a missile dead-eye-aimed for a target.

“Here,” he said, moving in closer, so close I could make out the actual color of his eyes now. I’d thought they were dark and from far away and they were. But seeing them now, face-to-face, I spotted little flecks of yellow and slivery shards of gold mixed into the center and surrounded by a ring of deep, rich, mink.

If his voice was warm and soothing, his eyes were hot enough to singe, and mama mia, I wanted to be burned.

Buy LInks: Amazon //WRP // Nook // Kobo //

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#Celebrating some good news.

Just found out that my Wild Rose Press book from last Christmas holiday season A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest from the Contemporary Romance Writers RWA chapter! I’m one of 3 finalists in the Contemporary Romance – short division.

Can you just say “YOWZA!!!”

I am uber-stoked. A KISS came in 3rd in the NECRWA 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, and now this!!! My little romance writing heart is all aflutter today. And probably will be until July 28 when the winners are announced at RWA2017.

Yikes! I need to get to the gym so I can fit into a nice dress for the announcements…

See ya……………………

But before I go, if you haven’t read A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS yet ( and why not???) here’s a little taste:

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind. Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not. Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

 

Excerpt:

At twenty-four I still lived under my parents’ roof, had no full-time paying job other than helping my father with his business books and those of a few of his business associates, and my love life was nonexistent.

It wasn’t that I didn’t get asked out or date. I did. Often. Plus, I was perpetually being set-up by the aunts and uncles. I’d had a steady boyfriend all through high school, but we went our separate ways when we each left for college. My choices had been limited in recent years to guys I met in college–who were all looking to score, not forge a lifetime commitment—and then in accounting school who were, for lack of a better word, boring and absorbed either in numbers theory, finding jobs after graduation, or in just getting into my pants. The men my extended family routinely set me up with were mostly thick-necked, uneducated, wiseguy wannabes who wanted a conventional Italian bride they could keep barefoot, pregnant, and cooking.

So. Not. Me.

I needed to make some decisions about my life and make them soon. First, pass the exams and get licensed. Then, look for a real job so I could afford to live on my own. This one might be the hardest to accomplish since my parents were old-school thinkers who believed girls should stay home until they were married. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go from their house to a husband’s house, and never experience what it would be like living on my own.

Lastly, I wanted to find the one special guy I could commit to. A guy who’d be family oriented like me, want kids, the minivan, a house in the ‘burbs, the whole family-comes-first-and-always mentality I’d been breastfed on.

I wasn’t too picky. Obviously, I didn’t want him to look like a troll, but nice looking wouldn’t hurt since I’d be spending eternity staring across the kitchen table at his face. A good-paying job would be nice in a career where I didn’t need to worry he’d make one wrong move and wind up as fish food in the Meadowlands marshes.

Don’t laugh: have I mentioned my Uncle Sonny?

BuyLinks:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press//  Kobo // Nook

When I’m not celebrating, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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That old #adage Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover, #JABBIC, is now a #contest..

SO, every year, the HOUSTON BAY AREA RWA Chapter hosts a Book cover contest titled, you got it! JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.

This year, two of my current titles, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and THE VOICES OF ANGELS are among the entries for the Contemporary Romance category. Both covers were designed by uber talent Rae Monet and I’d reallyreallyreally appreciate your vote! I’ve enclosed the link above. I’m on page 2 in the contemporary category – just scroll down once you’re there.

Here are the covers. The highest you can score them is 5 stars (pleasepleaseplease). Shameless, I know I am.akissucl_850-1 perf5.000x8.000.indd

When I’m not being shameless, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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The final tally in #Predators&Editors

Finished in 5th place!

Finished in 5th place!

So, for the past several weeks, the Predators and Editors 2016 readers poll has been in effect. I will tell you truthfully, I was lobbying hard for a  place in the ROMANCE SECTION and after all my arduous begging – I mean– hard work(!) I tied for 5th place. Not too shabby, considering the hundreds of entries.

I had a few people who are not involved with writing, publishing or anything related to either, ask me why I pushed so hard for a place in the contest results. I don’t get any prize money, or anything lucrative for coming in the top ten;  I don’t automatically have an influx in my books sales. The answer, though, really is a simple one.

I wanted to come in as high as I could because of the exposure an event like this has. I am still a relatively unknown author. Yes, I’ve had 7 books published in 18 months and I have three more due out this year. I have begun to build my — for lack of a better word — following. But I still need to grow more readers and a good way to do that is with global exposure such as the P&E poll. Hopefully, since I did finish so high up, people who don’t know my work will take a chance and order the book that came in 5th place – A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. And if they like that one, they might try the others, as well.

The snowball effect of finding a new author is a proven thing. When I discovered Jill Shalvis 3 years ago I went out and bought as many of her backlist as I could find and now I have all her new stuff on pre-order. I don’t think I’m the only reader who does this. In fact, I know I’m not, after talking with other readers.

So, thanks to all who voted for me. I promise I won’t hound you anymore. Well, at least not until next year when P&E rolls around again!

For those of you who haven’t read A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin; to whet your appetite and — hopefully — you’ll want to read the rest!

akissucl_850-1

Blurb:

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Excerpt:

His back was to me and he was carrying a table, but after he put it down and turned around I got a good look at the front of him.

And Holy Mary, Mother of God, what a front he had.

Close cropped military style hair the color of wind blown wheat topped a head which stood – truly – head and shoulders above everyone else around. The guy had to be six-three at least. Sharp, etched cheekbones God cut with a knife, sat under oval eyes which looked deep and dark from where I stood. His face was a composite of planes and angles, the carved cheeks meeting up with a chiseled-from-stone chin. Hardened concrete looked softer than this guy’s jawline. His nose was perfectly fixed in the center of his face, the slight aquiline bend at the tip bringing to mind Michelangelo’s David, the cupid’s bow under it deep and pronounced. Clean shaven, his mouth was full and thick and – God help me – looked utterly kissable.

I could tell even with the chunky vest covering his torso, he was closer to thin than stocky, but if I could guess from the way his biceps pulled against his sleeves, he had some muscle to him.

And some pair of legs. They went on forever, from heaven to earth in a full, hard line.

I don’t know how long I stood there, just gawking with my mouth open looking like a cannoli waiting to be filled, but I’m being truthful when I say I couldn’t move. My feet were frozen to the ground, my knees had locked, and my hips weren’t taking me anywhere soon.

This was one beautiful man.

Buy Links: Amazon //  Wild Rose Press //  Nook

When I’m not begging people to vote for me, you can probably find me anywhere here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

 

 

 

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A #sale, a #ValentinesDay gift, and a good #romance

3wishessale

My lovely Publisher, The WILD ROSE PRESS is having a Valentine’s day sale and all the Candy Heart eBooks are now 40% off. My addition to the crew, 3 WISHES, is one of these! If you read A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights and enjoyed it ( I hope, I hope!) you’ll love 3 WISHES because it introduces you to the large, loving, and crazy San Valentino family.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet you candy day appetite from 3 WISHES.

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy Links: The Wild Rose Press  // Amazon

And when I’m not out promoting sales, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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#Predators&Editors #voting polls are open…Help a #writer out!

The 2016 Predators and Editors Voting polls are open and I’ve got 2 books nominated in the ROMANCE category. L ast year I came in third and I’d really like to elevate that status this year because something like this is a great way for writers to get their names out to people who otherwise wouldn’t know them.

If you have a few minutes please consider voting for either A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS or THE VOICES OF ANGELS, both in the ROMANCE category. I’ve included the links here: 

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

Thanks for any and all support. Keep a writer working!!!

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A #NewYear, a time for new #blogideas

2016 has exited the building – thank you, Jesus!  Now it’s time to figure out what I’m going to say here, in this forum, for the next 365 days.

No pressure….not!

I started this blog because I wanted to talk about writing with people who enjoyed writing as well. Over the past 2 years, it’s morphed into something more. More substantial; more funny; at times, more an internal reflection of my feelings and emotions about…stuff. I’ve been able to introduce you to new authors who are fab and promote their work. I’ve had some serious discussions about life, writing life, family stuff, and current events. I’ve veered away from anything controversial and/or political/ and negative. I’ve wanted this to be a fun place to spend a few minutes getting to know new writers, and to challenge you with ideas. I hope I’ve done my job…

So, 2017. What the heck am I gonna talk about??

Well, I do have some new author interviews lined up already and I can’t wait for you to meet these talented writers.

I’ve also got at least 2 books of my own coming out this year ( maybe 3!) and I know I’ll be going gungho with promoting them.

The publishing world seems to be changing daily, so we’ll talk about that.

I’ve got at least 4 writing trips coming up this year, so you know I’ll be showing you pictures of your favorite romance authors whom I’ll be meeting and fawning over, plus writing about my traveling experiences.

And I guess I’ll be divulging some more personal stuff – only the funny stuff, though!!!

2017 promises to be a life-changing one for me – I’ve got lots going on!!! All good and all exciting.

So, stay tuned and we’ll discuss……lots of stuff!

 

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#Christmas2016, done…#2017 #plans…

Well, Christmas  has come and gone with a bang. As has 2016.

Almost.

As I look ahead to the next year I see lots of interesting events on the horizon. I’m taking 4 trips this year for business/reading/writing.

New England (NECRWA) conference in April

RT Convention in May

RWA in July

and.. Fall in Love with New England Readers and Writers Conference in October.

Holy Cow!! That’s a lot of air fare, gas, and room rentals…but so worth it.I’ll be doing book signings, and in one case ( NECRWA) a class. Too much!!!

I’m also having 2 new books published ( so far!) with my new Publisher, Kensington/LyricalShine. The first is in April, COOKING WITH KANDY, available for preorder – just click the link. The second, (I believe) will be in October. Much more on that info in the coming months.

cooking-with-kandy

So, as I kick 2016’s ass to the curb, the plans for 2017 are shaping up nicely, no?

You still have time to purchase my latest 2016 book before the New Year begins, though, so if you are looking for some light, fun, funny and family reading, give A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS a gander!

akissucl_850-1

And when I’m not planning trips, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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