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Sunday Snippet 9.23.18

From the upcoming CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS

After grace, my father turned his attention away from the conversation my brothers were having about the Jets, and toward me.

“What’s going on with you and that Irish guy?” he asked without any preamble.

Luckily, I hadn’t taken a sip from the water glass I’d lifted to my mouth, otherwise I knew I would have choked on the liquid.

“Nothing.”

Regina Maria.”

“Really, Pop. Nothing. I made a cake for him. That’s it.”
 I could hear the angels in Heaven tsk-tsking me.

I’d been in church less than two hours ago, and now I was committing a sin by lying to my father. I could see a visit to the confessional before the end of the day was in order.

“Guys you make cakes for don’t usually spend the night in your apartment, little girl.”

My brother knows a guy named Tony Cartieri. Everyone who knows him agrees that if Tony didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck.

Right at the moment Pop made that statement, I knew exactly how old Tony felt, because the conversation had slowed and ebbed, Pop’s words spreading around the table loud and clear. The kids were set up in the living room, so I don’t think they got wind of it. But everyone else did.

Ten pair of eyes glared at me from all corners of the table. Some were wide-eyed; some were narrowed. All of them were filled with varying levels of emotions ranging from shocked (Ma) to suspicious (my brothers) to pleased (my sisters-in-law).

“Regina.” Ma threw her napkin on her plate and slammed her cutlery next to her plate. “What is your father talking about? What man spent the night at your apartment?”

“It’s not like it sounds, Ma. It was late and we were talking, and then we both just fell asleep—”

Holy Madonna.” She made the sign of the cross and closed her eyes, hands clasped together as her lips moved silently in prayer.

“Where?” ’Carlo asked.

“Where what?”

“Where did the two of you fall asleep? In your bed?”

Another finger cross from Ma. This time she kissed her fingertips afterward and threw a prayer up to the Lord.

“I don’t think you get to ask me that question, ’Carlo. I’m thirty-two years old, and you’re my brother, not my father.”

“What I am is suspicious,” he spat back. “How come we didn’t know you were seeing a guy? Why you keeping him a secret?”

“First of all, what I do in the privacy of my own home”—now Ma was rocking back and forth as she prayed—“or don’t do, is none of your business. Second, I’m not seeing anyone, so the fact that it’s a secret is null and void. Stop with the third degree, GianCarlo. Use it on your own kids, ’cause like I said, you’re not my father.”

“But I am,” Pop said, his tone hard and filled with anger, “so answer it. Where did Irish sleep last night?”

“Irish?” Petey exclaimed. “What the Hell kinda name is that?”

“Language, Pietro,” Ma said, awaking from her spiritual coma to chastise her son.

There are so many things I simply adore about my family. The unshakeable connection and love we all have; the fact that we live close to one another; our shared faith and sense of tradition. But the one thing I do hate is the antiquated morality system they adhere to. Girls don’t have sex with men before marriage, plain and simple. Of course since the one and only time I’d done just that, I’d wound up pregnant and forced to get married, my parents’ concerns made sense.

To them.

I was almost fifteen years older, much wiser, and a full-fledged adult now, but I was still treated like an ignorant bambina who had to be protected from wolves and scoundrels. If my father had his way, I’d be married right now to one of his goombahs, eight months pregnant with probably our seventh child, and in the kitchen making gravy.

So many times over the years, I’d wanted to smack him on the back of the head much the way he smacks us, and say, “Wake up! It’s twenty-first-century America, not eighteenth-century Sicily.” Wanting to do something and actually doing it, though, are very different beasts.

So.

I don’t get mad often, especially with my family, but I was tired, overworked, emotionally drained, and royally pissed off right now, so the anger bled through my usual calm.

I rose from my chair and threw my napkin down on the table like my mother had.

“You know what? I’m done. I’m done with you all treating me like a child. I’m not one of your underlings, Pop, who needs to be kept on a short lease and told what to do every minute of the day because you don’t have enough trust to let them act on their own. And”—I glared at my brothers— “I’m not five years old and unable to defend myself against bullies and bad guys. You don’t have to hold my hand so I can cross the street and not get hit by a car.” I grabbed my plate and walked to the kitchen. “I’m done with you all thinking I can’t make a wise and appropriate decision with my life,” I added over my shoulder. I placed the dish in the sink and called out, “I’m done with the checking up on me, the second- guessing me, and the way you all think you have a right to manage my life.”

I yanked my coat off the hall tree and yelled, “I’m a thirty-two-year-old grown-ass woman who owns and manages her own business and her own life. I don’t need protectors, handlers, or any of you telling me what to do, who to see, or how to conduct myself. I’ve been on my own a long time, and I think I’ve done a great job with myself, even if you all don’t.” I shrugged into my coat and wound my scarf around my neck. “If I want a man to spend the night or not, it’s none of your damn business. Deal with it.”

I may have screeched that last part.

I slammed the door behind me and sprinted down the stairs of the brownstone, my ungloved hand waving in the air for a passing cab.

As an exit line, I think it was a pretty good one.

Available December 2018 from THE WILD ROSE PRESS

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When I’m not writing, I…

A well rounded person is one who loves to learn, find new fun things to do, and questions everything!

I kinda think I’m a well rounded person.

It’s no secret that I love to write. When I’m putting together a new story, I’m never happier. But, just like man can’t live by bread alone, she can’t do just one thing in life either.

When I’m not writing I’m usually either cooking, painting, or restoring some old piece of furniture.

I lovelovelove to cook. Anyone who knows me or who has read my blog knows this. And I’m an equal opportunity cook, which includes baking. Some people are really good bakers, while their cooking skills leave a lot of be desired. For the others, the opposite is true. They can put together a six course meal, complete with meat and fish courses, but ask them to bake cupcakes and they start to sweat and foam at the mouth. I love to do both!

My passion for painting started in my 40’s when I watched a PBS piece about Donna Dewberry. Donna was just like me – a woman of a certain age, who wanted to learn something new, so she invented a new art form and way of painting. She made it look so easy on her documentary, that I purchased a starter kit and was hooked from the first piece I ever made! Any one who has ever attended one of my book signings know how much I like to paint, evidenced by the hand painted bags I give them with the purchase of a book! This is the Donna Dewberry, One Stoke Method at its finest!

Refurbishing and rehabbing old furniture and steamer trucks has been a passion of mine fore several years. This is one of the most recent trunks that I finished.

Great as gifts, great as storage.

I’ll be brutally honest and tell you I can’t do any sports to save my life. Sometimes, I can’t even walk properly! But in a world where doing creative stuff is a great way to keep motivated, energized, and mentally sharp, I’m a  pro!
Let’s see what some of the other authors in this hop do when they aren’t writing. MFRWauthors Blog Challenge

And, as always, when I’m not writing, painting, cooking or rehabbing, you can find me here:

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

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When I’m not writing I’m….


So today’s prompt is “creative outlets I enjoy.” You already know I lovelovelove to cook. But did you know I also like to paint and restore old steamer trunks?

I’ve done 5 trunks over the past 3 years using a decoupage method. When they are complete, I give them away as gifts to people around me who ask. My daughter has 2, my BFF has one, and I’ve got the other 2. This one is sitting in my office behind the couch I use to take naps in when the words aren’t flowing as fast as I want them to.

I also like to paint – crafty paint. I  hand paint canvas bags  and give them away at my book signings to readers. Since I write a romance series about cooking, the bags are all food themed:

 

Now, it’s always been my DREAM to have a hard-back book contract. Because I’m one of those people who believe in  putting actions behind dreams to propel them into reality, I also handpaint wooden “books” and then insert my own POD ( print of demand) paperbacks into them, also for readers at book signings as a gift from me;

The readers I’ve given them to have been thrilled because the “book” is a nice way to keep the actual book fresh and new-looking.

So…crafting and painting is my superpower, er…creative outlet. What’s yours?

Let’s see what other creative outlets the writers in this hop have: MFRWauthors

And, of course, when I’m not writing, painting, cooking, or restoring stuff, you can always find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author Branding, author promotion, branding, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Clothing…required. #MFRWauthor Blog challenge Week 27

This week the MFRWauthor blog prompt is THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE WHILE DRESSED.

Hmmm….so many possibilities, esp. for a romance writer, (heehee).

But if I’m going to be truthful, the most fun I have while dressed is when I’m cooking.

It’s no secret I lovelovelove to cook – and eat! I even wrote a romance series about a chef and her family – all of whom cook. Many of my treasured recipes where incorporated into those stories and I have to admit, people who’ve read them have commented many times they got hungry while reading them.

Okay…for a romance writer that pun leaves a whole bunch of stuff open to the imagination, but…I digress.

I am never happier than when I am surrounded by me dearest friends and family around my huge dining room table and they are all eating a meal I’ve put together.

 

I’m usually the first person to volunteer to bring a dish to an event, and I’m always grilling people ( another shameless pun!)  on how they made something that’s a new flavor profile to me so I can replicate it, reconfigure it, and then serve it when I’ve got it perfect.

I’m not a snotty cook, either. I don’t care if something is made from scratch, half from scratch with boxed stuff added as filler, or a meal put together from those old childhood friends Hormel, Chef Boyardee Green Giant, or Heinz. I’m an equal opportunity taster and cook. Of course, I always try to redo any dish I try where I’m told that it was half scratch or store bought, just to see if I can make it without using any commercial boxed products. I think my success rate is somewhere in the 90th percentile!

Creating the perfect tastes to entertain the dearest and most loved people in my life is my idea of true, complete, happiness.

And let’s be honest here: you should never prepare food without clothes on! Think of all the sensitive places you could burn or sear or – God forbid – slice while you are cooking!!! There’s a reason cooking aprons are a necessity in my kitchen. They not only protect my clothing from grease spatters, but they are an added layer in ensuring none of that hot grease crosses to my skin! Think about that for a second…..

So…I love to cook with my clothes on. Let’s see what some of the other authors and bloggers in the challenge like to do while dressed. And I’m really hoping next week’s prompt isn’t THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE NAKED! Hee hee MFRWAuthor 52 Week Blog Challenge.

And when I’m not cooking, you can find me here doing….other things than cooking!! Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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A little #Surprise this weekend…

I was laid up in bed all day yesterday because I pulled my left flank and hip muscles on Saturday at the gym. Adulting and life should come with a disclaimer that doing squats after the age of 55 is not a wise choice.

Anyhoo.

As I was working in bed 

I got an email that just about shot me off the mattress. Apparently, I am a FINALIST in the 2018 HOLT MEDALLION CONTEST in the Long Contemporary category for my book COOKING WITH KANDY.

YOWZA!

If you scroll down to the Long Contemporary category you’ll see my name. My real name. Apparently, I entered under my real one, not my pen one. Le Sigh….

Anyway – YAY!!! Cooking with Kandy won a bunch of awards before it was published and this is the first time I’ve entered it in anything since it’s been published, so this is uber-thrilling.

I’ll keep you updated once the winners are announced. All body parts are crossed for this one, peeps!

Looking for me? Here I am: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

and one last shameless plug: Check out my new AUDIOBOOK version of 3 WISHES, available now at Audible // Itunes // and Amazon.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you

Thanksgiving means different things to different people. To me, it means being thankful and grateful I live in a country where I can try and make someone else’s life better. I wrote about this recently on Angela Haye’s THANKFUL AUTHORS blog. Pay it forward, in life and in Gratitude.

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A good book, a fab recipe, and a great author…..

I’m so pleased to be hosting one of my favorite authors today, Joanne Guidoccio. Joanne and I share something other than just a love of cozy mysteries and romance books. We both lovelovelove to cook! And swapping recipes with this great cook/author/lady is one of my new favorite things to do.

In her new book, TOO MANY WOMEN IN THE ROOM, Gilda Greco is embroiled in the death of her new business partner in a restaurant venture. After all her guests stormed out of the restaurant, Gilda Greco took refuge in the steaming goodness of Chef  David Korba’s Avgolemeno, a Greek lemon chicken soup that warms up body and soul while releasing endorphins. Packed with protein and Vitamin C, this comforting soup is a staple in many Greek homes throughout the winter months.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to one season. Avgolemono is a great go-to dish whenever you are feeling under the weather and need a quick pick-me-upper.

Here’s a tried-and-true recipe from Joanne’s mother’s kitchen: ( you’ll want to add this to your “save” files!)

Ingredients

5 cups chicken broth

2/3 cup Italian arborio rice*

1 lemon, juiced

2 large eggs

Salt and pepper, to taste

* Feel free to substitute orzo or any small shaped pasta.

Directions

  • Pour the chicken broth into a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  • Add the rice and cook until chewy, but soft. Italian arborio rice will take about 20 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and set aside. Let it sit for five minutes. If the rice mixture is too hot, it will curdle the eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy and then add the lemon juice.
  • Add the rice mixture, a spoonful at a time, to the egg mixture. Stir well.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Servings: 3-4

Note: Six more easy-to-prepare recipes are featured in Too Many Women in the Room.

Blurb

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into an untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

A little about Joanne:

In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Connect with Joanne here:Website:  // Twitter:  //Facebook: //LinkedIn: // Pinterest: //  Goodreads:

I love a good book and TOO MANY WOMEN IN THE ROOM was a goodie. Here’s my review: My review

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A day in my life….is not for sissies!!

I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time  – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.

I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)

That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day. Made bed.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. )  Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.

But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.

So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

How many courses is too much?

This blog entry is gonna kill me….literally!! I lovelovelove to cook. I have almost 130 cookbooks in my house, many dog-earred and marked up with notes. How in the name of all that’s holy can I pick one meal that I’d have for my very last meal on earth?

Okay. SO let’s look at this the way a hostess with the mostest would. A meal consists of COURSES. A typical meal would have at least 5-7 courses, so if I go with the principle that MORE IS MORE, my last meal will have 7 courses. And they won’t be the typical cheese, salad, meat, yadayadayada courses. I’m reinventing the courses. I can do that. I’m a writer and this is MY last meal, so there!

Course #1. Forget the salad. If I’m gonna die, I ain’t eating salad. This course is going to be a full blown appetizer course consisting of my favorite appetizers: coconut shrimp, artichoke dip with Ritz crackers, pigs-in-a-blanket, scallops wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon with maple syrup and brown sugar. To Die For!

Course #2 The soup course. My favorite is good old fashioned TOMATO SOUP and I’ve got a recipe that just soothes the soul. Of course, along with the tomato soup I will have to have a grilled cheeses sandwich because, you know…they go together. My grilled cheese consists of thick homemade potato bread, slathered with real butter on both sides and a mix of mozzarella and provolone cheeses on the inside. Delish!

Course #3: Fish. Going all out here, folks. I lovelovelove fish. So, I’m gonna have to make my seafood scampi. Scallops, jumbo shrimp and lobster in a white wine sauce with mushrooms and served over bowtie pasta. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

Course #4: Pasta. You might say the previous course of scampi fits the pasta bill. No f**king way! I’m eating an entire course of  my penne ala vodka, served with yards of garlic bread.

Course #5: Main meal: You’re probably wondering why I’m not in the Emergency room by now with a ruptured stomach from ALL that food!  But if this is my last meal, I’m gonna keep going. So, For the main meal there really is only one option for me: Lobster macaroni and cheese with bacon. I know…………

Course #6: Cheese. A little palette refresher here. I love baked cheeses, so I’ll prepare my baked brie in puff pastry with apricot and serve it with little bullets of baked challah bread and fruit.

 

Course #7: Dessert. Lordy, Lordy, so many to choose from. Cheesecake? Chocolate mousse pie? Cannolis? All favs, but I’m gonna make an entire Chocolate trifle and eat it all by myself.

And, yes…that’s my Trifle, recently made for a party.

If any of this sounds good to you ( and why wouldn’t it??) You can get a few of the recipes in my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series from Kensington/Lyrical Shine Publishers. COOKING WITH KANDY is available now and had the lobster mac and cheese. A SHOT AT LOVE releases on 10.8.17 and there are even more recipes in that one,

Bon appetite!

Since this is a blog hop. you might want to click over to some of these other authors and see what constitutes a last meal for them.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, First Impressions, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor