MY newest Trailer for A SHOT AT LOVE, releasing into the book reading world on 10.3.17
It’s for an – as yet – uncontracted new Romance Series I’m writing. Book one is the finalist!!! in 2014 I was a finalist in this contest also. Back then it was for a little, unpublished book titled COOKING WITH KANDY. And we all know how that story ended…..
When I’m not entering contests or writing romance you can find me here:
Yesterday, I shared a sister scene from book 1 of the WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, Cooking with Kandy between, oldest sister Kandy Laine and her younger -by three years -sister, Gemma. In book 2, A SHOT AT LOVE, Gemma is now the heroine of the story. Kandy’s influence is never far from her mind and actions, though. This scene takes place in a cabin. Even though she is hundreds of miles away from her sister, Kandy is still taking care of her younger sister…and everyone else it seems.
From A SHOT AT LOVE
“Kandy sent some of the soup she’s featuring in the new restaurant, along with stuff to make her grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it,” Rick told her when she opened the refrigerator. “There’s a container of it on the second shelf.”
Gemma opened the tub and took a whiff. “Hmmm. Grandma’s tomato cream. Yummy.”
“Your sister is opening a restaurant?” Ky asked. He moved to the kitchen behind her, helping to take down dishes and utensils from the cabinets. Just being physically close to her again brightened the foul mood darkening his soul from everything he and Bannerman had discovered so far.
“Several, actually,” Gemma said. She filled a pot with the zesty smelling soup and placed it on the stove. “The first one opens in a month in Tribeca. Another in Orlando in the fall and then L.A. in January.”
“No. Kandy.” Gemma lifted her shoulders. “This has been her dream since she was a kid, although she never told it to anyone until recently. A restaurant featuring only comfort foods, the kind we all had and loved as kids.”
“An interesting premise.”
She nodded and began slathering bread slices with butter. “No lie. This soup,” she pointed to the pot, “is without a doubt the best tomato soup you will ever have. Hands down.”
“Truth,” Bannerman said.
“What makes it so special?”
Gemma’s quick grin had him hard as stone and wanting in a heartbeat. “The showman in Kandy will tell you it’s made with love added into every cup, but it’s really the mix grandma perfected of spices and herbs, plus the fact she uses almond milk as the cream, and not cow’s milk. Grandma was a pioneer when it came to using plant products for baking sauces instead of dairy ones.”
The soup started to warm, it’s enticing aroma filling the kitchen.
“I wasn’t hungry until just this moment,” Ky said, sniffing the air.
Gemma laughed and said, “Wait until you taste the grilled cheese.” She laid two sandwiches onto the griddle. “You’ll think you’ve died and gone to comfort food heaven.”
A few minutes later the three of them sat at the table.
The only sounds for a while were them sipping the soup and chewing.
“You didn’t exaggerate,” Ky said, wiping his lips with a napkin. “This truly is the best soup I’ve ever had. Think your sister will give me the recipe for my mother?”
“Not a chance in a gazillion, but she can come into the restaurant anytime and have some.” Her lips lifted at the corners.
Who couldn’t love a sister who sends food to wherever you are???
I’ve mentioned many times that I’m an only child. And that I hated being one. Still do. I think the reason I write about big families with multiple siblings is because that’s what I wanted when I was younger….still do! I love writing about sisters, especially. Older and younger sisters. I haven’t written twin sisters yet, but I intend to. I just need to do some research first.
Sisters. In my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, there are 7 Laine sisters. Kandy is the oldest, Eleanor the youngest. Their parent’s volatile divorce left each of them scarred in different ways, and, like with anyone, some of the sisters are closer to one another than others. It’s that way for Kandy and Gemma, who is 3 years younger than Kandy. In the first book COOKING WITH KANDY, Gemma is her older sisters’ principal photographer. She does all of Kandy’s publicity shots and has photographed all her best-selling award-winning cookbooks. Gemma is a true visionary in her own right, and in book 2 A SHOT AT LOVE, we see her evolution since Kandy’s show ended.
“What’s going on with you and the hunk?” Gemma asked as she helped Kandy carry the leftover cake back into the kitchen.
“What are you talking about?”
“The two of you have been walking around each other on eggshells all day. I noticed it the second I got here. What happened?”
“Why do you think anything’s happened?”
“Stop answering me with questions, Kandace Sophia, and tell me what’s going on. I know you like I know the lighting stops on my camera. Have the two of you slept together?”
“No.” The explosion echoed in the kitchen. “For goodness’ sake, Gem, what do you take me for?”
She shot her sister a cool, smug smirk. “A fool if you haven’t. I’d fall into bed with him in a heartbeat if he asked me.” When her sister’s mouth fell open, Gemma added, “Don’t be mad at me for the truth.”
She took Kandy’s hand in hers and rubbed it. The sisterly show of affection made Kandy sigh. “I’m not mad at you.”
“Then tell me. What’s going on with you two?”
Kandy sat on a breakfast barstool and rested her hands on the counter. “I don’t know.” A second later she added, “No, that’s not true. I think I know, but I’m not sure.”
When she sighed again, Gemma took a seat next to her. “Tell me.”
Kandy looked into her sister’s eyes, identical in every way to her own and saw concern wash through them.
With a great deal of reluctance, she related the scene in the kitchen the night before. Supreme embarrassment prevented her from telling Gemma what had transpired in the garage earlier.
“I’ve never acted like that before,” she said, dropping her head into her hands. “So needy, so totally off the wall sexually. It was scary.”
“It sounds exciting as all get out.”
Kandy shook her head and gave her sister a small smile. “Beyond exciting. I can’t describe how good it felt to be kissed like that. I can’t believe it was me.” She threw her head down into her hands again.
“It’s about damn time,” Gemma said, yanking her sister up by her hair, her gaze slicing into her. “All you do is work. You never have any fun, Kan.”
“Cooking is fun for me.”
“Yeah, well, we all know you’re not normal.”
“No, it’s the truth. I can’t imagine a better diversion for you than having a hot, torrid, sexfest with this guy. It’s absolutely perfect. Go for it.”
“Gemma, I can’t have an affair with him.”
“Well, for one thing, he doesn’t want me.”
Gemma’s eyes widened, making her brow groove in disbelief. “I don’t believe it for a second. I saw the way he looked at you in your office the other day. There was enough longing in his eyes to comfort a small, underdeveloped nation.”
“Then why is he the one who keeps pulling the plug every time we get in a clutch?”
Gemma shrugged. “Some weird sense of duty, maybe?”
“Right.” She shot a finger at her. “He keeps telling me I’m a client. That’s all I am to him, Gem. A job.”
Kandy’s heart ached when she said the words out loud. Admitting them to herself was one thing. Telling them to her sister, giving a real voice to them, was quite another. And it hurt.
It hurt like hell.
“Did he kiss you back?” Gemma asked.
Oh, baby, did he ever! “Yes.”
“Peck-on-the-cheek kiss, or I’ll-die-if-I don’t-wrap-myself-around-your-tonsils kiss?”
Kandy snorted. “The latter.”
“There you go.” She sat back, a smug smile wiggling across her mouth. “What more proof do you need? The guy wants you, Kan. I say go for it with all you’ve got. Enjoy the heck out of him.”
“And then what?”
“What do you mean?”
“What happens next? When this whole thing is over and he leaves? What am I supposed to do then, Gemma? Just go on as if it never happened?”
Gemma shrugged and rose. She opened the refrigerator and took out a pitcher of ice tea. “I don’t know. Why think about it now?”
“Because I think I may be falling in love with him.”
Gemma stopped pouring midstream and leveled a frown at her sister. “You can’t be serious.”
“I am. I’ve never felt like this about a guy before. It’s more than just the physical attraction. I like being with him, having him around. When we went out to dinner last night, for the first time in a really long time I was relaxed and comfortable. I can talk about anything with him. He listens. He hears and understands. I get a safe and warm feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I think about him. I can see the two of us together, sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee, discussing the kids. I’ve never let myself think about children and carpools and starring in my own happily-ever-after before. Never. It’s never been an option for me.”
Gemma cocked her head. “Because of Daddy and what he did?”
Kandy nodded. “I don’t want to love someone as much as Mom did and then have it all turn to crap. I’ve done everything I could to protect myself from ever being that vulnerable.”
Gemma’s sigh was forceful. “And you all say I’m the one who’s screwed up the most in this family.”
“Gem, no one says that. Truthfully.”
“But you all think it. I know you do.”
The sisters stared at each other for a moment.
“Look.” Kandy finally broke the silence. “I don’t know what do to about this, how to handle it. Whenever we’re in the same room, all I want to do is have him hold me. When he’s not around, I’m thinking about him.” She told Gemma how he’d left her for an hour after the rat incident. “All my mind could focus on was how long it was taking him to get back.”
Gemma sat next to her sister and took her hand. “You sound like you’re in love with him already, no maybes about it.”
“Can’t you ever do anything halfhearted?” Gemma said, a lopsided grin tripping over her face.
“Why’d you go and fall in love with the guy?”
“It’s not like I could help it. Don’t you remember what Grandpa used to tell us?”
Brow furrowing, she answered, “The thing about lightning?”
“Yeah. One day you’re walking along without a care in the world, and then bang, like lightning, you get struck through the heart for good.”
Gemma’s grin grew. “Grandma used to get all teary-eyed when he’d say that.”
“Because it’s what happened to him the day he met her.”
“And you feel this way about Josh?”
Her head moved up and down, slowly, a few times. “Believe me, if I could have prevented it, I would have. I don’t need this right now in my life, you know I don’t.”
On a sigh she said, “Yeah. I do.” Gemma took a sip of her tea. “So, what are you going to do? Pursue it and get your heart potentially stomped on, or let it go and wonder what could have been?”
“Oh, don’t be so melodramatic,” Kandy said. “This isn’t some Jane Austen novel. I have more choices than just those two.”
“Like what? Aside from using him for sex or marrying the guy, I don’t see a lot of options looming on the horizon.”
Kandy shook her head and hugged her sister. “You’re an idiot. I love you dearly, but you’re an idiot.”
I just lovelovelove sister interaction!! Tomorrow I’ll be giving you a little glimpse of book 2, A SHOT AT LOVE, and how Kandy helps Gemma out when our fearless and opinionated photographer’s life is turned upside down.
When I’m not writing, you can usually find me here:
It took me almost 2 weeks to tell you everything I wanted to about RWA 17, but there are still a few things I want to mention.
There was a new format this year for the Golden Hearts and the RITA awards ceremonies. In the past, both events have occurred on the last night before the end of the conference, and usually the only food you see are desserts. This year, the RWA Board decided to split the ceremonies into 2, with the Golden Hearts a luncheon and the RITA’S a…dessert. Yes, again. But I digress. It was actually great splitting the two for several reasons, not the least of which was that we didn’t need to sit in a noisy, crowded ball room for more than 2.5 hours while the awards and the speeches were done. The Golden Heart luncheon took about an hour, the lunch was great and the dessert wasn’t bad, either, although I was allergic to everything in it, so had to rely on the reactions of the others at my table to determine if it was good.
The RITA awards took place the same night, featured many desserts which again I was allergic to,
and a cry-induced speech by the amazeballs Beverly Jenkins, who was the Nora Roberts LIfeTime Achievement award winner this year. It’s no wonder this woman is such an amazing writer- she is a phenomenal speaker!
Now, many of you may know I was a Stiletto Finalist this year for my holiday novel A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.
I didn’t win…but there’s always next year, and in all honesty, it was fabulous to be a finalist in such a prestigious RWA chapter contest! Thank you CRW!
Now, I can’t forget my two favorite events: The Kensington Book signing and the Literacy book signing. For Kensington, I gave out my books along with my hand painted produce bags that I schlepped with me as a swag item. Let me tell you, people lovedlovedloved them!!!
Here’s me at the Literacy signing – which was packed to the hilt with readers!
So Sunday morning, after a very busy and HOT week, I got myself to the airport via Shuttle ( nightmare, again!!! But that’s for another blog post) made it through security because of TSA pre-check( Thank you, Jesus and the TSA!) and settled down to wait for my plane to leave while I listened to some of the workshops I missed via the flash drive.
I listened on the plane home, too!
Le Sigh…. Now I have to wait a whole year to go to RWA18 in Denver. I’d better start painting more bags….
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!
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,
It’s a full seven days since I first posted about waiting in an airline terminal, bound for Atlanta, Georgia. This time, I’m homeward bound. And tired. Soooooo tired.
My first RT convention is over and I must tell you I am happy to be on my way back home. Back to my own bed. Back to home cooked meals and not restaurant and/or fast food. Back to not living out of a suitcase. Back to watching my favorite television shows and finally, back to my writing schedule again, which was sorely neglected this week, despite all my blogging efforts.
A week is a long, long time to be away from home. I miss my husband; I miss my bed; I miss my naps. I miss wearing sweat pants and pajama tops. I even–and I can’t believe I’m saying this–miss my Planet Fitness. The hotel has a fairly nice gym, but it’s not my gym.
RT2017 was my first RT experience, and I can truthfully say I’m glad I did it, if for no other reason than to just check it off on my something-I-need-to-do-for-my-writing-career list. Some parts of the experience were great, some, not so much, so I will really need to explore whether or not I want to invest the time and money to attend next year in Reno.
The good parts were the wonderful new fellow writers and readers I met. It was an absolute delight meeting my fellow Kensington/Lyrical authors, Susan Mann,
and Tiffany Warren.
These are amazeballs women and fabulous writers you will want to read.
Some other old freinds I was able to visit with included Stephanie Kay
and the fabulous Jessica James
Two of the highlights of my week were the Kensington book singing
and then the personal meeting I had with my beloved Editor. I sold out of all my books at the signing event- and I hope I garner some new fans because of it! Afterward, I got a one-on-one few hours with my editor, talking about everything from family and friends to where I’d like to take my writing career next with Kensington. I could have talked to this delightful woman for the entire night!
While waiting in line for an event one evening, a young lady came up to me. She looked familiar, but then, I tend to think that about a lot of people!. She asked me if I remembered her, I admitted she looked familiar but menopause was messing with my memory, and she reminded me we had met at the Fall In Love With New England reader event in 2016. She purchased every one of my books there and loved the handpainted boxes I put them. The dawn burst through and I did remember her and her aunt stopping by my table and talking for a while. This chickita is from Connecticut and is a true lover or romance novels. I was so impressed by the fact she was attending this convention, as well as the 2017 FILWN conference I am going to, and I was reminded of something I’ve always told me daughter: the world truly is a small place, and you should be kind, pleasant, and nice to everyone you meet because you don’t know when they will come into your life again. If this encounter wasn’t proof of that than I don’t know what is.
And while most things at the conference were great, there were some decidedly down points as well. First and foremost the crowds. What goes hand in hand with the crowds on the negative scale were the long, time-consuming lines to get into any and every event and the wait at the elevators for getting back to hotel rooms. There were only five elevators in the main tower of the Hyatt, and most times one was down for service or being used exclusively to bring people up to the penthouse restaurant. For a conference of this size, a hotel with more elevators should be the number one concern of the event planners.
I didn’t attend any of the after conference major parties for a few reasons. One, most started at 830 or 9 pm and I was already exhausted after a full day of walking, waiting in line, and networking. Two, they were all themed parties, and not realizing that this conference was like a ComicCon for romance readers, I didn’t have anything costume-wise planned. Three- the lines to get in….
Having to wait in line for over an hour for each event was a pain the a**. I don’t go to Disney or any themed parks because of this and to have to do it at a conference was simply annoying. Many of the conference rooms where workshops were being conducted were too small to fit the capacity crowds as well.
The hotel had one main restaurant ( wickedly overpriced) and one bar ( ditto). Luckily, the hotel was attached to a food mall, but for those of use who can’t eat fast food due to allergies and stomach issues, the hotel options were lousy.
I realize these are piddly, petty things to complain about. Believe me, I realize it. But I think to be fair and balanced, the good and the bad of an event needs to be explored because it weighs heavily on how much I will decide to attend future conferences of this type.
When all is said and written, though, I did enjoy myself for the large part. Meeting new readers, finding new authors, getting my name “out there” in the romance reading world, were all– as Martha Stewart says — good things.
While I’m traveling home, you can see what I’ve been up, here:
Until I became a professional writer ( and by that I mean, one who writes full time and actually gets paid! Yippie!) the biggest social media presence I had was on Facebook, and then it was only because my daughter was away at college and on it, and I wanted to ensure she was okay. And of course by okay I mean that I stalked her posts! She knows this so I’m not worried she’ll be mad at me.
But when my first book was contracted, the publisher suggested – heavily and often! – that all their authors needed to have a very visible social media presence to garner sales and book promo, since they did relatively little in the way of book promotion. It was all on my back. If I wanted my books to sell, I had to get the word out there, so I became a social media junkie.
I joined Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Google+, LInkedIn, and of course I made my own Facebook author page in addition to my personal page I use for friends and family. In addition to Instagram and Snapchat. Oh, and how could I forget? My own website that I use for announcements and blogging 4-5 times per week.
And with the arrival of Tribber, well, I’m there, too.
Keeping these sites updated takes a lot of time… a lot of time. Let’s read that again so you get it: A LOT OF TIME.
Time I could spending, well, writing!
One of these days I’m going to be rich and successful enough to hire a publicist and let her take care of all the updating. Ahhh….. to dream.
Here’s where you can find me most of the time when I should be writing books and not updating you on my life:
and since this is week 15 of the #MFRWauthors 52 week blog challenge, click on some of the names below and see how they’re faring with all this social media stuff.
I’ve been going at 120 miles per hour the past 3 months – ever since the New Year. I’ve got two books in final edits and galleys, I’ve got three more I’m working on for release at the end of this year and hopefully the beginning of 2018. I’ve committed to blogging more and am going to the gym 5-6 times per week. I’m doing a presentation at a conference next week, in addition to traveling 4 major times this year ( airplanes, people!) to other conferences. I’ve got a brand new book out TODAY and am doing promo for it as well.
This is all in addition to my normal life stuff. You know: cooking, cleaning wife-ing
Oh, and I’ve got Dancing With The Stars in 15 friggin’ days, so practice, practice, practice!
It’s only the beginning of April, but I feel like I’m burnt out already. Or I did, that is, until this past Saturday. Saturday night I did something I haven’t done in a long, looooooooooong time: I went out with friends.
Thank God and all that’s Holy for friends.
These friends don’t write.
These friends are all my age ( give or take a few months).
These friends all have children the same age as I do.
I have a history with these friends that doesn’t include plot lines, story arcs, or Capezio dance shoes!
And these friends keep me grounded while at the same time recharging my soul.
It was so wonderful to spend a few hours just talking about nothing and everything. I didn’t think once about how terrified I am of giving my presentation to a (hopefully, fingers crossed) large audience next weekend. I didn’t for one second agonize over a line of dialogue that I just couldn’t get right. I didn’t think about my feet, sore, and huddled in Merrel’s because they were so swollen from dance practice.
I didn’t do anything other than simply be, have fun, and laugh.
My hermetic existence is a given. I accept that I need to spend long stretches of time alone just so I can get my stories on the page. I know I let world changing events float by me without so much as even a comment or a consideration just so I can finish a chapter. I get that sometimes I’m grouchy and pale and my eyes look like they’re bleeding because I spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. I accept all this and I go with it.
But it felt so blessed GOOD to not think about anything other than the conversation drifting around me.
God gave the world so many wonderful things. Free-will; faith; chocolate; wine. But the best thing he gave us was each other. People. Friends.
If you haven’t talked to or seen a friend in a while, call them TODAY! Not email, not a text, Actually put your mouth to the phone and speak to them. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.
And as an added reminder, TODAY is the day COOKING WITH KANDY is released. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet ( and that begs the question “why not?”) here are the links: