MY newest Trailer for A SHOT AT LOVE, releasing into the book reading world on 10.3.17
I just love a blog tour and hop!
The arrival of April signals–in my neck of the woods–the arrival of Spring. Or as we natives call it, black fly season. You know: those pesky, annoying, pain-in-the-a** noseeums that swarm around your face, ears, eyes and cleavage?
God, I hate those bugs. I really do. Since I live in the woods I typically get inundated from the very first beautiful dry day we have to signify Spring, right up until Memorial day rolls around. Having an outside barbeque becomes aggravating, not to mention dangerous from everyone running into one another armed with cutlery to try and escape the odious little buggers. Gardening is a nightmare unless you are swathed from head to toe like an uber-mummy or rabid beekeeper. Trying to get in a little exercise walk outside becomes an occupation just to make sure you are doused in every bug repellant known to man– and those little PIA’s still swarm!
Every year I hope, pray, and offer up sacrifices to the Gods that this year–this year–we will be spared the invasion. And every year…we aren’t.
I don’t anticipate this year will be any different. Le sigh.
Oh well. At least I can stay inside and read a good book. And speaking of a good book ( shameless plug coming) this is my latest from Kensington/Lyrical. COOKING WITH KANDY
Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!
Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .
Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .
Buy Links: amazon
And…since this is blog tour that means GIVEAWAYS and prizes. I’ll be giving one luck winner an e-copy to COOKING WITH KANDY at the end of the tour. Click here for the link to visit other author blogs and to qualify for prizes and giveaways! And good luck! BLOG TOUR
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.
When I’m not being shameless, you can find me here:
Strange blog post title, right? Well, maybe not.
So, November is a memory, but not the November challenge of NaNoWrimo. You’ve – hopefully – gotten your winner banner, letting one and all know you managed to eek out that 50,000 word minimum for the month, and maybe even a little more ( like me!) and now you’re internally debating the next step.
Dive right into editing? Start to query agents, editors, and publishing houses? Print out the book and give it to one and all of your supportive peeps to read and review and critique?
Well, I hate to give advice because I hate to receive it, but….
Let’s sit back for a second and think this through.
You’ve just spent 30 arduous days giving literary birth to your new baby. A quick pregnancy in potential plotting ( if you’re a plotter) and then 30 continuous days of delivering it into the world. 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, 2,592,000 seconds ( does this remind you of a Broadway show tune?) That’s a lot of time spent in doing one thing, any way you slice and categorize it. The goal of the challenge is to write your story. To get it onto paper or the laptop. Like most writers competing in the challenge you did not edit along the way. I’m sure your manuscript – like mine – is rife with spelling, grammar, and tense mistakes, not to mention maybe a plot hole or two. Or three. Now is not the time to submit it or allow ANYONE to read and review it.
Now is the time to….sit back for a little bit. Let the manuscript safely stew in your file section. Don’t read it…don’t edit it…don’t start letting the publishing world know it’s available, because it’s not.
I know the excitement of getting the story down – and quickly – is high. Believe me, I know it. But you need to rest your creative brain for a tad and forget some of the words you wrote. Then, when sufficient time has passed – and that can be two days, two weeks, or even a month ( like AFTER the holidays!), you can open it from the file and start to read it with fresh eyes. Eyes that will see all those mistakes, plot holes, and character problems. Those setting mixups and description errors. You’ll be able to SEE you gave your heroine green eyes in chapter one and then realize the hero described them as brown in chapter four. You’ll be able to SEE the motivation you gave your killer to kill was the same internal struggle you gave your hero to. You’ll SEE the escape plan you concocted in chapter 6 is pretty much impossible if you’re penning a contemporary tale and not one filled with dragons and wizards.
Right now you are high on the fabulousness of what you’ve written. Let it stew a while and you’ll realize it’s still fabulous, but needs work. Namely, editing.
Editing with fresh eyes is the best way to find the problems and think of ways to correct them.
Now, as far as querying – don’t. Not now, and certainly not after the first read through. My last three NaNo written books have been published AFTER they went through extensive edits and rewrites BEFORE I even submitted them. The books I submitted to my publisher were the ones where I removed all the mistakes, fixed the grammar and tense, and idealized the plot and story line. My settings were all consistent, my characters fully formed and possessing the correct hair and eye color throughout the book! And even after they were bought they still needed more editing!!!
Do yourself a favor: have a glass ( or two or…) of wine, sit back and put your feet up on the ottoman. Watch a good romance chick flick or even an action adventure movie. Or both. Relax. Rest. Revive. Then you can review, revise, and rework those wonderful NaNoWriMo pages.
Trust me. You’ll be happy you did.
AND ( here comes a shameless plug and I’m not ashamed in the least) if you want to escape into something funny and read a holiday tale, try A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, available right now. It’ll take your mind off writing and put it back on reading someone else’s work for a bit.
When I’m not being shameless you can find me here:
With the publication of my first holiday-themed romance novel, A Kiss Under the Christmas lights, I thought I’d give you a little insight into my own Christmas-centered love story.
I was married the day after Christmas. Yup, December 26. Boxing Day in the UK; 1/2 price retail day in the US. Everyone I knew was surprised, and I think a little anxious, about a wedding at Christmas time because, really, sosososo many things could go wrong and spoil the day. Since I was getting married in New York, we could have had a terrible snow storm, ruining the day and the travel plans of my guests. Because so many people travel on the days leading up to and including Christmas day, you need to plan for twice the travel and drive time than you’d usually give to getting somewhere, so the thought I’d be late – or anyone in my wedding party would – was great.
Booking a Catholic church for a wedding the day after the Lord’s birthday was a nightmare. My regular church was already taken, and I “shopped around” for weeks until I found one that had an opening. It wasn’t my family church, but it was an old, neighborhood one, complete with ecclesiastical frescos and stained glass windows. So pretty. Oh, and its name was serendipitous because it was St. Margaret Mary Church. I’ll leave it to you to figure out why it was so fitting.
The holidays are typically met with joy, fun, and in many cases, depression. I had two invited guests tell me they weren’t coming because they usually felt blue this time of year and didn’t want to ruin my day with their grumpiness. Thanks for that. Oh, and btw – they didn’t send a gift.
The holidays are also usually met with weight gain. Do you know how difficult it was for me not to eat the wealth of delicious holiday food my family always served because I couldn’t afford to gain not–even an ounce–just so my dress would fit??? Torture, it was. Simply, torture.
In addition to the excesses of food offered, the holidays are also a reason to imbibe. And over imbibe, at that. I had more than one relative tell me that Uncle SoandSo or Aunt What’sIt was known to hit the bottle a little harder and faster during the holidays and that I shouldn’t (a.) invite them to the wedding, or (b). if I did invite them, cut them off at the pass ( and by pass, they meant the BAR!), or else I was going to have either a drunken fight, a drunken sound-off, or a drunken mess on my hands.
The day arrived crisp, cloudless, and clear. Not a flurry in sight and the wind was minimal. My dress fit, the limos arrived on time- as did the guests and the wedding party despite the ridiculous, back-up everywhere, shopping traffic- and the ceremony started when it was supposed to.
Because it was the holiday season, I’d chosen the traditional green and red colors for my wedding theme. I know: not very original, but they are a tradition for a reason! My bridesmaids wore Scarlett O’hara style, hooped green velvet and satin dresses, my flower girl the same dress in red. My groomsman had green bowties, my ring bearer donned red plastic glasses so he’d match my flower girl. I had red and white roses with baby’s breath for flowers and boutonnieres. All in all, it was a very festive looking party.
So when I came up with the idea for a Christmas inspired romance story, I knew I needed my hero and heroine to meet, fall in love, and then commit to one another during the holy season and find their happily-ever-after during such a joyous time. Exactly like I did.
Oh, and just so I fully disclose here: Uncle SOandSo did get drunk and pass out behind the poinsettia-ed dais.
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?
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 deep and dark oval shaped eyes. 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 well-defined and pronounced. He was clean shaven, and 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 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 like an empty cannoli shell 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 while naked, buxom-breasted chubby women fed 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.
I’m giving away one free e-copy (KINDLE) of A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights to anyone who comments below by telling me: what month did you get married in?
I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
When I’m not writing feverishly into the night, you can usually find me here:
So you all know by now I was here over the weekend:
The first ever FALL IN LOVE WITH NEW ENGLAND conference was a huge hit by anyone’s standards! This was my first EVAH readers conference and I can’t tell you how tickled I was to meet so many lovers of romantic fiction – in all its genres. There were readers from every age group, background, and occupation. Some came from as far away as Oregon and as close as the next town over from the conference center.
I was privileged to sit on a contemporary workshop panel with three other contemporary authors, who I now consider my friends-not only in writing-but in life as well, Terri Osburn, Caridad Pineiro, and Claire Gem. Each of these writers brings something very unique and individual to their novels and each is a master of the contemporary genre. Our workshop room was packed with readers-and a few other authors-who were interested in hearing why we write in the genre we do, how we come up with ideas, what are no-nos for us as writers, and where do we push the envelope in sex, relationships, and plot-lines. Many of the readers didn’t know what TROPES were, so we each gave our version of our favorites – and least favorites! I’m not too sure why my mouth is open like a fish in this photo…it may have been because I was talking ( which is what I do. Constantly!)
I was so impressed and awed by the depth of knowledge, passion, and love these readers have for romance novels ( and their authors!!) I feel like I’ve finally found my people after a long, exhausting search! And these readers are ravenous for new material, as evidenced by the tremendous amounts of books they purchased at the author signing. Who says print is dead? Not these loyal readers, that’s for sure.
In addition to the workshops, authors and readers got to interact and have funfunfun at a costumed dinner on Friday night. Here are a few pictures from the laughter filled night, that included costume prizes, a reader basket raffle, where the 5 readers at my table each won an impressive basket filled with books, and other reading sundries.
As you can see, I was a chef. I’m sitting next to the lovely Ana E Ross and the fabulous Marianne Rice is behind me as Harley-Quinn from Suicide Squad. There’s a cute little cat woman over on the right. That’s uber-talented author Karen Stivali. This was one power-packed table of authors. We all write in romance but we all write in different genres. The readers at our table were amazeballs as well!
A pizza party and a movie ended the weekend on Saturday night with plan to do this all again in 2017.
I sosososo plan on being there!
When I’m not cavorting at conference and such, you can usually find me here:
Recently, I signed on with NetGalley, an online book reviewer site. The reason I decided to do this was because I read a lot of books by new authors, and I know – personally!- how hard it is to get reviews. Reviews generate buzz about books to people, and as an author, I appreciate how valuable a good review is to finding new readers to read my stuff. A good review can up an author’s sales. A great review can propel a book and its writer into another stratosphere. Being a reviewer allows me to help the people I know who read my blog find great new and upcoming authors, and writers they’ve never read before.
I made a new page on my website to list the books and their reviews that I think are outstanding and worthy to be read. This is the link: Books I’ve reviewed . You’ll find well known authors in addition to many names many you’ve never heard of before – but should be hearing about!
My standards for review are the same ones I hope other reviewers will use for me. I won’t write a written review for any book that I can’t give a 4 or 5, to. If a book scores lower than that for me, it usually means the story didn’t resonate with me. That doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to others, tho, and I don’t want to post something negative about it. I’ve read two books recently that I gave only 3’s to because there were so many grammatical and typing errors in the copy I couldn’t actually enjoy the story because of it.
I don’t ever want to be one of those mean reviewers who epitomize the haters gotta hate rule. Those are the reviewers who I always think are secretly writer-wannabes who just can’t – for whatever reason -write the story themselves, so they bash others that do. So. Not. Me!
So, if my humble opinion means anything, I hope you will check back periodically and read about the books I’ve given kudos to.
In just a few days, I leave for San Diego for the 2016 RWA annual conference. Can I tell you just how excited I am?! I’m like a kid waiting anxiously for Christmas morning. I’m like that 18-year-old waiting for the college acceptance letter to come via snail mail. I’m like that bride-to-be the night before her big day. I’m like….okay, you get it!
This will be my third RWA conference. The first one I ever attended was in 2014 and that conference shaped my life to come. Dramatic much, you ask? No, not really. I’ll tell you why.
At the RWA14 conference held in San Antonio 2 amazing things happened that turned my life as I knew it then, completely around. First, I met the person who would become my first editor at The Wild Rose Press. I had submitted my manuscript Skater’s Waltz to WRP after winning a contest. Rhonda Penders was the judge and she asked me to submit. I had been exchanging emails with this editor for the champagne line for a few weeks, and she told me she would be at the conference and would like to meet up, so we arranged a time to do so. When we met she told me that by the time I got home from the conference there would be an acceptance letter in the mail from WRP for my book, along with a contract. I was so stunned I couldn’t put a coherent sentence together. A legitimate publisher was going to put my book into print! Momentous event number 1.
Life changing event number 2 was when I met, talked with, and cried to Nora Roberts. Oh, and got a picture with her, which currently sits on my writing desk. Why did I cry, you ask? It was NORA ROBERTS!!!! And she was so damn normal and nice. We spoke for a few minutes ( well, I babbled between sob sniffs!) and she encouraged me wholeheartedly to go all balls out for my dream of writing and publishing romantic fiction. She said no one could write the romance story I wanted to tell but me. Me! Holy Macaroni!
She said she knew she’d be seeing my at the Literacy Book signing someday, at my own table.
I left that conference with enough enthusiasm and good will to last until the RWA15 conference. At that one, I volunteered to work at the Literacy Book-Signing and was assigned to Jayne Ann Krentz! No crying this time, but she was amazing. I learned an awful lot about being a gracious and receptive author from her.
This year, RWA16, I’m volunteering at the Librarian’s luncheon and moderating 2 courses with some of my fav authors. Oh, and I’m doing the Literacy Book signing this year as …drumroll…. a SIGNING AUTHOR. God bless Nora Roberts’ prediction.
So, if you’re in San Diego this year, join us for the Book signing. If you’re a first time RWA conference attendee, whether you’re an author or a reader, be sure to look for me around the Marriot and in classes and stop and say Hi!
And remember: dreams come true every day, in every way. You just need to dream them.