Reading = Housecleaning

So I was supposed to spend the weekend cleaning the house, addressing Christmas cards, knitting a Christmas gift and probably baking some more because after 15 batches of cookies (really don’t think I’m exaggerating) who doesn’t need to bake some more?

Instead, I read Faking It by Jenny Crusie for the 1,345,253 time. Maybe there won’t be a happy ending this time. OK, so yes, I need some new reading material, and no, I have no idea what author to try next. I’m open to suggestions as long as you understand that I like Light. And. Fluffy.

Last weekend, while knitting and writing and laying out the annual Christmas letter, I spent Saturday night and some of Sunday watching all those romantic Christmas specials on the Hallmark Channel. The living room was a little insipid by the end. But I balanced that out with the “oh no, I’m still without a day job and what am I going to do with my life” thoughts, so I think it was pretty much situation normal around here.

Last night, still wanting some Christmas cheer, and something funny to make me forget the horror of this week, I thought, “hey, I caught some of The Family Stone last weekend, that was pretty funny.” And it has Dermot Mulroney in it, and his photo was pinned up next to my computer while I wrote The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, so yummy and funny. Sounded good.

The scene I caught was the spilling of the strata in the kitchen, which is, it turns out, pretty much the only funny scene in the movie. Oops. Spoiler alert (although why you’d need one since this movie has been out forever is beyond me): The. Mother. Dies.

Not so much on the Christmas cheer. I tried to go back to the Hallmark Channel after that in hopes I could cheer myself up, but it was no use. I watched this week’s Grey’s Anatomy instead. I was batting 0 for 3 last night.

Hence, picking up Faking It again. I’d picked it up the other night because I wanted something I wouldn’t fall into. It’s not like I can’t recite the story by heart at this point. So I figured I’d be able to put it down any time and do housework.

Yes, I totally lied to myself. I was able to put it down a lot, but I found myself taking very long meals so I could read while I ate. Or ignore my empty plate for an hour and read. It’s now 10:45, I’ve been up for three hours, and the only thing that’s been cleaned in the house is me.

But that’s OK because I have the house to myself. Just me, three cats, a dog and a fish until this evening. And during the holiday season, I think it’s important to have a little down time for ourselves. Don’t you agree? Besides, now I can put the book back on the bookshelf. That counts as housecleaning, right?


Ta-da! A Holiday Anthology and I’m Guest Blogging Today

A Season for Romance Book Cover
They say home is where the heart is…

Yes, that’s me doing the happy dance in the kitchen, while trying not to spill my morning cup of tea. No, I will not be sharing photos of me post-yoga and pre-shower. Even with the Dunkin’ Donut, it’s not a pretty picture!

So, here’s the exciting news of the day: my holiday anthology, A Season for Romance, is out!!! This is a fun collection of short stories that take place between Thankgsiving and New Year’s Eve.

If you ever wondered how Grandma Vi got her matchmaking start, you can watch as she tries her hand with Jessica’s parents, in Meddling with Mistletoe. You’ll remember Jessica from my first book, The Heiress and Her Fake Fiance. There was a throw-away line in there about how Vi locked Jessica’s parents in a wine cellar at a Christmas party. When the offer to participate in the anthology came along, I knew it was time to share their story.

Romantic Suspense author, VR Marks brings us The Sheriff’s Proposal. We meet Sheriff Cochran in her first novel, The Thief, but we don’t learn exactly how he feels about Ruth Williams, the owner of the local diner, until her annual Thanksgiving feast in The Sheriff’s Proposal.

When Ethan Myers, an award-winning photographer short on inspiration, leaves his studio for the road, he’s shocked to run into the one woman he’s never forgotten, in the contemporary sweet story, Finding the Focus, by Jay Keelan.

And finally, we have Snow-Covered Resolutions by Regan Black, a fantastic paranormal romance/fantasy/Young Adult author. It’s New Year’s Eve and all of the Pixie Chicks have someone special to kiss at midnight – except Austin. In this season of resolutions will she stick to hers, or will the snow-covered magic of Hobbitville sweep her up in a whole new adventure?

We’re guest blogging today at Romance Bandits, so stop by. I’ll be checking in throughout the day while I wrap presents and bake a ton of Christmas cookies! And did I mention there will be book giveaways?


Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge is Available

Thanksgiving turned out to be an awesome day for me. It’s the day my new book, The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, hit Amazon’s shelves! I’m really proud of this book. Here’s the teaser:

The Billionaire Bachelor's Revenge Book CoverMeg Taylor needs help only one man can provide. But is she willing to pay Evan Alton’s price?

Meg didn’t realize her father was embezzling money until it was almost too late. Now, she views it as her responsibility to save the company from the trouble her father caused. In an effort to save the business, she turns to Evan, her former fiancé to help financially support the business. Since he was the man her father pegged as the thief, she’s sure he’ll be willing to help, but doesn’t know if she can handle the personal price he offers: posing as his lover until he recoups the money he puts into the business.

Evan Alton is bent on revenge, out to get everything he was due years ago: the girl, the house and the business. Once he has them all (at least in public), he’s going to destroy them in the same way Meg destroyed him years ago. Unfortunately, his heart has other ideas and at some point he’s going to have to trust the woman who betrayed him years ago.


I’m back!

Hey, welcome back.

Actually, you should probably be saying that to me.

Like the new colors? It’s quirky. They’re not quite right, but they’re better than the previous version. They’ll probably change again in the next few weeks, but not until I’m sure I’ve nailed it. I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about color and design.

And why, you ask, does a writer care about color and design? Well, let’s review the past few months for me:

In April, I smashed and sprained my thumb.

In May, I fell and screwed up my back… and re-sprained my thumb.

In May, I also was crazy enough to bring two kittens into the house.

photo of kittens playing
That’s Marking Kitten (4 lbs) taking on Laid-Back Kitten (7 lbs).

In June, I re-sprained my thumb.

In July, I finally went to a specialist who told me I had sprained the worst part of my thumb and that it would take forever to heal, but I could type as long as it didn’t hurt.

Guess what? It hurt. No writing for me. I also put Cranky Cat on Prozac. A miracle drug.

In August, I sent Snarky Daughter back to high school. She’s now a sophomore. I also took her to get her learner’s permit . Awesome! The curves may kill us – feel free to light a candle.

In September, I sent Scout Son to 8th grade. He also earned his Life Scout rank in Boy Scouts. Awesome! We also put Marking Kitten on Prozac. Fingers are crossed.

Now every time I think it’s getting better, I do something small like breathe on it and the whole mess swells and I’m back to playing with my website colors instead of writing.

In other news, my new book, The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge comes out this month! And I was asked to take part in a holiday anthology, so mistletoe moments are headed everyone’s way!

And now, somehow, it’s October. And I’m writing. Blogs and books.

I’d promise there won’t be any more lapses in content, but then I’ll tweak my thumb and be down for the count again. Of course, one more time and I think I’ll have to invest in some of that Dragon stuff.

Because speaking my blogs to the cats isn’t nearly as interesting as sharing them with you. But the cats think you missed some quality stuff there. Of course, they think I’m a goddess as long as I have one functional thumb.



Characters In My Head

Today I remembered what I loved about some of my characters. I’m in the editing stage on Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, which means I’ve stepped away from the book for a while. That’s key, because in those last weeks of writing, I’ve lived with those characters in my head for so long I can’t wait for them to get a happily ever after and leave me alone.

By the time I finished The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, I never wanted to see Blakely, NC again. Crazy grandmas and over-stepping fathers could take a cruise up the coast for all I cared. The good news is once I’ve been away from a book for a while, I begin to care again. And sure enough, with a few weeks away from the story, I remembered that I love Meg’s determination to right her father’s wrongs, and Evan’s fierce need for revenge is fun to fuel. Hey, it’s not directed at me!

In addition to editing, I’m also writing the third book in the Heiress at the Door series. Like Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, this one also takes place in the Bay Area. Now, I fully admit to being homesick, but at this point I’m ready to move for my next book. Luckily, that one’s back in Blakely. And I’ve been away long enough that I’m ready to go back. I’m even looking forward to crazy grandma again, because that woman will mess with anyone’s love life and apparently there are a lot of clueless, lovelorn people in Blakely.

Editing takes three or four passes, so I’m sure by the end of all of that, I’ll be back to being thankful Meg and Evan live 3,000 miles away from me. But right now it’s a lot of fun to watch them work through their issues. And they have a lot of issues! You’ll get a chance to meet them this summer.



Writing Wednesday: Location, Location, Location

I have a problem. I can’t write about places I haven’t visited. No, don’t bother to look at a map. Blakely, NC, the small beach town where The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé takes place, does not exist. It’s made up of small southern towns I’ve visited over the years, especially the Crystal Coast area in North Carolina.

When it comes to non-fiction articles, I can write about just about anything, whether I’ve been there or not. I can call people, visit websites and do research so I can write 1,000 words about whatever it is. But to carry a book, I need to have a place in mind. I have to have been there.

I know writers who can take that same level of detailed research that I do for an article and write a book that sounds like they’ve lived there all their lives. Not me. I need to see a place, wander around, breathe the air, talk to the locals. Only then can I write about it.

Even having grown up in the Bay Area, when I sat down to write The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, due out early this summer, I had to visit the area. I had to see it through my characters’ eyes this time.

It’s important that I see it because to me location is a character in the book. Heiress wouldn’t have worked in New York. Would Luke Skywalker have saved the universe a long time ago if Tatooine looked like Hawaii? Doubt it. One of the reasons Casablanca is so good is because the location has it’s own personality that permeates the movie.

So, as you sit down to write, whether you need to see a place in person or you can get what you need through traditional research, make sure you give your setting its due.

And while you’re doing that, I think I’ll pack a bag. I feel a research trip coming on!