Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Fictional Characters Win More Awards Than *I* Do!

I was just notified that my heroine in A Little Slice of Heaven, Gianna Randazzo, was awarded First Runner-Up in Book Utopia's Favorite Heroines of 2008! Said Book Utopia Mom: "Gianna is one of those characters that I can see in my everyday life. A woman I'd value as a friend. A woman like so many women I already know. She reacts like the women I know, takes care of herself like the women I know. I like her in ways that I don't necessarily like other heroines. She's the girlfriend I'd call with good news or bad, and in the end, she's the heart of this warm book."

Thanks, Book Utopia Mom! I'm always thrilled when someone gets my characters.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We Have Met the Enemy and He is...Me?


According to this study, romantic comedies are bad for your love life. Apparently, rom-coms paint a distorted view of love and relationships. And there are actually people out there who, believe it or not, expect their love life to play out with the same easy Happily Ever After as movies like Serendipity, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Can y'all say it with me now? "Ummm...hell-o? It's FICTION!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feel Good Moment of My Day

So...I'm getting ready for the first December booksigning in Islandia this coming Friday. Earlier this week, the cafe owner told me a customer wanted to pre-order my book, A Little Slice of Heaven, because she wasn't going to be around on Friday. I happened to have several copies in my car so I battled the elements to dash out, grab one, sign it and bring it back to the cafe owner.

This morning he told me the lady in question was thrilled to receive her copy so quickly. He asked her if she'd read it yet. She told him the book wasn't for her; it was for her niece in Ohio--she had actually asked specifically for my book for Christmas and this lady couldn't believe her good luck that I was actually going to be near enough for her to not only buy the book but have it autographed as well.

So...to my fan in Ohio: thank you and enjoy. Your aunt's efforts gave us both a great big smile (I hope!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Long Islanders Unite


I've posted a very special blog message over at 2BRead today. If you're a proud Long Islander, please stop by and leave a comment. And even if you're not from Long Island but proud of your own hometown, head on over and boast!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's a Dyson!


A few years back, when I found myself shopping for a new vacuum cleaner, I fell in love. No, not with the salesclerk. With the Dyson vacuum. Dh, jealous I suppose, insisted we should buy a canister vacuum instead. A war broke out in the household appliance department of my local store. Even the salesclerk (whom I didn't love but appreciated for trying) tried to get my man to see reason. "Who does the vacuuming?" she asked him. Dh admitted I was the Chief Housecleaner (a title I do not aspire to on my best day). "Then she should get the vacuum she wants."


Bless that woman's heart. She tried. Really. But when it comes to my dh, he has an opinion whether the item being purchased affects him or not. And the more options he's presented with, the more indecisive he becomes. (You should have seen him with our wedding invitations! On second thought, it's probably best you weren't there to witness that maelstrom of confusion.)


We wound up leaving the store with neither vacuum, barely speaking to one another. A few days later, as a show of apology (or affection or just plain stupidity...take your pick) dh came home with a brand new vacuum cleaner for me. The canister.


Well, it's two years later now and the warranty has expired so, naturally, as I predicted, the canister no longer has any strong suction, I hate the fact the bags fill up so quickly, and I struggled with the blasted thing for hours just to get the carpets in relatively decent shape for Thanksgiving.


And then my little holiday miracle arrived in the mail in the form of a postcard. My dearest daughter works retail for a national store chain. And her store notified us of a private Dyson event for "sales associates" which began yesterday. I gave dh the ultimatum. I was getting my Dyson whether he liked it or not. So immediately after work yesterday, I picked up my darling girl at school and whisked her to the store. In ten minutes I had my Dyson in hand and paid half price for the beautiful machine. It now has a place of honor in my walk-in closet and my heart goes pitter-pat every time I pass by.


Sometimes, it's the little things in life that matter most. Or maybe the moral is Good things come to those who wait.


In any event, the great Dyson Christening is this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Straddling Two Worlds

Currently, I'm more than halfway through my WIP. So naturally I also received the edits for the soon-to-be-released, A Run for the Money that require immediate attention. It's a delicate balancing act. Not only because the two stories have entirely different plot lines, characters, and settings. Times like these have an incredible impact on a writer's psyche as well.

What I've discovered over the years is that editing a manuscript can often be an exercise in humility. Let's say You, as author, have written a phenomenal line. I'm talking stellar stuff. And suddenly someone else reads that glimmer of genius and remarks, "I don't get it." Or, "This has to be cut." And blam! You realize that maybe you're not Nora Roberts after all.

I know there are some authors who, after several bestsellers, may insist they won't do edits. After all, whatever they're doing obviously works, right? Maybe...

But for me, the edit process is about gleaning a reader's perspective. It's no different than receiving feedback from my critique partners. I view most of my editor's comments as a challenge. (S)he wants the same thing I want: a successful book. Do I dig in my heels or take a step back and try to see what (s)he sees?

Oh, sure. There will always be some instances where I stand my ground regarding a scene, a line, a character's motivation. But for the rest, I look at the challenge. Can I make this line better? If I change my character's belief system, what does it do for the plot? Can I strengthen the story? The idea is to put my ego on hold. Save it for the WIP, but banish it from the room when editing.

While working on a WIP, You are in control. You play God. You decide who does what to whom, when, and with what words. But in the editorial process, You are no longer in charge. Another god steps in and you work together to create a masterpiece.

At least, at the end of the day, that's everyone's wish. Right?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

She Likes Me!


My latest blog award comes from the super-lovely, super-sassy Debora Dennis. And of course, I must now pass on this blog award to other well-deserving authors. And so, I hereby bestoweth this honor upon the mega-talented Judith Leger, the uber-gifted Dawn Brown, and the ultra-cool Chumplet, aka Sandra Cormier.

Congratulations, ladies! You keep me rocking and writing all year long! Mwah!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just When I Thought There Was Intelligent Life on Earth

The "Obama" jokes started. I've been really good about not preaching my political beliefs here (though if you read this blog regularly, you can pretty much guess where I stood in this year's historic election). But it's been three days since November 4th's results and I've heard or been sent far too many recycled racist jokes with Obama somehow inserted into them to make them "topical." Enough!

The man is intelligent and insightful, a gifted speaker who represents a new beginning at a time when the world is in turmoil. And now we want to bring him down with cracks about watermelon and fried chicken? Don't we have more important things to concern ourselves with? Whether you voted for the man or not, he will be the forty-fourth president of the U.S. Grow up, accept that you are now a part of history, and let's help the man move us forward. He can't do anything without support. Afraid of losing your job? Or your retirement? Worried about how you'll pay to send your kids to college? Angry at the price of gas and heating oil? Concerned about global warning? Instead of pushing "Send" on that next recycled joke, get involved. Charity's not the only thing that begins at home, so does change!

So for those of you thinking of adding me to that...ahem!...hilarious email you got, or texting me about what will be served at the Inaugural Dinner, two words: Don't Bother.

I've got better things to do with my time, like making sure my kids have the opportunity to realize their potential, and leaving the world better--not worse--than how it was handed to me.




Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why I (Sometimes) Don't Mind Le Day Job

Okay, sure, it helps pay the bills while I'm waiting for some Hollywood producer to offer me a wheelbarrow full of cash to turn my books into movies. And my bosses are super-supportive of my writing. (One boss insists that whenever I get a new cover from a publisher's art department, I print her out a copy and autograph it. She thinks they'll be worth something someday. Who am I to disillusion such sweet naivete? Another keeps me supplied with scrap paper.)

But this week, I get an extra special treat. I won the Question of the Month for the first time since I started in this place four and a half years ago. (You've heard of the Luck of the Irish? I don't have it. If my name was the only one in the fishbowl, the fish would win before I would. )

This month's prize? A $25.00 gift card to Borders! Woot-woot!

Oh, just the thought of all those books... (I shiver in anticipation and my palms are getting sweaty.)

My first choice would have been
Katherine Allred's soon to be released Close Encounters. (I was a critique partner for this masterpiece--my first real foray into futuristic romance and Kathy blew me away chapter by chapter.) But that doesn't become available for another six months! And this little gift card will never make it until April 2009--though you can bet I'm still plunking down my hard-earned cash on Close Encounters. In fact, I've already pre-ordered it.

The new
J.D. Robb book, Salvation in Death, just came out. And I do need to get my Eve Dallas fix. But the dh gets automatically notified whenever a new J.D. Robb book becomes available: this way he can't screw up my birthday, anniversary or Christmas.

I've read all the
Lisa Scottoline books. Ditto my Bertrice Small collection, which seems to take up an entire wall in the garage these days. I have every Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Sarah Strohmeyer title in print. I've devoured Shana Abe's work.

So help me spend my gift card, kids! Recommend a new author or book to me, one you've recently discovered and can't wait to dive into again and again. You can check out
My Library list on the left for samples of what I've read so far this year. If it's quirky, unique, or unputdownable, I want to know about it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Free Rewards for Voters!

If you missed your free coffee at Barnes and Noble last week, you've got a second chance. After you've visited your local polling place, go to your local participating Starbucks, tell them you voted, and get a free cup of brewed coffee!



Want something sweet with that coffee? Krispy Kreme will be giving away free patriotic doughnuts for customers who show their "I Voted" sticker.

Ben and Jerry's is offering free ice cream from 5-8 pm. See details here.

Rock the Vote has free music downloads.

That pretty much covers life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, doncha think?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday Pop Quiz: What Are You Doing Tomorrow?

I hope you plan to vote. Whatever you believe, whichever candidate you support, however long the line, regardless of the weather or your schedule: VOTE! It's a right others would die for. Haven't paid any attention over the last few months? Start reading now. Check out The League of Women Voters, VoteSmart or Vote411 for additional information on the candidates, where to vote, requirements, etc.



Sunday, November 2, 2008

Help Yourself to a Slice!

Want to win a free copy of A Little Slice of Heaven? Visit the PASIC blog: 2 B Read; So Many Authors, So Little Time any time between today and November 6. Post a comment on any of the blog posts listed there. One lucky reader will receive an autographed copy of the paperback! What are you waiting for?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Look at That Scoreboard Now!"

See my progress bar for Ends...With Benefits on the left margin there? Notice anything? I've gone beyond the halfway point!

Since this is NaNoWriMo month, I'm too far along to participate. But I'm playing my own version, setting a deadline of November 30 to get the first draft done. Wish me luck. And if you're participating in NaNoWriMo, I wish you the same!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Free Coffee!



No joke. I know...I sometimes throw a title up to grab your attention. But this one's true. Barnes and Noble have coupons on their website for a free coffee, tea, latte, espresso or cappuccino. AND a coupon for 15% off any one item in the store. Coupon expires 10/31/08.

So...save money, save brain cells, save a starving author. Go. Today. NOW!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Pop Quiz: Help Me Choose a Title

Lucky you! I'm still in Conference Glow Mode. So for today's Pop Quiz (and pretty much for all of November) help me choose the title for my upcoming release with Avalon Books. All month long I'll be posting snippets from the work (bear in mind: this is the way the manuscript reads prior to my editor's interference so the final product will change a bit!) Read along and help me decide, based on these excerpts, which title best fits my latest story!

Ready?

Here's today's snippet from Chapter One:


When Nicole Fleming squirmed, the flatulent sound of sweaty thighs unsticking from her leather chair resonated like a blaring trumpet. Inside the conference room for the law offices of Stern, Stern and Weitzman, two pairs of male eyes mirrored disgust. Oh, God, how embarrassing. Why hadn’t she worn pantyhose today?

Because encasing legs in nylon during Manhattan’s dog days of July better suited a game show challenge than a will reading. Between the hellish temperatures in subway tunnels and the swelter rising up from city asphalt street-side, an extra layer of clothing would have wilted her long before she reached the mausoleum lobby here.

Fresh heat rocketed up her cheeks, and she muttered a low, “Sorry,” to the staring gentlemen. Silently praying they didn’t think she’d eaten a dozen burritos for lunch, she focused on the wall of leather-bound books to her right. Their red and green spines, embossed with gold lettering, were at least two inches thick. Had the attorney really read all those books? Who had that much free time? Not her. She barely finished one month’s Cosmo before the next issue landed in her mailbox.

At the head of the long mahogany table, Andrew Stern, Esquire, cleared his throat and shuffled the papers atop a manila folder. “If I may continue…?”

Nodding, Nicole straightened. The man seated across from her stared with the intensity of a buzzard on a dying gazelle. Who was this guy? And why were there just the two of them in this room with the attorney? Papa Joe had dozens of friends, and, if memory served, a daughter with a family of her own. So how come she was stuck with Mr. Monogrammed Shirtsleeves and the unblinking vulture of doom? Where were the truly grieving? Those who’d loved Papa Joe the way she had?

“There are, of course,” Mr. Stern said, gaze focused on the sheaf of papers, “a few charitable donations and family obligations. But the bulk of Mr. Corbet’s estate will fall to the two of you, depending upon your adherence with his final wishes.”

Some estate. As far as she knew, Papa Joe’s only worldly possession was a mangled mass of chrome, once a primo 1980 Harley Davidson Roadster. At least, until a tractor trailer made an illegal U-turn, destroying both ride and rider. Tears pricked her eyelids. Never again would she hear his folksy voice, spouting the wisdom of the ages. His chipped-front-tooth smile would never flash in welcome. She’d never again smell his unique odor of motor oil and Old Spice in her kitchen.

“Exactly how much money are we talking about?” the vulture asked.

His callousness transformed Nicole’s grief to smoldering anger. “Wow.” She forced a light air far from the turmoil churning her gut. “Did you leave your membership card at the door?”

Dark eyes flashed like the silver wrapper on a semi-sweet chocolate bar. “What membership card?”

“The one that verifies you’re human.” When he continued to stare blankly, she added, “You know. A guy with a working heart.”

With the speed of a snapped cable, his jaw dropped. Good. In the few minutes she’d spent with him here, she’d picked up his vibe. Few people dared challenge him.

Correction. Few women dared challenge him. No wonder, really. Whoever he was, this man had the sultry look of palm trees in sunset, drinks with teeny umbrellas, and warm Caribbean water kissing bare flesh. Under normal circumstances, she might have found the whole Fantasy Island package a turn-on. But Papa Joe’s sudden death had encased her in dry ice.

Eyes narrowing to cobra slits, the man whirled to the attorney at the head of the table. “Who is this woman?”

Mr. Stern blinked several times. Finally, he cocked his head. “Mr. LaPalma, this is Ms. Fleming. Nicole Fleming. Your grandfather’s stepdaughter.”

As if swerving to avoid an oncoming truck, Mr. LaPalma suddenly rolled back his chair. “She’s the succubus’s daughter?”

Fine hairs danced on Nicole’s nape. “Could you control the urge to talk about me like I’m the senile auntie in the corner? If you want to know about me, Mr. LaPalma, why not ask me?”

A smile, filled with the same snake-like malice as his eyes, bloomed over his face. “Yup. You’re the succubus’s daughter, all right.”

Any response she made now would only cause delight. So she ignored him. Not because of some perceived insult at his calling her mother a succubus. After all, Papa Joe had assigned that particular term of endearment to his ex-wife years ago.

No. Having this stranger draw a link between her and Ice Princess Rhoda stung. Okay, so maybe she should have expected a rude retort after her crack about him not being human. But his barb had struck extra-tender flesh. Hands folded in her lap, she settled her gaze on Mr. Stern’s disapproving frown.

“I’d advise you two to put aside whatever petty differences you harbor,” the attorney said. “Your tasks will be inordinately easier if you get along.”

“T-tasks? What tasks?” The E train barreled through her veins, sparking jitters in her blood.

With an exaggerated sigh, Mr. Stern removed his wire-rimmed glasses and rubbed his eyes. “Perhaps we should move on to the video.” He flipped a button on a control panel on the wall.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

Wow! What a crazy three days! First of all, let me say The New Jersey Romance Writers Rock! If you ever get the opportunity to attend their Put Your Heart in a Book Conference, go. These ladies really know how to host a fun, informative, exciting event. (And on the heels of their announcement regarding next year's keynote speaker, you can bet I'll be back in October 2009!)






I adored Lisa Scottoline's books before this weekend. I've even turned on a few friends to Ms. Scottoline's unique brand of humor, suspense, and legal thrills. But now, I love the lady behind those books. Maybe if Bertrice Small won't adopt me, Lisa will? Savvy, funny, and down to earth, Ms. Scottoline wowed the attendees with her keynote speech and then filled the amphitheater to SRO for her workshop on How to Write a Novel.



There were plenty of networking opportunities and aha! moments. My traveling companions and I made the most of our time. We did some brainstorming on our current WIPs. We pitched our stories--even when we weren't prepared to do so (and got some encouraging news from said pitches!) and even came up with a title for my upcoming release for Avalon Books. In fact, if you look to the left margin, you'll see a poll I've created. There are three titles in competition for my story. Pick one and vote. Or...hang in there for a day or two. I'll add the "unedited" opening of this new story to the blog (as soon as the Day Job's demands allow) and then you can help me choose the perfect title for this soon-to-be masterpiece!

And yes...I found the Romance TV crew shining a light in my face and thrusting a microphone at my mouth. Of course, I was in Full Conference Enthusiasm Mode at the time so I came across as Romance's Biggest Geek. But I wear the banner proudly. Cringe if you will, but I love this biz and its people. No one else has to make a fool of themselves for romance: I've taken care of that position for the next ten years.

The best thing about attending a conference, whether it's local or National, is the excitement you leave with. All the ride home, Debora, Candy, and I discussed what we'd learned and how we couldn't wait to tackle our own WIPs once again.

Also thanks to the ladies of Passionate Critters for giving me some of the best laughs of the weekend. (Everybody likes us, right? ... Don't they?)


Friday, October 24, 2008

Greetings from New Jersey

Yes, we made it safe and sound. And we survived our first day of workshops.
What did I learn so far? Soft contemporaries are on the rise! Yay! Blanc de noir is a really nice pink champagne. And my roommate sleepwalks when she's had too much chocolate before bed. I've reconnected with a lot of writer friends and made some new friends in the lobby and during the cocktail hour reception.
Tomorrow I'll be involved with editor/agent appointments, the keynote lunch with Lisa Scottoline, and the literacy booksigning. More (with photos) later!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Jersey Bound

I'm on my way to The Garden State for the Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. Pals Debora and Candy will be my trusty co-pilots. Rumor has it Deb has packed Godiva liqueur in her suitcase. Well, that takes care of two of the four basic food groups: chocolate and booze. They'll also be helping brainstorm a new title for my upcoming release with Avalon Books. Since I'm bringing the trusty laptop with me for this event, stay tuned for additional info on all the fun and facts of this outstanding Conference!

Monday, October 20, 2008

SOLD!



I got The Call from Faith Black at Avalon Books today. She's buying another of my manuscripts for her Summer 2009 lineup. I'll have to change my title, which is currently Two For the Money, so inspire me!

TFTM is the story of Nicole Fleming and Dante LaPalma: two people with nothing in common but an old man's legacy. Joe Corbet has promised them a great treasure awaits them...if they're clever enough to solve his riddles within a six month time frame. According to Joe's will, Nicole and Dante must participate in various excursions. After each adventure, a new clue will be presented and another requirement awaits. Only when they've completed their journey will they discover the treasure meant just for them.

Along the way, Nicole and Dante will be forced to share their secrets and place their faith in one another. But if they can learn to work together, they'll discover what's truly important in life. And maybe, just maybe, they'll find the greatest treasure of all: love.

So...? Thoughts? Ideas? Let the brainstorming begin!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Countdown to NJ

Yep... we're in the home stretch for the trek to NJ's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. Since slips of paper seem to disappear in the vortex that is my desk, I thought I'd post my To Do list here so I can keep track online. If you're attending, feel free to add your own To Do's or suggest what I might be forgetting.

Things to do:

Pack (naturally)
Wash and vacuum car (I'm the designated driver for my group)
Make my tote bag (I made everyone else's but neglected to do one for me--duh!)
Map out the route and be sure GPS is charged and ready!
Gather my books and goodies for the literacy signing
Print copies of my WIP chapters for my meeting with my crit buddies
Prepare the kids for my absence (stern warnings to attend school, arrange rides for work and football practice, etc.)
Make sure I have plenty of small bills to make change for book sale
Practice elevator and bar pitch for agents and editors
Make final arrangements with carpool buddies

Added: Charge batteries for laptop and camera

Did I miss anything?

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Paperback Release Day!


Today's the day! A Little Slice of Heaven is now available in paperback from your favorite online bookstore. You can buy your copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or at The Wild Rose Press!

And if you plan to be at the NJ Put Your Heart in A Book Conference next week, be sure to come by the literacy signing where good bud, Candace Gold and I will be selling autographed copies of our books.

Live on Long Island? Stay tuned for information on a very unique book signing I'll be doing in the East Setauket area! Wherever, however, and whenever you buy it, I hope you'll enjoy my Cinderella-in-a-pizzeria story, A Little Slice of Heaven!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Men Need Mommies--Example 1

I sense another of those recurring themes here on Flights of Fancy. This one dealing with the dh and some of the reasons (to paraphrase My Big Fat Greek Wedding) "It's lucky for him he has me to tie his shoes!"

Today's example actually happened Sunday before football. We're all in the car waiting for the dh (a normal occurrence in our household.) After several horn blasts and a shout out the window of, "Will you come on already?" the hubster strolls out of the house with a thermal travel mug filled with coffee and a weird look on his face.

As he gets into the car, he turns to me and hoists the travel mug while saying, "Do you know you can't put these things in the microwave? They make sparks."

I...am...speechless...



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Judy Tagged Me!

My Suite Judy Bloo Eyes, aka Judith Leger, just had to assign me more writing. As if, dear crit partner that she is, she didn't realize I've set myself an impossible task with my WIP. But, since I love her so much, I'll play along. Okay, Jude, what are the rules?


I'm supposed to tell you six things about myself and tag six friends. What? Like I haven't already divulged all my deep, dark secrets here? All right, all right. Let me think...



1. I'm addicted to television. No, seriously. One of the first things I do when I come home, wake up, etc. is turn on the TV. I can't sleep without that familiar glow in the background (dh usually clicks it off sometime in the middle of the night). I don't sit on the couch, my gaze glued to the screen. But I absolutely have to have it on at all times.



2. I have very strong political views. Umm...yeah. I'll keep them to myself and not bore you with my opinions on what's wrong with the world, but I do keep up with what's going on in the political arena. Which probably explains why my son gets into heavy political debates as often as most other eleven-year-old boys talk about toilet humor.



3. I'm not impressed by money or labels. I live in a small three-bedroom ranch house, nothing elaborate or grand. I drive a Honda Accord (in fact, when car-shopping, dh and I debated the Accord vs. Acura's TL. I won because the Honda had three inches more leg room in the back seat. I know what's important to me!)

I've never paid more than 20 bucks for a purse. (Why? I'm only going to use it for a few months to carry no more than 30 bucks worth of crap in. If I could carry a paper bag and get away with it I probably would.)

I don't care how much you spent on your drapes, what designer's tag is inside your blouse, or why you need to drive that behemoth SUV for you, your spouse, and your two kids. Want to impress me? Do something for someone besides yourself. Not for glory or repayment, but simply to be generous to a person who might not be as fortunate as you. Then you'll have my attention.




4. My creativity does not extend beyond writing and cooking. I can't draw anything more elaborate than Snoopy lying on his doghouse, and can't even pick out flowers for my garden without an army of more artistically-inclined people to provide insight as to why red mums don't go with purple heather. Need to bake a cake without eggs? I'm your go-to gal! Need help with a school project that requires paint, markers and glitter? "Move along, folks. Nothing to see here..."



5. I'm not ready for my little girl to grow up! Okay, so no one is. Probably. But we're currently shopping for colleges and I dread the idea of letting her go off on her own next year. Not because I worry about her--she's savvy, self-assured, and sophisticated. She's probably more mature than most full-fledged adults. No, I'm selfish and I admit it. I'll be lonely without her. Is it wrong for me to hope she picks a place close to home so we have a few more years together?



6. I love funky jewelry. Earrings and matching necklaces with big chunky stones, handcuffs, big swooping hearts, and feathers--oh, how I love feathers! (A leftover from my rocker teen years in the 80's). No bracelets 'cuz they get in the way when I'm writing and I only wear my wedding ring on my fingers. But nothing's too crazy for my neck or lobes.



Whew! Okay. That does it. Except for the tough part. Six friends. Let's see...



1. Debora Dennis. Naturally. She's one of my soul sisters and a super talented writer who always keeps me laughing. Isn't it obvious why she's my travel companion for most conferences and chapter meetings? Like some spice with your laughter? Check out her works for Blade Publishing: The Kandy Shoppe and coming soon, A Knight to Remember. You'll be charmed from Page One.



2. Candace Gold. My other soul sister. Talented, fun, and guaranteed to skew your view of the romance world. Candy's a one-woman dynamo and I'm lucky to have her in my life. Don't believe me? Take a gander at her books, A Heated Romance or Autumn Leaves. You won't be disappointed!



3. Sandra Cormier aka Chumplet. You shouldn't have mentioned no one had tagged you yet, sweetie. Sandra writes vivid romances and her blog is a must-read for me every day. Check out her latest releases, Bad Ice or The Space Between. You'll fall in love with this talented lady's prose!



4. Shelby Reed. Wake up, Shelby-Lou! Your readership is calling! Use the RWU blog to respond but let's hear from you. If you're not familiar with this uber-talented writer, run--don't walk!--to your nearest bookstore and pick up a Shelby Reed book. Whether it's The Fifth Favor, Midnight Rose, Seraphim or any of her other magnificent works, this lady will make you weep, make you sigh with pleasure, and leave your head in the clouds long after you've reached The End.



5. Ali Katz. Another talented author and critique partner, Ali writes hot and sexy with a paranormal edge. Her recent work, Glory is receiving rave reviews. Check it out!

6. Wildcard! I have so many other writers I'd like to add to this list, but don't know if they've been tagged by others. So, if you'd like to reveal six facts about you, consider this your wild card and go for it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Look What I Found Near My Front Door!


Yep...those are my author's copies of my soon-to-be-released paperback edition of A Little Slice of Heaven. Talk about a surprise! I wasn't expecting them for at least another two weeks. Guess it's time to set up a few booksignings, huh? No excuse now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hey! Guess What?

I won the Long and Short of It's Best Book of the Week Poll! And I get to post this super-neato button on my website:


How's your week going so far?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Dexter Night!

Those who've followed this blog for a while know about my passion for the Showtime series, Dexter. It started, as these things usually do for me, with a book. A few years ago, Darkly Dreaming Dexter was just another in a long line of books on my TBR list. I think I read the book in about three hours. I fell in love with the serial killer/Miami Police blood spatter expert's quirky sense of humor and skewed but understandable thirst for honor. Then I let the story sit in my subconscious for a while before picking it up and reading it again, this time appreciating all the subtle nuances I'd missed the first time around. Then I passed it around to others to read. And my obsession was born. Once I learned about the series on Showtime, I counted the days until the premiere episode, watched (almost without blinking) and was thoroughly hooked.
While Season I on Showtime closely followed the book, Season II diverged dramatically. So for those who don't know about All Things Dex (shame on you!), let's recap last season. Dexter barely escaped arrest as the Bay Harbor Butcher, managed to frame poor Sgt. Doakes as the serial killer. Doakes was killed by the creepy Lila, who met her own end at Dexter's hand, thanks to Harry's code about only killing bad people. (Confused yet?) Dex's sister, Debra, had a brief affair with the FBI agent assigned to assist in the Bay Harbor Butcher case, but is now picking up the pieces of her broken heart...again. Poor Deb--always looking for love in the wrong places.
Tonight, we'll add a new character, D.A. Miguel Prado, played by Jimmy Smits.
So, grab some popcorn and settle in with the family for another terrific season. Okay...it's definitely not for the faint of heart. But if your family's anything like mine, they're going to love it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'!

I just received notice about a new review for A Little Slice of Heaven, this time from the Long and Short of It Review site. The first sentence says it all. "I just loved this story." And Hibiscus ended her review with, "If you're a fan of sweet, clever romance, you won't want to miss A Little Slice of Heaven."

And don't forget to keep an eye on the progress bar for my latest WIP. It keeps going up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scents of the Season

On my way home from work today, I stopped at the supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner. When I walked through the automatic doors, the scents of spice, pumpkin, and apples perked me right up. Each season has its benefits, I know. But autumn, with the tangy odors of cinnamon and nutmeg, cooler temps, colorful leaves, and the promise of hearty dinners before a crackling fire holds a special place in my writer's heart.

There's so much for your senses to absorb, I sometimes wonder if we lie dormant through the summer and only awaken at the first snap of cool air. In the Ardito household, there's already a pot of homemade chicken soup simmering on the stove. Later in the week, I'll start baking muffins and pies.

Football's in full swing.

The lovely and generous Bertrice Small will host her annual outing for the LIRW--this time to some local wineries.

And of course, it's time to crawl into the attic to pull out the long sleeve shirts and fall jackets.

What's your favorite part about autumn?



Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm So Excited!

Today's LIRW meeting will feature members of the Long Island Paranormal Investigators group. This coincides beautifully with my current wip's plot line. Of course, that had ab-so-lute-ly nothing to do with why I booked them! And of course, my horoscope plays right into today's planned activities:

Group activities are much more rewarding to you than anything you can do on your own today. If nothing is on the agenda, ring up some folks and make something fun happen spontaneously!

Tomorrow is Game 2 of Wildcats Football Season. Go Team White: No Bark, All Bite!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'll be at PASIC today

As of about 8 a.m. EST, I'll be guest blogging at PASIC's 2BRead blog. Stop on by and tell me what you think about The Art of Self-Sabotage.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

To Dream the Impossible Dream

Thanks to coffee-gal-pal and perpetual roomie, Debora, I remembered that I booked an agent appointment at next month's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference hosted by the New Jersey Romance Writers (stay tuned for details and observations as they occur!)

Wouldn't it be great if I could pitch my current masterpiece at this event? Well...yeah. Except I'm only about one-third of the way through the manuscript. What's a writer to do?

THE GREAT WRITING MARATHON!!!!

That's right, kids. I plan on writing as much as I can to be as close as possible to the end before the conference at the end of October. Help keep me honest by checking my sidebar to watch my progress every day and cheer me on. I can use all the support I can get!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Kick A$$ Characters Workshop



Kick A$$ Characters By Authors Who Know How To Kick A$$



September 12-13 at Romance Divas




Featuring:


Bob Mayer


Lori Avocato


Maggie Price


Lindsay McKenna


Barry Eisler


Linnea Sinclair


Larissa Ione


Merline Lovelace



Want to know how to write authentic action, suspense, law enforcement, and military romance? Ask authors who know firsthand! Romance Divas is hosting a 2-day workshop with some of the hottest names in the genre. It will take place at the Romance Diva Forum. All are welcome. To get access to the forum you will need to register by entering the site and clicking on Forum.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What's All the Fuss About?

Is there a prerequisite that all "literary" novels must leave a reader baffled? Because to be honest, I've read quite a few in the last few months and constantly walk away, shaking my head and wondering what I missed. I have noticed some bizarre patterns in the stories I've read. See if any of these are familiar to you. Here's a list of rules I've come away with:

1. In a literary novel, characters can screw around with evidence at a crime scene and get away with it. This seems to occur often--from the husband who cleans up the glass of scotch he threw at his dead wife (even living in the house with his family while the police are still investigating the murder), to the child who runs away with a crucial bit of evidence and hides it for years afterward,to the parent who burns bloody clothes. It seems that as long as they're "protecting" a loved one, characters can get away with...well...clues to murder. And the police never suspect anything.

2. In a literary novel, at least one endearing character should die horribly. Preferably a main character, and preferably toward the end of the book. Generally suicide, but murder works. As does a horrific car accident just when all seems right in the victim's world.

3. In a literary novel, the ending should leave the reader bereft. Suicide, rape, unsolved murder, unrequited love, the more bitter the ending the better...apparently.

4. In a literary novel, the romance is predictable but makes no sense and has no redeeming quality. It seems to me that the romance in these types of novels always occurs between two single people who may have lived in the same small town for years, but never met until the driving incident at the beginning of the story. Even if their careers should have intersected a dozen times before! And the romance isn't crucial to the story at all. In fact, in most cases, the story would be better without these two people falling into bed due to some contrived circumstance.

5. In a literary novel, children and teenagers act with more maturity than the adults. You know how, in sitcoms, the kids always have the wisecracks and get all the best lines? Well...in the literary novels I've read, these kids have the wisdom their adult counterparts lack.

Personally, I'm running back to my romance novels for some sanity and happiness in my reading world. While the occasional thought-provoking pot boiler is an interesting detour, I can't see myself ever putting down roots in such a world.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Phrases I'd Love Stricken From the English Language: Part II

Didn't I warn you I'd have more of these?


Today's phrase is, "They're only children."


These three words are often used by parents to excuse bad behavior from their offspring. Well, sorry, Mom or Dad, but I just don't buy it. Case in point:


Earlier this week I took the kids mini-golfing and go-carting at a small local establishment. Behind us on line for the go-carts were three girls, aged approximately 12-15, and I'm assuming, an older brother--maybe 18 or 19, tops. Mom hovered in the background somewhere. Now, The Girl is an avid go-carter, thanks to her many years in summer travel camps. The Boy's only driven his own go-cart once before. And me, sheltered as I am, have never driven one in my life. So while we waited on line, I received a quick rundown on the-green-foot-pedal-means-go, red-means-stop from my resident expert. When the gates opened, allowing us to enter, these four kids barrelled past us to get to the carts they wanted. Rude? Yeah, a little.



Then we get on the track. Now all around the track are these huge signs proclaiming, "No bumping!" Knowing my son is a little hesitant, I advise him to stay away from the pack, stick to one side, and just enjoy himself. I would ride behind him to make sure he was okay. Little did I know this band of heathens wouldn't respect anyone else's rights to a good time. They'd come whizzing around the track, three abreast, on a roadway meant to be shared by two carts only. Twice they sent me careening into the guard rails. When they sent me and my son into the rails a third time because they tried to squeeze four carts past, I blew a gasket. On the next turn I complained to the ride operator. The guy was too busy texting on his cell phone to look up and respond.



My Girl refused to take this abuse lying down. She made it her life's work for the last few laps of the ride to block these four houligans from getting anywhere near us. She steered left, then right, then left again, keeping up her speed, but never allowing them the opportunity to pass her. At one point, two of the girls in the other party attempted to pass her anyway and wound up crunched against the rail, their engines stalled.



At the end of the ride, I stepped out and approached the oldest member of the party--the Big Brother. "You know," I said, "someone should teach those kids some manners."


His reply? (Oh...you know it's coming...) "They're only children. They were having a race."

I pointed to my son and daughter and said, "They're only children also. But they would never disregard the rules posted on a ride."

Of course the guy shrugged and said nothing. I headed straight for Mom, repeated my complaint, and received the same response. This, however, was an adult. Someone who should know better. So I took it one step further. "Yes, I'm sure those words will give you comfort when they hurt themselves or someone else someday because they were never taught to respect rules or care about others."


I left her slack-jawed. My kids were cheering, "Go, Mom!" as we left the park.


PARENTS: We were all children once. The rest of the world should not have to cater to your brats because you don't have the backbone to guide them properly. Be a parent, a role model, someone your kids can look up to and emulate. We'll all benefit in the long run.



I'll step off my soapbox now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Phrases I'd Love Stricken From the English Language--Part I

I sense this will be a recurring theme for me. Thus, this is Part I. We all have those phrases people say that we just know aren't true or raise warning hackles on our neck. Is there a woman anywhere who hasn't held up a hideous lime green taffeta ruffled Scarlett O'Hara gown and heard a bride mutter, "Oh for God's sake, it's only two hundred dollars. You can wear the dress again"? Your Honor, I rest my case.

Basically it's a gripefest. Bear with me. And then feel free to share your own gripe.

The first phrase I'd like stricken is "stay-at-home vacation." Whoever originally came up with this idea should be banished to the netherworld in a station wagon with no working a/c along with an angry teen, a bored pre-teen, a resentful spouse, and a radio that only plays stock reports all day.

This insidious phrase has infiltrated my life this week. Thanks to Tropical Storm Fay, our vacation plans were scuttled and dh decided, since our little corner of NY appeared to be spared any repercussions of Fay's wrath, this was the ideal week to stay home and do day trips with the family. Reluctantly, I agreed (my first big mistake.)

DAY ONE: On Monday, we went to the Bronx Zoo. Unfortunately, at 2 pm, dh realized we still had half the zoo left to see and we had to leave by 3:00 to "beat the traffic home." This, of course, spurned a viewing much like that scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation where they only have fifteen minutes to go through the Louvre. Needless to say, we did not make it through the entire zoo until 4:30 and I got a lecture all the way home about how "screwed" we'd be with the traffic. No matter that we didn't really get hammered all that hard (we made the trip in about an hour and fifteen minutes), the dh had worked himself into a frenzy.




DAY TWO: Tuesday we spent at the beach. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know the joy this routine outing inspires in me. Those who are newer readers, you can check out some of the details here. (Sorry...but the contest is over!) I came home with a migraine, a slight sunburn, and rings of bug bites on my ankles and feet from the green fly population which decided to feast upon me. I also did not get a chance to write one word. Normally I make the most of the beach by bringing my AlphaSmart and typing up a chapter or so while the family enjoys the sun and sand. Alphie, however, made other plans. Plans that required his immediate departure to that giant bin of obsolescence in the sky. In other words, Alphie crapped out and needs to be replaced ASAP.



DAY THREE: Wednesday was a trip to Six Flags in New Jersey. Out of the house by nine a.m., home by two a.m. today. Yes, the rides were fun. Yes, it was a lovely day. Yes, the kids enjoyed themselves and left with big smiles. But the work of packing enough food before we left, fighting traffic in both directions (because dh still doesn't believe the GPS can pick up satellite feeds about upcoming snarls and reroute us accordingly) and subsisting on sips of tepid water from drinking fountains found inside the park (because dh refuses to spend four dollars on cold drinks when he's got them packed in the cooler in the parking lot only two miles away) drains me.



In between all this fun, I still get to do laundry, prepare meals, wash dishes, take care of the pets, make sure the trash gets to the curb before the truck appears, etc., etc., etc. And the glamour! Cold cut sandwiches and fast food, stocking and restocking the cooler, slathering myself in sunscreen... I tell ya, how much excitement can one gal take?



I still have five more fun-filled days of this "stay-at-home vacation" event and honestly, I can't wait 'til it's over. My vacation will truly begin when the kids go back to school and hubby goes back to work.



And that, my friends, is today's Phrase I'd Love Stricken From the English Language.



Stay tuned for Part II coming soon (too soon, I bet!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We're a-Movin' On Up!

Not to the East Side.
No, we're movin' on up the date for A Little Slice of Heaven's release in paperback. The new date is:

Drum roll, please...

OCTOBER 17, 2008!

Be sure to mark the new date on your calendar. And stay tuned here! As we get closer, I'll announce coming booksignings and contests to celebrate the event.

In order to celebrate completely, though, I think I need more than a drumroll. In fact, "I've got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Striving for the Goal!

Today was the annual county-wide scrimmage for my son's football team. For four hours, I sized up players on other teams (who always looked a whole lot bigger and meaner!) and kept my fears to myself when they lined up against my little guy.
Time and again my boy was knocked down--sometimes after substantial yard gains, sometimes with no forward motion at all. Time and again, he picked himself up, and tried again. At one point, he and his teammates played a team who decided to try intimidation. They tackled one of our boys and then sat on his chest, pushing the ball into the kid's ribcage. Then when they tackled my boy, they punched him in the back--both actions meant to knock the wind out of our players and make them a little more tentative on the field. Their ploy backfired.
For the rest of their time against this team, my son and his teammate made these players regret trying such underhanded tactics. After every snap, The Boy, small and fast, would race to whoever got the ball and practically run rings around him to keep him from a forward advance. Meanwhile, his teammate (the kid they sat on) would fly in out of nowhere and drive the opponent to the ground.

Writers can learn a lot from peewee football. Think about it...


And for a little extra Saturday cuteness, meet Cocoa Puff, the baby wild bunny (smaller than a baseball) we found sleeping on our patio when we got home. Say it with me now: "Aaaawwwww!"




No worries, though. Cocoa Puff returned to his nest some time later in the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey, Kids! Guess What Day It Is?


So how does a fabulous, not-quite well known author spend her special day? Well, technically, I should be on the football field, cheering on The Boy during his Wednesday night practice. But never fear.

G-Girl Gail has come through to make the evening special for me. She's taking the kids to a Long Island Ducks (minor league baseball) game so the dh and I can spend some time together celebrating. Thanks, Gail! I owe you one--again!

In the meantime, let the plethora of birthday comments begin!

P.S.: A very special happy birthday to soul sister, Shari!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Great Review for "Slice"

This one from the Romance Studio. Five hearts. The Cliff's Notes:

"...I literally read this book straight through. I read all night. I could not put it down. It is unusual to have a seriously told book that has a deep underlying sense of humor... I highly recommend that all who love to laugh while reading get this book..."

Meanwhile, I'm still plugging along on the WIP that, in my humble opinion, will become my finest work yet. Once I get deeper into the story, I just might share a bit of it with you. Until then, stay tuned...

*With great big smoochie thanks to Leslie Ann Dennis for the link!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's All in the Perspective

Over at Dear Author, there was a discussion regarding a certain author taking revenge on those who give her a bad review. Said author mused she would be putting one particular offender in her next book as a murder victim with some embarrassing health issues to boot.

Meanwhile, here in the Ardito household, I've been using my daughter's friends as characters in my current WIP. Mind you, none have been brutally murdered or have a sexually transmitted disease. I'm basically using their first names. But every one of them is thrilled at the idea they might gain a little notoriety for posterity. Even Amanda, who was the only one willing to be "a bad girl." We're still brainstorming how bad she'll be, but so far we've thrown around the idea that she poisons people with arsenic-laced cookies, or she's a bank robber gunned down in a hostage situation. She's up for anything.


To me, this is a perfect example of how intention and perspective weigh heavily on public opinion. My intention is to honor my daughter's friends and that's the perspective they come away with. This other author means to insult or defame a stranger. Thus the perspective from all involved is drastically different.

So...how do you feel? Would you be honored if I put you in a book? Or would you be seeking out an attorney?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

I made a change or two to my website ( www.ginaardito.com ). While I'll keep the butterflies here until I'm sick of them, over at the full website, well...you just never know what you'll find. This time around, it's yellow roses. Next time...who knows? Monkeys (for Missy?)

Football season is in full swing over here. This year, The Boy's on the Wildcats' Team White: "No Bark, All Bite. " (No...that wasn't mine. The head coach came up with that beauty.) G-Girl Gail and I are Team Moms and I'm anticipating a lot of excitement this time around.

Writing continues to move in the right direction. Though I haven't updated the progress bar (yet!) I hit 14,000 words yesterday. Yay!

I'm also working on an article for next month's LIRW newsletter regarding writers who sabotage themselves. Got an interesting example? Send it to me! I just might quote you and get you some free publicity.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Congratulations to the Winners!

Thanks to everyone who contributed a new recipe to my collection and helped this poor sun-frazzled redhead out. The winners were:

Stephanie Sullivan
Lady Godiva
Gail Fisher

Oddly, all the winners had a fabulous pasta recipe to share and the family loved every one of them. (Gail's lemon pasta, as a matter of fact, was a definite favorite with my son!)

Congratulations, ladies! Mangia!

Monday, July 28, 2008

My First Review for A Little Slice of Heaven

And it's a beauty! Five angels from Fallen Angel Reviews! For those who like the Cliff's Notes version, Rachel C. said "Gina Ardito has a great style; the way she mixes humor throughout this story had me laughing out loud."

How cool is that?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Proper Way to Brainstorm

I know, I've been lax about blogging this week. I've just been incredibly busy in my day to day life. Writing is going great. Every time I come to the end of a chapter, I worry that I won't have enough fodder to take this story to the next segment. But then Gertrude whispers some incredible idea, and whammo! We're off and writing again.

Case in point: Two nights ago I felt supremely stuck on the details of Chapter Five. Without going into too much detail (because I want this book to be a surprise) I needed my H/h to be involved in some kind of investigation that would lead the heroine to be more successful at a solution than the hero, but would also instigate a big argument between them. I sat at the dining room table with the fam that night and asked them to brainstorm with me. They tossed around a few cliched suggestions, which I turned down. And then all of a sudden, the idea burst with such clarity, I nearly jumped out of my chair and ran to the computer for a little Google action. When I shared the scenario with the fam, The Boy looked at me and said, "How'd you get that from what we suggested?" I told him it wasn't so much what they said, but the fact that their discussion got my mind moving into directions I hadn't explored. And that's when brainstorming really works to its best advantage.

And now...I'm off to do some more writing (what else?) I really, firmly believe this book will be outrageous, different, and well-received when it's done. How's that for uber-confidence?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm Being Interviewed

Be sure to stop by the RWU blog tomorrow, July 23, to learn more about me and my writing!

And don't forget: There's still some time left to Help a Redhead Out!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Announcing the Help a Redhead Out Contest!



Yesterday, the hubster laid down the law. "We're going to the beach." Now, in case you're not familiar with my distaste of this hell on earth, take a good look at my photo in the upper right corner there. ---->


I'm a redhead with blue eyes and fair skin. I burn under a 60-watt bulb. I've always secretly envied those women who can go to the beach and look more gorgeous leaving than they did when they got there. When I leave the beach after a day in the sun, I look like I've spent thirty days on some deserted island with none of the comforts of home. My baby fine hair whips in the wind until it's a snarled Medusa-like nest around my head. (If I add a hat I get the added benefit of a flat top. And tying it back is like trying to tie down a rabid wolverine with a strip of dental floss.) My skin turns pink and/or blotchy with freckles. I break out from the clogged pores caused by the massive amounts of sunscreen I've applied. And the sun drains me to the point I usually fall asleep in the car on the way home.


The dh, who is of Greek and Italian descent, worships sun, sand, and everything shore-related. As do his children, thanks to the magic of DNA. But it's only mid-July and I've already used up my patience with spending time at the beach (and I have a beach week vacation to "look forward to" in August.) So...yeah. I made a face at the suggestion of spending yesterday in my own private version of Dante's Inner Circle.

Hubster came up with a compromise. If I agreed to the beach trip, we'd go out to dinner when we got home. And not just a quickie chicken sandwich at our local bistro-style chain restaurant, either. A place with ambience and charm, where I could sit and enjoy the furnishings as well as the food. Deal!

Well...Hubster and The Boy had such a fabulous time riding waves, playing ball, and soaking up UV rays that we didn't leave the beach until 5:30. We had to pick up The Girl at work by 6 and there was no way we could do the one hour trip in 30 minutes. So, by the time we packed up, left the parking lot, zipped to The Girl's place of employment and reached Home Sweet Home, it was after 7. And I barely had the energy to shower, much less dress, slap on a face, and go out for a nice dinner. Nor did I feel like cooking. So my Saturday night consisted of Chinese takeout and the movie, 300.

Yippee.

Help me out, readers! Who's got a fabulous recipe for a summer dinner that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes--satisfying and delicious--without using the bbq grill or oven? Send me your recipes by August 1st. Post them here in comments or email me at the Contest link on the right. I'll choose my favorites and award three winners each a free copy of my latest e-release, A Little Slice of Heaven.

Help a poor redhead out!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Teach Your Children Well

So I'm in my local Wal-Mart recently, checking out the latest line of nail polish. Beside me is a young girl of about thirteen, with two women: I'm guessing her mother and her grandmother. One by one, this chick is picking up nail polishes, opening the bottles, and swiping the brush across her fingernail to check the color. She shows each color to the two grown women, they nod or shake their heads to give their opinion, and on she moves to the next bottle in the line.

Umm...is it just me or is that disgusting?

Well, anyone who knows me can tell you I'm not about to walk by something like that with my eyes averted. So I poke my head into the discussion and remark, "You know, that's not very sanitary?"
The girl looks at me with that prevalent teenage attitude emanating like August sunshine. "Huh?" she says, showing me her powerful grasp on the English language.
"How do you know someone else--someone with a nail fungus--didn't try that polish on before you did?" I suggest.
All three women look at me with a mixture of shock and disgust.
I, of course, reach for the color I want--hermetically sealed!--and stroll away.

I'm sure I was the topic of conversation all the way home.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Congratulations, Staci!

She was the lucky winner of a free copy of A Little Slice of Heaven for participating over at the Deadly Vixens blog.

Stay tuned for more fun and games. In fact, I think I may be cooking up a contest to be held right here for another free copy.

Until then, enjoy, Staci! Wishing you love and laughter.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dive Right In...The Water's Fine



Okay, I know I said I'd take a break. But apparently, Gertrude the Muse from Hell has other plans for me. So I've already written the first five pages of my new WIP (work in progress). Vacation? What's that?



I'm a firm believer in "striking while the iron is hot" or in my case, writing while Gertrude cooperates. We're not always in such synch, so when she and I both want to write the same thing, I hit the keyboard with energy and excitement. So we started the process yesterday without a break.



And guess what? I like what we started! I'm extremely happy with the opening and plan to complete Chapter One (in first draft) today.



Working Title of this latest masterpiece: Ends...With Benefits.

And as all those news anchors say, "Stay tuned for more information as this story develops. "

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Finito!

Do you hear the cheering in the streets? That's because I just completed the revisions to the final manuscript requested from the LIRW Luncheon! And I discovered something while working on updating and improving this particular manuscript. I firmly believe this book is the legendary Book of My Heart. Even knowing the entire storyline, I found myself cheering my hero and heroine, weeping openly at the Black Moment, and sighing with pleasure at their HEA.

No...I'm not telling which book it is. You'll have to wait and see if any of the editors or agents have the same reaction!

Meantime, I'll take a few days off to recharge the batteries before I start my next story. Stay tuned for details as they develop. You might be surprised at what I have fermenting in my brain right now!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

In Case You Missed It...

I heard from a few readers who had trouble reading my blog post at Deadly Vixens and, asked if I'd be kind enough to reprint it here. I aim to please, kids. So, here's the post in its entirety for your reading pleasure:

What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love

A couple of decades ago, The Police had a hit song with When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around. I don't know about everyone else, but with all that's going on these days: soaring gas prices, global warming, endless war, I sometimes feel the world is running down. So how do I make the best of what's still around?

I reach for a romance novel. Now, contrary to popular belief, I don't read romance because I'm some desperate housewife who believes that someday her white knight will pop off the Ajax bottle and whisk me away to a land of endless sex, wine, and chocolate. Though...the idea does hold some appeal...

...Where was I? Oh, yeah, right. Romance novels amid the world's turmoil.

I've never understood the derision the genre creates in non-readers. There are plenty of things I don't enjoy that others do. The Three Stooges come to mind. But I don't automatically consider Stooge fans so out of touch with reality, they believe it's perfectly acceptable behavior to smack their friends on the heads with a ball-peen hammer.

Some of the greatest stories and legends in the world have a romance at the core. Ditto the most popular movies, theatrical productions, and songs. Yet the snark level is much lower in those versions of media. So why is romance acceptable in every other forum except printed on pages?

Is the cover art to blame? Then how do you explain advertisers using clinches and bare skin to sell everything from cars to cologne to sports drinks? We still buy the products, don't we?

Maybe it's the love scenes. After all, no one makes love, right? Okay, scratch that.

What could the naysayers know the rest of us don't?

Is it so totally unbelievable that two people might meet, overcome an obstacle or two, and become a united couple after the experience? God, I hope not. Because I think I've just described how most of us came into existence.

Reality check: In real life, I've never seen men who fight crime dressed as bats or spiders. Last I heard, no planes have gone down on a deserted island, stranding dozens of passengers (or just one passenger who likes to talk to a volleyball.) There has never been a dragon, an alien invasion, or a zombie. Except in our imaginations. And the advertisements on the back of comic books do not accurately depict the sea people you can buy and grow in your own sea-quarium.

But love? Love is what makes us people rather than humans. Love is what binds us one to another. Love is our creation, our ultimate gift, our hope, our future. Nowhere is love depicted better than in the wide spectrum of romance novels. And when the world starts running down, it's the best of what's still around.

Naysayers, take notice.

Friday, June 27, 2008

AVAILABLE NOW!



It's official. A Little Slice of Heaven is now available on e-book from The Wild Rose Press. Here's the blurb:

When Gianna Randazzo discovers a downtrodden man near the family pizzeria's Dumpster, she wonders if he might be cleaned up and passed off as a date for her ex's upcoming wedding. But Kyle Hayden is not the homeless man Gianna thinks he is. In fact, he just might be her Prince Charming in disguise!

And here's an excerpt:

Gianna Randazzo leaned against the locked door, her heart swimming in cold sweat.

“Whatsa matter for you?" Claudio demanded. “That mean black dog outside again?"

While his raisin eyes glared with I-told-you-so smugness, Gianna gulped huge buckets of air to regain some semblance of calm. “I-It's not a dog. Or the injured cat I’ve been trying to catch.

“The bum you leave food for, eh?" Inching closer, he bounced a finger at her nose. "You should listen when I talk-a to you. I told you he no go away if you feed him."

“I always leave his food on the bench by the bridge after closing,” she snapped. “I didn’t expect him to be in the parking lot tonight.”

“I don’t know why you’re surprised,” Claudio retorted. “All the strays eventually find their way to the door. This one...he no different. What’d you make him tonight? Maybe the smell so good, he couldn’t wait.”

“That dish was for Mr. Whiskers. You think I’d bring the poor man anchovy filets?” Gianna turned to peer out the window. Was the man still there? Yep. He stood beneath the grainy light of the street lamp, an oddly shaped item in his hands. "What's he holding?"


Claudio leaned over her shoulder. "You think he got a weapon? Here, wait." He ambled to the ovens and wielded one of the long-handled pizza paddles like a samurai sword. "You call the cops. I make sure he no leave 'til they show up."

"Stop it." She strained her eyes, watching as the man edged closer to her door. "I think…” Could it be? “I think…” Yes, she definitely saw leaves and stems. Maybe even yellow blossoms. “He's holding flowers."

Want to read more? Well...there's another excerpt available on my website. After that, you'll have to buy a copy of the book for more.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm Guest Blogging

Yes, because I don't have a full enough plate, I'm guest blogging at Deadly Vixens today. Stop by and see what I have to say about love, the romance novel, and its importance in the current world. And be sure to check back at Deadly Vixens on Saturday, June 28 for your chance to win an electronic copy of my new release, A Little Slice of Heaven.

And for those keeping score of the Query Game:

Queries sent: 4
Queries left to send: 2
Manuscript revisions completed: 3
Manuscripts left to revise for send out: 1

It's all downhill from here!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

When Does Technology Go Too Far?

Okay, so it's dinner time last night and the phone rings. My Caller ID notes an out of state number from a company with three initials. Hmmm...
Well, I'm on the Do Not Call list so it can't be a telemarketer.
I pick up the phone. "Hello?"
A tape recorded message tells me that this is a call from a non-profit organization, but no one is there to talk to me right now so they'll call me back at another time.

Hold up...

I'm getting calls FROM a company's voicemail now?

What's up with that?

Now for the fun stuff.

Query Status:

Sent: 2
Left to be sent: 4
Manuscript revisions completed: 2
Manuscripts left to revise for send-out: 2

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's Quickie Update

Queries out: 1
Queries left to send: 5

Second of the manuscripts to be snail-mailed is complete and currently awaiting proof-reading. Target mail date: Friday, June 20.
Right now: working on revisions to another manuscript.

So far...all work on or close to schedule.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

LIRW Agent/Editor Luncheon Redux

It was a fabulous day this past Friday when the LIRW welcomed industry professionals for our 11th annual Agent/Editor Luncheon at the charming Carriage House of the Milleridge Inn. While each year I attend this event holds a special place in my memory, this one will always hold a special place in my heart. Because this year, I received the honor, Light of the Island, from my fellow chaptermates. I'm so grateful I found my local chapter and have never once regretted any of the work I've volunteered to handle on their behalf. In return, I've made wonderful friends, found insight and wisdom for my manuscripts, and am never at a loss for a partner for a razzarita or Starbucks run! I am humbled by their affection, and I sincerely thank them for honoring me in such a wonderful way.

But the day wasn't all about me. The day was for all of us: writers, editors, and agents alike. We connected, we laughed, we dined on the Milleridge's rich and decadent chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce. And each of us went home with a feeling of accomplishment. Kudos to all who make this annual event a success!


Special kudos to Debora Dennis, our luncheon chairperson, who did an absolutely phenomenal job this year! Yes, dearest, I owe you a drink. Name the time and place and I'll be there. Here are a few photos from the event. Not as many as I always intend to take because the moments seem to get away from me:




Raelene Gorlinsky (red dress/black hat) of Ellora's Cave chatting with Bertrice Small (floral print) and another guest.



The cocktail hour with many of the LIRW ladies.




This year's chairperson, Debora Dennis, finally unwinding with a champagne punch! (In the background left wearing the red skirt is Faith Black of Avalon Books.)



LIRW Ladies chatting with members from VFRW, NJRW, and BCRW.