Thursday, April 23, 2009

I got to see novelists Mary and Carol Higgins Clark this week!


When I heard that the amazing mother-daughter suspense writers, Mary (left) and Carol (right) Higgins Clark, would be visiting a Northern Utah high school as part of the Davis Reads program (Davis County Libraries), and that it was FREE, I emailed some friends in my writing groups, saying, "I'm getting a babysitter and I'm so there!" I'm glad to report that seeing this lovely pair of novelists in person was worth every penny of the babysitting money.


I was impressed that every novel these authors have written (28 for Mary and 10 for Carol) have been best-sellers. I bet not too many other authors can say that. I loved hearing about their journeys to becoming successful authors (Mary was a young widow raising five children), how Carol used to type her mother's manuscripts for her and learned a lot about writing from doing so, and their charming and thorough answers to their fans' questions.

When discussing the craft of writing suspense, Mary said she likes to invent a main character who's ripped out of her everyday life (like picking her daughter up from school) by something beyond her control (such as a man hiding in the backseat of her car). She likes that the character is easy for the reader to relate to, someone who could, let's say, be the reader's niece. One day, Mary's editor was trying to convince her to have "the bad guy" be hiding in the closet instead of under the bed, where Mary had put him. Mary got a collective giggle from the crowd when she said, "Having a strange man under the bed is every woman's greatest fear ... or hope."

If you get the chance to see a live presentation by one of your favorite authors, I hope you'll go for it. And in particular, if Mary and/or Carol Higgens Clark (who are both published by Simon & Schuster, btw) are ever in your neck of the woods, be there.
P.S. These awesome photos were taken by Dimitria Van Leeuwen.
P.P.S. If you live near St. George, Utah, I'll be at the Barnes & Noble at Red Cliffs Mall at 3:00 this Saturday and would love to meet you!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flashback Fever

It’s revision time in my neck of the woods (Sooo excited about PERFECT SHOT—isn’t the cover fantastic??). PERFECT SHOT is my standalone debut so I very much feel like a newbie going through the whole editorial process.

Yes, another opportunity to check my ego at the door and take a cold hard look at the issues with my writing. In so doing, I realized just how much of a flashback freak I am.

Funny thing is, when I’m talking I really do make a lot of references to the recent past. I’m starting to understand why my husband cuts me off as I’m babbling about my news of the day.

“Focus,” he likes to say when I detour to a sidebar or back story.
I’ve always been fascinated by oral storytelling. It truly is an art form. I used to think I was a heck of a storyteller. Mostly because my younger sister Golda always told me I was. When I’m sketching a verbal picture for her, the girl can actually see it. Her eyes widen and whatever I’m recounting seems to come alive before her eyes. Sometimes you can even catch her eyeballs scanning said image.

Golda allows me to go into delicious details. And probably because she’s such a supportive audience, my tales have the freedom to unravel more vividly than with any other listener.

It’s the opposite scenario with my older sisters. When we get together, the storytelling battle royal commences and the competition to be heard is fierce. Everyone talks at the same time, and if you can’t keep up…oh well. What usually happens is they interrupt, force a subject change, drown out my voice—you name it. Because of birth order (or passive tendencies), I have to settle for telling tales that are abridged or ill formed.

And then there’s my husband. “Focus,” he’d say. “What happened next?”

But I don’t take this to heart. Number one, I admit I do go off on a tangent a lot of times. And secondly, I know my hubby isn’t one for suspense. He just wants to know the upshot. What settles him is if you preface your “unexpected blackout” story by assuring him, “The lights are now back on.”

Flashbacking will be a tough habit to break—mostly because it’s the way my mind works. The trouble is, I feel I’m shortchanging the listener if I don’t inform them about the history of something. I always feel like there’s a back story to the story. And sometimes there’s a back story to the back story...

Somebody stop me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We've got the scoop!

Look for these new Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies coming soon! ♥

***COMING IN JUNE***

Drive Me Crazy
By Erin Downing

Three friends kick off the summer with an unforgettable road trip. Destination: true love!

Kate’s tote is packed and she’s ready for a road trip! She and her two best friends, Sierra and Alexis, are geared up for a week of fun and freedom on the road to their family lake houses in Love, Wisconsin. Best of all, when Kate reaches Love, she’ll be reunited with Lucas, with whom she shared a steamy end-of-summer kiss last year. Kate can’t wait to see Lucas again and pick things up exactly where they left off.

Then Kate gets some seriously bad news: Alexis’s sarcastic, condescending, hot-but-he-knows-it cousin is crashing the girls’ road trip. Adam bugs Kate in every possible way. Now Kate just wants to get the road trip over with so she can spend the summer in Lucas’s arms. But the road to Love is full of surprises…

***COMING IN AUGUST***

Love Off Limits
By Whitney Lyles

Breaking up is hard to do!

Natalie should be the happiest girl in the world, dating Jeremy who is totally hot and perfect by everyone’s standards. But something just isn’t right. The seemingly flawless couple has been dating since freshman year, and now Natalie fears the spark may be fizzling…at least on her end. But she’s not sure if breaking up is the right thing to do.

Being such an expert in love (or so people think), Natalie gets coaxed into writing a romance column for the school newspaper. And soon she finds spending time with her editor, Matt, to be way worth the work. It seems like the answer’s staring her straight in the face. Dump Jeremy and go out with Matt. There’s just one catch; Matt is Jeremy’s best friend, and dumping your boyfriend to date his closest friend is just wrong…right?



***COMING IN OCTOBER***

The Ex Games
By Jennifer Echols

Brace yourself for the battle of the exes...

Hayden and Nick used to be a hot item, but their brief affair ended with a highly publicized break-up. Now the two are “just friends,” excluding the occasional flirtation.

When Hayden wins the girls’ division of a local snowboarding competition, Nick is unimpressed, claiming that Hayden wouldn’t have a chance against a guy. Hayden calls Nick’s bluff and challenges him to a head-to-head boarding contest. Their mutual friends quickly take sides, the girls on Hayden’s and the boys on Nick’s, making for an all-out battle of the sexes. This friendly competition is bound to get heated--and if they’re not careful, they might end up igniting some old flames.

***COMING IN DECEMBER***

Perfect Shot
By Debbie Rigaud

Who doesn’t want to be a cover girl?

London Abrams’s first love is volleyball, so why is she a contestant for an online modeling competition? Answer: Super-hottie, Brent St. John. London spotted Brent signing in contestants at the store, and she got in line simply to say hi. She never thought she’d make it into the competition!

London’s now up against fourteen hungry fashionistas willing to do whatever it takes to win. But all she wants is to win Brent’s heart…but the money prize couldn’t hurt. If London plays this right, she can win the contest, the boy, and the cash. GAME ON!

Shopping list!

Here’s a complete list of the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies published so far. They’re all still available in bookstores--if you don’t find them on the shelves, ask the store to order them for you. Happy reading! ♥

How Not to Spend Your Senior Year
By Cameron Dokey

Rule #1: If at all possible, don't pretend to be something you're not. Specifically, don't play dead. Trust me on this one. I did it, so I should know.
Jo O'Connor has spent her whole life moving around. When it comes to new schools, there's not a trick in the book about starting over that Jo doesn't know. But life is about to teach her a new trick: how to disappear entirely.

Rule #2: Always expect the Spanish Inquisition, no matter what anyone else does.

They have to move again. Now. This very night. Jo knows better than to argue. Her dad is the key witness in a major case against a big-time bad guy. But Jo just can't resist one last visit to the school where she's been so happy. All she wants is to say good-bye. That can't cause any problems, can it?

Rule #3: Never assume you can predict the future.

Now Jo's one last visit has landed her smack in the middle of a ghost story. Specifically, her own. By the time it's over, she'll have a whole new set of rules about what's real, what's make-believe, and -- most of all -- what's important.

Royally Jacked
By Niki Burnham

Valerie's life is pretty good. While she's not the most popular girl in school, she does have decent grades, great friends, and a potential boyfriend. All a girl could want.Then her mother announces that (1) she's gay, and (2) she's leaving Valerie's dad for her girlfriend. Not what Valerie envisioned for her future. And just when Valerie is getting over this bombshell, her father tells her he's gotten a new job as protocol chief for the royal family of some obscure European country.

Valerie's world has come unglued. She can either stay in Virginia with her mom and her ├╝ber-organized, veggie-burger-eating girlfriend, or go with her dad, leaving everything she knows for some place she's never heard of. Valerie opts to go, and quickly discovers that it was a mistake -- until she meets the prince, and all bets are off!

Ripped at the Seams
By Nancy Krulik

There's a new fashion designer in town, and "Fashion Don'ts" have never been more in style!

Sami Granger is fresh off the bus from the Midwest when some crazy person in the bus terminal warns her that life in New York City won't be what she always dreamed of. But Sami's determined to make it in an industry that is notoriously hard to break in to. Nothing she ever learned in her small town can prepare her for her first job working for a hot-shot designer: He steals her designs!

Now the only place that will hire Sami is a trashy lingerie store that she's too embarrassed to tell her old-fashioned father about. Will a visit from her father land Sami on the catwalk, or out on the sidewalk?

South Beach Sizzle
By Suzanne Weyn and Diana Gonzalez

Is Enrique trying to win her over -- or just trying to win?

Road trip! Lula Cruz has her last summer before college all mapped out. She's checking out of NYC and checking in to the sizzling hot "SoBe" scene with her best friend, Jeff.

When their day jobs get to be a drag, they spice things up by entering a local band contest. And spicy it is! Turns out that the hottie Lula keeps running into is also her band's toughest competition! Enrique might seem like the perfect guy, but as things heat up Lula has to wonder: Can she trust her biggest rival with her heart?



Cupidity
By Caroline Goode

Dating in high school is like reality TV. It can get pretty surreal.

Between the strict social ladder (geeks' lockers left, jocks' to the right), and silly, pointless rules (no hand-holding, no kissing, no breathing!), high school is the single worst place to find a boyfriend. And Laura Sweeney is no exception. She hasn't had a date since...well, ever.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So Laura is calling in the big guns. She needs guidance. A proven "get the guy" strategy.

Luckily she knows exactly the expert to call. He's a matchmaking mastermind who actually has the bow and arrow to prove it. Let's just call him...Cupid.

Spin Control
By Niki Burnham

Valerie Winslow never thought life in the tiny country of Schwerinborg could be so great.

But then she never thought she would be dating the prince of Schwerinborg either! Georg, a real prince, is also her first real boyfriend.

And then everything falls apart. Georg's decided they need to cool off for a while and her dad's sending her back to Virginia to visit her mom.

Valerie's bummed -- until she decides to go out with her old crush, David Anderson. David may not be a prince, but maybe he'll take her mind off of Georg -- or will he?



She’s Got the Beat
By Nancy Krulik

SHE BANGS! SHE BANGS!

Miranda was the quiet type...until she moved to Austin. Home of the hippest college rock bands, Austin, Texas, is a scene. And Miranda is dying to break out of her small-town shell. So she decides to do something totally un-Miranda: learn to play the drums.

When crashing the cymbals, the girl's a wild child! Plus there's a perk to her new gig: a cute bass player. Unfortunately Mr. Bass Man isn't exactly looking for love. Can this rocker chick change his tune? Or does finding her own rhythm mean sacrificing true love?




30 Guys in 30 Days
By Micol Ostow

Practice makes not-quite-perfect

Claudia Clarkson just cut the cord from her high school love-you-forever boyfriend. Sure, she misses Drew. But with so many eligibles on her new college campus, why study ancient history?

Problem is, Claudia's lived in la-la-loveland for so long that she's completely forgotten how to meet boys -- and how to flirt.

Then her roommate proposes a solution: Meet one new guy every day for thirty days. Consider it "target practice" for when Mr. Perfect comes along. Claudia's game, but she definetely hasn't got game. In fact, Flirting 101 could be her toughest course to pass...

Animal Attraction
By Jamie Ponti

The Season of (No?) Love

Jane's life is one giant Conspiracy, with the whole world plotting to keep any chance of romance far, far away. Her social history (17 years, 0 boyfriends) is proof positive of that. But this summer, she's determined to crank it up.

Jane's snagged a gig at the local theme park as part of the star attraction -- the Mermaid Show. But then the Conspiracy strikes, and she ends up starstruck in a furry beaver costume all day long. Hard to breathe, let alone flirt....Can Jane figure a way out of the beaver suit and into the arms of her summer love?

A Novel Idea
By Aimee Friedman

Required reading has never been so hot.

Once upon a time there was a Brooklyn hipster named Norah. Unlucky in love, and short on extracurriculars for her college apps, Norah decided to start a book group. She knew the perfect locale -- a local indie bookstore with a crush-worthy cutie manning the soy latte counter.

When the first meeting arrives, Norah gets a page-turning surprise. The attendees may be bookish, but there are also a few hotties! Most noteworthy: sweet, literary James. He's like a modern Jane Austen hero.... Only, how to snag him?

Ever the romantic heroine, Norah devises a secret plan. And if it works, Norah may just find her "Happily Ever After" love story. The End.

Scary Beautiful
By Niki Burnham

Chloe Rand's life is great.

She has a serious boyfriend, she's about to start her junior year of high school, and she has a tight group of girlfriends. But when her boyfriend moves across the country and decides the long-distance-relationship thing just isn't for him, Chloe's devastated. Worse, she soon learns that when you're the prettiest girl in school and totally unattached, everyone starts treating you differently. Girls don't trust you, guys aren't sure what to make of you, and everyone assumes you're either spoiled, dumb, or both.

Chloe realizes that she's been living the last few years in a bubble and decides to do something about it. But when she falls for Billy, a total geek, will it make her situation better...or worse?

Getting to Third Date
By Kelly McClymer

Could a forgotten cutie be Katelyn's newest catch?

Katelyn Spears is a firm believer in the two-date rule. First dates are so awkward; every guy deserves a second chance. But a third? Not unless he's got serious Romeo potential.

Enter Tyler. Tyler thinks Katelyn's rule is too harsh. He dares her to go back through her Little Pink Book and grant a third date to all the two-date duds. Oh, and she should report back to the whole school via her newspaper column.

Standing by her policy (and determined to prove Tyler wrong), Katelyn makes a few phone calls. But will any of her old flames rekindle a romance?

Dancing Queen
By Erin Downing

Who needs Prince Charming if you've got a rock star?

It's official. Olivia is a superfreak. Sure, she may have landed the hottest internship at an ├╝bercool TV music station. And yes, she's chilling with A-listers in London all summer. But when she meets her very first pop star, she gets caught in a revolving glass door and falls smack down on her bum -- all in one quick motion.

Luckily, Rocker Boy thinks Liv's quirks are adorable. He takes her clubbing at the hippest spots! Liv may be clumsy on solid ground, but on the dance floor she sparkles. The summer's just begun and she's already captured the spotlight -- and a celeb's heart, too. Now if only she was sure he's the right guy...



Major Crush
By Jennifer Echols

Marching to the beat of a different drum...

Tired of the beauty-pageant circuit, Virginia Sauter tosses her tiara, pierces her nose, and auditions for the most unlikely of roles -- drum major of the high school marching band.

Virginia wins, but is forced to share the title with Drew, whose family has held the position for generations. Sure, Drew is hot, but because of his superior attitude, he and Virginia are constantly arguing. That is, until they share more than just their half-time salute...

But as the drum major's heated competition turns to sizzling romance, explosive rumors threaten everything -- including the band's success. Love seemed to be a sure hit, but Virginia and Drew may be marching straight into disaster.

Do-Over
By Niki Burnham

When it comes to love, how many chances do you get?

Girl meets prince. Girl loses prince. Girl gets prince back -- right? Well, that's what Valerie is hoping. She's back in Schwerinborg after spending some time with her mother in the good ol' US of A, and hopes that sparks are still flying between her and Georg. At first it looks like things are going great, until a ski trip to the Alps has Val and Georg's romance hitting some moguls. Could Val's love life be heading for a face-plant?





Love Undercover
by Johanna Edwards

True love needs no disguise.

Kaitlyn Nichols craves a little mystery and mayhem in her life. Having a top-secret agent for a father should do the trick, but unfortunately Dad is no 007, and danger is nowhere on the horizon.

But all that changes when Mr. Nichols brings home Blaine, a seventeen-year-old hottie who’s about to enter the Witness Protection Program. Suddenly Kaitlyn’s in the perilous position of protecting the cutest guy she’s ever met!

When Dad enrolls Blaine in her high school, it’s up to Kait to detect the girls who want him... and the guys who want to kill him. Meanwhile, Kait’s about to discover that there’s one thing she can’t protect--her heart...

Prom Crashers
By Erin Downing

Will you go to the proms with me?

It was love at first sight for Emily and Ethan. But then Em lost his number, and with it, lost all hope of finding a real boyfriend before the end of senior year. All she knows about Ethan is his first name, that he has a super-cute smile, and the fact that he’s going to a prom this month. Which high school? That’s anyone’s guess...

Em enlists the help of her three best friends, who quickly score some formalwear and hail a limo. Together, Emily, Charlie, Max, and Sid vow to find Ethan, to find a cure for senioritis, and most importantly, to find true love--one hilarious prom night at a time.


Gettin' Lucky
By Micol Ostow

Looking for love in Las Vegas...

Cass Parker is a big believer in luck, fate, and all things karmic. So she’s devastated when she walks in on her supposed best friend macking with Jesse, the guy she’s in total "like" with. Talk about bad karma. Vegas is just full of cheaters, she concludes, even the locals.

But Cass refuses to sulk. She finds new friends, and even gets invited to join their weekly poker night--totally casual and not-for-profit, of course. They seem pretty chill, and Cass definitely needs to get out more. So after consulting her horoscope, she gets in the game.

But when Jesse turns up for a final showdown, it turns out that Cass isn’t so good at bluffing--not when it comes to matters of the heart...

The Boys Next Door
by Jennifer Echols

Cute, available, and one cabin over.

Lori lives for summertime at her family's lake house. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties in the cabin next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys.

But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.

But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girl friend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard...

In the Stars
By Stacia Deutsch & Rhody Cohon

Which do you follow: your head or your heart?


When Sylvie loses the diamond from her late mother’s ring, her best friend Cherise insists it’s a sign that love is about to enter Sylvie’s life. Yeah, right. Sylvie doesn’t believe in signs--she only star gazes through her telescope. But she also knows Cherise won’t drop it, so to humor her Sylvie agrees to date the next boy who asks.Sure enough, a new guy in school appears and Sylvie’s the object of his affection. Maybe Cherise was right after all? But when the sparks don’t fly and Cherise thinks she’s just scared, Sylvie ends up confiding in an old friend. Could finding the perfect guy be as rare as catching a shooting star?



Crush du Jour
By Micol Ostow

When a girl bites off more than she can chew...

Laine barely has enough time for herself, much less for romance. But she's always hungry for more projects--so she decides to start up a cooking class at her local community center. As it turns out, Seth, the guy co-teaching the class with her, is not just cute, but downright delicious!

When Seth offers her a waitress job at his family's restaurant, Hype, Laine can't resist. Just as Seth finally warms up to Laine, Laine finds out that Callie, another waitress at Hype, is cooking up a plan to steal Seth for herself. But tensions really reach their boiling point when Laine's restaurant critic mother writes a scathing review--of Hype! Will Laine have to put love on the back burner again?

The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren
By Wendy Toliver

Geeky to gorgeous in sixty seconds...

Roxy’s about to turn sixteen, but life isn’t so sweet. As a band geek, Roxy can barely get the cute guys to notice her, much less go out with her. Then, on her birthday, Roxy is transformed into a siren: seductively beautiful with the power to control all men. She though sirens were an ancient myth, but suddenly Roxy can get any guy she wants with just a few notes on her flute.

There are only two rules: don’t tell anyone about being a siren, and don’t fall in love. When she starts dating Zach, the guy everybody’s crushing on, Roxy realizes she could get used to this siren thing...but how can she keep herself from falling in love?


Love, Hollywood Style
By P. J. Ruditis

True love doesn't always follow a script...

Tracy Vance’s love life is a total flop. Sure, she has a cool job as a tour guide at a real Hollywood movie studio, but when it comes to her personal life, she can barely get her crush, Connor, to notice her.

Then Tracy gets a brilliant idea: Why not win Connor’s heart with some help from the big screen? Taking her cues from her favorite chick flicks, Tracy puts "Operation Ro Com" into action, and it actuallyseems to work!

But Tracy soon realizes that getting the leading man isn’t the same as keeping him. Maybe things never work out like they do in the movies--or do they?

Something Borrowed
By Catherine Hapka

She’s ready to catch the bouquet, not steal the guy!

When Ava gets dumped by her boyfriend, she’s pretty upset. He wasn’t the love of her life of anything, but with her sister’s wedding--a.k.a. the social event of the season--just two weeks away, Ava’s got to save face by finding someone cute and fun to bring as her date.

With the clock ticking and no dates in sight, Ava asks her best friend if she can "borrow" her boyfriend, Jason, for the night. Ava’s never been a big Jason fan, but he’ll look great in a tux and at least she’ll have someone to dance with. But it doesn’t take long for Ava to realize she’s got him all wrong...

What do you do when Mr. Right is wrapped up in a package that belongs to your best friend?

Party Games
By Whitney Lyles

If only life were one big party...

Sara would be looking forward to her sixteenth birthday, but thanks to her mom’s party planning business, she’s way too wrapped up with someone else’s: spoiled socialite Dakota London‘s. Sara would much rather spend her summer hanging out with Ian, an up-and-coming guitar player and her new crush. But Sara is so busy catering to Dakota’s every wacky whim, she’s got no time to spend with him.

And then, the icing on the cake: Dakota wants Ian to be her date for the big bash! Sara can’t believe the favor she’s been asked, especially because she thinks she’s fallen for Ian. Will this birthday end up more bitter than sweet?



Puppy Love
By Nancy Krulik

Romance can be ruff...

Alana loves her dog-walking job, but it blows her mind to see how pampered these pooches are. Her newest clients actually feed steak to their prized poodle and treat her to massages at a doggie spa! Alana can’t make heads or tails of why anyone would do this--or why she seems to be confiding her frustrations in hunky handyman Connor, and not her own boyfriend, Sammy.

When Sammy starts keeping an awfully tight leash on her, Alana wonders whether Connor might be a better match. But Alana's puppy love comes to a screeching halt when she learns that Connor isn’t who she thought he was. Is Alana barking up the wrong tree with him, too?

The Twelve Dates of Christmas
By Catherine Hapka

Lexi’s feeling a little holidazed this winter...

Lexi Michaels has been with her boyfriend of four years, Cameron Kehoe, way too long. Sure, he's a nice guy, but lately she's felt like there's a spark missing between them. And his plan of staying close to their Christmas-obsessed town of Claus Lake, Wisconsin to attend culinary school just don't mesh with Lexi's big-city dreams. She comes up with the perfect plan--get Cameron to fall for another girl, and she'd be free--guilt-free, too.

But on a chilly December morning, when Lexi sees Cameron looking awfully cozy with new girl Jaylene, she realizes that she's made the stupidest mistake of her life. Will one of Lexi's many schemes get her all she really wants for Christmas--her boyfriend back?

Sea of Love

By Jamie Ponti

When it comes to love, sometimes it’s sink or swim

Like it’s not bad enough that Darby had to leave her longtime boyfriend and NYC life to move to Florida, where her family’s started running a hotel. Now Darby has to help with the hotel’s annual Valentine’s Day "Cupid’s Ball." Things start looking up when local beach hottie Zach takes Darcy surfing and shows her around. Beach life actually starts to grow on this fish out of water.

Then--surprise! A week before the ball, Darby’s NYC ex decides to pay her a visit. Darby’s knee-deep in guilt--because she realizes that she’s head over heels for Zach!

This Valentine’s Day, is Darby ready to dive into a new relationship with the guy who’s captured her heart?



Miss Match
By Wendy Toliver


Want to snag that certain someone? You need Miss Match!

Sasha Finnegan has always had a knack for matchmaking. It all started with Barbie and Ken and grew from there. Now she runs her own match-making business under the disguise of "Miss Match." So far, most of her clients have been strangers...but when Derek Urban hires Sasha to match him up with none other than her gorgeous and popular sister Maddie, she's not sure if she's up for the challenge. Especially since Sasha's crushing on Derek herself.




Love on Cue
By Catherine Hapka

When you have to sing your heart out, it’s best to know how...

Maggie Tannery is a true theater girl--at least she is now. Back in middle school, she was so self-conscious her parents actually made her try out for her school play, but amazingly, Maggie discovered that when she's on stage her shyness disappears. Everyone knows that Maggie's practically a shoo-in for the lead in this year's production of Romeo & Juliet. But Maggie's got other things on her mind besides playing Juliet--she's hoping fellow drama club member Derek O'Malley will be her Romeo on and off-stage.

But Maggie gets a major case of stage fright when she finds out that her school has decided to stage a musical instead of a play--and Maggie can't sing! Knowing that Derek's still going for the lead male role, she keeps her eyes on the prize and decides to get some voice lessons from Nico Vasquez, a drama club member in charge of mixing background music for their performances. Things get complicated when Nico starts making backstage passes at Maggie. It looks like the music man of Maggie's dreams is not who she thinks it is...

Drive Me Crazy
By Erin Downing

Three friends kick off the summer with an unforgettable road trip. Destination: true love!

Kate’s tote is packed and she’s ready for a road trip! She and her two best friends, Sierra and Alexis, are geared up for a week of fun and freedom on the road to their family lake houses in Love, Wisconsin. Best of all, when Kate reaches Love, she’ll be reunited with Lucas, with whom she shared a steamy end-of-summer kiss last year. Kate can’t wait to see Lucas again and pick things up exactly where they left off.

Then Kate gets some seriously bad news: Alexis’s sarcastic, condescending, hot-but-he-knows-it cousin is crashing the girls’ road trip. Adam bugs Kate in every possible way. Now Kate just wants to get the road trip over with so she can spend the summer in Lucas’s arms. But the road to Love is full of surprises…

Love Off Limits
By Whitney Lyles

Breaking up is hard to do!

Natalie should be the happiest girl in the world, dating Jeremy who is totally hot and perfect by everyone’s standards. But something just isn’t right. The seemingly flawless couple has been dating since freshman year, and now Natalie fears the spark may be fizzling…at least on her end. But she’s not sure if breaking up is the right thing to do.

Being such an expert in love (or so people think), Natalie gets coaxed into writing a romance column for the school newspaper. And soon she finds spending time with her editor, Matt, to be way worth the work. It seems like the answer’s staring her straight in the face. Dump Jeremy and go out with Matt. There’s just one catch; Matt is Jeremy’s best friend, and dumping your boyfriend to date his closest friend is just wrong…right?



The Ex Games
By Jennifer Echols

Brace yourself for the battle of the exes...

Hayden and Nick used to be a hot item, but their brief affair ended with a highly publicized break-up. Now the two are “just friends,” excluding the occasional flirtation.

When Hayden wins the girls’ division of a local snowboarding competition, Nick is unimpressed, claiming that Hayden wouldn’t have a chance against a guy. Hayden calls Nick’s bluff and challenges him to a head-to-head boarding contest. Their mutual friends quickly take sides, the girls on Hayden’s and the boys on Nick’s, making for an all-out battle of the sexes. This friendly competition is bound to get heated--and if they’re not careful, they might end up igniting some old flames.

Perfect Shot
By Debbie Rigaud

Who doesn’t want to be a cover girl?

London Abrams’s first love is volleyball, so why is she a contestant for an online modeling competition? Answer: Super-hottie, Brent St. John. London spotted Brent signing in contestants at the store, and she got in line simply to say hi. She never thought she’d make it into the competition!

London’s now up against fourteen hungry fashionistas willing to do whatever it takes to win. But all she wants is to win Brent’s heart…but the money prize couldn’t hurt. If London plays this right, she can win the contest, the boy, and the cash. GAME ON!



Hard to Get
By Emma Carlson Berne

Val Rushford has it all: The boyfriend, the looks, the grades, the friends--she's perfect. But when she dumps her cheating boyfriend, Dave, she's bombarded with all types of advances from boys all over school! Totally overwhelmed, Val decides to swear off boys until the end of the year. She buries herself in her school work and spends all her time on a class project that has her paired up with the artsy and intellectual Adam--the unlikliest candidate to ever win Val's heart...or so she thinks.

Val soon finds a connection in Adam she has never experienced before, but she's so dedicated to her promise and so unsure of her feelings that she keeps him at an awkward distance. If Val can't figure out what she truly wants, she may just lose her one chance at real love!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Over and Done

If you're reading this blog, chances are that you read a lot, period. Books, blogs, magazines...whatever you can get your hands on. I'm firmly in that camp myself. The stack of books next to my bed is so high I can reach over and grab one off the top while sitting in bed without having to stretch. (And then there's the pile of magazines next to the book pile...)

I'm also a notorious TV news junkie.

However, all that reading and watching means there are certain words/phrases/topics that make me roll my eyes. I don't want to see or hear them ever again. Here's my current list. Feel free to add your own!


1) OCTOMOM. Really, who coined that phrase? Doesn't it make the woman sound like the villain in a Superman or Spiderman flick?

2) DR. PHIL. His fifteen minutes of fame should have ended two or three years ago. I hit mute during commercials for his show. His voice bugs me that much.

3) TWITTER. (closely related: TWEET) I know everybody's doing it. I refuse. Does anyone need to know what all their friends/relatives/random acquaintances are doing 24/7? I don't WANT to know!

4) HERO. There are a lot of heroes. However, each time a person does something heroic that makes the news, it ends up being replayed on an endless loop. This isn't really a word I think should be put out of use; rather, it should be used for special instances. Newscasters bandy about this moniker with abandon, referring to someone as a "hero" for weeks on end, which makes it lose its meaning.

5) "I HEAR WHAT YOU'RE SAYING, BUT...". This is the phrase people use when they want to dismiss someone else, but make them feel good about it. To me, it translates to, "I am about to ignore you because I believe I'm superior." (Note: This phrase is occasionally used by Dr. Phil.)

What about you? What phrases/words/topics are you tired of reading about or hearing? It doesn't have to be something from pop culture; I'd even like to hear about book or movie topics you feel are overdone. Fire away!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring reading

Last Friday the Little Professor Bookstore in Birmingham hosted a signing for me. Yesterday I spoke at the Alabama Library Association Convention. My latest novel, Going Too Far, is in its second printing. I just turned in a proposal for my fourth ro-com to Editor Mike, and I’m waiting to hear whether he likes it (NO HURRY, MIKE). It has been a good April so far.

And now, it’s time to read.

Of course, I read all day. I work as a copyeditor, reading. I write and then read what I’ve written. I read manuscripts in progress by my author friends. But reading for pleasure is something I have to make time for. And I really must make that time. You can’t be a good writer without reading voraciously. Plus, I’m doing a 52-book challenge this year, and I’m only on #9.

Here’s the deliciousness I have in store for the next few days:
1. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
2. When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
3. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
4. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
5. One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke
6. To Be Mona by Kelly Easton
7. Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
8. Impossible by Nancy Werlin
9. So B. It by Sarah Weeks
10. Whatever I reserved at the library that they have called me to come pick up. I can’t remember what it was, but I know it looked delicious at the time.

It’s a lovely time of year for a reading break, with every flower in Alabama blooming at once. I plan to relax outside in the warm weather and finish all these books before I start writing again—unless, of course, Editor Mike buys another ro-com from me in the meantime (NO PRESSURE, MIKE).

What are you reading?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

New Book & Hollywood-ooh-la-la


Hey! I have some good news...ready?? I just signed up my next book with Simon Pulse! This book will not be a part of the Romantic Comedies, but is a single title by moi that is a bit edgier and, quite frankly, a little raunchier. Okay, a lot raunchier - but I promise it will be funny and that's the most important thing! Right now, the title I'm working with is "Kiss It" and I'm in love with this book. I have only written the first few chapters, but I'm really having a great time working on something so different from my three books in the Romantic Comedy line. Can you tell I'm psyched?

In other fun news, I met with an amazing producer last weekend in L.A. who is working with some very talented screenwriters on a script for Prom Crashers - they're trying to bring Emily and Max and their crazy prom-crashing antics to the big screen. Even though the chance of this ever making it to the movie theaters is super-slim, I'm dreaming of the possibility and desperately seeking casting suggestions to send to my producer. Who has some great teen girl actor recommendations for me? Who do you think should play Emily??

Later,
E.