Monday, December 21, 2009

Hard Cover Christmas

My home state is now under a blanket of snow, and I have to admit--I'm a little jealous of their winter wonderland. Sometimes I long for the comforts of familiarity. Living on a semi-tropical island over the past two years, there are a few things I’m slowly getting used to. Like last year, we spent part of Christmas Day on the beach. One ex-pat tradition is to hit the shores in celebration of the season.

And it was kinda strange (but very cool) getting so close to royalty during Queen Elizabeth’s visit last month. Security is totally not what it would be if I were home in the States or visiting the UK. I joined the crowd of school children and office workers lining the streets for a glimpse of the queen’s motorcade.

Speaking of uncommon sightings, on book shelves here American books are integrated with those published in the UK. Yes, American books sit side by side with British ro-coms that go on and on about “snogging” (read: kissing). And sometimes there are US/UK hybrids resulting in something very cool. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a Simon Pulse Ro-Com in hard cover! Check out this US-produced, UK-published gem:

Here’s to a joyous holiday season with uncommon and common delights wherever on the map you are! :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

We've got the scoop!

Look for these new Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies in 2010! ♥


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!


At First Sight
By Catherine Hapka


Language of Love
By Deborah Reber


Endless Summer
By Jennifer Echols

The sequel to The Boys Next Door

Lori should have known better than to date a pirate.

After finally getting together and going out on their first real date, only Lori and Adam could manage to fall asleep—and wake up seven hours past Lori’s curfew. Their parents forbid them to see each other. So Lori takes it upon herself to date boys scarier than Adam until her dad gives in.

But Adam won’t play along. He’s afraid Lori might fall for these scary boys. And when she goes out with the scariest boy of all—Adam’s own brother and her ex-crush—even the threat of being sent away to military school can’t keep Adam from swashbuckling his way back into Lori’s heart.

Can this forbidden love stay afloat, or will it sink in the watery deep?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Book Event & Places I Write

On December 12, one of my favorite indie bookstores, Wisebird Bookery of Ogden, Utah,
hosted a holiday event featuring the book Christmas Miracles by Marley Gibson and Cecil Murphy. Drienie Hattingh, a local writer and one of my favorite people (pictured in purple, right in front of the tree), came to sign her miraculous story that's inlcuded in the book.

Santa and his elves were there, and with hot cocoa, old-fashioned peppermint sticks, a warm fire, and good friends, it was a wonderful way to get out of the cold and shopping frenzy and get excited about the upcoming holidays. My oldest and youngest son came along, and as you can see, enjoyed themselves. And, as luck would have it, someone bought a copy of my ro-com, Miss Match while I was there, and I got to sign it for her. (That happened about a week ago at Hastings, and I swear my son thinks I'm famous or something! LOL.)
Okay, so on to the question of the month: what kind of setting do I need to be in to write? I would love to write in a quaint little bookstore like Wisebird. However, since I come with kids attatched to my legs, I usually just write at home. I have a laptop so I can move freely from room to room if need be, but when I'm really serious about writing, I go into my home office. I guess I've learned to adapt and can write anywhere, from quiet hotel rooms and libraries to noisy places like McDonald's. I also write at all times: early morning, middle of the night, and all throughout the day. Just whenever I can fit it in!
Thanks for reading, and warm wishes for a happy holiday season and new year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


This is my first blog post as a Simon Pulse Ro-Com writer and my first blog post. . .ever. Actually, this is my first time writing anything significant online, ever. It's even my first time using a computer. (Just kidding on that last one.) But since my first Ro-Com, Hard to Get, is coming out on February 23rd, it's time I stop being such a Luddite and officially enter the blogosphere.

So, the statistics. I'm thirty years old, married, have a baby son and a hairy black dog. Before I wrote romance novels, I wrote biographies and also educational books on health topics. So if you ever want to know some facts about Christopher Columbus or methamphetamine, I'm your woman. And before I was a writer, I taught horseback riding. So if you ever need to know how to get that horse to pick up its right lead, I'm also your woman.

I wrote Hard to Get right after I had my first baby. (I was actually talking to my agent about the deal as I lay in my hospital bed.) The juxtaposition of the two worlds was exactly what I needed during that particularly stressful time in my life. Here I had just given up my most of my independence and all of my free time, and for two hours a day, I could go into my study, shut the door (ah! blissful silence!), and dive into the world of high school, where there are no sodden diapers. If someone had a problem in that world, they could just say what it was, using actual words, unlike the newest member of my family.

I worked on the novel for nine months--all through the fall, winter, spring and into the middle of summer. By the time I wrote the last sentence, my son had transformed from a blob wrapped in a blanket to an actual crawling, laughing, babbling human being. Val and Adam, the main characters in the book, had also grown up to a certain extent. I think they ended the story as stronger people--at least that was my intention. And I ended that nine months having grown up a little too. Poop explosions no longer made me cry. I could easily function on four hours of sleep per night. And I was ridiculously proud of having raised up two babies in just one year--my son and my novel.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The question authors are asked most often at booksignings

For my next trick, I will speak on a panel of authors at the Southern Magic meeting in Birmingham in February. Looking way ahead, I'll be signing my novels at the enormous "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing in Nashville on July 28. And you should definitely make plans to meet me in person, because I am the epitome of scholarship and professionalism. Here, bask in my glory. My friend Carla filmed this at a booksigning last Saturday. That's bestselling author Christy Reece telling me that I have chocolate on my teeth.

After this, I asked Carla to stop filming me while I had chocolate in my mouth and to take at least one picture of me where I look like a Serious Author. That's superauthor Debra Webb looking at me and thinking, "I cannot believe I am signing books next to this person."

Morals of this story:

1. Do not invite good friends to your booksignings.

2. Do not allow them to bring cameras.

3. Do not place a big bowl of chocolate on your table in front of your books to entice readers, because you will eat it.

4. Do place a large sign on your table that says BATHROOM: THAT WAY, with an arrow.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

How Many Days Until Christmas?

I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I suspect most people enjoy certain aspects of the festivities, if only as a distraction from the waning daylight and snow (we're due to get 6-10 inches today). Except the Australians, who are in full summer. [Let me pause a moment to get over my intense jealousy.]

My family does the whole thing -- tree, gifts, big meal, big gathering. I even write cards (which still need to be done, tick tock tick tock). The only thing we don't do are outside lights. However, that does not stop us from enjoying other people's outside lights.

But my real favorite thing is my advent calendar. My everyday habit is to cross off the day on my monthly calendar as it happens (or a whole week's worth when I unbury my calendar from a pile of work after a crunch time). My advent calendar is like crossing off the days on crack ...without being illegal.

I gave up on the chocolate calendars, because they only last one year (and the chocolate is not so good). Three years ago, at Sams, I found the perfect permanent advent calendar. It's wooden, and the base holds Holiday cards. Each numbered square is a door, and inside is a cute little ornament. A trumpet, a star, an angel, and so on. For 25 days.

After that, just six more days until 2010. And the days will be getting longer instead of shorter.

Enjoy the festivities in whatever way suits you. Because anything that gets you through the shortening days is good (unless you live in which case, please don't talk to me for at least 15 more days).


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

PERFECT SHOT is out today!!

Today is the release day for Perfect Shot!

I can’t believe the day is here. I’m officially a Simon Pulse Ro-Com author now. Yet thanks to the warm welcome I’ve received here, it feels like I’ve been part of the Simon Pulse Ro-Com blog family for a long while. So thanks for all the love, Ro-Com authors and readers!

Tuesday has always been my favorite day of the week. The look and sound of the word just feels friendly. And it turns out I was born on a Tuesday. So, I’m hoping Good Vibes Tuesday brings just as warm a welcome to Perfect Shot.

Check out the book trailer my 15-year-old niece Ana whipped up for me. The trailer is a total family affair. It also features the song “Butterfly” which is performed by Ana and written by both Ana and my cousin 13-year-old cousin Maeva. Also look out for my goddaughter Amanda, who makes a cameo as the beret-wearing “model.” And playing the role of the heartthrob is my cutie cousin Junior. Isn’t he a cutie?