LUELLEN & LUCY by Dee DeTarsio & GIVEAWAY

Thank you so much to the lovely Cindy Roesel!

Thoughts on This 'n That

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I’ve known writer, Dee DeTarsio for … well, lets just say YEARS, now! (too many to admit, really) We met on-line as fellow writers. I was just starting out and Dee was very generous with her knowledge and helped me avoid many mistakes I would have inevitably made without her guidance. I will forever be grateful.

She’s written eight novels and two of my favorite include, THE KITCHEN SHRINK and HAOLE WOOD. THE KITCHEN SHRINK is about a women who wins a kitchen makeover. A television production company moves into her house, and let’s just say she gets a lot more than new cabinets and counters in the form of a gorgeous cameraman who raises the temperature every time he steps into the kitchen … ready to work.

Dee and I both have a special place in our hearts for Hawaii and every time I need a Maui fix, I crack open HAOLE WOOD…

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Luellen & Lucy

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Luellen & Lucy is “A charming Gone With the Wind era love story . . .”

The Civil War may be over, but for thirty-year-old Luellen, the battle has just begun. After burying her husband and children, Luellen and her lifelong friend, Lucy, pack up secrets and set about rebuilding their lives up north. But as Luellen finally finds the love and security she never thought she deserved, Lucy disapproves of the match and threatens to ruin Luellen’s chance at happiness.

Closer than sisters, neither can bear to part from the other until a train robbery changes everything. Lucy slips into Luellen’s life, while Luellen is embroiled in her kidnapper’s quest.

From bidding adieu to southern traditions to embracing love, compassion combats betrayal as Luellen and Lucy bravely face the future.

Potatoes & Brussel Sprouts

Mmm…Since discovering The Starch Solution, How Not to Die, Forks Over Knives, our family is even more obnoxious than mere vegans…we are Whole Food Plant Based Oil Free Starchitarians! (Who-Fo P-BoFs?) Viva la potato. Tyler, Gigi and Jonae, this post is for you:

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Clean, then cut in half small gold and red potatoes. Steam in top of rice cooker basket (10 minutes). *Put about an inch of water in bottom of rice cooker for steaming!

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Clean, cut in half Brussel Sprouts. Steam in top of rice cooker basket (10 minutes).

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Place parchment paper or tin foil on cookie sheet, place layer of steamed potatoes and steamed Brussel Sprouts. Sprinkle with Balsamic Vinegar, as much as you want.

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Broil on High for @ five minutes. Remove from oven, stir mixture, and broil again for 3-4 minutes. Watch to make sure it doesn’t burn, but crisping and dark edges help make potatoes and Brussel Sprouts crispy and serves to carmelize the Balsamic Vinegar. At the very end, salt to taste: Enjoy!

 

 

#Giveaway! The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes!

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So pretty.

Giveaway: One slightly used well-read paperback copy of the latest from Marian Keyes: The Woman Who Stole My Life! This title will not be released on our side of the pond until next summer, but I have a copy!! *That I already read. *And loved. May or may not contain a few, little teeny-tiny coffee splatters and cookie crumbs for your page-turning pleasure. 

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I swear, I’ve tried this on.

 

Our-side-of-the-pond cover!

US Cover

 

Background: My favorite storyteller on the planet is Marian Keyes. She’s a Virgo, I’m a Virgo. She’s a successful, internationally recognized goddess of an author, and I . . . well, I’ve read everything she’s ever written. Her most excellent Ms. Keyes is from Ireland, I love the color green. I expect we would be best friends. From her first book, Watermelon, (my seventh favorite fruit) to Sushi for Beginners, (I’m only up to California rolls myself) to Anybody Out There — I have loved, read, and reread every word.  Don’t even get me started on The Walsh Sisters—I have four sisters, myself! We are practically related. Sestra! (Marian, if you haven’t checked out Orphan Black yet, you really should!)

Goddess Marian Keyes

Goddess Marian Keyes

 

 

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My sister, Beezer. (I sometimes call her an eejit.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter-Winner @MarianKeyes is channeling her creativity into refinishing furniture with her BeachHouse BanjoTM. I like to tinker around with home improvement projects, too.

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I want to spray paint this thing a bright, reflective silver, but my kids are freaking out. *Shrugs* It’s pretty much their inheritance, so good for them. #AllIGetIsALamp?

Back to The Woman Who Stole My Life. She’s looking for a good home and I will pass her on to a reader who simply can’t wait: @DeeDeTarsio. (Sorry @auntnancis, US only!)

Award-Winning Cookie Recipe!

unnamed‘Tis the season to . . . gain weight, break out, have nothing to wear. Poor baby, you need a cookie.

Meet Ginger Krinkles!

Nine little ingredients, five minutes to assemble, 10-15 minutes to bake. Voila!

(*’Tis a cookie-exchange award-winning recipe.)

Ginger Krinkles!

2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

1 Cup Granulated Sugar (—additional 1/2 cup sugar for rolling)

1 Egg

4 Tablespoons Molasses

2 Cups Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Ginger

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Mix oil and sugar, add egg and beat. Stir in molasses. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture.

 

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Place spoonful of dough into separate bowl of sugar and roll into uniformly sized balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Enjoy!

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Ginger Krinkles!

unnamed“I was named after a Christmas cookie.”

Ginger Krinkles is crossing her fingers that this holiday season will be extra special, for once. She lost her job in San Diego and dreads moving back home to Ennui, Ohio, where she’s convinced she will end up like her mean ol’ grandmother (God rest her soul). Ginger has always been a holiday-hater. But she has a secret. Make that two. If you buy the first one, maybe it will be easier to unwrap the second: either Ginger is an elf, or there really is magic to be found in an old cookie recipe.

Coming soon on Amazon: The perfect holiday gift—for yourself and a friend! $2.99 for kindle gift, $4.99 for paperback!images-1

Leftover Pasta?

Who throws out leftover pasta?” I yelled at my friend (who had invited me over for a delicious dinner) who was about to toss out a whole colander full of perfectly good noodles. They were still warm!

“What are you going to do with them?” she asked me. Fair question. I don’t cook—I present. Cheese, crackers, salads, artichoke dip. Cookies. I am an amazing milk-pourer on cereal—I must be, why else would my kids wait three hours for me to come home and do it for them?

photo (4)There is one dish my kids request, and it only has TWO ingredients: Fried Eggs-n-Noodles. The noodles have to be leftover, next day or five, preferably spaghetti. Glob A LOT of butter into the frying pan, add the old (don’t smell them) noodles, scramble in some eggs, salt and pepper, more salt, a little more, more. Garnish as desired. Oh, who am I kidding? It must be eaten with ketchup.

Thumbs Down!

image-filtered-17One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war. I was a thumb sucker. I remember the trouble I was in when my mom busted me trying to wash off the toxic goo she had painted on to try to break my habit. I enjoy building the steeple to open the doors and see all the people, and I don’t hear my phone complaining when I whip out long-winded thumb-driven messages.

I don’t mean to go all Thumbelina here, but who started the rumor that flexible thumbs that stretch backwards are an indication of creativity? Stephen Colbert looks like he has creative thumbs. 

Oh, get off your high, hitchhiking horses. Those curved, right-angled bendy thumbs are merely a fluke-o-nature genetic trait. But, did you know the straighter the thumb, the more honest, lovable, and wealthy the individual, according to IMTU (I Made That Up)?

I straight out thumb my nose at those curvy digits. And don’t even get me started on the supposed sexual superiority of the extra-long second toe.

How about you? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

 

Dynamic Duo Review-O!

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by Dee DeTarsio and Jackie Bouchard

Jackie: I’m not sure about the title of this blog post.

Dee: Really? The title? We can’t agree about the title? 

Jackie: It’s fine.

Dee: Fine? Two syllables fi-ne? What, are we dating now?

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Dee and Jackie!

Jackie: Let’s just talk about the book.

Dee: But, let’s give a little background first.

Jackie: Wow. It would be so hard to write a whole book with someone else.

Dee: I’m sitting right here.

Jackie: No, not you in particular.

Dee: *Looking around* Who are you talking about? Jennifer Weiner? Sarah Pekkanen?

Jackie: I’m just saying that you take two smart women,

Dee: Accomplished, impressive, funny . . . 

Jackie: Sophisticated, polished . . .

Dee: Wait a minute. Who are you talking about?

Jackie: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. Who are you talking about?

Dee: Never mind.

Jackie: Can we least agree on how much we loved their book, Your Perfect Life?

Dee: Loved it! And how great is it that we have been able to get to know Liz?

Jackie: I do believe it’s her turn to buy coffee next.

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Liz and Lisa!

Dee: I do believe your spreadsheet is showing, thank you very much, but you are correct. I could hear Liz’s voice all the way throughout the book—smart, sarcastic and sweet—and I feel like I know Lisa. How can anyone resist the premise of switching bodies with your best friend? Especially with Facebook, where we all think everyone else is living the life.

Jackie: I really liked their characters, too, and the dialogue. It was very real, and very fun.

Dee: And don’t you love it when books and authors are in harmony, and that relationships (whether virtual or in person) with the author strengthen the story, and vice versa? Like you are so Jane in Rescue Me, Maybe. Liz is Casey, right?

Jackie: I thought she was Rachel.

Dee: You are killing me.

Jackie: Even women who don’t know Liz and Lisa will like this book, and will feel like they know them after they read it, right?

Dee: Absolutely. 

Jackie: Stay tuned for a co-authored bestseller from Dee and Jackie, coming soon…The 12th of Never.

Dee: Very funny.

Jackie: At least we managed a blog post together! And it only took us, what, a month?!

Dee: It’s a start!

Your Perfect Life, really is coming soon, (June 10, 2014—available for pre-order, NOW!) If you click on over to Jackie’s doghouse at Pooches Smooches, you can meet Liz and Lisa’s dogs—so cute!!

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Passing the Torch!

I am such a HUGE fan of the book Girl Unmoored I wrote to the amazing author, Jennifer Gooch Hummer, who WROTE ME BACK! I was not surprised that the creator of such a good book was so cool, but there is a special place in my library for books that shine with the harmony of an author’s words and spirit. I’m honored she is passing the torch to me for this awesome blog hop on the writing process. (You can check Jennifer’s out, here!)images-1

1. What am I working on?

’Tis the season to be . . . worrying about thinking about fitting into bathing suits and deciding that yes, now is the time for all good women to consider shaving their legs. However, I am writing Ginger Krinkles, “a holiday tale of heart-breaking humor” (that’s what it says in the blurb) (that I wrote). Fa la la la la la la la la. It is a novella and will be about 100 pages long, conveniently sized for a holiday movie.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love to read chick lit because it laughs at the sadness of life. I love to write chick lit, because it can entertain on so many levels, from magical realism, to romance, to philosophy, to using humor to help polish the edges of life. My favorite review I’ve ever received was, “You have to be a little weird and have a sense of humor to enjoy this book.”

3. Why do I write what I do?

See that review right up there? I’m looking for friends in Category: Weird, Niche: Humor, Sub-genre: Fun, to come and read with me. (Why is Garth Brooks’ song, Friends in Low Places, earworming me now?) 

4. How does my writing process work?

Please slap me if I start talking about my “craft” without adding macaroni and cheese! I was a TV writer and producer with daily deadlines which gave me the audacious idea that maybe one day I could write a book. I write every day unless I don’t. Sometimes I take a break to mop the floor for inspiration. (Oh, who am I kidding? I sweep the room with a glance.) Sometimes a writerly friend (I’m looking at you, Jackie Bouchard and Rescue Me, Maybe!) will invite me to practice my craft with her! Mmm cheesier.imgres-1

Stay tuned! Instead of torch passing, I’m naming names … of groovy authors whose spirits just ooze into their books: Carol K. Carr and India Black, Jess Riley and Mandatory Release and Terry Ambrose and Con Game!

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Book Review ~ ‘All My Restless Life to Live’ by Dee DeTarsio.

An amazingly awesome review from Sorcha at the Old Victorian Quill:

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All My Restless Life to Live by Dee DeTarsio.
Publication date: April 29th 2013
Genres: Adult, Romance.

AllMyRestlessLifetoLive

۞

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SYNOPSIS

Fans of Marian Keyes and Jennifer Weiner will delight in Dee DeTarsio’s sparkling prose and lively dialogue as she takes readers into the heart of women’s lives.

Life is a soap opera, especially for Elle Miller, who writes for one. (Ellen dropped the “n” in her name in hopes of finding a better ending for herself.) When her laptop crashes, she borrows her recently deceased dad’s computer and gets way more than she bargained for.

Elle unravels mysterious communications from his computer, while her mom decides to give Internet dating a try. As Elle tries to save her career at I’d Rather Be Loved with a storyline featuring a trip through Atlantis, she takes a trip to the Emmys, and finds herself in the middle of a romance between a real doctor and a hunk who just…

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San Francisco Book Review April 2014

From this month’s issue of the San Francisco Book Review!

Chick Lit Check ListChick Lit Check List 2

(Update: Marian Keyes IS releasing a new novel this Fall, The Woman Who Stole My Life!)

 

 

Book Blitz ~ ‘All My Restless Life to Live’ by Dee DeTarsio.

Thank you to Sorcha at Old Victorian Quill blog for featuring All My Restless Life to Live . . .

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All My Restless Life to Live by Dee DeTarsio
Publication date: April 29th 2013
Genres: Adult, Romance

AllMyRestlessLifetoLive

۞

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SYNOPSIS

Award-winning author Dee DeTarsio combines life’s darker side with humor and tenderness in a wonderfully charming look at love and the afterlife.

Life is a soap opera, especially for Elle Miller, who is a TV producer. (Ellen dropped the “n” in her name in hopes of finding a better ending for herself.) When her laptop crashes, she borrows her dead dad’s computer and gets way more than she bargained for.

As Elle tries to save her career with a storyline featuring a trip through Atlantis, she takes a trip to the Emmys, and finds herself in the middle of a romance between a real doctor and a hunk who just plays one on TV. Friends, family, and clues from “the other side” all help Elle figure out the difference between living…

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Imagine All The Purple

imageI am the poor-deprived middle child and when I was little and my two older sisters refused to play with me, I turned to my two younger sisters. Heh, heh. “Let’s color,” I said, pretending it didn’t really matter what we did. Beezer had just gotten new coloring books. Oh, this was going to be fun. The three of us sat at the kitchen table, as I magnanimously let them choose crayons first. I saw them smile at each other. Fools. Beezer offered me up a princess page. It just didn’t get any better.

“You sure?” I asked her. She giggled and shrugged her little, naive shoulders, looking thrilled to please her big sister. I took my time and watched them get started. “Good job, Jody.”  (Who died and made her captain of the outline police? Hello, future accountant.) It should be noted, Jody is also the one who spit in her “pop” to make sure we wouldn’t try to drink it. That made what was about to happen all the sweeter.

Beezer was scribble-scrabbling away, not staying in the lines, filling in the hair of her girl with a lovely shade of mahogany. The eyes looked like exploding stars of azure, seriously, she couldn’t stay inside a small circle if you paid her. Their biggest crime was that they were younger than me. ‘Twas enough. The time was right. My sisters’ heads were bent over their masterpieces, but their hands stilled. They peeked at me and the crayon box.

I hummed a little as I went in for the purple. They held their breath. I knew what they were thinking. It would be really pretty for the dress. I centered the page and swiped my hand across that delicious manila paper. With even, measured strokes, I colored in the face of the princess. Jody groaned and begged me to stop, then ran to tattle on me. Beezer just cried. I think I went for a lovely teal for the hair.

Why was that so much fun? Granted, I grew up in Ennui, Ohio, where every confession of boredom was met with a can of Comet cleanser, served up by my mom. Was I learning not to take things so seriously? Enjoying a random afternoon of sister bonding? Or maybe, to hijack a reminder from Mark Twain (via my friend Vaughn Roycroft), “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Mostly, I was just a brat. 

To purple crayons!

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” —Albert Einstein

 

 

Readers’ Choice Awards!

Big Al’s Books and Pals, one of the most respected indie book review sites, has just compiled a list of nominations for the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards, featuring tops picks of the year in everything from Romance, to Mystery, to Fantasy, YA, Contemporary, Humor, Crime, Paranormal, Short Story, and more.

Haole Wood has received a nomination for Chick Lit!! final-kindle-cover-web

There is time to vote through March 12th, so click on over and help support Indie Authors—Thank you!

http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2014/03/readers-choice2.html

Dialogues With The Devil (Conversation With A Literary Agent: Selling Your Soul)

Layout 1Me: “It is (“air quotes”) ‘a warm, witty’ novel; friends-on-an-adventure facing insurmountable odds.”

Devil: “Is there an alien in it?”

Me: “Yes, but . . . “

Devil: “Science Fiction.”

Me: “No, but . . . “

Devil: “No Sci-Fi for me.”

Me: “Me neither . . .”

Devil: (Recorded message) “Thank you for considering Us for submission of your manuscript. ’Twill be a frigid day, yada, yada . . .”

Me: “It’s not Science Fiction! Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .”

Devil: Cloven hoof tapping impatiently.

Me: “Think of it as a coming-of- (voice lowers to whisper) space- (louder) age story!”

Devil: “SF.”

Me: “No, not at all! Geez. I do not write erotica. I wish I could. I mean there is romance in there, and a few NSFW scenes that while gratuitous, certainly do serve to move the story along.”

Devil: “Fantasy.”

Me:  (Considering) “Maybe.”

Devil: Static on line. Rustling sounds. “Crackle, living, fantasy, world.”

Me: “Hey, now. That whole sci-fi fantasy world doesn’t have to be riddled with monsters, or zombies or vampires, or Woolite®-sponsored underground silo sagas. Hugh Howie would love Ros. search

Me: “Hello? Are you still there?”

Ros was taped before a live studio audience. For a transcript of the show, please visit Ros. And is it just me, or has anyone else wondered about that dystopian Woolite® tag line, “No clothes left behind.”

Mr. Howey, Woolite® called and wants its unmentionables back.

5 Reasons to Read Chick Lit 4 a Stress-Free Holiday, Including 3 Hints on How 2 Be Healthy and Happy, Plus The #1 Most Fabulous Gift Guide!

Prototype of the new Fondle logo?

New erotic ereader logo for the Fondle!

Eighty-seven percent of us are more likely to read an article that has a quantitative headline, according to IMTU (I Made That Up). From “To Do” to “Top 10” to “Best Of,” lists claim to help us through the clutter to control the chaos of our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I like lists as much as the next person, but can we really count on those numbered points as a compass to a better life? Or are you that rare reader who is not influenced by lists, at all? Take the simple test below and find out:

 

Which topic would you be more likely to click on?
A. Top 10 Self-Pleasuring Techniques, That Could Save Your Life!
B. Top 10 Holiday Centerpieces Using Pickle Jars, That Could Save Your Celebration!
Ha ha, just a trick question. Who wouldn’t want to burn precious moments, that we will never, ever, see again, checking out both? Especially if there are pictures included! Who doesn’t want to pick up some secret tip? I could make an unbelievable graph showing all the most popular lists out there, just waiting to tantalize us.

Top 3 Reasons I Can’t Make A Graph
1. I’m a writer.
2. I ran out of coffee.
3. It’s time for my Lumosity brain training.

All My Restless Life to Live I’ve been searching for meaning. Chick Lit, which can be loosely defined as books for women, by women, but always with a hopefully-ever-after, is not dead. There’s even a Top 10 Blog devoted to that very subject, ChickLitIsNotDead. (Hey, Liz and Lisa!).

5 Reasons Reading Chick Lit Novels Can Save Your Life!all my book
Reading Chick Lit novels can decrease stress levels by:
• Exercising emotions,
• Providing nutritional doses of Vitamin I (Imagination),
• Triggering serotonin spikes of well-being,
• Improving social skills,
• Enhancing moods (Fat-free, zero calories)!

*Reading Chick Lit Novels not meant to be taken as medical advice, but really, should be considered a part of a healthy, happy lifestyle. Please consult with friends for recommendations before attempting.

With so much competition from Hallmark Holiday movies, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and coordinating projects on Pinterest, (really, give me 3 Good Reasons Why You Want to Learn How to Crochet), Chick Lit novels remain the one true constant. Still don’t believe?

Three-ee eShocking eStatistics!
1. Fewer people may be reading, but the ones who are, are reading more, thanks to mobile
devices.
2. Nearly one-third of all Americans have read an ebook.
3. In China, it’s estimated that 25 million people read books on their cell phones.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . you do the math. ‘Tis the season to be stressed out. ‘Tis also the #1 List-Making Season of The Year. Not only do we make our lists, check them twice, we get stuck in a line where the last thing we feel like being is nice. There is a simple solution.
haole xmas

The #1 Best Gift Idea, Ever!
Chick Lit novels help us laugh at the sadness of life. What more could anyone wish for?

When Love Walked In, Certain Girls who were Good in Bed were shaking like Little EarthquakesAnybody Out There? I called. My heart was Skipping a Beat. I’ve Got Your Number. It may have started as Something Borrowed but you’ve taken me from feeling Hopeless to Almost Paradise, keeping me Spellmanbound and now, you Belong to Me, The Girl You Left Behind. Rescue Me, Maybe, and Take A Chance on Me! Spirit me away to The Forgotten Garden where All The Lonely People hang out and read awesome books about Love and Other Subjects!
P.S. I Love You!

Tags, thank yous, and Happy Holidays to goddess chick lit authors who make any season bright, including: Marisa de los Santos, Jennifer Wiener, Marian Keyes, Sarah Pekkanen, Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, Susan Isaacs, Lisa Lutz, Jackie Bouchard, Jill Mansell, Kate Morton, Jess Riley, Cecelia Ahern, Colleen Hoover, Kathleen Shoop, and Jojo Moyes, and all the Chick Lit Goddesses, #ChickLit4Xmas!ros

Dee DeTarsio is an award-winning indie author living in southern California.

Where is my Patronus Charm?

I’m pretty-pretty sure J.K. Rowling has been attacked by Dementors. So have I. JK-Rowling-SUM_2348620b

These soul-sucking fiends, dark creatures that suck life and light and feed off human happiness, do exist.

Think all the happy thoughts you want, it will never be enough to battle the Hee-Haw gloom-despair-and-agony-on-me-deep-dark-depression-excessive-misery.  News flash: It’s not the cold that will get you, rather, it’s that hot flash fanning the flames of hell as the loathsome beasts seek to destroy your very hormones.

What the hell did I do with my Patronus charm?

Dear Brenda,

photoDear Brenda,

I don’t know you, but I feel as if I do. One of my books (you know which one!) has been floating in space with a one-star “eww” review for months.

But along comes lovely Reader Brenda, (thank you very much!) with a five-star “entertaining”!

Will you marry me?

With love and devotion–truly, madly, deeply yours,

Dee

Oh, What Fun it is to Read . . . in a Chick Lit Giveaway!

posterOh, What Fun it is to Read . . . in a Chick Lit Giveawayyy!

Enter to win 29 autographed Chick Lit books from my friends and fellow Chick Lit Goddess Authors! One winner will be chosen on Christmas Eve!

Click on the Rafflecopter below to like one of the Facebook Author pages to enter — you can like as many author pages as you want for additional entries. (Please share the joy and tell your bookworm friends!)

Happy Holidays — Happy Reading!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

17 Reasons Why I Love Hallmark Channel Holiday Movies!

imagesOn the first day of holiday programming on the Hallmark Channel, my true love gave to me, my very own remote to the TV.

Laying his finger aside of his nose, he goes, “I’m off to watch football and drink beers,”  as I settle down for my long winter’s nap, sure to be filled with good cheers.

Each Hallmark movie fills me with glee, and will contain some version of reindeers, funny ears, a poor woman’s fears, switching gears, something bad she hears, could be threatening jeers, some jerk leers, a quick check in mirrors, as the big day nears, trickery and/or betrayal from peers, (by now my ass has doubled into rears), into the skids the plot steers, Oh, yes! There will be tears!

Le sigh . . . as happily-ever-after veers right on into “Happy New Year’s!”

If you haven’t DVRd a Hallmark Channel Holiday movie, we have nothing further to discuss. 

Spank Me, Pull My Hair, Make Me Call You Daddy!

As the Dominatrix of my empire, I experimented with a little PP on BB (PayPal on BookBub) action. (My safe word, review, was never used.)

BookBub is the hottest indie advertising venue around. But get in line, because traditional publishers are using it, too. My sixth women’s fiction/chick lit novel hit the shelves this summer. (Hit is such a strong word, it was more of a fly-swatter-swing-and-a-miss that knocked it behind the bookshelf for the enjoyment of dust bunnies. And crickets.)

  • BookBub slot: Sunday, September 8th
  • $240  (Price just increased to $260)
  • Women’s Fiction category: 350,000 email subscribers
  • BookBub statistics: Average sold: 1,060, Range sold: 80-2,700
  • Bargain: 99 cents, down from $2.99 (35 cent royalty)

I needed to sell 685 books to break even. After one week, nailed it. My book’s visibility and author rank was boosted up the list on Amazon, though I never broke that all-important Top 100.Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 8.34.59 AM

True Confession: I also went all in on some FB self-pleasuring and did a Facebook boosted promotion for $30, to the tune of 12,256 views. (Bless me Father, for I have sinned, it has been one week since I have been so obnoxious.)

And to complete this ménage à trois, I am in the middle of a Goodreads self-serve advertising campaign. That began August 6th, with a budget of $54, that I just can’t seem to spend. I have had 51,758 views, with only had 13 clicks (you pay per click). (I have changed the ad at least ten times and keep upping the click rate and daily total, and finally contacted Goodreads who replied that they have been having problems.)

Selling nearly 700 books in one week is awesome. As a business person . . .  (I’m just kidding, I’m not a business person! I just play one when tallying up what I need to earn to finance this business of writing.) I am glad I put out, but dream of one day being wined and dined. Off to make it rain!

Cootie Protection

cpIndie authors have cooties. I can say that because I . . . have cooties. I don’t have an agent or traditional publisher. I do have a couple of books and seven amazing fans. I have tried to imitate the cootie-free and their platforms—the way they announce new books on facebook and twitter, their sincere gratitude for readers, how they conduct author interviews. (Though I’ve stopped short of discussing my “craft” unless it’s followed by macaroni and cheese).

Their confidence smells so good vs. the decaying-baby-rattlesnake-clobbered-to-death-in-the-bottom-of-a-baseball-bat-bag-undiscovered-for-a-whole-season whiff of desperation that harbors the stinky bacteria of cooties.

Since I’m an indie, I guess I have to do it myself and make my own C.P.

Cootie Protection
2 TBSP Febreze
1/2 cup finely minced jealousy
1 cup blanched dreams
Stir in handful of Suck It Up
Shake fist at Universe
Spray liberally and make sure to get it in your eyes.

Who’s A Good Book? Who’s A Good Book?

imagesIt’s so much fun to “vet” an author who loves dogs! And reading What the Dog Ate by my new friend, author Jackie Bouchard, was a total treat! (Jackie and I had a chance to meet up for coffee and voila! I have a new author crush.) What the Dog Ate will chew on your heart just like a big chocolate Lab puppy—Hey, Kona! I’m trying to come up with cute dog metaphors here, but if I rate it five bones! that sounds like the wrong kind of genre. Five dogs could just be taken the wrong way. OK, I’ll stop! Just go read it, because her new book, Rescue Me, Maybe, is coming out next month!

Blogger Girl!!

Readers are to writers what bloggers are to authors! My friend, the awesome author Meredith Schorr, knows that better than anyone—and has written a new novel about it: Blogger Girl!
BG_front_cover_med What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chicklit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-relatedOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After trying her hand writing children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real” chick lit for real women.  When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal.  Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner.  Blogger Girl is her third novel.

Go say hi to Meredith! And then read her books!

Shut Your “Skoal Hole!”

Mandatory+Release+amazon+cover

A book about a smartass guy in a wheelchair who works in a prison isn’t my usual cup of tea, but the smartassedy-ness of author Jess Riley always is.

You don’t have to be from the Midwest to thoroughly enjoy this novel (though it helps!) (and it’s not often we get to flash that badge of honor).

“Had everyone developed brain damage from hearing Urkel’s catchphrase one too many times? Did the mirror industry bottom out between 1990 and 1995? It’s amazing the birth rate didn’t drop completely off the charts back then, because I can’t imagine anyone fucking a guy with Billy Ray Cyrus hair and a tendency to call his friends ‘fartknockers.’ Yet it happened. And often, if Generation Y is to be explained.”

. . . From our man, Graham, so why don’t you just shut your “Skoal hole” and go read this.

Not Enough Midol In The World!

The amazing (and very, very funny) author Jess Riley invited me over, today! For some reason, she wanted to know about my teenage years. (Nothing to write home about.) (Move along.) (Not enough Midol in the world!) MidolIn any case, please mark your calendar for July 16th so you can be sure to read her new novel, Mandatory Release! (Thanks, Jess!)

Mandatory+Release+amazon+cover

What’s on Page 25?

FINALChickLitBlogHopButton2013Thanks for stopping by the Chick Lit Author Blog Hop!  Hop & Win! The winner will receive a FREE Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wi-Fi, and a 6″ E Ink Display. That lucky grand prize winner will also receive a “chick lit starter library” filled with great chick lit books written by the indie authors participating in the blog hop.

New to blog hops? Want to learn how to win the grand prize? Find complete information here.

Here is a sneak peek at All My Restless Life to Live: Elle is a soap opera writer who unravels mysterious communications from her dead dad’s computer:

Page 25:

I had stayed with my mom for awhile right after my dad died. I lasted three weeks and was just now getting over the trauma of it. My mother had answered my cell phone, read my email, critiqued my show scenes, made me half-sandwiches—looking pointedly at my stomach—and wouldn’t let me drink what she still called “pop” after five o’clock. I still regret snapping the day she asked me if I had brushed my teeth. “It’s not you, it’s me,” I had to break up with my own mother and move out.

I sneaked a look at my watch. “Mom, look. I’m sorry. We’ll do more stuff together, I promise. You’re starting your workout class on Monday, right?”

She nodded.

“So, how about it? Dad’s computer?” (Win the grand prize! The 2nd secret word in the 25-word sentence is: to)

“Ellen, I’m sorry. You just have to trust me here, but I cannot let you use your dad’s computer. It just wouldn’t be right.”

“Give me one good reason why not.” I glared at her, feeling like an adult scolding a child, almost wanting to add, “young lady,” just like she always used to do to me when she busted my chops over something.

She twisted her fingers, and wouldn’t look at me. “There’s something I need to tell you,” she finally said.

Duh – duh – duh . . .

Keep hopping! Click here to return to the list of blogs.

AllMyRestlessLife_FinalCvrAll My Restless Life to LiveLife is a soap opera, especially for Elle Miller, who writes for one. (Ellen dropped the “n” in her name in hopes of finding a better ending for herself.) When her laptop crashes, she borrows her recently deceased dad’s computer and gets way more than she bargained for.
Elle unravels mysterious communications from his computer, while her mom decides to give Internet dating a try. As Elle tries to save her career at I’d Rather Be Loved with a storyline featuring a trip through Atlantis, she takes a trip to the Emmys, and finds herself in the middle of a romance between a real doctor and a hunk who just plays one on TV. Friends, family, and clues from “the other side” all help Elle figure out the difference between living the good life and living a good life. Available Tuesday, June 4th!

What’s on Page 25?

FINALChickLitBlogHopButton2013Thanks for stopping by the Chick Lit Author Blog Hop!  Hop & Win! The winner will receive a FREE Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wi-Fi, and a 6″ E Ink Display. That lucky grand prize winner will also receive a “chick lit starter library” filled with great chick lit books written by the indie authors participating in the blog hop.

New to blog hops? Want to learn how to win the grand prize? Find complete information here.

Here is a sneak peek at All My Restless Life to Live: Elle is a soap opera writer who unravels mysterious communications from her dead dad’s computer:

Page 25:

I had stayed with my mom for awhile right after my dad died. I lasted three weeks and was just now getting over the trauma of it. My mother had answered my cell phone, read my email, critiqued my show scenes, made me half-sandwiches—looking pointedly at my stomach—and wouldn’t let me drink what she still called “pop” after five o’clock. I still regret snapping the day she asked me if I had brushed my teeth. “It’s not you, it’s me,” I had to break up with my own mother and move out.

I sneaked a look at my watch. “Mom, look. I’m sorry. We’ll do more stuff together, I promise. You’re starting your workout class on Monday, right?”

She nodded.

“So, how about it? Dad’s computer?” (Win the grand prize! The 2nd secret word in the 25-word sentence is: to)

“Ellen, I’m sorry. You just have to trust me here, but I cannot let you use your dad’s computer. It just wouldn’t be right.”

“Give me one good reason why not.” I glared at her, feeling like an adult scolding a child, almost wanting to add, “young lady,” just like she always used to do to me when she busted my chops over something.

She twisted her fingers, and wouldn’t look at me. “There’s something I need to tell you,” she finally said.

Duh – duh – duh . . .

Keep hopping! Click here to return to the list of blogs.

AllMyRestlessLife_FinalCvrAll My Restless Life to LiveLife is a soap opera, especially for Elle Miller, who writes for one. (Ellen dropped the “n” in her name in hopes of finding a better ending for herself.) When her laptop crashes, she borrows her recently deceased dad’s computer and gets way more than she bargained for.
Elle unravels mysterious communications from his computer, while her mom decides to give Internet dating a try. As Elle tries to save her career at I’d Rather Be Loved with a storyline featuring a trip through Atlantis, she takes a trip to the Emmys, and finds herself in the middle of a romance between a real doctor and a hunk who just plays one on TV. Friends, family, and clues from “the other side” all help Elle figure out the difference between living the good life and living a good life. Available Tuesday, June 4th!

Effing Alzheimer’s

John and his momMy mother-in-law has an amazing laugh, and, until recently, was pretty good at maintaining superficial conversation, over and over and over, again. She drove me crazy (in the way that Korean mother-in-laws do) long before Alzheimer’s hit. She’s eighty-two, loved ballroom dancing and doesn’t shake her butt anymore when she walks.

A couple of falls, followed by a medical crisis with her boyfriend, “The Colonel,” (who lived with her and took care of her) and she spiraled into needing twenty-four hour care. My husband went into a series of “lasts” . . . the last picture taken in her own home, and possibly the last one with him. We took her house keys out of her purse, she won’t be needing those anymore. We threw away her soy sauce, brown sludge that must have been in her refrigerator since 1999.

We took her to breakfast, and a (final) walk through the park next to her house. We stopped at a water fountain and my husband, who was trying so hard to squeeze every moment of now out of the day, held his mom’s arm. He gave her a penny and told her to make a wish. She tossed it and we watched that penny make its arc in slow motion. She didn’t have any wishes left. Fucking Alzheimer’s.

All The Lonely People

Reprinted with permission from the fabulous-always-fascinating Writer Unboxed Newsletter.  Please click HERE right now to join the fun!

imagesReader Unboxed Book Review:

All The Lonely People — Jess Riley

Where do they all come from? In All The Lonely People, main character Jaime, who has lost her mother to cancer, realizes she and her siblings do not like each other: “We weren’t that family. We didn’t organize rummage sales together, we didn’t send one another birthday cards . . . We carried entire bowls of chips on our shoulders, with dip.”

Even her sweet husband gets the short end of the stick: “There will come a day when the idea of having sex feels like going to the gym—you know you should do it even when you don’t feel like it, you’re usually glad you did afterwards.”

A classic fight at Thanksgiving dinner leads Jaime to take drastic measures. She takes out an ad on Craigslist for a new family for Christmas, creating a list of demands for ideal relatives. Number seven? “Please be funny and don’t take yourself seriously.”

Set in Wisconsin, all the lonely people who answer the ad first meet for Christmas dinner, bringing their own hurts and hearts to the table. Jaime creates a new bond with this ragtag group of outsiders, as she realizes she is not blameless in manufacturing disappointment. As the story plays out over Jaime’s least favorite time of year, “. . .that frozen, dreary long night that lasts from January to March . . .” all the lonely people try to figure out where they all belong.

Author Jess Riley pulls off a refreshing look at the vulnerability of family dynamics, with all the charm and fierceness of a Midwesterner “shut in during a three-day howler piling snowdrifts against the front door.” Underneath the very funny dialogue that reveals the human absurdities of the loneliness and dysfunction hiding in families, Jamie gets a chance to look for tribal connections through her niece Hannah, the superglue of the family. Quirky characters with insights about life and love make me wish for more MidwestLit!

Bonus: Cool author alert! The virtual Jess Riley is as charming as you would suspect by reading her book.

Up next: July 16th, Mandatory Release (mandatory read!).Mandatory+Release+amazon+cover

Summertime . . . and the Reading is Awesome!

badge-SRC-2013Summertime . . . and the reading is awesome!

Fish are jumpin’ and the bookworms are nigh . . .

(Sorry.) Please go check out the Summer Reading Road Trip to see what all the cool kids will be reading!

So hush, little baby, don’t you cry!

Dear George R. R., Please Don’t Read This!

Dear George R. R.,

Please do not read any farther. (Note: I Grammar Girl Googled farther vs. further. Now both words are stuck in my head and neither sounds real.) If you do need to take a quick break from getting on your giddyup for The Winds of Winter (2015? Really?) you may want to check out what your fans are saying on Goodreads.

Game of Thrones photoI, on the other hand, obviously have plenty of time to kill. Thanks to some crazzzzy Amazon algorithms, we were hanging out—Cheers from Ros.

Give my best to Jon Snow! See you soon—Game of Thrones, Sunday, March 31st!

I Spy Something Splendid!

images-1India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy is number trois in the clever Carol K. Carr’s historical fiction series (set in Victorian England), and as I always say, this one is my favorite.

From Mrs. Drinkwater, who’s name somehow highlights both her lack of cooking skills and fondness for stealing India’s liquor, to the stinky Vincent, who’s still not allowed on the cushions due to his eau de filth, India is at her smartest, most sarcastic self. Through twists and turns among the villainous anarchists, India reveals just enough to let us wonder what she’s up to.

The spy stuff is brilliant, but those tantalizing personal pieces of the puzzle—moments with French, the mystery surrounding her mother, and oh, those notes to and from the Marchioness Tullibardine, (which could be a short story itself!)—tie the whole adventure together. We are amused.

Rating: Inhaled!

Still not convinced? Then check out her short story, India Black and The Rajah’s Ruby.

For Pete’s Sake!

I don’t really know who Pete is, but anytime my Midwestern roots are showing, you better believe Pete will be there, too.

Meet my BFF, whom I’ve never actually met, for Pete’s sake, author Jess Riley. In Closer Than They Appear, a chance encounter at a stop light begins the quest that had me Midwestern rooting for her charming, quirky characters.images

But let me back up, for Pete’s sake. Jess had me at her intro, up through and all the way to the bonus vegetarian recipes at the end, (that I will never, ever make), best served with Tostitos and cabana boys named Gustavo!

bingoHey Jess, I will see your Festival Bingo (you’ll have to read about it yourself!) and raise you my adult relationship-building coloring book, Men Are From Jupiter, That’s Why They’re Stupider!

Where’d You Go, Maria Semple?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? has to be my favorite book of the year. Bernadette is a woman after my own heart, so too, by extension is her creator, Maria Semple. I love the way she makes me laugh at the sadness of life.

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 9.34.53 AMI am sure Ms. Semple isn’t sitting around Googling herself (like some insecure misfits I could name), but if she was, I’d like to think that maybe she saw me raising a fruity, pineapple toast in her direction.

We Need To Talk

dark-pink-heart“We need to talk,” he said. I got choked up, and went on high alert: Kids? Disease? Divorce . . . ?

“No, you need to listen,” I said automatically. Turns out he was confused by who’s who in Game of Thrones. Fair enough.

“We need to talk,” he said. I was perhaps taking my parenting skills a trifle too seriously.

“I don’t have time,” I said. He was trying to convince me to drink more. Fair enough.

We need to talk, about books with Mr. Perfect. There is no such creature. And if there was some sap out there brave enough to spout sweet nothings: “I’ve never wanted anyone like I want you,” or “You are my soul mate,” I wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face, let alone want to show him my undies.

Fantasy pillow talk: (Woman lying in bed with hair in rolled up tube sock from YouTube tutorial who may have forgotten to brush her teeth.)

Prince Charming: “I adore you, you are mine, I can’t live without you, my beautiful everything.”

Normal pillow talk:

Real Guy: “Nice hair. Do you wanna?” (If he can make me laugh, he knows his odds are pretty-pretty good.)

“We need to talk.”

“How about I get you a cup of shut the eff up?”