Last summer I had the pleasure of getting to know Jennifer during another book release of hers. She’s a fellow member of the Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Chapter. I’ve met so many great writers from that chapter and Jennifer is one of them. I’m proud to spotlight her and her new release, “Five Minutes to Love” on my blog.
My review is highlighted below.
Get to know Jennifer and take a minute to hear about, “Five Minutes to Love”:
Aviva Shulman has had enough of the dating scene. Her father valued his high-powered career over his wife and family. She wants something more, someone who values her. But her roommates are determined to find her the perfect match.
Jacob Black doesn’t have time for relationships. A third-year law student, he’s focused on studying and getting a high-paying job with a top-notch law firm. But his overbearing mother wants him to find someone and settle down.
Their paths cross at a speed dating event and sparks fly. But is five minutes long enough to determine a future together?
You can purchase “Five Minutes to Love” at the following retailers:
Bio: When Jennifer was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, her mother had to tell her to make up a story. Soon, her head was filled with stories and characters. One day, she started writing them down. It was that or check into the local mental hospital. Now she’s published author. Her first book, “A Heart of Little Faith”, was a Finalist in the Fiction: Romance category of the 2016 Best Book Awards.
Learn more about Jennifer:
Facebook Readers Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2055470311366345/
My Review of “Five Minutes to Love”
While Five Minutes to Love is the second book in Wilck’s Serendipity Series, it can be read as a stand-alone. The setting is Northern New Jersey, particularly Hoboken and Jersey City. This appealed to me, since I used to live in Hoboken and worked in Jersey City. Wilck nicely captured the feel of two twenty-somethings who are trying to find their place in the workforce and balance a social life. For some young people that may be easy. But when you throw in a couple of ‘endearing’ Jewish mothers, the stakes rise considerably. The story flowed nicely starting with Aviva (love that name) and Jacob’s chance meeting at a speed-dating event they were both forced to attend. After escaping together, a small spark ignites. They both initially ignore it, but as much as they don’t want to be in a relationship because of work commitments, they can’t stay away from each other. It’s what I liked the most about this story. The way they struggled with the balance and sacrifices they made for each other. And Wilck argues both character’s cases for and against falling in love, beautifully. Five Minutes To Love, took a few turns I didn’t expect, so it kept me guessing. The final twist, I never saw coming, sending Aviva and Jacob right into a satisfying happy for now, but I have a feeling it will be forever.
I said goodbye to 2017, long before midnight on December 31st.
Perhaps, it was even weeks before that.
If you’ve been ‘following’ me, you know 2017 was both a great and horrible year. Which makes me eager for 2018.
In my Long Island RWA chapter last January, we were encouraged to pick a word to guide us through the year. I had chosen Finish. I needed to finish what became my first published novel, Must Love Fashion. I also wanted to finish my paranormal romance, Drawing Bloodlines, which I did and it’s currently out on submission. The surprise of 2017 was that I completed 2 more novels, Must Have Faith, Darling Cove Book 2, which will be released this June and Book 3, Must Be Crazy, which is in final editing stages and ready to go to the publisher. (But it was written in 2017!)
I had a few meltdowns in 2017 as well. And when I looked back and glossed over the tragedies of that year, I also noted something important… I hadn’t shown up for my life…much. I was in front of this laptop most of the year. And my phone. Nearly every waking hour, weekends included was devoted to my writing. I dragged my laptop on vacations and snuck away often in search of WiFi to check emails and chase down any and all possible marketing leads for the release of Must Love Fashion.
So 2018 is where I search for balance. #balance 2018.
I’ve set realistic goals and a writing schedule that works for me and my family. That schedule includes NO writing on weekends. And fill those hours with reading. Thanks to Book Bub, I’ve been snatching up some great reads. And I want to get at them. Yes some of them, are for pure research purposes (Vampires and Rock Stars), some just looked darn interesting.
That brings me to a new feature for 2018. Besides being behind on my reading, I’m behind on reviews. For all the begging and pleading I have done to get people to write reviews for my book, I’ve been lax in writing reviews myself. (So I get it) There is a bit of a backlog and I don’t want a mass exodus of subscribers by bombarding you all with a deluge of posts and emails. If you see a review and you’re not interested, by all means, delete the email, but please don’t unsubscribe.
And Happy Holidays!
While Must Love Fashion is not a “Christmas Romance”, one of my favorite scenes takes place Christmas Morning.
On Christmas morning, the roads were back open. Andrew decided to go to the end of the earth for Gwen—he just didn’t realize she lived there. His eyes bulged at his phone when he put her address into Google Maps.
“Are you even going to call her to let her know you’re coming?” his mother asked, pouring hot coffee into a to-go cup.
“No, I want to surprise her,” he said pulling his phone off the wireless charging pad on the counter.
Sarah stopped mid-pour. “Hasn’t that got you in enough trouble already?”
He raised a warning look at her.
Rolling her eyes, she said, “A least take the ring with you.”
Shaking his head, he bit out a quick, “No.” He didn’t care to propose in a house she shared with another man. But he’d keep that objection to himself. “I’m just driving out there to bring her back here.”
“This Darling Cove got a lot of snow. Take my car, so I can at least not worry about you two.” Sarah handed him the keys to her Cadillac.
The roads should have been jammed, but the blizzard must have changed millions of plans for the holiday. Still the Time to Destination on his phone made him cringe. And it hadn’t taken into account he was only going forty miles an hour in the one lane that had been plowed.
“Jesus, Gwen. Even the Expressway didn’t want to go out as far as Darling Cove,” he said getting off at the last exit. And he still had forty minutes to go.
Once he was on Sound Avenue, Andrew’s breath escaped him taking in the beauty. Even covered in white, the landscape was incredible. The storm released inches of heavy wet snow and all the trees looked like its branches were holding little snowballs ready to engage in a winter battle.
The white puffs of smoke from the houses he passed made him fondly imagine families were opening presents, laughing and snacking on cookies. And a little hungry. The blankets of powder in front of all the homes were untouched, clean and smooth.
The lady in the map app told him he needed to make a right in about a mile. Looking at the screen, swaths of blue on both sides meant he was surrounded by water. The little red upside down teardrop appeared and Andrew shuddered. There was his destination.
Gwen lived right on the water.
Turning onto her street, brought a rush of anxiety he wasn’t expecting. He stopped the car to catch his breath. A cop car was in front of the address on the GPS. Andrew’s hackles rose on his neck, worried. But a man bundled in a cop’s leather bomber jacket and hidden under a hat came to the car. He released a quick siren blast and put the lights on. But only for a brief moment and drove off. Andrew’s cheeks ticked up, remembering Gwen’s heart-filled story in Milan about how her father used to do that.
Her father! Andrew slapped himself in the forehead.
He threw his car into drive and raced past Gwen’s house to follow the cop. As the police cruiser drove through the town, Andrew admired all the lampposts which were decorated in lights and wreaths. Darling Cove was not what he had expected. Every corner was a picture of elegant charm…like Gwen.
The car he’d been following turned and parked in front of a station house. Crap! There were several police cruisers. The cop who he’d been following got out of his car and took off his hat. That couldn’t have been her father, though. Too young. Greg. Andrew recognized him from the pictures. He became a cop…like his father.
Andrew blew out a puff of air, got out of his mother’s Cadillac and stepped into the precinct.
Inside, it smelled of fresh paint and metal. A man in a uniform stood behind a wood paneled desk, his hands resting on a shiny granite countertop. The man threw a look at another officer and turned back to Andrew.
“If you’re looking for the Hamptons, you took a wrong turn about an hour ago,” he said with a sly smirk.
Andrew accepted that he looked like the typical Hamptons visitor. Not all of eastern Long Island was created equally. The North Fork was very different from the Hamptons. But he’d rather fit in and be accepted here. “Actually.” He wrung his hands to keep them from shaking. “I was wondering if I could speak to one of your officers.”
“Who are you looking for?” a voice echoed from a side doorway.
Andrew glanced to his left; the cop he was following approached him. “Greg?”
“Officer Mallory,” the desk captain said in a stern voice.
“Excuse me, yes. Officer Mallory. I’m actually looking for the other Officer Mallory.”
“Martin Mallory is in the—”
“I got this, Carlin.” Greg was formidable in his dark long sleeve shirt and matching tie held down by an American flag clip. But it was the two guns on his waist, a set of steel handcuffs dangling from his pants and a long brown stick tucked into another holder that stood out the most. Greg’s chin lifted defiantly to meet Andrew’s eyes, which were a few inches above his. “Who are you and what do you want with my father?”
If he’d not been surrounded by several guns, one of which Greg’s hand rested on, Andrew’s answer might have been a stout, That’s my business. Instead he said, “My name is Andrew Morgan. I’m a… It’s about your sister, Gwen.”
Greg’s probing words may have been tough, but his mouth curved and his lips trembled. “Gwen? Has something happened to my sister?”
“No, she’s fine.” Andrew brought his hands forward to dismiss Greg’s panic. “In fact, she’s more than fine. She’s wonderful.” He wanted so much for Martin to hear what he had to say first. That was the proper thing to do. But Andrew had to improvise, if for no other reason than to get out of that station house in one piece and not end up on the news. Man dressed in Prada gets pounded by North Fork police officers. He cleared his throat and continued. “I’m here to ask your father’s permission to marry her.”
“You have my permission!” Martin answered from the opposite corner.
Andrew breathed in relief. Ignoring the others, he walked toward Martin who was beaming. “Sir, Andrew Morgan, sir. Thank you. I promise to make her happy and do the right thing by her always.”
“Hey Mallory, looks like you’re getting a new brother-in-law,” the officer named Carlin said. “You may not want to pick on this one so much. He’s taller than you.” The officers jolted with laughter at Greg, their polished silver badges gleaming with reflected light.
Andrew walked toward Greg in an effort to be the bigger man and stuck his hand out toward the officer.
Greg’s eyes trailed over Andrew’s shoulder. His father was probably giving him a stern look by how his expression changed. A reluctant sigh escaped Greg’s tight lips. His gaze trailed to Andrew’s hand. The firm grip made Andrew wince slightly. He nodded and turned back to Martin.
“I’d like to go to her house now and get her.” Andrew tugged on his coat. “I have a ring for her in the city.”
Martin touched Andrew’s shoulder. “Why don’t you let me give you an escort to her house. I think that would make up for a ring. Gregory, get your coat.”
**The E-Book version of MUST LOVE FASHION is on sale for $1.99 through January 2nd.**
Always (Two Hearts, One Soul Duet: Book One)
Written by London Saint James
Narrated by Tor Thom & Charley Ongel
Listening time: 11 hrs 3 mins Genre: M/F Contemporary Romance
International bestselling author London Saint James’ first installment from Two Hearts, One Soul Duet is the epic tale of abiding love, heart-wrenching loss, and an astonishing bond that will find a way to endure.
Winter Perri never truly understood love until she met Austin Carlyle, the man who would rock her world to its foundations and give her something to believe in. But the night before they were to be married, the fairytale shattered.
Thirteen years later Winter is pulled out of her seclusion only to have a painful past confront her, and when it does, she’s left questioning reality, because the impossible is looking back at her with the face of a destroying angel, and piercing eyes in too familiar shades of blue.
Listen to a sample On SoundCloud
You Can Find the Audiobook Here
Download for free when you sign up for an Audible 30-day free trial
London is giving away a $50.00 Amazon e-Gift Card to one lucky winner. All you need to do to be eligible to win is enter the Rafflecopter below. **Giveaway runs from Sept. 17, 2017 to Oct. 17, 2017**
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London Saint James has lived in many places, but never felt ‘at home’ until she met the real-life man of her dreams and settled down in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. London lives with her husband and their fat cat who thinks he owns them.
As an award-winning, international bestselling author, London is living her childhood dream. She knew all the scribbling she did, that big imagination of hers, and all those clamoring characters running around in her head would pay off someday.
A complete list of London’s books can be found on her website http://www.londonsaintjames.com. You can also e-mail London with any questions or comments at London@londonsaintjames.com. She loves to hear from her readers.
Would you like to know more? Join her mailing list for her monthly newsletter http://eepurl.com/6P2on. Or, join her book group on Facebook, Slip Between the Pages with London at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SlipBetweenthePageswithLondon/
You can also find out more about London at the following locations:
I’d been saying for weeks/months I have to start blogging again. Then ‘stuff’ happens. I won’t whine about how hard it is to juggle daily tasks needed to have a successful writing career. (According to ‘someone’, it ‘aint happening anyway). Still I’m trying. In between writing new books, I need to promote the book that’s been published. You all know it, Must Love Fashion…blah blah blah.
In my marketing efforts, I reached out to some local book stores here on Long Island. No surprise, there aren’t many. So far, I’ve been turned down by one, because “I’m not famous enough” to bring in a large crowd. They also wouldn’t give me a date to see if I can scrounge up the forty people they said I had to ‘guarantee’. What is this a wedding? Oh… and books I don’t sell… I still have to pay for. So I’m not sure what the downside was for them. Other than maybe an author reading/signing with no attendees. But isn’t that part of their responsibility? Don’t they have customers they can reach out to? It’s another example of so much of the marketing responsibility falling on the author. What’s amusing is that I looked up some of their other events. They did have a singer scheduled. And according to Facebook, over 200 people were listed as GOING. Newsflash… they don’t have space for 200 people.
Anyway… I emailed a few other stores. One store wrote me back. A store I’ve seen other local writers like me promote that they were doing signings. In the email, the woman who responded said, “because Roane Publishing (my publisher) is a self-publisher (it’s not), their terms don’t work for us.” Since joining LIRW, I’ve met and gotten to know a lot of great “Indie” authors. Legit, talented and most who’ve chosen the Indie road and didn’t end up there because they had no other options. But if I was to be dismissed SOLELY because I was being perceived as being ‘self-published’ I’d felt it necessary to correct the woman. In the end it didn’t matter. You only have one chance to make a first impression. After I corrected her, she asked what other events I was doing, I gave her my meager list and I never heard from her again.
This was a few weeks ago. Why am I complaining about this now? The heart of the bookstore woman’s issue was that because she’d ‘found-out’ my publisher uses CreateSpace for the print copies of my book, she didn’t think there was a retail method in which her store could purchase my books. And here’s where I messed up. Neither did I. While nosing around on my publisher’s website this morning, I saw there is a “Retailer” link. And sure enough my Publisher will sell to retailers and bookstores with the same terms other publishers will. (Not the exact same discount- but close). AND they will take returns.
But here’s what the woman obviously did. In my email, I have a link (Thanks Bitly) to Amazon to buy my book. She clicked on that Amazon link (Again, thanks to Bitly tracking when and where links are clicked from) and scrolled down, saw CreateSpace, assumed oh, self-published author, and immediately dismissed me. She obviously didn’t go to Roane’s website. Instead just made up an excuse saying Roane wouldn’t give her the terms she needed.
At least now I know to include that ‘Retailer’ link for future requests.
So sadly, “self-publishing” is still highly stigmatized. It’s funny because Amazon…who started as a ‘bookseller’, said BRING IT ON to Indie authors and many are doing fabulously on their platform. For all the little stores who say Amazon is putting them out of business, here’s another reason. Traditional book stores are shunning a large % of authors today (Indie and Small Press) while Amazon is embracing them. (While also screwing some of them, but that’s the topic of another post).
Must Love Fashion is now available!
(See Book Trailer Below)
Set in the exciting world of Prada about a former male model turned brand manager and the beautiful small town public relations specialist he doesn’t think he needs.
Go behind the scenes in the fashion industry as Gwendolyn Mallory sets out to prove that she has what it takes to promote a prestigious brand like Prada. Andrew Morgan is already struggling to accept that his PR responsibilities have been taken away from him, but the intense attraction he has for Gwen, is just plain getting in the way of rational thinking—sleeping with a co-worker has always been on his to-don’t list.
Follow the sparkling fuse slowly burning with sexual tension as Gwen brings to life a sexy devil…who just happens to wear Prada and she challenges everything Andrew believes about love and relationships…he has to have the woman he never knew he needed.
Must Love Fashion is Book One in the Darling Cove Series. Book Two, Must Have Faith will be released June 4, 2018. It features Gwen’s smoldering older brother Gregory who has to face his runaway bride when she returns to Darling Cove. Finishing the series, their sister Skye falls for a single dad in Must Be Crazy.
Thank you to everyone who made this possible. Especially my husband!
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A logo idea I’m toying with. Thoughts?
So, it’s been a little more than a month without Zoe. For those who have pulled my husband aside and whispered, “How’s she doing?”, I’d like to report, I’m doing okay. So is Harley. Me being home has made a big difference and I am so glad I made this decision. And another thank you again to my husband who is supporting me while I take this time for myself.
It’s bittersweet, but I’ve been able to get a lot of writing done this month. Zoe was almost 15, and became quite the cranky pug in her old age. There were many days I just had to stop what I was doing and give her attention. And if given the choice, I would stay up a few extra hours each night and pass on the glass of wine with dinner to get that writing time in, if it meant she was still with me.
But… alas she’s gone. And of her own accord. Right until the last minute, Zoe marched to her own drum and decided to pass away at home, alleviating me of the gut-wrenching decision to put her down.
So in these past 30 or so days, the following exciting things have happened: MOST exciting, is that the cover to Must Love Fashion has been finalized. The reveal is May 18th!
I’ve finished the first draft to Drawing Bloodlines, my first Paranormal Romance. I’ve completed one full edit and it’s in the hands of my wonderful critique partner right now. I’m sure there will be more edits and I’m looking forward to her comments. This novel grew into something I didn’t expect. I set out to write a simple First Person, erotic romance about a woman and a vampire. But, these characters weren’t having it once I got my hands on them more thoroughly. Their relationship became much more than sexual. And as per my tweet a few weeks ago, if you’re writing about vampires, it can’t be simple. And depends on whether or not I think this story actually has any merit, I might have the beginning of a new series on my hands. The other vampires, who were to be mere tangent and props came to life as I wrote about them. Each intriguing with their own back story and plots waiting for them in future books. Maybe.
Must Have Faith, Book Two in the Darling Cove Series and the follow up to Must Love Fashion is officially in progress and added to my roster of More Love Stories. I introduced the characters in this book, police officer Greg Mallory (Gwen Mallory-Morgan’s brother) and his runaway bride, Faith Copeland in Must Love Fashion. And ever since I finished that book, I’d been dying to write their story. But also afraid. I’d plotted the whole thing weeks ago. And it’s been in my head, scene by scene. It even has its own Soundtrack on my iPod. But could I write the masterpiece story I’d made up in my head? I have two chapters written and I think I’ll be okay. I’m even making my husband read this one. He’s not much of a “book” reader, and needless to say not a fan of “Romance”. My technique is to appeal to his nature to want to “help” me. As a retired cop, I’ve told him, I “need” him to read it to make sure I’m portraying Greg (and his father, Martin- also a Darling Cove cop) correctly. So far so good. Just not sure how he’ll react to the upcoming gratuitous love scenes.
Book Two in the Darling Cove Series and The Follow up to Must Love Fashion
Photo-journalist turned CNN Executive Producer, Faith Copeland is waiting for a position in the London bureau office to open up. Knowing it could be any day and she won’t have much notice, she’s given up her fancy Manhattan apartment and has moved back home to the North Fork. There she’s subject to stares and whispers behind her back; to them she’ll only ever be the woman who ran out on her own wedding.
Darling Cove Police Officer, Gregory Mallory has been living with the shame of being left at the altar. Even though he’s been trying to keep his “dates” with older women on the down-low, he’s trying even harder to prove he’s over the woman who ran out on him. But when his runaway bride returns, Greg’s tough façade begins to wear away.
When Greg agrees to drive Faith back and forth to the train every night for work and pick her up in the morning, they can’t deny their attraction is stronger than ever before. One kiss turns into a night of passion and then another and another.
But a job in London has finally opened up. Faith has to decide between her career and Greg. But will he still want her when she tells him why she really left in the first place.
Must Have Faith will be released June 4, 2018. Next up is Must Be Crazy featuring Skye Mallory and handsome architect/fire chief and single dad, Edward Mendelsohn.
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Welcome back to my blog!
I have two very important announcements to make.
The feature image above oddly represents both perfectly.
I’ll start with the sad news… On February 16th, we lost Zoe. As you know from the previous post, one of the drivers of leaving my full time job was that I knew my time with her was limited. I was hoping she’d make it to her 15th birthday, which is this Monday (2/27). It was devastating to lose her, even though I’ve been mentally prepared for it since I got her as a 9 week old puppy.
All I wanted was to give her a good life. I hope I succeeded in that.
She came to Maine with us every year.
She loved sitting out on our deck.
She got a sweet ride for herself. And like most things, Harley benefited too!
And she just loved being with her mommy.
RIP, my wonderful girl.
And so on to my other news… which is quite ironic…
The Monday before Zoe passed, I signed a publishing contract for my novel Must Love Fashion.
The book will be released this August. And I’ll post more about that as I have things to share, like the cover (the best part), pre-order dates, launch party and book signings.
The journey continues…
Welcome to 2017.
This year I want to blog not just about my writing, but about the journey I will take during this very “crucial” year for me. When Queen Elizabeth celebrated sixty years on the throne, it was called a Jubilee Celebration. And no I’m not sixty! If you want to think that, at least follow that thought with, holy crap she looks amazing for sixty.
I left my full-time job in October of last year to pursue my writing. And I have to start by saying thank you to my wonderful husband for allowing me to take this journey.
I have a lot I want to accomplish in this year. Including knocking things off that dreaded bucket list. But instead of the morbid side, I am thinking of it as simply doing all the things I’ve been procrastinating about all these years. Yeah, not as exciting a title as “Bucket List.”
Here’s what planned as far as Bucket Travel:
In May, Uncle Jack and I will attend the Preakness, completing (albeit out of order) our own racing trilogy. In 2015 we did the Belmont (saw history- American Pharaoh winning the Triple Crown). Last year we did the Derby. So after this year, we can say we did all 3!
In April I plan to do the highly popular PCH drive (Pacific Coast Highway). Details still being worked out for that.
I hope hope hope I can get to Lambeau Field to see the Green Bay Packers play early next Football season. My husband doesn’t want to go. I am taking requests from anyone who wants an all expense paid trip to see one of the greatest football stadiums. Hot guys get first priority 🙂
There were other reasons I chose to take time off. One concerning my dog Zoe. She turns 15 this year. Sorry to out her!
She’s the one in the dog-bed!
Zoe is going strong, but I haven’t seen too many 16 or 17 year old pugs. My husband nick-named her OPE (Oldest Pug Ever). Her biggest problem right now is that she is cranky all day. And when my husband gets annoyed at her, I say to him, how happy are you going to be when you’re 105?
For both our sakes I hope at least one of us will be gone before we find out.
Of course, I want to finally be published. If you’ve been following my website, you will know I’ve written at least two novels at this point. Both are looking for a home. See individual pages for details.
Anyway, this year, I plan to clean house of all my writing. Get everything into at least a first draft format and then blitz the industry with submissions . I’ll document my progress as I go along this year.
Instead of “Eat Pray Love” my version will be Write-Submit-Cry.
So here’s all my work for this year:
Could be the only time, my novels appears on the “shelf” with other books! Ha Ha.
I’ll go into details in other posts, but my “goal” is to have ten books completed for this year.
So just as in Julie and Julia when Julie blogged that she would cook every dish in the Julia Child’s The Joy of Cooking over the course of the year, I too am making a bold prediction.
Come follow me!
A scene in my new novel Must Love Fashion takes place on Halloween.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Skye was a genius.
Anyone who planned a garage sale on Halloween really deserved some kind of Mensa prize. And Skye would impress Stephen Hawkins since many of her sale items were things left behind from her ex-boyfriend pop singer Miles Bookman. She fell short of qualifying for a Nobel prize for not advertising that fact.
Skye loved Halloween probably because it gave her the excuse to buy a ridiculous amount of chocolate every year. Gwen, on the other hand treasured the entire fall season for the weather and the wine. “We’re opening that cab-franc after this right?” she whispered after dealing with one of Skye’s neighbors who harassed her to bring a pair of Lucky jeans down from ten dollars to two.
“After? I’m going to get it right now.” Skye jumped out of the metal folding chair and disappeared up the driveway. Her house was a legal two-family. She rented the main floor of the turn-of-the-century colonial to a retired couple who spent months at a time on the road in an RV that was bigger than Gwen’s house. When it was parked in the driveway, it blocked out the sun.
“I don’t think we should be drinking in front of kids,” Gwen said under her breath folding some of Miles’ tee-shirts.
“Trick-or-treat!” shouted two little zombies in store-bought costumes that looked like trash bags colored in with a Sharpie.
“Oooo. Very scary boys,” Gwen said assuming they were boys since every little girl she’d seen today was dressed as Elsa from Frozen.
“Now that’s some costume,” Darling Cove’s most handsome single dad said to her after she tossed several pieces of candy into his sons’ bags. He lived a few houses down from her but since Gwen didn’t have any kids, she never crossed paths with the man.
Gwen handed the dad his own piece of candy. “Well they didn’t have the zombie costumes in my size.” Still, her tall black witches hat, the wildly inappropriate lace mermaid dress and bright green eye-shadow swept across her cheeks turned plenty of heads that afternoon.
“Boys, wait for me at the end of the driveway,” he said to the elementary school kids digging through their bags, anxious to get to their spoils. He looked back with a smile. “Jen, right? Do you want to get a cup of coffee or a drink later?”
“It’s Gwen. And Lisa Connors tried to fix us up over the summer. You told her I wasn’t your type.” She fingered the tattered witch’s hat. “This is your type?”
“Gwen, sorry.” He cleared his throat. “Come on, you’re divorced. You know how hard it is. I wasn’t ready.”
Gwen folded her arms. As her neighbor he must have seen Dan come and go. And therefore he must have also noticed the missing Mercedes as well. What zombie dad perhaps didn’t count on was that Gwen noticed things too. “Oh really. EA week after that, I saw the High School principal leaving your house early in the morning.”
She waved him away, no long feeling guilty that Skye had been giving out candy from last year.
The crowd lingering in front of Andrew’s door drew immediate alarm.
As the scene became clearer he noticed several children in costumes. Halloween. He didn’t have any candy. He hated when that holiday fell on a weekend.
But the way the mothers were looking at him, he didn’t think they wanted fun size chocolate treats.
“There he is!” One of the women said eyeing him like they wanted fun with him.
The kids turned around at the same time and in a creepy harmonized whine, shouted Trick or Treat!
This was going to be bad. To start he was a mess. He ran a few extra miles on the treadmill and even he could smell his own body odor. Next, he had no clue how to handle the situation and suddenly felt really sorry for single dads who probably had to put up with this all the time. Smile, he told himself as he got closer.
Maybe the smell will drive them all away, he thought as he addressed the group. “Hey guys. Nice costumes.”
“I’m Elsa,” one of the little girls said immediately pushing her way to the front. “She’s Anna. But everyone knows Elsa is the best.”
“I see,” Andrew answered clueless who the little girl was talking about. But since they each had on what looked like princess costumes and since he’d seen many little girls walking to school all year long wearing princess dresses, it was quite possible these were their everyday clothes and those were the girls’ first names.
“Now Catelyn, I told you about saying things like that,” a mother clawed her way out of the circle. “Hi, Andrew right?”
Shit, they know my name. “Yes. Hi.”
“We didn’t want you to feel left out.” Another mother knocked Stephanie out of the way and smothered his sweaty hands with hers. “I’m Teresa, nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.” Not really.
“Oh and I’m Erica.” This mother grabbed his hand out of Teresa’s.
A symphony of other names crashed over him, Stephanie, Marcus, Travis, Sophie, Marianne, Chase and Dylan, a dog dressed like a pumpkin. He would never remember all of these names and now when he saw these women his usual casual glances and chin bobbing would be considered rude. “It’s nice to meet all of you. I’m sorry you’ve caught me unprepared. I’ve been out of the country and—”
“You work for Prada right?” Stephanie asked.
“Uh yeah.” Now Andrew became nervous. No man who watched Fatal Attraction would ever underestimate a woman’s ability to go to extreme lengths to get what she wants.
“Is this Prada?” Teresa glided a finger against his chest.
He stepped back. “No, Prada doesn’t make tee-shirts.”
“Well they should,” Erica said and then discretely licked her lips.
“Yeah, if they did they would cost six hundred dollars,” said the only woman who wasn’t looking at him with lust. “You have a lot of nerve what you charge for those clothes.”
“Marianne, that’s not polite,” Teresa said and then turned to him shaking her head like she had been in on the joke that only the two of them understood.
Andrew drew a deep breath. “Okay ladies and kids . . . and pumpkin dog, I’ve just come back from the gym. I would really like to get inside to clean up.” He jingled his keys in the hope they would move along and stop blocking his door.
“We’re having a small party in my apartment in about an hour,” Erica said touching him again. “Come by and have some fun. I’m in 3F.”
Now he remembered her. He’d seen her in the lobby with her husband. Great, that was all he needed. “Thank you but I have some work I need to do. Perhaps if you come back tomorrow I can have some candy.”
“He doesn’t even have any candy?” a boy dressed like Batman, the dark knight version cried out. “What kind of bullshit is this?”
“Travis!” Teresa cried out, blushing. “That is unacceptable language. We talked about this.”
“Will you have some candy in ten minutes?” Elsa demanded.
Andrew smiled, pleased he now knew how to get rid of the them. “No.”
The kids stomped away complaining while their child-worshipping mothers ran after them.
Andrew unlocked his door praying there wasn’t a rabbit in boiling water on his stove.
The Princeton Allegiant Series, Book One
Drawing Bloodlines, a Sexy Paranormal Romance is finally finally complete and ready for submission!
Logline: A single mother falls in love with a vampire only he’s being forced to mate with a ruthless vamp who kept him as a sex slave one hundred years ago.
Dr. Alexander Manning is exposed. While drawing blood from his beautiful patient, he’s so captivated by her, he takes too much and must drink it immediately. But when she catches him, she passes out. Alex can report what happened to his allegiant’s Commander or…deal with her himself. When he tracks her down to read her thoughts and wipe the incident from her mind he discovers…she wants him as much as he wants her. Should he take her as his lover, even if it means breaking the rules and risking his entire allegiant’s secrets?
Elizabeth hasn’t dated anyone since her divorce and when she finds out the man she’s so drawn to is a vampire, she has to make a choice. Play it safe, deny how she feels or take a risk where the reward is night after night of blinding ecstasy.
But Alex’s past catches up to him when he’s chosen by the new Philadelphia commander to be her mate. He must choose…go obediently into the arms of the vamp who blackmailed him into years of sex or…fight back. Either with some hidden magical powers he’s been keeping a secret or with a little science experiment a colleague is cooking up in a private research facility.
Forty Times Platinum- Manuscript Available to Publishers Now
Women’s Fiction, 91,000 Words
Go inside the mysterious music industry with Forty Times Platinum, a Women’s Fiction novel about Jennifer Montgomery, a record label executive who falls in love with Jamie Miller, a singer who is talented and gorgeous…but young impressionable artists are strictly off limits.
Jennifer makes artists’ dreams come true at the L.A. label, Thompson Street Records. When bad-boy Jamie is signed, Jen becomes infatuated with the younger man. She attempts to keep her distance but as a former rock and roll girl herself and the label’s top writer and producer, she’s the one tapped for the job when Jamie needs a power ballad. Working on a song with him puts her professional ethics to the test…and failing never felt so good.
Jamie is a willing lover, but he’s hiding something.
Once his album is complete, he’s whisked away on an extensive promotion tour, leaving Jen to question: Does she want to take a back seat to Jamie’s career? Torn between her love for Jamie and the reality of what life is like with a rock star –Jen knows, she’s been there, she tearfully walks away so he could have his dream.
Jen turns to old flame Cam Harris for comfort, but when Jamie finds out about the new man, his distress brings him to his knees –literally, exposing his secret and putting his career in jeopardy. Jen must decide between an uncomplicated relationship with Cam or jumping to Jamie’s rescue, knowing their future will always be uncertain.
Forty Times Platinum is Book One in the Platinum series. Look for the sequels Perfect and Platinum, Little Miss Platinum, concluding with Platinum Records
This post is directed to other writers out there.
We’ve all heard the expression, “Kill your darlings.” Like many of you I was appalled to hear such a thing, only because I felt it wasn’t explained in the right context to me at first. I thought I was being told to take the best lines of my book out. We all have them. That little nugget that you know no one’s ever written or read before.
A better way to think of it is, don’t keep something in your book just because of a little darling. I’ve been guilty of that in the editing processes. Keeping something that just doesn’t fit because it was written so well.
One thing I’ve found while writing and now editing two manuscripts, is that little darlings, the isolated ones probably can be used somewhere else. Every round of editing for me, includes several darlings or string of darlings that I review to see if I can use elsewhere. And usually I find a home for them.
But what about entire chapters!
I’m in the third draft phase of my new novel, “The Cougar Cruise” and something had been bugging me about the first chapter. Today, you have to define your novel in the first five pages. I think fondly of the book “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, where I was told, “Just get past the first hundred pages.” Only writers today know what has happened in publishing and how so many books we all love would never be published today, based on the new criteria.
Gone are the days, where you can let the reader get to know your main characters, and grow into the story. And then reveal the plot.
Well, just yesterday morning I stripped away the first chapter of “The Cougar Cruise” and made my second chapter my first chapter. Who cares if the first chapter introduced you to my main character properly, let you get to know her, like her, feel for her, savor her, understand her motivation. Sorry. Because that book won’t sell.
However, I am pleased with the new draft and how the book now begins. New authors have to be conformists. But that whole darn chapter was a darling. It really showcased my writing (I thought). But this is the world we live in people. Gotta have it now.
If you want to be a test reader for “The Cougar Cruise”, subscribe to the site and send me a message.
For those of you not watching the world series, here is the first excerpt from Forty Times Platinum.
I’d love to hear your comments!
– From Chapter One-
“Jennifer Montgomery! I know you hear me,” Michael Bradley yelled running toward her. “Do not even think about taking another step.”
“Wha-at?” Jen said sarcastically as she turned in his direction.
The flash of her sapphire eyes turned Michael gooey and incoherent. His cheeks turned red and his uncomfortable eyes drifted to Michelle as he cleared his throat. “Jamie Miller signed.”
“He signed?” Jen’s sarcastic smile faded.
“He did. I knew you’d want to hear it from A&R first.”
She pulled her knees together and dipped her hips revealing a level of excitement that only a few people at Thompson Street Records had ever seen. Even with Stan, she maintained a degree of composure. She had never wanted him to regret hiring not only a woman, but a former signed artist to run the Talent Development department.
“Who—who got picked for EP?” she asked.
“Corey. We just told Stan.” Michael crossed his arms.
Jen bit down on her lip, suppressing the argument that Thompson had better executive producers.
“Corey Hanson is an excellent EP, Jen,” Michael contended. “Jamie will get the platinum team soon enough.”
She met his eyes with a confident nod.
“You know he wanted you, right?” Michael asked.
Leaning in, Jen asked in a whisper soft voice, “Jamie wanted me?”
“Of course he wanted you. Who wouldn’t? I meant Stan.”
Shaking off the quick rise in her heart rate, Jen turned in the direction of her office once again. “Well, Stan would love me to EP every record and write every song. Heck, he’d have me selling the damn things on the street if he could.”
“When I’m president of this label, I’ll only ask to you sell the shitty ones on the street.”
Jen swung back around and tilted a smile in his direction. “We don’t produce shitty records, Michael.” After he left music, Michael had referred to taking this so-called “temporary” position at Thompson as “crossing over to the dark side.” And now he wants to be president!
Michelle interrupted their strange but typical banter. “Michael, maybe you can convince Jen to call her mother back.”
“What’s wrong with Gigi?” he asked.
“Nothing.” Jen knocked her head back. “She’s still on the road. I can’t deal with those phone calls anymore.” The once strained relationship with Gigi had over time morphed into a series of typical mother-daughter episodes. Typical however had to take into account Gigi’s legendary singer status and her periods of substance abuse. Jen had gone to bed many nights in her mother’s Scottsdale mansion deciding which was worse.
“You gotta give her credit, though.” Michael shook his head. “She’s still cranking out records and touring after all these years.”
“You can always go back on the road. It’s not too late.”
“And leave you here to have all this fun by yourself? Not a chance sweetheart.” Michael winked and walked away.
Once a large distance was between them, Michelle said, “I hope, when I get married and then divorced, that I have such a good relationship with my ex-husband.”
Recently I heard a report that one of the National Parks (not important which one) had to officially ban selfies with bears. When I was growing up the warning was don’t poke a sleeping bear.
Well I did just that.
Five months ago, I fed eleven bears my novel Forty Times Platinum for their long summer nap. A couple said, “Thank you, but no, Thank you” right away. While the rest snuggled it close, dreaming of weekends at the Hamptons and Booze Cruises to Fire Island.
Well it was time to poke some bears. And boy, were they grouchy.
In the past two weeks, I’ve received three rejections 🙁
But what’s so interesting, is the positive way they two of them wrapped it:
“it’s clear that Deborah is a talented writer. Her prose is fun and engaging”
I’d read somewhere talent stands out. And I do keep hearing how fun the book is. Guess readers don’t want fun these days. “Fun doesn’t sell,” I can hear a publishing marketing exec say, when having to explain declining book sales.
This one gave me chills:
“I enjoyed getting a peek into the music industry and observing a gorgeous, talented rock star up close and personal. Who doesn’t have a fantasy about a rock star!? It’s fascinating what goes on in both creating the music and in the behind-the-scenes world and watching Jen and Jamie create amazing music together and dance ever closer together was great fun. I liked that Jen was in such a powerful position and I liked the chemistry between them.”
It was “me” the editor didn’t like, apparently. She didn’t “love” my voice. I am behind Jen and Jamie, who you loved!
But, that’s still only a total of 6 rejections out of 11. We still need to hear from 5 more in the top tier, and then we move on to Small Press or Indie publishers.
Please keep the support coming. Editors think readers only want Fifty Shades or Hunger Games.
Books aren’t Life Partners or even wedding dresses. And there’s a reason there are multiple genres available. Not everyone wants porn or post-apocalypse fantasies.
Sometimes girls (and boys- Dennis and Uncle Jack!) just wanna have ‘fun’.
Oh and please no selfies with bears.
So I am going to deviate from the journey of Forty Times Platinum to talk about something personal. Another purpose of this blog is to make people interested in me (without a sex-tape). If someone is interested in me, then (in theory) they would want to read my book(s).
I’ll start with where I originally thought, I would end this story. Most of you know I am a designer (by day) for a Senior Living company. Last Wednesday I was at one of my communities with an art installer, when I came upon a resident circling around in a panic. “Help me!” she cried out. She couldn’t find her room. Thankfully she knew her room number. That’s not always the case. So of course I stopped what I was doing to help her. What heartless person wouldn’t? Of course the art installer just took out her phone and let me walk off with the resident. Hmmm.
Anyway, I found her room, the door was open, THANKFULLY. And she was so appreciative, saying, “God Bless You!” over and over. I walked back to the heartless art consultant (did I say that out loud?), thinking I just earned some points.
Well I was wrong.
Twenty four hours later, I’m sitting in horrific traffic driving to a facility in Pennsylvania. God Bless Me? That’s ironic, considering, I was heading to a town called, Bethlehem. What should have taken (according to the GPS), two and a half hours, took four hours. I was rushing to meet a drapery installer and when I got there, I was told he cancelled and was coming the following day. (Hint, that means I had to go back the following day as well)
When my fury subsided, I took a breath. I was also doing a furniture delivery that evening at five pm. So it was only say, five or six hours of my time, completely wasted. God Bless Me? Okay. The installers arrived right on time. They were nice and understanding that we were working on a dining room and that we needed to wait for the residents to finish eating. They almost seemed a little TOO understanding.
Seven hours later…. As if they were all going to turn into pumpkins, or they were all getting paid to work until midnight regardless of how long this was SUPPOSED to take, poof they were done. Did I mention, the night before I only got three hours sleep? And in two, one and a half hour increments? God Bless Me.
So it’s technically 9/11. Not that that means anything other than the irony of the date. The installers are long gone with their three massive trucks. It had been raining most of the day and mercifully, had stopped during most of their delivery, but as I was leaving the rain starting coming down again. It would be too cliché to say I didn’t have an umbrella- I did. Still, I wobbled out into the parking lot and into the new misting rain. I dumped my bags into my car and… click click click. The car doesn’t start. God Bless Me??
So yes, of course I made it back to New York the following evening. And I am still waiting for my blessing.
As I had posted to Facebook nearly two years ago, anything can be found on the internet. I needed to describe what the terrain was like as Jen and Michael drove from Malibu to Bakersfield. Someone had done the drive, recorded it from the windshield and posted it on Youtube. It was extremely helpful. So I turned to Google once again to help me write my one page Query letter.
I had written over five hundred pages for what will hopefully be Forty Times Platinum and its sequels, but writing three paragraphs seriously had me looking back into self-publishing. Still I pressed on. I read example after example. Surely there had to be a way to scientifically transplant my information into another letter that had worked. I was wrong.
Just as with the novel itself, I turned to professional help. Ca Ching. Ca Ching. I submitted my letter to a critique service. Because this was my first time doing this, I put all these questions in the letter when I submitted it. And to my horror, my query was sent to one of the agents I was planning on contacting. It seems he had been volunteering with the service to do critiques. And if that wasn’t bad enough, my entire email, stupid questions and all, went right to the agent.
About three days later I got back my critique. In a word, I felt the comments were mean. It took so much not to fire back a nasty email. But I am pretty sure that word gets around about hot headed writers. So I took my time and tried to tackle one insulting comment after the other and tried to assume the agent said the things he said in a non-rhetorical manner.
The next dilemma was, I paid for a one time review. How would I know if the changes I made were correct? All art is subjective. And what one agent thinks is great and brilliant; another won’t read past one sentence. And so with most of my anger behind me, I emailed the agent, thanking him for his critique and that I worked on the areas in question and would he mind reviewing it again. I figured I had to ask. And much to my shock and awe, he wrote me back and said okay. And he was also actually, what’s the word I am looking for, nice.
Maybe I caught him on a horrible day?
I took my time and the second round critique I received back was so much more positive and helpful. It wasn’t quite there, but I had gotten about ninety percent of what he had been eluding to.
And so then I had my one page letter that was going to go out to (other) agents and make them want to read more.
But how much more? I was about to find out.
To be continued.
I had known enough about traditional publishing to know what a “Query” was. It is a one page letter that is supposed to do the following:
- Hook the reader in about your book in the first paragraph.
- Completely describe your book in 2 more paragraphs.
- Describe yourself as an author and why you’re special: which is extra fun when you’ve never published anything.
All of the above has to fit within 1 exact page, including a standard 1940’s-esq greeting with the recipient’s mailing address and the date.
The punch line is that 99% of the time, this “letter” is going in into the body of an email. But it’s a mind- (you-know-what) because you don’t know if some intern is going to cut and paste what you wrote in a Word Document to check to see if it actually fits on one page or not. I wasn’t taking any chances. So all my “queries” even though most were emailed, are sitting on my laptop in full professional business letter format.
Now for extra fun, if you Googled: How to write a query letter, stand back because an avalanche of hits will fall your way. At the end of the day, it’s a business proposal for your book. But it’s also an tease- think movie trailers: In a world…..
The best way to describe what’s in those 2 paragraphs is to look at the back jacket of any book. It’s supposed to tell you enough about the story to get you interested, but it doesn’t tell you everything. And what to tell and what not to tell is as debatable among experts as the beginning of time.
While writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, Forty Times Platinum, I became viciously jealous of musicians, which is very ironic since FTP is about musicians. But all musicians have to do is come up with a stupid 3 minute song. How hard is that?
But when I tried to draw FTP down like a wine reduction into 2 paragraphs, I went into complete panic attack mode and I finally sympathized with song writers and who’s sole job is to hook you in and make you fall in love in those stupid three minutes.
To be continued.
Well I have to say, that was a pretty poor entry turn out.
In any event, the winning bet was 5.4 pounds.
All in all, it was worth it for a daily diet of blueberry fritters, wine, scoops and salsa and the largest ice cream cone I’ve ever had in my life.
It was all an exercise in not saying no.
Felt pretty good.
Back to reality.
PS- 2.8 pounds already gone!