RT or How I Learned to Hold My Breath While Speed Walking Through a Casino

Las Vegas. Sin City. Call it what you will, I will call it the City that Never Puts out a Cigarette. But I did learn to speed walk while holding my breath. So there’s that.

The RT Booklovers Convention is one of the largest reader/writer conventions there is. This year, RT had 3100 attendees. Three thousand one hundred lovers of and writers of every type of romance you can imagine.

It was also my first opportunity to sign my book for the general public.

RT16 Book Signing 5 I learned a couple of things. People love jellybeans. There is an extrovert hiding deep down inside this lifelong introvert.

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I also learned about “pre-gaming”. Why did none of my writer friends tell me about this until after my first signing?? A little down time in your room, a wee sip of wine, a pharmacuetical if you have a prescription. My publisher even provided us with a glass of wine. Which I very wisely put on the table behind me because, well, I’m a klutz and knocking a glass of wine over on a reader might not have made a very good impression.

I loved meeting all the readers and bloggers. The enthusiasm and excitement is contagious and makes this sometimes lonely feeling of writing our stories in solitude a little less lonely knowing they are eagerly awaited.

But one of my favorite things about conventions is meeting up with writer friends, some of whom I’ve met IRL before, many are people I’ve known on Twitter for years and are meeting for the first time.

RT16 Sasha Devlin2Like the fabulous Sasha Devlin.

 

20160415_221456And the amazing Katee Robert-Hird.

I just realized how few pictures I took with people. I was so excited to see them, pictures were the last thing on my mind.

I did venture out to the famous Vegas Strip. It was the spectacle I expected it to be. Had a lot of very yummy Tex-Mex food. Was introduced to the deliciousness that is a jalapeno lime cilantro margarita.

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20160413_210204Something exploded at Treasure Island but I swear it wasn’t my fault!

I didn’t forget to take a little time to enjoy myself by the pool with an adult beverage or two. Even though the “sandy beach” looked a lot like kitty litter.

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Thank you to all the readers and bloggers I met! You made my first book signing the most amazing experience of my life!

Vegas, Baby!

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Convention season is starting! Tomorrow I’ll be hopping on (well not really *hopping* I think they frown on that) a big old jet airliner for Sin City and the huge RT convention.

 

It’ll be a week of firsts for me. First time in Vegas. And my first time signing!! I’m veering from excited to terrified on the signing part.

If you attending RT, come on by and see me on Friday at the Harlequin Reader Event.

There may be jelly beans.

 

Living the Good Life

One of the best things about setting my books in Charleston is that I know the city so well. Very little research needed. Yay for lazy me!

But I got to add a little extra in for Book Three of The Cleaning Crew series. It’s Lena’s story. You’ll remember Lena from Book One. Sadie’s best friend. Successful, self-made woman.

I gave a couple of hints in that book about Lena. She drives a BMW. And at one point, she drives off in that BMW, heading to her “fancy condo downtown.”

Which is where I come in. See, I got to give Lena a life that is only a fantasy for me. Waterfront living in downtown Charleston.

I went on a little photo safari for you this afternoon.bridgeThis is the view of the Cooper River Bridge from the Waterfront Park Pier. Which is Lena’s backyard.

Next we have the Charleston City Art Gallery, where Matt and Lena have their first not-so-nice meeting:

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And just in front of the Art Gallery is the famous Pineapple Fountain. This is where Lena has a chance encounter with Matt while he is out painting. They resolve their first disastrous meeting:

Pineapple fountain

And perhaps the real fantasy, for me, Lena’s condo building. Two doors down from the Art Gallery. I imagine her living on the third floor, sitting on the patio in the morning, sipping coffee, watching dolphins swim in the harbor. Sigh…such the life.

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Exciting News!

Great news for fans of The Cleaning Crew! I just signed and returned contracts for three more books in the series!

If you’ve read Spying on the Boss, you will be familiar with the people in the next three stories.

Currently with the editor: Book 2, Josh’s story:

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Book 3 will be Lena’s story and Book 4 is DeShawn’s story.

I feel like a grown up writer now!

Sending Your Baby Into the World

My veteran author friends tell me this feeling will never really go away. You come to love your characters as you write them. Care for them, guide them through the challenges they face.

Then you send them out into the world.

As a debut author, the idea that people I don’t know are reading my book is both exciting and scary.

Exciting because this is why we write, to tell stories. To entertain. To inspire. To enlighten. Or even just to let someone have a small respite from the reality of their lives.

Scary because. Well, it feels to me the same way I felt when I watched my (then) teenage son back out of the driveway, driving by himself, alone, out into the world.

While I know everyone has different tastes in reading material and my book won’t be for everyone, just like a mother, it’s hard to let go and let Sadie and Wyatt make their own way out in the world.

But reviews like this help. A lot! Thanks Kathy Altman for the amazing review!

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I think they’ll be just fine.

The Older Woman and The Fine Art of Not Giving a Fuck

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I’m hearing more and more young women (and men) using the phrase, “I don’t give a fuck”.

I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means.

I’ve heard young women throwing the phrase around like it’s this week’s bae or fleek.

But I see them giving fucks about EVERYTHING. Constantly. They GAF about those K-people on TV. They GAF about the person who cut them off in traffic. They GAF about the random stranger who said something rude to them.

They are bleeding GAFs.

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What, exactly, is not giving a fuck?

It is a skill. A skill most refined in mature women who have seen a thing or two in their lives. Who have lived through several life altering events.

The biggest misunderstanding is that not giving a fuck means that you don’t care.

No. Not at all. It means you care DEEPLY.

But you ONLY care deeply about the things that matter to you. Traffic? No fucks. Latest celebrity scandal? No fucks. My granddaughter? ALL THE FUCKS.

My friend TOJ (The Other Janet – Janet Edens Conover) once said she saw her GAFs as a trust fund she was born with. The older and wiser she became, the less she was tempted to throw them away. She needed to save her GAFs for important stuff.

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To truly not GAF, you must know yourself. Intimately. You must be emotionally and intellectually honest with yourself. You must be able to forgive. To move on. To not carry forward the burden of fucks you wasted in the past. You will not be afraid to speak your mind because you know how precious your fucks are and you will not waste them. No matter how hard people try to make you give one.

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Know your circus.

Happy New Year!

2015 was a long strange trip. From the excitement of learning my way around the Harlequin publishing house. Having a real life editor and deadlines and watching Spying on the Boss move from an offhand statement to a real life book.

Then there were the floods. All the grown upping I had to do to deal with that.

And for a finale to the year, in the space of five hours we learned the Fella needed four new tires for his car, the washing machine died, and the back porch caved in.

But all that is the past.

Tonight at midnight, while the world is celebrating the New Year (well, while Eastern Standard Time is celebrating), I’ll be celebrating the release of my very first novel.

So here’s to 2016! As Pedro would say, “May all your wildest dreams come true.”

Amazing News!

Just got the best email from the senior editor at Harlequin Superromance!

Beginning with the January 2016 releases, Superromance paperbacks will once again be available from Amazon. And they’re Prime!

So excited for this. I know the editors at Superromance really fought hard to get us back in print on Amazon and I believe Barnes and Noble will be following suit shortly.

Breaking News!

As we draw closer to the January 1 release date, more options for purchasing Spying on the Boss are popping up.

The newest is that paperback copies are now available for preorder on the Harlequin website!

All purchasing option links are on the “Buy the Book” page here. Along with links to buy my book as part of a box set with three other amazing Harlequin Superromance writers.

I am planning a Facebook release party with at least one other Super writer, hopefully more. We’ll have give-aways and prizes.

More soon!

And Then the Doorbell Rang

I knew it was going to happen soon. Somehow, in my imagination, it happened differently.

The UPS guy was extra hot in the brown shorts uniform. I was in a cute little outfit, hair and makeup ON FLEEK. The doorbell would ring. I would jump up and down and clap and laugh. UPS guy would valiantly rip the box open for me, light would pour from the box, clouds would part, sunlight and rainbows would appear and trumpets would sound.

YOUR BOOKS ARE HERE!

12189018_1498442030452620_5079921265439391329_nWell, the boxes arrived. The doorbell rang.

What I didn’t foresee is that this would happen as I wallowed in my bed, day sleeping after a night shift, not wanting to get up but knowing I should because I didn’t have work that night and if I slept all day, I’d be up all night.

My fantasy didn’t include me stumbling down the hall, pulling on yoga pants and a paint splattered tank top. Nor the fumes and dust as the UPS truck sped away. Nor my shrieking at Molly to GET BACK IN THE HOUSE!

12004063_1486629824967174_9069274620410041890_n“I was just trying to help.”

This was not the book delivery I dreamed of! Where was my hot UPS guy? Why did I have morning breath and need coffee??

I texted The Fella: You need to come home right now.

I attached a picture of the boxes.

He texted me back: Are those your books?

No, they’re Maisey Yates’ books. I stole them from her porch.

And he refused to come home RIGHT THEN.

And now, I had two hours. Two hours to sit there and look at the boxes. Should I open one? Just to see? Just to have a quiet, private moment. Me and my book?

Somewhere around the second cup of coffee, common sense returned. I needed a shower. Some attention paid to my hair and clothing choices. So when The Fella got home to record this momentous moment, I didn’t look like…well….*me* me, but *AUTHOR* me.

12219508_1498442057119284_42090984345599177_n (1)Molly still trying to help.

Everyone asked me how it felt to hold my book for the first time. I felt a lot of things. Joy, relief, excitement, fear.

But the number one feeling was: validated.

I am a writer. I can do this.