Cover Reveal: The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I think you know that Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite new adult authors. She tackles tough topics in a totally human way, and her writing is so accessible that you just completely lose yourself in her stories. Sometimes she lets me edit her work, and I relish the chance since it earns me a pre-read. This book – The Understatement of the Year – is incredible. And that’s why I’m super excited to help with the cover reveal! This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.   TUOFY

The Understatement of the Year (Ivy Years #3) by Sarina Bowen

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age category: New Adult

Release Date: October 15, 2014

Blurb: What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now. Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexual preference from everyone. Including himself. So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.

You can find The Understatement of the Year on Goodreads

About the Author: Sarina Bowen makes her home in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where she lives with her family, eight chickens and a large pile of skis and hockey equipment. She is a graduate of Yale University.

You can find and contact Sarina here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Highballs for all my friends!

Okay, with the upcoming release of Highballs in the Hamptons, I’ve actually been asked a couple times: What the heck is a highball?

It’s a fair question.

Those of you who’ve been reading my books for a while might have picked up on a theme… I write the WINE country romances, right? And my first book in the Girlfriends series was Men and MARTINIS, right? Are you seeing a pattern here?

It’s fair to say that I enjoy an evening cocktail or glass of wine. More than fair to say that, really.

So it’ll come as no surprise, I’m sure, that a highball is a cocktail. Kind of an old school throwback, really, and there’s a reason for that. Natalie Pepper and the other Girlfriends of Gotham were living large in NYC in the late nineties. It was a time of excess – not exactly Studio 54, but there was a fair bit of youthful entitlement being bandied about by those in their early and mid-twenties. That was all a result of the big titles, easy money and ridiculous success running in the streets thanks to the advent of the Internet. (Hard to believe that ever didn’t exist, eh?)

Anyway, those kids (and I can call them kids because I was one, and when I look back…man, we were young.) So those kids were kind of fancying themselves to be the new jet set, kind of rat pack NYC throwbacks. Lots of trends were retro at that point, and one of them was cocktails. Despite the additions of some new ones — Cosmo, anyone? Lots of folks were getting into old school manhattans (my current favorite drink, actually!) and gimlets and Tom Collins’s’s’ssss (may I just say how much I HATE having to pluralize names ending in S???)

So, in honor of all that, Book 2 is called Highballs in the Hamptons. And it’s a fun book. I hope you’ll read it.

But even if you don’t, I hope you’ll try a highball!

There’s no real trick to it — fill a glass with ice and add a couple shots of whiskey. Fill the rest with Ginger Ale, and guess what? You’ve got a highball!

Enjoy!

Highballs in the Hamptons

Howdy guys! I’m super excited because today I finally get to show you the gorgeous cover for Book 2 in the Girlfriends of Gotham series from Swoon Romance!

The first book, Men and Martinis, saw Candace Kanie looking in all the wrong places for love, believing she could strongarm it into her life the way she did everything else. And we met Natalie Pepper, who was torn between the man she loves and her job.

Book 2 focuses on Natalie and CJ again, but we also get to follow crazy Lulu’s love life. Here’s the blurb:

Natalie Pepper thinks she can just be friends with CJ, the man of her dreams. But after seeing him every day at work – and after he lays it all on the line – it becomes pretty clear that something’s gotta give. She’d admit to herself, and to him, that all she really wants is him…if she wasn’t so afraid of losing the best job she’s ever had (and the life it has made possible).

At least she’s got her friends to distract her. Lulu Rossi is an unorthodox and unpredictable spitfire of a girl who has a habit of saying whatever’s on her mind. And while that attribute entertains friends and intrigues her new boyfriend, Andrew, it might be the one thing that stops their relationship from moving forward. Lulu has unintentionally entered the world of Upper East Side royalty, as her ER doctor boyfriend turns out to be the pedigreed heir to an old money fortune – one that is watched over by his manipulative and exceedingly judgmental mother, Elizabeth “Tippy” Barton.

Natalie’s insane supervisor worsens the situation at work when her own man troubles result in a new “no fraternization” policy, and CJ finally gives up and begins to look for other opportunities. Natalie is forced to decide what is important to her for once and for all. Will it be CJ or her job?

Lulu must prove her worth to Andrew’s family – or make him see that the only person whose opinion really matters is his.

So finally, check it out! Here’s the cover of Highballs in the Hamptons, which will be out in late September! Click the cover to add it on Goodreads!

CoverFinalLG-HighballsInTheHamptons

Doing the Wrong Thing

I’ve been in a slump. It’s been hard to take because I’ve been more productive in the last two years than I’ve been in my life. And I guess I knew it couldn’t last…

The thing is…I have some deadlines looming. And instead of focusing on those, I kind of got off track. I’ve been writing something completely new. It’s not part of any series that I’m working on, and it isn’t like anything else I’ve written. It’s mainstream, I think – not quite literary, but not genre… But it doesn’t matter. Because it has no ending and I’m disillusioned and I have to put it aside.

To be honest, this happens with every book I write. I hit about 2/3 of the way through and become disenchanted. I tell myself that the whole thing is crap, that it all sucks and that I should quit. And then I power through and finish it and turn it in, or publish it, and everything works out in whatever way it will… But I don’t have the time to power through with this one. I’ll have to come back to it…some day.

Because I have a second book in the series for Carina UK to write. And I have the third Girlfriends of Gotham for Swoon to write. And I have a third Wine Country Romance novel to write. And no one anywhere is waiting for this other book. So it’ll have to wait.

I decided this last night. Because with school getting ready to start again, and summer marching toward a conclusion, I’ve come to realize that having a book due October 1st means I ought to probably be working on it. And so this morning I began. I pulled up a brand new project in Scrivener, loaded my synopsis and got up at too-effing-early o’clock to begin a whole new novel.

And do you know what happened? It changed my whole day. My whole attitude. Maybe it was because it’s a shiny and new project. And any writer will tell you that it’s easy to find energy for projects that are shiny and new. But I think it’s because I know someone is expecting it. And because I know where it’s headed.

The new project was an effort at pantsing. And being a complete planner in every other aspect of my life, I’m not sure why I thought that not planning a novel would work out for me. But I’m hoping that at some point I’m going to decide that I learned valuable lessons from the effort. And that someday that novel won’t be on the backburner. Because there are parts of it that I really love and think are wonderful.

But for today…I’m back in the 1920s, writing about an Upper East Side deb that is doing things that are definitely not what her parents had planned for her…

Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you think that once you’ve gone one way or the other you can’t ever be the other? I haven’t decided…

The Themes in Our Lives

I have a new post up today over at Operation Awesome about themes in fiction. I wrote it a week or so ago, and it’s funny how this idea of a central message keeps popping up in strange places. I went to a meeting last night of the Maryland Writers’ Association where I live, and the speaker — who is a playwright — touched on this, too. Her point was that every play she writes must have something universal running through it, something that anyone can relate to. The theme is what makes a piece part of the human experience, or identifiable to most people. I’m kind of obsessed with this concept at the moment — maybe it’s because I’m currently procrastinating like a BOSS. 

I started something new about two months ago. But I’m in that last third, that sticky part where you question everything in the last 20k words and wonder what the hell you’re doing. I always feel that way at this point in a book, but this one has been harder. Because this is a whole different kind of book. It’s not a romance, exactly. There is a romance in the story, but this is a different kind of story than the others I’ve written before. More literary, more lyrical. And that makes it harder because I don’t have any footprints to follow to get where I need to go on this one. My other books — the romances — generally contain some tropes, so those give me a lot of clues about what will happen. And romance usually follows a predictable arc to some degree. 

And I have to put the new thing aside because I’ve got a book due to Carina UK in October. And the second book in the Girlfriends of Gotham series publishes September 30th with Swoon, and I owe them the third and final in that series in December. And I’ve got a third Wine Country Book spinning around in my head and I know I need to get that bad boy on paper. And then there’s the new project that sits in the corner and seethes while I do all these other things. And I’ve got a shiny new editing project for one of my very favorite authors, Sarina Bowen. I’m diving into that this weekend and will have to constantly remind myself that I’m EDITING. Not reading for pleasure. But her books are… man, I just love them. 

Maybe that’s the theme in my life right now. Something in there – procrastination? No, more like planning. In my writing life and beyond, the end of summer seems like time for planning for all that comes when fall arrives. What’s the theme in your life at the moment?

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I know it’s been quiet around here. Sorry about that… But it isn’t because I’ve fallen off the face of the earth (except for one week back in June).

Quite the contrary. I’ve been very busy. I’ve got lots of things up my sleeve, but the one I’m ready to talk about today is this:

I’ve been asked to join the blogging crew over at Operation Awesome! Today is my first post there. Check it out! It’s a great writing-focused site that covers all aspects of this writing life. There’s a great group of writers there, and I’m proud to be a part of it. If you’re in a querying place, you might be interested in the monthly Mystery Agent contests, too. Check those out here.

So there’s that.

The second bit of news is that Redemption Red has been chosen as a 2014 Kindle Book Review Semifinalist and is in the running to become a top 5 finalist! semifinalist

So that’s pretty cool. :)

There’s more news coming! Stand by… and thanks for all the love lately for the Wine Country Romances!