Early Reviews…

I’m headed back into the editing cave for a couple weeks… MEN AND MARTINIS is back on my plate, a fact that I’m both excited and terrified about. If you’ve been with me a while, you know that M&M has been a LONG process. This book is the first of a possible six (three for sure) being published by Swoon Romance. The book they initially offered on was a sloppy mass of ideas that I pitched as a novella. The awesome (and patient) editors there have helped me through one complete and total rewrite (which turned this from a 20k word idea to a 70k word novel), and now I’m headed into another round of edits. This one isn’t a total rewrite, thank goodness… but having the publishing team’s experience and professional eyes behind the comments is pretty good motivation to follow their direction. And it’s never fun to hear that your baby’s not beautiful in every way! 

So I’ve got a full two weeks to get back into the world of M&M — which is a world I actually lived in: NYC in the late 90s — and get this thing polished enough to go on to copyediting! 

In the meantime, I’m so excited for REDEMPTION RED to hit the streets on October 15th. The blog tour is shaping up nicely (Thanks to all who are participating!). Review copies are out, and initial reviews are even beginning to trickle in! Here’s the first one from Goodreads… eee!

I won’t post any spoilers, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed Redemption Red. It is a modern romance in every sense, brining together two characters that have depth in their own lives and a complexity in their relationship as a couple – romantically and otherwise. I loved how opposite yet similar Audrey and Tyson were – and that their story wasn’t an open shut case. It took time, just like a good wine, to mature into what it was supposed to be. 

LOVED! Off to read more Delancey Stewart titles, because now I have to! 🙂

There’s one coming soon from author Michelle Lynn (who wrote Love Me Back and just released Don’t Let Go — both of which are selling gangbusters on Amazon! Woot!) It is always a great feeling when an author you admire says something nice about your work! 

The Words of Others

As a writer, I spend a lot of time worrying over my own words. But what I’ve come to realize is that lots of writers (myself included) spend almost as much time worrying over the words of others. It’s hard to send your darlings out for judgment. And I will admit to spending more time than I should reading reviews of my babies on Amazon and on Goodreads. For me, because I’m just starting out, any review is a good review. Okay, well, not ANY review. I kind of feel like unless a writer is clearly a hack, we should just abide by the rule “if you don’t have something nice to say…” you know where I’m going with that. Why tear down a writer who is just trying to get her ground?

The point of this post was not to rail against bad reviews (and I’ve had a few. You’re welcome to go read them….) Instead, it’s to try to tell myself and other writers that it is okay to prefer the good ones. It’s okay to seek validation of your work and to celebrate when it comes. Writing is a lonely task at times, and having someone say, “hey, you’re doing a good job” feels good.

Tonight I spoke at the Charles County chapter of the Maryland Writers’ Association, a group that I support in my local county as well. When I returned home, I sat down to see if any of the pre-read reviews on Redemption Red had been posted at Goodreads yet. Then I wandered over to Amazon because, frankly, I can’t help myself. I like to see my sales ranks. And while there, I noticed a new review for Through A Dusty Window. I cringed…that book is so different from everything else I’ve done. It’s not sexy or easy… it’s literary fiction and it’s short stories, and it’s historical fiction. But I kind of love it. And when the review turned out to be a good one — glowing even — I might’ve sniffled a bit. Here’s my favorite line:

The author writes well, extremely well. Found myself saying, “Wish I had thought of that.” The first words grab hold of you, the last leave you with a feeling of wanting more, and those in the middle put you directly into the scene. Carry on Delancey Stewart.

I’m going to bed now… but that’s going to carry me through quite a few tough days ahead. Thank you to all readers who take the time to let writers know when they’re doing things you like. Good night!

Redemption Red Comes Out in a Month!

A little less, actually… The almost-done version is in the hands of beta readers and early reviewers and I’m beginning to get feedback, which is so fun (because the feedback has been good!) I can’t wait to send this one out into the world…I think it’s a great mix of wine, food, romance and atmosphere. And I have a feeling that those who look for book boyfriends will enjoy Tyson Dawes. I loved writing him… now I just need to stop comparing real live men to him!

If you are a book blogger or reviewer and would like to be involved in the post-launch tour (October 21-26), you can sign up HERE… There are going to be some great giveaways along the way!

Now I’m diving into edits for the first book in the Girlfriends of Gotham series… The first book, Men and Martinis, is slated to publish in early December!

Remembrance

Twelve years ago I lived in New York City. I was there to see the destruction that came after the initial disaster that was everything about 9/11. I was traveling during the actual event, and still suffer from some form of survivor’s guilt — I was not there when my city was attacked; when my friends ran for their lives and feared for their loved ones. My company was actually situated just blocks from the World Trade Center. When I worked there, we spent lunches under the twin towers, visiting the Ben & Jerry’s operated by the cousin of one of my coworkers. I shopped at Century 21 right across the street and at the bookstore beneath the looming shadows of those seemingly immovable structures. To watch them fall on television was so surreal that I actually thought it was a new age War of the Worlds; that it wasn’t really happening.

But when I returned to my city, to my apartment on 15th street, just above the zone that was closed below 14th, it was all too real. I bought rounds at the Village Idiot on 14th for the firefighters that trudged up out of the dust at the end of every day, their eyes vacant and their bodies beaten by what they’d seen. I played pool with them and thanked them for what they were doing down there.

One of my best friends manned a call center in the weeks that followed, answering call after call from hopeful sisters, husbands and parents, describing loved ones who hadn’t come home that day. Who never went home again.

I eventually moved away. An already dwindling dot-com economy in Silicon Alley was smashed flat by the events of 9/11, and I was laid off along with almost everyone I knew. But New York will always be my spiritual home — the place I am most alive.

In memory of that day, I will give away a copy of “Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001”. The last story in that collection is semi-autobiographical and centers around 9/11 in a way. The book will go to a commenter on this post. Tell me where you were that day, what you were doing and what 9/11 means to you. A winner will be chosen at random one week from today.

A Rare Vintage is on sale!

Hi guys! In all the excitement about Redemption Red (or is that only in my head?) I don’t want to forget to let you know that now is a great time to check out A Rare Vintage. The first Wine Country Romance, which is set in Paso Robles, California, is on sale this week for only 99 cents!

If you haven’t had a chance to read about Isabella DaSilva and Jonathan Sauvage’s steamy romance (complete with a rather smexy scene in the barn… ahem…) now is the time. This book also focuses around some of my favorite varietals – the Rhone Valley wines. The couple are working together to recreate one of the most storied (and tasty!) wines of all time (in my opinion) — Chateauneuf du Pape. If you haven’t tasted this wine, which my husband affectionately refers to as “the POP”… you definitely should. It’s kinda spendy, so if you’re looking for a less pricey alternative, a Cote du Rhone is a great match for sipping while reading your copy of A Rare Vintage. (Plus, when the book is only 99 cents, that leaves you a few more dollars to spend on wine! It’s a win win!)

Cover Reveal: Redemption Red

After lots of cover reveals for other people, I’m so excited to introduce the cover to Redemption Red – the second book in my Wine Country Romance series! This book is scheduled to be released in late October.

RR_med_borderRedemption Red by Delancey Stewart (A Wine Country Romance)

Love, loss, and a smoky red…

When Audrey Montgomery’s carefully planned life collides with the self-destructive path Tyson Dawes is on, neither of them can predict what will happen next.

Audrey is a diligent and self-reliant culinary student at Portland’s prestigious Cordon Bleu. She has a clear picture of her future in mind, and it allows little room for the steely-eyed and tormented young man she bumps into by chance while wine tasting with friends.

Tyson Dawes had a perfect childhood, raised among the vines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. But even the most idyllic of upbringings couldn’t have prepared him for what he would face as a Marine. He returns to his childhood home angry and haunted by the storms of what he has faced and by those he has lost.

Do opposites truly attract? Can the lure of Audrey’s apparent clarity and innocence offer Tyson hope in the face of his emptiness?

This is the second book in the Wine Country Romance Series. The first book, A Rare Vintage was published in June and is available on Amazon. Though the books share a theme, each is a standalone book and can be read independently.

Add the book on GoodReads.

And if you haven’t read A Rare Vintage yet, now’s your chance!

Buy A Rare Vintage, on sale now for only .99 cents! 

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Enter the Giveaway:

Must be 18 or older to enter One winner will win (US only):

– an ebook copy of both “A Rare Vintage” and “Redemption Red”
– a gorgeous bracelet created with recycled wine bottles on an aluminum
link bracelet. It measures 7 1/2 inches long and features green, brown,
blue, gold and clear color glass rings. The bracelet is handmade and can
be dressed up or down, thanks to the elegant styling.
AND

a 10 ounce jar of Oregon Pinot Noir chocolate sauce from Euphoria
Chocolate Company in Oregon (where Redemption Red is set). Great for use
on ice cream, in coffee or just on a spoon!
4 winners will win (INT):
– an ebook of Redemption Red
Enter here:   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Decisions and Determination

Maybe Men & Martinis has me on an alliteration kick. (Referring to today’s title)… Not sure.

I have just printed out the first draft of Redemption Red, which is now sitting in a tidy little binder on the edge of my desk. I know it needs to be essentially ripped apart and put back together. I wrote it over such a span of time and geography that I feel distant from some parts of the story and almost as if I don’t remember other parts! I have no idea how guys like George R.R. Martin can write a novel over years (or a series over 20!!) I’d never be able to keep it all straight. I’m much more of a sprinter, though I do have three novels that have been lingering out there in the murk. One of them is the dream…the one I’ve always wanted to write. But I feel weirdly unworthy of approaching it. If I try to finish it now, it’ll turn into a New Adult romance, which isn’t the intention for that book. Maybe the problem with it is that I’ve somehow built it up in my head into being representative of my Opus… and it’s probably just a book. Oh well.

Swoon has been in touch about edits for Men and Martinis, and the book (and the Girlfriends) have been much more on my mind lately as I know that I’ll be diving back into that world soon to edit. I’m also starting to build some ideas for books two and three (the contract is for three books… there’s an option for another three… starting to look rather daunting). But I LOVE these stories (or I did before I submitted the first one – I hope I will love it as much once I’ve gotten through all the red pen! I’m kind of terrified to get it back from the editor, if you want the truth… It’s always hard showing your baby to someone and hearing that it’s kinda ugly!) Anyway, the semi-firm publication date is now early December, which would be a great holiday gift for me (and for you, too! wink wink).

SO…I have an idea. Wanna help name the second or third books? I’m kind of stuck coming up with titles, and could use some fresh ideas. I think the idea is to stick with the alliteration format, ideally using a cocktail for one of the words. The other word should be New Yorky or man-related… Any ideas? If anyone suggests something that we end up using, I promise some kind of nice reward!

All right… I’m off to edit. (well, not really. I’m off to make some pumpkin streusel rolls… but after that. right.)