In Defense of Pink

When I was a little girl, I refused to like pink. Or more specifically, I LOVED pink, but I got the clear impression that everyone around me believe I was SUPPOSED to love pink. So naturally, I declared that I hated it. I was impossible like that. Just ask my mom.

But in my late twenties (and by late twenties, I MIGHT mean early forties)… I am comfortable enough to admit that I absolutely love pink. I don’t wear a lot of light ballet pink, but I love salmon and I own probably too many things in bright pinks (including pants, cuz that’s how I roll). I have two pairs of pink trousers that I wear regularly to work. And maybe it’s because I work in a conservative environment, or maybe it’s because it just isn’t all that common, but I always get comments. And sometimes, if I’m telling the truth, I can tell that they’re those backhanded compliments people offer when they feel they must say something but aren’t sure exactly what they want to say. Or else they’re afraid you’ll kick ’em in the taco if they say what’s really on their mind. But you know what? I don’t give a pink petunia at this point.

However, I do have a beef with some pink judgers out there. And this goes back to my defense of boxed wine, I guess. Pink wine, y’all. Many of us in the states have a very bad perception of anything in a wine glass that is pink. And that is because we spent far too long ignorantly swilling something called White Zinfandel and not knowing any better. In many cases, that White Zin wasn’t even made from Zinfandel grapes!

You can still get the low rent rosés if you know where to look (7-11 anyone? Well, not in MD, but you get my drift). But there are plenty of pink wines that are well made and absolutely lovely — especially as the days get warmer. And pink is my choice for barbecues and deck parties, so I end up explaining myself more than I’d like.

Blush Wine Bottle And GlassWhere does pink wine come from? In most cases, the pink color is the result of the juice being left on the skins just briefly enough to impart a little bit of structure — and color, of course. So rosé wines can be made from most red varietals (and so you can have real white zinfandel… this is where ideas like “white merlot” and “white cabernet” come from.)  The rosés I like best are based in Grenache, which is the varietal most often used in the Rhône wines, which I tend to favor in general (see A Rare Vintage!)

Pink wines come in all concentrations — from almost fuschia to light light pink (often called Vin Gris). They come from all over the world – my favorites are from France and Spain (where they call it Rosado), but Bonny Doon makes an incredible Vin Gris. They range from sweet to dry, and there’s even a bubbly variety! They’re all gorgeous in the glass and super refreshing.

So I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day weekend… raise a glass of pink to the men and women who’ve sacrificed so much for our freedom.

 

 

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A Busy Summer Ahead

The weather’s warming up, the kids are excited to get out of school (though really, I can’t figure out why… since I work, they’ll just be headed off to a different variety of “school”… but don’t tell them that!) Anyway, I’ve got a few commitments coming to an end, and am starting to look forward to some freedom.

I think I talk a lot — or at least I think a lot — about making choices to keep life in balance. I didn’t do a great job of that this year. I let work get very stressful, which isn’t my norm at all. I’ve been president of our local writers’ group, and also served on the PTA (mostly to become known around the school and hopefully earn my little troublemaker another chance or two before he gets suspended from first grade!!) But it’s been a lot. And I missed a publication date that I just couldn’t make because I’ve been kind of chronically stressed.

But I’m stepping down from the writers’ group and PTA ends when the school year does… and I’m looking forward to having fewer people counting on me.

I’ve got a new Wine Country novella coming out next month, and the second book in The Company series is well underway and slated for August. Wine Country 3 is already plotted, and the second Girlfriends of Gotham (Highballs in the Hamptons!) should be out in the fall. I have a two book deal with Carina UK that I’m excited about, but it’s looking like those books might be out next year, so it’s a bit on the back burner at the moment.

The point is, as other things are winding down, I’m getting a burst of energy to get back to writing. And I’ve even managed to make myself work out again. For a former personal trainer, the loss of strength training in my life has been kind of personally shocking…

I hope that you’ve got good things planned for the summer too!

Gifts and Prizes and Books, Oh My!

I’m so excited to be doing my first official book signing this month at Book Expo America! I’m very flattered that my publisher, Swoon Romance, thought readers would be excited enough about my Girlfriends of Gotham series to come out and see me. Of course there is always the chance that I’ll be sitting at the table, pen poised, quietly waiting… for an hour… and then I’ll go home.

In an effort to ensure that doesn’t happen, I’ve devised a way to entice people to my table… You know, a reason beyond my fresh breath and sparkling personality… A GIFT basket that SOMEONE will win!

What’s in it, you ask? Well, let me tell you…

  • There’s a fancy hand-painted Lolita martini glass…
  • A pair of sterling earrings that look like little red wine glasses
  • A set of Ann Taintor coasters
  • A cute desk sign that says “It’s okay to have too much fun”
  • A set of designer stationery and matching pen
  • A cute pink tin of “flirt” gum
  • A fun set of cocktail napkins that says “I’d rather drink my martini than put on my bikini”

Fun, right? If you want to win it, you need to drop by and see me at the Swoon booth (PDZ638) on Friday, May 30 at 2pm!

Check out the goods:

BEA Basket

The Giveaway!

Howdy!

In honor of Adagio’s upcoming launch, I’m running a giveaway — Whee!

You can win one of five ebooks of ADAGIO…

Or and ecopy of one of these awesome books:

Just Breathe by Tamara Mataya

Frenched by Melanie Harlow

The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen

Tempting the Cowboy and One Night with a Cowboy by Elizabeth Otto

Click the link below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sneak Peek at ADAGIO

Hi guys! I’m releasing ADAGIO on May 15th, and I can’t wait for you to see the inside world of the Union Ballet Company and meet Cain and Anna.

Just for fun, I thought I’d give you a quick glimpse now… Don’t forget, you can add the book on Goodreads right now! And the giveaway is still on over on my Facebook page. Go leave a comment telling me your most recent favorite book for a chance to win one of five fantastic recent releases!

Here’s your sneak peek:

CAIN

Cain Gilliam took his usual place at the barre in the center of the cold studio and tried to will away the headache that was thumping just behind his eyes. Hal and Ian, his roommates, took spots on the other side of the barre. It was nine o’clock in the morning, and Cain realized that it wasn’t that early — unless you’d spent the night before playing quarters and doing shots. And the three of them had. Cain moved slowly, stretching his muscles quietly in the few moments before class started.

“Cain,” Hal’s gruff voice forced Cain to open his eyes again, breaking the concentration he’d started to find — concentration he’d need for class. “Fresh meat.” Hal gestured to a willowy dark-haired girl taking a spot at the side of the room, on one of the barres attached to the wall. Her hair was swept back in a tight bun, and she wore black from head to toe, her thin muscles sheathed in tights and a leotard, a dark sweater tied in the front. She looked around through huge, fierce dark eyes as she adjusted her pointe shoes and pulled on a leg warmer at one knee.

“Huh.” Cain watched her as he stretched. She’d taken a spot at the veteran barre, which would surely prove to be a problem. For her. Dancers at Union were very territorial and superstitious — and they weren’t above being downright bitchy. “Should we warn her?”

“Nah.” Hal grinned, his dark eyes lighting up under the wavy blond hair.

“Boys,” Ian said, sounding bored as he leaned in to whisper to them. “That’s Anna. She’s been at the company school for the past two years.”

“Any good?” Cain asked.

Ian gave a disinterested shrug. It took a lot for Ian to notice women in any more than a cursory way.

“Did you know she was moving up?” Hal asked.

“Knew she was ambitious.” Ian stretched his shoulders as he spoke. “She auditioned last week, and I heard talk around the staff that she met him after the audition was over.”

Hal chuckled. “Guess he gave her a private audition.”

Hal’s comment irritated Cain for some reason, but he couldn’t figure out exactly why. He shook his head and turned his attention away from the new girl. She was pretty, he had to admit, and there was something vulnerable in her that he didn’t doubt played well on the stage. But, Cain reminded himself, most ballerinas were pretty. Unlike Hal, who was busily sleeping his way through the corps, Cain didn’t date dancers. At least not anymore. They were neurotic, anal, and generally difficult. And those were the ones he liked.

He tried to focus on stretching, but as the scene in front of him began to unfold, it was hard not to watch. Julianna Devereaux, the prima ballerina at Union Ballet, took a spot in front of the new girl. Inches in front of her. There was no way Anna could know she was on the wrong barre, but she was about to find out.

A perturbed look crossed her face as she looked up from her stretch, and then she clearly recognized Julianna and took two steps back, giving the prima space. Seconds later, Erica Forbes, a demi-soloist with a notoriously bad attitude, took her usual spot, about one inch behind the new girl. She turned her body and allowed her hip to press Anna’s back, causing the new girl to jump and step forward, into Julianna.

“This isn’t your spot.” Erica’s voice was nasty and loud enough to attract the attention of the rest of the company.

Julianna turned to look, but gave Anna no more than a cold up and down gaze before taking a step back and turning back around.

Cain cringed. He hated dancer politics. If Anna chose to stand her ground, which she had every right to do, she’d be forced to dance in about six inches of space. And neither Erica nor Julianna would be able to really take class either, but he knew they would stand firm just to make a point.

“Christ,” he breathed, as Anna looked around the room, her dark eyes blazing. He stood and walked toward her. “Hey,” he said in a low voice, smiling. “I’m Cain.”

“I know who you are.” Her voice was a hiss. She was shaking slightly, but it clearly wasn’t in fear. She looked furious.

Cain swallowed hard. Her dark eyes were fiery and she actually had him doubting his own resolve. He tried another tact. “So there’s kind of a pecking order here,” he told her. “First and second years usually take the center barres.” He gestured toward three barres standing in the center of the room.

“I prefer the stability of the wall.”

“Me too. But these ladies here,” he indicated Erica and Julianna who were both clearly listening while pretending to ignore them. “These ladies worked their way up, and they’re a little territorial about their spots. And they’re also very rude to new dancers.”

Julianna turned and raised an eyebrow at him. He raised an eyebrow back at her in an exaggerated mimic and then gave her a grin. She huffed and turned back around.

“You’ll get a better class if you have more than four inches to move.” He smiled. She wasn’t being friendly, but she was new and probably intimidated.

Anna’s face was reddening and he could tell she was not the type to back down easily. “This is ridiculous,” she whispered, but her hand dropped from the barre.

“Not everyone here is a complete ass.” Cain walked her back toward the center barres. He was glad she’d relented before class had begun. He didn’t like watching people suffer, and the other girls would have made sure she did. “Carla here is a pussycat.” He pointed to a wide-open spot behind a tall African American girl wearing a backless fuchsia leotard. The girl grinned at Cain and waved her arm to the spot behind her.

“Hey,” she said to Anna.

Anna nodded curtly to the girl and then turned back to Cain. “Thanks.” She took the spot at the barre and turned away from him.

Cain went back to his spot wondering why he’d bothered, just as Tatiana, the ballet mistress, entered the room.