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!

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!

 

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