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?

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Beyond Redemption – Releasing Next Week!

I’m excited to announce that the next installment in the Wine Country Romance Series — Beyond Redemption — will release on Tuesday, June 24th!

Beyond Redemption is a novella that takes readers back to Redemption Road Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It’s a hot, sexy and sweet extension of Audrey and Tyson’s story, focused on Rebecca and Ray.

If you haven’t read Redemption Red, check it out here!

And if you’re a blogger and would like to help with the cover reveal for Beyond Redemption (so pretty… eeek!), the reveal is being hosted by the lovely Giselle at Xpresso. Sign up here!

Validation of My White Trash Roots

I have a feeling my mother will take offense at this title… I didn’t actually come up from white trash (although – does anyone who genuinely falls into this category believe that they are white trash? So maybe we are, Mom. Maybe we are…) Though since both my parents are pretty well-educated and made a point of ensuring that my brother and I valued things like travel and tax-planning… I’m thinking we’re not. ANYWAY, none of that is the point of this post. Damn, I get off topic easily. No wonder I can’t finish the book I’m working on.

The point of this post is simple: BOXED WINE.

I joined in a Facebook chat last night with some authorial types to promote Melanie Harlow‘s awesome upcoming book Frenched. And there were slanderous words bandied about (yes, that’s right, they were being bandied I tell you!) And these harsh and derogatory words had to do with something close to my heart. Boxed wine.

You know that I write about wine a fair bit. The Wine Country Romance series is my special little literary gift to the world (yes, this is sarcastic)… but I was a wine writer for a time and I sold wine for a French importer. (so I know just enough to be obnoxious, my husband says). And one of the things that I know — and pay attention because there are not many — is that sealing wine in a bag (inside your box) is a great way to avoid many of the problems that affect bottled wine (cork taint, for one, which affects 10% of bottles). Or as Forbes.com so succinctly put it:

boxed wine stays fresh a minimum of four weeks, it’s shatter-proof, portable, will never have cork taint, and is more environmentally conscious. In fact the total energy used to produce one box is about 1/3 the energy required to produce a glass bottle, leaving a carbon footprint one-half the size that of a wine bottle.

Now add to that the fact that many well-respected producers are putting wine in boxes, and it just plain makes sense. Forget that there are four bottles in one box and pay no attention to the simple glee that comes from pouring yourself a glass of wine from a little handy-dandy spout… Boxed wine can be darned good. Forget the Franzia and Gallo… we’ve moved on and if you’re not on board, I say you’re missing the boat.

Check out the Black Box wines – Chardonnay is decent and the Shiraz is pretty good. The old Bonny Doon Big House wines are in boxes now… I keep a box of Big House White around through the summer months as a rule. Anyway, no need to take my word… there are plenty of other people extolling the virtues of the box. Check it out.

So as I sit here, sipping a glass of fresh-from-the-box, I make a simple plea: Stop marginalizing boxed wine. Especially if you haven’t tried one in a while.

Thanks. 🙂 Cheers.

Reviews of Redemption Red

So I’ve done a couple blog tour-type things before… but I really hadn’t had — as my hubs would call it — the full meal deal. This time — Redemption Red’s tour with Literary Mania Reviews — is a whole different thing. It was well-organized, and after just one day (and a day that was not my definition of fantastic in terms of my “real” life), I’m left sitting here, grinning. I just got through the posts that were put up about my work today… and I’m a bit flabbergasted. My favorite line from today’s reviews over at The SubClubBooks:

I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I started reading this book, but when I finished it I was left wondering where Delancey Stewart came from. This story was beautiful, unique and funny.

So nice!

And this one was over at First Class Books:

After I finished Redemption Red, I was kind of left speechless. I had just finished something that gripped me. Tyson. Wowza. First of all, he is HOT HOT HOT! Boy might need to carry a fire extinguisher with him for his hotness. His story about broke my heart and not just once. It was over and over. Audrey is his light. I don’t want to go into too much and spoil it, but I have to say it was refreshing reading a lead female who was able to stand on her own feet and not forgetting everything she was before she met the man. I can’t wait to read more from Delancey because Redemption Red was so well written! 4 stars ****

Again… I’m speechless.

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
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