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



Hello! Hi! Remember me?

Sorry I’ve been a bad correspondent. It isn’t that there is anything to write about. There’s tons. I’ve got some good things in the hopper, actually…I’m just not at liberty to talk about them yet, as they’re not quite solid. Kind of slushy. But good. 🙂

In the meantime, it’s been so fun to see the reactions people have had to Men and Martinis… most of my friends and acquaintances know that parts of that story were based on my life, my friends, and the time I spent living in NYC in the late nineties. They also have guessed that if any of the characters were me, it’d be Natalie Pepper. Which leads to a lot of questions. The top three:

1) Did you ever end up with CJ?

2) Was there really a Damon?

3) Did you actually wear plastic pants?

The answers are as follows.

1) Can’t tell…there are a book two and three, after all. But let’s just say that I’m not a fan of cliffhangers or unhappy endings. I also don’t like the slam dunk, so expect some twists and turns. 🙂

2) Sort of. And I’ll never say more than that.

3) Sadly, yes. I had a pair of plastic snakeskin patterned jeans that I actually bought in a mens’ store in Chelsea. I have no idea why I was shopping in a mens’ store in Chelsea, except maybe that I knew it was an up-and-coming gay community, and the store had a nice window display (which didn’t include snakeskin pants.) I can only imagine what the person working there must have been thinking as I went to try them on. Maybe I was drunk. I don’t really remember… Anyway, I did own them, and I did wear them, usually with a pair of round toe Steve Madden black platform boots that I loved. I remember putting them in a box to give away more than ten years later. I’d spent all that time convincing myself that there could be an occasion to wear them again, though most of my friends assured me there would be no such time.

Anyway, I hope you’re all doing well, and hope to have a few announcements here soon!

Men and Martinis Reviews

Have you gotten a chance to read MEN AND MARTINIS yet? I hope the answer is yes. I’m so excited about this book… it tickles me to watch the reviews creeping in. Here are a couple lines from recent reviews that I love:

I could not stop giggling out loud at this book. Between the totally excellent 90’s dotcom party setting and the strong personalities of the ‘girlfriends’, it was impossible to put down.

Love that…

The plot is more compelling than most in this genre, and the humor quite entertaining. I am convinced that if you read this book you will want more from this author.

So nice!

Stewart nailed life in late 90’s NYC dot com era. If you lived through it, or are just curious, you must read this book.
Great character development and easy read.

It’s a strange experience – reading the reactions of other people to something you tend and grow and nurture and then send out into the world. Kind of like getting a phone call from my son’s teacher about something nasty he did at school. Yesterday. So maybe the purpose of this entire post is to try to celebrate something that I put out there doing well in the face of anticipating a call from the vice principal today about something ELSE that I’ve put out there doing things that are NOT SO NICE. I’ve warned him that the elf is watching… but this time of year is so tough for the little guys. So much excitement!

Wish me luck on that call… and let me know your thoughts on MEN AND MARTINIS! I’m about a quarter of the way through the sequel, and hope the publisher will want to release books two and three in 2014! If you haven’t gotten yours yet, pick it up at Amazon, B&N or Kobo!

Back to The City

This weekend I got to go back to NYC. For seven hours. It sounds sort of insane because, frankly, it was. My company sponsors a bus trip every year from my home outside DC. I didn’t go last year because I was like, “Sitting on a bus for 10 hours just for half a day in New York? I’m not insane.” Evidently something has changed between last year and this year, because this year I went. So perhaps I am actually insane. I took my six year old son. So, yes, the insanity possibility remains. 

We got on a bus at 6am. We spent seven hours in NYC, and then got back on the bus. We got home at 3am. 

And I learned a few things. 

1) I still love NYC. Even though everything we did and saw was completely swamped and mobbed with people… when I lived there — the times I write about in Girlfriends of Gotham — I avoided the tourist stuff like the plague. I wouldn’t walk through Times Square if you paid me. I’d NEVER go to Rockefeller Center during the holidays. And being crowd claustrophobic, I still didn’t enjoy that stuff. But in the midst of the worst crowds I’ve ever seen and in the middle of a serious smash of humanity, I realized that I could still appreciate that particular brand of hell. There are few places in the world where people would put up with that complete redassery just to see a giant tree lit up, where people will stand in line to enter a toy store (yes, we did this to get into FAO Schwartz). And it reminded me that even though I didn’t necessarily enjoy the touristy stuff — there was a time when I got to be an insider…when I owned just the tiniest piece of everything that ROCKS about New York City.

2) My kid is a rock star. The little guy spent most of the day awash in a sea of strangers, with me gripping his hand in a deathclaw grip and dragging him past an endless parade of other people’s butts. I’m 5’9″ tall and almost always in 3-4″ heels. I can see over almost everyone. But he couldn’t see crap. He saw butts and hands and other kids looking terrified, and he handled it like a champion. Every now and then I’d hoist him up and carry him so he could see stuff (yes, I carried my 60 pound kid while wearing three and a half inch heels…I’m like that). But when I’d check in with him as I pulled him through crowds, he was completely fine. And happy. And smiling. 

3) The Spiderman show is AWESOME. We got tickets in advance, and I was SO glad we did it. If you have kids and you’re in the city, it’s totally worth it. 

4) Seeing your old life and knowing you’ll never have it again is hard. As I sat on a bus with a bunch of crazy women screaming “NYC Baby!” while we crossed the GW bridge into the city, I swallowed down my annoyance. I remember the feeling I used to have, when I entered the city at the end of a trip, the feeling I had when I was coming home to the city… it was a feeling of belonging, of pride. When I saw that skyline, I felt a surge of something incredible that I’d never felt before and haven’t felt since. NYC was the first place I ever really felt at home. And with Frank Sinatra’s line in my head, it made me feel like I could make it anywhere. On that bus, though, I had to accept that I didn’t belong anymore. I have become a tourist. New York City is like a snowglobe. Lots of people look at it and see the same things. They scurry over the glossy top of it, ogling the Empire State Building and talking about Times Square. They see the things we see on television, in movies. But they don’t see the inside. When I lived there, I was inside the globe. I got to walk the hidden side streets that tourists rarely find. I knew how to get places without getting swamped by people. I was an insider. But now I wander the hard surface of the globe with everyone else. At least when I’m there for only 7 hours on an insane bus trip. 

5) I miss my girlfriends. I was in Manhattan for four days in May to celebrate my 40th. And none of what I just said applied then. When you have enough time to delve deeper, you get to see some of that inner goodness. But for me, NYC is only ever right if I’m with my best friends — the original Girlfriends of Gotham. I look forward to our next visit to the city!

Men and Martinis Book Birthday!

Today is the official launch day of Men and Martinis! I’m so excited… it’s been fun hearing buzz about my book on the Intertubes all weekend, and now reviews are beginning to trickle in.

This book was a total labor of love — it’s not a secret that it’s based on my own life, so there’s a lot of me in this whole series (just pulled into parts and pieces and stuffed in different spots!) The time that I lived in NYC in my twenties was one of the best times of my life. And now it feels worlds away — almost like fiction! Which is why I think I was able to write this series now.

Anyway, you can find the first review of Men and Martinis here!

Going on Tour!

Men and Martinis-tour bannerMen and Martinis is going on a blog tour! Please join me at the following sites over the next 10 days:

Blog Tour Schedule:
December 3:
Shooting Stars Reviews –  – Promo Post
V’s Reads – – Review
December 4:
Painted Words – – Review
Kelly P’s Blog – – Promo Post
December 5:
Movies, Shows & Books – – Promo Post
Chapter Break – – Promo Post
December 6:
Book Loving Hippo – – Promo Post
Kassie’s Book Thoughts – – Promo Post
December 9:
Mythical Books – – Promo Post
December 10:
Curling Up With A Good Book – – Promo Post
December 11:
books are love – – Review
December 12:
Extaordinaryreads  – – Review
December 13:
Book loving hippo – – Review