positive highlights of 2016

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Happy New Year!!

2016 was a sucky year in multiple ways, from the political mayhem to the premature deaths of too many icons like David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, and now George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debby Reynolds since Christmas. But as we look forward to a new year, I’m choosing to focus on some of the positive things that happened to me in 2016:

When my old publisher closed its doors, the uncertain fate of my writing career terrified me. But it turned into a blessing when I signed a seven-book publishing deal with Henery Press. I am so excited for the re-release of my new-and-improved five novels and the publication of the other two books in my contract.

My oldest and dearest friend gave birth to healthy and beautiful twin girls. This was a dream come true for her, and my heart is full with happiness.

After vowing never to revisit my high school days, I went to my twenty-fifth reunion and had a blast. It was a bit of closure for me, and I’m so glad I went. I’m super grateful to one of my friends and fellow alumni for encouraging me.

I had five years of braces as a child and my straight teeth lasted through my twenties. Over the last decade, they began to shift to the point where I hadn’t been as happy with my smile. I invested in Invisalign, and less than a year later, I have really straight teeth again and am much more confident in my grin.

I spent an amazing week in California with my favorite writer friends where we laughed, bonded, gave and received advice, and generally “got” each other. I left super motivated to get back to my work in progress which is now slated to be delivered to my editor on February 1st. (I’m gearing up for the 2017 retreat right now.)

I helped raise almost $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. These funds won’t bring Alan back, but I like to think they might save someone else the grief I still feel for his loss on a daily basis.

All my annual medical exams, as well as those of my family, were normal.

My oldest nephew, who I hadn’t seen since he was about ten, moved from Colorado to New York City for work after graduating college, and I am so happy to have connected with him again.

I spent a week in Arizona with friends. Besides the eating, drinking, sun-bathing, and regular vacation-like activities, we took a trip to the Grand Canyon and some of us (myself included) went on a hot-air balloon ride. This was mere months before hearing about a deadly hot-air balloon crash. I’m grateful for the timing since, as much as I enjoyed it, I’m unlikely to ever do it again now.

I went to several music concerts including Billy Joel for the first time (Jimmy Fallon was a surprise guest), Dolly Parton, and Stevie Nicks/The Pretenders.

After publicly expressing my issues with the word “Ma’am” a few weeks ago, I am officially over being insulted by it or taking it as a personal comment about my age. I’ve paid more attention to the way people use this word and to whom they direct it, and what I’ve noticed is that it has nothing to do with the age of the woman. I’ve witnessed people (men and women) use it on women in their twenties through nineties as a greeting to simply indicate they are speaking to a full-fledged female adult as opposed to a child/teenager. The term is also used on the young twenty and thirty-something heroines on Hallmark movies frequently. How bad can it be if it’s on The Hallmark Channel?? This discovery might seem like a small “great” event in the grand scheme of things, but it will save me much distress moving forward.

These are just some of the positive highlights of my 2016. What are some of yours?

my favorite books of 2016!

It’s been a few years since I wrote my roundup of favorite books of the year, and I decided it was time to revive the tradition. I read about seventy-five books this year and enjoyed almost all of them, but I limited my favorites to twelve (one per month). My list includes books I read in 2016, but they weren’t necessarily released in 2016. For one thing, I spend so much money on my reading addiction, I often wait for books to come on sale before I purchase them to keep expenses reasonable. Additionally, my TBR includes more than a hundred books and it sometimes takes me a year to read from the time I bought. Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, I present to you, my 2016 favorites list:

My Not So Perfect Life (chick lit) – Sophie Kinsella. This book won’t be published until 2017, but I was fortunate to get an ARC from Netgalley. I loved it. It was deeper than her other books, but still so funny and charming and everything you’d expect from Sophie Kinsella.

Tell me Three Things – (contemporary YA) Julie Buxbaum. I loved everything about this novel. In fact, I love everything Julie Buxbaum writes. This was another book I couldn’t put down, but didn’t want to finish.

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Bond Girl (chick lit) – Erin Duffy –Bond Girl is for 2016 what Party Girl was in 2015 – my favorite chick lit book of the year. From page one, I was drawn in and tearing through the pages like each one contained the secret of life.

Wake-up Call (chick lit) – Amy Avanzino – I am so happy to have discovered this new voice in women’s fiction. This book had all of the feels – funny, sentimental, sad, and romantic. Wake-Up Call struck the perfect balance between humor and depth and I highly recommend it

You (thriller/suspense) – Caroline Kepnes – Creepy, sexy, and Oh so good.

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The Wedding Sisters (women’s fiction) – Jamie Brenner – The content inside the book matched the beautiful cover. I loved it! As the youngest of three girls, the idea of sharing a wedding with them both intrigued and terrified me and so I knew I was in for a treat. The book had everything: humor, sex, romance, betrayal, politics and loss to name a few.

The Summer I Became a Nerd (contemporary YA) – Leah Rae Miller – I’m a huge fan of humorous, romantic (but clean) contemporary YA where the characters act like teenagers as opposed to adults with less birthdays. This book was a perfect example.

Millie’s Fling (chick lit) – Jill Mansell – I only just discovered Jill Mansell in 2016, and I’ve now read about ten of her books.  Her dialogue is consistently brilliant—always original, quirky, and never stilted. As a reader, I love this author’s books for pure entertainment. And as a writer, I learn something new with each one that helps me with my own craft.

The Devil Wear Scrubs (chick lit) – Freida McFadden – This was a free download on Amazon, and I loved it. A fast, witty read with endearing characters. What a pleasant surprise.

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Say What You Will (contemporary YA) – Cammie McGovern – I don’t think I’ve read a book in quite a while that made me laugh almost as much as it made me cry. I chuckled on the subway and I cried on the stair climber. I felt all the feels.

50 Acts of Kindness (chick lit) – Ellyn Oaksmith – it was a refreshing change to read a book in this genre with a “different” sort of main character – Kylie would never be described as “sweet” or “naive” – she was aggressive, strong-willed, and kind of mean at first. But she was real, and her character arc was fantastic and believable.

The Balance Project (chick lit) – Susie Orman Schnall – This novel reminded me a bit of The Devil’s Wear Prada, but in a good way. And there were enough differences that kept it original. I loved the whole premise of whether it is possible to have it all, and I absolutely stand by the conclusion reached in this book.

And there you have them! Have you read these? What were your favorite books this year?

public service announcement: don’t call me Ma’am

I’m interrupting my regularly-scheduled editing session to write this blog post. I’m attracted to men with good manners. I find it sexy. I always notice when a man, even a stranger, lets everyone on or off an elevator before exiting himself. I think it’s sweet when a date walks to the passenger side of the […]

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Won’t you pre-order my books?

At long last, I’m thrilled to announce that my five chick lit/romantic comedy novels are available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. If you’ve read the books and enjoyed them, I’d love if you spread the news of their republication. I’d be even more excited if you were so inclined to […]

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cover reveals (five of them)!

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It’s cover reveal time! Revealing one cover is super thrilling, so imagine my excitement to share five at the same time. It’s important to note that I loved my previous covers, but as I commence this new beginning with Henery Press, I’m embracing the change in covers too. And since the insides of the books […]

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My Top 5 television lust men

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Every once in a while, a television show comes along with a male character that I become so attached to, his fate becomes almost as important to my well being as my own and my friends/family members. I’m typically very attracted to these characters and want them as my own husband, boyfriend, lover etc, but […]

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news from my editing cave

I’ve once again been lazy with my blogging, but I assure you I haven’t been lazy in general. I’ve been editing like a mad woman. I told an author friend how exhausted I was after revising three books in a row and she said that editing is so draining, it’s like being hit by a […]

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because I’m “middle aged”

I dreaded turning forty and the unofficial entrance into “middle age.” I think I started worrying about it around thirty-seven and remember going to bed on my thirty-ninth birthday vowing to take advantage of the next three hundred and sixty five days of my thirties. I’m not sure I really did. Honestly, there is only so much “taking advantage” one can […]

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Editing (again)

In my last post, I announced that my five chick lit novels were picked up for republication by Henery Press, along with two future ones. I didn’t go into details about what would happen next, specifically editing. Several people were surprised that my new publisher wanted to edit five books that had previously sold well […]

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BIG NEWS!!!

BIG NEWS!!!!

I’ll start off with an apology: I’m sorry it’s been so long since I posted on my blog! It’s been a crazy time for me—very stressful, yet exciting at the same time! Over the last two and half months, I’ve been in a constant state of anxiety over the fate of my five novels and […]

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