Enlisting a Street Team – Blogger Girl/Novelista Girl. You in?

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When I wrote Blogger Girl, it was meant to be a stand-alone novel, but while I was satisfied with where I left Kimmie Long and the Gang, many readers screamed, “More, More, More!” Okay, so they didn’t exactly “scream,” but the novel became an instant fan-favorite and I received many requests for a sequel. Although I was in the midst of writing How Do You Know? at the time, I decided to give readers what they wanted. And between you and me, I was pretty excited to revisit my old friends, especially Nicholas 🙂 (And if I’m being honest, Hannah and Daneen—Mean Girls 1 and 2—were super fun to write, too.)

I’m thrilled to announce that the sequel, Novelista Girl, is now with my editor and if all goes according to schedule, it will be released before the end of the year. Although we have not written the formal blurb yet, here is a brief description:

In NOVELISTA GIRL, “Blogger Girl” Kimberly Long is inspired by her new boyfriend, Nicholas, to publish her novel. When the hunt for an agent brings her unexpectedly closer to prior nemesis, Hannah Marshak, it creates tension between Kim and her BFF, Bridget. To make matters worse, Nicholas’ busy work schedule is putting a dent in their relationship. In the year when all of Kim’s dreams—romantic and professional—are supposed to come true, she’s afraid she’ll end up unpublished and all alone.

As much as folks embraced Blogger Girl, it hasn’t reached as many readers as I’d like. I would obviously like it to reach millions if not billions (trillions?)

This is where you come in:

I’m looking for readers who loved Blogger Girl and are anxiously awaiting release of the sequel to join the Blogger Girl/Novelista Girl street team. As a member of the street team, I would rely on you to share your enthusiasm for the Blogger Girl series and help spread the word that the books are worth reading. This can include posting on your Facebook pages and other social media, sharing my posts with your friends, family, colleagues etc. and maybe even screaming from the rooftops. In thanks, I would do the following for you*:

Provide you with a free advanced copy of Novelista Girl in the e-format of your choice

Advance access to scenes from the prequel, Kim and the Mean Girl, before it comes out

Free advanced e-copy of Kim and the Mean Girl when it comes out

Input into cover art

Access to a closed Facebook group exclusive to members of the street team

Assorted swag (to be determined)

*This is my first experience with a street-team so I am kind of winging it, but I’m open to requests from all members as to what you would like.

If this is something you are interested in and you are up to the task, please either comment here with your name and email address or email me pursuant to the “contact me” section of this website.

Thanks from me, Kim, Nicholas (who has been recast from Matt Long to Sam Palladio), Bridget, Jonathan, Hannah, Daneen, Rob and the rest of the Blogger Girl family 🙂

KimmieLong

KimmieLong

Nicholas

Nicholas

That's my spunky Bridget!

That’s my spunky Bridget!

Hannah

Hannah

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Excerpt to “Blogger Girl” sequel and Introducing Felicia Harrison

This time last year, I put out a challenge to the “blogosphere” to set me up with a man – not just any man but an appealing and available man I actually liked. In return, I vowed to name a character of my next book (the sequel to Blogger Girl) after anyone whose matchmaking led to an actual date. You can read the post here:

Well, it’s a good thing I have my own ways of getting dates because you guys FAILED miserably. Seriously. Thanks for nothing people…

One person did, however, stand out among all others. My interactions with this woman were very limited at the time, but she really made it her mission to set me up. She, also, failed. But her efforts have earned her the prize as well as a true friend who adores her.

After much discussion, she has chosen to remain anonymous so rather than use her real name, I have named a character after her alter ego, aka the fake name she gave to men when she was single and not interested.

I’d like to introduce you all to Felicia Harrison. The below excerpt is subject to change since I’m still in editing.

I spotted Felicia immediately. She was sitting on a black upholstered couch scribbling in a leather-bound journal. As I approached, she looked up and smiled. Standing up, she said, “Kim?”

I returned her smile and nodded. My throat was dry and I swallowed hard, praying my voice wouldn’t crack. “Hi.”

Motioning toward the couch, she said, “Is this okay? I got here early and snagged the only open spots. I’m glad you got here before I had to fight someone for the space.” She laughed.

I scanned the crowded lounge and smiled timidly. “It’s fine. I hope I’m not late.”

“You’re right on time. Do you want a drink?”

The answer to her question was an unequivocal “yes” but I didn’t know the proper protocol. Was it a trick question? 

As if reading my mind, Felicia said, “Having met with many new authors in my fifteen years as a literary agent, I find a drink calms their nerves and they almost never make drunk fools of themselves.”

I bit my lip. Almost?

Felicia laughed. “I’m making an executive decision and getting us both glasses of Champagne. You sit and protect our space.”

I chuckled. “Okay. Thanks.”

Even though I had seen pictures of Felicia during various stages of agent-stalking, I discreetly checked her out as she ordered our drinks at the bar. With fifteen years’ experience, she was probably about forty, although she could easily pass for thirty-five. She was tall (at least compared to me) and thin with killer legs and warm brown eyes. Her chestnut brown hair was styled all one length except for bangs. She was pretty and so far, seemed as kind as her appearance suggested. 

Returning from the bar, Felicia handed me a glass of Champagne before sitting down next to me. Then she clinked her glass against mine. “Better?”

I took a small sip, determined to pace myself. “Much better,” I confessed. The Champagne took the edge off my nerves, but I was far from tranquil. I had conversed with many agents in my blogger capacity, but this was my first face-to-face as an author and I didn’t want to blow it. 

Felicia smiled. “Good. Thanks for meeting me today.”

“Thanks for asking me! And for reading A Blogger’s Life.” I felt a pulsing in my throat in anticipation of the conversation about to take place.

Felicia put her glass down on the table in front of us. “It was my pleasure. It’s a great story, Kim. You should be proud.”

Lifting my chin, I said, “Thank you.” So far so good.

“Although the market is flooded with bloggers turned authors, a fictional novel from the perspective of a book blogger is fresh.” Tipping her head to the side, she queried, “It is fiction, right?”

“Yes. I mean, I relied on my own experiences as a book blogger for authenticity, but the story itself as well as the characters are completely fictitious.”

Felicia nodded. “You’ve got talent Kim and I think the novel has a wide appeal for younger readers of chick lit, romantic comedy, and humorous women’s fiction. But…”

But what??? Nope. You’ll have to wait until the book is released to read what comes next.

For those of you who didn’t win, it could have been your name up there. Aren’t you jealous?

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-june-2015/

How PMS screwed with my laundry

I suffer from PMS almost every month. Along with the physical symptoms—bloating, swollen breasts, an occasional pimple—the “condition” affects me emotionally. The go-to symptom is “bitchiness” but this isn’t typically my issue. Instead, I become sad, needy, and paranoid, and maintaining emotional health is a challenge. Thankfully, I am usually able to talk myself off the ledge by reminding myself that my feelings are temporary and as soon as Aunt Flo storms into town, I will be back to normal. I will no longer fear my friends don’t like me anymore, that my clients/colleagues think I’ve lost my touch, that every other woman is prettier, smarter, funnier than me, that my latest novel is garbage, that I will never be able to write another book, that I’m not special or worthy of love. I’ve been through it enough times over the past twenty-five or so years to know the drill: If I hide away long enough on my couch, lost in back-to-back episodes of whatever show I’m currently binge-watching, I will eventually emerge a much more upbeat and optimistic version of myself.

So, yes, I’m no stranger to PMS. But this weekend, PMS threw me for a shiny new loop by messing with my brain cells, not to mention my laundry. I’m going to tell you what happened because I’m curious if anyone else has experienced something similar.

I’ve been sick for almost a week with what I hope is the last of the winter cold. I had an out-of-town friend visit on Monday, book club on Tuesday, a meeting with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Wednesday, and a date on Thursday in addition to my day-job. Although I called out sick on Tuesday, with the exception of the date, I kept my evening plans. (The guy was sick too so it was easy to postpone.) Because I hadn’t rested as much as I would have liked and had plans for Saturday, I decided to stay home on Friday night.

Sidebar: I just realized I told my mom I was supposed to have a date on Thursday. Damn.

Back to my story. I decided to stay home on Friday night, do a little research for my next writing project, and catch up on the shows on my Hulu Queue. I figured I should also do laundry since the room would likely be less crowded on a Friday night with everyone going out and, even though it’s a pain in the butt, I’d be happy I got it over with.

On a “regular” night, here is how my laundry process should go:

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Load laundry in machine.

Wait for elevator to take me back to 18th floor apartment

Set timer for 30 minutes and work on book

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Remove laundry from washer.

Put portion in dryer and bring the rest upstairs to hang dry

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Set timer for 30 minutes and hang wet clothes to dry

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Remove clothes from dryer

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Put away clothes

Finish

Total time: An hour and fifteen minutes maybe?

By my estimations, by starting at 6:30, I would absolutely be finished in good time to eat dinner while watching Grimm at 8pm.

This is what really happened:

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Load laundry in machine.

Realize I forgot to bring my laundry debit cards with me (I have two cards for a reason I can’t recall and can never remember which one has more money on it so I always bring both with me.)

Curse under my breath

Wait for elevator to take me back to 18th floor apartment

Pick up laundry debit cards from coffee table

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Begin wash

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Set timer for 30 minutes and work on book

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Remove laundry from washer.

Separate what needs to be line dried and put the rest in the dryer

Realize I forgot my laundry debit card upstairs

Curse loudly

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Search frantically for laundry debit cards with no success

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Search frantically for debit cards with no success

Remove wet clothes from dryer

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Begin to cover my entire apartment with wet clothes

Realize some of my clothes are missing, notably a couple of pairs of my new workout shorts

Cry and wonder why someone would steal my laundry debit cards AND my gym shorts

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Find remaining clothes in a laundry basket

Search once more for missing debit cards with no success

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Finish covering every inch of my apartment from kitchen, bathroom, bedroom/living room with wet clothes

Weep

Reheat dinner from Wok to Walk

Curl on couch with overheated dinner

Turn on Grimm thirty minutes late

Try not to ignore that my apartment looks like a clothing factory

Lament why I had to add $5 to my laundry debit card less than an hour before the card is stolen by some asshole and wonder how I’m going to get a new card

Wish I went out with my friends instead of doing laundry

Realize I might have a blog post for this week after all

Total time – two hours, most of which was spent waiting for the damn elevator.

I have to blame my train wreck laundry experience on PMS. Seriously, I spilled water across my desk at work, screamed at my computer for not responding fast enough, and felt like I gained forty pounds all in my gut. I’m clearly in the throes. The absentmindedness that caused me to misplace not only my laundry debit cards but a portion of my clothes could not be an unrelated coincidence.

I’m in no hurry to start menopause and so I gladly put up with the “usual” symptoms because they remind me I’m not over-the-hill yet, but I seriously hope my brain functioning doesn’t begin to suffer each month along with my relatively flat stomach, usually clear complexion, and somewhat healthy disposition. I’m not sure how much more I can take 😦

Has this ever happened to you?

how I spent my weekend

This post will be heavy on pictures and light on text because, gosh darn it, I have a cold. It’s almost May, but Mother Nature had to throw one last winter cold at me with her crazy change of weather. Boo!

My attempt to make Emergen-C look like a tasty cocktail...

My attempt to make Emergen-C look like a tasty cocktail…

Until Friday night, my ancient television set belied my love of watching television. I blame my failure to purchase a television set that is not only befitting of the twenty-first century but also of my fondness for watching television on both being busy balancing other aspects of my life and my technophobia. I fully admit I was afraid to buy a new television set and not know how to hook it up to my cable, Roku, DVD player etc. So when my friend Julie offered not only to sell me her good as new 46” LCD HDTV but to help me set it up, I wrote her a check faster than you could say, “binge-watch.” Julie brought me the set on Friday night and we spent a couple of hours putting it together and by “we” I mean “her.” I did contribute a bottle of Prosecco and some chips…

CHECK IT OUT!

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Despite my cold, I met with a bunch of other authors for a write-in at Housing Works book store in the village on Saturday afternoon. Most of the authors are also affiliated with my publisher, Booktrope, including my very own editor. I was very excited to meet my awesome editor face-to-face for the first time. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of her this time, but we hope to make this a monthly event and I will not forget next time. In the meantime, I did take a selfie with my writing buddy, Hilary Grossman, author of the awesome memoir, Dangled Carat.

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Housingworks

Since I wasn’t up to going out on Saturday night, I binge-watched the first season of Nashville on, you guessed it, my new tv!! I love the men on that show and they are even sexier when viewed on a quality television set 🙂

I went to bed with the highest of hopes that I would feel better today but I didn’t. Nevertheless, I forced myself to go for a run this morning. I don’t think it made me any worse although between you and me, I don’t think it made me feel any better either 😦

The most significant task I completed this weekend, besides FINALLY enrolling in online banking, was completing my self-edits of Novel Girl, the follow-up book to Blogger Girl. I know the novel needs more work, but I can’t see it clearly anymore and knew it was time to send it off to my beta readers. While I await their comments, I plan to start my next project—a prequel novella to the Blogger Girl series in which I will take Kim Long and bring her back to middle school, along with her best friend Bridget and their nemesis Hannah Marshak. I’ve never written a novella and I’ve never written young characters, but it’s a challenge I’m excited to tackle.

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I hate to blog and run but I must nap now. I’m taking the day off from work tomorrow to hang with my southern soul sister Jenny who is visiting from Kentucky, and hope to have kicked this cold by then. Wish me luck!

Summer Beach 30+ eBook Giveaway

Contest runs April 15th – May 16th

With the winter (hopefully) behind us and spring in the air, it’s time to think SUMMER. I’m thrilled to include “How Do You Know?” in this massive giveaway with 30+ ebooks up for grabs.

Featured Image -- 1978

Enter here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/47c7cd174/

beachreadsgiveaway

Maggie Piper dishes her thoughts on tv, smug marrieds, and turning the big 4.0.

For my blog post this week, I thought I’d introduce you all to Maggie Piper, the heroine of my latest light women’s fiction release, How Do You Know? I’ve asked Maggie a series of questions and she was kind enough to answer them honestly, even some of the more personal ones.

By way of background, Maggie is a thirty-nine-year-old marketing manager who lives and works in New York City. She’s an only child of a broken home, but considers her first cousin, Cheryl, more of an older sister since they grew up in the same house and even shared a room. Maggie’s love life is, well, complicated as you can see from the book blurb:

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.  

Appearance-wise, Maggie is 5’5” and doesn’t have much in the way of curves. Her hair is strawberry blonde and she has blue eyes and an abundance of freckles. She looks closer to thirty than forty, although it doesn’t make her feel much better about the impending 4.0. I’ve always pictured Maggie looking like the actress, Sarah Jane Morris.

Maggie Piper

Maggie Piper

Without further ado, let us begin the interview:

Me: Thanks for joining me today, Maggie! Let’s jump right in. What is it about turning forty that scares you so much?

Maggie: Wow! You don’t waste much time, do you? Haha. Honestly, I just thought I’d be somewhere else in my life by forty and fear that my opportunities to get there are dwindling away. At the same time, there isn’t much I would do differently.

Me: By ‘somewhere else’ can I assume you mean married with children?

Maggie: Yes. You don’t really hear about too many forty-year-old women who’ve never been married and the media clogs my vision with images of older men with younger women. I fear that I’m approaching an age where I won’t be appealing to the opposite sex. It makes me antsy and scared of the future.

Me: But you have a boyfriend, right?

Maggie: Had one. We broke up recently. I love Doug, but I wasn’t sure it was right. I wanted time to figure it out, but he didn’t want to give it to me.

Me: What about the people who say it is selfish or immature of you to not have your shit together by now?

Maggie: I say those people haven’t walked a mile in my shoes. There are people who think I’m putting too much emphasis on my love life and should just relax and let things happen. But the people who say that are usually the ones who have never struggled in that department. Navigating the dating world is not easy for most of us. I’m guessing the naysayers have never come so close only to have the rug pulled out from under them. Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, hurt someone they cared for deeply because they knew it wasn’t right. It’s like that Match.com commercial with the woman who tells her friend that if she wasn’t married, she’d totally go on Match. She can only say that because she is married.

Me: Bridget Jones referred to them as “smug marrieds.” Do you agree?

Maggie. *laughs* Some of them, yes. But not all. Of my three closest friends, one is happily married, one is recently divorced, and another hasn’t had a relationship in close to a decade. Yet, none of them judge me for feeling the way I do.  These are people who might not understand where I am coming from based on their own experiences, but they are able to look beyond their own lives and appreciate that not everyone figures things out at the same pace.

Me: Onto a less serious question, is it safe to say you have an addiction to television?

Maggie: Ha! Yes, I do. I’ve been binge-watching television since way before Netflix was born.

Me: What are your favorite shows?

Maggie: I’m a sucker for the legal-suspense type shows, like The Following, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order: SVU. But I also enjoy the sharp wit of shows like Grimm, Veronica Mars, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Castle has it all.

Me: What are you looking for in a romantic partner?

Maggie: And we’re back to this line of questioning, huh? I’m not sure. I think that’s my problem. I wanted the break from Doug to figure that out. I don’t want to hurt anyone in the process, but I want to be happy.  As much as I love male companionship (and sex), I want to commit for the right reasons; not simply so I can tick off “married” on questionnaires. But how do you know when you’ve found what you’re looking for? How do you know when it’s right?

Me: I wish I knew, Maggie, as I ask myself that same question often. I hope you find the answer.  Is there anything else you’d like to say to those who read How Do You Know?

Maggie: I would just hope that after people read my story, they pause before making assumptions about where someone should be in life based on the year they were born. Not everyone has the opportunity or even desire to take the more traditional path and some folks have a longer learning curve. Don’t invalidate someone’s insecurities/doubts just because you did not experience them yourself. With each birthday hopefully comes more wisdom, but “growing up” is a life-long process.

First reading at Barnes & Noble – check!

BandNSignEven though I’ve been a published author for four and a half years and have four novels under my belt, I participated in my first ever public book “reading” this past Thursday night at the Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, New York, along with fellow Booktrope authors Hilary Grossman and Jennifer Gracen. For those of you not in the know, Manhasset is a town in Nassau County, Long Island.

 

As I mentioned in my blog post a couple of weeks back, I get very nervous at the thought of public speaking. Past experiences have left me lacking confidence in that regard. As you can imagine, booking this gig at Barnes and Noble, while a dream come true in one respect, was a nightmare in another. Terrified, yet determined to see it through, I made it my mission to kill it, or at the very least, not make a fool of myself.

 

I chose an excerpt of my newest release, How Do You Know? that I considered intriguing enough to pique interest in my story without giving away anything not already exposed in the book’s back cover blurb. A very dialogue-heavy scene, I sought advice from author friends who have far more experience at readings on how to best distinguish between which character was speaking. Thank you to my mom for this brilliant suggestion and to Eileen Goudge, Josie Brown, and Jen Tucker for their willingness to share their wisdom.  At the advice of these authors, I marked up the scene to include additional dialogue tags (I said, he said) where necessary and add phrases such as “I thought, I wondered” to indicate inner thought.

 

 

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As a result of this wonderful advice, my devotion to rehearsing the reading for two weeks prior to the event, and perhaps a little magic set off by the designer shoes I had purchased the night before, I am proud to announce that the reading went off without a hitch. Despite nursing an awful cold, I think it’s fair to say I rocked it. I didn’t read too quickly, which was my biggest fear. I remembered to include the added dialogue tags to avoid confusing the audience. And I managed to make eye contact with the audience every so often rather than keep my head buried in the book. Folks laughed at all of the right times which fueled my confidence.

 

MeShoes

In my wildest dreams, truckloads of devoted fans would stand elbow-to-elbow for an opportunity to hear their favorite author—me of course—read from her book.  In reality, however, while we had a full house, the majority of the audience consisted of friends, colleagues, and family of Hilary Grossman and most of them were there to see her. I blame the crazy cold and the opening of Fifty Shades of Grey for the absence of my fangirls (and boys). But while I’m fairly certain the majority of the attendees were not my target audience, they were very attentive and respectful to all three of us and I managed to pique the interest of a couple of them who purchased a signed copy of How Do You Know? at the end of the evening. Another promised to download the ecopy on her Kindle when she got home.

I’m so excited to have my virgin reading behind me and look forward to my next opportunity. The second time will be even better, I’m sure 😉

Thank you to Hilary Grossman, Jennifer Gracen, and the staff at Barnes & Noble for making it possible!

Public Speaking – Gah!

I like having my voice heard when I speak. It bothers me when I feel ignored or when the company I keep pay half-assed attention to what I’m saying while looking over my shoulders at what is going on behind me or taking what they think are furtive glances at their phones. I enjoy holding a captive audience of one or two or three, whether on a date or out with friends—when it is my turn to speak, of course, as a balance of give and take makes for the best conversations.

I’m not opposed to speaking. I’m quite skilled at it, in fact. I don’t, however, enjoy public speaking—as in getting up in front of a crowd of people. At All.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that at the age of thirteen, I stood on a stage in front of upwards of fifty people and, not only spoke, but sang. Not only did I sing, but it was in Hebrew!! I totally did it for the gifts and the party, but still…If asked to do that today, no way. No effin’ way!! Even that day, I vividly recall my sisters and me unable to contain our laughter when called upon to lead the congregation in “Adon Olam.” I suppose we were cute in our own way, but I doubt it was what the rabbi, cantor, or my mother had in mind.

In order to graduate high school with a Regents diploma, I had to take a semester of Public Speaking. The class consisted of giving a series of oral reports on various topics in front of the classroom. The only ones I remember are “pet peeves” (mine was people who make too much noise when they eat); interview (we were paired with another classmate to role-play the interview process); and a demonstration. For my demonstration, I taught the class how to carve a pumpkin. Only my hands shook so badly, my friend Eric had to do the actual carving. A nervous girl should not be armed with a knife…I received an A- in the class. The writing was consistently spot-on, but my performance left something to be desired. Specifically, the teacher complained that I spoke too quickly. I was trying to get it over with!

But the most memorable public speaking experience for me was in ninth grade when we had to describe some aspect of geography in 3D. I don’t remember much about my actual report, except that I *attempted* to create a globe out of clay. I stood in front of the class and read my oral report. At the end, relieved to have it behind me, I asked the class the required question, “Any questions?” One hand flew up—Dante Golio. With a straight face, Dante said, “Can you repeat that?” apparently referring to the speed with which I spoke. The entire class, including my teacher Mr. Sherman, broke out into hysterics. Mortified and feeling betrayed by my teacher, I ran out of the class and directly to the girls’ bathroom where I sobbed. I’ve never fully recovered.

I write all of this to tell you that on the evening of Thursday, February 12th, I will be doing my first reading at Barnes & Noble in Manhasset (Long Island), along with fellow Booktrope authors Hilary Grossman and Jennifer Gracen. I’ve done my share of book signings and author-related cocktail parties, but this is my virgin “reading” and, yes, I’m quite nervous about it. Excited for sure, but anxious. What if I read too quickly? It’s always been my cross to bear. What if I suddenly lose my ability to read at all and the words just blur into strange characters on the page before me? What I trip on my way to the podium? These questions and more will be answered in a little over a fortnight, along with a three-four page monologue of How Do You Know?.

I will be sure to report back, but if you’re in the area, please stop by to support me (or take pleasure in my discomfort).

BarnesandNoblepicture

farewell to 2014

This time last year, I was really looking forward to putting 2013 behind me. In 2013, I broke up with my boyfriend, my sister’s beautiful dog Gypsy passed away, and my boss of seventeen years and best friend was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of Leukemia. So, despite the fact that my third novel and fan favorite Blogger Girl was released to outstanding reviews, and my debut Just Friends with Benefits was re-released by my current publisher, Booktrope, to surprisingly best-seller status, the year was pretty sucky all in all.

2014 started out much better. I began the year with a trip to California with several other authors where we talked, laughed, and drank lots of wine with the beach right outside our door. I met up with a guy I had dated several years ago and had such a wonderful time, I was certain we’d get a second chance. Best of all, my boss found a 100% match for a bone marrow transplant. Things were looking up. Unfortunately, the trip to California only lasted a few days and I returned to New York City and the Polar Vortex with a cold that lasted about four months. Despite the connection I was certain was mutual while out with the guy from my past, he kept putting off a second date until I had to assume he didn’t share my feelings. Worst of all, by far, my boss/best friend lost his battle with cancer, passed away in July, and broke my heart into a million pieces.

2014 wasn’t all bad. My publisher released an ebook collection with my three first novels on Valentine’s Day that made the Kindle Top 100; Blogger Girl and A State of Jane were re-released by Amazon Encore pursuant to an exciting licensing agreement with Booktrope; my fourth novel, How Do You Know?, was published in December, Just Friends with Benefits was released as part of a romance anthology called Blended for Love; and I am already halfway through the first draft of my fifth book, Novel Girl.

More important than “book” stuff, my friends and family really stepped up after my boss died and showed me how much they loved me. Their patience, understanding, and unwillingness to let me feel alone showed me how truly blessed I am and I will be forever grateful even while I’m still dealing with my grief on a daily basis.

I’m no mathematician, but I know that with each passing year, I will get a year older which, as those who know me are well aware, doesn’t thrill me. That being said, I am truly ready to put 2014 behind me. Although I have goals for 2015—publication of Novel Girl, possible solo trip out of the country, potential running of New York City marathon, refurnishing of my apartment—I am not making any formal resolutions. All I really want is to be happy.

Or perhaps the resolution is to figure out what it is that makes me happy and go after it.

Thanks to all of you for keeping up with my blog this past year. I hope I have entertained you with my life and book updates. Happy New Year to you all and see you next year!

New Release – Blended for Love – a four book romantic collection

December has been a very action-packed and exciting month for me so far. First, my fourth novel, How Do You Know? was released on December 2nd and now I’m thrilled to announce that my debut romantic comedy “chick lit” novel, Just Friends with Benefits, has been released as part of a four-book collection with romance as the common theme. The best part is that, while each book features a romance, the sub-genre of each novel is completely different so there is a story to satisfy your every mood, hence the title, Blended for Love.

Blendedcover

The collection includes romantic suspense novel, Tag, by Shari Ryan; Seductive Shadows, an erotic novel by Marni Mann; Blue Midnight, a contemporary romance by Tess Thomson; and last but not least, Just Friends with Benefits, a romantic comedy.

But wait…there’s more! The collection is currently only 99 cents for a very limited time!! If you haven’t read my debut novel yet, now you can get it, along with three other full-length manuscripts by best-selling authors, in one delicious collection. Read on for further details and buy links:

Cali, Charlie, Stephanie, and Blythe. . . four unique women with distinct stories and intoxicating essences to delight any mood. Are you in the need for adventure with a side of sexy marine? Meet fiercely independent Cali from TAG by Shari J. Ryan as she navigates the canyons of Mexico where the waterfalls provide safety and romance has a pesky way of showing up when she least expects it. And Tango is full of the unexpected. 

Need a sultry story with exotic undertones to make your heart race and put a naughty smile on your face? Then Charlie from Seductive Shadows by Marni Mann is your gal. She is a passionate, sensually inspired art student with a job offer at the mansion that is almost too good to be true. Add in the connection to the mysterious Cameron, who stimulates her art, intellect and desires all the way to her core, and you’ll be left captivated by this alluring novel.

Want something light that renews you like a girl’s night out with your BFFs and a few glasses of chardonnay? Meet Stephanie from Just Friends with Benefits by Meredith Schorr, in her pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters. Stephanie’s story couples humor with the age old yearning for Craig, ‘the one that got away.’

Or, perhaps the more mature Blythe from Blue Midnight by Tess Thompson fits your mood. Newly divorced, she questions her road not taken, sexy and sweet Finn Lanigan, and sets out to find him. This is a story of second chances, the complexities of family and learning to trust after betrayal. In these four books, the facets of love all combine to form: Blended for Love.

Please note: Seductive Shadows is for mature audiences. It contains explicit language and sexual content.

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Bio: Shari J. Ryan hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her hubby and two lively little boys. Ryan has published the 3-book Schasm Series for Romantic Suspense/Thriller fans. TAG is her first book written solely for the Romantic Suspense audience. She is also hard at work on Red Nights, a standalone coming early 2015. www.sharijryan.com

Best-selling Author Marni Mann crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books. www.MarniSMann.com

A born and bred New Yorker, best-selling author Meredith Schorr writes “real” chick lit and women’s contemporary fiction, securing much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. Her fourth novel, How Do You Know? was released on December 2, 2014. www.meredithschorr.com

Best-selling romantic suspense novelist Tess Thompson lives in a suburb of Seattle with her two young daughters and their two naughty cats. When not writing or taking care of her girls, she enjoys the outdoors, exercise, wine, cooking, sometimes cooking while drinking wine, travel, binge-watching quality television and reading curled up on the couch. Her seventh novel, “Duet For Three Hands”, will be released in February, 2015. www.tesswrites.com

Buy links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble