California Dreamin’

In case you’ve been under a rock, trapped beneath a dresser, or in a coma, those of us on the east coast are in the midst of Blizzard Jonah, Blizzard 2016, Snowzilla—whatever you want to call it—it’s snowing out there.

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My Saturday morning spin class was canceled, as were my lunch plans with a friend, and so I am in a Mother-Nature-imposed but not unwelcome hibernation right now. I finished watching the first episode of Shades of Blue and am turning off the television to write this blog as I haven’t posted one since the day Novelista Girl was released a couple of weeks ago.

This time last week, I was in California with some of my favorite author friends/soul sisters for the third annual Beach Babes weekend. The weather wasn’t great, but it didn’t matter. We go there for the comradery and break from real-life, not for the weather. (Although if I’m being honest, sitting on the back porch, walks along the beach, and jogs up the mountain do go better with a sunny, cool breeze than rain, wind, and fog.)

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That being said, I cherish this week away with my fellow beach babes: Eileen Goudge, Josie Brown, Francine LaSala, Samantha Stroh Bailey, Jen Tucker, and Julie Valerie so much. We all write different genres, have very distinct voices, and are at varying levels of experience in our careers and yet we all manage to learn from each other.  We are so very distinct and believe it is our diversity that makes us work so well as a group. I can’t imagine most random groups of seven women thrown together in a house for five days would get along as well as we do. Seriously, have you watched The Bachelor? Granted, we are not all competing for the same guy, but the beauty is we’re not competing at all. I wish for their success with the same ferocity I wish for my own, and I know the feeling is mutual. And, gosh, I think I might cry right now because I miss them so much. We are already counting down the days until next year when we will meet for the fourth annual Beach Babes weekend, and one of them already pointed out that because it’s Leap Year, we’ll have to wait an extra day—darn you, Julie Valerie for actually being good at math!!

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Besides benefiting my writing skills (and I’m positive that the input, honesty, and talent of these ladies is an asset), better ways to promote, and the ups and downs of securing the dream agent and the big New York City publishing deal versus small-press publishing or self-publishing, these are some of the things I learned in California

Making poached eggs is not as difficult as I thought.

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Great things are in my future as I long as I stop thinking so much.

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My friends are quick to jump to my rescue and stop me from acting impulsively when an outsider stabs me in the back.

 

Eileen was right: throwing fancy clothes in my suit case “just in case” was not necessary.

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One very small person can pee A LOT in the course of a day.

Sitting in the back seat of a mini-van is very conducive to car sickness.

Two cups of coffee is all it takes to hang with folks who insist on waking up at an obscenely early hour in the morning despite downing several bottles of wine the night before.

Seth Rogan was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his role in Steve Jobs.

“Ride Like The Wind” by Christopher Cross with nice background vocals by Michael McDonald is a great distraction from fearing death by insane turbulence.

And my favorite of all:

My friends love me just the way I am and I love them right back.

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with a little help from my friends

Confession: Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been in a writing slump. I’ve always prided myself on my immunity to the dreaded “writer’s block.” Creating ideas and finding the words to express them has never been a problem until recently. I’m about half-way through writing the first draft of Novel Girl, a sequel to Blogger Girl, and while I have a concrete vision of where I want things to go, turning the images I see in my head into words on the page has been challenging over the past couple of weeks. I’ve spent numerous evenings after work, sitting at my favorite coffee shop, and after two hours, I’ve considered it a “productive” time if I managed to add a couple of paragraphs. Writing makes me happy; writer’s block makes me sad. In other words, when the writing doesn’t flow, Meri doesn’t glow.

This past weekend, I was fortunate to take part in the second annual “Beach Babes” weekend in California, near Santa Cruz, at the invitation of the lovely, generous and talented author, Eileen Goudge. Also in attendance were Samantha Stroh Bailey, Jen Tucker, Francine LaSala, and Julie Valerie. These ladies were also at the first annual “Beach Babes” weekend. This year, we added another author, Josie Brown, who fit in so well, I can practically remember her in last year’s memories too.

The mornings were cold, but I spent them drinking coffee either at the large kitchen table of the beach house, sprawled across the couch in the living room, or on the back porch with slippers on my feet, a sweatshirt over my pajamas, and a blanket across my lap. The afternoons got warm and I went for a run with the ocean breeze whipping across my face. (Once. I went running once, but it still counts.) The evenings got cool again, but I was kept warm by the wine, the advice and support of my fellow housemates, and the ever-present (and often inappropriate) humor.

Some of the women read from their works-in-progress—I was too shy as a result of my bout with writer’s block—and I was blown away by the talent in the room and how differently each of us crafted our words. I’m embarrassed to admit that while I listened to them, I was equal parts impressed, envious, and fearful that Novel Girl lacked that something something. But my writer friends who have read all of my novels coaxed me out of my inferiority complex and ultimately out of my writer’s slump. The enthusiasm these authors possessed for their books and for their fellow authors was contagious and I caught the bug. Finally. In fact, I used about two hours of the five hour flight home last night to work on Novel Girl and I’m thrilled to announce that my writing mojo is back. Even better, my talented Beach Babes have inspired me to take it to a whole new and improved level.

Sadly, we need to wait an entire year for the third annual Beach babes weekend, but I am so there. SO. THERE.

I hope you enjoy the pictures as well as some of the newsworthy events I’m sharing below:

Book signing/reading – Thursday, February 12th at the Manhasset location of Barnes and Noble. More information here: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4829697

Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win up to 40 books in this amazing Valentine’s Day giveaway: http://www.feelingbeachie.com/valentines-day-massive-book-giveaway-2/

 

view from the back porch

view from the back porch

view from my run

view from my run

Eileen's famous "skinny" salad. SO good.

Eileen’s famous “skinny” salad. SO good.

The Beach Babes!

The Beach Babes!

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Welcome Samantha Stroh Bailey to the Age is Just a Number series. Let’s talk 41!

Welcome, Samantha Stroh Bailey to the Age is Just a Number series. Not only is Sam the author of Finding Lucas, one of my favorite books, and a cofounder of BookBuzz (along with Francine LaSala and me), she is also one of my favorite people and among my best friends. She’s talking 41.

 

I am Forty-One. What? I’m Forty-One?

By

Samantha Stroh Bailey

 

Yes, it is true. I am no longer twenty, thirty, or even thirty-nine. I am now “in my forties,” which shocks me every time I say it. Not because I haven’t lived every one of those years, but because inside my head, I feel twenty-five. Silly, hopeful, and with my future ahead of me. Yet, entering my forties, for some reason, was not as painful as when I turned thirty.

I still remember the night I went to a dance club for my thirtieth. I loved this particular club because they served the most delicious (and free!) sandwiches after midnight. I often embarrassed the people with me by hovering around the kitchen exit at 11:59 p.m., but oh, those sandwiches were worth their mortification.

I was dressed to the nines, as I usually was in those days, in something short, fitted, and showing skin I will never show again. And as the music pumped and drinks were poured, I felt sad and couldn’t figure out why. I had so many wonderful things in my life then — love, family, friends, a teaching career I was still excited about, I was finishing my Master’s degree, and I had almost completed my first novel, something I had on my Things-to-Do-Before-I’m-Thirty bucket list.

I didn’t have any kids yet, and at the time, I didn’t want any. Oh, how that changed. But I digress. I thought thirty meant grown up. No more nights out dancing; no more sleeping in until noon; no more lack of responsibility. My twenties were over. A new age bracket. A new decade. But the same old me who was scared at how fast time had zipped by.

But when the clock struck twelve, I looked around, wiped my sweaty face, and smiled. Always a goal-setter, at thirty, I had accomplished so much that I had wanted to, and everything else was still attainable. Thirty wasn’t old. I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do. And I realized that my thirties was going to be a time when I could do anything I wanted. And I did.

I had two kids, who are the light of my life, and I was published for the first time. A dream I had held for so long. I wrote four more novels, one of which I put out into the world, and many more that I hopefully will. I started my own writing/editing business, which was something I’d imagined but never thought would actually happen. I finally had enough money to buy a house, albeit a tiny one, and I had my own car. Yes, these were all grown-up things, but I also kept my love of life, coffee-fueled energy, and enough naiveté left to be surprised by so many things.

Turning thirty and then forty taught me two very important lessons. The first is that I really have achieved so many of the things I have wanted to, and though not all of my years have been easy, I have gotten through them stronger. The second is that time ticks forward despite our wish to stop it or slow it down. We can’t. So, now eleven years after my thirtieth birthday, I want a hundred more years to spend time with everyone I love and accomplish the new items on my bucket list. But this will likely not happen. So, aging has taught me to appreciate every minute, every second, really, and go after what I want because it is not what age you are that matters. It is what you do with the time you have.

Samantha Stroh Bailey is an author, editor, and journalist. Her published works include the novel, Finding Lucas, and she is the co-editor of the fiction anthology, A Kind of Mad Courage, to which she contributed the short story, Hide and Seek. She is also the co-founder of BookBuzz, a live author/reader event held in New York City and Toronto. When not writing and editing, she can usually be found curled up on her couch devouring a book or watching television with a bag of chips in her hand.

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Connect with Sam!

Website

Blog

Twitter

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Coming soon:

How Do You Know? – December 2nd. 

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

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 towards 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.

 

Blog Roll – My Writing Process

I’ve been tagged by Samantha Stroh Bailey, author of the fabulously fun novel, Finding Lucas, co-founder of the equally fun and fabulous BookBuzz author/reader mix and mingle, and one of my closest friends and confidants to participate in the Blog Roll – Writing Process. In the post below, I have answered questions regarding my writing process and at the end of the post, I have tagged three authors to answer the questions too and tag three more authors and so on and so on and so on.

Question: What am I working on?

I currently have two works-in-progress. The first is almost ready for submission to my publisher and is about a thirty-nine year old woman who is struggling with the impending end of her thirties having not reached life milestones like marriage and children typically reached at an earlier age. I hope my publisher, Booktrope, will release this novel in late 2014. The second is a sequel to my third novel, Blogger Girl. It is twenty-nine pages and counting!

Question: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My books are inspired by real life and the characters I create are, sorry to possibly overuse this word but “real.” They do not have dream jobs, closets full of designer clothes, regular invitations to hot restaurant openings and parties, and boyfriends with perfectly chiseled bodies. But they are not typically underdogs either. They have a lot going for them. They are intelligent, attractive, down-to-earth women who struggle with (here comes that word again) “real” problems. They do not always act with the best judgment and are often misguided. They feel emotions that women typically do not like to admit experiencing, like insecurity, jealousy, bitterness etc. and, yes, sometimes they drink too much. Some readers have complained that my characters can be whiny and insecure at times but others (most people) applaud them for letting their “flaw flag” fly. Show me a woman who has never whined or experienced insecurity and I’ll flash you my boobs. Seriously! I dare you.

Question: Why do I write what I do?

I write real women’s fiction with humor because it comes naturally to me, probably because I’m a real woman who happens to be quite funny. I’ve made many mistakes myself and I want to speak for women like me to let them know they are not alone. Life can be very challenging sometimes, but even in the most trying of times, someone will make a joke, spill something, trip on the sidewalk etc. Laughter lightens even the darkest moods, even if only temporarily.

Question: How does my writing process work?

I work a full time job and I must make an effort to carve out time each week for writing. Whenever I do not have plans after work, I go straight to my favorite writing place—The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf—where I write for a couple of hours. Additionally, I use most of my lunch hours to do some light writing, like blog posts. I also try to spend at least one afternoon of every weekend writing. So far, this routine has enabled me to release approximately one novel a year.

Question: And the other part of this question, how does my writing process not work?

What doesn’t work is comparing myself to authors who write more quickly and release multiple books a year. Some of these authors do not work full time jobs, but some of them do and yet manage to write more quickly. That is them and this is me and it’s okay. I try to keep my life as balanced as possible, which means having a social life, an on-again/off-again love life (the “off” part is not by choice), working out, and simply zoning out in front of the television. Messing with the balance I strive so hard to maintain does not work for me.

Who’s next?

I am tagging the following wonderful authors below:

Mary Rowan, author of Leaving the Beach, a gritty story about illusion, reality, and the odd ways that music can blur the lines between the two.

Patricia Mann, author of compelling and thought provoking Is This All There Is. Quote from one reader, “This book, quite simply, was stunning.”

Sheryn MacMunn –bestselling author of Finding Out, a story of love found and lost, true friendship, and how the human spirit endures.

A Kind of Mad Courage

I have a very special relationship with my mother – anyone who has followed my blog knows this, as not only have I dedicated a post to her recently, she was once a guest blogger. The mother/child relationship is such a special one, which is why I am so pleased to share this special anthology written by so many wonderful authors, including some great friends of mine. Even more wonderful is that all of the proceeds from sales of this anthology go to Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation:

A KIND OF MAD COURAGE
Nineteen authors from around the world were given six weeks or less to produce “a story involving a mother somehow.” The result is a gorgeously eclectic collection of tales that will make you laugh, cry, and truly appreciate the “mad courage” of motherhood. Laura Chapman, Francine LaSala, Nikki Mahood, Heather McCoubrey, and Karen E. Martin each present unique takes on impending motherhood, while Sheryn MacMunn, kc wilder, and Julie Valerie portray the end of the journey. Samantha Stroh Bailey, Louise Wise, and Maria Schulz show the pride and peril of dealing with teenage daughters, while Elke Feuer, Diana Shafter Gliedman, and Donna Valenti demonstrate that a mother’s work is never done, even under the craziest of circumstances. Regina-Cash Clark, Wendy Janes, and Monique McDonell explore the impact on lives in which mothers go “missing,” while Carey Heywood and Jen Tucker warm your heart and tear it out, respectively.

Samantha Stroh Bailey – “Hide and Seek” * Regina Cash-Clark – “Autumn’s Eyes” * Laura Chapman – “Oh Baby” * Elke Feuer – “The Sacrifice” * Diana Gliedman – “Love in the Time of Cannibals” * Carey Heywood – “A Poem for Mommy” * Wendy Janes – “Verity” * Francine LaSala – “Monkey Bread” * Sheryn MacMunn – “Last Words” * Nikki Mahood – “This Year’s Love” * Karen E. Martin – “Two Thousand Steps” * Heather McCoubrey – “Emily’s Promise” * Monique McDonell – “A Tale of Two Mothers” * Maria Schulz – “Like a Boomerang” * Jen Tucker – “Heartstrings” * Donna Valenti – “In the Nick of Time” * Julie Valerie – “LLL” * k.c. wilder – “Lady in Red” * Louise Wise – “Becky’s Mum”

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ABOUT THE EDITORS
Francine LaSala and Samantha Stroh Bailey have more than 40 years of editorial experience between them. Francine is a novelist, ghostwriter, and book publishing veteran who’s edited New York Times bestselling fiction and nonfiction. Samantha is a former grammar and writing instructor, including at the University of Toronto, and a prolific journalist. She has a Master of Education and has edited countless manuscripts for clients all over the world. They have also “team-edited” numerous works of fiction, each lending their singular editorial strengths to create perfect and polished prose for their clients. The author of Finding Lucas, Samantha (http://perfectpencommunications.com/) is based in Toronto, while Francine (francinelasalaproductions.wordpress.com), author of Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, the Gold Tooth and Everything, is based in New York.

THE STORIES

Hide and Seek – Samantha Stroh Bailey
Claire’s teenage daughter, Emily, goes missing on a birthday cruise, and Claire can only fear the worst from the lately rebellious teen…

Autumn’s Eyes – Regina Cash-Clark
June’s abandonment of three of four of her children, told in alternating points of view between June, and her oldest daughter, Edwina.

Oh Baby – Laura Chapman
Rocker Tuck and new wife Autumn return from Chapman’s “Ten Drummers Drumming” (Merry & Bright), now with a baby on the way.

The Sacrifice – Elke Feuer
Melissa learns there isn’t anything she won’t do to protect her children from the abuse and neglect of her alcoholic husband Roger…

Love in the Time of Cannibals – Diana Shafter Gliedman
Could a zombie apocalypse finally give rudderless Jessica the direction she needs–and the connection she craves? It will if her mother has anything to say about it.

A Poem for Mommy – Carey Heywood
In helping his young daughter craft a poem for Mother’s Day, a father beautifully recounts the story of the romance with her mother that led to them becoming a family.

Verity – Wendy Janes
After an accident means she’ll no longer be able to live on her own, septuagenarian Susan may need to divulge a secret she’s been keeping from Verity all her life.

Monkey Bread – Francine LaSala
Amy and Deck (Rita Hayworth’s Shoes) learn more about having babies than they ever wanted to know at a madcap family dinner celebrating President’s Day.

Last Words – Sheryn MacMunn
The bond shared between Ruth (Finding Out) and her mother, Eliza, is revealed, from the time of Ruth’s childhood before the War to the death of Eliza.

This Year’s Love – Nikki Mahood
Fallon and Abner are married, mortgaged, and expecting a baby any minute in this fun, heartfelt mini-sequel to Fallen.

Two Thousand Steps – Karen E. Martin
With the unsolicited help of a fairy friend from their childhood, two grown sisters – one with kids, one without – each get to walk a mile in the other’s shoes…

Emily’s Promise – Heather McCoubrey
Even though pregnant Emily’s life is shattered by Jason’s infidelity the night before her wedding, she’s determined to give her baby the best life possible.

A Tale of Two Mothers – Monique McDonell
How do you deal with the mother who abandoned you when she shows up out of the blue – and what does it mean for the woman who raised you? Chloe’s about to find out.

Like a Boomerang – Maria Schulz
Tess has been stressing out her mother, Charlotte, since the day she was born. But when disaster strikes during a campus Halloween party, it could prove the worst stress yet…

Heartstrings – Jen Tucker
Young widow Vicki’s no stranger to loss–and guilt, as another mother’s loss helped her daughter live. Will meeting up help them the two mothers heal? Or make matters worse?

In the Nick of Time – Donna Valenti
Iris may be dead but her insistence on looking after her children is far from buried. Will her husband Nick get it together? Or will Iris have to move Heaven and Earth to make him?

LLL – Julie Valerie
In this hilarious yet heartwarming story, words of wisdom from the game of Scrabble unite a daughter with her aging mother, a former Scrabble champion whose mental faculties are quickly fading.

Lady in Red – k.c. wilder
Her dying “Gran” is the only mother she’s ever known. But only when Gran is gone does a woman discover the woman her grandmother really was, and the secrets she hid.

Becky’s Mum – Louise Wise
Straight-A student Becky’s being pulled off the straight-and-narrow by her derelict boyfriend Darren. Will her mother’s wisdom sink in before it’s too late?

Buy links:

 

Valentine’s Day ebook Super Sale!

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We’re spreading the love this Valentine’s day. Ten fabulous (and mostly chick-lit) authors have teamed up to offer you an amazing ebook promo. See below to download FREE or hugely discounted bestselling books. Valentine’s Day only.

It’s Got to Be Perfect– FREE – today only!

#1 Amazon Bestseller (Humour)
#1 Amazon Hot New Releases

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“What Stays in Vegas is a quirky, fun, chick lit novel written by someone who has seen it all firsthand in the corporate world – a self-professed “worst best secretary you’ll ever have the pleasure of reluctantly doing business with.” – Chick-Lit Books.com

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Finding Lucas – Today only $0.99!

‘…extremely well written and I really enjoyed the comedic aspect of it. I hated having to put the book down and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.’ — Marlene Engel, Chick Lit Central

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Register below to be the first to hear about chick-lit promos and new releases!

This is NOT California

It’s cold out there!

We are in the crux of Polar Vortex 2 and it is difficult to believe that I was in sunny California only three days ago.

Vanilla Kiss Latte from Cosi

Vanilla Kiss Latte from Cosi

Yes, I was lucky enough to be invited to join five other authors (Eileen Goudge, Julie Valerie, Jen Tucker, Samantha Stroh Bailey and Francine LaSala) on a beach vacation in Watsonville, California over MLK Junior weekend. To think I almost declined the invitation. Yeah, when the subject first came up last June, I was completely stressed out, and the idea of planning a vacation for seven months down the road was too overwhelming. Leave it to me to get stressed out over planning a vacation where the sole purpose is to de-stress! When the topic was revisited later in the year, I welcomed the opportunity to escape New York City and my own troubles for a few days and now, as I sit in Cosi drinking my Vanilla Kiss Latte (see above photo), I am visualizing myself on the back porch of the beach house looking at the Pacific Ocean right across the street.

Is that gorgeous or what?

Is that gorgeous or what?

The trip started out in typical “Meri” fashion—I was in such a hurry to meet my friend and fellow “beach babe” Francine LaSala at the airport bar that after purchasing a water bottle and a bag of pistachio nuts for the flight, I ran out and left my phone in the store. (I blame my friend Dee for texting me about a possible trip to Las Vegas while I was paying for my items, but it is my fault alone for responding immediately rather than waiting until I could focus properly. I don’t multitask well.) By some stroke of good luck, a man found me in the bar and advised that the clerk was holding my phone. I chugged my beer and ran back to get it. (Okay, I didn’t really chug the beer first.) After getting sufficiently buzzed off of my bottle of Sam Adams Seasonal (yes, I’ve turned into a serious lightweight), I really had to use the bathroom but the flight was boarding and I feared it would leave without me. Francine assured me I had plenty of time and so I ran to the bathroom and back to the gate as fast as I could (I probably looked like a huge dork in the process) and she was right; I had plenty of time. As I made my way to my aisle seat in row 15, a man called out, “Did someone lose her lady hat?” I turned around knowing it was my “lady” hat to which he was referring. In my tipsy state, I yelled, “It’s mine!” and the hat was subsequently passed through the line of people behind me until it was safely back in my hands. I have no idea how I lost it in the first place but I’m so used to losing things or leaving items behind that it doesn’t faze me. I’m just glad I got it back because it is a super cute hat and while I didn’t need to wear it in California, I cannot leave the house without a winter hat this week in New York!

Anyway, that is how my vacation began. From that moment on, it was smooth sailing. The flight there was comfortable and turbulence-free, and there was no one in the middle seat of my row which is always a good thing. I even managed to write a couple of pages of my fourth novel, although I only did it because when I got up to go to the bathroom, I saw that Francine had her laptop turned on and assumed she was writing. I felt guilty for not taking advantage of the free time to write and so I put away my Kindle (was reading Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells –awesome book) and got to work. My only issue during the flight was how badly my ears hurt during our descent to San Jose airport. I’ve been having sinus/congestion issues since Thanksgiving and correctly predicted that flying would put unwelcome pressure on my ears. They were still popping the next morning!

What is there to say about the weekend itself? Are you curious what writers talk about when we get together? In no particular order, it is this 1) writing, 2) sex, 3) marketing, 4) sex, 5) food, 6) sex, 7) reviews, 8) sex, 9) children and 10) sex.

I would like to say that we woke up at a leisurely hour, but this is not true for me as I was woken up at the ass crack of dawn by the voices and laughter of my fellow housemates. Fortunately, it came as no shock as I already knew these ladies were early risers based on the number of tweets I wake to every morning before 7 a.m. I got used to it eventually and it wasn’t as if I needed a good night’s sleep to participate in the weekends lazy festivities. We spent mornings talking over coffee or tea on the back porch or sitting around the large kitchen table. I managed to go for a run on the last morning as well.  Some of us got writing done (not me…) and Julie Valerie gave some lessons in social networking. She’s a master!  She even shot a trailer for the box set I am releasing of all three of my books next month. (More information regarding the set as well as the trailer will follow in a separate post.) Afternoons were spent taking walks on the beach or more laziness on the back porch. During the evenings we drove into Santa Cruz and Capitola-by-the-Sea where we walked around and ate dinner. (There were six of us in one car and so poor Sam had to sit between Julie Valerie’s legs and duck whenever we drove past a police officer. That’s what she gets for being so adorably petite.) And nights were spent drinking wine, laughing, sharing writing/marketing advice and swapping stories until one by one, we all said “goodnight”. I shared a room with Sam and we spent our last waking minutes talking about the books we loved and venting about bad reviews.

Beach babes at dinner at Laili Restaurant in Santa Cruz

Beach babes at dinner at Laili Restaurant in Santa Cruz

Tears were shed when we all said goodbye. Jen was the first to leave early Sunday morning and I was glad I gave her a big hug on Saturday night because while she promised to wake us up the next morning, I had a feeling she would let us sleep instead. On Sunday evening, Francine, Julie and I shared a cab to the airport. Julie’s flight left first, but Francine and I had several hours to waste (or get wasted) in the airport. We were so early that there was no representative from Jet Blue available to check my bag and we had to wait an hour and a half. Once that was taken care of, we made our way to a bar at the airport. Funny how things come full circle like that, although this time, I didn’t lose my phone or my “lady hat.” Once again, there was no one sitting next to me on the flight home and I spent most of it with my head on the tray table trying to get some sleep as it was a redeye flight and I was still tired from the three hour time difference and waking up so darn early! The first thing I did when I got home was crawl under my covers and sleep for five hours.

And that, in a long summation, was my trip to California! What fun it was re-living that wonderful beach vacation while looking at the snow in frigid New York City (see photo below)! Before I get back to the real world, I would like to extend gratitude to each of the beach babes as follows:

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Eileen – thank you for inviting me to join you on this mini-holiday and for your generosity and hospitality. Thank you for your humor. You are the only New York Times bestselling author I have ever spent significant time with and I am so happy to experience first-hand how genuine and laid back you are. And thank you for your dating advice and sharing your experiences with me. I won’t settle – I promise!

Julie Valerie – Thank you for sharing such helpful information regarding marketing and social media. Thank you for being so uniquely funny and creative and slickly finding out which scarf Eileen preferred! Thanks for volunteering to have Sam sit on your lap whenever we got in the car! Finally, I promise I won’t share “the picture.”

Jen – thanks for allowing me to vent my concerns/fears about my best friend’s illness and for listening to me talk about my love life. Thanks for making me giggle when you involuntarily raised your eyebrows during your “exercises.” You are adorable and I love you so very much!

Francine – Thank you for being hilarious and never failing to make me laugh. Thanks for the company of your coolness, for not getting angry when I bought the same jacket (“We never hang out!”), for assuring me that people hating Jane is actually a good thing and for being the best airport drinking buddy a girl could ask for. You and your books are NEVER a waste of time!

Sam – Thank you for always “getting” me and therefore making me feel that I am not alone in my neurosis. Thank you for your hugs. Thanks for making me laugh always but making it safe for me to cry as well and thanks for not thinking I am a bitch for some of the things that come out of my mouth. Thanks for letting me have the full sized bed and for being just as sloppy as me.

silly back seat selfie!

silly back seat selfie!

Having A Three-Way…Indie Style!

I have some amazing friends and when we get together, we can talk Ad Nauseam about everything from men to annoying family members to sports to current events (not that often, admittedly) to pop culture and more. But since most of my friends are not writers, I try to keep my “author talk” to a minimum to avoid observing their eyes roll to the back of their heads. That’s one of the many reasons I adore having writing buddies. Recently, I had a virtual sit-down with two of my author besties, Francine LaSala (The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything) and Samantha Stroh Bailey (Finding Lucas) to talk about marketing books, indie style. So, today I’ll share a snippet of that conversation. As always, it was peppered with spunk since we’re such spunky chicks!

Francine: So you guys know about this big book birthday blog tour bash going on this week, right?

Meredith (smirks): Birthday bash? Whatever do you mean?

Sam (cocks head, playfully): Uh, no. Please tell us more.

Francine (winks): Well, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything is turning 1 this week, so it’s going on sale for 99 cents for one week only. While it’s on sale, I’ll be visiting different blogs for interviews, guest posts, that kind of thing. But I’m not the only one with something going on this week. Am I, Meri?

Meredith: Well, now that you mention it, I am doing a blog tour the next couple of weeks to promote Blogger Girl which is about, you guessed it, a book blogger. During the three week tour, reviews of Blogger Girl will be posted on some awesome blogs, along with  guest posts and interviews. Insert shameless self-promotion here: Blogger Girl will be on tour with CLP Blog Tours from 11/4-25.

Francine: Oh, did I forget the dates (and the shameless self-promotion) for mine? Sorry! My sale started 11/1 and goes through Thursday 11/7… Which reminds me… Sam? Don’t you have something to share?

Sam (laughs): Well, as you both know, I love promoting with other authors, and I’ve done quite a few group promotions. Along with the two of you, co-founding BookBuzz has probably been the most exciting. Creating an interactive author/reader event where everyone can meet and mingle, have a drink and chat about writing and books is such a fantastic way to both market and reach out to readers. And timing is everything, right? Because there will be a BookBuzz in Toronto on Thursday night, November 7, at The Crest at 794 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, from 7pm to 9pm. Here’s the website for all of the info! http://bookbuzz2013.wordpress.com/. I had the great pleasure of organizing this one with author Lydia Laceby and blogger Kaley Stewart.

Francine: Ooooh, sounds like fun! I’d love to be there!

Meredith (rolls eyes and smiles): You are going to be there. And me, too.

Francine (grins stupidly): Right.

Sam (beams): It’s going to be great! I hope we get to do more of these. Such a fun way to get “out there” with our books and touch readers.

Meredith: I know, Sam. It’s so fun! So what are some of the other ways you guys have been able to get “out there” with your books – and what are the challenges you’re facing? For me, with so many quality and affordable books available, I find getting people to click on my books to be extremely challenging. I make a lot of effort to get my books in the spotlight, but I do find that a large population of chick lit readers are still more likely to pay for a big name than to give indie authors, meaning both authors who self-publish as well as those who are published by small, independent presses, a chance, even at a lower price.

Sam: You’re right, Meri. I think marketing is challenging for any author, be they traditionally or indie published. For me, the hardest part was navigating social media. I didn’t even have a Facebook page until I published Finding Lucas! Learning how to use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, well, Pinterest is still a mystery to me, has been both incredible and scary. But, now that I’m using them, I find that I’m quite addicted. I also think it’s hard to gain exposure, but the reader/blogger/author community is so supportive, and I’m grateful to them.

Meredith: You can say that again. During the pre-release of Blogger Girl, I celebrated all things “blogging” by inviting guest bloggers to post on my website for a month long celebration.  As a result, there was already a lot of buzz about the book by the time it was officially launched. Additionally, while I always offer free copies of my books to bloggers in exchange for reviews, as well as participate in an organized blog tour, the blogging angle also helped get my foot in the door with popular beauty, fashion and lifestyle bloggers, who also agreed to promote Blogger Girl on their websites. Regardless of what avenue of publishing an author takes, marketing is pivotal.

All at once: Thank God for bloggers!

Francine: I’m not sure being “indie” is the big challenge for me. Even if I had a huge marketing budget and push behind me, I do find getting the word out about my books to be an awkward, embarrassing situation. Silly, I know, but I have a tendency to be shy. To be a “behind-the-scenes” kind of person. Which is why I enjoy writing. Marketing puts you right in the spotlight. And I’m old. Bright light is not as flattering as it may have once been. 🙂

Sam: Old? You’re only two years older than me! There are definitely so many more options for marketing now than ever before.

Meredith: Creativity is key.

Francine: Absolutely. As you guys know, I am a book publishing veteran, and I can tell you it’s amazing how formulaic print book marketing can be. This is because in traditional print publishing, if a book doesn’t take off right out of the gate, the remainder table is the fate! With ebooks, a book takes off when it does. There isn’t the same pressure to move those units quickly to make room in the warehouse for next season’s titles. The great thing is that an ebook can take time to grow. To that effect, I can “re-launch” The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything with this big birthday bash. I’m hoping this push will bring me more readers, more reviews, and also start building momentum for the books I plan to publish next year. I still feel like such a babe in the woods over all of this, though.

Meredith: We learn as we go. If I can give any new author starting out advice on how to launch an indie book, I’d say start getting reviews of your book as early as possible. With my first two novels, I didn’t start reaching out to bloggers for reviews until right before the book was being released. With Blogger Girl, I sent out ARCs over a month before the official launch and so by the time the book was published, I already had several reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It really made a difference as far as sales right out of the gate. I also urge you not to be stingy with offering free books. In addition to book bloggers, offer free copies of your book to readers in your target audience in exchange for a review. From my experience, readers are honored to be asked and if they like your book, they are extremely vocal about recommending it to their friends.

Francine: I agree. I also think that quality is key. It’s so important not to cheap out on your cover design or blurb. People can spot “homemade” a mile away. While that kind of thing can be charming for Pinterest, you want your book to be full-on-pro if you want readers to take you seriously. Also: Have your book edited. It’s heart-breaking to read bad reviews of books that are criticized not for plot points or characters, but for being sloppy. If you want to market your product as a quality product, produce a quality product!

Sam: Absolutely! Publishing a book is expensive, no doubt. But if being a professional author is what you really want to do, it is crucial to have the best book you can on the market. Hiring a professional editor, cover designer and formatter, if you need one, are some ways to create the most professional product. Here’s where I can do a bit of a shameless promo plug…

Francine: Thanks for taking one for the team, Sam!

Sam: By doing team edits on clients’ manuscripts, Francine and I have found it’s been fantastic to have more than one set of eyes on a story. I love working with you…

Francine: And I, you!

Sam: And it gives me great pleasure when we hand over the final product and our authors are so happy with our work.

Francine: Don’t forget that Meredith also does manuscript evaluations that are incredibly spot on.

Sam: So true. Her thorough and eagle-eyed beta read on my new novel really helped so much.

Meredith: Aw, thanks.

Francine: Seriously. Not blowing sunshine up your butt, Meri. When I read your reviews, I’m amazed at how much insight you have into the books you read–how much you care.

[Virtual group hug.]

Sam: Speaking of caring, I have to say the writer support groups I’ve found in the virtual world have changed my life. My friends and family are very proud of me, but it can be boring to listen to me prattle on about plot lines, sales, and promotions. Talking to and working with other authors who know exactly what my day is like has meant the world to me.

Meredith: Like right now!

Francine: True, dat. While we are all doing this to promote our various efforts, I have learned so much just speaking with you guys today.

Sam: I’ve learned I want to use “True, dat” in a sentence. But seriously, I hope we’ve been able to share more with readers than just the details of our various promotions.

Francine: Do you think the readers remember? Let’s remind them again!

For information on the Birthday Bash for The Girl the Gold Tooth & Everything, please click here.

For more information about the blog tour for Blogger Girl, click here.

For more information about BookBuzz Toronto, click here.

Meredith: See you guys next week at BookBuzz!

Francine: Looking forward to it!

Sam: I can’t wait to welcome you both to my city!

~~~~~~~

Connect with Francine, Samantha, and me by clicking on the links below. Have a great day, everyone!

 Author Photo_Francine LaSala

Find Francine LaSala online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/francinelasala

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Francine-LaSala-Author/223109337705912

Blog: http://clippingsintheshed.wordpress.com/

Creative Services website: https://francinelasalaproductions.wordpress.com/

Author website: www.francinelasala.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4679863.Francine_LaSala

The “Joy Jar” Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/318621974904272/

Buy The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything JUST 99 CENTS THIS WEEK!: viewBook.at/B009NF9VQ2

Girl_Cover (1)

Buy Rita Hayworth’s Shoes: viewBook.at/B007ZHVB1I

 

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Find Meredith Schorr online:

 Twitter: @meredithschorr

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/MeredithSchorrAuthor

Website/Blog: meredithschorr.com

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4355520.Meredith_Schorr

 

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/meredithgschorr

Buy Blogger Girl:

BG_front_cover_large

http://www.amazon.com/Blogger-Girl-ebook/dp/B00EDTLDSW/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375994653&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=blogger+girl+meredith+schorr

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blogger-Girl-ebook/dp/B00EDTLDSW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1376945948&sr=1-1&keywords=blogger+girl

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blogger-girl-meredith-schorr/1116358028?ean=2940148503125

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blogger-girl/id686654939?mt=11

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Find Samantha Stroh Bailey online:

samheadshotauthorcentral 

Blog http://samanthastrohbailey.blogspot.ca/

 

Twitter https://twitter.com/perfectpen

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samantha-Stroh-Bailey/420736011289684

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832614.Samantha_Stroh_Bailey

 

Business website: http://perfectpencommunications.com/

 

Buy Finding Lucas

FLNov22Bigpaperback

 

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lucas-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1383158769&sr=1-1&keywords=finding+lucas

 

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Lucas-Samantha-Stroh-Bailey-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383158822&sr=8-1&keywords=finding+lucas

 

KOBO http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/Finding-Lucas/-wfpLcDV6keHZR-T80qCUg

United Authors of Chick Lit!

final promo art US

Fasten your seatbelts and put your tray tables in the upright and locked position. Over the next few days, some of your favorite Chick Lit characters will be jetting across the Atlantic to visit with fictional friends on the other side of the pond.

 

The event kicks off on Monday, Oct. 21.

 

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, read about Stella from Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes and Chloe from Lying to Meet You as they travel across the Atlantic to visit each other.

 

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, it’s time to discover what happens when Emma from The Pollyanna Plan and Kim from Blogger Girl meet.

 

On Thursday, Oct. 24, Izzy from Izzy’s Cold Feet and Jamie from Finding Lucas will be taking you on a trip alongside their characters.

 

And on Friday, Oct. 25, Kate from Sealed with a Kiss and Pilar from In Need of Therapy will be chatting about their overseas experiences.

 

Here’s a little sneak peek at the fun, frothy books and sassy gals featured in our international promo, all of which are priced at $3.99 or less:

 

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey – Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind? Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lucas-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A/ Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Lucas-Samantha-Stroh-Bailey-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A and Kobo http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/books/Finding-Lucas/-wfpLcDV6keHZR-T80qCUg

In Need of Therapy by Tracie BanisterHandling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself? Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y and B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-need-of-therapy-tracie-banister/1112265620?ean=2940015006889

Lying to Meet You by Anna Garner – Overworked New York fashion girl Chloe Lane has no time for a real relationship, but when her childhood pal asks her to play the part of his girlfriend in order to test a theory, she decides to go for it. The lies start piling up and things start getting crazy. Will Chloe be able to keep it together? Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Lying-to-Meet-You-ebook/dp/B00EZR5M9I Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lying-to-Meet-You-ebook/dp/B00EZR5M9I and B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lying-to-meet-you-anna-garner/1116838753?ean=2940148616924

Sealed with a Kiss by Rachael Lucas – Kate breathes a sigh of relief when she’s dumped at her best friend’s wedding. When she takes a job on the island of Auchenmor, she’s determined to have a year off men, but that’s before she rescues Flora the seal pup with the help of Roddy, her mysterious new boss… Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Sealed-with-a-Kiss-ebook/dp/B00BE9EUW0/ and Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sealed-with-a-Kiss-ebook/dp/B00BE9EUW0/ 

 

The Pollyanna Plan by Talli RolandEmma Beckett has always looked down on ‘the glass is half full’ optimists. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé, Emma makes a radical decision: from here on in, she’ll attempt to see the upside, no matter how dire the situation. Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea? Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/The-Pollyanna-Plan-Talli-Roland-ebook/dp/B00AFAW2GK and Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Pollyanna-Plan-Talli-Roland-ebook/dp/B00AFAW2GK

 

Blogger Girl by Meredith SchorrKimberly Long has two passions: her successful chick lit blog and Nicholas, her handsome colleague down the hall. But when her high school nemesis pops onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book and eyes for Nicholas, Kim has to make some quick revisions to her own life story. Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Blogger-Girl-ebook/dp/B00EDTLDSW Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blogger-Girl-ebook/dp/B00EDTLDSW B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blogger-girl-meredith-schorr/1116358028?ean=2940148503125 and Apple iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blogger-girl/id686654939?mt=11

 

Izzy’s Cold Feet by Sarah Louise Smith – Izzy is engaged to Greg, who is everything a girl could want. The trouble is – all she can think about is the men she loved before she met him. In the week leading up to her wedding day, Izzy is forced to ask herself who she loves the most. And, given the choice, who would she want to spend her life with? Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Izzys-Cold-Sarah-Louise-Smith/dp/1909841005/

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Izzys-Cold-Sarah-Louise-Smith/dp/1909841005/ B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/izzys-cold-feet-sarah-louise-smith/1116263752 and UK Nook http://uk.nook.com/ebooks/izzys-cold-feet-by-sarah-louise-smith/2940045154499

 

Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes by Sue Watson – TV Producer Stella is over worked, over weight and under fire battling to balance family, career and those weighing scales. In the past she’s always found comfort at the bottom of her mixing bowl but now the most delicious lemon sponge with zesty frosting has no effect. However, life is about to get even tougher… and Stella has to face some truths about herself, her life and her future. Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Girls-Fairy-Cakes-ebook/dp/B005L92JB8 and Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fat-Girls-Fairy-Cakes-Watson-ebook/dp/B005L92JB8

 

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

 

Tuesday, Oct. 22

Stella will be on Anna Garner’s blog http://libby-mercer.blogspot.com/ and Chloe will be on Sue Watson’s blog http://fatgirlsandfairycakes.blogspot.com/

 

Wednesday, Oct. 23

Emma will be on Meredith Schorr’s blog https://meredithschorr.com/blog/ and Kim will be on Talli Roland’s blog http://talliroland.blogspot.com/

 

Thursday, Oct. 24

Izzy will be on Samantha Stroh Bailey’s blog http://samanthastrohbailey.blogspot.ca/ and Jamie will be on Sarah Louise Smith’s blog http://sarahlouisesmith.com/

 

Friday, Oct. 25

Kate will be on Tracie Banister’s blog http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/ and Pilar will be on Rachael Lucas’s blog http://rachaellucas.com/blog/

 

The Celebration of Bloggers Tour welcomes Samantha Stroh Bailey!

I’m thrilled to invite Samantha Stroh Bailey to my blog today as part of the Celebration of Bloggers Tour.  Not only is Samantha one of my favorite authors – Finding Lucas – was at the top of my favorite books of 2012 and is up there on my list of favorite chick lit books ever – but she is one of my dearest friends.  I remember when I saw the 5 star rating she left on Goodreads for Just Friends with Benefits. I was so excited since I had been following the Chick Lit Plus blog tour for Finding Lucas and knew all about Samantha. I was flattered that she chose to read Just Friend with Benefits without knowing me and that she loved it.  I immediately read Finding Lucas, devoured it (as mentioned above) and then Sam and I connected and the rest is, as they say, “history.”  (I also learned that no one who knows her personally calls her “Samantha” unless they are angry with her.)  Anyway, although Sam has a blog on her website, she is not a “blogger” per se, but as you will see in her post below, she has the utmost admiration for book bloggers and so I invited her to be part of my tour to talk about it.  Please read her touching post below and then do yourself a favor and download Finding Lucas. You won’t regret it!

 

 

ODE TO BLOGGERS

 

I met Meredith through Twitter after reading her first novel, Just Friends With Benefits. I was addicted to the story, and when I finished it with a huge smile on my face, I knew I had to say something to her. But I was a bit nervous to reach out to an author I didn’t know (oh, how things have changed!), but I wanted her to know how much I loved the book. A deep, instant friendship was formed. When she let me read Blogger Girl, I was so excited and stayed up late way too many nights tearing through the pages to get to the heart-pounding ending. I am truly honored to be included in this celebration of bloggers!

Before I self-published Finding Lucas in April of 2012, I spent a good many hours on book blogs. I loved reading the reviews, author news and hearing about the new releases. The sites were so well-organized, eye-catching and constantly updated. At the time, I had no clue that these bloggers make no money at all. They blog simply for the love of books and to help promote the authors they adore.

When it was my time to contact bloggers to review Finding Lucas, my hands shook, my mouth went dry and my stomach jumped. Who was I to ask these bloggers, who reviewed well-known and best-selling authors, to look at my book? Well, I was amazed by their kindness, warmth and willingness to review Finding Lucas. Not only that, but I have formed some great friendships with bloggers through shared histories, favorite films and television and our obsession for books.

There are so many bloggers I want to mention, but it would take me pages, and I’m sure you don’t want to stick around for that. So, I want to give a shout out to a few who helped me so much in the beginning of my publishing journey. The first blog I wanted to contact was Chick Lit Central because it’s so professional, fun and popular. Melissa Amster and I immediately clicked, and I even though I’ve never met her in person (I will!), she has become a close friend. She sent me a huge list of other bloggers to contact, answered my inane questions and truly held my hand. She is a gem, and because of her and Chick Lit Central, chick lit continues to thrive.

Samantha March of Chick Lit Plus is amazing. We all call her Superwoman because she has a fulltime job, manages the blog, writes, runs a small press and has been planning a wedding with all of that. She answers emails in seconds and is so warm, lovely and easy to talk to. I did my first ever book tour with Chick Lit Plus, and I’d love to do one for every book I publish.

A newer blogger who has been an endless support to me is Marlene Roberts Engel from Book Mama. She shouts from the rooftops how much she loved Finding Lucas, and I cannot thank her enough. Now the sister blog to Chick Lit Central, Book Mama offers fantastic reviews and giveaways. Chick Lit Central and Book Mama together will make even the most skeptical reader pick up a pastel colored book.

And if you don’t know Julie Valerie of Chick Lit Chit Chat, you should. She is brilliant, hilarious and generous, and her posts and reviews are unbelievably good. When seven authors and I hosted Book Buzz 2013 in NYC this past May, Julie stood behind a table the entire night selling our books and making us all look good. She is one of my favorite people in the world.

There really are a ton of bloggers I can gush about, like Lydia Laceby from Novel Escapes, Kaley Stewart from Books Etc, Laura Chapman of Change the Word, Kathleen Higgins Anderson of Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Josie Thomas from Ebook Addict, Crystal Serowka of The Indie Bookshelf, Sabrina Kate-Eryou and the incredible founder of The Chick Lit Goddesses, Isabella Louise Anderson. I can go on and on. Are you still reading?

As a writer, I am often asked to review books. Now, I can write a book, but a review? There’s an art and a skill to that that I don’t seem to possess. I love reading and reviewing books for pleasure, especially those from authors I’ve loved, but formal reviews? I leave that to the professionals. Truly, writing a detailed, honest and thoughtful review takes a lot of time, work and finesse. The book bloggers have it.

Without book bloggers, our novels would never get the exposure they do, and I am beyond grateful. Support these incredible people by following their blogs, commenting on posts, and sharing them with other book lovers. We’re all in this together.

Blogger Girl – coming 8/28

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.