Love Between the Covers (& some contest love!)

First, a bit of braggy news: my women’s fiction (with elements of romance) manuscript, THE LAST RESORT, is a finalist in the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America’s FAB FIVE contest! The Silver Quill Award winner will be announced in June.

Fab Five Finalist

::fingers crossed::

Speaking of romance, have you heard about LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS? This feature-length indie documentary film explores the little-known, surprisingly powerful world of women who write and read romance. The film covers the story of five very different authors (whose day jobs include surgeon and Shakespeare professor) as they invite us inside the vast romance community that runs a powerhouse industry on the cusp of an irreversible power shift.

During the three years the filmmakers shot the documentary, they witnessed the largest power shift in the publishing industry in the last 200 years. And it’s the romance authors who are on the front lines, pioneering new ways to survive and thrive in the rapidly shifting environment.

I don’t know about you, but I need to figure out how to see this film.

I’m also going to check out The site showcases romance novels in a broad context across time and place—with a huge archive of Love Between the Covers interview excerpts, teaching resources, and blogs by romance authors, scholars and industry insiders.

And for those of you who still live under the delusion that romances are just trashy, cheap paperbacks written for those who “can’t read a real book”, a few stats:

Total Romance Novel Sales in 2013: $1.1 billion
That’s roughly one-fifth of all adult-fiction sales.

Voracious Readers
46% of romance consumers read at least one book per week.
In comparison, the typical American reads five books a year.
Romance Readers At A Glance
Age: 30-54
Education: College-educated
Average Income: $55K
Relationship Status: 59% are coupled, 84% are women, 16% are men
*Romance readers are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner

Top 10 Fiction Genres
1. $1.09 billion, Thrillers
2.$1.08 billion, Romance
3. $811 million, General
4.$548 million, Literary
5.$442 million, Mystery & Detective
6.$377 million, Fantasy
7.$185 million, Comics & Graphic Novels
8.$156 million, Historical
9.$143 million, Contemporary Women
10.$113 million,Action & Adventure

Reading Behavior
29% of romance readers usually carry a romance novel with them.
Romance readers typically begin and finish a romance novel within 7 days.
On average romance readers read more than one book:
A Week—25.5%
Every Week—20.9%
Every 2-3 Weeks—17.8%
A Month—16.1%
Sources: Love Between the Sheets Publicity, Nielsen, Bookstats, PEW Research Center, RWA,Entertainment Weekly, Author Earnings’ July 2014 Author Earnings Report, Harlequin


Library Day: Graphic Novel Display

Okay. I realize this is a terrible photo of my YA graphic novel display. But I had to snap it with my phone between customers, and my fellow staff members look at me like I’m standing there in a Wonder Woman cosplay costume when they catch me photographing my own “creations”.

Fun YA library display higlighting Graphic Novels. Would work for adult and J, too!


In real library life (florescent lights and all) it looks pretty cool and vibrant. The comic bubbles came straight from If you aren’t utilizing Picmonkey yet, stop reading now and go over there and explore. Now. I mean it. You can make super easy display signs like the one below in a jiffy. And it’s FREE.


graphic novels display

This display would work well in the adult or juvenile graphic novel areas as well. I have a tougher time trying to promote YA, so there it went. Every day I have to refill the shelves, so someone is noticing and checking out. I’m working on a way to tie in in with our Summer Reading Program display—fun things ahead!


Now Read This: The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase ( + giveaway!)

I’m delighted to introduce you to debut author Bethany Chase and her sparkling novel The One That Got Away. The story is a perfect blend of love, laughter, and heartache, and should be on your shelf right now. You can pre-order the book on Amazon now (releases 3/31/15) or scroll down for a chance to WIN one of ten copies!


Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.

Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer—and former flame—Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn. Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices—and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life—and in love.

Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.

But if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out these swoon-worthy blurbs from some of the hottest authors in Women’s Fiction:

“A warm, witty, and wise novel, The One That Got Away announces the arrival of a great new voice in fiction.”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The One and Only

“The One That Got Away is juicy, steamy, witty, and real. Bethany Chase kept me laughing out loud as I quickly turned the pages. With a love story perfectly balanced between sexy and sweet, and settings so vivid and hip they feel like a literary Pinterest board, Chase will have you swooning.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of After I Do

 “Love can be complicated, and in The One That Got Away, Bethany Chase captures every nuanced beat of a conflicted heart. An authentic and warm voice infuses this story of humor, heartbreak, and home. While Sarina finds her way, we as readers might also find a way back to our own unique lives.”—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of And Then I Found You

“Don’t let this one get away: Chase’s debut is fun, romantic, steamy, and populated with heartfelt characters—not-to-miss delicious escapism!”—L. Alison Heller, author of The Never Never Sisters


Bethany Chase


A native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. When she’s not writing or designing, you can usually find her in a karaoke bar. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. This is her first novel.

Follow Bethany on:  Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest


Q&A with Bethany Chase

• What got you interested in writing?
• I’ve never not been! My love for words has been one of the most consistent characteristics of my personality for my whole life, though it’s taken many different forms. (Poet, journal-­‐writer, email-­‐writer, blogger, novelist.)

• Tell us about the first book you didn’t finish.
• It was a historical romance I started writing when I was fifteen years old and heavily in the thrall of the film version of The Last of the Mohicans, with Daniel Day Lewis. (Which means, specifically, I was in the thrall of Daniel Day Lewis.) So heavily enthralled was I that my novel consisted of a first-­‐person account of a well-­‐bred colonial English lady who for unclear reasons found herself trailing her muddy skirts through the Adirondack forest, accompanied by a ruggedly handsome and ambiguously Native American trapper wearing buckskin. Shockingly, I didn’t complete it.

• Did you ever keep a journal?
• Is there a writer on earth who didn’t? I had kind of abandoned journaling by the time I graduated college, as by that point I had moved on to burdening all of my nearest and dearest with my woes over 2,000-­‐word emails rather than pouring it all out into a journal. But the high school journals are EPIC. Basically, you would have thought I was the first person in the history of humanity to have emotions and be attracted to people who didn’t like me back.

• Did you always want to be a writer?
• Nope. In fact for most of my life I avoided the idea, because I assumed it would be too hard and I’d never make enough money. I’ll let you guess which of those two assumptions has proven to be true.

• What were your favorite books growing up?
• The Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon series were HUGE for me. I mean, they were books about smart, dreamy, romantic, highly verbal girls who wrote, loved beauty in all its forms, hovered at the fringes of social popularity and also really liked being alone. Emily and Anne were and always will be my spirit sisters. Also, I think my many rereads of James Herriot’s marvelous All Creatures Great and Small books legitimately helped form my sense of humor. Between Herriot and all of the Monty Python I watched growing up, I think I wound up with a fairly British sense of humor for an American.

• Who are your favorite authors now?
• Chuck Wendig, Guy Gavriel Kay and Philip Pullman for fantasy; Mary Kubica for suspense; Emily Giffin, Taylor Jenkins Reid and Joshilyn Jackson for women’s fiction; Cara McKenna and Julie James for romance.

• Do you have “one that got away?”
• I did. He was my high school boyfriend. I tracked him down seven years after the fact, like, legitimately slightly stalker-­‐style, and we actually started dating again, and you know what? We weren’t right for each other. At all. It was all very romantic and fraught as long as one of us was pining for the other one, but actually just together, with no angst? It didn’t go anywhere. We are now both very happily married to other people.

• Your bio says you are married—tell us about your love story.
• True story: when we first started dating, we had such strong physical chemistry that I assumed that meant there wasn’t going to be any more to it. My friends would say, “How’s Allen?” And I should shrug and say, “He’s hot.” This led to him being known amongst my circle for the first couple of months as Hot Allen. As far as Sex-­‐and-­‐the-­‐City-­‐style nicknames for guys go, I think he came away in a pretty strong position with that one. But then he just kept growing on me, until a few months into it I realized, holy shit I’m in love with this guy.

• What’s your idea of romance?
• No flowers, no candles, no gestures, will ever be as genuinely romantic as those random little moments that happen when you least expect them and you just get this flash of piercing sweetness and you think, yep, this is it. For me, personally, it often involves humor, or awkwardness, or both. The questionnaire on the dating site where I met my husband asked, “What’s your favorite movie sex scene?” And my answer was, the one in that 90’s Liv Tyler movie Stealing Beauty, where she’s with the guy and it’s all kissing and dreamy music and then he goes to take her underwear off and it gets stuck on her ankle and she laughs—that is THE BEST. Those little beautifully imperfect moments. And also just those moments of kindness and support; like how Anne of Green Gables doesn’t marry the wealthy guy who pulls out all the stops on the glitz and glam—she marries the guy who gave up his local teaching position, at tremendous personal inconvenience, in favor of the farther-­‐away one so that Anne could live at home with her family. That is romance.

• What does home mean to you?
• The place you belong. I think for most of us the specifics of that place change, but the definition never really does.

• How did you come up with your characters’ name?
• Well, Eamon has been my favorite name for a guy ever since the first time I fell in love, at four
years old, with my neighbor Eamon McCormick (a nice Russian boy, obviously). And despite
the fact that I am usually a strident purist about name spelling, I’ve always thought the unusual
spelling “Sarina” had something especially graceful about it. Everyone else was pretty
arbitrary. I tend to just go, “okay, think of a name!” and the first one I think of sticks.

• What do you love about the cover for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY?
• EVERYTHING. Seriously, I hit the cover jackpot. I love the colors, the bird, the graceful lettering, and the way the lettering moves rhythmically back and forth across the page. I could give you a full art-­‐history-­‐style image analysis of how wonderful this cover is in every way.

• What are you reading right now?
• I just started Liza Palmer’s Girl Before a Mirror and am really enjoying it. She’s such a funny yet
thoughtful writer.

• Who’s your favorite book couple?
• Anne and Gilbert. Obviously. In all seriousness, in terms of their mutual love, caring and respect for one another I think they are a model partnership for young girls to read about. Clearly it worked for me.


Y’all need a copy of this book. Click on the link below for a chance to WIN one of ten copies of THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. Contest runs 3/23 and ends 4/16.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Book Page Flowers


DIY Book Page Flower - how to make this beautiful paper rose bouquet from an old paperback book

Please excuse my messy desk.

Spring is in the air! At least it is here in the Sunshine State, where it climbed to the upper eighties this week. More like summer is fighting it’s sweltering way in already.

The  Frosty the Book Snowman display I created for winter melted in this heat. Since it was such a hit at my library, I challenged myself to create another eye-catching display for the branch. I’d made tiny book flowers for my Book Fairy Halloween costume (check back in the fall for those details). Why not go for big?

DIY BOOK PAGE FLOWERThese book flowers are relatively easy to make, and cost almost nothing. They do take some time to put together. After my first few, I was able to craft one in about ten minutes (minus page dying time).

Spring Library Display - Paper Roses


old paperback book (I used 12 pages per flower)
food coloring
hot glue gun (and many extra sticks–I used almost a whole stick for each)
thin wooden dowels ($1 for pack of 16 at Walmart)
optional: florist tape (Dollar Tree)
old towel & old containers to hold the dye bath


First you need to dye the pages. Wait, first you need to destroy a book. Make sure it’s a novel you enjoyed, and if you’re using it for a public display, make sure it’s not riddled with anything that could be construed as offensive. (Yes, I had to destroy a few petals because swear words were showing. Oops.)  Make it a donated book or a well-loved sample from a used book store, so it will have led a long and productive life. Say a few words honoring the author’s work, give it one last pat, then rip the pages from the spine. It won’t feel it, I promise.

Now onto dying. Add several squirts of food coloring to water in a bowl. Place each page into the dye, pushing it down so it becomes saturated. Layer as many as will fit. The longer you let the pages sit in the bath, the deeper the color. I let some sit for as little as two minutes, while others soaked for hours. The color grows richer over time.

dying paper for flowers

Set the pages to dry on an old towel. Let them dry for several hours or overnight, if possible.

*Note: as you can see from the photo, I cut the petals out first for that particular batch. It really doesn’t matter if you cut before or after you dye.

Once the pages dry, you cut.  Draw five different sized petals on the pages. Hand drawing works best, because like natural petals, you don’t want them to look too perfect. I didn’t want to waste precious book pages so I fit two large on one page and three smaller on another. You need six pages of each. Yes, you can stack them and cut the pages together if your scissors are sharp.

diy paper flowers petal template

*Leaves are optional. If you want them, make them now.

Once the petals are cut out, crease the pages gently down the center so they lay naturally when on the flower.

Now we assemble. Heat up that glue gun. Place a blob of glue on one of the smallest petals and wrap around the tip of the dowel several times so the tip of the stick doesn’t show. Then place glue on the base of each smallest petal and glue them, slightly overlapping around the stick. Go one by one. Continue with each size.

You might want to take a pencil and slightly curl  some of the petals as you go. You don’t want them sticking out straight, but gently opening, like a rose.

large book flowers, side view

All the petals glued? Perfect! Now, if you made leaves, have them handy. Break out that florist tape. I cut three inch strips and glued them to the base of each leaf. Place a dot of glue at the end of your roll of florists tape and adhere it to the stick just below the base of your rose. Now wrap the tape around your stem. Pause to add your leaves, by holding the trailing leaf tape along the stick/stem and wrapping over it. Glue the end.

You’re done! Hopefully you have a glorious paper rose.

large paper flower, diy paper rose

For my library display, I stuck the stems in Styrofoam and covered with shredded green paper. They’d also look stunning in a vase or jar.

My flowers started out as the centerpiece of my Spring Gardening display, but to make to make them stand out, I’ve moved them to their own table. Patrons and staff love them!

Perfect quote for Spring in the library! #library #display #spring #book #quote

**Please excuse the crummy photos. I used my cell phone camera. It stinks.**

Spring gardening library display




Cover Reveal: MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid

**Summer read preview**  With inches (or feet!) of snow on the ground, we’re dreaming of summer—feet in the sand, soaking up the sun, taking a dip in the pool. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve already added Taylor Jenkins Reid’s third novel, MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE (on sale July 7, 2015) to your TBR Must Read list. I absolutely adored her previous books FOREVER, INTERRUPTED and AFTER I DO.  So, while we wait for the book to show up at our bookstore or in our mailbox, today I’m delighted to share this first look at the gorgeous cover!

maybe in another life



At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.

Hannah hesitates.

What happens if she leaves with Gabby?

What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

taylor jenkins reid


Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

FIND TAYLOR ONLINE: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN:  9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 | $16.00


eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 | $11.99

Falling for Kilted Rogues on FridayFictionFriend

Just a quick note to let y’all know I’m guest posting over at FridayFictionFriend BOOK BLOG today.

When one of my beloved critique partners, the lovely Ms. Jill Hannah Anderson, asked me to review a favorite book for her series, I’d just finished reading Diana Gabaldon’s epic OUTLANDER. That book rocked my world. In addition to being a not-to-be-missed romance/fantasy/historical/adventure, the novel refined my appreciation for roguish kilted heroes. Bring out the tartans!

If you’d like to check out the review, head on over to Friday Fiction Friend. And while you’re there, flip back through previous recommendations by talented writers such as Mary Kubica, Kathryn Craft, Lori Nelson Spielman—all who have impeccable taste!

Add a few book to your TBR list—there’s always room for more ::wink::


Now Read This: RODIN’S LOVER by Heather Webb

happy pub day heatherThe Book:

A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Epoque France

As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice and his muse their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.

Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.
(From cover copy)

The Author:

(from Webb is an author, editor, and popular blogger. This former French teacher regularly contributes to blogs such as Writer Unboxed and Romance University, and she is all over social media with her helpful comments, support, and good humor every day. (I often wonder when she has time to actually write—but does she write!) Last year’s debut historical novel Becoming Josephine was translated into three languages and earned acclaim in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, All You Magazine, the Huffington Post, and The Portland Book Review.

Find Heather at: Her Website * Twitter * Facebook *Goodreads

The First Lines:

“Camille dropped to her knees in the mud. Her skirts absorbed last night’s rain and the scent of sodden earth. She plunged a trowel into the red clay and dug furiously, stopping only to slop hunks of earth into a wooden trough. She needed one more load to mold the portrait of Eugenie. The maid would sit for her again, regardless of her protestations.”

The Good Stuff:

I have a weakness for novels that can educate me while captivating me with an entertaining story. I’d heard of Camille Claudel, and knew she had something to do with the art world, but RODIN’S LOVER formally introduced me to this provocative woman and her passionate, often obsessive struggle for love and art.

Camille is far from the typical nineteenth century lady, and she can be rather intense she’s focused on her art…and her lover, who happens to also be her mentor, the famed Rodin. (If you’re not familiar with Camille’s works, you’ll surely recognize some of Rodin’s sculptures such as The Thinker.) Throughout the tale she fights to be a modern woman, not forced into marriage or the restraints of her time. Though she knows what her place in her family and society should be, she rebels against the norms imposed against her, instead following her passion for sculpture and her beloved Rodin. Yet no amount of fervent devotion can give her what she truly desires. Rodin don’t posses the the strength to leave his companion of many years to be with Camille. And as the fiery Camille battles to gain the the recognition she deserves for her “scandalously” sensual pieces, she slowly descends into madness.

This book feels meticulously researched, making it easy for readers to slip inside the Parisian art scene of the late 1800s. Notable characters of the time such as Monet, Debussy, Zola, and Hugo infuse the story with pinpoints of veracity. From the affluent salons to the dingy art studios, you’ll be immersed in the details of this colorful world.

If you enjoyed Becoming Josephine, you’ll be enthralled by Heather Webbs’s sophomore success Rodin’s Lover. The books shines a well-deserved spotlight on a talented artist and somewhat tortured soul who craved “to leave a mark of beauty on the soul of humanity.”
The Details:

Rodin’s Lover: A Novel by Heather Webb
Print Length: 316 pages
Publisher: Plume
Release date: January 27, 2015


Now Read This: The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

The life intendedThe Book:

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?

(From cover)

The Author:



I can’t help but adore Kristin Harmel—not only is she a fellow University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications grad, but she lives here in Orlando, too. No, but really, it’s all about her books. The former People magazine journalist has written several women’s fiction favs likeand as well YA novels. She switched things up with her last novel, The Sweetness of Forgetting, a heartfelt drama that became an international bestseller and one of my (and my mom’s) favorite books of 2012.

Find Kristin at: Her Website * Twitter * Facebook *Goodreads


The First Lines:

“It was 11:04 when Patrick walked through the door that final night almost a dozen years ago.

I remember the number glowing red and angry on the digital clock by our bed, the sound of his key turning in the lock. I remember his sheepish expression, the way his five o’clock shadow had bloomed into and almost-beard, the way his shirt looked rumpled as he stood in the doorway. I remember the way he said my name, Kate, like it was an apology and a greeting all in one.”

The Good Stuff:

Do you ever have dreams so real, so blindingly vivid yet absolutely normal that you wake up unsure if they really happened? Where you pause when you wake, rationalizing away what occurred and finding that one absurd link that proves it couldn’t have been real…
I do. All. The. Time. If I dare mention anything about my alternate slumberville universe to my dear husband, he’ll merely shake his head and wonder if someone’s slipping hallucinogens into my chardonnay before bed.

Luckily, my husband is alive and well and breathing loudly beside me when I wake. But in THE LIFE INTENDED, Kate’s not so fortunate. When her *perfect* husband Patrick, who was killed over a decade ago, starts sharing the sheets with her again, Kate’s life gets complicated.

Kate appears to finally be moving on: she has a successful career as a music therapist (very interesting) and a fiance who’s an absolute gem…on paper. But when Patrick—and their daughter—start joining Kate in her dreams, Kate loses track of that line between what’s real and what should be real.

When this amazingly real but imaginary daughter they never actually had begins talking to Kate in sign language, Kate takes lessons so she can fit into that alternate life she believes she should have led via her nightly dreams. Except… the sign language classes introduce Kate to the world of foster kids and the people who care for them, and certainly none of them lead the perfect lives they’d imagined. And these people make an impact on her she wasn’t prepared for.

One of my all-time favorite performers, Dave Matthews, usually switches around lyrics during live shows, and in my favorite version of Dancing Nancies he asks:
“Don’t you ever wonder…..
Maybe if you took a left turn, instead of taking that right
You’d be somebody quite different tonight…
Don’t you ever wonder, what could I have been? Anyone?”

This story is kind of like that. Kate realizes that the right turn she believes she was supposed to take has been washed away by a landslide, so she finally takes that left turn, and things go quite different. And different can be good. Something for us all to remember.

The Recommendation:

Read it. While this tale full of ghosts, grief, heartbreak, and disappointment could have been a sappy tearjerker, Harmel deftly allows us feel like we’re in Kate’s shoes and makes her plight believable.   You’ll probably get at least teary a few times—I did, but it felt right. And the coincidences—there are a zillion of them, but I totally found my self buying all of them due to the way they are woven into the tale.

THE LIFE INTENDED is a sweet yet moving story about making room in your heart without crowding out those who’ve filled it before, about making the life you want happen instead of waiting for it to happen.  It may leave you feeling as if we all somehow find our intended life, no matter how unconventional it may be.

The Details:

The Life Intended
by Kristin Harmel
368 pages, Gallery Books
Release date: December 30, 2014

And don’t forget to check out these other books by Kristin:

Reading Challenge Complete! 75 Books of 2014

Happy New Year, my friends!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine keeping up with my reading list without Goodreads.  Last year I decided I’d challenge myself to read 75 books by the end of the year—in years past I *thought* I’d averaged about two books per week, so a measly 75 should be a breeze, right?

Weeeelll…between my job and writing and, oh I don’t know, having a family and a life, it proved to be more of a challenge than I though. But I did it. Just barely, but I did it.

2014 reading

My books of 2014 are listed below. I’ve fallen drastically behind on my book reviews, but hopefully I’ll post my favorites by genre soon. {fingers crossed!}

Not included on the list are the countless chapters I’ve read from my supremely talented (and witty) WFWA Critique Group ladies—I can’t wait to see those entire WIPs in print someday!  And I also had the privileged of reading an entire beta draft of an exceptionally gifted writer’s latest work. Since I read three-fourths of it on my kindle, it felt as if the work had already been published. It read like pure honey. I’m honored to have experienced the work.

And now, without further ado—my books of 2014—a mix of women’s fiction, mystery/thrillers, and mainstream, with a pinch of non-fiction, historical, YA, and romance thrown in for good measure:

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Gray Mountain
Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, #2)
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)
Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #11)
A Land Remembered
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Once More With Feeling
Before He Was Famous (Starstruck, #1)
Skink--No Surrender
Barefoot in the Rain (Barefoot Bay, #2)
Outlander (Outlander, #1)
One Plus One
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
The Sassy Belles
Barefoot in the Sand (Barefoot Bay, #1)
Writing The Bestseller: Romantic And Commercial Fiction
The House on Mermaid Point (Ten Beach Road, #3)
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
After I Do
It Comes In Waves
Paper Moon (Moonstruck #1)
Her Road Home
The Mystery of Mercy Close (Walsh Family, #5)
Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!
The Good Girl
The Heist (Gabriel Allon, #14)
Forever, Interrupted
That Night
All Fall Down
Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns (The Devil Wears Prada, #2)
The One & Only
China Dolls
Save the Date
Your Perfect Life
Catching Air
The Stories We Tell
Chasing the Sun: A Novel
After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse (Sookie Stackhouse, #13.5)
Sweet Life
The Shadow Year
The Big Beautiful
Insane City
The Supreme Macaroni Company
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Kids These Days: A Novel
Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones, #3)
Bone Deep (Doc Ford, #21)
Losing It (Losing It, #1)
Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance, #2)
The Expats
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry


The All You Can Dream Buffet
Lost Lake
Command Authority (Jack Ryan, #9)
Slow Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen, 30 Slow Cookers, 200 Amazing Recipes
The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)
Dust (Kay Scarpetta #21)
The Art of Falling
Becoming Josephine
The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress
White Fire (Pendergast, #13)
The Beast (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #21)
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
Last to Die (Rizzoli & Isles, #10)


How did you do this year?

All I want for Christmas…

merry everything card

I’ve been told I can be *challenging* to buy for. Ahem. Friends, family, and Secret Santa coworkers  keep asking me what tangible, miscellaneous stuff I want for Christmas, but honestly, I have everything I need. I’m saving for a new camera and a vacation or two, and I have more than enough stuff. And my pat reply of “world peace and a winning lottery ticket” seems to drift further from the realm of possibility each passing day.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few real Christmas wishes…

Wish #1:  I want my son to get into the Engineering/Tech Magnet School of his dreams. The school is beyond amazing, and my bright yet easily bored son could take classes that make him salivate—coding, web & game design, Lego robotics, and so many more. The kid was so awe-struck when we toured the school I thought he’d blow like one of those baking soda and vinegar volcanoes. (They don’t do cheesy science projects like that at this school. Think rockets, forensics, and green architecture.) The place even has an official Minecraft club. Middle school is hard enough, and this school could give him what he needs to survive thrive.

He has the grades, test scores, aptitude, and desire to excel there—but none of that matters. It’s a lottery to get in. Pure. Damned. Luck. Letters will be mailed January 6th—please, oh please Santa, let us receive a “congratulations!” note.

Wish #2:  An agent would be lovely, Santa dear. I’ve been a very good girl this year. But, see, I don’t want just an agent, I want the right agent. When I first began this quest, I assumed I’d be thrilled with any NY agent who showed an interest. But now I’ve come to realize the agent hunt is a lot like online dating. I need to examine out each perspective agent’s profile, and dig deep into what she loves/loathes/makes her tick. We’re talking long-term relationship, here. We need to mesh in just the right way, to appreciate the other’s sense of humor, work ethic, and values. We need to feel comfortable communicating the good and the bad, to not be quick to judge, and to listen with an open mind. Oh yeah, and she has to get my stuff.

I found my true love years ago. I believe my agent match is out there somewhere.
::waving hand:: Here I am!

Wish #3:  Time. (Cue Culture Club or Bangles ear worm…now.) This is a gift I can partially grant myself. Wake an hour earlier each morning. Step away from the internet. I’m lucky enough to have an office with a door. I need to go in there and shut that door more often and not let myself feel guilty about the laundry or the cat puke or what’s for dinner hours from now. I must stop worrying and planning so much about WHAT IF’S and just DO IT. I can’t make time, but if I search hard enough, I can find that elusive little bugger.

Best writer's gift ever--the Gift of TIme. Thanks to the always clever Debbie Ridpath OhiThanks to the always clever Debbie Ridpath Ohi for this *perfect* gift idea. If you visit her site you can download a high-resolution version to print out and give to the writer in your life. Or just forward this idea to a loved one for a subtle hint at what you really want for Christmas and beyond.


How about you? Have any holiday wishes grand or small?