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Diary of a debut author, part I

9780778317227_TS_SMPMy debut, The Last Breath, hits stores and the world wide web on September 30th. By then, my publisher, agent, and I will have been working on the release for almost a year. You’d think I would feel more prepared. Heck, I’m hoping by the fall I will be. But for now, I’m a stewing mess of nerves and insecurities.

I imagine the questions that roll through my head on repeat aren’t anything every debut author hasn’t thought. How will people find my book? What if everyone who finds it hates it? What if I have a launch party and no one comes? Is there anybody out there who would fork over $8.49 for a copy besides me and my mother? The thing is, I don’t know. I don’t know, y’all! And that freaks the worrier in me way the heck out.

But in a couple of weeks, I will pack up my prettiest dress and highest heels and head up to BEA, the Book Expo of America, to hock my books. I will schmooze with my publisher and sign a million gallies and network with buyers and pass out swag to anyone who will take it. And I will do my very, very best to leave my insecurities at home.

So if you happen to be in NYC on May 30th, I’d love it if you came see me at the Harlequin booth.

Because, you know, I’m not entirely certain anyone else will.

Christmas Reads

Merry Christmas! I hope you’re spending this joyous day with family and friends, participating in the traditions you love most. But in case you’ve got some down time after the gifts are opened and the dinner dishes have been cleared away, I thought I’d recommend some holiday books I’ve enjoyed reading this year.

The Trouble with Cowboys, a novel by Melissa Cutler

Amy Sorentino’s number one rule? Stay away from cowboys. She’s got a long history of getting burned when reality doesn’t live up to her fantasies. But when she moves back home to help her sisters save her family’s ranch, it’s not long before she comes toe to leather boot with Kellan Reed. Kellan isn’t looking for a relationship, and he certainly doesn’t need Amy’s drama in his life. But when a lawsuit draws them together, their hormones override their heads in this hot contemporary romance. 5 stars.

Snow Kissed, a novella by Laura Florand

Broken by grief, Kai Winters fled her marriage to hibernate in her mother-in-law’s woodland cabin. When her not-yet-ex-husband Kurt shows up on a business errand for his mother, he gets snowed in, and the two are forced to confront their wounds. Delicate as mouth-blown glass, this story will weave inside you and capture your heart. Poignant and ultimately uplifting, this contemporary romance will also appeal to women’s fiction readers. 5 stars.

Christmas at Copper Mountain, a novella by Jane Porter

Harley Diekerhoff can’t bear the thought of being surrounded by children at Christmas, not after everything she lost in a horrific plane crash three years earlier. So she takes a temp job as a housekeeper at a Montana ranch, where she doesn’t have to think or talk, but can just work with her hands all day. She’s content there until her boss’s eleven-year-old twins run away from boarding school and show up unexpectedly on their father’s doorstep. Brock Sheenan doesn’t appreciate his pretty housekeeper’s advice about raising his kids, but when they blossom under her care, he begins to wonder whether he’s been a grieving widower too long. Contemporary romance. 4 stars.

Christmas at Crescent Cove, a novella by Shelley Noble

A follow-up to Beach Colors, this story is part of the Holidays at Crescent Cove collection. Model-turned-farmer Brianna Boyce is happy with her role as single mom to two Chinese girls she’s recently adopted. When David Henderson shows up on her property, she’s not exactly welcoming. In her experience, men bring nothing but trouble. David is just passing through, planning to leave town as soon as he delivers a letter from a friend who died in Afghanistan. But Bri and her two little girls warm a heart chilled by the atrocities he’s seen in his ten years as an aid worker. He wonders whether it’s time to put down the roots he’s never had. Women’s fiction, it will also appeal to romance readers. 4 stars.

When Sparks Fly, a novella by Sabrina Jeffries

In this story from the Snowy Night with a Stranger anthology of regency romances, Elinor Bancroft has determined never to marry. She’d rather spend life as a spinster than settle for one of the fortune hunters who court her. When a carriage accident leaves her stranded, along with her young cousins and injured aunt, the party is forced to accept the hospitality of Martin Thorncliff, nicknamed the Black Baron, a self-exiled social pariah. Unintimidated by his prickly manner, she soon sees how grief and guilt have wrecked him. Her kindness wakens a deep longing in him, and he discovers that having a houseful of noisy children at Christmas brings at least as much joy as inconvenience. 4 stars. (This anthology is a free read on xoxoafterdark.com until January 20, 2014.)

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. Have a safe, happy, and healthy new year!

 

Mom vs. Mom

Working mothers remains a hot debate.  Whether you stay home and raise your children, or work outside the home while you partner with your spouse, motherhood and work when spoken in the same breath seems to touch a nerve.  Why?  Is it because the “sisterhood” is breaking down?  Are we turning on one another?  Eating our own?

Perhaps we’ve simply lost touch with our common purpose, motherhood.  No one can be a mother, but a woman.  People can “mother” and “nurture,” but there is no replacement for women.  There is also no replacement for feeding our families, and feeding our souls.  Should we be forced to give up our professional dreams as we raise our children?  Should we be criticized for pursuing our passion if it takes us outside of the home when our children are young?

It’s a question I’ve lived with for many years.  I began my life as a career-minded young woman.  I secured a good position with a medical sales company and worked for ten years before facing the question.  Should I give up my position to stay home and raise my children? 

Fortunately for me, I also discovered my passion for writing.  It was an easy overlap as I progressed through my second childbirth. 🙂 

CondemnMeNot_LG

That’s when I stayed home for good.  I stayed home because I wanted to be with my children.  I wanted to be the one who cared for them, laughed with them, enjoyed each and every moment with them.  But I never lost my desire to work and produce.  In fact, it’s one of the best things about my garden!  Kids don’t hand out awards, financial or otherwise, when Mom does a great job.  They don’t recognize your achievements with promotions or bonuses.  They simply smile, give you a hug and draw you a picture.

And sometimes that’s enough.  For a while.  But when they grow older and begin to live their own lives, you find yourself with time on your hands.  For me, I filled it with writing.  But not everyone has the flexibility that I did.  Not everyone made the choices I made.  Does that make them wrong?

Condemn Me Not is my latest release and explores this very topic.  Veering from my romantic fiction, this one is all about the mothers and daughters.  While I adore romance, women’s issues are near and dear to my heart, as is fleshing them out! 

Would love to hear your opinions…;)

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