Friday, December 31, 2010

Good stuff to watch

I love westerns. Probably a lot more than the average woman. Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven is one of my favorite movies. And so is True Grit, starring John Wayne. When I heard the Coen brothers were doing a remake of the 1969 classic, I got really excited. Last night I went to see it and I'm happy to report that I was not disappointed. Not in the least (okay, I still prefer the original cinematic ending of John Wayne on his horse jumping the fence, but I won't quibble). Jeff Bridges did a very stand up job as Rooster Cogburn and Matt Damon was passable as LaBouef. Barry Pepper plays Lucky Ned Pepper (name coincidence?) with a very creepy realism. But the stand out actor in this movie was Hailee Steinfeld as the scrappy Mattie Ross. If you love westerns, or if you loved the original, or if you just love good movies, go see this!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good stuff to read

Okay, so I'm back from my mini-break vacation which was utterly fabulous. We spent 4 days in Orlando, doing Christmas with the family and visiting friends. We saw ICE (utterly fabulous and if you live in the Orlando area, don't miss it). We also went to Harry Potter World, which might have been utterly fabulous but because of the frigid weather and humongous crowds turned out to be semi-miserable. However, I do want a butter beer kit. So if you see one, please send along. We also went to Tampa for a couple days, saw more family and that was fabulous as well.

Now I'm back to my house (which needs cleaning) and a few dozen emails that need answering. And a special thank you to everyone who has texted or emailed me to tell you how much you've enjoyed/loved/adored The Boyfriend of the Month Club. You've all made my day!

Here is some really good stuff to read today. I promise. It's fabulous. First, there's Marilyn Brant's blog which kind of choked me up. If you're a writer, then run to read this. She makes so much sense. I love Marilyn!

Then there's Lisa and Liz over at Chick Lit is Not Dead. I love this site and they're offering up free books. All you have to do is comment and tell them which post of 2010 is your favorite. They give you 5 fabulous posts to pick from.

Happy Reading!

PS And yes, fabulous was the word the day:)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blog tour and book giveaway

Today I'm over at Get Lost in a Story, a fabulous new blog that connects readers with writers (in reality, I'll be at Harry Potter World freezing my arse off, but I'll be at the blog in spirit and hopefully will be able to check in and make comments!)

Maureen McGowan (one of the nicest and most talented writers around) interviewed me and the questions were fun. Find out how I like my hamburger and leave a comment here telling me which fictional heroine you'd like to be to win an autographed copy of The Boyfriend of the Month Club!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Santa,

or Baby Jesus, or Mike Geraci (whichever of you is in charge of granting world peace and presents),

This is Maria (again). Remember me? I'm the one who firmly believed in you until my younger sister Carmen tried to tell me you didn't exist. In retaliation, I cut off all the hair on her Tippy Toes doll. However, I don't think you should hold that against me as that was over 40 years ago. This is what I would like this year for Christmas:

Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM

I have lusted after this bag for awhile now. I mean, who wouldn't? It's gorgeous. Plus it's red inside and red is my signature color.

In the event that world economic issues make this an unfeasible gift, I will happily take a very good knock off. (PS. I have already ordered the knock off from a purse party I went to a couple of weeks ago. If that makes things any easier for you).

Guilty. By Gucci.
Go smell it. It's fabulous.

Oh, and if Chris Evans, world peace, lower taxes, and a cure for cancer and all the other horrible diseases out there, were under the tree, I wouldn't complain either.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Have a Digital Merry Christmas!

Okay, all I have to say is that whoever did this is a creative genius. I love it. You will too. Merry Christmas, and oh, avoid Romans (hee)

Friday, December 17, 2010


Yep, I'm still doing the blog tour thing. Today, I'm supposed to be over at Coffee Time Romance. I love that place! It's the first site I ever received a review from. I'll always remember the excitement of that email (Feb 12, 2009) telling me they'd reviewed Bunco Babes Tell All. It was a great review and I'll always be grateful to them (can you imagine your first review being a stinky one?) *shudder* We authors are much more delicate than you can imagine.

So... as you can see I'm supposed to be over at the Coffee Time Romance Blog. I was supposed to post the blog myself and was given directions, but being the procrastinator that I am I waited till the wee hours of the morning to post the blog. Yep, should have done it yesterday, but nope. Didn't. So yep, something went screwy and I can't post it and am waiting for help from the Coffee Time Romance crew. Hopefully, the blog will go live sometime today.

NOTE: Yay! I am now live at Coffee Time Romance. Check out my blog right here.
PLUS, Coffee Time Romance is giving away a copy of my book, THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB and a copy of HUNGRY FOR YOU, by Lynsay Sands. If you'd like to be entered for the giveaway, go to their home page and sign up for Feeding My Addiction.

In the meantime, I'm still giving away books! Leave a comment and maybe you'll be picked to win an autographed copy of The Boyfriend of the Month Club!

Night Owl Blog- Where does Inspiration come from? ends December 17
Chick Lit Central- Celebrating the Winter Holidays ends December 19

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Knight Agency Holiday Party!

HO HO HO! It's the most wonderful time of the year, and that means it's time for The Knight Agency’s annual online holiday party! Join our agents, authors and TKA Santa for an hour of non-stop giveaways. This is our most fun, relaxed chat of the year. No worries about what to ask a guest author or waiting your turn to speak -- it's literally a free for all!

This year Gena Showalter, Nalini Singh, Maria Geraci, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Shannon K. Butcher, Linda Gerber, Michelle Celmer, Louisa Edwards, Lydia Dare, Joey W. Hill, Jessica Andersen, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Chris Marie Green and Shirley Jump are all giving away signed copies of their releases. Plus we're raiding our book closets and giving out titles by Rachel Caine, Marley Gibson and Cecil Murphey, among others. Oh yeah, and there's a Christmas stocking prize stuffed with books and holiday treats. Don't forget to mark your calendars!

WHAT: Knight Agency Annual Holiday Lunchbox Chat

WHEN: Thursday, December 16th @ 12:30pm ET

WHERE: The Knight Agency Chat Room --

HOW TO CHAT: Enter any combination of username and password. Login. Your computer must be Java enabled to chat.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blog tour and giveaway

Today I'm over at Chick Lit Central talking about my favorite winter holiday rituals and memories. And of course I'm giving away a copy of The Boyfriend of the Month Club, so come on over and comment!
And if you love chick lit as much as I do, check out their Facebook page here. There's always lots of great info on your favorite books :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

More free books!

Thanks to my buddy Susan McBride, author of the fabulously funny The Cougar Club, I'm over at The Stiletto Gang blog today talking about books that end with the word "club". Yeah, there are a lot of those! Come on over and visit me there and then go here to my Facebook page and tell me what you're doing this weekend for a chance to win an autographed copy of both The Boyfriend of the Month Club AND The Cougar Club.

If you've already bought my book, an autographed copy makes a great holiday gift and The Cougar Club is a fantastic read. Sure to chase away all your holiday stress!

Also, there's more places to find my book, completely free. There's an interview of me over at Romantic Crush Junkies. Two lucky commenters will win a copy of my book! Deadline is Dec. 12.

I'm also still at Book Binge. Give away also ends on Dec. 12.
Night Owl Reviews. Give away ends Dec. 17.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It's tomorrow!

Or the day after my yesterday, which means, well, as you can see I've not gotten a whole lot of sleep, because I'm not sure I'm making much sense to anyone except myself! Except to say that I'm relieved/happy/sad/worried that my 3rd baby is out in the world (that would be The Boyfriend of the Month Club) not my real baby (she's still in class or rather, she better be.)

The relieved and happy part are probably obvious emotions. The sad/worried maybe not so much. Sad? Only because I almost wish I was writing it again, I loved that part so much. Worried because I hope people get it. My editor mentioned in passing to me during lunch this summer that she thought there was a lot of me in this book. And she's absolutely right. Me as in I think I let go more in this book than in my previous other two books. And that's both exhilarating and a bit frightening. Writing a book is like walking naked down the street (okay, in my case that would be extremely frightening) but you get what I mean.

I received a really lovely review today from Julie at What Women Write. "Stylewise, think Dorothea Benton Frank meets My Big Fat Greek ... er, Cuban Wedding."

I really loved that she said that! You can read the whole review right here.

So, I'm still hopping the blogosphere. You can still find me at Book Binge, Night Owl Reviews Blog and Chick Lit is Not Dead. And I'm also being featured on the Romantic Times Book Reviews Mainstream Spotlight!

Plus, my fabulous friend Louisa Edwards is giving away a copy of my book on her Facebook Fan page. Right here. All you have to do is tell her the name of your first boyfriend:)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

It's Today!

So today is the day that The Boyfriend of the Month Club comes out. Yay! I want to thank my editor, Wendy McCurdy, the fabulous Erin Galloway (my publicist), my agent Deidre Knight, and all of you who have emailed me to congratulate me. Thank you! Writing a book might be a solitary endeavor, but getting one published takes a village.

What am I going to do to celebrate? Clean the house, of course! While listening to Christmas music and running to my computer every few minutes to interact on the many blogs I have out there today. I will NOT be googling my name, my book, or checking my stats on any sites. No sirree, I will not. Repeat and repeat and again.

This is where you can find me today:

The Romance Dish
Girlfriends Book Club
and I'm still at the fabulous Chick Lit is Not Dead (will be there till Thursday)
I'm also going to be at Book Binge and Night Owl Reviews blog
Whew! I'm also supposed to make cookies today (the Neimen Marcus ones) but I don't see that happening. Do you?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Release week!

It's finally here! The Boyfriend of the Month Club is out everywhere tomorrow (and in some places today) so go out and get a copy and write a review. Word of mouth and reviews are the best promo an author can't buy. So if you like my books, tell your friends and tell them to tell their friends and so on. Before you know it, you'll be my connector, or maven, or whatever Malcolm Gladwell calls it (if you don't know what I'm talking about read his fabulous book The Tipping Point). Help make my book an epidemic! (in a good way, of course)

This week, I'll be all over the blogosphere. Today I'll be at the fabulous Chick Lit is Not Dead blog in which my bucket list will be revealed. Warning: I was a bit punchy when I sent in the list!

And if you purchase or have purchased my book, don't forget to get credit for it! Enter my contest and you might win a grand prize of a $100 Amazon gift card plus a wonderful assortment of women's fiction novels signed by the authors themselves. There will also be 5 runner up prizes of a $20 Amazon gift card and a special Boyfriend of the Month Club desk top calendar. To enter, email me at with the word "contest" in the subject line. Tell me where you purchased the book or send me your online confirmation. Contest ends December 12. Winners will be announced on December 13.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Snowman Band!

I absolutely love this little snowman band! I have Guitar Freddy and Saxophone Joe and I just need 2 more little men to make my collection complete. The coolest thing about this band? You hit the button on one of the snowmen, and all them start to chime in with their individual instruments! The lady at my local Hallmark store got a kick of watching me hit the button over and over again. Addicting! Plus, the sound quality is awesome.

Holiday Movie of the Day and Quote:

Little Women (1994 version starring Susan Sarandan and Winona Ryder
(and before you tell me that Little Women isn't a holiday movie, it's listed as one in the On Demand section of my cable!)

Okay, I have so many favorite quotes from this movie it's hard to pick just one. But I'll pick two.

Quote #1
Friedrich (to Jo) "Jo. Such a little name... for such a person." (note: I totally ripped this line off and made it into a chapter title for The Boyfriend of the Month Club!)

Quote #2
Friedrich (to Jo) "But I have nothing to give you. My hands are empty."
Jo entwines her hands with his. "Not empty now."

Sigh... such a simple gesture, but so romantic!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Bunco Flamingo!

Last night my Bunco group, the fabulous Bunco Broads of Tallahassee had our annual Christmas get together. This is the month we don't play Bunco. We just eat and party. And drink Jingle Juice. Jingle Juice is terrific. Don't ask me what's in it, but trust me on this.

We also do our annual ornament exchange. Except this year we changed things up and instead of exchanging ornaments, we did white elephant gifts. Only the gifts were good! This is what I got:

Yes, it's a Deck the Palms Dip Bowl and Spreader. Plus a Deck the Palms Bottle stopper set! I had to fight like a tiger to keep this from leaving my sweaty palms last night but the struggle was worth it! The Flamingo is my new totum and no one was brave enough to tussle me for it.
If I haven't mentioned it before, let me tell you again. All month long over at Girlfriends Book Club, we're giving away free books. All you have to do is scroll on over right here and leave a comment. It's as simple as that. Today's free book is courtesy of the lovely Brenda Janowitz, the author of Jack with a Twist and Scot on the Rocks.

Oh, and I haven't forgotten about the movie thing. Today's quote comes from Home Alone 2, Lost in New York. Which as I've said, is mediocre compared to the original Home Alone, but still worth the watching just for the hotel scenes.
Angry mom (fabulous Catherine O'Hara) "What kind of idiots do you have working here?"

Desk clerk, as she, Tim Curry (playing the Concierge and Rob Schneider playing the bell hop) all proudly puff out their chests: "The finest in New York!"

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Holiday Movie Countdown

I love love love holiday movies. So I've decided to do a month of holiday movie watching. I know what a hardship. I started last night with a Home Alone mini-marathon. I love Home Alone! Home Alone 2 not so much, but the scenes with Tim Curry more than make up for blah-ish plotline.

I forgot how many great liners there were in the original. The one that got the most laughs last night at the Geraci house? When the adults were in the airplane on their way to France and they're talking about how Kevin was left behind. Mom (played wonderfully by Catherine O'Hara) is beating herself up. And Uncle Frank (gotta love/hate him!) sighs and says "If it makes you feel any better, I forgot my reading glasses."

Hee hee... Oh well, I guess you had to be there!

Happy December 1st everyone, and don't forget to check out Marilyn Brant's blog where she's giving away a copy of my new book!

And... if you want to get inspired AND win a couple of free books by the fabulous Lauren Baratz-Logsted, go to the Girlfriends Book Club and leave a comment.

I'm off to Publix! Happy December, everyone!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blog Tour!

I can't believe The Boyfriend of the Month Club comes out in just 8 days! I'll be all over the blogosphere for the next few weeks, visiting blogs and doing online promo trying to spread the word. If you're out there, reading this (and I know you are) please help me spread the word too!

The first week that a book comes out is the most important in sales, so if you haven't bought my book yet, please do so (and enter my fabulous contest, details on the right of this post.)
And if money is tight (and I know it is) there's lots of opportunities to win free books.

Today I'm over at the fabulous Marilyn Brant's blog. Marilyn is the author of According to Jane and Friday Mornings at Nine, two fabulous books that I simply devoured from cover to cover. I'm talking about my mom's flan recipe and how I used it in The Boyfriend of the Month Club. Plus, Marilyn is giving away a copy of the book. Thanks again, Marilyn!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Freebie

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day was as wonderful as mine. Below, I've posted a small free read from upcoming novel, The Boyfriend of the Month Club. This scene takes place a few days before Thanksgiving. Grace (my heroine) runs into her dentist at the grocery store. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Grace turned to find Rosie Dimples aka Dr. Joe leaning against his shopping cart. He wore above-the-knee nylon basketball shorts and a T-shirt. Maybe he’d just come from the gym. Grace squelched the urge to reach out and smooth an errant lock of hair off his forehead.

“There’s no chocolate in pistachio ice cream,” she said.

“What is it with women and chocolate?”

It’s the universal substitute for sex, dummy. She wondered what Dr. Joe would say to that. He’d probably volunteer to fill in for the ice cream. “It’s one of our daily food groups,” she said instead.

He smiled. “How’s the tooth holding up, Grace?”

So he remembered her name. Had he read her patient satisfaction survey? Melanie claimed he personally read each one. Tomorrow it would be a week since she’d been to his office. Surely he’d read it by now. Which reminded her, she really did need to investigate where Tanya had gone to work so she could find a new dentist. She’d planned to do it right away, but with all the roof drama going on at the store, she’d forgotten. Technically, she supposed, she was still Dr. Joe’s patient.

“The tooth is holding up great. Thanks for asking, Dr. Joe.”

“The patients find it easier to call me Dr. Joe rather than Dr. Rosenblum. But outside the office, it’s just plain Joe.”

There was nothing plain about this Joe, that was for sure. He seemed friendly enough too. Almost too friendly. There was no way he had read her patient satisfaction survey. Melanie was so full of it. She probably read them herself and only showed him the good ones to pump up his ego.

A woman with a cart full of baby items tried to slide between them. Joe pushed his cart off to the side to let her pass. You could tell a lot about a person by the items in their grocery cart. What did a hottie like Dr. Joe have in his? Probably a lot of pretentious, overpriced health food items. She tried to discreetly peek at the contents inside his cart.

“Are you checking out my turkey, Grace?”


“Do you think my turkey is too big?” He pointed to the large frozen turkey that took up nearly half his cart.

She narrowed her eyes at him. He had to realize his double entendre, although the expression on his face seemed innocent enough. “That depends. How many people do you plan to feed with your big turkey?”

“Just me, my mom, and a few friends.”

Grace looked at the tag around the wrapper. “This is a twenty-five-pound turkey. You could feed half of Daytona Beach with this.”

“Really?” He looked alarmed.

“Not exactly, but it’s way more than you need. Unless you want to eat turkey leftovers until Christmas. The rule of thumb is about one pound per person.”

“I don’t even really like turkey all that much,” he said.

“Then I suggest you go with a smaller version.”

He pulled a list out of the back pocket of his shorts and handed it to Grace. “This is the menu I came up with, along with the list of ingredients. Would you mind taking a look at it and telling me what you think? That is . . . if I’m not keeping you from something.”

She studied the list. “You’re not planning to make all this yourself, are you? You said your mom is coming to dinner? Is she going to help cook?”

“The only thing my mother knows how to cook is hot water.”

Grace found that impossible to believe. Whose mother didn’t cook? Of course, Abuela didn’t cook. Or not well, anyway. How Mami had become so talented in the kitchen was puzzling. But then Mami couldn’t sew the way Abuela did. “So did your dad do all the cooking when you were growing up?”

“I don’t think my dad could manage even the hot water.”

Grace frowned. “Will he be at dinner too?”

“He’ll be spending Thanksgiving with his newest girlfriend down in Boca Raton.”

“Oh.” Grace looked at the list again. She rummaged through her purse and pulled out a pen and began crossing off items. “You don’t need four different types of vegetables, but you do need both mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole, even though they’re both starches. That’s a given for Thanksgiving. Are you going to stuff the turkey?”

“Stuff it with what?”

“Never mind. Just don’t forget to take out the insides before you cook it.”

“The insides?”

“It’s probably not too late to have this catered, you know.”

“Where’s the fun in that?”

“You’re going to give me nightmares. Visions of exploding turkey gizzards are dancing in my head right now.”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving countdown

Today I'm cleaning house and going to Publix like the rest of the swarm trying to get things ready for the upcoming holiday. And tomorrow I'm making pumpkin cake.

I know what you're thinking. Pumpkin cake? But I swear, this stuff is delish. I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin anything but in the right venue, pumpkin is acceptable. Except when it's made into cake. Then it's more than acceptable. My friend Melissa made this at our last Bunco party and she shared the recipe. It's absolutely to-die-for.

Luscious Four-Layer Pumpkin Cake
Prep 20 min total 40 min.

1 pkg. (2layer size ) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg (8oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese softened
1 cup Powdered sugar
1 tub (8oz.) Cool Whip topping thawed
1/4 cup caramel topping
1/2 cup Planters Pecans

Preheat oven to 350 . Grease and Flour 2 (9 in. ) round pans Beat cake mix, 1
cup of pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp of the pumpkin pie spice in large bowl
with mixer on medium speed until blended. Pour into pans. Bake 20-22 min until
centers comes out clean. Cool. Beat cream cheese in small bowl on medium speed
until creamy. Add powdered sugar, remaining pumpkin and remaining pumpkin pie
spice, stir in whipped topping.

Cut each cake horizontally in half. Spread cream cheese mixture between the
layers. Drizzle caramel topping and pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What do you mean they towed my car?

Mike Geraci has a favorite line. "They always stick it to the little man." In the 25 years we have been married, I've heard this line more than I've cared too. More on that later.

So last Saturday, Mike Geraci and I went to see the Seminoles play. We were playing Clemson, and the future of the ACC championship and world peace hung on the outcome. Well, okay, maybe not world peace, but definitely the ACC championship. You see, if we could beat Clemson, then have NC State lose their next game, and if the clouds aligned themselves perfectly in the Universe... You get the drift. We HAVE to beat Clemson in order to have a rat's ass chance of getting in the ACC finals.

More than his empathy for the little man, Mike Geraci loves getting things for free. No, I mean more than the average person. He's not cheap, mind you. He just loves feeling like he's made a bargain. He has a "special" parking spot somewhere near Gaines St (I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you) that he always parks at whenever we go to the football games. No one is there to collect money and although there is a "No Parking. You will get Towed!" sign, nothing ever happens. The only down side to this premiere spot is that it's kind of far from the stadium. Yes, we can park at the civic center and take the bus to the stadium, but Mike Geraci says the bus "is for old people. And we are not old." I always agree with him when he uses this logic on me, btw.

Fast Forward:
Last Saturday I was tired.
So I say to Mike Geraci, "would it be okay to just stay home and watch the game on TV?"
The look of horror on his face made me sigh.
"Okay," I say, "but can we park closer to the stadium? Can you just for once in your life, PAY to park the car?'
"Sure, sure," he agrees quickly. "Whatever you want."

(If I had known it was this easy, I would have played the TV card a long time ago...)

Fast Forward a few more hours:
We get near the stadium at 6pm (game starts at 8) only to find that everyone and Bubba has decided this is the game that they must come to and we "overshoot" the paid parking lots and have to turn around and start over. This will cause a delay of at least 15-30 minutes. Mike Geraci's upper lip begins to bead with sweat despite the chilly 50 some degree temp and I begin to feel bad for him. I see a near deserted parking lot on our left. There are about 15 cars parked there but no parking attendant. There is no business nearby. We are blocking no one. Jackpot! Yes, there is a "No parking you will be towed!" sign, but this means nothing to the Geraci's. We are rebels with good causes. We've come to cheer the Noles to victory, damn it! No one will stop us now.

Fast Forward to the End of the Game:
We win in what is arguably one of the most dramatic field goals in Seminole history (and we've had a lot of those). We are happy. We are singing the fight song and chopping every one we see and they are chopping us back. We don't care that it's cold outside and that our thin Floridian skins are protesting. Our happiness is keeping us warm!

Fast Forward to the moment our happiness is sucked away...
We get close to our "special new spot" and I begin to feel like something is wrong even before I know what it is. You know that feeling, right? And then I see it. The new special spot is gone! In it's place is a deserted (as in NO cars) lot. This can't be the lot we left our car in, is it?

Yes, it is. We, along with about 15 other groups of people stare at the empty lot in dismay. They have towed our cars! Someone (with balls too big for their own good) flags down one of the many cops patrolling the area and demands to know where our cars are. The rest of us listen as the cop smirks, points to the sign and says, "As you can clearly see, this a tow away area. I suggest you all start walking. The tow place is only a mile down the road."

Even if we could get a taxi, it wouldn't matter. Traffic is now blocked in every direction as the rest of the happy Seminole nation is tucked away in their heated cars trying to get back to their house/hotel room/bar/wherever.

After about a mile and half of walking with my fingers freezing, I realize we have been lied to. Mike Geraci walks a lot faster than I do and keeps giving me the 'hurry up' look. I try to walk as quickly as I can because it just occurs to me we are now in the worst neighborhood in Tallahassee and it is midnight and although we are walking with the other idiots who parked where we parked, it doesn't feel too safe.

After our 2 mile trek we finally find the tow place. Only to find that they only allow 1 person in their secured building at a time. I guess this is so the poor schmuck who works there and has to tell you that it will cost you $118 to get your car back doesn't get attacked by an angry, innocent citizen who just parked where no one else was parking to begin with. But, hey, even though we are out some bucks and didn't get home till well after one in the morning and placed our lives in jeopardy by walking where no one should walk after it's dark, you have to look at it this way. No one got hurt. No one got killed. And we are helping the economy by providing business to this poor tow truck place. Or as Mike Geraci says, "Once again, they stuck it to the little man!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I can't believe my new book comes out in less than 3 weeks! I'm so excited about this story. I loved writing The Boyfriend of the Month Club and I can't wait to start seeing it out in the real world.

As many of you know (or maybe you aren't aware) a book is kind of like a movie. The producers (or in this case, the publishers) base a lot on first week sales. So a movie that does great at the box office on opening night is considered a "winner". Kind of the same goes for a book. A lot of what happens to the life of book is based on first week sales. Pre-sales are considered first week sales. so if you've already ordered my book, Thank you!!! You're helping me out with that all critical first week stuff. And in order to thank you properly, and encourage others to order my book or buy it in the first week, I'm holding a big contest. I'm calling it The Year of Reading Voraciously.

This is the low down:
1. Pre-order The Boyfriend of the Month Club or buy it by December 12.

2. Email me the order confirmation to with the word "contest" in the line.
3. That's it!

So what do you win?

The grand prize (selected by random generator) is a $100 gift certificate to Amazon, PLUS a bag full of autographed books (about 12-14 in all). These books are coming from my writer friends who graciously said yes when I asked them would they please help a sista out with her promotion. Yay for my writer friends!

There are also going to be 5 runner up prizes consisting of a $20 Amazon gift certificate, plus a very special Boyfriend of the Month desk top calendar I've had made especially for this contest.

So dont' be shy. Send me your order info and be entered to win this great contest, just in time for the holidays!

Contest ends at midnight December 12 and is open to US citizens only.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Am I smarter than a 5th grader?

Happy Early Thanksgiving! This week, The Knight Agency blog is hosting a week full of Thanksgiving posts and give aways. Each day, a different author will be featured, and today is my day! So if you'd like to find out if I'm smarter than a 5th grader when it comes to Thanksgiving fun facts head on over here. Plus, I'll be giving away a copy of The Boyfriend of the Month Club!

Monday, November 15, 2010

More reviews!

Yay! I got another nice review for The Boyfriend of the Month Club. This is one is from Chicklit Club, which is a great site (in case you've never been there).

Thirty-year-old Grace O'Bryan works at her parents' tourist shop in Daytona Beach. She has waited two months for Daytona's most eligible bachelor, Brandon Farrell, to ask her out. When he finally does, the date is a disaster and ends with Grace knocking over a pitcher of beer into Brandon's lap. Frustrated by her date, Grace and her girlfriends transform their boring book club into a boyfriend of the month club, where women come and review the men of Daytona Beach. Just as the boyfriend club takes off in popularity, Grace finds herself in the unfamiliar position of being pursued by two successful men. Brandon, her former date from hell, turns out to be a very nice guy who wants a second chance. And a fluke incident, that results in Grace having a chipped front tooth, lands her in the chair of sexy dentist Joe Rosenblum. Joe is perfect but Grace wonders if something is missing from their relationship. This is a hysterical novel about a woman trying to find the perfect man. Grace's close-knit family and friends serve as great secondary characters that add so much humour and love to this novel. (AO) 8/10.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Light the Night!

Even though you really can't see me, I'm right there in that group of awesome looking people. Mike Geraci is standing in the middle and you can sort of make him out by the reflection of his glasses. This is a combined pic of 2 teams: Hang Tough, Hayley Hart! and Hayley's Angels. We were the largest teams walking last night in the Light the Night Event, which raised thousands and thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association. We were walking to honor a special little girl, Hayley Hart.

It was a beautiful night, crystal clear weather in the low sixties. We walked two miles around the FSU campus, all of us holding our lit balloons (so cool!) Thank you to everyone who sponsored us!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Giveaway and Promotion woes

Things on my to do list for today:

1. Finish writing the blog post for the Borders True Romance blog and send to Berkley publicist (post will run on Wed, Dec 1 and will be awesome and include a nice prize giveaway, so stay tuned).
2. Finish stuffing promo envelopes that should have been mailed out at least 3 weeks ago (such is the life of a struggling author who has no personal assistant).
3. Finish designing the calendar I started working on last night to promote my "Year of Reading Voraciously" contest. Haven't heard of it yet? You will!
4. Finish updates on my website to send to Jax, my wonderful web person.
5. Pimp my new Facebook giveaway that ends tomorrow morning. See here.
I could go on and on, but the list is just too daunting. If I could just complete the stuff that starts with the word "Finish" then I'll be good...

On a cheery and upbeat note, tonight, along with thousands of others, I'll be walking in the Light the Night fundraiser to help raise money and promote awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'm on Team Hayley's Angels, walking for the sweetest little girl ever.

A special thanks to the Tallahassee Bunco Broads who donated $100 to the cause!

Oh, and don't forget to thank a Veteran today. Their sacrifices make our freedom possible!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

More Reviews!

Yay! The reviews are starting to come in for the new book, and I'm really pleased. One thing each and every one of them has brought up is how likeable Grace is. Which is so important in women's fiction. If you don't like the main character (and the only one whose head you're ever in) it won't make for a very satisfying read. When I was writing Grace, I didn't sit down and think, "okay, how am I gonna make this character sympathetic and likeable?" I just wanted to write about a real woman who I, personally, would want to cheer for.

So that said, here's a sneak peek at my Booklist review (coming out in the Dec 1 issue)

Grace O’Bryan has dated her share of Daytona Beach duds, and so have her girlfriends. They decide to devote their monthly book club to comparing notes on the men to avoid. When Grace’s friend Ellen creates a website and a clever ranking system based on literary heroes and villains, the boyfriend-of-the month club gains a huge following. At the same time, Grace has started dating Joe, her new dentist. He’s handsome, sexy, and altruistic, yet something’s missing between them. Meanwhile, Brandon, a wealthy and charming investor, is trying to help Grace save her family business, and Grace’s friends are sure he’s her one. Geraci, author of Bunco Babes Tell All (2009), is not the first to compare her characters to Mr. Darcy and his brethren, and while this device isn’t unique, her quirky characters and colorful setting certainly are.
— Aleksandra Walker Booklist

“Grace is a likeable character who immediately engages the reader. Her close-knit family and her reading-group friends make interesting secondary characters."
RT Book Reviews

"This is an amusing chick lit contemporary romance starring a likable lead female and a strong support cast especially her Cuban-Irish family, the club members, and her dates."
The Romantic Post

Monday, November 08, 2010

50 Books Everyone Should Read

Side Note: Congratulations to Marian Pearson Stevens who entered my Facebook contest and won the last ARC of The Boyfriend of the Month Club. And a big thanks to everyone who entered and left a comment!

So, I opened my email and got this link to a blog called Associates Degree dot com (I think it's sponsored by different colleges) saying how much they liked my blog, etc (I'm sure it was a form letter, but hey, I was flattered, non-the-less!) asking me to share this post titled 50 Books Every Young Woman Should Read. And since some of my favorite books of all time are on the list, I will happily share it with you (with my own commentary, of course.)

The list is divided into 7 categories.

The Classics:
I've read 4 of the 10 selected classics (5 if you count watching the movie- that would be The Handmaid's Tale) and I know the movie version usually always sucks compared to the book, but watching Robert Duvall try to impregnate poor Natasha Richardson while Faye Dunaway is holding her down is just plain off putting. Although the yummy Aidan Quinn is also in the movie and every scene with him in it almost makes up for the creepiness of Robert and Faye.

The Classics winner for me is, of course, hands down Pride and Prejudice.

Fantasy and Sci Fi:
I'm ashamed to say I have read NONE of the books on this list. Shame on me. Although I did see the movie trailer for Tuck Everlasting. Not sure if that counts or not.

Coming of Age:
This one is hard, because I've read most of the books on this list and have loved them all. Growing up, I'd have said my favorite was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Great book plus Great movie!) but since then, I've read The Secret Life of Bees (have not seen the movie, though) and since it's so fresh in my mind, I'll go with the Bees.

Young Adult and Children's Lit:
Okay, this was a no-brainer for me. Little House in the Big Woods. Sniff, sniff, tear, tear...

Female Relationships:
In contrast to Sci-Fi, I've read EVERY book on this list. Wasn't crazy about The Memory Keeper's Daughter. LOVED Like Water for Chocolate (and hate how the plot has been ripped off so much in so many inferior novels). But I have to go with Little Women as the hands down winner.

Non Fiction:
Haven't read a lot of these, but The Diary of a Young Girl (by Anne Frank) made a Huge impression on me in grade school. I still can't believe how many times it got rejected in publishing circles:

In the summer of 1950, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. turned down the English-language rights to a Dutch manuscript after receiving a particularly harsh reader’s report. The work was “very dull,” the reader insisted, “a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances and adolescent emotions.” Sales would be small because the main characters were neither familiar to Americans nor especially appealing. “Even if the work had come to light five years ago, when the subject was timely,” the reader wrote, “I don’t see that there would have been a chance for it.”

Knopf wasn’t alone. “The Diary of a Young Girl,” by Anne Frank, would be rejected by 15 others before Doubleday published it in 1952. More than 30 million copies are currently in print, making it one of the best-selling books in history.
copied from The Sunday Book Review, The New York Times

Just goes to show that publishers can be big idiots.

And finally, Stories, Poetry and Plays:
Again, I've read none of the listed, although Olive Kitteridge has been on my TBR pile for a year now. Maybe I'll move it up the stack.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Want some writing advice?

Then go to Girlfriends Book Club, where some of today's smartest women writers are offering up their 'If I knew then, what I know now' advice (I'm one of them by the way. Not that I consider myself that smart, but hey, I've put myself in good company, so I guess I'm not too dumb!)

And don't forget, I'm giving away the last available ARC of The Boyfriend of the Month Club. Just go my Facebook fan page and leave a comment by Monday morning 6 am sharp. The winner will get my book an entire month before the rest of the world does!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

An Arc Giveaway!

I have exactly one ARC left. That's an advanced reader copy of my soon to be released novel The Boyfriend of the Month Club. My publicist at Berkley suggested I hold on to the last ARC just in case someone really special requested it. But Oprah hasn't called, so the heck with her. It's up for grabs! All you have to do is go here to my Facebook fan page (you'll have to like me of course, if you don't already) and leave a comment by next Monday morning. That's it!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Neither a Melanie nor a Scarlet be

Today, I'm over at the Girlfriends Book Club talking about female characters. I'd love it if you stopped by!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Who watched Oprah yesterday?

Cuz if you did, it was awesome. Normally, I'm not an Oprah girl (Ellen is more my style). While I love Oprah personally, her shows are usually such downers sometimes. But not yesterday. Yesterday, Oprah reunited the original cast of the The Sound of Music movie. Talk about great TV moments! I remember seeing this movie in the theaters and feeling so overwhelmed. I made my mother buy the record (remember those) and I memorized every word of every song.

Among my favorites moments:

Seeing Julie Andrews looking so awesome.

Having Charmain Carr (Leisl) admit that while filming she had a crush on her "dad" Christopher Plummer. He apparently also taught her how to drink during filming (she was actually 21, not 16 not going on 17).

Seeing the film clip of the real Maria Von Trapp and Julie Andrews singing Edelweiss together.

Discovering that the 35 year old Christopher Plummer was, to put it bluntly, kind of a dog (I'll be honest, I've always found him kind of sexy, even at 80!)

Seeing the audition film clips of the "kids" and hearing their stories.

Seeing Julie Andrews, well, look so awesome (did I already say that?)
Oh, and seeing the real live Von Trapp great-grandchildren on stage singing Edelweiss. Brought a tear to my eye.

Bravo, Oprah!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

High School Drama

I really love that our high school chose the classic Thornton Wilder play "Our Town" for their fall production this year. Megan (my youngest) is playing Mrs. Webb, which I think is a terrific role for her since she's never played an older character before. Plus, Mrs. Webb is kind of, you know, clueless, in that mom way, so I think she presents a really good challenge to get her just sympathetic enough that the audience can identify with her.

The really great thing too about this play, is that just about every adult I've talked to gets this "aw" look on their face when I mention it. Who didn't read this back in high school? Back in the day, at Melbourne Central Catholic High School, we read Our Town in English class and played out the parts. I remember even at 17, feeling nostalgic and a bit sad at the end. When Young Actors Theatre did the play a few years ago, of course, I boo hoo'd like a baby. I expect to cry some tonight too.

If you're in the Tallahassee area, don't miss it (because Mrs. Webb is really going to be fantastic, plus she's been practicing her 'New England' accent!) Lawton Chiles High School, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 pm.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The game is on!

I have a new favorite TV show. Besides The Good Wife, that is. And it's the BBC's production of the modern Sherlock Holmes. And while I have nothing against the movie starring Robert Downey, Jr, that came out recently, this new Sherlock is heads above it. It's funny, fast paced, and even kept Mike Geraci up way past his bedtime (which is saying something for a TV show).

The premise is pretty much like the books, except it's set in 21st century London. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch (you couldn't make up a name that good) Sherlock Holmes is as arrogant and brilliant as ever. And Dr. Watson? The fact that he's being played by Martin Freeman, one of the best and probably most underrated British actors is a huge plus. You might remember Martin from the British version of The Office or maybe from the film Love, Actually (he played the porn star). I'll probably get lots of boos on this one, but I'm one of the few people who feels kind of blah about Love, Actually. I loved some of the stories, but others left me pretty cold. The porn star love story and the rocker/manager story were my favorites by far. Although I did love seeing the Hugh Grant dance scene.

Okay, so Sherlock Holmes. PBS. Sunday nights. Masterpiece Mystery Theatre. Narrated by Alan Cumming (another absolutely fabulous actor, who coincidentally, also happens to star in The Good Wife).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In which Lauren makes a book pyramid

Lauren Baratz-Logstead (fellow Girlsfriend Book Club member and TKA sister) has made a book pyramid (kind of like the food pyramid that the ADA puts out, but with less calories). It's not only humorous, but dead on. Go read it here at the BiblioBuffet.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My first review!

It is a fact universally acknowledged that truth is stranger than fiction. Remember that. Because we'll get back to it later.

But first, I received my first review for The Boyfriend of the Month Club. It's from Publisher's Weekly, and it's good!

Grace O'Bryan has not had good luck with men, so she and three book club friends decide to form a boyfriend club to review the bachelors of Daytona Beach, Fla. Soon Grace finds herself in the difficult position of managing two men: Brandon Farrell, a wealthy businessman, and Dr. Joe Rosenblum, a bighearted dentist. Could one of them be her Mr. Darcy? Though some of the ridiculous situations strain credibility (as when Grace chips her tooth while unwrapping a tampon), her dedication to her warm Cuban-Irish family and their struggling tourist shop is earnest and charming. Geraci (Bunco Babes Tell All) fills the fluffy but enjoyable story with literary references, and her leading lady is endearingly flawed. Romance readers will revel in the Austen-perfect happy ending and the warm friendship among members of the club. (Dec.)

Yay! The biggest worry when you're writing women's fictions, hen lit, chick lit (whatever you want to call it) is that people won't get your heroine. I'm glad this reviewer got Grace.

So back to the truth is stranger than fiction thing. You know the other old saying, "if I wrote it, no one would believe it?" Yeah, well, that cracks me up. Because the truth is, I actually did chip my tooth while unwrapping a tampon.

I have loved OB tampons ever since Mel turned me on to them awhile back. What I don't love is the shrink wrapped plastic cover. It should come with a warning. In the event, you cannot get the plastic to dislodge, do NOT use your teeth to break it open. That's all I'm gonna say on that. Other than, whoever came up with the tagline above is some kind of marketing genius.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Miss Bramble and the Leviathan

My good buddy, Kristen Painter has a new book out today. Which means I have some fun new reading to do (Got this delivered this morning on my Kindle!) I'm excited because Kristen can write a darn good story. And I'm doubly excited because I've never read steampunk before. If you've never heard of steampunk, let me tell you what it is.

Steampunk (according to Wikipedia) Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.

Okay, so maybe that's more than you wanted to know about steampunk. Here's what you need to know about the book:

The last thing she planned to steal was his heart

The Company. Military institution, protector of Praeton and the nation of Grand Isle. Dirty rotten thief.

When Pandora Bramble steps aboard the Company’s premiere airship Daedalus it’s not for the exclusive VIP tour. It’s to secure proof that the Company stole the regulator valve her father designed—even if it means tearing the engine apart. Foiled by the unexpected appearance of a handsome crew member, she despairs of ever getting another chance—until he kisses her.

Captain Theolonius Hatch, sentenced to engine room duty for refusing to take part in the Company’s fleet week activities, never dreamed a woman like Pandora existed. Her brains match her beauty, a combination that adds up to more trouble than he ever expected.

As Pandora allows Theolonius to sweep her into a whirlwind courtship, her wildest dreams come true. As do her greatest fears, leaving her to decide what matters most. Loyalty…or love.
The clock is ticking.

Warning: This book contains airships, mechanical owls, women who are good with tools, men in and out of uniform, steam generated by engines and people, and some hot carriage scenes.

I just love this warning label!

To purchase or get more information, you can go directly to Samhain or go to Amazon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Middle age

It's Monday morning and time to start a new diet. Really. Honestly. It sucks getting older. My knees (or rather my LEFT knee) is starting to feel the pangs of middle age. When you avoid going to the bathroom during the football game because the thought of going up and down all those stadium stairs one more time makes you cringe, then you know you're in trouble. Plus, I do hate making everyone in the row stand up or scooch over to let me through, so I'd rather just hold it in. I have just one more thing to say about stadium stairs and football games. How do you wear four inch wedgie heels to a football game and not fall or break your neck? It's a mystery, that's for sure. Kudos to the chick three rows above me that managed to pull it off. Oh, and go Noles!

On another note, I received an email with the subject line, "Are your hormones out of whack?" I didn't even bother to open it up. Just deleted it right there and then with one swift hit of the key. Take that whoever you are with the audacity to ask such a question!

And on the upside, I found the website of this woman (I was going to say chick, but I suppose she's really a hen) who at age 50, quit her successful job in designer women's fashions and decided to make cookies.

No really.

She went to culinary school, graduated top of her class, then opened a cookie shop in NY. Her business is called One Tough Cookie (don't you love it?) and she's doing really well. This is the logo of her blog, Thinkin' Outside The Cookie.

I know with my vow to lose weight, help my knee out, blah, blah, blah, I should avoid this cookie woman at all costs. However, ONE cookie never hurt anyone. Right?

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm going to miss The Situation

There. I've said it out loud. I'm not ashamed (not much anyway) to admit that I'm actually going to miss Karina and The Situation. He was this week's latest Dancing with the Stars Casualty and personally, I think he was robbed. So yeah, his tango kind of sucked. But the lifts were awesome and I think the judges were way too hard on him.

So, you ask, who do I think should have gotten the boot? Well, while Crazy Eyes Florence Henderson (Dear God, please don't ever let me get so vain that I resort to plastic surgery that makes me look like I've developed some sort of hyperthyroid disease) would have been my answer last week, she and Corky did a rumba this week that was actually kind of funny/sexy. In a weird way. So I'd have to go with Kurt Warner, who honestly, is a huge snooze fest. I predict Kurt will go home next week. For a good looking guy his sex appeal is in the negative numbers.

My personal favs are of course, Jennifer Grey, aka Baby. And that adorable Kyle Massey. I would LOVE to see him and Lacey in the finals.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The color purple

When I was a kid whenever anyone asked me what my favorite color was, I always responded, "red." Red is an awesome color. It's a primary color. It's bright. It's powerful. It makes a statement. It also looks really good on brunettes.

Later, as an adult in my thirties, whenever people asked me what my favorite color was, I'd respond, "green." Green is serene. It's the color of nature. Green means growth and fertility. Um... yes, these were my childbearing years. The years I nourished my little sprouts. The years I barely hung on to my sanity by a thread. Green totally made sense to me back then.

But lately, green has been boring. Don't get me wrong. I still love red and I still love green, but those colors don't talk to me anymore.

"Well, us talk and talk about God, but I’m still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?). . . ."

I wish I'd written that, but of course, it's Alice Walker.

And lately, I'm totally getting the color purple. (I "got" the book years ago- fantastic), but the color itself, I wasn't so sure about until recently. And I blame Mike Geraci for that.

Purple is majestic. It's bold. It's not expected. It's flashy. And if you're Mike Geraci, it's confusing as all out. Honestly, the poor man is either color blind or he missed kindergarten the day they explained the color wheel.

Shortly after we got married, Mike Geraci and I were getting ready to go out somewhere. He was in the shower and shouted out, "Hey! Can you get me my purple shoes?"

I froze. I married a man who wears purple shoes?

"Mike Geraci, you don't own purple shoes. Unless you're hiding them from me, I would have seen them by now."

"Sure I do. They're in the closet." He then proceeded to show me his "purple" shoes.
Yep. There they are. I soon discovered that whenever Mike Geraci can't pinpoint the name of a color, if there's any red to it at all, it becomes purple. The dining room in our house (painted a jeweled maroon tone) was purple. It's like the etc, etc, etc... of colors for him. Except now that it's become my official favorite color, I'm out to educate him on what purple really is. Because I don't want to end up with a maroon sweater for Christmas.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pioneer Woman I am not

I have one word in the war against dog vomit. K2r. Or is that even a word? Okay, maybe it is just 2 letters and a number, but whatever. The stuff works. I came home yesterday afternoon to find a lovely present (aka dog vomit) from Truffles, our Daschund, deposited smack dab on the sisal rug in our living room. Truffles loves me so much she thought it wasn't enough to leave the present in one spot so she spread the love around. Literally.

At the time, I was in a rush. I had promised to make stuffed shells to bring over to a friend's house so I had no time to deal with dog vomit. So I asked myself, what would Pioneer Woman do? Well, she would probably take a picture and then proceed to clean it in expert fashion, describing it detail by detail, ending with a picture of a clean, pristine rug. Unfortunately, I am no Pioneer Woman. So I grabbed some paper towels and (carefully) placed them over the various presents and with my a blind eye to the situation going on in my living room, I made some of the best damn stuffed shells ever. Honestly, this recipe is fantastic. And yes, it is Pioneer Woman's.

So I visited my friend, and ran to my nearby Ace Hardware Store with 10 minutes left to spare before they closed. I LOVE Ace Hardware. The people there are always so friendly.

Maria: "Do you have some of that of R2D2 stuff? You know, the stuff that gets the stains out of stuff you can't wash?"

Ace Hardware Man: "Of course. Back aisle. Would you like me to show you?"

Maria: "Thanks! I got it!"

I then proceed to buy 2 cans of the stuff. Because you never know. And I swear, I'm not making this up, because you know, truth is stranger than fiction. But as I sat down to write this, Fat Boy (aka Lucky Geraci, aka Big Stray Cat we found 6 years ago that never left) came up to me and rubbed himself against my legs. Then proceeded to leave me another present (aka Big Fat Hairball). Ay Caramba!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Page 99

Recently, I stumbled across a website called the Page99test. The idea behind it is that if you open a novel to page 99 (versus like page 1), you'll get a good idea if you want to read the book. I think it's an interesting hypothesis and I plan to start using it when I go a-browsing at bookstores.

It also got me thinking of my own page 99s. So I went to said page on my upcoming novel to see what was what. Kind of interesting. So without any set up other than the blurb on the back of my book, I decided to post page 99 of The Boyfriend of the Month Club. It's a short page because it's actually the beginning of a chapter.

So if you went to the bookstore and picked up my book and flipped it to the back, this is what you'd read:

At thirty, Grace O’Bryan has dated every loser that Daytona Beach has to offer. After the ultimate date-from-hell, Grace decides to take matters into her own hands and turns her dwindling book club into a Boyfriend of the Month Club, where women can come together to discuss the eligible men in their community. Where are the real live twenty-first century versions of literary heroes such as Heathcliff and Mr. Darcy?

Could it be successful and handsome Brandon Farrell, who is willing to overlook his disastrous first date with Grace and offers financial help for her parents’ failing Florida gift shop? Or maybe sexy dentist Joe Rosenblum, who’s great with a smile but not so great at commitment? Unfortunately, just like books, men cannot always be judged by their covers…

Page 99 of The Boyfriend of the Month Club

Grace turned to find Rosie Dimples aka Dr. Joe leaning against his shopping cart. He wore above-the-knee nylon basketball shorts and a T-shirt. Maybe he’d just come from the gym. Grace squelched the urge to reach out and smooth an errant lock of hair off his forehead.

“There’s no chocolate in pistachio ice cream,” she said.

“What is it with women and chocolate?”

It’s the universal substitute for sex, dummy.

She wondered what Dr. Joe would say to that. He’d probably volunteer to fill in for the ice cream.

“It’s one of our daily food groups,” she said instead.

He smiled. “How’s the tooth holding up, Grace?”

So he remembered her name. Had he read her patient satisfaction survey? Melanie claimed he personally read each one. Tomorrow it would be a week since she’d been to his office. Surely he’d read it by now. Which reminded her, she really did need to investigate where Tanya had gone to work so she could find a new dentist. She’d planned to do it right away, but with all the roof drama going on at the store, she’d forgotten. Technically, she supposed, she was still Dr. Joe’s patient.

“The tooth is holding up great. Thanks for asking, Dr. Joe.”

Friday, October 08, 2010

What I learned at Ninc

Yesterday I attended the opening day workshop at Ninc's (Novelist's Inc) conference which was held in beautiful St. Pete Beach. I'm not a member of Ninc (although I'm definitely going to join) but they opened up the first day to non-members and I'm so glad they did. I had a great day, learned a lot, and even got to see a few friends.

The day consisted of 4 panels with the theme: Brainstorming the Future of Publishing.

This is what I learned:

1. Publishers aren't going to market your book. They don't have the time or money to truly promote all their authors. So unless you're Nora Roberts, you better be out there doing something to help yourself.

2. Print advertising does not work. The only thing that really helps promote a book is WORD OF MOUTH. Social marketing (blogs, twittering, facebook) is a way to get word of mouth out there.

3. Traditional publishing, as we know it, is in turmoil. Digital Publishing is huge and will take over the world. Bottom Line: You want your book to be available in ALL forms- print, ebook, audio, etc, so that it can reach the largest audience it can.

4. As an author, you want the LARGEST print run you can get. A 50% sell through is considered a success.

5. Amazon has plans to take over the world and cannot be stopped. Google and Apple have similar plans as well.

6. Piracy is bad.

7. Piracy is good. The more people who read your books, the better. Overall, what you lose in sales, you'll make up for in more sales.

8. Contracts, copyrights, and digital rights are very confusing. Especially when you're daydreaming of the Starbucks kiosk in the center of the hotel...

9. The best way to ensure your book is a success is to write the best book you can.

10. Even the best books fail to be a success for a variety of reasons. Bottom line: Market your book!

11. Baby Boomers are the largest consumers of digital readers and the target audience for ebooks. This will change as digital readers become cheaper. Soon, everyone will be reading books on our phones (if we can still see, that is).

12. Kristen Painter looks nothing like Heather Graham from behind.

13. Al Zuckerman (head of Writers House) needs his own TV show. I'd call it Real Agents of New York.

14. Leigh Duncan and Kristen Painter are the best lunch pals. Ever.

15. It is not nice to be driving on 275 heading from St. Pete to Tampa during rush hour traffic, especially when the Rays have just finished a game.

I finished the day by having dinner with my daughter (Loinfruit) and her lovely friend, Tara. Then the girls took me to their favorite bar, where the bouncer tried to card me (I think he wanted a tip). After breakfast, I plan to head back to Tally, but first a stop at the U of F to visit middle child.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Pink Glove Dance!

Okay, this is just awesome! As most of you already know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and hospitals across the country have been putting together their Pink Glove Dances. This is MY hospital, Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare shown above. I think they did a bang up job! The first group dancing are some of my peeps from labor and delivery!

I'll be hitting the road later this afternoon to Tampa/St. Pete to visit the loinfruit (oldest daughter) and attend Brainstorming on the Beach. I'll just be there for the first day of the conference in which the main topic will be the future of publishing. I'll let you know what they say!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Why Twitter makes me Twitch

The first time I heard about Twitter was a few years ago, when my sister, Carmen (the one who doesn't read my blog or do ANY social networking) gave me an article on how Twittering could help authors market their books.

My response was something like, "Please, Lechuga, I have no time for this!" TRANSLATION: "Please, Lettuce, I have no time for this!" And if you're wondering why I call my sister Lettuce then just read my upcoming novel The Boyfriend of the Month Club and all will be made clear.

But, as with any trend that catches on so quickly it will make your laptop spin, soon, everyone I knew was Twittering, so being the impetuous fool that I am, I hopped abroad the Twitter Train. But I still really had no clue how to effectively Twitter or what I was supposed to do.

So while I was at the Romantic Times Convention in Orlando (2009) I went to an author workshop on Twittering. The workshop was run by some guy who is a famous Twitterer (can't remember his name) and a book reviewer whose site I find amusing and sometimes clever. I was expecting a killer workshop. Ten minutes in, I (and the other 4 people in the room) began to understand why these 2 are such good Twitterers (is that a word?). Lack of eye contact and effective oral communication skills would be one reason. It was probably the strangest workshop I'd ever attended, unless the point of the workshop was that face-to-face communication was a thing of the past (which I refuse to believe.) So I left, confused and thinking Twitter probably wasn't for me, since I'm not a slave to my cell phone and that seemed to be the best way to Twitter.

Then I found Twitter Deck. Yay! I could Twitter while I was on the computer. Except the temptation to run to Twitter Deck and read... well, most times, nothing really important, was too tempting. So even though I was essentially a Twitter voyeur (someone who reads Twitters but does not necessarily engage in the act itself) I had to take Twitter Deck off my computer. When you're writing on a deadline, it's just too distracting.

And then I read Jane Green's blog post on Addictions. Well, heck, if Jane Green doesn't want to Twitter, then why should I? After all, according to the Penguin, USA, book catalogue, fans of Sophie Kinsella and Jane Green will adore me. At least they should adore me. That, however, is still out for debate. And whilst you might say, "Maria, you are no Jane Green!" and I would agree (LOVE LOVE LOVE both Sophie and Jane's books) I couldn't help but take her words to heart.

And in that moment or two after reading it and digesting it a bit, I came to the liberating realization that Thank God, we are not all alike and that what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. And while I believe I'm terribly witty and charming in real life (and in my books), I don't think I'm especially suited for the Twitter medium. And I know I don't have the patience it takes to build a Twitter audience that would have any sort of impact on my book sales. So while I continue to be a Twitter voyeur and an occasional Twitterer, it's okay that this is one social medium I won't be losing any sleep over.

Note: In an act of supreme semi-hypocrisy, I have just Tweeted this post.

Monday, October 04, 2010


People always ask me how I think up my stories. My sister Carmen (who I dedicated The Boyfriend of the Month Club to) finished reading it yesterday and proclaimed it a masterpiece. Okay, maybe not a masterpiece exactly, but she loved it. Said she laughed a lot and found it very romantic and satisfying. I was thrilled to hear it, because she's the type of person who always says what she means. Being her sister is not a free pass to a good review.

So back to my topic. In the course of the conversation she asked me how I came up with different plot twists, character actions, etc, etc...
I really didn't have a good answer for her except to say that "The story always seems to write itself." Which sounds like a bunch of boohooey, except that it's true.

Lately, I've been very interested in the creative process and how things come about. After some analysis of what works for me and what doesn't, I've come to the conclusion that I've heard many writers say and that's that the story is already inside you. It's just waiting to come out and if you let your creative juices flow, then it will happen. In the famous words of the Beatles, "Let it Be."

And when you let it be, it seems, inspiration comes from the heavens and gently taps you on the shoulder. The film Bull Durham inspired a great deal of my first book Bunco Babes Tell All. Memories of my childhood and growing up in Florida, inspired the backdrop of The Boyfriend of the Month Club.

And while I was taking a break yesterday from writing, I opened up some Yeats to read (poetry is the most awesome inspiration) and was suddenly given an important clue to one of my character's motivation. So there you go. And off I went. I love it when this happens!

Where do you find your inspiration?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Donate to Hayley's Angels and help fight Leukemia

Many of you know that besides writing fun and romantic novels, I have another job as well. I've been a labor and delivery nurse for 25 years now. It's a job I love almost as much (and some days more) than my writing job. Labor and Delivery is one of the happiest, most fulfilling areas of a hospital for a nurse to work in. But some days my job sucks. For some couples there is no happy-ever-after in L&D. Those days are rough.

Another thing some of you might know is that I'm a fluent Spanish speaker so at times I help out around the hospital by translating for our Spanish speaking patients. This is usually not a happy time either. Most times I go to the ER and give someone bad news. The other night I got called to Pediatrics. A young boy had just been diagnosed with leukemia and I had to tell his parents. It was especially hard because I wanted to tell them that everything would be okay. But as a health care professional, you can't give out false hope. I don't know if it will be okay. And that's hard.

Last year, the daughter of a mutual friend was diagnosed with this terrible disease. She was just 4 years old. The agony I saw on those parents' faces the other night must have been the same look that Michelle and Lance Hart had when they were told their precious angel, Haley, was sick. The Hart family has been through a lot in the last year. Lots of trips to the University of Florida Shands Teaching Hospital for chemo. Lots of hotel stays. Lots of nights spent up worrying. I'm happy to say that Hayley just celebrated her fifth birthday and her prognosis is very good. She is the bubbliest, sweetest, most precocious red headed little girl you can ever hope to meet.

This November, I'm going to be participating in the Light the Night Walk, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's evening walk and fundraising event. It is the nation's night to pay tribute and bring hope to thousands of people battling blood cancers and to commemorate loved ones lost. Team Hayley's Angels needs your help. We're very close to achieving our goal to raise $3000. Would you please consider making a donation? Anything will help. You can click on the link right here.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

To ABC, that's a big fat NO

To the brilliant executive over at Mike Fleiss headquarters who decided to make Brad Womack the next Bachelor? Thank you. You've finally cured me of Sucky-tv-itits (that's the addiction to terrible TV even when you know it's bad but can't help yourself).

Honestly. Are there no better single men in America?

In case you need reminding, Brad Womack is the guy who didn't pick anyone and whose season generated the very classy Deanna. Not.

But that's not why I think he'll make a bad Bachelor. The fact he didn't pick anyone should make him a great pick. Except Brad Womack is about as exciting as Melba toast. I thought Jake the Fake was the worst pick ever. But at least he was watchable (in an awful train wreck kind of way). Brad Womack was a bore fest the fist time, so unless he went to Exciting Bachelor College, I don't see the new season being anything other than a rehash of his last season with lots of emphasis on the huge nail biting theme of "will Brad pick anyone??" He's supposedly been in "counseling" to get over his commitment issues. *heh*

The only thing I can see saving this show is if Brad's twin brother (who made an appearance on his original season) comes in and takes over and fools us all.
I can just see Chris Harrison now, "Something you and the viewers haven't been aware of is that... it's not really Brad you've been dating!"
Now that would be the most dramatic show ever.

Or maybe instead of picking no one, or picking just one girl, Brad will go the polygamist route and actually propose to both girls at the end. We'll just have to see. Or rather, I'll just have to hear/read about it. Cuz I'm not wasting my time on this scuzball.

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