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!

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