Thursday, December 28, 2006

If you haven't read my books yet...

I have a suggestion for you.

But first let me say this ... I live on a budget and don't have tons of time to try out as many new authors as I'd like. Of course, I'd appreciate it if you bought the books outright because that's how I make a living.
So that's why I'm telling you about It works like Netflix where you can rent books and have them delivered to your house. If you haven't read In Between Men, Hot Tamara or Friday Night Chicas yet, check this service out or go to your local library. (By the way, if your library doesn't carry my books, drop me a note and I'll bug the librarian to add it to their collection!)


Friday, December 22, 2006


I can't help but share the news that the Little Dude took his first steps yesterday! You'd think he was the first human to accomplish walking but I'm so proud!

And yet, I'm terrified every time he takes off. It wouldn't be overdoing it if I wrapped him in bubble wrap, now would it?

Rascal the pug is greatly dismayed that he has to run for his life when the Little Dude goes after him.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Authors I Will Read in 2007

I swear this is not a plug for my own work! I just had to show off this gorgeous cover. (Ahem) But if you want to buy the book, it will be in stores May 2007.

Now onto the business at hand ... this is a partial list. I didn't do repeats from my Top Ten because you already know I love them, and I have a room full of gifts that need to be wrapped before this weekend.

6. Margo Candela will make her debut with Underneath It All next month. Read her. You won't be disappointed!

5. The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason, in Hollywood-speak is "Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Jane Austen." Ever since I found her on MySpace and then read the teasers about her new book, I've been anxiously waiting for this one to hit stores next month.

4. Anne Mallory and I met as brand new Avon authors back in 2004. But having read her historical romances, I know she's going to be a best seller and I'll have the bragging rights to say I read her back when. (And that we were bought by the same editor!) Unfortunately I have to wait till August 2007 when her next book, What Isabella Desires, is released. But I won't ask Avon for an ARC or a freebie. Yes, I will purchase it from my favorite bookseller!

3. Sonia Singh's Goddess for Hire came out two years before my first book and after I read it, I wondered why Avon Trade bought me. I mean, I wasn't as good as her! (Author insecurity is a terrible thing.) So when Josie Brown got us together to tour the Hard Rock Cafes, I was a little intimidated. But then after one drink too many at the Hard Rock Cafe in L.A., (it was my first night out without my then five month-old baby and husband) I blurted to Sonia that she needed to start writing more explicit sex scenes because she never showed us what the guys look like naked. It was one of those make or break moments where you could end up with a drink in the face or a laugh. Sonia laughed and we've been buddies ever since. Having said that, even if Sonia continues to toy with us in her next book, Ghost,Interrupted, I'll still read it!

2. Marsha Moyer is in the pantheon of my all-time favorite authors. After reading her first two novels (The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch and The Last of the Honkytonk Angels), I was crushed to discover that her third book had not been scheduled for release. But just the other day, when I went to her website to see what she was up to, I realized there is a publishing God. Her third book, Heartbreak Town is coming in June 2007! Read the first two and you will be mesmerized.

1. Sacha Boutros is a jazz musician not an author and since this is my list, I figure I can fudge the rules a bit. When I was writing the character of Sela from "Till Death Do Us Part", I could only hear her voice for the longest time. Usually I see my characters first and then hear their voices. But it made sense that Sela (who is a struggling jazz singer and musician) had a very clear, distinct voice. Later when I heard Sacha on MySpace, I went very still like a ghost had just walked into my room. She sounded just like Sela. If you read "Till Death Do Us Part", I highly recommend that you do so with Sacha's gorgeous serenade.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Top Ten Books I Read in 2006

In Between Men got a great review from Trashionista! She compared me to Jennifer Crusie!!!
And what did I do in return? Stole Trashionista's idea for a Top Ten list. So here we go:

10. When you find a book with a heroine named Cynthia Lopez who is aided by two fairy god-fathers, you can't pass that up. Berta Platas cracked me up with her romantic comedy, Cinderella Lopez that was at times bitter, spicy and then oh so sweet when Cyn kicked some evil step-sister ass in some bitchin' high heels.

9. I don't know what I was thinking by leaving Most Wanted by Michele Martinez on my TBR pile for a year. What an idiot! I picked it up and couldn't put it down till the end. And because I read it so fast, I had to reread it for the parts that I missed. If you love mysteries, New York and a tortured heroine who is a federal prosecutor, new mom and caught between two sexy, imperfect men, then check out the first book in the Melanie Vargas series.

8. When I mentioned that I love Emily Brightwell's Mrs. Jeffries Mystery Series to my editor, she just about fell out of her chair with delight. She described Emily perfectly, "She's the coziest of the cozies!" The latest book, Mrs. Jeffries Appeals the Verdict was the most complex and suspenseful of the series. Emily had me wondering if Mrs. Jeffries and her crew would actually solve the case. I won't say more other than if you want a book to keep you warm during the winter months, Emily has more than 20 Mrs. Jeffries mysteries to keep you occupied!

7. The Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas is one of those stories rich with turbulent emotions and an unrepentant hero paired with a wounded, yet resilient heroine. I used to be one of those people who scoffed at historical romances until the owner of New and Recycled Romances insisted that I try one of Lisa's books. I immediately saw the error of my ways and I'd say that 75% of my keeper shelf consists of historicals, especially those by Lisa.

6. Even though I read Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips last summer, I reread it again a few months ago. (What else can a girl do when she has to wait so long for Susan's next book?) Anyway, Susan Elizabeth Phillips always makes me forget that I'm reading a book. The characters are so vivid they're almost real. Just when she cracks me up, Susan turns around and smacks me upside the head with a scene that is so emotional, I'm suddenly crying. In public, no less.

5. When I first heard Reyna Grande read at the Chica Lit Conference in Miami, I was in awe of her. She is truly a storyteller and one of the most humble people I have ever met. Across a Hundred Mountains is one of those stories that stick in the memory. Even though there is ugliness and horrific tragedy, there is also salvation and grace.

4. If you read my blog regularly (read the post from 1/15/06), then you know how I feel about Do They Wear High Heels in Heaven by Erica Orloff. If I say anything more, you'll think Erica and I are lovers.

3. I'd always noticed A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly on the book shelves but for some reason never picked up till last week. Couldn't put it down, even when the Little Dude found some knives and began throwing them at Rascal. (That didn't really happen, by the way.) Jennifer's crystal clear prose and especially her heroine, gave me courage to plump the depths of a character who has been popping into my head.

2. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin is another book that I've raved about on this blog. As I go down this list, it gets harder to explain why I love these books so much. The best I can do is say that they make me forget about being a writer; I can be a reader with them. But when I've reached the end and the writer in me wakes up with excitement, eager to stretch out of my comfort zone.

1. This summer my family went to Carmel for a week. My mother-in-law and I had numerology and aromatherapy readings done at Pilgrim's Way Bookstore and Garden. While waiting for my numerology appointment, I found Thich Nhat Hanh: Essential Writings. Among other things, I had been wrestling with issues about someone whom I had thought was a friend but turned out not to be. This book helped me to realize that this person's behavior was a mirror of my own negative traits. It was a very profound, very liberating lesson to understand that the people who "challenge" us are often our most profound spiritual teachers. That is, if we open our eyes to the lesson.

Every time I open the pages of this book , I feel as if my eyes are opened anew and it will be one of the books I'll reread in the final days of this year.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Big Tease

Check out the teaser of my upcoming novella, "Till Death Do Us Part" that will appear in the anthology, Names I Call My Sister!

Again, thank you all for your thoughtful comments and emails. By the way if Francoise were here, she'd want me to tell you that she was Gypsy Rose Lee (above) in a former life.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Waking Up

Yesterday we had to let go of our little girl pug, Francoise. She had been hit with a very aggressive form of intestinal cancer. It was time to end her suffering. She was six years old.

Most of the morning I sat with her in the sun next to her favorite lemon tree, reassuring her that we loved her, we would take care of her brother, Rascal and the Little Dude and that it was okay for her to go. It was a beautiful, sad day because I don't know about you, but most of my days are a blur of activity and worrying and thinking. They're like dreams on fast forward.

But as I scratched Francoise's fuzzy ears next to the lemon tree, and then later, placed my hand on her head while the vet administered the euthanasia, I've never been more awake, more in tune with the present moment. And I'm so happy, so privileged to have helped someone I loved to let go.

I still tear up when I see Francoise's leash and harness by the hall door, or when I think about how she'd sit with her hind legs spread-eagled. But then the tears ebb when I see Rascal and the Little Dude come tearing around the corner, off to carry out some mischief. (Last night I caught them trying to get into one of the toilets.) I remember to live in the present, to go running after them without any thought about what I should be writing or what I should be doing. Francoise taught me that. She was a wise little soul.

Friday, December 08, 2006

This morning when I checked my horoscope, I had no idea that it would actually come true.

It said:
One of your most admirable characteristics is that even when you feel like
giving up, your internal drive keeps you going. Someone gives you a boost today,
and you find that with some encouragement, your creativity takes off.

Well with two weeks of not writing, waiting for responses on my proposals and a box and a half of books I couldn't sell, I had sprouted an ugly case of the mean reds. Had I risked too much by writing full-time? Do I have what it takes to become a profitable, much less best-selling author? Gee, maybe I should look into getting a real job.

But when I hauled my boxes to the mail box center, one of the guys peeked inside and saw my book. He took one out to read the back cover and a lady standing next to me happened to see it. She asked what I wrote and when I showed off Hot Tamara and In Between Men, she told me to sign one copy each and then handed me cash for both books!

I was so flustered. Now that I think about it, I hoped I spelled my own name right! When I sat in my car and processed what happened, I had one of those quiet moments where I could actually feel the words, thank you.