Leaves Aren’t The Only Things That Are Falling Right Now…

So if you’ve read any of my books, you know that I write stuff that’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from, say, Fifty Shades of Grey.  My stuff isn’t even three shades of ecru.  Anyway, one writer’s group of which I am privileged to be part is called Clean Indie Reads, and if you happen to prefer sweet rather than spicy reading material, you might want to check some of these authors out.  And now’s the perfect time because many of us have joined together in a HUGE sale through October 11th, and prices have temporarily “fallen”

(Get it?  Heh heh…  Sorry, I should probably “leaf” that one alone…)

You can find all three of my Heavenly Bites novellas there on sale for 99 cents right now, but if you prefer other genres than romance, you’re in luck–they’ve got ’em galore!

Here’s a link to the Fall Sale web page with all the books if you’d like to check them out. There are even several freebies.  Can’t beat that!  🙂

So, anyway, just a little FYI for you all…  Have a good one!

Hot, Hot, Hot…

Um, just to be clear about the title, I’m referring to the temperature outside, not announcing a steamy new story I’ve been working on…

Where I live, we’re smack in the middle of a stretch of triple-digit-temperature days; maybe it’s like that where you are, too.  At times like this I find myself wondering about two things:  1) could I possibly fit my whole body inside my refrigerator, and 2) why are hot summer days in movies supposed to be sexy?

I expect to be conducting my own experiments to determine the answer to #1 later today, but as far as #2 goes, I’m stymied.  In the movies it always seems like a hero and heroine can catch each other’s eyes across a stuffy room/barn/dance hall/gladiator arena and just barely resist the urge to pounce on each other as sweat already drips off of every inch of their exposed skin.  When I’m that hot and sweaty, I gotta admit that I’m not much in the mood for pouncing on anything except maybe a giant snow cone.

(Although my hubby and I HAVE been grappling with each other a lot for the squirt bottle and a good spot under the ceiling fan.  Does that count as sexy…?)

Maybe I’m just being snarky because I’ve been getting over a summer cold, though.  “Come hither” looks don’t work nearly as well when one’s eyes are red-rimmed and puffy. But at least it’s better than having the flu, if this video clip from Parks and Recreation is anything to go by:

So it definitely could be worse, I know, and I will try to keep that in mind.  In the meantime, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the icebox…

Who Doesn’t Love A Sale?

I’m poking my head out of my writer’s cave for a moment to let you know about a special sale on one of my books–and no, I don’t really have a cave, but wouldn’t it be cool if I did? Kind of like the Bat Cave only with fewer bats and more ice cream…

Anyhoo… my Heavenly Bites Novella Collection is a Kindle Countdown Deal this week on Amazon which means it’s temporarily marked down from $3.99 to only 99 cents.  So if you haven’t read my novellas and would like to see what a buck will buy you these days, now would be the perfect time to use that Amazon one-click button.

Here’s the link, and here’s a pretty picture:

HeavenlyBitesPrintSCALED-2

Have a great week!  🙂

Speaking Of Recycling…

Yesterday was Earth Day, and in honor of that, today I am recycling a piece I wrote last year in order to share it with you anew. If you print it out, I think you will also find that it is compostable, so it is doubly environmentally conscious. (Dang, I’m good!)

Isn’t It Romantic—Or…Could It Be the Death of You?

You might think that, as someone who writes romances, I would be prone to seeing opportunities for romance all around me in real life, too. And I am…to a certain extent. Problem is, I also like to write things like suspense and even the occasional sinister ghost story. Which means I have just as great a tendency to see the potential for harm in even the most innocent of situations.

What can I say? I’m an author. We’re a disturbed people.

So it makes it hard for me to plan elaborate romantic scenarios for my husband and me even though—in theory—I think date night is a wonderful idea. Maybe you do, too. If so, I feel it is my solemn duty to make you aware of some potential pitfalls you may not have anticipated. Consider these examples:

  • Go for a horse and carriage ride through the park. Surely you’re joking. Didn’t you see that Seinfeld episode? If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Google it, please. For your own protection.
  • Pass secret love notes in the library. Very romantic—until your love notes inadvertently get intercepted either by a militant librarian who shames you in front of the whole library…or by a secret government operative who mistakes your love-talk for an enemy agent’s code. Hey, it could happen.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through the woods, hand-in-hand. According to modern cinema, this is every axe murderer’s dream scenario. At least promise me you’ll bring pepper spray. Or a taser.
  • Meander along back roads without any particular destination in mind. Uh huh. Then your GPS breaks down, your car gets a flat tire, and three days later Search and Rescue workers find you and your sweetie battling it out over who gets to gorge themselves on that lone Tic Tac you discovered in the back of the glove compartment. Few relationships survive this kind of thing.
  • Share an ice cream cone on a scorching summer day. Certain people may be a tad possessive over their ice cream cones and turn feral if anyone else tries to take a bite. My husband has the scars to prove it.
  • Go for a midnight swim in a lake. Nothing good EVER lives at the bottom of a lake. Don’t you ever go to the movies?
  • Go singing/dancing in the rain. Concerned onlookers will likely call 911, and police will gently escort you to the psychiatric ward of the nearest hospital.
  • Walk barefoot in the park. Um…not everybody cleans up after their dogs when they walk them, you know.
  • Kidnap your special someone from work. A coworker gets the wrong idea, makes a call, and WHAMO!—a SWAT team tackles you in the parking lot.
  • Sign up for a sculpting class together. Sure it was romantic in Ghost. But it didn’t turn out so well in Naked Gun, did it? And who’s going to clean up the mess, I ask you? Who?

I hope these examples have given you reason to think twice before diving willy-nilly into something reckless like a moonlit picnic or any other hazardous activities with your special someone. Take my advice: just stay in, curl up on the couch together, and read a good book. Like, say…The Bargain, a delightful contemporary romance featuring a socially-awkward tomboy and the reformed ladies’ man she just might sweep off his feet. No, really, it’s delightful. My mother said so.

And in the meantime…let’s all be very careful out there.

Sending Stories Abroad

Since I can’t afford to send myself to Europe, I’ve been wondering if the next best thing would be to see if it would be feasible to send my books there instead, à la foreign translations (although I’m sure they wouldn’t enjoy the food nearly as much as I would). Foreign markets are both an intriguing possibility and a bit of a mystery to me.  What exactly is involved in translating a book for a foreign market?  What are the legal ramifications of undertaking such a project?  Would I get to work with someone who has a charming Italian accent?  So many questions…

Recently, I was fortunate enough to stumble onto a podcast featuring author Courtney Milan and her experiences with foreign publishing rights that helped answer the question: can I really do something like that with my own books?  And basically the answer is no, not unless I come into a large sum of money sometime soon.  Drat.  Guess I’ll have to start buying lottery tickets again.

I know what you’re thinking: buying lottery tickets is not a practical way to plan for a project such as this one.  Not to worry!  I have a back-up plan!  Namely, to learn a foreign language and write the translations for my upcoming contemporary romances myself. Foolproof, eh?  Granted, it will take some time, but I’m already off to a good start.  For example, I already know how to ask where the post office is in Japanese, and from there it’s really just a hop, skip, and a jump to “Darling, I love you, and I cannot live without you. Let us go to the post office together and mail off our wedding invitations.  But…where is the post office?”

I’m working on my French, too.  I can count to ten, ask where the toilets are, and explain that my sister would like bread and milk.  The storyline practically writes itself.  I’m telling you, I think I’m on to something…

C’est vrai, n’est-ce pas?  🙂

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

We can’t all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by going to Ireland–although it sure would be lovely, wouldn’t it?  So here’s a little music and some beautiful landscapes to help you travel there even if it’s only in your imagination…


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  🙂

And The Nominees Are…

No, I’m not going to the next Academy Awards, but I am tickled pink to share the news that my second Crimson Romance novel, The Bargain, is one of the nominees for a RONE Award in the category of Contemporary – General:

TheBargainCover

Pardon me while I do a few fist pumps in the air…

…Okay, I’m done.  (For now…)

2013_RONE_Nominee_200

The RONE Awards are featured on the online magazine InD’Tale’s site here, and the folks at InD’Tale are very supportive of self- and small-publishers–thank you, InD’Tale!  I was thrilled when an InD’Tale reviewer gave The Bargain a lovely 5-star review a few months ago, and to be included as a RONE nominee now is a wonderful bonus.

Voting for the Contemporary – General category will be March 17- 23, and if you’ve read The Bargain and are interested in voting for it, here are the directions on InD’Tale’s website:

“You must be a subscriber to vote online.  If you choose not to sign-up, you can still vote by sending your specific votes to:  anasmith@indtale.com   Emails will only be accepted during corresponding week of voting. Please include Genre, book and author in your email.”

The book’s up against some other great titles, so regardless of the final outcome, I really am just honored to be nominated.  Thanks again, InD’Tale!  🙂

Love And Your Local Car Dealership

Did you know that a car dealership can actually be an ideal place in which to test the strength of your romantic relationship?  Really, it’s true.  I just found that out for myself the other day…

Recently I had to make the difficult decision as to whether or not to repair my old car or bite the bullet and get a new one.  Actually it wasn’t really all that difficult a decision since my old car was about 24 years old and limped along more than it drove, but I was very anxious since buying a new car meant I would either have to negotiate with a salesperson myself or fake a seizure and motion for said salesperson to make a deal with my husband instead.  For an introvert like myself, the latter option held a certain appeal.

But while my loving husband did come along to the dealership with me, I actually tried to take the lead in the car-shopping process myself instead of just dumping the whole thing in his lap.  (We’re still not entirely sure if that was a good thing or not.)  After spending time researching online, I found a suitable automobile prospect at a local dealership, we called ahead, and then we went down to meet with a saleslady.  (For the purpose of this blog post, let’s call her Mabel, because quite frankly I think the name Mabel is grossly underused in today’s society.  And because it’s my blog, and I can do what I want.  Ha!)

On the way there, we discussed bargaining strategies and whether or not we should prearrange secret signals to use:  tugging on an earlobe meant “I don’t like this particular deal/car/upholstery/strange odor, let’s get out of here;” scratching a nose meant “They’re trying to play hardball with us, but I think we can take ’em; offer to throw in a cheesecake;” and wrapping one’s arms around the steering wheel of the car being test driven and refusing to let go meant “I love this car and must have it, and if you try to talk me out of it, I will shriek like a banshee.”  Needless to say, our adrenaline levels were high.

As soon as we pulled into the lot, salespeople popped up on all sides.  Highly-trained military operatives could not have appeared on the scene with more speed or precision.  I may or may not have squeaked and tried to prevent my husband from unlocking our car doors at that point, but he calmed me down, squeezed my hand, and we made it inside the building without incident.

Since this was my first time taking the lead in buying a car, I was understandably anxious that I not come across as a gullible fool who would take the first deal that was offered to her.  This might have made me overly mistrustful, as evidenced by when the saleslady introduced herself to us by saying, “Hi, I’m Mabel,” and I responded with a sneer and an icy “Sure you are, lady.”  But somehow we made it through the test drive and wound up at a desk, discussing pricing.

I don’t consider myself a shrewd negotiator, primarily because I fear confrontation of any kind–which tends to work against you when you’re trying to talk someone down to a lower price range.  On the plus side, I remembered to start with a lower number than the actual sticker price, so I’m calling that a win.  There were a number of offers and counter-offers, each one leaving me more tense than the last because I was so sure I was going to say the wrong thing and wind up somehow ruining us financially.  Don’t ask me how; paranoia was in the driver’s seat by that point, not logic.

Plus I wasn’t confident in my ability to recognize a genuinely good deal, so every time “Mabel” got up to go speak to her boss, I’d give my husband a furtive look and say, “What do you think?”  At which point he would respond with, “I don’t know–what do you think?”  And this would go on until one of us would see the saleslady returning, hastily shush the other, and then try to blurt out an insightful question about the car that would convince her that we actually knew what we were doing.  (My husband and I are both remarkably indecisive people.  It’s kind of amazing that we managed to set a wedding date or even decided to get married at all:  “Should we get married?”  “I don’t know–do you think we should get married?”  “I asked you first…”)

We were there for a couple of tension-filled hours, but in the end a deal was struck with which we felt comfortable, and I staggered out of there on my husband’s arm feeling both triumphant and dizzy.  And also a little nauseous.  But we had done it!  And my husband held my hand throughout the whole stressful thing–sometimes literally–and I like to think our marriage is even stronger than it was before, because any man who can talk me off an emotional ledge like my husband can is a true keeper.

But here’s hoping we don’t have to buy another car anytime soon…  🙂

10 Valentine’s Day Ideas For The Unconventional

Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and if you’re still frantically trying to figure out the perfect way to celebrate, look no further!  I’ve complied a list of ten delightful romantic activities to present to your significant other, each of which I think will result in a special occasion he or she will never forget.  Even if they want to.

1.  Sign up for tango lessons.  Preferably with each other.  Don’t forget to stretch first–nothing ruins a good tango like a pulled hammy.

2.  Enjoy an elegant candlelight dinner on a luxurious yacht.  I do recommend that you get permission from the owner of the yacht first, or at the very least, confirm ahead of time that your pookie pie can swim in case you two will need to dive overboard to avoid an angry boat owner.

3.  Write an original poem for each other.  Set parameters in advance so one partner does not present the other with an epic work of multiple verses only to discover that his or her sweetie has chosen to go with a limerick and a few questionable choices in rhyme.

4.  Have a friend plan a “mystery date” for you and your honey bun.  Be sure this friend is someone you trust completely and who does not owe you such a significant amount of money that he or she would benefit if you never returned from said mystery date.

5.  Discover the hidden romance in yodeling.  In public.  Go ahead, I dare you.

6.  Give dining at a revolving restaurant a try.  Do pack Dramamine in case something goes horribly wrong.

7.  Play matchmaker with your single friends.  For added fun, do it without their knowledge and then laugh and laugh and laugh…

8.  Dance cheek-to-cheek.  Which cheeks you use are entirely up to you.

9.  Snuggle together with hot buttered rum in front of a roaring fire.  If you or your sweetheart don’t drink, just have hot butter.

10.  Role play “Pirate Captain” and “Saucy Wench.”  Flip a coin to see who gets which role.

There you go!  If those 10 activities don’t just scream “romance,” then I don’t know what does.  Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!  😉

In Celebration of Furry Critters–And I Don’t Mean Hairy Football Players

It’s that time of year:  Groundhog Day!  Yay!  Did you get all your cards mailed out on time? Decorate the house and yard festively?  Plan the party of the season and invite all the A-listers?  Yeah, neither did I…  Well, I invited a few, but so far Tom Hiddleston STILL hasn’t RSVP’d.  🙁

Maybe you’re sitting around in a football jersey instead with your face painted and your coffee table covered with enough chips and dip to feed a small nation, so caught up in the Superbowl frenzy that you forgot today was a very important day for one particular rodent: Punxsutawney Phil.   He’s a cute little fella, but since I just found out that he’s predicted six more weeks of cold, dark winter, he’s in the doghouse as far as I’m concerned.  Bad rodent!

Hope you all have a nice Groundhog Day nevertheless, and if you plan on watching the Superbowl–or, like me, just the commercials–I hope you enjoy that, too.  In the meantime, here’s a clip from the movie Groundhog Day in which Bill Murray re-lives the day over and over and–at least in this part–attempts to use that to his advantage.  Enjoy!  🙂