Some Say It’s The REAL Holiday…

I saw this image on a Facebook post this morning, and I briefly toyed with the idea of hotfooting it down to the local grocery store to take advantaged of such rumored prices. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t or else instead of typing this blog post I’d be lying passed out on my couch in a chocolate-induced food coma with chocolaty evidence of my indulgence smeared all over my hands and face.

Valentine’s Day was mostly chocolate-free around here actually–hubby and I decided to stay in instead of going out, and we whipped up a roasted chicken with caramelized root vegetables that turned out to be melt-in-your-mouth delicious; who needs chocolate?  Our thanks to the Food Network, and if you’d like to try this simple yet scrumptious recipe for yourself, visit the link here.

In addition to experimenting in the kitchen, I’ve been experimenting with the written word as I work on the next book in my romantic comedy Adventures in Blind Dating series which is long overdue.  You remember the first one, right?  Here’s a picture to jog your memory:

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So yep, Book Two (Center Stage) is currently in the works and Book Three (The Fix-Up Mix-Up) isn’t far behind.  I’m happy to say that I should have cover art in a couple of weeks to show you for Book Two, and I hope to release it next month.  Fingers crossed…

In the meantime, here are pics from our Valentine’s Day featuring hubby modeling his favorite apron while he minces garlic; the finished chicken product; and the table that we set as prettily as possible but that is in reality usually covered in mail, books, and other assorted “stuff.”  So you see, I HAD to take a picture to document THAT…

Hubby acting as hand model–what a way with mincing!–GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Yum…  — GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Doesn’t look quite this pretty today, but it was fun while it lasted…  –GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day as well, and if you want to grab yourself some of that 70%-off candy, you’d better hurry before it gets switched out for the Easter sweets–

Oops, too late.  Dang, those grocery store stock boys work fast!  Well, enjoy those Cadbury cream eggs…

Just For Valentine’s Day

Hope you’re having a wonderful Valentine’s Day!  And nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like a chance to win something–well, unless it’s chocolate, or a sweet card, or something sparkly, etc., but anyway–

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Crimson Romance–the publisher of my first two books, Coming Home and The Bargain–has a sweepstakes going on through the end of February that has as a prize a Kindle Fire preloaded with 25 of Crimson’s books.  (Which makes me wonder if it ought to come with a warning, because with that much romance, you might just overdose.  But what a way to go!  Am I right, or am I right?)

If you’re feeling lucky, check it out at this link here.

If you prefer not to gamble and like more of a sure thing, you might consider checking out the huge sale of Crimson books happening on Amazon right now.  All of their kindle books are on sale for $1.99 this month, and there’s a little something for everyone:  suspense, sweet, supernatural… you name it, they’ve got it.

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If you’re interested, the link to the sale is here.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to spend a little quality time with my valentine…

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!  😉

Time To Introduce My Little Darling To The World–Or, Promo

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Sure, Playing Cupid went live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble last week, but I was so busy writing it that I got a late start on lining up some promo for it (oops–heh heh…), but, hey–better late than never.  Besides, it’s a Valentine’s Day story, so I figure February is a good time to get a semi-official blog tour going, right?  Right.

Thank you to the bloggers and reviewers who very kindly squeezed me into their reading and/or blog schedules!  There are spotlights, excerpts, giveaways, and even a few reviews on tap.  Here’s what’s planned–and the first stop is actually still in January, so I’m feeling more on-the-ball by the minute:

January 31:  Romance & Beyond

February 3:  Le Book Squirrel

February 4:  My Recent Favorite Books

February 6:  Musings From An Addicted Reader; Lisa Is A Bookworm

February 7:  Read Your Writes Book Reviews; Zemfirka Blogs; Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life

February 8:  Toot’s Book Reviews; Aleksandra’s Corner

February 10:  Bookworm Brandee

February 14:  Rookie Romance; Paperbacks and Pastries; Getting Your Read On

February 24:  Lusty Penguin Reviews

Plus Tome Tender and A Novel Review Blog are going to try to schedule something in February, too, but I don’t have dates yet.  And thank you to those of you who have already left reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.  It is much appreciated!  🙂

Guess What’s Finally Out?

And by that I mean both my third Heavenly Bites novella, Playing Cupid, and myself because I finally got to emerge from my writing cave and see the sun again!  Well, in theory.  It’s pretty foggy here.

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But anyway… Playing Cupid is finally out on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble!  Yay!  So if you feel like getting an early start on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, give it a read.  And if you don’t feel like celebrating early, you could give it a read anyway.  Maybe you’ll change your mind.  🙂

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Valentine’s Day Sampling

Happy Monday!  Today I’m working on my Valentine’s Day novella, Playing Cupid, and I thought I’d share the opening excerpt with you even if it is a few months early.  🙂

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Aimee Beasley held the door open to their apartment building’s lobby for her beloved and bespectacled Gram and shook her head cheerfully as the older woman listed the many wonderful qualities possessed by her pharmacist, starting with his full head of hair and ending with his detailed knowledge of the common side effects of every medication known to humankind.

“But he’s such a nice young man—“ her grandmother protested.

“Nope.”

“I’m sure the two of you would have a lovely time getting to know each other.”

“Nope.”

Gram held a quivering hand to her heart and sighed dramatically.

“Knock it off, Gram,” Aimee said, unperturbed and shifting the bag of groceries she carried to one hand so she could dig in her pocket for her keys with the other.  “You know that won’t work on me.”

The older woman scowled, but the quiver in her hand abruptly disappeared.  “I don’t know why you insist upon turning down every young man I find for you.  I’d appreciate it if you’d keep an open mind about this sort of thing, Aimee.”

“And I’d appreciate it if you’d stop trying to pimp me out.”  Aimee finally

found her keys and pulled them out to shove the right one into their mailbox.

Pulling out the handful of envelopes and flyers inside, she closed it again and led the way to the elevator.

“But, dear, my pharmacist is really very charming.”

“Then you go out with him.”

Gram frowned at Aimee again and took the mail from her so Aimee could better balance the groceries.  “He’s barely thirty.”

Aimee let out a wolf whistle.  “My grandma, the cougar!”

“The what?”

The elevator opened, and both women stepped inside.  “It’s an older woman who likes to play with young boy-toys, Gram.  But if you do decide to bring your pharmacist home with you one day, do me a favor and put a sock on the door or something so I know not to go barging in, okay?”

“Young lady—“ Gram began, sputtering at her granddaughter as the elevator carried them up to the fourth floor.

Aimee grinned at her.

The older woman recovered her composure.  “Don’t think I’ll give up that easily.  I’ve got plenty of time on my hands and little else to do besides think about these kinds of things, you know.”

“Bring it, lady,” Aimee returned, and then planted a kiss on top of the other woman’s headful of white curls as the elevator doors opened.  “So, turkey or tuna today?” she asked as they reached their apartment door and she juggled keys and groceries again.

“Tuna.”

“Melt or mayo?”

“Melt, I think,” Gram decided, following Aimee into the apartment.  “With the cheddar, if you don’t mind.”

“Cheddar it is.  Give me five minutes to put this stuff away, and I’ll fix it.”

“Oh, dear…”

“Okay, three minutes.”  Aimee pulled open the refrigerator door and began stuffing groceries inside.  “Are you really that hungry?”

“What?  Oh no, it’s not that.”  Gram waved an envelope.  “It appears we’ve gotten another piece of Mr. Berkley’s mail mixed in with ours again.  Fifth time this month, I think.”

Aimee twitched at the sound of his name.  Actually, it was the sixth time this month.  Not all that shocking considering D. Berkley lived in apartment three-twelve and D. Beasley lived in four-twelve, but it was unfortunate all the same, because each time it meant Aimee had to go downstairs, knock on Doyle Berkley’s door, and then—she grimaced—actually speak to him.  Judging by the expression on his face every time he opened the door and saw her standing there, he enjoyed these little mail exchanges about as much as she did.

But this particular piece of mail didn’t look all that thick.  Maybe she could shove it under the door and make a break for it.  Sort of like pulling the pin from a grenade and then running.

“Dear, would you mind…?”  Gram held the letter out to her.

“Sure, Gram,” Aimee agreed, taking it and turning to go.

“Wait—here, take some scones,” her grandma said, hastily reaching into the

grocery bag for the pastries they’d picked up at the bakery minutes earlier and arranging some on a small plate.  “It’s the polite thing to do when calling on a neighbor.”

“I’m not calling on him—“

“Manners, Aimee.  You can’t go empty-handed.”

“I’m not empty-handed.  I’ve got his mail.”

But her grandma thrust the plate of scones at her anyway.  “Good neighbors are hard to come by, and Mr. Berkley is a good neighbor.”

Aimee snorted.

“He is!  He’s been very helpful to me in the past.  I don’t know why you dislike him so.”

“Because he walks around like he’s got a stick up his—“
“Aimee Elizabeth Beasley!”

“I was going to say backside,” Aimee returned piously.

“No, you were not.”

No, she wasn’t, but all Aimee said in response was, “Be back in a minute,” and then she slipped back out the door…

* * *

It’s still a work-in-progress, but…what do you think?

3rd Novella Cover Art Reveal

Today I got the cover art for the third of my three holiday novellas, the Heavenly Bites series.  This one is called Playing Cupid, and–naturally–it’s a Ground Hog Day romance.  Okay, it’s actually a Valentine’s Day romance, but you have to admit there aren’t nearly enough Ground Hog Day romances out there!

So…here are all three covers together:

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What do you think?

Happy Valentine’s Day

I spent most of today celebrating Valentine’s Day kindergarten style:  cookies, juice, and bulk valentines galore.  We had the Green Lantern, Avengers, Disney Princesses, wacky-eyed dogs…you name it, we had it.  I even saw one kind of valentine that looked like a cross between Hannah Montana and a zombie.  If that doesn’t just scream Valentine’s Day, what does?  The kids were excited, the apple juice was flowing, and a good time was had by all.  Even by me—especially when we put on Horton Hears a Who for a blissfully peaceful 25 minutes.

Then my afternoon kiddos came in, and we did it all over again.  Wheeee!  Gotta love those back-to-back kindergarten sessions.

But the kids were really very good, and they were so pleased about everything that it was kind of sweet.  Exhausting, but sweet.

So I really can’t complain, especially since my very wonderful hubby is in the kitchen fixing dinner as I write this.  And I suspect he’s going to offer to do the dishes, too.

Yep, he’s a keeper.

I mean, roses and diamonds may be more traditional, but a man who cooks and cleans?  Now that makes me swoon.  I’m thinking I may just model my next romantic hero after him.  I can see the book cover now:  Fabio in an apron with a tossed salad in one hand and a platter of duck a l’orange in the other.  And probably a tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in the foreground, since it’s Fabio.

I’d buy it.

If handsome men doing housework makes you a little weak in the knees, too, I recommend buying yourself a copy of a delightful book called Porn For Women.  No, it’s not what it sounds like, so kindly get your mind out of the gutter, please!  It’s essentially page after page of comely men doing things like vacuuming, laundry, and insisting that no woman of theirs will ever have to pick up a toilet brush or take out the trash as long as said men have breath in their bodies.  It’s definitely worth a giggle or two.

Gotta go, dinner’s ready.

And on that note, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heeeeeeere It Comes!

Valentine’s Day, that is.  Every year I think I’ll do something really sweet or romantic or pyrotechnic for Valentine’s Day, but then I usually wind up settling for something like fluffy handcuffs—er, a card.  I mean a card.

(Sorry, Mom…)

Valentine’s Day is on a weekday this year.  That could be trouble.  Who has the energy to stir up a little romance after spending all day wrangling—I mean, educating—small children?  And supervising not one, but two classroom parties?  There’ll be cookie crumbs flying through the air, valentines underfoot everywhere I turn, and kids bouncing off the walls even before the sugar highs hit.  You know what’s romantic after that?  A foot rub, followed by a second foot rub.  And maybe one more.

But it’s Valentine’s Day.  Even if you decide to postpone festivities until the weekend because restaurants will be less crowded, you’ll have more energy, and all that practical stuff…you still want to do a little something on the actual day, don’t you?  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  At least, not if you’re me, it doesn’t.  That’s why I’m planning on giving my hubby a “Mr. Right” t-shirt and curling up on the sofa with him, a bowl of popcorn, and a re-run of Whose Line Is It Anyway because, to us, laughing so hard that a popcorn kernel flies out of your nose IS romantic.  We’re just kind of weird that way.

Either that or we’ll get matching tattoos.