I Cleaned My Microwave

I guess it’s arguably better than carrying a large fruit to a hot, staff-only after hours party at a Catskills resort.

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Sweet Pease came out today. I know you’re all imagining me jumping in my private jet and flying off with my girls to drink champagne and eat macarons on my private island, but no… that #GlamorousAuthorLife looked more like tossing a coconut curry in the crockpot, going to office, and then coming home to clean the house, because we’re having our house appraised tomorrow morning and I figure if the place is clean, the appraiser won’t notice all the stuff we haven’t upgraded…

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(Buy more copies of my books, y’all. I’ll drink sparkling wine from a shoe. Promise.)

The image above will take you to Amazon, but I have it on good authority the print edition is also live on Barnes & Noble as well.

 

If you’re interested in a signed paperback from me,  please feel free to use the form below.

A Maverick Year, or my book comes out tomorrow, but I’m writing about something else entirely.

I’m pretty sure that on the day before your book comes out you’re not supposed to be blogging about a work-in-progress, but I’m having what I like to call a maverick year over here, so I’ll just do what I want.

(A maverick year, for the record, means I have blogged once in a year’s time. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.)

I was in Portland, Maine, this weekend, for about 24 hours. Unremarkable, really, since I live about two hours from Portland, and have dear friends there who feed me and let me sleep in their house. These same friends own Rising Tide Brewing Company, which is the relevant (and remarkable–because how awesome is that?) part.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but some years ago on a similar visit to Portland, it was suggested to me by someone that brewing wasn’t sexy in the romance novel kind of way. I like gauntlets, so I pick up the shiny ones and take them home to mull over. Sometimes, shiny gauntlets get turned over so often, they end up resembling drafts of novels about a brewer and an actress, and they are set in Portland.

Now I find myself, on the eve of SWEET PEASE’s publication, pondering a delicious Pilsner I tasted over the weekend, one I completely coincidentally named my story after. Or one they completely coincidentally named after my yet-to-be published book. Either way.

I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of my return to Thornton and Kate Pease, but know that I’ve been hard at work on book three there, and this new thing, too.

I hope y’all are ready for more words, because I’m ready to give them to you.

And if you haven’t already: Click the image below to get your copy (print or Kindle!) of Sweet Pease, available Tuesday, November 14, 2017.

 

It All Starts With Catwoman

I don’t always write about Eartha Kitt, but when I do, it’s for Jeremy Flagg. This piece ran during a month of Superhero Geekery on his site..

~~~.

This is not about comic books, or superheroes, or even villains, really.

This is about Catwoman.

This is about being just a little bad, about being sexy and funny, and not taking yourself too seriously. Or: What I learned from Eartha Kitt.

There was something about her voice. The low, intimate timbre with the sharp delivery. The way she rolled those r’s. Purrrrfect.

Same Bat time, same Bat channel. Early morning reruns of Adam West and Burt Ward ZAM!ing and POW!ing their way through the villains of Gotham were my first exposure to superheroes. There was always something in Batman’s eyes that let you in on the secret. Something cheeky and conspiratorial, though at five I couldn’t have explained that.

At five I just wanted to marry him when I grew up. Ahem.

Something else I couldn’t have described until years later was that Batman’s world was a boy’s world. Wealthy, charming Bruce Wayne, strong, clever Batman, reliably naughty, comical villains, and a roll-call of women I barely recall, all designed to satisfy the boys. Even Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether’s feline glamour seemed to complement Batman.

Eartha Kitt Catwoman debut 1967
By ABC Television (eBayfrontback) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
And then there was Eartha Kitt.

A third thing a five-year old can’t articulate: that woman was sexy as hell, but she was so much more than a packaged reflection of male attention. She was deliberately provocative. She owned the scene and her place in it. When she purred, I listened. She made being a bad girl look awfully powerful, even when the situation was completely ridiculous.

There’s a brilliant moment in which she pulls up alongside the Joker who’s attempting to look innocent walking down the streets of Gotham. She’s driving the most preposterous car imaginable, complete with a tail, eyes, cat ear wheel wells and a convertible bubble.

“You want a lift, big boy?”

In the ensuing 30 seconds or so, she manages to be saucy, snarky, and completely in possession of how goofy the whole thing is.

She transcended the camp of the show even while she was low-slung-belted-hips deep in it. She didn’t need the Joker–or Batman–to shine, but they sure were fun to toy with.

I think I looked for Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman in every heroine, every anti-heroine, every villainess I found after that. She set a strangely high bar for such an unrepentantly silly adaptation of the Batman story. In searching for that wonderful mix of humor, sex appeal, and sass (easier to articulate as you get older), I began to gravitate towards villains and bad girls–not necessarily in comics, but in other fandoms. Forget about blondes and their fun, bad girls had more power.

I am, for the record, the farthest thing from a bad girl, except that I write romance. (Just ask my son. He will tell you his mom writes inappropriate books.). I still haven’t forgotten Eartha Kitt; her voice is in my ear anytime I write a strong, provocative woman.

She and Catwoman opened the door for me to tap into the bad girl under the surface, but also to find the heroines I needed. The ones with self-awareness, humor, sass, power, and some rebel bad girl in them.

Maybe this is about superheroes after all.

 

An Introduction

It’s been a chilly, gray spring in New England, but not this cold, at least.

Ewan Lovatt woke to the kind of rural quiet he knew would be perfect for his next project.

He stretched and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. He’d long ago perfected the art of sleeping diagonally in a queen-sized bed to accommodate his six-foot-three frame. His feet struck the cold hardwood and he shivered. Pulling on cotton flannel drawstring pants and an NYU tee-shirt before he padded over to the window seemed a wise choice.

Ewan was an urban creature, but the stark allure of the Vermont countryside in January wasn’t lost on him. The nearby hillsides rolled smooth, painted in slashes of snow, granite, and coniferous green. The skeletons of cornstalks marched in the neighboring fields. At the far western point of his view, the Adirondacks were just beginning their craggy swell over the horizon.

By the time he left Thornton, Vermont, he hoped early summer would show a version closer to the one he planned to write.

He grabbed his advance copy of Reed Sharpe’s newest novel and headed for the bathroom. He had promised the man — or their shared publicist, anyway — a jacket review, and he couldn’t think of a better place to read the damn thing.

After a shower, his appetite called to him more clearly. The small reproduction mantle clock in the room told him he had twenty minutes before the innkeeper closed the kitchen, so he put his feet into his boots, hauled the laces tight, tossed the book and some papers into his laptop case, and started downstairs to meet his hostess.

***

Back to Thornton. The manuscript is officially with my favorite editrix, with a planned release date in the fall. I can’t wait for you all to come back to Thornton and get to know Ewan Lovatt. In the meantime, I’m working on a third Thornton novel, as well as a few other things.  I’ll be sending out updates via newsletter (if you’re not already subscribed, you can do that here), and if you’re a central Massachusetts reader, I have a new event coming up this month!

 I hope the four lovely humans still reading forgive me my long absence. I’ve thought about this space a lot, but every word I’ve had to spare has gone into novel writing. I look forward to being here more often as I get ready to share Sweet Pease with you.

The Soloist: Finale

Continued from Part Eleven, or you can start from the beginning:

After the service, Eli melted into the crowd to seek out the youth group cohort. Talia loitered near the vestibule, watching folks catching up and wishing one another merry Christmas.

Hank and his wife Gayle stopped to say hello, and another of the diner regulars tipped his hat before joining some friends.

She was so absorbed in her people watching, she didn’t notice Jojo until she was sidling up next to her.

“Talia!” Jojo hugged her fiercely. Talia froze for a moment before the reality of Jojo’s easy affection hit her. “Merry Christmas! Please, please, please sing with us?” She gestured to two other choristers standing nearby who smiled and nodded, then whispered, “I won’t even tell them who you are.”

Reilly was making his way along the center aisle, shaking hands and embracing his people. She could see it in his entire body, how much he loved them.

Jojo caught the direction of her gaze. “I hope it’s okay that he told me what happened. It shook him up.”

The warmth flickered, and an icicle formed in the pit of her stomach. There was only so much of her circus anyone could take. Even her son would tire of it, of her, someday. She sought out Eli among the teens huddled in one corner of the hall, and forced the corners of her lips back up. “Of course. Don’t worry about it.”

Jojo’s brow wrinkled. “I’ll worry if I like. You’re ours, now, you know. We don’t take lightly to that kind of nonsense.” She waved at Reilly over the tops of nearby heads, then gave Talia a significant look. “He doesn’t, either.”

Reilly approached her, hands in his pockets. There was a sparkle in his eyes that was just for her, and the icicle melted away. “Merry Christmas, Talia. I’m glad to see you here.”

His closeness was intoxicating. “Merry Christmas, Reverend.”

She wanted to fold herself into the curve of his shoulder, to rest her cheek in the hollow there.

Jojo leaned over and hugged him. “Merry Christmas, Doc.”

A petite woman with long hair in a frazzled bun took Talia by the arm. “Talia? I’m Helena Jay, Haley’s mom. I just wanted to say, Eli is great. Haley’s taken him under her wing. I’m not sure whether to congratulate you or warn you. Honestly, she’s a force. Anyway, merry Christmas.”

Helena turned to Jojo and Reilly, but Talia sought out her son with his new friends. He was part of this place already. Whether she was ready or not.

“… I’m going to get her to sing with us, Laney. Next Christmas she and Nancy are going to bring the house down.”

Jojo was talking about her. Talia dropped back into the conversation before Reilly’s Girl Friday could get her in trouble. Jojo and Helena had their heads together, but Reilly’s expression was the one that stilled her. His smile was easy, but hope blazed in those kind eyes.

She was part of this place already. Just maybe, she was ready.

Talia cleared her throat. “Is there music for Easter?”

Jojo whooped a hallelujah, and Reilly took her hand in his as the church bells rang in Christmas Day.

~~~~~

Thanks for reading along, and like Reilly, I wish you light in the dark season, however you celebrate it.