Friday Dog Blog is a LADY

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So, a while back I sojourned back to the Ancestral Homeland (aka New Jersey) for a Big Birthday Surprise for my Mama (shout out to Mama!).  I stayed with my sister, who has several roommates, one of whom is this pug:IMG_0997

Her name is Roxanne and it is pronounced RUHHX-AHNN.  She occasionally sits like a lady:

ladyfoot

She also has the most foul breath of any beast I have ever encountered.

Seriously.  When I see a dog, my first instinct is to stick my face in their face so they may know my love and scritchy scratches.  I cannot not do that with Roxanne.  I was literally repelled by her deadly mouth-odor.

Also, she snores:

[Sarah here. I’m having trouble getting this video to embed without you having to download it. Not that you wouldn’t want a download of a stranger’s dog snoring, but still. For the sake of technology. Please have patience while I google the solution.]

I hope you have enjoyed meeting this pup!  I have enjoyed meeting deadlines.  Will I be better about dog-blogging in 2016?  I think we both know the answer to that one.  But doesn’t the anticipation make it so much sweeter?

What about this meta-pug?  Does that make it sweeter?

IMG_1322

Happy weekend!!


Friday Dog Blog is so cute I can’t even come up with a clever title.

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I am enjoying some family vacay time in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, where mostly it has rained. But today was gorgeous and cool and afforded many opportunities for lake-style playtime.

Like kayaking. The one glowing from unnatural exposure to the sun is me.

Like kayaking. The one glowing from unnatural exposure to the sun is me.

But it is not safe to boat alone.

Excellent form.

Excellent form.

And now she tries to steer.

And now she tries to steer.

Then she commandeered my daggun sunglasses.

Then she commandeered my daggun sunglasses.

BUT WHO CARES BECAUSE LOOK AT THAT TINY FACE.

BUT WHO CARES BECAUSE LOOK AT THAT TINY FACE.

Happy weekend!

Say, don’t forget that TWO FAMILY HOME is out now!


RT Recap – Day 5

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Good grief is it already over?  That is what the airport is telling me, as I sit here and type like an Important Person.

Or perhaps it’s not over until the fat lady recaps.  In which case, let us enjoy our last moments together…

So.  Saturday.  It was a big’un.  It began with breakfast with Jules and Amanda, a writer friend who I met at my very first RT pre-conference, and who had meetings with editors and agents and they were all like, send me stuff!  So that’s pretty amazing.

Then it was time for the Giant Book Fair.  Wow!  Giant!

This is before anything actually opened.  That's right.  This huge room full of people is just the authors...

This is before anything actually opened. That’s right. This huge room full of people is just the authors…

I signed and gave out stuff and sold one book to a person who had never heard of me before, so that was good.  And a librarian was all, we love your voice!  And I was all, are you talking to the right person?

They were!

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Here I am, talking to readers. Thanks, Jules, for the pictures.

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She said she took a whole bunch, but could not find any where I was not making a face. In my defense, I was talking! That is my talking face!

I was sitting between Kay Thomas, who writes romantic suspense with hot cover models, and with whom I did much chatting, and Anna Todd, who has a crazy breakout New Adult success novel (based on One Direction fan fiction!  It really happens!), and who was also lovely and especially sweet and delightful to her squeeing fans.  And, oh, how they did squee.

And later, when I was having a drink with my agent in the bar (SORRY FOR BEING SO IMPORTANT), Anna walked by and said hi and I was like, oh, that’s cool, I know Anna Todd now.  PEACE.

I also dorked out to Jenny Trout (ironic, if you read her blog, which I do), and bought some books from authors I had heard during various panels and was like, these ladies are cool, I’m buying their books.

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Post-Book Fair book and swag haul. Doesn’t it look reasonable? Don’t worry…that didn’t last.

The other thing that happens on Saturday is Fan-Tastic Day, during which publishers just give out a shit ton of books.  I got lots.  I tried to be judicious and selective, since I am both flying home and moving to a new state next week…but BOOKS.

I am a book whore.

But enough about books!  Let’s talk about COVER MODELS!  Saturday night was Heather Graham’s big dinner party thing, which features delicious food (big thank you and shout out for the vegetarian option!)

There is also some kind of dinner theater thing?  That was maybe a contest?

There is also some kind of dinner theater thing? That was maybe a contest?

There we got our annual picture with Charles (DON’T BE JEALOUS, SHAR)

Jules was "showing off her nails."  Mm hmm.

Jules was “showing off her nails.” Mm hmm.

And Reader Friend Cindy and I got a picture with Legendary Cover Model CJ Hollenbach:

He is wearing spooky makeup.  Because it was a spooky themed party.  I just wore a bunch of necklaces.

He is wearing spooky makeup. Because it was a spooky themed party. I just wore a bunch of necklaces.

And then we took another:

I was in charge of pressing the button on the phone camera.  This is a face of concentration.

I was in charge of pressing the button on the phone camera. This is a face of concentration.

Then Cindy got the idea to photo bomb.

This is our Prom Picture.  Photo bombed by Cindy.

This is our Prom Picture. Photo bombed by Cindy.

Find the Reader behind the Giant Cover Model.

Find the Reader behind the Giant Cover Model.

As the evening wore on, I was talking to a guy who worked for RT and another reader, just chatting about the convention and New Orleans.  And I was like, oh, last year apparently I asked a guy who works for RT if he was a cover model or just a regular guy but I don’t remember because I was unprofessionally drunk.  And the RT guy was like, oh yeah, I remember you…  But he was very nice and we laughed about it and it helped that he is very handsome and I was like, in my defense, you totally could be a cover model.  Also, he graduated from high school in 2005.  So.  A young, handsome man.  I talked to him.  Breakthrough!

And that’s it!  Great convention, and it ended on a high note, despite the damage to my tablet (which still works – high note!).

Still Life wth Purse and Damage.

Still Life wth Purse and Damage.

Next Year: Vegas, Baby!

It’s going to be a mess.


RT Recap – Day 4

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I would like to point out that this time last year I was amazing myself with my ability to not have a debilitating hangover while enjoying the Inspirational Romance breakfast.

This year I amazed myself by not working out and just going to the breakfast and eating a bunch of bread pudding.

Wait, that did not amaze me.  That was just, like, normal.

But anyway, I got to start the day with a bunch of Amish and other-type romances, and I ain’t mad about that I tell you what.

I also ain’t mad about PARTIES, especially those hosted by my agent for which I prepared a delightful gift basket.

Complete with Hot Cowboy Potholder and a shot of moonshine.

Complete with Hot Cowboy Potholder and a shot of moonshine.

The lovely Marina Myles and I shared a table again, and since the party was at 10 AM, we opted for mimosas instead of wine.

Still life with orange juice and beauty queen.

Still life with orange juice and beauty queen.

It was fun!  Readers new and old were at the table, fun and champagne was had by all.

Is that why I am like asleep?

Next I went to a party hosted by Dreamspinner Press, which means I got lots of books about dudes who love other hot dudes, and I ain’t mad about that.  Then I learned about the badass heroes of contemporary romance, including the fact that Megan Hart loves a hero with deep-seated self-loathing (“That’s hot,” echoed Victoria Dahl) and also the term “shame wank.”  We’ll just leave that one on the dance floor for all y’all.

Tonight was the RT Awards Ceremony, where I had the change to honor my fellow authors being honored by the magazine, but instead I went out to dinner.

Terri Molina, Marina Myles, Jules, and Moi.  I'm not sure why I look pissed off.  I was having a lovely time!

Terri Molina, Marina Myles, Jules, and Moi. I’m not sure why I look pissed off. I was having a lovely time!

Now I am in a post-carb stupor and Jules is going through the mountains of swag she acquired today, and I am getting kind of jealous.  I just got books!  And some other stuff.  No reason to be jealous.  What is wrong with me.

IN THE MEANTIME, I received this picture from home:

Photo credit @mtnadam.  He made me say that.

Photo credit @mtnadam. He made me say that.

Until tomorrow, friends!


RT Recap Day 3

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Well, I didn’t work out.

I just didn’t want to win too many books, on account of having to check my bag for the plane ride home.

Howevs!  I learned lots and went to lots of workshops and fulfilled part of the purpose of coming here.

I learned all kinds of non-Navy SEAL military jobs that could be fruitful grounds for hunky heroes.  I became empowered to write diversely in my small town characters.  I learned how to avoid stereotypes and halos when writing characters with disabilities.  I listened to Cherry Adair talk about wild monkey sex in the jungle.  I took a nap.

Come evenin’ time, my publisher, Kensington (not that I’m bragging or anything bye), threw a party and I signed some books.  I’m working on my selling skills.  Mostly it is still just like, here’s a picture of my dog on the bookmark!

Kensington had these cute necklaces made for us.  Marketing!

Kensington had these cute necklaces made for us. Marketing!

Then Jules and I ordered pizza aka all of my dreams came true.  That night was the Steampunk Party and there were goggles and corsets galore!

I did not take pictures.

Except for this one of people doing the Boot Scoot Boogie.

Except for this one of people doing the Boot Scoot Boogie.

Man alive, I’m tired.  This is a fun and productive convention, but it doesn’t have the manic energy that New Orleans did.  Which is good, because crowds are dumb and scary.  But it’s also bad because I have more time to breathe, and having that time makes me think I also need sleep.

However.

Books.

Yes.


RT Recap Day 2

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Well!  Yes.  All of it.

Todaywas the first full day of workshops and such and I was very productive! And then, later, not so much.

This is how things usually go at RT.

Since I am a good and virtuous woman, I woke up super early (6:45 ish) to do “Morning Burn,” which, it turns out, was kind of Cross Fit Lite.  I did the cheating version of planks.  And I won a book!

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Picked it cuz of the beard. And because I was oxygen deprived.

I went to workshops on New Adult, which I now feel like I want to write even though people in their early twenties make me grind my teeth; the three characteristics of a romance bestseller (aspirational, vicarious, cathartic), and now I feel like I want to write a bestseller and never work again in my life; worldbuilding in contemporary romance, and now I feel like I want to write contemporary romance oh wait.

My last workshop was about body positivity and the joy of the fat heroine (not the real title), during which Saranna DeWylde said both “I might just throw condoms at you.  That’s gonna happen.” and “Oh, I’ll type and cry, I don’t care.”

She is my spirit animal.

Now, I’m not sure if you all remember this, but I am a Very Important Writer Person, so I went to dinner with my editor and other Importants from my publisher, Kensington.  As Important People do.  I ate so many chips.  I sold a novella.  I drank a margarita.

Boom.

Then I came back to the hotel, put on my cutoffs and my sleeveless flannel shirt and headed on down to the Rodeo.  First, though, I drank some wine.  Then I ran into a reader I know and she dragged me around to take pictures with all of the cover models.  Most of them are on her phone (oh sweet merciful universe, you are probably saying to yourself), but there is this:

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New Author Photo

And that’s it!  I shall leave you with photos of a cover model riding a mechanical bull.

A tender pre-ride moment.  In my dreams.

A tender pre-ride moment. In my dreams.

You got it, girl.

You got it, girl.

Until tomorrow, friends!

 

 


RT 2015 Recap – Day -1

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We made it to Dallas!

I already miss my dog!

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The sight that greeted (gret?) me when I got out of the shower…

 

ANYHOOTS.

We arrived, just me and Jules.  I was amazed that I only filled about half of my shiny new suitcase, so I went ahead and filled the other half with stuff I don’t need.  I’m hoping that stuff includes extra clothes, because I spilled on both the shirt and pants I wore on the plane.  #genius #toddler

Dallas!  That is where we are!  For those of you joining the recaps for the first time (and maybe I should have said this first), what is happening here is that I am attending the RT Booklovers Convention, and every day I write up a little thinger about the previous day, full of workshops and authors and at least one instance of me being a weirdo.  Normally I room with my dear friend Shar, but she couldn’t make it this year so ha ha Jules doesn’t get her own room and she has to put up with me.

Yesterday’s Weirdo Incident was at dinner, where I was enjoying a vegetarian chile relleno with red quinoa (go, Dallas!), when who should walk into the restaurant but the gals from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, a website I admire and a podcast I listen to with frequency and enthusiasm.  Did I go say hi and express my admiration?  No.  Did I drink two beers and deliberate about it in painful detail while Jules and I ate guacamole?  Yes.

So, not the worst thing that could have happened.  We’re off to a great start!

"You better be leaving me for a good reason, and not just to stand around being awkward near famous people you admire."

“You better be leaving me for a good reason, and not just to stand around being awkward near famous people you admire.”


RT Recap – Day 5

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And now here I am, back home in the Appalachians, waiting for a handsome cover model to come to my house and do laundry and grocery shop and make me coffee.

JK, I made my own coffee.

I’m willing to hold out for the other stuff, though.

Anyhoo!  It has been two days since my last recap, and for that I am sorry.  But I had to spend all day yesterday driving.  Well, I spent half the day driving, as Shar and I shared the load, as friends do.  Also, if one of us had to drive the entire thirteen and a half hours from New Orleans, that one of us would probably be dead, or at least very crabby.

But never mind that.  We are here to talk about Saturday, which was the day of the Giant Book Fair, which was no joke.  I did not take a picture of the full scope of the event, but here is one from the fabulous Megan Crane/Caitlin Crews:

And this here was my little corner of the sky:

Tablescape!

Tablescape!

And this here was my swag:

I would like to thank my Darling Mother and all Past Girl Scout Leaders for teaching me how to pour melted chocolate into a mold.

I would like to thank my Darling Mother and all Past Girl Scout Leaders for teaching me how to pour melted chocolate into a mold.

I signed some books, handed out a mess of postcards (especially to people waiting for my book-signing next-door neighbor, the hilarious Vicki Lewis Thompson) and smiled at a lot of strangers.  The highlight may have been when Anne Calhoun stopped by to talk about library science.  Because in her seriously amazing book, Jaded, the heroine is a librarian and she got it so right!  The joys and heartaches of public librarianship!   With added hunks!  And my brain was doing too much of a Don’t-Be-A-Total-Weirdo-To-This-Author-You-Admire to mention that I also DIED at Uncommon Passion.  Which has nothing to do with library science, but don’t let that stop you.

Oh, and Shar and I each took pictures with Cover Model Charles, who was dressed as a gladiator.  As you do.

me and charles shar and charles

Who Wore It Better?

After the signing, there was a roast of Lee Child, which was hilarious.  But the most important part was Duncan Munro, Jack Reacher Lookalike Contest Winner:

Yes, he had a travel toothbrush in his pocket.

Yes, he had a travel toothbrush in his pocket.

Because, you know.  Hunks.

Oy.

Then one more book party, in which I got four hundred more books, and then a dinner excursion onto Bourbon Street with Jules, Shar, and the Aforementioned Fabulous Marina Myles.  It was a relatively quiet evening (as quiet as anything near Bourbon Street on a Saturday night can be) and a nice way to cap off a seriously amazing convention weekend.  We were not ready to leave!

But we did anyway.

car back

Thank you, RT!  Such a great week.  Next year is way too far.

 

 


RT Recap Day 4

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Did yesterday happen?  How is it Saturday?  How can I be expected to go home after this!!!

Anyway.  Enough silliness.  Although Shar and I both agree that, unlike last year, we are not ready to go.  Sure, tired and stuff, and almost out of clean underwear, but come on!  Just one more week?

</weep>

Yesterday was a regular convention day for me, where I pretended to be a regular person and not the BIG IMPORTANT PERSON that I am.  Also, I was not drunk.  (Or was I?)  (No.)  (Although I did have two glasses of wine while waiting for Lisa Kleypas to sign a book.  Because I am her stalker and she was signing Devil in Winter so what the hell do you want me to do??)

This here is Kristen Ashley, talking about her path from self-published to Mega-Star of The Universe.

ashleyThe answer is: write a lot.  In fifteen years, she wrote twenty-seven books and was rejected for ten years before she decided to self-publish.  And now look at her!  She quit her day job and gave herself a year…and she did it in six months.  So all I have to do is write twenty three more books and I’m out of here!  Well, not out of here.  You get it.

I suddenly feel that Kristen Ashley and I are taking different paths.

Certainly her hair is better than mine.

I also went to a workshop where I learned about writing.  Let me show you how to write a romance novel:

heroesPick one.  Take his shirt off.

And that’s it!  Repeat twenty-seven times and you’re Kristen Ashley!

Speaking of taking shirts off, the cover models have strict rules to keep their shirts on the whole time they are here.  Even in the shower!  No, not in the shower.  Actually, I don’t know anything about their shower situation, to be honest.

The point is, Shar went to a session on burlesque (because why not), where she apparently learned to shimmy.  She also learned how to work it:

hunks

Yes, girl.

The one on the left has his mouth full of a gator bite.  Which is very professional for a professional model.  Good thing he’s handsome!

Last night’s dress-up festivity was Heather Graham’s something or other that involved a lot of feathers and lights and beads and I don’t know what else because I could not wear my glasses:

mask

I just want to point out that I gave Jules a mask, but she misplaced it in her room. As if it’s full of books or something?

There was dinner!  I wore flip flops!  We left before the dancing started, because we are Old Farts.  But whatevs.

Today is the last day and the Giant Book Fair from whence I am writing this because I have a few minutes until I meet my adoring public.  Be back in three seconds.

JK!  But there are cover models here, so good-bye.


RT Recap Day 3

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Let me begin this recap by saying that my dear friend Shar is a saint.

More on that later.

Thursday morning began with…books.  Woo!  I want to say the Cajun Queen Riverboat Casino (in the ballroom) was the first reader event I went to, but that might not be true.  Although I did spend a lot of Wednesday being Very Important, so maybe.

Anyhoots, there was a very handsome band there.

1 cute band

I don’t think they were handsome on purpose, but it certainly felt appropriate.

Also appropriate:

2a judy and charles

This handsome fellow is a cover model who I think has been growing that beard for a year.  And who is maybe going to shave it off at the closing reception?  I keep getting distracted by his biceps so I forget.

2 me n charles

Because don’t we make a darling couple?  Our babies will have large breasts.

Also, authors:

This here is Heather Snow.

This here is Heather Snow.

I like her books, but mostly I took a picture with her because she is so daggun adorable.

Also adorable was this woman in a cat dress:

She was, of course, a librarian.

She was, of course, a librarian.

Then I spent the next hour in a state of Gawp and Squee as I sat in on a Candid Conversation with Lisa Kleypas.

Lisa Kleypas and Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Lisa Kleypas and Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

I was tweeting this up a little, so you may already be familiar with my flip-out.  She is amazing.  Her books are some of my faves.  I can’t decide if Blue-Eyed Devil or Smooth-Talking Stranger is my fave contemp but I’m pretty sure Devil in Winter is my fave historical.  For now.

Look how remarkably composed I look!  It’s all a façade.

Look how remarkably composed I look! It’s all a façade.

But I could not spend all day being a fan girl because I had some parties to host.  Woot!

7 shooting stars table

The fabulous Marina Myles and I shared a table, which is kind of hilarious because I write small town contemporaries and she writes historical paranormals.  An obvious fit!  The concept of our table was opposites – a dark and a light tablecloth, red and white wine.  The most important of these is wine.

And the cutest.

And the cutest.

It was a lot of fun and very crowded.  We played book trivia bingo, cover models gave out prizes, and Shar won a basket.  (She got Marina’s; I wouldn’t let her win mine.  Because I am a Good Friend.)

Later, Kensington had a party and I had a whole pile of Delicious to sign, which went fast because I think people maybe thought I was Lori Foster?  Whatever.  Just because I signed her name.  La!  JK.

Are you Lori Foster?

Are you Lori Foster?

Let me talk to you about Sarah Title

Let me talk to you about Sarah Title

Why am I making this face at this poor woman?

Why am I making this face at this poor woman?

(Thank you Jules for the pics.  You are my new road photographer.)

I shared a table with the delightful Mandy Baxter, who I keep wanting to call Meredith Baxter, and who has a fun-looking romantic suspense book coming out in September.

I also shared the table with snow globes.

7e snow globe

I’m sorry, with crystal balls.  Aren’t they the cutest?  All of the authors had a few to hand out.  You’ll notice that this picture was taken in front of a television.  That is because my snow globe is in my hotel room.  Because I wanted it.

ANYWAY.

That night was the Pub Crawl, in which hundreds of romance readers descended upon Bourbon Street.  They were begging for the frat boys to come back.  JK!  I hung out with Kensington because I was nervous that Shar was going to cut someone down in an effort to reach all of the bars (and to get all of the prizes and, in turn, the prize for finishing).  She did not cut anyone.  She did visit all of the bars.  I feel very proud of her.

And that is where it started to go downhill for me.

Kensington was stationed at Pat O’Brien’s, which is the place where the hurricane was invented.  So I had one.  Then, when I went back to the room to get ready for the Saints and Sinners party, I decided I needed a little wine to continue the festive mood.

You see where this is going.

First, let me share with you how cute Shar and I looked:

 

I cannot do mirror-selfies in the best of situations.  That is how I’m going to justify the sixteen pictures on my phone that all look like this.

I cannot do mirror-selfies in the best of situations. That is how I’m going to justify the sixteen pictures on my phone that all look like this.

We got to the party, we met up with Jules, I drank some more wine, and guys, did you know that I am like a really amazing dancer?  I am.  Even though I was wearing giant wedge shoes (the Disco Shoes made a comeback!] and fell down once and when the strangers I was dancing with tried to pick me up, I fell down again and said, just give me a minute.

And I woke up in my pajamas with a bottle of N2 (Aldi’s brand Gatorade 4 life!) on the bedside table and a box of chees-its on the floor.  I remember none of that.

And that is why Shar is a saint.  She put up with my drunk ass, which is like my regular exuberant self, but MORE and also with the belief that I am INVINCIBLE.

But I still got up to go to the Inspirational Breakfast Mixer this morning.

9 devil

But now it’s time for a nap.