February is a big month for love. For me, that love doesn’t just come in the form of Valentine’s Day and celebrating with my husband. There are so many kinds of love, and though I write romance, I try to honor love in all its forms in my books.
My new release this month is, Everything But a Mother. The Everything But... series started with a trilogy (Everything But a Groom, Everything But a Bride, Everything But a Wedding) in which a Hungarian grandmother, Nana Vancy, accidently cursed her family to bad weddings and spends three books breaking the curse. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know how she’d break the curse at the beginning...or even while I was writing the middle book. In fact, I reached the last book and started feeling a bit panicked because she needed to break the curse, but I had no clue how. In the end, Nana Vancy and her friends figured it out for me. Phew!
The curse was broken, and I thought the series was over. But it turned out readers really
loved my tiny Hungarian dynamo and wanted more of Nana Vancy and the Salo family. And so a new trilogy was born. Nana Vancy, and her two best friends, The Silver Bells, try their hand at matchmaking in Everything But a Christmas Eve. Love did find a way, but not without a bit of chaos. This second book of that trilogy, Everything But a Mother, opens on Valentine’s Day after the hero and heroine of EBA Christmas Eve’s wedding. The trio of older ladies are looking for two new victims...er, friends to match up. Add a nursing home a daycare center, a little girl who feels she’s been abandoned by her mother, a professor who’s trying to parent as best as he can and a daycare teacher who finds three older ladies trying to fix her up and chaos ensues...but so does love! (And I should mention adding in one small dog with a big name, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who is based on my daughter's dog!) This book isn’t just a love story between Henry and Heather, it’s the story of the love of a family and the love of friends. Nana Vancy and her two friends have a friendship that’s been years in the making. I’ll confess, I have no worries about getting old...not if my friends make that journey to old age with me! That love of friends leads me to my next release...
But before we talk about the book, let me explain that I met Pam Hanson (who writes with her mother as Jennifer Drew) at my very first Romance Writers of America Conference. I knew her from online, and I was rooming next door to her at the conference. The night of the big RITA Award ceremony, I was in my room getting ready and singing Aida (the musical, not the opera...me singing the musical was bad enough, Heather Headley, I’m not!) and it turns out I was singing it loud enough that Pam heard me. In her room. Through the wall.
Sooooo embarrassing. She assured me that I sounded wonderful. Note to all you not so wonderful, but enthusiastic singers...you always sound better if people are listening through a wall.
Pam's one of my best friends. We’ve never lived in the same state, much less the same city, but I talk to her almost daily. A couple years after Aida-Through-the-Wall, Harlequin Duets asked me to write a book for their 100th Duet. They told me that the other author was...Pam and her mom (aka Jennifer Drew)! I had so much fun working on tying together the 100th anniversary themed stories and working with them (I've offered to steal Pam's mom, Barbara Andrews). And I’m thrilled that The 100-Year Itch is finally being released as an eBook this month. I’m also thrilled that after all these years, Pam is still one of my best friends. We’re talking about taking a girls’ trip next year. We went looking for a city somewhere between our homes and have settled on Chicago. Yes, the windy city better watch out when the two of us blow into town. It may never be the same. LOL Speaking of blowing into town... (another good segue!)
Finally, Harlequin is also rereleasing Confessions of a Party Crasher as an eBook. My heroine in this book had built a perfect life. She had everything planned. Everything was on track. Then her world turned upside down and she ended up back in Pittsburgh, PA...with her mother.
I grew up with brothers and mainly babysat boys. After one horrendous babysitting job (3 girls, an overflowing toilet, the cops coming about a complaint about the family dog and the whining...lots of whining) I gave up babysitting girls and stuck to babysitting boys. I understood boys. Girls...they mystified as much as they whined. Of course, I went on to have three girls and one boy, and while there was some whining I’ve discovered that girls are fantastic. My three daughters are not just my kids...they’re friends. They’re people I truly love spending time with. (Now for the sake of not playing favoritism, I will confess, I also love my son, and love spending time with him, too!) Anyway, Confessions of a Party Crasher, isn’t just a romance, it’s a story about that love between a mother and daughter. About knowing you can always count on your mom...to be there when you need her, and to drive you crazy in turn! But to always, always love you! I work to strike that balance of love, crazy and counting-on with my daughters (and son)!
Valentine’s Day...it’s not just for sweethearts. It’s for friends. It’s for crazy grandmothers. It’s for mothers. It's for kids. And it’s absolutely for romance novels!!
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!