Friday, April 28, 2017

Motivational Friday: Enjoy (Your) Life

by Michelle Monkou

One of my priorities: Traveling.  My trip to London
Okay, let's notice the boulder in the room -- we all will die.

But that nugget of truth is not the focus of my post.  It's about focusing on the time that you have and living with purpose every day. Yep, I'm continuing my theme from last month.

Don't just be a survivor of life, live boldly and fully. Sometimes that directive is tough.

Look, we're bombarded with our own tough times and then bombarded with national and global events that reflect the worst of humanity, at times. It can get downright overwhelming.

Maybe stepping onto the other side of 50 years old has be navel gazing a bit about what is important in my life. I get hit with news more often than I'd like about a relative, friend or colleague diagnosed with a dire illness or suddenly departed from his/her mortal life. And then there's ageism from various corners of society nipping at my toes as if to remind me of that "pasture" to which I'm supposed to spend my days.  Well, knock on wood, I'm not physically or mentally ready to slow down. Although, those reading glasses are a necessity and a large font is my friend.

But once you set aside ego as your primary motivation for any forward momentum or achievement, then what are the priorities to have, to achieve, to strive toward for that elusive happy place?

And you know what? That list for me is pretty small and simple.

Because for the most part, I'm not sweating the small stuff. And I'm certainly not allowing folks or circumstances a chance to hook their baggage on my bumper for the free ride to dump their issues on me.

Author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker Seth Godin in his blog shared: The difference between who you are now and who you were five years ago is largely due to how you've spent your time along the way.

So I'm purposefully choosing to spend my time enjoying my life (and in a way that is not generally harmful or offensive to humanity).

For my motivational Friday rah-rah speech with cheerleader pompoms, here goes:

Make your list of what would makes you happy.

Make your list of what are your priorities in life.

Make your list of what baggage needs to be offloaded.

Now one day at a time focus on what's important to you. Sometimes a daily motivational nudge from a book or podcast can keep you on track.

And then start enjoying the ride ASAP.



Available on Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Writer's Secret Joy: Research

One of the real joys of writing is the research. Sometimes it can slow us down when we need to check and recheck mundane points to be sure we haven’t made an error. But for the most part, writers choose settings, historical periods, and concepts that intrigue them so that researching a book winds up being really fun.

When I wrote historical romance, I always chose the time periods that appealed to me. I am fascinated by all things medieval and could have gladly spent decades researching castles, gowns, and court intrigue. These days, as I write more contemporary stories, I still choose to set the books in places and within professional realms that interest me. Never has this been more true than for my current release, The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride, set in the world of professional dance.

What beauty and grace! There is so much talent, work and fierce competitiveness here. And on occasion, a sort of “court intrigue” all its own. Take for example the scandal in the Bolshoi Ballet four years ago when a bitter soloist dancer conspired in an attack on the ballet’s artistic director. The director lost most sight in one eye when acid was thrown in his face by an assailant in dark parking lot. Those stories are, of course, well outside the norm for dance. But they hint at the passionate commitment and emotion behind the most successful companies.

I watched one beautiful dance clip after another on You Tube for the sake of breathing life into my
The Rose Adagio
heroine, Sofia Koslov. I studied the differences between ballet schools and dancing styles, as well as the way individual dances impose their artistic interpretation on famous dances. I spent half a day watching the most famous ballerinas in the world perform the Rose Adagio- Aurora’s entrance dance in Sleeping Beauty. There are commentaries on the performances too, so you can learn why each is unique or particularly talented. I was captivated!

Another important facet for the book was discovering what a dancer’s day to day life is like. For this, I was very grateful for the video content on the New York City Ballet’s website. In addition to dance clips and rehearsal clips, there are snippets of dancers talking about their tours, pre-show rituals, falls, aspirations and much more. If you visit, just click on some of the individual dancer names and look for their “Screen Test” video. Very fun.

But sooner or later, the research must come to an end and all the new knowledge needs to funnel into a book. It’s difficult to turn off the information-gathering quest, but when we begin to use it to bring to life the world we’ve learned about, it becomes really rewarding. With any luck, the writer brings to life the research for the reader in a newly enjoyable way.

***What’s your favorite dance scene in a movie? I’m partial to Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen’s “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing” in White Christmas! Share yours on the blog and I’ll give one random poster an advance copy of my upcoming Harlequin Desire, His Accidental Heir

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Eve Gaddy: Redfish Chronicles

Just recently, I dipped my toes into the world of indie publishing. The rights to a series I wrote were returned to me and I decided to republish the books. It’s been a fascinating experience and thankfully, I had a lot of help along the way.

I started by revising and updating the books, then had them edited again. This series, a mixture of contemporary romance and romantic suspense, is very dear to my heart. It’s set in the fictional town of Redfish, Texas, near Port Aransas on the Texas coast.

I love the Texas coast. I spent a lot of time down near Port Aransas and other places along the coast several years ago and still visit there occasionally. The Texas coast, like Texas itself, is unique. Yes, I’m a native Texan and I love my state.:)

Before I go any further, the first book in Redfish Chronicles, Trouble in Texas, is FREE on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo

Trouble comes in all guises—something undercover Fish and Wildlife Service agent Mark Kincaid knows better than most. Recovering from a gunshot wound in the tiny coastal town of Redfish, Texas the last thing he expects to find is trouble…especially of the female variety.

Wild bird rehabilitator Cat Randolph loves everything about birds, especially saving them. So when evidence of a huge bird smuggling ring is uncovered practically in her backyard, Cat is definitely ready and willing to work with her hunky neighbor to catch the bad guys and bring them to justice.

There’s just one tiny problem—the prime suspect is Cat’s brother. Mark knows he has to choose between busting the smugglers he’s been chasing for years and having Cat.

And what should have been a simple choice is the hardest one he’s ever had to make.

The first four books are available separately and also a box set. Visit my website for links to all the books.
THE REDFISH CHRONICLES: There's a lot happening in the small town of Redfish on the Texas coast. National bestselling author Eve Gaddy takes you there in four sexy, emotional novels full of romance, suspense, and passion. Together for the first time as a boxed set!

Books five, six, seven and another box set will be out later this year.

Visit me at my website:
Twitter: @evegaddy

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wedding Vows

My nephew got married this past weekend to an absolutely lovely girl who originally tried to Friend-Zone him.

The wedding was a beautiful event, with a traditional Catholic mass and lots of singing and incense, and as I sat there taking it all in, I got to thinking about vows. The Captain and I have been married for over twenty-two years now, and since I can’t honestly remember what I had for lunch yesterday, there’s no way I’ll remember exactly what we said in our vows without checking the replay on the video, but I’m pretty sure we promised to love and cherish 'til death do us part like most couples do.

But here’s the thing. If we were to call a do-over, I think we’d have to switch things up a bit. It’s not that we won’t love or cherish each other anymore, because we do and we will, but we’d add in a few specifics. For instance:

I, Laura, promise not to complain when I see the credit card bill full of purchases from Cabelas and Bass Pro Shop if you promise not to comment on the piles of unread books I already have every time I bring another book home.

I promise to never give you mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes ever again if you promise to make dinner once in a while. Just once in a while. Please. PLEASE.

You promise to snake the drains and change the oil in my car if I promise to try and keep the drains from getting clogged in the first place, and if I remember to tell you when the oil light comes on instead of waiting until the car stops working altogether.

And finally, I promise to stop acting like it’s your fault every time the internet goes down for more than ten seconds.

There’s more, trust me, which is why I think it's such a good idea to use all-encompassing vows at weddings because I'm tellin' you right now - if the Captain had any idea how quickly I was going to lose my mind every time the internet goes down, he would no doubt have run screaming in the other direction instead of standing there and promising to love me for the rest of his life. 

USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry writes fun and sexy contemporary romances filled with heartfelt emotion and characters readers can relate to. When she’s not writing, she likes reading, watching Marvel movies with her boys, Pinning recipes she'll never make, and cheering for the Yankees. Laura lives in southwest British Columbia with her husband, three sons, two dogs, a handful of chicken and about 30,000 bees.

CATCH AND RELEASE - Fishing for Trouble Book 3

The irresistible O’Donnell brothers return in a charming novel from the bestselling author of Off the Hook (“The perfect balance of sweet, sexy, and wonderfully romantic.”—Lauren Layne).

Hope Seaver is an up-and-coming TV producer tackling the hardest gig of her career: a reality show set at the Buoys, a scenic fishing destination owned by three handsome, stubborn brothers. Liam and Finn O’Donnell are willing to tolerate her crew for the sake of the business, but Ronan would rather chew off a limb than open up on camera. Somehow Hope has to convince him of her good intentions—and stop herself from swooning every time Ronan walks into the frame.

Ronan knows that he’s the reason his brothers gave up their old lives to run the Buoys, and he needs to make it worth their while. So if this out-of-towner with the kind eyes and dazzling smile wants to give them the free publicity they desperately need, Ronan can’t say no. He just won’t let himself get burned again by a double-dealing woman. But what if Hope’s good-girl routine isn’t an act? When Ronan lets his guard down long enough to catch a glimpse of the real Hope, he likes what he sees—enough to give love another shot.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Be Careful What You Wish For...

I’ve been in DIY mode this month. I finally managed to whittle down Mr H into agreeing on a new carpet for the hall, stairs and landing.

It’s the last BIG job that needed doing in our house and, after all of the upheaval of a complete new kitchen and living room in the last twelve months, one he was reluctant to commit to so soon. He is prone to being sensible like that and I find it infuriating. I’m an act-on-impulse-let’s-just-do-it kind of girl. I only ever consider the consequences when it’s too late to do anything about them. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, he finally relented when I introduced him to the bold, stripy carpet I had set my heart on. A bold stripy carpet that could be laid within just ten days if we so desired!
I so desired.

It went without saying we needed to redecorate and, because I really wanted that carpet, I refused to listen to Mr H’s caution that he was really busy at work and wouldn’t be around during the week days to help me. Perhaps ten days is a bit ambitious?

“That’s fine!” I pronounced with infinite confidence. “I’ll have most of it done by the weekend. You’ll see…” It was just one hallway. I mean, how hard can one hallway be to redecorate largely on my lonesome? What I lack in sense, I make up for in blind optimism.

Since those rash words, I’ve been drowning in gloss paint and definitely feeling my age after scrambling about on my hands and knees to paint the bottoms and over-reaching to get to the tops.

I suppose sensible people hire the services of a painter and decorator, but being neither sensible nor the sort of person to entrust my house into the hands of a stranger I much prefer to do it all myself. Or at least I think I do at the start of the project and bitterly regret that decision somewhere around midway. With the hallway, the regret was almost instant because there is a lot of wood in my hall. A lot of wood! Bannisters, spindles, never-ending skirting boards, eight big doors and eight big doorframes. They all needed sanding, which filled the house with dust, and they are all fiddly which drove me to distraction. But I sanded my heart out because I'd said I was up to the task and I'm stubborn as well as misguided.

Painting the thirty-nine spindles was a special kind of hell in itself. You paint them, then spend the next two hours revisiting them with your trusty brush to catch all of the inevitable drips. I thought I’d got every pesky drip until the paint was completely bone dry and I saw a couple of huge ones set like stone for eternity (or until I next time I get the sander out), dribbled like stalactites on a cave wall.

And then there is the physical pain to contend with. Glossing skirting boards gives you back ache, knee ache and arm ache. The doorframes give you neck ache and arm ache. The doors just give you arm ache but at least I now have hulk-like muscles in my right arm which I am sure will come in useful when the arm ache wears off. If it ever wears off.

There is also the inherent problem with sticky gloss paint, because it coats your hands and is a pig to get off. It doesn’t matter how much soap I’ve used, or how viciously I’ve scrubbed my skin raw, my hands still have the faint aroma of white spirit several days on. Short of flaying all the skin from them and waiting for it to grow back, I don’t know what else to do to get rid of the smell.

I painted all of the downstairs walls and Mr H did all of the ceilings over the weekend. At 6’10” he was born to paint ceilings and doesn’t need a ladder, so at least I was spared that onerous task. He also proved to be a dab hand with the extendable roller and managed to cover the huge expanse of wall in the deep stairwell with the stylish ivory, wipeable emulsion I chose.
It’s funny. When we bought this house, it was brand new and every wall was covered in magnolia. Back then it was our mission to de-magnolia the house to put our own stamp on it. In the last two years, we have redecorated it in varying shades of cream again. A sensible person wouldn’t have changed the original décor, but as I’ve already said, I’m not sensible.

Painting finally done, I had to clean the house. The dust got everywhere, so everything needed polishing, scrubbing or vacuuming to within an inch of its life. As with all big decorating jobs, stuff got moved to facilitate the painting, and that all had to be dragged back to its proper place and every room then got de-cluttered because every room leads off my fabulous, pristine new hallway. You know how it is, decorating shows up all the other flaws and they all need to be righted or they drive you madder than an itch on the arch of your foot while you’re motoring at 70mph on a road you can’t stop on. So now I can add housemaid’s knee to my hurting Hulk arm and broken back. But my house is spotless.

It won’t last.

Yesterday, the carpets came. I say carpets because I chose two. A dark beige for the downstairs entranceway and the bold, daring, candy-striped delight which was the root cause of all this pain to cover the stairs and landing. When we had the last carpet laid a decade ago, it took the fitter two hours. But that was plain and this time I chose striped… Suffice to say, I was woefully unprepared for the five hours I spent held hostage in my own living room with only my phone and daytime TV to entertain me while the difficult flooring was laid.
With hindsight, I’m glad I never holed up in the kitchen. I was so bored by hour four I might have availed myself of the knife block and put myself out of my self-imposed misery. I can assure you, time has never gone so slowly and there is only so much Candy Crush you can play before you want to smack your head against your cream wall and howl at the moon.

A sensible person would have taken in their laptop and written a few chapters because her next deadline is looming. But then again, a sensible person wouldn’t have embarked on a huge DIY project when she had a deadline looming either!
I will probably rue the day I impulsively ordered all of that turf for the garden. Turf I was adamant I could lay. Turf that arrives this Friday and has to be laid in twenty-four hours…

Virginia Heath writes witty Regency romantic comedies for Harlequin Mills & Boon. The first book in her 'Wild Warriners' series, A Warriner to Protect Her, is released this month

An heiress in distress and an earl in disgrace… 
When heiress Violet Dunston escapes from an abduction, she finds an unlikely protector in Jack Warriner—a member of one of England's most infamous families. Ensconced with mysterious Jack behind his manor's walls, soon escape is the last thing on Letty's mind! 
Jack may be an earl, but his father's exploits have left him with nothing to offer except a tarnished name. He's turned his back on the ton, but with Letty tempting him day and night, he finds himself contemplating the unthinkable—a society marriage!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Me, My Trope & I

Somewhere I read that there are eleven romance tropes - I'm thinking there are more like eleventy-billion, but there isn't enough space here to list eleventy-billion, so I'll stick three of my favorites:

1) I'm a sucker for the Cinderella trope, especially if Cinderella isn't just sweeping up the floor and waiting for her prince to come. I like a Cinderella who is actively working to change her station in life!

2) Reunion romances make me cry, in all the best ways. I love watching the play of past feelings mingling with new, the personal drama that sets off, and the way people who think they just can't go on together actually find those little things they hated or didn't understand about the other...they now do. Because, as as a good friend once said, don't we all go through those times when we have to find one another all over again?

3) Friends to Lovers. Like reunions, friends to lovers make me a squishy inside. Seeing a friendship grow to more than either person thought it ever could? So rewarding! As flamboyant as the love at first sight story can be, for me the fireworks of a friends to lovers story burns brighter and longer...because there is so much to lose. If love-at-first-sight doesn't work out? You still have your friends...if you take a chance on love and lost a friendship? That sets off little explosions throughout the characters' worlds.

As I was writing my new Slippery Rock Series, I got to play around with a lot of tropes - there are five football player buddies, younger sisters falling for their brother's best friends, friends to lovers, a sloow burn, enemies to lovers, a bit of Cinderella, a secret baby...Hey, there are 4 books and 1 novella - that's a lot space to play around with tropes. You know what I think, though? My favorite trope is The End.

Yeah, I like to think the ending of a romance novels - the happily-ever-after part - is it's own trope, too. The ending, whether I'm there strictly as a reader or as a writer, is my absolute, hands-down, favorite part. I love to watch the hero and heroine riding or walking or driving into the sunset, together. In my imagination, they're holding hands and as they move farther away from me, they're getting smaller, growing older...but they're still holding hands. Because don't we all want to be holding hands with someone that special as we grow older?

So, that about you? What's your favorite romance novel trope? And, like me, do you look at the endings as a trope of it's own?

Kristina Knight's latest book, Famous in a Small Town, releases May 1 from Harlequin Superromance; it is the first book in her new Slippery Rock series. 

Lifestyles of the small-town famous 
Forced to leave Nashville after a scandal, Savannah Walters has come home to Slippery Rock, Missouri, with a bruised ego and her singing career in jeopardy. As if that isn't humiliating enough, on her way into town she's rescued by her swoon-worthy childhood crush, Collin Tyler. 

His hands are full running the family orchard and dealing with his delinquent teen sister, so Collin doesn't need to get involved with someone as fiery and unpredictable as Savannah. But the intense attraction between them can't be denied. And when disaster strikes, they'll both be surprised by who's still standing when the dust settles.

Buy Famous in a Small Town: Amazon  B&N

You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jennifer Gracen: The End

Earlier this week, I typed the two most wonderful, satisfying words a writer can write: THE END. I finished another book. But this one was a bittersweet accomplishment, because it’s the last book of the series I’ve been writing for a while. I started this series in 2013; that’s how long I’ve been living with the characters of the Harrison family.

I know the Harrisons as well as I know my real life friends—nope, scratch that. I know them even better. I know what makes them tick, what makes them flinch, what makes them burn. They’ve lived out the most important moments of their lives in my head for years now. I’ve loved writing their stories, and I’ll miss having them around.

Yes, I’m talking about my characters like they’re real people. To me, they are.
Which is why it’s so strange and bittersweet to now have to leave them behind.

The morning after I’d finished the series, I sat with a cup of coffee and stared out the window for a while, feeling oddly displaced. I realized it’s the same kind of feeling a reader experiences when they finish reading a series they’ve loved. Having to leave that world behind, knowing the story is over... it’s a sweet sense of loss, in the best possible way. Sometimes you can’t even start reading a new book for a few days, because your head is still in that world, with those characters, and you’re not ready to let it go just yet. Right? Well, that’s how I’ve felt for the past few days.

But today, I woke up ready to jump into a new world. To start a new series with new characters. Ready to stretch my writing wings and soar... just like when you leave your family behind to go out into the world. The Harrisons will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m ready to start something fresh and new, and I’m excited to meet the next batch of new characters that will take up space in my head. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lara Temple: Serious issues with fairy tale endings

One of the things I love about writing romance is that I can write about serious issues but still slip back into the comforting hold of a Happily Ever After. It’s not that I’m making light of these issues, quite the opposite – writing about heroes and heroines with survivor’s guilt or those who suffered abuse or bullying is my way of ‘discussing’ those issues with myself without letting them overpower me.

In my third book just out this month, The Duke’s Unexpected Bride, the hero Max is plagued by guilt about his part in the death of his fiancé. In my next book will be out in November, Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress, the hero is also suffering from guilt at his failure to prevent his younger brother, a war veteran, from committing suicide. Suicide among veterans (and among active soldiers) is a real and growing problem.

Today at least there is awareness about PTSD, the impact of battle, the difficulties of reintegrating into civilian life, and the costs incurred by families of veterans and especially those whose loved ones commit suicide. But imagine how it would have been two hundred years ago after decades of war around the globe: thousands of veterans returned to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, often damaged in body and mind, without income or the ability to find employment. There were some hospitals dedicated to caring for soldiers ‘broken by age or war’ (the most famous was the extensive Royal Hospital Chelsea established by King Charles II in 1681 and built by Sir Christopher Wren), but they were a drop in the ocean and didn’t address the difficulties so many had trying to rebuild their lives after years at war. 

18th century engraving of the impressive Royal Hospital Chelsea from the Thames. To the right was the famous rotunda of Ranelagh Gardens (demolished in 1805).
Even those who were lucky enough to have families who cared for them, there was no understanding of the horrific impact of battle on the psyche. They were called heroes and expected to return to normal and to shed their nightmarish experiences as easily as they did their uniforms.

A scene from William Sadler II’s Battle of Waterloo 1815
It is no wonder there were cases of suicide among men who experienced the horrors of war, many of which were not be reported as such for religious reasons or because of family pride or simply because they weren’t ‘clear’ cases of suicide.

In my story, Lord Hunter’s brother has been brutally tortured and suffers from acute pain. It is never clear whether the overdose of laudanum which kills him is an intentional suicide, though Lord Hunter is as certain as he can stand and is haunted by what he considers her failure to help his brother out of his tortured shell. Like many members of families who are affected by suicide of a loved one, his guilt at failing to protect his adored younger brother becomes a driving force in his life and very nearly prevents him from opening himself to his own thirst to live and to the healing power of love.

All fairy tales carry within them a core of painful reality. Happily Ever Afters are much more potent when hard earned. So out of the ashes of this very serious topic I wove my own fairy tale - luckily Hunter’s Cinderella heroine Nell (who has a few scars of her own, but that’s another story) is not easily dissuaded from pursuing her imperfect prince…

Here’s an excerpt from the first of my Wild Lord’s series which starts with Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress in November 2017:

‘Here, this will keep you warm.’
Nell turned. Hunter was behind her, holding a glass of cider, its coil of milky steam carrying all those smells upwards, encompassing all the joys of the fête in a single receptacle. For a moment all the agony of unrequited love and impending loss fell away – right now Hunter was with her, a smile beginning to form in his eyes as he looked down at her. She took the glass, breathing in the scent of the cider, and sighed.
‘It’s just cider,’ he said with a laugh, his expression losing the remainder of its uncharacteristic grimness. ‘You look as if I am offering you the elixir of the gods.’
She shook her head and tasted it. In all her years attending the fête with her father she had never been permitted to taste this hedonistic brew and it had achieved mythical proportions in her mind. It didn’t disappoint – it slid down her throat, evoking a thoroughly sensual response like stepping into a warm spring swirling amber and amethyst and gold. She closed her eyes to let the taste spark those colors, surrounding her and fading away at the end, leaving just the fundaments of apple and cinnamon and a hint of clove. She opened her eyes with another sigh, letting it go.
‘That was my first time.’
As the silence stretched and with the glow of the bonfires lighting the same colors in his eyes she might have believed she had conjured Hunter from the same pagan spring in her mind. It took her a moment to even realize her words might be grossly misconstrued.
‘My first cup of Wilton cider,’ she explained.
‘You have an interesting way with firsts, Nell,’ he remarked, and the spirits in the cider, which had been tumbling through her quite leisurely, chose that moment to expand in a rush of heat that spread through her like the birth of a sun. 

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Twitter: @laratemple1
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Silver Spoon Romeo coming soon! by Jenny Gardiner

You guys!!!

I’ve got a deadline looming for Silver Spoon Romeo and Lorenzo and Sophie are all up in each other’s business, so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet this time around. I’m sitting outside my favorite coffee shop drinking my favorite iced hibiscus tea (when it’s cold I’m all about the decaf cappuccino, bone dry, whole milk—no doubt the last woman on the planet to use whole milk haha), it’s a beautiful spring morning and it’s just SOOO awesome to be sitting outside writing again!

I adore writing with a cozy fire in the fireplace all winter long, but then you just get the itch to be part of the world again. And this winter I did sort of start feeling like a bit of a hermit, so it’s probably good for my psyche that I’m back amongst humanity again.

The only problem with this is of course my leeeeetle habit of eavesdropping… Do you guys do that? I go to a coffee shop and can’t help but mentally engage myself in the lives of people all around me. No doubt my family thinks I’m weird but I think it’s just that I’m a writer. And a procrastinator. Plus I’m always looking for good material ;-).  Right now it’s two new moms and a yoga teacher (I recognized her from a yoga class I used to take when I was in shape! Damn she can do those impossible gravity-defying poses. But she weights like 100 pounds. Note to self: get yourself back to yoga, dammit!), and I guess the yoga teacher is a therapist who has some program to help new moms coping with new mom-hood. Who can’t relate to that?!

Okay well I’m no longer a new mom--- my youngest turns 23 in May! Yeesh! Where did the time go? My middle one recently turned 25, and my oldest will be 27 this summer (oh and the parrot that showed up shortly after he came along joins him in that birthday: twenty-seven years of cleaning up massive amounts of bird poop daily. Now that is hard to fathom! As an aside, you can read more about that in my book Bite Me: a Parrot, a Family and a Whole Lot of Flesh Wounds.).

Yeah I’m not a new mom but my girls are both getting PUPPIES!!!! IN MAY!!!!! So I will be a grandma to adorable PUPPIES!!!! Um, in case you haven’t picked up on the ALL CAPS, I’m mildly excited about this. As in desperately awaiting their mid-May arrival. Word of warning: next newsletter will probably just be puppy pictures. In the meantime I’ll leave you with a teaser—mama Lilly had nine pups, so she’s no doubt got her hands full. And we’re ready to unburden her of two of these gorgeous babies!

Happy Spring!!!

 Check out my Royal Romeos series, which is a spin-off of my wildly successful It's Reigning Men series--I hope you'll be able to check them out!