My Best Excuse Not to Write is the Greatest Reason I Should

Strange people muttering in my mind, please stop. Or at least slow down. I don’t have time to pay attention right now. I’m busy.

Giggle, whine, scream. Yes, little one, I hear you. I will tend to you. Don’t ever worry. You will always come first.

Sometimes I feel like I’m being torn in two. Guilt when I write. Guilt when I mom. Guilt. All. The. Time.

My four-month-old son is the best excuse not to write yet he’s the most important reason to do so.

I wish I could accomplish both with ease, that there were more hours in the day, that I could survive on less sleep than he allows me. But there isn’t, and I can’t. I can only wait patiently for longer naps, ponder plot twists and character arcs as I monitor tummy time, and read books on craft while breastfeeding. I can wake earlier and squeeze in a few words before he rubs his baby blues, and cut out the TV shows that became mandatory during the days and nights he refused to sleep, when writing was the furthest thing from my mind.

But now that our household has settled after the new addition, I’m desperate to write. For him. I want to be the mother he deserves, and I’m at my best when diving deep into a story. I feel whole and happy and energized. I want to teach him how to be the best person he can be, which for me is when I’m writing, so I need to lead by example and find a way. I want to demonstrate that following your dreams is important, and I want to try to provide for my family, for his future. I want him to grow up knowing that a woman is capable, strong, and driven. And I want him to be proud of his mama.

And because of all of this I will find a way. I will do this. Because I have to.

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Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here:

Avoid the Wrath of Moms-To-Be this Mother’s Day

Baby Bump

Eager to avoid pissing off an expecting mother in May? Do not insinuate she isn’t a mother yet or hint that this Mother’s Day doesn’t count because she hasn’t yet cradled her baby in her arms, changed a dirty diaper, suffered sleepless nights, or some other version of such nonsense. Her life is no longer the same and never will be. Here’s why:

  1. Anything “fun” and “delicious” is pretty much verboten – Ahem, I mean, always putting the baby’s best interests first with everything from making healthy food choices, and avoiding potential hazardous ones, stopping smoking and drinking and excessive caffeine intake, declining the latest bungee jumping invite, increasing sleep, and downing the right dosage of vitamins.
  2. Protective instincts – They turned this quiet woman into a momma bear who shouts on the subway to stop people from shoving and will shove right back when you encroach on the belly’s vicinity.
  3. Her heart is already bursting with love and breaking with set-backs or complications.
  4. Did I mention pregnant women can’t consume alcohol? I did? Right. I can’t remember anything anymore. And I’m sorry, were you sipping a beer when you suggested I wasn’t a mother yet? You’re lucky the bottle didn’t get shoved somewhere so special that you might look at women who’ve given birth differently.
  5. The worry – I can’t even… I have never, ever been more petrified in my entire life, and I assume this continues throughout motherhood. Good times.
  6. The guilt – It begins immediately and is ceaseless. What about that bottle of wine I drank one night before the positive pregnancy test? Should I have eaten more protein yesterday? Did I eat enough foods with calcium today? Could I have harmed the baby when I only ate peanut butter and crackers for a week when the morning sickness threatened to topple me? Should I be listening to more classical music? Should I switch to organic food? Should I stop wearing chemical-laden deodorant? It’s a never ending stream of guilt-consciousness. And it’s no fun at all.
  7. No sushi, brie, rare steak, dippy eggs, or goats cheese. I can’t eat anything I like anymore. And I have to eat vegetables other than broccoli? Brutal.
  8. Crushing fatigue from lack of sleep. I’m sorry, did you just say something about how I shouldn’t be celebrating Mother’s Day? I might have dozed off for a second.
  9. Time – There is already so much less of it with the increased sleep requirements, determining a birthing plan, decorating the nursery, fiddling with breast pumps and researching sleep schedules, doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, the required napping to remain functional, the decisions that need to be pondered, and the hours spent worrying.
  10. Body changes – Raging hormones, swollen parts, bleeding gums, chafing, leg cramps that must be a part of nature’s plan to introduce pain in preparation for childbirth, breasts that now defy gravity, and an extending belly that wreaks havoc on each and every organ in the body. Should I go on?

So if you’re eager to avoid the wrath of a hormonal, irrational, crazy pregnant woman, tread carefully this May. You never know which moms-to-be have spent the last decade of Mother’s Days drowning in a bottle of vodka and have spent thousands of dollars to obtain their positive pregnancy test. You may not be aware of any heartbreaking losses she has had in the past before this glorious time. And you may not know how happy or worried she is about the life changes she’s about to embark on. So give her a break, and allow her this day to bask in the glory of motherhood before she’s forced to celebrate it by dealing with diaper explosions, mountains of laundry, and food whipped in her face or on the floor. Just acknowledge that she’s a mother already. Because she damn well is.

Image courtesy of adamr at

Subway Scribbles

What do you sacrifice for your writing? Today I stopped by Kobo Writing Life to chat about how I’ve begun taking my writing deep underground.

Kobo Writing Life

By Lydia Laceby

“You have to make the time.”

It’s something you hear writers utter when asked how they find the time to write a novel. Whether it’s at midnight with a glass of wine when the kids are in bed, or in the wee hours of the morning before they’re up demanding breakfast; whether you take one evening a week away from your spouse or one morning on a weekend and ignore the housework. You have to make the time. Your novel will never get written otherwise.

And in my experience, I have found this to be true.

You can always find thousands of reasons not to write, particularly in this age of social media. But you have to sacrifice something. Sleep, cleaning, sex, cooking, exercising, spending time with your mother — something has to give.

Redesigning Rose - Cover ImageFor me, that sacrifice is in the form of spending less time with…

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A Word on Book Blogging

Why don’t bloggers always cross-post their reviews to Amazon and Goodreads?

I hear this question posed all the time. I’ve argued about this with one of my closest author buddies over cocktails. She debated they should while I unabashedly defended the blogger. I get the blogger. I was a book blogger. I know why. But I am also an author. And I understand why the author is desperate for the review.

I hope this doesn’t spark too many blogger-author words, but here area few book blogging facts:

Time from start to finish for a book review:

5 hours to read an average length book

1 hour to write comprehensive review (including edits and proofreads)

15 minutes to format blog post including all the book purchase links and links to author social media sites

5 minutes to schedule the blog post and add links to Facebook and Twitter.

30 minutes a day for email correspondence.

This is close to a full day’s work. One full day’s work that bloggers don’t get paid for, hours that are often crammed in around full time jobs, child care, and other daily activities.

Sometimes I think authors forget this.

And before scribbling a scathing comment, understand that I am an author, too. I struggle to secure reviews just as you do. I know exactly how frustrating it can be. I cross my fingers that a blogger is going to cross-post their reviews over at Amazon and Goodreads. But I completely understand if it doesn’t happen.


Because I know they have a life outside of books. Your novel(s) is your whole world. But it’s not theirs. And as much as they may love books, it will never be theirs.

I’ve run the book blog Novel Escapes for over five years so I understand firsthand the enormous amount of effort that goes into running a book blog. I no longer review or handle the correspondence due to time constraints with my full time job and writing schedule, but I still manage the posting of reviews and social media and it still takes up several hours a week. And it’s the first thing to slip when life throws a monkey wrench at me. And there have been many a curve ball that the Novel Escapes ladies have seen over the years.

In just over two years at Novel Escapes between four reviewers we had:

Three house moves

Two pregnancies and births

Three gravely ill parents

One engagement

One wedding

The death of two parents

Life shuffles and skitters on around us and when something has to give, unfortunately it is often the blog. It doesn’t put food in our mouths or roofs over our heads or look after our children and parents.

Honestly, sometimes just getting one review written or review posted can be taxing; looking at the TBR pile, exhausting.

Some food for thought if you’re waiting for Amazon and Goodreads reviews or considering a blog tour:

  1. If the review policy states they’ll post it on Amazon and Goodreads, then they should. If it doesn’t state anything about it, don’t expect one to appear.
  2. Bloggers don’t get paid for this. At all. Not even a little bit. Yes, we get books. This is wonderful. And we thank you. And we love to review for you. But sadly, we often run very short on time. (And any affiliate links we have or Google ads we earn from make us peanuts. They pay for the blog’s annual fees – because we have those. We have overhead. But we do it anyway even if we make nothing. Because we love books.)
  3. Many bloggers schedule their reviews in advance so Amazon and Goodreads are often an afterthought. They’ll go back and post them there when they have accumulated several to do.
  4. If you’re considering a tour strictly for reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, maybe suggest to the tour coordinator that you only want bloggers who guarantee they’ll cross-post.
  5. When seeking bloggers, carefully read their review policy. It should clearly state their stance on this, and if not ask when you’re pitching and clarify that you’re looking to have the review cross-posted in addition to the blog review.

Bloggers just want to help, really. We know you need the reviews. We are reviewing. On our blog. We just can’t always post it elsewhere. And I can’t strong arm the ladies who review for Novel Escapes to do that. And I can’t post them to my own personal Amazon or Goodreads pages which has always been part of the problem because they frown upon that kind of thing.

And honestly, sometimes it’s a miracle that you’re getting a review posted at all. There have been weeks where I’ve sat back and thought “I have no idea how we collectively managed to do all that this week.”

Some bloggers can do it all. I don’t know how, but they manage. I never realized how demanding and overwhelming running a book blog could be. But it is. Know that. And that it takes an extraordinary amount of (unpaid) time.

Cyber Monday Book Sale!

Looking for great deals on some amazing books this Cyber Monday? Look no more! Below are books that are priced at 99 cents or lower – get them quick before the sale ends! From chick lit to women’s fiction to romance and more, we have something to keep everyone happy for this holiday! Find a special tweet at the end of each description and help us spread the word about these amazing deals!

Chick Lit

pie girls lauren clarkPie Girls – Lauren Clark

Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.

Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Twitter: @LaurenClark_Bks

Tweet: PIE GIRLS by @LaurenClark_Bks is just #99cents! #chicklit for your ereader! #CyberMondayReads

dancing naked in dixie lauren clarkDancing Naked in Dixie- Lauren Clark

Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she’s offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia’s story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

Original Price: $2.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Twitter: @LaurenClark_Bks

Tweet: #CyberMondayReads – get DANCING NAKED IN DIXIE by @LaurenClark_Bks for only #99cents! #chicklit #booksale

the dr pepper prophecies jennifer gilby robertsThe Dr. Pepper Prophecies – Jennifer Gilby Roberts

25-year-old Mel Parker has a few tiny problems:
* Her job is terrible
* She’s been dumped yet again (and her ex is now her boss)
* Her parents think she’s a loser compared to her perfect younger sister
* All her efforts to improve her life seem doomed to failure
* There just isn’t enough chocolate in the world to make up for the above.

The best thing in her life has always been her best friend Will, who has seen her through every crisis from lost toys to pregnancy scares. But his girlfriend (who’s prettier, better-dressed, more successful and secretly evil) is determined to replace Mel as the woman in his life and how is Mel supposed to compete?

And what do you do when you’ve pretty much given up on your own life? You help others, of course!

Whether they like it or not.

Original Price: $2.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Twitter: @GilbyRoberts

Tweet: #ChickLit Sale! THE DR. PEPPER PROPHECIES by @GilbyRoberts is only #99cents! #CyberMondayReads

french twist glynis astieFrench Twist – Glynis Astie

Sydney Bennett had spent her life in pursuit of perfection. She planned, weighed her options and made careful choices based on calculated outcomes. Through all of her efforts, she had come pretty close to perfection, if she didn’t say so herself. She had fled the cold winters in New York for sunny California, found a job that she loved and lived in the same town as her sister, and best friend, Kate. The one area of perfection that had always eluded her was her love life. No matter how hard she tried, she always ended up with a broken heart. After a particularly traumatic breakup, Sydney vowed that she was done with love.

Just as Sydney threw herself into her new plan to forget about men, a handsome Frenchman tossed all of her intentions out the window as he swept her off of her feet. Louis Durand had lived a life filled with excitement and adventure. He was impetuous, intelligent and incredibly charming. So naturally, he scared Sydney half to death. From the moment they met, Louis and Sydney’s romance progressed at warp speed. Sydney did her best not to run, but her deep rooted relationship anxiety threatened to provide an easy exit. When Louis mentioned marriage before Sydney even knew his favorite color, she was more than tempted to reach for her running shoes. Will she be able to put her fears aside to follow her heart? The one thing that Sydney will learn is that sometimes perfection comes with a twist…

Original Price: $.99

Sale Price: FREE

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Twitter: @GlynisAstie

Tweet: Who doesn’t love FREE #chicklit? Grab your copy of FRENCH TWIST by @GlynisAstie now! #CyberMondayReads

french toast glynis astieFrench Toast – Glynis Astie

Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?
As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.
With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…

Original Price: $2.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Twitter: @GlynisAstie

Tweet: #CyberMondayReads: Get #chicklit for just #99cents! FRENCH TOAST by @GlynisAstie #booksale

in need of therarpy tracie banisterIn Need of Therapy – Tracie Banister

Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

Original Price: $1.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Facebook Page:

Twitter: @traciebanister

Tweet: IN NEED OF THERAPY by @traciebanister is just #99cents for #CyberMondayReads! Get #chicklit for your eReader!

limoncello yellow traci andrighettiLimoncello Yellow – Traci Andrighetti

Francesca “Franki” Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn’t cut out for a life on the police force. So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica’s detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki’s hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When she’s not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of “good Italian boys”—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a Voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life.

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Facebook Page:

Twitter: @TAndrighetti

Tweet: LIMONCELLO YELLOW by @TAndrighetti is just #99cents for a limited time! #CyberMondayReads #chicklit

prosecco pink traci andrighettiProsecco Pink – Traci Andrighetti

For Franki Amato, life in New Orleans is anything but “The Big Easy.” When she met handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, she knew she’d finally found a man she could trust. But she can’t say the same for his sexy new secretary, who is about as trustworthy as Mata Hari and every bit as seductive. Meanwhile, Franki’s best friend and employer, Veronica Maggio, has named her the lead investigator in the murder of a gorgeous cosmetics CEO who was found lying dead in the master bedroom of a historic plantation home.
Now the pressure is on Franki to figure out what a bottle of pink lip gloss and the legend of a pink diamond have to do with the bizarre killing. The problem is that the plantation is notorious for being haunted, and Franki is less than enthusiastic about the prospect of meeting a ghost. Adding to her stress, her Sicilian grandma is up to her usual meddling antics—this time planning Franki’s engagement to Bradley before he’s even considered popping the question. As Bradley grows distant and plantation employees begin dropping like Southern belles during a sweltering summer, Franki turns to a psychic with a phobia of ghosts to solve the mysterious murders and her own relationship fears.

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Facebook Page:

Twitter: @TAndrighetti

Tweet: Get #chicklit for just #99cents when you grab PROSECCO PINK by @TAndrighetti during #CyberMondayReads!

breaking the rulesBreaking the Rules – Cat Lavoie

When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef.

While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancé, although it is all she can think about.

Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Facebook Page:

Twitter: @Catenabi

Tweet: BREAKING THE RULES by @Catenabi is just #99cents for #CyberMondayReads – fun #chicklit! #booksale


zoey and the moment of zenZoey & The Moment of Zen – Cat Lavoie

When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone—except Zoey—is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all.

But Zoey’s relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort’s owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane’s grumpy friend—to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm.

When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn’t completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn’t the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen.

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link:

Facebook Page:

Twitter: @Catenabi

Tweet: Grab ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN by @Catenabi for only #99cents during #CyberMondayReads! #chicklit


when girlfriends chase dreamsWhen Girlfriends Chase Dreams – Savannah Page

A novel about chasing dreams, for better or worse, and living your love story.

Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She’s got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She’s been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect?

The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can’t go wrong. Whether it’s wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire’s friends are there in a pinch.

But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she’s starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricey dream wedding planner isn’t turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that’s supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart?

This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It’s a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn’t). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams.

Original Price: $3.99

Sale Price: FREE

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Twitter: @Savannah_Page

Tweet: FREE #chicklit from @Savannah_Page when you grab WHEN GIRLFRIENDS CHASE DREAMS! #CyberMondayReads


when girlfriends collection savannah pageWhen Girlfriends Collection 1-3- Savannah Page

This digital boxed set includes the first three novels of the When Girlfriends collection: When Girlfriends Break Hearts, When Girlfriends Step Up, and When Girlfriends Make Choices.


Follow Sophie Wharton as she learns what to do about matters of the heart when things don’t quite go according to plan.

A novel about the bonds of friendship, the power of forgiveness, and the lessons you learn when you let go.


Join mom-to-be Robin Sinclair as she embarks on a journey she never could have imagined.

A novel about love and support, and learning that with enduring friendships, no woman is ever alone.


Follow Lara Kearns as she struggles with how far she’ll go for true love…however forbidden…

A novel about forbidden love, the choices you make, and discovering what’s important in life.

Original Price: $7.99

Sale Price: $.99

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Facebook Page:

Twitter: @Savannah_Page

Tweet: Get 3 titles from the WHEN GIRLFRIENDS series from @Savannah_Page for only #99cents! #CyberMondayReads


Women’s Fiction

toronto collection1 heather wardellToronto Collection 1 – Heather Wardell

“Go Small or Go Home”: When massage therapist and aspiring artist Tess begins treating stressed but attractive hockey star Forrest, her art career soars due to his gallery-owning mother, but her creativity plummets under the weight of rules and deadlines. Soon, she’s lost the freedom and joy she’d always found in art. Is having her dream career worth losing doing her art her way, or can she somehow have both at once?

“Planning to Live”: Determined to lose weight for her best friend’s wedding, goal-obsessed Rhiannon flees her parents’ Christmas Day feast to avoid overeating but her car skids off the deserted road into a tree. Trapped and bleeding, with her cell phone out of reach, she struggles to escape, and to accept that she’s spent her whole life planning but hasn’t ever really lived. Will she get the chance to change that?

“Stir Until Thoroughly Confused”: Mary’s given up everything, including an unsatisfying marriage, to become a chef. But the career comes with a side dish: Kegan, her sexy but controlling new boss. They’re soon in a relationship, and in all-too-frequent arguments, and when it becomes clear they can’t work together and be together Mary faces a dilemma: keep her dream job or her dream man?

“A Life That Fits”: Twenty-eight-year-old Andrea is devastated when her boyfriend of fourteen years leaves her for a woman he calls Andrea’s opposite. Determined to get him back, Andrea changes everything in her life. New clothes, new activities, new friends… she’ll be her opposite in no time. But will she change enough to get Alex back? And if she does, will he fit into her new life?

Original Price: $9.99

Sale Price: $.99

Amazon Link:

Facebook Page:

Twitter: @heatherwardell

Tweet: Get 4 titles from @HeatherWardell for only #99cents during #CyberMondayReads!


toronto collection2 heather wardellToronto Collection 2 – Heather Wardell

“Live Out Loud”: Songwriter Amy wants to honor her late best friend by starting the support center for teenage girls they’d planned when they were just girls themselves. When her song becomes an internet sensation she sees how to get the money she needs, but soon realizes she adores her new pop star career. She must choose: create the center she needed herself as a teen or truly become Misty Will, pop princess.

“Blank Slate Kate”: Waking up with a strange man is scary. Realizing you lost fifteen years of your life overnight? That’s terrifying. With her memories from seventeen to thirty-two gone, Kate has no idea who she is and where she belongs. As she begins to fall for the man who found her, she wonders if she forgot those years for a reason. Should she keep trying to retrieve her original self, or start a new life?

“Finding My Happy Pace”: If thirty-year-old Megan were any more of a doormat, she’d have footprints on her back. She takes up running to strengthen her body, but marathon training with cute but heartbroken coach Andrew strengthens her assertiveness too. When her best friend’s demands threaten her race Megan must decide: cave in as she always has before or stick to her new-found ‘happy pace’ in running and life.

“All At Sea”: Three months after they met, Melissa will marry Owen on his family’s annual cruise. He’s a great catch, though, so although they’re moving fast she’s sure they’ll be fine. But when he proves to be a gambler and deserts her for the onboard casino, she wonders if she really knows him and if their marriage will meet her needs. Melissa must decide: stay with Owen or jump ship.

Original Price: $9.99

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redesigning rose lydia lacebyRedesigning Rose – Lydia Laceby

Rose Parker’s husband has been lying. About everything.

When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.

While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements–her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude–Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.

As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself.

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the holdout laurel osterkampThe Holdout- Laurel Osterkamp

Robin wanted to win The Holdout, a cutthroat reality TV show, so she gave it her all, challenge after challenge. Then she fell for Grant, with his irresistible eyes and heartbreaking life story.

But Grant was only using Robin as they competed for a million dollars. Once home, Robin wants to hide from the humiliation as episodes of The Holdout are aired, and she worries her family was right all along; she’s not a survivor.

Yet she could surprise everyone, and have the last laugh.

Besides, Robin now has jury duty. And as she forges ahead, confronting her demons about bravery, justice, and romance, Robin will come to decide which is more important: the courage to stand alone, or the strength to love again.

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the next breathThe Next Breath – Laurel Osterkamp

“I kiss him, choosing love over honesty, which is a choice nobody should ever have to make…”
Robin loves sweet, responsible Nick, with his penchant for Beethoven and Ben Folds Five. But she also still loves her college boyfriend Jed, an irreverent playwright plagued with cystic fibrosis. Now Robin is struggling to reveal her secrets and confront her past, as she finally performs in the play that Jed wrote for her, eleven years ago. Will Robin have the strength to keep her promise and stay true to her heart?
Alternating between present-day scenes, college flashbacks, and segments from Jed’s play, this tear-jerking yet uplifting tale illustrates how life is finite but love is infinite, and the road to recovery begins with the next breath.

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coulda woulda shoulda tara lee reedCoulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Tara Lee Reed

Elle Masters is over dating. It used to be fun: the drama, the angst, the exhilarating beginnings, the bittersweet middles, the blowout endings. Then the tears, hangovers, rebounds, and another addition to the Heartbreak Box in her closet. Now Elle can’t remember the last time a guy made his way into her box. When her friends Rachel and Valerie insist she snap out of her post-breakup funk with a girls’ night out/rebound hunt at a San Francisco bar, she isn’t expecting tall, dark, and hummuna-hummuna, Nick Wright. This is no rebound guy. He’s definitely, maybe, The One. In Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, you play Elle as she and her pals put the “antics” in “romantics.” You’ll question everything you thought you knew about love, over-analyzing and second-guessing your way through hundreds of modern dating dilemmas and passionate predicaments. With 60 Happily Sometimes Afters, you’ll always have another chance with Mr. Wright.

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a questionable friendshipA Questionable Friendship – Samantha March

Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small café and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

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something yellow laura templetonSomething Yellow – Laura Templeton

Thirteen years ago, Holly’s nine-year-old sister, Rachel, disappeared without a trace. Thirteen years ago, Holly left her hometown. Thirteen years ago, Holly’s first love and high school boyfriend, Houston, was the only suspect. Now, another girl has disappeared. Holly is back, and so is Houston—never charged and still proclaiming his innocence. Can she trust him? Should she trust him?
When out-of-work banking executive Holly McCann moves to the rural mountain town of White Cove, Virginia to care for her dying mother, the past collides with the present. A violent crime against her nine-year-old neighbor evokes memories of the eerily similar disappearance of her sister thirteen years earlier. Holly is thrilled by the arrival of her estranged brother, Oliver, but concerned by his mysterious behavior. She is befriended by the new minister, Jonah, an outsider haunted by his own painful past, but it is Houston Phelps, the only person arrested for the disappearance of her sister, who forces Holly to confront the past and start living in the present.

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Romance & New Adult

the-right-designThe Right Design – Isabella Louise Anderson

Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life.

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job–Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be caddish.

But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him–something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.

Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one?

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laurel heights denise moncriefLaurel Heights – Denise Moncrief

A dark cloud of deceit hovers over her family tree…

Left an estate by an aunt she’s never met, Laurel Standridge takes possession of Laurel Heights, hoping it will be the safe haven she needs to recuperate from her ill-fated relationship with Rand Peterson. Secrets long buried rise to the surface when her cousin James is murdered and dumped on the highway just outside the gates of Laurel Heights.

Her past trails her to the mountains of Arkansas…

Caught in an obligation Chase Peterson feels he cannot ignore, he agrees to help his brother Rand take back the property he believes Laurel stole from him, but Chase remains at Laurel Heights after he discovers Laurel took nothing of Rand’s away with her except nightmares, fading bruises, and a broken rib.

Unexplained disturbances shatter her hopes of a normal life…

Are the strange bumps, thumps, and bangs reverberating through the night caused by the murderer of Laurel’s cousin James, someone Rand has sent to exact his revenge, or a disturbed soul existing in another dimension, trying to communicate with the living? Drawn together by the intrigue surrounding Laurel Heights, Chase and Laurel become hopelessly entangled in a relationship that goes deeper than mere physical attraction. Can their love survive the haunting of Laurel Heights?

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chez stinky susan c daffronChez Stinky – Susan C Daffron

Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn’t laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she’s stumped when she inherits Abigail’s house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.Kat’s uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn–with a touch of antique skunk–and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that’s before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools). Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul. And why she can’t she stop thinking about Joel?

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Hard Hats and DoormatsHard Hats and Doormats – Laura Chapman

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

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Electoral Fate

Four years ago today, I placed the most important vote of my life. I emerged from my writer’s cave, showered, dressed, and then shoved my car into drive. Strolling into my polling station, a local church, I flashed some ID and wandered behind the tiny partition. I cast my vote in Toronto’s municipal election, shoved my ballot into the box and headed to the door.

And then I met my husband.

I remember blinking and squinting when I saw the familiar figure in the hallway, trying to place him before I approached, cursing myself for not visiting the eye doctor for those glasses I’d become desperate for.

When he turned around my heart fluttered in my chest in recognition. He took off his sunglasses and squinted in my direction and I smiled, the sunshine and the warmth of the atrium foyer engulfing us while we embraced.

You see, we’d known each other years before. And fate has a funny way.

He’d been friends with an ex-boyfriend of mine from nearly a decade and a half ago, and during those years we had a wonderful rapport. We’d managed to keep in touch for a few years after the relationship disintegrated, but eventually everyone drifted apart.

But I must confess, I partly ran away. I’d begun to feel a pull for this boy. We had sparkle. And it was all too much for me at the time, still too close to the past. One of the last times we all hung out the two of us traveling to a cottage party with another friend, a friend who says now, years later, how connected we’d been during those last days. But I’d ignored it, forcing myself down another path, one that came to an abrupt dead end six months before voting day.

But voting day wasn’t the first time we’d run into each other. Fate tried a few other times before we finally got it right, tossing us together randomly. I hadn’t bumped into a single other soul from the old crew over the years. Just him.

And as we stood in that foyer I felt the fingers of fate fold around us. And I knew he felt it too. The sparkle igniting the room wasn’t just from the sunshine. I’m not sure either of us were surprised to discover we lived within ten blocks of each other as we stood chatting for a few minutes while other voters ambled in and out of the church. Eventually we wandered out to our cars, both stating that we should get together to catch up. One over-edited Facebook message (me) and a phone call later (him) and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, if you don’t believe in fate and fairy tales, I’m here to tell you that they do come true.

And am I ever grateful I took the time to shower and wash off the coating of writer’s grime that day.

Lydia_Reno_Enhanced-83 Lydia_Reno-184Lydia_Reno-498

Emojis and Ebola: Catch Up Time

Much was sacrificed during the making of Book Two, something I will begin rectifying immediately including…

  • Reading. I’d set a goal to read a book a week in 2014. I’m ten books behind. While having read 31 books already this year might seem great, I read 75 books in 2013 so I’m unimpressed with myself, even though I honestly have no clue how I pulled off reading so much last year.
  • Friends! *WAVES* I’m here. I’m sorry. I suck. Please still like me.
  • Cleaning. I’ll spare you a photo of the “scary room.” It’s actually our office, but we use it as a dump site for everything and anything. Currently there are papers piled on my desk for filing from March through October, books strewn everywhere that have yet to make it on my shelves, camping gear, photos awaiting find frames, and some of the items from when I decluttered and de-glutened my kitchen that I have yet to give away. I’ll spare you a photo.
  • Emojis and Ebola: I should probably brush up on the news and latest technology.
  • Pondering my next project. I have a few ideas. I’m hoping to jot down some notes. I’d contemplated NaNoWriMo on Friday, but then quickly reconsidered because that’d be cray-cray after the insanity of the last few months. I need a break. Or at least a gentle writing guideline and not one that involves writing a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November.
  • Get reacquainted with Novel Escapes. Post more reviews. Regularly.
  • Maybe write some blog posts and possibly attempt some marketing for Redesigning Rose.
  • Gardening. My poor, poor garden. Thankfully husband has been tending to it, but I suspect he may now think he’s claimed it and staking my territory again next spring will be a struggle.
  • Television! So behind.

Disclaimer: The above list is not inclusive of everything requiring my attention after finishing Drafts Two and Three of Book Two and is not in order of priority.

Here’s one shiny manuscript on its way to one beta reader. I couldn’t bring myself to transport it in anything but the New York Public Library tote I scored on my trip last May.


I’m in the Zone, Leave Me Alone

I’ve fallen into my writer’s cave again but this time around it is not quite as dark and scary a place as it was a few weeks ago. In fact, I’m not sure I even crawled out of it, but there are slivers of light now where before there was only dark.

I'm in the Zone

For this new book I dusted off a manuscript I’d written for NaNoWriMo nearly four years ago. I kept almost every character, renaming many along the way. For some reason with Book Two – which sadly doesn’t have a proper name yet – I gravitated towards names starting with J. There was Jessica, James, Jocelyn, and Jeremy, and a prominent last name of Jamieson, and every time I had a new character to add, a J name was the first to pop into my head. Apparently this is not an unusual phenomenon in the novel writing world. So I’m not weird. Or maybe all writers are weird. You decide.

So I had all these wonderful characters. I loved each and every one of them. But the plot of said NaNoWriMo book? Well, it sucked. Truly.

And I had another idea I loved that had sparked during one of the final rounds of edits on Redesigning Rose (something I’m learning occurs with me during the editing stages. As I write this blog post and edit Book Two, I am already plotting my next novel.)

So I decided to marry the two, something that was infinitely more difficult than I ever could have imagined. But I’ve done it. I stripped away everything from that shitty old draft except three scenes and rewrote/wrote my new story with all the old characters. And it’s mostly finished. I’ve slotted the biggest pieces of the plot puzzle together. Finally.

I have some minor tweaks and oodles of line-by-line rewriting to do to polish the draft before handing it over to my beta readers. And I’m determined. I really want to finish by September 15th. I don’t know if this is possible, but I didn’t think my last deadline was possible either and I did it. And I also never thought writing on the subway was possible, but I’m doing it. I can crank out 850 words on my iPad during my 40 minute commute. That’s more than I write in an hour at home. I’ve even discovered a way to edit Book Two on my subway trips even though it’s a copy and paste affair into my writing software when I arrive home. Scrivener, please, please, please keep working diligently on your iPad app!

I’m studying anything and everything right now, observing for even the tiniest of details to add. Nothing is off limits. My manuscript is never far from my thoughts as a sentence tweak here or there pops into my mind at random times. I have notes everywhere. I get so deep into my writing zone underground on the subway that I’ve almost missed my stop several times, something I’ve rarely even done with reading.

Speaking of reading…

I’m so far in the zone that I haven’t picked up a novel in over a week. I don’t even know why I wrote all the words leading up to this because that says it all right there.

Blog Roll – What I’m working on….

My talented and fabulous friend, Samantha Stroh Bailey, author of the fantastic novel, Finding Lucas, has challenged me to answer this blog roll on writing – Read about her fascinating writing process HERE.

And keep reading to see who I nominate to participate…


My current manuscript is about a woman who has an unusual way of dealing with conflict that one day falters and simultaneously exposes all of her deepest darkest thoughts, anger and angst to the very people she’d been hiding it from. 

In addition to revising this manuscript (Draft #1.5) I’ve also just begun pondering a plot for another novel which I expect I’ll write after this one. It gets complicated in my head sometimes.


It’s been said that every story has already been told, so, with that in mind, I think it all comes down to voice. While my novels are often serious, I tend to add levity and humor to situations and scenes, and I really enjoy the psychology of a first person novel, exploring why people do the things they do and say, and their motivations and experiences and inner dialogue.

One day I would like to be brave and try something new like a dual genre story hopping from past to present or even a few of the historical fiction ideas that have been bouncing around in my brain for the last two decades. One day, one day.


I love a strong female protagonist. I love putting them through hell. And then I love writing their happy endings.


I wing it. All of it. AKA: I’m a pantser, flying by the seat of my pajama pants. I have a vague idea and then I let it percolate. I write bits and pieces down, writing more and more as the details of the story reveal themselves. I admit, it isn’t pretty much of the time. It’s clunky and awkward, but I don’t really know any other way and it seems to be working. Mostly. Oh, and staring into space occurs frequently – daydreaming is a large part of my process. There are random AH-HA moments as I figure out something important complete with fist pumps in the air and a lot of thinking about the best way to drag my heroine to hell and back and what’s going on in her mind.

This draft is going to be a little different than my previous pass it to beta readers, edit, then hand over to my editor. This time I’m passing it over to none other than Samantha Stroh Bailey before my beta readers. We are miraculously at the same point in our manuscripts and have set a strict deadline of August 1st to swap. Then, a week later, we’re having dinner and drinks and a heavy discussion about our respective manuscripts. Have I mentioned that I’m a perfectionist? And that Sam’s an über-editor? I’m a basket case! But nothing like a tight deadline to instigate momentum.


What doesn’t work is editing a bunch of loosely strung together ideas although I have been improving on this front. I end up slashing and cutting and rewriting and moving chunks of the story around to make it cohesive. I also have to go back and add information or delete it as the story changes as I go along. One of the perks of plotting (or so I hear) is that this doesn’t happen as often, although I’ve heard a plotter or two say their stories end up changing half way through regardless of how much planning they do. Unfortunately I have to do a few rounds of edits before passing it over to beta readers for feedback.

For this novel I’ve been playing around with writing and editing on the subway for my work commute which is working very well for me – I suspect the lack of internet connection and other distractions is what works here. I do, however, tend to act out what my characters are doing to ensure I’m getting it right. I mimic their sneers, their grimaces, when they wrinkle their noses, how they move their arms, etc. I also mutter aloud when I’m working. Often. And I talk to myself and sigh a lot. This is not conducive to subway writing. I’m certain one day I’ll be hauled off a train and be committed.

And…*Rubs hands together.* Who do I want to nominate?

I’ve selected three women who not only do I admire and whose books I love, but I’m in absolute awe of how quickly they manage to rustle up a new novel! And a wee bit jealous! I’m hoping that by nominating them they’ll share some of their secrets!

K.C. Wilder, author of Fifty Ways to Leave Your Husband, Seattle Postmark and Wrecks.

Brea Brown, author of The Secret Keeper series, Let’s Be Frank, and Daydreamer.

Juliet Madison, author of Fast Forward, January WishFebruary or Forever, Starstruck in Seattle and I Dream of Johnny.

Jennifer Weiner Fan Girl

I’m meeting Jennifer Weiner tonight at her Toronto signing. EEEEK! I’m meeting Jennifer Weiner, the queen of chick lit and women’s contemporary fiction! I’m going to bumble over my words because I have so much to tell her. I’m very confused as to what to thank her for most:  

  • For inspiring me to write.
  • For championing women’s fiction and chick lit.
  • For writing incredible books.
  • For writing one of my favourite books, Good in Bed.
  • How the first-ever review at my book blog, Novel Escapes, was Certain Girls five years ago last Friday.
  • For the writing advice she gave in an interview when Certain Girls released about how quickly pop culture references become dated, and how readers like physical descriptions of characters.
  • For the break up with a (not-so-lovely) boy after we fought when I’d purchased the hard cover copy of Good in Bed when I struggled to pay my rent at the time. It was the best “Book Investment” I ever made as I describe in THIS post.
  • How a book of hers made it to my wedding with “the one.”

Do you think she’ll grant me that much time!? How I wish we could go out for a dinner. I have so much I need to tell her. #fangirl