Saturday, December 27, 2008

ALONG FOR THE RIDE is available!

My spicy novella, ALONG FOR THE RIDE, has actually been out for a week or so, but like everyone else I've been caught up in holiday preparations and celebrations. It's part of the "Cougar Club" series, meaning it features an older woman/younger man romance. Some might find such an idea me, it's just one more delightful variation on a very old theme, that of finding one's perfect match after a sometimes-heartbreaking search.

You can find it here.

I treasure this week between Christmas and New Years as it seems to me that it's the one time of year when it's nearly impossible to find oneself swamped with work - unless it's the work of cooking for family and cleaning up ribbons and wrappings, of sweeping up pine needles and - perhaps my favorite - finding space on the bookshelves for the gifts of books from loved ones who know very well what makes a person truly happy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lazy Days With The Kids

Today I broke down and let my kids both invite friends to dinner. I don't usually do this because it never ends well, but today Evan and I got along and Grace gave me those puppy-dog eyes, and I just couldn't say no.

I like my kids' friends because they have solid companions to talk to when they can't (or don't want to) talk to me. Evan invited his friend Joe, who is a great boy because sometimes the world doesn't understand Evan, but Joe always does. Grace had her friend Alice over, and they are two peas in a pod. Half the time I have no idea what they're saying, but they always make each other laugh. I am so proud of my children because I know they make good choices and pick the right kind of kids to be friends with.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Welcoming the Holidays

Hi all-
I hope the cold weather has brought all of your loved ones together. It certainly has for us in the Bartek household, as this weekend was our Christmas decorating weekend. I love decorating for the holidays because Robert and the kids and I all take part in it. Although Evan, who is 16, might be mad at us for not letting him go to the movies on Friday, and our 13-year-old Grace might be sulking over the pricey hand bag declined to get her, we still have this tradition that always brings us together.

Our decorations aren't too showy, but they are all very sentimental. From the red and white French birdhouses Robert and I got on our honeymoon, to the sock snowmen the kids made in first grade, to the personalied serving platter that has last year's Christmas card picture on it that Evan, Robert, and Grace all chipped in to give me a year ago, it's the stories behind the red and green adornments that make them so special.

Last night, after the kids were asleep, Robert told me to close my eyes and led me down the stairs. When he told me to open my eyes, I saw the Christmas tree was lit up, all of the family's gifts from Robert were under the tree, and our best golden candles cast a warm glow over all of our living room. I ended the night sitting on the couch admiring the tableau, a glass of wine in one hand, and Robert's palm in the other, knowing this was really what I wanted.

Blessings on all of you!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ALONG FOR THE RIDE Will Be Out December 19th!

I'm so pleased to share that my spicy novella, ALONG FOR THE RIDE, will be released in just a few weeks.

Because my full-length Champagne Rose novel was accepted first, and won't be released until May of next year, I wasn't expecting the novella to be out so soon. This means that my first publication will be in 2009 after all. Yippee!!

I understand that titles are released for review before their publication date. It's a strange feeling, knowing that your cherished work is out there in the world, being evaluated. It's something I've looked forward to for a long time, but a little nerve-wracking too.

ALONG FOR THE RIDE is a Scarlet Rose title, and it will be available here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All Done - What Next?

Last week I received the edits back from ALONG FOR THE RIDE. It was very satisfying to see it in its cleaned-up form, but now I'm in a quandary - what next?

I've been considering trying my hand at a historical for a while. Last year, I wrote one historical short story that required a fair amount of research - it was set in 1800's Australia - and I enjoyed the research much more than I expected. It was the small details of another time and place that gave the story spark: the sound of didgeroo at twilight in a mining camp, the compassion of the young women who became nurses and left home to live in tiny mining towns.

I'm intrigued - as are so many readers - by Scotland, a place I'd love to visit someday. I'm going to spend some time this holiday week - I'm in the mountains with my family enjoying long walks and popping fires and favorite old movies - reading some of the authors who are writing such compelling Scottish historicals. Then that can be my Christmas gift to myself - immersing myself in a story that's centuries and five thousand miles away...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Met My Editor!

I had a great thrill last weekend at a writers' conference - I finally met my editor in person!

Cindy Davis is the editor who worked on A MAN FOR THE SUMMER, my contemporary romance that will be out next May. She has an eagle eye for typos and those other little mistakes that somehow creep into every manuscript...and she also helped me correct some story problems and generally knock the manuscript into shape. The final product - the book we all dream of holding in our hands one day - depends on so many people for its success, and it's my pleasure to be working with such professional, capable and just-plain-nice people.

When you work alone at a desk, communicating with people by email is often your main way to get to know your colleagues. But it's always a thrill to finally meet them in person, to put a face with the name, to be able to thank them in person for all their hard work on your behalf. When Cindy turned to me at a crowded banquet and pointed to her name tag, I was so excited!

Cindy runs a professional editing service - you can check it out here. Thanks for all your help, CD!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sister ESP

I have two siblings and each is a blessing. My brother is a fellow writer, and he and I encourage each other and critique each other's work and even attend writing seminars together, which is nice because he lives so far away.

My sister and I live half an hour from each other so we get to see each other a lot more often. Yesterday I stopped by for a visit because I was in the neighborhood visiting a friend.

On the surface, our lives seem pretty different. I'm a suburban housewife who spends her days carpooling and going to Costco in my minivan. My sister's a single urban hipster who has a great apartment with a view of the city, a fast-paced job in Marin County, and a ton of great ethnic restaurant steps from her front door. (Do I sound a little jealous?) Her nod to domesticity is a bevy of houseplants that are taking over the place.

Anyway when I walked in the door, she started laughing. "Your jacket," she said, pointing to my brand new matte-black Athleta body-hugging jacket with fuzzy lining - "I bought the exact same one!"

Go figure...some things are just sister-deep. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008


Today I received my galley for A MAN FOR THE SUMMER. I'll make a little confession here: I only learned what galleys were about a year ago - and until today I had never seen one of the beasts.

Galleys are simply the print-ready final version of a manuscript. It's the author's last chance to find and correct errors after the editors have gone through and made their own changes and the book has been formatted. Ideally, there should be very few errors to find, as many pairs of eyes have seen the work by this point, but my editor tells me that there is always something to fix.

Some editors send them out in hard copy. Wild Rose does them electronically, in a .pdf file. The responsibility for accuracy at the galley stage rests with the author - so I need to devote myself to this task with fresh eyes and caffeine - a project for the morning.

A friend reminded me over the weekend that we authors must remember to celebrate every step of our journey. It is in that spirit that I intend to enjoy my own personal Galley Day!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Story accepted for Wild Rose Free Read

I'm pleased that a short story of mine, "Dog People," has been accepted for publication as a free read by Wild Rose.

About the story:
"How can Rosie meet the cute guy she always sees at the coffee shop? Sometimes, people need a little help to make the first move. In DOG PEOPLE, help comes in the form of a funny-looking four-legged matchmaker. "

This is a five-minute read. Look for it in the Champagne Rose Petal free reads sometime this fall :)

TGFH (Thank God For Husbands)

Saturday was special around here. My critique group had promised to read my new manuscript for me, and what's more, to review and edit it in two days. I emailed it Friday morning, and as a thank you I invited them and their families to dinner Saturday night.

When you finish a manuscript, there's a strange feeling of suddenly having your days back. It can be a little overwhelming, honestly. For months, I've been getting up every morning to my book, and tucking it in at night before I retreat, bleary-eyed, to my own bed. Soon there will be revisions, but there is a little pause in-between when your time is your own.

I used the time to clean the house (aack- writers don't make the best housekeepers) and cook. The appointed hour came. Everyone arrived. The kids - all friends - ran off to do their own things. Cocktails were poured. And then, like some sort of fifties cocktail party, the ladies repaired to the patio table and the gents went off to the barbecue grill.

And stayed there. For over an an hour. While my friends went through their revisions with me. While we talked earnestly, the guys fixed dinner, fed the kids, cleaned up, re-set the table fore the adults, and kept our drinks refreshed.

If you ask me, our men are aces. Sometimes a real man is the one who steps into the background and keeps everything running so we authors have the chance to do what we do. We love you guys!

So here's a toast to Bob, Jim, & Bob!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thank You Angela!

It was extremely exciting to get cover art for both of my upcoming releases on the same day. Wild Rose does something unique for its authors - they let us choose the artist who will create our covers. I spent some time looking at covers from the entire Wild Rose line, and it was a difficult choice. All of the artists are talented, and all of them create stunning covers.

But in the end I was especially drawn to some of the covers Angela created. So I specified her as my cover artist of choice - and then I sat back and waited. Not long after, I got an email saying she had finished the covers...

And here's the result! I couldn't be more thrilled.

A MAN FOR THE SUMMER - Champagne Rose, Contemporary Romance

ALONG FOR THE RIDE - Scarlet Rose, Erotic Romance, Cougar Club

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pleased To Be Here :)

I've been writing for ages. Years and years. More than a decade. 

Um, much more than a decade.

And now my work is finally going to see publication. I'm so delighted Wild Rose Press has decided to publish several of my favorite stories. 

The best thing about my writing journey, of course, is the friends I've made along the way. So I'd like to dedicate this first post to my critique group, the women who believed in me from the start. Thanks, you guys - I wouldn't be here without you!