Is it a sign of immaturity that I like Nickelodeon? REMINDER: Enter to win!

Seriously. I’ve always loved Disney, but recently I’ve found myself watching Nickelodeon shows with my kids, and now they’re being DVR’d because I don’t want to miss them! On my DVR: iCarly, Victorious and Drake & Josh. MOST of the time, I watch them with my kids.

Nickelodeon—like Disney—has a habit of creating what I consider “plastic” stars. Many of the young stars on their shows are multi-talented. They act, they sing, they dance. But often the real talent there is overshadowed by Nickelodeon’s managing and molding. It’s like finding a pretty rock and instead of polishing it up a bit and enjoying it, you have to cut facets where facets weren’t meant to be and don’t really improve anything. And yet, some of these kids manage to shine, even through the plastic coating.

Miranda Cosgrove of iCarly was the first Nickelodeon star to catch my attention. It was back when my younger son teased my older son about watching “teenage girl shows”. Well, I was once a teenage girl and I know what kind of trouble they can be, so I figured I better watch some of these shows with him. To my surprise, I found I enjoyed it, mostly because I could see some real talent in the cast of iCarly. I laughed at their antics and even teared up once or twice (yeah, I did).

It’s a slippery slope from one Nickelodeon show to many. My son and I discovered Victorious together, and I love that show. Set in a high school for the arts, it’s peopled by some pretty spectacularly talented kids, and the cast is led by Victoria Justice, whose music, I’m not even ashamed to say, is in my iTunes library.

So am I reliving my childhood by watching this stuff? Does my brain atrophy every time I sit down in front of it? Is it just good quality time with the kids? Who knows? I don’t even care. It is good quality time with my kids that I enjoy. And if it’s not exactly stretching my brain, well, maybe my brain needs a rest every now and then.

Oh yeah, before I go, remember to leave me a comment to enter to win a print copy of Foreign Affairs, the anthology from Turquoise Morning Press with my story “Agapi Mou”!

Today’s blog tour stops and a reminder about my Foreign Affairs giveaway.

Goddess Fish Promotions has taken me all over the net, it seems, and today we make two stops, both of which I’m enjoying very much. Over at Once Upon a Time I was asked a very simple but very intriguing question. Describe a trip that changed you. Think about that for a minute. I had a hard time settling on one trip at first, but finally I figured it out. After you read the post over at Once Upon a time, check out this flash piece that was inspired by that same trip: China.

The second stop today is actually a review! My Reading Addiction gives Where the Heart Lies four stars and highly recommends it!

This is a story of loss, redemption, second chances, and a little bit of skeletons in the closet to throw a wrench in it. Great story line and smooth transitions with multi-dimensional characters. I highly recommend it. —My Reading Addiction

Finally, don’t forget about my Foreign Affairs print giveaway! Leave me a comment between now and October 31 for your chance to win a copy of Foreign Affairs in print. In the comment, tell me why you think ALL my books should be in print. What would you use them for? To prop up that uneven table leg? Firewood? Paper the birdcage? Give me a compelling and creative reason and enter to win your copy of the first print book with my name on the front cover. Check it out:

Isn’t it beautiful? Wouldn’t you love to own a copy? Well, here’s a buy link in case you just can’t wait for the giveaway to end: Turquoise Morning Press Bookstore. And now I’m off to do some real work!

Ahh…Print. Finally!

Had to share the good news…I’m finally available in print! Yay! Foreign Affairs, the anthology with my short story “Agapi Mou”, is now available in print, so if you’re one of those who loves to hold a book in your hands…well, you can finally hold one with MY name on the front cover in your hands. Here’s what the cover looks like:

To celebrate being in print, I’m going to give away a signed copy of Foreign Affairs to the commenter between now and October 31 who gives me the most creative and convincing reason why my books should ALL be in print.

In other news, be sure to tune in early tomorrow for my TWO guest spots on My Reading Addiction and Once Upon a Time. Find out what I’ve been up to when I haven’t been updating my blog.

Meet FOREIGN AFFAIRS editor Gabriela Lessa and spy on my anthology buddies to win a gift card!

Tomorrow morning, Turquoise Morning Press releases FOREIGN AFFAIRS, a romance anthology containing my story “Agapi Mou” along with five other stories featuring sexy foreign guys. Fun stuff, for sure, and I’ve had a great time working on it. As much credit as the writers get for their books and stories, though, I’ve come to realize that we owe so much of that to our editors. And I’ve never felt more that way than I did with this anthology. Gabriela Lessa, the editor who brought this book together, has agreed to come celebrate FOREIGN AFFAIRS’s release with me on BREATHE today.

BREATHE: Foreign men…yum! But seriously, how did you get involved in a romance anthology about them?

GL: Well, I’m a foreigner myself, since I’m Brazilian, and I’m marrying the yummiest Brazilian man. So that’s really the main reason. And I’ve always loved traveling, and the kind of men you see abroad… Yummy! My single girlfriends actually have this thing going on, they call it “playing War”. Conquering as many territories as possible, if you know what I mean… I thought our readers wouldn’t mind playing a little War themselves, through some fun characters. So when Kim (TMP’s editor-in-chief) asked editors for anthology suggestions, I immediately came up with this one. It sounded like something absolutely delicious to read!

BREATHE: What did you like most about editing this anthology? Any least favorite things?

GL: Aside from the oh-so-hot men and the wonderful stories, you mean? Working with new authors. It’s very exciting to help hone new talent. Least favorites? I wish I could’ve had twenty stories like these!

BREATHE: Which nationalities did you get the most stories about?

GL: From the UK. I got many from England and Ireland, and actually had to select a bit not to end up with too many of those. Still, we ended up with two English gentlemen that will make women swoon, and one Irish fisherman that will show that rough men can have a soft heart.

BREATHE: Would you like to do a Foreign Affairs 2? Which nationalities would you like to have represented in that one?

GL: I would love to! On this first one, we ended up with more of an European edition. English, Irish, French, Greek, Italian… Oh, my, they are so delicious! For a next one, I would love to mix it up a bit. Get some more men from Asia, Africa, South and Central America… Hmmm… You’re getting me excited about this project!

BREATHE: Tell us a little about you, your past, current and future projects.

GL: I’m a bit of a workaholic. In addition to being an editor at Turquoise Morning Press, I’m an independent editor and a reader for a literary agency, so I’m always juggling several projects. There’s a lot going on at TMP right now, and I’m excited to be working with established and new authors. My past and future projects with TMP include several of Bobbye Terry’s novels and novellas, all fantastic. And also a few new authors, like Scott Kramer, whose debut mystery, Taking the Plunge, will be released in September. For the future, I have more from my established authors, more new authors and, of course, I look forward to getting more from the wonderful authors in this anthology.

Thank you for joining me, Gabi! For more information about Gabi’s projects, visit her at

Now the fun contest part. You can win a $10 gift card from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble by doing two things. Visit my fellow Foreign Affairs authors’ websites and spy! Just kidding. But check out their websites and email me ( with at least one fact about each author. To make it a little easier for you, I’m providing you with links to their websites below. While you’re there, you might drop them a line and let them know I said hi!

Karen Booth
Sidney Bristol
J.M. Kelley
Karen Stivali
Georgia St. Mane

I’m going to run this little contest for a week, so you’ve got until August 15 at 5 p.m. Eastern to visit my buddies. Be sure to email me one fact about each one at

Foreign Affairs is out tomorrow! Win a prize!

To celebrate the release of Foreign Affairs by Turquoise Morning Press tomorrow, I’ll be interviewing the lovely editor of the anthology, Gabriela Lessa, right here on BREATHE! I’m very excited about the anthology. It features five other stories besides mine, all about handsome men from foreign lands. Join me here and find out how you can win a $10 Amazon e-gift card!

Changing focus: From a novel to a short story…

Let’s get something straight first. I don’t have a master’s in fine arts. My degrees are in journalism and library science. Two very fine degrees, to be sure, but sometimes I feel like I’m feeling around in the dark when I write about writing. I know the basics. I know how to plot a story, I know how to characterize and how to describe. I’m very good with grammar and my self-editing skills are improving. But when it comes to story arc and some of the finer points of writing, I go by instinct.

It took me almost forty years to write a decent novel. Before that, I played around with short stories and flash fiction…mostly flash fiction, or stories of 1,000 words or less. Finally I got up the courage to write a novel. Weeds and Flowers was my first novel, written in a series of flash pieces because I was too scared to attempt to write a novel the traditional way. Then I wrote Winter Solstice and put it away for several years. Finally, I wrote Secrets of the Lotus and decided it was good enough to publish. Fortunately, I found a publisher (the wonderful Lyrical Press) that agreed with me, and after I re-worked Winter Solstice, they published that one, too. Now I’m on my fourth novel with Where the Heart Lies.

So how much of a shift in focus does it require to write a short story after you’ve written a novel? A lot. I played around with short romances a little. I even won third prize in a romance short story contest with “Life After” (available in The Best of All Sins: Stories of Love & Heartbreak). Short romances are really tough to write because you have to avoid “fast forwarding” too much. Fast forwarding can be either skipping over a lot of scenes you’d normally put into a novel or just having two people fall in love too fast. We don’t live life in fast forward, and while it’s okay to skip the boring parts, you still need your story to make sense. I guess that’s where the story arc comes in–if you’ve got an MFA, anyway.

My second romance short story “Agapi Mou”, was as successful as my first. It appears in the romance anthology FOREIGN AFFAIRS, which goes on sale in ebook format from Turquoise Morning Press next week and in print a month later. “Agapi Mou”, which means “My Love” in Greek, follows the romance of Myron and Lisa and takes place on a vineyard in eastern North Carolina. Myron and Lisa have known each other for several years. Lisa owns the vineyard that grows the scuppernong grapes that Myron’s winery in Greece uses to make scuppernong wine. Circumstances have kept them apart but on one of Myron’s visits, a simple kiss awakens their attraction to each other. Is the attraction just eratos (erotic love)…or could it be agape (true love)?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS also features stories about other hot men from foreign countries by exemplary romance authors (with their heroes in parentheses) Karen Booth (Antonio from Italy), Karen Stivali (Daniel from England), Georgia St. Mane (Logan from England), Sidney Bristol (Luc from France) and J.M. Kelley (Declan from Ireland). Look for more about these authors and their stories in the coming days.

New Cover! Foreign Affairs cover announced…

Hey everybody! Big news this morning. Foreign Affairs, the romance anthology from Turquoise Morning Press with my story “Agapi Mou” (which means “My Love” in Greek), has a face!

What a face, huh? This book is chock full of romantic stories about gorgeous men from far off lands. The stuff dreams are made of. I’m thrilled to be in this anthology, which features the talents of Karen Booth, Sidney Bristol, J.M. Kelley, Karen Stivali and Georgia St. Mane. The anthology is set to release in August, so stay tuned for more information.

While you’re here, don’t forget that WHERE THE HEART LIES is my next baby, due out July 16. And to make it better, it’s only 99 cents during the month of July. You can pre-order your copy now using one of the links to the left. If you’ve already got your copy pre-ordered, help me spread the word. Tag me in a tweet or a Facebook post helping me promote WHERE THE HEART LIES, and I’ll go ahead and enter your name in some of my awesome giveaways I’ve got scheduled for July 16. And you know me…I love to give away e-readers!