February 28, 2013

memory jars

Blogger's Note: During my travels the past few years, I had the opportunity to visit various booked-related hot spots. Along the way, I have picked up several souvenirs, and I wanted to share how I showcase these moments in my home. Originally posted on my now-defunct blog, Lit Adventures, I hope you enjoy this post.


Memory jars are cheap and easy way to display keepsakes from travels. For those of us on Lit Adventures, they are a way to remember these moments and display them in your home.

I borrowed this from Young House Love, my favorite home improvement/decor blog. According to their post, they saw the idea in a Pottery Barn magazine.

When I read about these travel memory jars, they reminded me of the dream jars the giant keeps in Roald Dahl's The BFG. I new these would be a great way for me to commemorate some of my travel adventures and would fit right into my barbrary

Here is what you need to make them:
  • Jars 
  • Masking tape
  • Marker/pen
  • Souvenirs
On Young House Love, the bloggers purchased several same-sized mason jars to make their finished product. For mine, I have thus far used jars of varying size from small salsa jars to extra large marinara jars. While part of me loves the uniform look of same-sized jars, I ultimately decided to take my approach, because I like the idea of giving jars I already have, or will have in the future, a new use. Also, the finished product looks nice and is somewhat symbolic to me. Every adventure is different. Some are big and some are small, but they are all worth remembering.

The keepsakes you put in your jar can vary, too. Cheap keychains, pens or magnets fit great in these jars. Postcards, small brochures and receipts also work well. If you decide to use something like sand, seashells, rocks or other natural materials, be respectful of how much you take and no that it is illegal to remove these items in some places. (Read my post from La Push, Wash., here, which touches on that more.)

As an example, for my Seattle 2012 jar, I included a keychain with an image of the Seattle skyline, my receipts from the original Starbucks and my delicious lunch at Pike Street Market and the handwritten directions I received to find one of my destinations.

For a funny, more personal reminder, I included the $40 parking ticket I received, and the paperwork used to dismiss it. (Quick sidenote: The phone agent I spoke to with Seattle's parking services was one of the nicest, most helpful people I have ever talked with to resolve an issue. It was a reminder to me of the importance of being nice to people, especially if you want their help.)

For the best fit and overall appearance, I suggest you keep the number of items between three and five.

Once you place your items in the jar in a manner that appeals to you, write a brief description of your adventure, including location and time. For example, I wrote "LauraPalooza 2012 - Mankato, Minn." on my jar for that conference.


Display your finished products as you like. Bookshelves are a natural fit, and I will proudly place mine on shelves in my barbrary.

How do you display keepsakes from your trips?

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February 26, 2013

interview with the author of 'when i see you'

Blogger's Note: I'd like to welcome Katherine Owen, author of When I See You (read my review here and an excerpt here), to Change the Word for today's interview.

Change the Word: What was your inspiration for writing this book?
Katherine Owen: This novel came from an exercise I did for one my advanced fiction classes with The Writer’s Studio. I was stuck on Afghanistan and what was happening there. I watched the movie Shooter, which is one of my son’s favorite films. There’s a scene at the beginning with two soldiers. I thought about that scene for a long time and started posing questions. What if something happened to a soldier while in battle that changed everything for the love of his life back home? It started from there and evolved over about two years into the story of When I See You.

CTW: When I See You handles some pretty heavy subject manner. How did you get into the mindset to write the subject manner?
KO: I tend to be in the mindset of dark, emotional angst most of the time, so writing characters that exhibit these deep emotions is sort of a table stake for me. I have a lot of empathy for what happens in real life, which is why I listen to sports radio more than hard news because it’s just easier on my psyche that way. I have enough material built up from years of observation of life to write for years to come. It appears that angst-filled, emotional roller coaster type reads are my wheelhouse as both a writer and a reader.

CTW: There's also a bit of a love triangle to this one. What did you do to make that complicated chemistry?
KO: Well, love is complicated and varies by infinitesimal degrees, in my opinion. I think that more than one person can be right for us, or all wrong for us, and we don’t always see that. Ethan and Jordan seem to have this amazing relationship, but he eclipses her quite often and ignores her angst over his long absences and somewhat dismisses her feelings about her parents’ loss, her lack of trust, and her ultimate fear of being left all alone. Then, along comes Brock, who seems to already understand all of these things about her. It’s a fascinating subtle part of the story that begins to unfold in the first chapters. The complicated chemistry between all three of them was intriguing to write. It was an exacting artistic balance, on my part, because I do think love can be this complicated or, really, in essence, can be this simple.

CTW: Is there one trait you share with Jordan?
KO: Jordan is dark and edgy from an emotional perspective. She feels the loss of her parents deeply. That characteristic was developed from my own perspective and personal experience with the loss of my dad.

CTW: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
KO: As the cliché goes, I have wanted to be a writer for most of my life. I won a poetry contest at the age of fourteen, majored in English and Editorial Journalism in college, and carried the desire and dream to write with me everywhere, until finally, I had the time and the freedom to write novels full-time.

CTW: What is the most read story on your bookshelf?
KO: I have read April & Oliver by Tess Callahan several times. I just love the dark, edgy story line and the angst between April and Oliver in that one. I don’t usually read books more than once, but that novel is one of my absolute favorites. In terms of the ones most read by others? That would be The Time Traveler’s Wife or Gone Girl. I love both those novels, equally, because of the stellar writing and the risks both these writers take with their work. I consider their novels permission slips, every day, for what I write.

CTW: How do you motivate yourself to write on those tough-to-work days?
KO: I don’t have a secret to this one. If I did, I would write the book and sell the solution everywhere. Sometimes, it’s an after-the-fact-kind of realization that although I have the need to write on a daily basis that stepping away (spending money on something self-indulgent or just taking a drive) actually re-energizes my psyche.

CTW: What is one snack you always have on hand while writing?
KO: I’m a huge coffee drinker and I love raw almonds. My absolute favorite thing is Candy Cane kisses. Thank God Christmas is over is all I can say.

CTW: What's up next for you and your writing career?
KO: I’m busy finishing my fourth novel This Much Is True, which my readers are anxiously awaiting.

CTW: Anything else you would like to share?
KO: First of all, thank you for having me here, Laura. Also, thank you to all of your blog readers for considering my work. As a novelist, (a fictionista as one Twitter follower phrased it) as a writer of contemporary fiction, I tend to write stories that are both edgy and dark—about trust, love, and fate—and how relationships are often tested by all of these things in one way or another. My novels are often described as emotional roller coasters. If you’re in search of the easy read romance novel, just know that my novels are not those and will leave you reeling half the time. More than one reader has stipulated their own warning about being in need a box of Kleenex tissues when they read my work. I think my heroines and heroes represent today’s contemporary women and men and their daily life struggles with love and the pursuit of true happiness. I really do believe that relationships are tested in all kinds of ways by love, trust, and fate, which continues to inspire my writing. So, thank you, again, for considering my novels.

About the Author
Katherine Owen graduated with a journalism degree and a minor in English from the University of Washington and promptly went into high tech sales because someone told her it was fun and there would be stock options. For years, she damped down the urge to write and spent money like Evian water. But after a successful, storied career in high tech sales and public relations, she finally made what felt like a necessary, soul-calling leap to writing full-time in April of 2009. Owen has written three novels Seeing Julia (debut novel and Zola Award Winner), Not to Us and When I See You. She lives near Seattle in an old house with a fabulous view with her husband and two children. When she isn't writing, she can be found cheering at her son's football games or her daughter's volleyball games or heating up frozen dinners for the "fam-dam-ily" as she fondly refers to them.

Leave a comment on Katherine's Chick Lit Plus tour page (click here) for your chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Connect with Katherine
Website: www.katherineowen.net or bit.ly/KObuymereadme
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatherineOwenAuthor
Twitter: @katherineowen01

In all these social media places, she talks about her writing life and what inspires her as well as her novels and, sometimes, her latest work-in-progress.

Buy the Book
Amazon (Paperback & Kindle): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyme
Barnes & Noble (Paperback & Nook ePub): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyBN
Kobo (ebook): http://bit.ly/WISYbuymeKobo
iBooks (ebook): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/when-i-see-you/id588905242?mt=11



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February 25, 2013

book review: when i see you

Readers looking for a good cry from a story laced with romance, heartache, sizzle and a series of complications will find a solid read in Katherine Owen's When I See You.

Orphaned at 17 when her parents, a famous Hollywood power couple, were killed, Jordan Holloway continues to deal with abandonment issues a decade later. With her husband Ethan, a Navy SEAL, about to leave on his third and final tour of Afghanistan, she is no more ready to be left alone with their 3-year-old son, Max, than when he left weeks after they met and married.

Her life changes when she meets Brock Wainwright, Ethan's childhood best friend-turned sniper partner. With his own troubled past, Jordan and Brock recognize each other as kindred spirits who perhaps have a better understanding of each other than the man who links them together despite their obvious love and devotion to him. Before they leave on tour, Jordan elicits a promise from Brock he many not be able to keep though he will try.

Told in first-person from the perspective of Jordan and Brock, When I See You evokes emotion almost from the get-go. I had my first tears a few chapters into the story, and with a few intermissions, they continued after I finished the story. When I woke up the morning after finishing the story, my first thoughts were of this story and the feelings it drew from me as a reader, which shows it has some staying power.

Jordan and Brock were both easy characters to connect with. Despite their obvious differences -- she grew up a cherished daughter to celebrities, and he grew up on a ranch -- their similarities stood out as a connection, though not always a happy one. Their connection makes for a powerful and compelling story, because no matter how many miles or issues separate them it always remains to a degree.

The other characters in the book, including Jordan's son, husband and best friends to Brock's family and military companions, offered solid development for the story. Perhaps the most interesting supporting characters were the people Jordan and Brock have lost in their past. Though both of them strive to move on every day, the ghosts and reminders of these people are a constant reminder that you can continue forward, but your past will always remain with you.

While I saw one of the major directions the book might take from the get-go, after that the story consistently found ways to surprise me. I have to be vague not to spoil any of the moments in the story, but it's my way of saying this book had plenty of unexpected turns that kept me flipping pages. The generally well-developed story carried lots of action to keep the story moving at a solid pace.

I did find one of the plot points later in the book a little abrupt and hurried, the rest of the story was so well told and believably conveyed it did not spoil the story for me. And while there were plenty pockets of happiness throughout the story, a constant theme remains that you can never take any moment for granted, because there are no guarantees of a smooth path in life.

Though I expected this book to have lots of depth and emotion, I will say it was a bit sadder than I ever imagined. Keep that in mind when you pick it up for yourself -- have tissues handy and remove your mascara before reading.

Rating: 4 of 5

Leave a comment on Katherine's Chick Lit Plus tour page (click here) for your chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Also, check back tomorrow for my interview with the author.

About the Author
Katherine Owen graduated with a journalism degree and a minor in English from the University of Washington and promptly went into high tech sales because someone told her it was fun and there would be stock options. For years, she damped down the urge to write and spent money like Evian water. But after a successful, storied career in high tech sales and public relations, she finally made what felt like a necessary, soul-calling leap to writing full-time in April of 2009. Owen has written three novels Seeing Julia (debut novel and Zola Award Winner), Not to Us and When I See You. She lives near Seattle in an old house with a fabulous view with her husband and two children. When she isn't writing, she can be found cheering at her son's football games or her daughter's volleyball games or heating up frozen dinners for the "fam-dam-ily" as she fondly refers to them.

Connect with Katherine
Website: www.katherineowen.net or bit.ly/KObuymereadme
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatherineOwenAuthor
Twitter: @katherineowen01

In all these social media places, she talks about her writing life and what inspires her as well as her novels and, sometimes, her latest work-in-progress.

Buy the Book
Amazon (Paperback & Kindle): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyme
Barnes & Noble (Paperback & Nook ePub): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyBN
Kobo (ebook): http://bit.ly/WISYbuymeKobo
iBooks (ebook): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/when-i-see-you/id588905242?mt=11



Receive Change the Word's latest updates in your Inbox. Subscribe by entering your information under "Follow by email" in the sidebar. Follow me on Twitter @lmchap or "Like" Change the Word on Facebook.

excerpt of 'when i see you'

Blogger's Note: Enjoy this excerpt of Katherine Owen's When I See You, which I will review later, today. Be sure to check back tomorrow for more from the author.

The Scoop
She believes that love can never last, promises are usually broken, and true happiness is extremely elusive in the long run. He believes most risks are worth taking, the promises he makes can be kept, and love doesn't factor in his relationships any longer. They're both wrong.

Jordan Holloway has never fully recovered from the unexpected deaths of her famous Hollywood parents. At 27, she is still slow to trust and remains uncertain about the true duration of love and happiness. Yet, it's been four years since she fell in love with Ethan when he rocked her world even as he marched off to war leaving her alone with their young son Max. Now, Ethan tells her this will be his last tour in Afghanistan and that soon the three of them will be together. Still anxious at his leaving again, Jordan extracts a promise for Ethan's safe return from Brock Wainwright, her husband's sniper partner and best friend. But, can she put all her trust in Brock and can he keep such a promise?

At 29, Brock Wainwright fully embraces the dangerous life of a Navy Seal. He enjoys his freedom and not being committed to anyone; and, there's been a long line of women who can attest to that. Everything changes for Brock after he meets Jordan. When the two men return to Afghanistan, Brock's intent on keeping his promise to Jordan about keeping Ethan safe for a variety of reasons, including the most disturbing one of all, he is more than just attracted to his best friend's wife. This revelation plagues Brock on the battlefield and in a violent moment changes everything.

Excerpt
An hour later, the household has been fed French toast, and all the adults have been replenished with multiple cups of Brock’s strong black coffee. Max is busy showing off his swing set and sandbox to the clearly hung-over Ashleigh and his daddy. I watch my son as he constantly pulls at Ethan’s outstretched hand. His unmet need for Ethan’s attention brings tears to my eyes, but our child’s enthusiasm is contagious. I can’t help but smile, when I hear Max call out, “Look at this, Daddy; look at this, Ashleigh,” in his sweet, elf-like voice. I gaze at the three of them through the open French door that leads to the backyard and feel this surge of love for my little family.

A half hour later, Brock peruses the Los Angeles Times, while I decorate cupcakes for Max. Decorating cupcakes has become my signature specialty within this small community of Malibu. It’s kind of a sideline hobby to my real job as head chef at Le Reve.

I look up. Brock watches me with the rapt interest similar to that of a small child. It reminds me of Max when he’s mesmerized with a television program like Big Bird or Barney. The newspaper is folded up and lies next to his forearm.

I slip up with the icing under his studied scrutiny and attempt to refocus upon the task at hand by breaking eye contact with our unexpected house guest.

“Ethan tells me you studied at CIA,” Brock says. “That you’re a head cook, here in Malibu. At Le Reve, is it?”

I glance up from what I’m doing and nod, but looking at him is worse. The man continues to interfere with my ability to concentrate on the cupcakes for some reason. I glance away from him, intent on getting back to looping blue icing across the little cake’s surface in a circular pattern, making ocean waves. I’m going for a Finding Nemo theme, per my three-year-old’s request. He’s taking the cupcakes to his play date with his friend, Davey. I hold my breath in an attempt to drape the icing in a steady wave pattern.

“Head chef at Le Reve. Before that, head chef at Rivera,” I say. “And before that, I worked at L’Ecole in New York, even a summer in Paris.” I lift my chin in defiance and can feel myself blushing. Why do I feel the need to provide my resume to this guy?

“Chef,” Brock says with a wide smile. “Sorry, you gourmets are so touchy about titles.”

“It’s a big deal in the culinary world to be a head chef. It takes years to get that title and the responsibility that comes with it.” I shrug, trying to give off an air of indifference, but even I can hear the edge in my voice.

“Okay,” Brock says. “Head chef at Le Reve. Tell me what that’s like.”

I put down the pastry knife, somewhat disconcerted to be asked about the restaurant. Ethan sees it as a drain of my time away from Max, away from him when he’s here. Le Reve is a source of tension between us every time he’s home.

“There’s a certain energy and excitement in running a restaurant every night. You spend your whole day preparing and planning, and then, the satisfaction of execution on a nightly basis is exhilarating. Almost spiritual.” I smile over at him. He gets this disconcerted look. “There’s nothing quite like it. Le Reve is small, only eight tables, but people come from all over to eat there. We have a good thing going. My boss, the owner, Louis DuPont, is from Paris. He’s amazing and gives me a lot of flexibility. It’s close by. Ashleigh or Mrs. Richards watch Max in the evening, and I try to be home by midnight or so.” My voice trails off at the thoughtful look on Brock’s face. “What?”

“Isn’t it kind of hard to juggle all of that with Max?”

“It works. I don’t know any other life. Of course, Ethan would prefer me to work part-time and be home with Max more.” I hesitate, before saying, “Running a restaurant, making decisions about food, and preparing it is cathartic for me. I need to do it.” I pause, experiencing misgivings about saying anything more, but somehow, needing to. “Ethan was gone when Max was born. He’s been home three times in the past three years. I have a life. Here. In L.A. It works.”

I sweep the pastry knife across the air in agitation and openly blush, knowing I sound too defensive. I take an unsteady breath. I’ve given too much away. “We make it work,” I say in a low voice.

I look over at him. He’s shaking his head. I’m unable to look away.

“You just don’t know how rare you are. I think it’s great that you have a career and still manage things with Max.” He frowns. “Most women wouldn’t put up with the long tours away from home. It wreaks havoc on a relationship. It takes commitment. Trust. It’s rare.”

“Relationships are hard, no matter what the circumstances,” I say.

“You think so?” Brock asks. There’s discernible disquiet in his tone.

The ground seems to shift beneath me. I reach out for the counter to steady myself. Yet, I’m unable to stop myself from saying more. “We sailed into marriage with all these dreams and made all these promises. We were so naive. Within fifteen minutes of meeting him, I knew how I felt about him and how he felt about me.” I try to smile. “He swept me off my feet and I didn’t hit the ground, until I was standing at the airport and watching his flight to Afghanistan take off.” I smile, but then, it fades.

“At that moment, I’d never felt so alone in my life. And, there have been other times when I have felt pretty much alone.” I stop, take an unsteady breath, and close my eyes, remembering the death of my parents and that exact moment when Ethan left the first time. I open them and he’s staring at me intently.

“Alone. Eight weeks pregnant. Ashleigh and I had been in L.A. for a couple of years already. Then, I’d met Ethan and everything changed,” I say in a low voice. I gaze over at Brock and then shrug my shoulders, attempting to lighten the mood at seeing the disconcerted look on his face. “But nothing really changed. Do you know what I mean?”
“Yes.” Brock looks even more troubled.

“What?” I ask with growing trepidation.

“I was engaged once. It didn’t work out.” A shadow crosses his face. “I dropped out of my last semester of law school and signed up for SEAL training, then sniper school. My father wasn’t too happy.” Brock gets this bleak look. “Relationships are hard whether you’re in L.A. or Austin.”

Ethan and Brock both grew up in Austin. I pause in mid-air with my pastry knife, realizing that this is one more thing that Ethan hasn’t really shared with me. I don’t really know much about his life in Austin, before me. We rarely go there because his time is so limited when he’s home.

“I’m sorry. About the fiancée. About your dad,” I say.

“I got over it. I moved on.” He shrugs and looks indifferent.

“Is that why you go through women like they’re an endless supply of shaving razors? To defy your father? To prove you’re over her?”

I blush at my bluntness.

“I suppose so.” He tries to smile but it doesn’t reach his eyes. I sense this profound sadness in him. “But razors aren’t as sharp. Never disappoint. Never maim. Not intentionally, anyway; and don’t require commitment.”
Leave a comment on Katherine's Chick Lit Plus tour page (click here) for your chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author
Katherine Owen graduated with a journalism degree and a minor in English from the University of Washington and promptly went into high tech sales because someone told her it was fun and there would be stock options. For years, she damped down the urge to write and spent money like Evian water. But after a successful, storied career in high tech sales and public relations, she finally made what felt like a necessary, soul-calling leap to writing full-time in April of 2009. Owen has written three novels Seeing Julia (debut novel and Zola Award Winner), Not to Us and When I See You. She lives near Seattle in an old house with a fabulous view with her husband and two children. When she isn't writing, she can be found cheering at her son's football games or her daughter's volleyball games or heating up frozen dinners for the "fam-dam-ily" as she fondly refers to them.

Connect with Katherine
Website: www.katherineowen.net or bit.ly/KObuymereadme
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatherineOwenAuthor
Twitter: @katherineowen01

In all these social media places, she talks about her writing life and what inspires her as well as her novels and, sometimes, her latest work-in-progress.

Buy the Book
Amazon (Paperback & Kindle): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyme
Barnes & Noble (Paperback & Nook ePub): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyBN
Kobo (ebook): http://bit.ly/WISYbuymeKobo
iBooks (ebook): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/when-i-see-you/id588905242?mt=11



Receive Change the Word's latest updates in your Inbox. Subscribe by entering your information under "Follow by email" in the sidebar. Follow me on Twitter @lmchap or "Like" Change the Word on Facebook.

February 22, 2013

interview with the author of 'stuck on you'

Blogger's Note: Let's welcome Heather Thurmeier to Change the Word for this interview. Her latest book, Falling for You, the sequel to Stuck On You was released this month.

Change the Word: Stuck on You features a few characters we already met. What is it like getting a chance to revisit characters from your past in another, unique book?
Heather Thurmeier: I love it. Paige, the main character of Stuck on You, had a smaller secondary role in Falling for You. But even though her part was a small one, I really enjoyed her character and wanted to know more about her. This book gave me the ability to really get to know her. As a reader, I like getting to see a little hint of what happens for characters from previous books after the story ends, so I was thrilled to be able to let readers learn a more about Cassidy and Evan’s life together after their show ended.

CTW: How did writing a sequel differ from writing the first book in a series?
HT: Writing a sequel was tricky because I had to hold true to everything I’d stated in the first book about the repeat characters. But it was also really enjoyable. I liked getting to revisit characters and give them a role in another book so readers could learn more about them.

CTW: If you could have dinner with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?
HT: I would love to have dinner with Miles, the hero of Stuck on You. He is so interesting to me. He’s climbed some of the world’s biggest, most difficult mountains and I’d love to hear the stories of his adventures. And he’s built like a mountain climber too. Who doesn’t love a little man candy with their dinner? :)

CTW: What do you do to keep yourself motivated to write?
HT: I think for me, the hardest part to motivate myself to do is actually the promotional stuff. I love plotting the story and figure out who the characters are. I love actually putting the words on the page. And I love editing the story until I think it’s perfect. But, I find it really challenging to motivate myself to go out and seek reviews, guest spots and tell readers about my book.

CTW: This probably would have been a better question the last time we chatted, but as a fan of the Bachelor franchise, I have to know: were you a Team Jason or Team Melissa? (I'll include a link to an article about their hot mess of a fall-out for people who don't know.)
HT: I’m firmly on Team Melissa. I’m sure Jason’s heart was in the right place during the show, but he came off as a tool. A big huge tool. Melissa is better off without him.

CTW: If given the chance, would you ever go on a reality TV show? Which one?
HT: No. I would worry too much about how all that ‘reality’ footage was editing together to portray me in a way that may not be so real. However, the only show I would ever consider being on, would be the Amazing Race. I’d love to fly around the world, trying new things and experiencing new cultures.

CTW: Stuck on You is also the name of a movie starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. If you're stranded for a winter in a cabin on top of a mountain waiting for rescue, with no link to the outside world, which one do you take? Matt or Greg?
HT: Hmm, both good options, but I’m going to have to go with Matt. He’s got that sexy baby faced thing going on.

CTW: What was the worst writing advice you ever received? What was the best?
HT: The worse advice was to write what you know. If I only wrote what I knew, then my books would be very boring. Instead, I say start with what you know, write what you’re passionate about, and research anything else you need to know. The best advice I ever received was to keep writing. You get better with every book you write, so keep trying, keep pushing yourself and keep improving your skills.

CTW: What's next for you and your writing career?
HT: Up next, I have the third book in the reality TV romance series coming out. Lost Without You is Zoe’s story and it will be available July 1. I’m really excited to find out what people think about her after they get to know her in her own book. I’m also releasing something a little different. Escape to my Arms is a Prepper Romance with Decadent Publishing. It’s action packed and exciting!

CTW: Anything else you would like to share?
HT: I know there are some readers out there who aren’t into reality TV. They may think they don’t want to read about a reality TV show. I’d like those readers to know my books are so much more than just a reality TV show. They may take place during the filming of a show, but in essence, they are simply stories about two people falling in love. I hope new-to-me readers will give my books a chance!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!

~Heather Thurmeier Heart, humor and a happily ever after

"Heather Thurmeier's hunky heroes and feisty heroines will have you laughing out loud, falling in love ... and coming back for more!" ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author

"Heather Thurmeier writes sweet, funny romances that capture your heart!" --NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst

Be sure to check out my reviews of Stuck On You (read it here) and Falling For You (and here).

About the Author
Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in upstate New York with her own personal romance Hero (aka her husband) and their two little princesses. When she's not busy taking care of the kids and an adventurous puppy named Indy, Heather's hard at work on her next romance novel.



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February 21, 2013

book review: stuck on you

A steamy romance with a healthy dose of adventure packed into a faux reality TV show makes for a yummy read in Heather Thurmeier's Stuck on You.

In the follow-up to her equally delicious novel, Falling for You (read my review of it here), Paige Anderson, a former contestant on a dating show, is brought back to television to film an Amazing Race-type show with her former contestant-turned BFF Cassidy. When her friend is no longer able to participate -- for a reason I suspected and was glad to see confirmed -- she is partnered with Zoe, a rival from their season on the show. Thrown for a loop, Paige is determined to make the most of her time on the show, which she hopes will give her more confidence before she goes home.

Enter Jack Miles, the hunky outdoorsman, and member of a competing team. He's on the show to overcome past demons and raise money for his buddy, who has a mountain of medical bills to pay after an accident. He also has a secret history with Zoe, but is not sharing that with anyone.

The moment he and Paige set eyes on each other, their motives change and the sparks fly. Soon, competing for money and adventure are only part of what is at stake.

For starters, I love series that feature characters from previous books. Not only was I thrilled to see Cassidy and Evan in this book, with the latter playing a pretty big part, but I liked getting better acquainted with Zoe. From the moment Zoe and Paige were paired together I was delighted. One is a man-eater, who is secretly nice, and the other is the sweetest person ever, who has a bit more of fiesty streak. How could this not make for entertainment?

Though she was a secondary character once again in this book, I found myself more and more drawn to Zoe. She is enough of a dick to keep my interested, but her secret nice streak makes me like her. Both make for a character I want to know more about, which is a good thing, because it looks like she'll have her own story in book three.

Let's talk about Miles. For starters, I love his full name: Jack Miles. Already he sounds like a man who's arms I want wrapped around me, and who's shoulder I want to bite. Throw in his rugged good looks, outdoorsy interests and the fact that he teaches kids, and I had a big old crush on Miles from page one.

Unfortunately, the mysterious secret he is hiding -- particularly his connection to Zoe -- made me suspicious of him for most of the story. Even though I knew there had to be a perfectly logical explanation, this is a romance novel, I had the feeling I would not like it once revealed. Turns out I was wrong on this front. This twist was not expected, and I loved it.

Though I liked Paige in general, and was super excited to know she would have her own story after reading book one, I found her a bit annoying at times in this story. I imagine this mostly had to do with her continuing to wear high heels while trekking through the woods and mountains. I spent four years writing safety publications, and the thought of not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment in the wilderness freaks me out. Aside from that, I truly enjoyed watching her character develop more confidence and take more ownership of her life.

While I enjoyed the sexual tension and chemistry between Paige and Miles, what I most liked about this story was the element of adventure. The more unique setting for the story made for some unpredictable moments, and kept me always interested.

Now, I can't wait to see what kind of reality show Zoe goes on after her track record of three times the contestant never the winner...

Rating: 4.5 of 5

Be sure to check back tomorrow for an interview with the author!

About the Author
Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in upstate New York with her own personal romance Hero (aka her husband) and their two little princesses. When she's not busy taking care of the kids and an adventurous puppy named Indy, Heather's hard at work on her next romance novel.



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excerpt: stuck on you

Blogger's Note: Before reviewing Heather Thurmeier's Stuck On You, the sequel to Falling For You (read my review here), here's some information on the new book and an excerpt. The new book was released this month. Check back later, today, for my review of it.

The Scoop:
Paige Anderson agrees to be on a new reality show called Treasure Trekkers, a show where contestants use handheld GPS units to find hidden caches filled with prizes, with her good friend Cassidy. But when Cassidy is unable to compete, Chip Cormack, the show’s producer, steps in with a last-minute replacement to be Paige’s partner—Zoe Oliver, reality TV’s favorite bad girl.

Jack Miles (aka Miles) is a mountain climber with the body to prove it. Miles convinced his climbing partner Ben to come on the show with him for one reason—to prove to Ben that they can still hike together, regardless of the fact that Ben lost his foot in a tragic accident. Miles isn’t about to let anything get in his way of winning—not even beautiful Paige.

But when Miles and Paige are thrown into an alliance with their teammates, working closely together leads to more than just good strategy. Can Paige steal Miles’ heart while surviving Zoe long enough to win the game?

Excerpt:
Wait a second.

“So you think I’m sexy?” Shocked didn’t even begin to describe how she felt about this new tidbit of information. Huh.

“Was there ever a doubt in your mind after the way you looked in the kitchen the other night?”

“Oh,” she said weakly, unable to think of anything more intelligent.

“Now, if you’d paired these heels with those tiny shorts and thin little tank top you wore that night...” He paused, leaning in closer. “Well, then concentrating on driving without staring into the rearview mirror would have been a real trick.”

His mouth hovered over hers, his breath tickling her lips.

I should say something...

“Good thing then, I guess. We wouldn’t want to end up in a ditch somewhere.”

Not something stupid...

He smiled. “As opposed to the ditch we’re in right now? No, I think I quite like this one.”

Miles lowered his mouth to hers, so softly she wondered if she’d dreamed it. She tilted her chin for a better angle and kissed him back. Her breath froze in her lungs as his tongue slipped into her mouth.

He wrapped his hand around the nape of her neck, positioning her head just how he wanted it, trailing a line of kisses along her jaw to her ear where his then nibbled. “This ditch is pretty awesome actually.”

She wished he would shut up and kiss her again. And she wished they were somewhere more comfortable than the ground. Not that the hard ground was much of a concern given the fact that Miles was currently nibbling on her neck and making good progress toward her collarbone. Every kiss sent another wave of heat quivering through her belly.

Then he kissed her again and there was no mistaking that he wished they were somewhere more comfortable too.

The sound of a twig snapping from somewhere near them broke their kiss. Evan stood only a few feet away, camera aimed right at their tryst happening in the woods. How had she forgotten Evan was here and that meant every moment with Miles was now caught on film?

Paige glared up at Evan. “Got that all on film?”

He nodded.

Miles climbed to his feet then pulled her to standing too, his arms wrapped tightly around her waist this time. “You wanna do me a favor and delete that footage?” Evan shook his head.

“I’m telling Cassidy.” It was a silly threat since Cassidy would probably love to see this all play out on TV like everyone else, but it was the only threat she had.

“Let’s worry about the footage later. We’ve lost a lot of time already,” Miles said, turning Paige to face him. “I’m taking the shoes.”

“No, you’re not,” she said, trying to step away.

“Fine then, have it your way.” Miles picked her up, tossing her over his shoulder, then smacked her on the ass. “Keep the shoes. I’ll do this the hard way."

About the Author
Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in upstate New York with her own personal romance Hero (aka her husband) and their two little princesses. When she's not busy taking care of the kids and an adventurous puppy named Indy, Heather's hard at work on her next romance novel.



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February 20, 2013

to be or not to be -- not in my book

If the title of this post is "To be or Not to be -- Not in My Book," than the subtitle is, "Or How I'm Learning to Use Active Verbs in My Novel, but Not in My Blog Posts."

This week I began the delightfully painful and always humbling portion of editing my novel: grammatical line edits. Thanks to my Savvy Author membership, I use a two part approach to this. In the first (where I am now), I use their Autocritter feature to identify overused words or phrases, which do not meet the industry standard.

My common overuse offenders include:
  • all
  • could
  • just/then
  • knew/know/think/thought
  • see/saw/look
  • so/very/really
  • that
  • there/it
  • was/were/am/is/are/be

To make myself feel better and like I know the English language, the commonly overused words I did not have in my book are:
  • !
  • as
  • feel/feeling/felt
  • hear/heard
  • taste/smell

Quick note: The Autocritter resource does not suggest you entirely eliminate any of these components, but suggests how many instances there should be in the amount of provided text based on industry standards. I admit I don't know how it knows (I imagine an algorithm of some sort, which makes me not want to know any more).

Some of these fixes were easy. Do a search for "could" and "really" and find ways to remove or rewrite. Using inactive verbs, such as was/were/am/is/are/be seems to be where I most struggle. (See, I can't even talk about it without using them!) I spent some time reading up on active and inactive verbs and wanted to share a few examples of how to spot and remove them.

Example 1
Original: I was going to call.
Changed: I meant to call.

Example 2
Original: My mother is going to join us for dinner.
Changed: My mother dine with us.
Changed 2: My mother will join us for dinner.

Example 3
Original: He was running away from his hopes and dreams.
Changed: He ran away from his hopes and dreams.

Again, I need to keep in mind I do not have to remove all instances, but in many cases, I can eliminate "was," which is my most used of the lot, easily and make a better sentence. Removing forms of "to be" makes for tighter copy. While that may mean losing some word count (not what most writers want to do), it should make for a happier reader.

My book is written in third person, past tense. Thanks to this exercise and the ensuing research (which I should share, but frankly need to get back to my edits, so sorry!), I took a moment to refresh my knowledge of grammar. It amazes me how quickly I forgot it.

Yesterday, I asked my Facebook fans what their most overused words include. Now, I'm asking you. Please share in the comments below.

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February 18, 2013

how to dress like a writer

I know, I know. I look like a seriously
fabulous writer. And, today, I'm going to
tell you how to copy my look. Hot dog!
Some of you may know, I once had a short-lived career as a Mary Kay sales person. I was a 19-year-old with virtually flawless skin, which did not work in my favor. Not that I can blame my clientele. Who was going to believe that a beauty product had saved my life? Throw in my lack of a sales gene, and earning a pink Cadillac was not in my future.

I did gain five key takeaways during my stint in the beauty industry:
  • Use your ring finger to dot on eye creams. This is the softest part of your skin and your weakest finger, and this magical combination prevents you from poking out your eye (or something like that).
  • Taking off your makeup every night before bed is crucial. Granted, I read that in my Teen magazine, but hearing it from a top sales executive made the lesson stick.
  • Your neck ages faster than your face. This is in part, because people forget to put sunscreen or moisturizer on it. So moisturize your neck to avoid looking like a turkey later in life.
  • It is OK to oversell yourself. You may have only sold $20 in product last month, but as far as anyone knows, you are working towards a free car. This is called faking it until you make it.
  • You should dress for the part in the world you want to play. Case in point, you have to wear your war paint and cute shoes or no one will take you seriously.
I still follow much of this advice (or I do in the sense that I try to work out and eat healthy), but today, I am going to talk about dressing the part.

As a writer who likes to be seen at coffee shops, bookstores and cafes -- I am playing a role, after all -- I put a lot of consideration into what I wear each time I go out. It's something I've done ever since I moved to Southern Illinois for a newspaper internship the summer after college. I spent a lot of time writing in coffee shops. The motel I stayed in had no Internet, and stealing it from the neighboring swankier hotel was not always possible. While there I noticed the people had a certain bored, but pretentious look to them. I later learned this was my first exposure to hipsters, but my first blog, "Pretending Pretentious" was named with those people in mind.

Because I wanted to fit in and wanted people to take me seriously as a writer, I realized I need to put forth a little more effort with my look. I've been carefully cultivating my struggling but successful writer look for years, and I want to impart some of that wisdom with you.

I cannot stress this enough, the most important element of dressing as a writer is to make sure it comes off effortless like you are so involved with your story that you hardly know what you're wearing while also exuding the confidence that you are awesome. Basically, I'm telling you to channel your inner honey badger. Honey badger may seem like he doesn't give a shit, but we all know he really does.

(And if you don't know what I'm talking about, you should probably watch this video and ask yourself what you have been doing with your life the past two years.)

Now, to get into creating the look. The best way to do this is to walk you through what this looks like. We'll use yesterday as an example, because it's as good as any and only took me a few minutes to put together.
  • Pink and brown: a winning comb.
    After taking a quick shower and washing my hair, I applied minimal make-up. This includes moisturizer, powder, light eyeshadow and mascara. It's important to keep the make-up light -- you want people to think you just rolled out of bed to get here. Now, after having a week of late nights and early mornings, the rings under my eyes were looking pretty damn rough, and my skin super pasty. When the powder alone didn't fix it, I added a bit of bronzer, because I'm vain like that.
  • Make-up done, I threw a little leave-in conditioner and heat protector (note the casual terms I'm using to describe these -- I don't know enough about product to be exact, and am too busy writing my novel to be bothered to research it) in my hair and dried it partially, pulling a brush through it once or twice. Sometimes, if my hair is already washed, I'll do a quick and sloppy braid. If it's a little dirty and I don't have time, I'll wear a hat. It's important not spend more than five minutes doing your hair if you really want to master the busy writer look.
  • Scarves really do bring a whole
    look together. They keep you
    warm while telling the world
    you are fabulous and important.
    I knew I was going to wear jeans and a sweater, but which route did I go? I put on a grey t-shirt, and recalled I'd worn it last week. I wasn't about to be caught in the same outfit two Sundays in a row! So I tried on a black t-shirt, but noted my cats had apparently used it as a seat for the past few days. I finally settled on a brown tank top, which I picked up at a Wal-Mart or equally shameful store four years ago when I was a broke entry-level journalist. 
  • I topped this with a hot pink cardigan (picked up on sale at Target for $5 -- can you believe it?!?!?!). Cardigans are an important part of any writer's uniform. If I ever see one on sale I make sure to buy it, because of its important to my overall look. In recent years, I've become more brave with my cardigan purchases, venturing beyond neutrals to bright colors. I want the world to see that while I take my job as an aspiring novelist seriously, I am also fun.
  • Now that I'd limited my accessory selection by selecting a brown palette for the day, I chose a scarf with brown-ish undertones. It also has bright green in it, which is apparently one of the colors of the season according to a Google search I did in the fall. In addition to investing in cardigans, I encourage my fellow authoresses to curate a collection of scarves. They, along with a newsboy hat are among the best accessories to jazz-up your outfit.
  • I like these boots so much,
    I want to run away to Paris
    with them. We'll live off
    our wits and love.
    It's still winter in Nebraska, but we're between snow storms, so I chose my brown boots with a bit of a heel. I almost opted to wear a pair of ballet flats, but since this is likely the last year I can wear these boots (they're sadly falling apart), I wanted to give them a few more uses this season.
  • Feeling more than a little sassy this morning, I opted to wear my big sunglasses. They're the same pair that a group (OK, three or four) of railroaders saw me wearing a couple of years ago and called me "Hollywood" for the rest of the day. Now, keep in mind, it's important not to go for this sophisticated and glamorous writer look unless you feel like you can own it for the day. You don't want to confuse people.

With this look, I'm pleased to report that people clearly were impressed with me during my morning writing excursion. The young man in charge of bussing tables stopped by repeatedly, and I'm sure it had more to do with how impressive I looked as a writer instead of him doing his job.

Look how gloriously bored I look when
you put it all together. People will take
one look at me and know I'm taking care
of some pretty serious stuff in my book.
Looking at this, even I respect me.
OK... I should probably come clean. This is all bullshit. No, not the story. I really did give this much thought and consideration into my outfit, because I am kind of nuts and always change my clothes two or three times before leaving the house. But I'm telling you it's B.S. to think there is a right or wrong way to dress if you're going to spend a day writing.

It really isn't that important to get spruced up when you go writing. I'm a big believer in wearing whatever makes you most comfortable. It's hard enough to get in the mood to write without having to worry about your pants cutting off circulation to your waste or your shoes pinching your toes.

I will say, I have found that certain items of clothing do have a way of helping me focus. For whatever reason, especially if I'm writing in the evening, wearing a hat seems to help me concentrate. This is likely all in my head, but whatever, I'll take it.

And I really do love my boots. I bought them when I was living in Houston and thought I should probably own one item of clothing that was acceptable for going to a rodeo or night club. Now whether or not they make me a better writer... I'd say probably not.

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February 17, 2013

darcy: who wore it best?

Last night, my mom and I went to the L.A. Theatre Works production of Pride and Prejudice at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

Here's a couple of photos from our evening of fun:



This adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved play is actually a staged production of a radio performance. During intermission, mom and I discussed how interesting this method was with a couple we know from church. As the gentleman said, you could close your eyes and imagine the story without seeing it thanks to their efforts.

I enjoyed watching this performance, but after seeing another man play Darcy -- and this actor did an excellent job -- I started thinking about the many men who have played Mr. Darcy over the years. So in the name of science, and my curiosity, I wanted to ask you readers: Who wore Darcy best?

Option 1: Laurence Olivier (1940)

Photo Courtesy of ABC.

Option 2: Colin Firth (1995)

Photo Courtesy of ABC.

Option 3: Colin Firth (2001, 2004)

Photo Courtesy of the Guardian.

Option 4: Mathew Mcfadyen (2005)

Photo Courtesy of BBC.

Option 5: Daniel Vincent Gordh in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Photo Courtesy of ABC.

Based on this article (WARNING: there is a Downton Abbey spoiler in it.) we may be able to add another stud to the line-up: Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens. After you finish telling me who your favorite Darcy is, I'd like to hear your thoughts on seeing Matthew Crawley become another face of Darcy.

Oh, and quick note, if you prefer Martin Henderson, who played Darcy in the 2004 Bollywood film, Bride and Prejudice, feel free to cast your vote for him. Frankly, I couldn't find a good enough photo to grab, so I left him off the official list.



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February 15, 2013

fall in love...

Blogger's note: I am pleased to share this great deal with you bargain lovers looking for new reads this Valentine's Day weekend. I have read -- and loved -- books by all of these authors, and these titles are on sale now. I hope you find something to settle in with.


Love is in the air . . . and it can be on your Kindle, too!

Do you want to fall in love with a good book this Valentine's Day weekend? How about nine? Then don't miss this special promotion. For four days only (February 14th - February 17th), nine popular Chick Lit authors will be lowering the prices on their favorite rom-coms to 99 cents on Amazon.com! At that price (A bottle of wine costs more!), why not sample them all? Some delicious literary treats await you, and unlike chocolates these goodies are calorie-free!

And guys: If your sweetie is a book-lover, you'll make her Valentine's Day by gifting her with one (or more) of our fun, romantic stories!

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey
Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind?
http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lucas-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister
Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself? http://www.amazon.com/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSala
Jilted bride Amy's down on everything until she convinces herself to purchase a cute, ridiculously expensive pair of second-hand shoes. Once she does, life starts looking up, and she falls into an unexpected new romance with the last man she'd ever expect to love. But can a pair of shoes really be magic? And is her new prince really just a frog?
http://www.amazon.com/Rita-Hayworths-Shoes-ebook/dp/B007ZHVB1I/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie
When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure?
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-the-Rules-ebook/dp/B008UZYPLW

The Green Ticket by Samantha March
College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty, but her good fortune quickly turns disastrous when she realizes her job is filled with lies, betrayal, and cover-ups. Keeping up with classes, her girlfriends and a budding romance, Alex feels the pressure – but will she overcome the challenges?
http://www.amazon.com/The-Green-Ticket-ebook/dp/B00AI02BO0

Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer
Disgraced New York fashionista, Maya Kirkwood, is fashioning herself a new life as an artist in San Francisco when she's hired to do an installation of her work by dorky, yet dashing dotcom executive, Derek. The sparks soon start to fly... But is this a good thing?
http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Maya-ebook/dp/B00AN7CCV0

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr
Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables!
http://www.amazon.com/A-State-of-Jane-ebook/dp/B009CDVZ64

True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano
When her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris, Marlo Spencer travels to her hometown to try to rekindle their relationship. But when dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and betrayals are revealed, can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?
http://www.amazon.com/True-Love-Way-ebook/dp/B007VA4AZI

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone
Lauren Tate’s perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart goes missing.
http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Perfect-ebook/dp/B0093H0326



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February 14, 2013

book review: cupid on deck

Nancy Scrofano's Cupid on Deck (read more about it here) is a quick and fun read for any of my fellow single gals looking to commiserate on Valentine's Day.

Lou boards a Valentine's evening 20s-themed party with her best friend in hopes at making a love connection with her longtime crush, Nate. According to latest reports, he has broken up with his girlfriend and is on the rebound. Unfortunately, luck proves not be on her side where Nate is concerned, and she's left the third wheel on a date with a couple totally into and all over each other. On top of that, she's looking to play a little rebound of her own after being jilted a couple of Valentine's Days before.

Enter Landon, a delish and understanding man that is almost too good to be true. Handsome and wonderful, he whisks in to help her. Also playing the part of a singleton on a couples holiday, he carries a sad romantic past like Lou.

In an accident-ridden night of dancing, drinks and discussion, Lou and Landon find that maybe cupid was on board their boat.

This was a super cute, short read worth the time spent enjoying it. I laughed out loud, sighed and found myself totally crushing on Landon while liking Lou. That's a pretty tall order and major accomplishment for a story that took less than an hour to read.

The story was unique and sweet. It managed to give enough background about the characters to have their story make sense while leaving enough mystery to build to the ending. Speaking of the happily ever after, this story's finale had me sighing with happiness and left a smile on my face long after reading it.

If you enjoyed Sophie Kinsella's Twenties Girl (read my review here), you'll certainly be a fan of the 20s party theme that came with this book. Carrying Scrofano's signature vintage feel, this was a great stand alone story while also melding well with the niche she has created for herself in her debut novel, True Love Way (read my review here).

I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking to spend a little bit of time watching two crazy kids find love on a boat.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

About the Author
Nancy Scrofano is the author of True Love Way. She is a freelance writer, and she is the founder and managing editor of The Chick Lit Bee, a book blog that promotes and celebrates women's fiction. Nancy is at work on her next novel. For more information, please visit http://www.nancyscrofano.com.



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my hunky valentine(s)


Valentine's Day can be rough for a single gal, but only if you let it. The way I see it,  you have a few serious choices you can make for your day. You can:
  1. Pull a Bridget Jones and down five bottles of wine, eat everything in your kitchen and call your ex while sobbing.
  2. Get all Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and have a girl's day with your best ladies.
  3. Go to your bookshelf and spend a romantic evening curled up with a bunch of your literary crushes.
Now, I am watching my calories, so boozing and binging does not make option one viable. Plus, I make it a point to never keep or remember an ex's number to avoid the teary, blubbering calls. Well, at least in recent years I do. (Lesson learned.)

And if you will remember, just yesterday I celebrated Galentine's Day (read about my literary gal pals here and what I did with my in-the-flesh girls here). While my girls and I had a wonderful time, we hardly need to monopolize each others time. That really only leaves one other choice...

Looks like I'm taking option three, which means things are going to get a little hot and heavy between the pages for myself and some literary hunks. Sounds pretty damn good to me. Now, don't go thinking I'm some desperate girl who will go after any man out there, because that's not true. I'm no Taylor Swift. But over the years, I have carefully curated a collection of literary men I can turn to when I need them.

I think you will agree with this plan once you see the list of literary studs I'm crushing on this Valentine's Day.

Laura's Valentines

Here I am with my No. 1 Valentine and leading man:
Mr. Charles Bingley. Yuck it up. My Valentine woke
me up with a snuggle in bed and no vomit waiting on
the floor. What has your Valentine done for you?
Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
The original literary stud, Mr. Darcy made me feel funny in my tummy long before I saw Colin Firth sport an amazing set of sideburns to play him on the small screen. He may be the finest catch a single gal could hope to find in a husband. He's rich, he's handsome and he's a gentleman. At the beginning, he's a bit of a jerk, but he is willing to change for his lady. Besides. Flaws are hot.

You know how people say real champagne only comes from a certain part of France? Well, Mr. Darcy is like the real champagne in a vineyard of men. Why settle for less than the best?

And I have two names for you, or four words: Colin Firth. Matthew MacFadyen. Boom.

I should add that I'm also rocking a pretty serious crush on Daniel Vincent Cordh (the stud who plays Darcy in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries). I encourage you to get lost in his blue eyes here. Then watch the show. For serious. I want to talk to all of you about it more!


Mr. Rochester of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
Google "Byronic hero," and I am sure Mr. Rochester will land on your list. He is a complicated man who once lived a libertine lifestyle. He hides his crazy wife in an attic and tries to marry his governess, even though it would never be single.

That's one hell of a back story with plenty of stories to keep you entertained in the many years you'll spend together.

Ms. Eyre may have taken the high road in this situation, but I would probably have been willing to live in sin if the man in question was Rochester. What can I say? Broody is hot.

And thanks to modern science (or rather Hollywood magic) we now live in a world where Michael Fassbender pictures come up when you Google "Mr. Rochester." I'd love to nibble on that man's jaw... Moving on...


The Chinooks Hockey Team of Rachel Gibson's Chinooks series
Yeah, I said it. I'm taking a whole team. Though each of these hockey-playing men is different, and I may have deeper feelings for some than others, I want to collect them all.

These men are driven, in peak physical condition and after the most recent books in the series, they are now winners of the Stanley Cup. I may not know much about hockey (I do live in Nebraska, after all), but even I know that's pretty big deal.

Nothing looks as sexy on a man as success and confidence. These men have that. Plus, with my brother's ESPN subscription, I have had the opportunity to get to know more about real hockey players. After last June's naked issue, I have the pleasure of imagining every one of these characters looking like a naked Brad Richards. (Click here to see what I'm talking about. I promise, it's not too shocking.)


Christian Grey of E L James Fifty Shades trio
What? I have needs. While those may not include being tied up and spanked, Mr. Grey seems perfectly skilled in other areas.

(Oh, God, I'm blushing. So glad my father doesn't read any of my blog posts without food in them...)

What most appeals to me about this creeper is the challenge that comes with him. He may appear to have his life together, but he is a hot mess. He's like the perfect renovation project, the ultimate fixer upper.

I clearly have a thing for damaged goods, which is news to no one... I wonder who will play him in the movie. Oh, I hope it's that blue-eyed sex God from The Vampire Diaries.


Gilbert Blythe of L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series
Who doesn't love the bratty boy who turns out to be a sweet and considerate man? Gilbert is smart, has a good heart and is willing to make big sacrifices for his special lady.

If I'm collecting men to fulfill my many desires, Gil will be the one to offer me friendship, companionship and a willingness to help me study if I ever decide to get my master's degree. He'd also be excellent at forcing me to get edits done on my two manuscripts. I bet his notes would be helpful, sincere and well-put.

Plus, after the list of rogues I've assembled, I think we can all agreed I need to bring a little balance to the force. Oooh, now I'm thinking about Harrison Ford as Han Solo, but that's a list for another Valentine's Day.


Almanzo Wilder of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series
My original literary crush, Almanzo is the sort of man who would do well with my brand of crazy. By all accounts, in real life and fiction, Almanzo was a well-mannered, hard-working man, and that is super appealing. Plus, he has horses, and I've always had this wish of being a bit of a cowgirl.

In exchange for riding lessons, rides to and from work (think of all the reading I would do if I didn't have to drive!) and his supportive demeanor I could, like, bake him a pie. And I promise not to forget the sugar if I'm throwing rhubarb in it.

Out of all the crushable hunks on this list, Manly is my most innocent and pure. I've had a crush on this guy since I was seven, so my feelings are totally PG. But they're there.


Sam Roxton of Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number
When I read this book last year, I fell hard for Sam. He's the new mysterious man on the other end of the phone. Initially business-like, behind his guard he is a genuinely nice and loyal man. Super brilliant, he makes nerdy look super sexy.

I sure do love a sexy nerd.

Plus, the man proves that despite is aloof and seemingly independent streak, the man knows how to follow orders every once in a while. And, talk about making grand gestures. Be still my heart.


Roarke of JD Robb's Death in series
Giving the term renaissance man new meaning, Roarke has it all: millions of dollars, a smooth dresser, an eclectic collection of fine items and more power than God. Totally handsome, he is a futuristic Prince Eric with dark hair, blue eyes and a determination to go after the woman he loves.

But beneath that smooth veneer lurks a man with a dark past, a dirty record and a mystery you can bite into. He's loyal, loving and willing to support the woman he loves, even if her chosen career field makes me more than a little uncomfortable. If you took all of those wonderful characteristics away, he still has one serious attribute in his favor: Irish accent.

Double swoon.


Peeta Mellark of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trio
This guy is total jailbait, but I don't care. Peeta may be 16 or 17 in Hunger Game years, but that's like, 27 or 35 in real life. I'd snuggle up for warmth with him in a cave, listen to his stories about the Games and eat his baked bread, if you know what I mean. (Seriously, do you know what I mean? Because I don't.)

Sensitive, charismatic and did I mention he bakes? Don't go waiting for this one to turn legal, ladies, because I already have dibs. Like the finest of wines, this hunk is only going to get better with age.

And call me crazy (or don't, because you'll likely agree with me), the movie franchise of this has done a lot to improve the looks of the cast. Not only does JHutch look better as a blond, but Jennifer Lawrence makes a damn good brunette. And the future Mr. Miley Cyrus also looks good with dark hair, too, but whatever.


Captain Wentworth of Jane Austen's Persuasion
Aside from his obvious attributes (handsome, passionate and good looking), all Captain Wentworth has to do is read me the letter he drafted Anne Elliot over and over. Just take a look at this excerpt if you don't already know what I mean.
You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.
OK, are you still with me or did you faint away, because of the overall swoon factor? The man admits his faults, expresses his undying love and comes off as a total babe, especially in the parts I highlighted. I'll be the first to admit reading this makes me feel all weak in my knees and willing to do whatever the man says if he'll only send this letter to me.


Now if you'll excuse me, I must be off. I still have to light some candles, turn on my most romantic playlist, pull out my collection of scented candles and slip into something more comfortable (flannel PJs).

I have myself a date.

Read Also:
Famed Literary Lovebirds

Which literary heroes are you crushing on this Valentine's Day?

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