Posts Tagged ‘best-selling romance’

“Like the fool I am and I’ll always be…” ~Jim Croce

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

I’m obsessed with the number three. A lot of artists are. I’m convinced Jim Croce was. His songs break down that way a lot, and the lyrics follow a rhythm I respond to on an instinctive level, long before I know why.  Snippets of Croce music have always been there for me, when I’ve needed them, and they converged while I wrote Love on Mimosa Lane, being there for my hero, who I was at times having a hard time seeing.

Law Beaumont was a bad boy (hence the Leroy Brown initials), but he’s not anymore. But who is he. He has no clue. Except he’s an honorable man doing his best to raise his daughter, feeling responsible for how badly her young life had turned out so far. But he’s going to keep walking that tough, winding road, not yet living a hidden dream, but he will be (say that in Yoda’s voice, it’ll mean more to you)…because leading characters to their dreams (more on that soon) and setting them free from the past, so they can thrive, is my pattern. I do it in threes, too, I’ve discovered over these last three books (more on that soon, too).

winding road sunset

“If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud…”

Not having pride about trying hard and failing is a good thing, until you let it distance you from dreams that have more to do with thriving than they do surviving. My survivor of a hero has lost sight of that at the beginning. We all have, once or twice in our lives, at least I have. We forget who we once were–we forget our “name” as it where.

And so, the first “third” of Love on Mimosa Lane got the working section title, “I Have a Name.” Law finds himself, who he was before it all went to hell, because it’s the only way to really help his daughter. Taking his identity back from all the damage and failures and mistakes is the only way to unchain himself and his child from their hold. It’s the only way any of us do, really.

“Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by. I’m gonna go there free…”

I’ve told you Law as a musician, right? That’s how he thinks of it. It’s who he was, not who he is now. Except, when Kristen comes into his life, when he allows her in after staring at her from a distance (in a sexy-as-hell, non-creepy way), so does his music. His creativity. His voice. His soul. She unlocks the parts of him he gave up to survive.  She won’t let him be only what he thinks he’s become. She sees who he is and doesn’t let him off the hook about it, because to have her, he’ll have to be more than broken–she’s come from too much brokenness herself, to settle for that kind of half-life, and she’s just as good (better?) at protecting herself as he is.

And, so, the second third of Law and Kristen’s story happened with the working title, “I Have a Song.” (more…)

WINNERS… And Taking on FB again with our next fun Release contest!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

We have more winners (from this weekend’s contest which ended midnight last night ;o). And we have another chance for everyone to chime in about there love of music, as I share all week the Jim Croce lyrics that inspired me as I wrote Love on Mimosa Lane. I’m heading back to Facebook to give it another go there, but each day I’ll be posting here as well. Comment on FB or in any of the posts on the blog, or all of them to increase your chances. I’ll select winners randomly from all the comments. NEW CONTEST DETAILS  and MAGIC FACEBOOK DISCLAIMER WORDS below.

But first, our winners (randomly selected from the blog and FB comments):

  • Signed copy of Love on Mimosa Lane: Kathy Arel, who commented on FB on January 25th.
  • $10 Amazon Gift Certificate: Angie M, who commented on the blog on January 25th.

Ladies, please message me on FB or via email at Anna @ annawrites . com, to confirm your mailing address (Kathy) and email address (Angie, so I can send your gift certificate electronically). We’ll get your goodies to you ASAP.

New Contest (look for blog posts all week, in addition to this one, where you can enter).

Music lives with me daily. All my life, I’ve heard it. And I was good at making it for a while, though I was never an artist. I couldn’t create. I could follow notes on a page, but I could never let go of the counting and the visual and the fear of doing it wrong, and just play for the joy of it. Not the way I do with writing. But I HEART MUSIC. So does Law Beaumont in Love on Mimosa Lane.

FINAL LoML Front LowRes

Jim Croce came to me as I thought up Law (and changed his name to match the initials LB…can anyone tell me why?).

Excerpts from JC’s songs were slotted into each LOML chapter heading. They had to come out before publication, of course, for copyright reasons, but their legacy lives on in the story.

time in a bottle

I’ll be sharing Jim Croce inspirations all week, here and on Facebook, in addition to the JC-inspired Pinterest Board I’ve put up. Chat here or on the daily blog posts through Friday or on my Anna DeStefano: Author FB page. I’m hoping to convince you to chat with me about JC or other musicians and lyrics that speak to you–because who wants to be a geeky music nerd, all by herself!

Pin to the JC Pinterest Board. Share photos, pics, videos or whatever on FB. Whatever is fun for you.

I’ll be checking the blog, FB and Pinterest every day, watching. At midnight Friday, I’ll select winners randomly from all the fun. (more…)

If you could have your own singer/songwriter to love… And WIN more goodies ;o)

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Can you tell from the cover of Love on Mimosa Lane that one of the central themes in the book is music? I hope so. We worked pretty had on that one (pats self on back).

More accurately, the healing, magical restorative power of music. At least it is to me, and to my central characters.  Yeah,  the book is about community and patching back together broken homes for two very special kids and still loving unconditionally when you think someone’s forever ruined your ability to be vulnerable in love, but music is a key factor for bringing everyone together in the end. Music has been a safe, deeply moving, motivational place for me my whole life. I wanted to share that.

FINAL LoML Front LowRes

Our hero in LoML is a singer songwriter. He’s given up for years his gift for moving his own soul and others with his creativity and talent and unique voice. Allowing inspiration to move within him again, because he can no longer hold it back each and every time he confronts our heroine (No, he doesn’t burst into song and dance, this isn’t a musical. But she DOES inspire him in ways only music has before ;o), is a first step toward healing for him and so many others in the book. I sense many artists are this “soul” place within their own realities, where their paintings or music or words or photographs or whatever transform more around them than they’ll ever know.

I actually patterned Love on Mimosa Lane, at least in theme, after a series of Jim Croce lyrics I’ll be sharing over the next week on my Anna DeStefano: Author Facebook page. Croce’s ability to tell a story with a few perfect words, to paint a picture with the movement of simple notes and the timber of his voice, is life transforming. He reaches into me with every song and phrase.


At one point while drafting  the book, I included snippets of his lyrics at the opening of each chapter, to remind myself of the theme I was going for within. These had to be stripped away before publication for copyright reasons. But I squirreled away those moments (my husband says I save everything). I’ll be sharing them here and on social media. I eventually, at the end of the novel, have our hero sing a couple of Croce songs that melt hearts and reveal who he really is, soul-deep, more than he can possibly reveal without his music. I LOVE it when a plan comes together!

Can you guess which of Croce’s songs he chooses.

It’s an epic moment, symbolism-wise, even if I do say so myself ;o)

Music is an epic thing, if we let it work its magic in our lives.

I’d love to know what singer/songwriter/music can do that for you. I’d love to share the fascination (okay, borderline obsession) I’ve had with music since I was a small child. I’d love to know their are other freaks like me out there, who if they could write novels would dream and plot and fashion an entire novel around a musical theme, if they could ;o)

Which leads us to Release Week 2’s  CONTEST ;o) (more…)

Would would you do with two free books? And other Facebook disasters ;o)

Friday, January 24th, 2014


We have winners, everyone ;o) And I heard from earmuffs! And we’re going to have a week-long blog contest next, starting today (see my next blog post, later this morning) where you can post on FB OR on the blog (or both), and we’ll try not to get thrown in the pokie for raising hell in our bad, bad way.

Until the, Earmuffs had revealed herself to be... Marcia Boswell Carney! Congrats to Marcia, who’ll be receiving two signed copies of Love on Mimosa Lane.

And the bonus signed copy of the book and the $10 Amazon gift card go to… Audra Holtwick! Audro, look for an email from me, asking for your mailing address for your book, and to confirm the email address I should send the gift card to.

Thanks again for playing, everyone, and for being so patient with the FB meltdown. Come out and be naughty with me again in our Release Week 2 Contest (which I have to go post now and share all over Facebook ;o)


Okay, so Facebook has a lot of rules. Evidently my fans having a blast telling me what they’d do with two free signed copies of my spankin’ new Love on Mimosa Lane is against the rules. Either because I didn’t include the magic FB disclaimer words (see below for magic FB disclaimer words), or someone got in a snit and reported our fun as spam (see HATERS).

FINAL LoML Front LowRes

Anyhoodles, the contest was supposed to end with me announcing the winner…but FB pulled the post and all the entrants, including their FB contact information (see REALLY???). Fear not, I remember the post that made me spit Diet Coke onto my keyboard (see ARGH!). Now all I need is a FB contact to go with the entrant whose answer was something close to:

Given the weather outside, I’d find a way to fashion earmuffs out of them.

OMG. If I could be that funny, that succinctly, that perfectly, I’d make a living as a comedic writer rather than a snarky/angsty one (see NOT A CHANCE IN HELL). (more…)

I HEART Flawed Heroes and Other “Love”ly Goodness…

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Another writer said to me the other day that you have to “surrender to your characters.” I couldn’t agree more. And my heroes always insist on being flawed. Broken in the past and not completely being done broken. They don’t want Hollywood versions of what it’s like to have been a bad boy or a wounded hero or a shell of a man trying to believe in love again because he can’t seem to stop completely no matter how hard he’s tried. And did I mention I write romance novels ;o) LOL!

hawt wounded hero

See, actually, I don’t. At least not anymore–not the category-type Harlequin novels that I love and began my career writing. I wish I still could–I had a good thing going there for a while. But these guys won’t stay out of my head. Or other writers’ heads, authors I admire like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and her Gabe Bonner in Dream a Little Dream, or Debra Dixon and her Sully in Bad to the Bone, or Linda Howard and her Webb in Shades of Twilight… This gives me comfort, because these are romance authors, too–the BEST at the game, IMHO. But they write bigger, deeper, gritter stories and characters who can challenge the reader through a full range of not always so comfortable feelings. Then they give us the most amazing happy endings. I LOVE that. Especially during release weeks for new books, when I can see readers responding to how I write flawed heroes, and loving it, too.

angsty wounded hero

I wanted to WRITE  that, back in the day I first started this ride–heroes, heroines, secondary characters and plots and themes that make others feel and experience and embrace the journey on the page (and in their imaginations) the same as these masters do . And now I am, in my own not-quite-romance, not-quite-women’s fiction, bigger book way.

Love on Mimosa Lane is my first full-on Valentine’s story. There’s a strong romantic central theme, there’s even a Valentne’s Dance and an amazing, happy ending where the central characters have just returned with the hero’s little girl from Disney World of all places. BEAUTIFUL, romantic, tough and challenging, hearts and flowers but only after real tears, because I’m also writing real problems and their ups and downs and aftermaths and crashes and then their rebounding and valiant recoveries that pull hearts and lives and relationships and entire communities together.

I HEART flawed heroes and heroines and communities and the amazing things they do to become who the need to be, once and for all, for themselves and the people they love so fiercely. And I’m so very lucky to be able to write these stories now, no holding back, no making them fit what every romance reader would want. These days, on Mimosa Lane, I get to write the whole story and characters that come to me, surrender completely, and bring eager readers along for a ride like they’d never find anywhere else!

scruffy wounded hero hoody

A Love on Mimosa Lane excerpt is below, (more…)

Love on Mimosa Lane Release Day! Whimsy, Weepy, Dancing and Want…

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

That’s what release day really feels like, at least for this writer. I think for a lot of writers, we just don’t like to talk about it, because we’re supposed to be professionals and above it all and in this for the craft. Which we are. But we want to be read, all of us, and we want to dance with our readers while they discovery our characters and stories. We want to feel light as air, whimsy ensuing, each time a new book comes out. We want to weep for how badly we need it to be received by the hearts of those who’ve loved what we’ve done before, hoping that this time we don’t disappoint.

Which is a long way of saying, Love on Mimosa Lane releases today.

This is how my publisher sees release day (and the professional side of my writer’s mind). All business and clean and beautiful.

FINAL LoML Front LowRes

This is how the child in me sees it. All playful and fun and let’s have fun.

LoML Hits the road Sara Seatbelt

I SO love Kristen and Law’s story. It’s a Valentine’s-themed novel, and amazing that way. It’s a community novel, and amazing that way, too. The marketing for this novel even calls it a “Love story to an entire community,” there’s so much to read here about what it’ s like to raise kids and families and find your heart in a small town.

I SO want others to dig Love on Mimosa Lane for the same reasons I do. The creative child inside of me just wants to say, “Let’s play!” Except there’s all this other stuff going on I need to focus on, too.

Whimsy, weepy, dancing and want…

Bear with me as I share these next few weeks bits and pieces of Love on Mimosa Lane’s inspiration AND the marketing/promotion side of my business, too. It’s all the same thing, in a way. It’s all me, wanting to dance with you down Mimosa Lane, loving how this trilogy has come together in such an amazing, lovely, heart-warming Book 3!

Here’s today’s excerpt. For a new one every day, “Like” my Anna DeStefano: Author Facebook page, plus that will keep you in the loop on all the great giveaways and contests and amazing price breaks and things coming our way as we ease into a crazy new promotion blitz from my publisher!


Kristen could feel her heartbeat all over her body. She shouldn’t say it. She absolutely shouldn’t say it. But how could
she not, when it sounded as if he was saying good-bye?

“I’m not trying to fix you or anything else,” she said. “I’m not expecting anything from you, and I know you need to do what
you need to do now, without thinking about me. I’m just trying to care, that’s all. Like you care, a lot more than you want people to know. I see that every time I see you with Chloe. I saw it in how you handled Fin, even if you talked to him at first just as an excuse to get away from me.”

“What?” Law stepped toward her. He stopped. He stopped way too soon. “What did you see?”

“You never stopped caring, Law, no matter how many times you might have tried. Trust me, I know what it looks like when a
person cares only about himself. That’s not you. No matter what’s happened in the past”—and Kristen didn’t give a damn about his prison sentence or the mistakes he’d made before he’d grown up enough to make something more for himself—“you’re a good man doing right by his daughter and his ex-wife. You’re fighting a hell of a lot harder to do right by both of them than a lot of people would.”

She paused, expecting him to say something, needing him to in a pathetic way she despised. When he didn’t, she accepted that it was time to bow out. It was past time. But he seemed so alone, standing there as if her words had fractured something inside him.

He couldn’t seem to move now. So Kristen did, toward the parking lot. She slowed on her way past him, holding herself still for the few seconds it took to say, ”I think you’re amazing, too. If ever need to talk with someone who has just as hard a time trusting her feelings as you do yours, give me a cal..”

So much to share…

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

What to do when you’ve been working hard with a publicist since the holidays on big plans elsewhere, and you want to blast back into the blog in a big way???

Why you share excerpts from Love on Mimosa Lane that you’re dying for your friends to love as much as you do ;o)

FINAL LoML Front LowRes

Below are a few of the excerpts I’m posting daily on my Anna DeStefano Author Facebook page.

There’s a lot going on on social media (did I mention the new publicist, not to mention a fabulous new virtual assistant AND a social media assistant). “LIKE” me over there to stay in the loop with all the fun and FB only prizes/contests and so forth. I’ll be posting a new excerpt at the top of my author page each day.

But I’ll be here again several times a week (don’t forget to tip your waitress), now that I’m mostly situated with the other and TUESDAY’S LOVE ON MIMOSA LANE RELEASE (eh-hem, did I scream that?).

So enjoy this sneak peak and strap yourself in. I’m prepared to chat your ear off about all kinds of interesting nonsense about life, love, community and the way I and my characters see the world ;o)

Oh, and don’t forget my February Writerspace Contest
and the January Hearts for Hearts Brighton goodies up for grabs
on my Anna DeStefano Author Page Sweepstakes over on FB.

Love on Mimosa Lane Excerpts

FINAL LoML Front LowRes

“…If you want me” —Law crossed his arms over his chest,
his energy shifting from reserved to hostile,
challenging her when she never backed down from a
challenge—“this is how you get me.”

It was on the tip of Kristen’s tongue to tell him she’d take him
however she could get him. She swallowed the unwise comeback…


“I see.” Kristen WAS seeing Law—and liking far too much. (more…)

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies…When the work and creative and “other” sides collide

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Samantha Perry was all dressed up with someplace to go. Yet it was closer to midnight than dawn in her winter world. Amidst what wouldn’t be a flowering garden for several months, as if a July morning’s warmth surrounded her, she paced another lap around her community’s park.

The sun was due. It would soon be another January day like any other day in their northern suburb of Atlanta. Another harmless moment to get through. Nothing yawned more threatening than getting her sleepy family ready for their Mimosa Lane Monday. But on a scale from nervous to freaked out, Sam had been silently racing toward a meltdown the entire weekend.

Somewhere around three o’clock last night she’d risen from beside her still-sleeping husband, showered and dressed for the day and bundled into the heavy coat Georgia demanded from only a few months each year. Heading downstairs and through her cozy kitchen’s French doors, she’d escaped into the peace that being outside and alone brought her. She’d been night walking for hours.

Opening Draft
Sweet Summer Sunrise
Seasons of the Heart
Book Two


It’s a crazy work and personal weekend.

crazy work day

I won’t go into the details, except to say that opportunities are taking off all over the place, and so is the stress, and so is the upheaval in my “away from work” life. It’s usually like that. You never see the good or the bad stuff coming, and you never appreciate the calm until the storm’s upon you.

So, of course, I owe my publisher the second book in the series that’s taking off like no one expected, with it’s Christmas novel launch.And on top of my life being overwhelmed with back-to-back holidays AND promoting a book release that keeps (YAY!) going strong, I’m facing the rewriting of a 380 page rough draft that means so much to me–but isn’t at the point where I think it’ll mean anything to anyone else unless I recraft it over and over and over again, until it’s talking on it’s own.

Publishing isn’t for sissies, my friends.And it’s always about the next book. And the next. And these days, success in digital publishing about having an ongoing series with lots of backlist titles. The only way to do that is to keep writing forward and building into what readers are buying–and somehow maintaining the integrity of your work and stories and characters, so you keep pleasing the fans who are loving what you’ve already done. (more…)

USA Today Spotlight!

Friday, December 7th, 2012

I owe the blog a Publishing Isn’t for Sissies/How We Write update, but it’s a USA Today Spotlight morning. Back soon with more from the “work” side of this beautiful ride we call publishing. But for now, share my unexpected USA Today Happy Ever After Blog spotlight from Kathy Altman and Joyce Lamb!

The book was even more stirring than I imagined. The perfect houses on Mimosa Lane harbor more than their share of heartrending imperfections — the once tightly knit neighborhood is slowly unraveling. The characters and their struggles are all so real and relatable that I’m still worried about them.

With Mallory and Polly, DeStefano presents a wrenching and effective juxtaposition — the child laboring to cope with her mother’s death seeks salvation from the woman who can’t come to terms with her own loss. But Mallory ends up helping Polly more than she can ever anticipate, and in doing so helps herself. She gives the little girl a “safe place” to store her mother’s memories until the child is ready to reflect on them — which is a lovely parallel for the safety Mallory doesn’t yet realize she’s found on Mimosa Lane.

But there’s so much more than angst within these pages! The sexual tension between Mallory and Pete burns hot enough to melt the snow off of every roof in the neighborhood, and the humor tucked here and there is entertaining and timely…

Still the #1 Family Saga on Kindle, holiday priced for $1.99 .

COML Front 240x360

Amazon’s 100 Books… COML a $1.99 Daily Deal!

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Shameless plug time.

Gratitude time. 

Christmas on Mimosa Lane has been picked up as a $1.99 Amazon Daily Deal, as part of their December 100 Books promotion, and it’s an amazing thing not just for the book, but for me personally.

COML Front 240x360

I’m reaching readers I never have before, because my publisher’s on the cutting edge of digital/international publishing and positioning my book to be discovered. That’s everything, sales numbers and royalties aside. I’m making less per book now, because of the special promotion, but I’m reaching hundreds/thousands more readers a day. Heaven!

This is a special series for me. My “Anti-Desperate Housewives/Anti-Real Housewives” novels are about what it can really be like to live in a suburb of a large city like Atlanta. My story-telling is a hybrid somewhere between women’s fiction and contemporary romance. It’s more my natural voice than anything else I’ve written, and it took me forever to find the right publisher with the vision and the sales platform to take on the challenge I presented and find the readers who’d love what I do.

Thanks to everyone who’s been so supportive and truly made this the happiest holiday of my career!