Posts Tagged ‘holiday romance’

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!


I dwell in possibility…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

“All of me will want all of this forever.”

She looked up at the clear, nearly night sky already bright with icy stars. Her breath misted in the air, frosting everything with a hint of unbelievability. There was no window between her and the sky. She was part of it, drinking in its beauty. She felt herself opening up to the view, to the man sharing it with her, craving the normality of standing with him on a beautiful cul-de-sac after spending an afternoon with his child.

He cuddled her closer. His gaze dropped to her mouth. She lifted ontoher tiptoes, wanting his lips again, banishing the last of the space between them.

Their mouths touched, their breath mingled, misty and warm and feeding her need to believe that htis fairy tale was exactly where she should be…

COML Front 240x360


Yes, Christmas on Mimosa Lane, emotional and challenging as it sometimes might be, is a fairy tale holiday story for me, BECAUSE the characters are struggling. And, yet, as Emily Dickinson challenges us, they choose from this point forward in the novel to “dwell in possibillity.”

We should all be so vulnerable and brave, so honest and accepting and determined to overcome, so real with ourselves and our loved ones and so hopeful.

Dwell in what can be this holiday, my friends.

Make your fantasy reality!

Related holiday posts:

A Top Pick Sunday. Color me grateful…

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Tomorrow, look for three blog posts (and a newsletter, if you’ve signed up for that list):

  • A second much asked for reader’s guide discussion
  • Contest winners announced for both October and November’s blog giveaways
  • A fabulous NEW December contest!

Today is for reveling.

It’s been a glorious release month, and a not-so-bad last week of November, thank you very much, with a 5 Blue Ribbon review of Christmas and Mimosa Lane  (now priced at $1.99 as part of Amazon’s 100 Books December Promo) on Romance Junkies and a 5 Star Top Pick rave for Her Forgotten Betrayal on The Romance Reviews… Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, everyone ;o)


From Billie Jo at  Romance Junkies for Christmas on Mimosa Lane ($1.99):


Christmas on Mimosa Lane is one of the most emotionally powerful tales I have read in a long time… I adored all the characters set in this charming tale.  Their stories are heart wrenching and you cannot help but to hope that they will find their happily ever after…  I highly recommend the magical tale of Christmas on Mimosa Lane to all readers who love an emotional read set in the holiday of Christmas.”

COML Front 240x360

From CozyReader at The Romance Reviews for Her Forgotten Betrayal ($2.99):

TRR Top Pick

Her Forgotten Betrayal is a  “…page-turner that left you wondering who was playing with the heroine’s mind. Even though the book was about 300 pages, it went by too quickly. The mystery of who was trying to make Shaw crazy was captivating. I could see it truly happening as I was reading. I highly recommend picking up Her Forgotten Betrayal if you are looking for a story that will touch your heart.”


Holiday Hangover…And it’s not even December yet!

Friday, November 30th, 2012

We can drive ourselves crazy, chasing the “perfect” holiday, until all we feel is the chase and the need for a big ol’ nap to rest up for the next surge of family and friends and celebrating. I know I am. But I’m also getting all kinds of reader mail about the subtext of my Christmas novel–what it really means to be “happy” at the holidays and how hard that can be for some of us, unless we work for it. Overwhelmingly (with a few notable exceptions on Amazon, readers who find my premise depressing), the response has been hopeful and excited and folks walking away with a life-affirming new take on what this time of year can mean to them and others. We might have to work hard to find the “happy” sometimes, and holidays are rarely perfect the way we see them in movies and ads and so forth. But the mere fact that we have something to fight for and families or friends to share the struggles of the season with makes this…wait for it…A Wonderful Life.

its a wonderful life

For me, watching with gratitude how wonderfully Christmas on Mimosa Lane is being received, I’m seeing the hard work of the last six months (and the effort I’m pouring into writing the sequel that will be out next Summer, OVER the holiday season) pay off in a way that’s better than any tangible present I will get this year.

Readers are reading, and they’re responding, and they’re loving COML enough to want to talk about what it’s meant to them. That’s this authors idea of a dream come true. Which reminds me of a favorite quote…


Notice the “action” in Walt’s words of wisdom. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Forever is composed of nows…

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

I’m hearing from readers each day who’ve enjoyed the Emily Dickinson poetry quoted in my Christmas novel. Now that we’re officially moving into the holiday season, I’ll be chatting weekly about the words of hers that I chose to be this project’s emotional touchstones. So, join in in the comments if you like. Sit back and just listen. Throw your hand in the air because I’m going on and on and on. It’s all good to me. I love the sensations and images that flow from ED’s words so much, I’m equally as excited to talk to myself as I am an entire room of readers. So, this Tuesday thread’s for me…and you, if you’re as obsessed as I am ;o)

 forever is composed of nows

The beauty of Emily Dickinson, is that while an entire poem might not resonate with you, there are kernels of amazingness in practically everything she wrote–most of it never published in her lifetime, because she couldn’t bear to be around people, to know their thoughts about her work, or even to look herself too closely at what she saw as prose that were full of prose. She wrote and rewrote and hid away everything she penned, drilling deeper and deeper into an idea until she discovered a “now” that said exactly what she wanted it to.

Forever is composed of Nows
‘Tis not a different time

If forever (all the tomorrows there would ever be) were the same as now, and time lost its power over what we chose to do and what we put off or avoid forever, what would we be today? If yesterday and all the things we’re running from, or remembering fondly as if  the past were better than what we have now, were today, then what would our decision be about how to live this now.

I’m playing with time in Christmas on Mimosa Lane. We travel back and forth to the past and present and back again with each of the story’s central characters. What they’re learning, I hope, is what ED is saying in this poem. That we are what we are now, and we are the compilation of all that we were and will be–and how that affects who we choose to be now. There is no difference in time. There is no before or “to be.” There is now and what all the moments of our lives combine to be in us in the place we currently are.

dali melting clock

We chose our future. That’s what I discover in her words. (more…)

Happy Ever After Holidays…

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Are the holidays a happy ever after time for you, or is there something making it difficult to feel what everyone around you seems to? In between Thanksgiving and Christmas is some of my favorite time of the year. But there’s frequently a feeling that something’s a bit off, when I look closely at these special moments that mean so much. There’s the past. And there have been moments I haven’t felt as blessed as I do today. There are challenging memories to deal with over the holidays that make my Christmas ever after not quite as automatically happy.

happy holidays

Yes, my family had a great Thanksgiving this year. We’re thankful, if a bit too overfed. We’re back to work and maybe not minding it as much as before. We’ve shared special time with loved ones and friends. We’re optimistic about December being just as lovely or better. But…

Is there sometimes a but in your celebration sometimes over the holiday? If there is, you’re not alone. While commercials and songs and endless parties and celebrations remind us of everything we should cherish, there are some of us feeling a loss of something others take for granted. There are some of us still remembering a not-so-enchanted time that happened recently or maybe long ago. But…

Even if this isn’t the picture that always comes to mind when we think of a happy family holiday– (more…)

Holiday Memories: What makes yours last?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

December 1st, my son opens his first Christmas present. Is he spoiled??? You bet. Am I? Ditto. While our family doesn’t make the entire holiday about gifts and “stuff,” we also don’t make it about a single day. It’s a season, including Thanksgiving, about family and being thankful and seeing the world for what it is–a place we share and celebrate together, no matter what else is going on. It’s about home. And December 1st is a great day to kick off that kind of awareness in our world.

happy holidays

What do happy holidays mean to you? How do you make sure those true meanings of things stay first in your mind, as the stress and craziness of what is always a crazy month try to take over?For us, it’s sticking closer to home than going away and working on things as a family and having those few special mementoes around that we’ve shared in the past, like anchors in our memories to what’s been most important and will be again. A lot of these turn out to be my son’s December 1st gifts. I pick each one with that in mind and hope they make a lifelong impression.

Anchoring memories like this don’t have to cost much. In my Christmas on Mimosa Lane, little Polly remembers her mother by playing with her mother’s favorite vintage pins, many of which were purchased at tag sales and flea markets. They were special to Polly’s mother, because they were special to her grandmother before her. They were about time spent collecting and enjoying them, not what each pin was worth.

I have a similar tie to my grandmother, and now to my son, who’s kept each of his December 1st gifts in special places, and even as a teenager keeps most of them out year around even though they’re Christmas themed. (more…)

Even rough holidays can mean love…

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Yep, I wrote a drama as my first holiday novel. NOT inside the box, but then again, neither am I. Why all the angst when readers want bright and shiny over their break? Well, for starters, not all readers insist that everything be perfect at the beginning of a story, even if they are reading romance. Next, this is more women’s fiction than classic romance, and that’s what I want to write, so that’s what I’m writing. And finally (and this is what reader reviews are responding to most strongly so far),a lot of people have rough holidays, and I’ve been there, and when I was I was searching for realistic stories similar to my troubles that ALSO had happing, uplifting, promising endings that helped me believe I would, too.

christmas ornament

I do love stories that take me to an escaping place where all is bright and shiny. I love visiting those worlds. But my world wants more of what feels real, than it does of what feels like Disneyland. So I often gravitate to deeper themes in my writing and reading time, I think because I want to explore how to find love in those places, and hope and faith and trust.

Dark passages are just a journey to more light, I keep reminding myself (and hopefully my readers). So we go down some tough roads. They’re only seques to better places than we’re leaving behind. Even if those tough places are holidays, as they are for many of us.


Because there’s always love. There’s always that place inside that longs to connect and believe you belong. Holidays make us want that more, I think, and maybe they help us try harder if we’re paying attention. What will your holiday spirit be this year: change and growth and meaning more to others and yourself; or longing for what you don’t have or what’s now lost to holiday’s past? (more…)