Jan 21

Join Me at Book’d in Burbank!

Book'd In Burbank

There will be food, fun and books for all! Come join me and fellow authors Ellen Byron, Nicole Maggie, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Darren Hackett, Michelle Levy and Nicole Maggi at Book’d in Burbank next Thursday (January 8th 2016) at 8pm!

More info at: www.bookdevent.com

Buy tickets: www.eventbrite.com/e/bookd-in-burbank-2016-season-premiere-tickets-19794910109

Jan 13

It’s Raining Celebs

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Those of you who follow me on social media know that I’m married to a Hollywood director/screenwriter/producer, Rod Lurie. As a result I, from time to time, get to meet a celebrity or two. If you’ve been following me on social media you also know that lately I’ve been in celebrity overdrive. That’s not because of any particular project Rod or I are involved in, it’s because of it’s Awards season. The Golden Globes, the Critic’s Choice and most importantly, The Oscars. The studios are campaigning for Academy members (like Rod) and critics who will vote for the films they produced and when it comes to Oscar campaigning, the studios don’t play.

10665968_10153658117378917_5037562260783806335_nScreenings, luncheons, dinners, parties…it’s not just that we could go to a different event every day, it’s that we could go to several events every day. The studios try to woo the voters not just with the quality of the films, but with food, cocktails and one-on-one time with the stars of the shows. Brie Larson, Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan, Brian Cranston, Ice Cube, Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio, I’ve been at parties with all of them in the last two months. And then there are the celebrities who aren’t in a movie this year but are also at some of these parties. They’re there to either support their friends, be wooed along with the other Academy voters or maybe they’re just in the mood to go out. That’s how I’ve met Rosanna Arquette, MC Hammer, Sean Penn, Sharon Stone, James Woods and the legendary Barbra Streisand. We actually declined invitations to events with Spike Lee, Johnny Depp, Idris Elba, Ryan Gosling etc. Now obviously I would LOVE to meet or even lay eyes on the men I just named, but this isn’t my industry, this isn’t my job and if I’m going to get anything done in the job I actually have I have to pass on a party or two, even parties that promise selfie-opportunities with Gosling.

The question of course is, Does all this campaigning really work? Is the Best Picture award really handed out to th12369209_10153749958188917_8282146928428179165_ne movie that threw the best party? The answer is: “No of course not.” followed by a big ol’ asterix*.

Obviously, people want to vote for the movie, actor, director and so on they think is most deserving but deserving can mean a lot of things. Katherine Hepburn once said, “The right actors win Oscars, but for the wrong roles.” What she meant was that when you go to a party and you see an actor who really should have won an award by now you might, after chatting with him or her for a few minutes think, “You know what? I’m going to vote for him (her).” In other words, sometimes actors win awards they earned three years ago. The Academy just couldn’t give it to him at the time because they were giving that award to someone who earned it three years before that.
12507445_10153795146368917_5763292298201357897_nThen there’s the “cool” factor. I don’t get a vote for the Oscars. That’s all Rod. But if I did vote I’d have a hard time voting against either Stallone or Cranston. Fo one thing, both of them gave AMAZING performances (in Creed and Trumbo respectively). But it’s also true that now that I met them…well, I genuinely LIKE them. They’re just incredibly cool people. Same goes for Michael B. Jordan and Creed’s director Ryan Coogler. And Laura Dern was so much fun and Brie Larson was charming and…well, you see where I’m going with this, right?  I’ve met Stallone at two parties now and he is just so intelligent and articulate and just a joy to hang out with. Plus I can totally see myself kicking it with Laura or Michael B. Granted, these people have undoubtedly already forgotten me. After all, these parties mean they’re meeting dozens of new people a day. Nonetheless if I they won I’d feel like I was watching a friend win. That’s cool. And when you saw Stallone accept his Golden Globe last Sunday night, when you saw all those people standing up to give him a standing ovation, you were seeing a room full of people (all of them with Oscar voting-rights) excited to see someone they love and admire take the prize. Trust me when I say they’d like to give him another one. He’s deserving in every sense.

On the flip side, if you’re an asshole, people don’t want to vote for you no matter how talented you are. Sometimes they will if you create a true tour de force that’s impossible to ignore. But short of that, don’t count on taking home anything shinier than the pennies in your pocket. The gold statues are going to the cool people.

But for me, all of this is academic. I leave the voting to Rod.

I’m just in it for the parties.

Jan 05

Deadlines: A Necessary Evil, or Just Evil?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about George R.R. Martin’s recent post: Last Year (Winds Of Winter). It’s a bit of a mea culpa in which he admits that he has missed his last two deadlines to turn in Winds Of Winter. In other words, it will not be out before Game Of Thrones returns to HBO next season. He takes full responsibility for this…well, sort of. He takes responsibility in that he doesn’t blame anyone other than himself and he wishes he could have made the deadlines. But he also implies that it was literally impossible to meet the deadlines while still producing a book that is up to his personal standards. He then goes on to declare that while he will finish the book he will no longer adhere to or even entertain any deadlines. It’ll be finished when it’s finished.

For me, his post speaks to a fundamental question that all novelists have to contend with:

Is writing an art or a business?

Yes, yes, I know. It’s obviously both. But to what degree is it art as opposed to what degree is it a business pursuit? If it’s primarily an art then deadlines are only useful in their motivational qualities. For instance, if you’re in a writer’s block but the threat of the deadline scares you out of it (much like a good scare might frighten off the hiccups) then deadlines are great. And the pressure of a looming deadline might make you less likely to fall down the rabbit hole that is Google. But if your work isn’t crafted to its full artistic potential by the time the deadline rolls around then, as an artist, you have a responsibility to flip that deadline the bird and keep writing until you’ve created something truly beautiful and hopefully somewhat life changing for both you and your readers.

However, if its primarily a business pursuit then you have to take an Apple Inc. approach to your work: get a new version of your product out into the market before your customers are done with their last version and start shopping for Samsung. We as consumers are easily distracted by the newest, shiny thing and Apple makes sure that the newest and shiniest thing out there is always created by them. Those who take their time between releases risk being forgotten, a lesson Blackberry learned the hard way before scrambling to introduce a whole slew of new products in short order. There are many authors who take this Apple approach to writing, coming out with two, three sometimes even four or five books a year. And like the iPhone 6, each book is often a different versions of the same story or theme that they released before it. And you know what?  I applaud them for it. Could their work be better or more unique if they took a little more time to nurture each manuscript? Maybe, maybe not. But what’s clear is that their readers aren’t complaining. Those Apple authors are making people happy and making a very nice profit to boot. That my friends, is capitalism at its glorious best. So if your writing is primarily a business then you really have to make your deadlines…

…unless you’re George R.R. Martin or his equivalent in which case your work is so valuable to the publishers and the reading public you can pretty much get away with anything in that regard without taking a hit.

And that might be the most important point of all. If you are primarily an artist, and your work is not only great but also resonates with a large number of people, you don’t necessarily have to be that great of a business person. You may disappoint readers by taking a long time between releases, but they will wait because they recognize the quality of what they’re waiting for. Despite all their grumbling, I doubt George R.R. Martin lose a single reader over this missed deadline because the REASON they’re so anxious for the next book is because they love his books. Romance novelists usually are expected by both readers and the publishing industry to put out three to five books a year. And yet one of the most successful romance authors (and certainly the most critically successful) is Jojo Moyes who averages one book a year. And if it took her two years to write her next book, it would still sell like hotcakes. Donna Tart can take another ten years to write her next Pulitzer Prize winner and she’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about literary fiction or genre fiction, if the artistry is powerful enough it will transcend the normal business model. George R.R. Martin knows this, otherwise he would have submitted a mediocre book to his publishing house in order to make his deadline.

I know it too. I probably shouldn’t state this in such a public forum, but I am not known as a writer who is really great about deadlines. I don’t hate them and I do find them motivating and sometimes I make them. But sometimes I don’t. After only a few years into my career I decided that if a manuscript didn’t have the level of artistry necessary to satisfy me, I wasn’t turning it in. That means that there have been times when I’ve found myself begging and pleading with my editor for an extra few months so I could keep nurturing, molding and changing my work until it lived up to my standards. I’m not as big as Martin, Moyes or Tart. When I take my time releasing a book it takes a toll on my sales and, at least in the short term, my career. But at least I’m proud of everything that’s out there. I would be perfectly comfortable giving any one of my romance novels to a critic of literary fiction and then defying him to find a weakness in my prose. That’s not conceit talking. That’s the love, passion and conviction that is born from the time I’ve spent with each of my manuscripts.

I really, really wish I was a better business woman than I am. I honestly admire those who knock out book after book thereby keeping readers smiling all year. But the hard truth is that I’m more of an artist. I’m just going to have to hope that I’m able to overcome my weaknesses in the former category with my strengths in the latter.

And Martin? On the off chance you’re reading this, I think you should take all the time you need.

Jan 01

Goodbye 2015 and Good Riddance (sort of)

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2015 is about to end and all I can say is, it’s about bloody time. Yes, I know a few people who have had a great 2015 and I’m so happy about their improving fortunes. But on a whole the year sort of sucked. I’ve almost lost count of how many people I know who have received a cancer diagnosis this year or been hit with some other kind of major health issue. Friends and family between the ages of 77-years-old all the way down to 1-DAY-old have found themselves struggling for their lives. On a global scale things are a major mess. It seems grotesquely fitting that my son’s last week of school in 2015 was marked by a citywide bomb scare. And as for my own life? Well, it’s been bumpy. On a professional level I continue to be insanely proud of JUST ONE LIE and the glowing reviews it garnered. Every time I see it pop up on a blogger’s 10-best-reads-of-the-year list I break out into a huge smile. But despite significant financial investment in marketing on my part, I was never able to create enough awareness to get the sales numbers I would need to make it a success. That was hard for me to come to terms with. I really believe it’s my best book and a whole host of critics agree and really love it. But it simplywasn’t read. And like any parent who has to watch her child be ignored, it tore me up. From a monitory perspective…well, when you make major investments in your career (buying ads, a publicity campaign and whatnot for your book) it hurts a lot more than just your heart
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Romantic beach dinner honeymoon copyBut there were highlights. My husband and I took our honeymoon this year (one year after our actual marriage) and it was honestly one of the best weeks of my life. Everyone fantasizes about meeting his or her soul mate but there’s simply no way to predict how amazing it is when you actually find him. I have never felt this fulfilled by a relationship before. We have this incredibly meeting of the minds and our love and our romance grows with each passing day.  My son is also doing spectacularly well. He’s a high school junior, has a strong GPA and is beginning to get excited about college and his future. He made major improvements as an athlete this year and he has some really wonderful friends.  In addition to all that he took the initiative to get a volunteer position at the La Brea Tar Pits, Page Museum. He wants to work in paleontology so he went ahead and got an application (which I never even laid eyes on, let alone helped him with), got some letters of recommendation from his teachers and got himself a position. I didn’t push him to pursue this and I didn’t need to assist him. He took it all upon himself and it really demonstrates his dedication and self-confidence. Not to be cliché, but I’m so proud of him I could burst.
The best news is that what was good in 2015 is clearly on track to be even better in 2016 and the parts that were bad seem to be dissipating. Many of my friends/family who have/had health issues are improving. I’m incredibly hopeful for all of them and my hope seems to be founded on some pretty solid medical advances. I don’t know if things are going to improve on a global scale in regards to terror and other world issues but I do see some signs of hope that maybe, just maybe they will…or at least they might not get worse (please?).  As for my career, well, I’m doing things differently this year. I’m just going to write what moves me and just not think about whether or not it fits into what’s most marketable at the moment. It’s gonna be all passion projects all the time. Right now I’m writing one women’s fiction piece, a new Sophie book and last, but absolutely not least, Rod and I are adapting Julia Heaberlin’s BLACK EYED SUSANS for the screen. It’s an engrossing and captivating book and I’m so crazy excited to be given the opportunity to bring it to the screen!!!
So the greatest gifts of 2015 are a happy, healthy husband and child and a lot of hard earned lessons that will help turn 2016 into a year of possibility. But I need to be sure I do what’s necessary to turn those possibilities into results. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Instead I choose a New Year’s word. One word I focus on, reflect on and act on throughout the year. In the past I’ve chosen words like “Progress” and “Faith” and so on. This year, I’m choosing Discipline. I want to be more disciplined in regards to my career, my health, my finances, my emails (wouldn’t it be nice if I found a way not to be constantly behind on them?) and so on. There are times when I’m sure I’ll be called on to reflect on how discipline needs to be relaxed or redirected as well which will be equally useful. But still, in one way or another Discipline is going to be the theme for 2016. But the motif will be hope, and with a little luck, a whole lot of joy.
Happy 2016 everyone!!!

Sep 22

ANOTHER SALE!!

Just as the sale on JUST ONE LIE is wrapping up another sale has arrived! The audiobook edition of JUST ONE NIGHT is now on sale for just $4.95! Check it out here http://adbl.co/1O1ew54 along with 29 more terrific first in a series romance titles from authors Christina Lauren, Emma Chase, Katy Evans and more! Ends Friday so hurry!!

lovefest sale

Sep 21

JUST ONE LIE ebook is $1.99 for a VERY limited time!!

There are still a few retailers, including Amazon, who have JUST ONE LIE priced at $1.99 (regularly $7.99). I expect the price to go back up to regular price sometime this week…possibly today so don’t delay!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XRB6jT

BAM: http://bit.ly/1QmGE12

iTunes: http://apple.co/1PdapA9

sisters_FB ad sale

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