Are you ready for the best news ever?

No. Seriously … are you ready?

GILMORE GIRLS IS COMING BACK!!!!!!

Writing tonight might have just flown out the window. I’m too excited!!!!!!!!

Check out this article from The Hollywood Reporter:

 

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January 29, 2016 · 10:25 PM

When characters become real: Revisiting Sleeping Beauty

So I’m in the thick of writing Book 3 and, just for the heck of it, decided to post an excerpt from Book 2 (Damsels in Distress). Why? Because I’m looking back at it for reference, and it truly feels like I’m revisiting great memories with old friends. Like looking through a scrapbook. Only I can’t call or text them to say, “Wasn’t that a great day?!”

fairytale forest

First, a little background: Having already slept for 300 years, Dawn (Sleeping Beauty) has chronic insomnia and treasures her solitary moonlit walks. It is the only time when she truly feels like herself — when the rest of the kingdom is sleeping; when she doesn’t have to worry about fitting into this new, modern society or disappointing the husband she still barely knows; when she can look at the same starry sky that lit her childhood exploits three centuries earlier, and pretend nothing has changed. This scene takes place just after a handsome stranger “saves” (debatably) her from the edge of a cliff in the middle of the forest. For some reason, he feels familiar almost instantly. Rather than go home right away and risk her husband declaring that these midnight strolls are no longer safe or appropriate, Dawn accepts this mysterious stranger’s offer to let her dress her wounds and wash up at his place. She has no idea what she’s in for.

 

Excerpt:

“How’s your leg?” Their hands brushed together again.

Dawn increased the gap between them. “It’s fine. Just stings a bit.”

“We’re almost there. Just around this bend.”

She nodded as the path curled around like the last coil of smoke off a candle. Then, abruptly, a luminescent valley opened up before them. Her eyes flew wide in wonder. The cliffs disappeared and trees draped in crystals rose up to flank their path— their branches stretching overhead like nets of fallen stars. And the water … well, the water was now just a path, bordered by flowers so colorful and vibrant, Dawn wondered whether they’d sprung from sowed gemstones. Were they still in Regian or had he taken her to some other dimension?

Faced with such unimaginable beauty, she found walking and looking to be an impossible combination. When she stumbled for the third time, Liam insisted she take his arm. But it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen—until the crystal tunnel ended and a giant mansion appeared.

“You live in that?” she heard herself ask, mouth fully agape. Perhaps it was an illusion, but the walls seemed to be draped in blue, purple, and white flakes of ice that changed color depending on how she moved.

“In my defense,” Liam said, “if someone told me not long ago that I’d ever live in a place like this, I would have assumed he was either insane or making a bid for my soul.” He gave Dawn a sideward glance. She returned an all-teeth smile. “I believe there are few things as elusive as luck. A man can fall asleep one day in a hayloft and wake up with the world at his fingertips. Or he can close his eyes on a bed of silk and rise in a pile of rubble. For the moment, I’m thankful to have experienced the former.”

Dawn made a quiet guttural sound. She was the latter for sure, but no one would ever understand that.

“So what’s your story then?” she asked when he didn’t elaborate. “I mean, were you born here or—”

“Oh. No. I come from a very different place entirely. Lived there till I was a teenager and then got shipped off to Pastora. Distant relatives.” Dawn nodded. Pastora was the realm just north of Marestam. She’d only been there once, for one of Hunter’s grand unveilings, and couldn’t imagine a place more monotonous.

“Shipped off? Why?”

Liam rolled his neck from left to right and then raised his shoulders. “It’s a long story. Wait here just a second.”

Continue reading

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DESPERATELY EVER AFTER is a KINDLE DAILY DEAL!! 

Check it out here :)

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January 14, 2016 · 9:16 AM

Then Comes Winter blog tour: Meet Maureen Lee Lenker — plus a giveaway!

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“Then comes Winter with bluster and snow, that brings to our cheeks the ruddy glow…”
~ Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

If you long for a toasty snuggle on a cold winter’s night, this compilation of original short stories inspired by the magic of the holiday season—and more than a nod to  Jane Austen—is fancied as a sublime wintertime treat. Featuring short stories by four Meryton Press authors and seven up-and-coming winners of their Holiday Romance contest, Then Comes Winter offers a mix of contemporary and Regency musings.

15060606_Maureen_Lenker-035I’m very happy to welcome one of the contributors, Maureen Lee Lenker, to Skipping Midnight today. After the interview, follow the Rafflecopter link to win a free copy of Then Comes Winter!

Laura: Why did you decide to enter the Holiday Romance contest? What were you hoping to get out of it? 

Maureen: Well, I love to write, but often find my time to do so limited, so I really enjoy writing short stories as a way to get some completed ideas out into the world. I figure it’s good practice both writing and working with publishers and editors to work on short stories, so that if I ever do have  time to write a novel, I know my way a bit already.

I entered the Holiday Romance contest because I’d already entered the summer anthology contest with Meryton Press and narrowly missed getting selected. I received really helpful, wonderful feedback on my writing, so I thought that I might have a decent shot at getting in and at any rate, I would get more great feedback just like I did last time. I’d been published once before, in a holiday anthology last year entitled “Christmas Nookies,” and I loved that experience so I was eager to try again. I am obsessed with Christmas and with romance, so it feels very natural (and fun!) to write about both of those things at once.

Previously, I’ve only ever been published in e-book form, so I was hoping to get selected for the thrill of being able to see my work in a tangible book. I can’t believe this dream came true! And on top of that, I’ve been able to work with a top-notch editor who really made my work better and had the opportunity to meet more folks in the romance and Austen-esque community who are either other writers in the anthology or supporters of it.

What is your story about?

My story is set in the Regency era. It’s about a young lady, Anne Riley, who eagerly awaits the arrival of her cousins and an accompanying mysterious and charming gentleman, Monsieur de Brun, who has recently fled France. Set against the backdrop of Christmas-time, Anne, her cousins, Monsieur de Brun, and her neighbor, James Turnbull, endeavor to put on a production of “Twelfth Night” for the holidays. Issues of love, friendship, and loyalty arise amidst the flutter of the holidays and rehearsing Shakespeare’s iconic comedy.

– 

What inspired you to write it? How do you find your ideas?

This story was inspired by several things–first, by my own love of Christmas, Christmas trees, and snowy, beautiful British landscapes and gardens. I loved the idea of placing a story in that setting because to me, it is one of the most romantic, idyllic places and times of year. I’m a hopeless romantic and Christmas-time is my absolute favorite time of year, so it’s easy to be inspired by the things I love.  Continue reading

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Greetings and a few announcements

Happy holidays everyone! The most magical time of the year is upon us — or so they say — and I hope it feels that way to you, wherever you are.

winter socks fireplace

For me, December is a time to stand still and take stock of where I am in life. What have I accomplished in the past year? What would I like to do better next year? Do I have that light-at-heart feeling that puts me at peace with the world? Or am I hanging on to regret, fear, or guilt over one insignificant thing or another?

Personally, I’m proud to say I loosened my grip on two of those three things over the past year: Regret and guilt. They have no place in a happy household or a happy life. Vowing to live without them has made me more conscious of everything I say and do. It’s made sleep easier because I’m not constantly rationalizing or fretting over the day’s events in my head. It’s given that age-old advice about “picking your battles” a whole new appreciation because 99 percent of the time those “battles” seem like such anthills in hindsight anyway. And it’s helped me to appreciate the many wonderful things that I do have while I have them.

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But there, with those last four words, appears that other feeling I’ve let breed rather than shrink this past year: fear. I could blame it on becoming a parent. I could blame it on reading the news. I could blame it on the state of the world. But mostly, I have to blame it on myself. And diminishing it is my number one resolution in 2016.

see no evil etc dog

For the next few weeks, however, I’m going to concentrate on the “magic” of December — the dazzling lights; the songs of peace and love; the sappy made for TV movies; the warm, holiday reunions; the bright, shining star illuminating the darkness; and now, my daughter’s face as these things begin to astonish and inspire her as they did for me so many years ago.

christmas mom and girl

What are your resolutions for 2016? What does the holiday season mean to you?
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And now for a few end-of-the-year announcements:

PAPERBACK PRICE DROP

Postcard - white border w NIEABecause it’s just not as much fun trying to wrap an e-book, I’ve dropped the paperback price of both Desperately Ever After and Damsels in Distress to $11.99 (originally $14.99). Plus, if you belong to Amazon Prime, they’re eligible for two-day shipping. Last minute gifts, anyone? Continue reading

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Because refreshing cnn.com all day is self-destructive

Even though it’s hard to avoid in times like these.

Even though I do it for the same reason I try to watch scary movies to the end — because I want to find out that everything turns out okay.

Even though I know that last sentiment is impossible. Because this isn’t a movie. Because the bad guys don’t always stumble when we want them to. Because we aren’t actors who get up at the end of a death scene, walk away, and go home to the people we love.

I’m not going to pontificate about all the world’s evil. It’s nothing you haven’t already heard or aren’t already thinking. And you’ve probably already poisoned yourself enough.

So instead, here are a list of “happy” news websites. I’ve written about them before, but some things are worth repeating. And if you’re going to get lost in something, get lost in something that comes with a side of hope.

1. The Good News Network

2. The Daily Good

3. Sunny Skyz

4. Positive News

5. HuffPost Good News

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Sage burning, fear releasing, and a different kind of Halloween magic

8776823_sA few nights ago, I sat in a circle with six other women, a clump of burning sage, two lit candles, and all of the positive energy we could muster. We chanted. We meditated. We visualized our deepest selves and tried to hear — in a world full of so much anxiety and so many distractions — what our souls wanted to tell us. We turned our greatest fears into confetti, and willed our strongest desires to be.

And even though it’s almost Halloween, this had nothing to do with witchcraft. There was no blood, just paper. Instead of daggers, we used pens. And rather than kneeling in a clearing in the middle of the woods, we sat on mats and blankets in a yoga studio. (Yes, I realize all of these images are of stereotypical “Hollywood” witches, but at least I didn’t mention pointed hats!)

I’m writing about this because a few years ago, it’s the sort of event that I might have given a bemused smile but passed over. A few years ago, I never would have opened myself up to a group of complete strangers the way I did the other night. Perhaps this change is due to motherhood. Perhaps it’s because two letters have rocked aspects of my life that always seemed like a given. Perhaps it’s because the world is a very scary place right now — or because I’ve reached the age when people realize just how scary it’s always been. Most likely, it’s because no matter how positive I think I’m being, or how often I try to deflect the bad when it rears its ugly head, stress and worry still find a way to seep in. If that doesn’t happen to you, I’d love to hear your secret. Continue reading

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October 30, 2015 · 11:46 AM

One little way we can help

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A very good friend of mine stumbled upon this campaign, through Facebook, to donate baby carriers to Syrian refugees landing in Greece.

We’ve all seen the horrible pictures, and many of us (myself included) have lost sleep wondering what in the world we can do to help. I can only imagine how terrified and alone these parents must feel trekking across Europe, clutching the ONLY things that matter in their arms, desperate for a miracle. If not for themselves, then for their children.

As the mother of a fiercely independent toddler, I see these people as super heroes — both from a physical standpoint (the last time I had a limber back was in 2013) and an emotional one. (Just try explaining to a cranky toddler why she can’t get down … or cuddle in her bed … or eat …) Continue reading

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Introducing the Desperately Ever After soundtrack! And a special treat…

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The Desperately Ever After series is supposed to be witty, passionate, sarcastic, thought-provoking, and above all else: FUN! So when it came to creating a playlist, the songs I chose had to reflect that.

Some (especially Katy Perry’s Not Like the Movies) just screamed DESPERATELY EVER AFTER the moment I heard them. Others (Demons, Bloodstream, Holding on and Letting Go, Ocean Wide) reminded me of specific storylines or characters (no spoilers!) and even helped set the mood while I was writing Damsels in Distress.

Wires, All I Need, and Save Me just seemed to fit all the romantic dilemmas the characters face throughout the series. But when it came time to hit the town or party on top of Rapunzel’s penthouse, I couldn’t help but picture the ladies of Marestam dancing to Jessica Simpson’s A Public Affair—with lots of wine and sparkle!

In all honesty, this playlist could have been twice as long (and it still is on my laptop).

I hesitated to include a song as “played out” as Walk Away, but it and Dare You to Move fit Belle’s story so well. And while I initially chose Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me to introduce her beast of a husband, I figured The First Five Times and Let’s Get Highwere jokey enough. And I had to draw the line somewhere!

The best and easiest way to listen is through Spotify, which is totally free and can be accessed through this link:

LISTEN TO DESPERATELY EVER AFTER’S PLAYLIST

Option #2, which is way less high tech, is a list of the songs. When possible, I’ve linked the to YouTube videos, but your imagination will work better without them, and I couldn’t shake some of the advertisements.  Continue reading

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Sneak a peek at page 45 — plus a SWEET giveaway!

What'sonPage45

What’s on page 45 of Damsels in Distress, the second book in the series that’s 1 part Sex and the City, 2 parts Desperate Housewives, and 3 parts Brothers Grimm? Read on to find out!

Sleeping Beauty bedWhen Dawn Tirion awoke from three centuries years of slumber, she was buried beneath an inch of dust, her childhood kingdom was an overgrown mess, and a strange man’s tongue was forcing its way into her mouth. The former crown princess was confused, scared, and unbelievably groggy. Not a great time for making life decisions.

Fast forward eleven years and the “sleeping beauty queen” has an updated wardrobe, two children, and a royal husband (Hunter) she barely knows. Sleeping Beauty forestWhat’s more, having expended enough shuteye for three lifetimes, she’s physically incapable of sleeping and spends every night wandering the woods around her castle and imagining things were different. Dawn knows she’s supposed to be grateful to this modern world and her so-called “rescuer.” But secretly, she wishes she was back in the 18th century, racing around the castle with her friends, and imagining her future with a boy named Davin.

By this point in the book, we know Dawn believes Davin was her first love. We also believe he died during her kingdom’s 300-year-coma—a historical period now known as the Great Sleep. But he’s still the one she fantasizes about when free to be alone with her thoughts. Mystical forest - purpleThat is, until a perilous misstep during her nocturnal wanderings lands her in the arms of someone new. Someone handsome, mysterious, inexplicably familiar, and dangerously REAL.

On page 45, she hasn’t actually met this stranger yet, but she’s watched him. She’s watched him many times in the moonlight, making up stories about who he is (hence the three names) and where he came from. That’s where she’s headed when her foot snags a rock and she tumbles to the edge of a cliff—forcing her to shout for help. Here’s a brief peek: Continue reading

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