The audiobook is out!

A few weeks ago, I let my Facebook followers and email list subscribers in on a not-so-little secret: the sale of Desperately Ever After’s audio rights to Tantor Media! I just couldn’t wait until the first recording was finished to announce. I was already bursting at the seams.

But today … I can finally shout to the WORLD that THE FIRST DESPERATELY EVER AFTER AUDIOBOOK IS OUT!!!!!!!!

What’s more, I can introduce the woman who is giving my series a voice, Sarah Mollo-Christensen.

Sarah Mollo-Christensen

According to her official Tantor bio, Sarah is a stage and voice actor who graduated from both Dartmouth College and the Atlantic Theater Company’s Acting Conservatory in New York City. She has appeared on many regional stages, including the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C., and can be heard on public radio’s This American Life. Her bio says she “enjoys finding the humor and depth in the stories she narrates,” and AudioFile magazine praised her ability to hit “the awkward moments and the sweet with equal sensitivity.”

It’s a pretty impressive resume. But that’s not what drew me to Sarah. What hooked me was her voice’s uncanny ability to change faster than my three-year-old’s moods. After all, there are a lot of characters in the Desperately Ever After series; it would be easy to lose track if Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Snow, Dawn, and Penelopea all sounded the same. So when Tantor sent me their narrator recommendations a few months back, the choice was a no-brainer.

And she didn’t disappoint.

But don’t take my word for it. Hear the final product for yourself at Tantor.com or Amazon.

Additional release dates:
Damsels in Distress: April 17, 2018
Skipping Midnight: May 15, 2018

 

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Timeless lessons from Dr. Seuss

Earlier this week, my toddler came home from school with a copy of Horton Hears a Who. She had borrowed it from her class lending library, which the students stock with their favorite books twice a year.

My first thought when I saw the bright orange cover and grinning elephant was, “Oh, she’s not going to like that.” For even though my younger brother was a Dr. Seuss fanatic … and even though I have marvelous childhood memories of Go, Dog, Go! … and even though The Lorax holds a place of honor in this house … I don’t remember liking Horton very much as a child. Perhaps the kangaroo and her minions were just too cruel. Perhaps the thought of boiling an entire civilization in oil was too disturbing.

Or perhaps I disliked Horton simply because it wasn’t the “fun” side Dr. Seuss. There was no dog party, no hopping on pop, no goo-goo goggles, and not one single hat-donning cat. It was serious. It was Shakespeare’s Othello for someone expecting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And I wasn’t old enough to make the wider world connections at that point.

But as I read it to my daughter over a breakfast of eggs and gluten-free pancakes, something unexpected happened. After a week of anger and fear and depression over yet another school shooting, I felt my spirit begin to rise. After a flurry of futile cries for change over social media, a dozen conversations with other anxious moms, and several moments of frustration doubting I could ever make a difference, I began to have some hope. Here was a book written almost 64 years ago, telling me that EVERY voice counts … telling me that you don’t have to be the mouthpiece to make a difference. You don’t have to be the mayor or the marching band beating kettles and pans.

In this case, all Who-vile needed to finally make itself heard, to convince the headstrong kangaroo and her toadies that they were real, was a tiny boy with a yo-yo … who at the last moment added a “Yopp!” to the other Who’s cries.

And that Yopp…
That one, small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally, at last! From that speck on that clover.
Their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean,
And the elephant smiled. “Do you see what I mean?…
They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.
And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of All!”

It’s the sort of message I think we all need to hear right now. Right now … and the next time an issue grabs us by the heartstrings and won’t let go. Because, you know, there’s always something. Even if we somehow eradicate these current storm clouds, there are always more.

My little girl liked the story too. She really seemed to care about the people on the dust speck. I could see the concern in her eyes when the vulture carried it away, and her dismay at everyone else’s cruelty. It’s probably a good thing that she, like me at that age, didn’t truly understand the larger meaning. But I’ll continue reading it to her over the years. Maybe someday her spirit will need lifting too, and this story will help.

I’ve learned a lot about parenthood over the past almost-four years. One is that children understand a heck of a lot more than we give them credit for at even the youngest age. Another is that while there are thousands of books out there that teach our kids about letters, numbers, colors, etc., there are very few that teach them how to be good people — at least not in a way that engages them.

(I’ve been working on a future post about the children’s books that have stood out for me and my girls. You can check back for that later or follow this blog for upload alerts. There are also some great recommendations at Filling Baby’s Bookshelf, run by a fabulous friend and mother of two.)

Little Jo-Jo’s “Yopp!” is just one of the countless wonderful, engaging messages in Dr. Seuss’s books — maybe not Hop on Pop and Mr. Brown Can Moo, but can you think of a better way to prime children to care for our planet than by reading The Lorax?

So today, on what would have been Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 114th birthday, I want to thank Dr. Seuss for teaching us how to laugh, how to imagine, and how to stand up for what really matters in this world.

 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
~ The Lorax

.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“I’ve got to protect them. I’m bigger than they.”

“So, open your mouth, lad. For every voice counts!” 

~ Horton Hears a Who

 

“I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.”
~ Yertle the Turtle

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“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.” 

“Step with care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act.”

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” 

~ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
~ I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
~ Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

 

“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”
~ The Cat in the Hat
(a lesson I’d love my kids to learn)

 

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A Valentine’s Day event to drool over

 

What do you expect on Valentine’s Day? A romantic dinner and flowers? A sweet text in the middle of the day? A trail of rose petals leading from your front door to a bed flanked by caviar, chilled champagne, and diamonds?

Personally, I’ve never made much ado over the Hallmark holiday. (Not that I mind a nice flower arrangement or a massage should they be offered.) But lucky for you, my author comrades over at Chick Lit Chat HQ are Valentine enthusiasts. And they’ve put together a fun-filled event that celebrates everything there is to love about Cupid’s big day.

That’s right, book lovers. Starting today, more than forty chick lit and romantic comedy authors will be throwing a fabulous, Valentine-themed bash on Facebook (hereafter known as the Sweet Treats & Yummy Reads Hop) offering giveaways galore. Up for grabs will be books, gifts, author swag, and loads of other wonderful prizes that fulfill the “yummy reads” part of the party.

But what about “sweet treats,” you ask?

Well, hold on to your skinny jeans, folks. Because CLC HQ will be giving a six-pack of Wicked Good Cupcakes* to not one, not two, but THREE grand prize winners for this hop. And the best news of all? You get to choose your own sinfully delicious flavors! (Commence happy dance now.)

 

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Sweet Treats & Yummy Reads Hop on Facebook and join the group page. Here, you can chat with fellow readers; meet some of the most popular authors in your favorite genres; enter to win one of the grand prizes; and find out what the forty-plus participating authors are giving away on their respective pages. I look forward to seeing you there!

*Wicked Good Cupcakes only ships to destinations in the United States, so the Grand Prize portion of this hop will not be open to international entrants. However, the 40+ individual author giveaways will be open internationally.

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Twelve romance movies to watch over … and over … again

A few weeks ago, I somehow found myself stuck on the couch with nothing in reach but my phone and the TV remote. (Nursing moms will understand this.) Ordinarily at a time like this, I’d wind up losing myself on the web, clicking on news stories I shouldn’t, and filling online carts I’d never actually check out.

But this night, I told myself I deserved a break. I deserved to get lost in a good movie … but not one that required too much attention. What I wanted was something familiar, something that would make me smile, something that would take my worries far away and keep me company like an old friend. So scrolled down to “Leap Year” and spent the next two hours with Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, and a countryside full of jaunty Irish brogues. 

We all could use that sort of mental escape every so often. It’s like visiting a spa that works on your psyche instead of your pores. So this Valentine’s Day, I’m posting a list of the top romantic movies I could watch over and over. (In other words, while I think “An Affair to Remember” is a fantastic movie, it’s a little too heavy for this list.)

Please feel free to leave comments below. I’d love to hear what you think.

Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

LEAP YEAR

This is one of those typical girl meets boy, boy and girl hate each other, boy and girl fall in love deals. But the humor and the actors make it so much more than that. Seeing the Irish countryside is an added bonus.

LOVE ACTUALLY

I can’t let a single Christmas pass without watching Love Actually. It shows love in almost every situation imaginable. And unlike the vast majority of ensemble movies, you’ll never forget this one.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

I still remember the first time I saw this movie. I was in Cape Cod with my cousin, and the theater somehow managed to stretch the film so that it looked as if John Goodman was playing Sandra Bullock’s body double. But I’ve loved both her and Bill Pullman for decades, and am pretty sure it’s a love that will last a lifetime. Continue reading

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Galentines and giveaways

Happy Galentine’s Day everyone!

valentinesdaypromoclcsquareI’m thrilled to be participating in today’s Chick Lit Love Hop along with 48 other talented, funny, and downright awesome authors.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the author of the Amazon bestselling Desperately Ever After trilogy, which crosses Desperate Housewives with the Brothers Grimm and asks what happened to our most beloved fairy tale princesses after true love’s kiss. What if Cinderella had a midlife crisis? What if Beast’s redemption didn’t last? What if Sleeping Beauty had another lover before that royal “hero” broke her curse?

The books center around a funny, spunky, and very real (minus the whole castle thing) group of friends … which is why a “Galentine’s Day” post is so appropriate. I had a hard time choosing which character to spotlight, but in the end went with a note from Cinderella to Rapunzel. The former is married with four kids, while the latter is still making up for eighteen years locked away from the opposite sex.

clc-galentine-cin-to-rap

 

fullsizerender-1Drawing on the spirit of love and fairy tales, my GIVEAWAY features DVDs of three of my favorite romance films: “The Notebook;” “While You Were Sleeping;” and “Crazy, Stupid Love.” (Check out the full list of favorites on my blog tomorrow.)

To enter, just sign up for my email list via this link and type a handy little “done” in the comments section below or on the corresponding Facebook post. If you’d like a bonus shot, share this post via Facebook as well. The drawing is open through midnight Wednesday, February 15, and I’ll choose the winner at random on Thursday.

Once that’s finished, don’t forget to head on over to the official event page to meet more authors and enter more giveaways — including drawings for SpaFinder gift cards.

Best of luck!

P.S. The second and third books of the series are on a nearly half-price Kindle countdown sale that ends at midnight tonight. Don’t miss out!

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Mark your calendars: Another reason to love Valentine’s Day

valentinesdaypromoclcsquare-1

In less than a week, I’ll be joining 49 other chick lit and romantic comedy authors as they celebrate friendship and romance in the #ChickLitLove Hop on Facebook. Please stop by as we honor Galentine’s Day (February 13) and Valentine’s Day (February 14) with giveaways, freebies, and a chance to win several grand prize SpaFinder gift certificates.

Here’s a list of the participating authors:

GALENTINE’S DAY (Monday, February 13)
Traci Andrighetti
Melissa Baldwin
Tracie Banister
Kathryn R. Biel
Renee Conoulty
Geralyn Corcillo
Whitney Dineen
Lauren Faulkenberry
Amy Gettinger
Elizabeth Hein
Laura Kenyon
Liberty Kontranowski
Jennie Marts
Monique McDonell
Kirsty McManus
Becky Monson
Joy Norstrom
Kate O’Keeffe
Meredith Schorr
Carol Maloney Scott
Holly Tierney-Bedord
Barbara Valentin
Heather Wardell
Stacey Wiedower

VALENTINE’S DAY (Tuesday, February 14)
Cindy Arora
Glynis Astie
Laurie Baxter
Laura Chapman
Adria J. Cimino
Karen M Cox
Maggie Dallen
Lindsay Detwiler
Katlyn Duncan
Liz Durano
Laurie Finkelstein
Tina Ann Forkner
Hilary Grossman
Kate Hewitt
Cristina Hodgson
Erin Huss
Elaina Jadin
Andrea Johnston
Beth Labonte
Robyn Neeley
Elise Noble
CeCe Osgood
Amy Rivers
CF Rose
Charlene Ross

Check the Facebook event page (click here to join) on both days for prompts on where to hop and how to win. In addition to snagging a few goodies, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new characters, learn more about your favorites, and perhaps even find the perfect way to say “I love you” to the special people in your life.

See you at the party!

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Repaying man’s best friend

I stumbled upon this article in the wee hours of nursing last night, and just had to share. Whether or not you’re a dog lover, it’s a beautiful story that restores a little bit of my faith in humanity (and hope for our future) at a time when we all need it the most.

One Green Planet: Mall in Turkey brings homeless dogs in from the cold

 

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January 22, 2017 · 10:10 AM

Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop

Updated December 9, 2016

Make the holiday season even merrier by discovering new reads from some of today’s best chick lit and romantic comedy authors during the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop on Facebook.

Here’s how it works: every day from Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 16, readers are invited to hop around to more than 60 authors’ Facebook pages (with about five stops each day) to receive gifts and enter to win prizes.

First, check out my Facebook author page, where I will be giving away one paperback bundle of the entire three-book Desperately Ever After series (autographed, of course) … as well as four Kindle copies of the title that started it all, Book One, Desperately Ever After.

In addition, the participating authors have pooled their resources to offer several Amazon gift cards as bonus prizes on the event page. Every day that you participate and leave a comment on the main post for the day, you will be entered into the drawing to receive the prizes. Be sure to check back every day to maximize your chances!

Here is the schedule, which includes the list of authors posting (and offering goodies!) each day:

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5
Rich Amooi
Glynis Astie
Melissa Baldwin
Laura Chapman
Nikki Mahood
Carol Maloney Scott

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6

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Paperback joins the party

Good morning, everyone! I hope you’re all gearing up for a festive, fun Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones.

I personally am thankful for so much this year — both in my personal life and in my writing. But at this moment, I’m thankful that I can say the paperback edition of Skipping Midnight is now available at the CreateSpace store. Amazon tends to be fashionably late, but should follow suit within the next couple days.

Happy post-tryptophan reading!

 

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It’s Release Day!

Today, the third and final novel in the Desperately Ever After series is available!

I could write pages about what an amazing and challenging experience it has been. Or about how much I’ve grown to love these characters — and grown in general. Or about how sad I am to see their stories come to an end. Or about how I truly hope to revisit them every now and then with short stories, holiday specials, or novellas. But that’s been said in previous posts, and today is a cause for celebration — not mourning!

And in keeping with that theme, I am delighted to announce the winners of the SKIPPING MIDNIGHT pre-order giveaway!

I recruited the cutest two-year-old I know, my daughter, to help choose the lucky pair. The blind drawing was conducted using a variety of Lego blocks and a purple basket with a giant yellow chick on it. She was very happy to help 🙂

Winner of the gift basket: Mariana, Illinois

Winner of the wine charms: Lyndi, Maryland

Thank you to everyone who sent in entries. I wish you could all win!

P.S. For those of you waiting for the print book, please check back next week. The ebook is being released first, but the good old-fashioned paperback is fast on its heels.

dfw-lk-sm-cover-mid

One part Sex and the City. Two parts Desperate Housewives.
Three parts Brothers Grimm.

For the women of Marestam, “happily ever after” has always come with a grain of salt. Be it infidelity or aging, deferred dreams or lost love, or even the pressures of raising a family, they have always seen each other through life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a brand new take on old-fashioned chivalry. But when rage and treachery take over, everything they hold dear comes under attack.

Suddenly, the monarchies are crumbling, Cinderella is missing, Belle is harboring the secret of all secrets, Rapunzel is facing the one dilemma she spent her whole life trying to avoid, and Dawn could lose everything she’s finally learned to love. In order to save everyone and unmask the wolf in their midst, this iconic group of friends must follow a dogmatic fairy no one trusts, invoke an ancient magic no one understands, and face a past they thought they had buried long ago.

Rapunzel, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and the rest of Marestam’s favorite females return in this third and final novel in Laura Kenyon’s Desperately Ever After series, which takes a whimsical look at our most beloved fairy tale princesses several years after true love’s kiss … and asks readers to rethink everything they believe about happy endings. 

At heart, it’s a tale of ordinary women coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They just happen to live in castles.

Postcard - white border w NIEAPrevious Books in this series:
Desperately Ever After (Book 1)
Damsels in Distress (Book 2)

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