Category Archives: Desperately Ever After

The (unofficial) start of spring and a FREE surprise!

My husband might say otherwise, but as far as I’m concerned, March means spring is here. Sure, the season of hope doesn’t technically begin for another three weeks … but what’s three measly little weeks in the grand scheme of things?

Is the yard green — or at least a  mixture of green and brown? Yes.

Are my day lilies starting to push through the mulch? Yes.

Has my big down coat been removed from the rack by the door and shoved deep into the closet? You betcha.

So there you have it. SPRING!

And in the spirit of rejuvenation, I’m doing something I’ve never done before: giving one of my books away for free. Yes (she says hesitantly, unsure whether to hit “publish”): free. For March 1 only, you’ll be able to download Damsels in Distress (Book 2 in the Amazon best-selling Desperately Ever After series) on your Kindle or Kindle app for free through Amazon.

Check out my Amazon author page for more details, and have a very happy early spring 😉

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About the series:

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

Have you ever wondered how Cinderella would feel 10 years down the road, when her iconic ball gown no longer fit and she had four kids, a billion royal duties, and a husband who was never ever around? Or how long it would take “Beast” to return to his old, wolfish ways after Belle broke his curse? Or what kind of man finds a comatose woman in the woods and decides to kiss her?

Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, the Desperately Ever After series takes a whimsical look at our most beloved fairy tale princesses several years after true love’s kiss. With laughter, wine, and a new take on old-fashioned chivalry, these friends see each other through life’s trials one secret at a time.

From infidelity to aging. From deferred dreams, lost loves, and the pressures of family life. The books are about a group of ordinary women coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They just happen to live in castles.

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Blurb for Book 1, Desperately Ever After:

dfw-lk-dea-cover-largeA 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards Chick-Lit Finalist, and an Amazon #1 bestseller for both Women’s Fiction Fantasy and Humor

Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her “happily ever after” go up in flames. Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:

Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.

Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.

Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.

One part Sex and the City, two parts Desperate Housewives, and three parts Brothers Grimm, Desperately Ever After picks up where the original tales left off—and reimagines them a la Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women ofDesperately Ever After rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.

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Book 2, Damsels in Distress:
(caution – there’s a pint-size spoiler if you haven’t read Book 1!)

dfw-lk-did-cover-largeAfter watching her fairy tale go up in flames, Belle is finally starting over. With a baby on the way, a business to run, and a new love interest she just can’t shake, things are finally looking up. That is, until she learns her independence might revive broken curses the world over. Could “happily ever after” really mean staying with her unfaithful husband? Or will Belle and her steadfast friends find another way?

Meanwhile, Dawn still longs for the life she had three centuries earlier—before her sleeping curse ended in two kids, an unfamiliar era, and a husband she barely knows. So when she encounters the childhood sweetheart she believed to be dead, Dawn must suddenly choose between the past she once wanted and the present she never knew she did.

As both women struggle between love and obligation, they fail to see a great danger brewing in the capital–one that could change everything forever.

Excerpt

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

ChickLitRocks

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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Vote for Miss Chick Lit 2015 — and win a free makeover!

MissChickLit2015

 

Welcome to the 2015 Miss Chick Lit pageant, where literary ladies from around the globe compete for the coveted title!

Up next is Rapunzel Delmonico from the illustrious United Kingdoms of Marestam. So grab your cocktails, strap a seatbelt on your men, and prepare to be enchanted!

After her segment, don’t miss your own chance to become a beauty queen with a $100 makeover 😉

 

Introduction:

Greetings all. My name’s Rapunzel and I’m here thanks to too many martinis and an ill-conceived bet with some of my girlfriends. (I’m looking at you, Cinderella.) Not that I mind strutting around in a swimsuit in front of a few dozen cameras or anything … I just don’t need the validation. But let’s make the best of it, shall we?

Yes, I’m that chick from the tower. No, my hair is not thirty feet long, but it does change color and style roughly three times a week. As an infant, my parents sold me to a witch for drugs, so I  don’t know where I actually came from. But now I live in a fabulous bachelorette pad on the Upper West Side of Carpale. And if you didn’t already know any of those things, you don’t pay much attention to the gossip pages.

 

Rapunzel 2Swimsuit:

I chose this little number because it’s a kinda funky, kinda flirty, and it was the first one to catch my eye.

See, this might come as a shock, but I care almost as little about making someone’s best-dressed list as I do about marrying into royalty—or marrying in general, for that matter. Nothing more than a waste of time and freedom. And in my experience, all you actually need to make that list is confidence. (Again, Cin, I’m looking at you. Belle too.)

 

Talent:

Funny story. I was all ready to drop some drawer—haha, I mean, some jaws—with a gravity-defying acrobatic spectacular. But somebody spotted my prop box just now and made a ruckus with the censor board. So instead, you lucky kids get to see the swimsuits I picked for my five closest gal pals. Please keep in mind I went by their tastes, not my own. Continue reading

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How Quickly the World Can Change

News on book 3 and a diary entry

I’ve never been the queen of social media. Not as a teenager. Not as a mother. Not even as an author, though I understand its importance and make an adequate effort to do my part. But even for me, my online presence over the past few months has been horrible. I only wish I had a happier reason why.

I WISH I could say that I was busy celebrating my 32nd birthday. Or getting lost in my third book. Or enjoying my first Christmas with my beautiful baby girl. But the truth is that I spent the holidays half blind (literally) and terrified.

It started with what seemed to be a tiny smudge on my contact lens — only when the contact lens came out, the smudge didn’t leave along with it. I didn’t think much of it at first. I was just tired … or had run into a very persistent speck of dust. Surely, it would disappear in a day or two, just as mysteriously as it had come.

Over those next few days, however, the smudge ballooned into a thick gray curtain that blocked out half my world. Through the afflicted eye, I couldn’t see my husband’s hand one centimeter in front of my face. I couldn’t see the bright red numbers on my bedside clock, even with my nosed pressed up against the glass. I clung to my daughter every second, terrified that the loss of sight would become permanent … or spread to my other eye as well … ending my life just when it was truly beginning. Continue reading

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Holiday e-books and an autographed postcard to announce your gift

With Thanksgiving on Thursday and the infamous Black Friday coming right on its heels, it’s almost time to start assembling our holiday gift lists. What’ll it be this year? New slippers for mom? Golf gloves for dad? Three dozen ping pong balls for your college-age brother? (No paddles needed.)

Or how about a thoughtful selection of books you’ve chosen specifically for them? A selection you just know would replace their iPhone during the morning commute or fly to the top of the list on their Kindles.

Since you’re reading this, I’m probably preaching to the choir. But the right book isn’t just a pile of pages with an interesting graphic on the front. The right book can give someone an unforgettable adventure, make them fall in love, introduce them to lifelong friends, or change everything they thought they knew about, well, everything. Continue reading

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Ebook news: Desperately Ever After is a #1 Amazon Best Seller (times three!)

Surfed on over to Amazon yesterday to check the status of my 99-cent sale and saw this:

Amazon  rank 49 on 10-01-14

Yup, that’s #1 in women’s humor, #1 in women’s fantasy, #1 in paranormal fantasy, and #49 throughout the entire Kindle store!! Dare I pinch myself?!

It’s a Kindle Countdown sale, so the 99-cent price will go up to $1.99 early Friday morning (EST) and then back to its regular $3.99 on Monday. The clock is ticking 😉

 

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Desperately Ever After dream cast — and an extra shot at Once Upon a Time

Aside from securing a seven-figure book deal or winning a Pulitzer, the coolest thing I can imagine as an author is to one day watch my work come alive on the big screen. To see the jewel-toned spires of Carpale’s skyline. To hear Rapunzel’s rants against “true love.” To join in as others cheer Belle’s growing independence, laugh at Cinderella’s vengeful “masterpiece,” and roll their eyes at Penny’s helicopter mother-in-law.

Unfortunately, Hollywood hasn’t called just yet. But just in case, here is my Dream Cast* for the Desperately Ever After series. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared! 😉

(Contest Bonus: Leave your own picks for an additional two bids in the Once Upon a Time/Damsels in Distress giveaway. Details and instructions at bottom of post.)

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THE LADIES

"Emmy Rossum, 2011" by MingleMediaTVNetwork

“Emmy Rossum, 2011” by MingleMediaTVNetwork*

Belle (Beauty and the Beast): Emmy Rossum

During the course of the series, D.E.A.’s Belle goes from a sweet, naive, ingénue to a strong, independent, kick-ass woman. I’ve loved Emmy Rossum since she played innocent Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, but her performance as Fiona in Showtime’s Shameless really blew me away.

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"Kristen Bell" by pinguino k from North Hollywood, USA

“Kristen Bell” by pinguino k from North Hollywood, USA*

Cinderella: Kristen Bell

For D.E.A.’s Cinderella, I picture an actress who shines playing the super smart, responsible, sophisticated woman who tends to bite off way more than she can chew and gets crazy paranoid when the slightest things go wrong — but still remains cute and lovable the entire time. For those of you who’ve seen When in Rome, all I have to say is “fountain breakdown.” For those who haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?

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