Monday Mayhem – Muddling through

I haven’t been feeling well this week. The throat crud came back with a vengeance, and really kind of knocked me off my feet. Then, I got some news that kicked me when I was down. But I’m back up today-still a bit snotty and ego firmly in check. Time to focus on what’s on hand and let go of things I can’t control.

EASY BAKE LOVIN’ is out tomorrow! It’s funny and naughty and irreverent, and I had a blast writing it.

Here’s a taste:

She slid her hands along the case, drew back, and did a pirouette to encompass the array of goods on display. “Anything catch your eye?”

He caught a flash of leg as her apron flew in a circle around her. Despite the approaching winter, she wore nothing but some skimpy shorts under her apron. Well, a tank top and shorts, as well as some knee-high socks striped like the Wicked Witch of the West’s, but his brain shorted out when he got an eyeful of toned thigh, so the rest hardly counted.

She also wore boots. Thick-soled combat-style boots like the soldiers wore to march for miles over rugged terrain. Boots that made a man want to test exactly how kickass the wearer might be.

Mike shook himself out of his daze. “Oh, uh, no. I mean, yes.” He shook his head harder. “I mean, everything looks, um, great.”

“People come from miles around to get their hands on my Boston Cream Bosoms.”

Mike expelled a short laugh. She didn’t need to convince him; he was a believer. “I bet they do.”

She tipped her head to the side. “This is one of those moments when, as a feminist, I don’t know whether to be offended or flattered, but I bring the confusion on myself, so…” She shrugged and wrinkled her nose. The tiny diamond winked at him.

“This is one of those moments when, as both a feminist and a card-carrying member of the man club, I don’t know whether to…” He trailed off, letting the thought dangle.

“Make a break for it?”


She laughed again, and this time, a pulse of pleasure reverberated in his body. This woman was…infectious. And he didn’t have time to come down with a bad case of lust.

“Don’t feel bad. A lot of guys feel the same way when they first come in.”

“Don’t you think some of this is just the least bit…degrading to women?”

She nodded gravely. “And to men.” 

“It’s a little obscene.” The words came ou with more heat than he intended. Almost immediately, he regretted them. She was a potential client, after all. Who was he to judge?

“I think the human body is beautiful in any form,” she replied, seemingly unfazed.

“It’s objectifying the human body.”

“We objectify the human body every day in a million ways.” She leaned in a fraction of an inch. “I’m pretty sure you were objectifying mine when I walked out here.”

She was right. He had ogled her. But she’d ogled him back, damn it.

Preorder at: Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kensington ~ Kobo

I’m preparing promo material for PLAY FOR KEEPS now, and last week I revealed the absolutely perfect cover for A RING FOR ROSIE.

I have DOUBLE PLAY to revise, and I’ve hit the halfway point in my work in progress, SUPERSTAR.



A cover reveal!

We are just one week away from book #2 in the Play Dates series, Easy Bake Lovin’, and  now I get to share the fabulous cover for book #3 – A Ring for Rosie!

Play Dates Series:

Play Dates (book #1 – Available now for only 99¢!)

Easy Bake Lovin’ (book #2 – March 6, 2018)

A Ring for Rosie (book #3 – August 7, 2018

For single parents, life is often more diapers and daycare dilemmas than dating. But for three dads going solo, a little flirting can lead to a whole lot more than a fling . . .

A Ring for Rosie

Once burned, this father of twins is twice shy until he realizes the right woman is the
charm . . .
James Harper is a great dad, but a lousy judge of women—as evidenced by his twin boys’ flighty mother, who walked out when the babies were just six weeks old. He’s got fatherhood down, but dating is another story—especially when the twins’ mom shows up any time she needs something. His office manager, Rosie Herrera, is the one woman he can count on, actually talk to, flirt with, and . . . come to think of it, has he been overlooking the perfect woman all this time?

Rosie’s been in love with James since her first day on the job, but she’s certain he only sees her as a reliable employee—until one heated kiss changes everything. And then James’s ex shows up, and walks right into his life again. Determined to move on, Rosie tries to forget everything she feels about James—by doing her best to fall for someone else. But James isn’t about to make the same mistake twice. To woo Rosie this time, he needs to prove they’re made for
each other . . . forever.

Are you ready to meet Rosie and James?

Available for preorder now at:

 Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kobo


Monday Mayhem – Overwhelmed, Overjoyed, Over the Moon

Is it possible that anyone missed this?

It’s been a fairly surreal week.

LOVE GAME was my 35th release, but my first to be available in brick and mortar stores. It was also the first time I took a release day off work. I spent the morning, spamming you all online, registering to attend RWA in Denver, and generally making sure my links and such were working. Then Fodder and I went out for lunch and to hunt it down in the wild.

I admit I got a little misty when I saw it. I still get a little keyed up thinking about it. Don’t tell him I told you, but Fodder did too.


The release was accompanied by some of the most AMAZING reviews. I have to admit that in recent years I have become one of those authors…the ones who beg for reviews (because we need them to sell books), but try not to read them. Because while the bad ones are indubitably soul-crushing, even the best review can get into an author’s head.


I have to admit, I’ve been reading those I come across on LOVE GAME, and I am thrilled to know that it’s connecting with readers.

I’ll post some links here because these are a thrill for me.

Publishers Weekly (Starred)

Dear Author (Recommended Read)

Romantically Inclined (A modern read…)

Guilty Pleasures (Purest Delight!)

That’s What I’m Talking About (A – Loved it!)

So, yeah, it’s been a great week.

It’s also been an awful week.

The second week of February always is for me. Friday, February 9, 2018 was the 20th anniversary of my dad’s passing. Sunday, February 11th was the 2nd anniversary of mom’s.

So yeah, there’s been some Kleenex expenditure, but despite the racier aspects of my writing, I think my parents (inveterate bookworms themselves) would have been proud to see a book I produced on the shelf.

But THANK YOU. I hope I’ve made you proud, too. I appreciate your support, your enthusiasm, and the steadfast encouragement.

Without you, I’d just be tossing words out there into the void. With you, I am seeing my dreams come true one by one.


Monday Mayhem – The calm

It’s the calm before the storm. At least, I’m trying to remain calm. The next three months are going to be a doozy.

I’ve been so focused on LOVE GAME, it’s easy to forget that EASY BAKE LOVIN’ (March 6) and PLAY FOR KEEPS (April 3) are following close behind.

How can you help?

#1 Buy the book. I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. Publishing is a business, and if these books don’t sell, my publishers have no reason to publish additional titles from me. Even if you don’t read romance, consider buying a copy for a friend, or to donate.

#2 Tell people! Talk about it. Suggest a title to your book club. No amount of paid advertising can match the power of word of mouth.  That’s a fact.

#3 Be a ripple: We are so inundated with images these days, it takes a minimum of seven visual impressions. If you see one of my books mentioned on social media or one of my posts somewhere, please share it with your friends (if you feel comfortable doing so). That’s a ripple.

#4 Review. Customer reviews on Amazon, B&N, and GoodReads are vital for an author. I’m not talking ego gratification. Many authors don’t even look at their reviews because, good or bad, they can impact writing productivity. Why do we ask for them? Because other readers look at them. So do book promotion sites. Some sites won’t allow an author to buy advertising unless they have a minimum number of positive reviews. So, even if it’s just “Hey, I really liked this book.” please  review.

#5 Tell the author. Not just me, but any author whose work you enjoy.  A letter, and email, a facebook post, a tweet – doesn’t matter if you tie note to a carrier pigeon (though I would probably make Fodder remove it from the bird’s leg). Writing is hard. This business can be brutal, and no one is immune. With each book an author places a little piece of their soul on the page. If you like something you read, tell the author. Even the biggest names have bad days. Make someone’s day.

I’m asking for your help. I need your help. Please and thank you.


Monday Mayhem – Because you’ve gotta have friendssssss

I believe it’s important for every woman to have a close female friends. Wether it’s one, or a dozen, makes no difference. The strength and resilience of female friendships is something I try to incorporate into every story I write.

The friends you can text with random questions concerning bodily functions. Those who will hold you through the worst times and cheer you through the best. I have a few I lose contact with for months or years, but when we do get together, it’s like no time has passed at all. I have some I talk to every day.

I’m lucky enough to have two groups of friends who are integral to my life:

The first is simply known as The Cabinet.

These are my closest advisors. The ones who knew me in those halcyon days before everything we did went digital. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers and will be in each other’s pockets when we go to our graves. They pre-date the husbands and kids, and have outlasted the parents in some cases. Fodder knows better than to even think about contradicting the word of the cabinet.

Smart nieces and nephews know that inviting and/or allowing Aunt Moogie’s rowdy friends to come to the festivities results in more fun and quadruple the presents! Here we all are at my nephew’s wedding + my mother the photo bomber. <3

The other group you’ve heard me mention a number of times, because without them, I would not be a writer. Period. End of story.

They are my Super Cool Party People.

This is an ever expanding group of women drawn together by a common love, and bound together by unwavering support. We are scattered all over the globe and came to each other later in life (for some of us), but that doesn’t make our bond any weaker. My life would truly suck without them.

Love Game is the start of a new series that features three women: Kate Snyder, basketball superstar and all-around champion at life;  Millie Jenkins, the PR spin master who’s better at sorting out other people’s problems that thinking too hard about her own; and Avery Preston, Feminist Literature and Women’s Studies professor who harbors a secret desire.

I hope you’ll get a chance to meet them all. LOVE GAME goes on sale in just two weeks! And, in case you missed my gushing, you can read a couple of great pre-release reviews here and here!

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google Play ~ Kobo  ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million ~ The Ripped Bodice


Monday Mayhem – Quite sporty

This may or may not come as a surprise, but I am a sporty girl. After all, I was raised with a half-court basketball court for a backyard. Remember?

It’s Martin Luther King Day here in the States. A day when people dream big. When I was little, I dreamed of being Dorothy Hamill, and every time the winter Olympics roll around, I get all excited again.

You can bet I’ll be glued to the coverage. Even the curling. Hell, especially the curling.

One of the people who proofed by upcoming release, LOVE GAME, was surprised to discover how much I actually knew about sports. I guess she didn’t know I like to cook chicken while looking sportsy.

Or that I ran over three whole miles without anyone chasing me – not once, but twice!

I was raised a Cubs fan, and a Purdue Boilermaker backer. In the course of my life, I’ve been a Central Catholic H.S. Saint (4-time IHSA state football champs!) and an Illinois State Redbird.

I admit I’m certainly not the most athletic person. I may be a bit…vertically challenged, and now I’m just middle aged and lazy. My friend Julie likes to play ALL the sports.


  But even those of us who aren’t stoked to play soccer in a sweaty plastic bubble can be sportsy.

My friend Laurie’s family are all huge Seattle Seahawks fans:

And aside from being a football mom and show-shoer, my pal Michelle sure loves a bull rider bull riding.

Women love sports. I married an Arkansas Razorback fan. He learned to say “Go, Cubs, go!’ and I took on ‘Woo pig! Sooie!’ On my first trip to Arkansas, Fodder offered me a chance to see a musical playing downtown (and you know I love musicals), or a Razorbacks football game.

You should have heard me call those Hogs!

How about you? Are you sporty? Who are your favorites? Did you ever have the dream of being a professional athlete?


Monday Mayhem – Ramping up!

Gang, we are t-minus 29 days until LOVE GAME is released into the wild, and boy-howdy things are happening. Big things. Wow things.

In case you have somehow managed to miss my spastic whooping, this happened this week:

Yes, Publishers Weekly gave my book a STARRED review! If you want to read the whole thing, you can find it here.

I admit I cried a little when I read it. Not just because they liked my book, but because they got it. I wanted to write a book where two stubborn, strong-willed people fell in love and neither of them had to make themselves less so they could have more of a relationship.

I’m particularly proud that they caught the strong feminist streak that bonds the three female friends in the book.

Feminist is a word I had to grow into, but now I find it fits me like a glove. Maybe that’s one of the perks of becoming a woman of a certain age. I am so over apologizing for being awesome. Like Kate, Millie, and Avery, I am a strong, accomplished woman with opinions that matter, and a voice that carries. I no longer feel the need to explain or tone down my feminist tendencies.

I just hope the world can handle us.

Both LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS are available for pre-order at every outlet imaginable (Target! Walmart!) and will be in stores February 6th and April 3rd. Be watching for a call to action here.

Avery’s story, DOUBLE PLAY, is shaping up nicely!

I’ve started reading for BINGO, have you?

I admit I’m not being very strategic, but since I can’t give myself a prize, I figure I can flit around a bit.

How about you? How is your new year going thus far?



Monday Mayhem – I challenge you…A challenge revised

I’ve created a reading challenge for us to start in the new year!

As some of you may know, I’m named for my grandmother, Margaret (famous for hula dancing with Don Ho at the Polynesian Palace).

They called her Grady, and there was little Grady loved more than a good game of BINGO. Don’t get me wrong, Lawrence Welk and Miller High Life (the champagne of bottle beers) were right up there, but Grady loved to play some bingo.

So, I thought in 2018, we could play some book bingo!

You in? Click to download this PDF version of the game card, and play along. I’ll make only one rule and a vague promise:

Rule: the book must be read in 2018. No counting previously read material.

Promise: The first person to BINGO will get a bookish prize. The first to cover their card will get an even better bookish prize.

Sound like fun? Start scouring your TBR lists!

ETA: I realized that Something Sporty was on there twice. I created an alternative grid if people want something…less sporty…click here. But, if you want to stick with the original, you can read both Love Game and Play For Keeps and have them covered! Just sayin’…


Monday Mayhem – The Gift of Giving Up

This time of year, I’m always focused on what I want to accomplish next year. The list is always fairly lengthy. I won’t get to everything, but I will complete some things. As I get older, I find that accomplishing some things is more than enough. The things I don’t get done will shift to the following year’s list, and life will go on.

Opened personal organizer with a to do list.

Patience is one of life’s great lessons. I haven’t mastered it, but I am learning to embrace it. I’m also learning how to let things go. This year, I plan to carry over my list of anti-resolutions. Remember these?

Stop showing and telling everything to everyone.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Stop worrying about what others think of you.

Stop waiting.

Stop doubting.

Stop being a stranger.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Stop standing in your own way.

Stop feeling guilty.

Stop thinking money creates value.

Stop feeling obligated.

Stop saying yes all the time

Stop thinking everything is a competition.

Stop trying to be like everyone else.

Stop thinking you have to get it right on the first try.

I’ve discovered that the list of things I plan to stop doing is the very definition of a work in progress. Some days I’m better at them than others.

In 2018, I’m giving myself a different kind of gift: permission to give up.

Not writing, or my day job, or anything important. But the time has come for me to put some conscious effort into quitting things that do not make me feel good.

Almost seven years ago, I quit smoking. Now, just because I list that here, don’t think for one minute I didn’t love smoking. I did. I just didn’t like the way smoking made me feel. So, I screwed up my determination and quit.

This year, I plan to give up some other things that don’t make me feel good. The first I plan to attack will be my social media habit.

No, I won’t be disappearing entirely, but I will be limiting the time I spend absorbing other people’s thoughts and opinions.

I will be around to post pictures and chat about life in general, but I’m going to start sticking to topics of polite conversation: the weather, health, and…books.

How about you? Do you plan to be a quitter in 2018? What baggage will you be ditching?


Monday Mayhem – Attitude of Gratitude

An attitude of gratitude. I hope you all know how very grateful I am for your support and encouragement. Lord knows, I probably don’t say it often enough, but I am. Writers write the stories they want to tell, but when we connect with at least one other person…that’s golden.

So, in case I haven’t said it lately, THANK YOU.

I appreciate you more than words can say. And I have a lot of words at my disposal. 🙂

This holiday season, I am taking part in the Attitude of Gratitude giveaway sponsored by my beloved Brinda Berry.

Brinda has gathered nearly fifty authors and we are GIVING AWAY books as a way of showing our gratitude for our readers. This is a great way to discover new-to-you authors, so don’t miss out!

<3 Mags