And it’s pink-haired Jenny!
Here is an excerpt from the new book. If you want to read the FIRST SEVEN CHAPTERS (YOWSA!) join the mail list! It’s going out in a couple days!
Release date: July 28
The guy I’d been watching walked over to the mike and said, “Hello, I’m Chance, and Paul here has kindly invited this Tennessee boy up to do a number.”
His name was Chance.
“Yeah!” Paul bellowed. He lifted his guitar strap over his head and handed it to Chance.
I made it to the base of the stage, where the crowd had left a gap in its disinterest. I wondered if my boy choice was doing to get their attention, or if he would be terrible.
I was rooting for him.
Chance turned to the other band members and nodded his head. The drummer slammed into a driving beat, and Chance spun to the mike, looking out at the crowd. He hadn’t noticed me up so close, practically at his feet.
“This is a song I think a lot of you will recognize, a little ditty called, ‘Let the Good Times Roll.’”
The band crashed into the opening licks, and when Chance started singing, I wanted to laugh out loud with giddiness. His voice was pure magic, deep and edgy.
He moved across stage like a fury, all energy and muscle. I was so close I could feel the wood floor shifting under his feet. His fingers squeezed the guitar in a steady grip. I was mesmerized by every movement. I could already see how his skilled hands would work on me.
I was hooked.
The band wasn’t quite on, as if they hadn’t rehearsed this one much, but Chance made up for it. The crowd began to turn to look at the stage, moving along to the beat, taking a ride on Chance’s fluid vocals.
I felt myself start to unfurl, to loosen up inside. This would be fine. He’d come off stage. He’d see me. The attention would be directed at us long enough to make the point. And the way the focus was shifting to this hot sensation, it would be logical that I fell for him. People here would get it.
Headline: Blues singing rock god seduces movie director’s girl at party.
The song rollicked along for another chorus, then Chance brought them to a strong stop with a motion of his hand.
That’s when he saw me.
He froze a second, as if he couldn’t believe I was so close after he’d searched for me for so long. His smile spread to a wide grin. I’m sure my panties would have gone flying, if I’d been wearing any.
“Thank you,” he said to the crowd, which was actually showing some enthusiasm now. But he kept his eyes on me.
I thought the lead singer would take back over, but Chance turned and stepped close to the bass guitarist, asking him something. The guy nodded, and Chance turned back to the mike. “We’re gonna bring it down for a second. So grab your woman, if you’ve got one, because this one is for all of you lovely ladies here tonight.”
He looked down at me a second, and I was close enough to see his hesitation, as if maybe this wasn’t a good idea. But his gaze went back to the crowd and he seemed satisfied as a few people drew closer together.
The drummer clicked out a simple count, and when Chance played the opening line, I felt my knees go liquid. That song. Whoa, that song. Behind me, I felt the crowd pause, attention trained on this man, as if they were ready to give his guy a chance.
He closed his eyes as he prepared for that first line. My breath held. Hell of a standard he was about to compete against. A whole blues legacy.
But here he was.
He belted it out, and my emotion surged so hard, I realized I was seriously a goner after a single phrase. I just let it wash over me.
When a man loves a woman…
Chance opened his eyes then, looking at me. I ignored how it was silly to think he was singing anything to me. It was just a song. A romantic song. We hadn’t even met.
I hope you’re excited!
Get the first SEVEN chapters just by signing up here!
Do you ever doubt yourself when life is good? Like it could all just come crashing down any minute?
I try to resist this mindset, but it seems sometimes it comes unbidden anyway.
Life has been amazingly incredibly good to me this January. For example:
How crazy is THAT? USA Today bestseller list for the Forever Series? WOW!
The same week, I released a brand new book and this happened:
So many copies on a brand-new pen name. Crazy!
We definitely had a rough fall. I suppose I could try and shake the worries by saying this is the good stuff that came out of the hard times. Probably most of us are reluctant to get too settled into a happy space out of fear of what might go wrong next.
But I’m going to try and enjoy our peaceful and successful little run here. Selling 20,000 books in one month is no small thing, and I know it. I’ll take these blessings. And work hard to spread the love around.
I’m so excited to be in the Heroes & Shifters book bundle with 11 other amazing authors!
We’re doing a just-for-the-holidays special on it where all 12 books are just 99 cents.
PERFECT for looking through during the holidays when you need a little escape.
Here’s a teaser from one of my books in it![Note that this anthology is no longer available, but I will eventually release this one on its own!]
For one thing, this would be just about the worst sixteenth birthday in the history of sixteenth birthdays. It’s supposed to be Independence Day #1, because in Texas, this is when he could have tested to receive his driver’s license.
But it’s a Saturday. The DMV isn’t even open.
To add to the insult, it’s raining nonstop.
I imagine a cranky boy joking and getting shoved by his friends as they shovel in cake. Looking out the window at the rain, wishing it weren’t a Saturday. The ONE TIME he finally gets a weekend birthday, and it’s the one he doesn’t want to be a weekend!
But these scenes are only in my mind. They aren’t happening. They will never happen.
He won’t drive a car. He didn’t even live to know cars existed. The only way he probably even knew his mother existed was a steady beat of sound that mirrored his own, a slow heavy thud that underscored the warbling muted voices through the walls that held him suspended in the only world he would ever know.
Happy Sweet Sixteen, Casey Shay, wherever your spirit resides these days.[ More about Casey Shay ]
When the first headline mentioning Robin Williams’s private diagnosis of Parkinson’s crossed my feed, I wanted to collapse with shock. I couldn’t believe it.
I’d already been on a two-day crying jag about his suicide. He was a big part of my childhood, and his face was very familiar to me from so many amazing works. But I didn’t know him. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t seem to recover from the news.
I think at first it was because it’s so hard to see someone so beloved, so talented, with so much love in his life, doing this, taking such a final step.
But now, I understand another piece of the puzzle.
For the last year, Parkinson’s has been a big part of my life. My mom was diagnosed, and with every drug change, every new protocol, she calls and asks me to look up side effects, drug combinations, what she can expect.
It so permeated my life that when I wrote Forever Loved and needed a patient for my character to take care of in art therapy, his story line was much like Robin’s:
A great and beloved painter attempts suicide when his diagnosis of Parkinson’s stirs up fear that he will no longer be able to create his art.
I’m starting to understand now just how profound this situation can be. In Forever Sheltered, when this artist takes center stage, the art therapist, who attempted suicide at the age of seventeen, says this:
Albert really must have fallen hard to attempt suicide when his talent was so visceral. Even with the struggle to control his movements, he was easily the best artist I’d ever met or studied under, even in college.
If I were unable to do the one thing I loved, if some disease took that away, I’m not sure I would do any better. One thing I told the students who attended my suicide talks is that once you choose death as your destination, it never goes away. Every upset, every disappointment, every setback has the same way out. You don’t even have to search for it to know it’s still out there, waiting for you to stumble one more time.
In that, suicide wasn’t that much different from alcoholism or drug addiction. You could go to rehab or therapy. You could get it out of your mind for a while. And life could go well for months or years or decades.
But the moment it didn’t, in that instant when your depression or your struggle or your exhaustion hit that critical point, it all rushed back. And your mind went straight to the place you thought you’d twelve-stepped or group-sessioned out of existence. The needle. The bottle. The knife.
I wish there had been some other way, that there had been some treatment, some quick intervention, some help that could have gotten to Robin in time. My story has a much happier ending. Albert does find a way. He does figure out how to manage. And he starts to recognize the treatments will go up and down, work for a while, then fail, then another will work a while longer. It becomes an act of faith to believe that another good time will come, to counteract all those thoughts and emotions coursing through him without his control. But he managed to figure out that the disease didn’t define him, and that he could muddle through.
There was so much greatness still to go for Robin, and it is lost to us now. His brilliant ad libs, his appearances, his voice and acting that added so much to every project he was in. But I am grateful that we got what we did, and that his family shared him with us. And that his life, in death, sheds a little more light on an issue we could stand to learn a lot more about.
I am humbled and amazed by you fans! Wow! Usually I get a few hours to send out some information on the book before it shoots up the lists!
Thank you. Really and truly. Thank you.
The party is really getting started now! We have giveaways, and I’ll be signing books in San Antonio at the Romance Writers of America Wednesday night! Get the details on the appearances page!
Second: Win something! TWO $50 gift cards are up for grabs!
Thank you for being a part of this release!
I hope to see some of you at RWA this week! I will also be speaking at BookPeople here in Austin on August 9 at 10 a.m!
And…the pink sofa everyone’s talking about…
Just TWENTY days until the release of Forever Sheltered!
If you have a blog or FB page, sign up to be a part of the party here (you’ll get to give away all THREE Forever books to your readers!)
Here we go!
Oh, that idiot jerk doctor just walked in here and demanded a favor.
He strode into my art therapy room like he owned the place with his high-dollar shoes and custom-tailored khakis and said, “You have to do something for me.”
Right. I have to.
I whirled away from him to pick up a box of tempura paints and clutched it tightly with both hands.
It was either that or punch him in the face.
This was my room at the hospital. Where doctors weren’t the big shots. Where patients came to escape.
My cheeks were hot. “I didn’t expect to see you again,” I said, pointedly refusing to ask what the something he wanted me to do entailed. “You didn’t show up last time you asked to meet with me.
This same doctor blew me off two weeks ago. Set up a meeting and didn’t show.
Like his time was valuable, and mine was not.
I kept my back to him. A long moment passed. He stayed quiet, so I began to wonder if he’d snuck out.
Not a bad idea. Nobody likes me when I’m pissed off.
I checked the paints, chucking any colors that had dried out. I had less than ten minutes until my next therapy group arrived, a set of children from the cancer ward. It often took all my emotional strength to get through that hour. I wouldn’t give the doctor another thought.
Those kids had it so hard. They lost their hair. Threw up spontaneously. Dealt daily with the idea of death. Many were far from home, sent here to the specialty wing for cancer patients after their own hospitals had exhausted all options.
My days felt like battles, miniature war zones.
And yet here was this Dr. Darion Marks, asking me to do something for him.
I was so sure he was gone that I jumped when he spoke again.
“I’m sorry I didn’t let you know I couldn’t make our meeting two weeks ago,” he said.
Still no explanation. I turned a little so I could see the doctor, tall and stalwart in his white coat. He reminded me of a statue, perfect, chiseled, and cold as granite. I dropped the box of paints on the low table with a satisfying clunk.
“Hey.” His voice carried an impatient tone that sparked my anger into rage.
I glared at him. I was ready to give him a real piece of my mind when he switched tactics.
“Maybe we can start over,” he said with a smile I’m sure he thought was charming. “Hello, Ms. Schwartz. Could I ask you to help me with one of my patients?”
I hated him with a fury I usually reserved for people who kicked dogs. And my parents.
I grasped the back of a chair and leaned over it. Menacingly, I hoped.
Isn’t Tina something else? She’s been in three of my books, and it’s finally her turn to get a book of her own!
ALL of chapter one will go out to the mail list subscribers at MIDNIGHT (July 2, CST). Get on the list — if you are not sure you are on it, enter your email — it will tell you.
If you have missed the email, still join up. Just reply to your “Welcome” email and we’ll get you the first chapter. PLUS you’ll get 70 pages of Baby Dust to download — all of Tina’s backstory from when she was 17.
I’M SO EXCITED!!!!
Everyone is dying to see Dr. Darion! And a grown up Tina!
Here they are!
The book will come out July 22, just in time for my appearance at Romance Writers of America’s National Convention in San Antonio! I will be signing books on Wednesday, July 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Marriott Rivercenter Third Floor Ballroom. This is a public event. Everyone who comes to see me gets one of these full of buttons, tissues, and other swag:
And the first FOUR people at my table gets one of these beautiful charms by The Book Swag Shop:
But RIGHT NOW you can enter to win $50 in PayPal cash or a gift card as we celebrate the cover!
For those of you registered for the full convention, it will be easiest to find me:
Thursday at 11:15 at Club RT.
I will have swag and you can have anything signed at that event.
For those of you registered only for the Saturday Fan-Tastic day, I will be there:
7:15 in the big signing room
This might be a little crazy.
Other convention things I know I’m doing:
- The NA Pajama Party Tuesday night
- Saints and Sinners Thursday night
- Mardi Gras Party Friday night
I probably won’t be too hard to spot with all the butterflies on me as I walk around — particularly Thursday as I’ll be there all day. Make sure to ask for one, especially baby loss moms who get a special blue butterfly like baby Finn’s!
If you aren’t doing the convention at all, or have too busy a schedule for the above stuff, I’ll be around town Wednesday and Friday. Follow me on Twitter and see what I’m up to! Don’t be afraid to say hello!
I generally don’t wake up on Mother’s Day to breakfast in bed or hand-colored cards.
I have five children, but they are not with me as this day begins. Here are all the reasons why:
- My first-born, Casey Shay, died five months into my pregnancy.
- My second and fourth, Emily and Elizabeth, are with their dad this morning, since we are divorced.
- My third and fifth died early in the pregnancies.
I am lucky that I still have my mom. I know many of you no longer do.
And there are a lot of empty nesters who will make do with a phone call.
Some moms will visit their children’s graves today.
So I’m thinking of all of you whose Mother’s Day is not, never was, or no longer is that perfectly imagined day with little ones bringing you burnt toast and jumping on your pillows.
We still have something to celebrate. The moms and grandmothers who once held us tight.
The babies we carried, if only for a little while. Or the children we loved and raised as long as could.
It’s still an important day.
And I’m holding out my hand to you with love and understanding.