Establishing Sustainable Writing Habits – and Being Happy, Too

This is a quintessentially Santa Fe photo to me. I took it at Radius Books, where my lovely author friend Megan Mulry works. I stopped by on a hot June afternoon to pick up some books from her, and this dog-in-residence was enjoying the cool stairway. Or being part of an art installation. In Santa Fe, even the dogs have a keen appreciation for aesthetics.

My life is pretty wonderful these days. I live in a beautiful place, I have lovely friends, and I’m actually pulling off this writing full-time gig. David and I are both working hard, but we’re making progress. Every once in a while, I kind of catch my breath and realize that I’m truly making my living as a writer. After twenty-five years of putting the effort toward that goal – and *not* getting there – it still feels unreal. 

So, I’m counting my blessings and my lucky stars. 

I’m also still learning how this works. I don’t think I’ve posted recently on word count goals and sustainability. For a while there, when I went to writing full time, I tried for 5,000 words/day. And I can do it. I have the time. I can write that much in a day, and I can sustain that output for a week or two, working five days/week. Which is great for getting 50K in a couple of weeks. 


And I set that out as a big, bold BUT – my overall productivity for 2016 went down, despite this elevated goal. I sat down with my spreadsheets (FTW!) to figure out why. It turns out those 25K weeks come with a high price for me. I would follow those with rebound weeks where I got very little done. I’d work and work… and come up dry. I’d drained the well. 

This makes no sense to me, as it feels like there shouldn’t be an energetic limit on creativity. I tried all sorts of methods to find a way to sustain the higher daily wordcounts. 

Nope. I always paid the price in lower productivity. Even when I *thought* I was doing fine, my wordcount majory dropped. The numbers don’t lie.

So, in 2017, I resolved to keep my wordcount goals to about 3K/day, five days a week. Not only does this feel relatively easy, I can sustain it, week after week. I no longer get those unproductive rebound weeks. The upshot is, though I’m getting 10K less per week, I’m on track to beat my 2016 wordcount by a significant margin.

This also means that I typically finish early in the day – usually by 1 or 2, since I’m a morning writer – and I sometimes feel at loose ends. After so many years of managing two careers, it feels weird to have free time and not use it to work. So, I’m doing things to fix up the house. I’m gardening, reading more, seeing friends. 

And I’m contemplating the value of a creative hobby that isn’t about income.

When I was a new writer and taking every class I could, the US Poet Laureate at the time, Ted Kooser, came to the university to give a week-long class. I’m not really a poet and poetry has never been my focus, but I took every opportunity that knocked.

He was just terrific and I learned a great deal from him. But what sticks out in my mind has nothing to do with the craft of writing. What I’ve always remembered about him is that he also painted – beautifully – but had a hard and fast rule that he wouldn’t sell his paintings. He only gave them away. People sometimes argued with him about this. Why not sell this art, too? And he explained that he wanted that one thing to not be about earning money.

That came back to me recently during a conversation with Anne Calhoun. She made a quilt for her sister’s wedding and commented on how fun it was to simply Make a Thing that was unconnected to money. I replied – with some envy – that I used to quilt all the time, and loved it, but gave that up because I needed to spend that time and energy on writing.

And I now understand what Ted Kooser meant. There’s a value to creating something without thinking about paying bills with it. It’s restful in a way. Refilling that well. 

I might take up quilting again. 

A few extra things. I met a debut author Genevieve LaViolette and she wrote a charming blog post about it. Features lovely comments about me, so I had to share.

Also, I mentioned Sunday about my PRISM finals – that list is up here. Congrats to all!

Forbidden Romance and Fictional Bar Names!

12573673_1031344770255657_394058623659722734_nFirst off, big congrats today to bestie and all-around lovely person and Zen influence on my life, Anne Calhoun, on the release of THE SEAL’S SECRET LOVER today! This novella kicks off a super sexy romantic suspense series of three novellas and three novels. I’ve been in on the brainstorming and these are unique storylines with Anne’s trademark high-stakes emotional angst. Here’s the blurb for this one: 

Logistics director Rose Powell agreed to chaperone her grandmother on a guided tour of Roman ruins on one condition: her brother Jack would come with her. But when Jack backs out, his best friend and fellow SEAL Keenan Parker takes his place. Without a working cell phone, Rose’s orderly world drifts into dreamy days and hot, secret nights in Keenan’s bed. Keenan left the Navy but never made it any farther than Istanbul, much less to a viable future. Until he does, he’ll show Rose things she didn’t know about herself. Can he give his heart and his future to the woman he promised his best friend he’d never touch?

See what I mean? Go snag it now!

A woman's torso, naked but for a wrap of crimson velvetIn other news, last week I finished drafting my story for the upcoming DEVIL’S DOORBELL anthology. In the course of writing, I discovered I needed to name the bar that the heroine frequents. So, I posted this to Facebook:

Okay folks, I need to name a bar. Contemporary U.S. Something in the name should evoke heaven, hell, angels, demons, the devil. Anything along those lines. And… go!

I got over 150 suggestions, counting duplicates!

Of course, I couldn’t use all the names and there were so many great ones, I thought I’d share them here. Feel free to use! In fact, please DO, because it took me *way* too long to sort these…

A Dimensional portal

Ace of Spades


Angel’s Roost




Baal’s Asylum


Beyond Good and Evil


Black Star

Bob’s Road Kill Grill – “You kill ’em, we grill ’em!”


Broken Halo

Carrie Nation’s Delight

Cemetery Gates




Club Beyond, . 


Constantine’s Smoke

Crooked Halo

Dam Site Inn



Dante’s Circle

Dante’s Fire

Dastardly Spirits

Devil’s Backbone

Devil’s Dew


Diluted Atheist


Elohim’s Den


Elysian Fields


End of days


Fallen Saints

Firewater Shack

Flaming Wings

Forbidden Fruit





Hades by Nigh


Heaven & Hell

Helen Back

Hell Raisers.

Hell with the Lid Off

Hell’s Half Acre

Hell’s Kitchen,


Hemingway’s Delight

Holy Spirit

Horn & Clove

Horns ‘n Halos

I Like It Like That


Judgement Day,

Last supper steakhouse



Lost Soul Watering Hole,

Lost Souls


Lucifer’s Pub

Lucifer’s Taphouse

Mephistopheles Mezzanine

Nailed Spirits


Old Scratch’s

Pagan Spirits

Paradise Lost

Pearly’s gate





Rahab’s Roadhouse

Reality Rehab


River Styx

Sacrificial Blood

Saints & Sinners

Sam’s Fight Tavern

Satanic Bites.

Satan’s Tavern,



Soul and Sacrifice

Soul-stealers bar and grille.


Stone Club Baby Head


Styx and Stones

Tavern in the Circle

The Abyss

The Altar

The Chamber,

The Crossroads

The Crypt

The Devil’s Fork

The Devil’s living room.

The Devil’s Waterhole

The Emerald Cross

The Fallen

The Hourglass

The Inferno

The Last Judgement

The Morningstar

The Nailed Redeemer

The Ninth Circle

The Office

the Redeemed Soul

The Rogue Angel

The Serpent’s Tavern

The Seventh Circle

The Stygian Crypt

The Tarnished Halo

The Third Ring

The Trilogy,

The Y’all Come Back Saloon



Unknown Redemption

Unrepentant Spirits

Vodun’s Delight






A woman's torso, naked but for a wrap of crimson velvetI know I’m sure going to!

I’m just thrilled about this project – what I think will be a fantastic intersection of theme and authors I love. Check out the cover for THE DEVIL’S DOORBELL!

A woman’s pleasure is a dangerous thing. A primal appetite that, once awakened, can never be sated. A secret that gives power to those who know it. A magic that, once unleashed, can never be contained.

Some say the clitoris is the devil’s doorbell, set to summon him forth at the merest touch…

It’s time to ring the bell.

Here are seven tales of sexual empowerment and erotic defiance, featuring the hottest storytellers of erotic fiction.

Anne Calhoun
Christine d’Abo
Delphine Dryden
Megan Hart
Jeffe Kennedy
Megan Mulry
M. O’Keefe

Coming April 26, 2016

Of Grapes, Blue Moons and Real Writers

P1012771My attempt at capturing the blue moon, the morning of August first. It’s a mark of how fast this month is flying by that it’s now August 14 and I’m just now putting it up on the blog.

What have I been doing? I’m not at all sure…

I’ve been writing and working in the grape arbor quite a bit. That means I sit too much, but I kind of hate being inside at the treadmill desk when the weather is so beautiful. The grapes are all ripening and it makes me happy to see them hanging heavy and full of sunshine around me.

I’m working on a new book – a contemporary erotic romance. Or maybe it will be just really hot. I’m not writing this one to contract or spec this time – for the first time since, wow! 2012 – and it feels different. Totally my choice to do it this way, as there is a PLAN. I’m excited about the concept but the hero and heroine both have *totally* different lives and careers than anything I know well or understand. Just to make things difficult on myself! Interestingly, my author buddy Anne Calhoun is writing a new book with similar themes. And yet our two stories are completely different. We talk out plot ideas and brainstorm, so we know what the other is doing and still the tales wend in different directions. I’m always fascinated when that happens. She texted me on Wednesday about her progress and I texted back that I was in the midst of interviewing a guy so I could learn about my hero’s career. Then yesterday she had lunch with a guy so SHE could learn about her hero’s career. I laughed and said “Look at us!” She replied, “all researchy like real writers.”

This is an ongoing thing, feeling like a “real” writer or not. The number of books out there, the publishing contracts from which houses or not, the awards, the reviews – somehow none of it ever feels like it cements the “real writer” identity. Maybe because each book feels like such an immense new challenge to write. That’s probably good, because it means I’m stretching myself. Growth is painful, right? Knowing that doesn’t abate the discomfort, however.

I’ve also been teaching an online class the last couple of weeks, on building sexual tension. That’s always fun. Teaching other people how I do something helps clarify some of it in my mind.

Next week is the traditional family Birthday Weekend. We’re spending it in Maine and New Hampshire this year! David has never seen New England so I’m really excited for this.

Also: fresh lobster!

Happy weekend everyone! 🙂

New Erotic Romance Release!

The List by Anne CalhounSO excited to read Anne Calhoun’s latest – THE LIST – out today! Anne is easily one of my favorite living writers of erotic romance. Yes, she’s also my friend, but I feel I can say this in all honesty because I first read her books, THEN stalked her and made her be my friend. She’s a brilliant writer, weaving deep emotions from traumatized people with hot, riveting erotic encounters. Publisher’s Weekly said it best:

With exquisite skill, Calhoun melds erotic heat and intense emotions in the second Irresistible contemporary romance (after Afternoon Delight). Daniel Logan, an FBI agent, meets Matilda Davies sitting on a ledge 20 stories above Manhattan. She isn’t suicidal—she just enjoys taking risks. Tilda, the owner of a store that’s about to expand into a global brand, spends most of her time on her business and the rest on her hobby of matchmaking, with little space in her life for a lover. Daniel, besotted, tries to keep her thrill seeking side satisfied, even as he uses his detective skills to figure her out. Tilda faces a more difficult task: deciding whether to lower her emotional barriers and let Daniel in. That risk might be one ledge too high. Calhoun’s intelligently handled characters, perfect pacing, and smooth plotting elevate familiar themes to the heights of enjoyable entertainment.

That was a starred review, by the way, because she is just that awesome.

Want to read more? I love this excerpt that was featured on RT Book Reviews’ smexy Hump Day. You can read it there or below. Warning! Very sexy, graphic language. 🙂




Happy Hump Day, readers! This week we’ve got a scene from a book we know you’ve been eagerly awaiting: The List by Anne Calhoun. British stationary shop owner Matilda is an expert matchmaker, finding a special someone for every man and woman on her list. But she draws the line at herself, unwilling to commit to anything more than a fling. Enter hunky FBI agent Daniel, who is taken by the perplexing Matilda. In this scene Tilda thinks Daniel is mistakenly sexting her, and is quite surprised when she confronts him about it in person.


I want to go down on you.

The text banner glowed against Tilda’s screen background. Without breaking stride in the conversation with a man purchasing a gift for a client, she pushed the power button to deactivate the screen and slid her phone onto the shelf under the counter.

 “The paper is made from one hundred percent cotton, of course,” she said, “and the recipient’s name or initials can be added by engraving, thermography, or letterpress.” She held out options for each so he could feel the difference. Quality died even more slowly than tradition, and in the high-end goods market shopped by both old blue bloods and new money, nothing was more traditional and elegant than paper. Calling cards. Business cards. Personalized notecards. Thank-you notes. Invitations to events ranging from a quiet dinner to a ball. In the last year a placement in InStyle’s accessories section led to an inclusion in O magazine’s Favorite Things spread. For millennials with money, she’d become an arbiter of taste with a caliber of luxury normally reserved for royalty.

Her phone lit up again.

Correction: I want to tie you to the bed and go down on you until you can’t talk.

This time Tilda took the split second necessary to find out who was sexting her.

Daniel Logan.

“What size do you recommend?” the customer asked, thankfully oblivious to the heat rising in Tilda’s cheeks at the pornographic texts appearing on her screen.

“Cards are a traditional and very safe choice, but some men prefer what’s called a social sheet,” she said. “He’ll have more room to write a note, and it’s folded then inserted into the envelope. I suggest ordering a selection with his monogram or name, then extra plain sheets for longer notes.”

Her phone vibrated again. Tilda ignored it, because there was clearly some mistake. Daniel Logan would no sooner sext her than voluntarily sit down on a ledge twenty-two stories over the city streets.

Except, he’d done exactly that. When the client made his selection, she compiled the order on her tablet, emailed him a receipt, and tidied the sample books. Her assistant, Penny, was engrossed with a bride across the store, but no one else needed her attention. She closed the door to her office and scrolled through what she’d missed on the phone.

Or fuck you. You won’t know which you want more, but you’ll be begging.

Gobsmacked, she stared at the screen. Without her permission her brain thoughtfully provided images: Daniel’s head, light glinting in his sun-streaked hair, his face buried between her thighs. Her hands, restrained by . . . velvet bands, she decided. Something elegant, silky, unbreakable.

She shifted in her seat.

Several weeks had passed since their phone conversation, so he must be texting his current lover. That was the only explanation. Also, they were completely unexpected, shockingly blatant foreplay, not meant for her. If it were, he would have prefaced the initial text with something apologetic. I know I shouldn’t do this, but . . . I can’t stop thinking about you. . . . Don’t be angry with me. . . . Not the bare, explicit, I want to go down on you.

I can’t stop thinking about it. You’ll be salty and damp and wound up after a long day. You’ll taste like frustration and woman.

Clearly, she’d underestimated Daniel Logan. Who was he dating now? He’d not asked her for another connection, and she’d not given him any names.

Touch yourself for me. Now.

Impossible. All of this was impossible. But she could clamp her thighs together more tightly, flex the muscles, feel the faint, resonant pulses of desire. She should stop this. He was texting the wrong woman, probably someone whose number was next to hers in his phone.

Are you touching yourself? I’m hard thinking about that. Sitting at my desk, head down in paperwork, thinking about you.

That was a compelling image in itself, Daniel pretending to work while thinking about sex. An FBI agent would wear a suit, not a uniform; factoring in his blue velvet blazer, she came up with a dark navy suit, a slim cut, with a formfitting Oxford underneath, a subtle tie.

But he wasn’t thinking about sex with her. Couldn’t be.

Is your clit hard? Slick? I can’t wait to watch you come.

Disappointment deflated her lungs. Definitely someone else. He’d never seen her get herself off, something she’d done far too often lately. Heat flickered through her pussy. All work and no play was making Tilda edgy and restless. She’d turned him down because every instinct she had told her he’d want something she couldn’t give him.

When we’re alone, I’ll do it nice and slow, until you’re moaning. But do it fast, now. Don’t want you getting in trouble at work.

She couldn’t get in trouble at work. She was the boss, this was her shop, the door closed on the outside world. She could hike her skirt up, wriggle her panties down, and rub off to these texts. Knowing these texts were meant for someone else should have jolted her back to reality. Instead, the vaguely voyeuristic feel added another layer to the erotic tension crackling in the air. This was a peek into a completely different side of Daniel than the man who had asked her to dinner.

Don’t come.

God, a firm command. Who exactly was this man?

Save that for me. When I spread your legs and lick you, I want to taste how desperate you are.

She began composing the text she’d known all along she’d have to send.

Daniel, you’re texting Tilda Davies. I’ll delete this—

Another bubble appeared.

I can’t work like this. I’m going to take care of this.

Backspacebackspacebackspace. Face-to-face was the only way to do this, because she had to see his face when he realized what he’d done. She had to see his face and know if she’d made a mistake, refusing to go on a date with him. A trick of the moonlight made him look more innocent than he was.

She picked up her clutch and opened the door. Penny glanced over at her, rocking back on the four-inch-heeled ankle boots that lifted her to five feet two. In her four-inch heels Tilda stood five eleven, and felt like a Great Dane next to Penny’s teacup Yorkie size.

“Can I redo the front windows?” Penny asked.

“Absolutely,” Tilda said. She did the business side and the product selection but had no flair for creative design, so she hired Penny, straight out of Parsons and a seemingly endless fount of creative window displays. “I’m going out for a coffee,” she said. “Can I bring you back anything?”

“A latte,” Penny said. “Extra shots.”

She hailed a cab and directed the driver to Federal Plaza. “Everything okay, miss?” the cabbie asked.

“Fine,” she said. Just the unexpected from a man she’d written off.

She took the stairs to the front doors, and asked the uniformed officer staffing the front desk for Agent Daniel Logan.

“He expecting you, ma’am?”

“No,” she said, and left it at that.

The officer rang through, then said, “Tilda Davies is downstairs.”

Daniel walked out of the elevator, into the lobby, finishing a conversation with two individuals in jackets and suits. He made eye contact with Tilda and beckoned her to come with him without halting the conversation. Intrigued by the difference in his demeanor, she waited quietly by his side while he finished issuing instructions. Then he put his hand under her elbow and guided her into the elevator, then through open desks to an office at the back of the room, where he closed the door. He braced his bum against the edge of his desk, crossed his legs at the ankle, folded his arms, and said, “What can I do for you, not–Lady Matilda?”

She’d been right about everything from the color of his suit to the subtlety of his tie, and now she could add a dark brown leather belt and matching brown wingtips to the ensemble. The wave in his hair was tamed to lie flat above his forehead, but held furrows, as if he’d been shoving his fingers through it. She held out her phone, the bubble announcing that he was going to take care of his arousal. “You’ve been texting the wrong woman.”

He didn’t even look at the screen, just kept his gaze focused on her. “No, I haven’t,” he said. “The old-fashioned method of asking you out didn’t work. I took a different tack.”

She stared at him. He looked different at work, in his suit and tie, less open, less likely to smile. Like he was the one sitting on a ledge, inviting her to join him.

“Did you come?” he asked, without a hint of modesty or embarrassment. As if it were perfectly reasonable for him to sext her in the middle of the day, for them to have this conversation in his office with other FBI agents working outside.

You told me not to hovered on the tip of her tongue, but what she said was, “I was in the middle of a consultation with a client.”

“I’ll take that as a no. Did it make you hot?”

She flicked him a glance. “What do you think?”

He bent forward and put his lips close to her ear. “I think it did. Even better, I think it made you curious.” A shiver coursed down her spine.

“Would you do it now?”

“Do what?”

“Get off while I watch.”

She had been wrong, so very, very wrong. He knew exactly what to do with his voice. “We’re in your office, which has rather large glass windows.”

“And you were sitting on a ledge two hundred feet above the street. You were shaking so I thought you were cold, or afraid. Then I thought it was the adrenaline. I was wrong. It was desire,” he said, looking away from her as he spoke. From the outside this looked like . . . well, maybe it looked like he was talking to her about a case. Maybe it looked like his girlfriend dropped by for a visit.

“Do you have a girlfriend?”

“If I did, I wouldn’t have texted you. No,” he added, cutting her off. “I don’t have a girlfriend. The last woman I asked out turned me down flat. Can you do it?”

“Why would you think I can?”

He shot her a grin full of mischief and a rather dark amusement. “You like risk. Based on the way you’re looking at me, you’re no more satisfied than you were a couple of weeks ago. Come on,” he said, lowering his voice, just enough to send goose bumps up her arms. “Show me what you can do.”

She crossed her legs. “Talk to me,” she said quietly, then activated the screen on her mobile. From the outside, she hoped it would look like she was scanning her phone while he talked. She closed her eyes.


“Because I like your voice.”

He chuckled, low and deep. “Do you have any idea how hot you were on that ledge? I should have yanked you back onto the patio. I should have arrested you for public endangerment, made up some law. But you were glowing in the moonlight. I could see your nipples under your top, see the flush on your cheeks. The moon was as bright as a streetlight up there. You’d been biting your lips, too. I wanted to do that. I took one look at your mouth, and I got so hard.”

She exhaled soft and slow, rhythmically clenching the muscles of her thighs. Her lace panties were caught up against her clit, and the pressure and shift of the lace provided a tantalizing rough edge to the flex and release. Oh, yes. “Oh, I do love being wrong,” she said with a laughing gasp.

“Waiting made it worse,” he said. “I made another mistake with the letter I sent you. I backed off, went with something too gentle, too traditional, I want to take you to dinner. Something any idiot would say.”

“What did you start with?”

Her voice was low, not breathy, almost inaudible. The pressure coiled behind her clit, arousing the nerves in her sex, and she closed her eyes, the better to see what he described.

He hesitated, then said, “I want to get you in my bed, naked and defenseless, then take you apart. I want to find the rhythm that draws you under, the angle that layers pleasure until you can’t breathe under the weight.”

She could imagine it, white sheets, blank like paper, his body caging hers between arms and legs, shades drawn against the afternoon sunlight and the ever-present city noise, her body bared in his bed, tangled with his, the slick stretch as he slid inside. The nerves in her vagina ached in anticipation. She added a subtle swivel to her hips, the lace tugging at her clit until she was close, so close, so fucking, fucking close.

“Sounds like sex to me,” she murmured.

He bent closer. She could smell him rather than see him, the scent of man and sweat and skin and the city. “It’s not sex, Tilda. I want to white out your thoughts, turn your muscles to jelly and your bones to light. I want to taste your come, my come, our sweat. It’s annihilation. That’s what I want to do to you.”

She came, silent, restraining her shudders to abbreviated jerks of shoulders and hips, her muscles clenching around nothing, nothing, the pleasure centers in her brain glowing white-hot. After a long moment, her muscles relaxed, and she opened her eyes.

He was watching her, jaw taut, expression feral.

“You look like you want to hoist me onto your desk and have your way with me.”

“Fuck you,” he said. “Hard and fast. Not enough time to annihilate you.”

Her heart gradually slowed. She inhaled shakily, exhaled more smoothly, inhaled again. “What a shame,” she said.

“You’d do it, wouldn’t you?”

An aftershock tumbled through her. “You’d lose your job,” she said. “I’d be arrested, which isn’t the adrenaline rush I crave.”

“A limit. I wasn’t sure you had them.”

She rose, steady on her heels. “I don’t date,” she explained. “That’s my limit, and why I turned you down.”

His brows drew together. “You don’t date. Are you in a relationship?”

“No. I just don’t like dating.”

“You don’t like dating.”

“It’s prelude to sex. I know whether or not I want to have sex with someone. Dinner and a conversation beforehand aren’t necessary, and are frequently counterproductive.”

This time his eyebrows shot up. “Okay. So you hook up.”

“Is that what you’d call what we just did?”

He thought before he spoke, a point to his advantage. “No.”

“What I do is what we just did.”

“Take a risk. A dare. A challenge.”

“Exactly,” she said, and slid her phone into the pocket of her jacket.

“Hmm,” he said, soft and considering.

“I have to get back to the shop. I told my assistant I’d bring her a latte”—she checked her watch—“thirty-five minutes ago. Not even Starbucks is that slow.”

“I want to see you again.”

She stopped with her hand on the doorknob, and considered him. He waited, silent, unmoving. Through all of that, he hadn’t moved, his arms still folded across his chest, his legs still crossed at the ankles. If he was aroused by what they’d just done, he kept it contained. She remembered his first impulse, the one he revised. She was sure he’d started with something sexual, not a decorous dinner invitation. They’d had a couple of discarded drafts, but hit their stride with his texts.

She opened her clutch and withdrew a silver card case, then a business card. Her name was engraved on one side in Garamond. The other side was blank. On it she wrote her address, then held it out to him.

“I’m having drinks with a friend,” she said as he took it, “so I won’t be home until after nine.”

He traced the edges of the card, then looked at her. “You’re serious.”

“About sex? Always.” She opened the door to his office. “Have a pleasant day, Agent Logan.”


Stalking Tina Fey

Tina Fey in Mean GirlsSo, I’ve heard through the grapevine that Tina Fey (@nottinafey) is here in town filming a movie. For those who don’t know – and why would you? – New Mexico is the site for a LOT of films. We’re relatively close to Los Angeles, have a variety of landscapes and there’s this whole infrastructure here set up to support movie-making. Word gets around that infrastructure and…

Now I know Tina is in town. And I want to stalk her and make her be my friend.


I mean, it’s not like I haven’t done this before. Carolyn Crane and Anne Calhoun used to be authors that I admired from afar, until I stalked them and made them be my friends. Now they’re among my closest friends? Why couldn’t this work with Tina? She’s my go-to choice when interviewers ask me what celebrity I’d like to have a meal with. I think Tina and I would have a lot to talk about – similar senses of humor and life perspectives. We’re both authors. I even used to write essays very like hers in Bossypants! We are practically soulmates. Remember in Notting Hill when Hugh Grant’s sister (played by the hysterical Emma Chambers) confides to Julia Roberts that she’s always suspected, from watching her in movies, that they’d be best friends?


I mulled this question on Twitter – as I do, you know – and received a number of suggestions for how to go about this. One was to don an outfit like the one from Mean Girls above and casually run into her. Which could work. However, the overwhelming suggestions were for me to simply tweet her, say hi and that I’d love to meet. One gal, who is now one of my favorite people ever, thought I could totally pull this off because, as she said, “After all, you’re famous, too!”


Tell it to Tina, okay?

So this is my love letter to her. Perhaps inadvisably titled, but she’s got a spine of steel, right? And it’s accurate. Honest and straightforward, like me. No more neurotic than the average writer, which isn’t saying much, I know.

But seriously, Tina, lunch? Coffee? Cocktails? Come out to the house if you’d like a break and to take in the views! Or I can come to you. I know all the best bars.


Your New Best Friend,


Almost New Year PARTAY

The Talon of the HawkAs the year draws to a close, we’re in the final round of The Hottest Heroine Cover contest. We all know Ursula is the hottest – and not because she has a big-ass sword. And she’s running second to a drowning girl. We can’t have that! You can vote and enter the giveaway or not, as you please.

Tonight – December 30 – from 7-9 pm Eastern Time (6-8 CT/5-7 MT/4-6 PT, for those of you who hate math), I’ll be hanging with some of my favorite naughty authors on Facebook for a Not Quite New Year’s Eve/Saved The Best For Last Facebook Party. The party crew includes Anne Calhoun, Tessa Dare, Megan Mulry, Miranda Neville and Maisey Yates. Expect lots of wordswag, great giveaways and plenty of saucy conversation. Stop on by and have some pre-New Year’s Eve fun!


Party! Party!! Party!!!

AfternoonDelight finalA great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes out to my delightful friend and brilliant critique partner, Anne Calhoun!

Yes, she was born on September 11, which is a date shaded with bad feels now. In fact, 9/11/01 was a milestone birthday for her – and she was in Manhattan.


I think we can make THIS birthday a titch more fun!!

In one of those serendipitous co-occurrences of fortune, Anne and I have almost overlapping release dates this week, too. Rogue’s Paradise, book 3 in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy, came out on Monday, and Anne’s fabulously sexy Afternoon Delight, first in her new IRRESISTIBLE series (who can resist that??) comes out next Tuesday.

So many things worth celebrating at once that I just can’t even!

Therefore, I propose a game. For the next 24 hours, from midnight Central US time on September 11 up until the hands of the clock switch over to September 12, I want you to give Anne gifts.

Virtual ones.

Send her pictures of what you think she’d love. Tweet them to us, at @jeffekennedy and/or @annecalhoun – be sure to use the hashtag #annebday. Or paste them to our Facebook pages! Stick that #annebday hashtag on there and put them on and/or We’ll be picking our favorites, too, and sharing them. Be creative! Have FUN!


Oh, yeah – we’ll be giving away books! I’ll be giving away two digital copies of Anne’s Afternoon Delight and Anne will give likewise two of my Rogue’s Paradise. International is okay, since these are digital!

We’ll also be giving away each other’s backlists. Watch our Facebook and Twitter feeds – especially that #annebday hashtag – for flash giveaways from us and our partygirl friends!

Can’t wait for this party to get started!

~runs off to chill champagne and heat up dancing boys~