A Fresh Look For Spring

purple tulipsI’m welcoming in Spring by doing some spring cleaning-digital spring cleaning, that is. I’ve freshened up my site by picking a new theme. I wanted something more modern and sophisticated. Like the heroines in my first three books, I have a full-time job. I work hard, come home, and work harder. Between family stuff, writing, and the dreaded exercising, there’s never enough hours in the day. Losing an hour due to Daylight Savings is more to me than one less hour of sleep; it’s one less hour to write. But like I try to convince myself, sleep is over-rated, right? Tell that to the shadows under my eyes. Thank God for concealer!

February and March were exceptionally busy months. I completed NJRW’s Jersey Romance Writing Month (JeRoWriMo) challenge in February with almost 32,000 words. Some of us continued our challenge into March, where I wrote another 10,000 words plus edits. A few days into March I finished the rough draft of my third book. I have a lot of editing to do, but it felt great to write the words “The End”.

The days are longer and the extra daylight gives me more energy. I started a Yoga class once a week after my Jazzercise class and hope to find my calm and happy place. What projects do you have lined up for the Spring? For me, I’m committing to increase my exercise level and to finish editing A Chance Worth Taking. How about you?

Happy early Valentine’s Day

valentine cupcake

Happy February! I’m not sure about you, but the month of January is a blur. We haven’t yet gotten a huge snowfall this year but we’ll see what happens despite Punxsutawney Phil not seeing his shadow.

I’ve been busy working on my third book, The One That Got Away, for the Jersey Romance Writing Month (JeRoWriMo) challenge. The goal is to write 30,000 words during the month of February. I started this book the same time last year. I’m hoping I’ll come close to finishing it this month.

I’d like to say “Hi” to all my family and friends who follow my blog. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to click  the “Books” tab for a summary and excerpt from my books.

I’m blogging this week with The Violet Femmes about your favorite romantic moment in a book. Please stop by and comment!

Maria

Holiday wishes!

christmas present6

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and New Year!

Another year is almost over. It’s been a crazy but good year for me. I’ll spend the next couple days with family, including tonight’s Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes. I write about this Italian tradition in Love’s Second Chance. For fun, I’ve included an excerpt. Enjoy!

Also, I’m blogging this week with The Violet Femmes. We’re doing a holiday romantic suspense round-robin called Glitter Girl. Stop by and read my part (part 4) and catch up with the earlier segments.

Glitter Girl – A Romantic Suspense Holiday Romance

Excerpt from “Love’s Second Chance”

“Does your family have a huge dinner like this every Christmas Eve,” Edward asked, leaning to the side so he could be heard over the noise.

“Yes. It’s a family tradition, going back as far as I can remember,” Kate replied.

“What exactly is the significance of the seven fish?”

“There are different views on its origin, but my grandmother once told me that the number seven stood for the number of Sacraments in the church. There’s baptism, penance, Holy Communion, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, and anointing of the sick.”

“What about the type of fish? Is that important?”

“I don’t think so. We usually have the same fish, though my parents try and mix up how the food is prepared. Plus, there are the side dishes that are often different. You’ve never experienced an Italian Christmas Eve dinner before?”

“Not that I can recall,” Edward said.

“Believe me when I say you would know if you had. I hope you’ve brought your appetite with you.”

He grasped her hand and pressed his lips to it. “I most certainly have.”

The smoldering look in his eyes told Kate that his appetite was for more than just food.

Fall Into A New Season…And Love

Although there are still several days  left of summer, it’s starting to feel like fall. The air is brisk in the evening and early morning. I find myself reaching for that extra blanket when I wake up in the morning, after having left my windows open. I love the change in seasons and Fall is one of my favorites. There’s something about the changing color of the leaves that makes me feel good. I look forward to picking apples and pumpkins with my kids and going to fall festivals. How about you?

With Fall comes NJ Romance Writer’s annual Put Your Heart In A Book Conference. It’s two days of workshops, pitching, networking, and good times. For a second year, I’ve co-chaired NJRW’s Golden Leaf contest for published authors. I’ll get the pleasure of sharing the stage with my co-chairs and category coordinators and announcing the finalists and winners. You have until 9/30 to register for the conference if you haven’t done so.

In other news, I’m thrilled to announce that Love’s Second Chance finaled in the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest. I won’t  find out my results until the end of October, but keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed.

As you hopefully know, I blog monthly with The Violet Femmes. Our blog stemmed from a wine tasting held in my room at last year’s NJRW conference. The idea of a blog started and within a few weeks, we were up and running. As we near our one-year anniversary, we’ll have some exciting announcements, including a new contest. Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, I’m blogging this week with the Femmes on preparing for a conference. Stop by http://thevioletfemmes.com and comment.

Maria

What romance book changed your life?

Hi everyone.

I hope you summer has been going well. Mine has been filled with work (unfortunately not the writing kind) and softball. I do manage to squeeze reading in between innings and games, which is nice.

I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to get to the Jersey shore next month. I’m not taking a full week like I’ve done in the past, but hope to spend a few days down somewhere with sand and surf.

I’m blogging today with The Violet Femmes on my “the romance book that changed my life”. Join me and comment for a chance to enter our monthly contest.

Maria

Contest Win!!

I’m thrilled to announce my second manuscript, Love’s Second Chance, won FIRST PLACE for Single Title Contemporary in the Write Stuff contest. I was thrilled to attend the conference and get the news in person. Many thanks the Connecticut Chapter for running the contest and for my fabulous critique partners, Joanna Shupe, Jenna Blue, Michele Mannon, and Jaye Marie Rome for their encouragement and never-ending support.

I’m blogging about my win and the conference on The Violet Femmes blog this week at http://thevioletfemmes.wordpress.com. Check it out and comment and chance to win 2 books from authors at the conference.

I’ll leave you today with the opening paragraph from Love’s Second Chance.

Kate DiFrancesco knocked back a shot of Sambuca and tossed another into her cappuccino. She hated being the last to know—especially when it concerned her family. Lately, it seemed as though they didn’t tell her anything. She might have moved from Northeast Philadelphia to New York City, but she was still a member of this goddamn family. She closed her eyes and swallowed the fiery liquor, fighting to contain the anger flowing through her veins over the bomb her family had just dropped.