It’s hard to think that your summer days are coming to a close. Don’t put away those bathing suits, sandals and shorts yet. I’m not talking about heatwaves. But have you noticed that school supplies are on the shelves in the stores? Yet still to come are those sweltering temperatures threatening to melt the hardiest, and let’s not forget Indian Summer in October. But before the rush of real-life overshadows those fun lazy days there’s still time to read a good book. Contemporary author Kristan Higgins new book, Life and Other Inconveniences, has just hit the shelves. It’s a must-read, in fact, any of Higgins’ books are must-reads.
My new book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, will be on the shelves after Labor Day when your children are busy back in school and life becomes ordered with thoughts of upcoming holidays. But there still is time in-between to sit back and enjoy a good book brimming with ideas for a brighter future. My young suffragette fights for the vote putting herself in harm’s way until a handsome detective is hired as her guard in this historical romance.
You can pre-order, “The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin,” now using the links below and begin reading on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, and then please post a review on Amazon.
After the links provided here for your convenience, there’s an excerpt for you to get a flavor of my brave suffragette and her dreamy detective.
In this excerpt, Allie Baldwin, writer, keeps her appointment to interview Detective Peter Harrison . . .
The mud-spattered conveyance rose and fell in rhythm with the horse’s hooves clip-clopping over the cobblestones. The jostling never bothered Peter. Today, he was eager to pick up Miss Baldwin for their upcoming meeting and to grab a morning paper. After a rainy night, the sun squeezed through the gray clouds. Long shadows blanketed the Fifth Avenue mansions, the places, and palaces of the people he had dined with and protected. Peter flicked open his pocket watch. It was ten minutes before eight, his thumb smoothed over the familiar engraving, Acta Non-Verba. It was a gift from father to son five years ago to celebrate him becoming the president of Harrison Detective Agency.
Passing the torch from father to son was the transition that signified his father’s shift. He became a better husband to his second wife and a better father to Peter’s younger half-sisters.
He returned the timepiece to the vest pocket of his tailored, gray-striped day coat and fiddled with the knot of his ascot making sure it was straight. The driver pulled the carriage up to the Sentinel building, the horses stomping on the stones and whinnying their arrival.
Miss Baldwin waved to him from the top of the stairs, tossing her red locks over her shoulder. Her lips lifted at the corners, his breath caught. The air around her seemed to glow.
Peter opened the carriage door and stepped down, “Good morning, Miss Baldwin,” he said climbing the stairs. His gaze traveled from the hem of her skirt to the short-buttoned jacket accentuating her tiny waist, her hat’s green feather and back to the diamond dog brooch on her lapel. She had a morning paper in hand and a smile on her face. “What’s this, Miss Baldwin?” “Latest news, my article made the early edition.” “Did it now? Congratulations! Mind if I have a look when we get into the carriage?” “Mind? Not at all, it’s earmarked for you,” Allie said. “When I stepped out of the coach, I couldn’t help noticing the unusual dog brooch on your lapel.” “Thank you. It belonged to my grandmother,” she said as she looped her arm into his and they descended. His face heated at her touch. “It was made in Russia. There’s an inscription on the back.” “What does it say?” He couldn’t help but smile at Allie’s mischievous gleam in her eyes. “You won’t believe me.” “Try me.” Translated it says, “Act & Say Naught.” He chuckled, “You’re right. I don’t believe you.” “It’s a funny coincidence, isn’t it? In the old days’ folks all thought alike,” she giggled. “Wait a minute. My father’s still young,” Peter said. They grinned at each other like they had just played a piano duet and the listeners gave them a standing ovation. “The story goes, my grandmother was courted by a young prince before she was married. The brooch was a gift from the prince.”
“What happened to the prince?”
“His parents forbid him to marry my grandmother because she was a commoner. I completely disagree with that as my grandmother is a most uncommon woman.” “Uncommonness runs in the family,” Peter said. She blushed as he handed her into the carriage. To be continued . . .
A review can be posted on Amazon on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, and afterward going forward. Pre-Order now for your convenience.
And remember, for every pre-order purchased an educational donation will be made to the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut, a historic National Landmark built just after the Civil war and several years before Allie Baldwin and Peter Harrison were born. You can help to preserve history! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VRVK3KJ (USA)
Party, Party, Party. That’s the invitation I sent out to my friends, family and followers to come and celebrate the release of, Indigo Sky, my first book.
Susan and crew
After I sent the invitations, I realized that parties should be celebrations where guests can enjoy good food and drink. It’s great to talk about a party but how do I do this?
Pequot Library, Southport, CT held its most important fundraiser reception at the opening of their yearly art exhibition, with a mix of media to be sold. There was also a silent auction offering beach houses, design consultations, ballroom dance lessons, catering, and more from established local merchants. During the evening, food was ample and strategically placed with trays of cheeses, fruits, and crackers, all beautifully arranged. The open bar was stocked with your favorites and overflowing with tasty champagne cocktails. A staff of cordial servers appeared with appetizers, simple finger foods, elaborate and tasty, no mess, no bother. While enjoying the stuffed shrimp appetizer, Tom and I were reviewing the offers at the silent auction table when a woman next to us said, “That’s me.”
I turned to her and asked, “Who?”
Bob Bonitz, author, and server Barbie
“Look at this offer for a catering service, that’s me, I’m the caterer, Susan Kane.”
“You’re the caterer? You did all this? I stared for not more than a moment, took a deep breath and said, “I’m having a party this Wednesday. Will you help me?” She said, “Yes.” We made a date for Monday, she told me not to worry, all would be fine.
Susan is a local in Fairfield, CT. She spent years learning the art of cooking in the Italian restaurants her grandparents and parents owned in Pennsylvania. Susan has worked in restaurants and estates, planning meals, cooking and serving. The Inn at Pound Ridge is only one of the places where she studied food preparation and service under the head chef.
Susan is great at designing elaborate and elegant festivities. She sent me a menu, I chose, she did the rest. We had several appetizers and two desserts, chocolate mousse and fresh fruit, plus a stationary of delicious and fresh veggies, cheeses and crackers. NOT your average crudité station.
Susan cares about food source, high quality and serving aesthetics.
Kristan Higgins, author, and me
My guests have touched base, with calls and emails about the good time they had, and how they thought the caterer made the party even more wonderful. Thank you, Susan Kane, for creating a beautiful setting for a momentous night for me as a debut author.
The Terrible Trio Does Dialog with T.L.Costa,, 2nd from left moderator, and that’s Kristan Higgins on the far right.
RWA does not stand for ready, willing and able, at least not for us writers. RWA stands for Romance Writer’s of America. RWA knows how to travel. This year’s annual conference was here, in my hometown, New York City. I holed up at the Marriott Marquis for 4 days. For those of you who have never experienced this hotel, you will be in for a treat, especially if you like being on a cruise with about 2000 cruisers. The only difference is that instead of eating all day as you would on a cruise, you attend business meetings and workshops. The morning speakers were great, and the workshops were magical.
NY, NY a wonderful town
For the first time, I moderated a workshop. That meant I introduced the panel of speakers in one of the workshops. I loved doing that. I haven’t done any public speaking or teaching in a long time. It was fun having everyone’s attention and telling them about these speakers that were about to enhance their knowledge bank.
Regina Kyle, moderator &Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The workshops ran all day everyday, from 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. There was only a 45-minute break at noon. Hardly enough time to grab lunch or just miss it.
Jamie Beck selling all her books
Everyone was concerned about the elevators. No problem. All the elevators were automated. You push a button for your floor number on a wall panel, every elevator has a designated letter. And escalators between the first and ninth floor made it even easier to navigate. The hotel handled all 2000 writers well.
So, what was my favorite activity of the conference? Was it the Fun Home Broadway show? Dinner at Frankie and Johnny’s? The photo shoot with the amazing Marti Corn looking around with me around Broadway to have a great background in my photos? Getting my makeup professionally done for the photo shoot? The trade show for writers where some form of chocolate flowed at every table? Although all that was great, my favorites were my meeting with Gwen Reyes of Fresh Fiction and best of all was getting to know my chapter colleagues, meeting new authors and seeing two of our members, Patty Blount and Katy Lee’s names, on the marquee for the highest awards given to writers. They both were finalists in the Rita Award category.
Brownstone typical of NYC
By the time this great conference ended, we were exhausted and ready to go home.
Kristan Higgins “The Best Man” all over the Marriott’s elevator door. That’s Gail with the red bag
Haven for writers. No, I think it was heaven for writers. This year, mid July, in the state of Georgia, in Gone With the Wind’s precious Atlanta. It’s not burning anymore, but it was HOT. It sizzled with humidity and hospitality. The national convention of Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) held their yearly in this magical place. Most of us holed up, for almost a week, at the Marriott Marquis, running hither and yon, friends, food, colleagues, and most of all, workshops, workshops, workshops. We mingled with the best of the best, writer’s who love romance and write it well. You have never seen 2500 of smiling faces all in one place at one time. I am sure you never have. It was a joy to behold. If you did not know how to write when you arrived, to be sure, you knew how to write when you left. Something happens in this conference where your synapses grow and mushroom, in fact, your new found confidence sparkles in your eyes, and you find new friends to share your joy of writing. How, when, where, why, all your questions get answered, you get notes to study and free fantastic books to either shlep or ship to your writing den at home.
CTRWA left to right standing Katy Lee, Thea Devine, Gail Ingis, Kristan Higgins, Jamie Schmidt, Marian Louette
My favorite was to be witness to my fantastic friend, who found me and showed me the way, author Kristan Higgins, who gave the most riveting speech to these 2500 writers. We all laughed, we all cried. The standing ovation, hugs, and praises continued all weekend. We are all still mesmerized.
Marriott’s glass elevator to the 42nd floor. Weeee!Fast too!
Did you hear about my lost cell phone? Red bags, each registrant got one. All 2500 of us. Sitting in a workshop at 8:30 a.m. with my cell phone a bother on my belt, I pulled it off and plopped into a red bag. Not mine of course, but I did not realize until after the workshop and we had all split. Found, but not for six agonizing hours. It was on vibrate, so Sandi never heard it. Oh, I didn’t know her name until she finally found it in her bag, found Tom’s number and called him. Tom, my hubby was in our room. How did she know it was the right number? I have his cell phone number marked as ICE. Known as an emergency number.
CokeCola from our room on the 42nd floor
I had a miracle, well, sort of a miracle happen to me first day, right after registration. I did not know Maria Connor, but now I do. After going nuts, and asking what that was, over the smallest thing attached to earbuds, in her ears, and a tiny rectangular thing clipped on her blouse, she said, “I have two, here, you can have this one I don’t use, it was lost for two years, so I got a new one, and this one is extra. You can have this IPod shuffle.” She said, “I will send you the charger.” It arrived Monday. Can you imagine? This gift was like winning the lottery.
left to right: Kristan Higgins, Gail Ingis, Katy Lee, Paula Sharon, Susan Andrews. This picture is about shoes/no shoes. One of us brought ten (10) pair of shoes. Want to guess who? All these wonderful people in my life, just because I write. Great folk! Don’t you think?
Author RC Bonitz, http://www.rcbonitz.com, author of terrific romance stories is my guest partner today. RC, we call him Bob of course, is a colleague. We are members of the prestigious organization, Romance Writers of America. The acronym for the local chapter here in Connecticut is CTRWA. I love Bob’s writing, and thought you would too. It is my pleasure to give up my usual slot in my blogging roster to make room for Bob.
Thank you for hosting me today, Gail. I have a little bit of a twist to present today – two men on the subject of Romance novels.
It’s not often you find two guys who admit to liking romance novels. It’s even more unusual when they know what they’re talking about. I’m RC Bonitz, author of A BLANKET FOR HER HEART, A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL, and soon to be released A LITTLE BIT OF BABY. All of my books are old-fashioned sweet love stories, though A BLANKET FOR HER HEART isn’t your typical romance novel. Here’s a brief excerpt from the book:
She had a knot in her stomach as she started breakfast. Nerves and excitement, no doubt about that. Paul was coming again and he’d be there with her in a couple of hours, without his daughter, and no Molly either.
Her friend had offered to come, “to smooth things out.” Molly had made her promise to call when he was coming, but she hadn’t.
She did buy a new jumper, yellow, and was wearing it without a blouse or tee shirt. She tried a bra without the straps, and then abandoned that idea, convinced it wouldn’t stay in place. An ordinary bra wouldn’t do; the straps would show. Then again, the arm would best be hidden in long sleeves. Bravado, courage, whatever the reason, bra and sleeves were forsaken in favor of the jumper alone.
Normally, her clothing was chosen for comfort. Not this time. The jumper had turned out to be a pinch small, but she studied it in the mirror fifteen ways from Sunday and decided it would be fine.
She couldn’t believe she was doing this. A man she did not need, but here she was, acting like a schoolgirl. Sure, he was a very nice man and she liked him, but that seemed a poor reason to fuss when you’d lived alone so many years.
As the knot in her stomach twisted tighter reality hit. She was all dressed up to seduce him!
Okay, back to the blog. I hope you liked that little excerpt. I got into a discussion a while ago with Paul, the guy who runs The Book Swap, a used book store on Route 1 in Guilford, CT. Paul and his wife bought the store seven years ago. He can be found most days offering commentary on books and authors, or kidding with his customers about any topic in the air at the moment. If you walk in on him when the shop is quiet you’ll probably find him beside the register reading a book. I asked him about romance novels the first time I met him.
“We got ’em. Half the store is romance novels,” he said. “What are you looking for?” At that point I didn’t have a favorite author, so I said, “Who do you recommend?”
He groaned. That’s one thing about Paul- he lets you know what he’s thinking. “You want comedy? Suspense? Mystery? Category? We’ve got Janet Evanovitch, Suzanne Brockman, Jennifer Crusie, Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr. Those are just some of the big names.”
My friend Kristan Higgins’ first book had been out about six months, so I asked about her. “Not her, not yet,” he said. “You still gotta buy her new. Give it about three or four months and we’ll have some of her books.” (He has them now!)
I picked up a Debbie Macomber book. “She writes lots of little stories in one story,” Paul said. “Do you read them?” I asked. “Romances? Yeah, thousands of them.” “Why?” “Customers want recommendations. I gotta know my stock.”
“Do you like them?” I asked. He grinned. “Do you?”
“I write them.”
“No kidding. Got any books out?”
At that point I hadn’t been published yet, so I told him that.
“Hey, when you get there bring me some copies. If I like your book I’ll sell some for you,” he said.
A BLANKET FOR HER HEART and A LITTLE BIT OF BLACKMAIL are now on his shelves and selling.
“Who’s your favorite author?” I asked.
“I like her stories. She writes pretty clean too.”
“I don’t go for that erotic stuff. I like the ones with good stories behind them.”
“Oh, me too. That’s what I write.”
“Good, cause I don’t sell the graphic stuff.”
“Do you read paranormals?”
“You mean the sci-fi kind? Some. I’m not into vampires and such though. I like the good old-fashioned sci-fi kinds of stories. Tolkien, you know?”
“That’s not romance.”
“I know. I read all kinds of books.”
“So, give me this again – why do you like romance?”
Paul grinned. “I like those happy endings.”
I’ve become one of his regulars now, dropping in to shoot the breeze and see what’s going on. It’s always a pleasure. I like contemporary romance and romantic comedies, but he always has a new author to tell me about.
“Bob, that was fun. Thank you for visiting.”
“Thanks for hosting me today, Gail. I had a ball.”