Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A New Royal Scandals Book - The Royal Bastard


Great news here today. I’m thrilled to announce that book four in the Royal Scandals series, The Royal Bastard, is now available for pre-order!


Don’t you love the cover? I was elated when I saw it. It perfectly captures the feel of the story’s black sheep hero, Rocco Cornaro, the mysterious illegitimate son of Sarcaccia’s King Carlo Barrali and Teresa Cornaro. 

Trained from birth to keep his royal paternity quiet, Rocco cannot even trust his beloved wife with his secret, and his silence drives her away. When Russian thugs kidnap Justine and hold her for ransom, he must risk everything—his siblings' privacy, his life’s work, and the reputation of the Barrali royal family—to save the woman he loves. But when he reveals his secret—and confronts a new, horrible truth—will Rocco break Justine’s trust forever?

The Royal Bastard is set for release on June 15 and the ebook can already be pre-ordered on Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo. Originally BarnesandNoble.com wasn't going to have the ebook available as a pre-order, but it's been picked up there, as well, and should appear on the site any day.  Print editions will be available on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites on June 15.   

What’s great about pre-ordering the ebook through any of these booksellers is that if the price drops between now and release day, you’re guaranteed to be charged the lowest price available between the date you place your order and the release day.

I can’t wait to hear your take on Rocco’s complex, emotional story. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

RITA Nod for Slow Tango With a Prince!

For me, writing is a joy unto itself. I love sitting down at my computer and crafting a story about complex, interesting characters. There's also great joy in hearing from readers who have fallen in love with the people, places, and family dynamics of the Royal Scandals series.

This week, however, brought an unexpected joy. I received a call from the Romance Writers of America to notify me that Slow Tango With a Prince is a finalist in the 2015 RITA Awards.  The RITAs are the highest awards given to romance fiction, so this is a huge, huge honor.

The winners will be announced at a black-tie ceremony in NYC on July 25. For a full list of the RITA categories and finalist books, visit the Romance Writers of America website. There are a lot of spectacular books...it might give you ideas for future reads or book club picks.

Thanks so much to all of you who've written to tell me you enjoyed reading the story of Prince Vittorio and television host Emily Andrews. I had a blast writing their Argentinian-set romance, and knowing how much their story meant to you is icing on the cake.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Predictions 2015

It's here! The one night of the year I'm guaranteed to be at home, lounging in front of the tv, wineglass and decadent snacks close at hand. If you're making your last-minute picks for an Oscar pool, pay attention to the so-called little categories...those will make the difference in whether you win or go home empty-handed. If you don't have time to watch the nominated films--or scan copies of The Hollywood Reporter or Variety--then crib my list. I have a good track record of picking the winners and win my pool far more often than not.

Ready? Here are my picks for 2015:

Best Picture 
Nominees:
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Winner:
Birdman

-- This is a year where--finally!--there's a real contest. Boyhood has a been a favorite since it hit theaters nearly eight months ago, but Hollywood loves taking a hard look at itself, and Birdman satisfies that craving.

Best Director
Nominees:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro G. Iñáritto, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Winner:
Richard Linklater

-- Again, a tight race. Iñáritto and Linklater have each been dubbed the favorite by the who's-who of Hollywood, but don't count out Wes Anderson. I'm going with Linklater for keeping a project rolling over a twelve year span and producing a seamless result.

Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Winner:
Michael Keaton, Birdman

-- I absolutely loved Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game. However, Redmayne's incredible physical performance and Keaton's heartfelt portrayal of a comeback kid have been the talk of the awards season. Redmayne has won several recent awards, but I'm going out on a limb and picking Keaton. I have to say, this is my toughest pick of the night. Great performances, every one.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Winner:
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Winner:
Julianne Moore, Still Alice

-- However, I predict Marion Cotillard will wear one of the best gowns of the night.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Winner:
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

-- Again, check this category for one of the Best Dressed winners. I predict Emma Stone will end up being a winner on E!'s Fashion Police post-show rundown, even if she doesn't take home a statue for her wonderful performance.

Original Screenplay
Nominees:
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Winner:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Adapted Screenplay
Nominees:
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Winner:
The Imitation Game

-- Loved the movie, despite the factual errors/fictional license. I think it'll take home the prize. However, I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiplash take home the statue. This is a tight one. If you're cribbing and want to disregard one of my picks, go with Whiplash on this one.

Foreign Language Film
Nominees:
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

Winner:
Ida

-- The political science student in me wants Leviathan, but I'm picking to win.  Ida, a Polish film about the Holocaust, will take home the statue.

Production Design
Nominees:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Winner:  
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup
Nominees:
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Winner:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

-- I think Guardians of the Galaxy is vastly underrated and tell everyone I know to see it if they haven't. Sadly, that won't earn it the Oscar for Best Makeup.  However, if Budapest doesn't win, I hope it's Guardians. The whole movie was fantastic, makeup included.

Animated Feature
Nominees:
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Winner:
The Lego Movie
-- Kidding. Wasn't nominated, but should have been.

The Real Winner:
How To Train Your Dragon 2

Sound Editing
Nominees:
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Winner:
American Sniper

-- Loud. Bullets. Win.

Visual Effects
Nominees:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Winner:
Interstellar

-- For the record, I want Guardians of the Galaxy.

Cinematography
Nominees:
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

Winner:
Birdman

-- Ida could pull off an upset here, but I'm going with Birdman.

Documentary Feature
Nominees:
Citizenfour
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Winner:
Citizenfour

Film Editing
Nominees:
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Winner:
Boyhood

-- Twelve years of film flow into a single storyline. Win.

Short Film, Animated
Nominees:
A Single Life
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton

Winner:
Feast

-- Funny, Disney, dog. Should win.

Short Film, Live Action
Nominees:
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Winner:
The Phone Call

Costume Design
Nominees:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

Winner:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

-- Though I thought Maleficent's costuming was brilliant, the Academy loves a good period piece. Budapest it is.

Sound Mixing
Nominees:
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Winner:
Birdman

-- Tough category, but I'm going to make the call for Birdman. Disagree? Go for American Sniper. People who don't know what Sound Mixing is will make that pick.

Documentary Short Subject
Nominees:
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

Winner:
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

-- I've heard a lot of buzz for Joanna, but I still think it'll be Crisis Hotline. Hollywood loves an emotional,  tense soldier story.

Original Score
Nominees:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

Winner:
The Theory of Everything

Original Song
Nominees:
Begin Again
Beyond the Lights
Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me
The Lego Movie
Selma

Winner:
Selma

-- I've seen recent buzz for Glen Campbell. While I'm all for the Rhinestone Cowboy, this is a lock for Selma. Bank on it.

All right...those are my official picks! Off to find a great wine and a corkscrew.  I'll let the wine chill while I hop on the treadmill (my traditional way to view the red carpet arrivals, because seeing all those gowns gives me the impetus to move), take a quick shower during the wrap-up, then it's Oscar time! Enjoy...and let me know how your picks go.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Royal (Scandals) Order

Today's FAQ:  What is the order of the Royal Scandals books?

A:  As of now, the Royal Scandals series consists of three novels and two Christmas novellas.  In order, they are:

Christmas With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #0.5)
  - Features Holly Elliot and Gabriel Maddox, with an appearance by Prince Stefano Barrali

Scandal With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #1)
  - Features Prince Stefano Barrali and Megan Hallberg

Honeymoon With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #2)
  - Features Prince Massimo Barrali and Kelly Chase

Christmas on the Royal Yacht (Royal Scandals, #2.5)
  - Features Ryan "Rock" Fournier and April Dietrich

Slow Tango With a Prince (Royal Scandals, #3)
 - Features Prince Vittorio Barrali and Emily Sinclair

For the first word on upcoming releases, appearances, and occasional giveaways, please subscribe to my e-newsletter.  The list is private and will never be shared.

There are more Royal Scandals books planned for 2015 and beyond.  Look for the official announcement on Royal Scandals #4 in the coming weeks!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Evolution of a Book Cover

Fact of publishing life: from time to time, book covers get updated. It often happens when a book goes back to print, a new edition is released, or if a movie or television show is made of the book (Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER is a recent example...you can see a bunch of different covers, including the television tie-in edition, by following this link.)

After getting feedback from readers and booksellers, Honeymoon With a Prince, the second book in my Royal Scandals series, is getting a cover refresh.  Honeymoon With a Prince tells the story of Prince Massimo Barrali, a man who's home fresh from the horrors of battle with African drug lords, and Kelly Chase, a woman who's taking her honeymoon solo and re-evaluating her life after discovering her former fiancé wasn't the man she thought she knew.

Here's the original cover:



And the new version:



Opinion time: do you prefer the old cover (lying down), or the new one (standing)? For those of you who've read the book, which do you think better reflects Kelly and Massimo's story? I'd love to hear your thoughts!