Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Charmed The Pants Off Me (But Not The Heroine)

I have quite a bit of book news, in light of conference and requests. Here are my updates...

1. I read Sunset at Keyhole Canyon by Jesse Hayworth (formerly known as Prince I mean Jessica Andersen). This sweet novella is coming out May 7th. Jessica Andersen is known for her medical Harlequins and UF series, but she has recently reinvented herself as an author of "sassy western contemporaries." Me likey! As indicated by the title of this blog post, this is a sweet novella--no hot sweaty sex with a cowboy, although we could always imagine that if we have super good imaginations. *Penny imagines* This novella is an introduction to the full-length novels coming out later in the year, and I think it sets up the series nicely. I don't like too much angst and darkness in my novels, and this one is just perfect. A not-too-heavy conflict, a delicious hero who realizes he let the good girl get away and is now determined to win her back, a lovely western setting, and a heroine who finally gets her happy ending. This is a sweet and charming novella, and I'm really looking forward to digging into the ARC I have for Summer At Mustang Ridge, the full-length novel.

Grade: B+

2. More books on the TBR pile....

* Aire by Lena Goldfinch...love this author's voice! Such lush, beautiful prose...just started it.

* Skies of Steel by Zoe Archer...looks like an amazing steampunk novel! Woo hoo!

* Bonjour, Happiness! by Jamie Cat Callan...this is a non-fiction book about how French women have figured out the secret to happiness. This author looked so cute and adorable at conference that I just had to buy her book. I read this paragraph during book fair and got tears in my eyes...

"There is happiness, and we just need to look. Perhaps happiness is sitting there in our garden and is nestled between the green leaves and the fragrant tomatoes. Then again, perhaps we just need to open a few cupboards and take out some nice spices and melt a bit of butter in a pan on the stove. Then again, perhaps happiness is in the eyes of our loved ones and we only need to look, to put on some music, take their hand, and dance."


Penny and Jamie

* And a few more!...Spotted Overcoat by Denise Janikowski-Krewal (poetry), Geoducks Are For Lovers by Daisy Prescott (there's a hot lumberjack in this book!), Against The Dark by Carolyn Crane, Walking With Sausage Dogs by Matt Whyman. Phew! I'm gonna be busy!

3. I am beta reading a rock star book by Bobbi Ruggiero (also known as Bobbi Baby) and Victoria Morgan's next historical.

4. Finally, I am about to get back to work on my own WIP, SWEET ADVENTURE (Klaus Brothers Series #3) which includes a tabloid reporter, super hunky blond-bearded toy designer Sven Klaus, a trip to the Arctic Circle, and some Yetis.

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Success Is The Best Revenge

Whew! Happy Monday! Conference is over. It was exhausting, fun, inspiring, and filled with yummy cocktails. Before I begin my awards ceremony, I would like to add one extra award...Bestest Hubby Ever. Which goes to my sweet husband of 23 years, Dr. B. When I got home, he had these gorgeous flowers waiting for me, to celebrate my successful workshop. I lub that guy!

And now it's time for Penelope's awards....

Penelope's 2013 NECRWA Conference Awards

Silken Curtain Of Perfection Award....Bobbi Baby

Best Gandy On A Stick Award....Gandy

Bobbi Baby With Gandy

Most Likely To Burst Into Spontaneous Flames...Stephanie Estes Saccoccio

Coolest Newb With Bad-Ass Book Idea...Jennifer Hallock (Go friend her at Facebook!)

Best Friend Covered With 10,000 Melted Lindt Chocolate Truffle Balls Who Never Complained....Sam Wayland

Penny and Sam With Christmas Tree and Melted Chocolate

Nicest Person Award (I think she also won this last year. And I'm going to predict she wins it next year, too)....Lena Goldfinch

Best Real Tattoos...Traci Olsen

Best Fake Tattoos...Penny Watson (#UNICORNSFORTHEWIN)

Best Alcoholic Beverage....Moscow Mule and Pink Cosmo (tie for first place)

Best Conversation About Diabolical Plan To Take Over The World...Marie Force

Most Elegant-Looking Harlequin Author With Adorable Haircut...Barbara Wallace

Best Beard...(excellent scruffiness and salt and pepper coloration...I'm giving it an A-)...CJ Lemire

Best Story About A German Exchange Student And Dirty Dancing Lessons...Victoria Morgan

Moderator Most Likely To Make A Hilarious Freudian Slip During Introductions...Liberty Blake

Best Bump And Grind Partner...Michelle Libby

Funniest Story About A Fried Chicken Smoke Ball And The Fire Department....Frances Stockton

Raunchiest Erotica Author Who Looks Like A Cute Pixie In Vintage-Inspired Outfits....Cara McKenna

Best Abdominal Work-Out....Laughing So Hard My Tummy Still Hurts

Most Touching Speech...Caroline Linden

I will wrap this up with a quick story about my workshop presentation DEAR PENELOPE. I had a moment of panic when I realized that A) the bar opened at 5:45, and B) my talk started at 5:45. Would I have enough time to get my cocktail before my workshop? Would they have enough girly drinks? Would the bartender be a cute guy named Chuck like last year? Well, the bar opened early, and disaster was narrowly avoided.

So, I go into the workshop room and it's filling up with people. I notice there are folks lined up out the door, but I can't really see into the hallway. The next thing I know our conference co-chair tells me she is opening up the partition between my room and the next ballroom to accommodate the extra people. I'm thinking...Well, it will be pretty empty, but at least everyone will have a seat. The wall slides open and the entire next room is packed with attendees--every seat filled, and more folks standing at the back of the room.

My jaw dropped open and my friend Sam laughed.

And I thought...Well hell, I guess I should have planned a real talk. Oops!

Needless to say, the talk was a roaring good time. We discussed social media, beards, Hugh Jackman, Lousy Book Covers, Paris Hilton and negative publicity, and even bigfoot orgy erotica. I'm sure it wasn't that different from Julia Quinn's talk. (*smirk*)

Thanks to everyone who made the weekend a wonderful time!

Victoria Morgan at book fair...She also wins Attendee Most Likely To Hand Out Pens

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

See You Monday!

Off to conference! Hope all of you have a great weekend. I'll be schmoozing with some of the finest romance writers in New England, giving a workshop on social media and promotion, attending some cool classes, signing at book fair, and showing off my unicorn tattoo.

If any of you are in the Burlington, MA area on Saturday, please stop by for the book fair!

Happy Reading and Writing!

Monday, April 22, 2013

In Search Of Sequins

Trying to start off the week in a light-hearted manner. Although my heart still feels heavy and conflicted. But I'm working through it!

First up. I decided to read a kooky erotica to help lighten my mood this weekend...The Sweet Shoppe: Cowboy Up.  The heroine spends most of the book shoving chocolate fudge in her mouth. I was surprised she didn't weigh 392 pounds by the end of the book and need gastric bypass. Or at the very least a visit to the dentist. Every time she ate the fudge she had sex hallucinations.

That's right. I said fudge brought on sex hallucinations.

Well, by the end of the book she was addicted to fudge, the hero started eating the fudge, and eventually their sex hallucinations turned into real sex. I think.

The moral of the story? It's an erotica. There isn't a moral. But there sure was a lot of melted chocolate.


Next up...Conference preparation! I am going to a romance writer's conference at the end of the week. Here is my to-do list:

1. Search for sequins.

2. Put together fun give-away basket.

3. Purchase sparkly unicorn tattoos and test them with my 10-year old daughter.

4. Assemble martini-making kit.

After I wrote this list, I had the feeling something was missing.

Oh yeah!

5. Prep talk for Friday night: Dear Penelope. I'm giving a workshop. Hee hee! The subtitle for this workshop is...What Would Stephen King Do? It should be fabulous and I hope to see some of you there.


Finally, my reading list for the week:

1. Inspirational YA

2. Sweet contemporary cowboy story

3. Bigfoot orgy erotica

I know. I know. One of these things just doesn't belong. I blame Kitty Thomas for this. Somehow I got into a conversation on Twitter with her about nutty books, and the next thing I know she convinced me to read CUM FOR BIGFOOT. I ordered Cum For Bigfoot 2 because the blurb appealed to me, although Kitty is very concerned that I'm not reading them in order and that could affect my appreciation for this fine collection of bigfoot orgy erotica.

I was actually more concerned this poor girl was going to get a horrible case of poison ivy than about her interaction with the "horny, ape-like creatures" in the woods. But we shall see! I will let you all know how it goes.

I wonder if Bigfoot likes chocolate fudge?

*As a footnote, my good friend Bobbi Baby (Baby is not actually her surname, but I use it anyway) absolutely adores Kitty Thomas and her books. In fact, Bobbi often tortures me by relating the entire synopsis for her novels, knowing full well I can't handle anything dark and disturbing. In fact, after reading just the book blurb for Comfort Food, I signed up for a year's worth of psychotherapy appointments.

*unicorns* *rainbows* *unicorns* *rainbows*

However, if you like dark and edgy, I have heard great things about Comfort Food.

All right, folks! It's Monday! Here we go!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston Strong

I have too many conflicting thoughts and emotions right now to adequately address the horror, the shock, the heroism, the catastrophic events of this week in Boston.

I have pride in my city. I am in awe of the courage and heroism of so many people--ordinary citizens, law enforcement officers, doctors, neighbors, runners. Extraordinary events unfolded this week. And I don't think we will ever be the same.

But I will say this. And I believe this with all my heart. There are evil people in this world who cause unspeakable horror. But there are many more people with courage, with integrity, filled with goodness and kindness and love.

And that gives me hope.

I would like to thank all of my friends and colleagues and on-line pals who checked in with me to make sure my family was safe, to let me know that they were thinking of me and praying with all of Boston. It made a world of difference, and reinforced my belief that there is much more goodness in this world than evil.

Boston Strong!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New England Romance Readers! Mark Your Calendar: April 27!

Something exciting is coming up on Saturday April 27! At the Burlington Marriott! In Burlington, Mass! From 3:30-5:30!

What's happening, Penelope?

There is going to be a big bunch of romance authors hanging out, signing books, chatting, and some of them will probably be wearing tiaras or sparkly unicorn tattoos. Or both!

Penny's tiara

Who will be there, Penelope?

Well, thanks for asking! Look at this amazing crew of writers...

Julia Quinn Caroline Linden Hannah Howell
 Loretta Chase  Marie Force
   Tiffany Reisz   Sarah MacLean  
Cara McKenna Donna Alward Cathryn Parry 
Barbara Wallace Terri Brisbin Ella Drake
Ashlyn Chase Marissa Doyle 
Lesley Matthews Karen Stivali
Anna DeStefano Corrina Lawson 
Laura Moore Lena Goldfinch
Frances Stockton Judy Phillips 
Victoria Morgan Megan Frampton 
Liberty Blake Stephanie Queen 
Christina James Samantha Wayland
Jordan Rose Sammie Grace
Megan Caldwell Miranda Neville
Lisa Carlisle Jamie Cat Callan
 Kate Locke Amy Atwell
Kady Cross Wendy Marcus Rosza Gaston
Pepper Goodrich Lisa Verge Higgins
Cara Elliott Kate Cross Colleen Connally
KJ Montgomery Teresa Noelle Roberts
and finally
Penny Watson!

This is a once-in-lifetime opportunity for New England romance readers. Buy books, get autographs, take pics with your favorite authors. It should be a roaring good time!

I will post a reminder next Friday, but I just wanted to let everyone know this week so you all could make plans, get out your sequins, and hopefully make your way to Burlington next weekend.

Hope to see many of you at the Burlington Marriott 
April 27, 3:30-5:30!! (Hm. Is that happy hour?)

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."  Willy Wonka

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Music Of Mankind

"Today, rescuers were running toward the wounded on Boylston Street in acts of true heroism -- running toward the sound of the screams. In the end, the terrorists will fail because Bostonians did not turn from their fellow men -- they turned toward them. And that is the real music of mankind."

 Howard Fineman

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Patriots Day!

Happy Patriots Day! Here in Massachusetts we are celebrating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.

It's also Boston Marathon Day. Good luck to all of the runners!

I have now officially entered the week known as SPRING BREAK. On the list for this week...

1. Spring cleaning.
2. Buying my daughter new clothes since she no longer fits into any of her stuff.
3. Reading Jesse Hayworth's novella Sunset at Keyhole Canyon (ARC)...coming out in May!

Jess Andersen, author of Harlequin medical stories and the UF series The Nightkeepers, is starting a cool new endeavor. She is publishing "fun, sassy contemporaries" as Jesse Hayworth. Why do I like this?

1. Jess is one of the nicest, most down-to-earth authors I have ever met.
2. I love the idea of an author branching out and trying new things. Not being afraid of risk.
3. We desperately need some positive stories in romance. I've personally had enough of the "a-hole hero" and that whole trend. Cripes.

Jesse Hayworth has her novella Sunset at Keyhole Canyon coming out in May.

Summer at Mustang Ridge is coming out in June.

And finally, Winter at Mustang Ridge will be out in December.

I can't wait to read these. Giddy up, cowboy! (I wonder if any of the cowboys have a beard? I'd even be happy with some scruff).

And finally, as my friend Sam Wayland put it, Twitter broke me.

Yes, it broke me like a wild stallion.

Too many negative, horrible news stories and links. Folks being mean and judgmental. I need something perky, dammit! Perky and happy and positive...and rainbows and unicorns...

Do you like my unicorn?

So, I started a new Twitter account. Please follow if you are so inclined! It's called @PerkyHappyStuff, and I will post only happy news. Cute puppy pics. Uplifting stories. Vintage Britney Youtube videos. If you have any happy news, send it my way.

In related news, I got my sparkly unicorn temporary tattoos from Amazon. I have to hide them from my 10 year old daughter.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Beard of the Day

Beard of the Day.

Ginger of the Day.

Hairy Beast of the Day.

Manliest Manly Ginger Beast of the Day Holding An Axe, With A Six-Pack and Bad-Ass Sunglasses.

Everyone say hello to Lucas Parker!


Lucas Parker is a 5'7" 185-pound Canadian CrossFit athlete who evidently has the nickname Teen Wolf.

If I got to nickname him, it would be Hairy Beast. Ginger Beast. Beard Master of Disaster.

I am also picturing him in a Scottish plaid on the cover of a romance novel.


Happy Beardy Friday!

P.S. Lucas has a Twitter account! *Penny presses follow faster than the speed of sound*

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Penelope Percusses A Multitude of Pet Peeves With Some Perky Picks

The truth is...I had a whole blog post written about my pet peeves. Which are plentiful. Piercing. And problematic.


I decided to push aside the profound protests, and focus on something positive and purifying. (I think I've run out of opportunities to use "p" words, although I really, really wanted to get the word "pusslike" in this post. I'll try later.)

So, without further ado (you're thinking THANK GOD!), here are some perky picks from Penelope...

1. Cupcakes

2. Robins (they're back! yay!)

3. If He's Tempted by Hannah Howell
(I really enjoyed the latest Wherlocke book by HH)

4. Tim McGraw

5. This hilarious Tumblr site: Reasons My Son Is Crying.

I hope everyone has a good day and avoids pusslike protrusions. I did it!

Pleasantly percolating,

Friday, April 5, 2013

Beard of the Day

I think Shemar Moore is absolutely adorable! He is so rocking the scruff, the goatee, the FBI vest. Yowzah!

Here are some interesting things about Shemar....

1. He is multi-cultural! Yay!
2. He was a regular on The Young and the Restless.
3. He lived in Denmark.
4. He was the host of Soul Train from 1999-2003.
5. He is adorable.

And for the ladies, here is a pic with scruff and buff!

Happy Beardy Friday!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Two Great Heroes: A Hipster and A Cowboy

One wears boots.

One wears flip flops.

One wears a duster.

One wears skinny jeans.

One drinks whiskey.

One drinks a latte from Starbucks.

Yes, there is quite a difference between a good old cowboy and a hipster, but both captured my attention this week. In a good way.


Lady X's Cowboy by Zoë Archer.

One of my all-time favorite books is Warrior by Zoë Archer. It is a fabulous mix of adventure, fantasy, and romance. Larger than life story. Larger than life characters. Lady X's Cowboy is an historical romance, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, Archer has put together a nice little story--with an interesting British widow heroine--caught between her life as a noble-by-marriage, and her position as the owner of a brewery. A lot of romance authors create weak heroines, but Archer isn't one of them. Her heroines are strong-willed, capable, and sensual at the same time.

Lady Olivia has a dilemma--a villain attempting to put her brewery out of business--and a delicious American cowboy shows up just in the nick of time to help save it. Will is scrumptious! Brazen, swaggering like a good cowboy should, a real gentleman, protective, and smarter than he lets on. He and Lady Olivia have some smoky hot chemistry, and a sweet romance develops between them.

This is quite different from Warrior. It's a more traditional historical romance. But I loved the fascinating bits about the brewery, I loved the determined heroine, and Will was the perfect American cowboy hero.

Julie Garwood has a book with a heroine raised by Native Americans and a British nobleman. It's one of her most underrated books, IMO. I love it--The Lion's Lady. There is something very appealing about mixing that rugged, rough and tumble American pioneer sensibility with the starchy upper crust British nobility. It provides great contrast and chemistry in the story. Garwood made it shine, and so does Archer. I would highly recommend Lady X's Cowboy to anyone looking for an American/British historical with some fascinating background about the brewing industry and a sexy H/h combination.

Grade: A


Next...an unpublished story (hopefully published soon)...The Lonely Hipster by Ellis Drake.

What do you get when you mix one lonely hipster, a sweet barista, a creepy police chief, a well-intentioned mother, a bunch of shady characters, a mystery-that-must-be-solved, and an awesome sense of humor? The Lonely Hipster. I sure hope this gets published soon. It made me laugh out loud at least five times. Here's one of my favorite lines...

"Hands in the air. You're under arrest, you perverted hipster!"

I'm in love. With this story.

Grade: A


Other books I bought this week....

The Fornarina Affair by Ellis Drake

Aire by Lena Goldfinch

Cool Shade by Theresa Weir

Tag Man: A Joe Gunther Novel by Archer Mayor

If He's Tempted by Hannah Howell

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

I have horror, mystery, romance, and YA. What a great mix!

Hope everyone is having a good week,