Friday, December 28, 2012

Batteries Recharging

Hello my little pumpkin seeds!

Sorry about the radio silence for the past couple of weeks. After the adrenaline-fueled insanity of the last minute pre-release chaos, I decided to "take" the holiday. I've been chilling out on the sofa, watching all sorts of movies and eating too many sweets. But after my nice little time out, I'm revved up and ready to go, so I will be guest blogging once again. Hope you get a chance to stop by a few of the blogs while I'm on tour!

I hope you've all enjoyed your holidays and that there are wonderful things in store for you in 2013. Happy New Year, everyone!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Psst. Maya is Live!

Hello my little bumblebees!

Well, I definitely got it wrong with that whole "four days to go" thing. Unmasking Maya coasted right through the Amazon uploading process and went live yesterday! The official publication date on the site says December 11th, but I like the idea that it got published on the day that it actually got published: 12/12/12. Pretty cool, huh?

I'm still sticking to December 15th as my official launch day because I've got loads of things planned for that day. But I thought I'd give you the heads up.

If you would like to check it out, here are a couple of links:
Maya on Amazon US
Maya on Amazon UK

I'm super excited and yet strangely relaxed. Suddenly sleepy earlier today, I thought I'd lie down for a few minutes and I ended up taking a 3 hour nap! It was kind of awesome.

Until later.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Four Days 'til the World Meets Maya

Hello my little sugarplums!

Well it's nearly time to unleash Unmasking Maya on the world. It's almost surreal. I've been doing pre-release promo stuff for such a long time. Hard to believe release day is just around the corner. Naturally I'm facing some complications at the 11th hour. The cover thing has been a bit nerve-wracking, but hopefully I've got it all sorted out now.

Maya's been getting some fab reviews. If you're curious what the early buzz is like, you can click on one of my links just to the right on this page. Or check out my Goodreads page. Just saw a new 5-star review went up in the last few hours. Woo hoo!

Not a whole lot more to report. I'll be keeping busy in the next few days, hopping around to a few different blogs (click here to see my list of stops) and then Saturday is going to be a whopper! Two guest spots, eight reviews plus drinks with the gals that night. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly with the Amazon upload and that my cover withstands the compression. Seriously. Fingers crossed.

I hope you'll pop by one (or more) of the guest blogs I'll be on over the next month or so. And I really hope you like Unmasking Maya!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

8 Whimsical Authors Answering 8 Wacky Questions

Hello my darlings!

As part of the Seasons Readings promo I'm involved in, I'm going to be answering 8 fabulous questions posed by the hilarious Jackie Bouchard. Seriously - every time I think of the Santa question, I can't help but giggle. And away we go...

What is your weirdest holiday memory?

Years ago when I was in college, my sister and I shared an apartment for a year - she was taking a gap year after high school. We had a blast and spent a lot of good quality albeit debaucherous time together (as you do in your late teens/early 20s). Anyway, we went back home for the holidays and when we were unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, we were shocked to discover we had purchased exactly the same book for one another - the one below. Not only that but we each purchased the exact same dancing hula girl for the other's stocking. It was freaky. We reckoned we were growing the same brain.

What's the most disappointing gift you've ever received?

Well, I feel kinda bad mentioning it (and in retrospect, it was wise of my mom and dad, but...) when I was little, my grandparents allowed our parents to choose what they wanted in regards to gifts for the grandkids. My folks chose the option of checks so my siblings and I could start or add to our savings accounts, but my aunt and uncle opted for presents. It was so frustrating to watch my cousins unwrap gift after gift after gift while we sat there with our sad little envelopes.

Favorite holiday beverage?

Hot cider for sure. And if there's a little kick in it? Even better!

What would you add to a snowman to personalize it?

Ooh, I would definitely want to glam out the snowman. Rhinestone tiara, feather boa, cat glasses (studded with rhinestones, natch) and lots of gaudy jewelry.

What are three things you can't survive the holidays without?

1. My phone - because I never am with my whole family
2. Patience - to deal with the insane crowds in every store everywhere
3. Plenty of schmaltzy movies to get me into the spirit of things

Santa - sexy or let's just be friends?

Sorry Santa, but you're going to have to stay in the friend zone. The jolly thing just doesn't do it for me, I'm afraid.

Favorite holiday movie?

I'm with Francine on this one. I've watched It's a Wonderful Life a zillion times and I'd gladly watch it a zillion more. And I was totally in love with George Bailey too.

It's midnight New Years Eve - you can kiss any celebrity, living or dead. Who's it going to be? 

Okay, hate to be a total copycat, but it would have to be George Bailey. Um... I mean James Stewart. Could it be James Stewart as George Bailey? :-)

Happy holidays everyone!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Season's Readings

In the spirit of coming together for the holidays, eight popular Chick Lit authors are "partying it up" with a shared promotion for book lovers! That means eight fun and fizzy e-books, each priced at $3.99 or less, that are packed with plenty of laughs and romance to keep you entertained on those long winter nights! And if you'd like to gift one of these books to a Chick Lit fan, we've got you covered with your choice of paperbacks!

Which books are featured in this festive promo?

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey - Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the "one who got away." But are some loves best left behind? E-book and paperback available on Amazon

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister - Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day's work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself? E-book available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon.

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard - Discovering what her dog ate turns Maggie Baxter’s world upside down. With her chocolate Lab, Kona, as her guide, can Maggie forego her overly analytical ways to find a new life filled with tail-wagging joy? E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble 

The Girl, the Gold Tooth, & Everything by Francine LaSala - Suburban housewife Mina, beaten-down and struggling with amnesia, starts getting her memory and her mojo back. But she soon learns everything has a price in this fast-paced, richly layered, and darkly humorous satire! E-book and paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie - When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancĂ© who can't wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together--or will she break under the pressure? E-book available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon. 

Fashioning a Romance by Libby MercerDevastatingly handsome and deliciously weird, John Harrington is the man of Caitlyn Taylor's dreams… and her nightmares. She has no use for a womanizer like him, and dodges his advances like a pro. But when they end up in Paris together, Caitlyn feels her resolve begin to slip. How will she ever be able to resist the irresistible in the most romantic city in the world? E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.  

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr - Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble 

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone - Lauren Tate's perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who's stolen her heart goes missing. E-book available on Amazon; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

And these are the fabulous bloggers who will be chatting about our promotion: 

December 1
Novel Escapes

December 3

December 4

December 5

December 6

December 7

December 8

December 10

December 11

December 12

December 13

December 14

December 17

December 18

December 19
The Romance Bookie
TIfferz Book Review

December 20

December 27


And wait! There's more! 

Hehehe. Do I sound like an infomercial announcer or what?

Between December 3rd and December 12th, the eight of us will be answering some fun and festive questions about the holidays. Here's the schedule for that:

Monday, Dec. 3 - Samantha Stroh Bailey
Tuesday, Dec. 4 - Francine LaSala
Wednesday, Dec. 5 - Libby Mercer (me)
Thursday, Dec. 6 - Jackie Bouchard
Friday, Dec. 7 - Tracie Banister
Monday, Dec. 10 - Cat Lavoie
Tuesday, Dec. 11 - Lucie Simone
Wednesday, Dec. 12 - Meredith Schorr

Thursday, November 29, 2012

On the Eve of the Blow Out Book Tour Bonanza...

Hi everyone!

I am so excited about going "on tour" for my new book! I can't get that John Denver song, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" out of my head. A bit silly, really, since I most likely won't be even leaving my apartment much in the next five weeks. But what can ya do? Here is my list of stops:

I'll link the list below as each of my interviews/guest posts go live:

Thursday, Nov. 29 – Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf – guest post
Friday, Nov. 30 – Carmen Falcone – guest post
Monday, Dec. 3 – The Romance Bookie – guest post
Wednesday, Dec. 5 – The Daily Quirk – interview
Thursday, Dec. 6 – Lost in Literature – guest post
Friday, Dec. 7 – I Heart Books – interview
Wednesday, Dec. 12 – Julie’s Chick Lit – guest post
Thursday, Dec. 13 – Debra’s Book CafĂ© – interview
Friday, Dec. 14 - Annie Seaton Romance - guest post
Friday, Dec. 14 – Tifferz Book Review – guest post
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Chick Lit Goddess – guest post & interview
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Chick Lit Bee – guest post & giveaway
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Minding Spot – giveaway
Sunday, Dec. 16 – Book Briefs – guest post & giveaway
Sunday, Dec. 16 – Nicky Wells, CentreStage – guest post
Sunday, Dec. 16 – The Book Bag – guest post
Tuesday, Dec. 18 – Best Chick Lit – guest post
Wednesday, Dec. 19 – Books Etc. – guest post
Wednesday, Dec. 19 – Lilac Wolf – guest post
Thursday, Dec. 20 – That Artsy Reader Girl – guest post
Thursday, Dec. 20 – Chick Lit Plus – guest post
Sunday, Dec. 23 - Lindy Dale - interview
Friday, Dec. 28 - Books by Banister - guest post
Tuesday, Jan. 1 - Novel Girl - guest post
Thursday, Jan. 3 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – guest post
Thursday, Jan. 3 - Lori's Book Blog - guest post
Friday, Jan. 4 – JeanzBookReadNReview – author spotlight
Monday, Jan. 7 - Tina's Book Reviews - guest post
Monday, Jan. 7 – Maria’s Book Blog – guest post
Wednesday, Jan. 9 – The Book Tart – guest post
Thursday, Jan. 10 - Mrs. Mommy Booknerd - showcase
Thursday, Jan. 10 - ST Bende - guest post
Friday, Jan. 11 - Change the Word - guest post

Hope to see you while I'm on tour!!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop

Greetings and salutations, my dears.

If you're not fighting the crowds on this busiest of all busy shopping days, you're in for a treat! By partaking in this one-day Black Friday Blog Hop, you can enter to win scads of super sensational prizes. I'll get to those in a minute. In the spirit of consumerism, I thought I'd blog about one of my very favorite shopping-related movies. Sticky Fingers, released in 1988, is an adorable little gem of a film that not too many people know about.

Lolly and Hattie are two struggling musicians who share an apartment in gritty Lower Manhattan. When a friend asks her to look after her tote bag, Hattie agrees, and only later do she and Lolly realize the bag contains nearly a million dollars in cash. Spooked, they decide to put the bag away and try not to think about it. But first… their landlady takes steps to evict them from their apartment because they haven’t been paying rent. And then… they have a break-in one night and their instruments are stolen. You can probably see where this is going. They need to pay their rent. They need to replace their instruments. Their definition of what a “necessity” is shifts as they find they need things like electronic equipment, haute couture and caviar. Sticky Fingers is not exactly a critical masterpiece, but for a fun, chick flick-ish, screwball comedy, it fits the bill perfectly.

To expand upon the shopping theme, I thought I’d post a short excerpt from my novel, Fashioning a Romance. Caitlyn, the heroine, is trying to find a dress to wear for a night out with John – the guy she’s determined not to fall for. Here’s the excerpt:

“The Dress was designed for the hour-glassy figure; the bodice was structured, the waist nipped in, and the skirt molded itself beautifully to Caitlyn’s hips. The mossy green fabric was sand-brushed silk: a fabulous silk with a suede-like texture, and it was cut on the bias, allowing for plenty of movement.

The neckline was the only thing that gave her a moment’s pause. Not exactly the kind of dress she’d wear to hang out with her grandma, it was pretty low-cut and offered a fairly impressive display of cleavage. Normally Caitlyn didn’t mind showing off her assets, but she was worried about the message she’d be sending John by wearing this particular dress. And she, no doubt, would be sending a message – Caitlyn’s “Fashion as Communication” senior dissertation had been a labor of love, the highlights of which were melded into her mind.

Hm. By wearing The Dress, would she be conveying to John that she was interested? But what was the alternative? Show up in some shapeless number like she’d just stepped off the bus from Frumpsville?

Oh, who cared about the message to John? Caitlyn was too in love with The Dress to possibly resist buying it. Anyway, she could always wear her cardigan too. Course that would kind of spoil the effect; it would be like eating caviar with a plastic spoon.”

You can find Fashioning a Romance at Amazon or B&N.

And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for: 

To win an e-copy of Fashioning a Romance: please share with us your favorite shopping-related movie. If you can't think of a whole movie that qualifies, feel free to mention a funny or memorable shopping scene. And post your comment below.

To win one of the Black Friday Blog Hop Grand Prizes: you simply need to comment on one of the blogs involved in the hop, so if you post on my shopping/movie question, you will have entered to win one of the grand prizes, but keep on hopping to different blogs - the more blogs you comment on, the more times you'll be entered.

A couple of important things to note: all prizes can be shipped internationally except the swag prize, which will be awarded only to US residents. Sorry, overseas folks. Also, please leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.

Here's a list of these incredible prizes:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, e-books, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies and more!

Best of luck everyone!!!


Now, hop to it! This is a one-day-only event, and there are many more prizes to be won.

Monday, November 19, 2012

More Fabulous Mentions!

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to share the latest buzz about my books. First, there's a lovely little blurb about Unmasking Maya on I'd So Rather Be Reading's Weekly Wrap-up. Check it out here. It's the very first mention of my as-yet-unreleased second novel, so I'm very excited!!

And second, there's a hella fabulous review of Fashioning a Romance on Romancing the Book, which you will find here. So super happy and thankful that people are enjoying my books! Squee!!

Holy smokes! Edited to add two more wonderful reviews of Unmasking Maya I've only just discovered. The first one was written by the lovely Rosie of Rosie Review which you can find here. And the other one was written by Brianna, the wonderful Goodreads blogger. Check it out here.

So exciting!!!!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Back by Popular Demand: The Girly Book Blog Hop

Hello, hello!

I had such a fabulous time organizing the first Girly Book Blog Hop, and I'm very excited about this second one. Hope you all will be able to join me again. And now for the info:

Oh, the places you'll go! 

Losing yourself in a brand new story is like traveling to a brand new world. Whether you're transported to a pulsating metropolis, an exotic island, a quaint little mountain village or even a township that existed three hundred years ago, you can visit an unlimited number of locations through your beloved books. No passport required.

Let's blog about locations. Tell us about the setting of your latest book or rave about the incredible backdrop of another novel you love. No need to limit yourself to the city/town either. If your book takes place on a film set, let that be your location. If it takes place in a brothel... well, you'll have an awesome blog post then. If it takes place in several locations, you can either pick one or take your readers on a journey within your post. Anything goes.

Everyone is welcome to participate - authors (both published and not-yet-published) and reviewers too. Anyone who loves books, has a blog and has something to say about locations, I'd love to have you!

If you'd like to participate, please be prepared to offer a prize to one lucky guest hopper. Aside from that, you can do whatever you want regarding the giveaway (have your guests answer a particular question, follow your blog or what have you).

To get started, please sign up on the linky list below. Any questions? Please post them here. I'll be sending out more detailed instructions once the sign up link is closed.

Hope to see you at the hop!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Next Big Thing

Hello all! The fantabulous Cari Kamm asked me to share all the details about my next big thing in this exciting pay-it-forward author event, and of course I jumped at the chance to dish about my upcoming release, Unmasking Maya, scheduled to release on December 15th.

I'm so stoked to read Cari's upcoming release, For Internal Use Only. And I absolutely love her cover! Check it out:

My cover isn't ready yet, but I'm ready to reveal a few tidbits about Unmasking Maya here. And away we go!

Where did the idea come from for the book?
From the misconception that Silicon Valley would be a great place to meet men! There’s a funny little phrase people say in the San Francisco Bay Area about the uneven ratio between men and women in Silicon Valley. “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” It’s a generalization, of course, but a lot of these tech guys are odd in the sense that they’re super left-brained and insanely intelligent. Thus it can be hard for them to relate to more “normal” people. I thought this kind of guy would make an um… interesting love interest. And that’s what sparked the story.
What genre does your book fall under?
Chick Lit/Romance
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I think Michelle Williams would be perfect to play the part of Maya Kirkwood. She’s even got a similar hairdo!

Oh, Jesse Metcalfe could so totally pull off the role of Derek Whitley. Course we’d have to nerd him up a bit first.

It would be fabulous to see Zhang Ziyi (of Crouching Tiger and Memoirs of a Geisha fame) take on the role as quirky IT girl, Lin.

And sassy Sofia Vergara would be superb as Maya’s stylish agent.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Fallen fashionista meets cold, unfeeling tech whiz in this quirky, fish-out-of-water love story that incorporates humor alongside emotional trauma with lots of secrets to be revealed.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m self-publishing this one. Wish me luck!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Actually I wrote this one in about three months, which is a record for me. I blazed through the story, working on it at least eight hours a day. Well… probably more like twelve hours. I should point out that it’s only about 50,000 words long – the size of a category romance.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Parts of it are similar to Swept Off Her Stilettos by Fiona Harper, I think, because it’s a romantic story told in the first person. But it’s definitely more chick-litty than it is straight-up romance. I’ve had people compare my previous work to Sophie Kinsella’s and while mine aren’t nearly as humorous, I can kind of see the similarity.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for about a year now (about six months from when I started writing this book) and I wanted to write a story set in the Bay Area that was very ingrained in the setting. It really is a fabulous place to live.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Hm. I think the fact that Maya and Derek both have some pretty major secrets might spark a bit of curiosity…

And now I would like to present the amazing author, Aretha C. Smith!

Aretha will be following up her beautiful romance novel, Hearts of Time, with The Enchanted Fate Series - four interracial romances, scheduled to release early in 2013 under the name of Ava Jared. Check out the cover for Hearts of Time. Isn't it to die for?

Be on a lookout for  book one, Karma's Kiss, which is scheduled for release in January, and book two, His for Keeps, which will be hitting the virtual shelves in late January. And in the meantime, check out the fabulous covers:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Unmasking Maya - The Blurb

Hiya folks!

I thought it was high time that I unveiled the blurb for my December release, Unmasking Maya. So excited about this one. Only 40 days to go! And now for the blurb:

Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced...
Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She's offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?
Not so much.
She can't stand Derek Whitley - wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.
As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bouncing Around the Blogosphere

Hello, my darlings!

I've been very busy lately, coordinating a blog tour to coincide with the release of Unmasking Maya, out on December 15th. While the tour hasn't officially kicked off yet, I have been flitting about on the net a bit this week.

First, I found a fabulously fascinating review of Fashioning (I do love alliteration) on my most favorite thought-provoking blog, The Misfortune of Knowing. I did not know there would be a review on here, and it was such a wonderful surprise. You can read the review here: A Light Read for a Gloomy Day.

Also, the lovely lady behind Every Free Chance Book Reviews invited me on her blog today for a Spotlight event. My guest post is about the role of fashion in my fiction. In addition to the post, we're holding a giveaway (winner gets a copy of Fashioning a Romance) and I'm also sharing the blurb for Unmasking Maya with the world for the very first time! You'll find all of this fabulousness here: Giveaway!! Spotlight: Fashioning a Romance.

Hope you are all well. And safe - thinking about those of you on the East Coast.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Author Interview: Francine LaSala

Hello, hello! I have the lovely Francine LaSala on the blog today, chatting about her newly released second novel, The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything. Her debut, Rita Hayworth's Shoes was a work of such supreme fabulousness, I know everyone's going to be dying to get the scoop on Francine's latest offering. Check out this summary:

Mina Clark does not have her feet on the ground. At 42, she’s feeling pretty out of place in her life and somewhat frustrated in her upscale community, but there’s more going on than typical suburban angst. Mina’s struggling with amnesia, a condition sparked by an event most everyone believes is best she forget. Because of her condition, Mina tends to get steamrolled by life--mountains of debt, nasty creditors, her daughter in the throes of the “terrible threes,” her busy-body homeowner’s association, the “judgey” other mothers in her development and the pre-school. On top of that, her husband travels for work constantly and she’s worried he’s having an affair. But when a trip to an unusual dental practice leaves her (unwittingly) with a gold dental crown, everything changes. She makes an empowering new friend and re-connects with a significant figure from her past. As she takes back the reins of her life and things start to look up, her memories also start  to return. But because of her condition, remembering things too quickly could mean she’ll lose her mind completely.

LM: Welcome, Francine! Thanks so much for being here today. Now, it sounds to me like The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything is a bit of a psychological drama. Am I right about this?

FL: Thank you! That’s exactly what I might say it is! When I started writing this book, I didn’t think that’s what it was going to be. I figured it would be another screwball comedy like Rita Hayworth’s Shoes, except this time instead of a pair of shoes changing my protagonist’s life, it would be a gold dental crown! But these books of ours, sometimes they just become what they want to be. (Like children.) It’s funny because one of the problems my more traditional publishing friends have with me is that I can’t always classify my books into a category and stay there. I don’t pick a genre and write exclusively in it. I just can’t! I think we all have lots of facets to our personalities, light and dark. So Rita Hayworth’s Shoes was a light and breezy quirky romance and The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything is more dramatic and dark, although it’s still somewhat kooky. But now I have something specific to tell those trad publishing friends who want to know a category for Girl. Thank you, Libby!

LM: You are so welcome. So awesome - I love it when I get things right! Researching memory disorders must have been as seriously gruelling task, huh? How did you go about it?

FL: Somewhat but I have to say even more gruelling than actually researching memory disorders was trying to make the puzzle come together and really work in the story. It’s like in that movie Memento. When your protagonist has no idea about where she came from and who she is, and why she can’t remember anything, you have to be really freaking careful about everything she says and does--and everything people say to her and do around her. And when you add to that that her condition has her on the brink of totally losing it for good (something I never read about amnesia, by the way, something I really just made up)... Well, I do not recommend writing a character like this!

LM: Duly noted. Sounds like a major undertaking. Could you tell me what the significance of the dragonfly on the cover is?

FL: I’d rather not give it away right now if that’s okay? It’s one of the mysteries that unfolds as the story moves forward.

LM: Aw, man! No, that's okay. I'll find out soon enough. Now, I love the magical realism aspect in Rita Hayworth's Shoes. Does The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything have a similar magical realism sort of feel? If so, is this your signature?

FL: In a way, yes. In writing, I really do enjoy skating on the edge of what’s “realistic.” I’m a big fan of Alice in Wonderland and my most favorite books and films are ones that are based in reality, but then kind of step “through the looking glass.” For example, two of my favorite Woody Allen films--one old, one new. The Purple Rose of Cairo is about a woman struggling through life and a bad marriage during the Great Depression, who escapes to the movies, and the leading man from the movie she’s seen thirty times escapes from the film to be with her. Just so imaginative and magical and romantic. And in Midnight in Paris, a hack writer in a toxic relationship somehow travels back in time, rubbing elbows with the creative minds whose works have made up his writer’s soul. He literally re-discovers his soul walking through Paris at midnight, and in a more whimsical sense, through traveling back in time. That’s the kind of thing that drives me, and I suppose, yes, that’s where I want to be in my writing, regardless of the category.

LM: That's so cool. How long ago did you start writing?

FL: I have been writing most of my life. When I was kid, it was never on paper, but always with big, grand imaginative stories I’d tell others. (Lies, but whatever.) In high school, I wrote a short story about a loser comb-over donning middle-aged guy who I named after a boy who had just broken my heart. I kept his first name but changed his last name to Antrat--“ant” and “rat.” I think I probably killed him off in some terrible way but somehow the way I handled the telling of the story made my English teacher ask me if I had ever considered a career in writing (and not send me straight to the school psychologist). In any case, Mr. Albert, if you’re still with us and you’re reading this: THANKS!

LM: Hehehe. What made you decide to cross over into the fiction world? I mean with the writing. I know you've been editing fab fiction for years. 

FL: I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but as I was an English major in college and an avid reader, always immersed in works that both inspired and intimidated me, it was difficult for me to make that leap. How could I ever compete!? It wasn’t until I helped a former writing partner develop a novelization for a film about ten or more years ago that I started to think that maybe I could do this fiction thing. It took years of starts and stops. I started writing Rita Hayworth’s Shoes eight years before I finished and published it. For eight years, it was two chapters and an idea of what kind of story it might be. What I do know is that when I’m writing fiction, that’s the time that I feel most ME, and really in tune with the universe. I also now realize that what I produce has nothing to do with what others produce--there is no competition because I’m tapping into the essence of me, and no one will ever be able to do that better than me.  

LM: Nice. I love that. Do you have any wild or wacky writing quirks?

FL: I used to have more, but I have so little time for writing my own stuff with all the other writing I do for a living, I have to just do it when I can. I guess kind of a strange quirk I have is that I don’t like to stop writing if I can’t conjure the exact words to use to express my thoughts as I’m writing them, or if I’m not exactly sure why my characters are doing things. I just barrel through with placeholder language. So sentences in early drafts of my books look something like this:

“John went to the WHAT and got SOMETHING HERE because he was hungry and that’s what people do when they’re hungry. SOMETHING MORE ABOUT WHATEVER FOOD? MAYBE A CHILDHOOD MEMORY?? PROUST? NAH, SCREW PROUST! He paid with a crinkled five dollar bill and left, ready to WHAT THE HELL IS THIS GUY DOING NOW?, just as he had every day for the past six OR FOUR? years.”

Crazy, right? Yeah, I know. But somehow it works for me. (You should have seen the first draft of this interview!)

LM: Good for you! I tend to labor over things until I'm relatively satisfied - except when it comes to material I'm unfamiliar with. Like in my upcoming release, which takes place in the world of Silicon Valley. The almost-finished draft had stuff like "says something computery" "does something computery" and "insert tech language here". But I digress. Tell me, who are some of your favorite authors?

FL: Most of all, I love authors who make me laugh with quirky spins on real situations.  Christopher Moore is at the top of my list right now. I’m also a big Carl Hiaasen fan. Aside from that, Mary Doria Russell has caught my attention lately. For one, she’s a gorgeous writer! But I also enjoy how she skips from genre to genre without batting an eye or losing anything in her stories for doing so. I just finished Dreamers of the Day and I’m going to start re-reading The Sparrow shortly. Such a talented person!

LM: Excellent. What's your all-time favorite opening line?

FL: It’s never changed in the twenty years since I first read Gone With The Wind: “Scarlet O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” If ever an opening line could set up a character and a series of events better... I mean, Margaret Mitchell totally nailed it!

LM: Margaret Mitchell. What a talent... What's your ultimate professional dream? Bestselling author status? Hollywood film adaptation? Total world domination? All of the above?

FL: I have always wanted to win an Oscar for screenwriting (because I’m a sucker for Oscar gowns). I’ve even written four screenplays--but it’s so hard to get anyone to read them! So my hope is that my books take off and get optioned for film, and that I at least get to help in writing the scripts! (Though, if I’m to be honest, I am just happy if people read my books and enjoy them. When someone reads my books and emails me  or posts a review or calls me out in a tweet, I’m on top of the world.)

LM: Fingers crossed for you. What's your next project? Can you give us a little teaser of what's to come?

FL: I’m kind of a mad multi-tasker who always has too many irons in the fire, so there are at least four things I’m working on now: A multi-generational story about romantic dysfunction with sometimes tragic ramifications; a series about bacchanalian party girls living in modern times; a fairy-tale satire I’m developing with my husband; and also an erotic novel, just to see if I can do it. :-) I have no idea which one will cross the finish line first. Stay tuned!

LM: Love that "which one will cross the finish line first". Okay, now it's time for a little something I call "pick one." Plotter or Pantser?

FL: I do have the most fun writing off the top of my head and letting the chips drop where they fall, but without a solid framework, no story holds together. So I’m going to have to say somewhere in the middle.

LM: Character first or Plot first?

FL: Character, 100 percent. My characters start to develop before anything else. I pretty much build the story around them and what they tell me they’re going to do.

LM: Mac or PC?

FL: Was always a PC till about a year ago. Not sure I’m fully Mac yet, but I definitely see its advantages.

LM: Edit as you go or Power through and edit later?

FL: Power through, baby!

LM: Morning person or Night owl?

FL: Morning person but also chronic insomniac. It’s amazing how much writing I do between the hours of two and five in the morning. Though I can’t consider myself a night owl because I’m usually passed out cold by about ten o’clock at night.

LM: Coffee or Tea?

FL: If I was on a desert island and could only have one for the rest of my life, coffee for sure, strong and black, though I do sometimes enjoy a good cup of herbal tea.

LM: Coke or Pepsi?

FL: Really not a fan of soda unless I have a hangover. In which case, I guess Coke.

LM: Sandals or Stilettos?

FL: Both, though since I haven’t fully lost all my baby weight (yeah so what that it’s been four years) I haven’t quite found my center of gravity and I’m still not quite able to balance on stilettos yet.

LM: Diamonds or Pearls?

FL: Diamonds, without hesitation. I’m a big fan of “sparkle.”

LM: Snow-capped mountain or Sandy beach?

FL: BEACH! (Oh man, do I ever hate snow.)

LM: Cowboys or CEOs?

FL: Neither. I don’t particularly like dusty men and at the risk of sounding political, I’m not a big fan of “winner takes all."

LM: Ginger or Mary Ann?

FL: I think I go back and forth on this every year. Is it an even year? Then Ginger now.

LM: Superman or Batman?

FL: Batman. I do kind of have a thing for dark, brooding men.

LM: Alpha heroes or Beta heroes?

FL: Beta for sure! I’m a passionate champion of underdogs!

LM: Austen or the Brontes?

FL: I think Austen, but I don’t think about it too much. It’s been a hundred years since I’ve read either.

LM: Mr. Darcy or Captain Butler?

FL: Captain Butler, all the way.

LM: Hurrah! Another potential recruit for Team Rhett (twirls moustache with evil laugh). 

FL: Libby, thank you so much for having me! What a great bunch of questions you have here. Very thought-provoking and interesting. I’m happy that readers will learn more about me, and also that I got to learn more about me. :-) I can’t wait to have you at my blog some day soon. Thanks again!

LM: Aw, I would love to come on your blog. Francine, it's been a pleasure chatting with you. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Here's how to find Francine out in the world:

on her blog
on her website
on Goodreads
on Twitter
on Facebook

And you can find her book on Amazon