Friday, December 18, 2009

What a Difference a Decade Makes

Ten years ago, I was living in Jacksonville, FL. My husband was still in the Navy, stationed on the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier and deploying frequently, leaving me home alone with a full-time job, a 4-year-old, a 1-year-old and two dogs. Like everyone, the many people affiliated with my company were anxiously awaiting the opening minutes of Jan. 1, 2000 to see what, if anything would happen to the world's computers on that auspicious date. By then we were all sick of hearing about Y2K concerns, which in hindsight, turned out to be the very least of our problems in this last tumultuous decade.

In the last ten years, I've gone from having a baby and a toddler to a high school freshman and an 11-year-old who I can no longer wrestle with unless I want to get hurt. We've suffered through the unimaginable losses of three of our four parents, numerous aunts and uncles, and the parents of dear friends. We've lost our two precious dogs, who'd been with us since the early days of our married life, and we moved from Florida to Rhode Island where we've now been for seven years—the longest we've lived anywhere in our 17 years of marriage.

While the world around us dealt with terrorists and wars and hanging chads and economic turmoil, we have been working, raising our kids, and pursing a few dreams on the side. Becoming a published author this decade was a definite highlight. But what's much more important to me is the continued good health of my family and friends. The most enduring lesson of the last ten years for me is the importance of good health. In the end, it's all that really matters and it makes everything else possible.

Ten years from now, I should have one college graduate on my hands and one more working his way through (no doubt kicking and screaming all the way). We will no doubt lose more of the people who guided and shaped us, which I've decided is the part of adulthood I hate the most. How are we supposed to survive without these critical people? If I figure it out, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, as this year and decade come to an end, thank you to my faithful readers. Thank you to everyone who made my entrance into the world of publishing so much fun. Thank you for checking back here for my irregular updates. I look forward to chatting with you in the "teen" years! Happy holidays and a happy happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gravity Always Wins

Remember that John Mellencamp (or was he Cougar then?) tune, The Authority Song? I fight authority, authority always wins? Well in my case, if you substitute the word gravity for authority then you've got my theme song. I fall down—a lot. Not sure why, but me vs gravity is an ongoing battle, and gravity is certainly winning the war.

It all began when I was 9. I skidded out on some sand on my bike and took a major wipeout that led to an ER visit. The doctors and my parents were understandably concerned about the injury to my nose that occurred when the crossbar landed on my face. However, I kept trying to draw their attention to the more painful knee vs pedal injury, which has plagued me in various ways ever since. Later, when my brother and I were allowed to ride our bikes on a busier street, I got run off the road by a flower delivery truck and crashed into a chain link fence. Ouch! I have a scar on my elbow from that incident. I still remember my mortified brother continuing on without me! After that, I more or less scratched bikes off my list of can-do activities. (I'm not counting the incident on a lonely road in Indiana with my now-husband running along side me when a large dog came bolting after us and took a chunk out of my tush. Somehow I managed to stay on the bike that time—score one for me vs. gravity!) I ended up married to a guy who lives to ride bikes and owns seven or eight of them at last count. He goes bike riding by himself. It's better that way.

Skiing was another disaster of epic proportions. There was the incident with the tow rope when I tried to avoid a kid who had fallen in front of me and took the metal bar to the fanny (are you sensing a theme here?) leaving a HUGE bruise. Another time I had to be tied to the instructor to get down off the bunny slope. In an ironic twist, we returned to that mountain years later and my daughter took a lesson from the same instructor. I swear he remembered me...

Ice skating? No. Just no. Rollerblading? An even bigger NO. NO. NO.

Lately, however, I haven't even needed extreme sports such as bike riding, skiing or ice skating to bring me down. In October, I fell out of my car into the driveway and T-boned myself on my own laptop, breaking a rib. Yes, you read that right. Do you know anyone else who has ever uttered that particular sentence? I didn't think so. I blame my husband for this accident. He parked his truck at a weird angle in the driveway, which forced me to do the same, putting our downhill-facing driveway further down than it normally is when I step out of my car. The weird thing is, I don't really remember falling. I remember shifting my laptop bag to my left shoulder and then I was in the driveway with the computer wedged in my rib. What happened in between is a mystery. When I told him about what happened, my father suggested I lead with my feet. Ha. Ha. Ha. That's really funny, dad. Thanks. My husband blames the driveway, which rushed up to meet me. By the way, the computer was just fine. Thanks for asking. And, yes, I did check its condition before I took a look at the swiftly swelling rib area.

I recently stepped into my daughter's landfill of a room, encountered beads under my feet and went sprawling, face down onto her floor. "Watch out for the beads," she was saying as I hit the floor. Gee, thanks for the warning!

Just this week, I stayed in a hotel for my aunt's funeral. It was just me and a king-sized bed, which I somehow managed to miss when returning from a middle-of-the-night potty run. One minute standing up heading for bed, next minute laying on the floor. As my cousin so astutely put it, isn't the king-sized bed the focal point of the hotel room? Yes, it is, but somehow I managed to miss it. As we trudged through sleet and snow to get to my aunt's grave site, my cousins propped up their elderly parents—and me. They weren't sure who was the bigger liability.

Gravity always wins.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Time Flies

How is it possible we have just 30 days left in the decade of the 00s? Remember 1999 when we were breathlessly waiting to see what would happen to the world's computers when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2000? Does that really seem like 10 years ago?? To me if feels as if this decade has flown by. On Jan. 1, 2000 I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old who are now 14 and 11. My daughter, who hadn't yet started school, is now in high school. My "baby" boy is a fifth grader. My husband, who was a chief in the Navy in 2000, has now been retired almost eight years. We moved to Rhode Island in August of 2002. This month we marked our seventh year in this house, the longest we've lived anywhere in 17 years of marriage.

In an article well worth reading, Time Magazine is referring to this as the Decade from Hell, thanks to the contested presidential election of 2000, 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic meltdown and other things you may have forgotten about but which left a lasting mark.

For our family, in some ways this has been the decade from hell. My husband and I lost three of our four parents as well as numerous aunts and uncles. We began the decade with two dogs, Roscoe and Consuela, both of whom have since passed away. These have been difficult, life changing losses. But our glass remains much more than half full. Our children are healthy and thriving (and FRESH), we have a wonderful family and delightful friends who make for a tremendous "village" in which to raise our children, I've realized my lifelong dream of becoming a published author, and thanks to my books, I've made so many lovely new friends.

Speaking of friends, I'm expanding my Marie Force Facebook account, so if you haven't already, please send me a friend request! I look forward to seeing you there. In 2010, I plan to start the new decade off right by greatly expanding the action on my blog. I want to talk books! I read like a crazy woman so next year I want to keep track of all the books I read. I'll be reporting in here and keeping a list to see what the grand total for the year turns out to be. I'd love to talk books with you, so tune in often to find out what I'm reading. I also want to talk more about what I'm working on so readers will know what to expect from me down the road. You might be surprised to learn that I'm working on my first-ever historical romance! I'm having an absolute ball with it! What do you think? Can a tried and true contemporary girl go historical? Hmmm.... Finally, in 2010 I plan to offer up one of my unpublished books to my blog readers as part of the promotion leading up to the book currently named "See You Next Time." More to come on that soon!

Now tell me, have you already decorated for Christmas or are you like me and put it off as long as you can? And did this decade go by as quickly for you as it did for me? Do tell!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We Gather Together...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! November has been quite a month around here. We had some rather major renovations done to the front of our house that include a new front porch, sidewalk and stairs down to our driveway along with the rebuilding of two portions of our stone wall, which were previously falling into the driveway. What a major improvement! I'd post some pics here but I've lost the charger cord for my digital camera and it's DOA. Imagine gray-ish cobblestones. However, in a stroke of modern trickery, it's actually stamped concrete. Have you HEARD of all the stuff you can do with cement these days? Well, I'll be honest. I had no idea! My dad said he's never seen it before. I said, yes, you have, you just didn't realize it was cement and not stone. It's quite cool and it's taken our front yard from hideous to fabulous! In the midst, there was jackhammering, digging, big machines, oh, and construction workers. Lots and lots of construction workers. One of them reminded me of a lesser version of Alec Baldwin and then he bent over and showed me his vertical smile. Okay. Yuck.

While my house was being jackhammered to within an inch of its life, I who never leave the house, somehow managed to get the flu. My family and I got the seasonal flu mist on a Friday and I was sick by Sunday. Coincidence? I say not! Of course I was the only one who actually got sick—no surprise there—and was I ever sick! Seven straight days of 101 fevers, a hideous cough, and an appetite that wouldn't quit. Can you stand it? Most people get the flu and can't eat a thing. I get the flu and I'm ravenously hungry. Where's the JUSTICE? It's not fair, I tell you. Not one bit fair!

In other news, today is my lovely nephew Jesse's 14th birthday. Jesse is a great kid, a wonderful student, and a talented film-maker and skateboarder. Happy, happy birthday to Jesse!

Now, I took the day off today so I could work in the kitchen all day. On the docket are two pumpkin breads, stuffing, green bean casserole, peeling and prepping 15 lbs of potatoes, and hitting the grocery store one last time for the final items. My dad is coming at 6 to help me prep the 26 lb turkey because I can't bear to touch the thing when it's not cooked. ICK! Since my dad loves turkey more than life itself, I bribed him into doing the dirty work for me this year with promises of dinner tonight. Now I have to think of something to make! Maybe chili...

On a final note, I'm grateful to all my blog readers who come by even when I'm on an extended hiatus, who email me just to say hello, and to all of you who've bought my books and taken the time to tell me you loved them, you'll never know how much you mean to me! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

SOLD!

Hi everyone,
Sorry it's been so long since I posted. I know I say that a lot, but you guys keep checking back and I appreciate that! Big news yesterday from my agent: we sold my book See You Next Time with an option for two more, again to Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks. Here's some info about the book:

See You Next Time
Everybody loves a hero. That's the problem.

Hero pilot Cole Langston is learning to live with—and enjoy—his newfound fame and the rabid female attention that comes with it until a lucky punch knocks some sense into him and opens his eyes to true love.
When his copilot suffers a heart attack in flight, Cole lands the jetliner in a blizzard and revives the stricken captain. Catapulted to national hero status, Cole has more women vying for his attention than he knows what to do with. They all have one thing in common: they try without success to bring this happy-go-lucky pilot down to earth. Then comes an airport altercation, a punch to the face, and the lovely Olivia—a shy, timid artist who does what no other woman has ever managed to do: steal Cole's well-protected heart. With women coming on to him everywhere they go, Olivia struggles to believe that Cole is ready for a committed relationship. His biggest problem is getting rid of all his extra ladies before the only one he wants figures out that she's one of many.

My editor is saying Spring 2011 release, but we're hoping for something sooner so there won't be two years between books. I'll definitely keep you posted!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's Up With Squeamish Men?

As my cousin David would say, I "took" a surgery this week. After years of horrible monthly events that led to at least two days on the sofa and more Advil than any human should ingest on a regular basis, I finally let the doctor do something about it in an effort to prevent more drastic hysterectomy-like measures. The surgery itself was no big deal, but all the drugs made me really sick for a couple of days. Three days later, I'm still tired but on the mend.

What I've found amusing since the surgery is the reaction of men who hear you had surgery to deal with "the girl parts." They'll start off by politely asking, what did you have done? To which I reply, girl stuff. The hands immediately go up, the international sign of SAY NO MORE. I find this so funny! I mean, for one thing, do they remember they all once LIVED inside the uterine vessel? Not to mention they've spent much of their adult lives trying to get a certain part of themselves as CLOSE to said vessel as humanly possible. So why all the squeamishness? I've decided the girl parts are only appealing to them when they are functioning properly. Any indication of malfunction is a signal to them to RUN as far and as fast from the trouble as they can.

My husband is definitely the exception to this rule. As always, he wanted every detail. This is the guy who begged to be allowed to watch two C-sections. If possible, he'd have been in the gallery with a box of Junior Mints watching this week's proceedings if they would've let him. My friend Debby puts it best: He ain't right.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Living La Vida Mediocre

My husband Dan and I have a running joke with my friend Dawn. She is one of my oldest and best friends, and during the time I dated Dan, she was my roommate. The two of them have always been buddies. A few years ago, in a moment of supreme misguidedness on her part Dawn told me—IN FRONT OF DAN—that I got one of the good ones. I'm sure some of you are saying, awwww, isn't that nice? Well, if that's your reaction, you aren't married to one of the good ones! If you are, you know what I know: he'll never let me FORGET that I'm married to one of the good ones once he's been TOLD by a WOMAN who is not his WIFE that he is one of the good ones. You with me?

Okay, ladies, think about this for a minute. One of your best friends, who has had some experience with a few of the bad ones, gives your husband that kind of compliment right to his face. Say it with me now: Noooooooo! It's a violation of the supreme girlfriend code of conduct, and I've never let her live it down. Sadly for me, HE has never let EITHER of us forget it!

On a recent Saturday morning—before coffee—I was talking to him (he would call it badgering) about something or other, and he reminded me that I'd gotten one of the good ones. It was 9:15 on a Saturday morning! I emailed her to let her know her special brand of magic was once again at work in my life! I teasingly tell her all the time that she's lucky I still talk to her. Dan takes issue with the word "lucky" in that statement. On a recent night out with my high school friends, of which Dawn is one, I discovered an envelope in my purse with $20 and a note to buy the girls a drink from "one of the good ones." Do you see what I'm dealing with?

Last week, I changed plans to accommodate something he wanted to do. When I pointed out to him that I been amazingly thoughtful on his behalf, I reminded him that HE got one of the good ones. Oh no, he says, you are not allowed to give that title and neither am I. Only Dawn has that power. So he appealed to her and was granted her approval to refer to me as one of the good ones. But then it hit me: a lot of responsibility and expectations come with that title. Did I really want to take that on? In the end, I declined the promotion to one of the good ones and decided to continue my nearly 17-year run as one of the mediocre ones.

There is, after all, only so much room in the house the GOOD one and HIS ego! What about you? Are you one of the good ones or one of the mediocre ones?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Is "I Love You" the Kiss of Death?

Did I get your attention with that headline? Well, there was a great discussion about this very topic yesterday on Romancing the Blog in which the blogger used Line of Scrimmage as an example of a book she loved. What a lovely way to start the day for the author of Line of Scrimmage! The blogger, Laurie, posed an absolutely awesome question about what happens to a romance novel AFTER the hero says I love you. I enjoyed the comments and the conversation on this topic because it's something we wrestle with as authors. When exactly is the right time for the exchange of I love yous? In Line of Scrimmage, Ryan tells Susannah he loves her in the first chapter when he's trying to convince her to give him and their marriage another chance. I think in chapter 5 Susannah admits that she still loves Ryan, that she never stopped loving him and probably never would, but that doesn't mean she's ready to take him back. Nooooo... In fact, at that point, the story was just getting started.

In Love at First Flight, Michael tells Juliana fairly early on that he's falling for her. He doesn't use the word "love," but it is implied. He was definitely in it to win it before she was. But following a traumatic event, in one of the more romantic scenes I've ever written, Michael says that telling her he loves her seems inadequate because there isn't a word big enough to describe how he feels about her. He is surprised when she tells him she loves him, too. This occurs about halfway through the book, and again A LOT happens after their declaration. In the book I'm currently working on, the hero and heroine say I love you on page 138.

I've decided the reason I like to do it this way, rather than waiting until the end, is because saying those words raises the stakes. It changes the tenor of the relationship and gives the characters something to fight for. The I love yous happen organically in my books. When I feel it, they feel it. Whether it's in the beginning, middle or end, it happens when it happens. I know this will come as a shock to you, but I'm not much for "the rules" in romance. If I was, I wouldn't have written a book about an athlete or another about a hero and heroine who were with other people when they met—two things that are supposedly "not done" in romance. Screw that!

Reading the comments on yesterday's blog, I learned that some readers prefer to get that payoff later in the story—at least in contemporaries. I've been gorging on historical romances lately, and the mid-story marriage is very common in that genre. Often the I love yous come later but not always. What's your preference? Does I love you spell the end of the story for you or does it make you more invested in the couple?

Update on the Couch to 5K workout front: I got through the first week without dying, which is always a good thing. I'll start week 2 tomorrow. I've had two memorable running outings with the kids who are very proud of me, which makes it all worth it! I'll keep you posted.

TV Show Update: Loved last night's Grey's Anatomy. Meredith made me a little misty a couple of times as she dealt with her deadbeat father who needed a lobe of her liver. Lexi was also awesome. I loved when Meredith said she wasn't sure what it's like to have a father but she knows what it's like to have a sister and it's pretty terrific. Lovely. This show has LOST me in recent seasons, but I'm starting to have hope again. Of course just getting to look at Derek makes it worth my time.

Private Practice: LOVE IT. Just. Love. It. All. of. it. Except that weird thing Addison does with her mouth when she's e-mo-tion-al.

Brothers & Sisters: Cautiously interested in the Kitty-has-lymphoma story line. However, I worry that there's just too much damned cancer in people's lives for that to be entertaining to the masses. I do like how she now has her gorgeous husband's attention again. Excellent scene when she ushers Kevin out the door and then blurts out to Robert that she has cancer. Calista Flockhart is excellent.

Glee: Way behind on the TIVO'd episodes, but loving what I've seen so far. Love the music. Is there Glee Club for 40-something mothers? A friend of mine might be interested. I'm just saying...

Friday Night Lights: Please come back soon. Please. I miss Tim Riggins. Who's with me? What are you watching?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Getting Up and Getting Going

I used to be a pretty decent runner. I could do three or four miles without too much trouble. But as life and work and kids happened, somewhere along the way I quit running. It's the only form of exercise that has ever truly worked for me, meaning it's the only thing that truly shaves off the pounds. Another thing that's kept me grounded is my writing career. Writing, editing, marketing and selling books is a time-consuming proposition. I've often thought that if I could only spend a quarter of the time I spend writing on the running trail, I'd be fit enough for my liking. So all these things have gotten in the way and doing something to change that dynamic has been on my mind for some time now.

My husband Dan is a huge runner, although he's on hiatus right now recovering from achilles tendonitis. He told me a while back about a program called Couch to 5K, which takes you from couch potato to 5K runner in eight weeks. It's an interesting concept that involves intervals of running and walking, increasing time and distance over the course of the program. I decided to give it a whirl. Best of all, my kids decided to do it with me. Yay! They are at the ages now (Emily is 14 and Jake is almost 11) where it's difficult to find things we can do together where everyone is having fun. We did the first workout today and it was so fun. There was lots of laughing, especially when Emily was running circles around me. She's such a show off! Jake did really well, and kept right up with us, surging far ahead of me during the running portions. And I heard lots of details about their school days that I might've missed if we hadn't taken that half hour to spend together.

We made a pinky promise to not tell Dan that we'd started the program because he's been a total NUDGE asking when are we going to do it and how are we going to do it and where are we going to do it. He's too needy. The pinky promise lasted until dinner when Emily blew it. And she thought Jake would blab on his way to baseball practice with Dan driving him. NOT! SHE was the weakest link! Now he's going to be all up in our grill wanting to know every detail!

So, we're off and running. I'll let you know how it goes! If you've been looking for a magic bullet, check out the link. Maybe we can all do it together!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Boats, Kids, Books, TV and Sports

How does it get to be two weeks since I last posted? And yet I still have readers loyal enough to nominate my blog for one of the top 100 romance blogs on The Daily Reviewer. Thanks to whomever submitted my blog to these folks! I'm glad you find something worth coming back for despite my spotty posting. I promise to get better this fall. Honestly, I will!!

So what have I been up to? Well, you all know I love nothing more than spending time out on the water on my dad's boat. This month I've been stymied by other commitments that have kept me off the boat! I've been out exactly twice despite the gorgeous September weather--weather I might add that we were denied for most of June and July this year. The first time I went out, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I slept most of the time as I was in full-on high school reunion recovery mode. I had stayed out until 2 am, I had drank like I drink a lot normally (I do not), and had partied, literally, like it was 1999. And I paid the next day. Big time. So that boat trip really didn't count. This past Saturday, I scored my second ride of the month, but again, it was an unconventional outing. My son had a 1 p.m. baseball game in another part of the state, about 30 minutes from home. After they got spanked 20-3, we hustled home, grabbed the daughter and the bathing suits, and rushed into Newport to meet my dad. We left the dock at 4:15, about four hours later than normal. Jake and Dan went swimming, the rest of us shivered just watching them, and we put-putted around for a couple of hours. It was great, and just what I needed. Hopefully, we can get a few more such outings in before the boat goes to bed for the winter on Oct. 19. My son Jake is famous for swimming from May to October, so we'll see if his record continues!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, too. I devoured Lisa Kleypas's new Hathaway book, Tempt Me at Twilight. I didn't love it quite as much as some of the other Hathaway books, but that didn't stop me from reading it in 24 hours. I finally read my chapter mate Loretta Chase's classic, Lord of Scoundrels and LOVED it. I can see why it's so often talked about. Now I am reading Eloisa James' Pleasure for Pleasure. If you are seeing a pattern, you're not mistaken. My historical reading phase continues! I've been actually thinking lately that it would be fun to write one. Or not. I've also been reading my friend Cheryl Brooks' next release, Hero, and enjoying it very much. It's fun to get a sneak peek at her next book and to make all the gals on her blog jealous at the same time! In the midst of all this reading, I'm also tweaking one of my own books, See You Next Time. More to come on that soon, I hope!

TV is back! I loved the season premieres of Grey's Anatomy and Brothers & Sisters. Gasp! Kitty has cancer! Didn't see that coming! Looking forward to Private Practice this week, and must get caught up on the TiVO'd episodes of Glee, the only new show I've taken on lately. Just like every year, the TV season returns just as baseball is winding down. NY clinched the AL East yesterday after sweeping my Red Sox, but luckily the Sox are still leading the American League Wild Card race and look good to make the playoffs. And the Patriots won yesterday after a rough loss last week, so all is well in football land, too. For now anyway.

On top of all this, the kids are BUSY! WHEW!!! Teenager life continues to be an interesting experience with the Divine Ms. Em who is 14. I never knew I was so damned stupid until I had a teenager! Last week the newly minted class president was trying to organize a bake sale for open house at school by calling as many classmates as she could reach. I suggested she hit them all with one Facebook message. "That is a very inefficient way to communicate," she replied. Hmmm, as the communications director for a 15,000-member national organization, I found that humorous to say the least. I mean, seriously, what the hell do I know?

Have a great Monday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Signing Fun and Guiding Light

Thank you to Merry Cutler at Annie's Book Stop in Sharon, Massachusetts for having me back to sign this past Saturday. Emily and I had a great time meeting new readers and old friends, including Janice Gould, who has single-handedly sold about twenty copies of Line of Scrimmage. She finally bought her copy of Love at First Flight at the signing, so now I'm biting my nails waiting to hear what she thinks! Here's a photo with Sherry Prescott, who had planned to buy just L@FF until Janice "convinced" her she HAD to buy LOS, too! With fans like that, who needs marketing?



Did you see the piece on 60 Minutes last night about the end of Guiding Light's 70-year run on CBS? This coming Friday the show will go dark after more than 15,700 episodes and 4,000 more radio shows. It's the longest running show on television and it played a HUGE role in my life as a teenager. What tried and true Guiding Light fan could forget Phillip, Beth, Mindy and Rick going to the prom in 1983? Or that Phillip and Beth's song was "Truly" by Lionel Richie? Who can forget the incredible character of Reva Shane, played by the peerless Kim Zimmer? Reva's love story with Josh Lewis was full of sigh-worthy moments that stayed with me years after I stopped watching the show. I'll never forget the evil Alan Spaulding, the delightful Lillian Raines, the scrappy Harley Cooper, the dependable Frank Cooper, the Bauers, Springfield itself...

My mother didn't want me watching the soaps when I was a young teenager, so I lived for Mondays—the day she bowled and I could gorge on Guiding Light in peace. However, she'd get home like clockwork at 3:50 p.m., meaning I missed the all-important last five minutes! (Good thing she never thought to check the heat coming from the TV!) I had to call a friend to find out what happened. Even watching once a week, I found I could keep up aided by the occasional flip through Soap Opera Digest in the drug store to fill in the missing blanks. In thinking about my mother forbidding me to watch, it occurred to me that I was allowed to watch Dallas and Falcon Crest. How funny is that? They were much worse than Guiding Light! My love of the soap probably played no small role in my later career as a romance writer!

Did you ever watch Guiding Light or any of the soaps? Are there characters you've never forgotten?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Movies I Could Watch Over and Over Again...

It's Labor Day and lots of great movies have been on TV this weekend. I thought it would be fun to list the movies that never grow old for me.

1. Pretty Woman. I don't know why but I still love it after a 100 viewings. I drive my family crazy reciting the lines before they say them. When my daughter came to me the night before her freshman year of high school began and wanted to match boots with shorts, Dan said, "You're the one who let her watch Pretty Woman." I said no to the combo, but I'd say YES to the movie every time.

2. The Sound of Music. It was on last night and I watched enthralled, as if I hadn't seen it 200 times before. I sang the songs and said the lines. I know... total dork, but I'm okay with that. I just LOVE IT. My father calls it "Up on the Mountain." LOL

3. The Parent Trap. Emily and I have Parent Trap movie nights quite regularly. It's on TV right now, and as always we've dropped everything to watch it. Now our love of the movie is tempered with sadness over the loss of Natasha Richardson, who was so wonderful as the mom. The other kid movies I love forever are Toy Story and Toy Story 2. I hear there's a third one coming next year. I'll be there!

4. Sex in the City. I absolutely adored the movie and it's climbed right up on my must-see list. Emily and I watched it in the hotel when we were in DC. Since she's only 14, I had to say LOOK AWAY a few times. ACK! Luckily, she has no desire to see "that stuff" yet! They are now filming Sex in the City 2. Can't wait!

5. Most of Julia Roberts' other movies: Knotting Hill, The Runaway Bride, Ocean's 11, etc. And most of Hugh Grant's movies, including Three Weddings and a Funeral, Knotting Hill, Two Weeks Notice, etc.

What do all of these movies have in common (well, except for Toy Story that is)? ROMANCE!

What are some of your favorites?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Reemerging

Sorry for the long radio silence. This has been on heck of a crazy summer around here!! Between launching Love at First Flight, my daughter performing in a play, both kids going to sailing camp three days a week, the annual cousin invasion, the RWA conference in Washington, my work conference in New Orleans, planning my 25th high school reunion (which is tomorrow) and oh yeah, that pesky thing called a JOB, this summer has been OFF THE CHARTS!

Up here in New England we had craptastic weather for all of June and July so beach season didn't even really get under way until August. We put many fewer hours than usual on the boat this year thanks to the weather and the schedule from hell, but we're hearing September and October will be nice. We think that's the very least of what the weather gods owe us! My crazy children will swim right up until mid-October, long after most sane people have quit. Right on September 1, the day the kids went back to school (and my oldest to high school--sniff sniff) the weather became September-esque. Clear and cool and absolutely lovely. This is my favorite time of year, and I plan to enjoy it.

On the writing front, I wrote THE END last night on a book I wrote this summer, in the midst of mayhem. I hope to be able to tell you more about the book very soon! I'm very excited about this one, and had the time of my life writing it, which was why I was able to fit it in amid all the other goings on this summer. I started it June 1 and finished it yesterday, September 3. When we were in Block Island a couple of weeks ago, I was so into it that I wrote long hand on the beach because I couldn't shut the story off. Those are the most magical writing experiences and something to treasure no matter what becomes of the book.

Well, that's what's up around here. What have you guys been up to?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Review

Sorry to be so absent lately. This summer has been utter madness around here! The kids go back to school in 15 days, so I should get my life back before too much longer and get back to regular blogging again! In the meantime, here's a new review from Long and Short Reviews, which gave Love at First Flight a coveted Best Book rating!

Love At First Flight by Marie Force
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Heat: Spicy
Length: Full (398 pages)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Larkspur

What if the guy in the airplane seat next to you turned out to be the love of your life?

Juliana, happy in her career as a hair stylist, is on her way to visit her boyfriend of ten years who's working out of state. She's wondering why they're not engaged yet. Michael is going to his fiance's parents' home for an engagement party he doesn't want. A states' prosecutor, he's about to try the biggest case of his career, he hates the distraction, and he's having doubts about the relationship.

They sit together on the plane, and discover they're on the same flight coming back. When the weekend is a disaster for each of them, they bond on the plane ride home. But life is full of complications, including their exes, who don't want to let go, and when Michael's trial turns dangerous, the two must confront what they value most in life...

Marie gives us a touching, heartfelt and dramatic love story with memorable characters and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Not many authors can give you a romance novel that is ripe with heart stopping suspense and make it work, well Marie Force definitely can and does with Love at First Flight. Her main characters are involved in a love triangle that make you root for each of them at different times in the book, and said characters are well developed and so interesting that when the story's over you wish there were more to read. If that’s not enough she throws her readers into a murder trial with seriously evil bad guys and sequestered witnesses starring her supporting cast of characters which are so good they could support their own story. Her writing style is wonderful and her descriptive dialogue takes you to all the places the book visits in vivid detail. The love scenes are sultry and sensual and sexy and add a certain depth to the story.

So if you love a great romance with a lot of suspense, and you're not opposed to using a box of tissues as a prop and you like your love scenes on the sizzle burner. Then this should definitely be your next read. Great work Marie!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another Crazy Week/RWA Photos

I keep waiting for things to slow down, but the relentless pace continues! I've been meaning all week to write and say a huge THANK YOU to all the friends who made my first blog book club meeting such a success. It was so great to have the chance to talk to you about the book (as well as potential future books) and to hear what you thought about various controversial decisions I made for Michael, Juliana, and their cast of supporting players. Readers are key to everything we do as writers, so let me say thank you again so much for your support of me and my books!! Congratulations to Pat L. who won the Love at First Flight Grand Prize Gift Basket and to all who answered the daily questions about the book on my website.

While I'm talking about readers and how much I love and adore you all, I wrote this for a blog stop at Love is an Exploding Cigar this week, but I wanted to re-run part of it here in case any of you missed it:

This last month has been an exciting whirlwind as my second book, Love at First Flight, hit the shelves. I’ve been on a “blog tour” and been part of four different book signings. I had a party for my friends and family, who are such wonderful supporters and deserve their own signing!

Then I went to RWA and experienced a major “first” in my writing career—connecting with readers who’ve enjoyed one or both of my books. Both books have been published since last year’s conference, so this was my first one as a truly published author. At the literacy signing, three women rushed up to my table just after the doors opened because they wanted me to sign copies of Line of Scrimmage. They gushed about how much they’d loved it, and by the time they were done, they had me in tears. I kept looking over my shoulder, for surely they had to be talking to one of the other authors in the huge room!? I said to them, “You ladies do know that Nora is in this room, right?” They laughed and said they’d come to see me. Overwhelming.

Another woman came up to me at the dessert reception after the RITAs to tell me she’d picked up Line of Scrimmage at the Sourcebooks signing earlier in the day and had spent hours in her room reading, skipping the sessions she’d planned to attend. Thanks for your kind words, Michele from Texas! I'm so glad you enjoyed Line of Scrimmage! Again, however, as we were talking, I wanted to glance over both shoulders to find the author she had to be talking about behind me. You mean me? There simply are no words to describe that moment of connection with a reader who truly gets what you were trying to do with a story.

This past Monday evening, I hosted a book club party on my blog where I posted questions about my new book, Love at First Flight, and encouraged readers to sound off about some of the romance rules I broke in the story. Eight minutes after the start time, no one had shown up. I was beginning to sweat. Oh well, I thought, it was worth a shot. And then they came and came and came . . . I typed like a mad woman for over an hour while my husband sat next to me on the sofa cracking up at all my muttering and sputtering. I said at the beginning I would’ve been happy with fifty comments (including my own) but ended up with nearly one hundred. This ability to interact with readers, whether in person at conferences such as RWA, or through the various blog stops, is my favorite part of this new phase in my writing career.

Technology has made the bond between author and reader so much more immediate and intimate. Over the last year, readers have become friends and frequent correspondents. They love to tell me what they liked, what they didn’t like, what made them laugh, what made them cry. Nothing is more gratifying from my end than to hear that I made them feel something, even if that something was anger.

So to all my readers out there, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have made this last year so incredibly rewarding. I'm working hard to make sure there will be more to come!

A few more fun photos from RWA:

Me with Nora Roberts. Her books made me want to be a romance writer, and it was a huge thrill to meet her in person. Did you see the photo I posted a few days ago of Nora with my daughter after the Ritas? Thrilling!



I was signing books at our Sourcebooks signing on Saturday and glanced over to see this HUGE line waiting for ME. Another pinch-me moment! Thank you to Emily, my able daughter/assistant and birthday girl, for taking this photo!



With Emily at the RITAs:




The Sourcebooks gang going to dinner:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Love at First Flight Book Club Meeting

Whoo hoo! It's party time! I'm so excited to be here tonight to talk to my lovely readers about Love at First Flight. This book breaks a few of the more firmly entrenched romance rules, so I've been looking forward to this opportunity to hear what you have to say! I've been blessed with wonderful reviews and lots of emails from satisfied readers. However, I know there were a few twists and turns that had you muttering to yourself! Tell me about those mutter moments and maybe win one of the prizes I have sitting here with me on my sofa!

Picture a well-stocked bar and some hot, shirtless guys serving up a wide variety of tasty treats. (FOOD, people! Get your minds out of the gutter!)

One last warning for those who haven't read the book... This meeting will be fat with spoilers, so don't click on the comments if you haven't read the book yet. You can always come back later and weigh in.

With no further ado: ready, set, CLICK on the comments and let's get going!

Love at First Flight Book Club Meeting TONIGHT

Come by TONIGHT at 7 p.m. EDT tonight for a book club discussion about Love at First Flight. Want to tell me what you REALLY thought when you know who did you know what? :-) Here's your chance! I look forward to talking with you in the comments section where we'll air it all out. I'll be giving out some great prizes and awarding the Love at First Flight Grand Prize Gift Basket, so come on out to play and win!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emily!

My darling daughter is 14 today and spent the day with me at the Romance Writer's conference in Washington, D.C. Look what happened tonight:



Emily met Nora Roberts!!!!!!! And congratulated her on her RITA win! Nora was so lovely when she heard it was Emily's birthday! What a thrill for all of us. Congratulations, Nora! And happy, happy birthday to my "little" girl!

More photos coming when I get home!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Grand Unlearning of Everything I Ever Knew

I read an article recently about Terry Gilliam, the director who was making a film with Heath Ledger when the actor died last January. Quoting directly from an article on CNN.com:

He was directing Heath Ledger in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," when the actor died—and it's not the first time he has lost a leading man.

Is there a filmmaker in the world with worse luck than Terry Gilliam?

Jean Rochefort didn't die eight years ago, but Gilliam had to abandon "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" after a few days when 70-year-old star Rochefort became seriously ill and a flash flood washed away the entire set. The whole fiasco is captured in the documentary "Lost in La Mancha." But the animator-turned-director who made his name with the surreal opening sequences of "Monty Python" is also known for never giving up. He saved "Parnassus" by enlisting the help of Ledger's friends, among them Johnny Depp. He has even resurrected "Don Quixote," which will start shooting next year.

Two questions asked by The Screening Room really struck me as interesting and applicable to the writer's life:

TSR: What have you learned over the 30-plus years you have been making films?
TG: There is no one thing -- it's just going through life. I don't think you ever learn just one thing. At some point you start unlearning things. I have been working hard to unlearn everything I know.

I love that line: "working hard to unlearn everything I know." What a great statement. As I head this week to the Romance Writers of America's annual conference in Washington, D.C., I do so with the same wariness I always feel as I approach writing-related training events. While I believe there's always room to grow and learn new things, I'm extremely protective of my writing process and tend to be reluctant to let too much in that could possibly undermine my confidence in my own abilities. It's a fine line we walk between keeping it real and fresh and unique while taking the time to learn new techniques. A few times I've wanted to put my hands over my ears and cry LALALALALALA when someone was preaching to me about plotting or the need for character sheets or all the other tools I refuse to use. Don't. Want. To. Know.

So at the conference this year, I'll focus on sessions on promotion, business, career, and of course the chat with Nora Roberts, which I wouldn't miss.

Gilliam's second interesting comment came in response to this question:
TSR: What advice would you offer to aspiring filmmakers?
TG: Talent is less important in filmmaking than patience. If you really want your films to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.

Couldn't those same characteristics be applied to surviving a writing career? While patience and stamina and a thick skin are critical, the mule-like stupidity is essential. For without it, you run the risk of becoming run of the mill. And for a writer, that's a fate worse than writer's block!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book Signing Party

Last Thursday, I held a book signing party in Newport, RI, for my friends and family, all of whom have been so incredibly supportive of my writing career. In fact, Love at First Flight is dedicated to all of them. Without their overwhelming enthusiasm and encouragement, I never would've made it to book seven--Line of Scrimmage. I was delighted when more than 100 people showed up and my Barnes & Noble rep friend was thrilled to sell 85 books. Here are some photos from the big night! I'll post some more from tonight's B&N local author event in the next few days.









With a bunch of girlfriends, including (far right) and (third from right), my daughter's fourth and third grade teachers.



With my dad, who like last time, got the first signed book out of the box:



And with Jake, Emily and Dan at the after party hosted by our friends Ilana and Warren where I realized my 10-year-old son was playing pool at 12:45 a.m. and said, "Maybe we should go home!" A good time had by all!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Love at First Flight A Review Top Pick with Night Owl Romance

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters came alive and you truly could see and understand the conflicts and power plays that were happening. The story had a fullness about it as it encompassed two careers and two people’s friends and families. There was a real feel to the story and scenes that reinforced that feeling. Things didn’t randomly happen to move the story along but happened within the story in a logical manner.

The characters were terrific. Juliana had security in Jeremy. She needed that security and leaving it was tearing her apart. She was attracted to Michael but felt a loyalty and commitment to Jeremy. This came across extremely well. Michael came across as a guy that knew what he wanted but was willing to compromise for those he loved. He wants to do the right thing and is willing to put himself out to do it. While he is willing to work with those he loves, he is not willing to let them run his life. This comes across with his relationship with Paige and with his family. Jeremy and Paige aren’t even written poorly. Each comes across as a complex character with issues and desires. Their interactions with Juliana and Michael are normal reactions to the situations they find themselves in.

This isn’t just a romance novel or a legal story or any other classification but a mixture of many that cannot be separated. It’s a fantastic mix of romance against a legal story with danger lurking around every corner. There are high-speed car rides as well as romantic dinners with walks along the beach. An assassin comes into play as well as a teenage witness. It’s a book that should interest a broad spectrum of readers.

Read the full review.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More Launch Day News: A Bunch of New Reviews!

Is it a good omen that my beloved Boston Red Sox secured a come-from-behind victory in Baltimore on the day my book, set in Baltimore, launched? Hmmm, what do you think?

Launch Day was crazy and hectic, but tons of fun! Thanks to everyone who came out to comment on the Launch Parties here and on the Casablanca Authors Blog as well as on my post at Happily Forever After! Just a reminder that the Launch Party comment period is open on my blog and the Casa blog through July 4, so leave a comment to enter to win a copy of one of my books. Tomorrow I'm giving away more books at Magical Musings and Crave More Romance.

Today, we received FIVE new reviews for Love at First Flight and I loved them all!! Here they are with highlights, in no particular order:

Musings of a Bibliophile: The romance between Micheal and Juliana was angst filled. There were some moments where I thought things couldn't get any worse, and of course, somehow they did. Michael and especially Juliana, had to work out the problems within themselves before they could move on to a healthy relationship. Once they had done that, things fell into place and in the end, everything seemed to work out just the way it should.

Overall, I really liked Love at First Flight. This book was my first by Marie Force and after reading it, I'm eager to try her previous release, Line of Scrimmage, and I look forward to what's to come.

My Thoughts . . . Your Thoughts: The worst part of the book was the ending! I didn't want it to! Michael, Jeremy and Juliana pull out all the stops at the end, and are all truly fighting for what they want and believe in. It was such a perfect ending to a great love story. The thing that I came out with is that love knows no bounds. Michael made that very clear.

What a fun story! I look forward to other books by this author. True romance books aren't usually on the top of my list, but it was very well written and I really enjoyed it. I had planned on giving this book away here on my blog, but I can't part with it. This is one that I know I'll read again.

The Book Binge: Marie Force really has a knack for getting the reader emotionally involved with her characters. I felt the same way when I read Line of Scrimmage and Love at First Flight is no exception. I have to give kudos to her for writing such an unconventional romance so well. The fact that she could engage my emotions throughout the whole book really is a testament to her skillfulness of storytelling.

Cheryl's Book Nook: Another good read from Marie Force. Her last novel, Line of Scrimmage was an instant hit with me. What I like about these books are the characters. They are people that readers can fall in love with. Plus the story lines are very believable. I liked that Michael and Juliana met on an airplane and that they are complete opposites. Like the saying goes…opposites do attract. Juliana and Michael share this great chemistry between the two of them. I can’t wait to read more by this talented author. Marie Force is a force to be reckoned with!

Book Loons: Marie Force hits all the right marks with Love at First Flight, a story that's got a little bit of everything: a great premise, endearing characters, a racy romance, and a nice dash of suspense as Michael struggles to balance personal life with a high visibility gang member murder trial, a situation that ultimately draws Juliana into the line of fire. Marie Force knows how to tell an emotionally charged and entertaining story.

Love at First Flight Launch Party!

By: Marie Force
Welcome to the party! Come on in, have a drink, hit the buffet table, and settle in for a good time! That's what I'll be saying tomorrow night at my book signing party at which I expect about 90 people. I've been very blessed to have a huge circle of supporters cheering me on from the sidelines. Love at First Flight is dedicated to them because they kept me going long enough to write and sell Line of Scrimmage, which in turn led to this one—a ten-year labor of love from idea to publication.

The book is set in Baltimore, one of my favorite cities. I lived just south of B'more, as the locals call it, for three years in the 1990s. I have vivid memories of pushing my now 14-year-old daughter around the Inner Harbor and Fells Point in a stroller. When the Southwest planes used to go over our house on their way to the BWI Airport, she'd say, "Welcome to Baltimore. Enjoy your stay." My son, who is almost 11, was born in Bethesda, MD, right before we moved to Jacksonville, FL, which also features prominently in L@FF. The third location you'll visit in the book is my hometown of Newport, RI. So in many ways, L@FF is a sentimental journey. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, I still work for the company that hired me when I lived in B'more so I get down there from my current home in RI quite often.

My friend and coworker, April Force Pardoe (no relation, if you can believe that) and her husband Rich, lived for years in a fabulous rowhouse in the city that I "borrowed" to use as Michael's house in the book. Michael tells Juliana that he lived across the street in an apartment and became friends with the guy who owned the place as he was renovating it. When the owner had to move suddenly for his job, he offered it to Michael "for a song" because he knew Michael would take good care of the place. That's exactly how April and her husband Rich came to own 8 South Chester Street in Baltimore. So I thought it would be fun to give you an inside look at the place where Michael and Juliana fall in love:

Here's the view of the living room from the front door. See that first wood door on the right side? That's the teeny tiny bathroom that Juliana marvels over when she first sees it. She mentions that she can't believe there's a phone in there, and Michael tells her the former owner put them in every bathroom. "You'll never miss a call in this house," he says. Picture Michael and Juliana sitting on that sofa, folding clothes and drinking wine the night he tells her about the brother he lost. Picture Juliana coming down those stairs (far left) to offer comfort after Michael's ugly confrontation with Paige.



Rowhouses are tall and deep. So the living room feeds into the dining room...



...which feeds into the kitchen. Note that the cabinets are suspended from the ceiling. Very cool!



Here's another view of the kitchen. I love those slate countertops. Can't you picture Juliana rocking out at the stove, stirring the sauce as Michael watches her from the doorway? Or when he brings her roses and champagne to celebrate after the trial finally goes to the jury?



Going upstairs from the living room, here is April and Rich's bedroom. This is on the second level and was Juliana's room in the book:



Also on the second floor was another bathroom and a second bedroom that Michael uses as an office and a home for his Bowflex machine.

Up one more flight of stairs to the room April and Rich used as a TV room, but this was Michael's room in the book. So picture his bed against the brick wall. The curtains cover the sliding door that leads to the lower deck and the roof deck.



Another view of Michael's room:



Michael's bathroom (more of that fabulous slate):



And finally, the view of the Inner Harbor from the roof deck where several important events occur in the book:



Thank you so much to Rich and April for "sharing" their former home with me, Michael, and Juliana. At one point, Michael talks about how proud he is of his home. After growing up in a three bedroom ranch house with three sisters, "I can breathe here," he says. Juliana, who has struggled for everything in her life, completely understands what he means. Because April and Rich moved into this house in the city after I left the area, I was only there a couple of times. But it made an impact on me. When I was thinking about what Michael's home might be like, I kept seeing April's place. It was too good to pass up!

For the writers out there, have you ever been somewhere, even briefly, that stays with you long after? Have you used any of those places in your books?

For the readers, how important is setting to your enjoyment of a story? Do you think it will help you to better picture Michael's house to have seen these photos?

Now, down to launch day business! I'll give away a copy of Love at First Flight and one of Line of Scrimmage to those who leave comments here and on the Casablanca Authors Blog. The comment period will close on July 4 on both blogs so check back to see if you won. If you've already read Line of Scrimmage, just let me know. Have you heard about my Book Club Meeting on July 20 at 7 p.m. EDT RIGHT HERE? I will post some questions on the main page, and then we'll air it out in the comments. There'll be prizes, hot dancing boys, and lots of fun! WARNING: there will be spoilers so make sure you read the book before the meeting. Also, make sure to check the listing on the sidebar for other opportunities to win copies of my books.

Finally, I'll be running a contest on my website beginning today and going through July 7. Check in every day for a question from Love at First Flight. The questions will be posted at random times each day, so you'll have to check in often. Email the answers to me to be entered into the drawing for the Love at First Flight Grand Prize Gift Basket. You must answer all seven questions correctly to be included in the drawing.

Everyone set to party? Ready? Set? LAUNCH THAT BOOK!!! Go forth and READ!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Taking the Blogosphere By Storm Today

Launch Week Madness! Come see me at:

The Wet Noodle Posse where I'm talking about that One Magic Moment

The Book Addict on Pop Syndicate where I'm all about Rules Schmools:

And Novel Thoughts where I'm talking about Friendship Turning to Love

I'm giving away copies of both books, so come leave a comment to be entered into the drawings!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happily Forever After Gives L@FF 4.5 Stars

Love At First Flight is the tale of how a chance encounter can change the course of your life forever...

Michael is a handsome, young lawyer who has not only been managing his career, but a long distance relationship with his fiance, Paige. This story starts out where Michael--although in the midst of prosecuting a huge case--is called away to Florida to attend an engagement party. His engagement party to be exact, and one being thrown by his wealthy in laws. Never one for flashy parties, he's anything but thrilled about having to go. But is doing so to keep his fiance happy.

By chance, his flight is delayed, and while waiting to board he meets the one person who would change his life forever.

Juliana, a hairdresser (I'm diggin' the hairdresser bit *wink*) has also been dealing with a long distance relationship with her high School sweetheart, Jeremy. After nearly ten years together, Juliana has been feeling like something is seriously up with Jeremy's behavior lately. He's been acting strange on the phone and she's hoping that her current trip down to Florida will help settle any worries she might be having about their relationship and his feelings toward her.

While waiting to board the plane she meets, Michael and the two hit it off immediately and get to chatting. Michael is fascinated and scared of his immediate attraction to Juliana. Her beauty, her scent, her sweet disposition...He knows he loves his fiance and yet, he can't seem to figure out why he would be so attracted to this woman he just met.

They remain travel companions through the remainder of the flight. Sharing tales of how they are each coping with their long distance relationships and of their plans for the future.

Juliana is also instantly taken with Michael's charms. He's funny, kind and easy going. As luck would have it, during the course of their conversations they realize that they would be returning on the same flight at the end of the weekend. They agree to accompany each other back and share tales of how their weekend panned out.

The plane lands, and Michael and Juliana go their separate ways.

Over the course of the next two days both Juliana and Michael are forced to face some harsh realities. Michael realizes that if he is to go through with marrying Paige, he will never be free of his future father in laws grip, and of course Paige's never ending demands. He is a man who likes things simple. A nice house, a few kids, and with Paige as his wife, he knows nothing will ever be simple. Michael comes to the decision to call off his engagement.

Juliana is faced with a devastating betrayal and the realization that after years of talking about marriage and kids, her relationship with Jeremy may not be all she believed it was. Heart broken, she realizes that she and Jeremy need a break. Three months away from each other to see if they are truly meant to be together.

When Michael and Juliana meet up on the return flight home, what had began as a cordial companionship blossoms quickly into a trusting friendship. They understand each other's turmoil and in turn offer each other a shoulder to cry on.

But before long that friendship blossoms into a all consuming love. But Juliana is intent on keeping her promise to Jeremy, and when the time comes for Juliana to make her decision, will she choose the man who had loved her for as long as she can remember, or the man who is promising to love her forever?

Ms Force did a wonderful job of drawing you in to the story. She made it very realistic in the sense that not only did I fall madly in love with Michael, but she forces you to really feel for Jeremy (Juliana's first love). You are struggling inside as to which man you really want her to be with.

Here are two examples of what I mean:

Michael:

They went upstairs to his room where he grabbed a heavy blanket and led her to the secluded roof deck. The lights of the city twinkled in the clear night sky as Michael drew her down next to him on the blanket. He tugged the shirt over her head and then did the same with his own.

Her eyes fixated on the engagement ring hanging from the chain around his neck.

"Do you think we can pretend?" he whispered reaching up to unhook the chain. "That just for tonight you're mine and this belongs right here?" Sliding the ring on to her finger he kissed his way up her neck. Page 216

Now Jeremy:

"You're the only one for me. You always have been, and you always will be. Don't stop loving me, Jule. I don't think I'd survive it." Page 267

My heart broke for both of them. And it isn't until the very end that it becomes perfectly clear who she was meant to be with all along.

My only issue while I read was that it seemed to take Juliana so long to make her decision. But in hind sight it makes complete sense. As I mentioned above, I was struggling with my own decision as to who she should choose, so how could the woman IN the situation not? LOL. Men, see what they do to us ;)

I will definitely be looking forward to future releases by this author.

My rating 4 1/2 stars

Thank you Barbara! Read the review and comments.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Five Stars for Love at First Flight!

Thank you so much to Kara at the World According to Books blog for her wonderful review of Love at First Flight. Honestly, she left me speechless! Here's what she had to say:

Love at First Flight - Marie Force
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Published: 2009
Pages: 383
Genre: Romance

I had the immense pleasure of being asked to review another book written by Marie Force. I absolutely loved her first book Line of Scrimmage, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on her next book.

After reading this book, I have to say that Marie Force has written another hit - at least with this reader. The first pages grab your attention, and the book holds it until the very end. I was ready for the emotional impact from the book (because of her unique writing style), but I wasn't prepared for the suspense and intrigue that encompassed the story. Marie Force certainly knows how to pull on your emotions when penning the romantic aspects of her stories, but I was equally impressed with her ability to draw out the suspense. It had me sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen next - both with the decisions they each had to make and with the intrigue behind the high profile trial that was going on throughout the book.

To recap the story a bit...Michael and Juliana meet at the airport heading in the same direction to meet their significant others. Michael is an attorney who is meeting his fiance for the weekend, and Juliana is a beautician who is meeting her boyfriend of ten years. They discover that they are on the same return flight and agree to meet and discuss how their weekends went. Needless to say, both were disastrous, with each of them breaking it off with their intendeds. This starts the relationship between Juliana and Michael. Get ready for a roller coaster ride through laughter, tears, nail-biting scenes, and life-altering decisions. Michael is the prosecuting attorney in a high profile case which leads to his life being in danger. Juliana, being connected with Michael, is not safe either. What will happen to their love? Will they get through the trial alive; what will happen in the end - together or back to their old lives?

While some creative license was taken with the legal aspects surrounding witness protection, it did not in anyway detract from the story. I look at it this way - fiction is just that - fiction. I loved how strong both Michael and Juliana were. There wasn't that airhead quality in Juliana - she kept her head on straight, made wise decisions, and didn't take chances concerning her safety during the trial. Michael was everything you could want in a hero - strength, intelligence, protective, and he loved with his whole heart. He was there for Juliana - even in the darkest of hours, and his love never wavered. Ahhhh to be loved like that!!

What else can I say - I loved this book. It is definitely on my keeper shelf. And a HUGE "Thank You" goes out to Danielle from Sourcebooks for giving me the opportunity to read this book and review it. And to you, Marie Force, what a talented author you are - your characters are captivating and come to life through your writing - they jump out of the pages and into the reader's heart. The plot is well-developed, flows smoothly, and engages the reader from beginning to end. Emotions are strong and written with such clarity that you feel them inside as if they were your own. Congratulations on your new release - and here's to many many more!!

Rating: 5/5
Pages: 383
Completed: 6/9/09

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Love at First Flight: Another Review

From Connie at Once Upon a Romance:

For some time now, they’ve each been conducting long distant relationships…

Their flight has been delayed. Michael Maguire and Juliana Gregorio are both on their way to Jacksonville FL to see their significant others. He’s to attend his engagement party and she’s hoping for a romantic weekend with her long-time boyfriend. Michael and Juliana hit it off instantly. There’s an ease to their conversation as they talk about their jobs (he’s a prosecutor, she’s a hair stylist) and their lives.

The weekend turns out to be catastrophic for both of them. They commiserate on the plane back to Baltimore, but it doesn’t end there. Michael and Juliana’s lives entwine and connect in ways they never imagined.

Michael has been prepping for a high profile case. Juliana is attempting to work through her personal issues with confusion nipping at her heels. The pressure and stress is building. Add to that threats targeted at Michael, which seem to be coming from the defense. Danger follows them and catches up to them more than once, but they find comfort and strength in each other’s company and arms.

Unfortunately the trial isn’t the only thing they have to worry about. Michael’s ex-fiancée won’t give up and Juliana’s ex(ish)-boyfriend can’t seem to let her go. Once the trial is said and done, there are other decisions that will have to be made. Decisions that could break hearts and change lives.

I read this book in less than a twenty-four hour period. I can’t remember the last time a story held me as mesmerized as Love at First Flight; I couldn’t get enough and wanted more (though I could have done with out a select word used frequently). It’s a great story that knits together friendship and new-found love around bitter and sweet emotions, fear and sacrifice, and heartache and joy.

While the threats were real and seemingly around every corner, I appreciated how Ms. Force kept control of the situation, or perhaps it was just that her characters were mature, had their heads on straight. Michael and Juliana (most especially, which I was really thankful for) were always smart when it came to the threats, there were no impulsive actions, no stupid decisions. Finally, a heroine I could truly enjoy reading about.

Ms. Force pens so much more than a simple romance, her voice has that "certain something" which captivates the reader from first word to the last. She creates a story and characters the reader can embrace and cheer on whole-heartedly with a smile and a lump in the throat.

Thank you, Connie!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Love At First Flight: New Review

From Natalie at Wild on Books:

Love at First Flight

Marie Force

Juliana is on her way to see her boyfriend Jeremy. Michael is in the same airport waiting on a flight to take him to an engagement party being hosted by his soon to be in-laws. They strike up a conversation and promise to look for each other after the weekend is over to compare their visits on the flight home.

Juliana’s weekend goes nothing like she ever planned. Jeremy is just as she remembered him except for his admission that he has had thoughts of cheating. Juliana does her best to forgive him but when his cell phone rings while he is showering and a woman’s name pops up on the caller ID, Juliana knows that she and Jeremy need a break.

Michael’s time with his fiancée Paige and her parents is pure torture. Paige’s father is a military man through and though and as such, makes no qualms about trying to find Michael a job in Florida so that Michael and Paige can live close to home. When an announcement is made at the engagement party – one that Michael had not been notified about – he sees red. Enough is enough and Michael has had enough. Breaking off his engagement to Paige is the hardest thing he has ever done but it is something that had to happen. Now Michael can concentrate on the upcoming trial of two murderous mob bosses in peace.

Juliana and Michael see each other in the airport as planned and enjoy the flight home. What starts out as simple conversation with a stranger turns into something so much more and before Juliana and Michael know it, they are spending every waking moment together.

LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT is a captivating look at how two strangers can build a relationship of love and commitment. Juliana and Michael had no idea when they started talking before their flight that they would end up together. Michael was swamped at work with a trial to worry about – Juliana needed to be concerned about her boyfriend and her mother. Michael’s treatment of his fiancée Paige was infinitely better than I thought she deserved – especially after every single thing she put him through. I despised her from the first scene and never really warmed up to her. I found Paige to be selfish and the typical spoiled rich princess. Michael put up with her more than I would have and I caught myself trying to tell him how to handle her. As for Juliana, she was loyal to a fault but I never doubted her feelings for Michael – even with Jeremy still trying to win points with her and get back in her good graces.

When you add in the intrigue and suspense of Michael’s high profile trial, I found myself on the edge of my seat frantically reading to find out what happened. Realistic to the ‘nth’ degree, I could see the events unfolding in the courtroom and felt like I was right there to witness them.

The love Michael and Juliana felt for each other seemed to happen quickly and simultaneously but I never discredited their feelings. The love they found themselves sharing with each other was that of soul mates and it was exactly what each needed. They loved sensuously and every touch was full of emotion and caring. I found their exploration of each other to be fascinating and it was as if I was witnessing a realistic and committed relationship unfold.

LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT by Marie Force is most definitely a keeper. It is an astounding book. I loved every single word!

Thank you, Natalie!

Friday, June 5, 2009

July 20: Join Me for a Book Club Chat

We're going to talk about Love at First Flight right here on the blog on Monday, July 20, from 8 p.m. Eastern Time until we're done! So get your copies early and get them read so we can talk about all the juicy details. I'll pose a couple of questions and then we'll burn up the comments talking our faces off about Michael, Juliana, Paige, Jeremy, Rachelle, Mrs. R, the rotten Benedetti brothers, Juliana's dysfunctional family, Michael's sisters—the whole gang.

I want to know what you think of a few things that happen in the book. And, you can ask me any questions you have about the plot, the characters, the settings, the writing process. It's open mic night on the blog!

July 20, 2009
8 p.m. EASTERN
Bring Your Questions, Your Opinions and a Glass of Wine!

**There Will Be SPOILERS, so if you haven't read the book, don't look!

**A prize will be awarded to the most insightful book club participant!


Check out my blog tomorrow, June 6, on the Casablanca Authors Blog where I talk about Love, Sex and Murder as it applies to Love at First Flight!

Twenty-four days to go!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This Could Only Happen to a Romance Writer...

Before I forget, I want to say HELLO to Dan's cousin Jerry and his wife who told me when I was recently in Indiana that they are big fans of the blog and read it regularly. Thanks guys, but I think you have to prove it to me by commenting one of these days!! :-) Nice to see you both!

Right outside my office window is a bird house that sees a LOT of activity every spring. Each year a new family (I assume they are new or this woman has a LOT of kids by now--the bird world's Octomom) moves into the little house and the parents spend hours each day carting in junk from the yard to make their nest. They loved when Consuela was around because her hair was everywhere and it was very popular bedding material. Yesterday, I'm sitting here minding my own business and trying to work when Mom and Dad decided to "take a little time for themselves." Outside the house. In front of me. OMG, I have NEVER seen birds humping before. I didn't even know they could! Dan says, DUH, where do you think the babies come from? To be honest, I'd never given that much thought! Wings were flapping, there was lots of chirping, and then a THIRD bird came along. Apparently this was too much for Mom and Dad because they chased off the interloper and continued what they were, ahem, doing. I was relieved to discover that Mom and Dad aren't swingers!

Today, in a brazen attack, a squirrel ran up the side of the shed where the birdhouse is mounted and plopped himself on the roof of the birdhouse. Mom and Dad FREAKED out and managed to chase away an animal that was easily ten times their size. I guess the parental protection gene is the same in all species. In a few weeks, the incessant chirping of the baby birds will drive me BATTY, but until then I'm enjoying watching Mom and Dad and their many adventures. It's like Wild Kingdom around here.

While we are on risque topics (and there will be a risque point to this if you stick with me), my friend Cheryl initiated a discussion about Twitter today, basically asking the question: WHY? This is what she said, and I couldn't agree more even though I'm under tremendous pressure to join the Tweet bandwagon to help sell books: There's actually a fairly big divide in our company about this, with the youngsters wondering 1) how we (old people) could breathe every day without using (social media tools), 2) how did we even get to live this long and 3) why we don't jump on this bandwagon, for which we are already way behind the curve. The old people like me and my bosses wonder 1) what the hell do you do with all this stuff, 2) what's in it for me, 3) if I want the information I seek it out, 4) if I want to talk to someone I call them or email them, I don't need to track down my old gym teacher from 1st grade, 5) if the youngsters are so smart, why are the old folks their bosses? (I like that last part the best. Reminds me of that line from Fried Green Tomatoes: I'm older, I'm stronger, and I have better insurance. We may be old and stupid, but we are the bosses!) Anyway, so one of her friends replied with this gem: I do not tweet, but I laugh because in an interview, Stephen Colbert said that he had "twatted." Now that is funny!

And since we're going for it on the risque for the day, I give you this, which quite simply cracked me up:




Thanks to my friend Chris who sent that one!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

T Minus 29

I meant to write a T Minus 30 posting yesterday, as we are now in the 30-day countdown to the launch of Love at First Flight! However, I was felled by my annual spring sinus event over the weekend, and yesterday was a bit of a lost day. Sooooo much has been going on around here that I've had zero time for anything. I'm sorry to have been out of touch lately. Since we last chatted, my father-in-law passed away in Indiana. He was 86, and it was expected, but it still came as a surprise to us when we got the call two weeks ago today—and yes, that was two weeks to the day after Consuela died. His funeral was held the Friday before Memorial Day, the one weekend of the year when something really big happens in Indiana: The Indy 500. We got some major sticker shock when we looked into flying. So we ended up driving. Before we left, however, we had to make a mad dash to the mall to outfit two kids who grew a foot this winter and had not a funeral-worthy stitch of clothing between them.

Here's a little something I wrote about my father-in-law for the Casablanca blog:

As writers we strive to create unforgettable characters, and sometimes we meet people who are so unique, so singular that we realize we could never make up something better than what’s right in front of us. Richard Force was just that kind of person. His life spanned many adventures—including a stint as a carnival worker and service to his country in World War II as a member of the prestigious Flying Tigers, during which he was shot down over occupied China and spent a month hiding in rice fields until he was rescued. He never ate rice again.

After the war that took the life of his older brother, Richard returned home to Indiana, married his childhood sweetheart, fathered six children (mine is the fifth Force of nature), and went to work building bridges for the railroad in the Midwest. He took great joy in his ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was one of the funniest, most outrageous people I’ve ever met—a true character in every sense of the word. And when I think of him, I’ll remember living near them in Florida and how he came running any time I needed help with my kids when my husband was deployed with the Navy. Our relationship was all about razzing each other on a wide variety of topics, ranging from who was a better Euchre player (definitely him, but I can only admit that now that he’s gone) to whether the Cubs or the Red Sox were baseball’s most cursed team (I finally prevailed on that one thanks the 2004 Sox). I’ll never forget mentioning that I was the only woman in the Force family who can’t sew like a professional. “You,” he said, “have other talents.” I certainly hope he was referring to my writing, but knowing his wicked sense of humor, I was afraid to ask! I loved him, and I’ll miss him.

The road trip out and back was fairly smooth. The kids are great travelers as they've been road-tripping with us since they were babies. Back in the day, we had to bring car seats and pack-n-plays as well as two rowdy dogs. These days, it's all about electronics: iPods, iTouches, PSPs, cell phones and a huge bag of chargers to keep all the gadgets going. We also took along my dad's Garmen, the first time we've traveled with the aide of GPS technology. We named her Lola, and Dan finally found a woman who bitches at him more than I do. He argued with her all the way to Indiana and back again! I got wife of the year points by allowing him to listen to the Indy 500 on the radio for FOUR HOURS. Zoom, zoom, zoom...

It was great to spend time with our Indiana family as well as the large group of cousins and friends that six siblings accumulate along the way. I also enjoyed watching my son Jake, the youngest grandchild on both sides of the family, chase his older cousin's babies. He loved that he finally got the chance to play the role of the BIG cousin. On the way back, we drove the full 16-hour, 950-mile trek in one very long day. What seemed like a great idea in eastern Pennsylvania became a bit precarious by eastern Connecticut. But we made it safe and sound and were glad to be home.

For those of you keeping track, yes this has really been a hell of a year for my family. But while we were away, my father got a clean bill of health from his neurologist, closing the final loop on his January head injury. And July 1 marks the start of the second half of the year, the same day Love at First Flight hits stores. Let's hope it's the start of a positive, productive, PEACEFUL second half of 2009! Nowhere to go but up!