Happy Birthday to Party Lines!


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Authors probably aren’t supposed to have favorites among their books. I mean, I assume. I’m not very good at authoring. But today is the book birthday of Party Lines. Among the contemporary romances I’ve published…it’s my favorite. (Though the book I’m writing now is giving me major feels.)

To celebrate, I put together some text/image things with some of the best lines. You can see them all on the book’s Pinterest board.

I hope Lydia and Michael are celebrating with banter and bourbon!

Odds and Ends

I’ve been writing words. I’ve been editing words. I’ve been having conversations about covers. There will, in other words, be new releases from me this fall.

texts from Lydia and Michael re: the GOP debate and Dreamgirls

But in the meantime, I live tweeted parts of last night’s GOP debate from the point-of-view of Lydia and Michael from Party Lines. It’s mostly snarky commentary; nothing too partisan. You can see all of them on my timeline.

And if you like that or if the upcoming election has you in the mood for a banter-y, election, cross-party romance, remember that Party Lines is available wherever fine e-books are sold, including AmazonB&NCarinaiBooksKoboAll Romance, and Google Play.

Come a Little Closer

(Warning: I was up with a sick child all night. When I’m not sleeping, I’m thinking. And I have to write this idea out. It isn’t fully-formed, but tell me where I’m wrong so I can finish working this out.)

In The Melodramatic Imagination, literary scholar Peter Brooks defines melodrama not as something aesthetic–not in other words as a genre defined by mustache-twirling villains, perfect heroes, and damsels in distress–but as a narrative structure and a moral imperative. He writes of a scene in Balzac’s novel The Magic Skin,

The narrative voice is not content to describe or record gestures, to see it simply as a figure in the interplay of persons one with another. Rather, the narrator applies pressure to the gesture, pressure through interrogation, through the evocation of more and more fantastic possibilities, to make it yield meaning to make it give up to consciousness its full potential as “parable.” (1)

Brooks is saying that Balzac pushes closer to his subjects in order “to catch this essential drama, to go beyond the surface of the real to the truer, hidden reality” underneath (2). Brooks argues that in melodrama “nothing is left unsaid” (4), which helps to reveal the “operative spiritual values” (5) that are present but hidden in other works. He applies this schema to Henry James, in whose work he sees this “melodramatic imagination” operating when “things and gestures are necessarily metaphoric because they must refer to something else” (Brooks 10).

As far as I can tell, no one has applied Peter Brooks to genre romance–but we should because romance seems to work in much the same way. Romance is closely cropped onto a few key pieces that carry metaphorical significance and its narrative resolutions (e.g., the creation of a stable couple) are moral ones.

Continue reading “Come a Little Closer”

Party Lines: Release Day

I’m fascinated by opposites-attract love affairs. All romances include components of this; we don’t want to see people who are too similar fall in love–where’s the fun in that? But some chasms are more difficult than others to bridge. And in politics, party affiliation might be the most charged of all.

A year ago, I was writing a book about a secret affair on the campaign trail between two ambitious, jaded people who can’t seem to shake each other. They yield to the inevitable…and well, things get more complicated from there. There is banter and lots of clandestine meetings in hotel rooms. There’s a scandal and an election. And despite all their best intentions for there not to be, there just might be love too.

Party Lines Cover

That book was Party Lines and today it’s available at AmazonB&NCarinaiBooksKoboAll Romance, and Google Play. You can also add it to your Goodreads shelves.

I’ve written about it here, but also elsewhere. A few other pieces will go up throughout the week and I’ll update this post as they do.

– If you haven’t already, check out the book’s Pinterest board. It’s mostly music (no pictures of Michael and Lydia); if you email me, I’ll share my secret celebrity inspirations.

–  At the Carina blog, I wrote about the folks behind the podium and why they’re the heroes and heroines of The Easy Part series.

– There’s an exclusive excerpt at A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet.


– Also at the Carina blog, I wrote about the thin line between love and hate.

Party Lines: Teaser 3

We’re one week away from Party Lines‘ release! You get one more excerpt. It’s short but juicy.

His skimmed a hand over her cheek. She didn’t stop him.

“You ruined my day.”

“And doing that made mine.” She set one hand and then the other on his shoulders.

This shouldn’t be. He shouldn’t touch her. He shouldn’t want to touch her more. This was a colossally bad idea.

Moving slowly, Michael leaned down until their lips were millimeters apart. He could taste her from that distance, the wariness and arousal, the hesitation and anticipation. The air moved between them, from his lungs into hers, and back to his, so hyper-charged it hurt. He hurt. Wanting her hurt.

He could cross the space, kiss her and go back to working on dissembling Republicans the next day. Or he could stop this crazy thing before it went too far—

I wonder which one he’ll choose.

You can pre-order Party Lines at AmazonB&NCarinaiBooksKobo, and Google Play or add it to your Goodreads shelves. Reviewers can request it at Netgalley.

Party Lines: Teaser 2

If you celebrate, I hope you had a lovely holiday. We’re only a few days away from the end of the year and only a few weeks away from Party Lines‘ release! Here’s your second teaser:

When Lydia swung by the bar to buy a bottle of water, she almost didn’t stop when she saw a certain Democrat staffer sitting in a corner booth. Almost. But he was so deliciously rumpled and stared at the wall with a forlorn air that she found she couldn’t leave things as she had on that plane on the Des Moines tarmac three weeks earlier.

“Tell me, what’s the difference between whiskey and bourbon?”

She delivered the question leaning against the booth across from him. When he glanced over at her, she could see the moment of recognition. She definitely enjoyed the murderous gleam taking residence in his eyes. It would have shot a lesser woman back on her heels and maybe out of the bar altogether, but Lydia was taking on the Willis family in the morning—she could handle Michael Picetti.

She tilted her head to the side and gave him a pouty smile. Anyone watching would think she was trying to pick him up. She wasn’t, but this was too much fun.

He took a drag from his drink and his frown deepened. After several false starts, he asked, “Why do you care?”

“Oh I don’t. I wanted to see if you pronounced bourbon like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. You look like you would.”

The second she’d sat down next to him on the plane she’d noticed he was good-looking. Tall and slim with dark brown eyes and too-long brown hair he frequently had to sweep out of his eyes. She didn’t as a rule go for hot guys. Okay, so they didn’t go for her, but even if they did, she wasn’t interested. As a group, they were boring—they’d had everything too easy.

Michael had started their acquaintance at a disadvantage and then had dug himself in further with his assumptions about who she was. He’d gone from passively to actively pissing her off, which made this situation so delightful. She was merely returning the favor.

He slammed the glass, containing one or the other liquid, down on the table with a heavy thunk. “I look as if I’d pronounce bourbon like… You’re insane, you know that?”


As a reminder, you can pre-order Party Lines at AmazonB&NCarinaiBooksKobo, and Google Play or add it to your Goodreads shelves. Reviewers can request it at Netgalley.

Also, I meant to give an early copy of this away a few weeks ago, but my giveaway winner chose Private Politics instead. So…leave a comment on this post and I’ll choose a winner on Wednesday, December 31, at midnight. Entrants must be able to accept either a .mobi or .epub. Good luck!

Party Lines: Teaser One

So Party Lines will be out in three weeks. You probably want some teasers, hmm?

It’s very cold here. This seems appropriate.

She played with the scarf hanging around her shoulders. “Because having dinner with a Democrat is partying where you’re from?”

“No.” He reached over and tied the scarf—a ridiculous, lumpy, red thing—firmly around her neck. Keeping a hold on the ends of it to keep her close, he added, “Because I barged in on your meal, asked you to eat with me. And where I’m from, if a man invites a woman to dinner, he pays.”

“You’re bad at that feminism thing.”

Over the course of the evening, he’d eaten, so he was no longer hungry. For a time at least, he’d been warm—though seriously, Iowa, forty-five seconds outside and that was fading. Soon, he’d be back in his room and he’d get some sleep.

But staring down into Lydia Reales’s face, the neon lights from the Applebee’s sign illuminating her eyes and coloring her cheeks, he suddenly felt massively less satisfied.

The moment stuck to them until they completely passed what might be just a friendly touch. Until he couldn’t help but look at her mouth. Until he tugged on her scarf, trying to pull her closer, not to kiss, but just to nestle under his chin for a moment.

She saved them both by not moving. Which was safer. Smarter. The right call.

With an exhale, he released her scarf and stepped back. “Yes, I am.”

He found his rental car and drove back to his hotel room alone.

These two are a lot of fun. You can preorder them at AmazonB&NCarinaiBooksKobo, and Google Play or add them to your Goodreads shelves. Reviewers can request it at Netgalley.