Nine days in France

Here’s some actual news — I’m leaving for Paris on Monday morning. I will be spending four days there, then two days in Rennes, then another two days in a town called St, Malo, which is a walled city that used to be a hangout for pirates. Then I’ll return to Paris for the flight home.

Yes, France — the land of romance, art, fabulous scenery, and, of course, food. It’s been a ‘Bucket List’ item of mine since long before there was such a thing as a Bucket List. I’m finally going because my oldest daughter is moving to Rennes for the next three months, in hopes of becoming a permanent resident of France. The reasons for her move, and the process, is another blog post altogether.

The reason for this blog post is two-fold.

First — I love my daughter. She is brilliant and fearless. Her beliefs are not necessarily mine, but they are deeply felt and fiercely defended, leading to some pretty intense conversations—always a good thing. She has a wicked sense of humor and loves wandering around looking at things almost as much as I do. On paper, she’s the perfect travelling companion.


She and I do NOT share the same feelings about…food.

She enjoys good food, don’t get me wrong. She’s a great cook and is a street food aficionado. She’s also a good drinker, which is a plus in my book.

But…and here it comes…she does not necessarily think that eating a good meal can be a religious experience.

And I do.

When it comes to personal entertainment and fulfillment, I happen to think that Dining is one the top five great things you can do with your time. It’s not just the eating; it’s the whole experience. Choosing the restaurant, perusing Yelp reviews, reading and re-reading the menu before making the decision? That could take me hours. Going into a restaurant for the first time and looking around, seeing the other people there, hearing and smelling things for the very first time? It’s like going into a foreign country. And the actual eating? Well, sure, that’s an event, but then—the after-meal-discussion? Why, that can be the rest of the evening.

So, what I’m going to miss, in one of the greatest food cities in the world, is sharing how I feel about the food. So, I thought—hey, isn’t that what social media is all about? Sharing with like-minded people just how amazing that single fork-full really was?

Hence, this blog post, to announce to the entire world (or, whoever is reading this) that I am creating an Instagram account to chronicle my trip. And since you all know what the Eifel Tower looks like, for the sole purpose of this account will be to show you pictures of all of the food I will be eating during this trip.

Food, you say? Yes, food. I realize this is not an original idea. In fact, social media is littered with plates, bowls, cups, etc. filled with food. So why should you even bother looking at my pictures of food?

Because I’m a writer, so I will not only show you what something looks like, I will tell you how it tastes. How it sounds when the teeth make that first contact. How it’s smooth silkiness caresses the tongue, or how the sharp saltiness makes your scalp tingle. There are so many amazing food experiences in a city like Paris, and I am going to seriously try to make you, dear reader, feel like you are right there with me.

Pret-ty clever, right?

Of course, there are already a few glitches. For instance, I recently realized I was gluten intolerant. Totally sucks. Any of you out there who have ever eaten a meal with me will know exactly how much that totally sucks. But my daughter has explained that there is an enzyme used in the pesticide that is sprayed on ALL wheat grown in this country that is the actual cause of all those horrific symptoms, and that in Europe I should not have the same issues. Which, if true, may get me to start thinking about moving there permanently.

There are also budgetary constrictions. Mainly, my daughter has X amount of money to last her the three months, which means she can’t splurge too much. Or at all. Sure, I could pay for both of us, but then I’d have to explain to my husband why we couldn’t pay our American Express bill, and that could get dicey. Consequently, my Paris Pinterest board is 50% ‘where to eat for cheap.’ I think we’ll be fine.

I managed to get an Instagram account set up all by myself. In the process of this setting up, I decided that I take a really crappy Instagram picture. I’m not naturally photogenic, and that iPhone7 camera does not help at all. So, there won’t be any pics of me doing any eating. But I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you all. If you really don’t feel like adding another app to your device, don’t worry. I feel your pain. You don’t need Instagram to see all this goodness; it will show up on my Facebook feed. I think. I hope.

I may experiment before I actually leave, so if you happen to see anything on Instagram from me in the next day or two, it will probably be pictures of my luggage, or maybe piles of the clothes that Pinterest swears I can fit into one carry-on bag and guarantee I will look like a true Parisian, rather than a gauche tourist.

Oh, and that second reason for this blog post? Being a writer, anything I write about is, technically, me doing my job. I can now deduct the whole trip as a business expense

Now, that’s clever!


This close…..

Okay –

Today was the last drawing of winners in my 12 weeks of swag giveaway – next Sunday is the BIG FINAL DAY – and all the weekly winners chosen from September 1st ’till now will go into one, giant pot – figuratively speaking, of course – and someone will win a Kindle Fire HD.  Five more someones will win a signed copy of A Slight Change of Plan.  Good luck to everyone.

This has been SO much fun!

Not only did I start a bit of a buzz about my book, but I met some really wonderful women who I know I will be hearing from on and off for as long as I’m writing.  Thanks, everyone, for making this such a great experience for me.

So the launch is Tuesday – and I’m pretty excited.  Got a great outfit – finally.  After I took the ‘naked’ option off the table, it was pretty simple.  ‘My People’ will be on hand to help sell books, run the raffles, give away prizes, and leave me free to wander around and play Author.  I love My People.  The word on the street promises a good turn-out.   And yes, I’m cool enough to really have people on ‘the street.’

The re-designed website will be going up this week.  It looks great, and there will be some new cool stuff.  For one thing, I’m opening a Zazzle store.  So many people expressed an interest in my prizes – the T-shirts and the coffee mugs – that I looked around for a way to make them available.   At the Zazzle store – – you’ll find items for A Slight Change of Plan, as well as for a few of my other books.  Designing this stuff was a blast!  Anything to keep from writing, right?

I’m going to have an Audio page, so you can hear chapters from the audiobooks that are available for Better off Without Him and A Slight Change of Plan.  The audio for A Different Kind of Forever is in the works.

My new website will also have a page for Marijon Braden, which is the pen name I’ve written a Young Adult novel under.  If you’re into that sort of thing, check it out.

And then I’ll settle down and finish the next book.  And after that, I think a sequel to Better Off Without Him is long overdue. Keep checking the website, because I’ll be naming a few characters after my readers in the near future!

This has been an amazing journey so far.  Thanks for the company!

Meet the Characters Blogfest!

Welcome to the Meet the Characters Blogfest!

Readers, get ready for a whole month of some of the most interesting, hottest, attention grabbing characters in today’s YA, NA, Romance, Horror, and Paranormal fiction! 
All month long I’ll be introducing readers to amazing characters through character bios, artwork, interviews, and contests. Check out the schedule below from what you’ll find each day this month. 

That’s Not All…

We’ll be having some fabulous contests, each of which has it’s own giveaway. Readers will get to vote on the characters, and one lucky voter in each contest will win a copy of the book the Winning Character comes from. The character giveaways will include: 
Hottest Guy Contest (10/4)
Feistiest Girl Contest (10/11)
Cutest Couple Contest (10/18)
Steamiest Couple Contest (10/25)
There will also be one MAIN GIVEAWAY starting today where 1 LUCKY WINNER will win a prize pack of 40 books from some of today’s hottest new authors. Additional winners will be chosen to receive runner-up prize packs as well. Scroll down and enter below! 


10/2 — Character interviews with Zadie Stonebrook (My Sister’s Reaper – Dorothy Dreyer),            Tizzy Donovan (Laid out and Candle Lit – Ann Everett), Kristi Becker (A Plain                  Wish – Cyndi Lord), Zander Roth (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/3 — Character Bios from Kristi Becker (A Plain Wish – Cyndi Lord), Bryan Sullivan                    (Arcadia’s Gift – Jesi Lea Ryan), Brandon James (Love and Other Games – Aria                  Kane
10/4Hottest Guy Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/7 — Character Surprise Posts from authors RH Ramsey and DelSheree Gladden
10/8 — Character Artwork from The Other F Word (Susan Stec) and Wicked Hunger                    (DelSheree Gladden) 
10/9 — Character interviews with Kate Everett (A Slight Change of Plan – Dee Ernst),                  Jean (In Polester Pajamas – Catherine Dougherty), Ben (Twenty-Five – Rachel                    Hamm), Vanessa Roth (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/10 — Character Bios from Kassia (Ice Magic), Maze (The Ballerina and the Fighter –                    Ursula Sinclair), Lucien (Smoke, Wings, and Stone – Marijon Bradley)
10/11Feistiest Girl Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/14 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Kara Leigh Miller, Sharon Kleve, Linda                  Budzinski 
10/15 — Character Artwork from On a Wing and a Dare (Linda Ulleseit), Invisible                            (DelSheree Gladden)
10/16 — Character interviews with David Corbin and Jon Reyes (Sign of the Throne –                    Melissa Eskue Ousley), Rosie (In Polyester Pajamas – Catherine Dougherty),                        Ketchup (Wicked Hunger – DelSheree Gladden)
10/17 — Character Bios from Nadia (love and Other Games – Melinda Dozier), (Karen                      Gastreich), (HL Carpenter)
10/18Cutest Couple Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/21 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Stephanie Wardrop, Lucy Crowe, Ana                    Blaze
10/22 — Character Artwork from Haunting Joy (Lena Goldfinch) and The Destroyer                        Trilogy (DelSheree Gladden)
10/23 — Character interviews with Rachel Blackstone (The Relcutant Medium – GG                        Collins), Nell (The King Series – Tawdra Kandle), Arcadia ( Arcadia’s Gift – Jesi                  Lea Ryan), Olivia & Mason (Invisible – DelSheree Gladden)
10/24 — Character Bios from (Karin Gastreich), Sam and Cole (Fate War: Alliance – EM                    Havens)
10/25Steamiest Couple Contest (Stop by and vote for your favorite!)
10/28 — Character Surprise Posts from authors Susan Stec, Shauna Roberts, Lisa                          Cresswell
10/29 — Character Artwork from My Sister’s Reaper (Doroth Dryer), Twin Souls                            (DelSheree Gladden)
10/30 — Character interviews with Nathan Shaw (Reflection – Kim Cresswell), Nia (In the              Winds of Danger – Linda Ulleseit), Jayden or Merch (dark Night of the Soul – EM                Havens)
10/31 — Winner’s Announcements!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the fun here –

Shiny New Covers!

Montlake has re-released Better Off Without Him with a beautiful new cover. I’m so pleased with it! Yes, I will miss my shocking pink and martini glass, but I’m hoping this new look will open up the book to a new audience. A Different Kind of Forever is looking better too, don’t you think? Let’s hear it for progress!

My giveaway is going along really well. I know, I had said I’d post winners names here, and I was going to until it was pointed out to me that some people may not want their names plastered all over the blog. So a few brief shout-outs – congrats Jeanne and Jackie and Amanda – and you’ll just have to trust me on the rest.

You might have noticed there’s no RaffleCopter at work here. Because this isn’t your typical giveaway, I’ve had to improvise. Every Sunday, I take all the eligible email addresses, throw them in to Random Inc, and let the cyber-bots pick the top names for me.

But – some people are not responding to their emails. I know, every time you see an email that says ‘You’ve Won!’,you automatically think it’s junk mail offering male enhancement products. But in this case…you might have really won something from me, so check your spam folders, folks. I’ve got a few unclaimed bookmarks!

I’m planning a launch party for November 19th, from 6pm to 10pm, at The Dublin Pub in Morristown NJ. One of the scenes in A Slight Change of Plan actually takes place there, and the nice folks there are letting me have one the rooms. So – if you live anywhere close, save the date and come by! I’ll be giving away swag, as well as dinners for 2 and free drinks. Plus, you get to meet me and my ‘people’. (Yes, I have ‘people,’ I blogged about them, remember?) I’ll also be signing books, doing readings…I’ve never had a launch before, so I’m just doing every single thing I can think of that sounds fun.

That’s it folks. Remember, just because you’ve signed up for my blog, doesn’t mean you’re automatically signed up for my newsletter. So if you want in on the giveaway, head over to and sign up!

It’s so exciting to have something to talk about!!!


Well, I’m having a giveaway in honor of my new book, A Slight Change of Plan, and you’re all invited. Here’s the deal – you need to sign up for my newsletter. Yes, I know, you may already be signed up for my blog, but this is the Newsletter, you know, on my Website. That’s a different list. So, see that button here on the side…just click it and it will take you to my fabulous new giveaway page, and everything will be explained.

If you’re already signed up for my newsletter, here’s the scoop…

From September 1st to November 24th, every Sunday, I (of rather, the completely impartial MailChimp robot whose job it is to do this sort of stuff) will choose 10 winners to receive swag. Yes, I have swag – bookmarks and cute magnets for the fridge. One additional winner will receive swag plus a very cool coffee mug. All those winners get thrown into another hat, and on 11/24, 5 folks will each receive a signed paperback copy of A Slight Change of Plan, and one winner will get a Kindle Fire HD 8.9, 16 gig.

Yeah, we’re getting into the big time.

The Kindle Fire can only be shipped within the U.S. – sorry guys – but everything else can be shipped internationally.

I will post the lucky winners names here every week.

If you haven’t pre-ordered A Slight Change of Plan yet, you might want to get on that. I’m trying to figure out a way to have T-shirts printed, and I’d be giving those away to random folks who can produce a receipt for the pre-order.

That’s it for now. Good luck, everyone!

A Slight Change of Plan release info

We have lift-off!! Sort of. My next romantic comedy, A Slight Change of Plan, is being released November 19th by Montlake Publishing. We’re still working on a cover, but I do have a pre-order button – Amazon is VERY efficient.

This is much like Better Off Without Him, with the accent on comedy, but I have to say, it turned out to be a great love story as well. This is not the official blurb, but should give you an idea of what’s going on. So,yeah – another kick-ass woman getting what she deserves!

A Slight Change of Plan – release date 11/19/13

Kate Everett is about to begin her ‘Second Act’. She’s been a widow for eight years, and thinks it might be time to start looking for someone to share her life with again. She quits her high-pressure job for something that will allow her more leisure time. And with her youngest son graduating college, she gets rid of the huge family home and moves into a fabulous condo that’s smaller and easier to manage. She’s pretty much got the rest of her life figured out. All she has to do is sit back and let the pieces fall into place.

But her real life never gets the memo. First, her son decides that a PhD is in his future and moves back in with her – along with his girlfriend. Her dream job falls through, leaving her unemployed. Her mother, whom she hadn’t spoken to in years, can no longer live alone, and has moved into her basement.

Her shiny new condo is starting to feel a little bit cramped.

Then there’s her oldest son, Jeff. He and his partner are Kate’s best chance for her very first grandchild, but are the two of them starting a family or breaking up?

And finally, much to Kate’s dismay, her only daughter is planning the smallest and simplest wedding in the history of all weddings.

Can this get any more complicated?

Sure it can.

Her foray into the world of dating finds her tentatively moving towards a relationship with one man just as her college love – the man who was her soul mate before he broke her heart – pops up on the same on-line dating site. Jake is now a successful businessman who realizes that he made a huge mistake walking out on Kate all those years ago, and he’s eager to win her back. Although Kate is torn between wanting to recreate the past and building something brand new in the present, it looks like her happily-ever-after may come true after all.

But when her daughter’s future father-in-law, Edward, arrives from England, something about him strikes in her an unexpected chord.

It looks like real happiness may require a slight change of plan.

Coming soon…

Sorry everyone – yes, I know, I haven’t been very forthcoming with the blogs. I realize that, in order to keep my audience interested and committed, I’m supposed to be chatting with you all on a regular basis. The truth is, I got REALLY sick in December, with that ‘I think it’s the flu but it’s really worse’ thing, and I was out of commission for weeks.

Then – I was writing. A lot. I finished another Romantic Comedy, tentatively called A Slight Change of Plan. It’s the story of Kate, a 55 year-old-widow who decides it’s time to shake up her life and move on to the ‘Second Act.’ Since her kids have all moved out and her youngest is graduating college and says he’ll have no problem getting a job, she sells her vast family home and moves into a condo. She also trades in her high-pressure job for a much more relaxing one and joins an on-line dating service. Of course, things start to go wrong. Almost immediately.

Her youngest son decides to go after his PhD, so he moves back in with her – along with his girlfriend. Her cushy job falls through, so she’s unemployed. Her college crush – the one true love of her life – happens to be on the same dating site she is. And her mother, whom she hasn’t spoken to in eight years, can no longer live alone and moves into her basement.

Hilarity, as they say, ensues.

This is being published by Amazon/Montlake. No, I haven’t gone over to the dark side and forsaken Indie publishing. They just made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Good news – they’ll do all the editing, as well as put together a cover, two things that really made me crazy when I had to do it for myself. Bad news – it’s going to take a bit longer to release. They’’re saying October, but I’ll let you know.

But – I also finished the YA I’d been playing with since last year. It’s great. I love it. It’s going to be self-pubbed, and I’m launching June 1st. It’s under a pen name – I didn’t want anyone who’d read my other books to see my name on the cover and freak out when they start reading – teen-aged girls? Soccer? Gargoyles? WHAT IS THIS?

So, I’m publishing under the name Marijon Braden. What kind of name is Marijon? There was a character similarly named in a Victoria Holt novel I read many years ago – at least I think it was Victoria Holt – and I never forgot how cool it sounded.

They’ll be a new website, new FB page – the cover is gorgeous and I’m having a blast. The title is Smoke, Wings and Stone. If you subscribe to my newsletter, I promise I”m going to actually learn how to write a newsletter and let you know when it’s coming out, so if you like that sort of fantasy/adventure, you can pick it up.

Hmmm…oh yeah. My daughter is driving with a learners permit.

Which is the other reason I haven’t had time to blog. I’ve been spending a lot of my spare time in prayer.

Haha – no, not really.

Well, maybe.

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