Tag Archives: Allison Leotta

WW Ladies Book Club

Barbara Vey -- September 25th, 2013

WW Ladies BC

Great news!  The For the Love of Romance Webcast I did with Harlequin, Kensington and Sourcebooks is up and running.  If you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to it, please do.  Dianne Moggy, Esi and Deb Werksman were amazing.  These women know their stuff and offer a lot of insight and advice.  You can catch the whole webcast here.  (There’s even slides to look at while you listen).  Now the WW Ladies offer up their reads of the week.

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Joan

Joan

Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta

Read by Joan

Anna Curtis is a green prosecutor assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C. She runs into an old law school classmate, Nick Wagner. Nick is a top notch in the Public Defenders office. Anna prosecutes a case of a battered woman and Nick ends up defending the boyfriend that has beat her up and not for the first time. Nick and Anna have begun dating secretly so as to avoid conflict with their jobs. However when Anna’s client turns up dead and Nick again defends the boyfriend, she breaks off their relation ship.

WOW! I loved this book. I was lucky to meet Allison Leotta and after learning she really was a federal prosecutor in D.C. and her background, I could not wait to read her first book. It was so fast and intense and exciting, I look forward to reading the next one, Discretion. Don’t walk to get this book; run to your nearest bookstore.

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joysann

joysann

The Bounty by Beth Williamson

Read by joysann

Bounty hunter Tyler Calhoun came a long way to take up the hunt for outlaw Nicky Malloy; after all, money is money. Nicky has been on the run for three years since she killed a man. After the bounty hunter captures her, she has to use the long trip back, and maybe their attraction, to convince him of her innocence.

The Bounty turns out to be a sweet, sexy, hot and fun Old West adventure. It doesn’t take long to like both the main characters and to get involved in their romance. This is the first book in The Malloy Family series, and I’m working my way through it.

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Heidi

Heidi

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Read by Heidi

Hannah Swensen is at the biggest party in Lake Eden. So is her worse nightmare, Doctor Bev. As Hannah is spending time with her family during the party and enjoying her famous Red Velvet Cupcakes, one partygoer takes a dive off the hotel’s roof. While Hannah is trying to figure out who would want to hurt the sheriff’s secretary, Doctor Bev is stirring up trouble with Hannah’s current boyfriend Norman. Hannah’s mild manner is at a breaking point, until Doctor Bev ends up dead, with Hannah as the prime suspect.

I really relished the fast pace of the book. It tingled my spidey-sense on who was the killer and who was the culprit causing someone to jump off or did they push off the roof. Add in Hannah’s mouth-watering recipes and this is one book that is delectable and intriguing from beginning to end.
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joysann

joysann

Affliction by Laurell K Hamilton

Listened to by joysann

When Micah’s estranged father becomes critically ill with an unknown affliction, he, Anita, Nathaniel and their bodyguards go to Boulder, Colorado, where Micah’s family lives. The mysterious illness is the result of a zombie bite, but there is something a whole lot more dangerous and sinister behind it. Anita and her companions join local law enforcement to prevent a zombie apocalypse.

I don’t get tired of listening to the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels. As always, there’s a bit of the complicated relationships and sexy scenes, but Affliction has an exciting story and a bit of a good mystery. Listening to it read by Kimberly Alexis is a lot of fun because she is very versatile with the myriad voices, which makes the audiobook enthralling entertainment.

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The winner of Six Times a Charm box set is Robin Greene.  Congratulations!  Please email angie @ angiefox.com (no spaces) with Winner of Box Set in the subject line.

Bottom Line:  Only 16 more days until I speak at Oxford and on to London, so if you’re an author there, contact me so we can meet up and yes, I talk funny (Wisconsinese).

Authors Recommending Books

Barbara Vey -- September 5th, 2013

authorsrecommendingbooks

Welcome back to our new regular feature, Authors Recommending Books.  Want to know what authors read in their spare time?  Check it out here.  Want to know what your favorite author is reading?  Ask it in the comments section and I’ll try to get the answer for you.  Good books aren’t always just new books as you can see here.  Authors can send their recommendations to maggiemaepw @ gmail.com.

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The Best ManJeanne Adams recommends The Best Man by Kristan Higgins.  Kristin blood_trinityhas a knack for pulling the heartstrings even as she gets the reader involved with her quirky, funny and fabulous characters.  You get to know the town, the family and feel a part of every story she writes.

Tracey Devlyn highly recommends Blood Trinity by Dianna Love and Sherrilyn Kenyon. I love the entire Belador series! Evalle is bad ass and the sexual tension between Evalle and Storm keeps me turning the pages.

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9780451235527_TakesAWitch_CV.indd13187657
Shirley Jump highly recommends Carolina Home by Virginia Kantra. I love everything she writes! She never fails to make me cry!

Tonya Kappes recommends It Takes a Witch:  A Wishcrafter Mystery by Heather Blake.  Heather  delivers a page turning mystery with many subplots that tie right into the main plot. Blake has built a magical world full of whimsical characters and creatures with a fun loving witch family in the Enchanted Village. Blake will have you wondering who did what and laughing all at the same time.

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Flashpoint
Leaving HavenAllison Leotta recommends Kathleen McCleary’s Leaving Haven.  The first chapter starts with a woman leaving a much-wanted baby at the hospital, and the rest of the book goes back in time to reveal why she did it.  This is an emotionally charged and incredibly plotted story about friendship, love, betrayal, and consequences.

Adrienne Giordano recommends Flashpoint by Suzanne Brockmann. Flashpoint is part of the Troubleshooters series and was the first book I read by Suzanne. After reading it, I went back and read each book in the series and love her flawed characters.

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English GirlMarilyn Baron recommends The English Girl, by Daniel Silva sign-off-320(Suspense and Foreign Intrigue). I love Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon character—master assassin, art restorer and spy—and this novel may be the best yet in his series. Mystery, mistresses, mayhem and great writing. This book has it all.

Mary Buckham loves Patricia McLinn’s, Sign Off. The debut of a new mystery series the finely developed characters, whip-sharp dialogue and setting put this on my keeper shelf.

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Lady AwakenedBeauty and the Bounty HunterAngie Fox recommends Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin (who also writes as Lori Handeland). Sweet, sexy and funny – with a plot that knocks westerns on their ear. I never knew what was going to happen next and I loved every minute of it.

Jeannie Lin says “The last book that blew me away was A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant. A widow in a desperate situation enlists a young nobleman to provide her with an heir that she can pass off as her late husband’s. The emotion between the hero and heroine built page upon page and felt so achingly real that you believed and hurt for them through every moment.

The winner of yesterday’s wonderful gift basket from Nancy Naigle is Crystal Fulcher.  Congratulations!  Please contact Nancy at nancy @ nancynaigle.com to claim your prize.

Bottom Line:  “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ― Jane Austen

Authors at Libraries

Barbara Vey -- April 26th, 2013
Allison Leotta and Eileen Dreyer

Allison Leotta and Eileen Dreyer

Well, this is a big weekend for me.  Last night there was a library event I moderated with Eileen Dreyer and Allison Leotta and this morning I’m driving them over to be on The Morning Blend tv show.  Tonight I’m moderating a free community Q&A with about 20 authors in Milwaukee and tomorrow is the Second Annual Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon.  38 authors will be here to meet, greet and dine with over 200 readers.

 

NeverAGentleman_200px

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It’s jam packed, but I love this stuff.  The library event last night went great.  All readers attended, but out of that group, several were writers.  It’s always interesting to hear the difference in questions asked between the two.  Readers want to know all about the author, their lives and what’s coming up in their books.  Writers want to know about the journey, the struggles, the successes and, I think, that affirmation that it’s possible for them to be a successful, published author.

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Speak of the Devil

Eileen Dreyer and Allison Leotta couldn’t be more different, but their love of writing is the bond.  Eileen was a trauma nurse for 18 years and started writing medical romance, suspense and now historicals.  She does her research well by taking the courses for SWAT, hostage negotiation and weapons training.  Allison was a Federal Prosecutor specializing in sex crimes, domestic violence and crimes against children.  She writes thrillers about (no surprise) a female federal prosecutor.

It was fascinating to listen to their journeys to publication.  Eileen’s been at it since the 1980′s, while Allison’s third book in her series comes out soon.

I can’t wait to have 20 authors on stage tonight and ask them hard hitting questions.  The readers/writers in the audience will have a ball!

So, what do you think I should ask them?

Bottom Line:  The door prizes for attending the library event last night was 2 tickets to my Reader’s Luncheon, given out by the library.  Isn’t that cool?

WW Ladies/Men Book Club

Barbara Vey -- January 23rd, 2013

We all grow up with warnings from our mothers, “Don’t swim after eating, you’ll drown, ” Don’t go outside with your hair wet, you’ll catch a cold,” “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”  Well, they’re all myths, but I didn’t know this one, “Reading in dim lighting will make you go blind.”  While I didn’t think it would make you go blind, I did think it affected your eyesight.  Myth.  It can give you headaches and strain your eyes, but that’s about it.  Personally, I don’t need the headaches, so I stick with nice, bright lighting when I read.

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joysann

joysann

Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Read by joysann

After an earthquake, or something, Elliott and his companions emerge from their cave explorations to discover that the cataclysm impacted the whole world and, in fact, all of society. Even worse, fifty years have passed and everything they’ve ever known is gone. They are drawn to a city called Envy, and there Elliott finds a woman called Jade and a reason to continue living.

I’m delighted to have found this book because it’s starting me on a new adventure that I’m sure to enjoy in the next five books (#6 comes out in March). Suspenseful, exciting, mysterious and romantic, I couldn’t stop turning pages till I finished. I could easily get stuck in a reading marathon, getting little else done.

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Heidi

Heidi

Discretion by Allison Leotta

Read by Heidi

Assistant US Attorney Anna Curtis is given the chance of a lifetime to handle the biggest high-profile case of her career: the death of Caroline McBride. Caroline, the highest paid escort in Washington DC plummets to her death off the balcony at the US Capitol. Anna is teamed up with the FBI to investigate the death and powerful elected officials. Anna is also teamed up with chief homicide prosecutor, Jack Bailey, who she is also secretly dating and doesn’t want that relationship exposed. Shocking twists and turns happen that lead Anna and her team on a chase that puts everyone in jeopardy.

I have been a fan legal thrillers most of my reading adult life. It takes a lot to surprise me and engross me, and this book did BOTH! I couldn’t put this book down, and when I was at the end, I couldn’t believe it. And just when you think you have all the answers, BOOM! Another twist to make me say out loud, “MAN, that was a great book!”

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Ashley

Ashley

Lyon’s Bride by Cathy Maxwell

Read by Ashley

Lord Lyon is proud, decisive and cursed. If he falls in love he dies,  part of an old Chattan family male curse.  The problem is Lord Lyon needs an heir, so he hopes he can marry and have a son without loving the women. Then just maybe this will break the ancient curse.  But then the brilliant matchmaker Thea, who is given the task of finding an unlovable bride for the Lord, enters his life and both of them start to remember feelings best that complicate everything.

A magnificent read with touching emotions and sizzling sensuality Lyon’s Bride is an excellent start to a new trilogy, I can’t wait to read the next book “The Scottish Witch”.

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joysann

joysann

Tiger’s Eye by Barbra Annino

Listened to by joysann

Since her father died and her mother left, Stacy Justice has refused to participate in her grandmother’s and her sisters’ (the locally infamous Geraghty girls) rituals of witchy magic. But when, after all these years, Stacy is tipped that her father’s death was not an accident but murder, she inexpertly starts using her magical inheritance to find who is responsible.

This is the third book in the Stacy Justice series, and the continuing mysteries are quite fun and charming. Written humorously with clever dialogue, it translates in an entertaining audiobook, courtesy of narrator Amy Rubinate. I enjoyed the books one after the other, and look forward to the next for a few light, easy hours listening.

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Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, Narrated by Paul Michael (Audio)

Listened to by Joe

Anton, an Other on the side of the Light, is a night-watchman, patrolling the streets and Metro of the city as he protects ordinary people from the vampires of the Dark. On his rounds, Anton comes across a young woman, Svetlana, whom he realizes is under a curse that threatens the entire city, and a boy, Igor, a young Other, as yet unaware of his own enormous power. Partnered by Olga, an Other who is in the form of an owl, he struggles to remove the curse and thereby save the city, while at the same time prevent Igor from falling into the clutches of the Dark.

The book is a political thriller mixed into a supernatural world. A cold war existing between the sides of Light and Dark. A strong read all on its own. In audiobook one must also look at the narrator. In this instance it is more narrator than voice actor, but a solid piece of narration. While I tend to favor the voice acting side of audiobooks more, I will always listen to a book read by a solid narrator, and Paul Michael has a long list of work that speaks volumes before you even hit play. An excellent example of a good book recorded into a strong audiobook.

Jean

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Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Read by Jean

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only wizardly detective, is back from the dead. Good news, except for the fact that he’s now in bondage to one bad-ass queen of faery. Mab wants him to kill for her, and kill, not just anyone, but an immortal. The problem is, someone is lying, and Harry must discover the truth, not only so he doesn’t kill an innocent, but before dark forces put a Chicago-sized hole in the earth. But when Harry does find out what’s going in, it only makes things worse…

I admit Jim Butcher is one of my few autobuys. I love magic, adventure, mystery and sparkling wit, and Butcher has them all. I’m in awe of how he ramps up tension and stakes–just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they went straight to hell. I also love the recurring staunch friends and allies and how I, like Dresden, can count on them in dark moments. I finished the story well-satisfied but I’m already wishing for the next book!

Bottom Line:  Today is National Pie Day…I’ll have coconut cream, please.

RWA: Free Book Signings

Barbara Vey -- August 1st, 2012

One of the most popular events at RWA is hands down the free book signings.  Publishers separately open the doors to readers and offer free books signed by the authors.  The lines are long, but it is so worth it.  You get up close and personal time with your favorite authors and a free book to boot.  Readers come prepared carrying boxes and pulling suitcases to load up with their treasures.  Here’s a few of the many authors who signed at these events.

Karen Rose

Karen Rose

 

Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson

 

Lori Handleland

Lori Handleland

 

Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta

 

Abigail Sharpe and Kathy Fawcett

Abigail Sharpe and Kathy Fawcett

 

Anne Elizabeth

Anne Elizabeth

 

Erin Knightley

Erin Knightley

 

 

Hope Ramsey

Hope Ramsey

 

Jessica Scott

Jessica Scott

 

Kate Pearce

Kate Pearce

 

Maggie Mae Gallagher and Angie Fox

Maggie Mae Gallagher and Angie Fox

 

Mari Mancusi

Mari Mancusi

Mia Marlowe

Mia Marlowe

 

Shelli Stevens

Shelli Stevens

 

Theresa Meyers

Theresa Meyers

 

Tracey Devlyn

Tracey Devlyn

Victoria Alexander

Victoria Alexander

 

Yasmine Galenorn

Yasmine Galenorn

 

Bottom Line:  Getting a free book signed by the author is like Christmas morning.

My Reads and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- September 10th, 2010
Chris and Angie at Best Buy

Chris and Angie at Best Buy

Got lots done this week.  Made it home from DragonCon with just one tattoo, refinanced my house, got a new video camera with a microphone (more Drive By Videos) and broke down and bought an iPad.  Well, kind of.  I went to Best Buy and talked with the manager Chris about the video camera I needed since I already had a microphone.  I went with a Kodak and tried out the HD feature in the store with Angie (sweet).  Then I wanted to know if I could download the video right to an iPad on the road and the Apple guy was in the store.  He cannot be identified due to company policy (I think it might have something to do with an iPhone4 being left in a bar…but that’s just a guess).  Anyway, you can’t do the video, but you can download pictures and I’m trying to figure out how I can make that a need at the conferences I go to.  So I bought it all and now have had no sleep in 2 days because I’m adding every app possible, checking out iBook (amazing…yea, backlight) and watching video.  Thanks for the sleepless nights Chris, Angie and Apple guy.

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And even with all this I managed to get a few books in this week.

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Wicked Surrender by Jade Lee -Scher Martin is the owner of the Tavern Playhouse, but with no acting talent herself, runs everything and takes care of the troupe.  She longs for a family of her own, but when Brandon, Viscount Blackstone offers her to be his mistress, she’s tempted.  Along comes Brandon’s young cousin, Kit, who wants to marry Scher.  The decision isn’t as easy as it sounds.

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This deliciously dark book took me into the underbelly of the Regency period.  Just because one wants respectability that marriage offers doesn’t mean it’s there for the taking.  Scher is level headed for business, but her heart dreams the seemingly impossible dream.  Haunting tale of eternal hope and the quest for love with an ending you won’t see coming.

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L aw of Attraction by Allison Leotta – Anna Curtis is brand spanking new in her Federal Domestic Crimes prosecuting job.  Her family history makes her work even harder for her clients and she’s especially upset when abusers get away with it.  Nick Wagner, an old college friend, shows up as a defender and Anna is torn between liking the man, but hating his job.  When Anna is thrown into a murder case, she isn’t prepared for all that comes with it…including the hard driving head prosecutor, Jack Bailey.

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Allison Leotta brings her true life experience as a federal sex-crimes prosecutor to the page as her debut novel holds nothing back.  No sugar coating this one.  A dynamic, gritty, spell-binding story with a gripping mystery.  (As a side note, I met Allison at Thrillerfest and after talking to her just a few minutes, knew she had a bestseller here…enjoy!)

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Now it’s Your Turn Friday.  What have you been reading lately?  Any books you’d like to recommend?  Here’s your chance.

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Bottom Line: Time to try reading a book on the iPad…of course I’ll do it at Panera’s with my hazelnut coffee…perfect morning.  Oh, and maybe a cinnamon crunch bagel.

Craftfest Kicks Things Off

Barbara Vey -- July 8th, 2010
Some of the Action Figures in Syndee's office

Some of the Action Figures in Syndee's office

Wednesday was another full day here in New York.  As a special treat I got to visit the DC Comics office.  Comic Con pal Syndee Barwick works there and her office is so amazing.  It’s filled with female action figures from the DC Comics.  There’s amazing artwork everywhere and in the reception area they have a light flashing the Bat signal.  Like a dork, I tried to take a picture of it with the flash, but that, naturally, made the silhouette disappear.  You know how most waiting rooms have 3 year old magazines to read?  Well, this one has a turnaround rack that is filled with comic books.  It’s no great problem to wait in this area.

Since Syndee works across from the Dave Letterman Theatre, we went to Angelo’s Pizza for lunch.  I didn’t see Dave, but the Chicken Parmesan Hero was worth the climb up all those stairs.

Once I got back to the Hyatt, it was time to register for Thrillerfest.  The first two days are called Craftfest and are geared to aspiring authors.  So I’m fortunate to have Nancy Nagle here to cover it from that point of view (see below).

Allison Leotta and Dianna Love

Allison Leotta and Dianna Love

As for me, the day ended with a cocktail party where I caught up with the amazing dynamic duo of Kathleen O’Neal Gear and Michael Gear.  More Twitter virgins for me to corrupt.  I also met debut author Allison Leotta, a prosecuting attorney with the State Department from DC (her hubby is a prosecuting attorney for Maryland).  Her legal thriller comes out in October and Allison told me that it had to be read by the State Attorney and several officials at the Department of Justice before it got the ok to be published.  No pressure there.  She’s also the mother of a 3 year old and an 11 month old.  If her book is half as wonderful as she is, I’m sold.

Heather Graham and Chynna

Heather Graham and Chynna

Finally, I stopped in the bar (ok, I’m nosy and had to see who was there) and was delighted to catch up with M.J. Rose and Douglas Clegg, two amazing authors who give one of the most popular workshops at Thrillerfest.  Heather Graham came in with her beautiful daughter, Chynna.  Turns out that Chynna will be working at one of the booths at Comic Con in San Diego in a couple of months in Artist’s Alley and dressing up as different characters.  Can’t wait to see that!

Now, please read on for Nancy’s report on Craftfest.

Nancy Naigle

Nancy Naigle

Cub Reporter, Nancy Naigle, reporting for duty at CraftFest in New York City. You might remember me from back in April when I reported on the WRW Retreat. An aspiring author, I live in the small town of Drewryville, VA on a goat farm – about as far as you can get from the tall buildings and asphalt jungle of New York. But what an exciting place to be for CraftFest, and what better way to kick it off than to run into Barbara Vey before the very first session? Her bright smile was a great way to start this very special day.


Three tracks ran concurrently giving aspiring authors 18 fabulous sessions to choose from. Everything from pitching an Agent to Voice and every craft skill in between helped us power up the tools in our tool belts and prepare for that journey to a bookshelf.


It was hard to pick which session to attend, but here’s the lowdown on a few of my favorite moments. I hope these tidbits, dazzle, motivate and even spark a little something in the fan or writer in you.


Doug Lyle, MD delivered the goods like he always does – amazing details, facts and plenty of laughs. He took us through a characterization exercise that helped us see the character arc and challenge us to remember that the growth of characters comes from the pressure we put on them. It’s why he coaches folks to write that first draft fast – then go back after you really know your characters and start shining up the prose considering the way that character would react in that situation.


The absolutely charming Andy Gross, who co-authored five novels with James Patterson, shared thoughts about supporting characters. Good supporting characters can lift up your hero when he’s down – be comedic relief – and even provide texture and humanity to a scene. Sometimes the fringe player will steal the show as they provide richness in the life around the hero. And no matter how short lived their role, every character matters.


The last session of the day for me was my favorite. Steven James, author of The Knight and The Rook among others shared the Six Secrets to Novel Writing That No One Ever Told You About. Sorry friends, no secret handshakes here! Not only did he impart wisdom, but he played dirty little tricks like throwing the handouts out into the air over our heads – very unexpected – and FUN! I have to say that among the tips and tricks he tossed in enough teasers that I’ll be downloading a copy of THE ROOK to my kindle tonight.


I could go on, but I won’t because it’s late and after that long day of sessions and the Cocktail Party hosted by Grand Central Publishing I’m excited to hit the sack so I can get up and do it again tomorrow. In the morning we’ll be greeted and treated to a whole new slew of sessions and after lunch – I’ll be heading to AgentFest where a bunch of us will be lining up in speed-date fashion to do 3 minute pitches to our choice of over 40 top agents. It’s a three hour event that is sure to be a hoot as we try to pick the right line to get the most pitches for our AgentFest buck and make great first impressions as we grip and grin with the folks that could help us make that next step on our journey toward publication.


Hugs and High 5s~


Nancy

Thanks Nancy and we’ll be looking for your next report tomorrow.


Bottom Line: Yes, it’s hotter than heck here, but I’m ok with it and I don’t want to hear any complaints when the temps hit below zero in a couple of months.