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I Love It When Books Bring People Together
Plus, a cocktail inspired by my FMC and a free downloadable short story!
Happy March, you guys! How’ve you been?
Lately, my answer to that question has been grateful. I’m so, so busy, and I’m grateful for it.
I’m especially grateful for the community that reading and writing has brought into my life.
From #BookTwitter back in the early 2010s, to workshops domestic and abroad, on through today, I’ve met some of my favorite people thanks to the written word. In the last year alone, I’ve become dear friends with a South African book reviewer on the rise, and I’ve reconnected with my aunt’s former editorial assistant, Miriam Landis, who is herself writing incredible MG and YA novels about a ballet academy.
I experienced this feeling of gratitude a lot last weekend, when I traveled to Seattle for the annual Association of Writers and Poets (AWP) conference. I would attend panels featuring some of my favorite living authors (Stephen Graham Jones, looking at you); I would get encouragement from folks at a karaoke bar when I lost the beat to “Dog Days Are Over”; I would get a much-needed laugh with other Florida writers; I would look around Seattle’s ridiculously gorgeous convention center at the tens of thousands of others engaging in word craft, and I would think, Goddammit, these are my people. I love them.
(Also at AWP, I got to walk right up to the threshold of a new chapter in my writing life. No idea yet if I’ll be walking through it, but the potentiality itself is exciting. More details hopefully to come!)
I’m back home now, and my gray cat, Ellie, has not left my side once.Literally. She’s sitting in my lap as I type this. Why don’t we take this chill moment to catch up on book news and then I’ll share some freebies with you?
What I’m Working On
The month before and the month after a book launches are always a flurry of activity. Thank you to everyone who has already ordered and read How to Keep a Husband for Ten Days! We’re up to 40 Amazon reviews, averaging in at four stars, and My Big Fake Wedding has hit 205! If you haven’t reviewed them yet and you enjoyed them, I hope you’ll add your two cents over on Amazon or GoodReads. Positive reviews really move books these days, and this is a nearly free way to help your favorite authors out.
So many lovely folks have reviewed my novels, to the point that I really need to catch up and add their bylines to my newsroom. Here are two phenomenal places to start:
“10 Things I Read and Loved in February,” Lonely Victories
S5E12: “Pitches | Walter Tevis | Author Jessica Hatch,” #badasswriters Podcast
Freebie #1: “The Meet-Cute”
“The Meet-Cute” is partially inspired by the true story of me and my cat Tig taking a road trip from my late grandparents’ house in Virginia all the way back to my house in Florida. Tig, who is a giant meatball-headed tomcat, broke out of a very flimsy carrier, and all hell broke loose.
In the short story, Chloe is taking a similar road trip with a fictionalized version of Tig, whom she has gotten “full custody” of after a bad breakup. When this Tig’s carrier bursts open and a stranger helps her at the pet store, Chloe might be opening up to love a little sooner than she’d thought she would.
Here’s an excerpt to get you started:
The sales floor was again frustratingly empty—apart from one lone employee standing in front of the dog grooming area. He was tall and slim, with thick, brown hair crowding the starched collar of his blue polo shirt. For some reason known only to him and his psychiatrist, he was waving at a standard poodle who was standing, sopping wet, in a draining table on the other side of the window.
“For the love of—” Chloe grumbled as she strode toward the employee. When she was a few yards away, she thrust the broken carrier out in his direction. “I’m sorry to interrupt what I’m sure is a very important part of your day,” she declared, “but I’d like to return this. It was purchased here, and it obviously isn’t doing its job.”
The employee turned toward her, seeming a bit surprised to find a plastic husk held out to him. He didn’t take it, but instead fixed his bright brown eyes on hers. “Wow. That really sucks,” he said. “I hope they can help you with it.” Then, bafflingly, he turned back to the dog grooming window and tapped on the glass.
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Freebie #2: The Honey Bea
One nice thing about springtime is that all the plants are in bloom. Okay, yes, this also means pollen, but c’mon, people! Let’s see the glass as half full for once?
At the very least your coupe glass will be half full. 🍸😉 I’ve decided to create cocktails inspired by my characters, and where else would I start but with a lovely gin+wine cocktail inspired by one Beatrice Corbin, the mistress of checklists herself?
This time after a book has come out but we haven’t shouted Land ho! for the next project yet can be a messy space for a writer. With that in mind, I want to close by circling back to gratitude. Thank you for being here and rooting for me. I’m rooting for all of you too.
Until next time, then! And hey, it’s the Ides of March, so maybe watch your six? Especially if you’re not too popular with the Roman senate at the mo’. 🔪
Where to Find My Books (Clickable)
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Where were these books when I was fourteen?!
If you don’t know why it was much-needed, you aren’t paying attention: https://pen.org/florida-book-bans-not-a-hoax/; https://www.eqfl.org/Anti-Trans-Care-Bill-Filed-Senate; https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/governor-ron-desantis-backing-stricter-abortion-ban-in-florida.
She gets her anxious attachment personality from me. 😇
Another newsletter? Yes, Jesus, calm down. It’s a great way to learn about future Bookouture romantic comedies I could be bringing your way, as well as about deals on current ones. If you don’t like it, you can always unsubscribe after you get your short story.