New Leaves

Maine 6I’m recently back from coastal Maine where I rounded out my birthday month with a long overdue visit to a dear friend. Tramping through The Pine Tree State in its full glory, picking a path along rock-strewn beaches and through woods where every tree was still suited up in its own “technicolor dream coat” was more than a much needed mini-break. It was a time to rest, reflect and renew.

But then fall is my spring and always has been. For me, the months of September through November are when I throw open not only my windows but also my closet doors, the latter in preparation for purging those things that no longer suit or serve me.

Hope at Pemaquid Point_10-17-14More so than December 31st, fall is also that time of year when I give careful thought to how I want to live my life going forward, including any “new leaves” I want to turn over. And of course for many people, fall truly is the start of the New Year as celebrated in holidays such as Diwali and Rosh Hashanah (literally “head of the year”).

This fall I’m extending my annual ritual beyond the tangible tidying and hiring a Feng Shui consultant. In the course of two days, she’ll guide me through the cleansing/blessing and “feng shuing” of our home. The process, 5-6 hours each day, will of course involve that “dreaded” word–C.H.A.N.G.E.–and lots of it, but it’s a commitment I’m determine to keep. I’ll let you know how it goes. For now…

Hope & Esther_Dock at Damariscotta_10-17-14What are you doing to get ready for a new year?

TGIF — Thank Goodness It’s Fall!

Hope climbing Mt. Beacon_9-21-14

Fall is my favorite time of year–and not only because it’s the host season for my Libran birthday! Crisp air, glorious foliage, and a return to wearing luxe sweaters and cool boots! Even more so than the spring, come September/October, I feel this incredible burst of energy, as though I’m not not only renewed but re-born.

Check out my fall newsletter where I share the latest intel on film deals, foreign releases, and general fun “stuffs.” Not on my mailing list but would like to be? Please visit my Contact page and subscribe.

We made it! The summit of Mt. Beacon (1,635 ft), Beacon NY, 9-21-14

Wishing you an autumn brimming with fairytale dreams come true!


Reading SUGAR in Chicago

NAPER_Hope w Sugar booklet_Oct_1_2013I’m just back from Chicago where I had the pleasure of reading SUGAR (Book #1, FATE Series, Skyhorse Publishing) at the Lady Jane’s Salon satellite in nearby Naperville on Oct 1st, my birthday eve, no less. This was my third time guesting at the Illinois based satellite run by romance writers Tracey Devlyn (also a co-founder of Romance University) and Adrienne Giordano, and as always I had a super fun time, including giving away complimentary copies of my TEMPTING and OPERATION CINDERELLA audiobooks courtesy of Audio Realms Publishing.

Then it was off to Chicago proper for a few days of birthday R&R. Highlights of our short and oh so sweet trip include stepping out on the ledge at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), taking an architectural boat tour along the Chicago River, trolling techie exhibits, many of them interactive, at the Museum of Science and Industry (so cool!), and stuffing our faces with an array of Chicago-style hot dogs, steaks from the original Morton’s, and Giordano’s rightly famous stuffed deep dish pizza.

IMG_1420IMG_1441Now it’s back to work time, ramping up for SUGAR to release on October 21st, writing CLAIMED BY THE ROGUE (my Regency-set single title historical for Samhain), and putting la touche finale on THE CINDERELLA SEDUCTION, the wrap-up to my Suddenly Cinderella Series for Entangled Publishing.

I could really use a slice of that pizza!



Blast from the Past Part I: Ride ‘Em!

Hope_bull_4Deadlines kept me planted in my writer’s chair during this year’s Romance Writers of America national conference held in Atlanta. Joining in the fun vicariously via Facebook and Twitter–the Literacy Book Fair, the hotel meetups (translation: lobby bar), and of course the Awards Gala–sparked my memory to fond recollections of previous conferences.

At the 2007 RWA held in Dallas, I was invited to be filmed with Kathryn Caskie and a few others as part of fellow author Sophia Nash’s “Girls Gone Wild” segment for Romance Novel TV. Our ladies’ night began with a limo ride from the hotel to Cowboy Red River Saloon. There, before rolling cameras, we received a quick-and dirty lesson in the Texas two-step courtesy of two Stetson wearing local swains, downed jalapeno margaritas, and braved the mechanical bull ride. (Note: imbibing the margarita before the bull ride was absolutely essential. Also note: save margarita #2 for celebrating your successful or not so successful descent). Think Debra Winger in “Urban Cowboy” only–hint–you can adjust the speed. Not only did I keep my seat for the full time, but I had so much fun that I just may take a repeat ride. Maybe. Possibly. We’ll see…

For now, check out these fun photos and Tips for How to Ride a Mechanical Bull. Most double as excellent advice for staying the course in life, too. I particularly like: Remember to Wear Pants.

Wise words…

And please check back here on my blog for additional Blast from the Past posts as well as giveaways, book updates and my all ’round good news–the only kind I post.




TheCinderellaMakeover-1600pxToday was the release day for THE CINDERELLA MAKEOVER, Book #2 in my Suddenly Cinderella Series of contemporary fairytale-themed romances, and here in steamy Melbourne, Australia, I had quite a Princess-for-a-Day party!

I started off with a visit to RendezVous The Romance Bookstore where the lovely and knowledgeable Mirna Denic was holding down the fort–in this case the shop. Between fielding phone calls from romance enthusiasts, patiently steering each customer to the next perfect for them read, she chatted with me about my series. We even managed to squeeze in a bit of picture taking!

Next stop was Dymock’s where I chatted up the romance specialist on staff and left a stack of bookmarks for the romance fiction book club that meets monthly at the store.

A time out at the National Gallery of Victoria provided a pleasant two-hour stroll through the museum’s impressive collection of paintings, sculpture, and pottery by Australian artists.  The artistic foray was field work for an upcoming novel!

Melbourne_RendezVous Romance Bookstore_Mirna_March_11_2013
With Mirna Denic of Melbourne’s iconic RENDEZVOUS The Romance Bookstore.

Melbourne_RendezVous Romance Bookstore_Facade_Mzarch_11_2013Melbourne_RendezVous Romance Bookstore_Book Table_March_11_2013All that walking can leave an author girl footsore–and feeling more like a stepsister who’d attempted to cram her hoof into a too tiny glass slipper than an actual princess. The remedy: a 20 minute foot massage at a local day spa!

Then it was off to dinner — a dozen local “pearls of the sea” plus a hearty steak at Pop in Hardware Lane.

Now its back to the hotel and an early lights out in prep for tomorrow’s trip down the Great Ocean Road, which follows Victoria’s ruggedly beautiful southwestern coast. .



Greetings from Oz

Hi Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary_Hope_w_Kaola_Feb_28_2013All!

I am writing this post from sunny Melbourne, the second stage of my Australian…progress. 😉

My tour started with the third annual Australian Romance Readers Conference, ARRC2013, in Brisbane where I was honored to present our first ever overseas Lady Jane’s Salon. Four fabulous guests (Cathy Maxwell, Keri Arthur, Amy Andrews & Anna Campbell), an enthusiastic audience of more than 100 attendees, and a bistro style setting cleverly created by conference coordinator Debbie Jay et al. contributed to a rousing success. Read more about the Salon program here.

Following Friday night’s Salon, I took off my co-founder cap and put on my author tiara. Panels and a book fair rounded out the week.

Around the conference, I managed to squeeze in trips to Carrumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Mount Tambourine with fellow author, Cathy Maxwell. Cuddling koalas, hoisting wine glasses, and dining on Moreton Bay “bugs” (trust me, they’re a delicacy) made for a spectacularly fun week. Many thanks to the delightful Megan Bamford for her extraordinary hospitality and hostessing skills.

Before leaving Brisbane for Melbourne, I stopped by the legendary Rosemary’s Romance Books and visited with proprietress extraordinaire, Rosemary Potter.

Rosemary's Romance Books-StorefrontI’ve had the pleasure of seeing Rosemary stateside over the years, usually at RT BOOK Lovers conferences but catching up in her beautiful store was truly special. Wood paneled book shelves, a fainting couch, and myriad romance novels, all meticulously cataloged and shelved, had me wishing I might make a day of my visit rather than an hour. Along with a huge hug, I left er with a stack of bookmarks for my Suddenly Cinderella series.

Tonight I am meeting local author Alison Stuart for a candlelit ghost walk of Melbourne city. Boo!

Our first ever overseas Lady Jane’s Salon for ARRC2013 was a huge success thanks to the organizers, the welcoming audience, and our four great guests. Left to Right, Hope Tarr, Amy Andrews, Keri Arthur, Anna Campbell & Cathy Maxwell
Hope_Book Fair_ARRC2013
I was one of more than 65 authors signing at the ARRC2013 Book Fair.

Next week, I depart for Sydney. Please stay tuned for an article on my Australian trip for the print version of RT BOOK Reviews magazine this summer.






Back from Paris

I’m back from my work trip to Paris, a whirlwind week if ever there was one. In my just six days in the city (one day spent in travel), I toured the offices of three French publishers: J’ai Lu, Bragelonne, and LeDuc, met with the senior editors at each house as well as their art and marketing staff, and had multiple meetups with a bevy of lovely and enthusiastic French bloggers including those from Au Boudoir Ecarlate and Onirik.

The meetups were held at the J’ai Lu offices and coordinated with help from the French romance review site and webzine, Les Romantiques. Merci a tous!

A dinner at La Fresque, a charming laid-back bistro situated on the site of a former open air market in the first arrondissement, followed the Monday meetup. Delicious wine, food, and conversation — e.g., the romance industry in France vs. America — kept us at the table well into the night.

Hope with Margaret Calpena, Responsible editoriale, of J'ai Lu.

As some of you may remember, J’ai Lu bought the French print rights to my Men of Roxbury House trilogy. Vanquished, renamed La Rose de Mayfair, released last spring with the publisher’s Aventures & Passions romance line. The lovely translator, Viviane Ascain, with whom I also met, will soon be hard at work translating books #2 and 3, Enslaved and Untamed, into the French as well. Bon courage, Viviane!

I also gathered photos and information for my upcoming travel articles for EuropeUpClose, including one focused on Bastille Day or, more properly, La Fete Nationale as it’s referred to in France. Viewing the shimmering spectacle of a light-bedecked Eiffel Tower and later the fireworks display from a rooftop restaurant in Monmartre was a rare and special moment, a memory for a lifetime, as well as research for my travel tips piece.

The meetup at J'ai Lu on July 16th drew nearly 20 romance bloggers from Paris and its surrounds.

Now it’s nose to the grindstone time, or at least posterior planted in the office chair, as I finish up edits on Operation Cinderella, Book #1 in my new contemporary romance series with Entangled Publishing, complete my travel articles–and occasionally take time to dream of my next trip to Paris.

Many thanks–un grand merci–to my new French friends for making this American (romance author) in Paris feel utterly welcomed and at home.

And yes, there was cake, les macarons, as well as other treats.


Book Week in Review: Barbara Vey, Lady Jane’s & the RT Con

With PW Blogger @BarbaraVey at the RT BOOKLovers Convention Book Fair.

This past week was rather…full. Or better yet, replete with lots of great opportunities to meet and interact with fellow writers and readers in both Milwaukee and Chicago.

Kicking off the fun fest was PW blogger Barbara Vey with her first Annual Readers’ Appreciation Luncheon in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. More than 200 readers and 38 authors including Cathy Maxwell, Roxanne St. Claire and Yours Truly congregated at the Oak Creek Community Center for a lovely catered luncheon. Heather Graham gave the fun keynote talk, regaling us with true tales far stranger than any fiction.

Tempting cupcakes by author Dianna Love.

More than 38 author-donated raffle and door prizes were awarded including my “Tote of Tempting Treats” filled with an ARC of the Tempting audiobook and other goodies. Lastly, the guest authors signed our for sale books. Didn’t make it this year? No worries. Barbara’s already set the date for next year’s luncheon: April 27, 2013, location TBA. Indeed the sell-out event was so successful that next year’s will require an even larger venue. Way to go, Barbara!


Then it was off to Naperville, a Chicago suburb, for my guest reading at our satellite Salon, Lady Jane’s Salon Naperville. Founded by romance authors Tracey Devlyn and Adrienne Giordano in February 2012, the Salon is held every other month in the loft of Le Chocolat, a lovely local chocolate patisserie and coffee bar in downtown Naperville.

My table at Barbara Vey's Luncheon.

Just a few months’ old, the Salon already boasts a robust following of romance readers and writers. The April 10th event hosted five guest authors: Laurie London, Traci Hall, Tracey Devlyn (reading her romance debut, A Lady’s Revenge, Book #1 in the Nexus series), Cherry Adair, and yes, me, reading from Tempting. To learn more about the Naperville satellite and “Celebrate Differences,” the recipient charity, visit their website.


Another Tempting tote was a charity raffle prize at Lady Jane's Naperville.

Last but in no way least came the RT BOOKLovers Convention. Highlights of the con included the Thursday E-Book & Graphic Novel Expo, workshops and panel talks by authors representing every Shade of Gray (so to speak) of romantic fiction, a mind boggling array of theme parties and costume events, and of course the renowned giganormous Saturday Book Fair, open to the public as well as convention attendees.

But there is indeed no place like home. After a week of glamor–or at least makeup, “real” clothes, and daily hair washings–I returned home to New York on Sunday evening pleasantly weary and wonderfully… replete, happy and blessed to be back to this writing life of sweat clothes’ wearing and copious cat cuddling and sitting down every day to write the books of my heart.

At the RT Book Fair with @LenGunnModel, Mr. Romance 2011

Happy New Year, Happy New Beginnings

TEMPTING, releasing as an audio and ebook Feb/March 2012.

I’d like to start by sharing one of my favorite quotes by another romance writer you may have heard of, Mary Ann Evans.

“You’re never too old to be who you might have been.” –George Elliot.

You tell ’em, Mary Ann.

2011 was, in many ways the year in which seeds were sewn for me. Among those, I revived a former second writing career as a travel and freelance features writer. Despite getting a late start, I had ten articles published with EuropeUpClose, WETA’s inReads (interview with Nora Roberts) and RT BOOKReviews Magazine (interview with Julia Quinn), to hit the highlights.

Now 2012 is off to a rock n’ roll start. Check out my Step-by-Step Guide to Visiting Peru’s Machu Picchu published just this month by uber savvy travel site, BootsnAll.

On the romance front, my co-founded monthly romance fiction reading salon, Lady Jane’s, will celebrate its third anniversary (and counting) on  Monday, February 6th at our beloved Madame X. Deets forthcoming but for now, know that with Eloisa James and Sarah Wendell (guest emcee) joining us its going to be quite the par-tay!

My award-winning Victorian-set romance novel, TEMPTING, will enjoy a second life early this year as both an audio and digital release. Please check back for specifics including the links.

Lastly, I have a new Facebook Author page, which will soon replace my profile page, fast approaching FB’s 5,000 friends’ limit. If you haven’t already, please take two ticks to “Like” me. 🙂

The winter holiday season may be ended but there’s no reason the “gifts” can’t keep coming. In that spirit, I wish you…

A 2012 filled with fairy tale dreams come true,






Highlights from Peru

Some trips are just that, pleasant getaways. Others are “journeys.” My recent twelve days in Peru definitely ranks among the latter.

Rather than see Peru through the window of a tour bus, I opted for a more active approach. After two days spent exploring the city of Cusco on my own, I joined up with a walking/hiking tour group operated by Country Walkers.

As I did with my April-May trip to Italy, I will be detailing my Peruvian adventures in a series of travel articles. I am also prominently detailing my Peruvian journey in my current nonfiction book. Details forthcoming…

For now, the piece de resistance of the hiking portion of the trip was a two-day visit to the famous Inca City of Machu Picchu.

Built in the 1450’s, the Golden Age of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu is especially popular as a tourist destination this year, 2011, which marks the 100th anniversary of its (re)discovery by explorer, Hiram Bingham.

I say rediscovery because Machu Picchu was never the “lost city” that Bingham made it out to be. Nor was it attacked by the invading Spanish as were most other Inca cities. The site, while badly overgrown, remained intact and well known to the local Andean people throughout the centuries. Two Andean families occupied a portion of the ruins when Bingham first made his appearance in 1911. The young son of one family served as one of his guides.

Summit of Machu Picchu Mountain--how sweet it was!

To preserve the main Inca trail leading into the site, the Peruvian government strictly limits the number of park passes issued per day. Because I booked late, the allotted number of Inca Trail permits had already been distributed to my group. Instead, I hiked Machu Picchu Mountain alone with a local guide, then rejoined my group later that afternoon at The Gate of the Sun.

The 2,000 foot climb up Machu Picchu Mountain took me to 10,300 feet. Fortunately I’d been hiking for almost a week and was well acclimated to the altitude. The topography of the trail presented the real challenge. A more or less 90 degree straight shot up, it also involved navigating jagged granite “steps.” As I wound my way up to the summit, the path narrowed to a shelf of just about sixteen to eighteen inches wide. Sheer drops greeted me on one, sometimes both sides. For nearly forty-five minutes, my reality reduced to one carefully placed footstep after another.

It was a crash course for living in the moment.

Despite a lifelong fear of heights, I made it to the top–and that coveted flagpole–in two hours, not too shabby for a city girl.

Then of course, there was the coming down. 🙂

The next day I enjoyed exploring the main park site with my group. We began with an early morning (AKA crack o’ dawn) gathering inside the park. Several of us took turns reading from a book of poems on Machu Picchu by Peruvian poet, Pablo Neruda . It was a deeply moving, deeply spiritual set of moments.

Now I’m back in the Big Apple. Amidst the happy chaos of catching up, I’m taking time to hold onto all the wonderful lessons my journey to Peru and back has taught me. Until next time…