Happy Holidays

In case you haven’t noticed how quiet this blog has been, I’ll admit it. My gadfly wings have been seriously clipped by the need to get some honest to goodness writing done. Still, you know what they say about all work and no play…

EKM and Moi looking very pleased with our holiday gift bags. Love those prezzies...
EKM and Moi looking very pleased with our holiday gift bags. Love those prezzies...

Fortunately I took time out to attend The Rebels of Romance holiday party at The Dove Parlour in the West Village. In addition to the co-hostesses, Liz Maverick and Marianne Mancusi, all the usual suspects turned out including Dorchester author Leanna Hieber, her editor, Chris Keesler, and Scandalous Women blogger extraordinaire, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon (AKA “EKM”). The Dove, which has appeared previously in this blog, is one of my favorite Manhattan venues–Victorian brothel meets Manhattan “secret” bar with cocktails like the Cherry Tart and, for the season, mulled wine. Then again, the holidays aren’t about a great venue or fab fashion wear though yeppers, everybody was certainly stylin’. Holidays are about spending time with the people (and pets!) we care about who care about us and remembering to be thankful for them as well as all the other blessings in our lives.

Per the pets, please don’t forget my Holiday Goodness Challenge. We’ve had several takers so far, but I still have copies of Vanquished to give out. Beyond that, homeless dogs and cats need our help this holiday season more than ever.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or the Solstice…

Happy, happy & Merry, merry…


A Lip Sync-ing Good Sunday…

A coupla weeks ago my best friend, Suz, visited me in New York. Over her three-day stay, we hit the usual tourist suspects, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We also took time out for some amazing meals washed down with equally amazing wines.

Sunday brunch is a big deal here in the Big Apple and for Suz’s last day I wanted to do something special, something more memorable than the requisite coffee and eggs with jazz in the background. After checking with Suz to make sure she was game, I booked a reservation at Lips, self-billed as the “ultimate in drag dining.”

Having never been to a drag anything, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect though I’d passed Lips many times on my walks through the West Village. Not wanting to miss anything, we arrived a few minutes early, and the host showed us to our table. Our server, Empress (see above photo with Moi), showed up in short order with a mimosa for Yours Truly and a Bloody Mary for Suz. Sipping our drinks, we gave our food orders and settled back to be entertained.

And were we ever! As this event was billed as a gospel brunch, the servers/performers all wore long purple robes and the requisite flowing wigs. Once the show started, they spent the next 45 minutes or so strutting their stuff and grinding their groove things while lip synching to a variety of popular 80’s dance tunes. (How can you not love “It’s Raining Men”!) Between each number, the emcee strolled between tables talking smack with the audience and generally having us rolling in, if not the aisles, certainly our seats. (The refills on the mimosas didn’t hurt, either).

If you’re looking for something a little different to do on your next visit to NYC, I highly recommend Lips (2 Bank Street, West Greenwich Village, NY). Plan on bringing an open mind and leaving with a smile. (The humor at Lips while good-natured and IMHO far tamer than much of what airs on today’s TV is definitely adult, so I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant for families with young children).

On a semi related note, a new friend of mine here in the city recently said, “God doesn’t make anything that’s not beautiful. It may not be your taste, and that’s fine, but it’s still beautiful in His eyes.”

Happy Pride Week,


Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend in Manhattan overlaps with Fleet Week, made famous (or is that infamous) by that great “Sex and the City” TV episode. Literally thousands of U.S. sailors, marines, and Coast Guardsmen (and women!) make port in Manhattan for a week-long celebration that includes public visitation of the ships.

I can’t say I’ve celebrated Fleet Week Carrie Bradshaw style–ever notice how *she* never seems to have revisions, certainly none that interfere with her social life? Still, when I have gotten out to soak up the spring sunshine, it’s been fun seeing tribes of crisply outfitted Navy men and women roaming the city in packs, savoring their shore leave in America’s most exciting city.

On occasion it’s also been heartwarming. Take yesterday, for example. I was headed east through Greenwich Village when I fell in behind a foursome of white-suited sailors. A bright-eyed elderly woman stepped in front of me, not as it turned out to knock me to the curb.

She reached into her purse, pulled out her wallet, and shoved a twenty dollar bill in one young sailor’s hand. “This is for your service, to show my appreciation for all you do to keep this country safe. I want you all to have a beer on me. It’s the least I can do.”

Random acts of kindness and senseless beauty isn’t just a catchy slogan that looks good on car bumpers. Some people out there, quite a few, actually, are living the dream.

Happy Memorial Day,


Back from Book Expo America…

Hi Everyone,

I’m back from Book Expo America. For those of you not familiar with BEA, it’s the U.S. answer to the London and Frankfurt Bookfairs and I do believe it’s even bigger — around 30,000 participants at this year’s event held at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.

Big clue to the incredible vibe of this year’s event: the Expo was in New York City — now, can that *ever* be bad? 😉

I went up on trusty ole Amtrak the night before expecting to have a good trip, a productive trip, a pleasant trip…

What I had was a *great* trip.

I launched my venture on Thursday evening with dinner a-deux with my good buddy, uber talented historical romance novelist, Kathryn Caskie. We chose Zagat top pic, Gotham Bar & Grill on 12th in The Village. Determined not to be idle, we mapped out our Expo plans over a lovely bottle of shriraz and top tier (aka yummy) fare of hard shell crabs (me) and filet (Kathy).

Friday was a “work” day. After a short waiting stint sipping designer H20 in the Green Room (and no, I didn’t see anyone terribly famous, more’s the pity), I kicked off with a traditonal autographing for my new historical romance release, Enslaved (Medallion press). Later, I had midday coffee talk with talented historical fiction author, Will Hutchison, and then an in-booth signing at the Harlequin booth during “Sexy Hour” with Cara Summers and bestselling author, Carly Phillips.

But there’s more…

That night, Kathryn Caskie (Kathy to me) and our good buddy, historical romance author, Sophia Nash, met up at New York’s famous Webster Hall for The Rock Bottom Remainders “Still Younger than Keith” charity concert. At the VIP reception to kick off the concert, we clinked glasses with literati heavyweights Mitch Albom, Frank McCourt, Amy Tan, Stephen King, and my personal fav, humor columnist turned children’s author, Dave Barry. If you have two ticks, check out our candid pics on my Snapshots page. And yes, consider the rumor confirmed, Dave Barry really did pronounce the three of us “hot.” I believe the word “babes” was also used,” but well, I don’t want to get anyone in trouble at home. 😉

As you may expect, all this autographing and gladhanding can really wear a woman down. Fortunately, I got to unwind on Saturday evening at the Harlequin party held at a swank Midtown club. Harlequin always does it right and this year’s fete was no exception. Guests were greeted at the door with champagne and chocolates and the night got even better from there. Over canapes and champagne (yes, more), I caught up with authors Jane Porter (“Flirting with Forty”), Candice Poarch, and Rebecca York as well as had the opportunity to say thank you to Harlequin’s talented and hardworking editorial, marketing and sales staff.

Come Sunday, all this nose-to-the-grindstone hard work was really taking its toll. The chocolate consumption alone had me at “sixes and sevens” as Sophia might say in one of her Regency-set historicals. I wound down with a signing of The Haunting in the Romance Writers of America booth at BEA along with Niki Burnham (“Goddess Games”) and Silhouette author, Anna DePalo.

A few days of post-Expo R&R in the West Village set me to rights. Come mid-week, I was homebound on that Amtrak train, maybe not exactly fresh as a daisy but certainly touting a big ole smile.

Okay, so enuf about me. Anybody else go to BEA? As they say, inquiring minds…