Cover Reveal – Better Than Chocolate (Sweet Somethings #1)

Happy Monday! You’ll notice that the redecorating of my site is coming along nicely. There are still a few things I’m working on, but that’s not why I’m here today.

Since I finally have my ducks in a row, I’m pleased to share the official cover and blurb for my upcoming release, the first book in my Sweet Somethings Series!

Ready? Here we go!

Better Than Chocolate (Sweet Somethings #1)

Better Than Chocolate

Carmella Sannarelli is a people pleaser. She can’t say no to anyone, even when it means putting off her own personal goals in the process. So, when her best friend, Sadie Miller, calls with the announcement that she’s broken up with one fiancé and eloping with another in St. Croix, Carmella can’t stop herself from dropping everything and accepting the invitation to stand as maid of honor.

Jilted fiancé Ryan Wutkowski has been the third member of the Carmella-Sadie trio for nine years. He fully supports Sadie’s new engagement and upcoming nuptials, knowing it’s the right decision and best for both of them. But when he boards a plane to San Juan for a business conference, Carmella is the last person he expects to find occupying the seat next to his.

Two days in San Juan, then a week in St. Croix—Carmella knows her two best friends are hiding something. But can she figure out what went wrong between them as she battles her own tingly, off-kilter feelings toward Ryan, while dodging advances from a womanizing best man, and confirming for herself that Sadie did make the right decision? When Ryan unexpectedly shows up at the rehearsal dinner and gets himself invited to the wedding, will Carmella finally uncover the secret he’s held since the day they first met?


Soul Mate Publishing



So… remember how I’d submitted the Chick Lit Romance to a couple small presses back in December? And how I got requests for fulls?

Well, I am now officially signed with Soul Mate Publishing for that manuscript…


…as well as…


…subsequent titles in a series!



No release date yet, but you can bet your buttons I’ll keep you all updated.

Things I’m Thankful For

Since it’s Thanksgiving week, I thought it might be a worthwhile endeavor to reflect a bit on the things I’m thankful for this year. A lot of people are doing the “30-days of thanks” thing, which I have done in the past, and it reminded me that I need to stop more often and consider my blessings.

So here they are, in no particular order.

Things I’m Thankful For

  1. My overall health. I know I’ve been reeeeeally bad about working out and eating right lately, but I just had a physical on Friday, and turns out I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been, maybe more so. So I must be doing something right. I know it’s weird to worry about health when you’re only in your 30s, but since I made the decision to cultivate a healthier lifestyle a couple years ago, it really gives me validation for that decision when I see how healthy I am.
  2. My job. And not just having one, which in this economy is still a pretty big deal. No, it’s really the job itself. Being a teacher is often a thankless job, and I often don’t see the fruits of my labor. But I love it, and I’m lucky to work in a district and a school with such awesome people and a culture of family. Speaking of….
  3. My coworkers. I’m speaking of the awesome people I worked with for the past 7 years (actually, 9) at the elementary school where I taught kindergarten and second grade, because they supported me as a professional and as an individual. They’re my family as well as my friends. And I’m also speaking of the amazing teachers I’ve been blessed to work with since the start of this school year. They’ve made my move to sixth grade and the middle school far easier than I ever expected. We laugh a dozen times a day, support each other, and they’ve filled the past three months with so much awesomesauce, I can’t even explain.
  4. My students. They are awesome. They are the reason I haul myself out of my nice warm bed while it’s still dark. They are truly, above and beyond everything else, what has made my transition to teaching sixth grade not only worthwhile, but possible. They’re friendly and polite to each other, they work harder than many adults I know, they make me laugh, they make me proud, and I can’t wait to see what amazing things they do from here out. I will say it right here for everybody in the world to read. I HAVE THE BEST SIXTH GRADE CLASS ON THE PLANET!
  5. My family. Without my family, I would be so lost. They’ve seen me at my best, my worst, and my weirdest, and I’ve never had a day in my life when I didn’t feel their love and support in everything I’ve done.
  6. My best friends. I don’t have a huge group of friends, but we are tight. We’re the sort of friends who can go weeks, sometimes months, without seeing each other, and as soon as we get together, it’s like we’re picking up right where we left off. And the awesome thing is that, as adults, we’re often more like family than friends.
  7. The CNY Romance Writers. Such an amazing group of authors, and I can’t believe I went so long without knowing they were there! I’ve learned so much from these people over the last year, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us.
  8. Last, and never least, my husband. I truly did marry my best friend. Without his support and encouragement, I would have given up on so many things over the past few years. From family stuff to writing stuff, he’s my biggest cheerleader, my coach, my confidante, my partner in crime, and when I really need him to be, the world’s biggest teddy bear.

So there you go.

I’m also very thankful for pie. It’s a wonderful thing.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Welcome to My 6th Grade Classroom!

Open House was this past Thursday, and in the couple of hours between dismissal and the start of Open House, I finished spiffifying my room. Would you like to take the grand tour?

My classroom is sort of the transition point between the “still a little elementary” feel of the fifth grade rooms and the “now you’re in middle school” feel of the other sixth grade rooms. But I like making it fun and homey.

Classroom setup

Please come in!


Front of the room

The daily schedule, calendar, reminders, etc.

Where Are You Magnets

The “Where Are You?” board. Each student has a magnet with their class number on it, and anytime they go somewhere in the building, they move their magnet to the appropriate place so I know, at a glance, where people are. I modified this idea from something I saw on Buzzfeed, where a similar board was made out of a cookie tin.

Classroom rules

Classroom rules, aligned to school rules, created and agreed on by my students.

SWAG and Homework

The Homework Board and a reminder that our class has S.W.A.G. (Success, Willpower, Attitude, Goals)


View of the front of the room. See my Common Core Learning Targets?

Classroom Library

Perhaps the most important part – the classroom library.

Classroom Library Sign Out

You borrow a book? Sign it out!

Literature genres

Basic literature genres.

Classroom Library

Various magazines and books of interest.

Classroom Library

I labeled every single dang book!  I also didn’t realize how messy this shelf was until after I took the picture.

So there it is! Settled into sixth grade, almost five weeks down and ready for more!










Surprise Awesomesauce!

There hasn’t been a whole lot of writing going on around here since school started last week, unless you count creating social studies note packets and PowerPoint presentations. In fact, other than stealing snippets of time to read Jane Eyre, nothing literary has seen the light of day in a good two weeks.

But I had a fun surprise when I opened my mailbox today.

To be honest, it wasn’t so much a surprise as something I’d forgotten would be arriving. You see, my fellow CNYRW member Christine Wenger celebrated the release of her first cozy mystery, Do or Diner, a few weeks ago. As part of the release awesomesauce, she held a contest in which one could win a copy of the new book. And I won.

When I found out, I almost replied with my usual, “I never win anything!” But if I look over the past few years, it seems to be more the case that I tend to win a lot of contests. Yes, usually they’re silly ones, like at my church’s Mardi Gras party a couple years ago when you won for, say, finding the most Mardi Gras beads. And I am the reigning champion of teachers for the “Show of Love” assembly at school, wherein you have to guess songs from TV shows and movies and general pop culture after hearing only a few seconds of the music. (They may have to invite me back for a cameo appearance this year.)

Anyway, in all the crazy/busy of studying the Common Core modules and prepping my classroom amid construction dust, I completely forgot about Christine’s book. So when I opened my mailbox today and saw the big, bulging envelope, I thought it was something my husband had ordered from Amazon.

I might have hopped and squealed a little when I saw who it was from. Luckily none of my neighbors were around.

And bonus, not only do I have a lovely, signed copy of Do or Diner, but my semi-surprise came with a real surprise!

Yes, that would be my Farberware knife block making a cameo appearance. I thought it was fitting.

Yes, that would be my Farberware knife block making a cameo appearance. I thought it was fitting.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a cookbook and a cozy mystery to read.


P.S. In case you’re wondering, I’m totally in love with my sixth graders. I couldn’t have hand-picked a better class to make the transition to middle school with.