The Sweet Somethings Series Soundtrack

Music has played an important role in my life since I was a child. Chorus, band, marching band, high school and college musicals, and an eclectic collection of albums ranging from Mozart to LInkin Park to, at one point, Live.

Like, the early 1990s Live that was more hard rock than mainstream. Throwing Copper.

I digress.

Often when we think of soundtracks, we think of movies and TV. And for me, a good soundtrack and make or break a movie.

So it should come as no surprise that my novels have soundtracks, too.

As a writer, I listen to music all the time. When I’m plotting, writing, editing, and so on. Songs can take on a variety of meanings, depending on what you’re working on. I tend to listen mostly to popular music, what you’d hear on the radio, when I’m working on a contemporary romance. When I’m playing around with a historical project, I veer more toward instrumental music, often movie scores, with a few other select items with vocal tracks thrown in.

At the beginning of March, I was fortunate enough to attend a CRW workshop with author Cecy Robson. She talked about visualization, character development, and how you can use music for inspiration and to set the tone of your writing.

I was internally clapping as she spoke and shared some of her strategies, because I have long had a “soundtrack” for my Sweet Somethings series.

Each of the four novels (remember that HE TAKES THE CAKE will be coming out in a few short months – stay tuned for more details) has very different main characters, though all share certain common themes. Self-discovery alongside the discovery of true love. So some of the songs that go with Sweet Somethings are specific to a novel, while others are more general and could go with any of them.

If you’d like to check out the full playlist that makes up my Sweet Somethings Soundtrack, you can find it here.

Inspiration for Better Than Chocolate

Inspiration for When in Rome

Inspiration for The One I’m With


Inspiration for He Takes the Cake

Better Than Chocolate, When In Rome, and The One I’m With are all available for Kindle, and He takes the Cake will be coming in June. Better Than Chocolate and When In Rome are also available in print.

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WHEN IN ROME is Now in Print!

Well the month of February completely got away from me, between work and writing and a sick toddler (followed by a sick mama). BUT I got awesome news last week.

WHEN IN ROME is in print!

Love isn’t always picture perfect…

Atlanta-based photographer Kate Miller doesn’t believe in fairytale romance or relationships of the forever kind. She’s determined to build her own happiness through hard work and professional success. So, when the opportunity arises to join an exclusive fashion photo shoot in Rome, she jumps on the chance to gain international recognition. But she’s not counting on an instant attraction to the charismatic, sexy, and irritatingly arrogant director of the shoot.

World famous, Domenic Varezzi is used to calling the shots. His clients trust his instincts and they’re willing to pay for the best. But while his career is thriving, his personal life has been lackluster at best. Hoping Kate could be the answer he’s been looking for, he’s determined to win her over. Every challenge she sends his way drives him to break through her tough-as-nails exterior to reach the vulnerable heart that matches his own.

Surrounded by the beauty and magic of Italy’s “Eternal City,” a foundation begins to form that could lead to a lifetime partnership, both in business and in love. Until Domenic’s past comes back to haunt the present and threatens to destroy everything.

The print edition of WHEN IN ROME can be purchased through

And don’t forget that all three of the Sweet Somethings books (Better Than Chocolate, When in Rome, and The One I’m With) are also available for Kindle!

want to stay up to date on announcements and news? Sign up for my email newsletter and follow me on my socials (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube).

THE ONE I’M WITH – Meet the Main Characters

It’s hard to believe that THE ONE I’M WITH is almost a week old already! I hope everyone who’s snagged a copy has enjoyed it (and of course is telling everyone you know about it).

If you haven’t entered my Release Day Giveaway, it’s not too late. The giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight, so make sure you hope over to the giveaway post for details and the link to Rafflecopter. You can win a $25 Amazon gift card OR a Kindle copy of THE ONE I’M WITH.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy (or if you have but just want another fun tidbit), perhaps a little meet-and-greet with the main characters will convince you to check out this sweet (but slightly spicy) romance.

Meet Marissa O’Brien

For the past three years, Marissa O’Brien has focused on renovating her Victorian-era farmhouse and building a solid, reputable, and highly sought-after interior design business in Asheville, North Carolina. She likes to have fun with her friends, and does date quite a bit. But never more than five dates (and really, a guy is lucky to make it that far). But her flirty, lighthearted personality hides the scars left by a devastating breakup that’s left her gun-shy when it comes to flowers-726532_1920love.

She has rules. Nothing more than a casual kiss until after three dates. No hooking up until after five. And no sleepovers. Ever.

So while her professional life has been a smashing success, Marissa’s personal life is a shell of what it could – and what she hoped it would – be. But all that seems destined to change when a chance meeting with Josh Mattingly on Girls’ Night Out has her wondering if it might be time to throw her rules out the window and take a risk…

Meet Josh Mattingly

Josh Mattingly has spent most of his adult life perfecting his image as a rich playboy. Being the second son of a prominent family with global corporate interests, his job has allowed him the luxury of having fun without responsibility. But one too many bad choices and a step too far have landed him in hot water. Desperate to avoid an ultimatum that will cut him out of his beloved nieces’ lives, Josh has sworn off romantic entanglements that could lead to bad press for his family and their business.

sparkling-wine-1030754_1920Determined to prove to his parents and brother that he can be serious about his life, Josh has come to Asheville to help save a dying company. If he can pull off this corporate merger, he might be able to convince his family to let him branch out on his own – and finally free himself from their expectations and control.

Romance is the last thing on Josh’s mind – until he meets Marissa. There’s something different about her, and the way she makes him feel.  Though he’s terrified a revelation of his past indiscretions could send her running for the Blue Ridge Mountains, Josh decides that taking a chance on Marissa could be the answer to everything.

If he can convince her to let him into her heart…

THe One I’m With Is now available for Kindle! Order today on Amazon!

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THE ONE I’M WITH Release Day Giveaway

THE ONE I’M WITH will be here next Wednesday, and is officially up for pre-order in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

The truth is, letting yourself fall in love means daring to risk heartbreak.

The truth is, letting yourself fall in love means daring to risk heartbreak.

To celebrate my upcoming release, I’m holding a Rafflecopter Givewaway. Starting at midnight on Wednesday, October 5th, you’ll have the chance (or really, several chances) to throw your hat into the ring to win:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card (1 Grand Prize Winner)
  • The Kindle Edition of THE ONE I’M WITH (5 winners)*

*Just a reminder that as long as you have a device that will run the free Kindle reading app, you’ll be able to enjoy THE ONE I’M WITH.

The giveaway will run from midnight on October 5th to midnight on October 20th. All winners will be notified no later than 11:59pm on October 22nd.

Click the link below to enter starting October 5th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter, and follow me on my socials, Goodreads, and my Amazon Author page!

Stay tuned over the next couple weeks to learn more about our main characters, Marissa O’Brien and Josh Mattingly, and of course, get a sneak peek at Chapter 1!

THE ONE I’M WITH is Available for Preorder!

I’m very excited to share the news – THE ONE I’M WITH (Sweet Somethings Book 3) is now available for preorder on Amazon!

Stay tuned next week for information about a special Release Day Giveaway!

And if you aren’t already receiving my email newsletter, don’t forget to sign up to get monthly announcements about releases, giveaways, and other fun stuff! And of course, follow me on my socials (Facebook, TwitterGoogle+, Pinterest, and YouTube).

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THE TRUTH IS, LETTING YOURSELF FALL IN LOVE MEANS DARING TO RISK HEARTBREAK.

Interior designer Marissa O’Brien has sworn off long-term relationships, instead protecting herself from a broken heart by following a specific set of rules when it comes to her many flirtations and first dates. She’s content to just have fun in the world of romance, but all her rules fly out the window when she grabs the attention of a sexy, international stranger during her weekly Girls’ Night Out.

Josh Mattingly has spent the last two years trying to turn over a new leaf, focusing on his role in the family corporation and erasing his womanizing reputation. In Asheville, North Carolina, on business, the last thing he’d planned on was getting involved with a local girl. But one encounter with Marissa has him hooked. He soon falls hard for the designer, and now he’s terrified to reveal his romantic past for fear she’ll bolt.

Marissa recognizes a playboy when she sees one and tries to keep her attraction to Josh under wraps–until they share a passionate kiss that leaves both of them singed. Still, she knows their love affair has an expiration date, and everything is destined to end once Josh finishes his business in Asheville. Now, along with showing his family that he’s left his old habits behind, Josh has a new challenge–proving to Marissa that she can trust him with her heart.

COMING OCTOBER 12, 2016 FROM

Soul Mate Publishing

WHEN IN ROME Travelog: Taormina, Pearl of the Mediterranean

Just as Kate Miller, heroine of WHEN IN ROME, wrapped up her sojourn in Italy with a romantic weekend jaunt to Taormina, Sicily, the hubs and I also capped off our 2007 trip by heading down to the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” for a couple days before heading back to the States.

Taormina, and Sicily as a whole, has an interesting history. The site of Phoenician and Greek colonies and later part of the Roman Empire, the island saw its share of warfare as various forces tried to claim this beautiful, rocky land as their own. From Byzantium to the Normans, then the era of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and finally inclusion in the unification of Italy as a plebiscite… and all the while gathering and maintaining a rich cultural heritage that survives today.

Sicily holds a special place in my heart. Three of four sets of great-grandparents immigrated to the US from Sicily, from two small towns in particular (in fact, their families knew each other!). A couple years before he passed, my paternal grandfather had the opportunity to travel to his father’s hometown of Forza D’Agro, a little north of Taormina, meet his uncles(!), and visit the church where his father was baptized. (That same small town also happens to be the filming location for the Italian settings in “The Godfather Part II”, in case you’d like a little fun movie trivia.)

Anyway, the hubs and I were only Taormina for about two and a half days and didn’t have time to seek out my ancestors’ homes. But it was well worth the train fare.

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Because of the seismic activity in the Straits of Messina, it’s an engineering impossibility to build a bridge from Villa San Giovanni to Messina. So they put the trains on the ferries to take them across. Seriously. Pictures or it didn’t happen.

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The view of Messina as you ferry across the Straits. Still a bustling port town after centuries.

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A view of the hillside from the rooftop terrace of our little hotel. Many hotels and multi-level buildings are built into the hillside. You enter on the top floor and then go down to lower levels.

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Gothic church of St. Augustine on IX Aprile Piazza. The hubs and I sat on the front step and ate gelato while a little street band played some traditional music.

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Breakfast al fresco!

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I was ready to move into our hotel for good.

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A view of Mount Etna, not too far from Taormina. We skipped the hiking tour due to time constraints. It actually erupted a few days after we left!

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Awww…. We hiked up to Castelmola the first morning in Taormina. Hardest hike of my life, but so worth the view!

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Taormina is full of archaeological sites, including the impressive Teatro Greco.

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Incredibly well intact, and often still used for concerts and events.

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The original marble stadium seating (similar to what would have been found in the Coliseum once upon a time) remains cool, even on the hottest days.

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Taormina has one of the most famous pebble beaches in the world, Mazzarrò is just a cable-car ride down from the town, and includes….

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….Isola Bella. Once a private residence and nicknamed “the pearl of the Ionian Sea” (must be a thing about pearls in this part of Sicily), now this island is a nature preserve.

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We weren’t sure what this was. Ruins of something (there were steps leading down into the water inside this stone wall). Incidentally, the hilly peninsula in the background houses the Grotta Azzurra (blue grotto) that Kate and Domenic visit in WHEN IN ROME. The hubs and I didn’t have time to take the excursion. It’s a bucket list item.

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I got brave, crawled out on the ruins, and played “The Little Mermaid.”

That’s it for our amazing trip to Italy! I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos. For a full dose of romance, don’t forget to pick up your copy of WHEN IN ROME!

WHEN IN ROME is available now for Kindle – and don’t forget to check out BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (now available in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble), the story that started it all!

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Love isn't always picture perfect...

Love isn’t always picture perfect…

Want to stay updated on announcements and upcoming releases? Join my email newsletter and follow me on my socials (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube).

WHEN IN ROME Photo Travelog: The Appian Way

No trip to Rome would be complete without checking out the thoroughfare that carried armies, commerce, and travelers to and from Ancient Rome for ages.

Let’s let Kate Miller, heroine of WHEN IN ROME, set the scene for us:

The Metro Line stops just inside the old Aurelian wall. Domenic guides me to a transit stop to catch a bus farther south. It’s a short ride, and we get off on a quaint street that looks like time froze somewhere in the mid-1600’s. After stopping in a little market for fresh bottles of water, we walk the cobbled street, passing ruins as well as currently occupied homes, three catacomb sites bustling with tourists, and sun-washed fields stretching toward the horizon. Traffic is light, except for tourists on foot or locals biking. Occasionally a public transit bus rumbles buy, forcing us to step onto the dirt path beside the road that serves as a sidewalk. An hour or so into our walk, the smaller cobbles abruptly end in a jagged line and give way to large, smooth stones.

Domenic comes to a stop. “Welcome to the Appian Way.”

~ excerpt from WHEN IN ROME

The cool thing about putting my characters on an afternoon trek down the Appian Way is that I could draw directly from my own experience. There’s really nothing quite like stepping onto a roadway that’s been around for literally a couple thousand years.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Picture 323 Picture 325 Picture 334 Picture 342 Picture 344

Next time, we’ll take a jaunt to the beautiful island of Sicily and visit Taormina!

WHEN IN ROME is available now for Kindle – and don’t forget to check out BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (now available in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble), the story that started it all!

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Love isn't always picture perfect...

Love isn’t always picture perfect…

Want to stay updated on announcements and upcoming releases? Join my email newsletter and follow me on my socials (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube).