Thursday, March 27, 2014

Titles and Main Characters: The Lists

It's fitting that today is one year since I wrote the final words for my first draft of Back to December, and I'm posting about the rest of the books in my Ward Sisters Series as well as the two spin-off series. Granted, Back to December went through some major revisions after that, but the day was monumental because I'd fully completed a manuscript. So, without further ado, here are the books I have planned. And when I say planned, that means I've plotted them in my head, may have started the stories and in some cases, have complete or nearly-complete manuscripts at the ready for editing. If a book is currently available, I've linked to the Amazon page and posted the date it was first published. If I know a planned publication date for a future story, I've included it. Listed are the main characters, but there are NO plot details.

Ward Sisters Series

WS #1 - Back to December, Emily Ward and Rob Deacon (August 5, 2013)
WS #2 - Only One, Liam Neely and Jenna Ackerman (December 21, 2013)
WS #3 - Right Here Waiting, Meghan Miles and Captain Neil Murphy (March 17, 2014)
WS #4 - This Year's Love, Annie Ward and Josh Ricker (late June, 2014)
WS #4.5 - Buying the Cow, Eddie Besson and Reggie Reynolds
WS #5 - Just Realized, Nina Jacobs and Sergeant Owen Nichols
WS #6 - Think of Me, Noah Adams and Mary Cate 'Catie' Neely
WS #6.5 - Tell Me What It Takes, Dr. Aaron Wallace and Ally Carmichael
WS #7 - Better Be Home Soon, Charlie Ward Williams, Dan Williams and Jack Armstrong

Vega Brothers

VB #1, Steal Your Heart, Nico Vega and Sarah Neely
VB #2, You Got Me, Carlos Johnson-Vega and Christopher Pilling

Deacon Security

DS #1 - Even Now, Nate Hogan and Olivia Deacon
DS #2 - Far From Ordinary, David Magnusson and Jessica 'Mase' Nichols
DS #3 - The Way I Loved You, Eric Brady and Isabel Neely Davies

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nine months later...

Yes, about nine months have passed since I started my blog. It was my return foray into the digital world prior to publishing my first novel. If you go back to that first blog post, you'll get a sense of where I started. We're nearly 60 blog posts in at this point, which is an average of about 1.5/week. Pretty good, considering that I don't post every day or even every week. Sometimes, I'm just too busy writing, editing, promoting or doing my other job (the one where they call me 'mom').

So, after nine months and three novels, I thought it was time to do another update. Oddly enough, it was about 6 months ago when I did the last update.

First, I took a marketing class last fall, which anyone who follows my blog, Twitter or Facebook pages might remember. My professor was great - very supportive and fully embraced my desire to create a marketing plan for my writing. Did you know that self-published authors are responsible for all their own marketing? Either you do it yourself or you pay someone else to do it. One way or another, you have to understand your intentions, and the marketing plan required as part of my grade was a huge help in not only giving me marketing goals, but also giving me publication goals.

With that said, six months ago, when the only book I'd published was Back to December, I had one novel under my belt and one book complete in my Ward Sisters series. I was in process on Ward Sisters Book 2, Only One. Since then, Only One went live on December 21, 2013 (and had a HUGE revision between the update and publication time). Book 3, Right Here Waiting, went live this past Monday, March 17, 2014. I've learned so much in the past year, past nine months, past six months, past four months. It's run the gamut from improving my storytelling skills to finding new ways to guerrilla market my books. So, let's get to the update of future plans. Rather than give you detailed word counts like I did before, I'm going for the overview here.

Ward Sisters Series

Book 4, This Year's Love, was my NaNoWriMo project. It stars oncology nurse Annie Ward, Emily's younger sister, and park ranger Josh Ricker, Em's ex-boyfriend. My muse is refusing to speak about it for the moment, but suffice to say that I know she will talk before it needs to be completed. I'm planning for a June 2014 publication, probably at the end of the month.

Book 4.5, Buying the Cow. I'm still not sold on the title, but until I find an alternative, that's the Work In Progress (WIP) name. This story centers around  Rob's former makeup artist Reggie Reynolds, and reporter Eddie Besson, Josh Ricker's best friend from childhood. It will pick up right where Book 4 leaves off. I hadn't been sure before if it would be book 3.5 or 4.5. Now, I've decided and it follows Josh and Annie's story, is almost a continuation of that from two other points of view (POV), but it will expand into a separate story, too. Probably an early fall release, around late September/early October 2014.

Book 5, Just Realized. This story focuses on Realtor Nina Jacobs and Army Sergeant Owen Nichols. Nina appeared briefly in Back to December and she played an important role in Only One. She's also Charlie Ward's best friend and Meghan Miles' cousin. For anyone who wanted a Happily Ever After (HEA) for Nina, this will be where you hear it. We meet Owen in Right Here Waiting. He's one of two soldiers who Captain Neil Murphy considers to be his best friends in the service. Their story is mostly written and I expect that it will be published sometime in late 2014 or early 2015, depending on how quickly Book 4.5 comes together and how other things gel. I'm currently planning for February 6, 2015, but it might come earlier.

Book 6, Think of Me. Bodyguard and former FBI agent, Noah Adams gets his turn, along with Mary Cate Neely, Liam's twin sister. My marketing plan didn't include this book's release date, but I'd come up with a schedule that had a new book in the series every 4 months. If we push Book 5 ahead, this will get pushed ahead. If not, we're looking at August, 2015, which will be 2 years post-Back to December publication. I'd like to get it out sooner.

Book 6.5 Tell Me What it Takes. This one focuses on Dr. Aaron Wallace, who you'll meet in This Year's Love along with his high school flame (and Liam's ex), pharmaceutical rep Ally Carmichael. Again, depending upon everything else, this might come earlier, but expect it by Christmas 2015.

Book 7, Better Be Home Soon. Right now, this story has three POV and involved Charlie (Ward) and Dan Williams, as well as Neil Murphy's Army buddy, Jack Armstrong. That could change as time progresses. For now, while I'd love to get this book out sooner, it looks like we're at March 2016 for a current date on the schedule as it stands. The thing with this schedule is that it was originally generated when I was still writing/editing Only One, and between late last fall and now, I've changed a lot about how I approach my work. Suffice to say, I can't see it taking longer than two years from now to get this part of the series wrapped up, but it could always happen sooner. I'll keep you posted.

Deacon Security and Vega Brothers

As part of the process of finishing Right Here Waiting, I met two new characters whose stories I wanted to write. Rather than folding them directly into the Ward Sisters Series, I'm going to given them an offshoot series. It will be called Vega Brothers and for now, will include Meghan Miles' college best friend, Carlos Johnson-Vega and his older brother (and Meg's ex), Nico Vega. I imagine as I delve into their story, I'll find more characters who want to be heard, but for now, this will be a two-book minimum series.

I was musing recently and realized that a lot of potential existed to explore the men of Deacon Security. This is the company that guards Rob Deacon and his family, the security firm started by Rob's brother, Rick, when he became his younger brother's bodyguard. I'm currently writing a transition story, called Even Now, that will bridge between Ward Sisters and Deacon Security. The idea is that Rick's company, which is based in Minneapolis, will branch out to the East Coast when Rob permanently relocates his home base. They'll need a whole new crop of talent, and some of those guys will come from the men that Neil Murphy and Owen Nichols led in the Army. So, the series will still visit our Ward Sisters friends, but we won't focus on them specifically. I'm envisioning, so far, three stories beyond Even Now, so at least 4 books. But given the focus of the series, there is always a possibility that more could follow.

Warwick, Maine

The book I'd originally thought I would publish first will be part of this new series. It will be completely unrelated to Ward Sisters. I have a first-person, New Adult-oriented novel that's basically complete and needs to be edited, which I will use as a prequel for this series. The current title is Closer to Fine, so we'll see if that survives the editing stage, because this one will get a little bit of an overhaul. It's an existing story I wrote that I'm folding into this series. I'm hoping to have that ready in the next couple months. Then, in late summer, I'll be revealing more about the first regular book in the series, called The Piece I Don't Need. That will likely release between Book 4.5 and Book 5 of Ward Sisters, tentatively in November. After that, I have at least 5 other books planned or in process, I'll Be, In Another Life, Beneath the Stars and two that are thus far untitled, plus a shorter story that might make it into that set.

So, you can see I have a LOT of things coming down the pike. I'm getting quicker with my drafts - for Back to December, I wrote a first draft and went through 5 revisions (and Laurie edited 5 versions) before publication. Only One had as many versions (or more, possibly), but it only got the full editing treatment for 4 of them. With Right Here Waiting, I'd learned so much from the first two processes that it only went through 2 edits with my editor - one for content, the other for the nitty-gritty stuff, like grammar, missed punctuation, typos, etc. But I sought beta readers this last time around (super readers who review like my editor, for content and if they see technical errors, they can mention them), and I liked how the new process improved the flow for me and for everyone else. I anticipate more of that in the future and hopefully, it will streamline things so that I can get more out quicker.

That's the update on where things are currently at and where they're headed in the future. Thanks for continuing to take this ride with me!

My Influences

I just did this over at Facebook, and a friend said she'd probably post her own on her blog. Since my blog is for my writing, I thought that was a most excellent idea! The first bit is the instructions, so feel free to do this on your own.

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag at least 15 friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what authors my friends choose. (To do this, copy this intro, go to the Notes tab on your profile page, click 'write a note,' paste the intro into the 'body' and start your list.)

1. Melissa Foster, because she's a writing machine and I admire her immensely. And because she made me see that the kind of stuff I want to write has an audience.

2. S.E. Hinton. The Outsiders (and its related novels) was the first book I read obsessively. I'd always loved visiting the library, but reading that book started my practice of constantly seeking out new reading materials and new authors. I always hope that my work will do the same for others.

3. Jane Austen. Sometimes, I feel like I'm Jane, a woman outside her time. A couple years ago, book club read all her books, which I'd already done, but we read them in the order they were published. When I got to Northanger Abbey, I realized that even Jane's first novel wasn't spectacular. When I read Mansfield Park (my least favorite), I understood that you could love an author and not adore everything they ever wrote. These two facts give me solace on a regular basis now that my work is out there.

4. Stephen King. Not so much for his work in horror - I've read some and for the genre, I like it. But more for his non-horror writing. He has a way of viscerally drawing the reader into a story. And then I read his non-fiction memoir/writing book, On Writing, and his comparision of a writer and an archaeologist resonated with me. I still think about it regularly, especially at the moments when my story takes a turn I hadn't expected. Of course I didn't expect it; I hadn't seen the whole fossil yet.

5. Aldous Huxley. Brave New World has long been one of my absolute favorite books. I don't know quite why; it has stuck with me and I think that says something. The themes in that story seem to trancend a specific time, and that's powerful.

6. Suzanne Collins. Likewise, The Hunger Games trilogy sucked me into its world and made me forget I was reading a YA series. The ideas of hope and love in the story are both blatant and subtle. The other reason I will never forget this author or series is that, when I finished it, I wanted to know what had happened between the end of the story and the epilogue. And since she hadn't written it, I wrote my own version. 280k words later, after weeks of writing daily because I HAD to write, I was a real writer. Not that I need to publish that fanfiction, but it helped me transition to a writer's frame of mind.

7. Marie Hall. Yes, Marie, I said you. Your MOMENT series let me see that I might someday be brave enough to write stories that painful. And then when I realized just how vivid your imagination was outside the Contemporary genre, it gave me courage to believe that trying a sci-fi story might not be beyond me.

8. J.R.R. Tolkien. He helped me see that some people appreciate wordiness (probably my biggest weakness) and that lengthy tomes have their place. He also showed me that creating another world - whether fantastical or grounded in reality - is more than possible if you believe in it.

9. Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander series showed me that sometimes, stories transcend genre classification, and that doesn't mean they can't be successful.

10. Laurie Breton. Reading her first novel, Coming Home, I fell in love with her writing. For decades, I had an author in my family and I hadn't read her work because I thought it was just Romantic Suspense, which isn't typically my thing. But once I found that I liked her writing style, I saw that I could like a genre if the right person was feeding it to me. And then, of course, she has been my mentor, a guiding hand, a cheerleader (and a disciplinarian), the best critique partner I could ask for and after 40 years of being my aunt, I call her a friend.

11. Tom Robbins. His irreverent, wacky stories skirt the edge of the bizzarre, and yet, I devoured them and laughed the whole way. Fun and funny and imaginative, he showed me there is no real limit to what your brain can conjure if you just let the muse take you wherever she's willing to go.

12. Douglas Adams. Like Tom Robbins, he entertained me with humor and the fantastical. He helped me realize that not all sci-fi has to be serious.

13. Jill Shalvis. Like Mr. Adams, Jill helped me see that romance could also be humorous without sacrificing the sexual tension or the heartfelt emotions.

14. Judy Blume. From the days of caring about our boobs getting bigger in middle school to the very grown up Summer Sisters, she'll forever be my gateway into the kind of novels I now write. Thanks, Judy.

15. L.M. Montgomery. Anne of Green Gables was the first full series I ever read that was truly a serial commodity. Once I'd explored a story in that way, I found I loved it. And now, I write stories that follow groups of interconnected people because I still like to read those types of stories, and I can't imaging writing something you wouldn't want to read. I write for me and I then share it with the rest of the world, just as it should be.

Right Here Waiting is finally LIVE!!

Right Here Waiting is finally LIVE on Amazon! I'd planned to talk about it on publication day, which was Monday, but it took forever for it to show as cleared on my KDP dashboard. From clicking publish to it being 100% live, it took 15 or so hours. That's the longest I'd seen KDP take to publish a manuscript. Oh well, it's up now! Here's the link at Amazon, where you can snag a copy for yourself.

The good news about waiting to post on the blog? Well, I just clicked publish on Nook, so that should be live soon enough. My CreateSpace file is ready except for the cover. For whatever reason, I can't seem to use the cover I've been using at a high enough resolution. Makes no sense. I'm debating using the image anyway and ordering my own proof copy, then deciding if it looks okay. I haven't exactly flooded the paperback market; that's really about pleasing a few people close to me who'd like to have hard copy versions instead of e-books. So, I think it's worth going the proof route this time around. Worst case, I have a hard copy of my original concept and I have to choose a new image to create the cover for the paperback version. Best case, CreateSpace is being anal retentive and it's fine. Win-win, I guess.

Anyway, I'm so excited to share Right Here Waiting with all of you! I loved writing it and I adore these two characters. I knew when I wrote Meg into Back to December that she'd get her own story. I thought it was going to be Eddie Besson (best friend of Emily Ward's ex, Josh Ricker) who swept her off her feet, but I couldn't figure out how that would happen. And then I wrote a scene that takes place the morning after Charlie and Dan get married, and Neil wandered onto the page. After that, there was no question that Neil was the man for Meg. Eddie? Eddie who? In the midst of writing Captain Neil Murphy, I fell head over heels for him.

So, enjoy! Pick up the book - or all three, if you haven't read Back to December and Only One. If you read Right Here Waiting first, you won't be completely lost, but your enjoyment of the story will be greater if you read books 1 & 2 beforehand.

Coming next, I'll write an update post that will give you an idea of the publication schedule and what I'm planning for the future! Thanks to everyone who participated in my contest the past two weeks. I'll do more in the future, but for now, I need to promote a bit and write a lot. My muse has been busy inside my head for days! In fact, one reason I didn't post this until Thursday was because I've been writing. I'll tell you more about that in the next post. Time to get back to it!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cover Reveal - DJ Shaw's Wiccan Lies

Here's the synopsis and cover reveal for DJ Shaw's first full-length novel, Wiccan Lies. It will be available on Tuesday, March 18, 2014!

MacKenzie just realized the bogeyman is real and he lives right next door. The only problem is she doesn’t know if she’s a part of his life, or he’s a part of hers. After the death of her father, MacKenzie discovered a letter that changed her life forever. Now with the knowledge she is Wiccan, she embarks on a journey to discover her true self. On that path she meets Damion, a man she is drawn to on a primal level. Since their chance encounter she has strange life-like dreams and tries to keep him at arm’s length. Not trusting her reaction to him, she relies on her instinct to lead her through their time together. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Today's Right Here Waiting teaser...

I'm working on edits, and I wanted to share this funny little snippet. Here's Neil talking with his best friend, Danny. Teenage Neil is definitely a smartass with his best friend, and this bit makes me laugh when I read it.

Why the sudden change of heart? You meet someone?”
Neil sighed. “No. Well, sort of. I talked to Meghan in the book store.”
What? No way!”
Way. We were looking at the Ireland display and we had a conversation.”
Was she snotty and bitchy to you?”
What? No. She was nice.”
Huh. She gives off a snotty vibe at school.”
Well, she was nice to me.”
Probably thought you were a kid.”
Gee, thanks.”
You still look young, Neil.”
Thank God I don't look Neil Young.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Countdown to publication...a Right Here Waiting teaser!

We're less than a week from publication, and I'm making final edits. I wanted to share a great segment that I know will give you a real sense of what this story is all about. Enjoy.

She glimpsed the flash drive on the coffee table, then picked up the drive, the t-shirt and the stack of letters and carried them all to her office. As she powered up her computer, she inhaled Neil's scent from the shirt and smiled. The masculine fragrance of man and a sporty deodorant – with just a little bit of a laundry soap smell underneath – evoked memories of burying her face in his neck. When she inserted the flash drive into the USB port, Meg clicked yes on the autoplay menu.
She couldn't have been prepared for what she saw and heard.
Sitting on his bed in a black knit shirt and boxers, Neil looked like he had in their Skype call, the shirt identical to the one from the box. In his hands rested an acoustic guitar, his fingers holding the cobalt blue guitar pick he had sent her. His deep voice said, “This is for you, Meghan,” and then he played and sang the entirety of All I Want Is You.
Neil's voice, beautiful, strong, clear and melodic, soothed her aching soul in a way nothing else could have. By the end of the song, her eyes had blurred with tears. He said, “I'll sing it for you in person when I get home. Give me the guitar pick then. I'll count the days until I can see you again. I love you, Meghan.” Fade to black.
She watched it at least a half-dozen more times. What a precious gift from the sweetest, most thoughtful man she'd ever met. That kind boy had grown into an even better man. He would be the ruin of her, would make her fall so deeply in love with him over these letters and messages that she could never live without him. A modern version of a traditional wartime affair over love letters, rendered in vivid hues as a multi-media maelstrom. How could she help but be swept away by it?
It hit every secretly romantic bone in her body just right.
She took out a pen and her favorite stationery, a heavy, cream paper with cobalt-blue flowering vines snaking around the outside border, and she began to write.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Right Here Waiting teaser...

We're getting close to the end! March 17 is nine days away, which means I'm feeling the crunch. I'm working on my last round of edits - the nitty-gritty stuff - before I send it along to my editor for her final comb-through. She has seen the prologue, so I'm going to call it good and let you all catch a glimpse of the story's beginning. The rest of the snippets from here out will be smaller and more vague, like the last teaser I posted. For anyone who hasn't read Only One and seen the teaser chapter there, this will be your first glimpse into Meghan Miles and Neil Murphy. I can't tell you how excited I am to bring this story to all of you. Though I loved Rob Deacon and Liam Neely (and still do), Captain Neil Murphy has been my favorite guy to write up to this point in the series. So, without further ado, here is the teaser...


Morning of Charlie and Dan's wedding...

Neil stretched his long legs, and when his feet hit the foot board of his twin bed, he appreciated both his sunrise waking habit and his military training. The ability to function on less sleep meant his jet lag wouldn't put a damper on Danny Williams' wedding.
He'd been looking forward to this wedding for a long time. For one thing, his best friend had loved Charlie Ward forever and making it legal completed their decade-old relationship. For another, Charlie's friend, Meghan was a bridesmaid. Though it had been several years since their paths had crossed, Neil could hardly wait to get a glimpse of the gorgeous woman who had been the subject of more fantasies than he could count for thirteen years.
He ran on the trails behind his parents' house, along the route he'd taken since the age of twelve. The trees had grown in the nine years he'd been away, the path no longer daily trampled, but his father had maintained the trail. Light filtered through the summer leaves of the maples, oaks, ash and beech, a stark contrast to the more desert-like landscape that surrounded his current post, Ft. Irwin. He welcomed the shade and the cooler, damp, early-morning air, fragrant with the earthy scents of the Maine woods. Too bad his leave only lasted a week.
Slowing as he approached the house, Neil inhaled the aromas of his favorite breakfast: pancakes, bacon, eggs and coffee. He rarely had breakfast waiting when he got home, since he always ran with his roommate, Owen.
For a little while, he had Beth around. But her idea of breakfast didn't match his and she hated to cook. Neil had probably cooked more for her than she had for him. He'd caught Beth sleeping with one of the soldiers from her unit six months ago, and had promptly dumped her. Probably best, his mother soothed in her Irish accent, that Beth was stupid enough to cheat before ye got attached. No point in marryin' a girl who won't cook.
Nearly every night since he'd ditched Beth, Neil had dreamed of seeing Meghan on this day. He thought about it on the plane trip from California last night, as he drifted off to sleep, on his run, and in the shower while he jerked off this morning. Chances were good that all he'd ever do was think about Meghan Miles, because no other woman had intimidated the adult Neil Murphy the way she always had.
The last time he'd seen Meghan was at Danny's college graduation party. In high school, Meghan and her best friend, Emily – Charlie's oldest sister – were three years ahead of Neil. At the time of Danny's party, Meghan was starting her PhD program in psychology, which Neil found fascinating. He and Owen believed that combat was ninety percent psychological, nine percent physical training, and one percent shit luck. The philosophy made them good at their jobs, because they knew that winning any kind of battle started in your head.
As soon as Neil understood that concept, dating became easy. Once he knew he needed to get over himself, girls didn't scare him.
Except Meghan.
For some reason, no matter how confident he got, no matter how many girls he had dated or slept with, he couldn't find the nerve to talk to Meghan again.
Today might be his last shot, because in two weeks, his unit deployed to Afghanistan for nine months. Even when you led an elite team of soldiers with an M4, you got no guarantees from the Army that you'd come home still breathing.


At the sound of the alarm, Meg groaned. Why did the Wicked Witch insist we all have breakfast so damn early? She rolled toward the alarm clock at the side of her hotel bed and let her eyes adjust to the light while she listened to Pink's Raise Your Glass. By the time the song had finished, her head bobbed to the beat.
This would be a day for change. She'd greet the day in the right frame of mind and it would make a difference. Didn't she give this advice to her clients all the time? She needed to listen to herself.
She flicked off the alarm, jumped out of bed and bounced to the shower, the song still in her mind as she stepped into the steamy spray. Charlie's wedding could be the perfect place to meet a nice rebound guy, someone to clear stupid Justin from her head. Guys loved that stuff, right? No strings hookups at weddings? Wasn't that the whole point of Wedding Crashers? Then again, Vince Vaughn fell for one of his hookups, so maybe she needed to think about this more carefully.
No. Live for today. That had been a goal of her Thai retreat nine months ago, learning to appreciate the moment and embrace what it could bring.
Don't worry about the past or the future, reside in the now.
Given her past, and the fact that Bucksport High alumni would be attending, living in the now could make or break her enjoyment of this wedding. The alternative would be to get good and drunk.
Stick with living in the moment, she thought. Safer that way.
With her new-found attitude in mind, she embraced the day.
Later that morning, as she walked down the hall from her room on the way to the Bridal suite, she almost fell over. A few doors away, a muscular guy stood, struggling with his room key, a garment bag aloft and a duffle on his shoulder. His silhouette made her breath catch.
No, she thought. Shaved head, big muscles. Military. Too much like Toby. But then, as she got closer, she caught a glimpse of his backside and a grin spread across her face. Look at that ass. It can't possibly be the guy from LAX? That would be fate.
Grabbing the garment bag to help him, he turned and looked at her. Green eyes, freckles and the same shock of recognition.
Thank you, fate. This wedding might be great after all.
Live for the moment, indeed.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Giveaway Post and bonus content...

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I'm running a contest from March 2-March 16 to promote my next book, Right Here Waiting, which will be published on March 17, 2014. The contest will require each entrant to answer a question related to one of my books, an answer which can be found among the posts in this blog or on my Facebook Author page. I'm going to make this first answer very easy to find, since it'll be in this post.

We're starting with Oscar Sunday for a special reason. If you've read Back to December, you know that Rob Deacon, aka Deac Roberts, is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, an honor that happens quite unexpectedly.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences makes an appearance in all of the first three Ward Sisters series books, including Right Here Waiting, where it has a surprisingly pivotal role.

As an added bonus, today's contest answer will come, not from the book itself, but from a segment of the original epilogue, which wasn't published. Do you know what that means? Bonus content! That's right, this can only be seen here. The scene ties directly into the first day of the contest, since it takes place at the Oscars. Which Oscars? Well, you'll have to read the series to know for sure. And for anyone who wished that Emily got her chance to give Rachel a piece of her mind again, she did. Potential SPOILERS AHEAD!! Here it is:

Em waited until the next commercial break, then she headed backstage, both use the bathroom and to find Rob. It had been their ritual this awards season, for her to sneak away and find him as he answered questions after his win. She stopped at the bathroom first, glad for Christopher's genius. Her dress, a flowing, Empire-waist custom Valentino gown in the same hue as her dress for the Fluxus Gala, was both gorgeous and comfortable.
As she checked her makeup in the mirror and reapplied lipstick, Rachel walked into the ladies room.
“Oh, look who's here. If it isn't Mrs. Deac Roberts,” she said with saccharine in her voice.
“Actually, it's Mrs. Robert Deacon. I'm not married to the movie star. That's just some costume he puts on when he steps onto the film set. Not that you ever really understood that about him. How is it that you're here tonight? I thought you got divorced. And I know you didn't get nominated for anything.”
Rachel seethed. “I'm here with Ronin Edgars as his date, if you must know.”
Emily laughed. Of course she was. “Lucky Ronin.” She shook her head and the baby kicked. She flinched a little and put her hand on her belly. “I hear you, honey.”
“What did you say?” Rachel asked.
“I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to the baby.”
Rachel scoffed, “Yes, that was quite a coup for you, to get pregnant so he'd marry you.”
Emily laughed. “Oh, Rachel. Will you never learn? I don't know why I let you convince me that he wanted you back. You're pathetic, you know that? Unlike you, I was there when this baby was conceived and when he proposed. What order that happened is really none of your business. But don't think, ever again, that you'll make me doubt him. I know better, now. I wouldn't have taken you for a hockey fan.”
“Did Liam tell you about that?”
Emily shook her head. “No. Rob did. Yes, Rachel, that's right. Liam told him the minute you walked out of his life on your own. You're lucky Liam is a good person and didn't tell me before. I'd never have believed Rob would go back to you knowing what you did to his best friend and to him. So I suggest you give up on ever stealing him from me. He loves me. He has only ever really loved me. And there is no way I will ever again think he has any interest in you. Enjoy Ronin. I'm sure he'll like you at least until his star rises.”
Rachel's mouth hung open and Emily turned on her sparkly black Louboutins without a backwards glance.