A closet readers take on: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Erotica, YA Fiction & Audiobooks

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Best of 2014 - Author's Edition



Hope everyone had an amazing New Year's Eve! Today, I'm honored and very grateful to bring you: Carly Phillips, Kerrelyn Sparks, Megan Hart, Eve Silver, Jennifer Estep, Teresa Medeiros, Shannon Stacey, Vicki Pettersson, Lauren Oliver, Bree Despain, Julia London, Amy Plum, Angie Fox, Dakota Cassidy, Kristy (aka K.)  Bromberg, and Tammy Kaehler. These spectacular authors have stopped by the Nice Girls Blog to share their Best of 2014.










Author: Carly Phillips
Website: www.carlyphillips.com
Twitter Handle: @carlyphillips






Top Books of 2014

#1 Worth the Fall, Claudia Connor - no book has gripped me from the beginning and held me this way in years. I ran a gauntlet of emotions reading it, laughter, crying, and everything in between. I adored the book, the hero, the heroine … Fabulous romance read.

#2 Shield of Winter, Nalini Singh - I am a huge fan of this series, in awe of her world building, and this book was sheer paranormal romance perfection.

#3 Lexi Blake, A View to a Thrill - Lexi Blake can do no wrong for me in the world of erotic romance. This series, with its ongoing suspense storyline, and in depth characters, makes me cry when I finish because I want to keep reading. I loved Simon and Chelsea.




Favorite Book Cover for 2014

 I can’t pick a specific cover. I just love looking at romance covers, especially indie author covers.



Favorite Series of 2014

 

 Sophie Oak (aka Lexi Blake’s alter ego) - Texas Sirens and Nights in Bliss series. The first time in years I found an author with a massive backlist and glommed it like crazy. All Sophie Oak books.


Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014

When Amazon asked me to license my Dare to Love world for their Kindle Worlds. Other authors will be able to write secondary Dare character stories. It’s so exciting and such a huge honor. Details to come at www.carlyphillips.com and through my newsletter! Sign up here: http://www.carlyphillips.com/newsletter-sign-up/

 

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Top Books of 2014

#1  Iced: Fever Series book 6, Karen Marie Moning
I love this entire series!  Each book is so suspenseful, sexy, and intriguing!

#2 The Bride Says Maybe: The Brides of Wishmore book 2, Cathy Maxwell
Cathy always writes such likeable characters, and the setting is in Scotland!  Who can resist a hero known as the “Beast of Aberfeldy?”

#3 When the Duke was Wicked, Lorraine Heath
I always love Lorraine’s books! The Duke of Lovingdon was my favorite scoundrel of 2014!



Favorite Book Cover for 2014






Favorite Series of 2014


I just started this series, and I love it!



Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014

Touring Scotland with some author friends, then meeting some of our readers in Glasgow!




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Author: Megan Hart
Website: www.meganhart.com
Twitter Handle: @megan_hart






Top Books of 2014

#1 One Kick, Chelsea Cain. Loved it for the damaged, kickass heroine

#2  Elusion, Cheryl Klam and Claudia Gabel, loved it for the world building and great characters

#3 The Lesser Dead, Christopher Buehlman, loved it for the main character's great voice, the vintage setting and all the gore!




Favorite Book Cover for 2014

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IWUXVRY?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B00IWUXVRY&linkCode=shr&tag=nigidotrenabo-20&linkId=SUOK4BWWFVYTGL4Z&=books&qid=1419731304&sr=1-1&keywords=Mortal+Danger+by+Ann+Aguirre

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre -- what a great, understated cover that promises the perfect creepy read. Loved it!



Favorite Series of 2014

 Hmm, I don't really read series, or when I do, I don't pay attention to them being a series...one book at a time. That's how I read.


Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014

 Interacting with all the great readers who make my job so much fun.

 

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Author: Eve Silver
Twitter Handle: @Eve_Silver


Top Books of 2014

It's tough to pick only three books because I read a ton of incredible stories this year. Instead, I'm going to just go to my keeper shelf and close my eyes and randomly choose three books. So...in no particular order...**drum roll**...

#1 The Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen (The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year).
These books got me out of a reading funk. There's a freshness to the stories paired with honesty of characterization.

#2 Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
 This book is the third in the Falling Kingdoms series. Full disclaimer: Morgan Rhodes is a friend. That isn't why I listed this book. I listed it because this series really is Game of Thrones for teens. There's politics and intrigue, twists and turns, romance, surprises, magic, enemies become allies, allies become enemies, and like George R. R. Martin, Morgan Rhodes is more than willing to kill her babies...er...I mean characters. No one is safe. When you read this series, grab hold and hang on for the ride.

#3 The Kraken King by Meljean Brook
This is the fourth book in the Iron Seas series. It was originally released in serial format, then as a complete novel. Danger, adventure, high stakes, romance!!! The characters grabbed me and held on. The pacing was fabulous, the story exciting and action packed. The world was wonderfully built and fleshed out.



Favorite Book Cover for 2014





Favorite Series of 2014

All the books I listed above are parts of series, and I loved them all.



Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014

 There were a number of lovely moments this year. My work was shortlisted for the Monica Hughes Award in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and is a current nominee for the Forest of Reading White Pine Award. Amy Mathers (Amy's Marathon of Books) included RUSH in her fundraising marathon and wrote a truly gorgeous Tumblr post about what the book meant to her. I had letters and emails from readers that touched my heart and made me cry. Now, I'm looking forward to 2015 :-)


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Top Books of 2014

#1   Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen: This young adult epic fantasy book focuses on C├ęcile, a singer who is kidnapped and taken to an underground city in hopes of breaking a curse. The book has a sort of Beauty and the Beast vibe that I really liked – but with trolls.

#2  Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe: This is one of the books in Bledsoe’s epic fantasy series about Eddie LaCrosse, a sword jockey (think private investigator). I like how Bledsoe tackles different fantasy characters and creatures in his books, and this time, Eddie goes up against pirates and sea monsters.
 
#3  Crashed by Timothy Hallinan:
I always enjoy reading books about thieves, and this one focuses on Junior Bender, a Los Angeles thief who becomes a sort of private investigator for other criminals.



Favorite Book Cover for 2014
 






Favorite Moment as on Author in 2014

Every year, one of my favorite things is hearing from readers that they’ve enjoyed my books, whether it’s through e-mail, social media, or in person at a book conference. It’s always so nice to hear, and it always makes my day.



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Author: Teresa Medeiros 
Website: http://www.teresamedeiros.com 
Twitter Handle: @TeresaMedeiros





Top Books of 2014

 #1  THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X by Eloisa James
 Eloisa’s books always satisfy the hardcore historical romance reader in me.
This one had it all—winning characters, witty dialogue, a clever plot and an
incredibly touching romance. When you add in Eloisa’s exquisite attention to
historical detail, it was like being swept away from this challenging world for
a few precious hours!

 #2  VIRTUE FALLS by Christina Dodd
 This is Christina Dodd’s first big hardcover suspense novel and I think she
pulled it off beautifully. The book begins with a tsunami hitting the coast of
Washington state, which gives it that delicious “disaster movie” suspense feel.
And since it’s Christina Dodd, she also gives you an incredibly satisfying (and
sensual) romance about reunited lovers.

 #3  NEVER FORGET by Heather Ashby
 I have to add the disclaimer that I published this book through my new
publishing house Amber House Books, but I did that because I fell head over
heels in love with it. It’s a military romance about the U.S.S. New York, the
naval ship that was built using steel from the World Trade Center in its hull.
Suzanne Brockmann loved the book enough to give it a glowing quote. It’s the
first book I’ve read since 9/11 that had a healing effect on my still-aching
spirit. Heather has an innate storytelling gift that can make you laugh, cry,
and shiver with suspense.

 

 
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Author: Shannon Stacey
Twitter Handle: @shannonstacey





Top Books of 2014

 #1  It Happened One Wedding by Julie James was my favorite read of 2014 because it had everything I want in a contemporary romance, including sizzling sexual tension, fun and sexy banter, meaningful interaction with friends and family.

#2  Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor was a surprise favorite. The blurb (about a SEAL and a pregnant mother) appealed to me, but the story was even better than I expected, evoking the kind of depth and emotion between a military man and a woman that the early Suzanne Brockmann TD&D series did. 

#3  All You Need Is Love from Marie Force introduced a huge New England family I immediately wanted to get to know better in a small Vermont town.


Favorite Book Cover for 2014

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0425259781?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=0425259781&linkCode=shr&tag=nigidotrenabo-20&linkId=35G7ROLQQUSQLIJN&=books&qid=1419722058&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Hope+Burns+from+Jaci+Burton

Hope Burns from Jaci Burton because combining her distinctive, smoking hot cover look with a little grease and a sexy car is a total win for me.



Favorite Series of 2014

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GIA4GN8?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B00GIA4GN8&linkCode=shr&tag=nigidotrenabo-20&linkId=77WYTHML24AMDTGK&=books&qid=1419722387&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=The+Beyond+series+from+Kit+Rocha

The Beyond series from Kit Rocha remains a favorite. Dark, gritty and very, very erotic, this post-apocalyptic series full of emotion, violence and political machinations pushes the boundaries of my comfort level in all the right ways.

Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014

My favorite moment as an author was actually a private one. I received an email from a reader that made me cry happy tears and, though I won’t share the details of her email, it’s very humbling and gratifying to have somebody tell you your book helped her laugh through a particularly dark time.



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Author: Bree Despain
Website: breedespain.com
Twitter Handle: @breedespain





Top Books of 2014

#1 SNOW LIKE ASHES, Sara Raasch. I loved the world building in this book and the fact that it features a strong female character who is also very vulnerable--she doesn't *just* kick butt all the time. She makes mistakes. I could tell while reading this book that it was a true labor of love for the author.

#2 LANDLINE, Rainbow Rowel. I read all of Rainbow Rowell's books this year. It's a toss up between FANGIRL and ELEANOR AND PARK for which one was my absolute favorite, but since LANDLINE was the only one actually published in 2014, I'll go with that one. Rowell has a true talent for dialogue and teasing out romantic tension.

#3 ON THE FENCE, Kasie West. I love West's contemporary romances. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US was one of my absolute favorite reads this year that I immediately followed up with ON THE FENCE. TDBU, was my favorite of the two, but ONT was the one published in 2014. (Apparently, I read more 2013 books this year than 2014. I also read a few AWESOME books that won't be coming out until 2015.) It was fun to revisit the town and some of the characters from THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, but with a whole new romance.



Favorite Book Cover for 2014


 CRUEL BEAUTY, Rosamund Hodge. I haven't read this book yet, but want to because the cover is so beautiful.



Favorite Series of 2014


FIRE AND FLOOD, Victoria Scott. I'm currently reading this series and really enjoy the narrator's voice. She's funny and endearing and you really want to go along on this wild journey with her. 



Favorite Moments as an Author in 2014

 Getting to be a panelist at Salt Lake City's Comic Con and FanX. My kids thought I was super cool because my "special guest" badge let us bypass all the crazy long lines. We got to meet Nathan Fillion and some other celebrities. I also loved speaking at the Houston Teen Book Con and meeting so many enthusiastic teen readers. Any time I get to surround myself with fellow readers and geeks it makes all the hard writing work worth it.



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Author: Lauren Oliver
Website: http://laurenoliverbooks.com/
Twitter Handle: @OliverBooks





Top Books of 2014
 
#1  I'll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson: This is a staggeringly beautiful book about two twins who in the aftermath of a family tragedy must redefine their relationship to themselves and each other. Jandy's writing is so good it made me want to throw in the towel!

#2  Anatomy of a Misfit, Andrea Portes: Anika Dragomir is an unlikely heroine, and yet it's her witty, penetrating, and hilarious insights that make this book shine. One of my favorite fictional characters ever.

#3  We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart:
I and half of America fell in love with the almost dream-like quality of Lockhart's prose and the world of careful repression and denial she evokes in the beautiful and distressed Sinclair family. A must-read.



Favorite Series of 2014    


Marie Lu, The Young Elites: Special powers, youthful assassins, religious intolerance, and male courtesans? Count me in.



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Website: www.vickipettersson.com

Twitter Handle: twitter.com/VickiPettersson

 

 Top Books of 2014

#1 ONE KICK by Chelsea Cain - My first thriller is coming out next year so I've been on a thriller kick these past months. Yet I already knew Chelsea Cain was my particular choice of poison in prose form from having read her Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan series. ONE KICK is the start of a new series and Cain has once again written a female character who is as flawed and dark and fascinating as you'd expect from her. I can't wait to read the next.

#2 STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson - Because I have to feed my superhero addiction. I'm late to Sanderson's writing because high fantasy never really spoke to me in the past, but this book feels relevant (and so well written and plotted) -- and, bonus, I get to share it with my kids! I've already pre-ordered the next. 

#3 BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S.J. Watson - a psych thriller that, craft-wise, was so hard to pull off. The protagonist is an amnesiac who has to reacquaint herself with her life--and her husband--every day. She starts keeping a journal that gradually reveals that her life, and the people she trusts, are not all that they seem. Masterful, and kept me guessing--which I love.


Favorite Book Cover for 2014


Favorite Series of 2014

The Vanessa Michael Monroe series (THE VESSEL) by Taylor Stevens. One of the best thriller writers, and protagonists, out there.


Favorite Moment as an author in 2014

Finally being able to end my Celestial Blues trilogy with THE GIVEN, and converse with my readers about the ending I had in mind for these characters from the first. It was such a relief for me...and, judging from the reactions I got, a relief for them as well!




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Author:  Julia London
Website: julialondon.com
Twitter Handle: @juliaflondon

 

   




 Top Books of 2014

#1  Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan  
It's set in Singapore among the young jet-set of the obscenely rich Asian world.  The book was funny and entertaining and fast moving.  Moreover, I don't think I've ever read an Asian writer or a book set in Asia.  So it was a new experience for me and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I would definitely pick up another of his books.  

#2  Thornbrook Park, by Sherri Browning
It's set in early 20th century England (think Downton Abbey) and is such a gentle romance, but the kind that is really simmering just below the surface, you know?  Really great book.   

 #3  All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

I really liked this book because it captured so many issues that so many women face.  I thought she handled the subject of addiction very well, without a heavy hand.  It was really a good read. 

 


Favorite Book Cover for 2014
 

That is a gorgeous, ethereal cover.  I have cover envy.  Deep, deep cover envy.  I think the book may have come out in late 2013, but I didn't see the cover until 2014, and it's one everyone should see.  So I am sticking with it!
 


Favorite Series of 2014


I recently began re-reading the Julie Garwood Scottish historicals.  I started with The Bride and now I am re-reading The Wedding.  These books introduced me to romance and to the possibility of writing romance.  It's so fun to go back and read them again after all these years.  


Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014 

There were so many, but I have to say getting two RITA nominations to add to my collection of bridesmaid RITA nominations ranked right up there.  The validation by peers never gets old.  Imagine how giddy I'd be if I actually ever won a RITA.   



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Author: Amy Plum
Twitter Handle:  @AmyPlumOhLaLa






Top Books of 2014

Talk about plausible world building, Holly's Coldtown is now a place that exists to me. I want to go to the Eternal Ball, but only if I have a get-out-of-Coldtown marker!

It took me a few chapters to get into this one, but once I did, it swept me in and dragged me along. And what a ride! The characters are wonderful, and they way they try to make a very wrong world right again is awe-inspiring.

I rarely read middle grade, and this fantasy is pure enchantment. A boy who turns his gaming obsession into real world triumphs and a half-giant girl who actually wants to be bigger and stronger than the boys...what kids aren't going to gobble this up? I haven’t loved a female protagonist as much as I did Thianna since my major girl-crush on Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.


 


Favorite Book Cover for 2014



Coldest Girl in Coldtown has my favorite cover of any book I read in 2014. Anything that you're proud of carrying onto public transport, I count as a big win, and I loved having Holly's book on the Metro with me! But that was published in 2013. So if it is published in 2014, it would be Ally Condie's Atlantia, which I haven't read yet, but the cover is just gorgeous.



 Favorite Series of 2014
 



I loved the whole Salem witch fantasy world in Josephine Angelini's TRIAL BY FIRE (from her Worldwalker trilogy), and can't wait to read the sequel Trail of Tears! And I was spellbound by Anna Carey's BLACKBIRD. So I can't wait to get my hands on #2 of that series, Deadfall!




 

Favorite Moments as an Author in 2014

I had a couple of favorite moments. One was when I gave a workshop on Creating Characters for a 7th grade class in the south of France. It's the first time I've given a writing workshop in French, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it. It was a complete success, and the kids absolutely ate it up. It really stirred their creativity.

The other was in Oslo, Norway, where my publisher Capellen Damm had organized a signing. About thirty readers showed up, and we sat around in the bookstore cafe and just talked about books for an hour and a half before I began signing what they had brought for me. Actual contact with my readers, face-to-face, is so rare, and I really cherish the times I can actually chat with them!



 
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Author: Angie Fox 
Website: www.angiefox.com
Twitter Handle: @AngieFoxauthor


 



Top Books of 2014

Great mystery with a neat small town setting and a hot detective.
Razor sharp writing about a CIA assassin hiding out in a small town, pretending to be a beauty queen librarian. Yes, you read that right. 
Quirky, fun, and such a great read. A vintage clothing store owner attends the estate sale of a local fashionista and gets more than she bargained for.

 

Favorite Book Cover for 2014

 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NTOPXS8?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B00NTOPXS8&linkCode=shr&tag=nigidotrenabo-20&linkId=3PQOVV3X7M3LNUTM&=books&qid=1419732232&sr=1-1&keywords=Under+My+Skin+by+Shawntelle+Madison
Just came out and it looks amazing.


 
Favorite Series of 2014
 

A sexy, completely different tale about an author who falls for a male escort. Very hot. I needed one of those paper fans to wave about while reading this one.

 

Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014
 
When one of my readers named her dog "Pirate" after the smart-mouthed talking Jack Russell terrier in my Accidental Demon Slayer books.



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Website: www.dakotacassidy.com
Twitter Handle: @DakotaCassidy

 




Top Books of 2014


#1 Ellay Branton—a new author who has just one book out now, but she writes such lovely erotic tales, and I’m so proud of her! The Bedside Voyeur is her first book, and she’s truly a talent to watch!

#2  Cynthia St. Aubin’s Matilda Schmidt books are a riot!  Plus, she’s pretty and super funny on Facebook. Which means she has to get off my Internet because I can’t stand the competition! LOL!  

#3  The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing—chock full of success stories and authored by actual Indies who inspired me to take a leap into the self-publishing pool.


Favorite Book Cover for 2014



Of course I love my own, and I’m so proud to say my BFF Renee George made them for me, but I also really love Robyn Peterman’s Fashionably Dead series covers made by Rebecca Poole. They’re adorable!


 
Favorite Series of 2014


 I’ve read so little this year due to some changes in my work load, but I’ve been enjoying Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. He’s one of my favorites.


 
Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014

 Becoming a hybrid author. My background is traditional publishing, but I just jumped into the Indie side of things, and it’s been exhaustingly challenging. Yet, I’m loving every minute of it!



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Website:  www.kbromberg.com 
Twitter Handle: @KBrombergDriven





Top Books of 2014 

This is super hard for me because I haven't read much this year since I've been writing.


 #1  Songs of Submission by CD Reiss 
Excellent writing, great story, and steamy scenes. How can you go wrong?

 #2  Lick by Kylie Scott 
 Love this unexpected story. Didn't like the original cover and would have never read but a blogger told me I HAD to read it and so I did and I loved it!

#3  Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover
Hopeless is one of my all time favs and so naturally I loved seeing Holder's side of it. I haven't read Ugly Love or Maybe Someday yet, they are loaded and ready, so I'm sure those will be there too.



 Favorite Book Cover for 2014

 Ohhh this is hard! I can't pick just one. Sorry. I'm taking the easy way out.



Favorite Series of 2014


 Hmm...Probably Songs of Submission Series.



Favorite Moment as an Author in 2014
Whew....um hitting the NYT Bestsellers list at #2 as an independently released author. Pretty much an unexpected, still very surreal moment for me.




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Author: Tammy Kaehler
Website: www.tammykaehler.com
Blog: Tammy's Blog
Twitter Handle: @tkaehler 





Top Books of 2014


#1  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
This is a beautiful story about a bookstore, book lovers, and choosing joy. The writing is lyric and wonderful, and it's warm and bookish. I loved everything about it.
  
The fifth entry in my friend Tina's series is one of her best. Tai, who's conflicted about the confederate-themed gun shop she owns, is a kick-butt female protagonist who is totally able to take care of herself, though not above taking help (most of the time) from her super-hot, security-expert boyfriend, Trey. They sizzle, and the plot is excellent.
  
It's well-written and extremely clever, as it focuses around the proposed publication of a book that will reportedly blow the lid off of the publishing world. It's got great settings, interesting characters, and a twisty plot. Outstanding book and story.


Favorite Book Cover for 2014

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1464202389?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=1464202389&linkCode=shr&tag=nigidotrenabo-20&linkId=GEEADPJD65BK64QN&=books&qid=1419720727&sr=1-1&keywords=avoidable+contact+by+tammy+kaehler
Avoidable Contact, by me. I read a lot of books digitally, so I don't see the covers much. But I've stared at this cover of mine for months, and I still love it--because it's all really about racing. They are accurate photos for the racing I cover and the track where the book is set. I should know, because I took most of them and handed them over to my publisher. So the cover not only gets the racing right, but also captures the mood of the story, and I just love it.


Favorite Series of 2014
It's a YA series full of fantasy and hilarity. I read it this year because I had the pleasure of meeting Eoin and moderating a panel he was on at Bouchercon, the international mystery fan convention. I raced through the books, laughing all the way. One of the most imaginative series out there.

  
Favorite Moments as an Author in 2014
1. Finding out I won the prize for top motorsports book in 2013 from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association for Braking Points, meaning that people who know both good writing and racing think I'm doing a good job!
2. At 6:30 a.m., the morning of the Indy 500, I stood on the famed "yard of bricks," the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and watched the sun rise over pit lane. Amazing.

3. Holding my third published book in my hands.

4. Every time I hear from a reader that they read and liked one of my books. It never gets old! And I'm always humbled and grateful that someone spends their money and time on the world I've created with Kate Reilly.

5. Getting a ride in a two-seater IndyCar at the hands of Mario Andretti (see photo for my reaction)


1 comment:

Joni said...

Boy is this hard. I truly love both Julie Garwood and Julianne MacLean. I love all love their books because I have read all of them and I have even gone back and reread them before I read the new on in a series.