How to Fail at Flirting will hit shelves and e-readers in a couple months, and I've turned to working on my second book. More information about it is coming soon, but I just finished a tough round of revisions, a round of editing and breaking apart the book and putting it back together where I wasn't sure it was good anymore. I got in my head, and I questioned if I was good enough to tell the story.
It was fortuitous that as I reached the last few pages, thinking, "yeah, maybe I do have what it takes," that the song that inspired me in the first place started playing. "It's Your Life" by Francesca Battistelli was an unlikely inspiration for me. I don't know anything about the artist and I rarely listen to Christian or country music, but I was driving home night after a long day at work and I heard it. I listened, and I listened again, and I thought about passions and drive, about choices, and sense of self, and this book began to form in my mind.
The line in the song that struck me then and strikes me now is, "Are you who you always said you would be?" When I started writing, I planned to be a writer who penned beautiful words and had great ideas. I hoped to be popular and my books highly praised. I didn't think about *who* I would be as a writer though. I didn't think about how I'd need to be resilient and patient, or how I'd need to hone my skills of quieting that inner critic, even when her voice is the only think I can hear inside my head. So, when I heard the song at the end of my revisions, I had an overwhelming sense of relief. I should have known I could do it and maybe next time, I'll just play this song when I start revisions.
I don't know if this will make sense to anyone else, but I'll be listening to the song a few more times and reminding myself I'm a good writer. What are you reminding yourself?
"It's your life--what you gonna do? // The world is watching you // Every day the choices you make // Say what you are and who your heart beats for."
In this month's VIP newsletter, I shared many book recommendations based on what I'm reading and the theme of travel. Please see below for links and more information. For books in non-US locations, I focused on the UK this month in conjunction with the UK cover reveal for How To Fail At Flirting. What are your favorite romance novels that take place outside of the US? Drop them in the comments!
How to Fail at Flirting is out December 1 in the US and UK and available for pre-order. In the meantime, enjoy some of these reads!
What I'm Reading
Miracles and Menorahs by Stacey Agdern
The author was kind enough to gift me an advance copy of this delightful book that is out October 6. An unlikely pair are thrust together because of a Hanukkah Festival. I love the voice and character development in this novel! Stacey Agdern is a treasure. Do yourself a favor and pre-order.
Simmer Down by Sarah Smith
IndieBound | Amazon
Food trucks AND enemies to lovers? I'll read anything Smith writes because I love her voice and the way she captures chemistry, and this book has everything I need! This one is out October 13.
Well Played by Jen DeLuca
IndieBound | Amazon
It's time to go back to the Renaissance Fair! Stacey is still living the wench life but looking for something that might be missing. She finds that in a long distance text relationship that turns out to not be what she expected. This book is out tomorrow and is delightful. The characters pop off the page and you'll get to see all your favorites from Well Met. Order now!
Hex, Love, & Rock and Roll by Kat Turner
IndieBound | Amazon
Sexy witches? Yes please!! Kat Turner's debut is whimsical and funny with a story that keeps you turning pages and maybe fanning yoursel a little!
Love All Year: A Holiday Anthology
I've been so looking forward to this anthology that comes out tomorrow. Love All Year is an anthology of holiday romances from religions, ethnicities, and cultures around the world. It includes romances set during Sukkot, Yule, Purim, Juneteenth, Eid-al-Adha, Qixi, and Rosh Hashanah.Contributors include ElizabethKahn, Stacey Agdern, Hallie Alexander, Savannah J. Frierson, Felicia Grossman, Farah Heron, Celestine Martin, & Ekaterine Xia
UK-Based Romances I've Recently Read & Re-Read
Novels from Some of My Favorite Ex-Pats
Denise reads romance novels, writes research papers, can be found humming "Baby Shark" long after her toddler has gone to bed, and loves ruining her character's lives but then giving them happily ever afters. She is a member of Romance Writers of America® and a 2019 Golden Heart® Finalist, and her debut novel HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING will be out fall 2020 from Berkley.