When I was a senior in high school, my AP English teacher asked us to write the top twenty things we’d learned at that point. I’ve repeated that activity on my birthday for the last twenty years. This year, I thought I’d share a few items from my list of things I’ve learned at 38 along with recent and not so recent reads that take me back to the lesson.
Only one person is in charge of my happiness and I should listen to her because she's smart.
Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave
"From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams."
Change means movement. Movement means friction.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
"A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn't lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina's offered an opportunity that could change her life. There's just one hitch...she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials."
Giving up control doesn't mean I am giving up.
Hearts on Hold by Charish Reid
"Professor Victoria Reese knows an uphill battle when she sees one. Convincing her narrow-minded colleagues at the elite Pembroke University to back a partnership with the local library is a fight she saw coming and already has a plan for. What she didn’t see coming? The wildly hot librarian who makes it clear books aren’t the only thing he’d like to handle."
Family are those people who know the worst about me and still expect the best from me.
Island Affairs by Priscilla Oliveras
"USA Today bestselling author Priscilla Oliveras launches a new romantic comedy series set in Key West, Florida and filled with humor, Latinx culture, and fun family dynamics perfect for summer beach reading…"
Parenting is one part research, one part intuition and one part luck, all of it sprinkled with anxiety and why-is-this-sticky?
Hello Lovelies by Hayley DeRoche
When a former political communications strategist and currently a stay-at-home mom wins an all-expenses paid cruise vacation with her idol, a superstar mommy blogger, she can’t wait to connect with other moms IRL, but the cruise is not the Instagram-worthy getaway Ruthie had in mind.
It’s okay to acknowledge that I am really good at what I do.
Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
"Tell me it's wrong. Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have.
When we find each other again, everything stands in our way--secrets, lies, promises.
But we didn't come this far to give up now. And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine."
What have been the biggest lessons you've learned up to this point? Do any books take you back to it? Share them in the comments!
I was very excited to find How To Fail At Flirting on the list of anticipated romance novels for 2020 in Oprah Magazine. Thank you to McKenzie Jean-Philippe and the Oprah Magazine team for adding my book to this list of phenomenal authors. Click the image below to access the article or click here.
This weekend, I finished writing acknowledgements which, I have to tell you, feels a lot like giving an Oscar acceptance speech, except that I was wearing sweatpants and Chris Evans was nowhere to be found when I tripped walking up my own stairs.
Still, it’s humbling to thank everyone who supported you during the conception, gestation, and birth of your book baby. Too graphic? Are you trying to decide what the placenta is in this metaphor? Let it go, it’s not that serious (but the life-sustaining placenta for this book would be Diet Coke and Baked Cheetos). There’s a challenge to make the acknowledgements fit the tone of the book—for me, that meant a little touching, a little funny, and a little bit deeper than you thought it would go.
There are a few people I didn’t get to thank, so if you’ll indulge me…
That was a preview, so I hope you’ll make it to the end of HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING to read the final cut of the speech. It's not out yet, so I’ll just be here, waiting for Chris Evans to show up.
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.