Category Archives: mermaids

Is There Value in Procrastination?

Susan-Mermaid-avatar  Perhaps the problem of procrastination gives you shivers. Me, too – and I’m a world-class wait-till-later writer! I’m taking a moment here, though, to ponder this question – what is the value of procrastination, if any?

Is this *your* life?

How many of us live like this?

Some of you may know that I’ve set myself an informal deadline to finish a polish of 100 pages for submission by June 1. You should also know that I’m a) dealing with additional challenges and duties as the school year draws to a close, b) attended a graduation tonight (required for my job) which took away the three or four hours I’d intended to spend writing c) have a big wedding anniversary on Sunday (thank you! how kind), and 4) have a blog post due on Thursday, May 28.


Oh, my goodness!

Which explains part of why I’m writing the first (and probably the only) draft at 10:30 in the evening on May 27.

Ugh. This might explain why writers so often don’t finish a work.  You see, it’s fun to think about writing, and to put some words down, and to say you’re writing a story. It’s not fun to re-read your draft, and realize you’ve got various strengths in it, and characters who are changing names/jobs/destinies as your ideas evolve.

Poor Bernard! He’s been Barney, and now he’s called Bernie a lot. And my hero, Anthony, has a last name I can’t remember. And last night I wrote a note to myself when I broke off for the night:




thank you, Carlene, for loaning this one...

Carlene’s exquisite landscape makes me want to write something wonderful.

That, my friends, is three different scenes I want to park in this draft before I’m done. I’m on page 56.

What are the chances?

A friend has just made the argument for controlled rest. In this, we allow our brains and creative spirits time to recharge. Hey, I’m up for that! Another book, another glass of wine – it’s all good.

I’m also thinking about this, because I’m a high school librarian. And I saw, this afternoon, a crowd of freshmen who’d ignored a Classics assignment until today. It’s due tomorrow. The library needed to close so this librarian could get into her academic gown. So, let’s also talk about what drive us to procrastinate, when we know we should be doing our work.




So here are the topics we are discussing today:

– Will Susan make her deadline?

– Are you a procrastinator, and do you think it makes your work better or worse?

– Did you spot the error Susan made in the first paragraph, which she decided was kind of cute and decided to leave as her own personal Easter egg for this entry?


Kissing Mr. Wrong releases today!


We are flipping our fins and throwing glitter in the mermaid lagoon today! Why? It is the release date of Kissing Mr. Wrong, a novella by our very own Kerri Carpenter!!!

This novella sounds AMAZING — kinda like Kerri herself. So amazing, in fact, that I had to corner Kerri in the lagoon and ask her a few questions about her latest book.

1. What was your favorite scene to write in this book?KMW Cover

This question took me the longest to answer because I couldn’t decide! It might be the opening scene where Vanessa and John have a HUGE misunderstanding. She’s just lost her job and he thinks she’s going to throw herself off a bridge. In the end, she almost goes over the side anyway, he saves her, and they, um, having a little sexy time.

2. What makes Vanessa different from other heroines you’ve written?
Vanessa actually doesn’t differ much from my other heroines because I love writing contemporary women that I would want to be friends with in real life. They’re on the verge of something great happening in their life, if only they can just cross that one hurdle that’s been dogging them.

3. Before Vanessa discovers her one-night-stand is her best friend’s brother, she and her best friend have an . . . interesting conversation about her experience. Care to tell us about this conversation?
Well, we all know that girls talk. At least with their BFFs. However, it’s not until Vanessa and John discover who the other is…
“OMG – you’re my best friend’s brother!”
“OMG – you’re my sister’s best friend!”
…that a certain realization dawns for Vanessa. Yep, she tells her BFF everything including… well, um, ahem, penis details. Oops!

4. Not only is John the brother of her best friend, but he’s also two years younger than Vanessa. In Vanessa’s eyes, which is a bigger deal-breaker? What other ways is John Mr. Wrong? What ways is he Mr. Right?
Being her best friend’s brother is definitely a bigger deal breaker. In fact, she’s really just grasping at straws with the age thing and John calls her right out on it. But the fact that he doesn’t plan on staying in town definitely puts another check in the Mr. Wrong category. Yet, somehow she’s still attracted to him. Maybe because he sees how talented and beautiful she is, and when she’s with him she feels like the best version of herself.

5. Can you give us a few “Easter eggs” about this story? Inside jokes you’ve hidden that the reader may not necessarily pick up on?
I love Easter eggs and I definitely have a couple in this story!

Since I adore The Walking Dead, I named quite a few periphery characters after people on the show. Carol and Beth both make appearances.

If I’m drinking, I go for wine. But every once in a while, I’m tempted to have what I call “a big girl drink,” and my hard liquor drink of choice is a good old gin & tonic. That drink plays an important role in one of the scenes of this book.

Like many people, I must have my coffee. And I truly believe that when you move into a new house the first two things you should do before any other tasks is set up your coffee machine and get sheets on your bed for that night. That’s why a Keurig plays a prominent role in one of the scenes.

* * *

Thanks so much for answering my questions, Kerri! I am sooo looking forward to reading!

Blurb: Three months ago, graphic designer Vanessa Hewitt slept with the ridiculously hot guy she met after nearly falling to her death while stargazing on a bridge. The adrenaline-fueled night of we’ll-never-see-each-other-again sex fulfilled every fantasy, but with her best friend’s wedding on the horizon, Vanessa can’t stop thinking about what would happen if her sexy stranger passed through town again.

Haunted by his time in Afghanistan, soldier John Campbell returns to his sister’s town just long enough to help plan an engagement party for her. When he realizes her best friend is the sweet one-night stand he’s been fantasizing about for months, he’ll do anything to have her again…though getting trapped together in a storeroom wasn’t quite what he had in mind.

Vanessa is in hell. Or is it heaven? Because with every touch, their forbidden connection grows, until kissing Mr. Wrong starts feeling more like kissing Mr. Right…

Author Bio:

Visit Kerri at her awesomesauce website here.  Follow her on Twitter here.

Kerri Carpenter began writing in her grandmother’s kitchen at the age of seven in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. After graduating from Georgetown University, and working at The Washington Post and several nonprofit organizations, she began her freelance writing career. Happy endings called to her so she turned her focus to romantic fiction. Now, Kerri writes contemporary romances, usually set in small towns. She enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Northern Virginia with her adorable (and mischievous) poodle mix, Harry.

You can buy the book here!

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  iTunes  Kobo

Your Book Boyfriend: Know When You’ve Gone Too Far

Denny S. BryceThere are rules to be followed in the world of fiction – television or books or film – one of the big rules is to know when your book/TV/film boyfriend obsession has gone beyond reason.

Now, I know nothing about this malady. I have never crossed the line. But some of my author friends and others have taken the concept of the book/fiction boyfriend too far. I may not be able to help them (too late), but some of you are only on the verge of toppling over the edge of the cliff. This post is for you.

Below are eight (8) signs that the crazy is in you, and you’d better watch out.

1. You write blogs where you deny you have a book boyfriend. If you do this, take a moment and think about it. (You may have a problem).

2. While listening to your audiobook and driving along 495, you suddenly pull over to curse out your book boyfriend’s wife because she is treating him badly. (You may have a problem).

3.  They (tv producers) make a TV show about your book boyfriend and you read EVERYTHING the actor portraying him (brilliantly, I may add) has ever said publicly, on Twitter, on FB, and you have a YouTube folder just for him…oh, too much information)…(You may have a problem).

4. Pinterest knows about your fictional boyfriend and fuels your madness with daily new photos of the actor who portrays your book boyfriend. (You may have a problem).

5. Your friend whose name you sometimes forget photoshops your image on a photo of a woman standing next to the actor who plays your book boyfriend, and you don’t care. It works for you. The photo doesn’t even look photoshopped. (You may have a problem).

5. You search the books you’ve read featuring your book boyfriend for his name and reread all of the passages where he says, I love you. (Sadly, this may represent more than just a problem).

6. You are planning a trip to the Highlands, which was never on your bucket list until 2014, when you first started reading the book where you found your book boyfriend. (This will cost a lot of money…you may have a problem).

7. You have given up other fiction boyfriends (sorry, Dean Winchester) because it’s too hard to juggle more than one man. (You may have a problem).

8. And finally, if you don’t believe you have problem…just ask somebody…:)…

Anything here remind you of someone? Posting here might be a good place to start healing:)…


Mermaid & Friends: E.E. Cooper

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome E.E. Cooper to the pond today. Her YA, VANISHED, released earlier this week, and it sounds 100% up my alley. In fact, I’ve decided to reward myself with this book as soon as I finish my revisions. Read on to find out more about this intriguing book!

1) Where did the idea for this story come from?

I’ve always been fascinated with friendships and how some are the best relationships in your life and others can be toxic. I wanted to write about a group of friends who are keeping secrets from each other and themselves. Once I knew the main secret the story Vanished coverstarted to spiral out from there. It was much more complicated than stories I’d written in the past so I was both excited to write it and also intimidated.

2) VANISHED is a very twisty mystery. Can you talk about the plotting of it a bit?

There were a few moments where I was pretty sure this story was going to drive me insane. Those who know me may argue that it didn’t have far to drive. I knew aspects of the story when I started and I spent a fair bit of time outlining it. I thought I had it all figured out. (feel free to laugh here) Then I started writing. This book went through several revisions and I was lucky enough to work with a great editor who kept pushing me to make it more complex and not go for an easy answer. My office started to look like a scene from A Beautiful Mind. There were index cards taped to the wall, various things highlighted, Post-it notes sprinkled around and I would pace back and forth waiting for “a-ha” moments.


3) Do you have a favorite character?

How does anyone pick a favorite? I love them all, but I will admit a soft spot for the main character Kalah. She’s fallen into a very difficult situation and has to push herself well beyond her comfort level to get out. Kalah is a complicated character. She has a mixed heritage, half Indian and half French. She is part of a clique- but with two very different best friends that she’s always trying to glue together. She has a boyfriend who she really cares for- but can’t hide from the fact that she has romantic feelings for a girl. She has a history of anxiety and is always struggling to figure out if she’s right to be upset- or if her anxiety is making the situation only seem out of control. I admired her all the more for all her flaws and complexities.

4) You’ve had some great reviews for this story. Care to share a favourite?

Thank you so much! Reviews are nerve wracking. I tell myself that I don’t care- but that’s a fat lie. The one that made me run around the house in circles (with my dog running after me wondering what the heck was going on) was the one by School Library Journal. They said: This novel tackles themes of friendship, deception, obsession, and love….With early hints of John Green’s Paper Towns that slowly morph into Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl​.” Any comparison to John Green and Gillian Flynn was enough to make me lose my mind.

5) So, what are YOU reading right now? Do you have a favourite genre to read?

I suspect it’s not a shock to discover that I am a huge reader. I love a bit of everything: Non-Fiction, YA, Contemporaries, Mysteries, you name I’ll try it – but psychological thrillers are a favorite. I find people fascinating and how they respond when situations turn dark is always something that will keep me reading just one more chapter. I recently finished Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn which has a great twist. In a totally different vein I plan to crack open Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu which just came out. I love her books- so am excited for this one.

6) What is up next for you?

I am working on the second book in the VANISHED series. I’ve got a draft done and am in the stage where I try and make things make sense on the page and not just in my head. It’s also a beautiful summer in Vancouver so there is a lot of walking the dog on the beach planned. The fresh air helps me get story ideas and my dog enjoys the chance to roll around in dead things he finds.

Thanks for having me!

* * * *
Thanks so much for joining us, E.E.! And wow! John Green and Gillian Flynn! I’d better finish these revisions quickly, ’cause I kinda want to read this book right now!

* * * *

E. E. Cooper lives in Vancouver Canada with her husband and one very spoiled dog. You can reach her on Twitter (@eecooperbooks) where she spends entirely too much time. You can also visit her website at

Holly Bodger’s 5 TO 1 Releases Today!

Today is the debut release of a fabulous book—5 TO 1—by Holly Bodger.  I first met Holly when we became Golden Heart® finalists together in 2013. We were both in the YA (Young Adult) category, and all of us YA writers bonded quickly. We had our own little loop called the Savvy Sevens inside of our bigger GH loop—The Lucky 13s.

Many of us in our category exchanged work before we ever met at the national conference, but it was Holly’s critique that either made me want to laugh or cry. She wasn’t harsh as much as honest. But then again, it was in a harshly honest kind of way. She would write comments in the margins like, “Meh” or “Hallmark moment,” and instead of getting upset, I laughed.

In my recent WIP, I mentioned my main character was a senior. Then again. And again. She started pointing it out with sarcasm after a few mentions in the first chapter: “Wait! He’s a senior? I had no idea!” Granted, the sarcastic comments only surfaced after we’d become friends and were used to reading for each other.

I have three CPs. The first pass always goes to Vanessa because she’s sweet and will bolster my ego. The second one goes to Pintip. She tells me all the turning points I’ve missed or that my black moment isn’t black enough. After I fix everything, and I think it’s just about perfect, I send it on to Holly. Then she rips it apart. But by then, I’m ready for it. So, I asked Holly about the people who read her books.  Here’s her response:

Every book is different, but these are generally the people who read my manuscripts before they go to my agent.

1. The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper is scary. She has a whip and is not afraid to use it. I always send my books to her first because a) she knows she’s reading my crap and can read despite the complete lack of emotion, and b) she’s not afraid to tell me it’s crap. The Gatekeeper sends me lists of things that I need to fix before anyone else sees the book. Some of these lists are short. Some of them are long. Most of them have words in uppercase such as “WHAT IS SHE FEELING? IS SHE A ROBOT?” Oh, and yes, the Gatekeeper is Kim MacCarron and no, I don’t know (or want to know!) if she wears leather while reading.

2. The group

I have many other readers, some who have been around for a few books and some who are new. Each of these writers has a different perspective which helps me see different things. Some will tear apart the plot, while others will focus on setting or characterization. Some will just say nice things that make me feel better after the Gatekeeper’s exclamation marks. The group includes my wonderful friends Amy, McCall, Jill, Loretta, Monica, Marybeth, and Pintip.

3. The teen

Eventually, the book goes to Kaitlin, daughter of the Gatekeeper, because she can give me a true reader’s perspective. Plus she can tell me when I do stupid things that make my teen characters sound like they should be wearing mom jeans.

4. The expert

For 5 TO 1, I was very lucky to have the always awesome Sonali Dev to help me with cultural details. In addition to the random questions I asked her while editing, I sent her the book when it was completely done so she could see if I’d missed something or got something totally wrong (a couple times, I even ran copyedit Qs by her!) I have used different expert readers with other books in the past (for example, I have contacted doctors, police officers and teachers). These people are invaluable. Without them, I would make stupid mistakes.

5. The Gatekeeper, Part 2

Yeah, she usually reads it again, but she uses less exclamation marks the second time around and sometimes, she puts little smiley faces and hearts in the margin. That’s why she’s a keeper. So if you’re reading this thinking you need the Gatekeeper in your life, HANDS OFF! She’s mine. And don’t think I won’t open a can of whoop-ass if I need to fight for her. I know Kung Fu. Well, sorta. I’ve seen the movie with the panda at least three times…

About 5 TO 1

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, Koyanagar–a country severed from India–now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, and women are an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of wedding their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife. But after fighting so hard for freedom against the old ways of gender selection, these women have become just as deluded as their male predecessors.

Sudasa Singh doesn’t want to be a wife and Kiran, a boy competing to be her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, each thwarts the other until they slowly realize that they might want the same thing.

You can visit Holly here or follow her on Twitter. About Holly Bodger

A long-time resident of Ottawa, Canada, Holly has been working in publishing since she graduated with an English degree from the University of Ottawa.

5 TO 1 is Holly’s debut novel. You can visit Holly here or follow her on Twitter

Mermaids & Friends: Falling For Alice YA Anthology

Friends, I’m so excited to tell you about the Falling For Alice YA Anthology, Celebrating 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland

Denise Jaden, along with four other authors, are celebrating their unbirthday of their new Alice-in-Wonderland themed anthology with you! To celebrate these five new YA stories, she’s giving away an entire BOX of great YA fiction to one lucky winner on her blog!

She’s honored to have her story among some amazing other authors, including Dawn Dalton, Shari Green, Kitty Keswick, and Cady Vance. You will love all of their stories!

Here’s a little bit about the anthology…


New Alice. New Wonderland. New stories ​to love.

From ​the modern Alice dumped in the Aquarian ​Age of the late sixties, to the ​present day Alice, tormented by body image and emotional issues, to the Alice of the future, launched forward through time and space, FALLING FOR ALICE offers five fresh takes on ​Lewis​ Carroll’s classic tale. For 150 years, people all over the world have fallen under Alice in Wonderland’s spell. ​Now, follow five Young Adult authors down the rabbit hole to discover Alice like you’ve never seen her before. One thing is certain—this is not your mother’s Alice. 

And if you have not seen it yet, here is the book trailer…

Here are a few places where you can purchase the anthology:

Or ask your local bookstore or library to bring in a copy. Follow these five authors down the rabbit hole, and happy reading!

Carlene Mermaid’s Visit to the Set of The Voice!

Happy Hump Day, fishy friends! Carlene Mermaid here. This Monday night I attended a live taping of NBC’s hit show, The Voice, and it was amazing! Unfortunately, no phones or photography were allowed inside Stage 12 on the Universal Studios Hollywood back lot where they film. But did this mermaid let that stop her? No! I just so happened to have a small notepad and pen to capture the moments old school. I give you my pictorial review of Monday night’s The Voice… PS–Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, Carson Daly and Jason Derulo really are that sparkly! But Pharrell is the sparkliest of them all. Le sigh…






And here is Blake singing “Sangria” which was absolutely beautiful live and in person!

Back Away from that Phone!

Back. Away. From. That. Phone.pintip

Imagine me saying that to myself, in the meanest, most growly voice I can muster, at least once an hour, and you’ll have a pretty accurate picture of my afternoon yesterday.

Why am I yelling at myself? Because apparently, I have no will-power. I decided this week to increase my writing productivity by being internet-free between 10am and 2pm. These are the least-interrupted hours of my day, the hours while my kids are in school.

And um, I haven’t been successful a single day.

I have excuses! Really good excuses, about things that needed to be taken care of and responded to right that very moment. I didn’t fritter the minutes away on social media. And yet, my efficiency was shot, anyway, because life happens and life takes time. Lots of time.

But instead of chalking up my experiment as a failure, I’ve decided to see it as a lesson learned. It’s not (only) the internet that interferes with my productivity; it’s the little errands and chores, it’s calling the pharmacy and signing up for camps and responding to emails.

All these daily things need to get done — don’t get me wrong. But they don’t need to be done during my prime writing hours. So, next week, I’m going to give my productivity project one more try. Only this time, instead of being internet-free, I’m going to shift my goal and reserve the hours between 10am and 2pm just for writing. The rest of the “life stuff” can be done before or after.

What do you think? Will this tweak in my strategy makes a difference in my efficiency? I certainly hope so!

What about you? What tips do you have for increasing productivity? What are your prime writing or working hours?

Editor and Agent Recommendations.. Go!

It’s that time of year. The Easter Bunny is tiptoeing through the tulips, April showers are sowing May flowers and Masha (yes, I’m referring to myself in the third person.. shows you how much I’ve been working in 3rd POV) is getting ready to bombard unsuspecting editors and agents with her (mostly) edited manuscript. Hence, the request. If anyone has an editor or agent recommendation, swing on by your keyboard and throw out some details. Since our pond plays host to friendly fishies, please no negative recommendations. Only glowing reviews from personal experience or the gossip mill. Any and all feedback is much obliged.

Barry Manilow: He Writes the Songs

I grew up listening to Barry Manilow, and he’s continued to be an inspiration to me throughout my life. It’s not his fame or fortune. It’s the music, the words and the man behind them. It’s hearing him talk about his Manilow Music Project where he encourages people to donate gently used musical instruments to be given to schools. How can you not love this man?

But knowing he married his manager and long-time partner, Garry Kief, makes me love him all the more. I can’t imagine hiding who I am for fear of what people might say, but I commend him for coming out and coming out so brilliantly. However, I hope we get to the point where nobody ever feels like they need anyone’s blessing to love who they love. No matter who you are.

For all those who may not support him, there are a thousand more who will embrace him and encourage him and rally around him.

I had planned to write this post about Barry Manilow after I attended his concert at the Verizon Center in DC last month, but now I’m glad I waited. My husband of sixteen years took me to see Barry Manilow four times throughout our marriage and he sat beside me as I sang all the words and smiled the whole time, because, SERIOUSLY! How can you not smile when this man sings? My husband jokingly said, “I’ve now seen Barry Manilow more times than Rush.”

Barry Manilow sings with heart. He sings with soul. He sings with sincerity.
Whether he’s singing about what it means to be a parent or a friend or a lover, he sings with conviction. Or whether he’s singing to the misfits who feel like they don’t belong… he reminds us that we are one and we all belong. Best known for his power ballads, his words indeed hold power. He can sing about love that inspires you to love better than you ever have before.

I’m either giving him the credit or he’s taking the blame for me becoming a romance writer. In several ways. He set the bar so high. His swoon-inducing lyrics never made me think I should settle for second best. I wanted the kind of love that he inspired.

When I first heard him, I was too young to even understand the meaning behind the words, but, ohmygod, whatever it was he was singing, I knew I wanted THAT. I wanted to feel deeply and passionately and forever.

When I was a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, I used to listen to Barry Manilow on my stepdad’s stereo. This was back when you had to work to hear music. And especially me. We lived in a small house—where our electricity and water were shut off due to nonpayment more than I liked to admit—and I knew the value of having money and power. Literally and figuratively. So, money wasn’t something that I ever took for granted.

My stepdad had a nice—by our standards—stereo, but I wasn’t allowed to touch it. So, of course I did. Every day in the summer I waited patiently for him to go to work and then I’d run over to his album collection and pull out Barry. I would take the album over to the stereo, put it on the turntable and fool around with the needle until it worked correctly. Then I’d listen to that album again and again and AGAIN. I’d dance to the upbeat songs and sit all dreamily during the ballads, not even understanding that kind of love yet.

My mom was in on the secret, but she told me to make sure I was responsible with the stereo and album. We only had one small air conditioner in the house and it was for the back three small bedrooms, divided by a makeshift curtain hanging across the doorway. That made it pretty damn hot in the living room, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to listen to “my” music. One day, I got sidetracked with the temptation of the coolness in the back of the house. And I went. And fell asleep.

Later, I ran back to the living room to put the album away before my stepdad got home from work so he woudn’t know I’d been using his stereo. I looked at the stereo under the window and my heart started pounding. There was the album, completely warped like something out of a Salvador Dali painting. My heart just broke. I tried to heat it even more so I could bend it back into shape, and I managed to lay it flat and slip it back into the album cover.  But it was ruined.

I remember going back to my bed and crying. Sure, I knew I was going to get in trouble for fooling around with my stepdad’s stereo and ruining his favorite album, but it was more than that.

The music was gone.

It took awhile for my mom and me to save up the money to replace the album. It’s strange to look back now at the girl in that house who couldn’t scrape together enough money for music when now it’s something most of us can experience with one click on the internet. When people are streaming and sharing and even pirating artists’ work—whether that’s music or books. But that’s a whole other blog post.

I often think back to what inspired me to begin writing, and the answer would probably be a combination of Barry Manilow and books. Both were something I could experience in certain degrees for free or for a relatively low cost. They were my escape to different worlds. They made me imagine the lives the words told. They made me want so much. Like I said, they set the bar very high.

I write stories about love because I think love is what makes us who we are. I think love is love, and it should be celebrated every time two people find it.  I’m writing a young adult book now about two boys who fall in love, and I’ve been a little scared to finish writing it. Because I’m not a boy. I’m not a teen. And I’m not gay. With the #WeNeedDiverseBooks taking off in a different direction than how it started—which is veering off from diverse books to diverse authors, I’m wondering if it scares other authors who are writing a story that’s different from their own experiences.

But I think Barry came along once again to give me the inspiration I need. It’s not about whether I’m a gay teenage boy. It’s about whether I can write a book that shows two people—no matter their sexual orientation—falling in love.

And I hope I can do that justice.

That’s why I write romance. That’s why I write for teens. And that’s why Barry Manilow will always be my favorite songwriter. Because he sings about love, and couldn’t we all use more of that?

After all, Love is Love.