February 1, 2007
I scared myself today when I realized that twenty-five years ago this month I received The Call that all writers
The "I want to buy your book" call that changed my life.
Are you out there, Vivian Stephens? I hope so because I owe you a debt of gratitude that I can never repay. I sent
my terribly flawed first book to her and she saw something in it, some little spark that maybe she could fan into
something real, and she took a leap of faith and bought it and changed my life forever.
Vivian is a visionary, a groundbreaker, an occasional rabble-rouser, a Muse, the founder of Romance Writers of
America, the editor (and this was when romance editors were bigger than rock stars) of Candlelight Ecstasy,
Harlequin American Romance, Harlequin Intrigue, a packager, a mentor, an inspiration for so many of us
who came of writing age in the early 1980s when the field was wide open, the excitement was high, and the rules had
yet to be written. It was a great time to be a writer and (if you'll excuse a cliché) the sky was the limit.
She's the reason why I'm lucky enough to have a book coming out later this month.
JUST LIKE HEAVEN is a feel-good romance guaranteed to cure the late winter blues. When Mark Kerry saves Kate
French's life in a Princeton parking lot, the theory “opposites attract” is put to the test.
He's wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt. She's sporting a twin set (and a red lace thong.) Kate's a lapsed Catholic
who hasn't been inside a church in years. Mark is an Episcopal priest in search of a congregation.
Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?
I love this book. I loved disappearing into a world where even the most reluctant heart is no match for the
power of love. At one point in the story, Kate's mother urges her daughter to choose happiness and her words
still linger with me. Such a simple suggestion but one that can change your life the way it changed Kate's. I
can't think of a better way to banish your end-of-winter blues than by spending a few hours with Kate and Mark in
JUST LIKE HEAVEN. I hope you love it too.
And since this is the month for romance, how about my reworked (and infinitely better) recipe for Pasta Puttanesca?
Simple, easy, seductive. What more can a girl ask?
A few tablespoons of chopped onion
Some finely minced garlic
A tsp or so of anchovy paste
A tbsp or two of capers
Crushed red pepper flakes
A splash of olive oil
2 tbsps sliced black olives
A 28 oz can of Italian tomatoes (crushed or whole; you can crush them by hand) (San Marzano tomatoes are the best;
Cento isn't pricey at all) (actually works best with a little under a full can but the dish is completely flexible)
Heat the olive oil at medium heat in your favorite skillet or sauté pan. Toss in the onion and cook until translucent
but not brown. Add the garlic. Don't look away for a second. You want the garlic to give up its gorgeous aroma but
DO NOT LET IT TURN BROWN OR EVEN GOLDEN or it will turn your dish bitter.
You'll want to toss in your capers, black olives and the anchovy paste a few seconds after adding the garlic. This will help reduce
the heat in the pan and keep the garlic from going too far. Add your tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Warm thoroughly.
While all this was going on you were boiling water for penne which is now nice and al dente and ready to go. Drain
the penne but don't rinse it. Put the penne into a nice serving bowl or divide into separate servings. Sauce it to
your taste. Add a little more crushed red pepper flakes, sprinkle on some grated cheese to taste, and then mangia bene!
Fix yourself a plate of Pasta Puttanesca, pour yourself something wonderful, then curl up with a copy of
JUST LIKE HEAVEN.
I guarantee a good time will be had by all!
What's new this month:
- A great new contest – want to win an iPod Shuffle?
- Another great recipe from Kali, our Food Goddess
- Just Like Heaven (see how I worked that in?)
- I have some fridge magnets and datebooks left. Click on FREE STUFF in the left nav bar and send me an email to claim one.
On sale now: