Nadine’s Year-End Motivational Speech

I spent ten years becoming unhealthy, physically and mentally.  Because I was depressed, I ate to comfort myself. Then before I knew it, I was 40. While I didn’t look very good, I still seemed okay on the outside. I laughed and made others laugh. I wrote some books that people seemed to enjoy. On the inside, though, I was pretty numb in a lot of ways, but I felt like it was too late to change anything.

I almost gave up and decided to just be content with how things were. Then something happened; an anthology I was a part of hit a big Bestseller list back in August. There I was, a former public defender, who had always dreamed of writing, and now in my 40’s I had just become a USA Today Bestselling author. That was when I realized that AMAZING things can sometimes happen if you work hard.

So, I started eating better and walking on my treadmill a few minutes a day, and then a few minutes more etc. I also started reading again, good books – the kind that didn’t just provide me with an escape, but instead also made me think, and made me want to write that well myself. I took steps to learn to write that well, reading books written by master editors, studying the technical aspects of good writing and so on.

I started surrounding myself with supportive people. I began mentoring new authors, and I met some experienced authors who became good friends who have been there for me in many ways. I made new writing goals, and decided to measure success by how happy I felt about a book. Little by little, I started to become healthy again.

So now it’s December, and while I still have a way to go, I’m ON my way. Physically, I may not be a twenty year-old supermodel, but I don’t need to be one to feel beautiful. I’m a woman in her forties who is much healthier and feels attractive because of it. In fact, I’m going out for a Girls’ Night on the town next month for the first time in over a decade. When I go to sign at Wicked Book Weekend in February I will pose proudly for pictures instead of trying to hide behind other people.

I’m still reading good books and studying the technical aspects of writing. I’m not content just to hit a Bestseller list anymore. My new goal is to become a great author – the kind people remember. I’m not announcing release dates anymore until a book I have written is nearly complete and I feel like it’s ready.

I’m also starting to speak up about issues that I am passionate about again, Feminism, Zionism, Neurodiversity, Environmental concerns etc. Although I used to be an advocate, and even an activist, for a long time I remained silent. While I will always do my best to be respectful, and I will never try to force my views on others, I plan to discuss issues that are important to me. I have a voice and I want to use it in many ways.

The point of this post is not to brag; it’s to motivate. It is never too late to turn things around, not in ANY decade of life. If you are still breathing, you still have a life to live. Get out and live it. Start slowly – set yourself up for success, one step at a time. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start again when you fall. Think positively and surround yourself with others who lift you up. Believe that anything is possible, but be ready to work hard for it.

I hope that you have a wonderful 2015 and that your dreams come true.

Just be thankful your family’s not this bad …

From The Law of Attraction

We walked downstairs and first I saw my Aunt Ruth and my Uncle Ira. Ruth came over to me and clutching me to her ample bosom, said in the most nasal voice and the heaviest Queens (and I don’t mean the British kind) accent most people have ever heard, “Gabrielle! How awre you?”

“I’m great, Aunt Ruth. How are you?”

“Fabulous! Simply fabulous! You look amazing! Look Ira! Doesn’t Gabrielle look amazing?”

“You look amazing, Gabrielle. You lost some weight huh?”

“Nah, not really. I just walk a lot, so I’m kind of like more toned, you know? Uh, let me introduce you. This is my boyfriend Braden. Braden, this is my Aunt Ruth and my Uncle Ira.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Braden said, sounding wonderfully cultured. It wasn’t hard to sound wonderfully cultured next to my Aunt Ruth though.

“Oh my gawd!” Ruth screeched. ”Gabrielle brought a guy home! And he’s so good-looking!” I wanted to crawl under the couch and hide.

“Well, that’s a first!” Ira added. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Braden! We were starting to wonder if maybe Gabby was gay, you know?” He chuckled. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that! I know lots of gay people!” Ruth chimed in. “My hair stylist is gay and he’s a lovely person!” She seemed to be apologetically explaining this to me for some reason.

“Where’s Rachel?” I asked, before Ruth could name every gay person she knew.

“She and Bubbe are still outside. They’re having a little disagreement and I asked them to resolve it before they came in,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“Maybe we should check on them,” my mom said. Yeah, no kidding. They could be out there all night. On the other hand … My mom went out front.

“Ben!” Ira said. “How’s the world of big business?”

“Great, Ira! How’s the dry-cleaning business?”

“Wonderful! We’re the ones who keep your guys lookin’ good!” My dad chuckled like Ira hadn’t said that every time that he had seen him for the past thirty years.

“And what do you do, Braden?” Ira asked.

“I’m an assistant district attorney.” He smiled.

“Another lawyer! Well, good for you, Gabby! You found one with a good job. We were worried you might get desperate enough to start dating your clients. So when are you getting married?” I wanted to drink bleach.

“Uh, well, we haven’t been dating that long yet, Uncle Ira.”

“Well, Gabby, you’re not getting any younger and I don’t think you want to let this one go, you know what I’m saying, kiddo?” he said in a quiet voice, like he was sharing privileged information with me.

“Ira, why don’t you come with me for a minute while I check on dinner?” My dad jumped in quickly. “I want to hear everything that’s going on in the dry cleaning world.” Dad was such a great guy. He was totally taking one for the team. Ira followed him to the kitchen, talking serious dry cleaning talk. The front door swung open and my mother came in looking stressed. She plastered a big smile on her face anyway. She was pretty great too. My parents were really going to the mat for me.

“Gabrielle, sweetheart, look, your cousin Rachel’s here!” Rachel, my thirty-two-year-old cougar cousin with the big hair, the expensive manicure and the Jimmy Choos came over and hugged me.
“Gabrielle, you look great!”

“So, do you Rach! This is my boyfriend, Braden.”

“What a pleasure,” she smiled. Then she turned to me and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Wow, very hot. Is he built to scale?” My eyes widened. Braden coughed to cover a surprised laugh. And then I heard it, coming in the door, the voice of my childhood nightmares.

“Gabrielle! Dahling! Is that you?”

“Bubbe! Yes it’s me.” My grandmother, all four foot eleven inches of her, shuffled in, leaning on her cane. The cane was a prop, of course; she could sprint a city block when she needed to.

“I almost didn’t recognize you. Probably because you never visit me. I wouldn’t know your voice because you never call me either. Would it kill you to call once in a while? Maybe you could even write a letter if you were feeling particularly generous.”

“I’m sorry, Bubbe.” She made it to the front of the crowd and squinted up at Braden. She also had twenty/twenty vision incidentally. “Who’s the Viking?”

“This is my boyfriend, Braden, Bubbe.”

“Your boyfriend? We thought you were gay. Does he have a job?”

“He’s a lawyer.”

“A lawyer who makes money or a lawyer like you?”

“He’s a prosecutor.”

“So, a lawyer like you but on the right side.” She squinted again. “He doesn’t look Jewish.”

“He’s not Jewish, Bubbe.”

“Why not?”

“What do you mean why not?” Rachel cut in. “Because he’s not! And I’ve got news for you. It doesn’t matter! I married a nice Jewish guy.” Oh no! Here we go! “A doctor! Top of the freaking Jewish food chain. And do you know where he is now? Shacking up with a twenty-three-year-old shiksa! That’s where he is now!”

“Well, were you keeping him happy in bed?” Bubbe asked, and I started to panic.

“Ma!” my mother cut in. “How could you ask that? You’re not gonna blame her because her husband cheated on her?!”

“I’ll bet you any money she didn’t give him oral attention,” Bubbe announced.

“Uh! I don’t think we should …” I tried.

“Excuse me! But a lot of women simply do not enjoy performing oral sex! I mean guys pee out of that thing!” Rachel shouted.

“See? What did I tell you?” Bubbe looked smug.

“Braden, maybe we should check on dinner,” I said desperately.

“Uh,” he replied. I grabbed his hand and dragged him into the kitchen where Ira was still talking dry cleaning and my dad’s eyes were glazing over.

“I’m so sorry,” I said to Braden and I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

“It’s okay! Don’t worry so much.” I could hear Rachel and Bubbe yelling at one another in the other room. My mom popped her head in.

“So, Ben, sweetheart, does the brisket look done?”

“Judy! Yes, honey, why don’t you help me? I don’t want to impose on Ira here. Ira, why don’t you go in the other room and relax?” Like anybody could relax with the cage match going on in there.

“Okay, if you don’t mind.”

“No! Not at all! Go! Really!” my dad pleaded. Ira grabbed a carrot stick and headed for the other room. Maybe he had learned to block them out.

“Daddy, can Braden and I please stay in here and help you too? Please!”

“Yes, of course sweetheart! You don’t have to go back out there.”

“So, Braden, I hope you like brisket,” my mother said with a smile just as Rachel shouted something about how maybe Bubbe should just go and blow all the guys in her bridge club.

“I do, thanks,” he said, trying not to laugh. My dad turned to face him with a look of exasperated amusement, and in that moment, Braden Pierce and Ben Ginsberg bonded.

“Okay, let’s get this show on the road. Gabby, do you want to light the candles, sweetheart?” Dad asked.

“Okay. Ma, will you please make them be quiet?”

“Of course, honey.” She took a deep breath. “Ben, Gabby, I love you. Braden, darling I think you’re wonderful. Okay! Let’s go!” she said in a voice filled with steely determination. We got into the other room and my mother put two fingers to her lips and whistled shrilly. “Everybody shut up! It’s time to light the candles and welcome the Sabbath!” I sighed.

“Here you go, Braden,” my dad said, handing him a yarmulke. Braden looked at it like he had just been given a gift. There weren’t a lot of six foot three blonde-haired blue-eyed guys who wore Jewish skull caps, but he managed to carry it off pretty well. We went into the dining room and everyone stood by the sideboard as I lit the candles and said the blessing. I glanced up and smiled at Braden who was watching me carefully. He really found this interesting. I also saw my parents watching him. The fact that he found it interesting made them happy. Somebody up there must have been listening to the prayers because my crazy relatives stopped screaming at each other and sat down quietly. It was a Sabbath miracle.

Chapter One Winning Appeal Copyright 2014/N.M. Silber

Chapter One


10:30 AM

When you wake up and find a pair of pantyhose without a run on the very first try, you know it will be a good day, but I had no idea how good, and it certainly didn’t seem that way at first. I came charging down the hall from my office at The Justice Project, reading the file in my hand, en route to the law library to find Bruce, the head researcher at our small legal nonprofit. As soon as I cleared the door, I felt an impact like I had ran run into a brick wall. Glancing up in shock, I saw smoky gray eyes, first filled with surprise, and then twinkling with amusement. Oh God, not again.

I had managed to run smack into Mark Patterson, staff attorney, one of my big brother’s closest friends and the reason I went through so many batteries every month. I felt burning heat travel up my neck and into my cheeks. Why was such an awkward klutz around this one man, when I had always been known for my poise? And why was I always having these conversations in my head these days?

“Oh God! I’m sorry,” I apologized with a shaky laugh. I took a step back, biting my lip, and fiddling with the file in my hands.

“You okay?” I heard Braden, said big brother, ask. I looked over and saw him standing on the other side of the room next to Adam Roth, also an attorney and a close friend of Braden’s. He had a trace of smirk on his face, but then, that was Adam’s natural expression.

“Yeah, I wasn’t paying attention,” I said, backing up quickly. Suddenly, I just wanted to get out of there before I embarrassed myself any more than I already had. “I was just … I was looking for …”

“Watch out,” Mark warned, and suddenly, I felt another impact, this time against my back. I had misjudged the doorway and slammed into a bookcase behind me. An avalanche of legal journals came tumbling down, and I dropped my file and threw my arms on top of my head. “Beth!” Mark rushed toward me, tripping over something in the process. He slammed into me, knocking us both over, while a mountain of paper covered us. I’m so glad I left before I embarrassed myself.

I looked up at him, and even through the chaos and confusion, I felt a powerful energy surge between us, almost like an electrical current. For one brief moment, I was intensely aware of his weight on top of me, and the feeling of his breath on my cheek, and then Braden and Adam crossed the room to help us, and the spell was broken. Mark quickly got up, and Braden took my hand and helped me to my feet.

“Be careful or you’re going to kill somebody,” my brother warned after he made sure that I was okay. Mark seemed to turn me into a walking disaster area.

“She was just distracted,” Adam said, kneeling down to reassemble and collect my abandoned file. Something in his eyes told me that he knew how distracting Mark was to me. But then, this was a very tight-knit office. Everyone probably knew, including Mark. I felt myself blushing more and starting to sweat. It probably sounds immature. I mean, I was twenty-six, not sixteen, but since he had never demonstrated a romantic interest in me, and he was my co-worker and a friend of Braden’s, I tried to be as subtle as possible about my little infatuation. So much for subtlety.

“No, really guys don’t worry. I’m fine,” Mark said, brushing himself off, and straightening his shirt cuffs.

“You landed on top,” Adam reminded him.

I knelt down too and began stacking journals in an effort to clean up the mess. Braden pitched in, and I stood up and spun around, moving forward and kneeling down again to start forming a new pile. Unfortunately, Mark was moving forward to help too, which meant that I fell to my knees directly in front of him, and inertia almost brought us crashing together again – this time face to crotch. He jumped back about three feet, and then immediately began retreating around the conference table, obviously getting as far away from me as possible.

Just then, Bruce came in with Liz, our office manager. Both of them stopped in their tracks to take in the scene. I was wildly grabbing journals, probably shredding a few in the process. Braden and Adam were forming legal journal Stonehenge, and Mark looked like he wished that he had a chair and a whip.

“What’s going on?” Bruce asked, looking at us like he was watching aliens land.

“Mark and Beth were rolling around on the floor together,” Adam answered helpfully as continued to stack.

“Okay,” Liz commented, seemingly taking that information in stride. Not much seemed to throw Liz, which was probably a good thing working here.

“It was an accident,” Mark said quickly.

“I backed up into the bookcase and he tried to help me.”

“By rolling around on the floor with you in a pile of legal journals?” Bruce asked.

“Some people are into that,” Adam noted.

“Let’s finish talking in my office,” Braden said, picking up the last fallen edition. He got up, turned and left with Adam and Mark following close behind. As soon as they left, I let out a deep sigh.

“I came to talk to you,” I said, standing up. “I wanted to let you know your new computer arrived. I signed for it and it’s sitting there in the middle of the floor. In fact, I think that’s what Mark tripped over.” I pointed to a pile of boxes.

“Oh, yay! I hope he didn’t damage it,” he said, going over to check out his new prize. Bruce wasn’t always the most sensitive guy in the world. Adam’s wife, Lily was fond of calling him “Brucie Dearest” and “The Diva,” but he loved her nicknames.

“I’ll help you set it up. Just let me just go put this file away and take care of a couple of things. I’ll be back in a few.”

I smoothed down my skirt and picked up my abandoned paperwork from the table where Adam had placed it. Then, I headed toward my office, looking out the windows along the way at the view of Center City Philadelphia that I loved, and had often painted. It was a gorgeous day in May and I would have rather been outside.

When I reached my door, I couldn’t help smiling a little as usual. Even after three months, I still felt a surge of pride whenever I saw the gold plaque, “Beth Pierce, Director of Development.” It sounded very impressive but then, I was capable of handling the job. My degree may have been in Art History, but my dad was a U.S. Senator, and my mom had always supported lots of charities; so I had grown up attending fundraisers.

I went in and closed the door behind me, leaning against it for a moment to compose myself and calm my racing thoughts. Then, I crossed my office, tossed the file on my desk, and my eyes traveled automatically to a photo hanging on my wall. It was of the three of them, back when they had been roommates in law school at Georgetown.

Braden was leaning against a building, cool and confident. Adam stood beside him, smirking of course. And there on Adam’s left, stood Mark, with that sexy smile of his that made him look like you just caught him doing something naughty. He was gorgeous, with his thick brown hair and those smoky gray eyes.

A knock on my door startled me out of my reverie. “Come in,” I called out, turning around. A warm smile greeted me as my friend, Lily entered.

“Hey, what’s this I heard about you and Mark rolling around together on the library floor?” She walked over to where I was standing.

“News travels fast in this place.”

“It’s a small office, and Brucie Dearest has a big mouth.”

“What is he, the town crier?” I asked and sat down in my desk chair.

“I love this picture,” she said, looking at Adam in much the same way I had just been looking at Mark. It wasn’t hard to tell that they were newlyweds.

“Me too,” I replied. My friends definitely knew about my infatuation, even though we hadn’t really discussed it much.

“Do you remember Adam and Mark back when they were in law school?” she asked, settling into an orange armchair across from me.

“Yeah, they visited Braden at our parents’ place over breaks a few times when I was home from college.”

“Did you drool over them because they were your big brother’s hot friends?”

“I definitely noticed them. They’re only two years-older than me though.” I shuffled some papers on my desk.

“And did you happen to notice Mark, in particular?”

“You’re such a lawyer!” I laughed, looking up at her. “I happened to like his style. How many law students wear leather jackets and Doc Martens?”

“Well, I’m sure he ‘noticed’ you too. It’s hard for most guys to miss gorgeous blondes with mile long legs,” Lily said.

“I’m not sure, but I think that I might have caught him checking me out a few times,” I admitted, a little sheepishly. It’s not like guys never found me attractive, but I got such mixed signals from him that I almost felt conceited assuming that he was interested.

“Well, I’m sure he was. It’s not exactly hard for anyone else to tell that the two of you are attracted to each other, especially since you started working together every day. I wonder why he doesn’t do anything about it,” she said, knitting her brows.

“Probably because he’s Braden’s friend, and I’m Braden’s little sister.” I sighed and gazed out my window wistfully.

“Who cares?”

“Obviously, he does, and like you said, we work together. It could get awkward if we suddenly started sleeping together too,” I noted with light-hearted tone, even though it had been weighing on my mind.

“Beth, you and Mark are among the only people in this office not sleeping together, and I think there’s more there than just physical attraction. You two seem different with each other than with other people.”

“Yeah, I’m different with him all right. I’ve never had coordination problems, or episodes of unbearable awkwardness before, but around him, I’m a nervous, lusty, filthy-minded, mess,” I joked.

“Speaking of lusty, filthy-minded messes, how was the gala Saturday night?”

“Well, I made some good contacts. I met the Director of the Disability Law Center. She was very nice. We might be able do some joint projects with them. I also got a chance to talk to the lead attorney at the Philadelphia chapter of the ACLU.”

“No creepers?”

“I didn’t say that. I ran into a local businessman who seemed to have forgotten about his wife, and a guy from the city government who seemed to have forgotten that he was an asshole. He copped a feel and tried to pretend it was an accident.”


“Tell me about it.” I glanced at my watch. “Oh, I promised Bruce I would help him set up his computer.”

“Well, God forbid you keep The Diva waiting. See you later.”

11:00 AM

“That black wire doesn’t seem to fit anywhere,” Bruce said. We were both on our hands and knees, side-by-side, under a desk trying to assemble a computer that was probably more advanced technology-wise than NORAD.

“According to the diagram, it’s supposed to plug in the back of the CPU, under the hole for the printer cable, but I can’t get it in,” I told him, trying in vain to insert part J into part K. I pushed harder, and felt my hands becoming slick with sweat.

“I have to run to the little law librarian’s room. I’ll help you in a second,” he said crawling out and then getting up and leaving. I stuck a couple of more cooperative pieces together, and then went back to tackle the black wire again. I was focusing on it intently when my mind vaguely registered the sound of the door opening.

“I think if you put it in from behind it will fit,” I said, assuming that Bruce had returned from using the facilities.

“I’m sure we could make it fit lots of ways,” Mark said. “But from behind works for me.” Because we were all friends outside of work, this office was more casual than most, and he rarely passed up an opportunity to tease. My stomach flipped over and I sat up quickly, too quickly; I slammed my head on the desk. “Are you okay?” he asked, wincing, and then coming over and dropping down on the floor himself. Oh God. We were on the floor together again. Steady, Beth. Don’t injure the man.

“I’m fine. Can you help me plug this wire in? The diagram makes it look easy, but I must be doing something wrong, because it doesn’t seem to fit in the hole.” I showed him the wire and where it was supposed to go. He crawled under the desk next to me, took the wire, and did his best to get it. Apparently, it wasn’t just me.

“Let me see that,” he said taking the diagram and furrowing his brows with concentration. In this confined space, I was surrounded by the scent of Armani Code and guy soap and guy. I had never realized how powerfully erotic the sense of smell could be. But then, he could probably smell like a plastic shower curtain and it would turn me on.

“Everything else seems to fit,” I said, giving myself a mental shake, and trying to focus on the damned wire.

“You connected part H, right?” he asked glancing up from the diagram, and pausing. His eyes widened slightly, and I think his pupils must have dilated, because they seemed to get darker within seconds. It was mesmerizing, like storm clouds gathering.

“Yes,” I answered thickly. His gaze dropped to my lips and I noticed the pulse point in his neck begin to throb. I had never noticed anything so subtle before. It was like I was hyper-aware of and attuned to his every reaction. He swallowed and looked away quickly.

“Here, hold the wire up this way while I try to get it in the port,” he instructed, handing it over to me. I grabbed on like he showed me and tried to help. After another minute of struggling I got impatient. This was ridiculous. It couldn’t be this difficult.

“Push harder,” I told him, with a note of nervous tension in my voice.

“If I push harder I might damage it,” he answered, sounding as tense as I did.

“If you don’t push hard, you’ll never get it in the hole. I think it’s just a really tight fit.” Even I noticed how husky I sounded. In my agitated state, I tugged on the wire.

“Don’t yank on it,” he admonished, grabbing my hand. My heart slammed against my chest wall so hard, it felt like I might fracture a rib. I tried to breathe through my noise, so that I wouldn’t start panting. I hoped that somebody in this office knew CPR.

“I’m sorry, I’m just trying to help you get it in.” Nose breathing wasn’t working. It felt like there was no air left. Screw CPR; I needed an oxygen mask. He stared at my mouth again for a second, and then he looked away and renewed his efforts vigorously.

“Almost there …” he said in a low voice. “So close …”

“Like that! Push harder!” The chord slipped into place and I cried out, “Yes!”

“What are you two doing down there?” Braden asked from somewhere behind us. This time both of us sat up too quickly and banged our heads into the desk. I was clearly headed for the hospital at this rate.

“I’m assuming that this is probably not what it sounds like,” Adam added. “But if it is, then for Christ’s sake, Mark, be a gentleman and give it to her however she wants.”

“What’s going on now?” I heard Liz say.

“Beth and Mark are on the floor together again, and she wants him to push harder, but he’s afraid he might damage her hole,” Adam answered. Mark sighed and rolled his eyes. Then both of us crawled out quickly and stood up.

“I see,” Liz replied. “I’m going to make coffee.” She turned to leave.

“I was helping her set up a computer!” Mark called out to her, sounding irritated.

“Obviously,” Braden said, looking at him like he was crazy.

“Just don’t think that I was doing anything inappropriate,” he said, sounding defensive, and giving Adam a dirty look.

“In the law library in the middle of the day?” Braden asked.

“He’s hard up,” Adam chimed in. “It’s been a while.” The look Mark gave him that time, bordered on homicidal. Adam might be the one headed for the hospital.

“So it’s set up now?” Braden asked. Giving Adam a warning glance, he began running his fingers through his hair and pacing.

“It should be fine,” I answered. “I’ll be in my office if you need me for anything else, Bruce,” I said walking toward the door.

“Don’t forget the meeting later,” Braden reminded me.

“Right,” I called over my shoulder. I saw Mark rub the back of his neck and roll his head back and forth like he was working out the tension, and I tried very hard not to picture how it would feel to give him a nice long massage. I failed.

When I reached my office, I shut my door behind me and sat back in my desk chair thinking again. I couldn’t go on like this. Maybe the meeting that afternoon would be a good time to mention all the creepy guys who hit on me at these fundraising events I attended without a date.

4:00 PM

We had an executive staff meeting every Friday afternoon in the library, just so everyone could touch base. Braden and his wife Gabrielle, who I adored, had started The Justice Project to represent people wrongly accused and convicted of crimes and they believed in what they did. They had hired their closest friends to work with them, and there was a strong feeling of teamwork here that everyone loved.

The attorneys had all arrived; Lily, Gabrielle, my cousin Cameron, and his girlfriend, Jess, another good friend of mine, joined Braden, Mark and Adam. Bruce and Liz were both there too. We could start the meeting.

I had planned out what I was going to say, and I knew my girls would have my back if necessary. In fact, as it turned out, I didn’t even have to say anything; toward the end of the meeting, Lily brought up exactly the subject I had been planning to discuss.

“So, Beth, there’s that fundraiser tomorrow night at the art museum. I read that the theme is Old Hollywood,” she said casually.

“Old Hollywood? Oh, that should be fun, honey, well, as long as nobody hits on you,” Jess jumped in.

“I can’t even imagine having to fight off those jerks every time you go to one of those things,” Gab added, making a sour face.

“It’s a shame there isn’t anyone you could bring with you. Don’t you have any male friends you could invite?” Lily asked, looking concerned.

“I’ll go if they let me dress like Joan Crawford,” Bruce volunteered and Lily kicked him under the table.

“Beth, are you being harassed at the events you’re attending?” Braden broke in suddenly, leaning back in his chair and plowing his fingers through his hair. Both Braden, and my younger brother Drew, could be very protective of me. Having grown up in the public eye had made us particularly close.

“There are guys who mistake these things for single’s bars, but they do usually cease and desist eventually,” I answered truthfully. I didn’t want to worry him, but I did want him to suggest that maybe someone escort me …

“Why don’t you bring a date then?” he asked, and I hesitated a beat. Okay, not quite what I was hoping for, but close.

“Because I’m not dating anyone at the moment.” I started shuffling through the papers in front me as if there were a reason for it, other than to avoid the subject of my not-very-successful dating history.

“Why not?” Braden asked crossing his arms and raising one eyebrow.

“Why not?” I gave him an appalled look. When you don’t know what say, repeat the question and look offended. It usually works.

“What happened the filmmaker?” Oh, shit here we go …

“I found out his most successful production to date was entitled Suzie Loves Gangbangs, Part II.

“Wait, there’s a sequel?” Adam asked, earning him a raised eyebrow from Lily.

“How about the Green Architect who was all into sustainable energy?” Braden went on, undeterred. He could be like the Spanish Inquisition.

“He couldn’t sustain enough energy to get off the couch.”

“The i-banker from New York?”

“I” was his very favorite word. In fact, He was a poster child for narcissism. This is an interesting approach to running a staff meeting, Braden. Whose dating history should we discuss next?”

“I’m just trying to figure out why an intelligent, attractive, single woman doesn’t have a date on a Saturday night.”

“Maybe I’ll get a cat to keep me company, or ten. Could we discuss something business related now?”

“This is business related. You represent this organization at these events and it sounds like you’re being harassed. I’m the Director here, and so, I’ll have to address that somehow, probably by making sure that you’re escorted.”

Hearing that, everyone shot a surreptitious glance at Mark at the same time. I shut up and looked down at the file in front of me, feeling my face heat up. That was what I had wanted him to say, but I could have done without the public reminder of what a loser I was when it came to romance. Why was nothing ever easy?

Afterward, they really did discuss business. Specifically, they discussed their caseloads. Whenever they got into the details my mind wandered. It usually wandered to Mark. I figured I could use a mental break, so I let myself daydream about the two of us being alone in the office one night and having sex on my desk. And his desk. And my desk again. It was a long meeting.

I’m giving you a FREE gift for the holidays!

I am writing a special holiday story, and I will give it away FREE to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter!!! Do you want to see the cover? Drumroll ….. Ta Da!
Go to my website to sign up. While you’re there, you can play the Lawyers in Love Buzz Quiz, check out the book trailers, the soundtracks, the character portrait gallery … all kinds of fun things! In fact, if you sign up, you can even get ANOTHER story for free right now!

My new short for LOL 2

The theme of LOL Volume 2 is Cake! You can pre-order it here:  LOL Volume 2

My story, tentatively titled, Crime and Cake, is so much fun! It stars Matt Brenner, who you meet in Nightmare in Night Court, in the Shiver anthology, and a young, female public defender, named Sarah Weisman.

Sarah, reluctantly agrees to stand in for her roommate, a theater major, with a score of wacky jobs, jumping out of a cake as Marilyn Monroe at a party. Well, the party gets raided, (Birthday Boy is a Mafia capo), and she winds up having an interesting, and somewhat flirty, late night conversation with a handsome young prosecutor, who doesn’t realize who she really is. Down the road, Sarah winds up battling Matt’s best friend in court, and trying to hide the fact that she was his Marilyn. (Because she wants to be taken seriously as a lawyer.) Matt figures it out anyway, (bright boy), and woos her, finally convincing her that he’s interested in Sarah, and not just Marilyn. It’s funny, and romantic and hot! Here’s a little piece, (pun intended), of Crime and Cake from LOL Volume 2. (It takes place at the party that gets raided and Sarah is in the cake.)

Raid! The party was being raided! Fuck! I had to get out of there, but my legs were just starting to tingle with renewed circulation, and they were not going to support my effort to scale the side of a giant cake. I looked around frantically, and saw the microphone stand to my immediate left. Reaching out as far as I possibly could, I just barely managed to grab it, and pull it to me. Holding it firmly, while leaning against the side of the cake, I did the only I could do … I rowed.

Feel free to quote me.

I just discovered a page of quotes on Goodreads quoting ME! Seriously – well, okay, maybe not very serious – but it really exists. So, if you want a quick and dirty, (and I mean dirty), example of my sassy badassy writing, and generally disorganized thought pattern, go look.


The Book Enthusiast profiles the couples of Lawyers in Love! (And does a Giveaway!)



I want to extend a huge thanks to all of the wonderful bloggers at The Book Enthusiast, but especially Cindy Meyer, who has been a supporter from the very beginning, and who loves my couples as much as I do. <3 Go enter the giveaway!

Reading By The Book Interviews Adam from Legal Briefs.


Check out this interview with Adam Roth, Philly Assistant District Attorney, turned hot shot criminal defense lawyer. (He’s also an all-around funny, sexy and swoon-worthy guy.) He’s off the market now, happily married and soon to be a daddy, but he’s still a charmer.

So Much FUN that it merits THREE exclamation points AND shouty caps!!!


ANNOUNCEMENT ONE: Lily and Adam Roth are expecting a baby! Because you KNOW these two will be the most hilariously loving parents around, the story must be told. I’m going to write Legal Issue, (Baby Roth’s story), as a companion novella, but also put Adam and Lily’s whole story, including Legal Briefs, Legally Wed, Legal-i-Tease and Legal Issue together in one boxed set/book. The Roths are just too funny, sexy and romantic not to have more stories.




ANNOUNCEMENT TWO:  There will be a brand new feature in my monthly newsletter starting in October… Ask Mark & Adam. You can ask them questions about anything. They are perfectly willing to expound upon just about any subject, and they are not shy. If you would like to ask them a question, e-mail it to and put “Ask Mark & Adam” in the subject line. They’ll select one to answer each month and everyone who submits a question will be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. The person whose question they actually choose to answer, will win a $25 Amazon gift card! BUT – the winner will only find out when she sees her question answered in the newsletter! How’s that for anticipation? (The winner of the $10 gift card will also be announced in the newsletter.) Trust me – it will be fun, but then, the newsletter is fun! Adam and Mark are are also fun. Naughty, but fun.

If you haven’t signed up for The Docket yet – here’s the link:


The secret formula for succeeding as an author

I’m not a “famous” author, but I make a living.  Some people might consider that I’m doing decently well, even if I’m not a household name. If you are one of those people, and would like to know what my secret is, keep reading, because I’m going to share my magic formula for success.  Are you ready? Here it is …

1) Write well. That means using books like The Elements of Style, The Chicago Manuel of Style, and a good thesaurus. It means writing every day and learning as much as you can about the technical aspects of writing. It also means thoroughly revising your work and working with an editor.

2) Write efficiently, and as quickly as you can, while still writing well. Develop a robust back-list.

3) Even if you are writing something geared toward commercial sales, BE ORIGINAL. Don’t do what another author has done already.  It’s better to have someone respect your originality, and continue to invest in your work, than to just buy this book of yours because it reminds them of someone else’s that they enjoyed.

4.) Learn real marketing and PR skills. How? Read books that you find in the business and marketing sections of the local bookstore, not books with titles like “How I sold Ten Billion Books on Amazon in 3 hours.” Take online courses about marketing and PR strategies from reputable instructors. Plenty of great universities offer courses online for free as long as you are not seeking credit. Talk to authors who really understand the business end of publishing.

5.) Don’t rely on gimmicks to promote your books, and don’t do promotional things just because everyone else does.  Develop a mailing list of the people who genuinely like your writing. Once per month, put out an interesting and entertaining newsletter and never SPAM the subscribers. Do some market research and develop carefully placed advertising. Collaborate with other authors. Readers like authors who engage with them more than authors who just promote things to them.

6.) Don’t mistake popularity for success.

7.) Don’t waste your time on petty drama. Never publicly criticize another author’s work. Always take the high road.

8.) Be patient and understand that becoming a good writer is a process.  Writing is a skill. If you want to do it well, you need to practice, learn, and pay your dues. Can you become a big hit with your first book? Yes, this is the age of the internet, and if you’re incredibly lucky, and in the right place at the right time, maybe your book will go viral. Maybe you’ll even be able to sustain it. But that’s not becoming a good writer; that’s becoming a famous author. Becoming a good writer is a better goal in the long-run.  Focus on that even if it takes some time.

So there it is, the secret is …  that there’s no secret to success as an author, at least as long as you define “success” as making a living doing something you love and enjoy.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,048 other followers

%d bloggers like this: