Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

December 28, 2014


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Okay, not exactly. I arranged a swap with Paige Rion of Worldwind Virtual Book Tours. I edit a manuscript for her and she organizes a book tour for me. Work on both is ongoing.

Blind Date Bride | Arlene Hittle

BLIND DATE BRIDE’s book tour starts on Dec. 30. You can get the full schedule here.

November 27, 2014


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Yesterday on Facebook, Katie MacAlister asked her friends/followers what they were thankful for. But she didn’t want the standard answers—family, friends, health. She wanted us to share the quirky and offbeat things we’re glad to have in our lives.

Some of the answers were hilarious:

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 3.38.06 PM

It got me thinking a couple of things:

  1. How would I answer that question?
  2. That would make a great blog post!

So here I am, blogging my answers. (They weren’t kidding when they said you can find ideas anywhere…) In no particular order, I’m thankful for:

My Target Red Card. Sure, they got hacked, but who hasn’t these days? I just dig the 5% discount on all the cat food, cat litter and Chobani yogurt I pick up at Target on a regular basis. Every cent saved is another cent I can add to the balance of my Starbucks card.


A car that runs—and lets me dress him up for Christmas. No kidding. Focus (or the Silver Streak, as I affectionately call him) is getting up there in years, but he’s a great little car. He starts up even on cold days and never objects to the cheery red nose and antlers I love to make him wear during the holidays.

My Keurig machine. I got it ages ago, but was too scared/lazy to figure out how to work it. The Boyfriend got a new apartment and convinced me to let him set it up there. He quickly figured out the setup and just as quickly decided the K cups were too expensive. He sent the lovely machine back up the mountain with me—so now I can have fancy coffee drinks at home. This will save me money at Starbucks, right?

Gourmet pizza. Picazzo’s has the best pizza. They make a mean Caesar salad, too. (The dressing…OMG, the garlicky goodness of the dressing… It’s seriously the best salad I’ve ever had.)

A job. (Okay, I cheated. This is a serious one.) The work is only part-time and temporary, but even that is better than nothing. I thought I’d enjoy not having a day job—more time to promote my books, and write and edit new ones. That was only half right. Even though I did spend a lot of time writing/editing/pushing sales, I spent just as much feeling hopeless, worthless and frustrated. Seriously—I’ve had a regular, full-time job since graduating college in 1994. So when my old boss called me and asked me to come back for a temporary, part-time gig, I jumped at the chance. I started Monday, and it felt great to be back.

SkylineFlagstaff. So what if the weather’s cold and residents are frustratingly resistant to welcoming any kind of chain stores or new housing developments? It’s still a gorgeous town, and people care about one another. I do wish it had a Trader Joe’s, though.

It goes without saying that I’m also thankful for family, friends and…well, my health leaves something to be desired. I need to get back on the “eat well and exercise” bandwagon.

Anybody see which direction it headed?



October 18, 2014

Dave & Melinda, Musings

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Diva in the Dugout by Arlene HittleIt’s hard to believe my debut novel, DIVA IN THE DUGOUT, came out a year ago today. Yet it did.

My book baby has been out there for 12 months. 365 days.

Wow. It’s been a crazy year.

In its 365 days “in the wild,” it’s gotten some attention. Among the notice: six reviews on Amazon (nothing below a 3-star) and 24 ratings on Goodreads (3.79 average). A 3.79 average might not seem that impressive, but then I remind myself that some of my favorite authors’ books have similar scores.

No matter how beloved they are, no author can please everyone. DIVA garnered my first one-star review. I know, I know. I’m not supposed to read the reviews. Confession: I did it anyway. It was thoughtful and I can respect the opinions it expressed.

Back to DIVA’s wild year. It hovered on various Amazon bestseller lists for months. I learned to love that “Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction  > Sports” designation. “Kindle ebooks > Romance > Sports” is also pretty sweet.

Taken at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 ... DIVA's sales rank was the highest I've seen.

Taken at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 … DIVA’s sales rank was the highest I’ve seen.

DIVA also garnered attention from my publisher. When Turquoise Morning Press celebrated its 2013 Best of TMP this summer, I was recognized three times.

Best of Turquoise Morning Press 2013 Best of Turquoise Morning Press 2013 Best of Turquoise Morning Press 2013It received a nod in the 2013 TMP Readers’ Choice awards, too. Ultimately, it didn’t win—but like all the movie stars say, it was an honor just to be nominated. A nomination meant that enough readers enjoyed DIVA so much that they thought it deserved to be included on the list.

And when I decided to enter the RITA competition, it became a print book. It’s definitely selling better in its ebook form, but it was a thrill to hold my book baby in my hands.

(No, it didn’t receive a RITA nomination. Too bad. You only get one shot at “best first book.”)

Diva in the Dugout | Arlene Hittle | Turquoise Morning Press

In print!

My debut isn’t perfect. I know that. For example, I didn’t resolve Dave’s issues with his father. I realized it on one of my read-throughs and figured my editor would call me on it. When she didn’t, I let it slide. That turned out to be a mistake. More than one reader has pointed out the omission.

Another confession: I set the story in Texas because I wanted to sell to Harlequin American and so many of their stories are set there. I picked a part of Texas I’d driven through on my move from Indiana to Arizona, but still…I should stick with writing a place I know. That’s why most of my stories are set in either Arizona (like BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, SLIDING INTO HOME and the upcoming BREAKING ALL THE RULES) or the Midwest (HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS and BLIND DATE BRIDE). I lived the first 28 years of my life in northern Indiana and have been in northern Arizona for the last 15.

Still, DIVA is an entertaining read. I fell in love with Dave and Mel, and their daughter Tara. I hope you will, too.

Get DIVA IN THE DUGOUT: Turquoise Morning PressSmashwordsAll Romance EbooksAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo and iTunes.


September 16, 2014



Heroes Are My Weakness | Susan Elizabeth PhillipsThe awesome Susan Elizabeth Phillips was at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix Friday night to speak and sign copies of her newest book, Heroes Are My Weakness. It’s awesome, by the way. I started reading while I waited for the event to start, and put aside other things (such as my own writing) to finish it over the weekend.

I just spent a good fifteen minutes perusing SEP’s book list to try to remember which of her books hooked me on her writing—except I can’t for the life of me figure it out. It seems her books have always been there, cheering me up and making me laugh. It might have been Nobody’s Baby But Mine, but I can’t be sure.

Ahem. I’m getting off track here. Let’s get back to the talk—and the authorly moment that happened to me in the middle of it.

As SEP promised on her Facebook page, she arrived wearing a lovely hat.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips | PhoenixYes, that’s a crab. Heroes Are My Weakness is set in Maine, which is more lobster country, but the crab was the only hat her publicist could find. (The publicist clearly didn’t check with Red Lobster. They plop a foam lobster on your head and sing “Happy Birthday” to you there—at least they did in Fort Wayne, Ind., when I turned 18. So embarrassing!)

Near the start of the presentation, she asked if anyone in the audience was a member of the local RWA chapter. My hand went halfway up. I explained I’m not a member of either of the Phoenix chapters, but I am the president of Northern Arizona RWA.

Then she asked if anyone in the audience was a published author. My hand went up again and she said, “I figured that was coming. Tell us what’s your name and what do you write?” (or something like that. I wasn’t taking notes.)

“I have a series called All Is Fair in Love & Baseball, published through Turquoise Morning Press,” I replied.

She asked me how many books there were and the titles. When I gave her the list, someone sitting behind me in the audience shouted, “I’ve read those. My mother-in-law got me hooked!”

How cool is that? Someone in the audience at SEP’s signing has read MY books.

Looking back, I should have struck up a conversation with her afterward—but as thrilling as it was to know I had a reader in the audience, it was also a little overwhelming. That’s never happened to me before. I didn’t know what to do.

Turns out, I didn’t do anything. I waited my turn for SEP’s autograph, got my picture taken with her and then left.

Me with Susan Elizabeth Phillips | Phoenix

Next time I’ll be better prepared, right?