Halloween is a monster holiday in our neighborhood. Every house is decorated with ghost lighting and oversized witches, every one fully designed to spook even the bravest of trick or treaters, and so tonight, while our sons are happily celebrating the season with candy and friends, my husband and I will be passing out full-size Milky Ways and Kit Kats, playing scary music from our porch, and enjoying each Disney princess and Darth Vader and swamp creature that shows up at our door.
But because our kids are a bit older, and no longer require us to go along with them (kinda sad if you ask me), we will (for the very first time) be indulging in a Halloween cocktail, or possibly two. I found a simple option online called The Grave Digger, a fizzy combination of hard cider, whiskey and ginger beer. Just crush some ice, add twice as much hard cider as whiskey and top off with ginger beer. I’ll put ours in a pair of skull glasses for a fizzy fall cocktail with a fun ghoulish twist.
Anyone have a great recipe? I’m always up for trying something new, so if you have a devilishly good fave, let me know! I’ll give it a go and add a picture of my attempt on the site.
Whether you are sharing a cocktail, partying up in a costume or traipsing after your own little ghost or goblin, I hope you enjoy this spooktacular night. Happy Halloween.
Several years my husband and I bought a one-hundred year old house. We expected the problems that come with that kind of home and we got ‘em all…the dying furnace, the unreliable appliances, and yes, God help us…the plumbing. What we didn’t expect to come along with our new purchase was a ghost.
But according to my son, we have one. Apparently, it’s purple and it tackles him late at night. While I am pretty damned sure, the kid is just trying to stay up later, this is a toughie for me because I’m a believer in all things ghostly. Yes, I’m the one who drags her husband on ghost tours around the country…San Francisco, Williamsburg, Montreal…we’ve scouted the Undead in Savannah. I’m even thinking of dragging my kiddos along for a ghostly tour right here in my hometown. And while I’ve never actually seen a ghost on one of these tours, I still wonder if I should carry my portable proton-pack accelerator system. ‘Cause you never know.
But as I explained to my son, not all ghosts are scary poltergeists. Trust me, I won’t be wandering off into the bright, white light emanating from my television screen any time soon, but I have experienced a run-in with a gentle, ghostly spirit that changed my life. For reals.
In my early twenties, I moved in with my grandmother who was dying of cancer. She’d had a long struggle, much of it on her own, but she was a tough Italian broad and not willing to go out without a fight. While she sat in the hospital bed we’d ordered for a small, first floor room, I’d pull up a chair and we’d watch Matlock, eat Haagen Daz and flaunt our matching light-up troll rings. Anything to make life seem less dire. Sometimes the morphine might cause her to see a vision that needed to be chased away and I was happy to do battle with whatever creature popped into that small room. Of course, there were doctor appointments, laundry and home-health care workers, but we tried to make everything else feel…fun. Time is short. Together, we made every moment as full of love as possible.
Shortly after her death, I was sleeping in my corner bedroom upstairs, and her spirit came to me in a dream. I’ll never forget her wide gray eyes focusing on me as she whispered a secret into the air around me. I woke up unable to breathe, certain in the knowledge that my grandmother had come to say goodbye. The secret she told me…in her ghostly, unspoken way…gave me hope during a time in my life when I was struggling, and I will always believe she came that night to reassure me, to tell me everything was going to be okay. My own personal, prescient ghost.
Of course, tonight, I’ll be doling out candy to faux-specters and vampires, enjoying each one of their scary, shining faces as they choose between a glow-in-the-dark bag of Cheetos and a snack-sized Snickers. I don’t think any of them will whisper secrets to me or tackle me in a haze of purple, but each one will remind me, there’s still lots of reason to be a believer.
What do you think? Are you a ghost-hunter? Ever had an otherworldly experience? Or is it all about the candy, and if so, what kind of sweet will you be stealing from your kid’s treat or treat bag tonight?
Island romance … is anything more seductive than escaping to a tropical paradise with a sexy man? Not a chance. Unless, of course, it’s being stranded in paradise during a storm with a sexy man who might be The One. And since we’re talking romance novels, there’s nothing I like better than a classic forced-proximity scenario. Undeniable sparks between two people that ultimately lead to love? Fall for it every time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all the romantic tropes. A fun, matchmaking story? You bet. Friends to lovers? Story of my life. Marriage of convenience? Where the hell is my Amex card? But for me, there’s nothing like a sizzling, stranded-in-a-storm story. So when I had a chance to take the heroine of my new Lovestruck, One Little Kiss, to an island paradise and maroon her there for thirty-six hours with a sexy relationship expert, well, I dove right in.
Kate Bell is a woman who believes in love but always seems to choose the wrong guy. Her super-sized heart and poor dating choices land her in relationships she thinks are love but end up in disaster. And although Jake Wright is an expert on other peoples’ relationships, his own marriage ended in flames, which is why he’s spent the past three years living on an isolated island in the tropics. So when Kate shows up in paradise looking to haul him back to New York City as a bachelor for SmartCupid.com, Jake wants nothing to do with her. But then…the classic, inescapable storm strands them together in his bungalow and works its magic (did I mention I love this trope?).
Yep, it’s the intimacy of the storm that allows these two love-damaged people to let go of their carefully-managed defenses and give into in a kiss that leads to a night of sexy times. Will their one night of passion mean anything when the two reconnect back on the island of Manhattan? I hope you’ll find a rainy, spring afternoon to indulge in One Little Kiss and find out for yourself. On Sale Now…just .99.
Sure, Manhattan is HOT in the summer but if you’re a true NYC lover, any season is a good season to spend a few days in the city. Check out NYC’s rooftop cinema club (http://rooftopcinemaclub.com/los-angeles/), hit Coney Island or simply spend a few hours off the beaten track and try of one these five, fun-filled ideas. Happy Summer!
Taking a subway ride over to Canal, cruising Chinatown and Little Italy, haggling with every fish monger, Chinese kitsch shop and Italian bakery known to man is a unique, inexpressible joy. Whether you’re looking to pick up boho/chic denim (oh, how I miss you, Canal Jeans Company) or score some knockoff Prada from a street vendor hawking his wares, there’s no place else like Canal for quirky bargains. An urban festival.
Forget breakfast at Tiffany’s. In New York., the first meal of the day is all about the bagels, right? Well, my favorite shop is Ess-a-Bagels on Third Street in Midtown. Dense, chewy, amazing bagels with a wide array of cream cheese and sandwiches options, this place rocks. If you’ve heard that the guys behind the counter go all Soup Nazi on you if you’re not quick with your order…fuhgettaboutit. Just give them a big out-of-town smile. They’re teddy bears.
An 843-acre wonder in the middle of Manhattan. To me, there’s nothing like simply walking the park. Sure, you can grab a pedi-cab, go romantic with a horse-drawn carriage or canoe at the Boathouse but I love walking through the park taking in the sights and sounds and people of the city. Stop by Strawberry Fields. Check out the statues throughout the park (Alice in Wonderland is my fav). Enjoy a lobster roll at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden cafe or go star-gazing at night at the Hayden Planetarium after some evening jazz. This is New York. Options are endless.
The New York Public Library/Bryant Park
The lions are iconic, the architecture is amazing and the location near Bryant Park is perfection. Grab lunch at Untamed Sandwiches or a chocolate babke and coffee at Breads Bakery and find a bench in the park to relax. When you’re finished, walk over to the library. Quiet and clean, it’s one of the best freebies in town. Peek at a Gutenberg Bible, check out the map room and the art collections, or find a spot to read and enjoy this Beaux Arts masterpiece, a National Historic Landmark containing more than six million books. Stop by the gift shop to buy a copy of Library Lions, a perfect souvenir for kids.
Broadway, baby. Or off-Broadway. If you want to see a show while you’re in the city, stop by the TKTS booth in Times Square, a great way to experience the arts in New York City at affordable prices. I snagged tickets to see Bill Macy in David Mamet’s, Oleanna. Third row, great seats, amazing night. If you love theatre, download the app, it’s a can’t-miss.
STEAL ALERT! Unexpectedly His is only 99¢ for a few more days. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Smart Cupid series, this is a great time to give it a whirl. Fake engagement stories are my fav! http://amzn.to/2saoJnE
One of Lightning City Books Best Romances of 2015
5 stars “Sweet, sexy, romantic, charming, this book has it all. Add in a hero I have a crush on and a heroine I could so be friends with, and this delightful book was one I wished would never end. Statistically speaking, it’s 100% awesome. ;)” ~USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman
5 stars “Did I mention that the sex is hotter than a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day? The warming sensation alone will have you swooning.” ~Dawn Marie, Goodreads
5 stars “A very sexy fresh take on the nerdy girl meets hot playboy. A fun read that is perfect for a day at the beach or curled up in front of a warm fire.” ~Linda Q, Goodreads
5 stars “Maggie Kelley’s writing is as rich, smooth and addictively salty as those blasted chocolate caramels, and once you’ve sampled one, you have to have more, and then all.” ~Samanthe T., Goodreads
5 stars “I was swept up in the story and the moment. I don’t think you can go wrong with this quick, humorous and entertaining story.” ~Angie, Goodreads
5 stars “Sweet and decadent as a giant birthday cake. You have to love a book that starts out with an analytical numbers nerd, seeking to find her inner seductress, poised to jump out of a cake at the birthday party for her long-time crush, who happens to be the brother of her boss.” ~Lightning City Book Reviews
5 stars “Fake engagement story for the win! Nick and Marianne made me believe in possibilities and their sweetness made me smile.” ~Thoughts at One in the Morning
5 stars “[Nick and Marianne] were hilarious and adorable together. He helped her loosen up, and she tore down his walls. Plus, their level of chemistry was off the charts HOT! If you love a sexy read of complete opposites coming together, then this is the book for you.” ~Jennifer P, Goodreads
5 stars “I’m totally smitten with this story. Marianne was so adorable and Nick had such a confidence and when the two of them got together, sparks flew off of the page.” ~Jenn C, Goodreads
5 stars “Unexpectedly His by Maggie Kelley dazzles…the characters are fun, witty and absolutely fabulous. A hot, passionate and hilarious look at what happens when love shows up in the most unexpected place.” ~Books I Love A Latte
Thanks for playing along everyone! Only one correct guess so I guess I’m a better liar than I knew. 😜 Here’s the real skinny…
My first official date with my husband WAS to a party thrown by the lovely & talented, Julianne Moore. My husband likes to say he’s been kissed by an Oscar winner. Also true…on the cheek as were leaving. I let him have the dream.
And yes, oddly enough, I WAS in two new-agey weddings. The first was among the amazing Redwoods. No photos were allowed (because of their soul-stealing properties) so you’ll have to trust me.The second was by one of the bridges in Central Park. Beautiful time in my life.
So…nope, not a self-help gal. I do love Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, but I’ve never read Deepak Chopra or Dr. Phil. And no, I don’t watch Dr. Phil on Demand. But my BFF is an astrologist and I’ve got two tarot decks…so maybe this is a gray area? 😉
Thank you to everyone who picked up One Little Kiss, stopped by one of the blogs on the tour, or spent some time with Stefanie London and I during our Lovestruck takeover. This week’s been a dream and you’ve all been part of it. Hope this weekend finds you kissing the one you love…make it a good one. 😉
5 stars “Maggie Kelley always delivers an adorable story with characters I want to spend thousands of pages with, rather than hundreds. I loved Jake and Kate! Loved this book. It’s sweet, funny, romantic, and had me smiling the whole way through!” ~USA Bestselling Author Robin Bielman
4.5 stars “Both the main characters had me hooked, most especially the hero. Overall, this was an exhilarating and fun read [and] the romance was fulfilling.” ~Bec @ Book Magic
5 stars “HAPPY SIGH. This book. This book is EXACTLY what I wanted and have come to expect from a Maggie Kelley book. It made me laugh, it made me groan in frustration at a character’s obliviousness, and it curled my toes more than once because oh my gosh can this author write a smoldering and sexy kiss!” ~Heather, Goodreads
4 stars “One Little Kiss was really kind of adorable. This ‘new to me’ author impressed the bejeezus out of me.” ~Tami, Goodreads
5 stars “I loved this book – it has probably the best first kiss scene I’ve ever read….sweet, sexy, and oh, so very hot at the same time. It was perfect and the book earned five stars for that scene alone.” ~Linda Q, Goodreads
4 stars “I loved this sweet book! It was what I needed after reading some doozies lately!! This was a pick me up that made me happy when reading it!” ~Short and Sassy
5 stars “One Little Kiss has romantic comedy written all over it. Move over My Best Friend’s Wedding, because Maggie Kelley is gunning for you. Full of precious moments of humor and heart. A deserted island, a freak storm and lots of sexual tension could end up putting this clueless duo in a perfectly awkward position. Perfect movie material.” Isha
5 stars “I really loved this book this is the third book in the series and they just keep getting better” Poppy
Cupid is taking aim and all it takes this time is ONE LITTLE KISS.
Thank you to Erin Dameron-Hill for an adorable cover for the third Smart Cupid novel (it’s pink & I love it!). So excited to share Jake and Kate’s story with all of you…burning up e-readers starting May 8.
Sometimes that’s all it takes. One kiss. One look. One touch of a hand and BOOM. It’s all over but the lovin’. I can still remember the first time I fell seriously lovestruck. I’d been working on a film in Pittsburgh and the director and stars of the movie threw a boat party mid-way through filming. My best friend was to be my date but ditched me (in the nicest of ways) for a man she’d been crushing on (totally reasonable). So I asked the man who is now my husband to go with me. Maybe he was starstruck. Maybe his falling was inevitable, I don’t know, but I can still remember how sweetly he took my hand to guide me up the stairs to the upper deck of the boat. That was the moment I knew. It happens.
Next month, the third installment of my Entangled Lovestruck series, Smart Cupid, will release and I’m simply beside myself with excitement. One Little Kiss, the story of Jake Wright and Smart Cupid blogger, Kate Bell, is a fun, sexy story about how a kiss can lead…so many places…and how sometimes the best way to find love is to not look for it at all. I can’t wait to share it with you!
Entangled Lovestruck, One Little Kiss, available everywhere May 8!
1. My sons and their good health, safety, and love.
2. The relative patience & total decency of my husband.
3. The ability to live a creative life…a gift I owe to all of you…joyful readers, lovely writer friends, beautiful bloggers, supportive editors and a terrific publisher.
So as an expression of my thankfulness, I’m giving away a few super-cute tees (I think) & e-copies of the second Cupid book, UNEXPECTEDLY HIS.
To enter this impromptu Thanksgiving #giveaway, just let me know what makes you feel happy & grateful. Sometime today or later this week…leave a comment here, and share why you’re thankful , or visit my website (https://maggiekelleyromance.com/) and leave a note, or say “happy Thanksgiving” on Twitter @kelley_maggie …anyone I hear from will be entered into a random drawing…just my small way of saying “Thank you with <3"