Full Circle, Full Heart: Female Friendship in My Book (And My Life)

Over at the Manic Readers blog today, I’m talking about female friendship in my books and my life. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway there!

Hen party! Funny friends for your design

Yes. This is what my friends and I do when we get together. Every time.

In many ways, Penelope Callahan is just like me.

Penny—the heroine of my debut novella, Broken Resolutions—works at a small, rural library in Maryland. For almost two years, so did I.

She serves as the children’s librarian for her branch. Until I switched to the central branch of our library system, I too ran storytimes for kids.

She’s an introvert, quiet and uncomfortable in crowds no matter how calm she appears to be. Among trusted friends, though, she’s mouthy and raunchy. As am I.

And in the first draft of my story, she was like me in one other crucial way: unmoored by a strong circle of female friends.

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Librarian Heroines: AKA Contemporary Romance’s Bluestockings and Governesses

Over on the Fresh Fiction blog today, I discuss the perennial appeal of librarian heroines and their historical analogues: bluestockings, governesses, and schoolmarms. Nerdy girls throughout history, rejoice!

Depositphotos_29846305_original

I love librarians. No doubt about it.

I worked at a public library for five years, after all, which implies a certain amount of affection. Or masochism, I suppose. And my debut novella—Broken Resolutions—is a contemporary romance set in a small, rural Maryland library during a risqué New Year’s Eve singles’ event. Almost the entire book takes place within that one building. My couple meets there, falls in love there, and consummates their budding relationship there. (You may be surprised by what they use as their mattress. No, I’m not going to tell you.)

Still not convinced of my deep and abiding adoration for librarians? No problem. My final piece of evidence: Broken Resolutions is only the first in an entire series of books featuring librarian heroines, so I will basically be drowning in nerdy library references for years. Years.

You might think I’d get sick of the whole subject, but that’s not the case thus far. If you have recommendations for other contemporary romances featuring librarians—including your own, if you’re a writer—please let me know. Like scratches on the Game of Thrones Blu-ray you checked out from the library, I’ll be all over it.

But I also enjoy reading historical romances. And while a few—such as Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do—feature heroines involved in library work, most don’t. So I got to thinking about what the historical equivalent of my librarian heroines would be.

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Reader, I Referenced Her: Jane Eyre in My Debut Book

On the Novels Alive blog today, I stopped by to chat about how I used Jane Eyre as a touchstone when I wrote Broken Resolutions!

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855). Engraved by W.G. Jackman and published in “Queenly Women Crowned and Uncrowned,”1885.

Somewhere in the middle of writing my debut novella, Broken Resolutions, I realized I had a problem.

Let me give you some background. I’d set my book on New Year’s Eve at a small, rural public library. By Chapter 3, quiet librarian Penny had been bribed by her boss to host a risqué singles’ event. And because the numbers were uneven, she was forced to participate too.

The first group activity required each of the singles to choose his or her favorite romantic passage from a book. Penny randomly assigned them into pairs, and those pairs then read their selected passages aloud together. Penny, naturally, found herself matched with our hero—reclusive bestselling author Jack Williamson, in disguise as a mild-mannered accountant for the night.

Penny unknowingly picked a passage from Jack’s book (as you no doubt expected). And Jack picked, um… well… uh…

There. That was the problem. What on earth should Jack’s book be?

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From One to Many: The Creation of the Lovestruck Librarians Series

I’m on the SOS Aloha blog too! In their post, I explain how a lone novella became the first in a series—and why my first book will never, ever see the light of day. Ever.


When I first wrote Broken Resolutions, my debut contemporary romance, I didn’t intend to make it part of a series. In fact, I assumed it would never see the light of day.

The only previous book I’d written had found its home in the dusty depths of my hard drive. For good reason, too. It lacks what is popularly known as “a plot.” (Turns out, your book can’t just contain chapters of your couple bantering and having hot monkey sex. Who knew?)

The Romance Writers of America conference last year inspired me to do something a little different. I attended a session discussing how novellas could help tighten your prose and allow you to experiment with different stories without a huge time commitment.

Perfect, I thought. Why don’t I try writing a novella? One with an actual plot?

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It’s Too Early in the Morning for This: Reading, Writing, and Editing Sex

I also wrote a post for the Just Contemporary Romance blog, where I discuss how I approach sex scenes. (Hint: Carefully. Especially at eight in the morning.) And click over to their blog for a giveaway!


When it comes to romance novels, I’m promiscuous. I have very few nonnegotiable demands, other than an entertaining story, clear consent before sex, and non-abusive behavior from the heroes and heroines. I don’t care whether the book is set in the past, present, or future. It makes no difference to me whether the protagonists are humans, vamps, or aliens. The story can be funny or angst-ridden, lyrically written or brutally efficient in its verbiage. And while I don’t mind novels where the climactic payoff is a simple kiss, I also get a kick out of erotica.

But I understand that many—most?—readers are not like me. They have favorite subgenres and definite opinions about heroes, heroines, preferred mood, and writing style. This is especially true, I think, when it comes to sexual content. I’m happy to read almost anything, but not everyone wants to encounter tumescent body parts every few pages.

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Love in the Stacks

Today, I’m visiting Mary Gramlich’s blog to discuss how I perennially disappoint my mom by not making my heroes baby-toting cowboys who also play professional sports and volunteer for the local firehouse. (Love you, Mom!) Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for my book on her site!

Book with heart

As far as my mother is concerned, all good romances feature cowboys, firefighters, or professional athletes. And if the hero happens to be a hockey-playing rancher who volunteers for the local firehouse—and preferably acquires an infant at some point in the story—all the better.

Unfortunately for her, those stories aren’t my catnip. No, I focus on a slightly different type of hero and heroine: Nerds. Book jockeys. Smart, snarky, and sometimes socially awkward human beings.** Which inevitably results in the following conversation every time I start writing a new book:

Mom: So is your hero a firefighter?
Me: No.
Mom: A cowboy?
Me: Nope.
Mom: A hockey player?
Me: NO.
Mom: Does he play baseball?
Me: For the love of God, NO!
Mom: [pauses] Maybe your next book?
Me: NO, MOM. IT WILL NEVER BE A COWBOY, OKAY?
Mom: So…nerds again?
Me: Yes.
Mom: Huh.

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Librarians: We’re Way Filthier Than You’d Think

I’m visiting Shelley K. Wall’s blog today to talk about librarians! We may seem innocent, but…well, you’ll see.


I am a proud former librarian. I am also the possessor of a potty mouth, a bawdy sense of humor, and an e-reader that should’ve melted long ago because of its smutty contents.

While I worked at the library, the combination of my job and my personality sometimes surprised people. I understood why. In the popular imagination, librarians love silence, propriety, and—above all else—glaring over the tops of their bifocals at troublesome patrons. They don’t swear. They don’t tell dick jokes. And they certainly don’t read sexy books.

Turns out, though, that’s not quite true. If you talk to librarians, you’ll find a wide array of personalities. Some of my favorite coworkers did direct death stares at noisy library visitors, and a few refused to read books with sexual content. Others, however, actually ended up getting shushed by patrons (*coughMEcough*) for speaking too loudly or laughing too hard at dirty internet memes.

And many of us loved romances. In my case, that love led to writing romances of my own.

But I didn’t forget the library, even though I no longer worked there. My debut novella, Broken Resolutions, is set in one. It features a quiet but determined librarian named Penny, who meets her perfect match on New Year’s Eve. The later books in my Lovestruck Librarians series feature her friends, all of whom work in the same library system.

So before Broken Resolutions downloads onto e-readers around the world, I should probably clarify a few things. Here are four true/false questions to test your librarian knowledge:

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The Public Librarian’s Ultimate Guide to Flirting with Cute, Single Patrons (Unabridged Ed.)

For the debut of Broken Resolutions, I wrote a ton of blog tour posts. The first one goes live today. Here’s a peek at it. And it includes a giveaway!

pretty african college student reading in library

[NOTE: The American Library Association denied the very existence of this guide—written by the famed and mysterious Librarian X—for years. In a daring caper, however, I managed to steal a copy from a sealed vault in the Library of Congress, shortly before Nicolas Cage came in through the air vent. You’re welcome. —Olivia Dade, former librarian and author of Broken Resolutions]

So you’ve spied a single, attractive patron in the stacks of your library or in front of your circulation/reference desk, and you think the two of you would make a perfect couple. Congratulations! Some librarians go their entire working lives without experiencing true love at the library. Librarians like me, for example. But I’m not bitter at all!

Anyway, you should immediately begin to activate Protocol 613.9. Please follow the steps below.

1. Ask yourself the following questions: Are you asleep? Or hallucinating? Have you taken any new medicines or eaten any mushrooms of dubious provenance? Because honestly, hot patrons aren’t exactly thick on the ground in public libraries. I would know.

In the unlikely event you answered “no” to all those questions, please proceed to step 2.

2. Observe the people around your hot patron. Could any of them be his/her spouse? Yes, I know you said the patron was single, but that just seems so unlikely, I wanted to make absolutely certain—

Okay, fine. Let’s move on to step 3.

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