Two Week Book Launch Party!! Song of the Balalaika now available as an eBook


Cover - Song of the BalalaikaBook Launch Party, Day One!  Song of the Balalaika is now available on Amazon! Click here.

Over the next week or two, the book will become available in other formats, like Nook and Kobo. So if one climax is not enough and serial is better, let’s have a serial celebration!

Join the party and (virtually) enjoy my favorite drinks and party food. You’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Check back for recipes and party favors, and come back for information on the Hot Summer Romance Giveaway.



PartyBook Launch Party, Day Two!

Welcome back. I’m dressed in this lovely Kate Spade, greeting you at the door with a tray of hors d’oeuvre and cocktails. Tonight I’ve opened another bottle of Veuve Cliquot, one of my favorite champagnes. And if you’re 18 or over, here’s another particularly hot excerpt from the book. Please open with only an asbestos mouse. In honor of the book’s Peter Kirov and his Russian and French ancestry, we’re having Russian Osetra caviar served on a little creme fraiche and blini, across a little savory custard served in an egg shell (very dramatic presentation, I must say), and possibly used in other creative ways with no embellishment.


Day Three of the Book Launch party: As promised, this is what I’m wearing here. My musing on the drink of the day and love of lemons and limoncello is here, and the promised recipe of another delicious way to serve caviar that is a favorite of friends and family will come tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this pate and toast points. You know you want to.

By Mai Le [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mai Le [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As for the promised celebrity sightings: I expect to see some special guests in the next three days. In the meantime, enjoy my pool boy Troy who is still treating us with his medley of George Gershwin and Justin Bieber tunes on piano


Day Four of the Book Launch: Because it’s the start of the weekend, I’ve opted for this dramatic Donna Karan.

If you’re vegan, pick up a bruschetta, made from seasonal tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil, or vegetarian, bruschetta with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and a poached quail egg on top, or charcuterie and cheeses for all. The virtual space is full to brimming as we continue the book launch. Troy my pool boy has mixed up some wonderful and very icy daiquiris to beat the hell-like summer heat. I just took a deep breath and read to the packed house the beginning excerpt of the book, Song of the Balalaika.

Even though I like to have fun, I talked seriously about the story captured in the booka story of a woman having to make choices, exploring sexuality in the way she never had before, in a way she never thought she could. It is about career choices, disappointments, opportunities. It has a scene that still shocks me, even though I wrote it.

Then, in honor of last night’s Project Runway and that creative designer who makes fabric out of discarded objects, Troy my pool boy has agreed to act as model for my friend Doralinda who makes intimate wear for men out of the packing material from Amazon. Those of you who wanted to know the link to Doralinda’s Etsy page, she told me she will have it up soon. If you haven’t had a chance to wander over to the display, please do.


Day Five of the Book Launch, and here’s the lacy cocktail dress I’m wearing tonight.

We have borscht (yes, borscht), a Russian beet soup, chilled, served in small glasses with a dollop of sour cream and horseradish. My recipe comes from Cat Cora. Roast beets on kosher salt at 450 degrees for 50-60 minutes (no wrapping in foil). When they’re done, prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a saucepan, saute onions and carrots chopped fine. Add the roasted beets chopped and broth (beef is traditional; CC uses chicken and I use vegetable). Puree and serve warm or chilled. Try it, even though you think you won’t like it. And the Grey Goose vodka (back to the French-Russian intersection) spent all day in the freezer to get it really chilled.

My spouse, “Dr. Messina” (not a physician, but a PhD; he does allow me to call him “Dr.” and his first name) showed up in a tuxedo—a tuxedo t-shirt, that is. Then he left me behind with the hordes of guests I’ve grown accustomed to in the last few days. And I find joy in each and every one of them. I pointed out to “Dr. Messina” the handsome Neil DeGrasse Tyson, also an astrophysicist, but he opted for an episode of Nova instead of meeting a colleague.

Tonight was particularly exciting as Troy my pool boy recited the entire Kama Sutra from memory and accentuated the recitation with recreations of the positions by making balloon animals, only they weren’t animals at all, they were people in unusual poses and connected in some way. Then he left to check the pool’s ph. Since I forgot where I’d left my phone to record it, here’s a video of Ira Glass making balloon animals.

Day 6 of the Book Launch: I’m wearing a dress like Cilla would have worn to her friend Michael’s New Year’s Eve party where she tries to get over Peter:

Is it possible? Here it is Sunday and this virtual space is filled with even more people than previously. I just gathered my courage, had a double Crown Royal and coke, and read another excerpt of Song of the Balalaika, the one when Peter comes to Cilla’s office and they find themselves in an intimate moment together for the first time. Troy my pool boy rescued me by bringing over a damp handkerchief after I swooned. Troy surprised us all by attempting to play a balalaika, although I believe it was, in actuality, a ukulele.

Day 7 of the Book Launch: This dress makes me look like I’m wearing an x-ray. Help yourself to a little amuse bouche, one bite hors d’ouevre and even a wine named amuse bouche. When I hear the name I have to giggle as I interpret the French to mean “tickle the mouth.” So apropos for a party for an erotic romance.

I so enjoy having other romance writers come and go. I won’t name names because so many of them like to remain incognito so they can let their hair down. This has been a week of celebrity sightings. Isn’t that George Clooney? No, I’m sorry, that’s my neighbor, Blaise. Unfortunately, I already sent Troy my pool boy over for an autograph. Oh, well.

Day 8 of the Book Launch: In honor of the country of Peru (a country not mentioned in Song of the Balalaika, which is set just outside Houston with a French-Russian male protagonist but is about anthropologists who often go to study cultures in Peru) something with an alpaca accessory.

In honor of Peru and all the royal baby hoopla (welcome to the world, little George), Troy My Pool Boy is wearing a diaper and serving pisco sours and cold pureed soup.