9:51 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Meg Benjamin

CONTEST: First person to comment on the excerpt gets a free bookmark from Venus in Blue Jeans, plus a surprise yummee from Colorado.

AL: Hi Meg! Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Meg: I’m delighted to be here! Oops. My editor is always telling me to cut back on the exclamation points!

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Meg: Well I just moved from South Texas to Colorado—big switch! We’re mostly unpacked now and I’m getting used to things like being able to take a morning walk without coming back drenched in sweat (eeeeuw). My outdoor cat has become an indoor one, though. Too many other dogs, cats, and the occasional coyote.

AL: What current or upcoming release do you have on your bookshelf for our Blog Bites readers?
Meg: My Venus in Blue Jeans has been out since January (going to print in November), and the sequel, Wedding Bell Blues, comes out July 21 from Samhain. It’s about the ultimate Wedding from Hell, except the bride and groom (the heroine and hero from Venus in Blue Jeans) aren’t the problem—it’s the rest of the family. My heroine’s the maid of honor and my hero’s the best man. It’s a sequel, but you don’t need to have read Venus in Blue Jeans to understand it (although I’d certainly be happy if you did!).

AL: When did you write your first book?
Meg: There’s a distinction here. I wrote my first book back in the nineties. I wrote the first book that someone else was actually willing to read about ten years later. Then Samhain picked up Venus in Blue Jeans in 2008 after it had won some contests in 2007.

AL: Where and when do you write?

Meg: Now that I’ve retired from teaching, I write on and off throughout the day (although I love writing in the morning and early afternoon). One of the selling points of the house we bought here in the Denver suburbs is the second floor study with lots of sunshine. That’s where I do most of my heavy lifting (although I do some revising on the couch in the living room).

AL: Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you?

Meg: Probably Docia in Venus in Blue Jeans. We’re both pretty sarcastic and occasionally wish we’d thought a little more before blurting something out. And we both really regret eating that last scone.

AL: Now for the fun stuff! If you had to write yourself as a villain, what kind of villain would you be? What would you be named?

Meg: I love villains who don’t really think they’re villains, who have very good reasons (by their own lights anyway) for what they do and who think everybody else is in the wrong. Margaret Hastings in Venus in Blue Jeans is that kind of person. So I’d probably be like that—absolutely horrid, but absolutely convinced that somebody else was the guilty party. I just wrote a villain like that named Lydia so I’m kind of fixated on that name right now.

AL: What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?

Meg: When we were driving around looking at houses, our real estate agent drove us over this fairly steep hill and said casually that kids rolled their jack-o-lanterns down it on Halloween. I had a sudden vision of a couple of demons standing at the top of the hill with a pile of heads. I swear I’m going to write that sucker, too!

AL: Summer is here! What’s your favorite part of the season?

Meg: Sunshine. The smell of the pine trees and the creek when I go for a walk. The front range absolutely sharp and clear in the distance. Even the afternoon thunderstorms that cool everything off. What’s not to like?

AL: What favorite movie; or T.V. show makes you hunker down on the sofa and settle in for the night?

Meg: Oh, me, there are so many! Currently, I love In Plain Sight. Mary Shannon is just my favorite flawed heroine, very tough and very vulnerable simultaneously. Weirdly enough, I also love the Two Fat Ladies cooking show because it’s so authentic. The pots and pans are battered, the stoves are old, the food looks real, and they use their hands. It makes you feel like you could actually do what they’re doing, too. Bliss! Incidentally, I just started watching Julia Child’s old The French Chef DVD’s and she has sort of the same vibe—she really seems to be in a kitchen, not on a set.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Meg: Casablanca is full of great lines, but the one I use most often is Louis’ “I am shocked, shocked to discover gambling is going on here.” Of course, it helps if you actually watch Claude Rains pocket his winnings as he says it—the line pops into my head whenever somebody does something really stunningly hypocritical.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Meg.

Meg: You’re welcome! I really enjoyed it! (again with the exclamation points)

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Meg please visit:


Who knew you could find the love of your life at the wedding from hell…
Janie Dupree will do anything to make sure her best friend has the wedding of her dreams, even if it means relinquishing what every bridesmaid covets and never gets—the perfect maid-of-honor dress. Problem is, family drama as tangled as a clump of Texas prickly pear cactus threatens to send the skittish bride hopping aboard the elopement express.
Janie could use a hand, but the best man’s “help” is only making things worse.
Pete Toleffson just wants to get through his brother’s wedding and get back to his county attorney job in Des Moines. He never expected to be the engineer on a wedding train that’s derailing straight toward hell. Janie’s the kind of girl he’d like to get close to—but her self-induced role as “Miss Fix-It” is as infuriating as it is adorable.If they can just fend off meddling parents, vindictive in-laws, spiteful ex-boyfriends, and a greyhound named Olive long enough to achieve matrimonial lift-off, maybe they can admit they’re head over heels in love.
This is a quick vignette from the bachlorette party. Docia is the bride, Janie is her maid of honor, and Bethany, Allie, and Sherice are all bridesmaids (although Sherice was a late, unwelcome addition to the group).

After her second glass, Docia began eyeing the presents. “Are those serious or funny?”

Allie leaned back in her chair, her face solemn. “Serious, of course. This is a kitchen shower. We all think it’s time you took your domestic duties in hand, Docia. I myself provided some oven cleaner.”

Docia stared at her wide-eyed.

“Oh for god’s sake, lighten up, toots.” Allie shook her head. “It’s a freakin’ bachelorette party. What did you think we’d give you—an engraved pocket watch?”

Docia blew out a breath, pulling her hair back from her face. “I’ve been opening wedding presents for at least the last month, usually with Mama looking over my shoulder. You wouldn’t believe the stuff people think you need when you get married.”

“Like what?” Bethany sorted through the remaining tapas with her index finger, selecting some flatbread with sirloin and blue cheese. “All I got when I married Lloyd was a set of Corelle. I should have known that marriage was doomed.”

“Place card holders.” Docia grimaced. “Silver. Swear to god. Like I’d ever give a party where I needed to show people where to sit.”

“Maybe we could use them in the shop,” Janie mused. “I’m always looking for something to hold up the display cards.”

Allie guffawed. “That should start a new Konigsburg legend—the bookstore with sterling silver display card holders.” She reached for a gift bag. “Here, babe, take a look at this.”

Docia opened the bag and pulled out what looked like a pair of panties.

Or not. A strip of lace with a large bow and a thin string hanging down below. Janie hadn’t ever seen anything quite like it before.

“What the hell is this, and how does it work?” Docia frowned, holding it up for inspection.

“The bow goes in back,” Allie explained.

“That string looks uncomfortable.” Bethany shook her head. “Geez, I hate thongs.”

“Crotchless,” Sherice said.

All four women turned to stare at her.

Sherice reached for the panties. “Crotchless. Works like this.” She spread the string apart so that it formed a thin border around a very large hole.

Janie swallowed. “I never really understood the logic behind crotchless panties. I mean, if you’re going to do the dirty, why wear panties in the first place?”

“Men.” Sherice shrugged. “They like mystery.”

Janie studied the panties. They were undoubtedly the least mysterious item of clothing she’d ever seen.
Bethany swallowed. “Still looks really uncomfortable.”

Sherice shrugged. “It’s not that bad.” The corners of her mouth edged up in a slightly smug smile. “You usually don’t wear them long, anyway.”

Janie fought the impulse to say “Eeeew”.

“Good to know,” Docia muttered, staring at the other bags. “What else you got there?”

Lee appeared with another tray of food. “Oh good, you’re opening the gifts. Anything interesting?”

Docia hurriedly dropped the panties back into the bag. “Not for general inspection, no.”
Janie picked up a plate, checking the contents. “Bruschetta?”

“Close to it.” Lee grinned at her. “Just eat, sweetheart, you look like you need sustenance.” He patted her on the shoulder, then walked back out the door into the dining room.

As soon as Lee was gone, Allie handed Docia another bag. “Try this one.”

Docia reached in and pulled out something that resembled a white satin placemat. “Gee, this looks…intriguing.”

“Oh, hold it up,” Bethany cried. “We can each take a shot at guessing what it is.”

“I know what it is. It’s a nightgown,” Allie explained.

Docia’s eyes widened. “Like hell.”

She gave the placemat a shake. It unfolded to reveal two satin panels, attached by three small straps on each side, with two more at the top.

Docia shook her head. “There is no way this will cover me, Allie, not even slightly.”

“Nonsense.” Allie got to her feet, a bit shakily. Apparently, they’d gone through more bottles of wine than Janie had counted. “C’mon, toots, stand up here. I’ll show you.”

Docia stood and Allie held the satin panels in front of her. They extended from the top of her breasts to a couple of inches at the top of her thighs. “See? I told you.”

Docia stared down at her front, the corners of her mouth quirking up slightly. “That’s not an accurate measure.”

“Sure it is.” Allie grinned. “Everything essential is covered.”

“Look, Al, let me put it this way—my cups runneth over.” Docia moved forward slightly so that her breasts pushed against the fabric. It moved up an inch.

“Still,” Allie mused, “you’ve got essential coverage, I tell you.”

“But why bother?” Docia’s eyebrows inched up. “Why wear anything at all?” She sank into her chair again, peering at the satin panels in Allie’s hands.

“Mystery.” Sherice shrugged. “Like I said before.”

“She’s right.” Allie plopped into her chair, staring off at the fireplace. “Sometimes I make yeast rolls at the restaurant.”

“Your yeast rolls are terrific,” Bethany mused. “A life-changing experience.”

“Thanks. Anyway, I make yeast rolls. And then when we serve them we put them in these wicker baskets with a white linen napkin over the top. You can’t see the rolls, just the outlines under the napkins, but you know they’re there.”

“Yeast rolls.” Docia stared at her.

Allie closed her eyes, her voice low and crooning. “All warm and round and smelling like bread. Just under that linen napkin.”

“Yeast rolls.” Docia’s lips began to tremble.

“Yep.” Allie smiled beatifically. “All in the presentation.”

Docia threw her head back and whooped. “Oh, god, yeast rolls.” She put her arm around Bethany’s shoulders.

“Lord yes,” Bethany cried, guffawing, “yeast rolls.”

They both embraced Allie, and the three of them leaned together, laughing so hard that tears rolled down their cheeks.

Janie glanced at Sherice, who was staring at the three women, her face blank.

Sherice raised an eyebrow at her, as she tipped back the last of her wine. “What’s so funny?”Janie shrugged. “Maybe you had to be there.”
REMEMBER: First person to comment on the excerpt gets a free bookmark from Venus in Blue Jeans, plus a surprise yummee from Colorado.


joder said...

Great excerpt! Sounds like a super fun read! Thanks for visiting us!

Amy S. said...

Excerpt was great!

sscout said...

It sounds like a fun read, do I understand correctly that it's chick lit, but funny?
(I mean, some chick lit, only girls think it's funny while men look on mystified)


Meg Benjamin said...

Well, it's funny (I hope), but I wouldn't call it chick lit, exactly. It's more romantic contemporary (that's how Samhain describes it, anyway).

Meg Benjamin said...

Looks like joder wins the prize--a bookmark and some chocolate gummi bears from Rocky Mountain Chocolate company. If you'll contact me at meg@megbenjamin.com, you can tell me where to send things!

Meg Benjamin said...

Thanks Amy and everybody. Wedding Bell Blues is being released by Samhain on July 21.