Category Archives: Books

Cover reveal: Mind Games

It’s never to early to plan for next year — especially when your favorite author writes books a year ahead of their pub dates.

Here’s the cover reveal for Mind Games, out May 21, 2024. I’ll add pre-order links below.

Out May 21, 2024

And we’ll get plenty more more details closer to next May.

Apple Books:
Google Play:


Inheritance excerpt

Payback in Death discussion thread

Cozumel Bonus Info

I thought it would be easier to share this as a post rather than an answer in the comments.

What’s Nora reading? She sent me a list — that you can now add to your summer reading list:

December ’41 by William Martin. A thriller set right after Pearl Harbor.

The Golden Gate by Amy Chua. A historical police procedural/mystery, set in the 40s again.  This was an ARC and will be out September 19, 2023

And a reread–for too many times to count–of Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. (Which you can find in libraries and bookstores everywhere.)


Some updates & reading recs

Mark your calendars! Nora’s travelogues start promptly tomorrow (Monday, July 3) morning. Stay tuned for the adventure.

Since it’s prime summer reading time in the Northern Hemipshere and snuggle-up by-the-fire reading time in the Southern, I thought I’d share what I’ve read recently.

First up, as to be expected, are Nora’s next three books. To be very honest, I read Payback in Death a while ago — so long that I’ll have to do a reread in order to share teasers in late August. I remember enjoying it — as I do every visit to Eve’s world. Payback is out September 5.

Inheritance — the first book in the Lost Bride Trilogy — is the final book of 2023 and I promise to share all my feelings about it when I open the discussion thread on release day. It’s one of those books that you caution yourself to read slowly, then hurtle to the ending. In a good way. Inheritance is out on November 21.

I’m not sure it’s always fabulous to be so far out on the schedule. Random in Death is the first release for 2024 and boy, is it a good entry. I’ll do a reread when it’s time for teasers but I’ll say this: a good case, some fun character updates. Random in Death is out January 23, 2024 from St. Martin’s Press.

I freely admit to asking for books from people I know when I’ve exhausted Nora’s. Several years ago I discovered (on my own) The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall about a woman who runs a business posing as a bridesmaid while making sure a wedding runs smoothly. (The text conversations from different weddings are hilarious.) Then she runs into the greatest Bridezilla of them all. Imagine my happiness when I realized Marissa of Team Nora works on Katy’s books! The Wedding Season was a lot of fun last year so I was very happy to grab and early copy of The Last Word. Two people with a tangled past working together in the present? Yes, please and thank you.

I’ve been a huge fan of Erica Bauermeister since reading The School of Essential Ingredients in 2009. Nora’s editor knows this well and sent me a very early copy of No Two Persons in 2022, even though it came out in May of this year. It’s a fascinating book about, well, a book and how it affects a variety of people from the author to readers in their reading lives as well as real lives. I’m not going to adequately explain the premise here because it’s sprawling, yet intimate. Isn’t that what reading is for all of us? NTP is available now.

Ages ago, the universe put Sarah Morgan in my path and I’ve been grateful for 12 years. If you don’t know by now, Sarah’s Christmas books regularly hit the London Times best seller lists. Her lovely summer books now make that list as well. The Island Villa is the story of a wedding on the island of Corfu that changes the relationships between a mother, her daughters and their personal stories of the past. I loved it. But then again, I love Sarah too.

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people through the years whether it’s connected to Nora, reading, conversations about So You Think You Can Dance — I like to talk and meet new people. I met Shauna years ago, then we had that SYTYCD conversation and things settled into place. She’s edited some of my favorite books over the years, including the newest one from Elissa Sussman Once More with Feeling (yes, Nora wrote a book with that title back in the early 80s, but titles are not copywritten). Broadway? Chapters in the past and the present? Antagonistic love story (aka enemies to lovers)? Yes please. Read it in one evening when it came out. Then had a lovely conversation about the book with my daughter.

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer was an unexpected delight (I found by myself, even though it’s a SMP release). It’s the story of a death doula who may have intimate knowledge of the process of dying, but needs to learn more about the process of living and loving. I read a sample and was immediately drawn in. It’s out now.

My new philosophical question: is it REALLY summer without a delightful book by Katherine Center? I’ll have to say no. Hello Stranger tells the story of an artist dealing with a “temporary” condition called face blindness. As Sadie deals with the condition while trying to still create her art, she learns that blindess can apply to many areas of one’s life. I read it in March (my pals Erica and Marissa have me covered on Katherine’s releases) and loved it. And look for Happiness for Beginners (another Katherine Center favorite of mine) on Netflix in late July.

Nalini’s US readers will get Resonance Surge earlier than expected on July 18. All I’ll say about Resonance Surge (other than I loved it, of course) is that your bear addiction is fully satisfied. IYKYK.

Ever since I read The Switch, I’ve been a Beth O’Leary fan. The Wake-Up Call — a September 26 release — is another entry that will stay on my shelf. I didn’t think I had a subject style, but this is another book with enemies who are coworkers falling in love. It’s also filled with a fun set of secondary characters who propel the story along (plus it’s an early Christmas gift).

A bit of a Christmas caper is The Takedown. I loved the holiday background to a story of Sydney Swift, a woman who’s kept distant from people and relationships to avoid being hurt. When her sister is about to marry into a Boston crime family, that distance dissolves. I’m not always drawn to books about spies, but this one was a lot of fun. Out October 3 from Berkley.

When my friend Erica described Raiders of the Lost Heart, how could I resist? And I learned a bit more about myself as I started another enemies-to-lovers story. (Reading is the key to the soul, and tropes, apparently.) Seriously though, from the cover to the archeology expedition in Mexico to solving the mystery, this was a lot of fun. And hey, a minor hint to where Nora will be on vacation! Raiders of the Lost Heart is out December 5 from Berkley.

Finally, we have Finlay Donovan is Killing it. It was actually released in 2021, but Leslie, Nora’s editor, thought I’d enjoy getting to know Finlay, a very stressed single mom trying to meet her writing deadline. Then, of course, things happen. I raced through it, laughed a lot and really enjoyed how Elle Cosimano built her world. And a ready made backlist? Yes, please and thank you. (This is the first book in the series — #4 will be out early 2024.)

And there you have it. What are you reading these days?


Fall into the story behind Inheritance

Note from Laura: Just as she did before the Chronicles of the One, Nora’s written a letter to explain the direction of her next trilogy: The Lost Bride Trilogy. I think you’re going to love this next adventure

Dear Readers,

When I think of hauntings, I first think of my maternal grandmother. I suppose this is because it was my earliest (that I remember) experience. Sweetheart, as we called her, lived with us for a number of years. I’m going to add sweet because I adored her—though it is NOT the first word that comes to mind when I think of her.

Tough, opinionated, funny, fey, acerbic, quick Irish temper all rank before I get to sweet. She had flaming red hair, and was quite the dish in her day. She was married five times (before I was born). Yes, I said five, and she didn’t keep any of them.

She had her own apartment in our house—bedroom, bath, living room with a fireplace, kitchenette. She read palms and loved watching the Roller Derby.

In the house where I grew up, we had a huge backyard, tons of fruit trees, a veg garden we worked in every summer. A good-sized front yard with a pussy willow tree sort of centered between the front and side walkways.

My father hated that tree. I have no idea why. My grandmother loved that tree. Also no idea. He would, periodically threaten to cut it down, and she’d bring the axe down on my father. The tree stayed.

One evening a week or two after Sweetheart passed, my father thought of that tree. I remember him saying: “Well, Eps is gone, (Eps was his nickname for her—something from a comic or cartoon), and I’m cutting that damn tree down tomorrow morning.”

And that night, it was hit by lightning, split cleanly in two and taken to the ground.

She just wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

She stayed in the house for some time, winding her cuckoo clock, closing doors, probably watching the Roller Derby or kibbitzing at the Friday night pinochle game at our dining room table. I know my mother felt her often, and it brought comfort—and amusement.

Since that first experience, I’ve had others. But then I live on a Civil War battlefield, so—to me—it would be odd if I hadn’t. Hearing battle drums in the middle of the night while walking a fretful baby, or some strange knocking when no one’s there. A child’s voice—and I admit this one creeped me—downstairs while I worked upstairs, alone in the house, calling for Mama. I did get my guts up to go down and look for her, but I wasn’t Mama, so she didn’t show herself to me.

And as it happens, I own a haunted inn. Now, some of you will say: Oh, please, Nora, the others were coincidence or imaginings. But I know what I know. So does the staff at Inn BoonsBoro, who often have to turn off showers in locked, empty rooms, or put some item back from where it mysteriously moved. Doors opening, doors closing, footsteps on the stairs. Many guests have had encounters while staying there. Our ghosts are, fortunately, benign. Playful, but benign. We even have a ghost cat who visits guests in their rooms often.

His name is Johnson.

Once a year, along with several girl pals, I spend a week at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. We book a house that’s attached to the hotel. The very first time I walked in, I thought: Oh, okay. We’re not alone here. All of my pals, plus my grandson Griffin, who goes with us, have had encounters. Oh, I could tell you stories. So I decided to.

When I thought about the theme of my next trilogy, I thought of old houses with history and spirit occupants.

Personally, I love haunted houses, (and, so far, I’ve been comfortable with those who walk there), so why not write about one?

My fictional one stands on the coast of Maine, a house—or manor as it’s called—the main character inherits from an uncle she didn’t know she had. I don’t want to get into the reasons why and spoil it, but the reasons worked for me.

This manor‘s not only haunted, but carries a two-hundred-year-old curse. As it’s in the Prologue, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say a woman was killed on her wedding day by an evil, jealous, crazy witch—who cursed the house, and subsequent brides.

A haunted house, a curse, doomed brides through the ages. Well, that checked a lot of boxes for me. Add a mystery to solve to break that curse, some romance, the not-at-all benign witch who haunts the place, and a bevy of other spirits, and more boxes checked.

I liked the idea of having my very rational-minded main character find herself in a completely irrational situation, and discovering her heritage, her family history, while she takes the risk f rebuilding her career. With bonus points for learning to trust her heart.

I had such fun writing Inheritance, the first book in The Lost Bride Trilogy.

I hope you’ll enjoy it, and all the things that go bump in the night.


Me again! You can preorder Inheritance from your favorite retailers. Please note that you access Kindle pre-orders through Amazon. ~Laura

Turn the Page:
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Identity discussion spot

Does summer (or winter if you live in the Southern Hemisphere) start when Nora’s standalone hits shelves? (I personally think so.)

Well, you can consider the season officially changed as Identity is on sale today.

I read it a long time ago, but can clearly remember all the twists, turns and fun of reading about Morgan Albright and the challenges she faced.

What’s Identity about?

Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan’s job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party―attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who’d been chatting her up at the bar―her carefully built world is shattered.  

Soon, a horrific truth emerges: “Luke” is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.

Morgan’s nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother’s home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn’t flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn’t forgotten the one who got away.

This is the spot to discuss all things Identity so spoilers will be in the comments.

Share away!


Identity excerpt

We’re just over 90 days from the release of Identity — Nora’s 2023 stand alone novel. I had a chance to read it a while back and the story is as stunning as the cover above.

What’s it about you ask? Here’s the official cover copy:

Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan’s job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who’d been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.

Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. “Luke” is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.

What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn’t his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan’s nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother’s home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn’t flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn’t forgotten the one who got away.

Here’s your chance to read Chapter One. (If you subscribe to Nora’s News then you’ve already had a chance to read this excerpt.)

Enjoy — can’t wait to discuss this book.


A Trilogy

A note from Laura, if you haven’t read The Choice do NOT read this post. Come back when you’re done.

Is THREE books. Three, then done. Over, finished, complete.

The Dragonheart Trilogy. Three books.

I know some readers sincerely feel that asking for more is flattering. It is, it really is. To a point. But there’s been a lot of demanding and haranguing over this one with readers who want, and demand and—sorry, not sorry— whine for more.

(And some do it after EVERY trilogy.)

Why can’t you write all the weddings?????

You know, I gave the reader a big, beautiful wedding, in detail within The Choice. The dress, the vows, the prep, the color, the music. All of it. Not enough, apparently.

Where is Marco’s wedding, where is Breen’s?

Down the road, dear readers. The trilogy ended. Worlds saved, evil defeated, lovers met.

We should’ve seen Sally and Derrick come over.

Down the road again. This is not a story line.

More grieving and a funeral for Sedrick. We did have grieving, but lives are lost in wars. That’s why wars suck out loud. There was no place for more.

We are not going to see Fin bond with his dragon. That was not the story. And the kid’s hardly more than a toddler when the story ends.

We want to see more babies.

 Down. The. Road. This was not the story.

Breen awakened. Breen became. Breen chose.

THAT was the story. Mission accomplished.

I cannot give each individual reader all they want. And I won’t.

I will tell you the story that comes to me, and work hard to make it the best I can. That’s my job. I can’t tie every aspect that every single reader wants up in a bow, and keep going and going. When it’s done, it’s done.

Can’t we just have a fourth book, or a novella, or a short story?

Oh, my Jesus, do you not think, seriously not think, of the time, effort, the work, the creatively involved it that? Like, snap your fingers and give us all what we want? No one can actually believe it works that way.

This will seem harsh to some, and some of you will be pissed at me. I PAY for the books, why can’t she do what I want? Because, dear readers, I write how I write. The story is what it is.

And no, there were no loose ends, I did not leave anyone hanging. Except those who want, want, want, want weddings, babies, intricate word pictures of everything that might happen next.

I worked very hard on this trilogy, I sweated over making it all flow to a natural conclusion. But for some, it’s just never, never, never enough.

I finished The Choice a year ago. I’ve written two In Deaths, a Roberts’s suspense and am working on the first book of a new trilogy. I’m never, never, never going to go back and write weddings and babies for this trilogy.

This is not a book. There is no conflict, internal or external. There are no hills and valleys. There would be just happy, happy, joy, joy. And that’s not how I work.

I loved writing this trilogy, I was totally invested in the characters. But it’s done.

What comes next is up to you.

I’ve been a reader all my life, and never thought of demanding a writer give me more. I want this, this, this. Come on, gimme.

It’s actually astonishing to me that some readers do just that.

I have no obligation to do that, and never will. I HATE some readers are disappointed. But there’s nothing I can or will do about it.

And the next trilogy. THREE books. When it’s done, it’s done. Absolutely no point in demanding more. The Lost Bride Trilogy will be three books. Some will ask for more. I’ll have moved on.

Let me add, please, if you’re going to bring up specifics, spoilers, plot points, you want to comment on, argue about, do it here, and not on Facebook. There are many readers who follow on FB who haven’t read the book or books. Laura is so clear about that, but some ignore it because they’re just unhappy.

I’m also going to add, if it’s not obvious, I’m really tired of some demanding what I can’t give. And begging for what I can’t and won’t give. It’s exhausting.


The Trilogy note

Dear reading pals,

Remember the agonizing days that ensued when you finished the Born in trilogy?  Or the Key Trilogy?  Or The Inn BoonsBoro trilogy?  

Heck, pick any trilogy that you hold dear.  

Remember the book hangover?  The absolute certainty you’d never meet characters as amazing as the Concannons, or the women of Indulgence or the Montgomery Brothers?  That life was bereft of light and laughter now that you didn’t know what would happen in their lives anymore and you were certain Nora NEEDED to provide more?

Even though you could always revisit the books any time you’d like, that first time was finished.  And oh, how it hurts to know you can’t read a book for the first time ever again.

But then…you met the Templetons of the Dream trilogy, the valiant Six of The Circle Trilogy, the amazing cousins of The O’Dwyer Trilogy.  Or you visited Three Sisters Island…the charming village of Ardmore…watched the world rebuild through The One.

Get the pattern?  We all experience deep sadness when we close the final book in a series, sure we’ll never feel that way again.  

And then less than a year later, Nora hands us the first book in a new series.  I know some wait until all three are out, some will read them on publication day, then reread before the next book.  But in the end, all of us will meet a new set of people, even knowing that book hangover awaits at the end of the series.

Isn’t that the reason we all read Nora?  How reliably she gives us new, entertaining adventures that only she knows we need to read? (She wrote about trusting her in a post this fall.)

For nearly a week, I’ve seen a ton of comments wanting –no NEEDING — more of the Dragon Heart Legacy. Dig down, it’s wishing for a little more time with characters before saying goodbye.

If you look at the arc of the three books, Nora finished all she set out to do:  take a woman who has no knowledge of her tremendous potential and lead us to the point when she knows who she is and what she will do with her life.
There has been loss, there has been sadness, but on the whole Breen made her choices and there is happiness ahead. 

Nora took us on that journey and left Breen in a very good place. And we can all use our imagination to think of what happens next.

In my head, I see the comments now:

But Nora wrote a fourth book for The Quinn Brothers!!!  Why yes she did.  She was very upfront that Seth would get a story — after he’d had time to grow up.  So that’s why there’s three years between Inner Harbor (1998) and Chesapeake Blue (2001). Twenty-one years ago.

But Nora wrote four books for The Bride Quartet!!!!  
She had a cast of four characters and took them through a year in the life — New Year’s Day to New Year’s Day.  Quite honestly, my friends, I could hear the wedding fatigue in her voice when she was in the middle of writing Happy Ever After.  Honest to goodness, I experienced ONE real life wedding this year. I’m not sure how she created the details for multiple fictional weddings throughout that series.  So when she wrote The End, she meant it.

But Nora wrote novellas! 
No, she wrote two very short stories for the now defunct Waldenbooks newsletter which you can find here.  The novellas she did write were planned into the writing schedule as a project with friends. And she stopped writing novellas 7 years ago.

Nora of 2022 writes a very different sort of book than the Nora of 2009 who Wedding’d Herself Out writing The Bride Quartet.  She’s creating more complex worlds in her trilogies as well as her stand alones.  Let’s be real here: she writes two In Deaths a year to vacation with Eve and Roarke in a world she already knows.

It’s a huge compliment for readers to want more of characters and the world you create.  Readers have to understand that Nora’s currently deep in the first draft of the first book of the NEXT trilogy and Talamh is firmly in her rearview mirror. It’s been in the rearview mirror since December 2021.

I know a smidgeon of what the next trilogy is about and I think you’ll enjoy it tremendously.  Even as we all know I’ll have to re-post this letter in November 2025 when The Lost Bride Trilogy concludes.

We’ve got a lot more fun ahead of us.  Let’s keep our eyes on that. And enjoy.


PS. Three posts in a week??? Can the blog be springing back to life? Stay tuned.