Sometimes (I’d go so far as to say oftentimes, actually) the title on a manuscript when it’s submitted isn’t the same as the title on the cover when it’s published. The process of change is actually quite simple. The editor nonchalantly says “Oh, by the way, you need a new title. Send me a list of possibilities.” The author then nonchalantly says, “Okay, no problem” while secretly doing a rather impressive mental impression of the Home Alone kid screaming in the mirror.
As it happens, Carina Press would like a new title for Just Joe and, yes, I’m channeling my inner Macaulay Culkin. Not that I’m either surprised or upset—titles are a marketing tool and marketing is not what I do. The mental eardrum piercing comes not from resistance, but from the panic that naturally occurs when a writer needs words and finds the vault totally empty.
See, I know what Just Joe means to the book because I know the book. Creatively, that title resonated with me. But Just Joe says nothing at all about the book to someone who hasn’t read it and gives no clues as to the content which, along with the cover art, are the first thing to catch a reader’s eye. But, sometimes, the creative side of a writer and the logical side butt heads and the result is…a brain cramp.
I don’t think The Reluctant Author’s Secret Ex-Girlfriend is going to fly, either, so if anybody gets bored and wants to throw some ideas in the comment box, I might actually cry tears of gratitude. Big fat ones that will freeze on my cheeks when I take the dog out.
Keri Daniels is a journalist for an entertainment magazine, but she’s been hiding prior carnal knowledge of a reclusive celebrity. Now her secret’s out and her editor-in-chief is sending her back to face the boy she left behind.
Joe Kowalski isn’t a boy anymore, but he’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart. Through eleven bestselling novels he’s been able to protect his privacy, but he’s prepared to step into the spotlight if it means a chance to finish what he and Keri started.
Tina Deschanel is the editor-in-chief of Spotlight Magazine and she’s had her sights set on an exclusive interview with Joseph Kowalski for years. She doesn’t think sending her favorite reporter into the northern woods of New Hampshire to fan an old flame is too great a sacrifice.
Teresa Kowalski Porter wants nothing to do with Keri Daniels. Her former best friend abandoned her several years before breaking her twin brother’s heart. There’s only one reason Terry’s willing to spend two weeks in the woods with Keri—payback.
One random blog entry is all it takes to pull the safety net out from under Keri Daniels. One minute she’s shopping with her boss, and the next she’s holding a photo of an eighteen-year-old version of herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, Joe Kowalski. Tina Deschanel—the editor-in-chief of Spotlight Magazine—has been trying to get an interview with the reclusive, bestselling author for years. And when Tina tracked down a blogger who claimed to go to school with the man, she discovered her best reporter had been withholding some very interesting backstory. Now she’s given Keri a choice—the interview or a new career. She’s worked too hard and is too close to achieving her promotion to say no.
The entire Kowalski family is preparing for their annual camping trip in northern New Hampshire when Joe learns Keri Daniels is back in town. It’s not her first visit home since she left all those years ago, but it’s the first time she’s let it be known she’s looking for him. But he’s nobody’s fool and suspects Tina Deschanel—the most persistent stalker his agent has to fend off—has discovered her reporter’s connection to her prey.
Joe proposes an outrageous plan he’s positive will send Keri running in the other direction—for every day she survives with the Kowalski family on their annual campground vacation, she gets to ask him one question. But Keri’s worked too hard to walk away from her career and two weeks in the woods with her high school sweetheart is the lesser of two evils.
But not by much. The chemistry between Keri and Joe is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister Terry—Keri’s former childhood best friend—is out for revenge, and the cabin—the one she shares with Joe—has no running water. Being expected to take part in the ATV riding—something she hasn’t done since she was ten—is the icing on the pity party cake.