Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alas, poor Aline, we barely knew ye.

Pocket Gallery has decided that it would be better to release AND ONE LAST THING under Molly Harper instead of another pen name. Aline Harris is no more.

The good news is you can follow all my book announcements on one blog-

Sorry to cause confusion.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ahhh... The Writing Life

When I was a kid, I loved watching that Roseanne Barr movie, She-Devil. Meryl Streep’s character, Mary Fischer, was a Danielle Steele-esque romance novelist who lived in a huge pink house by the ocean, had a fabulous wardrobe, and spent her days writing on her veranda.

I thought, that’s so the life for me.

So here’s the reality of being a romance writer.

I get up at 5:45 every morning, usually to the cranky rumblings of a 16-month-old who REALLY doesn’t appreciate wet shorts. I get him and his five-year-old sister ready for school, get ready for work, kiss my fan-freaking-tastic husband, David, goodbye and drive the kids to school.

I work full-time a national medical society, writing and editing our quarterly newsletter, coordinating ads, and sending an incredible number of e-mails. I really like my co-workers, who love teasing me about my “secret night life.”

I pick the kids up, get them home around 5:40. Usually, David had dinner going. Seriously, the man is a saint. He takes on more than his share of the housework, which he says is only fair since I basically have two full-time jobs. We've been together since I was 14 and he was 16, dating seven years before we got married. We had plenty of time to work out the whole "expectations of married life" thing. I failed to mention my ambition to become a vampire romance queen. Still, David's a really good sport about hanging out at romance book festivals. He calls himself my "willing trophy husband." You have to love that.

There’s usually a mad nightly scramble to get the kids fed, wash dishes, get our daughter’s homework done, and get the kids reasonably bathed. Seriously, on spaghetti night, I think we would be better off taking our son out back and hosing him off. The kids are tucked in by 8. I try to spend a little bit of time with David, so he doesn’t feel totally abandoned to my wild ambition. And then I settle down to work.

I don’t have a home office or a desk. I write from my couch, usually watching something like Castle or The Office. From my little spot, I can usually see our son’s Mickey Mouse ride-along train, and the 70-year-old rocking chair that used to grace the parlor at my great-grandparents dairy farm. There’s generally a strange grouping of naked Polly Pockets on the floor and a load of laundry thumping on the other side of the wall.

Super glamorous.

I write every single day, at least 1,000 words a day, no matter what. Even when I'm sick, tired, stressed, I get those 1,000 words in. They don't even have to be brilliant. I can go back and fix them. Just the discipline of making time and building a story, that's what matters. I have to admit that it helps that I have a newspaper background. When I was reporting, I couldn't exactly wait around for the muse to strike when I had an angry editor standing over me, demanding to know when I was turning in my story. You learn to get beyond the need to get "inspired" and just write.

I generally work from about 8:30 to 11 or 12, depending on how well things are going. If it's really flowing, I'll stay up until 2 or 3. But I try not to do that too often, because I'm not all that sharp at work the next day.

I'm not going to lie. Between working, wrangling two children under six and being married to someone I adore, but can’t spend a lot of time with, it's tough. But it's all about the routine, developing the discipline.

In other words, Meryl Streep is a lying beeotch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm on Facebook

I just established a separate Facebook page for Aline Harris. If you'd like to friend me, click here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Nice Girl Who Writes Slightly Naughty Books

I'm Aline Harris. (Pronounced, "A-leen," not "A-line." A-line is a skirt.) What can I say? It's a Southern thing.

I'm 31, and a former church secretary. Yes, that's right. I went home after long days of editing the Sunday bulletin and organizing potluck suppers and wrote steamy love scenes. I just sold my first mainstream romance to Pocket Book's new Gallery imprint. You can only imagine how that conversation went with the personnel committee...

Most people at the church were very nice about the whole thing, though I did get a couple of little old ladies who shook their heads in confusion and said, "But you're such a nice girl."

The truth is, I was born to be a romance writer. My parents are both voracious readers. There was a whole closet devoted to my mom's romance paperbacks... my dad had a much ruder nickname for them, but we won't go into that here. So it wasn't a huge surprise to my mom when four-year-old me started sounding out words on the Lucky Charms box. My parents indulged my love of reading with trips to the library and a membership in the Especially for Girls book club. Sunday afternoons were usually marked with a sojourn to Waldenbooks and a new Babysitters Club paperback.

There were early warning signs. I filled my locking Snoopy diary with outlines of romance stories about various Tiger Beat cover boys. (I burned that thing before I started middle school.) I turned Judy Blume down for Jude Devereaux. I was repeatedly caught reading Harlequins (and Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Barbara Michaels...) tucked inside my seventh-grade English textbook while everybody else was working on diagramming sentences.

(I ended up marrying that seventh-grade English teacher's nephew, David. If I had known that the "incidents" would be brought up at every major family event for the rest of my life, I probably would have just done the assignments. Learn from my example, kids.)

My family is "blessed" with a dry, sarcastic wit. If you want to survive Thanksgiving, you learn to quip. Writing was a chance to get all the words in my head out on paper, because no voice could keep up with my runaway brain. I liked the puzzle that writing presented, fitting the different words together in a way that sounded pleasing, but still got my point across. And it turned out that while my humor was probably inappropriate in say, a Sunday School setting, it was pretty darn funny on paper. The self-deprecating thoughts I didn't dare express to friends, the comebacks I couldn't come up with on the fly, they all came out on paper. And eventually, I could voice those thoughts and sling the comebacks... and survive Thanksgiving.

Still, I never considered a career in writing until a teacher compared my voice to a young Erma Bombeck. After I looked it up and realized that was a good thing, I developed an interest in journalism and humor columns. We'd never had a writer in the family before. We were a staunch clan of nurses, teachers, construction foremen. There weren't many writing opportunities in our little town in western Kentucky. And it wasn't exactly the sort of talent you could "show" people. Their friends’ kids were musicians and dancers and athletes. What was my dad going to do, pull one of my essays out of his back-pocket and show his buddies my thoughts on being flat-chested?

Still, they supported me. I said I wanted to study at a college we knew nothing about. They took me on a campus tour. I spent my summers doing newspaper internships that paid very little. They helped me survive the rest of the year. I got a job writing for our hometown paper. They didn't gripe when I wrote columns poking fun at them.

For six years, I covered education for our hometown paper, writing about school board meetings, quilt shows, a man “losing” the fully grown bear he kept as a pet in his basement, and a guy who faked his death by shark attack in Florida and ended up tossing pies at a local pizzeria. There was also a fake bomb incident involving potentially explosive feminine products. But I think a statute of limitations has to run out before I’m allowed to discuss it publicly.

When people wonder where I developed my sense for the odd and quirky, I tell them I was steeped in it like overbrewed sun tea. Weird things happen in my hometown. We've been featured on Unsolved Mysteries twice, which is twice more than any town deserves. Combine that with the bizarre tales David brought home from his police shifts and you have a recipe for wacky, hyberbolic comedy.

I loved my job at the paper. I loved meeting new people every day and never knowing where I would end up. But somehow, the ever-shifting schedules of a police officer and a reporter did not equal "family friendly." One of us needed to take a normal job for the sake of our young daughter. I took a secretarial position at a local church office, which left me with dependably free evenings for the first time in my adult life. We were living in "The Apartment of Lost Souls" while building our new home. This was the place where appliances and small electronics went to die. Every night I would tuck our snoozing child into bed and wait for the washing machine to start smoking or the dishwasher to vomit soap on the floor. It was either write a book or go nuts. I think I made the right choice.

I wrote three vampire romance novels, (NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS, NICE GIRLS DON'T DATE DEAD MEN, NICE GIRLS DON'T LIVE FOREVER) which sold to Pocket Books under the pen name Molly Harper. As much as I love my paranormal romances, I got a little tired of writing about people who couldn't go out during the day or eat solid food. I decided to write a mainstream romance. I used maternity leave time at home with my newborn son to write AND ONE LAST THING. It's the story of Lacey, who finds out her husband is cheating, when a drunk florist delivers his mistress' flowers to her door. She responds by sending a mass e-mail to his friends, family, and business clients describing his affair in amazing Technicolor detail. A newly minted media punchline and the defendant in her husband's libel lawsuit, Lacey's exiled from her little Southern town to a lakeside cabin in the middle of nowhere. She meets her new neighbor, a grumpy crime writer with an unfortunate buttock-related nickname. Random nudity and romantic hijinks ensue.

AND ONE LAST THING will be released on July 27, 2010 by Simon and Schuester. It's available for pre-order here For more information on my paranormal romance books, check out my web site at

You can follow my paranormal blog at