Saturday, September 12, 2015


Hi, everyone.  I'm here to update you on my projects and what is going on with each of them.

Unbound is currently in edits, which should be completed early next month.  I'm hoping to make it available to you by the end of the year as a nice little Christmas gift to all of you.  I really can't wait for all of you to read it.  I'm honestly so proud of it and cannot wait for you to meet Dash and Celia.  They are two of my favorite characters that I've created thus far, and their story is unlike anything I've done before.  So, watch this space for more information about release dates.

As for my current work-in-progress, it's titled Dreams, and I don't want to reveal too much about it yet, but all I am going to say is that it is extremely different than anything I've written before.  That makes it a little scary, yet that's part of being a writer.  You have to take chances in order to better your writing.  There are some great characters and story arcs coming your way.

I'm also bouncing around with two other books.  One of them is the third book in the Love, Windy City Style series, a long-overdue book about Jennifer Alexander.  The plot has been altered significantly since I originally planned it, but I think that the new story will be much better suited to the characters.  Another story I have in the works is a historical novel set in 1740s Europe.  Both of these stories have had a lot of work put into outlining over the past several weeks, but it will likely be some time before either of these stories get my full attention.

So, that's where I am right now.  Watch this space as well as all of my social media accounts for any new information on my upcoming projects.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Smashwords Interview with Mary Frances Gualandri

I recently completed an interview with e-book distributor Smashwords.  Below is a transcript of the interview.

Interview with Mary Frances Gualandri

What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a historical drama called Dreams, which centers around the California rock music scene of the 1970s. However, it is a saga that spans 40 years. It is not a romance, but it is a love story.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh, gosh, that's a question. Well, I would say that my favorite author is probably Jackie Collins, but I also really love Sylvia Day, Sylvain Reynard, and Rona Jaffe.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Well, I can't sleep late, so I guess that's a good reason. I think what really makes me get out of bed is knowing that I have a purpose.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Well, I am a full-time student, so most of my time is spent going to school and studying. Other than that, though, I love to read, watch TV, listen to music, and hang out with my friends and family.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
It's usually based on the authors I typically read or through bargain sites like Bookbub. It depends, though.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote and finished was a 40 page story called Senate Girl. It was about a girl who was a page for the United States Senate during the Kennedy era. It ended up being a six part series I wrote in 4th grade.
What is your writing process?
It's shifted a lot, but lately, I've been doing extensive planning. The last two books I've been writing were both projects that I planned for a year or more before writing them. I have a lot of notes and spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I am a very visual person, so I need to know how things and people look. Then, I just write and edit. The editing is usually a three or four round process. Then, I publish.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read, or that was read to me, I should stay, was a children's book called Moving Day. I loved that story and constantly wanted my grandma to read it to me. I just loved the emotion of the characters. Oh, and Hoppity, the main character, was an adorable rabbit. That might have helped.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design is actually the easiest part. I have an incredible cover designer, Robin Ludwig, who has done all of my covers. She asks me what I'm looking for and takes it from there. The result has been three covers that I love and have a professional look. I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg, either.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is really hard, but here we go.

5. Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard- An odd book, but Southern and sultry.
4. Gabriel trilogy by Sylvain Reynard - Sensual and unique. Beautifully written.
3. The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day- The sexiest books I've ever read. Also, Gideon and Eva are incredible characters.
2. Perfect by Judith McNaught- I cried through most of this book. It's just so raw and sweet.
1. Paradise by Judith McNaught- This book is just gut-wrenching and beautiful. Matt and Meredith are incredible characters, and I can laugh and cry through the entire book.
What do you read for pleasure?
Romance is what I spend most of my time reading, but I also enjoy some general fiction as well as thrillers and horror novels.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Well, it used to my my Kindle 6, but ever since I got my iPad, I've been reading on that.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have great critique partners, and they help me with promotion. Online release parties and cover reveals are great.
Describe your desk
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in rural north central Illinois, and it influenced my writing by making me want to write about urban areas, be it Chicago or New York. All of that glitz and glamour fascinated me.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in second grade after my grandfather passed away. It was a shock and I didn't know how to deal with my emotions, so I picked up a pen and the rest is history.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book was a bit of a response to the Fifty Shades mania, both playing into it and questioning it. I wanted the sultriness and raw sexuality of those books, but as readers will find out, I question the mechanics.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I just wanted to do it on my own and see what happened.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating characters. I love my characters, and putting them into situations and seeing what happens to them is amazing to me.
Published 2015-07-22.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thoughts from a Hopeful Romantic: What's In a Name?

When coming up with a name for my blog series, it was an easy choice.  In order to relate it back to romance, I knew that there was only one place to turn: the 1984 film Romancing the Stone.

For those familiar with the movie, Romancing the Stone tells the story of Joan Wilder, played by the beautiful Kathleen Turner, a romance writer who pens stories about the kind of man she hopes will come to sweep her off her feet.  It turns out that she finds him in the most unlikely of places: while in South American trying to find her missing sister.  Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) is a drifter trying to achieve his dram of getting a sailboat but is not getting too far when he meets Joan.  What begins as Jack getting Joan to Cartegena quickly becomes a rollicking romantic adventure, with the two falling in love as they discover a priceless gem that her sister's captor desires.  It is the perfect mirroring of what a romance writer wishes would happen to them.

One of my favorite scenes in the film takes place toward the end, when Joan turns in a new manuscript based on her adventures.  Upon finishing it, her editor tells her that she is a hopeless romantic.  Joan shakes her head and replies, almost to herself, "No, hopeful.  A hopeful romantic."  Something about those words struck me from the first time I heard them.  Especially since I began writing romance, they have become even more prevalent.  After all, those who write romance and have yet to find their real-life hero (or heroine) are not hopeless.  They have hope that they will eventually meet the person who will ignite passion and love within them like no one else can.  While they may not be ruggedly handsome or strikingly beautiful, the person we long to fall for exudes the same type of qualities we admire in those protagonists on a page.

So, that's the story of the name.  There's nothing very complex about it, just a connection I couldn't help but make.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Vegas: Cover and Release Details

Here is the rundown.  First of all, here is the cover for Vegas.  I hope all of you like it.  Big thanks to Covers by Robin for the amazing design work.

The release date for Vegas will be Tuesday, March 3rd.  I am currently working on some possible promotion for that, so be sure to stay in tune to my social media for that.

Also, Vegas is available for preorder on Amazon, so be sure to check that out.  I am working on other outlets at the moment.  I will keep everyone posted.

Thoughts from a Hopeful Romantic: Fifty Shades of Ignorance

The last few days, the internet has been abuzz with everything relating to Fifty Shades of Grey.  From the astounding numbers scored at the box office to the morality of the film, my news feed on every social media outlet was permeated.  To me, it was kind of exciting to actually see a romance novel turned film gaining some serious attention.  However, it was also frustrating to see the criticism, which is often irrational and ignorant.

First of all, I read Fifty Shades of Grey and saw the film.  I loved the adaptation.  While there were certainly things left out or added in, I still thought it remained true to the heart of the novel.  Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson could not have been better, and while there is still a heated debate about casting, I do not think anyone else could have done justice to the characters the way they did.  The sex was there, of course, but I did not find it gratuitous.  I actually thought the scenes were quite tastefully done and made the movie more sensual rather than sexual.

In one of my college classes, the film has come up in every class for the last couple of weeks.  The teacher, who does not support the film and considers it to be pornographic, has not read the book.  Neither did the three-quarters of my classmates who agreed with her.  There was only a small group of us who would admit to seeing the film.  The main topic of discussion was not the sex, though.  It was the characters.  Those who opposed the film consider Christian to be a stalker and unhealthy, and that this film is only going to make young women believe that they need a man like him.  They say that it sets women back instead of pushing them forward.

This angered me deeply, as I am quite passionate about what I considered to be an attack on the romance genre.  After all, Gideon Cross from Sylvia Day's Crossfire series could also be considered a stalker if we are judging him by their standards.  The men in romance novels often do whatever it takes for the woman they love, and while it crosses boundaries sometimes, these novels are fiction.  My characters are often that way as well.  Are they also control freaks?  Are romance novels a social evil that needs to be exterminated?  I mean, it feels like the argument goes so much deeper than Fifty Shades.

I spoke up, saying that if you read the novels, you will understand that Christian has endured traumas that might make any sane person crack.  It would sicken any reader to read about what he went through.  Still, the moment I brought up the book, I was told that we were only talking about the film.  Well, if that is the case, then people are missing the big picture.  No film is going to be a perfect adaptation and convey every aspect of the book.  The example I came up with was if there was ever a film made of The Catcher in the Rye, and without reading the book (though I have), I said that Holden Caulfield was an obnoxious little jerk, I can guarantee you I would be told something that started with the line, "Well, if you've read the book, you would understand why he's that way."  Am I not making the same argument?  I know I am, but because The Catcher in the Rye is a classic novel, it is assumed that everyone should read it and understand.  Am I out of line to say the same thing about Fifty Shades?  I'll be the first to admit it's not the most well-written piece of literature, but reading it would certainly clarify a lot about Christian.  However, romance novels do not receive that consideration and unless writers who encounter similar situations to mine stand up and say that there is something wrong with judging books without reading them, we won't make a difference.

I was never going to win the argument in that class because there were too many people against me with narrow-minded opinions who weren't about to listen to what our small group had to say.  Still, I won't be backing down on this subject.  Romance novels do not deserve the backseat.  No one should make you feel guilty for what you read or see and try to persuade you, especially if they have no knowledge about the book or film, or at least none that goes deeper than the surface.

The Fifty Shades argument goes so much deeper than shaming women for going to see a movie about BDSM where the dominant is fucked up.  It's about shaming an entire genre, for if any other erotic novel was made into a film, I can guarantee these people would say the same thing.  I will again bring up Gideon Cross, since he's already been my example.  Gideon is one of my favorite romance heroes.  However, I also recognize that he shares some of the same characteristics as Christian Grey.  He likes to control everything, sometimes verging a little on obsessive.  However, upon finding out the trauma he's endured, his reasons become much clearer.  His reactions are quite normal, actually.  These critics who do not like the way Christian acts would not like any of the alpha heroes who have reemerged in the romance genres since the release of Fifty Shades.  What they ignore is the strong women that these men are paired with and how Anastasia Steele frequently stands up to Christian Grey or Eva Trammell tells Gideon to fuck off.  How can you say women are being set back if they are standing up to men as strong as these heroes are?  It makes very little sense to me.

Regardless of what its critics rant about, Fifty Shades is breaking records.  It's a big old middle finger to the people who claim all of these ridiculous things about the book and the film.  People are seeing past all of the BDSM and salacious stuff and recognizing what the crux of the film really is: a woman teaching a man how to love.  That's a far more important lesson than any of these other crusades, in my opinion.  After all, romance novels are the journey of a couple finding their way to each other, right?  Fifty Shades does that, simply in a more brazen way, and much of this hate is generated by the cynicism of the public in general who are too skeptical to believe in something like second chances or love changing a person.  It's a sad but true fact, and I can only hope that more people who share my opinion speak out without the fear of being ostracized.  Loving romance novels shouldn't be a crime, after all, and it seems like this huge debate about one film is really finding its roots there.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Year: Announcements, Promises, and the Return of the Hopeful Romantic

Hello, 2015!  It's crazy to think that's the actual year we're in.  It means that it's been  two and a half years since I began writing Hell in Heels and almost two years since I self-published it.  To me, it's incredible to even think I've been doing it for that long.  Either way, it's been a great journey that I hope will result in a lot this year.

As most of you know if you follow me on any of my social media accounts, Vegas was submitted to multiple publishers a few months ago.  Since then, there has been one rejection.  I'm still waiting to here back from a couple of the others, so I guess we will see how that goes.  If nothing happens, I can always self-publish again and simply try the traditional publishing circuit with my next book.  Just be prepared for heavy promotion if that does happen.

Speaking of new projects, I am hard at work on Unbound still and hope to have it finished in the near future.  It is an incredible novel completely unlike anything I've done before, and that makes me very happy.  Dash and Celia are two of my favorite characters that I've ever created, and I really hope you love them as much as I have writing them.

As you may remember, I put off writing Ideal Hero to focus on Unbound.  However, I have recently decided that the story of Jennifer Alexander will be the next story I work on.  I am not sure if the title will remain, but for now, it is.  One thing that has changed about it is the hero.  Alex Slade, I've decided, is not the hero that works best for the novel.  I have recently created a new one, Rafe McDonough, who is, at this point, an Irish actor that Jennifer shared a fling with on spring break many years ago.  I have started a rough prologue, but I am waiting until I finish Unbound to throw myself into it.  At that point, I will have more plot info for you.

Remember, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Also, follow all of my social media accounts

Twitter: @MaryFGualandri
Instagram: mfg1994
Wattpad: mfg1994

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Project, NaNoWriMo, and More!

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted on here.  Sorry about that.

So, here's the latest updates.  As most of you know, I am in throes of writing my newest work in progress, Unbound.  A huge chunk of it has been written, almost 75,000 words.  I am anticipating to have it done this month, and I cannot wait to get it into your hands.  My pride in it cannot even be explained.  It is much different than anything I've written before, and I think that's a good thing.  So, keep checking all of my social media for exclusive updates on that info.

Also, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the second year in a row.  I will be updating my progress via my social media accounts, so keep a watch on that.  Unbound is my novel for this, as I anticipate it being much longer than any of my previous novels, but if I finish it and still need to fill the void for 50,000 words, I will start on the next novel I have planned.

As for Vegas, my NaNoWriMo novel from last year, I have sent it out to several publishers at the beginning of October and am just waiting to hear back.  Keep your fingers crossed, and you will be the first to know if something exciting happens there.

Just a reminder.  These are my social media accounts.  Follow them for frequent updates on my progress on writing as well as the musings of this pop culture junkie.

Twitter: @MaryFGualandri
Instagram: mfg1994