This is Not a Double Date…Q&A Session!

Hello, everyone!   I hope you had a Happy Easter, the weather in your area is warming up, and you’re ready for a good story!   Oh.  As a matter of fact, I just so happen to have one for you!  

That’s right…my newest novel, ‘This is Not a Double Date,’ is now available for pre-order on Amazon.  You know what that means…it’s time for a Question and Answer session!!!  I love doing these, because I get to be both the Interviewer and Interviewee, so I know the questions are ‘Grace Approved.’  Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Interviewer Grace:  So, congrats on releasing your newest novel into the world.  Gimme the details please.

Author Grace:  Thank you.  This is actually my ninth full length novel.  I have a myriad of short stories, but I’m not counting those.

Interviewer Grace:  Okay.  I don’t believe I asked for anything related to math.  Can you tell us more about ‘This is Not a Double Date’ so the potential buyers of your story might know what they’re getting?

Author Grace:  Fine.  I had no idea this interview process was so rigid.  You know I like going off on a tangent.  But I digress.  My story is a suspenseful romantic heist.  It is a full length stand alone novel.  Amazon gave it a length of 218 pages.  It’s about 68,000 words.

Interviewer Grace:  Again with the math.  Since you’re addicted to numbers today, maybe you could explain why you’re doing a pre-order on Amazon instead of just releasing that sucker into the wild and letting it fend for itself?

Author Grace:  Ooh.  Thank you for asking.  I’m doing a 99 cent pre-order, so anyone interested in reading the book can get it at a bargain price before it goes LIVE on Amazon.  The book releases on May 1, 2019 and the price will go to up to $2.99 at that time.  I want to give loyal readers of my blog/newsletter the opportunity to get it at a deal.  You know…as a ‘thank you’ for being supportive of me.  If you’re a subscriber to the Kindle Unlimited program, you’ll be able to read it for free and then I get paid for the page reads.

Interviewer Grace:  Okay.  Enough trying to sell shit.  Why you don’t tell us how you got the idea for this story?

Author Grace:  Another excellent question.  Thank you for asking.  I would have to say that 90% of my book ideas begin with the question, “What if…?”  In this case, I was on vacation with my husband and we were in a location that had wonderful people-watching.  (It was a theme park in Florida.  Universal Studios.)  There’s no better people-watching than in a tourist destination where people converge from all over the world to sight-see and have fun.  I love listening to other languages, checking out new fashions, and staring at all the women who have better hair than I do.  Which is literally 85% of the women.

Interviewer Grace:  I feel like you’re getting off topic and it’s my job to drag you back on point.  Ahem.  Story origin idea…

Author Grace:  My mind wanders…which is the reason it comes up with the stories in the first place.  LET IT WANDER!  Anyway…I couldn’t help but notice groups of people that appeared to be a bit off-kilter.

Interviewer Grace:  Like creepy?  Like they were serial killers?

Author Grace:  No.  Like a group of four people where three of them were smoking hot and one was not cosmetically enhanced.  It made me wonder…why is the plain jane hanging out with the ‘in crowd’ and what is the nature of their relationship?  Every single one of my stories has to have multi-dimensional characters with interesting back stories.  I live for the back-story.

Interviewer Grace:  Okay.  So….I haven’t got all day here.

Author Grace:  Sorry.  I asked myself how that average person came to associate with the ‘beautiful people.’  Obviously, I let my mind wander and ruminate on the question before coming up with an answer.  That answer…is my newest creation.

Interviewer Grace:  I’ll admit, I’m intrigued.  What if you give us the buy link and the first chapter…and then let us make up our minds if we want to spend the 99 cents?

Author Grace:  Okay.  Sounds good to me!  Here you go…

Double Date Last


Andi Cartwright is intrigued when her best friend invites her to a concert and insists it is not a set-up. Yes, she’ll be meeting Cara’s new boyfriend and his cousin, but it was made abundantly clear that this is not a double date.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Roman hits it off with Andi. The normally antisocial man recognizes a kindred spirit, and can’t stay away from her no matter how hard he tries.

After a series of group outings including an escape room, family game night, and a food eating competition, it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems.

Once Roman’s true motive is revealed, will Andi be able to put her feelings aside and move on…or will she simply become another victim caught in a web of lies?

This is not your typical ‘boy-meets-girl’ story. With plot twists around every corner and sinister intentions behind seemingly innocent actions, who can really be trusted?



Grace Risata © March 2019


Andi – Saturday Afternoon

The ringing of my cell phone instantly startled me, snapping my attention away from the words on the page.

“Hello,” I mumbled, grabbing it and answering without looking at the caller ID.  Not many people had this number, so whoever was calling must be someone important.

“What are you doing tonight?” my best friend asked with a hint of mischief in her voice.  Ever since she started seeing someone new last month, everything had been roses and sunshine.

“I’m currently halfway into this amazing book about Egyptian mummification techniques and how they—”

“That sounds truly fascinating, Andi,” she interrupted, “But how about you start living in the present instead of three thousand years ago?  We have plans tonight.”

I didn’t bother correcting her on the exact timeline of Ancient Egypt.  Been there, done that.  Instead, I furrowed my brow and tried to come up with an excuse to decline whatever invitation she might offer.

“You’re going out with me, Tyler, and his cousin,” Cara explained before I could get a word in edgewise.  “Don’t freak out and think it’s a double date, because that’s definitely not what it is at all.”

“What is it then?”  Was Tyler’s cousin not single?  Was he sixty years old?  Had he just escaped from prison and she knew I probably wouldn’t be attracted to a murderer?  Should I be more concerned with the exact details of the evening instead of obsessing over the fact that it wasn’t a double date?  Possibly.

“Okay.  Here’s the thing,” she began, launching into some sob story meant to gain my sympathy.  “You know I’ve been seeing Tyler for almost three weeks and he’s absolutely perfect.  He’s a real man, and nothing like the guys I’ve dated in the past.  I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long, long time.  There’s potential for a future with him.  I’m thirty years old and I might have finally met ‘the one.’  I’m being dead serious here.”

Cara was a serial relationship kind of girl.  She had a high school sweetheart who was her soulmate, the college boyfriend that taught her about true love, the married co-worker that promised to leave his wife but never went through with a divorce, and the latest and most epic failure:  Bruce.

Bruce lasted a solid two years but failed to lock her down and put a ring on it.  This one was entirely my friend’s fault.  The guy was a decent, hard-working fellow, but nothing he ever did was good enough.  Yes, he gave her attention and flattery, but that wasn’t expensive jewelry.  No one could ‘see’ compliments, but a bracelet and a watch were another story entirely.  After failing to live up her unrealistic expectations, Cara kicked him to the curb with a heavy heart and a vow that she wouldn’t make any more mistakes.

“Okay, you’re dead serious,” I repeated in a bored tone while returning half my attention back to the Egyptian book I’d been reading before she called.  “How does this involve me not going on a double date with you?”

“Tyler got tickets for some band he follows…I guess he knows the drummer or something…and we had plans to go see them tonight as kind of a group thing with his best friend and the guy’s girlfriend.  I know I don’t need to tell you how important this is, right?”

“Uh…”  Evidently I failed to grasp the significance and needed to be given a little bit of a mental push in the right direction.  History, Ancient Civilizations, and cultures of the past were all things that made perfect sense to me.  Relationships?  Not so much.

“Tyler isn’t just treating me like some random chick to pass the time, Andi.  He wants to share his musical tastes and introduce me to his inner circle.  Meeting his friends and hanging out with the people who are important to him…this proves he’s getting serious about our relationship.”

“Okay.  I’m still not seeing where I come into the picture.  You want him to meet me in order to reciprocate the friend sharing or what?”

Under normal circumstances, I had always hung out with Cara as kind of a ‘girls only’ type deal.  We’d been friends since high school and grown close out of a mutual respect for each other’s freedom.  Never had it been the kind of ‘BFF’ closeness that required us to have a whole ‘squad’ and check in with each other every five minutes.  She had her life, I had mine, and we made sure to stay updated on all major events.  Whether we talked twice a week or twice a month, I knew she always had my back if the situation called for it.  As we got older and careers took up a large chunk of time, the in-person get togethers became less and less frequent.   Being somewhat of a hermit, I was fine with that.  Hence the reason her sudden need to introduce me to this new dude seemed a bit suspicious.

“You’re missing the point entirely,” she explained.  “Tyler’s best friend bailed on our double date tonight because he has to work overtime.  Now we’re stuck with two extra tickets to the concert.  It’s not like you have to pay any money, and this is just a spur of the moment thing and not a set-up in any way, shape, or form.  Besides, you should be having fun with people and living life instead of sitting with your nose buried in a book.  This is all very ‘last minute’ and I don’t have a huge social circle to choose from.  I really need someone to bring along so I don’t look like a pathetic loser that can’t scrape up a friend.  Don’t make me beg here…I’ll owe you one.”

I was quite surprised that she admitted the truth aloud.  Cara could be difficult on a good day and didn’t have many friends at all.  There was a married cousin she was close to, a few acquaintances from work…and me.  That pretty much covers it.

“Assuming I give in and agree to go with you, why do you keep telling me it’s not a double date?  Do you know anything about this guy’s cousin that you’re sticking me with?”

“Nothing at all,” she remarked casually, not giving a shit about who I was forced to interact with.  “Tyler has been pretty tight lipped about his family, so I’m treating this as a very important step towards him trusting me.  He doesn’t share a lot of personal information.  I’ve been giving him space because I don’t want to pry and scare him off.  Everything has been absolutely perfect between us and I’m not about to jinx it.  Have you seen my updates on Friendbook?”

How could I not?  Cara posted at least a hundred pictures of all the epic adventures she’s been having with Tyler.  I think they went on six dates and it seemed like each and every moment was captured and proudly displayed online.  From the well orchestrated poses in front of various restaurants and night clubs, to the flowers he brought when picking her up, to the many snaps of the kissing couple…well…they completely took up her whole online profile.

“Of course I saw your updates.  It looks like you’re having fun.”

“It’s more than just fun, Andi.  Aside from our insane chemistry, Tyler has the hottest body I’ve ever seen in my life.  Why do you think I take so many selfies of us?  We couldn’t be any more photogenic if we tried!”

I had to admit she had a point.  Tyler was a solid eight out of ten, and I didn’t go giving exceptional scores all willy nilly.  With high cheekbones, deep brown eyes, and a perfect smile, the man seemed to be flawless.  I’m sure his ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ vibe had Cara eating out of the palm of his hand.  She had an affinity for a pretty face and a bad boy persona.  Tyler fit the bill and then some.

“Yeah, you two are prom king and queen material for sure,” I said with an eye roll, grateful she couldn’t see my expression over the phone.  “Can’t you stalk his cousin on Friendbook and see if he looks normal at least?  For my sake?”

“No can do.  Tyler doesn’t have a profile on there since his got hacked and he can’t get a new one.  Stupid Friendbook.  You’ll just have to wing it.  It doesn’t really matter anyway, since this is not a double date.”

“I feel like you keep emphasizing that point for some reason, yet I’m not sure why…”

Cara had never set me up before with any of her boyfriend’s friends.  I didn’t date much in high school, we went to different colleges, and I guess I never really pressed the matter.  While I wasn’t the most outgoing of women, I had enough gentlemanly attention to get me through life thus far.  A string of ordinary men had come and gone, but nothing worth mentioning.

“Tyler seemed insistent that I should invite someone along tonight, but he made it perfectly clear that his cousin wasn’t interested in being set up.  In fact, he repeated himself at least three times when he said that it was just a group thing and not to try and make a love match.  Maybe his cousin is gay?  Who the hell knows!  I just figured you’d appreciate the lack of pressure to get along with the guy.  Flirting isn’t your strong suit.”

She was right.  I had no game.

Before I could think of an excuse as to why I was unable to attend the concert of a band I’d probably never heard of and remove myself from the obligation to make small talk with a random dude, Cara finalized our plans and ended the call.

“Since you have nothing better going on and haven’t flat out refused, I’m taking that as a ‘yes.’  Be at my house at seven.  We’re going out for dinner before the concert.  Bye!”

She hung up and that was the end of that.  I had no other course of action except to stare forlornly at my new Egyptian book and shrug in defeat.

“Instead of a nice night losing myself in a very enthralling mummification journal, I’m going to tempt fate and hang out with two complete strangers.  Lovely.  I get to fade into the background with some dork while Cara and Mr. Sexy Model take selfie after egotistical selfie.”

If only I’d known at the time just how much fate had in store for me.  Instead of a simple outing involving dinner, music, and small talk, the universe had other, more sinister plans.  Who would have thought one seemingly innocent invitation would cause my entire life to spiral out of control?


Oooh!  Are you intrigued?  I sure hope so!

Pre-order for only 99 cents on Amazon for a limited time only!

As always, thank you for reading and have a great day!

Til next time…


Duck, duck, blurb!

Hello, everyone!

The topic of today’s blog post involves ducks, blurbs, and my husband’s unhelpfulness with both issues.  Do I have you thoroughly confused yet?  Excellent.  Let’s jump right in.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I love animals and have a six year old black Labrador retriever.  She’s a completely docile little girl that loves food, stuffed animals, and stealing my spot on the couch every time I get up to go in the kitchen for anything.  I’ll come back holding a bottle of water only to find her snuggled comfortably in the place I just vacated with an innocent look on her face.

“Oh, were you sitting here?  I had no idea you were coming back so soon.  My bad.  I guess you’ll just have to sit on the small loveseat.  Finders keepers, losers weepers.”

Do I yell at her and shoo her off the couch?  Hell no.  She knows I’m a pushover and she exploits my generosity at every turn.

Well, we went outside a few days ago for a walk.  Lo and behold, there was a female duck in our yard.  I love ducks.  When I was little, we took family vacations to Florida and I got to buy a loaf of bread and feed the ducks.  This was almost as exciting as actually going to Disneyworld.  Ducks are beautiful creatures, they quacked at me to feed them, happily gobbled up the bread, and I got to be ‘master of the birds’ by deciding which ones got a bite.

“No, you fat pig, you just had three chunks.  Share with the rest of them!”

Yes, I like to be in charge, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Anyway, I was thrilled at having a duck in my yard.  I understand that this is a wild duck and not a Florida duck that regularly gets fed by humans, so there was no illusion that it might waddle over and expect some wonderbread.  I kept the dog on her leash and we went on with our lives.

In case you need a visual, here is a picture (not taken by me!) of a female mallard:

duck duck

The next day, I saw the same female duck along with her husband.  Hell, maybe he was just her boyfriend and they’re living in sin.  I’m not here to judge.  Let’s fast forward to this morning.  It’s Saturday…aka…the weekend.  I’m relaxing and not in the mood for a full blown walk, so I just took the dog out (with no leash) so she could take a quick pee and I could get a little fresh air.

I gave her a stern warning as I rubbed her belly, using a voice that meant business.

“I’m letting you outside with no leash.  There is a good chance the ducks will be in the yard.  Stay the hell away from my pet ducks or I’ll kill you.  Okay, that’s an empty threat.  If you scare away my ducks, I will NOT give you any cookies all day long.  It’s getting pretty serious, dude.  I mean it.  Go out, sniff air, go pee, and leave the ducks alone!”

Do you think she complied with my simple request?

Hell no!  She’s a dog.  She doesn’t speak English, and certainly doesn’t understand complex sentences.

So…we go outside and there’s a female duck in the yard.  It’s actually laying low and blended in with the yard.  The dumb dog walked right past my duck and kept on going.

But then her nose kicked in and she turned around to check out the wild creature that dared enter her territory.

Needless to say, I started screaming, the duck waddled away, the dog took a piss literally SIX FEET AWAY FROM THE DUCK, and then the whole circle started all over again with the duck waddling away, the dog following, and me screaming.

This whole fiasco ended with the duck in the middle of the street, the dog hunched down in fear not understanding my shouts of “LEAVE IT” when she was bred to HUNT BIRDS and just doing her damn job.

Clearly I could not just waltz back into the house.  If the duck got run over by a car, I cannot be responsible for that.

I herded the dog back into the house and chased the duck across the street into the neighbor’s yard.

Of course we’re not done there.  I stared out the window once back inside and saw the duck sitting on the edge of the yard staring forlornly at my house.  Evidently it lives here now.  Obviously, it waited five minutes, walked back into the middle of the street, and plopped its ass down just waiting to die.


I threw on some shoes, went back outside, and chased the duck into my yard.  Anyone out for a morning stroll would have gotten a nice eyeful of me wearing sweat pants, a jacket to cover the fact I had no bra on, hair completely uncombed and looking like a rat’s nest, wildly flailing my arms in order to get the duck ‘home.’

The duck was fed up with my bothering it by now, so it actually flew away when I tried shooing it out of the street.

Where did it go?  High over the houses, circled back around, and landed right in my yard where the whole episode began.

Now I can’t let my dog out without being on a leash, and I’m pretty sure this duck is just waiting for her man to get home so she can tell him the whole story.

“This psychotic lady who totally looked homeless started chasing me!  We need to shit all over her car for vengeance.”

“That sounds horrible, babe.  Was she alone?”

“Nah, she had a dog.  The beast behaved itself; it’s the lady that was a nutcase.”

Once I got back in the house for the last time, I told my husband of our wild adventure.

“There’s a duck in the yard.  It tried to escape, but I made it come back.”

His response?

“It’s not going to be there for long with you and the dog harassing it all the time.  You two dorks need to leave it alone.”

THE END…or is it?

No, not quite.  Since we’re on the topic of my husband, and one of the purposes of my newsletter/blog is to actually sell books because I’m a writer, let’s talk about authorly stuff too.

I’m about 75% done with my current novel.  Usually at this point in a story, I become obsessed with the blurb, aka ‘the synopsis,’ aka ‘let’s sum up an entire lengthy tale in a couple paragraphs and try not to freak out when this seemingly easy task becomes impossible.’

My husband and I were driving somewhere in the car and I was trying to work on the blurb.  By this point, I was on the fourth day of trying to figure the damn thing out and getting desperate.  I summarized the storyline for him and then threw out some blurb examples for his feedback.

Let me explain that my husband does not like to read.  He never has and never will.  Unless it’s a magazine with pictures, he’s not interested.  The man has never read one word of one book that I’ve written.

Is it annoying and heart-breaking?  No, not at all.  I’m constantly asking him questions regarding plot.  “What tools would a plumber have in his truck?”  “How do you make a car catch on fire?”  “What does it feel like for a guy when [insert sex thing here]?”

I also make him critique my covers and blurbs.  He usually dislikes both.  The man is honest to a fault and doesn’t sugar coat a damn thing.  So, it came as no surprise he got nit-picky when it came to my latest blurb.  What DID come as a total shock, was the fact that he decided to try and write the entire blurb himself.

This basically involved him throwing out one sentence and telling me to write it down.  Here you go:

“When Andi accepted the invitation for a friends’ night out, she had no idea of the sinister motives at play that would end up turning her life upside down.”

Um…what?  I waited for him to keep talking, but he was finished.  My response?

“Thank you, but that sucks!  It is a mystery?  A horror?  Can you be any more specific on what the actual fuck happens in the book?”

Clearly, ladies and gentlemen, I can’t let him ‘ghost write’ my blurbs.  After much staring at blank paper and crossing out words, this is what I’ve come up with:

“Andi Cartwright is intrigued when her best friend invites her to a concert and insists it is not a set-up.  Yes, she’ll be meeting Cara’s new boyfriend and his cousin, but it was made abundantly clear that this is not a double date.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Roman hits it off with Andi.  The normally antisocial man recognizes a kindred spirit, and can’t stay away from her no matter how hard he tries.

After a series of group outings including an escape room, family game night, and a food eating competition, it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems.

Once Roman’s true motive is revealed, will Andi be able to put her feelings aside and move on…or will she simply become another victim caught in a web of lies?

This is not your typical ‘boy-meets-girl’ story.  With plot twists around every corner and sinister intentions behind seemingly innocent actions, who can really be trusted?”

It is my strong hope that you like my synopsis better than the one my husband came up with.  If you prefer his to mine, please don’t tell me!

Basically the story is a suspenseful romantic hybrid.  I can’t give away too much in the blurb without spoiling the surprises.  I’m having fun writing the novel and that’s all that matters!  I have a few covers designed, but nothing solid yet, so I can’t do a cover reveal at this time.  Hopefully, I’ll get my ass in gear and have the book out soon.  If I give myself a deadline, I’ll just freak out from the stress.

That’s all we have for today.  Have a nice weekend and be kind to wildlife!


P.S. In case you were wondering, once we got back in the house I did NOT give my dog a cookie.  I’m being a hardass and following through with my ‘duck harassment = no dog treat’ threat.