Margo Candela's Blog

February 28, 2013

Just as I was about to leave for a internet-less writer’s retreat last week, Helena Fairfax asked if I’d like to participate in The Next Big Thing blog hop. I said yes even though I’d would be out of touch with the world and I’d have to tweak the format a bit because my novel-in-progress is too in progress to share just yet.

I'm really glad I checked my email that one last time and that she was was okay with me talking about something that’s already out. It gave me a chance to participate in a great blog hop and I got to talk about one of my favorite characters. Thanks, Helena!

What is the title of your book?
The Brenda Diaries . It’s not very original but I pride myself on picking the perfect name for the main character.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Brenda started out as my nameless, imaginary assistant. She proved to be highly efficient and thorough despite being a tad surly. My husband, who owns his own company, asked me to help out in his office and I said, “I can’t do it, but Brenda can.” It then spiraled into barely controlled chaos (both imaginary and real) from there.

What genre does your book fall under?
Short answer is chick lit, longer answer is commercial modern womens fiction. Brenda is in her early 20s, recently out of college and trying desperately not to define herself even though she knows who she is.

Which actors would you choose to play your main character in a movie rendition?
I won’t pretend I haven’t thought about this. It’s equally split between Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) and Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider Man) and I’d be more than happy with either. Honestly.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Meet Brenda. A temp with a bad attitude and an excellent work ethic. (Technically two but the first one is really short.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My first four novels (Underneath It All, Life Over Easy, More Than This and Good-bye To All That) were published by Kensignton and Touchstone. The Brenda Diaries was my first as a self-published author. I worked with an editor and copy editor as well as corralling readers to slog through my early drafts.
I was already used to doing a bulk of the outreach for my first four novels so taking on that part of the process for The Brenda Diaries wasn’t as daunting as it could have been. Marketing is a lot of work, though, and I could be a lot better at it. Someday. Maybe.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The Brenda Diaries started out as a Twitter feed ( @BrendaDiaries ) and a blog which I then turned into a diary based novel. The hard part was taking what had already been shared with followers and figuring out how to fit that into a narrative that would start on the day the feed did and end on the day the ebook came out. All in all, I’d say it took about six weeks with another six for reader notes, editing and copy editing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A blog reader commented that Brenda reminded her of a cancelled Showtime series called Dead Like Me. Lucky for not dead me, it was available for streaming via Netflix at the time so I watched it while I wrote.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Brenda is a fictional character with her own Twitter feed. Then she got a real job at my husband’s company and had more to write about. I was doing it as a lark but a friend asked if it was going to be my next book. That was the push I needed to take what I was doing for fun and approach it as an almost real-time writing project.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Brenda's Twitter feed continues on and I tweak how I approach it every once in a while. I thought I’d stop after the book came out, but I really enjoy Brenda. Because of that, I’m hoping to write a more traditional first-person or maybe third-person novel featuring Brenda sometime next year. It should be easier this time since I won’t have to worry about plotting it via Twitter.

And here are few fellow writers I’d love to answer the above questions....No pressure, ladies!
Anne Van 
Mary Castillo
Heather Poole
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on February 28, 2013 00:00 • 126 views

December 5, 2012

Just as I was about to leave for a internet-less writer’s retreat last week, Helena Fairfax asked if I’d like to participate in The Next Big Thing blog hop. I said yes even though I’d would be out of touch with the world and I’d have to tweak the format a bit because my novel-in-progress is too in progress to share just yet.

I'm really glad I checked my email that one last time and that she was was okay with me talking about something that’s already out. It gave me a chance to participate in a great blog hop and I got to talk about one of my favorite characters. Thanks, Helena!

What is the title of your book?
The Brenda Diaries . It’s not very original but I pride myself on picking the perfect name for the main character.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Brenda started out as my nameless, imaginary assistant. She proved to be highly efficient and thorough despite being a tad surly. My husband, who owns his own company, asked me to help out in his office and I said, “I can’t do it, but Brenda can.” It then spiraled into barely controlled chaos (both imaginary and real) from there.

What genre does your book fall under?
Short answer is chick lit, longer answer is commercial modern womens fiction. Brenda is in her early 20s, recently out of college and trying desperately not to define herself even though she knows who she is.

Which actors would you choose to play your main character in a movie rendition?
I won’t pretend I haven’t thought about this. It’s equally split between Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) and Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider Man) and I’d be more than happy with either. Honestly. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Meet Brenda. A temp with a bad attitude and an excellent work ethic. (Technically two but the first one is really short.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My first four novels (Underneath It All, Life Over Easy, More Than This and Good-bye To All That) were published by Kensignton and Touchstone. The Brenda Diaries was my first as a self-published author. I worked with an editor and copy editor as well as corralling readers to slog through my early drafts.
I was already used to doing a bulk of the outreach for my first four novels so taking on that part of the process for The Brenda Diaries wasn’t as daunting as it could have been. Marketing is a lot of work, though, and I could be a lot better at it. Someday. Maybe.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The Brenda Diaries started out as a Twitter feed ( @BrendaDiaries ) and a blog which I then turned into a diary based novel. The hard part was taking what had already been shared with followers and figuring out how to fit that into a narrative that would start on the day the feed did and end on the day the ebook came out. All in all, I’d say it took about six weeks with another six for reader notes, editing and copy editing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A blog reader commented that Brenda reminded her of a cancelled Showtime series called Dead Like Me. Lucky for not dead me, it was available for streaming via Netflix at the time so I watched it while I wrote.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Brenda is a fictional character with her own Twitter feed. Then she got a real job at my husband’s company and had more to write about. I was doing it as a lark but a friend asked if it was going to be my next book. That was the push I needed to take what I was doing for fun and approach it as an almost real-time writing project. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Brenda's Twitter feed continues on and I tweak how I approach it every once in a while. I thought I’d stop after the book came out, but I really enjoy Brenda. Because of that, I’m hoping to write a more traditional first-person or maybe third-person novel featuring Brenda sometime next year. It should be easier this time since I won’t have to worry about plotting it via Twitter.

And here are few fellow writers I’d love to answer the above questions….No pressure, ladies.
Anne Van 
Mary Castillo
Heather Poole
copy right Margo Candela all rights reserved
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on December 05, 2012 00:00 • 6 views

October 18, 2012

A couple of months ago, I left my Kindle Touch at the gym and someone decided to take it home and order a couple of Christian romance e-books on it.

Me forgetting it which then turned into theft (by a Christian romance reading thief) was bad enough, but I also had to worry about what my Kindle said about me. I had a ton of books on it and, I'll admit, more than a few that I purchased just because I could "hide" what I was reading unlike with a physical copy of a book. Being able to read about something I was shy about wanting to read about was what really drew me to the Kindle and why I was horrified that someone, the thief, now had an intimate glimpse as to what was going on in my noggin.

I had also begun to read a lot more fiction, something I tend to avoid when I'm writing. My beside table had become cluttered with New Yorkers, Vanity Fairs, Atlantics and Time magazines (this is only a small sample of what I subscribe to, the rest are picture heavy) because I had become Kindle dependent.

The one thing (well maybe more) that I didn't like about my Kindle was having to use Verso clip-on reading lamp and since I read a lot at night, the battery expense was getting, well, expensive. When Amazon announced the Paperwhite, which has a built-in light, I felt more than a tinge of regret knowing that I'd be stuck with my lamp and batteries for a long time.

Then it was gone. I called into the gym and asked them to keep an eye out for it. That I'd already cancelled my membership because I was unhappy with the place only added to my annoyance. I started looking for a new gym and reading my magazines again. My consumption of fiction dropped off even there there were plenty of books I wanted to read. Including the one I was right in the middle of when it was stolen.

My husband gave me his Kindle Touch as he was annoyed at having to pay for separate subscriptions to The New York Times and The Economist through Amazon even though we subscribe to the digital edition of both and accessed online or on the iPad.

I wiped it and loaded my books on it but it's not the same, it has the ads on it which annoy me to no end but not enough to upgrade to the ad-free version. This morning I sent it off to school with my kid who has to read an autobiography for school. He's a book reader and buyer, as in real, physical books. He's convinced that his collection will someday be very valuable. But since this autobiography wasn't something he was so sure he wanted to treat as "his own" book, he was more than willing to read it on the Kindle.

He promised to take care of it and even took it to school in the Kate Spade iPad case I forced on him (the thief now owns the padded sleeve I ordered off of etsy for it which is the only useful thing about it since I deactivated my Kindle and called it into Amazon who set up a block making it just a sad, dead grey slab of nothing).

If he were to lose it, which I'm sure he won't, or break it, which might happen since backpacks get tossed and kicked around by accident and on purpose, I'd really have no choice but to get that Paperwhite I've been sighing over. Or he might decide he likes to read on it and want to keep it for himself. Again, I'd be forced to order that Paperwhite which has been sitting in my cart since the pre-order days.

As for my Verso lamp, it turns out it works just as well for late-night magazine reading.
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on October 18, 2012 10:07 • 57 views

September 7, 2012


I could rattle off a list of things I should consider high points that happened to occur in my 30th decade.


For instance, the realization that my kid, just having turned 5, could read. We were turning onto Wilshire Blvd, in Santa Monica, and he piped up from the back seat, "Why is this street named after Will Shire from Pirates of the Caribbean." His words confirmed that all those hundreds of hours I'd spent reading to him before bed and just about whenever he asked were worth it.


Or getting the phone call from my editor, also when we lived in Santa Monica, with the news that she wanted to buy my first novel, Underneath It All. That was big as well as a big relief.


There have been other little things but the pinnacle for me as a person, a woman, not a mother, wife, daughter or friend, was when D.B. Sweeney stopped mid-sentence to check me out.


I've had a crush on D.B. Sweeney since I saw The Cutting Edge where he played a hockey player turned pairs figure skating Olympic champ. And even though he played kind of a jerk with a weak stomach in Memphis Bell, my devotion to him was still strong. (Memphis Bell also featured three other of my ‘90’s crushes, Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz and Harry Connick Jr. In fact, Matthew Modine is the only celebrity I have ever approached and asked for an autograph...which I did at a Harry Connick Jr. concert. I didn't see Eric Stotlz around which is good because that would have been the pinnacle of my life and I'd hate to think I peaked that early and didn't realize it.)


But back to D.B. While I haven't actively followed his career or made a point to obsessively watch all of his movies (though I do own a copy of The Cutting Edge), he's just someone I'm happy to see every so often when he happens to pop up on the screen in front of me.


I never considered seeing him on purpose or in real life, though. Even my imagination has its limitations. So when I did, my first thought was the same one I have when I catch him on TV or in a movie, "Hey, it's D.B. Sweeney!"


I was walking down Colorado Blvd, again in Santa Monica, and he was coming out of an office tower with another guy. The guy, who was wearing a suit so I assume he was some sort of agent, stopped on one side of the sidewalk while D.B. went around to his car. I realized, from a few feet off, that I'd have to walk between them so my plan was to do it as quickly as possible. Then I heard his voice and I knew immediately the guy by the car wasn't just some random dude in a baseball cap. It was none other then "Hey, it's D.B. Sweeney!"


I wasn't about to rush over to him and confess my long festering crush and I wasn't going to jay walk to avoid them, so I just plowed forward. As I put my head down, D.B. Sweeney glanced my way and stopped talking, mid-sentence, and stared. At me. For the entire 15 or so seconds it took me to walk past them. I turned the corner, even though I needed to go straight, because the whole time I was thinking "Did D.B. Sweeney just check me out?" and needed a moment to gather my thoughts and restrain myself from giggling like a dork.


This was (more than) a few years ago and I haven't seen him since. Even if I did, I still wouldn't approach him. Hell, I don't even know what his initials stand for. I don't want to. To me he'll always be the cute actor from a movie I hold sincere fondness for as well as the guy who was rendered speechless (for a few seconds) by, well, me.
copy right Margo Candela all rights reserved[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on September 07, 2012 09:07 • 88 views

July 23, 2012

















I've been focusing on my first YA Lit novella series, Celebrity Prep , for most of this summer in preparation for the first book's fall debut. But all work and no play drives me stir crazy so I indulged in a little creative fun. I took some time to work with my graphic designer on cover revamps for Just Like That and No Need to Ask from my SweetSpots line of contemporary romance novelettes written especially for eReaders.

In redoing the covers, I told my designer I wanted something retro, sweet with a bit of a kitschy dime store feel to it. I love what she came up with! The covers are different from the usual "clinch" images that are associated with romances and, most importantly, convey a sense of humor that's totally in keeping with my writing. I'm hopping to release a third SweetSpots before the end of the year.


No Need to Ask
(SugarMissile, April '12)
BUY IT: Kindle | NOOK
Smashwords | All Romance

When it comes to making sure a room looks effortlessly perfect, Jillian Winters is the one to call. She loves her job as the set decorator for a hit TV show, she and her ex have come to mutually beneficial arrangement and her dream of launching her own decorating business is closer to becoming a reality. 

And just when things couldn’t get any more perfect, everything goes in the opposite direction. Her ex proves to be just as untrustworthy as always, her boss makes it clear as to who will be taking credit for her work and unexpected expenses shrink her nest egg to hummingbird proportions. 

When recently divorced Ethan Marshall gives her carte blanche as well has his credit card to turn his new and very empty loft into a home, she finds herself falling in love with it and the man she’s creating it for.


Just Like That
(February '12)
BUY IT: Kindle | NOOK
Smashwords | All Romance

Leslie Quinn might have been dumped by her longtime boyfriend, but she still has her determination to make it as a top stylist at an exclusive Manhattan department store.

Busy dodging knives from her back stabbing co-workers, Leslie keeps her focus on doing the best job possible and going on the occasional (and unsuccessful) blind date to keep her friends off her back.

When her manager offers her a last minute plum assignment, Leslie packs her bags to meet a mysterious client who is in need of a complete wardrobe overhaul. She soon realizes that this mystery man holds the key to her success at work and also to her heart.
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 23, 2012 17:45 • 51 views

June 18, 2012



Students at the Chaucer Preparatory Academy for Girls call their exclusive school Celebrity Prep where money, privilege, and fame are part of their everyday lives.

Their image obsessed parents send their pampered daughters to Chaucer because the perfect complement to their carefully crafted brand is a gorgeous, talented, Ivy League bound daughter…or at least a kid who’s smart enough to stay out of the tabloids and off gossip blogs.

New to all this manufactured glitz is 14-year-old Lyric. Everyone keeps telling her life couldn’t get any more perfect, but no one except Lyric seems to realize that’s just the problem.

A new house, new friends, new enemies and a new stepmom-to-be who is a major TV star force Lyric to center stage when all she wants to do is fade into the background.

Book 1 will be out this fall 2012 for Kindle, Nook and other eReaders.
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on June 18, 2012 07:30 • 54 views

May 30, 2012

I have a deadline. Actually more than one, but the one I'm worried about making is for my next novel which I'm supposed to finish, polish and allow time for editing by early September so it can be published later this fall (exact date tbd). I have the cover, the outline and the first few chapters, but none of that amounts to anything unless I get the whole thing finished in time to stay on schedule.

It's how I'm planning to do this that's causing a few issues around my house. I'm lucky enough to have a spacious home office all to myself (when it isn't doubling as a guest room for visiting family or friends). My desktop computer, ergonomic keyboard and 22" monitor and not to mention my HAG Capisco chair all should make time spent on any writing project in here as pleasurable as possible.

So why is it that I've spent the last few weeks looking into what my laptop options might be? It's not like I'm one of those writers who can (or wants to) type away at Starbucks. The only time I ever took my writing out of the office was when I was facing a nervous breaking inducing deadline a few years ago and reasoned that I'd be too embarrassed to loose it in public so I wrote at my local library. The husband pointed this out when I lingered over a 11-inch MacBook Air during a recent side trip to the Apple store. (He also pointed out that I was a monogamous PC gal.)

So, yes, I don't need a $1,199 or a white 14" Sony Vaio for $699, but I still do want to tweak where and how I write. I decided that my best option was to work with what I already have which is an iPad.

The kid and I share it except on weekends when he hogs it, but it's pretty much mine during the week when I get most of my writing done. After a little more research, I ordered myself a wireless keyboard and purchased some writing apps (with a $100 Apple gift card I was gifted by someone very nice about giving good gift cards). I did this all very quietly as the husband had stated (unasked and repeatedly) that there was no way to turn the iPad into a "laptop" because it wasn't meant for creating content, just consuming it.

Minus the  iPad, it's cost me under $75 to take my writing out of my office. Even though I haven't taken it further than the dinning room table, I'm sure I'll get a fast return on my modest investment as soon as I start churning out those chapters and finish the manuscript (even if I'll have to reformat the text on my desktop before I send it off to editing).

Work on my next novel resumes in a few days (after I turn something else in) and, as proof that this will work, I wrote this post on the iPad at my local library. I have a feeling that my writing is going to go well for me this summer.
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on May 30, 2012 11:45 • 51 views

May 14, 2012

My first novel, Underneath It All, was published in 2007 as was my second, Life Over Easy, by Kensington Books. By the time Touchstone released my third, More Than This, and fourth, Good-bye To All That, novels in 2008 and 2010, I was a bit burnt out. I needed a break.

It just so happened that my writer's sojourn coincided with a seismic shift in the publishing world. Even though I wasn't working on my next novel, I was still talking to my editor and what she had to say wasn't good. Her boss told her they were scaling back, way back, on women's fiction and chick lit acquisitions and focusing solely on non-fiction by celebrities and "book club" type books. (She's now at a publishing house that specializes in uber literary novels and commercial fiction is a dirty word that she dare not utter much less champion during pitch meetings.)

Once again, I was on the short, fuzzy end of the publishing stick. Even though I was never much for writing specifically for a publishing trend (vampires! erotica! erotic vampires!), I knew that I had to adapt. If I wanted to continue writing, I'd have to figure out a way to do it on my own. No matter what some publisher sitting in a New York City high rise said, I knew readers still want to read funny and smart fiction about modern women. How? Because I'm one of them. I don't only write women's fiction and chick lit, I'm also a voracious reader of it.

I took everything I'd learned, figured more than a few things on my own and have surprised myself with flashes of ingenuity and my sheer determination to make this work. Best of all, I get to write the kinds of stories I want to tell and, even though it's a lot more work (hiring a cover designer, working directly with a copy editor, coming up with a marketing plan, etc), I've never felt more in control of not only what I'm writing, but of my writing career.

Funny enough, my own life has started to mirror that of a chick lit plot: a plucky gal decides to go against the tide and hilarity/heartbreak ensue. While I would never would presume a happy ending for myself (it's just not in my nature), I'm positive it's going to be a hopeful journey. As a writer and reader, I can't ask for more than that.
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on May 14, 2012 00:00 • 45 views

May 5, 2012

My latest contemporary romance No Need to Ask is out now for Kindle and Nook.


No Need to Ask (A SweetSpots Contemporary Romance) by Margo Candela
Published by SugarMissile, llc
April 25, 2012

When it comes to making sure a room looks effortlessly perfect, Jillian Winters is the one to call. She loves her job as the set decorator for a hit TV show, she and her ex have come to mutually beneficial arrangement and her dream of launching her own decorating business is closer to becoming a reality.

And just when things couldn’t get any more perfect, everything goes in the opposite direction. Her ex proves to be just as untrustworthy as always, her boss makes it clear as to who will be taking credit for her work and unexpected expenses shrink her nest egg
to hummingbird proportions.

When recently divorced Ethan Marshall gives her carte blanche as well has his credit card to turn his new and very empty loft into a home, she finds herself falling in love with it and the man she’s creating it for.



 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on May 05, 2012 09:31 • 84 views

April 24, 2012


My latest contemporary romance No Need to Ask is out tomorrow (4/25) and to celebrate, I'm offering a special combined edition that includes Just Like That only on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Apps. That's two novellas for the super affordable price of $1.49 and it's free for Prime members.






Published by SugarMissile, llc

April 25, 2012

When it comes to making sure a room looks
effortlessly perfect, Jillian Winters is the one to call. She loves her
job as the set decorator for a hit TV show, she and her ex have come to
mutually beneficial arrangement and her dream of launching her own
decorating business is closer to becoming a reality.
And just when things couldn’t get any more perfect,
everything goes in the opposite direction. Her ex proves to be just as
untrustworthy as always, her boss makes it clear as to who will be
taking credit for her work and unexpected expenses shrink her nest egg
to hummingbird proportions.

When recently divorced Ethan Marshall gives her carte
blanche as well has his credit card to turn his new and very empty loft
into a home, she finds herself falling in love with it and the man she’s
creating it for.






Published by SugarMissile, llc

February 25, 2012
Leslie Quinn might have been dumped by her longtime
boyfriend, but she still has her determination to make it as a top
stylist at an exclusive Manhattan department store.


Busy dodging knives from her back
stabbing co-workers, Leslie keeps her focus on doing the best job
possible and going on the occasional (and unsuccessful) blind date to
keep her friends off her back. When her manager offers her a last
minute plum assignment, Leslie packs her bags to meet a mysterious
client who is in need of a complete wardrobe overhaul.

She soon realizes that this mystery man holds the key to her success at work and also to her heart.copy right Margo Candela all rights reserved[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on April 24, 2012 09:31 • 43 views