Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Love at First Flight Launch Party!

By: Marie Force
Welcome to the party! Come on in, have a drink, hit the buffet table, and settle in for a good time! That's what I'll be saying tomorrow night at my book signing party at which I expect about 90 people. I've been very blessed to have a huge circle of supporters cheering me on from the sidelines. Love at First Flight is dedicated to them because they kept me going long enough to write and sell Line of Scrimmage, which in turn led to this one—a ten-year labor of love from idea to publication.

The book is set in Baltimore, one of my favorite cities. I lived just south of B'more, as the locals call it, for three years in the 1990s. I have vivid memories of pushing my now 14-year-old daughter around the Inner Harbor and Fells Point in a stroller. When the Southwest planes used to go over our house on their way to the BWI Airport, she'd say, "Welcome to Baltimore. Enjoy your stay." My son, who is almost 11, was born in Bethesda, MD, right before we moved to Jacksonville, FL, which also features prominently in L@FF. The third location you'll visit in the book is my hometown of Newport, RI. So in many ways, L@FF is a sentimental journey. Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, I still work for the company that hired me when I lived in B'more so I get down there from my current home in RI quite often.

My friend and coworker, April Force Pardoe (no relation, if you can believe that) and her husband Rich, lived for years in a fabulous rowhouse in the city that I "borrowed" to use as Michael's house in the book. Michael tells Juliana that he lived across the street in an apartment and became friends with the guy who owned the place as he was renovating it. When the owner had to move suddenly for his job, he offered it to Michael "for a song" because he knew Michael would take good care of the place. That's exactly how April and her husband Rich came to own 8 South Chester Street in Baltimore. So I thought it would be fun to give you an inside look at the place where Michael and Juliana fall in love:

Here's the view of the living room from the front door. See that first wood door on the right side? That's the teeny tiny bathroom that Juliana marvels over when she first sees it. She mentions that she can't believe there's a phone in there, and Michael tells her the former owner put them in every bathroom. "You'll never miss a call in this house," he says. Picture Michael and Juliana sitting on that sofa, folding clothes and drinking wine the night he tells her about the brother he lost. Picture Juliana coming down those stairs (far left) to offer comfort after Michael's ugly confrontation with Paige.

Rowhouses are tall and deep. So the living room feeds into the dining room...

...which feeds into the kitchen. Note that the cabinets are suspended from the ceiling. Very cool!

Here's another view of the kitchen. I love those slate countertops. Can't you picture Juliana rocking out at the stove, stirring the sauce as Michael watches her from the doorway? Or when he brings her roses and champagne to celebrate after the trial finally goes to the jury?

Going upstairs from the living room, here is April and Rich's bedroom. This is on the second level and was Juliana's room in the book:

Also on the second floor was another bathroom and a second bedroom that Michael uses as an office and a home for his Bowflex machine.

Up one more flight of stairs to the room April and Rich used as a TV room, but this was Michael's room in the book. So picture his bed against the brick wall. The curtains cover the sliding door that leads to the lower deck and the roof deck.

Another view of Michael's room:

Michael's bathroom (more of that fabulous slate):

And finally, the view of the Inner Harbor from the roof deck where several important events occur in the book:

Thank you so much to Rich and April for "sharing" their former home with me, Michael, and Juliana. At one point, Michael talks about how proud he is of his home. After growing up in a three bedroom ranch house with three sisters, "I can breathe here," he says. Juliana, who has struggled for everything in her life, completely understands what he means. Because April and Rich moved into this house in the city after I left the area, I was only there a couple of times. But it made an impact on me. When I was thinking about what Michael's home might be like, I kept seeing April's place. It was too good to pass up!

For the writers out there, have you ever been somewhere, even briefly, that stays with you long after? Have you used any of those places in your books?

For the readers, how important is setting to your enjoyment of a story? Do you think it will help you to better picture Michael's house to have seen these photos?

Now, down to launch day business! I'll give away a copy of Love at First Flight and one of Line of Scrimmage to those who leave comments here and on my blog. The comment period will close on July 4 on both blogs so check back to see if you won. If you've already read Line of Scrimmage, just let me know. Have you heard about my Book Club Meeting on July 20 at 7 p.m. EDT on my blog? I will post some questions on the main page, and then we'll air it out in the comments. There'll be prizes, hot dancing boys, and lots of fun! WARNING: there will be spoilers so make sure you read the book before the meeting. Also, make sure to check the listing on the sidebar of my blog for other opportunities to win copies of my books.

Finally, I'll be running a contest on my website beginning today and going through July 7. Check in every day for a question from Love at First Flight. The questions will be posted at random times each day, so you'll have to check in often. Email the answers to me to be entered into the drawing for the Love at First Flight Grand Prize Gift Basket. You must answer all seven questions correctly to be included in the drawing.

Everyone set to party? Ready? Set? LAUNCH THAT BOOK!!! Go forth and READ!


  1. Hi Marie, first of all congratulations on your launch date. As a reader I like to picture a house or rooms in my mind. By the way I love your friend's house.

  2. Good luck with the book and the launch.

    Wonderful pix! I loved Line of Scrimmage and would be thrilled to win LAFF.

  3. Congratulations!

    How cool that you can include photos of the actual home... I've never done that before, used a setting wholesale. It's kind of neat.

    Congrats again!

  4. YAY! Happy Launch Day, Marie!! What gorgeous pictures...if I were going to live in a city, it would be in a place like that. I've definitely used the outsides of houses I've seen in my book, but I haven't been lucky enough to get in and poke around. Maybe someday!

  5. Thanks for coming out early, ladies. I'll be checking in during the day as work allows. Don't they KNOW I have a book out today? LOL!

  6. Happy Launch Day, Marie! I'm on page 200!

  7. Congrats, Marie - I'm looking forward to this one since I loved LOS so much!

    I used to work in Owings Mills, MD (lived in Columbia) so I know how wonderful this Inner Harbor view is!

  8. Congratulations on the launch. I enjoyed the pictures.

  9. Happy Launch Day!!!
    This is great. I'm really glad to see Michaels House. I'll keep it in my Mind when I read this story.
    I just started it last night.
    I'm loving it already.
    Baltimore looks like a great city too.
    I'll party with you.
    Thanks again for writing me another great book for a BD present.

  10. Woohoo!! Happy release day, Marie! Thanks for sharing some of the photos of the home that inspired you! Like Pat, I loved LoS, and am definitely looking forward to LaFF! Congrats!

  11. Many many heartfelt congratulations dear Marie!

    I started L@FF yesterday afternoon and am already on chapter 12! Thank goodness it was a quiet night at work so I could get some serious reading done. Now I have been up for over 14 hours and am thinking I need to read a couple more chapters before I go to sleep. Or maybe 3, or 4, or....gotta run!

    Happy launch day!

  12. Hi everyone,
    Thanks so much for coming by. Work is crazy busy today--don't they KNOW I have more important things to do?? LOL! Trying to stay focused, but it's not easy with such excitement all around me.

    Thanks to all my Casa sisters who showed up for the early party today. Don't overdo it on the champagne. Sharon, I think at least four more chapters are in order before you sleep! :-)

    And to all the Casa friends who commented, thank you so much! You're all in the drawing!

    Will be back later to rejoin the festivities!

  13. Congrats on the launch and release!

  14. Just wandering by to enjoy the party some more. Interesting about the house - I was talking with my son about a short story he wrote recently, how he had his characters moving from one room to another. Nice that he'd made it so real.

  15. Hi Marie!

    Congrats on your new release!

    Love the pics and thanks for sharing with us!

  16. You have been nominated for an award. Go here:

  17. Happy release day, Marie! Thanks for sharing some of the photos of the home that inspired you!

    would love to meet Michael and Julianna between the pages of the book.

  18. grats on the new book cant wiat to read it

  19. congrats on the new release. I loved loved loved your first book with a passion. I know I will love this one too.

    Enjoy your day...

    They won't let me post on blogs at work either... I don't get it.

    LOL Hugs