Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cowboys, Cowboys, Cowboys

At five o'clock  in the morning this past Saturday, I was busy attempting to chase five cows and a calf off my property. I only have enough hay to last until the first cutting at the end of June, and if those ladies had decided to raid my haystack, I would have been in trouble. So there I was, in my jammies, carrying a shovel
handle, because you never know what kind of mood a cow might be in--especially one with a calf. Usually they run, but every now and then they fix those big brown eyes on you, put their head down and that's when you'd better either have a shovel handle or run for the fence. I usually drop the shovel handle and run for the fence anyway.

The reason I had to chase cows off my property was because the rancher next door had penned 200 cows on the ten acre fenced lot next to my place in preparation for branding. Not only had the cows bawled all night long,  some of them had decided to go through/over my fence. Believe it or not, I was cursing that rancher as I "guided" the ladies through the waist-high, scratchy sage brush toward the gate. 

All in all, now that my hay is safe and the cows are gone, I'm glad it happened. Guess how my next cowboy story will start? 

Speaking of cowboy stories, Superromance has four coming out during June and July--two set in Montana, one in Texas and one in Colorado. To whet your appetite for this veritable smorgasbord of cowboys, I'm posting a brief excerpt from each.

June 2013 ~ Once a Champion by Jeannie Watt

What on earth had happened to the Bailey Ranch?

Matt Montoya slowed his pickup to a crawl as he drove over the cattle guard that marked the northern boundary of the property, taking in the sagging fences and weed-choked hay fields that should have been cut at least a week ago. What the hell?

He hadn't been to the Bailey Ranch in years, not since he'd come to look at some cattle after he and Trena had first married. The place had been immaculate then. Well-farmed, well-maintained. This was not the ranch he remembered.

Matt stepped on the gas and continued down the drive to the ranch house, half a mile away. A few steers stood in the pasture, heads down, tails swishing as they ate. At least they looked fat and well fed, but again, the last time he'd been here, Tim Bailey had had at least a hundred Angus in this field that now held ten.

So was his missing horse here, on this disturbingly rundown ranch? If so, Matt didn't know why. Tim had never been a horseman, preferring to do his cattle work on a four-wheeler, but one of the local team ropers had insisted that he'd seen Matt's gelding here when he'd come to repair a gas line.

All Matt could do was hope. He'd been looking for Beckett for over a year now and this was the first solid lead he'd had. Ironic if the missing horse had been on this ranch, two miles from his own home base, all this time. Ironic and aggravating.

After parking under the giant elm trees that shaded the old ranch house, Matt got out of the truck, moving carefully to avoid banging his healing knee, and then for a moment he stood, getting the feel of the place. It wasn't good, smacking of neglect and abandonment.

White paint hung in tattered strips off the sides of the house and the once blue trim was now mostly gray wood. Weeds poked their heads up through the gravel and the lawn looked as if it hadn't been cut in about a year. Or maybe two. Matt felt as if he were standing square in the middle of a deserted ghost town, except that this place wasn't deserted. Two trucks and a small white sedan were parked next to the barn. Someone was there. But where?

If he couldn't find Tim, Matt wasn't above exploring the pastures and barns on his own. He needed to know if Beckett was on this ranch and if he was, then he had to formulate a plan to get him back. Tim Bailey was a notoriously stubborn guy, so it might take some work, but Matt was going to reclaim his horse. He needed him.

Matt had just reached the sidewalk when the front door of the house swung open and a slender woman with a long reddish-brown ponytail stepped out onto the porch. She closed the door behind her with a gentle pull, as if trying not to disturb someone inside. Matt stopped dead in his tracks.


It'd been a dozen years since he'd seen Tim's daughter, his former tutor who'd helped him maintain his GPA so that he could compete in rodeo during high school. He missed so much school being on the road that he'd had to get some kind of help to keep from flunking, and brainy Liv Bailey had been the perfect person for the job. Shy, but no-nonsense when it came to studies, she'd guided him through the first semester of his senior year, had helped him make grades. Liv had always been there for him and now here she was again.

Life had suddenly got easier.

"Matt," she replied coolly, shifting her weight and taking a stance in front of the door as if guarding it from an intruder. Or from him. Not the greeting he'd expected.

July 2013 ~ The Ranch Solution by Julianna Moore

"We're almost there," Jacob said, glancing at Kittie, garbed entirely in black, including her nail polish and lipstick. He'd decided to deal with her abysmal wardrobe later; getting her out of Seattle had been a big enough struggle.

She blew a bubble with her gum and stared ahead silently.

"You'll be able to ride horses there. You used to enjoy riding. Remember?"


He gave up and checked the GPS for how much farther they had to go. They'd flown to Billings, Montana, in an O'Donnell International company jet. Upon arrival Jacob had rented a car for the rest of the trip.

Along with losing her MP3 player, Kittie's punishment for smoking and accidentally setting fire to the girls' locker room was having to pay for the damages out of her allowance and composing a written apology to the school. An acceptable written apology, since Kittie could easily make an apology sound more like an insult.

Oh, yeah, and she was grounded for life, plus ten years. Jacob had told her if she shaped up during their trip, he might shave a few years from that part of the punishment.

Kittie hadn't even blinked.

Tough love sounded cliched, but he was desperate. He'd try anything.

Guided by the GPS, Jacob turned onto the U-2 Ranch road and after a mile came over a hill. Laid out in a shallow valley were the ranch buildings and, on the opposite slope, an array of white canvas tents. He winced--he hadn't slept outdoors since he was a boy. A ranch vacation was a far cry from the Caribbean resort where he'd taken Kittie for Easter a year ago.

Jacob pulled to a stop in the parking area. There was plenty of space, likely because the school year hadn't ended for kids who were still attending classes instead of being expelled.

"Hello, there," called a voice as Jacob opened the trunk of their rental. The speaker was a white-haired man who looked older than the hills. But the weathered cowboy had steel in his face; he might be a worthy match for a surly teenager. "I'm Burt Parsons. Welcome to the U-2 Ranch. You must be the O'Donnells."

"Duh," Kittie said sarcastically.

Burt didn't seem surprised. "And you have to be Kittie."

Without a word, she spit her gum to the grass.

Before Jacob could say something about it, Burt gave her a stern look. "We don't allow littering here," he informed her. "Put it in the trash."

Kittie didn't move.

"Pick it up, young lady, unless you'd rather shovel horse manure from the barn."

A Texas Hero by Linda Warren

Abby Bauman believed in real forever love. Until she got married.

That's when fantasy and reality collided like a chemistry experiment gone awry, stinking up the room and blowing out windows. That described her two-year marriage. It stunk. And blew all her dreams to hell.

Douglas Bauman, her ex-husband, did not know the meaning of the words foreverand monogamy. Nor did he grasp the concept of the word divorce. After a year, he was still trying to weasel his way back into her life by manipulation, using their three-year-old daughter as leverage.

She swerved in and out of traffic like a Formula One driver, which she wasn't. If she got one more ticket she wouldn't be able to afford insurance. But thanks to her conniving ex, she was late.

Doug had Chloe every other weekend, and this was his weekend. As per his pattern, something had come up and he couldn't pick up their daughter until noon. She told him to forget it and that she would be talking to her lawyer on Monday to change the custody agreement. Hanging up before he could respond gave her little satisfaction. Once again, she had to call her father to ask him to babysit, which took a strip off her pride because she did not get along with her stepmom, who was a Sue Sylvester ofGlee double. Gayle shouldn't be allowed around children.

Since Abby had to be at work at 8:15 a.m. and Doug had called at 7:15, she had few options. And it was a Saturday. Her friends had other plans or liked to sleep in on the weekends. As did Gayle.

Her dad lived twenty-five minutes away in Barton Springs, while she lived near downtown Austin, Texas. She had to ask him to pick up Chloe because there was no other way if she was to make it to work on time. As usual, he agreed. He was a sweetheart. She just hated to cause friction in his marriage. But frantically looking for a babysitter would change once she spoke to her lawyer on Monday. She wasn't putting up with any more of Doug's crap.

The light ahead was yellow. She pressed on the gas, zooming through, hoping no cops were in sight. This wasn't the first time Doug had bailed on keeping Chloe. It would be his last, though.

Her cell on the console buzzed and she pushed speaker phone. "Hi, Hol."

"Hey, girl. You ready for tonight? Wear something low-cut and short."

"I can't go." Since Doug had Chloe for the weekend, she and her friend had planned a girl's night out. She'd known Holly all her life. They'd met in kindergarten.

"Don't tell me he did it to you again?"

"Yes. I wish I had known you were up this early. I'd have dropped Chloe at your apartment. I had to call Dad again and you know how that goes."

"Sorry. You need a better lawyer, that's all. Someone who is not intimidated by the wealthy Baumans."

"I was thinking the same thing. Since you're a cop, maybe you can get me the name of a good lawyer just in case the one I have gives me any flak."

"You bet."

"Come over this afternoon and we'll take Chloe swimming in the apartment complex pool. Bring your rubber duckie."

"Oh, gee, I can hardly contain my excitement."



"I missed my turn." Without thinking, she slammed on the brakes. A loud thump followed that jarred her car.


"What's going on?"

"Someone just rearended me. I'll call you later." 

Betting on the Cowboy by Kathleen O'Brien

Brianna Wright pulled up to the Townsends' elegant Boston Back Bay mansion under a starry black sky, handed her car over to the valet with a forced smile and rushed up the stairs breathlessly. Darn it, she was late. Really late. Ten o'clock. No, almost eleven--thank you so much, gridlocked airport traffic!

Now she'd missed three hours of her own party--well, the party her company, Breelie's, had produced, anyhow--and Townsend's fiftieth birthday bash was already in full swing. Music and laughter poured through the open, brilliantly lit windows.

Too much laughter, perhaps, so early? She frowned. The open bar must be getting a workout.

Oh, well. Townsend was a tire magnate, and his millions could cover the liquor tab no matter how high it went. At least it sounded as if the guests were having fun.

She didn't know why that should surprise her--the parties planned by Breelie's rarely flopped. But something about this event had always bugged her a little. Maybe it was just that the "harem" theme had never appealed to her. That didn't matter, of course. Whatever the client wanted, he got. Or, in this case, whatever the client's trophy wife, Iliana Townsend, wanted, she got.

Bree just hoped Charlie hadn't gone overboard. Not that she thought he had. As her fiancée and her business partner, he deserved her complete trust. And he had it...of course he did. It was just that...

She'd been out of town for most of the planning, which obviously accounted for some of her discomfort. She trusted Charlie implicitly, of course, but...

She did wish he had answered his cell phone more often this week. When Charlie went dark, it usually meant he was spending more money than he felt like justifying over the phone. He trusted his ability to persuade anyone of anything, but only as long as they were within the target range of his surface-to-surface ballistic charm.

As she passed under a faux ogee arch and into the unrecognizable entry hall, she suddenly froze in place. She stared, openmouthed, at the glittering, jingling, splashing, sparkling madness before her.

For an instant, she couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry.

This was the high-society party she had hoped would put her event-planning company on the Boston A-list? This...this... circus?

What in God's name had Charlie been thinking? The room writhed with half-naked humanity. Belly dancers. Sword swallowers. Eunuchs. Champagne fountains, ruby-grape pyramids, peacock-feather fans and tables groaning with bacchanalian treats. Charlie had created an entire fake Persian seraglio, complete with a hundred over-the-hill sultans flirting with two hundred giggling harem "girls."

Bree's temples throbbed, and her airplane-food dinner suddenly turned poisonously acidic.

Damn it, Charlie! She'd told him a thousand times that, in the upscale Boston society event-planning business, reputation was more important than anything else. Anything.Even more important than the bottom line.

And, long before this, she'd had a niggling feeling they were getting a reputation for being.

Well, vulgar.

She set her jaw as a trio of belly dancers wriggled by with a tinkle of gold coins in the air and a skitter of gold flickers on the walls. A sword swallower followed behind, ogling the dancers' hips. Behind him--a snake charmer with a real live snake slithering around his shoulders.

Oh, dear God. If vulgarity were an Olympic event, this pretentious absurdity would definitely take the gold.

By the way...I really want to take the cowboy on Kathleen's cover home with me and keep him. Wow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to Get A Hot Celebrity On Your Book Cover, Starring Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett

One of the best things about being a writer is that you get to cast your characters in the movie in your head. Sometimes it means making up a perfect hero with George Clooney’s smile, Brad Pitt’s eyes and Joss Whedon’s wit. Other times, the perfect leading man already exists.

When I started working on my next novel, which will probably be out in 2014, I already knew who my hero was. Canadian actor Tahmoh Penikett is best known for his roles as Karl “Helo” Agathon in the remade TV series Battlestar Galactica, and as Agent Paul Ballard in the Joss Whedon show Dollhouse. Tahmoh’s demonstrable ability to play a strong, driven but sensitive hero made him perfect for the role of my hero Kyle Peters, who also appeared in my debut book, Her Son’s Hero, as the former Olympic medal wrestler turned MMA trainer.

When I noted that Tahmoh Penikett’s Twitter account had been verified, I tweeted about it, and got this response.

He and others went on to ask me about the project, so I obligingly told them. Then I asked if he would be interested in posing for my cover. This is what he said:

I couldn’t believe it! And I couldn’t let this go because how often does an author get to meet their inspiration in person, much less get them on the cover of their book?

So I started the #TahmohforHarlequin campaign. I’ve got a webpage and petition going, and after talking with my editor and other folks at Harlequin (it helps that I work there), I actually got Jayne Hoogenberk of Harlequin and Tahmoh to have a phone conversation. It’s *this* close to happening! You can read the whole Twitter exchange on Storify.

I don’t know where things stand right now, but I’m still working on the campaign. I want to demonstrate the awesomeness that is Tahmoh, and also show the world how terrific being a Harlequin model is. Okay, so the Fabio hair will be a talking point, but if this wonderful actor wants to do this, who’s to say there aren’t other actors who’d want to do it?

George, Brad...I’m looking at you.

Please come and visit my page, then sign the petition and tell your friends to sign it! I’m aiming for 5,000 signatures, but I'm only up to 142. Show Harlequin you want to see Tahmoh on my cover. Maybe we can throw the doors open to other celebrity appearances!

Who would you want to see modeling on a Harlequin cover and why? What kind of heroes would they play? Have you ever read a book and known in an instant who should be cast as the hero or heroine? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

More feel-good stories

Mary Sullivan

I think you might have noticed here before that I like 'feel-good' stories :-)

I have a couple to share today. One actually happened to me, and the other, I read about online.

Two weeks ago, I had to take a bus to meet some colleagues, but had to purchase tokens at the local drugstore store first. It was either that or pay the exact change, which I didn't have. While walking to the store, two buses passed me. While paying for the tokens, a third bus passed the store. Three in such close succession meant I was going to have to wait a long time for the next one. I know this from experience.

To my surprise, another bus appeared about five minutes later. A few of us had gathered at the stop—this is a busy route—but groaned when the sign said "Out of Service." At that time of day, this meant that he was just starting his afternoon rush hour shift, frustrating for us because he officially starts at the subway station just down the road, which is where we were all headed, but he would drive right by without picking us up.

At the bus stop, he stopped, opened his doors and said, "Hurry! Everyone on. I'm not supposed to do this. Hurry!"

We got on and he drove off toward the station, explaining how high his fine would be if caught for picking us up ten minutes before he started his driving shift officially. My ex-husband was a bus driver when I met him thirty years ago and even then, when the city was less than half the size it is now, he spoke often about what he had to deal with as a driver. Very rude customers. Dangerous situations. There are so many rules that don't seem to make sense to the public, but are in place because of safety issues, and because of restrictions in insurance policies. Let's face it, we live in litigious times.

The driver was wonderful! He chatted away. He decided to take a chance and stop for us because he'd heard on his radio that the bus behind him had broken down—the one we'd been waiting for. With three buses already gone and a fourth broken, we would have been waiting forever and it was threatening rain.

He pointed to one young man and said, "You gave me the finger last week when I wouldn't stop to pick you up. That wasn't nice, but I picked you up today. Please remember that the next time I drive by and can't stop for you. I have rules I have to follow."

He also went on to say that there is so much bad press about our public transit and to please remember this example of kindness in the future.

I know I will. Drivers in a big city put up with a lot. They each have their own personalities and aren't all great people—as in any job—but if they return my smile when I board the bus, then I'm a happy camper. I thank them when I get off and many wish me a good evening.

Years ago, one driver was famous on his short route for the bird calls and bird impressions he whistled while he drove. It was the prettiest, cheeriest thing to hear first thing in the morning.

The other great story I read about recently is about a police officer whose job it is to talk 'suicides' down from the Golden Gate bridge. I can't imagine how difficult his job is, how gratifying it must feel when he succeeds, and how devastating when he fails.

He was featured in a documentary and recently met up with one of the young men he helped a few years ago—a long, difficult negotiation to save him. Oh, what  an emotional story. The young man is okay now and succeeding in his life.

Here is their story:


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Question of the Month: Regional Yummies!

It's time for the Question of the Month! This time we asked the Superromance authors,

What is a regional food specialty in your area, or one you've sampled while traveling? 

Pamela Hearon: In Kentucky, fried catfish is on almost every menu.  It's dredged in corn meal, and the corn meal must be white--none of that sweet yellow stuff you find in stores up north.  My niece went looking for white corn meal in New Jersey once and had to go to the gourmet section!

Vicki Essex: Toronto's a city of many cultural mosaic where you can get just about any kind of cuisine you can imagine. People have tried to name the dish that best represents the town, but so far, no one has been able to pin just one down.

For me, though, when I've come back from an out-of-town vacation, a bowl of Vietnamese pho--beef noodle soup--is what sets me right and tells me I'm home.
Liz Talley: What don't we eat in Louisiana? Lol. My part of the country is
known for its exquisite food. Boiled crawfish, blackened gator, shrimp étouffée and seafood gumbo, and why don't cha toss some andouille sausage in that pot? It's all good.  

Some people scoff at eating crawfish, but there is nothing better than 5 lbs of mud bugs and a cold Abita beer. If you've never been to New Orleans, I'd recommend it for the food alone, but honestly our whole state has good food. It's why we're so fat down here :)

Lenora Worth: I lived in Louisiana for over thirty years and now Florida. Grew up in Georgia. I have to say that soul food is my favorite food. I love cornbread and turnips, pot roast and mashed potatoes and sweet potato pie. Any kind of pie. Liz is right about crawfish. You kind of get hooked on the little stinkers. I love comfort food and it's hard to resist, especially when on deadline!!! After 9-ll when we finally turned off the television and got out of the house, I told my husband to take me to Strawn's. It's a local restaurant in Shreveport that is kind of legendary. I wanted some Strawn's strawberry pie. I'm not kidding--while I sat there eating it the whole place seemed alive with colors and shapes and humanity and I almost cried eating that darn pie! Wish I had some right now!
Kate Kelly:  Here in Atlantic Canada fish reigns supreme. Lobster, scallops, sweet, cold water shrimp and of course, Atlantic salmon with fiddleheads! 

Mary BradyOh, ya, hey. For da cheeseheads you may t’ink it’s cheese. Nope. Some might say da best and brightest here is brats 'n' beer. But ya know our favorite--is to go over dere by your house--and jus’ eat lots of whatever you got. So, dere ya go. Ain’a, hey?

Sometimes we talk funny, but we're a loveable crowd--and very appreciative when you feed us.

Jeannie WattHere in northern Nevada, Basque cuisine reigns supreme. Items of note--Basque chorizo (or txorizo) which is a juicy, spicy sausage (not to be confused with Mexican chorizo, which is made with different ingredients and is by nature drier). Grill a chorizo and put it on a poor boy with grilled onions and peppers...heaven.  And then there's manchego cheese...*sigh* The very best Basque specialty in my estimation, however, is the Picon Punch--a wicked (delicious and sneaky) drink made from Picon (a bitter orange liquor), brandy, club soda and grenadine. It has to be made by someone who knows what they're doing or it just doesn't work.  It has it's own special glass, which coincidentally is also the one used for Irish coffees in Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco--purported home of the original Irish coffee. I believe that glass was a picon glass long  before it became an Irish coffee glass.

Kris Fletcher: my corner of central New York state is known for salt potatoes - bite size white potatoes left in their skin, cooked in seriously salty water (four pounds of potatoes, one pound salt), served with melted butter. But this weekend I traveled to Rochester NY and had my first ever garbage plate: a mix of meats (burgers, hot dogs, Italian sausages, etc) served with macaroni salad or hash browns or baked beans or fries (choose two), all chopped up & topped with onions and hot sauce.

Mary Sullivan:Here in Toronto, there's a series of diners called Fran's that were started in the early forties by an American man. They sold/sell diner food—burgers and fries, mac and cheese—nothing fancy, but both the meals and the prices are great and the restaurants busy even to this day.

I loooove their rice pudding, which has a layer of delicious custard on top. They've been known for their pudding and still serve it all of these years later. Nowadays, I still have it occasionally, but will also opt for an updated, upscale version in an Irish pub on the Danforth, made with wild rice and a sherry custard on top—to die for!
Margaret Watson: I'm from Chicago, and we're known for our deep dish pizza. It's served in a one to two-inch-deep pan, with a relatively thick crust and lots and lots of gooey cheese and ingredients. Sausage is one of our favorites, but you can get deep dish in just about any combination of ingredients.

Makes me hungry for a Lou Malnati's 'Lou'. I think I know what we're having for dinner tonight.
Joan Kilby: I will throw in wild sockeye salmon done on the barbecue, a favorite in Vancouver.

But at the moment I'm in Barcelona so I'd have to nominate tapas, washed down by Spanish wine. Ole! 

Karina Bliss: Here in New Zealand it would be simple fare for me. Hokey-pokey ice-cream served with a fat pavlova (a giant meringue, crunchy on the outside with a marshmallow texture on the inside). I'd top the dessert with feijoas and tamirillos, both gorgeous fruits. For breakfast I'd boil a couple of eggs with deep golden yolks and spread some Vegemite and butter on a slice of Vogels toast. Then I'd cook Anzac biscuits using the recipe in the Edmonds cookbook, a national institution.

And now, dear readers, you tell us: what's the go-to regional specialty in YOUR area?  

Monday, May 20, 2013

How do I love thee?

By Karina Bliss

One of the toughest jobs when you're writing a romance is getting the declaration of love right. It's got to pack an emotional punch and it's got to be true to this couple and this story, it's got to carry the theme and it's got to convince readers that these two will be together forever.
All my favourite romances do this brilliantly. I challenge you to read any one of these without giving a happy sigh...

“Look at what's happened to me, facing this and telling you – I'm a shambles; Jesus, I feel like I'll be crying for the next century.” He bent his head, pressed his tear-wet cheek to her dry, cold skin. ”But I'm here. I'm not hiding anymore. Princess-I'm asking you. Come back to me. You're my life.” Laura Kinsale, Seize the Fire.

“You feel this, don't you?”
“Desire? It is fire and madness in me. I want you very much.”
He shook his head impatiently. “I don't mean that.”
Abruptly he brought his hands up into her hair. His long, clever, lock-picking fingers held her face as if she were infinitely precious. He kissed, once, just upon the threshold of her mouth. “We got a rare amount of wanting between us. That's fine. That's good. I want you more than I've every wanted anything in this world.”
She would have looked away if she had not been held so closely. When a man so hard and secret opens his heart, there is no way to reply except with honesty. “I have never wanted anyone else.”
“But it's never been just wanting, has it? Not even the first time.” He shook his head impatiently. “Tis' the rest of it. You and me, we belong together. We always have.”
Joanna Bourne – The Black Hawk

His expression would have made most men back up a few steps but Mary crossed her arms. “I'm not marrying someone who doesn't love me.”
“Hellfire!” he roared and jerked her up against him. “Not love you? Damn, woman, you've been wrapping me around your little finger since the first time I set eyes on you! I'd have killed Bobby Lancaster in a heartbeat for you, so don't you ever say I don't love you!”
As a declaration of love cum marriage proposal it wasn't excactly romantic, but it was certainly exciting. Mary smiled up at him and went on tiptoe to loop her arms around his neck. “I love you, too.” Linda Howard, McKenzie's Mountain.

She kissed him. “Now I want you to say something wonderful to me right before you tear this shirt off my body.”
He rolled her onto her back and, looking into her eyes, said, “Mel, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me. I'm going to make you so happy, you won't be able to stand it. You're going to wake up singing every morning.”
Robyn Carr, Virgin River

Davy bent and kissed her, all that heat on her mouth, in her mouth, everything she was afraid she'd never have again and she grabbed onto his shirt and said, “Don't leave me.”
“I'm not going to.” He bent to kiss her again, and she grabbed his shirt tighter.
“I mean ever, don't ever leave me.” She tried to swallow some of her desperation. “I'm sorry, I know this is a huge turnoff-”
“Yeah,” Davy said close to her mouth. “I hate it when women want me.”
“-but I really need you forever, the whole thing, for always-”
“You got me,” Davy said and kissed her again.
Jennifer Crusie, Faking It.

Which romances give you that declaration of love happy sigh? 

Hopefully, my new release, A Prior Engagement, hits the right notes for you. Read an excerpt here. And remember to enter our Spring into Summer giveaway where a host of happy sighs await the lucky winner. Enter here

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Real Life

When I was at the Romantic Times Convention two weeks ago in Kansas City I heard someone observe that Facebook posts can seem too contrived. It's true, I suppose--depending upon who's posting and what they're showing. It's like the Christmas letter you get every year from that one family where everyone is doing so swell and no one suffers from any disease be it physical, mental, emotional, get my drift (no pun on snow at Christmas intended)!
I've been dealing with some interesting things in my life lately. By "interesting" I mean challenges, triumphs, They're not on my Facebook page or in my Tweets, but they are very real in my day.
As an author I promote my brand, my type of book. On Facebook I have an author page devoted more to writing and reading, and my personal page...well, it's not so personal anymore. I've removed photos that were too intimate or about my kids. I'm being more careful, aren't we all? But in doing that, I can see how someone might read my posts or tweets and think "she has the perfect life." I'm incredibly blessed, yes. But I'm a real woman with a heart that pumps blood and love for my own. I struggle with so many of the same issues we all do. I'm human.
Real Me, on the Real Appalachian Trail
I'd like to think the evidence of my humanness is in my books. When I read a novel I love, it's because I connect with the characters. The author has reached my heart. And as I read the book, I know the author understands my darkest fears, my still-kept secrets. Her Facebook page and website might be all glittery unicorns and faeries, but I know she too, is human. And like me, she has hope for a happy ending and the strength to write one.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Going The Extra Mile

We're all busy. I know that I certainly have lowered my definition of success over the years. These days, if I manage to get through all the items on my daily to-do list, I call that a major win. 

But in the past few days I've been reminded that there are folks out there who manage to get through the everyday list and then push themselves to do more. People who take the opportunity given to them and not only do it wonderfully, they transform it. 

Let me tell you about two of them. 
Brenda Novak is one of those people. Many of you may know that each May, Brenda runs a gigantic online auction to raise money for diabetes research. Brenda – an amazing author and speaker – has a son who has juvenile diabetes. Faced with that situation, all of us would immediately plunge into learning everything we could to help our child have the best life possible. Brenda did that and so much more, parlaying her position as an author into a platform to raise (thus far) over 1.6 million dollars for diabetes research. She is an inspiration and an amazing model of persistence, creativity, and going the extra mile. You can learn more about the auction here.

Commander Chris Hadfield is another such person. The first Canadian to command the International Space Station, Col. Hadfield has elevated the position to amazing new heights (no pun intended) and got people excited about space exploration again. Forbes magazine said that he is "perhaps the most social media savvy astronaut ever to leave Earth." He posts pictures of Earth to his Facebook account, has over 700,000 Twitter followers as of April 2013, and created one of the all-time top Reddit AmA threads. Most amazing to me, he has not restricted his efforts to science but has also lent support for music education. He took his guitar to the I.S.S. and is recording an album of original music during his free time. He and Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies co-wrote a space station-themed song, Is Somebody Singing (I.S.S.) and performed it together – Robertson in Toronto, Hadfield in space. Just this week, Hadfield led singalongs of the song with schoolchildren across Canada as part of the national Music Monday celebrations. Hadfield didn't simply go the extra mile. He went to infinity and beyond. 

I know that Brenda Novak and Col. Hadfield are far from the only people to take an opportunity and push it into something amazing. Who inspires YOU to go the extra mile?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Monday's Blog Winners (Cathryn Parry post)

Thanks for the blog comments on Monday!  I used a random number generator to choose two winners for the book drawing...

Tammy Yenalavitch

Michelle Libby

Congratulations, Tammy and Michelle!  Please use the contact page on my website to send me your mailing address and choice of book to receive:

Something to Prove
The Long Way Home
Out of His League

Take care, everyone! Don't forget to enter our two big contests: Coach Tote and Monthly Super Six-Pack.
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