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友情安全检测! 我们的到来: 只为网络更安全! 我来自美丽的中华人民共和国,任何形式的挑畔都不会有好结果 黑夜的我们开始寻找自己 by:吖扬,枫叶,Angel,鱼丸,坏坏,小软,Lucifer、率领华夏黑势力联盟集体路过!

Posted by 黑客来也 和无极来也, author of Kansas City Christmas on 12/8/2008

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Intrigue Authors 2nd Annual Holiday Blog Blitz Starts Tomorrow!

Christmas on the Plaza-Kansas City

It's that time of year again, folks… time for the Intrigue Authors 2nd Annual Holiday Blog Blitz!

That's right. All through the month of December, the Intrigue Authors will be blogging and giving away books every day.

Many of your favorite Intrigue Authors will be stopping by to talk about the holidays, books, upcoming projects, research, writing and more. And each day that author will be choosing a winner from among the readers who post a question or comment to their blog.

The author will post the winner's name in their comment section that night or perhaps the next day. And just in case your holiday season is busy time of year for you (whose isn't?), yours truly will keep a list of winners to post periodically, just in case you missed your name the first time around. I'll also post a complete list after the first of the year in case you're really busy--or just curious to see how many of you terrific, loyal readers we have taking part in the blog blitz. If your name is selected as the winner, all you have to do is email the author--email addresses are available at our websites if you can't pull it off of the Intrigue Authors site--with your name and snail mail address, and we'll get your book sent to you.

Comment as often as you like. Join us every day in December if you can. We'll try to spread the joy so that as many of you as possible get the chance to win. And even if your name isn't selected on a given day, we'll be having lots of fun just hanging out and chatting together.

If you love Intrigue. If you love romantic suspense. If you love books and romance, the Intrigue Authors site is the place to be all through December. Please join us for the blog blitz.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Kansas City Christmas on 11/30/2008

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Oh Wow! This is really great of you ladies to do this, and I do so love romantic suspense.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 11/30/2008

Oooh, sounds like fun and I love Intrigue's!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/30/2008

Sounds like great fun!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/30/2008

Love the picture of KC! Have always wanted to visit KC at this time of year but now that my daughter has moved to Colorado my excuses for going has all but disapeared. Have started to read Kansas City Christmas and am spellbound. Can hardly wait to finish and don't want to finish. it will be like saying goodbye to old friends. Looking forward to blogging as often as possible.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/30/2008

Hey, guys! I'm glad to hear you're excited about the blog blitz, too. I think we'll have a lot of fun this month! And Connie--yes, the Plaza is a favorite place of mine at Christmas time. I won't get there this year as all my Missouri/Illinois family is coming to our house in Nebraska. What a lovely compliment about reading KANSAS CITY CHRISTMAS. I've felt the same way when a series I love comes to an end--I'm so thrilled to see how everything wraps up and see all my favorite characters find their happy ending. But I'm sad to know there won't be more. But I'll have some more Precinct books later in 2009, and you'll be able to revisit those Kincaid brothers. Det. Kevin Grove will be featured in one book, and Jillian Masterson in another.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/30/2008




Okay, so it’s really not summer anymore. In fact, there’s a blanket of white outside my window. But when I started my county sheriff’s department’s citizen academy, the dog days of August were still upon us. The program lasted 12 weeks, and we covered a lot in that time. Here are a few highlights.

The first week, we were given an overview of the sheriff’s department and then we went to central booking to have our mug shots taken. I would love to post mine here, but I can’t bring myself to look at that horrible photo...ever...again. Yikes. It’s not as bad as some of those horrendous celebrity mug shots (Nick Nolte anyone?) But it IS worse than my driver’s license. Enough said.

The second week, we took a cruise. Think I’m kidding? Think again. The county were I live has many large lakes, and the sheriff’s department is responsible for lake patrol and body recovery duties. So after a fabulous, if slightly grisly, discussion of SCUBA diving and body recovery, we toured the lakes aboard the sheriff’s boats. Not only was it a fun pass time on a summer night, we were able to see how the on-board radar and other equipment functioned. Great fodder for stories. And after our cruise, we played with a dog from the K9 unit. Not your usual game of fetch.

The third week found us shooting guns in the sheriff’s department’s outdoor shooting range. After practicing with solid rubber 9mm Glock pistols, we tried out the real thing on circle targets. The concrete frame around the range features slanted slabs designed to cut the sound. But that didn’t stop the sound waves from bouncing around, making each report sound like something out of an old western.

The fourth week we covered many of the department’s special teams. Each team member works full time as a deputy and moonlights as a team member when needed. We started with a presentation from the hostage negotiation team. The tactical team followed. Then the special events team (you might know them as the riot team). We explored the tactical team’s BearCat armored vehicle, the bomb squad truck and the mobile CSI vehicle. The night ended with a fascinating discussion from the bomb squad, and I got a chance to put on the bomb suit. Imagine covering your body in multiple lead aprons from the dentist’s office. Then reinforce them with stiff braces that make it impossible to even turn your head. I can’t imagine having to move around in that thing for any length of time, let alone wearing it in the heat of summer and stress of a live bomb situation. That’s the suit in the photo. Pretty attractive, eh? The things we’ll put up with for fashion’s sake.

The fifth week saw us learning about problem-oriented policing strategies and all things traffic. Probably the area most of us have contact with law enforcement, traffic is much more complex an issue than it at first seems. And no, it isn’t about ticket quotas. At least not in my local sheriff’s department. Tickets document driving behavior, enabling the county to identify drivers whose behavior continually poses a threat to others’ safety and get them off the roads. We got a look at a highway truck, complete with flashing lights and a lighted billboard. And we rounded out the night with the accident reconstruction unit, learning how they create computer models of crashes and map outdoor crime scenes. Fascinating stuff that I will surely use in my books.

And that’s about all I can fit into this blog post. Next week: CSI, the morgue, 911, the courthouse and jail. Until then, a question for you. How realistic do you like your romantic suspense to be? Does it take a lot of realism for you to believe in a story? Or can you accept anything as long as the story is compelling?

Posted by Ann Voss Peterson, author of Christmas Awakening on 11/25/2008

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I think I fall in the catagory "accept anything as long as the story is compelling", how the author transposes info and data through the plot. I've read fantasy/vampire that I find wrapped up in, yet I've also read suspense/mystery that I simply cannot believe in because it just doesn't seem plausable. By the way, I loved your Wedding Mission series!

Posted  by Sherry  Dickens on 11/25/2008

Thanks, Sherry. The Wedding Mission books are some of my personal favorites. I'm so glad you liked them. The story in that trilogy actually starts in Accessory To Marriage, which is the first book featuring Dryden Kane. It's out of print now, but they might have it on Amazon or used somewhere if you're interested. After writing about him in that first book, I couldn't get him out of my mind. That's what inspired the Wedding Mission series.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/25/2008

First let me say you are a brave person to go through the sheriff's citizen academy. I like my romantic suspense to fairly realistic but it doesn't have to be really, really realistic.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 11/25/2008

LOL, Ellen! Not really brave. Addicted. This is my third citizen academy. They're very valuable for fleshing out story ideas. I also attended my local PD's and my local fire department's citizen academies. The fire department one was a little hair raising. I have photos on my website under "research adventures," if anyone wants to check it out. I plan to do a photo essay from the sheriff's department's as well, but I'm a little behind. If only there was more time in the day.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/25/2008

I do like my romantic suspense to be very realistic. It makes it more easier to get into the story when it's more believable, but as long as a story is compelling I will read it.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/25/2008

I have to agree, Jane. I like realism. But the most important thing for me is that the story is compelling. But I wonder, is sloppy research more likely to pull you out of a story than good research is likely to add to your enjoyment?

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/25/2008

I like my fiction to be fairly realistic, but it doesn't have to be dead on.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/25/2008

I'm with you, Estella. Sometimes it's necessary for an author to take creative license to make a story compelling. The story is the most important thing.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/25/2008

How exciting! Will be looking forward to future posts. I guess I can accept anything as long as the story is compelling although I have to admit to being a bit critical if things seem way too far fetched.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/26/2008

Agreed, Connie. I think that's when the lack of realism can pull a reader out of the story. It still amazes me that TV viewers have stayed with the various CSIs for so long, in light of how unrealistic parts of those shows are. The only thing I've come up with is that people seem to hold books to a higher standard of realism. Even fantasy has to be grounded in some real details for a reader to invest herself in that world. I'm glad you are enjoying the peek into the sheriff's department

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/26/2008

I like my romantic suspense to be some what realistic. They don't have to be perfect. I am one that watches CSI and enjoy the show. That kind of tells you how perfect they have to be for me. Because a lot of those are a lot far fetched if you know what I mean.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 11/27/2008

I read for enjoyment. Compelling is a requirement. Although if I can see a flaw in a story than it is a major flaw.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 11/29/2008



sun light

We must be related. I can't live without sunlight either. Once the sun is down, I can't get anything done. (Other than reading :-) I have a huge, perfectly good office on the north side of the house. Instead, I write at an old, borrowed child's desk in the bedroom because that window gets the most sun.

BTW, I used to loooove MEN IN TREES. Jack is hot!!! And so is Cash ;-) I wish they'd bring that show back.

We are expected to get snow any day now. I'm so not thrilled. Where did summer go?? :-) The rest of the family is snow crazy. I don't get it, but I'm glad at least somebody in the house is having fun.

At least I can get a lot of writing/reading done. And I have theatre/drama classes this winter so that should put some fun in those cold/gray days.

Would be nice to get away for some vacation and visit some palm trees. Anyone is taking a winter vacation this year?


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Tall, Dark & Lethal on 11/20/2008

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Hi Dana, My hubby, kitty, and I are traveling to Orlando for Christmas with my ma and sis. It gets cold in Orlando and my Ma has the fire place to prove it. *g* I hope it's down in the 30's and she fires that thing up! It's been cold here in VA but we have sun. I love to watch my cat. He gets all excited, rolls, and plays like a kitten. I make sure to get at least 10 mins. I need my vitamin D! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 11/20/2008

No vacation at all this year.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/20/2008

I'm not taking a winter vacation this year. I wish I was on my way to Hawaii right now.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/20/2008

Well we do have winter here but we also have plenty of sunshine all year long and we only have snow every 100 years and only a couple inches. We also have palm trees and a beach. But it does get cold in the winter if you consider temperatures in the 40°s cold. It will get into the 50°s tonight with rain so this may not be the best time to come visit. I love the sunshine but the heat that goes with it I can do without.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 11/20/2008

We don't get vacations around here. We can't afford to take them. As far as winter goes it have been really cold here for November. I has been snowing tonight and the ground is covered, maybe about a half inch or so. Snow doesn't come here until about January least that is the way its been the past several years. I don't think I like this weather much.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 11/20/2008

I am definately becomming a warm weather woman. The cold seems colder than ever before but there will be no winter vacation for me! Wrking at school it is hard to get away but my sisterchick and I sometimes run away to a motel and spend the time veging in the hot tub and pool.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/21/2008

I love the light too and I'm a summer person so winter and I just tolerate each other :). No vacations but my family goes to WVU football games, they are a family event where father and daughters (and daughters boyfriends whom father is not sure if he likes them or not)gets to spend quality time booing the visiting team and vocally supporting the "Mountaineers".

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/22/2008

I wish I could. I live in NJ and it is freezing here today.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 11/22/2008



Do You Hibernate?

As the days grow shorter, I find the lack of sunshine making me sleepier earlier and earlier. I think my hibernation gene is kicking in and I need to shake free of it. I'm one of those people who NEED light. Lots of light. I have 100 watt bulbs in the ceiling fan (4 of them) in my office. As soon as the sun comes up, I open my blinds and let as much sunlight in as possible. I need the light to keep me on my toes, awake and functional throughout the day.

With the sun coming up (for me) around 7:00am and going down around 5:30pm, my functional timeframe is shortening. After the sun sets, I'm done for the evening. Sad but true. I'll either veg out or plug into the television and end up going to bed early. Not good when I'm on deadline.

My November Intrigue NICK OF TIME is based in North Pole, Alaska where during the winter, they get little to no bright sunlight during the day. I'd be like the woman on the television show MEN IN TREES and carry around my light to keep me from getting depressed. I MUST have light.

My sister works in a basement office with no windows and limited lighting. Ack! I'd be in a blue funk all the time. Not for me, no sir.

What about you? Do you hibernate? Do you NEED light? Is it just me? Please tell me there are others out there like me...all alone in my office, turning up the lights...

Posted by Elle James, author of NICK OF TIME on 11/19/2008

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I need light but not to the extent you do. When I was teaching I was very glad to get a room with a window so not only did I have artificial light I could see outside and I think that is my problem.....I have to have a window to the outside.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 11/19/2008

I prefer the light, sunny days of summer, but the days of fall and winter are nice too. I guess 'm trying to say I don't need the light, I just like it.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/19/2008

I miss the sun. It starts getting dark at 4pm. I wish I could hibernate. It feels extra nice when you get to sleep in during the winter. I hate leaving my warm bed.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/19/2008

I NEED light. I work in a classroom with no windows! I sometimes just wasl to the outside door between classes to see what the weather is doing. My plants on the otherhand seem to thrive in the artificial light.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/19/2008

Hi Elle, I used to be a night person. Partying til the wee hours. Now that I've calmed down a lot I don't like the dark. If my hubby's out to sea I'll sleep on the couch with my kitty with the TV on and the kitchen and living room lights on. I do hibernate with lots of Ben and Jerrys though. *smile* Some of my comments are not showing up. With this new code we can't see if we typed the wrong thing so we can try again!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 11/20/2008

You are not alone, I also hibernate and I do like my lights to be on. I have notice that I require more light now to see. I think that come alone with age.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 11/20/2008

I need light, I seriously suffer from seasonal adjustment depression. It usually happens right after Christmas because I'm ok up until its over. I would love to hibernate I am so not a morning person.

Posted  by Beth Reimer on 11/21/2008



Thanksgiving traditions

I'm from a very large family, so naturally Holiday traditions are important to me and veering away from them doesn't come easily. But a few years ago we started going to Orange Beach on the Alabama coast for Thanksgiving. My whole family, especially the grandkids, are thrilled are with this new arrangement. But we still have the traditional dinner, turkey, cornbread stuffing (this is the south), candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin. The works. The concessions are the addition of key lime pie-yumm-and oyster dressing which my husband loves. So what about you? Tell us about your traditions or a year that defied traditions. Who knows? I may get a great idea for a new book!

Posted by Joanna Wayne, author of Miracle at Colts Run Cross on 11/18/2008

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Being also from the south, we have to have oyster cornbread dressing. Yum. And yams, turkey, pumpkin pie. A pecan pie isn't a bad idea to go with the pumpkin pie. :) I like the cranberry relish with the orange chopped up in it but I'm a big fan of cranberries so I'll take them anyway we can get them. We will have a houseful this Thanksgiving with friends coming up. It's interesting the different traditions people have for this meal and how we just don't feel like we've had Thanksgiving unless we get our favorites!! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from Montana!

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 11/18/2008

We have the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I love key lime pie, but I never thought to have during the holidays. Sometimes we also cook a chicken because some of our friends don't like turkey.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/18/2008

BJ, that sounds good. Maybe I'll just have to come to Montana for Christmas some year, but then I couldn't wear shorts or play in the surf. Joanna Wayne

Posted  by Joanna Wayne on 11/18/2008

Traditions have changed over the years for our family. Our son and his wife now have us all to their home. Traditional meal is enjoyed at noon and leftovers for the next few days. Friday has become a girls day of marathon shopping. We have a ball and hit two different cities on that day. The best part of the whole time is the time spent together.

Posted  by Connie  Lorenz on 11/19/2008

One Thanksgiving about 12 years ago, my husband and I packed up both daughters and the plan was to go to my grandparents house for the holiday. My grandparents raised me and my older brother; along with their own 8 children and yes the house was crowded but filled with love. All of Nanie's children were there, 8, as was their children, 17, along with their childrens children, (at the time, only 8 more LOL).Between the aunts and wives arguing about how to cook this and what should be added to that, and the uncles and husbands debating on how long it takes to drive this interstate and what car is the best one and of course football scores.....well.....lets just say the chaos was just that chaos. And I wouldn't have had it any other way!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/19/2008

I am the one that cooks the Thanksgiving dinner in my family. We have the traditional dinner, turkey, home made dumplins, stuffing, pecan pie, banana pudding, mashed patatoes, gravy, pretty much the works. Just like grandma use to do.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 11/20/2008




There are a lot of good things about writing novels for a living. The opportunity to play pretend and get paid for it, the ability to have a somewhat flexible work schedule, and the perk of wearing yoga pants and sweatshirts instead of pantyhose. But one of my favorite things about being a novelist has to be research.

Thanks to supremely supportive parents, I grew up believing I could have any career I wanted. My problem was figuring out what that career would be. There were so many interesting jobs in the world, I wanted to try them all. In college, I experimented with classes in medieval history and chemistry and psychology. After college I held jobs in restaurants, worked for a world-class quarter horse trainer and started my own window cleaning business. But both in college and out, one thing remained constant: writing. That’s were I finally landed, with a degree in creative writing and, eventually, a career as a novelist. But the thing I hadn’t counted on was that my choice would enable me to explore more different careers than I’d ever imagined.

A fiction writer must live in the skins of all her characters, and that includes understanding enough about each character’s career to make it seem real on the page. Often times that means doing a lot of research. Most of my early books were legal thrillers. I’m not a lawyer, so that meant a lot of studying. Not only did I learn answers to the specific legal questions the books presented, I had to figure out how to make the day-to-day work lives of my characters feel real. But the most important thing I discovered was what questions to ask and where to go to find the answers.

Of course, writing mysteries and thrillers usually involves various law enforcement characters. So the past few years, I’ve taken part in several citizen academies. I started with my local police department. There I shot a Glock, drove a squad car, collected evidence like fingerprints and footprints and learned defense and arrest tactics. After that, I explored the fire department, an adventure that eventually led me into a burning building. To check out pictures, go to my website.

Just this fall, I completed my county sheriff’s department’s citizen academy. This blog entry is getting outrageously long, so I’ll wait to tell you more about my most recent adventure in the next couple of weeks. The question I’d like to ask you today is: what careers did you always want to try out?

By the way, if you want to check out a fun interview I did today with fellow Intrigue author, Kathleen Long, go to Writers At Play.

Posted by Ann Voss Peterson, author of Christmas Awakening on 11/17/2008

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Come on! Someone has to have wanted to dabble in some exotic or interesting career. When I was a kid, I thought about being a vet. My younger brother did it for me. And I liked to imagine being a figure skater. The closest I got was twirling around on the kitchen floor in slippery socks.

Posted  by Ann Peterson on 11/17/2008

I wanted to be an airline stewardess, but wasn't tall enough to meet the height requirement.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/17/2008

Hi, Estella! My aunt was a flight attendant when I was a little girl. I always thought it would be so glamorous to fly all over the world. I don't think they have as much time to explore exotic destinations as I imagined, though. :)

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/17/2008

When I was a child I wanted to be a ballet dancer but never got a chance to really try it out. Then I wanted to play the violin in a symphony orchestra. This one I almost made but we moved. I wa actually playing in a junior symphony orchestra for 6 years in elementary thru junior high but we moved and that ended that. What I never wanted to do was teach school. Guess what I ended up doing??? Teaching school for 35 years and I enjoyed it.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 11/17/2008

I think it would be cool to be a pilot, commercial or military. My cousin is a flight attendant. I'm also short, so I had no chance to become one.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/17/2008

A ballet dancer or violinist sounds fabulous, Ellen. But just think of how many lives you touched as a teacher. And that's great that you enjoyed it. That's how you know a teacher is a great one. She or he enjoys teaching.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/17/2008

I think being a pilot would be cool, too, Jane. I enjoy sitting in a plane...usually. :) But flying it would really be something. How tall do you have to be to work as a flight attendant?

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/17/2008

As a child I wanted to be a dancer so when my daughters expressed an interest I spent many years traveling with them to lessons. They each stayed with it for at least 10 years so I made lots of trips to and from lessons.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/17/2008

That's cool, Connie. So you got to live your dream vicariously through them. Sounds like a lot of driving, though.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 11/17/2008




Those are all interesting comments. I do like writing about Texas families with ranching roots. And as for sexy, this cover for Texas Gun Smoke pretty much says it all. But Miracle at Colts Run Cross is my first in a long time where the kids play such an active role. In this case, though they are in danger, they bring a lot of humor and warmth to the book. Their kidnapping escapade reads somewhat like Home Alone with the boys giving the very dangerous abductor a run for his money. But the romance is incredibly poignant as their estranged parents not only face the danger but an onslaught of emotions over the marriage they are about to throw away. The ending has all the warmth you could ask for. In fact, I wrote the book as a special Christmas treat for all my Colts Run Cross fans. You can read an excerpt at And email all your reading buddies and tell them to drop by and blog before I have to announce the winner-if we have ten blogs-and go to bed. Tonight, that will be about 10 Central time.

Posted by Joanna Wayne, author of Miracle at Colts Run Cross on 11/14/2008

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Miracle at Colts Run Cross & Cowboys

Hi, all, Thanks for all the marvelous support you've given for the Four Brothers of Colts Run Cross series. They are selling so well that the latest-Miracle at Colts Run Cross- is sold out all over Houston after being on the shelves less than a week. Yee-haw. So, I'm thinking a lot of you must like cowboys. Or is it family series that you like? If you like cowboys, tell me what you think of cowboy books. What do you like about them, dislike about them, etc? I personally like cowboy manners and their values. And, believe me, living in Texas for the last four years, I've learned all about that first hand. Most of them are just the way I portray them in my books. If we have at least ten entries today, I'll choose a random winner for a copy of one of my books. So let's hear it in praise of cowboys-or not.

Posted by Joanna Wayne, author of Miracle at Colts Run Cross on 11/14/2008

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I love cowboy books especially the family ones. I think I have to go with your likes: manners, values, work ethic. But of course I am a native Texan. Even though I move a lot as a child due to my father's job I spent most of that time in Texas.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 11/14/2008

I love stories about cowboys, they always seem so real and have such loyalties to family and friends. Not that others don't but there is always something ingrained in the cowboys. I also like series on families where you get each brother's or sister's or both stories to make you realize what makes them "Tick" or why they ended up being the way they are.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 11/14/2008

I love cowboy books, as well as brother books, your have both! I can't explain why but I do like them very much, and congrats on being sold out! That's a good sign that says they are very good!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/14/2008

Congrats on selling out in Houston. Cowboys have a rugged appeal. A cowboy will take care of his family and woman.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/14/2008

I love series and cowboys. What's not to love? Tall, handsome, tight jeans, stetsons, and the worlds greatest manners!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/14/2008

You gotta love a cowboy. There is just something about a cowboy, I think they are sexy maybe. I do love to read cowboy books, I just can't help myself. BRING ON THOSE COWBOYS.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 11/15/2008

You gotta love cowboys. They are usually tall and sexy. What's not to love about them. I also love reading books about them. I posted it earlier today but its not showing.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 11/15/2008

I love cowboys, series books, and families. You have it all! cowboys just seem so rugged and in charge.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/15/2008

Ah, yes. The manners of a cowboy remind me chivalry isn't dead!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 11/15/2008

I can't explain it either why I like cowboys. I just like them.

Posted  by Minna P on 11/16/2008

Hi Joanna, I love cowboys! I grew up in Lubbock, Texas. I agree with you about manners and values. I had several cowboy friends and I dated a bull rider. Cowboys always seemed very polite and friendly. One time I was in a C&W bar and a friend of mine, a huge cowboy named Ben, was approached by some blonde dude. Well, Ben very gently pushed me back toward the bar and then he popped this blond dude right in the mouth. How's that for being gentlemanly? lol!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 11/16/2008



When Movies Get it Right

I'm the queen of making lists--to do lists, scene lists, shopping lists--my family laughs at the sticky notes with lists on them they can find all over my house when I'm really on a roll.

When it comes to writing, I find lists to be an especially useful tool. When I'm not sure what to write, or how I want to organize something, I start listing--eventually, all the ideas will get down there, and then (I hope!) I can make sense of them.

That brings me to today's blog. I wasn't sure what to write. But I knew what I wanted to write about--movies that get the kiss and/or the sexual tension and love story right. Movies where the romance works for me. And I judge "what works" by comparing them to how a great romance novel makes me feel. Now bear in mind, I'm not a big chick flick kind of gal (though you'd see a couple on my long list)--I lean more toward action adventure. At any rate, in no particular order, here is a list of movies that I think have a great romance in them. Even if there's no love scene--even though they're not romances, per se--there's something magical about the chemistry between the characters. IMHO.

1. Disney's Beauty & the Beast (favorite storyline of mine--but a spunky heroine? a tortured hero filled with honor who has to learn to use his heart? that great kiss after the transformation at the end? love it!)

2. Open Range. Besides the great appeal of Kevin Costner in chaps, I love the quintessential cowboy hero--plain talkin', protect what's mine, do the right thing kind of men--there's only one kiss, but the sexual tension sizzles between Kevin Costner and Annette Bening. And his matter-of-fact proposal at the end? Sigh.

3. Speed. I know. Things blow up. A good friend dies. It's not a romance. Oh, but on so many levels, it is. You know there's real chemistry when the hero and heroine are in the confined, nonromantic space of a bus, with a crowd of people with them, and you can feel that it's just the two of them when he's overwhelmed by grief upon hearing his partner has been murdered--and all she does is hold his hand. That's a lesson in sexual tension, Intrigue-style.

4. National Treasure. Yes, I love the action, the mystery of that one. Without a single cuss word, mind you. And Sean Bean, despite being the villain, has long made my pulse pound. But here's a couple that I liken to the old Tracy-Hepburn movies. Equal partners. Both terribly smart and stubborn. Great banter. They learn to respect and treasure (pardon the pun) each other by the end of the movie. They don't need more than one kiss to show how they feel about each other.

5. Gone With the Wind. The classic. Yes, I know many will argue that Rhett walks away at the end, so how is that romantic? I'm talking sexual tension here. (and besides, Scarlett is stubborn enough to go after what she wants!) Think that first meeting on the stairs at Twelve Oaks. When a man and a woman can connect with just their eyes and make you tingle, you know there's a strong connection there. Besides, any man's man who tells a feisty woman she should be "kissed well and often-and by someone who knows how" is a man who is strong enough to handle her without squashing her spirit.

I have tons more--I'm a movie buff. But now I'll ask you to share. What are some movies that you think got the romance right?

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Kansas City Christmas on 11/10/2008

Enter comments


Okay, don't know why #2 didn't show up, but here it is: 2. Open Range. Besides the great appeal of Kevin Costner in chaps, I love the quintessential cowboy hero--plain talkin', protect what's mine, do the right thing kind of men--there's only one kiss, but the sexual tension sizzles between Kevin Costner and Annette Bening. And his matter-of-fact proposal at the end? Sigh.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/10/2008

I'm a movie buff too and this is a tough question - there are soooo many! But the first movie that comes to mind is the original Affair to Remember, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Oh, my! I still get shivers thinking of the hungry, love-filled look they exchange in the theater! And better yet is the look in CG's eyes when he storms into her bedroom, looks up, sees his grandmother's painting on the wall and realizes Deborah's the "lady in the wheelchair" who bought it. Oh my, oh my, oh my! What a masterpiece! SueB

Posted  by Sue B on 11/10/2008

My favorites tend more towards Jane Austen. I love the reunion between Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth, the letter she reads at the end where he tells her he's been constant for the eight years they were apart. Sigh...big sigh. I also love Speed. Keanu Reeves - yum! ;)

Posted  by Anne Calhoun on 11/10/2008

That IS a great movie, Sue! I think a lot of people dismiss Cary Grant as a fluff actor because he made so many romantic comedies--and he is utterly charming on screen and nice to look at. But AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, and his Alfred Hitchcock films really show his acting chops. He could convey such a look with just his eyes. That scene where he realizes WHY Deborah Kerr didn't meet him just make me sigh.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/10/2008

Hey, Anne--your comment reminds me of the wonderful time I had earlier this year when PBS spent a couple of months broadcasting all of their BBC productions of Jane Austen's books. I especially loved SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. I've never seen the movie version with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman--but I love Alan in pretty much anything he does, so I'm sure he brought his character to life beautifully. Good ol' Jane did such a splendid job of creating sexual tension without the sex. Not that I don't enjoy a good sex scene--but the best ones are all about the relationship and the tension, anyway. I also love the Keira Knightly version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. At the end when Mr. Darcy is so overcome with emotion that he stutters trying to get out "I love you". Nice.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/10/2008

1) "Pride and Prejudice", the one with Colin Firth in it. 2) "Sleeping Beauty", I still remember the knight/prince slashing his way through thorns to save her. 3) "The Mummy Returns" The very end, where she risks her life, can't get better than that. 4) "Titanic" 5) "Jane Eyre"

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/10/2008

I love Princess Bride, and Enchanted, and Ever After....

Posted  by Beth  Reimer on 11/10/2008

I too love An Affair to Remember and Gone With the Wind. They are both on my SHORT list! Recently, I guess Sex and the City struck me as a good one because for those of us who watched all the years of the series it was a final sigh of relief that Big and Carrie finally get together. I also loved The Holiday (I tend towards romantic comedy) for the sweetness of Jack Black and Kate Winslet. They were SO mismatched but so great together. P.S. I don't get to see many movies that are not animated anymore and romance is definately not something my 7 yr old son wants to see! hehe

Posted  by Valerie O on 11/10/2008

I very seldom watch movies, so cannot say.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/10/2008

I would add "Last of the Mohicans" and "The Princess Bride."

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/10/2008

I love the movie Little Women. It not only portrays the blossoming romances of the sisters, but the love between family and friends.

Posted  by Patricia R. on 11/10/2008

You hit it right when you said Gone With the Wind, I loved that movie and thought it was the most romantic movie of all times, book too. To me about anything that Kevin Costner plays in is romantic, there is just something about that man makes the movie romantic.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 11/10/2008

One of my favorites from a few years ago is Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. It's such a beautiful love story with him figuring out how to go back in time to find her after seeing her in a photograph and recognizing her as his one true love. So sad when he accidentally comes back to present day and then, unable to find his way back into the past, wastes away and dies! Gut-wrenching, but there's that nice scene at the end where they walk into the light together. Jane Seymour was never more beautiful and it's poignant to see Christopher Reeve at his finest.

Posted  by Brenda Gale on 11/10/2008

Good list Julie! Beauty and the Beast is one of mine, too. I also Love Pocahontas II - best animated kiss in a movie, IMO. I love the newer Pride and Prejudice. BUT my favorite all time romantic movie is A WALK IN THE CLOUDS. I love everything about it!

Posted  by Noelle Ptomey on 11/10/2008

I love the movies but trying to pick my favorite in the love department was difficult. I love Speed and watch every chance I get. Another movie that I watch over and over is Maid in Manhatten. Pretty Woman is one movie that is just plain romantic as far as I am least the end as he climbs the fire escape with the roses. Sigh......

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/10/2008

How about Bodyguard? Kevin Costner again. Those last scenes broke my heart. PS I love you also had me crying for what she had lost. Daniel Craig in Casino Royale also did it for me when he lost his love.

Posted  by Suzanne Perazzini on 11/10/2008

National Treasure would have been my choise, too. Well, The Mummy, Undercover Blues and Robin Hood come to mind.

Posted  by Minna P on 11/11/2008

Ooh, I love THE PRINCESS BRIDE, too. Wesley's "As you wish" inspired my last Blaze, AT YOUR COMMAND. Every time the hero said "At your command" it became synonymous with "I love you." That was such a cool movie. I loved the dynamic between the grandpa and sick grandson, too. When Peter Falk says, "As you wish" at the end, I cheered.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/11/2008

Oh, yes! THE MUMMY is on my Top 10 list. To me, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz (with director Stephen Sommer, of course) revived the whole movie genre of romantic adventure. THAT was the kind of love story I love to read and watch. Suspense. Spunky, smart--if a little awkward--heroine. Big, bad hero with a heart of gold who can handle the action and one-liners with equal aplomb (and who, sigh, gets his cynical heart cracked wide open by the ONE woman). Fabulous villain. Wonderful array of sidekicks. I could read that kind of story all day long.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/11/2008

Great choices, Julie! I can think of so many that I like: Pride & Prejudice (A&E version), Persuasion, Little Voice, Moonstruck, Romancing the Stone, Something's Gotta Give. Another fun one is True Lies because it's an action flick that rekindles the romance between a husband and wife.

Posted  by Kristin  E. on 11/11/2008

I fixed #2 for you, Julie.

Posted  by Paula Graves on 11/12/2008

Hi Julie, Oh, I love Alfred Hitchcock! One movie where they got it right was SARATOGA TRUNK with Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper. This movie is hard to find so if you can't find it read the book by Edna Ferber. Outstanding!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 11/12/2008

I am not much of a movie buff. Although I really loved Beauty and the Beast and Enchanted. So I can't really add any insight into which movies got the romance

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 11/12/2008

My favorite romance movie is Die Hard. Just the whole image of him going to get her back, fighting the bad guys, rescueing his woman. I love that movie!!!

Posted  by Jill James on 11/12/2008

Jill--I love DIE HARD! I have a good friend who says that it's his favorite Christmas movie :) As far as romance goes, I definitely love the ending when he's introducing his wife Holly to Reginal VelJohnson's character--he uses her professional name and she corrects him, introducing herself as his wife. That's stronger than any, "I love you."

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/12/2008



Winter Survival

Cold weather is here. Are you the let's strap skis on and get outside type of person, or the give me a book and let me snuggle up under the covers kind? I'm definitely the latter. I was just thinking... you know how there are "beach books?" Fun, light, etc. Are there "snuggle up" books? What would make a good "snuggle up" book? I'm thinking it could be longer for those long evenings when it gets dark too early outside and nothing to watch on TV. I'd definitely like my snuggle up book to be positive and comforting. (As in, "The sun WILL shine again.” :-)

Anyone out there who doesn’t like winter, like me? What do you do, besides reading, to make it go faster? I took up painting as a hobby, so that will help I think. I also do indoor container gardening. I already have Amaryllis and Paper Whites blooming and I just planted a bunch of tulips in pots. Flowers help me on all those gray days. I don’t do well when I don’t see sunshine days on end. Maybe I should start a book with a beach setting. That way, I’d get to spend a couple of hours each day under palm trees, if only in my mind. And, oh, I know… I’ll play lots of good summer music in the house. What’s your favorite summer music?

And I’ll be reading all the Intrigues coming out. Have you seen some of the Dec. and Jan. covers? Wow.

Alright, a plan is taking shape here. I’m starting to feel semi-prepared. I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas.


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Tall, Dark & Lethal on 11/7/2008

Enter comments


No, I'm not the type to strap on snow ski's, water ski's yes, snow, no! To get through winter, I usually read more, computer work and force myself to take my dogs walking; the whole time I'm outside, I repeat to myself "I'm freezing, this too must pass"! :) Work on my tween programs for the library, focus on book orders and wait impatiently for new titles to come out! Thank goodness there are holidays to prepare for as well.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/7/2008

Hi Dana, OMG! I love the covers of the Dec. and Jan. Intrigues and I plan to read all of them too. I like fall and winter so I don't do anything to make them go faster. And I am the "give me a book and let me snuggle" kind. I also like magazines so I always have a huge stack near by. As far as I'm concerned any book is good to snuggle with. My favorite summer music is 80's music. Nothing like the B-52's to get you going. Or Cyndi Lauper, the Ramones, the Bangles, etc. Upbeat stuff! I must say I love flowers to pieces. To me they are like little rays of sunshine. I know what you mean about the gray days and we have purchased flowers to lighten things up.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 11/7/2008

I love the Christmas romance covers where the hero and heroine are embracing in front of a the fireplace. I'm not a winter sports kind of person. I wish I was into snowboarding and skiing.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/7/2008

I am the snuggle down and read on cold days. I also like to do difficult jig saw puzzles, I love the different pictures. The new covers are just

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 11/7/2008

I am definately the good book kind of gal and love curling up with a book. A warm fuzzy blanket and a cup of hot chocolate add to the comfort. As for music, I am easy to get along with except I cannot do sends me running for earplugs. I am ready tonight to start Julie Miller's latest, have the hot chocolate heating and a warm blanket!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/7/2008

Winter doesn't bother me but that's because I live in an area where there is very little winter. We seldom have really cold weather and most days I don't even wear a coat. But.....if I did live in a cold area I would not be out in it except when really necessary. I'd be snuggled up in a blanket reading.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 11/8/2008

I am definitely not a winter person and I live in NJ with ice and snow. When I am not working I enjoy reading, using the computer and at night the TV.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 11/8/2008

I am like you I don't like winter and don't like to get out during the winter and I do a lot of reading, but I also piece quilts. to pass the time. Sometime I even do some major house cleaning.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 11/8/2008



Going to San Antonio!

I'm excited! I'm headed for San Antonio on Saturday for a working seminar. It's a long drive and I'll be making it alone (11 hours). But I'll load up with a fabulous book on CD and I'm sure I'll forget to stop for gas! I can't wait!

I lived in the San Antonio, TX, area for nearly 15 years and moved away 4 years ago. How I miss it! I especially miss the Tex-Mex food and the mix of German and Hispanic cultures, the festivals and fiestas. And most of all, I miss my writing friends!

You see, San Antonio is where I started writing and many of the people who helped me through the learning process are still there. I'll be meeting with them for dinner and talking about what I love talking about most...BOOKS! I'll get to see fellow Intrigue Author Delores Fossen who just happens to be coming to San Antonio at the same time. I love seeing Delores. She also started her writing career in San Antonio. It'll be a great homecoming.

I'll be staying in downtown San Antonio on the Riverwalk in the Historic Menger Hotel which is reportedly haunted. It'll be fun coming up with new plots for future Intrigues.

Have any of you been to San Antonio? Have you ever thought of it as a destination for a vacation?

Posted by Elle James, author of Nick of Time on 11/5/2008

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Elle - I was born in San Antonio but was very young when we left there. However I live 150 miles south of there. I haven't been in a long time but I love the Riverwalk. Maybe the ghosts of the Menger Hotel will visit you and suggest ideas for a future plot.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 11/5/2008

Hi Elle, Have a great time! I grew up in Lubbock, Texas and visited San Antonio many times. Took boat rides and ate delicious food. I miss Texas and the Tex-Mex too! How cool that you're staying in a haunted hotel. Do let us know if you encounter any ghosts. Oh, I wish I was going with you. Hug Delores! :-)

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 11/5/2008

I've never been to Texas but that is one of the states that I would love to go see! Haunted hotel? Maybe you will run into the TAPS guys? :)

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/5/2008

Elle have a grat time at the workshop. I have never been to San Antonio but have always wanted to go, from everything I have read and heard it sounds like a wonderful place. I have so many destnations that I would love to travel to and that is one of them. Waiting to hear if you have any ghost encounters.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 11/5/2008

Went to San Antonio for vacation two summers ago. Even with the rain it was a lovely city. We stayed down the street from the Alamo. I loved the Riverwalk, it is a tropical, peaceful oasis in the city.

Posted  by Jill James on 11/5/2008

I have been to Houston and Galveston, but not San Antonio.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/5/2008

I've never been to San Antonio or Texas, but I would love to visit someday.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/5/2008

I have never been to Texas but would love to go. Although I am not sure I would like the heat in the summer. I love reading books about Texas.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 11/13/2008




Congratulations! If your name is on this list, you've won a book by the author you've been paired with. Please contact her via her web site with your mailing information, and she'll send you a book of her choice.

Jill James - Author Kerry Connor

Ivka Vuletic - Author Delores Fossen

Minna P. - Author Rebecca York

Beth Reimer - Author Julie Miller

Margaret McGrath - Author Jessica Andersen

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 11/3/2008

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Ladies, I love this blog. It is so exciting to win a new book. Thanks.

Posted  by Jill James on 11/3/2008

Congrats to the winners!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 11/3/2008

Yes, congrats to the winners!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 11/3/2008

WTG ladies, congratulations! :)

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/3/2008

Congratulations to the winners......enjoy your books.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 11/3/2008

Congratulations winners!!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 11/4/2008

Congrats to the winners.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/4/2008




Okay, gang. The writing is on the wall. It's time for Julie to buy yet another computer! It's only money--ha!

Ours is STILL in the shop, going through a ver-r-r-r-r-y slow backup of the dead hard drive, trying to recover my dh's manuscripts, some promo stuff, pix, etc. It's been four weeks now, and we keep asking if it's done yet, but the computer tech guy says as long as it's running, then it's copying something. It's when it finally stops and locks up that things will be completely lost. We'll see.

In the meantime, a good friend has loaned me her old laptop, and dh has been bringing his laptop home from school in the evenings. Plus--don't worry!--I have my writing computer. I've kept my writing computer separate from the family computer for years after a) my son, then 4, pressed some buttons and deleted an entire ms! and b) viruses have come and gone and ravaged manuscripts and killed computers. But I refuse to connect my writing computer to the Internet anymore, no matter what kind of virus protection I have.

So... I'm conducting an informal survey. What computer or type of computer do you work on/email on and recommend? Desk top? Laptop? PC? MAC? What program do you run? What do you like about your computer and what makes you crazy?

If I'm spending the dough, I want to get just the right thing. Thanks for your input!

I'll be back to blog next Monday, too. I'll have some romantic themes to talk about then. Hope you'll be back to join me!

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Kansas City Christmas on 11/2/2008

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I really don't know about computers enough to recomend a type, I asked our "tech" guy, (who is awesome by the way), at work, I've got an Acer laptop and I LOVE it. It is limited, but it's perfect for what I need it for. I can do my training requirments for work on it, I hit my fav blog and author sites, book sites, (love Good Reads!)email,ect. Your smart Julie to keep your important docs separate, I too keep all my book orders for work on flash drive, if I lost those I would be up "that" creek without a paddle! :)

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 11/3/2008

I hear that, Sherry. After losing most of another ms when I was copying it to a disk (fried the computer AND the disk--thank goodness I had a good chunk--unfortunately, not all of it--printed out already), I now back things up in about 5 different ways. Not that I'm paranoid or anything .

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/3/2008

Good morning, Julie! I'm not an expert on computers, but I have a Dell and a Toshiba - both laptops - and love them both. But then, I'm not savvy enough to know what makes the "perfect" computer. Good luck in finding that "perfect" computer. Until then, I'm sure you can use your good friend's computer as long as you need it. SueB

Posted  by Sue B on 11/3/2008

Thanks, Sue! (wink-wink)

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/3/2008

Hi, Julie! Tough choice. I love Macs, but they're expensive, and I think only necessary if you want to do some serious picture/movie work. Otherwise, Windows machines work fine. That said, so few people (comparatively) use the Mac OS that virus writers don't tend to write for Mac, which makes them safer. Basically, nothing makes me crazy about my Mac PowerBook G4 except the price I'll pay to replace it eventually. I've been looking at the small Acers that cost about $500. I only do email and write on my laptop, and those are lightweight, very portable, and not like using a sledgehammer (Mac) to swat a fly (email and use Word). Good luck. The whole thing makes me break out in hives, so you have my sympathies!

Posted  by Anne  Calhoun on 11/3/2008

I'm no expert either. I have a Dell desktop and laptop. I definitely prefer using a desktop. I like having a big monitor.

Posted  by Jane C. on 11/3/2008

Hi Julie! I, too, am in the same boat. I am currently using a Gateway laptop that we purchased from an NPPD auction a couple of years ago but it isn't adequate anymore for all the writing that I am doing (cheer here!!) We have looked into purchasing a desktop (Acer) that will be custom built for me but I haven't gotten to the point yet where I can afford a computer for internet and a seperate computer for my writing. Maybe someday...(God willing) Good luck and I agree with Sue B. I'm sure your good friend will loan you the computer for as long as you need it. hehe

Posted  by Valerie O on 11/3/2008

Computers - have a love/hate relationship - love them when they are working - hate them when they are not working. I use a PC at both at work.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 11/3/2008

I have limited knowledge about computers. I run off the Windows XP professional program, and I know enough about the computer to work my way around the simple things but nothing complicated. When I do run into trouble I call my son and say help!! And he walks me through the problem over the phone long distance. So you can see I am hopeless.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 11/3/2008

I'm with you, Connie. For the most part, I can't imagine being without my computers. But... when the darn thing isn't working... ugh! I appreciate all the feedback, everyone. Believe me, I'm taking notes. Thanks! Now go read some books! ;)

Posted  by Julie Miller on 11/4/2008



How's this for an Intrigue plot?

I’m back from an exciting trip tramping around the frozen north. How’s this for an Intrigue idea? The hero and heroine are trapped on the tundra. They’re trying to escape from the bad guys in a small plane, but a polar bear is keeping them from taking off.

The photo was taken by dh at the remote lodge above Churchill, Manitoba, where we just spent four days. It was supposed to be three days, but the wind was too fierce to fly us out at the end of the trip. So we had to hunker down for an extra day. That was no hardship because it gave us more time to dodge the polar bears.

Eight big white beasts were hanging out around the lodge, so we weren’t allowed to go outside (except in the chain-link fenced yard) unless we were accompanied by two guys carrying shotguns. The bears pressed against the fence and peered in the windows of the lodge at all hours of the day. (At night, big plywood shutters and an armed guard kept them at bay.)

The weather was cold for us. (In the 30's some of the time and as low as eight with the wind chill.) So we had to bundle up when we went outside–where we saw two big males fighting to the point of drawing blood. When we went out for a walk, one bear followed us down the gravel road. And two more circled around to cut us off at the pass. Luckily they ran away when the naturalists threw stones at them. If the rocks fail, the guys carry pepper spray, noisemakers and the shotguns I mentioned.

As you can imagine, all those bear encounters made for an exciting few days. Now I’m wondering how I can use this adventure in a suspense novel.


Posted by Rebecca York, author of CHRISTMAS SPIRIT on 10/29/2008

Enter comments


What a grand adventure, Rebecca! The bear in the book would be cool as long as it doesn't get killed. Call Marlen Perkins with the tranquilizer gun! Hahahaha! Good thing Sara Palin wasn't in the lodge with ya'll. *snicker* Seriously though your experience would make an excellent novel. I'd read it. Oh and speaking of...I'm sick and my hubby brought me a copy of CHRISTMAS SPIRIT last night.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/29/2008

I like your idea of a polar bear keeping them from leaving the lodge and taking off in a plane but my imagination is so lacking I can't imagine any further than that. You could have one of the bad guys get hurt by the bear and the hero and heroine save his life. Sounds like you had a lot of fun in spite of the polar bear danger.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/29/2008

I think it would be great in an Intrigue plot! Sometimes things in real life happen that is so bizarre that it defies explanation; it's like I've heard before; "you just can't make this stuff up". It sounds like you had a grand adventure.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 10/29/2008

Well, part of the FUN was the danger. You just have to have an intrigue writer's mind! Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 10/29/2008

Wow. I've never done anything that adventurous.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/29/2008

Sounds like an exciting trip!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/29/2008

What an great idea for an Intrigue Novel, or suspense story. I had to smile at the weather being cold for you, our night temperatures are in the 30's at the moment - although our day temperatures have been warmer than usual, we are having a terrific Autumn. Your adventure sounds great although not so sure I would want that many close encounters with the polar bears....Smiling!!

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/29/2008

I would love to do something like that but I think I'll just wait until I can read about it in one of your books :)

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/29/2008

What excitement. I would have loved being with you! I hunt animals all the time with my camera and what an opportunity that would have been! I will be waiting to see what you come up with!!!!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/29/2008

Wow--how exciting! The only bears I've seen in the wild were black bears which was scary enough for me, but polar bears are huge compared to them. You're right, it would make a good scene in a book.

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 10/31/2008

Oh Wow I think this would be a great story for a book. I loved it. What an adventure, I have never done anything like that.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 11/2/2008



Sweet Sixteen? Ha!

Sweet Sixteen? Who came up with that? My youngest daughter is sixteen today and I love her dearly. But sweet? At sixteen? I don't think so. So many teens are walking hormones and attitude. Terrible Teens are almost as bad as the Terrible Twos.

If you've ever been the parent of a teen, you know what I'm talking about. Parents are all stupid, anything the parent says is to be ignored, parents are always trying to ruin the teen's life. Recognize it? Well, sadly, I was there once too. Although I love living a bit vicariously through my daughter, in no shape form or fashion would I EVER want to be a teen again. No way, no how, absolutely not! Even knowing what I know now, uh-uh. Teens are as bad as animals that eat their own young. Even with the confidence of adulthood, I don't think I'd last a day in the life of my daughter.

But back to sweet sixteen. I'm really proud she's made it this far and a little surprised. That's right, there have been times I wanted to exercise the statement "I brought you into this world, I can certainly take you out!"

My first two children weren't quite as opinionated as this one so the terrible teens weren't quite as bad. But the DRAMA QUEEN is definitely giving me a run for my money.

Did I forget to mention, I love her? Don't get me wrong. I do love her and we get along pretty well, even if I'm stupid.

I'd love to hear from you about your experiences with teens. Good? Bad? Ugly? Sweet?

Oh, and in case my daughter reads this....HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! And in teen-speak: jk ttyl BFFAEA

Posted by Elle James, author of Nick of Time on 10/28/2008

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I taught teens for 35 years and I'm an expert on attitudes. Teens can be the most wonderful, thoughtful children: BUT they can also be the most obnoxious, opinionated brats at other times. You will live through it and your daughter will again realize how wonderful you really all......if you both live through the teen years.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/28/2008

I made it through 4 teenagers, 2 boys, 2 girls. My kids were raised in the sixties and early seventies, in the country. Did not have a lot of problems with them. They were into sports, so between that and school they were pretty busy.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/28/2008

Happy Birthday to your daughter. I don't have kids, so I can't share any stories. I like to think I wasn't so bad when I was a teenager.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/28/2008

Oh my goodness, you have my complete empathy! I have 2 daughters, 23 and 18, the oldest is past that teen terror time, the youngest has a way to go yet. To make it worse the youngest is all girly girl, I was and am a tomboy, there are some days that I don't have a clue! But I keep telling myself that I and the oldest girl grew out of it, she will too, (hopefully soon!).

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 10/28/2008

and the rest of that goes ...and never been kissed. That doesn't happen too often anymore either lol. My oldest gave me a hard time and my youngest was easy going - but then that's because my older daughter takes after her dad and my youngest daughter after me :) It does get better although it may not seem like it now.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/28/2008

Elle, been there, done that -- twice. One boy, one girl. I'm so glad I survived the years, and have the gray hairs to prove it. LOL I love my children, but I'm beyond grateful the teen years are done. Now I get to wait for their children to do them in. hahahaha

Posted  by Jill James on 10/28/2008

Hi Elle - I know where you are coming from. I had a teenage girl who gave me fits - now this daughter has one of her own and she keeps teling me what a drama queen she is and how she is giving her fits. Then she follows up with I know now what you went through - and am surprised I made to this age.....LOL. To be truthful I am surprised she made it to this age as well - let me tell you there were moments. My son was easier but even he had moments......Think it is just the teen years - I know I had a friend that kept telling me it was not just the terrible twos - it was also the teens - she said you just wait - and boy was she right......LOL.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/28/2008

Yep, sweet sixteen can be a trying time, but remember this too shall pass and you'll miss her one day all too soon. My daughters were seven years apart so I had time to recover from the first before the second got there. This was a good thing because the second made the first look like she earned the title of Sweet!!! I love them both and so enjoy them as adults as they both are my very best friends.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/29/2008

This post wasn't up for 10 minutes yesterday and when I hit submit, after I'd written a book, I was told my comment wouldn't be accepted. This happens a lot. Grrrrrr! Hi Elle, please tell your daughter I said Happy Birthday. I never had kids so I never went through what I put my mother through. I feel bad I put her through so much. I wouldn't want to be sixteen again either. And Ma would tell you I was a Drama Queen too. My children have always been kitties. I'm dealing with the terrible twos now. Recently I adopted a Tabby and he's teething. On. My. Books. I love him to pieces! :-)

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/29/2008

OH, Elle! I forgot to ask if the cover of NICK is scratch and sniff? LOL!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/29/2008

Thanks for all the comments on Sweet Sixteen. I know this too shall pass and I already dread the day she moves out. I'll be a TERRIBLE empty-nester. That's why I have a yorkie and a malti-poo. They will help fill the gap. But I love all three of my children dearly and wouldn't trade them for the world. It was fun reading all your comments!

Posted  by Elle James on 10/29/2008



Autumn Pleasures

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year, and I find myself slowing down a bit. I know the holidays are just around the corner and things will get CRAZY so I try to savor the months of September, October and early November. Here are just a few of my favorite autumn things:

Sipping Tazo passion tea

Browsing the internet to find Christmas gifts

Watching goofy shows like Project Runway or Top Chef

Curling up with a good book. I read more in autumn than any other time, and I've already made it through five of my TBR books.

Daydreaming. Yep, as a writer this is mandatory, and autumn is when I play around most with my idea file to see what I want to write next.

So, what are you doing this autumn?


Posted by Delores Fossen, author of Security Blanket on 10/22/2008

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Hi Delores, I'm enjoying the cool temps., reading, eating a lot of Ben & Jerry's AMERICONE DREAM, sleeping, drinking hot chocolate in the mornings, and doing some early Christmas shopping. Fall is my very favorite season. Happy Halloween!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/22/2008

I love autumn except that it is a reminder that cold weather is on the way, cold weather and I have issues! I too watch more TV, and that Project Runway? Well I started it one day and I couldn't stop; it's like a train wreck, you can't look away LOL! When the leaves start to fall, I just grab my books, hot tea and afghan and head to "my" corner of the couch, I always announce "Does anybody need anything? Cause Mommy is going to be sitting down and reading, let me know now cause there's no getting up later :)!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 10/22/2008

Melissa, ah yes--Americone Dream. Love it! I also love Karamel Sutra, but I find myself eating the middle and leaving the sides for my husband. LOL.

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/22/2008

Sherry, I don't like the cold weather either. I wish we could stretch out autumn for several more months.

I hear you about Project Runway. I can't quite figure out why I watch it, but I do. I honestly can't tell the difference between some of the designs that get praised and the ones that get trashed. Guess I have no fashion sense.

I'm glad you have your family trained to leave you alone during reading time. I need to try that!

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/22/2008

I'm hoping we'll go apple picking. I'm also looking forward to snacking on pumpkin bread.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/22/2008

Ok I'll give this another try - Getting ready for our annual pumpkin carving party and yum - roasted seeds.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/22/2008

Ohhh, I love pumpkin bread and the roasted seeds. My daughter wants to carve a pumpkin for Halloween so that'll give me a chance to dig out some seeds.

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/22/2008

I love this time of year, the leaves are such pretty colors, the days are beautiful and the nights are colder. I like to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. It is a tranquil time, even though I know that snow and cold is right around the corner.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/22/2008

LOL! Karamal Sutra would be my second choice, Delores! YUM!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/23/2008

Some of my favorites: Knitting drinking tea reading a book watching Dempsey and Makepeace on DVD

Posted  by Minna P on 10/23/2008

I live in NJ and we are driving to the Poconos on sunday.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 10/23/2008

Here in northern California we don't do autumn. LOL It was 88 degrees here today. But I do try to enjoy the time of relaxing before the madness of the holidays. I don't do Thanksgiving (SIL does) so that is one less holiday to worry about.

Posted  by Jill James on 10/23/2008

Jill, my sister does Thanksgiving as well. We all cook side dishes and such, but it's at her house, so that means she gets the bulk of the work.

Posted  by Delores  Fossen on 10/24/2008

Joyce and Minna, that sounds wonderful and RELAXING.

Posted  by Delores  Fossen on 10/24/2008

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. The colors are so beautiful, the temperature is comfortable, and we celebrate all four of our children's birthdays and our anniversary as well as three of their anniversaries. We often go camping and especially like to go to the mountains. Didn't get to go this year but have been camping near my husband's favorite trout stream most weekends.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/24/2008

I love fall. The colors are so beautiful, the temperatures are tolerable, and we celebrate many birthdays and anniversaries in the fall. We have spent this this fall camping and hiking a nearby recreation area. It has been great. While my husband fishes or hunts, I curl up in a compfy caamping chair and read. Last weekend I read Julie Miller's latest. For next week I will have to look for your latest.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/25/2008

Thanks, Connie. I hope you enjoy it!

Your autumn fun sounds wonderful, especially teh part about curling up with a good book. :)

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/25/2008

I love the changing leaves. My daughter is getting tired of me pointing up and saying "isn't that beautiful?" But the variations of colors never cease to amaze and impress me. I love the cool weather too. This is the time of the year, I start reviewing my schedule and plans for next year. I love to review my accomplishments thus far and see what else I can squeeze in by end of year. But I also look ahead at what I want to accomplish next year. Fall is a wonderful time of year!

Posted  by Elle James on 10/28/2008



Beautiful Stranger

Late October has always been one of my favorite times of the year. It's when autumn really starts to arrive and it becomes more noticeable that there's a sudden chill in the air and the dark of night is arriving ever sooner and lingering ever longer. Add in the impending arrival of Halloween, and there's something deliciously creepy about these late October weeks, more so than any other time of the year. It's no coincidence that my first book, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, was set right around this time.

Naturally, that also makes it a perfect time for a spine-chilling, suspenseful story, and Intrigue has certainly served up plenty of those over the years. Anyone else remember that special set of Halloween stories Intrigue released way back when? I have to admit I always wanted to write one of those kinds of Intrigues, full of moody atmosphere and spooky scenes, where the suspense is driven as much by the creepy elements as the action sequences.

My latest book, BEAUTIFUL STRANGER, isn't quite that kind of read, but I think it has a touch of those elements. The story begins with my heroine imprisoned in a mental hospital--a fairly popular premise, I suppose (there's even a movie opening this week where it happens). The idea of having to prove your sanity to a disbelieving world always struck me as very unsettling. Fortunately my heroine is strong enough to break out of the hospital in Chapter One, kicking some butt along the way. Even more fortunately, she has the hero on her side to help her in her quest for answers.

When I started writing this story, I didn't know when (or if, for that matter) it would be published, but when I learned it was going to be scheduled for October 2008, I made a few tweaks to make the mental hospital a little more sinister and eerie, something I think the cover nicely conveys. Hopefully the book will provide readers with some suitably seasonal thrills and chills.

Posted by Kerry Connor, author of BEAUTIFUL STRANGER on 10/20/2008

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Hi Kerry, October is my favorite month and Halloween is my favorite holiday. When did Intrigue release the special set of Halloween stories? I've never read anything by you so I'm really looking forward to reading BEAUTIFUL STRANGER. The description reminds me of the movie, GOTHIKA, with Halle Berry. I want to visit your mental hospital! *g* Happy Halloween!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/20/2008

I like October for the cooler weather and the changing of the leaf colors. I have not read anything by you before, so am looking forward to Beautiful Stranger.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/20/2008

Congrats on the new release. This is the perfect time to read a good thriller.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/20/2008

Love Fall! So many colors! Here in Nebraska, so many temperature changes. My husband and I started getting serious about each other in the fall. Both of our daughters were born in October. Can hardly wait to read your book!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/20/2008

Ooooh, love the cover and the storyline. Being trapped in a mental hospital would be very scary.

Posted  by Jill James on 10/20/2008

Melissa, I think the Halloween books came out in 1993. Wow--hard to believe it's already been fifteen years! I believe the titles were Music of the Mist by Laura Pender, Haunted by Patricia Rosemoor, Midnight Masque by Jenna Ryan and Fright Night by Linda Stevens.
Thanks for the comments, everybody! Glad to know I'm not the only who loves this time of year. And if you do get a chance to read the book, I hope you enjoy it.

Posted  by Kerry Connor on 10/20/2008

I too love this time of year, with the leaves changing color and the days being warm, but the evenings cooler. I want to let you know that I have read BEAUTIFUL STRANGER and it was terrific. There is spine tingling suspense and I am sure that anyone who picks it up will really enjoy it. Have a great week.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/20/2008

Congrats on the new release!

Posted  by Minna P on 10/21/2008

Thank you, Kerry. I'm going to see if I can find some of those titles at a fantastic used book store not far from me. They have older Intrigues. BOO!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/21/2008

Cryna, Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you enjoyed the book.
Thanks, Minna!
Melissa, Good luck finding those books!

Posted  by Kerry  Connor on 10/21/2008

Thanks, Kerry. I hope I can get my hands on them. Would you mind me asking how you did research for your mental hospital? *g*

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/22/2008

Kerry, your book is in my TBR pile and it's up next. I can't wait!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 10/23/2008

Melissa, I actually didn't have to do too much research for my mental hospital, because the heroine escapes by the end of Chapter One and I didn't have a lot of room for extra details. So most of it came out of my imagination.
Thanks, Lexi! I hope you like it.

Posted  by Kerry Connor on 10/28/2008



Reducing Stress!

Boy, talk about stressful times! The market is wonky and this time of year leading up to holidays, is always a bit nuts. So, let’s brainstorm ways to relax and stay centered, shall we? First, I’m a huge fan of green tea. No, not for dieting purposes, but just because I LOVE tea, especially green. Before you make a face, keep in mind that there are many flavored green teas that are delicious and have just the right amount of caffeine to keep you awake without the harmful effects of coffee. Personal favs are Green Tea Paradise from, and green mango and pomegrante. Do an Amazon search for the best deals. I’ve also been increasing my walks. I try to get out for a brisk walk three to five times a week to get the endorphins flowing. Plug iPod ear buds into your ears and listen to RWA workshops, or your favorite music (Dave Matthews!) Plan your holiday gift-giving NOW! I mean, why wait until December? The stress comes when Christmas is two weeks away and we need to find the perfect gift asap. Think about the special people in your life and what they would really appreciate. My neighborhood gang has decided to go out to dinner, but not buy presents for each other this year. Maybe we’ll donate $10 each to a worthy cause instead. Or maybe we’ll save the $10 for something we need at home. Speaking of gifts, shop e-bay for good deals. Hubby and son are Chicago Bears fans so you can bet I’ll be doing the eBay shop to find them fun stuff to hide in their stockings. Do you have any ideas for reducing stress? I’d love to hear them! (Watch for Pat's, Girl Next Door Series, coming in February '09!)

Posted by Pat White, author of Loving the Enemy on 10/19/2008

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It's hard not to be stressed during the holidays, especially when people are fighting for sale items. If possible, I try to shop early in the day when there are less people. I also buy a lot of present online. It's convenient and you don't have to lug your loot home.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/19/2008

I usually buy gifts early. Our family only gives to the grandchildren, so it is easy to hide the presents until christmas.By buying early you eliminate the holiday crowds.

Posted  by Estella  Kissell on 10/19/2008

Other than walking I use the obvious solution -- read a book. But I don't do both at the same time. LOL

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/19/2008

I usually try to get the Christmas shopping done early, because I also have birthdays and anniversaries that month. It is such a busy time. To relieve stress I like to take a book and read, or work on a difficult jigsaw puzzle.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/19/2008

I try not to stress at Christmas. Most of the gifts I give money because, most are teen agers and above. I have a few little ones to buy for but that I can get pretty easy. Your new book sounds fantastic.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 10/20/2008

Hi Pat, Gift giving is easy for us because we move all the time. Hubby's in the Navy. This year it's VA Beach shirts for everybody! *g* When I'm stressed I go straight to my kitty. He licks my arm, head, or whatever body part he can get too. lol! He always calms me down. Oh, he's teething and biting my books! I love him so... If you do decide to donate go with The Best Friends Animal Sanctuary or Susan G. Komen. Enjoy your green tea!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/20/2008




I have been blessed in my life to grow up with two wonderful brothers--one older, one younger. One brunette, one blonde. One who looks out for me, one who makes me laugh. One's a successful businessman and one's an engineer/military man. Both are tall. Both are smart (you want them on your Trivial Pursuit team ). Both are funny--though with decidedly different types of humor. Think goofball vs. dry wit. Both are talented, caring men. And--sorry, ladies--both are married.

I'm the middle child with an older brother who truly is a big brother to me. Back in high school and college, he looked out for me--I was shy and on the naive side, and he was the rebel who saw a lot more of the world than I even knew about. Now that we're both adults with families of our own, I still see the protective big brother come out from time to time. He's a successful businessman who is super smart about things about which I'm continually learning. For example, when I incorporated my writing business, we talked at length about positives and pitfalls and proper planning. I think my business life is a success due in great part to him.

My younger "baby" brother is the military man I often talk about. Like our father, he became a Marine, and after fulfilling his obligation, retired to start his family and work in civilian life. After 911, he returned to the military--this time in the army. He recently deployed for a second time (this war) and we are all so proud of him and pray for him and his troops and their families daily. Beyond the obvious heroic qualities of a man in uniform, I think my younger brother is even more heroic for a much more down to home reason. He's a fabulous father of 4 beautiful children (my big brother's no slouch in the dad department, either--I think their success is due to the fine example our father is)--and I'm amazed at how, even when he's overseas and away from home for 10-18 months at a time, he keeps in close contact with his kids and their lives. My sister-in-law runs that household as efficiently as any military commander when my brother is away, but it's so cool to see how he finds ways to listen, advise, support and be a part of his family, no matter where he is in the world.

Before I became a published author, I absolutely ate up stories and miniseries of books that featured brothers. Probably because of the wonderful inspiration I grew up with, but also because I've always loved connected books where you get to meet a character in one, see him as a hero in another, and revisit him in yet another story. Not only do I have the fun of spotting a future hero and imagining who he might fall in love with and what his story might be, but I get to really know him in his own story. Then those men who have touched my heart never really leave it because they show up in future books. Does anybody else love those connected books? What makes them so memorable for you? I'm thinking Linda Howard's MacKenzie brothers. Or Suzanne Brockmann's Tall, Dark & Dangerous books where the heroes may not share DNA, but they're certainly a band of brothers because they've served on special Navy Seal teams together. Who are some of your favorite "brother" books?

When my editor suggested I write a series about brothers, I said yes without hesitation. After all, I believe in the adage, "Write what you know." And, I also think "Write what you love" is smart advice. So… I love my brothers, I love those kinds of books--why not write them? I started my career at Intrigue writing my Taylor Clan miniseries, featuring 5 brothers, 1 cousin who was raised as a brother with them, and 1 extremely over-protected sister . And now again in 2008, I've launched another miniseries featuring brothers--The Precinct: Brotherhood of the Badge. This one features 4 brothers--Edward, Sawyer, Atticus and Holden. They're all cops. All hot hunks. And all determined to solve their father's murder. I even made their mother an English teacher (like me!) who gave them 4 literary hero names. Can you guess what works of literature inspired their names?

Here are the books and the brothers:

Protective Instincts--June 08--Thomas Sawyer Kincaid

Armed and Devastating--July 08--Atticus Finch Kincaid

Private S.W.A.T. Takeover--October 08--Holden Caulfield Kincaid

Kansas City Christmas--November 08--Edward Rochester Kincaid

I don't have to look any further than my own family to find inspiration for brothers who are heroes. The Kincaid boys may be fictional, but there's a lot of my two brothers in those stories.

Do you have any favorite brother stories--real or fiction--to share?

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Private S.W.A.T. Takeover on 10/17/2008

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Ack! Computer woes are still plaguing me. I can't get the pic of my big brother--or my November cover for Kansas City Christmas to load. I guess we'll just have to look at my "baby" brother today ;) At least I got the blog itself to load!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/17/2008

What a wonderful post, Julie. Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay series featuring the Quinn brothers are my favorite stories about brothers.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/17/2008

Hey, Jane! Nora has done some great ones, hasn't she? I love her Irish trilogy. Something about Irish men, I think. One of the things I love about "brother" books is that the heroes can have such different personalities, yet be incredibly close and supportive. It's always kind of like The Magnificent Seven for me--each man fights and looks at the world in his own unique way, but you know when it comes down to it, he's got your back. Yum.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/17/2008

Hi Julie, I have one sister and no brothers. Your post is so wonderful. I hope your brothers read it. I also hope your younger brother comes home safe and sound. I'm enjoying Kay Stockham's brother series THE TULANES OF TENNESSEE. And Kresley Cole's MacCarrick brothers series is fabulous! Thomas Sawyer Kincaid - "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" Atticus Finch Kincaid - "To Kill a Mockingbird" Holden Caulfield Kincaid - "The Catcher in the Rye" Edward Rochester Kincaid - "Jane Eyre" Right?

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/17/2008

Julie - brothers are wonderful (most of the time). I have two brothers one older, one younger, one brunette, one blond. I really really do. My older brother(by two years) took care of me when I was young, I took care of my younger brother (by four years) when he was young. We were close and still are even though the older one lives 160 miles south of me and the younger lives 250 miles north of me. My older brother is retired and in bad health. I wouldn't trade either of them for all the money in the world. My older brother was drafted into the army during Vietnam but became a lieutenant and taught others to use long range guns (can't remember what they are called). A funny story about my younger brother and me - We do not look alike as I take after my father and he my mother. Before he was interested in dating girls but they were beginning to get interested in him he would take me along to places as his "date". Of course that only lasted until he "discovered" girls.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/17/2008

Melissa--Hooray! You're absolutely right on your literature. You got each book and brother right. Ellen--too funny about being your brother's "date". Thank your brother from me for serving his country. I don't know what the long rifles are called, either, but I'm glad there are people with the skills to use them when necessary. My brother defused land mines in Iraq during his first tour of duty. He's an engineer, so he's also built runways and outposts for the troops. Now he's in Kosovo, helping rebuild their country. It's very picturesque from the pix he sends. Hard to picture a war being fought there--or destroying their landmarks.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/17/2008

Julie, We have discussed your brothers before and I so admire them. Be sure you tell them how much they mean to you every chance you get as you never know when it will be your last chance. My brothers are both gone. One was killed in an accident when he was 27 (but my sone reminds me of him all the time, right down to gestures). My other brother died of west nile a few years ago and I miss him all the time. When we were young they irritated me terribly but now I wish they would. Just started reading your newest and will be looking forward to the next. By the was, as usual, I am loving it.

Posted  by Connie  Lorenz on 10/17/2008

What a wonderful blog, Julie. I don't have any brothers. I would have loved to have a brother. I love connected series and have enjoyed yours. Another series of brother's I am following is Kay Stockham's brother series The Tulanes of Tennssee. Another series I enjoyed was Lucy Monroe's Mercenary Trilogy (Ready, Willing And Able) - although they were not blood brothers - it shows the bonding and having of the other's back. You have already mentioned Suzanne Brockmann and her heroes.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/17/2008

Hi, Julie! I wish I had brothers. I love my sis-tahs dearly (I have three, all younger) but I feel like I missed out on a whole side of family life. My husband has 2 brothers, no sisters, and he has tons of hilarious stories about brother-mishaps. The goat they bought from a neighbor for $5 and brought home. Falls off bikes, roofs, the deck. Sneaking out...and sneaking each other back in. Driving through garage doors. My sisters and I...we read. I also like brother series - the MacKenzie ones are good - but I also enjoy series when an author creates a brotherhood. My own family life is so mixed that I like reading about people who put together families out of a mixture of relatives, friends, coworkers, etc. Any closeness works for me!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 10/18/2008

My brother and I use to always say that the other was the favorite. He thought I was because I was the student. I always said he was because he had a heart condition and my parents always tried to think of things for him to do that didn't involve physical activity.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 10/18/2008

I only had one brother and two sisters. My brother past away a few years ago, at the age of 52, heart attack. The one main thing I remember about him when we were kids, is that he would break everything we had. He had to tare things apart to see what they were made of. I don't care what it was he would have to take it apart to see how it worked.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 10/18/2008

Quilt Lady--omg, I was kind of like that--I loved to take things apart to see how they worked. I took heads off dolls to see what was inside (hmm, maybe an indicator of my love for suspense?). I was sick a lot as a child, and I remember one of my favorite things that my mom would do to entertain me was to give me some old mechanical thing (like an alarm clock or transistor radio) and some tools in a shoebox lid, and I'd sit in bed and take everything apart. Kept me entertained for hours.

Margaret--I've always wondered what it would be like to have sisters. I probably have a lot of tomboy in me because I grew up with brothers. And my mom is now like a sister to me--she's certainly my best friend! But growing up, I relied on girlfriends to fill those sister roles. My son (an only child) says he wishes he had a sister, so he'd have someone to pick on! Fortunately, he has a couple of friends who are girls and have developed that kind of close relationship with him.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/18/2008

Margaret--I've always wondered what it would be like to have sisters. I probably have a lot of tomboy in me because I grew up with brothers. And my mom is now like a sister to me--she's certainly my best friend! But growing up, I relied on girlfriends to fill those sister roles. My son (an only child) says he wishes he had a sister, so he'd have someone to pick on! Fortunately, he has a couple of friends who are girls and have developed that kind of close relationship with him.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/18/2008

I myself have 3 brothers and no sisters (fellow tomboy here), and I adore stories about brothers, NR Quinn borthers and her Mckade brothers. I think that might be why the Intriques are my favorite Harlequin's, because a lot of them feature stories about brothers, and authors like yourself do them so very well!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 10/19/2008




Boomer with the girls

It all started when I was a kid and was told, "NO, you can't have a cat or dog because you're allergic and having an animal would mean more asthma attacks..."

Anyone who really knows me should KNOW better than to tell me, "NO, you can't (fill in the blank)," especially when it comes to animals. Little did my parents have a clue that someday animals would play an important part in my life...and in my profession.


When I was seven, I found a cat outside and guilted Mom into letting me feed it. Mom was really an animal person, too, so she caved and I had an "outside" cat. At the time of her death, Mom had five cats and four dogs, several of which were throw-away pets-thrown away into my parents' yard because people knew Mom would find them homes. I'm proud to say I take after my mother in regards to my love of and respect for animals. The most pets I've had at one time-five cats and a dog-pales next to Mom's record, but of course I live in a city 2-flat, so six animals was pushing it.


The first animal that was really mine was a kitten I adopted in grad school when I had my own apartment and a new roommate with a cat said "NO, you can't get a kitten because Mitzi hates other cats." Deciding she couldn't tell me what to do in my own place, I brought home that kitten. Indeed, Mitzi was hostile and the roomie predicted the kitten would be dead by morning. Of course when Mitzi went out of control, roomie stood on a chair for some weird sense of safety, while I simply picked the cat up by her scruff and let her know I was the top cat. Before leaving for an evening class, I had a chat with Mitzi about not hurting the kitten. When I got home, they were snuggled together and I sensed the strength of my connection with animals.

Patricia on Shoshone
Patricia on Shoshone

Years and several cats later, I had just started riding horses when I needed major knee surgery. The doc was convinced I would never walk without a limp and when I asked how soon I could get back on a horse, he shuddered and told me, "NO, you can't ride because you'll further damage your knee." Six months later, I walked into his office sans limp. When he asked me what I had done to make that happen, I told him riding horses did a great job of developing quads. End of conversation.


Since becoming an adult, I've been an animal owner, contributor, participant, rescuer, and in the last decade, volunteer. Furthermore, I seek out unusual animal experiences as research for my novels.

Horses play a large part in many of my Harlequin Intrigues. What I write about comes from the bonds I forged over a decade riding and jumping and showing horses. I think my experience makes the read seem real because the human-animal connection is real for me.

My love of horses brought me to Kentucky with its horse farms and Kentucky Derby. DEAD HEAT, the first of my Kentucky horse books, was recently reprinted.

Over the years, I diversified my animal interests. To research novels, I sought out a variety of hands-on experiences. Before writing SILENT SEA, I swam with dolphins in Florida and learned everything I could about dolphin rescue and the conflict between rescuers and those who run dolphin shows.

Then came The McKenna Legacy, my nine book series (new branch of the family coming next summer!). Many of the McKennas have psychic connections with animals. To write TOUCH ME IN THE DARK (another current reprint), I slept in a Dances with Wolves tepee on a mustang refuge in South Dakota and picked the brain of the inspiring man who started and ran the refuge.

For NEVER CRY WOLF, I learned to track wolves among other skills at a winter wolf ecology workshop in northern Wisconsin. I also visited a wolf refuge with my husband and my then writing partner. When I said I wished I could go into the caged areas holding the wolves for some up-close-and-personal time, both Edward and Linda thought I was crazy. I simply wasn't afraid because I believed in that connection I always felt with animals. All that wolf research material came in handy for a second book, as well-WOLF MOON won Best Intrigue of 2007 from Romantic Times BOOKreviews.

Probably the most challenging thing I ever did with animals was to move cows. My surgery knee was already challenged (meaning I needed a replacement) when I sold a new mini-series to Intrigue, but I decided to get back on a horse anyway.


I knew enough about horses but not about ranching. So on January 1, my late husband Edward and I drove in a snowstorm from Santa Fe out to a New Mexican ranch to research The Sons of Silver Springs. The ranch was situated in a canyon that made us feel like we were at the end of the world. That night, we rode around the property for three hours in the dark-and then rode again the next morning to move cows across the river. Thankfully, I joyfully renewed my connection with horses...and my knee survived the experience.

My research life has grown quieter in recent years, especially so since Edward, my partner in life and in research, died three years ago this week. But my love for animals will go on forever. I volunteer both at Lincoln Park Zoo and at PAWS Chicago, a cageless, no kill animal shelter.


At PAWS, I try to connect with the shyest cats in hopes that I can make them more comfortable with strangers and help give them a better chance for adoption-like Blossom, the kitty I recently adopted myself. So far, I haven't really used those experiences in my writing, but my connection to animals as strong and satisfying as ever, I have the urge to write a series about an animal rescuer...

Hmm, maybe someone needs to tell me "NO, you can't write that because it'll never sell..."

Author's note: While Blossom is my new girl, I was privileged to be Mom to the other cats and dog for 14-19 years. Their photos were scanned for me by Linda Sweeney (their Aunt).

Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire -and- Sin on 10/15/2008

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I'm writing this comment as I have a cat curled up in my lap. Awesome post and the photos of yoru animals are gorgeous. I'm an animal lover who has three cats of her own.

Posted  by Greta Wheeler on 10/15/2008

Hi Patricia, Wow, the research you've done with animals has led to some amazing experiences. I'm so jealous! The tepee....the wolves... I'd love to do things like that. I've lived with cats all my life. And, growing up in Texas, I did a lot of horseback riding. My hubby and I want a nice house with room for horses but we'll have to wait until he retires. Your post is outstanding and I love the pictures. We recently adopted a kitty from Petsmart and I'm happy to say he's doing well and very glad to be here. I'm head over heels... Animals are wonderful! I'd love to read WOLF MOON and TOUCH ME IN THE DARK. Btw, my mother was a cruelty investigator in Texas and I saw some terrible things. I just don't understand... She put a man in jail for beating his puppy to death just because it barked a lot.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/16/2008

Wonderful blog. I could go on forever about animals but I won't lol. I've had two dogs that have now passed and at one time 7 cats (now 6)inside and I take care of ferals outside. I captured and released the female cats (3 stay on my porch now)and found homes for many kittens before I realized how many they could have in one season (2 cats had 12 kittens one summer yikes). I saved one from pneumonia and one kitten I nursed after it was drenched in motor oil. I too had parents that finally caved in and let me have a cat but after having him for over 5 years they gave it away without my knowledge (a long story and it escaped out of a trunk of their car) and I'm sure that's why I probably couldn't resist from saving as many strays as I could. I wish I could volunteer but I'd end up adopting more than I should!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/16/2008

I never had any pets growing up, but now I'm a fish owner.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/16/2008

What a great post.I love animals--especially cats. There are three curled up on the back of my couch and two on my bed as I type this. All of them are old and have been with me since birth.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/16/2008

What a wonderful post and I love the pictures. How neat that you have done such interesting research with wolves and all that you have experienced. I think it is fascinating. I love animals, but do not have any pets at the moment. A series on a pet rescuer sounds like it would be really interesting. Love the idea.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/16/2008

I love cats but the husband hates them, so since I would like to keep the husband (20 years now) no cats. But, I get my animal fix everytime I pass a pet store. I love to see the kittens sprawled over each other and their little mewing sounds of "buy me, please".

Posted  by Jill James on 10/16/2008

The only pets we have are fish right now. When I was growing up we always had a dog or cat. We never had any horses and I love in KY. I always wanted one.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 10/16/2008

I don't have any animals partly because of my allergies but also because I don't want the responsibility for them. I love to be able to get up and travel whenever I want without having to worry what to do about a dog or cat. And why can't you write a book about an animal rescuer??? I have read books about people who work at wild animal sanctuaries and they work just fine. All depends on the situations I would think.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/16/2008

Hi Patricia, Love the pictures of your animals! When I was growing up we always had dog and at least 2 cats, plus goat and chickens. Now I have two cats and we had greyhound that passed away few years ago.We too got cats from petsmart,both are beautiful and both like to cuddle.

Posted  by Ivka Vuletic on 10/20/2008



It's my Birthday!

It's my birthday! Another year come and gone. Another year survived and it's a beautiful sunny day to celebrate the passage of time. I should be writing and finishing that book due by the end of the month, but I feel like playing! Maybe I'll go bake my favorite cake. My husband's going to pick up my favorite pie and ice cream for later. What do you like like better on your birthday? Cake, cheesecake, pie? Me? I LOVE apple pie and vanilla ice cream. If it's cake, a good carrot cake is great with me.

Let me know your favorite birthday treat by leaving a comment and I'll chose one lucky winner for a copy of my September Harlequin Intrigue, Under Suspicion With Child

Posted by Elle James, author of Nick of Time on 10/14/2008

Enter comments


I like ice cream cakes! Or a homemade cheesecake with strawberries!

Posted  by Kathleen  Evans on 10/14/2008

While I love cheesecake a whole lot and I like some pies with ice cream I prefer CAKE on my birthday. My favorite is chocolate with cherry icing and marachino cherries in place of candles (the candles would create a bonfire since there would have to be 60+ of them). The cake was my mom's "invention".

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday!! I hope it's extra special! My favorite birthday treat is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and vanilla ice cream. Nice and simple!

Posted  by Laurie Damron on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday!! October is my birthday month too! Cheesecake is my favorite and my daughter made me one for my birthday.

Posted  by Maureen E on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Haaaaaaaaaaappy Birthday dear Elle! Happy Birthday to you! And maaaaaaaany more..... My favorite birthday treat is yellow cake with chocolate icing and vanilla ice cream. Wow, hope you have a great birthday! PLAY HARD!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/14/2008

I absolutely have to have dirt cake for my birthday. It is more like a pudding than a cake really, but it is so heavenly and rich that I can only eat it in very small portions.

Posted  by Billie Langston on 10/14/2008

Chocolate cake!

Posted  by Minna P on 10/14/2008

For my birthday I love either an ice cream cake or a chocolate two-layer cake with lots of gooey frosting and nuts on.

Posted  by Shari C on 10/14/2008

I love cheesecake and ill take that over a regular cake any day. As for pie, I love apple pie and vanilla ice cream as well. Have you ever tried the apple pie with a slice of cheese on it, it is good as well. And when the apple pie is warm and the ice cream can melt over it - it is the best.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/14/2008

My birthday is next month and my favorite treat is pumpkin cheesecake.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday, Elle. I love Carvel's ice cream cake with the cookie crunch in the middle.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/14/2008

My best friend loves a pie for her birthday. Honestly, I am not picky. As long as it is homemade

Posted  by Phyllis Lamken on 10/14/2008

Happy, Happy! My favorite treat for my b'day is dinner out at my favorite Thai restaurant.

Posted  by Deanna Stillings on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday, Elle! And WOW! Love that Nick cover! I'm an October birthday too and I LOVE cake, preferably something chocolate...or vanilla...with frosting (and not that whipped cream type frosting, the gooey, sugary old-time frosting!).

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 10/14/2008

Cheesecake is my favorite.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday Elle! I love carrot cake!

Posted  by Ivka Vuletic on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday! I love chocolate souffle. Yummy!

Posted  by Linda Campbell on 10/14/2008

I love coconut cake

Posted  by Beth Reimer on 10/14/2008

I love cheesecake. Not just any chhesecake either. The one my grandmother makes me every year.

Posted  by Kimmy Lane on 10/14/2008

I like most cakes (except maybe coconut icing) but if I had to pick just one it would be almond white cake (what we always called wedding cake although now adays that can be anything lol). Happy, happy birthday!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday to you!! Cheese cake or key lime pie is my favorite.

Posted  by Martha Lawson on 10/14/2008

A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!! My favorite cake would be chocolate. Although I do like ice cream with brownies and chocolate syrup pretty good to.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 10/14/2008

I love a good chocolate cake, cheescake, or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting...not real big on the yellow cake & frosting - too boring...

Posted  by Michelle  Bauer on 10/14/2008

I love chocolate cake, cheesecake or carrot boring yellow cake please... Happy B-day to you!!!

Posted  by Michelle Bauer on 10/14/2008

I love German Chocolate cake. My in-laws usually get me a small one for my birthday, but this year they just an ice cream cake which was great too. I also love cheesecake or brownies!

Posted  by Jodi Shadden on 10/14/2008

Happy Birthday! I love chocolate, my favorite is a chocolate cake....

Posted  by Eva S on 10/15/2008

Phyllis Lamken is the winner of the copy of Under Suspicion, With Child. Thanks to everyone who played with me on my birthday!

Posted  by Elle James on 10/15/2008

Congratulations, Phyllis!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/15/2008

Even though it's late I have to share my families favorite birthday treat. We start with breakfast and have sugar frosted flakes, stawberries and ice cream. Then that evening we love made from scratch Chocolate Angel Food. Especially made in a square angle food pan!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/15/2008

I know the contest is over. I just wanted to say Happy Birthday and say I am so excited that the Harlequin Intrigue Authors have a blog. I have been reading Intrigues for years.

Posted  by Greta Wheeler on 10/15/2008




HANDMADE FOR YOU BY...? For the past couple of days I've been making homemade jelly.

Growing up, we always had homemade jellies and jams, and pickles and relishes and even canned vegetables. My parents both grew up in rural North Mississippi. During their childhood they didn't have freezers to keep vegetables and meats ready to prepare. Also, they grew much of what they ate, so during the summers while fresh fruits and vegetables were plentiful, they put up food for the winter.

My mother made the best jellies and jams. I was never very good at either. But this summer, I guess I felt the need to keep up her tradition, so I made a bunch of jelly and jam and froze fruits and juices to make more later... which now is now.

One type of jelly I made last night is mixed-fruit jelly. I took a lot of different fruits and juices that had accumulated in my freezer and put them all together and made jelly. I used blueberries, pears, cranberries, apple juice and raspberry juice. The jelly turned out to be the most beautiful ruby color -- it literally looks like a jewel sitting on a piece of toast or a biscuit. And it tastes divine. I'm very proud of it.

What we in Mississippi call 'putting up' food is a tradition down here. I'd like to say I have fabulous secrets to preserving success. But my jelly recipes come straight off the sheet inside the Sure-Jell box. My aunt can make beautiful jelly just by throwing some juice and some sugar into a pot and cooking it--it must be a chromosome I missed, because if I don't use pectin my jelly never jells!

Any of you preserve food? Any recipes?

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger on 10/13/2008

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My mother use to make jams most often but she did make jelly at times and both were delicious. She and my father grew a garden during WWII but I just don't really remember them doing so as I was born near the end of the war. After that they had a garden when we lived in Jackson, MS but that is the only time I really remember a garden. The one preserve I remember her making was fig as there was a fig tree in our backyard when we move to S. Texas (where I live now). Speaking of missing chromosomes I am missing all the ones that have to do with cooking.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/13/2008

Well, here's one really easy recipe: black currant bananas or other sweet fruits or berries honey Mix all ingredients together with a blender. Store in a fridge. Boil water and add 2-3 tablespoonfuls of the mixture into a cup of hot water. Mix and add more honey if needed. This is one of the hot drinks I make for myself when I've got a cold.

Posted  by Minna P on 10/13/2008

Wow! Sounds delicious! I have put up or canned many different foods, from jams and jellies to meat and fish, vegetables and fruits. My recipies came from my mother-in-law and from the many cookbooks I collected over the years. Many came from the book with my pressure cooker. Don't do much now that I work full time and there are only the two of us. Should because it gives me such a sense of stisfaction when I see the jars all lined up on the shelves.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/13/2008

We don't preserve food. It would be awesome if we knew how to make jams and beef jerky.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/13/2008

I just made elderberry jelly--straight off the Sure-Jell recipe sheet. I also can a lot for fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, meat and dill pickles. All out of the Kerr or Ball canning book.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/13/2008

One year we grew tomatoes and jalapenos and made homemade salsa we canned ourselves and gave to family and friends. I don't eat salsa myself so it was kind of interesting to put all that work into something I wasn't even going to get to enjoy. LOL

Posted  by Jill James on 10/13/2008

I remember my parents having a garden, and being out there when we had early frosts helping my Dad to dig up the potato hills so things didn't freeze. My Mom used to preserve, but I have never done it. Although there is nothing better than home made preserves or jams. I think it is cool that you tackled it.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/13/2008

I don't put up anything now. I did when we were growing up. That is what we ate. We used to make apple butter. Can tomatoes, green tomatoes for frying very pretty in a jar. My sister still does some canning but I haven't for years. She also freezes apples to make fried apple pies with.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 10/13/2008

I'm impressed by everyone's comments! For some reason I always have the notion that the rest of the country is so much more urbane than where I live. ELLEN--you lived in Jackson? I live in Brandon, MS, which is essentially a suburb of Jackson. MINNA--your recipe sounds wonderful. My dh loves a 'hot toddy' when he has a cold, only he adds bourbon. :) Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 10/14/2008

CONNIE--I know what you mean about seeing the jars. When I was little, my daddy would comment each time a jar lid 'popped.' Then, after the jars cooled, my mother would hold a jar up to the light. I can remember her saying 'this jelly turned out pretty.' I'd love for her to see my ruby-colored mixed fruit jelly. QL--Fried green tomatoes and fried apple pies. I'm getting hungry! Thanks everyone. This was fun. Sorry it too so long for me to read your responses. I ended up with a migraine yesterday afternoon. So I slept a lot of the evening away.

Posted  by Mallory  Kane on 10/14/2008

Mallory, hurrah for you! I love "putting up food." We are blanching and putting more in the freezer than before. I miss seeing all the jars stacked up on the shelves! I love making jelly and jams. They taste SO much better than store bought. And isn't it creative -- and much faster than writing a book!! BJ

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 10/14/2008

Hi Mallory, I don't preserve food or have any recipes for it but I'd love to have some of your mixed-fruit jelly. Sounds delicious! My favorite jelly is grape but when I go to a restaurant for brekkie I'll put any kind of jelly on my toast.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/14/2008

Mallory - my sympathies (from a fellow sufferer) on your migraine and hope it is totally gone by now.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/14/2008

I don't make any jelly or jams, but I do pickle all kinds of peppers, (kirby) pickles, green tomatoes and few other vegetables.

Posted  by Ivka Vuletic on 10/14/2008

Hi Mallory, I'm a Miss. girl also. I live up here in the "Delta", 35 miles north of Greenville, in a small town on the river. And boy, do I can and freeze! My husband grows a huge garden every year and I put it up with a lot of help from him! We have 3 freezers that I fill and I can all the tomatoes and green beans. i also mix jalapeno and sweet banana peppers (cut up) and can them. They are fantastic. Just hot enough to enjoy!! Have a good one!

Posted  by Martha Lawson on 10/14/2008




It’s October, and I’m thinking about St. Michaels, Maryland. Last October, Patricia Rosemoor, Ann Voss Peterson, and I were in St. Michaels researching a three-book Intrigue Series, The Jenkins Cove Mysteries.

My book, CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, comes out this month, and I’d like to drive back to St. Michaels and show the book to people in town.

See, here’s where I describe the police station. Here’s the bed and breakfast where my heroine and her aunt live. Here’s the warehouse where the bad guy was going to kill Chelsea Caldwell. Over here’s the swamp where she sees the ghost. This is the restaurant we used for the Duck Blind, where my hero gets an earful about Chelsea from a local handyman. And here is the little shop where I bought a really pretty knit top. That’s got nothing to do with the book-–I was just indulging myself.

I love researching locations–and putting real details in my books. You could hold CHRISTMAS SPIRIT and walk down the streets, following my hero’s progress around town. (Although some of the street names are changed.)

Of course, I did change a few other details. For example, I wanted a car to try and run Michael over on the dock–coming from the direction of the B & B. So I turned the footbridge into an auto bridge. And we put a graveyard in a stretch of open space on the way to Tilghman Island. But we really did need to supply a place for the bad guys to get rid of the bodies.

In my story, investigative reporter, Michael Bryant, is sure Chelsea is exaggerating the ghost story–-to get publicity. So he comes down to Jenkins Cove and books a room at the bed and breakfast that Chelsea runs with her aunt. As soon as he gets there, he’s sucked into a web of danger with Chelsea, and soon they’re running for their lives from killers determined to hide a shocking secret from the past and a series of recent murders.

The Maryland Eastern Shore setting plays a big part in CHRISTMAS SPIRIT and the other two stories, CHRISTMAS AWAKENING and CHRISTMAS DELIVERY. The town of Jenkins Cove is like a character in the book.

How important is setting to you? Does it add to your reading experience, or can you simply take it or leave it?


Posted by Rebecca York, author of CHRISTMAS SPIRIT on 10/10/2008

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Hi Rebecca, I absolutely cannot wait to read The Jenkins Cove Mysteries series. Your book, CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, has the most beautiful cover. I enjoy settings if they are well researched and it sounds like you did your homework. It's neat to read a book if you've been to a particular setting. I've found myself saying, "I've been there!" and "I know where that place is!". Dan Brown's ANGELS AND DEMONS is a good example. Since the book took place in Rome and I visited there in '84 I was very familiar with his setting(s). I had been to all the famous landmarks he used in the book. The Maryland shore is very close to me. After I read your book I just might travel there so I can say "I read about this place in Rebecca's Intrigue!"

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/10/2008

I loved reading your blog this morning. It sounds like you had a lot of fun doing your research. I'm with you about setting. I think it is very important. As a reader, I hate books that could have been set anywhere and I have no feel for where I am. As a writer, I feel that setting is almost another character. Setting enriches the book -- and is fun for locals who like you said could follow the book right down the street picking out places they know. I look forward to taking the trip via your book! It's a great way for me to go to the Maryland Eastern Shore without leaving home. :) BJ

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 10/10/2008

Setting is very important to me. I like to be able to visualize where the story is taking place as I read although I'm sure what I see in my mind is not exactly what others see in theirs. But a book with no description of the setting is really hard for me to read. I also like books that have a map of the town in them.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/10/2008

The setting is very important to the story and adds to the reading experience. I like detailed descriptions of the setting.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/10/2008

The setting is as important to me as the characters. I need to be able to visualize the streets and stores they frequent.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/10/2008

I love reading books with settings of places I have been. Several of Julie Millers books take place in Kansas City and since I visit family there often I get a wonderful mental picture of where these stories are taking place. I love saying "I've been there!!"

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/10/2008

Setting is important to me, I love to read and visualize what the surroundings are like. This series sounds exciting and it sounds like out had fun researching.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/10/2008

As a reader, setting is very important and instrumental in the storyline as well as the development of the characters. It does more than enhance it, I consider it a vital part of a good book.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 10/11/2008

I'm glad to hear the comments, because I love researching loctions for books. If I can't go there, I talk to someone who lives there. NEVER TOO LATE was set in Miami, and I wanted to use the Lincoln Road area for an action scene. I talked to one of my daughter's college room mates who was from the area. I sometimes have a character who grew up in Chicago--and I pick Patricia Rosemoor's brain for the background there. I also love setting books in the DC area, since I grew up here and still live here. I just have to drive to the location. And, of course, I have lots of research trips into Baltimore for my 43 Light Street books. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 10/11/2008

I'm always interested in locations, it's a chance to glimpse places I'll probably never go to.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 10/11/2008

I don't really have a favorite. I like a lot of variety and like to read about different places.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/12/2008

Of course it's important, whether real or imaginary.

Posted  by Minna P on 10/12/2008

Setting is important to me too. I like to visualize the place,it make the story more enjoyable to read.

Posted  by Ivka Vuletic on 10/14/2008



Books and, uh, Christmas?

Don't forget--we'll be giving away books at the end of the month, and we choose the winners from those who post. So, keep posting to increase your chances to win.:)

Speaking of books, yesterday I went to Borders so I could start some holiday shopping. I know, it's only October, but last year I got such a late start that I vowed to make it through at least half my list by Thanksgiving. So, what about you? Are you an early or late shopper, and what are some of your favorite gifts to give or receive?

Posted by Delores Fossen, author of Security Blanket on 10/8/2008

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My biggest problem is deciding what to get for people. I am a late shopper and each year I vow to be earlier the next year.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 10/8/2008

No, not a shopper, I gladly give over money for others to shop. I know it's a world wide acceptance, women and shopping but that gene missed me! LOL I always worry, is this right? What about the color? Would they like this? I worry to death over little things like that when it comes to shopping for others. Thank goodness my husband likes to shop for Christmas, (not any other time of the year though), but he really enjoys the playing Santa part.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 10/8/2008

I'm a late shopper but then I never know what to give my brothers and their families. The kids I can usually handle because I get ideas from the parents but the adults "never need anything". And none of them read!!! I think I was a changeling because I started reading at around age 4. Anyway I love gift certificates to book stores and sweets to eat (like I need those).

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 10/8/2008

Sherry, you have a husband who likes to Christmas shop? I'm green with envy. :) My dh does little or no shopping, and he always waits until the last minute to get anything.


Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/8/2008

Joyce and Ellen--yes!! I have so much trouble figuring out what to get everyone. Ellen, I don't have a lot of readers in my family either, but thankfully my husband and sister appreciate getting books. Me--I would prefer books or giftcards to bookstores. Oh, and I love the sweets too. ;)

Posted  by Delores  Fossen on 10/8/2008

In our family we only buy for the children. We are down to two under 18----so am almost finished with my shopping.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/8/2008

I agonize over what to get people so I'm a late shopper. I want to see snow first or at least Thanksgiving has to be over and then I stress until Christmas. It's so unfair that I have to think of and get all the gifts because my husband is the typical nonshopper. Actually I don't even like to shop (unless I come up with a great idea). Last year everyone got tempur pedic slippers for at least part of their gift. This year my daughter beat me to the punch and is getting everyone the pillows. Drat it all lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/8/2008

I used to be an early shopper and have everything done and stored away by the end of October.......but I find that now I am late, part of the problem is that it is so much harder to buy for the kids, grandchildren and spouses, because they are older now. But I still have to have it all done in time to make the mailing deadlines, since it is all mailed out now. I love to receive gift certificates for myself.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/8/2008

I always say that I'll get an early start on Christmas shopping, but then I always end up buying presents at the last minute. I think in order to save money I should shop around and compare prices right now. I like receiving make-up and clothes.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/8/2008

Estella, good for you about being almost done!!

Jeanne, I might steal the idea of getting those slippers.

Cryna, gift certificates work for me too. That's usually what I end up getting my teenage nieces and nephews because I don't know what else to get them. I also give itune certificates.

Jane, I think prices are definitely better now than they'll be in a month or so. Good luck!

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/8/2008

I am not much of a shopper, but the shopping that I do is late. I shop for the little ones and give money to older ones. I hate buying stuff that people never use. My mother-in-law does this all the time.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 10/8/2008

I try to be an early shopper, but I ALWAYS end up doing some shopping late. As for what I like to receive, gift cards to bookstores, of course! (Or office supply stores.)

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 10/8/2008

I am a Thanksgiving weekend shopper. My daughters, daughter in law, grandaughters and my best friend and her daughters load up the van and shop Grand Island and Kearney NE. We make it FUN!! We have done this for years and look forward to it every year.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/8/2008

Connie, you're a brave woman!!! I wouldn't venture anywhere near a store on that Friday after Thanksgiving.

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/8/2008

Hi Delores, I am definitely a late shopper. I love getting gift cards to B&N, BOOKS, jewelry, and money as gifts. For my first anniversary my hubby is getting me a car! I like to find the perfect gift for a family member. Something they will really enjoy or something they can use. My Mom's birthday is coming up and I found the most beautiful flower pendant. It's an antique and she's going to love it. I also got her an autographed book from the Books in the Park festival in Norfolk. She's an artist and the book is a cozy mystery about an artist. Perfect gifts....

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/9/2008

Melissa, a car? Now, that's a great gift. :) You obviously have a great husband!

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/9/2008

Lexi, a gift certificate to an office supply store is a great idea. My best friend is one of those people who has everything, so this would be perfect for her. Thanks!


Posted  by Delores Fossen on 10/9/2008

Thanks, Delores! My hubby is very special. I'm always telling him he comes from the planet of the nice person. People meet him and later say such great things about him. I am extremely lucky.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/9/2008

I love books for any occasion. LOL We try to have our Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, hoping this year we haven't waited too late.

Posted  by Jill James on 10/9/2008

I am an early shopper. In the last few years I started giving gift cards with box of chocolates or bottle of wine, depends on the person.

Posted  by Ivka Vuletic on 10/14/2008



Moonlight & Magnolias Conference

I'll keep Tuesday's blog short for a couple of reasons--one, I just got home from a fabulous conference! And two--my computer has gone to the great cyber-heaven in the sky, so I don't have direct access to email and the Internet (amazing how much I miss it!!)

But kudos to the Georgia Romance Writers for putting on such a well-organized, well-attended, fun and professional conference!! Since I missed the national RWA conference this year, I was looking for a smaller conference to go to to get my conference/networking with other authors and readers and aspiring writer fix--and believe me, Moonlight & Magnolias in Atlanta, Georgia, this weekend delivered!

I had a terrific meeting with my agent. The Maggie Awards were a nice event (congrats to the winners!). My roomie had a great meeting with a potential new editor. I attended a couple of terrific workshops (one on writing well and writing faster, one on organizing and prioritizing my career goals). I met some new author friends (and ran into Jennifer LaBrecque in person--she's one of the Blaze authors I'm working on a 2009 trilogy with). Over one dinner, I met some avid Intrigue readers and aspiring Intrigue writers--and we had a terrific conversation over upcoming books in the line, and a few insights into writing for the line. I signed some books at the booksigning (and had lots of fun chatting up my Precinct: Brotherhood of the Badge books--lots of readers are anxious for Holden and Edward's stories!) All in all, it was a wonderful experience. It was the creative and motivational boost I've been needing as I've been tied to my computer for weeks on end with a series of tight deadlines.

So, kudos to GRW for their Southern hospitality and professionalism. I loved it!

Has anyone else attended a great conference or workshop lately? How did it motivate or inspire you?

Happy Reading!

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Private S.W.A.T. Takeover on 10/6/2008

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Hi Julie, Glad you had a good time at Moonlight & Magnolias. I would have enjoyed that immensely. I've been to two RT conferences and I'm going to Orlando for next year's. I'm thrilled! Just talking to the authors inspires me. Also I recently went to the Books in the Park event in Norfolk, VA. I spoke to a lot of local authors and they inspired me to start the story I want to write about the privateer in my ancestry. Especially since he sailed off the coast of VA. I was also motivated to join the paranormal society here. Haven't done it yet but I plan too.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/7/2008

I haven't attended a conference or workshop lately. I would love to attend a readers convention and meet some of my favorite authors.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/7/2008

Sounds like a great conference. I have never been to one, but would love to go to the one in Nashville. Hopefully I make it.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 10/7/2008

Hey, Melissa--I'll be at RT next April, too! You'll have to be sure to look me up and say hi at the booksigning or the workshop I'm presenting with Sherry James. RT is usually a lot of fun--cover models, luncheons, parties and awards. I especially enjoy getting to meet and mingle with all the readers.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/7/2008

Cryna--I hope to get to the RWA national conference in Nashville, too. It's a wonderful city (we were there for part of our vacation this summer). Plus, it's close enough that I plan on driving. I love it when the Midwest gets the chance to shine.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/7/2008

Jane--If you get the chance, you should go to a Romantic Times conference (the next one is in April 2009 in Orlando). They do a great job of setting up all kinds of opportunities for readers and authors to meet and mingle. At the Romance Writers of America conference (next summer it's in Washington, DC) they have a literacy autographing on the Wednesday at the beginning of the conference--it's open to the public. At the autographing there are hundreds of authors to visit with. Readers buy books and get them signed (or often readers bring their own books to get them signed). The proceeds are all donated to a literacy charity. Usually, local and regional conferences will have similar events open to the public--just keep your eye open for them.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 10/7/2008

I'll definitely stop by, Julie!! Can't wait to meet you!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/8/2008

Oh Julie, I feel your pain. A computer that is unusable is a real bummer. Hope it is back up and going soon!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/8/2008




Congratulations! If you see your name on the list below, you've won a free book by the author you've been paired with. Please contact the author via her web site with your mailing information to receive a book of her choice.

Jane C. - Author B.J. Daniels

Quilt Lady - Author Paula Graves

Jill James - Author Mallory Kane

Yvonne Weers - Author Dani Sinclair

Vanessa Barlow - Author Donna Young

Melissa Keith - Author Dana Marton

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of Around-The-Clock Protector on 10/3/2008

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Congrats to the winners!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 10/3/2008

Congrats to all the winners. I love this blog.

Posted  by Jill James on 10/3/2008

Congrats to all the lucky ladies.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 10/4/2008

Thanks for the good news, Jan! Can't wait to hear from Dana! Congratulations winners!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/5/2008

Way to go! :)

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 10/5/2008

Thank you. Congrats to the other winners.

Posted  by Jane C. on 10/6/2008




Since our cable is out, I've been watching a lot of rented movies lately, catching up. Wow, did I miss a lot! We've recently watched No Country for Old Men, which was mesmerizing in a disturbing sort of way. I want to know if he killed the girl!!! And Bucket List, which I thought was great. Death at a Funeral made me laugh so hard I cried. I love English humor!!! We watched The Bank Job. I caught that on TV before, but only half of it. Scary to think that it's based on a true story. Watched The Departed and Bourne Ultimatum. I'll watch anything with Matt Damon in it. Oh, and 27 Dresses. That was cute! :-)

Anything that you've seen lately that you can recommend? Who are your favorite male actors? My top three, in no particular order: Colin Firth, Daniel Craig and Matt Damon. Now I'm off to daydream about one of my books being made into a movie and one of these guys playing the hero. Oooh.... :-)


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Sheik Protector on 9/30/2008

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I'm one of those weird persons who doesn't watch movies unless I'm at my brother's house and his wife has one on the TV. Consequently I am also not a movie star fan any longer. Won't tell you which movie star I was a fan of.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 9/30/2008

Colin Firth, oh yeah he's on the list! I am waiting for the DVD releases of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and of course Brandon Fraiser in the new Mummy movie! What to recommend? Well, not a movie, but a new TV series, "Fringe", it will remind you of the X-Files, but it's not, so far it's been a great little series. And if you want to watch an oldie but goodie, "Quigley Down Under", Tom Selleck, (who is on my list), is at his best.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/30/2008

I want to see the Nights in Rodanthe - Richard Gere. Another one of my favorites of his is First Knight! I also like Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp (to name a few lol).

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/30/2008

I just saw Death at a Funeral, too. Matthew MacFayden is so cute. I laughed so hard when the noises started coming out of the coffin. My favorite actors include Eric Bana and Hugh Jackman.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/30/2008

I find that I don't watch as many movies as I used to. As for a favourite actor, I would be hard pressed to name one nowdays. Which I guess really shows my age.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/30/2008

I loved Death at a Funeral too! Yes, British humor makes me laugh. As far as actors go, Matt Damon, and well, I can't think of anyone else right now. I've been watching the Bourne movies all summer long and I never get tired of them.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 9/30/2008

I seldom see a movie until it is out on video or has made it to TV but I love Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford and Richard Gere.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 10/1/2008

Dana, great topic! I love movies... and then I love actors. There are movies I adore that have nobody I particularly love in them (Galaxy Quest, The Devil's Own) and then there are actors I'd watch cleaning their nails if that was the only choice I had. (Pierce Brosnan, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon (!) and oddly enough Nicolas Cage.).......................... Strangely, the latest movie I saw that I thoroughly enjoyed was TROPIC THUNDER. I adore parody (hence the love of Galaxy Quest) and TT was full of it. Unfortunately it was also full of gross bodily function noises, fake yet still disgusting blood and gore, and icky language. If they could clean it up it would be near the top of my comedy list. That said.................. I've decided I could watch Robert Downey Jr. floss his teeth. The man can ACT! And I was thrilled to see Tom Cruise (whom I despise) in a comedic role as an a-h with prosthetic fat, hairy hands and bald head. That was worth the price of admission right there. Beware what I said above if you go see it though. It's not for the faint of heart.

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 10/1/2008

Well since my first comment didn't show up I'll submit another. I would recommend EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH, THE GOOD SHEPARD - Matt Damon!! AMERICAN GANGSTER, NATIONAL TREASURE 2, BABY MOMMA, and one of my all time favorite movies, PRACTICAL MAGIC. Some of my favorite male actors are Jackie Chan, Sean Bean, Anthony Hopkins, J. Depp, Daniel Craig, Samual L. Jackson, and Nic Cage. RIP PAUL NEWMAN!!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 10/2/2008




Those of you who are expecting an X-rated blog, sorry to disappoint you. However, we will explore body parts.

I have an ongoing love affair with hands and forearms. MEN'S hands and forearms. To me beautiful male hands are sexy. For example: Pierce Brosnan's.

I was talking to a friend of mine who's a Science Fiction writer and mentioned a photo of Pierce that nearly caused me to swoon. When I described it to her she said Ah, forearms with firearms. Nothing better! So I started a page on my website called, appropriately enough, Forearms with Firearms.

BTW That gorgeous guy above is Alex O'Loughlin (Mick St. John in Moonlight. Now I know there are those of us who go ape over abs, swoon over shoulders, pass out over pecs, tingle over thighs, and get breathless over butts. But take a look at some magnificent forearms holding some very respectable firearms.

Mallory Kane's Forearms with Firearms Page

Then come back and tell me about your favorite body part.

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger on 9/29/2008

Enter comments


My favorite is the eyes. I love sexy eyes. The expressions they can make the light or darkness in them.

Posted  by Mary Pritchard on 9/29/2008

Yummy pictures, Mallory. Got turned on by the "Latest pictures". lol! My favorite body parts are the neck, shoulders, and arms. I like them BIG too! I also love watching a guy play a guitar. Gets me all excited and thangs. lol!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/29/2008

I love to look at a man's eyes. The amusement, the intensity, soul-searching stares. Whew...and then there's the tanned, well-toned legs, perferably in tight jeans or shorts. Oh, and broad shoulders, attached to muscled arms. Okay, okay...I'm sorry, but I can't pick just one.

Posted  by June Love on 9/29/2008

LOL I love forearms and firearms, too...and your page encouraged me to put up my Guys with Guns Page at Great blog, with sexy pictures. Whoo! Melanie

Posted  by Melanie Atkins on 9/29/2008

I've always loved arms the best and have to see some muscle :)

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/29/2008

Okay, so we like almost all the body parts. Those of you who might be interested in seeing even more . . . for instance, hands, bare feet, men with glasses (don't knock 'em til you've seen 'em) or wet men, check out the barefoot provocateuse here... BTW I just found a few more forearms that are going up on my site tonight!!!

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/29/2008

Forearms are fine, but I'll still go with butts.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 9/29/2008

Oh, I'm with you on the arms, Mallory! I also like biceps and hands. Great pics, by the way!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 9/29/2008

I love how brooding Shemar Moore looks with his nice forearms. I love looking at a man's butt and their chins. Extra points if he's got a cleft in his chin.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/29/2008

Yep it has to be the eyes...and maybe eyebrows. Tom Selleck comes to mind, as does Pierce Broznan's.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/29/2008

This may be duplicate as my internet disconnected as i hit save. It is is please excuse me. Eyes and eyebrows come to mind. For example Tom Sellecko and Pierce Broznan's make me swoon. Especially when they waggle them at a pretty girl!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/29/2008

I loved your page you have set up - I think the first thing I notice on a guy is his eyes.....and then build and forearms a close second. Great Pictures Mallory and a fun topic.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/29/2008

A nice tight butt, long legs, and lots of hair to run my fingers through!

Posted  by Penny Boswell on 9/29/2008

The eyes and the smile are equally attractive to me. But I do love the hands. But the forearms are great, too! Oh, and the tight butt. Oh, and those firm pecs. Heck, I just love it all!

Posted  by Vanessa Barlow on 9/30/2008



Blog Problems

I should call this post SOLVING THE MYSTERIOUS BLOG. I see below that my blog from Monday is up. I had no idea. I thought it was gone-gone. I appreciate everyone's comments and I'm about to go read and respond to them. Thank goodness the blog is back!

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger on 9/25/2008

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LOL! I came in one day and my comment was missing from a post before Elle's. Then I noticed the new code. Let's hope we don't lose any more entries. I tend to get long winded sometimes. HA!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/26/2008



If you could live anywhere.....

In the past ten years, I've toyed with the question of...

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I live in northwest Arkansas right now. I've lived in Washington, Montana, California, Texas, Alabama and Arkansas. I've visited every state west of the Mississippi, every state south of the Mason-Dixon line and a lot of the states in the northeast. I've been to Canada, Mexico, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and England.

And I still can't answer that question!

I think it's because there are sooo many wonderful places in the world that I can't settle on just one. I love the snow and sheer ruggedness of the Rockies in Colorado and Montana. I love the spooky, lushness of the redwood forests in northern California. I love the rolling plains of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, the white sands of Destin, Florida. I love the history in Germany and England, the people of Australia and New Zealand, the southern hospitality of the south and the bustle of NYC. So I leave it there...

How could you choose just one place?

Posted by Elle James, author of Under Suspicion, With Child on 9/24/2008

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For those of you who commented and the comments are gone, my apologies! I had some serious trouble posting this blog and then ended up deleted it! My bad! I hope you'll come back and post again. Thanks!

Posted  by Elle James on 9/24/2008

That is a question that one would have to ponder! It would be hard for me as well, I've enjoyed Colorado, loved the mountains in upper state New York, reveled in the lowlands of South Carolina, growing up in West Virginia and have contemplated on the beaches of Florida. I guess my answer would be that wherever I'm at, if my mind and soul finds that pleasure in just being, the simple enjoyment of existing, then at that moment, that is my favorite place.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/24/2008

LOL........Okay I will try this again.......I was born in Nova Scotia and would love to live there, the country is beautiful. Mind you I am in Alberta, and I have the Canadian Rockies at my doorstep and there are lots of beautiful places here and in British Columbia, so if I could just get away from the City life and into something more tranquil - it would be wonderful. Great post though - gets you thinking about places one has been and things seen.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/24/2008

Beautifully said, Sherry! And I'd have to agree. I want to see so many more places. And Alberta is beautiful! Loved Banff and Lake Louise. Would like to go to BC and Novia Scotia. Those are on my bucket list!

Posted  by Elle James on 9/24/2008

I've always wanted to live in San Francisco and London, but there are many more places where I wouldn't mind living.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/24/2008

Without a doubt I'd want to live in Scotland. I'd pick up and move tomorrow without looking back if I could. When I went back to school for my education degree, my plans were to teach during the school year and spend the summers in Scotland writing. Hasn't happened yet, although I've been to Scotland for a few weeks on a few occasions. Each time I go, it gets harder to leave.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 9/24/2008

OK - let's try this again.....If I could live anywhere I wanted I would choose somewhere in New England or Colorado or South Dakota.....But the only reason I would want to leave where I do live is because of the worry during hurricane season (47 years is a long time).....I'd like to worry about snow and ice instead.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 9/24/2008

I have lived my whole life within a ten mile area of Northeast Nebraska. I am not sure I would chose to live anywhere else but vist? Just say the word and I am ready to travel anywhere!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/24/2008

I am pretty happy living in KY I just wish I was living in the country again. There are a lot of places I would love to visit though, like Ireland and Scotland. I would just love to travel the world and visit everywhere. I would still want to live in KY.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 9/24/2008

Someplace warm. I'm not a great fan of winter. --Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 9/25/2008

Awww, Elle! lol! I said it's a hard question to answer. I'd love to live in Scotland but I'd probably get bored after 2 or 3 years. The grass doesn't grow under my feet as my hubby's in the Navy so we move a lot. I love the beauty of the west, the food in the south, and the cool temps. in the north. Hmm...England would be a cool place to live too. Hubby retires in a few years and we're still trying to figure out where to settle. I JUST DUNNO. LOL!

Posted  by Mel Keith on 9/25/2008

Elle, I forgot to tell you yesterday but I found ALASKAN FANTASY. I do have it after all. *huge grin*

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/26/2008




I'm thinking about technology this morning. And cursing.

For some reason I can't keep my wireless connected today. My husband's laptop is working fine. The wired computers are working fine. It's just me.

That happens a lot. I can stop battery operated watches. The DVD recorder does things when we're alone that it positively won't do when the dh is around. And don't even get me started on the car noises!

This is a red-letter weekend though. Because the HDTV went out too. And I never touch it. That's Michael's baby. This is the man who--if the mouse on his desk is sitting crooked on the mousepad he yells down the hall -- "What did you do to my computer?" ARGH! Well, I wasn't even in the house when the TV broke. Thank goodness!

Me and technology, we don't get along. How about you? Is technology your BFF or are you a tech-klutz like me?


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger on 9/22/2008

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Technology and I do not get along well. I know enough about the computer that I can work my way around it, but if something happens that it doesn't act like it should - it takes me forever to figure it out, and then it is trial and error. So hence I am slow in getting anything new - because I know it will not only not work properly for me, but will frustrate me to no end. I had to smile at the car noises.....they never seem to show up when you have someone that would know what causes them..........LOL.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/24/2008

I love technology as long as it's idiot-proof and user friendly. I love getting a new gadget and exploring it as long as it's not too hard to figure out. I can find all kinds of technical ways to procrastinate when I should be writing!

Posted  by Elle James on 9/24/2008

I am definitely a tech-klutz. No way is it my BFF!!!!! In fact I can mess up ANYTHING that is even slightly techo. I do good to get on the computer and make comments on blogs.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 9/24/2008

I'm definitely not a tech wiz, but I know enough to do the basics.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/24/2008

Mallory, I'll join you in the klutz Klub!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 9/24/2008

What do you bet that the techno-wizards out there just aren't responding. I can't believe we're all teKno Klutzes. But then, if you asked my dh......... LOL

Posted  by Mallory  Kane on 9/25/2008

I remember years ago my Mom telling me that soon everyone would have a PC. I said "Yuck,I'm not getting into all that mess". Well 8 years later I'm on my computer every day. Not by choice though. I'm not totally useless on this infernal machine but there's still lots to learn. My hubby will do something and I'll say "how did you do that?" lol!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/26/2008

That's hilarious, Melissa. When I ask my dh that question. He just raises a brow at me and says 'People are always asking me that.'

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/29/2008



Geek Love

The other night at a chat to promote my September Intrigue, COWBOY ALIBI, when asked the question, 'If you could go out with a fictional hero, who would it be?' I answered, 'If I'd been a student at Hogwarts while Snape was a student there, he'd have never become a Death Eater.'

Yes, I am a lover of geeks.

It's a fact I've been thinking about for a while now, as I've considered new writing projects. How could I possibly write a geek hero for Intrigue? I mean, Intrigue heroes are cops and cowboys and soldiers and spies. They're not usually IT professionals or software designers. Right?

Not necessarily For instance, your software designer might be working on a classified program for Homeland Security that screens websites and Internet forums for terrorist codes. Or your IT professional could stumble on a criminal enterprise hidden within the network of a multinational corporation.

So the job doesn't necessarily disqualify computer-savvy guys from Intrigue hero status. But what about the other commonly accepted attributes of the geek---the social dysfunction, the celebration of cerebral over physical, the--gasp--limited luck with the ladies? That's a little harder to overcome, even for geek lovers like me. But pop culture has already shown us that geeks are all around us, often in the roles of romantic hero. You just have to look a little harder sometimes.

There are at least three types of geek that I think can work very well as romantic heroes:

1) The Geek Out of Water - Chuck Bartowski on the TV show CHUCK

When we meet Chuck, he's having a bit of a losing streak. He was kicked out of Stanford after being framed for cheating by his best friend. The best friend who also stole the girl he's never really gotten over. He's now living with his sister and her boyfriend, working at a Best Buy-clone called Buy More, where he heads the "Nerd Herd" of computer experts. His best friend, Morgan, is an even sadder sack, a floor sales clerk who reminds me of half the guys who were in marching band with me. Then Chuck gets a message from the Stanford friend who betrayed him, and suddenly the only remaining copy of all the security secrets of the universe are transferred into his brain. Now he's the most dangerous man in the world.

Enter Sara, a CIA operative assigned to get the information stored in Chuck's brain. She's the opposite of Chuck--beautiful, sophisticated, worldly and dangerous. And she and Chuck have sexual chemistry out the wazoo.

Why does it work? I mean, Chuck's still a geek. He still lives with his sister, still works at Buy More, still hangs with his geeky pal Morgan. What's changed?

It's Sara--the way she sees him, the confidence running capers with her gives him, and the vulnerability she displays that tells us she sees the hero inside him, too, and that he gives her something that other men don't.

2) The Stealth Geek - Fox Mulder on the TV show THE X-FILES

During the 90s, Fox Mulder was cult hero, the epitome of eccentric cool. But those of us who were active in the online X-Files fandom soon realized that a huge part of his charm was that he wasn't really all that different from the rest of us nerds sitting at our computers without a life. Beneath the facade of his good looks and outer cool lay the evidence of Mulder's geeky inner life: his obsessions, his outsider status, his remarkable intelligence and his social dysfunctions (his best friends were the uber-nerds Byers, Frohike and Langly). It took another geek--cool, brainy Agent Dana Scully--to make this Stealth Geek a romantic hero. With her, he found his focus, his grounding in the world outside his own psyche. With Scully by his side, he went from Bureau laughingstock to one of the most dangerous men in the world.

3) The Geek at Heart - Spike the vampire on the TV shows BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL

Before there was William the Bloody, there was William the Bloody Awful Poet. A Victorian gentleman whose poetic soul and delicate sensibilities made him something of a joke among his peers, William found a violent means of expressing the tumult of emotions within when he was turned into a vampire by the beautiful but insane vampire Drusilla. Brutal, wicked, utterly amoral (because he was utterly soulless), Spike struck fear in the hearts of human for over a century. But it was the sensitive, nerdy young poet within who gave Spike his rootability, even when he was very, very bad. And later in the series, when he decided to regain his soul so that he could be a better person for the woman he loved, it was clearly William the poet, not William the Bloody, who led the way. So we learned that a truly evil creature bore the lingering vestiges of a nerdy poet's soul. He created pathos for many viewers who found themselves wanting, beyond all reason, for the vampire with the heart of a geek to win the girl.

So--are you a geek lover? Do pocket protectors and bad haircuts make you a little weak in the knees?

Come on. You can admit it to me.

Posted by Paula Graves, author of Cowboy Alibi on 9/20/2008

Enter comments


Who says you can't be smart and dangerous? One of my favorite TV shows is THE BIG BANG THEORY!

Posted  by Carla  Swafford on 9/20/2008

Well, my husband is a gearhead not a geek. But, I'd really enjoy reading a series of Geek hero books. Sounds fun!

Posted  by Raimey Scheffler on 9/20/2008

Mulder is one of my all time favorite tv characters. The Lone Gunmen were super geeky, but funny. I also like McGee on "NCIS."

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/20/2008

I think Owen Wilson makes a good geek. Pocket protectors and bad haircuts don't do anything for me but I can tell you in all honesty....Geek's make better lovers! *g*

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/20/2008

It was so nice chatting with you on writerspace Paula and your right; geeks do make good hero's, I mean if you think of just a few titles, JAK's "Trust Me" and "Absolutely, Positively" just to name a few. I think it would be unigue and interesting to bring the geek male or female to hero status in the Intrigues! I hope the editors go for it! Your also right about Fox Mulder LOL. By the way, if your an X-File fan, you might want to watch "Fringe" this season, very good.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/20/2008

I think that Geeks can be good heroes, but they have to have the right heroine to offset them. I think there is possibilities for this to be an Intrigue story and hope that you are able to maybe make work.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/20/2008

Great post Paula! One of my all-time favorite stories is SEVEN DAYS OF THE CONDOR. They cut it to THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR for the movie LOL! Anyhow, our intrepid hero is an employee with the CIA reading thrillers to get ideas of how terrorists might infiltrate the US. He goes to get lunch for everybody in the office and comes back and the whole office is blown away. And suddenly he's running for his life. My critique group refers to these guys as "the nerd who saved the world." Think about Jeff Goldblum in INDEPENDENCE DAY. Sexy geeks! Yum!

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/22/2008



Going home again

I went home this week to the place where I grew up. I spent my formative years (13 through 22) just outside West Yellowstone, Montana on Hebgen Lake. I don't get down there much since we live 400 miles away. It was a strange place to grow up. Back then, West didn't have a high school so we were bused 130 miles a day to a school in Idaho. We went over two mountain passes in the winter. It was back when you couldn't wear pants to school so we wore jeans under our dresses because it was 50 degrees below zero and the ice on the INSIDE of the bus windows was an inch thick. But we got to see the Tetons every morning and often skipped school to play along the way in the spring in the Snake River. (The principal was convinced I wasn't going to graduate. :) It was funny how the smells of the pines and the lake brought it all back. Those were amazing years going to street dances, keggers on the lake, snowmobiling into Yellowstone and lying on the dock daydreaming in the summer. I wonder if I would have become a writer if I hadn't lived those years in that unique place. Is there a time or place that you think affected your life the most?

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Montana Royalty on 9/19/2008

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What a beautiful place to grow up. I've visited the area several times and it has awe inspiring vistas. I don't know of any place that affected my life but my father's job and our moving frequently did. He was a petroleum geologist for a large oil company. I learned many things during that time but I believe tolerance for people who are different was the most important.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 9/19/2008

Ellen, we went south usually after Christmas to the Palm Springs, Calif. area and later to Parker, Ariz. so I know what you mean. My father was a masonry contractor. I went to a lot of schools and like you met a lot of different people. It was tough, wasn't it. I was really shy.

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 9/19/2008

Yes it was tough and I too was very shy. Unless someone spoke to me first I didn't talk to them. The only redeeming thing was that I had two brothers (one older, one younger).

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 9/19/2008

I've lived in NY all my life, so I'm sure the city had some influence in making me the person that I am. The pace is faster and more hectic.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/19/2008

I can't think of any one place that has affected my life the most. I was born in Nova Scotia - but we moved to Calgary when I was 6 so memories of my Dad's commercial fishing days are vague. I have lived in Calgary allmy life since then, so grew with the City. I do remember having to have the jeans and things on under the skirts and having to make sure that we were totally changed "to look like girls"...LOL Oh how times have changed. I think that BJ you would have been a writer since you have all the voices in your head that need to be put down on paper, which is so lucky for us. You have some great memories to build on.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/19/2008



Dogs and Fishes and Cats, Oh My!

My October Intrigue, Private S.W.A.T. Takeover, was an exceptionally fun book for me to write. For one thing, it's mainly a thriller with lots of action. Of course, it features one of my Kincaid brothers--the youngest, S.W.A.T. sharpshooter Holden Kincaid. This young warrior makes for one heck of a bodyguard! And the heroine--amnesia aside--has a lot of me in her. Maybe not the freckles, but certainly her love for animals. And that's what really made this book so enjoyable for me--three of the main supporting characters are dogs that the heroine (a veterinary medicine grad student) has rescued. She works in an Animal Precinct situation, if you've ever seen that show on Animal Planet. (We call it the Pet-the-Puppy show at our house because our hearts are always so torn by what we see that we want to grab hold of our rescue dog and hug her tight)

And that brings me to my topic for today's blog. Favorite pets. Bruiser, Cruiser and Yukon--the heroine's pets in my Intrigue--are all based on real dogs I've owned or that I've met through friends. All are wonderful cases of rescue animals who were abandoned or neglected or mistreated, but who wound up in wonderful homes to guard the place and lead spoiled-rotten lives. Bruiser, in fact, is based on my own fabulous writing companion, Maxie, who's pictured above.

Maxie was found, starving on the streets, and was rescued by the Humane Society. When our previous pet, Shasta, became ill and died, our family (my 6 year old son at the time, especially) was devastated. So, for Christmas, my hubby went to the Humane Society, looking for a new dog for my son for Christmas. My one stipulation was that s/he not be a big dog, as we were living in a tiny duplex at the time. Now, my hubby is a softie when it comes to pets, and from what I understand, Maxie chose him. Okay, so it doesn't hurt that she looks like a miniature German Shepherd (dh grew up with German Shepherds), but I think jumping up on the desk at the Humane Society to lick his face had a great deal to do with Maxie coming home to us. The name Maxie, btw, was chosen by our son, whose favorite book at the time was The Adventures of Taxi Dog, with a hero dog named, you guessed it, Maxie.

So the picture above, friends, if you've read my bio on my books or website is the one and only 'smiling guard dog'. She's 12 years old now and turning white around the muzzle, but she's not showing her age in other ways. She still chases squirrels, loves to wrestle with her boy when he's home from college, and will go absolutely anywhere in the car or on a leash. Just as long as she's part of our pack. She truly is family. And a wonderful inspiration for Bruiser, who plays a key role, in my October book.

I've been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. I've had Reitzie, the Siamese cat--who had to go live with cousins in the country when I was diagnosed with asthma, and cat dander was discovered to be a major trigger as to why I couldn't breathe. That was a sad day, driving out to the farm with my brothers and Reitzie. Then there was Frosty--the valiant miniature poodle who took on a Rottweiler that bit my little brother. Guess who won? And there was my sweetheart, Duke, a smaller miniature poodle who listened to all of my teenage angst in high school, then adopted my grandmother when she moved in with my parents--they were both arthritic and moved slowly by that time, but they loved to take their walks down to the corner and back. I take great comfort in knowing they're both together in heaven, still going for those walks. Then there was Cocky, the cat who acted like a dog and was the best mom in the world. Calico--the 'goldfish' turned giant koi who has taken over my husband's fish tank. My son's dragonfish, which look like eels or snakes and freak me out, but the kid loves 'em. And many, many more.

Who are some pets or other animals who have touched your life?

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Private S.W.A.T. Takeover on 9/17/2008

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Oh my...I had to have my 20 year old Siamese, Damian, put to sleep on Oct. 22, 2007. He died of heart disease. He was my everything and I miss him terribly. His death has left a deep gash inside me that I fear will never heal. However, in July we adopted a tabby that I've named Moose and he's helping repair my broken heart. I've grown up with cats all my life and they have all touched my life in the most amazing ways. I've also had pet rats. Asteroth and Lilith were my favs. The lifespan of a rat is 5 years and Asteroth did indeed live that long. My Mom used to give her "Teddy Grahams".

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/17/2008

Heya, Julie! What a neat post! Maxie is a total cutie. As you know, that book's now a big favorite at our house! We don't have pets. My husband is also asthmatically allergic to cats. He tried inhalers but it just got worse and worse, and as someone I knew well in high school died from an asthma attack, I don't take that lightly. As much as it hurt, Minestrone went to live with my sister. My husband grew up with dogs. We're talking about getting one when my son's a little older, but want to get both DH and DS tested for allergies before we do. When DH was tested for allergies to cats the cat allergen spread all over his upper arm, obscuring the dog allergen. Better safe than sorry!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 9/17/2008

Maxie looks like a sweetie! I, too, have the smiling guard dog at my house. We have Tanner, our 110# Yellow Lab. His bark sounds horrid but he is a big sweetheart. I also have had many animals in my lifetime. A Rottweiler named Samson (who was afraid of my 5# manx cat), Boo, my calico kitty that was a dump off at our farm. And, of course, there were my horses!! I had three in high school and P.C., the filly I had to have, was the ear to all my teenage heartbreak. Many more animals...too little space to talk about them all. Good blog. Made me realize how special our furry friends are to our work.

Posted  by Valerie Oakleaf on 9/17/2008

Hi Julie! Great photo of Maxie! I love the toy she's holding. It reminds me of my dog, Rocky, who loves his squirrel and uses it as a pillow. He also holds it in his paws like that--so cute! Yes, I can relate. I can't imagine working without them at my feet. Thanks for sharing your photo.

Posted  by Yvonne Weers on 9/17/2008

Julie, I love your topic. Pets are indeed special in our lives. We just lost the four-legged member of our family about 6 weeks ago and I still miss him. I expect to see him at the back door every night when I come home. His name was Corky and we were blessed to have him with us for 14 years. I wouldn't trade one of them. Enjoy your Maxie! Sue Baumann

Posted  by Sue Baumann on 9/17/2008

A topic dear to my heart. Our first baby was a beagle name Lucy who we had for 12 years. Then came Shadow from the pound who was the best dog ever. We had her for 17 years and our two girls could do anything to her (one learned how to stand buy pulling herself up by her hair). Then we got our first stray cat who passed last year at 17. Then I started working with ferals and strays - rescued one from motor oil and nursed him to health, another had pneumonia. I currently have 6 inside cats and care for 5 outside cats. I've been able to catch and neuter/spade quite a few and found homes for some. My oldest daughter just got married and moved nearby and we get to enjoy her rescued puppy and cat too!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/17/2008

I never had pets growing up. I got my first fish after college. I'm going to stick fish for a while. I don't know if I can take good care of a cat or dog.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/17/2008

In the last few years I have lost more pets than I still have.They have all passed of old age. Two pekingeses, two Yorkies and 6 cats. I had all of these animals from the of 6-8 weeks. I still have 5 cats---Nico, 19 years, Callie, 18 years, Purrs-Alot, 18 years, Tara, 11 years, and Bobbi, 11 years.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 9/17/2008

We had a family dog that was just that a family dog. She was not interested in being friends with strangers, was a wonder with my kids when we went over to my parents house. Was a wonderful companion for my Mom and Dad and was just an all round good pet. They never got another dog when she passed, no one could really replace her in their eyes, and felt they would always compare. But this dog sincerely thought she was a person, and not a dog. There were other pets growing up but this one was the cream of the crop.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/17/2008

We don't have many pets right now, just a Koi pond in our back yard with about 16 Koi in it and they all have names. We also have a fish tank in the living room. The Koi will eat out of your hands or suck on your fingers. We did have cats years ago but had to get rid of them because my son develope and allergy to them, along with most animals we tried to have. We had a bird for a while to.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 9/17/2008

Love the picture of Maxie and I could just see Scott 'choosing' Maxie. Our current pet is a mutt named Amedeus who is the mother of Stansie and Mozart who live at our son's house. Amedeus is very special to us as she is my companion when I come home alone from my one night a week job. At 2 or 3 am believe me I appriciate that she walks me to the door. She also is unusual in that she climbs trees. When our daughter left for college she left behing her special cat, Max. He became very special to me when I was very ill as he would come to check on me. He would come to the bedroom and pat me on the cheek. If I opened my eyes he would go away, if not he would continue patting my face a little harder each time until I opened them. Miss Max. He developed diabetes about the same time I did, only we were not aware of it until it was too late. Pets can becme a very important part of our lives.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/17/2008

Pardon the single response to all your wonderful comments (deadline craziness is limiting my time to play), but I loved coming back tonight and reading about all the wonderful pets who have touched our lives. Thank you for sharing. Melissa--it's always sad to put a pet to sleep, sometimes, it's kind, but it's never easy. Hugs. Thanks, Margaret! Yes, definitely do the allergy testing. I remember when I got the skin prick for cat dander. I had a similar reaction--it immediately swelled up and covered most of my arm, blotting out other test shots. I remember the doctor saying something like, um, I think I know why your daughter can't breathe--do you have a cat by any chance? I've never had a problem with dogs. And that's one reason I grew up with poodles--because they don't shed. That's extra helpful for allergies, too. Good luck! Valerie--I have a friend with a lab who is the size of a pony! But she's the biggest, friendliest baby, too. Plus, she has lots of skin allergies--the main thing she's allergic too? I swear this is true--her people. Something in human dander gets to her. Hey, Yvonne! Thanks for stopping by. Hey, Sue! Congrats on getting your computer to cooperate. And hugs on Corky. jeanne--that's so sweet about Shadow and your girls. Sounds like a long, full life. Jane & Quilt Lady--taking care of fish can be tricky--that's why I leave it up to my hubby. I'll feed them occasionally, but he balances the water, cleans the tanks, groups them together, etc. I love watching them in the tank--I find them very soothing. Hugs, Estella--old age is the way a pet should go--after a long, full, well-loved life. Cryna--I believe dogs choose who they like, and will be fiercely loyal and protective to those particular humans they decide are members of their pack. (Yukon, another dog in my story, fits into this category, I think) Hey, Connie--Hugs on Miss Max, but how sweet that she was a faithful caretaker for you. And yes, I know Stansie and Mozart. Stansie always says hi. And Mozart? Well, I've gotten him comfortable enough with me that he'll come up to me and let me feed him, but he still bolts if I try to pet him. Take care, all!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 9/17/2008

Hey Julie, I'm a little late showing up but had to see the famous Maxie. Hmmm, Maxie's cute but she's really more of a Mini. :) But I get it--our son named our dog Belle after Tinkerbell when he was not quite three. He was into Peter Pan at the time. Of course he'd deny that now at almost 18. Belle is 15 now, and well, showing her age. Poor thing is half blind, half deaf, half incontinent and will have to leave the squirrel chasing to Maxie. But we will baby her as long as necessary. I too am REALLY allergic to cats. Never been tested but the sneezing, itchy eyes, and shortness of breath is a dead giveaway. People say I should take antihistimines. I prefer to just stay away from cats. Enjoyed your post today!

Posted  by Brenda Gale on 9/17/2008




Fall is here full force. It's cold enough in the house so that I'm seriously considering turning on the heat. My toes are freezing off under the desk. How about a writer/reader party in Hawaii? We could swim up to the bar and chat about books. I'm so ready for some sunshine. The weather has been bleak and rainy for days.

I need to read some books that are set in the summer heat of Texas. Which brings a question to mind... Do you ever pick up a book for the setting alone? Do you prefer the cowboy states, or city intrigue, or international settings? What would turn you off as a setting?

On another topic... What are you all doing for fall? I haven't been able to decorate the house yet, because we're having some work done on it. But I'm itching to start. Do you have any tips for fun fall decorations?


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Sheik Protector on 9/16/2008

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Hi Dana, I just saw the coolest thing in a magazine. White pumpkins. OK folks please don't laugh but I've never seen a white pumpkin. Anywho I'm looking for a group of them to put on my kitchen table. The mag. said to remove the tops and put candles inside but I'll just set up some festive Indian corn and stuff. Cheap candles are bad for your pets. Did you know that? I like all the settings you mentioned. I read everything! Visit this site for good authors and good reads that take place in Texas.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/16/2008

For fall, I usually replace the impatiens in my flower pots out front with pansies. But it's hard to make myself do it when the impatiens still look fine. So I haven't bought the pansies yet. Of course, I hate all the leaves that I'm going to have to rake up. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 9/16/2008

I too don't have a preference - give me a good story and it can be set anywhere. I've not seen a white pumpkin :) but I did find the neatest "swan" gourds last year - yep, they look somewhat like a swan.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/16/2008

A writer/reader party in Hawaii would be fun. I have picked up books based on the setting, but I also read the blurb to see if the story was interesting. Some of my favorite book settings are San Francisco, Vegas and New Orleans.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/16/2008

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I was married in Sept. and all of my children were born in September and October. It is a time I love top camp in the mountains! My house seldom gets decorated because I am far too busy at work but I love the fall colors.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/16/2008

Dana, I had to smile when you said that you were considering turning on the heat. The furance here has been running at nights and then we have been having hot weather during the days for the past week. It has been strange summer for weather. We have already had frost at nights. In answer to your question - I pretty much like stories set in any setting. The cowboy states are great, but I think that the setting has to be in line with the story that I am reading. There is really no setting that would be a turn off unless it just did not fit the story. I find that I used to decorate more for the different seasos when I had the kids at home, but don't really bother with it too much now.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/16/2008

I am looking forward to fall myself. I am ready for some cooler weather and rain. We have been dry all year in KY and still getting tempts in the 80's. I don't do much decorating for the fall, because we don't have much of a fall it goes from summer to winter around here it seems. There is no in between. We even got a lot of high wind from the huricane but no rain.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 9/16/2008

Melissa--I didn't know that about candles. Scary. I wonder if they'd be harmful to small children, too. I don't burn a lot of candles because the scents give me a headache. But I like to decorate with pretty ones, especially around Christmas.

Rebecca--Thank you for reminding me to buy pansies! I have 2 large pots in front of the house and I have geraniums in them for the summer, but I bring those in around this time of the year and put pansies in. I'm just waiting for a sunny day to do it all. It's been windy and rainy.

Jeanne--The swan gourds are beautiful. I've tried to grow them in the past, but they didn't like my garden. :-( Maybe I'll pick some up at the market this year.

Connie--I got married in September, too!!! And I was born in Sept. I do love this month :-).

Jane--New Orleans settings are among my top favorite. The stories always have that sultry favor. Rebecca York set a number of books there that were fabulous.

Cryna--Frost? Yikes! I hope that won't happen here yet. All my houseplants are still outside. I take them out for the summer. And now I can't bring them in until our new flooring is put in. All the rooms had to be cleared for that. I barely know what to do with the furniture, let alone plants. So I'm praying for two more weeks of frost free nights.

Quilt Lady--This no fall thing is catchin up with me, too. The other day I went to shop for a fall coat, and the lady in the store told me that they don't carry fall coats anymore because there's no fall. They just have summer clothes then winter clothes. I thought she was crazy, but I was paying attention and she was right. We were in shorts 3 weeks ago, then had a week of rain, and then winter. I had to give in and turn on the heat today.


Posted  by Dana Marton on 9/17/2008



Inner Life

Sometimes, after yoga on Saturday mornings, I'll stop at a few garage sales--but only if they're on my way home. You know, within 10 miles or so.

Saturday, I scored a really wonderful finds. At the first place I stopped, the lady was selling an English Outing Basket from Victoria Trading Company--only one of my favorite places ever! The basket is filled with cards, stickers, stationery, and lots more!

It's kind of funny to me that I love Victorian cards and pictures so much, because I'm not a frilly person at all. I guess it's more to do with my love of paper things. Ever since I was a little girl playing with paper dolls, I've loved anything paper.

If you've never been to the Victoria Trading Company website, go check it out at Victorian Trading Company --and see if you have an inner frilly girl (or maybe you're a loud and proud frilly girl.) The url above is for the English Outing Hamper That's what this lady sold me for $3.00 Yum!

If you don't have an inner frilly girl, what about an inner Oscar-winning actress, inner diva, inner belly dancer, inner biker chick? A part of you (maybe imaginary) that rarely if ever comes to the surface?

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger on 9/15/2008

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I have an inner frilly girl (explains why I bought those Sketchers) and all the other "inners" you mentioned. If you asked my Mom she'd say the "diva" and "actress" come out a lot. Hubby would say "biker chick" lol! Lately I've been reading Victorian Romances and Historical Fiction. I would love to go back to that time period. I'd wear one of those tall wigs with birds nests or a ship in it. The decadence of the Victorian era really appeals to me.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/15/2008

I'm an inner rock goddess...except I can't sing or play an instrument. But, in my own feeble mind, I'm a rock star, especially with the radio turned loud and no one home. LOL

Posted  by Jill James on 9/15/2008

I love paper and like you I think it goes back to my paperdoll days in the 50's. I had dozens and each one had her own drawer in old sandpaper drawers from the lumberyard my father managed. They looked like little chest of drawers. I had all kinds of paper dolls including Shirley Temple and the Dione Quints and oh so many others. I love anything paper to this day and love making cards and scrapbooking.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/15/2008

I just went to the site and I think I'm going to spending a lot of time browsing. I've never heard of the Victoria Trading Company.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/15/2008

I am not an inner frilly girl, never have been, more a tomboy. I don't think I have a inner anything. I am just me just the way I am.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 9/15/2008

I am not a frilly inner girl, Although I remember having all kinds of paper dolls, and stuff. I still like to do crafts and things.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/15/2008

Oh, I've never been a girly-girl, raised with 3 brothers and in rural West Virginia, nope, never was. I can get it together and look the part for short periods of time, I've been told I clean up real good, but it's a role I can play for only a short amount of time.:) I've always envied those who seem to pull it together with no amount of trouble at all!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/15/2008

Jill, I have an inner Rock Goddess, although she almost never comes out any more. Well, there was that one night, with a couple of girlfriends and a karaoke bar........ Connie, I am so envious of your sandpaper drawers. Do you still have them? There is nothing I love more than paper, except drawers to put paper in!!! Quilt Lady and Cryna, if you knew me you'd know how absurd it seems that I have an inner frilly girl. I was always the biggest tomboy (in every sense of the word biggest) on the street! I should get back to my inner schoolteacher. I need some discipline. It's time to get back to my writing. Mallory.

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/15/2008

I so did not need another web site to lust over. LOL I love browsing fun stuff on the web. Sadly very few stores deliver overseas. :-( Can't tell you how happy this makes my hubby. But I can't wait until we're back in the U.S. --Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 9/16/2008



Some Like it Hot

I just got a copy of the Sep. RT. (I know, way too late.) They left Sheik Protector out as their September Top Pick, even though it's listed on their web site as such. Now I'm embarrassed because I've been promoting the book with that, and people probably thought, what is she talking about? Sigh. I swear I didn't just make it up! And a reader just emailed me to let me know that pages are missing from the copy she bought. I suppose it's just one of those things.

But that's not what I wanted to blog about today anyway. I've been thinking about level of sensuality since I'm heading toward a love scene in my current project. I've got critiques that specifically mentioned great love scenes in my books before, then when I left love scenes out altogether from another book, some readers wrote to thank me for it. So I'm trying to decide how hot to go with this book.

SHEIK PROTECTOR is pretty sensous. All my sheik books are. I figure if someone is reading a book where a sexy sheik carries the heroine off to his tent in the desert, the reader expects them to do more than play chess :-) Pretty much I let the story decide whether or not a prolonged love scene is appropriate. In 72 HOURS, since the hero and heroine spent most of their time sneaking around terrorists who took over an embassy, there was little time and no place at all to get overly romantic.

So my question for today is, what level of sensuality do you prefer in books? What is the point where you are no longer feeling comfortable with a love scene?


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Sheik Protector on 9/12/2008

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Dana, I'm so sorry to hear about the RT screw up. No fun. I like sensual love scenes in books, but some of the erotic romances in today's market go farther than I want to go. I want to know what the h/h are doing, but I don't need a microscope focused on anatomical detail. The focus for me is what the two people are feelings--the emotions of the encounter. I write for Intrigue and also for Berkley Sensation. I can use the real words in my Berkley book. With Intrigue, I have to use some euphenisms. I think I write sensual scenes for each market, but it's more of a challenge with Intrigue when you simply can't say certain words. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 9/12/2008

I enjoy reading erotica but I can't read one after the other. I like there to be something left to my imagination when I read a love scene. And I have a very vivid imagination! lol! I've never been uncomfortable with a scene. I read a really good book by Debra Mullins, "A Necessary Husband", an AVON no less. She wrote better sex scenes then some of the erotica authors I read. I mean I was really squiriming!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/12/2008

Hi Dana - I am sorry about the RT mess up, it must be terribly frustrating for you and nothing that you can do about it at this point. I think for me that the story is what dictates the love scenes - as you said in 72 Hours a torrid love scene would have been out of place with the rest of the story. With the Sheik Protector you had to have the sensous scenes because it was part of the story, so I feel the setting and the story dictate the amount of love scenes or more specifically how sensous they can be. I find that there are a lot of books out now that delve too much into the love scenes and sometimes they overtake the plot and the story itself. I know that may be just my way of thinking - but these type of books are not a comfortable read for me. I like stories where the scenes are a progression with the story and in keeping with the story. But that might be just

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/12/2008

I like a spicy book now and then.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 9/12/2008

I enjoy erotica, so I'm comfortable reading books with a lot of sensuality. I don't enjoy reading scenes where extreme pain is inflicted on either character.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/12/2008

Sorry about the mix-up but I rarely let others judge whether or not I will enjoy a book. And I do like yours. As for the love scenes, sometimes I skip reading every word that is written and use my very active but slightly less sensual imagination instead. Other times I read and enjoy every word.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/12/2008

I'm not shocked by erotica but I've found that the further books go, the less I care for them because it replaces the story and characterization.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/12/2008

Sorry to hear about the mix-up on your book! What level of sensuality do I like to read? I think it all depends on the storyline and how well developed it is. I beleve it takes balance, I've read some pretty steamy scenes, but they didn't seem so at the time because the storyline was so intense and the love scenes just dove-tailed into the plot, that you didn't realize how steamy they were till you had finished the book; good balance. Then again, I've read scenes where the fate of the free world is on the brink of ruin, yet the main characters are going at it like rabbits; not-so-good balance. Yet perception is like beauty, it's all in the eye of the beholder isn't it? LOL

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/12/2008

I loved both Ironclad Cover and Secret Contact partly because a gratuitous love scene wasn't thrown in early and there wasn't too much sloppy stuff while they were busy trying to solve cases. That can be so unrealistic. I certainly like some kind of resolution but full graphic sex can be startlingly out of place in many books.

Posted  by Suzanne Perazzini on 9/13/2008

I think the blog ate my post so if I repeat I apologize. I'm not shocked by erotica but I've found that in some books they tend to put more importance on the sex scenes and not enough on the story and characters.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/13/2008




It’s a little early for Christmas. But like the department stores, I’m starting early–with an October Intrigue called CHRISTMAS SPIRIT. It’s the beginning of a continuity series with Ann Voss Peterson and Patricia Rosemoor.

I’m proud to say that it got a Top Pick from Romantic Times. And look at that gorgeous cover. If you were expecting the h/h, they're on the back.

It’s set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, an area that I love. I dragged Patricia and Ann there for a fun research trip. We based our town, Jenkins Cove, on St. Michaels, Maryland. We got a map of the town, changed some of the street names and added a town square. My story starts when my heroine, Chelsea Caldwell, sees a ghost on the road–-a murder victim, it turns out.

Investigative reporter, Michael Bryant, is sure she’s exaggerating the ghost story–to get publicity. So he comes down to Jenkins Cove and books a room at the bed and breakfast that Chelsea runs with her aunt.

Bad mistake. As soon as he gets there, he’s sucked into a web of danger with Chelsea, and soon they’re running for their lives from killers determined to hide a shocking secret from the past and a series of recent murders.

I love a good ghost story. And ghosts play a big role in the story. When we were researching the series, we stayed at a B&B on the Chesapeake Bay. Ann, dh, and I went out one evening, so Ann could “find a good place to stage a murder.” When we came back in, I asked, “Did you feel like we kept walking through spooky places where the air was cold?” “Yes,” Ann answered. She felt it too.

Was that the ghosts in town? I don’t know, but it added a spooky realism to our trip, which I used in my story.

That’s as close as I’ve come to real ghosts. What about you? Have you ever seen one? Sensed one?


Posted by Rebecca York, author of MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE on 9/10/2008

Enter comments


I have never seen a ghost or sensed one (and don't particularly want to),but that's not to say I don't believe they could be out there.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 9/10/2008

Hi Rebecca, I'm so excited about CHRISTMAS SPIRIT! I love ghost stories and Christmas theme books! I have posted about ghosts many times but I don't think anyone believes me. I am a "ghostbuster". In the past I've gone to people's homes to help them with their "visitors". I've held seances and had lots of experiences with ghosts. My whole family has. I'd like to share something I wrote. I was asked "who is my favorite ghost". This is what I said: As a child I feared even the thought of ghosts. Then, I read Charles Dicken's A CHRISTMAS CAROL. These ghosts appeared to have a good purpose and became my favorites. Although they were scary, they brought about a wonderful change in Scrooge. The ghost of Christmas Past helped Scrooge understand the harm he had done. The ghost of Christmas Present demonstrated the harm he was now doing, and when the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come showed him the horrible consequences that would result if he continued his life's pattern, it made a remarkable change in him. I have read and reread this story and have come to the conclusion that ghosts must be in everyone. But, a proper name for them is conscience. I feel the conscience manifests itself so strongly at times that it may take on visible form and as the conscience is spirit it is not limited by time or death. I'm grabbing CS as soon as it's released!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/10/2008

I have never seen or sensed a ghost. Don't think I want to, either!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 9/10/2008

I agree with Ellen. I do love reading about them too.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/10/2008

I've never seen or sensed one, but I do believe that ghosts exist.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/10/2008

It's not the dead people you need to worry about. It's the live ones!!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/10/2008

While working on the second floor of an older library, I was looking for missing titles, I felt a firm hand on my hip as I was scanning shelves. My breath hitched and my heart picked up, I was the only person on the second floor at that time, I didn't see or hear anything at all. But there was no mistaking what I felt in that split second of time. Kinda makes you believe (as the TV character Mulder put it), that something is definetly out there.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/10/2008

Melissa, that's pretty cool about being a ghost buster. Sherry, that's really scarry about your library experience. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 9/10/2008

I have never seen a ghost. I have had a feeling of something or someone with me - even though I have been alone, so I would never say that there is no such thing. Looking forward to your story - love the Christmas themed books.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/10/2008

I have never seen a ghost or sensed one. That doesn't mean that I don't believe in them I just never have seen one. I do enjoy reading books about ghost.

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 9/10/2008

Thanks, Rebecca! It does get rather interesting. "Who ya gonna call..."

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/11/2008

Sure I figure there are ghosts out there....too much written about them not to be real. Have I ever seen one..perhaps. Reguardless I love reading about encounters!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/11/2008

Since ghosts freak me out, I try not to think about them :-) BTW, your cover is absolutely stunning! ---Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 9/12/2008




Congratulations to Connie Lorenz. Sorry for the late notice. Contact me with your address to claim your prize. :)

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger on 9/9/2008

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Congratulations, Connie!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/9/2008

Wtg, Connie!

Posted  by Estella kissell on 9/9/2008

Congratulations Connie !!!!

Posted  by Cryna  Palmiere on 9/9/2008

Thanks everyone!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 9/11/2008




My latest book goes on the shelves today. It's a busy day. I have to get ready for the premier party, the book signing/wine tasting, and my appearance on the local morning news magazine show. Somehow, during all this, I also have to prepare for my book tour.


Okay, yes, my book does come out today. Along with about 1500 (?) other books. But I won't be doing anything special, except blogging here on the Intrigue blog. Am I saying I'm not excited about my new book? Or that it's so old hat that it's just like any other day? Absolutely not!

I'm thrilled about Solving the Mysterious Stranger. And as with every single book, I get butterflies in my stomach thinking about my book being on shelves in stores all over the country, and sometimes in other countries as well!

But the life of this writer is so not glamorous! What am I really doing today? Writing of course. Going to Yoga. Cleaning my house. Cooking. Writing some more. Blogging, which is probably the most glamorous thing I'm doing today. And trying to stay humble (haha!) Seriously, my life isn't glamorous, but it's a lot of fun!

Did I just collapse your dreams about the glamorous life of a paperback writer? I hope not. Any questions or comments about your perception of us writers?

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger on 9/9/2008

Enter comments


I get a lot of newsletters and it seems authors are able to travel a lot and go to really great places. Scotland is one example. They talk about their trips and put up pictures in their news or on their blogs. Do you travel alot, Mallory?

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/9/2008

I guess I never really thought of a writer of paperbacks leading a glamorous life only have a few glamorous moments and a lot of hard and maybe sometimes frustrating work.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 9/9/2008

My thoughts are that except for the top writers, it's mostly a lot of hard work. I'm thinking most writers "have" to write and if they can get paid for it, so much the better :)

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/9/2008

Wow. Interesting. So you didn't envision us sitting around eating bonbons and petting our toy dogs while getting a pedicure before going out on the town? I'm crushed. My dh and I travel some. Not a lot. I wanted to visit Wyoming to get some first-hand visuals and pictures of the place my next 3 books are set, but haven't gotten a chance to yet. Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/9/2008

How in the world do you find time to write!!!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 9/9/2008

Congrats on the new release, Mallory. How long is your book tour? How many states on average do you travel to on these tours?

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/9/2008

I've got enough writer friends to know the life is not glamorous until you are making millions. For most writers, that isn't going to happen, so they happily struggle along, content to know their words are out there for readers to enjoy.

Posted  by Jill James on 9/9/2008

Jill -- you are so right! We just want our books out there and to know that somebody's reading them. Jane and Estella... 'ahem.' It can be difficult to find time to actually write the books. (g) And trust me, I would not know how to act on a book tour. Let those folks handle the tours. I'll stay at home in my sunroom and write another book. Mallory.

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/9/2008

The life of the writer is not the glamour that some people think it is. It is a lot of long hours and hard work, and if you run into a writer's block then you are totally messed up for your schedules. Travel is great if you get to do it for research purposes, but there is also the ever present promoting of your work, and hoping that the readers are going to embrace your story and love it as much as you do because it is your baby. As well the publication world is a hard one to break into. Looking forward to your release, congratulations on its debut today. **smiling**

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/9/2008

Congratulations on the book release, Mallory! It's good to know those butterflies never get old.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 9/10/2008

Since I'm a total introvert, I actually prefer sitting by my PC and writing all day. Book tours and public appearances would make me a nervous wreck! When I was trying to get published and told people that I wanted to be a writer, a lot of them responded with, "So, you want to be rich and famous?" And I always said, "No, I really just want to write books." ---Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 9/12/2008




Sin/sin/n. - [1] behavior that is against moral or religious norms; [2] immoral act such as lying, cheating, theft, murder; [3] original sin, as in Christian teaching of the seven deadly sins; [4] an act or omission against convention.

Sin has always been a topic of interest, especially to those in the arts. What conflict we glean from the seven deadly sins-pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger and sloth.

Pride and Prejudice Se7e

In 1813, Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, a look at a society in which the sin of pride could keep a person from acquiring a mate.

1995 brought us Se7en, a movie in which a serial killer stages his kills using the seven deadly sins and in doing so takes the life of the protagonist's mate.

After DarkBack in the late 90s, I decided to write a series called Seven Sins for Harlequin Intrigue. Perhaps too edgy for our reading audience then-or maybe it was that my protagonists rather than the villains were the sinners in question-only four of the books made it to the shelves.

Readers and movie goers never seem to tire of sin themes. Authors never tire of writing about them. Which is the case with a bunch of young writers I know well.

A little background.

I've been teaching Writing Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago for a dozen years. And through those years, I have run into some very talented students. But once the class was over, I rarely saw those students again. Unless, of course, they signed up for the other course, which many of my best students did.

The Fiction program at Columbia is literary-based at its core, with some genre courses as electives. Because there was no way for my students to workshop their genre novels once they'd developed them, written a couple of chapters and a synopsis, I came up with a plan to nurture their talent-I had a barbeque.

I invited a dozen former students (from the preceding two years) who I thought would finish their novels if they had a support system and told them their "entry fee" was a new scene of their novel-in-progress that they would have to read. I challenged them to start a support group which would include sharing work to get feedback. They accepted-and met in my backyard every month until the weather turned. Then they proceeded to meet at a local bar.

That was five years ago and the group has grown and members still meet nearly every month. A few of the writers have been published in novel-length fiction-books started in my classes. Other writers have diversified, finding other kinds of writing work. Some of the writers have moved away but keep in touch via the email link.

SINAnd via a project called SIN, A Deadly Anthology, published on September 1 by Avendia Publishing.

The challenge was to use sin as the theme of our short stories. No restrictions. What resulted was an interesting and inspiring mix of stories in various genres. Nurturing these emerging writers has been so rewarding. I've not only celebrated their successes with them, I've made good friends along the way.

What are your thoughts on the attraction of SIN as a theme?

Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of SIN on 9/5/2008

Enter comments


I think it makes for a great story or stories. Maybe your original books would sell today!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/5/2008

I think it is a good theme because it would bring out the creativeness of the writer, since sin has such different meanings to a lot of people. What I call a sin, might not necessarily be one that you consider a sin and the other way round. It opens a realm of interpretations to the writers. I think it is great that you have been a mentor to these students and kept encouraging them.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/5/2008

I agree with Cryna. Everyone's value system is different. Sin would make a fascinating theme because of it makes of think of the taboo.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/5/2008

I think it is a good subject to bring together an anthology of stories. Just the definition of what is and what is not sin is enough to get thoughts going. How wonderful for you that you are the type of mentor who not only teaches students but also enjoys their discoveries and successes. From your own writing, you have my appreciation as a reader, as a person, you also have my admiration. I’ll be looking forward to “Sin, A Deadly Anthology” .

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/6/2008

I thnk SIN as a theme is awesome. You could write about one or more. You could make some up. Or if you believe in the 7 deadly sins you could play one off the other. So many possibilities.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/8/2008



Writing a series

When I started Whitehorse, Montana, I had some vague ideas for six books. I wanted to write about the area where I live. I loved the history, the wild, wide-open landscape, the people. That series has now grown to 18 books. After the Corbetts, the Winchester family are calling me. I can't seem to leave Whitehorse. I keep adding new characters, like in my latest, Montana Royalty, and tying in old ones. There are still mysteries to be solved. But it is mind boggling keeping track of everyone and everything. Even the smallest characters keep coming back. Just today I was trying to remember the sheriff's name from twenty years ago. Never thought I'd need that again, but surprise, I seem to. Writing a long series takes organization apparently. :) And I have a feeling that readers are probably keeping track, waiting for me to mess up. Authors do mess up. I gave a Mustang four doors in a book. Whooee, did I hear about that. I mixed up prone and supine, had a grandfather clock on a mantle and used a wrong name for a character. It happens. Eye and hair color are the easiest things to goof up from book to book. Have you found funny mistakes in books?

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Montana Royalty on 9/4/2008

Enter comments


I occasionally see the mix up with hair and eye color. I just read a book where a character is wearing a dress, but then soon after the author tells us she's wearing slacks.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/4/2008

Any mistakes I have found in books are not really funny. Mostly name mix ups.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 9/4/2008

Sounds as if that character was a quick change artist. :) Most mistakes aren't funny, unfortunately. So everyone survived the summer. Are all the kids back in school now?

Posted  by B.J.  Daniels on 9/4/2008

most of the mistakes I find are just typo's, I'm just not that observant I guess. When I read, I'm "in the moment" in the book, the better the story, the more I forget where, who and what I am. :)

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 9/4/2008

I have read books where the clothing has changed from one scene page to the next - which usually will trip me up and I have to go back and check because I think "I thought.....". This is not funny but has happened in a book I read recently where the names got mixed up and the heroine was called by the friend's name for a couple of chapters, this totally throws off the book for me. As for funny mistakes I can't think of any at the moment.

Posted  by Cryna  Palmiere on 9/4/2008

I've been finding a lot of typos in books lately. Sometimes there are so many misspelled words I wonder if anyone bothered to read through before printing. Some books read like ARCs!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/7/2008




Congratulations! If your name is on this list you've won a book from the author you've been paired with. Please contact her via her web site with your mailing information to receive a free book of her choice.

Winner Jane C. - Author Elle James

Winner Melissa Keith - Author Carol Ericson

Winner Jill James - Author Rita Herron

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of Around-The-Clock Protector on 9/2/2008

Enter comments


I love visiting this blog every day and now I've won a book too. Yeah!!!

Posted  by Jill James on 9/2/2008

Congrats, ladies!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 9/2/2008

Thank you. Congrats to the other winners.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/2/2008

Congratulations to the winners!!

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/2/2008

Congrats Ladies, WTG

Posted  by Quilt Lady on 9/3/2008

Congratulations, ladies!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 9/3/2008

Wooohooo! Thank you so much. Thanks, Carol. I have contacted you and look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for the congrats everybody!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 9/7/2008



Gotta Love a Hero

I recently participated in a special event on eHarlequin, featuring the September, 08, Intrigues. The event was all about Ultimate Heroes. All six Intrigues for September featuredUltimate Heroes on the covers. Intrigue's Ultimate Heroes are ordinary guys Harlequin chose to photograph for our covers, rather than professional models.

Ordinary guys as heroes. Nice idea, isn't it?

In my opinion, being a hero is not about being a hot-shot. It's not about winning, or competition, or fame, or fortune. It's not even about fearlessness. To me, being a hero is about courage and caring. About being more concerned about others than about oneself. It's about doing what's right, in spite of fear.

Julie's post about the Olympics brought tears to my eyes. The little boy who was just trying to carry out the assignment he'd been given. The Kenyan runner who was humbled that he'd won. Valery Liuken, crying with joy, and Nastia's mother, who couldn't even watch!

Then I thought of the competitors who came in last in every event. They are heroes. They brought heart and the hopes of their countries to the games. They made it.

Now, with Gustav bearing down on the Louisiana coast, we'll be seeing more heroes. It would take too long to go back and mention the heroes of Katrina, or Rita. But we're about to see it all again. People who literally risk their lives for strangers--why? Because it's the right thing to do.

There will be that one lasting image from Gustav, just as there are for other disasters. But I think about the hundreds of heroes whose faces and deeds never make it to the headlines. Real heroes aren't thinking about fame or glory. They're thinking about others.

Do you have a lasting image of a hero? Or a hero in your own life? An ordinary person who impacted you just by doing what was right? I do.

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger, Sept 08 on 9/1/2008

Enter comments


I too have a person who was just an ordinary person, but who has impacted me by doing what was right. Time and again, I have seen this person give up something for themself to help out someone else because it was needed. To me that is a hero. Just like the people that we meet everyday in our lives that are a lot of times unsung heroes, because it is their jobs - policemen, firemen, paramedics.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 9/1/2008

There was an article in today's paper urging the government to give full benefits to first responders who died as a result of working at Ground Zero. A lot of these fallen heroes died as a result of exposure to the elements at Ground Zero, but the government won't classify their deaths as in the line of duty, denying additional benefits to their families.

Posted  by Jane C. on 9/1/2008

My grandma is my hero. She's a preacher's wife, but she's completely non-judgmental. She's there for her kids, grandkids and great grandkids, no matter what. She loves unconditionally. She takes in the broken and battered and helps them rebuild, then stands back smiling when they leave to live successful lives. If instead those broken and battered people go back to their self-destructive patterns, she prays. And offers hugs when they need them again. She knows what it means to get by on a sack of peas and a bag of potatoes. She believes in living her life as a testimony to others instead of "talking" about what God wants or doesn't want. She's strong and dignified and smart. She introduced me to books and homemade Virginia Reel pickles and biscuits and gravy. She taught me how to make a bed the right way and how to clean a stove top and how to sing Amazing Grace and The Old Rugged Cross in three-part harmony. She is a woman born way before her time, and I'm incredibly thankful to have her in my life and to have her in my daughter's life.

Posted  by mary beth lee on 9/1/2008

I have so many heros but currently have a special one. She is a friend to all, teacher to fifth graders, bread baker and weight watcher leader as well as a wife and mother and she is fighting breast cancer. Through it all she is continuing to do just what she has always done..uplift others. Please Pray for her.

Posted  by Connie  Lorenz on 9/1/2008

Thanks, everybody, for telling us about your own heroes. Love hearing about them. Mallory Kane

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/2/2008



Writing the Male POV

Last week, during the Ultimate Intrigue Heroes special posting on eHarlequin, the subject of writing from the male POV came up. Most (though not all) Intrigue writers are women, yet our heroes are vital characters in our stories.

I mentioned in the discussion that I'm often accused of thinking like a guy, at least by the old 'Mars vs. Venus' rules, particularly when it comes to communication. For instance, my female friends have learned that they don't come to me if they want mere commiseration; I'm a fixer, not a sympathizer. I'm always going to try to give advice or suggestions for fixing their problems, which may not be what they're looking for. But that's just how my mind works. I can't seem to help it, and according to some psychologists, neither can men.

A little less talk and a lot more action---that's the motto apparently. And I think we use that in our writing, sometimes. Our heroes aren't likely to have long, emotional talks with the heroines. They're not big on baring their souls.

As Hara Estroff Marano put it in her article 'Advice: Men vs. Women' on the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website, 'It seems to me, that most often men's driving force (conscious or unconcious) is sex but a woman's driving force is emotional exchange.'

Men often express affection with action--fixing the sink, squashing a bug for you, or, you know, taking a bullet for you--rather than words. But it's a viable source of communication if you know how to translate it. Most women in long-term relationships figure that out, which may be why they're in long-term relationships in the first place.

That said, recent psychological studies suggest that men and women share the same basic needs---love, comfort, companionship, and emotionaly and physical release. They just express those needs differently. And some researchers think that a lot of those differences may be cultural rather than biological.

Whether or not that's true, however, I don't think it's smart to dismiss cultural influences, especially in fiction. Writers take in a lot of different factors--a character's background, experiences, influences and environment to mold a fictional character who comes across as unique, layered and 'real.'

And regardless of what the psychologists have to say, I have to take at least some cues from pop culture as an indicator of reality. It's not a coincidence that the average woman (or man) can read humor sites like this or this and nod in recognition and agreement.

And for those of us who are country music fans, perhaps Brad Paisley said it best of all in his song 'I'm still a Guy':

When you see a priceless French painting
I see a drunk, naked girl
You think that riding a wild bull sounds crazy
And I’d like to give it a whirl
Well love makes a man do some things he ain’t proud of
And in a weak moment I might
Walk your sissy dog, hold your purse at the mall
But remember, I’m still a guy

Posted by Paula Graves, author of Cowboy Alibi on 8/30/2008

Enter comments


You make an excellent point Paula, being raised with 3 brothers and no sisters and being a tomboy as well, the male point of view is very easy for me to see and read. I get very disappointed in some books as I feel they don’t make the male lead multi-dimensional, or limit his importance in the storyline, yet there are some authors and titles who create that wonderful balance where the final product is one where readers remark with the highest of praise; "Oh, you gotta read this, it's a good one"! LOL

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/30/2008

Great, thought-provoking post!

I clean like a man (as in not a lot) and eat like a man. Does that qualify me for writing male POV? :-)


Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/30/2008

Oh my, yes indeedy it does Dana! :)

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/30/2008

Isn't that the quandry - the same things that repel us also attract us lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/30/2008

I never realized that men show affection with actions until now. I do agree that cultural influences are important when studying behavior.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/30/2008

I think Brad's song says it all.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/30/2008

What a great post you have given us lots to think about. And I, like you, think that Brad Paisley expresses the points the best in his song.

Posted  by Cryna  Palmiere on 8/30/2008

I lobe Brad Paisley's song and I swear he is singing wfrom my husbands's viewpoint.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/30/2008

What is it about men that they can write the most romantic things in song lyrics, in movie scripts, and in books classified as thrillers, westerns and men's adventure, but so many of them feel justified in scoffing at romance novels. I'm going to try to post one of the most romantic songs I know here. It's by Dan Hill. I hope its formatting comes out okay. But READ these lyrics! Mallory Sometimes When We Touch - Dan Hill

You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply
I'd rather hurt you honestly
Than mislead you with a lie
And who am I to judge you
On what you say or do?
I'm only just beginning to see the real you

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Romance and all its strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the insecurity
Some tenderness survives
I'm just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize fighter
Still trapped within my youth

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

At times I'd like to break you
And drive you to your knees
At times I'd like to break through
And hold you endlessly

At times I understand you
And I know how hard you've tried
I've watched while love commands you
And I've watched love pass you by

At times I think we're drifters
Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passion flares again

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 9/1/2008



What grabs your attention?

I'm trying to put together a trailer for SHEIK PROTECTOR, and if you knew how technically challanged I am, you'd know how hard I'm struggling. Do you watch trailers for books? Do they make you buy the books they advertise? Some Intrigue authors have had fabulous trailers in the past. I'll even admit to some trailer envy :-)

I've only ever done one before for SECRET CONTRACT (it's still on my web site, if you're interested). I can't say that it made any difference in sales. Of course, I totally loved it! It's great to see visual representation of a story that I had only ever seen on paper.

Do you ever watch book trailers? Go to authors' blogs? Enter author contests? (OK, those last two are yeses for everyone here.) Do you sign up to receive author newsletters? I'm just curious.

And if I ever get this trailer done, I'll make sure and post a link here.


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Sheik Protector on 8/29/2008

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I watch book trailers and know how much work goes into one of them. But to see the story unfold in those trailers, is great. I go to blogs, but not as many as I would like to because of time. I do enter contests and I sign up for newsletters as well. Looking forward to seeing your trailer when it is done.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/29/2008

Yes, to all your questions. I can't say I really care for book trailers.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/29/2008

Yes to all of the above, although I don't watch trailers religiously. Trailers are entertaining. I sign up for newsletters so I will be informed when an author has a new release.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/29/2008

Yes to everything - I'm about 50/50 on the trailers though. If you are still on dial up it's impossible but I've recently changed.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/29/2008

I love to watch book trailers! The best ones I've seen so far is the "Dust Bunny" for Jayne Castle's futuristic series. There are a couple to for Sherrilyn Kenyon's Darkhunter series that is very well done. I envy those who have the ability and creativity to put together those short vids; but yes I like them very much. Some of them are just too cute and funny!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/29/2008

I love other authors' trailers, but trying to put one together for my own book gives me heartburn. I can't wait until the youngsters in the family are computer whizzes and can help me out! At what age do kids pass their parents at computer skills? Middle school? Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/30/2008

Oh wow, Sherry--I did those Dust Bunny trailers for Jayne. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed them. They were so much fun to do--I don't get to put nearly that much humor in my own books, so it's nice to do something lighter for a change.

Posted  by Paula Graves on 8/30/2008



The Olympics

Who did you have on your walls when you were a teenager or preteen? I'll confess, I think I was a little "unique." When my cousin gave me a TIGER BEAT magazine, I had to read to find out who most of the guys were on the cover.

But I have always loved watching sports, and have been a big fan of the Olympics since 1972 when Olga Korbut bent into a pretzel on the balance beam, and in 1976 when Nadia Comaneci hooked me on gymnastics with her perfect 10's. I even wrote a fan letter to cross-country skiier Bill Koch (and got a very gracious reply) after the winter games. Back then, I subscribed to Sports Illustrated, and the walls in my bedroom were covered with pictures of Olympic swimmers like John Naber and Rowdy Gaines, and Olympic skater Scott Hamilton. Waiting 4 years for the Games to begin and for me to see some favorite sports stars and fall in love with and root for new ones seemed like forever. I was never so pleased when the IOC shifted the Winter Games to alternate years (just so I wouldn't have to wait so long, I'm sure).

These past two weeks, I've discovered that I'm still a big Olympics fan. I love the idea of setting asides political and cultural differences and just being people, competing side by side with someone who may not even speak your language, but who knows and appreciates a good run or amazing lift or courageous attempt, etc. And boy, did China and the athletes really put on a show. I find I'm now searching the newsstands for copies of Sports Illustrated again because I want to remember just how much these Olympics impressed me.

Here, in no particular order, are my top highlights from watching the Games in Beijing:

1. Michael Phelps (Need I say more?)

2. Michael Phelps, after the medal ceremony for his 8th record-setting gold medal, climbing through a sea of reporters to find his mother in the stands--when Debbie Phelps hugged her son, I cried (when I was 16, I would have written MIchael--now I feel like writing his mother and telling her, "Way to go. Good job.")

3. Shawn Johnson's smile. Sure, her pirouette on the balance beam was unrivaled, and she was a powerhouse on the floor. But that smile--cheering on her teammates, accepting a medal, waving to the crowd, talking to a reporter at the closing ceremonies--deserved a gold medal. I just felt happier looking at her. She's a Wheaties box waiting to happen--but if someone could bottle that smile and send it around the world, we'd have an antidote for blue, mopey days.

4. Watching Usain Bolt run. I have no idea how he gets those long legs to move so fast, but he was so graceful and powerful, it almost didn't look real. Impressive.

5. Nastia Liukin. Grace Kelly with power. Personally, I think she got robbed on the uneven parallel bars, but I want to be positive here. She did amazing things. And she made it all look easy.

6. Nastia's father, Valery Liukin (sorry, I hope I didn't misspell his name). A proud papa with tears in his eyes as he watched his daughter accept her gold medal in the all-around. What parent isn't moved by everything behind that one camera shot?

7. The opening ceremonies with Li Ning when he "ran" in the air around the top of the stadium to light the torch. Magic.

8. The Redeem Team. I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of pro basketball. But I'm a big fan of the men who represented us this year in Beijing. I was so impressed with how there was no arrogance about them--they were there to reclaim the title of U.S. dominance in basketball, yes, but they were also there to be a part of the Olympic experience. They were pure, regular athletes, regular guys--Jason Kidd attending the beach volleyball final in the rain, Kobe Bryant addressing fans when he walked through the crowd, LeBron James cheering on Michael Phelps. They were good guys, men to admire--and yeah, they got the job done on the basketball court, too.

9. Jason Lezak chasing down Alain Bernard of France in the men's first swimming relay final. I was on my feet screaming (scared the dog!) it was so exciting.

10. The Kenyan man who won the marathon. He didn't know whether to cry or smile when he realized he was going to win the gold medal. Yes, it's okay to smile. Maybe more than anyone else at the games, his humbled, joyous expression gave me some inkling of what it must feel like to be the best in the world at something for one shining moment.

11. Yao Min and the little boy who survived the Chinese earthquake at the opening ceremonies. There was a man who was truly proud of his country. Proud to be there representing his country. Proud to see his country shine when it doesn't always do so. And that little boy was just a little boy who'd done his job as room monitor to help save some classmates. That's a hero for the best of our Harlequin stories.

12. Bob Costas. Witty, engaging. You can tell he knows a lot about a lot of different topics. NBC did a great job of covering the games, I think--they showed a variety of events, from the most popular to the most unique. They highlighted athletes from different countries. They gave viewers fun and pathos both. But I have to say, I think his interview with President Bush was probably the most interesting, watchable interview of the president I've ever seen. (a shout-out to Mr. Bush, too--you rocked that interview) Bob, as always, talked knowledgably about sports, but he also got in some good questions about the Russia/Georgia conflict and doping in sports. And he got answers. (Of course, I'm always pleased to see another fellow former Missourian do so well)

Well, I could go on. I love the whole idea of the Olympics. I love watching them and reading about what's going on. And I think I particularly enjoyed "my" Olympic experience this year.

Do you have any highlights you'd like to share?

Happy Reading,


Posted by Julie Miller, author of Private S.W.A.T. Takeover on 8/28/2008

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Your note made me wish that I spent more time watching the Olympics. Sadly, deadlines interfered. :-) Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/28/2008

I loved catching the lesser watched sports on off channels at odd times. The trampoline was scary and exciting at the same time. Weightlifting was awesome with small women lifting twice their body weight. I missed syncronised swimming, bummer! I like that one.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/28/2008

I thought the opening ceremonies was the best one I've ever seen. The American men and women's indoor volleyball team and the Chinese gymnastics teams were awesome. I couldn't believe it when Michael Phelps beat won the 100m butterfly by a fingernail. It was amazing to watch.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/28/2008

I enjoyed both the men's and womens beach volleyball, Michael Phelps, Dana Torres, the Redeem Team, and the US gymnasts.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/28/2008

Shawn Johnson of course, but I've always enjoyed the equistrian events, especially the cross country.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/28/2008

I agree with all the people you mentioned but I also liked Anton Fokin who was the first man from Uzbekistan to win a medal (bronze).

Posted  by Joyce M. on 8/28/2008

I stand corrected Anton Fokin was the first medal winner for his country.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 8/28/2008

The only thing I missed from your highlights was the basketball, but I agreed with everything else. The women's beach volleyball was fun to watch too.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/28/2008

Oh, yes--the equestrian events. Were those shown on one of the cable channels? I only got to see a little bit--maybe it was a highlights reel. I love to watch the jumping.

I loved watched the team competitions in gymnastics, especially. They were exciting. Jonathan Horton and Shawn Johnson, especially, were such good leaders for their teams--cheering others on, congratulating performances, giving pep talks, etc. I really got that 'team' feeling. I cringed when the Japanese man fell off the rings and when that one Chinese girl crashed on the balance beam. Yikes!

I did watch Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in the beach volleyball finals--that was exciting, too!

What can I say? I probably watched more than I should. But it's not on all the time, so I indulged. There are so many stories behind the scenes and on the field/court/track/arena/etc.

Now I'll be looking forward to Vancouver and the Winter Games in 2010!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 8/28/2008

I loved watched the team competitions in gymnastics, especially. They were exciting. Jonathan Horton and Shawn Johnson, especially, were such good leaders for their teams--cheering others on, congratulating performances, giving pep talks, etc. I really got that 'team' feeling. I cringed when the Japanese man fell off the rings and when that one Chinese girl crashed on the balance beam. Yikes!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 8/28/2008

I did watch Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in the beach volleyball finals--that was exciting, too!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 8/28/2008

What can I say? I probably watched more than I should. But it's not on all the time, so I indulged. There are so many stories behind the scenes and on the field/court/track/arena/etc. Now I'll be looking forward to Vancouver and the Winter Games in 2010!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 8/28/2008

I am not one too much for the Summer Olympics, the winter ones are the ones that catch my attention, so I never watched any of these Olympics. Although was excited for the USA that Michael Phelps achieved the records and gold metals that he did.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/28/2008

Julie, I love the Olympic's and really enjoy the lesser known sports, or at less shown. Love Archery and have known and shot with some of the past winners. Did not get to see much of the broadcasts this time so am not sure whether or not they showed any archery but with the computer did get to see a few shots. The Opening ceremony must have been super and as soon as I have several hours I am going to watch it. recorded it because we were at an out of town wedding.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/30/2008



Going camping in the mountains

It's time to pack for a camping trip up the West Boulder River. The campground is right by the river with lots of clear cold water and tall fragrant pines. The mountains shoot straight up all around you. And if you feel like a hike, shoot, you could walk all the way to Yellowstone Park. My daughter and her husband will be camping with us and the other kids will be coming up for a barbecue. What could be more wonderful for Labor Day? The labor. I've been baking for several days and have more to do today. And the packing... Don't get me wrong, it's going to be great. Once we get there, once the tent is up and the chairs set out by the river. I can't wait to roast marshmallows over the fire and is there anything better than the smell of bacon frying in the morning and the sound of the river rushing over the rocks. For a few days I will forget about the book I'm working on and play with the grandbabies, visit with my family and enjoy the great outdoors. In the meantime there are lists to make and food to buy and baking to finish. We'll have to unpack when we get back but we'll be bringing back wonderful memories of talks around the campfire, the sound of children's laughter and the warm feeling that comes with being with family. I can't wait to get packed!

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Montana Royalty, September 9 on 8/26/2008

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My mother will be celebrating her 86th birthday on the 1st which is really nice every year because most everyone has the day off.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/26/2008

Have fun, B.J. I've never been camping before, but hopefully I'll get a chance to experience it one day.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/26/2008

Have a great time!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/26/2008

Sounds like a great time. Have lots of fun and all the memories are worth so much more than the work to get to the campground. Hope you have terrific weather.....Enjoy!!

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/26/2008

B.J., it sounds like a WONDERFUL time! Enjoy!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 8/26/2008

Isn't it wonderful to get away from it all for a little while? Have a good time!

Posted  by Sherry  Dickens on 8/27/2008

Oh my are living my dream life! My very favorite thing to do is camping in the mountains in the fall. Hopefully we can find the time next year.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/27/2008



Insomniacs of the World, Unite!

So what does everyone do when they can't sleep? I've been doing pretty badly lately, probably because of the heat. Sometimes, I'm content to stare at the ceiling, sometimes I read, and sometimes I get some creative burst from somewhere and grab paper and pen. Sadly, come morning, I always realize that what I wrote at 2 a.m. is a lot less brilliant than I'd thought at the time :-)

Case in point, I'm going to share my recently composed (well past midnight) Intrigue Theme Song with you.

My Favorite (Intriguing) Things

--Sing out loud to the tune of These are a Few of my Favorite Things from The Sounds of Music—

Cowboys, and sheriffs, and all S.W.A.T. team members,
hot sheiks, and princes, and tough Texas Rangers,
agents, and Marshall s, a spry spy named Ben,
these are a few of our Intriguing men.

Women of substance, and women of courage,
lawyers, and CEOs inspired stories,
fabulous singles and mother’s with babies,
these are a few of our Intriguing ladies.

When the guns pop, when the knives fly, when the plans go bad,
you’ll turn the page and see our next surprise,
and then you’ll feel well scared.

Assassins, robbers and serial killers,
we write some bad guys who’re worthy of thrillers.
Maniacs, ghosts and all kind of ruffians,
these are a few of our Intriguing villains.

Kidnapping, poison, and terrorists coming,
spymasters’ dealings and explosive bombing,
bribery, blackmail and connect the dots,
these are a few of our favorite plots.

When the guns pop, when the knives fly, when the plans go bad,
you’ll turn the page and see our next surprise,
and then you’ll feel well scared.

Posted by Dana Marton, author of Sheik Protector on 8/24/2008

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LOL! Very clever, Dana. I read if I can't fall asleep and I've now found that I can read like crazy at night. I think of things to write when I'm in the shower or early morning when I'm not quite awake and have nothing to write with...or on.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/24/2008

Not bad Dana, not bad at all.........just don't give up your writing of Intrigues. Or maybe it was my singing that was so bad!!

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/24/2008

I love it, Dana!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 8/24/2008

LOL! I have read(sung?) many versions of this song and laugh at every new one but now when I look for a new intrique book to read I shall be remembering this version. I love it. I to will read, or rarely clean, when unable to sleep.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/24/2008

Wow, Connie, I'm impressed. I can honestly say I never cleaned because I wasn't able to sleep. Oh the other hand, I must confess, I had slept on a number of occasions when I was supposed to be cleaning. :-) Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/24/2008

Wow, that was awesome. I never come up with anything that clever when I have trouble sleeping.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/24/2008

I forgot to mention that I will get up and read sometimes into the very early mornings. I've been known to read until 5 or 6 AM and then sleep a couple of hours before getting the day started. Don't hate me because I am retired and can sleep whenever.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/25/2008

I liked the song.........LOL. When I can't sleep I get up and read, or play a couple of games on the computer. Or work on a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table if I have one on the go.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/25/2008

So cute, Dana! I have insomnia, but I'm not that clever--just grumpy!

Posted  by Tracy  Montoya on 8/25/2008

I thought it was adorable. I too read in bed at night and into the wee hours!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/25/2008

is it ogin to let me

Posted  by tami BLACKROZE37 bates on 8/26/2008

Oh my, LOL that is great! Did you post that on your blog? I might have missed it? Wonderful and quick-witted!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/27/2008



Greetings from Tropical Storm Fay-land!

I’m ridiculously grateful to have power right now, and when I realized it’s my day to blog, I figured I’d publicly celebrate that fact. So … yay, power! Big ups to my electric company—who even though they are boneheaded enough to deny the impending global warming crisis and send me letters against expanding solar or wind power (sigh), have managed to keep my lights on in this storm. And a wet, squishy hug to my newspaper delivery person for managing to drop off my newspaper even in this disgusting weather.

How disgusting is it? School (and my preschoolers’ day care) has been closed for the past three days as we waited for the World’s Slowest Tropical Storm Evah to stop hovering over Daytona and MOVE already. Fay finally meandered southwest of us, so things are really wet outside. We’re not flooding (although I hear the riverbanks are going to soon), but it’s quite windy, and the rain comes down in sheets whenever a squall line moves through.

Taking a page from a local newspaper columnist, here are a few things Fay has made me thankful for (besides electricity and Internet access):

• My kids are small enough, that all I have to do is bring out a few toys I’ve stored away, and they think they’re getting presents! This has been enough to keep them from going completely stir-crazy, fortunately.

• I’m happy for a break in the sauna-like weather, even though I can’t go out in it. (Well, I guess I COULD, but it wouldn’t be too much fun.)

• I’m glad my family and I have the wherewithal to NOT try kite-boarding in a tropical storm. If you haven’t seen the video that caused my brother to coin the term “Floridiot,” here it is.

• I’m glad the storm made my oldest younger brother Tom call me. Tom is not a phone person and rarely calls, but storms freak him out enough to suspend his lifelong phone embargo to make sure his nieces haven’t floated away.

• I’m grateful for take-out restaurants that stay open during tropical storms. Although I’m wicked devastated that my favorite Thai place is across a bridge that is currently closed.

• I’m glad our area hasn’t flooded and I haven’t seen any alligators swimming by. Or snakes. While neither one squicks me out as much as spiders do, I really don’t want to be dealing with a Florida rattler or a wet and crabby gator in my driveway anytime soon.

• I’m glad my Playstation 3 is still working. I have a rather unfortunate addiction to Lego Star Wars at the moment, and the storm has given me an excuse to finish it.

• But what I’m most grateful for (besides the health and safety of my family … and Lego Star Wars for the PS3) is that I have a massive stack of excellent books sitting here, just waiting to entertain. Three cheers for Tracy’s book-buying addiction! I knew it would come in handy someday.

•How’s the weather where you all are? And have you read anything you’ve really loved lately? (Because I’ll probably be between books tomorrow, looking for something else to read….)

Posted by Tracy Montoya, author of I'll Be Watching You on 8/22/2008

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Tracy, sorry about Fay. But it sounds as if you have a lot to be thankful for. I got hooked on Bookworm. It's a word game so it can't be that bad for a writer to play, right? As for the weather, it finally cooled off up here in Montana so we're thankful for that. It was almost a hundred the other day and now it acts like it wants to snow. I had to put socks on! I'm reading East of Eden, Twilight and Joy Fielding's latest hardcover, darn I'm at the office and can't remember the name right now. I can't seem to read just one book at a time. All three are really good. :) BJ MONTANA ROYALTY

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/22/2008

Snow, BJ? That's sick and wrong! And I will try to stay away from Bookworm--Lego Star Wars is problematic enough. I'm currently reading Breaking Dawn--the last book in the Twilight series. You'll have to let me know what you think--I'm really enjoying them a lot! I usually start out reading two or three books at once, but then one grabs me and I focus on it until I finish.

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 8/22/2008

I am so glad you are ok even if it is wet and windy. I understand your predicament only too well what with living in HURRICANE country too. And being sandwiched between Dolly and Eduoard. I saw the film of the kite-boarding idiot any number of times last night on the news and your brother named him right. According to the news he says he doesn't remember any of it. Stay safe the rest of the season.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/22/2008

The weather sounds terrible on your end. My hat is off to you for being so positive about it. I probably would have whined enough by now to drive my family to murder.

As far as books go... When is your next book coming out? That's what I'd really like to read. I'm currently on a Jude Deveraux binge. I read Someone to Love last night. I liked it up to the point where people were having sex while their bodies were possessed by ghosts. Yew! Maybe I'm just not adventurous enough. I kept thinking: "One couple per bed, please." Is this a sign that I'm getting old? Nobody will tell me the truth, will they? I'll be off now to count wrinkles.


Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/22/2008

Dana, if the power had gone out, I would TOTALLY be whining. Although I am getting a little stir-crazy from being inside for so long.... I can totally understand the "one couple per bed" thing--so I must be getting old with you! I haven't read Devereaux in years, but I do love to re-read some of her historicals/time travels. Doesn't everyone love Knight in Shining Armor? It makes me want to go to the store or library and pick one up--except I can't because there's a tropical storm outside. ARGH! And thank you for being so nice about my books, as always. I hope to have an answer about my next one very soon! As far as books go... When is your next book coming out? That's what I'd really like to read. I'm currently on a Jude Deveraux binge. I read Someone to Love last night. I liked it up to the point where people were having sex while their bodies were possessed by ghosts. Yew! Maybe I'm just not adventurous enough. I kept thinking: "One couple per bed, please." Is this a sign that I'm getting old? Nobody will tell me the truth, will they? I'll be off now to count wrinkles.

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 8/22/2008

Had rain in my area of the West coast for 3 days. Nice and sunny and 66 degrees now.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/22/2008

Ellen, hurricane season is offically the pits. You stay safe, too!

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 8/22/2008

The weather is beautiful in NY. We're in the 80's, not too hot. I finished "Tribute" by Nora Roberts a week ago. I highly recommend that book.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/22/2008

The weather here in Northern California is HOT! About 90. I just finished reading The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox, my new favorite book. It is sooooo cool and funny.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/22/2008

Hope you all continue to stay safe. But at least your brother is worried enough about the girls to call.....I thought that was cute. You have thought of so many positives. I can relate more to B.J.'s weather - it has been so hot and then we get the cold day where it is cold enough to throw an afghan on the bed at night.....the weather is so crazy all over. I am inbetween books at the moment - and have not decided which book to grab from my TBR - so many choices and so little

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/22/2008

Jane, that sounds perfect. Summers are awful in FL. I haven't read Nora in ages--probably should rectify that.... Jill, I'll have to check out the book--I hadn't heard of it! ... Cryna, I can't even imagine an afghan in August! Weird! (Although we're moving to MN next year, so I'd probably better get used to the idea.) Let me know if you happen upon anything good in that TBR pile!

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 8/22/2008

Forgot to tell you that the two books I read recently that I loved were: "An Imperfect Match" by Kim Van Meter and " Once Upon A Thanksgiving" by Holly Jacobs. Also "Dangerous To Touch" by Jill Sorenson.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/22/2008

Weather here in Northeast Nebraska has been warm but not horribly so. Need the air on during the day but it cools down beautifully at night. Be glad when hay fever season is over for my husband so that I can open the windows again.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/22/2008

Ellen, Holly's a friend of mine--she'll be thrilled to know you enjoyed her book! I love her stuff. And Connie, hay fever season is the pits, too. Hope it passes quickly! (We're moving to Minneapolis-ish, so I'm hoping all that stuff from farm country won't make it to the city.

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 8/23/2008

We're having great weather right now and it's a welcome relief after rain, rain, rain. Once in a while I'm thrilled if the power goes out for a day or an evening (not long enough to spoil food) because I use that as an excuse to read the entire time lol. I just finished The Shack by William Young - thought provoking.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/23/2008

The weather is very hot and dry in my neck of the woods. I live in KY and we have not had rain for several weeks and need it bad. I just finished Viking Unchained by Sandra Hill, very good read.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 8/23/2008




Anticipation A little over a year ago, I made a new sale – a dark paranormal romantic suspense trilogy to Warner (now Grand Central Publishing.) Well, now the first book is finally about to hit the shelves. As I await the release date – August 26 – my nerves start to mount. PW gave me a great review – my first review from them ever, so I was thrilled. Another reviewer wasn’t quite as kind. It always hurts when someone doesn’t fall in love with your baby, but that’s just the bizz. I tend to write dark and creepy, and this one is definitely on the edge. No middle of the road stuff for me. Although I’ve done a few of those – which oddly usually earn the best reviews! So how bad is it? THE DEMONBORN – My new trilogy is a blend of the romantic suspense I’ve written before, and the supernatural – a very dark, creepy page-turning read. Who are the Demonborn? The heroes of the series! Men born from an Angel of Light and a demon spawn. Men who fight the darkness within them at every call. Men who may lose control and shock you once in a while. Dark alpha men – to love. To learn more about them and my new series, visit I think everyone has both good and bad in them. How about you? Do you ever like to be bad? Do you think you can be born bad? Are you a nature vs. nurture person?

Posted by Rita Herron, author of Beneath the Badge on 8/21/2008

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Rita, Demonborn sounds great! I can't wait to read it! And I love the debate of good over evil. I've always believed it's in the genes. In my family we call it "The Johnson Gene." Shows up across the board in our families. That one kid who never grows up and is always in trouble. We can trace it back to my great grandfather. So I find the theme of your book very interesting and am a believer that's it's all in the genes. :) I'm curious. What led you to write dark alpha men? Hmmmm?

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/21/2008

This does not sound like a series I would like to read because I'm not one who enjoys the dark, creepy on the edge type of books. Doesn't mean they aren't good books...just not my type. I do believe that some people are born bad but I also believe the extent of that badness can be controlled both by the way they are brought up and their decision to be a better person.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/21/2008

B.J., Glad you think it's interesting. I guess I love psychology and have often looked at one person who suffered a trauma and tragedy and seen that they used it to make them stronger where other people buckle under it. And I'm not sure why I started writing darker men - it just sort of happened. I remember watching Charmed and fell in love with Cole who was part demon and part human, and Phoebe's love saved him - at least for a while! And my story does question the "bad blood" which may come into play farther down the line. Rita

Posted  by Rita  Herron on 8/21/2008

Ellen, LOL. I understand. I think people will really like it or not! It's definitely not for the faint of heart. And for the most part I agree with you that people can overcome the evil in them, especially with guidance and nurture. Although I do think there are chemical aspects that cause some behavior in criminals - like sociopaths. And B.J., LOL about the Johnson gene! Rita

Posted  by Rita  Herron on 8/21/2008

Sounds great to me!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/21/2008

Hi Rita, I'm looking forward to your new series. I enjoyed reading about the Dubois brothers. I do think people can be born bad, but I also believe that a person can be influenced by the environment they were reared in.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/21/2008

Rita- you are right about the chemical aspects of being born bad. I hadn't thought about that but sometimes "medical chemicals" can to a certain extent help those also.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/21/2008

Hi, Estella, and Jane - glad you're both interested. And I'm happy you enjoyed the Dubois men - if you liked it, hopefully this will be up your alley. And hey, no one mentioned their own "bad side" - anyone done anything naughty (for fun?) Rita

Posted  by Rita Herron on 8/21/2008

Oh, I'm sure I would like it - I've always been attracted to the dark side lol. I think certain traits are definitely nature. I have two girls that were raised the same but are such opposites. You can pinpoint exactly which traits belong to their father and which belong to me (all the good ones of course roflmao).

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/21/2008

Hi, Jeanne, LOL! yes, I know what you mean. I always say my girls got their sweet side from me - of course my son and the girls got their athletic ability and looks from their father. And then again, I am sweet in person but I write these really dark stories. I guess we all have two sides! Rita

Posted  by Rita Herron on 8/22/2008

I will be looking for this book. I think we all like the dark side once in a while.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/22/2008



My Vacation, My Way.

It's nearly the end of summer, and I'm planning a trip to the beach. For many of you, that may sound like a normal summertime activity, but for me--not so much. I live in Mississippi, but I don't do sun well.

I much prefer the Great Smoky Mountains--cool dewy mornings, lush green landscapes mixed with some truly amazing rock formations, a sweet cabin with a sensational view, a big TBR pile, and of course, my laptop and my latest WIP.

But a couple of years ago, I did the beach MY way. During the day, while my friends splashed in the water and got redder and redder, I sat in the window seat of the beach house with the air conditioner on and my laptop on my lap. However, just after sunrise and around sunset, I ventured outside, strolling the beach with my dh, body-surfing the waves, and discreetly checking out a sea turtle's nest. That's my kind of vacation at the beach.

So next week, I'll be doing all the above. I'm looking forward to a week with dear friends, writing and talking about writing and reading, and some strolls on the beach--but not in the midday sun.

You know what they say--and I'm neither a mad dog nor an Englishman.

Anybody have a favorite vacation tradition that may or may not be everybody's cup of tea?

Happy reading, and don't forget Intrigue's Ultimate Heroes event on eHarlequin to celebrate The September Intrigues, which all feature Ultimate Heroes

Monday features BJ Daniels

Tuesday brings us Dani Sinclair and Paula Graves for an Ultimate Double,

Wednesday is Dana Marton

Thursday is Yours Truly Mallory Kane... and

Friday features Donna Young.

Don't forget we're bringing along our Ultimate Heroes for you to meet!


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger (Sept) on 8/19/2008

Enter comments


Since I live only a few miles from the beach that's not my style of vacation any longer, but I'm glad you found a way to enjoy a beach vacation. I prefer to travel to National Parks and view the awesome sites nature has made. I am hoping to get away the first week in Sept. and head for the Smokey Mountains NP. I'm aiming for Gatlinburg. Sounds like we have traded vacation spots.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/19/2008

I love a beach vacation, but we both hate crowds. I don't like it when the beach is so packed that you have to step over people to get around. So we go to the beach for a long weekend before Memorial Day and for another one after Labor Day. No crowds, still great weather, and since it's off-season, even the parking is free! :-) Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/19/2008

My favorite vacation is the ocean. I can sit for hours and listen to the waves crashing into the beach, watch the sun melt into the horizon, and taste the salt air on my lips.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/19/2008

The sound of waves lapping at the shore! Ah... one of my favorite sounds. Thanks for all your comments. And come see us at eHarlequin. Mallory.

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 8/19/2008

I don't really have any vacations traditions. We usually try to get up early and have breakfast at the hotel and head out to see the sights.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/19/2008

My favourite type of vacation is to go to B.C. The scenery is breathtaking, and I love to just relax and read at the motel, and then to go swimming in the pool. Generally we will go after the children are back in school - the weather is still nice and it is not crowded. Not exciting but works for

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/19/2008

The only vacation or place that our family has repeated quite a few times is Cedar Point in Ohio - Rollercoaster capital of the world! I'm sure that's not everyone's cup of tea but we enjoy it. There's also a beach nearby :)

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/19/2008

I love a camping vacation in the Rocky Mountains. We would go for two weeks taking everything with us that we may need. I usually read a couple dozen book while there, often finding a rock with a view to spend some time reading and meditating. The beauty and silence always makes me feel so much closer to the Lord!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/20/2008



Ultimate Heroes

I just wanted to extend an invitation to a forum being held this week at eHarlequin. The forum: Simply Series is featuring the six Ultimate Heroes books coming out in September. You can visit with authors on the site and ask questions or just stop by to say hello. Tuesday will feature Dani Sinclair and Paula Graves for an Ultimate Double, Wednesday is Dana Marton, Thursday Rickey Mallory and Friday is Donna Young. I'm up today. So come visit and bring lots of questions!

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Montana Royalty on 8/18/2008

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Looking forward to it.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/19/2008

Here is the link:

Please come and chat!


Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/19/2008




This book changed my life!


It all started with a challenge.

Having discovered Angelique on a trip to Europe, I devoured every historical romance I could find. Some were great. Some not so much. It was months later over breakfast with me suggesting to a friend that I could write a better story than the one I was reading that launched my career as a novelist. My friend challenged me to write my own historical romance, thinking, of course, that I never would.

Despite her skepticism, I wrote a hundred and fifty pages and a synopsis and sent it out. And then the rejections came and I quickly gave up, thinking this was not for me. Months passed and another story rattled around in my brain until I couldn’t resist. I tried again, this time finishing the novel. More rejections, but better ones, including a phone call from an editor saying she liked the writing but bought a book that was too similar—could I try my hand at a contemporary because they were starting a new line and needed writers? Me write contemporary? I was flattered but my heart was with historicals, so, fool that I was, I turned her down.

I soon changed my tune when the series contemporary market exploded. I developed at least a dozen proposals, received at least 43 rejections (a number I pulled out of a hat once—it was probably much more). I was getting nowhere, but I couldn’t stop.

Soon I realized that I had an addiction—I was a fiction-writing addict!

And then I got married. I’d been playing with fiction off and on for four years with lots of compliments but no sales at that point. I decided to give it another year, and if I didn’t sell by then, I would stop. (Hah!) That was the same year my late husband Edward and I married. During the day, I had my other career as supervisor of television production at a community college and an excruciating twenty-five mile drive into and out of the suburbs, which made an eleven hour day for me in good weather, twelve in bad. At night and on weekends I wrote. Most nights, it was up to Edward to provide dinner.

Eleven months and three weeks into that year, I won a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and sold my first book to the editor who judged it. She forgot, however, to make an offer and didn’t call until three weeks after I won the award to do so. She said she hoped I would take her offer since she’d already put my book into production. Not only was “A CHANGE OF HEART by RoseAnne McKenna” a contemporary, it was a young adult romance. Two more sales in the next six months—both adult contemporary, one with writing partner Linda Sweeney—made me think maybe I could do this as a living.

Which meant I had to work harder, write more, be more flexible. For five years, I had two careers and basically no life except for the Friday night dates with Edward. Fridays were the ONLY day I didn’t write. I wrote on my birthday, on Thanksgiving and even on Christmas Eve. My life narrowed and I lost non-addicted friends. Other fiction-writing addicts were the only people who seemed to understand what I needed. The last year I worked in television production, I also wrote three Intrigues myself and then two more novels with Linda.

One week after I quit my day job, Dell’s Candlelight line–and Linda’s and my two book contract (on which I had quit my job)—died. My friends urged me to get back my production job and my steady mortgage-paying paycheck. All I wanted to do was write. Which meant I had to punt again. So far I’d sold YA and romantic suspense myself and romantic comedy with Linda. I–and we–expanded from that.

New lines, new publishers, new subgenres—long contemporary romance, short contemporary romance, traditional romance, paranormal and yes, finally, historical romance (with soft-edged horror). Over the years, we wrote as Lynn Patrick, Jeanne Rose, Patrice Lind, Roslynn Patrick and Roslynn Griffith. The fever never abated. I wrote whatever I had to so that I could stay afloat in this crazy business. Linda finally decided to take another career path.

I added erotic romantic suspense and urban fantasy to my writing repertoire. No matter how many books I sold to how many editors to how many publishers, it never felt like it was enough, never felt like I would have security in this business unless I kept feeding that addiction.

Then real life interrupted. My world changed seemingly overnight when in a single year I had to put one aunt in a nursing home and lost another aunt I was close to, plus I lost an uncle, my father, and finally my husband Edward. I was forced to slow down and re-evaluate my life. I pulled back from my addiction and I realized that I didn’t have to write everything—I could pick and choose stories that would abate the fever and bring the joy back into my writing. Of course that meant writing something different again—thrillers in an urban fantasy world with romantic subplots—with my new partner Marc Paoletti.

The pace picked up again and a year ago, I was so stressed by deadlines that I was almost ready to walk away. I needed time off and vowed that I would do that this summer. I even built in two months of down-time. I did take two weeks off and worked on my garden and some other non-writing projects. And then the siren call of a thriller manuscript that I hadn’t been able to sell lured me back to the computer. I totally reworked it—fingers crossed that it sells this time.

While I’ve managed to slow down, I just haven’t been able to stop even when I built in that two month hiatus for myself. I sold the first of 84 books twenty-five years ago this month. How did I decide to celebrate that anniversary? By writing this blog, of course.

Which makes me think I’ll probably always be addicted to writing fiction.

So what are your addictions?

Good reading,


Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire on 8/15/2008

Enter comments


What an amazing post, Patricia. I'm addicted to reading, and I love writing, but I don't know that I have the burning desire you showed in this post. WOW! You're story is amazing and touching. Thanks for sharing!

Posted  by mary beth lee on 8/15/2008

What an excellent post, Patricia. Happy Anniversary! I'm addicted to Ben & Jerry's AMERICONE DREAM, tattoos, piercings, and of course books and magazines.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/15/2008

I am addicted to reading and counted cross stitch.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/15/2008

Patricia, that is an amazing, wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your anniversary! You earned it!

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/15/2008

Happy 25th Anniversary on the sale of your first book. My addictions include junk food and books.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/15/2008

My addiction is books, books and more books; also M&Ms candy; and traveling.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/15/2008

I am addicted to books. I read all kinds of books but loving the Intrique books and authors. I have been known to read 20-25 books on a two week camping trip to the mountains.

Posted  by Connie  Lorenz on 8/15/2008

Congratulations, on your anniversary of your first sale. My addiction would be reading and more reading. What a great post, thank you for sharing with us.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/15/2008

Wow - that's more than an addiction - a lot of hard work and perserverance! I enjoy reading and playing games lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/15/2008

Hi Particia, I just saw your post at Novelists ince and checked out you site, that led me here. The Last Vampire is my tpye of book.

Posted  by Dina S. on 8/16/2008

I hope this isn't a dbl post, this is my 1st time here and I replied, but not sure if it needs to be approved first. If it is, sorry. Anyway, lol. Patricia, I saw your post at Novelists and then visited your site and then found here. The Last Vampire is my kind of book.

Posted  by Dina S. on 8/16/2008

Books, that is my addiction. I love them and will not get rid of them. I have them all over the house. Stored in my closet, bedroom and everywhere.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 8/16/2008

What a fantastic story, Patricia! Wow. Inspiring, too! I have to admit, I'm a fiction writing addict as well. I started about 18 years ago, and after only 12 or so years of rejection letters, finally sold my first manuscript just as I lost my office job. Well, "just" is a slight exaggeration. There were a few months there in between when I might have felt slight tinges of panic about what I'd do next :-) But that first book did sell and I never looked back since. I always do say that as a writer I have the best job in the universe.

Congratulations on all those books and all your success!!!


Posted  by Dana Marton on 8/18/2008

Patricia, what an amazing journey you've had. Congratulations and best wishes for 25 more years of writing bliss (grin). Thanks for sharing your uplifting story! Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 8/19/2008



Back to School

I've been out of school for a while, but this fall I'll be going back again. I decided to take a class on writing for the theatre. I don't have a plan to switch to theatre plays, but I thought they do great drama and great dialogue, so maybe I can learn something that will come in handy with my Intrigues. I love learning! Is there anyone else out there who just can't quit? I tend to find some excuse or other to at least go to some sort of workshop each year.

Sadly, my memory is terrible. So I probably forget more in a year than what I learn in new things.

Are you studying something at the moment? If not, is there anything you would love to learn?

Of course, I learn all kinds of stuff from my research. I have dozens of survival guides for every kind of situation since my heros and heroines tend to get into a lot of scrapes. (I know ants have to be boiled for 6 minutes before they can be eaten. To cook the poison out. I don't even want to think about how many ants a person would actually have to eat to fill up. Yuck!)

Do you ever get the feeling that some things you were better off not knowing? :-)


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Sheik Protector on 8/14/2008

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Dana, congrats on going back to school! I think it's great. We can never learn enough. I learn mostly as you said from research. A lot of those things don't come in handy, huh. :) I want to learn to play the guitar. I saw that someone in town is teaching lessons. You inspire me to dust off the guitar and just do it!

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/14/2008

That's great you're taking a class! There are too many things I'd like to study. Just not enough time or cash for them all...

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 8/14/2008

Congrats on going back to school. I don't think we should ever stop learning.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/14/2008

Congratulations on going back to school, that is great. I am not planning on getting anymore instructions at the time being, but you never can get enough knowledge. And I thought ewwwwww on the ants you say some things you are better off not knowing.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/14/2008

I work in a Jr/high school as a para. I am constantly learning something from my students or from the teachers whose class I am helping with. I find I feel I wasted my day if I haven't learned something from my day even if its how not to do something.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/14/2008

Good luck with school. I would love to take some art history classes. I took an intro course in college and would love to learn more about the subject.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/14/2008

I aways thought I'd go back but gave it up when I hit 30 lol. That's one of the perks about reading so much - you learn all kinds of stuff without even trying :) And I would be happy if I could learn how to work cell phones, digital cameras and computers!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/14/2008

Dana, nice cover!! I love learning new things, but could have done without knowing about the ants. LOL If I went back to school I think I would like to take photography.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/14/2008

Congrats on going back to school. Yes there is a lot of things we are better off not knowing about. Lets face it when we are eating out do we really know where that food has been or what is in it. This is a bad thought.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 8/14/2008



Here Today, Gone to Maui...

As summer, or at least summer vacation for the kids, slips away, we’re headed for Maui in about a week and a half for a last hurrah. We’re looking forward to one of those laid-back vacations as opposed to one full of sightseeing, like our recent trip to San Francisco. (Coincidentally, my August Intrigue, A Doctor-Nurse Encounter is set in S.F.)

Since we live in L.A., about 400 miles south of S.F., my family decided to tag along with me four days before the RWA Conference. We stayed at a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf and walked for miles all around the city. We went to Alcatraz and took the audio tour. We walked UP Lombard Street. We took the cable car from Ghirardelli Square up to Union Square, and then walked back to Fisherman’s Wharf through Chinatown and North Beach, which is my favorite area of S.F. We skipped out on a walking tour about the Gold Rush City because it was pretty dull, and my boys were getting antsy. Then we took one of those hop on, hop off buses around the city and hopped off on the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge. We then walked the 1.6 miles across the bridge to the Marin side. I had to keep yanking my 10-year old back from the railing because he kept peering over and exclaiming, I don’t see why you’d die jumping from this bridge. I could do a pencil dive. Yikes! We also walked up Telegraph Hill and took the elevator to the top of Coit Tower. So we had a busy four days in the City.

Now back to Maui. As you can probably tell, my family is an active bunch, but this is not our first trip to Maui, so we plan to scale back on the sightseeing. We do have a hike planned and a snorkeling trip to Molokini, a little volcanic crescent off the coast of Maui, and maybe we’ll sign the boys up for surfing lessons, even though they already know how to surf. There’s a show on MTV called Livin’ Lahaina about the surf instructors at the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy. On a previous trip to Maui, we all took surfing lessons from Matt at the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy, so when the boys saw Matt on TV, they thought it was pretty cool. Now they want to take surf lessons from Matt again!

The rest of the time we hope to lounge by the pool (mai tais in hand) swim and snorkel at the beaches, and watch the boys surf and boogie board. There’s a nice spa at the hotel, and I plan to talk my husband into his and hers massages in an outdoor garden.

I really can’t tell you if I prefer climbing up the 200-something steps of Lombard Street and braving a brisk breeze as I walk a couple of miles across the Golden Gate Bridge, or if I prefer lazing poolside with an umbrella drink and snorkeling in 70+ degree water with brilliantly colored fish. The vacations are just different.

Does anyone else plan to end the summer months with a favorite getaway?

Posted by Carol Ericson, author of A Doctor-Nurse Encounter on 8/13/2008

Enter comments


Maui sounds like the perfect ending to a busy summer. Have a great time, Carol!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 8/13/2008

Hawaii is way up there on my do-before-I-die list. Your vacation sounds fabulous and I admit it, I'm SO jealous. As for SF, we did the Alcatraz tour as well as the cable car ride, but time flew by and we didn't have time to see the city much. Maybe next time.

Posted  by Margery Scott on 8/13/2008

Thanks, Lexi. Yes, it's been a busy summer, and I admit I'm looking forward to that ahhhh feeling. Margery, you did my favorite thing in S.F. - Alcatraz. I love that tour. After we did the tour a few years ago, I bought the book, Al Capone Does My Shirts, for my older son, and he loved it. It's about a boy whose father works on Alcatraz in the '30's.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 8/13/2008

I hope to end my summer with a trip to the Smokey Mountains NP altho I can't call it a favorite getaway because I've never been but I love visiting our National Parks.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/13/2008

Oh, Maui sounds so nice and relaxing. Since we just moved this is our getaway! lol! I always feel like I need a vacation after a move. I lived on Oahu for two years but never visited Maui. I'd love to visit San Fran. and the tour of Alcatraz would be the first thing I'd want to do. My husband's in the Navy and he's been to SF. He visited Alcatraz and bought me an autographed copy of a book about Robert Stroud (The Birdman). It was written by a relative.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/13/2008

Ellen, I love the National Parks too. I've never been to the Smokey Mountains - would love to go. Enjoy your trip! Melissa, Ooh, I hate moving. My sister used to live on Kauai - needless to say, I visted her a lot. It's probably prettier than Maui, but I think there's more to do on Maui for the boys and the weather is better. Lots of fascinating stories connected to Alcatraz. Once when we were at Alcatraz, a man who had been an inmate there when it closed was signing his book. My boys stared and stared at him, making up all kinds of stories about him. I think he was a bank robber - but just a little old man today! Hope you get to S.F. soon!

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 8/13/2008

It sounds like a wonderful vacation. I got to see Hawaii 38 yrs. ago when my husband had R&R from Vietnam so it holds special memories. As far as a vacation, my daughter just got married so...

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/13/2008

Jeanne,congrats on your daughter's marriage! Hawaii must have been even more beautiful 38 years ago, and I'm sure the beauty of the occasion only made it more so. Bless your husband for serving our country in Vietnam.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 8/13/2008

I'm so jealous. I've been to the Big Island and Honolulu, but haven't had a chance to visit Maui. No plans for me.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/13/2008

Love Maui and hope to return one day! My favorite getaway though would be a mountaintop with my husband!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/13/2008

Jane, I've never been to the Big Island. I've heard it's fantastic. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 8/13/2008

Your upcoming holiday sounds great, I have never been to Hawaii but hope to get there one day. The thing we are planning right now is a trip to Radium Hot Springs and Fairmount Hot Springs - which is only a few hours drive from here but still away and the Hot Springs are great. Enjoy your holiday.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/13/2008

Carol, I'm so jealous. Sounds like a wonderful time. Enjoy the surf and sun.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/13/2008

Connie, hope you get back to Maui soon. Cryna, hot springs sound wonderful. Went to New Zealand once and the hotel had a tub that tapped directly into the hot springs. Thanks, Jill. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 8/13/2008



Setting goals in September

When I think of September (which is quickly approaching) I think of new beginnings. I guess it was because that was when the school year began which meant new clothes, new notebooks and pens and new beginnings. Because of that I always regroup in September and set some goals for the coming months. I just bought a new calendar for 2009 and I have plans to get organized. True, I have these plans every year and if you could see my desk right now organized would be the last thing you would think. For some reason with every book, my desk becomes a huge mess. But the latest book, Big Sky Dynasty (out next June), goes in the mail this week -- which means I will find my desk again before I start the next book. Do you set goals in September? Do fall house cleaning? Or get a little wistful when you pass school supplies?

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Montana Royalty on 8/12/2008

Enter comments


Hi B.J. Even though I don't go to school I love when all the new supplies come out. Just bought some colored pencils and a cool pen. Can't pass up a stationary aisle! Since we just moved, and we're still trying to get settled, in Sept. we'll be putting more stuff away and filling the bookcases. I have a library and that's no joke. I do have a few fun things planned. There's a book festival in Norfolk I want to attend. I LOVE FALL!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/12/2008

Now that I'm retire from teaching (35 yrs) I don't do much of anything specific in September. But during the years I spent teaching I'd set goals in August since school started then and I'd get all the pens, pencils, notebook paper, folders,etc I needed for at least the first month or two. I would also promise myself to keep my desks (home and school) cleaned off. That lasted maybe two weeks. And I DON'T miss it at all!!! Now my desk at home is piled high with one of my TBR piles.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/12/2008

September is just a month that heralds Fall to me.My youngest child graduated from college in 1990 and I haven't given a thought to school supplies since.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/12/2008

I always say that I'll do some end of the summer cleaning, but I never do. When I start seeing school supplies being advertised, I get a little sad because it signals that summer is coming to an end.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/12/2008

My youngest is in college and getting her own apartment so not really school supplies but living supplies lol. Also, Sept. 1 is my mom's birthday and she'll be 86 so it's always a celebration.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/12/2008

September usually marks the end of the summer, and the hopes of a mild fall (Indian Summer) which is always pretty and nice. I usually try to get some extra cleaning done, but that is not always so successful. School supplies showing up in the stores, does not make me wistful at all.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/12/2008

I had to smile at some of your comments. BTW, happy birthday to your Mom! Jeanne. 86! All right! It's great to see that some of us miss school and others don't in the least. :) I think I always need to regroup in the fall because I've been so bad all summer and let things go. I can't wait to clean off my desk -- and start the next book! I do love new beginnings! :) Greta to hear from all of you!

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/13/2008



What I did while missing RWA Nationals...sniff! sniff!

While many of the Intrigue Authors were in San Francisco enjoying the excesses of Romance Writers of America's annual conference, I stayed home in Arkansas and wished I'd gone to San Francisco. But I did complete my March 2009 book, BABY BLING Yay me! So I felt better about staying home and missing the fabulous Harlequin party and meeting with all the Harlequin authors and my fellow compatriots the Intrigue Authors. But come hell or high water, I'll be at next year's RWA Nationals!

Also while everyone was out playing in cool SF, I was sweating out the 100 degree heat in Arkansas going in and out of Wal-Mart looking for my August book, UNDER SUSPICSION, WITH CHILD. This is the 4th in the Raven's Cliff continuity. It's all dark and dangerous with fog and a scary Seaside Strangler running around trying to kill my heroine. I love a sexy cop ready to rescue at a moment's notice!

Posted by Elle James, author of Under Suspicion, With Child on 8/11/2008

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Hi Elle, Congrats on finishing BB. Today's my birthday and I'm going to treat myself to copies of all the August Intrigues. YAY! Borders even sent me a coupon. Wasn't that nice? Where will Nationals be held next year?

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/11/2008

Love the book cover! Will be looking for it. I also love the title "Baby Bling"

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/11/2008

Good for you for finishing your March book, Elle. At least you had something to do to keep you busy and keep your mind off all you were missing. I didn't go either, but I'm not missing DC next year!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 8/11/2008

Elle, sorry you missed National but Yeah!!! you finished your book. My birthday is this month and I'm treating myself to all the Intriques as well.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/11/2008

Sorry you missed the conference in SF but at least you got "Baby Bling" finished. I'm sure next year is DC will be just as exciting. The only problem is you missed the cool weather in SF and DC will probably be just as hot as Arkansas.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/11/2008

Great looking cover, Elle!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/11/2008

Congrats on finishing the book, Elle. Who doesn't love a sexy cop?

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/11/2008

Congratulations on the release of our book. It is great that you have your next one finished. I have your book in my TBR stack but am waiting until I get the whole series before I start to read them......but it has been a real tempation not to start them. Next year the conference is in Washington, so hope that you can make that one. Love the cover of your release.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/11/2008

So many new titles coming out! Must go shopping for more books! LOL I’m sorry that you missed SF; it must be awesome to sit in a large room with so much talent! Hope you get to go next year.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/11/2008

Happy birthday to those with birthdays this month! I think books are excellent gifts for birthdays! I will be at conference next year which means I need to save now! I'm going to the Romantic Times conference as well and it's sooo expensive. Thanks to all who commented!

Posted  by Elle James on 8/12/2008

I'll be at RT! Can't wait to meet you, Elle! Thanks for the Happy Birthday wishes.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/12/2008



R & R

Here’s my back garden last week. The late summer flowers are in their glory. Mostly I have black-eyed susans, tall perennial phlox and pots of geraniums, petunias, begonias, and other sun-loving annuals.

Since mosquitoes lurk in the foliage, I don’t spend a lot of time actually sitting on the deck. (When I go out to weed, I’m wearing long pants, long sleeves, bug spray and a hat.) But I’ve planted so that I can see a good part of the backyard while I sit with my laptop in the sun room. The cats and I can also watch the sparrows, finches, doves, chickadees, blue jays and cardinals on the bird feeders.

When I’m at a loss for a good turn of phrase, I glance up at the garden. If I’m really stuck, I get up and stare out the window–or do a few laps around the house while I think. And if I’m REALLY having problems working out a scene or a plot point, I go into the kitchen and cook. Or pick up a craft project I’ve been dying to try. It’s amazing how the words and ideas come when you deliberately put some distance between yourself and the keyboard.

Most writers I know work hard. I put in more hours than people with nine to five jobs. The work’s always here, so I stick with it. But I can’t compose all the time, and when I sit at the computer too long, the magic stops flowing.

My environment is an important part of my pleasure in life. I’ve made my home into a place that’s warm and comfortable. A place where I can step away from my work and recharge.

What do you do to recharge? The little things? Like reading a good book. The big things? Like maybe a week at RWA in San Francisco?


Posted by Rebecca York, author of "The Sacrifice" in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE on 8/10/2008

Enter comments


Rebecca, your garden is so pretty! We finally moved into a place where we take care of a small front and back yard. I want to plant flowers in the back but don't know what I'm doing. Thank goodness my hubby has two green thumbs. When I need to recharge I sleep or head for a bookstore.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/10/2008

I do not have a green thumb; I have a black hand (anything I touch that is growing dies except weeds which flourish) so gardening is not relaxing or recharging. However I recharge in one of three ways depending on how badly I need it -- I take a nap, I read a book, or I take a trip which is what I plan on toward the end of the month.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/10/2008

Sometimes I'll read or do a crossword puzzle. Other times I'll just lie on the couch and watch tv.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/10/2008

I spend a lot of time in my garedn in the summertime. In the winter I pick up a good book.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/10/2008

I work in a public library, therefore with the public. When I need to recharge I need time alone and a peaceful, quiet environment. A much anticipated good book or a nice walk with my husband and dogs on the walking track at the park does wonders for me.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/10/2008

Your garden looks wonderful, unfortunately I do not have a green thumb and cannot grow flowers. So would you believe I have planters and hanging baskets in the back yard by the patio with artificial flowers in them. They look nice and are low maintenance and it works for me. When I relax, I love to read and I also like to put on some country music tapes and work on a jigsaw puzzle on my dining room table.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/10/2008

Rebecca, you have a gorgeous garden. I have a brown thumb, I'm lucky if anything grows in my garden. I let the husband care for the garden, then I'm sure things will grow. I love to listen to music when I'm stuck or go for a walk.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/10/2008

Your garden is absolutely gorgeous. I'm afraid I haven't been keeping up with mine - I enjoy it but it's a lot of work. I relax with reading, getting on the computer and playing games with friends and family.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/10/2008

What a lovely garden. Sometime to unwind I work outside in the yard. We have a koi pond in the back yard that has a lot of plants like the elephant ears around it, some lilies and other flowers. So I do a lot of weeding myself. Also I read or watch TV to unwind, but mostly spend the time outside, sometimes just swinging on the porch swing on the deck.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 8/11/2008



continuities--love 'em? hate 'em? no idea what they are?

Harlequin's Inline Continuities are those series of books we all see in the bookstores that are written on one theme, are linked together by a big over-arching plot, but each book is written by a different author.

Most people will recognize the Confidential series for Intrigue (Montana Confidential, Colorado Confidential, New Orleans Confidential, Miami Confidential, etc). A recent continuity was the Lights Out series.

My September 08 book, Solving the Mysterious Stranger is the 5th book in the Curse of Raven's Cliff series, which started in May.

Here are the books and dates in the Curse of Raven's Cliff series:

With the Material Witness In the Safehouse, Carla Cassidy, May 2008
With the M.D. ... At the Altar?, Jessica Anderson, June 2008
In the Manor With the Millionaire, Cassie Miles, July 2008
Under Suspicion: With Child, Elle James, August 2008
Solving the Mysterious Stranger, Mallory Kane, September 2008
Motive: Secret Baby, Debra Webb, October 2008

Personally, I love doing continuities. They're very different from writing my own books. In a continuity, the author receives information about the plot(s) and events that tie all the books of the series together, synopses of each book, and information about heroes, heroines and villains. Then each author writes her own book, putting her own motivations, twists and cliffhangers. For me, it's a chance to explore characters, motivations and situations that I might not delve into in the stories I create from scratch.

In Solving the Mysterious Stranger I got to write about an area of the country I'm not familiar with. The series is set in the fictitious town of Raven's Cliff, on the rocky Maine coast. Luckily, my husband went to school at Brown in Providence, RI, so he helped me a lot with visualizing the setting. Plus it didn't hurt that I grew up loving contemporary gothic romances--Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, et al.

So... continuities. Love 'em? Hate 'em? As a reader, what do you like or dislike about connected series like the inline continuities? Do you read them just like any other Intrigue--as they come out? Or like a friend of mine, do you save the books until you have the whole series and then read them one after the other?

I hope you enjoy Solving the Mysterious Stranger. Sometime today I'll be putting up a short "book trailer" for it. Check my web site or my MySpace page

Thanks, everybody. I look forward to hearing from you.


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of Solving the Mysterious Stranger (sept) on 8/9/2008

Enter comments


I love continuities whether they are the type written on one theme or as a series with the same place and characters. But I read them differently. On the ones that are written on one theme I read them as they come. On the series with same place and characters such as "The Silver Star of Texas" series I wait until I have them all and then read them. What I like about the inline continuities is getting to know all the characters and what happens to them. What I don't like is if there is a large gap between when the books come out (like six months or so.)

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/9/2008

I don't always enjoy continuities because sometimes I'll miss getting one. Sometimes I read them and then realize they are interconnected with other authors stories. I guess I like them more than I don't like them.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/9/2008

I love continuities. It's interesting to see how different or similar the author is compared to the others. With each book, the voice of the story changed. I don't necessarily read them in order. I usually read whichever book I happen to get my hands on.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/9/2008

I really enjoy continuities and I read them as they come out.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/9/2008

To be honest I don't think I've ever read any continuities but for series I do like to have them all because I want to read in order.

Posted  by jeannes sheats on 8/9/2008

I like continuity stories. What I like to do is save them as they come out and then when I have the whole series, read them one after another. I will also go in search of books if I have missed a book from the series. I like it when the books come out close together, and not like some of the series that I have read where there are six months - sometimes even a year or more - between the stories. That I find frustrating. If I have read the book already, not realizing it is a series and the next one comes out - I then skim the first book to reaquaint myself with what has gone on before.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/9/2008

Often I pick up continuities, and it feels like the author forced the story to fit what's expected. When that happens, I don't like them at all. I also don't like when the author's voice is completely missing. But when they work, I LOVE them.

Posted  by mary beth lee on 8/9/2008

Thanks for all the comments. I always love to hear from readers what they like and don't like. I agree with everyone who talked about missing one of the books. As a reader, I like to make sure I have all the books in the series before I read them. As a writer, I enjoy the challenge of creating a book that can stand alone, while making sure it also fits in with the series. Thanks again. Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 8/10/2008

So far I've enjoyed all the books from the "Curse of Raven's Cliff" series. I'm looking forward to reading yours, Mallory. I like continuities. I don't mind reading them out of order and often do. I just moved from Newport, RI to VA. Have you and your hubby ever visited Newport? I'm going to see if you're a friend in MySpace. If you're not please add me. Thanks.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/10/2008

Oh my, I love finding continuities, although finding all the titles can be a bit trying, (like Debra Webb’s Colby series for example). It gets even harder when the continuity has different authors contributing, a little easier if the series is solely the effort of just one author. But I would have to give a resounding “YES” for continuities and series! I can’t wait for the latest installment for the Raven’s Cliff by the way; I loved “Covert Makeover” and “Six-Gun investigation”.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/10/2008



20 Things I Learned at the RWA National Conference

I just got back last week from the Romance Writers of America's national conference in San Francisco, and just for fun, I thought I'd share some of the things I took away from it....

1) Continental Airlines has squished seating, but excellent customer service. Three cheers for an airline with check-in personnel, flight attendants, and gate agents with manners, who actually seem happy to treat their customers with kindness. Signing up for a Continental OnePass account ASAP. Take that, Northworst!

2) 12:30 am on Saturday does not mean half an hour after midnight on Saturday, but half an hour after midnight on Friday. I generally know this, but apparently some neurons were misfiring when I made my reservation. Heaps of gratitude to the excellent Continental customer service agent who was able to put me on the exact same flight at 12:30 am on Sunday that I missed by not arriving at the airport at 12:30 am on Saturday. And an extra thank you to her for not pointing and laughing at me for being such a bonehead in the first place--at least, not while I was standing in front of her trying to prevent my head from exploding.

3) Just because someone has a low-key, Sally Kellerman-esque voice and is enviably skinny does not mean she cannot inspire. I was ready to sneak out of the PAN retreat because feeling chubby and squeaky-voiced in comparison was hardly my idea of inspiration, when Gail Blanke figuratively knocked me off my feet with a great speech that made me want to dive for my laptop and start writing. I've already ordered a copy of Between Trapezes....

4) If you plagiarize Nora Roberts, she will, and I quote, "go after you with a hammer while you sleep."

5) Nora Roberts actually gets asked by booksellers if she was the one who plagiarized Janet Dailey. Which sucks on so many levels. (For the record, it was totally and repeatedly Janet Dailey who plagiarized Nora.)

6) Harlequin as a whole is up in profits for the year! Go, Harlequin!

7) Intrigue is doing very well in sales. Go, Intrigue!

8) The elegant Francis Ray started a foundation to help abused women--with her own money. I got to meet her, which was a privilege.

9) I should not be on workshop panels sandwiched between two editors. I think I lost my mind from nervousness.... If you listen to the MP3, just fast-forward through any parts where a squeaky, non-Sally-Kellerman-voiced Latina starts talking. I don't remember a thing I said, which is never good....

10) San Francisco is bizarrely cold in the summer--it was 60 degrees the entire time we were there, except for at night, when it was colder!

11) No matter how much I try to just pick up one or two free books and one or two books I have to pay for, I will still somehow manage to come home with a suitcase full of books.

12) My usual limit of 2-3 glasses of wine, which has served me well in the past, does not work when I'm running on little sleep and much caffeine. Three small glasses of wine at the Harlequin party, and I was practically wearing a lampshade on my head. My apologies to everyone I talked to, hugged, danced spastically beside, or "love you, man!-ed." Next year, I'm cutting myself off at one. God.

13) It is evil of Harlequin to put full bowls of Hershey kisses AND platters of cupcakes AND Rice Krispie bars AND little Key lime cakes into one room (the Harlequin Intrigue meet-and-greet) and require one to stay in said room for an hour. I'm going to have to work out for a week to get that mess off my Latina boot-ay. (Mmmm, little Key lime cakes....)

14) Rumor has it that editors are looking for paranormal romantic suspense and YA suspense/romantic suspense.

15) According to at least one industry professional, no publisher has been able to do well across the board with Latina lit.

16) The staff at the downtown Marriott in San Francisco is, to a one, unfailingly polite and incredibly competent. I've never had a more pleasant hotel stay in my life and am making a point to email the manager as soon as I recover from the jet lag and stop feeling like the plane ran over me rather than flew me home.

17) If you are from Central America, just let Enrique at the front desk know about it, and your Central American brother will secretly hook you up with the equivalent of the Presidential Suite, on the floor of your choice. Seriously, that was a SWEET hotel room, so muchas gracias, Señor Enrique!

18) If you're not up for a Rita award and you skip the ceremony to hang out with an old friend who lives in the city, you will not feel you missed anything. But a big congratulations for the Rita and Golden Heart award winners!

19) If you take a 12:30 am red-eye and have a layover after only three hours of flying, you WILL walk like a drunk to your next flight. You will also not be able to fully open your eyes for a good half hour, which results in your walking like a drunk into walls, side rails, other passengers. Fortunately, the gate agents must be used to this kind of behavior at 4 am and so did not breathalyze me.

20) It is really, really great to see old friends. And really, really great to come home and have two little ones who are thrilled beyond measure to see you.

Posted by Tracy Montoya, author of I'll Be Watching You on 8/8/2008

Enter comments


Tracy, It was great to see you and all the other Intrigue authors at the conference. Next time though, I'll have to meet up with you to get me a room like that. Unfortunately we were on the fourth floor next to traffic and construction. And Wednesday morning, the one day we were sleeping in to get caught up from the jet lag, we were awakened really early with more construction above us, and learned they were drilling out the tiles in the elevator above us. It sounded like the entire place was coming down. Also, our remote didn't work, our clock didn't work, and neither did our air! We called and called and finally got moved to the 20th floor where it was blissfully quiet -- and who knew there was a view of the city and the bay up there? Other than that, it was a great conference. And we did a wine tasting tour on Tuesday which made the week! Rita

Posted  by Rita  Herron on 8/8/2008

Ugh, how awful, Rita! I'm glad you got moved! I didn't do anything touristy other than dinner with a local friend on Saturday night, but I still enjoyed myself. It was nice to see you!

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 8/8/2008

Great post, Tracy! Thanks for the info.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 8/8/2008

I really enjoyed your 20 comments.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/8/2008

Number 13 cracked me up. I saw some pics of large punch bowls filled with Hershey's kisses on several blogs. It's definitely hard to resist sweets when they're in front of your face.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/8/2008

Great post and recap on what you learned......thanks for sharing, sounds like a great time.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/8/2008

Sounds like you had a wonderful time in spite of #s 2,9,12,13.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/8/2008

It was a really fun time, you all! Although yes, Jane, those bowls of candy and trays of desserts never seemed to empty out.... Those of you who are writers should definitely make a point to come sometime!

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 8/9/2008

"No matter how much I try to just pick up one or two free books and one or two books I have to pay for, I will still somehow manage to come home with a suitcase full of books." LOL! This is exactly what happens when I go to an RT conference. Will anyone be in Orlando next year? My Mom lives 5 mins. from the Wyndham. I can't wait! I'd love to visit San Francisco. I'd head straight for Haight-Ashbury.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/10/2008



To Love A Cowboy

Why do we love cowboys and cops? And what better combination can there be than a sexy Texas Ranger? When Delores Fossen and Rickey Mallory approached me about joining them to write Texas Rangers, i jumped at the chance. I immediately pictured these big strapping sexy cowboys with big belt buckles and stetsons that accentuated their rugged looks and tough attitudes. So far the two series we've written have received good results - -after all, how can you not love a cowboy? Delores, Rickey and I all happen to have favorite character types we like to write. Rickey loves to write the guy in charge. Delores the middle guy. And I tend to lean toward the ones with baggage, bad attitudes -- the underdogs. That's true for Hayes Keller, my latest hero. Forcing him to protect a rich heiress definitely rubbed him the wrong way and made the sparks fly. I hope you'll enjoy his story. He looks especially sexy in that long duster jacket on the cover! Now, tell me what it is you like about a cowboy? Rita

Posted by Rita Herron, author of Beneath the Badge on 8/7/2008

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Hi Rita, I grew up in Texas and knew lots of cowboys. I even dated a bull rider. You pretty much summed it up with the "belt buckles and stetsons that accentuate their rugged looks and tough attitudes". Definitely a turn on! The first bars I went to (under age) were country and western bars. Dancing the two step with big, juicy cowboys was a blast! I like a manly man and a lot of cowboys I knew fit that description. I believe that is why I like cowboys.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/7/2008

To the Stetsons and belt buckles, I have to add the look a pair of nice-fitting Wranglers. Oh, my. I like Levis and all, but there's nothing like a toned male butt in Wranglers. And I second Melissa on the two-step. Gotta love it. I used to show Quarter Horses all over the country, and some of those cowboys can really dance.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 8/7/2008

I love their rugged looks, too, especially their tanned skin. They look good in jeans.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/7/2008

Cowboys= Hats, boots and tight jeans.

Posted  by Estella kissell on 8/7/2008

Like cowboys, hey you gotta love-em. I think it is because they are tall and handsome. But I really think it is something to do with the cowboy hat and boots. I really don't know for sure, I just love-em

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 8/7/2008

The rugged looks, coupled with the wranglers, boots, hat and belt buckles makes for an all round cowboy.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/7/2008

I'm a Texan and I just love stories about rugged cowboys but especially Texas Rangers who seem to be the epitome of good decent men who lay their life on the line to protect others.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/7/2008

Hi, everyone, I actually responded earlier but for some reason it didn't post. Yes, love the belt buckles and cowboy boots and tough boy look. To me, the cowboys are just real guys, tough guys who are basic and raw with sex oozing out of their pores. Their mamas raised them right. They respect family and hard work and are protective of women and their families. And they don't mind getting down and dirty, at work or in the sack! And the Rangers say it all -- they'll put their life on the line for their jobs and to protect others which is what real heroes are made of. I didn't grow up in Texas, just Georgia, but in North Georgia, there are cowboys, and my mom took me to country and western dances when I was young. She was part of a square dance club so at 13 I was doing the Texas two-step. Grew up on all the old country stars, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Merl Haggard, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson - still a favorite of mine. And in high school I worked at a sewing factory (sweat shop) where they played country music all day long. I still wake up humming "Hello, Darin'" in my sleep. Rita

Posted  by Rita  Herron on 8/7/2008

I think it's because they're rough on the outside but soft on the inside.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/7/2008

Rita, I love old country and western. Patsy Cline and Roy Acuff are two of my favorites. LOL! Now I'm singin' "Hello Darlin"!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/8/2008

Me too Rita! I grew up on country music. Born in Houston, I loved everything Texas. Then we moved to Montana where the music was still country, thank goodness. :) What I love about Texas cowboys though is their accents. I think when it comes to cowboys, it is also their closeness with the land, their appreciation for it. I think that makes them sexy. :) I like writing and reading about men who have an appreciation for good horses, land and of course women. :)

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/8/2008



Books, books and more books

Like several other Intrigue authors, I attended the RWA conference in San Francisco. What a fantastic city!! Okay, what I loved most was the weather. I didn't once break a sweat there. Here, well, here I'm roasting.

While I was at the conference, I got to meet lots of new authors and visit some long-time author friends. I also got some new books. Yes, I know. My to-be-read pile is already toppling over, but some of my finds were Jessica Andersen's Nightkeepers, Isabel Sharpe's As Good as It Got, and Lisa Child's Witch Hunt. I also snagged a few Intrigues, which by the way I learned are selling very well. Yay!!

So, what about you? What's the next book you'll grab from your TBR pile?


Posted by Delores Fossen, author of Questioning the Heiress on 8/6/2008

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If I take the next book off the closest TBR pile (yes I have more than one TBR pile)it will be "In the Flesh" by Rita Herron. Or if I reach a little further it will be "The Rancher's Surprise Marriage" by Susan Crosby. Or I may just close my eyes and grab one (except that may topple my TBR piles and then I'd have to spend my time picking them up when I could be reading.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/6/2008

Hi Delores, I'm reading several books from my TBR pile. TRIGGERED RESPONSE by Patricia Rosemoor, TEXAS-SIZED SECRETS by Elle James, OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE by Tim Scott, and "The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter" by Marc Bekoff, Jane Goodall. I HOPE ONE OF YOUR BOOKS IS NEXT! *g*

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/6/2008

Ellen, that's probably wise having more than one TBR pile. It might save me from picking them up all the time. You have some great titles to choose from!


Posted  by Delores Fossen on 8/6/2008

Melissa, WOW that's a great line up. I'm sure you'll enjoy them all.

I hope one of my books is next too. :)


Posted  by Delores  Fossen on 8/6/2008

I'm reading Jude Deveraux's The Summerhouse right now. I'm planning a trip to the store to pick up some Intrigues and I just got a copy of Laura Griffin's new book Thread of Fear that's coming out soon!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 8/6/2008

I have huge TBR stacks as well. On the top of the one is Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves, Little Less Talk And A Lot more Action by Luanne McLane and Faceless from Debra Webb. Then I have my stack of Harlequin books - Dance of the Wolves by Karen Whiddon, My Intrigues and Susan Mallery's new book. I am not sure what is next up, but know it will be good.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/6/2008

Delores, I went to RWA as well, and I have piles and piles of new books, including yours. LOl So, I think I'll close my eyes, pick randomly, and be surprised.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/6/2008

The next book on my TBR pile is Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/6/2008

Next up for me is "Dark and Dangerous" by Jeanne Adams.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/6/2008

Lexi, you're already planning for future books. Good for you. I seem to stumble onto them when I'm shopping for something else, and of course, I can't resist. :)

Cyrna, I have Deb's book too. Sigh. Don't know when it'll make its way to the top though.

Jill, LOL. If you pick mine, I really hope you enjoy it! There were a LOT of books at RWA this year.

Estella, Jude's latest is obviously very popular. :)

Jane, I haven't heard of Dark and Dangerous. Of course, I'll have to check it out. I wonder if there's a 12 step program for book addictions? :)

Delores Next up for me is "Dark and Dangerous" by Jeanne Adams. Posted by Jane C. on 8/6/2008

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 8/6/2008

I too have many tbr piles. I have the entire Outlander series waiting for me but I keep putting it off because it's so daunting lol. My closest tbr pile has Weddings can be Murder by Christie Craig and since my daughter just got married I figured it would be a fun read!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/6/2008

My nest book to read is going to be Juror NO 7 by Mallory Kane. Thanks, Mallory.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/6/2008

Next up for me is Juror No.7. (Sent this message before so hope I am not repeating myself) Thanks Mallory Kane.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/6/2008

Loved your comments. I really like number 12. Hang in there.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 8/8/2008



Oh to be in Maine!

I know we talked about the heat in an earlier blog, but it's really getting to me. I try to get out and walk 4-5 miles a day, but the thought of just stepping out into 97 degree heat where it "feels like" 106 degrees just makes me wilt. But I've been doing it anyway around dark!

Which brings me to my August release! Yay! UNDER SUSPICION, WITH CHILD is part of a continuity (book 4) set in MAINE!!!! Oh what I wouldn't give to be in Maine about now. I just know it's a lot cooler there than it is here in Arkansas. When I go out on my walks, by the time I come in, I'm completely drenched, that's right, in sweat, let me tell you, it ain't pretty. The humidity makes it that much worse. But then I should be happy that I'm not in my setting in MAINE with a serial killer stalking the town of Raven's Cliff. Although about now, walking around in a cool fog sounds lovely. I might even be willing to risk a serial killer vs the heat killer here!

We went out to the lake yesterday hoping to cool off, but the lake felt like a warm bath. Ewww! You had to dive down about ten feet to get to the cool water. The good news there is that I can still get up on water skis. Yay me!

So what are you doing to beat the heat? If you're living in a cooler climate, can I come visit? Pretty please?

Posted by Elle James, author of UNDER SUSPICION, WITH CHILD on 8/5/2008

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Sure you can come up here - it was 10C (50F) last night so the house cooled off nicely and the day temperature was 26C (78F) yesterday. Much the same for today, although we have been getting wicked T-storms but our humidity rating is really low. I know that I would not be able to handle the humidity / heat.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/5/2008

Elle you could come visit me but it is just at hot and humid here as it is where you are. Here being the Texas coast and just because it is the coast it's not any cooler. As for what I am doing to beat the heat well not a whole lot other than staying in the AC and reading books. I would love to be in Maine or even further north into Canada if it is cooler. Congratulations on being able to get up on water skis (I never accomplished that feat!)

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/5/2008

C'mon over, Elle! It's 72 degrees in here. I stay inside and eat ice cream to beat the heat. Do you like Ben & Jerrys? Has anyone tried AMERICONE DREAM? It's my favorite! :-)

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/5/2008

Elle, sorry you are so hot. LOL I meant so sorry you are where it is so hot. :) I received the book, Cowboy Sanctuary, I won from you while I was away at National. Thank you very much.

Posted  by Jill James on 8/5/2008

Sure you can come on over....not that it's any cooler but everything is better with a friend. We'll drink a tall cold glass of iced tea and discuss our favorite books and take a after dark stroll around a well lit park.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/5/2008

Okay, I'm going to Canada! If only... Lived in San Antonio area for 15 years, AC is a must. Jill! I'm so jealous. Wish I'd gone to conference in SF. If I'd gone, I'd have to take family. Conference just isn't the same with family. Glad you got the book!

Posted  by Elle  James on 8/5/2008

I try to stay indoors with the AC. I try to do my errands in the morning and in the evening when it's cooler.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/5/2008

You could come visit me. It is sunny and 57 degrees here.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/5/2008

I live in NC and between the heat and the humidity we are able to roast in our own sweat. Please enter me in your contest - thank you!

Posted  by Cilfton Wade on 8/6/2008

I'm in western PA and we've been in the 80's which isn't bad but we've been having a lot of rain.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/6/2008




Congratulations! If your name is on this list you're the winner of a free book. Please contact the author you've been paired with via her website to receive a book of her choice, and thanks for participating in our JULY BOOK BLITZ.

7/28 Winner - Teresa Warner - Author Rebecca York

7/29 Winner - Cynthia Petzen - Author Joanna Wayne

7/30 Winner - Maureen E. - Author Dana Marton

7/31 Winner - Melissa Keith - Author B.J. Daniels

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 8/4/2008

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Congratulations ladies!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/4/2008

Thanks, Jeanne! Congrats, everybody! Thanks, B.J.!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/5/2008




Snow in August? I live in Mississippi, so for me, snow is a strange and beautiful miracle and a humongous pain in the ^$$! because people (and by people I mean me) down here have no idea how to deal with it. We slide off the road, we slide off the sidewalk, we close schools at the first sign of a snowflake... snow in the south is not pretty.

For the past week or so we've had 100+ temperatures. It rained last night (thank goodness!) and cooled things off. It's 7 am and the temperature outside is merely 80. But it'll be back up to 100 by 2pm. It is dangerous to be out in weather like this. You risk dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and lots more

So why snow in August?

I'm busy writing a new 3-book series called Black Hills Brotherhood. It's set--you guessed it-- in Wyoming, a brand new setting for me. My books span a couple of weeks in early April. Book One takes place on a mountain in a late spring snowstorm. The hero and heroine must battle hypothermia, an avalanche, treacherous snow-covered terrain, and the freezing temperatures to find and rescue the heroine's kidnapped baby.

I'm having a great time vicariously battling the kind of weather I've rarely ever seen... But I'm freezing to death! It's worse than when I saw Dr. Zhivago. I was hypothermic by the time that movie was over.

Luckily, my husband spent a lot of time backpacking in the Smokies and out west, and snow skiing when we lived in California. I've been a couple of times, including once when we hiked through snow to a remote shelter in the Smokies and spent the night there by ourselves--just us, warm and cozy with a fire in the fireplace and a winter wonderland outside. I didn't get cold that night *grin*

What about you guys? What's the weather like where you live? Have you had adventures in weather or conditions you're not used to?

If you want a sneak peek at my Black Hills Brotherhood series, take a look here and watch for Solving the Mysterious Stranger, coming in September.

Happy reading,


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 8/1/2008

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In Northeast Nebraska we get all kinds of weather. A saying often quoted, is that if you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes as it will change. Being caught in a blizzard that came up just that fast a number of years ago was frightening. Trying to get back home with two todlers in tthe car took hours, with the other three passengers pushing the car out of the didch several times. Then we didn't make it and a neighbor took us on to our house on his tractor. We awoke the next morning to sunshine and drifts as high as the house.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 8/1/2008

Mallory! Your Black Hills Brotherhood series sounds wonderful! And all that snow looks good right now just because it's hot up here in Montana. But a few days ago we had a cold spell -- a great reminder that winter could be just around the corner. I love the snow. It really is beautiful when those big flakes are a fallin' and I love snowboarding so winter can be fun. But it lasts too long up here. Like in your book, it can snow any month of the year and has. Getting snowed in is no joke. Up here especially where there is little traffic on two-lane roads and often people can't get out of their ranches for a few days until the plow comes. Can't wait to read your series!

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/1/2008

Today the heat index is suppose to be 104° so it will feel like that and the humidity will be horrendous. I've been in the snow in June/July but then I was in Glacier National Park at the time. It's only 90° here at the moment (actual temperature) but it will go up soon.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 8/1/2008

I live in Toledo, Ohio and it's been in the 90's all week! We may get some rain this weekend.

Posted  by Teresa Warner on 8/1/2008

Hi Mallory, I'm in VA and it's very hot and humid. Plus we're having bad thunderstorms at night. As for adventure I've been through a couple of hurricanes. LOL! your comment about snow and the south. I was just talking to my neighbor about how crazy people get when it snows here. I've lived in MA, CT, RI, and NY and seen some serious snow! I'm really looking forward to your Black Hills Brotherhood series. I'd like to visit Wyoming. Guess I will in your series. Can't wait!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/1/2008

Hi Mallory! I live in Southwestern Oregon about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Right at the moment is is 63 degrees and overcast.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 8/1/2008

It's pretty steamy in NY. We've been having 90 degree weather for the past few days, but luckily we'll be in the 80's for the next couple of days.

Posted  by Jane C. on 8/1/2008

Mallory your new series sounds great. As for snow at this time of the year - I am with B.J. on that one we have been known to have snow at any month of the year. I am in Alberta so I am further North of the Montana border. We too had a couple of cold days where the furnace ran off and on during the night, and by mid afternoon the next day we were running fans to try and cool the house down. So our weather is varied.**smiling**

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 8/1/2008

In western PA it's been in the 80's and 90's with lots of thunderstorms. We get all kinds of weather here including lots of snow :)

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 8/1/2008

I live in KY we are having temps in the low to mid 90's so it is hot. You know what they say about KY if you don't like the weather wait a few days it will change. We did get badly needed rain the other day. Now the humity is sky high which makes it fell hotter. I think most places are like this is August!

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 8/1/2008

Hi Mallory, Like you, I'm in hot and humid Mississippi. I'm on the coast though. Your new series sounds cool and inviting. Can't wait to read them. LindaC

Posted  by Linda Campbell on 8/2/2008

Can’t wait for the new series! I’m from southern West Virginia and quite used to snow, when I worked in the Forestry (while doing college at night), the scenery I’ve experienced in winter, (as well as other seasons) has been truly awe inspiring. But now that I’m better, (I refuse to say older!), I really have a hard time dealing with the cold and envy those in the southern states. It has to be very hot, over 90 for me to be uncomfortable; my husband is a firm believer of AC. Of course this leads to my husband and me to try and sneak to change the temperature setting in our house. It’s almost become a game, neither of us can get caught at the thermostat and you have to always look surprised when the other yells, “Do you know what this is setting on!!??” ROFL

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/2/2008



Going to the county fair

I got up early this morning and wrote so I can have lunch at the county fair. You can tell what my favorite part of the fair is -- the food. Since our fair is small, there won't be the variety that the state fair has, but that's okay since there are just two things at the fair that I want today: a corn dog and some cotton candy. Okay, maybe some fresh lemonade and later so onion rings and a burger since we will be staying for the junior rodeo event. I love fair food! Okay, I love food in general, but there is something about fair food. I know, it's probably just the grease. :) Our area specializes in two kinds of tacos that are served at every event: the Indian taco (served on fried bread) and the traveling taco (served in a small bag of tortilla chips and eaten from the bag). So what is your favorite fair food???

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Montana Royalty on 7/31/2008

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Funnel cakes, sausage biscuits, and fresh-squeezed lemonade!

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/31/2008

Hi B.J., My favorite fair food is popcorn. I used to go to the fair in Lubbock, Texas. The roadies always flirted with me and my friends. lol! Oh, I love popcorn so much I could eat it for days and at one time had it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No fad diet just no $.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/31/2008

You picked my favorite fair foods but I'd put them in the order of cotton candy and then corn dogs. We have small "fairs" in small towns around here and my favorite food there is shrimp any way but raw.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/31/2008

I love elephant ears and candy apples! Hope you have a great time at the fair.

Posted  by Teresa  Warner on 7/31/2008

I love elephant ears and candy apples! Hope you have a great time at the fair.

Posted  by Teresa  Warner on 7/31/2008

I love those big sausage heroes and calamari.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/31/2008

My favorite fair food is the Italian sausage with grilled onions and peppers.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/31/2008

Oh man, you guys made me hungry just reading your comments. I have never had a funnel cake, Cheryl, but I've heard there are people around here who make them. Yum. I love popcorn too, Melissa, but I like mine in a ball with sugary stuff holding it together. :) Ellen, we don't get much shrimp up this way. But when I'm near the ocean I can't get enough shrimp, scallops, oysters. Elephant ears? Teresa that's my favorite at the Livingston Rodeo. Those things are so greasy you practically need a bath when you're through eating one. :) Jane and Estella are women of my heart as well. Big sausage heroes and Italian sausage and grilled onions? I can't tell you all how happy I am to hear that you appreciate fair food!! I'm working on a book that comes out next June (Big Sky Dynasty, part of the Whitehorse series) and you guessed it, they're at the fair! And if you've read my books, you already know that they are going to be EATING something good. Who wants a heroine who doesn't EAT!! Especially at the fair! :) Now I have to get ready for tomorrow's trip to the fair. I can already taste it. :)

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 7/31/2008

I love the corn dogs from the fairs. I hope that you have a terrific time at the fair - and maybe find some new food to well as the old favourites.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/31/2008

I had to see the words "funnel cakes". I love them.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/31/2008

I would have to say cotton candy and popcorn. I have not been to a fair in years. I really should go sometime. I was going to enter one of my quilts this year,but missed the day you were to take them out to the fair. Better luck next year.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/31/2008

I'm with the funnel cake crowd. Some serve it with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream but I like just the powdered sugar :)

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/31/2008

My winner for a book is....Melissa Keith!! Email me Melissa with your address. And thank you all for your yummy comments. If anyone has a favorite funnel cake recipe, please send it!

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 8/1/2008

Wheeee! Thank you, B.J.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 8/1/2008

Perfect story of fair food, all true and just happened last week. My teenage daughter came home after her and her BF’s went to the local county fair. That evening when they got back home she walked up to me and with a very serious look on her face informed me that she had a “new love”. I sighed with motherly patience and tolerance and asked “Who is it”? With a very adult tone of voice, she said, “deep fried cookie dough”! While I was trying very hard not to laugh, she was going on and on about the virtues of this new county fair treat and how it might be possible that she would spend all her money on it and I had to go try it and figure out how to make it at home! This was one of those moments that I securely tuck away in my mental photo album to be pulled out again and again!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/2/2008



Summer is Half Over

OK, summer is more than half over, but I'm in denial. Where did it go? I haven't managed to get done most of what I'd planned. Better speed up here. I still have a huge summer TBR list. Just finished Susan Mallery's Sweet Trouble. LOVED this trilogy. I'm so sad that it's over. Love the books as a reader and even more so as a writer. They are like a master class in how to create conflict.

I'm working on a royal Intrigue, a first for me. I'm having fun with my fantasy prince :-) And while I'm doing that, I'm waiting for the release of SHEIK PROTECTOR, which will be out at on Friday (Aug. 1st). I'm still smiling every time I look at that cover. I just saw the Romantic Times review, and it's a TOP PICK. The reviewer called it "riveting." I'm pretty excited about that. I've never been called "riveting" before. :-) I need to figure out some online promotion for that book ASAP. I'm sooo bad at promoting. Mostly, I just procastinate until it's too late. At the very least, I should blog about the release at my MySpace page.

I also need to redo my web site. Almost ready to switch to a new format that looks a little less home-made than the current pages. BTW, I still have that free book posted, so if you'd like to read it, don't wait too long. I'm not sure if it will be posted with the new content when that goes up in a couple of weeks.

How are you doing with your summer to do list? What's left on it?


Posted by Dana Marton, author of Sheik Protector on 7/30/2008

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Hi Dana, First let me say that the cover for SHEIK PROTECTOR is fantastic! HOT! HOT! HOT! I can't believe summer's almost over either. However I love Fall and Football so I'm not complaining. My to do list is: celebrate my birthday with lots of cake, books, that light blue pair of Converse I want, and maybe attend a pow wow. :-)

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/30/2008

Summer to do list??????? What's that. I have a year round to do list and recently nothing (well almost nothing) is getting done. I spend too much time either on the computer or reading books (is there such as too much time reading? Naw, no way)

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/30/2008

I so love this cover, it is HOT!! Also looking forward to getting the book when I can order it. I have Susan's Mallery's first book in this trilogy and will be ordering the second book on Friday, when it comes available. But will hang off reading until I get the last one - so I can read them one after another. As for a Summer To Do List - I have given up on lists - because I never can seem to get them accomplished..........LOL.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/30/2008

I never get too much done in the summer. Fall and spring are much more productive for me. Once the temperatures go above 90 I just want to relax and read and there never seems to be enough time for that.

Posted  by Maureen E on 7/30/2008

I have a lot left to do on my to-do list. It is hot and I feel lazy and unmotivated. I also have a huge TBR pile, but I don't have any trouble finding motivation to deal with that! ;-)

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/30/2008

Wow what a cover! Summer to do list? I gave up, all I ever seemed to get done was making lists. Seriously, my to do list just never seems to get shorter.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/30/2008

Not much is on the agenda this summer. We're trying to save money by staying home.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/30/2008

Well my daughter just got married on Saturday and we're babysitting their puppy and cat (along with my 6 cats)and packing up my younger daughter who leaves for college and her own apt. - too much stress!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/30/2008


Ellen--You're right! No such thing as too much time spent reading.

Cryna--Her books are worth the wait. I got early copies since she's a friend.

Maureen--Heat definitely drags me down, too. Here is some cyber ice-tea ******

Cheryl--Lazy? I don't believe in that word. I think we are both just feeling relaxed :-)

Connie and Jane--Maybe I need to give up my to do list, too. Hmm... I could always burn it at the next BBQ.

Jeanne--I hope the wedding will be spectacular! Congratulations! Your younger daughter's leaving must be hard. Hope she's not going too far.

I forgot to mention the last time that if the SHEIK PROTECTOR cover intrigued you, I have the excerpt up on my web site. Enjoy!


Posted  by Dana Marton on 7/31/2008


Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/31/2008

Trying to get my apartment redecorated. Finished the stairs and hallway two weeks ago and my living room got done last week! It's looking great can't wait to get it all done!

Posted  by Teresa Warner on 7/31/2008

As a few other people said - summer to do list? I am barely managing working full time, using the computer and reading.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/31/2008

Let me see, I haven't finished washing down the front porch or cleaning my windows. I still have a park bench on the porch that needs to be refinshed again. There are more things I need to do but just can't think of them right now.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/31/2008

Dana, I’m really looking forward to seeing your new website! I truly don’t want the summer to be over, I enjoy the warm weather but this year I am anticipating its end. The Library I work at is being renovated and I simply can’t wait till we reopen. The building hasn’t been touched, (well, we did get a new roof 2 years ago), since it was built in 1969 and it needed updating. With the advent of computers for public use (and staff use), the electric wiring needed punched up as well as decreased and increased areas of public use. The lighting was so old that the companies don’t make replacement parts anymore. We were borrowing from 1 fixture to fix another, (robbing Peter to pay Paul so to speak), there were so many things that as staff we were having to just “make do”. We are just a small rural branch, but as a small Library we try and stay up to date with the latest technology, audio, visual, children’s outreach, ect. Hopefully by next week, (we are only a 3 person staffed Library), staff will be allowed in to start set-up in preparation for reopening, and if God is smiling down on us, we are planning our opening for when schools start back up. So that explains my “I can’t wait till summer is over” feelings, it is the fact that our community will have “our” Library back!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 8/2/2008



Yesterday's winners

My winner for yesterday was Cynthia Petzen. And my bonus winner was Ellen McDaniel. See, I told you I was feeling generous. If you two will send me your snail mail addresses to I'll get those books out to you. Ellen, thanks for the kind comments about the Colts Run Cross series. And, Jill, have a cool blast in San Francisco!

Posted by Joanna Wayne, author of Loaded on 7/30/2008

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Oh, and I forgot to say to be sure and visit me at and sign up for my contest. I give away a book every month and it's almost time to draw the name for July!

Posted by Joanna Wayne, author of Loaded on 7/29/2008

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What are you reading?

Hi, all. Wow, has it ever been a hectic summer for me. I've started a new series called Special Ops, Texas. My first hero is a hunky, hot Navy SEAL. The heorine is spunky and sexy and determined to prove the guilt of the dirty cop who killed her friend-before he silences her forever. The title is Cowboy Commando. And my November book, Miracle at Colts Run Cross, is well in the works. I can't wait to see the cover for that one. I've also had the grandsons down for a visit. Boy can they light up my life-and wear me out. And next month my daughter and I are traveling to England and Scotland. Can't wait for some sweater weather. It's HOT in south Texas. And I'm thinking about which books I'd like to take to read on the plane and the train to Scotland. What have you read that you'd recommend? I'm sure I'm not the only enquiring mind who'd like to know. And remember, one random commentor will receive a book. Heck, I may even give away two. I'm feeling generous today. Sorry I couldn't put up my Loaded cover, but check it out at Nothing sexier than a hunky cowboy who's Loaded!

Posted by Joanna Wayne, author of Loaded on 7/29/2008

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Joanna - I live about 226 miles southwest of Houston and the temps here are HOT AND HUMID. Wish I was heading for someplace where I could wear a sweater. Lucky you. I am reading the SILVER STAR of TEXAS series by your fellow Intrigue writers. I also love the REUNION REVELATIONS series from Love Inspired Suspense. And Holly Jacobs SAME TIME NEXT SUMMER. And TEXAS HEIR by Linda Warren. Have a fantastic trip to England and Scotland.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/29/2008

PS. I am so looking forward to you SPECIAL OPS, TEXAS series. And I have been loving your COLTS RUN series.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/29/2008

Joanna, sounds like you are hard at work. I'm so jealous of the England/Scotland trip, but not of the Texas heat. LOL I'm taking my sweaters to San Francisco for National, I'll need them.

Posted  by Jill James on 7/29/2008

Cowboy Commando is a great title--love those sexy SEALs! Have fun in Britain. I loved visiting England and want to go back.

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/30/2008

I envy you sweater weather. It is hot, hot, hot here in Nebraska, too. I have so been enjoying any of the Intrigue books. I also enjoy anything by Karen Kingsbury and Mary Connealy.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/30/2008

Looking forward to your new series, love those Seals. Right now I am reading Jill Shalvis' firefighter series from Blaze, I love the firefighters as well. So many books and such little time. Have fun on your trip.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/30/2008

I, too enjoy romances featuring heroes who are Special Ops.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/30/2008

I just finished Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult and recommend it. I'm starting The Shack.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/30/2008




Congratulations! If your name is on this list you're the winner of a free book. Please contact the author you've been paired with via her website with your mailing information, to receive a book of her choice. And keep commenting, we're giving away a book a day! The winner's list will be posted on Monday's just under the featured author's post.

7/21 Winner - Melissa Keith - Author Patricia Rosemoor

7/22 Winner - Wendi Darlin - Author Carol Ericson

7/23 Winner - Jeanne Sheats - Author Lori L. Harris

7/24 Winner - Jill James - Author Elle James

7/25 Winner - Connie Lorenz - Author Mallory Kane

7/26 Winner - Kimber Malone - Author Paula Graves

7/27 Winner - Cheryl Castings - Author Jan Hambright

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 7/28/2008

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Thanks so much to all the authors who contribute your time and talents to this blog allowing the readers to get to know you better. Also thanks for the books. I love reading and read an average of two per week, so getting free books is really super! Thanks again.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/28/2008

Congratulations to all the winners. Thank you to all the Authors who come and share with us, it is really appreciated.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/28/2008

Thanks so very much - what a fun way to win a book. Congrats to the other winners too.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/28/2008




We writers deal in fantasy. An idea comes to us, and we think about translating it into a story. And sometimes we get the chance to step into one of our own fantasies. Like now. I’m not home; I’m at a wonderful little town in California called Half Moon Bay. It’s about an hour below San Francisco, and I’m here with dh for a few days before the RWA conference.

As the name suggests, Half Moon Bay is right on the coast. And the resort where I’m staying is on a stretch of rugged coastline with high cliffs above the crashing waves. I can look out my window and see scores of pelicans sitting on the dark rocks or skimming over the waves. And yesterday I spotted a whale spouting in the ocean a couple of hundred yards from shore. The hotel is in the middle of a golf course, so there are wide open spaces all around. A paved path hugs the shoreline. We can walk along it to a flight of steps leading to a beach or keep going to a grove of cypress trees where a waterfall cascades down the rocks.

Yesterday we invited dh’s niece, Judy, and her husband, Brian, to the brunch buffet at the hotel. It turns out her husband used to come here with his friends when he was a teenager. He said they’d throw packing crates over the edge of the cliff, climb down and make huge bonfires on the beach. When he saw the path winding past the cypress grove and the waterfall, he said, “I guess they built a bridge.” Which they had.

I love this beautiful setting. But I could tell the effect on Brian wasn’t quite the same. I said to him, “You must hate what they did to this place.” And he answered that he did. For him, it’s been spoiled by encroaching civilization. It’s a place for him where “you can’t go home again.” For me, it’s a tantalizing retreat where I can work in the mornings and go out to play in the afternoons. And unlike my home back in the sweltering summer of the East Coast, it’s so cool here that I need a jacket in the evening.

But since talking to Brian, I've been going into another fantasy, trying to see this place as it must have been decades ago--with saw grass and windblown bushes instead of a manicured golf course. And maybe it's still like that down the coastline from here.

It’s getting dark now, and I think I’ll put on that jacket, get a hot drink, and go down to one of the fire pits in back of the hotel. It’s one of the things I can’t do at home, which makes this spot all the more fun for me.

So where’s your fantasy vacation spot? Where would you love to be right now? Or where are you going that’s a fun change of pace?


Posted by Rebecca York, author of SOLDIER CAGED on 7/28/2008

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My fantasy vacation spot is a quiet mountain retreat where wildlife abounds or anywhere I can get my husband to join me.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/28/2008

If I be anywhere I wanted to be right now I think I would would pick Nova Scotia or maybe Prince Edward Island or maybe even Newfoundland or anywhere in that general area. I have never been to Canada but have seen pictures and read about this area and I would love to go there and see the scenic beauty in person that I see in pictures.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/28/2008

I'd love to be in Hawaii right now or anywhere with a beautiful beach and sand!

Posted  by Teresa Warner on 7/28/2008

It sounds like you are in a wonderful place right now, wish I was with you. I love the beach and ocean. My fantasy would be to visit Ireland and Scotland. I would just love to visit the Highlands of Scotland. It just sounds so beautiful when I read about it in books. That is my dream in life.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/28/2008

My fantasy vacation spot would be Scotland. Just moved to VA. I love this state and can't wait to visit Jamestown, Yorktown, and Willamsburg again. Checking out some of the battlefields would be cool too. I'm a history buff. Day trip to Richmond coming soon! Anyone doing a signing there? :-)

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/28/2008

I would love to be on a resort in Tahiti.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/28/2008

It sounds like you have found a really beautiful spot to relax at. My fantasy dream would be to go to Nova Scotia, where I was born, and visit the places that my Mom and Dad speak about. My Dad was born and raised there and there is so much to be seen, maybe one day.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/28/2008

I would love to be on a beach in Hawaii right now.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/28/2008

I'd really love to go to Ireland.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/28/2008

I would love to be on the Caribbean or Hawaii.

Posted  by Kimmy Lane on 7/28/2008

Over 30 years ago I took a cruise and I would love to take another - longer than 5 days. I've traveled a decent amount but that was my favorite. You have the security of the boat with tons to do and lots of good food but you can get off if you chose to explore or shop etc.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/28/2008

My fantasy vacation spot is Paris, preferably in the spring or autumn. I'd spend all my time in the museums and cafes. Right now, though, I'd like to be somewhere cooler--maybe Australia?

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/28/2008

Thanks for the great vacation comments. I love Scotland, Nova Scotia, Hawaii, and Australia. Actually, I like the South of France better than Paris, and I'm determined to go to Mont St-Michel in France some day. We liked Williamsburg, Virginia, enough to go there on our honeymoon! I love to go to places with a lot of wildlife, too. I picked Half Moon Bay because I like to watch the shore birds and sea lions. Unfortunately, the sea lions don't seem to be here this time. We did sea a whale spout a couple of days ago. The wildlife made Costa Rica, Tanzania, and Kenya special for us in past years. Of course Costa Rica and Africa are also my husband's kind of vacation--a different locale every day ("If it's Tuesday, it must be the Serengeti" :-) ). And we'll be going back to Churchill, Manitoba, to see polar bears in October.

Posted  by Rebecca York on 7/29/2008




I don't know about you, but I like a streak of humor in the books I read and write. Something about subtle humor can make a situation seem a little more palatable, especially in a mystery suspense novel. In my January 2008 book, Around-The-Clock Protector, I had the heroine clobber the hero with a stirrup from an exam table in a doctor's office, in an attempt to get away. It was the only solid metal object in the room, and a humorous weapon.

I saw Batman The Dark Knight, this weekend, because I love Christian Bale, and I wanted to gaze at him. Whew, talk about a dark movie, and the brutality of the Joker was really disturbing, but his sense of humor took the edge off of an otherwise unredeemable character.

So, my question is, what role does humor play in the books you love to read? Does it make the situation the character's find themselves in work better for you? Is there anything you've read lately that made you LOL?

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 7/27/2008

Enter comments


I like a little bit of humor in a book that is otherwise tense. It helps ease up on what otherwise might be too much tension. Wish I could remember the name of the book I am thinking of but it's been a while since I read it--it was a murder mystery in which the person trying to solve the murder was having all sorts of hilarious problems dealing with animals.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/27/2008

I love humor in books, but sometimes it shows up in the middle of an intense scene and ends up jarring to me. The way you used it was perfect. I've also seen in from police or crime beat reporters at a grisly scene, and that almost always works because somehow it's worked in that it's a way for those characters to deal. I think writers take a real risk using humor sometimes, because readers might not get it or they might take it seriously.

Posted  by mary beth lee on 7/27/2008

Love it, Ellen. That humorous unpredictability of the animals added to the story without compromising the suspense. It probably added to the tension as well, because as a reader I'd be wondering if an animal problem was going to crop up at the wrong time and endanger the character's life. If you remember the title of the book, let me know. Smiles, Jan

Hi Mary Beth. Thank you for the compliment. I know, after five children there has been a time or two I'd have loved to whack my DH and my doctor with it. Grin. I agree, the timing of humor has to click so it doesn't jar the reader or scrub off the tension. My rule of thumb is, if I wouldn't be laughing during the situation, chances are neither would my readers. So far it has worked out pretty well. Smiles, Jan

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 7/27/2008

That's a great scene, Jan. I always appreciate humor in books even if I'm reading a murder mystery. It's difficult to inject levity into certain books. I recently reread "Just For Kicks" by Susan Andersen and it provided quite a few laughs.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/27/2008

Jan, I love humor anywhere. I tend to use it to defuse tense moments. I am from a large family and there are loads of tense moments. Picture this: picking out a casket, we found one that had bundle of wheat in the lid, my sisters and I immediatly saw our mother brushing the nose tickler away for all eternity and burst into laughter to the amazement of the funeral director. While we shed our share of tears we also spent lots of time sharing much laughter over the life of a special lady who taught us to laugh at life.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/27/2008

Hi Jan, I'm sorry I missed "Around-The-Clock Protector". That scene sounds hysterical! I recently purchased "Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day" by Toni McGee Causey. I was laughing while reading the very first page. If a book makes me laugh like that I buy it asap. Btw, I can't wait to see "Dark Knight". Bale is a beauty isn't he?

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/27/2008

That scene in your book, worked out really great, and fit the situation so well. I like humour in my books, and sometimes it is just the thing that is required to keep everything from going too dark. I enjoy books when the Author puts in the humour aspect.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/27/2008

Thank you, Jane. They're saying that romantic comedy is making a come back. As far as my favorite romantic comedy movie goes, it has to be OVERBOARD with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Love it. Smiles, Jan.

Connie, your post made me smile. My mom passed away in 1996, and although this memory didn't involve a tense moment it's still some of the most fun I ever had. We loved Scrabble. My mom, grandma, and I, would play all the time. One of us would put on a goofy word, and the tickle was on. We'd laugh until tears rolled down our cheeks. Thanks for sharing. Smiles, Jan.

It's not too late Melissa. You can still get it at amazon or eharlequin. How's that for a sales pitch? Grin. And yes, Christian Bale is yummy! Smiles, Jan.

Thanks, Cryna. Lightening the mood between intense scenes gives the reader a necessary breather, and makes the characters more likable, IMO. Smiles, Jan.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 7/27/2008

I think a little humor in a book makes the story all the more believable.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/27/2008

I do love a little humor in my books. Lets face even in real life there is humor, so a book should be the same way.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/27/2008

I love it when a book makes me laugh and cry. Jodi Picoult always accomplishes this in her books.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/27/2008

I really like humor in books and think it is especially important in a dark book. Humor can help us to like the characters more and it can also lull us into a false sense of security so when something scary happens it is more of a shock. It is also a nice break in a book full of action and fear.

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/27/2008

I love to read books that have some humor in them. One of my recent LOL favorites was Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Posted  by cheryl castings on 7/27/2008

Thank you ladies for all of your fabulous comments. Smiles, Jan.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 7/28/2008



Coming to a Bookstore Near You...

I don't know if they work for readers. I don't know if they're worth the time and effort. But I'm a sucker for a good book trailer.

Maybe it's the visuals that do it for me. I'm a very visually-oriented person, so a good book trailer can whet my interest in a book that I might otherwise not think I'd be interested in. Also, book trailers serve as a form of shorthand about a book: This is the tone. This is the main conflict. These are the characters and what they want. It helps me to form a quick impression about whether or not this book would appeal to me as a reader.

I recently had the opportunity to work on a book trailer for Jayne Castle's upcoming Ghost Hunter series release, DARK LIGHT. The tone of Jayne's books are very different from my own, and the trailer was whimsical fun to create. When I finished, I still had all sorts of creative energy left over so I immediately made my own book trailer for COWBOY ALIBI, my September 2008 Intrigue. (You can see that trailer here or here.)

But are book trailers really worth the time, effort and--yes--money it takes to create them?

Author Susan Kearney used actual live action in her book trailer for SOLAR HEAT. "For Solar Heat, I asked the same cover models who are on the book cover to act in the video. We used all kinds of special effects and filmed it mostly in a nearby warehouse," Susan said, adding that she has a friend who does all the filming and computer work. "It's a lot of work but a very interesting process."

Some authors question the usefulness of what is, in most cases, a glorified slide show. But Intrigue author Mallory Kane still finds the effort worthwhile.

"I like everything about it, including putting the music track together, picking the pictures to use, and working on just the right tone for the piece. It takes a lot of time and probably isn't worth it, except to me," Mallory said. "What I want to accomplish? I want to show anyone who sees my trailer what MY vision is for my story."

Jayne Castle thinks that book trailers do have an impact. "When I put up a new trailer for a book I immediately send it out to my email list. The day after the email goes out the number of visitors at my site always skyrockets for a few days. I also put the trailer up at my blog and, again, the statistics jump for a day or two at the blog."

When I asked my friend Jenn Francis, who's a voracious reader, what she thought of book trailers, she admitted she likes them. "Trailers feel more interactive somehow, as opposed to just seeing the cover or reading a blurb."

So how do you go about creating a book trailer? There are online services that can really streamline the process, as Harlequin Blaze author Kelley St. John learned when creating trailers for her own books. "I use one true media to make my own trailers. They provide cool music choices, nice transition options and make the entire process extremely simple," Kelley said.

There are also software programs such as Adobe Flash or SwishMax that allow the user a more hands-on approach. I use SwishMax because it's very user friendly. I purchase low cost Royalty Free music from places like Stock20 and images from places like iStockPhoto. A relatively inexpensive photo/paint program like Corel's Paint Shop Pro gives you the flexibility to manipulate stock photos and create your own graphics to bring your trailer to life.

I think my own motives for making book trailers are similar to Mallory Kane's. I like the creative process of putting together a snapshot of my book in a way that distills its appeal to a short, visual blurb. It also helps me streamline my story pitch for when people ask me what my book's about. I can say, "It's about a man who wants justice, a woman who wants answers and the killer who wants them both dead."

So, how about you? Book trailers--love 'em? Hate 'em? Couldn't care less?

Posted by Paula Graves, author of Cowboy Alibi on 7/26/2008

Enter comments


I'm in the "couldn't care less" category. I'll watch some of them but it doesn't influence me to buy a book any more that an excerpt will. In fact I think an excerpt will influence me more. Also there are some book trailers that I don't have the right plug-in to see. I can think of one author especially whose trailers I can't view.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/26/2008

I like trailers for a book, because it gives you the feel of the book - or to me it does. I also know how much work it is for you Authors who do your own having helped my daughter to come up with an array of pictures that she can use to put her trailers together. But I think that the work is worthwhile, because it sets out the story in pictures, and gives the feel of the book. So I say yes to trailers helping with sales or interest in books.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/26/2008

I do enjoy book trailers, but I wouldn't be disappointed if an author doesn't use book trailers.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/26/2008

I was all set to say that I didn't care one way or the other about book trailers but after watching this book trailer, I can hardly wait to read the book. Loved it!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/26/2008

Love'em! The trailer you just presented has me looking forward to your new book. I imagine the process is especially beneficial for new and/or unknown authors.

Posted  by Raimey Scheffler on 7/26/2008

I think they can make a diffence in whether you buy a book or not. However; in the case of this book I've read other books by the author and know she's a good writer so was going to buy the book anyway. :) I did enjoy the book trailer though and think they are fun.

Posted  by Sherry McCutcheon on 7/26/2008

I didn't even know about book trailers. Thank you for introducing me to a new way to find books!

Posted  by Kathie Nunley on 7/26/2008

I'm a reader deep in my soul so book trailers I could take em or leave em.

Posted  by Janae Schaft on 7/26/2008

A good trailer is always good for a book, gives people a good idea about the book.

Posted  by Amy Fincher on 7/26/2008

Love em. Book trailer are great, they let me see a little about the book.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/26/2008

I like book trailers. It also helps me decide if a book is one I'd be interested in.

Posted  by Jennifer Ray on 7/26/2008

I'm so-so about them. If I come across one and have time I'll watch it but I don't go out of my way to do so.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/26/2008

What an interesting way to intro a book!

Posted  by Kimber Malone on 7/26/2008

Love the helps me decide if a book is worth my attention or not. I read 5 to 6 books a week...

Posted  by taly T on 7/26/2008

I would have to say that most of the authors I read haven't done any book trailers that I'm aware of, but I anxiously await each of their books nonetheless. That said, the book trailers I have noticed do entice me to check out a new author, whether I do or not depends on how much I've got to read by my favorites at the time.

Posted  by marianne birge on 7/26/2008

Paula, I would have to say that I am in the could care less catagory as well. I can say that an interesting book cover will draw my attention, but not a "video pre-view". If I wanted to watch the movie I would. I prefer my books, on paper between two artfully crafted covers.

Posted  by April Fuzi on 7/26/2008

I love book trailers , i think it helps you decide if you would like the book before you buy it , i have read the other books by this author and was planning on buying it anyway but this makes me more excited about reading it

Posted  by Georgene Grisham on 7/26/2008

Thanks for the answers. I like book trailers, myself, because I'm a sucker for a slide show. :) But I also don't spend a whole lot of money putting mine together because I don't want the cost to outweigh the benefit.

Posted  by Paula Graves on 7/26/2008

Paula, I love book trailers, but then again I'm a tv and movie addict too (according to my husband) I loved your trailer, I've never seen such a short one that still managed to show exactly what the book is about. Great job!!

Posted  by Jill James on 7/26/2008

If you're on dialup you can just forget about watching trailers.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/27/2008



Gothic Romances

My mother's favorite author was Mary Stewart. Consequently, she was one of my first favorite authors as well. I can't remember when I read my first Mary Stewart book, but I remember them all, and I reread them when I'm feeling nostalgic or when I need a reminder of why I always wanted to write. Some of her gothic romances are Touch Not the Cat, The Ivy Tree, Airs Above the Ground, My Brother Michael, The Gabriel Hounds, and many more.

For my book that's coming out in September, Solving the Mysterious Stranger, the fifth book in the Curse of Raven's Cliff by Harlequin Intrigue (September 2008), I got to go back to the books and the heroes that first captured my heart.

Gothic Romances and Heroes in Doubt.

What is so fascinating about dark, mysterious strangers? The lure of the forbidden? The aura of danger that is so scary and yet can be so sexy? The idea that behind his foreboding exterior lies a broken heart?

Cole Robinson, my hero in Solving the Mysterious Stranger has been undercover inside a domestic terrorist organization for three years, trying to bring it down. He can't blow his cover when he's forced to take Amelia Hopkins hostage. So through most of the book, my heroine believes that Cole is a traitor to his country. And yet she finds herself falling in love with him.

Writing a hero-in-doubt is tricky, but a lot of fun! I had a great time juggling Amelia's growing love for Cole and her fear that ultimately he would betray not only her, but his own country, and his inner struggle as he balanced the (literal) fate of the free world against falling in love with her.

Question: Have y'all read Mary Stewart or Phyllis Whitney, or other Gothic Romance Writers of the 60s and 70s? Do you like reading hero-in-doubt stories?

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 7/25/2008

Enter comments


Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney were two of my favorite authors when I was much younger. Loved their books. I think we like Heros-in-Doubt because of the danger that is seldom real in our own lives. I enjoy reading such a book, specially if he is in doubt right up to the end.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/25/2008

No, I haven't read either Mary Stewart or Phyllis Whitney. I am not particularly fond of gothic romance but a hero-in-doubt I do like. It makes him feel real in a lot of stories. Any hero such as yours should have doubts about what he is doing. Or at least that's what I think.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/25/2008

I have read both Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney. I especially enjoyed Mary Stewarts books about Merlin.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/25/2008

I haven't read Mary Stewart or Phyllis Whitney. I do enjoy reading hero in doubt stories. There's a great build up of tension and stress causing a strain on the relationship between the characters.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/25/2008

I was very into gothics in my teens, Phyllis Whitney, Dorothy Eden, Victoria Holt, Dumaurier, etc. I do like a hero-in-doubt story, the heroine thinking she shouldn't want him, but finding herself drawn to him anyway, somehow sensing there's more to him.

Posted  by Pam P on 7/25/2008

Yes, I've read and enjoyed them both. I like that combination of scary and sexy. Gothics really need strong heroines, though, or they can be disappointing. I think Solving the Mysterious Stranger sounds fascinating.

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/25/2008

I haven't read either of those authors, but I seldom read gothic. The only gothic romances I can remember are the Intrigues that I have read in the past. I like a hero in doubt, because of all the conflict he has and takes the reader through.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/25/2008

Oh yes. Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney. It was a long time ago when I was teenager when I read them. I loved a dark mysterious stranger, who turned out to be the hero and of course the seemingly bashful heroine who was actually a spitfire well able to make it through the plot as brave and beautiful . sigh It may sound corny now but I liked it.

Posted  by Judith  Fox on 7/25/2008

They were among the first authors that I followed and I loved their work. What was so fascinating about their heroes was that everything was so unexpected. Hero-in-doubt, oh yes, more unexpected activity! Pat Cochran

Posted  by Patricia Cochran on 7/26/2008

Wow! it's great to know that so many Intrigue readers know and love the great gothic romance writers. Of course, I should have mentioned the first gothic romance ladies -- the Brontes. Wouldn't it have been fun to sit around with them and talk about heroes in doubt?

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 7/26/2008

Yes I read them and quite a few you didn't mention. I never thought of it as hero-in-doubt but that's a great way to describe them and I guess my answer is sometimes. It really depends on how it is written.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/26/2008



Ghost Hunting!

My newest release coming out in August, UNDER SUSPICION, WITH CHILD, has a creepy, spine-tingling tone. Don't you love a little creepiness every once in a while? I got my share recently.

Last weekend, I had the delight of spending it with other writers in the Diamond State Romance Authors and the ladies of Central Arkansas Society of Paranormal Research (CASPR) in historic Hot Springs, Arkansas. CASPR spoke to us about their paranormal pursuits and researching the history of places reportedly haunted. It was fun, spooky and sometime downright creepy. After a brief presentation to include a video clip of them on the Montel Williams show, we wandered through an old graveyard--after dark!--and then went on a tour of the Velda Rose, an old hotel in the heart of Hot Springs, standing in front of rooms where murders had been committed and ghosts still haunted.

Did I see a ghost? No, but I let the creep-factor crawl up my spine, and I took lots of pictures at the graveyard hoping to capture a wandering spirit in my camera lens.

At one of the hard-to-read old headstones, I swear it read GHOST. When my sister looked at it, she read GHOST as well. The headstone next to it had the name JOHNSON on it. When we looked from that headstone to the one we'd previously seen GHOST on, it read JOHNSON! As we stepped away from those headstones, I swear something followed me from the site. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

If you've never gone ghost hunting, you should try it! It's fun learning the history of places and people who occupied those places. And keeping an open mind is a must. Then there's the giddy, hysterical laughter as you're driving away, glad to be in the warmth and comfort of your car, leaving the darkness of a graveyard behind.

Anyone out there been ghost hunting?

Posted by Elle James, author of Under Suspicion, With Child on 7/24/2008

Enter comments


I've never been but it sounds like something that would be interesting to do. I've never seen/felt a ghost but I'm willing to believe that could be such a thing. After all unexplained things happen.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/24/2008

Hi Elle, I am a "ghostbuster". I visit people's homes and help them with their "visitors". I have many tales to write about but I'll only share one today. Btw, my grandmother, uncle, and sister have all seen ghosts too. Here's one of my stories. A neighbor told me that every time she awoke she saw a little boy by her bed. I entered the room with her and her bf who was a non-believer. I opened one closet door and nothing happened. However when I opened the other closet door the little boy's spirit went right through me. It was such a rush! It was such a sweet feeling I cried. The non-believing guy was behind me and the boy rushed through him too! He believes now. lol!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/24/2008

As a child my favorite place to play was in the graveyard right across the street from where we lived. I used to imagaine I saw the ghosts of the children who died in the 1888 blizzard. I still love to visit graveyards and often walk around making up stories about those buried there, especially if I see an unusual stone like the one near hear which reads "gone and forgotten".

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/24/2008

WEIRD about the headstones! I have not been ghost-hunting, but I am going on a ghost tour in St. Augustine this fall. The History Channel (or something like it) had a special about the 100 most haunted places in America, and THE ENTIRE CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE was either #2 or #1. So I'm looking forward to it!

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 7/24/2008

I've never been ghosthunting and I'm a skeptic, but I'm also fascinated by the idea. Ghost Hunters is one of my favorite shows. I love history, too, so even if I never saw a ghost I'd love exploring old houses, graveyards, castles, etc.

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/24/2008

I have never been ghost hunting. Don't think I want to go, either.

Posted  by Estellas Kissell on 7/24/2008

I've never been ghost hunting but I would to go. Sounds so interesting and intriqueing.

Posted  by Jill James on 7/24/2008

I've never been ghost hunting, but I think it would be an interesting adventure. I'm just not sure if I had the guts to do it.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/24/2008

I have never gone ghost hunting. It sounds like an interesting time that you had, although not sure I would be brave enough to go. I do believe that there are ghosts, because both my late husband and daughter have had encounters. The mail brought me your book today in my box from HQN, so the mail was good.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/24/2008

I think I would get a big kick out of ghost hunting. I have always enjoyed those haunted houses and such.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/24/2008



Comfort Zones

July has seen at least two firsts for me. This is my first time blogging, and I recently received my first jury summons. I can’t say that I was overjoyed by its arrival in my mailbox, but I have always believed there was a strong connection between new experiences and great story ideas. Stepping outside my comfort zone had worked for me in the past, and I was hoping it would this time, too.

And even as I filed into the jury box several weeks later for the selection process, uncertain of the type of case that was being tried, I was still feeling upbeat. Until I heard the words premeditated murder and realized that, if chosen, I would be making a decision that would profoundly impact a man’s life. It was a scary, sobering thought for me. I suspect it is for most people. I was WAY out of my comfort zone now and there was no going back.

Though I found the jury selection process tedious and many of the questions invasive, I also discovered those same question occasionally revealed something about the evidence that would be presented at trial or possible strategies the prosecution or defense intended to use. Just a few of those gleaned bits of information: The jury would never be presented with a possible motive and there would be no DNA evidence. The defense wouldn’t call any additional witnesses. The crime scene photos would be extensive and difficult to look at. The murder weapon had never been found. The defendant, who had allegedly confessed to a friend, was unlikely to take the stand in his own defense.

Strangely enough, when I wasn’t one of the chosen twelve, I felt a brief sense of rejection.

So what was the last thing that you did that pushed you beyond your comfort zone? And were you surprised by your reaction at any point?

Posted by Lori Harris, author of Set Up Wit The Agent on 7/23/2008

Enter comments


I guess the last time I was pushed beyond my comfort zone was years ago when my mother developed breast cancer. She did not want treatment and was adament that I not tell my brothers she was sick. They did not live near us and would have no way of knowing unless they made a trip here. I had to decide whether to agree to not telling as my mother wanted or tell them in spite of her wishes. If I didn't tell them they would not be able to say goodbye and would be angry with me. If I told, my mother would be angry with me. I ended up suggesting it would be to their benefit to visit mother without saying any more. I don't know if she ever guessed what I had done but she never said anything.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/23/2008

The thing that pushes me out of my comfort zone the fastest is having to stand up and speak in front of a group. I feel sick before hand and nervous throughout, but usually people tell me that I don't appear as nervous as I feel. I still try to avoid it if I can.

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/23/2008

Lori, call me crazy, but I love jury duty. I've been on one criminal case and one civil case. Since meeting my husband, the cop, I always get dismissed from criminal cases by the defense attorney. I guess there's a good reason for that - my husband tells me it's very hard to get a D.A. to take a case. You have to have lots of very good evidence. So my husband's belief is that once the person is on trial, there's a 99% chance he's guilty. I'm sure that's why I never get selected because of that influence. I got called in January of this year but sat there for a day with no panels called. They were saving us for a panel later in the afternoon, but that case was settled and we were dismissed. Everyone else was happy, but I was bummed!

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/23/2008

Jury duty ! I dislike having to decide whether a person is innocent or guilty. I always have it deferred til it can't be deferred any longer.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/23/2008

I can't think of anything recent that pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I guess I'm grateful for that. I do know that I was happy that I wasn't chosen to be member of a jury for an attempted murder case. The defendant was a gang member and everybody in the jury pool was trying their hardest to avoid being picked for the jury.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/23/2008

Ellen, I can't even begin to imagine just how difficult that must have been. From where I sit, I suspect you did what a loving daughter and sister would do. You gave people who loved each other the gift of time not overshadowed by any more pain than necessary.

Posted  by Lori Harris on 7/23/2008

Cheryl, I, too, hate speaking in front of crowds. At one point I even took the Dale Carnegie course. It helped. Just not enough to get me comfortable in front of a hundred strangers. LOL

Posted  by Lori Harris on 7/23/2008

Carol, I actually was one of six jurors who wasn't dismissed at the end of the first day. I went home that night certain that I would be serving. Again, I can't say that I wasn't relieved when i was dismissed. At the same time, though, I was left very curious. So far no one has asked me what the verdict was in this case. After two hours of deliberation, the defendant was found guilty. And I'm sure he was.

Posted  by Lori Harris on 7/23/2008

Estella, From my first encounter with a jury pool, I think you're in good company!

Posted  by lori Harris on 7/23/2008

My daughter is getting married this saturday and I still haven't decided if I'm going to give a toast/speech. If it were just our family I think I could do it but a majority of the guests are from the groom's side and I really don't know them except with a couple encounters with a few of them. All us girls are getting together for girly things like hair, nails, and pedicures - I can't imagine having someone have to fuss with my feet - that is so not me lol. And I spent 3 times more on my dress than my own gown roflmao. Oh and we had a Mary Kate representative come and sell us a fortune in makeup - that so isn't me either lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/23/2008

For a while I was called for jury duty just as fast as I was off. Several times in a row. I called and asked how that could happen and was told that it was "just the luck of the draw". I asked if they could please draw the next power ball numbers because I never win anything else. Can't really complain though because I have never served on a jury and only had to show up at the courthouse once and was dissmissed without any questions. Don't know that really ever would want to serve.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/23/2008

I have never been selected for Jury duty, and in one way I am glad. The thing that pushes me beyond my comfort zone is to be among strangers and have to give my point of view or opinion. I hated to be called upon to give reports at school and I guess it is something that I have never outgrown, or has gotten easier with age. It is just hopeless. I never come across as nervous, but I can tell you I am always quaking inside.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/23/2008

Jury duty will put anyone out of their comfort zone. I have been called to Jury duty twice. I will have to tell you I was out of my comfort zone and unlike you I was very happy when I wasn't picked to serve. I am not going to say what my case would have been but I think most people would be out of their comfort zone during that case.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/23/2008



You Can Be My Hero

Welcome to the Intrigue Authors Sizzling Summer Blog Blitz, also known as IASSBB—or maybe not. I’m finally dipping my pink-polished toe in the pool because those July Intrigue covers to the right are HOT! I keep hoping for a shirtless guy of my own, but since the hero of my August Intrigue, A DOCTOR-NURSE ENCOUNTER, is well, a doctor, it just didn’t work out for me this time. Nevertheless, I think my guy looks pretty darned sizzling in his white coat.

I like to call A DOCTOR-NURSE ENCOUNTER a cross between The Sopranos and Nip Tuck. Ironically, the mobster, Tony Soprano, is at times more heroic than the two cosmetic surgeons in Nip Tuck. I assure you, that’s not the case in my book. Although my hero, Dr. Nick Marino, is indeed a cosmetic surgeon, he does more than enhance breasts. He also volunteers his services to a children’s burn unit and he heads up a team of cosmetic surgeons who perform surgery on children from war-torn countries. Although the heroine, Lacey Kirk, secretly calls him “Dr. Perfect,” he’s not. He has secrets to keep to protect his family, but in keeping those secrets he may be endangering Lacey’s life. In the end, he’ll do the right thing because…he’s the hero.

So what makes a romance hero heroic? Is it his profession? Doctors have naturally heroic professions because they heal people and save lives, but not all doctors have that heroic sheen. What about podiatrists? Proctologists? Cosmetic surgeons? I gave Dr. Marino those altruistic volunteer opportunities because let’s face it (get it, face it?), cosmetic surgeons don’t have the most heroic reputations (blame Nip Tuck), although here in Southern California their heroism has reached god-like proportions.

What other professions have “hero” written all over them? Obviously any law enforcement professions: cops (and I’m biased because my husband is one), CIA, FBI, private investigators, and those shadowy covert ops guys we Intrigue writers love to write about. Military men like Navy SEALS and special ops guys are so heroic, their teeth gleam when they smile. Cowboys with their rugged individualism and CEOs with their take-charge attitudes also make good heroes. To me, teachers are heroic, but you don’t see many teachers kicking butt and winning the girl, although Indiana Jones is a professor, and he does just fine.

Of course, we also have “super heroes,” those guys who have so many natural powers they can’t help themselves. One of this summer’s movies, Hancock, starring Will Smith puts an interesting spin on the super hero—he’s a reluctant super hero. I haven’t seen the new Batman yet, but he’s always been kind of a dark super hero. I guess I’ll leave those kinds of heroes to the paranormal writers and stick to my cops and CIA guys.

So what are your favorite professions for heroes? Have we Intrigue writers missed a great profession for a hero?

Posted by Carol Ericson, author of A Doctor-Nurse Encounter on 7/22/2008

Enter comments


Carol, Your cover is HOT even with his shirt on. I like cowboys and military men the best, but the key quality in any hero for me is a protective nature. I want him to be determined to protect the heroine even when she doesn't need or want to be protected.

Posted  by Wendi Darlin on 7/22/2008

Military definately belongs on my list but so do firemen, cops, snd teachers. Yes teachers, who spend all day with others' children, being cop, nurse, parent, counselor, and friend to them.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/22/2008

Wendi, I love those stories where the hero is trying to protect the heroine and she doesn't want his protection - sparks fly!

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/22/2008

Connie, I think we need an Intrigue with a teacher as hero - hmm, maybe he discovers something while doing research that puts his life in danger. But to me, teachers are heroes every day.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/22/2008

Cops and military men (firefighters, too!) are my favorites. I think it's that intrinsic code of honor that we associate with men in uniform. As far as a character type--I love those tortured souls and big, bad-ass protectors!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/22/2008

Carol, great topic. I'm partial to the secret agent and military heroes (probably a little to do with my hubby having been in the Army). Love Indiana Jones, but I'm not huge on the super heroes. Mostly I like any regular guy who does the right thing even when it's really, really hard. Looking forward to A Doctor-Nurse Encounter next month, and yeah, your cover is very nice, too.

Posted  by Stacey Joy Netzel on 7/22/2008

Julie, my husband, the cop, is very disdainful of firemen! He says they sit around all day baking cookies and watching their big screen TVs. LOL (I think he's just jealous because people like firemen better than cops!)

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/22/2008

Stacey, I like my cover too - it's intrigue-y and kind of moody, but I'm still waiting for my shirtless hero. AND I just realized my guy is not wearing a white coat - he's wearing blue surgical scrubs - better yet.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/22/2008

Carol, I'm growing partial to cops/firefighters as heroes. The guys who put it on the line for us all every day right in our own neighborhoods. There's something very hot about a guy who wants to make things better for those around him--and that goes for doctors, military, and yes, teachers.

Posted  by Amy Atwell on 7/22/2008

Everyday heroes - cops, detectives, bodyguards, FBI, doctors, firefighters, paramedics, single dads, teachers, the military, farmers, ministers...just to name a few! ;)

Posted  by cheryl castings on 7/22/2008

I just figured the white coat is how you pictured him in your mind. LOL

Posted  by Stacey Joy Netzel on 7/22/2008

Hi Carol! Great blog, heroes are my favorite subject. ;-) I love blue collar-types, especially cops. LOVE cops. Or any type of hero who makes a living catching bad guys. One of my favorite heroes is Joe Winston from Lori Foster's Say No To Joe? He's just so darn sexy...sigh...LOL And he's a bounty hunter. LOVE bounty hunters. *G* I Love the hero from Linda Howard's Cry No More, too, although I can't think of his name. OH, and her hero from Mr. Perfect...a cop...LOL

Posted  by Donna  Kowalczyk on 7/22/2008

My favorite professions for heroes are any branch of law enforcement, cowboys, firefighters, CEO's, etc.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/22/2008

I love books with military and law enforcement heroes. I'm a big fan of alpha males. Doctors are definitely great hero material because they save lives. I've been seeing a lot of firefighter heroes recently.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/22/2008

Amy, now if our neighborhood heroes all looked as good as they do in romance novels, we'd have it made (I'm so shallow - LOL). Cheryl, ooh, bodyguards - I forgot them. I loved that movie with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston - besides the great music, those two had great chemistry. Donna, heroes are obviously one of my favorite topics too - could discuss them all day. Estella, I love those cowboy heroes, too. Being a city girl, however, I'm really not quite sure what a cowboy does for a living except stand around looking hot in his cowboy hat and tight jeans!

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/22/2008

I like heroes who are police, firemen, military, doctors, etc but the average man who goes to work as an account, shop keeper, auto mechanic, etc can be heroes also as long as he helps someone out or saves someones life (and of course wins the heroine in the end of the book).

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/22/2008

Carol, there's something about a hot doctor that's special. IMO, you don't see enough of them in this genre. On a personal analysis, I couldn't define what hero profession locks me in and doesn't let me go though the answer became clear once I started naming off my favorite all-time heroes: James Bond, Rhett Butler, Roarke, ANY hero from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood... So, I guess my answer would be the more scandalous the better. Seems right considering my favorite male character I've ever written was a jewel thief. And I thought I was such a good girl... Hugs, Amber

Posted  by Amber Leigh Williams on 7/22/2008

Carol, very HOT cover. Heroes can be scientists finding a cure for cancer or teachers in at-risk schools or James Bond LOL

Posted  by Jill James on 7/22/2008

All the law enforcement heroes are good for me. I also think that a scientist, teacher, special forces, are good. As long as the hero is compassionate and tries his best to protect or make the situation right, that is a good hero. Blue collar workers could fall into that catergory - carpenter, construction worker, etc.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/22/2008

I think that the intrigue authors have covered most if not all of the hero types.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/22/2008

Jane, you gotta love those Alpha males-something about a man who takes charge. Ellen, you're right. A hero can be any profession really as long as he's willing to confront danger for his woman. Amber, I'm a sucker for bad boys too! (And I never thought you were a good girl...) Jill, I just love Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. The next movie looks really good - can't wait. Cryna, making everything right in the end is one of the hero's job.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/22/2008

I really don't have a favorite. If the hero is well written, the author can make any character in any profession, heroic.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/22/2008

Great post, Carol. There have been movies with teachers as heroes, so I think they can be great heroes. I love CSI, FBI, cops, firemen, military and ordinary people. There have been many instances when an ordinary person has been in an unordinary situation and acted heroic.

Posted  by Sandy Marshall on 7/22/2008




Some stories are timeless. I learned that when the writers strike shut down network television programming as we know it for nearly 6 months. Being that I live alone and am not fond of wandering around the city at night by myself, I look to the television for company. So when the strike hit--despite the fact that I have an advanced tier of cable tv--I desperately sought something to watch and found I LOVE LUCY.

Not having seen the series for more than 30 years, I set my DVR to record every episode. For months I watched episodes that I actually remembered. There were few surprises but there were still a lot of laughs. When they started repeating the episodes, I switched to DESIGNING WOMEN, a newer series, but one I hadn't seen in more than 10 years.

Both series are dated--Lucy is politically incorrect--and yet my familiarity with the characters was comforting somehow. It's like inviting family into my living room.

Yesterday, I got an email from a reader, a fan of my CLUB UNDERCOVER series, who wanted to know if Cass would ever get a story. I have another dozen of these emails at least. Note that Cass not getting her own story was my editor's decision, not mine--she didn't think Cass was heroine material for some reason. But it made me think. Why is Cass so important to my readers? I haven't written CLUB UNDERCOVER BOOKS in 5 years. The last in the series was published in July 04. Why then did this reader wait "with baited breath to see what would become of Cass"? Maybe because she was familiar, having appeared in all 5 other books. Maybe because she offered that sense of family.

This is something I've thought quite a lot about since I've been asked to create another branch of McKennas. I'm writing the last of the original characters in THE MCKENNA LEGACY series now--RESCUING THE VIRGIN will be released next April. But the McKennas are so popular that my editor wants me to write more to please the readers. I'm all for pleasing the readers so I'm good with it.

What really surprised me, though, was the review response to THE LAST VAMPIRE. We've had a dozen on-line reviews and nearly every one commented on the fact that the reader was lucky that it was the first in a series because they would be able to read more about these characters. They said they couldn't wait to see what happened. For some reason, I wasn't expecting that.

But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, I like following the same characters on screen or in books. I loved that they released LIVE FREE AND DIE HARD twenty years after DIE HARD, for example. I went to see it because I loved the hero. And series--whether family or heroes & heroines connected in some other way--seem to be big in every venue.

Do you agree? Do you have particular books or television programs or movies that are familiar/timeless for you? Are there things you would watch or read again and again? Why do you think this phenomenon is growing?

Good reading,


Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire on 7/21/2008

Enter comments


Now that you mention it--I am forever watching the tv series MURDER SHE WROTE even though by now I could have seen every episode a gazillion times (well maybe not that many).

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/21/2008

ALL IN THE FAMILY or any 80's movie are familiar/timeless for me. As for books, I'd read BLACK BODY by H.C. Turk and THE CATSWOLD PORTAL by Shirley Rousseau Murphy over and over. I think this phenomenon is growing because we do indeed want to see our favorite characters again.

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/21/2008

Have never thought about why I enjoy many of the old series on tv, but like others I find them drawing me back all the time. Some of my favorites are Murder She Wrote, Little House on the Prairie, one set in Hawaii with Tom Selleck. I'm sure there are others but names don't come to mind. Perhaps it was less violence or I just like the stars of each of these.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/21/2008

I have read Reble Temptress by Constance O'Banyon I couldn't tell you how many times and still get it out to read. Also there are several TV shows I do the same way.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/21/2008

Maybe this is strange but I have dozen's of movies that I'll watch over and over and some tv series too (seinfield, star trek etc.) but I rarely reread my books. I was like that with my kids too - I would go to the library every week and get out 30 books at a time. Once in a while I reread a series if the books are a long time between stories but I have soooooo many books that I want to read. I have a huge tbr pile and keep buying more and would probably have to live to be a 500 to read thme all lol. (and by that time I'd have to double it from buying more books).

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/21/2008

I like to watch the shows of Columbo and Perry Mason whenever they are run again. As for books there are a few that draw me back to them, one being Lucy Monroe's Mercenary Trilogy, I am not sure what it is that keeps drawing me back, but it does. I have recently started to watch a new program on TV called Flashpoint - there have only been 2 episodes, but it has hooked me - I am not much of a TV watcher except for football or hockey.....

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/21/2008

I'm not sure if Law and Order could be considered timeless, but I've been watching it for over ten years and some of the crimes/cases still resonate today.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/21/2008

Yes, There are certain shows that I can watch over and over, Stargate SG-1, being my favorite.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/21/2008

I don't watch very many movies or much TV, so have no favorites there. I would reread anything by Nora Roberts(JD Robb) or Christine Feehan.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/21/2008

For me when I read a good book and all the characters are interesting I want to know about them too. Also if the main character hasn't found there other half and had there HEA or there could be more things that could be written about there lives then I want to read more about there adventures.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/22/2008

I sometimes will rewatch a particular movie or reread a special book when I'm searching for something to lift my spirits. It's amazing how even after reading or watching it a dozen times, it will still deliver.

Posted  by Lori Harris on 7/23/2008




Congratulations! If your name is on this list you're the winner of a free book. Please contact the author you've been paired with via her website to receive a book of her choice. And keep commenting, we're giving away a book a day! The winner's list will be posted on Monday's just under the featured author's post.

7/14 Winner - Cynthia Petzen - Author Rebecca York

7/15 Winner - Shelley Downton - Author Patricia Rosemoor

7/16 Winner - Joyce Mandle - Author Julie Miller

7/17 No Blog

7/18 Winner - Jane Squires - Author Tracy Montoya

7/19 Winner - Donna Labbe - Author Ann Voss Peterson

7/20 Winner - The Quilt Lady - Author Delores Fossen

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 7/21/2008

Enter comments



Texas Rangers

My latest Intrigue, Questioning the Heiress, is the second book in a Texas Ranger trilogy that I'm doing with authors Mallory Kane and Rita Herron. Even as a child I was fascinated with the Rangers, but that fire really blazed about seven years ago when I met Sgt. Marrie Garcia, the first female Texas Ranger. I wanted to be her when I grew up, but I settled for writing about the Rangers instead. ;)

Rangers have been described as part soldier, part lawman, part detective, and they've been around for nearly 200 years. Amazing. They're also the only statewide law enforcement agency in the country. They've been responsible for capturing such criminals as Bonnie and Clyde, John Wesley Hardin and Sam Bass. But enough history. Thanks to the TV show, lots of people have clear images of Rangers. Unfortunately, the TV show didn't get it right, and here are just a few things about Rangers you might not know:

--They only wear white or tan hats
--There's no requirement to know how to ride a horse
--All Rangers must have at least 8 years experience in law enforcement
--A Ranger badge is made from a Mexican five Peso silver coin
--There are 123 Rangers, including three women

Okay, obviously I'm a little obsessed with the Rangers, but what about you? Is there any law enforcement group that catches your interest--FBI, CIA, ATF, Scotland Yard, Canadian Mounties?

Posted by Delores Fossen, author of Questioning the Heiress on 7/20/2008

Enter comments


Those were some interesting facts and I'm glad there are some women rangers now (although I just can't imagine doing that kind of job). I don't have a particular obsession but enjoy any man in uniform!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/20/2008

I'm a BIG Texas Rangers fan (and I don't mean the baseball team) and I always read books that star them. I just received Rita's book and now I get to read all three of them.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/20/2008

Great information. I like reading about law enforcement in all areas.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/20/2008

Jeanne, I'm with you--I love reading about men in uniforms. Delores

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/20/2008

Ellen, I really hope you enjoy all three of the Ranger books. :) Delores

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/20/2008

Joyce, I like that as well!!!

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/20/2008

I've had a thing for the FBI ever since I started watching The X-Files on tv. I was in love with Fox Mulder.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/20/2008

I love Texas rangers and anything written about Texas, and I don't know why. I still watch repeats of Walker Texas on TV. Can you believe that.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/20/2008

I enjoy reading about all branches of the law.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/20/2008

Love men in uniforms but the Mounties always seemed so romantic.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/20/2008

I love watching shows or reading books that deal with people who are involved with forensics, this stuff fascinates me!

Posted  by Teresa Warner on 7/20/2008

Jane, I'll bet you're waiting for the new X-Files movie. :)

Quilt Lady, I watch the reruns too. LOL.

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/20/2008

I love the stories about the Texas Rangers. Our Canadian Mounties, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, always look so sharp when they are in their dress reds. Other than that they wear the tan/beige uniform. They are the law enforcement that is right across Canada. They are rich in history as well. I pretty much like stories that concern law enforcement because they do so much good for all. Another area that holds my interest is the mercenary stories.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/20/2008

I have always enjoyed reading stories that featured police officers and detectives. I also enjoy historical romances about Texas Rangers, Canadian Mounties, and wild west sheriffs.

Posted  by cheryl castings on 7/20/2008

Cryna, I enjoy mercenary stories too. As for the Canadian Mounties, I would love to meet one so I can find out more about them.

Cheryl, I LOVE historical romance with Rangers!! Those stories are so hard to find these days.

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/20/2008

Wow great post! I loved hearing about the history of the Texas Rangers. I am from Canada so of course I am partial to the Mounties!! But I love all men in an uniform.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/21/2008

Shelley, I think the Mounties would make a great series.

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/21/2008




I’m getting ready for the RWA national conference that’s coming up at the end of the month, and one of the things I look forward to all year is the crazy dancing free-for-all that is the Harlequin Party. I love to dance. Especially at this stage of my life, because I have finally figured out what dancing is all about.

My father is a musician. Specifically, he plays tuba in a polka band (how deliciously Wisconsin is that?). So I learned to dance polkas, waltzes and schottisches by the time I was three years old. Dancing was pure fun for me back then. The opportunity to jump around and express my joy.

In highschool, dancing is all about posing and being seen. Looking cool and sexy is the whole point of going out on the floor, even though my friends and I had a very spotty understanding of what sexy actually was. I was a pom-pon girl for a year, too. But that didn’t have as much to do with dancing as with back-biting highschool girl politics. When the basketball season ended, I was relieved.

In college and in my twenties, dancing was about attracting guys. Of course, this method always left a lot to be desired. Most notably that one can’t control the type of male who was attracted.

After I got married, I didn’t dance nearly as often. You see, my husband hates dancing. Even watching others dance sends him back to the time his mother forced him to take tap lessons when he was about eight. He still shudders each time he sees the photo of himself on stage dressed as a tap-dancing playing card. To him, dancing means humiliation. To help him overcome this, I occasionally force him to watch Dancing With the Stars. I’m not sure if the technique is working.

And that brings me to the Harlequin Party. A ballroom filled with authors, all gussied up and dancing ourselves into breathless pools of sweat. Goofy dance moves (I have some great ones this year, the lawn mower, the sprinkler, hee hee!). Kicked off shoes. A room filled with smiles. The Harlequin Party is all about dancing for the pure joy of it. It reminds me of a room full of gleeful three-year-olds doing the polka. The optimism and energy is truly fabulous. I wish I could bottle it and post it on the blog for all of you to enjoy. But since I haven’t figured out how to do that, I’ll link to a video that conveys that same jubilant, coming together feeling, except on a much larger scale.

Click Here

And that leads me to my question: Wanna dance? And if not, why not?

***Make sure you type in the secret word in uppercase letters!

Posted by Ann Voss Peterson, author of Wyoming Manhunt on 7/19/2008

Enter comments


The Harlequin party sounds like great fun! And I love the video! I used to dance a lot when I was in college. Now when I dance to music at home, my sons shake their heads and tell me to stop! ;)

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/19/2008

My sons (9 & 6) do the same thing, Cheryl. Especially my older son. But I don't listen to him. I just try to make him laugh.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

I have a husband that hates to dance too so I'm really rusty lol. My daughter is getting married this month and probably all I'll get is a slow song or two out of him.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/19/2008

My husband doesn't dance either. My son makes fun of me if I do, but it is good exercise.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/19/2008

Me! Me, me, me -- I wanna dance! But with two broken toes, I'll for sure be doing some "goofy" dance moves. LOL. I have lots of pictures from HQ parties past and I'll be taking more. No one is safe! See you soon in San Francisco, Linda

Posted  by Linda Style on 7/19/2008

I'm very self-conscious about my dancing, but I feel less inhibited and more at ease after having a drink. I usually don't start dancing until I've had some alcohol.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/19/2008

I like to dance, but seldom go to dances now. The ones that used to be a joy to watch dance were my Mom and Dad they could dance anything, ballroom, etc. and were so graceful. My husband used to like to slow dance, and once in awhile jive. As for school dances way back when I used to hate to go to them, I would rather stay home and read.......LOL

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/19/2008

What is with all our party pooper husbands and sons, Jeanne and Quilt Lady? Really, they all need to lighten up and live a little!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

I still love to go dancing. In our town they still have an occasional disco party several times a year. Me and all my friends go and have a great time, hope you enjoy yours also!

Posted  by Teresa Warner on 7/19/2008

Bummer about the toes, Linda. I'm sure you'll get some good shots with that camera of yours. You'll just have to add any goofy pictures of me to all the goofy ones you've taken in previous years. :) See you there!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

Alcohol can help, that's for sure. Drink up, Jane! ;)

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

Your disco party sounds like a blast, Teresa!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

I love ballroom dancing, Cryna. And your husband dances jive? That's cool. Even if he does it only occasionally.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

I wana dance! I remember dancing with my father, standing on his feet, when I was little. I'd love to see you do the law mower and the sprinkler. I have a picture of you and Joanna Wayne dancing away--you were having such fun! Looking forward to your November release. Enjoy the party!

Posted  by Virginia  Kelly on 7/19/2008

Me! I want to dance. As teenagers we danced all the time and I thought my husband to be enjoyed it. Now we haven't danced since our son's wedding almost eight years ago, much to the amazement or was it amusement of family and friends. We hardly sat out a dance and we felt we were pretty good at it!

Posted  by Connie lorenz on 7/19/2008

I know the picture, Virginia. Joanna Wayne, Julie Miller and me. And you can see far too much of my leg. Oops. I'm sure Linda Style will be angling for some photos like that this year. I'll have to watch myself. ;)

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

You have to get that guy going, Connie. He dances! He's a valuable man! You can't let him get out of practice!

Wow, what would it be like to have a husband who dances? I can only dream. ;)

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

My feet hurt just thinking about dancing.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/19/2008

Estella -- I'm going to invent a shoe that prevents all dancing pain and gives extra energy to the dancer. I'm just not sure how I'm going to do it yet. ;)

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/19/2008

I don't dance and never really have, not even in high school or college. For some reason I've never been coordinated to dance. If I tried dancing like on the video I'd still trip over my own feet. So no I don't want to dance but I would love to be a fly on the wall at nationals and watch all of you.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/19/2008

Your description brought a fun-filled image to my mind.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/19/2008

I wanna dance and love to dance. Every year in our town we have an old fashioned town carnival without rides. We have several bands that perform, some are big band and some are rock and roll or kids bands. The town favorite is a led by Tony Boffa, who taught music at the Jr. High for years. He's retired now and his band has been around for 20'sh years. It's a block party with 60's, 70's, 80's and current music. Everyone is up and dancing. You forget your age and just have a good time. So what if you embarass your kids, hopefully they're busy dancing and won't notice - that is until Tony points you out in the crowd. Dancing is joy - even if you look like Elaine on Seinfeld (but that just makes us laugh). Have fun in San Fran. Donna

Posted  by Donna Labbe on 7/19/2008

The RWA national conference sounds like a blast!! I love to dance although I don't get near enough opportunities to do so. public at least. I love turning up the music and dancing to it by myself at home. I can go crazy if I wnat to! LOL

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/20/2008



My Name is Tracy, and I Have a Book-Buying Disease


I’m starting to think that my Book-Buying Disease is getting serious. My husband and I are in the process of trying to sell our house in a truly awful market, and the first thing our realtor said when he walked through the place was, Books. You have to get rid of all these books.

I nearly fired him on the spot.

But then, I realized, he was just trying to help. The cleaner and more clutter-free your house is, the better its chances of impressing a potential buyer. But my books? They are not clutter. They’re … they’re … MINE. Sure, I have at least two full shelves-worth of books that I’ve purchased in the past and haven’t gotten to—cast-offs from garage sales and library book sales, bookstore bargain bins and, yes, books that I’ve gotten full price. Books friends have given me, and one guilty loaner that I have yet to return. (No, I’m really not one of THOSE people. I’ve tried several times to return it—the owner and I just can’t seem to get our acts together to meet up for a hand-off. I swear!)

I find a geeky comfort in sitting among my shelves, trying to decide which one to read next. My favorite part about moving (and we’ve done that a lot—my husband just retired after 20 years as a Naval officer) is getting to re-alphabetize my books. I once got a job at Barnes & Noble, even though the manager had to work around my rather labyrinthine grad school and tutoring schedule, simply by chirping, But I LOVE shelving books! with way more geekalicious enthusiasm than was probably necessary.

So anyway, I did pack up the vast majority of my books, which are sitting in the garage, boxed up in sad little stacks. Sometimes, they call to me when I am sleeping. But my husband and my realtor tell me that if I want to sell the house, I have to ignore their cries.

The bookshelf they were on was so old, it literally spat shelves on top of me and then fell over in an exhausted heap as soon as I’d removed the last book from it. I had to throw it out, but I still have two beautiful, handmade oak bookshelves in my family room, which I left standing with my realtor’s blessing, showcasing some of my prettier hardcovers and paperbacks.

And I allowed myself to keep ten unsightly paperbacks, a manageable To-Be-Read pile that fit neatly underneath my bed. I decided I would finally read those ten books that I’d been meaning to get to—including improve-your-mind classics like Dickens’ Great Expectations, Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo, and the newly annotated version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Plus, there were a couple of Intrigues in there, some longer mainstream and romantic suspense, and two women’s fiction titles: Ann Brashares’ The Last Summer of You and Me, and Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s Make Him Look Good.

I read P&P in all its annotated glory (fun!), finished Count of Monte Cristo (way fun!), and flew through the Intrigues (you know how much I love those). And then, the siren-call of Barnes & Noble proved to be too much.

From my neat, compact pile of ten, I have added so many to that TBR pile that I now have enough books, purchased or found since November, to fit into a giant plastic bin next to my bed. Which I KNOW would make that vein in my realtor’s temple twitch in disapproval like an electrified banshee. There are no dust bunnies underneath my bed, because there are now so many books smashed into that small space, they crowded the dust bunnies out. (The Great Dust Bunny Diaspora of 2008 apparently led them all into those narrow spaces between my refrigerator and the kitchen cabinetry.)

And yet, I just went to a couple bookstores last week as a stress-relieving outing. I meant to just browse the shelves and perhaps pick up a magazine, but good intentions aside, I ended up adding the following to the TBR avalanche:

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer: Two adult friends have been after me to read this book forEVER. What has these two otherwise level-headed women to go completely off their heads over a teenaged vampire, I don’t know. But I want to see what all the hype is about.

The Broken Window, by Jeffrey Deaver: Deaver is my hero. Best. Suspense. Author. EVAH. His plot twists are THE most amazing and unexpected in the mainstream suspense field, IMHO, and he was doing CSI stuff before CSI came on TV and made it cool. Deaver’s an autobuy for me, so, you understand, I HAD to get his latest. I’m halfway through it, and it’s A. May. Zing. Totally worth full-price (after my B&N discount, of course).

PS I Love You, by Cecilia Ahern: This one I actually traded for at my local used bookstore. (Sorry, Cecilia! But don’t worry—if I like it, I’ll buy the next one new. Why? Because that’s the way my disease works.) I just watched the movie and liked it so much, I wanted to read the book. Which so far is quite different from the film! For one thing, Holly is Irish, not an American married to an Irishman she met on vacation. The differences are very interesting.

Hood, by Stephen Lawhead: Does anyone remember that short-lived BBC series Robin of Sherwood, which aired on Showtime back in the 80s? I ADORED that series (which was FINALLY released on region 1 DVD last year), which marked the first time I fell in love with the Robin Hood legend. Someone gave Lawhead’s retelling of the legend and it’s sequel, Scarlet, GORGEOUS covers that drew me in like mosquitoes to a bug-zapper. I read the back, skimmed the first couple of pages, checked out a couple reviews, and then that bad boy was MINE.

Seriously, four books. What is my PROBLEM? Where am I going to put these things? What am I going to do when the ugly bin beside my bed finally explodes and I have nowhere else to hide my seriously out-of-control habit?

Maybe I can cram a few into that little space beside the refrigerator.

Am I the only one who has an out-of-control book habit? And what’s on your summer reading list?

Posted by Tracy Montoya, author of I'll Be Watching You on 7/18/2008

Enter comments


Tracy, you are a woman of my own heart! I cannot go into a bookstore without buying books. You think you are bad? My husband will not get rid of a book. We have boxes of books downstairs at my office waiting for those book shelves he is going to build any day. It's a sin to have books in boxes. So I dig them out and make piles. Of course I can't find some books that I need in the boxes. I love books. I love the way they smell. The way they feel. There is nothing more exciting that opening a new book. The possibilities are unlimited. :) So I feel for you, girl. And hope your house sells soon so you can get those books out of those boxes. :)

Posted  by B.J.  Daniels on 7/18/2008

Yay! I'm not alone! Thanks, BJ! And yes, that feeling of possibility must be one of the main reasons we're addicted. : )

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 7/18/2008

I'm right there with you on having so many books. I'm trying to redecorate my apartment so I must try to dwindle done my books to make room for things I'm trying to add. I can't wait for Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon to come out next month. I'm going to her booksigning in Ann Arbor so I'll be adding another book to my pile.

Posted  by Teresa Warner on 7/18/2008

No you are definately not alone. I have books in piles and when I die whoever gets the chore of cleaning out the house could start their own bookstore! The are in stacks and boxes and even in tote bags and some of the poor things are in plastic bins in the storage shed. I have no summer reading plan, I just read whatever comes to hand and many of those are Intrigue and most are Harlequin! And I keep buying more every month but I have a tendency to stay out of book stores and oder only online.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/18/2008

Oh,girl, I am so addicted to reading and buying books. If I see a book and I like it, I buy it. No delayed gratification for me! ;) I have so many books in my TBR piles that I have had to start hiding them from my husband!!!

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/18/2008

I am also a bookaholic! If my TBR pile isn't falling over I can't stand it. Guess I'm afraid of running out of reading material. My summer reading consists of: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione No One Lives Forever- Jordan Dane Fire and Ice-Anne Stuart What Matters Mosr-Luanne Rice Shadow Magic-Cheyenne McCray Dancing With Fire-Susan Kearney And a whole lot of other books.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/18/2008

So when I am not crafting mysteries... I'm a professional organizer. And NO -- I DO NOT consider books to be "clutter." You just need a system to incorporate your collection beautifully into your home. : ) BTW - I'm taking questions and offering tips about dealing with clutter at

Posted  by Cyndy Salzmann on 7/18/2008

I can't bring myself to throw away books. I have boxes and boxes of them. On my summer reading list are Nora Roberts' "Tribute," Linda Howard's "Death Angel," Susan Crandall's "Pitch Black" and Elizabeth Lowell's "Blue Smoke and Murder."

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/18/2008

It is so wonderful to find other Book-a-holics......LOL I swear I could be snowed in for a year and never run out of things to read. I have books in boxes and then the mountain of TBR books in the closet on the shelf. And I buy more books each month, I try to stay out of the bookstores - but you can do damage online as well.....and they deliver to your door - so you are saving gas......and you don't have to fight traffic or people......oh yeah big problems here.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/18/2008

You are definitely not alone. I'm looking forward to C. Feehan's Turbulent Sea, Roxanne St. Claire's Then You Hide, Cindy Dees Killer Affair and so on.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/18/2008

I love books! I have new books all around the house and old books on special shelves. Some of my old books were saved from the trash when my Grandma-in-law passed away. Others I've purchased. My early memory of books I read as a child were called 'Rika,Flika, and Dicka' and 'Sip, Snap, Snur' and I have been lucky enough to have been given a couple. My neice thought she had found some special books when she discovered that these have been reprinted! My summer reading jumps all over to different types of books. I have just finished Julie Miller's Armed and Devastating'.

Posted  by Connie  Lorenz on 7/18/2008

Seriously, you don't have a book problem until the TBR pile collapses and buries you alive. Even then, you just read your way out of the avalanche.

Posted  by Jill James on 7/18/2008

Teresa, I haven’t read Sherrilyn Kenyon, but it seems like the world is waiting for Acheron. Enjoy! Yay for reading Intrigues, Ellen! I’m getting worse about buying online, too, but I find bookstores really relaxing, so I’ll probably never stop going to the store more. Cheryl, you sound like my long-lost twin! Estella, you sound like you have a fun list. I need to read those Anne Stuart Ice books—it’s been too long since I’ve picked one of hers up. Cyndy, I don’t consider books clutter, either. I’ll have to check out your blog—I could use it. Jane, I hate putting my books in boxes. I wouldn’t have if my realtor hadn’t forced me to! They’d be in piles in the open where I can see them! LOL on saving gas, Cryna! And enjoy that summer TBR pile, Joyce!

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 7/18/2008

Connie, isn’t it fun to go back and revisit childhood favorites? I went and found a few Sweet Dreams romances I read in middle school. My favorite author was Marion Woodruff, and it was fun to revisit her books a few years ago! ... And thanks for the laugh, Jill!

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 7/18/2008

I hope this works - I may not have been using the caps and that could be why it wasn't working for me all week. And I'm way too lazy to go back and retype a weeks worth of comments lol. As far as a tbr pile - I could read for the rest of my life and then some and never catch up. I guess I'm also a collector since I know I can't stop buying lol. My sister and I could start our own library and probably have more than some lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/18/2008

You are not alone. I even took my son to the doctor's office the other day and they have a table of used books you can buy and the money goes for Cancer research or something. I had a book with me to read and yes I found one on that table I had to have. My son said mom you really don't need that book, and I told him it was for a good cause and that I should buy it, and I did. It was a Kathleene Woodiwiss and I had never read any of her books so I bought it. Hey it was for a good cause.

Posted  by Quilt  Lady on 7/18/2008

Book-Buying Disease about sums it up!! I can't seem to go into a store without going to the book section. And more times than not I buy a book or well you know. I have 3 fairly big book shelves and definitely need more. LOL! It was only a few years ago that I started reading and now I can't imagine not reading. I love it. But before I started I couldn't understand why people spent so much money on books. I thought it was a waste of money. Now it's hard to believe that I ever thought that. I don't mind spending money on the books at all! I say MONEY WELL SPENT. My summer reading list includes books by Charlaine Harris, Jennifer Armintrout, and Stephenie Meyer!!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/19/2008

I have books in boxes, in bedroom, in living, 3 bookshelves and getting ready to use Entertainment center in room that was my youngest daughters (she moved out) to put books on. I love books. I always have and always will and your books and shelves would have been something that could sell me the house. I take the realtor is not a book lover. My landlord and his wife are realtors and the wife is a book lover and works for library so know she would not have told you that.

Posted  by Jane  Squires on 7/19/2008

Quilt Lady, I would have done the same thing--can't resist a pile of cheap books, especially if it's for a good cause! ... Shelley, thanks to some really good elementary school teachers, I've been a crazy reader since I was five. It's cool to see that someone can come to it later--I always thought if you didn't like to read when you were a kid, that was it. ... Jane, I WISH my realtor were like your landlords--although the bookshelf he objected to really was on its last legs....

Posted  by Tracy  Montoya on 7/20/2008



Hooked on Hooks?

This summer is flying by. But when I look at my July release, ARMED AND DEVASTATING, I'm reminded of the fun I had plotting out the four stories in my Brotherhood of the Badge mini-series. (writing them was hard--deadlines made me grouchy, just ask my family --but plotting out the stories in my head was fun!)

It was easy for me to go with the theme of 4. I needed some similarities, obviously, to tie the series together. But creatively, to write 4 books so closely together, I needed some variety in order to keep from getting burnt out or losing my sanity. (Again, just ask my family ;-)

There are 4 Kincaid brothers--Edward, Sawyer, Atticus and Holden. They are 4 different kinds of cops (or at different stages in their careers, thus, giving them different job assignments). Edward--veteran DEA undercover cop, on extended leave from force. Sawyer--vice squad detective. Atticus--homicide investigator. Holden--S.W.A.T. team sharpshooter.

The stories each take place in a different season: PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS in the spring. ARMED AND DEVASTATING in the summer. PRIVATE S.W.A.T. TAKEOVER in the autumn. And KANSAS CITY CHRISTMAS in the winter, of course. (See how I'm mixing it up? Trying to keep each setting and main character fresh so my brain cells don't fry on repetition )

Sure, I knew I wanted romantic suspense in each book, and I knew I needed to include clues to develop the overall story arc of solving their father's murder. But beyond that, because of something my editor, Denise Zaza, once said to me about what Intrigue readers love to read--I decided I wanted each of the 4 books to have a traditional storyline hook. Now traditional doesn't mean sweet (I have a thing for angsty characters and sensual, emotional relationships) or tame (come on, they're Intrigues--if I don't blow something up, include a wild chase scene or scare the bejeebers out of at least one or two characters, can we really be happy readers?)

Traditional story hooks are those recurring themes that have been popular in romances throughout time. Beauty & the Beast. The ugly duckling transforming into a swan. Amnesia. Friends becoming lovers. Heroes as protectors. And so on. I've included all those and more in this series. For example, it was a cool creative challenge to incorporate something I loved from one of my teenage Harlequins (with the older guardian and his innocent ward) and turn it into a modern romantic suspense.

So what are your favorite traditional storyline hooks? Do you ever get tired of reading them? Do you look for those hooks when choosing a book?

Happy Reading!


BTW, the comment glitches from yesterday have been fixed, so you should be able to post without trouble today. And, winners--be sure to contact your respective winning authors so we can get your prize books in the mail to you!

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Armed and Devastating on 7/16/2008

Enter comments


I can't say I even give the storyline hooks a thought when deciding to buy a book. Having said that I never get tired of reading them as long as the author is inventive in the way the hooks are set out. Each of the your books sounds "intriguing" and I'm sure you did a good job making the different.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/16/2008

Thanks, Ellen! I do have favorite storylines that will often get me to pick up an author I'm unfamiliar with. Then, if I fall in love with that author's voice, I'll keep coming back for more. And I agree, if an author can give a favorite storyline hook and inventive twist with a fresh voice that I love, it doesn't get old for me.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/16/2008

Okay, gang--apparently, we are still experiencing a few technical difficulties. But our people are working on it. If you have a comment you'd like to share today, just send me an email through my website at, and I'll get it posted. Thanks for your patience!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/16/2008

Hi Julie, I love the cover of "Armed and Devastating." My favorite themes include revenge, amnesia, Cinderella, law enforcement/military and reunited lovers.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/16/2008

I don't have a really favourite hook. Mostly when I go looking for books I have a list, with what books I am looking for on it and go for those first. I love series books that - like you have done Julie - give each person a book of their own, because you get interested in them from the first and I for one love to see how they settle their problems. I can read the same hook over and over - because usually an author has a different way of presenting it.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/16/2008

I love all themes but two of my favorites are: Amnesia and Friends becoming lovers. I never get tired of reading these two themes and many of the others. Intrigues are one of my favorite lines to read!!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/16/2008

I really have too many hooks (my dh will attest to that!) I like suspense, csi type stories, political (like Vince Flynn), military, SEALS, police, swat, sci-fi, fantasy etc.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/16/2008

I love to read books in a series, and this one sounds really good. I especially like that it features 4 brothers.

Posted  by cheryl castings on 7/16/2008

A "hook" only is important to me after I get into a series. I love trying to figure out what the next book may be about. Julie has me hooked whenever she has a new book coming out because I feel I get to know her characters. Keep it up Julie!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/16/2008

Wow! Not only have you guys figured out the new system, but you've got lots to say. And I appreciate those of you who made the extra effort to send me a message to get your comment posted to the blog.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/16/2008

Thanks, Jane--I love that cover, too. Plus, it's a great title. I think I've been really fortunate lately to have some terrific covers! I love that you can get a sense of Atticus being built (broad shoulders, flat stomach) on this cover--but he's still in his professional suit and tie. And I love all the action going on--it feels tense and hot to me. Which totally fits the story!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/16/2008

I think one reason I write connected series books is because I love reading them myself. I love the whole idea of a community of characters--like my Precinct cops or Taylor clan or Kincaid family. There's the opportunity to catch up with favorite characters who starred in another story. Plus, one of my favorite things is to see which supporting characters start talking to me. Who captures my interest? Who has a story to tell, and who needs to grow a bit or become comfortable enough to share his/her secrets with me so that I can tell his/her story? ;)

Some of my favorite series by other writers include Suzanne Brockmann's Tall, Dark & Dangerous and Troubleshooters, Inc. books; Rachel Lee's Conard County books; Debra Webb's Colby Agency books; and Jessica Andersen's Bear Claw Creek Crime Lab books. In non-romance, that series feel is one of the main things that drew me to the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/16/2008

Some of my favorite series by other writers include Suzanne Brockmann's Tall, Dark & Dangerous and Troubleshooters, Inc. books; Rachel Lee's Conard County books; Debra Webb's Colby Agency books; and Jessica Andersen's Bear Claw Creek Crime Lab books. In non-romance, that series feel is one of the main things that drew me to the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/16/2008

I have never given the hook a thought. If I like the author I will usually buy the book.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/16/2008

Congratulations to Joyce Mandle! You're Wednesday's winner! Send me an email and we'll hook you up with a book ;) Remember, Jan Hambright will post a list of the entire week's winners at the end of the week. Thanks!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/17/2008

Hi Julie, Your new book sounds really good. I don't look for hooks when buying a book but when I'm reading it if it's a great hook it will get me buying more books from that Author.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/17/2008

I love your books. The answer to your question is: He learned to sing from his father.

Posted  by Cilfton Wade on 8/6/2008





One of my three resolutions for the year was to find a way to give back that would make me happy. I've been volunteering at Lincoln Park Zoo for 10 years, and while I enjoy it, and I know that when a zoo is free (Lincoln Park Zoo being one of the few left in the country that is free), it really needs its volunteers, I don't feel that I really "make a difference."

Several months ago, I decided to volunteer for PAWS Chicago at the new adoption center. PAWS runs the biggest free/low cost spay/neuter clinic in the country. Teams of volunteers have gone to disaster areas like the recent floods in Iowa to rescue abandoned pets and bring them back for care and adoption. Every morning, the PAWS van sits outside of Animal Control so the adoptable cats and dogs scheduled to be euthanized can be saved. PAWS has an ongoing education program with volunteers taking animals to grade schools to reach young kids.

The new adoption center will be a year old in September, and it looks like three thousand cats and dogs will have been adopted in that first year. Three thousand. Ten years ago when PAWS came into existence, more than 42,000 animals were euthanized by animal control and other shelters in Chicago in one year. In 2006, due to spay/neuter and educational efforts, that number was reduced to 19,000. We hope that at the end of the second ten years of PAWS, that number will be zero. PAWS is working toward a no-kill Chicago.

And PAWS is run 90% by volunteers like me. Three thousand of us. All the money raised goes to the animals. Do I think I make a difference at PAWS? Absolutely. Every time I go to the center, I get to play with cats, pet them and give them treats. I remind them that there are humans who care what happens to them. I help keep them people-friendly or help pull them out of their shells so someone will want to adopt them. I try to point prospective adopters to specific cats that would fit their homes. Every time I go to the center, I leave with a smile on my face and feeling really, really happy.

In an effort to give back professionally, I took on the task of being BlogMistress for the Novelists, Inc. Blog.I launched the blog yesterday. Multi-published authors and industry guests will share the publishing world with readers. Comment, and you're eligible for a free book.

How do you give back? We'd like to know what gives you satisfaction in your life, whether it's through volunteerism or through the work you do.

Good reading,

Patricia Rosemoor

Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire on 7/15/2008

Enter comments


My aunt has been donated clothes to the Salvation Army for many years now. She got me to do the same. Every year I'll sort out clothes we don't wear anymore and my aunt will take them to the Salvation Army.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/15/2008

Patricia, that's great. I think PAWS is a great organization. Delores

Posted  by Delores  Fossen on 7/15/2008

PAWS is a great organization! My family just adopted a new puppy from the SPCA. The SPCA is very much like PAWS. My daughter and myself are volunteering there this summer as well.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/15/2008

OK lets try this again. I found a lot of satisfaction in teaching teenagers before I retired altho that may sound a little strange. I also found satisfaction in helping student teachers learn. I haven't been able to do much volunteering lately but maybe someday I'll be able to get back to it.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/16/2008

I have always sent a cheque for a donation to the War Amps because they do such marvellous work for everyone. I donate clothes, household things to the Women's Shelter, and when they have the Children's Telethon I try to volunteer a couple days out of the three days to help man the phones. I think that the PAWS organization sounds like a wonderful one.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/16/2008

I try to donate to the Salvation army, I also donate things to the church yard sale. Recently I pieced a quilt for the community that I grew up in, so they could raffle it off to have money to do things that need to be done in the community.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 7/16/2008

Okay I lied, I am going to try to rewrite this one lol. I work with feral/stray cats. I've had dozens fixed (after finding out they can actually have two litters in one season), found homes for many (especially mine since I currently have 6) and feed half the neighborhood (including possums,racoons and the occassional skunk). At the moment i have 3 permanent fixed females of 11 years and a couple males that will eventually move on. I would work at a shelter but then I know I wouldn't be able to resist taking more in and there just isn't anymore room lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/18/2008




Congratulations! If your name is on this list you're the winner of a free book. Please contact the author you've been paired with via her website to receive a book of her choice. And keep commenting, we're giving away a book a day! The winner's list will be posted on Monday's just under the featured author's post.

7/7 Winner - Ellen McDaniel - Author Delores Fossen

7/8 Winner - Connie Lorenz - Author Julie Miller

7/9 Winner - Carol Castings - Author Rebecca York

7/10 Winner - Melissa Keith - Author Elle James

7/11 Winner - Kimmy Lane - Author Dana Marton

7/12 Winner - Tami Bates - Author B.J. Daniels

7/13 Winner - Estella Kissell - Author Pat White

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 7/14/2008

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China Trip

People have asked me about my trip to China. So here’s my report.

We’ve happily driven around England, France, Italy and New Zealand, but I’m not so confident about negotiating China. So we went with Grand Circle Tours. Our group had seventeen and a national guide, joined by a local guide in each city. Everybody in China has a Chinese name as well as an American name–the initial one picked in elementary school English class. Our guide was Len, who made things easy for us. He got us good seats on each of our plane trips around the country. Told us what dishes the restaurants had put on the turntables in the center of the round tables. And he even tried to fix the hard Chinese beds in one hotel by getting us comforters–which didn’t help much.

We saw most of the sights you’ve heard about. Tiananmen Square (a vast stretch of hot concrete). The Great Wall standing out against the always smoggy sky and the terra cotta army in Xian, both ordered by an emperor with mind-boggling arrogance. Those soldiers were the most impressive sight I saw–rows and rows of warriors to protect the emperor in death. He had everybody who worked on the project killed and buried there (to protect the location), along with his concubines, who were buried alive. But the soldiers were broken and burned a few years later by an invader–and forgotten until a farmer digging a well discovered them in 1974. Lucky that was just at the end of the Cultural Revolution. If the Red Guards had learned about them, they would have probably finished smashing them up in their zeal to destroy China’s past.

Len’s stories were as memorable as anything we saw. He told about how his father was banished to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution and made to work with farmers who hated city people and forced him into hard labor with hardly any food.. He explained how his family finally got back to Shanghai and that his father and mother used to call each other “Comrade Chen,” when they were dating. He also told about two defectors who got away from him while he was taking two separate groups of Chinese tourists to Australia. One slipped away in the middle of the night. The other jumped out a window at lunch and killed himself rather than go back home. Len told us he was happier when he believed everything his government told him. Getting to know Westerners has broadened his perspective and made him question many of his government’s values. (He felt comfortable talking to us about this on the bus–but not in public.) Yet he’s basically an optimistic guy. And as China really does leap forward, the lives of the people are getting better.

Len also gave us some population statistics. China now has 1.3 billion people. That 0.3 is the population of the U.S., and it has been added only since 1991. It would have been 2 billion without the one child per family policy.

Weird fact: They’re hung up on “minority peoples.” We were constantly being told which minorities live in which regions. There are 55 of these minorities, comprising about 5% of the population.

Of course, many of their customs are strange to us. Tiananmen Square was the first place I saw toddlers wearing standard Chinese little kid attire–pants with a cut out crotch. So when they squat down, their butts and other parts hang out. No diapers. They can just squat and shoot anywhere.

Which brings me to Chinese toilets. The traditional ones are “squatters.” Many public bathrooms have both Chinese-style and Western style. I was standing in line at an airport when a stall opened up. The next woman in line was Chinese, and when she saw the Western toilet inside, she made a face and opted to wait for the next squatter. Apparently, it’s all what you’re used to. I conclude that the Chinese have better knees than we do.

The green spaces in Beijing and other big cities awed me. Obviously they put a lot of time and effort into manicured natural beauty. The parks are fantastic, with different color green and yellowish bushes made into curving hedges. Around them, and around many shrines, are lots of flowers–sometimes just in masses of pots–so they can be easily changed without the bother of planting. (They bring them in in truck loads like the racks of plants for sale at a Home Depot.) From the freeway bridges, you look down on stunning plantings.

The Forbidden City is VAST, and we had time to see only a fraction of it. I watched THE LAST EMPEROR again to get a better look! One thing about tours--you can’t spend too much time anywhere. They rushed us to the zoo in Chongqing to see the Pandas. (Cute.) Then they wouldn’t let us stray to the bird flight cage.

Hum, well, there ARE places you’re forced to linger. You spend a lot of time in factory showrooms, after you get the lacquer demonstration, or the silk demonstration or the jade carving demonstration. The prices in the showrooms are high. You can do better at stands on the street–if you’re good at bargaining. I often let Norman bargain for me. He doesn’t care if he gets the thing or not–so he can be very hard-nosed.

I got some fantastic buys from people who came up to me on the street–selling stuff like 10 (4x5) silk purses for $5. I got them for $4. The best buys were at a market on the Yangtze River after we went to the Three Gorges Dam. I bought some beautiful silk jackets for $12 each.

Performances: The Peking Opera is very strange to Western ears, even though we only got “Golden Moment” scenes from three operas. STABBING THE CLAM was pretty static, despite the title. THE MONKEY KING was better, with a lot of kung fu action. We also went to an acrobatic show–kind of Cirque de Soleil without as much background scenery. More like the way Ed Sullivan used to present variety acts. The Tang Dynasty show in Xian is like a Las Vegas review, down to the elaborately-decorated theater with dinner tables set perpendicular to the stage.

The Great Wall is MASSIVE. The day we went was cold and windy. Probably better than being hot, though. The steps are uneven, so climbing is difficult, and when you’re going back down, the view is scary if you hate heights, which I do. Just seeing the wall snake along the top of the mountain ridge is exciting.

Grand Circle makes sure you don’t just see national monuments. So we went to a sanitized street market and several people’s homes. Who knows how representative they are? One woman’s family had been resettled because of the Three Gorges Dam. Their family status was changed from farm to city. She lived in a “townhouse” with a beautifully cared-for garden terrace in back, a little grocery story in front and pigs in the walk-out basement.

The Grand Circle Foundation gives money to an elementary school in Xian. We visited, and the kids were all excited to see us. “What’s your name?” “How old are you?” They gave us Chinese flags they’d made and “snowflake” cut-outs from their art class. And they sang and had us dance with them in the music room. (One selection was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, in Chinese.) I decided that our group should serenade them with Old MacDonald Had a Farm. They knew the chorus.

As often as possible, Norman, I, and another woman kept “escaping” into various city neighborhoods. The tour would drop us off in a park or shrine, and we’d wander down streets and alleys, going into shops and stopping at stands. We saw live fish swimming in tubs, ducks and rabbits in baskets and cages. I assume they weren’t there to become pets.

The Three Gorges Dam will be the biggest in the world and is supposed to provide ten percent of the electric power in China. 1.3 million people will have to be resettled because it’s making a huge reservoir between the dam and Chongqing, and their villages have been or will be flooded. Would you believe they’re building this thing in an earthquake area? Keep your fingers crossed. There’s a lot of national pride wrapped up in the dam. The scale of the project is mindboggling. A boat takes four hours to get through the locks. The dam has flooded part of the famous Three Gorges scenery along the river. But you still motor past massive cliffs towering over your 200-passenger boat. Our boat was built for Chairman Mao so the windows were supposed to be bulletproof.

Shanghai has a population of 20 million, masses of skyscrapers, and masses of upscale shops. (Along with the usual narrow lanes with little shops and stands.)

In Chongqing we visited the Stillwell and Flying Tiger Museums and got some of the history of the Americans who kept the Burma Road open.

Guilin is a country town with only about 700,000 people (tiny by Chinese standards) and those startlingly steep hills you see in Chinese paintings. I couldn’t face the tea plantation that was an optional tour, so Norman and I wandered around town while most of the group had their tea demonstration. The sidewalks in every city and town are lined with what look like garage doors. Inside might be little shops, piles of junk, construction materials, or people shooting the breeze. In one “garage shop” on a major street in Guilin I saw a bunch of people pawing through piles of clothing on tables. I joined the scramble and found some cool looking tee shirts–for seventy-five cents each.

The tour ended in Hong Kong where we had a lot of free time to explore. You can’t walk twenty yards without some guy asking if you want to have a suit made. We got a recommendation from the local guide and went to a tailor shop–where we got a suit and sport coat for Norman. Nice quality. The weather was very clear and bright. I could see the smog rolling in from mainland China, but it just hung over the mountains and didn’t invade the city. So we got a great view of the harbor and skyscrapers from Victoria Peak. (And got to do more shopping at the mall there–where the prices were surprisingly good..) At night, Hong Kong puts on a 20-minute light show similar to the one at Epcot, of all places. The buildings have lights up and down the sides. They blink on and off in patterns–to music–along with lasers. Afterwards, for something different, we went to an Indian-Thai-Malaysian restaurant in a “restaurant mall” up a narrow side alley. I’m a sucker for Indian bread, so we started with a cheese naan and a rosemary naan.

The next day was a wonderful ending to the trip. Norman and I and another couple spent hours in the Hong Kong History Museum learning about the history of the area, from prehistoric times through the Japanese invasion and occupation, the birth of the modern city, and the turnover to China. (In the film clips, Prince Charles looked pretty glum about it.) Before we picked up Norman’s suit, we went to the 18th floor of the Sheraton and had dim sum and iced tea, then “sweets,” while sitting at a window-side table where we could look out over the harbor. (Too far up to see the trash floating in the water.)

I had an early flight out, so I had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to fly to Tokyo, then Minneapolis, where I had to sit around for seven hours. Hum, I think I didn’t explain that Norman and I flew separately, since I wanted to go business class (for my back), and he didn’t care. The night before I left, we divided up the stuff we’d bought, so we’d distribute the weight and the booty. The good news is that I got through customs with his sport coat and no problem. Now of course, I wish I’d bought a few more things. Maybe in Chinatown in San Francisco?

You can see a lot more of my China pictures in the Latest-Pictures area of the Gallery section of my Web site (


Posted by Rebecca York, author of SOLDIER CAGED on 7/14/2008

Enter comments


THANKS so much for that travelogue. I enjoyed it. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Hope we do well at the Olympics there.

Posted  by JOYE ISLEY on 7/14/2008

What a wonderful commentary on your trip. Thank you for sharing, and I am off to see your pictures now. But it was just like we were travelling with you. I hope that the Olympic Games goes well, with all the athletes, it most certainly will be different for them.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/14/2008

Wow, what an amazing trip! Thank you for the great trip report.

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/14/2008

I so enjoyed your descriptions of your trip. I find China a fasinating place. Thank you.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/14/2008

I loved reading your descriptions of China. Makes me think that perhaps me news media views are slighly slanted. Thank you for the oportunity to read about your trip.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/14/2008

I read this on your blog and commented there but would like to add the pictures are amazing. And a question -- did they ever restrict you from taking pictures?????

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/14/2008

We were never restricted from taking pictures. There was a big security check at the Three Gorges Dam, though. It was like going to an airport. And speaking of that, security was different at airports. We were not asked to take off our shoes when we went through the screening. But we were allowed to take NO liquids in our carry ons. That was a bit of a PITA, since they included liquid lipstick. The reason for the restriction was that a woman had tried to set herself on fire in an air plane bathroom. I'd say there was hardly any reminder that China still has a Communist government. Ted Koppel just did a four-part series on China on the Discovery Channel. If you can catch it, I'd highly recomment it. It was called The Republic of Capitalism. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca  York on 7/14/2008

Sounds like you had a great time. I would love to visit mainland China one day, especially the Silk Road.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/14/2008

WOW!! That was great! I loved hearing about your trip. I'll be checking out your pictures on your web site too. Glad you had a great time in China.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/14/2008

Thanks for the help, Rebecca. And I positively loved your travel blog!

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/18/2008



The Challenge of Summer Distractions

Staying focused on projects, whether writing or other projects, is a challenge in the summer, don’t you think? In my part of the country (Pacific Northwest), summer is blissfully beautiful, tempting me to go outside and walk, ride my new purple bike, or take a dip into one of our many local lakes. Then, add summer blockbuster movies to the mix, along with dynamite cable TV shows like Burn Notice and Mad Men, and heck – nothing gets done! Anyone else have the same problem? If so, here are a few tricks I’ve learned to stay on track during the glorious days of summer.

• Write down daily goals and estimate how much time it will take to finish each one. Be realistic. Don’t plan to do seven loads of laundry, clean your entire house, run a mile and write 15 pages. Making unrealistic goals causes a condition I call “OW” (OVERWHELMED!) which leads to “GG” (Gruesome Guilt).

• Once you’ve made your list, take a moment to prioritize. What needs to be done quickly, today, or else? Then number all these wonderful daily objectives. Yes, think of them as wonderful, not dreadful. Trust me, it will make you accomplish them more efficiently.

• Set time limits. You know how you look at your daily list and shut down? I’ve got a cure for that. Focus on what you can do in the next hour, that’s it. Can you clean your house in an hour? Maybe not, but you clean two bathrooms, perhaps. (Clean bathrooms – yay!) As a writer, this is a fantastic method to get words on the page. I sit at the computer, set the timer for an hour and say, “Go!” You’d be shocked how many pages are written when you set a time limit. Try this with e-mail – cut yourself off at twenty minutes; or phone calls — ten minutes.

• The number one item on your list? Taking care of yourself! Wait, shouldn’t that come at the end of the day, after you’ve checked everything off your list? No way! You are number one. You’re the one who’s going to accomplish ALL these goals today. You need to fuel up before tackling business.

• Treats! I like to hold a carrot, er, more like chocolate out as a reward for a week’s worth of accomplishments. That said, don’t fall into the trap of not completing everything and punishing yourself by NOT enjoying your reward. This relates to making realistic goals and I’ll get into that last. By reward I mean anything you look forward to. For me, the ultimate reward is going to the movies. I made myself a deal that if I finished my first draft of UNDERCOVER STRANGER (Intrigue, 2/09) by July 12th I could see THE DARK KNIGHT movie on opening day. This is a biggie for me. When I finish my proposal for the next book, RENEGADE SOLDIER, (Intrigue 2/09) I get a manicure/pedicure. Cool!

One last comment about setting realistic goals, I once read an article about doing a C+ job instead of an A+ job. Truth is, we all want to be perfect all the time. But that way of thinking can make us neurotic. Sometimes C+ is good enough. Honest. So, I didn’t move the sofa when I vacuumed this week. Who’s going to know besides than the cats? And they’re not telling anyone. Next week I’ll do the heavy lifting. The problem with setting high, unrealistic goals is that it sets you up for that dreaded “GG” (Gruesome Guilt) that seems to be encoded in the DNA of most women I know. Guilt seems worthless to me because it drags you down with negative energy. Toss the guilt, make your list and go for it. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done if you focus on your accomplishments instead of your failures.

Good luck, and let me know what projects you’ve got planned for the summer!

Posted by Pat White, author of Loving the Enemy on 7/13/2008

Enter comments


I have a friend who swears by list making. Guess I shall have to try it as I never seem to get finished with anything but reading books.

Posted  by Connie  Lorenz on 7/13/2008

Boy, do I need to take your advice about not trying to do a perfect job every time. I find myself stressed out when I can't get around to everything and with a house, a big yard, a family, etc., it is just impossible. I need to take time outs more often and enjoy life more. My grandmother once told me that, when you have company, if you treat your guests nicely, they won't notice what your house looks like. I think there is some truth in that. There may be some who give your house the "white glove" treatment, but just decide those folks are neurotic and don't worry about it. LOL

Posted  by Gladys Paradowski on 7/13/2008

Hi Pat, That's great advice. I used to make lists and I'm going to start again. I think it will help me because I want to paint my bedroom, build a new cabinet and shelves and rearrange my room. There is so much stuff and clutter in there that a list will help to get it done a lot easier I think.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/13/2008

My daughter is getting married in two weeks (yikes) so we have tons of lists and I'm sure I'll still be checking things off until the last minute lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/13/2008

i always makes list, then lose them, so i gave up LOL depends on the old man trip to dr tommorrow before can make any plans

Posted  by tami bates on 7/14/2008

I find myself using more lists because I'm getting absentminded. I don't have any project planned this summer. I wish I were planning a vacation.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/14/2008

Good advice. The only project I have this summer is to get all extraneous no longer necessary school stuff out of the house and into the trash. Then I will have the den cleaned up and this winter I can rearrange that room to become a library.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/13/2008

Myu summer project is to get my flower beds and yard in better shape.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/13/2008

What a great post. The project that I have planned for the summer is to get all the closets organized and in order - with clothes given away that I don't wear anymore which are hard to part with. But to tackle this I have to remember to do one closet at a time, thoroughly then go to the next one - not hit one and then think some stuff belongs in the other and take that one apart as well. The goal here is to do each closet on its own. One day at a time. Hmmmm! easier said than done.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/13/2008



Where do you get those weird ideas?

It's funny to me how books come about. For me, it's usually something small and weird and would mean nothing to a normal person. Can you keep a secret? I saw these words in an ad and grabbed up my AlphSmart and started typing. I could see this rather hot sexy scene. Two people in bed. The line whispered. Something dark and creepy about it. Can you keep a secret if you knew it could get you killed? That is now the opening of Big Sky Dynasty, the 10th book in the Whitehorse series. It's a little like being struck by lightning, this flash of an idea complete with visual effects in color! A while back, my husband who writes a newspaper column, saw an ad in the paper for a rainmaker. He got on the phone and called the guy. As I listened to his part of the conversation I had to grab up my AlphaSmart and start writing down the idea that came to me. I could see my rainmaker clear as day. I could feel the scorching heat, that hot dry wind against my face, against my heroine's face. I could hear something clanking in the wind out by the barn and I could see her standing in front of the old farmhouse, the grass dusty and yellow all the way to the horizon. I had a bad feeling for that woman and what was coming. That's all I know right now. But it's enough to get me started on the next book. And I've learned that something will come along for the book after that. I'll be standing in the grocery store and someone will say something. Or I'll meet someone. Or read something in the paper. (I love those newspaper briefs about weird things that have happened.) What's funny is that often the idea is a departure from the origin comment or article. Have you had that happen to you? You overhear something and it takes you to another place or time. Or haven't you had a smell transport you back to a specific time? The smell of a summer fair (it's probably the corn dogs) or pine trees or a lake? Hope you're all having a great summer and making memories.

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Montana Royalty on 7/12/2008

Enter comments


Sometimes I'll overhear someone talking about a place or a food and it might trigger memories of a vacation destination or who and where I ate that particular food.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/12/2008

I am always totally amazed at the things that will excite a writer to write a new book. I guess I lack imagination although I have had things take me back to a time long passed. On a blog I was reading someone asked about what a person would do in San Diego, CA and I immediately thought of all the fun I had when my family took a trip to California.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/12/2008

When I was writing poetry many years ago that would happen to me all the time. I never knew what would inspire me so I took to bringing a notebook with me wherever I went.

Posted  by Cherie J on 7/12/2008

The smell of grilled Italian sausage always reminds me of our county fair.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/12/2008

My mom loved to wear shalimar perfume. About 10 years after she died I was helping a customer and I smelled that same perfume and I had a vivid image of my mom.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/12/2008

There are times a smell or item will bring me back to the past.

Posted  by Maureen E on 7/12/2008

i saw a stranger the other day, but somethign about his smile, brought back, a very vivid flash of a old bf face, and his sexy smile, with a small dimple it was really nice

Posted  by tami bates on 7/12/2008

I think music more than anything takes me back in time or brings back memories of other time and places.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/12/2008

I still remember watching Jurassic Park for probably the millionth time and Dr. Grant is telling Timmy about Amazon frogs which can change sexes. Bing! A whole story opened up in my head about shapeshifters.

Posted  by Jill James on 7/12/2008

I will hear, smell, or see something that can instantly transport me backwards to a different time or place, which often promps me to contact the person who shares the same memories. It's great, especially if it has been a while.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/12/2008

When fall arrives I get kind of depressed remembering friends and things that were special to me around that time.

Posted  by Kimmy L on 7/13/2008

Talking of smells at country fairs makes me think of homemade apple pies and tarts. Music triggers lots of memories for me, too, and I find also comments sometimes lead me off thinking of something totally unrelated.

Posted  by Pam P on 7/13/2008

I hear a lot of music that reminds me of Lubbock, Texas back in the 70's. Oh, how I miss those days...

Posted  by Melissa  Keith on 7/13/2008

:) Isn't it amazing the things that can be triggered in our memories. Thank you all for sharing. I love the boyfriend one. :) Enjoy your summer! It never lasts long enough, huh.

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 7/13/2008

WoW that was a very interesting blog. I enjoyed reading it. Love the idea for the next book. I also wanted to say that you are a great writer and I always buy your books!! No doubt about it...I have smelled things or maybe heard something that has brought back great memories foe me.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/17/2008

Music will transport me back to another time, or memory. Although recently we had a severe thunder and lightening storm, and I could clearly see me years ago standing in the middle of the kitchen of our house then with my two children wrapped around each leg, because it was so scary and we were all worried about where their dad/my husband would be at the time, because he was late getting home. It came back to me just as if it happened that day. Funny how some things will trigger a memory. **smiling**

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/13/2008



nice surprises

I'm off on a surprise vacation to Venice. It's our wedding anniversary and my hubby is taking me on a trip. I'm so excited. I just love good surprises. :-) Everyone does, I'm sure.

In Intrigues, I tend to write bad surprises. As in, "uh-oh, the bad guys found us." They add tension and keep the plot moving. In fact, as suspense writers, we always ask as we write, "What's the worst thing that can happen?" And if I'm not careful, this can overspill into my life and make me pessimistic at times. So good surprises are wonderful to remind me that life is not, in fact, a suspense novel.

Another good surprise I had recently was my new cover. I love it! He looks brooding and mysterious. My sheik books always get good covers. You can even see the scars on the guy's back.

What was your last good surprise? I'd love it if you shared.


Posted by Dana Marton, author of 72 HOURS on 7/11/2008

Enter comments


My boyfriend telling me he loved me - it was a total shock and blew me off my feet - i still have that card and cannot look at it without remembering my emotions - shock - suprise - happiness and at that point in my life I was so lonely and sad - i had a sense of incredible relief - thank god someone was going to look after me!

Posted  by Kimmy Lane on 7/11/2008

How cool to be going to Venice, and it being a surprise is even better. I love the cover of your upcoming release and you are right he looks brooding - like his thoughts are a million miles away - and mysterious, just makes you want to know all that more about him.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/11/2008

What a truly wonderful surprise.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/11/2008

My husband does not often show his feelings so imagine my surprise when he showed up at the school where I work on Valentine's Day with a plate of spritz cookies with a single rose laying on top. Our first Valentine's Day he brought me a huge box of chocolates, a plate of spritz cookies with a flower on them to after school. We were both still in high school. His mother had sent the cookies and I loved them so 40 years later he brought me the cookies. He had found the recipe and made them himself. That was my favorite surprise. He even cleaned up after himself! And yes the cookies were great.

Posted  by Connie  Lorenz on 7/11/2008

Congratulations on your surprise!! It sounds absolutely wonderful. And I absolutely love the cover!! My husband is not the romantic type at all. So when one day I came home to a beautiful arrangement of flowers I was shocked to say the least. He just got them for me out of the blue!! As it was just an ordinary day.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/11/2008

My husband surprised me on my birthday by inviting over two other couples and having a limo pick us up and take us to a casino for a fun time of gambling and eating. We all had a great time and I was so shocked as my husband is not the type to do surprises...I was a very happy birthday gal!

Posted  by Shari Chisholm on 7/11/2008

Happy Anniversary, Dana. Have a great time. I wish I were going to Venice. My last great surprise was getting free tickets to a baseball game.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/11/2008

Hope you have a wonderful time in Venice!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/11/2008

I hope you have a wonderful vacation. I hardly ever go to casinos and we went to one a few weeks ago and I left 20 dollars ahead so that was a big surprise.

Posted  by Maureen E on 7/11/2008

That IS a lovely surprise! Have a wonderful time!

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/11/2008

I only had a brother when I was growing up, I raised two sons, I have one grandson so when my son told me I was about have a granddaughter I felt fantastic.

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/11/2008

hmmm stil waiting for johnny depp to show up at the door, so still awting for my surprise

Posted  by tami  bates on 7/11/2008

What a lovely surprise!!

Posted  by Martha  Lawson on 7/11/2008

My last good surprise arrived in the last couple of months when I won a beautiful garnet pendant necklace in an author's monthly contest! Congratulations on the upcoming Venice trip! Honey and I visited that gorgeous city ten years ago. A trip which, by the way, I also won in a sweepstakes contest! Pat Cochran

Posted  by Patricia Cochran on 7/11/2008

My daughter gave me a beautiful necklace and card out of the blue for no occasion in March. It was sweet and I'll cherish it forever.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/11/2008

An old friend of mine came to visit. I had not seen her in several years. It was fun to catch up with each other and our lives. I was so surprised and we decided not to wait so long between visits.

Posted  by JOY ISLEY on 7/12/2008

I love surprises. They don't have to be costly items, just having something come when you least expect it adds so much to the fun.

Posted  by Gladys Paradowski on 7/13/2008

When my husband actually said I could take in another stray cat - I always say that I won't take any more in but it's hard to turn them away - I now have 6 (was 7 but my oldest just passed away this year).

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/13/2008



It was a dark and stormy night....

My upcoming August release, Under Suspicion, With Child, (I know, I know, the title is...well...different), besides having a fabulous cover, is a gothic type of story with a woman in jeopardy and a hunky hero to the rescue. Key ingredients to a great romance, right? Throw in a sinister setting coupled with even creepier weather and you have a horror story in the making. Bwa-ha-ha-ha

As a cop, his job was to capture the killer who'd stirred fear in the citizens of fog-shrouded Raven's Cliff. But Andrei Lagios had his own agonizing reasons for bringing this criminal to justice. And the return of beautiful, pregnant Jocelyne Baker was a distraction he couldn't afford. Yet the moment her life—and that of her unborn child—was threatened, he insisted on working undercover and being her personal bodyguard. Getting close to Jocelyne stirred a desire that pushed aside his pain. But the unrevealed secrets of her well-guarded past made him suspect there was more to this homecoming than she claimed.…

The setting is the coast of Maine, the weather can be stormy, foggy and downright spooky (think, THE FOG). With a serial killer performing ritualistic slayings still on the loose, wouldn't you hate to leave the house? Especially if you were pregnant? But our heroine is no wimpy Wilma, she's tough, she's independent and she's determined to prove to the community that she and her mother are not witches!

What about you? Ever been to a place that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Ever felt like someone was walking over your grave? Ever been afraid to walk out in the dark, fog or storm and not because you might get wet or lost? Have you ever felt like someone was lurking, waiting, watching....

Posted by Elle James, author of Under Suspicion, With child on 7/10/2008

Enter comments


I was on vacation in Maine a few years back (like half a dozen) and my friend and I were lighthouse hopping (she being a lighthouse lover) and we were at one of them in an isolated area (don't remember which one)and suddenly the fog rolled in and we were nearly walking blind. That was the creepiest feeling ever. We have fog sometimes where I live but nothing like that!! If someone had been lurking we would never have known.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/10/2008

A story that has already given me chills. I shall be looking for this one! As a new bride, living for the first time on a farm, I felt I was being watched each time I went to the hen house, after dark because I usually "forgot" to go, I felt I was being watched. It turned out I was! A coyote surprised me one evening as he ran from the henhouse!

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/10/2008

Ellen, fog can be so eerie and used so well in movies that make your heart pound with fear. I think it's great for adding the creep-factor to any story. Connie, I used to live on a small ranch in Texas and sometimes I'd go out walking at night. The occasional sounds of deer snorting always made me jump. I could never see them! But we had paw prints one time that had to have been a mountain lion. The thought of one of them lurking in the darkness made me quit my night sojourns, that and the feral hogs that would take down and eat an adult goat! Creepy!!!!

Posted  by Elle James on 7/10/2008

I've never had an experience like that and that's probably why I can read this type of book. Otherwise, I'd be feeding my fear.....

Posted  by Elizabeth Mays on 7/10/2008

Hey Elle (waves) - I can't wait to read this book and I have a friend I am definantly going to recommend it to - sounds right up her alley. About spooky, I visited an old Victorian cemetry in Atlanta last month. I was lucky enough to get a private tour. The tour guide took me down beneath the building where they would perform funerals. It was down a dark, creepy stairway. Basically a basement with arched holes cut into the brick wall where they would keep the bodies until burial. Wanna talk about creepy!

Posted  by Shada Royce on 7/10/2008

Hi Elle! Ooh, this book looks like it is going to be creepy...excellent! *L* Hmmm...a creepy place... I would have to say it was in Puerto Rico. My great-grandmother lived on a mountain. It was very dark as they did not have much lighting there. I used to like to walk at night around the neighborhood to listen to the night sounds...until I felt someone *or something* following me. You see, I had reached a very dark area which was about 1/4 mile long. I heard footsteps, but I could not see anybody or anything. I knew I was not alone. What did I do? I ran to the house closest to me and banged on that door! Luckily, people are very nice there and they opened-up the door. I was escorted back to my great-grandmother's house and I never went walking at night by myself again.

Posted  by Maithe O. on 7/10/2008

I love Maine. What a fantastic setting for a "dark and stormy night" story!

Posted  by ArkansasCyndi D'Alba on 7/10/2008

Elizabeth, I know what you mean about feeding your fears! I can't watch truly scary movies because I get so wrapped up in the story, I feel like I'm there. I rented Nightmare on Elm Street and sat down to watch it during the middle of the day. Watched for five minutes and couldn't breathe! I turned it off and never felt the need to watch it again.

Posted  by Elle James on 7/10/2008

I try to avoid walking out into storms. Lightning and thunder scare me. However I am a ghostbuster, and when I encounter a ghost, the hair stands up on the back of my neck!

Posted  by Melissa Keith on 7/10/2008

Hi Shada! Creepy places are wonderful, aren't they. When I was 17, I was in Beauty School and my instructor took several of us to the funeral home to do a lady's hair. Ack! Talk about creepy! I'm looking forward to July 19th when we go on our ghost hunt with the CASPR ladies! The Diamond State Romance Authors have invited the Central Arkansas Society for Paranormal Research to come speak at our monthly meeting and then take us on a ghost hunt! Can't wait!

Posted  by Elle James on 7/10/2008

Maithe, sounds like you had a spooky experience. I always made my children do things on the buddy system. Never go anywhere alone. Glad you got help! Cynthia, Maine is a great place for a setting. One day soon I hope to get up there.

Posted  by Elle James on 7/10/2008

Sometimes I've had the feeling that someone is looking at me -and then I've seen someone actually doing just that.

Posted  by Minna P. on 7/10/2008

I've never had an experience like that.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/10/2008

I've never had any issues with the weather but I have had eerie situations all of my life. Being a twin, I have this unique sensory ability when I am around her or thinking of her. Like I know what she is going to say, or do, or how she will react in certain situations, even what she is thinking at times. weird

Posted  by JOY ISLEY on 7/10/2008

Hi Elle, Congrats on your upcoming release. Sounds "intriguing", even though just being in the dark scares the 'bejesus' out of me! Whenever it storms, I light a candle as a precaution in case the lights go out. I panic in the dark. One time I got lost in my house because of this. Thought I was heading toward my room and was at the front door of my house! I don't think I've ever been to any really spooky place, but I remember when I was a young girl, we would visit relatives in McCamey, Texas and rumor was that the house where one of my oldere cousin lived was haunted. Well, I didn't get much sleep whenever we stayed in that house... Lupe

Posted  by Lupe Gonzalez on 7/10/2008

I've never had any kind of creepy encounter, (knock on wood). This definately sounds like my kind of read, I enjoy these kind of stories and love watching horror movies. Isn't Stephen King's books also set in Maine? Just wondering!

Posted  by Teresa  Warner on 7/10/2008

Hi, Elle!! I haven't ever had an encounter with a ghost, BUT I was in a bad car wreck a few years ago in a downpour on a highway outside Little Rock with some eerie circumstances. My car went off a bridge and rolled to land about 40ft below. My passenger was unconscious and all my doors were smashed. A man came out of nowhere, broke my back window, and helped us out. A few minutes later when more help arrived, a trooper asked me where was the man who'd been driving. I'D been driving and that's what I told the trooper. He didn't believe me because he said that witnesses saw a man running from my vehicle into the woods! Nobody knew who our rescuer was or where he'd gone! Yes, I love stories where weather is an important part. Nothing makes a creepy mood like fog or rain.

Posted  by Sandi Jones on 7/10/2008

Sounds great. Although I don't think I would read it late at night!

Posted  by Joyce M. on 7/10/2008

Being out in isolated areas alone at night leaves me feeling scared and creepy especially if the wind is blowing so trees and bushes and who knows what else is moving and you hear these strange noises that you wonder where they are coming from. Can you tell I am not a country girl???

Posted  by Shari Chisholm on 7/10/2008

Luckily I haven't felt like that for a long time. I do remember more than one occassion as a child, walking with friends in unfamiliar places and being totally scared. I'm a big wuss lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/10/2008

I have all your Intrigues and I just added this one to my list. Sounds absolutely creepy and yummy!

Posted  by Judith Rochelle on 7/10/2008

I'm loving all the creepy stories of being watched by people or animals and the twins feeling the other's thoughts. Thanks for sharing all the stories. Keep 'em coming! Hi Sandi, Judith, Lupe! Miss you guys!

Posted  by Elle James on 7/10/2008

Luckily I've never gotten that eerie feeling about a place before. I would probably run as fast as I can if the hairs on my neck started standing up.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/10/2008

Congraulations on your upcoming release. As for scary happenings - I remember one time coming home from being out to a Tupperware Party and it was raining and foggy when I left the home where the party was being held. Shortly after leaving I noticed that I had a set of headlights in my rear view mirror and no matter where I turned the car behind turned also. It totally freaked me out because if I slowed down they slowed down and would not go by. They followed me all the way to my own home, which was on the other side of the City so it was just too much of a coincidence. But instead of me parking in the back alley like I usually did, I pulled up front and hit the horn, and my husband came out to find out what was wrong. When he came out he noticed the car. He exchanged places with me, I went in the house and locked the door and he took the car around to the garage in back. When he came in he said the car had gone down past the garage, and that I had done the right thing, but I was totally creeped out. To this day, I think about it occasionally, this was before cellular phones. I will not park in underground parkades if I can anywhere avoid it.

Posted  by Cryna  Palmiere on 7/10/2008

What a great setting and excerpt.

Posted  by Kimmy Lane on 7/11/2008

I have never had a spooky experience like that but I love to read this type of book. A strong heroine as well as a strong hero are musts for me, so I'm glad Jocelyne is no wimp. I love the cover, too.

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/11/2008

To me everything seems more sinister in the dark. I'm rarely home by myself in the evening but when I am I hear all kinds of noises and my imagination takes off.

Posted  by Maureen E on 7/11/2008

yep. and scary as heck too! when i was a kid, i threw a tantrum, when we moved to a new house, which i hadnt saw, and i kept telling them, we lived there before . they laughed and i threw a tantrum, lol of course that didnt help my point of view or hindend :)

Posted  by tami bates on 7/11/2008

Your book sounds absolutely fabulous!! I will be buying it for sure. I do all night shifts where I work so sometimes I might go out for a bit to eat or something. I always hate walking across the dark parking lot alone!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/13/2008



Inspiration for SOLDIER CAGED

I’m excited to tell you about my latest Intrigue, SOLDIER CAGED, which came out yesterday. The story starts with Major Jonah Baker who wakes from a nightmare to confront two sets of memories. Was he on a diplomatic mission to Thailand? Or did he participate in a village massacre in Afghanistan? And why is he being held by military guards in an underground bunker that looks like it was set up as a nuclear fallout shelter?

When Sophia Rhodes sneaks into his room, he thinks she's come to assassinate him. But Sophia may be the key to Jonah's salvation. When she reminds him of his passionate past, his own memories surface. But is she in the bunker to help him? Or trip him up? And how did she get there in the first place?

People ask me all the time, “Where do you get your ideas?” If you’re a writer, they come from everything around you.

SOLDIER CAGED started percolating for me when we stayed at the very posh Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. In the 50's, the government paid for a new wing of the hotel–with a secret bunker underneath. The fallout shelter was for members of Congress to use in case of a nuclear attack. I have no idea how they were supposed to get there from DC, but the bunker was maintained by a government team until 1992. The men posed as the telephone and TV maintenance crew for the hotel. That was 20 percent of their job. The rest of the time, they guarded the bunker and resupplied it.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? But it’s true, and I got to tour the bunker. As I walked down the institutional green hallways, all sorts of plot ideas started spinning in my head. What if a guy were held captive in the bunker? Why was he there? How would he get out? For SOLDIER CAGED, I did separate the bunker and the hotel. It’s still in West Virginia, but now the "back door" is through a huge natural cave (like some of the real caves in the area). It’s also out in the wilderness, because I didn’t want Jonah and Sophia coming out in a hotel where they could get a warm bath and a hot meal. I wanted them to be in a dangerous situation.


Posted by Rebecca York, author of SOLDIER CAGED on 7/9/2008

Enter comments


Your new book sounds absolutely awesome Rebecca!!! You know I have every book in the 43 Light Street series so far! Plus I have many more that you have written. I love the stories that you write and look forward to each new book.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/9/2008

Shelly, thanks so much. One thing I love about the 43 Light Street books is that I can follow my characters into their later lives. I've got such a great crew of guys who have been my heros and now work happily with the Light Street Detective Agency or Randolph Security. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 7/9/2008

A while back when eHarlequin had a special offer on your 43 Light Street books I bought them and really got hooked. I am looking forward to this one.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/9/2008

Ellen, thanks so much. I was thrilled that they reprinted so many of the books. And, for the most part, I liked the new covers a lot better. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 7/9/2008

Rebecca, I am so intrigued with your new book.. I can't wait to read it. I've read many of your books in the past, for the last two years I have been reading J D Robb, and Robert Parker... I can see I've been missing other good reading. I'm going out this afternoon and will have to make a stop by the bookstore. I'm a fan of intrigue books, but my artistic flare is in painting...if you get the chance check out my blog at Good luck on you new book! Take care Dianne

Posted  by Dianne Hart on 7/9/2008

I am looking forward to reading Soldier Caged. I, too, have read all of the 43 Light Street books. They are Awesome!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/9/2008

"Soldier Caged" sounds like an intriguing read. The story about Greenbrier Hotel and the bunker is fascinating.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/9/2008

I have put this one on my TBR list. Going to the bookstore next week. Can't wait to read it.

Posted  by JOY ISLEY on 7/9/2008

Your new story sounds very intriguing!

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/9/2008

What interesting facts that I never knew. I like the way you added it into your story.

Posted  by Maureen E on 7/9/2008

Soldier Caged sounds great, I admire all you put into for your research!

Posted  by Teresa Warner on 7/9/2008

That is so fascinating about the bunker under the hotel. I have never heard that fact before. Soldier Caged sounds like a book I'm definitely going to want to read.

Posted  by Cheryl  Strange on 7/9/2008

Great web site, Dianne. I love your pictures and your decorative painting. Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 7/9/2008

This book sounds so good, and with so many questions that need answering.....also enjoyed the history of where the idea came to you from.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/9/2008

Love the whole concept......wonder where else there are secret bunkers? Definatly will add this book to my "cannot wait to read list".

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/9/2008

Hi Rebecca, Your new book sounds really good. Sophia and Jonah are characters that sound really interesting and I can imagine the story is one that I wouldn't want to put down.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/9/2008

Interesting about the bunker, Rebecca, like the premise.

Posted  by Pam P on 7/10/2008

I've enjoyed a lot of your books but I'm afraid I haven't read any from this series. Looks like I have some catching up to do lol.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/10/2008

I didn't realize this was out yet, so I'm glad I saw this. It's on my to buy list. How cool that you got to stay at the Greenbrier Hotel and tour the secret bunker. I've heard of it but didn't know they did tours. What a fascinating setting!

Posted  by Cynthya Petzen on 7/11/2008

i actually watched a story about that on underground cities. it had even a crematory , beds, a senate like place for them all to meet, just like in washinton, i love that story. i like undreground sities but man i sure dont think i could go underground

Posted  by tami bates on 7/11/2008



Real Life Heroes

Hey, gang--welcome to the Sizzling Summer Blog Blitz! Be sure to post a comment or question so that your name goes into the drawings for daily book winners. And be sure to check out Jan Hambright's post below for a list of last week's winners.

Now on to the topic at hand.

A lot of you have heard me talk about my 'baby' brother who serves in the military--that's a picture of him right there. Obviously, from the background you can tell that he's not serving in Iraq anymore, but he has been deployed on another tour of duty to another country. The fact that he's excited to go and make a positive difference in the world makes me so proud of him. Okay, so he's excited this time around because he gets to build bridges and fix up roads (he is an engineer by training, after all) instead of disarming land mines, but I think what he likes is the opportunity to give something back to a country that has been ravaged by war, a chance to show American servicemen and women in a positive light to people who might not always perceive outsiders in their country that way. My brother misses his family, yes--the wonders of Internet and cell phones make the separation a little easier--but he doesn't hesitate to perform his duty when called upon to do so. He doesn't complain about it. He just does it. And then he does it well--smartly, and with honor. He's a great dad, a fairly cool brother (we won't go into the cowboy boots to his sister's shins incident from childhood ;)) and a fine soldier. I'm a tad prejudiced, of course, but to me that makes him a hero.

People often ask me where I get my ideas for my stories. I tell them I've never had a shortage of ideas. One of my main inspirations are the people around me--the heroes I've encountered in my life. Real people who've made a difference in my life or in the world. People who've done a tough job simply because it needed to be done. Or they've been a terrific role model. They've helped someone in need. And so on.

Briefly, some other heroes in my life include

my brothers and dad

the teachers who inspired me to write

the teachers who got my son excited about learning and helped him to read

the EMT's who rescued my parents from a terrible car crash, and the medical professionals who cared for them afterward

the IMPROV counselors and contacts I've worked with who show teenagers ways to cope with the dangers of their world, and show the ones who've already met those dangers that there's reason to hope

the firefighters at the Twin Towers

my son's Scoutmaster, who guided him to being an Eagle Scout

my husband, who is first and foremost a wonderful father--burned out from his job as a probation officer, he went back to school to get his teaching degree, and now he works with middle school students--he reinvented himself, retrained himself and found a new calling--that takes courage (and judging by the kids I've seen come from his classes, he's doing a pretty darned good job of it, too!)

There are more, of course. Just watch the news. Watch the world around you. There are heroes out there. Real ones. Providing plenty of inspiration for the larger than life men who populate our books.

Who are some of the real heroes in your life?

Happy Reading!


Posted by Julie Miller, author of Armed and Devastating on 7/8/2008

Enter comments


Aw Julie, you SHOULD be proud of your brother. I wish we had nightly recaps of all the good our military personnel are doing around the world instead of the depressing stories they like to show on the evening news. Tell him we appreciate him and all the others like him!

Posted  by Brenda Gale on 7/8/2008

Thanks, Brenda! I'll be sure to pass along your message. He'll do an 'aw, shucks' thing--but he'll appreciate it, I know.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/8/2008

You have every right to be proud of your brother because he is one of the heroes. Besides the ones that serve in the military I think that firefighters and police are real heroes as well. I also think the wives and children who are without their husbands who are fighting overseas are also heroes/heroines.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/8/2008

How true!! You should be very proud of your military family and give them thanks from our family as well. Keep up the good work on the writing. I just finished Armed and Devastating. Good book! ~V~

Posted  by Valerie Oakleaf on 7/8/2008

It is great to include your family on your list of heroes. Say a thank you to your bother for me as I too admire what our military does for us. My father served in WWII and caries schrapnal around in his back to this day. He is one of my heroes.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/8/2008

Hey, Connie--good to see you on the blog! Give your dad a hug and a thank you for me.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/8/2008

Hey, Valerie--I'm glad you enjoyed Armed and Devastating. It was good to meet you at the PRW Retreat.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/8/2008

Hey, Ellen--I agree. The families make a tremendous sacrifice and provide invaluable support to our troops and our country. Definite heroes there!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/8/2008

What a great post, Julie!

Posted  by Lexi  Connor on 7/8/2008

Tell your brother 'Thank You' for helping keep us free.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/8/2008

I consider my parents and teachers are heroes. I agree with you about the responders at World Trade Center. The FDNY and NYPD are always protecting the city I live in.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/8/2008

Great post Julie. My heroes would be my Dad who has always been there for me no matter what. Also a couple of teachers from school that were so instrumental to helping my kids after their father/my husband died. And I agree with you Military, Police and Fireman for what they face every day.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/8/2008

my granma who is 80 and still a going

Posted  by tami bates on 7/8/2008

Absolutely, Jane--I didn't mean to leave out the cops! NYPD also gave more than their share that day.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/8/2008

Tami--give your grandma a hug! I think life experience is a wonderful heroic trait ;)

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/8/2008

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes for my brother, the military, and their families. It's kind, patriotic, and means a lot to them and me.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/8/2008

Wow Julie, awesome post!! Your brother definitely has one of those jobs that anyone and everyone should be proud of. You have a great list of heros and I would pick many of them myself. I work as a nurse so I see different things pretty much on a daily basis. Sometimes a hero is not just one person but the many that can make a difference in someone else's life. I feel that a hero can be found anywhere you look!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/8/2008

I so admire your brother and others who serve our country. My son is a new police officer. I am very proud of him, but I worry a lot,too.

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/9/2008

Yes, please add my thanks to your brother for the many sacrifices I know he makes to serve our country. We are so fortunate to have men and women such as him dedicated to protecting our freedom and preserving our liberties.

Posted  by Cheryl Strange on 7/9/2008

More admiration and thanks to your brother, Julie, you right to be so very proud of him.

Posted  by P Pellini on 7/10/2008

I'm grateful for all the "heroes" who put their lives at risk for others. My father served in War World II as did my father-in-law and mother-in-law and my husband served in Vietnam.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/10/2008

yep., my granma is 80, and there is 5 generations of us, im a granma myself so she still does tons of stuff with MY kids and MY grankid. that most 20 yr old, would have a tough time keeping up :)))

Posted  by tami bates on 7/11/2008

Some of the heroes in my life would have to be educators. I am now working at a university in an amazing department and I am so surprised at what they have to go through. Even though I'm not studying in the same department they're heroes to me. Another set of heroes were high school teachers that really made life fun! One of those was Julie Miller! She was a very fun English/Speech Teacher, Speech Coach, and Drama Coach! I enjoyed her classes and just all the extra time I ended up spending with her through my years in high school! Emily

Posted  by Emily (Gabriel) Duarte on 7/13/2008

Emily! OMG!! What a sweetie you are. How good it is to 'see' you again. Sounds like things are going well for you. Thank you for the kind words. Take care!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/14/2008

Congratulations to Connie Lorenz!! You're today's blog winner. Send me an email and I'll get a book to you ASAP! Keep posting, everyone! We have lots more books to give away this month!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/14/2008




Congratulations! If your name is on this list you're the winner of a free book. Please contact the author you've been paired with via her website to receive a book of her choice. And keep commenting, we're giving away a book a day!

7/1 Winner - Cathy Shouse - Author Patricia Rosemoor

7/2 Winner - Rhonda Barnes - Author Susan Kearney

7/3 Winner - Shelley Downton - Author Mallory Kane

7/4 Winner - Cryna Palmiere - Author Tracy Montoya

7/5 Winner - Dena W. - Author Ann Voss Peterson

7/6 Winner - Jane C. - Author B.J. Daniels

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 7/7/2008

Enter comments


Hi, I tried to email Mallory through her website but for some reason my emails are not getting through. ??? any suggestions

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/7/2008

Hi Shelley. Her e-mail box is full, she may be out of town. Please keep trying. I'll be sure you get your book. Smiles, Jan.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 7/8/2008

Thanks Jan! I thought it might be something like that but I wasn't sure. You know's hard to tell why. Anyway, I'll try her again in a little while then. Thanks again! I just wanted another person's opinion. I am super glad I got paired with Mallory. I have read many of her books in the past and just love her writing!!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/8/2008

Congrats to the winners!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/8/2008

Thank you. Congrats to the other winners.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/8/2008



How It All Started

The blog blitz continues so remember to post for a chance to win!

In my latest Intrigue, Questioning the Heiress, the hero is a Texas Ranger. I love to write about Rangers and cowboy cops, and when I was a kid, I dreamed of being an FBI agent. So, the whole fascination with law enforcement has been with me a LONG time.

The summer I turned 8, I started a scrapbook of sorts and collected fingerprints (I retrieved them using ashes and scotch tape) and hair samples from family members and visitors. I spied on my sister and kept surveillance logs of how she spent her very boring days. This was long before the days of CSI and forensics.

I was a spooky kid.

Nancy Drew was partly to blame with my obsession with solving crimes, but I can also blame TV. You see, my mom limited how much time I could watch TV when I was in elementary school so there were only a handful of shows I could manage to see regularly: Perry Mason, The Defenders (about a father/son who solved cases), The Fugitive, Bonanza, Rawhide and Lassie. When The Wild, Wild West came out, I added that to the list. So, let's see three westerns, two legal shows and a series about a wrongly accused man. Hmmm. I think I discovered the source of my love for cowboy cops.

So, what about you? What were your favorite TV shows as a kid?


Posted by Delores Fossen, author of Questioning the Heiress on 7/7/2008

Enter comments


TV shows when I was a kid huh? Depends on where kiddom ended. We didn't have a TV until I was a junior in high school. However I did manage to watch some Bonanza and some Rawhide but I was not a kid exactly.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/7/2008

Let's see, when I was really little, I remember watching Captain Kangaroo in the morning. A little older and it was Bonanza (my dad, brothers and I would 'ride in' on the couch when the Cartwrights did at the beginning of every show) and Ed Sullivan. A bit later, my big brother and I would come home after school and watch Gilligan's Island and Batman. Then, my dad and I watched every cop/PI show that came along--Hawaii 5-0, Mannix, Barnaby Jones, S.W.A.T., etc. In high school it was Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Starsky & Hutch (I wrote 'stories' on a lot of my junior English papers about Starsky) In college I was all over Magnum P.I. and Hill Street Blues. Hmm. I see a cop trend myself.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/7/2008

Ellen, I remember watching Rawhide a time or two, and I loved it. I used to have to negotiate with my mom for TV viewing time, so I had to pick my absolute favorites to make sure I'd get to see them.

Julie, ah yes. Starsky. I have fond memories of him. :)

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/7/2008

I was not exactly a kid when we got a tv. My favorite show was Rawhide. Loved Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/7/2008

The first show that I really remember watching was Ed Sullivan. I remember the Elvis show very well. We didn't have a tv when I was very small but Bonansa, Rawhide, Hawaii Five0 I remember watching.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/7/2008

LOL. Delores were were a spooky kid. :) For me it was Trixie Beldon mysteries. My dad loved westerns so that is usually what he took us to see when I was a kid. Maverick on TV and Rawhide. Geez, I think I still remember the words to the Rawhide theme song, how sick is that? Dad also liked mysteries like Dial M For Murder and Rear Window. Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte still gives me goosebumps. :)

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 7/7/2008

My favorite shows as kid were The Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes and Growing Pains. I didn't develop my love of crime shows until I was a teenager. I started watching Law and Order and NYPD Blue.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/7/2008

I remember watching Bonanza, but that was when I was older. When I was younger It was things like The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, ummmm I think I will quit now, because I have surely dated myself. I used to watch Rawhide and Lassie and Perry Mason. Another one I used to like to watch was

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/7/2008

I loved Bewithed and I Dream of Jeannie. I thought Sam and Jeannie were so pretty and I wished that I could wiggle my nose and blink and my room would be clean.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/7/2008

Some of my favorites were Charlie's Angels, The Bionic Woman and Eight is Enough! I also loved watching Cagney and Lacey.

Posted  by Teresa  Warner on 7/8/2008

bionic woman one day at a time the six million dollar man the a team the hulk (tv serieS) cagney and lacey

Posted  by tami bates on 7/8/2008

Wow, so many great choices. Thanks, guys, for sharing!! I see I'm not the only one affected by TV.

Posted  by Delores Fossen on 7/9/2008

I watched all the westerns and comedies. Some of my favorites were Bonanza, Wild Wild West, Bewitched, Carol Burnett Show, and so many others. I watched more TV then than I do now.

Posted  by cheryl  castings on 7/9/2008

Hmm . . . I was a Trixie Belden girl too. I did read Nancy Drew also, though. TV shows - I watched Star Trek and Rifleman with my dad. Bonanza, of course. And, though he doesn't remember (or so he says), I remember sitting next to him while he watched Alfred Hitchcock's, The Birds. I still have issues with birds. :)

Posted  by Cheryl Strange on 7/9/2008

I watched a lot of westerns as a kid, Rawhide being one of my favorites, had a crush on Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates, lol. Others I remember, Bonanza, Maverick, the campy Wild Wild West, Honey West.

Posted  by Pam P on 7/10/2008

I used to watch The Facts of Life, Knight Rider, MacGyver and Growing Pains. There were more shows than that but I watched these faithfully.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/10/2008

If I had to pick my favorite all time show as a kid, it was Twilight Zone. I'll still watch the reruns. And although they are outdated, their themes are still applicable today.

Posted  by jeanne sheats on 7/10/2008



Power Dressing

Wecome to the summer blog blitz!

Did everyone have a great Independence Day? From the comments on Tracy's (hilarious!) blog, it sounds like a lot of people had plans. Well, due to a very annoying illness (you and me, Mallory) mine fell through. So to celebrate, because I couldn't do anything but stare at the television, I watched a What-Not-To-Wear marathon on TLC.

Now this was not wasted time, as it turned out. The Romance Writers of America conference is coming up fast, and I have to plan what I am going to wear (and what not to wear, of course). So I'm calling it research.

The whole wardrobe question is an interesting one for authors. If you've ever watched What Not To Wear, they like to take people with downbeat, slovenly wardrobes and teach them to dress in a way that makes them look fabulous and feel powerful. And as I was watching Stacey and Clinton transform woman after woman, I realized that I (and most other authors) go through that transformation every time we go to a conference.

My day-to-day work wardrobe consists of yoga pants and Green Bay Packer tee-shirts. Since my office is in my basement, I rarely wear shoes, let alone heels. And my most common accessory is a coffee cup clutched in my hand. But when I go to a conference, especially the clothing-intensive RWA, my wardrobe goes through a massive overhaul. Cocktail attire for the Daphne Awards. A dancerific party dress for the Harlequin party. Something glitzy for the Rita Award ceremony. Sharp business-casual clothes for the daytime. And shoes, shoes, shoes.

In the past, I always neglected the shoes. I bought dresses with varying degrees of success, but my shoes were either the cheapest I could find or borrowed from my friend Cindi. And my feet were always blistered and bloody by the end of the conference (except when I wore Cindi's shoes--and wore them out--those rocked). But then a miracle happened. A Designer Shoe Warehouse moved in across the street from me, and my life changed.

I've discovered good-looking shoes that are comfortable and on sale! And you know what? I now understand the whole shoe-obsession thing that has eluded me most of my life.

Shoes mean power.

Not only does it feel more powerful to have shoes that don't rub your feet bloody (can you say, duh, Ann?), but there's something about a pointy toe and a stiletto heel that makes a shoe more than sexy. It gives it weapon potential. And that makes my inner romantic suspense author feel powerful. ;) And I'm not going to even start on boots....

Anyway, do you have any article of clothing in your closet that makes you feel powerful?

Posted by Ann Voss Peterson, author of Wyoming Manhunt on 7/5/2008

Enter comments


My closet has very casual clothes in it. I dress in sweats and t-shirts.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/5/2008

I love my cashmere sweaters. They don't make me feel powerful, but I do feel great wearing them.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/5/2008

I'm with you on the sweats for every day, Estella. Most of my wardrobe consists of casual clothes. And some of them actually make me feel powerful. And Jane, feeling great is part of feeling powerful, don't you think? I love the feel of cashmere!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 7/5/2008

Well my clothes situation is this -- I have a whole closet full of clothes that I never wear (and bet I can't get into) because they are ones that I had when I taught. Now that I am retired I live in jeans and either t-shirts or denim shirts that are taken out of the dryer and put on (no ironing). I have two slacks and blouse outfits for when I absolutely have to dress up. As for shoes then only things that go on my feet are Reeboks or loafers for dress up. And none of the clothes or shoes make me feel powerful cause I don't want to be powerful any more!!!!!

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/5/2008

I am with Estella bring on those sweats and T-shirts on blue jean shorts. Give me a pair or Rebocks or some sandles and I am good to go. So they must make me feel powerful.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 7/5/2008

I have a whole closet full clothes I used to wear to the office......they are in the downstairs closet. Then I have the clothes I wear now, slacks and tops and sweaters - sweaters I love to wear. As for shoes it is mostly running shoes or sandals during the summer so I can so associate where you are coming from. You know I can't remember the last time I had to really dress up......

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/5/2008

I think my jewelry says alot about me. I live in Arizona and I wear alot of original Navajo Indian jewelry. when I worked, I wore suits and I think they are powerful for a woman in business.

Posted  by JOY ISLEY on 7/5/2008

Welcome to the world of the shoe-obsessed, Ann! I love shoes. I have to admit, the less sensible the shoe, the more I love it. Give me a pointy toe and a 5-inch heel any day. Of course, for the summer with shorts and capris, I wear flip-flops - but I have a ton of flip-flops too - some with shells, some with buttons, some with sparkly things, some with beads - whatever. Power clothes - hmmm lots of those, but a pair of tight jeans with high-heeled black boots do the trick nicely.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/6/2008

I have a really nice jacket and skirt set that says power with a bit of sexy because the skirt is a pencil style. It goes just a little bit above my knee but it still looks good.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/6/2008

I must be really boring; I dont have anything in my closet to make me feel powerful. LOL.

Posted  by Pat Lieberman on 7/6/2008

I have several wardrobes, dress, work and casual, each one in size 14, 16, and none of your businness.

Posted  by Connie Lorenz on 7/6/2008

God, I hate to dress up!! If I'm in a dress somebody's died or getting married!!! I'm thankful I can wear jeans and shirts to my job at the library.

Posted  by Martha Lawson on 7/6/2008

i never got the shoes= power. geez i cant stand high heels anything.

Posted  by tasha tipton on 7/7/2008

I'm with the norm here. I love my jeans and Ts!! I am a casual kind of gal. Although, I love my sapphire jewerly and I do have a couple of pairs shoes that make me feel pretty good.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/7/2008



Happy 4th ... and Other Stuff!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

So as well as celebrating the 4th, I'm celebrating the end of the latest Mercury in retrograde cycle, which ended several days ago. Normally, I'm not one of those people who lives and dies by my horoscope, though I have to say, I do fit in well with the conventional Scorpio profile--which is, long story short, an emotion-driven intuitive hermit with big eyes. But that, I feel, is more of a coincidence than anything. Although I could probably be talked into changing my mind about that when Mercury is in retrograde.

Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, meaning that it appears to be moving backwards in the sky throughout the Zodiac--an illusion caused by the orbital rotation of the Earth in relation to the other planets. According to, Mercury 'rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education, and transportation.... Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray or awry.'

Is it any wonder that news that Mercury is in retrograde passes like wildfire among many writers? Communication AND technology gown awry--what fun.

I'm convinced that Mercury goes into retrograde simply to mess with me. Here's a list of every communication and mechanical thing in my life that went astray or awry during the latest period:

* A flight I was on from DC to Minneapolis was turned away from the airport ten minutes before we landed and diverted to Madison. Four hours of uncomfortableness later, the plane lifted off and attempted to land in Minneapolis DURING A TORNADO WATCH. This resulted in all sorts of fun turbulence that had me literally wondering if the plane was going to flip over and wishing that it would already, because if I'm going to die anyway, it might as well be over with quickly.

It also resulted in the people behind me having a nice 'I love you, man' moment that the romance writer in me might have enjoyed if I hadn't been contemplating my own mortality at the time.

* My clothes dryer stopped working. Of course, it feigned competence the entire time, emitting all the usual whirring noises, blasts of hot air, and actually tumbling my clothes around for hours. Did it dry them? No, it did not.

This is, of course, a mere three months after I paid the Sears repair guy way too much money to fix said dryer. But I'm not bitter.

* My mop handle broke. My environmentally conscious email to the company asking whether I could purchase just the handle without having to waste resources and buy the whole mop again went unanswered.

* The produce drawer on my refrigerator cracked in two. This might be due to the fact that I married Lenny from Of Mice and Men (only in that he's constantly breaking things because he doesn't know his own strength.) and not Mercury's whereabouts.

* My laptop froze one day while I was working, emitted a series of mini-explosion noises, and died unceremoniously in my arms. It's taken me three weeks and five distraught phone calls to technical support to get the problem properly diagnosed (No, my laptop did not explode just because I installed Lego Star Wars without rebooting first! No, I did not spill anything on it. NO, I don't download attachments from the Queen of Timbuktu because she promised to leave me her millions.) and a series of replacement parts ordered. The guy who was supposed to come install said replacement parts was delayed by two days. He'll allegedly be here tomorrow.

* My craptacular Kenmore vacuum cleaner stopped sucking the way I want it to for the thousandth time, and started sucking on a whole new level. This particular vacuum (affectionately known around my house as The Soul-Sucking Lemon from Sears) was voted a 'best buy' by Consumer Reports, BTW. It's a 'best buy' if you don't mind it breaking down three or four times a year, so you can take it in for repairs and enjoy three weeks of nasty buildup forming into a light crust on your carpet while you wait for your best buy to come back from the shop.

I bought a new one--a highly regarded and highly expensive German brand, because someone told me, 'You could drop it off a building, and it still wouldn't break.' Although not about to test this theory, I am thrilled with its performance.

In the spirit of mangled communications spurred on by Mercury in retrograde, I hid it in a back closet and did not tell my cheap@$$ husband, who thinks that The Soul-Sucking Lemon from Sears suddenly decided to rally and actually clean the dirt off the carpet instead of picking it up and spewing it back into the air like a lint-and-sand fountain.

Now that Mercury is out of retrograde, I'm not sure when the Dirt-Sucking Miracle from Germany is going to, so to speak, come out of the closet. Whenever I feel like watching the dh whip out his budgets and household spreadsheets and working himself into a frenzy of budget-adjusting frugality, I guess.

* My husband ignored my repeated requests to pick up his socks and sweep up his stray coffee grounds from the kitchen counter before I take all of his socks and coffee bags and have a bonfire in the back yard. Of course, he ignores such requests when Mercury is not in retrograde, but it's nice to have something else to blame for a change.

* The paisley scarf Rachel Ray wore in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial was mistaken by a prominent newspaper columnist as being a (checkered) keffiyeh worn by Palestinian political extremists, and Dunkin' Donuts was forced to pull the ad. This has nothing to do with me, as I do not have a Dunkin' Donuts near me and I do not own a keffiyeh--or a paisley scarf cleverly masquerading as a keffiyeh. I was just glad to see that Rachel Ray's life is hard during Mercury in retrograde, too.

Is anyone doing anything exciting for the 4th? (I'm not!) And did you survive Mercury in Retrograde unscathed?

Posted by Tracy Montoya, author of I on 7/4/2008

Enter comments


Tracy, your post had me rolling on the floor. I didn't even know Mercury was in Retrograde (but I'm a dead-on Gemini). And you should've asked me about the vacuum cleaner - Oreck all the way. We'll spend the 4th at an old-fashioned celebration at our park - pie and watermelon eating contests, three-legged races, water balloon tosses, and so on. This goes on all day, followed by a band and a big fireworks show. Between the park festivities and the fireworks, we'll join our neighbors for a BBQ. I LOVE the 4th - it's my favorite holiday. Gotta go now and set up our blanket and chairs in the park to hold our spot for the fireworks! Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/4/2008

Not doing anything exciting for the 4th. We have not had any rain here for who knows how long and it chooses to rain today when the city has a giant fireworks display on a barge out in the bay as they do every 4th. The rain is suppose to stop before then--sure hope so. At the same time if it is not raining the idiots down the street will be shooting off illegal fireworks (they are banned in the city because of the dryness)(and no the rain today so far hasn't done much to wet things down enough to prevent fires). I am going to have to buy a new vacuum cleaner really, really soon but I need to find a really light weight one that still cleans well.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/4/2008

I'm volunteering at the PAWS Chicago Adoption Center this afternoon, to give the kitties food and attention. Yesterday I volunteered at our South Side location where we do animal intake and vet them. In addition to saving 5 animals from being euthanized at Animal Control and taking 4 more cats from a shelter that's closing, we rescued 35 abandoned or relinquished animals from the Iowa floods. That's 44 new dogs and cats in a 24 hour period. Some of those animals will be coming to the adoption center this afternoon, so though the center is closed to the public today, we'll be busy. Then tonight, I'm going to dinner and fireworks with a friend. I'll probably fall into bed tonight.

Posted  by Patricia Rosemoor on 7/4/2008

LOL. Tracy, thanks for the laugh this morning. I've always wondered what the problem was. Now I know about Mercury in retrograde. Speaking of odd happenings....I recently discovered why there are more UFO sightings in my part of Montana than other places. It seems the earth emits noises that can be heard by other life out there. This is created high above the planet, where charged particles from the solar wind collide with the earth's magnetic field -- and is related the our Northern Lights. Apparently these radio waves head off in beam-like fashion and are more detectable because of where we live. Like a hole that these Auroral Kilometric Radiation (AKR) can get through. Wherever you have auroras (Northern Lights) you get AKR, according to the article. So the planet is "humming" along and people have historically seen flying saucers up here. The most recent was in 1975 when the airbase in Great Falls sent out a couple of jets to check it out. The pilots said when they got close the objects turned off their lights and seemed to disappear. Fun stuff huh. I was camped by the lake north of town one night, got out of the tent to pee, and the sky was bright turquiose and as bright as day. I tried to wake my husband, telling it was UFOs, but you know husbands. Did I also mention that this is where a whole bunch of dinosaurs died and left their remains in the foothills around here? All weird and wonderful stuff to share on the 4th of July. :) You started it Tracy! :)

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 7/4/2008

Oh, Tracy--you're too funny! We actually had a big celebration last night with friends and fireworks--it has become a tradition to celebrate on the 3rd of July because we can stay up late, and everyone has the next day off to sleep in. We had a splendiferous show last night. It's so entertaining, too, to see all the men in the group running around like little boys--they're so excited to play with fire and make things go boom :). Today, we're having some quiet family time--we may go to a movie--HANCOCK (which my teenage/movie buff son loves!) or GET SMART are at the top of our list. I'll cook something easy but fabulous ;) and then we'll set off our own fireworks.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 7/4/2008

Happy July 4th. I survived Mercury in Retrograde, although I've been feeling cranky. Must be the aftereffects of Mercury in Retrograde. Not much on the agenda today. We're just going to see the fireworks.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/4/2008

Too funny, Tracy. Nothing going on for the 4th here until tomorrow. Then there will be a barbecue.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/4/2008

Happy 4th of July to you all. I never knew anything about Mercury Retrograde, I am a Capricorn and the description fits pretty close for me. Tracy I got a real laugh out of your post today. It was cool.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/4/2008

Happy Fourth to everyone. Due to the outrageous gas prices - I am staying home!

Posted  by Juanita Stender on 7/5/2008

Hope you had a great 4th. I just stayed at home and tried to keep my two little dogs calm. The fireworks upset them so much. Oh, well.

Posted  by Gayle Oreluk on 7/5/2008

went to fireworks, but they had them on the 5th, for some reason. and a street dance

Posted  by tasha tipton on 7/7/2008




Well, it's the beginning of our Summer Blog Blitz and I've already dropped the ball. I was supposed to blog today. Sorry about forgetting but I was thinking about me.

I went to the doctor this morning and found out I have pneumonia. Actually, that I STILL have pneumonia. The good news? It's getting better. So I only have to take the antibiotic for two more weeks. It's not fun being sick in the summertime.

On a happier note -- The summer shows are on, and I'm having a ball watching cable. My favorite shows are on USA.

Burn Notice
In Plain Sight
Law & Order: CI

I'm psyched (pun intended.)

Those of you who watch TV, what are your favorite summer shows? Stay tuned to the Summer Blog Blitz. I'm pretty sure all the other Intrigue Authors are going to be more on-the-ball than me.

Happy reading


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 7/3/2008

Enter comments


Mallory so sorry to hear you have pneumonia. No wonder you forgot to post today but actually you didn't as it's still today. As far as TV goes I'm mostly watching HGTV and reruns. But mostly I've been reading.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/3/2008

im waiting for THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE

Posted  by tasha t on 7/3/2008

Mallory, LOVE the cover!! Sorry to hear you are sick, hope you are better soon. Antibiotics are good stuff.

Posted  by Jill James on 7/3/2008

I'm sorry to hear you have pnemonia, I've had it before and it was horrible. I hope your feeling better real soon. I always watch Big Brother in the summer. I started watching Fear Itself and it sure is creepy and out there.

Posted  by Dena W on 7/3/2008

Sorry to here you are sick, bummer! I like to watch the same shows you mentioned. Great shows. I also like to do a lot of reading

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 7/4/2008

Gosh, BRODY cover is so beautiful, first the cowboy and that sunset background is so awesome! Then to read the blurb, I'm hooked already! I must go see if this is your series and where within the series this book is or if its a muliple author series or line? Mostly now with long series, I can jump in anywhere (I broke my readers rules of commandments only to read books in order, LOL) because I so want to read the story now, and they stand alone and can go back and find some, If I can! So sorry that the pnemonia is being a pain to heal. I hope you sneak in more rest and even some reads and your shows! Really hope you're feeling better soon! I'm not much of a TV person at all, but I found this channel called DISCOVERY INVESTIGATIONS, and it shows many of those earlier Dateline and other similar shows that were only on once, and now they show them all and just the 'real' ones on this channel. They had too one about theories about the Wild Wild West, and I didn't get to see it all so watching for it to come on again. I seem to enjoy the fun game shows on now too, but going to check out a few drama shows: PASSWORD MILLIONAIRE CELEBRITY FAMILY FEUD SMALLVILLE (want to check this out) DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (I just discovered this show this year and hope they put this years re-runs up) HOGAN'S HEROES (finally they are closed captioned for deaf so I can know what they say)! And I'm looking forward to a show thats coming on this summer HOPKINS. Not sure if its a real medical show or a drama one but I saw some commercials on it recently.

Posted  by Caffey M on 7/4/2008

Hope you are feeling better soon!! Enough is enough, right! I do not watch much TV in the summer. But I do make time to watch BIG BROTHER!! I just love that show. PS. That is probably the sexist man/cover I have seen in a while now!!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/4/2008

I'm also excited that Burn Notice will be starting its second season. I'm also looking forward to the return of Mad Men.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/4/2008

So sorry to hear that you are sick, and it seems that the summer months make it harder to throw colds and that it turned into pneumonia is really the pits. I just love the cover of Heart of Brody, it is really beautiful. Unfortunately I seldom watch TV so have no programs that are favourites.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/4/2008

Thanks for the good wishes everyone. I have to agree about Brody's cover. I wish I could take credit for it. I did ask for a hero only cover--gotta love that lone cowboy walking off into the sunset with his big... gun :) I like some of the reality shows--Top Chef, Project Runway, America's Next Top Model. I find it fascinating to watch how they cook/ sew/ pose. Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 7/4/2008



Dancing with Fire

Hi All, my newest romantic suspense single title just hit the stores. And my daughter photographed the models.

Tor Romantic Suspense--July 2008

Accident or Murder?

Dance instructor Kaylin Danner has sacrificed her opportunity on Broadway to help her father raise her younger sisters in Florida. When her father's laboratory blows sky high and his priceless formula for a revolutionary new fuel disappears, Kaylin is left with nothing but her father's business partner Sawyer Scott and a cache of deadly trouble.

Life or Death?

When the Danner home is vandalized and her sisters threatened, Sawyer and Kaylin team up to unmask the killer terrorizing her family. Sawyer's bent on pursuing both Kaylin and the missing formula, but Kaylin fights the attraction, believing Sawyer's a dreamer like her father-and in her experience dreamers end up dead.

Posted by Susan Kearney, author of Dancing With Fire on 7/2/2008

Enter comments


Susan, with gas prices the way they are, a new fuel formula is more precious than diamonds! Sounds like an interesting plot.

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/2/2008

What a nice twist on the heroines' occupation! It's nice to see that kick-ass women don't all need to be in law enforcement!

Posted  by Laurie  Wood on 7/2/2008

hi susan, dancing with fire sounds like a great read. I'll bet your daughter enjoyed taking the photos of the models.

Posted  by charlene coyle on 7/2/2008

The cover is really striking so your daughter did an excellent job. And the story sounds exciting.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/2/2008

Congrats on the new release. The cover is lovely.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/2/2008

I am looking forward to reading Dancing With Fire. Good looking cover.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/2/2008

Sounds like a great story! Rhonda :-)

Posted  by Rhonda Barnes on 7/2/2008

This sounds like a really great read.

Posted  by Virginia Hurt on 7/2/2008

Your daughter did an excellent job on the photography. Congratulations on the new release. The book sounds like a really good one.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/3/2008

Oh wow! Your daughter is really talented. A beautiful cover!

Posted  by Sue A. on 7/3/2008

Love the cover, your daughter did a great job. Love reading a good romantic Suspense and this one sounds great!

Posted  by Teresa  Warner on 7/3/2008

LOVEEEEEE the title!!!!! WHEW HOO!

Posted  by tasha t on 7/3/2008

Wow this definitely sounds like a great story!! I love the cover and the title. I just put it on my list of books to buy. Thank You for the post!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/3/2008

Susan, I definately have this on the wishlist. I'm actually just starting ISLAND HEAT. Your daughter does awesome covers and it was great to see the model on your site buying the book!

Posted  by Caffey M. on 7/4/2008




Deja's time for another blog blitz--a Sizzling Summer Blog Blitz! We're giving away a book a day in the month of July. To qualify, all you have to do is comment...

Speaking of deja vu...

I just rented Next from Blockbuster and it was also playing on cable. Next is a story about deja vu -- the hero can see what happens two seconds before it happens. As I started to watch the movie, it was like I knew everything that was going to happen ahead of time. And finally I went, hmm, when did I see this movie?

Next (a romantic thriller) came out in 2007. Not so long ago. It's not the type of movie my best friend would want to see. My critique parnters might, but I only see 4 or 5 movies a year with them (mostly at our retreats in Lake Geneva) and I'm sure I didn't see this with them. It just came out on DVD, so I couldn't have rented it before. I've never seen it listed on cable (to my memory) so I think it just started running on cable this weekend.

This is driving me nuts. I can't place where I saw this movie before. Which gives me an idea for a romantic suspense novel. As things happen to my heroine, she swears they've happened before...hmm. That's all I have so far.

So, have you ever experienced deja vu? When and where and what happened? Dish, already!

Good reading,


Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire on 7/1/2008

Enter comments


I get that been there, seen that feeling a LOT at the movies--mostly because remakes seem to be SOP. I don't mind putting a new spin on a old plot, but when half the previews are remakes, you start to wonder....

Posted  by Pauline  Jones on 7/1/2008

The only deja vu moments I have ever had is in reading books or watching TV. There have been times when I read a "new" book that I swear I've read before. Or see a TV show that I swear I've seen before. Most of the time I wonder whether I really have or if the plots are so similar (especially with TV) that I think I've seen it before.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 7/1/2008

Oh, me, me, me! I've had that deju vu a few times driving down the road, like I'd been there before when I knew I hadn't. Hmm...maybe I'd seen the road on television. What's really strange is approaching a railroad track. No train in sight, no sounds, no lights and thinking, "A train is coming" and then around the bend, here it comes. Or travelling down the road, approaching a bridge you can't see over, telling your hubby to slow down there's a wreck (even though you don't see it, can't hear it), crossing the bridge and there's an accident at the foot of the bridge. I wonder if deju vu can't sometimes be a sense, a feeling of something bad is going to happen or has happened. Hmm... Wasn't there a movie with Denzel Washington called Deja Vu? He could see what happened before it happened but they used some 'into the future' technology. You knew what was about to happen because the movie had already shown that part. I think a lot of times there are no new stories, just new twists on the same old, same old. The trick, in my opinion, is if they're going to use deju vu, make it so different, everyone thinks they've never been there, done that before.

Posted  by Sonya  Weiss on 7/1/2008

I have experienced Deja vu. It only invovles little moments almost as if you are looking at a scene with yourself in it. Then a few days or even a few months later you are in that exact scene. Pretty freaky that is for sure!!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/1/2008

I've had those puzzling flashes of "knowing" I've been in a location previously, yet not knowing how or when, because it's not really a concrete memory. It's more like sensing the fact. In fact, I've often wondered whether these are place you saw as a toddler or as a very young child--and then you suddenly come upon the place as an adult and swear you've never been there. It's a curious phenomena! Jacki :)

Posted  by Jaciki Marunycz on 7/1/2008

I have been experiencing deja vue since I was a little kid. I only remember one thing about kindergarten, and that was, I had deja vue for the first time. It's not a common reoccurence but it happens enough to know that I'm not just crazy. I've also had some weird dreams, I'll see something and it will be completely out of context - its just there - and then weeks later I'll see it. It could be a page in a book, a program on the computer, an item in a store or even shadows on my wall at night. All I know is I dreamt them weeks before seeing them.

Posted  by Kali Nichols on 7/1/2008

Patricia, like some other posters my deja vu involves little moments - just flashes of "I know what he's going to say next" or being in a particular situation. It's weird and fascinating. Sounds like a great idea for a book! Have you seen the movie, Deja Vu, with Denzel Washington? It's more of a time travel with a great premise. Woo hoo for the Sizzling Summer Blog Blitz!

Posted  by Carol Ericson on 7/1/2008

I think sometimes dejas vu is ou rmind filling in details from past experiences. After all, we have a lifetime of them, most forgotten. I think premonitions are where our senses 'see' something before we register it. I think we have senses we haven't found yet. We have great mental resources we don't know we have. As for your movie Next, maybe you know of The Golden Man, on which the movie is based?

Posted  by Barbara Phinney on 7/1/2008

I've never experienced before in real life. I have experienced the feeling that you've mentioned about reading a book and having the feeling that you've read it before. It's probably not uncommon to read books with the same plot.

Posted  by Jane C. on 7/1/2008

Yes, I've experience deja vu a lot. Usually it's with people, but sometimes I get that sense of deja vu if I see a movie and it happens to have similar music or themes to another.

Posted  by Michelle  Lauren on 7/1/2008

I have never experienced deja vu.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 7/1/2008

I have experienced deja vu many times. It's usually knowing what is going to be said and/or done

Posted  by Jeanette Jackson on 7/1/2008

I have experience deja vu many time. To me it is kind of a creapy feeling. It feels like you have done that before or been there before. It really makes you wonder.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 7/1/2008

I have experienced deja vu a few times, when something happens and I have the feeling that it has happened before, but you cannot for the life of you figure out when, because there is really no way it could have taken place.......Or so you think! Sometimes it is pretty freaky and confusing.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 7/1/2008

havnt watch it yet, but do have it recorded on my dvr. i just cant seem to get into movies here lately, lol think something to do with, school is out and the kids have took over

Posted  by tasha tipton on 7/1/2008

I often feel that I have visited a place before when I know I haven't. Some times it seems as if I have seen the place in a dream or something.

Posted  by Gladys Paradowski on 7/1/2008

I guess since I didn't mention the word deja vu my comment didn't get posted. I am trying again. I mentioned that I often feel like I have visited a place in the past when I realize there was no chance that I had done so. I even think I have dreamed of the place before having ever seen it.

Posted  by Gladys Paradowski on 7/1/2008

My deja vu moments lately happen when my kids bring me "new" music they like. When Spider Man came out awhile ago, they introduced me to "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." I hated to burst their bubble and tell them I had already been introduced to that song a couple of decades back :) Today at the dinner table they started playing a song with the iPod tuned into speakers. It was "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel. My sister had given them the recording and it brought back all kinds of memories.

Posted  by Cathy Shouse on 7/2/2008

It's happened with my Sister a few times. She has said something to me and it is like she's said that to me before. Las6 t time we were talking about her trip down to the store and she was telling me who she ran into and I swear she had done the same thing before. It's spooky sometimes.

Posted  by Dena Walton on 7/2/2008

Only experienced it once years ago. Boyfriend at the time took me to dinner in his town to an area I'd never been before, old house converted to a restaurant. As we drove up to the parking lot from the road, I started seeing what it looked like inside presently, the different rooms, how they were decorated, knowing before we got inside which ones we would walk through to get to our table. Kind of weird at the time. Nothing since, except maybe a good intuitive sense.

Posted  by Pam P on 7/2/2008

I've experienced minor feelings of Deja Vu, but nothing major. There was a rerun of an Oprah show which linked that experience to memories of a past life.

Posted  by Sue A. on 7/2/2008

I do get those little spooky feelings sometimes that say hey, perk up, this is familiar, but nothing huge that's really told me I've been there, done that. It is an eerie feeling even though it's a little one!

Posted  by Sandy Marlow on 7/2/2008

Oh especially do that when trying to remember people's names that both my hubby and I know and haven't seen in a very long time and can't pull that name out of our head!!! We had recently met someone and I told hubby that reminds me of someone from college, I could describe the person after 25 years from graduating, and both of us knew who we were talking about but not the name! We can't find the yearbook to help us! So we went through the alphabet and wrote down like Be Ba, Bi, etc til we think we at least got the first name. We could not let it go til we remembered!

Posted  by Caffey M on 7/4/2008

PS I heard about this book you have coming out Patrica and I so love vamp romance!!

Posted  by Caffey M on 7/4/2008



Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Where do you get your ideas?

We've all been asked this question. Most often it comes from a non-writer or a writer who's just starting out. Many writers give a little shrug and a laugh. I've seen some writers answer with a joke: 'Oh I have a subscription to an idea service. Ideas R Us.' 'From the idea tree in my back yard.'

I admit that there are times when I'm talking to a writer friend or reading a book and I think What kind of diabolical mind does it take to dream up an idea like that?. Or even sometimes -- Darn it, I wish I'd thought of that. On a morning like this, when I'm on back-to-back deadlines, my answer goes like this.

Where do I get my ideas? I don't get ideas. They follow me around, attack me when I'm most vulnerable. Ideas bombard me when I'm trying to sleep. They come at me from the TV, from the radio, the newspaper. From books, from conversations with other writers, during Quiet Time at yoga . . . and scariest of all, from inside my head.

Right now I have 4 ideas churning in my brain. And these aren't 4 single little ideas. These are big, looming 3 and 4 book series ideas. 4 of them. And here's what's really scary. There's 5th one out there. I've caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye. It's out there . . . waiting.

As I've learned to write faster, I've discovered that I can't just push these pesky ideas aside and trust them to wait for me. My brain is full. And trust me, if ideas don't feel welcome, they'll move on, looking for a home.

One day I'll read a book or see a movie and think -- Wait a minute. I was going to do a story like that. Wasn't I? What ever happened to that idea?

To avoid that, no matter where I am, even asleep, I scribble down my ideas as soon as they come to me. (Thank you to two friends of mine who gave me lighted pens!)

So now, my problem is not Where do I get my ideas? It's Where did I put that torn back of an envelope I wrote that idea on?

What about you guys? Where do you get your ideas?(vbg)


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 6/30/2008

Enter comments


I loved ideas attacking you! It's just so true. :) I find myself standing in line at the grocery store and someone will say something. I know it's just for my sake since it works right into my plot. :) But sit down and try hard to think of an idea and that's a whole different story. :) What most nonwriters don't understand is that it takes more than one idea to make a book. It takes bunches of them. I love the people who want to sell me their "idea" for a book and then split the profits with me. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Making them work...well, that too is another story. :) As for the weird ideas we get...well, it's probably best if we don't talk about those. :)

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 6/30/2008

A lot of my ideas or thoughts about work come to me when I lay down at night preparing to sleep. Stuff just invades my mind when I'm trying t relax and fall asleep.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/30/2008

Jane, the just-before-sleep ideas are wonderful, but I've found out I really need the lighted pen. They often don't last through the night. And BJ, you're so right...... a book does require BUNCHES of ideas! Thanks for the comments, Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 6/30/2008

I did forget to mention the BIG SUMMER BLOG BLITZ!!! It starts (((Ta-dah!))) TOMORROW! Join the Intrigue Authors for some Hot Blogging during the Hot Summer! Thanks, everyone!

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 6/30/2008



Jet Lagging from Hawaii/Guam

I'm back! Wow! After a week in Hawaii and a week in Guam, a 22-hour trip home and another 9-hour drive to get my parents home and me back, I'm totally wiped, whipped and worthless! Not to mention, I got home to edits on 4 manuscripts all due yesterday. Want to talk about post-vacation stress. I'm knee deep in it. But it was all worth it. I got to see the wonderful island of Oahu, Waikiki Beach and Guam. I spend quality time with my parents, my daughters and grandson. I got some great ideas for an Intrigue set in Hawaii and hope to pull a proposal together soon. But first all those edits!

What stuck out to me most on my stay in Hawaii? The beautiful mountains, the beautiful coastline, the Polynesian Cultural Center and the incredible amount of homeless people! The weather was wonderful, the breeze was perfect and the shopping a blast.

What stuck with me about Guam? How incredibly far away from home my oldest daughter and my grandson will be for the next 3 years! Her husband is stationed there in the Air Force. My grandson is 3 and a hoot! His funny vocabulary includes the words like Gi-normous and Awesome and poopers. It was a wonderful visit but too short. I'll miss them.

Anyway, I'm glad to be back at home and need to get to work on edits. Here's a morsel of a view of Hawaii. This is the field where they filmed the herd of dinosaurs running for Jurassic Park I. It was fun to see it in person and imagine a herd of dinosaurs after you. And that's the dead tree the actors hid behind! It was fun!

Posted by Elle James, author of Under Suspicion, With Child on 6/27/2008

Enter comments


Glad you enjoyed Hawaii and Guam. Hugs on your daughter and grandson being so far away for the next 3 years. Hope she has a video camera that she can use to send you videos of your grandson growing up. Its not the same as being there but better than nothing.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/27/2008

Sounds like you have a very enjoyable vacation!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/27/2008

Welcome back. I've been to the Polynesian Cultural Center. It's entertaining and educational.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/27/2008

So glad that you had a good vacation but can well imagine how tired you are. But it is a good tired. Sorry that you are knee deep in edits. Bet your parents had an enjoyable time. Loved the picture you posted.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/27/2008

Sounds like you had an excellent time on your vacation!!I always wanted to visit Hawaii and can only imagine how beautiful it is.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 7/2/2008

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Posted  by pdvi59iukz v9ryvibdpq on 7/13/2008



Summer in Montana

It's summer in Montana. That means I have to grab every day and squeeze the life out of it because summers up here are way too short. Since it's been known to snow in every month of the year (really), when the sun shines, I have to go. Lately, it's been out to the lake every morning. We live only 20 minutes away. When I drive, it's 15. :) I make peanut butter-jam sandwiches, throw in some Coke Zero and Dr. Pepper for my husband and off we go. It doesn't matter if we catch fish. In fact, I like the days where I get to daydream and watch the clouds float past. That's what I did this morning when I was supposed to be blogging. Sorry about that. It wasn't until I caught my seventh fish, that I remembered. :) I got splashed by a HUGE Northern Pike that came up out of the water to grab my lure, then dove, about taking me with it. We threw it back like all but three fish which we'll have for dinner. I'm thinking fish tacos. If you can't tell, I LOVE summers. I feel like a kid. I want to swim and boat and bike and sit in the shade and read. And some days, fortunately, I want to write. :) (I put that in just in case my editor reads these. :) Summer to me is eating popcicles and having barbecues and reading a really fat book that has no value other than to make me laugh or cry or while away the afternoon. What's your favorite summertime food? Or pasttime? Or daydream? Is there something you can't wait for summer to do? Please, tell me I'm not the only one playing hooky. :) Heck, I'm thinking about buying a hammock.

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Second Chance Cowboy on 6/26/2008

Enter comments


I can't wait for summer barbecues and potato salad.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/26/2008

I love potato salad. What all do you put in yours, Estella? Does anyone have some good salad recipes for the summer? I got one the other day that is pretty wonderful. I'll put it up my next blog day!

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 6/26/2008

I'm looking forward to barbecued hot dogs and burgers. Mango margaritas are great in the summer, too.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/26/2008

I had to smile when I read the part about snow in every month of the year, because being in Alberta I know how true this is. It was so hot the other day we were running the fans during the day, but the furnace kicked in during the night when the rain moved in during the night, but by the next afternoon we were hot and sticky again and had the fans running. I love the barbecues, potatoe salads and picnics. We are gearing up for the Stampede which kicks off the first Friday in July for 10 days. But I still love to just curl up with a tall cold drink and read. Hope you have a terrific summer, because our winters are way too long....

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/26/2008

I just got back from vacation and it wasn’t long enough! But I know what you mean by lazy day, when I decide to have a lazy day, I do nothing; and I do it quite well! LOL I love to be able to take my choices of a few stacks of paperbacks I’ve spent the last few month’s collecting and then reading them at my leisure.

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 6/26/2008

Oh summer time food. You just can't beat a burger or hot dog cooked on the grill and we can't forget those ribs cook out there either.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 6/26/2008

I was in Whitefish about 5 years ago with a friend whose cousin lived there and it was beautiful. It was June. We went to Glacier and there was still snow on the ground at Logan's Pass and several other places. It is beautiful in Montana and I would really love to go back.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/26/2008

Oh, you are all my kind of women! Cryna, I'm glad you can relate since yesterday we had all the fans going and this morning I'm wearing a sweater! There is snow in the mountains around here Ellen! A friend of mine is still skiing where he lives! I bought burgers and hot dogs yesterday. We practically wear out our grill this time of year so I'm with you Virginia and Jane. And as for lazy, I am feeling it today since I have several books I really want to read. I'm reading an interesting book called, The Writing Class. It's actually a murder mystery about a writing class told by the instructor. And I'm still loving East of Eden by Steinbeck and anxious to get to the latest Joy Fielding book. Meanwhile, I'm working on another Whitehorse, Montana series book that comes out this time next year. I'll be talking about it and one of the characters on my blog today at

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 6/27/2008

I'm entertaining my own hammock fantasies :-) Can't say I've ever caught a fish. The only time I went fishing (as a child) I managed to drop the pole in the water and the water took it :-( My husband, on the other hand, can fish, hunt, trap and more. I'll be counting on him if we ever come to having to live off the land :-)

My favorite summer activity is lying on the beach and reading a good book. But I won't have any of that for a while now. Need to finish a book before deadline.


Posted  by Dana Marton on 6/27/2008

For me summer is the time I get to relive the past. My four best friends and I all started having children young (between 16 - 18 years old) and now we're in our early 20's and were all working or going to school (or both) and the older kids are toddlers and going through those attitudes and mood swings so during the summer we all get to meet up at Vanessa's house let the kids exhaust themselves in the pool and by playing with eachother while we sit by and talk about times before we had kids and when they were babies and couldn't talk back and dream of the future when the next wave of our babies learn to talk and run around. Then by 9 at the latest the kids all pass out and we start up the bonfire and kick back with our men and a few drinks.

Posted  by Kali Nichols on 7/1/2008



Jumping into the Deep End

I know we have lots of writers’ out there who consistently read and comment on our blog, so I though it might be enlightening to talk about some of the challenges and issues we as women and writers’ face as we age. You’re already nodding your head, because you know we’re all to some extent, products of our hormone levels. So at some point I’ll make a correlation right after my hot flash passes. Grin.

In mid December of last year I had a full hysterectomy, a much needed surgery in my case, but the lack of ovaries has put me into menopause well before my time. Unfortunately because of my family history of breast cancer I’ve made the choice not to risk using HRT. This has forced me to endure changes in my body and too my creativity. I’ve had to find ways to protect my heart, bones, and brain, through exercise and supplements. It’s an amazing transformation that can push you over the edge as you make adjustments in your life, and learn to cope with, even embrace the new you that is emerging.

Prior to my surgery I had a conversation with an author who had surgery two years earlier. Her take on menopause and writing was that it had changed the way she put a story together. I’m finding there is truth in her words. So much of what we do as writers’ and women is hormone driven. The range of emotions we bestow on our characters and express in our books are off shoots of emotion that we as writers’ and human beings are able to generate and express. That connection, at least in women, is in part a product of our brain chemistry.

I’m six months out from my surgery and things are beginning to settle out. I’m even going so far as to clean my office and sort though the hundreds of how-to-books that I own and hold onto like priceless gems. It’s a cathartic exercise. And it has given me new insight. I realized the times in my life when I’m filled with self-doubt as a writer, are the times that I’ve acquired the most how-to-books. That was a lightbulb moment. As I boxed one book after another, I understood why I didn’t need them anymore. What I know as a storyteller is deep inside my bones. No one has to tell me how to write a story. There’s no how-to-book that can draw it out of me. I’m responsible for mining it myself. I’m responsible for digging deep and spilling that story out onto the pages for my readers to experience.

Don’t get me wrong, how-to-books are a necessity to a beginning writer in search of direction, but the time will come in your evolution, when you’ll need to put aside those books and push forward alone. How do you find your way? You write. You write like there’s no tomorrow if you don’t. You write like there are no boundaries holding you back, no editor sitting on your shoulder, no character that you can’t tackle. No emotion that you can’t wring from your heart and share with the world, manifest in your words and characters.

So come and join me in the deep end. The jump is terrifying, the landing is bumpy, but the aftermath is cathartic. Happy Writing!

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 6/25/2008

Enter comments


Jan--glad to hear the surgery went well and that your recovery is progressing nicely. Hugs on the instant menopause and hot flashing--I feel ya, there! And you're right, the hormone changes do affect us. Sounds like you're having a whole big spotlight moment in your head. Good luck with the writing! I'm sure you'll be penning some more wonderful stories for us soon! Take care.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/25/2008

Hi Jan, I'm happy to hear your recovery is going well.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/25/2008

Thanks, Julie. The hot flashes in the winter were tolerable, but summer has finally arrived, so I'll be looking for some place to cool off.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 6/25/2008

Thanks, Jane. I feel like a new woman these days.

Smiles, Jan.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 6/25/2008

Jan so glad that your recovery from surgery is going well. Sounds like you have found a new spot in your writing and you are right where you should be. Continued good health and looking forward to more great stories.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/25/2008

Thank you, Cryna. It's such a blessing to have fans like you.

Smiles, Jan

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 6/25/2008

Wow, did I need this today. Thanks, Jan!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/26/2008

Jan, beautifully put! I'm hugely affected by hormones as well. I can be a total emotional mess :-) Come to think of it, I should utilize this and use all that excess emotion in key scenes as I write.

I have my treasure trove of how-to books as well. I use them for connection when I feel isolated as a writer. It's always nice to read other writers' thoughts on the craft.

Wishing you speedy recovery! Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 6/26/2008

You're welcome, Margaret. Smiles, Jan.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 6/26/2008

Thanks, Dana. It's interesting when the harmones level off. I've had too much estrogen in my system for years and it takes a toll on your body and emotions. I've become a much calmer person these days. I know my family is loving it. Smiles, Jan.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 6/26/2008

It's been about 20 years since I had a complete and although I was on HRT for 2 years, I decided to tough it out after that. It was really hard to suffer hot flashes when I live in an area of the country where the humidity averages 90% and I was teaching teenagers but I survived, and I know you will too.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/26/2008

Thank you, Ellen. Smiles, Jan

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 6/29/2008




Today's the day...THE LAST VAMPIRE is in bookstores. At least it says it's in 4 of my 6 local Borders stores when I look it up at I'm about to find out in person. My critique buddies are going to make sure of it. They're taking me to the flagship Borders downtown to buy books, then to lunch to celebrate. I thought it might be fun to tell you how it went, so I will add to this blog entry later.

To my chagrin, I have found myself obsessed with THE LAST VAMPIRE online over the past few weeks. I set a Google Alert to see what people were saying about it. Nearly every day I googled it to see what new reviews popped up. Obviously obsessions can be time-consuming...

What has obsessed you lately? Have you found yourself doing anything unusual when suddenly you have an interest you can't put to rest?

Until later...

Okay, so it's later, and my celebratory day is not yet done. My critgroup and I went to the flagship Borders and bought all but one copy of the book. They forced me to talk to the manager about doing "an event." Ack. I like my secret identity on the Internet. Having to appear in public--unless it's at a writers' conference--gives me the hives. Afterward, we went to The Grand Luxe for lunch. Champagne and duck potstickers and a Southwestern salad later, I was stuffed. But had a bit of dark chocolate cake. We got one for the table and I still ended up bringing half home.

Now I'm off to meet my writing partner Marc for margaritas and another bookstore or two...fingers crossed the bookstores actually have the books.

More later...

So the margaritas were great (as usual), and the trips to the bookstores were fun. B & N didn't have books out and I feared they weren't carrying it so we sought out the manager, who looked it up and said they had it, but it was still in the store room. The Borders did have the book on the shelf -- one left. So it was a successful, fun but tiring day. Now to get back to normal.

Good reading,


Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire on 6/24/2008

Enter comments


Happy release day, Patricia. Lately I've been obsessed with finding and reading Kay Hooper's backlist. I discovered her last year and was surprised that her older books fall into the romance category instead of suspense.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/24/2008

I am obsessed with reading lately. I avoid what I need to do and spend the time reading. I have also pieced a couple of quilts lately but had to make myself get them done.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 6/24/2008

Congratulations on the release of "The Last Vampire". Hope you enjoyed the day and found lots of copies of your book on the shelves.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/24/2008

Congratulations on your release!! The food sounds delicious from earlier and I hope you have a good time when you meet up with Marc. LOL on the "event", I too hate things like that.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/24/2008

Congratulations on your new release! I’ve been waiting for it to hit our catalog and I’m sure it won’t be long, I’m making it a “must read” on my list!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 6/26/2008



Long Strange Journey Into Night

I think I may have mentioned once or twice (or fifty-seven times) by now that my first book is out this month. After reading so many authors' stories about their first sales over the years, I thought I might share mine now that I have one. It's been a long road to seeing this book in print, with plenty of missteps along the way, and I've learned some important lessons that likely are worth sharing for any other aspiring writers out there, so no one else makes the same mistakes I did.

Lesson 1: Know Your Market

I started writing Strangers in the Night as an Intrigue in early 2001. Well, technically, I started writing an earlier version, with the same title, a woman named Allie Freeman, and the fire escape scene that currently appears in Chapter Three (but was part of the opening scene of that book) in late 2000. When I couldn't get that story to work, I came up with the premise for this version. I wrote the first several chapters, then started to have all these ideas about extra complications and plot twists. This was a premise that seemed to lend itself rather easily to expansion, so I decided to explore some of the other characters and scenarios that could be involved with this storyline and reworked the plot into a single-title romantic suspense.

This was foolish, considering I had four connected stories in mind that were not single-title ideas and which I wouldn't be able to use if this book sold. But, giddy with inspiration, I decided to follow my wayward muse, adding another major villain, a complete secondary romance, several more layers of conspiracy, additional plot twists, and many more characters. It was my attempt to write the kind of thriller (interestingly enough given how it was ultimately published) I always enjoyed, where a large cast of characters is introduced, but the connections between them are only gradually revealed until all the storylines suddenly collide and the big picture becomes clear. I loved the story, and it was a new challenge for me, but ultimately, I probably should have thought better of it and stuck with targeting Intrigue.

Lesson 2: Stick Up For Yourself

In the fall of 2001, real life intruded and brought my writing to a standstill for a while. I did manage to finish a different manuscript, which was lighter fare and better suited my mood at the time, early the next year. I was able to land an agent with that manuscript, but the book didn't sell. In 2003, I finally finished Strangers. I loved it and really had high hopes for it. I sent it to my agent...who sat on it, as well as the next two manuscripts I sent her over the next year, and never bothered submitting them anywhere. It took me a ridiculously long time to press the issue with her, because I was new to the process and wasn't sure how it was supposed to work and didn't want to be a pain. Was I just supposed to wait for her to get in touch? Maybe she was only supposed to talk to me when she had something to report? This was dumb, because an agent's supposed to work for the writer. After many months of not hearing from her, I called and left a message. No response. Several months and two more unreturned messages later, I finally took the hint and terminated the relationship, having wasted two years since Strangers was finished.

Lesson 3: Believe in Your Work, Because If You Don't, It's Not Like Anyone Else Will

After parting ways with the agent, I submitted the two other books she'd sat on, since both were targeted to Harlequin and I didn't need an agent to submit them. When neither of them sold, I started to wonder if she was right and I simply sucked (not that she said as much, but that did seem to be the unspoken message). I figured I'd need an agent to submit Strangers as a single-title, and didn't really want to begin the process of trying to find one again, so I set it aside, accepting that it was likely doomed to never see the light of day.

I spent most of 2006 pushing a few projects along, not really sure what I was doing or what direction my writing should be taking. When my RWA membership came up for renewal in early 2007, I let it lapse, because there didn't seem to be much point in having it, since I wasn't submitting anything. A few months later, I finally grew tired of seeing the Strangers manuscript sitting there collecting dust, so I picked it up and gave it a read, and rediscovered just how much I liked this story all over again. I really wanted to send it out, but the idea of trying to find an agent again gave me heartburn. It occurred to me that if I cut all the subplots and characters I'd added, it might still work for Intrigue. I really loved the main subplot and hated the idea of losing it, but I had to admit I would love being published even more than I loved the subplot.

So, I started cutting. Goodbye, additional villain. Goodbye, secondary romance. Goodbye, extra layers of conspiracy and complications. It wasn't easy. The main characters' storyline remained intact for the most part, with a few exceptions (two entire chapters involving a long sequence at a truck stop and the aftermath were cut entirely; some chapters and scenes were consolidated--if I ever get my act together and launch a website I may post some of them as "extras"). The bigger challenge was streamlining everything around them in a way that the plot still made sense, cutting all the extra complications I'd added along the way without losing any necessary details. Characters were either cut or combined, certain motivations were changed, several scenes and a few plot developments unfold differently. Ultimately, though, 90% of what appears in the final product is as it was in the long version.

When I was done, I had...well, basically the book it was originally intended to be (albeit a shorter version, since Intrigues are shorter than they used to be). I sent a query letter and synopsis. Two weeks later I received a request for the manuscript. After one last pass (to eliminate yet another character), I sent it off. Two months after that, I got the call that Intrigue wanted to buy it. Which was both exciting and a little depressing. After all, did this mean I could have sold the book years ago if I'd just cut and submitted it back then? Or, even worse, if I'd just finished it this way six years earlier?

Of course, if I had sold it earlier, I wouldn't have gotten to work with my editor, who made some judicious changes that improved the book in several ways. And I wouldn't have gotten to be part of the Thriller promotion with Ann Voss Peterson, Dana Marton and Jessica Andersen. So maybe it happened when it was supposed to. It's certainly more comforting to think so than otherwise.

And so, at long last, I give you Strangers in the Night. I'm glad to see a story I really loved writing finally see the light of day in any form. Better yet, after sending off the manuscript, I dug back into my intended plans for the connected stories and, with a few tweaks to make it more current, had a first draft for the next book finished by the time they called to buy the first one. The second sold not long afterward (Beautiful Stranger, coming in October 2008). Hopefully many more will follow. I may have hit some potholes and taken some unfortunate detours along the way (and believe me, the above is just what I encountered related to this book), but in the end, I arrived where I wanted to be, writing for Intrigue.

Posted by Kerry Connor, author of Strangers in the Night on 6/23/2008

Enter comments


Kerry---congratulations on your first book and your perseverence and keep on writing. Maybe you had to go through all the problems and years of frustration in order to grow to a point where you were really ready to take a chance on a book you loved.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/23/2008

Thanks for sharing, Kerry!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/23/2008

Congrats on your first book, Kerry! May there be many more.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/23/2008

Congrats on your first release earlier this month, Kerry.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/23/2008

Wow, Kerry - what a "journey to published" story! Congratulations!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/23/2008

Congratulations Kerry on your first release, and thank you for sharing your road to getting it this far. Again A big Congrats!

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/24/2008

Kerry, your book just arrived and I’ve checked it out today and tomorrow is my day off! You don’t have to guess at what I’ll be reading tomorrow morning, it looks very good!

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 6/26/2008

Kerry, what a whopping big story in a little paperback! I loved it! You mentioned in your dedication your gratitude for everyone who said that they enjoyed your work, and that you suspected that some were just being kind. I don’t think they were being kind, I think they were being honest! I look forward to reading your future work "Beautiful Stranger".

Posted  by Sherry  Dickens on 6/27/2008

I can't believe it's taken me this long to check the comments! Thanks for all the congratulations, everyone. Sherry, thank you for the kind words. I'm thrilled you enjoyed the book.

Posted  by Kerry Connor on 7/1/2008



The life of a disciplined author, uh sure

What do you do when your book is overdue by a couple of weeks and you don't know how the book ends? You have a garage sale! You see there were these boxes. Tons of them. Some hadn't been opened since we moved the time before last -- almost ten years before. And this last move was completely crazy. One day we just decided to chuck it all, move to a small town in the middle of nowhere and live a simplier life. Uh huh, sure. I had two garage sales before we left but somehow we ended up moving a million boxes. They filled the basement (it's a huge basement in a big old rambling stone house). Seventeen months later I'm tripping over boxes and wondering where this or that was. My plan had been to unload a box a day. Right. So one Saturday I just tore in. I could barely make it back up the stairs when I'd finished. Where had we gotten all this STUFF and why? I know, it's insane to have a garage sale when I should be finishing my book. You're in trouble? Why not spend a few back-breaking days cleaning out the basement and throwing a garage sale? Where does that crazy thinking come from???? I have a theory that when I'm in trouble, I like to make things worse. But it does have a happy ending. The STUFF is gone. I have a basement and I found all the missing GOOD stuff I can't part with. :) And I figured out the ending of the book and got it in the mail yesterday. So please. Tell me I'm not the only one who takes on something to avoid something else. And people think us writers are so disciplined. Ha!

Posted by B.J. Daniels, author of Second Chance Cowboy on 6/21/2008

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The theory is that if you are stuck on something (like how to end a book) you need to get your mind off it and on something else (like cleaning out the basement and throwing a garage sale) and you subconcious mind works out an solution. So you get a clean basement, money from garage sale, and an ending to your book!!!!

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/21/2008

Although I am not a writer, I find that like you if I am trying to figure out something - and am getting more frustrated with it - I will tackle somethng totally unrelated. I think it is a way to let my subconscious work on it and nine times out of ten when I come back to what I was avoiding or trying to figure out it just falls into place. It is a way of taking the stress out of a situation for me.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/21/2008

At least you were productive during this time. You freed up some space and made a couple of bucks.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/21/2008

I get really good at cleaning the bathroom and the closets when I get stuck in my manuscripts. :)

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/21/2008

Ellen, you are so right! It really was a win-win situation. I just hope my editor thinks so. :)

Posted  by B.J. Daniels on 6/21/2008

I wouldn't suggest garage sales as stress relievers. :) Actually, it was kinda fun. And we did make a bunch of $$$. :) And it's done! I swear I felt 10 lbs. lighter. As you guys said, switching gears isn't always bad. Lexi, I had to laugh about bathrooms and closets. When I've really stuck on a book...I've found myself cleaning the toilets. That's when I really know I'm in trouble. :) Thanks all!

Posted  by B.J.  Daniels on 6/21/2008

This is hilarious - but true! I send really long, detailed emails when I'm procrastinating. I knit when I'm stuck. I find the repetitive motion frees up some part of my brain that works on books, and if nothing else, I have something to show for my progress!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/22/2008

Whew, talking about some major avoidance! But see, your subconscious was steadily working on the problem. All that and some $$$, too. That's great! LindaC

Posted  by Linda Campbell on 6/22/2008



Vein of Gold

I decided I didn't have quite enough to do so last weekend, a friend and I hosted a writing mini-retreat. She and I put the program together and took care of the food and held the retreat at our houses. We live close together so we had a 'movable feast.'

I chose to discuss Julia Cameron's Vein of Gold. I get a lot of inspiration for writing from movies--

Story ideas, turns of phrase, a different way of resolving a situation, even down to facial expressions.

So Cameron's book was right up my alley. She delves into our deepest fears, desires, and dreams by analyzing the themes of our favorite movies.

It didn't take me long to list my five all-time favorite movies. That was the easy part. Harder was to pull out the deeper theme that runs through them.

Here are my faves---

--Midnight Cowboy

--Good Will Hunting

--The Matador

--Phantom of the Opera (A.L. Weber's)

--The Scarlet Pimpernel

The obvious themes I could see were male bonding and masks/hidden identity. Hmmmm.

Hidden Identity -- great for writing Intrigues.

Male Bonding -- not so much.

Well, as happens to me so very often, I needed other people to hand me my deeper theme. Just as I could immediately spot it for others. A very astute and insightful member of our writing group saw it immediately.

All my movies featured unconventional/unique heroes, whose actions and motivations don't fit the usual hero mold. In each movie the hero makes a conscious sacrifice for the sake of another. And in each movie, the hero exposes his deepest fear for the sake of another. .

Wow. All I can say is-- yep. Those are my heroes, all right.

Here's a question for you.

Have you ever thought about your favorite movies, and why they're your favorites? Maybe you can tap into your vein of gold by pinpointing the deeper theme in your favorite movies, books or TV shows.

Happy writing and reading,


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 6/20/2008

Enter comments


Very interesting, Mallory! I'll have to go back and see if I can figure out why my favorites are my favorites...besides the hot actors in them.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/20/2008

Oh, well . . . hot actors! :)

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 6/20/2008

I don't watch movies even on TV (my attention span is too short, I think) I don't know what my TV watching says about me but my favorites are crime shows (not just the fiction ones like CSI but he real ones like Forensic Files, The Investigators (the shows that are on TRU TV).

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/20/2008

Most of my favorite movies fall under the category of action/adventure like LOTR, Pirates of the Caribbean. I also love movies based on comics.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/20/2008

I just saw Iron Man this afternoon, and I realized I really like comic book movies too--superheroes, anti-heroes, larger-than-life heroes. Maybe the comic book heroes appeal because they're more black and white, with fewer grey areas than more true-to-life heroes. Although I gotta say I loved Iron Man's deeper self--once we got to it. Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 6/20/2008

I am not much of a movie watcher, I can't remember when I went to a theatre last. When I do watch movies - I just discovered by thinking about it that they are all over the place and no specific The Wild Hogs, Snow Buddies, Pirates of the Carribean, etc. So not sure what that would say I was tapping.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/21/2008



Summer Plans

The cover of my September release, SHEIK PROTECTOR, is up on I love it!!! You can see the scars on the hero's back. A very nice back, BTW. :-) I can't wait until that book is out in the stores.

I'm so glad summer is finally here. I'm planning to chill, for the most, write a brand new Intrigue with a prince hero, and read, read, read.

Nothing huge is planned as far as vacations go. Next week we are going on a 3 day hike. As in hike during the day, sleep in a comfy hotel at night. I'm so not the camping type. I never slept in a tent in my life, and now that the dog ate my husband's tent last year, I won't ever have to!!!

Then towards the end of summer, we'd like to go for a week long retreat to a place that does all organic cooking (can choose between cave man cooking or vegeterian or a couple of other things) and you get free cooking classes with your stay as well as a whole detox program for your body while you are there. I think it should be fun.

I also hope to do some swimming at our lake and cayaking in between getaways. That's it.

Oh, and I'll keep posting the chapters to the FREE book that I have up on my web site. I'm up to chapter nine now, and I've been getting great feedback. I sooo love this book! If you read it, let me know what you think.

What are your summer plans?


Posted by Dana Marton, author of 72 HOURS on 6/18/2008

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I don't have any plans for the summer yet. I would love to go camping one day. I never went as a kid.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/18/2008

I am staying home and working in my yard.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/18/2008

Sounds like you have a great summer planned, Dana. I have no plans for the summer except to stay close to home.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/18/2008

I want to travel. I'd like to go to Michigan and the over to Niagara Falls and Virginia and just sort of wander around the US and maybe even into Canada. But two things are creating problems--the weather and gas prices!!!

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/18/2008

We are staying close to home and finishing some home improvement projects.

Posted  by Crystal Broyles on 6/19/2008

I finally got a look at the cover of SHEIK PROTECTOR and it is a really fantastic cover. Looking forward to reading it.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/19/2008




Only one week to go...

Yep, a week from today—that’s June 24th—Del Rey will release THE LAST VAMPIRE. My critique partners are planning on taking me to brunch and bookstores that day. And if the book isn’t on the shelves, one of the women is threatening to make a scene. Oh, boy, my ears are burning already. Nevertheless, it’s great to have the support of four strong, talented women, and not just in writing but in life. Kind of reminds me of the relationship of the women in Sex and the City...

My critique partners have supported me for many years, through all the changes in my career. They also read and critiqued most of THE LAST VAMPIRE and gave my writing partner and me great notes. I count on them to let me know if something doesn’t work. And I’m really lucky, because they have a way of making me figure out how to improve whatever I’m working on.

Despite all that, my nerves are jumping...

You would think that with so many books under my belt, I wouldn’t be nervous just because I have something new coming out. That’s the thing—THE LAST VAMPIRE is really new. A new publisher, a new genre—rather a combinations of genres—a new way of writing with a partner. It’s also new inthat it’s the first in a series -with- the same main characters.

I imagine most authors feel the same when they step out of their comfort zones. We need to please our agent, our publisher, our editor, the critics. And most of all, we need to please our readers. THE LAST VAMPIRE may be different than my Intrigues, but I also tried to make it the same in the way it most counts for the reader—creating characters the readers will care about and a romantic relationship they’ll want to see succeed. So I’m going to try to be positive and just calm down. I’ve been working on something else that’s new-new and I’ve been taking myself out in the garden to read—a great distraction.

Is there anything that takes you out of your comfort zone? What jangles your nerves and how do you deal with it?

Good reading,


Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire on 6/17/2008

Enter comments


Oh, I can't wait for The Last Vampire, Patricia! I know it's going to be fabulous. As for your comfort zone question, I decided a while ago to try to regularly put myself in situations that are outside my comfort zone. I think coping skills are like a muscle. We need to exercise them. The only way to do that is to test ourselves. Scary, but there's nothing more invigorating than overcoming fear.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/17/2008

I get nervous when I have to speak in front of a large group of people.

Posted  by Jaci C. on 6/17/2008

The thing that takes me out of my comfort zone is coming into a room where I know no one. I also hate to be called upon to give my thoughts on something and have everyone looking at you. I deal with it by trying to block it out, but it is somehing that I try to avoid. I really, really do not like to have attention drawn to me.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/17/2008

This may sound a little strange but despite the fact that I taught school for 35 years, I am out of my comfort zone if I have to speak before a group of people especially if I don't know them. Also I don't like meeting groups of people that I don't know.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/18/2008



And We Have a Winner...!

Woo-hoo! Can you believe it? In just over six months, we've hit the 10,000 mark here at the Intrigue Authors blog. Here's a big shout-out to all the readers and aspiring authors who posted comments and questions and helped make that happen--thank you!

So here's what you're waiting to hear. Drum roll, please. Our #10,000 winner is:

Kayla Kerns!

Congratulations, Kayla! You're the winner of 10 books from the Intrigue Authors.

And, to help mark the event--especially since so many of you posted this weekend--we decided to send two runners-up a single book. So, our runners up are

Lexi Connor and Ellen McDaniel.

Congratulations to our winners!! Just send me an email with your name and address to and we'll get your prizes mailed out.

And for those of you who might not have won this time, please stay with us because on July 1st, we'll be starting our Sizzling Summer Blog Blitz, right here on the Intrigue Authors Blog. We'll have new posts every day throughout July--and be giving away a book a day! Hope to see you in July!

(p class="blog">In the meantime, Happy Reading!

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Protective Instincts on 6/16/2008

Enter comments


Errr. Okay, my email link didn't show up. But you can cut and paste it here: Thanks!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/16/2008

Congratulations Kayla....since you are new to Intrigues this is a fantastic opportunity to read a lot and learn about them.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/16/2008

Congrats Kayla! You've got a great reading ride ahead of you!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/16/2008

Yay! I love winning! Congratulations to Kayla and Ellen too.And thanks!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/16/2008

Hey, Margaret! I think my brain's on overload. I've managed to blog twice in a week's time without actually talking about my current release. I hope you guys will check out PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS, the first book in my Precinct: Brotherhood of the Badge mini-series. PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS features Sawyer Kincaid and Melissa Teague, who first appeared in UP AGAINST THE WALL last year. Her villainous, abusive ex-husband, Ace Longbow returns as well. My July book, ARMED AND DEVASTATING, features Atticus Kincaid, who appeared in NINE-MONTH PROTECTOR last year. The four-book series features the four Kincaid brothers--all cops, all determined to find out who murdered their father. There. I got it out of my system. Now we can talk about whatever you want today :)

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/16/2008

Okay. Now my formatting's wonky again. Maybe I should just give up blogging and go back to my wip. (sigh)

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/16/2008

Congrats to the winners.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/16/2008

Wtg, winners!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/16/2008

Congrats to the winners! I know you'll enjoy the books.

Posted  by mary beth lee on 6/16/2008

Woohooooo!! Congratulations Kayla - you will get some great reading. Congratulations also to Lexi and Ellen......

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/16/2008

I can't believe it! I am so happy! Thanks you guys for all the congrats and way to go Lexi and Ellen-congrats to you both. I love this website and being able to interact with all of you! You guys are the best! Thanks! And thanks Julie! -Kayla_

Posted  by kayla kerns on 6/17/2008



The Big Event

Welcome to our 10,000 visitor blog celebration!

I’ve been thinking about celebrations a lot lately. The Wisconsin town where I live is having a festival today. Restaurants are opening their doors and giving out samples. Bands are playing on street corners and at a large concert in a farm field. Trolleys are trundling up and down streets, shuttling people to races and fire engine rides and an antique car show. The organizers are calling this “The Big Event.” It’s a real Midwestern summer shindig.

But it has gotten me thinking.

What’s in a name? As authors, we agonize over book titles on a regular basis. And lucky for us, Intrigue’s Senior Editor has a knack for great titles and bails us out when our titles lack a certain something. But how about the titles of these summer celebrations? “The Big Event” seems a little generic, don’t you think? Sure it’s big, and it’s an event (or many events, technically). But can we be a little more creative here?

The festival at the end of summer is called “The Good Neighbor Festival.” Now, I love that. It sounds deliciously dorky. Very Wisconsin. That’s a name I’d use for a fictitious festival in one of my books. Another nearby town calls their festival, “The Summer Frolic.” Whenever I hear that name, I think of May poles and men dressed in tights, straight out of “The Safety Dance” music video from the 1980s. Makes me smile just thinking about it (yes, now you can probably guess my age).

So here’s a question about celebrations. Do you have any festivals in your area? What are they called?

The more comments, the more you will help us reach -and exceed- 10,000 visitors! And those of you who don’t win this time, remember our blog’s next “Big Event” during the entire month of July!

Posted by Ann Voss Peterson, author of Wyoming Manhunt on 6/14/2008

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Texas has Juneteenth, which as a transplant of 7 years, I'm still not sure what it celebrates!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/14/2008

In my hometown in Missouri, they celebrate Kingdom Days for a weekend in the summer. It's a geographic/historical reference--Callaway County declared themselves a "kingdom" during the Civil War in an effort to stay out of the war (they ended up fighting, anyway)--but the nickname "Kingdom of Callaway" stuck. Hence, Kingdom Days.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/14/2008

My town has "Bay Fest" which is appropriate because the town is on a bay. We also have Buccannear Days where the mayor is made to walk the plank of a pirate ship also appropriate because there is a history of pirate land in this area.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/14/2008

OOPS - meant to tell Lex and everyone that Juneteenth is in celebration of the Texas freeing its slaves on June 19. It has become a nation wide celebration in around 30 states.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/14/2008

Our area has built up alot in the last few years and since that has happened there are alot of art festivals. I dont remember that ever happening before here, but now they are all the time. In the next town the houses are now a piece of art (one is even painted pink with white polka dots)

Posted  by Karrie Millheim on 6/14/2008

I don't know of any specific festivals, but something is always going on in NY. It seems like there's a parade every other weekend.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/14/2008

We have the Hotter 'N Hell 100K bikerace in August, Falls Fest in October and Christmas Magic in November. We used to have Spring Fling in May, but it didn't keep interest as the years passed. In December we have City Lights downtown where they light the Christmas lights. The than Hotter N Hell, one of our biggest events is the Texas Ranch Roundup in August, too. It's great fun!

Posted  by mary beth lee on 6/14/2008

I don't know if Omaha has a celebration (how sad is that) but I'm from Iowa and we had this cool bike ride every summer, organized by a columnist from the Des Moines Register. It was called Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI (rag-bri). It was a rolling party of truly stupendous proportions.

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/14/2008

Thanks, Ellen!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/14/2008

Love some of these names! I just returned from taking my youngest to a birthday party, and I was about to check out the Big Event, but it's raining. Storming. Hailing. If any of you are following the news in Wisconsin (where I live), it's all about the flooding. Houses washed away. Crops ruined. Interstate highways under water. And now we have even more rain! Maybe we should have a celebration called "Ark Days."

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/14/2008

We celebrate Juneteenth too, Lexi. I don't know if it's an official holiday up here, though. And I know what you mean about the surge of art festivals, Karrie. We have a lot of them here as well. The biggest has been around for quite a while, though. It's held near my birthday and called "Art Fair on the Square" (because it's on the state capitol square). RAGBRAI, that's an interesting name, er acronym, Margaret. Sound like something the military would come up with. LOL! We have a big foot race called "Crazylegs." It's named after "Crazylegs" Hirsch who used to play football for the Wisconsin Badgers.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/14/2008

I got caught in the middle of one of your big NY celebrations, Jane. I met with my (now) literary agent for the first time on St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately my hotel was on one side of the parade route and my agency is located on the other. I took a cab to the meeting, and it took forever. I walked back to my hotel, which was very fun. And A LOT cheaper!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/14/2008

I love Kingdom Days, Julie. And the Hotter 'N Hell bike race? That's funny, Mary Beth! And Ellen, the whole idea of making the mayor walk the plank during Buccanneer Days sounds like it's out of a novel. I love that. I want to use that. Can you imagine? The event could go horribly wrong and end up with the mayor murdered and the heroine suspected of the crime. Sorry. I got carried away there for a moment.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/14/2008

Oh, and happy Flag Day, everyone!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/14/2008

My small town has a festival called Gay 90's Days. Everyone dresses up in clothes from the 1890's and there is a parade and an old car run. There are food booths and beer gardens.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/14/2008

Ann, they say authors use what happens around them or what they over hear to write a story so feel free to have the mayor walk the plank and die. LOL

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/14/2008

Oh, I love costume stuff, Estella! What a great festival. That sounds like so much fun, and what a great atmosphere for an old time festival!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/14/2008

Thanks, Ellen! LOL! That is the way writers' minds work, though. Everything is a potential story. And it isn't necessarily something we can control. It's a lot of fun. But sometimes it would be nice to live life in the moment, instead of having the imagination take off on some detail or another. Oh well, I think I'll concentrate on the fun part. ;)

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/14/2008

We have the Calgary Stampede for 10 days at the beginning of July. We lead off with a parade on Friday through downtown on the parade route. Then the City throws the biggest party. We have the Stampede Grounds with all kinds of displays from all over, the Agriculture Building, the rodeo infield events every afternoon, the chuckwagon races and Grandstand show every night. Indians and their culture is featured at the grounds. Cowboys come from all over to compete for the biggest prizes awarded on the last day. All over the City they have Stampede breakfasts and entertainment. We have other little things going on during the year, but that is the Big Event.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/14/2008

They have a Big Brass Band festival in a town about 3 miles from me and of course they have a Big Brass Band. Also there is a reinactment of the Battle of Perryville, which is a battle faught during the Civil war. Perryville KY is about 15 miles from where I live.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 6/15/2008




Good morning. It's Friday the 13th. Don't you love it?

Did you know that the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia? I didn't, until I looked it up. Apparently all of those letters are Greek words meaning "Friday" and "thirteen" attached to "phobia." But I digress.

What I really want to talk about today is Milestones.

The Heart of Brody McQuade is my 15th book for Intrigue. That doesn't sound like a lot of books to some of my author friends who have whooshed past me like the rabbit passing the tortoise in the race, but to me it's an exciting number.

And of course, speaking of milestones... As Dana mentioned yesterday, sometime today or maybe tomorrow...

We will pass the 10,000 mark of commenters posting on our blog.

Commenters! That's YOU!

To celebrate 10,000 comments, we plan to give away up to 10 books!

This also will be a good lead-in to our July Sizzling Summer Blog Blitz.

So here's my question for you.

You visit the Intrigue blog. Many of you are loyal fans who keep coming back to see what's up with us Intrigue authors.

What are you hoping to read when you visit the blog? Tidbits of everyday life? News from the authors? What we're working on now (that won't be out until next year some time?) Writing tips, tricks and travails?

Everybody pitch in and answer. Like I mentioned above--up to 10 books will be given away this week in celebration of our 10,000th commenter.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 6/13/2008

Enter comments


I actually love the insights into personal life the most, and would really enjoy more writing tips, too.

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/13/2008

I like the progress reports of what all of my favorite authors are working on, but I especially love the writing tips, tricks, and travails. LindaC

Posted  by Linda Campbell on 6/13/2008

Happy 15th Intrigue, Mallory! When I visit this blog, I like to read all the things you mentioned. I like having the chance to get to know the authors.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/13/2008

I've never really believed in bad things happening on Friday 13th but maybe they do to some people. I read this blog for a lot of things....tidbits of every day life, news from authors, what you all are working one, what's coming up soon (not the same as what you all are working on).

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/13/2008

I love the Intrigue line!! And I get the books each month. I'd love to know more about the authors and little tidbits of things to come. Whether it's books, contests, chats, whatever.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008

Since discovering the Intrigue blog, I keep coming back because of the variety of subjects that you as Authors carry on the blog. I like to read about books that are upcoming and how they might tie into other books you have written or might be a series, and the premise beind the series. I also like to have a glimpse at what made an Author write a particular story or series. The tidbits of what is happening in your world is neat because you see that you have the same trials and things that we might be facing as well, and that in actuality we are not all that different. It is also great that you all hang out with us.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/13/2008

I like to know more about my favorite authors and news of books. I also like the conversation that goes on

Posted  by Karrie Millheim on 6/13/2008

Wow. Interesting--the things folks enjoy reading about. I'm always interested in what other people are doing, but it never occurs to me that anyone would want to know what I'm doing. So, tomorrow a friend and I are hosting a mini-retreat for our writers' group. Morning will be in Lorraine's garden (in her gazebo.) And the afternoon session will be in my sunroom. It should be a lot of fun. And I've found that preparing a program teaches me a LOT.------------------------------ By the way, check out my upcoming books page for my new cover - for SOLVING THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER, out in September 2008.

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 6/13/2008

Thanks Mallory I'll be sure and check out that cover! Have a great time tommorrow with your writers' group. It sounds nice.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008

When I visit this blog I hope to read about all of the things you mentioned.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/13/2008

Mallory.....since you will be outside tomorrow I am wishing you and those meeting with you tomorrow a great day and no rain and not too hot.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/13/2008

WOW - I went to your website to see your new cover and they really did a good job matching what you wanted. Lucky you. Sure is a good looking guy.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/13/2008

I like coming to the Intrigue blog because there are clear, concise postings about the writers and the books that they write. I can gain insight into what prompted a particular story, how the kernel of an idea grew into a full-fledged Intrigue, plus the writer tips are useful to me. The books are just also just fun to read. Congratulations on reaching the 10,00 mark. That's so cool.

Posted  by Kathy Sullivan on 6/13/2008

I like to read about the mundane aspects of everyday life and news about current and upcoming books. It's also nice to know what the author is working on and what they they do for fun.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/13/2008

Interesting question. I like everything about the blog. It's nice that there's so much variety here.

Posted  by mary beth lee on 6/13/2008

I look forward to the little glimpses into the everyday life of the authors. I also like to see what stories we can watch for in the future, even if it does always seem like such a long wait.

Posted  by Cheryl S. on 6/13/2008

I am new to the Intrigue blog, but what I am most interested in are writing tips and progress reports of the Authors, I also enjoy when the authors share their thought on everyday life. Hoping to blog a lot more!

Posted  by Kayla Kerns on 6/14/2008

Thanks everybody, for letting us know what you like about our Intrigue blog. All of us love hearing from readers, so keep those comments coming and maybe soon we can celebrate 20,000 comments!

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 6/15/2008



10,000th VISITOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are about to reach our 10,000th visitor at Thank you for visiting!!!!! I believe there'll be a special drawing during this time with prizes for people who post to the blog. So keep posting!!! (Details on prizes to follow.)

And how about coming up with 10,000 reasons to read Intrigue?! Or, okay, with as many reasons as we can :-) I'll start.

My favorite reason to read Intrigues are the tough/independent heroines who can take care of themselves. No fainting or hysterical dames here :-) What are your reasons for reading Intrigue? Dana

Posted by Dana Marton, author of 72 HOURS on 6/12/2008

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I love reading Intrigues because they have the right amount of romance AND suspense.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/12/2008

Great alpha heroes and kick butt heroines and stories that keep me on the edge of my seat.

Posted  by Crystal Broyles on 6/12/2008

For me, it's all about the heroes in an Intrigue. Love those guys! Larger than life. Protectors. Honorable. Hot. The fast-paced action works for me, too.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/12/2008

The suspense is what I read Intrigues for. But the heros and heroines help also. Getting to 10,000 visitors shows how great this blog is.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/12/2008

What Julie said, plus I like the more complicated plots...what puts the intrigue in Intrigues!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/12/2008

I like to reading action and suspenseful romantic plots

Posted  by Karrie Millheim on 6/12/2008

The fast pace. I love the edge of the seat suspense that keeps me turning pages even though it's bedtime.

Posted  by mary beth lee on 6/12/2008

I love the gripping suspense and the fearless heroes and heroines.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/12/2008

I read Intrigue because of the various authors that write them.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/12/2008

I love reading Intrigues for the suspense and mystery, of course, but those alpha heros who take command of the stories are what draw me in and keep me coming back for more. Have heroines with a backbone and sass to match, ain't a bad thing, either!!!

Posted  by Kathy  Sullivan on 6/12/2008

Just joined your Intrigue blog. Can't wait to read all the posts!! A reason to read Intrigue: Too learn all the right ways to commit a crime...;-) ~V~

Posted  by Valerie Oakleaf on 6/12/2008

I love to read Intrigues because of the suspense, and the hero and heroine. I love to try and solve the mystery aspect of it before the end of the book, but also love it that the endings are not always the way you have it figured out. Romance, suspense, mysery, what more could one ask

Posted  by Cryna  Palmiere on 6/12/2008

I love the Intrigue books because I love the banter and other stuff :) between the heroine and hero Nothing like a good mystery to go with a good romance Cheers, Judith

Posted  by Judith  Fox on 6/13/2008

I love Intrigues for many reasons!! A strong sexy hero for one. A strong brave heroine! Independent women who can take care of themselves is right on the money Dana! The right mix of suspense and romance. Awesome set of authors!! Love the series sets. Oh, did I mention HOT heros! LOL

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008

I love the Intrigues because of the Alpha Males and the sassy girls, who are dumb and weak, real women. I love the fast paceness of the suspense, never read books that I couldn't put down like these. The plots and characters are complicate and have depth, not the "same old-same old". I also like the realism that is written in regards to things that I have learned in school while getting my criminal justice degree, it's not too far out or off from reality. I just love the Intrigues!-Kayla

Posted  by kayla kerns on 6/14/2008



I'd Like To Thank...

It was a year ago this week that I got the call that Intrigue wanted to buy my first book, and as of this week, one year later, the book is officially out in stores. I haven't actually seen it anywhere yet, but just knowing it's out there is pretty exciting, a little terrifying, and sort of bittersweet.

With any kind of achievement, there are usually people deserving acknowledgement for the part they played, big or small, in helping make it happen. When it comes to the publication of my first Intrigue, I have to mention my grandmother.

When I was younger, I often spent time with my grandparents. My grandfather, who passed away some time ago, always slipped me some spending money, which was inevitably spent on books. My grandmother would take me to this huge used bookstore and wait while I wandered the aisles far longer than necessary. It was there I first discovered Intrigues. It wasn't long before I couldn't wait for the Intrigues to appear at the used bookstore, so my grandma started picking them up new every month and would have them waiting for me, long before I could afford to buy them myself. And when I decided I wanted to try to write one of my own, she bought me a ream of 20 pound bond (because I'd heard that was what you were supposed to type on) so I could get to work on the typewriter I was using back in those days.

As the years went by (and I eventually graduated to a computer), I kept pecking away at various writing projects, though numerous distractions (high school, college...) took me away from them at times and I hit plenty of roadblocks on the road to publication. I never told anyone what I was working on, figuring there wasn't much of a point if nothing ever came of it. Even when I finally sold the book last year, I didn't tell anyone for a long time, just in case something went wrong. What if they changed their minds? What if there was a fire at the printer and every copy of the book burned up before they reached stores so it never saw the light of day? What if a computer virus erased all the computer files everywhere, plunging the world into chaos, but most importantly, deleting all the copies of my book? (Hey, I write suspense. I'm pretty good at answering the question "What's the worst thing that could happen in this situation?") I know that's silly, but having heard stories about other writers whose books were sold, only to never see the light of day due to sudden changes in the market, I figured I'd better not count on anything until I had the book in hand. Why tempt fate?

So I waited. Naturally, the person I wanted to tell most was my grandma. As the book inched closer to publication and it seemed more and more likely it was really going to happen, I decided I might as well continue to wait until I had the finished book to give her so she could see it for real. The idea of that moment got me excited just thinking about it.

In late April, shortly before the book became available online, my grandma died rather suddenly. And now she'll never know.

Oh, I suppose in some abstract, otherworldly way it's possible to think she "knows." But she certainly won't in any kind of concrete way. Given her age, I should have considered the possibility it could happen, but somehow this was one worst case scenario I never imagined. I guess there are the usual lessons to be learned here: the importance of taking advantage of moments when they arrive, the foolishness of listening to fear, the necessity of showing appreciation when you can. At the very least, I wish I'd told her that, all these years later, I finally did it.

Sorry to be such a downer, but needless to say, I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I started writing this post last month and wondered if it was too heavy. It may well be, but perhaps some things just need to be said. So here's to my grandma, without whom the book likely wouldn't exist. I wish she could have seen it. And I hope everyone out there will take the time today to remember and appreciate the people who matter most to you, if you haven't already. I'm sure everyone else is wiser than I am in that respect and already knows how we can lose these moments if we don't take advantage of them.

Posted by Kerry Connor, author of Strangers in the Night on 6/11/2008

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Kerry said: "I'm sure everyone else is wiser than I am in that respect and already knows how we can lose these moments if we don't take advantage of them." No Kerry everyone else is not wiser than you. I lost my father suddenly and I never told him a lot of things that I wanted to and it hurt that I didn't but I have to believe he knew what I wanted to tell him.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/11/2008

Kerry, I believe your grandmother knows and is very proud of you.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/11/2008

Congrats on the release, Kerry. It's beautiful that you acknowledged those who supported and inspired you.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/11/2008

Oh, Kerry, I'm so sorry! I wrote some other comments for you, but kept erasing them because I couldn't pick the right words to express my thoughts. So, I'm just sorry for you. And yes, I'm trying to live my life with the same idea-to appreciate those who matter the most to me. Life is definitely too short.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/11/2008

On a positive note, Congrats again on the book and it's now in my summer vacation reading pile!

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/11/2008

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Ellen, I'm sorry for your loss. I certainly know how you feel. Lexi, I do hope you enjoy the book.

Posted  by Kerry Connor on 6/11/2008

Congratulations on your debut, Kerry. I firmly believe your grandmother knows and is very proud.

Posted  by mary beth lee on 6/11/2008

Thanks, Mary Beth.

Posted  by Kerry Connor on 6/12/2008

Congratulations, on your debut book hitting the shelves. I am sure that your Grandmother knows and you have to believe that. As for everyone being smarter, that is not true, I for one am not. So sorry for your loss Kerry.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/12/2008



Four Brothers of Colts Run Cross

Hi, everyone. Hope you are all staying cool now that summer is coming on strong in lots of areas. My fourth book in the Colts Run Cross Series was just released this week, and am getting lots of email buzzing the series. So, I'm wondering. How many of you readers like multi-book series, especially those about families? Which were your favorite?

Posted by Joanna Wayne, author of Loaded on 6/10/2008

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I love series about families. Favorites??? That hard to say. A few of my favoites: Fortune Family, Ashtons, Crystal Creek series, of course Colts Run, Wilder Family and so many more in the past that I can't remember the name of at the moment.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/10/2008

I love family series. Janelle Denisons Wilde series is my favorite.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/10/2008

Some of my favorites are Stephanie Laurens' Cynster series and Nora Roberts' Chesapeake series featuring the Quinn brothers.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/10/2008

I like series stories, but they can involve families or just friends. I also like series where the theme is carried through like with the Montana Sky series, I read a series that involved 12 brothers which was great, but I like to read the books in series one after another, so I usually will wait until I have them all. But that is just me. I have had a lot of favourites over the years and not necessarily just on families. Fortunes of Texas comes to mind as an enjoyable series.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/10/2008

I like series, too! My favorite is Linda Howard's MacKenzie clan.

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/11/2008

I love connected series books! Though as I'm going through my memory, I can't actually think of brothers beyond Linda Howard's MacKenzies. But if I can count other connections, like serving together or working for the same sheriff's dept. etc., then I'd add Suzanne Brockmann's Tall, Dark & Dangerous series; Rachel Lee's Conard County series, and Debra Webb's Colby Agency books.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/11/2008

I LOVE multi-book series!! You get invested into the series especially those about families. It is so very hard to say what my favorites are as I have read so many good ones! I haven't started Colts Run Cross Series yet as I tend to wait until I have the whole series first before reading them. I enjoy reading a series back to back!! I have a bad memory and hate it when I can't recall things from previous books.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008



Typos and misquotes and grammar, oh my!

Happy Monday. I thought this topic might be particularly appropriate for a Monday morning. And, I wanted to get this out there before any of my helpful readers (or former English teachers! ) shoot me an email to point out the goofs. Yes, I know how to spell. Yes, I know my grammar. Yes, I correct things when I do my edits and proof my galleys. But...

Typos happen. Have any of you ever had a project that you worked long and hard on, only to have the final version sabotaged (unintentionally, or, unfortunately, with intent) by forces beyond your control? The dog ate your homework? The baby spit up on your presentation for work? Someone misread your work or misquoted you? Well, that's happened to me with my July book, ARMED AND DEVASTATING.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Anymore. After a while, you just have to laugh or it'll drive you crazy. But I've had three glaring errors related to A & D. First, the back cover blurb has misspelled the heroine's name. She's Brooke HANSFORD. With an S. Not Brooke Hanford. She's a recurring character in the series, so it's not something that can be changed inside the second book. I asked if it could be changed as soon as I saw the cover, but unfortunately, they were already in production (quick turnaround time on back-to-back releases). Second, when I got my copies of the book last week, I saw that they misspelled one of the key supporting character's names in the Cast of Characters. It's Aunt PEGGY, not Aunt Penny. And then, this weekend I picked up my copy of Romantic Times Book Reviews (and I'm not complaining, mind you--they gave both my June and July books fabulous reviews--and featured the ARMED AND DEVASTATING cover in the Top Pick! area of the magazine), in the middle of my flattering review, the heroine's name is misspelled again--Brooke HAYWARD. Hmm. It's almost cosmic karma--Brooke is a shy plain Jane who learns to speak up for herself and fight for what she wants and what's right over the course of the story--the shy Brooke wouldn't speak up about the typos, but by the end of the story, she'd point them out. Maybe the typos are deepening her characterization even further .

At first I thought it had something to do with the endless rain/storms/hail/tornadoes/flooding we've been having here in the Midwest (I hope everyone is safe, btw--other than a few limbs down--and a parade of bugs and snakes leaving the saturated soil outside and trying to come into my house and garage--eek!--we're fine). You know, like I'm living under a figurative as well as literal raincloud? And if I was a negative thinker, I might have thought there was a conspiracy going on (there's not!). But now I just think it's a comedy of errors.

I know I should be blogging about my current release, Protective Instincts--the first book in my Precinct: Brotherhood of the Badge miniseries from Harlequin Intrigue. And I will be happy to answer any questions you might have. (plus, I'll be back next week to blog, as well) Sawyer Kincaid, the hero, made his first appearance in last year's book, Up Against the Wall (an Intrigue, not a Blaze--very different connotations!). But after reading the Romantic Times Book Reviews and seeing how well they enjoyed both my June and July books, I decided to forget the whole raincloud thing, or suspect any conspiracy theory. They say good things come in 3's. And seeing the Top Pick! reviews for my June and July books makes me think that the flubs ARE a good thing.

And who knows? The gaffes just might make my July book a collector's item. So run out and buy one now. You can sell it on eBay later!

So share your typos/forces beyond your control stories. Or let's talk RT reviews. Or-egads!--books!

Happy Reading! (and proofreading!)

Posted by Julie Miller, author of Protective Instincts on 6/9/2008

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Wow, Julie - congrats on all the great RT reviews! I'm just waiting for these to appear in my local Target. For some reason the Intrigues show up a week or two later than the Blazes...but they're still on the shelf for a month, so no worries. We had a doozy of a "beyond my control" in the McGrath household in May. My husband was transitioning to a new job within the same company. He and his boss had planned everything - title, duties, salary - then his boss's boss came in and said No! No! No! DH is still in a good situation, but it felt like the kind of Act of God that negates your insurance policy, KWIM? And my husband's likes to control outcomes as much as I do, Julie ;), so it's been a rough couple of weeks. But, I'm choosing to find the positives, and there are many in our lives!

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 6/9/2008

Yikes! Margaret. Even if you're not a control person, that's an unsettling situation to be in. Hugs to you and your family. I hope it all works out soon--I'm sure your hubby's boss knows more about the work being done than the big boss. I had a boss once who took credit for anything I did well and blamed me for anything she did wrong. That was a stressful place to work. Got a model for a great villainess out of it, though . Take care.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/9/2008

Oops! I was reminded that I should point out that anyone who posts a comment or question to any of the blog posts this month goes into a drawing to win a free book at the end of the month. So you could win a copy of one of the books you see to the right. Also, for those of you into winning free books, be sure to check out my chapter's website at and register for our seasonal book giveaway contest. Lots of books to be had out there. Enjoy! And good luck!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/9/2008

Want embarrassing typos??? As a teacher I had to present a workshop to a group of peers. The handouts I had to give the participants were typed and printed by someone other than me and by the time I saw them it was too late to change anything. Not only was my name misspelled but so were a whole group of words.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/9/2008

Oh, Ellen, that makes me laugh and cringe at the same time. Students are always ready to point out any errors they can catch, aren't they? I hope your peers were kinder. Sending cyber hugs your way.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/9/2008

Congrats on the reviews!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/9/2008

LOL at the name errors! No matter how much something gets proof-read sometimes mistakes still show up. I remember in school and writing papers. I would proof-read those things several times over and when I would get them back there would be mistakes fixed by the teacher. I love the Intrigue line and have been reading them since 2006!!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/9/2008

Congrats on the rave reviews, Julie. I get careless when I post comments on blogs and I don't notice the typos until I reread them. Sometimes we're just spazzy and mistakes happen.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/9/2008

Those who knew me teased me mercilessly but those who didn't were really polite and didn't say anything. So much for friends.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/9/2008

That has to be every Author's nightmare. I read a book once where the name of the heroine got mixed up with some other name that was not in the book at all, and another time when I got to the middle of the book just at a good part and found about 20 pages of another book. and then the story I was reading contiued on but a big piece of the story was missing. I know it was corrected when I contacted the Author but I am sure it was major grief for them and like you said totally out of control of the Author. These things just happen for one reason or another. Your book will still be great regardless, and it is geting good reviews from the sound of it, which is cool.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/9/2008

Thanks, guys! Yes, I'm thrilled and flattered by the doubly nice reviews, and very appreciative to the RT reviewers. And yes, I'm notorious for posting some "creative" spellings when I blog or post a message on the eHarlequin boards. I think I'm just getting my ideas down quickly and having fun and not doing enough proofreading. I'm glad I'm not alone!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/9/2008

I LOVED Protective Instincts and can't wait for the next book! I deal with typos and editing errors ALL the time with newspaper and yearbook. This year was hands down the worst year ever for editing errors. We'll print edit pages from now on. The worst: Public school became pubic school in a headline. :-(

Posted  by mary beth lee on 6/9/2008

Oh, no, Mary Beth! That is NOT the headline you want on a high school newspaper or yearbook--or any paper! Don't you wish spellcheck could catch things like that? I'm flattered that you enjoyed PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS, too! I hope you'll like the rest of the series just as well. Enjoy your summer!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 6/10/2008

Hey, Julie! Congrats on the reviews. You so deserve 'em! As for the typos, I feel for you. I, too, know what it feels like to have typos on the back cover copy. I have a typo and a dropped word on my latest book. Talk about embarrassing. But my publisher told me, too, that nothing could be done. So, add Studs for Woman Hire: Woman in Charge to the gaffes collector's item list! At least I know now that my book is in good company.

Posted  by Sherry James on 6/12/2008

Hey Julie, I'm sure your book will be so good, no one will even notice the typos. (sounds good anyway, huh? :) In my experience, once one thing goes wrong, indeed, THREE things go wrong. Hopefully three is the limit though. Hang in there, your readers know you're not losing your mind. lol

Posted  by Brenda  Gale on 6/12/2008



Title Magic!

I have a new book out this month. The Heart of Brody McQuade. It's so exciting to once again be writing a Texas Ranger series with my friends Delores Fossen and Rita Herron.

For me the title of this book is especially meaningful. Brody's heart is broken and locked away at the beginning of the book, and it takes a special heroine to show Brody that his heart can heal.

And here's a very cool thing! The Heart of Brody McQuade was the title I suggested!

I love titles that contain the hero's name--of course the name has to be a memorable one. I happen to think that Brody McQuade is one of the best hero names ever--especially for a Texas Ranger.

Here are a few other titles I love that use names:

--Arizona Ames (Zane Grey)

--The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (Robert A. Heinlein)

--The List of Adrian Messenger (Philip MacDonald

--Jackson Rule (Dinah McCall)

--The Pride of Jared MacKade, (Nora Roberts)

--The Return of Rafe MacKade, (Nora Roberts)

--The Redemption of Deke Summers (Gayle Wilson)

-- Rafe Sinclair's Revenge (Gayle Wilson)

Aren't those all great hero names?

What about you? Are there certain things in a title that will make you pick up a book, no matter what?

Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 6/6/2008

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The word Texas in the title or in the name of the series (The Silver Star of Texas)will get me to pick up a book even if I decide not to read it. Does that make me a little strange????

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/6/2008

I usually will pick up an auto buy Author regardless of the title, and when I am shopping if a cover catches my eye I will pick up that book and read the back blurb, but I think I can honestly say that there is not one word or combination of words that would speak to me louder than another in a title of a book. Sometimes it is the mood I am in when I am shopping that will attract me to a book. Not sure if that makes sense or not.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/6/2008

The title of a book does'nt matter to me. The author does.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/6/2008

Ellen, interesting that you go for Texas. I never used to, but since I've been writing the Silver Star books, my eye is drawn to "Texas" in the title. I guess most people aren't attracted by titles. That's interesting. I see the cover first, then the title. There are some titles that I know I won't read: anything that smacks of a medieval historical; usually I don't dive for books with "Mother," or "Baby" in the title, although I know I'm in the minority there. "Honor," "Return," "Memory" or "Memories" will have me grabbing the book. Thanks for your comments.

Posted  by Mallory  Kane on 6/6/2008

I don't usually choose books for their titles, but words like wicked and sin definitely catch the eye.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/6/2008

The title of the books really doesn't matter that much. Although I do like books about cowboys and Texas.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 6/6/2008

If I see the word "Scottish" in the title, I'll pick it up and read the back. I won't necessarily buy it, though.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/7/2008

Mallory Kane said: And here's a very cool thing! The Heart of Brody McQuade was the title I suggested! Congratulations on keeping the title you chose! It is a great title!! If I didn't read Intrigues and saw this book the title along would make me pick it up!! I love strong titles! Some of the words in titles that I like are: heart, hero's name, Texas, cowboy, and hero to name a few! Sometimes I'll pick up a book because it's an author I love. So the title won't be a deal breaker in that case.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008

I am the same way when it comes to books with mother or baby in the title. i guess it is becuase my husband and I have been trying and have not you had a child. If I see the words Undercover, Forbidden, and the ones theat Mallory said, like Duty, Honor, ect, those are the ones I grab up and check out. Most of my family and my husband are either in the Army or Military or were at some point, so titles that remind me of those things are the one I grab right away. Also, I always pick up when I see Texas, like some others have said. It is weird, I am from Tenn and only have visited TX (Houston) once, but I love the "thought" of Texas, if that makes sense.-kayla

Posted  by Kayla Kerns on 6/14/2008




As an author, I often "become" the character I'm writing. As a villain, I can do anything. The constraints are removed. Writing scenes in the villain's head is cathartic somehow, and often they are the most fun to write. I can do things I could never do in real life, things that society would frown on--or land me in jail. The thing I always worry about is not making the villain more interesting than the heroine and hero, which sometimes proves to be a challenge.

All villains are not created equal. Some are anonymous in a book until the end and some are right out there. Some are crazed for power or money and some have quite different motivations--some do bad things for a "good" reason.

Like Rebecca Dumas in THE LAST VAMPIRE. The vampire himself is a villain, but so is the voodoo priestess who brings him back to save her brother's life. Danton is dying of leukemia, and Rebecca has done everything in her power to save him. Nothing the doctors could do worked but voodoo did. Now that is failing him as well. Desperate to save the young man who saved her from the stepfather who sexually abused her as a teenager, Rebecca will stop at nothing. And so her good intentions lead to a hell she couldn't have imagined.

I loved writing Rebecca's scenes, and I'll be anxious to see how readers respond to her when the book is released later this month. In the meantime, can you tell us about a villain who really sparked your imagination? One you wanted to read about despite everything he or she did?

Good reading,


Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of The Last Vampire on 6/5/2008

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I can't think of one off the top of my head, but I think villains who have a sympathetic back story can make me interested in his actions.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/5/2008

I am looking forward to reading The Last Vampire.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/5/2008

Patricia, I once wrote a manuscript where the villain actually became the hero. I was about 150 pages into it and I thought, he and the heroine had more chemistry than the hero and the heroine. So I switched him and the rest of the manuscript flowed.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/5/2008

I can think of a villain but I don't know what the name of the book was. The villain had suffered as a child/young adult and was reacting to that. It made him sympathetic but the way he acted wasn't acceptable to society.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/5/2008

Sometimes a villian will have me sympathizing because of what they have been through but because of the way they are acting or conducting themselves there is really no excuse, so they have a hard time to win me over.

Posted  by Cryna  Palmiere on 6/6/2008

Patricia, THE LAST VAMPIRE sounds like one awesome book. I will be picking this one up when it comes out! I can't really think of a villain off the top of my head right now but I will say there are very few I feel sorry for. I can totally see how fun it can be to write about the villain though!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008



Off to Hawaii & Guam!

Must be that time of year to take off for fabulous vacations! I'm leaving next week for a week in Hawaii and then another week in Guam. I hear that Guam is the "Hawaii" for Japan. We'll see. Anyway it goes, I'm going to Guam to see my daughter and grandson. My daughter's husband is in the Air Force and stationed there for 4 years! Ack!!! My grandson will be 7 when they return. Not fair! If I want to see him grow up at all, I will have to go to Guam to see him. I know, I know, life's tough...You know, having to go to Guam once a year and all.

My parents are coming with us this time. They wouldn't try to do the trip on their own because their health isn't all that great. My dad is excited about the trip. He's retired from the U.S. Air Force and one of the places he was stationed during the Vietnam War was Guam. He hasn't been back since. He's really looking forward to that and to seeing Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. I'm glad we get to do this trip with my parents.

The Hawaii thing is just for fun! We've never been. I'll be sure to keep my mind open to possibilities for great stories for the Intrigue line. What are your favorite settings for Intrigues? Are there some you'd like to see that haven't been done too much? Let us know, I'm sure we can work something out!

Posted by Elle James, author of Under Suspicion, With Child on 6/4/2008

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Sounds like a really great trip and how nice you have a place to vacation for the next 4 years!

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/4/2008

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/4/2008

Have fun. I've been to Hawaii a couple of times and it's absolutely beautiful. How about an Intrigue set in Egypt?

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/4/2008

Have fun and enjoy your time with your grandson. So glad that your parents are able to make this trip with you. As for a setting for an Intrigue I am sure that there would be lots of settings in Guam that you could do a story that is not war related.

Posted  by Cryna  Palmiere on 6/4/2008

Have a wonderful trip! Hey you can pack me up in your suitcase and take me with you. I have never been before.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 6/4/2008

I hope you have a great trip. :)

Posted  by Crystal Broyles on 6/6/2008

Have a wonderful trip!! Enjoy the time with your daughter and grandson. Settings for Intrigues?? Hmmm, I'll have to think about that one. I'll have to let you know.

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008




If you don’t “see” me around here for a while, it’s because I’m leaving for three weeks in China early this morning. VERY EARLY. Then I get to sit around in Detroit for five hours! Arg. Too bad I won't have my computer with me, so I won't be able to check the blog--or my mail.

After Detroit, I get to change planes in Tokyo. I am going by myself because I told my husband I wouldn’t sit on a plane for 14 hours unless I could go business class. So he’s going tourist class on a separate plane, if you can believe that.

I made an emergency trip to the mall a while ago to get a new purse. (I've also made emergency trips to buy shirts, pants and shoes. Smile.) This time, the excuse is that the velcro's shot on my old purse. Honestly, I hate shopping for hand bags. You never know if they really work until it's too late.

I'm sorry I'll miss the discussions around here. Have fun while I'm gone.

Rebecca York

Posted by Rebecca York, author of Ghost Moon on 6/3/2008

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Have a fantastic time in China. I envy you the trip.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/3/2008

Have a great trip, Rebecca! We want to hear all about it when you get back!

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 6/3/2008

Have a great holiday, and looking forward to tales about your China trip.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/3/2008

Have a great time in China!

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 6/3/2008

Have a great time. I'm pretty sure there's great shopping to be done in China and haggling is practically a custom. You'll get some great bargains.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/3/2008

Have a wonderful trip and we will see you when you get back. We will want to here all about your trip on the blog.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 6/3/2008

I hope you have a great trip. :)

Posted  by Crystal Broyles on 6/4/2008

Rebecca, Have a great trip! China seems like a interesting place to visit. When you get back you'll have to tell us what China is like!! I love your books and own a nice few of them!

Posted  by Shelley Downton on 6/13/2008



May Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations! You've won a book by commenting on our blog. Please contact the author you've been paired with via her web site and give her your mailing information to receive a book of her choice.

Virginia Horton - Author B.J. Daniels

Estella Kissell - Author Kathleen Long

Ellen McDaniel - Author Jessica Anderson

Lexi Connor - Author Rita Herron

Posted by Jan Hambright, author of AROUND-THE-CLOCK PROTECTOR on 6/1/2008

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Woohoo! What a lovely surprise. Thank you and congrats to the other winners.

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 6/1/2008

I love reading Intrigue books and love winning them even more. Thanks. And congratulations to all the winners.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/1/2008

Congrats to the winners.

Posted  by Jane C. on 6/1/2008

Congratulations to all the winners !!

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 6/3/2008

If someone could help -- I sent my mailing address to Jessica Anderson and it bounced back as undeliverable.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 6/3/2008

Hi Ellen. Did you use her web site address? I have give it another try. Smiles, Jan.

Posted  by Jan Hambright on 6/9/2008



Geekalicious Ennui

So I saw Indiana Jones over the holiday weekend, and it was really fabulous to see Indy and Marion again. Harrison Ford and Karen Allen were wonderful, and the first half hour was a heady delight. But as for the rest of the film ... I think George Lucas (Crystal Skull's story architect) is in the throes of some kind of early-onset dementia and is determined to sink his cinematic legacy. First we had JarJar. (JarJar is to Star Wars as a chopped, fried onion is to a batch of brownies....) Now we have Shia LeBeouf and the monkeys polluting the Indiana Jones canon. Nothing against Señor LeBeouf, whom I think is a fine actor. But the monkeys? I have issues with those blasted monkeys....

So, in an effort to make something positive out of my disappointment, here are five writerly things I learned from watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (no major spoilers included, except maybe the one about the monkeys):

1) If your story is going to have a Macguffin (i.e. The Thing that all of the characters are searching for and fighting over), ultimate possession of that Macguffin should have major consequences for the characters, and perhaps for the free world. That's how you get readers/viewers to CARE about it, who gets it, and what they're going to do with it.

The Ark of the Covenant was the ultimate Macguffin: Whomever possessed it would possibly have the Ultimate Power in his or her hands. And if the violent, genocidal Nazis possessed it, that would have been catastrophic for the world. The Holy Grail was a pretty good Macguffin, too: Whomever possessed it would possibly have Enternal Life in his or her hands. And what would the world have done with an immortal Hitler?

No one gives a rat's booty about a crystal skull that does jack and has zero impact on humankind, GEORGE.

Lesson for writers: Make your external conflict something everyone cares deeply about, something that will have major, life-altering consequences for everyone involved (bonus points if it can destroy the free world in the wrong hands!) and your reader/viewer will care about it, too.

2) I LOVED the first half hour of this film. I was so glad to see Marion Ravenwood again. In the first scene of Raiders, we met her in the bar she owned, surrounded by a rough-looking crowd of patrons and literally drinking a man three times her size under the table. She's strong, she's savvy, and during her first scene with Indiana Jones, she makes it perfectly clear that she ain't gonna take no smack from anyone, least of all the man who romanced and dumped her a few years before.

That take-no-prisoners attitude that we loved is back in Crystal Skull. When Marion first sees Indy, the man who loved and left her TWICE, disappeared for nearly TWENTY YEARS, and now found her again sheerly by ACCIDENT and not by design, she once again makes it perfectly clear that she ain't gonna take no smack from anyone, least of all Dr. Jones. This lasts for all of ten minutes.

Why, George, WHY would you take this magnificent woman and jack up every inspiring memory I ever had of her by having her turn into Polly Prissy Pants, Who's So Grateful to Have a Maaaaaaaan with only one sweet word from the man who FREAKING LEFT HER for nearly TWENTY FREAKING YEARS?!?!?!?!

Any good romance reader knows that if the hero left the heroine for nearly two decades (two!), number one, he would have some 'splaining to do. Number two, he would have to pay. Oh, how he would have to pay. Three, the hero would have to do a whole lot more than call her "honey" before the heroine wrapped her arms around his waist and smiled adoringly up at him. Number four, this is Marion Ravenwood we're talking about. She gave Jones grief for walking out on her at least two-thirds of the way through Raiders. She gave him grief for walking out on her a second time for about, oh, ten minutes in this film.


Why, George, didn't you just have her give birth to twins and die of grief, and REALLY make one of my favorite heroines into a spineless wonder?*

Lesson for writers: When you've got a great romantic conflict going, don't just wrap it all up in ten minutes/pages. Make your hero and heroine WORK through their differences for a satisfying resolution. And if your hero dumped you and disappeared for two decades to go frittering around an Asian jungle with a brainless twit and chasing toward Alexandretta with a Nazi ice queen, he's going to have to work pretty darn hard to deserve you. That is all.

3) Car chases are good. Put said car chase on the edge of a dizzyingly high cliff, and you've made a good car chase great. Stick Indiana Jones in one of the cars, and my husband has reached Car Chase Nirvana. But for the love of humanity, WHY would you resolve a car chase by having Shia LeBeouf swinging Tarzan-like from improbably spaced vines through the jungle, lead by a bunch of CGI monkeys? First of all, what is the likelihood that all those vines would be strong enough to sustain his weight and close enough in proximity that they'd get him to the head of the car chase that just in time to save the day? (Or have the monkeys save the day?) :::mental forehead smack:::

Lesson for writers: Nobody likes a Deus ex machina, least of all when it comes in the form of CGI monkeys.

4) When your hero is as hot as Harrison Ford, his shirt really should come off more. I'm just sayin'.

Lesson for writers: You can't go wrong with a ridiculously good-looking hero who shows off what his mama gave him.

5) You can't replace a legend with Shia LeBeouf.

Believe it or not, George Lucas has said that he would like to make a fifth Indiana Jones film with a skinny, badly pompadoured kid who on a good day looks like my 12-year-old, pre-pubescent math geek cousin. (No offense to math geeks. I was a theater/English geek.)

Lesson for writers: None really. But it had to be said.

Anyone else see Indiana Jones? What did you think? Any other summer films you're looking forward to? (Sex and the City opens today!)

*(FOOTNOTE: Yes, I had issues with that other uber-heroine of the seventies, Princess Leia, being the progeny of a mother who would die of grief just because her husband turned into a murderous sociopath. You're LEIA'S FREAKING MOTHER! Put on your big-girl panties, PADME, get up off that table, and show those twins what you're made of!)

(Dying of grief. Ay. )

Posted by Tracy Montoya, author of I'll Be Watching You on 5/30/2008

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Comment: Yes! I saw Indy, too! You know, it just made me feel good to hear the theme music again--to see the hat again--to see/hear some of the classic themes/lines from previous movies again (I loved the rescuing him from the quicksand with the snake scene). So overall, I'd say I enjoyed it. And, I mean, who could go wrong with Harrison Ford as the brainy, instinctively-gifted, socially inept Indy? I loved seeing him again. I got all warm and fuzzy inside. But I don't think it's one I'll go out and by a DVD of for my keeper shelf (that's my son's definition for knowing when you really love a movie). I thought the chase scenes went on too long and lost some of their edge (though they started out as really cool concepts). I guess I'd heard enough buzz that there was no surprise to learn that Shia was his and Marion's son, so that was kind of a letdown. Though I did enjoy the like father-like son moments. I loved the cameo homages to Denholm Elliot (Marcus Brody) and Sean Connery (Daddy Jones). But I missed out on Indy having a really great sidekick to be his bud through thick and thin, get them into trouble in one scene and get them out in the next, etc. I missed that camaraderie, that loyalty among a select few adventurers. I love Ray Winstone, but that didn't pan out. I had hopes for Jim Broadbent's character, but that was pretty minor, too. I guess Shia was supposed to assume that sidekick/confidant role, but it didn't quite work for me. I thought Cate Blanchett was a great villain (she does ice queen well) for most of the movie. But she turned into a wimp at the end. And, I think they missed several good opportunities for her to use her supposed psychic abilities--that was something that never really came into play, and it could have been such a cool evil villain thing. We're big sci fi fans at my house, so I didn't have a problem with the alien angle (I figured that's where they were going). But again, I think it ended up being more about special effects and less about content/conflict at the end. So that disappointed me a bit, too. That's my writer's brain, I suppose--I kept seeing where I would do more. But then, it wasn't my vision or story to tell. And finally, I was glad Indy didn't pass the hat on to Shia at the end. There are some things that are so iconic, it just wouldn't be right . by Julie Miller on 5/30/2008.

Posted  by Julie Miller on 5/30/2008

I'll keep this list in mind when I see the movie, probably on dvd.

Posted  by Jane C. on 5/30/2008

I haven't seen Indy yet. But I will. CGI monkeys couldn't keep me away. And thanks to this movie, I now have a Marion Ravenwood action figure for my office. I put her next to Princess Leia and others. No, I don't have Padme. She didn't belong.

Posted  by Ann Voss Peterson on 5/30/2008

I hated the alien bit. I love the idea of the South American setting, I love the idea of Marion and Indy together. I was okay with the love child but that whole relationship was never resolved to my satisfaction. And was I the only one waiting for Shia to say, "Don't Call Me Junior???"

Posted  by Mary Fechter on 5/30/2008

Julie, you're so much more forgiving than I am. I did love that he didn't pass the hat on at the end, either. ... Hope you like it more than I do, Jane.... You're too funny with your action figures, Ann! Padme totally doesn't belong.... Mary, I KNOW! That would have been brilliant.

Posted  by Tracy Montoya on 5/30/2008

Ack! Mary, I'm with you. That line definitely should have been in there!

Posted  by Julie Miller on 5/30/2008

In all honesty I had thought about going to the movie theatre to see this before it came out. But then I have been reading what others are saying and I think I will just do my standard wait until it comes out on DVD. It is funny that most of the people that I have spoken to feel the same way about this show.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 5/30/2008

I haven't seen Indy yet, will wait for it to come out on DVD. I know the first movie is usually the best so I don't expect as much from number two.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 5/31/2008



Challenging yourself

This blog goes along a little with what Dana blogged about. Only I'll take it outside writing and into everyday. We all go about our lives many times doing the same ol' same ol' thing. Go to work (in my case-go to my desk in my office), work and go home. I love writing but creativity can take a toll on you day-in-day out.

Sometimes we need a change. A challenge. Something that refreshes us.

I've never been too much of a girly-girl so any time I can challenge the stereotype of that's a man's job, I love it! Hence my latest challenge. We own a business, a small machine shop that produces metal parts for the aerospace industry. The original building was nothing more than a run-down garage. We've since grown the building to 3 times the size, but we're still in the process of redoing the offices and blocking in more office space. Most of this my husband and I are doing in sweat-equity. That's right. We're the ones hammering the framework, laying in the wiring and hanging the dry wall. And I love it! It's a place where I can get dirty, sweat a lot and feel good about my accomplishments. It challenges me physically, if not mentally, and that's a great change of pace from writing mysteries.

And what I love most about these kinds of challenges is that you can SEE the results of your labors. Well...eventually. Did I mention, we're not on a deadline? That means this could take a long time to finish! What do you do to challenge yourself either physically or mentally? What do you do for a change from your everyday same ol' same ol'?

Posted by Elle James, author of Texas-Sized Secrets on 5/29/2008

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I try to challenge myself physically by doing an extra sit-up or walking a longer distance. To challenge my mind, I try to read more books and do more crossword puzzles.

Posted  by Jane C. on 5/29/2008

I love to do jigsaw puzzles and especially the hard ones like the two sided ones, or like the one that I did that was the shape of a wolf running with all sorts of little pictures of wolves and Indians on horseback in the woods, all within the outline of the fur of the wolf and body so it all blended - which I find a challenge. Some I mount and keep others I breakup and put back into the boxes. I am sure there are other things that I do - just can't think of it at the moment.

Posted  by Cryna Palmere on 5/29/2008

Done been there and done that with our house. We added a large addition and then remodeled the old part of the house, was a job. I piece quilts for a hobby but I don't like to do the easy one. I have to go for the more difficult one like the Lone star. That is a challenge

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 5/29/2008

My past work experiences has been in male dominant environments, so the challenges I faced were the constant demand for equal respect, if not respect then at lest equal civility. Now I mostly challenge myself by learning new things, especially in keeping abreast of everyday technology, working at a job that I can actually use my college education in. Working with all age groups in a Library is a challenge unto itself, from helping young readers to realize their potential to showing our mature patrons that the computer is not a demon spawn and can actually be used for the power of good and not evil. Lol I find that every day has its own challenges, sometimes the hardest challenge is the one that is not always easy to see.

Posted  by Sherry  Dickens on 5/30/2008




Picture yourself as a passionate chef. You live for food. You love experimenting with flavors and trying new things. Your revel in the diversity of textures and aromas. Creating new dishes is the true joy of your life. Then one day you make a great cheesecake. And from then on out, all everyone wants from you is more cheesecakes. And even though you LOVE cheesecake, part of you longs for other flavors.

This happens to writers all the time. If readers like a writer, editors are tempted to ask for more and more books in that same sub-genre and might be reluctant to take a chance on something completely different for fear of upsetting reader expectations.

Right after I sold my first book, SHADOW SOLDIER, I wrote a completely different novel, THE THIRD SCROLL, that was not romantic suspense. I haven't been able to sell it since. And since I happen to really like this book, I wanted to find a way to get it to readers anyway. So I am posting the entire novel on my web site ( for FREE. (Just look for the Free Book tab on the menu.) The prologue and the first two chapters are already up. I'll be posting a new chapter every day or so.

So my questions to readers is: Are you really upset if your favorite author writes something different?

And my question to authors is: If you write more than one sub-genre, how did you do it?


Posted by Dana Marton, author of 72 HOURS on 5/28/2008

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No I don't get upset when my favorite author writes something different, sometime change is good. Everyone needs a little change in there life.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 5/28/2008

I don't get upset either. I think if she (or he) wrote something I didn't read and didn't continue writing what I do like, I might be upset. But a writer has to go where the muse takes her (or him).

Posted  by Lexi Connor on 5/28/2008

No I don't get upset when a favorite author writes something different. In fact I admire them for being able to do so. I look forward to reading your free book.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 5/28/2008

If my favourite Author writes something else, I will pick it up and read it. If I don't like it - well that is cool - because I am just one person, as long as I still get the other stories from the Author that I enjoy reading. It is great for an Author to spead their wings and try different things.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 5/28/2008

I will read whatever my favorite authors write, be it romantic suspense, romance, or paranormal.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 5/28/2008

I don't get upset if an author writes another genre, in fact I usually try to read their other works to see how I like them. I do get mad when an author abandons one genre in favor of another.

Posted  by Jane C. on 5/28/2008

I love it how open-minded and flexible everyone is here!!! I hope this reflects general readership. I'm the same way. I enjoy reading all different books and don't mind at all if my favorite authors try new things. I usually follow them. --Dana

Posted  by Dana Marton on 5/29/2008

I find that I’m more open-minded about author’s works than some. I’ve read several authors who write under different names, J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle, ect. I find that I enjoy the writing style just as much as the storyline. I’m sorry your other story wasn’t published and I’m making a point to bookmark your site to read it. There are some readers who refuse to read anything else except the genre that “their favorite” author puts out. One example is Diana Palmer’s “Morcai Battalion”, I thought it was well written and fairly decent science fiction, but most of the patrons of our Library hated it. I asked them why they didn’t like it; they responded with the same remarks, “It isn’t what she usually writes”, “It’s not even her type of work”, and the most popular, “It isn’t what I want from her as a writer”. Most readers who look at reading as a hobby, or (like me), they look at it as a pleasure; they want to read what they enjoy and what makes them feel good. I hope you continue writing, because I really enjoy your work, (loved “Secret Contract” by the way), maybe think about writing under a moniker?

Posted  by Sherry Dickens on 5/30/2008



Memorial Day Adventures

Memorial Day Weekend is a time spent reflecting on those who've given their lives so that we can live in this great country. A time when when we should appreciate what we have and our families, maybe even spend time with them!

When my son came up to visit for the weekend, I knew it would mean coming up with something to keep him entertained. He's 24 and single. How do you entertain a young man of 24? Easy! Do something outdoorsy! He brought his new kayak with him, which pretty much set the tone for the weekend. We were going out on the water with his kayak and our canoe.

Saturday dawned...raining...So much for going down the river. We settled for a drive to a small town out in the hills of Arkansas called Eureka Springs. If you're ever in the northwest corner of Arkansas, make a special trip out there. The town is pretty and perched on the sides of hills with buildings that remind you of Swiss cottages. Okay so that wasn't so exciting for a 24-year-old young man and definitely wasn't enough to tip my 15-year-old daughter's excitement meter to luke warm. We held out for a Sunday, hoping for clear weather so we could make our river trip.

Viola! Sunday started out bright and sunny. We drove the 45 minutes to the White river just below Beaver Dam and put in our canoe and my son's kayak. And proceeded to row for the next 3 hours. Wait a minute. I thought we were going to FLOAT the river. The white river connects Beaver Lake to Table Rock Lake. Because of recent torrential rain, both lakes are full. The river is pretty much backed up and not flowing much. It was more like a long lake.

So now I'm nursing sore arms from rowing for 3 hours straight, there were no rapids and no sandbars to stop and rest on. My malti-poo Sweetpea wasn't impressed, but my Yorkie, Chewy, decided to take a dip in the icy-cold water and proceed to soak my son. My son was paddling circles around us to keep his interest. The morning was bright and sunny and being outside was rewarding. Most of all, spending it with my family made it all worthwhile. An hour after we got out of the river, the clouds moved back in and it rained the rest of Sunday and Monday. Good thing we went when we did! How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend?

Posted by Elle James, author of Texas-Sized Secrets on 5/27/2008

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Memorial Day was pretty tame here. A barbecue and a trip to the cemetery.

Posted  by Estella Kissell on 5/27/2008

Sounds like you had a great time on your holiday weekend. It was just a regular weekend for us here in Canada, since we had our long weekend a week before you. But anytime you can spend doing things with family is great.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 5/27/2008

I spent most of the day watching the NCIS marathon on USA.

Posted  by Jane C. on 5/27/2008

We had a low-key weekend - no outdoors activities for us, just a family picnic and some yard work. I've had an experience like yours, though, where I had to paddle a canoe into the wind for about 3 hours. Everyone else thought this was fun. Bizarre.

Posted  by Margaret McGrath on 5/27/2008

I did the same thing Jane did. Spent most of the day watching the NCIS marathon on tv.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 5/28/2008

I'm late chiming in here, but I had an incredible Memorial Day. My mother is 89 and dementia has set in. Memorial Day has always been special to her and I wanted her to see what this area had to offer. (My sister and I had moved her near me last fall) First I took her to the local military cemetary where a dear friend's 22 year old son's is buried. I was speechless with emotion but Mother chatted on. Then I took her out to an old, old cemetary because it resembles the one where her relatives are buried. What a peaceful experience complete with deer wandering around the pioneer era headstones. A true memory.

Posted  by Vella Mun on 5/28/2008




You neat freaks out there won't understand, but I have a problem--I break out in hives just THINKING about throwing stuff away.

Okay, not coffee grounds and empty cracker boxes. Still, I'm a hoarder. (Me and Delta Burke. Google her to find a recent article on her 'collecting.')

For me, the worst is paper--wrapping paper, greeting cards, magazines, books (!)

Now granted, I believe that anyone who throws away a book should have to serve time... okay, maybe if the book is in 10+ pieces it's time to put it out of its misery, but until then it's still readable. It is! Really! Put a rubber band around it and give it to a friend.

Right now I'm getting ready for a mega-yard sale, AND I'm writing 3 proposals for 3 back-to-back books. So not only is my house cluttered, so is my mind. It's feeling very good to be cleaning out both.

Congratulate me. I'm facing up to my paper fetish. I'm staring it down. I'm winning. I have a box that is filling up with books that--one way or another--are going out the door. Probably at least 40. (Oh, did I mention that between my husband and me we probably have 10,000 books?)

Speaking of books, check out my June 2008 release, The Heart of Brody McQuade.

Nice Ranger eh? eHarlequin is doing a special Cowboy promotion and Brody's book is on sale. Plus a close-up of his gorgeous self is featured in the promotion! If I've done this right you can click on RUSTLE UP A COWBOY.

Anyone else out there have a problem with letting go of STUFF?

Happy reading,


Posted by Mallory Kane, author of The Heart of Brody McQuade on 5/26/2008

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YES I DO!!!! Like you - paper, pens, pencils, books, boxes(I might need them to mail something in), magazines. And "The Heart of Brody McQuade is on top of my TBR pile.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 5/26/2008

I too have the problem of not throwing away stuff, but at the same time am a neat freak, so it makes for double trouble. I have shelving in the basement that holds mega boxes (the kind that photo paper comes in) with books filed in them. And I could go on and you are certainly not alone. Love the cover of your newest upcoming rlease.

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 5/26/2008

I'm a pack rat, too. I have a bunch of magazines dating back to the 90's. I still have most of my school papers and notebooks.

Posted  by Jane C. on 5/26/2008

Not since Hurricane Georges. I'd rather have control over what is thrown out, given away or whatever than have something/someone else decide. LindaC

Posted  by Linda Campbell on 5/26/2008

Yes I do. I hoard books. I just love them and won't let them go. My closet is full and they are running over into the attic. My hubby its computer magazines, keeps them all so we are cluttered because we live in a small house. I tell myself to get rid of things but never do. I guess I am just a pack rat, because books aren't the only thing I keep, also fabric for quilting.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 5/26/2008

Whew! It's good to know that it's not just me and Delta Burke :) I hope you all had a great Memorial Day holiday. Thanks for your comments. Mallory

Posted  by Mallory Kane on 5/27/2008




Changes in our lives are necessary to keep us excited and happy. I've had several changes this week, starting with the kitty above. Her name is Blossom and I adopted her from PAWS Chicago on Friday. Her shots were out of date so they had to send her back to the clinic, but I get to pick her up this afternoon. I only have one of my elderly cats left -- lost two of them this year -- and I was going to wait... Volunteering at PAWS, I get familiar with the personalities of the cats. Of course I want to take them all home! But Blossom got to me. Being seven, she's quieter, a more suitable companion for an 18 year old than one of the young and super frisky guys. And she will have a difficult time being adopted. So I decided to give her a home. I am truly excited!

The second new thing this week sounds pretty mundane -- a new ceiling and high end light fixture in my bedroom. But anyone who has had to look at the ceiling I had for so many years would appreciate the new view. The old ceiling had cracks that I tried to hide with that goopy paint you can make designs with. But eventually the cracks come through. Not anymore. The ceiling is a now a thin wallboard applied over the old plaster. It's perfect!

The third new thing has to do with the new book I've already told you about -- THE LAST VAMPIRE. I actually updated my website to include an excerpt-- the Prologue. And my writing partner has a different excerpt -- Chapter 1. So, if you're interested in checking it out, click here to read the Prologue and if you like that, go on to Chapter 1.

So what are the new things in your life that have you excited?

Good reading,


Posted by Patricia Rosemoor, author of THE LAST VAMPIRE on 5/25/2008

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I'm not a cat owner (but that has to do with allergies) but Blossom is a really cute cat. I'm sure she loves you for taking her home. If I were to be able to have either a dog or cat I would get one from the shelter. Congratulations on the new ceiling and light fixture. I'll have to go to your website and check out THE LAST VAMPIRE. Nothing new in my life at the moment but with gas prices the way they are I'm considering a new car that will guzzle less gas.

Posted  by Ellen McDaniel on 5/25/2008

What an sweet picture of Blossom, I am sure she will make the best pet. The ceiling sounds like it would be great and any time you get something new done it is exciting. Not much new in my life at the moment, I would be excited just to see the wind and rain stop and for the sun to come out.....

Posted  by Cryna Palmiere on 5/25/2008

Blossom is a cutie. Nothing exciting happening here. Just relaxing on this holiday weekend. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Posted  by Jane C. on 5/25/2008

Blossom looks like a sweety. Not much going on here, I have been planting things around our Koi pond. That's about it.

Posted  by Virginia Horton on 5/25/2008

Well Blossom is settling in easily. I arranged my office for her and plan to keep her there until morning. I visit her every half hour or so. She's jumped in my lap and purred. I wonder if she knows there's another cat in the house...I'm sure old Phantom doesn't. At 18, she probably can't smell really well and has poor eyesight. She's been sleeping pretty much since I brought Blossom home. Fingers crossed that the second phase--introducing the cats to each other--goes well. I'm sure they'll say some terrible things to each other, but I hope that's it and that they get used to each other quickly. Hmm, maybe Phantom won't even remember that she's been the only cat in the house since December...

Posted  by Patricia Rosemoor on 5/25/2008

I do hope Phantom is okay with having a new friend. Cat social relations always fascinate me. When I brought Beevel home, they told me to keep her locked up for a week and let the other cats sniff her under the door. But she's fast, and she got out. So I gave up after a few days. I woke up this morning to find two cats snuggled together on the end of the bed. Ozzie only lets Harriet lie down with her on the bed a third of the time, so I was glad to see them both. Ozzie had decided she's the only cat who's allowed to sleep with me between midnight and six a. m. Then, if Harriet's lucky, she can come back. Ozzie is the ruler of the cat kingdom here. So Beevel is only allowed on the bed during the day. I've folded a towel on the chest under the TV, and she sometimes sits there. Often she sneaks up to the bedroom when nobody else is around. Right now she's in the sun room with me--sitting on the chaise and watching sparrows at the tube feeder. A few days ago she went crazy when a dove was sitting on the little heat pump unit that heats and cools the room. It was only about a foot below the window ledge, and she REALLY wanted to grab it. Rebecca Rebecca

Posted  by Rebecca York on 5/26/2008

I am so happy to hear you adopted Blossom. I have known her for over a year and she has become a very special kitty to me. She has quite a large fan base and we have all been very happy to hear about her new home. I know that we could all tell you some great stories about her trials since she came to the shelter. Congratulations on adopting such an amazing and deserving little girl.

Posted  by Pamela Phelps on 5/27/2008

Blossom is doing extremely well. I brought her home Sunday evening and kept her in my office, went in to visit her for about 10 minutes every hour. Right from the start, she came to me every time. So the next morning, I picked up old Phantom and let Blossom out to investigate the apartment. I knew Blossom was okay with other cats, and Phantom not only lived with other cats but she's so old there's not much she can do to be aggressive. Blossom investigated every nook and cranny, then went back into the office for a nap. I kept her in there last night, as well, but when I let her out it was like she owned the place. There was only one tense moment when she growled at Phantom at the food dishes. I just said No! and pus