Social Networks

Back to website

Saturday, December 23, 2006

CAPA Nominee - A nice early Christmas Present

I just received word that my Cobblestone Press Release, The Way to a Man's Heart has been nominated for the Cupid and Psyche Awards at the Romance Studio for both print and ebooks. Winners to be announced on Valentine's Day 2007. What a nice early Christmas gift!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

For Lovers of Words

Thanks to my friend Mary for sending this along. Hope you enjoy:


1. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.>>
2. A will is a dead giveaway.>>
3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.>>
4. A backward poet writes inverse.>>
5. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your> Count that votes.>>
6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.>>
7. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.>>
8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.>>
9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat> miner.>> 1
10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.>>
11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.>>
12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum> Blownapart.>>
13. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.>>
14. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.>>
15. He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.>>
16. A calendar's days are numbered.>>
17. A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.>>
18. A boiled egg is hard to beat.>>
19. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.>>
20. A plateau is a high form of flattery.>>
21. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at> large.>>
22. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.>>
23. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.>>
24. If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine .>>
25. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.>>
26. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.>>
27. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.>>
28. Acupuncture: a jab well done.>>
29. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Fortune's Vengeful Groom

My new cover is in! Here's the 3rd story in the Dakota Fortunes Series. Eliza Fortune has been hiding a secret for 6 years. When her secret is exposed in the form of tall, rugged and gorgeous Reese Parker, scandals are exposed, revenge is taken and heads roll. (not literally - it's NOT that kind of book) Coming this March- read the entire series!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Way to a Man's Heart Reviews and Promo

It's a Shameless Promotion, but I have to direct you all to the December Issue of RWR (Romance Writer's Report) where I have joined in with five other Cobblestone Press authors for a great color ad.

For those of you who only read print books, this one is a reissue set in downloadable form and available from at You might want to try something new - digital publishing!

And check out this new review from :

Growing up, Christy Evans had been leery of her neighbor Kyle Warren. He had been a star athlete, too sure of himself and too capable of being a heart breaker. Having returned home after the death of his father to handle his estate, Christy knew it was time for a tentative showing of friendship. It was something “Pop” Warren would have wanted.

Kyle had never been able to get anywhere with Christy – not that he had even tried. First, Pop would have had his hide, but Christy wouldn’t even acknowledge him for the remotest possibility of friendship. Sure he may have been a bit wilder in his youth, but he was an adult now. It shouldn’t be so difficult to be friends.
Although friendship was not necessarily what Kyle wanted now.

The Way to a Man’s Heart by Charlene Sands is a romance that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Kyle is a hero that any woman should want, but Christy has been burned too many times in the past. She can’t, or won’t, take chances again. But Kyle isn’t someone to sit back as a quitter. I enjoyed watching his reactions. Charlene Sands proved herself to be a competent writer by creating a hero who does not react in expected fashion and that was a welcome respite from a more predictable plotline.

Be sure to enter my Holiday Surprise contest, if you haven't already!
And the Desire Fortune's Continuity begins in January! Keep up on all and be sure to read my March release Fortune's Vengeful Groom. Six great stories from January to June!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


This is a recipe handed down from generation to generation in my family. Be aware you can't eat just one. They truly do melt in your mouth.


1 CUP chopped nuts (optional)

Makes 24 cookies.

So easy. Enjoy!

Hint: Only melts in your mouth is you use REAL BUTTER. That's the key.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Here's another recipe that's so easy and a way to fancy up your cranberry dish. Enjoy!










**This is easy to slice. You can use a bundt mold, but honestly a Tupperware or other such mold gets the best result.

DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY HOLIDAY SURPRISE CONTEST! You'll receive your "after holiday" surprises the first of 2007!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving and some great recipes

This week I'll be posting some of my favorite dessert recipes -- traditions that are "must haves" or the family goes NUTS. Sort of like your "auto buys" at the book store. So, these are among some of the family favorites.

NUT CUPS (Great for the holidays!)







*These are great to put on the Thanksgiving or Holiday table at each individual setting, in place of after dinner mints. Very festive! And delicious!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I've been tagged by good friend and fellow Desire author Bronwyn Jameson, to post Five Things You Might Not Know About Me. Now, I've tagged another good friend and Historical author Cheryl St John to play along. All those with blogs, join in too and let me know it's up on your site and I'll post it to mine.

If you don't have a blog, simply post yours in the Comments section. Here goes and have fun!

1. I couldn't blow a bubble with bubble gum to save my life!

2. When not writing, I teach childbirth classes and babycare basics at a local
hospital. It's estimated that I've taught 500 pregnant couples a year for
the past 20 years.

3. My pride and joy cat, Skittles, is known by family and friends as the Devil Cat!

4. When I was sixteen, I was arrested twice. DON'T GET EXCITED! It was for curfew and my "record" was thrown out before I graduated high
school. I really was a good kid.

5. My father never saw my books in print, so I sneak his name Charles
in every book and in every form: names of streets, towns, nicknames, in code,
so he's always with me. See if you can find some.

Now it's your turn. Play along or simply comment.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fun Historical Facts

I write westerns, but I love all history and my research uncovers some amazing facts. These, however, were sent to me by a dear friend and are more in the form of fascinating trivia.

Hope you enjoy!

Life in the 1500's:

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water..

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying . It's raining cats and dogs.

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, Dirt poor. The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old..

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat..

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a ...dead ringer..

And that's the truth...Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! !

I love: Saved by the bell! So which one is your favorite? Got any others?

Start the New Year right! Don't forget to enter my new Surprise Contest to win great prizes and signed books. Contest ends on New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Contest up and running!

The 2006 From the Heart Winter Contest is up and running and this time it's a SURPRISE! I promise great prizes along with several of my autograph books! Be sure to enter today!

What better way to begin the NEW YEAR than with a contest win!

And coming in 2007:

Desire Continuity FORTUNE'S VENGEFUL GROOM coming in March
and BETWEEN THE CEO'S SHEETS coming in June


Friday, October 20, 2006

Bodine's Bounty -- Back to writing!

I've been posting about fun stuff lately, not that writing isn't the most fun of all, but now it's time to talk about the "craft".

I'm 2/3 into my bounty hunter story and working hard to make my hero a dynamite Alpha man, but I can't help putting in some humor. The characters just scream out at me. "Let me say this ... oh please ... then I'll go back to my cool aloof facade."

So, though I'm tempted, I've been using humor only sporatically in this story. Bodine is really a hard man, hurt by life mostly. He's different than many of the other male heroes I've written, because he hadn't been betrayed by a woman. So for me, it's intriguing to write about a man who'd been close to only one other person in his life, his twin brother. And when that brother is mistaken for him and killed, Bodine finds and holds onto that hard edge, driven by guilt and revenge.

Enter my heroine - a spirited, runaway heiress that Bodine has been hired to protect. His job is to keep her safe - "unharmed and untouched" and Emma Marie Rourke truly makes him earn his money. She's out to find her outlaw father and live her dream of becoming a renowned entertainer. Emma sings like an angel, and when she lifts her voice in song, she touches Bodine in places no other ever has.

As my story progresses, I realize that I will write a sequel and the challenge for me is deciding how to shape and mold a secondary character to become my hero or heroine in the next story. But amazingly, these characters seem to jump out on the page, out of the blue. So now, I have Bodine's brother's widow to contend with and I've just learned that my villain has a sister. (Funny how that happens). So crafting a viable pre-conflict in this story for one of those ladies, will take some thought and ingenuity.

That's what I love about writing. It's never dull. There's always a challenge and best of all, when it's not working, there's always the delete key.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives

While I admit to buying into these cliche hot TV shows, there's more than one reason I do tune them in. I have to admit I'd watch them regardless because they are extremely entertaining. But for a writer, they also show a range of off-the-wall characters who say and do outrageous things completely outside the box.

One of the main reasons I enjoy Desperate Housewives, aside from watching Mike Delfino, the sexy plumber guy strut his stuff, is to see what the housewives and their counterparts will do next. They are often times, laugh out loud funny. And sometimes we laugh even though that little angel sitting on our shoulder tells us it's a sin to do so. But oh, it feels so good.

In last night's episode, after Lynette bribed the eight year old pitcher so her son could finally get a hit in the game, I felt a measure of guilty pleasure seeing that struck ball target the pitcher and smack him upside the head. The pitcher went down and my husband and I laughed like school kids. The show is a jumble of high and lows, and isn't slapstick funny. Not really. Most the humor comes from irony and smart dialogue.

Speaking of smart dialogue what woman could resist a show with characters nicknamed, McDreamy and McSexy? Okay, the men on Grey's Anatomy are HOT! We all know that, but lots of shows have hunky guys. This show stands about because it's themed. And us writers know the importance of theme ... a running thread and a flow to the show that leads us to one all important conclusion at the end. Often times, Grey's has parallel themes that are so brilliant that I truly hate to see the episode end.

Expert writing. Witty dialogue. Characters you care about.

Isn't that what we in the romance world strive for and always hope to achieve on every page in every book?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Halloween Treat

A man was walking home alone late one foggy night,
when behind him he hears:
Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog h e makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.
Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him
He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.

However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping
on his heels, the terrified man runs.
Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, the man locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.
With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.
Bumping and clapping toward him.
The man screams and reaches for something, anything,
but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup!
Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...
(hopefully you're ready for this!!!)

The coffin stops!

Okay, so I couldn't resist this one. A cute Halloween funny!

| | | |

Monday, September 25, 2006

Love Is In The Air - The Cerritos Library

A day of romance at the gorgeous Cerritos Library! There's nothing better than spending an afternoon with fellow authors, Barbara McCauley, Maureen Child, Sandra Paul and Patricia Thayer having Tea and delicate sandwiches and speaking on a panel in the gorgeous Skyline Room! I've never seen a more amazing library, from the gorgeous outside fountains, beautiful architecture both inside and out, the wide panel aquarium in the entry, the computer rooms, special children's library, works of art and much more. My pics will try to capture the event, where five authors and our wonderful moderator, Louzana Kaku had a great time speaking about romance, our loves and passions and then answering questions and signing our books. I felt truly honored to have been invited to participate. Special thanks to Padmini Prabhakar and all the Friends of the Cerritos Library for making us feel so welcome. Thank you!!

My good friend, Tanya Hanson and me at "Butterfly" fountain And a dolphin fountain!

I'm in great company! Authors seated from left to right, Lou Dair, Author and Moderator, Barbara McCauley, Sandra Paul, Pat Thayer and standing with me, Maureen Child.

The beautiful Skyline Room, three floors up, overlooking the city of Cerritos.

My fab new agent, Kelly Mortimer with the Mortimer Literary Agency joined the Tea and lent her support. We concluded the event with a booksigning. A thoroughly enjoyable day in Cerritos!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pink Heart Society and Contest!

I'm guest blogging today on with the Pink Heart Society. Hope you can join in and add your comments on hunky Western heroes, those rough and tumble cowboys of the old west. Got some great pics up there too. I'd love to see you there.

Also, we'll be picking three winners for my 2006 From the Heart Contest on September 30th. Be sure to enter. Just a week left!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gainfully Employed Again!

I knew the moment I blogged about the waiting game, I'd hear from my editor. It's seems TPTB want me to write two westerns as well as the anthology I was offered. So, now, not only am I gainfully employed again, but crazily so, since all the stories, that's Bodine's Bounty, the "blind" book, meaning I have no clue what that'll be about, and the anthology are all due before Aug 2007! Lots of writing for me, planting myself down in the chair every day and no vacation for me until I finish the first book.

I'll miss perusing the sites of my friends, reading other blogs, playing online poker (wink) and reading most of all. But I'll be doing what I love to do and that's writing my stories. So, who's complaining? Not me.

I'll leave you with this. Please read, it's very important:

Just a word of warning.................
I don't how many of you shop at Sam's Club or Costco, but this may be
useful to know. I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping.
This happened to me and it could happen to you!!

Here's how the scam works: Two seriously good-looking 23-year-old
well-built guys come over to your car as you are packing your shopping
in the trunk. They both are shirtless and start wiping your windshield
with a rag and Windex, with their highly-defined chest muscles and
rock-hard abs exposed. It's impossible not to! look. When you thank them
and offer them a tip, they say 'No' and instead ask you for a ride to
another Sam's Club or Costco.

You agree and they get in the back seat. On the way, they start talking
dirty about what they want to do to you. Then one of them climbs over
int! o the front seat and begins kissing your neck and begs you to pull
over so he can make love to you!! While this is going on the other guy
steals your purse!!

I had my purse stolen last Tuesday, Wednesday, twice on Thursday, again
on Saturday, and also yesterday and most likely tomorrow.

(Couldn't resist, isn't that funny?)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Playing the Waiting Game

It's probably the hardest thing for a writer to do, whether published or unpublished. Wait. Yes, I've sent in two proposals to my editor. She in turn, has sent everything to the senior editor who has the final word. So, what does a writer do while waiting to hear if her proposals are accepted?

Well, I could play.:) And I admit I'm guilty of that sometimes. I don't spend as much time writing as I ususally do, but I am glued here in my computer chair anyway. I catch up on emails, check out different romance sites, read excerpts, enjoy a game or two of poker. I spend a great deal of time promoting my books, doing chats, guest blogging and visiting my friends' websites and blogs. But, after a while, all the waiting gets old and my fingers itch to hit the keyboard and write my stories.

So, I start another story. One, I fully plan to submit to my editor. It takes a lot of thought, plotting and sometimes, I'll write only one page for that day. But it's writing, it's the beginning of something I fully intend to complete and it's what I have to do. I have to write. This may be difficult for some who doesn't write to understand. But more than I have to write, I can't NOT WRITE. There's a difference. So, this week I decided to develop another story for Desire. It's going well and when it goes well, it's thrilling.

I can get myself in big trouble, because if I SELL everything I'm WAITING on, I could conceivably have four books to write in one year. I've done it, barely, once before, but not stories with the scope and difficulty I have in mind. And I vowed never to do it again. So, do I hope for a rejection? NEVER. I'll find a way, but odds are I won't have that problem. One book is already sold, I'm waiting on approval of the synopsis so I can start the story, the other is a single title contemporary, something new that I've tried which is "iffy". Yet another, is the one I'm hoping to hear about soon, my bounty hunter western. And the one I'm writing now, won't be ready to send off for several weeks.

So there you have it. The craziness of the writing world! It's famine, then maybe too big a feast!

So, after I blog and write a page or two today what will I do with the last days of summer upon us?

Go to the beach!

But I'll be plopped back in the computer chair tonight.
It's what I do.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th

Well, it's THAT day again. And five years ago today we all saw how evil works. But I won't talk about that today.

Today I want to honor all the men and women who have lost their lives. To say a prayer and to keep good thoughts for their families five years later. And I want to thank the men and women in uniform, whether it be police, firefighter, soldier and many more who take it upon themselves to protect us from the crazy fanatics in this world. To all of you I say THANK YOU!

Let's hope we never forget.

Friday, September 08, 2006

To Blog or not to Blog?

It's funny but over a year ago, I didn't really have a clue what a blog was. I remember pestering an author who had tried to explain what it was and how it worked to me and to my frustration I found that I'd over-complicated something that was quite easy to understand and do.

Now I find myself on four blogs. The Desire Author's Blog though, is going to be changed to an Author Spotlight, due to the lack of time for most those authors. Let's face it, we're writers and we need to time to write! Right now, I'm between contracts, waiting on the go-aheads on three projects. If all go through, I'll be one busy little camper, that's for sure. If not, then I'm working on a fourth project. But there's always room in my "off season" for blogging.

Our Harlequin Historical Authors now have blog. We're 54 members strong, so there will be lots of happenings, fun stuff, Top Ten lists, recipes, pics of heroes, covers and so much more on that site. Definitely worth a trip over.

And I just posted on the Digital site Cobblestone Press Blog about my September release, Abducted at the Altar. That site is mainly for erotica and paranormal readers, but they do have room for sexy, romance stories as well. The Way to a Man's Heart is on sale there, a one time Kensington release.

Then there's this one, my own home site blog which I try to update every day or so. Is it hard to come up with pearls of wisdom every day? Some days it is and some days it isn't. It depends on your frame of mind, what's happened in your life lately, and what you think would be of interest.

And then there's the blogs you're invited to do from other sites. Though I'm a new member, this blog will be monitored and done periodically from the brand new Pink Heart Society, a site for writers and readers of category romance, complete with a little Dancing Heart, which I have not been able to successfully download! He's cute though.

So yesterday I turned in a Guest Blog on Why I Write Westerns - The American Cowboy, a fun one to write about the hunky heroes from TV and movies which with be available at the Pink Heart Society Blog on September 21st. I'll be on site that day to comment and answer questions on the subject. Hmmm, guess I could have a lot to say about our hunky heroes!

My RWA chapter at Orange County has a blog on their site which I've been invited to do a few times. They are often themed blogs, this time I sent in WHAT OCC MEANS TO ME, which may even appear in our award-winning newsletter as well.

It's almost gotten to the point where I writer could be behind the eight ball, if he/she doesn't blog, they've become so common and expected. It's just another way to reach out to the writing community, to keep in touch, to communicate our thoughts on a regular and active basis.

So for me, as long as these fingers keep hitting the keys and the brain doesn't fry, I'll choose to blog. :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Hey, it's always nice to make a TOP 10 list.

Here's a list that includes many of my friends and yours truly! The current top 10 bestselling historical romances at e-harlequin.

Top 10 Historical Romances

1. An Unexpected Pleasure by Candace Camp
2. Stay for Christmas by Judith Stacy and Victoria Bylin and Elizabeth
3. The Rake's Proposal by Sarah Elliott
4. The Inconvenient Duchess by Christine Merrill
5. My Lady English by Catherine March
6. The Rebellious Debutante by Meg Alexander
7. Maid of Honor by Paula Marshall
8. Mistaken Mistress by Margaret McPhee
9. Abducted at the Altar by Charlene Sands
10. The Gladiator's Honor by Michelle Styles

Thursday, August 31, 2006

An Afternoon of Tea and Romance at the Cerritos Library

LOVE IS IN THE AIR - Join Maureen Child, Barbara McCauley, Patricia Thayer, Sandra Paul and yours truly on Sunday, September 17th from 2-4 pm for an afternoon tea, sandwiches, discussion and romance at the beautiful Cerritos Library. Sounds like a fun afternoon! Here's the flier, along with ticket order. I hope many of you who live in the area will be able to join us. RT_InviteFlyer.pdf

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Carpe Diem, Seize the Moment

It's a good rule to live by. It's my motto for life. We have so much stress in our lives and I'm not just speaking about in our everyday life, though God knows we have that. But it's hard to watch TV these days or pick up a newspaper without allowing the world events and even local news bring negativity into our lives.

At least for me, a sensitive soul, it's hard to witness destruction and things getting ugly. It's hard for me to realize I'm middle-aged,(though going on 16) and that many of my friends won't get the chance to reach old age.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of some of those who have lost the fight, especially Marlene Goldstein, a childhood friend who passed on last week from a rare incurable disease. And to Jack Miller, my dedicated deputy sheriff, also a childhood friend, who was struck down by a gang member. And to Guy Smith, who lost a cancer fight. All friends who died way too young.

So today my blog isn't about writing or reading. Today it's about learning how to live life to the fullest. My country guy Tim McGraw sings, "Live Like You Were Dying." How many of us really do that? How many of us put off the things we really want to do, the dreams we have, the trips we want to take, that one thing in life that would put a smile on our face every day of the year?

I don't need a friend to die to realize this. It's something I've always believed, but I've been trained, disciplined, taught to be cautious, to save for the future, to not take too many chances. And all that's good advice UNLESS it's stifles you and your dreams.

So I say, CARPE DIEM. SEIZE THE MOMENT! Take a day off and play hookie. Take that trip you can't really afford, get first row seats for your favorite concert! But it's not just about money. Seize the moment every way you can. Help a friend and both will reap rewards. Make your other half feel special and see how special it also makes you feel. Give a spontaneous compliment to a stranger. When you see an opportunity that thrills you, don't overthink or analyze it to death. Don't live a life filled with regrets. "I should have, I wish I had, I'll never get that chance again." Find the courage to seize the day, stop and smell the roses along the way. Enjoy the little things, do the big things.

You'll never regret it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Announcing the new Harlequin Historical Authors Blog

Yes, it's finally here. Look for some great posts,updates and book covers, blurbs and excerpts for you favorite Historical authors on our brand new blog spot.

We'll all have a hand in promoting the spot and you'll get to meet so many of the Harlequin Historical authors, many of whom write for other lines as well. These are the great bunch of ladies. We're otherwise known as the Harlequin Hussies!

And don't forget to come out for the awards show tomorrow at Cataromance!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

2006 Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Awards

I was just informed and happily so that my Feb Harlequin Historical, RENEGADE WIFE has been nominated for the 2006 Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Award! How cool is that? The online award ceremony announcing the winners will be held this Friday at at 6PM PT and there's many familiar names nominated. Hope you all can attend! They are setting out the Red Carpet!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Animal Crackers

I pass them up each time I'm buying groceries, casting them a look of longing as they sat at the checkout aisle, next to People and National Enquirer and gum. I remember them so well. They were my comfort, my fun, I would count the animals, sometimes. I would lay them all out in front of me, make stacks, see how many of each kind I got in one box.

Then I'd eat one. Deciding on which one I wanted wasn't easy, but since I'm a cat lover, I remember eating the lions, and then the zebras, because they had ridges. I loved the box they came in and the little string holder. Yes, they still make them exactly the same way. They were a reminder of school lunches, of lunchpails, and sitting on the benches to eat, of recess and having something special that day to look forward to.

So this time, I picked up a box and set it on the checkout. My husband looked at me. "Are you buying those?"
"Yes, I want to remember. I just want to look at them again."

And when I got them home, I opened the box, spread out my animals and counted. Then I ate one.
Just like when I was a kid.

I love having that box in my cupboard. I love the shape and colors. I love the string handle. They don't make things like they used to. They've been around a long time. Do you remember?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cobblestone Press releases The Way to A Man's Heart and other great releases

Today is the day that I would say is my first official digital downloadable book, The Way to A Man's Heart, but as it turns out, Bunking Down with the Boss, is also available on Eharlequin this month and the book also sells as an Ebook!
All of this is new to me. And I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some other Cobblestone Press Authors today. All have August releases. Some are a bit steamier than mine, others write erotic, but take a peek at these great digital business cards made available to us by Cobblestone. It's the coming thing ... a new way to read a book.

I really love these covers!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tips for Writers on Staying Sane


Impossible, you say? Well, some might agree. The writing world is an up and down rollercoaster ride that can daunt even the firmest of resolves. I can’t NOT write, but there are days when I ask myself - why am I doing this?
And of course, we all know the answer to that one.
Writing and staying on top of your game is an overwhelming chore at times. First of all, the Internet is both our salvation and our poison. There’s so much information to absorb, too many places to visit on the Web and fascinating research that leads to exotic places that eat up all of our time. So how to we find time to write? And more importantly, how do we stay alive in a business that can take a big bite out of your soul then spit you out, one rejection at a time?
After eighteen sales and some pretty tough hills climbed, I can let you in on the tricks and secrets that have helped me along the way.

STAY FOCUSED: You have to want this almost more than your next breath. Whether you are published, looking for that big single title sale or hitting the NY Times bestseller list, or you’re unpublished and hoping to make your first sale you have to set your goals and stick to them. Do your research, learn the genre you are targeting inside out, keep abreast of what editors like and dislike, what’s selling, what’s not. Don’t discount your rejection as the editor’s bad judgment. Take a hard look at your work and figure out what you’re doing wrong. Then try to fix it.
Keep your emotions at bay. Yes, I know, we write romances. We’re passionate beings, but this is a business – a big business. And it doesn’t matter how nice you are, or pretty, or smart, or even talented. Some of the best writing gets rejected too. Why? It’s not enough that you put words on a page with eloquence and great style; you need to be able to tell your story well, with proper plotting and pacing. You need compassionate characters and quality dialogue to set them off. So writing talent isn’t everything, but you can’t sell a book without it, either.
Grant yourself an hour a day to “play” on the Internet. Do your research efficiently, check in with your writer loops to stay abreast of current trends and new business and attend those online workshops if you’d like. But the bottom line is that if you don’t plant your butt down in the chair and work on your story, you’ll get caught up with everything else. Your story suffers.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve refused offers, for work and for play, because it would have taken too much time away from my allotted time for writing. Sounds like I’m a slave to the computer, doesn’t it? I’m not – I work less than four hours a day, giving myself that one hour in the morning, to check emails and network with friends. The rest of the morning I stick with my story.
Set your goals. Write them down if you have to. Reward yourself when you meet those goals and keep writing. I do silly things like, no coffee until I finish the scene. Finish the chapter and I get that chocolate chip cookie with my name on it. Figure out that next plot point and GO SHOPPING!
Basically do whatever it takes to get the words on the page.

STAY INSPIRED: Well, heck, how do you do that? You just got your fourth rejection from a story you were sure to sell. It’s bad news. Allow yourself a day or two to mourn that story. Then jump into something else. Something new, something exciting, something you really can get into in a big way. And if that doesn’t happen, if you don’t have your next big story percolating in your head, then take a breather – a short breather, from writing. And read.
Nothing is more inspiring than reading a good book or two. When I need inspiration, I don’t read outside my genre. There’s time for that when things are going well, but when I can’t seem to get motivated, I pick up a book from one of my favorite romance authors and simply enjoy. I try to let go of my worries and doubts about my writing career and get into the characters and storyline. It might take one book, or two or even three, but after reading something wonderful, ideas sprout and there’s a sense of renewal and rejuvenation. The thrill is back and you’re ready to try to put to paper what’s inside your head.
Another way to stay inspired is to take a little mini vacation to clear the mind. Sometimes, just being “away”, from the computer, the house, the day-to-day turmoil of suburban living, is enough to fuel our imagination and stimulate our dormant talent. On the last weekend trip I took, I remember feeling so free and open on the drive home. I picked up the small journal I always have with me, and began writing. So while my husband listened to his Oldies on headphones, I had completely plotted the sequel to my next Desire.
Just like that. The story came to me because I wasn’t stressing over it, wasn’t even thinking about it. I’d had my eyes closed, but my mind open. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.You know yourself better than anyone else. What inspires you? What would it take to get really excited about your writing again? My tips for inspiration may not help you, but there’s something out there that will. Find it. Use it. And do whatever it takes to get the words on the page.

STAY SANE: This is perhaps the hardest to accomplish, but I believe it’s most important. In this crazy, ever-changing publishing world, how do we keep from sinking into quicksand to never be seen again? Keeping up is difficult and believe me, there are times when I too, feel lost. There’s so much to this industry – chapter meetings, contests, workshops, online loops, organizations, romance websites, reviews. Who’s selling? What line’s new? I need an agent, I don’t need an agent. My editor left the company, my line’s failing. What to do, what to do?
Take a deep breath and tell yourself, you can’t do it all. This is life-saving advice. Staying sane means setting priorities. You can’t know it all, do it all, be it all, but you can decide what is most important to you and stay the course. Involve yourself in organizations that will most benefit you, attend conferences that fit your budget and your writing style. Join only those online groups that pertain to your own interests in a positive way. Your time is precious so don’t waste it on frivolous things.

Staying sane means keeping real. Success doesn’t come easy, at least not for most of us. Oh, you might hear the story of the new author hitting the bestseller list the first time out of the chute. But I relate those miracle stories to a first time mother delivering her baby in a two-hour labor – that just plain doesn’t happen often. With both, you pay your dues and when the long-awaited “baby” is finally born, it’s just as miraculous, just as profound.
There have been so many close calls in my career, demise of lines, change in editors, rejections and changes within publishing houses that directly affected me, but I kept plugging away, realizing that I had enough faith in myself to counteract any niggling self-doubt. Yes, we write love stories that are sweet and sexy and heartwarming all at the same time, but the business of writing romance isn’t any of those things. It’s a tough, bottom-line only business. So keep your expectations real and you’re bound to stay sane.
Next, diversify. Bankers will advise you of the same, diversify your finances as a safety net. Well, I say diversify your writing as well, for pretty much the same reasons. In this crazy business, where lines fold, new ones launch, you would be one step ahead if you could write for two lines, or better yet, two publishing houses. The demise of a line can haunt you for years if you don’t have a back up. This goes for unpublished authors as well. Show your range; show the editors you can write both, a funny contemporary or serious Regency novel. Keep your eye on what’s happening in the market and know that pretty much the only consistency in this business is inconsistency.

There’s a whole wide world of writing out there. You can accomplish your goals, realize your dreams and do whatever it takes to get the words on the page, when you learn to STAY SANE IN THIS CRAZY BUSINESS!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Spirit of Romance

This is the same blog that I posted on the Desire Authors Website today, sorry for the repeat, but I love this sentiment.

Are we all just romantics at heart? Is that why we write and read romance? This is one genre where you can't fool anybody. The stories that come through aren't manufactured by any such formula or direction. These are stories of the heart. I've gotten to know many of my fellow romance writers over the years, and all of us seem to have one important thing in common, we are sentimental creatures who believe in the all-consuming power of love. Love heals. Love conquers. Love demands. I once heard an actor comment that the relationships between a man and woman are the strongest ones on the planet.

I happen to agree. When you think about it, most movies, plays and especially songs, exhibit the power, the pain and the passion of love.

I was reminded of this last night when my husband Don was helping me clean out our daughter's old room, now converted into our exercise/cat room! I was happily engaging in conversation on the Writerspace Desire chat online, taking a break from the cleaning, when I heard music being played in the background. I recognized the song. My husband had found a carton of old videos, and as soon as I heard the tune, I remembered. "Keep that one out, honey. I want to see it again." And so, after my chat was over, he inserted the video into our last remaining and soon-to-be discared video recorder and played the tape.

Tears welled up in my eyes. The song "You are so beautiful to me," came on the video and there, as a Valentine gift to me some 10 years ago, before all this new age electronics made it easy, was my husband's gift to me. He'd spliced together photos of me growing up, from childhood to the first days of our marriage, somehow getting the music in the background. Those three minutes were enough to remind me how powerful our love is, how much romance means to me and how very much my sweet loving husband remembers that.

Those are the reasons, I believe we write romance. At least, it is for me.

My own personal hero -

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Keeping Up with the Jones's

It's an old expression and one maybe some younger writers and readers don't know, but basically it's about trying to stay on an equal keel with your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, your competitors. It's the station wagon to mini-van to SUV syndrome. It's trying to keep up with what's new, what's trendy and be in-the-know.

I find that true with writing too. There's so much out there on the internet, so many places to be, chats, blogs, and then of course, the writing itself. Am I writing the right kind of story, do I have enough books out this year, am I promoting them well enough? I wrote an article once on "Staying Sane in a Crazy Business" and I try to follow my own advice.

I keep telling myself there's only so much I can do. I don't want to be a prisoner to my computer, I spend enough time in front of the screen as it is. But, I WANT to do these things, mostly. And it's fun and often time entertaining. Just finding the time and shuffling the blogs/chats/classes and interviews with my daily writing schedule can be gruesome though, in a wonderful kind of way.

Today is a perfect example. Before I can sit down to write one word on my story, I will have blogged here, on the Desire Website (this is my week) and you can visit my pearls of wisdom at
Also, I did an interview with Cobblestone Author, Madison Chase that was loads of fun. I'm enjoying my new friends at Cobblestone. I want to thank her for a great interview. Check out her website, it's beautiful.

Later tonight, I'm doing a Desire Author Chat at I hope some of you will stop by for a quick hello and hear what the August authors have to say! It starts at 5PM West Coast time.

Well, that's it for today. My "Keeping Up with the Jones's" is keeping me very busy!