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Thursday, March 30, 2006

End of our Contest!

Tomorrow marks the end of my first 2006 contest. We'll be picking the winner of the beautiful Brighton heart necklace, the End Of Trail bookmark and copies of Like Lightning and Renegade Wife . We'll be sure to post the winner's name on Friday!

Starting Monday, the new contest begins!

Be sure to enter again to win:
Heart-shaped basket filled with lotions, candles, writing paper, notepads and potpourri along with a copy of my new June continuity
from Silhouette Desire, Heiress Beware!

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Loved it -- Finding the time!

I finished Lori Foster's book, Jaime, in one day. I have to say that it was excellent, but I think three or four stories came before it, and I would've loved to have read those first, in order, to see how the characters all play out to this one and final book in the series.

What a treat. If you're reading this, then you're a lover of reading books too, so you can relate to me saying, that staying in and giving myself guilt-free reading time was the most enjoyable time I've had in a long while. Relaxing and fun and so cozy on a rainy California day, I kicked back and simply indulged.

It's something, I vow to do more often. I can't wait for the books I recently ordered to arrive, to give myself that one pleasurable day of reading again.

How I missed it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Reading an Author I've Never Read Before

I love writing, but as rule lately, because of my deadlines and other writing business, I've stopped reading as much as I like to. I really miss it. So sometimes, I reward myself by getting a goal and once I reach that goal, I allow myself guilt-free time to read! And I've made a pact with myself to try to read a book from an author I've never read before.

There are so many authors I would love to read. To tell you how behind I am, I picked up this book before Christmas and set it on my nightstand, thinking that at the next opportunity, I'd read that book. But then, I needed to read some books for research, my friend handed me a book I simply had to read from one of my old standbys, and I'm trying to keep up on THE ELLIOTTS from Desire so when my book comes out in June, Heiress Beware, I'll be all caught up. So, there sat this book titled Jaime, from Lori Foster. No, I'd never read Lori before and I was determined to read this book.

And now, I'm enthralled with the story and I'm setting aside some time today to sit down with a cup of coffee and really get into it. After blogging and reading my emails, that's exactly what I plan to do. Oh, and did I mention, this will be a guilt-free read? I faxed in my Author Alterations for my Aug and Sept books, finished a scene I'd been working on for Fortune's Vengeful Groom and have the morning to myself! What a nice way to start a Monday.

Be sure to enter my contest ending this Friday! You'll love the prizes this time!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I have a floor!

Yes, I do. I have a new kitchen floor and it's beautiful. Now, who'd think anyone would get excited about a new floor? Certainly not me, but after walking around all month on broken up cement, gray and dingy, not to mention how hard it is on feet accustomed to going barefoot, I'm overjoyed. My dear hubby is amazing. He laid it down, took him all week, but he knew this was it. He kept saying "This is the last one I'm doing." And unless we're hit with another earthquake, God Forbid, this will be our final floor. This time we got it right and he did a great job. I love the big squares of stone, the way it feels under my feet, the smooth texture and most of all, how it brings all of our hard work together to make the kitchen look, finally, complete.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Getting Organized

Some people marvel at how I manage to write so much, work a part-time job (Childbirth and Baby Care Instructor) and keep up my household. All I can say to that, is that I know no other way. Truly. While I'd love to take full credit for having written three books last year along with all the other things I do, I can't imagine NOT doing it.

It's no great hardship for me to sit down at the computer and write my stories. Most days, I can't wait. Sure, there are times when I run into a roadblock, have to reassess the plot, or develop the characters better, which takes thinking, not writing, but all in all, it's a joy for me. So, when I get going, I keep going. There isn't a day that goes by when I'm not doing something, even if I have a few extra minutes before dinner, or an appointment, I will sit down to edit something. Last night, as I was showing a video to my childbirth class, I took my AA's (Author Alterations-last stage of copyedits) and read through 20 pages of my manuscript. It felt good to accomplish that, rather than sit through a video I've seen more than a dozen times.

If it seems that I'm always working, I'm not. I have my down time, where I'll sit in front of the TV and watch Days of Our Lives, or read a book, or simply go shopping. I think it's easy for me to make the most of my days. I don't procrastinate. If something needs doing, I do it. There's nothing to marvel at here, no great mystery as to how I get all the things done I need to, but then, my kids are grown, I have the house to myself and I don't have the same responsibilities I had when I was raising my family.

Still it amazes me, when people ask, "How do you do it all?"
I shrug and shake my head. I really don't know any other way.

Monday, March 20, 2006


As I'm writing Fortune's Vengeful Groom my March 2007 continuity, I'm finding myself extremely interested in Montana. My story primarily takes place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but my hero whisks our heroine off for a day trip to his new estate in Montana. The research has been fun and interesting and I'm finding that, because I also write historicals, there's so much American history there. The area I'm writing about is the same as the movie, Legends of the Fall, so you get an idea about Big Sky Country. What's amazing to me is that there's fewer people living in the entire state, than there is in Los Angeles. I think they have just about a million people in the whole of Montana.
They have no idea about traffic jams! And the scenery there is amazing ... from blue skies and vast prairies to snowcapped mountains. I only hope I do the scenes justice as I write about that area.

And thanks to my friend and Harlequin Hussy, Gail Ranstrom, for her advice and insights about Montana, a place she has frequented many times. It's always nice to hear it from the source! See, not all my research comes off the internet!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

American Idol - Predictions

Okay, I admit I LOVE this show. I'm addicted. Each year, it's something different, but the same. I don't know if the talent is that much better this year than last, as the judges like you to believe as they hype their show, but it's definitely more diverse. Honestly, I don't do reality shows. But I've always loved the competitive edge to shows about real, raw talent. I used to watch Star Search all the time and I think of Idol as the a more contemporary version of that show.

So here's my predictions: I think there's really three top performers, and many that are very, very good. Mandisa can sing anything. She's a joy to watch. She has vocals that remind me of Aretha Franklin, the power and soulful strength of her voice. I also think Chris is fabulous. He too, picks the songs that suit him and he's got a great style and wonderful voice. And Katherine, has it all. She's got the Idol look, a very clear strong voice and is very likeable. Even Simon thinks she reminds him of Kelly Clarkson. So, those are my picks for the top three. I don't know who'll win, but hey, last year I did pick Carrie Underwood. And she won!

But Ace, Kelly, Paris and Taylor are all so good, in both their personalities and their style of singing. I wish them all well. It takes guts and confidence to do what they're doing. Anybody agree or disagree with my predictions? Who's your favorite?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The New Desire Stories

Well, I'm happy to say, I'll be working on a story I've wanted to do now for Desire for quite a while. I worked very hard on the proposal, trying to get it right so that it meets with our new Silhouette Desire Guidelines. These stories are focused on more meaty conflicts, stronger, (alpha) heroes and heroines who have flaws and have made a few mistakes in the past.

To give you an idea, the title, Between the Ceo's Sheets, has been changed to The CEO Seeks Revenge. Tougher men, flawed heroines, stronger, deeper storylines. I have to say it was a challenge for me to develop this story. But apparently, now I have the opportunity to write it and it will be a 2007 release.

That's the good news. And there really isn't any bad news that goes along with this. I enjoy a new challenge and the test of my talent and writing ability to develop a story that I might not have wanted to write before. At least doing so, will keep life interesting, keep me on my toes and hopefully, help me enhance my craft a bit.

All in all, a good thing.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Contest coming to a close!

Hi everyone. Just a quict reminder that my 2006 From the Heart contest will be coming to a close at the end of March!

Be sure to enter to win some great prizes!

I'm off now ... working on Fortune's Vengeful Groom for March 07!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Researching a new home.

I've said this before and find it so true that sometimes, the research is more fun that than the writing. In my March 07 book, Fortune's Vengeful Groom, my hero has built this fantastic new home on acres and acres of land. When he brings our heroine to see it, she's floored by it's magnificence.

So, when writing this, I had to find such a home to describe. I could have made it all up, but honestly, I couldn't have even imagined this home in my wildest dreams. Much of what I found was from the 2006 HGTV Dream Home Giveaway. There's a home there, that my daughter has entered to win, every day since the contest started. She kept telling me to check it out online, you'll love it. As it happened, she was right. Not only is it a perfect dream home for me, but it worked so well in my story that I included much of the design in my hero's Montana home.

This is truly a great house with 17 rooms in all, including three levels, a view of the lake and mountains, a wine cellar, an outdoor living area, a gym, recreation room and dynamite touches like attic bedrooms and wrap-around terrace and balconies.

I spent hours perusing magazines and checking out home sites and it was more fun that I'd ever thought. Who would have thunk?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

For a laugh!

Just couldn't resist this one.
As some of you might know, in my other life, I teach childbirth and babycare classes at my local hospital. I hope some of you new moms out there are reading this one! You just have to laugh!



A lady about 8 months pregnant got on a bus She
noticed the man opposite her was smiling at her.

She immediately moved to another seat. This time
the smile turned into a grin, so she moved again.

The man seemed more amused. When on the fourth
move, the man burst out laughing, she complained to the driver and
he had the man arrested.

The case came up in court. The judge asked the
man (about 20 years old) what he had to say for himself.

The man replied, "Well your Honor, it was like
this: When the lady got on the bus, I couldn't help but notice her
condition. She sat down under a sign that said, 'The Double Mint
Twins are Coming' and I grinned."

"Then she moved and sat under a sign that said,
'Logan's Liniment will reduce the swelling', and I had to smile."

"Then she placed herself under a deodorant sign
that said, "William's Big Stick Did the Trick", and I could hardly
contain myself."

"BUT, your Honor, when she moved the fourth time
and sat under a sign that said, 'Goodyear Rubber could have
prevented this Accident'... I just lost it."


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kitchen Update

Oh, yes ... the kitchen. It's halfway there and I'll admit, I do love it so far. It's been almost 4 weeks of no appliances, of eating out or bringing in, and I'm hoping the end is near. I really DO miss cooking. The maple cabinets are gorgeous, but there's a few that need replacing. That will take some time --no biggee, at least I've restocked all my shelves and everything's ready to go. The granite was done in record time -- one week from the picking out of, to the installation and that was amazing. IT'S amazing. So pretty and the best thing of all, NO MORE UGLY GROUT! But the appliances that were scheduled for Sunday, didn't come -- a snafu that wasn't pleasant. They are due on Thursday and then I'll be cooking again. New floors will be in on the weekend (done expertly by dear talented hubby) and then wall tiles, painting and repairs. I figure by next Thanksgiving we'll have it all done. No, Kidding! It seems like I've been dealing with this kitchen since last Thanksgiving though. Enough is enough. I'm ready and hoping this kitchen will serve me as well as the original one did - twenty years of fine service. At least!

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Academy Awards

Okay, so I went to Trader Joe's yesterday afternoon to pick up a few grocery items and the place was packed. I've never seen this store so crowded before, the lines were actually into the grocery aisles. So as I'm standing in line, I spoke with another woman and asked. "Is this because of the Academy Awards later tonight?" She nodded and said she thought so. People were shopping early so as not to miss the show, or buying food to entertain during the show.
I live 30 minutes from Hollywood and many of the people I know work in the entertainment industry. We are inundated with these folk, so Oscar night is really a big deal here, maybe more than anywhere else. But it never ceases to amaze me, the trickle down affect. How, just because the Oscars are on TV at 5 PM, that I have to stand in long lines for 20 minutes just to buy cereal and milk!

And you know, I didn't even watch much of the show. This year, oddly, I didn't see more than one movie up for an award, so I tuned in and out, but I did catch Reese Witherspoon's acceptance speech. She's the real deal, I think. I was happy for her. And now, can life in and around Hollywood, just get back to normal? Or, maybe, that is normal for Hollywood. I just don't want to stand in any more long grocery lines!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Reading and Writing

While in the midst of the kitchen remodel and all the goings on with picking granite (fun) buying new baking supplies (old ones were VERY old) and living in my house as a camper would, with paper plates, BBQing if I want a home-cooked meal and such, I've also been doing a bit of reading.

Now, that's really my favorite thing to do. And as I'm reading this book from a well-known author, with many books in print, I'm finding myself not "into" the book by page 80. That usually doesn't happen -- not with this author. And I'm thinking that if this was the author's first book, perhaps it wouldn't have been published at all. I stayed up and got fully immersed in the book, because I KNOW this author doesn't disappoint, but that thought niggled at me all the while.

There's something to be said about author status and reputation. Because truly, on any given earlier page, 20 or 30 or 50 or even 60, I could have put the book down and never picked it up again. There just wasn't the conflict going on, I didn't care about the characters, nothing intrigued me. Like I said, though wonderfully written, this book broke a lot of rules most authors have to follow to "hook" the audience almost from page one.

And I realized that ONLY because I trust this author to give me a good book and a satisfying ending, that I continued to read. It shouldn't take 80 pages to garner interest, set up conflict and intrigue the reader, but this time it did. So, I guess the author skated, at least for me, due to popular demand, a wonderful reputation and great track record. I hope this doesn't sound like sour grapes. It's not meant to, really. But it just goes to show that paying your dues in the writing world, ultimately pay offs with loyal fans and sometimes, just like in life -- authors get a free ride.