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Monday, July 31, 2006

Spring Brides Anthology for 2008

It seems like a long way off for me to be thinking about my next project, the shortened 30,000 word story for the Spring Brides western anthology, but the synopsis is due in October and I've yet to come up with a viable idea.

True, I've been working on another western, hoping to sell Bodine's Bounty to Harlequin Historicals very soon, but now that the proposal is done, I need to be thinking of my next project. And the idea of writing a story, not big enough for a full book, yet has all the emotion, adventure, excitement of a full book, is actually a challenge I'm happy to take it on. I'm finishing up the Wed Under Western Skies anthology, loving it and especially Cheryl St. John's - Almost A Bride. The book made me laugh out loud, something I don't do often when reading, and the chuckles continued every time I thought of this one scene, but it's by far not a comedy. That's the beauty of good writing, real life situations have a way of making us laugh sometimes, putting ourselves in the hero/heroine's shoes. And just a few chapters later, I shed tears from a scene that really touched me.

So, thinking up a good story takes a while and I always want my stories to touch the reader in some way. The best way I have of coming up with ideas, is too simply not think too hard, but put the ideas to rest and then read some other books. From them, ideas spark, and the what-ifs, begin to happen. I'm not one to stare at a blank screen. I never have. I ususally don't even sit down at the computer to write unless I know exactly what I want to write about.

For me, it works!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Atlanta Blues?

I'm not really having the blues over my decision not to attend Romance Writer's of America's National Convention. For some odd reason, I decided that I needed to be home this year, that and the fact that our kitchen remodel drained our summer funds. But even so, I didn't feel inclined to go.

Not that they aren't fun. I usually have a wonderful time and nobody knows how to party and have a good time better that a bunch of (2000 strong) romance writers. I find myself thinking about what I'd be doing if I were there. Wednesday nights are always a blast. We have a Literacy Signing and all published authors in attendance line up in long rows of tables, sometimes as many as 400 authors, and we sign our books. The event is open to the public and the money raised all goes to charity for literacy. Often times, each group of authors, for me Desire and Historicals, runs a contest and a little game. Afterwards, we usually go to our Chapter's Suite where we once again, have a party.

This morning, I'd be at the Harlequin Hussy breakfast, like at 7 AM somewhere in the hotel and usually about 15 or us meet sometimes for the first time and have a casual breakfast. The rest of the day is workshops, or meetings. Friday nights are saved for the Publisher's parties -- and Harlequin does a great one. Usually I go to dinner beforehand with my editor with a couple of her other authors. This year the party is at the RITZ. THAT, I will definitely miss. Saturday night is always the Rita ceremony and afterward, another party.

It's tiring just thinking about it and all that goes on. And usually I don't get much sleep. Takes days after I return home to wind down and catch up on sleep. I had a great time in Dallas two years ago and Reno last year. But this year, I'm home and happy to be so. Next year is Dallas again. I'll go and the year after, it's in San Francisco. I can't wait for that one! So I guess I needed a breather, a little reprieve and I'll hear all about the conference, the gossip, the winners of contests, what the editor's said, from my friends.

It's almost like being there.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Westerns -- Continued

Here's the pics I couldn't upload yesterday. Handsome cowboys, aren't they? And the roles they played made a lasting impression on so many lives. High Noon is one of the classic westerns of our time, speaking of raw courage and commitment. I can watch this movie a hundred times. And Cheyenne? Who was he exactly? I never could figure that out! He seemed to roam from town to town, getting himself in some sort of trouble wherever he went. A real serious cowboy dude. And then there's Little Joe Cartwright. His character was multi-dimensional and Michael Landon played him so expertly. Sometimes serious, but mostly he lent humor and fun to the show, teasing Hoss no end with his cocky, mocking smile that we all came to love. There's so many other westerns that I loved, a fading light on the horizon, it seems. Where are the good westerns now? Have we moved on, grown out of that era? I hope not. I'd love to see more and read more and write more.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Westerns - How much I love them!

I wonder how many females cringe at the thought of watching a classic old western movie with John Wayne or Gary Cooper or Jimmy Stewart? Or how many women actually get excited when a new television mini-series shows up, like Lonesome Dove and the recent two-parter, Broken Trail? How many of us of the gentler sex actually tape or TVO old series like Bonanza, Big Valley, Rifleman and Cheyenne?

Well, count me among the women who do! I know it's crazy. I keep telling my husband its one of the many reasons he should be glad he married me. I can't help it! I love stories of the old west. I love the history, the drama, the whole time period thrills me. Okay, it's also not hard on the eyes to watch those hunky cowboys. Who didn't love Michael Landon as Little Joe? And what woman alive wouldn't like to have Cheyenne Body aka Clint Walker, rescue her?

What's really great is that there's an abundance of these movies and TV shows on cable these days. Right now, I have a few episodes of Big Valley and a couple of classic westerns waiting for me to watch on my DVR. It's great for my research in that it gets me in the mood, gives me ideas for scenery, for settings and for storylines. But I will admit most of my true research comes from my extensive library of books on the time period that I've collected over recent years.

So, now I'm reading a great western romance by my friend and great writer, Cheryl St. John as I head off onto the trails of my newest story, Bodine's Bounty. This one is just in proposal stage at the moment. And then, I'll be writing a western anthology for Harlequin called Spring Brides for 2008! So, I have lots of ways to get motivated. Lots of fun reading and writing ahead. But honestly, for me it's no chore. I love those stories!

Monday, July 24, 2006

My "Devil" Cat, Skittles

Part of the problem is that Skittles is half-Siamese, we're told. She is an amazingly sweet loving cat -- to us. But she's fickle and sometimes she allows visitors, actually welcomes them and might even rub up against them when they're sitting in my kitchen. But for some reason that we have yet to figure, she goes into "attack" mode, and most times it is completely unprovoked.

That's when she becomes vicious. This, she has never done to me, my husband or my daughter, but she has been known to go a little crazy when we're not in the room, arching her back, hair on end, hissing and making near-excorist sounds. And worse yet, she actually attacks, with claws out, striking at people in our house.

When she trapped my son in my bathroom, refusing to let him out, clawing at the door, growling and striking him, making his finger bleed, we just couldn't figure it. She'd known my son, used to sleep with him when he lived at home. And five minutes later, she re-emerged in the living room where we were all talking, as if nothing had ever happened. Short term memory? Crazy? It's weird and we joke about our sweet little lovable cat, who purrs, sits on my computer when I'm working, talks to us and sleeps on our bed at night, wondering about the Jeckal and Hyde syndrome.

It's gotten to the point that no one wants to come inside the house to feed her, when we're out of town! They're afraid she'll go into attack mode. And she has, in the past- biting the hand that feeds her, per se. So, I'm asking any of you, if you've had any experience with "devil" cats. And what to do about them.

Adorable, isn't she? Our tuxedo cat with dual personalities!

Friday, July 21, 2006


Be sure to enter my 2006 From the Heart Contest. It's up on the contest page, but here's a preview of the prizes. I love the new book/beach photo totes. All 3 winners will get that prize along with the three summer reads, Heiress Beware, Bunking Down with the Boss and Abducted at the Altar. And the grand prize winner will also receive a gift certificate to Borders!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hump Day Funnies

Chuckles for the Day:

I felt like my body had gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman: "And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?" the reporter asked She simply replied, "No peer pressure."

The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs.

Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, "How old was your husband?" "98," she replied "Two years older than me" "So you're 96," the undertaker commented She responded, "Hardly worth going home, is it?

I've sure gotten old! I've had two bypass surgeries; a hip replacement; new knees; Fought prostate cancer and diabetes; I'm half blind; can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine; take 40 different medications that make me dizzy; winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends, But, thank God, I still have my driver's license.

A 97-year-old man goes into his doctor's office and! says, "Doc, I want my sex drive lowered" "Sir," replied the doctor, "you're 97 Don't you think your sex drive is all in your head?" "You're damned right it is!" replied the old man "That's why I want it lowered!"

An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart "Wal-Mart?" the preacher exclaimed "Why Wal-Mart?" "Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week."

The good news is that even as we get older, guys still look at our boobs The bad news is they have to squat down first.

These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, "For fast relief."

I've tried to find a suitable exercise video for women my age, but they haven't made one called "Buns of Putty."

Don't think of it as getting hot flashes. Think of it as your inner child playing with matches.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What Happens in Vegas - A Different Story

Yes, after sitting at the Roulette table and having a few too many Black Russians, I could talk about my escapades in the casino, but that would be a typical Las Vegas story, wouldn't it?

So I'd rather speak about the fun I had at visiting my cousin just north of Vegas, and his 14 horse stables. Although it was record heat, even for the desert that day, hitting temps of 126 degrees, I had to venture outside to visit these sweet, well-cared for horses. Being a avid reader and writer of westerns, I've learned and absorbed a lot about horses from books and internet sources, but there's nothing quite so intriguing as being there, looking those gorgeous animals in the eyes and really relating to them.

The gelding Royal a beautiful Arabian comes from Wayne Newton's stables and he's really a noble creature with a gentle nature. Cody, was headed for the glue factory, until my cousin adopted him, and Heather, who is an 18 year old mini, is really a horse and not a pony. Casper is pure white, like the ghost! I learned that a true thoroughbred can't have blue eyes and it's not good to have too much color on their stockings. The palominos are golden, with incredible blonde manes and paints have color on their white coats, looking exactly as if someone tossed a dark paint on them, whether it be black or tan or brown.

I've learned all of this through books as well, but to see these lovely creatures, pet them, feed them and spend time with them was the highlight of my Las Vegas trip, that and spending time with the family I don't see often enough.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Covers, Covers and More Covers

I'm happy to say that I've got three new covers to share with you for my summer releases! In August, I'll have a reprint of my third book by Kensington set in a downloadable format (actually 4 formats) with Cobblestone Press! The original title of MY GIRL has been changed to my inital title and one that works beautifully for this story, THE WAY TO A MAN'S HEART. We're shooting for an August release with that book.

Then again, in August my BUNKING DOWN WITH THE BOSS, is available in bookstores and all online sites and though my hero is a tad older and more world weary, I was still excited to see a hunky cowboy on the cover! And I was just informed and happily so, that BUNKING DOWN, has been chosen for Eharlequin's new EBOOK program, so that will also be available in a downloadable format in August as well and will continue to be offered that way in perpetuity!

And lastly, I'm thrilled with my new western historical cover for ABDUCTED AT THE ALTAR! My September release is my first non-hero/heroine cover. I think the cover artists did an excellent job!

I hope you enjoyed this preview! There's nothing more exciting for me to see my hard work depicted in such a lovely way. These are the last of my 2006 releases. It's always fun to see what the cover gods have in store for me. I'll have to wait until my next Desires come out in 2007 for the rest ... but for now, consider me thrilled!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Power of a Name

It's amazing to me that I can't really start writing a new story, until all the main character's names are really cemented in my head. I'm beginning a new western now, called Bodine's Bounty, and yes, Bodine will be my hero, a ruggedly alpha male with only the one name. I don't think I even need to give him a first name - that's how alpha he is.

But for my heroine? That is what is bogging me down. It has to be just right. It has to be perfect. I can see her in my mind, what she looks like, how she dresses, how she walks, but so far - her name eludes me.

Why is it so important? I'm not sure. I guess I can attach any name to her and make it fit, but that's not how I operate. I've been plotting this story with my husband, who is BTW, a master plotter, even though he doesn't read romances (not even mine!) but between the two of us and a book on names, I haven't found the right one yet.

It's out there, somewhere and I know I'll find her name and it will fit my story to the letter, but I'm anxious to move on - to make the story come to life and enjoy the process. Until I figure out who my heroine is, I can't do that.

So what would you name a young wisp of a woman, with a slender body, long dark flowing hair, nothing remarkable about her face but incredible inky black almond-shaped eyes, and a lilting voice that could stop the devil in his tracks?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Lettetia Elsasser for winning my Spring 2006 From the Heart Contest. Second prize of two autographed books goes to Martha Lawson!

Thanks to all who entered.

New contest is starting immediately! Please enter and this time, there will be three winners picked, for the Triple Treat Contest -- all three Summer Sizzlers will be awarded along with other goodies. So, even though we haven't yet posted the prizes, don't hesitate to sign up.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Contest Update!

Contest winners have been picked and I'm happy to announce the grand prize winner:

Lettitia ElSasser


As an added prize, two other winners were picked to receive autographed copies of my June and August Desires, Heiress Beware and Bunking Down with The Boss.

Tracy Allen

Martha Lawson

The new contest begins immediately! We'll be posting the prizes soon, but you can still enter my 2006 From the Heart Contest right now!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Birthday, USA!

Happy Fourth of July everyone! I hope you have your fill of hot dogs, hamburgers, sodas, baseball, swimming pools, balloon tosses, parades, concerts and fireworks shows!

Be safe and enjoy our freedoms. Sending my love and thanks out to our men in uniform around the globe. Today and always I'm proud to be an American.