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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!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Getting it Done and Having Fun too!

I'll admit it's hard to get to the computer right now. Our blistering heat has simmered down and summertime is always a time for fun and games, isn't it? But I do have a plan. This morning I woke up and got right to the computer at 7AM. This is my week to blog on the Desire Authors site, so if you want to check out my post on why I wrote Bunking Down with the Boss, go to and hit Blog/Spotlight.

So after I posted my Desire blog, I did an online interview with a Cobblestone Press author,(thank you, Madison) which will be posted tomorrow. And I polished an article for our award-winning newsletter called Behind the Book, Abducted at the Altar. A little background story on why and how I wrote that book. The article will appear in my chapter's wonderful Orange Blossom newsletter that reads more like a magazine, for September.

So, after doing my business things, I decided I needed a break. Coffee and a fun computer game I like to play. It's a good distraction for me and it helps break up the day. And after this blog today, I'll exercise for a little while, have lunch, then I'm free! When I'm disciplined like this, I don't worry about taking time for some fun things, maybe shopping, though I'm not a shopper. Or I'll finish the book I've been reading ... more enjoyable for me. And then later, I'll watch the ANGEL's game, and then just because I want to ... I'll come back to the computer. Maybe even do some writing!

Well, that's how I get it done and have fun too!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


August 2006
Hi Everyone! I can't believe it's August! Hope all of you are staying cool even though I'll be speaking about my 3 Summer Sizzlers! I'm pleased to announce that my June Desire, HEIRESS BEWARE hit #2 for 2 weeks running on the Borders List for series romance! The book is part of the Elliott Continuity Series and is still going strong. If you love amnesia stories, I hope you'll enjoy this one.

There's lots of things happening in August. The early release on of my next story, BUNKING DOWN WITH THE BOSS is doing great! If you viist my website to buy the book, click on the button with special offers from Harlequin and you'll get some free prizes!

Here's what the reviewers are saying, oh and BTW, this is my favorite Desire to date. I hope you'll like it too.


4 Stars -- Though he fights it, Sam finds himself falling for the feisty widow with the big heart in Bunking Down with the Boss (4), Charlene Sands' emotional and enriching tale of redemption.

CATAROMANCE 4 1/2 Stars -Bunking Down with the Boss is one of those stories that will tug at your emotions. Charlene Sands shows us that taking a chance on love is always difficult. Both Caroline and Sam are dealing with issues that make taking that chance even more difficult. Loveable and realistic characters, you can't help but root for them to be true to their hearts and take that chance. An engaging tale, Bunking Down with the Boss proves that Charlene Sands is a gifted storyteller. I highly recommend the enjoyable Bunking Down with the Boss ... Debby Guyette

WRITER'S UNLIMITED -- I was drawn into the story and found I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see if these two people will find love at the end of the story. Pick up a copy of Bunking Down with the Boss and see how love can find a way ... Helen Silfer

BUNKING DOWN WITH THE BOSS - has also been selected for the Eharlequin EBOOK program, so starting in August it will be available in downloadable form! I'm still learning about this newest form of reading, so please share with me your insights. My editor, Jessica tells me this is a very good thing!

And also coming in August/September is my newest old release from Cobblestone Press! What was formerly known as MY GIRL from Kensington will be available in 4 downloadable formats as THE WAY TO A MAN'S HEART! Something's sizzling in the kitchen, and it's not just Christy's cooking! Check out and see some great new reads as downloads. This book is out of print! And now available as a digital download - I couldn't be more pleased!

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER HAPPENINGS -- In August I'll be moderating a panel at the Orange County Chapter of RWA with award-winning authors Barbara McCauley, Maureen Child, Susan Squires and Glyniss Campbell and Cathy Hake, all prolific authors in their own genres. The Topic - What's Hot in the Market right now. And the afternoon speaker is none other than the wonderful David Morrell, author of Rambo, First Blood along with over twenty other titles! Stop by for this great talk on August 12th.

In September, I've been invited to be on a panel at the Cerritos Library called Love Is In the Air - a writer's Tea in the Skyline Room. I hear this is a fantastic library and I'm looking forward to being on this panel! Come join in and sip some tea with me on September 17th.

Also in September look for the release of my newest western ABDUCTED AT THE ALTAR!

I'm busy working on a new western right now and have be invited to do a Spring Wedding Anthology for Harlequin Historicals for 2008! As you can see I'm keeping busy and loving every minute of it!

The Brand New 2006 From the Heart Contest is up an running and we're giving away 3 prizes this time. Please be sure to enter.

On a more personal note I'm excited to have my standing date with good friend and fellow author Tanya Hanson as we see Tim McGraw and Faith Hill in concert in August. We're both huge country music fans and love Tim and Faith.Can't wait. It's my one indulgence. Have to have floor seats for their concerts!!

George Carlin on Aging - This is so true!

George Carlin's Views on Aging
Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.
You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!
You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay "them "

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9 Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.