Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Bobbie of BookReviews by Bobbie made this lovely badge for me now that A CHRISTMAS BALL is available. (Bless her heart! She's forgiven me for the snafu on Monday and we're rescheduled to be at BookReviewsByBobbie next Monday, Oct. 5th!)

But today, I'm at Penelope's Romance Reviews where i had great fun with an interview and am giving away a book from my backlist to someone who leaves a comment.

And speaking of backlist,Etirv (Blog touristas will recognize her!) was at her local Honolulu Borders looking for A CHRISTMAS BALL and found VEXING THE VISCOUNT and PLEASURING THE PIRATE instead. She was sweet enough to snap this pic with her cellphone. Sounds like ACB hasn't reached the islands yet, but I'm tickled that some of my books are in paradise, even if I can't be just now. Thanks, Etirv! I really appreciate hearing about where my books are living.

If you happen to spot A CHRISTMAS BALL and have a way to snap a pic for me, I love to track the distribution! Thanks.

Hope to see you all over at Penelope's Romance Reviews today!

PS. My "virtual signing" is still going on at NightOwl! I'm sending out goodie packages to readers who buy A CHRISTMAS BALL between now and October 6th!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Virtual Signing!

Oh! It's finally here! Today is the official launch date for A CHRISTMAS BALL!

Now I know some copies got out early because I've already received emails from readers who loved it! But today is the "official" day and the day the sales begin to count toward hitting those all important 'lists.' It's a little known fact that bestsellers lists aren't actually made up of the books that sell the most copies. It's a measure of the velocity at which the books fly off the shelves during the first week of release.

So, while every sale is important, if you really want to support an author or a genre, buy a book during the first week of its release.

Now I don't expect A CHRISTMAS BALL to hit a bestseller list, but I'd love to see it make a good showing. To that end, I'm doing a "virtual signing" through NightOwl Romance. If you buy A CHRISTMAS BALL between now and October 6th, I'll send you a good package (including a handmade Christmas ornament made by me!) Please see NightOwlRomance for the details!

And I'm also blogging at NightOwl and giving away a backlist book to one lucky commenter. So please also pop over to the NightOwl Blog today too!

Hope to see you there.

A Red Hot Fairy Tale

Please welcome my fellow Dorchester author, Helen Scott Taylor. Helen lives in Devon, England and earned a degree in Botany and Zoology from London University. She also possesses a wonderfully magically imagination and won the American Title IV Contest. If you like fairy stories, you'll love THE MAGIC KNOT. Take it away, Helen!

In my fairy world featured in The Magic Knot, each fairy embodies the qualities of one of the elements. The leprechauns and Cornish piskies are Earth elementals, the noble old blood Tuatha Dé Danaan are either Fire, Air, or Water. This gives them their powers, strengths, and weaknesses.

Earth is the mother, the element of birth and renewal. Earth elementals are steady, grounded, and generous, with their feet firmly on the ground. Confident and steadfast, Earth elementals have an instinct for survival, which makes them excellent protectors.

Air elementals are intelligent with great imagination, and can be very persuasive. They are good at conceiving new ideas and seeing changes coming. They have an affinity to music. They may ‘have their heads in the clouds’ and be difficult to pin down. Their spiritual beauty is reflected in the intricate formation of snowflakes.

Water elementals are the nurturers, the calm center that supports loved ones to help them conquer problems. Sensual, graceful, and often very beautiful, Water elementals have strong emotions, and love deeply.

Fire elementals embody passion, enthusiasm, and desire. They are quick and bright, but often emotionally volatile. Forceful and highly opinionated, Fire elementals think they know best. They are considered to be ‘hot blooded’.

To find out which element you are, go to my website and take my elements quiz. Then come back and tell us what element you are!

(Emily popping in here. Helen told me she'll give a copy of THE MAGIC KNOT to someone who leaves a comment!)

The Magic Knot Back Cover Copy


What woman wouldn’t be attracted to Niall O’Connor’s soft Irish brogue and dark good looks? But Rosenwyn Tremain must find her father, and she isn’t going to let a sexy, stubborn Irishman and his motorcycle distract her. Rose’s intuition tells her he’s hiding something, a secret even the cards cannot divine. Her tarot deck always reads true, but how can one man represent both Justice and Betrayal?


Magic. Niall’s body tingles with it when he finds the woman snooping in his room. Rosenwyn might believe she’s a no-nonsense accountant, but her essence whispers to him of ancient fairy magic that enslaves even as it seduces. Her heritage could endanger those he’d die to protect, but her powers and her passion, if properly awakened, might be the only thing that can save both their families, vanquish a fairy queen bent on revenge, and fulfill a prophecy that will bind their hearts together with…The Magic Knot

Thanks for sharing with us, Helen! Ok, now it's your turn. You can pop over to Helen's website to see what sort of elemental you are and come back to share it with us, or leave a question or comment for Helen in order to be entered in her drawing.

PS. Please be sure to also join USA TODAY bestseller Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnsona and me at BookReviews by Bobbie! We're sharing exclusive, never before seen excerpts from A CHRISTMAS BALL. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Book Friday!

Today the 12 Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL Blog Tour is off to a new romance site--Romantic Crush Junkies! And for the first time ever, we're giving away a copy of A CHRISTMAS BALL to a commenter (along with a couple backlist books) so there will be 3 winners today!

Start your weekend early and come join the party!

PS: Friday is my regular day to post at The Chatelaines. I'm on a tear about being a "pleaser." If you know what that means, you probably are one. Come share!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spear Carriers and Supernumeraries!

When I was singing professional opera, the chorus was dubbed the "spear carriers" because the men especially often stood by to make the scene more spectacular by carrying . . . well, spears. However, the secondary characters and the chorus played an essential role in telling the tale. And even in a novella length story, the heroine and heroine need a few others to carry the story ball from time to time. Today at PopSyndicate USA Today Bestseller Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson and I talk about the extras in A CHRISTMAS BALL!

Just think how many boring "mulling things over" scenes there would be if the heroine didn't have a confidante. Who would the hero turn to when the heroine vexed him beyond bearing if he didn't have a best bud? Secondary characters are essential and we're happy to share a few of ours.

Please pop over to PopSyndicate today to learn a bit more about these important second bananas. 2 commenters will win a backlist book from me or Alissa Johnson!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Christmas Plunder Down Under

If you follow my blog, you're already familiar with The Eclectic Reader . Teddy-ree sent me the pic of this delightful little reading circle when VEXING THE VISCOUNT came out. And she was instrumental in organizing (dare I say it?)Emily Bryan Week (even now that sounds so weird to my Midwestern ears!) a few months back at THE ROYAL REVIEWS, a terrific group Aussie blog.

And now, Teddy's helping me get the word out again by hosting Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson and me at The Eclectic Reader . We're talking Christmas recipes in honor of our upcoming A CHRISTMAS BALL, so please come share your favorite holiday goodie! We're giving away books to 2 lucky commenters, of course.


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RSVP at your favorite bookseller!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 7 ~ Pillow Talk!

The 12 Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL Blog Tour is at Pillow Talk today. Hope you'll come over and join us!

Whenever I do my workshop on characterization, I always ask for people to name their favorite hero. No one waits long enough to raise their hands to be called on. The names fly fast and furious, as though folks can't wait to share their favs.

Then I ask for favorite heroines. Silence reigns. Finally a brave soul will lift their hand and ask, "How about Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz?"

Which tells me that I need to do a better job creating memorable heroines. Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson and I tried to do just that in A CHRISTMAS BALL. And we're talking about our heroines at Pillow Talk today. Come on over and leave a comment for a chance to win a free book from my backlist or Alissa Johnson's!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 6 ~ How do you celebrate Christmas?

USA Today Bestseller Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson and I are guest blogging at FreshFiction today.

We're talking about celebrating Christmas in honor of our upcoming release A CHRISTMAS BALL! Ok, I know it's early and you're not in the holiday mood, but if you pop over and leave a comment, I'll share a cup of cyber-wassail with you. And you'll have 3 chances to win a title from our backlists!

Not a bad way to stuff your own stocking!

Jingling all the way,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Help from a Friend!

Isn't this a cool blog tour badge? It was made for me by my friend, Bobbie of Book Reviews by Bobbie ! I'm always in awe of Photoshop skills. I think she did a brilliant job. Thanks, Bobbie! The 12 Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL Blog Tour will be visiting her site on the 28th--one day from our release date!

And while I'm saying thank you, let me add my appreciation for all our blog hosts this week! They provide a venue for authors to speak to readers without asking for anything in return. We had a great time at RomanceBuyTheBook, Love is an Exploding Cigar, Yankee Romance Reviewers, Romance Junkies, and The Romance Studio. If you don't normally follow those blogs, let me encourage you to put them on your list.

As you know, I did a solo 50 day/50 blog tour for the release of VEXING THE VISCOUNT last January-February. This blog tour has been a very different experience for me. For one thing, since it's so much shorter I can already see the light at the end of the blog tunnel. I'm not recovering from major surgery so pain isn't a distraction this time. And I've been power-blogging for a while now, so it doesn't feel so odd to hurl my thoughts into cyberspace any more. But the nicest part of this blog tour has been coordinating it with my co-authors, Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson. They are awesome, creative and so giving of their time, even though they are both heads down on deadlines!

And thanks to all of you, my blog touristas! You make each stop along the way such fun!

Hope to see you each day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Christmas Kiss!

The 12 Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL Blog Tour is at The Romance Studio today. And we're sharing exclusive excerpts from each of our novellas featuring a Christmas kiss!

Please pop over to join us and leave a comment. You just might win a freebie!

Also, Fridays are my regular posting days at The Chatelaines, a group blog I share with CL Wilson, Joy Nash, Jennifer Ashley, Gerri Russell, Bonnie Vanak and Cindy Holby. I'm afraid I'm on a bit of a rant today, but I'd enjoy hearing from you there, too!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 4 ~ Regency Christmas Decorations

Christmas was celebrated differently in 1805 than today. Please join the 12 Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL blog tour at Romance Junkies. We're talking about the Regency phenomemon called "the kissing bough."

You'll get a chance to visit with my co-authors, USA Today bestseller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson! And when you leave a question or comment, you'll be entered in the drawing to win a free book from me or Alissa.

Here's the roll of winners so far:
Debbie Haupt
Library Pat

Hope to see you along the way!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 3 ~ Yankee Romance Reviews

The 12 Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL Blog Tour rolls on and today we're visiting Yankee Romance Reviewers. There's a fun interview with USA Today BestSeller Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson and me. PLUS EXCLUSIVE EXCERPTS of all our stories from A CHRISTMAS BALL!
The party's already started, but it'll go on all day! Please pop by and leave a comment for a chance to win your choice from my backlist or one of Alissa Johnson's titles!

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RSVP at your favorite bookseller!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How Authors Help

Even though I'm blogging at Love is an Exploding Cigar today for the 2nd day of the 12 Days of A CHRISTMAS BALL blog tour, I wanted to continue offering my readers interesting things here at my blog as well.

Please welcome Ashlyn Chase! She's the president of the New England Chapter of RWA (and my critique partner!). She's talking about how authors give back. Take it away, Ash!

Romance authors are some of the most generous people on the planet. Not only do they offer their knowledge, time and even money to fellow authors, but they reach beyond their own local friends and help people they’ve never met.

Brenda Novak is one notable example. She started an auction to benefit Diabetes research—a cause close to her heart. This little auction has taken off over the last few years and is now a huge event. Everyone in the industry offers whatever gifts they have that others might want to bid on. An agent might offer a critique. Even a busy editor might offer to read the first chapter or two. And authors donate all kinds of things! Baskets filled with bath goodies, gift bags filled with books, percentages of their royalties, and even their writing talent when asked.

I’m one of eleven authors participating in a fundraiser to help a family who lost their nineteen year-old daughter in a fire. The hospital bills for two weeks in the ICU and then a funeral were astronomical. My story is called Giggles by Gabby, release date 9/15. That’s today! It’s in the Lara series. Please check out all the books in this fundraising project!

I also just sent off a check to the National Arbor Day Foundation, which I do on a regular basis from my print book royalties. They use the money to plant trees in areas that need reforestation, as well as to educate our young people about the importance of trees to our planet. They clean the air, help stabilize the earth, and are important in building and, of course, paper.

Events like romance conventions or conferences share profits from their huge book signings with the foundations for literacy. Since 1991, RWA (Romance Writers of America) has donated more than $600,000 to literacy charities. The authors receive no royalties for these donated books.

Most of the time, the beneficiaries will never know who they are. But that’s not why romance authors give. Most of us are very fortunate. I consider myself lucky to be able to spend my spare time doing what I love. I’m certain many authors feel the same way.

And just because I must also pay the bills, here’s the info about my next release which will earn royalties. My novella Oh My God is a modern day erotic comedy about the Greek God Dionysus in New Orleans. It will be released 9/28/09. This story is a rewritten and expanded version of one that was nominated for a CAPA (Cupid and Psyche Award, a reviewer’s choice contest) and in this incarnation it was published in an anthology and was nominated for an Eppie. On 9/28 it will be available as an individual download from my British publisher.

For a look at all of my available books, visit my website:
Please support the arts! Without you buying our books, we couldn’t afford to write them.

Thanks for stopping by today, Ashlyn. (We're good to go for critique next Tuesday, right?)

It's not exactly a charity, but Alissa Johnson and I are giving away one of our backlist to someone who leaves a comment at Love is an Exploding Cigar today. So please let us know you visited us there.

Of course, I love to hear from you here too! Please share the causes you like to support with your time, talent or money.

Monday, September 14, 2009


This is it! The first stop in a 12 day blog tour celebrating the Sept 29th release of A CHRISTMAS BALL! Each day, USA TODAY Best seller Jennifer Ashley, Alissa Johnson and I will be be giving away goodies to people who leave a comment and sharing the inside scoop on our three very different stories set at the same glittering ball.

Hope you're up for a cyber-jaunt! Start by clicking over to today. We're talking about heroes and if you follow my blog, you've already heard a little about Ian Michael MacGregor, the head groom who loves the heroine in My Lady Below Stairs. But you haven't met Jennifer and Alissa's heroes, and I promise you won't be disappointed!

So let's roll. And be sure to check back here each day for the new location of the tour, so you won't miss a moment!


PS. If you usually buy your books at an independent bookseller, would you mind doing me a favor? Would you please ask if they intend to stock A CHRISTMAS BALL (ISBN: 978-0-8439-6250-5)? Also, if you use your local library for your reading, please visit my "Free Books" page for all the info you'll need to request that they stock my books! Thanks!

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Just Can't Wait!

I hope you're ready. It's time to strap on your blog tourista shoes and join me in another trek through cyber-space.

That's right! The 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS Blog Tour starts on Monday! We'll be talking about A CHRISTMAS BALL, giving you the inside scoop and backstory for this holiday anthology, and at the risk of rushing the season, sharing some Christmas fun along the way.

And if you don't know my co-authors, USA Today BestSeller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson, here's your chance to meet some new favorites! Every day there will be prizes and give-aways, so be sure to leave a comment.

Here's your itinerary:

September 14th ~ RomanceBuyTheBook
September 15th ~ Love is an Exploding Cigar
September 16th ~ Yankee Romance Reviewers
September 17th ~ Romance Junkies
September 18th ~ The Romance Studio

Then you get a weekend off to change your socks!

September 21st ~ Fresh Fiction
September 22nd ~ Pillow Talk
September 23rd ~ The Eclectic Reader
September 24th ~ Pop Syndicate
September 25th ~ Romantic Crush Junkies

Another weekend to catch your breath!

September 28th ~ Book Reviews by Bobbie
September 29th ~ NightOwl Romance & A CHRISTMAS BALL's RELEASE DAY!

Create your own banner at!
RSVP at your favorite bookseller!

Then as a bonus, I'll be at Penelope's Romance Reviews on September 30th, a sort of cool down day after the tour. I hope you'll join me. And speaking of Penelope, she just posted an early review of A CHRISTMAS BALL. Here's a taste:

"It is extremely difficult to write a novella. Bryan totally nails it. This story has all the things I love about her longer's beautifully written, has lusty love scenes, wonderful humor, and a very satisfying ending.

This story is truly like an unexpected Christmas gift...I opened the package having no expectations, and I found a real treasure. Thank you, Emily, for this sweet Christmas story."

You can read the whole review at Penelope's Romance Reviews.

Hope to see you along the way!

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who emailed me to say they'd be willing to post my Save the Date A CHRISTMAS BALL badge on their blog! I appreciate you so much. If you meant to do it, there is still time. Please email me at with your request and I'll shoot you the code for the invitation. The more the merrier! Thanks so much!

Heroes Remembered

I couldn't let the day go by without reflecting on the loss our country suffered 8 years ago today. To those who lost loved ones on that terrible day, I still weep with you. To those whose loved ones were lost after 9/11 protecting us on foreign fields of combat, I ache for the void left in your lives. And to those whose loved ones are still in harm's way because of the way 9/11 changed our world, you have my heartfelt thanks and deep admiration.

Let us not forget those who have fallen. They have walked the true hero's path.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which Rocks to Polish?

From my Write Stuff pages . . .
Today's post is mostly aimed at writers, but I hope readers will enjoy a peek into some of the issues writers grapple with as we craft our stories.

When my kids were little, we visited a gem mine. They had a ball picking up moonstones and amethysts right off the ground. Of course, they also picked up rocks that even weeks in a rock tumbler wouldn't turn into anything of value. Only the experienced gemologists could tell the precious from the ordinary with any degree of confidence.

So how do writers decide which ideas are worth developing and which will only wear out the tumbler?

First, make sure your story idea is something that ignites a fire in you. There's no point in writing about time-traveling shape-shifting vampire fighters because you think the market is clamoring for them if YOU aren't excited by them. Lack of passion will shout from your prose so loudly, no one will be able to hear your story.

Don't re-tell stories that have been done to death UNLESS you put an exceedingly fresh spin on it. If you want to do the virgin and the rake, make the guy the virgin. Create characters who are not the usual suspects.

A story thrives on conflict. Make sure the place where your story lives has conflict built into it intrinsically. One of the biggest complaints about romance novels is that the conflicts are contrived or so shallow a simple five minute conversation between the hero and heroine would solve the issue. Make your conflicts matter.
Your story needs two kinds of conflict--internal (problems stemming from personal tension between characters) and external (outside influences-villains, unfortunate events, forces of nature). Remember the conflict must be strong enough to propel you 400 pages.

Make sure your story's idea kernel does not violate the conventions of the genre. Romance readers will not accept a rapist as a hero. They dislike heroes and heroines who act in less than admirable ways unless there is a hidden heroic reason for it. Likewise, we mistrust protagonists who are too poisonously good. Give your hero and heroine a few flaws. They need a chance for growth.  

Don't forget to ask yourself the eternal writer's question: "What if . . . " When you're in the planning stages, you can run as wild as you like. Don't be afraid to ask yourself outrageous questions. Think about your characters before you go to sleep and let your subconscious bubble the story all night. You might be surprised what your dreams tell you.

When you're brainstorming your plots, take a fresh sheet of paper and write at least 20 possible twists your story can take. Chances are the real gem will be toward the end of the list. It will be something out of the box, something no one else has thought of, something untried and fresh.

Then all you need do is toss that idea in the tumbler of your imagination and let the precious stone emerge.

We interrupt this post for a brief commercial announcement! A CHRISTMAS BALL is almost upon us. If you'd be willing to post this invitation on your blog or myspace to help me get the word out, I would bless your name! Please send me a quick email at and I'll shoot you the code for this graphic. Thanks so much!

Jennifer Ashley, Emily Bryan & Alissa Johnson
invite you to . . .

Create your own banner at!

RSVP at your favorite bookseller!

Ok, back to the topic at hand. How do you decide which story to throw your heart and time into? Happy Writing!    

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HumpDay GiveAway!

Please join me today at Sapphire Romance Realm for a chance to win YOUR CHOICE of my backlist!

We're talking about A CHRISTMAS BALL (Jennifer Ashley, 1/3 of that book, has already popped in!) my other books, writing in general and whatever you'd like to bring up!


PS. Here's your invitation to A CHRISTMAS BALL!

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RSVP at your favorite bookseller!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Books that Become Part of Us . . .

I firmly believe part of who we turn out to be in life is a product of the people we surround ourselves with and the books we read. At no time is this more true than when we are children. The books I read as a child were grafted onto my soul with such firmness, I still remember the thrill of Black Beauty, the determination in Where the Red Fern Grows, and the joy and sorrow of Little Women as if I'd lived those fictional lives myself.

And sometimes, the books come back to us with such force, we have to pull them off the shelf and mull them over again. That happened to me yesterday when I posted Stella Price's "secret" contest. Just the word "secret" triggered a remembrance of that little verse. It's from a little book called THE CHEERFUL CHERUB by Rebecca McCann. The volume was old and tattered when it came into my hands, but I still have it and it's one of the few books I moved with me from Missouri. It's a simple book of verse with line drawings, but I adore it. As a child I pored over it and committed so much of it to memory, not a week goes by but something happens in my life that calls forth a "cherub quote." Here's an example:

Through fear of taking risks in life
I've missed a lot of fun--
The only things that I regret
Are those I haven't done!

There's no measure by which this can be called great poetry, but the verses make me smile. Here's another favorite:

The butterfly just floats through life
As careless as a bubble.
I walk a stern and moral path--
A soul is lots of trouble


The faults of my friends
Which I freely condone
Are always the ones
Which resemble my own!

I wonder if I'd get into copyright trouble if I shared one with you on a weekly basis. They've given me so much pleasure over the years, I'd love to pass them on. I don't think the book is still in print, though I did see one online for a ridiculous sum ($168.00, but it was in mint condition. Mine alas, is about to fall apart, but even if it wasn't, I'd never sell it!) The Cherub is too much a part of me to let it go.

At any rate, it's your turn. Please share a book that meant something to you as a child.

PS. Today is the last day for your to participate in the NightOwl Romance SummerLove WebHunt. You can get started on my website, collecting the correct colors of the NightOwl graphics spread on 7 author's sites. There will be three Grand Prize Winners!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sh! It's a secret!

It may be a secret, but I have little saying that's been with me forever:

When people tell me secrets
I'm often moved to ask
Since they themselves can't keep them
Why give to me that task!

My friend Stella Price made the mistake of telling me about her "secret" contest! So I'm telling you. Click for more info! Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Laziness

I'm always a little sad when Labor Day weekend rolls around. It's the last hurrah of summer and pretty soon my little dog Susie will be prancing along complaining her feet are cold on the frosty sidewalk when we go outside! But as long as Labor Day is upon me, I'd better plan to take advantage of the long weekend. However, we don't intend to brave the insane traffic trying to get out of the city later today.

We're going to cocoon instead.

Before I was able to write full time, I'd look on this 3 day weekend as a chance to advance my WIP by 30 pages--a huge leap forward when my daily page output was only 2. But now, I plan to sleep late. Take in a movie. Celebrate my DH's B-day (which is Sunday). Maybe head out to Revere Beach (takes about 15 minutes to get there) and catch up on my beachreading.

Speaking of reading, I'm in the middle of Lauren Willig's THE TEMPTATION OF THE NIGHT JASMINE and loving it. She has a "then and now" sort of thing going on with the structure of the novel--a couple set in current time who are studying a couple set in the past. Lauren tells the story of each with a gently comedic tone and a bit of espionage in both time periods. I highly recommend it.

My blog has received another award, though the title of this one "OUTSTANDING ROMANCE BLOG" leaves me feeling a bit overwhelmed (and a little naughty since I don't stick with romance topics all the time!) Perhaps it's a subtle hint that I should stop wandering where ever my interests take me. But thank you to Sheree of THE ECLECTIC READER for giving me this "outstanding" award (and it's pretty, too!)

If you are looking for something to while away some idle time this weekend, may I suggest the NightOwl Summer Love Webhunt? It's an easy way to score some great reads and book swag. I'll even get you started on this cyber-scavenger hunt. The graphic you need to find on my website is about half-way down my Bookshelf page on the left.

So what are your plans for this holiday weekend? Are you reading a book that moves you now? And for my international readers (bless your heart, I know you're there!) do you have a holiday similar to our Labor Day--one that celebrates the worker by giving him a chance not to?

Enjoy and be safe!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a newcomer to the cyber-universe and it's moving at such a pace, I struggle to keep up. I mastered my MySpace just in time for Facebook to become the place where cool cyber-beings hang. Now I'm trying even trying to Tweet.

But what really has me flummoxed is the use of cyber-shortcuts--acronymns that have me scratching my head. Of course, once I figure them out, they make so much sense and my daughter thinks I'm cool when I IM (instant message) her. She was quite proud of how tech-saavy I'm becoming when I ended our conversation with TTYS (Talk to you soon). When I used it with my DH(dear husband), he thought it meant "Ta-Ta, You Stud!" Guess I won't try to tell him different.

Then there's LOL(laugh out loud), ROFL(rolling on floor laughing), and the more graphic ROFLMAO(rolling on floor laughing my a** off) and two of my daughter's favs, IDK (I don't know) and KWIM (Know what I mean?).

In fact, there's a whole secret universe of acronymns out there. And a good many of them are used by teenagers to keep their parents clueless.

Now, that's ok. I understand that parents suffer from IQ deprivation until their kids turn 21 and a little rebellion is good for self-actualization and all. But the internet can be a dangerous place.

So when I was researching this post and ran into a site that taught teens how to signal when their parents were watching or that the coast was clear, or ways to ask for nude pics of each other or to give their age/sex/and LOCATION(!), I started to think acronymns stink. Who needs shortcuts to disaster?

I know some people think there's a disconnect here. I write pretty hot romance, but I write for adults. I'm not in favor of underage sex. I remember being totally flumoxed when I was taking some grad school courses a few years ago with a bunch of middle school teachers and I couldn't get them to agree that it was A GOOD THING FOR MIDDLE SCHOOLERS NOT TO HAVE SEX! They didn't want to impose their values on the kids.

Excuse me. We impose our values on them all the time. And we should. You wouldn't let your kid play with a lit stick of dynamite. Why feel you can't tell them to wait for something as emotionally, physically, and spiritually explosive as sex?

And don't get me started on how easy texting, sexting and the rest of the internet have made life easier for pedophiles. It's all FMTYEWTK (Far More Than You Ever Wanted To Know).

Wow, I didn't set out to make this a rant. Sorry. But protecting young people is something I feel passionate about. I had intended to ask you to share your favorite internet acronymns. Now I just want to know if you think I'm crazy. I'm glad my kids are grown. If yours aren't, how do you protect them from too much, too soon?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sleeping with a Harvard Man

I've been married to the same surprising man for longer than either of us was single. You'd think in that length of time, I'd know everything there is to know about him (even though he is Norwegian and they invented the strong silent type!) But he continues to throw me curves.

When we lived in NC, he took up astronomy and spent hours with his telescope peering into the night sky. It turned out to be a fun family hobby and he introduced the kids and me to the lunar landscape and the rings of Saturn. Who knew a computer guy could tune into the music of the spheres?

Then when we moved to Wyoming, he wanted to buy some horses. I had no idea he could ride. This pic is of my DH and Star, my little mare. She was so sweet, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, but Cody, the gelding my DH rode was so full of himself, it was hard to believe he'd been snipped. But every time Cody got cantankerous, my DH stared him down. My DH was definitely the only stallion in the paddock and try as Cody might to have a rodeo, he was never able to throw my DH. I'd been sleeping with a centaur all those years and never knew it!

When we lived in Utah, I gave him a flying lesson for Father's Day. It was just a lark, but before his birthday rolled around, he'd bought a Cessna 182 straight-tail and was pursuing a private pilot's license in earnest. We flew all over the western United States in that little bird, something as a "white-knuckle flyer," I never thought I'd do in a million years.

And now, my DH is surprising me again. He's going to Harvard.

Now you've got to understand that we both come from the bluest of blue-collar backgrounds. Nothing wrong with that. I'm just saying the thought of attending an Ivy League university when we were growing up in the Midwest was about as remote a possiblity as walking on the moon.

But tonight after work, he starts his first class. Not bad for an Iowa farm boy.

I'm so proud of him, I could turn cartwheels!

And given his track record for surprising me, I'm wondering what he'll do to top this . . .

So now it's your turn. Has your Significant Other ever done something that surprised the socks off you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We have a Winner!

Congratulations to Alyson W of Shaker Heights, Ohio!

She is the winner in my CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST Contest. Alyson will receive her choice from my backlist. And I want to apologize to all the other entrants because my question was confusing this month. However, everyone who entered an answer of any sort was included in the drawing.

I thought about not having a contest per se on my website for the month of September because I'll be involved in a couple other give aways. One that runs until September 8th is the NightOwl Summer Love Webhunt. I'm joining Amanda McIntyre (you all know her!), Jianne Carlo, Lynne Connolly, Suzanne Rock, Celia Jade, Autumn Dawn, Michele Bardsley, and Raine Delight (who'll be visiting my blog at the end of September!) to bring our readers some serious book swag. There will be 3 Grand Prize Winners! See my website for details!

Then starting September 14th, I'll be teaming up with USA Today Bestseller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson for our 12 Days of Christmas Tour (12 days/12 blogs) in celebration of the release of A CHRISTMAS BALL on September 29th! And of course, there will be give-aways every day of the tour for someone who comments. Be sure to check here each day or on my Events page for our itinerary.

So now, I'd love some feedback from you. Do you enjoy contests? Are there any types that irritate you? Why do you think authors do them? (I will reveal my answer on that one at the end of the day!)