Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays...

Happy holidays everyone! Just a quick note to wish you a blissful season and a very happy 2014. I've been away because I've been working hard on something...hope to have more news in 2014.

Warm wishes,


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cheesecake for Breakfast

My mom is fun and creative and a great conversationalist. Growing up, these things more than made up for her lack of cooking skills. She tried, but she was never able to get into anything that had to do with the kitchen (she'd be the first to tell you this, btw). She sewed dresses for me and my dolls, helped me figure out the lyrics to popular songs, and did tons of fun things to my hair. Her creativity just never extended to the kitchen. My sisters and I never complained about it, though. To us, it was a part of who she was. We'd eat the same four or five meals she was good at and we were healthy and energetic kids. Some weekend mornings my mom would turn to us and say, "How about cheesecake for breakfast? It has cheese and cheese is protein, so it must be okay." What kid would say no to that? Cheesecake for breakfast is a fond memory for me. Whenever I think about it, I feel how much I love my mom.

Today was the first day of school and I was neurotic about feeding my kids a balanced, healthy, tasty breakfast. Tonight, I'll be equally neurotic about dinner. There's so much pressure to be "the perfect mom" nowadays. A huge part of it is there's so much information out there and we have easy access to it. From the moment you conceive you're either helping, hurting, or doing nothing for your kid's cognitive development/future health/fill in the tons of blanks about all the potential damage we could do to our kids.

So this Saturday I'm giving my kids dessert for breakfast. I'm also making it a once-in-a-while thing. Because I don't want to just feed their brains and bodies. I want to feed their memories, too. And I won't make the dessert myself because I may be a good cook (according to my husband and kids), but I truly SUCK at baking (according to anyone who's ever tasted or even smelled anything I've tried to bake). I hope my kids remember my ill-attempts someday and smile over one of their mom's many imperfections. And I hope they feel love for me when they do.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rambling about old friends...

There was this show in the 90's called Wings. It was my favorite show way back when I had time to watch TV. My best friend and I roomed together at the time and she and I were so different... she liked to go out to clubs and dance and I liked to hang out in small groups and just talk and laugh. But we had a standing date to watch Wings together every Thursday at 8:00. We had the same sense of humor and, to this day, our silly sense of humor is key to our friendship.

Anyway, I came across old episodes a few weeks ago and just seeing the name of the show made me smile. I DVR'd the show for when I had time and last night I watched six episodes back to back. I've never been good at critiquing, mainly because I'm too "glass half full" (trust me, it warps your perception-- much better to be a "the glass has x amount of ounces" kind of person and see things exactly as they are), but the acting and story lines were definitely different back then. I just can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is I really enjoyed watching the show again because it felt like I was visiting old friends.

Watching Wings in college and swapping R.L. Stine's Fear Street books in high school are among warm memories my oldest friend and I share. There were also these super scary books by Christopher Pike that we used to read and then burn (for a very silly reason I won't share). My friend and I haven't seen each other in a few years, but we have nice, long talks twice a year and though we talk about very mature things like raising kids and the awful things that happen in this world, we still laugh over our reasons for burning those Christopher Pike books.

The writers of Wings and the authors of those books created characters that became a little part of our friendship's history. No wonder watching the show felt like I was visiting with old friends. I think I'll break out a few Fear Street books next, and then call my friend and tell her about it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Laundry Vent

I'm not normally a procrastinator, but I procrastinate when it comes to blogging because I'm not sure I have anything interesting to say. Today I'm blogging to procrastinate and to vent. It won't be interesting. 

Every once in a while I become so SICK of doing something, I actually become exhausted at the thought of doing it. Lately it's folding laundry. I've done the math and the entire laundry process is taking up 2.6% of my waking hours. Today that seems like a lot because there's no light at the end of the tunnel any time soon. Laundry is one of those things you can't get out of unless you decide to join a nudist community, and after searching on Google I couldn't find one with an excellent school system, so that alternative is out. I could also let my kids do their own laundry, but they'd end up stuffing their clothes in a bag instead of properly folding and hanging it, and then it would get incredibly wrinkly, and I'd have to let them iron it themselves (because if not I wouldn't be cutting back on my work load), and THEN they'd probably burn themselves, and a trip to the  hospital over getting burned with an iron would probably mean I'd be interviewed by social I'm back to laundry taking up 2.6% of my life. No biggie, I'm just being a big baby about it today.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Who Would YOU Rather Kiss Part III turns out I don't know how to count! I asked 18 authors (not 21, oops!) to share their answers to a few fun questions and I will be posting their answers, seven authors at a time, throughout the week. Questions:

1. Who would you rather kiss: James Bond, Mr. Darcy, Thor, or Lloyd Dobler. Why?
2. If you could live in any story ever written, which story would you choose and why?
3. If you could have one of your characters over for coffee, tea, or a margarita, which character would you choose, and what is the one question you’d ask them?
This week I come across another John Hughes fan and one of my favorite quotes from Say Anything. And what’s this about a pimped out MacGyver? Plus, the Outlander series proves to be a popular place to live :).

1. Oh Lloyd! He never makes these lists and he should. Thank you for including him!!
It must be this:
Diane Court: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?
Lloyd Dobler: No. You just described every great success story.

Although the bit about what he does and doesn't want to do with his life is sublime.
And seriously? I love John Hughes movies, but this one? Say Anything and the friendships, the love story, beats them all to hell!!! Maybe I'll write fanfiction now.

2. Gosh. Tough. I have to go with the time travel in Gabaldon's Outlander series. Is picking a series cheating?
3. I'd pick Marilyn Gibson, my heroine's dead mother in Rock Her and ask her why she kept so many secrets.

J.M. Stewart:
1. Oh, Thor, just because he's…yummy. 
2. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. It's my absolute favorite and I would kill to meet Jamie Fraser in person. Oh, heck, who am I kidding, I wouldn't mind standing and drooling at him from afar. Lol
3. I actually wouldn’t mind sitting down with the heroine’s best friend, Lisa Caldwell, for a margarita. And being the romantic that I am, I’d want to know what her hopes are for her love life. Does she see herself settling down, that kind of thing. 

1.This is a no-brainer. When I think of Thor, I imagine Chris Hemsworth.  He’s just plain glorious. As a god of thunder, lighting and storms, I can only blush when I think of what kissing him would feel like.
3. I would love to meet my character, Jared McNeil from my new book, In the Shadow of Evil/release date: 29 August 2013.  He’s my go to fantasy guy because he’s the protector, the man that you can always count on to be there for you. And of course, he’s tall, dark and incredibly handsome. I would love to meet him over a large margarita and maybe a plate of hot, steamy nachos. As a writer, I would love to ask him what in the hell taking him so long to bed Jennie McKenzie. The girl’s crazy about him. As a woman, I think I would just like to look into his deep cobalt blue eyes and melt. Since I’m married to the most wonderful husband in the world, that’s about all I could do with him.

Bobbi Romans:
1. James Bond. Why? I grew up watching James Bond (Sean Connery and Roger Moore) and even as a kid swooned at how suave they were. I mean really. You're getting a pimped out MacGyver. *wink*
2. James and the Giant Peach. Would be a memorable trip.
3. Scarlet O'Hara and I'd slap her while asking "what the hell is wrong with you?"



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Who Would YOU Rather Kiss...Part II of III...

Who Would You Rather Kiss…? Part II of III
I asked 21 authors to share their answers to a few fun questions and I will be posting their answers, seven authors at a time, throughout the week. Questions:
1. Who would you rather kiss: James Bond, Mr. Darcy, Thor, or Lloyd Dobler. Why?
2. If you could live in any story ever written, which story would you choose and why?
3. If you could have one of your characters over for coffee, tea, or a margarita, which character would you choose, and what is the one question you’d ask them?

Their answers were revealing, hilarious, and…ahem…interesting.  Elves, hobbits, and wizards, oh my! And, what’s this about Viking blood? Plus… another Lloyd Dobler fan. Yes, we get you,  Lloyd.

Carol Ritter Smith:
1. I would definitely kiss James Bond, pretty much any or all of the actors
who have portrayed him. Do I have loose morals? Never!
2. I'd love to step into Anne of Green Gables and meet the people of
Avonlea, PEI, especially Mathew Cuthbert. I cried when he died.
3. I'm sending an invitation to tea right now to Beth Patterson of my book, STUBBORN HEARTS, so I can ask her why on earth she didn't trust Tom sooner.
Too stubborn, I bet!

1. James Bond -- but only if he looks like the Pierce Brosnan version, because, even if he didn't mean it, he'd be suave debonair and maybe I'd get a ride in one of those nifty cars!
2. (I’d be) Veronica Franco in The Honest Courtesan.  What a rich and significant life she led! And she was articulate to boot!
3. I'd have Serena, a minor character in my upcoming book, California Homecoming (releasing 6/24), over and ask "So, what's your story?"

1. Definitely, Lloyd Dobler! They need to remake that movie, but if they did what on earth would a modern day Lloyd Dobler hold up in the "In Your Eyes" scene? An iPod just wouldn't cut it! The last scene in Say Anything was a huge inspiration for my book Destination Wedding, which in one airplane scene, my heroine stares up at the Fasten Seatbelt Sign just like Ione Skye's character did.
2. I would have loved to been one of the characters Emma match makes in Emma. I'm sure it got pretty hot in Hartfield!
3. Kate Ashby, my heroine in Destination Wedding would be fun to have margaritas with. I'd ask her once and for all which handsome twin was the better kisser!

Christine Feldman:
1. Mr. Darcy, because despite his aloof exterior, there beats the heart of a true romantic who would make great sacrifices for the woman he loves.  Plus, you know...Colin Firth!  (Lloyd's a nice guy, too, but it seems like getting involved with either James Bond or Thor could shorten a gal's life expectancy, considering their lines of work).
2. Lord of the Rings!  Why?  Elves, hobbits, wizards, grand adventures, and--of course--the jewelry.
3. I'd probably invite Shannon Mahoney from my upcoming book, The Bargain, handywoman extraordinaire, and I'd ask her:  What is the right way to snake a drain?  Romantic?  No, but the answer would make my life a lot easier...

Andrea R. Cooper:
1. Thor. He is the only one in this list who reminds me of my husband-who we also wonder if he has Viking blood. 
2. Anne Bishop's The Black Jewels, because I love stories with magic and Medieval settings.
3. Celeste from The Garnet Dagger. I would ask her what it is like to keep faith in her destiny despite her long imprisonment. 

Susanne Mathews:
1. James Bond, but just not any of them—I’d go for the suave and dashing Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan. To me, they represent the ideal sleek and sophisticated James Bond, the kind who could romance state secrets out of any woman.
2. This is a tough one, but I think I’d want to live in any one of Nora Roberts’ The MacGregors books. The idea of being rich enough to do whatever I’d like to do appeals to me: I could write all day and someone else could cook and clean.
3. I would invite Alexis over for a margarita; she enjoys a good time when she’s not working. I think I’d ask her what she remembers about Jake from her last year in Paradise.

Peggy Bird:
1. Assuming I get to pick my James Bond--Daniel Craig, where are you?--I'll pick 007. If I'm going to fantasize, I'll take the dangerous man.
2. I've eliminated some of my favorite books and authors--Gone With the Wind, Little Women, anything by Jane Austen--because the lack of modern conveniences would completely do me in. So I'm stuck between Pippi Longstocking and Eloise. They lived the life I would have loved as a kid--happily on their own, without the interference of adults.  
3. I'd pick one of the guys, of course. Either Tony or Marius. And I'd ask them how they felt about older women.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Who Would You Rather Kiss…? Part I of III

Oh, this was FUN. I asked 21 authors to share their answers to a few quirky questions and I will be posting their answers, seven authors at a time, throughout the week. Questions:
1. Who would you rather kiss: James Bond, Mr. Darcy, Thor, or Lloyd Dobler. Why?
2. If you could live in any story ever written, which story would you choose and why?
3. If you could have one of your characters over for coffee, tea, or a margarita, which character would you choose, and what is the one question you’d ask them?

I wondered…does a Historical Romance author dream of kissing Mr. Darcy? Would a Fantasy Romance author share a steamy kiss with Thor while living in Middle Earth? Their answers were revealing, hilarious, and…ahem…interesting.  I even discovered a few kindred spirits: I’m not the only one who swoons over Lloyd Dobler, crushes on Loki (I even have a post about my crush on Loki), and dreams about living in Emerald City. Also, these covers have me dreaming about spending a few days doing nothing but reading. Intrigued? Read on!
1. If Elvis has left the building, I'd rather kiss James Bond. Because he's always been Mr. Cool.
2. I'd be Dougless, the heroine from Jude Deveraux's classic, A Knight In Shining Armor, because she grows over the course of the book into an incredibly strong woman. And because--hello--her hero truly is a knight in shining armor on a white steed.
3. I'd like to have a beer with Cyclone, the character from my current WIP, and ask him what it's truly like to ride a bull. 
Laila Blake: 
1. Darcy, definitely. I'm old-school: He is thoughtful, loyal and protects his friends. He also can admit when he was wrong and he has an adorable way of stumbling over his words. As for the kissing - the Matthew McFayden version, please.
2. This may be cheating and a little bit like asking a Genie for 100 wishes, but hear me out. I'd go live in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series and work for JurisFiction - then I could go into any book I want, talk to all the characters and have awesome, wacky adventures. Plus, her AU real world is pretty fantastic as well - I mean really: pet dodos and neanderthal bus drivers!
3. As By the Light of the Moon is fantasy set in a medieval world, inviting any of them sounds like a lot of hassle in terms of screaming, fighting and helpless attempts to explain where we are and by what magic my light-bulbs glow. Instead, I'd invite Elaine, the protagonist of a YA novel I am working on right now and I'd ask her if a book like the one I'm writing about her alienation and anxiety would help her feel less alone in the world. Then I'd give it to her for the kind of harsh critique she'd be far too polite to give me and I'd end up just hugging her really hard and telling her not to give up because the ending will be great. :)

Tricia Skinner: 
1.  Argh! Can't I kiss Loki instead? I have a crush on that demi-god because his reasons for turning bad grabbed my heart. Abandoned by his birth father and lied to by his adopted father, Loki lashed out. Okay, he tried to blow up a planet in "Thor," but you know. He was stressed.
2. Man, not fair. One story? I'll go with R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms series. Why? Are you kidding me? Um, Drizzt is hot!
3. In ANGEL BAIT, the hero's mentor is a full-blooded angel named Tanis. He saved the team when they were mere children. Over hot chocolate (his weakness), I'd ask, "How did your wings get twisted and burned?"

Traci Douglass: 
1. I’d go with James Bond, current incarnation (although Mr. Darcy would be a close second, just for the sheer romance of it ***sigh***). Why? ‘Cause that guy would definitely know all the tricks in the book and could probably teach me a thing or two… ***wink***
2. Good question, Ines! Hmmm… I’m currently re-reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and its super good. I'm not a regular reader of sci-fi/fantasy, but this story really hooked me. For those of you who haven’t read the book, it’s a futuristic hero adventure tale that involves a cool virtual world called the OASIS. Though I’d not enjoy living in the dreary ‘stacks’ like the main character Wade does in the beginning of the story, being able to interact with a realistic virtual world where you could do anything, visit any time period, or be or meet anyone you wanted would be beyond fantastic. :-)
3.  Xander, my Scion commander. That guy makes me drool every time I write about him. I’d tell you what I’d ask him, but then this post would turn X-rated, so best to leave that up to your imagination… :-)

Deborah O'Neill Cordes (co-author of the Morgan O'Neill novels):
1. James Bond - but only if I could be Halle Berry for that moment.  And that's why.  :) 
2. The Wizard of Oz books immediately come to mind.  If I could cheat and say the movie version, that would be even better.  The Emerald City calls to me.
3. I would love to have tea with Gwendolyn Godwyn, our time traveling heroine from THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN.  I would ask her if she could time travel one more time, would she try to rescue Stefano?  No spoilers here - but our readers will understand.  ;)

Melinda Dozier: 
1. Oh Mr. Darcy! How I love thee!
2. I think it'd be rather interesting to live in The Outlander for one day. Not sure if I'd survive, though.
3. I'd love to have Colin from Breaking the Rules along with his son, Jason. We'd chat over coffee about our current "Bucket List" items and ways to reach our goals.

Lynn Crandall: 
1. Thor, because he’s one of a kind.
2. Wow, tough question. I’ve loved so many books for so long. I guess I would pick Bitten by Kelley Armstrong because the main characters are so strong, particularly Elena, and I love fantasy.
3. I would like to sit down with Sterling, the heroine of Dancing with Detective Danger and ask her how her life has changed since she committed to Ben, the hero, and worked through some of her inner issues.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Little Gems

I was reading an article by a professional organizer today and it was fun to see how much of her advice applied to writing. Here are three paraphrased gems:

1. Don’t begin by thinking about the entire task in front of you because you might feel overwhelmed.  Instead, begin by thinking only of what you’ll tackle that day.

2. Don’t wait for motivation to hit or you might never get started. Action many times precedes motivation.

3. Knowing when to become attached and when to let go is the difference between cluttered and tidy.

After rereading, I think these three apply to MANY things in life :).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


So...I thought I was pretty savvy with Word, but it turns out I have A LOT to learn :(. I still don't know how it happened, but I saved a manuscript as an RTF file, and somehow created two RTF files with the same name. I didn't think that was possible. I used to constantly alphabetize my files, but I don't anymore, which is why I didn't notice I had two identical files.  I have one folder for each ms, but each folder has many files. Some I save by date, others I save by chapter, in case I want to go back to an earlier version, etc. This is on top of relevant articles I also save for research purposes.

The mess I'm in now is...some days I opened one file and did my final edit on it, and other days I opened the other file and did my final edit on that one. I sent one of them off :(. I won't even go into the fact that I compounded the mistake before I realized I had been editing two separate files.

I'm sharing this so my author friends who read this don't make the same mistake. Maybe you're way more savvy than me, but if you're not...keep your folders squeaky clean and organized, and check for duplicates. Also, it's not enough to hover over the file with the "correct name" and to look at the date. Look at the time, too. If anyone has a tip they'd like to share, share away! I love learning from you and I hope someone learns from my mistake.  Meanwhile, aghhhhh!!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is there a lesson here?

A well-known, preachy health guru recently wrote an article detailing some pretty scary facts about certain foods. He included pictures of foods we should NEVER, EVER eat. I tried to read the all the stuff about the horrific calorie count and the fat… but I couldn’t take my eyes off the pictures of the foods he was talking about. Everything looked so delicious! Those nachos! That stuffed calzone! That crisp fried chicken! I’d happily skip breakfast and lunch, and then maybe breakfast again the next day, to eat any of the foods he was criticizing.  My mouth watered for some heart attack nachos. I forced myself to read the entire article to see if it would disgust me enough to get me off evil food forever, but it didn’t work. So I started reading the comment section expecting to be shamed by all the super healthy people who agreed with the guru, except… EVERY single comment was for the evil food and against the guru. And the comments were hilarious. Guru be damned! So I don’t what the lesson is here. Don’t preach on Yahoo? A picture speaks louder than words? I think it may be: never say never, ever. Of course we know we shouldn’t make a habit of eating evil food. Just don’t tell us to NEVER, EVER eat it J.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"This Mom is on Fire!!!"

This morning, I was talking to my high-spirited, impulsive, super fun and imaginative nine-year-old son about how important it is to make good decisions. I was telling him about mistakes I’ve made, and the consequences of those mistakes. Anyway, when I was done (and feeling as if I’d been going on and on like the nagging mom I swore I’d never become), he said, “You give good talks. Can you come talk to my kids when I grow up if they do something stupid?”  

My inner self pumped a fist into the air and began singing “This mom is one fire!” (Advantage of singing in my head: I sounded EXACTLY like Alicia Keys when she sings “Girl on Fire!”).  I usually feel like 'this mom' is exhausted and ‘this mom’ doesn’t know what she’s doing, so it was a happy moment. Of course, I soon began wondering if ‘this mom’ is just really gullible. Hmm…

I will choose to believe my son was being totally sincere and not at all trying to get me to shut up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Makes me wonder...

I remember when this song came out (feels like forever ago). It really captured my imagination, making me wonder about the story behind the beautiful lyrics. I recently came across it on Pandora and loved it all over again, so I decided to share :). Plus, the setting for the video is breathtaking.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thank you...

A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT. Yesterday, it climbed to #15 in all Kindle ebooks, #3 in Contemporary Fiction, and #8 in Romance. It was an amazing feeling, and I really am so very grateful.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kindle's Romance Daily Deal!

Strangers in the Night is Kindle's 'Romance Daily Deal'! Thanks to Irene Preston for letting me know. I'm very excited :):

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Truth is More Unbelievable than Fiction

Every once in a while, I come across real-life stories in the news that would never pass muster in a fictional novel. Few would be able to suspend belief enough to buy the story. By now, the whole Petraeus scandal is old news, but I can’t help thinking it would take an epic novel to capture every detail, and that it would be deemed too silly to be published. The story would probably be more unbelievable than the fact that a man in China actually left his wife because she didn’t reveal she had been ‘ugly’ way back when, and that a cleaning woman in Sweden stole a four-carriage train at a depot and drove it around for a mile before crashing it into a house.

Call me jaded, but Manti Te'o and the whole fake, dead girlfriend thing didn’t surprise me, though I admit I hope he wasn't in on it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Last week I was tagged by the very fun and very wonderful author Tara Mills to participate in 'The Next Big Thing' blog hop. Special thanks to my friend and fellow author Kay Rogal for helping me participate in this blog hop: I couldn’t have done it without her!

To participate in this blog hop, authors have to answer a series of questions about their works in progress, and then tag other authors to do the same. Here are the questions I answered about my current WIP:

What is the title of your book? FLIPPED!

Where did the idea for the book come from?
I was visiting an historic neighborhood that is in “transition” and I was so caught by the beauty and craftsmanship that went into these old houses… many houses had been burned, abandoned, and neglected, but the beauty was still there. I felt these houses were like people: most of us have been burned, abandoned, and neglected at one point or another, but there’s hope for us all. I thought it would be fun to write a series in which heroes and heroines rehab their lives while rehabbing houses they feel a special connection to. The city the historic neighborhood is located in has a gypsy heritage, and I thought I’d add a century old gypsy curse, three cursed, gorgeous brothers, and three elderly, reluctant gypsy ‘witches’ into the mix.  

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary Romance (with a side of magic realism)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I LOVE this question, because if I don’t visualize my heroes and heroines, the stories just don’t come to life for me. For FLIPPED!, the first in the series, I envision a shorter, curly haired version of Rachel Weisz as the heroine, and Garret Hedlund as the hero.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Yikes, this is hard. Don’t judge me on this sentence...summaries are not my strength. Here goes: Cursed heroes and their heroines find love as they rebuild both their lives and the historic homes they feel a special connection to, as gypsy witches watch over them.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I’m not finished yet, but, all in all, it will be about four months when I’m through.

What other books within your genre would you compare your WIP to?
I thought about this for a while, but I really don’t know…

Who or what inspired this book?
The city of Dayton, Oh. It’s been through so much, and people sometimes only see the negative aspects, but Dayton has SO MUCH to offer.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I try to handle the gypsy and home rehabbing angles in a fun way. Both are in the background, but they add layers to the story.

TAG, YOU’RE IT: Please show some love and support and visit the following talented authors to read about their works in progress:

Mackenzie Brown 

Chastity Bush