Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Guest Author: Catherine Spangler

I'm super pleased to bring you a guest blog with Catherine Spangler! She's a total sweetheart and uber talented besides and is guaranteed to keep you all entertained as I recover from this dumb cold. Welcome, Catherine!!!

~ ~ ~ ~

Howdy from Texas!

Hello everyone! Catherine Spangler here. Thank you, Lucy, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. Hey gang, isn't Lucy awesome? She's one of the nicest people I know, and her books are hot! Love those sexy alpha heroes. We adore you, Lucy.

Now down to business. Lucy suggested I talk about my writing and my books. I didn't want to sound full of myself or bore y'all, but then I started thinking, I can talk books and never get tired of it. I love books. I love reading and I love writing them, and I love talking about them with other readers. So I'm guessing y'all are the same way, and your eyes won't glaze over when I discuss my new paranormal series ::g::.

The first book of the Sentinel Series, Touched by Darkness, will be out in January. The book has a *awesome* cover, with ultra-hottie Nathan Kamp. If you look closely (no, ladies, a little higher), you can see he's wearing a pendant, which all Sentinels wear. I had a goldsmith design it, and it's pink quartz crystal, hand wire-wrapped in sterling silver. I'm giving away a pendant this month and next month, so visit my website to enter at http://www.catherinespangler.com/.

This series features Sentinels, who are in human bodies but have superhuman powers. They psychically track specific evil beings, and a small handful of normal humans, conductors, have the ability to enhance their tracking abilities. Matched Sentinels and conductors are always opposite sex, and the conduction process raises some serious sexual energies. The sparks fly! I love alpha heroes, and the hero of Touched by Darkness, Damien Morgan, is no exception. He's tall, dark, and dangerous - and not completely human. Not to worry - Kara, the heroine, has been to hell and back and gives him a run fro the money.

Book two, Touched by Fire, will be out in October 2007. I hope you'll check out the series. There are excerpts and reviews on my webpage, and of course, the contest for the gorgeous pendant.

Discussion question (I think it's mandatory - LOL): What are some of your favorite book series?

I'll start it off: Besides Lucy's Mercenaries trilogy, I like J.D. Robb (Roark is yummy), J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum), and Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse) - and that's just to name a few. Okay, your turn. Tell us what series you like. We'll draw a name from the responses and the winner will receive her (or his) choice of one of my books and some chocolate (to enhance the reading experience )

Happy Holidays! ~ Catherine

Monday, December 04, 2006

You need to visit this blog...

This week. Okay, you all know how much I love, love, love Romance by the Blog with Michele Buonfoglio? Well, this week she is hosting a series of discussions on the concept of erotica versus erotic romance. The first guest speaker is none other than my editor Kate Duffy, an extraordinarily talented woman with a gift for long term vision. The week promises to be absolutely fantastic and if I wasn't fighting this nasty, horrible cold virus on top of getting my computer back up to par, well I'd be there with lots of chatting. Not saying even that will keep me completely away. So, go, go, GO to Romance by the Blog and talk about a subject dear to many of our hearts, yeah?

And on other stuff...

You know, I've decided I'm glad I got sick at the same time as my computer crash. Just one bout of downtime instead of two. That's a blessing, isn't it? And I'm in total awe of the computer guru at CWB. Not only did he save 99.9% of all my data, but he reinstalled my email with all its subfolders. It took some time to get everything running again and I've still got a couple of programs to load onto my new PC (decided to upgrade if I was going to have to reload it all anyway, yeah?), but I'm so relieved! I may have trouble staying awake and um breathing at the moment and my temperature is a bit spikey, but I'm still in bliss. My new computer is so pretty! LOL

And another neat bit of news? Pregnancy of Passion is on the Borders Group National Bestseller's List for the THIRD week. Yahoo!!! And speaking of December books, want to read another really nifty advanced review of "Come Moonrise" in Unleashed? Click here.

Discussion question: Okay, yes, it's going to smack of self-interest, but what can I say? You all are smart cookies. No doubt you've got the goods on the best remedies? But what is your favorite way to treat a cold? Or what do you like to do to make being sick not such a drag?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Computer Crash

Just wanted to let you know that a sector on my computer hard-drive has corrupted. Wouldn't you know, it's the one with my system registry? I can use my recovery CD ROM only if I'm willing to wipe the harddrive. I'm *so* not!

You see...I lost my back up memory stick and just bought a new one, but had not yet backed up my files. Not that I've found a practical way to back up email, I *do* try to back everything else up. Praise God (seriously) ... I sent my editor all the pages I had edited on my WIP just hourse before the crash. What a blessing, let me tell you!

Anyway, am taking it to the "computer doctor" today in hopes of saving as much of the data as I can.

I'll try to keep you updated on progress. My biggest concern? The many emails I had in my in-box when the computer crashed. If you have written me and have not gotten an answer, please re-send. I'm checking email on the server for now.

Hugs,
Lucy

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving is so much more than a day to eat turkey and other fabulous home cooked foods for me. It is truly a day that I and my family take time to thank God for our blessings. So, I thought we could do that a little here.

I'd like to know 5 things you are thankful for. Not necessarily, your biggest blessings or the stuff that is most important to you, but five things that right this minute are making you happy. I'll start. :)

1. My sister's latest cancer diagnosis came back uber positive. It looks like they *were* able to get all the cancerous tissue after all and are not recommending further treatment, but a new MRI a year from now to make sure nothing further has developed. (She's still got one last surgery on her spine to look forward to, but things are so looking up for her!)

2. Pregnancy of Passion is #1 on the Borders Group Bestseller's List (includes all Waldenbooks & Borders) and I'm so grateful for that.

3. My kids are all healthy and pretty happy at the moment.

4. My husband just got a new job within his company, helping Intel stay environmentally friendly and up to worldwide environmental codes. Cool, huh?

5. I wrote 2000 words this morning and hope to write more later.

Okay, now, it's your turn! :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This, That and the Other Thing...

The latest blog winner (for books from my prize shelves - NOT Dianne Castell's special blog post winner) is: Estella! Hon, please email me with your mailing address to confirm your win. :)

Want to read an advanced review for my first ever werewolf novella "Come Moonrise" in the UNLEASHED anthology? You can read it on Marilyn's Romance Reviews. I think you get a really good taste for the world you'll find in my Children of the Moon books. Though the first single title in this series is set in Medeivaal Scotland and is out in Feb of next year. :)

So far, though...advance response to "Come Moonrise" has been fantastic. And I'm so pleased because it is one of those stories I wrote not knowing if I would sell it, or not...and I did and I love it and I hope readers are going to too. LOL

I edited 15 pages yesterday and got a few new ones written, which is happy news for me. Did a little Christmas shopping today and ordered some new Hercule Poirot A&E DVDs tonight. I do so love my Agatha Christie.

Oh, and Pregnancy of Passion is sold out already on eHarlequin. My hope of course is that they'll get more copies in, but it's always good news when books have a strong start. (Thanks for letting me know, Marilyn!)

And want to hear something VERY cool? I'm having my website redesigned by, um...a professional. Sigh...yes, I'm finally giving up control...at least some of it. LOL I'm SO excited about this. I had emailed several designers about the project and went with Code 718. Prelim design ideas are knocking my socks off! The new site is scheduled to go live January 22...just before the release of Moon Awakening. Uber neat, huh?

That's it...for now. :)

Oh...discussion question: Are you all Christmas shopping already, half-done or not started?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Guest Author and Really Cool Prize :)

Hi everyone on Lucy's Blog!

I'm thrilled to be here. Lucy and I have known each other for years and first hooked up when we did Star Quality (BRAVA 5/05) with Lori Foster. We had so much fun with the stories happening in the same town and our characters running into each other when a blue moon caused havoc and romance. Funny how those two always run together! We're trying to cook up another anthology but Lucy is one busy lady. We'll get there one of these days.

I love Lucy's heroes. Her alpha guys are the best. I thought about them when I wrote my O'Fallon series. I wanted my men to be hunky guys and no one does hunky better than Lucy.

With Ryan, Keefe and Quaid's story there's a lot of humor and lot of heart. Setting it in fictional O'Fallon's Landing on the Mississippi makes the focus on the family and how all the sons come together to help their dad find the woman who left a baby on his doorstep. And it is his baby, not one of his sons.

The heroines in the series are a good match for the guys. They give as good as they get in solving the mystery and in the bedroom. A visit now and then by General Grant kicks things up a notch.

The paranormal side is something new fore me and I love the ghostly appearances when they are least expected. Do you all have a favorite paranormal element you love to read? Vampires, voodoo, shape-shifters? Are there some you won’t read at all?

Let me know. I'm starting a new series and open to all suggestions, especially from the readers.

If you want to know more about the O'Fallon series visit my website at http://www.diannecastell.com/

Thanks, Lucy, for letting me gab with your wonderful readers. I'll give away an I'll Be Seeing U tote bag from the responses.

Hugs to you all
Dianne

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Five Things You Might Not Know About Me

I've been tagged by fellow author and total sweetheart Cheryl St. John to tell you all Five Things You Might Not Know About Me. In turn, I tag Kate Davies and Nicola Marsh.

The goods:

Hmm...this probably shouldn't be so hard, but I have to wonder...what might you *not* know about me? I'm a pretty open book. Think obscure, Lucy...think trivial...irrelevant...okay, and try to make it fun.

. . .

I'm still thinking.

Still thinking...what about...? Nah...that's boring. Oh, it's okay if it's boring? Better than reading elipses? All right then...

1. I've jumped out of an airplane twice. Both when I was a rather innocent 17 and quite sure nothing bad could really happen to me, so let's not go drawing any conclusions based on that about me now, yeah?

2. I read Sean Michael. If you don't know who he is, you won't know why that's surprising. If you do, well...then yes, I really do read him, but you probably do too. LOL

3. My favorite book ever is "Good Wives" the follow on to "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott and not a single steamy scene in the whole book, but I've read it so many times I should be able to quote passages. :)

4. My favorite color is yellow because hot pink was already taken by my grandmother and younger sister. Don't ask me how my *younger* sister got there first...she apparently wasn't so afraid of stepping on Grandma's hot pink shod toes. But I do love yellow because it's the color of sunshine...or was in my very young brain when I chose it as my talisman color.

5. I only became a chocoholic *after* I started writing. Prior to that, my sugar of choice came in the form of a donut...pretty much any donut. LOL

Okay, now it's your turn. But I'll settle for you telling me ONE thing not too many people know about you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The good, the bad and the ugly...

I can hardly believe it's been two whole weeks since I posted. And, man...what a two weeks. On the good side, my youngest sister's birthday just passed and we went to a hockey game with her (my first every professional one). There were some small fights and then one big one - apparently de rigger for such things. LOL Can't wait to go back. ::wink::

My second-oldest sister is having major health issues though. She had two surgeries in one day last week and some pretty ugly complications after one of them. Turns out, she doesn't have one kind of cancer (good news), but she does have another. I would so appreciate prayers for her and the rest of our family. My mom (who many of you know has been living with a terminal illness for several years) has been strong, but is *really* having a hard time with this.

Another bit of good news is that I signed with a new agent and I'm really pleased about that. Not so good news is that I can't seem to write. I'm hiding in *reading*, but that won't get my books done and somehow I've got to. Because I need them to keep me sane. I really do.

I'll try to post more frequently, but when there are longish bouts between just think...five teenagers in the house, sick sister, sick mom and a writer who gets lost reading every once in a while. :)

I'm hoping to have Dianne Castell on here soon as a guest blogger. She's an amazing writer and one of the nicest people I know. :)

Discussion question: What is your favorite part of late fall, heading towards winter? I love blustery weather when I don't have to be out in it, but I admit as asthetically enthralling as I find it...my heart breaks for the homeless this time of year.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

One of those moments...

I went to watch my nephew run in the district cross country meet the other day. You know, watching a cross country race requires a lot of walking and/or jogging to get to check points to cheer the kids on, yeah? It was a beautiful day and it was wonderful watching my nephew push himself to run such a long distance and do it way faster than I ever could. LOL

So, on the way home, it's starting to get a little late. The sky is changing color and I have a moment...a writing moment, a people watching moment, whatever you want to call it. But it was cool.

All of a sudden, I check my rearview mirror and there's this guy on a motorcycle right behind me. He was wearing all black and black helment with an impenatrable visor. It really disconcerted me. Can't explain it, but this rider just seemed dangerous. Not in a bad way, but in a, "What kind of book can I write about him way?"

He passed me at the next opportunity and I followed him for two miles while traffic forced him to remain close enough for me to watch and muse...I'm glad he was wearing a helmet and lots of black and his cycle was so sleek. The fodder for my imagination? Too rich to pass up.

When you read a book with a hero that rides a killer black motorcycle and has a penchant for black leather (not kinky), you're going to know where I "met" him. On the way home from my nephew's cross country meet. :)

Discussion question: what do you think of motorcycles? Provocatively dangerous? Freeing? Not your thing?

Discussion question 2: did you/do you play sports? If so, what? Or what is your favorite sport to watch?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Yogurt covered blueberries and other forms of Ambrosia...

Okay...my first foray into blueberries as decadent treats happened about four years ago. Dh and I were on an overnight date away from the kids and we went to Starbucks for a drink. He bought be a box of chocolate covered blueberried. I was hooked. Hershey's later came out with a chocolate bar in extra dark with blueberries and cranberries. Can you say, "Very happy author?" I am convinced that there is no greater brainfood for a romance writer than blueberries in dark chocolate, but in a pinch...I'll settle for the healthier alternative of yogurt covered blueberries made by Archer Farms. They're not too sweet and really are healthy. Go figure.

So, my theory is that Ambrosia was really some kind of blueberry dipped in yogurt or chocolate...what do you think?

And speaking of Greek myths, several series have been written around them lately. My favorite of course is Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters. I just think someone needs to email her and explain that Ambrosia is not like jello...that couldn't be Ambrosia, yeah? It's gotta be chocolate dipped blueberries.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Book Pimping...

Ain't it grand? Well, it is to me. I love sharing with you all about books that intrigue me or that I have loved reading. So this post is going to be a total pimp.

Let's start with a book that I loved reading by one of my favorite authors and which I know you are all going to adore. It's out on Tuesday, October 24 and I *know* some of you really enjoyed the first book in the trilogy. Well, the second story is going to knock your socks off...or is that the heroine's? LOL The book is Strip Tease by Kate Davies and it rocks! I got to read an ARC and it's even more delicious that Taking the Cake.

Here's a book that totally intrigued me...okay, I admit it...the whole series intrigues me. This author is also uber talented. And Heart Quest sounds like it could very well be her best book yet. Robin D. Owens has written several books in the series and don't be surprised if you find yourself tracking down the others once you've read this one.

And now for a book that I think will intrigue many of you, particularly this time of year. It is Cheyenne McCray's Seduced by Magic, a hot paranormal romance by another extremely talented and nationally bestselling author.

And keeping in line with the rest of this post, I think it's time to ask again - what really awesome book have YOU read recently?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's all in the execution...

That's one of the HM&B editors' favorite sayings. They'll get asked about this plot idea and that plot idea, or this hero or that heroine and whether or not it could work for a line and more often than you would imagine (because don't people think there are lots of "rules" in romance?), they come back with, "It's all in the execution."

I've been thinking a fun discussion to have would be: what professions really throw you for a loop in a hero and/or heroine...or what kind of profession have you never seen and never want to? I don't like negative discussion though, but I think chatting about what might totally surprise you or disconcert you (at first anyway) could be fun. Or maybe what did surprise you and then you found yourself liking?

But let's remember that it's all in the execution and while we might chat about it here, I really *do not* want any books given as negavitve examples or plot lines given that could identify the book in a comment that might be construed as disparaging. I really want this to be fun...because I love the discussions we have on here.

I'll start. I've never been a big sports fan, so reading about athlete heroes wasn't high on my priority list. Then I discovered SEP's football heroes and not only did I LOVE the books, I ended up enjoying watching football a whole lot more than I ever had. :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Chores...chores and more chores...

Well, we had the big talk with the teens the other night about chores. There's just so much stuff competing for their time, but how can they grow into responsible adults if they don't learn how to take care of themselves, yeah? So...well, to help them along, we're turning of cable to their television. We didn't have TV for the first 15 years of our marriage and only got it when my mom had a stroke, so she could watch it while she was staying with us. We kept it because the kids enjoyed it, but now well...it's taking too much time. And the kids get grumpy after watching too much TV too. I don't like that.

So, we're also cutting back to the basic cable for the projector screen set-up my mom uses when she's over. We're only keeping it at all for her sake and that of my b-i-l who likes to watch the superbowl on our projection screen. But obviously, lots of people love TV and I swear I would too if it wasn't such a drain on my family's time. I've got my favorite shows I'll miss if they aren't on basic cable - Psych, SG1 (which is in it's final season) and maybe Eureka. But I don't have time to watch them every week (thank goodness for re-runs, yeah?) and my kids...oy...it was time for a change. Do you know not one of them complained about it. Weird, huh? But cool. :)

Discussion question: what are your TV viewing habits? Do you like it, or do you find it a nuisance? What's your favorite show(s)?

Prize Winner

I bet you all thought I forgot...not...just got too busy. LOL

But the prize winner for last week's blog drawing (for a grab bag of books off my prize shelves) is Kelley V!

Hon, please email me your mailing address and I'll get the books out to you soon. :)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My News...the teasing is over...

I'm so excited, my heart is just dancing! I sold the first historical I ever wrote to Samhain Publishing and just got definitive release dates. Annabelle's Courtship (you now...Samhain lets me keep my titles...that feels so weird...) will be out in e-release August 7th, 2007 (my birthday btw) and the print release is November '07. Isn't that just like totally, totally cool???

You see, I wrote AC and sent it off to Avon and well, it got one of those really GOOD rejections, but I didn't send it anywhere else because by then I'd already written Come Up and See Me Sometime and started the T - Me trilogy and wanted to try to sell it first. And by the time I sold the third book to Berkley, I had the idea for Moon Awakening and wanted to write it and start a paranormal historical series. I was very reticent about selling AC to the same market because I felt it would confuse readers if I went from historical to historical-paranormal and then back again. I want readers to know what to expect from me and they can expect more Children of the Moon books from Berkley, yeah?

So, after some negotiations with Berkley and a nail biting submission to Samhain, it's going to happen.

So, yeah...I'm excited. But with the LC Monroe books, I've got 10 releases next year...AGAIN. LOL I've got to hope readers don't get tired of my books. And well, I really believe in all of these stories - so I'm hoping it will be a very good year for all of us. :)

Discussion question: If I were going to write a book with a character from a previous story, who do you think it should be and why? No limitations...if you think I should write a follow-up story for primary characters, don't be shy about saying so. If you want to see the story for a secondary character, let me know.

Alternate question: If you can't think of an answer to the above, or if you just want to chat about this idea as well - what kind of character would you like seen written about? What I mean is: is there a particular personality type you favor, or a profession you'd like to see explored, or something like that. Make sense?

And, okay, we all know I write the stories that come to me, but there's nothing to say that a comment you make here won't take hold of my subconscious and birth a story when I least expect it. :) Right? Besides, I love chatting with you all about this kind of stuff.

And hey, don't feel like you've got to limit yourself to my books. If there's a story by another author you'd really like to see, share.

Blog Party at Out of the Blogosphere

Out of the Blogosphere - the blog dedicated to paranormal romance - is having a two week long bash and it's going to be great. Lots of paranormal authors chatting about books, recipes, and other fun stuff and giving away prizes.

Go over and post a comment, or two...or five. LOL

Hugs,
Lucy

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Yummy heroes, and other fun stuff...

Have I told you the hero inspiration for my current WIP? At first, I was going to use Raoul Bova (thank you tons Stacy for sharing this guy with me), but I REALLY want to save him for inspiration on a Harlequin Presents. He just looks like one of my sexy tycoons, you know?

But then JudyF sent me a hottie and I just KNEW he was exactly what Alan Hyatt looked like. I mean, it was like he could come right off the computer screen and start talking like a fifth generation federal agent. Wanna know who? None other than Henri Castelli. And in the way that writer's do...I've already incorporated this resemblance into the story. Won't tell you how exactly, but suffice to say that certain ladies online are not the only ones lusting after his riverstone eyes. And hopefully, you all remember what a hoot Jillian was in The Real Deal. Well, the woman hasn't changed much. :)


Some neat news? TAKE ME is on Bookscan's national bestseller's list for romance this week. I'm also the feature author on Romance Junkies and the review for TAKE ME is fabulous!

Also, I've got some REALLY cool news I can't wait to share, but until I've got firm details...I won't. Not teasing...well not too much. :)

Discussion question: who do you think would make a great hero inspiration for one of my books and why? Oh, and what type of book, single title contemporary, Presents, historical, werewolf, etc.?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Guest Blogging

Hey, all...I'm guest blogging at The Pink Heart Society and I really hope you'll come over and visit me there. :)

Hugs,
Lucy

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Take Me is OUT NOW!!!

Okay...you all know how jazzed I am about the release of TAKE ME, the third book in my historical trilogy about the Selwyn family. Right? I mean, I make no bones about the fact that this book was my personal favorite for a long, long, long time after I wrote it. No matter how much I loved the other books I was working on, something in this story just resonated so deeply with me that Jared and Calantha always sprang to mind when I was asked, "What's your favorite book that you've written?" Even before I sold the book and knew it would be published.

Maybe it's because the story is a slight twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast theme. My beauty was married to a true beast the first time around and she's got a wounded soul and heart in hiding to prove it. She sees the man beneath Lord Beast's facade from the moment she first lays eyes on him, but his goodness terrifies her. She believes he has the power to hurt her, not heal her. He, on the other hand, thinks her beauty is only skin deep at first. Their path to finding each other is one of the most emotional journey's I've taken with the characters I write about.

So, I guess you will all understand that I'm sorta celebrating this week. I can't help it! I'll be sharing bits about neat reviews and other stuff and in general just reveling in a personal moment of triumph. With one of my special dreams coming true...the publication of *this* book.

Y'all heard the book got a 4.5 Stars Top Pick from RT, right? I think I blogged about it. Well, it got 5 Roses from A Romance Review and 4.5 Hearts from The Romance Reader's Connection too. It's the feature book and I'm the feature author with an interview on TRRC as well. Pretty nifty, huh?

Now for you...Share a moment of personal triumph. The key to living a life of celebration is learning to find joy in the little things as well as the big, so don't just think about the huge stuff. Not burning dinner can be a personal triumph for me because I find it so easy to get distracted. :)

And just because she sent it to me and I loved it so much and really thought it spoke to what we've been discussing on here lately...
The Fearful

The babe who fears drowning,
will first learn to swim
before diving into the waters
of life.


Tami Boyer
Haley's Cabin-- February 2007
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Keyboard woes...

Okay, it's time to fess up. I drink beverages (not alcohol) near my computer. Yes...really...I do. I know it's shameful and not safe computer etiquette. But it is necessary. And well...I spilled a glass of juice on my keyboard. I've had water spills before (not actually by me - but that's another story) and managed to save the hardware, but this time...it was not to be. The keyboard got fried. Totally.

So, no big deal...I'll get a new one. Only there's the time issue of getting to the store and buying the keyboard with all the running around I'm doing for teens right now. However, I did make it Office Depot and bought a lovely new *silver* ergonomic keyboard by my favorite maker of wireless interface - Microsoft. (Trust me, I've tried most brands and Microsoft lasts the longest. I'm hard on my keyboards.)

Get the new keyboard and mouse combo home and despite the fact the computer tells me it can see the mouse, it CAN'T!!! Aargh...more time, more running of teens all over heck and gone and my town besides...and another trip to Office Depot. A replacement keyboard and mouse and with LOTS of tweaking where the receiver is at (who knew having two monitors would be such a big deal???)...I am FINALLY back on my computer. I've got so many messages in my in-box, I'm going to be buried for hours, but I really wanted to come over and let you all know this time my disappearance was totally due to technical difficulty. LOL

Oh, later the same night I spilled the juice...I dumped a glass of water, barely missing my e-reader beside the bed and I laughed hysterically, waking dh up who promptly dried the power cords (which I did manage to hit) and well, obviously I find my own clutziness way funnier than the average person might. But come on...what are the odds? The same day???

I don't really have a discussion question today because I want to go repsond to all your comments on the last blog. But hey, let's just call this free chat day. Talk about ANYTHING you want, ask any burning questions you haven't yet and well, we'll just have fun.

xoxo
Lucy :)

P.S. My back is finally back to normal. And thank you to everyone who asked about it! I'm feeling much, much, much better now. :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The cost of following our dreams...

Do you ever feel like you are on the edge of something...but that it can either be really glorious or fizzle to something even less inspiring than mediocrity? I feel that way about my writing, that if I'm not careful I'm going to tip in the direction of mediocrity. Equally frightening, if I work really hard...I won't. My friend JoAnn Ross advised me early on that one of the biggest stumbling blocks to my success would be my own fear of it happening.

The fear is not without justification. Following our dreams comes with a cost. That is one of the reasons I have so little tolerance for people who will look at me with envy and say I'm so lucky to have published, so lucky to be doing what I want with my life. I look back at them and wonder when was the last time they sacrificed...truly gave up something good for the hope of something great, or paid the price in pain for the possible pleasure of achievement?

You notice those words - "hope" & "possible" - they are the difference between risk and a sure thing. Following our dreams is rife with risk. I kept writing through years of rejections and stumbling along a rocky path that left my knees bloody and my heart sore by adhering to the principle that I could not guarantee success, but I could guarantee failure - by giving up. Surprisingly, that mantra is every bit as necessary today as it was then. I try with every book to write something better than the last, to find a deep emotional connection with my characters that my readers will mirror.

Before I published, the only thing standing between me and the book of my heart was...well..me. Now there is reader expectation, editorial feedback and my sales history. When I look at which books sold the best, I can't help but thinking those were the books that found the widest band of connection with readers and knowing that to stray too far any one direction puts the relationship with my current readers and my editors at risk.

When I think of all that I have given up to follow the path of being a writer - time with my family, time for my hobbies, time to read, huge investments of money into pursuing my craft, publication and then promotion, friendships even, sleep, sometimes my peace of mind - I cannot cavalierly dismiss these truths. Jayne Ann Krentz once wrote an article on the concept of creation for self rather than others and I realize that I need to reinvest in that principle. That maybe the cost of my dream has driven me away from the risk taking that made *me* love my books.

I started this blog musing about the cost of success as well as the cost of pursuit thereof. Success itself can be frightening. Reaching ten year goals in a matter of two years can be terrifying and a leave a person rushing in a desperate attempt to keep up. When asked what I want five years from now, a small part of me hesitates to give voice to my ongoing dreams - for fear they will come true NOW and I am not ready for them, yet who would turn down a blessing? Not me.

I am so grateful to be where I am with my writing. To have books out that touched readers hearts and hit bestsellers lists. To have more books in the pipeline and know that they are there because I wrote them, but also because my publishers believed in me. In the next book.

But I still feel on the edge of that precipice and I only hope I'm going to fall into the unkown, to adventure, to something grand. :)

The truth is...every dream will come with some cost, if only the initial risk of pursuit. What dreams have you taken a risk to follow, or what dreams still lurk waiting for their moment in the sun?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunshine and Sparkly Smiles

I am loving this renewal of warm weather and sunshine. Don't know where it came from, but it is LOVELY. And it brings out my favorite thing...sparkly smiles...in everybody. The neighbors smile when I pass them on the way to pick up teens from school, the teens smile washing the car 'cuz they're *enjoying* getting wet, hubby smiles...well, maybe just because. Man, that guy has a great smile!

And well, no matter how much my back hurts, I'm definitely smiling. TAKE ME is going to be out soon...in fact, it may already be on some bookstore shelves. (If you have a sighting, will you share?) I'll be blogging more about it next week, but suffice to say, this book is one of my all time faves and I'm uber eager for reader reaction.

Another thing that makes me smile? Wonderful editors. They really rock. I'd turned in my revisions on my latest HP and my ed is on the wire schedule wise for it, but I got to feeling the ending was rushed and I needed to revisit the final scene. Her answer? Go ahead, just get it to me yesterday. LOL So, I'm working on that today and loving this process that makes doing what I do so very special.

I want every book to be the best one yet and having editors who are willing to let me do my thing, well...that totally blesses me.

Discussion Question: What brings out the sparkly smiles in you?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Oh...my aching back...

Okay, so I um...threw out my lower back helping get my son's room rearranged and refurnished to support three boys sleeping in there. My family keeps asking me if I'm feeling any better and I reply, "If I don't move." I finally came into the computer 'cuz I was so tired of laying perfectly still in bed and well, I need to work, having spent most of my working hours this week doing family stuff. :)

So, it's a chance to catch up with you all. Which I like. :) And I need to post my blog on Vamps & Scamps and then maybe get some pages in.

Michelle B had an icredible discussion going on this week on Romance by the Blog (link in my sidebar). If you get a chance, hop over and check it out.

I can't wait to see Grid Iron...only I'll have to until I can sit in a movie theater seat without groaning. LOL

Any movies you all are loving or looking forward to seeing right now?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Jack and the Beanstalk

I haven't lost my mind. Really, I haven't...but enter harried mother who just got the whole transportation situation uh...situated...for the three teens attending 3 different high schools. Said mother is also harried aunt who helps sister out when *her* transporation issues get a bit convoluted due to work and yeah, we just got that straightened out too. Oh, and said mother is *also* a harried writer trying very hard to stay on track with current book.

So, what do I do when one teen comes home and says, "We've got three foreign exchange students from Korea that need host families for the school year..."? I call the coordinator and set up a meeting. Well, what did you expect? Before the kids were born I spent one summer coordinating a foreign exchange program for 30 Japanese students and teaching them English. I know how hard it can be to find host families and well, I have mentioned how much I love being a mom? Love being an aunt too. Figure I would love being a "host mom figure" just as much, yeah? Good thing dh is such a hero...he went along. :)

So, um...a few hours later, I'm not one, but uh...THREE students richer in my household. Okay, one of them is going to another host family this weekend, but the other two are staying through June. Which means new furniture and uber reorganization of my son's bedroom. Three boys in one room. Yeah, we can make it work. If it were girls...uh...no, but boys? They're not so picky about space. At least mine isn't and neither are the exchange students. Just gotta make three beds work...good thing the room is bigger than a closet, no? But one bed? A queen size my boy sleeps on diagonally because he is so tall. Yeah, we've had to get very space creative. Enter futon and loft bed above it.

We've got the shower schedule worked out, they've discovered Top Ramen as an after school snack thanks to my nephew and dh and I are researching Korean recipes.

We are going to have such an adventurous year this year!

Discussion question: When was the last time you did something that sounded crazy, but you knew it was the right thing to do?

Prize Winners

I didn't forget...just got sidetracked...LOL

So, for the New Brava Site blog prize, I decided to give away two prizes. One drawn from the comments made before the deadline and one after. It only seemed fair, yeah? The winners of a signed book of choice and Brava cover flats are:

Joyce and ChristyJan

Blog winners for the weekly drawings for drawings I have not done:

Maureen - Winner of Kelly Vitollo's debut eBook

Kathleen - Winner of grab bag of books from my prize shelf.

All prize winners, please email me with your snail mail address so I can send your prizes. Oh, yeah...the post office just loves me. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Brava Authors Website

Just wanted to let you all know that the Brava Authors website has been revamped and it's to die for gorgeous!!! It really is! You can visit it at:
http://www.bravaauthors.com.
Be sure and stop by the all new message boards and visit with your favorite authors and a queen among editors, Kate Duffy.

One of the things we've been chatting about amidst ourselves is how very diverse the Brava imprint is. It's not a line and the authors all have their own story to write. Some are sexier than others. Some use the language of erotica while others do not. Some have suspense or mystery elements, others do not. Some are straight romance...some are hugely funny (read Karen Kelley lately?)...in short, there is a truly special, wonderful plethora of stories for every taste in romance.

Visit the website, check out the message board and then come back and let me know what you think. I'll be giving away signed cover flats by other Brava authors and a signed copy of a book of choice to a winner drawn from the comments on this blog post. :)

And I didn't forget last week's contest winner...I'll post her name as well as the special contest winner from this post tomorrow night. :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Online time and other bits...

I'm wondering how the rest of you manage your online time. For months now, I've struggled because I spend hours every day keeping up with my online commitments...more hours than I actually have to write and that's disturbing on more levels than I want to talk about. Not to mention really, really bad for my stress levels. It also means that my time with my family is severly hindered. So, well...I've made some tough decisions, which I'll be sharing with my loops in turn, but here's my new time management plan:

1. Go no mail indefinitely on pretty much all of my discussion loops.

2. Visit my favorite blogs (besides this one) no more than once a week.

3. Visit my favorite discussion boards no more than once a week or every two weeks.

4. Attend no more than two chats per month.

I'm keeping my online class group because mentoring others is uber important to me and making my blog my central point for contact with readers. I'm still available via private email and love hearing from readers about my books, but I can't keep up with online chat groups or daily visits to any discussion board or blog but this one.

Making such drastic changes in my online time is super hard, but it is that or write fewer books, which I have to believe readers would prefer I not do.

Oh, and the other bits? Some VERY cool news...but both Ready (#13) and Willing (#10) were on Fictionwise.com's Bestsellers List last week (they're still on the list, but have dropped a bit this week). So, the eBooks are doing well. Happy day! AND Take Me received a 4.5 Stars, Top Pick from RT!!! I'm totally over the moon on that. :)

Discussion question: What strategies do
you use to manage your online time?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Final bits on Vancouver...

I couldn't finish my travelogue on Vancouver without telling you all about my interview with Mark McConchie. First of all, I recognized his face and found out later it was because I'd recently seen him in an episode of Psych (my new favorite show - okay I only watch two shows, but for it to be one? is saying something). He's a totally amazing guy. Incredibly nice and very generous with his time. The lunch interview stretched late into the afternoon and the batteries on my mini-notebook went dead taking notes. I had to switch to pen and paper. Yep...he was uber interesting all right. I could have asked him a million more questions, but I figured he deserved a break.

He was full of information on acting and the film industry itself as well as just being well...cool. He knows what he wants, what he's willing to do to get it and not willing to do. Those kind of self-realized people are few and far between. Another friend of mine, JJ Massa is one of them. I can talk with her for hours too. LOL

But I'm digressing, which I'm good at but is going make this blog too long for you all. :) After interviewing Mark, my family and I went to a restaurant he recommended and it was fabulous. Went back to the hotel and saw this very interesting gay bar on the way back. Yes, I wanted to go in for research sake...yes, that's got something to do with the current book...no I didn't go. No one to go with. Wasn't about to drag dh. He's much too good looking...I'd probably end up jealous. LOL

The next day, we did a return to the renovated section of downtown and then my daughter and I went to a spa. Research. It really was. Wait until you read the book and you'll see. I probably asked my skin therapist more questions than she's ever gotten...my procedure took nearly a half an hour longer than it was supposed to. I felt badly, but she was so sweet about answering everything. And when you read about the secondary character who is a skin therapist, you'll know I did my research in real time. :)

We ate at another scrumptious restaurant or two - food is VERY good in Vancouver and then went back to our condo/suite to pack. I'm ready to go back, but think my publisher and maybe readers (yeah?) would be happier if I stuck around here and finished the book!

Discussion question: Have you ever gone someplace you wouldn't necessarily want to tell your mom about?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

As promised...couple of very promising reads.

Okay...you all know how much I like uber dark and sexy books. They are often found among the paranormals, but I want my strong emotion too and this book looks to deliver all three. I'm definitely putting it on my TBB list.

SLAVE TO SENSATION
Nalini Singh

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation" - the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was...

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion - and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities - or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation...

There is nothing I like better though than a truly sexy romance and Kelley Vitollo's debut release is available *tomorrow*!!! Can't wait to read it.

Dream Man, a short story by Kelley Vitollo available September 8 from Forbidden Publications.

Sadie has the same dream night after night. She dreams of a mysterious man with black hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and magical hands. When dream becomes reality and Sadie comes face to face with her dream man, will she have the courage to see if reality is better then the dream?

And this week's blog winner? Will receive a copy of Kelley's Dream Man!

Today's discussion question - In both of these stories, the heroines have to take a risk to follow their heart (one perhaps a little more deadly than the other ::g::) and I've gotta admit that I love that kind of story. What about you? Did you have a "moment of decision" when it was all or nothing in a relationship, when the risk of staying was almost as big as the risk of walking away? If you don't want to get too personal...then how about sharing your favorite moment of decision in a romance?

FYI - I will be blogging more about my trip to Vancouver and my wonderful interview with Mark tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fallen off the Face of the Earth?

Not really...but sometimes it feels like it. I'm making a concentrated effort to get caught up with life again now that the kids have all started back to school. Who knew putting three teens in three different high schools could be so challenging? But everything times three made for a super hectic week after our vacation. And one of my teens is a senior...yep, senior pics are a mini stage production. Or not so mini really...wow...just, wow...eye opening.

I've got notes to type up from the trip to Canada, my desk is cluttered (you all know I can't write with it like that) and I'm a nervous wreck about my son going to public high school even though I know it was the right choice for him. But I think I'm going to get caught up today. I really do. I mean with life...and I sort of started here...letting you all know I'm doing great, just busy and plan to be back on track from here on out.

I'll be back tomorrow with a book pimp (or two) and the announcement of *this* week's contest *prize*.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

Veronica - CD with copies of 14 of Denyse's erotic romance books.
Estella - Grab bag of books from my prize shelves along with chocolate.
Melissa - Grab bag of books from my prize shelves along with Vancouver BC souvenir.

Winners, please email me with your mailing address so your prizes can be sent.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Another Day in the Life...

of your intrepid explorer...okay friendly author who likes to research.

I tried to blog yesterday, but couldn't get Blogger to cooperate with me. Not sure what the problem is, but I'm not having a lot of luck today either. So, I'm trying the email function for blog posts. :) Here's hoping it works.

For those of you who did not notice Melissa's announcement...READY & WILLING are both available as eBooks now! Yippee! I'm going to have to do some kind of special giveaway for that...stay tuned for details.

On to my travelogue...we've done Yaletown (which is no Soho, but I can see why so many actors take up residence in this area just bursting with character and creative flavor) and the Gaslight district (which is a mecca for panhandlers and I'm a pushover and well that could be a story in itself) and Stanley Park where we saw both dolphins and totem poles. Last night we had dinner at a restaurant on Burnaby Mountain (a lovely hill with a gorgeous view of the city and the sunset) and today I'm interviewing an actor for the inside scoop on the film industry.

He's the gent Lynette suggested and he's not only very kind and generous with his time, but an aspiring author. So, we should have lots to chat about. Want to have a look at his blog? Go to:
http://markmc03.livejournal.com/ Afterward, my family and I will be going to Lions Gate to take pictures from the outside again and get a better feel for the North Vancouver studio.

My son's discovered the techno music store and my daughter the retro clothing shop (there's a chain of them...) and my other daughter the water park. Yeah, that's going to be good for her chemically treated hair. LOL Hubby is trying to beat some mind challenge game on his PSP (um...yeah, we *are* on vacation) and I'm having a fabulous time all around.

On that note, what's something you do on vacation that people wouldn't normally think of doing?

I read and unless you're a reader...it's hard to understand that need on the beach in Puerto Rico, for instance. :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thank Heaven for Readers

Okay...I don't think it's any secret how much I love romance readers and especially *my* readers. Right? Well, I've got another reason for my directed adoration. :) Just got an email from a reader who suggested a Vancouver actor's blog for research and gave me contact info on him. THANK YOU, my dear Welsh friend! I don't know if anything will come of it, but just reading the blog is going to be useful for me. And I have emailed the actor and am hoping he will have a smidge of time to share with me. :)

Also, wanted to let you all know that yesterday's "stalking" picture taking exercise went extremely well and I have some very good visuals to go with the info I've gleaned and will continue to glean from other sources. Not only that, but the store clerk selling me a new printer for my daughter (yes, shopping at regular stores and all is part of the research, right...got to get a feel for real life, not the tourist thing...) said he might be able to get a friend who does some work in the film industry to email me. I gave him my card...well a bookmark, but for an author that amounts to about the same thing. I'm getting set to email the girlfriend of a waiter who toured the inside of the studio lots. I might have to do a class on "skinning fish". ::very big grin::

Want some random observations? Seems like every apartment building and a good number of houses in Vancouver have terraces for outdoor living and there are tons and tons of convertible cars here. WAY more than you would see in Portland on any given day. Byciclists rarely wear helmets, but an older gentleman walking down the road has one on. Hmm... Don't see as many skateboarders downtown, but there are just as many people walking around with cell phones attached to their ears. While the traffic is pretty nice, parking is atrocious. Diversity is the word that comes to mind most though...of everything, people, architecture, business types, restaurants and even transportation types. It's wonderful and just a little wild. Love it!

Talk to you all later!

Oh, wait...today's question...Where is the most interesting place you have ever been? Can be anything, doesn't have to be a city, but an event or an attraction or a bank building for that matter if it fascinated you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

There's more than one way to skin a fish...

Does anyone else remember that saying from Julie Garwood's "Saving Grace"? The hero couldn't figure out why anyone would want to skin a fish, missing the point of the comment completely, or so we thought until the very end when he saves her. I love that book. :)

Anyway, my fish skinning is all about the film industry here in Vancouver. No one does tours, not the biggest to the smallest lots. No one wants to talk to me to answer a few question...at least no one we've called. Which are official channels for the BC film industry and all the studios. Yeah, I'm stubborn. :) So, we're going "unnofficial routes". We'd already decided to do lot drive bys and take pictures through fences when one of the small production companies suggested doing just that. Even told us their lot was visible from the road. I can't remember their name right now, but they will for sure make it onto my "Current Projects" page when I get home. I love friendly people, even those under limitations due to liability insurance.

However, I will not be thwarted. I'm interviewing waiters, store clerks etc. asking what I want to know and coming up with some surprising alternatives. The dedication for this book is going to be interesting to say the least. :) My family are all used to being with me and barely blink an eye when I start interviewing perfect strangers, but my son thinks I should tip the waitstaff extra when they answer my questions. Which I happen to agree with, so all is good. LOL

I really do love Vancouver...the people, the diversity of culture, the fact that walking into a mall I hear no less than four languages in discussion around me. (Good thing I took so many years of so many different foreign languages in high school and university.) It's said that Vancouver is a mini-Hollywood, but no two towns could be more different. I haven't seen a single limo since I arrived (and anyone who has been to Hollywood knows that's so not the case down there). One cafe server said she thinks the city's film industry is just a whole lot more subtle and I'm buying that.

The different types of architecture are gorgeous...there are lots of trees downtown just like in my beloved Portland and the drivers actually use their signals. (We find this so rarely on our travels, I thought I had to mention it.) Love the earth friendly electric city buses and lightrail. Love the guy dressed in goth punk retro leather (who is at least 50) asking the conservative businessman for a light (I'm inside looking out through a window and safe from the smoke that kills me) and both of them smiling at each other and chatting just a short bit before the aging punker moves on.

Love that even in rush hour the traffic is nothing like Portland's twice a day madness and lightyears from LA's gridlock.

Wishing my Canadian friends were close enough to get together for coffee...but I will say my trip to Calgary last year left me hungry to return, so who knows? One day...

Right now, I've got to finish cleaning out my in-box before my laptop runs out of battery at the Internet cafe. :)

My question for you...when was the last time you had to come up with another way to skin the fish and did it work?

Hugs to all,
Lucy

P.S. I have not forgotten the contest winners for last week, but I'll be drawing their names and the one for this week by Monday at the latest. :) (Prize 1 for last week is a CD with Denyse's books on it drawn from comments to her post. Prize 2 is a grab bag of books and chocolate from my prize shelves drawn from all the other comments from last week. The winner for this week will get another grab bag and some goody from Vancouver that my heroine Jillian would find particularly interesting. Remember she's ecclectic. :) The winner will be drawn from comments made on posts since Sunday.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

1st Day On the Road

Well...we're finally here. :)  Edits in the car went great, the border was um...slow but weirdly no problem once we reached the guard house.  Vancouver is a gorgeous city and seems to have had a sprucing up since our last visit.  The hotel so far is lovely, though we just checked in, so more on that later.
 
I do not have Net access, so dh is running my laptop down to the nearby Internet Cafe to send this and my manuscript off.  Here's hoping it all works.  I'll hope to pop in at a Net Cafe again in the next day or two with stories to tell and a chance to respond to your comments.  Or at least I hope I'll have stories...I did say I was trying to get some good info on the inner workings of the Vancouver Film Industry, yeah?
 
Signing off now so dh can take off with the computer!
 
Hugs to all!

Finished!!!

Just wanted to share that I finished the rough of my book last night and will do final edits on the drive north to Canada today. (Research trip.) Did I mention that my next book, a Brava (Jillian's story...remember her from THE REAL DEAL?) is going to be set around the Vancouver BC film industry? I'll be posting travelogues, so you might actually see more of me around here than the last couple of weeks while I've been working so desperately to get my book done. :)

Wanted to thank everyone again for all your support. It really made a huge difference for me and my mental attitude as I worked on this last book, which is over the top emotional by the way. LOL I wrote the black moment all in one sitting 'cuz I couldn't stand to stop.

But if I'm going to get out the door like planned, I'd best cut this short. I'll be checking in with you all later today or tomorrow morning!

Hugs and happy Sunday!
Lucy

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Catching Up... :)

Still not done with the book. It's not that the characters are giving me fits or anything, it's just taking longer and I'm spending almost no time online until I get it turned in. Hopefully the extra angst means it will be a stronger story, yeah?

Wanted to say a quick hi to Louisa Edwards! For those of you who don't know, she used to be my editor at Berkley. A fantastic, incredible editor. So wonderful that TAKE ME is dedicated to her. :) She's no longer editing, but she's writing now and if you knew her creativity like I do, you'd know what a marvelous thing that is for the rest of us. Looking forward to pimping her first book here for sure...um, Louisa...is it sold yet? :)

Also wanted to mention for those of you who haven't visited my website lately, but I've had FOUR books nominated in the CataNetwork Reviewers Choice Awards. Three HPs and one single title. I'm uber jazzed!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Meno-Paws by Guest Blogger Diana Duncan

My daughter had begged for a dog since she was five. It took ten years before I caved.

It was all a romance hero's fault.

A cat devotee, I couldn't understand my mom's adoration of her dogs. Dogs were messy, smelly, and let's not even discuss co-dependency issues. Been there, done that with toddlers - a decade later, still had mystery stains on the furniture. I didn't want the furry equivalent.

Then Officer Liam O'Rourke sauntered into my first 24 hour book with his K-9 partner, Murphy. I've done crazy things for research, (I once had a cop handcuff me in the back of his patrol car), but as I started writing Heat Of The Moment, my September Intimate Moments, little did I know how my life was about to change.

I met a real K-9 officer and his dog, and we began to email. As I read about K-9s, my heart wrenched at their incredible loyalty and selfless sacrifices. I perused hundreds of dog photos.

I called my mom. "Hell has frozen over at our house."

She knew instantly. "You got a puppy!"

Cyrus was to be my daughter's. She promised responsibly for feeding, walking and pottying. You know what's next. She lasted four nights, one more than I expected, before she came crying at 2:00 a.m. "I can't stand another sleepless night!" I snatched the opportunity for a "baby lecture" (she was fifteen...perfect timing).

Then I let little, whimpering Cyrus sleep in my bed. And he climbed into my heart.

I vowed not to get attached. But he had other ideas. He adopted me.

He's so smart, it's scary. He wakes up happy every day. He's always thrilled to see me, even if I've only been "gone" in the bathroom five minutes. He snuggles beside me as I write. When I'm upset, he comforts me.

My world would be a bleaker place without him.

Writing romances brought me a true love story of my own...with a fuzzy bundle of unconditional love.

See my baby's pictures at: http://www.dianaduncan.com/

Are you a pet lover too?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Denyse Bridger has come by to play...

I'm still MIA due to book and family, but Denyse will be here to visit with you all today. :)

Hugs,
Lucy

GUEST BLOG:

AUGUST 14th, 2006 – Marks not only marks the debut of Denyse Bridger with publisher Liquid Silver Books, (http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/), but also the release of her first full-length erotic romance novel. This is the first of two new releases scheduled with Liquid Silver Books over the next 4-6 weeks.

SIMPLY THE BEST: (Contemporary Action/Adventure) In the most unlikely of places, Kaylee Masterson encounters the man who will be the inspiration for an erotic fantasy novel. Little does she know when she makes Max Richmonte the subject of her book that reality is going to prove even better than she could have imagined it. But, Max has a dark to his life, and when that secret world clashes, violently, with the happiness he’s found, the handsome commander is forced to face not only his past—but also the future he wants with Kaylee. A future filled with love, and endless nights of hot, mind-blowing passion...

Early in September, the first book of a new series will be available, THE DEVANE FILES Book One: OUT OF HELL: Inspector Michael Devane is given the job of investigating the bloody murder of a prominent theatre producer. Devane is a haunted man, driven by the dark demons of his past, the elusive Ripper, and a growing addiction to opium. His brilliance is unquestionable, but his methods are highly unorthodox. In Bradshaw’s widow, Michael finds a kindred spirit, but could she also be the murderer he’s looking for?

I hope you'll want to meet Inspector Devane and Max Richmonte, they're pretty amazing men. Excerpts are available on my website, as well as some pretty cool FREE stuff!! Also, Lucy will be making a draw today from the comments, and the winner she chooses will get a CD-ROM with 14 of my erotic romances.

Denyse
http://www.denysebridger.com/

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Guest blogs & MIA

The bad news is that we aren't going to have a guest blogger this week. The good news is that we'll have TWO next week. One on Monday and one on Wednesday! Denyse Bridger will be back on the 14th and one of my favorite people as well as writers, Diana Duncan will be coming by on the 16th.

As soon as I finish this book, I'm going to start contacting the authors you've all requested and see how many have time to do a guest stint. I'm happy to contact just about anyone, so please don't hesitate to add to the suggestions.

I'm pretty much MIA, I know you all know it's the writing. It's going well, but there's just a lot of it that needs doing between now and deadline. :) BUT I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes! It was a fabulous day and evening and I got really neat presents. I'll try to post a picture of the statue dh bought me to go on my "inspiration" shelves...they're on the hutch of the desk that faces me when I'm sitting in my "cockpit" (you can see a picture of that on my "Funstuff" page on my website).

So, now that you've seen my "cockpit" - what's your ideal work environment or hobbyist domain?

I used to dream of a stamping desk with tons of shelves and dwarers and lots of stuff where I could reach everything I needed to. Now my daughter is the big stamper and scrapbooker, but I'm very happy with my cockpit for my writing. Though...I could use a couple more shelves. LOL

Hugs,
Lucy

Monday, August 07, 2006

Celebrating for lots of reasons...

First, lest you all think I forgot (which I did, but that's beside the point)...I drew from all the comments made to my blog between Sunday July 30th and Saturday August 5th for last week's prize winner (the signed copy of Come Up and See Me Sometime and the matching water bottle). Well, actually I had my dashingly attractive teenage nephew (the girls in high school are so going to love him come September) draw the winner and it is Chantal! So, hon, just email me with your mailing address and I'll get your prize out to you ASAP.

Second, today is my birthday and it's been absolutely lovely so far! Dh and the kids have been uber sweet and generous. AND I got an absolutely smashing gift in the form of acceptance for two inspirational novels I'd written before realizing my "calling" was to the sexy romance market. Tentative schedule for release by Samhain Press is 2007 (hopefully as both e-books and then later in print). I'm over the moon about this!

Third, I edited lots of pages yesterday and got seven more written. Not as many as I'd like, but definitely better than nothing.

Fourth, I'm SO celebrating the wonderful support and encouragement of readers and authors here on my blog.

All in all...I'm feeling VERY blessed right now!

Hugs to all!
Lucy

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A very productive day!

I hope you all don't mind me sharing with you, but it helps a lot when I'm under so much pressure to come here and see the wonderful support and encouragement you all are so generous in doling out. Hope that doesn't make me selfish. But...I wrote 24 pages today and I'm VERY happy about that!!!

There was a time when 24 pages was a piece of cake, but the more I write, the more difficult it gets. I'm very hard on myself...want each new book to be better than the last and a lot more thinking goes into the words that make it to the paper now. Which makes me laugh when I hear people comment how a writer gets sloppier as she has more books published. I don't know any writers who aren't like me, fighting for every word to make it the best it can be.

Anyway, I digress...it's just that I have to keep up this pace pretty much until the book is done. So, I'm limiting myself to only going online twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. I'll be posting progress as I go and hopefully that will help keep me on target. :)

Know I'll be reading your comments at some point, just not throughout the day. They really bless me though, so thanks for sharing in this journey with me.

So, what do you do to help you meet a goal that is overhwhelming you?

Hugs,
Lucy

Friday, August 04, 2006

Glimpses of Lora Leigh...

Lora's been sick, but rather than disappoint readers, she's allowed me to take a couple of "glimpses" of her off of her Forum to share with you. She'll be by to say, "Hey," today as well 'cuz even not feeling totally up to snuff, this lady is pure gold!

For the rest of her Breed fans (like me), her explanation of when and how these books are gonna be published: Berkley Sensation has purchased the rights to all unwritten Breeds. This is wolves, all felines, coyotes, the future winged Breeds and anything else that pops up. LOL This does not include the already published Breed books at Ellora's Cave. I accepted this deal so that the Breed books would not be seperated as the series continues, by publishers. Because of the continuim the Breeds must continue in line with the same publisher. Tanner's Scheme and Dawn's Awakening with fall in after Harmony's Way, and their stories will then be completed and will fit into the Wolf Breeds where Tanner and his mate were mentioned. For the rest of the explanation, click here.

Lora when her son went to 4-H Camp: I can't handle it. I haven't slept in two nights. Not since he left. I go to sleep and I have horrible dreams. What if somebody hurts my baby? What if he gets all that wild courage he has going at midnight and decides to sneak out of the cabin. They do that at camp. I know. I've heard about it. My cousins did it. What if he gets in the lake. What if a snake bites him or some crazed inhuman axe murder.... I'm gonna puke. To read the rest of this hysterically funny ramble click here.

Wanna see some cool pics of Lora at RWA National? There's a totally sweet one with hubby, I just love. Click here and here.

As a quick reminder, her Shadowed Legacy is now in print and available *signed* at Dreams by Night.

Wanna know what *I* did this morning when I should have been writin'? I dyed my hair! All that lovely gray is gone for my 39th birthday (in a couple of days) and I think that's only appropriate. LOL I usually have it professionally done with three different shades, but I don't have time to spend three hours getting gussied right now. But last summer I did pink highlights...man, were they jazzy.

So, as a way for Lora to get to know you all, why don't you share the craziest thing you've done with your hair? Or maybe *want* to do, but haven't?

I want to bleach my hair and then dye it a really pretty purple (the almost black won't go purple without the bleaching). I'm thinking for my 40th.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A good day for writing...

The kids are either away or at "Take Your Kid to Work Day" at dh's company. Which means I've got time to write *without interruption*. Imagine that in a household of teenagers!

Good news is that I got 14 pages and several hours of necessary research done yesterday. Not so good news was the realization that I actually had about 175 pages to write to finish the book, so I'm ahead but at the same place as yesterday. Does that make any sense??? LOL

And don't forget...tomorrow is our guest blog with Lora Leigh! Be there or be square! (And I don't want anyone reminding me that Hewey Lewis says it's "Hip to be Square"! LOL)

Speaking of guest bloggers, you got any preferences? I'm putting together a pretty fab schedule, but I'd love your input.

Hugs to all,
Lucy

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's finally out!!!

NEW POST :)

Okay, so *I've* been looking forward to Kate's first romance release with as much excitement as she has! LOL But it's available now for order at Samhain. Go take a look. :)

Taking the Cake
by Kate Davies

Mollie Mason is sure her night can't get any worse. Stuck in an inflatable rubber cake, she overhears her fiancé slamming her to the entire guest list of his bachelor party-and then she catches him cheating! But discovering her high school crush has witnessed her humiliation is the icing on the cake.

Cade Gallagher has wanted Mollie for years. And when she asks him to help her prove to the world-and herself-that she's not just a good girl, he knows he'd be a fool to say no. But she wants a temporary fling. Will two weeks be enough time to convince her to take a chance on him-forever?

I think the cover is yum-delicious, but then I make no bones about the fact that I prefer a dark haired, dark eyed hero. Shocks me every time a blond or sandy-haired one pops into my head. LOL My dh is sensuality personified to me and has the tall, dark and sexy concept down pat. What type of guy rings your chimes? Do you have a favorite physical description for a hero? Is there someone you picture when reading about a certain type? If you have a link to a picture, share it, or just tell us who it is.

Monday, July 31, 2006

This week's Guest Blogger, etc.

Well, the Party was a total blast and I'm thinking we'll seriously have to consider doing it again. And to keep the fun going, I've booked our first regular guest blogger for this week and it is none other than Lora Leigh!!! She'll be guest blogging on Friday, so make sure you stop by to say, "Hey." Not only is she one of my all time favorite writers, but she is super nice!

And I'll draw this week's blog participant prize winner on Saturday night. :) What will you win? Hmm...what about a "Come Up and See Me Sometime" water bottle and signed copy of the book to celebrate it going back to print?

I'm well behind in my writing now because I spent so much time online last week. Go figure. LOL But today, I'm finishing up the revisions on my first Twins book. It's funny how going back into the book makes me even more eager to finish the second one. Amber and Miguel have had plenty of time to breathe, now they'll be immersed in more emotion than we can all probably deal with as I try to get caught up on page count. :)

Two of the teens have taken off for a youth conference, so maybe...just maybe...I'll get a little extra writing time in.

Hugs to all,
Lucy

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Final Blog Party Prize Winners

Saturday's Prize Winners

You must email me to confirm your win and provide your mailing address (where applicable) within 24 hours or your prize will be reassigned.

Prize 1 - Chantal
Prize 2 - MelJPrincess
Prize 3 - Nonny
Prize 4 - Annie in GA
Prize 5 - Mark St. Claire
Prize 6 - Cathie
Prize 7 - Stacy Dawn
Prize 8 - Lis
Prize 9 - JudyF
Anne McAllister's extra prize. :)
Prize 10 - Debbie E
Unclaimed KW Prize

Consolation Prize Winners
Remember how I said that since I'm hostess, I kinda get to do things I want to? Well, I wanted to give some consolation prizes to those people who participated in multiple blogs on at least 4 days of the Blog Party but didn't win any of the main prizes. While there were LOTS and LOTS of bloggers who dropped in for a bit (some winning prizes - some not, but all VERY welcome!), some bloggers just couldn't stay away and I felt like they deserved something special for being such great sports.

In order to receive your consolation prize you will have to send me a self addressed stamped padded envelope for me to send your book back in. If you live outside the US, you can send me IRC coupons for postage instead. Email me for details on where to send the SASE and how much postage/number of IRCs it needs to have.

Oh, your prize? A signed Modern Romance (UK) edition of one of my Harlequin Presents, a 2006 bookmark, a pen and a piece of Dove chocolate.
Those Eligible:

Amy (not Amy S)
AudreyB
Bruce
Carol
Carolyn A.
Cherie Japp
Cheryl
CrystalG
CynGreen
Cynthia
Danielle
Deborah Chan
Estella
Heather
Jennifer L. Hart
Juliet
KarenG
Kathleen
Kiki
Kim
Laurie
Lidia
Lisa T
Lisa Williams
Marcail
Marcy
MarilynS
Melissa
Nicole
Pam G
Pat
Shuck Ying
Slehan
Susan
Tara W
Tee
Teoh

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Remember that crush . . . ?

Hi!

Anne McAllister back again. I don't imagine that I'm alone in having had a crush on a guy or two while I was growing up. I fell in love with a cowboy when I was five and followed him everywhere. I think it was a case of imprinting, like a duck, since I seem to have written my share of cowboy heroes over the years. And there have been other "crushes" that have found their way into my writing brain, too. One of them turned out to be so much fun that I wanted to share it with you.

I'm dating myself here (as all women who have been married long enough to have four grown kids will do), but when I was in junior high, there was a television program on called Laramie. Of course, given my predilection for cowboys, I watched it. But it took about two minutes to stop watching it for generic cowboys and start watching it for Jess Harper -- the brooding, rough-and-tumble loner who never quite saw things in black and white (even though the TV was). He was an honorable guy -- but that didn't mean always being on the right side of the law. Sometimes honor took him the other way. I loved the character. And I loved the guy who played him -- Robert Fuller.

About 15 years ago when I was at a writers' conference I was listening to historical western romance author Jessica Douglass talk about why she wrote western heroes (she said, "Put a man on a horse and I'll follow him anywhere," as I recall). And then she talked about Little Joe Cartwright (played by Michael Landon) and how she had fantasies about how Little Joe was her brother and they had wonderful adventures. And then, she said, "But then I saw Jess Harper and he was definitely not my brother!" And I knew exactly what she meant. I was a little concerned though that Jess seemed to be two-timing me with her!

After the conference, Jessica and I recalled our mutual passion for Jess -- and I wrote a book called A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS (ghastly cover. But I still love the book and the character who inspired it!) which had a hero named Jess and, even though it was a contemporary, paid homage to the character I had loved.

Jessica (notice the name? Wonder how she thought of that. Hmmmm) and I decided to put together a talk called "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" which we gave at RWA National a few months later. In working on it, we thought it might be fun to ask Robert Fuller what his views were. So we wrote him a letter. And forgot about it.

One snowy day a month or so later, the phone rang while I was trying to get hold of my husband to pick up our son at the dentist. It was nearly 5 in the evening and the only people who call then are vacuum cleaner salesmen. So when this man asked to speak to me, I thought, oh hell, a vacuum cleaner salesman, and said, "Yes, but I'm on the other line. Please hold," and I went back to trying to get my husband. Finally got him. Got another call from son at dentist. Went back to the vacuum cleaner guy. Said, "I'll be right back. Got to tell my son when my husband will be there." Told son. Went back to vacuum cleaner guy and said, "Yes. What can I do for you?" knowing full well I was not going to buy a vacuum cleaner. And he said, "This is Robert Fuller."

Of course it was. Because I'd put him on hold twice ! (That'll teach me!). Anyway, we had a very interesting conversation about Jess -- whom he thinks is the best character he's ever had the privilege of playing. And he and I and Jessica had a two hour conference conversation a couple of weeks later (He'd called her, too, and she was even more blithering than I was by the end of it). And we got a great workshop out of it. And I also got lunch.

A few months later when I was in California, he took me to lunch at a very nice place (whose name I forget) near the Warner Bros. lot and I discovered I had terrific taste as a thirteen year old.

Because he is a genuinely nice guy, he also helped me with the background for Sloan Gallagher, the hero of my GREAT MONTANA COWBOY AUCTION and put me in touch with the stunt coordinator who was my background guy for COWBOYS DON'T QUIT. All in all, a great return on a junior high school crush, wouldn't you say? (And I'm not even mentioning the kiss)

If I were having crushes now, instead of simply evaluating the "hero potential" of certain males of the species, I'd be keeping an eye on Hugh Jackman. Actually I have been keeping an eye on Hugh since my friend and fellow writer, Lucy Gordon, told me about him when he was starring as Curly in the British stage production of OKLAHOMA. And while he's had lots of memorable roles since, if you never got to see him in the Aussie film PAPERBACK HERO, where he plays a closet romance writer, well, you haven't lived!

Kate Walker and I had a running Hugh-in-a-towel thing going when we spoke at the NZ and RWAustralia conferences two years ago. I'm wondering if we should expand that hero workshop Jessica and I were working on to include Hugh. I suspect I'd recognize the Aussie accent and wouldn't mistake him for a vacuum cleaner salesman if he called!

So, there, now you know the details of the fantasy love of my youth. What about yours? Who did you have a crush on? Did you ever meet that person? What happened if you did? And did you ever write a book based on it????!!!!

Besides the three Code of the West books which are among the prizes today, if you want to enter a drawing for a copy of THE GREAT MONTANA COWBOY AUCTION , come by my blog and leave a comment saying so or email me at anne.mcallister(at)gmail.com. I'll pick a winner August 1st!

And because I haven't yet mentioned my most recent book, THE ANTONIDES MARRIAGE DEAL (which in a very roundabout way connects to THE GREAT MONTANA COWBOY AUCTION because it's all one big alternative universe that Anne McAllister characters live in) I'll give away a copy of that today. Lucy can pick the winner from among those who respond to this blog. Think Hugh when you're reading it. I did!

Thanks, Lucy -- and everyone else -- who has made this the best conference ever!

Hugs,
Anne
website: http://www.annemcallister.com
blog: http://www.anne-mcallister.blogspot.com/

Wow! What a party!

I've read several posts thanking me for throwing this party, but every time I see that, I just want to thank you all right back. Coming together, having fun, chatting about the stuff that interests us...it's made this week fly by for me. I hope for you too.

Readers get glimpses of an author's heart in the books she writes, but it takes stuff like this to give us the chance to get to know you. I can't tell you all...participating authors...those who gave away prizes...readers...aspiring author...how much I've appreciated your participation in this week's party. It's moved me beyond words, to tell the truth!

And so - as many of my ideas come from reader encouragement - I've decided after the strong response to the guest blogs that I would try to have a guest blogger at least once a week on my blog. I've also decided that I really like this whole giving away goodies stuff and will give away a prize a week on my blog as well. Just a couple of fun things to thank romance readers for being the special people they are!

Hugs and much love,
Lucy

P.S. So, the party won't be over any sooner than it has to, I'm waiting to draw prize winners for todays prizes until Sunday morning. Look tomorrow for a posting of winners of the listed prizes and at least a couple of random extra draws. :)

Being 50

Phew! Made it!I've just got back from a wonderful week spent in Wales. As those of you who read the posts I was able to make earlier in the week know, I was in Wales running a course on Writing Romance based on my guide to writing - Kate Walker's Twelve Point Guide to Writing Romance.

I had a truly wonderful time. I met some lovely people - had a lot of laughs - enjoyed wonderful food - listened to a magnificent Welsh Male Voice Choir. But best of all, I got to talk to other writers about writing. And I got to talk to would-be writers about how they want to write Romance. And I came away revitalised as a writer because of the enthusiasm and excitement these 'wannabe' writers showed for the books I write and read. Lucy asked me to post a comment here for writers as well as readers and her request couldn;'t have come at a better time.

And that's one of the main reasons I go to Conferences and course - and one of the main reasons why I love to teach writing. Because I get to meet new writers and talk to them about ' how it's done and what not to do. And I get to see them smile and nod and just occasionally I get to see a lightbulb moment when their face lights up and a smile tells me that they've 'got it' - understood something they never saw before. Writing Romance is a very special thing. One of the problems that romance writers - and readers - come up against is the fact that so many people think that romance novels are just 'silly little books', books that are all the same, books that are nothing more than 'chocolate for the mind ' - enjoyable and fun, but in the end not very good for you! I wish they could have been with me in Wales. I wish they could have seen the lady whose husband died very suddenly some years ago, devastating her life. For some years now I've watched her cope with life, tackle her loneliness bravely and with courage - but with that essential spark having gone from her eyes. This time when I saw here there was a new and wonderful sparkle about her. Her eyes were bright and shining, her smile wide and bright. She'd met a new and special man. A man who was not going to replace her husband, in the same way that she was not going to replace the memory of his dead wife, but a man she could love now as he loves her.This lady is no longer young, but who ever said that love is only for the young?

Love is something very special, very wonderful - and writing about love, reading about love, is somethng i'm always proud to say I do.

And I love to see new writers joining the ranks of those published, with their first books shining and brand new on the shelves in the bookshops. I met Lucy at a RWA conference in Denver, four years ago, just before her first book was bought. I was at my first ever conference, over from the UK, at the huge booksigning, feeling rather lost and alone, and wonderfng if anyone was ever going to speak to me. And Lucy came up to my table, smiled , and said 'Presents! Oh I love Presents books!' - and I knew I'd made a friend. We'd never seen each other before. She lived in America and I was from a small town in rural Lincolnshire - but none of that mattered. We both loved writing and we both loved romances - and so immediately we had somethig special to talk about. Something that linked us, made a connection - something we could share. And that's why, when Lucy said she was running this Conference Blogparty, I knew I had to be here. So that I could share in this too.

Not just because I have a book out in August - well, I, but Lucy has already been kind enough to mention The Antonakos Marriage already. Not just because I wanted to promote my how to write guide. (I'm giving one away as one of my prizes - so if you're a writer please say so when you post and I hope it will help you win!) But because I wanted to say that I'm proud to be a romance writer, proud to write those 'silly little books' about the most important force in human lives. Love.

I spent long years of my life studying 'literature' - and I enjoyed it - but I've enjoyed far more the years I've spent writing romance. Creating new books, new stories, new characters, has been such a delight and a challenge that I can hardly believe I've spent 20 years doing it! When I first started out, everyone - teachers, parents, friends - told me that I would never ever succeed. That my dreams of being a writer were just daydreams, never likely to come true. But I didn't listen. I kept going, kept trying - and now just this week I learned that my 50th title has been accepted.

So if you're a 'would-be' - a 'wannabe' - a 'gonnabe' writer. I'm going to say to you, hold on to your dreams - don't give up on them. If you've tried and submitted and been rejection, don't go down under it. What is it the song says - Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. A rejection is a sign of your courage. It's a sign that you took the risk, took your courage in both hands, and submitted something. And you can never ever be accepted if you never submit. So congratulations to you for being brave - and I hope you'll be even braver and try again. My first submission was rejected too. And my second. The third one became The Chalk Line and that started me out on this wonderful career that I've enjoyed for all these years.
One of the reasons I started out on this voyage of discovery that is writing romance was because a friend of my mothers wrote for Harlequin Mills and Boon (then just Mills & Boon) Margaret Baumann wrote romances way back when I was just a child. She also wrote under the name of Marguerite Lees. When I was old enough, hers were the first ever romances I read. So I was wondering.

Who was the author who brought you to romance? Can you remember the first one you ever read - a title perhaps? Or just a bit about the story if you can't remember name and title. Writers, i'd love to know just who inspired you to think 'I'd love to write like that.' Readers too - whose books caught hold of your imagination and hooked you in so that you wanted to read more and more of the books that the great Charlotte Lamb called 'those complicated little books.'

Thank you all for sharing with me the past years and those 50 books I've written - I couldn't do it without you because if you didn't buy and read my books I'd never have reached this milestone. And I hope you'll stay around for the next 50 - because I don't intend to stop till I reach the 100 milestone. And I hope that I get a chance to see some of you 'wannabe' writers publish your first books - and more - along the way. Good luck! And do let me know if you succeed.

And thank you Lucy for this special chance to party with everyone! I'm so glad I met you at the very start of your career - here's to many more years of writing and many more books!

Kate Walker
Web site: http://www.kate-walker.com/
Blog: http://kate-walker.blogspot.com/