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,

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)
Carolyn A.
Cherie Japp
Deborah Chan
Jennifer L. Hart
Lisa T
Lisa Williams
Pam G
Shuck Ying
Tara W

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Remember that crush . . . ?


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) 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!


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'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 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,

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:

The Open Door Policy in Romance

I hope you've all been having a great week here at Lucy's Blog Party, I know I have been. Today among the giveaways, I'll be contributing an autographed paperback copy of my erotic contemporary romance, Sylvie's Gift. I'm also including an autographed mini-CD of my erotic contemporary romance novella, Jebediah's Promise.

Sylvie's Gift by Adrianna Dane Sylvie's Gift and Jebediah's Promise have one thing in common in that they are both contemporary romances, but they are about two very different romantic relationships. In Sylvie's Gift, Sylvie Taylor explores her yearning for passionate fulfillment in the shadowy world of dominance and submission.

Jebediah's Promise by Adrianna DaneJebediah's Promise is about the commitment of a military wife to her husband and his promise to her under the most life-threatening situation.

These are two very different stories, but both are very romantic and very much about love and trust. Pushing the envelope, not only in subgenres, but in lifestyles is what exploring the boundaries in writing is all about and part of the reason I love writing. I enjoy the freedoms we are allowed to explore today. In the coming months, I'll be moving even further past the boundaries of what we call traditional romance. Later this year, I will have several stories out dealing with a menage, bisexuality, and a gay relationship. So tell me, what will make you delve into unknown territories in reading? What will make you try a story you never thought you'd be interested in reading?

My first introduction to erotic romance was by winning a basket of electronic ebooks. I never looked back. But I didn't think I would be interested in alternative, nontraditional situations. Wrong again. I read an excerpt that involved a menage and the relationship in that story made sense to me. My boundaries in reading were breached. So, do you have firm boundaries or are you willing to explore and try something new?

I love exploring the dynamics of relationships, personalities, passion, and romance. The lines of lifestyles, as well as genres, no longer is clearly defined. The doors are wide open, not just to the bedroom, but in allowing us to explore how we relate to each other on a daily basis. I've been reading some research on interpretations of fairytales and the tarot, and a phrase in one of the books captured my attention. "Even the physical act of love, properly used, can be a vehicle for spiritual growth." Erotic romance is about intertwining that physical act of love and its many facets, its bonding ability between consenting adults, to create a stronger, deeper story about relationships through the use of sensual and explicit language and situations. How our characters touch, and speak, and relate to each other, especially in the most intimate of situations is an important part of the erotic romance. To slam the door shut, cuts off an intricate part of the love story. Erotic romance isn't just about the sex, it's about the relationship, and so much more.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I look forward to reading your comments.


Multi-Hybrids and Validation

Sounds like an awesome cocktail for a blogging party!

Hi everyone! Thank you all for joining us this week. There have been so many great titles and authors mentioned here, I'll have a TBR pile for quite a while. It's very exciting to see all the different types of romances for everyone, isn’t it? Historical, Regency, Suspense, Sweet, Sexy, Paranormal, Inspirational. It’s a great time to be writing romance, to know that whatever your head comes up with, there’s likely a place for it.

Personally, I love the mix. The multi-hybrids. That's what I write. For instance, Betrayed has about 5 of the above mixed into it. My heroine, Kalyss, survived a brutal marriage and rebuilt her life based on independence. Then in one day, it tangles all around her as she's attacked, watches a man die to save her, flees for her life, awakens a statue and learns this is her tenth life. And for every one of them, her goal has been to awaken the man she'd married a thousand years before. But now she has him and she doesn't know what to do with him, just that she needs to decide before their enemy kills them both.

Now, I have to say, it was very disturbing to hear my mother tell me she knew *exactly* what *she* wanted to do with my hero. Especially when the heroine has him naked and tied to a chair. I mean, we're open. We're honest about sex. We talk. But Baron is mine! LOL

That kind of warm support is very nice, though. The moment when you've finished creating something you've worked so hard, so long for and now, at long last, your family and friends can see why you sacrificed time with them. And it clicks. They understand.
That has to be one of the most priceless moments ever.

What special moment have you ever had where you felt the most validated?

This has been such a great week. My daughters and I finally finished Buffy the Vampire Season 6 and are halfway through Season 7. It's really cool when something has such a mix of humor and danger and romance that several completely diverse generations can enjoy it together. Multi-hybrids. What mixes do you like the most? In what books have you seen it done the best?

I've enjoyed talking with all of you. Thank you for including me in your guest list, Lucy. :)

Have a wonderful August, everyone!

Jamie Leigh Hansen
Betrayed - Coming Summer 2007
TOR Paranormal Romance

Older Women with Younger Men

Astraea of Enchanted Ramblings ended her review of Dance for Me, part of the Up Close and Personal Anthology with this: "If there is a real Reino out there, I'd like to give him my phone number."

I once had a Reino in my life. Well, sort of…He was even in construction (although, unlike Reino in Dance for Me, he was a nail pounder). I was 34 and a single mom, he was 24. My son and daughter were thirteen and fourteen. John was a terrific guy—handsome, fun and attentive. We did some wild and crazy things for the six months we were together.

Then one night we stayed in to watch TV with the kids. He sat on the couch between my son and daughter, eating popcorn. The three of them were giggling, throwing popcorn in the air and trying to catch it in their mouths. I couldn’t help but laugh, but I realized that night that, as fun as John was, he wasn’t the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. That was the last time I saw him, although he did call up three years later to tell me he had turned twenty-seven.

Now I'm dying to hear your stories. I imagine some of you even married your younger man. Tell us about it.

Pam Champagne
Ribbon of Rain
Dead Heat
Missing in Action
"Up Close and Personal" Anthology
All available at Triskelion Publishing
Pam's Blog

Friday's Prize Winners & Saturday's Prize List

Friday's Prize Winners are:
Winners have 24 hours to email me with their mailing addresses and to confirm their win before an alternate winner will be selected.

Prize 1 - ShelMel
Prize 2 - Jodi
Prize 3 - Joyce
Prize 4 - Brandy
Prize 5 - mammakim
Prize 6 - Bonnie Ferguson
Prize 7 - Niny
Prize 8 - Barb V in NY
Prize 9 - Sandra08081998
Jodici Belle's winner
Prize 10 - Lori
JJ Massa's special prize off from Thursday's post (signed copy of print edition of winner's choice of The Agency books in print)

Saturday's Prizes will be:

Prize 1: The official Lucy Monroe Blog Party goody bag.
Prize 2: Prize pack by Romance Junkies.
Prize 3: A bag of cookie mix and a download of an eBook by Pam Champagne, winner's choice.
Prize 4: Goody bag by Adrianna Dane with a signed copy of Sylvie's Desire.
Prize 5: JJ Massa is giving away a download of The Agency: Engel & Gustavo.
Prize 6: Signed copies of three Code of the West books from Silhouette by Anne McAllister.
Prize 7: A signed ARC of You Don't Know Jack by Erin McCarthy.
Prize 8: A KW bookbag with a signed copy of her 12 Point Writers Guide by Kate Walker.

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Dreams Are Coming True

We all have dreams, but how many of us really expect them to come true? I know I wished for mine to come true; hoped and prayed every chance I got but I didn’t really expect it to happen. Then it did. Kelley Vitollo sold a story!

Kelley Vitollo is a writer!

It feels so amazing to say that! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this feeling. I expect to wake up and find out it was all a dream.

I have always loved words and always dreamed of becoming a published author. Recently, I took that giant step and began working on making my dream come true. I stole minutes wherever and whenever I could and started a book. It felt amazing. During a moment of writers block on my novel, I wrote a short story and submitted it. On July 4th, 2006 I received a contract from Forbidden Publications for my short story, Dream Man! Since that day I haven’t been able to silence the characters in my head. I just finished a novella that will be submitted shortly; I’ve plotted the second novella in that series, and started working on my novel again.

Everyday I wake up in awe that this is really happening and not just a dream. I didn’t realize there was so much to publishing a book until now. I’ve been frantically working on blurbs, promos, getting a website built, and writing out what I would like for my cover art. Forbidden Publications has been wonderful to work with; answering my numerous questions like, “what do I do next”. I don’t yet have a release date for Dream Man, but my heart has still been beating to its own happy tune for a month now. I’m enjoying the whole process because it is all part of “the dream”.

The hard work is all part of the package and I love every second of it.

What are some of your dreams? When they came true, were they everything you thought they would be?

My answer is yes; becoming a published writer is everything I thought it would be and so much more.

Kelly Vitollo

Secrets of the Romance Sisterhood

This has been the most amazing party! I’ve learned so much this week. First off, Lucy Monroe is an awesome author and a wonderful person and beloved by all. And she knows lots of inspiring authors who have written some great blogs, while all the participants have provided wonderful insights. We’ve discussed TBR piles, 5-star reads, romantic things, romance around children (i.e., how to do the horizontal mamba on the sly-ha!), books that stay with us, secret dreams and guilty pleasures, book settings, movies, perfect heroes, dream careers, vacations, embarrassing moments, stepping outside our comfort zones to try new books, iced drink recipes, and so much more.

I’ve also learned that you are an amazing group, with dreams and aspirations; that you’re smart, caring, creative, imaginative, and supportive. What a great sisterhood! I think that’s maybe the best thing about romance readers. We come in all ages, shapes, sizes, races, religions, but we accept our differences. We nurture and we love. And we do it with class and pizzazz. And we know how to party! Woohoo!

Also, it appears that the majority of you prefer macho bad boys; steamy, curl-your-toes love scenes; and that emotion is one of the most important elements in keeper romances. We want to feel, to live through the characters, and to know that when we close the book, all is right with the world.

Which is exactly why I write and read romance. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

Here’s my question: Did you end up with your very first love? Feel free to kibbutz about that first love and share where you did end up.

I’ve really enjoyed hanging with y’all this week. Let’s do it again some time!

Hugs and chocolate,


Dancing around my office...

I just uploaded my brand spankin' new website for my upcoming paranormal series, "Children of the Moon". I'm really pleased with how it turned out. What do you all think?

As many of you know, I'm pretty excited about my werewolf books. Despite the fact that I had contracts coming out my ears (along with deadlines), I wrote the first story entirely on spec because I just couldn't help myself. Thankfully, Berkley bought it. A contemporary novella in the anthology UNLEASHED (out in Dec '06). The second is the first in a series of werewolf historicals set in the Scottish Highlands. Some of you will remember we had a reader vote to determine the title from a list generated by chatters on the Scamps, Vamps & Spicy Romance loop. Ann Lorz had the winning title, MOON AWAKENING and the publisher went for it. Cool, huh?

So tell me, do you read paranormals and if so, what's your favorite flavor (shapechangers, fantasy, vampires, time travel, etc.)?


Another I-Spy RWA National Report from Jill Shalvis

Hi there, your RWA reporter Jill Shalvis here. Whew, lots of stuff going on. Namely, yours truly winning the National Reader's Choice Award for best single title, SEEING RED. I'm so excited and honored I can hardly speak, and I think I might have broken out into hives when I had to go up to the podium to accept my award. See in the picture? Me on the right? The blush? Believe me, even my ears were burning.

I'll have more pics up on my blog, including some of the lovely bloggers who visited me at the literacy signing, along with more pics of editors and authors. Please come visit and leave your kingdom of lurkdom and say hey!!

Hugs from Atlanta, Jill Shalvis

P.S. Oh and I nearly forgot ... I'll be drawing five names from today's commentors on my blog, all of whom will win a book from my backlist ...

Friday's Special Extra Prize Post

This time I asked historical romance author, Jodici Belle: Who is your favorite historical hero and why?

Jodici said, "My most fave character (that isn't mine) is Simon from Once A Dreamer by Candice Hern. This man is sweet and strong at the same time. Unlike most men of the era he was a firm believer in love....and a red head. I liked him most, because he was different from all the other heroes out there. A breath of fresh air."

She is giving away a gold plated sapphire heart pendant for the prize drawing.

How about you, Who is your favorite historical hero or heroine, real or fictional and why?


Hi from Betty Womack

Hi there, fellow RWA party friends. I have to send a champagne toast to Lucy and thank her for the generosity she has shown.

And thank all of you for being here and contributing to the festivities. I have met a lot of super people from all the publishing houses as well as our supportive readers. There are simply no better people to be found. I write for Loose-Id and New Concepts Publishing and they have been most kind to me. I hope if you are the one to win my books, you enjoy them as much as loved writing them for you.

PJ Womack/Betty Womack
Just released..."Devil's Heart"~~**At Loose_id
Also Avaialable.."Devil Take Me"~~**At Loose_id

Thursday's Prize Winners and Friday's Prize List

Thursday's Prize Winners are:
Winners have 24 hours to email me with their mailing addresses and to confirm their win before an alternate winner will be selected.
Congratulations to the winners!

Prize 1 - Jennifer L.
Prize 2 - Minna
Prize 3 - bluecitybabe
Prize 4 - MichelleB
Prize 5 - Linda H. (readingissomuchfun)
Prize 6 - RobynL
Prize 7 - Maureen
Prize 8 - Becky (from Wisconsin)
Melissa Schroeder's Operation Love

Friday's Prizes will be:

Prize 1: The official Lucy Monroe Blog Party goody bag.
Prize 2: A "Romance Divas" t-shirt.
Prize 3: Signed copies of Bad Boys in Kilts and Catch Me If You Can by Donna Kauffman.
Prize 4: A signed ARCs of Southern Exposure by Karen Kelley.
Prize 5: Signed copy of Wildest Dreams by Janice Maynard.
Prize 6: Signed copy of Shadow Fires by Catherine Spangler.
Prize 7: Signed copies of the Alacor Family Trilogy by Kate Walker.
Prize 8: Signed copy of Just One Look (print edition) by PJ Womack.
Look for Friday's special extra prize post!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Devil in the Details

I made it! I'm back from Seattle where I went to attend a bridal shower and meet the parents of the young woman one of my sons is going to marry in 3 weeks. I'm thrilled to report that I had a great time, I think he has excellent taste in in-laws and if they would turn down the heat in the Pacific Northwest, I think it would make everyone a lot happier.

Now then, I'm ready to party!

I see there's been a ton of activity while I was still out on the coast, and lots of great prizes have been given away and Liz has provoked everyone into revealing their most embarrassing moments! I think I'll give that one a miss. But I did contribute a couple of books to the "memorable books" pile. I could have contributed a few dozen more, but I thought I should restrain myself.

For those who haven't met me before, my name is Anne McAllister. I write or have written at various times for Harlequin Presents, American and Romance (one, my first book!)as well as Silhouette Desire and Special Edition and one longer mainstream romance called THE GREAT MONTANA COWBOY AUCTION. All my Silhouettes but one (BLOOD BROTHERS, which I co-wrote with Lucy Gordon) have been in a mini-series of my own called Code of the West.

Recently, though, I've been writing mostly for Presents and last year finished up a trilogy called Pelican Cay (McGILLIVRAY'S MISTRESS, IN McGILLIVRAY'S BED, and LESSONS FROM A LATIN LOVER), which is one of the prizes being given away today.

I loved doing the research for the Pelican Cay books and earlier books I had set in the Bahamas. But then, like Nicola (who wrote about settings earlier today) I love to get a feel for the real place I'm working on.

Ah, research! It's so much fun. I think it's the part of writing I like the best because it's fascinating to discover new places, new occupations, new ways of life that I can't possibly live out in my own single existence. In my writing I've been able to go to bull riding school (literally!), learn to build an 11-ton sandcastle, find out how to do physical rehab on an accident victim who was a pro athlete, watch a hair stylist to high fashion models do her thing, take part in an archaeology dig, run a bed-and-breakfast, and a few dozen other fun things that brought my characters and books to life for me.

I love the details, the tiny things that make a book real, that make my characters individuals, and my stories unique to those particular people at that particular time and place. The devil is in the details, because getting them wrong ruins the suspension of disbelief. But getting them right makes a book feel like an extension of reality, another parallel universe. And learning about them makes me richer because I get to walk in the shoes of so many different people in so many walks of life.

Some of you attending our "virtual conference" are writers working on your own books. Some are readers who love a good well-told story. What is another life you'd like to live -- an occupation you've never tried but are fascinated by, or a place and lifestyle that you would either like to live yourself or bring to life in a book you might write?

Thanks for asking me to come to the party, Lucy! What a blast -- and for once my feet don't hurt from having to wear shoes!


Guilty Pleasures and Favorite Sins

Good morning Everyone!

Many of you may not know me. I'm J.J. Massa, writer of all manner of ebooks that are creeping into print. The first book(s) I ever had published were werewolf related. A couple of vampires here and there. Very erotic, of course. I do like the whole story when I read. :) That's why I love Lucy so much. We agree on that and so many other things.

Anyway, those were the books I first had published. The first books I ever wrote for my own entertainment and stress release were...shhh...male/male.


Well, that was my guilty pleasure and favorite sin. Okay, I also like dark red wine, old movies, M & Ms and Flav'r Ice Popsicles. A woman's gotta have a FEW vices, right? ...And carrot cake. *Sigh* I read like a fiend, too. Oh, man, all these talented writers at this party? I can't get enough of their work. It's like candy--whenever I can, I read one right after the other. It's a sin. But I can't help myself.

There! I feel better.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my werewolves, my vamps, my arrogant Cajuns, and paranormals. Love them! I just released a short story in a contemporary anthology – Hard Hats and Hard Bodies. I’ll never stop writing boy meets girl – um, with my own slant on it. That just goes without saying.

But there’s just something about two guys, isn’t there? All those pieces we don’t have…all those problems built right in. * happy sigh * I can’t get enough of writing those forbidden love books. Not as forbidden as it used to be, but still every bit as intriguing, huh?

Hopefully, you’ll find out for yourself. Lucy’s giving away a download of the first Montgomery Family werewolf book and one download of either of my Agency books that are already out.

But I want to go a little further. Tell me what your guilty pleasure and secret sin is. Do you like to spike your mother-in-law’s tea? Do you buy an entire cheesecake and hoard it? I’ll pick a winner from all the answers and mail them a copy of any one of my three male/male books in print.

I can’t WAIT to read of your answer.


Thursday's Special Extra Prize Post

This time I asked an author the question: What's your favorite vacation destination? Or if you'd rather, where would you go if you could go anywhere *right now*?

Melissa Schroeder said, "I'd love to go to Scotland right now. Anywhere in Europe actually, but I am writing about some Immortal Highlanders, so maybe studying the Highlander men up close might help. I have been unable to convince my husband it is all for research."

She's giving away a signed copy of the print edition of Operation Love as an extra prize in tonights drawing.

What about you? What's your favorite vacation destination? Or if you'd rather, where would you go if you could go anywhere *right now*?


Are Settings Sexy?

Okay everyone, I'm in party mode. Just slipped into a glam party frock, spangly sandals, done the make-up thing and I'm ready!
(Can you tell I'm a mum of a toddler and don't get out much?)

For those who don't know me, I'm a physiotherapist-turned-author writing for Harlequin Romance and Modern Extra and loving every minute of my dream job.

I love creating characters, adore snappy dialogue and the whole rush of plotting a new book, which brings me to what I'd like to chat about: settings.

The last few books I've sold have all been set in my gorgeous home city Melbourne, highlighting cosmopolitan suburbs such as St. Kilda (home of the most scrumptious cakes on the planet!), Fitzroy (boho mecca) and Carlton (the city's 'little Italy' with pasta and gelati to die for!)

In my upcoming releases FOUND: HIS FAMILY(Romance), BIG-SHOT BACHELOR (ModX) and PRINCESS AUSTRALIA(Romance) I deliberately set out to capture and bring alive the incredible vibe of these suburbs, hoping to give readers a glimpse of what it's like to live in Melbourne.

An added bonus of using real settings? The fabulous research! Though if I sample just one more of those yummy cakes, this party frock won't fit next time around!!

Ironically, in my upcoming Romance release WIFE AND MOTHER WANTED (North America, August) I went for a fictitious setting, a town named Stockton a few hours out of Sydney.

I needed a small town feel for Carissa, fairy-shop owner, and Brody, the single dad fleeing his demons.

Guess what? I recently had an email from an author saying that Stockton does exist and it's a few hours north of Sydney! My setting was entirely coincidental, named after an old uni friend I bumped into at the time of writing the book. Maybe I'm more hooked on settings than I thought, conjuring up real life places without knowing it!

Are settings important to you? What's your favourite setting, the place that transports you into the pages of a book? Or do the characters of a book do it for you more than the setting?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,


Reading Outside Your Genre

I love reading gothic novels. I read traditional gothics by Victoria Holt in high school and as I got older I fell in love with contemporary gothics by Barbara Michaels. If you would have asked me what type of books I would be writing, I would have said contemporary gothics.

But the oddest thing happened. I started writing my first story and it sounded nothing like a gothic. With gothic there is a dark moody tone to the writing, and there is a lot of dwelling on location with intense descriptions. My tone is fairly light, very smart ass and I seem more interested in the characters and action than the details of the surroundings. It shocked the heck out of me. Instead of writing gothics, I work away on paranormals and chicklit action diva stories.

I've started reading paranormals and chicklits. And it's made me wonder what types of books I missed out on by always reaching for my stand-bys and favorite genres.

As reader we sometimes get in ruts. If we love paranormals - that's what we devour. What is the last book you took a risk on? Something that normally you wouldn't read, or would think was your type of book, but you took a chance on? Or what type of genre have you thought about trying, but haven't gotten around to reading yet?

Samantha Storm

I-Spy Report from Jill Shalvis

Well, I'm here and alive, but not COOL, that's for sure.

I can't stop sweating. Oh, wait. Women don't sweat, we glow. Uh huh. I'm aglowing plenty, let me tell you.

But look who I found at the literacy signing. Isabel Swift, VP of author and asset development, fun and smiling as always...

I have lots and lots more pics coming up on my blog so tune in when you can.

Your fearless RWA reporter,
Jill Shalvis

Wednesday's Prize Winners & Thursday's Prize List

Wednesday's Prize Winners are:
Winners have 24 hours to email me with their mailing addresses and to confirm their win before an alternate winner will be selected.
Congrats to all the winners!
Prize 1 - AmberPackard
Prize 2 - catslady
Prize 3 - Cherie K
Prize 4 - Jennifer Clark
Prize 5 - Heather Harper
Prize 6 - Pam P.
Prize 7 - KimW
Prize 8 - Blueberri
Liz Fielding's prize

Thursday's Prizes will be:
Prize 1: The official Lucy Monroe Blog Party goody bag.
Prize 2: Prize pack by Romance Junkies.
Prize 3: A goody bag with signed copies of Hired by Mr. Right, Contract to Marry & Wife and Mother Wanted by Nicolla Marsh.
Prize 4: A download of Acting Like Family by JJ Massa.
Prize 5: Signed copies of the Pelican Cay trilogy by Anne McAllister.
Prize 6: Signed copy of Hot Summer Nights by LuAnn McLane.
Prize 7: Prize pack with Eye of the Storm by Samantha Storm.
Look for the special extra prize post, too!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Books that Stay with You

I'm reading a new author, but I've got a feeling I'll be reading a lot more.

The book is Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur. And it's gooooooddd.... I love a good paranormal romance. Okay, I love a good romance, period. Something that's got a lot of action, a lot of emotion, a lot of romance is going to appeal to me. More often than not, though, even though I love an action packed romance, it's the emotion that I remember the most when I think about my faves.

Books like the Irish Jewels trilogy by Nora Roberts or her Chesapeake Bay series. Lover Eternal by JR Ward, the Dream series by Mary Wine or Elizabeth's Wolf by Lora Leigh. All of these books have a lot of action in them, but what I remember the most is the emotional aspects. For those who've read Lover Eternal, you'll probably know what I mean... THAT was a tear jerker. The hero from Elizabeth's Wolf was a tortured soul if I've ever seen one, and the heroine from Mary Wine's Dream Shadow .... she was intense.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Kiss an Angel, another heartbreaking book. Had moments that made me laugh out loud and then a bitter betrayal, followed by a heart melting reunion... *G* I'm terrible. I love a book that has this awful betrayal and you think for sure the heroine is just going to say bye bye. And usually does. Then the hero has to all but crawl on glass to get her back.

What are some books that have stayed with you? What keeps you glued to the page? Emotion? Drama? Sexual tension? Comedy?

Inquiring minds want to know...


Wednesday's Special Extra Prize Post

My favourite radio station has been running a series of programmes on memory. Plays. Discussions. Phone-ins where listeners confess to those sudden and inexplicable lapses that attack us all from time to time. Endless numbers of babies have, apparently, been left in the Post Office. A concert pianist found herself repeating the same phrase of music over and over when her mind went a complete blank. It's wonderful stuff; grist to the author's mill. Memory is such a powerful tool in fiction. It's the engine-house of internal conflict and in my September Harlequin Romance, THE SHEIKH'S GUARDED HEART, my hero is imprisoned by painful, guilt-ridden memories that keep him exiled both physically and metaphorically in the past.

In celebration of the joy and agony of memory - and for a chance to win some luscious, body-pampering treats from Crabtree & Evelyn (as well as a signed copy of the book) -- I want you to reveal your own lapses. Those hideously cringe-making moments that it would be a mercy to be able to wipe from your memory bank, but which steadfastly refuse to fade. (You didn't expect me to ask for joyful memories did you? As Tolstoy nearly said: All happy memories resemble one another; each terminal embarrassment is unique!)

Since I would never expect you to bare your souls without revealing my own worst memory (and so you'll know there's nothing you can tell that could be worse) here's mine.

I was an office junior. Sixteen years old (it's my only excuse!) and a woman I worked with (always on a diet - always talking about losing weight) was discussing, in luscious detail, a trifle she'd made that weekend. Layer after layer. The sponge cake. The sherry. The custard. The double cream. The chocolate. A million calories a mouthful. And I heard the words - "Good grief, no wonder you're so fat..." slipping out of my mouth. Forty-plus years (and 30 lbs heavier myself) later, I still remember her name, her face. The memory of the silence, the chill, the absolute certainty that nothing I could ever say or do would expunge the insult, is still as agonisingly vivid. And yes, I changed my job next day!

Liz Fielding

A little heat, a lotta movies

One thing I'm not missing by not going to Atlanta is the HEAT! Is it hot everywhere in this country right now or what? We had a heat wave pass through in Seattle last weekend and it was brutal. See, they don't believe in air conditioning out here in the Pacific Northwest, at least that's how it seems to this Midwestern girl. They say it never gets hotter than 80 here in the summer... guess what? It hit 101 degrees last weekend -- yikes! The ice cubes were melting in the grande, triple shot, iced mochas that everyone drinks around here.

My family and I (husband, two teenagers, two dogs and three cats) moved here three years ago and I'm still baffled by the lack of a/c because in Chicago if you didn't have a/c you might as well jump in Lake Michigan (or spend the day shopping at Water Tower Place ... hmmm ... now there's a thought). The good news about the heat wave is that it gives me an excuse to catch up on my movies! I saw The Devil Wears Prada, Lady in the Water and Monster House all in one weekend. Have you seen any good movies lately? Are you looking forward to any?

When not at the movies, I'm writing romantic suspense and romantic comedy novels. I have two books coming out this fall: my debut for Harlequin Intrigue, "Silent Memories" and "Love on the Ropes" a romantic comedy for Dorchester. This is the third in my series set in professional wresting and I'm giving away copies of the first two books, "Got a Hold on You" and "Ring Around My Heart" so... shoot me an e-mail and I'll drop your name in the hat to win a free book.

Okay, okay, I can't resist. Since we're talking about the heat, here's a line from one of my most fav movies. Talk about intrigue!

Can you name the movie? "Whatever you do, don't talk about the heat." (Hint: actor who says these words was nominated for an Academy Award for History of Violence.)

I've also got a new website launching in August and will be celebrating with a contest there as well. (

Thank you to Madame Lucy Monroe for inviting me to this awesome party! She is just the best.

Pat White
SILENT MEMORIES, Harlequin Intrigue, Sept. '06
LOVE ON THE ROPES, Dorchester, Oct. '06
THE AMERICAN TEMP AND THE BRITISH INSPECTOR, Intrigue, Jan. '07 RING AROUND MY HEART, "Best Contemporary Romance 2004" -- Romantic Times Magazine

Celebrating the First Book

Hi everyone, and thanks Lucy for your invitation to party. I've never blogged before but as a brand new Presents author I'm encountering a lot of firsts.

Last December I heard that 'A Mistress for the Taking' had been accepted. I've been grinning since (through 2 more acceptances). After years reading and loving Presents stories it's still hard to believe I'm now a Harlequin Mills and Boon author. Here in Australia they're marketed under the name 'Sexy', so I sometimes get tangled up telling people I'm a Sexy author and then needing to explain!

As for the firsts: there was the acceptance (wonderful), the copy edits (less than wonderful), seeing a cover (FANTASTIC) and just last week, receiving a small box of hardcovers (better than FANTASTIC). One of the prizes today will be a signed copy of 'Mistress', hot off the press!

Marina Lucchesi is desperate. She'll do whatever it takes to save her family from ruin.

Meanwhile Ronan Carlisle has a score to settle. His strategy is simple: if Marina poses as his mistress, he'll ensure the man who made them both suffer will pay.

Marina can't understand why Ronan, one of Australia's most eligible tycoons, wants her. But she's not in a position to refuse his offer. Then she finds herself in his bedroom and discovers there's a lot more to their bargain than she anticipated.

I love this cover and it fits the story perfectly. Yet, when I'm buying a book I usually zoom in on the author's name or the back cover blurb. What about you? What convinces you to read a book: its cover, blurb, author, first page? If you're like me and it's the teaser on the back that hooks you, I'd love to hear about your favourites - are they marriage of convenience stories, Cinderella plots, second chances or something else?

Annie West

Isn't it Romantic?

Taking the Cake

Mollie Mason is sure her night can't get any worse. Stuck inside an inflatable cake, she overhears her fiance slamming her to the guests of his bachelor party -- and then she catches him cheating! But discovering that 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 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 just a temporary fling. Will two weeks be enough time to convince her to take a chance on him -- forever?

In Taking the Cake, Mollie tries for the grand romantic gesture by popping out of the cake at her fiance's bachelor party. As you can tell from the back cover copy above, it isn't exactly a roaring success.

But romantic gestures can be wonderful, delightful things. As a writer, I love to create romantic moments in my books that will (hopefully) make readers smile, sigh, or even brush away a tear.

So here's my question: what's the most romantic thing you've ever done -- or had done for you? Or, if you prefer, what's your favorite romantic moment from a book or movie?

Kate Davies

Tuesday's Prize Winners & Wednesday's Prize List

Congrats to the prize winners!!!
Winners have 24 hours to email me with their mailing addresses and to confirm their win before an alternate winner will be selected.

Tuesday's Prize Winners are:

Prize 1 - BarbaraV
Prize 2 - Julie in Ohio
Prize 3 - Lidia
Prize 4 - PamK
Prize 5 - Ali
Prize 6 - Debby
Prize 7 - Bamabelle
Prize 8 - Katherine
The Married Mistress by Kate Walker
Prize 9 - Evelyn
Jeri Drennan's prize
Prize 10 - Canadian Friend
Ashleigh Raine's prize

Wednesday's Prizes will be:

Prize 1: The official Lucy Monroe Blog Party goody bag.
Prize 2: A "Romance Divas" t-shirt.
Prize 3: Electronic copy of Taking the Cake by Kate Davies.
Prize 4: Signed copy of Hunting the Hunter by Shiloh Walker.
Prize 5: Signed hardback of A Mistress for the Taking by Annie West.
Prize 6: A signed ARC of Southern Exposure by Karen Kelley.
Prize 7: Box of chinese fortune cookies and download of Eye of the Storm by Samantha Storm.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Special Added Prize Blog for Tuesday

One of the fun things about being hostess is that I kinda get to do what I want and I thought it would be fun to bring some authors to the party that aren't on the official participation list.

I asked these authors, what they do to relax. Here are their answers along with their generous prize offerings to be added to today's drawings:

Jerri Drennan said, "When I'm not writing and I want to relax, I go for a long walk. It helps to clear my head, especially if I'm having trouble plotting a current WIP."

She's giving away a pdf edition of her latest Loose I.D. release, Saving Grace.

The Jen half of the Ashleigh Raine writing team said, "Besides reading, which is my favorite way to relax, I fully admit I’m a television junkie. Veronica Mars, LOST, Bones, How I Met Your Mother, Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, The Unit are my favorite current shows, and I also love to watch my old favorites on DVD, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Friends, Earth 2, Roswell. But since I can’t just sit and watch TV, I cross stitch or ride my exercise bike while watching. I have a hard time doing only one thing at once. As my hubby tells me, I’m not very good at relaxing. There’s too much I want to be doing!"

Jen is giving away a canvas Talisman Bay tote bag with an autographed print copy of Lover’s Talisman and some other goodies--bubble bath, love dice, toy love cuffs and whatever other goodies I have stored in her goodie box in her office closet.

So...what do YOU do to relax?

Exploring the secrets of life through writing...

For those not attending the National Conference, this is a fun, experimental forum and I’m so happy to be invited to partake of your blog spot, Lucy! Thank you!

Today I’d like to blog about relationships. Anyone else find relationships difficult? What? Some of you find them easy? Ha. I thought so. Everyone else has the secret and I’m still trying to discover it…

I think that’s why I enjoy writing women’s fiction and romance so much. It offers a wonderful chance to explore relationships and work out different ways people can relate to one another. That way, I can find the secret of what really works in life… Maybe I can discover what really drives people to want to connect with one another, what pulls them apart, what makes them apathetic, what (or who) brings out the best in them, or the worst… :)

When I write a heroine, I try to think of the way she will relate to other people in the story, not only about how she will relate to the hero. It is fascinating to see the network or spider web of relationships spread around her, reaching out to pets, to other women, to children, to nature… This includes her relationships back through time, as well. I find the heroine’s history to often be a major influence on her. The more she can become aware of how her past choices have affected her, the better she can choose to act freely in the present. I think it is especially fun to find the unknown stuff in her head or heart that is driving her!

And when that exploration brings pain, or joy, well then, that is where I, the storyteller, come in. :)

Theresa Scott
Eagle Dancer

Iced Coffee All Around...

My favorite conference food is um...not a food at all. It's coffee, because I usually don't get much sleep and I so need the caffeine. But seeing as how it's so hot right now, iced coffee is definitely the drink of the day. Our lovely cover model gorgeous waiters are strolling through the room with silver trays of iced coffees right now.

While you're sipping the yummy beverage, want to celebrate with me? I just got word that my Berkley editor *loves* my werewolf hisotrical and approved it for payment. Now *that* makes me happy. :)

And for those of you who want to enjoy this little treat at home, my favorite iced coffee recipe is uber simple:

Brew coffee and chill overnight in the fridge. Add 1 part flavored nondairy liquid creamers to 3 parts brewed and chilled coffee. It's super decadent and if you get the nonfat creamers...not at all fattening. You can brew the coffee a little strong and then pour directly over a pitcher of ice for instant gratification as well.

Want to share one of your favorite simple recipes?


eBooks & Ice

Khristos, where's that ice! Man, is it hot here in Washington. I cannot wait until we get a break in this weather. Way too scorching for me. Searing weather I don't like, searing books, now that's a whole other ball game.

Khristos DuMichael is the hero of my story, Realm of the Ice God, which is included as part of the "Images of Desire" paperback anthology that I'll be giving away today. Realm of the Ice God, an erotic contemporary romance, was first released as an ebook from Amber Heat, the erotic imprint of Amber Quill Press. Do I see groans and eyes rolling? I hope not.

Ten years ago, I would never have thought of buying an ebook. Eight years ago I picked up my first one and I read it on my desktop computer. I didn't enjoy sitting at my computer and reading. So then I printed it out--wasted too much paper. So then I got a laptop and found I could get a little more comfortable and could relax on the couch. That still wasn't good enough because then I found a Franklin ebook reader that fit in the palm of my hand. Very cool. And I could read in the dark and make the print larger, and bookmark sections. Yeah, I liked that. And I loved the stories that were coming out in electronic format. Now I use a Palm Zire. Isn't technology amazing?

I must admit as I look back, I feel like a frog that was dropped into a pot of cool water that was gradually allowed to heat up. But instead of being eaten, it opening up a vast world of wonderful new authors and their writing. Honestly, I do love ebooks.

I'm of the transition generation because I still love to hold a paperback in my hand as well, but I'm willing to venture out into new territory and, boy, I'm glad I did. I do have a lot of keepers on my shelves. Another advantage to ebooks is the saving on shelf space, as well as how many ebooks I can take on a trip when I go on vacation and the small amount of space they take up. Pretty awesome.

I've been very fortunate as a writer to find some wonderful ebook and small press publishers in the form of Amber Quill Press/Amber Heat, Chippewa Publishing/Lady Aibell Press, and Phaze. I love writing hot and my publishers challenge me with every story.

Khristos DuMichael, a sculptor diverting his emotion into creations of artistic ice. Natalie Mason, an ice skater, sinking her passion into her profession. Two lives defined by the icy realms of success, meet in the heat of desire. When tragedy strikes, they must choose--the fire or the ice?

So tell me, do you read ebooks? Do you remember the first ebook you ever read? If you don't read them, why?

Hope to hear from you.

Lucy, thanks for inviting me to join the party. This has been great fun.

Adrianna Dane/Tess Maynard


Why A Blog is Better Than Standup

So….time for a serious confession. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

You know how, when you’re growing up, you have one secret dream about doing something totally off the wall for a living that no one in their right mind would consider a stable career goal? Only me? Alrighty then.

And no, I’m not talking about making a living as a writer. At age twelve, even I wasn’t that insane.

No, I had a far more realistic far-fetched career goal in mind back then. Some girls spent time in their rooms listening to The Monkees latest 45 (yes, I’m older than dirt, thank you) and pledging to convert to the Mormon faith if only Donny Osmond would ask them out on a date. And, so, okay, maybe I spent one or two afternoons engaged in such potentially life-altering discussions. But the rest of the time, I could be found listening to George Carlin, Steve Martin, and my secret smuggled stash of Richard Pryor.

Yes. My name is Donna Kauffman, and I wanted to be a comedian when I grew up. Still do. Except, you know, for the actual traveling, getting up on stage, and bombing part of it.

Instead I write books and attempt to be funny in print. And now I have my own little “stage” – my blog. Where I can riff all I want, and never have to endure the shame of the sound of crickets chirping in response. This way, I can pretend the whole world is laughing with me. (It’s my little fantasy, please leave me to it).

Okay….so, I showed you mine. Make me feel less conspicuous out here in public and show me yours. I won’t tell a soul. Honest. J

What did you secretly want to be when you grew up?

The Antonakos Marriage by Kate Walker

Kate Walker is teaching in Wales at the moment, or she'd be here chatting with us, but she will be back in time to join the party for Saturday for sure and Friday hopefully! She says to tell everyone she's with us in spirit and looking forward to joining in on the fun. :)

The Antonakos Marriage
Kate Walker
Harlequin Presents
ISBN: 0373125615

When one night leads to total possession. . .

Skye Marston is being blackmailed into marriage. But she’ll have one night of passion first, , with a man she’ll never meet again…

Theo Antonakos, isn’t used to rejection. He’s furious when his passionate partner slips away without a word. When he arrives on his father’s private Greek island to meet his stepmother-to-be – he discovers that they already know each other, in the most intimate way…

Theo wants Skye back in his bed…as his wife!

Voted Best M&B Modern Romance of 2005 by CataRomance

Monday's Prize Winners & Tuesday's Prize List

Well, we had a fantastic kick-off to our blog party! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading both the guest blogs and reader and author comments. Thank you to everyone for participating. Can't wait to party some more tomorrow!

Monday's Winners are:
Winners have 24 hours to
email me with their mailing addresses and to confirm their win before an alternate winner will be selected.

Prize 1 - Amy S.
Prize 2 - Veronica
Prize 3 - Rachael
Prize 4 - dannyfiredragon
Prize 5 - JenniferY
Prize 6 - Kelley V
Prize 7 - Jen from WA
Prize 8 - Liz Fielding

If you want to see what your prize is, refer to my prize listing email for Monday. :)

Tuesday's Prizes will be:

Prize 1: The official Lucy Monroe Blog Party goody bag.
Prize 2: Prize pack by Romance Junkies.
Prize 3: Goody bag by Adrianna Dane with a signed copy of Images of Desire.
Prize 4: Signed copies of Not So Snow White & Sleeping With Beauty by Donna Kauffman.
Prize 5: Dianne Castell is giving away an American Cutie T-shirt.
Prize 6: A KW bookbag with signed copy of The Antonakas Marriage by Kate Walker.
Prize 7: An ebook, Devil's Heart, by PJ Womack.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What makes a five star romance?

As an author, I am still trying to figure this out. I have about forty books on my keeper shelf pile that I would rate as five star books. Lucy's Mercenary trilogy and The Real Deal are among these (O.K. I'm done kissing up:) As well as several Suzanne Brockman novels and Janet Evonovich's Plum series.I love the Sabrina Jefferies historical romances and Sherrilyn Kenyon's Fantasy Lover and Night Pleasures.

When I think of common threads which makes these my favorite books I can safely say I am a big fan of a heroine with a few insecurities and a hero who has a good sense of humor. An original plot (because let's face facts, when you pick up a romance you have a good idea where it's going to end, but it's the getting there that keeps us coming back.)
So what are you favorites? What do you personally look for when you go book hunting? And what makes those favorites special?
You are doing me a service here since I plan to refer to the answers during my future endeavors.


The art of creating the perfect hero...

The perfect hero... Who is he? What makes him "perfect" in a world full of imperfect people? Is it because he's handsome, sexy, intelligent, rich??? Any or all of the above? The most important factor in the success of any romance novel is the kind of hero you create. Once you have him in place, the rest tends to write its own story a good deal of the time. Mind you, "perfect" is one of those words that means something different to everyone who reads/uses it, so it's always fascinating to see how it's used, by writers and readers alike. I've been accused of writing "heroes" that some of my friends would kill, not love! So, the question of the moment becomes, what makes a perfect hero for you?

For me, the perfect hero is a mix of many things, but he's always strong willed, intelligent, and independent. He's a man who is not what people tell him he should be, but who he is who he chooses to be. Since I've always been influenced visually, I often "cast" my hero long before I know who he's ultimately going to be. That's what happened with my last Amber Quill Press release. The character of Nick Red Cloud in Rebel Heart was an incarnation of one of my favourite actors, Native American Branscombe Richmond. (The Lorenzo Lamas/Renegade fans know who he is, don't ya?) Nick eventually became the tortured "hero" of a serialized story for the American Motorcycle Company, (, and is now the Rebel Knight of that series. The original got me some of my best reviews ever and is still available. Details for both the serial and the original book are on my website. (And, on a sidenote, Nick led me to my partnership with his inspiration, Mr. Richmond, which was a way cool bonus!! <lol>)

So, again, is the perfect hero someone we know, someone we see, someone we create, or all of those? Are there elements that go into each new character that are consistent, or do we simply project our wishful fantasies of the moment onto the page and go from there? I'd love to know what readers find appealing in a hero, and in the heroine who wins his heart?


Let the party begin!

All right, let's get this NANTY (Not At National This Year) party going! I thought I'd kick off my post with the top twelve reasons to be glad we're not going to Atlanta (counting down from least important):

12. No major struggle to cram everything you can't live without into two suitcases and a carry on.
11. You don't have to get your hair cut and/or colored.
10. You don't have to get your nails done.
9. You don't have to get business cards printed.
8. You don't have to go through the insanity of airport security and the melee at the Atlanta airport.
7.You don't have freeze your *ss off in subzero conference rooms.
6. You don't have to fight three hundred women over four toilet stalls.
5 You save enough money for three months of groceries (or a year's worth of books).
4. You don't have to go shopping for "The Dress" for the awards ceremony (and see yourself in the dressing room mirror-arrgh!)
3. You don't have to go on the diet from h*ll to fit into the "The Dress" for the awards ceremony (see number 4).
2. No conference luncheons serving rubbery chicken, *and* (drum roll, please) . . .

The **number one** reason it's okay to miss the Atlanta conference: You get to blog party with the coolest people around!

WOOHOO!!! Confetti! Confetti! Confetti!

Hopefully the cover from my next book, Touched by Darkness (January 2007) made it into this post (I'm very techno challenged). I'm thrilled with this cover, because I think the guy on it is hot, hot, hot! And it doesn't hurt
that he looks just like the hero of the story.

So, what's on your TBR pile? That will be our topic of discussion when I post again on Friday. I'll tell you what I've been reading.

All right! Let's party!!!

~ Catherine

How to have children and romance?

Please note the question mark since I am still trying to figure this out. My fifth wedding anniversary falls on the 27th, which is why (along with all of Catherine's excellent reasons) I am here and thrilled about it too! My husband and I just moved to North Carolina and I don't know anyone to watch my two boys, so I will have to be creative and maintain a sense of humor. Nothing can ruin a mood quite like the shriek of "Mom-meeee, you need to wipe my hinnie!"

In my book, Jackson Corners my heroine, Isabella Roberts is a single mother looking to start a new life with toddler in a remote area of upstate New York. Besides, falling for the Carpenter next door and evading a stalker, Isabella has to juggle her career and raising her daughter.

This is nothing original for most of us. Every woman I know is beyond swamped with responsibility. What I want to know are the survival stories. What have you had to endure from kids (your own or some you borrowed )to keep a love life thriving? Or what are some cool situations you have read about? Can't wait to hear from you!


Sensual romance or erotica?

What makes a book an erotic novel, and not a sensual romance? I write both, but I can't seem to get the hang of what the "rules" are for actually putting the appropriate genre on the books. I realize it's a fine-line distinction, but I admit to being truly curious as to how the average reader makes the classification. The terms themselves mean something different for everyone who reads or writes romance, and it can be really mind-boggling for someone who's crafting a story to specific tastes. I've written books that my personal perception classed as erotic, but have then been reviewed with a line like "typical romance novel sensuality", which is fine by me, but curious nonetheless. So, what do you, as a reader, use as a "guideline" when defining this kind of book? Is the amount of sexual content the measure of the classification, or the language use? Or is it more the kind of sexual activity involved? I think it has to be some measure of all those ingredients, but the lines are getting murky, so I'd really love to see some reader commentary on how you define this subject??

And, another line of thought to ponder: When the book is historical in setting, mood and tone are extremely important as they become secondary characters in and of themselves sometimes, so are there terms and situations that a reader would consider totally ridiculous? That's another of those murky areas, so I'll be very interested in what readers have to offer by way of comment. And, very happy to keep it in mind when writing this kind of thing, I assure you! Now, what have you got for suggestions?


Simply The Best

Since my last release, I've changed publishers and SIMPLY THE BEST marks both my debut with Liquid Silver Books, (, and the release of my first full-length erotic action/adventure romance. Available August 14th, I hope you'll enjoy Max and Kaylee's passionate love story....

Kaylee Masterson is an interior designer with a successful company in San Francisco. She's assigned the task of renovating and redesigning a client's beach home in San Diego, and decides to use the time partly as a vacation. When the work is done, the client tells her to use the house until he returns to the US from abroad. A local hangout, the Silver Dollar Saloon has attracted her attention, and the stunning owner of the old-fashioned bar is even more attractive than his atmospheric business. Kaylee soon becomes a regular and decides to use the inspiring Max Richmonte as the image for the hero of an erotic romance novel.

Kaylee is a woman who married once, and quickly realized that she was hardly the stuff of dreams for her husband. Sex was pleasant, but hardly the wild, insatiable passion that was the staple of romance novels. When she accidentally leaves her notebook in the bar one night, she’s forced to make Max real by talking to him. He tells her to drop by the bar before opening, and Kaylee wonders if she’s about to shatter her perfect dream lover by actually speaking to him. But, the notebook contains things she does not want Max Richmonte to see, so there’s only way to solve her problem, and she goes to the bar.

When Kaylee Masterson walks into his office, Max is struck by some pretty basic impulses. She collects her notebook, but before she leaves she helps him solve his accounting troubles by showing him the new computer system that his manager has installed. Watching her work, Max’s thoughts run riot as his attraction to her wakes. He wants Kaylee, naked and writhing in his arms, and determines to make it happen. Before long, danger threatens their new relationship, and Kaylee is forced to decide if loving Max is worth the very real risks that go with a man who is, in all ways, simply the best....


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Monday's Prize List

Wow! I'm so excited about this week. We are going to have FUN! If you haven't checked out the list of participating authors and prizes, you need to. We've got a great group ready to chat and have an all over good time. Who says you have to go to a conference to schmooze, eat great food and have a good time? And our food is calorie free! At least until you actually try a recipe with real ingredients. :)

I'm posting this a little early (technically, it shouldn't go out until midnight), but I'm with Teoh...I think it's time to get started. LOL

Want to hear what prizes I'll be drawing for on Monday night? I'm sure I heard a resounding YES, so here they are:

Prize 1: The official Lucy Monroe Blog Party goody bag.
Prize 2: Gift basket from Romance B(u)y the Book's Michelle Buonfiglio.
Prize 3: A Romance Junkies coffee mug.
Prize 4: Signed copy of In Your Wildest Dreams by Toni Blake.
Prize 5: A CD ROM with *all* Denysé Bridger's Amber Quill Press titles on it.
Prize 6: Signed copy of High Stakes by Erin McCarthy.
Prize 7: Signed copy of Shadow Fires by Catherine Spangler.
Prize 8: Signed copy of Jackson Corners by Jennifer L Hart

Remember, to be elligible to win prizes, all you have to do is come to the party and comment on the blog posts.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Prize List for Blog Party

All the Scamps, Vamps & Spicy Romance authors wish they could be with us, but several will be at RWA National...alas. However, they and our participating authors are giving away some very cool prizes!

First off, Lucy will be giving away goody bags every day of the party with stuff like really cool martini shakers (with matching stir sticks and freezable plastic shapes to use as ice), Dove chocolate, lollipops, promo items, assorted book covers for her and other authors, champagne bubble bath, candles, glittery pens, photo frames, and each bag will contain at least 3 assorted books by her and other authors. (NB: Not all goody bags will be the same, but will have a selection of the items listed. They will all be filled with uber neat stuff!)

Romance B(u)y the Book's Michelle Buonfiglio is offering a bubble bath, chocolate, and romance novel gift basket.

Romance Divas is offering TWO "Romance Divas" t-shirts to a couple of lucky winners.

Romance Junkies has generously agreed to give away THREE big prize packs with author promo items in them and each one containing 3 books as well IN ADDITION to another prize winner receiving a Romance Junkies coffee mug.

*Indicates a participating author you'll get a chance to meet during our party.

Toni Blake will give away a signed copy of In Your Wildest Dreams.

*Denysé Bridger is giving away two goody bag style prizes to two lucky winners, which will include a CD ROM with *all* her Amber Quill Press titles on it.

Dianne Castell is sending one lucky winner an American Cutie T-shirt.

*Pam Champagne is giving away a download of an eBook, winner's choice, and a bag of cookie mix from Maine (complete with cute cookie cutter).

*Adrianna Dane is doing two goody bags. The first will include an autographed copy of Images of Desire in trade paperback, a mini-CD with excerpts of 8 of her other stories, wallpaper, and a screensaver, a bottle of Arabian Spice Massage Oil, bookmarks, magnets and a couple other surprises. The second will have an autographed copy of Sylvie's Gift in trade paperback, an autographed CD with the complete story, Jebediah's Promise, a mini-CD with excerpts of 8 of her other stories, wallpaper, and a screen saver, bookmarks, magnets, and a couple other surprises

*Kate Davies will be giving away an electronic copy of her brand new title Taking the Cake.

* Jennifer L. Hart will be giving away a signed copy of Jackson Corners.

*Donna Kauffman is giving away TWO prizes. One lucky winner will get signed copies of both Not So Snow White & Sleeping With Beauty (chick-lit) and the other happy reader is going to receive signed copies of Bad Boys in Kilts and Catch Me If You Can (Brava romance).

Karen Kelley has offered 2 ARCs of Southern Exposure to two readers.

*Nicolla Marsh will be sending (all the way from Australia) a goody bag that will include signed copies of Hired by Mr. Right, Contract to Marry & Wife and Mother Wanted to one lucky winner.

*JJ Massa is offering two prizes, an electronic copy of Acting Like Family for one winner and The Agency: Engel & Gustavo for another.

Janice Maynard has agreed to send a winner a signed copy of Wildest Dreams.

*Anne McAllister is offering two signed multi-book prizes, the Pelican Cay trilogy from Presents for one winner and three Code of the West books from Silhouette for the other.

LuAnn McLane is giving away a signed copy of Hot Summer Nights.

Erin McCarthy has offered a signed copy of High Stakes and an ARC of You Don't Know Jack.

*Catherine Spangler has offered 2 signed copies of Shadow Fires.

*Samantha Storm is providing two prize packs. The 1st includes a Samantha Storm coffee cup, Kona coffee from Hawaii and a download of her newest title, Eye of the Storm. The 2nd winner will receive a download of Eye of the Storm and a box of chinese fortune cookies (there are 300 cookies in a box).

*Kate Walker is giving away three prizes (and sending them all the way from England). 1st, a KW bookbag with signed copy of The Antonakas Marriage - 2nd another KW bookbag with a signed copy of her 12 Point Writers Guide - and 3rd signed copies of The Alacor Family Trilogy.

*Shiloh Walker will be giving away a signed copy of Hunting the Hunter.

*Annie West, a brand new Presents author (from Down Under) is offering a hardback of A Mistress for the Taking.

*PJ Womack is offering two prizes - both a print book, Just One Look and an ebook, Devil's Heart.