Friday, December 29, 2006

Conference Time!

Where can you go to learn how to write romance southern-style?

Where can you go to meet 5 editors and 3 agents?

Where can you go to listen to Beverly Barton, Gayle Wilson, and Linda Howard speak?

At Romance in the Magic City in Birmingham, Alabama!

The writers' conference will be hosted by Southern Magic on March 30, 31, and April 1, 2007.Cost: $180 to $210 (pay by snail mail or PayPal)
(early registration rate deadline coming up)

Keynote speakers: Beverly Barton, Gayle Wilson, and Linda Howard.

Agent/editor appointments available for:

Tracy Farrell, HQN
Leslie Wainger, Silhouette Books
Melanie Murray, Warner (Hachette Books)
John Scognamiglio, Kensington Books
Hilary Rubin, St. Martin's Press
Kimberly Whalen, Trident Media
Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency
Vivian Beck, Vivian Beck Agency.

Workshops presented by: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love Snell, Rhonda Pollero, Tina Gerow, Genie Davis, Linda Winstead Jones, and many more.

First 40 attendees to send in the full amount will receive a 2006 Romance Writers of America/Avon conference bag and a chance to win a critique of a partial from Kimberly Whalen with the Trident Media Group. You will receive the bag at registration and the drawing for the critique will be held Friday night.

Special hotel rate provided atWynfrey Hotel 1000 Riverchase Galleria Birmingham,.Alabama 35244 205- 987-1600 .. .. 800- 996-3739 .. 800-.WYNFREY www.wynfrey.com

Hotel attached to Galleria with 200 stores and 11 restaurants

For more information, check out http://www.southernmagic.org/conference.html

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wow. Just....Wow.

Mary at The Bandwagon blogged her top ten books she read in 2006.

FORBIDDEN TERRITORY is number six.

Wow. I'm honored and thrilled that she liked it enough to include it in her list. Amazing!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Good News and Bad News

The good news is, my line edits for FORBIDDEN TEMPTATION came in the mail today.

The bad news is, my line edits for FORBIDDEN TEMPTATION came in the mail today.

I'm glad they're here, and my mom (who opened the package for me while I'm stuck here at my day job) said it doesn't look like a whole lot of edits, so yay!

But I guess I know how I'll be spending my long holiday weekend...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas is Supposed to be Cold, Right?

It's the middle of December and we're having mild, sunny, 75 degree days here in Alabama. I mean, I've managed to resign myself to never seeing a white Christmas, but if it keeps up like this too much more, I'll be looking for the daffodils to start blooming soon.

Maybe that's why I'm really having trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. Well, that and the fact that in my day job, I'm working on a catalog for February and March of 2007, and in my writing life, I'm working on a book set on a Caribbean island in June. And every time I tune in to the "all Christmas music" station in town, it's either a bloody commercial or it's "Jingle Bell Rock."

::sigh::

How are you trying to get into/stay in the holiday spirit this year? And is it working?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gratuitous Fangirl Moment

So, I haven't exactly made my obsession with the return of Steve and Kayla to Days of Our Lives a secret. It's been a rocky road for our reunited soulmates, as Steve has only spotty memories of their life together and the feelings didn't come back with the handful of memories. Now, as she's recuperating from an attack that nearly killed her, he's pretending he remembers her and loves her, and she can see right through him. Things are about to come to a head.

If I had been writing the story, I'd have handled a lot of things differently. A lot of die-hard fans have almost given up.

But things are about to change...

So, if you're remotely interested, and if you don't mind knowing a taste of what's coming, here's a bit of what you'll see next Friday on Days of Our Lives:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWF9jMgFGFo

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I Am in Awe

Mary at The Bandwagon has been doing the Nano this month, and I've been watching her progress through her blog posts. Well, the woman has FINISHED her first draft. In 25 days. And from her description of it, sounds like she's got the first draft of a pretty terrific story!

Go give her your congratulations!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Heard it in a Love Song

I once wrote an entire novel around an idea generated by two lines from the Richard Marx song "Hazard":

I swear I left her by the river
I swear I left her safe and sound

There's also a fairly recent Trisha Yearwood song, "Georgia Rain," that just screams Silhouette Special Edition--it's about a woman who returns to her hometown years after she left to find everything different except her love for the boy she left behind. The mood is evocative and full of longing; I think it'd make a great story, but I don't write those kinds of stories.

What about you? Do songs inspire your story ideas?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Puppy for Maggie = a Kitten for Me?

So, my mom has decided to get our three-year-old mutt Maggie her own puppy. A few weeks ago, we had to have Maggie's beloved older dog companion, Dixie, euthanized. She had advanced cancer and had reached the point where her quality of life was poor. Maggie has been depressed since, so when one of my nieces came home from school with the news that a friend's dog had had puppies, my mother got the idea of getting Maggie her own puppy to have as a companion.

Now, we need another dog like I need an extra ten pounds, but I've figured out the upside to this. Ever since I had to have my beloved Simi cat put to sleep, I've been keeping an eye out for a half-Siamese kitten, even though my mom was adamant about not having any more cats. But now that Mom's gone all googly-eyed over the idea of a new puppy, I'm SO gonna leverage that into a kitten when I find one that suits me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

June instead of August '07

Just received word from my editor that they're moving FORBIDDEN TEMPTATION up to a June 2007 release. Yay! It's only a couple of months, but that makes it a year rather than 14 months between books. Plus, I hope it means they're making room for book three on the schedule by the end of the year. (Okay, that's probably wishful thinking, but wishful thinking can be fun).

And since my birthday is in June, it's like another great birthday present two years in a row.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Southern Magic Romance Reader's Luncheon Recap

Yesterday was my local RWA chapter's Romance Reader's Luncheon. It was held at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, and we had a great time. The delightful Teresa Medeiros was our luncheon speaker, and when she finished her speech, which reminded us romance writers why we write romance, everybody was reaching for the Kleenex.

It amazes me how many romance readers are willing to travel long distances to get to have lunch with their favorite writers. Of course, Teresa was a big draw, as was our own Gayle Wilson, who is moving into single title suspense in a big way. The mind-bogglingly prolific Debra Webb was also there, reminding me just how successful a person can be when they're talented and persistent. And I was so happy to see fellow Intrigue author Kathleen Long, who came a very long way to be with us. She sat next to me at the booksigning and I so enjoyed catching up with her.

I also had a chance to exchange old memories with a fellow Banks High School graduate, DeAnn, who now writes under the pen name Giselle Carmichael . DeAnn reminded me that I had a reputation as a verious "serious" person in high school, which made me laugh, because I remember being more goofy and geeky than "serious." I guess it was the combination of shyness and good grades that made people who didn't know me well think I was serious.

I think a lot of people thought I spent all my spare time studying. I didn't. I did most of my homework during breaks and down-time at school, so when I came home, I either read or watched TV--usually my daily Gilligan's Island rerun fix. I only studied briefly the night before a test and that was it. I just had great info retention back in the day. Wish I could have some of that back now that I'm older!

I got some great books in the goody bag all the attendees received, too! Usually I get the goody bag that has all chick-lit and vampire stuff--not my preferred genres--but this time I got a couple of great-looking suspense titles, including one of Brenda Novak's newest single titles. I look forward to diving into those.

I think everyone had a really good time, and I look forward to May of 2007, when my other chapter, Heart of Dixie, holds their Reader's Luncheon in Huntsville. Karen Robards is the featured speaker.

Oh, and between now and then, there's also a little thing in Birmingham called the Romance in the Magic City conference, March 30 - April 1, 2007. It's going to be great--we already have some terrific editors and agents lined up, and lots of exciting workshops. Keynote speakers are Linda Howard, Gayle Wilson and Beverly Barton. For more information, you can download the conference brochure in .pdf format here. It will also be held at the Wynfrey Hotel.

Finally, I got my first royalty statement yesterday, and I'm happy to report that not only did I pay back my advance, but I actually made some cash in royalties. Whee! Thank you everyone who bought one of my books. And remember, if you haven't bought one, they're still available online at Amazon.com. They make great holiday gifts for the romance reader on your list! Buy now! Buy often!

:)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What's That I Smell?

So I get to my office this morning, toodlydoo, blah blah same old same old, unlock the door and start to punch in the alarm code when it hits me. A strong, intense odor.

Baby powder.

I don't know what the cleaning crew did overnight, but now the entire downstairs smells like a baby powder factory exploded all over it. And maybe other people like the smell of baby powder, but I don't. In fact, right now it's giving me a headache and making my eyes burn.

I'm really sensitive to smells, probably because of my asthma. Strong smells can even trigger asthma attacks, although so far, the baby powder odor isn't doing that. But if I don't get desensitized to this smell soon, it's going to be a miserable day. :(

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Where Have You Been???

I've been a complete blogging slug, haven't I? I think it's because this blog is mostly dedicated to my writing, and in recent weeks, I've been doing a lot of waiting around, waiting to hear from my editor, waiting for inspiration to strike, etc.

On the upside, I have a brand, spankin' new laptop computer to play with. It has the bells and whistles my old machine was lacking, plus it doesn't have the broken fan that keeps me from being able to use the thing for more than a half hour at a time before it overheats and shuts down.

I went with Hewlett-Packard again, because I've been pretty happy with their products. I went for lots of memory, lots of hard drive and a DVD burner as my primary criteria for what I wanted. So far, it's great. Now I have to put the dinkier laptop in the shop to get the fan fixed. When it's fixed, that becomes my mom's computer. She's been wanting one for a while, and the old laptop will give her everything she's looking for in a machine.

So, that's my life these days. Aren't you glad you asked? :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Porn for Housewives?

A comptroller's race in Texas has just gotten weird.

This is all the buzz in romance writer circles, but it's an interesting commentary on our schizoid society as well. I'm sure there's a Monica Lewinsky joke in there somewhere, but I'm just too disheartened to try to find it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hit and Run Blogging

Don't have much time, so I'm just going to pop in to let you know about an interesting blog I just added to my links. Interesting, that is, if you're a geek like me who thinks literary and mise-en-scene analysis of a soap opera is entertaining. Deep Soap is a new blog from my friend JDPerry, dedicated to having "some analytical fun with Steve and Kayla's return to Salem in Days of Our Lives" as her blog subtitle claims.

Tons of nerdy fun!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

So, the New TV Season is Upon Us

I'm trying really hard not to get as sucked into prime time TV this year as I have been in past years. Despite all sorts of rave reviews from friends and professional reviewers alike, I have not allowed myself to watch Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, Prison Break or The Nine. I have not been sucked back into Bones this season, nor have I watched much of CSI (pick a city) or Without a Trace.

So this season, my shows of choice are House, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and when it comes on again in January, 24. And my new and rather embarrassing addiction to Days of Our Lives, which has actually improved a lot under the new headwriter Hogan Sheffer and looks to improve even more in coming days.

I'm still waiting for final word from my editor on title approval and a firm publication date for book two. I'm hoping to hear something within a couple of months on book three as well.

And I've managed to shake that cold without too much trouble, which is good news, since a bad cold is always a nasty experience for me, thanks to my asthma.

So, what have I missed while I was out of commission fighting off the bug?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ugh Redux

The stomach ailment is better, but now I've got a cold. I hate colds--they wreak havoc on my asthma. But so far, it's mostly just a nuisance.

My writing plan for this week was wrecked, but I'm going to try to make up some of the pages tonight and tomorrow. No final news about my book title or the publication date, but tentatively, it's going to be FORBIDDEN TEMPTATION, available August '07.

Anybody watch last night's premiere of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA? Wild. And that little blond kid? Cutest. Kid. Ever.

Oh, and Tahmoh Penikett? Hawt.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ugh

Stomach virusy thing happening. Things are not happy in Paulaville. Will update once I'm feeling better.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hello, October

October might be my favorite month. Living in the deep south, fall starts later here than in other places, and October is usually the month when it really feels like summer is over. Back when I was in high school, I was in the marching band, and October was when I was finally glad for the heavy uniforms. In September, the coats and long pants were nothing but sheer misery, but with October came crisp, clear nights when that extra bit of fabric and padding came in handy.

October is the smell of wood smoke and the colors of turning leaves. October is Saturday afternoon football and waning daylight. It's the time when little kids start plotting and planning their Halloween costumes and dreaming of bags full of Smarties, M & Ms and bubble gum. It's the month of my mother's birthday and the month when I fell in love for the first time almost thirty years ago. (Awwww).

And October was when I promised myself that I'd get back to my writing. And I did. Three pages today, just as I'd projected. Yay me!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Where Did the Summer Go?

It's already fall. Can you believe it? I love fall--probably my favorite season, especially here in the South where summer is too darned hot, winter is boring, and spring makes me sneeze my head off. But I just wasn't really ready for fall to arrive quite this soon!

I haven't watched any Alabama football to speak of. Of course, from what I hear, I haven't missed much. I've even missed an episode of the new season of HOUSE because I forgot it was on. Over the summer, I stopped watching much television at all, and I've been sluggish to get back in the habit. I guess that's probably a good thing, overall, but I do love HOUSE and don't want to miss any episodes.

Beginning this Sunday, I have to start writing again. Oh, joy. Actually, I am looking forward to getting back to a daily writing regimen. I enjoyed the time off but I don't want to lose the muse. That said, I have a feeling the final three chapters of DEADLY ILLUSION are going to be a bugger to write.

So--has fall sneaked up on anyone else besides me?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Lost Art of Subtext

I may have mentioned once or twice my renewed obsession with that famous Days of Our Lives supercouple, Steve and Kayla, thanks to the actors' return to daytime in those roles. I've viewed a lot of the old clips now, and one striking difference I've noted between soaps in the 1980s and soaps today is the glaring lack of subtlety in storytelling. All of the dialogue is on the nose. There are no interesting pauses to let the actors, you know--act. Things that should be implied are said aloud.

Ugh.

I'm seeing that trend, at times, on prime time television as well. Does it have to do with the shortened attentions span of the viewing audience? I have to wonder, as I think some of the more challenging televisions shows, such as LOST or HOUSE, still do the subtext very, very well---and these are critically acclaimed shows that pull in decent to good ratings. They also have rabidly loyal fan bases. I don't think that's a coincidence.

I've been thinking about this a lot and trying to apply it to my own writing. Dialogue should be as revelatory for what it doesn't say as for what it says. Am I taking advantage of the nuances, the subtext beneath my characters' lines? Do I use dialogue too directly when I should be using it to surround the idea instead of hammer it into the ground? Do my characters have a lot going on beneath the surface of what they're saying to each other--0r not saying to each other?

Sometimes I think when contest judges and editors talk about "stilted dialogue"--they're really talking about the lack of subtext. Characters saying too much, too directly, and not letting the context and the characters pull their part of the load.

So what about it? Is subtext overrated? Am I a dinosaur wishing for the return of the good old days that were never that good and will never come around again?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Out of the Habit

It's really easy to get out of the writing habit. Usually having to stop and work on a synopsis/proposal is one of the worst habit-breakers for me. I have to stop thinking about what's happening inch by inch in my story and look at the bigger picture. Plus there's the whole struggling with the sucknopsis thing. :::shudder:::

Right now, I'm giving myself to the end of September to be lazy. It was when my deadline was, anyway, and since I beat the deadline, I'm allowing myself a little luxury. I'm going to read my friend Gayle Wilson's new Mira book, THE INQUISITOR, and I'm going to make cheesy Steve and Kayla music videos now that I've discovered how to use Windows Movie Maker. But October first, I'm buckling down and finishing the last three chapters of DEADLY ILLUSION and then I'm going to start putting together a three-book proposal for my series idea.

Really. I swear.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Manuscript's in the Mail

DANGEROUS PURSUIT (aka FORBIDDEN SOMETHING) is in the mail to my editor. The proposal for DEADLY ILLUSION (aka FORBIDDEN SOMETHING ELSE) is also on the way.

Now I have to buckle down and finish the last three chapters of DEADLY ILLUSION, based on the synopsis I hammered out for my editor. Well, at least the plot is now outlined for me. :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Shout Out to Michelle

Michelle Willingham just sold to M & B Historicals! Michelle has been working long and hard for this, and she so deserves this good news!

Tell her congratulations!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Hate Synopses

Just in case you're an unpublished writer who thinks that selling a book automatically makes everything you do easier, let me quickly set you straight.

Writing a synopsis still sucks. In fact, it probably sucks even more than it did before. Because now I'm supposed to present a coherent, detailed narrative of a book that isn't even finished yet, and make it sound like something my editor will actually want to buy.

However, griping aside, I did finish the first, very rough draft of my synopsis for DEADLY ILLUSION, aka "The Forbidden to be Named Later." The partial (first three chapters, for the uninitiated) has been ready for a long time. I swear, it's taken me longer to write the synopsis than it did to write those first 46 pages.

At least I'm still on course to send out the proposal ahead of my Sept. 29th deadline, so that's a plus.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Obligatory Blog Post

I don't really have much to blog on today, but I feel like such a slacker for not having blogged for a while. I'm still waiting to hear from my editor about my publication date for book two and whatever title they've come up with that includes the word FORBIDDEN. I'm drawing a blank on titles, myself. I don't like any of the ones I've come up with.

On the upside, it leaves DANGEROUS PURSUIT free for another book, should I need it. :)

So, anybody out there have anything exciting going on you'd like to share with us?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Desperately Seeking a Blog Topic

I'm so out of ideas right now it's pathetic. And I have to blog on Romance Magicians before the week is over--eek!

So I'll cheat and point you to a blog that makes me laugh: Manolo's Shoe Blog.

Anybody had any good news lately? I'm still waiting for a pub date on book two, still slogging away at the synopsis for book three, and I can't come up with a good FORBIDDEN title to save my life.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin, RIP

Sad news out of Australia. Wildlife expert and conservationist Steve Irwin has died, stung through the heart by a stingray. He was 44 and leaves a wife and two children, ages 3 and 8.

I'll miss his unparalleled enthusiasm for the animals he fought so hard to protect and preserve.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Adios August

Can you believe it's almost September? This summer has flown for me. As I get older, the days seem so much shorter--has anyone else noticed that?

I've finished the edits my editor gave me for the book formerly known as DANGEROUS PURSUIT. They were very simple changes and I made them in about an hour. I hope to send the full out this weekend, probably before my book signing.

I also made a little headway on my synopsis for the book formerly known as DEADLY ILLUSION. I hope to have the proposal ready to send by the middle of the month, and then I can set about finishing the last few chapters so the full will be ready if and when my editor requests it.

After that, I'm going to settle down and concentrate on my new series idea that I've discussed before.

Don't forget, if you're in the Birmingham area this Saturday, I'll be signing FORBIDDEN TERRITORY at Brooke's Book Stop in McCalla. Check out my website for the address and more detailed information. Gayle Wilson, Kelley St. John and Jennifer Echols will be signing their books as well. Come see us!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No Longer a One Book Wonder

Just heard from my editor. Book two is a go! It's Rose's story, and the working title, DANGEROUS PURSUIT, is apparently out. They're going to try to tie the three books together with a "Forbidden" in each title. No idea yet what DP's new title will be.

I should have the proposal for book 3 ready at the same the time I turn in the slight revisions she has for book 2, so maybe I'll have more good news before the end of the year!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Shout Out to the Band Geeks

I read my friend Jennifer Echols' new book, MAJOR CRUSH, yesterday evening. I'm not normally a fan of YA stories, but since it was my friend's book, I sat down to give it a read. Funny, sweet, delightful book! As a former band geek myself (flute and baritone horn), I had no trouble getting into the whole marching-band-as-society metaphor. (Though in my marching band, EVERYBODY was a geek, there were no cool girls or guys, and we didn't compete much in competitions because we reeked so badly).

The setting was very familiar (small town Alabama, with which I'm well-acquainted) but to be honest, the southernness wasn't as prominent as the small-townness, if that makes sense. It could have as easily been set in Iowa or Kansas or anywhere in flyover country.

The characters were interesting, really well-drawn and familiar in that all-important "I know someone just like that!" way of really good books. And the teen-age romance managed to be sweet and sizzling at the same time, without crossing into "ick" territory.

Kudos, Jennifer! Can't wait to read the next one!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Promo Opportunity

This November 4, 2006, Southern Magic will present Teresa Medeiros at our Romance Readers' Luncheon at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, AL.

Your books, book marks, and other goodies will be appreciated.

For more information, visit www.southernmagic.org.

If you're going to be in the Birmingham area in early November and you're a big fan of romances, this is a great opportunity to meet and talk with a number of successful and prolific writers, including Linda Howard, Gayle Wilson, Beverly Barton, Linda Winstead Jones, and more. I'll be there as well, hopefully with good news about book two in my "sisters" series.

And if you're a writer looking for ways to promote yourself and your books, the Romance Readers' Luncheon gives you an eager, captive audience for your promotional materials.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Am I a Blogging Slug?

Why, yes. Yes, I am.

Mostly because I'm trying to work up a proposal for DEADLY ILLUSION to send to my editor, and I'm waiting to hear from said editor the fate of DANGEROUS PURSUIT, which has climbed a step up the ladder at Harlequin but hasn't reached "sold" status yet.

That and the fact that I'm a lazy heifer when it gets hot and humid like it's been.

I do have a book signing coming up--my first! It's at Brooke's Book Stop in McCalla, Alabama. I'll be signing with my writing hero, Gayle Wilson, the effervescent Kelley St. John, and the always witty and delightful Jennifer Echols. It's 2 pm on September 2nd, if you're in the Birmingham area and want to drop by, say hi, and buy lots and lots of books.

I'll also be part of a genre program at the September Southern Magic monthly meeting. I'll post more details when I get them.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Save a Writer, Buy a New Book!

That's the title of an excellent and timely essay by author Susan Gable. With Bombshell folding, it's more vital than ever that readers remember to support the writers they love by buying books new rather than used if it's at all possible.

Here's Susan's essay on the subject, with her permission:

-----------------------------

Save a Writer, Buy a New Book!
By Susan Gable

The recent demise of yet another Harlequin line, this time the kick-butt heroine line Bombshell, got me to thinking, which, as anyone who knows me will tell you is always a dangerous thing. I heard from a number of readers who were surprised by the closing, because they had friends who just "loved that line!"

I've also heard things like this: "I can't believe they closed that line. I loved that line. I read those books every month at my library."

Before I go any farther with this discussion, I have to offer up a disclaimer. I love libraries. Especially as a child with a voracious appetite for story, I borrowed armloads of books from my local library. I love bargains, too. I shop like men hunt or play sports. It's a victory when I score a bargain. (New black cocktail dress, originally $79, marked down to only $16. SCORE!) Used books are great bargains. Swapping books, another great bargain. The new websites on-line, where you can "rent" a book, in a system similar to NetFlix, are also an interesting bargain. Good grief, even the airports these days have a program where you can buy a book, read it, then sell it back to them. What a bargain!

But did you realize that those bargains could be putting your favorite line or your favorite author out of business?

It's a difficult, touchy subject for authors to discuss. We don't want to appear anti-used books ('cause we're not — not entirely, anyway), or make readers think we're money-grubbers, always harping on them to buy our books. We all know (believe me, we KNOW — most writers don't make anywhere close to as much money as people think we do) how tight money can be sometimes, especially with the rising costs of gas and heating fuel, and food, and taxes, and…well, you know. Everything.

We’ve been known ourselves to sometimes borrow and trade books, or buy used. Or go to the library.

But publishing these days is a strictly-by-the-numbers business, which means if the numbers don't live up to the publisher's expectations, a writer can kiss her slot/line/future contracts good-bye.

"Where's SoAndSo's latest book? How come she hasn't published another story in that series that I love so much?" If you find yourself asking that question, it could be that your favorite, SoAndSo, got cut loose because the numbers of that last book in the series didn't do as well as the one before that. How did you get your hands on that last book? Did you buy it new, contributing to the continuation of the series, or did you bargain read it? Bargain reads don’t count towards our numbers.

Writers, especially those of us at the "lower echelons" of the publishing world, need ur readers more than ever. Without you, there would be no point in what we do. (Well, okay, there's a certain satisfaction in telling yourself a story, but it's the audience that makes it truly special. It's a shared dream.) But now, because of the numbers, we need your support even more.

Our careers, our lines, even our publishers, live and die by the numbers.

So please, where and when you can, save a writer. Buy a new book. We'll all thank you for it. And that way, you'll have more choices of books in the future.

*****
Susan Gable thanks her fans for buying her books. Her latest book, The Pregnancy Test, sold well, thanks to them. It was also awarded the National Readers' Choice Award for Best Long Contemporary. Visit her at www.susangable.com for excerpts, contests, and more.

-----------------------------------
Remember, too, that category-length books are only on the shelves for two or three weeks, tops, so be sure to buy books from your favorite category books early! You can still buy books online after that early sales, period, however. For instance, FORBIDDEN TERRITORY is still available on most online outlets, including amazon.com and e-Harlequin.com.

If you love a particular line or a particular author, remember that sales can decide whether or not the line continues or the author sells her next book.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Suzanne Brockmann in USA Today

Good for Suzanne for getting behind a worthwhile effort.

Good publicity for romance writers, too, although I realize that's a side effect, not a goal.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Demise of Bombshell

After January 2007, Silhouette Bombshells will no longer be published.

I'm not a Bombshell author, but I know several, and I can't imagine how hard this news must be hitting them. It's emotionally wrenching as well as a financial set-back for many of them. I'm hoping that several pending authors will be able to transfer their stories to other lines, or maybe sell them as longer, single title books or series.

I also hope that this change opens doors in the suspense lines (IM and Intrigue) allowing for stronger, more action-oriented heroines and plotlines.

I've not been a Bombshell reader because, to be honest, I wanted more dependable romance in my books, and that wasn't the line's focus. But I'm sorry that readers who liked the sorts of books Bombshell authors delivered so ably won't have those books to read in the future, and I'm sorry for the authors who found their voices in that line and now have to figure out where to go next.

So, be kind to your local Bombshell author--he or she needs a little extra TLC these days.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

2006 Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Nomination!

FORBIDDEN TERRITORY has been nominated for a 2006 Cataromance Reviewer's Choice award!

Naturally, I'm thrilled, and so pleased to be included with a list of such fantastic category romance writers as those who were also nominated. Special congrats to my Southern Magic chaptermate and friend, Deb Webb, whose book Past Sins made the list. Deb is an inspiration to me as a writer and an endless source of good advice and support.

Congratulations, also, to:

My fellow 2004 Golden Heart finalists Julie Cohen, Terry McLaughlin, Stef Feagan, Gail Barrett and Beth Cornelison.

My e-Harlequin subcare buddies Jenna Bayley-Burke and Michelle Styles.

Fellow Intrigue authors Dana Marton and Rebecca York.

Friday, August 11, 2006

You Know You're Getting Old When...

Yesterday, my 10-year-old niece showed me pictures from her baptism this past Sunday. Apparently our church sets up someone at one side of the baptistry to take pictures of the actual baptism. (We baptize by immersion in our church).

When she showed me the photos, I said, "Wow, that's cool. When I was baptized, nobody took any pictures."

Her little brow wrinkled. "Well, they probably didn't have cameras back then."

Thanks, Melissa. Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hot Enough Fer Ya?

Man, it's hot here. In fact, I'm going to blame my blog laziness on the heat and humidity.

I did post on the Romance Magicians blog today, on the topic of anti-heroes as romantic heroes. My current WIP features an anti-hero hero, and we've already discussed my fondness for Sawyer on LOST and Steve Johnson on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, two anti-heroes if there ever were anti-heroes. But turning an anti-hero into a viable romantic hero takes a little finesse. I share some of my thoughts on the topic on today's blog. Check it out.

Still no word from my editor on DANGEROUS PURSUIT. And I'm currently at an impasse on DEADLY ILLUSION, as I failed to actually plot out the final climax and resolution of the story beforehand, and I still have no clue what happens. Hopefully I'll break through when it cools down here a bit and I can think straight.

(Yeah, I'm blaming writer's block on the heat, too. Handy thing, a heat wave).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Go, Cynthia! Go, Cynthia!

Wow, two e-Harlequin Sub Care buddies sell within a week! How exciting is that?

Cynthia Reese sold her book THE RED THREAD to Harlequin Superromance. Not sure yet if she'll keep the title, but who cares? She sold!

Go tell Cynthia congratulations!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Freakin' Insane

Talk about your politics of personal destruction...

Candidate's romance novel an issue again

Would this be happening if her name was Stan Combs and her book had been published as a thriller by Random House instead of a Kismet Romance?

I don't think so.

Not crazy about some of the comments from her publicity people, either, though:

"It was written as kind of a lark, not serious literature," Bashur said. "It was described to me as paint-by-numbers formula writing, a genre."

Gee, thanks for the rousing defense of Ms. Comb's literary efforts.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

Lots of great news for Southern Magic ladies over on the Romance Magicians blog--check it out!

Anybody heard the Daphne results?

Friday, July 28, 2006

They Held an RWA Conference in Atlanta...

...and I didn't get to go. Man, is it quiet around the romance writing side of the cybersphere or what?

All this downtime should be giving me the opportunity to finish up DEADLY ILLUSION. I'm on page 228 out of a projected 270, and I'm heading into the home stretch. But I still don't know how it's going to end! Yikes. And a variety of distractions (family stuff, recreational stuff, etc.) are conspiring to steal my focus away from the story.

One of the distractions involves a couple of feral kittens at my vet's office. Feral kittens don't fare well in the adoption market because of their behavior and they often end up euthanized. I have experience taming feral kittens, and I can't bear the thought of two little kittens getting killed just because nobody wanted to mess with them. But my mom is adamant—no more cats until the ones we have die off. I can't blame her—we have seven cats and have had as many as 12 at one time. However, I think I could handle fostering these kittens, taming them and then giving them back up to be adopted. I'm looking into the possibility.

So, did anyone else around here have to skip the RWA conference? Come commiserate with me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mmmm, Sexy....

Over on Romance Magicians today, Carla Swafford asks the age-old question: what makes a man sexy?

Go answer the question. You know you want to.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Prozac Soundtrack

I think I'm mentioned before that I usually make a compilation CD soundtrack for my books. I listen to it to get in the mood for the story and sometimes can even listen while writing, although I really have to be deep into a scene to make that work.

I was listening to my CD for DEADLY ILLUSION today and realized it's a real downer. Here's a list of the songs on it--feel free to Google the lyrics:

Hurt - Johnny Cash
Bring Me Down - Miranda Lambert
My Skin - Natalie Merchant
I Think It's Going to Rain Today - Randy Newman
Tonight I Wanna Cry - Keith Urban
Underneath the Same Moon - Blake Shelton
If Only For One Night - Luther Vandross
There's a Wall - Miranda Lambert
Real Emotional Girl - Randy Newman
Slow Like Honey - Fiona Apple
Walk on Water - Blue County
Goodbye Time - Blake Shelton
El Cerrito Place - Charlie Robison
Maybe - Alison Krauss
Breathe - Faith Hill
I'd Settle for a Slowdown - Dierks Bentley

I must be going through my blue period. ;)

It's really sort of weird, because my hero is a sarcastic smart mouth with some great one-liners. But all that humor hides a deeply wounded man, and that's where all the angst comes in.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

When Characters Attack

Iris and Maddox are being naughty characters, throwing me curveballs I didn't expect. Now, the control freak in me feels like slapping them around and ordering them to behave the way I expected, but the adventurer in me kind of wants to see where their latest little rebellion takes me.

I guess that's the luxury of not being under contract--I have time to follow them down a few rabbit holes to see where they go.

Speaking of not being under contract, I have no idea if the customary rules about how long to wait to hear from an editor apply the same when you're published as when you're not. Because to me, two months on a full should be enough time to know whether or not you want to buy it, especially since you've already seen the partial and the synopsis. However, my editor may disagree.

Anybody have a clue how long I should wait before e-mailing my editor with a request for a status update?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Ever written one of those books where you throw in everything you've ever loved about a romance or mystery or both? I think the book I'm working on now, DEADLY ILLUSION, is turning out to be one of those for me. Here are just a few of my favorite story elements that I've managed to weave into this story so far:

1) International intrigue

2) Paranormal gifts

3) Rough, sarcastic bad boy hero with a vulnerable heart

4) Troubled heroine with a spine of steel and a big heart

5) A dangerous, enigmatic trickster character whose actions stir the plot

6) A shadow couple whose love shows the hero and heroine that the obstacles between them don't have to be insurmountable

7) A lush, exotic setting

8) The hero getting beat up and the heroine nursing him

9) Lots of snarky dialogue

10) A mysterious secret society whose motives are unclear

11) Alphabet soup (CIA, DSS, MSG, etc)

12) Did I mention the snarky dialogue?

I have no idea how this book will hold together when it's done, but it sure has been fun to write.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Today on Romance Magicians...

Today was my day to blog on Romance Magicians. So, of course, in keeping with my obsessive nature, the topic is Steve and Kayla from Days of Our Lives. Okay, so it's really about writing a strong, transcendent romance. Check it out!

And now, for a little eyecandy...Steve and Kayla then...


And now...


Still cute together after all these years.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Conference Info, Plus Some This and Some That

Southern Magic will be hosting a reader's luncheon in November. The keynote speaker is fan favorite Teresa Medeiros. Check out the post over on Romance Magicians for more details.

Still haven't caught up on my sleep, but I have worked through a twisted mess with my WIP. I needed to spread the scenes out over a longer period of time than I'd originally planned, and some of the scenes had to be reshuffled and put in a different order. I've ditched my new idea to kill of a character I liked, but I've decided to kill off a different character than I originally planned to kill off, so that's still a change. And the romance is making a much bigger impact in my WIP than my first drafts normally do—I think it's because I adore the hero in this one and can't imagine any woman being able to resist him for long. :)

Finally, just a reminder that while FORBIDDEN TERRITORY is no longer in most book stores, it's still available on Amazon.com and other online bookstores. Wouldn't it make a lovely birthday gift or Christmas gift? Hey—it's a spooky story, you could even buy it for Halloween.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

:::yawwwwwwnnn:::

What is it about vacation that makes a normal person think that it's okay to try to exist on less than five hours of sleep a night? Do we really think we have to pack every free moment full of all the things we don't get to do when we're working eight hours a day?

Alas, vacation is over and now I'm having to get through eight hour workdays again without nodding off.

On the upside, the WIP is moving along nicely. My hero just got beat up--comfort schmoop coming! Well, after he works through the discovery that Iris can actually feel his pain--literally.

Still no word from the editor on Rose's story. I'm beginning to feel like a red-headed stepchild.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Little Whine with that Cheese?

:: whine ::

My laptop is dying. Actually, I think the fan that cools the thing has stopped working, which means that I'm trying to limp along, running it for thirty minutes at a time (so it doesn't overheat) while I desperately burn essential files to CD, until I feel comfortable handing the baby over to someone to see if it can be salvaged.

It also means that I've suffered the cruel fate of being forced back downstairs to the dank, chilly basement den to work on my WIP. And this is my vacation, darn it! I was supposed to be able to lounge on my sofa, typing away on my trusty laptop all week. Not sit here in this uncomfortable desk chair, wearing a sweater in the middle of the freakin' summer, trying to carve a hole in the middle of my WIP because I realized I had enough stuff happening in the first day of my manuscript's timeline to fill a season of 24.

:: /whine ::

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Quick--Need a Topic

Tomorrow's my day to blog on Romance Magicians and I'm drawing a blank. So come on, people--gimme some ideas! This is no time to go AWOL on me!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Well, That Was Quick

Wal-Mart is already taking FORBIDDEN TERRITORY off the shelves in my neck of the woods. But hey, you can still find it on Amazon.com. So if you haven't bought a copy, all is not lost! ;)

Today is my birthday. We won't discuss how old I am. I'm off work until after the 4th of July, which means I'm mostly sitting home gorging myself (metaphorically) on all those old Steve and Kayla clips I downloaded. Oh, and I somehow managed to eke out 6 pages on my WIP today, meeting my day's quota.

But if blogging is sporadic for the next few days, you'll know why.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Lost Weekend in Salem

I discovered the motherlode of old Steve and Kayla episode clips on a website called Devoted to Deveraux (referencing another Days of Our Lives character). They covered the Steve and Kayla storyline from the beginning through the early stages of the relationship. I'm talking about complete episodes (at least the Steve and Kayla portions), not just snippets. Needless to say, much downloading and watching ensued. I barely came away from my computer long enough to eat and go to the bathroom.

I would probably feel a lot more ashamed of myself if 1) the clips weren't sooooooo good and B) I hadn't written my targeted number of pages of my WIP over the weekend. But they were, and I did, and I even managed to write one page more than today's projected pages during my lunch hour. Which means I can go home this evening and watch more downloaded clips if I want to, with only that faint frisson of guilt that comes from knowing you are a pathetic fangeek.

One of these days, I'm going to write a scholarly treatise for my blog about the archetypal structure of the Steve and Kayla relationship. But that's several clip viewings down the road.

Stay tuned. ;)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Like Sands Through the Hourglass...

I'll admit it. I can be an obsessive TV fan. I don't mean just watching every episode of my favorite TV show. I mean frequenting message boards and forums. Subscribing to Usenet groups. Writing detailed episode reviews. Taping and rewatching episodes obsessively. Ferreting out every spoiler available. (You should have seen me during the X-Files heydey).

I've tried to wean myself off of that sort of single-mindedness. I love LOST, but I limit myself to watching all the episodes and watching out for spoilers and news. And, okay, I did join a Battlestar Galactica listserv, and I do own all the DVDs, but I don't write Helo-Boomer fanfic or anything.

My Days of Our Lives obsession--or more specifically, my Steve-and-Kayla obsession, circa 1986-1990--rivaled my X-Files passion, and that's saying a lot. Keep in mind, back in 1986, when it all started for me, the Internet wasn't an issue. I didn't even own a computer then. But I taped every episode of Days of Our Lives during the Steve and Kayla era. In fact, I still haven't completely forgiven my brother for taping a stupid pre-season NFL game over my tape of Kayla convincing Steve to let her take off his eye patch to clean his wounds after Victor Kiriakis's thugs beat him up and left him bleeding on the docks. (Ah, the memories).

Eventually, those characters left the show (Steve "died"--although a switcheroo with his casket after the funeral but before it was lowered into the grave gave us Steve and Kayla fans a small nugget of hope that one day, he'd return). The writing lost its luster and I lost interest in the show, although I sort of kept up with it because my mom still watched.

But a month ago, news broke. Steve and Kayla were coming back to Days of Our Lives. What happened next? I went out and bought that DVD recorder I'd been considering for over a year. And I just spent the morning (when, frankly, I should have been writing new pages on DEADLY ILLUSION) downloading and viewing vintage Days of Our Lives video clips featuring Steve and Kayla.

I am such a geek.

Gotta say, though. Seeing them back on Days has been a lot of fun. I'd forgotten how much chemistry they had with each other. For that matter, Stephen Nichols is one of those actors who seems to have great chemistry with almost anyone he works with on-screen. Reminds me of David Duchovny in that sense--a big part of Duchovny's appeal on the X-Files was that he managed to have really good chemistry with almost every actor he worked with on that show. Nichols is the same way. He zings with just about every actor he has scenes with. It's fun to watch.

I hope the younger actors on Days are watching closely. They could use the acting lessons.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Today on Romance Magicians...

Happy endings. Lots of questions posed, including why some people think that a happy ending disqualifies a story (and thus all romances) from being considered significant fiction. Go share your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mmm, American Men

eHarlequin has a big splash ad on their front page, with the question "Love American Men?" When you click through, there's a page with several books selected and the subhead: "If nothing makes your heart race faster than an all-American male, then these books are for you! This 4th of July, celebrate all that it means to be an American with these born-in-the-U.S.A. heroes!"

Guess which wet T-shirt wearin' hottie is one of the ones listed? :)

Yay for extra promotion!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today on Romance Magicians

Today was my day to blog on Romance Magicians. The topic? Connected stories. Like 'em? Hate 'em? Go join the discussion.

Sudafed Hell

Yesterday morning, I took Sudafed for a sinus problem. Within 45 minutes, I had called the paramedics.

I had tachycardia and sporadic arrhythmia, plus strange, fluttering spasms in my chest and upper abdomen. The paramedics said that it didn't look like I was having a heart attack, especially since all my other vital signs were good, and that the fast heartbeat and occasional irregular beats were almost certainly caused by a reaction to the Sudafed. They suggested that I rest at home and see if the symptoms went away as the Sudafed metabolized in my system, with the understanding that I'd call them back immediately if it didn't get better.

When it did get better, it was sudden. One minute, I was still feeling the weird flutterings and my heart racing; within about six minutes, all the symptoms were gone and my heartrate was steady and normal.

Needless to say, it was a scary situation. So, moral of the story--no more Sudafed for me!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Just Another Sunday

I've been feeling depressed all day. I slept all morning, felt cruddy all afternoon. Couldn't quite figure out why I had a hot lump in my stomach all day.

Then I dropped by Miss Snark's blog and found this poem.

I ended up crying like a baby.

Four years ago this July 7th, my father died after lingering in the hospital for a week following a massive stroke. Today is Father's Day. Do the math.

I feel better after having a good cry, but it's kind of sobering to know that I'll never be completely all right again. There will probably be days like this throughout my life, when remembering my dad is gone hits me like a truck.

So do me a favor. If you still have your dad in your life, and he's ever done anything good for you--no matter how crazy he's made you at other times--give him a hug for me. I wish I could do the same. Even though he'd probably look at me like I was nuts.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Contest Kudos!

My friends Kelley St. John and Tracy Montoya both placed first in their respective categories in the First Coast Romance Writers' Published Beacon Awards. Way to go, ladies!

Congrats are also in order for my friends Danniele Worsham, who placed first in her category of the Lauries and Carla Swafford, who placed third in her category. Major kudos to you two as well!

Can't Make Me!

My muse has taken off to Tahiti or somewhere. She left me a set of notes for the next two chapters of my novel, and she even set up a lovely, late night getting to know you session for my hero and heroine, but what she forgot to leave was the desire to write.

Most days, wanting to write isn't a problem. In fact, the less time to write that I have, the more I want to do it. But here I am, with Saturday and Sunday stretched out in front of me and a modest 12 pages scheduled to write, and I have no desire whatsoever to sit in front of my computer and write. It's not that I don't like my story--I do. I'm madly in love with my hero and very intrigued to find out just how the heroine is going to work with him to solve the mystery.

I just don't want to write today.

Check that—intellectually, I do want to write today. I know that I need to get this book done before the end of July so I'll be ready to send a proposal to my editor by the time I hear back on DANGEROUS PURSUIT. I know that to reach that goal, I have to make my daily scheduled page counts. I also know that when I have the next couple of chapters figured out in this story, I need to be writing, because sooner or later I'm going to hit a rough patch where I don't know what happens next, and then writing three pages a day is going to be sheer torture.

But emotionally, I don't wanna write, and nyah, nyah, nyah, you can't make me. So there!

World, meet my inner three-year-old.

Do you ever have days like this?

UPDATE:

I went looking for my muse and found her on my sofa. We took a long nap. But I swear, after dinner, we are so gonna write.

UPDATE 2:

The muse, she's a harsh mistress. Once she finished cracking her whip, I'd written 17 pages this evening. I guess we both needed that nap! :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Today's Blog Rec

Marianne Arkins was kind enough to give my book a plug on her blog, so today, I'm going to return the favor by plugging her blog. :)

Reading, Writing and Stuff That Makes Me Crazy (that blog name about covers it!) has more than just a very flattering review of my book. It also includes a funny riff on the results of a random paragraph generator, Marianne interviewing herself (who better to do it?) and her list of "Ten Things I Love But Didn't Have Ten Years Ago."

Check it out!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Mother, The Saleswoman

My mother is retired, and since my book is now officially out, she's taken to haunting the local K-Mart and Wal-Mart, looking for my book. Today at Wal-Mart, finally, she found the vendor stocking my books. While she was there, she handed out book marks to people who came by to browse and ended up convincing two people to buy my book.

I wish I could clone her. Picture it—hundreds of Mom-bots spread out to all the Wal-Marts in America, hawking my book.

Is she a great mom or what?

Yesterday on Romance Magicians...

Yup, I forgot to post a link to yesterday's blog post on Romance Magicians, by YA author Jennifer Echols, who points to an interesting link for people who are looking for unique jobs for their characters. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Review on Amazon

I've received my first review on my book's Amazon.com page, and it's a great one!

Check it out!

And The Winner Is...

:::drum roll:::

Stacy Holmes!

Congratulations, Stacy, on winning an autographed copy of FORBIDDEN TERRITORY and a $20 gift certificate to the online book store of your choice! Please email me at paulawritesromance@charter.net and we'll work out the details.

And thanks to everyone who dropped by my party thread yesterday. You have no idea how much it meant to me to have your support and good wishes.

Oh, and, if you haven't bought a copy of my book yet...why not??? :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's June 13th, and You Know What That Means...

My book officially launches today. I think. To be perfectly honest, I'm a little confused about the whole launch date thing with this book. But my Amazon.com page for FORBIDDEN TERRITORY lists today as the release date, so we'll go with it. :)

So...let's party!

The chips and dip are on the table in the corner, the sausage balls are in the oven, and there's a bottle of sparkling grape juice chilling in the fridge (sorry, I'm a non-drinker, and besides, you freaks, it's only 6 am!). I've got a big selection of CDs to slip into the player, and it ain't all country. And the horns and confetti are on the table...

Okay, the real truth is that I'm getting ready for work, there are corn muffins on the counter and I hope the milk hasn't soured, but it's my party and I can pretend if I want to.

Don't forget, I'll be drawing from a list of names in the comment section for a signed copy of FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. And to sweeten the pot, I'll add a $20 gift certificate to the online book store of you choice.

So, let the comments begin! Ask me questions about my book, about writing it, about writing in general—whatever you want to know. Just stop in to say hi, if you want.

Please don't make me look like that loser kid who invited the whole class to her party but nobody showed. :)

UPDATE:

Thank you, everyone who dropped by my launch party thread, and as you can see by the number of comments, there were quite a few of you.

I've actually been fighting with a sinus headache all day, and I think it's finally won, so I'm going to try to get to bed early. However, that doesn't mean the party thread is closed! So if you're a late arrival, feel free to ask a question or make a comment, or heck, leave a post-modern haiku about the dystopic future. Whatever. You'll still be in the running for the signed book and $20 gift certificate to an online book store of your choice. I'll draw names in the morning and let y'all know who won, and I'll also answer any questions posted after I take my leave and take to my bed. :)

Night night! And please, kiddies, while I'm gone, don't get drunk and loud and make the neighbors call the cops!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pssst—Wanna Party?

Tomorrow, a certain Harlequin Intrigue becomes officially available in stores near you, and to celebrate, tomorrow I'm holding a blog party! Well, sort of. I'll post in the morning and then everybody who wants to join me in the celebration can drop by and leave a comment or two. No need to just post congratulations, either--feel free to ask me questions about the book, from how I came up with the idea and how long it took me to write it to who I originally envisioned for the roles of Lily and McBride. You can ask technical questions like how I sold it, what happened next, and what were the best and worst parts of the experience. Anything you want to know bout writing and selling a romance to Harlequin Intrigue, if I know it, I'll answer it.

And I think I'll hold a contest for the folks who post on my blog during my day-long Blog-a-bration—a free signed copy of FORBIDDEN TERRITORY for the winner chosen at random. (So if you already have the book, please let me know so I don't choose you—unless you really want a second copy or something).

So come one, come all, and tell your friends!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Puppy Envy

So, the neighbor across the street got a puppy for their five-year-old daughter. She brought it over for my nieces to see.

Now, let me preface what I'm about to say with two things:

1) My neighbor is about the nicest woman you'd ever want to meet. Friendly, thoughtful and patient with our rugrats when they go over to visit.

2) It's a danged cute puppy. I'm not sure it's 100% Pekingnese, but it's definitely got a lot of Peke in it. It's black and brown, and about the cutest thing I've ever seen, and I've seen some cute critters in my time. I can see how anyone with a soft spot for overwhelming cuteness would want to grab it up and take it home.

But the puppy can't be more than six weeks old. Its eyes still have that cloudy, unfocused puppy look, and all it did while it was here was lie in a little fluffy puddle looking confused. It should still be with its mother, IMO. But even if you think I'm being a little overcautious, it definitely shouldn't be wagged around the neighborhood by a five-year-old without adult supervision.

I'm a little worried about the pup's longevity, although I did what I could by sitting the kids down and explaining why they need to let the puppy grow up for at least another month before wagging him anywhere outside the neighbor's house again.

Furthermore, I can already anticipate the nagging from the nieces about getting our own little bundle of fuzzy joy. And we don't need another dog. Unfortunately, the puppy sort of got to me too, giving me a serious jones for a new kitten. Which I can't get because we also don't need another cat.

But really, can you blame me for wanting one of these?


Didn't think so.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What Do Paper Dolls...

...injured race horses and the global hunt for terrorists have in common?

They're all mentioned in my blog entry today on Romance Magicians.

Curiosity piqued yet?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Second Book Anxiety

As most of you know, since I've mentioned it once or twice, I'm waiting to hear from my editor on book two, Rose's story. She hasn't even had it a month, but I may also have mentioned a time or two that I'm not really good with the patience thing.

Well, last night, the anxiety showed up in my dream, coupled with an incident involving that last roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. At the risk of TMI (too much information for the net-unsavvy), last night around 2 am when I went to the bathroom, I discovered that the last roll of toilet paper, the one I'd just set out earlier that evening, had disappeared. Half asleep and really needing to go to the bathroom, I was not happy to have to go hunting around for TP.

I managed to take care of the situation and return to bed, at which point I fell asleep and dreamed that my editor had rejected my latest effort, a photo of a roll of toilet paper, because it just didn't fit her editorial needs. She showed me a photo of the same roll of toilet paper, taken by a multi-published author, to let me see the difference. "I can do that!" I assured her. "Just let me take another stab at it!"

She took pity on me and said I could have another go. Then, we got to talking about other projects, and I mentioned offhand that I'd written a Regency historical with suspense elements. "I want to see that!" she said. "We've been looking for Regency suspenses!"

Did I mention that this was my Intrigue editor?

I have the weirdest dreams, especially when I'm antsy about something.

Today on Romance Magicians

Seems like all I do these days is plug my group blog, Romance Magicians, but the posts recently have been so interesting! Today, Christy Reece talks about memorable characters, what we love about them and why we remember them. If you have a favorite character or three, drop by and tell us about them in the comments section!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yesterday on Romance Magicians...

Blogger had "issues" yesterday and wouldn't let me post. But Warner romance author Kelley St. John posted her story of a recent brush with fame over on Romance Magicians. It's too good a tale to miss. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

4 1/2 Stars from CataRomance.com!

Very nice review!

My favorite line: "From the opening scene to the amazingly realistic and surprise ending, your ride through the pages of Forbidden Territory will take you where nothing is as it seems."

Boo!

Today on Romance Magicians, Carla Swafford talks about superstitions and the paranormal. Do you have any superstitions? Have you ever had a paranormal experience? Drop by the blog and share your experiences in the comments section. (You can read about my one superstition and my lone paranormal experience there, too).

Speaking of paranormal experiences, as most of you know, FORBIDDEN TERRITORY and the other two books in my Browning Sisters series (send "buy the second book" vibes to my editor, please!) feature three sisters with paranormal gifts. I'm currently working on the third sister's story, working title DEADLY ILLUSION. The story will introduce thriller/international intrigue elements that I plan to develop further in a spin-off series that I've talked about in previous blog entries.

However, in the midst of writing DEADLY ILLUSION, I've introduced an international organization involved in paranormal research that may have a dark ulterior motive for their activities. There's a sort of DaVinci Code sensibility to the concept, I'm told (not having read the book or seen the movie)--a secret society with a public face that portrays one thing and a private face that has completely different motives.

Goodness knows, this is probably the right time to ride the DaVinci Code wave, and I can see dozens of ways to use this organization to complicate matters in the proposed series of connected books. But if do, will I risk getting pigeon-holed as a paranormal writer? Because I do have non-paranormal stories inside me, and I don't want to be kept from telling them by reader expectations. And I don't want to have to include a paranormal element in every book in the series, either.

Will so many paranormal stories early in my career limit my ability to write other types of stories for Intrigue? Should I pitch a non-paranormal, non-series-related story sitting on my hard drive to break things up, or should I go straight to the series with the bounce (assuming it gets bought) of DEADLY ILLUSION?

What do y'all think?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hotlanta Nights and a WIP update

Over on Romance Magicians, Jennifer Echols shares her gameplan for the RWA national conference in Atlanta and invites you to share your plans for the conference. Alas, I'll be home, so I don't have a game plan to share, but if you're planning on making the trip to Georgia, why not drop by the blog and tell us what you expect to be doing while in the Peach City.

WIP update--Made my day's goal. Up to page 26 on the new manuscript. Just 234 pages to go! ;) I'm loving Maddox, sexy Southern devil that he is. Usually I'm as slow as my heroine to warm up to my heroes, but Maddox had me at "You okay, sugar?" Apparently I'm a sucker for a long-legged, broad-shouldered, slow-drawling fella who has no compunctions about using inappropriate terms of endearment with a complete stranger.

Who knew?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Self-reporting on the WIP

Well, the new WIP is officially underway. Working title is DEADLY ILLUSION. It's set in the Caribbean and features Iris, one of the sisters of my heroine in FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. (The manuscript I just sent to my editor, DANGEROUS PURSUIT, tells the story of another sister).

I've been pretty good about keeping to my writing schedule. I fudged a couple of days early in the week, but I've stuck to my pages per day over the last three days, and I've finished chapter one and moved a couple of pages into chapter two.

I'm still feeling my way into the story, getting to know the characters a little better. Of the three Browning sisters, Iris has always been the most enigmatic to me. What's interesting is that I didn't know her deep, dark secret until I was plotting my story. But when she told it to me—and I really do think of it that way, that she told me her secret—it made perfect sense. It meshed with the few glimpses I had of her in the two previous books and also gave me the key to her growth in this book.

Maddox, her hero, was a bit of a cipher to me until I actually started writing him. Now I "get" him a lot better, and I can totally hear his voice in my head. He's a charmer who uses flirting and humor to deflect people who start getting too close to him, close enough to see his wounded heart and troubled soul. But Iris gets under his skin by posing a mystery he needs to solve—and scares the heck out of him with her own vulnerability, because he's afraid he's not capable of being the hero she needs.

So, that's where I am, so far, with what I'm calling (optimistically) book #3.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Lori Sold!

Lori Borrill sold to Blaze! Head over to the eHarlequin community boards and drop her a message on her party thread!

Cruel and Unusual

Over on Romance Magicians, my RWA chapter's group blog, Debbie Matthews has posted a rather vexing question. Check it out and worry your way through your answer. :) Here's a clue to whet your appetite...


Now, doesn't that make you want to go read Debbie's post?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Yes, I'm Obsessive. Wanna Make Something Of It?

Number One. For one brief, shining moment, in one small, narrow category, I'm number one.



Until someone buys a Deb Webb or Kelsey Roberts book or something. Then I'm toast.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tawny Sold!

Tawny Weber, who won the most recent Blaze contest, has sold to Blaze! Go to her blog (live journal?) and congratulate her!

Memorial Day

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:Their courage nerves a thousand living men.~Minot J. Savage

For all the brave men and women, past and present, who gave their lives in defense of this nation, I offer my most sincere and inadequate gratitude.

For those who still fight, who still risk their lives in defense of freedom, I offer my prayers and profound hope that they return alive and well.

And for my cousin Jason, who is not in the military but is currently in Iraq training the Iraqi police, come home safe and soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Cry

I may have mentioned that work is, shall we say, challenging these days. Nobody's fault, really. Well, that's not true, but the client (or their vendor, in this case) is always right, even if they've dragged their heels in getting us things we need to work with to meet their draconian deadline. But I digress.

Anyway, I've been stressed out at work, and I'm fighting off an early summer cold. Grr. Which, apparently, means I was ripe for a good cry. Flipping channels this afternoon, I got sucked into THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS. Sweet, implausible little movie (well, the pants thing was implausible--as if reed-thin Alexis Bledel and curvaceous America Ferrera could ever fit into the same pair of jeans), but it made me sob in places. I didn't think it would be my kind of movie, but I have to say I enjoyed it. Well, during the times I wasn't crying like a girl.

Then, as if I hadn't already cried enough for one day, I watched HOPE FLOATS, which kills me every time poor little Bernice sobs for her daddy not to leave her. Ack, the selfish SOB. But dang, that Harry Connick Jr. is a fetchin' young fella, ain't he?


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Blatant Blegging

FORBIDDEN TERRITORY has been available from eHarlequin.com since the first of May. Some of you reading this blog may have even read it. If you liked it (or loved it), please take a minute to drop by Amazon.com or Books-a-Million.com and leave a rating for the book. At Amazon, feel free to leave a comment as well (if you can find a place to comment, that is. Comments may not be available until the book actually goes on sale from Amazon).

I don't know that good reviews really help that much with sales, but I know I pay attention to ratings when I'm shopping for books.

Also, if you liked it or loved it, please tell a romance-reading fan about it. Reader recommendations are the best marketing there is.

And if you haven't purchased a copy yet—why the heck not? :)

Friday, May 26, 2006

In need of good news

I just read Mary's blog entry about being surrounded by negativity, and it occurs to me that we could all use a little good news about now. I've recently received some sad family news (an elderly aunt died, and another aunt has had a bad stroke). I'm stressed out at work (from the work itself, not office politics or anything like that, thank goodness). Some of my friends are struggling with the interminable wait and inevitable ups and downs of trying to get published.

So, let's look for a little positivity.

Here are a few good things that have happened to me recently:

1) It's May 25th and not only are all my May bills paid, but about 40% of my June bills are also paid.

2) I got my first fan e-mails this week.

3) My friend Linda sold her first book.

4) I've worked out the plot for Iris's book, mostly.

5) Taylor Hicks won American Idol. (Three Birmingham guys in the top two in three different seasons--and two of them won! Move over, Music City and Motown...)

So, come on! Add to the list!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Author quotes

If you're published, did you try to get author quotes for your books? If you're not published, do you have authors lined up for quotes about your books when you finally publish?

I think those quotes DO impress people, especially if they're from big name authors like Linda Howard or Julie Garwood or La Nora. But the very idea of asking a big name author to read my book and offer a quote (even though I actually know Linda Howard and Gayle Wilson) gives me the shakes. I'm such a wuss about that kind of thing. I don't want to impose on the very busy authors I know, and I'm extremely shy. (Stop laughing).

I'm never going to get anywhere in this business. ::sigh::

So, how do writers handle getting author quotes? Does having an agent help (because he/she might have other clients she can ask for quotes)? Or are you completely on your own?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"That'n makes me cry..."

My brother called this afternoon to let me know he'd finished my book. He said he loved it, and I know he's telling the truth, because my brother isn't the sort to lie to make me feel better. Brutal honesty is his M.O. So I'm very pleased to get his approbation.

He also said it made him cry a couple of times, which is possibly the highest compliment, since he's not all that touchy and feely. But he is a father with two young daughters he loves to distraction, so I can see why FORBIDDEN TERRITORY would make him misty. It starts with a child abduction, after all, and only gets more complicated from there. Lots of father/daughter issues to push his buttons.

I've started plotting book three of what I'm calling The Sisters series. Sister number three, Iris, has a strange gift—she's able to feel the pain of others, both physical and emotional, and with her touch she's able to take it into herself, relieving others of some of their pain. Of course, this leaves her with debilitating pain of her own, which affects how she lives her life and limits what she sees for her own future. So her story will force her outside the carefully crafted comfort zone she's created for herself to limit the pain. It will bring her into contact with a man chock full of emotional pain, a man whose honor and dry humor attract her even as his agonizing guilt and regrets repel her. And until he conquers those demons, he will never be able to love Iris the way she deserves to be loved.

Plus there's a tropical island, a convention of psychics, a crazy Russian researcher, a mysterious CIA agent and a terrorist cell. Sounds fun, doesn't it? :)

P.S. Who can tell me what the title of this post refers to?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Today on Romance Magicians...

Over on Romance Magicians, I write about writing to word count for category-length books, just as I promised earlier.

And by the way, if you haven't signed up for my monthly newsletter, well, why haven't you?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Save Nazanin

I don't normally get political on this blog, but this is a cause that I think most people of any political ilk in American could support.

Nazanin is a young Iranian woman who killed a man who was trying to rape her and her niece in a park in a suburb of Tehran. She's been sentenced to death for her "crime." I don't know that anything can save her now, but her case needs attention from the civilized world. If you'd like to read more and sign an online petition, go here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Over on Romance Magicians...

Christy has posted about separation anxiety--from your characters, that is. Check it out.

I'll be blogging over there this Friday. My topic--at the moment, at least--is writing tight for category romances. How do you pack a compelling romance AND a twisty-turny mystery in 260 manuscript pages? It ain't easy!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gone Like a Freight Train, Gone Like Yesterday...

DANGEROUS PURSUIT is in the mail to my editor, which means it's time to start a new project. It's time for Iris's story.

When y'all get around to reading FORBIDDEN TERRITORY (you ARE going to buy it, aren't you?), you'll learn that my heroine, Lily, has two sisters who also have special paranormal gifts. DANGEROUS PURSUIT tells the story of Lily's youngest sister, Rose. The book I'm about to start will tell the story of Iris, the middle sister.

I wasn't sure I was going to write Iris's story. Nothing was coming to me for her. And I had a series idea I was itching to pursue, involving a global security agency who specialized in doing the kind of freelance security and rescue missions that official government agencies couldn't do. Then it occurred to me that I could use Iris's story to launch my series by taking her out of her comfort zone and putting her in a dangerous, alien (to her) setting--a Caribbean island on the verge of a violent overthrow by a secret terrorist cell seeking to set up a base of operations in the Western Hemisphere.

So, looks like Iris's story will be told after all.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"M" is for the many things she gave me . . .

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I'm blessed to still have my mother around. My mother, Jean Graves, grew up in a poor sharecropper's family during the Depression era. Her mother died when she was eighteen. She was one of thirteen children, the first of her family to graduate from high school.

She married at eighteen and moved to Birmingham with my dad. Later they went to North Carolina while my father was in the Army during the Korean war. Every step she took was a new and daunting experience for a country girl from Alabama. But she persevered, expanding her world beyond the cotton fields of her Blount County childhood.

She taught my brother and sister and me about strength, honor, hope and endurance. She has been my cheerleader, my support and my dearest friend for over forty years. I hope I have many more years with her in my life.

And now I have to stop before I get all weepy.

Sleepy Sunday

I know, I know, I've been a blogging slug over the past few days. Between utter craziness at work and this and that at home, computer time has been limited, and I need to spend at least some of that time actually finishing up the edits to DANGEROUS PURSUIT so I'll have it ready to send to my editor some time next week. And at the moment, I'm fighting off mid-afternoon drowsiness.

So, apologies for being AWOL. And if you haven't checked out the Romance Magicians blog recently, why not?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Go, Linda! Go, Linda!

My friend and Southern Magic chaptermate Linda Raper just sold her first book to Harlequin Historicals! DECURION is set in ancient Rome, during the time of the gladiators. When I know more details I'll post them.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Contesterrific

So, my author's copies finally arrived. I'd like to do a contest for next week to give away an autographed copy or two, but I'm vacillating over how to run it. I want to do something fun, something besides "Go read my excerpt and answer a question." But I have no ideas.

So, what kind of authors' contests do you like? Do you ever bother to enter them? How can I make this one fun?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

They Didn't Teach That in Biology . . .

The other night, my seven-year-old niece Ashlee was explaining something to my mother and me. We can barely understand her in the best of times; she has a considerable speech impediment and she talks a mile a minute. This time, she was trying to tell us something she'd learned--something scientific, she said. It had to do with why she has blond hair and fair skin or something like that, and she kept talking about her pants. "I have mommy's pants and daddy's pants and that why I have blond hair and blue eyes."

It took us several minutes to figure out that by "pants" she meant "jeans." Or, as they spell it in the scientific world, "genes."

We tried to explain that it had nothing to do with denim, but I'm still not sure my niece understands that her hair color and eye color are completely unconnected to a pair of Wranglers.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Home from Huntsville

The Heart of Dixie Romance Reader's Luncheon was lots of fun, but I've discovered I'm not a good traveler. Although the bed was perfectly lovely, it wasn't MY bed, and so I didn't sleep well. The room had a nice air conditioner, but I like to sleep under a fan with the air circulating, so I felt hot all night.

But it was lovely to see all my Heart of Dixie buddies. Stephanie Bond gave a hilarious (and uncomfortably close to home) luncheon talk about procrastination and deadlines. And I got to sign my first autograph!

It's constantly amazing to me that readers will drive for miles (one lady came from OHIO!) just to meet the writers whose works they love. It's also humbling when you're in the position of the writer and realize that people really care about the stories you tell.

I met one lady, Ismaina (and I know I've probably bungled the spelling of her name--sorry!) who drove up this morning from Pensacola--a six hour drive--just because she loves the writing of Linda Howard and Beverly Barton. She said that Linda's McKenzies series was like prozac for her after a stressful day. Beautiful--and awesome. She's a mosaicist and has done a mosaic of characters from Linda's books. Linda made those characters so real to her that she was able to find in them inspiration for her own art.

I've decided now that that's my goal as a writer. I want to write well enough that an Ismaina out there finds my stories and characters so compelling and real that they inspire her to create something new and beautiful of her own. It's a worthy goal, don't you think?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's HERE!

I'm holding my book in my hot little hands (well, not this second--I'm typing with my hot little hands at the moment). It's so purrrrrty!

I ordered it from eHarlequin and had it sent rush because my author's copies haven't arrived yet, and I wanted to have a book to put in my basket for Saturday's Heart of Dixie Readers Luncheon. I ordered three copies so I'd have one for me and one to send to a reviewer who's requested it. They arrived this afternoon.

Wheeee!

It's so strange to see my words and my characters on a printed page. So very strange.

And lovely.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

And the Blond Hottie Winner Is...

Josh Holloway

Southern and sexy, with dark depths that keep you off balance, Josh Holloway took the character of James Ford, aka Sawyer, into fascinating territory on LOST. Mercurial, tortured, ruthless and self-destructive, Sawyer is possibly the most watchable character on the show, and much of the credit has to go to Holloway.

And his dimples.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Interesting Article About the Romance Industry

In yesterday's WASHINGTON POST, writer Sara Fitzgerald looks at Romance, Writ Large, covering a variety of romance genres and publishing houses in this serious, straightforward look at what romance literature has become in the 21st century. There are some interesting insights from authors about their own genres, including a thought-provoking quote from Kimani Press-Arabesque author Michelle Monkou:

Monkou notes that in the African American sub-genre, "street fiction is the big thing, ghetto lit, urban lit . . . cautionary tales using gritty real-life examples. So instead of the hero being middle-income or a CEO, maybe the hero is an ex-drug dealer who is now trying to turn his life around and the street is calling him. It's definitely not the type of story that would have fit in the romance guidelines of yesteryear. These books are flying off the shelves with fairly young ages, which is kind of scary."

As they say, read the whole thing.

It's here!

FORBIDDEN TERRITORY is available for purchase from eHarlequin.com.

Eeee, I'm all squealy at seeing it there on the Harlequin website.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Website Redesign

I managed to go a whole seven or eight months before I completely redid my website this time. I just decided the white background, while very readable, wasn't very atmospheric for a romantic suspense writer.

So I redid the site. I also created my first ever Flash movie for my book--go to my website and check it out! (But when you reach the end of the movie, don't click where it says click--instead, click on "skip movie" to get to the next page. I'm not sure why the click-through doesn't work, but I've done about all the web design I plan to do today).

Final note--tomorrow, May 1st, FORBIDDEN TERRITORY should be available through the Harlequin Website.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Guys Watching 24

This is hilarious.

I just want to know how they managed to get the commercial break to last that long. I can't even take a quick bathroom break without missing the first part of the next act.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Where Have All the Blond Hotties Gone?

I'm trying to cast the hero of my new WIP, and I thought I'd go with a blondish hero for a change. But I'm having a hard time casting him. I think the problem is that while I find some blond guys cute, I don't always consider them romantic suspense hero material.

Take Dierks Bentley.

Cute, cute, cute, and sexy in a boyish way. Boyish being the operative word. He's perfect as a beta hero in a sweet romance, but I'm just not buying him as an action hero.

How about Jensen Ackles?

Sexy, pouty, pretty. Too pretty. And a little too young.

I've always had a soft spot for Sean Bean. Rugged, British, sexy.

But he's edging toward too old for a category romance hero, and definitely too old for my current hero.

What about Leslie Wainger's beloved Viggo Mortensen?

Kinda hot as Aragorn. Not so hot as Viggo. Don't tell Leslie I said that.

I know, I know! David Wenham.

Sexy as Faramir. Freckly and dorky as David.

And while I'd say Kiefer Sutherland's definitely hero material...


...he's already cast in my WIP as the ruthless CIA spymaster who will manipulate several couples over the course of my upcoming series before he meets his own love match.

So tell me. What blond hotties am I forgetting?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Contest! (UPDATED)

I'm running my first contest, and the prize is a $20 gift certificate from Amazon.com.

This is the easiest contest ever! All you have to do is go to my website, check out the contest corner and click on the link to an excerpt from my upcoming book, FORBIDDEN TERRITORY. Answer the question posed there and be the first to email me. Voila! Instant gift certificate.

Once I get my author's copies of FORBIDDEN TERRITORY, I'll be holding more contests to give autographed books away.

UPDATE

Congratulations to Jennifer McKenzie, who correctly answered the contest question first and will receive a $20 gift certificate.

Check back often for more contests.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006

Four Stars from Romantic Times!

I have no idea what the Romantic Times reviewer actually said about my book, but she gave it four stars!

Anybody with online access to RT's subscription services want to check it out and e-mail me the details? My e-mail's listed in my profile. (I'm an RT subscriber, but my magazine comes in a wrapper, and I always forget and throw away the wrapper before I save my membership number, which is what's necessary for registering online).

UPDATE

Thanks bunches to Gina Black for e-mailing me the review, which is just lovely:

FORBIDDEN TERRITORY
by Paula Graves
RT Rating: 4 stars
Category: SERIES
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: June 2006
Line: Harlequin Intrigue

Psychic Lily Browning may be the only hope a kidnapped child has, but dubious detective J. McBride suspects she has ulterior motives. Lily is used to the doubts about her gift, but is drawn to help the child; McBride is tough and tender, and reluctantly sizzles in Lily's arms. A past incident has colored McBride's perception but he can't deny the attraction he feels as he wades into Forbidden Territory (4) in Paula Graves' wonderfully twisted story of compelling people dealing with a terrifying situation. When McBride's secret pain is revealed, can he trust Lily enough to love her?

- Pat Cooper

Chunk Update

Chunk is staying at the vet's overnight. It's still up in the air whether or not she can improve. She doesn't have diabetes, and her liver function is fine. But the doctor's worried about her kidney function, plus she's still not eating. He's putting her on IV fluids and a stronger antibiotic for her upper respiratory infection. By tomorrow, we'll have a good idea whether this is something she can get through or not.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Difficult Weekend

My oldest cat, Chunk, the love of my life, is going downhill. She's only sixteen, but she's had thyroid trouble for the past couple of years, and over the past three or four days, she's deteriorated quickly. My mom's taking her to the vet again tomorrow morning. The doctor will probably do tests to see if she has diabetes, too, and then we'll have some decisions to make.

If he doesn't think she'll get significantly better than she is now, even with treatment, I can't let her go on this way. She's tottery, has lost interest in food or socializing, and it's just no life for a cat. It will break my heart, but seeing her the way she is has already broken it, so what's a few more tears? At least she'll be at rest.

So, y'all be thinking of me and my cat tomorrow. I'll post an update when I know more.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Free Books!

Tracy Montoya's giving a free book to the first three people to post comments on some of her past blog entries. If you haven't read her Intrigues, you're in for a treat! Go. Comment. Win!

Today on Romance Magicians . . .

I blogged on using the neglected senses in your writing over on Romance Magicians, my local RWA chapter's group blog. While you're there, check out some of the previous blog entries--we have a talented bunch of writers contributing to the blog.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"Don't Make Me Do It, Helen..."

Blogs4Bauer suggests that, with the resignation of Scott McClellan as White House spokesman, the perfect replacement would be Jack Bauer.


B4B's Top 10 Changes Jack Bauer Would Bring to the White House Press Corps:

10. Positive stories about Bush increase 145% in his first hour alone.

9. Five moles weeded out of press corps by Bauer.

8. Ask a stupid question; get hooked up to the sensory deprivation device.

7. Podium replaced with bullet-proof barrier with gun ports.

6. All press conferences last an hour, with all tough questions coming at 45 minutes past the hour.

5. By the end of a press conference, a minimum of 34 people would have been killed.

4. "No comment" replaced by "We don't have time for that question".

3. Gary Bauer mistakenly showed up to a press conference, once.

2. All comments will be yelled.

1. Blogs4Bauer starts to live-blog press conferences.