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 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 or 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


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.


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

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