Monday, May 31, 2010

Once, about ten or fifteen years ago, I visited Washington D.C. with some friends. We were all X-Files fans and we decided to converge on Mulder and Scully's town to see the XF landmarks—the F.B.I. building, the Watergate parking garage, the Washington Memorial reflecting pool, etc.
We also went to the Vietnam War Memorial.
Until that point, the trip had been all fun and games. But there's no way to visit the memorial and not be overwhelmed by the sense of the sacred. Name after name etched in the shiny wall, a testament to heroism and sacrifice. You can see yourself in the reflection, so you become part of the whole memorial, a living testament to what these men died for.
I didn't lose anyone in the Vietnam War personally. But while I was there, I overhead a conversation between a small group of people standing nearby. One of them was a young man, my age or maybe a little younger. They were there to see a particular name on the wall—the name of the young man's father, who had died when the young man was just a baby. He'd never known his father, but he could visit him, in a way, by coming there to the memorial. I remember, he reached out and touched his father's name, caressed it, really.
While Veteran's Day in America is a day we celebrate our living war heroes, Memorial Day is the day we commemorate our fallen heroes. On this Memorial Day, God rest the souls of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and welfare of this great nation. We honor you and thank you.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yay, turned in a book! Now let's have a contest!

The April 2011 book is winging its way to NYC, so I have two whole days, plus a long weekend, to read! Whoo hoo! So in honor of my rare chance to read, I'm going to throw together a little contest: how many books can I read by the end of day Monday?

Here are the parameters: I work full time today and tomorrow (and I didn't bring a book with me today to read on my lunch hour, darn it), but I'm off Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I have 7 pages a day to write each day, Saturday through Monday, but 7 pages don't take me a full day to write. And most of the books I'll read this weekend are probably going to be Intrigues, so we're talking short-ish books.

Got the details? Start guessing!

The first person to post the correct (eventual) number in the comments wins your choice of an autographed copy of any of my back list books I still have (I think I have at least one copy of all of them except my first book, although some of the copies may be large print), or a $5 gift certificate to any online retailer (bookseller or otherwise) who sells gift certificates online. (Because I'm lazy that way) :)

I'll check back in on Monday night to let you know the number and who won. And if you have any book recommendations, Intrigues or otherwise, share them with the peeps!


One book finished. A while back, I downloaded several of the free e-books Harlequin offered to celebrate their 60th anniversary (the books are still available for download in .pdf format here). I read one of them, Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines. Sweet, funny, charming book. A marriage of convenience book done in an innovative and mostly believable way. If you like your romances sweetly spicy with plenty of charm, this is a good one.

Now to pick the next book to read...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Blogging on Intrigue Authors today

It occurs to me that I tell a story there that I haven't told here, so drop by the Intrigue Author page for a rather dramatic, danger-filled kitten update. (No worries, it has a happy ending).

Also, while I've got y'all here, let me put in another plug for online bookstore reviews. Any little buzz helps for an author, and reviews or reviews (or Borders or Books-a-Million get the picture) help create that buzz.

So if you've read any of my books and loved them, please take a minute to write a quick review on one of the online book store sites. If you didn't love them, no sweat. (Although, feel free not to post those! :) )

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Good News Wednesday

Since I accidentally blogged Wednesday's Post on Monday, how about a little good news for Wednesday?

I sold the last three Cooper Justice books to Harlequin Intrigue!

They'll be out in April, May and June 2011, back to back—my first back to back trilogy. At least the wait between books won't be as long as my Forbidden trilogy. That makes a total of 12 books for me, all Intrigues. Whew—I'm getting tired just thinking about it!

Anyway, here are the basics for the final three Cooper Justice books (Note—all titles are working titles and unlikely to stick around):

Book One: Married to Danger

Hero: Jake Cooper
Heroine: Mariah Cooper, his wife

Short Synopsis: Seven years ago, Mariah cooper was Marisol Mendez, a former juvenile delinquent and petty grifter just one failed con game away from a prison sentence—until a man named Victor Logan took her under his wing and gave her hope for a new life. But every chance to change the future comes with a price. Mariah's price is coming face to face with Victor Logan in the middle of a storm-ravaged community, four years after she'd helped put him in jail for a hit-and-run killing. All the lies she's told her husband Jake come crashing down around her when Victor seeks his vengeance. Now Jake and Mariah are running for their lives, relentlessly pursued by a killer who Mariah fears was responsible for the murder of a Cooper family member years earlier. Husband and wife are forced to depend utterly on each other at a time when the truth about Mariah has driven them farther apart than ever before.

Book Two: Fully Engaged

Hero: Gabe Cooper
Heroine: Alicia Solano

Short Synopsis: For the last twelve years of his life, Gabe Cooper has asked himself the same question every day: what if I'd gotten there in time? He'd missed the chance to stop his sister-in-law Brenda's brutal murder by thirty inexcusable minutes, time he'd spent drinking beer and playing pool with his buddies instead of keeping his promise to pick up Brenda from work. Though police now believe the man responsible is dead, Gabe can't forgive himself and move on. So when his niece Cissy calls him with news about a new spate of co-ed murders that matches the M.O. of her own mother's murder, Gabe can't say no to her invitation to visit. But when he meets Cissy's friend, Alicia Solano, and learns that it's Alicia who's convinced Cissy that the dead murderer had an accomplice who's very much alive, is Gabe willing to shatter the whole family's sense of closure about Brenda's murder based on a grad student's wild speculation, no matter how persuasive--and attractive--she is?

Book Three: Courting the Devil

Hero: J. D. Cooper
Heroine: Natalie Becker

Short Synopsis: It's not just the law of averages that convinces Natalie Becker her sister Carrie died at the hands of her playboy husband, Hamilton Gray. Newlywed Carrie had recently confided to Natalie that she thought Hamilton might be having an affair--he kept strange hours and didn't seem that interested in sex now that they were married. But proving murder, in a town where the Grays are even wealthier and more privileged a family than her own, may be the hardest thing Natalie's ever tried to do. And the last complication she needs is a tall, stubborn ex-Navy mechanic named J.D. Cooper who has his own crazy idea about who killed her sister: the same person who murdered J. D.'s wife twelve years ago.


As you can tell, all three stories are tightly connected, with the unsolved murder of Brenda Cooper playing a part in all three. The villains, too, have a twisted, complex connection to each other that I hope will play out in a fascinating way.

So, be looking for Cooper Justice: Cold Case, coming to Harlequin Intrigue in April 2011!

Monday, May 03, 2010

WWW: Habit-forming

There are a couple of things you need to know about me. First, I have a memory like a sieve. And second, I can form a habit faster than most people can form a sentence. Why do you need to know these things about me? Because they're the entire premise for this blog post, and you kind of need to know where it all started.

A couple of years ago, I realized I just couldn't remember things as well as I used to when I was younger. Whether it's advancing age or an expanding daily agenda, I couldn't say. Maybe a combination of both. But whatever's behind it, I have learned that I need to write important things down if I want to remember them. At first, I got a pocket calendar to keep my schedule, but I bought it in the middle of 2009 and it was a 2010 calendar. Of course, well before 2010 rolled around, I'd lost the pocket calendar and couldn't find it. Not that it would have made that much difference. I've never been good at keeping calendars.

Then my niece got a Palm Centro phone. Touch screen, comes with all kinds of fun little apps, including a detailed daily calendar. Wow! I was hooked. I rarely use my own cell phone, so my primary requirements until that point were compact size and a cheap minute plan. But when Paula met the Centro, it was love at first sight. So the first chance I had to change phone plans, I got myself a Centro, and the two of us have never looked back.

So, I know you're waiting for the habit-forming part of this little tale. See, I'm a habit former. I settle quickly into routines, usually bad ones. Eating too much, staying up too late, getting addicted to free online games, watching the same TV shows, sitting on the same end of the same couch at the same time every day--you get the picture. But it occurred to me that the same habit-forming nature just might be used for good as well. I could form a habit of keeping a calendar and using it to keep my busy life from spinning out of control.

So I made a concerted effort to get in the habit of keeping a calendar. And once I was in that habit, I found myself wanting to use the calendar more than I was already. More, more, more, that's my motto! Since I had a blog book tour coming up in conjunction with the publication of my January and February books, I started keeping my blog schedule on my phone. Then my monthly RWA chapter meetings. And finally, I started logging my daily pages on my calendar app, to remind me to write every day.

So, we come to my point. We're creatures of habit. We find comfort in the familiar, as long as it's also easy. But the same patterns of behavior that make us eat pizza every Friday night or get hooked on Chuck every Monday night can also help us get into the habit of writing two or three pages every day, or blogging every week. It's a little harder to form, perhaps, but the beauty of a good habit is, it's just as compelling as a bad one, once you've formed it. And it tends to feed into other good habits. Blogging once a week becomes addictive, and you find yourself challenged to blog twice a week. Checking off that three pages a day, day in and day out, makes you wonder how much more you could do if you wrote four pages a day instead. You get your head into a more organized place where your daily schedule is concerned, suddenly, you're becoming more organized in other ways as well.

So how about you? Are you a habit-former? Are there any bad habits you'd like to get rid of or good habits you'd like to pick up? Have you formed a good habit that you'd like to brag about? Tell us all about them!