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Winners, winners and more winners!

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Thank you all for stopping by during the 31 Days of Books Giveaway! It’s Day 32 now, and I have to stop writing blogs and start working on those revisions my editor is waiting for. <G>

Here are the winners:

Winner of Day 31 drawing: Alina K. Field.

Three winners of the Grand Finale drawing:


Debra Yates

Julie Whiteley

I will be contacting all four winners to find out their choice of book, and the three Grand Finale winners also receive a gift card to either Starbucks or Amazon, their preference. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you all so much for visiting and chatting with me! 🙂

Day 30 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: If You Could Go Back in Time and Give Advice To Your Younger Self, What Would You Say?

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Congratulations to Katt Lloyd, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Katt to arrange delivery of her choice of book.

We had a flood of comments on yesterday’s blog regarding romantic gestures. Nice to see romance is alive and well out there! Just a reminder, anyone who ever commented on the blog in January will be entered in the big Feb.1 drawing. Three winners will receive the book of their choice and a gift card. This includes Hall of Fame winners.

Okay, on to today’s question: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?

This is a tough one. Things that seem like poor decisions in hindsight may actually have led you to a place in your life with things that you treasure now. For instance, I got married very young, and it didn’t work out. Do I regret that? No, because it gave me my children. But one thing I would tell myself is to make education a priority. Had I gone to college, I could have majored in something to do with writing. I’d find a way to make that happen if I could go back. As it turns out, I was able to develop my skills enough on my own to get published, but maybe I could have had a full time job for all these years that was writing related.

What about you? If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say? Comment to be included in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!

Day 29 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: What’s The Most Romantic Gesture You’ve Ever Heard About?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Congratulations to Juli Temple, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Juli to arrange delivery of her choice of book.

Today’s question (you can apply it to books, TV/movies, or real life): What is the most romantic thing you have ever heard one person doing for another?

For me, it was when my husband (then brand new boyfriend) moved across the country to be with me. He lived on one coast and I lived on the other. We met through work and had a long distance relationship for several months before we realized that stolen weekends weren’t going to cut it, that we had to live in each other’s daily (in the same state!) in order to give this thing a chance. He made sacrifices and left everything he’d ever known because he had faith that we would make it. Here we are ten years later, happily married (and living back on his coast).

My sister told me a story about how her then boyfriend (now husband) secretly took a broken bracelet she adored to the jeweler and had it repaired for her birthday. She loved that more than if he had given her something new.

I also love the part in the movie French Kiss when Meg Ryan’s character Kate sets up the elaborate pretense for Kevin Kline’s Luc that she sold the diamonds for him, and the inspector tells him what she really did.

What about you? What romantic gesture has touched you the most? Comment to be included in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!

Day 28 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway – Romance Heroines: The Good, The Bad and The TSTL

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Congratulations to bn100, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing bn100 to arrange delivery of her choice of book.

Let’s talk heroines: the good, the bad and the TSTL (Too Stupid To Live).

Heroines are hard for me. Even though I’m female, I identify more with the heroes in my books than the heroines. But there are a few heroines (in books, TV or movies) that I can always get behind. The ones who try hard to do the right thing.

Some of the good heroines:

  1. Eve Dallas from the J.D. Robb books
  2. Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the movie)
  3. Judith Hampton from Julie Garwood’s The Secret
  4. Maggie Concannon from Born In Fire by Nora Roberts
  5. Aislinn from The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Good heroines do what needs to be done, no matter what it costs them. They are women you admire.

Bad heroines are the ones who are too concerned with themselves to truly share in the love story you’re reading. They are unsympathetic people who you actively dislike and would never hang out with if they were real, the ones who make you wonder what the hero sees in them. (No examples here because I’ve purged them from my memory. Bleh!)

And TSTL? There are dozens of those. These are the heroines whose decisions make no sense. They run out into gunfire after the hero tells them to stay put. They go down in the basement with no light on when they know a serial killer is on the loose. They think they can handle everything, only to fall on their butts (or trip over a tree root running through the forest in their nightclothes in the middle of the night). They’re the ones who believe the Jealous Other Woman’s lame story that the hero really loves her, at which point they run away to nurse their broken hearts. Or quit their jobs because the hero is the boss. Or shoot themselves in the foot in some other dramatic, emotional way. They’re the ones who make you throw the book against the wall.

What are your thoughts on romance heroines? Who are your favorites? Comment to be included in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!

Day 27 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: What’s Your Favorite Romance Novel World?

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Congratulations to Gail, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Gail to arrange delivery of her choice of book.

Let’s talk about our favorite worlds. One of the reasons we read books is to be transported to a different place, whether that place is a different era, a different lifestyle or a different world/planet all together. When we are brought to a different place in our minds, we are able to—at least for a short while—forget our own problems.

What are some of your favorite worlds?

For me, I adore the Celta world created by Robin D. Owens (not just because her cats can communicate telepathically) and the Harmony world created by Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz). I also really love the futuristic world of J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas. That world seems just a few steps removed from ours.

In Eve’s world, the technology seems like something that would really be available in our near future, yet the cops still love doughnuts and people still fall in love and have kids just like they do today. She’s come up with policies that might someday exist, like legal “licensed companions” and “professional mothers.” Race is nothing more than a way to describe someone’s appearance, and people can have all kinds of work done along the lines of cosmetic surgery to change anything at all about their appearance, even eye color. Yet there are still murderers and drug addicts and fast cars and people without morals. I absolutely adore this world, and not just because a man like Roarke can exist there. Which makes me wonder…they have cloning technology, right? <G>

What about you? What are your favorite worlds in the books you read? Comment to be included in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!

Day 25 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: Are You A Cat Person Or A Dog Person?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Congratulations to Diane Patricia Diamond, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Diane to arrange delivery of her choice of book. This is Diane’s second time winning, which puts her in the Hall of Fame!

Most people consider themselves either a cat person or a dog person. Which are you and why?

I’m a cat person. I like their fluffiness and the way they curl up in my lap and purr. Cats are very finicky animals. There’s a saying: “Dogs have owners, cats have staff.” I have no doubt this is one of the reasons the ancient Egyptians worshiped them. However, I feel special when the cat chooses to come to me. The secret to cats: Let them go when they want to leave, and they will always come back to you.

I do like dogs, don’t get me wrong. I grew up with dogs. We always had one, and to this day, my mom still has one. I just prefer cats, is all. You can go away for a weekend and leave enough food and water down for your cat, no big deal. But the dog needs someone to take him out, and if you leave food down for the weekend, it will be gone the first day.

What about you? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Comment to be included in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!


Day 24 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: What Are Your Pet Peeves About Romance Novels?

Friday, January 24th, 2014

There were no comments yesterday, so no winners today.

This time I wanted to talk about pet peeves when it comes to books. I know you love romance novels just like I do, but what are your pet peeves about them? You know, those things that get under your skin and make you throw the book across the room?

I have a few:

  1. Amnesia. As soon as I see that word, I put down the book.
  2. Stupid heroine. I simply cannot stand a heroine who does things that make no sense. In movies, it is the girl walking in the woods at night in her nightgown or going down into the basement without turning on the light. I shout at the TV. Why is this woman not taking precautions, especially if she knows there is a monster/vampire/psycho killer on the loose? The same things happen in books. The hero tells you to STAY PUT, heroine, because he’s trying to save you from the evil agent/psycho killer/former-best-friend-turned-enemy! So why do you think it’s okay to run out to the car at right this moment? Seriously?
  3. HEA that is too easy. If the hero and heroine are madly in love by the middle of the book, it’s really hard to get that tension back. (I just read one like this.)
  4. Words used incorrectly or spelled incorrectly. Multiple people have looked at the book before it is ever released into the wild. How is it that you think she “lead” them on a wild goose chase? (Should be ‘led’.) Where was the copyeditor on that one?
  5. Wandering body parts. This drives me nuts. His hands slid down her back. (Do they have an owner or are they working independently? I would prefer He slid his hands down her back.) His eyes smiled. (Eyes don’t have lips). He rolled his eyes towards her. (Sounds like a painful bowling game to me!)

What about you? What are your pet peeves when it comes to books? Those who comment will be included in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!

Day 23 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: What’s Your Creative Outlet?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Congratulations to Joyce Ward, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Joyce to arrange delivery of her choice of book.

Today I wanted to talk about creativity. Everyone has a creative outlet. It’s the way we play, what we do to relax. Maybe you paint or knit or sew, sing in the church choir, cook, bake, quilt, dance, garden… There are dozens and dozens of methods to express creativity.

Obviously my method is writing. I am never happier than when I am lost in my own mind, playing pretend. I once had to have an MRI done, and I was in this tube with no music, no TV, nothing. You can’t bring metal into an MRI machine (magnetic!), and since you have to stay very still for them to get the scan, you can’t even bring a book to read. It’s boring! The only thing that saved my sanity was plotting novels in my head. I was able to completely forget where I was and get lost in my imagination.

My husband is a singer who performs in an a cappella group. My sister is a singer, too, but she sang for NJ Performing Arts Center and got to perform at Carnegie Hall once (as part of the chorus, but still…). I have another sister who is an artist. She paints portraits from pictures. People commission these from her, usually around the holidays. My mom used to make our clothes when we were little. My aunt made Christmas ornaments for us kids every year (I still have mine on my tree). I have a friend who bakes delicious treats and another who knits these amazing blankets using a photograph as the template. Another friend makes chocolate candies.

I’d love to make my living by writing, but for the moment I still work a day job. As does my husband and my sisters and all the people I mentioned above. I know lots of writers, of course, and most of them have day jobs, too. As much as I’d like to make my creative outlet my full time career, the mundane world can be unforgiving, and the artistic one sometimes fleeting. The mortgage has to be paid and people have to eat.

But I dream of it. I fantasize about where I would live and how my day would go. No more clocking in and out, no more 30-minute lunch. I could set my own hours. If I need to go to the doctor, I can adjust my schedule as necessary. If I want to go on vacation, I could just go without worrying about whether or not I would be allowed the days off. Ah, the life I could lead.

What about you? What’s your creative outlet? And do you ever daydream about what it would be like to do that for a living? Comment to be included in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!

Day 20 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: Romance Novel Covers

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Since both the people who commented on yesterday’s blog were in the Hall of Fame, there was no winner for the drawing. I never saw that scenario coming, but it is what it is, so we move on.

Let’s talk romance novel covers. There seems to be four major types for your typical romance novel: the clinch, the half-naked hero, the heroine alone and the artistic non-clinch. I’ve had books with all four.

The most common is the clinch cover. When you see a book featuring a couple in a torrid embrace on the front, you know immediately it’s a romance novel. Some people are embarrassed to read a book in public that has such an explicit cover, but with the surge of digital publishing, that’s not as much of a problem anymore. Here’s a classic clinch on Too Wicked To Love, my most recent historical.



Then you have the half-naked hero. My current release and first paranormal, Prodigal Son, features this type of cover. It seems very popular in the paranormal arena.



The heroine alone is becoming more popular, especially with historical romances. I had a memorable one on Scandal of the Black Rose:



Then you get the more artistic covers. Often you will see these covers on New York Times bestselling authors’ books. Why? Because the publisher doesn’t have to tell the reader what kind of book it is. Name recognition is all that is needed for someone to pick up these books. If you look at authors like Debbie Macomber or Nora Roberts or Julia Quinn (especially any of the Bridgerton books), you will get the idea. The closest I came to the artistic cover was Just One Touch, which has a far-away view of a couple on a horse. A step away from a clinch but not quite the elegant bouquet of flowers either.



Which types of covers do you prefer? Are you hesitant to read books with a clinch in public? Those who comment get entered in today’s drawing for a free paperback title from my backlist!

Day 19 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: What Do You Procrastinate About Doing?

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Congratulations to Janie McGaugh, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Janie to arrange delivery of her choice of book. This is Janie’s second win, so she’ll be put in our Hall of Fame.

I’ve decided to add something to my giveaway. The last post of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway is January 31. On February 1, I will not only pick the name of the winner from those who commented on the January 31 blog post, but I will be doing a special drawing from everyone who ever commented on the blog, including the Hall of Famers. Three winners will be eligible to win both a book and a $15 gift card! I’m looking forward to that one. 🙂

Now I’d like to move on to today’s subject: procrastination.

I have revisions sitting on my desk for my upcoming paranormal, Heart of Stone. It’s the second in my new Atlantis trilogy. Today I have to get going on these or else they won’t get in on time. I’ve had the manuscript printed out and sitting on my desk (the better to edit it) for over a week. Several times I’ve come into my office and sat in my chair with the intention to get going, but something has come up each time to stop me. I can’t help but wonder if that is a valid excuse, or if I am procrastinating.

It’s been said that procrastination comes from that part of our brain that tries to protect us from bad things. Humans are usually motivated by either the pursuit of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. Pleasure can be anything from those candies you love to the satisfaction of a job well done. Pain can be physical, but it can also be emotional.

I know that when I dive into this book, my emotions will be engaged in the story. That’s the good thing. The author putting emotion on the page is what makes the books you love to read so compelling. The painful part comes when I’m deep into the story and I get interrupted by some outside force—a knock on the door, the phone ringing, a text message making my cell phone chime. I get ripped out of the story, and it hurts. I believe my procrastination is coming from that—the avoidance of that pain.

The only way to get around procrastination is to consider what happens if you don’t do what you are procrastinating about. Basically, a greater evil.

Let’s say you’re procrastinating about paying the bills. You know money will be tight this month, and you don’t want to deal with it because it makes you stressed to face that reality. You keep putting it off until tomorrow…then the tomorrow after that, and the one after that. You are temporarily putting off that pain you don’t want to feel.

But let’s take it a step further. What happens if you don’t pay the bills? You start getting hate mail from your creditors, your utilities get turned off, and you get evicted because you didn’t pay the rent. Isn’t that worse than the sinking feelings you get when you have to face that checkbook where the math just isn’t adding up in your favor?

If you think about that outcome, suddenly facing those bills doesn’t seem so bad.

In my case, if I put off working on my revisions, the manuscript will go in late, my editor will not be happy with me, and the publication of the book may be delayed. It’s the second of a trilogy, and the first book, Prodigal Son, came out this past October. Heart of Stone is already coming out exactly a year later than the first one, so the release date getting pushed even further out is bad news for sure. You’re a reader. You know that when you get hooked on a series, you want those books coming out as closely together as possible.

What about you? What do you procrastinate about, and how can you get past whatever is holding you back? What’s the worst case scenario? Those who comment get entered in today’s drawing for a free paperback title from my backlist!