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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 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 26 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: Are You a Coffee Drinker Or A Tea Drinker?

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

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

Today’s debate: coffee or tea?

I am a tea person. I honestly dislike the taste of coffee, though I love the smell. I started drinking tea for a couple of reasons: 1.) To have something to drink when the coffee drinkers were drinking coffee after a dinner and 2.) I’m Irish.

What does being Irish have to do with it? I never realized this until I wrote a workshop about building characters and the traditions passed down through the generations, but one of the reasons I drink tea with milk and sweetener is because that’s how my dad drank it. And where did he pick up that habit? From his parents, who were from—you guessed it—Ireland.

I drink black teas. No herbal for me, though I will occasionally drink chamomile if I have an upset stomach (learned that one from a pediatrician years ago). I will also drink the chamomile straight up, no milk or sugar. The poor chamomile gets lost with that stuff in it. But black teas? They’re fairly strong, sometimes bitter and need the help from milk and sweetener. Note I said milk, not cream. Anyone ever try drinking creamer in tea? It completely masks the taste of the tea, and you find yourself drinking hot creamer. Bleh.

Here in America, we are a coffee society. I will order tea at a restaurant, and I will ask for milk. They bring me creamer. I ask again for milk (as I remove the lemon and honey from my saucer). They look at me funny, but they eventually come back with a small glass of milk. It’s exhausting. However, if you drink coffee, they bring all the fixings, exactly as you would wish.

Now a few years ago, my husband and I went to Ireland. When I went to a restaurant, I ordered tea. That’s it, just tea. Not only did they bring me a big, silver pot of brewed tea (just as they would serve coffee in America), they brought milk and sweetener without me having to ask. My people!

One other fun thing about Ireland: my husband ordered coffee one day and asked for cream. The wait staff looked perplexed, but they eventually brought him some. Apparently one drinks coffee with milk as well.

Now, I’m not dissing coffee. I’m just saying I’m a tea drinker living in a coffee drinking country. My husband occasionally drinks coffee, as does my older son. My younger son has drifted into Tea Land with me. His favorite? Irish Breakfast. <G>

My husband and I went to Hawaii a couple of years ago. We stayed on The Big Island (as West coasters refer to the island of Hawaii), specifically Kona. Of course we found ourselves at a Kona coffee plantation, where my husband tried a blend of coffee referred to as Peaberry. Our tour guide recommended we try the Peaberry without anything in it. Then, if we still wanted to add something after the first taste, we should do so.

My husband tried the Peaberry black, and he was amazed at the flavor. Normally coffee beans grow two to a cherry, flat against each other two halves inside a peanut. But once in a while, the cherry only produces one mutant bean, and this apparently produces a sweeter and less bitter coffee. Because processing the Peaberry is so labor intensive (picking out the mutant beans by hand), it is very expensive, even there in Hawaii. A pound of it cost around $35! We brought some home to my son (just a little package, around $8), and he loved it, too.

So, my name is Deb and I am a tea drinker. My current favorite is English Breakfast and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee blend, which a friend brought back for me from England.

What about you? Are you a coffee person or a tea person? What’s your favorite? 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 22 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: The Candy of Your Childhood

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

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

The other day at work, they brought around a cart of treats for the employees. (It’s a busy time of year right now, and they do this for morale.) Everyone got to pick what they wanted from the cart, and I took a Charleston Chew.



Out here on the west coast, a lot of people at the office had never heard of a Charleston Chew. But when I was a kid on the east coast, my dad would sometimes bring those home for us. He was a steamfitter in New York City and would pick up candy at the train station on his way home from work. Charleston Chew was one of his favorites. A Charleston Chew is a long, nougat candy bar (vanilla, chocolate or strawberry) covered in chocolate. My dad taught us to put them in the freezer. Then when it’s frozen, you whack it on the kitchen counter to break it up into smaller pieces and eat it that way.

I brought a Charleston Chew home from work last week and did just that. 🙂

He also sometimes came home with Swedish fish or my favorite, gummi raspberries and blackberries. You can still find both in bulk candy shops all over the country, and Haribo puts out the gummi raspberries, available in stores. They’re still a favorite.

What about you? What candies did you love in your childhood? Do they still make that candy, or is it hard to find? Those who comment today will be put in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!

Day 21 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway: Let’s talk Sherlock!

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

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

Are you familiar with the British TV show Sherlock? This version of the iconic detective’s adventures has taken Sherlock Holmes and updated him to a young, 21st century sociopath who thrives on being famous and brilliant. Sherlock is played by the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch (Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness), with his partner John Watson played by the wonderful Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug). It should also be noted that Cumberbatch voices Smaug the dragon in the Hobbit movies. In addition, he narrates audio books, including a Sherlock Holmes novel!

I could write a book on how compelling this TV show is. Each season consists of three 90-minute episodes, each one based on a famous Sherlock Holmes case. Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix and DVD. Season 3 started on Sunday night in the U.S. after a 2-year hiatus. Why two years? Because Cumberbatch and Freeman were out of the country filming the above mentioned movies during that time.

The writing is amazing, and the dialogue truly impressive. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is infuriating and brilliant and sexy all at the same time. (Though that might just be me. I can’t resist intelligent men, especially when they come with cheekbones that could cut glass!) And Freeman’s John Watson is more than a sidekick. He’s a solid character in his own right, an army doctor who recently came home from war in the Middle East, wounded and weary after seeing too much. Somehow these two black sheep forge a deep, meaningful partnership solving cases.

So far my favorite episode was A Scandal in Belgravia, which featured Irene Adler, played by Lara Pulver. This was the first time we ever saw Sherlock distracted by a woman, and Irene definitely challenged him, both intellectually and physically. I totally bought her as the one woman in the world who could capture and hold the elusive Sherlock’s interest.

Season two ended on a cliffhanger that had the fans speculating different scenarios on what had really happened. As a result, people were glued to their TV sets here in the U.S. for the big reveal in the first episode of season 3, The Empty Hearse. I have to say, my favorite scene in that episode was when Mycroft and Sherlock were exchanging quips while playing a board game. It sounds so simple, but the writer nerd in me stood up and sang “Amen!” at the deft brilliance of that scene, both in the writing and the acting. It should be noted that the actor who plays Mycroft Holmes, Mark Gatiss, is one of the co-creators of the show.

Have you seen Sherlock? Are you caught up? What did you think of Sunday night’s episode? (If you haven’t seen it, I hear the PBS website allows you to stream it.) Those who comment today will be put in a drawing to win a paperback title from my backlist!