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Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Winner and The Prodigal's Return Scavenger Hunt...

Holiday weekend coming up, lots of fun family stuff to do (not to mention rewrites for my WIP), but we have to have some fun on the blog, too...

But some houskeeping first. Scroll down for the winner of the Nocturne ARCs and bag, then come back next Tuesday for the next RWA National prize... Jeepers, with all the goodie's I'm sure to bring back from the Georgia Romance Writers Reader Luncheon coming up in September, where Sherry Kenyon will be signing, we'll be giving stuff away through the end of the year ;O) BTW, if you haven't signed up for the Reader Luncheon, you have to check it out and come!!!


I'll also be revamping the website over the weekend, picking my July Funky Purse winner (what with it being September tomorrow and all) and preparing for a new website giveaway (it's going to be great, so don't miss out--look for my September newsletter in your inbox next week).

And since I'm digging through my prize closet, lets have a scavenger hunt over the holiday for the last of my XOXO heart bags that everyone loves so much.

What are you searching for???

Okay, I've asked this before, but no one's come up with the answer...there's a bit of a problem with the cover of The Prodigal's Return--the cover's on the blog home page, for those of you who don't have your copy yet (and if you don't, why not???).

Anyway, read the first few scenes of the book, check out the cover, and leave a comment telling me what you think the problem is...the first one who gets it right wins ;O)

If you don't have a copy of the book (again, not sure why ANYYONE wouldn't, since all you have to do is click on the bookcover on my blog and order from Amazon ;O), check out my blog posts starting on June 5th for the sneak preview teasers I included...along with hunky pics of cover models from the RT convention... Now that I think about it, everyone go back and enjoy the view when you've got a few minutes...Yowza, I forgot how amazing they were myself!! Daytona was soooo much fun!

Okay, funky purse winner coming, newsletter coming, holiday scavenger hunt... check, check check... Oh! The Nocturne winner... thought I forgot didn't you ;O)

Drawing a name at random from the bag... drums roll, please... Minna, who posted on the 28th, you're our winner!!! I really wish I had more to share, but I had to practically fight for the to copies I got. Enjoy the ARCs, Minna, and let us know what you think ;O) Email me your mailing address, so I can send you your prize.

Pat, your Heart pillow and book are going out tomorrow--sorry for the delay, but my "shipping department," has been out of town again.

Okay, the scavenger hunt clock is ticking...who's going to figure out the mystery first???

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Music of the Night... Mine and Bailey and Derrick's ;O)

Maybe I'm an Angel/Buffy fan because I'm up all night like most of the characters in those shows...maybe too much cold medicine is my excuse for my ears ringing while I wrote last night...maybe I shouldn't have had All I Ask of You sung at my wedding...but late (or very early) in the morning hours last night, heavenly beings began singing the music of the night--because I finished the ugly first draft of AAF--and I didn't even stop to think how weird that was until this morning ;O)

I'm acutally about fifteen to twenty pages from the end, but that's the final scene and epilogue, which I never finish before I go back and do the rewrites I always have to do after discovering so much more about my characters and story as I draft write. So now, FINALLY (and those of you who've heard me teach about this know how much I love this part) it's finally time to dive into the revisions I've been denying myself, because if I started before now I'd never have finished the book.

And so, in celebration, I've included another sample from the book (All-American Father, for those of you who haven't been following along over the last month as I dwindle into deadline dementia). It's really my reward to myself, because otherwise I'd have to wait until April to hear what anyone besides my editor, agent and husband think of the story, and for all of my online friends, who've been putting up with more of me than I usually let slip into my blog posts.

To everyone who's hung on, I wish for you your very own musical night...it comes at the end of a long journey you weren't sure you'd complete, and brings with it the promise of the special dream you've held too close finally coming true, if you'd just let go long enough to believe it will come back.

Every book's like that for me...I might one day not be able to get to the end, but if I don't jump off the clif, I'll never know just how far I can go before I lose control... did I mention I didn't get much sleep last night?

Anyway, I promised a pic of Steve Burton from GH... Here 'tis. If this isn't enough to get some of you addicted to daytime TV again, I don't know what is...

Also, our very own Jan is a WritesUnlimited reviewer, and her take on The Prodigal's Return blew me away...take a peak...


Heard some more good news over the last few days...my two 2005 RWA National workshops are among the top 24 Most Popular Workshops, according to the company that sells tapes of our presentations...gotta add that to my Website workshop page...not to mention to my proposals for future events ;O)

And, finally, the excerpt so many of you have asked for.

I'm not going all the way back to the beginning of All-American Father this time (though if you want to read teasers of the first few scenes, check out past posts from July 19th and August 4th). Let's catch up with Bailey and Derrick once they realize resistence is futile and surrender to their love scene:

Somewhere toward the end of All-American Father

...Bailey arched into Derrick's touch, shedding more of her doubts and inhibitions with each caress she returned, each gasp of pleasure that echoed his gruff murmurs and the groans he couldn't quite hold back.

Wherever Derrick touched, she felt alive. Wherever he looked, she felt radiant. Beautiful. Amazing. And bolder, as she tried to show him, and herself, what she needed. What she'd always needed. To be free and alive. To let go and risk everything for her dream.

And right now her dream was Derrick.

Her hair curled madly across her shoulders as she pushed him to his back and straddled his hips. Her fingers gripped the corded muscles in his upper arms as his worshiped her breasts, giving her more pleasure in one simple touch than any man ever had. He was a hero. A god. Everything any woman could want. And he was completely focused on her. As overwhelmed as she was. Pulling her head down and kissing her as if he'd starve without another taste.

And then, his gaze locked with hers, he was there. Deep inside her. Filling her, overwhelming her with the beauty of it, a split second before they both went wild and there was nothing left but a sweet, rough race to give more. Take more. Share everything their bodies knew how to say better than their voices ever could. Then when the crash came, when she couldn't hold herself above him a moment longer, his arms caught safely to her to him, even as he turned, trapping her beneath him as he continued to drive her to distraction.

There was no soft landing. No gentle slide back to reality. Not with Derrick. The determined glint in his eye said the man wasn't anywhere near finished.

"Stay with me." He interlaced their fingers and drew her hands over her head. "Don't slip away. Not yet. I can't let you go yet."

His pace quickened, and she had no choice but to follow. Her body shot from the misty plateau of completion to the fiery edges of razor-sharp passion so fast, she cried out. Strained to free her hands so she could hold him. Soothe him. Stop what was happening before it was too late and there was no going back.

He let her go, but only to slide his hands beneath her, to pull her more tightly against him.

"Derrick!" In the moonlit shadows of her bedroom, his gorgeous face had hardened with desire. Need. The same desperation she was afraid to let rule her.

"Stay with me." His rough command was also a plea, and just like in everything else, she didn't know how to say no to him...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Man, I wish I was in Port Charles!!! Is there a doctor in the house...

Welcome to sneezy author on a deadline... Stand back... Things are about to get messy... Ah...Ah...Ah-choo!!!!

Poking my head out of the covers/deadline ('cause my son shared his cold with me, and I'm now writing in bed) to check in on the blog...just realized I missed our Soap Opera Friday bash, so... let's kill two birds with one stone and take a field trip to General Hospital ;O)

Ah, the scenery is lovely here, the drama is high, the story lines, though a bit repetative, are getting interesting again... Which is to say I can walk away for a week at a time, come back, plug right back into the same scene I left, and always find something interesting to watch...

But did I mention the scenery??? For your drooling pleasure, I bring you Tyler Christopher, who so has a future in primetime TV and feature films one day (soon, I'm hoping, cause he's the best actor in the bunch). For those who like their Aussies, Ingo Rademacher is lovely. Another fine actor, too. Tried a few TV series outside of daytime, but nothing has stuck yet.

For my guy visitors, did you catch Kelly Monaco on Dancing with the Stars a few seasons ago? Wow!! And she can cry on cue and everything. She has GH's Jason Morgan' s undying love (Steve Burton, who blogger is refusing to let me load a pic of...I think I've reached my limit. I'll be sure to spotlight him tomorrow)... what a lucky girl... try not to hate her because she's beautiful...

I hear she's leaving the show soon... onward to bigger and better things, I hope... GH keeps losing their best and brightest that way, but I guess it's the price you pay for having geniuses for casting and script directors.

Actually I think this is probably my pick for the daytime cast with the most depth. So many of these actors could be stars on any project, big or small screen. GH is one of the few shows I do tune in to with any regularity, because the writing and the acting is always emotionally relevant...you know me...I need my angst. And speaking of angst!!!

Maurice Benard...sigh...

The actor himself is bi-polar, and he's playing that reality out through his character on GH now. Rather convincingly, I might add. If he doesn't win another daytime Emmy for what he's accomplished in this latest storyline, there's no justice in the world.

So, there you have it...my guilty pleasure most days when I have a few minutes' break between finishing my pages and my son getting home from school...General Hospital can be as campy as the reast of the soaps, but its writers know how to turn out a great story, and the show's pacing and cliff hangers are some of the best on the air...any author can learn something from the way these lovely people mange to take a tried and true story theme and tug at your heart all over again. At least that's my rational for watching, so don't bother with the sideways glances...I like the show, so shoot me!!!

I know there are some more fans out there who'll back me up. GH was the most requested show from my informal poll week before last... Tell us why you watch and who's your favorite. And look for Steve/Jason tomorrow. We'll give him his own special day, since blogspot shunned him today!

Be sure to come back Wednesday to see who won the latest RWA goodies, and then on Friday when we pic another sudsy daytime bunch to chat about ;O) If you have't weighed in on your favorite yet, let us know who you love...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

For the greatest blog buddies in the world...

Who offer all kinds of advice and offers of extra help, if only their lives weren't so full already.

Only the best for you--here are the ARCs...Kathleen Korbel (Eileen Dreyer)'s Dangerous Temptation and Lisa Childs' Haunted .

They were given away at RWA Nationals, along with this cool tote bag. I wish I had a set for everyone, but I'll settle for picking a name at random next Wednesday from all my buddies who leave comments in a post between yesterday and then...

Feel free to duke it out amongst yourselves after that ;O)

Kathleen's is one of the launch books, along with USA Today best seller, Lindsay McKenna's Unforgiven... I tried to leave a link to Lindsay's, but it's not working...grrrrr.

I hear Linda Howard is going to have a series within the line, too... I'll be first in line for those, for sure!!!

Today's BTW, I hit THE scene in All-American Father today...the one that told me so much about the one thing I've been struggling with...I can see it so clearly, the secondary plot and character arc I need to weave through what's already written to make this book extra special...I LOVE it when that happens !!!

Can't wait to share this story with you guys ;O)

If you have some wine left from yesterday, let's have a toast...to a 2007 full of fabulous books for all!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Need a Wife...Life, I mean

Sorry for the slip into a dreaded stereotype, but, ladies and gentlemen, I need either more hours in the day, or someone to take care of the day while I work may *#%$*! off.

Nothing extreme, five more hours would be lovely. And could I have them before midnight, so I'm not too exhausted to put them to good use? Then I could get the laundry done, do the carpool and afterschool activities, cook a lovely meal that I'd actually enjoy eating and maybe even dust (though I don't like to shoot the moon when I'm dreaming). With all my free evening time, I'll be able to move on to writing the stories clammering to escape my imagination, if only I could plant my buttocks in my office chair long enough to write every once and a while. Ahhhh...venting never felt so good...

Okay, maybe my wife would look more like this...whataya think, Jack??? I hear she loves to knit and grow her own veggies and cook organically and, well, basically do the earth mother thing...while looking fabulous...I'd have to hate her if I didn't admire all that so much.

BTW, all the above is my rather harried way of saying, sorry to be so tardy getting back to the blog this week, but I know you know what I mean...did I mention my son's in an advanced math class this year, and they have extra homework and at least one project every week...Good thing I went to GA Tech and haven't forgotten everything geeky I learned there...

And so there's no confusion, my dh does more than his fair share of the work around here. He's amazing. More than any woman deserves, especially one with totally not-there people chattering away in her head while she cooks dinner ;O)

But, we're in the enviable situation of both our careers thriving at the same time, which should be a good thing. But like my mother always says, too much of a good thing...starts to look kinda scary when Anna's not sleeping enough, LOL!! So, back to the original idea that perhaps what we need is one more adult around here picking up our laundry and cooking what we like to eat and keeping track of our homework and afterschool schedules and basically making the rest of the world outside of work doable...Or maybe I'm just whining... What the hell, wine for everyone!!

So, enough about my day, LOL!!! Kick back, have a drink, and tell me what's going on with you ;O)

Oh, don't let me forget our winner from last week's comments:

Pat--who posted on Friday!!!!!

Congrats, Pat. Send me your snail mail addie so I can your pillow and SEP signed book on its way to you.

Tomorrow (promise ;o), come back and see the newest RWA National goodies I simply have to get out of my house...'cause then I don't have to move them when I dust!!! Leave a comment between now and next Wednesday, so you'll be in the running to win.

Just curious... Know anyone who'd be interested in some ARCs of the new Harlequin Nocture line?????

Off to ask Jules what's for dinner...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Runaway Daughter WON!!!!

My Feb. '06 baby, The Runaway Daughter, has its very first award--cataromance.com's Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Superromance ;O)

It's always thrilling to hear from readers how much they're enjoying theDaughter series. Having a reviewer nominate it for an award is extra-special, and watching it win is a big, fat cherry on top!!!!

The first round of edits are done on the thrid book, The Perfect Daughter...You guys are going to L-O-V-E it, even if you have to wait until Feb. for a peak (he-he ;O)

Pout :o( Can't hang too much this morning. Gotta jet...

Lot's of writerly things to do today...one Saturday a month, it's an all-writing day (Georgia Romance Writers chapter meeting, book singing--The Prodigal's Return, GRW Board meeting), plus tonight we're taking out friends to celebrate their engagement.

But remember, I'll be collecting names through the weekend for the lovely pillow and signed SEP book from RWA. Leave a comment if you already haven't this week, so you'll be in ther running. Then look for the winner, plus another super fun prize, Monday.

Great ideas, everyone, for our Soap Friday experiment...come back next Friday to see which hunks of burning daytime love I'll spotlight then (and, yes, Jack, the heroine of the day, too ;o)

Thanks again for all your support!!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Like Sands Through the Hour Glass...

Okay, this week, my life's been more like a sand storm, but in a good way, LOL ;O) Like the cataromance.com "pink carpet" awards ceremony that kicks off some time this morning.


I won't bore you with the other details of the week (like my line edits coming for The Perfect Daughter--so we're one step closer to the last of the Daughter series being on shelves!!!), but I've been ignoring everyone as the soap opera that has become my world unfoldes, which got me thinking...

Why not have a weekly tribute to our daytime favorites?

Okay, I don't actually watch Days of Our Lives.

When I can spare a few minutes for a guilty pleasure, I'm more a General Hospital/One Life to Live kind of girl...but, well, the DOOL logo worked better with today's teaser ;O)

And while OLTL has the hunkiest guys on daytime, IMHO, Days of our Lives Kyle Brandt isn't too tough to look at. You've read my books. I like my heros edgier, but he looks a little dark and stormy, so onto the blog he goes.

Peter Reckell gets a nod, too, although the soap's website pic of him makes him look so tiny when you crop it down.

Eat something, Peter!!! We like some meat on our guy's bones...no, not that bone, although...oh, you know what I mean!!

And so our very own Jack won't think I've forgotten him, each Friday (let's call it Soap Friday), we'll have a Heroine of the Week...how's Martha Byrne working for you, Jack?

So, let's have some fun. Give me your soap opera faves (shows and actors/characters), and each Friday, well take a turn into melodrama and enjoy a little daytime eye candy while we're at it.

I'll check back in when I find out who won the cata reviewers choice award for best Superromance for the first part of 2006, so keep checking back.

How's that for a cliffhanger :O)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Second Day Back to School--As the Mom's Life Turns...

Okay, I said I'd be back yesterday afternoon... Word to the wise. Don't believe everything you hear ;o)

Then again, I said I'd have new prizes, and last week's winner... And, well, you can take that one to the bank ;O)

eHarlequin.com gave this pillow away at their Thursday night pajama party--I snagged one for the blog. Beside it is a signed copy of one of my faviroites, Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Ain't She Sweet? I'm dying to send these goodies to one of our commenters this week!!! I'll draw next Monday, so let us hear from you so you can be in the running!!!

As for last week's Spice...the great bag and copy of The Blonde Geisha go to.... sharon, who left a comment on the 6th. Email me your snail mail addie, and I'll send your prizes on their way. Remember, if Spice isn't your thing, I'd be happy to exchange the set for something else in my RWA treasure chest ;O)

Oh, and as a back to school, Mom-getting-her-life-back-bonus, check out what came in this morning's email...

The Perfect Daughter is a nominee in Cataromance.com's Reviewers' Choice Awards (for the first half of the year). It's the book's first award nod, so I'm thrilled, and just look at the great group of ladies I've finalled with.


And the invitation to the "event" their planning on Friday to announce the winners:


Looks like they're going to have great prizes Friday, and special ones all week for those who come out and post a comment leading up to the event. So, check it out. Friday, I'll be doing a "roving reporter" interview of some kind...not sure of the detials yet, but I'll let you know... Can't wait!!!

Okay, as the mom's life turns... Honestly, I need to get to the gym (to work on some of that stuff I've avoided all summer), and then back to writing All-American Father. Maybe we need one more excerpt this week????? Moms, it was great hearing your BTS stories yesterday. Everyone keep us posted on all your news!!!

Today's BTW, here are the titles and dates for the entire series--It's official, we're coming out next spring.

The Singles...with Kids kicks off in February (when my The Perfect Daugther debuts):

Is it really possible to find true love when you’re single…with kids?

Feb., Love and the Single Mom, C.J. Carmichael
March, The Sister Switch, Pamela Ford
April, All-American Father, That's my baby!!!!!
May, The Best-Kept Secret, Melinda Curtis
June, Blame it on the Dog, Amy Frazier

Monday, August 14, 2006

First Day of School, Last Weekend of Summer

What a crazy few days!!! Sorry to have been away so long, but my son seems to think that the last week of summer is all about having as many friends over as possible (complete with sleepovers and pool runs) to help him mourn the loss of his free time ;O)

He left on the big yellow taxi a few minutes ago, so I get a bit of MY free time back (pout, cause I'm really going to miss him, truth be told), except that I have a doctors appointment this morning.

Sooooo...stay tuned. I have last week's winner of the Spice gift set from RWA Nationals, and this weeks goodies for you to drool over. I'll be back online by the end of the day, and we'll start the party all over again!!!

See you then ;O)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BTW--The Prodigal Just Won't Quit!!!

Have been trying to post all day!!! 'Cause look at the cool photo a friend sent, of me and two-time RITA nominee, Blaze author Joanne Rock.

If you're thinking she looks like a model--bingo!!! Among other things, including being wicked smart and a professor, she was also a model in a former life. And quite possibly one of the nicest ladies I know.

So, here we are dancing at the Harlequin "Puttin' on the Ritz" party, Friday night of the RWA conference.

And here I am earlier int he week, with the Wet Noodle Posse again, at the wonderful place we went to to commit death by chocolate. Dailey's in Atlanta has some of the best deserts around. What better place to take the most tallented group of writers I've ever been a part of???

The reviews are still pouring in for The Prodigal...check out this blog, from one of the best reviewers around. Someone else nabbed my book for the site she works for, but she couldn't help but take a peak herself. Thanks Barb!!!


Wanted to also point everyone to a Super Heroine article I've done for the Wet Noodle posse site. They asked me to cover this wonderful woman, and learning more about her was an amazing experience:


Seems like back-to-school shopping was a great blog diversion for everyone...I'm really thinking we need to plan a shopping day around my next reader event ;O) Anyone coming to the GRW Reader Luncheon this fall?? Sherry Kenyon will be here, ready to schmooze, and there's lots of great shopping in the area!!!

What does everyone think about their college alumni rag? I've been interviewed for mine (Tech Topics--yes, I went to Ga. Tech--feel free to giggle at the odd choice of careers I've backed into). It was a cool exeprience, and the reporter was very enthusiastic, but I'm still a little stunned that they'd think what I'm doing is feature-worthy. It's not exactly rocket science, which they teach there, BTW.

Tell us about your last reunion, or your last homecoming whatever, high school or college. Reliving my recent past was a hoot!! So many great memories I hadn't fallen back into in years. Would you go back? Do it all again?

College totally changed my life, in a lot of amazing ways. But Tech was hard. I'd like to think I'd do it even better if I went back, but I'm in no hurry. I'm digging the whole, been there, kicked it's ass, spank me I'm done thing too much to want to do it all again just yet.

BTW, I wrote the first chapter of my paranormal idea tonight...what a cool story...wonder if anyone else will ever get the chance to think so...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Back to School Shopping, a BN winner, and some Spice!!!

It's great to hear you are LOVING AAF as much as I am...Derrick and Bailey are really bonding in the pages I'm writing now (in a disfunctional sort of way, of course, or what would be the point of reading the rest of the book ;O)

Don't know if you noticed, but this continuity series (Single...With Kids) is going to have a lighter tone than a lot of my stories. It's been a blast, digging for more of the funny (or at least the smart-ass) in my WIP than I usually do. Can't wait to get the draft done, so I can go back and mine for even more quirky moments amidst my trademark emotion! I might just have to come up with one more scene to share...then look for the series to begin in February--All American Father debuts in April.

Where was I yesterday, you ask? Well, I was writing in the car, as we hauled the family to an outlet mall for our annual back-to-school shopping extravaganze. My son needed everything from the feet up, and we found some great bargains. Plus it's tax-free shopping time in GA--anything that counts as back to school is tax-free through this weekend.

So, to do my part to recharge the economy, I suffered through a little shopping of my own, LOL!!! I thought you'd like to see what I'm wearing back to school this year ;O)

Remember me raving about Isabelle Fiore purses ('cause everyone wants to know what kind of bag I like to carry)? Well, this one was marked way, way down at the Saks outlet--sooo marked down I couldn't let it go. Made the manager pull it down off a shelf where it had been waiting out of prying eyes just for me to wander up and find it. If you see me this fall, I'll be wearing it until it falls apart (which it won't, becuse this designer's creations last forever).

And not to be out-shined, the outlet's shoe department was having a lovely sale as well, or so the man on the loud speaker kept saying. What kind of shopper would I be if I didn't follow his lead and go check out the goods?

Did I mention we'd wandered into Saks to find my husband some deeply discounted shirts from his favorite brand??? Oh, the trials of being a bargain-shopping guru (picture me with the back of my hand resting over my perspiring brow, a long-suffering expression taking over as my eyes close in exhaustion). Yeah, right! In reality, my enthusiasm for finding the right thing at the right price is so contagious, my dh even looks forward to the fun each year!

Any way, for conferences and appearances I attend to promote my books, I've found the best dress shoes to be Stewart Weitzmans. They're beautiful, and beautifully constructed so that you can stand in them for hours and still feel like you're wearing your sneakers. It doesn't hurt that heels work better for me than flats, because I have uber-high arches. Usually, SW's are too expensive for my budget...unless I find a kick-ass sale...and, boy, did I find one yesterday!!

Just look at this pair I tossed into my "school" cart as soon as I'd tried them on!!!! I actually wore them to dinner last night--had to break them in before the next reader event, right??? Aren't they amazing cool!!! They looked just right with my low-rise jeans and, of course, the IF bag. Mixing and matching patterns might not be for the faint of heart, but I'm really getting into the latest trend to do just that (or maybe the trends have finally caught up with my wacky sense of style ;O)

Yeah, yeah, I had a good time. But what about the winner of Brenda Novak's RWA conference goodies? I could hear your toes tapping the whole time I was shopping for these and other necessities...The magic hand pulls a name from the bag full of blog commenters, and the winner is...Carol!!!!

Email me your snail mail address, sweetie, so my shipping department (that is, my wonderful husband with a mail room at his office) can get it out to you next week.

And as promised, I have another RWA conference gift set I scored for my online faithful. Harlequin's launching a new erotica line in trade paperback. Here's one of the first books in the imprint, along with a tote bag they were giving away at the signing (also at the Romantic Times conference I attended in May). I'll draw a name from new comments left between now and the end of the week (note: if erotica's not your thing, no worries...the winner can choose something else from the books and things I brought back, if this prize doesn't mesh with her reading preferences).

The next prize to look forward to after this one??? How about a signed copy of one of my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillps books, Ain't She Sweet? I also have early releases of some of the new paranormal Eclipse novels Harlequin's launching in Feb., as well as a tote bag they gave away at that signing...but you're going to have to wait for that one for a while ;O) How's that for teasing, my lovies, LOL!!!!

To all who keep flooding my blog and email with lovely feedback about The Prodigal's Return, thank you more than I can say. Dana and other's who've told me, letting me know the story was real enough to make you cry (and laugh) on your way to the uplifting ending, you've made my week!!!

Okay, everyone with kids (or who've done the parent thing in the past), tell us some of your back-to-school shopping stories. And even if you don't have kids, take my word for it, we all need to occasionally partake in the spree that shopping can be. My son had the best time running around Saks helping me find things to try on, after we'd spent hours in the Gap and Adidas stores shopping for him. It was a lovely family moment (maybe one only my kooky family could enjoy, but let's just say my men love me, so they've learned how to love the bargain shopping that comes with me ;O)

Friday, August 04, 2006

You're going to LOVE my All American Father!!!

Out in April, the thrid book in Super's new Single...With Kids continuity, All American Father is turning out to be my new favorite of my books (I know, BIG suprise;O).

But, really, Derrick and Bailey are so much fun to watch together, and I still get to sink my teeth into some meatier topics as Bailey fights to save her family business for her grandmother, and Derrick tries to handle unexpected single fatherhood, as well as a rebellious-because-she-can-be pre-teen. Did I mention Derrick is an ex-college football star??? Very drool worthy!!!

So, here's the next scene (scroll down for my first excerpt on July 19th). Hope you see what I see--two great characters with tons of conflict to keep us entertained for well over 300 pages ;O)


Chapter Two

Shrugging off the admiring glances of women was nothing new. Derrick was a large man who still enjoyed the even larger public persona that had come with being a college football all-star with washed-up pro prospects. Even after the near-crippling back injury that ended his NFL dreams, he was still noticed too often for comfort.

While married to Amanda, reciprocating random female attention had never tempted him. Since his divorce from the perfect wife who'd punked him for his fully-functioning, pro-quarterback friend, Rodney Canton, life had simply become too raw for him to give a damn.

Until today.

The pixie-like woman sitting behind the shabby desk had devoured him with her eyes before he'd even made it through the door. Then she'd whispered his name in a husky timber the went straight to his head. Out-of-control hair, a heart-shaped face completely devoid of make up, she'd looked both familiar and different at the same time. Though different from what was anyone's guess, since he couldn't remember where they'd met.

He'd bet his next bonus she wouldn't make five-two stick with heels on. His tastes had always veered toward leggy blondes with killer legs and mischief in their eyes. The woman now looking everywhere but at him had the air of someone too harried to give mischief a second glance.

"Dad!" Leslie's mortified, you-are-such-a-loser face was firmly in place as she glanced back and forth between him and the stranger he was gaping at.

Embarrassed, sinking into the agony of watching his oldest child spiral into a dark place he couldn't protect her from, he held nothing back from his glower.

"Get your butt in the car." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "The shop owner's pressing charges, but the cop said you're sprung until your hearing. Do yourself a favor and work up the necessary enthusiasm to say your sorry on the way out the door."

Before a year ago, he'd never said anything harsher than boo to his children. They'd been daddy's girls from birth. So eager to please, just like Amanda. He'd eaten up every smile and I love you, Daddy, not for a second realizing how elusive that kind of adoration could be--in both daughters and wives.

"I already said I'm sorry," Leslie mumbled. "An hour ago, when that cop called you."

Her scowl trembled, but she tightened up that traitorous lower lip that turned Derrick's heart to mush every time she fought not to cry. Staring at the scuffed boots she'd shown up in a week ago with no explanation where they'd come from, she slipped out of the office like a shadow of the good kid he knew still lurked inside.

"She's crying out for attention," the woman behind him said.

"Excuse me?" Her blatant admiration was gone, judgement and disapproval taking their turn.
She stepped around the desk. "The longer you took to get here, the more belligerent she's gotten."

"Traffic over the bridge was a bitch, not that it's any of your business."

Bailey, or so her name badge read, twirled a curl of soft brown hair between nervous fingers. She started to speak, stopped, then shrugged as if to say, what the hell.

"Your daughter's getting in over head for girl her age." She met his gaze dead-on, which took guts considering he was ready to explode and his expression no doubt showed it. "Stealing is bad
enough, but--"

"I'm a lawyer. I don't need a by-the-hour, convenience store clerk to tell me that shop-lifting is a serious offense. I just got an earful from your boss."

"Did he bother to mention what she took?" her eyes narrowed.

"No, not that it matters. Stealing is stealing."

"Not if you're a twelve-year-old girl." She reached back to the desk for her purse and a familiar-shaped box. "You don't remember me, Derrick, but you seemed like a pretty good guy in high school. When you find the time in your busy schedule, you or your wife might want to have a talk with your daughter about birth control."

He stared down at the twelve-pack of condoms. His mouth opened to fire a dozen questions at the departing Bailey, but he couldn't find the words.

His baby girl was apparently flirting with the idea of being sexually active, and the sassy clerk at the Shop Right, the crotchety owner and Detective Oaks had known before he had.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More about Nationals...Our first promo prize...and a teaser...

Nationals soundbite... "JD couldn't make it tonight, so I'm happy to accept this award in her honor..." --Nora Roberts

Nora was our MC for the RITA ceremony, and her acceptance speech when her alter-ego won the Romantic Suspense category was priceless. She's such a fun lady!!

There were so many amazing moments. I'll try to share a bit each day. And I'll be posting RWA Nationals giveaway prizes several times a week, too.

Here's the early copy of Brenda Novak's(http://brendanovak.com/index2.php) new mainstream thriller and the cool skeletons and $1 off coupon she gave away in the "goodie" room.

I'll draw a name over the weekend from this week's comments, then post another "wish you'd been there" prize package--how about a "Spice" tote bag and one of the 2006 titles from Harlequin's trade paperback erotica imprint???

Oh, and did I mention the teaser??? Check back tomorrow for a new excerpt from All American Father. I'm hard at work on the first draft, and need some company while I paint these characters to perfection ;O)

Thanks to everyone who's let me know how much The Prodigal's Return touched them. I'm getting more emails for this book than any of the others, and I'm so grateful. It's my favorite so far, too, but you never know how something that's perfect in your imagination whill translate onto the page. I'm so glad Jenn and Neal and Nathan's story is touching your hearts.

Got another couple of great reviews over my RWA break--from AllAboutRomance.com and ArmchairInterviews.com. Check them and my local paper interviews out on my homepage.

Happy commenting everyone!!!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

There's No Place Like Home--especially when you've brought back fun prizes to share!!!

My week off was AMAZING!!!!

RWA National's is always a great conference, and having it in my home town of Atlanta made this year even more special. I did lots of business (from my editor, I found out The Runaway Daughter was the top Superromance on the shelves in back in February ;O) and met up with tons of writing friends.

Three of my Wet Noodle Posse buds WON RITAS for their amazing books!!! Here's a pic of us celebrating after the ceremony.

More Noodler friends out to dinner one night.

And me and one of my best Noodler buds, RITA winner Dianna Love Snell, chatting between conference workshops.

The local papers did all kinds of articles on the conference (we had over 2500 authors and aspiring authors in town for the event), and I was spotlighted in both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution and the Gwinett Daily Post. I'll get the links up on my home page later today.

And there were so many great giveaways, you know I had you all in mind!!! Just like when I got back from RT, I'll be sharing the wealth from my RWA bounty ;O)

Once or twice a week, I'll be giving away the free books and promo items (and there were some great goodies), so keep checking back. I have to get pictures of everything, but I'll for sure have something out here to win tomorrow--all you'll have to do, as usual, is leave a comment, and you'll be in the running.

Tomorrow, let's start with fellow Superromance author Brenda Novak's August MIRA release (her first mainstream thriller) Dead Giveaway, and one of the very cool promo goodies she shared with conference attendees--scary little skeletons ;O). You won't want to miss out, so leave a comment for your chance to win.

All my launch party winners (and my last website prize winners)--your gifts went out priority mail yesterday, so let me know when you receive them. Sorry for the delay. FYI--I'll be mailing out the Borders gift certificates to their new owners today!!! Whew...think that catches me up with everything, so onward to more goodies to share ;O)

Thanks for the good wishes during my break. It's hands-down writing for me now through the end of the month and into September, so I'll be hanging out here every day looking for company and sharing fun stuff I find online while I avoid the work scattered all over my desk--not to mention the free books and other cool RWA goodies that have to go before my guest bedroom overflows into the hall.

Keep me company, and you might walk away with some cool stuff!! How's that for a bribe from a desperate author ;O)