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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holiday Cheer, a Kicking Prize, and a Brand New Excerpt!!!

DISCLAIMER...BLOG PARTY FRIENDS, PLEASE READ--It's Friday, even though the date above says it's still Thursday, so, leave your comments for the first day of the blog party here...sorry, the date refused to behave itself this morning... moving on, to...

Welcome to our pre-Holiday blog party, everyone!!!

We'll be hanging and chatting things up from now through Monday, special prizes and give aways coming every day when you least expect them.

Oh, and excerpts, because I'm working on a new book--Legally Yours, part of what I hope will become my new Superromance series, Atlanta's Heroes. Yes, The Perfect Daughter is out in February (and you can already pre-order it and All-American Fahter--out in April), but you'll be sick to death of hearing about those books soon enough. Promise. Today, scroll down and tell me what you think of Kate Rhodes and Stephen Creighton, 'cause they're my latest obsession ;o)

Kate is the sister of a character you met briefly in The Runaway Daughter (Martin Rhodes), and Stephen is Neal Cain's litigator from The Prodigal's Return. Martin and the love of his life get some pretty hot page time in The Perfect Daughter, and their love story will also be a secondary plot in Legally Yours. I'm pulling lots of lose ends together and weaving a great start to an exciting new string of books...be sure to let me know what you think of the sparks already flying between Kate and Stephen.

Today's second topic--reality TV. I used to thumb my nose at it, then I fell in love with Bravo and Project Runway. Then Blow Out. Then Mario Lopez hooked up with Dancing with the Stars. Crow started tasting pretty good right about then.

Mario's like a perfect red wine. Anything tastes good with something that goes down that smooth!! He even got a girl like me who rarely watches network TV to stop and drool two nights a week. Should have won, in my honest opinion. The boy has a rockin' bod, and he can dance. Sigh.

What's your reality tv drug of choice? What can't you stop fixating on, long after you've had your last hit ;o) Tell all.

And oh, yeah, if you leave a comment today, you'll be in the running for a prize
. Can't promise two prizes every day, but today, I'm offering a "printed" ARC of The Perfect Daughter (an unedited galley proof) and the stylish Liz Claiborne sachel I showed off Wednesday. I'd give you a picture of the purse, but Blogspot says nothing doin' at the moment. Check out the previous post for a look--you won't be sorry.

So, here's the excerpt. Chat about it amongst yourself, dish about Mario or Project Runway or whatever, and basically have a fun first day of December. I'll pick two lucky winners from today's comments and announce the names in the morning, along with a new day's fun.



Legally Yours--Chapter One

"What do you think you're doing?" Pediatric nurse Kate Rhodes asked the well-dressed man standing beside six-year-old Dillon Digarro's hospital bed.

His hand stalled in the process of handing the little boy a miniature sports car. Deep blue eyes rose from smiling down at the child, their corners squinting subtly as they locked onto Kate's challenging glare. A disarming grin quickly followed, one she had no trouble resisting.

Not falling for her little brother's southern charm had been her mission as a child. It was either that, or constantly be in trouble for all the mischief he could so easily talk her into, and himself out of once there was hell to pay with their parents.

Now, sophisticated, stuffed shirts brandishing easy smiles didn't rate a raised eyebrow.

"Visitation for minors is limited to immediate family only," she said as the tall, dark-haired stranger finished handing over the car.

"But he knows Papa." Dillon flashed a megawatt smile that lit up the room--even through the bruises mottling his right cheek and eye--the same way it had the first time she'd met him at the homeless shelter where she volunteered. "Look what I got!"

The arm holding up the plastic Corvette was protected from the elbow down by an electric green cast. Plaster covered the tiny leg elevated in a splint swing, too. Injuries supposedly resulting from his latest accidental fall, down the shelter's basement stairs. Accidents Papa Digarro had no better explanation for than that his only child was more clumsy than other kids his age.

"That car rocks, tough guy." Kate walked to the bed, her smile for Dillon alone.

"It's the one Papa said was too expensive when we saw it in the store last weekend."

The same weekend the little heartbreaker had been emitted to Emergency--for the third time that month, Kate had discovered after reading his chart.

"Mr. Digarro asked me to bring it by." The stranger's soulful frown didn't jive with his too-observant gaze. "Seems the nurses at the admissions desk are refusing to let him see his son."

If the hint of judgement in his voice weren't enough, the confusion suddenly clouding Dillon's smile was all the motivation Kate needed.

"I need to see you outside, Mr... Mr.?"

The man merely smiled, clearly waiting for her to swoon.

Screw Manners.

She grabbed his arm. Insisted that he follow her by half-dragging him into the hallway.

"Play with your car for a minute, Dillon," she said over her shoulder.

She kicked at the magnetic device that secured the bottom of the door against the wall. The door wooshed shut. She released the man's arm, stopping short of wiping her hand on her cartoon-covered scrubs.

Just barley.

"You're so out of here." She headed for the nurses' station to page security, picking up her pace
when she heard his footsteps behind her. "I don't know who you are, but--"

He grabbed her arm and edged around her, putting his body between her and the nearest phone.

"I'm Stephen Creighton," he announced. "And I represent the innocent man you're so determined to keep away from that child in there."

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

We're gonna have have party...

Friday'll be here before you know it, and we're partying all weekend long. So don't miss out. Come ring in the holidays with us!!!

A great prize every day, Friday through Monday. Great conversation--gotta make sure the fab. topics are ready. Let me know if there's something you don't want me to miss.

Oh! And I have an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of The Perfect Daughter ready to send to one lucky winner, plus a complete set of the "Daughter" series (The Unknown Daughter, The Runaway Daughter, and The Perfect Daughter), that'll I'll send out to one winner, as soon as I get my copies of The Perfect Daughter ;o)

Until then, rest up and be ready for some fun!!!

Here's a sneak peak at the prizes. Enjoy!

A Liz Claiborne satchel, to start us off...wanted to keep this one for myself.

I'm doing a black theme this time around, it seems. A great Nine West hobo bag will look great under someone's Christmas tree.

Guess is always one of my favorites. This tweed bag is no exception.

This Nine West bag comes complete with a matchng wallet and phone case, and the charm keychain you see in the picture. You can almost make out the jewels encrusted in the handle, too.

Sigh...it's a nice winter-white break from black, don't you think ;o)

And I'll be giving away a few Borders gift cards again, to make things fair and square for our manly visitors ;o)

See everyone Friday!!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Keeping the faith...

You know what taking a leap of faith is like, right? The ground doesn't quite meet your feet with every step you take, and sometimes there's only balance between you and falling flat on your face.

The feeling is kind of cool, but it kind of scares the poop out of you, too. Something big is coming, just over the horizon. You reach out your hand hoping, dreaming...but part of you knows it's not real yet. It might never be.

That's what being close to publishing my first book was like. Something I wanted more than just about anything, something I was starting to believe I was good at, something just close enough to make me want it even more...and something that might never have happened, if not for a lot of hard work, a lot of support, fans and friends like you, and lots and lots of luck.

A day doesn't go by in my life, that I don't stop and look around and wonder at how I got to be so lucky. I get to walk on air every day now. Reach out for the clouds and touch them, just to be sure they're still there. And they always are. I'm a writer. A real honest-to-God artist who gets to send thoughts and ideas out into the world, then is blessed to have them come back every now and again, when you take the time to tell me what they've meant to you.

Readers who've let me know that I've touched their lives are the fuel propelling this wild ride I'm on. The tangible reminder of everything I'm truly thankful for. I count my friends and family as the treasures of my life. And all of you who keep up with me out here are, each and every one of you, my jewels.

Treasure your dreams. Reach for them every day. Keep the faith and be thankful when your feet lift off the ground. That's the good stuff, even when it's scary. It's better than giving up any day.

I'm so glad I kept trying. So thankful you're in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Website winner!!!

Good to hear from everyone ;o)

Here's one of the goodies I promised--our latest website winner!! Look for the announcement on the site and in Monday's newsletter (giving myself a deadline, so there's not holding onto the draft I've started forever and ever). But my blog buddies get first dibs on the news.

And the winner of the lovely XOXO bag is....

Mindy, who posted on October 24th!!!!

Mindy, email me with your snail mailing address, and we'll get your party for one started ;o)

Everyone else, if you want to receive the newsletter and updates on lots of upcoming fun, and you haven't ever emailed me, make sure you do. I've had to take my guestbook offline, to try and reduce some of the hideous spam. Some of it will never go away, it seems, but it helps not to have a guestbook form for the spambots to latch onto. Just email me, and a let me know you'd like to receive a newsletter, and I'll make sure you're on the mailing list.

Thanks for the feedback on the Christmas party...we're a go...look for a date soon.

And it's great to hear so many of you say you love my The Perfect Daughter cover. Its exactly what I asked for, and a perfect compliment to the The Runaway Daughter cover. Can't wait to see it, with it's red back cover, on Valentines shelves!! And I can't wait to hear what all of you think of it. More updates on release plans in the newsletter, too ;o)

So, I'm off to take pictures of my next website prize, as well as the ones we'll be drooling over during the holiday party. Have a great weekend, everyone!!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Working it out!!!

In case you were wondering, down time is harder for Type A personalities than being fried from overwork. When you're supposed to be recovering, but what you're use to is fighting through the deadlines, it can be hard to get your barings. And in case you were wondering, a lot of writers, introverted that we are, are Type As.

At least yours truley is.

So, what do I do when I'm working hard at R&R so I can get back to the fight and be more fresh than fried? I find somewhere else to fight besides my computer, of course. Hence, the gaps in posting, but the most excellent progress in my tennis game ;O) And in case some of you still dont' want to believe this Type A introvert is also a jock, here's a picture from my sabbatical, from one of my best matches last seasion--my partner and I rocked!!!

And you know what...having tennis balls to bang away at, rather than empty white pages on my computer, does the trick every time. Gives me something to focus on while I clear my head and recharge. Excercise, whatever kind you can do, is so key to mental wellbeing, IMO, I strongly suggest you go get you some as soon and as often as you can. Inside, outside, in a pool or a gym, cardio or weight training or competative sports. Doesn't matter. Get your body moving and working and balanced, and your mind will follow. Mine did ;O)

So, for an update, not only am I back on the blog, my website updates are done (all but the contest, which I'm working on tonight), so check out the new Homepage, Reviews and Coming Soon goodies. I'm drafting a newsletter, as well as trying to figure out what to do with the spammers flooding my guestbook to the point that I had to take it down. And I'm working on my Jan 31st deadline while beginning to promote my Feb. and April books (excerpts up on the site), and, interestingly enough, I'm enjoying myself while I do it!!!

And enjoying yourself is the key. If you're not while you're doing what you're supposed to love, it's time to go bash away at fuzzy little yellow balls, or whatever works for you, to refocus and to get your head back on what's important...loving your life for what it is, and what you can make it into if you keep fighting. And you guys are a big part of what I love, so thanks for hanging out while I got my tennis game on ;o)

Look for the new website contest winner and prize either today or tomorrow, and a newsletter, and Jack and Zara (Bambella, who I just realized never received her Tommy bag from the last website contest, and for that I'm horribly ashamed and sorry, and have only my nutty fall schedule as an excuse) your prizes are on their way this Friday, when my shipping department gets back in town. The newsletter will go out before Thanksgiving, and I'm seriously considering a Holiday Blog party, because I'm feeling soooo recharged. What do you guys think?

Oh, and I'm working on my next Super finally, Legally Yours--the draft is due at the end of January, and it's a bridge book from my Daughter series to a new Atlanta's Heroes series, arcing the romance of two characters that I introduce in my February The Perfect Daughter. If all goes well, in early 2007 I'll sell Harlequin two more stories for Atlanta's Heroes, and many more beyond. Here's the series pitch/hook--let me know what you think:

Atlanta's Heroes: Ready to fight for love as fiercely as they battle for everything else

Atlanta's medical professionals, law enforcement officers, and fire and rescue specialists are some of the best in the country. They are heroes, one and all. The high risk demands of their jobs strain the bounds of human ability, and often the possibility of sustaining enduring relationships.

But community and family are values that run deep in the south. Men and women this determined won't give up on their chance for love without one hell of a fight.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Prize Winner and One Final Back Home Sigh

I know, I'm late again...but the Birmingham Reader Luncheon stole me away. I should have pictures soon (but have to borrow from friends, so be patient). In the mean time, here's the winner of my GRW Reader Luncheon bag of goodies--

N0odz1!!! The goodies are yours, Jack, your comment for the November 1st post was the random drawing winner!!

Need your mailing address to start the shipping process.

Still collecting my thoughts after the weekend, but hanging out with readers all day and all my Alabama author friends was wonderful. Not the mention the touch of relief it is to know that my business travel is done for the year. Next year's calendar is already shaping up...by then I'll be rested and ready for more fun, so plan to come see me. After my taste of Southern Magic this weekend, I can hardly wait ;O)

Let me hunt us done some more goodies for blog prizes...will have something in the next day or two, and I HAVE to get together a newsletter and website updates...but first, some sleep and some final touches to my new proposals.

Hope everyone had a great fall weekend!!

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Did you dress up like a kid and go for the wicked candy??? I did, and caught myself a scary ghost while I was at it ;O)

There's something in the air this time of year. Fall feels like renewel to me, so much more than spring (maybe because I'm not allergic to anything that flies about in the fall, and spring sends me to bed for a couple of weeks). Something that reminds me to play every chance I get, before the work stuff comes knocking again.

The smell of all that candy I don't even like to eat. The tapestry of the sun setting behind trees bursting with rusty-red leaves. The magic of watching my ten-
year-old's excitement and laughter, expecially when he gets to act like he's scari
ng mom, LOL!

Do you remember it? A night where even adults come out to play, and you can be as crazy as you want? Two month's 'til Christmas, Thanksgiving's just around the corner. The whole world is about to throw party after party for you, and all you have to do is show up and be a kid.

Be a kid, my friends. Be that kid every day. When the world starts to look too real, pull up your mask and say, BOO! Go for the candy. Remember that playtime is just around the corner, and make today a dress rehersal ;O)

I'll have a new winner to announce tomorrow. Then I'm off to the Southern Magic reader luncheon in Birmingham. Hope I see some of you there!!

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