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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Excerpt...and Get Out the Vote (well, nominations, really)!!!

I have one final Remember Me excerpt--this will be (publisher willing) the second book in my Atlanta's Heros series, due out sometime in early 2008. Legally Yours will be the bridge book into the new series (bringing along lots of characters you know from the upcoming The Perfect Daugther and The Prodigal's Return), and you should have it in your hot little hands in September. So enjoy Robert's final scene in Chapter 1, and I'll let you know when there's more (just as soon as I finish Legally Yours and have time to write it ;o)

And for those of you who play out on eharliquin.com, it's time to nominate you favorite stories and characters of 2006. Here's the link to the categories...


Click whichever category you want to participate in, and you should be taken to the "community" loop where folks are nominating books... There are a lot of fun ways to nominate your favorite Harlequin authors--from favorite books to favorite cover to favorite love scene and so on.

My 2006 titles were The Runaway Daughter and The Prodigal's Return, just in case you were wondering ;o) They are relationships novels, sweet romances, The Runaway Daughter has one of my favorite black moments ever as well as a killer cover (not that The Prodigal's Return cover is all that shabby), The Runaway Daughter was chock full of edge-of-your-seat suspense, and I love all my heros and heroines... you get the idea...

Okay...I know what you're really here for. And I don't blame you. I'm loving Remember Me, too. So here's one more excerpt.

For new visitors, this is the fourth scene from an upcoming manuscript. Scroll back through the last few posts for earlier scenes. For those returning, we're still with Robert...let's see if he could really complete our mystery woman's operation, then put her out of his mind...

Six hours later at a quarter past four in the morning--exhausted, showered and chugging coffee to keep himself awake--Robert walked off the elevator onto the ICU floor. An unconscious Jane Doe had been moved from recovery to an observation suit a half hour ago, right about the time Robert should have been dragging his ass home for some sleep. He was on call again in just six hours.

But he couldn't leave.

He'd checked with the recovery nurse. No one had materialized, asking to be notified about her condition. There was still no contact information on her chart, except for the police.

She was completely alone.

He turned into the dimly-lit room that was little more than a glass-sided cubicle. She lay propped on a nest of starched, white pillows, her shoulder-length, ebony hair spilling around her face and over the dressing that covered her wound. He picked up her chart and studied her vitals, then double-checked her heart rate and breathing with the stethoscope he'd swung around his neck, even though he'd traded his scrubs for street clothes.

Medically, her condition was listed as guarded, but stable. He'd done a hell of a job, delicately removing debris and patching up the damage as quickly and non-invasively as possible. Still, there was no telling how long it would take until she woke again, or what kind of complications might await them once she did. The brain was a fickle, tricky organ to play with. There would be additional swelling, and there could be potentially deadly side effects. There was no way to tell how many, or for how long they'd last.

The best post-op treatment for traumatic brain injury was rest and gentle stimulation. Having people who knew the patient spend time interacting with her, enticing her to re-attach to the world around her.

Only his Jane Doe didn't have anyone to sit beside her and talk about home, or the family pet, or a child's crazy day at school.

His Jane Doe.

She didn't belong to him, or anyone else for that matter.

Robert glanced at armed APD officer positioned in the hall. The police were impatient to question her.

So they could protect her? Or was her guard there for some other reason?

Taking another sip of his coffee, Robert set the cup aside and sat in the single chair beside the bed. He hesitated, then reached for her hand. It was so tiny in his, and not just because he was a big man. She'd put up a good fight when she'd come to on the table. She'd been stronger than any of them had expected. But the hospital bed, the blankets and sheets, seemed to swallow her slight frame now. She was completely vulnerable.

He threaded his fingers around hers, leaving his professional demeanor behind and focusing on the promise he'd made her--a woman he knew nothing about, whom he had no business promising anything.

Except he had.

Trust me... I'll be here when you wake up.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

All Hail the Chief...

Really, I woke up Saturday the president of something rather remarkable...Georgia Romance Writers. A group of somewhere between 300 and 400 members of Romance Writers of America, and these women and men have the strange notion that I should be their leader...made official and everything on Saturday...I'll send you a picture as soon as someone sends me one.

I'm also going to start posting my monthy column in the GRW newsletter--The Galley. Lots of motivational stuff that might even interest those not nutty enough to want to write for a living. And it feels kind of nutty, as I'm once again seven days away from a deadline...but it's feeling good, too. Exhausted, but good. You won't be disappointed with Legally Yours (even if you do have to wait until September to read it, he-he)!!

Or The Perfect Daughter for that matter. Just received another glowing review...

"Anna DeStefano writes in a breezy way that makes her books a joy to read. The story was heart warming and the reader will be rooting for a happy ending. I loved Maggie and Matt and wanted them to end up together in the end. All of the characters were unique and added something to the story...recommended to all romance readers." --Armchair Interviews

The cover of All-American father is here, too. Here 'tis, along with the promo blurb I've been using in all my ads...getting excited about this book. It's so much fun to read, when I go back to take a peak:

Happily Ever After Shouldn't Be This Hard To Tackle...

A harried, ex-football star single father...

A pre-teen daughter determined to get his attention any way she can...

A blast from his high-school past--a fiesty woman with her own problems, but a knack for getting through to his child...

Cost to Derrick Cavenaugh's sanity...

Neither Derrick nor Bailey Greenwood know how to back down from a fight. Turns out, winning each other's love with be their toughest, and most rewarding battle of all.

Don't miss the third book in Superromance's Singles...With Kids series!

Hang in there, we'll get to Feb. and all the fun chats and parties and appearances...pant, pant...

Just one more week!!!

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Legally Yours due at the end of the month, then we party!!!

To tease you along, I'm including another excerpt from Remember Me.

I'm also collecting prizes for uour Valentines Day launch party!! As soon as I have a minute I'll start taking pictures and get them up here for you to drool over ;o) There were some great after-holiday sales, and my blog buddies get to reap the rewards.

It's crunch time for Legally Yours, so the next few weeks will be sparse out here. But don't give up on me, you won't want to miss any of the great info coming your way. I'll be updating the website contest page, giving you one final Remember Me excerpt some time next week, and chatting about all the ways you could win something fun in February as we party on to celebrate next month's realease of The Perfect Daughter. Have I thrown enough titles at you, LOL!!

I liken this last part of the writing process to studying for finals in college--and yes, I spent weeks preparing for the beasties. And even if you didn't, I bet you know what I mean. Things are finally starting to make sense, and the harder I work, the better the big picture gets. The more likely I'll ace the thing in the end.

So, there won't be much but hard work for me the next few weeks. That, and hanging with my friends out here when I can. Let me know what you're doing, so I can keep up. And I'll get a newsletter out in early February to return the favor. Lots of exciting stuff to report, so hang in there.

Here's the third of four exceprts from Remember Me. If you haven't read any of my teasers, scan the last few weeks to catch up! We finally get to see what Robert's thinking (Robert, by the way, has a small but important roll in Legally Yours, and you're going to love him!!)

"Finish prepping her," Neurosurgeon Robert Livingston demanded, his gaze lowering to his patient's now-relaxed features. "I want to be in there looking for bleeders in five minutes."

As she was intubated and prepped, he studied the portable CT scan's the ER had captured on their latest high-tech toy.

Atlanta Metropolitan Hospital was on of the first ERs in the country to use the technology. A coup for the hospital, the city, and the state of Georgia for that matter. All Robert had cared about when he'd pushed his Chief of Staff for the funding was being able to diagnosis traumatic brain injuries before symptoms could be detected externally.

Case and point--the gravely-injured woman who'd been frantically trying to crawl off his operating table.

Their Jane Doe's skull hadn't been shattered by whatever had struck her--a pipe or something smaller, had been his guess after examining the size of the external contusion. Her skull was primarily intact, but cracked. The CT scan revealed bone fragments and lesions that could be life threatening if they weren't dealt with. And dealing with them, even delicately, would increase her risk of the kind of complications that could permanently debilitate her. But he had to stop the bleeding. Remove debris that might cause a clot or out-of-control pressure and swelling.

Then all there'd be left to do was wait, and hope.

It will be okay...

Trust me.

He'd been out of his mind to promise her anything. Every person in the operating room had frozen at his unprofessional lapse. He would place her odds of a full recovery around 50/50 at
this point.

But she'd been frantic. Terrified. Desperate. And he'd fallen into those expressive brown eyes--taken her hand, even though it had destroyed his sterile field. In the face of fear like hers, any man would have promised anything, no matter how unlikely the follow-through.

Well, unlikely or not, Robert was going to get her through this.

"I have to re-scrub." He turned away as his surgical intern stabilized the patient's head, covering everything but the shaved area around the injury with sterile dressings. "We open her up in two minutes."

It had been drilled into him in med school that his patients' problems outside the hospital were beyond his control. So were the many possible complications they faced during recovery. But in his OR, the control was his. And he was good at what he did. The best in the state, tops in his field nationally. He lost very few patients, and his were some of the most critical cases the ER saw.

And, damn it, he wasn't losing this one.

He turned on the taps and began to lather up. Breaking the seal on a fresh brush, he scrubbed from his nails to his elbows. His fingers clenched at the memory of the feel of her hand trembling in his. The strength that had fueled her desperation to run, even though she was weak from heavy blood loss.

In that moment, he'd been willing to do anything to protect her. To defend her from whomever had hurt her.

The brush clattered to the floor.

Damn it!

He opened another from it's sterile tray.

Focus, man.

Get it together.

He was her doctor. She was perfectly safe now, and it was the police's job to keep her that way. He'd said what he had to, to calm her enough for his team to finish prepping for surgery. He'd have said the same thing to any patient in her emotional state.

The rationalization fell flat. He scrubbed harder.

He'd never before promised a patient anything. And he'd have promised this one much more. Whatever it took to ease the panic consuming her so completely.

You have to help me get out of here...

He shook his head. Began to rinse, fingers up, so the sterile water washed the soap downward, away from his hands.

Time to work his magic, then send her on her way. To patch her up, so she could go wherever she so desperately needed to go--before he became even more irrationally attached to helping her get there.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

More Reviews...and I feel like teasing you : )

So, I'm including a little more of Remember Me below...

I'm so excited about the Atlanta's Heroes series. Here's hoping my editor is, too, LOL!! Wouldn't that be a great New Year's gift? Maybe we'll have something more to celebrate during out Valentine's launch party for The Perfect Daughter.

Did I mention that the bookclub copies of The Perfect Daughter are out, and evidently being read quite avidly. Over the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve, the Amazon.com sales of my back list shot through the roof--the two other "daughter" books, The Unknown Daughter and The Runaway Daughter, topped Amazon's Superromance series bestseller list, and The Prodigal's Return got as high as #10 on the overall series list, with Nora Roberts all around me. Can't tell you how amazing it is to see folks digging your book enough to start looking for other novels.

Even the Romantic Times reviewer who's had difficulty getting excited about my emotional, angsty romances is getting on board the Love Machine this time around. Here's what she has to say:

"Anna DeStefano's The Perfect Daughter (4 stars) offers an insightful look into the realities of dealing with tragedy. Her characters are well drawn, and her dialogue sparkles."

Wow! I sparkle ;o)

If you can't wait until Valentines Day to read The Perfect Daughter, you can get you copy now. It's up on eHarlequin, and they're shipping my books out to eager fans even as we speak (even though I don't even have my author copies yet). Here's the link. Be sure to let me know what you think, if you take a sneak peak!


If you do, I'll just have to reward you by including more excerpts of upcoming books, as fast as I can write the proposals...

Here's another nibble of Remember Me. We're picking up mid-scene, where we left off on Monday. There are two more scenes to go...so stick close...you never know when I'll throw something else out here...or pics of the Valentines party prizes...or news of chats and other online fun coming as soon as I FINISH THIS BOOK ;O)

"It's okay," he whispered close to her ear. "Try to relax. You're safe now."

It took every ounce of strength she had left, but she willed her body to still and her eyes to open. To focus through the blinding light. A tall figure towered over her.

Blue, shapeless shirt.

Blue mask.

Bluer eyes.

Honest eyes.


Her mind rebelled from the thought. She tried to jerk away, but his gentle touch stopped her. That and the weakness stealing through her body.

Their gazes collided. He smiled behind his mask, his expression kind. Caring. She hadn't had either in a long time. She was certain of it, even though little else made sense at the moment.

"We've given you a sedative," he explained. "You should be feeling it soon. Try to relax. No one's going to hurt you here."

Her instinctive laugh became a moan.

He studied the whirring and beeping monitors she hadn't noticed before, his eyes frowning. His hand moved to the whatever bandage seemed to engulf half her head, pulling it back so he could check beneath.

"You've got one minute to get her under," he said to someone she couldn't see.

Blackness reached for her again.

His hand smoothed against her forehead, magically easing the pain. She blinked away the shadows, focusing on his eyes. Their blue was shot through with a steel-like, determined grey.

"Help me," she begged. "You have to help me get out of here. We need to go..."

"Go where?" he asked. "We, who?"

The breath clogged in her throat at the question. Adrenaline grounded her more firmly in the present, forcing a moment of clarity.

But there was nothing there. No answer to his question.

She couldn't remember.

God! She couldn't remember anything!

Nothing but the gun pointing at her, and the screams. But who had been screaming? Who had been clinging to her hand?

"Oh, my God!" She struggled to sit up, the result a pitiful display, since she could no longer feel her body.

She had to get out of there.

"I have to go back, before he--"

"Go back where?" He cupped her shoulder to still her struggles against the straps holding her arms to the table. Took her hand and softly squeezed her fingers. "There's nowhere to go right now. Let me take care of you, then we'll figure out the rest. It's going to be okay."

He was a surgeon, she realized. The room beyond him, an operating theater.

"You've received quite a blow to your head," he explained. "And you need immediate surgery. But you're safe. You're not alone. I'm not going to let anything happen to you."

A mask was placed over her face.

"Breath normally." He nodded to someone standing behind her, then smiled back down. "Let yourself fall asleep. I promise, I'll be here when you wake up. Trust me."

She was in bad shape.

She'd seen the truth in his eyes. In the barely controlled urgency behind the orders he'd calmly issued. The right side of her head felt like it was on fire. The nightmare was real. She could die. But worse, she'd...failed...at something. And now...

Now someone she cared about deeply, someone she couldn't remember, was in danger, and she couldn't help.

Please, she begged him with her eyes.

"It will be okay," he promised, his gaze serious but confident. "Trust me."

And she did.

She shouldn't.

She couldn't.

She hadn't trusted anyone in...she didn't know how long. But it felt as if it had been a long, long time.

But as the anesthesia rolled through her, enticing her to let go, a feeling of security cloaked her as well.

She could finally stop running. Running from what, she had no idea.

But just this once, she could stop.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

What a fast and crazy few weeks we've had around here. Wonderful crazy, as I hope your holidays were, but crazy all the same.

A brand new year calls for a new post, however, and a little bonus for my online buds. I've sent my agent new proposals for the Atlanta's Heroes series...and with it a first chapter for Remember Me--the book that will follow Legally Yours if Super buys it. Check out the first scene below, and if you dig it, I have it on good authority there's more ;o)

Got some great reviews in my Christmas stocking. The first, from Cataromance.com. According to Donna Zaph:

The Perfect Daughter by Anna DeStefano touches the heart and pierces the soul with the poignant story of a resilient woman who is able to face her terrors with the support of her family and the love of her man. I was delighted to revisit with characters I had met in previous books and to read this engrossing series conclusion. The Perfect Daughter storyline encompasses the growing threat of gangs, even in small town America. Ms. DeStefano treats this real life problem with an insider’s view that captures her reader’s attention and provokes an empathic response. I am never disappointed in my expectations of an Anna DeStefano book. She faithfully delivers a true romance wrapped in an up to date message from today’s headlines. I recommend that you treat yourself with Anna DeStefano’s The Perfect Daughter this Valentine’s Day.

Tomorrow, we'll hear from the Romantic Times reviewer. I think she liked this one ;o)

Oh, and I still don't have mailing address for two of my holiday party winners: Shannon, I'm holding a $5 Borders gift card for you, and Catslady...that Liz satchel wants a new home. Send (or resend, if I've lost it somehow) me your addresses via email, and we'll be in business.

Here's the Remember Me excerpt...want to start the new year off right, sharing the wealth...we're going to have to start talking about the Feb. Launch Party soon!!


Just a little further, and we'll be safe," she said.

They just had to make it just a little further away from the building, and then...

Then what!

There was no little further. No safe. Not until they were miles away from there.

He'd have every exit covered. More men watching the street. They were trapped.

Because she hadn't done her job.

She hadn't done anything but fail. Hadn't followed her instincts to get out while she still had him snowed.

And now he knew.

Maybe not everything, but he knew she was running, and that she wasn't leaving alone. She could hear his men searching still. Orders being shouted inside the building they'd just escaped. It was only a matter of time before they were discovered. She had to get them out of there.

If he found them, he'd never let them go.

Not alive.

She peaked around the dumpster they'd crouched behind. Searched the darkness of the filthy alley, looking for something, anything to use as a weapon.

"Nattie?" The scared whisper at her elbow shook with fear.

"Shh," she cautioned, squeezing the little hand clinging to hers. "We have to be quiet."

It was either be quiet or be dead.

And dead wasn't going to happen. She could still make this disaster right, somehow.

"Nattie." The hand tugged free. "I left Felix in my room. I have to --"

"We can't go back." Damn! How could she have left Felix? How could everything have fallen apart so quickly?



She'd worry about Felix later. Once she actually got them to later.

The door they'd left the warehouse through creaked, it's rusted hinges scraping open. More than one set of footsteps echoed on the damp concrete, scuffing over the discarded cardboard and junk littering the area beside the dumpster.

She forced deep breaths, one hand motioning for silence while the other pressed against the dumpster's filthy side. As a hiding place, it was too obvious for their pursuers not to check. But she'd been desperate and fresh out of alternatives.

"Desperation makes you reckless and careless," a wise voice from her past reasoned in her mind. "But you can use the recklessness to your advantage. Maybe even make yourself a little luck every now and then."

The footsteps stopped.

The dumpster's lid was lifted long enough for someone to peer inside, then quietly closed. It was empty. She'd already checked. Dress shoes scraped in opposite directions. Two sets of them, heading around round either side of the dumpster.

Time to make herself some of that luck.

"Run!" She shouted as she shoved the dumpster forward with all her strength, crashing it into the men.

Both grunted. One toppled to the ground, his gun skidding away.

She grabbed it as they sprinted toward the street. Shooting her way out was stupid, but stupid wasn't dead, which meant they still had a chance.

A hand clenched in her hair and yanked her off her feet, dragging her back into the alley.
She twisted. Ignored the pain tearing through her from his grip. Brought the gun around to fire.

There was dead. Then there was taking one of these bastards with her. She had a sudden taste the latter.


The childish scream echoed off the buildings.

A shadow moved to her right, coming from behind. Before she could react, the side of her head exploded.

Blinding pain consumed her.

Blackness sucked her under, narrowing her vision to the sight of the gun now pointed between her eyes. Another scream came, and along with it the certainty that she'd failed.

It was over.

"Do it," she snarled, the weakest part of her almost relieved.

But she was still fighting, even as the darkness took her...

Her arms twisted against her restraints.

Her feet kicked at the hands holding her down to the table.

Her head twisted despite the shattering pain, the darkness turning to grey as the blinding overhead light drew closer...



"Hold her still," a warm, calm voice intruded into the icy cold of her terror.

The warm hand on her shoulder belonged to the voice, she realized, not her nightmare. It was soft, not cruel, absorbing her shivers. Quieting them.

"It's okay," he whispered close to her ear. "Try to relax. You're safe now...

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