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Friday, March 23, 2007


It's a big day around RWA tomorrow...the Rita and Golden Heart finalists are announced. These are the most prestegious romance contests there are. Nationally--internationally--thousands of wannabes and published folks send in their offerings, are judged, and what gets spat back out are a very lucky few finalists who then have to wait months to find out if they've won the prize.

Backstory--gonna dump it here, because I'm too tired today to weave it into a pleasant vignette. To final, you typically have to meet the ideal standard of whatever type of book you write. Be pleasing to readers of your sub-genre, across the board. Each unpublished manuscript and book are judged by no less than five judges, and these days you have to get a perfect score from just about everyone to make it to the final round (American Idol has nothing on RWA, when it comes to odds AGAINST anyone, even the very talented, getting through). And, for those of us who rock the boat and paint outside the lines, that means "announcement day" can be a cause for mourning and feeling left out.

And so has been the case with me on many a years past. When I thought I should have finalled, both unpublished and published--nadda. When I least expected it, I did actually final, and in fact went on to win the GH in '03. Really, my heroine was terminally ill throughout most of that manuscript. It WASN'T supposed to win the long contemporary category. Go figure.

So, as I sit on my deck and listen to the birdies sing this afternoon, I'm making a pact with myself and all others who are long-shots...to relish the fact that less is more. Really, in this case, the quest for more is just not worth getting my panties in a wad over. I write for a category (read, VERY happily-ever-after focused) sub-genre, and I write about overcoming grief and loss and abuse and trauma. I'm as close to womens' fiction as you can get under the Harlequin imprint...and that's pretty damn amazing, when you stop to think about it. I'm blessed to have my books out there and being read and being appreciated for what they are--a different way to HEA. My way.

Less is more. A lot more in my case... So there's almost assuredly no golden statue in my future. So what! If you're going to swim upstream, you can't pout at the fishes taking a different route. Keep swimming and enjoy the ride, and wave as they sometimes pass you by.

Less...it's only less if you let yourself or someone else compare what you have to what you have not. Ignoring what you "have not" isn't settling or giving up. It's not about no ambition or no desire. It's about focusing on where YOU want to go, instead of what you don't need to get there.

Fight, but fight for you, not for the illusive golden thing that, once you have it in your grasp, won't be the destination you're really looking for. Yes, we have to enjoy the happy surprises along the way. I'd love to win one of those golden ladies one day. But finalling or winning won't define my fight or my success or even my lovely Spring Saturday...


Besides, less worrying about the Ritas means more time to look at the handbags I've been drooling over for my April release party ;o)

You tell me which is most critical right now!!!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007


More of the green goodies...More of the Spring giveaways...Just more...

We should all grab more every chance we get. You never know when those extra "winter" stores of nurishment will be needed. Never apologize for embracing the good when it's bursting to life around you. Enjoy, revel, absorb it into every pore...and remember that the good will always come back, the next time it takes an inconvenient hike for the hills and tries to cart all your hope away with it. Save up every memory and sensation that feeds you--they'll be with you always, if you're determined to remember...why do you think I write romantic fantasies for a living ;o)

Lots of winners to announce today, because you've all been so patient--

The second of the Spring green purses goes to Alissa, who commented at 11:04 in the March 15th post. The first little froggie prince--Traveler, he's yours, commenting on 1:09 of the same post.

And another froggie goes to a randomly drawn buddy who commenter from Tuesday's post--Carol, who left a comment at 2:59.

Email me your mailing addresses, my friends.

More little guys to share...gotta get them all good homes before the end of the month ;o) So, keep checking in. Oh, and I don't know what's going on, but my back list is rocking the category charts over on Amazon...so those who're finding my older titles and loving them--great to have you in the family!!!

A lovely surprise this week--All-American Father is selling up a storm in pre-sales. Looks like I should have written a slightly funny story about a football player sooner ;o)

Off to a Nickleback concert tonight...I'm so psyched. Will have lots to share tomorrow!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Beautiful Morning

Guess what's been keeping me distracted lately...

Morning rising over my back deck was an unbelievable moment today. I'd just gotten my son off to school, was finishing yet another rewrite of my paranormal thriller's first chapter. And look at the kind of distraction I have to put up with ;o)

There are moments throughout the year that personify each season. I snapped some pictures of my Spring. Hope yours is just as spectacular!!!

Our entire neighborhood is pink and purple and white bursting to life. Filling the view, wherever your eye travels. Blink, and for a second, all you can focus on is nature's glory, showing off and reminding you that everything renews. Everything, no matter how cold and dark, can be reborn again.

It was a long weekend. I needed these pictures to remind me of the good waiting beyond the long days of work. The hidden beauty that's waiting for me to see it...to take a moment to blink.

Hope you take a minute to enjoy it, too.

I'll have the last of the weekend winners (another purse and a cutie-pie frog) tomorrow, and more froggie friends to share the rest of this week.

But for today, enjoy this beautiful morning with me...

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Never Apologize for Being Who You Are...

There's a cute kid on American Idol--seventeen-year-old Sanjaya Malakar. He's still in the running, when admittedly better singers have been voted off in his stead. Even the judges, who've seen this kind of thing happen before, are befuddled to the point of not really being able to be encouraging anymore--"you have great hair," was all Randy Jackson could come up with after Tuesday's performance. But Sanjaya's still there...standing with the other guy in the bottom two last night, hearing that he was going to stay for another week, and looking like he wanted to crawl under a rock because he shouldn't be there...

Knock it off Sanjaya!!! Something like millions of people all over this country just voted for you. You aren't having the best week ever, I get that. You're in a singing competition, and you really can't sing at the level of most of the other contestants, but you've got something people like to see enough to vote so they can see more next week. Don't you dare apologize for being who you are. Don't you dare!

Never give your power away to the instinct to beat up on yourself for the good things in your life. Trust me. Been there, still go there myself too much. Not a good place. Do you deserve your stroke of fortune??? Honestly, I'm of the mind that most of what we receive in life is along the lines of a gift. There's a whole world of good, hardworking people out there. At any given time there are those who are receiving good, and those who couldn't get their hands on the good stuff, if their lives depended on it. Seasons come and go. This is your time to shine and smile and be thrilled and make the most of it. To be grateful and feel lucky. Ruin this moment because you think you don't deserve it, and I promise you, you'll regret it once you're home and thinking back about all that's been given to you.

We all deserve every speck of good that comes into our lives. And get this... Good doesn't happen in a vacume. What's good for you can be good for all the people around you, as well as the ones you'll meet in the future who can learn from what you do now with your good fortune.

Don't waist your gift and throw away the chance to figure out what it means. People are responding to you and want you around so they can enjoy what you're doing some more... Don't let yourself feel anything but proud and honored and excited by the fact that you still have another chance to reach your fans.

And, yeah-yeah, this is one of those times when I'm talking to myself as much as I am to anyone else. You just never know in the book business. When you're up, it's always possible you'll be down tomorrow. When you're down, it's easy to believe you might never make it to whatever place you have your heart set on reaching, so you can know you've achieved one of your career goals. Another news flash coming...you can't control when or if the success comes. You can only make the most of the gifts you're given now.

So, whether I'll ever hit a big-time list or be the lead author at my publisher or become a household name, I'll stay focused on the fact that enough readers like what I'm doing, that they vote with their purchasing power to keep me around a while longer. This journey belongs as much to my readers as it does to me... I refuse to ever let myself get to the point that I can't write anymore, because I'm not sure I belong...and trust me, most writers are at one time or another are convinced they don't.

So, I've learned to write through the low points and the times when there's no self-confidence left... I keep writing and pitching new story ideas, as if I belong there beside all the other "real" writers...

And then, suddenly, it seems that I do ;o) I just sold two more books into the Atlanta Heroes series (Remember Me, which you've read a chapter of), and a third book that I'm already in love with. Going back to contract is never fun, and we're still hashing out the details. Again, never fun. But, I get to hang with you guys some more and write more books that thousands of readers will one day hold in their hands... Dear, Lord!!! That's my dream come true!!! How did that happen???

What's your dream? Have you ever told yourself that you don't deserve it... can't have it... would never belong up there with the folks who are already "winners?" Well, knock it off Sanjaya!!! Shake the doubt off right along with me and live the gifts you've been given.

Here's to a year of good stuff for all of us, and a year of the hard-work it sometimes takes to believe that good things can really be ours!

Oh, and yesterday's winner of the first lovely, green Liz Claiborne purse... thatbrunette... Send me your mailing address!!!

One more purse and a froggie to go... Leave a comment today to be in the running ;o)


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Green--who says it's not easy???

Okay, green's NOT my color. Almost everything with even a fleck of green in it looks horrendous next to my skin. But, put a little of the spring stuff into the grass and the trees and the flowerbeds, and I'm addicted to being outside. Currently working on my deck, as a matter of fact.

And with St. Patt's day coming on strong, we're all going to be focusing on the green this week, even if we don't have any of the stuff of it in our closets...so, if you can't beat them... And how best to accessories, I always say, then to find some pursed I can wear with anyting ;o) Oh, and a frog prince or two to kiss...

The pics of this weeks prizes are below--I'll give one away every day through Friday. My Saturday's full of all-day GRW stuff, but I'll be back out on Sunday to clap for the winners.

In the mean time, even if your life isn't full of exactly what you want right now, and you don't look the best in what you have--find a way to accessories. Use what you've got. Make the moment count, even if it's not your favorite thing. You can't always choose the moment--and sometimes you just have to make the most of the green you've got. But remember, just arount the corner is your chance to shine (I'll be wearing red on Saturday, I think, even if I'll get pinched for shining in all my non-green glory).

It's not always easy to make what you have work. But it's not like you have much of a choice in the moment--either accept what is, or be unhappy. Guess which state of mind will get you to what you want next the fastest? And you never know when good news is sneaking up behind you to shower you with unexpected good stuff--like...All-American Father just received 4 1/2 stars from Romantic Times!!!

AAF is my lightest story yet. Intentionally so. Wasn't sure how the emotion would play with the breezier, snarky tone. Guess it's working out ;o) And RT featured me in an article I wrote for their fan section--RT Clubhouse. So...green or not, it's a good day!!!

There's more good news to share, but you're probably tapping your toes for those pics. So, here are two purses and a frog prince just waiting for a kiss. I have more froggies that'll show up over the next few weeks, but alas just two more green bags. So, leave a comment and I'll randomly draw a winner each day through Friday.

Think green ;o)

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Snow White and Grumpy, Here We Come!!!

Went missing for a week there, didn't I???

Would be so much fun to report that I was abducted by aliens and now have all the research and personal experience I need to write the next great sciennce fiction novel. But, alas, truth be told, I spoke at a conference in NC last weekend, had revisions on my October book due yesterday (what was Legally Yours is now officially titled Because of a Boy, btw), and a bunch of unexpected GRW business reared it's head this week that couldn't wait for a more convenient time to be dealt with.

So...I'm a week late and a dollar short with giving away the cute bear and purse. Good news--I have two sets, so here are our two winners (the two bears I'll be sending out are slightly different, but you'll love the them all the same):

N0odz1 (Jack ;o)--you're our first randomly-drawn winner!!!

Hvnly777--I have another cute bag/bear set, just for you!!!

Email me your mailing addresses, my friends...

I also have some new St. Pattie's Day goodies (read, all green ;o) to temp you with all week--because the 17th is just around the corner!!!. So keep coming back.

I'll be a-posting wit and whisdom, and giving away lovely/fun things to lucky posters. Wish there were pots of gold to share, but I know my friends out here will get into the spirit of more purses and cuddly toys!!!

And about our friends Snow White and Grumpy...My editor called to say they loved my idea for the 2008 Mother's Day collection of short stories (you know, the one I've been asked to participate in with Lori Handeland!!!). So, I'll be writing a Mother's Day short story about adoption, tentatively titled Child of My Heart. Here's the pitch I sent my editor--thanks to all my blog friends who were so encouraging when I thought up the nutty idea of reworking my fascination with the dynamics between a cartoon pricess and a dwarf ;o) to Harlequin as a romance novel idea, lol!!!

...See, I LOVE grumpy. He's my favorite dwarf. He's not really so mean and nasty, as much as he'sterribly vulnerable and misunderstood ;o) Snow White sees that, and by the end of the story, Grumpy becomes the binding factor amongst theother dwarfs, and rallies everyone to go fight the witch and bring the Prince back to their their princess.

Child of My Heart would be an adoption story about a mother-to-be falling for seemingly the most difficult child in the bunch (grumpy), when it's time to choose which older child to adopt--only the boy/girl's not really grumpy after all, just misunderstood, and with a little TLC will learn how to love and attach head-over-heels with his/her newfamily.

...a marriage in jeopardy story where a couple that would have separated already are staying together for as long as it takes to push an adoption through and give the heroine the child she wants more than anything in the world. The hero wants the heorine to have the child she's always longed for. They still care about oneanother, but the romance/relationship is impossibly broken, or so they think--until love for the "difficult" child they temporarily adopt (a grace period is required before adoptions are final) touches their hearts and begins to bind them all together as a "real" family--that is, brings prince and princess back together.

Sigh... Whatcha think???

More great news to share later in the week. I'm off to enjoy my first day free of something being due to my editor in a long, long time. Hope you have a great one yourself!!!

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