Saturday, June 02, 2007

Summer Lovin' HAR Blog Contest

Dear Readers

June is finally here and that means Summer Lovin' hits the shelves this month! To celebrate our anthology, Laura Marie Altom, Ann Roth and myself, Marin Thomas have decided to run a month-long contest on the Harlequin American Romance blog. We hope the contest will encourage readers to stop by and participate in the daily blogs.

Here's how the contest will work: Visit the HAR blog--we hope daily--and comment on the post of the day. We'll keep track of the names of those who have something to say. Each time you comment (one entry per blog per day will be eligible) we'll add your name to the list of participants. At the end of the month, the names will be tossed into a hat and three winners will be chosen. The more blogs you comment on the better your chances of winning! I'll announce the winners on the HAR blog July 2nd, then Laura Marie, Ann and myself will each take a winner and send them a prize.

Here are the Prizes:

Marin Thomas will be giving away her McKade Brothers series, Aaron Under Construction, Nelson in Command and Ryan's Renovation.

Laura Marie Altom will be giving away her US Marshals series, Saving Joe, Marrying the Marshal, His Baby Bonus and To Catch a Husband.

Ann Roth will be giving away the first and second books in her To Wed…Or Not to Wed minisieries, The Man She'll Marry and It Happened One Wedding.

To start our first discussion….Summer Lovin' takes place in Silver Cliff, a small town in the Colorado Rockies. Tell us…what do you like most about small-town settings?

Happy Reading and we hope you have fun with this contest!
Ryan's Renovation *McKade Brothers* Aug 07
For The Children *Heart of Appalachia* Oct 07

Friday, June 01, 2007

On little cat feet

Cats are sneaky. Wait! I’m not a cat-basher. Anyone who’s read my books has come across characters who own cats. Some of them also rescue strays.

I never expected to own a cat and certainly not to find myself dosing one with medicine twice a day. This involves sticking my fingers in his mouth to pry his jaws open.

How did this happen? He sneaked up on me.

At various times before I got married, I owned small, portable animals. Hamsters. A couple of chinchillas. These having all expired, my husband requested a No Pets policy. In return, he agreed we could have kids. (He was joking. I think.)

Many years later, a cat showed up in our yard. Sweet, shy and – I thought – pregnant. Turned out she was faking it, but by then we’d adopted her. Actually, she’d already been spayed. A few years later, along came Cat No. 2, an obviously non-neutered male.

Our children adored them, so my husband tolerated the creatures. Cat No. 2 got neutered, while, in the course of time, Cat No. 1 grew old and died. Who helped me tend her during her final days? My formerly reluctant hubby, now a convert to cat fandom.

When Cat No. 2 first arrived, he seemed like an overgrown kitte, and seven years later, we still think of him as a youngster. So it came as a surprise when what we believed was an injured nose turned out to be cancer.

Currently, our freedom-loving but doting cat resides in our downstairs bathroom, wearing a flexible cone to protect his face and receiving medicine twice a day. His odds aren’t good, but we’re giving him every reasonable chance.

The problem is that we love him. Cats are like that. They sneak up on you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

School's Out for Summer

As I write this, my classroom is quiet except for a bit of music playing over the smartboard speakers. The desks are empty. Out the window, a group of custodians is cleaning up the toilet paper decorating the courtyard trees. School let out today at 11:25, and by 11:25 tomorrow school will be officially over for the 2006-2007 school year.

Over the summer my room will be cleaned. The desks will be removed to be replaced with tables. I'm teaching all journalism courses next year and am thrilled with the change. I'll also sponsor the school yearbook and the school newspaper.

Summer is the time when I make my goals. I'm not really a "New Year" type of person. My new year begins in June, when I finish up, say goodbye to seniors I'll miss dearly, and turn my attention to renewing myself and recharging my batteries. My personal goals that I've set for myself include working my way up to running 3 miles and biking at least 40. Okay, 20. That's a good number. I live by the Katy Trail, a rail-to-trail, so I'll ride that a lot. My daughters and I all have bikes to ride.

I'm also attending a journalism advisers' workshop in Manhattan, KS. I'll be at RWA. I'll be writing at least 2 books by August, and the first three chapters of another. The summer calendar is mostly blank, but it's going to be very busy.

I'll try to do some gardening, will live quite a lot at Six Flags, and will see the Police and Goo Goo Dolls two days apart when they come to St. Louis for their respective concerts. I'll also simply sit around and relax. Hopefully I'll read a lot of great books. That's the plan, anyway.

As May ends and we move into June, as the AC goes into high gear, as spring slides into summer, be sure to enjoy every minute.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Heroes and Heroines in Uniform

Did you have a nice Memorial Day?

In honor of our men and women in uniform, I rifled through my keeper shelf and revisited some of my favorite authors who write military heroes and heroines. I love soldiers and pilots and special forces guys, probably because these types of characters are so far removed from my own experiences. I've never even tried to write a military romance because I know nothing about the military.

Probably at the top of my list would be Merline Lovelace. Love her books, love her characters, and this retired Air Force colonel knows her stuff! Then there's the inimitable Suzanne Brockmann and her yummy Navy Seals. Of course this list wouldn't be complete without Catherine Mann. I read WEDDING AT WHITE SANDS as a contest entry, before Catherine had sold her first book, and I remember thinking Oh, my gosh, this woman is good! Then there's Cindy Dees, who writes with such depth and realism because she's been there! She was a U.S. Air Force pilot and actually flew in the Gulf War (the first one). Debbie Macomber has done some wonderful military-themed books, especially early in her career.

Of course I can't forget our own Laura Marie Altom. HER MILITARY MAN (January 2007) was wonderfully quirky. Another Harlequin American author, Bonnie Gardner, wrote one of the Millionaire, Montana books in which the hero, Sam, is a retired Navy Seal. That one made me cry!

Now those are just a smattering from my own shelves, and certainly not an all-inclusive list. Do you love heroes (and heroines) in uniform? Any must-reads you'd like to mention?

Hope your holiday was fun! (Mine was rainy.)


Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day weekend

Hi guys,
Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays. I know - that's kind of weird considering it's such a solemn occasion. But I have an excuse. It's my birthday! Plus, it heralds the beginning of summer. When I was growing up in south Texas that was a big deal. It meant school was out, and we could swim all day long - in the river, the lake, the ocean, anything that had a puddle of water. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest and swimming is dicey, at best. In fact - now don't laugh at this, especially if you're living where the summers average 95 degrees and 65% humidity - we frequently have to wear those cute little summer sweaters. I still think that's amazing!

So check out my September Everlasting Love book, Summer After Summer that - as you can probably guess - is a celebration of summer in the south.

Have a wonderful weekend and a great summer. Ann

Memorial Day

Those who know me or who have read my books know that I like irreverent one-liners, quirky characters and don't take myself too seriously. However, if you'll permit me just this once, I'm gonna get serious on you. It's Memorial Day and as an Army brat who is also the niece of a Veteran, that means a lot to me. Our country may not be perfect, but I believe that it's special and unique and I love America. I'm so grateful to those who've sacrificed to make the country what it is and to protect our ideology--the men and women in our military services, of course, but also those of us who worry about them when they're gone and try to send good thoughts, care packages and anything else we can think of to give them a little piece of home. My prayers are with all of you.

So, happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone and I promise, next time I blog, I'll bring the funny :-)