Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Crazy Family

Tomorrow is Easter, and whether you celebrate, I hope you have something lovely planned for the weekend. I'm having my family over for dinner, but I have to tell you, mine isn't like one of those nice Harlequin American families.

You know the ones I'm talking about, those families that meet the heroine for the first time and instantly love her, making her feel welcome and valued as her own family never did. The mom who cooks up a storm of roast beef and mashed potatoes and cherry pie; the hard-working dad, the boisterous, teasing brothers, the impish but adorable niece, maybe a wise grandparent.

That does not describe my family. Mine are all crazy. Card-carrying, certifiable nuts. They talk incessantly all at the same time. They like to watch bad TV. They drink too much, they bicker over religion, politics and football, and one black-sheep cousin has been known to steal from houses where she is a guest. My sister obsessively cleans my kitchen (maybe that's not such a bad thing). And the children? Not cute or impish. Scary is the word I would use.

Yet I keep inviting them over, and they keep coming. When they invite me, I go. We share blood and a past, and that counts for a lot.

Everyone in my parents' generation is gone now. Members of my generation are the guardians of the history, the tellers of the stories, the keepers of the sacred photo albums and home movies. Much as I'd like to pretend I don't know them (sometimes), my family is part of me. I probably drive them as nuts as they drive me. But when we gather and tell stories, we remember and honor those who came before us, and we create new memories for the next generation. Reason enough to put up with a bit of craziness.

Friday, April 10, 2009

More Rita Talk

I thought since Linda told her Rita story, I'd share mine as well. (And how fun that I was scheduled to blog right after her!)

After too many years of waiting by the phone and the computer on Rita day and stressing out, I decided this year I would take a different approach and get out of the house for the day. I knew RWA had my cell phone number and if they didn't call, at least I'd be out doing something fun.

I'm an avid skier and after a dry few weeks when the skiing had been lousy, we were finally blessed with really good snow. So I took the day and off and drove to a nearby ski area to hit the slopes.

As I drove in snow on I-70 west of Denver, my cell phone rang (Spring, from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.) And I knew. It had to be The Call. But no way could I answer the phone safely with the weather and traffic, so I promised myself once I reached the ski area, I'd return the call.

The parking lot attendants at the ski area were directing me to my parking place when the phone rang again. With the engine still running, I grabbed for the phone. "Hello, Cindi, this is Lorraine Heath."

Now, Lorraine and I have known each other for many years, so I jabber away with "Lorraine! So good to hear from you. How are you?"

I'm sure on the other end of the phone she was grinning. She finally managed to get a word in edgewise and tell me that The Right Mr. Wrong had been nominated for a Rita.

The Right Mr. Wrong is my 30th published romance, and this is my first Rita nomination, so needless to say, I'm excited. It's only my second book for Harlequin American, so I'm really proud to represent the line (along with the lovely Linda Warren!)

The RWA awards ceremony takes place July 18 in Washington D.C. On my birthday. Wouldn't that gold statue be a nice birthday present?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


The Rita Call...

If you’re an author and entered the Rita contest, you knew the Rita and Golden Heart calls were going out on March 25. It was all over the Internet loops and on the RWA Web site. In case you don’t know, the 2009 RITA honors romance fiction published in 2008. More than 1,000 novels and novellas were judged in 12 categories. The 2009 Golden Heart Award honors unpublished romance manuscripts in 2008. Winners of the awards will be announced July 18th at the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony to be held at RWA’s 29th Annual National Conference in Washington, D.C.

There is a little glimmer of hope in all of us who write that one day we’ll be on that prestigious list of finalists. For me, that’s all it’s ever been—a small glimmer. I wasn’t anxiously sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring. I usually get to my computer about ten o’clock to start my writing day. I’d planned to check in then to see who had gotten a call. Early that morning I was trying to get a doctor’s appointment changed. The nurse said her computer was down and she’d call me back as soon as she could or the receptionist would.

Ten minutes later the phone rang. I answered and the lady said, “May I speak to Linda Warren.” Thinking it was the nurse, I replied, “Just a minute.” I was in the bathroom and I didn’t have a pen to write down the date and time. It was a three month appointment and I knew I’d forget. So I hurried into the bedroom for a pen, and said, “Okay.”

The lady asked, rather puzzled, “Is this Linda Warren?”

I answered, “Yes.”

She went on to say she was an RWA director and she had some great news. Things went over my head after that. I kept thinking this isn’t the nurse. OhmyGod, this isn’t the nurse! By then I was listening closely. Texas Heir was a finalist in Series Contemporary. My heart was about to pound out of my chest, but I asked her name because I’d missed it the first time and I thanked her, and thanked her. I hung up and started to cry. I was so happy. That glimmer suddenly became a big reality.

I’m probably the only person in RWA who kept an RWA director waiting on call day. Oh my. I don’t know if my heart can take all this excitement. But I’m going to enjoy every minute.

Here’s to dreams that come true. Win or lose, I’ll still be happy and probably crying.
What an incredible day.

Texas Heir is an American book so I wanted to share this with you. And congratulations to Cindi Meyers for her American final with The Right Mr. Wrong. We’re going to have a great time in DC.

Wanna happy dance with me? Yay for the American line!!

The Sheriff of Horseshoe, Texas

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I need your input!

I’m working on a new idea for a miniseries… and I need your input.

My Halo Island miniseries seems to be popular, and I’ve received numerous emails asking about more books. So here’s my question:
Should I set the next three books in Halo Island again, or should I create a new fictitious small town?

Thanks for your input,