Saturday, May 02, 2009


CONGRATULATIONS Minna! You’re the April winner. To receive your free autographed books please contact Marin Thomas and Kara Lennox through their Web sites.

To enter the contest simply leave a blog comment and your name will go into the drawing. Simple and painless. And FREE BOOKS.

So check back often and be sure to leave a comment. Good luck!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The faces of art

Most people associate Nashville, Tennessee, primarily with country music. Since I grew up there as the daughter of an artist, I’m much more keenly aware of its active art world and many talented artists.

Last week, I was there for the annual Temple Art Festival, a juried show of works ranging from jewelry to painting, photography, and ceramic sculpture.

My mother, Sylvia Hyman, is a sort of grande dame at 91, with an international reputation for her detailed and realistic fool-the-eye works. You can see these on my Web site,, or, with biographical information, on her festival page,

At the other end of the career spectrum was young photographer Michael Jones, whose mother Mary Loventhal Jones was a high school classmate of mine. Not only does Michael take terrific landscape photos (which you can see at, he’s also articulate about his work and very personable. He’s just at the beginning of his career, which I hope will be long and rewarding.

Another gifted photographer at the show, Judy Nebhut, raised a family before pursuing her lifelong interest in the camera. Her serene and radiant work, which she manipulates through sophisticated techniques, is on view both at her personal Web site,, and at

A painter whose work particularly struck me was Camille Torchon. He (yes, Camille’s a guy) originally hails from Haiti and has exhibited his work in France. He paints brilliant, stylized scenes of an island paradise, which you can view at

After seeing these artists’ work, you might never think of Nashville the same way, either.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Makes You Laugh?

My Harlequin American in stores right now (Mistletoe Cinderella) is, in a way, a return to my writing roots--romantic comedy. My first published books were all comedies and while I've spread my wings creatively and written some more serious books now (even an out and out tearjerker) I love laughing and making people laugh. Comedy is by no means easy to write, but it sure can be fun! Of course, not everyone agrees on what "comedy" is--a fact of which I became painfully aware when my well-meaning husand recently rented a comedy for us to watch. Ugh. It made a ton of money in theaters, but apparently I was NOT the target audience.

But I think it's great that there are many kinds of humor to serve many personalities, whether you like the warm, family-driven humor of Holly Jacobs, the outrageous over-the-top exploits of Janet Evanovich, or the witty banter of Jennifer Crusie.

The humor in Mistletoe Cinderella, my second book in the Four Seasons in Mistletoe miniseries, starts off situational but evolves into character-driven comedy. The shy heroine has been placed in awkward circumstances, then made things way worse when she didn't know how to gracefully handle it and made an impulsive decision. So as the problem snowballs, how will she fix it? This is fiction of course and has never happened to me, but I have certainly been in social situations where I had no idea how to react until about three days later--when it was too late. Which is part of the reason I like writing comedy. Sometimes a social situation arises and, the next day as I'm folding laundry or cleaning the bathroom (ah, the glamorous life of the writer), I'll think of a funny comeback that would have been perfect for making people smile or defusing the tension. In real life, I'm often too late. But in my manuscript, if I think of a great line for my hero, I can always go back and add it to the scene.

So what kind of comedy do you prefer? (Or do you find a classic tearjerker and having a good cry more cathartic than laughing out loud?) What in your real, day-to-day life makes you laugh? I have to admit, although there are no children in this particular Mistletoe book--I make up for that with three kids in my August release, Mistletoe Mommy--my munchkins are comedy gold. I love seeing the world through their eyes and they make me laugh every day (a fair trade off for the moments that I'm pulling my hair out.) When I'm feeling blue, here are some of my most tried-and-true methods of chuckling:

1. Tickling my daughter. She has this amazingly deep belly laugh that is just insane coming out of a little girl and it makes anyone who hears it laugh along with her. (My sister actually recorded it and uses it as the ring tone on her cell.)

2. Comedian Bill Engvall's story about his guest flight with the Air Force Thunderbirds.

3. Re-reading Bet Me by Jennifer Cruise.

4. Watching Doris Day movies with my mom, the woman who gave me my love of romantic comedy in the first place. We love With Six You Get Eggroll, Lover Come Back (with Rock Hudson) and Move Over Darling (with James Garner).

5. Quoting the lines from Princess Bride with my first-grader. My mom gave me Doris; I gave my kids Wesley and Buttercup and "Assssss Youuuuuuu Wiiiiiiiish." Comedy. Pass it on.