Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

It's a day early but my blog is nearly a day late since I was busy getting ready for a Mother's Day celebration tomorrow. Like Linda, I also think of my mother as my hero. She raised seven kids. Sometimes I struggle raising two. :) I don't know how she managed -- even with my father's help. Since I come from a big family, our celebrations are big! Lots of cooking and cleaning required beforehand -- neither one of them being my favorite thing to do. I'd much rather be writing. :)

My May Harlequin American, ONCE A HERO, is the second book in my Citizens Police Academy series. I've always been partial to lawmen heroes. What's not to love about a man who's sworn to protect and serve?

I came up with the idea for this series when, a few years ago, I joined my city's citizens police academy. I learned so much about law enforcement -- mostly that it's nothing like most television shows portray it. Most times it's a tough, thankless job that takes a special person to want to do it. (Kind of like being a mother. :)) I think for most police officers that it's more a calling than a profession -- something the person not just wants to do but can't not do. Kind of like being a writer. :)

If your city has a citizens police academy, you might want to sign up and get some insight into the people who've sworn to protect and serve you. Like me, I'll bet your appreciation will grow for these impressive heroes.

Tomorrow is all about honoring those other special heroes in our lives -- our moms! So I better get back to my party preparations. I will check back in to the comments to draw a winner for an autographed copy of ONCE A LAWMAN, the first book in the Citizens Police Academy series. Let me know what special things you're doing for Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day & Happy Reading!
Lisa Childs

Friday, May 08, 2009


This month we’re talking about heroes, and since Sunday is Mother’s Day my thoughts are drawn to my mother. She passed away in 2000. Sunday I will be a little sad, but I’ll remember all the things about her that made me laugh. Made me wiser and a better person.

One of the things I remember most was her courage in an era when men made all the decisions and controlled the money. My parents grew cotton, corn and raised cattle in rural Texas. My mother worked as hard as my dad, but her name wasn't on their checking account. She wanted her name on that account. My dad said no. He’d give her whatever she needed (This was in the sixties). That didn’t suit her. She said if she couldn’t write checks then she was getting a job and making her own money. My dad kind of laughed at that. But that’s exactly what she did. There was a lot of quiet around our house during that time.

One night my dad laid a piece of paper on the table with a checkbook. My mother’s name was on it. She stood up for what she wanted and got it. I admired her courage, and her dry wit always made me laugh. When we disagreed, she had a way of making me think. Usually by making up stuff(Guess I got that creative gene from her).

Here’s some of the made up stuff when she didn’t want me to do something (She never said no. She let me make the decision – kind of):
(When I wanted to buy red fingernail polish)
If you paint your fingernails red, it will make you look cheap. (How cheap could a twelve year old look? But it was effective)

If you color your hair, you’ll look like a hooker. (Geez. I was sixteen and just wanted to get my hair frosted.)

(When I started dating) Never date a guy to spite your mother. That’s just rude.

If you lie to your mother, you’ll tongue will turn green. (My brothers and I looked at our tongues in the mirror a lot.)

If you curse, you’ll get you mouth washed out with soap. (My dad said my oldest brother had a bar of soap named after him.)

My favorite—(Right before I was leaving for college this was her sage advice.) Now you’re going to meet a lot of guys, but before you even think about marriage, take a good look at the fellow’s face and ask yourself if you want to see that mug across the breakfast table for the rest of your life. (Of course I laughed, but I thought about it with every guy I thought was the one, which is what she wanted me to do.)

So here’s to mother’s everywhere who guide us through life with wisdom, humor and a little guilt thrown in for good measure.

So, yes, to me, my mother is a hero. How about you? Any thoughts about your mother?
Caitlyn’s Prize – July ‘09

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Favorite Heroes

Heroes are vital to a romance book. For me to love a book, I have to fall a little bit in love with the hero. Back in the olden days of romance books (when my nanny read them to me in my crib, lol), the heroes were silent Alpha brutes who mostly infuriated me. But the heroines were doormats, so maybe that's what appealed to readers then. For myself, I cried till Nanny threw them against the wall for me. (Is anyone buying I was that young? Oh. Well, I tried.)
Did y'all note in Shelley's post about heroes on Sunday, her first hero listed is her dad? My friend has a H.S. freshman daughter who has to do an English project gathering pictures and writing about her first love (really, I don't make this stuff up), and she's writing about her dad.
Maybe that's why I love writing the "Hero as New Father" character. In The Fake Fiancee, the hero gets involved with a woman who has two children--children who don't like him at first. Now, I could have written him not caring, as his relationship with their mom is a business deal, but that's not a guy I'd want to be with. So Joe takes on the challenge of becoming a Dad. I haven't written a baby-on-the-doorstep type book (yet) where two people are instant parents of a newborn/toddler, but I love that idea. There's something so manly and appealing about a guy falling under the spell of a child. Something so masculine and romantic about a guy crooning lullabies or walking the floor with a cranky baby.
Becoming a parent changes a person, man or woman. I believe it always makes that person "more," that parenthood adds dimension and depth to his or her basic character. I hope everyone feels the same, as I love writing about new dads. My husband, btw, is an awesome father. When we were dating, we babysat my sick niece, who almost immediately vomited chicken noodle soup all over him. His calm response and loving reassurances to the four-year-old distraught girl assured me he'd be the perfect dad for my kids. And he is.
Yes, it's almost Mother's Day here in America, but I'm tipping my bonnet to the fathers of the world. Here's to you.

Megan Kelly

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It's Author News Day!

This month we’re sending out a big, warm welcome to three new authors who are joining the blog—Pam Stone (15th), Lisa Ruff (27th), and Laura Bradford (29th). It’s wonderful to have you aboard, ladies! We're sure your readers will love getting to know you as much as we have.


This year’s Rita finalists have already been announced on the blog, but some things truly cannot be said too often. THE RIGHT MR. WRONG (Feb. ‘08) by Cindi Meyers and TEXAS HEIR by Linda Warren (Sept. ‘08) are finalists in the Rita Series Contemporary category. Congratulations to both of you!

THE RIGHT MR. WRONG (Feb. ‘08) by Cindi Myers was awarded a Reviewer's Choice Award from RT Magazine for Best Harlequin American romance of 2008.

Linda Warren’s TEXAS HEIR (Sept. ‘08) won The Lories Best Published Contest in Series Contemporary, and ALWAYS A MOTHER (June ‘08) won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in Series Contemporary. TEXAS HEIR is currently a finalist in The Desert Rose Golden Quill, and ALWAYS A MOTHER is a finalist in The Desert Rose Golden Quill.

FAMILY BY DESIGN (January ‘08) by Roxanne Delaney is a finalist in the short contemporary category of Oklahoma RWA's National Readers Choice Awards. Winners will be announced at RWA's National Conference in Washington, DC in July.

FOREVER HIS BRIDE (Aug. ‘08) by Lisa Childs is a Golden Quill finalist, and FINALLY A BRIDE (Oct. ‘08) is a Write Touch Reader's Award finalist. The cover model for Lisa's ONCE A HERO (May ‘09) is none other than Justin Ryan of Colin and Justin’s Home Heist, a hit show on Canada’s HGTV network.

Kara Lennox is teaching a month-long online class called "Aim High, Shoot Straight: Setting and Achieving your Goals as a Writer." The class, hosted by the Yosemite Romance Writers, started Monday, but if you sign up any time this week you shouldn't have any trouble catching up. The cost is $25, and you can sign up by clicking on the Yosemite Romance Writers link above.

Cathy McDavid is...well...a little embarrassed to announce that REAL MEN SELL BRAS (Five Star Books ‘03) won the worst cover contest last week at Riding with the Top Down.

Cathy says the competition was stiff, but she managed to squeak by with a near landslide!


A COWBOY’S PROMISE (May ‘09) by Marin Thomas

Dear. Ms. Thomas,

This is the second novel of yours I’ve read and I’m just as, if not more, impressed. Realistic setting, believable characters, conflict that is centered on the hero and heroine and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, two young children I adored. I think I need to go take my temperature after writing that last bit.

So, mark this day down as one for the ages. Jayne adores two toddlers in a romance novel. Maybe I’m being sucked into Harlequin’s baby centered world at long last? Hmmmm. Nah, I think it’s just Rose and Lily who charmed me in this charming story. ~Jayne at Dear Click here to read the full review.

Mark Your Calendar

May 8—Trish Milburn is guest blogging with Petit Fours and Hot Tamales

May 10—Check out Cindy Meyers’ author interview here on the blog

May 12—Harlequin American Romance release day! Four great new reads. Check out the covers in the sidebar.

May 25—This will be our next news day on the blog. Be sure to stop by to find out what’s “news” with the Harlequin American Romance Authors.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Update on the Orchard Mason Bees

Happy May, everyone!

Back in March, I posted about the orchard mason bees my hubby brought home from the nursery. I never thought they’d hatch, but two weeks ago, they did. At last! (And since I bet my hubby $.50 they wouldn’t, I owe him…)

They’re tiny, with blue bodies, and non-aggressive. With plenty of fruit and other blossoms everywhere, they’re very busy. Now I know where the expression “busy bees” comes from.

Time will tell if we actually grow peaches. I’ll let you know sometime this summer.

A Father for Jesse July, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

We're Trying Something New-- Authors' Favorite Recipes

Who doesn’t love a great recipe? Since many of us Harlequin American authors love to cook, we thought we’d share some of our favorite recipes with you. Starting today, we’ll post a different author’s recipe the 4th of every month. Let us know what you think–of the recipe, or anything at all.

This month's recipe comes from Marin Thomas.

This is one of my husband's favorite suppers that my mother made for him before she passed away. Serve with freshly baked rolls and a salad.

Bake three to four chicken breasts, cool, cut up into pieces. Or if you're grilling chicken throw a few extra breasts on the cooker and use that chicken the next to make this meal.

Chop 1 white onion and fry in butter with 1 small carton of sliced mushrooms until dark brown.

Cook 1 ½ boxes of spaghetti noodles

In an extra large bowl combine the following and mix well with whisk:

2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can full of milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 package of dried Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Salt and Pepper to taste (I use McCormick's Peppercorn Medley Grinder and Lawry's Garlic Salt)

Fold chicken pieces, mushroom & onions, and noodles into the mix.

Use cooking spray on bottom and sides of a large baking dish and spread mixture in dish. Top with 2 packages of 8oz mild cheddar cheese and bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until the cheese is brown and crusty around the edges.

Marin Thomas
Samantha's Cowboy (August 2009)
A Cowboy Christmas (December 2009)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

What Makes A Hero?

This month, a lot of the Harlequin American authors are going to be blogging about heroes. We’ll be writing about firemen and CEO’s, cowboys and soldiers. This theme has had me doing some thinking about the heroes in my books…and the heroes in my life.
While we’d all agree heroes are people who triumphantly save the day, get the bad guy, or save someone from a burning building, most men I know haven't done too many of those things.
But they're heroes to me, just the same. They've made my life better and happier. Those types of men are usually the kind of heroes I write about, too. I love writing about decent, hardworking, kind men. They’re the guys I’d want to know, or work with, or live near.
So here are some men who’ve been real heroes to me over the years:

• My dad, of course, who took me to college, planned my wedding, and cried when he held my newborn son.
• My husband who makes me laugh, talks up my books, drives me around in the snow, and always washes my car for me-since I have a weird car wash phobia.
• My son, who always kills spiders in the house,carries heavy things for me, and makes a big deal about Mother's Day because he knows it makes me happy.
• Mike, our insurance guy, who came right out when we had a mini-flood eight years ago and my husband was out of town and wouldn’t answer his cell phone.
• My son’s wrestling coach who made my son listen…even when he didn’t want to.
• Grant, one of the pastors at our church. Somehow he’s made ‘going to church’ something that all the high school youth want to do.

I know I’m not alone in knowing a bunch of heroic guys. Anyone have their own hero at home? In their neighborhood? At their grocery store? This month is the perfect time to remember them. Tell us who your personal hero is! I, for one, would love to read all about him.