Friday, July 02, 2010

Monthly Contest Winner

Congratulations to June!

June is the winner of our *June* drawing. To claim your prizes please contact Rebecca Winters and Tanya Michaels through their websites.

We're always giving away books here at the blog. Your name is entered into a drawing each time you post a comment on our blog throughout the month.

In additon to our monthly book giveaway mark your calendars for July 16th when Marin Thomas will blog about the second book in The Codys: First Family of Rodeo. Marin will be giving away autographed copies of Dexter: Honorable Cowboy as well as some fun cowboy "stuff" so be sure to stop by on July 16th for our next One Day Only Media Blitz Contest!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Wedding Bliss

So, how many weddings did you attend in June?

I went to three, but I only got to eat the food at one of them. Guess which:

1) A nurse and a neonatologist, who postponed their wedding plans after a disagreement over whether to have children, walked down the aisle at last. They had joyously resolved their differences after babysitting triplets.

2) Despite a flood and a heat wave, a wedding planner brought off her own ceremony to perfection. Two darling children escorted her to the altar, where her handsome groom – a widower she met on-line – couldn’t wait to make her his bride.

3) A hospital attorney happily exchanged vows with the surrogate mother to his baby daughter. At the reception, his brother and best man, a police officer who relishes bachelorhood, met a woman who just might change his mind.

Which of these romantic scenarios is real – hence the food – and which are scenes from my upcoming books?

The flood might give you a clue, especially if you happen to know that I’m from Nashville. Yep, that’s No. 2. Although some guests had to relocate from the flooded-out Opryland Hotel to another inn and a heat wave drove the reception indoors, my brother, Paul, and his beautiful new wife, Myrna, had a flawless wedding at the Temple in Nashville.

Myrna’s young grandsons walked her down the aisle. And yes, she really is a wedding planner at For All Occasions in the Washington, D.C. area. Judging by her own wedding and reception, I’d hire her in a minute (but my husband of 31 years might balk).

The nurse and the neonatologist made an appearance in the first book of my Safe Harbor Medical miniseries from Harlequin American, The Would-Be Mommy, last February. They finally tie the knot in book number three, December’s The Holiday Triplets.

In between, hospital attorney Tony Franco and his surrogate, Kate Evans, get their own romance in August’s His Hired Baby. Then, next February, at their wedding in Officer Daddy, Tony’s brother Leo strikes sparks with obstetrician Nora Kendall.

There’s nothing like a love story with a happy ending!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Unexpected Spark

As always happens with an upcoming release, I find myself looking forward to July, when A MOM FOR CALLIE--my second book with Harlequin American--officially makes its way into "the wild." Like all other books before it (whether mystery or romance), there's a story behind the story...the thing that said, "turn me into a story."

Virtually all of my mystery novels have come from an interesting tidbit on the radio (love those ten second stories), a tidbit that lodges in my brain and begins twisting and turning until I have the mental outline of a story. My romance novels, however, have come to me in a very different way.

KAYLA'S DADDY, my January Harlequin American, came from a lost letter (which, in all fairness, was sparked from a radio story). MIRACLE BABY, my first-ever holiday book scheduled to release in November, came from a very special ornament my agent sent me for Christmas two years ago. And, A MOM FOR CALLIE, came from a stone bridge.

A bridge?

That's right. A bridge. More specifically, a beautifuly stone bridge in Central Park. You see, a few years ago, I was going through some rough stuff in life. I'd been diagnosed with M.S. two years earlier, my marriage of seventeen years was over, and life was anything but picture-perfect.

Then, one day, while working at Borders (one of the five part-time jobs I held in order to preserve my time with my daughters before and after school), I came across a calendar showcasing various New York landmarks. I studied each page as I flipped from month to month until I came to the winter scene of this particular bridge. The second I saw it, I knew I had to go there. A month later, on my birthday, I traveled from my then home in the midwest to New York. I saw a show, shopped, ate, and saw my bridge up close and personal. And on the way out of the park that day, I purchased a framed picture of that very bridge from a street vendor.

That trip was the start of a lot of changes in my life. Good changes. And, right or wrong, I see that bridge as the catalyst for many of them. Which is why that framed picture hangs on my bedroom wall still today.

Betsy Anderson's story (the heroine in A MOM FOR CALLIE) is, of course, different. The bridge she's propelled to visit is in a small town in Illinois rather than New York's Central Park. She is a writer, too, but she has very different things going on in her life. But, like me, that bookstore calendar will change her life in ways she never saw possible.

So tell me, has a picture or a movie ever propelled you to do something you might not have done otherwise?


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Writer In Residence

My friends, Mary and Barbara, decided to ask their book club to read my April book, An Unexpected Father. They also wanted me to speak at their monthly meeting. I was intrigued—and flattered—by the idea, and a date was set.

Afterward, I had an attack of “oh, what have I done.” This group tends towards the literary. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence was their last read. How the heck was I going to stack up against him? So, I was a little nervous when I walked into Barbara’s apartment. There were about a dozen people there, apparently a bigger crowd than usual. Gulp! When it was time to start, I was pointed to a chair at one end of the room and the questions began.

From there, the evening went effortlessly. What struck me most was how interested they all were in the process of writing. We talked about the book and the characters, but more about how it got written, how all books get written. I realized that, if D.H. Lawrence had been sitting where I was, they would probably have asked him the same questions.

  • Where do you get your ideas? Literally everywhere. From the newspaper, from the internet, from the bus driver, from the grocery-store clerk, from you.

  • How long does it take to write a book? It depends on the length of the manuscript, but around five months for An Unexpected Father. I’m a slow writer compared to others I know, but what matters to me is how I feel about the results at the end of each day. If I’m happy with what I’ve written, even though it was only 500 words, then it was a good day.

  • How much time do you spend writing each day? In the best of all worlds, six to seven hours. Of course, there are the distractions of life like laundry and cooking and exercise. I confess that I’m easily tempted away from the keyboard by the offer of coffee and a pastry, too.

These were just a few of the questions the book club asked. I had nothing to fear and had a great time. I should have known: talking to people who love books is always a joy.

What questions would you ask me, if you could? Or D.H. Lawrence? Or any of the authors of the books on your bedside table?