Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cookies and Candy and Holiday Treats by Diane Perkins

I was looking on Kathryn Caskie's website, because I remembered she had this easy recipe for a Christmas treat - Quick Peppermint Bark. I read the recipe--I often read recipes--and then I didn't think of it again until I went grocery shopping.

So Kathy's recipe called for candy canes -- I bought candy canes. It called for white chocolate but all I remembered was chocolate, so I bought semi-sweet chocolate. I forgot that the recipe called for peppermint oil, but when I got home, my daughter reminded me I had peppermint essential oil in my aromatherapy kit, so I used that. Kathy's recipe said to break the candy canes into quarter inch pieces- I pulverized mine! Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly.... Kathy's (in the photo) looked a lot prettier than mine. I'd show you mine, but we ate it all. Tasted terrific!!

I am so NOT A COOK, but I did get that hankering for Christmas baking, so my daughter and I decided to make the sugar cookie recipe that my mother used to make--from my old Betty Crocker cookbook. This time I remembered all the right ingredients.
Here they are:

So, what is your favorite Holiday food? Your favorite holiday cookie? I have to admit, my favorite are the sugar cookies!


May your holiday be filled with family, friends, and lots of holiday food!

Cheers!
Diane

Sunday, December 17, 2006

CLICKING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

I've never been a big Adam Sandler fan, but if you haven't seen the movie "CLICK" I highly recommend that you watch it with your family over the holidays.

I'm not going to spoil the movie for anyone, but I will say that after watching CLICK this weekend I credit this movie for reminding me of something very important - life is what happens while you're making other plans.

In this fast-paced world we live in, I know I'm not the only one who feels as if their life is permanently stuck in fast forward. Life today runs on a much faster track for all of us. We all have careers, families, obligations that have to be met. If you're like me, most days zoom by in a complete blur.

Sad, isn't it? That life today seems to be moving way too fast?

Even worse, how do you put on the brakes?

I don't have an answer for that question. But thanks to CLICK I have made myself a holiday promise.

Instead of clicking through the holidays at my normal break-neck speed this year; instead of fretting over whether or not someone is going to like the present I got them (and I always do;) instead of agonizing because I didn't go on that diet and I know I look too fat in the outfit I'm wearing; instead of worrying that the ham is too dry, the green beans are too salty, and the pumpkin pie is too runny; instead of focusing on a million other trivial things that are SO not important in the overall scheme of things - what I am going to do is: play with my grandkids as long as they want to play without once feeling the need to jump up and clear the dishes; make it a point to tell my daughter and my son-in-law what incredible people I think they are and how proud I am that they are such wonderful parents; give my husband a big hug and a kiss every time I see him for putting up with my annoying (and too fat) butt all these years; but most of all I'm going to hit pause on my universal control long enough to close my eyes, clasp my hands, and say a sincere prayer of thanks for my wonderful family.

Happy Holidays to you and your wonderful family, everyone!

May your New Year be the best ever!

Candy Halliday

Shari's Favorite things

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is hauling up the boxes of ornaments and collectables. Over the past 35 years my husband and I have collected several boxes worth of decorations and, well, just fun things. Here are a few of my favorites.

My two children are now adults, but I kept their red felt, white fur-trimmed, Christmas stockings. I still hang them from the fireplace mantle, and there are now two little stockings attached to my daughter’s, which my grandsons think are pretty cool.

A wall hanging of a snowman in his stovepipe hat, made by my mother.

A quart canning jar stuffed full of cinnamon-apple potpourri and a string of multi-colored lights, which marvelously scents the kitchen when plugged in, made by my oldest grandson.

A nativity scene I bought when I fell in love with the joyful look on Mary’s face. Somehow the set has survived children’s slippery hands and large dogs’ excited tails – no missing pieces, not a chip anywhere. Truly blessed!

A large, yellow M&M with brown antlers and a red nose, that scolds whoever reaches into the candy dish on which it stands.

A snowman dressed in a Green Bay Packers jersey and a green and gold knit hat, that plays Jingle Bells when you squeeze his hand.

I also have a collection of angels and nutcrackers that I’m having a bit of trouble finding shelf space for this year.

Such are the things that make me smile when I take them out of the box and spread them throughout the house. I’m sure you have your favorites, too! I’d love to hear about them!

Shari Anton

TWILIGHT MAGIC, Available Now!

See the Book Teaser at www.sharianton.com

 

 

 

 

 

Traditions and Blessings

 

In reading over the past few entries in this blog, it seems there’s a theme.  Guess it comes with the time of year.  That said, I’ll throw in my two cents.  First of all, I’m being particularly intent upon counting my blessings this year.  I’ve had three very dear friends diagnosed with cancer, and man, it really opened my eyes to how I simply accept my good fortune.  Not this year.  I’m thankful for my family’s good health, for the love of my husband, for the happiness of my children, for being able to live my dream by sharing the stories in my books with others.  The list goes on and on, but I won’t bore you with the detail.  Just take a moment in this hectic season and be thankful, you never know what life will send your way next.

 

Whew!  Now on to the lighter fare – those traditions.  Actually, ours today are pretty standard; a dollar in every Salvation Army bucket we pass, cranberry salad, monkey bread, dinner with Gram.  We usually have scratch off lottery tickets on Christmas Eve … never know when the big one will hit!

 

But there are stories from my childhood that come out year after year that still make us laugh.  My younger sister (between the ages of about 3 and 7) used to do a “little Christmas play” and invite various aunts and uncles.  The stage was our living room in front of the Christmas tree (a live one with those huge old lights on it that miraculously never burned the house down).  The set consisted of several stuffed animals and a doll crib.  The cast was small: our Boston terrier (who she’d cast as a character she called “Baa-Baa Black Sheep”) and my sister with a towel on her head with a headband around it (I’m guessing she was Mary, but from the acting, I really couldn’t be sure – she spent most of her time yelling at the dog to stay put.)

 

Then there was the Christmas that my mom decided we’d foray into a few of the holiday crafts she’d seen in a magazine.  (Please note here, my mom was NOT Martha Stewart.)  We made candles out of paraffin poured over crushed ice in half-gallon milk cartons.  Those turned out pretty cool.  The ice melted and cooled the paraffin at the same time, leaving a lacy webwork of wax.  Probably one of our better crafts – well, to be perfectly honest, our only craft that didn’t draw guffaws from bystanders.

 

Then we began the papier-mâché projects.  Birds.  Really, the photo in the magazine looked fabulous.  All of the birds were painted and hung on strings.  Ours looked like something out of a horror film, frightening in their garish colors and misshapen bodies – really there wasn’t anything birdlike about them (we figured that out when we had to explain what they were to everyone who ventured into the room).  Still, we hung them proudly (since I was just a kid, I suppose Mom figured it might damage my self-esteem if they went directly into the trash where they belonged).  Our second papier-mâché project didn’t look any better – and those were just supposed to be round ornaments hung on a white painted branch we picked up from the yard.  This masterpiece was hung on the huge mirror over the fireplace, because it simply wasn’t hideous enough … we had to have it doubled by reflection.  Seriously, how can a person mess up making a bunch of balls?  At least we delivered a lovely holiday chuckle to all who visited our home.  Of course, in the warm afterglow of reminiscence, I recall them as if they looked the like ones in the magazine … and then I see the photographs.

 

I guess it just goes to show, sometimes the best memories come from the biggest disasters.  Be thankful for each and every one.

 

Enjoy your holiday memories!

Susan

www.susancrandall.net

On Blue Falls Pond, available now

A Kiss in Winter, January 2007

 

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

From Sarah McKerrigan...

Turkey. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Cranberry sauce. Sweet potatoes. Green bean casserole. Rolls. Pumpkin pie.

Every year, growing up, it was the same menu for Christmas...with the notable addition of Grandma's Frozen Salad, which was neither frozen nor a salad, but a concoction of green Jell-O, cottage cheese, pineapple, mayonnaise, and walnuts that looked like...well, you don't want to know what it looked like, but it tasted divine. Really.

In my current family, we have conflicting opinions about holiday dinners. My son pretty much detests everything on the plate except mashed potatoes and rolls. My daughter would like to have East Indian food for every meal, the hotter the better. And my husband is so attached to the food he grew up on that I almost think he'd rather I bought a frozen pumpkin pie (like Mom used to make).

You can see my dilemma. That's why, when it's my turn to cook, I try to spice up the usual fare with a "theme."

Last year we had a Caribbean Christmas, with citrus-stuffed turkey, Jamaican yam casserole, coconut rice, cinnamon-clove-cranberry sauce, and pumpkin-coconut pie. The copious leftovers grew moldy in the fridge.

Once I tried an authentic Native American dinner, complete with wild turkey, cornbread, roast root vegetables, and golden custard. No wonder those Indians in the old frontier photos were so svelte.

My most successful theme is Southwest. Living in sunny L.A., I can barbecue the turkey outdoors with sprigs of sage from the garden. The stuffing is cornbread-based, and the potatoes are mashed with garlic and cumin. I serve up cranberry salsa, chili-glazed sweet potatoes, pine-nut-laced green beans, and pepper-studded cornbread. For dessert, we have ancho chile pumpkin pie. And of course, Grandma's Frozen Salad, which is only Southwest because it's MADE in the Southwest.

What about your holiday dinner? Do you have any interesting traditions? To-die-for recipes worth sharing? Restaurant recommendations?

I hope you serve up warmth and good will, no matter what's on the table, and may your holidays be filled with kindness, humor, and cherished memories.

Best wishes,

Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007

Friday, December 01, 2006

Elizabeth Reflects on Fear of Salmonella and Other Holiday Traditions

So, Thanksgiving morning this year began as it usually does: with me standing at the kitchen sink, elbow-deep in a frozen bird and swearing.

“What are you doing?” my Youngest asked.

“Trying to find the neck,” I grunted over the sound of running cold water. My fingers were nearing frostbite stage.

“What neck?”

“The turkey’s neck.”

Youngest contemplated my epic struggle for a minute. “What’s the neck doing in the turkey’s butt?”

“Gross!” my Eldest yelled from the next room. Eldest is a vegetarian.

“I don’t know. That’s where they always put the neck.” My fingers had latched onto something. Either I’d found the neck or there was a big hunk of neck-shaped ice in there.

“Huh,” said Youngest meditatively. “Wouldn’t it be easier to get the neck out if the turkey wasn’t frozen?”

“Yes.”

“Maybe you should use hot water, then.”

“Can’t,” I panted. That sucker was good and frozen in there. “You’re only supposed to use cold water to thaw a turkey.”

“Why?”

“Because you might get salmonella otherwise.” I anticipated the next question. “Salmonella makes you throw up.”

“Gross!” yelled Eldest.

“In our family,” I explained to my only meat-eating child, “we always take the turkey out of the freezer too late because we’re worried that we’ll get salmonella if it thaws too soon. That means that we always spend Thanksgiving morning running cold water over a frozen turkey. Ah-ha!” I said the last triumphantly as I pulled out the turkey’s neck.

My youngest eyed it. “That’s a weird tradition.”

“You’re telling me.” I threw the neck into a pot to make broth for the gravy. “Now we have to get the giblets out.”

“What’s the giblets?”

“The heart and the kidneys and—”

“GROSS!” screamed the vegetarian.

So...got any holiday traditions YOU'D care to share?

PS: pic of Daniel Craig for no particular reason! Better than a turkey pic, don't you think?

Cheers!
Elizabeth
www.elizabethhoyt.com

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

I've never in my life gone shopping on the Thursday after Thanksgiving. I never saw the appeal of having my arms ripped off by an angry mob simply to fight over consumer products for a few dollars off.

Today, in the wee hours of the morning, all that changed.


My husband and I who have, for most of our lives, been nightshift workers, don't normally go to bed until 2 a.m. (We don't have kids if you're wondering how we've never had to break the habit.) This morning, instead of going to bed at our usual time, I looked over at my husband and said, "You wanna go to Walmart?" (We live in a small town and Walmart is about the only place to shop.)

The trip was initially supposed to be for Nyquil to vanquish the cold I've been battling, but once we got to the store and saw all the pallets stocked with bargains, I was in. At 2 a.m. there weren't many shoppers around yet. We got two carts loaded up, then spent the next three hours wandering around the store watching as people began to filter in By 5 a.m. the store was packed but we were the second cart in line to check out.

Actually, the whole experience was quite painless. (If you don't count spending three hours wandering around the store with a cold.) I only saw one lady act like an ass. Most people were tolerant and I even saw an act of kindness where one person who'd bought a TV just because it was a good buy, give it to someone who was terribly disappointed because all the TV's were in the carts of people who got there long before five.

We did get some excellent buys and I hope the people on my list will enjoy their gifts.

So how about you? Do you reguarly go shopping on Blakc Friday? Did you go out today? How were the crowds in your area? What makes you shop on this day? Do you consider the crowds worth the bargains? Have you seen people act terrible? Have you seen acts of kindness?

Have a great Black Friday!

Lori

Monday, November 20, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

In keeping with the spirit of Diane's wonderful post, I'd also like to reflect a bit on the things I'm thankful for. A happy marriage to my very own knight in shining armor, my three healthy, beautiful children. (Who knew two teens and a pre-teen could be so much fun?) My mom and dad who live right across the street, and who are a constant blessing in my life. My two little dogs who remind me everyday to live for the moment and love unconditionally. The success of my books, so far, and the readers who have spent their hard earned money buying them.

It's more than I had ever hoped for.

When I first began this journey, I'd spend too many hours googling myself, hungry for reviews. But writing isn't about reviews. At least, it isn't for me. It's about sharing my stories with people who enjoy going there with me, who love my characters as much as I do. Sure, there are critics. We can't please everyone. But I've been fortunate enough to have some of the most wonderful readers any author could ask for. My success has become all the more satisfying because I can share it with them. So, I'd like to send a very special thank you to my favorite ladies, or as we affectionately call ourselves, The Trollops. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you for your unending support, for always making me laugh, and for going there with me. I count each of you, a blessing.

What are some things you're thankful for?

Have a safe and peaceful holiday,
Paula Quinn
Lord Of Seduction
Dec. 2006

Thank You Readers by Diane Perkins

Thank You, Readers!

In honor of our Thanksgiving Day holiday, I just want to say a public Thank You to all our readers.

There is a special joy in hearing from readers who say they enjoyed my books. I still marvel at those readers to take the time to tell me details that they loved, lines that I had written or a certain story element. You know who you are. I thank you!

Thank you also to the readers who have not written to me. If you have purchased my book and like it enough to buy another one by me, I am happy! You are what make it possible for me to write books, because, without the profit your dollars provide, the publishers would not publish any books.

As a matter of fact, thank you to all readers of books! These days we have so many other ways of entertaining ourselves (reading blogs, for example) that there might not be as much time spent reading books. So thank you for every instance in which you pick up a book and get lost in a story, or a biography, or any kind of book!

My friend Julie always says that the reader participates in the story by picturing the story in his or her mind, by feeling the emotions conveyed in the story. You readers out there are in partnership with us authors. You are an integral part of what we do. Purchasing the books might earn us money and keep food on the table, but it is more than that. When you sit down to read a book, your mind brings the story to life and your emotions bring meaning to what we do.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

What other demands or entertainments keep you from reading books?
What makes you pick up a book instead of watching TV, surfing the Net, playing video games, etc?

Cheers!
Diane

Saturday, November 18, 2006

DEFENDING ROMANCE

Over the years I've developed a thick skin when it comes to the remarks people make when they discover I'm a romance writer.  Some remarks are funny, some are lewd, and some are just downright rude! 

But I always take the high road, smile, and let the comments pass. Personally, I don't feel I need to defend romance - constantly coming in at No. 1 for all paper back fiction sold, in my opinion, speaks for itself.

But at a party recently I was approached by a guy who had his own opinion about romance and he was determined I was going to hear it.  According to him, his ex-girlfriend was a romance junkie and her head was so filled with nonsense he could never measure up to the romance heroes in the books she read.  His comment: If you romance writers wrote about regular guys instead of millionaire moguls, princes, and sheiks, maybe women wouldn't be so disappointed in men.

Now this would have been the perfect opportunity for me to point out that maybe if he had romanced his ex-girlfriend on occasion she wouldn't have had time to read romance novels.  But I didn't.

Did I mention he was extremely cute?  And young - sigh - somewhere in his late twenties.  And adorably cocky - just the way I like my heroes!  And I told him that.  I told him I was going to make him the hero in my next book.

Amazing how quickly his attitude changed.

Cutie whipped out his business card (announcing he was a manager a Circuit City) and asked me if I would e-mail him when the book came out.  So he could send it to his ex-girlfriend maybe?  I didn't ask.

But after he sauntered off to chat with someone else, I started thinking back over my own heroes, just to make sure I hadn't been unfairly setting the standards too high for any regular guy to meet.  And I realized that all of my past heroes have more or less been regular guys: a radio talk show host; a pilot; an Air Force captain; a computer entrepreneur; a video game designer; a mounted patrol officer; a bomb detection dog trainer; and last but not least, a baseball player.

And that got me to wondering how readers really feel about heroes.  If the hero is everything a woman could want in looks, personality, and moral character - BUT he empties Port-a-Johns for a living - would he still be a hero in your eyes?  Or would you never be able to get past his profession?

Is the appeal of the heroes in romance having a great guy AND a profession you respect?  Or would a great guy hero with a not-so-flattering job still satisfy you as long as the romance between the hero and the heroine is sizzling and emotionally satisfying?

Help me out here - I'd love to know what you think.

Candy Halliday

Friday, November 17, 2006

From Susan Crandall

Wanderlust

 

Being a movie hound, I’ll go see just about anything.  That said, we just got home from the new James Bond film.  No laughing, ladies.  I have to say, there was at least equal exposure of man-flesh and woman-flesh in this one.  And I’m all about blue eyes.  ‘Nuf said ‘bout that.

 

Aside from all of the action for action’s sake, it was enjoyable.  I had to laugh at the teenage boys behind us.  They made the same noises of yearning and approval for fast cars and scantily clad women.  I have to admit, the cars were pretty cool.  But the real things that stuck with me were the settings.  Now I’m a homebody at heart.  Hate to fly.  Would rather spend the weekend in my back yard than anywhere else.  Vacations are a pain in the patootie.  But man, some of those locations really piqued my normally dormant wanderlust.  Seriously.  I adore history, so the shots of Venice made me face east with itchy feet.  And Montenegro!  Whoa.  Of course, being a Bond film, it was all luxury, so I’d need a really big bag on money to experience these locations properly. 

 

Maybe I could get a part in the next 007 movie – they’d have to take me to shoot on location, right?  Let’s see … I’m too old (and too not-sexy) for the sexy love interest.  Perhaps they could cast me as the reclusive but manipulative villain novelist planning to take over the world via some book with hidden code for mind control (humm, that plot sounds vaguely familiar).

 

Alas, I don’t have a single acting bone in my body … don’t even like to have my picture taken.  So I’m afraid I’m going to be on my own if I ever get to Venice or Montenegro.  Perhaps I should be more exotic in the locals of my books; I could at least write off some of the trip as research.  But then there’s still that hideous flight … across all of those miles of empty ocean.

 

If only someone would drug me in my bed and I could awaken in a villa on the Adriatic Sea

 

Susan

www.susancrandall.net

On Blue Falls Pond, available now

A Kiss in Winter, January 2007

 

Thursday, November 16, 2006

THE PRESERVATION OF SANITY

‘Tis the middle of November. Cloudy. Chilly. Depressing!

I know the worst is yet to come. My down coat is still in the back of the closet, yet to be worn this season, but I’m already complaining about the weather.

One of the nice things about working at home is that if the weather is really, really crummy – below zero, or snowing so hard the plows can’t keep the roads clear – I don’t have to try to start the car and go someplace to earn my paycheck. My home office is handy, and I can wear slippers instead of boots, and don’t risk life and limb to get to work. One of the worst things about working at home is that sometimes one can feel trapped inside the house, no matter how nice the house or lovely the office.

I knew I needed to take action this year to block the doldrums that can sap your energy and creativity. Oh, sure, I could go to the mall or a coffee shop a couple of times a week, but that could get a bit expensive. So, what to do to force me out of the house a couple of times a week, maybe even have some interaction with other people instead of talking to myself (a sure sign the sanity is slipping!)?

I joined the local fitness center.

Figure it this way – I can choose which three days a week to go (and thus avoid snowstorms); the people there are really nice; the exercise is good for me (and taking off a few … um, okay, more than a few … pounds would be a bonus!).

It’s been two months now, and I’m finding I truly like going to the center, and for more reasons than the ones already mentioned. The other day, as I was plodding along on the treadmill, trying not to look at how much time was still left on the digital display, from somewhere out of my subconscious came the answer to why the scene I’d been agonizing over that morning wasn’t working. When I got home, I rewrote about two pages and the rest of the scene flowed on from there.

Glory be! How cool!

So now I’ve found what I hope is going to get me through the winter season. My question is, what do you do to keep from feeling stuck in your office, to preserve your sanity? Shopping? Go out for lunch? Move to Florida? J

Shari Anton

TWILIGHT MAGIC, Dec 2006

www.sharianton.com

 

Sunday, November 12, 2006

From Sarah McKerrigan...

My blog entry is short this month. I've lost my furry best friend.

Worf sat beside me while I wrote, soothing me with his slow snores, giving my fingers something to scratch between typing, guarding me from the mailman. He was my first and only dog. We adopted him from a pug rescue when he was four. I never knew how much a part of our family he would become, nor how much his loss would sadden me.

I hope everyone reading this will give their pets a nice scratch for Worf today.

Thank you.



Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER
Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART
Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE
Stealing your heart April 2007

Friday, November 03, 2006

Research for Dummies by Diana Holquist

This is going to be a short blog, as I’m struggling through final edits for my next book, Sexiest Man Alive, due next week. And the kids have another half-day of school. Grrrr….

Anyway, I wanted to talk to someone about an itty, bitty problem I might possibly have as a novelist. Here goes: I wanted to set my first book, Make Me a Match, in Baltimore because I had great memories of that city.

Memories from fifteen years ago!

But no matter. I wanted to write the Baltimore of my memories. It honestly didn’t interest me a hoot whether or not they re-did that awful Penn Station or pushed the strip clubs off The Block. When I needed a set of steps at the Inner Harbor, I put them in. I wanted the story to flow—blast the reality. It took place in a modified Baltimore. My Baltimore. I didn’t think twice. It was fiction, after all.

I have no idea if anyone cared or not. Did it ruin the book for Baltimorians that the waitress at the real bar with the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling is thin and hates baseball? Did it bug them that the grandmother’s house wasn’t made of Formstone because no where else in the world but Baltimore does anyone know what the heck that is?

So now, as I plow through my next edits, I wonder. This book is set in NYC. I lived there TWENTY years ago. How important is it to update that city to present reality?

Tell me ---- quick! What do you authors think? Readers?

Does a novel have to be true to place or you throw it at the wall or do you give creative breathing room?

--Diana
Make Me a Match, in stores now
Sexiest Man Alive, coming fall, 07
http://dianaholquist.com

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Elmo to dogs to horses

I thought the Elmo to dogs to horses was a logical progression as I read over Lori's post on the Elmo's she'd been trying to get and Elizabeth's untrained dogs. I had to think of our six horses - trained by my husband and fed by me. As a young girl I went through usual horsey stage - dreamed of working in a stable, read My Friend Flicka, The Black Stallion Books and Black Beauty of course. I grew up with the usual romanticized view of horses and all things equine. And then we got our own horses and I realized something. The canine appelation for a contrary woman is wrong, wrong, wrong. Trust me. A dog has nothing on a mare when it comes to contrariness, orneriness and just plain mean. Oh, they're not mean to me! They wouldn't dare. My husband would have that thing on the trailer before it could so much as flatten it's ears again. Besides, I feed the darn things all winter. No. They are nasty to each other. Constantly. My favourite horse, a quiet, tame thing, my sweet horse Spook, who was always so shy and retiring was always getting beat on, kicked at, bit and chased. This was so because she was the 'new horse'. Then we got another 'new horse' and one would think that, after being on the bottom, my Spook would know what it feels like and welcome this new horse. Help him along. WRONG. She's biting and baring her teeth and flattening her ears along with the others and taking her own licks when she comes to close to the boss's feed pile. I was sad to see her bow to such peer pressure. I had really thought that her suffering would have made her more sympathetic to the newcomer's plight. I don't think Flicka would have been so petty.

Elizabeth's Three Untrained Dogs

Contest time!

In celebration of the release of THE RAVEN PRINCE (out today **HINT**) I’m having a contest at my website just for WW readers. Read—or skim, I’m not picky—this post and then hustle on over to my website to enter.

Okay, now on to serious, thought-provoking ramblings.

I have three dogs, and I know what you’re thinking—what a nutcase. I mean, WHO has three dogs? One dog is very respectable, two dogs can be contained at least, but tell anyone that you’ve got three canines and they know you’ve gone off the deep end of the pool of life and there’s not a water noodle in sight.

And it’s not as if my dogs are trained. Listen, I’ve seen those dogs that are well trained. The golden retrievers that walk docilely by their owners’ sides and never think about attacking garbage trucks. The poodles that look askance when a piece of food is somehow dropped at their feet. The spaniels that never, ever, jump on the couch, let alone the bed. Those dogs are not my dogs. I’m not certain that those dogs are even related to my dogs.

Pickle, for instance. She’s the littlest dog—a fur-challenged, overweight, rat terrier that believes with all her tiny little brain that she can attack a moving garbage truck and win. And why shouldn’t she believe that garbage trucks cower at the sight of her? After all, she reins supreme at home. Our biggest dog, Max, a eighty pound mongrel, meekly defers to Pickle—who weighs all of sixteen pounds.

Max and Pickle were our only dogs for a full year. And then we—actually I—got Fritz. Fritz is where the whole dog thing went downhill. He’s the third dog, the middle dog, the least smart dog. There’s just no excuse for Fritz. But, see, there he was, a twenty-pound, orange terrier mutt that vaguely resembled a not-too-bright fox, sitting in the middle of the puppy cages at the Humane Society. The rest of the kennel was full or something and they’d put Fritz in the smaller puppy cages and he was surrounded by incontinent babies. He sat, resigned, and a little depressed, and when I looked at him he put one paw up to the bars as if to say, for god’s sake get me out of here.

So I took him home, and sadly, I’ve never regretted it. I’m a lunatic with three untrained dogs.

Cheers!
Elizabeth
www.elizabethhoyt.com

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Win a TMX Elmo




The minute I heard about TMX Elmo, I knew he would be the perfect raffle item to help raise money for Freedom House, a shelter for battered women. It's an organization that does important things in the lives of desperate women. I've been a sexual assault first responder volunteer for Freedom House since May and I'm deeply touched by their kindness, understanding and dedication to helping others. But Freedom House is supported totally by grants and charitable contributions. Because of the lack of funding, needy women are falling through the cracks. I wanted to do what I could to help, hence, the raffle.

Just one problem. How was I going to get my hands on the hottest toy of the year? It started with a trip to Wal-mart, Target and Toys R Us on the day after TMX Elmo was released. Sold out. I went to three more Wal-marts in another town and two more Targets. No Elmo. Sigh. Got online. Nobody was selling Elmo online. Talked to store managers. They assured me that yes, they were getting more Elmos.


My closest Wal-mart told me they stocked the shelves at midnight and if I came in then I'd have a better chance. Just one problem. They couldn't tell me what day. So every night at midnight, out of the pjs and into the blue jeans I went. This went on for two weeks.

One night, I decided to blow off the Wal-mart trek. Went the next night instead.
"Oh," says the toy department clerk. "Elmo came in last night and he was gone in under ten minutes." Grrr.

Back to talk to the manager. She said they decided midnight Elmo was unfair--no kidding--and they're going to be goind 6 a.m. Elmo because it was more fair. To who? Bakers? Being so not a morning person, this is when I said, "Freedom House, you're on your own."

Then three days later, I was busying writing away when hubby comes into my office dancing the cha-cha. "I got two Elmos," he sings.

"What? How? Who did you sleep with?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?"

"No particularly, just give me the Elmos."

He never would tell me where or how he got them since I said I didn't want to know. I'm terrified to press in case he'll tell me he got them on e-bay for $200 a piece. But here's the deal. Now I have Elmo in hand and he's up for grabs. If you'd like to buy a raffle ticket, send $1.00 per chance along with an index card with your name, addy, e-mail addy and phone number to:

Lori Wilde
PO Box 31
Weatherford, Tx. 76086

Your information will be held strictly confidential. Raffle drawing will be held on Dec. 10th. and Elmo expess shipped to you just in time for Christmas.

So let's hear it. Have you ever done something crazy to get your hands on a hot Christmas toy?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And the Winners are ...

As promised in the Hero Shots blog, I’ve drawn the names for the winners of advance reading copies of TWILIGHT MAGIC!

 

Congrats to Bonnie and Crystal!

 

Crystal, I need your email address! You can reach me at sharianton@wi.rr.com

 

 

 

Friday, October 20, 2006

Project Drama

Late this summer I discovered Project Runway. I don't know why I am always late to discover wonderful things, but there it is. This week was the Project Runway Finale, the show where the final four designers- Michael, Laura, Uli, and Jeffrey - presented their collections and the winner was selected.

They were lovely, the best of what any of the designers had done thus far (except for Michael - he'd done better in the other competitions).

Here are samples from each.

This was one of Michael's dresses. I liked it. It looked comfortable.





I loved this one of Laura's. It doesn't photograph well, but it was a sheer lace dress, with tight fitting black pants underneath.













This outfit of Uli's made me gasp. It looked like an evening dress but in the middle of the runway, the model took off the skirt and it was a bikini!












And here is one of Jeffrey's, a very innovative dress.








I won't tell you who won, in case you want to see it on Bravo. They are repeating the last episodes over and over.

This show was not about fashion, but about the designers, and it wasn't really about their life stories or their work, but about their personalities and their interactions with each other. Because it was a competition, conflict was built in--they all wanted to win. And because they spent so much time together, they became a bit like a family. Friendships and rivalries developed and complex relationships. The true story was in the characters, and, in that way, Project Runway was not that much different than our books. It is the interaction among characters that really grabs the reader, I believe.

But what do you think? Is it the characters that make you love the story? Or what we call the external plot - whatever it is that is happening in the story?

And did you watch Project Runway and love it like I did? Who was your favorite character? Mine was Laura. She had class.

Cheers!
Diane

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sex!

Now that I have your attention--lol, I just want to say thank you. As some of you may know, I sold my last two Warner books based on a 25 word high concept pitch--and got interest from eight movie production companies! I'm still waiting with bated breath to see if anyone is going to offer a movie option for There Goes the Bride, but even if it doesn't happen, just to get that much interest told me I was onto something. I wrote a workbook on how to write a high concept and the response from authors has been overwhelming. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has purchased a workbook. You guys are the greatest and my deepest hope is that the workbook will inspire high concept books for all of you. I'm almost out of copies, and because of my schedule it will be some time before the second edition comes out. You can order your copy @ www.loriwild.com while supplies last.

For the readers out there, here's a sneak peek at There Goes the Bride, the book that caused all the ruckus.



Legend claims this antique Irish wedding veil
can grant your heart’s deepest desire.
But be careful what you wish for…

THERE GOES THE BRIDE

The moment Texas socialite Delaney Cartwright touches her veil, she knows she can’t go through with her wedding. And it’s not just because she envisioned a stranger’s dark eyes and irresistible lips the second her fingers touched lace. But she can’t simply call it off. This wedding to her nice, predictable childhood friend is the social event of the season (not to mention her mother would freak). So she hatches an escape plan: she’ll hire her own kidnapper. How hard could it be? After all, she already had a practice run when she abducted her fiancé for a night of romance. Okay, so she accidentally grabbed the wrong man. It wasn’t her fault Detective Nick Vinetti with the sizzling and oddly familiar eyes and crossed her path—and looked game for all kinds of sexy fun. Now, with an altar to avoid and a cop to dream on, this runaway bride is feeling for real—and hoping a little Irish magic will unveil the true destiny of her heart.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shari's take on the Hero Shot

We've talked a lot about good looking men on this blog! Thanks to all who've posted pictures! They sure do brighten a day, don't they?

I have some pictures for you, too, but in a slightly different context. As you'll see in a moment, I'm an unapologetic Lord of the Rings fan. I've read all of the books a few times, and was in love with Aragorn long before Viggo Mortensen brought him to life (spectacularly) in the movies.

Because he's everything a hero should be. Someone willing to face up to the challenge presented to him and emerge victorious. And in my humble opinion, there are at least three places in the romance novel that require a close-up view that I've come to call the Hero Shot.

One is his introduction. In LOTR we meet the hero long before the heroine emerges, which is necessary to the story. In my books, I like to do a Hero Shot from the heroine's point of view, see what she sees, which is usually yummy.



Ah, here he is. Mysterious, in the shadows, intriguing! Check out that strong chin. And he's playing with fire. Aren't you curious enough to want him to lift the chin so you can see the eyes? Oh, yes, he has gorgeous eyes.

The second "must" Hero Shot is during the love scene.



This shot makes my heart go pitter pat. There's something about their lips being a whisper apart (anticipation?) that's oh so romantic. Now don't you just know our hero is going to do his utmost to satisfy his lady? Of course he is.

The last Hero Shot is, of course, our hero as hero, facing the challenge. Naturally, because I write medieval historical romance, several of my heroes have been known to draw a sword in defense of all that matters. Here Aragorn leads an army in what is sure to be the final battle for Middle Earth.



It won't be an easy fight, but you know in your heart he can't lose!

Want more? Go to www.theonering.com and peruse the Gallery. A lovely way to spend an hour, or more. And after you're done, take a slide over to www.sharianton.com and enter the contest to celebrate the December 2006 release of TWILIGHT MAGIC, in which I hope I gave Darian some great Hero Shots.

Have a favorite Hero Shot? Tell us about it! On Oct. 22nd I'll choose 2 readers from those who comment to receive an advanced reading copy of TWILIGHT MAGIC.

Shari Anton
www.sharianton.com
TWILIGHT MAGIC, Book 2 in the Magic trilogy, Dec. 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

From Sarah McKerrigan...

I don't often stand on a soapbox, but current events have spurred me to be a little more serious than usual this month and speak my piece.
 
As a writer of medievals, I may be a little more knowledgeable about the government of the Middle Ages than the average person.  But with recent changes on Capitol Hill, soon we may ALL become chillingly familiar with the politics of the past.  There's a reason they call it the Dark Ages.  Let me give you some background...
 
In the 13th century, English barons decided the King was becoming too all-powerful, able to imprison and execute those who disagreed with him on a whim, so they drafted papers limiting his power and determining that a king was not above the law.  These documents made up the Magna Carta, which was signed in 1215.  Of particular significance is Clause 39, which states: “No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised [have property taken] or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor shall we go or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”  The Magna Carta served as the foundation for Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and due process, and is the cornerstone of our Constitution.
 
Here’s the bad news...
As incredible as it sounds, the “torture bill” (HR 6166 and S 3930) that was just approved by Congress suspends those rights!  Our President now has the authority to imprison anyone he chooses, without charges and without a right to trial, indefinitely.  I’m not kidding.  Look it up.  I don’t know about you, but as big a fan as I am of all things medieval, I have no desire to return to the oppression of the feudal system.
 
What can we do to restore our rights?  Find out how your Congressmen voted here:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll491.xml
and here:
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00259.
If they voted to take away your rights, vote them out of office in November.  It doesn’t matter where you stand on the political spectrum.  This is a non-partisan issue.  These are our personal rights as Americans, guaranteed by our Founding Fathers, and our Congressmen are supposed to be our civil servants, not our masters.
 
There's my two pence.  I hope you find it enlightening, and I hope to be able to write something a bit more uplifting next month.  May you regain your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!
 
Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER
Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART
Coming for you October 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Feed The Muse

As I sit here typing this, friendly faithful Reader, I am struck by a persistent thought.

Damn. I smell good.

No, don't run away screaming. It's perfectly to the point, I assure you. You see, we who live by the whims of the Muse have to learn to feed Her Gracious Highness Who Provides The Stories. Writers are notorious for courting their Muses--I believe Schiller used to whiff rotting apples in his desk drawer to get the creative juices flowing, and he wasn't the first or the last to do something so apparently crazy.

One of the best books on the creative process I've ever come across is Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Cameron makes a very valid point (one of the many) when she remarks that to get creative output one must have creative input. She calls it "filling the well."

I call it "feeding the HarpyMuse."

My own sources of creative food are wide and varied. I like yarns--the softer and richer to knit with, the better. I also like new kinds of food. (I had a sushi craving not too long ago that spawned a short story.) Running at the track produces its own welter of impressions and plotlines, all sorted out with the Muse's usual thorough sloppiness and thrown into the grinder. Books? You betcha. Throw everything in and stir vigorously.

Bubble, bubble, toil and plot arc.

Then there's perfume. Hence the thought at the beginning of this post.

I love smellies. I adore smellies. Scent may well be the most basic of human senses (though I'd make a good case for touch,) capable of transporting one into memory with the force of a sledgehammer. Scent has an immediacy, a basic force, that can take me out of whatever I'm doing and throw me wholesale into the past.

Wet, burning leaves? My hands begin to tingle with the thought of bloody blisters from a rake in my childhood. Sausage frying? It's Sunday at my Nana's house. Honeysuckle? Nana and Papa's back porch. Jergens hand lotion? My mother coming home tired after a shift at the hospital. Drakkar Noir? My first boyfriend, a suckerpunch to the gut of desire and fear laced with gasoline. Vanilla car freshener? The last time I made out in the front seat of Miek's car in junior high. Cinnamon rolls? Maria saying, "Eat, bambina, eat. Made special for you," in her gravelly Sicilian-laced voice.

The personal geography of scent haunts me. The world can be a minefield of smells--and it can also be a garden.

I'm currently addicted to
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents. (Sadly, Shiseido's Feminitie du Bois went out of production or something, I can't get it anywhere.) It's ridiculous. I'm hooked. They send free "imps"--little samples of fragrances--with each order, and you can make orders of imps for some illegally-low price. I tear into each package as it arrives with trembling fingers and a mouth filling with saliva. Today in my mailbox it was Djinn (it smells good on someone in the house) and a scent called Blood Countess, which I spread on my wrists and throat-pulse as soon as I leapt out of the shower after a hard workout. Now I'm whiffing myself (pardon the expression) at every opportunity.

Hungarian lilac. Opium. A hint of candy and old fustiness, like cameos kept in rotting lace by a very old crone whose hands have begun to fill out again, losing their withered claws, growing plump as she eyes her newest maid.

You see? Pure Muse crack. It's mainlining Muse food.

Take care to feed your Muse. If she gets thin and hungry the stories will grow thin and hungry too. There is no better argument for a sensual life than the creative arts. Buy some velvet. Listen to that music that makes your head spin. Go to the junk store and finger all the old lace, touch all the antique hats.

Or something. Whatever floats your boat. Whatever turns your Muse on.

Trust me, the reward is exquisite.

Damn.

I smell good.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Do You Want Your Name in My Next Book?

Okay, here’s the challenge of the day. We need a series title for my Goblet of Eternal Youth books. And we need it this week. Whoever submits the winning title will get a nice, big mention in the front of my November 07 book and will get an autographed copy of the ARC for my November book, MUST LOVE DRAGONS. The series title needs to be SHORT and PUNCHY. The books are supposed to be funny, fast-paced, a little outrageous, and full of irreverent leaders of hell, bad ass women, hot guys and plenty of good sex.

Some key aspects that could be included in the series title: The Goblet of Eternal Youth, hell, Satan, fire, bad boys, women with attitude, danger, adventure, humor, death, Underworld, Otherworld, immortality… um… anyone who has read them, feel free to jump in here…

I will post below the titles and cover blurbs for the first three books in the series to see if they inspire. I am desperate for help, so don’t hold back! Brainstorm away!!!

DATE ME, BABY, ONE MORE TIME read an excerpt

IF YOU THINK LIFE IS COMPLICATED, TRY IMMORTALITY. Justine Bennett is cursing her life. She’s the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth, she hasn’t left the house in ages, and it’s been over 200 years since she’s had sex. Oh, and the Goblet has shape shifted into an espresso machine. Not exactly the stuff grand destiny is made of…

Derek LaValle is worried. Due to a family curse, he’ll be dead in the space of a week unless he finds the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth and beheads her. Which wouldn’t be a problem if she wasn’t so sexy, smart… and ready to behead him right back.

MUST LOVE DRAGONS, read an excerpt

Single Female Dragon seeks love and good times in the big city.
Theresa Nichols is a red-blooded young woman—trapped in a red-hot dragon’s body. Then the chance for a real-live date with her cyber boy toy Zeke sends her running to Satan to strike a deal. After all, when you’ve gone without sex for over two hundred years, a night of good lovin’ is worth your eternal soul, right?

Single Male, ex-Dragon Slayer, seeks fiery sex goddess.
Zeke Siccardi is a private detective trying to live a normal life—and outrun his dragon-slaying past. Not easy to do when his sexy online paramour turns out to be a dragon with a contract out on her life. Now Zeke has to protect a woman he was born to kill. But with the love of a fire-breathing sexpot, how hard could it be?

HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME HOT

Her heart may be in the right place…but her soul belongs to Satan.

Being Satan’s most infamous minion is the only life Becca Gibbs has ever known. But now she’s restless, sick and tired of stealing souls, and ready to break free on her own. Unfortunately, this gig isn’t like any other job. Its first rule is: Walk out on the Devil—and kiss your life good-bye.
He’s a man with a mission. Too bad it’s impossible.

Nick Rawlings is the last of the Markku, a race of fighters that broke from Hell to pull for the good. When his sister goes missing, and her ransom is the death of Satan, Nick’s more than willing to take on the fight. The first step? Getting the devil’s sexy right-hand helper on his side. The second? Well, if he can take his eyes—and hands—off of her, he’s sure he’ll think of it…

Thanks again!

Stephanie Rowe
www.stephanierowe.com

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Genre Friction by Diana Holquist

When people ask what I write, I smile real big and say, “chic-lit paranormal romance novels.”

They never smile back.

See, if they’re chic lit fans, they get all turned off by the romance part. And if they’re into paranormal, the chic-lit stuff goes down hard—too light and fluffy and pink. And if they’re into romance, they’re sick to death of all those high-heeled shoes and vampires (and vampires in high-heeled shoes) and just wanna-good-love-story-for-heaven’s-sakes-why-can’t-anyone-just-write-a-decent-love-story-between-a-normal-man-and-a-normal-woman-anymore…?

Then there are the people who read my book and admit sheepishly, “I was surprised that it was, you know, good. I don’t usually read this kind of thing.”

This kind of thing? A chic-lit paranormal romance novel about psychic gypsies? No probably not…

But what they really mean is that they don’t read anything but “literary” fiction. That’s the genre of books that are well-written but kind of boring and often lost in the middle and mostly pretty sad and depressing.

Oops, there I go, genre bashing.

Then, let’s talk about sex, baby. What’s romantic and what’s erotic and what’s flat-out porn? How do you know the difference?

Wait. Forget about it. Let’s definitely NOT talk about sex.

I know I can’t please all of the people all of the time. But I wonder, what do you all think of genres? Do you read in only one genre? Do you like your books to stick to only one genre? What do you wish you saw more of? Less of? What genre do you wish existed that doesn’t yet?

Happy October!

--Diana
http://www.dianaholquist.com

Monday, October 02, 2006

Contest! by Diane Perkins

I also blog on the Risky Regency Blog, where we chat about Regency Romances and all things Regency, and I just had to tell you all about a contest the Riskies are running.

The prize? One of two 10th Anniversary Editions of A&E's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

Enter by commenting on the Risky Regency blog posts Monday (Oct 2) thru Saturday (Oct 7). Up to six chances to win!

Click here for contest details. Visit A&E's Store to learn more about the prizes. Come visit the Riskies, but come back to see the Warner Women, too.
Cheers,
Diane

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Elizabeth Wonders if Blondes Really Are More Fun

So, you may have heard that there’s a new James Bond movie coming out with a new Bond—Daniel Craig. This may not excitement you, but in the Hoyt household it is cause for general rejoicing. Bond movies are one of the few theater-going experiences my husband and I can both agree on—he likes the blowing stuff up, I like the eye candy. But apparently there is a controversy surrounding the casting choice of Mr. Craig because he is *gasp* BLOND. Everyone knows Bond is a brunette.

Actually this kerfluffle reminds me of a heated debate I had in first grade with my bestest friend, Heather, re: the correct color of Cinderella’s hair. Heather was going with the Disney version (blond,) I was advocating the Rogers and Hammerstein made for TV movie starring a very young Lesley Anne Warren (brunette.) My reasoning was that a live Cinderella trumped a cartoon Cinderella. Even now, the simple logic of my six-year-old argument takes my breath away.

But back to Bond.

Personally, I have no problem with the new Bond. I saw Daniel Craig in LAYER CAKE and MUNICH, both of which were good, if very bloody films. I particularly admired his work in MUNICH, even though I was somewhat distracted by his co-star, Eric Bana, who was nude in his first scene. Turns out nudity is a very good look for Mr. Bana.

But back to Mr. Craig. I wonder, though, if the whole Bond-can’t-be-blond thing is related to the idea that romance heroes should only be brunettes. Have you heard of that idea? I’ve actually been told that blond heroes on covers don’t sell as well as the more traditional tall, dark, and handsome guy. What do you think? Would you go for a non-brunette hero? Or should we romance writers stick with dark haired heroes?

Cheers!
Elizabeth
http://www.elizabethhoyt.com/

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One Hot Shot by Megan Crane

I have missed my posting day consistently for about three months now, thanks to a succession of Killer Deadlines.

This picture is my apology, and I believe it speaks at least a thousand words:




Gerard Butler: Good for what ails you.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weird Things

I just returned from a quaint regional book conference in the town where I was born. Loved the place, loved the people, but I did get the "you can't go home again, feeling." Not that the goat at the booksigning, or the very loud, very exuberent marching band crammed into a small banquet room while the attendees were supping on barbecue was a bad thing. It was just not something I've ever seen at a book festival.

Anyway, my contribution to the event was a talk on how I went from a small town girl in west Texas to a multi-published author. Most of the attendees were libraians and teachers, very few writers, so I knew not to talk much about the craft the writing. I decided instead to tell stories about my creative adventures. Once I got talking, everyone was fascinated, even the other writers on the panel. See, I thought all writers had these weird woo-woo experiences, but apparently not.

Woo-woo thing #1

My hero from LICENSED TO THRILL, Mason Gentry e-mailed me. Yep, you heard that right. I got an e-mail from a fictional character. I couldn't sleep one night and at 3 a.m. Got up, ambled to the computer as I'm prone to do when I can't sleep, and checked e-mail. There in my in box was an e-mail from Mason. Tenatively, I opened it up. He wrote, "Funny things happen when you google your own name. I'm glad you think I'm so handsome and sexy." Freaked me out. I closed the e-mail without responding.

Woo-woo thing #2

I wrote this suspense novel about domestic abuse that I never tired to sell. The alcoholic, wife-beating villian is named Jimmy Blue. About a year or so ago I got a fan letter from a prisoner. Guess what his name was. Yep, Jimmy Blue. I didn't have the courage to read the letter. Just handed it to my husband and asked him to take care of it.

Woo-woo thing #3

A few months before Jennifer Wilbanks, the runaway bride, pulled the stunt where she pretended she was abducted--I came up with the following concept for a book--A high-society bride-to-be stages her own wedding day abduction only to discover the man who takes her hostage was not the man she hired. I was working on another book at the time and planned to pitch the idea to my editor at Warner when I got through. Meantime, Wilbanks goes AWOL and I think my story idea is dead because of it. Loving the little high concept pitch, but saddened I wouldn't be able to use it, I put the example in a workshop I was doing on writing high concept. I mention my workshop and the high concept in passing to my editor. She was so excited by the idea that Warner offered me a two book contract on the spot and when my agent anounced it on Publisher's Marketplace we received interest from eight movie production companies. That book, THERE GOES THE BRIDE, comes out in March 2007.

Woo-Woo Thing #4

At the RWA conference in Dallas a couple of years ago, my editor had taken me and another author out to eat at one of the most exclusive restaurants in Dallas. While we were there, my editor was asking us about how we became writers, our childhood influences, etc. I told her that when I was fourteen, my best friend and I used to lay on her bed scribbling our stories in notebooks while we listened to the likes of the Beatles and Rod Stewart on the record player. (Yes, I'm giving away my age.) Suddenly, a ripple went through the restaurant and everyone was whispering that Rod Stewart had come in with his fiance. Stunned, I excused myself to go to the ladies room, but it was merely an excuse to get a peek at Rod. Disappointed that I couldn't find him, I turned to go back to the table and as I started down the stairway, there was Rod coming up. We brushed shoulders as we passed.

Woo-woo thing #5

The whole Men in Trees things is the most recent woo-woo event. Check out my post from a few days ago for that story.

Woo-woo thing #6

At the RWA conference in Atlanta, I was giving a workshop and I referenced a quote from Morgan Free to the group. Thirty minutes later I was meeting someone for lunch at the Ritz-Carlton. I arrived a few minutes early and as I waited for the person I was meeting, I looked down the hallway and guess who was walking right toward me with his escort, headed for the restaurant. Yep, you got it. Morgan Freeman.

Woo-woo thing #7

Okay, this is the big one. In my book Mission: Irresistible, the hero is an archeologist. For the plot, I needed for him to to have found the remains of a mummy in Egypt. I realized no one had found any artifacts of consequence in the Valley of the KIngs in 80 years, but I thought, let's just pretend. So I had him find the remains of a mummy named Kiya near King Tut's tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The book was published and right afterward, they found a new tomb near King Tut. But wait, weirdness does not end there. This summer, archeologists finally were able to get inside the tomb and indentify whose it was. They believe the tomb belonged to King Tut's mother and her name was, drumroll here . . .Kiya.


So am I weird? Do I have special intuitive powers. Or do other writers and creative people have these experiences? I'd love to hear from people who've experienced something woo-woo. Come on, let me hear from you.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Missed my day ... again!

But I did it on purpose this time, as opposed to my sieve-like brain just letting it slip through.  I decided since no one had been assigned the 22nd, I'd post my contribution to the blog today.  Why?  Because it's my birthday!  What birthday you ask?  Let's just say I'm older than Jennifer Aniston, but younger than Susan Sarandon (not real close to either, BTW).  I was born the same year as Disneyland and McDonalds ... does that make me the same age as Cinderella??  An interesting thought.
 
Anyway, I'm posting today because I want to tell everyone out there that it's never too late to chase your dreams.  I started my first career as a dental hygienist ... at the same age as most folks do when they graduate college.  I didn't begin writing until I was 36.  And to be perfectly honest, I didn't have much of a clue what I was doing.  They beauty of that was, I was blessedly ignorant of that fact.  Hey, I'd been an avid reader for my entire life; how much more did I need to know?
 
As it turned out the answer to that question was quite a lot.  But, as I had no computer and no contact with other writers, I plodded along in my blissful state, writing happily while my children were at school.  At that time, I actually thought the most difficult task ahead of me was actually finishing a manuscript.  Little did I know....
 
Then came the time when that manuscript was finished and began my search for a publisher.  Now here's the kicker.  You see, I've always been a high-achiever, the girl who made the As, the one at the top of the class (well, at least in the top ten), the one who succeeded in everything she went after.  And then came the rejection letters. <dramatic music here>  OUCH!
 
But, ever the perseverant, I marched forward, buying books on the craft of the novel, trying in vain to find a writing group near me who was interested in more than sitting down and doing free writings about stars and grass and other things that really didn't contribute to my novel writing knowledge (I'm not saying these exercises aren't helpful to some, just not to me.  You see, I'm all about not wasting my words.  If I put them together, I want them to work for me.)  And I began to look at the books I was reading differently, study them, how did the writer suck me into her story.  And then I did the thing that opened all kinds of doors for me, I wrote a letter to Diana Gabladon.  I mean, wow, after reading OUTLANDER, who wouldn't aspire to peek into her mind?
 
And then, (see my great storytelling skills here?) a miracle happened.  She called me.  She was kind and witty and so generous.  It was Diana who put me on the track of the two sources that finally, finally made this writing stuff all begin to gel -- RWA (Romance Writers of America) and the Compuserve Writers Forum.  Oh my gosh, there were so many people out there doing what I was doing.  And, even more surprising, were generous with their suggestions and mentoring.  Man did my learning curve improve!
 
Unlike Cinderella, Diana wasn't the fairy godmother who delivered my prince that very day.  It still took several years and lots of hard work.  But it did happen.  I sold my first book in 2001 (to Warner).  I was 46.  So, in effect, I began my second career at that "advanced" age.  I'm working harder now that I ever have in my life, and I love it.
 
I always worried that I started too late.  By my friend Jenny Crusie assured me that most romance writers are published in the fortyish arena.  Maybe she's just telling me that to make me feel better.  I do feel like I have to make every day count, to produce quality material and not mess around.  But, by golly, I'm so glad to be doing it.
 
So, everyone out there who thinks your ship has sailed and you're still standing on the dock, go ahead, jump in the water and swim after it!  You never know where it'll take you.
 
 

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Men In Skirts by Paula Quinn

While I certainly can appreciate the elegance of a man in a fine suit, I prefer my men in skirts. Everyone has a favorite part of the opposite sex's anatomy. Eyes, mouth, Mr. Purfoy's nose, etc. I love a man's legs. Shapely calves and muscular thighs just do it for me. Needless to say, I'm thoroughly enjoying working on my next book, Laird Of The Mist, where bare legs abound.

The kilt that has now become the standard dress for all "Highlanders" was developed in the nineteenth century and has its origin in an older garment called the belted plaid. (Personally, I prefer the belted plaid. It's one piece and comes off quite easily.) Men in skirts? It's nothing to smirk at. Highland "dress" (pardon the pun) was chiefly suited for war. In George Buchanan’s History of Scotland published in 1581, he describes the Highland dress this way:
Their ancestors wore plaids of many colours, and numbers still retain this custom but the majority now in their dress prefer a dark brown, imitating nearly the leaves of the heather, that when lying upon the heath in the day, they may not be discovered by the appearance of their clothes; in these wrapped rather than covered, they brave the severest storms in the open air, and sometimes lay themselves down to sleep even in the midst of snow.

Ladies, we're talking rugged men here. I have nothing against the well-groomed metrosexual , but I'll take the man in the skirt. But which one should I choose? I don't know who this guy is, but really, do we care? Lovely thighs. Ah, Mr. McGregor. Love the name and the killer singing voice. Rob Roy MacGregor. Don't know which is more beautiful, the man or the background. This gorgeous man, and I do mean GORGEOUS is Chris Capaldi, Scottish Rugby player. I had the extreme delight of seeing this man strut his stuff on Tartan Week in NYC. Let me tell you he knows how to work the crowd. He has a part in Laird Of The Mist, and will have his own story after that. These are the only pictures I can find of him on the net. If anyone knows where I can get more, let me know. Yes, they're all wonderful, but I will have to pick.... He has it all, legs, eyes, voice, smile, and a really nice kilt.

Man in Soccer Uniform

Here he is, Paula! Chris Capaldi!

Cheers,
Diane

Men in Trees, HA!

I've got to tell you Men in Trees is so similiar to my books from Harlequin called The Bachelors of Bear Creek, I have to wonder if someone in Hollywood wasn't doing a little filching.

In the first book, my heroine who's a journalist is on a laptop on a plane and discovers her fiance is cheating on her. She goes to Alaska to do a story on bachelors desperate for women. There's a quaint little inn and a radio station and tons of hunky men.

The heroine of the third book thinks she's a hooker (it's a long story.) Plus the heroine of the second book is a lot like Marin's fan who just showed up in Elmo.

The similarities are staggering. Even the raccoon--okay in my book it was a Huskie, but he served the same purpose the raccoon serves in the TV show.

And this week they're having a bachelor auction. Guess what's in my book four. Yep, bachelor auction.

I was robbed! So I'm getting a campaign going. To capitalize on the popularity of the show and the similarity to The Bachelors of Bear Creek--I'm asking readers who would like to read about Alaskan bachelors to write Harlequin at customer_ecare@harlequin.ca and tell them you'd like to see The Bachelors of Bear Creek reprinted. Do this, e-mail me that you e-mailed Harlequin (loriwilde@aol.com) and I'll send you a free book from my backlist. I'd send the Bachelors books but I don't have many left and they're out of print.

Men in Suits by Diane Perkins

While Candy has been watching TV (grin) I've been busy finishing up the revisions of my next Warner book, Desire in His Eyes. No time for Men in Trees but there is always time for Men In Suits.
Here's the man who started it all. Beau Brummell.


I've been reading the Ian Kelly biography of Beau Brummell. See my Risky Regency Blog.


















In writing that blog I stumbled upon the news that James Purefoy played Brummell on a BBC special. Apparently there is a scene of Brummell completing his morning dressing ritual including bathing......(Showing not only his nose, Elizabeth!)











Interestingly (to me, anyway), Brummell felt the perfect silhouette for male fashion should be taken from ancient Roman statues. James Purefoy was in the HBO miniseries Rome! Ironic!

Beau Brummell never sat for a portrait so we only know what he looked like from sketches. The sketches all seem more like caricatures to me, though. I'd like to think he really did look like James Purefoy.





Before Brummell's influence on fashion, men dressed like this.





(see Brummell in the middle? Ha! How could you miss him!)










Of course, since I write in the Regency period, I tend to love Men In Regency Suits. This is Lord Grantham and I think he is pretty hot!





















Here are two other Men In Regency Suits





















Of course, Gerard Butler in a suit is pretty hot, too!












Cheers!
Diane