Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Georgie Lee won!

Georgie Lee,

You won the ARC of ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY. To claim your prize, just send me your mailing address to

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!


Monday, September 24, 2007

What's the Deal With Adultry?/Book Giveaway

Okay, I'm a writing teacher. I teach online a new class every month at called Romance Writing Secrets. These students supposedly love romance and claim to read, read, read it. And yet, every single class there are a handful of students who turn in assigments where the hero and heroine are cheating on their spouses with each other.

Argghhhhh! Each and every class I have to lecture them that adultry isn't sexy and you know what? They disagree with me. These people are supposed to be romance readers. I can count on one hand the number of romance novels I've read where the hero or heroine committed adultry. Actually, just one. Sandra Brown's Texas Lucky. But well, she's Sandra Brown and she handled it really, really well.

So is it just me? Am I a prude? Is there really something sexy about adutry? Because honestly all I can see is hurt and pain and suffering. I can't see anything sexy about it all. My personal take on adultry is if the marriage ain't working, either go for counseling or get out of it. Don't screw around. That's petty and hurtful. But once again, that's JMHO.

What about you? Do you think adultry in romance is somehow thrilling? Is the allure of the taboo worth the pain affairs cause? Is adultry ever acceptable? Would you read a romance where there's adultry? Can you think of a romance were the hero or heroine committed adultry and it was handled well?

I need help coming up with ammunition against the hero or heroine of a romance committing adultry. But I also want to know if you think. Am I small minded and off base on this? I don't want to be out of touch if this is a trend. Although I seriously hope this hasn't become acceptable behavior.

Anyway, I'm interested in hearing what you have to say. To thank you for your help, I'm giving away an ARC of my next book from Grand Central, ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY. Weigh in by Thursday Sept. 27 for a chance to win.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Congratulations to Karen Rose!!!

Karen Rose's latest romantic suspense novel DIE FOR ME has hit the New York Times printed bestseller's list at #20!!!

Congratulations Karen!!! Woo hoo!! All of your fellow Grand Central Publishing authors are raising a glass for you! Cheers to a wonderful book and continued success!!!

Check out Karen's chilling book trailer for this exciting bestselling book!

Learn more about Karen and her books at!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's in a Name?

The hard labor is over. It was touch and go for a while, but at last my book has been born. A nice, healthy 450-page tome with one man, one woman, and a happy ending.

Now if I could only come up with a name for my new baby. Something better than "Contractual Obligation #4."

You would think that someone who could write an 85,000-word novel could come up with two or three more words to slap onto the cover, but it's not as easy as it sounds.

I've had seven books published, and not one of them bears a name I chose. Title selection is obviously not my strong point. And believe me, I'm not one of those people who would name a baby Apple or Moon Unit.

I suppose part of the problem is it's hard to be objective about one's own writing. I'm not sure if my books are darkly dramatic or lightheartedly funny. To me, they're both. I just write what I like. But I'm sure my publisher has some clear ideas about how they want to market my books.

My last three books were dubbed "Lady Danger," "Captive Heart," and "Knight's Prize." I like those titles. Okay, so "Knight's Prize" had neither a knight nor a prize, but no one seemed to mind, and it sounds so deliciously medieval.

The perfect title would encapsulate romance and adventure and drama and humor, wrapping it all in a swirling cloak of chivalry. Now, try doing that in under 25 words. Oh, and make sure it hasn't been used by another author in the last decade.

Of course, as soon as I start brainstorming with my family, everyone gets silly. Since my hero is a lawman who presides over the gallows, and my heroine is a scam artist, I come up with "Lord of Penance." My husband hears "Lord of the Pants," which starts up a rousing rendition of "Riverdance." "Master of Shackles" is too kinky-sounding, so my son suggests "The Fluffy, Pretty, Nice Lady Story." When my daughter offers up "The Neck-Snapper's Bride," I inform them I no longer need their help.

For a minute, I even resort to the Romance Novel Title Generator online. Don't bother, unless you want your next book to be called, "The Well-Becoiffed Werewolf" or "The Bedevilled Thighs."

I like "Sleight of Heart." So does my editor. It's romantic and suggests the heroine's profession. It doesn't sound strictly medieval, but I'm not sure how important that is, since the cover art will reflect the setting. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be aren't crazy about it. I'm at wit's end. Hmmm..."At Wit's End."

Sigh. "Contractual Obligation #4" is looking better and better all the time...

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Join the Slacker Club

Or perhaps I should call us Slackers Anonymous?

Hello, my name is Susan and I'm a Slacker. There. I've said it.

I openly admit to letting the duties of daily life slip by while I indulge in a novel that makes me feel way better than cooking or clean clothes ever did. I DO sit at my computer and polish my fingernails instead of writing. I munch Cheetos instead of exercising. I elect to sweep up the dog hair when it reaches levels that threaten our health, instead of routinely brushing the dog. I sit on the swing in my back yard and listen to the crickets when I should be unloading the dishwasher. I have to put in twenty hour days as my book deadline approaches because I wanted to spend more time thinking about my story than writing it.

But to be perfectly honest, I don't really think I want to do anything about it. I like being a Slacker. (Ooh, so Slackers Anonymous probably wouldn't be the best choice after all.) Since my children are grown and my husband should be able to take care of himself, none of my slackerness affects anyone but me.

That said, I'm going to try to eliminate my one slacker-activity that might affect other people. I started this new policy a few weeks ago, and so far, I'm sticking with it. I, the self-admitted Slacker that I am, will not use drive through windows. I will not sit in the ninety degree heat letting my car engine run, burning up gas and polluting the air to get my Diet Coke. I will not clog up the line at the drive-thru pharmacy when there are mothers with sick children needing to pick up medicine. I will actually locate a parking place (which are normally within fifty feet of the door I need to enter) and drag my lazy self out of the car and walk inside.

The results have been surprising, really. Not only do I feel better, I sometimes make it in and out before the guy who was ahead of me in the drive up line at Starbucks even gets to order his coffee. I admit it. I'm feeling pretty smug as I leave with my latte.

Now don't get me wrong. I intend to stick with the rest of my Slacker ways ... at least for now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Summer reading . . . and beyond by Andrea Pickens

Though summer doesn’t officially end until the middle of September, this past weekend traditionally marks the end of the season. I always find it strange how talk of reading seems to fade along with the suntans. The hype of “beach books” and “summer reads” only happens in for three months . . .as if we don’t turn the pages in other months.

I’m not a big one for roasting in the sun anymore, so sitting in the sand isn’t my idea of how to enjoy a book. I’d much rather curl up in front of a cozy fire. I also find the shorter days of winter also are more conducive to reading than summertime, maybe because as a child I would read late into the night with book and flashlight hidden under the covers. But that said, I don’t find that the seasons affect my reading habits at all. I read rain or shine, hot or cold, light or dark.

So I’m wondering: does anyone else have a favorite season for reading? Does anyone NOT read during certain times of the year? And does the season affect your choice of subjects

Monday, September 03, 2007

Vampire Romances, Serpent Princes, and the Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist

There's been an interesting discussion on the Grand Central author's loop about whether or not there really are serpents in Elizabeth Hoyt's Serpent Prince. The answer is, more or less, no. If you've ever read any of Elizabeth's Prince books (and if you haven't, you should go out and read one of them immediately...), a fairy tale accompanies the main story as chapter headers and this fairy tale just happens to concern a man who can change himself into a serpent.

In other words, don't be afraid--even if you are afraid of serpents. It'll be okay.

Now me, I'm mostly afraid of vampires. But since vampire romances are the hottest thing since, well, The Serpent Prince, every so often I try to read one. I started with a Maggie Shayne classic. Big mistake. SCARY. The dude, the hero, was frightening. Or was it just that I'm a big, huge-o wimp? It's okay, you can tell me.

So, I went straight to Mary Janice Davidson. These are light, funny vampire romances. (Light, funny vampire romances--read that sentence slowly...) But still, I was grossed out. There was all this biting and blood kinda just, you know, casually in the background. Why can't I get past this? Because as Maggie Shayne is a great suspense writer, Mary Janice Davidson is FUNNY. Yet still, I couldn't read the things.

My new release (one month away...!!!!), Sexiest Man Alive, is about a woman who is afraid of sexy men. She can't go near them. So when she finds out that a Gypsy prophecy says her One True Love is People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, she's in big trouble. She has to overcome her fear. She has to risk everything to find out if this man is the man for her.

So, I guess I should go for it too.

What vamp romance should I read? I just tried Bite Me by Lyndsay Sands and had to stop after the heroine is covered, crusted even, in blood for the first 50 pages. Ewwwww.....!!!!!!

I'm afraid. Very, very afraid.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


So, my third book, The Serpent Prince, is out today and really you ought to stop reading right now and go and buy it.


Okay, then.

Every now and again readers ask me how I come up with ideas for books, and while I usually don't have a more coherent answer than, "I was staring into space one day and the idea came to me," with The Serpent Prince I actually have something more concrete. Sorta.

Like many writers I was a voracious reader as a child. I loved science fiction, mysteries, and of course romance. I read so much that sometimes I ran out of new books to read. It was during one of these dry periods that I picked up what looked like a very dull book in my middle school library. The book was cloth-covered with no illustration on the front. In fact, the only thing that decorated the old, faded book was the title: Scaramouche.

Now, if you’ve ever read Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini (or seen the movie staring Steward Granger) you will know that it is very far from dull. The book is full of duels, despicable villains, secret identities, and romance, all set during the French Revolution. I loved that book!

But one thing bothered me. During one of the most exciting parts of the book, the hero calls out a series of men in succession and kills them in duels. Make no mistake, these are villainous men. Sabatini has made sure to tell us that they deserve their fate. Still, I was troubled by the fact that the hero doesn’t seem to have any self doubt about basically murdering several men.

I thought of that paradox when I wrote The Serpent Prince. What if a moral man—a good man—felt he had no choice but to revenge his brother’s death by dueling the murderers and killing them? What if he knew full well that what he did was murder…and he did it anyway? What would happen to the soul of such a man? And what would the woman who loved him, but hated what he did, do?

Pretty nebulous, huh? And yet I wrote a full book about these ideas. I hope you enjoy it!