Monday, February 26, 2007

Hello from Helen Bianchin

Here it is February already, and although a little late, I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful year ahead. Good health, happiness and success.

I'm currently tussling with a Spaniard who came to life in November, only to take a sabbatical until mid-February while I share-cared my daughter-in-law, Melissa, and their 9 month-old babe, Calvin, following Mel's spinal surgery. Mel is lovely and the babe the light of my life, so it was a pleasure to be with them. Life happens, and family has first priority.

The Spaniard? Marcello Martinez resides in Madrid, and is about to discover his estranged wife, Shannay, gave birth to a daughter seven months after she fled the marriage and returned to Perth, Australia. Naturally, he's going to file for joint custody and create havoc in Shannay's life. Initially applying to take his daughter for a month's visit to Madrid to meet her paternal grandmother and various relatives. Something which Shannay fights against, fails to prevent due to legal pressure, and chooses not to let her daughter out of her sight. The sparks really begin to fly when Marcello conspires to have his family believe a reconciliation has taken place ...

The story has a May submission deadline.

Meantime The Marriage Possession is a Presents release in April 2007, followed by The Greek Tycoon's Virgin Wife in October 2007.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Frustrated Hero

Having seen how Domenico, Theo and Max managed to avail themselves of their authors' blogs recently, (Kate Walker, Anne McAllister and Liz Fielding, wonderful ladies all), I thought I would take advantage of my own author's distracted state and have a few words of my own here. Boy, do I need them. I am one frustrated hero! Not that I think I am heroic, you understand, but Margaret McDonagh, my author, says I'm the hero of the book I am in. Anyway, I am very miffed at being temporarily sidelined from my quest to win back my heroine, Annie. Having been ruthlessly put "on the back burner", I have some unexpected time on my hands between shifts, so let me explain ...

Hi, my name is Nathan Shepherd, and I'm a doctor working in accident and emergency medicine. I have just moved to Scotland to take up a post in the casualty department at Strathlochan hospital, and I am determined to put my plan into action to win back my Annie. She's a feisty woman, and while she sometimes drove me mad, I loved her to distraction. Until she walked out on me five years ago and broke my heart. She has this stupid idea in her head that the split was my fault ... but it wasn't. I never wanted her to leave. We had an argument over her latest hairbrained scheme, she threw a tantrum and stormed out. Not too unusual with Annie as she was then, and I thought it would blow over in a day or two. But it didn't. She left, and hard as I tried, I couldn't find her or get her to answer my letters or take my phone calls. Five years on things have settled in my own life allowing me to focus on my own needs for once, and after searching again, I managed to track Annie down to Strathlochan.

And here I am. I need to know if there's still a chance for us or if seeing her again means nothing. At least then I will be free to move on, one way or another. So, I arrive in Strathlochan, have my first glimpse of Annie, and find I am still in love with her. It's a shock. Both good and bad. Yes, she's matured, grown up, made a real success of her career. She's just made Registrar! I'm dead proud of her. But what hasn't changed is her belief that our break up was my fault. I'm going to have my work cut out for me making her face up to the past and what happened between us, not to mention acknowledging that what we have is special - far too special to throw away. We've lost five years and I don't intend to lose any more. Then, without warning, my author pulls the rug out from under my feet. Within hours of me seeing my Annie again, she's kicked us to the kerb because she's been asked by her lovely editor - (I know she is lovely because she likes me, even though she is conspiring to torture me) - to work on some exciting new projects.

How frustrating is that? I had a few strong words, I can tell you. How could she do this to me? She knows what I have been through, knows how desperate I am to have Annie back in my life, that I still love the infuriating woman, despite everything. And she tells me to take a break, amuse myself elsewhere for a while, leaves me hanging on the edge of a precipice. It's not fair!

In the meantime, my author is off fraternising with some playboy doctor called Oliver who has more charm and looks than is good for him and who loves surfing and jet skiing and motorbikes. I think he's turned my author's head. Oliver is taking all her attention in his quest to seduce the innocent, unsuspecting Chloe. Which sounds a bit dodgy to me.

Then some Italian surgeon called Sebastiano has pushed his way in, luring my author away with his sultry good looks, sexy accent and promises of the magical island of Elba. Seb is appealing to my author's soft heart and romantic nature with some sob story about the shattering event in his life and his confusion over meeting the luscious Gina - who, incidentally, has connections with Strathlochan, too. She was born in Scotland but has Italian ancestry, hence her trip over there, but I won't spoil her story by giving too much away.

Finally, some equally suave French guy called Gabe is heading over on a year-long exchange as a GP. It seems he is also going to jump the queue and sneak in to capture Lauren's heart before I can focus my author's mind back on the most important people in all this ... me and Annie.

Not only I am on the sidelines kicking my heels waiting for Margaret to get back to me and finally reunite me and Annie, but my new colleague here at Strathlochan, Luke Devlin, who is a young orthopaedic surgeon with a history all his own, is waiting for me and Annie to get our act together so that he can tell his story. He's even madder than me at this delay! He has a longer wait, after all. And Luke really isn't a man to mess with. I hope my author knows that. There's something just a bit on the edge about Luke that makes you think there is more of the Devlin genes in his blood than he would like to think.

Luke's heroine, Francesca, is a radiographer here at Strathlochan. Some people call her the ice maiden, but that's because they don't know her very well and don't understand what her life has been like. Luke knows and it is time for him to stake his claim. Francesca is good friends with my Annie - and with Cameron's Ginger and Frazer's Callie who you'll meet in earlier books out this year. Cameron & Ginger's story, One Special Night is out in August 2007, while Frazer & Callie's story is called Their Christmas Vows and will be in the Christmas Weddings anthology. So watch out for those. You'll meet my Annie in both of them. And Luke's Francesca.

As soon as I get Annie back by my side - and back in my bed, Luke can launch his campaign to capture Francesca's heart. Seems Luke & I are both at loose ends now while these three interlopers lead our author astray. She'd better be careful. Keep us waiting too long without our women and we may just be forced to take matters into our own hands!

Happy reading - and I hope it won't be too long before we meet again.



Friday, February 23, 2007

A fine soft day

It's raining. That shouldn't surprise me, after all, in England February is traditionally known as 'February Fill-Dyke' meaning that it usually brings enough rain to fill all the dykes and ditches to bursting point. So I should expect to wake up and hear the rain spattering the window panes.

It was like this last week. I was in Ireland then. And over in Ireland they would call a wet day like this 'a fine, soft day.' That being so, we had almost a week of fine soft days - with a couple of lovely sunny ones thrown in too. I've just come back from a week spent touring the country where my mother and father were born, along with my husband and another Presents author Anne McAllister. Anne was there to do research - specific research. She wants to set a book in Ireland with an Irish hero and she was looking for the old house he would live in, the gardens that would surround it, the nearby towns he would have visited. And I was doing much the same - researching. But not in quite that specific way.

I absorbed the details of the countryside, the yellow-green fields, the sheep and the new born lambs. I noted the tiny single storey houses lining the village streets, the wonderful colours that some of them are painted - deep red, blue, yellow, green . . . And I walked round the same house, the same garden as Anne -and one day I will use many of those details in a book myself. But not at all in the same way that she will.

This time, as I walked around Ireland, I was working very hard in a way you couldn't see. I was thinking and planning and holding imaginary conversations with the new hero of my latest book - a Spanish aristocrat called Raul MarcĂ­n - and finding out more about him. There's something very stimulating about being away from the desk, away from the written page and just wandering about in a world that is so very different from the one I want to write about. It's as if the contrast between what I see and what I'm imagining works on my mind and stirs it to create. Anne went home knowing a lot more about her Irish hero and ready to write about him - and I came back with my head full of ideas of Raul and his story. A story that was thousands of miles away from the fine 'soft' days in Ireland.

That's the great thing about being a writer - if you don't like the world, the weather, the scenery outside your window, you can change it. And so I don't mind at all the fact that it's raining yet again - I can spend the day in the warm sunshine of Spain and live that experience instead of the grey dull one in reality.

But there are other reasons why being a writer can bring sunshine into your life. For me, usually Februrary is one of the greyest months of the year. Dark and gloomy and too far away from Christmas, with Spring still too deeply buried to be even hinting at appearing. But this month has been wonderful for me - not just because of the trip to Ireland but because when I came home it was to discover that my February book The Italian's Forced Bride had spent three weeks on the Waldenbooks' Top Ten listing - one of them at #1 - and now it's marked with a big red 'Sold Out' sign on That's something to bring plenty of sunshine into my life. Thank you to all the readers who bought it - I hope the story brought the sunshine of enjoyment into your world.

And then there's the new book coming up - Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride is already on the best seller lists on and it isn't even published yet.

So the skies may be grey and gloomy. The rain may be heavy and soaking, but inside I'm thinking of that Irish saying - it's a 'fine soft day' and there's the promise of more sunshine to come.

So I'm wishing happiness for all of you - what brings the sunshine into your life and drives all those dark clouds and greyness out of your life? Share some of your 'day-brighteners' with me and we'll chase the glooms away.

And if you'd like to read more about my trip to Ireland and see some of the photos I'm sharing, then visit my blog for more detailed reports.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
I hope it’s a lovely day that you get to share with someone special! My youngest has a basketball game tonight (weather permitting), so no romantic dinner here, but we went out last week for an early celebration.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a new Holly Jacobs’ romance....
LAUGH LINESby Holly Jacobs
ISBN 0-8034-9814-4
Avalon Books, 2/07
Welcome back to Erie, PA! In LAUGH LINES, the disc jockeys from WLVH radio station are MCing at a local comedy club, Chuckles. And they prove that WLVH, where love is more than just a song, still has the magic follows them into the club and...Dani Sinclair has moved home to Erie to be closer to her family and to tackle a new job as CEO at a Hamlin Texts. That first day, while trying to escape a killer-bug (running from a plain bug sounds stupid, but if you say killer-bug it makes sense) she literally bumps into Luke Miller, the owner of Chuckles, a comedy club. At Chuckles, Dani finds she’s got a talent for stand-up...and she’s standing a lot, except when she falls for Luke! Unfortunately their road to love is peppered with a few rotten tomatoes and prat falls, but like all true comics (and romantics) they keep trying until they get it right!
You can read an EXCERPT here.
This is an Avalon release, and the publisher’s main market is libraries. The books are hardback, library bound, so they’re pricey. If you ask your library to order it, you’re helping me out, Avalon out...and you get to read it! Win-win-win! LOL (Well, I hope you getting to read it is a win !)
Also, last summer’s HERE WITH ME, was reprinted in a hardback, large print version. Again, very pricey, so if you’re calling your library to request Laugh Lines, maybe you could request this one as well? Here’s the info:HERE WITH METhorndike (Hardback/large print reprint), 1/17/07 ISBN:0786292253 ************************************************************************
CONTESTThere’s still time to enter the new contest. I’m giving away a copy of last year’s NIGHT CALLS, an Avalon release. It had an Old English Mastiff in it, based on ours, who passed away last January.
UPCOMING RELEASES:Once Upon a Princess is going to be available in the US and Canada in a Spanish translation...El Juego De La Princesa: (The Princess Game) Harlequin Jazmin (Spanish), 6/07
And my first Harlequin Everlasting is just around the bend in October. This one is so very special...find out why on my website.The House on Briar Hill RoadHarlequin Everlasting Love, 10/07ISBN #978-0-373-65419-2
Wow, after a very mild December, winter found Erie, PA in January...and keeps right on finding us. We’ve got snow and it’s freezing cold! I’m so looking forward to spring. But for now, I’ve got a fire going, I’m sitting on my couch, with Ethel Merrman, our new dog, and’s not so bad, despite the snow!As always, thanks for your continued support. You all helped make December’s Dashing Through the Mall, a great seller! I so appreciate it!(PS for everyone in Erie, check out today’s paper! If you’re not in Erie...there’s an article about me on the front page! You can check it out at newpaper if you’d like!)
Happy Valentine’s!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Workshop News from Sandra Marton

Here's some exciting news!

Tessa Shapcott, Executive Editor of Harlequin Presents; Kim Young, Senior Editor of Romance; and I will be giving a workshop at Romance Writers of America's annual conference in Dallas, Texas, July 11 through July 15.

RWA's annual conference is the place to meet agents, editors and writers. It's always exciting, always fun, always energizing... and if you love to read Presents and hope someday to write for it, you won't want to miss this workshop.

Tessa, Kim and I will talk about writing and selling to Harlquin Presents, the world's best-selling line of series romance. Come prepared to get some great hints... and to ask whatever questions you wish.

I'll post time and day details as soon as they're available, here as well as on my blog, Sandra Marton... On Writing Romance, and on my website, Sandra Marton .

We're looking forward to seeing you in Dallas!

P.S. Be sure and visit my website. I've posted lots of new pictures!

Happy Valentine's Day! Annie West

Here in Australia we're a day ahead of almost everyone else, so I think it's appropriate for me to wish you all a very happy Valentine's Day. It'll be the 14th of February when I wake up. I wonder what Valentine's Day will have in store for me this year?

Valentine's Day came early here when, along with other Harlequin authors Downunder, I was invited to the annual Harlequin Australia Ball. Now, if there's an incentive for a would-be author, that's a good one. The night was fantastic. There was a lovely crowd including a bunch of garrulous authors who were clearly excited to escape from their computers and chat to colleagues. There were men in dinner jackets and bow ties (and sundry other items of clothing), there were women in satins and glitter, there was gourmet food and fine wine, snowy white linen tablecloths, each sprinkled with red rose petals and huge candelabra.
There was music and dancing (including a particularly vigorous rendition of 'It's Raining Men'!) and above all there was the fantastic setting. We took over part of the normally austere and venerable Australian Museum and spent the night discussing romance under a lofty ceiling from which was suspended the giant skeleton of a sperm whale!
They say a picture is a worth a thousand words, so if you check out the smiles on the faces of the authors who attended, you'll know we had a fantastic ball. See for some of the Presents, Historical, Desire and Medical authors who attended.

The holiday theme has continued for me with the arrival today of a package of books (what could be nicer?). THE SHEIKH'S RANSOMED BRIDE won't be out till April in the UK and July in North America, but that didn't stop me celebrating its arrival.
And in honor of Valentine's Day, don't forget the contest for readers being run from my website. It's a chance to win one of 8 books by a swag of new Harlequin authors. The good news is that it's easy to enter and that it doesn't close until the end of the month. (Details at
Whatever you're doing, whatever you're celebrating, and whoever you're with, I hope 14th February contains romance and some darned good reading!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Vote Now And Win! - Lois Greiman

Clive Owen, Antonio Banderos, or Colin Farrell.

Think this is an excuse just to post pics of good-looking guys? No way. I actually have a reason.

Here’s the deal… my third Un-mystery, UNSCREWED, just hit bookshelves everywhere. It’s the ongoing story of Christina McMullen, cocktail waitress turned shrink and her continuing relationship/battle with Lieutenant Jack Rivera, L.A.’s most sex-itating cop.

Recently, my publisher asked me to submit pictures of how I envision Rivera. And while he’s pretty clear in my mind…and dreams, he’s not easy to explain. Thus I took on the onerous task of gazing at dark, mouth-watering guys for a while in an effort to determine who best embodies Chrissy’s nemesis. So…for those of you who haven’t read my Un-books, I’ll give a quick little description of my most talked about Un-hero, and then I’d like you all to vote on which of these men best represents him.

Here goes: Gerald (Jack) Rivera is in his late thirties. He’s Cherokee and Spanish, has a couple of moldering skeletons in his closet and is L.A.P.D. down to his short hairs. He’s divorced from a woman who was way too sweet for him, (unlike the smart-mouthed Christina) has a soft spot for his Mama and his dog, is smoking hot, and stab-in-the-eye exasperating.

So have at it folks. Which of these guys best personifies Rivera? Or, can you think of someone else who might be even more sexy….errr…I mean…appropriate? Chime on in. I’m giving away a copy of Unzipped and Unplugged to one much-appreciated voter.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Greetings from Christine Rimmer


I'm a newbie here on Tote Bags 'n' Blogs. Just signed in and stopping by to say hello...

Turns out I love blogging. Who knew?

It all started for me with Deadline Diaries, a group blog with four other amazing authors: Susan Mallery, Maureen Child, Kate Carlisle and Christie Ridgway. I joined when invited because of the whole divided up workload thing. Five bloggers means a lighter blogging burden on each of us...

And then I discovered, hey. I don't really care if my blogging burden is light. I just love to sign on and start blabbing.

Then--horrors! Deadline Diaries went on hiatus. I was...blogless!

Within a week, I'd started my own blog. I can now blab all I want as often as I want. Blog heaven. Oh, yeah.

And then then the lovely Lee invited me to join y'all here. Jumped right on that one. It's so nice to be here.

Check out my trailer for my March HQN, RALPHIE'S WIVES. It's an intro on my website:

And have a great weekend,

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Whew! I’ve finally made it to My Tote Bag. It’s been on my must-do list for weeks, but the work-in progress-wasn’t -- progressing that is – and everything has gone by the board in the meantime.

But I delivered my manuscript on Monday and I’m here just in time to wish you all your heart’s desire for Valentine Day, which rather wonderfully is also the US publication date for my latest book, THE VALENTINE BRIDE.

This is the final book in a series set around the family who founded and run the fabulous BELLA LUCIA restaurants. They have been set in the US, Europe and Australia and now the moment has come for both Max and Louise, who have a rather stormy history, to confront the past, look to the future – the future of Bella Lucia and their future together.

It won’t be easy. Louise has just discovered that she was adopted and that everything she believed about herself was a lie. But angry as she is, she knows how much she owes her family and she’ll use her PR skills to help launch the Bella Lucia restaurants into a new era before she walks away to build a new life with her newly discovered half-sister in Australia. A relationship with her birth mother.

That means working with Max and the last time they worked together, he sacked her very publicly, in front of a restaurant full of diners. Right after she threw a fully loaded vase at his head.

Their relationship has always been, well, let’s listen in on them for a moment...

“Dammit, Louise, you haven’t changed one bit –”

“Dammit, Max, neither have you!” She was on her feet, in his face. “You’re still the same arrogant, over-bearing, despotic, pig-headed idiot you always were!”, explosive.

She’ll work with him. But it’s going to cost him. And she’s going to name her own price!

* * *

It was a very challenging experience to take on characters and a back story that were not my own, but part of an ongoing series. It took me a while to get to know Max and Louise and I have to admit that my first reaction on being given my story brief was that Max needed to get himself PDA and Louise needed to grow up and get over it.

But of course things are never that simple and, a writer I’m aware that people don’t always act rationally – we’d be very short of inspiration if they did! And so I began to dig for the “what’s driving them” answers. Search for the reason why Max would put the restaurant ahead of everything, everyone. To have real respect Louise for what she’d achieved entirely on her own – once Max had thrown her out of the family business. Feel her pain when she finally admits that her feelings for Max had ruined her chance of a fulfilling relationship with any other man.

* * *

This was my first “continuity” and writing with seven other authors was huge fun. From the beginning we bounced ideas of each other, talked through scenes – especially the Christmas party where all the characters were together. Louise’s bad-girl Christmas outfit was born out of an hilarious exchange with Linda Goodnight who wrote Married Under the Mistletoe – Daniel and Stephanie story.

And Ally Blake (Wanted; Outback Wife -- the story of Louise’s half sister, Jodie and Heath) and I became really close as we exchanged scenes; she sent me hers with Louise, I send her mine, with Heath’s half brother, Cal – making sure that we got the “voices” right.

It wasn’t all plain sailing. There was my big scene where Louise was talking up an upcoming royal wedding, only for my editor to inform me that the wedding had happened in a previous book. I’d checked with Raye Morgan (The Rebel Prince), and she’d left it with the Prince showing his future bride to his people. It was Teresa Southwick (Crazy About the Boss) who had them appear at that Christmas party already married, sending me back to the drawing board. This was a steep learning curve!

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat.

Brand New Websites and Books and Blogs -by Kate Walker

I meant to post this last month - honestly I did! But a lot of things got in the way. There was New Year (was that really over a month ago? Happy New Year anyway!) And there were family birthdays - oh yes, and there was a sexy Spaniard! Not in real life, unfortunately. No, this was the hero of the next book I'm writing and I had to spend time getting to know him and start to write about him - because that's another thing that distracted me - a deadline that wasn't where I thought it was going to be.

All of which diverted me from the fact that I meant to tell you that I have a brand new and beautiful web site for 2007. (Well, I think it's beautiful). I'd had the old website for ten years and it was looking a little worn. So I decided that a great way to start the New Year was with a revamp to revive the whole thing. After all, 2007 is the year in which my 50th title for Harlequin is going to be published - in July - so I didn't want a web site that looked as if it's been around all that time.

I worked with the website designers at We Write Romance and after some discussion and debate we came up with a brand new design that is, I think, warm and welcoming and very 'Presents'. I hope you'll come by and visit my new site and see what you think.

While you're there, you'll also be able to read about all the books I have coming out this year (including that 50th title - and I'll be running a special celebratory contest for that). Starting with my February release The Italian's Forced Bride which is out now and which thrilled me by flying straight to #2 on the Waldenbooks best selling romances list. A great big thank you to everyone who bought a copy to give me this wonderful result.

This morning, in my mail was a Newsletter from HMB Editorial for Modern/Presents telling me all about some new and interesting developments that are coming up for the line. I can't go public about all of them yet (watch this space) but here's something I can let you in on now.

There's a new blog in town and it's devoted entirely to Harlequin Presents novels. And as I'm assuming that many of you who are reading this blog are fans of Presents then this is for you.
It's a blog for the readers and the fans of Harlequin Presents written by some of the biggest fans of the line - the editors - and there will be plenty about the authors too. Right now Executive Editor Tessa Shapcott is blogging about the very special appeal of the Harlequin Presents line and there are lots of interesting posts coming up. So why not take a look at I(Heart)Presents and see what's going on?

Coming in April - Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride

(Guido's story)

Part one of the Sicilian Brothers duo

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Romance Writing and The Single Gal

You wouldn’t believe the number of people that think romance novels give women unrealistic expectations of love in the real world… And as I’m a single gal, it also seems to allow people to carry that misconception over a little so that they believe it also means I shouldn’t know how to write one either!!! One person recently, (who shall remain nameless to save their embarrassment and not mine you understand), when informed by a proud friend of mine that I wrote romance novels, whilst looking surprised, asked; ”Does she have much experience of romance then, I thought she was single?” Sheesh.

I guess to the former set of critics I’m the ideal example to back them up. I read these books from my early teens. In fact, I often kid my mother that her idea of sex education was Mills & Boon and pamphlets from the doctors left strewn around the house. I certainly don’t remember a sit down conversation on the subject! But rather than giving me an unrealistic expectation, I think what they did was make me believe it was possible to still find real love out there in a world that seems determined to make the subject more *practical* or worse still, more physically based. Yes, there is a certain practicality to it in the real world – but I think the fact that my characters often have to deal with some of the everyday troubles reflects how I feel on that subject. And the physical part of it is also important in the stories I tell, so that kinda tells a tale on my opinions too, even though I believe that my characters should be able to stay together when that part eventually fades. But what I believe most of all is that reading romance taught me a lot about human nature, about taking a chance when you maybe wouldn’t, about looking below the surface, and about not settling for second best when the real thing might still be out there…Which ain’t bad lessons to learn in your late teens when you think about it…

Does it mean that I spend my days waiting for a Sheikh or a Billionaire to whisk me off my feet and I won’t settle for anything less while I wait? Not so much. But then neither does reading a romance make me believe that no-one ever needs to go to the bathroom – something that never happens in a category romance. If I was that easily led then I’d have serious kidney problems by now…

My being single has nothing to do with too high an expectation brought on by reading romance, and to suggest that women are so easily led is kinda patronising, don’t you think??? It’s like in some way we have to be labelled dumber for reading romance in the first place and therefore would fall into this terrible trap…

Erm… NOPE.

As to whether or not being single means I’m qualified to write one… well… that’s like suggesting that Terry Pratchett shouldn’t be able to write about the Discworld cos he’s never been on a flat planet carried through space by a giant turtle, or Patricia Cornwell shouldn’t be able to write about the workings of a mass murderers mind because she’s never murdered someone herself! Nah – when it comes to writing romance, for me, it’s all about having an imagination, with an understanding of why people might do the things they do, a fair share of life experience to understand what they might feel at any given time - oh - and a good dose of the kind of discipline needed in order to sit down and write from the beginning all the way to the end thrown in…Being single or being married or even currently being head over heels in love has nothing to do with those things, does it?

Having said that, could this single gal have written a romance when they were given to her in her teens? No. Could she have written one before she understood what it was like to have had a broken heart or having picked the wrong guy somewhere along the way? I don’t think so. Is she less likely to find the kind of hero she now writes about because they subliminally set the bar too high for mankind in real life? Actually, when it comes to men like that not existing in my life that was a given before I even started reading or writing them - really – if you saw where I live you’d understand why…it’s a population thing…and a percentage of guys who would fancy me within that population thing… Move me somewhere with a larger population and I guess my percentages would go up… But I digress...

So, do I write better heroes because I haven’t found one of my own in real life? Well no, I know many authors extremely happily married who write gorgeous heroes!!! And do I only write them to fill a void in my life? Hell no.

Simply, I guess I read and write romance because I believe in happily ever after – which maybe means all the fairy stories I read as a child set up those ‘unrealistic expectations’ and are really to blame. Or maybe Disney Movies. Or Chick-Flicks now…But the truth is, I still believe it can happen. I think it’ll be a sad day when the world stops believing in that possibility, don’t you?

But would I give up writing romance for a real life hero as delicious as some of the ones I create on paper? Mmm… That’s a tough call… I think if he loved me he wouldn’t mind if I passed on my belief in happily ever after to a few more women. After all, believing in romance and the possibility of that happily ever after would be what made me hold out for him in the first place…Right?

So do Romance Novels make your expectations higher? What do you think?

And I'm currently running a competition to win a copy of Breathless! with details over on my Blog if you'd like to have a go! Pop over and answer a nice simple question for me and I'll put your name in the draw...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I made it! - Nancy Warren

Hi all,

I was all excited to come and join and then I discovered I couldn't log in to my blogger account. I needed my Google account. I have a Google account? It seems I do. Then I had to reset the password because I've forgotten it. You know, all this Internet stuff is a lot of work and you'd have to be Mr. Memory himself to remember all the passwords. However, I'm here at last and most thrilled to be in the company of so many good writer friends. Lee is such a great friend of romance.

I'm starting to get organized for my trip to Daytona and the official launch of Speed Dating, which is the first of the 2007 officially licensed NASCAR Harlequin romances. Hot, young NASCAR driver, Carl Edwards, driver of the 99 car, appears in Speed Dating and so, of course, the brilliant folks in HQ marketing decided to do an actual speed dating event in Daytona. Carl is confirmed to be there and he's planning to go a few rounds of speed dating. I think we'll have a blast.

I'm chatting about the book, my experiences writing about NASCAR, writing in general and anything else that comes up over at eHarlequin. I'd love to see some friendly faces. That's at

In the meantime, now that I've figured out how to do this, I plan to stop by often.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Baby Steps - Laura Drewry

Hello everyone. I'm thrilled to have Lee invite me to join this blog, but I have to admit, I've been a little hesitant to join. Why? Because the company I'm keeping is an amazing group and, I must admit, I'm not exactly computer savvy. (Yes, I use that word because it brings back so many enjoyable images of Captain Jack!)
As I'm learning the ins and outs here, I'm going to have to take baby steps, and work my way in slowly. In the meantime, I think I managed to figure out how to post my latest cover. If you like westerns. . .if you like strong heroines who don't take guff from anyone. . .and if you like a hero who's far from perfect, yet perfectly heroic, then you'll love Charming Jo.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What Day is that again? ~ Vicki Lewis Thomspon

Valentine’s Day is coming, as I’m sure everyone who reads this blog knows. So tell me, who do you think gets more goodies on Valentine’s Day, the guy or the girl?
I hadn’t thought much about this until I did a signing for MY NERDY VALENTINE and a guy came up to protest the implications of the holiday. He was being funny about it, but underneath his joking was a serious complaint. He thought all the emphasis was on what a man should do for a woman on Valentine’s Day.
If you think about the ads on TV, you’d have to say he’s right. And the ads on TV don’t mess around. They imply that nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day better than diamonds. I can’t say I’ve ever actually received a diamond on Valentine’s Day. In fact, I struggled to recall what memorable tokens I have received, and the list is on the smallish side. Mostly I get cards.
Then I started asking some of my girlfriends, and they seemed to remember doing the lion’s share of the Valentine hoopla, if there was to be any hoopla. That made sense to me. In general, women do most of the holiday hoopla, whether it’s wrapping the presents or buying and cooking the food. The other day I mentioned to my hubby that Valentine’s Day was coming up, and he said “What day is that again?”
Ask any woman on the planet and she’ll be able to tell you it’s February 14. I’m guessing this is not true of every man on the planet. If they can’t even fix the date in their heads, what are the chances they’re plotting and scheming to buy goodies and make reservations?
This could be why the ads all focus on what guys need to do for their significant others on the big V-Day. Women remember Valentine’s Day, just like they remember their mother-in-law’s birthday or the anniversary of that all-important first date. Men, not so much. They need ads to remind them.
Me, I don’t even depend on the ads to do the trick. I put my faith in Horace the Dragon. At my house, he’s always ready for the holiday, any holiday. Check him out. Cute, huh? There’s a guy you can count on. I may just ask Horace to be my Valentine this year!