Thursday, October 29, 2009


With Halloween (in the US), fast approaching, I thought it would be a nice treat to interview one of the characters from my paranormal romance ILLUSIVE FLAME, just in time for this holiday.

Dara: Can you please introduce yourself to everyone?

Ms. Spenser: My name is Janet Matilda Spenser, but my name doesn’t really matter, because you did not invite me here to speak about myself. You want me to talk about my niece Victoria.

Dara: What did you know about your niece before she came to visit you?

Ms. Spenser: I knew I was taking a risk by having Victoria come and stay with me here in the States. But she had no one, no family, back in Jamaica. I thought she’d have a better chance with me. After all, I had settled well and had a fine job at a grand estate as a housekeeper.

Dara: What was so different about Victoria that concerned you?

Ms. Spenser: Before I met her I knew about the whispers and the mystery that surrounded her. I knew about the fire that killed a man and those who thought she might have started it, but I didn’t believe them. I trusted her gift. Or is it a curse?

Dara: Why would you call her gift a curse?

Ms. Spenser: She has this funny gift…you people call an empath. She can sense when a fire is going to happen or has been started by arson.

Dara: Did her ‘gift’ scare you? Were you concerned if your boss found out?

Ms. Spenser: Yes, but no. What I mean, was that as long as she kept it quiet I did not worry about it being a problem. The main thing I was concerned about was my employer learning about Victoria’s temper. Since she was a little girl, she’s had an explosive personality and would say whatever came to mind!

My employer, Mr. Robert Braxton, is a very smart man and an arson investigator. He’s a man of science, and at first wasn’t impressed with her claim. After a bitter divorce he was suspicious about a lot of things, not just her so called ‘gift, but also love. But the moment I saw him with Victoria I knew that putting out fires wasn’t the only thing that would bring them together….

Find out more about Victoria & Robert’s story at:

What paranormal gift you would enjoy having?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tennessee, Here I Come -- Michelle Monkou

Winners announced: Linda Warren and Linda Henderson, you'll be enjoying a fun pack from the Gaylord Opryland.
My general complaint of late is that my brain has a slow leak and my memory is escaping. Thanks, Lee for the nudge that today is my day to blog.

Here's the thing, I'm hard at work preparing for the Romance Writers of America's board meeting in November. That's not the interesting part. The fun part is that I'll be at the Gaylord Hotel in Opryland, Nashville, Tennessee.

I've never been to Tennessee. Well, that may not be correct. I may have hopped off and on some flight or the other to get to another part of the U.S. But I'm looking forward to the trip. From what I've heard about the hotel and it's six acres of covered property, it sounds like I may spend all my time simply wandering the hotel grounds.

If any of you have traveled to Tennessee, are from Tennessee, or done some research on Tennessee, please share memories, tips, or things that make Tennessee special.

I will grab a handful of items - I promise to pay for them - from the souvenir shop for a random winner (or two, you never know). I'll select the winner on November 1.

BTW, RWA's national conference and 30th anniversary will be celebrated in July 2010 at the Gaylord in Tennessee.

Michelle Monkou

Trail of Kisses (Feb. 2010) - pre-order available at online sources.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What is in a Word? Tons!

A week or so ago on Facebook, I asked a question that comes up for the middle-aged, unmarried man or woman who has a partner, a significant other, a lover, a sweetie, a honey, a "man, a "woman," a ball and chain, a companion, a "roommate."

What word to use for that said person that doesn't sound stupid.

When I was in the hospital recovering from surgery and basically not truly all there, a nurse and I had the following conversation. He looked at Michael, who was standing next to my bed, and asked, "Who is that."

I blinked. "That's Michael."

"No," the nurse said. "Who is he?"

"Michael," I said again, certain that I was still under the influence of dilaudid. "My Michael?"

The nurse--obviously used to dealing with drugged out people missing body parts--said patiently, "No, who is he to you?"

"Oh," I said. "He's my boyfriend."

And there I was, a forty-seven-year old woman with a boyfriend. The good news was that I fell asleep right after that and didn't have to contemplate the word for a while.

But for a few years now, I've had issues with boyfriend as it makes me feel so, well, young, and not in the good sense of young. Immature. Unformed. Slightly nutty, really, the old lady with her boyfriend.

It's not that I'm wanting to get married so that I can use the word husband, which has its own trials and tribulations in the culture. It's just the would boy-friend.

Michael is not a boy. And he's not just my friend. The word does not work.

In high school, I loved to say the word, using it whenever I chanced to actually have a boyfriend.
"Oh," I'd say. "My boyfriend is taking me out tonight."

Or, "My boyfriend and I are going to the movies."

Anything, anything, to get that would out into the air. I was wanted by this one boy (and he was a boy, literally, by definition of age). We'd become a couple. We did things together. We used the words to create a box around our relationship. It meant something.

I moved from boyfriend to husband by the time I was 23, and used the word husband for 23 more years, even when we were separated. Husband indicates a marriage. Indicates--at least in most states where you have to be of age--adulthood. It indicates family and togetherness and home. It's a solid word, however patriarchal you might find it. It's a word that makes sense, even if the marriage falls apart.

Now, I'm back to having a boyfriend. Worse, I'm a girlfriend. Not a girl (lord, ask my mirror about that) and not just a friend. We've been demoted to childhood status by the names we call each other. And my Facebook friends couldn't come up with anything that made sense to me, but we were all trying to use the existing lexicon.

For all us middle-aged and older folk who date, who love, who form relationships, I call out for a word that works. You can't use anything old. It won't work. Work on it. I know I will be. And if you come up with anything great, let me know ASAP!
I'm also flush again with copies, so if you leave a comment (a damn boyfriend name!) and write to me at, I will send a copy of either Believe in Me or The Beautiful Being to the first 5 folks.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blogging for Holly Jacobs

Hi! I know Holly Jacobs is supposed to blog here today, but she spent the weekend at the New Jersey conference and is recovering, so I offered to come here on my morning school break to blog for her.

So, let me introduce myself. I'm Eli Cartwright. Eli is short for Elinore, not the guy's name, long-E 'lee.' I'm the heroine in Holly's November book, UNEXPECTED GIFTS. Now, she won't tell me exactly what happens in the book, so I can't give you many clues about the story, but I can tell you about me.

I'm in my early forties and I teach at the high school and run the teen parenting program in Whedon, PA. Whedon, PA is a fictional town, just like I'm a fictional character. (Yes, I know I'm fictional...Holly might not tell me what happens, but she has been honest about my fictional status, though frankly, I feel real!) Now, anyone who reads Holly's books knows she sets a lot of them in her hometown, Erie, but Holly has volunteered for years in Erie's teen parenting program, so she opted to create a program for me in a fictional town located just outside Erie.

So, back to me. I'm a teacher. I date a nice man named Arthur. He's older than me and dreams about retiring and writing the next great American novel. I have a great house, just bought my dream car--a Mini Cooper! I have a great friend, Tucker. She was the first teen parent I ever worked with. There was no program here in Whedon, so I inadvertently created one! It's challenging work, but very fulfilling.

Holly's going to come in and post my book cover...I'm not allowed to see it. She says it will give me a big clue about what's going to happen. And since she's been watching Flash Forward, she using that as proof that knowing your future isn't a good thing.

So, what about you? If you had a chance to know the future, would you chance taking a look?


PS Holly gave me my own Facebook page...if you'd like to be a friend, I'd love it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Still Mooning Over My Brand New Cover

I had all kinds of things I wanted to talk to you about.

What a great show Castle is, for example. What's not to love about Nathan Fillion? And Richard Castle is the coolest writer ever!

Especially when he's reading a really, really good book I happened to love myself.

But the truth is, I can't bear to pass up one more opportunity to show off the gorgeous new cover for my first Harlequin Presents, coming out in February:

Isn't that pretty? There is not one part of that cover I'm not in love with. That's just how I pictured Luc Garnier, the ruthless hero, and that looks just like Princess Gabrielle, my heroine-- sold by her father into an arranged marriage with this hard, determined man.

I had so much fun writing PURE PRINCESS, BARTERED BRIDE. I got to make up a Mediterranean kingdom, for one thing, which involved a whole lot of gazing at pretty pictures online. And I got to pretend to be a modern princess, faced with high stakes dilemmas and far too much to lose. Far more glamorous, I assure you, than my usual day to day life around the house--which usually involves decisions about which chores to ignore, rather than any conflict between, for example, duty and desire.

But I also love this cover because it represents the culmination of a life-long dream. I've been reading romance novels for decades. I've loved along with countless heroes and heroines, stayed up reading until I was gritty-eyed and useless the following morning, and rushed to the bookstore to get an author's next book mere moments after its publication because I couldn't bear to wait another second to be sucked into their worlds. I've moped around the house for days after some books ended, because I could have happily lived in those pages forever. I sometimes daydream about the daily lives of couples in books I read long ago. My keeper shelf is... much bigger than a single shelf. (A book case? A library?) Romance novels have saved me on occasion, healed me, changed my way of thinking, and made me conversant on numerous historical periods I never studied in school. All while delivering happily-ever-afters that make me cry, laugh, and breathlessly demand that others read them right this minute.

And now I get to write my version of these books I love so much, and share them with you.

With that lovely, lovely cover.

You can feel free to pinch me anytime!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Can Go Home Again : : Anne McAllister

Hardly a writers' conference goes by -- or a library talk or an article in a newspaper or magazine -- that doesn't somewhere contain the sentence, "Where do you get your ideas?"

People who don't write -- and sometimes even people who do -- seem to want to know that more than they want to know anything else. Except for how much money we make!

I think it has to do with the 'mystery' of writing.

It seems like it should be easy because we've all done it, haven't we?

Everyone over the age of six has written a composition about what they did on their summer vacation or about their favorite pet or, if they are like my youngest son, they write fabulous adventures using every gun every known to man because he spent his youth devouring Gun Digest.

So it should be simple. Everyone should be able to do it.

But they don't. Because the ideas aren't the hang-up, when you get right down to it.

We all have them. Ideas for books have, to be honest, come from things I've done on my summer vacation. They've been inspired by places I've been, songs I've heard, fortune cookies I've opened. They've been infiltrated by my favorite pets -- and several other peoples' pets as well. (Hi, Sid!).

And if I haven't got all the guns known to man in my books yet, well, it may be just a matter of time -- or genre.

The ideas are the easy part. You just use what you know, what you remember, what you feel, what you're interested in. You find the story in it -- and you've got a book.

Well, sort of. But that's the basics. Even though, after 63 books, I find myself digger deeper and deeper into what I know so I don't use the same stuff over and over again.

Still, I do use it. When I wrote my newest book, One-Night Mistress ... Inconvenient Wife, I needed a place that was upscale and yet not really glitzy. I dug through my mind for what I knew -- and I ended up going clear back to the beginning and basically 'went home again.'

I grew up in Manhattan Beach, California. While I spent summers (those well-used vacations that got me through nearly 20 Desires and Special Editions and a single title!) in Montana and Colorado, I spent school years on the beach of So Cal.

And even though Manhattan Beach changes regularly and quickly, some things about it don't change -- The Strand, the pier, the broad walkup sidewalk streets, and most of all, the informal beach-oriented lifestyle.

It's an upscale community now compared to when I grew up there. You do pretty much need to be a millionaire to live on The Strand these day.

So it was a perfect place to put Christo, my hard-driving lawyer hero, because it gave him the beach on his doorstep so he could kick back and relax and go surfing when he wanted to (see how useful growing up on the beach was?). It was an equally good place to stick Natalie because it was his turf and she was out of her depth.

I went home again in my mind a lot while I was working on the book. I also called my friends who still live there and picked their brains about how things have changed. (Writing is good for maintaining friendships).

Of course, 'going home again' to a location wasn't enough to get the book from my brain to the page to the bookshop. Books are more than settings and ambiences. They require a lot of bits and pieces that make up the patchwork. Occupations, families, backstory, emotions.

Which are simply more types of going home. I needed to reconnect with other friends and relatives, too -- one in Brazil who helped me with Christo's Brazilian father and grandmother, and one in Pennsylvania, a lawyer cousin who on a daily basis kept Christo from getting disbarred.

I borrowed the name of one of Robyn Donald's granddaughters. I borrowed someone else's cat. (No, not you, Sid!) I moved a house from Hawthorne to Torrance. I played fast and loose with few things from my own emotional baggage. I threw in a sand castle and some body surfing, a rainstorm I remembered all too well, a wedding with fairy lights, and, especially, a beloved grandmother.

I went home again, physically and emotionally -- and I went to a few other peoples' houses, too. And I wrote a book.

It's the same process every time I write one. And I never quite know until I'm actually working which memories, which facts, which emotions, which bits and pieces are going to be the ones I'll need.

It's the joy of writing -- getting up every morning and discovering where I'll go and what I'll use today.

How about you? Do you go home again? Have you written about it? Where do you go in your head?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Grandma and the Prince - Part 12

<==Grandma El and me, one month after Grandpa Bert's death

I'm embarrassed. Very embarrassed! I knew that sooner or later I'd totally blow a blog date and this is the day.

I'm typing as fast as I can . . .

* * *

I always wondered why my Grandma El jumped from her early years in America to the time immediately after my Grandpa Bert's death but it never occurred to me to ask her.

Isn't it always that way? We never think to ask the important questions while the people we love are still alive. I thought I'd have plenty of time and, to be honest, I did. I just never suspected I was only seeing the tip of our family iceberg.

Now on to Grandma El's story, in her own words:

Mona walked out on me after Grandpa died. Just like that. My own daughter. I bought a tv and I wouldn't come out of the apartment in Forest Hills. Your mother was just three weeks away from having you and they were crowded, what with your uncle and grandfather living with them too. Three men working different shifts, four rooms, a pregnant woman. She worked hard, your mother did.

Your father saw I was failing and he took me to see Doctor Florsheim. I'll never forget it. Doctor Florsheim took my hand and he said, "You're in a bad way, Elsie. You break a leg, I can heal it. But I can't heal your heart."

[NOTE: I made some inaudible comment here.

Children are children, my dear. They can’t feel the same things you feel.

Doctor Florsheim said, "Have you got anybody you care for? Someone you can live with? You need someone who has children to help take your mind off your loss."

"My brother has five boys," I said, "but he lives in New Jersey."

"Could you ask to live with him for awhile?"

"I couldn't," I said. "They have their own troubles."

"Just ask," said the doctor. "What can it hurt?

So I did. I called up Cass and I asked. I told him and without any hesitation he said, "Why, of course, El. Come over here. You tell me when you want to come and we'll have your room ready."

"What about Arlene?" I said. "Please ask Arlene."

He laughed. "She's been wanting to invite you for months."

So I went over there without anything.

I remember when Mona walked out on me – just befor Mother’s day, a few weeks before Dad died. I had that apartment where I was paying 75 dollars. The landlady was so sorry for me that my own daughter would walk out that she cut the rent down to 65. "Why don’t you get somebody in with you?" she asked. But it wasn't my way.

I took care of your grandfather down on Beekman Street at the hospital, all alone at night with the derelicts on the floor, on the ground. Nobody was with me


So all on my own now, I put an ad in the paper and sold my dining room, two big bedroooms, fireplace, solarium, breakfast room, dining room. It was a beautiful apartment. I kept the double bed – Cass said bring the bed. I brought my double bed. They gave me a cot in the boys' room the first night – two young boys. Bobby and Tommy, they were maybe 10 and 11 then. I had the little cot; they had the double bed. Charles and Jackie in other double bed in their bedroom for me.

A few months later I went back to Queens to see Doctor Florsheim and that's when I met your mother's father. I still felt so alone. I kissed your mother goodbye and your grandpa Larry said, "I’ll walk you to the subway," and I got on that subway and I saw all these couples, husbands and wives together – I was all alone; I had no one – it was Decoration Day. Do they still have Decoration Day?

I went over there. They were very nice to me.

I was there about a week when Arlene decided seeing I’m there she’d get a job. Her sister told her to get a job at some silver place. She’d leave at half past 8 – kids all in school – while I did all the washing, hanging, cooking, ironing, cleaning.

I offered them board but they said no. I didn’t have anything then. Just Grandpa's insurance- 1000 dollars -that’s all I had to my name. At the end of the first week how fate plays a part – Arlene came home and tossed the newspaper on the table. Cass wasn’t looking at it. We were sitting there after dinner. "You know," she says, "I have to go up the street to get a couple of housedresses. Want to take a walk with me?"

This was my moment. "You know, Arlene, how about me looking for a job too? I think I’d like to get one, a part time job."

"Doing what?" she asked.

"What I used to do: a saleslady."

So we look at the paper and I see Mr. Feldman's ad for the Annette Shop. Sales lady, part time, three days a week.

Arlene's jaw drops. "That's where I'm going tonight!"

My dear, these things happen.


Note from Barbara: Just remember that nothing is quite the way it seems in Grandma El's story. Keep in mind that she was Marie Barone with an English accent with a touch of Machiavelli thrown in for good measure.

See you next month . . . on time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I've Priced Myself Out of the Market

I can no longer afford to be me. At least not the me I wanna be.

All those luxuries I've added to my life over the years—the highlights, the pedicures, the nice nails--were all rooted in a little dabbling here, some experimenting there. But now they've become needs, adding up to more than my limited budget can tolerate.

The hair coloring began innocently enough, ages ago. As I sat with my hair cooking in a bath of chemicals to achieve that "natural" wave my Irish setter-like hair lacked, I stared across the salon as a mousy-haired woman transformed from caterpillar to butterfly with just a bowl of colored paste, a handful of foil, and an skilled hairdresser. While I ended up with yet another bad poodle perm, this woman was leaving the place looking like a million bucks.

"Oooh, I want that," I told the girl doing my hair, pointing at blondie. Maybe my stylist should've kept mum, cause I soon "divorced" her in lieu of the one who did good color, and--realizing that God invented hair coloring for a reason--I became a devotee for life (or so I'd hoped). I justified the quarterly expense, because I'd have been paying for the poodle perm anyhow, so I just traded one set of chemical costs for another. But no one told me the older I got the more I'd need to "use." Yeah, like a junkie with an expensive habit, this four time a year gig needed yet more upkeep. It didn’t help when a drunken guy at a party called me out on my emerging roots while towering over my scalp at the bar, waiting for a drink he clearly didn't need.

"Whatsh with the giraffe look?" he slurred, pointing at the definitive color change at the top of my head as he spat in my direction, unable to control his spittle.

"Um, I think you mean skunk," I snarled, wishing I had the moxie to toss a drink in his face for his rudeness. Nevertheless, I took the hint: I could no longer conserve cash by holding out on highlights a few extra weeks.

Then came the pedicures, which started innocently enough. And took on a great urgency after considering my husband's grandmother's feet. I'd be lying if I said I didn't recoil in horror just a bit the first time I saw Grandma Jo's untamed honkers, feet that clearly had not seen a day of maintenance in at least a generation. After regaining my composure, I duly vowed to never neglect my feet till they crusted up and had to be jammed awkwardly into orthopedic shoes like hers. Surely a pedicure could help to avoid such a downward spiral.

Little did I know that the older you get the more a regular pedicure is essential for both body and spirit (okay, maybe in a vain and superficial way).

Then came the nail gels, which started innocently enough. A couple of years ago, my daughter tried to quell a nail-biting habit by getting gel nails, which are impossible to bite. When she began sporting attractive fingernails like you'd see on a hand model, I couldn't stop the nail envy that crept in, because I'd always had weak, wimpy nails. An added bonus? That wonderful nail-tapping ability I was sorely lacking in my life. So I got a little hooked.

Then came the brows (to avoid the brow-less look), which started innocently enough, at the behest of a neighbor. My eyebrows are fair (proof I really was once blonde), and so you can barely see half of them, leaving the other part to look like Hitlerian mustaches perched above each eye. The results of that first brow tint were, uh, eye-opening, like a mini stitch-free face lift. Cue the waxing, which really did become a necessity as my middle-aged vision deteriorated--who can see to tweeze those tiny stray hairs above your eyes if you can't wear reading glasses? And then my eyebrow expert suggested the eyelash tinting. I was a skeptic. But not keen on mascara. In fact, you know I've gone all out if I show up at your event with mascara on. So the idea of dark and luxurious lashes without annoying mascara was very tempting. And wow, what a difference! Is this starting to sound familiar? I won't even get into the gym habit at this point. Suffice it to say it's hardly in my limited budget.

I actually have a serious point to convey while poking fun at my vanity. My expensive habits make me especially sad for so many other people, and not because they might soon witness the unadulterated (i.e. more like Grandma Jo) me. But because my costly indulgences are superficial ones. So many others these days who once could afford groceries, mortgages, even health insurance are having to make hard decisions—like whether to "splurge" for food or shelter--in order to keep their lives together. I've seen them waiting patiently in line at my church's food pantry, and lined up for dinner when I help with meals at the Salvation Army.

So while I hate having to make choices that mean I might not be the me I want to be on the outside, I remain mindful that these are small sacrifices by comparison to many others in these tough economic times.

Of course the hard choice now will be whether I want to more resemble a giraffe, or Grandma Jo.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

(Trying to) Write a Heroine with Universal Appeal - Sabrina Philips

(Trying to) Write a Heroine with Universal Appeal
and how it reminded me to live in the moment...

When I sit down to plan a new book, there are certain questions I keep asking myself. Whether the story potentially has universal appeal (that elusive 'global voice'), is one that I ask particularly frequently. The reason being, aside from the fact that it's an essential part of Harlequin Presents, is that when I read a romance, I imagine myself as the heroine, and when I write one, I do the same, only even more so. As a result, I always have a slight fear about whether I might be writing a heroine only I can relate to, a sort of fictional version of myself, when I really want to be writing a heroine that as many women as possible can relate to.

It was a concern that arose particularly when I wrote my latest release, Prince of Montéz, Pregnant Mistress. I didn’t expect it to. The planning was very pragmatic. In my first two books, I’d shied away from writing love stories in which the hero and heroine haven’t met before the start of the book, convinced it was more difficult to show really deep, believable emotion in the short word count of a category romance if it wasn’t a reunion story, but I made up my mind that now I would give it a go. Plot wise, I decided that the best way of showing just how deeply attracted my heroine was to my hero from page one was to have her acting uncharacteristically (i.e. going to bed with him) early in their relationship.

However, another one of the questions I keep asking myself is Is this believable? and I decided, that even if my heroine met a drop-dead gorgeous man who she desired more than anyone she’d ever desired anyone before, she still wouldn’t go straight to bed with him unless she had good reason to act so recklessly. A reason like being in a highly emotional state already…

And so I decided to put my heroine (who at that point had nothing more than a name: Cally Greenway, and an occupation: art restorer) in a situation which would be a catalyst for her acting so out of character. And so my opening was born: it’s the night of the most glamorous art auction in London and a top gallery have promised her the job of restoring her favourite paintings the second they’ve won them at auction, but to Cally’s horror, they’re sold to a mysterious telephone bidder and she loses out on her dream commission!

In order to make the stakes even higher, I realised Cally would need to have everything riding on that moment for her to be so devastated when it falls through. I saw that she’d need to be the kind of woman who’d been working solidly to achieve her career goals, and that part of her emotional journey during the course of the book would need to be learning to chill out and live in the moment.

Which was exactly when I also realised, as I looked up from my computer screen in the middle of a Sunday night as I stressed about my plot and longed for the moment this book would be written and my deadline met, that entirely unintentionally I had invented a heroine who was a sort of fictional version of myself. (I was also a bit bemused that my own fictional character had just made me take a long hard look at myself!).

As well as making me take stock and realise that I needed to stop being so goal-driven and remember to enjoy the process of writing (something I'd started to forget in the exciting, chaotic and challenging months since 'the call'), I was also suddenly afraid that I’d egotistically created a heroine who would only appeal to me.

However, by chance, the following day, my fears were allayed. In my day job arranging wedding registrations, I often have to check any readings that couples have chosen to be part of their ceremony. My colleagues handed me one they had already checked to take a look at, because they thought it was particularly beautiful. It was The Station Essay by Robert J Hastings, a piece I’d never seen before. When I read it, I was both deeply moved, inspired, and relieved. Because by complete coincidence, it not only summed up exactly what I wanted Cally to learn in my story and what I could do with remembering, but it seemed to strike the same chord with everyone who read it.

Which was the reassurance I needed. I wrote Cally exactly as I had planned, and whilst she does remind me of myself, I hope everyone can identify with the need to live in the moment a little more too.

If you get a chance to read Prince of Montéz, Pregnant Mistress, I’d love to know if you saw a little bit of yourself in Cally, but for now, I urge you to read The Station Essay. I can’t reproduce it here for copyright reasons but you can read it here: Please post below and let me know if it strikes a chord with you too! I'll give away a signed copy of Prince of Montéz, Pregnant Mistress to one lucky commenter.

Prince of Montéz, Pregnant Mistress, is out in the UK in November 2009 and North America in January 2010.

For another chance to win a copy of the book and some L’Occitaine goodies, please visit the contests page on Sabrina’s website

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pictures & Other Images... Christina Hollis

Every writer gets a real thrill the first time they get their hands on a copy of a book they’ve written. My initial Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon, The Italian Billionaire’s Virgin, had extra special meaning for me. The cover picture of Antonio the hero looks just like my husband did, when we first met!

When I saw the cover of the Italian version of Count Giovanni’s Virgin the other day, I got another lovely surprise. The building that appears in the background behind Katie and Giovanni looks very like the house in which I grew up. The lighting and all those beautiful flowers make it feel so real. It gives the place a genuine sense of home.

Homes and gardens play a big part in my books. The heroine in my most recent Harlequin Presents title, The Tuscan Tycoon’s Pregnant Housekeeper worked in a luxury villa with a romantic garden that was ideal for secret meetings after dark. My next Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon, The Count of Castelfino, sees heroine Meg arrive in Italy to take on the job of her dreams. She is in for a shock, as new count Gianni is intent on making big changes and throws all her carefully laid plans into chaos.

Recently, I ran a competition on my website, asking for your favourite flower memories. I had so many lovely entries it was almost impossible to choose a winner. First out of the finalists’ hat was Jeanette from Ontario in Canada. She told a wonderful story of the man who would become her husband presenting her with a perfect single red rose over a romantic dinner for two. Jeanette preserved the flower as a unique memento of the evening, and now has many more lovely keepsakes in her collection. Little things like that really keep romance alive.

Autumn has arrived in earnest in my garden. As well as appreciating the fiery tints of cherry and blueberry leaves, I’ve been planning ahead by planting Brompton stocks, pansies, wallflowers and sweet williams to flower next year. As the nights draw in there’s less daylight time for gardening, but I’ve discovered a new indoor pastime to keep me going. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been tweeting on as ChristinaBooks. I have a quick tweet most mornings – it’s great fun! Although there is no substitute for meeting someone face to face, technology provides us with lots of different ways to ‘talk’ to each other. What is your favourite way of keeping in touch?

Writing takes up most of Christina’s life but there’s also time for fun with the family in the fresh air- especially at the moment, as it’s ‘Walk to School’ month. You can check up on their progress via ChristinaBooks on For more news of Christina’s books, drop in at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Empathy - Donna Alward

I was talking to my sister recently about Empathy. My sister is a romance reader and of course sister to an author so it meant we really approached the subject from similar points. We were talking about being able to feel what others feel, and feel it deeply. It's a good trait, being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to offer a level of understanding. It's also, at times, very, very painful.
I don't think I could do this job without empathy, and I think most writers of romance possess it deep down inside. How else could we see a lady in a shop, or a man on the street, or a child on the playground and have some sense of what they are feeling? Of translating that feeling into a story point? Should we feel guilty for using those things as inspiration? My sister finished telling me something and she said, "You can use that in a book." (Can you tell we even think alike?) Even if my characters were not in the exact same situation, there is a universality to emotions, don't you think?

That tuned in sense of empathy is what allows me to dig deeply with my characters. Let's face it, the emotional journey is the roller coaster ride I'm taking the reader on and needing to feel what they are feeling is key for me to get that across. That's why I don't think writers are crazy who say that their characters are real people. They need to be, if only in your mind, so that you can create fleshed out, 3D, sympathetic heroes and heroines.

But bleeding on the page is hard. Because I do feel what they are feeling and it hurts. Not only does it hurt emotionally and mentally but also physically. I have physical reactions as I am writing an intensely emotional scene. That is where those beats come from. It's like I'm there in that situation, and somehow I'm feeling the cold in the room or the perceived distance between characters. I'm right there in that moment. And maybe I haven't experienced what my characters have experienced, but I still somehow manage to be there and feel what they must be feeling. Anything less and I've shortchanged my reader.

In my new release, my heroine Kelley has a traumatic past, and it takes a lot for her to trust Mack with it. When she finally does...well let me tell you, it was a difficult scene to write. Reliving it was bad enough. But needing to make someone understand - in this case the man she'd fallen in love with - made it even harder.

The one thing that makes it all worth while for me though is the hope and happiness at the end. I'm not sure I could put myself - or my characters - through it if I didn't know it would all work out in the end. It's knowing that love will overcome that makes all the suffering worth it.

And if a reader has to blink a little more now and then and has a little sniff, then I've done my job.

Kelley's story is in A Bride For Rocking H Ranch, a novella in Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage. It'll hit shelves in November and is up for presale at eharlequin and Mills and Boon (as Mistletoe &Marriage). You can read an excerpt up on my website.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Movie Of The Book

I’m gearing up for the release of my new book, It Happened One Night, and I’m really excited about it! I was holding my breath waiting for the new reviews to come in, and the first one came in last week. I’ll share it with you later on in this post.

But before I do that, I wanted to show you this cool book trailer that COS productions made for me.

I tend to think book trailers can be a little hit-or-miss. To me reading a book and watching a movie are as different as reading a play and seeing it performed. So a book trailer can sometimes feel like an artificial merging of two unlike things—spots and stripes.

But I think COS did a great job on this trailer. It’s text-driven (no voiceovers or moving pictures of characters). It feels like a book—it has plenty of room for the reader to use her own imagination to construct the story, but it’s still interesting to watch too.

Of course, I may be a little biased.

Anyway, here’s the first review!

Romantic Times says 4.5 Stars! “Lisa Dale is adept at weaving beautiful, romantic, heart-wrenching stories. She pays attention to the finest details, and the effect knocks the wind out of you. Every single scene, character conflict and reaction is perfect. The only downside is that the story concludes, which means our time with these wonderful characters comes to an end.”

That's one for Mom's fridge, I think.

For more info on my new release, please sign up for my mailing list ( I'm hosting a big contest later this week--giving away a bunch of prizes. I hope you'll come play!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Show Is Great! - Paula Roe

Hey... This Show is Great! Why Wasn't I Watching It Before? (or The Burn Notice Effect)

With all the hype and promo surrounding so many TV series, it all becomes a bit 'meh' for me. Sometimes I avoid shows *because* of the hype (Prison Break, 24 and Lost, anyone?) So now it's mid-season, your favorite shows have been shunted off in favor of another mindless sport telecast or Two and a Half Men, and instead of shutting off the box and doing something constructive, you end up tuning into a series you've never watched before. But wait... hang on... this is actually pretty good! So you watch the following week. Then the next. The next thing you know, you're hooked and dumping your usual fare for this newly discovered show.

This is what I call the "Burn Notice Effect" - shows you start watching a season or more in, discover they're pretty darn good, watch every week and then (most often) glom the other episodes/seasons you missed. Yes, I was bored one night and ended up watching Burn Notice. The yummy, droll Jeffrey Donovan (who looks so totally cool and stylish how on earth could he possibly blend into a crowd?) was the main draw card, but I stayed for the fun storylines, the action and the character chemistry - even though I feel the urge to force-feed Gabrielle Anwar a cheeseburger every time she wears a bikini...

Joss Whedon's Firefly was another BNE – after watching Serenity on DVD, I picked up the canned-after-one-season Firefly for $30. Loved the movie, ADORE the series (and of course, now we need a pikky of gorgeous Nathan Fillion to emphasis my point ).

Other shows with the Burn Notice Effect include Brothers & Sisters, CSI (yeah, I was late on this one!), Law & Order, The Unit, How I Met Your Mother, Life on Mars (the awesome UK version). And I've just finished True Blood, Lie to Me and am currently making my way through Farscape.

So my question for everyone out there - does the Burn Notice Effect apply to you? Which shows? Let me know (and why you keep watching!) and you could win a copy of an Aussie exclusive - Harlequin's Best Love Stories of 2009.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner!

by Anna Campbell

I was really saddened recently to see that Patrick Swayze had passed away at the tragically early age of 57.

For me, he will forever be the wonderful Johnny Castle from DIRTY DANCING, one of my favorite movies ever.

I can't tell you how many times I've watched this movie. I can't tell you how many times I've giggled at "I carried a watermelon" or cry in numerous bits of the film, most notably the ending. With its famous "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" line. Sigh! What a man!

This is a film that really touches a chord with a lot of the women I know. Perhaps because many of us identify with Baby/Frances. Perhaps because she fulfills so many fantasies for geeky girls.

This is a classic Ugly Duckling story. Frances is the plain, intellectual sister who hangs in there, takes risks and eventually wins the prince. Not only that, she gets to dance at the ball as the star of the show. And her prince who at first seemed completely beyond her reach recognizes her for the wonderful woman she is.

It's also a classic coming of age story. Baby starts out young and awkward and by the end, she's ready to fly. Literally! Who can forget that shot of Johnny lifting her high in the air at the end of the film as everything around her erupts into a dance of joy? Fantastic stuff! I always want to cheer at that moment.

I think the emotional arcs in this film are pitch perfect, which is perhaps another reason why it's such a favorite with audiences. Johnny goes through his own emotional journey - he gradually stops being the almost godlike creature of Baby's crush and turns into a real man with uncertainties and wounds and unexpected strengths. We realize by the end that she has given him as much as he's given her.

And isn't that a perfect love story?

So are you a DIRTY DANCING fan? If not, what's your comfort movie?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Complicated Heroines

I love a complicated heroine. The messier she is, the stronger she can become, and I love watching the climb from face down in the puddle to some kind of redemption. (For example, I loved Buffy Season Six. Yes, really.)

Right now I'm a little bit obsessed with the new television show Mercy. The main character, Veronica, is a nurse at a New Jersey hospital just back from a tour in Iraq. She has a messy marriage, a bit of an attitude problem, and no interest whatsoever in talking about her problems. She wants to do the right thing, but what is that, exactly? Is it staying with her childhood sweetheart husband, who slept around while she was away but is now determined to save their marriage? Or is it going with the man she fell in love with in Iraq, who knows her as no one in her old life could--and who, of course, has turned up to work in the same hospital?

Meanwhile, Veronica has to deal with condescending doctors and demanding patients--to say nothing of her raucous family.

I find that I'm spellbound each week, waiting to see what Veronica will do. How will she navigate her complicated life? Should she choose happiness or responsibility? Is the choice even that simple?

How complicated do you like your heroines, on tv or in books? What makes you sympathetic to her? What makes you impatient with her? Is there such a thing as too complicated?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

the Kite Runner

Last night I wanted The Kite Runner. I’m sure many of you have watched it, but for those who haven’t, it’s about a young Afghan boy facing a moral dilemma. Eventually his family flees the country when the Russians invade, and we follow him through his life until his thirties. But always, this childhood moral dilemma hangs over him. It was a very powerful movie and, I’m sure, it was a very powerful book, though I haven’t read it yet. It’s now on my TBR list. What I loved about the story was that it was an every-day man story in that we all face moral dilemmas in our lives. Some dilemmas are much worse than others, and sometimes we make the wrong choice. Sometimes that has far reaching consequences. I’m sure we can all think of things we wish we could undo.

I’d love to hear about books you’ve read recently where there was a moral dilemma. I love reading light and fluffy, but it's also nice to have some heavier stuff, too. Let’s expand our reading lists together!

For those of you who leave a comment (please leave your email address so I can contact you), I’ll put you in for a drawing of an autographed copy of Open Invitation. I’ll also add you to my newsletter for updates on Yours for the Night, Hers for the Evening, Laced with Desire and other releases.

Please be sure to stop by my new website Jasmine Haynes for an excerpt of my November release, Yours for the Night.

Jasmine, Jennifer and JB!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What makes talent?

Recently I read Malcom Gladwell's The Outliers about why some people are super successful. It is an interesting book but missing a concluding chapter. He does point out that success is more than an individual. It is based on a web of inheritance and community that gives the individual the drive to take full of advantage of opportunities. Some of the opportunities may be masquerading as obstacles but ultimately the lessons learnt provide incentives.
He explodes the Amadeus myth -- basically that there are some people who are so blessed that they never have to work at achieving. He also points out that raw intelligence scores do not tell you very much about how someone will succeed as being successful takes more than just intelligence. Beyond a certain threshold, it is more a matter of drive and desire. Gladwell pointed to a study done by K Anders Ericsson of musicians who attended the Berlin Academy of Music. Those who were thought to the ones who would teach basically spent three hours a day practising so by the time they were 20, they had amassed 2,000 of work. Those who were tipped to be concert soloists practised significantly more, increasing the time spent with each year and by age 20, had amassed some 10,000 hours of practice. He then looked at professionals and found the same thing. Those who succeeded worked much much harder than anyone else. They did not find any genius who simply was. And neither did they find a grind -- someone who had actively put in the hours practising and got nowhere.
The need for putting in the hours also goes some way towards explaining why people are generally super successful in one area and not necessarily so clued in in others. There are literally only so many hours in a day.
Mozart is not touched by God but a man who was hothoused from an early age and encouraged to devote his life to music. Without his father and the era into which he was born, it is doubtful that Mozart would have become as great. He lived and breathed music. He put the hours in at a very early age and was encouraged to do so. He was lucky because of the encouragement. However despite his undoubted mathematical talent (music depends on maths) Mozart was not over gifted in managing his money.
The same holds true for authors. Those who really succeed have generally put the time in. They have learnt their craft and put the hours in. They did not just dream about it but worked hard. They are also supported and encouraged along the way -- mainly Sometimes the public have been able to see the journey --for example Hemingway learnt his craft through journalism. But others have stacks of short stories, half finished novels etc gathering in the attic. Still others spent hours recounting stories to their children, siblings etc before they ever started to write them down. I think it would be impossible to find a highly successful author who did no writing or storytelling BEFORE they wrote their first book. Equally it is entirely possible for aspiring authors to take courses etc and never put in the hours practising. They simply want to be. The will to succeed is not there or perhaps so many other things hold the person's interest. Not everyone wants to be as single minded as an outlier. Some people like to have a life. It is always about the choices the individual makes.
So what do you think? And are you willing to put the time in to pursue your dream? And how have you encouraged others to pursue theirs?

Michelle Styles still reckons that she is putting in the hours to make up the 10,000 needed. It takes about 250 -500 hours to write a novel. Her next novel, her 10th published for HMB, The Viking's Captive Princess is published in December 09 in the North American market.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Halloween is in the Air

It's October, the month of all that is spooky and scary, and I have to admit I have Halloween on the brain. Maybe it's because I just finished my very first paranormal, Dark Embers, which is the first in a series of dragon shapeshifters that will be released starting in 2010. Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of reading a round of fabulous paranormals by the likes of Jacqueline Frank, Shayla Black, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan. Or maybe it's just because I'm a kid at heart. I love, love, love Halloween.

I love costume shopping for my little ones (and myself), love making caramel apples and spooky, Halloween punch, love decorating the house with my two youngest until every nook and cranny is dripping with cobwebs and skeletons and scary ghosts. I'm the mom who makes cool Halloween type dinners for the week before Halloween, the one whose always first in line at the haunted house. And I'm the mom who loves to take the kids trick-or-treating just so she can check out all the cool costumes in the neighborhood.

So, in light of the season, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite fall recipes-- and there's nothing gooey or disgusting about this one. It just makes use of a bunch of the wonderful fall flavors and ingredients floating around at this time of year.

Yummy Apple Dip (note the original name ;)

1 package cream cheese, softened1/2 cup white sugar1/2 cup brown sugar1 cup Heath Toffee Nuggets1/2 tsp. vanillaMix all ingredients together and chill for one hour. Serve with sliced apples and enjoy. And don't worry, no calories at all in this dip ... LOL!

So, what do you like about Halloween? Any favorite recipes or traditions that you and your family like to follow?

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Familiar and the Forbidden -- Susanna Carr

It seems like there are more books out there lately where the heroine is in love with a man who has always been treated like a member of the family. Maybe I’m hyperaware because my newest release, The Year of Living Shamelessly, is about a woman seducing a man who she practically grew up with in her home.

In the past few months I’ve read a couple of Harlequins, contemporary and even a few historical romances about a woman who has a love affair with the guy who is an honorary member of the family. He might be a provider or a protector. He takes care of the family and he’s there for them. He’s not a blood relative, but everyone accepts him as one of their own.

I’m wondering why this idea is gaining popularity. After all, there are some pros and cons of a woman seducing a man who sits at the family table.

Pro: She knows everything about the guy. In this day and age, information is everything.
Con: He knows everything about her. There is only so much makeup and good lighting can hide.

Pro: he’s a family man and he’s there when you need him.
Con: like some family members, he’s there when you don’t want him around.

Pro: those obligatory family functions will never be boring again
Con: it’s risky getting involved with him because the family dynamics change forever

Overall, I think the storyline is popular because it’s a tantalizing mix of the familiar and the forbidden. But maybe there is more to that. Why do you think this storyline is showing up more these days?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Presents and Presents Extras

Over on my personal blog, I asked readers what they liked/disliked about the new covers (in the UK) and the new scheduling system - the Presents and Presents Extras in America and a different scheduling of books every two weeks in the UK. One of my readers, Jill made what I think is a very good and interesting point in her comment. She said:

I also think that Harlequin could do a lot more to distinguish Presents and Presents Extra in North America. They have very different "feels" and that is not reflected in the covers or the titles.

Well, basically, Jill, my response is ‘Me too’ - but it’s the main Presents schedule that I wish Marketing would get to grips with and make a lot clearer. I understand that some sort of changes are in the pipeline. And not before time in my opinion – there are a lot of readers out there who have been confused and puzzled by the way some books have been published in Presents over the past year or so. It’s a situation that has had meant that some people have bought books they weren’t truly happy with. Books that didn’t give them what they wanted. And has left others not really know which books to buy to get the sort of read they’re looking for.

It’s also sometimes meant that some people have found new authors they’ve fallen in love with, authors they want to read more of – which is the good side of this and I suspect that might have been the original plan behind the new way of publishing Presents Extra. But it’s a bit more complicatednow than the thought that the main Presents run at the beginning of the month have stayed exactly the same, while the Presents Extra are the ‘different’ ones. And as I have a book coming out in Presents Extra in October I’ll take this opportunity to explain things as they stand now. And thank you Jill for asking the question to lead me to doing this.

OK, so all the Presents/Presents Extra books are originally bought by the London UK editorial offices – that is, they are read, edited and acquired by Harlequin Mills & Boon UK. They are published in the UK first and then, either the same month, or later in the year, they are published in America. The books that are published in the Presents line-up in USA used to be acquired solely from one line in the UK - the Modern Romance line. (The books with the blue covers that you see on my website) But these days, the books that are put out with a Presents cover are acquired from two different lines. (With some exceptions but I’ll come to that in a minute.) So now the Presents/Extra books are acquired from the Modern Romance Line and the Modern Heat line.

And the first complication starts to come in because the Modern Heat used to be called the Modern Extra and the name of the line was changed in 2008.

So in the UK and in Australia, these books are brought out under a separate line title – in Australia they are sold as Sexy Sensation, with a distinctly different cover design. In the UK you have to look a little harder for that ‘Heat’ addition to the cover but it’s there. Personally, I think this is a very good – and necessary distinction. Because the editorial content of these books is very different in tone and in execution from the classic Modern/Presents style editorial. You’ve only got to look at the writing guidelines for each line – specially the checklists for the type of alpha hero they are looking for - to see this:

Mills & Boon Modern Romance® (ie classic Presents books)
Commanding: he’s always in control and calling the shots – except when the heroine finally tames him…

Demanding: he’s come a long way since his emotionally or financially impoverished childhood; he wants it done, and he wants it done now!
Arrogant: he believes in himself and the reach of his influence, totally – until the battle with his feelings for the heroine begins…

Passionate: sensual and sexy, he uses his charm and power to get what he wants, though his need for the heroine may ultimately prove stronger

Status: impossibly wealthy, probably self-made; often has celebrity status in the media. The ruler of all he surveys, be it a company or a country

Mills & Boon Modern Heat®
Young: he’s aged between 25 and 35 and has yet to settle down
Confident: he knows what he wants and has a good idea of how he’ll get it; he knows he’s attractive and relishes challenges – he might have a extreme hobby

Easy-going: he plays as hard as he works, knowing how and when to have a good time. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff…

Accessible: he’s very approachable, but his physical presence and his confidence and charm make him stand out from the crowd

Status: he hails from all walks of life and can have any level of success and wealth

For me the difference between the two is more than this difference in the heroes - it’s a difference of mood and intensity – and very definitely of conflict. To me the hallmark of the classic Presents is that high-octane, white heat of emotional intensity that some people love and others hate and its one of the reasons why Modern/Presents has been so successful and why the line often sparks off so many debates about the books and the heroes. If you want to know more about what I think are the differences between these two lines, I wrote about it here:

So, to my way of thinking, it’s important to indicate which type of read a book is. This has been done in the UK and in Australia. In America, the Modern Heat editorial was originally published in the Presents Extra line-up, which marked them out as slightly different and so readers knew what they were getting – but all that has been changed. Just when everyone thought they knew that Extras were different, they aren’t any more! The Modern Heat books have been put in with the main run of the Presents titles at the beginning of the month, and the Presents Extras are precisely that –extra classic Presents out in the middle of the month. Presents/Modern-style stories written by Presents authors and put together in themed collections. (My Kept For Her Baby is out under the heading ‘Dark Nights with the Billionaire’ which, I’ll be honest, I don’t quite understand – but that’s marketing for you!)

The exception to this is when the Presents Extra line up is occasionally used to bring out some Medical titles and then the name of the series – Posh Docs, Mediterranean Doctors etc - will usually reveal that this is what has happened.

So it’s all a bit confusing to readers at the moment. I understand that in the near future there are plans to indicate on the covers what sort of story each book is but I don’t know quite what or when that’s going to happen. Speaking personally, it can’t come soon enough because if I was buying a classic Presents title I’d want to know that I was going to get the reading experience I was looking for. And if I wanted a Modern Heat style story I’d want to know where to look for that too. So I hope all this will soon be sorted out to make it clearer.

Until then, what can you do to check which sort of story a book is? Well, the obvious thing is to go by the author – authors you know have written classic Presents style books before will be the ones who will give you the same sort of read, no matter whether they come out in Presents or Presents ExtraKept For Her Baby is a classic example. And the other titles in Extra this month are by Carole Mortimer, Lee Wilkinson and Janette Kenny – classic Presents authors.

In the main Presents line up at the beginning of the month, authors like Heidi Rice, Kate Hardy, Trish Wylie, Nicola Marsh . . .have all be published in Modern Heat first. You can check out the Modern Heat books on the Mills & Boon web site if you want to. They’re in with the Modern titles but they have that read ‘Heat’ on the front cover to indicate their style. Or putting Modern Heat into the search box on will show you the authors who write for this line. Then you can make your choice.

So does this help – or confuse you even more? I think it just goes to show that, as Jill says, it’s time there was some way of showing that a book started out as a Modern Romance or a Modern Heat because they do have that different ‘feel’ and some readers prefer one and not the other . Of course, now that I’ve explained all this, things will probably change all over again and nothing will be clear.

But the one thing I can promise you is that Kept For Her Baby is a classic Presents story – but you need to look for it in the Presents Extra line up that’s out on October 13th. Just look for that fabulous cover and you’ll find it.
So what about you? Have you noticed a difference in the type of read in certain Presents titles? Did you realise there were the two types of editorial in the line up now?
I'd love to hear which Presents (or Presents Extra ) books you've been reading recently that you've loved. And I'll get Sid the cat to choose someone from those who've made comments and there will be a signed copy of Kept For Her Baby for the winner
You can find out more about Kept For Her Baby and all my other books on my website here. Or read my latest news on my blog
I 've been to find Sid the Cat and get him to pick a winner from the comments - and the winner he picked is MARY.

So Mary please email me here and I'll organise sending your signed copy of Kept For Her Baby to you.Thank you to everyone who commented there are some really great book suggestions you made!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Change of Pace - Karen Anders

My first few Blazes fit into the line as it was defined. Relationship stories with a sexy premise. But, as inevitably happens, the authors who write for the line have defined it because creativity knows no bounds.

I started off with relationship stories that progressed slowly toward what I want to write now—action/adventure and romantic suspense. My first book in my Undercover Lovers series, Up Close and Dangerously Sexy started me on the path towards that goal. Now Dangerous Curves, the second book in the series, releases this month.

In Dangerous Curves, DEA Agent Rio Marshall has one mission. Distract Max Carpenter. She’s told that he is the very fly in the ointment that can blow a deep undercover operative’s carefully designed disguise. She’s been hired to keep him occupied any way she can and Rio has always gone to the max to complete every assigned mission. Max Carpenter doesn’t stand a chance of surviving her special brand of expertly concealed weapons. Max believes she is the only living being to have seen The Ghost’s face, a dangerous arms dealer, turning her into a moving target. Determined to save her, Max follows orders, until someone comes gunning for Rio and they are on the run.

The last book in the series, Deliciously Dangerous is out in April 2010. Now let me hear from you. Do you like to read all the books in a series at that same time and will wait until they’re all released or do you like the torture of waiting for the next book? I will give away to one poster an autographed copy of Dangerous Curves.

Thanks for the opportunity to blog with you!