Saturday, November 29, 2008

Benefit for Author Jo Leigh

Jo Leigh, a multi-Rita nominated author for several Harlequin imprints, lost her husband to cancer in June of this year. Visit to learn more about her story. The short version is that this talented writer did not have health insurance and she has catastrophic medical bills to pay.

Mica Stone decided to do something about it. She's organizing a benefit auction for Jo. Authors have donated critiques, mentoring, the opportunity to name a character in an upcoming book, autographed books and lots of other goodies. (I offered a bundle of my whole backlist, PLEASURING THE PIRATE, DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS and my Diana Groe titles, SILK DREAMS, ERINSONG and MAIDENSONG.) Visit to see if there's something there for the readers or writers on your Christmas list.

I hope you're moved to help. There is always enough, if we love enough.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sisterhood of the Early-Rising Moms . . .

Like many of you, I was up at O-dark:30 this morning to get a jump on the Thanksgiving meal. Usually, I put the turkey in the night before and I wake several times to check that the bird hasn't cooked dry. This year, our main meal is going to be this evening to accomodate our youngest daughter's work schedule, so I managed a full night's sleep.

But I was still awake before dawn--making cinnamon rolls for breakfast, getting the bird ready to go into the oven and rolling out my homemade noodles. I'm in a different kitchen this year--a much smaller one in our condo (we just moved into the unit in June), but it'll do for our little celebration. As the aroma of the cinnamon rolls mingled with the freshly brewed coffee, it felt like home. It was a lovely, quiet time.

And I thought about all the other moms who were up doing the same special things to show their families how much they love them with special food. As I rolled out the noodles, I thought of my mother, who handed down this family recipe to me. I thought of my grandmother, who's gone now, as I used the crocheted hotpad she made for me to remove the rolls from the oven. So many years of the family gathering around different tables. I thought of my sisters ( I have 3). One will be with my parents for Thanksgiving as will our oldest daughter, but I wondered how many people my other sisters would feed at their celebrations today.

In the stillness of the early morning, it was as if all those special women in my life were suddenly very close to me. And I'm so thankful for all of them. They loved me with food, which maybe isn't the best way to show it, but their love has made a such a difference in my life. I hope you have some of those women in your life, too.

I'd share my noodle recipe, but it's the infuriating kind. The kind I used to hate when I first learned to cook. There is no exact measuring of the ingredients. It's thrown together with hope and love. And each time, my DH declares my noodles a revelation, even if they aren't the best batch I've done. Guess he figures even less than perfect noodles are better than no noodles.

So how about you? What special foods say love to your family?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

In case you're wondering what to do after you've cleared the table and the DH is watching football, I have a suggestion. How about a little story just for you?

I posted a free, downloadable story on my website. It features the characters from PLEASURING THE PIRATE. I had a ball revisiting my reformed pirates and imagining their holiday celebration. One of the things I learned was that in the Georgian era, no one had Christmas trees. Those are German in origin and didn't gain popularity in England until Queen Victoria had one. But they did have a "kissing bough"--a mix of holly, ivy and mistletoe. Beyond the hope of stolen kisses, in my story the kissing bough promised magical results. I hope you enjoy A Dragon Caern Christmas!
I'm so thankful for my family, my faith and my friends. And I'm especially thankful for my readers. Hug your family and friends close this season! Wishing you lots of love!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Even after you get out of school, tests suck.

If you've visited my blog before you know I urged everyone to get their mammogram done in October. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, so it's a topic near and dear to my heart. Early detection is key to a good prognosis. So I had my yearly mammogram and it came back clean. Then my doctor said, "You know, you haven't had a baseline colonoscopy yet."

"But I don't have any symptoms," I said.

"That doesn't matter," she assured me. "You deserve a screening."

Far be it from me to pass on something I deserve.

So I made the appointment for today. Knowing preparation for the test involves a rather nasty purge, I thought it might also be a way to rid myself of a couple of those pesky "cruise" pounds I just packed on. I very nearly cancelled the appointment anyway because it requires having an IV and I'm the original human turnip, but my DH wouldn't let me wiggle out of it.

And it's a good thing.

The doctor found a polyp, which he removed and a mass, which he could not. Now, I don't have any idea what this mass is. It's been biopsied and I have an appointment with a surgeon tomorrow. Looks like I may not be making my home-made noodles for Thanksgiving, after all.

I'm trying very hard to be positive. This could be any number of things. But, being the daughter of two cancer survivors, the Big C is the first thing that pops into my mind.

I'll let you know.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas is Coming--Buy a Book!

When I was a kid, my grandparents always brought me books as gifts when they visited. They weren't expensive books, but each time, I felt as if they had given me the whole world. I was the type of kid who sneaked flashlights under the blanket to read. When I was in middle school, I even chose to take the creepy basement bedroom in order to keep my light on later. What's a few waterbugs when there's a whole world waiting for me in a book?

As an adult, I'm still just as drunk on the printed word as I ever was. But now, I'm concerned. As you may have heard, there's a recession on and publishing houses are particularly vulnerable. For the whole story on this, you might want to check out this editorial assistant's take on what happened to the industry in October.

Publishers aren't running to Washington with their hands out. All they need is for us to put our Christmas money where it will do the most good. Take a look at your Christmas list. Is there a niece or nephew? Why not give them a book instead of yet another video game? Exercise their minds, not their thumbs. A grandmother? Give her a large print book. A busy mom to buy for? How about a book on tape she can enjoy while she ferries the fam around? Got a little one on the list? A picture book you can read aloud together will make more than a wonderful gift. It will make a memory.

We are all shaped by the people we surround ourselves with, the media images we let scream into our brain, and the books we read. Am I suggesting you buy my books? Only if you intend to give them to a romance reader. Choosing a book for someone means you've taken the time to think about them long enough to pick something you'll think they'll like. So think about your loved ones. Pay attention to their hobbies, their favorite things. It should lead you to the right section. Or let a knowledgable bookseller recommend something if you can't pick something yourself. Heck! Send me your list and I'll be happy to make some suggestions.

Even now, my husband gives me books because he knows I'll love them. They tell me he's paying attention. So pay attention to your family and friends this holiday season and pick out a book that tells them how special they are to you.

For under $10, you can give someone a whole world. What other gift can beat that?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Living with Art

Ok, I confess. I'm an art junkie.

I love museums. I crave color and form and light and shadow. Visual arts move me. I make up stories for the pieces that grab my attention. The real stories of the artists themselves touch my heart.

That's why it's so dangerous for me to attend art auctions when I'm at sea. However, I managed to disembark from our cruise with only one new acquisition. This is Still Life with Lemons by Constantine Cherkas and I couldn't leave the Love Boat without it. I love the geometric feel and the vibrant colors in this numbered print. (Come on, you didn't really think I could afford an original, did you?)

Cherkas' real story is one of triumph over tyrany. He was born in Russia in 1919 and studied in Moscow under artists forced to teach under Stalin's rule. Later, to escape artistic repression, Cherkas and his wife fled from Russia only to fall into a Nazi prison camp. Fortunately, they both survived and after WWII, they emigrated to the US in 1950 at the height of the Cold War. Anything Russian was suspect at that time, so this talented colorist couldn't sell a painting to save his soul. But he perservered. Now his works are found in major museums around the world. At 89, he's finally receiving the respect he deserves.

Every time I look at this piece it will speak to me of determination and commitment to a goal--useful things for a writer to keep in mind.

Now I just need to figure out where to hang it.

Have you ever seen a piece of art that moved you? Or maybe a song or some other art form? Please share.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I just won the I Love Your Blog Award!

What fun! Tammie King of NightOwl Romance just gave me an "I love your blog" award! Now the fun part of this award is that I get to pay it forward. It's my turn to nominate 7 of my favorite blogs. So in no particular order, here are some blogs I enjoy and frequently visit.

1. This is Leah Hultenschmidt's blog. She's my fabulous editor at Dorchester Publishing. You'll want to bookmark this one. She shares what she's working on, what snags her interest, and gives you a unique peek into the mind of one of the sharpest editors around.

2. This blog belongs to my friends Colleen Thompson and Joni Rodgers. Always thought-provoking, always timely, they don't shy away from any subject that relates to writing.

3. An absolutely hysterical collection of writers-Kathleen Bacus, Jana DeLeon, Leslie Langtry, Christie Craig and Gemma Halliday. This blog is always a guaranteed hoot!

4. Kelli Estes and I joined Eastside RWA on the same night. Even though I'm now a continent away, I still keep my membership current with that terrific group of women. "Platform" is the new publishing buzzword and generally means "How many people will care enough to buy your book if we should decide to publish you?" Kelli's blog is a perfect example of what a pre-published author's site should be like. When she sells, I'll be at the bookstore with my wallet out.

5. Rowena Cherry writes funny futuristics with sly chess references. She also blogs, has the most fantastic newsletter, and regularly lets me join her for her Crazy Tuesday Internet Radio shows.

6. This blog belongs to my Canadian friend, Bobbie Crawford-McCoy. It's a neat, well-run site that features book reviews, interviews and book give-aways!

7. Last but not least, Tammie King at NightOwl Romance. I receive the daily digest from NightOwl's yahoo group, have visited the site countless times, but never realized she had a blog. Clunk! That was me, having a V-8 moment! Now that I know, I'll be back!

Now, I need to share that this will be my last post till November 17th. I'm running away with my husband to the Caribbean (just in time for a late season hurricane, but I refuse to be daunted by Palumbo or whatever they're calling him). Will return with pics, a sunburn and more extra pounds than I want to contemplate, but hey! I'm on vacation and I've saved CL Wilson's King of Sword and Sky for my lounging pleasure! In the meantime, through the magic of technology, I will be posting almost live next Friday on The Chatelaines, the hot new historical/paranormal group blog. Please pop by and comment. I will check when I return from the Bermuda Triangle . . .

What are your favorite blogs?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Chatelaines go LIVE!

Take a New York Times Bestseller, two USA Today Bestsellers, an American Title winner, and three award winning, multi-published authors, scramble them all together and what do you get? THE CHATELAINES! ! It's the hottest new Historical authors group blog featuring CL Wilson, Jennifer Ashley, Joy Nash, Gerri Russell, Cindy Holby, Bonnie Vanak and . . . moi (blush!) Emily Bryan.
We'll be sharing about what's next for our writing, what's happening in our lives and any crazy thing that pops into our heads! Be sure to bookmark us so you'll never miss a moment!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Guest Blogger Adele Dubois!

Many thanks to Emily Bryan for inviting me to celebrate my new paranormal erotic romance release DESERT FEVER by Adele Dubois. Though I write paranormals for Ellora’s Cave, and Emily writes historicals for Dorchester, what ties us together is our love of romance—that Happily Ever After promise between a man and a woman who know they were meant for each other. Though Emily’s hero is a viscount and mine is a marine, they are both men of honor and integrity who give their heart to their ideal woman.

Here’s a short summary of my new book DESERT FEVER. Excerpts are posted on my website at and at Ellora’s Cave

Summary of DESERT FEVER by Adele Dubois:

On her forty-sixth birthday, Marybeth buys a red convertible, equipped with the latest GPS navigation technology, and runs away from her painful divorce. At the mouth of the Mojave Desert she finds sexy, thirty-year-old USMC veteran Jake stranded with his disabled motorcycle, and gives him a lift to Nevada.

What Marybeth doesn’t know is that her GPS navigator has led her straight to the man she wished for to heal her broken heart. Though the GPS is not exactly a genie, his system grants him the power to locate whatever Marybeth needs most. What she wants is revenge, laced with a hot, studly young lover. GPS takes wishing upon a star to a new and very real technological level, as he makes Marybeth’s wildest, most sultry dreams come true.
Emily: A red convertible and a much younger man. Well, Adele, this sounds like total middle-aged joy! Thanks for stopping by to share!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Crossing by Joy Nash

Just finished reading Joy Nash's latest Immortals release--THE CROSSING. I'm a huge fan of her Druids of Avalon series, but this was her first dark contemporary paranormal I've read.

Joy sets up a totally believable alternative world, filled with both light and dark magic. I appreciate the fact that her spell-weavers must pay a price for each act of magic. It shows a sort of spiritual economy. Her view of Hell as a darkly twisted shopping mall completely resonated with me (Whip me. Beat me. Don't make me shop!) and her descent into the deepest circles of the abyss was very Dante-esque.

The love story between Mac Lir, a demigod, and the witch, Artemis Black was completely believable and I loved the way she wove her extremely hot love scenes with the conflict between their magic styles.

This book has one of the blackest black moments I've ever encountered in a romance, but the HEA payoff was that much sweeter for it. Well done, Ms. Nash!

Check out my Em Recommends page at for more of my picks and recommended reads!