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Here's a picture of my desk.

And also Faye, the best and silliest of dogs, and me, singing along to Justin Bieber to the horror of Liza Palmer, who is apparently too lofty for an excellent pop song:

Things you can see in this picture include: the copyedited manuscript of I Love The 80s. The first few chapters of my next Presents, due, as mentioned earlier, dizzyingly soon. The bottom of my fantastic poster of Chuck Bass that sits over my desk. A big mug of tea, essential to all tasks. My vanity shelf--where I keep a copy of all my published books, the better to remind myself that I really can do this because I have before. This shelf is particularly useful during the inevitable halfway-through-the-book Dark Night of the Soul.

And here's the song I was singing. Warning: it will lodge itself in your head!

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I just realized how very, very close my next deadline is.

What's funny is how I'd managed to forget that--or overlook it, anyway--as I dealt with the whole coming back from vacation thing, and then with copyedits and sample chapters and whatever-else-have-you. But as of yesterday my desk was finally clear. That meant that I could no longer ignore the reality of my November 1 deadline.


I can't really think too much about that, or I risk breaking out in hives.

Before that, though, I'm going to be in Seattle next week for The Emerald City Writers' Conference. Jane Porter, Liza Palmer and I will be reprising our panel from RWA National this summer: Writing the Novel That Sells: Getting Started. You'll get to hear our tips--and horror stories--about how we get to the chair and get to work. Or, you know, don't.

There will be a Book Fair from 4pm-6pm on Saturday, October 2 at the Bellevue Hilton in lovely Bellevue, WA. It's open to the public so I hope to see you there!
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The other day I found this little gem while procrastinating. It's the Italian version of my first Presents, Pure Princess, Bartered Bride. It's a thrill to see my book in languages I can't speak (despite that torturous semester of Italian at 8:30am in college which, let's face it, was destined for failure)!

So pretty!

I also wrote a post over on the new Girlfriends Book Club Blog. This is the next generation of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit blog touring group, which I've been a part of since way back when. I think from the start. Make sure you set your bookmarks--we have a terrific line up of women writers talking about pretty much whatever they feel like talking about. Books, writing, life. It's a great place.

You can catch me over there, talking abouthow I learned to stop pulling my punches in my writing. Here's a hint: romance novels!

I just finished the revision of the novella I wrote in August, and while I already have copyedits sitting on my desk for my beloved I LOVE THE 80s (coming out in March, hooray!), I think my brain needs a little bit of breathing room. And this house needs some serious attention. I'm always shocked at how much clutter I am capable of ignoring when I'm working. I would take a picture to share my slatternly ways with you all, but it would deeply shame my mother, so I'll leave it to your imaginations.

J. and I are obsessed with Criminal Minds, and catching up on the early seasons, but I've set my DVR for many of the new fall shows. Do you all have any new favorites? Is there anything I should be watching? Let me know!
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1. I realized yesterday that I the book I just started writing is my seventeenth (eighteenth if you count the novella I just finished a week or so ago and really ought to be revising right this minute). That gave me some pause. Seventeen is just... an awfully big number, it seems to me. I feel as if I should have amassed some great wealth of knowledge or skill to go along with it. Or at least have found a way to find myself less flummoxed by the blank page. I'll let you know when that happens.

2. I also realized sometime this past week that summer is really, truly over. Already the weather is a bit cooler at night, and the dark starts earlier. This is southern California, of course, and we may very well have another heat wave at any time, but still. It feels like fall. And fall always feels like new books to me. New books to read, new books to write. I don't know that I'm *actually* any more productive in the fall than at any other time, but it certainly *feels* that way.

3. We are still obsessed with Criminal Minds. We watch as many episodes as possible every night, and then collapse into bed, where I have grim and disturbing dreams that somehow leave me refreshed come morning. Just reached the season three episode with two Buffy alums, which made me absurdly happy. I miss the incomparable Mandy Patinkin, but am amazed at how well the show has carried on so far without him.

4. I saw Ray LaMontagne (again!) and David Gray in concert the other night with Liza Palmer. It was sublime. Two incredible voices outside in the night.

Here's Ray singing one of my very favorite songs of his, "Jolene," which he sang on Wednesday:

Here's David singing "Say Hello Wave Goodbye," which he turned into Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic," and then segued into "This Year's Love." It was almost too much to take:

5. I'll be teaching two classes this fall--my usual onsite Commercial Women's Fiction course at UCLA Extension starting in October, and another online Chick Lit course for mediabistro starting in November. Who knows--maybe I'll figure out what I've learned writing all these books and share it with you this fall. It could happen!

6. I remember what day this is. Choose love. It always wins in the end.


Aug. 15th, 2010 08:25 am
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Happy Birthday, Grandad. I still miss you, every day.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
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Don't worry--I haven't forgotten you!

I had the fantastic RWA conference in Orlando, then a wonderful family wedding, and now a terrifying deadline. I haven't had time to catch my breath!

I won't lie-- I wish I was still on Cape Cod. Here's a picture of J. and me in Chatham, one of my favorite places in the whole wide world:

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This is conference season, people, and you know what that means: the Drink & Draw guys will be at Comic Con this week. Make sure you get down to San Diego on Thursday to help celebrate the launch of the second Drink & Draw book. I saw a sneak peek preview, and I have to tell you, it's gorgeous! The art is amazing!

Here's the info on the party (in case you can't read the cool flyer):

Going to the San Diego Comic Book Convention? We are too!
It's Thursday the 22nd at Hennessy's Tavern near the Convention Center and this time we have the entire Main Room! Yippee! No Cover!

708 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 239-9994
Cross Streets: Between G St and F St/Horton Plz

Start showing up at 8PM and invite your friends! How great is that!??! We'll be debuting Volume Two also! Exciting stuff! Other Drinking and Drawing Chapters are all welcome! Spread the word, friends! We'll have 100 books on hand , so get there quick! Cheers!

If you can't make it to Comic Con until later in the week, don't despair! The guys (Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian, and J. aka Jeff Johnson) will be signing on Friday and Saturday:

IDW Publishing Booth #2643
Friday, 4 to 5 pm
Saturday, 5 to 6 pm

You won't want to miss it! We'll see you there!

Can't make it to San Diego? No worries-- you can pre-order your copy of the new book online:

Here's the write up, in case you're not sure what all this Drink & Draw malarkey is about:

Following up on the popularity of the ever-growing phenomenon known as Drink and Draw Social Club - showcasing illustrations rendered strictly in bars and restaurants, where the pints and pencil shavings make for good times and even better art - this volume contains even more scribblings and scratchings from a large and diverse group of talented artists.

You can pre-order your copy here.

Or you can get the limited edition:

Just order it right here!


Jul. 13th, 2010 10:41 am
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There was this:

And this:

Which led to this:

Which led to a whole lot of unpacking and futzing and rearranging and wondering how everything we own could possibly get so dirty and cleaning and finding a new take-out place to deliver food so we could just collapse on the couch.

But we're done, and I am now officially a Valley Girl. Like, totally.

The pets are settled in:

And I have a ton of work to do. No-New-Writing-June is officially over, and I have some revisions to work on and a novella to produce a first draft of before I head off to the RWA Conference in Orlando at the end of the month.

Luckily, I have help:

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We are neck deep in it now!

Moving, I mean.

Just this past weekend J. and I were down in beautiful Dana Point, choosing between taking a lovely, scenic hike overlooking the pretty harbor and the sea beyond or eating more cake (red velvet cake from It's All About the Cake, who did our to-die-for wedding cake, just fyi):

And now we are home--which is really two homes at the moment, both unlivable--as we schlep and pack and schlep some more in preparation for our big move this weekend:

Frankly, I would rather be eating cake.
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I have fantasies about being the sort of person who can simply pack up her life in a few neat and clean boxes and move house that easily. This goes along with being the sort of person who can pack for a week's travel in only one sleek carry-on suitcase, and somehow always look smart. The sort of person who can fling scarves about with abandon and look effortlessly chic...

Yeah, that's really not me. Instead I live with far too many pets and books, which means piles of dust and too much schlepping. Which is what I've been doing for the past few weeks. I'm culling my book collection (which is long overdue) and moving boxes and bags into our new place. Back and forth, back and forth. Bags for Goodwill, library donations, calls to turn on and off power, gas, etc. There's something thrilling about forcibly turning over a new leaf, and purging remnants of the old. I could not be more of a pack rat (Year of the Rat! Woot!) but even I am finding it fun to shake off the past. The clothes that never fit right. The jeans that never will. The shoes I wear once every eighteen months because they hurt so much.

I also revised the manuscript for my beloved I Love The 80s book earlier this month, which was a lot of fun. It's the first time since my very first published book was written that I've had the opportunity to get back into a book that I wrote a long time ago. A couple of years ago, at least--I can't really remember. I do love that book. I'm so excited I'll get to share it with you all next March.

June is also our annual camping trip with our urban family, to celebrate our friend JM's birthday. Los Angeles is such a big, often bad city that it's easy to forget that so much natural beauty is sitting there all around, waiting for us to explore it. We don't do it nearly enough.

J and me in the hills:

Getting ready for a hike:


Me and Liza Palmer by the fire in the cold, cold night:

Now-- back to my boxes!
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I submitted the latest book late on May 31, hooray! And I've been slowly coming back to life since then. It's not like I don't have things to do, mind you--not that I managed to do many of them this week. I've declared this month a kind of vacation, and I guess I'm easing into it.

My vacation from "new writing" means I don't have a first draft of a book due this month or even next month. Given the crazy couple of years I've had, this is cause for excitement. How crazy? Well, if I make it to next March or so, I will have written 10 books in just over two years. Or something like that. If I think about it too closely, I get a little dizzy!

But I still have a couple of books I'll be revising this month, some freelance jobs, a new class to start teaching, etc. Oh, yes, and the fact that we're moving at the end of the month. Normally, I loathe moving from the very depths of my soul. I'm very much a Year of the Rat pack rat, and one thing I like to pack away? Books. Lots and lots of books. Boxes and boxes and boxes of books. I believe I am well overdue for a serious cull of both bookshelf and closet around here, and for some reason, I'm actually looking forward to it. I don't know why, but I'm running with it.

I have stories rolling around in my head, too, which feels good without the pressure of an immediate deadline. I can make notes, ponder, listen to music... This is the day-dreaming phase of writing books, when the whole world of the book is open and changeable, and you can make any choice you like. It's getting hot here in Los Angeles, and the jacaranda trees are purple under skies of endless blue, and there's nothing better than soaking in the sun and turning over stories in your head.

In fact, I think I'll go do a little more of that right now.

Have a great weekend!
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One of the (many) nice things about working with publishing people in England is that I often wake up in the morning to find all kinds of delicious things in my inbox, which makes for a lovely start to the day.

Like this, the brand new Mills & Boon Modern cover for my third romance:

Isn't that just mouthwateringly yummy? Here's the blurb:

Payback…delivered on a silver platter!

Notorious Nikos Katrakis was looking for a new mistress when, out of the blue, heiress Tristanne Barbery offered herself to him. Could satisfaction and revenge really be that easy to obtain?

Tristanne knew better than to play games with a man of such devastatingly lethal charisma like Nikos. But, though she had a good idea of the kind of sacrifice she was offering, she had no choice.

To Nikos’s surprise, Tristanne was not the weak, biddable good-time girl he’d expected... and soon his plans for vengeance came crumbling down around him!

I can't wait for you all to read it!
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Here's a little glimpse into my current deadline hell: the deadline desk.

We have all the hallmarks of deadline-induced stupor and panic here:

Post-it notes with crucial thoughts on character that usually come to me in the dead of night, which necessitates me lurching up from bed and scribbling them out in the dark. They are only occasionally legible.

Yesterday's writing with my notes scribbled all over the place. I go through the previous day's writing before I start on the new day's writing. This is the one step forward/two step back version of writing books that works for me, somehow.

The desk itself, upon which I have written every single one of my published/to-be-published books, and my doctoral dissertation. I am very attached to this desk. I toted it with me from England all the way to California. I don't have many superstitions, but I really like that desk.

A half-drunk mug of very strong black tea. One of many, many such mugs I suck down during the day. (Why no, I'm sure that has nothing to do with my inability to sleep sometimes, why do you ask?)

My little chart tracking my daily word count progress. This is very psychologically important! And it must be written by hand!

The actual stack of manuscript pages, which I keep near me at all times, because it feels good to watch that stack grow.

My tired and dusty old keyboard which has several non-functioning keys that I am too panicked to replace at present. That will have to wait for June, when I leave the house.

The manuscript in progress on my lovely big monitor. This is the main reason I don't think I could go back to a laptop. I like everything big, big, big these days.

My Blackberry, should anything terribly important happen--in reality, I tend to receive only texts.

A Proust quote written out for me by a dear friend, next to a little plaque I made of the USA Today Bestseller List when I (to my great surprise!) hit it in February. Positive motivation!

The series Bible of the continuity I'm currently working on, with all the bits I thought important for my character marked with green post its.

My vast collection of pens and markers. The truth is that I do not feel secure unless I have a thousand writing implements to choose from. Another truth is that I generally use only that blue pen you see sitting above my keyboard. What can I tell you? I'm complicated.

What you don't see in this picture:

Me in deadline zombie mode, complete with bag lady attire and crazy hair/eyes. There's no need to scare the children with any photos of that.

The great vats of chocolate I consume to get me through the writing. Why don't you see said vats? Because I ate them all.

My poor husband, who has to deal with all of this, and my crankiness and absent-mindedness besides.
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It is more than halfway through the month, and I am more than halfway through my book.

On the other hand, it is more than halfway through the month, and I am not finished yet.

And also, it is Monday.

I present you this song to help you through (or help you brood):

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Some books come to you slowly. You think of a character, perhaps. As the days and weeks pass, you muse over her flaws, her strengths, her dreams, her fears. She starts to come alive in your mind. She starts to become real. A story begins to shimmer in front of you, and you begin to think about how best to capture it. A few words here, the perfect sentence there...

Yeah, and other books have deadlines. Horrifying deadlines. Deadlines that wake you up in the night and refuse to let you sleep in come morning. Deadlines that don't care about the shimmer; they only care about word count. Guess which kind I'm currently writing?

I am too amped up on sugar and caffeine to do more than show you the cover (the large print cover, but the other one will be exactly the same except for where it says LARGER PRINT) of my next Presents, which is currently out in the Mills & Boon Modern line in the UK and will be available here in North America in October:

Isn't that pretty?

Now back to work!
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I finished the revision of my latest book (number 15, by the way, how crazy is that?) and sent it in today. This revision was more the "shade here and deepen there", layering sort of job, as opposed to the more surgical revisions you sometimes get, like when you have to alter someone's entire motivation or, say, insert a spine and/or a plot into your novel. (And yes, I have had to do all of these at different points.) I want to say that one kind of revision is easier than another, but that's not really true. What is true is that whatever revision you happen to be working on? That one is the hardest. I think writers have a special version of amnesia--no matter what I'm working on, I know that all previous projects were much easier, and I loved them more. I know it. And as soon as I really get into my new book, I'm sure I'll remember this one fondly and wish I was still working on it.

Partly, this is because books feel like clay. Or--if you know nothing about clay, and the truth is, I don't-- Play Doh. At first they are like rocks, hard and unyielding and cold. But the more you work them, the warmer they get and the more elastic. You can hold them in your hands, and shape them easily between your palms. When you're writing on a really fast schedule as I have been lately, it feels like whiplash between the elasticity of the finished book and the stone cold, nail-breaking hardness of the new one. And the amnesia strikes again: I am positive that I loved the old book from the very first second and I am equally positive that I will hate the new book all the way through. At least the madness is consistent!

In the meantime, I am off this weekend for Florida, where I'll have the distinct pleasure of watching two of my favorite people vow to love each other forever.

As an aside, why is air travel so unpleasant? Between shoe removal and baggage restrictions and new fees every time you turn around, I often think it would be a lot easier to just road trip everywhere. (And that's not even getting into the disgusting "food" on board the airplane, the recycled air, your fellow travellers' inability to respect your personal space and boundaries, and the horrendously uncomfortable seats that absolutely no one likes.) But who has the time for road tripping when you have to be somewhere for a weekend? Not to mention, I have driven cross country a number of times and while the Rockies sure are beautiful, the endless stretches of boring, flat highways do tend to wear on the nerves a bit. Especially if you're in a hurry. This country is beautiful just about everywhere, except, in my opinion, around the major Interstates. And none of this is really distracting me from the painful knowledge that I will have to subject myself to the tender mercies of the folks at LAX in a few short hours.

I really should pack.

And don't forget: You can win a signed copy of Kate Noble's new book here!
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Here's a little treat to perk up your Monday morning: I have the recently RITA-nominated Kate Noble here on the blog today!

I had the pleasure of reading two of Kate's three books almost back to back recently. First, the RITA-finalling Revealed, which is a sparkling, delightful tale of the ton, a famous spy, and a headstrong beauty. And then the brand new The Summer of You, which is all about second chances and summer loves. And in case you have not read anything by Kate yet, let me urge you to rush right out and change that: these books are amazing!

MC: Having read REVEALED and THE SUMMER OF YOU, I'm wondering if you always knew you were going to write Jane and Byrne's story. Did that come about during the writing of REVEALED, or did you always have a master plan? And did you tell me that Jason is going to be the hero of your next book?? Really??

KN: When writing Revealed I knew that the next book was going to be Lady Jane’s. I wanted to get to know the other person in this frenemy relationship with Phillippa Benning. But I didn’t realize that Byrne was going to be Jane’s hero until near the end of writing Revealed, when I saw that they both had a similar kind of pain in their lives, and because of that, they could recognize each other. Each would be able to pull back the other’s layers.

It was a lightbulb moment, if you will.

Since I had Byrne living in the Lake District in the North of England… well, Jane was just going to have to go there too.

And yes, Jason’s book is next. Jason, Jane’s brother, figures heavily into The Summer of You, and while he is not the most mature individual, by the end he does show glimpses of the better person he will become. The events of his story will take place five years after the conclusion of The Summer of You. The boy needs a little seasoning, and I’m very excited by the way it’s turning out. (No, I’m not done yet. I’m on deadline. Stupid deadline.)

MC: What kind of writer are you--seat-of-pantser or plotter? Do you outline? Make character flow charts? Or see where it all goes?

KN: I do outline. My first book, Compromised, was written when I had no clue what I was doing, and I was halfway through and about to write myself into a wall when I realized I had to sit down and figure out what was going to happen. (It was Sunday morning, and I wrote it in my local diner having my weekly indulgence of omelette, bacon, and lemonade.)

Since then, I’ve been an outliner – but not a strict one. I don’t know everything that’s going to happen chapter by chapter. I outline just enough to know where I’m going, and the steps I’m going to need to take to get there. But everything in between, I let grow organically.

MC: SUMMER OF YOU is much darker than REVEALED. I loved the way you uncovered all the layers of shame and secrets inside of both Jane and Byrne. Was it harder to write the angst? Easier? As a writer, are you more drawn to the sort of arch wit you employed in REVEALED, or to the kind of *aching* that seemed to characterize the love story in SUMMER OF YOU? Why?

KN: I thought of Revealed as an action movie while writing it. And it was FUN. Dry comments, occasional explosions… but it was also quite tiring. I wanted to write something different next – and the tone of Jane and Byrne’s story was already dictated by the pain the characters lived in. It became a far more contemplative story – and yes, more angsty.

To counter-balance the weight of Jane and Byrne’s story, I created the town of Merrymere, the Wilton boys and their antics, and Victoria and her doctor. They not only brought a bit more light to the story, they brought a little fun to Jane and Byrne.

MC: What is your favorite scene in SUMMER OF YOU?

KN: The skinny dipping scene. :)


MC: There are so many things that I loved about this book that it's hard to pick any out to talk about. You created a whole world around Merrymere Lake. It felt real and true to me-- I loved the little details like the tree that Lady Jane feared as a child and then learned to greet; I loved the fact that to the villagers, she will always be the naked five year old, so much so that it is used as "evidence" against her late in the book. How did you make this setting come alive like this?

KN: I have been very lucky to spend every summer of my life on a small lake in the American Midwest. I have known my neighbors up there my entire life – and they have known me, as the weird kid I used to be and the slightly less weird adult I am now. I drew heavily upon life up there to create this world. And I gave Jane familiar markings (the tree, the signpost that was never repaired) on her journey up, much like my family always had markings on the 16-hour drive we took every summer. Okay, my markings were a water tower and an Arby’s, but you get the idea. We are essentially walking into memory.

MC: There are two emotional moments that rang so true to me that I had to stop and think about them. First, the idea of "fitting." You wrote, "He took a look at the shape of her life, and contorted himself into the voids that she didn't even know were there--but remained himself." I thought this was beautiful, and very powerful. The second is when one character tells another (I am trying not to be spoilery), "But he has never seen you. He has never looked at you as a man should look at a woman." Ouch! This made my heart hurt, and it made me think about what it is to be *seen*--and what it is to *fit*--which I think are two very strong themes of the book. You seem to weave these themes so effortlessly... how do you do that??

KN: Wow, thank you! I find that themes emerge while writing, and I just try to expand upon them once I figure out what they are. It’s not effortless, but initially, it’s not conscious. The idea of sight, and seeing the other person – the one you’re meant to be with – really began with Jane and Byrne… and it began in Revealed. Jane was always able to recognize Byrne, even when he was in disguise, in a ballroom full of other people. That struck me, and so I carried that over into The Summer of You. The theme of fitting came about because when looking objectively at Jane and Byre, they don’t seem like they go together. In fact they are the last people you would think of as fitting together… and Jane (and Byrne) thought that too. Jane considered Byrne little more than a summer fling… until she realizes that he *fit* in her life, in a way no one has before. She has to rethink everything.

Do you want a copy of The Summer of You? How about a signed copy from Kate? Well, you are in luck! Just comment here and tell me your favorite story about second chances, and I'll pick a winner next week. Happy reading!
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This week's GCC book looks right up my alley. I know you'll agree:

When the host of a popular radio talk show is murdered, the suspects almost outnumber his millions of listeners.

Outspoken radio talk show host Jim Fate dies he opens a package and releases poisonous gas while his polarizing show, "The Hand of Fate," is on air.

In the ensuing panic, police evacuate downtown Portland. Soon the triple threat of FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges, crime reporter Cassidy Shaw and Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce begin piecing together the madness, motive, and the mystery that lie behind Fate’s murder.

While Lis has worked with Bill O’Reilly for years (often serving as the voice of reason or his liberal foil, depending on your point of view), the character is NO WAY based on O’Reilly.

This is the second in the Triple Threat mystery series, which has been optioned for TV. The first, Hand of Fate, one was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks! And in April 2011, readers can look for Heart of Ice, which traces the path of a destruction left by a sociopath - and based on a real-life case Lis prosecuted.

April Henry grew up in a little town in Southern Oregon where the main industries were timber and pears. When she was was 12, she sent Roald Dahl a short story she had written about a six-foot-tall frog named Herman who loved peanut butter. He not only wrote her back - he showed it to the editor of an international children’s author, who asked to publish it.

Since then, April has written nearly a dozen mysteries and thrillers for adults and teens, with seven more on the way. Look for her young adult thriller - Girl, Stolen - in October 2010.

Lis Wiehl is a former federal prosecutor who is now a legal analyst for FOX-TV.

"Exciting... readers will identify with these very real women as they try to uncover Fate's killer, and each battles a personal demon—Allison her fear of miscarriage, Nic her fear of her daughter's criminal father, and Cassidy her prescription drug addiction.”
--Publishers Weekly

"The second book by Wiehl and Henry featuring the Triple Threat Club ratchets up the excitement and suspense to another level. Realistic characters with authentic dilemmas will appeal to a wide array of mystery lovers."
--Romantic Times, four stars


How do you fight writer’s block?
I will work on a different scene that falls later in the book. Sometimes I work on an entirely different book. Or I will just force myself to write crap, because you can edit crap, but you can’t edit nothing. Now that I make my living as a writer, I depend on making my deadline to eat, so that is a big motivator!

How do you usually begin your stories—with a character or with a plot?
It’s usually a plot that first inspires me - then I figure out who would be the most affected by that plot.

Do you have a muse, good luck charm, writing vice?
My vices are all not writing related. They usually involve food.

Have you had a "rock star" moment regarding your writing career? If so, what was it?
I was loading towels in the dryer when I got a call from our publisher. A bunch of folks were on a speaker phone yelling, “You’re on the New York Times bestseller list!” I jumped up and down and squealed and felt unreal - and then I kept putting towels in the dryer.

Do you read other people books while you're in the writing process? How does that affect you?
It would be cruel and unusual punishment not to read other people’s books. Sometimes I’ll try to take something a writer does particularly well and apply it to my own writing.

Favorite thing about being a writer?
When a twist pops into my head, or a character does something unexpected. When it’s easy and fun. There aren’t a lot of days like that, sadly, but most days there’s a feeling of rightness.

Least favorite thing about being a writer?
Deadlines. Waiting for reviews and sales - two things I don’t have any control of.

What's been your biggest surprised about getting published?
Sadly, I’m surprised by how many people don’t read for pleasure. At all.

You can find April at her website or over on her blog

Or you can simply buy the book right here!
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A friend informed me over the weekend that he doesn't read romance novels. Well, I do! And a whole great lot of them, for that matter!

(I've never understood why straight men don't read more romance novels, by the way. Especially if they complain about not understanding women. Gentlemen: there is an entire section of the bookstore dedicated to women's romantic fantasies. Why wouldn't you read up?)

I've read so many good books lately, as you can see from the length of this post. I was sick in bed for about a week and a half in there, where I could do nothing at all but read, hence the insane number this time. (I don't miss the sinus agony, but I did like all the reading, I have to say.)

Here we go:

The Royal House of Karedes saga from Harlequin Presents: Sandra Marton, Billionaire Prince, Pregnant Mistress; Sharon Kendrick, The Playboy Sheikh's Virgin Stable-Girl; Marion Lennox, The Prince's Captive Wife; Kate Hewitt, The Sheikh's Forbidden Virgin; Chantelle Shaw, The Greek Billionaire's Innocent Princess; Melanie Milburne, The Future King's Love-Child; Natalie Anderson, Ruthless Boss, Royal Mistress; and Carol Marinelli, The Desert King's Housekeeper Bride. This series was so good. It was so much fun to follow the story across eight different books, written by eight very different writers. If you're looking for an introduction to the Presents world, I'd really recommend settling down with this series and getting a feel for the different kinds of stories on offer. I really didn't want this series to end! (I loved Kate Hewitt and Natalie Anderson's contributions so much, in fact, that I raced out and hunted down the backlists of both, so I could marinate myself in their worlds. You may feel you need to do the same with all the authors on this list--many of whom are already well-represented on my bookshelves!) But I really loved every single book in this series, and am waiting for the next miniseries that follows off of this one: Dark Hearted Desert Men to be fully out before I jump in. (I don't like to wait!)

Sabrina Darby, On These Silken Sheets. I quite enjoyed this book. Four connected, erotic tales set in Regency London. Very hot!

Becca Fitzpatrick, Hush, Hush. Really good YA novel. I love peril and dangerous potential boyfriends and I loved the chilly, creepy atmosphere of this book. Also, I thought Patch was hot. So very, very hot...

Linda Howard, Cover of Night. I like to re-read this book from time to time because it contains one of the best she-never-saw-him-as-a-man-until-she-REALLY-saw-him-oh-my-god scenes of all time. It's brilliant. Also, if Linda Howard has ever written anything less than a stellar book, I am unaware of it.

Lynn Raye Harris, Cavelli's Lost Heir. The heroine first lays eyes on her ex-lover, the father of her child (not that he knows it), from the depths of a jail cell. What's not to love about that? This book is really, really good.

Lynne Graham, The Unfaithful Wife; Bond of Hatred; The Trophy Husband; The Heat of Passion; Angel of Darkness. I just love Lynne Graham. Every single one of these books was amazing. Sometimes the day is long and the only thing that will make you feel any better at all is a Lynne Graham book. I have a lot of those days, happily. (And oh, Bond of Hatred--wow. I adored that book in ways I'm uncomfortable talking about in public!)

Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy; Blue-Eyed Devil; and Smooth Talking Stranger. I have to re-read these books fairly often, because they remind me that I was born in Texas and that love can be that large, that hot, with a good drawl and a swagger. Yum.

Jennifer Crusie, Welcome to Temptation; Faking It; and Bet Me. There is only one Jennifer Crusie, and you are never in any doubt about that when you're reading her books. Or re-reading them, as the case may be. I still believe, as I have always believed, that Welcome to Temptation is a perfect novel. I can't even imagine a counter-argument. And I have never had chicken marsala, which, after this latest re-read of Bet Me, I am going to have to remedy. And is there anyone out there who isn't just a little bit in love with Davy Dempsey? Is that even possible?

Marian Keyes, The Brightest Star in the Sky. Okay, granted, I think Marian Keyes can do no wrong. But that's because she writes books like this, that make you feel happy to be alive, and make your heart feel like it's six sizes too big for your chest. It's truly marvelous!

Natalie Anderson, His Mistress by Arrangement; Bought: One Night, One Marriage; All Night with the Boss. I told you I bought up her backlist! (I am rationing the rest.) Natalie Anderson can do more with a quiet, charged moment than some authors can do with whole chapters. Expect electricity and breathlessness!

Susan Crandall, Sleep No More. Have you ever thought about how creepy sleep walking must be? Well, Susan Crandall has. You might not sleep much after you read this book, but it will be worth it-- this is yet another great romantic suspense!

Nalini Singh, Angels' Blood and Archangel's Kiss. I re-read the first book in this series so I could disappear into the second, and oh, wow. Wow. I don't understand how she does it, I really don't. Read these books! They rule!

Christina Dodd, Storm of Visions and Storm of Shadows. I like these books. I like gifts and psychic phenomena and I really like the different Chosen and all that lies before them.

Georgette Heyer, The Devil's Cub. Can you believe I've never read Georgette Heyer before? Well, it's true. This was my first, but it certainly won't be my last!

Sara Craven, The Innocent's Surrender. This book caused a bit of a commotion across the internets, so I checked it out--because I found it difficult to believe that Harlequin was, in fact, publishing pro-rape romance novels. And... I didn't really see what the big deal was. This book is intense and dramatic--but it's not rape. The hero is lounging in a bed, the heroine is standing by the door. She decides to crawl into bed with him. I don't see the argument for rape. Frankly, I have a very low tolerance for anything that smacks of rape, and this book didn't come near that for me. I enjoyed it very much, in fact!

Karina Bliss, What the Librarian Did. This book is so freaking good. I believed every single moment of it. I think it's very, very hard to pull off the "starchy miss with the modern day rake" story, especially with a man who's supposed to be a world-famous rock star--and Karina Bliss not only does it, she knocks it out of the park. I've referenced this book so many times in conversation, it's not even funny. I put it in a friend's hands. It really is fantastic.

Michelle Reid, The Mistress Bride and The Brazilian's Blackmailed Bride. These are Michelle Reid books, so you can assume they are amazing. The Mistress Bride, I must tell you, is one of those books that lodges itself right behind your heart and creates a hollow space, an ache, that never quite goes away. I loved this book. I find myself pondering this book as I go about my life, thinking of this scene, that emotion, and the characters. I worry about them still, and oh, how I love them. So much!

Rachel Vincent, Prey. I love this series, but I think I'm going to have to wait until the final book is out (this fall, hooray!) to read more, because my heart can't stand it. I hate love triangles, and if I'm going to dive into the pain of one (which I am going to have to, because I've loved this series from the start) I need to have the conclusion in hand. I can't be expected to sit around, stewing! Which, obviously, I already am. In any case, I am completely over-invested in Faythe and her life and her romantic choices (Team Marc OF COURSE!) and October really can't come quickly enough...

Jennie Lucas, Bought: The Greek's Baby. Jennie Lucas has a magical touch. I don't know how else to describe what she can do with a story. This book involves one of my most favorite story lines-- the amnesia plot--with the Jennie Lucas magic. You'll love it.

Julie Garwood, Fire and Ice. Solid romantic suspense. I particularly liked Sophie and her Robin Hood of a father. A fun read.

Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write. I don't know where I saw this recommended online, but it's essential reading for any writers out there. Seriously: buy it now.

Christine Feehan, Shadow Game. I'd never read Christine Feehan before either. How is that even possible? I don't know. Well, consider that remedied with this very cool book. I'm ordering the rest of the series!

Meljean Brook, Demon Bound. Just not enough good stuff to say about this enormously complicated, engrossing, and exciting series. Except that I have impure thoughts about Michael. Is that wrong?

Kate Noble, Revealed. This book was recently nominated for a RITA, the top award in the romance industry, and it's not hard to see why. I adored this book-- and not because I know Kate personally, either! There is a moment between the hero and the heroine that is beyond delicious. It's when you realize that the hero is not only smoking hot, but definitely set to rock the heroine's world... with one little kiss. I'm getting giggly just thinking about it. Don't miss this book, or Kate's new one, The Summer of You out now!

Karen Marie Moning, Dreamfever. Karen Marie Moning IS KILLING ME with this series. I have no idea who that was in the final scene, and I am afraid to know. I can't think about Jericho Barrons without embarrassing myself, I have no idea how this can end well for anyone, and I CANNOT WAIT for what I believe is the final book of the series, due out in December. COME ON. (God, I love these books--read them all right now!)

Jack Kerley, The Hundredth Man. I read this book thanks to a recommendation from Alison Kent. It's a fantastic, gritty sort of mystery that felt like an emotional cousin to Wire in the Blood (which might be one of the best shows ever). Just read it. Now. Really!
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Sign up for Ellen Meister's mailing list and you could win a $25 gift card!

Ellen Meister has an exciting new book coming out next year and she wants to keep you abreast of the news. So she has a special offer ... sign up for her mailing list now and you will automatically be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card.

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Pitched as "Jodi Picoult meets THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE," THE OTHER LIFE tells the story of a suburban mom expecting her second child who discovers that she might be able to slip through a portal to the life she would have had if she never got married. When a routine sonogram reveals unexpected problems, her grief lures her to escape to the life that might have been ... in which she discovers that she stayed with her neurotic ex-boyfriend, and that her mother, who committed suicide several years before, is very much alive.

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–Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON

"I loved this emotional powerhouse of a novel that asks a daring “what if…” and manages to be as charming and funny as it is thoughtful and moving. Brava, Ellen Meister!”
–Melissa Senate, author of SEE JANE DATE and THE SECRET OF JOY
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