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2011-04-07 04:05 pm

Number Twenty

Sometimes books just come to you. They appear in dreams, perhaps. Or scraps of conversations, a handful of images. You sit down to write and the words are there, as if they were waiting for you. Slick and sweet, they throw themselves before you on to the page. You think there are few things in life better than this quiet exultation of sentences, and you get to do it all day long.

Other times, books are a lot harder to pin down. You know what you want to write, or you think that you do, but somehow the words don't work when you reach for them. They are all angles; too small or too fat, oozing here and there instead of crisply taking their places, and failing, entirely, to do what you ask of them. You think about character. About conflict. About motivation and story. You think and think and think. When asked you may claim that you are engaged in the crucial pre-writing phase, where Things Are Coming Together Beneath The Surface, but you have access to your own thoughts and you have grave doubts about this claim.

You remind yourself that you have done this before. That you, in fact, teach classes and give workshops in which you have smiled rakishly (you are always a bit rakish in your own memory--loveably rakish, of course) and claimed that you combatted writer's block with a quick glance at your bank account. Which you can now do online, hooray! You stare at your pretty little bookshelf, upon which you have arranged all of your published books. They look so lovely there--like a whole career. (One, you worry, that has possibly ended without your knowledge.) Be strong, you tell yourself, you really have done this before. Nineteen times, in point of fact, and yet here you are. Wordless and all-too-aware that you have two books due by the end of July.

And anyway, you tell yourself, it's not writer's block if you haven't even started yet, is it? There could be a DELUGE waiting just as soon as you type that first word, as if the first word is a dam and the book is lurking just beyond it, getting ready to flood right through...

Here's hoping.
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2011-04-05 09:49 am

Romantic Times Booklovers Convention--Right Here in LA!

This week is the wild and wonderful RT Convention right here in Los Angeles--which makes it very convenient for me. And yes! It's all about me! I'll be in and around the convention over the next few days, though I won't be there officially until Friday. (Someone has to wrangle the puppy!)

You will no doubt be able to find me lurking around the Westin Bonaventure in Downtown LA, acting like the starry-eyed fangirl I am--but if you want to make absolutely sure you'll see me, you can find me at the Giant Book Fair on Saturday from 11am to 2pm.

I'll be signing along with 300 of your favorite authors, and it's open to the public for a mere $5 at the door! Check out who else is signing here.

I'll see you at RT!
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2011-03-21 02:18 pm

I LOVE THE 80s and A New Book on Tap!

I'm delighted to tell you that I LOVE THE 80s, my long-term labor of love, is finally here!



You can buy it here. If you don't feel like paying international shipping, you can get in the queue over at the Book Depository. Let me know if you do decide to order it--I'd love to hear what you think about the book!

Today is a pretty good day. I'm all set to leap in and start my brand new Megan Crane women's fiction book, which should be fun. I haven't written a women's fiction book since I LOVE THE 80s! It's been all Presents, all the time around here for a while. I've written nine Presents so far--eight books and one short story you should see online later in the year. It's kind of dizzying to think of how far I've come, with all those books, in so short a time. (And by "kind of dizzying" I mean "REALLY dizzying!") It's also really interesting to think about writing a women's fiction book again. It's just that much of a bigger canvas, and it really does make a difference in how I approach the story. Can I do it? Watch this space!
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2011-03-04 11:03 am

We Have A Winner!

It's Friday morning and I've picked a winner for the Rowen/Crews Release Day Contest!

The winner is Stephanie Overton

Stephanie: Email your mailing address to me at megan AT megancrane DOT com and I'll get the books out to you.

If I don't hear from Stephanie by Monday afternoon, I'll pick a new winner.

Thanks so much, everyone, and happy reading!

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2011-03-01 08:57 am

Release Day Contest

Today is a great day.

Why? Because I have not one but two books to give away, and only one of them is mine!

I think everybody deserves to have a little category romance style love in their lives. And my friend Michelle Rowen and I happen to be releasing two different books today. Here's hers:



Some things should never be bottled up…

Paranormal investigator and erotic novelist Emma Black is at a masquerade ball and looking for a coveted lust potion. Unexpectedly, she bumps into her former partner, the ridiculously sexy (oh so sexy!) Ryan Shephard. And, for added bonus temptation points, the rare lust potion is splashed on both of them—with instantaneously hot results!

But is the incredible, mind-blowing sex between them only the result of the potion? Or are Emma and Ryan simply giving in to the inevitable?


And here's mine:



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!


You can win both of these books! All you have to do is tell me you want the books here, and I'll pick a winner on Friday.

Happy Release Day!
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2011-02-16 12:55 pm

Becoming Cathy

Last night's (late night) purchases at grocery store:

Cat litter
Frozen pizza
Kresley Cole's newest book featuring half naked man on cover
One sad little iced sugar cookie

Me (nervously, attempting to hide embarrassment): I'm on a deadline...

Sales clerk (kindly, and yet with great pity): The cupcakes are on sale, too.


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2011-02-10 05:54 pm

Three Things on a Thursday

1. It is really cold here. Meaning, I think that maybe it dropped from 75 to 65 degrees when the sun went down. I laughed while I was closing the window and thinking about putting on a sweater, imagining what the evening must feel like in other places, where radiators hiss and clunk along and fires roar. This is just one of the many reasons I will never move back home to New York.

2. Today I got what looks like the final version of the cover for my brand new book, coming out next month:



Isn't it pretty? If you're in the UK, you can look for it in shops as of March 17. If you're in the US (or anywhere else!), you can order it with free international shipping from The Book Depository. Here's a sneak peek of the back cover:

Jenna loved everything about the 80s--the hair, the fashion, the music--and most of all, Tommy Seer, pop legend. He was the one for her until he died when she was twelve.

Her fiance Adam was all set to take his place in her heart until he left and Jenna resigned herself to loving the one man she can never have.

That is until a freak accident sends her back to 1987, and slap bang into Tommy's world.

But how will she convince this stranger she knows so well that they're destined to be together?


3. Have you watched this video from Pink? I don't have enough words to tell you how much I love it, and how much I think it should be required watching/listening for all girls of all ages, everywhere:



Happy Thursday!
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2011-02-03 05:16 pm

Deadlines, Revisions, and Covers

So I survived another deadline. Apparently. (Or perhaps this is my zombie version. Which, actually, would explain a great many things.)

My plan was to lounge about, recovering, reading my book club book, and catching up on all the things that I let slide during the most recent crunch. Like, you know, the laundry. The pets. And all the errands I put off until after the book was in, unless, of course, running them mid-panic would lead to the acquisition of chocolate.

But this was not to be! I'm in the middle of a rush freelance job, which is fun as it involves reading the third book in an absolutely fantastic series that won't be on the shelves for about nine months, but is still a bit more hectic than I'd planned. And my superhero of an editor performed one of her magic tricks, and returned the manuscript I handed in on Monday to me this morning. Speedy! That means I'll spend a day or so mulling over her notes before I jump back in and try to make the story better.

Revision is one of my favorite parts of the whole writing process. That's not to say it's easy. But I like having the whole story to look at--being able to see the big picture. Even though I am no longer a strictly write-by-seat-of-pants writer, I also never really know what's going to happen on the page. So it's not until now that I get a sense of the story as a whole, and get to really look at flow, and character, and how it all works together. Or, more likely, doesn't. I like the feeling of going through the book and finding all the golden threads I laid there, consciously or no, and following them through, polishing all the way.

But you know what else I really love? Book covers. Because that's one step closer to the real, live book in my hot little hands. And because it really never gets old to see my name (or even my pseudonym) splashed across a pretty cover. I don't think it ever will.

Here's the Australian version of Princess from the Past. I suspect this book will come out in the US in 2012, but I don't know for sure. When it does, it will have a classic Presents cover with this art, which I love so much it makes me a little bit giddy, because it absolutely captures the book. And look at the Italian countryside in the background! I mean, if you can tear yourself away from my beloved Prince Leo:



And here are two UK covers for upcoming books, both of which will be out in the US later this year.

The first is this exciting anthology, featuring my story The Reluctant Queen, with three other fabulous (and inspiring) authors:



The Reluctant Queen will be out in the US in a 2in1 with Trish Morey in December.

The second is so exciting. This is my contribution to the Bad Blood Collection, the Mills & Boon Modern/Harlequin Presents continuity series that starts in a few months. Eight different books from eight different authors, all telling the stories of the scandalous Wolfe family. I can't wait to read all of them! And I can't wait for you to read mine. It's a particular favorite. The Shameless Playboy will be out in the UK in May, and out in the US in August with a slightly different title (and a different look I'll be sure to share here): The Disgraced Playboy.



Aren't they delicious? Of course, now I wish I had them right here, right now!
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2011-01-17 10:14 am

Warning: Too Cute

Thanks to Google Alerts, the ego-surfer's friend, I found the cutest picture of my book I've ever seen over here:



How can you not want to read the book now? WITH A PUPPY??

Ahem. Anyway.

There is still time to enter my Carolyn Jewel contest. Fiends! Mages! Witches! Smoking hot stories! I don't know how you can resist, or why you would try. Enter over here.
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2011-01-13 10:00 am

Win a Set of Carolyn Jewel Books!

So. 2010. That was quite a year. I hit career heights I'd never imagined I would reach and I also went through some truly devastating personal lows. I wrote. A lot. I deepened some of my relationships, finally stood up for myself in some toxic situations, and failed to acquit myself as well as I'd like in others. I got my first gray hair--not cool. I rejoiced with loved ones as they celebrated beautiful milestones, weddings and babies, and I grieved for all we lost. Oh, how I grieved. I ate too much, I danced the night away beneath the desert sky, and I learned a few new, crucial things about myself where I least expected I would. How do you measure it all?

I don't know that I can, so I'm going give away some good books instead!

I stumbled across Carolyn Jewel's spellbinding paranormal series by accident. I don't even remember how I came across the first book. What I do remember is that the book stunned me.



I couldn't breathe through it. I couldn't put it down! I loved everything about Carson, the wonderful heroine who learns how to harness her power, and sexy, dangerous Nikodemus, the fiend who's determined to kill her. If they don't spontaneously combust from all the heat they generate first! I loved the San Francisco setting, and the idea of immortal beings walking around in plain sight, engaged in dangerous battles mortals don't see.



The second book is scorching. I feel a little warm just talking about it now. Xia and Alexandrine, so much conflict and battle and emotion and did I mention scorching? Seriously.



I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this third book at RWA this summer. I think I gulped it down before I went home! It has all the menace and danger of the first two, with an added element here that is all about the tension between the mouthwateringly intense fiend Durian and Grayson, a woman on a revenge mission. Delicious.

I love these books. (I also love the names. Carson? Grayson? So cool.) The third one just came out, and there's a fourth due out in June that I'm really excited about. These are the kind of characters that you carry around with you long after the book is done. Complex, fascinating, and compelling. Their world is dark and dangerous and alters the way you see your own. They are so good!

I've decided to give the whole set of three away. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what your favorite paranormal romance series is. I'll pick a winner next week.

(Don't want to enter this contest because you need these books right now? I feel your pain. You can buy them here!)
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2010-12-22 04:08 pm

Why People In So Cal Complain Endlessly About Weather Folks In Other Places Hardly Notice

No one moves to Los Angeles to deal with rain and cold, do they? We're here for the palm trees, blue skies, and endless summer. We have severe cognitive dissonance when the temperature dips below sixty-five degrees, much less when it actually rains. For days.

Also, no one here can deal with this much rain. Our lives are constructed to handle drought. We expect things to be dry--desert-dry--all the time. Which is why there is currently A Dire Situation on my porch, which we used for temporary storage when we moved. Oops. Moreover, the roads are flooded. Whole hills fall down. There are mudslides and chaos and evacuations.

And more significant to me, personally: no one can drive. Natives clutch at their pearls, drive one mile per hour, stomp on the brakes in the middle of giant pools of water on the roadway, and are then shocked when they hydroplane. Not good. So, sure, this is just like a random week in October to you East Coast folks, or summer to you Brits, but it's a full on Rainapocalypse here.

Add thunder and lightning to the mix? It's like it's the End Times. I've never been happier I work at home!
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2010-12-13 09:09 pm

5 Things Are Almost A Blog, Right?

1. In an effort to stop eating like a wild animal--and contain the holiday damage--I just made myself a weird, supposedly healthy dinner. I won't even tell you what it was, because I'm not actually sure. But it was both really gross-tasting and un-filling. Unsatisfying in every way. I am now eating chocolate to try and recover from that madness.

2. Reading the opening chapters of other people's Presents on the Mills & Boon site is both exhilarating and intimidating. And reminds me that I should really get my nose back on the grindstone. Like, right now. But if you're looking for a really good teaser chapter, let me suggest this little treat from Lynn Raye Harris. I can't wait to read the rest!

3. It was 80 degrees in Los Angeles today. In December. I wore flip-flops and a t-shirt. Having grown up Back East, I find this sort of thing... disconcerting. But also awesome. I will never understand why grown people choose to live in New Jersey when they could live here instead.

4. I am currently deeply obsessed with this song. You should be, too:



In my next life, I think I'd like to come back with a big, powerful, show-stopping voice. Because... wow.

5. Whenever it's December, no matter how randomly and surprisingly hot, I want to curl up in this song and drift my way into the new year. And I often do:



And while we're on the subject of my favorite band, here's a bonus oldie but goodie that Liza Palmer and I have been listening to a lot on our Pacific Coast Highway Plotting Drives over the past few months:

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2010-12-10 04:39 pm

Cat-tastic!

When in doubt, post cat pictures:









There, now. Don't you feel better?
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2010-11-19 09:15 am

A Little Vacation

So first I had a terrible, no-good, very bad deadline, which I somehow made. I still don't know how. Then I had to edit that book. The great part about editing is that I usually find that I fall back in love with my characters and the story at that point. You know, after the whole "will I ever finish this" has been satisfactorily answered.

And then, after having written eight books in less than two years, I decided it was time to take a little mental health break. So I'm on a writing vacation until the end of the month.

That has led to sloth. And cake. It's marvelous.

But! In the meantime, as I lounge about and prepare to see the new Harry Potter movie today, I give you this. It's the UK cover of my next Caitlin Crews book, due out in February 2011:




The forgotten princess...


Behind the imposing walls of the castle, free-spirited Bethany Vassal discovered that her whirlwind marriage to Prince Leo Di Marco was nothing like the fairytale she’d imagined. Before long the forgotten princess ran away, hoping the man she fell in love with would one day see sense and come and find her...

Marrying Bethany is the only reckless thing Leo has ever done, and now he is paying the price. The time has come for him to produce a royal heir-- and Bethany must return to the castle from whence she fled!
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2010-10-25 10:59 am

Covers, Ahoy!

I am neck-deep and drowning (swimming? treading water? depends on the scene) in my current book, which is due next Monday. Which is another way of saying I'm pretty much clinically insane at this point.

But! I have two new covers to show you:

First, a Caitlin Crews book. This is the North American version of Katrakis's Last Mistress, which came out last month in the UK. This version, complete with a new title, will be out in March 2011:



And second, a long-awaited look at my next Megan Crane book. I Love the 80s will also be out in March, also in the UK, and will look something like this:



Seriously? That cover is so much fun that I CAN'T EVEN STAND IT! I really love this book, and I hope you will too!

And now I must sink back into this book. I'll see you on the other side!
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2010-10-14 11:26 pm

Puck & Ariel

Don't be fooled by the cuteness: they're evil.



Cute is how they plot.
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2010-10-05 05:44 pm

Highlights from Emerald City

Liza Palmer and I spent a delightful long weekend up in Seattle with our very good friend Jane Porter last week. We were technically in town for the Emerald City Writers' Conference, but we also got the chance to have our own little Writing Retreat. Great friends, book talk, and a few days of perfect Seattle weather? Bliss.

Here are a few pictures from our trip to Snoqualmie Falls. It's just so beautiful up there!




Here are Jane, me, and Kristina McMorris, an author who I suspect you'll be hearing a great deal about once her amazing-sounding book comes out in February. We were taking part in an Author & Librarian "Speed Dating" event in Issaquah, where a bunch of authors got to talk to a whole lot of truly delightful librarians about our books. It was terrific!



We also stopped by the Writers' Cottage in Gilman Village. It couldn't be a lovelier spot--perfect for getting those pages done!




Here is a picture of one of the major highlights of the trip: meeting Natalie Shettlesworth, my truly wonderful mentee. I suspected Natalie was fantastic from the time we spent as official mentor/mentee, but meeting her confirmed it. She's awesome!



And here's a picture from our fun dinner out Saturday night, where Elizabeth Boyle made me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt. (And that's not even mentioning the truly spectacular "cheese flight" we ate, that I'm still fantasizing about.) It was a fantastic evening, all thanks to the wonderful Christina Arbini and Kelli Estes--who make me feel so very welcome every time I go to Seattle:



Also in this picture: the fabulous Tera Lynn Childs (whose book I meant to buy before being called into videotaping duty by Barbara Vey--the results of which you can see over here at Barbara's blog), as well as Dona Sarkar and Pat White who certainly seemed wonderful, but who I was prevented from talking to via table geography and noise. Next time, ladies!

And now I am home in Los Angeles, where we are having Seattle weather (which means it's rainy and cold) and I am having a moderate panic attack about the state of my upcoming book, due at the end of the month. Oh, well--there's nothing to do but jump right in!
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2010-09-28 03:18 pm

Tate: A Cat with Excellent Taste

I'm heading off to Seattle for the Emerald City Writers' Conference tomorrow--assuming I actually get around to packing today, which I have thus far managed to avoid completely--where I plan to marinate myself in good books, talks about good books, writing, writers, and all other things delightfully literary. If you're in the area, feel free to drop by the Book Fair on Saturday, where I'll be signing books with a whole bunch of other writers:



In celebration of all this great book stuff, here's a picture (or two) one of my readers sent me, of her cat Tate "reading" Names My Sisters Call Me:



Cats and books! Hooray!

And as an aside--if you send me a picture of one of my books and... well, anything...I'll post it here. Especially if the anything in question is cute!
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2010-09-24 10:45 am

You Can Get Your Copy of Majesty, Mistress...Missing Heir Now!

I've posted over at Tote Bags & Blogs about my brand new second Harlequin Presents, lovely York, England, and other things.



In the meantime, you can rush right out and find the book in many stores--and it's already shipping from Amazon. Here it is with fellow new Presents author Maisey Yates's debut book:



I can't wait to hear what readers think of this book. I loved writing it!