Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered this year. May 2013 bring healing, good health, prosperity and joy to all. Wishing everyone a safe holiday season and a Happy New Year.


Monday, December 17, 2012

And the winner is...

Kathleen Bosman !

Congratulations, Kathleen! You've won a copy of Jennifer Shirk's Kissing Kendall. To get a copy of your ebook, contact Jennifer at: Jennifer (at) jennifershirk (dot) com. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Celebrate Release Day with Entangled Author Jennifer Shirk!

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

Rula was nice enough to allow me free range on her blog today. LOL!

Rula and I met online through blogging a few years ago. She was one of the very kind people who read my book, GEORGIE ON HIS MIND, and emailed me to tell me how much she enjoyed it.

She was actually one of the several people who asked if there would be a story for Brad (Georgie’s brother) and Kendall (Georgie’s friend) in the works. Fortunately at the time I could tell her that I was in fact writing it! She was happy to hear that and even suggested that I call the book KENDALL IN HIS HEART to go along with the whole GEORGIE ON HIS MIND series thing.

It was a great suggestion.

But one I obviously didn’t take since the book is called KISSING KENDALL. LOL!

(I think Rula has made her peace with that) J

And now today is release day!

Here’s a little bit about the book: 

Kendall Grisbaum is finally taking charge of her life—pouring her heart into opening a new bakery business and even allowing her best friend Georgie to play matchmaker for her. Trouble is, the one guy she secretly wants is Georgie’s older brother, Brad.

Brad can’t seem to get his little sister’s best friend out of his mind. He and Kendall used to be close friends, too, though they drifted apart years ago. But as a local policeman, Brad can’t help but play protector, looking out for Kendall. And when he offers to help her renovate her new bakery space on the side, their attraction flares back to life.

Amid the temptation of doughnut muffins and blueberry cobbler, a new temptation draws them both closer. Can two friends take a chance on love when it means risking everything?

In the book Kendall is starting up a bakery. One of her specialties in the book is called DOUGHNUT MUFFINS. I saw the recipe on the Food Network and they sounded so good, I had to use it in my story.

For you bakers out there, I figured I’d post the recipe!

Kendall's Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c oil
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
3/4 c milk

1/2 c melted butter
1/3 c sugar
1 TBsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate larger bowl, combine oil, vanilla, sugar, egg, and milk.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until all combined.
Spoon the batter into prepared muffins--either a lightly greased muffin tin or line with paper or silicone muffin cups.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. While muffins are baking, prepare your topping. Melt butter in one bowl and mix cinnamon and sugar in another.
Remove muffins from pan while still hot.
Dip muffins in melted butter. Then roll muffins in sugar mixture.
Serve warm or cool on rack.
Store for a day or so at room temperature. (if they last that long!)
Makes about 8 to 12 muffins

 Thanks so much for having me, Rula!
Do like to bake? What’s your favorite bakery goodie?

GIVEAWAY: if you’re interested in winning a free ebook copy of KISSING KENDALL, all you have to do is leave a comment below. You have all week to enter! The winner will be announced next Monday.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

But's Tuesday!

I never do Tuesday posts, but I'm really excited about my latest interview over at USAToday's Happy Ever After blog and wanted to give you the heads up. Harlequin Superromance author Jeannie Watt writes awesome books and today's her release day for Crossing Nevada, a book that really stuck with me. I'd love it if you have a minute to check out the interview here :)!

Also, the lovely Jennifer Shirk will be here on December 10th for her release day! I can't wait!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, LOL. I'll see you all around :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving a day full of fun, food and sweet, tryptophan-induced dreams :).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Interview with Harlequin Blaze Author Karen Foley

I'm so excited to have Blaze author Karen Foley here today! I met Karen this past summer at RWA Nationals in Anaheim. It was an embarrassing case of mistaken identity that resulted in a major fan moment. I'm telling all of you, without reservation, that if you want to read a hot, smart, kick-ass Blaze, you can't go wrong with Karen Foley. I mean, seriously, how many romance authors do you know who've jumped into the cockpit of a Black Hawk all in the name of research ; ? Karen is one of the sweetest, most interesting and funniest people I've met...and when it comes to putting a guy in his place, she's pretty kick-ass herself. Read on and you'll see what I mean :)

1. Welcome, Karen! After reading Flyboy a few years ago, I knew I'd found an awesome, auto-buy Blaze author. No surprise it was a Romantic Times Top Pick (October 2007). I was thrilled when I saw its re-release as a 2-in-1 with your latest, A Kiss in the Dark, another incredible read. Your stories aren't just sexy and suspensful. They're smart. I love the intelligent plot lines and characters, as well as how you always tackle both psychological and moral issues. You write extremely hot heroes (often with various military backgrounds) and heroines who, in spite of their high IQ's and successful careers, are a little oblivious to how sexy they are to men :) Take scientist Lacey Delaney and her invention that could save men in A Kiss in the Dark as an example, or aerospace engineer Sedona Stewart and how she outsmarts sexist men in Flyboy. Has working at the Department of Defense influenced the type of heroine you write and how she fits into a 'man's world'?

First of all, thank you so much for inviting me here today! And thanks, too, for the nice words about my book! I’ve worked for the Department of Defense for nearly 27 years, both here in the U.S. and overseas. I’ve attended top level meetings with military and government officials, where I’ve been the only woman in the room. Intimidating? Oh, yeah. When you’re working in a male-dominated environment, I think you really have to step up your game and know your stuff. Learning to speak up and stand up to some of the alpha males I’ve encountered during my career has been challenging, but it certainly made a difference—both to my career and to my own self-esteem! Thankfully, it’s been a long time since anyone has called me “dear” or “honey,” or asked me to get them a cup of coffee (yes, that really happened, and the guy who asked me to get his coffee had no idea that I was the one directing the meeting. I did get his coffee, and served it to him with a smile, and he nearly choked when he eventually realized his gaffe). So when I write my heroines, I try to create them the way I’d like to be.

2. Love it! A Kiss in the Dark involves a mining industry investigation. Your descriptions are so vivid and emotionally evoking that I actually wondered if the sweet Karen I'd met at Nationals had actually been in a mining accident! Have you ever been in one of those claustrophobic mining elevators, or been cave or mine shaft exploring...or are you just incredible at research?

Thanks, Rula! I absolutely love doing research and then applying what I’ve learned to my story and to my characters in a way that hopefully feels authentic. When I was writing A Kiss in the Dark, I read through many of the news articles and interviews related to the horrific mining disaster at Crandall Canyon Mine in 2007. The rescue and recovery efforts lasted for four weeks, before officials called off the search, and the mining company itself was cited for safety violations. That incident really impacted me, and I knew I wanted to write a story about a mining accident, but with a happy ending. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced a mining accident first-hand, and I don’t think I’d be brave enough to actually enter a coal mine! I don’t even like driving through tunnels, lol!

3. I'm a bit claustrophobic myself. Miners and mine rescuers are truly daring and brave. They're the heroes who don't get the acknowledgment they deserve or the limelight, unless there has been a televised accident. Although it wasn't a mining accident, the rescue crew in A Kiss in the Dark reminded me of the heroes who saved Baby Jessica when she fell in a well pipe back in 1987. I think you give your heroes and heroines very unique and interesting careers (in the romance arena). Of all the careers your characters have excelled at, which was the one you loved/enjoyed researching or writing the most?

That’s a tough question! In my book, Coming Up for Air, both the hero and the heroine are military helicopter pilots and I really loved doing the research for that, including visiting Sikorsky, where they build the helicopters, and sitting in the cockpit of a Blackhawk helicopter. That was so cool, but I really enjoyed doing the research for my book Able-Bodied, where the heroine was a funky, new-age Reiki master and energy healer. I took a Reiki class, and learned about crystals and their many properties. As I was writing, I surrounded myself with crystals, and burned certain candles that were supposed to encourage creativity and inspiration. My husband thought I’d gone off the deep end, but I really enjoyed the whole process, and I think it enabled me to get into the heroine’s head a little more. And the hero was a lot like my husband—an unabashed skeptic!

4. An author's first book always holds a special honor. Let's fly back to your first sale. We'd love to hear about your Call story!

Oh, gosh…it’s true…you never forget your first! I had this idea for a story about a Navy pilot and a female engineer who are forced to work together to find out who is sabotaging a fleet of fighter jets. I attended the RWA conference that year and Brenda Chin—my amazing editor—was holding a contest to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Harlequin Blaze line. She was accepting proposals for “the best Blaze story idea.” So I wrote a 2-page synopsis and handed it to her, and she called me a week later to request the full manuscript. I hadn’t even written the book yet! So I sat down and wrote the book in ten weeks—at night and during the weekend-- and mailed it off. Two months later, she called and offered me a contract. It was the most unbelievable experience of my life, and it all happened really, really fast. I’m not sure I could ever do that again! But the Flyboy cover is incredibly sexy, and I have a poster of it in my sunroom (I wanted it in our bedroom, but my husband refused).

5. From Alps to Castles, you've traveled to incredible places, forged a successful career with the Department of Defense and now you've topped all that with a successful romance writing career. All this with your high school sweetheart by your side. Definitely romantic! Did your high school classmates foresee any of this, or did they vote Karen most likely to....?

I went to a very small high school, so everyone knew their classmates really well. I was a total geek, and I spent most of my classes furtively writing stories, while pretending to take notes. When I wasn’t writing, I had my nose buried in a book. When I was a freshman, I was home sick for three weeks, and I wrote my first romance in a five-subject spiral notebook. The hero was Tarzan—talk about animal magnetism! This story was seriously hot. I gave it to my best friend to read, and she loaned it to someone else, and the manuscript disappeared for a full two years. My husband had just moved into our town that year, and I immediately developed this huge crush on him. But he was a bad boy with a surly attitude, and my dad (who was a cop in town) told me to stay away from him, which only made him more appealing to me! Two years later, my missing story surfaced in my older sister’s English class, where several boys—including my future husband—were doing a public reading at the back of the classroom. My sister confiscated the notebook and brought it home, and I think she may have beaten me about the head and shoulders with it, telling me that she’d never been so embarrassed in her whole life! I was just thrilled to have it back. Now, of course, she’s one of my biggest supporters! As for my husband—he said that reading that story made him look at me in a completely different light!

6. LOL. You truly have a gift for writing. You also have years of experience as a writer now. Looking back, what do you wish you'd known when you were still striving to become published?

I wish I’d known a couple of things. The first was to finish the book. I was really good at writing the first three to five chapters of a book, and then moving on to another story. By the time I finally got The Call, I had fifteen or more partial manuscripts, but none that were completed. And I wish I’d discovered RWA earlier. My local chapter meetings opened huge doors for me, and really helped me to refine my writing. I’ll never forget when Suzanne Brockman, who was a local chapter member at the time, came in and gave a workshop on deep POV. That day was a real turning point for me in my writing, and there are times when I still go back and listen to the recording of that workshop. I’ve learned so much from other writers, and hopefully I’ve been able to help others on their road to publication.

7. Have you settled into any quirky writing rituals or do you have a favorite deadline crunch-time snack?

I seem to work best under pressure. Intense, painful, having-nightmares-about-it pressure.I give myself 3-4 months to write each book, but I’m a terrible procrastinator. The week or two before my deadline, I am pretty much writing around the clock, not sleeping, not eating, not cleaning, taking time off from my day job, etc., in order to finish the manuscript. I don’t know why I do this, but it’s been the same for every book I’ve written—60 percent of the book is written in the last week or two before the deadline. I don’t enjoy it, my family hates it, but that’s my process. I’m physically and emotionally drained by the time the book is finished, and I swear I’ll never do it again…until I do!

8. A Kiss in the Dark and Flyboy are definitely keepers (and re-readers). What can your readers look forward to next?

I just finished a book about a Navy pilot and a photographer, called Free Fall, which will be a July 2013 Harlequin Blaze release. After that, I have two books featuring some seriously sexy U.S. Marshals, which I’m really excited about. I love stories where the hero is pursuing the heroine, and she’s outsmarting him at every turn, until he finally catches her. I hope my readers enjoy them, too!

We definitely enjoy them! And I love the title Free Fall :) Thanks so much for being here today, Karen. I had so much fun interviewing you! Best always.

Blurb: A Kiss in the Dark 

Anything can happen in the dark…

Scientist Lacey Delaney has a hard rule: no dating men in the mining industry. And anyway, she'd rather focus on her work—designing a sophisticated piece of equipment for locating trapped miners. But when she finds herself stranded on the side of a Kentucky road and rescued by a drop-dead-gorgeous guy…well, who's to say her business trip can't have a little pleasure?

Then Lacey learns that Cole MacKinnon is a mining engineer. His job is hazardous—and so is getting involved with him beyond a few nights of wickedly hot fun. What Lacey doesn't know is that Cole is actually an undercover federal agent, a job that carries even more risk.

And the deeper they go, the more dangerous it will get….

Buy it here:

Find Karen here:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview with Harlequin Romance Author Donna Alward

This interview was originally posted at USAToday's Happy Ever After blog on October 30, 2012
I'll admit that I grew up associating cowboys and ranchers with the American Wild West, most likely because of popular Hollywood movies, but not anymore. Award-winning Harlequin Romance author Donna Alward has brought international fame to the rugged Canadian cowboy and rancher. Ever since her debut romance, Hired by the Cowboy, won the Bookseller's Best Award for Best Traditional Romance in 2008, Donna hasn't stopped garnering recognition and awards for her heartwarming and poignant stories. Her 2011 Harlequin Romance,How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart, finaled in the 2012 RITA, Bookseller's Best and National Reader's Choice Awards, plus it won the 2012 Colorado Award of Excellence and the 2011 Cataromance Reviewers Choice Award. Whew! See what I mean? With her latest release, Sleigh Ride with the Rancher, Donna has once again outdone herself.
Rula: Hi, Donna! I must say that Sleigh Ride with the Rancher is a beautifully written, visually stunning and deeply touching holiday story. I love that it's part of a Holiday Miracles trilogy written about three sisters who've grown apart and the trials that bring them together. Book one, Snowbound in the Earl's Castle, was written by Fiona Harper, book two is your Sleigh Ride with the Rancher and book three will be Mistletoe Kisses with the Billionaire by Shirley Jump. In what way does your friendship with Fiona and Shirley parallel your three sister heroines, and has working together made your relationship grow in any way into more of a sisterhood?
Donna: That's a great question! Though I don't think there's much rivalry between us. We were great friends before writing the trilogy and we still are, lol. Plus, we always celebrate each other's successes. It's a beautiful thing.
There are definitely some parallels between the sisters and the three of us, though. For instance, I love the fact that Fi is so often a voice of reason. An example: I'd confided in Fi about a grudge I'd been holding for too long and how I felt badly about it. She was so logical and made such complete sense about the situation that I was able to let the bitterness go (which is a very good thing). Her character, Faith, is a bit of a peacemaker, I think. Now she avoids the family to keep from being caught in the conflict. Shirley's character, Grace, is worldly and cosmopolitan, but she can't quite escape her "down home" roots, which makes going home for a small-town Christmas celebration both uncomfortable for her and absolutely perfect. If you've met Shirley, you know she's got a fantastic sense of style. She's also one of the most down-to-earth, friendliest people I know.
And as far as my character, Hope – well, she's a perfectionist. A bit type A and controlling. Hmmm … sounds familiar. She also has a heart of gold and can be hurt more easily than most people realize. I see myself that way, too.
Rula: Sleigh Ride with the Rancher deals with both physical and emotional scars, as well as the quest for perfection. Your hero and ranch owner, Blake Nelson, has a visible scar that reminds your heroine, photographer Hope McKinnon, of a painful loss she suffered. They have definite obstacles on the road to happy ever after, much like the special-needs kids Blake works with. When it comes to teaching children to cope in life, do you think it's more important to build an individual's confidence, build societal tolerance ... or both?
Donna: I think they go hand in hand, really. I try to teach my girls that they need to respect others, but they also need to respect themselves. I try to instill messages that they can succeed at anything and yet don't have to be perfect, either. There's such a pressure in school-age kids – especially when you start hitting junior high and high school – to BELONG. What we teach the girls is that if someone is a good person inside, it doesn't matter what they look like, the color of their skin, religion, disability. … Good people are good people. And when they struggle with peer groups, etc., I make sure they know that there is one place they ALWAYS belong, and that's in our family.
Rula: You're such a great mom. In your book, hero Blake runs an equine therapy ranch. During your research, what fact about equine therapy amazed you the most? Are you a rider or do you stick with love from your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever? :)
Donna: I wasn't surprised about the emotional connection, because as an animal lover I know how amazing it is to connect with a pet and just feel … better. It made sense that kids would respond to horses in a beneficial way and also learn responsibility by caring for the animals, etc. What really surprised me was the clinical aspect of it, which is why I chose a cerebral palsy patient as a central character. The physical benefits of riding are huge. Core strength, muscle tone, balance … all crucial and helpful to my character Cate – as well as the emotional benefits she enjoys. Like feeling like a normal child, having fun, being accepted.
I haven't gone horseback riding in a long time, though I used to love it. But I'm definitely soaking up the love from our Duck Toller, Dreamer, and our kitty, Boo.
Rula: I have two words, Donna. Maple syrup. Blake is known to make some fine French toast, as lucky Hope can attest to. I've heard you mention how much you love Canadian maple syrup cookies (yum!), but what's the strangest thing you've ever eaten maple syrup with?
Donna: I don't pour it on my eggs, but if I'm having pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs, I confess I like it when some of the syrup runs down the plate and gives them a bit of extra sweetness. I don't know as I've eaten it on anything truly strange, but I have some fave ways to have it in addition to breakfast. I have a recipe for maple ribs, which is delish and if you do it in a roaster, the meat falls right off the bone. My stepdad got me into putting maple syrup on buttered biscuits (or scones), and one time I made cornbread and put maple syrup on it and it was GORGEOUS. There's also maple salmon …
Rula: Mmmm. That all sounds so good. I can't think of the holidays without thinking of sweet things ... and decorating a Christmas tree is one of them. Blake and Hope put up a tree together and it's a moment where they open their hearts to one another. What's your favorite holiday ornament (or ornament theme) and what's the story behind it?
Donna: One of the things we do every Christmas is get the girls a personalized ornament. They each have their own box of special ornaments now and I realized last year that when they leave the nest in a few years our Christmas tree is going to be very bare! But then when they put up their own tree, they will have a box full of Christmas memories waiting for them, which I think is awesome. I have NO idea what I'll get them this year, but I guarantee they'll be looking for it in their stockings.

Rula: That's such a great idea. Well, you know your readers will want more after Sleigh Ride with the Rancher. Your wonderful Cadence Creek Cowboys series started with The Last Real Cowboy and The Rebel Rancher. Tell us about your next Cadence Creek Cowboy book, coming out in March, because I'm dying to know what your cowboy will do when he finds A Little Cowgirl on his Doorstep.
Donna: I came up with the idea of Callum Shepard after I got hooked on watching Hell on Wheels. Anson Mount plays the lead character, Cullen Bohannon, and he's gruff, he's got shaggy hair, and he's pretty emotionally wounded. I just had the idea of someone looking like that opening the door to find a prim and proper woman standing on his porch claiming that he's a daddy. Avery is baby Nell's aunt, and she and Callum met once. He looks nothing like the man she met a year ago. She's in a bit of a tough position. She grew up not knowing her dad and feels very strongly about Callum knowing the truth, and yet all she really wants is to be able to raise Nell as her own. And Callum is a tough nut to crack. He's my favorite kind of hero: tough on the outside with a marshmallow center. : )
Rula: That's why I love your heroes! Sleigh Ride with the Rancher really put me in the mood for the holidays, and I can't wait for A Little Cowgirl on his Doorstep. Thanks so much for hanging out at Happy Ever After, Donna! Wishing you and everyone else an HEA.
BLURB: A week before Christmas, city girl Hope McKinnon finds herself snowbound with rugged rancher and all round do-gooder Blake Nelson. What is it about this handsome, generous man that has her blood boiling and her pulse racing?
Blake knows his ranch is the last place that Hope wants to be, but somehow her presence feels so right! Hope is the first woman guarded Blake has wanted to be around for a long time. Her visit may be temporary, but he has one more night to convince her to stay….

ALSO CHECK OUT: Donna's latest book from her First Responders series at Samhain Publishing...
Into The Fire (Book 3, First Responders) - Releasing November 13, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Hero's Handshake

Shake my hand like a man!


I did say please. After all, a handshake is meant to be polite and I am a lady. But for crying out loud, whether you choose to call me a lady, lady-like, female, woman or whatever, we're in the 21st century dudes. Don't insult me...or yourself.

Sorry if I'm coming off a bit strong. Let me backtrack here, and apologize to all you women out there who prefer a feeble handshake from a man., and I'm all for a guy (or anyone) being gentle if they know someone's hands are fragile for whatever reason. I'm talking about the average modern woman though. I do understand that in certain cotillion circles, guys are taught to shake a woman's hand by barely holding the tips of her fingers. They're taught that this is respectful, and I can see where that comes from, but...

I hate that with a passion. Call it a pet peeve. I like me a firm handshake. Not bone crushing or overpowering, but one that indicates equality. To me, a solid handshake in this day and age tells me that the man respects me. Sees me as an equal. Will do business with me on equal footing. I don't care if I'm about to contract someone for work at the house, meeting a business person, a friend of a friend, nothing emasculates a man in my eyes more than when he gives me the limp, finger tip shake. The shake that says:

"I don't really want to touch your hand, but I'm supposed to, so I'll do it half-assed."

"You might have cooties. Gotta run and soon as you're not looking."

"I'm a king and you're my subject. Poo on you."

"May I have this dance?" (Followed by a bow of course. Where's the ballroom?)

Seriously, I do understand that a woman is supposed to extend her hand first. That's empowering. A man doesn't get to shake her hand unless she grants him the opportunity. But beyond that, I think a man's handshake says a lot about him. Of course, you can't really tell what's under all that muscle (or lack of) based on mere hand contact, but you know how first impressions go. I want the handshake of a hero. A man's man. I even pay attention to handshake descriptions in novels. The fingertip shake is perfect in a historical novel, but in a contemporary it turns me off like a sloppy kiss.

Women of the world unite. Spread word and teach our men and sons how to execute the 'hero's handshake'.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Birthday HEA!

I haven't done a Therapeutic Thursday post in awhile, but I think birthdays fall into the happy, feel-good category so here it is...Happy 1 year birthday to Joyce Lamb and her extraordinarily successful USAToday Happy Ever After blog!

USAToday online just underwent a face lift, so you'll have to check out the HEA blog's new look. In fact, my latest HEA interview with Harlequin author Rebecca Winter's posted this past Tuesday, October 2nd. You can check it out here, then click on the Happy Ever After header, or here, to see today's interviews and reviews (I'll bait you with one I saw with a really hot cover model and an interview that's up with Hank Phillippi Ryan).

Also, I'm juggling a few things on the home front, including patio construction  (I'm sure the foreman loves how OCD I am :P), a long weekend (Happy Thanksgiving Day to my Canadian friends on Monday...and Columbus Day here), a kid birthday (we have 3 b-days in the house this month if you include my puppy turning 1) and out-of-town guests, so you may not see a Monday post from me next week (and possibly the week after).

Once again, Happy Birthday HEA! Hope you enjoy the interviews.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Autumn or Fall?

This Saturday, September 22nd, marks the first day of autumn. At least that's what my calendar says. I tend to call it the first day of fall. I realize the two terms are interchangeable, although they do have different etymologies. According to Wikipedia, 'autumn' has Old French origins and its use dates back to the 12th century, whereas 'fall' has Germanic language origins (English or Norse) and its use to describe the season dates back to the 16th century. I won't get into more detail on that front. Suffice it to say that different people (sometimes depending on where they grew up) are used to using one term over the other.

I say 'fall' 95% of the time, and it's my absolute favorite season. If I had to pick my top three favorite things about the season they would be:

1) fall colors on trees and shrubs
2) scarecrows (I've loved them ever since I saw The Wizard of Oz as a kid)
3) the sight of bales of hay rolled and left out on farmland

Of course, I love pumpkins (my kids already coaxed me into making a pumpkin pie this past weekend...they couldn't wait), the sound and sight of Canadian geese migrating, squirrels harvesting, chrysanthemums, sunflowers, apple cider, brisk mornings, trick-or-treaters and knowing Thanksgiving is around the corner, but the top three faves stand apart.

So, do you say 'autumn' or 'fall', and what are your top three favorite things about the season?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day, Laughs and Liz

Happy Labor Day!

My Labor Day treat for you is a must-see link that will leave you laughing. Check out Nathan Bransford's visual take on the emotional stages of writing a book. He calls it The Publishing Process in GIF Form, and trust me, both readers and writers will get a kick out of it. Make sure you scroll through to the end! It's accurate, funny and a bit nostalgic. You'll see what I mean :)

Also, my debut as a USA Today Happy Ever After blog contributor is scheduled to post this Wednesday, September 5th at 3 pm! Since I don't post here on Wednesdays, I'm giving you the heads up...and I'll slip in behind the scenes to add the exact link (it should work at 3pm). I'll be interviewing Harlequin Superromance author Liz Talley on her new book, The Road to Bayou Bridge. Pop by if you get the chance!

Now, go start your day with a good laugh at Nathan's publishing process :)

Take care and have a great one.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

And the winner is...

Carol Kilgore!

Congratulations, Carol! You've won a copy of Kaily Hart's Rise of Hope. You can send Kaily your contact information here. Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fabric of Fate

It's release day for Rise of Hope, book one of Kaily Hart's much anticipated five book paranormal/urban fantasy series, Fabric of Fate! Kaily is known for her fantastic, hot contemporaries, but fate must have played a role in the birth of these books. She undoubtedly has a gift for creating intricate worlds and plots. Although each book in the Fabric of Fate series centers on one romance - one fated pair - each story is ultimately woven into the destiny of the Vadim...a race on the brink of extinction. Kaily threads the details of the Vadim seemlessly through the overall arc, unfolding their forgotten past, their coveted supernatural gifts, and the secret motives of a powerful organization hellbent on weakening them, as the Vadim discover the truth for themselves. I think the blurb for Rise of Hope sets the series up perfectly. 

A secret ancient race of humans with fantastical abilities, the Vadïm are on the brink of extinction. Many of their women are imprisoned by an organization known as The Assembly, their history all but lost...

Devon Monroe has been a prisoner her entire life. She's determined to make sense of the strange markings on her body, to learn why no one may touch her, to find where she belongs. That means escaping into the unknown, where she has no choice but to trust her self-appointed protector.

Soldier-for-hire Seth Eastman has a job to do: deliver Devon to safety. When Seth discovers the markings on Devon's body, he's stunned at what they mean. And at how she awakens his long-suppressed needs. As they struggle to escape detection and search for the truth of the Vadïm, can he ever hope to claim her for his own?

Wow! Having the survival of your entire race depend on finding your fated match is a lot of pressure! Kaily, you're the master of fate in the Fabric of Fate series :), but tell us of a time when fate played a role in your personal life...

Thanks, Rula. It really is great being master of your own universe for a change J. I think that’s one of the things I most enjoyed about writing a paranormal story. I got to make everything up and craft the rules for how everything would work *insert appropriately evil laughter*.

You know, I really didn’t set about writing a series where fate or the idea of it, played such an integral part. That kind of just happened during the creative process and kind of hit me when I was asked if the series had a tag line, which is - The Vadïm...will fate alone determine their future or can they carve out their own destiny?  I like to think my subconscious is always at work in the background, even if I’m messing around on the internet LOL.

I do believe in fate. Up to a point. I do think some things are “destined”, however, I still think free will can mess with it, can change things up, can create events that could result in a different outcome. That element of risk allowed me to create a thread of tension throughout this series, that maybe, just maybe, things wouldn’t work out as they would first appear. If things were all mapped out, pre-determined, unavoidable, I’m not sure there’d be the same level of incentive to achieve, to succeed, to better ourselves. We could just sit back and accept. Right?

I can think back to several instances in my life where I believe there were forces at work that seemed to conspire together so that a number of things all fell into place and created a path of opportunity. I’m a big one for believing in seizing opportunities as they present themselves. Fate can’t make you do that. Only you can. I can trace back the reason I originally came to the US to a single phone call J. It was 1993. I was in a graduate development program for a large corporation and I’d just gotten up from my desk at work when the phone rang. Now, I was standing because I’d gotten up to go to the bathroom. It was the end of the day. I was tired, getting ready to leave, I had to rush to catch my train. I could have let that call go through to voicemail, but no. Something compelled me to answer it, something made me sit down and take the call. It was a colleague asking me to join a new group the company had formed. If I hadn’t answered, he would have called the next person on the list. It was an intriguing opportunity. I said ‘yes’. That move taught me new and highly in demand skills that prompted a consulting company based in NY to recruit me hard the following year and finally convince me to come to the US and a life of consulting. It changed the course of my life completely, absolutely. Was it meant? Was it destined? Was it ‘fated’? I’m not sure, but I still usually answer the phone whenever it rings, even if I really need to pee :).

LOL, Kaily. It's amazing how a single moment, a split second choice, can change the course of an entire life. For better or worse, but we hope for better. It does bring up the question, as you pointed out, of how much power...through the choices we make or actions we take...we have over our own destiny. 

To all of you out there, do you believe in fate? Is there a person or event where you feel fate played a major role or even changed the course of your life? Share your story for a chance to win a copy of Rise of Hope. The winner will be announced here this Thursday.


BUY RISE OF HOPE HERE: (Destined for those 18 or older :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Interview with Entangled Publishing author Robin Covington

Whether you've met her face-to-face or have gotten to know her online, one thing that always comes through is Robin Covington's warm, southern smile. A smile that, I bet, turned mega-grin when her debut book, A Night of Southern Comfort, released this summer (Entangled Publishing, June 2012). And the heat waves we've had haven't slowed Robin down one bit. Not only has her sexy debut been a sizzling success, she's already multi-contracted for more! Did I mention she's also an attorney, mom and so much more? Read on and you'll be wondering what she eats for breakfast! Grab some iced tea, find a shady spot and help me give Robin a warm welcome.

1.Hey, Robin! As a fellow Southerner, I love the title A Night of Southern Comfort because it brings my senses back to Blue Bell ice cream (Texas anyone?), peach cobbler and sweetened iced tea while lounging by the pool. Other than your heroine Dr. Michaela Roarke's drink of choice, what does 'southern comfort' mean to you? Is there a specific southern comfort that's a part of your writing day or routine?

Aaah . . . I grew up in a little town that is a lot like Elliott, VA and I have such wonderful memories that bring me southern comfort.  Sunday fried chicken lunches, reading while sitting in the branches of the apple trees in the orchard next to our farm, the sound of NASCAR races on the radio and TV. ; ) I think for me it means family, people around that have known me since I was born, a feeling of belonging.  I think ANoSC and the entire “Boys” series evokes that for me – the fact that you are not defined by where you come from but it is the place you can go to when you have to re-center and figure out what it is you truly want. So, long answer to that one – but that is my comfort – home.

My routine involves listening to country music. Old, new – doesn’t matter – but I grew up with it in my house and my relatives playing it so it sparks a creative light inside of me to help me to get in the groove.

2. Albeit a thrilling experience, launching a debut book can also be a time management reality shock. You, however, are hereby dubbed the time management wonder woman! Not only are you an attorney for the Navy, you're also a wife, mom, singer, head faculty for Romance University, a contributor for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog, you run your own Burning Up the Sheets blog and you've been on a blog tour. Wait! Let me catch my breath. Okay. Let's top that off with the fact that you're now multi-contracted with Entangled Publishing...and then there's FB and Twitter. I'm exhausted just thinking about it all. I know that family and writing always come first, but how do you, specifically, approach time management? Is it something the Navy ingrained in you or are you related to the energizer bunny :). Seriously though, any tips on balancing it all?

I’m a huge comic book geek so I LOVE that you call me Wonder Woman.  I totally dig her costume.

Oh man, I do have lots going on but I think many people do.  I am very careful with my time and what I need to do. My biggest downfall is that I am easily distracted by glittery things and I can lose serious time on the Internet or just doing that “one last thing”. I am lazy, a procrastinator and a slacker at heart.

So, I schedule my weeks and I include my social media time and writing time in that week and I guard it like a jealous woman.  I also give up some stuff but it is worth it.  I don’t watch lots of TV. What I do watch is on the DVR  (Hawaii 5-0 (Alex!), True Blood (Joe!), Covert Affairs (Auggie!)) and I will binge watch when I get some time.  Thank goodness for my Kindle “text-to-speech” feature because I can read when I’m driving or cooking.  And, I don’t sleep much – 5 hours a night on average – but I don’t need a lot.

3. You're contracted to write for several different lines at Entangled. A Night of Southern Comfort, the first of your 'The Boy's Are Back in Town' series for the Indulgence line, will soon be followed with His Southern Temptation, Southern Heat and Southern Nights. You are also scheduled for a holiday release, Secret Santa Baby, in the Flirts line this December and a Covet line release in 2013. That's a good kind of busy! How has working under deadline with an editor (especially given the faster e-pub time lines) changed your writing process? Does all the advice writers are given about setting manuscripts aside for a few weeks or sending them off for CP feedback go out the door? Does your schedule allow for all that, or does it come down to sending what you have and waiting on the editor's word?

I also have a Brazen release in Summer 2013 - *grin*. I am happy girl who pinches herself all the time.  I can’t believe how much my life has changed from one year ago.

My process has not changed much on a deadline but it has motivated me to stick to my schedule.  I use a page count tracker that Kresley Cole gives out on her website and I set up a schedule to get the book done on time. I write 7 days a week – lower page count on weekends- but it keeps me in the story and my writing muscle in shape. I have CP’s and we trade chapters as they are completed and they are wonderfully supportive, published authors who are also working on deadline.  We keep each other accountable. So, by the time my deadline arrives, I can send it out the door – with a few days to spare.

I love working with an editor.  They really push me to write the very best book I can and I cannot thank them enough.

4. A Night of Southern Comfort won or placed in numerous contests before it resulted in the night of southern bliss--The Call! Tell us about it!

Yes, it did.  I am a huge proponent of contests as a way to improve your craft and get used to the submission process. That is whole other discussion. . .

I am a night owl and frequently I’m up until one in the morning while the hubby sleeps in the next room (My office is in my 19 foot long closet) and I was up one night and getting ready to sign off for the evening when I decided to check my email one more time.  I saw an email from Lori Wilde with the title in the subject line and I immediately thought it was a rejection because she’d only had the book for one week.

So, I opened the email, steeled myself for a rejection and wondered if I had any chocolate stashed in the house for the pity party for one that was about to happen. I was shocked when I read that she wanted to buy the book, loved the book, couldn’t stop reading the book . . .  totally surreal (I mean, this is Lori Wilde). I woke the hubby up and told him and he stumbled out of bed and went downstairs, grabbed a bottle of champagne out of the wine cellar and we toasted my sale and he went back to bed.  I slept about 10 minutes that night!

5. Surreal and cool! Congrats again :). Speaking of lack of sleep, when people are immersed in the daily grind of a particular career (be it medicine, law, ranching or whatnot), behind the scenes reality can quickly fog up those romance colored lenses. For example, I've heard there's nothing sweet smelling about cowboy sweat, LOL. Now, there's no arguing that your current hero, Jack Cantrell is one hot detective, but given your experience with the Navy, do you plan to write any hot Navy heroes...or would that be too close for comfort?

Well . . . I hate to burst anyone’s bubble but most of the pilots look nothing like Tom Cruise or Val Kilmer.  Sigh . . . and while the work they do is exciting, I haven’t thought of  a single story yet with Navy heroes. Right now, I have ‘The Boys” planned, and a movie star action hero, and my Christmas novella hero is a man who writes video games.  Maybe, I’ll do a Navy guy later.

While, I would write about the Navy, I’m not sure I want to write about lawyers.  Yech!  Too much like work.

6. I totally get that :). Music is also a big part of your life and you've posted many of my favorite songs on your blog, Burning Up The Sheets. What is your heroine Michaela's favorite song and if she and her hero Jack were in a car, would he be beggin' to change the station?

Yep.  I sing in a band and I’ve been in some sort of band for most of my life.  I write with music, make playlists for books – I live and breathe music.  Michaela is huge Miranda Lambert fan because Miranda is a badass and writes songs that flip the world the bird.  So, I think one of her faves would be “Only Prettier” – the chorus says “We’re just like you. Only Prettier.”

Jack would leave it on because he loves to see Kayla happy and he likes her badass side.  But, he likes heavy metal, like Metallica.  His favorite song is “Enter Sandman” – he’s a Hokie from Virginia Tech and that is the song they play when the football team enters the stadium.

7. Love it! Okay. Other than not quitting, what's your best advice for writers trying to achieve publication?

Make goals and write them down and compare everything against that list. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing going to help me achieve a goal?”  If it isn’t then you need to think twice about spending your writing time doing it.  Be strategic in your career. Know the house you want. Know the agent you want. Know what you want to write and make every move to make it happen.

8. Fill in the blank: Robin Covington was voted most likely to.......

Be a dirty old lady.  ; )

I love a dirty joke and bawdy humor and I love ogling man candy.  I’ll be the little old lady in the nursing home who pinches the cute orderlies.

9. LOL! I'm thinking giving that dirty old lady a drink might be asking for trouble ;), but if you could create a drink (virgin or not:) and call it 'Southern Sass', what would the recipe be?

Oh no virgin drinks, please!  Let’s see . . .  cranberry juice, lime and southern comfort. I’ve actually had that and it’s pretty good.

Robin, you're a blast! Thanks so much for being here!

BLURB: A Night of Southern Comfort 

One night of passion... 

Detective Jackson Cantrell never imagined that one night with an irresistible stranger would turn his life upside down. He’s spent years living in the shadows, but Dr. Michaela Roarke awakened a passion inside him he'd buried years ago. 

He never expected the woman would turn out to be the governor's daughter...and his next assignment. The governor blackmails Jackson to secretly watch over Michaela and protect her from a stalker, or kiss his dream job at the FBI good-bye. Swearing to keep things strictly professional, Jackson moves in with Michaela. Too bad his heart can't keep the same promise. 

But when the stalker's attacks quickly escalate beyond mere photographs to bodily harm, Jackson must race to save Michaela's life. And he’ll have to figure out how to keep her once she discovers his lie.

BUY IT HERE: (Note - If you're not old enough for a non-virgin drink, then you're not old enough for this hot read.)


Thursday, August 9, 2012


The winner of Kathy Altman's giveaway is...

Julia Broadbooks !

Congratulations, Julia! You've won a copy of The Other Soldier. You can send Kathy your mailing info through her contact page here. Enjoy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Interview with Harlequin Superromance Author Kathy Altman

Good morning, everyone! I'm really excited to have debut author Kathy Altman here today because, after getting to know each other online, we finally had the chance to meet face-to-face and hang out at the Nationals meeting in Anaheim last month. Kathy is not only a truly lovely person, she's also both talented and active in the romance community. As a book reviewer, Kathy is a regular contributor to USAToday's Happy Ever After blog...and her reviews are excellent! She has also won or placed in numerous awards including, but not limited to, The Marlene, The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence, and The Maggie Award of Excellence for unpublished writers. Her writing definitely sticks to the heart, as you'll find out when you read her debut Superromance The Other soldier.  Leave a comment and you'll be entered in a chance to win a copy of Kathy's book!

1. Kathy, I have to say you're one fearless romance writer! In The Other Soldier, you took on impossible conflict...friendly fire tragedy vs happily ever after...while keeping it all real. Not only did you write a beautiful and believable story, you wrote one that is both heart twisting and hilarious at the same time. We'll talk about that funny bone of yours in a sec, but first I'd love to know what kind of research went in to understanding the psychology behind what soldiers and their families go through.

Oh, my gosh, Rula, thank you so much for your kind praise! No wonder I enjoy hanging out here. :-) Truthfully I’ve never thought of myself or my writing as fearless. As a matter of fact, once I discovered that the Superromance editors wanted to see the rest of my story—you know, the one with the impossible conflict?—pure panic set in. I honestly didn’t know how I’d coax my hero and heroine into falling in love. I read a number of articles about military life and friendly fire incidents, and about loss and forgiveness, and decided to simply trust that, as I was writing, what I’d gleaned from all that reading would automatically kick in and help me help my characters overcome the armored tank-sized conflict between them. I have to say that many of the articles I read were as inspiring as they were heartbreaking—our military and their families have my utmost admiration and respect.

2. Absolutely...and speaking of heartbreak, it's a known fact that, by inducing changes in our body chemistry,laughter helps us deal with stress. We should all laugh more! Right? There's nothing funny about suffering and loss, but I think life has a way of tossing down 'stepping stones' of humor to see us through. In The Other Soldier, you use comic relief masterfully throughout. In fact, you bring it in so naturally that it makes the story even more true to life. I won't give anything away, but as an example, in the epilogue just four words took me from heartfelt tears to bursting into laughter. I know you have a great sense of humor :). Did the use of comic relief come naturally to you? Is there a craft source you recommend on comic relief or the use of humor in books?

You are so right—we don’t laugh often enough! And I’m tickled that you found the right bits of the book humorous. For me it’s quite a challenge to walk that line between funny and obnoxious, and the very last thing I wanted to do with this subject matter was come across as disrespectful. But with grief and regret playing such a big part in the story, I knew I needed to sprinkle in some “downtime” to give the reader a break from all the angst. To my surprise and delight the humor came naturally. I believe it’s thanks to the secondary characters, since a grumpy old man and an outspoken nine year-old provide plenty of fodder for fun dialogue. Unfortunately, humor isn’t always instinctive for me. In fact, I’d intended the book I’m currently writing (a follow-on to The Other Soldier) to lean more to the comic side, but my critique partner was less than impressed. Epic fail. So I’m sticking with the angst. Angst I can write. Outright humor, not so much. That I’ll leave to experts like Ellen Hartman and Holly Jacobs. :-)

3. I'm a fellow lover of word games. We should start a group called Scrabble Sisters or Bananagram Babes, LOL! However, you'd beat me hands down at any challenge involving military speak. You had one hilarious scene in the book that I personally refer to as the Navy vs Army lingo scene. It's an excellent example of how word choice can really bring out a character. I'd say my favorite expression used was 'Embrace the suck.' Writing is tough and getting published is even tougher. What were some key moments on your road to publication where you had to embrace the suck?

LOL, I love that expression, too! And boy, did I learn a lot of Army/Navy speak that I’d love to share, except it would bring my mother running with a six-pack of soap. When I was just starting out submitting queries I felt brutalized by each and every rejection. I think that was the biggest suck I had to embrace—getting past the desperation to quit when I felt I had no business believing I could write. Luckily the more I wrote the more I realized I had a lot to learn, and of course the more I learned the better I wrote, so that kept me going.

But my most notable “suck point” also turned out to be a pivotal point in the growth of my writing. I had drafted a scene in which my heroine wanders into a garden at night, sits on a bench and contemplates life, love and the pursuit of an especially elusive hero. One of my critique partners gently but firmly pointed out that having a character sitting and thinking did not make for an active or even particularly interesting scene. But...but...I’d spent so much time on those pages! Of course it didn’t take me long to realize she was right. But I didn’t like that she was right, because it meant scrapping words. And I am not fond of scrapping words. Luckily I’ve never made that mistake again. Instead I make awesome new ones.

4. See, you made me smile! Well, we all know that perseverance pays off...and deserves a treat! Tell us about your Halloween treat that topped even the best chocolate. A call in the bag!

LOL, Halloween is a great day to get great news, isn’t it?! This book came about as a result of Harlequin’s online Memorial Day Challenge, in which entrants were asked to submit the first 1000 words of a military-themed story. I almost didn’t enter—not only was I already working on a submission for Superromance, but I’d never even considered writing a military character and really didn’t know where to start. But then I realized not entering would be a colossal mistake—why wouldn’t I take advantage of the chance to win a pair of critiques from the very editors I was targeting?! Amazingly enough I did win those critiques, from editors Victoria Curran and Megan Long. Talk about a Halloween treat! Of course, that meant I actually had to write the story...enter the trick. But thanks to a steady diet of chocolate-covered almonds and Army Wives, I did manage to finish the book. Two months after I submitted it, on Halloween, I received a voicemail from Megan, telling me they’d like to go to contract. I was ecstatic! I was also driving, not to mention crying. I had to turn into the nearest parking lot and hang out until I could see well enough to get back on the road. When I got home I promptly celebrated by hitting the chocolate. :-) Good thing we only had three trick-or-treaters that evening, because after I finished whooping it up there wasn’t a heck of a lot of candy left.

5. I'm so glad that The Other Soldier got published because it's a story that gives hope to a lot of people suffering from tragedy. It also tackles the subject of financial self-sufficiency from both a generational perspective and that of the different sexes. I believe romance novels are empowering to readers in so many ways. Given our financial times, what's the one message from this secondary story line that you hope readers will take home?

Rula, you used two of my favorite words to describe what romance novels offer—hope and empower[ment]! I doubt there are many people who haven’t recently been touched by financial hardship in some way, so it seemed timely, as well as appropriate to the story, to include money as a conflict. Pride, shame, desperation—it all comes into play when someone is facing hard times. Throw in a potential lover who needs impressing—one who has far more money than you’ll ever dream of having—and watch the mix-ups mount! It’s one of my favorite character realizations-that love trumps lucre(I guess because that’s not always true in real life). What I hope the reader will take away from the secondary storyline? Open communication is key. Establishing financial expectations and boundaries up front can save a lot of heartache! Of course, it also makes for a less angst-y read. ;-)

6. I'm sure you'll never forget the thrill of getting your first book into stores, but the details will never be as fresh as they are now. Thinking back on everything that has happened since your Call, how would you complete the following two phrases: I wish I'd known... and Next time I'll definitely...

I wish I’d known to lay in a bigger supply of celebratory chocolate! Seriously, though, this is a great question, and I have a somewhat embarrassing answer. I wish I’d remembered (because I know this full well) that it’s all about the writing. You don’t write, you can’t sell. After I got the call I let myself get caught up in all I needed to do to finalize The Other Soldier, and in writing reviews for USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog. Revisions and a Dear Reader letter needed to be done, of course, and the HEA blog is a fun form of promotion, but I neglected the next book—which is why it isn’t coming out until July of 2013. I promise I’m working on that time management issue. Plus, I’m adding our bread machine and an empty box of All Bran to my list of places to stash candy.

Next time (which starts now!) I’ll definitely be more schedule savvy, and at the same time try not to beat myself up over a lost writing session or two. If I get to three? I’ll force myself to boycott Castle. No Nathan Fillion guarantees I won’t remain off schedule for long!

7. Maybe you could name one of your future heroes Nathan ;) Your current hero, Corporal Reid Macfarland, is a lucky guy because your heroine, Parker Dean, is quite the baker. In fact, readers can get her recipes for Pumpkin Coconut Muffins and Castle Creek Carrot Cake on your website. Yum! Which of her desserts is your top pick? Would you have it with coffee or tea? Snuggled on a sofa with a remote, sitting on a beach chair with your toes in the surf or by a campfire near a cabin in the woods?

I found that recipe for pumpkin muffins years ago and instantly adored it. When I added chocolate chips it tipped the scale from good to great. (It also tipped the bathroom scale, but we won’t talk about that). As much as I enjoy carrot cake—minus the raisins—I have to say the muffins will always be my first choice. As far as what I’d drink with them, I’m one of those people who loves the smell of coffee but can’t stand the taste. For me it’s tea all the way—preferably Constant Comment. And whoa, you are such a tease! By a beach or a campfire? I would love either of those choices! But most often you’ll find me on the sofa, snuggled under an afghan crocheted for me by my sister. Every now and then I switch it out with the one crocheted for me by my brother! Yeah, I completely lost out on that creative-with-yarn gene.

8. Do you have any quirky writing habits/rituals or snacks?

LOL, I’m afraid my writing sessions are boringly normal. I’m just like everyone else who pays tribute to the writing gods—at 10 minutes past the hour I stop writing, stand up and circle my chair while tapping my fist to my forehead; I always spit out the first mouthful of whatever drink I’ve poured (careful, of course, to aim away from the keyboard); and whenever I finish a chapter I light a mutton-scented candle and recite a poem dedicated to Colin Firth.


Umm...everyone else does do those things, right? No? Oh. Well. You know I made it all up, right? Every last bit of it. Not true. Any of it. Seriously.

I think I need a peanut M&M.

9. LOL! And you say you're not funny? Oy! Okay, back on track here. In The Other Soldier, you brought your readers to Castle Creek, a memorable town with rich characters. Will we be revisiting Castle Creek in the future? Any hints at who we'll find?

I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to Castle Creek! :-)  As a matter of fact, I will be coaxing you back in that direction. My next book features the owner of Castle Creek’s lone motel. Joe Gallahan is renovating the rundown building at the same time he’s trying to get rid of his ex-girlfriend, Allison Kincaid. Allison’s a city girl through and through, but she braves the small town to convince Joe that he needs to win her back the promotion he cost her. (It’s that money thing again—poor Allison is in dire straits.) Joe wants to correct the mistake he never knew he made, and the sooner the better so Allison can get back to her life in the city. Yet seeing his former lover tempts Joe to renew the offer he once made—though he doubts he can survive another rejection.

Along with Joe you’ll recognize a few other faces. And since it’ll be a year before we get to see Joe’s story, I’m planning to write a novella for release in December or January—just so readers don’t forget how to get back to Castle Creek. ;-) The heroine of that story will be Ivy Millbrook, who owns a dairy farm—the poor woman has already met her match but she doesn’t know it.

10. I love reading (and posting) lists of famous writer quotes. It's tough to narrow down a favorite, but if you had to pick one that really hit home for you, which would it be?

My absolute favorite, most beloved quote is this one by James Thurber: “Don’t get it right, just get it written.” This hits home for me because I write with an ever-present internal editor—which makes writing that first draft so very painful. I am a slooooow writer because I have a hard time moving on from that sentence or paragraph or page that doesn’t read quite right. And it’s a first draft, of course it doesn’t read quite right! :-/ Plus there’s that whole I-live-in-fear-of-having-to-scrap-words thing I have going on. Currently I’m struggling to improve my speed factor, and glancing at this quote every now and then really helps!

Rula, thank you so much for inviting me to guest blog on A Writer’s Rush! I’ve read and admired so many of the clever and informative interviews you’ve posted over the months...years, actually...and I’m honored beyond description to join the authors you’ve featured. I appreciate you!

Many thanks also to everyone who stopped in to say hello! I’m so grateful for your support, and I’d love to share a copy of The Other Soldier. Please leave a comment for the chance to win one! 

Gosh, Kathy! Thank you so much for being here. It has been an honor.

GIVEAWAY: You heard Kathy, everyone! Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Other Soldier. The winner will be posted here this Thursday, August 9th.

Corporal Reid Macfarland has one mission: to make amends for the mistake he lives with every day. That friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan that killed a fellow soldier haunts him. Maybe if he can help the widow, he'll find some peace.

But amends are easier said than done. Just one meeting with the independent and engaging Parker Dean makes it clear that forgiveness is a little more complicated than offering money or an apology. If he really wants to help, Reid has to stick around for a while. The more their daily lives intertwine, the more he realizes her forgiveness isn't the only thing he needs—he needs her.