Saturday, May 30, 2009

Treasures from the Past

Last weekend I found myself in Victoria, British Columbia , chaperoning my daughter's marching band for the Canadian Victoria Day celebration.

My daughter is a senior this year so there was a very special joy for me during the long weekend knowing that this would be my last field trip ever. Ever! That prospect filled my heart with joy as well as the discovery that there was a wonderful exhibit called "Treasures: The World's Cultures from the British Museum" at the Royal BC Museum.
I love museums, all kinds. And treasures from the British Museum were just too tempting to resist. So I ditched the band during one of their rehearsals and headed for the museum. I wasn't disappointed. Something I had always wanted to see was there . . . the Rosetta Stone.
It wasn't the real Rosetta Stone, for which I was grateful. That Rosetta Stone is actually where it should be--in a museum in el-Rashid (Rosetta), Egypt.
The inscription on the Rosetta Stone is a decree passed by a council of priests, one of a series that affirm the royal cult of the 13-year-old Ptolemy V on the first anniversary of his coronation.
The decree is inscribed on the stone three times, in hieroglyphic (suitable for a priestly decree), demotic (the native script used for daily purposes), and Greek (the language of the administration). The importance of this to Egyptology is immense. Soon after the end of the fourth century AD, when hieroglyphs had gone out of use, the knowledge of how to read and write them disappeared.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, some 1400 years later, scholars were able to use the Greek inscription on this stone as the key to decipher them. Thomas Young, an English physicist, was the first to show that some of the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone wrote the sounds of a royal name, that of Ptolemy. The French scholar Jean-Fran├žois Champollion then realized that hieroglyphs recorded the sound of the Egyptian language and laid the foundations of our knowledge of ancient Egyptian language and culture.

Gazing upon the etched surface of the basalt tablet, I could sympathize with the scribe who painstakingly carved each perfect symbol then letter. The words and symbols were so tiny, perfect, and yet durable enough to last throughout the ages.

It also made me really appreciate modern technology.

Have you ever seen a piece in a museum that made you stop and wonder?

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Little Light Magic, please . . .

from Emily Bryan . . .

As a writer, I usually read to analyze how other authors handle “writerly” issues—POV shifts, info dumps, character arc, etc. So cracking the spine of a book is part of what I do to hone my craft.

But there are a few authors whose prose sucks me so completely into their fictive dream, they make me forget that I’m a writer too. One member of that elite group is Joy Nash.

I’ve sighed with contentment over her DRUIDS OF AVALON series and listened to my heart pound in my ears while reading her IMMORTALS stories. So I wondered how she’d do with A LITTLE LIGHT MAGIC, a tale set on the Jersey shore. As usual, Joy works her magic and I am completely drawn into her characters’ lives.

Her heroine Tori is the delightfully quirky owner of a New Age shop in possession of some magic “hoodoo” candles. Her hero Nick is the hunky contractor who agrees to take on her little “repair” project in order to get her shop open in time for the solstice. She’s high on the metaphysical world and his feet are set firmly on the ground.

They’re perfect for each other.

Joy Nash peoples her novel with achingly real secondary characters with their own very real issues—Nick’s teenage daughter struggling with whether or not to put out for her popular boyfriend, his shoplifting grandmother, his menopausal mother who lies about her secret weekly trysts, Tori’s lesbian couple friends and their new baby. Joy has a knack for creating characters who breathe on their own.

I loved it!

So, run out today and give your summer the kick off it deserves with Joy Nash’s A LITTLE LIGHT MAGIC. You will thank me.

For more of my recommendations, please visit and click on Em's Picks. Right now, you can still catch my interview with the fabulous Jennifer Ashley about her MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Interview with Romance Author Carolyn Jewel

Welcome Carolyn Jewel! Carolyn used to be a Leisure Lady, penning Lord Ruin and The Spare for Dorchester. Now she's moved to Berkley, where she writes historical romances, and Grand Central (formerly Warner), where she has created a paranormal series.

We'll do a giveaway--please post your comments on the interview to enter our drawing for a free copy of My Wicked Enemy, the prequel to Carolyn's brand new release, My Forbidden Desire,

Join me in congratulating Carolyn on her releases this year:

The historical romance, Scandal, in Feb and

a paranormal romance: My Forbidden Desire, which was released this Tuesday (May 26).

Let’s start with Scandal, the historical. I loved many things about this book: first that it was character driven (but with real historical events driving the plot). Second, your terrific sense of the Regency period (in this case spring of 1815), and third, the marvelous detail of London you included.

CJ: Thank you, by the way, for all the kind words, Jennifer. I'm so pleased to be interviewed here!

JA: Tell us a little bit about Scandal and its characters, Bannalt and Sophie.

CJ: Scandal is the story of a couple who must find a way beyond their tumultuous and sometimes unpleasant past if they're to have a future. They've both changed since their initial meeting when they would probably have qualified as the world's most unsuitable couple. But that was then, and 1815 is now, and things are different.

Lord Banallt is a reformed rake. What makes him interesting, for me, anyway, is that at the start of the story, he's already realized he hasn't behaved well with Sophie, or just in general, actually, and he deeply regrets it. As the story progresses, he completes his reformation, but all without any guarantee that he will win his heart's desire. He is, in fact, prepared to live without the woman he loves because there may not be any way to repair the damage he's done.

Sophie is a woman who, at 17, eloped with a man she loved. And she did love him. Though she was unhappy, she remained dedicated to her marriage and her husband. Alas, he was a fortune hunter and once he had her money, he wasn't interested in her. By 1815, she's widowed and a much wiser woman. Banallt, too, is widowed now. Sophie believes she knows Banallt all too well. After all, he's the man her husband aspired to be. She has no interest in being married to another man who won't remain faithful to her.

JA: I enjoyed how you made Bannalt a true rake in the past (not just a misunderstood hero). His initial meet with Sophie was eye opening.

JA: I liked the fact that Sophie was a published novelist. Her “scribbling” called to mind Jo March in Little Women, who also wrote to pay the bills. Why did you decide to make Sophie an author?

CJ: When I was in graduate school I did a research project on Eleanor Sleath, a woman who wrote during the very late Georgian period and the Regency (between 1797 and 1815 or so). Sleath is the author, most famously, of Orphan of the Rhine, which is mentioned in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. (Oh, I'm so very much resisting launching into my exciting discoveries about Sleath!) At any rate, in the course of my research, I learned an immense amount about publishing and writing during the Regency era.

After a bit of math, I found that the economics of writing have changed remarkably little since then. For the most part, the majority of debut and mid-list writers today make about what writers made then, which is to say, not every much. The difference now is in royalties and the licensing of copyright. In the early 19th century, publishers bought the copyright outright. If the book was successful, authors still never saw an additional penny for their work. Foreign editions were common, too, again, with no additional compensation for the author.

There were women (and men) who wrote novels to pay the bills. As we know from Northanger Abbey, the "horrid" novels, such as those published by the Minerva Press, were not held in very high regard. Nor, for the most part, were their authors. And yet, I've seen private correspondence that suggests the attitude was much like it is today; "Oh, you write those kind of books, tee hee!" With an undercurrent of admiration for the endeavor.

In Scandal, when Sophie ended up married to a man who spent all her money and then abandoned her to the country, what could she do? She was estranged from her family so they weren't a source of assistance. Women had far fewer economic opportunities than men. Writing was something that could be done anonymously, as many men and women did during the time. That was a perfect solution for Sophie and since I happened to have learned quite a lot about the subject, it was perfect for me, too!

Sleath, by the way, was a wealthy widow who re-married under scandalous circumstances, so I doubt she was writing for the money. Other than a children's novel (Glenowen) she did not write after her marriage, though there is evidence she was working on a novel set in India. Thus, there are only six Sleath novels, with copies scattered around the world in various libraries. They are findable in Google Books, but there is no preview available (why? oh why?). Sniff. I would love to read all six.

JA: Interesting! I knew about Minerva Press and Ann Radcliffe (Mysteries of Udolpho), which you mention in Scandal, but I didn't know about Sleath. I'll have to check her out.

JA: I loved that I could follow your characters as they walked down each London street. What kind of research did you do to imbibe the story with such detail?

CJ: I have a copy of The History of London in Maps, so I was able to consult detailed maps from the period and use streets that really did exist. Some of those streets have since disappeared, such as Gray Street and Harriet Street, though Harriet Street still exists at the opposite end of where I put my heroine and her brother when they arrived in London.

When I knew I wanted her to walk to a respectable home owned by Lord Banallt (not his primary home, but another, less formal home he used for reasons of politics) out came my London in Maps, and I poured over it until I found just such a location; Charlotte Row.

Of course, I have no idea what Gray Street really looked like at the time -- though the map does show the individual buildings. I took the liberty of laying waste to many homes in order to have my hero's palatial formal home located there. Google maps, satellite view, was very helpful for figuring out if there were front yards, iron fences (no and yes) and determining the size of historic houses and streets still in existence.

JA: I also love maps; I plastered my wall with maps of Regency London while writing my Regency mystery series.

JA: Your hero in Scandal has an unusual first name (Gwilym, though throughout the book he’s always called Bannalt, by his title). A Welsh name, correct? And he has cousins with the surname Llewellyn. Why did you choose to make your hero have Welsh origins? What about that interested you?

CJ: I did make him Welsh. I had originally intended that his being Welsh would matter a bit more to the story, but, alas, it turned out it didn't. I never did get to send Banallt and Sophie to his estate in Wales. And I really did want to! I was also dying to use his awesomely cool first name more, but again, as the story developed, it turned out Sophie and Banallt simply didn't have the kind of relationship and interaction that would have permitted her to use his first name. That would have been bold indeed of her, not to mention invite the kind if intimacy she was determined to avoid at all costs. Calling him by his title name was about as familiar as she could ever get.

Wales is such a beautiful country that I really wanted to use the scenery. And that estate of Banallt's. But that's not what their story called for. As you can probably guess from that, I'm one of those "discover the story as I write" people. For me, there's always a tension between what I want and what my characters will do. There's a point in the writing where any attempt to impose my desires on the characters results in a story that feels dead or forced. Beyond a certain point, if I don't follow them, I'm in big trouble.

JA: Well, we can close the book and imagine them retreating to his estate in Wales to live happily ever after! That's the fun of romances.

JA: In October, you have a release called Indiscreet (with another lovely cover). Tell us a little bit about that book.

CJ: Though you'd never know it from the cover or the back blurb, Indiscreet is a Regency-era story primarily set in Ottoman Turkey -- present day Turkey and Syria. The story begins and ends in England though. To compensate for the exotic locale, the story is in many ways a classic Regency romance. And then again, not. Because they're in the Ottoman Empire, after all.

The hero of the story is Lord Foye, a man who never expected to inherit his title and who is still adjusting to his responsibilities and duties. Foye is a bit atypical for a hero because he's prone to put on muscle without much effort, he's 6'6" (so far he sounds very typical, but wait!) He's not very attractive, and he is aware that his size makes him stand out even more. Having been bitterly disappointed in love, he's decided to travel the world before he returns to London to find a suitable bride. He's visiting a long time family friend who makes his home in Turkey (this was actually not at all uncommon) when he meets Miss Sabine Godard.

Sabine has been raised by her uncle, a former Oxford don. Her upbringing is unusual in that her uncle intended all along that she would spend her life looking after him, and he's educated her accordingly. She's a very pretty woman who is most comfortable in academic circles -- not that she would have been permitted direct participation, but she's intellectually gifted. She's restricted to gatherings that take place in private. Her one visit to London ends in social disaster. Her uncle has decided they should travel while he is well enough and they end up in a city outside Constantinople, just in time to meet Lord Foye.

Sabine and Foye seem an unlikely couple and they are, but they have quite a bit in common, as it turns out. There's also a rapacious pasha and some traveling through the Ottoman Empire. The research for this book was fun and fascinating. Google books was tremendously helpful, since I got access to period accounts of Englishmen who traveled in the Ottoman Empire and wrote about their experience. After a bit, I learned to recognize sources who were merely echoing things previous authors had said rather than saying anything original. And, of course, I read modern histories of the Empire. Good thing I'm a history junkie!

Europeans had a more or less permanent presence in the Empire, but were not permitted to stay in Constantinople -- they resided in cities at the outskirts. British ex-patriots raised families there, and military men brought wives and daughters, and had children, too. In this period, the Ottoman Empire was showing signs of the stress that eventually brought about its demise about a hundred years later -- corruption, religious fanaticism, insurrections in the outlying provinces. Napoleon was mucking about in Egypt and with the Russians present too, the English were quite interested in maintaining an economic and political rapport with the Sultanate.

The cover, by the way, really is lovely, and I adore the way the Berkley art department made the hero so muscular -- exactly like Foye!

JA: This sounds like a fascinating book. I'm looking forward to reading about the unusual setting!

JA: Now onto your paranormal release My Forbidden Desire.

A blurb I snitched from your website: “Alexandrine Marit is a witch in mortal danager. An evil mage craves the powerful, mysterious talisman that supplies her magic, and the only person who can keep her alive is a dark and dangerous fiend called Xia. With his fierce animosity toward witches, he's hardly the ideal bodyguard.”

CJ: My Forbidden Desire is a sequel (I think that's what you'd call it) to My Wicked Enemy, in which Xia was a major antagonist. In most of My Wicked Enemy, Xia is enslaved by a mage and forced to do some unsavory things.

JA: Tell us a little bit about Alexandrine and Xia. What are Fiends?

Alexandrine is a witch who doesn't have very much power. She manages to get her hands on an amulet that's supposed to amp up her abilities. As it turns out, not so much. She doesn't know the amulet's "magic" is leaking into her and bonding her in a way that may cost her her life. Other mages, including her biological father, want the amulet because they know what it really is and have the power to use it.

Xia is a fiend, a kind of demon, and he hates witches. Really hates them. He was enslaved by a mage for years, after all, and he's seen firsthand what the magekind do to people like him.

After a series of events that I swear aren't as coincidental as it sounds (some of which were set up in the previous book, though it's not necessary to read that one first), Xia ends up with the happy task of making sure Alexandrine doesn't get killed by the mages after her amulet. Did I say happy? Sure, if by happy you mean the exact opposite of happy.

Her amulet, it turns out, contains the tortured life force of a murdered demon and Xia wants to perform a dangerous ritual that will release the demon from its prison to be absorbed into his magic. Despite the risk, fiends consider it an honor to undergo this ritual since it ends the suffering of the fiend who was killed and trapped. Alexandrine's father has other ideas about that, but her bond with the amulet and the growing attraction between her and Xia makes things even more complicated.

JA: Tell us about the world you’ve created in this series, and how the books are connected.

CJ: There's some bad history between fiends and the magekind, and neither side is wholly innocent. There was a time back in the Dark Ages, when fiends and demons were routinely crossing the line with humans, possessing them and ruining lives. So it's no wonder the mages (humans with magic) started fighting back. For quite some time how, mages have been enslaving fiends or simply killing them outright, first in the name of protecting the innocent and then, eventually, to take the fiend's power through a ritual murder and thus prolong the mage's life.

It's no surprise that the fiends are fighting back again -- they don't care for being murdered and enslaved. Fiends are clannish and the various factions are headed by warlords -- demons with more power and abilities. There is disagreement among them about the best course of action against the mages. Some warlords want immediate war and others counsel a more patient, pragmatic approach.

My Wicked Enemy is the first book set in this mostly normal, everyday world. As mentioned, Xia is a major secondary character in that book, so the two stories are related in that sense. Tensions between fiends and mages continue to escalate. It's not war yet, but it may be soon.

JA: Very cool! You've set up some great tension between the mages and fiends. Will there be any more in this series?

CJ: Yes! Looks like I'll be lucky enough to write at least two more stories set in this world. The next will be Durian's. He's a fiend who has special abilities as an assassin tasked with taking down fiends who've crossed the line with humans. And maybe some other special assignments. In My Wicked Enemy, Durian makes a mistake that results in him being enslaved by a mage. We meet Durian again in My Forbidden Desire. Of course, his story is early in development right now, but he's going to meet a woman who challenges him in some very interesting ways.

JA: Like I do, you write both historical romance and paranormal romance. What do you like (and dislike) about writing two subgenres?

CJ: Both sorts of stories, historicals and paranormals, offer some very interesting ways to look at social relationships, particularly between men and women. In a historical, a woman very rarely has any economic power. The reality is that the (European) legal system and social system of the past placed that power with the male. Which is not to say women were powerless. They weren't.

But women obtained and exercised power in very different ways, and in a vastly restricted sphere, especially compared to today. For me, the cost those artificial social restrictions placed on women (and men, to an extent) makes for some explosive situations. How do you get on in a culture that assumes your inferiority? Women aren't inferior, and you can be sure that there were men who knew that, even while they lived in a culture that enforced that belief.

I love reading about history and learning about how and why people did things. The clothes are lovely, too.

A paranormal gets me away from the social and legal restrictions placed on women in the past, and yet, there is still (typically) a significantly unequal balance of power between a paranormal creature and a human, or even between different paranormal types. In a paranormal, I don't have to worry about how my heroine will support herself. She can have a job, live by herself, and even have gone to college! Not to mention drive a car and vote. No one thinks her uterus will fall out if she exercises too hard or runs too far (that, I fear, was something still being said by old fogeys when I was a girl.)

In a paranormal, a heroine can actually take power in a way that historical heroine simply cannot. I also don't have to stress about language (oops! Can't say "sexy" in 1815!) Plus, magic is pretty cool.

JA: Ok, I haven't heard the one about the uterus falling out if we exercise too hard. Right. I have heard about reading romances being bad for our poor little vulnerable brains, however. :-)

I like your idea about both kinds of books being about balances of power. Good food for thought.

JA: Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

CJ: I'm on the web at, Twitter at twitter/cjewel, Facebook and MySpace. Email, too:

JA: Thanks so much, Carolyn. You are a powerful writer, and I always love the lush and detailed worlds you create, be they historical or paranormal.

CJ: Thank you!

JA: Please post your comments below to win a copy of Carolyn's first pararnormal My Wicked Enemy! And please check out Scandal, and her brand new release: My Forbidden Desire, .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Little Light Magic book trailer

I just love, love, LOVE my book video for A Little Light Magic!!

A Little Light Magic
is available now! To celebrate my release week, I'm holding a Virtual Booksigning at
Night Owl Romance.

Here's how it works: Buy A Little Light Magic, or any of my backlist books, between Monday May 25th and Sunday May 31, send the proof of purchase to Night Owl Romance (NOT to me) per the details on the NOR webite, and receive a signed bookplate and bookmarks from me!

Hope to "see" you at the signing:-)

Want to read a chapter or more before you buy? Browse Inside A Little Light Magic with Dorchester Publishing's new Widget tool. It's really cool :-)

All the summer's best!

Joy Nash

Available Now!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Here's a trip down memory lane.
RWA National in Dallas, 2004. Pamela Clare finaled in the Daphne awards for her first RS, Extreme Exposure.
That was a great conference. Below is a photo of some of the RBL Romantica gals who went to Dallas. It was my first time meeting them, and it was great.My last RWA conference was Atlanta, 2006. I got to see Jennifer Ashley win her RITA (yay) and meet my HQ editor for the first time, before my first Nocturne was even published.

This year, I'll be in DC. And I think RWA will be different for me. Lots different. I'm seriously thinking of not doing the booksigning. I'm waiting another week or two to see how it goes with the family health issues, which take priority right now.

But I'm feeling kinda strong about this. DC for me will be more of a "me" conference. I want to see old friends I seldom ever see, and I want to play tourist. A friend is coming down and we're going to sightsee. I've never been to DC before and I figure this is my only time to do everything.

So for me, this will be more of a "behind the scenes" RWA. I might attend a workshop or two that gets my interest, but there'll be no "networking" or career pumping for me. RWA is the place to network, and this year I have little interest in promoting my career.


Because this year, I've decided to focus on something much more important to me than promoting my career or aiming to get new contracts or climbing the romance author ladder.

I'm focusing on my writing. Writing is one of the few things you can control in publishing. You can't control distribution (ask me about this, lol, I can tell you) or if readers will buy your books or maintaining momentum or creating buzz or sales or even control release dates and scheduling.

Or if your books will be pirated and available as free downloads, stripping you as the author of funds needed to promote your books or even to pay the grocery bill. (Pamela has a great post on this subject, click here to read it.)

But you can control your writing.

I came to a tough decision earlier this year when I realized something had to give. It wasn't going to be me, either. One of the genres I was writing had to go, at least temporarily. And trust me, seeing my books out on the internet as free downloads helped me come to this decision. I asked myself, "Why am I working so hard just so people can rip me off?"

So I dropped the Egyptian historicals. It wasn't easy for me to do, but in retrospect, I'm glad I did. The pressure and the strain to produce one 90,000 historical a year, along with the Nocturnes, and working a demanding day job AND traveling to Haiti, Nicaragua, etc, and having a life! was too much.
And now I'm writing another Bite, a 15,000 word or less short story that's released in ebook format only (though my first Bite, Broken Souls, was released in trade paperback in April in the Midnight Cravings anthology). When I wrote Broken Souls, I knew I could do better. I'm not very good at writing short stories; they're a huge challenge.

So when I set out to write the next Bite, Darkness of the Wolf, I resolved to do better. I took my time, revised, revised, revised. I just turned in edits for that Bite, which is out in August. And I was delighted to see the edits my editor requested were few. I had a real good feeling when I turned in Darkness that it was a stronger story than Broken Souls. I think I was right.

It was a better story because I took the time to write it, putting in as much effort as I would to a full length Nocturne and I resolved to learn more about writing short stories.

This is a fluid business. I firmly believe writers should always be learning, otherwise, your writing grows stale. There's always new ways/methods out there to explore.

So this year, I'm exploring. I also made the tough decision to push my next deadline way back. It wasn't easy, but the family health issues came first. I knew it would be near impossible with a very tight deadline to produce the kind of book I want to write, the kind of book that makes me go "ah!" with what's happening now.

Right now, I'm writing another Bite, due in August. It's called Courage of the Wolf. I started it last week and so far I really like it. I brainstormed an idea to give it a new twist and now I'm experiencing a feeling that makes everything worthwhile.

I'm getting excited about writing romance again.It's a wonderful feeling. I want to write this story, not because it's a contracted work or I'll make oodles of money (I won't, lol) but because it's galvanizing me as a writer. I'm writing as I once did, as I should. There'll be a learning process along the way, and mistakes will be made that will require revisions or edits, but that's okay.

I'm loving this again. And to me, that's more important than anything else in the business right now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Breaking News!

Chatelaines rock the Prisms. The lists of finalists for the 2009 Prisms are out and I'm proud to say we've got three Chatelaines on the list. Jennifer Ashley with Dragon Master in the fantasy catefory and The Redeeming in Dark Paranormal, C.L. Wilson with King of Sword and Sky in fantasy and Cindy Holby, aka Colby Hodge with Twist in the Time Travel category.

The winners will be announced at the Romance Writers of America national conference in July.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Just popping my head up from deadline mode to recommend Glee! I can't wait until fall when this show comes back. The music was awesome, the plot is fresh and the writing appropriately snarky and hilarious. Some quotes "Remove the anquish from your eyes." And "I'm on my feet four hours a day, three days a week and you expect me to fix my own dinner?" Love it. Been singing Don't Stop Believing all week

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gewgaws and Gizzwickies

from Emily Bryan . . .

There are tons of gadgets on the internet now. In a quick search the other day, I ran across this "blidget"--a widget that features a feed from my personal blog. I'm still not sure if it works quite as I expected, but it's visually interesting and if you click on the pics, it should take you to my blog (which features my real life love story since today is my wedding anniversary!). I say should because sometimes, I end up back on the widget's creation site. Let me know where it takes you.

Some widgets have their own agendas. This one is a countdown to my next release.


Yes, you're reading that right--the fabulous Jennifer Ashley is the headliner of this totally fun holiday anthology.

Some widgets act as calling cards. If you're on Facebook, please friend me.

Emily Bryan's Facebook profile

Others announce that you've taken a poll or signed up for something. I see Angie Fox's Demon Slayer widget everywhere!

What's the coolest online widget you've run across?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

Now that I have many things off my plate (copyedits, page proofs times 2, manuscripts, promotion) I can return to the two things I love best--writing books and reading them.

I'm in the middle of a fabulous historical romance by Carolyn Jewel called Scandal:

Sophie has resisted the efforts of the Earl of Bannalt, a rake with a liking for beautiful women. Sophie considers herself nothing better than plain, so she's unwilling to believe that he's fallen madly in love with her. Besides, he tried to approach her while she was still married to his best friend, plus--Bannalt was the man her philandering husband always tried to emulate. Sophie's marriage broke her heart. Why on earth should she trust that Bannalt will be any better? When Sophie's brother asks her why Bannalt is so adamant in pursuing her, Sophie answers: "Bannalt's not in love with me. He just wants to have won."

This book is full of lavishly layered characters, the layers peeling away as you go through the story. The writing is awesome and beautiful. It's a lovely story of people learning to trust. This book crawled into my head and wouldn't leave me alone, which doesn't happen often.

Carolyn also writes paranormals, and a new one comes out next month (My Forbidden Desire)

So--what are you reading? Any great, highly recommends out there? (Because I so need to add to my TBR pile).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Candle Magic and A Little Light Magic

It's no secret that I'm fascinated by all things magical and paranormal. For my new book, A Little Light Magic (Dorchester/Leisure, May 26), I had fun researching Candle Magic.

Tori Morgan, the heroine of ALLM , believes in magic. She reads Tarot, and looks for the future in a crystal prism. She’s also in possession of seven Candle Magic spell kits, given to her by a Cajun hoodoo witch.

A spell kit is a small bag containing a candle and other items - a written prayer, aprop, scented oil, spice, etc. - that you need to cast a particular Candle Magic spell. Typically, a spell kit is made up and blessed or "charged" by a witch who is strong in magic, and that magic is passed on to the person who uses the spell kit.

Tori’s recently inherited a rundown bungalow at the Jersey Shore, which she wants to renovate as a New Age shop. Only problem is, finding a contractor on the cusp of summer at the shore is like collecting beach sand in a sieve. Just about impossible.

In the opening scene, contractor Nick Santangelo takes a look at Tori’s job strictly as a favor for a friend, intending to turn it down. It’s a small job and he’s plenty busy with bigger stuff. He’s got no interest at all in doing Tori's work, even though Tori immediately catches his eyes. But Nick's a practical guy - he just doesn't have room in his life for Tori and -- as he calls it -- her "whacked out witch shop." He wishes Tori luck and walks out the door.

And then Tori remembers her candle magic spells. Seven colors for seven different situations.

White – The spell Tori casts in Chapter One is for help, and involves a white candle. And lo and behold, Nick turns around and comes back. :) This invocation has Tori sprinkling sugar, and raising the flame above her head.

As A Little Light Magic continues, Tori casts her remaining six candle magic spells, one by one.

Black – The color of reversal. Tori casts this spell using a mirror and a black candle, to banish negativity.

Yellow – The color of intelligence and confidence. Tori lights a yellow candle studded with cloves while seeking some much needed clarity of mind.

Orange – A color that attracts specific influences. Tori casts a spell involving an orange candle scented with cinnamon oil for success in her new business.

Green – Green candle magic can be used for problems concerning money, prosperity, growth, and abundance. Tori casts this spell for fertility. Her aids are green felt, a needle, and a hard-boiled egg.

Blue – Blue is the color of healing, peace, patience and happiness. The location of this spellcasting is important. It occurs on the beach, at the ocean’s edge (but any outside body of water will do). Tori casts this spell for good luck. The blue candle is set in a shell.

Red – Red is the eternal color of love. Tori casts a love spell with a red candle anointed with rose oil--but not for herself. Selfishly casting a love spell for yourself, or on a specific person, can backfire.

In A Little Light Magic, Nick is a practical guy. He doesn’t believe in magic. Tori does, with all her heart. Who’s right? Well, the proof is in the results, isn’t it?

Note: Join the Countdown to Summer on my personal blog and win books and prizes from Dorchester authors, including Fallen by Cindy Holby. Cindy's sent an amazing excerpt for tomorrow's post - don't miss it!

Joy Nash

Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where's Bonnie's brain?

Scene on board the USS Starship ENTERPRISE...

Captain Kirk: "We are on a mission to boldly go where no man has gone before. To find Bonnie Vanak's brain."

McCoy: "I thought it was Spock's brain we were searching for?"

Spock: "My brain is here. Inside my skull. You are not being logical."

Kirk: "Bonnie Vanak's brain has been MIA. The Federation has informed me that a photo of it was posted on an intergalactic milk carton. The last report of any brain activity from Planet Vanak was weeks ago."

Lt. Uhura: "Captain, I'm receiving a sub space radio signal. The signal is coming from system located on Planet Vanak in the vicinity of Deerfield Beach in the state of Florida. I believe the system is Bonnie."

Kirk: "Put it on the ship's speaker, Lt. Uhura."

Ship's Speaker: "gah gah gah gah gah!"

Uhura: "It's more like a distress signal than a message."

Spock: "Fascinating. I am experiencing a visual image, Captain. Of a writer banging her head against the desk."

Scotty: "Probes and sensors indicate unusual activity on Planet Vanak, Captain. Family health problems, pressure from the day job, romance deadlines and hairballs."

McCoy: "Hairballs?"

Scotty: "Sensor indicates the stray cat she adopted is choking up a big one, Captain."

Spock: "A most curious creature, the cat."

Scotty: "Bonnie's circuits are overloaded, Captain. She's gonna blow!"

Kirk: "McCoy, can you do anything to fix her?"

McCoy: "I'm a doctor, not a writer, Jim!"

Kirk: "We need to find Bonnie's brain, but the odds are against us and the situation is grim. It looks like Bonnie's brain has vanished into the time-space continuum."

McCoy: "Pure speculation, but just a guess. I'd say she's alive, Jim. But her brain is dead. No, she's worse than dead! Her brain is GONE! SHE HAS NO BRAIN!"

Spock: "Doctor, you have an unsurpassed talent for observation of Bonnie's situation."

Scottie: "I think the Klingons stole her brain and are selling it on eBay."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Deadline dementia

I wrote this last year while in deadline hell and since I'm sliding back into that horrible place I'd thought I'd bring it back.

I was trying to explain to a friend the other day about deadline hell. What happens to writers when we have to slide into that dreaded place that consumes every bit of our time, imagination and energy. I realized that until you really live it, that most people do not really understand what it is. So hopefully this will explain it a bit and give you some hints on what you can do to help your favorite writer get through it.

Deadline hell is what occurs when you don’t hit your carefully planned out page count for each day that you have until your book is due. Best laid plans and all that, but quite frankly, life happens and it does get in our way. For me lately it’s been my dad’s cancer, which is now in remission, thank you. So said book that was due March 1 is now due June 1 and has to be turned in or else it will not make it to production on time for its February release. This also means that since I missed the first deadline I will not have a Cindy Holby release this year (only Colby Hodge’s Twist) andI SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.

Since I now have two extra months to write I can do it. Woohoo! WRONG. During April Dad is in hospital twice with complications, I am preparing for RT, I go to RT for eight days and it takes me a week to recover, catch up from RT. Two of those days were spent sleeping as I got no sleep at RT. So now its May 1, book is due June 1 and I’m about 4,000 words away from halfway. Which means I have to write around 250 pages in a month. Which is around ten pages a day if I write everyday which I won’t be able to do because life gets in the way. Can I do it? I better because if I don’t I SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.

So what happens then. I sit in front of my computer. I tell myself I will not play Freecell ever again for as long as I live. I play Freecell. I look at manuscript. I decide entire book is the great dedication to sucktitude. I put on writing inspired songs to get into the story. Since I am writing an angsty story I get depressed. I listen to them over and over again. I get all weepy. My bwff (best writing friend forever) tells me to quit listening to angsty songs and I reply with giant wail. “But I caaaaannnn’t. It’s the soundtrack to Atonement and I Lurve James MacAvoy and he diieeesss.” Btw dialog like this goes back and forth all day with my bwff posse. If you want to know who they are check out the dedications in my books. Finally I decide I am in right frame of mind to write.

But first I check my email. Why? Because writers are isolated. Email is our connection to our friends. What are our friends doing? Are they in writing hell too? Ohh, here’s a link to something. Maybe I should check that out. Finally I realize that I’ve wasted half a day on internet. Turn off internet and write. Go back to manuscript. Maybe it doesn’t suck. Hmmm, writing historical and I need to know what certain building on certain street looked like in eighteenth century. Sign back onto internet. Get distracted again by email, IM or something Brittany/Paris/TomKat has done. Oh, another email, someone I know has hit list/won award/got new multi comma contract and while I am happy for them it didn’t happen to me because I SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.

Why do writers obsess over things like that? Because we write in a vapor. Some writers have critique partners. I don’t. If the story takes a direction I’m not sure of I’ll send it out to a few of my friends for some feedback but for the most part it’s just us and the story.

So now its time to really get serious. What happens next in the story? Write write write. Hmmm, write some more. Shove kitten off desk. Try to ignore sad doggy eyes. Grab apple, yogurt, banana, hand full of chips for lunch. Grab some caffeine. Grab some more. Stay up late writing. Eyes cross, wrists aches, back and shoulders ache, butt hurts because this continues day after day after day. Husband pokes head in and asks about dinner. You look at him like he’s an idiot and wave him off. Husband carries in dinner, does laundry, vacuums, rubs back and tries to stay out of your way. (I am fortunate that my kids are grown and pretty much self sufficient and I also have an awesome husband) Week goes by, then another, then another and you realize story has come together and perhaps you aren’t the giant burrito of sucktitude (bwff term) that you once thought you were. But you are also very lonely, and you kind of look like crap since you have basically lived in front of your computer for a month. Since I am now working on my thirteenth book I’ve kind of been through this before so I know what to expect. You think that one day I would figure it out and stay out of deadline hell but I don’t because I SUCK AS A WRITER AND MY CAREER IS OVER.

So what can you, as a fan/friend of a deadline crazed writer do? I have my own little support group. I just got a text hug from one. Another is giving me rah rahs every night and I have realized how much I really appreciate it. I look forward to it. It keeps me inspired because I know these people believe in me and maybe I don’t SUCK AS A WRITER. So if you have a writer friend who is in deadline hell then drop them an email (believe me they will be checking) or a comment on their myspace page and say Yay, we believe in you and can’t wait for the next book. They will appreciate it more than you know. And it’s also great to know that you don’t really suck that you are just doing the best that you can.

Oh yeah, we procrastinate too. Why else would I be spending my time writing this instead of working on my story?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Living History

from Emily Bryan . . .
What wife hasn't wished her husband into stocks at least once? I got my chance this week in St. Georges, Bermuda. This little town on the northernmost island of the Bermuda chain is still as quaint and lovely as you could wish. (Of course, they still dunk "gossipping wives" in the dunking chair every noon for the tourists' amusement, but I didn't find that nearly as funny as my DH in stocks.)

The little archipelago of Bermuda has been inhabited for 400 years. In 1609, a ship foundered on its treacherous reefs and the 150 survivors decided this was as good a place as any to settle. They found a dense cedar forest, a profusion of oleander and hibiscus, and plenty of wild hogs. (How the hogs got there is a mystery, but you can bet a shipwreck is part of that untold story.)

In addition to the hogs, the island was overrun with birds called "cahows." Their loud cries caused Bermuda to be named "Devil's Isle" by early cartographers, who were certain they heard the cries of the damned from the safety of their ships.

The islands are so beautiful (and there are 138 of them! Back in 1609, there were over 170 but the ocean level has risen since then) it's hard to imagine anyone equating them with anything but paradise. If you'd like to see more, please visit

As a writer, I'm always looking for fresh ways to research history. Travel is my hand's down favorite.

What fun historic place have you visited?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Whew... Sooo time for something light

It's been a wild, wacky, frustrating, weird past couple of weeks. Great buzz on my new release. Very weird problems with new release (not *everything* went wrong, but so many things did, and still are).

Plus this week I've turned in 1. proofreading of one book; 2. copyedits of novella; 3. submitted ms.; 4. submitted another ms. Not to mention writing blogs almost every day for my mini blog tour.

Happily I have everything turned in, my blog tour is done, and now I have two things on my immediate plate: more proofreading and starting a new ms. (due July 1).

It is far, far, far past time for a break. I'm going to return next week to reviews and interviews, but for now ... Sheep. (watch to the end; you'll be glad you did)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Joy's Countdown to Summer is going strong!

Hop over to my personal blog to check out my Countdown to Summer! This week's is dedicated to fantastic summer FOOD!

Just FYI, as of today:

Days 'till Memorial Day: 12

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 13

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 39

So far I've rhapsodized about soft ice cream, tomatoes, blueberries, and sweet corn. I've posted some great recipes, and my blog readers have posted more! Keep tuned for more great food this week...peaches, strawberries, iced tea and watermelon! Come over and share some of your favorite recipes.

Even with summer food on the brain, I haven't forgotten the BOYS OF SUMMER.

This week's hammering hunk is brought to you courtesy of Emily Bryan.

Somehow, Emily found a photo of Nick, my contractor hero from A Little Light Magic :-) Thanks, Emily!

Oh, and don't forget this week's giveaways, courtesy of the nice folks at Dorchester Publishing. Check my personal blog for contest rules:

  • A TASTE OF MAGIC by Tracy Madison
  • GOTCHA! by Christie Craig
  • SIREN'S SECRET by Trish Albright
  • DEEP MAGIC by Joy Nash
See ya there!

Joy Nash

Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek 2009

Yes I am a total Trekkie. I admit it. I was so enraptured with Star Trek that my posse and I pretended to be the cast. And yes I was Captain Kirk. We were also talking Trek. We were so outrageous about it that the "cool" members of our girl scout troop used us as an example of how geeky can you get. I have to laugh at that now. After all Star Trek is still around and I did get published in the genre. And I wouldn't change my geekdom for anything. It made me who I am today and fed my imagination. I even wrote fan fic before fan fic was cool.

So imagine my excitement at another Trek movie. With a young hot cast who did not fail to give tribute to the original players. The movie was everything I could want and more. Chris Pine was appropriately rebellious yet managed to laugh at himself. Zachary Quinto gave Spock a sexiness that was too die for. I won't give that secret away, lets just say he "smoldered" And the rest of the cast was just perfect. Sulu's tribute to George Takei's fencing scene, Karl Urban channeling Bones (Was anyone else skeptical at that casting decision? I now bow down to whoever made that decision and say awesome!) Uhura's mysteriousness and Chekov's accent were spot on. and Scotty. I couldn't wait to hear him say..."I'm giving her all she's got!"

Please powers that be, tell me there will be more. As for me, I'm seeing it again this week and can't wait for the DVD release. Santa, please put it in my stocking so I can once more sink into Trek bliss.

Can you tell I loved it?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trekkie Characterization

With the launch of the new Star Trek movie this week, I started reminiscing about all the wonderful characters that Star Trek has brought to us over the years. In the first series, Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry once said he based the characters of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on classic mythological storytelling.

The tie into ancient storytelling worked, not just for Star Trek, but for all the spinoffs to date. Remember those notable captains: Captain James Tiberius Kirk, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Captain Benjamin Sisko, Captain Kathryn Janeway, Captain Jonathan Archer.

The respectable and sometimes a little grumpy doctors: Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, Dr Katherine Pulaski, Dr. Julian Bashir, Dr. Beverly Crusher, the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) Mark I, and Dr. Phlox.

The memorable sidekicks such as Spock, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, William Riker, Geordi LaForge, Commander Data, Commander Warf, Seven of Nine, Tasha Yar, Quark, Chakotay, Tom Paris, Tuvok, whew . . . I could go on forever . . .

Then there were the alien threats such as the Borg, Q, the Ferengi, Romulans, Klingons, Vulcans, Cardassians, Reptilians . . . again, the list goes on and on.

So why did this characterization work? What is it about these characters that allowed viewers to suspend disbelief "to boldly go where no man has gone before"? Or could we all see a bit of ourselves in each of the characters, no matter what race they came from?
Who was your favorite character from any of the television series, cartoons, or movies? If you could pick a character who was most like you, who would it be?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Join me over at Joy's house!

IRL, I'm boarding a cruise ship today, but online I'm over at Joy Nash's COUNTDOWN TO SUMMER! . Joy asked me to post an excerpt from VEXING THE VISCOUNT and I'll be giving away a signed book from my backlist to someone who leaves a comment over at Joy's blog!

Come on over and join in the party!

Even though I'll be boarding a cruiseship in just a few minutes, I do have some posts set to go for you at . Here's what's coming:

Monday the 11th: Tiffany James is popping by to guest blog. Please stop over and show her some love!

Tuesday the 12th: I posted a wonderful pic that's my inspiration for my newest hero, Crispin Hawke in STROKE OF GENIUS. He's totally delicious!

Wednesday the 13th: I'm in an island state of mind. Join me for some palm tree joy.

Thursday the 14th: Especially for aspiring writers! I post a little of my MEAT ON THE BONES workshop about developing characters who breathe on their own. Readers will enjoy a peek behind the scenes at what an author thinks about when devising her hero and heroine.

Have a fantastic week!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blogs and more blogs

Because I'm still in promotion frenzy, I'm going to direct readers to a couple more blogs:

PopSynicate, with an interview (and free books to give away!!!!):

Also I came across this blog discussion Madness of Lord Ian between two reviewers. I don't like to post myself on these (I feel like readers should be able to talk amongst themselves, though I will always answer questions if asked know, if I'm awake and aware, and don't go... huh? why did I make the heroine's hair green? Dunno. Thought it would be cool...) . But you might be interested and want to chatter.

Anyway: Enjoy the blogosphere!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What do you love about summer?

Whew. Is it Wednesday already?

My Countdown to Summer on my individual blog Friday Night Reflections is going strong! So far we've had an impromptu meeting of Women United Against Pantyhose, and some interesting memories of the last day of school (can you believe that at one poster's high school, the kids used to smuggle in water guns on the last day and drench each other in class?)

Also up is my first "Boys of Summer" photo (surfer dude), and a fun two part excerpt of my Jersey Shore romance, A Little Light Magic (coming May 26).

Later this week: why I love sarongs, and an excerpt of Emily Bryan's Vexing the Viscount, and a chance to win one of free autographed books!

Next week is summer FOOD week. Recipes for tomatoes, blueberries, sweet corn and more! And chance to win more books, including anything from Jennifer Ashley's backlist!

Come join the fun :-)

All the summer's best,

Joy Nash

Monday, May 4, 2009

More on RT

As Emily posted last week, the Romantic Times conference was in Orlando last weekend. I would have blogged last Monday about it but I was sooo tired. I usually go for the week but was only able to make the weekend this year so I packed quite a bit into a 24 hour period. I had to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight and was at the conference center by 10:30. Thanks to Rose and Anthony of Crossing Realms for picking me up.

I immediately found fellow Chatelaines Emily Bryan, Gerri Russell, Bonnie Vanak and CL Wilson in club RT. Also the lovely ladies of Between The Sheets, Jennifer St. Giles, Annette Batista and Dayna Linton, who promote my books! Yay BTS! Then ran into the Rebels of Romance, Liz Maverick and Marianne Mancusi. Went to their fabulous workshop on promotion and then out to lunch where we caught up on our lives.

Attended an editors panel on what's selling with Emily Bryan. Then found Linnea Sinclair, Stacey Kade and Isabo Kelly, along with the extremely shy Jade Lee. Attended more workshops, went to the awards banquet (yay Linnea) had dinner with Jade, Emily and Bobbi Smith, then came back for the Heather Graham vampire ball.

Saturday, after breakfast at the worlds loudest MacDonalds with Bonnie Vanak, my dear friends Alyssa Day and Barb Ferrer came down. Then it was off to the book signing extraordinaire where I caught up with Jenna Black and Ann Aguirre. I will be posting videos of that in the next few days. Had a great lunch with a bunch of author friends, then hung out by the pool and talked with Sue Grimshaw of Borders.

Then came the Mr. Romance pageant where my dear friend Chris Winters gave up his crown. Linnea Renee Hieber, Elizabeth Hoyt, and the always irrepressible Jade Lee and I enjoyed it immensely. Charles Paz won the crown. I have to admit I was cheering for Jimi Gaskins. Then it was off to the bookseller mingle put on by Dorchester Publishing then the always fabulous Dorchester party with Diane Stacy, Erin Galloway and Leah Hultenschmidt. I love dancing to We Are Family with my fellow Dorchester authors. All in all it was a very busy and productive weekend. Even if Bonnie Vanak did try to get lost on the way to the airport Sunday morning!
Here's a short vid of me at the book signing. I was going around taking vids and Chris Winters grabbed my flip and started filming.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Daring to Be Different

It's hard to be different.

Whether you're a teenager trying to fit in, an adult dealing with the limitations life's tossed your way, or as an author whose story ideas are bit outside the norm--or outside the box. It can be hard to be the one who is different.

Here at the Chatelaines we understand that struggle because we all fall a little outside the norm when it comes to our books. Maybe that's why we're friends. I'd like to think so. But maybe it's also because we all also understand and respect the fact that readers want something a little different from the popular norm. We are after all readers ourselves.

We are fortunate to have found a publisher who encourages and appreciates our uniqueness. Dorchester takes risks on books that might often fall between the cracks. Proof of this can be found in three of our most current releases.

Vexing the Viscount by Emily Bryan

Takes a familiar situation with a titled lord who is down on his luck and pairs him with a wealthy heiress . . . but it doesn't stop there. No, Emily Bryan tosses in deception, lessons in love, and a treasure hunt to mix things up, off of which takes this story from the norm to the spectacular. Here's what one of her critics had to say:

"Vexing the Viscount by Emily Bryan has one of the best first chapters I've ever read. It has it all--humor, mystery, sexual tension, a fascinating look at history and original characters. I knew after the first few pages that I was going to love this book and I was right. This book is hard to classify because it fits in neither the light and funny historical romance category or the dark and emotional category but manages to be both." --Cynthya Petzen

The Lady and the Libertine by Bonnie Vanak

Bonnie Vanak also manages to defy the norm with her Egyptian historicals by once again creating characters outside of the norm. A handsome Englishman tries to seduce a virginal heroine in order to steal the treasure she guards and gets a little more than he's bargained for. Here's what one of her critics had to say:

"Bonnie Vanak proves [in the Lady and the Libertine] yet again why she's one of Leisure/Dorchester's best authors... Her talent for mingling exotic settings with captivating heroines, guaranteed-to-melt-your-butter heroes, and spellbinding story is unsurpassed." --Fruit Loop

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Any discussion of "outside the box" would not be complete without including Jennifer Ashley's latest sensation, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, that portrays a hero afflicted with Aspergers Syndrome. Jennifer's hero is dark, dangerous and devastating, a man who is uniquely flawed but lovable just the same. Paired with a heroine whose presence quiets the noise in his mind, and you have a story that breaks new ground. Here's what one of her critics had to say:

"The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie ... is a truly unique book in a sea of historical romances that all take the same safe route. Sir Ian Mackenzie is one of the most unique heroes in recent years and should be read for that alone. The author is offering something exceptionally unique and yet is still within the parameters of what we readers expect in a HEA romance." --Jody Allen

It takes a lot of guts sometimes to write outside of the expected. I applaud Emily, Bonnie and Jennifer for doing just that.

What about you? Have you read any books lately that have defied the norm? If so, what did you like about those books?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Romantic Times Convention in Orlando!

from Emily Bryan

See Emily. See Emily ready to go at the Romantic Times Convention.

This is one of the outfits from my much touted "Shopping Nirvana" experience! Please see Shopito, ergo sum if you missed the post the first time!

See Emily's roommate. See Emily's roommate hugging the stuffing out of Charles Paz, Mr. Romance 2009!

This is NYTimes Bestseller Bobbi Smith! She and I had a ball with the Aspiring Writers for two days before the craziness of the big convention began. I also dragged Bobbi kicking and screaming into blogdom. We set up her very first blog at Bobbi Smith Westerns. Surprise the pants off her by popping over and leaving a comment for her!

See Kathryn. See her joy at the surprise wedding shower!

This is Kathryn Falk, Lady of Barrow, arguably the First Lady of Romance. She is the driving force behind the Romantic Times empire and this year she wed her fiance of 29 years. We were informed that Ken may now be called "Lord Barrow."

See the pirate. See the pirate's fine catch. Don't think he'll toss this one back.

At RT, you learn not to be shocked by anything--pirates, mermaids, fairies, vampires, you name it. Part of the fun of RT is the wild and wacky costumes the attendees put together. It's a little like Halloween for adults.

See the Fairy. See the Fairy DogMother!

This is Jane and Maureen, two of the aspiring writers (and two of my 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT "blog touristas!"). There were so many inventive, silly, scary, (insert random adjective here) costumes each night, but these two were my favorites!

See Emily. See Emily with her books.

RT isn't all fun and games (just mostly!) There's also an opportunity to introduce new readers to my work, to hobnob with industry professionals and network with my fellow authors.

See Erin. See Charles. See Leah. They are very happy.

And why shouldn't they be? Charles was just chosen as Mr.Romance2009. Part of his prize is a cover model contract for an upcoming Leisure Book or Lovespell title. Hey, Leah! (She's my fabulous editor!) He'd look good on one of my books!

See Erin. See Erin do a "Vanna White" impression!

This is Erin Galloway, Dorchester's marketing guru. She and the rest of the Dorchester gang do so much more for us than wave a hand in front of our books. Dorchester sponsored the Mr. Romance Contest, which featured a cover model portraying my Viscount hero from VEXING THE VISCOUNT and a host of other Dorchester heroes. They also pulled together a bookseller/librarian mixer that gave us a chance to visit with the people who will hand-sell our work.

See Emily. See Emily with her friends. After a week at the RT Convention.

Yes, I am holding an adult beverage. From left to right, we have me, Cindy Holby, CL Wilson, Gerri Russell and Bonnie Vanak. We tried to recreate our Chatelaines pose, but it was hard without Jennifer Ashley and Joy Nash. Maybe next year girls! There's never enough space to fit all of RT in, so if you'd like to see more of the Mr. Romance Contest or RT Attendees, please pop over to my blog!

Another thing Dorchester sponsored was the Beach Blast Ball on the last night, but I don't have any pics from that. I was too busy doing the "bump" with Anna DeStefano on the dance floor. I've been told the pics from that night are "blackmail-worthy." But be forewarned. I have a brother-in-law who's a lawyer and I'm not afraid to use him! Hope to see you all in Columbus OH for the RT Convention next year!

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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