Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Start the New Year right!!

Posted by Susan


Christie's new book is out and I, for one, can't wait to read it. I sooooo loved Must Love Mistletoe, and this is the sequel. Love sequels!!

I'm getting on a plane Saturday morning and this book will be right there to distract me from the fact that we could fall to a fiery death at any moment! Not that I don't love to fly! ; )

Romantic Times says "It's always a treat to read a Ridgway novel. Fans of this author have yet another fast-paced story with fabulously characters and steamy love scenes to enjoy. Readers new to Ridgway's work are starting the New Year out right with this humorous, delightfully well-crafted tale of love."

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I heart Antonio...


















Posted by Christine









































Friday, December 29, 2006

The Many Faces of Eve


New Year’s Eve, that is.


I’ve done it all, I think. At first it was those party-hearty New Year’s at a bar wearing a goofy hat. We then moved on to New Year’s with a group of friends that included nice clothes, good food, too much booze for our usual little-drinking selves. We’d wake up in the morning in our sleeping bags at the host’s house and take our amateur hangovers home with us. Next came our move to a house and then kids and we started hosting a neighborhood-wide New Year’s party. We’d roll up the living room rug and dance, kids would scamper up and down the stairs, no one would have to worry about driving home.

Then one New Year’s Day I woke up to a huge mess and decided I was done with that for a while. Worried about people just showing up on our doorstep, we grabbed the kids, a few other families, and took off for the beach as the sun went down. Appetizers, boxes of fire fuel, and blankets were trucked out of the cars and to a fire ring on the sand. It was a glorious way to spend New Year’s Eve night, ending with burning the previous year’s Christmas tree (I used this real-life experience in my book Must Love Mistletoe). We would get home way before midnight, but feel we’d done something special. It became our new tradition.

But then we were rained out one year. The next everyone had a bad cold. And so we stayed home and did nothing two years running. And it was good. Very good.

Son 1 is talking about having a New Year’s gathering this year. Okay. I’ll vacuum, get the ice, stock up on sodas. But don’t count me in for the countdown. I have Maureen’s Beyond the Boardroom to read, as well as Susan’s The Unexpected Millionaire and her latest single title, Sizzling (I just bought it yesterday!). I’m planning on settling in my room with some cheese, crackers, white wine, and my books. Happy New Year to me, indeed.

What about you? What are your New Year’s Eve plans?

P.S. I have a book out too, and the title captures my current feelings about the date--it's called Not Another New Year's. I tried to upload a cover image, but blogger has foiled me again! I hope you'll look for it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Friends


Posted by Susan

I was in the grocery store this past Tuesday morning. It was quiet and empty, with everyone else waiting for Target or the Hallmark store to open to get the half-priced Christmas items. I turned a corner and there it was… The half-priced candy display.

Years ago, when I lived in Houston, I met a writer named Heather. She is one of those people who is just plain annoying—beautiful, smart, nice, friendly. You know—perfect. I was doubtful about us ever being friends, because of the whole perfection thing, when she confessed her favorite days of the year were the day after Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter, because candy was half off!! I knew then that Heather and I could seriously bond, despite the perfection issue.

Seeing the candy display made me laugh and think of Heather. Just like when I see a, um, less than tall person trying to reach the top shelf in a store, I think of Terry. I always offer to help, because of her. I think of Maureen and her beloved Abbey whenever I see a Golden Retriever, or a lab, or any large, blond dog who is adorable. I think of Chris when I hear someone mention Arkansas or any sentence with the word “waning” in it.

Christie is my “beach” girl and Kate brings to mind the fabulous wine we’ll share at conference. (We plan ahead, picking restaurants based on the wine list.)

At the year comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment and think about the friends in my life. Christina is always practical, Suzanne knows my real insanity. There are others, those who make up the colors in the fabric of my life.

For me, life is about those we love. I have been blessed with great friends and I am grateful. Here’s to a new year with more adventures and lots of happiness, health and success.

So who are the special friends in your life and why?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Woman vs Computer


posted by Maureen

Christmas is over and I’m back at work. Yep, took a few days off to do the baking and cleaning and the in general cooking required by the holiday and an imminent family invasion.

But all that’s behind me, now. Today, I’m jumping back into my nearly finished book. But to do it, I’ve got to get past my computer.

The computer’s a wonderful thing, I know. Sure, I had to be dragged, kicking and screaming into computer world...I was loathe to give up my typewriter. It was a comfort zone thing. And hey, the old typewriter didn’t have a mind of its own.

My computer does. And worse yet, it’s a male mind. How do I know my laptop is male? The signs are all there.

First, it takes forever to get up and get going. As any woman will tell you, making her man move is a challenge. My computer sighs and groans and is doing imaginary stretches while it eases into action.

Second, when I want it to do more than one thing at a time, it STOPS. That’s right. Like every other male, it has to take a minute to think things over before leaping into action. If it was a female computer, it would be great at multi-tasking.

Third, it blips out all these weird-ass warning notes. Big red X’s with things like this computer is very tired of your interference and will now stop remembering anything. The messages don’t make sense at all. It’s a power play, with the computer trying to remind me who’s in charge.

Fourth, the battery life is pitiful! Bought a new battery six months ago and already, it’s down to lasting a couple of hours before it’s tired. Needs a nap. If this was a female computer, that battery would be going strong all night and when it did need recharging, it would apologize!

So, the war between me and the computer is raging on. But no worries here...I know who’s in charge. And it doesn’t matter to me how many times the laptop makes document changes. Or exchanges my dotted line page break for a solid one. I don’t care if it insists on changing my margins and tab settings.

I will overcome all obstacles.

I am Writer.

Hear me roar.

What's your current irritation?? Come on, let's gripe together..........

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Writers Need to Know...


Posted by Christine

A lot. Too much.

Which is why I can’t even remember how I got along without the internet. I know, know. Much of the info online is suspect. Take Wikipedia. Great stuff there. But you have to keep in mind that anyone can add onto any page at any time. Yes, Wikipedia has people fact-checking constantly, to be sure any given page hasn’t been maliciously falsified. But still…

You have to be careful out there.

I am. Honestly. I try to check and cross-check any info I'm going to put in a book and call a fact. Still, I know stuff gets by me. Sorry, I do my best to get it right. But it’s the nature of the beast that now and then we stumble.

And you know what? Even with the above caveat, I’m still in love with the things I can find out online. I have a folder in my Favorites links devoted to Research and Reference. That folder has a hundred addresses of places online to find out stuff. That folder should be better organized.

One of these days… (hah!)

And my Research and Reference folder isn’t the half of it. Every book I write gets a Favorites folder and then there are sub-folders within the main folder. For Settings and Flora and Fauna, for information about my hero or heroine’s profession, for things like how to kill someone with digoxin or Spanish slang and idioms. It’s all quite dizzying.

And wonderful!

And my very favorite research sites—I mean aside from the basics like Ask.com and Wikipedia and About.com?

The ones about time and the phases of the moon. I love this site: Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day. You go there, you fill in the blanks, you can find out sunset and sunrise anyplace in the world on any given day. And the phases of the moon on that day. I love the whole moon phase thing. Sorry. Just do. It’s something I really need to know so my H/h can look up in the sky and see the moon as it really is in that place. On that day.

Weird? Maybe. But all writers have their weirdnesses and this is one of mine.

Love this one, too: http://www.timeanddate.com Tells me the time and date—right now—anywhere in the world. I need to know that! I really, really do.

And there’s my friend, Betty Sanders, a member of my local RWA chapter. She keeps a blog that’s a…reference of reference sites. Everyone needs that. So here you go: http://bettysanders.blogspot.com/

What about you? Favorite info sites I should know about? Share, share!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to All!!

Two things I'm eternally grateful for this Christmas:

1. The best family in the world, and
2. The fact that Blogger allowed me to post these pictures! *g*

These are some goofy and charming photos of me and some of the fam on Christmas Eve.

I sincerely hope to post some shots of the aftermath later today. It won't be pretty!
Meanwhile, featured in these pictures are my darling, talented niece, Dandelion, and my handsome, brilliant nephew, Spartacus. (Their names have been changed to protect their identities.) (The green scarves they're wearing are part of their costumes from the Christams play they performed on Christmas Eve.)


Also, captured on camera are two brothers, Tim and Jim (aka The Great Jimmy) and Pammy (Tim's wife) and of course, The Mother of Us All.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours!!

Cheers!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Merry!


posted by Maureen

Just stopped in to say, whatever Holiday you're celebrating, I wish you joy!

And may the New Year bring you everything you dream of.....

Friday, December 22, 2006

Successful Getaway



Surfer Guy and I went away for the first time alone since our kids were born. I told that to several people while we were gone (for a mere two days)—well, I told it to everyone I met, it was that much on my mind!—and Surfer Guy kept denying it. No, no, he said, we’ve been away before.

Um, no. Never together. He’s gone on surfing or ski trips. I’ve been to writer’s conferences or on girls’ getaways. Last summer Son 1 stayed home for one night alone before I came back from the RWA conference in Atlanta, but Son 2 was with Surfer Guy. Before we left on this trip, I was a little concerned. What if we had nothing to say to each other? What if we were bored without some child complaining about being bored?

Well, not to worry. We had a fab time. Maybe it was Malibu. It was cold, but so clear that you could pick out each grain of sand. We stayed on the beach both nights. Right on the beach. The first night we stayed in the “John Travolta suite” at the only B&B on Carbon Beach…aka Billionaire’s Beach. Apparently John spent three months in the same room we were in after he made his first movie. There’s a photo of him in the room holding the owner’s cat. The next night we stayed up the beach aways…again right on the sand, again, with a fireplace and the sound of the surf soothing us all night long.

We walked along the beach, hiked into the canyons, shopped at the surf stores (Surfer Guy loved that, natch), gawked at the incredible homes. The owner of the B&B, Charlou, 86 years young, drove us up to an overlook so we could check out Mel Gibson’s complex and Britney Spears’s house. But we never spotted one celebrity (unless dolphins at dawn count). That was okay. It was novel enough that we were together alone.

And did I mention this? My next three books are set in Malibu! We’ll be going back for more “research.”

Do you have a particularly memorable vacation or getaway? Now that I’ve done this once, I’m thinking I can tear myself away from the kids again and so I need ideas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy holidays from me and my dog


Posted by Susan

I had big plans to post a picture of Nikki, possibly the world’s cutest dog, in antlers or a Santa hat. Unfortunately I couldn’t find either that even came close to fitting her. Sometimes it’s hard being small.

I was feeling kind of bad about not getting her a Christmas outfit, but then I remembered that she hates to wear clothes. The reality is despite being small and adorable, Nikki is all dog. She chews, she loves to play, food is her life, she has gas. There is nothing delicate about her. She also has a really big heart and is happy to share it with the world. In fact she has an excellent philosophy that is especially suited for this special time of year.

The rules, according to Nikki…

Assume everyone new is your life is the most interesting, exciting, thrilling person you’ll ever meet. You’ll be impressed by how often they’ll rise to match your expectations.

Exercise is fun. Sometimes racing up and down the stairs for no reason really adds some sparkle to a day.

Food *is* love and that’s okay. It means we get to experience love three or eight or twelve times a day!

Play hard. Life is short. Spend time doing what you really like.

Take time to soak up the sun. There are few things more relaxing than dozing in a warm, sunny spot while the rest of the world goes by.

Kiss a lot! Give kisses, get kisses. Kissing makes everyone feel better.

Love your family. They’re special. They’re the best part of who you are.

Happy holidays to you. May you and your experience all the blessings of this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Quests


posted by Maureen

You know the drill. Your kid has the ONE THING they want more than anything else. The ONE THING they won’t be able to live without. And damned if you’re not determined to make that wish come true on Christmas morning!

For me one year, it was Cabbage Patch kids. I swear to you, I was like a crazy person. I followed tips. I eavesdropped on private conversations in long lines. I interrogated stock clerks. It was the suburban version of the CIA. I made late night phone calls and was the first one in line in front of Toys R Us nearly every morning that December.

It had become a mission. My neighbor Gerri and I would load her youngest into the car as soon as the other kids were in school and start off fresh every morning. We BOTH wanted to find those dolls to keep Santa’s rep in good shape. And on one of our treks, we struck GOLD. That’s right. Waiting in line at Toys R Us, with the people we’d become very close to (after all, we’d been lining up with them for two weeks now, every day), we found out the store had received a shipment.

D DAY. (Doll Day) We geared up. We belted tiny, two year old Erin into the shopping cart so we wouldn’t tip her out on our mad dash down the aisles. When the doors opened, the stampede started. It was crazed. It was dangerous. It was every mom for herself. Tenuous new friendships dissolved. We became enemies on a battlefield. We pushed and shoved and Gerri maneuvered the cart to cut in front of two particularly frenzied mothers.

With her distraction, I took off like I was on fire. Easily outpacing shorter, less determined mothers, I took an early lead. Flying down aisles, I leapt over tricycles like a decathlon champ. I heard Gerri shouting encouragement and over the loudspeaker, the manager was trying to bring order into the chaos.

But I wouldn’t be stopped. I raced down the Barbie aisle and paid no attention to the sports cars and Malibu mansions. I never glanced at the teddy bears staring blankly at me. I skidded around the end cap near the baby doll section and nearly knocked myself out on a display of metal fire trucks. By this time, Gerri was catching up, still pushing Erin around like she was in a shopping cart Indy 500.

And THERE THEY WERE. Thirty of ‘em. Count ‘em, THIRTY CPK’s, all staring at us with their glassy little eyes and cheerful little faces. Winded, but victorious, Gerri and I each picked out two dolls and left the other moms to fight it out amongst themselves for the leftovers.

Once we had the dolls and Erin back in the car, we headed out for coffee and doughnuts. (We’d used up a lot of calories, okay?) And right about then is when we discovered we had a spy in our ranks and a whole new problem. Erin, a sweet two year old who hadn’t said a word all morning now cried, “I WANT ALL MY BABIES!”

We spent the next two weeks shrugging and saying, I don’t know, whenever one of the kids would demand to know what babies Erin kept whining about. It was a long two weeks, but it was worth it. And the memories still make me smile.

This year, may each of your Christmas Quests be fulfilled. May you find happiness and joy everywhere you look. May your Holiday, whichever one you celebrate, bring you the kind of special magic we all look for in this wonderful season. And may you create the kind of memories that will always make you smile...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm Fine. Really. Just Terrific...


Posted by Christine

Don’t look at that picture on the left. That’s not really me. Honest.

Just because I have a December 28th deadline? As in three days after Christmas. You think that fazes me in the least?

Oh, no. Uh-uh. I’m just dandy here in Oklahoma. Just fine. Superb. Magnifique.

And we all know I've done all I can to minimize the holiday challenges this year. You know more than you ever wanted to about the way I decorated. The cutting back. The going for minimalist. It helped--my stress level, I mean. But you know, it’s really not a good idea to set up a deadline of 12/28. Not if you celebrate Christmas, anyway.

There are simply too many fun and distracting things to do during the holidays. We’ve been to parties. We gave one last Friday night. A Cranium party. Picture Trivial Pursuit with crafts and charades. That’s Cranium. I cooked nothing. Bought various finger foods from the local La Baguette and put them on my own plates. We had plenty of champagne. I played my favorite Christmas CDs. It was so fun. I want to do it again. Maybe tonight. Forget my page goals for tomorrow...

Also, I blew off an afternoon’s work last week so that Hunky Mensa Man could take me out with him to pick out my Christmas gift. Yes. I confess. I’m one of those women. Especially when diamonds are involved, I want to pick it out myself. And I did. It’s under the tree as I write this. I love thinking about how, in just a few days, I’ll be wearing it.

In fact, I love thinking about my bling more than my book right now. I am so bad, I just can’t stand it.

Cranium, anyone?

And what in your life gets back-burnered this time of year?

Oh, and if you haven’t already, vote for Kate, who is sizzling hot and doing us all proud as she continues to move up in RT’s American Title competition! Scroll down to read her entry’s synopsis. And for voting made easy, click on the Vote for Kate button to the right.

Monday, December 18, 2006

If it's Monday, American Title Results Are In!!!

That's right, it’s American Title Monday and that means I can finally reveal the results …

I made it through to Round Three!!! Woo hoo!!!

And oh YES, it’s time to VOTE again!!!

But first, I have to thank everyone for voting for me in Round Two, so Thanks, everyone!! Honestly, I’m shocked and thrilled that I’ve made it this far because I’m up against some fierce and talented competitors.

Now, the easiest way to vote for me is to click the button over there on the sidebar, the one that says "Vote For Kate!!!" Yes, that’s the one! Click on it, and it takes you to an email form that's all filled out and ready to go. Just hit “SEND,” and that's it! I can wait here while you vote ... hmm-de-dum ... hey, see how easy and fast that was? *g*

Okay, thanks again for voting and for spreading the word to all your friends!!

This month, your vote will determine the “Best Story Summary.” Here's my entry...

Gracie Sinclair is Librarian and Book Curator for a small, prestigious university. When she finds an antique French version of the Kama Sutra in a used book store, she’s stunned by the erotic drawings and her fantasies sparkle to life. Just once, she’d love to have a fling, but wild and willing men are scarce in her world. Her girlfriends recommend an intriguing online dating service and Gracie decides to join.

Seventy-two hours later, the biggest, baddest, sexiest man she’s ever seen shows up at the Library, and he’s not there to check out a book.

Cane Winslow has emerged from deep cover to salvage a critical overseas mission after a photograph of their most secret operative’s twin sister turns up on a monitored internet site. If the enemy finds the sexy Librarian before Cane does, Gracie could be killed in retaliation, Cane’s operative assassinated, and years of intelligence destroyed.

Gracie realizes she’s truly in danger and accompanies Cane, despite one little problem – she doesn’t have a sister.

At Gracie’s house, they surprise an intruder and find proof that the enemy has infiltrated Headquarters. Now Cane doesn’t know who to trust and he won’t risk Gracie’s safety by taking her to HQ. Gracie mentions her family’s isolated beach house and Cane agrees it’s a good hiding place.

In close quarters, with danger threatening, the tension builds until Cane and Gracie succumb to their overwhelming attraction and explore the dazzling rituals of the Kama Sutra. And vanquish the enemy, of course!

So, that's the condensed summary -- in less than 250 words! Not much room to mention any complicated plot twists! LOL. So now the question is ... what in the world will the judges have to say this month? Check out their comments and read all the entries at http://www.romantictimes.com/news_amtitle3.php

It’s the holiday season and everyone’s busy, so I truly appreciate you taking the time to vote! And again, if you have an extra minute, spread the word and tell all your friends to vote, too!! I need all the help I can get!!!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Great Read!


Posted by Susan

For the record, the weather in Seattle has been wildly unpleasant! I have lived in windy places before, but I've never experienced anything like this in my life!! It was a major storm last Thursday night, and scary. We were one of the lucky ones. Only lost power and a few trees and none hit the house. Hank, our coffee drinking bear carving, was attacked by a falling tree. Until we get the tree cut up and taken away, I can't tell if he's injured.

All is well now. We have power and for the record, I love electricity. It's a marvelous invention!!

But enough of that. I wanted to post about Christie's book, which I read right before the storm. It's fabulous!! Sooooooo fun and Christmas-y and very, very sexy!

I loved everything about it. I love the characters, the setting, the secondary love story. Bailey is a great heroine--just one of those characters who comes alive from the first page. Finn is incredibly hot and dangerous and sexy and emotionally wounded. Talk about an impossible-to-resist combination! It was a totally yummy read. I can't recommend it enough! It's great for the season and to give as a gift. ;)

I Like Paul Walker....


Posted by Christine


He always seems so sincere.
And, in this case, wet.
And wet is always good. :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Great Expectations



Today is the last day of school before Christmas vacation. And boy, have my kids earned time off, especially Son 2. He started high school this year and in his Honors English class they’ve been reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Parents were encouraged to read along with them, as the teacher acknowledged it was a challenging book for kids of this age.

Uh, yeah.

It was challenging for me, and I was an English major in college, I’ve read other works by Dickens, including A Tale of Two Cities, and I’m a very good reader. Not only does Great Expectations have a long cast of characters, but more than one character is not well-educated and speaks in a sort of dialect. For example, right away a man is demanding “wittles,” his pronunciation of “vittles.” And that’s one of the easier to decipher.

Don’t get me started on how the testing for this book was conducted in their class. Suffice to say that these kids who had tested into the honors track came out of the first exam with mostly Ds and Fs. But they kept on reading and kept on testing and I kept on encouraging. There were times Son 2 would read aloud a passage and ask me what it meant and I had absolutely no idea. Even when I went back to it in context, I couldn’t be entirely sure. And so I grumbled (silently) to myself about this literature choice while aloud I just told him to keep on keeping on.

And then it came to the last 100 pages. “It’s getting good now,” my student said. By this time, the cast of characters were familiar, the mysteries were being solved one by one, and there was a sense of impending threat. Pip’s life was almost taken, it looked as if the girl was gone for good, and on behalf of his “benefactor” there was an exciting attempt at escape on the Thames River.

When Son 2 turned the last page, he looked up. “I think that’s the best book I’ve ever read.”

Wow.

I still think it’s a lot to bite off for freshmen. And perhaps there are some better ways to ease them into the story. But to Mr. Charles Dickens…my hat is off. Dude, you’re still relevant.

Do you have a book you thought you wouldn’t enjoy, but then ended up loving? It doesn’t have to be a classic!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Resolutions...or not

Posted by Susan

I’m thinking about resolutions. Some years I don’t bother. I know things are going to be crazy and I hate setting myself up to fail, so I just ignore them. I’ve done that for the past couple of years, which turned out to be a very wise decision. But I’m thinking this year is different. Resolutions might not be a bad idea. So here’s my tentative list…

Come up with a book idea a week. I was listing to National Public Radio last Sunday and there was an interview with a singer/song writer who wrote songs about 52 different things in a year. Obviously it’s a lot more work to write a song, which had words and music, than just come up with a book idea. The fact that he did this will inspire me.

Five fruits and vegetables a day. I’m not foolish enough to want to talk about dieting. Oh, please. But more healthy is good. I’ve learned I can’t just say “I’ll eat more healthy” because without specifics, nothing much happens. So I have a real number. Five.

Read a non-fiction book a month. There are so many out there on everything from writing craft to business to history. So I’m going to pick one a month and read it.

Attend RWA meetings. Up here in Seattle there are three local chapters of Romance Writers of America. Three chances a month to attend a meeting and hang out with authors, talk the business and be social. I’ve had the excuse of moving, settling in, the holidays, etc., but excuse time is over.

Okay—and here’s the really hard one…take 45 minutes a day for me. I tried for an hour, but I started getting shaky at the thought, so I’m going with 45 minutes. 45 minutes of taking a bath or listening to a relaxation tape or getting a pedicure or reading a book I want to read, or sitting outside and doing nothing. No lists, no returns calls, no schedule whatever workman is currently needed. Just time for me.

There they are. My five resolutions. I’ll let you know how I’m doing as the year progresses.

So what about you? Resolutions yes or no? And if yes, what are a few?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Movies Help To Make The Season Bright!

posted by Maureen

We’ve probably talked about this already, but hey, it’s Christmas and this is one of my favorite parts of the season! Usually, I watch my favorites while I'm wrapping or decorating the tree or just trying to find the holiday spirit if I happen to be lacking!

There are a few movies that are ‘must watch’ in my house. Like for example, It’s a Wonderful Life. Yeah, I know, they rerun it so often, some people feel that the magic is gone. But not me. It’s a nice little reminder that no matter how bad things look, LIFE is good!


Then there's A Christmas Story, because it's fun to watch a kid pining for his heart's desire and then finally receive it. Makes you remember that the holiday season really is about the kids in your life. (Besides, I tend to identify with Ralphie's father, the Swear Word King!)

Then there's the Santa Clause, which I absolutely watch a couple of times during the season. I'm nuts about Santa's house and daydream about having an Elf named Bernard to get everything organized as it should be!

I love to watch the old, original black and white A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim because the shadows and grim settings are a perfect rendition of a Victorian Christmas. Then there's Love Actually........what a great character study of new love, old love and unrequited love, all built around our favorite time of year.

But my favorite I think, is While You Were Sleeping. Who hasn't felt as alone as Lucy from time to time? And seeing her find her prince always makes me smile...

With my DVD player happily spinning, I can get into the spirit even when I’m feeling less than holiday like. These movies and a few others are like old friends I visit with once a year and when they’re in the room with me, they remind me just how magical this season is.

What are your favorites??

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Joy Thing...



Posted by Christine

This is me, slaving away on my latest--which just happens to be due 12/28. Can you hear me screaming? That smile is actually a rictus of pure terror. Oh, yeah.

But even for a writer facing a crushing deadline during the holidays, there are bright and shining moments of pure joy. A couple of examples...


I cut back my decorating this year. No light-bedecked garlands dripping with holiday florals and shiny decorations. Only a tasteful wreath on the front door--no light display. We do have a tree and I piled four boxes of shiny red balls into this bowl you see here. I just love it. It's so...shiny and red. Every time I look at it...you guessed it:

JOY!





And then there's this picture, taken by a lovely lady who goes to all the University of Oklahoma football games with the band. That's the J in the middle, hands up, mouth open in a JOYous shout. This was the moment they won the game against arch-rivals, Oklahoma State. I adore this picture. All of it. the girl on the cell phone, the kid beside the J holding up his clarinet almost reverently, the laughingly JOYous girl in the front. Every time I look at this photo, it brings a smile.

So. What about you? What brings you joy--in this holiday season, or any time?

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer!

Posted by Kate

One week from today, the world will know which six finalists made it to Round Three of the American Title III Contest. I’m so on edge, I can barely type the words!!

As many of you know, my entry in the ATIII contest is The Kama Sutra Chronicles. I like to think it’s funny, sexy, suspenseful, and a fun, fast read. The one thing my book has never had is a paranormal theme.

Until now.

That’s right, paranormal is hot! So I’ve decided to spice up my hero and heroine and give them a touch more bite. Oh, it’s going to be sweet! And I’m going to change the name just slightly. I think you’ll like it.

I’m calling it The Cookie Sutra Chronicles!!

First there were vampires, then came werewolves, shapeshifters and demons. And now, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the kitchen ... aaarrgh!! Look out for the Gingerbread People!

Check this out! The Cookie Sutra is the cutest book and a perfect stocking stuffer! It combines the wit and wisdom of the ancient Kama Sutra with, you know, a gingerbread recipe. It's the perfect gift for the romance writing baker on your list!
The full title is The Cookie Sutra: An Ancient Treatise: that Love Shall Never Grow Stale. Nor Crumble, by Edward Jaye. I've already ordered my copy! And I'm sending thanks to my American Title III buddy, Jenny Gardiner, for the heads up on a book that could revolutionize my writing--and baking--style.

Yes, I'm a little crazy, but this holiday season will do that to you!

So ... what's cooking with you? Have you moved into holiday baking mode yet? Are you finished with your shopping? Need a stocking stuffer? *g*

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Book News From Fan Girl!!!!

Posted by Fan Girl!

Sorry Fan Girl is a little late to the blog but it turns out, Fan Girl is a fan of margaritas, too! Whoopie!! Is the room spinning??

Oops, let's not talk about Fan Girl's issues. Let's get right to the latest exciting book news!!

First, run, don't walk--oh, just get in the car and drive!--to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of Maureen Child's latest Silhouette Desire, Beyond the Boardroom, the final book in the Elliott family saga!

And HUGE news!! Maureen's Beyond the Boardroom is NUMBER ONE on Waldenbooks' Bestseller List this week!!! Woo hoo!! Fan Girl has three words for you: don't miss it!! Trust Fan Girl, she's already read her copy and she can guarantee it's fabulous!!

And while you're at the bookstore, here's another absolute must-buy!! The Unexpected Millionaire, Susan Mallery's second book in her Million Dollar Catch series for Silhouette Desire, is available now!!

This series is Susan's first ever for Silhouette Desire and The Unexpected Millionaire hit Number Three on Waldenbooks' Bestseller List!!! Is Susan HOT or what? Yeah!!

Fan Girl thinks her Deadline Diaries girlfriends are so hot, they're on fire!! She knows you'll think so, too!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This Saturday, the Seasonal Hunk....


Posted by Christine


See? All he wants for Christmas...is you!

Love a man who's got his priorities in order.

Decorating the tree today. In spite of all my previous Scroogieness, I'm having a ball.



Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Shopaholic and Sister-in-Law



On Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), I had the intense pleasure of going shopping with my sister-in-law and my niece. Oh, the joy! Surfer Guy doesn’t shop. Son 1 and Son 2 think shopping means Mom has puts new clothes in your room and you try them on and tell your personal shopper (Mom) what works and what doesn’t. Not a one of them wants to browse, to feel, to sniff new perfumes. And it’s hard to coordinate shopping trips with my girlfriends—many of whom have daughters to shop with and so don’t need me to get their mall fix.

But with my favorite family girls in town, and with the guys occupied playing with the Wii and putting up the Christmas lights, I hit the stores with my female posse and happiness in my heart. I never stop at perfume counters, but my 21-year-old niece wanted to, and so we did. Because my sister-in-law had a yen, we went into a cool stationery store where I would never have shopped on my own. I walked out with several gifts.

We tried on jeans together in a tiny dressing room (niece is a size 2, sister-in-law a size 4, but I didn’t think about that) so we could get on to more shopping quicker and also be right there to critique style and fit. We all bought a pair of pants. Together, we agonized in the Nordstrom shoe department about which pair of Ugg boots my niece should get for Christmas. She had her heart set on a particular style until another caught my eye…and then hers. Now why did I feel so happy when she went with my favorite pair?

Finally, we even browsed the kiosks. I never do that, but my sister-in-law and niece are more adventurous. I ended up with a great hat for my mother-in-law (a straw-like sunhat that folds into a convenient shape, perfect for storing in the boat) and then…

My sister-in-law and I both bought these scarf-covered headbands. There was a big picture of Lindsay Lohan wearing one and it looked so hip! We tried several on and kept telling each other we also looked hip in them and could think of dozens of places they’d be convenient to wear. And they were on sale, the final trigger. Two for $7.

That night, when we got home, we told the (mostly) uninterested males about our shopping success. My brother, more used to the shopping talk, nodded his head a few times. Surfer Guy made martinis. The sons and nephew kept playing with the Wii. And then, after dinner, we all sat around our coffee table to play Texas Hold ‘Em. There was nothing at stake (except pride) and Son 1 and my nephew put on their shades and lowered their ballcaps in order to hide their poker tells. My sister-in-law and I decided to put on our new matching headbands, because, well, Texas Hold ‘Em is hip and so were we. Right?

Right. Until my brother looked over. Rubbed his chin as he surveyed our Lindsay Lohan coolness. And said…

“Why are you two dressed up like Rhoda Morgenstern?”*

So DD Shopaholic Tip #2 (#1 was the Target T-shirt, remember?): Those scarf-covered headbands look cooler in the kiosk than they do on your head.

So tell me, who is your favorite shopping companion? Do you have someone you enjoy shopping with or do you like to browse by yourself?

* Remember her from the old Mary Tyler Moore show and her own spinoff sitcom? I tried to upload an image of her and Blogger would not cooperate.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bad hair day

Posted by Susan

I’m having a hair crisis. I realize that compared with the really big stuff going on in the world, “crisis” is probably an exaggeration, but it’s been on my mind.

Currently, I’m hating my hair. This is a fairly common thing for me. The curls…big yuck. I always wanted long, straight hair. At this point, I would accept something short and fluffy, but cute. But the curls are a nightmare. It’s like the tightest perm ever, in the history of the universe. A perm than never, ever grows out. It’s also really fine. I have a ton of hair but the individual strands are not meaty.

I confess I’m really lazy when it comes to my hair. I’m not wild about the idea of having to blow it straight every day, after my shower, then use a bunch of other tools and product to get it all fluffy and cute. Plus, we’re now living in Seattle. Not exactly the place to avoid humidity. Still, my current routine takes all of…45 seconds. So I should be willing to put in a little more time.

In truth, I have to do something. My hair is nearly to my shoulders and heading toward that unfortunate “yield sign” shape. If I knew someone fabulous to cut my hair I would be willing to risk something new, but fabulous stylists are very hard to find. I tend to walk away disappointed.

I changed the color a few months back. Went darker. The blond was too challenging with my skin color. I was starting to fade away. Now I’m kind of a medium brown and it’s much kinder to my skin.

So I’m at a loss. Any suggestions? More highlights? Shorter? Sacrifice my free time and blow dry every day? I want to hear if you hate your hair, too. We’ll form a club!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shameless Self Promotion


posted by Maureen

My December Desire, BEYOND THE BOARDROOM is out on the shelves now, so I thought I’d blog about it for a little self promotion!

And speaking of promotion, (how’s THAT for a segue??) I took an online PR course not long ago, given by the Orange County Chapter of RWA. Our teacher was Louise Knott Ahearn and let me tell you, that woman is brilliant! Most writers are, like me, a little publicity challenged. We don’t tend to think of great marketing ideas or ways to get our books and our names out in front of people. In Louise’s online class though, we learned so much it was amazing! She’ll be giving that class again in 07, so if you get the chance to take it, do yourself a favor and sign up!

Anyway, back to BEYOND THE BOARDROOM...if I do say so myself, it’s a terrific story. Funny, sexy and fast paced, I think you’ll love it! Here’s a teaser...

Everything changed the night that executive assistant Rachel Adler indulged her fantasy and slept with her boss. Shane Elliott was better than any dream, but having gone to bed with the executive, Rachel knew she could no longer work with Shane.

Engaged in a battle to control his family's empire, Shane would not accept her notice. Rachel was his right-hand woman--he needed her. And after their incredible night together, he wanted her. The millionaire magazine scion had gotten everything he'd ever wanted. But could he get Rachel in his boardroom…and his bedroom?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Nothin' like a Christmas Song...


Posted by Christine


It’s that time of year again. You know what I mean. We’ve been discussing the season at length here on DD. Ho-ho-ho and all that jazz.

Here in Sooner country, our local pop radio station, 104.7 on your dial, switches to all-Christmas-all-the-time the week of Thanksgiving. And I listen. Oh, yes, I do. I can’t wait to get in the car between November 20th and New Years’ Day. A bounty of Christmas is right there, waiting for me with the punch of a button, and maybe a slight adjustment of the volume dial.

See, I like it loud. Very loud. And it’s not like I don’t get plenty of Yule sounds at home. I’ve been collecting Christmas music since the J was born. As of today, I’ve got 28 Christmas albums, total, in two formats; CD and cassette. I’m loathe to ditch the cassettes, since I’m afraid I won’t find these treasures again. So the holidays are also the one time of year when my old-as-the-J cassette player gets a workout. We are talking the classics, here, folks: Burl Ives’s Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, Willy Nelson’s Pretty Paper and Elvis’s Blue Christmas. How am I going to say goodbye to those?

You guessed it. I’m not!

Plus, every year, I feel it’s my holiday duty to add one more great CD to my collection. Last year it was Diana Krall’s Christmas Songs. Amazing. And this year it’s Bette Midler’s Cool Yule. Love it! I try to hold it to just one a year and I’ve already got Bette…

But.

So I’m driving in my car with the radio on full blast and here comes that Christmas Song that reduces me to a blubbering mass of holiday tears. The Christmas Shoes by Newsong. Heard that one? Don’t listen without a box of Kleenex. I warn you.

In case you’ve missed it, a little boy is buying the perfect shoes for his dying mama. He wants “her to be beautiful. If Mama meets Jesus tonight.” Oh, God. Can you spell s-o-b-b-i-n-g? Because I was. I do. Every time I hear that song. I drive with the tears just running down my face.

No, that poor little boy doesn’t have enough money to pay for them, and yes, the holiday-hardened singer ends up putting his money down so the kid can give his mama her Christmas Shoes… Okay. I need that one. I really, really do….

How ‘bout you? A favorite Christmas song? An album you recommend?

And for your further Christmas pleasure, both Maureen and Susan have Desires on the stands right now.





Check it out at Amazon





















Check it out at Amazon

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dear Diary, I'm On Deadline!

Posted by Kate

For the first time in years, I didn't enter RWA's Golden Heart contest.

I admit I was happy and looking forward to cruising through the holidays with plenty of time to shop and feast and enjoy the company of my friends and family instead of my usual pattern of frantically writing and re-writing and polishing manuscripts to send off before the December 10th deadline, after which I would crawl to my couch, a shell of my former self, broken and drained and suffering a mini-breakdown complicated by bronchitis or worse.

Ah, those were good days.

But really, I was hoping I might avoid all that this year.

But guess what? I'm on Deadline, people!!!

It's my own fault, really. This deadline is self-imposed. Am I insane? Maybe. But what could I do? I want to sell some books before I die!

So the week before Thanksgiving, I set up a writing schedule with two deadlines. One was to get a 100-page partial out by December 1, and the other was to finish a rewrite of a full manuscript by December 18.

I made that December 1 deadline and it felt really great! And no mini-breakdown! Woo hoo! (And many thanks to Susan and Maureen, my nags--er, my idols!)

Now I'm busting my butt--and fingers and eyeballs and back--to get the second book out by December 18. This will pretty much ruin any chances I might've had of spending quality Christmas shopping time with the rest of the thundering hordes out at the malls. So, thanks to Michele Cwiertny, I found this great gift online. Everybody on my Christmas list is getting one.

The small picture doesn't fully convey the wonder of this gift. It's called "WWBD" or "What Would Bacon Do?"

It's a folder you can use for papers for a business meeting or a class at school. The dial is a piece of bacon you spin when you have a question or get bored during the meeting. Possible answers include "Smoke!" "Taste Good!" "Boycott Tofu!" I'm thinking I might make up my own answers. Oh yes, I'm getting one for myself, too!

My family is going to be so excited with this gift! And I'll be able to make my deadline! It's going to be a very merry Christmas at my house!!!

So, all you Deadline veterans, any suggestions on how to work through the holidays without going insane? And how about gifts? Can you help me find some more great gifts online? I mean, in case they run out of Bacon Folders??

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sometimes Just the Eyes and the Mouth Will Do It...


Posted by Christine




















But just in case they don't, I'm including your regular hot, wet guy!

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's My Party...


…and I’ll bake if I want to!

I’m throwing a party tonight. I’ve been preparing for days, making lists, checking them twice, thrice, four times. Counting RSVPs, counting again, looking around my house and wondering how best to accommodate the group. Surfer Guy, still recovering from his recent surgery, is doing what he can, but no heavy lifting and he needs to be flat on his back a lot of the time. Still, he’s able to wonder aloud do we actually need this much food?

What’s a hostess to do? I’m only comfortable if I have plenty. So I made two ziti casseroles, two macaroni-and-cheese casseroles (it’s a comfort food Christmas party, obviously), two huge salads (one spinach, one regular), garlic bread, and…

…three cakes. Carrot cake, sherry cake, and an old-fashioned cake with white layers and chocolate frosting. Is it too much?

Maybe, but I used my secret weapon, the Cake Mix Doctor’s cookbook. All the recipes start with a store-bought cake mix and go from there. They turn out wonderful and don’t look or taste like a cake mix cake once you’re done. Even the carrot cake is easy, which is saying a lot. (I’ve made it from scratch before and had that horrible moment when the layers fall apart as you try to remove them from the pan.)

I’ve still got cleaning to do and salad dressings to mix up, but the cooking and baking are done. It’s going to be a great party and it’s for a special group of people. The women are from my “moms” group. We all met when our kids were in kindergarten. We used to have coffee together once a month, then it was lunch, now it’s happy hour and the occasional party that includes the husbands. It was these women who were with me last Christmas on Coronado Island the night I started researching for my book that just came out, Must Love Mistletoe. We had a few cocktails, a few appetizers, and then took a walk to admire the tree at the Hotel Del Coronado. Tonight I’ll be handing out the book that came from that excursion as a party favor.

And Cady, you get a book too! Remember, I said I’d give away one of my books to a commenter from this week. It’s you! Go to my website and click on the e-mail link and send me your snail mail addy and I’ll get the book right out to you.

So tonight I’ll be partying with my friends and my cakes. Do you guys have any special party tips you can share? Recipes for cakes or cocktails? Tips on getting someone else to clean up tomorrow?