Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thankfully...Midnight Confessions

Thankful Thursdays...

March 1 and my newest release comes out today. For this, I am grateful. Midnight Confessions was not what some of us call "gimme books", but I got to write it exactly the way it was conceived, which in itself is something for which to be thankful. The situation, some of the characters, the idea of a heroine living with ghosts. Salacious ones, at that. It all came to me at once.

I was at a writing retreat, something the four us call "The Red Door." For a few years now, we've been getting together quarterly for weekend retreats. When one of us (we all write different types of stories in different way)needs to come up with a new idea we'll sit away from the others and use 4x6 cards to prime the pump of creativity. Random words appear in our heads and we jot them, one word per card until we have about 8 or 10 cards. To brainstorm ideas we take the cards back into the group and simply say them out loud one at a time.
The only rule we have is that we don't invest anything in the words themselves. Unlike having a proposal or synopsis to work on, we have nothing but abstract thoughts/words/ideas. It's an amazing process. Simple but effective.

We jot notes on the others' reactions to the words. This works incredibly well. The author with the cards will often develop a thread to a story this way. No defense maneuvers are taken because nothing is invested in the thread. No one holds back comments because since nothing is invested we're not going to step on toes or hijack an idea or try to put our own direction on someone else's story. It's a perfect, clean, clear brainstorming tool.

Except for Midnight Confessions, a concept that landed almost fully formed as I sat in the small backyard, pen poised over my first card, clearing my mind so *one* word could appear to me. Instead, I got the entire concept for the novel (which ended up being the first of a series).
I tried to put random words on my cards, I really did. But no matter how I tried to avoid investing in this idea I only put down words on my cards that followed the haunted mansion theme, the idea of ghosts who refused to leave, a madam with her own agenda, a heroine at a crossroads.
Lucky for me my band of pen warriors understood that when I walked back in from the garden I already had a thread...more than that...and everything we talked about enhanced what had come to me while jotting my words.
So, Red Door pen warriors I am eternally grateful for you. And for that particular day when I bent the only rule we have for that exercise.

Although I felt I had something precious in my head, I was still unsure what my editor would think. Dark paranormal being all the rage, I wasn't sure she'd like the lighter tone I brought to my ghost stories. She didn't even blink! Gave me the go-ahead on nothing more than an email that use: A gleam in my the subject line.

Freedom to write the story as I saw it, was a gift I'll never forget.
And so, now, today, Midnight Confessions is released to the world.
And I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to bring it to the page in much the way I first envisioned it. It was much easier to conceive the book than it was to write it, but with some of the kind reviews I've been getting, I think I just may have pulled it off.

Is that a "gimme book"? I don't know, but I'm not sure I'll see the like again.
Bonnie Edwards


Yesterday, I was writing at Panera Bread and bumped into a former Borders employee who I've seen there from time to time. She said she'd brought my newest book with her while on vacation and loved it. After thanking her, she asked, "Don't take this the wrong way, but how do you come up with such twisted villains?"

This is the deviation of "Where do you get your ideas?" the most common question, I believe, that all writers get.

I had a reporter once ask, "How do you think this stuff up? You're so perky." (Yes, perky. My mom liked that one, she keeps repeating it to me, LOL.)

Another reporter said, "Why do you write such scary books? You seem so nice." ("Seem" being the operative word! What does she think, I'm not what I appear to be? Yikes!)

The truth is: I don't know. I can point to my childhood being raised on mysteries and police procedurals with a dose of romance; I can point to my fascination and admiration of Stephen King; or glance at my bookshelf and realize that 80% of my books are suspense/thrillers/mysteries and romantic suspense. It's what I like to read, why wouldn't I write it?

But I think the biggest reason is that I've always been fascinated with WHY. Why do bad things happen? How? What kind of person can kill? What kind of person can stop killers? What makes people do what they do, good or bad? So I get into their heads and find out WHY.

So it's Q&A day . . . what question have you always wanted to ask a writer? Fire away! And writers, what question have you been asked that you think is unique or different?

A bit of self-promo :) . . . SEE NO EVIL, the second book in my trilogy, is out this week! It's a Top Pick from Romantic Times who calls it, "Haunting and mesmerizing." If you have any questions about this book or the trilogy, fire away!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What I'm (not) reading

Okay, so today's Tuesday. Which, along with being publication day for my long delayed New Orleans romantic thriller, is the day I'm supposed to be talking about what I'm reading and share insights.

Well, here's the deal. After I jumped publishers in December, I started worrying that because No Safe Place was now going to be an orphaned book, it wouldn't be getting all the publisher support it might otherwise. So, although I usually shy away from publicity stuff, deciding I perhaps should do something to help, I started agreeing to all the late February, early March chats, guest blogs, website author of the month appearances, and interviews I was invited to participate in. While all that seemed like a good idea at the time, it didn't occur to me that the first book of a trilogy I thought up quickly (can we say overnight?) to pitch at publisher meetings in NY would be due May 1.

Of course, RITA books also arrived to be read. Then, last week NAL sales and marketing wanted numbers for previous titles to start preparing their big campaign push to announce my arrival at my new house and hopefully sell bunches of books. But I have not exaggerated all those times I've insisted that the only way I've learned -- for me -- to stay reasonably sane in this business is not to pay attention to the numbers. Any numbers. In fact -- and I am not making this up -- within weeks after verbally agreeing to a contract, I always have to ask my sweetie (a former math major whose career was in insurance and who actually LIKES numbers) what the total amt I'll be receiving and breakdown by book actually is. This questioning continues over the course of each contract.

Three more problems are 1) aol will no longer acknowledge my password, so I can't get to all my old agent and publisher email I left stored there when I switched to mac mail. 2) Did I mention I also switched agents last fall? Which means that all my old information is at my former agency, and although they've been very gracious about my leaving, there's only so much I want to bother them with. And finally, 3) Louise Burke, Pocket publisher, tended to send "real" letters rather than emails. So, finding the letters about print runs and ship numbers in the massive amounts of Pocket correspondence, has been, to put it mildly, challenging.

Fortunately, USA Today archives their bestseller list, and I did have print outs of the weekly numbers for all but one of the NYT books. This made my agent happy, so I assume it also made the NAL folks happy, as well. At least I hope so.

But my point. . . and I do have one!. . . is that although I usually enjoy two or three novels a week, reading for pleasure has pretty much become an unknown thing. On my bedside table right now are: Obsession, The FBI's legendary profiler probes the psyches of killers, rapists, and stalkers and their victims and tells how to fight back; The Anatomy of Motive; Sexual homicide patterns and motives; The Criminal Mind; Shadow Wars, Special Forces in the New Battle against Terrorism; and Roberts Ridge, a Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan.

Anyone want me to chat about these?
I didn't think so. *g*

So, here's the deal. Because I need all the help I can get, with a chat tomorrow night on Novel Talk, a day of guest blogging with the Fog City Divas, and a gala booksigning for Anderson News and Food City at the Knoxville Women's Expo yet to go, I'm going to invite y'all to share what you're reading.

Oh, and what will I be doing to celebrate No Safe Place's publication day, you ask? Since my sweetie has jury duty, I'll be -- sigh -- spending it with my dentist.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The R Word

We’ve all experienced it in one form of another. That really cute guy in high school who you thought you’d die for dumped you without so much as a “see ya”. The person you thought was your best friend suddenly found another new best friend and is treating you like yesterday’s outfit she wouldn’t be caught dead in. The guy who vowed to honor you for better or worse has decided that “better” means a newer, younger version. Ah, rejection. It sucks, doesn’t it? As humans inhabiting planet Earth we’ve all dealt with our share of the garden variety forms of rejection, but as writers/authors, we deal with a special kind reserved just for us.

It’s a strange business we’ve chosen, and if you’ve been in it long enough, or even not so very long, you’ve no doubt experienced rejection of your work. Now, I don’t think editors really mean to hurt us when they reject our work. I’d hate to think that my editor got dumped by her boyfriend the night before and took out her wrath on the first unsuspecting author whose work crossed her desk the next morning.

I love each and every one of my stories like they were my children. So much passion goes into their making. So much sweating and straining to bring them to life. I guess the powers that be just don’t realize that rejecting a manuscript is like saying you have an ugly baby. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve seen some pretty homely babies, but I would never tell that to their mothers.

Some rejections come as generic form letters. Did you ever try to read between the lines of a form letter? Trust me, it doesn’t help. Others are lengthy, 2 pages of everything that’s wrong with your baby, after which they toss in some praise to keep you from coming after them with a machete. Some are truly kind and encouraging.

I’d like to share my 7 step approach to dealing with the R word.

Step 1 – Denial. They can’t be serious! They’ll read it over again and realize they made a monstrous mistake, and along with their profuse apologies will come a multi-book contract and tons of money.

Step 2 – Depression. Oh my God. I’ll never sell another book again. I’m washed up. I’m a has-been. Where’s that hole? I want to crawl in and never come out. Don’t touch me. Don’t talk to me. I wish I were dead.

Step 3 – Anger. What?! That miserable so-and-so! She wouldn’t know a good love story if it jumped up and bit her on the nose. No wonder her boyfriend dumped her! And if he didn’t, he should!

Step 4 – Acceptance. Oh well. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I might as well get on with my miserable life.

Step 5 – Determination. I’ll write another one and if they don’t buy that one, I’ll write another one, and if they don’t buy that one…

Step 6 – Hope. And if hoping doesn’t work, I give prayer a shot.

Step 7 – Resignation. Whoever said life was fair?

This whole process takes about 2 hours before I’m back to my old self. Well, okay, so maybe there’s a little residual depression lingering into the next day, but by then, it’s a mere shadow of its former self. No more crawling into holes. No more death wishes. Just a sad little tinge of what might have been.

So, my question is, how do you deal with rejection? Do you stomp your feet at the injustice of it? Do you stick pins in the doll you created in your editor’s likeness? Do you cry? Does it slide off your back like water on a duck, or does it stay with you for days like a bad dream? Does it affect what you write next, or do you stubbornly stick to your guns and continue to write the same types of stories you believe in?

For those out there who are experiencing rejection, the only advice I can offer is what works for me. Get angry. Get depressed. Get over it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Happy Sunday!

I love Sundays. (As opposed, say, to Mondays, which I’m not quite so fond of, for some reason.)

Sundays are great because it usually means I can linger over my coffee, relax and rejuvenate. Mostly though, I spend part of the day strategizing for the week ahead. Sure, I don’t always meet all my goals for the week but Sundays are great for planning and dreaming since almost anything seems possible then. (Again, as opposed, say, to Mondays...)

Now, the only thing better than a Sunday is a Sunday that’s also my birthday...which today is, coincidentally enough. Amid the birthday bubble bath/facial/pedicure – yeah, I celebrate large, don’t I? – I’ll also spend some time strategizing the year ahead. And I’ve got Big Plans for the coming year, too. (I’ll talk about some of them in a future blog.) Sure, I may not meet all of my goals but on a Sunday, when it’s my birthday, the world is mine to conquer.

So, what about you? How do you celebrate your Sundays? Or your birthdays, for that matter?


Friday, February 23, 2007

Learning To Be Funny

I will never forget when the editor of Cat’s Magazine called me a few weeks after I’d submitted my first, unsolicited essay to their magazine. The first comment out of her mouth was.... “I’m NOT calling to buy your essay.”

I replied, “Too bad, because I don’t take rejection very well over the phone.”

She laughed, then said, “What I mean is...we’re looking for someone to write a humor column about cats. I was wondering if you can do this once a month?”

Now, you have to understand the position I was in. And I’m not talking about the fact that I’d stepped out of the shower to grab the phone and was butt-naked and trying to sound professional. I’m talking about being a true, one-hundred-percent dog person. That said, I knew more about cats than I knew about writing comedy. Honestly, that essay was my first attempt at writing humor. So, I did what any upstanding church-going girl would do. I lied. “Oh, sure, I can do that once a mouth.”

After I dressed and asked for forgiveness, I ran out and bought every book I could find on writing humor. And while I was out, I picked up two cats. One of them, I had to return – my neighbor had spotted me snatching their family pet.

My point in telling you this, besides it being funny, is that some people think you can’t teach yourself to write humor. I ended up writing that column for two years and collecting four felines, and while I might have gotten lucky with that first essay, I seriously didn’t know how I’d done it. I know, I probably inherited my zany way of looking at life from my family, but the actual techniques of writing humor can be learned. Two of my favorite how-to books are: HOW TO WRITE FUNNY, which has a chapter by my one of my favorite writers, Jennifer Cruise, and THE COMIC TOOLBOX: HOW TO BE FUNNY EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And because Faye and I have asked you about what funny books you have read lately, I’ll tell you about a scene that made me laugh out loud. EXTREME BACHELOR by Julia London. The hero sees his ex girlfriend, an upcoming actress, for the first time in five years. He sees her on the TV – staring in a commercial – a commercial about constipation. (See Faye, I’m not the only one who writes over the top.)

So do tell. What books have you read that have made you laugh out loud? Remember, there’s a gift certificate up for grabs.

The Last Laugh

Well, it’s Friday and time for the final blog debate about humor with Christie Craig. I don’t know about you guys but we’ve both enjoyed ourselves.

So, what are my final thoughts about humor? Well, I love it when it works but I hate it when it doesn’t. I mean, honestly. There’s nothing worse than reading a scene that seems forced. (Especially if I’m the author of said scene. LOL.) But when I write a scene that still makes me laugh when I read it again a few weeks later...okay, that is the most amazing feeling in the world to me.

The novels I’ve written in the past weren’t, technically, romantic comedies. They were more like romantic romps. Fun reads, I like to think of them, but fun reads with humor. One of the best compliments I ever received from a reader was for one of my first books for Bantam Loveswept. She’d wrote me to say that she’d read my book while her mother was having surgery. She’d been afraid her mother wouldn’t pull through the operation and was really stressed out. But for three hours, she read my silly little book, and it made her laugh. She wanted to thank me for having written it.

I still have that letter.

And it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sure, writing “funny” isn’t going to save the world from global warming but it might just make someone’s day a little brighter.

So, what about you? Have you ever read a funny book that touched your heart in a special way? Don’t forget – Christie and I are giving away a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble to one of the commenters to our blogs this month!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Barbara Freethy Asks: What's In a Cover?

Since it's Wondering Wednesdays, I thought I'd ponder the subject of covers. I have been both blessed and cursed by the Cover Gods as you can see by the accompanying photos. My recent romantic suspense, TAKEN, received First Prize in the Houston RWA's Cover Contest for romantic suspense. Published by NAL, I think this cover did what a romantic suspense is supposed to do -- it grabbed the reader's eye with bold colors and a different look.

However, when I was writing more in the single title romance arena, the publishers dabbled with various kinds of looks. I had a lot of flower covers, a lot of blue covers and then there was the disaster on the right. ALMOST HOME is a book set in Kentucky at the time of the Kentucky Derby. It's about a thoroughbred horse ranch and blood lines and people searching for who they really are. When Avon told me they were going to give me a "horse" cover I imagined a beautiful, inspiring thoroughbred against a moonlit sky (or something like that). As you can see I got a cross between the cartoon cover look that was just beginning to boom and well ... I'm not exactly sure what the rest of it was supposed to be ... the flowers I had before?
This cover was so bad that several major book buying accounts actually suggested it should be changed and there were plans to do so ... but then Avon got bought by Harper and there were all kinds of changes and in the midst of it all, my cover was published. Some authors would like to think that a bad cover isn't that bad ... I have to tell you that it can be ... My #'s dropped with this cover considerably. I don't think the readers knew what kind of book it was or just thought it was so ugly they didn't pick it up. Thankfully, after that Avon went back to the pretty flowers, etc.

However, "pretty" can be another problem. A friend of mine writes historicals and her covers are gorgeous, and are often some knock off of a beautiful painting, but it seems that they're almost too "pretty" or too "quiet" for the market. The book buyers seem to gravitate toward covers that hit them over the head in some way.

So I'm wondering what drives you to pick up a cover? Are there certain colors or looks that you automatically pick up? For instance do single bare-chested men attract you more than a pair of dangling female legs and sexy high heels? Or vice versa? Do you like sweeping landscape looks or Adirondack chairs at the end of a pier? (Does anyone remember when those were big?) Do you like the clinch cover? Do you feel like you know exactly what you're getting? And is that the ultimate question -- does the book have to deliver exactly the kind of story promised by the cover? Do you ever go back to check if the hero's hair color was right? God forbid the hero has red hair -- in my experience you'll rarely find a red-haired hero on the cover So, what do you think? Are there any book covers that stand out in your mind (besides Christina Dodd's three armed heroine - does anyone remember that?)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What I'm Reading

The timing is good for me to post about what I've been reading, since I've recently read some great books by two new-to-me authors and I'm always glad to spread the word.

The first is What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris. The book is a historical mystery set in the Regency era. While I was aware of Harris' work w/a Candice Proctor, I had never read anything by her. A friend brought What Angels Fear to my attention. I couldn't put it down, and as soon as I finished reading it, I got my hands on a copy of the sequel When Gods Die, which I enjoyed even more than the first. In both books the author drew me into the story immediately, then kept me involved in it until the last page. Sebastian St. Cyr, the protagonist, is fascinating, as are several of the other main characters. The books are rich in period detail, giving the books a "you are there" quality. I can't wait to read the next in the series.

The next new-to-me author is Marjorie M. Liu. I was immediately intrigued by her novella A Dream of Stone and Shadow (the second of two stories in Dark Dreamers--the other novella in the book is by Christine Feehan), as the hero is a gargoyle. The story was wonderful--dark and sinister, yet very touching. A Dream of Stone and Shadow is part of Liu's series of "Dirk and Steele Adventures"--paranormal stories revolving around a very unusual detective agency. I've got the first book in the series on my TBR pile now, and I'm hoping to get to it soon. I'm sure I'll be buying the rest of the series, as well.

What have you been reading? Have you tried these authors, and if so, what did you think?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Relishing the Possibilities

Most of the hours of my days pass by in the whirlwind of details and duties of daily life. I’m not complaining; it’s just the way is. But because of that we need to recognize and relish those special moments life, slowing down to savor the possibilities.

And for me, both as a reader and as a writer, walking into a favorite bookstore is always, ALWAYS, one of those moments. When I open the door to a place like Powell’s City of Books, I pause, grinning from ear to ear, and let the myriad of possibilities wash over me.

If you’ve never heard of Powell’s, the store covers a square city block in downtown Portland, Oregon. It’s a ramshackle labyrinth of books—all genres, new and used. It’s so big, the rooms are color-coded and you need to navigate the place with a map.

I love it.

In any bookstore, I love knowing there are new releases by my favorite authors or books by authors I have yet to discover waiting forme. Ooooh—the possibilities!

But it’s the wealth of nonfiction books in a place like Powell's that has my pulse racing and my monthly budget in jeopardy. Over the years, it’s been in those towering stacks that I’ve first met so many of the characters who have populated my books—a U.S. Marshal, the ladies who started their own literary society, the warriors who became my Paladins. I can’t wait to see whom I meet next!

So how about you? Do you have a favorite bookstore? What about it makes it so special?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Year of the Boar

My husband and I went to a bang-up Chinese New Year’s party last night. Interesting people of all ages, from all over the country, copious amounts of fine wine, and fabulous food—enough home-made Chinese dishes to feed a ... well, a few dozen piggies. Can you say, oink? (Oh, my poor, stretched tummy.)

Speaking of pigs, this is the year of the boar. Or pig, but frankly, I prefer “boar. “ Pigs bring to mind laziness and filth, though in truth, they are clean, intelligent animals. Who overindulge, but who am I to judge? ☺ But boars... when I think “boar” I think feral, trong, protective. Alpha male, if you will.

But in the context of the Chinese New Year, I am wrong, wrong, wrong! If you were born in the year of the boar (2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947—you get the idea. It’s a twelve-year cycle) you have the following characteristics (courtesy of

Honest, peace-loving and make good friends. Will try not to argue and rarely lose their temper. Love the good things in life and are very willing to share with others. Enjoy gossip and fall in love easily. Can be untidy people at home.

In other words, people born in the Year of the Boar are danged cool people.

If you’re like me and weren’t born in the Year of the Boar, don’t fret. Sometime in the next 12 years, your year will come.

Gung hai, fat choy to everyone.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Humor Me, She Says

Okay, so it’s my turn. What tickles my funny bone when I’m reading? Lots of things, actually. (And don’t tell Christie, but I often laugh out loud when reading her scenes. It’s not good to tell her that, though, since it will only encourage her to throw in more naked, tattooed men, male perps in pink negligees and oversexed dogs.)

Like Christie, I think that humor is a natural extension of characterization. After all, just as every individual has a slightly different way of looking at life, so do our characters. And for some of them, a good sense of humor is a necessity since their view of life is more than a little askew.

Humor, to me, is taking the ordinary, twisting it around a little and looking at it from another angle. Preferably a funny angle. Like, for example, the other day when I was up to my ears in snow here in upstate New York. I’d been clearing my walkway and decided to take a break before I turned into a human popsicle, so I planted my shovel in the snowbank and went inside to defrost. When I came back out about 20 minutes later, my shovel was gone. Somebody had stolen it.

No, seriously.

Somebody stole my snow shovel.

They’d waded, uphill, through three feet of snow from the edge of the street and swiped a $6.99 piece of cheap metal. I was furious. I honestly considered following the footprints and confronting the thief. I would have, too, except, well, they’d taken my shovel and I didn’t want to wade through all that snow. Then I thought about calling the village police. I didn’t do that, either. When I’d called them two years ago to report that somebody had stolen my trash can in the middle of a freaking snow storm, I’d gotten the county sheriff by mistake and, well, let’s just say that stolen trash cans apparently aren’t high on their priority list of crimes to solve. So, I decided to whine about the stolen snow shovel to my friends. But, did they give me sympathy? (Or offer to buy me a new shovel? Or, better still, offer to come to my house and help me shovel the 79 feet of snow that was now piling up outside my house?) No. They just laughed. They thought it was funny.

Of course, they all still had their snow shovels.

Or, they lived in places where snow shovels weren’t necessary.

It was that perception thing again, and that’s how I think of humor. It’s a matter of perception.

So, what about you? What are your thoughts on humor? Please feel free to share. And don't forget. As Christie said, we're giving away a $10.00 gift certificate to B&N to some lucky commenter this month!


Humor Me

It’s Friday and Faye and I are back to talk about humor. I haven’t always written comedy. My first book wasn’t funny. I remember being in New York right after the book came out, having dinner with my editor and other Silhouette writers, and the conversation turned to zoos. I mentioned my visit to the San Diego Zoo. Everyone at the table was cracking up – everyone but me, of course. (It’s hard to laugh about being sexually molested by an elephant.) Anyway, my editor turned to me and said, "You should be writing humor."

I blew her off. Seriously, I didn’t know anything about being funny, I was just telling about an experience. Years later, I realized that it wasn’t so much the experiences that were funny, it was how I viewed them. Okay, not everyone has been groped by a two-ton animal in front of a hundred or so camera-toting viewers. And those who have, probably wouldn’t be so inclined to share. The point is that I tapped into some basic emotion. Embarrassment in this instance, and listeners could relate. Or at least they . . . tried to relate. I’m not sure anyone can actually know how it felt unless they experienced it. But imagine having a mammogram in public, given by an animal. (Did you know that elephants have suction cups in their trunks? I hadn’t had a hickie in years.)

However, it doesn’t have to be outrageous to be funny. Consider the Seinfeld show. They made us laugh about the most basic subjects – women’s purses/men’s wallets, rude soup servers, and people who talk in low voices. They also made us laugh by covering those basic truths that no one wants to talk about. Do you remember the shows about masturbation, ugly babies, and men’s shrinkage issue? Oh, yeah, we laughed about that.

Laughter feels good. I love it when an author makes me laugh. (Don’t ever tell Faye, but her "sedate" humor just cracks me up. And what really gets me is sometimes she doesn’t even know she’s being funny.) And I love the idea of making my readers laugh. A real belly laugh is right up there with a good cry. It’s an emotional release. Heck, after all these years, I’ve even gotten to where I can chuckle about my San Diego experience. The fact that I never visit the elephant exhibits at zoos is another matter.

Okay, now you’ve heard some of my thoughts on humor. What are yours? Remember, we’re giving away a Barnes & Noble gift certificate – and possibly a pair of false teeth – to one lucky person at the end of the month. Oh, yeah, check back in a while, I’m sure Faye’s going to have something to say about her "sedate" humor.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fireside Reading

Last Friday, I participated in a group book signing at the Fertile Mind Book Store in Belfast, Maine. The owners called it their LOVE event, so people could pick up Valentine's Day gifts. There were five of us Maine authors. We were mystery authors Lea Wait and Kathy Lynn Emerson, suspense author Tess Gerritsen, romance author Janet Chapman, and that's me on the right.

Many readers and fans "came on down"--Down East, that is. What a blast! I've never had so much fun at such an event. The owners of the store, LaRue and Bruce Hayne, really know how to put on a party. The store was decorated for Valentine's Day and they served cake--chocolate of course--and champagne! Each author had a red rose, which we took home afterward. Many, many book lovers came to see us and bought books. The longest line, of course, was for Tess, but the rest of us did just fine. Two children came with their parents to show us their own writing. They were very sweet and not at all in awe of published authors because, after all, they were writers too. During lulls in the action, we had time to chat and buy each other's books.

I have just finished reading Janet Chapman's book. The Seductive Stranger is the perfect contemporary romance to curl up with by the fire on these frigid nights. Janet's first success came with her acclaimed time-travel Highlander series and now she's interspersing them with contemporary stories. The Seductive Stranger kept me riveted. In fact, I finished reading it at two in the morning because I couldn't put it down. Her heroine Rachel is spunky, loyal and witty. Her hero Keenan, reminiscent of Linda Howard's over-the-top alpha men, is a sexy take-charge man to die for. And the plot, with its intriguing puzzle and its many twists and turns is as delicious as Valentine's Day chocolates. Oh, and did I say, very sexy. Now I have to read the sequel, The Dangerous Protector.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Okay, true confessions time--I'm certain I didn't mean to sign up to blog on Valentine's Day!! In fact, I had a topic all picked out, and then I looked at the calendar. February 14. Hmm.


D'oh. I'm a romance writer writing a blog on V-Day. Oh, the pressure.

In an effort to share the love, I invite all of you to tell your favorite valentine story in today's comment section. It could be an account of your best--or worst--Valentine's Day ever, your favorite romantic place or your favorite romantic read. Or you can just tell us something about your own special valentine guy or gal. I'll start.

My dh (dear husband) has been my valentine for thirty years and four sons. He is not, however, a hearts and flowers kind of guy. Shopping malls make him break out in hives (though he's quite at home in a grocery store). Early in our marriage he very romantically bought me a rose from a street vendor in DC. He stuck it in his briefcase and left it there while he toiled away as a young lawyer. He was so pleased when he presented it to me that night. It was still as fresh as when he'd bought it! I had to gently point out that was because it was made of scented paper.

The dh is a good sport, though. When he married me, he knew I wanted to be a writer. Well, lots of people want to be writers, right? I did write some. For a while I tried to write and publish picture books. Then the vortex of carpooling sucked me in. (Remember those four sons?) I put aside my word processor to schlep the guys to swim practice, piano lessons, and cub scouts.

Fast forward to around the spring of 2000. The oldest baby was heading off to college--the nest was beginning to empty. It was time to follow my dream or give it up. So I did, and the dream came true--um, perhaps make that a nightmare for the dh. At this point in his career, he was a deputy general counsel at his place of employment. Word got out that I had a romance novel hitting the shelves. (Okay, maybe I said something. Promotion is a necessary evil, ya know.) The lawyers found the fact that dh was the husband of a romance writer hilarious. And not just any romance writer, but the author of a book entitled The Naked Duke.

Ah, can you see it coming? Poor dh got everyone asking--the lawyers, the parents of our sons' friends--"So, are you the Naked Duke?" Ha, ha. But the dh played along. (Should I tell you here that he hasn't read any of my books? Too embarrassing.) When the legal department had a Halloween party, he came guessed it...the Naked Duke. No, he didn't bare it all. He wore his regular work clothes and took a copy of my cover. He entered himself in the horror costume category--and won!!

That's my valentine. Who's yours?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Almost Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought it would be appropriate to ask - what's near and dear to your heart as a writer and a reader?

I'll go first -

As a writer, I think the writing itself is IT, I mean no matter what the outside world gives you from publication to wonderful reviews to great royalties to a cool new cover, none of that is going to matter if you're not feeling the writing itself. And what part of writing makes the heart beat faster? For me it's writing words that feel RIGHT. That you fall in love with. That are YOURS.

As a reader, it's pretty much the same thing for me, it's the writing, baby. It's reading words that strike a sharp chord, that make muse-music. All the critical acclaim, all the fascinating subject matter in the world won't do it for me unless the words I'm reading makes me fall in love.

Now it can be any kind of fiction or non-fiction, it can be any point of view, any setting, any muse magic at all - there's no reason to the rhyme that grabs your heart, your soul, your mind. It just does. And once it does, you're in love.

So - this Valentine's Day - I hope you'll write something you love and read something you love; I hope someone will read you and love you, I hope you'll share something you've read that you love with someone else.

Isn't that better than chocolates, flowers, jewelry?

And while we're there on those traditional Valentine's gifts - I've always been a big fan of dark chocolate, but what is up with 98% cacao stuff anyway - too much of a good thing, no? The bitter shouldn't really outweight the sweet, shold it? And have you heard about the six foot tall roses? they're all stem. Who wants more THORNS? I'll leave jewelry alone, but then I've never been very big on it. I focus on silver rings that I wear all the time, one for my kids, one for my wedding, one for my writing, one for luck. Diamonds for me are not forever but for losing in the gym.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


FIVE O'CLOCK SHADOW (with a nice, sexy, Valentine's red cover) is out NOW!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Out With the Old?

I love weekend free for alls on TBR, since I guess we can post whatever is on our minds, right?

So here's a question that I've been mulling lately -- I'm not a packrat by nature, I believe in throwing things out, reducing clutter, but I do keep old manuscripts in my computer folders, partials that went no where. They are manuscripts that were unfinished or rejected, maybe a line closed that I had been targeting, or the thing called for revisions I didn't want to do at the time, or simply no one wanted it. In one case, I took the story and placed it as a serialized "free read" on my website -- that was fun, but I don't want to do it with all of them. A few have come back and started teasing my imagination again as I see slots opening up in the publishing world where they might be more welcome than they were before, but would it be worth the effort to revise and resubmit them? I am not a packrat, but I also hate waste -- those manuscripts represent time and effort, and if I can bring them forward and use them, I like that idea, but then I wonder, is it worth it? Should I let the past stay in the past, and move on to new ideas?

What do you do with old manuscripts that never sold or that fell by the wayside for whatever reason? Are they representative of an "old you" and so leaving them in the past is the best choice, or are they worth resurrecting and taking out, polishing off, and revising? Does anyone have stories about old manuscripts they've dusted off and then revised and sold? How long did they stay in their drawer or under the bed? What made you haul them out again? What had to be done to update them? What insights did you discover?

As I look back at work that I let fall behind me, I'm wondering about the value of revisiting or updating old work for a new whirl -- what do you think?


Friday, February 09, 2007

That's Not Funny PS

Okay, now do you guys see what I mean? I love her but she’s, like, certifiable.

(Notice how I’m totally ignoring her crack about my using the naked, tattooed guy in my book? I just said her humor was over the top; I never said it didn’t work.)


Yes it is funny!

Okay, guys. Faye started this debate, and I can’t sit back without defending myself. Yes, my humor is "out there" but Faye (whom I also love…bless her heart) has her own humorous style and let’s just say... sedate isn’t exactly how I would describe it. I mean…we’re talking about a heroine barbequing her boyfriend’s BVDs on a grill after finding him bumping uglies on the dining room table with a neighbor. Oh, yeah, the grilling-underwear episode only took place after the dining room table took a flying leap off the heroine’s four-story balcony. Now tell me, is that sedate?

And Faye, if that naked guy – with tattoos where most of us don’t think men should get tattooed -- was so off the charts, why did you not only embrace him into your second chapter, but have him re-appear on the all-important last page? Huh? Huh?

However, I think the point Faye is making is that humor is subjective, and we all write it, and enjoy it, in varying degrees. Okay, I’ll even admit my humor may be a little more "top-heavy" compared to my "sedate" critique partner. But in my defense, you have to consider my roots.

A home-grown Alabamian, my household included: two entrepreneurial brothers whose missions in life were to "pass gas" louder than the other, an adoring mother who accidentally stole a car, and lost her teeth on a plane, and a loving father who thought leaving dead fish in someone’s mailbox was funny. We won’t talk about the time he almost got arrested for building homemade fireworks and blew up my neighbor’s yard. Hey, my dad paid the vet bills for the neighbor’s dog. And Spot got along fine with three legs. (I’m joking...Spot didn’t lose a leg. The only thing really lost that day was my dad’s hearing in his left ear.)

So do tell us, what do you find funny? Tell us the author’s name, the book, and why it worked for you? Come on guys, we’re going to give away a gift certificate. And if Continental ever finds my mother’s teeth, I’ll add them to the pot.


That's not funny!

Fridays are for First Alerts. Upcoming book releases. Booksignings. Appearances. Contests, too. Today, Christie Craig and I will be talking about our upcoming debate about the use of humor in romance fiction, which will be running each Friday for the rest of the month of February.

We’re also running a contest this month. Each person who leaves a comment to our blog entries will be eligible to win a $10.00 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. What could be simpler?

So...why debate about humor in romance? Well, Christie is my critique partner and I love her madly but, let’s face it. Sometimes, her humor is little...well, over the top. Whenever she reads my work, she tries to add in a naked, tattooed man running down the street if she thinks things are “boring.” Me? Well, my humor is much more...sedate.

Next week, we’ll talk about our different approaches to adding humor to a romance. In the meantime, who are some of your favorite authors who make you laugh? Mine are P.G. Wodehouse (I love the Bertie Wooster stories!) and Elizabeth Peters when it comes to the classics. For humor in romance fiction, I enjoy Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson and Stephanie Bond.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mixing the Mythic & the Mundane

One of the reasons why I write romance is because I love the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I finish a good book. That "happily ever after" buzz that means that once again, evil has been vanquished and the hero and heroine who were meant to be together actually does get together in the end. That's why I read it too. However my favorite romance genre is paranormal romance and the reason why is because I can mix the mythic and the mundane. A little bit of real life, a little something out of the ordinary, maybe a big battle of good vs. evil, mix it all up, and it makes a great story!

Take my most recent release, Horse Play (Elemental Elves 1) from Changeling Press. We have a young woman struggling to make ends meet on her horse farm. She raises money for therapeutic riding, and so she buys a handsome horse, thinking to show him. And then she falls off and breaks her arm. Sounds pretty mundane, doesn't it? I mean, anyone who has worked on a horse farm knows the long hours it takes to keep the animals fed, clean, brushed, exercised, and the money these majestic creatures cost. There's a reason why I laughingly refer to my horse as my "Equine money drain." Yet, I added a touch of the mythic in the form of Elves.

You see, this horse isn't just any horse. He's an Earth Elf, and he's come to Clarice's farm with a mission. I've taken the mundane, added a touch of the mythic (something otherworldly) and created a unique world that's completely my own.

Many of my favorite authors do the same thing. And when it's done well, it knocks my socks off, as well as keeps me reading way into the night.

And maybe that's why I love the romance genre. It allows me all the freedom I want to spread my wings, but in the end, I know I'm always in for a good read with a happy ending.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Five O'Clock Shadow

My new, sexy, funny romantic suspense (still spine-catagorized as contemporary for whatever reason known to the world of publishing) is now AVAILABLE...

Five O'Clock Shadow Kensington ISBN 0821779788

First, some promo/reviews; then a little background on the book.

Let's see, RT gave it four and a half stars and all of the reviews so far have been great, which warms my heart, and who knows, might improve my ranking on Amazon.

RT said - "A thoroughly engaging heroine whose witty, first-person voice and palpable love of music make this novel terrific. Davis gives all her characters strong dialogue, unique personality
traits and an amusing, offbeat plot to work their way through. But Jessie's narrative is especially delightful. The song references are great fun and in keeping with the heroine's point of view, while her relationship with the hero is steamy but with an underlying tenderness that makes their love scenes compelling.

Romance Reviews said - "...readers will soon fall in love with the dark, sexy man who captures Jessie's heart. The heart and soul of FIVE O'CLOCK SHADOW, however, is the suspense that pulls you into the story and grips you till the end. I had an inkling of who was
behind the threats, but even then, it isn't really obvious. It is those kinds of red herrings
which mark FIVE O'CLOCK SHADOW as an excellently told tale. Danger and passion fill the pages of FIVE O'CLOCK SHADOW, and if readers haven't picked up a Genie Davis book yet, then I urge them to do so today."

And Booklist said - "Davis' romance is fun and entertaining with a real man's man as the romantic lead..."

Here's MY blurb about the book --
Jessie Adams, indie-rock DJ, part-time musician, and full-time fool for long haired rockers
makes a run for local political office to help save her best friend's music club, and finds danger in a stranger's threats and an intense affair with Chuck, a cop with his own cause. When your life depends on surviving both love and a political campaign, winning is only half the battle.

And now for a little bit of background after the endless promotion:

The small town politics in this book were inspired by my own local run for school board...although no one tried to kill me and I never met ANYONE like Chuck, I'm sure alot of people wanted to kill me for my views about the public schools in my town (not positive) It was also in part inspired by hilarious in fighting on a PTA board ...the sort of stuff that if you put in a book as it happened no one would believe it was true. Improbable! Unlikely! A PTA! That's supposed to be civilized, unlike, say, publishing...oh, I changed the name of my town to a fictious town -- only to find out later (but too late to change!) that such a town by such a name does exist nearby.

Lastly, the back cover copy refers to Waikiki. The book has nothing but a glancing reference to Waikiki. The book was running too long and I cut out a hundred pages prior to turning in the complete manuscript. This is what happens when your publisher does not let you see the back cover copy before they print it...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Novel Adaption

As romance readers, I assume some of us are watching the movies on Lifetime made from Nora Roberts' books. I faithfully read her J.D. Robb series, but haven't read a lot of NR books. But it got me to thinking about novels made into movies. I haven't enjoyed movies where I had read the book.

I watched Nora Roberts' Sanctuary for the first time a few weeks ago. I thought the movie was one of the new ones, but discovered it was made in 2001. I've never read the book, so I can't compare the two. I'm sure it's difficult to pare a book down to fit into two hours, but the movie seemed choppy or disjointed in places. It's not one I'll watch over again and not just because I know who the stalker is.

The last two Monday nights I've watched the two new Nora movies on Lifetime: Angels Fall and Montana Sky. I enjoyed both movies to a degree. Again, I haven't read the books so I can't compare.

I find several of the Harlequin movies good. Is it a coincidence that I've never read those books? However, I know of one author who did not like their take on her book.

Rose Hill made from Julie Garwood's For the Roses was horrible. You could hardly recognize it. It wasn't even a romance. And then, they killed off one of her brothers, who had his own book. Then, there was French Silk by Sandra Brown. So, I didn't like Susan Lucci as the heroine, but have loved Lee Horsley since his Matt Houston days.

I can't think of one movie made from a book I've read that I liked. Why? Is it because two hours doesn't allow for the character development a book does? Because they have to leave out subplots that give a novel depth? I've taken literary license myself, so that in itself doesn't bother me. I've yet to figure out the answer.

Have you ever read a book, then enjoyed a movie made from it? Or am I a lone wolf?

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Care and Feeding of Single Friends

With Valentine's Day on the horizon, this is an appropriate time to offer a few words of advice. I know that romance readers and writers tend to be a wee bit, well, romantic, and therefore they want everyone they know to find true love. That desire may be enough to make you want to play matchmaker with every single person you know. As a public service to single people everywhere, I have some words of advice for you:

1. Think about why you're matching people up. "They're both single and breathing!" is not good enough, and the fact that you love both of them doesn't necessarily mean they'll love each other. Can you imagine these two people having a conversation? What would they talk about? Do you know what they're looking for in a romantic partner? How well does that match the other person you want to set them up with?

2. Avoid mercy set ups. If your friend is a great gal who's beautiful, nice and friendly, that doesn't mean you should set her up with the guy who needs a confidence boost just because you know she's too nice to shoot him down. (I suppose it could work the other way around, but I haven't seen too many cases of a super-great, gorgeous guy being expected to ask out a loser girl just to make her feel better about herself.) If she's that great, doesn't she also deserve a great guy? And besides, there are limits to mercy, so if she does give this guy a chance and then realizes he's not for her, he's been set up to be hurt even more.

3. Avoid direct, obvious set-ups. That will help you prevent any problems stemming from the above guidelines. There's nothing more awkward than that initial introduction after you've been told all about this person you're meeting, and it turns out he's not at all what you expected -- or you can see on his face that you're not at all what he expected. Actually, I take that back. A blind date with that scenario is worse. Even worse is when you're so not interested and he is. Worst of all is when you're very interested, and he so isn't, and makes it clear. A better idea is to plan a party or other gathering and invite the people you want to set up -- but don't tell them about the set-up. Introduce them like you would any other guests who haven't previously met. If they're as right for each other as you think, they'll figure it out and go from there. If they aren't, then there's no harm done because neither will have high hopes to dash and they won't feel like they're performing monkeys being asked to dance for your amusement.

4. Be careful about your involvement in the follow-up. If you act like you're too invested in this relationship you've helped start, you make things very difficult on your friends. Not only do they have to factor each other's feelings into what happens next, but they may feel like they have to consider you, as well. If things don't work out, or if one of them rejects the other, they may be afraid you'll think they're also rejecting you. The closer the person you've set them up with is to you, the more difficult it becomes. Random coworker or bowling league buddy is one thing, but siblings, best friends or sons/daughters is a lot more difficult. Handle this the wrong way, and you may find your friend avoiding you for fear you'll be mad at her for rejecting your loved one.

Hopefully, if you've handled the set-up in a subtle way, they'll get each other's contact information. If they don't and get in touch with you to try to find out how to reach the other person, make sure that person wants to give it out. Don't try to create a guilt trip by talking about how much that poor guy needs a great girl or how much you want to see him happy. The relationship is about them, not about you.

So, now that you've got the guidelines in place, go out and spread love around. And if you know a great guy between about 35 and 45, invite me to a party where he'll be.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

On Danger's Edge--Counting Your Blessings

It's a Sunday, in fact, Super Bowl Sunday, and today I'm sitting here counting my blessings. It isn't about Super Bowl. No, I'm not much of a football fan, but it is about being grateful. I'm glad God has given me the opportunity to write, to have the life that I have. Oh, it took a while. Part of it had to do with me believing in myself. But I'm grateful for the lessons. I'm blessed in that somehow, the Great One found a way to put the family in my life that I have--for the good and the bad, as we celebrate the good and learn from ours and others mistakes. Life has a way of changing you whether you want it to or not. Sometimes we just need to embrace that change.

Last year was a tough one for me. My husband was deployed and my mother passed away. And there were other, smaller and less important emergencies that happened that my son and I dealt with. The writing helped me. I was able to finish another book. Intimate Deceptions came out in November.

But things has a way of working themselves out. This year has been a year of good things. Intimate Deceptions is getting stellar reviews. I've gotten a Recommended Read from Joyfully Reviewed and the very first Coffee Time Reviewers Recommend Award. Then there was the biggest news of my writing career--my nomination for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards for Small Press for my book On Danger's Edge, which was reviewed by Romantic Times last year. I'd gotten 4 1/2 stars on it. which thrilled me at the time as well. To me, this was incredible. Yep. The biggest thing in my writing career to date. And yes, I'm grateful. I'm grateful that people are willing to read my writing, much less like it!

And I'm thrilled that I can make a difference to someone, even if it is just a short respite in their everyday lives. And grateful that there are wonderful people that I deal with in this profession.

My husband is home now. I'm thankful for that. And he has a position training troops for combat, one that should keep him stateside for a while--a blessing.

At times like these, I think and pray for all those who have gone through periods like mine. It is my greatest hope that they see beyond the moment--see the greater things that lie ahead. Change isn't always good. And sometimes its fearful.

But there is always a lesson of growth in it.

Many blessings to you all, and have an excellent day--even with the Super Bowl!

~ Lise

How much danger would you face for the perfect romance?

Lise Fuller,, ROMANTIC TIMES REVIEWERS CHOICE NOMINEE for 2006; Pikes Peak Romance Writers 2006 Writer of the Year

~On Danger's Edge, print-03/07, available in e-book, Cerridwen Press,, 4 1/2 Stars from Romantic Times
~Intimate Deceptions, available in e-book, Cerridwen Press,, RECOMMENDED READS from Coffee Time Romance and Joyfully Reviewed
~Cutting Loose, print-04/07, available in e-book, Cerridwen Press,

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dreams & Desires

Dreams. Desires. We all have them. What are yours? Ever think what you’d wish for if someone handed you a magic lantern and a genie popped out? I have.

Wish No. 1 -- To Rule the World.
If I ruled the world, there would be no hate, no wars, no poverty, no violence or crime of any kind. But the chances of me getting elected Queen of the Universe are pretty slim.

Wish No. 2 -- To Have Lots of Money.
Bill Gates or Warren Buffet type money. Not because I want a yacht or lots of bling or a penthouse in Manhattan (okay, being a diehard city girl, I’d really like a penthouse in Manhattan but there’s no way that’s ever going to happen given the price of NY real estate!) No, I want lots of money so I can give it away to people in need. Unfortunately, very few of us authors make enough money to quit our day jobs, let alone have discretionary income to donate anything substantial to worthy causes.

Wish No. 3 -- To Make a Difference.
Which brings me to the reason for this blog. When I come across something I can do that doesn’t involve writing a check so small my contribution seems meaningless, I jump at the chance. Such was the case when I was asked to contribute to Dreams & Desires.

Dreams & Desires is a compilation of nineteen stories by nineteen authors. The stories range from sweet to spicy to sizzling and cover a variety of romance sub-genres. Not only did all the authors contribute their stories to this anthology but all the editing and cover art were also donated. All of the net proceeds -- that’s 100% of the profit -- from the sales of the anthology will go directly to a battered woman’s shelter in Florida.

Did you know that 95% of abuse victims are women? Every year four million women are assaulted by their spouses or partners. When Freya’s Bower, the publisher of Dreams & Desires invited me to participate in this anthology, I jumped at the chance to add my voice to a cause that will help break the cycle of abuse. By doing something I do all the time -- writing -- I can MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Wish No. 3 can come true. I know it’s a small step, but no goal is reached without taking that first step. Maybe the money raised will only help one person break the cycle of abuse, but that will be one less abused person, and that’s a huge achievement.

Wouldn’t you like to make a difference, too? You can by purchasing a copy of Dreams & Desires. And as an added bonus to contributing to such a worthy cause, you’ll be rewarded with 19 great short stories by some of today’s rising authors. Freya’s Bower has made it easy with a price to fit all pocketbooks, whether yours comes from Wal-Mart or Fendi. Dreams & Desires is available as an eBook for $7.99 (ISBN: 1-934069-36-1), a paperback (ISBN: 1-934069-22-1) for $19.95, and a hard cover (ISBN: 1-934069- 23-X) for $29.95. The paperback and hardcover are available from Barnes & Noble at . The eBook is available through Freya’s Bower at . Or you can go to my website at where I have links.

My contribution to the anthology is The Reluctant Bridesmaid, a humorous contemporary story set in New Jersey. Here’s a short blurb:

It was bad enough when Paige’s cousin Tara stole her boyfriend. Now Tara and the creep are getting married, and Paige is stuck wearing a bridesmaid’s gown that makes her look like a jaundiced Holstein -- make that a jaundiced, dateless Holstein.

I hope the story makes you laugh out loud.

Thanks for stopping by and may you all have your own dreams and desires fulfilled in 2007.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Survival of the fittest

Thankful Thursday sees me with plenty to be thankful for.

In August 2006, Silhouette announced they'd cancel the Bombshell line of action/adventure novels. Sales weren't as high as expected, and the company thought it best to shut the line down. The last Bombshells were released in January 2007.

For many authors, Bombshell had promised the chance to tell a bigger and yet more focused story: A story in which a heroine's goals and obstacles challenged her sense of self, and the Happily Ever After could be hers, and if necessary, hers alone. But Bombshell seemed to be the right stories in the wrong time. Or maybe the wrong format. Who knows?

Those of us who'd made our publishing debut within Bombshell wondered where and when we would ever publish again. Our books seemed ill-suited to publication elsewhere, and yet these were, in many ways, the stories that drove and thrilled us. So what were we supposed to do now?

People have asked if I regret beginning my publishing career with the short-lived Bombshell line. Well, I don't believe in looking back. When I stop to consider what I would have done differently, I'm essentially trying to guess whether a decision I made three years ago might have produced better results for me today. But in my experience, regretting the past and projecting into the future serves only to make me dissatisfied with the present. It makes more sense to me to remain here, now, facing the page that's before me.

Last week I received a call from the editor now in charge of the orphaned Athena Force continuity, a Bombshell series going into its third year. The Athena Force novels were quite popular, consisting of an ongoing storyline of graduates from the Athena Academy for Young Women. Readers -- of all ages -- wanted more of them.

So starting in August 2007, the third Athena Force series will be released monthly as a stand-alone continuity. My book, HUNTER, about an Athena graduate working for the U.S. Coast Guard and possessing a very special gift, will be the March 2008 release.

For the action/adventure fans who wrote to us, upset about the line's closing, we have 12 more books on the way. Hooray!

And for authors who fear the closing of lines and imprints and publishing houses, only this: We are here, now, and what else is there, really? The page in front of us, the story burning in our hearts, and the care we can take of ourselves and our gifts.

Tomorrow can fend for itself.