Thursday, March 30, 2006


BOTTI ON THE WAY ...

I'm buying Chris Botti tickets today. Can't wait! He's coming 2 days before my birthday and even though our grand Alaska cruise in May is supposed to be my birthday present (and Christmas and anniversary and birthday for the next decade or so!) when I found out my favorite trumpeter is coming, I had to buy tickets. I love Botti. His music is the absolute best writing music on the planet. It just carries me away. LIGHT THE STARS is actually the title of one of his songs. I was listening to it as I was writing the proposal for the book and so I used that as the title of my proposal. My editor loved it and wanted to stick with it for the book. I'm very glad titles can't be copyrighted!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

STICKY CHICKEN

I cooked a great roast chicken last night (if I do say so myself!). It's a recipe I've been wanting to try for awhile that I've seen all over the Internet and I finally happened to have a whole chicken on hand. I'm all about slow-cooking meals. There's something so comforting about having delicious smells fill the house all day, the anticipation of knowing something good is around the corner, and the relief at not having to stress during the dinner hour to get everything ready.

Give this one a try!

MIMI'S STICKY CHICKEN
©Mimi Hiller, 1985-2001

This is the best and easiest roast chicken you've ever tasted. It seems a little strange, but it's the only one my family will eat, and company loves it, too!
2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1 whole roasting chicken, about 3 pounds


1 cup chopped onions

Combine all spices (first 8 ingredients) in small bowl.

Rinse chicken, inside and out. Drain well.

Rub spice mixture over skin and the inside of chicken.

Place in a resealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to roast, stuff cavity with onions.

Place chicken breast side down in roasting pan.

Roast uncovered at 250ºF (that's not a typo...it's really 250º! Anything over 225º is safe as long as the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 155º, which this does, and more) for about 5 hours. Baste occasionally with pan juices or until pan juices start to caramelize on bottom of pan and chicken is golden brown.

Serves 4.
QUOTE FOR THE DAY ...

"Writing is a hellish task, best snuck up on, whacked on the head, robbed and left for dead."
-- Ann-Marie MacDonald, author, The Way the Crow Flies, 2003


I had a 10 page day yesterday (yippee!) but today is Friday so I'm sure I won't get much done. That's the way it goes.

Hope you all have a great weekend.
Reviews are funny creatures. When I get lousy ones (and I've had my share -- including one memorable 1 star rating from Romantic Times that left me depressed for weeks!), I tell myself they don't matter and it's only one person's opinion anyway. When I get good ones, I want to yell it from the rooftop and make sure everybody knows. They like me. They really like me. Or at least my current book

I got a good one this week. I found out my May book DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT received 4 1/2 stars and is a Top Pick for May from RT. This is a big deal to me -- only my second Top Pick from the magazine, although their reviewers generally give me favorable ratings (the aforementioned 1-star slamfest notwithstanding!). I've been fortunate to have a couple books be nominated for the top Intimate Moments of the year by their reviewers and have twice been nominated for a Career Achievement Award.

I haven't actually seen the review as I don't subscribe to the magazine, just buy it in the bookstore the months I have a book out. If anybody gets it and wants to share, I'd love to see it.

So back to reviews. Most of the time I find them interesting learning experiences, even when the reviewers don't like my books. Sometimes they're ego-strokers. Sometimes I just shrug them off and wonder if the reviewer even read the book in question. I agree with Joyce Carol Oates: "Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing."

My favorite quote on critics is from Noel Coward: "I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise."

I have a little thicker skin than that but I must admit, it's validating when a reviewer seems to understand what I was trying to do with a story. DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT is my 20th book and though I'm fond of all of them, writing this one was a particularly magical experience. I loved the characters and the situation and the strength they found within themselves to face their challenges. It's nice to know at least one other person liked it too!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

LEAVING THE TROPICS ...

I mailed off my Costa Rica proposal today. What a great feeling! I'm especially excited about this one -- love the characters, love the story, love the sheer adventure of it. I spent far too much time researching the story because I was having too much fun looking up websites and dreaming.

But the fantasy is over for a while and now it's back to the cold. Though it's technically spring, we've had snow for the last week. To make matters worse, even when the weather warms up, as I have high hopes it will soon, I'll be stuck in winter for awhile as my next book is set in Utah in January.

Ah well. I'll always have Costa Rica to look forward too -- assuming my editor likes the idea!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

THE BEST INTENTIONS ...

Yesterday was a day off from writing for me.

I didn't intend it to be but it's always a little tough for me to get anything done on Fridays. My 8yo has early dismissal that day, which means I can't take the 2yo for our regular drive to get him to nap (yes, at almost 3 he thinks he's too big to nap so I have to trick him into it! He always sleeps in the car so his sneaky Mom schedules a little drive just about every afternoon when possible. I take my AlphaSmart and park somewhere in the mountains or the foothills overlooking the beautiful Cache Valley and write without distractions).

Anyway, that's usually not an option on Fridays since the 8yo gets out early. Instead, we decided to go to see the matinee of Curious George (very cute movie). I figured I would try to work in the evening, which is my usual time to write and just about the only relatively sure thing. Relatively is the key word there. Too bad for me, the 15yo's plans for the night fell through. I didn't want her to sit around by herself doing nothing all evening and being bored so we rented another DVD after the boys went to sleep -- Elizabethtown. Bizarre show but very engaging. I loved the characters in it and loved how the Kirsten Dunst character showed Orlando Bloom the beauty of life and how much he had to live for.

While I didn't write a word, I don't consider it a wasted day. I got some new ideas for what to do with my Costa Rica proposal that I'm trying to finish this weekend and I had a great time with all three of my kids.

Friday, March 17, 2006

AND THE WINNER IS ...

kimw!

My 2yo pulled your name out of the hat (okay, the bowl) and you win a copy of your choice of my backlist, or LIGHT THE STARS since I now have the author copies. Email me at rthayne@xmission.com with your address and your choice.

Thanks everyone for participating! Check back as I'll be doing another drawing in a week or so :)

RaeAnne

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


My author copies of LIGHT THE STARS finally got here! Wahoo! This is almost as exciting as when I sold my first book a decade ago! The very first line I targeted was Silhouette Special Edition and it's so very cool to have my first book for the line coming out :)
FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE ...

I've recently started listening to streaming radio stations. I used to listen a little here and there but until we moved into the new house a year ago I only had a dial-up connection so any audio experiences online were choppy with lots of frustrating "buffering" messages. When we moved, we set up all the infrastructure for an ethernet network between our two family computers (my office and the one in the kitchen) but we didn't have it all hooked up until recently so my office was without internet access.

Now I have it, though, and I'm absolutely hooked. I've always listened to music while I work and have a pretty extensive CD collection but my writing music needs are pretty specific. I like instrumental music best since I tend to focus too much on the words and singing along. Classical music puts me to sleep. Jazz is my favorite but it can't be too acidy or my head starts to hurt (My all-time favorite writing CD is Kind of Blue by Miles Davis!).

I'm loving internet radio! Whatever mood I'm in, whatever kind of scene I'm writing, I can find a station playing just the right kind of music.

One of the best new finds is Whisperings -- http://www.solopianoradio.com -- This is a great station when you just want background music, nothing that takes a lot of concentration.

I also love http://www.smoothjazz.com. Another favorite is the smooth jazz station at sky.fm and I also like radioiojazz.

Still, when I'm working alone late at night, I must admit I go back to an old favorite and listen to KUER, the public radio station from Salt Lake City -- http://www.kuer.org -- for really tasty jazz. They've been my favorite station for years but I could only get them on a tinny-sounding old radio in my office. It sounds fabulous through the speakers on my computer.

What are your favorites stations broadcasting over the net?
FREE BOOK!

Today's the last day to enter my blog contest. Anybody who responds to a post on my blog by midnight tonight, March 15, is automatically entered in a drawing -- the winner will receive their choice of any book in my backlist (or if the lucky winner wants to wait until LIGHT THE STARS is out, that can be arranged too!).

Respond early and respond often :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

INSPIRATIONAL WORDS OF THE DAY ...

Family Circle is not my favorite magazine but I got a free subscription when we built our new house and signed up again for our satellite TV service. The April issue had some fabulous quotes -- I've cut out the whole page and I'm going to put it in my office but I thought I would share. I need the inspiration from every one of these ...

"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." -- J.K. Rowling

"If you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big." -- Donald Trump

"If you force yourself to stretch a little, you will astonish yourself." -- Twyla Tharp

"Success is falling nine times and getting up ten" -- Jon Bon Jovi

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business." -- Michael J. Fox

"High expectations are the key to everything." -- Sam Walton

Push yourself this week! Who knows what you can achieve :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

My heart is grieving today.

I found out yesterday the 7 year old son of friends of ours passed away Saturday. Braxton Saunders was in my 8yo's class last year and they share many of the same therapists and doctors. Braxton had the sweetest smile, even as he struggled with more challenges than any child should have to endure.

This one hits far too close to home. The community of parents who have children with special needs is small and close here and each loss of one of these angels-on-earth is shared by us all.

Please keep Brandy and Kris Saunders in your prayers.

Saturday, March 11, 2006



Cute guy in a hard hat ...


My 2 year old loves to shower in his hard hat. Don't ask me why! Life is never boring with him around.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I just finished LORD PERFECT by Loretta Chase. It was .... perfect! I loved the characters, loved the story, loved how absolutely right Benedict and Bathsheba were for each other. This is a fabulous book. I love every one of those Carsington men!

I so love sinking deep into a story like that, something that happens very rarely. I must confess to a little guilt as I finished the book when I should have been working. The 2yo fell asleep on the way home from the doctor (he's got an eye infection and apparently some kind of hemorrhage from it). He's still sleeping but the 8yo has early dismissal on Friday and will be home in fifteen minutes so now there's no time to get started with anything. I guess I'll have to work tonight.
I went to a Mary Kay party last night.

My friend was throwing it and I couldn't come up with a good excuse to wiggle out, try as I might. I have to admit, it was fun to talk to my friends, have a facial, put on all the girly gunk and try out new makeup colors. But I'm afraid I'm a tough sell for your average Mary Kay consultant. I've been using the same basic stuff since I was about 13 (Cover Girl Clean Makeup in Natural Ivory, if you have to know!). While I've used some MK stuff before and liked it well enough, I'm just not the kind of person who can put twenty different things on my skin. I just don't have the patience for it, I'm afraid. I go slightly cross-eyed with boredom just blow drying my hair!

So the consultant, who was very nice and energetic, brings out the jumbo bag of product. The Have-it-All bag or something like that and it's $300. Only sixty dollars a month for five months. Gulp. All I could think about was the new AlphaSmart Neo I want, since my old 3000 is wearing out from overuse. For that much money, I can buy the Neo ($220!) and about three years worth of Cover Girl.

Off to the doctor now -- both the 8yo and the 2yo have colds. This a.m. the 2yo woke up with not only icky eyes but one that's got an acute red spot on it. :::sigh::: I spend half my life at my pediatrician's office ...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

PAPA, CAN YOU HEAR ME ...

My husband sent me this quote the other day. I love it and had to share ...

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that it all happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer."

--Ernest Hemingway
SNOW ON THE BEACH

I've been in Costa Rica the last few days. Sandy beaches, fringy palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze, waves gently lapping at the shore. Ahhh, Paradise.

Not really, alas. Physically, I'm still in my messy house in Utah with two out of three kids sniffly and cranky, laundry to do, and a miserable spring blizzard lashing snow against the window. But in my head, I'm on that beach sipping virgin piña coladas with a couple of my new best friends.

I'm plotting my next book, a Silhouette Intimate Moments. And, you guessed it, I'm tentatively setting it in a tropical location.

This is my favorite part of the whole writing process. It always seems like a miracle to me -- three days ago I was finishing my last project and panicking because I had nothing else in mind for a proposal that's already overdue. And then overnight, the characters appeared in my brain, poked me awake and said hello. They're still a little hazy, like ghosts that don't quite have full substance and form yet, but I can work with hazy! I love that I have a world of possibilities in front of me where I can take these characters. I imagine it's the same thing a sculptor thinks as she looks at a hunk of clay or an artist facing a blank canvas.

Anything is possible right now in the genesis of this story's little universe.

I'm waiting for the author copies of my 19th book, LIGHT THE STARS, for Silhouette Special Edition, which will be showing up in stores next month. It always amazes me when I leaf through the pages and realize this is something I created, completely out of my own mind. I never quite know how it happened, how something that started as just a tiny kernal of an idea became this tangible thing I can hold in my hands, these characters who seem absolutely real to me now. It's a heady, powerful thing!

So I'm now heading back to paradise. I'll let you know if I decide to come home!

WHAT I'M READING: Lord Perfect, by Loretta Chase. Loving it so far!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Hi and welcome to the world of my tangled thoughts. I'm learning as I go, so please forgive any blog faux pas!

On one of the email loops I'm on, the subject of happiness has come up, specifically as it pertains to romance readers and writers, and I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Are we necessarily happier than those literary folks who can't seem to abide a satisfactory ending to a book? Those who worship novels of gloom and despair?

I have to think the answer is yes, as a whole (okay, I know some romance writers who drive me crazy with their negativism so this might be a sweeping generalization. But I'm sticking to it!). Romance novels are about hope, about joy, about affirmation of all the things that make life wonderful. Certainly our books have pain and suffering and angst in them. But they're ultimately about triumphing over those hardships (or sometimes just learning to accept them) in order to find joy. A belief in a happy ending is faith that we can wade through the muck we all must face to reach the prize.

I believe I'm a pretty happy person. Sure, I have moments of self-doubt, moments of grief, moments of worry and stress. But then I remind myself how incredibly blessed I am to be living a life I dreamed about for so long. I have three wondeful kids, a husband I adore, and a career I (mostly) enjoy.

One of my favorite country songs is Darryl Worley's song "Awful Beautiful Life" The refrain says it all. "I love this crazy, tragic. Sometimes almost magic. Awful, beautiful life."

That's what life is about. Pain and tragedy. Magic and beauty. It's all one crazy, jumbled package.

And I love it!