Saturday, May 31, 2008

I cut my boys' hair today for the first time ever.

Needless to say, it was a terrifying experience to grip those clippers in my hand and make that first plowing inroad into locks that needed snipping about a month ago. My stomach jumped with nerves as I watched the hunks of hair fall to the driveway and blow away in the wind.

The journey to the spot was born from my frustration at paying $15 a pop for buzz cuts in the summer (I'm a big tipper!). I decided this time to spend $30 for a home haircut set and try myself. I mean, how hard could it be?

Ha. Twenty minutes later, my stomach was still jumping with nerves, this time from looking at the jagged mess I'd made. It's a good thing my 10-year-old is nonverbal and has low vision. If he had seen himself in the mirror, I'm sure he would have stopped speaking to me all summer. The five year old was thrilled, however, despite the raggedy job I did trimming around the ears. He ran right in to show his dad. His exact words: "It's not bad for the first time!"

If I had just stuck to the clippers, everything would have been fine. They would have had okay cuts. But I decided to go crazy and try to trim the necklines and around the ears and therein lay madness! It's a good thing they like hats in the summer (though I was trying to figure out how I could get by with having the 10 year old wear one to church!).

I've decided that cutting kids' hair is a lot like writing a book. I thought it couldn't be that tough -- I could save money and the hassle of wrestling kids at the barbers by doing things myself. I read the instruction booklet but I didn't study, I just dived into things.

Lots of people tell me they want to write a book and I'm sure in the back of their heads, they are quite sure that if I can make a career out of it, anyone can. I agree ... I really do. But it probably won't be perfect that first time. Writing a good book is really a lot harder than it looks. It takes practice and experience to layer plots, to create vivid characters, to come up with snappy dialogue. You have to choose the right tools, you have to practice a great deal, and sometimes you have to know when to be satisfied with what you have created instead of taking a snip here and a clip there and ending up with a choppy disaster.

Friday, May 30, 2008

All right, I've been putting this off long enough. It's time to update my blog! My life has been so hectic, I've let it slide (quite obviously!). I also had an ancient computer that made any kind of updating a week-long chore. But now I've updated my hardware and my software, my life has slowed (for the moment!) so I'm making a commitment to to keep up with my blog.

First off, I'm thrilled to announce my latest book is in stores now. A MERGER ... OR MARRIAGE? is a June release and is the final book in The Wilder Family miniseries for Special Edition. This was a great six-book series written by different authors and I was thrilled to write the finale. Here's the back cover copy:

"To snag a coveted promotion, financial whiz Anna Wilder has to close one last important deal: the takeover of her hometown hospital, Walnut River General. Black sheep Anna had never felt like she'd fit into the respected Wilder clan, and now her job was making the proposed merger personal -- especially when she met her opponent in the boardroom.
Richard Green was the savvy attorney -- and ex-love -- determined to foil her plans. After one unbelievable kiss years ago, Anna had run far away from her home, her insecurities and the man who made her pulse quicken. But perhaps her return was a second chance in disguise. Could Richard convince Anna that this merger was bad business ... and take over her heart instead?"

I loved writing this sweet reunion story! I really came to adore the characters and the entire Wilder family and I'm thrilled the book has already appeared on the Waldenbooks bestseller list!

I'm also pleased to announce that the final book in THE WOMEN OF BRAMBLEBERRY HOUSE will be out in August! In A SOLDIER'S SECRET, I at last get the chance to tell the story of Anna Galvez and hunky injured war hero Harry Maxwell, who comes to recuperate at Brambleberry House. It was such a joy to write a happy ending for Anna, and Max became one of my all-time favorite heroes! Of course, Conan the dog appears and there are a few ghostly encounters in store for Anna and Max. I actually cried writing the last page and saying good-bye to these characters I came to love so much through writing the series.

I also had a Mother's Day novella in a Harlequin anthology out last month. I know Mother's Day seems a distant memory but my story, A MOTHER'S HOPE is really a timeless story of love and redemption. The collection is still available at online bookstores and at eHarlequin.com.

I also wanted to give you a heads-up about my final 08 book. I just finished writing THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, which is scheduled to be released in November. I so loved this story! I was able to return to Pine Gulch, Idaho, the setting for my COWBOYS OF COLD CREEK series and several of the characters I introduced in that series make a repeat appearance. It was so fun writing a Christmas book, though I imagine I very well might have been the only one creating Christmas stations in April on Pandora!

And one final bit of news ... I was humbled and thrilled to learn that my January 07 book HIGH-RISK AFFAIR is a finalist this year for the Romance Writers of America's RITA award in the contemporary series/suspense & adventure category. The winners will be announced in early August at a lavish awards celebration in San Francisco.