Friday, August 28, 2009

My new book is out! A COLD CREEK HOMECOMING is a September release from Silhouette Special Edition and will be on shelves for about a month. Here's a sample of a quick Q&A I did for the SSE Authors blog at eHarlequin  (and I'm giving away a copy of the book if you stop there and post).

* Where did you get the idea for A COLD CREEK HOMECOMING?

I've always loved reunion stories. It's one of my favorite themes and when I was coming up with the idea for a second trilogy in my ongoing COWBOYS OF COLD CREEK series, I knew I wanted one of my characters to be reunited with someone from his past. Because of his difficult history, my hero wasn't an easy teenager and I knew in high school, he had good reason for his reputation as a rough-edged bad boy. He had seen terrible things and that hardened him somewhat compared to others his age. The idea of the homecoming queen/studentbody president/head cheerleader having a secret crush on him all those years ago was undeniably appealing. Now he's back in Cold Creek and not sure if he's willing to bury the hatchet, even as he sees that his old nemesis Tess Claybourne, while still as lovely as ever, appears to have changed drastically.

* Tell us about the hero of the book? Why will we fall in love with him?

Quinn Southerland was a damaged kid who found his place in the world with a wonderful older couple, the Winders, who fostered him and two others, Brant Western and Cisco Del Norte, at their ranch in Cold Creek Canyon. Together with the Winder's niece Easton Springhill, the four of them were inseparable as kids. Jo Winder called them her Four Winds because of their directionally linked names. Quinn was driven and determined to make something of himself. He's found immense success in business in the Pacific Northwest but he drops everything to rush to his gravely ill foster mother's side -- and is stunned to find Tess Claybourne working as Jo's hospice nurse.

* Tell us about the heroine. Why is she the absolute perfect woman for the hero?

Well, in the beginning, Quinn would have considered Tess the last person on the planet he would have considered the "absolute perfect" woman for him. Tess treated Quinn abominably in high school. She had been fiercely attracted to him and when he rejected her, she didn't take it well. But that was years ago and life's challenges have shaped her into a far different person than that spoiled, petulant little girl. She wants desperately for Quinn to see the woman she has become and to give her one last chance. Throughout the course of A COLD CREEK HOMECOMING, Quinn begins to yearn for the serenity that seems to surround Tess. 

* What can you tell us about the other books in the new series of Cold Creek books?

I'm finishing up the second book right now, actually. A COLD CREEK SECRET is a February 2010 release and features Army Maj. Brant Western, another of the Winder foster kids, who has returned to Pine Gulch while on leave from overseas service to take care of his own small ranch near the Winder Ranch. The peace he usually finds there is shattered when favorite tabloid socialite Mimi Van Hoyt crashes her Mercedes outside the gates of his ranch in the middle of a blizzard -- and then tries to connive her way into hiding out under the protection of the sexy soldier. Their story has been a blast to write and I'm loving them both! 

The final book is still untitled and I don't know a release date but I'm guessing it will be sometime late summer or early fall 2010. Easton Springhill has loved Cisco Del Norte since the moment he showed up at her aunt and uncle's ranch as a grieving twelve-year old foster child. They shared one unforgettable night together several years ago but afterward he completely shut her out of his life as he wandered Latin America doing things she doesn't dare guess at. When he shows up out of the blue at her ranch, wounded and tormented, with a beautiful dark-eyed little girl in his arms, Easton must put aside her heartache and her questions to help him with the baby ... and possibly help Cisco -- and herself -- heal in the process.

And not to be too confusing, but in the middle of this new trilogy of books, I've got one more COLD CREEK book coming out that revisits the Dalton family, the subjects of my first COWBOYS OF COLD CREEK trilogy. A COLD CREEK HOLIDAY will be a December 09 release and will wrap up SSE's Famous Family promotion. The book features all the Daltons as well as a couple of newcomers to Pine Gulch, one with a secret that could change everything ...

* Why will readers enjoy this book?

I hope they will be touched and uplifted by Quinn and Tess's story, in the redeeming power of love and second chances! Even though there's a certain unavoidable poignancy to some parts of the book, the underlying theme is, I think, one of brightness and hope and healing. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This made me laugh :) Since I've seen the movie twice, I guess you could say it's pretty true-to-life for me!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I was surfing today when I should have been working (both activities are hard to do with my kids home for summer vacation so I have to squeeze every second I can!). I happened to stumble across the cover for my September 09 release A COLD CREEK HOMECOMING. What do you think? I like it, though the placement of her hands is a little weird, don't you think? And I'm not sure where the windmill came from, but okay. Since four of the main characters had the nickname of The Four Winds from their foster mother, I think it works. This was a very emotional book to write but I love the way it turned out and can't wait to start receiving reader feedback!

So what do you think about the cover? Would you grab it off the shelf or just wonder if she was checking the back of his head for goose eggs?!

Friday, May 01, 2009


Dragging my head up from deadline insanity to let my readers know my latest book is in stores! FORTUNE'S WOMAN is a May release from Silhouette Special Edition and is part of the Return to Red Rock continuity, the latest installment of books that follow the very popular Fortune family. I loved this book! Writing a continuity book can sometimes be challenging because authors are given an outline of the characters and a few basic plot elements that have to be included to make the continuity work with the other books. Everything else is entirely my own but sometimes it's hard to make the story feel like it belongs to me ... but from the very first moment I started writing Ross and Julie's story, I loved them both!

Here's a little sample of a Q&A I did for the Silhouette Special Edition blog  that tells a little about the book. You can read the whole thing at the blog or read an excerpt from the book at my website.

* Tell us a little about FORTUNE'S WOMAN.

This is Book 5 in the RETURN TO RED ROCK continuity that follows the very popular Fortune family. Ross Fortune is a private investigator with a troubled past. When his sister is accused of a terrible crime, he turns to lovely family therapist Julie Osterman to help him deal with the sudden demands of becoming instant guardian to his nephew.

* Tell us about the hero of the book? Why will we fall in love with him?

I loved Ross. He definitely reached out and grabbed my heart! He tries so hard to be tough and self-sufficient, not depending on anyone. But inside he craves the very thing he's fighting against, letting someone into his life.

* Tell us about the heroine. Why is she the absolute perfect woman for the hero?

Julie is strong and courageous, very much a caretaker. She sees past all of Ross's defenses to the man inside. She has been through a rough past, with a husband who died tragically, but she hasn't let that stop her from opening herself up to the world and embracing life.

* What life-lesson do your H/H have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after?

Ross has to learn there is no weakness in depending on someone else for once, that he can find great peace and healing when he allows Julie into his life and his heart. Julie has to learn to trust her heart and realize that though Ross doesn't make it easy for her to love him, the payoff is worth it!

Friday, April 17, 2009


I recently discovered something that has changed my culinary life.

I've always wanted to make bread. When I was a girl, some of my best days were when my mom would bake. White bread with thick crusts, wheat bread with honey, swirls of each baked in a coffee can. She tried many different recipes  -- with seven kids, anything that saved money was appreciated! I have wonderful cherished memories of running into our old Indiana farmhouse from the schoolbus to the incredible smell of baking bread and acres of those lovely loaves cooling on the table. We would slice a huge slab, slather it with creamy butter and then drizzle tons of plain white sugar all over it (don't ask me why. We were kids and figured everything tasted better with sugar on it!). My mouth is watering, just thinking about it!

But my life is a little different than my mom's was. I have a books I need to write, deadlines to meet, characters I need to explore. I have always just figured I don't have time in my life for all that mixing and kneading and rising and punching down.

We had a breadmaker when they were all the rage and I used it once in awhile but it never quite tasted like that bread I remember as a girl. I just figured I had to resign myself to the occasional homemade loaf my wonderful neighbors bring over sometimes or the sourdough ciabatta my husband likes to buy every Saturday afternoon from a local bakery.

Until this earthshaking book I bought for my Kindle after being teased with it for weeks on the Amazon bestseller lists. Some of you might be familiar with it -- "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I was intrigued by the concept but figured it was just another gimmick. And then on another board I follow, somebody was talking about it and posted a link to this article  in Mother Earth News about it. I had to try -- and now I'm completely hooked!

I love this. It's an amazing concept -- that many of the traditional steps in bread baking can be eliminated. For their method, you mix all their ingredients by hand, let the somewhat wet dough rise for a couple hours and then put it in your refrigerator. When you want to make bread, you just take out a section (a batch makes four loaves), shape it, let it rest on a pizza peel and then bake on a pizza stone. I've made bread nearly every day for two weeks and my family is going crazy for it. The book has all kinds of recipes that all look delicious but so far I've only been brave enough to make the master recipe boule (see above. Does it look fabulous?!). Every batch tastes delicious -- fantastic crisp crust, moist inside, a bit of a sourdough tang after the dough has been in the fridge for a few days. Mixing it is easy-peasy. I don't have a stand mixer or a Bosch, I just use a wooden spoon and it's a breeze. Making a boule really does only take a couple of minutes, not counting letting the dough rest and heating your pizza stone and, of course, baking time.

What about you? Any of you bakers? Have you tried this method -- or something similar?

Monday, March 30, 2009


I'm very thrilled to announce that my November book THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE is a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. This is the premier industry award for romance fiction and I'm honored to be a three-time finalist now. My category this year is contemporary series romance ... and it's one of the biggest categories, with the most potential entrants. I read somewhere that something like 600 books would have been eligible for this category, though not every one was entered, obviously.  Eight other books by fantastic authors are finalists in my category and the winner will be announced at RWA's national conference in Washington D.C. on July 18. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I've had my Kindle 2 now for ten days and so many people have asked me how I like it, I decided to post a brief review of the pros and cons of this nifty little device, as I see them.

* The screen is very readable and easy on the eyes. I've seen online in certain places that some have complained about the contrast (or lack thereof!) but I find it soothing and relaxing to read on it. As someone who spends all day on a computer, I need to give my eyes a break when it comes to recreational reading and the eInk screen does that beautifully. It refreshes quickly on page turns and I love being able to adjust the font size. When I'm tired at night, I can bump it up as big as I need it. When I'm fresh in the middle of the day or want to read more information at a time, I can bump it back down.

* Love the instant access to books (of course, I have a feeling my wallet isn't going to enjoy it as much!). It's very cool to be able to hear about a book, buy it with one click on the Kindle and have it appear a minute later. Like carrying around an entire bookstore in my pocket, something very dangerous for a booklover like me!

* I enjoy the pricing structure of books. I rarely feel I can indulge in buying hardcovers and I tend to usually wait until they're out in paperback or check them out from the library. When you read as much as I do, buying hardcovers new can be expensive and then you have the dilemma of where to store them all. But at less than $10 a pop for new hardcovers on the Kindle (with virtually no storage space needed!) that's not much more than the cost of a paperback. It's a little easier to justify buying them.

* Exposure to books I maybe wouldn't normally choose to buy and/or carry around with me. Because there's such a huge free backlist of books for the Kindle, from the classics to more recently released book giveaways by publishers, my Kindle now has 60 books. Many of them I would probably never have bought on my own but I'm being exposed to new authors and ideas because of the Kindle. Very cool!

* Love being able to carry a bunch of books around me and know I'll never have to deal with that dreaded fear of bibliophiles, having nothing to read! 

* Expensive. It's a big chunk of change to fork over for something that might be fragile and is already outdated technology.

* Actually, one of the things I think is the most cool about the device is also something I consider a downfall -- the experimental web browser. I don't have an iPhone or even a laptop because I can be too distracted by the Internet. I'm finding that out with the Kindle. Just knowing the world is available at my fingertips can be a distraction when I'm reading. If I'm curious about a fact I read about, I can immediately go online to read more about it on the Kindle. Last night I was reading The Art of Fiction No. 5, a fabulous collection of excerpts from John Steinbeck letters published in The Paris Review in 1969. I found myself curious about how he died and how old he was when he died. Five seconds later, I was reading the Wiki entry about John Steinbeck, which lead me to linking to the Wiki entry about LIFEBOAT, the movie he wrote that Alfred Hitchcook directed. And so it goes. For someone with a short attention span, the lure of instant access to information can be deadly when it comes to reading a book! That's the very reason I can't work on a laptop, just on my Alphasmart, because I am too easily distracted. I need something that lets me write and only write. I'm not sure I'm thrilled about having that Internet capability in my leisure reading device.

* Insatiable avarice when it comes to books! I just want to put more and more and more content on the Kindle and find myself looking all over the web for books I haven't read. So far I think I've spent more time looking for new books to load onto the Kindle than I actually have spent reading on it!

That said, at this point my overwhelming response to the Kindle is on the positive side. It's a very cool device, one I'm looking forward to getting to know better :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Found this great quote the other day from Anna Quindlen and had to share it.

"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home."

Anna Quindlen

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I finished my latest book Monday night (yay!). Since I finally had a few free minutes yesterday, I was hitting my favorite time-waster, stumbleupon, and found this really darling idea for a bookmark from a blog that borrowed from another blog. I've now made several of these and they work fabulously!

Basically, all you do is cut out a corner from an envelope and then tuck that over the page you're reading. You can add notes to yourself about the story or a cute little message or a good quote about reading or whatever. I thought it was a great idea and plan to make a bunch of them when I go through bills today :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's always great fun to find new covers online that I haven't seen yet! Found this one yesterday. I won't have time until I finish the current book (hopefully this weekend!) to update my website but thought I would give readers an advance look here :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009


The February blahs have set in at my house. We have 18 inches of snow out front, are trapped by the mountains in an ugly bad-air inversion and like the rest of you, are being relentlessly bombarded with bad news after bad news.

But am I depressed? No way! Yes, I might be a Pollyanna but as I type this, I am thinking about all the reasons I have to be happy right this moment.

I have a wonderful little book called 14,000 Things to be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer. My mom bought it for me years and years ago when I was going through a painful time and thought all the sunshine had been sucked away from my world. When I'm down, I can turn to this book and it invariably lifts my spirits and reminds me of how much I love life. It's a massive list, really, of all that's right in the world and helps me regain perspective and perhaps reminds me to open my eyes to everything good in front of me. Here are a few of those 14,000 things Ms. Kipfer lists:

blackberry tea
finding a place for yourself
chocolate buttercream frosting
the art of knowing what to overlook
cobblestone streets
making toast with homemade bread
soft, wet kisses and very big hugs
sighs and whisperings

I was reading a magazine the other day and they recommended one way to avoid stress in your life is to look around you and write down five things you see right this minute that make you happy. So I'm extending the challenge to you. Here are mine ...

• The sheer aesthetic beauty of my 24" silver iMac (yes, I'm bragging )
• The world (and my friends!) always at my fingertips through a high-speed Internet connection
• Ice cubes melting in cold, clean water
• Cinnamon and clove room spray
• The freedom and space and desire inside me to create

What about you? What makes you happy today, right this moment? 

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Today's the day! Harlequin's year-long celebration of its 60th anniversary kicks off today when HarlequinCelebrates goes live! Here, you can download 16 free ebooks in many different reader formats, pdf, ereader, mobipocket, etc. Some of my own personal favorite authors are represented here, Merline Lovelace, B.J. Daniels, and many more. 

I'm thrilled to have my 2006 Silhouette Special Edition DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT included among these great titles. I loved this book and I'm thrilled to share it with a wider audience. The book won Romantic Times magazine's Reviewers' Choice Award for best Silhouette Special Edition 2006 and was also given the RIO Award of Excellence for best short contemporary of 2006. Here's to a wonderful birthday celebration and another year of fantastic stories.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I am in love with textures. While I was trying to redesign my website, I stumbled onto lots of fabulous creative commons textures at flickr. I really loved this one so I put my favorite saying on it and created some desktop wallpaper. It's a great reminder to me of why I write.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I've got a deadline in three weeks so my life is insane right now. I wake up panicking, I go to sleep panicking and I spend most of the day wishing I could somehow figure out a way to squeeze out four or five more hours of work time.

I found this quote today (yes, I should have been working. I know, already!). I thought it was particularly appropriate:

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. -- George Orwell, "Why I Write" 1947

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Don't you wish you were five again?! This is a picture from this summer. For several days, my kiddo decided to break out one of his Halloween costumes (he couldn't decide the year before whether to be an astronaut or a cowboy, so he wore the space suit with a cowboy hat and went as a Space Cowboy). I don't know where the strainer and the spoon idea came from -- or the clown glasses. But it makes me smile every time I see it. I so wish I could capture that joy and delight, both in my stories and in my own life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

HERE'S TO 2009

I don't know about the rest of you, but I was happy to put 2008 to bed this year. Seems like it was a rough one all the way around, full of angst and uncertainty and heartache.

On the other hand, I'm really excited for 20o9. I love putting up a new calendar in my kitchen and seeing all those blank squares of possibilities! I know there will likely be troubles along the way but I'm hoping the joys in store will outweigh the hard times for all of us!

Here are a few things I'm excited about for the coming year

1) Sticking with my New Year's resolution and regaining all those good lifestyle habits I was working on last year. I fell off the healthy bandwagon for a couple months over the holidays but I'm excited to be back on track now!

2) All the great books that are scheduled to be released! My shelves are overflowing already with my TBR piles, but like John Steinbeck said, "I guess there are never enough books!"

3) Great family times. I want to focus more on my kids and less on my stress. As the January snows pile up here, I'm thinking of planting a garden in the spring and enjoying summer evenings on the patio and camping trips and walks through the neighborhood.

4) All the great books inside me waiting to come out. Stories and characters are crowding through my head all the time and I can't wait to continue the eternal quest to get them right on paper  (it never happens that they turn out like I want, but, hey, you have to dream!).

5) My book releases! I've got books coming out for sure in May and December. I haven't checked with my editor, but I'm pretty sure there will be another one squeezed in there between them. I also will have one of my favorite titles, DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT, released as a free eBook this year by Harlequin as part of a huge promotion to celebrate the company's 60 years of publishing great books. The book will be part of the website, which goes live on Jan. 29.

What are you most anticipating in the coming year? I'd love to know!