Trick or Treat.

October 31, 2007 | 3 Comments

I’m such a sucker for dogs in costume. Would you please check out Barkis in his ladybug get-up?

Barkis in his halloween costume

Trick or treat for grown-ups

October 30, 2007 | Leave a comment

No trick, just a treat. A new book by one of my most favorite romance authors, Lois Faye Dyer, is just hitting the stores.  The Princess and the Cowboy is the kind of sweep-you-away romance that is not only calorie-free, but it lasts longer and is more satisfying than chocolate. What’s better than that? Here’s a blurb to entice you:

Idaho rancher Justin Hunt has loved only one woman, Lily Spencer. When he learns the Seattle lingerie designer has a daughter who bears an amazing resemblance to him, he’ll stop at nothing to claim them both.  But Lily doesn’t trust the cowboy who once broke her heart and before she’ll let him into her life, Justin will have to prove that this time, he’s going to stay.   

And a bit of publishing trivia–this line of books, Silhouette Special Edition, is where the bestselling author on the planet, The Princess and the CowboyNora Roberts, got her start. And her editor was the ever-entertaining Isabel Swift.

Not only that, the heroine of this book and I have something in common. See page 126–we both have the same favorite romance author. 🙂

There’s a delightful note from Lois here. What are you waiting for? Spend the weekend with a cowboy.

I want to write a historical romance.

October 27, 2007 | 5 Comments

So much of writing feels like play, or maybe like doing a craft–knitting, perhaps, or quilting. Something with color and pattern. My favorite stage of writing a book happens before I’ve ever written a word. Mulling ideas over in my head, sketching out characters, endlessly what-iffing to myself and to anyone who will listen.

Charm School stepbackCurrently, I’m pulled in four different directions. I need to work on Bo’s story for the Lakeshore Chronicles, because he is so damaged and sexy and compelling. I still love the mother/daughter novel I’ve had in progress for a long time, but I never get a chance to work on due to other obligations. I’m noodling around with the next hardcover (after Just Breathe), and I’m especially excited after an impromptu brainstorming session with Isabel Swift. And finally…drumroll…I want to write another historical romance.

There. I’ve said it. I want to do another historical romance.

I’ve had the idea for years, but it’s been on the back burner while I explore the endlessly fertile ground of contemporary fiction. But it won’t go away. And recently, when I was hanging out with my publisher’s director of sales, he happened to mention The Charm School and how it’s been such a reader favorite through the years. It made me remember the fun of the genre.

[Speaking of historicals, what do you think of this new cover art for The Charm School? (click the link and you’ll see it)]

This new idea–working title, American Princess–started nudging at me again. It’s like nothing I’ve done before or seen anyone do, but it has all the fairytale hallmarks of historical romance at its most fun.

Not that I have time to write it, not now. This would be a good “play” project–a book written purely for the fun of it. I might give myself a writing vacation of a week, and see what develops.

Good friends, good fun, take 2

October 26, 2007 | 1 Comment

I love having company. Especially when it’s Isabel Swift, one of Harlequin’s top executives. She was in Seattle so we got to hang out for a while, talking business and books. We brainstormed some ideas, had an amazing meal and caught up. She’s definitely on the fun side of publishing.

Isabel Swift

 Go read her blog. You’ll learn a lot.

…And the same week, Deeanne Gist, a Christy-award-winning author and friend from waaaay back took a break from her book-research trip to stop by. I first met Dee a hundred years ago when I was new and she was just getting started. I knew she would publish her novels one day. How? Commitment. She had four small children, but she went to the RWA conference in New York, bringing peanut butter and crackers in her luggage in order to make the trip affordable. Would you do it? Leave your family and subsist on peanut butter in order to meet the people who will help you get published? Sometimes, that’s what it takes. Now Dee has published numerous books, won a major award and the kids are in high school and college, one of them about to be married. A writer knows how to make her own happy ending.

Dee, Barkis, me

Writing better than I can

October 22, 2007 | 2 Comments

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

–Ernest Hemingway

 

I nearly forgot a career milestone this month. It’s the tenth anniversary of my first book with Mira Books, my current publisher. The Lightkeeper original editionThe Lightkeeper was a seaswept, Beauty-and-the-Beast-style romantic epic that takes place on the Washington coast in the 1870s. The setting is literally the ends of the earth, on the Long Beach peninsula at the mouth of the Columbia River, an area notorious for raging seas and terrible shipwrecks. The original title of this book was The Edge of Forever, a title I still love (and a tribute to the Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever”), but The Lightkeeper is probably stronger and definitely more straightforward.

The Cape Disappointment lighthouse still stands. Lightkeeper cover - reissueWhen we visit this area, we love to stay at the dog-friendly Lighthouse (where else?) or the Klipsan Beach Cottages. A walk through Oysterville is a trip back through time. Every time I go there, I feel like writing stories misted in spindrift. It’s a place where I find myself writing better than I can.

This book has one blooper that I know of–there’s no way the characters can be drinking marionberry cordial, since marionberries weren’t introduced until the 1950s. Thanks to alert readers, that will be corrected in future reprints. Cape Disappointment

Happy 10-year anniversary to me and Mira Books!

Good friends, good fun

October 19, 2007 | 1 Comment

Elizabeth Engstrom came for a visit. We met years ago when she was the director of the Maui Writers Retreat, and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s a fantastic writer, editor and innovator. There is nothing quite so relaxing as hanging out with friends, talking endlessly. Liz also has a very wise new blog that is fast becoming a favorite. It’s one of the most genuine, funny, poignant and meaningful blogs on the net.

I’m posting this picture now, during a walloping autumn wind storm, so I can remember that just a few weeks ago, we were sitting in the Adirondack chairs on the beach, watching the dogs play.

Liz & me

 Here’s a tidbit from Liz’s blog. I love this because like all writers, I struggle with self-discipline. I mean, when the deadline is weeks or months away, it’s much too easy to procrastinate:

I will never have more discipline than I have right now.

There are many things I hope to accomplish (there’s that whole thing with yearning again), and they all require some aspect of discipline. Clearly, after procrastinating all these years, I can afford another week of bargaining with myself before lowering the hammer. But then I need to take action. I need to either get on with it, or give up on it.

Some dreams I’m sure I will give up.

But some dreams I don’t want to give up. So I better get on with it. Identify the goal, make a plan, and assign the discipline.

Life is short. 

It’s time.

Look for more about Liz next year, when her new series, The Northwoods Chronicles debuts.

Wind storm

October 18, 2007 | 6 Comments

We lost a big alder tree (along with power for a few hours) in Thursday’s wind storm. Here’s a cell phone pic. Barkis was excited! Me, not so much.

Books & Brew

October 15, 2007 | 1 Comment

If you’re in Seattle this Thursday, join us in Pioneer Square:

 Details on the event can be found here.