Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

The end of the year... I alwasy feel both excited and sad at the end of the year. 2006 has been filled with unbelievable highs and really sucky lows for me, but I have to say, it was never boring.

For 2007, I hope for less of a roller coaster and more of the steady climb up. I also hope that I become better at organizing my life and I'm able to balance my personal and professional responsibilities better. I felt the grind in 2006. I know there was a better way to do it.

I had some great news just before Christmas--I've been asked to be part of an anthology which will be released by Triskelion Publising. It will be my first with an epublisher and I'm excited about it. I have a lot of friends who write for epublishers and they say it's a great experience. Tina Gerow--a fantastic writer and friend from my local chapter of RWA--recommended me to them and she thinks they are great.

I'll keep you posted as more details surface.

Happy New Year! May 2007 bring only good to you and yours!


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On sale

Hey...if you've been thinking about buying my April release Whispers, amazon is running a special right now--$2.99! Woo woo. You can find it here....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What's new?

Haven't written in a while--mainly because life is so busy this time of year. I help with the SDSU Writers Conference every year--it's a labor of love that I've done for 18 years! Man I'm old. Anyway, I used to work at SDSU when I was way younger--10 years I was there until we moved to Arizona. After my move, they asked me to continue part of my role as conference facilitator--so I schedule all the appointments between editors and agents. I really enjoy it because it's the best feeling in the world to have people talk to me after their appointments and tell me that it went well. Makes me feel like a stepping stone on their roads to success.

On top of that there is work at the real job. Oh, and that Christmas thing. :-) I'm down to the last few things to exchange and buy today. That's good. I haven't done ANY baking this year though. Not so good. :-(

Okay--so here's my big news. I've been asked to be part of an anthology that Triskelion is doing. It will be released next year in October--In the Chill of the Night is the title. I'm to write a spooky story. I love that.

Hope you all are having a great one....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Count down

I am almost done with my Christmas shopping! Isn't that unbelievable? I know there are a lot of you out there who are organized and get it all done in October or something like that. But me--I'm always down to the wire.

But this year, not a problem. My girls give me detailed lists, complete with product numbers and web sites so I order a lot of my stuff online. My hubands is a sports fan and his favorite teams are the Chargers and Padres (San Diego, where we used to live and where he was born and raised). Websites again.

The only one who is stumping me is my mom. She is so hard to buy for, probably because she has everything. No, wait. She has two of everything. It's crazy.

Anyway, I'm happy with my progress. Now if I could just write the dreaded Christmas letter. I always put it to a song and this year I'm out of tunes and out of ideas. Sigh.

On a happier note, I'm reading a fabulous book. The Thirteenth Tale. Love it. It has the richness and texture that I love in a book. I am about 3/4 through and I'm praying she resolves it with as much finesse as she'd told it with so far. I read The Historian earlier this year and was engrossed in it and thought it deserved all the hype it got right up until Dracula's library. Sigh. How did that happen.

For anyone out there like me who listens to audio books, 13th tale has awesome readers.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ending of an era

For the last year I've been vp of my local RWA chapter, Desert Rose. It was such a rewarding experience. Really, it was the first time I've ever volunteered for something so big. It was more than I'd expected in so many ways. More time, but more reward too. Not only did I make great friends, but I felt really good about my contributions. Anyway, if any of you out there have thought about volunteering for something, I recommend it.

That said, last night brought the end of my reign and the beginning of the new board's rule. I handed over my wheeled crate, manual and all other goodies to the new vp who will do an awesome job and now I am a free agent again. yay! I live a pretty busy life, and though I'm sad to say goodbye to the job, I'm also relieved to have some time freed up.

Anyway, good luck to the new board.

I'm am off to write now. Hope something big and wonderful drops in your lap, and something else drops off so you have the room to enjoy.

BTW, Clive above. I have a thing for him, I guess. :-)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back at it...

Hey, I'm guest blogger at Romantically Inclined again. Yay, they asked me back. We're talking about heroes today so pop on over....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Up early

Ready to do that cooking thing. I can remember that my mom used to get up at the crack of dawn and start cooking dinner. She'd have the turkey in the oven at 8 in the morning. Why did she do that? I'm going to have to ask her one of these days.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holidays and friends

I've been doing quite a bit of writing. Got the next scene in my new book off to my agent who wanted to see what happens next. She thought the pages were--and I quote--"amazing." Of course she then asked how I come up with this stuff. (subtext, you are so twisted, Erin, where does this stuff come from???) But it was a positive reaction.

I'm cooking tomorrow for my family and friends. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays so I don't mind. I enjoy the baking and the good smells in the kitchen and all that. I just wish it would get cold enough to have a fire, but I fear it's more likely that Santa will make an early visit than it is our weather will turn. Right now they're predicting a blustering 80 degrees. Sheesh.

Anyway, happy holidays!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Zen Palace and other words from the zone

So I've been on this "kick" to simplify my life and especially clear my writing space of unwanted negativity. I learned some of the steps from my good friend Sherri. First, I cleaned my office. It had become so much clutter that I would come in, get on my PC and try to squeeze a spot out between stacks of books, papers, magazines, etc. Not a pretty picture.

So once I got everything clean and looking like a "real" writer ought to be working here, I lit some sage and went through every room in my house with the little smoking bundle and did some positive affirmations. After that my house smelled like pot, but I felt better. Then I brought in candles and incense. Now I write by candlelight.

The best time for me to write is early in the morning--early being a relative term of course. I know early for me is not the same as early for the rest of the world. But before my family is awake, I come into my office, light my candles and incense, and I write. So far it's been working for me. I think the ritual of lighting the candles settles my mind into the idea that it's time to get to work. The time before I really come awake, when I'm still groggy in fact, is when I am most creative. Apparently, my personal editor slash critic sleeps in (the bitch) so I get a lot done.

Which reminds me...It's time to get to work. :-)

Anyone out there have other "how to make a perfect environment" tips?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


It's been a good week inspite of the fact that I've been sick. I spoke at the VOS (RWA Valley of the Sun) chapter meeting on Tuesday. I was nervous, probably boring, but the people were nice and asked questions so it was fun...for me anyway. Sorry to those I put to sleep. Hope my drone didn't give you nightmares.

My new book continues to be fun and challenging to write. I'm very excited about it.

Glad tomorrow is Friday though!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thoughts from an overworked writer

I am up to the challenge. I am up to the challenge. I am....

...trying to convince myself of this. The Holidays are upon us, I have the cold from hell, AND I'm thoroughly inspired to write, but don't have time or the health to do it. Why do things always work out that way?

Anyway, I was a guest blogger last month on the Romantically Inclined blog and I left some thoughts on what unpublished writers can do to get noticed, get read, get represented, get published. I won't lie, this isn't a magic formula or anything, just steps I used when I was trying to break in.

Unfortunately for all of us aspiring writers (aspiring to be published, aspiring to be read, aspiring to make it to the next level of our careers), Writers are kind of like starlets in Hollywood. One of us gets hit by a bus, there are 20 more standing right behind waiting to take our place. So why do we continue to do it? Well, quite simply, because there's nothing like the feeling you get when someone says to you, "I read your book and I loved it."

That said, here is my list. Hope at least one thing on it will help you!

  1. If you can't write a synopsis, trying writing a book cover copy. Make it one page, pack it with mysterious teasers. Make it as intriguing as you want and don't worry if you've been told "you have to tell how it ends." You really don't--especially if you have a completed manuscript. Your goal is to intrigue. That's it. Line up all of your favorite books, cover side down, study the cover copy and try to design your in the same format. Note: If you use this method, make it one page and one page only, single spaced. If you go over one page, it loses it's punch.
  2. When you send a query letter to an agent or editor, always include the first two pages of your novel. End the query with, I have enclosed the first two pages of my novel to give you a feel for my voice and style. If they read two and want three, you've accomplished your goal. Only 2 pages though. Any more will make the envelope too fat or the reading a task to be procrastinated.
  3. Always do multiple submissions. Of course they're going to tell you not to, but what is the worst thing that might happen? You have two agents or editors vying to sign you? Trust me, you'll survive that scenario. :-)
  4. If you do--for some unfathomable reason--give an agent exclusive rights, state in the cover letter: As agreed, I am giving you exclusive rights for two weeks. After that I will be submitting to the others who have requested my novel. Then, at least, you are not waiting 2 years to hear back plus you let them know that they are not the only ones who thought your query was interesting.
  5. If an agent/editor is at a conference and you missed the chance to meet them, open your query with that. "I wanted to meet you at the RWA Nationals, but your appointments were booked and when I saw you there was a crowd. I didn't want to be rude and interrupt, but I was disappointed not to have the opportunity to speak with you in person." By doing this you establish that you are savvy enough to attend conferences, you didn't just decide to query this person by covering your eyes and picking their name with your finger. You flatter them by pointing out how popular they are, and you show that you are not one of those rude and pushy writers who would have barged in on any conversation rather than miss a chance to talk to them.
  6. If you can, coin a phrase that goes with your book. (Ex, with Echoes I used, A past she shouldn't remember, a life she shouldn't be living, a man she can't stop loving. With Whispers, A haunted hotel, a century old curse and a love to last forever). These little phrases will help you in marketing and also help your agent/editor when pitching the book. These are also great to use in your one-page synopsis. (Ex: A past she shouldn't remember... Tess Carson isn't the kind of person who sees things, but when....)
  7. Before you start hunting for an agent, make some decisions within yourself about what you want. Do you want someone who is going to be nurturing? Or do you want someone who is known for making the biggest deals? Is it important to hear from your agent about who they are submitting to, who has passed, what the next step will be? Or do you just want them to call you when a check is in the mail? Do you want a partner or a business associate. It would be wonderful to have an agent who could do it all but chances are that you'll have one or another. If you know your priorities going in, you'll have a better chance of making a successful match. The big name agents at the big name agencies have a lot of big name authors and big deals they are working and probably aren't going to be as willing to hold your hand and keep you sane through the agonizing wait. Is it better to be a big fish in a little pond or visa versa? I don't know the answer to this question, but it is one you should consider.
  8. If you are writing a genre that is currently being published in eBook form, consider submitting to an epublisher. Authors that are starting in ebook and building a readership there are doing great things when they hit mass market. To a bookstore, a first traditionally published book is a debut and if you debut with 20k readers in your pocket, you are going to make a great first impression.
  9. I heard Bob Mayer speak at the SDSU conference (pre-Jennifer Cruisie fame) and he said something that has always resonated with me. He said, "People will tell you to write what you know. But really, you should write what you WANT to know because that's what excites you." Amen.
  10. Don't ever, ever, EVER listen to the evil critic who sits on your shoulder. She's a bitch and she only wants to make you feel bad. If she was your neighbor, you'd send your dog over to poop in her yard so don't give her any power just because she's managed to get in your head.

And that concludes my post for the day. :-)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Still alive...

For someone who has a lot to say, I've been very quiet lately. Maybe I'm drainbamaged from my perm. I would report that I no longer look like Shirley Temple on steroids, but then I'd have to add that my resemblance to a mad scientist doesn't make that an improvement.

High points of the week? Still slogging through so much research that I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. But that's not so bad. I've found that I usually have that feeling just before I have a breakthrough.

Really high point? A friend from high school who I've wanted to get in touch with for about 15 years but didn't know how, googled me, found my website and sent me an email. How cool is that? Amy Adrian--have another memory for you--"na, na, na na na, Angel in the Centerfold..." yes, we were eighties be-boppers.

Check out these pictures. Do you think we should have used a little more eyeliner??? OMG, what were we thinking??? The picture with three of us is me, (red dress), Ann Korth (middle) and Amy Adrian in black. Then the one with two is Amy and me. We're all respectable mothers with jobs and less make up now. :-)

Kendall Hall, if you are out there, we're all looking for you.

Boy did we ever have fun, too much makeup and all. :-) Glad to be in touch with you again, Amy and Annie, glad we never lost touch in the first place. :-)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My own worst enemy

I had my cards read last night. It was very cool, very interesting and very fun.

I've had my cards read before and it always amazes me when they hit on something that really makes sense. (Don't ask me why it amazes me--that's what I'm there for , right?)

Anyway, she said I was my own worst enemy. That I'm so caught up in the business worries and woes, that I'm hurting my own creativity. I knew this. Even as she was saying it, I was nodding my head. I've opening talked about how I hurt myself during the writing of WHISPERS with all my needless worrying. But sometimes I need to hear a thing before it really sinks past the curly hair, the skull and into that thing I call a brain.

So my "Two Days Before Halloween" resultion? No more worrying. I'm going to write my books the best I can and focus on what I can control. She told me to do mirror work. My family is going to think I'm nutso-but I am going to do it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I gave myself a perm today and now I look like Shirley Temple on steroids. I don't know why I decided to do this--I went to the dentist, the post office and then just drove over to the beauty supply store and bought a perm. I wasn't even thinking of doing it until I had the box in my hand. What's up with that?

The jury is still out on whether or not it looks good. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Round Robin--Late but what's new

Okay, it's my turn again. And of course I'm late. I'm always late. My only excuse is that I've been guest blogger at Romantically Inclined this week. It's been so much fun, but it's used up a LOT of brain cells. Anyway, here we go. Two weeks ago April Harvey, our Round Robin contest winner, took us back to Fat Frank's Tooney Salooney on Calista Fox's blog. Then last week Kaia James gave us front row seats to a mud wrestling match. So here I go.

As Frank and Glory made their way back to Frank's office, the PA system let out a filling-rattling whine and an unfamiliar voice came on.

"Ladies and gentlemen . . . tonight we have a special treat for you all."

Frank paused and Glory nearly ran into him. He turned and looked back at the mud ring. There stood a man he'd never seen before beside a naked woman with a white plastic bag over her head. The bag was loose and not formed to her face, so she could still breathe, but the man held a roll of duct tape in his hands and it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what he intented to do with it.

Frank frowned as he looked for his men. Where were there? As he glanced from the doorway to the bar, he realized not one of them was at his post. Frank looked back to the woman in the ring. She was tiny, with pale white skin and small high breasts. Exposed and defenseless she shivered in the cold mud.

The guy with the mike was saying, "We'll let her have a word before the fun begins."

He thrust the microphone in front of her face and twisted her arm. She let out a cry and Frank made three simulataneous realizations.

He knew the woman with the bag over her face .

Someone had just stepped behind him and there was suddenly the unmistakeable feel of a gun at his back.

And he and Glory were screwed.

"Christ. It's Suzy up there," he said just before all hell broke loose.

"Are you sure about this?" Leann asked Aaron as they pulled into Fat Frank's parking lot.
"Oh, I'm sure. Everything leads back to Frank."
He stepped out of the car and Leann followed, eyeing the packed parking lot with misgiving. During business hours, the strange, cavorting characters took on a new persona. They shivered and jumped in the animated neon lighting. The rabbit in the hot dog bun made a continuous hand movement. At first she thought he was taking a bite of a carrot--like he always did before he said, "What's up, Doc?" But at second glance she realized it wasn't a vegetable he had in hand and he certainly wasn't biting it.
Aaron led her through the lot without even glancing at the porn-tunes. "I think we've been wrong all along. I don't think Suzy has what they want. I think it's Frank."
"Then why would they have Suzy?"
"Because Frank cares enough about her to give whatever it is up for her."
Frank and Suzy? The visual was more than Leann could take.
"Wait," she said, pulling his arm. "When did you figure this out?"
"About five minutes ago."
Suddenly Aaron stopped and he put out an arm, pushing Leann behind him. The doors to Fat Franks were closed. "These doors are always open," he said.
From inside a woman screamed, her voice coming over a PA system and carrying outside. And then a gun fired. In a flash Aaron was racing for the doors. From the corner of her eye, she saw his men rushing from different points in the lot. He hit the doors with his shoulder and they flew open.
Inside were wall to wall people, a layer of smoke that sat like a roof over their heads, and the smell of excited fear. Leann followed Aaron in but no one seemed to notice them. Aaron pushed to the front of the crowd and there was a woman with a bag pulled tight around her neck, the air already sucked out of it so that it formed to her face. Her hands had been bound behind her. The crowd watched in mounting horror as she flailed in the mud under the watchful eyes of armed me.
It was Suzy.
Check Kallie Owen's blog next week for the next installment. :-)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Mistake I haven't made...

I found this link on publishers lunch and I've been reading this blog in an addictive, probably unhealthy manner. Then I hit this post and realized there was a reason--at last a career mistake I haven't made. LOL.

The question was: Why You Don't Want a Big Advance
The answer is understanding that accepting a six figure deal is one of the biggest career mistakes a first time author can make.

The comments are a riot (and mean)

Enter at your own risk and only if you don't have a deadline to make. If you're like me, you'll not be able to leave without reading more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Guest Blogger

Well today I have the pleasure of being guest blogger at Romantically Inclined. Check it out:

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Hey, just found out WHISPERS by yours truly is a finalist in the Best Books 2006 National Book Awards. Yay!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I feel guilty for not blogging, but honestly, I haven't really had a darned thing to say. I'm in a holding pattern with life, I guess. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing--just not a very newsworthy thing. September was a big push for me--got a new proposal off and the Desert Rose membership dinner plus my trip to Utah. The month was basically a blur and now I just don't have umph to report anything.

We did have a winner for our Fat Frank and Tooney Salooney contest. April Harvey did an amazing job--read her part of our Round Robin on Calista Fox's blog here:

Way to go, April!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's just scary!

October 10--almost 11. Where is this month going? Writing it going very well, but brain cells are taking a hit. Too much thinking, I tihnk. Scary stuff. :-)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October? Really?

I can't believe it's October!! I'm not complaining or anything, but wow. Crazy. This whole month has been a little insane for me. I've been hard at work on the proposal for my new book, Everything She Wished For. I think I've mentioned before that it's going to be different than the others in setting and in other ways too. I'm really excited about this book and I feel it's the best writing I've ever done. (At least today I feel that way, tomorrow I'll be convinced it's drivel that should never see the light of day. I'm psychotic that way.)

Also been busy putting on the Desert Rose RWA membership dinner. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. I was very stressed that it wouldn't turn out--and very relieved when it appeared to be a success. Plus I won an entry into the RITA contest which was very cool. Last year's winner, Carrie Weaver, was a finalist. I made her rub some luck on me. :-) Pictures attached of the dinner.

Anyway, I'm hoping things will slow a little. I feel like I've been at jet speed for too long.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Round Robin--AKA Pandora's box continued

I'm up for the next installment of the story. See Kaia's post from last week to catch up or read the whole thing (or at least most of it) from start to finish here.

And don't forget about the contests we have running--they are all still open! You'll find all the details at the bottom of this post!

Pandora's Box...continued.....

"The way it looks right now," Aaron said, "We're both bait." He sat down next to her on the floor. "There are two dead guys out there that shouldn't be here. The fact that they are means Marchasi knows where we are. And I have to assume he knows who I am."

"Well glad someone does."

Aaron smiled. "You're pretty cute when you're pissed off."

"Give me a minute. I'm about to become breathtaking."

He threw back his head and laughed. It should have made her madder, but damned if it didn't make her smile.

"Do you know what you're doing?" she asked him. "I mean, really. You're not some yahoo who's going to get us both killed, are you?"

He sobered quickly and Leanne almost wished she could retract the question. Did she really want an answer?

"I know what I'm doing," he said.

But the look in his eyes added a subtext that frightened her.

"But you can't guarantee you're not going to get us both killed, can you?"

"No. I thought Marchasi was just playing with us. But I don't think so anymore. I think he wants us dead, no matter what we do now. What I know could ruin him. And now you know it too."

"So what do we do?"

"Well first we find Fat Frank. And then we make him sorry he ever fucked with us."

Contest News:
Bunny Ears and Mud Wrestling Ain’t All He’s Up To…There’s just no telling what Fat Frank, owner of the Tooney Salooney, has been up to since Leanne and Aaron discovered his fetish for wild and wicked mud wrestling with a mysterious red-headed Amazon who could give Hulk Hogan a run for his money.

Is Fat Frank friend or foe? Club owner or two-bit hustler? Does he know who’s hunting Leanne and Aaron or who’s kidnapped Suzy? Exactly WHAT is Fat Frank up to?

We sure as hell don’t know! Here’s your chance to unravel the mystery. In an upcoming installment of Pandora’s Box, we’ll include Fat Frank’s story… who he is, what he’s up to, and how he might impact the outcome of the mystery Leanne, Aaron and Suzy are embroiled in is up to… YOU!

In 700 words or less, craft Fat Frank’s backstory and what his involvement is with the disappearance of Leanne’s sister. The Four Chicks will choose the best entry and post it – with due credit for the author – in a future installment of Pandora’s Box.In addition, we’ll send the winner the following prize package:
  • An autographed copy of Erin Grady’s Echoes
  • A $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble
  • A copy of Ava McKnight/Calista Fox’s newest ebook release, Shameless
  • A copy of Ava McKnight/Calista Fox’s ebook, A Subtle Seduction

Send your entry to: by September 30.Good luck – and thanks for being a part of our round robin!

The Four Chicks: Erin Grady, Kallie Owens, Calista Fox/Ava McKnight and Kaia James

And don't forget the other contests we have running:


Enter Calista Fox's Hook 'Em from the Get-Go contest by going to her website at is a fun and easy way to win free books and a Barnes & Noble gift card! Plus, a $25 Victoria’s Secret gift card will be awarded randomly!*****************************************

And, Finally... The third contest is a chance to win registration to the San Diego State University Writer’s Conference. This scholarship is sponsored by Erin Grady, author of romantic suspense novels. Visit her website at for all the details. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to attend this awesome conference FOR FREE!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The perfect weekend

I could say the pictures say it all, yet they can't possibly depict a weekend of brainstorming, thinking about new and fresh ideas to tell a story, being with good friends and feeling welcome. But the pictures are pretty good on their own. :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's late and I should be in bed

My kids have been sick and I've been running around trying to juggle day job, doc visits and life. Not doing such a great job of it though. Going to visit my good friend Lynn this weekend, though. I've never been to her new house and haven't seen her in months, so looking forward to it.

And that's all have to say. :-)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pandora's Box

By the way, don't forget to check out the next installment of Pandora's Box. Even with multiple book deadlines, Calista Fox has up'ed the stakes. And don't forget about the contests we're running for a chance to write an installment on this story:

Positive frame of mind

I'm up and ready to a final review on my pages before shipping them off to my editor. Very excited about them and have a good feeling that she will be too. Either that or I'm not awake yet and I'm dreaming.

Got some great news today--a friend and neighbor wrote me with a contact her in AZ who is willing to answer all my Ireland questions!!! I am so happy and can't wait to get in touch with her. Thank you Elaine!!!

I called Good Housekeeping (which I didn't think of at first) and ordered an issue of the magazine I was looking for. I think it's a July issue--I did end up finding an August in the doc's office, but it didn't feature romance so I'm hoping I ordered the correct issue.

Anyway, here's to positive thoughts and great Sundays.... Or intelligent thoughts and tasty sundaes. :-) I'll take whichever.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


There are some days when I can't even SPELL the word perspective. I hate when I lose it, though. I've got this scene that I know is good--somewhere deep down, I know it. I got those, yes, I nailed it! chills when I was writing the scene. The first time I re-read it, I felt that glow of confirmation. Exactly! Last night, damned if it didn't read like the back of a cornflakes box--a generic brand at that. Sigh.

Hopefully the morning will make it better. If not, I going to drink. All day. And I'm not talking water.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

As the mud thickens

Okay, you gotta check out the next entry in the RR. Kallie did an incredible job:

And remember our contest news:

Bunny Ears and Mud Wrestling Ain’t All He’s Up To…

There’s just no telling what Fat Frank, owner of the Tooney Salooney, has been up to since Leanne and Aaron discovered his fetish for wild and wicked mud wrestling with a mysterious red-headed Amazon who could give Hulk Hogan a run for his money.

Is Fat Frank friend or foe? Club owner or two-bit hustler? Does he know who’s hunting Leanne and Aaron or who’s kidnapped Suzy? Exactly WHAT is Fat Frank up to?

We sure as hell don’t know! Here’s your chance to unravel the mystery. In an upcoming installment of Pandora’s Box, we’ll include Fat Frank’s story… who he is, what he’s up to, and how he might impact the outcome of the mystery Leanne, Aaron and Suzy are embroiled in is up to… YOU!

In 700 words or less, craft Fat Frank’s backstory and what his involvement is with the disappearance of Leanne’s sister. The Four Chicks will choose the best entry and post it – with due credit for the author – in a future installment of Pandora’s Box.

In addition, we’ll send the winner the following prize package:

An autographed copy of Erin Grady’s Echoes
A $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble
A copy of Ava McKnight/Calista Fox’s newest ebook release, Shameless
A copy of Ava McKnight/Calista Fox’s ebook, A Subtle Seduction

Send your entry to: by September 30.Good luck – and thanks for being a part of our round robin!

The Four Chicks
Erin Grady
Kallie Owens
Calista Fox/Ava McKnight
Kaia James

And don't forget the other contests we have running:
Enter Calista Fox's Hook 'Em from the Get-Go contest by going to her website at This is a fun and easy way to win free books and a Barnes & Noble gift card! Plus, a $25 Victoria’s Secret gift card will be awarded randomly!*****************************************

And, Finally... The third contest is a chance to win registration to the San Diego State University Writer’s Conference. This scholarship is sponsored by Erin Grady, author of romantic suspense novels. Visit her website at for all the details. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to attend this awesome conference FOR FREE!

Good luck to all of you!

New interview on Romance Junkies

Romance Junkies just posted a new interview with me on their website. Brooke Wills did the interview and she asked some great questions. My answer were probably less brillant than the questions, but it was a lot of fun. Check it out: it.

As for my hair...sigh, I went in with a picture even, but what I came out with...I don't know. It's cute, but I've had this hair style before and I didn't like it the first time, darn it. Oh well. Hair grows, right?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Probably not in the best frame of mind for it

But I'm going to get all my hair cut off today. Moderation is not a word I know.

Friday, 4 day weekend for me so why am I sad

Marriage sucks sometimes. I guess I could just leave it at that and be done with it. Those of you who have been married a long time like I have, know what I'm talking about. I've got 18 years under my belt but sometimes a fight still makes me feel like I'm in that first grueling year, when everything hurts.


Anyway, enough about that.

Topics for the day--I have some questions for everyone (if, in fact, there is anyone out there)

  1. I am looking for a July or August issue of Good Housekeeping. The other night in my Desert Rose RWA meeting, someone came up to me and said she'd seen the Doubleday/Rhapsody advertisement for Echoes and Whispers in it. She tried to take it out for me but ripped it. I haven't seen it and would love to. Do you have the magazine? Would you look for the ad and maybe send it to me?
  2. Next questions: the new book I'm working on has some very interesting and new characters in it. I'm setting it someplace new (Ireland) and I'm looking for people who are from Ireland who'd be willing to answer some questions for me. I won't get personal :-) But if you are Irish and willing (ha ha) would you contact me?
  3. Also putting a call out to people who were adopted or found a fairly permanent foster home when they were 10 or older.
  4. AND social workers who help place children in homes. Is this you? Would you be willing to answer some questions?

So I guess I'm not asking for MUCH am I?

On another note, this week Kallie Owens is up for the Round Robin. Let's see what she does with the unfolding story of Aaron and Leanne. You can find it here, probably sometime today:

Also, scroll down for info on our contest news for the round robin: Bunny Ears and Mud Wrestling Ain’t All Fat Frank is Up To!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A great read...

And by the way friends and fellow bloggers, if you're looking for something to read, our very own 4 chicks and a round robin member Calista Fox--aka Ava McKnight has a new release titled Shameless out this month from Venus Press. Check it out at:

Contest News!!

Bunny Ears and Mud Wrestling Ain’t All He’s Up To…

There’s just no telling what Fat Frank, owner of the Tooney Salooney, has been up to since Leanne and Aaron discovered his fetish for wild and wicked mud wrestling with a mysterious red-headed Amazon who could give Hulk Hogan a run for his money.

Is Fat Frank friend or foe? Club owner or two-bit hustler? Does he know who’s hunting Leanne and Aaron or who’s kidnapped Suzy? Exactly WHAT is Fat Frank up to?

We sure as hell don’t know! Here’s your chance to unravel the mystery. In an upcoming installment of Pandora’s Box, we’ll include Fat Frank’s story… who he is, what he’s up to, and how he might impact the outcome of the mystery Leanne, Aaron and Suzy are embroiled in is up to… YOU!

In 700 words or less, craft Fat Frank’s backstory and what his involvement is with the disappearance of Leanne’s sister. The Four Chicks will choose the best entry and post it – with due credit for the author – in a future installment of Pandora’s Box.

In addition, we’ll send the winner the following prize package:
An autographed copy of Erin Grady’s Echoes
A $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble
A copy of Ava McKnight/Calista Fox’s newest ebook release, Shameless
A copy of Ava McKnight/Calista Fox’s ebook, A Subtle Seduction

Send your entry to: by September 30.

Good luck – and thanks for being a part of our round robin!

The Four Chicks
Erin Grady
Kallie Owens
Calista Fox/Ava McKnight
Kaia James

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Round Robin

Okay, first, as mentioned earlier, we are coming up with some very cool prizes to go with an even cooler contest. I don't have all the details yet, but we're going to be asking for audience participation in our Round Robin. First we're going to have readers suggest contribute a scene that brings Fat Frank back into the story. Remember Fat Frank of the Tooney Salooney? Bunny ears and mud? How could you forget. And then there will be another reader/writer contest to follow. Stay tuned for details.

That said, here is the next installment of Pandora's Box. If you're coming to the story late, you might want to start here. It has everything to date--EXCEPT the last installment before this one, which you'll find here.

So with no futher ado.....

Leann had always considered herself a well rounded person. She had a college education, a demanding career. She’d been in touch with her inner child and confronted her dysfunctional past. She’d thought she was a smart, sassy, together woman.

But in the past twenty-four hours she’d come to realize she didn’t know shit about herself.

Realization number one had come with the big O. Her first, not counting the ones she had alone. How could that be? Even worse -- how could it be that she’d never thought her life lacking when the best sex she’d had was in the bathtub by herself?

Realization number two had actually come before the orgasm, but it took that release to really face it. She was hell and gone from being well rounded. What would she be doing right now if it wasn’t for Aaron? Would she be home crying and ripping her hair out because she was too afraid to act? Most likely. Sadly. Absolutely.

Realization number three hit her when the men walked through the door. It was time to change. From head to toe, Leann needed to start fresh. As soon as they got out of here, she was going to make Aaron take her straight to Walmart where she could buy a pair of jeans, tennis shoes and sweatshirt. No more getting caught in a mud slide wearing pumps.

Mustering as much dignity as she could in her muddied, torn clothes, knowing that she had to look like she’d just had her first two-party orgasm, she leveled a look at Aaron.

“Let’s start over,” she said and her voice sounded firm and decisive. “Who the hell are you?”

The three men exchanged glances for a moment.

“Not a trick question,” Leann said. “Who. Are. You?”

Aaron stepped forward. “Maybe you should sit down.”

“I don’t want to sit down. I want answers.”

“Honey, I’m going to give them to you. But you’re going to fall over.”

It irked her that it was true, but she had no one but herself to blame on that account. She was the one who’d worn those ridiculous shoes and sprained her ankle.

Aaron helped her to the chair and squatted down in front of her. The position was identical to where he’d been an hour before and the memory of how that had unfolded hit them both at the same time. Aaron looked into her eyes and smiled. Some of the starch came out of her spine. God he was something. She wondered what else she might learn about herself if they went for round two?

“I’m not a school teacher,” he said softly. “I used to be, but I left five years ago when my best friend died. He was murdered.”

Leann’s mouth dropped open. She didn’t know what she’d expected from him, but this wasn’t it.

“I work for the government now.”
“In what capacity,” she asked, stunned at the coolness in her tone.

“I’m part of task force that investigates technology fraud.”

“WHAT? Like the CIA or something?”

“Not exactly. Actually, it’s the Department of Transportation.”

She shook her head, unable to process what he was saying. A technology task force from the department of transportation? What the hell?

She frowned. “What does that have to do with Suzy. . .or me?”

He glanced over his shoulder for a moment at the two men standing behind them. “Can you give me a minute?” he asked. The two men nodded and stepped outside.

“Leann,” he said, turning back to her. “What happened here, with us. . .that has nothing to do with anything but you—” He touched her chest. “And me.”

With that he lifted her hand and put it over his heart.

“I know my timing sucked, but it is what it is. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get you out of that silk shirt since you put it on. The place would have had to catch fire to stop me. You understand?”

She nodded, trying to look stern and unflappable, but unable to keep the pleased smile off her lips. He’d wanted her that bad? Had anyone ever wanted her that bad before? Uh, no. He was speaking again, so she tried to focus.

“When your sister was at Fat Franks last week, she hooked up with one of Marchasi’s men, a guy named Davy Slauter. Ever heard of him?”

She shook her head.

“Davy was talking about Golden Billy. About his fuel invention and how it was never going to see the light of day.”

“Of course it’s going to see the light of day,” Leann said.

“Well, I think Davy’s intention was to bury the invention with the inventor.”


“But Suzy didn’t know who she was dealing with. She told him he was wrong because her sister knew all about it and it really worked. She’s pretty proud of you.”

“She is?” Leann whispered.

“But she shouldn’t have opened her mouth.”

“You mean that’s why these people have her?”

“Because they think you can get them Billy’s technology.”

“But I just write his speeches. And even then he doesn’t say them right.”

“Marchasi has investments in oil. Billy’s fuel replacement would put him out of business. He’s not going to let that happen and if it means torturing your sister until they convince you to steal what they want. . .”

“But she got away.”

Aaron looked down and shook his head.

“She got away, Aaron. We heard her. . .”

Aaron stood and opened the front door. The two men came back in.

“Tell her what you know,” Aaron said.

Speaking of contests....

Don't forget to enter my Scholarship contest for the SDSU Writers Conference. It's a great conference and an excellent opportunity to meet editors and agents. I sold my first book after meeting an editor there. All you have to do is go to my website, click on the Enter to Win page and scroll down. You'll need to write 100 words or less on why you want to go. Don't worry, no one is going to judge the writing. I just want to make sure the award goes to a writer and not just someone who wants to go to San Diego. :-)

Chat on Novel Talk

I just did a chat on Noveltalk and it was a lot of fun. I love doing those. Now I'm going to put my roller blades on and try to lose that fat a## that's been following me around for the past year. :0(

Check back in the morning because it's my turn to post for the RR I do with Calista Fox, Kalie Owens and Kaia James. I flaked out the last time it was my turn, but this time I already have it written. Also we are doing a contest.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Up and writing

I haven't been very good about keeping up with my blog lately, but that's a good thing, I supposed, because I have been writing and quite a bit. My new story, Everything She Wished For, is really falling into place. I'm very pleased with it.

I just read a posting on Jennifer Ashley's site about how she writes. It's really interesting:

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Long time, feels so good

No this is not a porn entry I'm making, though it does have its merits.

What I'm talking about is what a long time it's been since I really enjoyed writing. For the past couple of years, the pressure has been the overriding emotion, but suddenly I seem to have hit that place where the words are coming easily and the pictures are forming in my head. I'm feeling connected with the people and the story I'm writing about.

The feels so good part...self explanatory.

Hope it lasts...long time. :-)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Back to school

Well hallelujah! It’s back to school for my little dearies. I love them, don’t get me wrong, but the first day of school is such a happy occasion. J Hopefully life will settle a little for me now. I’ve been so busy these past weeks that I feel a bit nuts.

So what’s new in my world? Well, I learned that Doubleday Book a month club has purchased BOTH Echoes and Whispers for their book club under their romance line, Rhapsody. Very exciting news, that! I don’t have a publish date, but I’m sure I’ll announce when I do.

And, as I said in my earlier post, I’m stepping away from my western trilogy and starting working on something new. I will go back to it, of course, but it’s time to get some perspective on it and so a break is a good thing.

As mentioned, the new book departs from the western trend and is set in Ireland. (Of course I'm loving the research.) Wow, what a fascinating history Ireland has. Along with the wonderful setting, this book will be paranormal, I’m hoping a little spooky, and more contemporary than historical. I say that now, of course, but once I’m knee deep in it I mean change my mind on the historical part. I do so love the history.

Anyway, to work with me!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Because I'm a loser, that's why

Okay, to those of you who have been waiting for the next installment of the Round Robin, I'm sorry to say I blew it. It was my turn on Friday and I completely lost track of it and (obviously) didn't write it. Fortunately, good friend Kallie Owens has stepped in to save the day. She is writing this week's and then I will pick up again for next week. Thank you Kallie.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Move on

Time to move the spider down on the blog list, don't you think? Although, I must say, it was traumatizing enough to keep up for a week. Haven't been posting much because I haven't felt like I have a lot to say. I've been pretty busy with other stuff--researching for another new book. This one is more contemporary. Thinking of taking a break from the American west and try something new. I'm doing a lot of research right now on my next, "can't know enough about" and that is Ireland. Since I was named after my parents heard "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" I think it's fitting. One day I would love to have the time to research my family history. My Grandpa Grady is where we end on the Grady side. I wonder, are we really Irish? Or are we simply wannabe Irish? Who knows? Either way, I'm still doing the research. Would love to learn Gaelic, too. We'll see.

Happy Friday to my friends Calista Fox and MacKenzie Mckade who are at RWA Nationals having a fabulous time, I'm sure. Wish I was there. Good luck to Carrie Weaver, RITA finalist who is also there!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The spider and the driving lesson

So I decided to give my 15 year old daughter her very first driving lesson. It was early Saturday morning and we went to the high school, where the parking lot was deserted. It was a great place to practice such feats as go, stop, turn right, turn left. My daughter was thrilled to be behind the wheel and making great progress in her parking lot navigations when suddenly she stood on the brakes and screamed. I'd glanced away from the road to watch her feet for a moment since she had a bad habit of using both and her scream made me look up in horror, expecting to see headlights, a semi bearing down on us, and of course, certain death. Instead I saw something worse.

The biggest spider I'd ever seen what racing across the windshield. On the outside, thank you God. The pictures above are from the internet and they do not do this beast justice. It was huge and it was fat and it was hairy. It had fangs and an attitude. For the next 10--count them 10--minutes the hairy beast ran crazed over the car, the roof, the doors, everywhere, defying gravity and wind velocity. I turned on the wipers, hopin to fling him off and guess what? He hopped on and held on and when the wipers were turned off, he merrily pranced away.

Finally, we could circle the parking lot no more, but we couldn't leave it either because my daughter is not yet street legal for driving and we were prisoner of the car. I jumped out, screaming of course, and searched for the spider. Where do you think he went? Clever devil crawled under the door's cracks and was racing inside as soon as the door opened. I am telling you, this was the cujo of spiders. I had a piece of paper in my hand and determined to save my daughter from being eaten alive, I flicked the spider off the door and onto the pavement. He hit the ground running and so did I. I slammed the door shut, screamed for daughter to move over and raced to the other side where I launched myself in and hit the gas.

You'll be happy to know we escaped, but we are both scarred for life now.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Long time between posts

It's been a busy week to say the least. I feel like I haven't come up for air, but the good news is I have pages to show for it. I'm thinking of posting the prologue and see if I get any feedback. I don't know. I'm always a little shy about my works in progress.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Erin Grady, who?

First Mondays after vacation should be banned. No matter how good the vacation is, the first Monday back will always make you think, was it worth it? Looking at my pictures, I suppose it was. But back to reality really sucks, you know?

On a lighter note, the writing is going great. I'm thinking of a new title--instead of Vanished, which everyone on earth seems to have named their book this year, I'm thinking of calling it The Beckoning. And funny thing, as soon as I changed the title, my mind opened up to a million new ideas. So far so good. Thoughts?

I have friends who go away for weekends and focus on their writing. I wish I had the time/budget/lifestyle to allow such a thing.

A very nice woman named Ruth came to my house today to get some autographed books for friends and family. She heard me speak at the Southeast Regional Library when my book ECHOES came out. She missed me when I spoke there for WHISPERS, but saw the article the Arizona Republic did on me and got in touch through Howard at the library. Made my day to think she'd gone through so much trouble. She especially liked my bookmarks and door hangers.

I'm tired, it's late and though I should be writing, I barely have the brain power to blog. Such is life. To bed with me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On the road again

I'm the only one awake right now. Vacation time is ending. We've had a fun few days. San Diego Zoo on Saturday -- but it was HOT HOT HOT. Still, lots of fun, shopping and dinner with our good friends Tracy and Mark on Sunday. Monday we went to our old nieghborhood and saw our friends there. Tuesday we were with my husband's family in Chula Vista. And now it's Wednesday again adn we're going to be packing and heading home. Sigh. If only the work week went so fast... :-)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Round Robin....

I can't believe it! I wrote my installment on Wednesday so I wouldn't be late this week and guess what? Forgot to post it. I'm such a loser. :-( I'm in San Diego on a family vacation. If you entered my sorry, I'm not going to draw a winner until I get back.

So last week Kaia James left us with this: Nice job removing our hero/heroine from the bunny ears and mud fight, btw. :-)

So here is the next installment.

The sound of tires on the asphalt was soothing, but Leanne was too tense to let it lull her. She didn't know what kind of trouble Suzy could be in, but it was bad. If she had something that belonged to this Marchasi, the consequences could be fatal. But what could she have? And why would she have it? Suzy wasn't always the fastest fish in the ocean, but she usually didn't try to swim with the sharks, either. What she lacked in common sense she made up for in street smarts. If she knew Marchasi well enough to take something from him, she had to know how dangerous he was.

Leanne sighed and looked beside her at Aaron. He drove with a single minded concentration that told her he was probably having the same kind of internal dialogue she was. "Well," she asked. "Figure anything out yet?"

He glanced away from the road. "Not a thing."

"Can I ask you something?"


"Why are you helping me?"

He seemed to consider this for a moment and she couldn't stop the rush of embarrassment. What had she hoped? For some declaration of feeling? They'd only just met. But if he said, I don't know, it was going to hurt. Why, she didn't care to examine. It just would.

"You need it," he said at last.

She stared, her mouth dropping open a little. "I do not."

"Sweetheart, you are a woman crying out for help."

"I am not."

"Look at yourself. Why are you dressed like that?"

She sputtered for a moment, not sure if he was insinuating or insulting. "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

"Nothing, if you have a press conference scheduled. But honey, we're not headed for the office."

She folded her hands primly in her lap and looked out the windshield.

"Hey," he said. "I'm not trying to hurt feelings. I'm just making an observation. You're too uptight."

"And that's not supposed to hurt my feelings?"

Aaron gave a deep sigh and pulled to the side of the road. He put the car in park, but left the lights on and the engine runnning. Turning in his seat, he watched her huddle against the door. "Look at me," he said.

She was too hurt, too humiliated to do as he said. She didn't want him to see her, to see the pain in her eyes. Because she knew he was right. She'd been the good sister for so long, she didn't know how to be anything else. He probably thought she was fool, all dressed up to visit the likes of Fat Frank the mud king and God knew who else. But it went against the grain to relax, to pull on a pair of sweats or jeans when she left the privacy of her house. Who knew what could wait on the other side of the door? Who knew what kind of ambush might be lurking to catch her unaware and expose her?

Slowly, Aaron leaned over, took her chin in his hand and turned her face. "Look at me," he said again.

His voice was deep and softer than the air that swirled around their car. His words drew her attention to his mouth. He had full lips and white teeth. A five-o'clock shadow covered his jaw and gave him a dangerous look in the close confines. Against her will, her gaze traveled up, over the solid features, to the slate-blue eyes. He wasn't looking at her like he thought she was a fool.
He reached over and pulled the two strategically placed clips from the back of her head and her hair fell free to swing against her shoulders. He smiled as he touched it with his fingers.

"What are..."

But she didn't have to finish the questions, because he was moving closer still and she already knew the answer. He was going to kiss her, that's what he was going to do. And she was going to let him. Something tightened in her chest as she waited for his mouth to settle over hers. It seemed to take a long time, but finally he was there, his face blurring before she closed her eyes and then his lips were on hers.

The kiss had one, sweet, tentative second before Aaron shifted and wrapped his arms around her. He pulled her hard against him, hauling her to the middle of the seat so he could have her closer. Leanne felt a surge of something she didn't quite know how to classify. It was passion but it was power as well. Some feminine trigger that she possessed had moved him to this. He wanted her. As unbelievable as that seemed, he wanted her.

"Leanne," he said into her mouth.

"Yes," she breathed back.

"Stop thinking."

And then his tongue slipped between her lips and she did exactly as he said.

Life as I know it...

No news to report today. I'm just trying to stay focused on the writing. Some days that's easier than others. I finished Kallie's pages on Sunday and I think she's got a dynamite book in the works. You'll be seeing her on a bestseller list someday soon, I'm sure.

Looks like a monsoon may be brewing. I hope so. I love storms...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday morning, early and at it

Haven't posted for awhile, mostly because I've been trying to make some major life decisions. I've had a week of highs and lows and its left me feeling a little sea sick. I hope my next post will have some good news in it, but I guess that's up to the powers that be and my guardian angel. All I can do at this point is put my faith in both.

On a lighter note, I am reading my cp's 100 pages and they are great. Don't fear my friend. I'll have some pages back to you this morning. :-)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Saturday afternoon, 4 chicks, champagne, mud fights, bunny ears and a bun

You'll have to read the Round Robin to really understand the title of this post. I won't give you any hints, but the 4 chicks of 4 chicks and round robin got together yesterday to drink, laugh, snark and otherwise enjoy the fact that we are such good friends. Here are some pictures to prove it. (and because I'm going to take the other picture -- the one I've been bitch-slapped for having posted on my website because certain robins were wearing pajamas -- off the web.)

First picture, left to right, Kallie Owens, Calista Fox/aka Ava McKnight, Erin Grady and Kaia James. Second picture, back, Kallie Owens, Calista Fox/Ava McKnight, front, Kaia James and Erin Grady.

Life is good and I am forever grateful for the meeting of these three friends.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday morning, blogging instead of writing

I received two emails this week that totally blew me away and renewed my hope. The first was from a fellow writer Goldie Browning who was letting me know she'd just finished reading Echoes and loved it. She then devoured Whispers and let me know that she loved that as well. Turns out, she's recently completed her novel that has parallel stories and it sounds like it's a terrific one. Hopefully we'll all see it on the bookshelves someday in the not too distant future. Good luck, Goldie, and thank you for writing to me.

Then, this morning, I received an email from Su at Earthly Charms telling me she'd just finished Whispers and loved it. Sue designed the very cool door hangers I had made for Whispers that say "Shhh, I'm reading" on them. She also did the interview for the Motivated Writer. I've heard from quite a few readers who said they'd read the interview.

Anyway, these letters really gave me a boost I needed. I am so excited about the book I'm working on. I've developed so new ideas that I believe will layer the story with a dark, paranormal flavor that has all my senses sparking. I do have to come up with another title though. Currently it's called Vanished, but since I thunk'd it up, several other books have come out with the exact same title. This has happened to me with both Echoes and Whispers. In fact, when Echoes first came out, I went to the bookstore with my daughter and we were looking for it on the shelf without luck. So I asked the bookseller and he directed me to the more famous writers' novel which came out the month before much to my dismay. And then he told me, "I should read that one because it was probably just as good."

Heavy sigh.

My friend Kallie Owens is going to be sending me some pages to critique soon and then she's going to mail them off to a big agent who is dying to get them. She's got a dynamite story and I'm looking forward to the reading.

Okay, enough avoiding the "real" writing.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Corrections and such

I was wrong (yes, it's true) about not one but two things. First I said check in tomorrow for a new post on the Round Robin story, aka Pandora's Box. Well, apparently yesterday I was thinking today was Friday. Big wrong. Wishful thinking wrong. And second I thought Kallie was up for the next installment, but apparently I've misplaced an entire week. Kallie posted last week and I have to tell you, it's a good one! She left it with a hook.

So Calista is the one to pick up the ears and get dirty. (gotta read it to get the joke, here). Unlike yours truly, Calista is punctual about her posts. More that that, she's early. Get up to speed. You'll find the whole shebang here (from first post to last):

And the latest installment here:

That's all the fun for tonight.

OH yeah, there was a big fat story on me in the Gilbert pages of the Arizona Republic today, complete with picture. It was very cool. Also interviews on Writerspace
and the motivated writer:

Okay, enough shameless self promotion.... at least for tonight.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A day in the life...

Last weekend Cathy McDavid and I did one of our last signings on our "Big Fat Book Tour." Cathy wrote a series of articles about it that will be in RT this fall. I'm sure they will be lots of fun. Here are two pictures--first is (left to right) Erin Grady, Jennifer Ashley and Cathy McDavid. Second picture is of Erin and Cathy (Jennifer was home busily working on her next book. Probably Cathy and I should have been doing the same, but it was a fun signing and the Chandler Mall Barnes & Noble is awesome. )

So a freelance reporter (EJ Anderson) from the Arizona Republic interviewed me this week about Whispers and my other books. The article should be in tomorrow's paper. I'm excited about it.

I continue to get letters from readers who are loving Whispers. It's wonderful.

The new book is coming along. I'm getting some great ideas as I go, but that's pretty much how I write. I don't know what is going to happen until I get there. I've tried outlining, but it doesn't work the same for me. I can't envision it in outline form and therefore get the whole picture to embellish. I have to do the draft.

By the way, check out the interview posted on Writers Space, ParaNormal Romance:

AND, look for a new post on the RR story coming from... I think Kallie has it tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Gothic...continued....

So Heather, (, has been kind enough to provide me with this definition of Gothic. She also has a very interesting post on crappy first drafts which I agree with 100%. That internal editor will absolutely KILL anything creative in you if you let it.

Anyway, on to Gothic....

The Gothic novel, or "Gothic romance" . . . flourished through the early nineteenth century. Authors of such novels set their stories in the medieval period, often in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons, subterranean passages, and sliding panels, and made plentiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences; their principal aim was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting mystery, cruelty, and a variety of horrors. The term "gothic" has also been extended to denote a type of fiction which lacks the medieval setting but develops a brooding atmosphere of gloom or terror, represents events which are uncanny, or macabre, or melodramatically violent, and often deals with aberrant psychological states. (adapted from A Glossary of Literary Terms)

Thank you, Heather. I think it's a good definition. I don't write medieval, although I do love to read it, but I think I'm all about the "brooding atmosphere of gloom" and "events which are uncanny".

Anyone out there read my books? Have an opinion on this? I'd love to hear about it. Actually, what I'd REALLY like to hear about is what you think I do right. (no pun intended there.) I think for a lot of authors, yours truly in particular, it's hard to know what it is that is really connecting with readers. Is it the hero? The "brooding atmosphere?" The "uncanny events?" The heroine? The story itself?

I stumbled across a blog the other day that just broke my heart. They were bashing one of my books, and I don't mean in a good way, ha ha, and one of them said something about it having such potential but I'd missed the mark. I wanted to know how I'd missed it, but was too busy licking my wounds and crying my eyes out to type (just kidding). Actually, since the book they were bashing won 3 awards and was a finalist for 5 others, I decided not to ask. Plus, they even went so far as to say the cover was awful, which is just a flat out lie. :-)

ANYWAY, enough about that. what I want to know is not what I do wrong, but what I do right. If you have a minute, let me know. What is it that you like about my books? (asked with fingers crossed that no one says, "when it's over.")

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


So, I've discovered that I am being called a gothic writer. At first I wasn't entirely sure what this meant. What I thought of as gothic wasn't necessarily a good a thing. Then I picked up another book that was also referred to gothic and I loved it. I'm still not entirely sure what gothic means, but I'm thinking it has to do with the mood of a story. Generally dark and atmospheric. If that's the case, then I guess I qualify. Anyone have a different take on that?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Round Robin: Pandora's Box

Sorry guys, a day late again. My excuse this week is a real one. My dad's been in the hospital and I've been spending time out there letting him know he's loved and we're all anxious for him to be on the mend and back home. My mom has been his angel, hovering over him and making sure the docs and nurses at Mayo Hospital give him good care. He's doing better now and I'm hoping he'll be back at home next week.

Anyway, on to the story. If you haven't read it yet, Kallie has put it all together on one page. I have to admit, I'm really excited about it. I'm thinking if it keeps up this way, the four of us, Kallie Owens, Kaia James, Calista Fox (aka Ava McKnight) and I should seriously think about making it into the real thing--a book.

What do you think?

Okay, to catch up on the story, go here:

And here is my addition....

The digital readout on the dashboard of Aaron’s 4-runner showed it was almost three am. It had taken longer than it should have to get the pictures downloaded from the blow-up doll’s phone and then review them. He supposed they’d both hoped that once the pictures were enlarged, a clue would jump out at them. Some big reason why Suzy had been abducted. At the very least, a big who. But nothing more had been revealed. With few options, Aaron had suggested they take the pictures to Fat Franks. With any luck, Frank would still be there and he might see something in them that Aaron and Leanne had missed. A big might, but neither of them had a better idea.

He glanced Leanne. She’d changed out of the flannel pajamas in record time, emerging in black trousers with crisp pleats and a pale silky blouse the color of oysters. She’d tamed her hair into a coil at the back of her head and looked ready to go in for her nine-to-five, not to track down the maniac who was threatening to let crabs eat her sister alive.

“What the hell do you do?” he asked her suddenly.

Surprised, Leanne looked at him. “I’m a public affairs aide to Dr. Willem Goldwater.”


She smiled. “Golden Billy?”

Christ, Golden Billy? THE Golden Billy? The Golden Billy who claimed his company had developed an alternative fuel that would run in any car—without modifications—and would cost pennies to the gallon?

“Do you know what it’s made of?” Aaron, the scientist, asked.

“Of course not,” she answered primly. “And I can’t discuss it with you.”

Suitably reprimanded, he pulled into the lot of Fat Franks and shut off the engine. They sat in deep silence for a moment, staring at the place.

Fat Franks Tooney Salooney looked exactly like one would expect. Large and box shaped, it had been added onto over the years until it had a maze-like feel too it. It was the last place you wanted to be if there was a fire.

By way of decoration, music notes had been painted all over the front in varying sizes and Looney Tunes characters cavorted among them, blowing more notes out of enormous trombones and miniature trumpets. On the roof was a super-sized hotdog bun with Bugs Bunny lounging in the center. Aaron always wondered if Fat Frank had bothered to get usage rights for the characters or if he’d just decided to go with it and wait until someone sued him to take them down. Aaron would bet the latter.

The place was closed now and bathed in darkness the cartoon characters looked eerie, their frolicking positions somehow sinister. Like gargoyles perched on the walls, ready to swoop. He smiled grimly at himself. He sounded like one of his female students, scared of the dark.

But whether it was manly or not, Aaron was scared. Scared for Suzy, who he’d only met once or twice, but had liked. Scared for her sister, Leanne, who was huddled against the passenger side door, staring out at the black night like a lost child. And, damn it, scared for himself and this mess he knew he shouldn’t be getting into.

With a deep breath he looked at Leanne. “You ready?”

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I survived the slumber party, for those of you who might be wondering. It was touch and go for awhile there, but I'm still alive. I also finished the proposal I've been working on for my new book. Yay! What a relief to have that done. Of course now I have to write the book, but I've got some good ideas simmering so I'm looking forward to it.

Hey, check back tomorrow. I think it's my turn to work on the round-robin story. Hmm....wonder where our brave heroine is now?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Birthday Party Hell

There are ten 11 and 12 year old girls running through my house like maniacs. I've decided to hide in here for a minute and see if they run out of steam. Brilliant mother that I am, I decided to let my summer child have her party early, before everyone leaves on summer vacation and it gets to hot to do anything anyway. I also had the incredible idea of having it on the last day of school.

Yes, I am an idiot.

The kids hit the door like they were on speed. They've been wild, uncontrollable and otherwise crazed ever since. We've played games, we've played more games. We've had pizza, we've swam, we played more games. It is now 7:30 and bedtime is still hours away.

If I ever get them to go to bed, I am so going to soak in a bath and read a good book.

Speaking of good books.... A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. My teenager read it last year and told me I'd like it. I don't generally like the same books she does--I like my HEAs and she likes dark drama, but on this book we agree. I'm loving it. It's making me feel like I don't know the first thing about writing. How does someone write something so good the first time out of the chute? Libba, if you're googling yourself and find this mention, I salute you. Gemma is one of the best characters I've ever read.

Got to go...the kiddies are calling....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Love the library

Tonight I had the pleasure of speaking at my local library. Howard Carron at the Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert is the best. He brought in a great group of aspiring writers who had wonderful questions. I really enjoyed myself (and hopefully I didn't bore anyone too much). My friends Laura Lukes and Elaine Huettl were there as well which made it special. PLUS, I recieved a note from fellow author Pat Hubbard (AKA C. C. Harrison) telling me she loved Whispers. How good can one day be?

There days like today when I feel very special and even though I've only just begun on my own journey, I will, in fact, arrive.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

RT Fun

Well, just got back from the Romantic Times Book Convention at Daytona Beach. Wow, what an experience. It was my first time there and I was blown away. I'm used to RWA Nationals which are always a lot of fun, but they are nothing like RT. The parties, lord, the parties. I didn't get there until Thursday night, but just in time for the vampire and pirate party. Drank and danced until one in the morning. Friday, guess what, more of the same. Went to the Fairy Ball as Brit Blaise's guest. I got to meet Billie Jo from Romance Junkies and Melissa from Joyfully reviewed and that was awesome! I wanted to kiss them both but didn't want to freak them out.

Then Saturday was the all day booksigning. (at least it felt like all day because they didn't feed us and the room was freezing.) I signed copies of Whispers and Echoes and met lots of readers. It was so cool. Then MacKenzie Mckade, me, Sylvia Day and Shelly Bradley all went out for a late lunch early dinner. Margaritas and talk about manly reactions had us giggling all the way to the Mr. Romance contest (where the men were not nearly naked enough for our tastes. ha ha) Then it was on to the Dorchester party which was much fun. But alas, the morning flights came very early. I was up at 5:30 making the drive from Daytona to Orlando for my flight. Arrived back at Arizona this afteroon. I feel like i crammed a week into a few short days.

But it was so much fun!

To all the readers I had the pleasure of meeting this weekend--you made it all worthwhile. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hometown happiness!

Almost forgot! On a happy note, I found out today that Whispers is the #1 seller for Borders Bookstores in my hometome of Gilbert Arizona. AND it's the ONLY fiction book that made the list. That made me very happy! It's good to be number one at home.

11 days later and I still can't believe it's May

This whole year has been a blur, but especially May. It's moving at rocket speed. I think it's because things have been very busy for me at my day job and I'm stressed that I won't get all the work done and then things have been very busy for me at my night job. I've been working and reworking the opening of my new book until now I'm so sick of it I can't stand the thought of reading it again. Isn't that sad?

Next week I leave for the Romantic Times convention. I'm looking forward to BEING there, but not to getting there. My flight will be long, the shuttle situation a nightmare and when it's all said and done I'll have spent 10 hours traveling. I'm no road warrior so this sounds like hell to me.
Anyway, I have about 25 minutes before my brain rebels and I completely shut down, so I think I'll try to tackle the sucky first chapter again. :-)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Round Robin..a day late, but maybe worth it?

if you want to catch up, Yoiu can read the last posts : Calista Fox’s blog here. And Read Kaia's installment here


As she watched the coffee drip into the pot, Leanne was overwhelmed by just how crazy this was. What was she doing in the kitchen--making coffee--with this man she didn't even know? He could be a rapist or a murderer or--she looked at his big blue eyes and dismissed that idea. There was a kind soul inside there. But wasn't that what they said about Ted Bundy too?

"Relax, Leanne," he said. "I'm not going to attack you."

Was she that obvious? And why not?

"Sorry, I'm just a little shook up," she said, giving a nervous glance to the ceiling over their heads.

Scared was probably more to the point, but she didn't say that. She'd always been this away--afraid to confront things that scared her. When they were little, it was Suzy who'd checked under the bed for monsters and in the closet for wild beasts. She should march upstairs, open that stupid trunk and be done with both the mystery and the man.

She looked at Aaron from the corner of her eye, not sure that was the solution she really wanted... Definitely crazy.

"How did you meet Suzy?" she asked.

"Fat Franks Tooney Salooney," he said, moving to her side to add cream to the cup she'd pulled from the cupboard. She got a whiff of soap and a light cologne that made her want to turn into him, bury her face in the crook of his neck and just breathe him in. With an inane laugh, she stepped away. Aaron gave her a strange look and a smile that made her chunky socks slip right down to her ankles.

"You met at a bar," she said, trying to stay with the conversation. "You're in a band?"

Of course he was. All of Suzy's men were in a band. She eyed his musculed biceps and broad chest, wondering what tatoos he might be hiding beneath his Bowling for Soup t-shirt.

He laughed at that, a deep rumbling sound that made her want to smile. "A band? No. I'm a teacher. Seventh grade science."

Leanne's jaw dropped and she gawked at him. When had seventh grade science teachers started looking like him?

Before she could say anything else, the phone upstairs began to ring again. It silenced them both and for a moment they stood still as statues, listening.

This was more than crazy. They had to open it up and see what was inside. Determined, she marched to the utility drawer in the kitchen and pulled out a flat head screwdriver and a hammer. She met Aaron's eyes for a moment, wishing he'd reach out and take them from her, but he didn't.

He trailed her silently upstairs and watched over her shoulder as she tried to first unscrew the fastener and then to wedge it free. The cell phone inside gave another ring and then silenced, but still she kept at it. Only after watching her struggled for a few minutes did he offer to help. Leanne handed the tools over, appreciating that he hadn't just assumed she'd be unable.

As he finally managed to pop the fastener open, the phone began to ring again. With renewed determination, they threw the lid back and looked inside.

"What the..." Aaron said softly.

At the bottom of the trunk was a blow up doll, dressed in a top and shorts Leanne recognized as belonging to her sister. The doll lay across a bag of unmixed concrete. The phone was taped to her hand. It ran again.

Leanne tore it free and almost shouted her sisters name into in her panic. "Suzy?"

Her sister answered, but with one word...


Friday, May 05, 2006

Round Robin

Okay, it's my turn for a post in the round robin. Kaia has left me in the kitchen with a hunky babe and a ringing phone in a trunk. Hmmm....where do I go from there. I'll have to delay my post for a bit until I figure THAT one out. In the meantime, if you want to catch up, Yoiu can read the last posts : Calista Fox’s blog here. And Kaia James most recent here.

Stay tuned. I feel inspiration coming on. Ha!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tell me it's not May!

I cannot believe it's already May. Where has the year gone? It's been such an exciting whirlwind, with the release of WHISPERS, the Desert Dreams conference and Romantic Times in just a few weeks.

I've been hard at work on my new book--I really like how the story is unfolding. I've stopped my forward progress for a while and am polishing up earlier pages because my agent tells me she has an editor who wants to see more.

WHISPERS is continuing to do well. I have recieved so many nice notes from readers. It totally makes my day to hear from someone who has enjoyed reading my stories. Hey, have you checked out my new contest for the month? Starbucks and Barnes & Noble gift cards and an autographed copy of ECHOES.

Well, back to work.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Where did it go?

I've been absent for a while--not sure where the days have gone. Last weekend was the Desert Dreams writers conference. The conference coordinators (Susan and Tina) did an incredible job putting it on and it was much fun. I met a lot of interesting people but I was exhausted when I returned home. AND last Friday Calista did the follow up to our story in progress. Kaia started the story here. Erin added some humor here. Kallie added some suspense here. You'll find Calista's piece of the action here.

I'm having website issues too. I've updated the pictures page but can't get them to show up. GRRR. stay tuned. I will get it fixed soon!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Chocolate and Champagne...

Yesterday I hosted a chocolate and champagne booksigning party. My good friend Judi Barker and her wonderful boyfriend Bob Fuhriman made the day more special than I can describe. Bob is the master chef behind Holbox Bakery and when I say master...well, I am talking the best of the best. He made truffles and cakes and a chocolate fountain and chocolate covered this and chocolate covered that. And the sculpture. Lord, you should have seen, it. In fact, you can see it. Click here for some pictures. Writers--if you're looking for something to make your booksigning the sweetest deal in town, send me an email and I'll put you in touch with Holbox. They are INCREDIBLE!!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006


The days are flying. Not sure how that happened but there you have it. I've been pretty true to my resolution so far. Working hard, enjoying my family, looking forward to the weekend. I'm hosting a chocolate and champagne party for friends and family this weekend and I'm excited about it. I have a good friend whose wonderful and talented significant other is also a chef who makes fabulous chocolates and cakes. He's making all the sweets for the event. (Also co-owners of Holbox Bakery who does my chocolate baskets.)

Anyway, should be fun.

I woke up early to do some writing, but my husband is pounding on the office window wanting me to go outside and enjoy the early morning with him. Sigh, what's a conflicted writer to do?

Sunday, April 09, 2006


So I'm coming up on another milestone (the dreaded birthday) and much as I wish I could just pretend it wasn't so the day will no doubt come, be marked by my family, and go, leaving me a year older, a little more wrinkled and hopefully, somewhat wiser.

I've been incredibly stressed these past few weeks, worrying about the birth of my baby, WHISPERS. Worrying that my readers won't love it, worrying about reviews, just worrying, worrying, worrying about things which, at this point, are no longer in my control. So the reviews have already started to come in, and they've been great. (check them out on and WHISPERS has been solidly anchored in the top 50 to top 100 sales on B& and still I worry. Why is this?

Well, I think I hit a point where that question finally penetrated my fat head and I didn't have an answer. But I do have a solution of sorts: stop. All the other stuff, not in my control. All I can do is write my next book, make it the best book I've ever written (which, just between us, I think IS the best I've ever written.) and enjoy life a little more.

So that's what I intend to do. It's a new year's resolution--the new year being my own--and I vow to bring a little more discipline into my life, which will eliminate much of the chaos. I vow to spend more time with my wonderful husband and beautiful daughters. I will cherish my friends and family and the wonderful life I've been blessed with. And I will write a great book without worrying and stressing over every word.

I'm a lover of country music and I've been singing Carrie Underwood's Jesus take the wheel all morning. I think that's a good note to close this post on. :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Story, Inc.

You guys really need to help us put a title to this sucker.

So guess what, it's that time. Friday story hour.

To read the beginning of the story, go to the Friday, March 31st entry on Kaia's blog:


The man dragging the trunk gave a shout and jumped nearly three feet, spinning in midair. Leanne stared, open mouthed as he came down facing her. He had on faded blue jeans that had worn clear through to skin in places, a Bowling for Soup T-shirt with 1985 written in bright pink across the chest and an attitude that had nothing to do with the here and now. He needed a hair cut and a shave . . . or maybe not. Fashion didn’t appear to be high on his list.
“You Leanne?” he asked, assessing her with the same critical thoroughness she gave him.
His question confirmed her suspicion. He belonged to her sister. Suzy was forever dragging home this same type of man—big, bold and rotten to the core. She couldn’t get enough of them even when they took her heart, her soul and usually her money. He snapped his fingers at her.
“You Leanne?” he repeated.
Me Tarzan, you Jane.
For the love of God.
“Why don’t we start with you,” Leanne said. “Get out.”
His mouth dropped open and his brows came together in surprise. He looked like he was trying to match her words up with their meaning.
“Let me see if I can make that clearer,” she said. “Get out now.”
His mouth snapped shut and he shook his head. “Suze said to meet her here.”
“Well Suze doesn’t live here. I do.”
A dark flush crept up his neck and his jaw clenched. For the first time since she’d seen the trunk disappear into Suzy’s old bedroom, common sense surfaced. It probably wasn’t wise to piss off the scary Neanderthal. She braced herself for irrational rage.
Instead she received an apologetic look from beneath lowered lashes. “I’m sorry,” he said. He had blue-gray eyes, eyes framed with thick dark lashes. They seemed luminescent in the dim lighting.
“Suzy gave me the key, told me she’d be here to meet me. . .”
He really looked sorry, too and somewhat hopeful.
“This used to be our parents house. Now it’s mine. I just never took her key away.”
“Christ,” he said, shoving his hair back from his face. He locked his fingers together on top of his head and exhaled. The action stretched his shirt over his broad chest, pulled the sleeves tight over his biceps and made Leanne suddenly, painfully aware that she was wearing her flannel Christmas pajamas, complete with frolicking reindeer and jolly snowman. She’d been too tired to take off her make up before going to sleep so no doubt it was smeared all over her face. And her hair—she stopped herself. Did she really want to consider what her hair looked like?
To be continued next Friday on Kallie Owen's blog... Hopefully you'll have helped us find a title by then....