Thursday, August 30, 2007

Website Revamp

Back in January I talked about intending to update my website and revamp it to bring it more into line with what I'm doing now -- which you may have noticed is not cowboys.

So my webmistress and I began to talk. My notion of "tweaking" turned into her notion of "that's not what I call tweaking" and so we went back to the drawing board to come up with a new design. We are almost there.

I'm comforted somewhat by the thought that website changing can take even longer than writing a book. Who knew? And it's not all finished yet, but the basics are there and will be up on September 1st. The blog should be getting a "new look" then, too, if all goes well.

And, of course, Spence and Theo are in contest mode and have come up with a contest that Spence is quite pleased with. It's called "Romancing the Boss." (Can you see why Spence is pleased?) and I think it will be fun. Of course it's in honor of his book, The Boss's Wife For A Week. But it's also to celebrate the new look. (Don't tell him that!)

We're still working out prizes, but it should be worth entering. It will open on Sept 1 and end Sept 30. So drop by the website sometime in the month of September and enter.

Be patient for some of the content because it won't all be up right away. But if you don't see something and you think it needs to be there, drop me a not via the "contact Anne" link and I'll see what I can do.

Seb wants to know when he gets a contest. I told him he needs a book first, so he'd better get to work.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Filling the box . . . and challenges

Those of you who were here a month or so ago may remember my "box" out of which I've been writing Sebastian and Neely.

I've been adding to it as I've done research. It now has pix of a great place in the Napa Valley to have a wedding (not theirs!) and an interview with a local resident who lives where I want them to live. It has more notes from my architect friend. It has several maps and reminiscences of early trips to San Francisco that I took when I was in college.

That's the thing about writing. Nothing is ever wasted. My other box is my brain -- all the memories and emotions and ideas that have been bouncing around in there for longer than I like to think. All of it is grist for the mill. But now I have a new place to put it -- my external box.

And I like it because I don't think, "Hey, that's a great idea," and then promptly forget it again. I toss it in the box and periodically I go through the box and discover things I've forgotten that really are surprisingly good ideas and actually help fill in empty spots in the plot.

The plot itself is coming together, but the focus is shifting a bit. It's the "Presents" influence, I suppose. It's the same story with a different emphasis. I'm not sure about it yet. We'll have to see how it goes. It's taking more time, though, I know that.

When one of my boys was little he had a lazy eye and they patched the good one so he'd look out of the other one and strengthen it. Frankly that's what it feels like I'm doing in this book.

My natural inclination is to do it one way -- which is not precisely "the Presents way" though I would say it's "the McAllister way."

I don't yet know how I feel about doing it with this different focus. We shall see. I'm willing to give it a shot because it's a challenge as a writer. Will it be as good a book? I dearly hope so.

Keep your fingers crossed. I can't -- I'm holding the baby.

And trying to write the book.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Doting Grandmothers

I promise I won't do this again. Well, not often. There's just something about babies that brings out the camera in me.

I didn't even take this picture. Ellie's other grandma did. Or her other grandpa. Doesn't matter. It's my desktop wallpaper now. I hate covering it up so I can write my book, but I suppose I'm going to have to.

Actually I'm going to be doing both, looking at it -- and her in person! -- and writing.

I'm off to be grandma for about 10 days, so if I don't appear regularly, you'll know what I'm doing. My editor expects that it is not all I will be doing -- that I will be working on Seb and Neely as well.

I promise I will.

I've also been working on maps for the website. I made a really cool one which my webmistress assures me that no one will want. And she's probably right -- but I like it.

If you like to play with , Google Earth let me know and I'll send you a link to it.

In the meantime, I'm off to pack. Behave yourselves while I'm gone. I'll be checking in.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cleaning House

I am supposed to be updating my website with the new software that is supposed to be allowing me to do it. But the new software has caused my computer to crash 4 times, and when I called support what they told me to do so terrified me (it was those warnings about "back up your hard drive first or you will be sorry" in big red letters. Not to mention the fact that it was a DOS program that wanted to know if I wanted to read it in English or Japanese. Then proceed, it said. Yeah, right.) that I chickened out and called Fred, my friendly computer guru who is going to save me.


So in the meantime, I wrote some on Seb and cleaned my house. Mostly I cleaned out two cupboards that have old LPs in them. Remember records? I was amazed at how many we have. Even more I'm amazed at how many we have that aren't mine. I called my daughter and said, "Do you recognize this?" And read her off names that meant nothing to me. She waxed nostalgic for her '80s rock and for her Janos Starker and her Pablo Casals cello albums. What a girl who listens to that was doing with Metallica is something I don't want to think about too closely. She obviously has broader musical taste than her mother whose LPs ranged between the Beatles and folk music with some Haydn cello concertos thrown in. Oh, and a little Faron Young and Merle Travis.

It was definitely a trip down memory lane. The question is: what am I going to do with them? Ebay? A trip in the dark of night to the nearest charity store to drop them surreptitiously by the door and run because I'm afraid they won't take them otherwise?

Suggestions, anyone? Kate H, I'm sure you'll have good ideas. You're a music person.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Our newest heroine

Remember yesterday when I said things were busy around here?

Well, mostly they were busy at the hospital where a certain little girl was on her way to being born.

Our second granddaughter and newest heroine -- Ellie -- arrived at a little after 1 a.m. this morning.

Her mom and dad are exhausted. Her other grandparents are exhausted. These grandparents are exhausted. Even the dog is stressed.

Not Ellie.

As you can tell, Ellie seems perfectly content, snuggled in Dad's arms.

It feels almost like the coda, that last scene at the end of a happily ever after book -- the arrival of a baby, a promise of joy to come.

And it is -- but in another way it's a brand-new beginning.

Welcome to the world, Ellie! We're so glad you're here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Eamon's greek cousin?

You may recall that Abby Green sent me a sheep post card from Ireland a few weeks back. She says his name is Eamon. I think he's a very handsome sheep. Abby doesn't say what she thinks.

But she has recently returned from a trip to Greece and has sent me a "post card of Eamon's cousin Stavros." I expected, as you might imagine, a Greek sheep.

But in fact I have a Greek gentleman of sorts -- an alpha hero, mayhap? -- with an Irish stamp on him. Apparently the Greeks do not see fit to put their sheep on post cards.

Inasmuch as there is a lot going on around here right now and I don't have time to be creative, and Spence and Sadie are busy doing filing -- or whatever it is they do behind locked doors -- I'm going to simply post Stavros.

He does have the look of an alpha hero. There is a lot of character in that face.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sadie's turn

Yes, I'm here. And I'm organized.

And Spence is lucky to have me.

I think he's beginning to realize that.

Well, he always knew it when it came to WORK -- but he didn't seem to think that there was such as thing as "real life." Now he knows better.

He's off in Timbuktu or someplace right now, and I've been working with Anne to try to put together a contest. He rings me every once in a while with an idea. But Spence is all about the big picture, not the details. He'd forget to end it.

So Anne has called Theo and he's going to drop by and we're going to talk about it next week. He has a lot of ideas, too. He still thinks he's Mr Contest after he put together the "Here Come the Grooms" contest. (He doesn't seem to realize that Martha and the other gals put together the "Here Come the Brides" contest first). Ah, men.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and I hope you'll enjoy our book, The Boss's Wife For A Week, when it finally hits the shelves. Kate H and Abby G seem to have got their copies through the mail and liked it -- so that makes me happy.

Just being back to visit with you all makes me happy.

And I did NOT alphabetize my stuffed animals. Sheesh!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm Ba-a-a-a-a-ck!


Long time, no see. It's me, Spence. I'm back.

And about time, too, I'd say. Seems like forever since Anne turned me loose on her blog -- or left me to my own devices and went off to Alabama and made merry at her son's wedding in Montana and generally didn't do what authors are supposed to do -- which is WRITE!

But as you'll recall, she finally finished the damn book -- nearly a year ago. It's called The Boss's Wife For A Week, in case you don't know it. And I'm the hero of it, in case you don't know that either.

And last yea
r, while Anne was working on it, sometimes she got so busy or so frustrated, she threatened dire things and couldn't be trusted near a computer, so I got to blog in her place. She actually didn't think I would do it, but I showed her. I blogged for three months! Not every day, of course. Some of us have lives, McAllister.

Anyway, once my book was out of her hair, she banned me from the office. She said it was off limits. She let bloody Theo in, though, I notice. And I reminded her of that. And she said I could come back when my book was out.

And now, AT LAST,
it's making its way to the shelves. In fact she tells me that the Mills & Boon site (whatever that is) already has copies for sale. And she says Kate Hardy already has hers. And I know Abby Green has hers because she thinks I'm wonderful.

"Better than Eamon?" I asked. "What do you think?" Abby said.

Well, of course I'm better than Eamon. We all know that. McAllister knows it, too, but she won't admit it to me. She says she can't play favorites, that it's like playing favorites with your children. I wouldn't know about that.

But Sadie would sa
y I'm better than Eamon. Definitely. No question.

And Sadie . . . well, Sadie is -- Sadie.

And what a wringer she put me through while we were getting this book down on paper. I thought I knew her! My best buddy Danny's kid sister. Smart as a whip. Most organized person I ever met. When she was six she alphabetized her stuffed animals. I know. I've known her since she was a little kid, for heaven's sake.

You'd think there wouldn't be many surprises. You'd be wrong.

Sadie is full of surprises. And she'll be here tomorrow to tell you just how wrong I was. She takes a lot of pleasure in that. Too much, I'd say.

She just laughs when I say that.

She says she's the one who's going to be organizing the contest. She thinks I don't do detail well, that I'd screw it up. I do detail fine -- well, except one. A guy can make one mistake, can't he?

Can't he????

Besides, it's not that it mattered in the end. In fact, we might not have got to the end quite as satisfactorily without me doing what I did. (Sadie says if I can get you to believe that, she's got an ice machine in Antarctica she'd like to sell you).

Sometimes Sadie can get a little cranky.

But I'm keeping her. And not just for the week, either. Forever.

That's what they should have called our book. None of this The Boss's Wife For A Week nonsense. Sadie is going to be The Boss's Wife Forever.

And so what if, like McAllister says, it sounds like there's no conflict in it?

There's conflict. PLE
NTY of conflict. Not to mention a pretty damn gorgeous island. And Sadie. And a bed. And Sadie. And a shower. And Sadie.

But, as Sadie says, it's the end that matters. Truth to tell, though, getting there wasn't bad either.

Though frankly I think that much conflict is highly over-rated.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Clearing the Decks

I had intended to be deep into Sebastian and Neely by now. But I've begun to realize something about me and writing anymore: I don't multi-task as well as I used to.

Or maybe I multi-task if the other tasks aren't "head" tasks and I can think about the book while I'm doing them. Vacuuming springs to mind. Or cleaning the oven. Or mowing the lawn. And walking the dogs is positively guaranteed to get me thinking about the book.

But the "tasks" I've got to deal with in multiples at the moment are also "head" tasks -- like writing a review and finishing an exam, transcribing and abstracting a will, proposing a plan for futher research, and doing a problem analysis and creating yet another research plan for a genealogical query I've been given (part of a course I'm finishing).

So . . . I have spent the last two days clearing the decks -- working on the review article, finishing the exam (done! Got 100%. Yea!), transcribing and abstracting, analyzing and creating the research plan. It's taken most of the day today, a chunk of yesterday and, with luck, I'll be done by tomorrow.

THEN Seb and Neely get my undivided attention -- except, of course, for the blog and the website (revamping progresses) and the Pink Heart columns and a week on eharlequin talking about Romances With The Boss. Or something like that. I forget the title of it. I'll let you know -- and maybe you can come visit when I get a link.

Not to be too conscientious, I spent a little time on YouTube. In case you haven't seen it, there is a great bit of Norwegian comedy about the Medieval Helpdesk.

And of course I had to spend a bit of time soaking up various tributes to Mads Mikkelsen.

It actually makes me wish I could speak Danish.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another thing about Kate . . .

Besides the 50 odd or more things that are wonderful about Kate Walker, is that she has a big mouth. And she announced to the world that I'm having a birthday today.

Or at least she announced to her blog-readers (which might as well be the world!) that it's That Day. And a bunch dropped by to wish me a happy day. So thanks to all of you who have come from Kate's! Glad to have you.

And Biddy, The Bourne Ultimatum is definitely worth it!

We went back and watched the DVD of The Bourne Identity after we came home. Should have re-watched before we went. But it's worth going back through them all to keep the whole three film story arc in your head. If you're like me -- and can't remember the plots of even books I've written! -- such refreshers are a real necessity.

Now I need to track down a copy of The Bourne Supremacy and re-watch that.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm Up!

This is apparently my weekend for blog appearances.

My first piece as a regular columnist is on the Pink Heart blog today.

And I've just had an email from Kate Walker saying that my blog piece in honor of her 50 books is up on her site as well.

I guess that means I don't have to write one here as I can send you all to look at what I've written there. Right?

Good. Because I've just come back from watching The Bourne Ultimatum and I need time to recover from all those chases.

I've enjoyed all the Bourne movies. And now I can say I've seen the rooftops of practically every large city in Europe. The logistics of filming a movie like that are simply mind-boggling. More power to them, whoever did it. And thanks. It was a great couple of hours of escapism.

At least I hope it was escapism.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Spence and Sadie's Excerpt

It's up!

The excerpt from Spence and Sadie (aka The Boss's Wife For A Week) has made it onto my website.

No pic of the cover because my webmistress has been under the weather, but you've seen it here. It will get up there when the revamp of my website goes up around the 1st of September. I'm looking forward to that. It's been a long time coming -- and it won't be complete then, but the basics will be up and the framework.

So we're making progress.

I sent the corrections to Flynn and Sara's galleys back today, so that's out of my hair. And I got the excerpt up, and a new home page letter written, and the library books returned, and the course work for my US migration patterns course finished. And I am past Wickham and Lydia's wedding in Mr Darcy's Diary.

I've had a busy day.

I love Mr Darcy's Diary. The way Amanda Grange gets inside his head and lets readers see how Darcy changes is extraordinarily impressive. And it is so totally in character. I love this book.

I've read bits and pieces of it out loud to my husband, who teaches Major British Writers. He has added it to his bibliography of extra books his students may want to have a look at. I hope lots of them do. Thank you, Amanda, for a wonderful read.

Tomorrow it's time to throw myself at Seb and Neely again. They've had a week off while I got everything else caught up. I still have my review to write, but the rest of it is done. So, Seb and Neely, be forewarned. I expect lots of words and actions from you.

I see that Kate's blog party is drawing to a close. I believe this means that the piece I wrote a while ago will be making its appearance. If you haven't stopped by, you must, just to read Michelle Reid's wonderful ode to their friendship.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Up to my eyeballs

I thought things were smoothing out and I had fewer writing commitments and I could, glory be, spend fulls days with Seb and Neely.

Um, no.

I have to put up an excerpt for Spence and Sadie by tomorrow night on my website. I'm not going to get their new cover on my website, but the excerpt will be there. And the cover (UK paperback version) will be here. The actual book, in case you ever go looking for it, is called The Boss's Wife For A Week. But you knew that, didn't you?

The reason the excerpt has to go up is that I am writing the FinDaBoo entry on The Pink Heart Society blog for Saturday (which is still Friday here when it actually goes up) and I said I would have it up by then. Sooooo . . . on Saturday and thereafter, feel free to check it out.

The FinDaBoo piece is written, so drop by also on Saturday and check it out on The Pink Heart blog.

I have a review of the software Family Historian to finish by August 15th. I have a course that ends later this month that I need to write some material for. I have two pieces for The Pink Heart to get done before the end of the month.

And, oh yes, I have a book to write.

So I wrote to Spence and invited him and Sadie back to blog while their book is on the shelves. They were off in Fiji again, but they have promised to come. Spence blogged here last spring when I was working on his book. The days I wanted to throw something at him, he turned up and deflected my fury by taking over the blog. This time around he's going to have to take over so I can get some work done.

Theo has promised to give him tips about a contest. He's thinking maybe "Here Comes The Boss." We'll see.

Remember when I said I was going to revamp my website. Well, work has been going on in the background over the past 6 months (we don't want to do anything in a hurry, do we?) And it looks as if it will make its debut around 1 September.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Maps, Maps, Maps

If you were reading this blog last year in May, you might remember the map cabinet.

Anyway, May is when the glorious map cabinet came to live here and house the many and varied maps and paintings and oversized whatnots that are flat.

It has done an admirable job, and I still love it now as much as I did when it first came home. I probably love it more, in fact, because it makes things so much easier to find.

But it also provides temptation. It has space (a bit at least), and now when I find maps, I know there is room for them. I've been resisting recently. Or I had been resisting until tonight.

Tonight I was pointed in the direction of a site called Historic Map Works which completely undermined my resolution.

Yes, they are reprints. But they are glorious reprints. And, let's face it, I can't possibly afford the originals of a lot of maps I want to peruse.

Even better, right now you can access all their maps for free online! They are a subscription site, apparently, but until the end of August, it seems, anyone who wants to can look at all the available maps.

So I did.

In fact I spent the whole evening looking at maps. Seb and Neely were not best pleased.

But I've been trying to track down a map of landowners of Fayette and Lavaca counties in Texas for ages now. And while these aren't as early as I would like, they're a great place to start. And so I gave in to temptation and not only looked at them online, I ordered copies. At $4.99 apiece, they seem well worth it.

I also found wonderful bird's eye views of some of the places we've lived a hundred or more years before we lived there. And I found a great railroad map of Texas from 1871. And I found a map of the place we live now when it was still a field. Pretty neat stuff.

The map cabinet is happy. I'm happy. And if you like maps, you will probably be happy to check out Historic Map Works, too.

And Kate H, if you should check it out, it does mostly have US maps, but there are some English maps. Not enough. But maybe they'll get more. Hope so.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mr Darcy's Diary

On Kate Walker's never-ending blog party (and believe me, I'm not complaining), I won a copy of Amanda Grange's seriously tempting Mr Darcy's Diary.

It arrived in the post this afternoon. And I tried to resist.

Really. I did.

But how can a red-blooded woman resist Mr Darcy lying on her desk?

Well, this woman couldn't.

So I dipped in. And I was immediately enchanted. There he was, writing his inmost thoughts, capturing so clearly the man behind the words we read in Pride and Prejudice. It's tricky to capture anyone else's voice. But to dare to do it for such a famous beloved man as Fitzwilliam Darcy (not to mention such a famous beloved woman as the lady who wrote him in the first place) is risky indeed.

I haven't got very far in it yet, but I do believe Amanda has pulled it off. I can hear Darcy's voice. I can feel his responsibility, his apparent detachment which gradually gets undermined.

I am going to have trouble spending the requisite time with Seb and Neely tomorrow, I can tell. They are fun (especially now as Seb is having a close encounter with the bay) but Darcy is calling to me. And he's already written. It takes so much less effort to enjoy him than to enjoy Seb (even in a towel).

So, thank you, Amanda, for the temptation you have sent my way. I'm enjoying it immensely. And thank you, Kate, for having so many wonderful friends who write so many wonderful books that now my TBR pile is higher than EVER.

And especially, thank you to Max Ravenscar, the Heyer hero who won me my very own copy. In his honor I named a character in Seb's book Max.

Max has come very close to stealing the story. Oh, dear. Bad Max.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Connecting Books

As a writer who has frequently written books which grew out of other books, and who sometimes feels as if I've created an alternative universe out there, I also enjoy reading such books.

I'm not one of those people, though, who feels I need to read them in order and need to wait until all of them are written so that I can finally "begin."

I used to get emails and letters from readers though, especially when I was working on the Code of the West books for Silhouette, who wanted to know how many books there would be and when I would be finished so they could start reading.

They'd wait for sixteen books until they would start reading? Ye gods.

I never really understood that approach. Frankly I wouldn't want to read 16 of my books in a row (or anyone else's, either), and I certainly wouldn't want to read them in one fell swoop. I like a little space in my reading world -- and I like to introduce other worlds into my life.

But I always felt a little guilty writing back to readers and saying, "Um, I don't know. I am not sure when I'll be done and I don't know how many there will be. This is not a trilogy with an overarching plot covering all three books. This is more like life. And in life you just don't know what's going to happen next."

Still, that was pretty much the truth.

When I started writing Cowboys Don't Cry I knew I would like to write the story of all three Tanner brothers. But I had no guarantee that I would be able to do so or that they would want them if I did. So we agreed that I would do one book, and then we would see. Fortunately they decided they wanted more. And more. They wanted them clear up to The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle.

But then I needed to fulfill contractual obligations to Harlequin Presents ( readers had been waiting for Nathan for 2 years!). And since I write fairly slowly, I ended up just staying with Presents and never went back to do more Silhouettes.

Still, the desire has lingered. But by the time I was ready to write another Code of the West, Silhouette had moved on. Desire is now publishing more or less the same sort of books with the same sort of focus that Presents is doing -- though the emphasis is somewhat different.

Even so, it made sense to stay with Presents even though Flynn and Sara's book spins off The Great Montana Cowboy Auction (which you do not have to read first!).

So, for those who have been with me for years, yes, Flynn and Sara's book is a sort of Code of the West book. But it's also a Presents. And if you want to keep an eye out for it, it will be coming next spring, entitled One-Night Love Child. Disclaimer: not my title.

That said, I can see the editor in London now, who used to have to schedule my Code of the West books, rubbing her hands together gleefully and saying, "At least it's not another cowboy title!"

Cowboys, she used to tell me, don't sell in Britain. The term is pejorative there.

Tell that to Americans. Sigh.

I'm reading a connecting book right now, which is what made me think about this. It's called Games of Pleasure and it is the middle book of three (and I haven't read the first or the last). It's by Julia Ross, whom I used to read when she wrote as Jean Ross Ewing. I'm so glad to have found her again.

Games of Pleasure is a terrific book -- fascinating characters, multiple layers of plot, great emotional entanglements. An all around wonderful story. I have tracked down the third book and am looking for the first. But that's gravy. The book is a great stand-alone read.

I think most writers try to make sure that's the case with every book they do. I know I did with all my linked books. I'm flattered when people go looking for the others. But I'm always at pains to tell them, you don't need to read all of them to have a complete reading experience. Each book stands alone.

The truth is, I couldn't possibly remember all the bits and pieces if I had to knit them through every book. They exist in the world on account of my cheat sheet. But I can't possibly juggle plot elements from more than one book at a time. I'm lucky if I can get one book satisfactorily down on paper so that it makes sense. Then I go for another.

To me it makes sense to read them the same way.

If you want to enjoy a really good read, try Games of Pleasure. I'm sure the first and third books in this series would enrich your experience of it. But don't hesitate to read it by itself. The book certainly stands alone. It's wonderful.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Living History

I took the day off today to go visit with my 99 year old cousin.

Officially she's my first cousin once removed. I don't pay much attention to that because it doesn't mean much to me. But she means everything. She's so alive. So vibrant. So eager.

She was certainly all set to go out with us when my mother (a youthful 87) and I arrived. So we headed over to the one restaurant in town "to beat the crowd."

There are probably less than 1000 people in this town. The restaurant was very very crowded. And not because it's the only one there (which it may be). It's crowded because it's a great place to go and the food is super.

So is the town. It's a small picture perfect Iowa town where, every time I go to have lunch with her, I look around and think how much I would like to take all my overseas visitors there. To the whole town, of course, but to this restaurant in particular.

It's so quintessentially American with its old pressed tin ceiling and its old fancy carved wooden bar with the mirror behind. It's so down to earth. So local. There are always plenty of farmers coming in to grab dinner when they're at the supply store or at the welding shop or hardware store. There are lots of kids with baseball caps. It's a place where you can a real made-to-order hamburger with whatever you want on it. Or you can get the full roast beef dinner special for $5.50. And if you ask for a glass of water, the waitress actually remembers to bring it before she runs off to grab the next orders.

It goes without saying that the food was great. And, of course, my cousin knows 85% of the people in there. She used to know them all. But there have been a few newcomers in recent years and she doesn't get out quite as much.

She still plays bridge, though. And bingo. And she keeps up the family albums and can tell you exactly when each of her six brothers and sisters got married and to whom (well, most of them married her husband's sisters and brothers). She has pictures of four and five generations of family on her walls, on her shelves, on her bookcases. And she can tell you the name of every kid, grandkid, great-grandkid and great-great grandkid, every aunt, uncle and cousin, every niece and nephew.

My mother said, on the way home, "My, she has a big family, doesn't she?"

"She does," I said, "And so, by extension, do you."

My mother blinked as if she hadn't quite thought about that. But of course, it's true. She's related to them all. So am I. So, probably, are you.

That's the great thing about family. It's infinitely expandable. There's always room for one more -- or a dozen more. Or more than that. It's all about personal connections and acknowledging them as such. Pushed far enough I suppose it really encompasses the whole world.

Works for me.

Anyway, it was a great day. I love visiting her. And, believe me, I'll be going back to celebrate her 100th birthday next June!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Columnists R Us

One of the great sites on the internet about category romance is The Pink Heart Society.

It was the brain child of Irish author, Trish Wylie, who began it almost a year ago with the help of other category authors, Natasha Oakley, Ally Blake and Nicola Marsh. They were joined a few months later by Jenna Bailey-Burke.

It's a reader and writer friendly place where anyone who loves category books will immediately feel at home. There are great blogs every day -- from the Male on Monday pieces (some serious and prolonged ogling is often necessary) to Friday Night Film Night and every day in between, The Pink Heart offers its participants great reading, super suggestions, helpful reviews, splendid camaraderie, and lots of laughs.

Now they are offering even more -- five regular columnists, of whom I am delighted to have been asked to be one. We will be doing one or two pieces a month regularly, starting on August 3rd when Australian author Annie West steps in to take on a Friday Night film.

She will be followed by Fiona Harper with a blog about the PHS Diet Club next week. A week from Saturday I am writing about the PHS FinDaBoo project (those of you familiar with NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month, will recognize the similarity in topic -- Finish Da Book. Or Finish The Damn Book, whichever you please). The FinDaBoo group isn't trying to do it in a month. But they are trying to Get It Done. I empathize.

The following week Blaze author, Samantha Hunter, will be talking about her favorite category romance. And at the end of the month, Kate Walker will be doing the same thing.

We've got projects lined up until the end of September. Stop by for a visit as often as you can.

By then I should be finishing Sebastian, too. I started him today.

Fingers crossed.