Archive for May, 2010

Big Smiles

I am so honored to send you a link to the lovely review just posted for TEXAS TROUBLE at Cataromance.

Reviewer Donna was kind enough to say such generous things about the book, and, naturally, I’m thrilled. It’s always heart-in-throat time when you put your book-baby up for critique! Not every story is for every reader, and all writers know that. Still, it can really sting if the reviewer is unpleasant.

Today, I’m doing the happy dance!
Thanks, Cataromance!

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A computer glitch made it go up super late, but they’ve just posted my blog over at Tote Bags ‘n’ Blogs today. Naturally, I’m talking about Texas.

Do you have a cowboy story? Do you have one in your past, or in your dreams? Come by and share, and you’ll be entered in my “What is it about Texas” contest. Yes, that means you’ll be entered twice, if you’ve also posted here!

PS…I think it’s the hat. When they take two fingers and tilt that hat…. 🙂

Hope to see you over there soon!

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My daughter just alerted me to a big fuss over Neil Gaiman, who apparently recently received $45,000 for a speech to a Stillwater, Minnesota, library.

The speech, according to Gaiman’s own blog was about an hour long, followed by an hour’s Q&A, followed by two hours of meet-and-greet and photo ops. It was broadcast over Public Radio and was, as Gaiman put it, “the first in a series of talks by local authors in libraries outside of the Twin Cities.”

Four hours of his time. Neil Gaiman is a big deal. I mean, a BIG DEAL. He’s a good writer, a fun writer, and he’s an amazing speaker. I’ve never seen him in person, but I have watched his speeches on film, and I’ve heard him reading his own works on audiobooks, and he’s incredible. (He’s cute, too, and has an awesome British accent, though that’s obviously beside the point. )This is a prolific writer whose books have been ensconced on the NYT bestseller lists, sometimes for more than a year at a stretch. This is a writer whose Coraline was made into a film that got nominated for an Academy Award. And yet, lots of people apparently think the library shouldn’t have paid him that much money.

I’m feeling a little weird about this. On the one hand, I’m extremely, perhaps even overly, fond of libraries. I love them, and I worry about them, knowing how tight city budgets are these days. I keep my fingers crossed every day that the little local libraries will survive. I’m also as anti-government-waste as the next guy.

But listen to that word. Waste?

Would these same upset people consider it a waste to have a headliner ex-politician deliver a speech, for many times the price? Would they be shocked if they learned that some famous basketball player got a fat wallet for coming to town?

Yes, $45,000 is a lot of money, but…

The money came from something called the Legacy Fund, which, according to Gaiman’s site, is designated to help Minnesota’s parks, museums and arts.

So…what’s the fuss about, exactly? Are we offended that an artist would want to charge, and charge big, for his time? His insights? His energy? Isn’t it great for the Stillwater community to have a writer with this Wow Factor come to chat?? The suburbs are often overlooked by big names hoping to hit big cities and big crowds. Surely we want our children (and all our citizens of any age) to be excited about books, excited about literacy, excited about the library. Surely residents of any city would be proud to say their town has a robust, thriving arts community–just as much as they’d be proud to get a new basketball stadium.

On his blog, Gaiman explains that when he gets money “like this,” he gives it back out again to charities. Nice. And yet…it makes me uncomfortable to see that, as if he feels the need to answer to us about how he spends the money he earns, as if he’s committed some sin by taking it.

He works, and obviously works hard. He creates books people love. Passionately. He makes big money writing, and it costs him to take the afternoon off. If he’s going to do so, he wants to be paid for it. Is that so weird? Should he have to do penance for being successful by giving his money away?

The whole thing worries me. Do people still expect their artists to be lean and hungry, creating beauty out of pure passion and an altruistic desire to improve the world?

What do you think?

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LOL…is all caps maybe too much?  Sorry.  Whenever a new book is released, I’m like a little kid.  I want to sing and dance.  I want to stop people on the street to tell them about it.  I want to rain copies of the book down from a helicopter, like candy from a pinata!

Don’t worry.  I don’t do any of that.  I’ve matured since the early days, when I used to drive to every book store within about 50 miles, just for the joy of staring at my book on the shelf.

But there is one thing about the release date that still makes me giddy.  This is the day on which I start hearing from readers.  And that, in the end, is what writing is all about.  It’s about sharing our feelings about motherhood, and fatherhood and widowhood, and divorce and guilt and the rebirth of joy.  About in-laws and birds and Texas and haciendas.  About sex and tenderness and never letting the hope of True Love die.  About dancing and flowers and treasure hunts, and all the fun little moments that make up the story of Logan Cathcart and Nora Archer.

So I hope, obviously, that you’ll go buy a copy of Texas Trouble.  That would be exciting!  And even more exciting would be if you take a moment to email me and tell me what you think.

Meanwhile, may all the rain in your life be filled with romance and candy!

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Just in case you missed this, my friends, here’s a link to Eileen Dreyer’s wonderful CNN column!

I know everyone who reads or writes romances will join me in tipping the hat to this lady who is as good as explaining why she write these books as she is at writing the books in the first place!

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One of my best friends, who knows me so well, sent me a fascinating link today, to an article that tells the story behind the story of the new Vanessa Redgrave movie, “Letters to Juliet.”

She knows I have a dorky “Romeo and Juliet” obsession, which goes way back to my teenage years (and a hunky actor named Leonard Whiting…anyone remember him?) .

But what I found enchanting in the article was the story of Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero. When they starred together in “Camelot,” they had a love affair that resulted in a child. But then, according to this article, they went their separate ways. It wasn’t until decades later that they found each other again (figuratively speaking, I’m assuming, and neither one of them is exactly inconspicuous enough to get truly “lost”) and married in 2006.


Isn’t that just beautiful? I’m a sucker for reunion romances, for love lost and found. But then I wondered…why didn’t I know that? Why hadn’t I followed their relationship at all?

It’s obviously not that I consider myself too good to obsess about celebrity romances. (The number of factoids I possess about Daniel Day Lewis is a little scary even to me, and probably would make the poor man’s hair stand on end!) It’s just that Franco Nero, for all his electric-blue-eyed hunkiness, never quite captured my imagination.

I wonder why not? Of course, it didn’t help that Nero had to star in “Camelot” next to Richard Harris, who does capture my imagination, big-time.

So what is it? The writer in me really wants to know! Why can one actor, one hero, one character seem sent straight from heaven to one woman, and at the same time strike another woman as deadly dishwater dull? Is it the actors themselves? The way they look, talk, move? Or is it something you know about their private lives that either turns you on or puts you off? Is it the twinkle in their eyes? Or…is it the characters they play? I have to admit that if I’d never seen Daniel Day Lewis in “The Last of the Mohicans,” I probably would be much saner on the subject.

I’d love to know who you consider obsession-worthy, and why!

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Just wanted to alert you that The Romance Dish has a wonderful blog today about Superromance.  They’re specifically mentioning three of our awesome writers, Kay Stockham, Beth Andrews and Sarah Mayberry.  I hope you’ll stop by and say hi to these fabulous ladies and this terrific blog!

Oh, and don’t forget that Texas Trouble will hit the bookstores in just a few days! I hope you’ll check it out!

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