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Here is your winner !

I’m so excited to see FOUR Harlequin SuperRomance books in the list of finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s big award, the RITA. ย You know what the RITA is, right? ย It’s like the Oscar for romance writers, and it’s a tremendous honor.

Okay, I’d be even more excited if I’d been a finalist, too :), but this year belonged to these four great women, all superb authors:

Sarah Mayberry, forย HER KIND OF TROUBLE

Tara Taylor Quinn, for ONCE A FAMILY

Emilie Rose, for STARTING WITH JUNE

Liz Talley, for THE SWEETEST SEPTEMBER

Be sure to check out the SuperRomance blogย to read more about these great books!

If you’d like to know more, check out the SuperRomance blog at

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Prueba1675Hi, everyone! I bet you’re in the same boat I am…already losing the “New Year’s Resolution” marathon and struggling to get your chores and work done so that you can read a good book!

So far 2014 has offered me very little time to sit and read, which is always frustrating. But I just got lucky! I received my packet of RITA contest submissions in the mail, and now my job IS to read! I always find a few gems in my judge packet, and I can’t wait to settle down and “work.”

I hope you get lucky, too–and someone hands you the perfect excuse to sit down, get comfy, and read. If you come across any wonderful books, remember I’m always looking for a recommendation!

And if you haven’t picked up THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND yet, hop over to Amazon and get your copy! The fourth in the Bell River Ranch series, SECRETS OF BELL RIVER RANCH, will be out in May, so you don’t want to fall behind, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND COVER FRONT ONLY

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Big blue monsterThis is my official “start panicking” day. I leave for RWA, the national Romance Writers of America conference, on Wednesday, and, as always, I’m NOT READY.

Not even close.

Why?

I’ve known for months that I was going. Back when I signed up, I was so excited. This time, I told myself, I’d be super pro-active, super organized. I’d exercise and diet and get a great haircut and make promotional materials. I’d email all my long-distance writing buddies and make plans to meet. I’d buy fabulous clothes and shoes and costume jewelry. I’d be waaay ahead on my deadlines. I even thought I’d clean my office and house, grow long fingernails, and learn to dance.

Did I do any of that?

Of course not.

Especially the shopping. Truth is, I’m positively terrified by conference shopping. All that pressure. All that money. All those decisions.

Just yesterday I was at the mall for hours and hours, trying to make up for lost time, and ended up leaving with nothing, practically shaking from the chaos and stress of trying to decide which purse went with which dress, and whether I had the perfect earrings for everything.

hand in shoeAnd, oh, the shoes! Don’t get me started on shoes! My mother ended up practically crippled from bad feet and bad shoe choices, so I’m a bit neurotic about always wearing comfortable shoes.

Ordinarily I just give a raspberry to anyone who doesn’t like it. I am a dedicated walker, and I don’t intend to let anything get in the way of that. I’ll be looping my neighborhood and walking trails when I’m a hundred and fifty, so take that, genetic doom!

But at conference time, when everyone is buying “cute” shoes, I hate my comfortable ones. HATE them. I spend hours cruising the shoe department, picking up shiny ones, glittery ones, colorful ones, spiky ones, wedgy ones, rhinestoned ones, strappy ones, flowery ones…and then putting them back down with a sigh, remembering my mother’s miserable hammer toes.

shoe in glassToday, I’ll go out again and start the process all over. In the end, I will stick with my sensible shoes, because conference is a week, and the ghost of my mother’s misery is Forever. But I’ll be jealous every time I see darling shoes, and that’s a fact! ๐Ÿ™‚

(Hey…here’s a coincidence! Check out the cute shoe-shopping blog from Mia Marlowe at the Jaunty Quills today. She hates shoe shopping, too, but even she has found an adorable pair for conference!!!)

How about you? Where do you stand on the Great Shoe Question?

Do you own any darling shoes that are ALSO comfortable?

Any suggestions for me? ย I leave for the mall in about an hour… ๐Ÿ™‚

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fireworks postcardHappy Fourth of July, everyone! I hope your plans are either super exciting or super relaxing, depending on what your heart craves today!

Over at Jaunty Quills this morning, I’m blogging about seizing the day–about grabbing a joy and cherishing it, even if you know it can’t possibly last. Would you do that? Or would you rather play it safe, and avoid the heartache of losing the joy later?beach postcard 2

I hope you can stop by and tell me what you think.

One poster will win a copy of BETTING THE COWBOY! So if you can hop out of the pool long enough to check out the blog, I’d love to see you there!

Meanwhile, be careful when you light those candles…brief or otherwise! ๐Ÿ™‚

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I hate starting a new book.

I’m probably not supposed to say that. First Rule of Social Media Club seems to be “Never talk about negativity.”

StubbornBut darn it. I hate starting a new book.

I’ve sold forty books. It ought to be a snap, right? Nope. I’m scared to death every time. What if I can’t think of anything new? What if the characters are just finger puppets? What if the plot’s too stale, or too thin, or too impenetrable? What if the well’s run dry, or the Muse has departed?

As I start out, I usually have names, a basic conflict, a theme-ish-sort-of-kind-of-idea-thing…and that’s about it. Obviously that’s not enough. I’m still a stranger in my own story. I wouldn’t know these people if I saw them on the street. I have no idea what they want, or how to help them get it.

blind man's bluffSo for some indeterminate, tortuous time, I stumble around with my hands out, feeling for walls and identifying markers, bumping into things like a kid playing Blind Man’s Bluff.

Yeah. Hate this part.

But apparently there’s no avoiding it. There’s only the hope of getting through it.

I’m just beginning the fourth book in my Sisters of Bell River Ranch series–a series I’ve loved so far. WILD FOR THE SHERIFF came out earlier this year, and I’ve received such nice mail about it from readers–hurray, hurray! betting on cowboy box of books
BETTING ON THE COWBOY
comes out in just a few days, and got a great 4.5-star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews. (Also hurray!) Book Three, THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND will be out in December, and is safely written and in my brilliant editor’s hands.

But now…now I have to start from scratch again. This fourth and final book in the series will be about the Secret Sister. The one Rowena, Bree and Penny didn’t ever know they had. I’ve been so excited about this book. Tess’s story always seemed like the “fun” one, the one I couldn’t wait to write.

Then it really was time to write it, and suddenly the enthusiasm evaporated. For the past two weeks, this “fun” book looked as terrifying, as dark and shadowy and fraught with unanswered questions as every other book I’ve ever written. Blind Man’s Bluff…and I was losing.

great ideaHere’s the great thing, though. Eventually, if I soldier on, allowing myself to bump and hunt and face the fears, I reach the “aha” moment. The blindfold comes off, the light flicks on, and suddenly I can *see* the story. The people. The places. “Ohhhh,” I say, blinking happily. “So that’s what you look like!”

Yesterday, at my critique group meeting, it happened. AHA! Tess Spencer is no longer just “the secret sister.” Her story is no longer a dark, shadowy landscape filled with half-perceived obstacles. out of focus man

And best of all, because I’m a hero-driven storyteller, Jude Calhoun isn’t just “The Hero.” They are both real people with fears and flaws and dreams and quirks.

And I like them. Whew! Hugs and kisses to my clever critique partners!

How about you? When you start something new, are you excited and invigorated–or intimidated, like me?

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betting on cowboy box of booksHi, ladies! Thank you all so much for stopping by and making me smile about cowboys yesterday! It was a wonderful break from revisions! ๐Ÿ™‚ The three randomly chosen winners this time are

EllenToo
MADerbin
Virginia C.

Congratulations! Please email me at KOBrien@aol.com so that I can get your snail-mail address, and which books you’d like!

I wish I could send books to everyone…and maybe someday I will! So don’t go too far…

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betting on cowboy box of booksMy author copies of my July Superromance, BETTING ON THE COWBOY, have arrived, and to celebrate I’m giving away one copy to someone who posts here today!

BETTING ON THE COWBOY is Bree’s story. She’s the middle Wright sister, the cool blonde who earned the nickname “Ice Maiden,” and probably would have kept it all her life…if it hadn’t been for Gray Harper, the bad-boy turned cowboy who is hot enough to melt even the coldest heart.

If you haven’t read Rowena’s story, WILD FOR THE SHERIFF, I’ll include one of those, too! Rowena, the oldest Wright sister, found love in the first book of The Sisters of Bell River Ranch series. Dallas Garwood, the guy she left behind–the one her crazy father shot–is now the sheriff of Silverdell, Colorado, and a divorced father of a little boy who is almost as irresistible as his dad! ๐Ÿ˜‰ You don’t need to have read WILD to enjoy BETTING ON THE COWBOY, but I love all the Wright sisters so much I don’t want to play favorites! ๐Ÿ˜‰
redman photo 107 horiz with bookHope to see you here soon! I’ll be doing revisions on THE RANCH SHE LEFT BEHIND, book three of the series. They’ll keep me pretty busy all day, so I’ll check back at midnight to pick the winner!

PS…Don’t you think this cover hero looks a little like Jake Gyllenhaal? I think this is a very, very good thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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