Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Valentine Gift

Last year (seems strange to be saying that!), I did my first literacy signing at RWA Nationals in Dallas. I was nervous and excited, as you can imagine, but I ended up having a whale of a time. Part of that whale of a time was because I sat next to another debut author, Linda Cardillo, whose photo is at the head of this blog. Linda's first book, Dancing on Sunday Afternoons, had just come out from Harlequin Everlasting Love. I've since read her book and she's an amazing writer, emotive, sincere, passionate. During our long evening together, I talked about inviting Linda to blog on the Banditas. I'm now delighted to introduce her to Banditas and friends. And as an extra bonus, she's brought along her friend Jean Brashear. Linda and Jean are contributors to a new Harlequin SuperRomance anthology The Valentine Gift which is out now.


Can you tell us a little bit about your stories in your new anthology The Valentine Gift? Are the stories linked? Did you have to collaborate on elements of the stories?


LINDA: Several years ago, my fingers wrinkled and numb from several hours of harvesting grapes on a rain-soaked hillside overlooking the Rhine river, I said to myself, “Someday I’ll write about this and it will all seem worth my aching, cold bones.” I had readily agreed to help a friend bring in her harvest my first autumn living in Germany, grateful for the assistance she’d offered me as a new arrival. It turned out to be much more than I had anticipated—physically exhausting but a challenging and exhilarating adventure. The Berlin Wall fell the following year, and I got caught up in what it meant for the people of both Eastern and Western Europe. When my editor at Harlequin called to invite me to participate in The Valentine Gift anthology, it seemed the perfect experience from which to craft “The Hand That Gives the Rose,” a love story set in a vineyard and challenged by duty, geography and political upheaval.


The stories in the anthology are linked simply by the element of Valentine’s Day. We didn’t collaborate, and I found it fascinating how each of us wove the meaning of a Valentine’s gift into our stories in such diverse ways.


We all love to hear about a writer's development. Could you please give us some background of your individual writing journeys and your path to publication?


LINDA: I have been making up stories since I could speak, it seems. I was one of those firstborn children who had an imaginary friend to entertain me when all around me were only boring adults. I began to write seriously in high school and was inspired and nurtured in college by one of my English professors. In my adult life, I filled notebooks with ideas as I made a living, first as an editor of college textbooks (psychology, engineering!! and history), then as an author of business texts in marketing and corporate policy. I took workshops and courses in creative writing, and after a few years, began teaching those workshops. Throughout this “apprenticeship” I continued to write and hold onto the goal of one day publishing fiction. I finished my first novel, Dancing on Sunday Afternoons, in the spring of 2000. I developed a very thick skin and an unwillingness to be defeated by “No” over the four years and twenty-five rejections it took me to find an agent who believed in me and loved my work. It took her another year and twenty-two rejections to find an editor who wanted to publish my book. I had once read that the difference between published and unpublished writers is persistence, and I stubbornly refused to give up.


JEAN: I was never one of those writers who knew from childhood that she wanted to be one. I was sorta in the slow class when it came to figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up. ;-) I've always been an avid reader--okay, book junkie. It wasn't until my youngest was about to graduate from high school and my beloved and I were having one of those "so what do we do with the rest of our lives?" conversations that I made a casual remark about how amazing it would be to see my name on the spine of a book...and, bless him, he challenged me to go for it. Went way beyond that, really, to be my staunchest advocate to this day.


Why do you write romance?


LINDA: I think I fell in love with romance as a teenager buried under the covers with a flashlight reading Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I’m a sucker for darkly troubled heroes who are healed by the steadfast love of strong, spirited women—like Tomas and Marielle in “The Hand That Gives the Rose.”


JEAN: With the above statement about the man I've been married to since I was twenty-one, need I say more?


What's coming up next for each of you?


LINDA: I am about to complete another Everlasting Love novel, set in Boston’s Little Italy, the North End, and narrated by three women for whom food is love, change, defiance and salvation. After that, I’ll be working on another novella for a Mother’s Day anthology.


JEAN: An Everlasting Love full-length novel, The Way Home, in July, then two NASCAR projects in November, a novella in the Harlequin NASCAR Christmas '08 anthology (A Family for Christmas) and a book in the 2008 NASCAR continuity, Secrets and Legends. My book is called Go With the Flow. (And how I got involved with NASCAR is a whole other story!)


What would be your ideal Valentine gift and why?


LINDA: The gifts I cherish the most from my husband are the words written in his own hand expressing his feelings for me and his appreciation for our life together. These gifts fill my soul.


JEAN: I don't need diamonds or chocolate or roses--what I treasure is time away from the world with the man I love.

Lovely answers, Jean and Linda. And Happy New Year to you both. Linda and Jean have generously donated TWO signed copies of The Valentine Gift to lucky commenters. So tell us, the Banditas want to know, what would be your ideal Valentine Gift?

57 comments:

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, can it be?

Anna Campbell said...

Man, you're quick of the mark, Miss J! I'm still trying to get the coloring right! Congratulations on that GR!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Jean, sorry, it begs the question - how DID you get tied up in NASCAR?

Jennifer Y. said...

:o) Thanks!

Wonderful interview! I love the SuperRomance books. I have never tried the Everlasting line, but think it is great that they will be part of the Super line rather.

I am not sure what my perfect Valentine gift would be. In actuality, I have never received one except from my parents. A stuffed bear they gave me as a teen when I was in the hospital on Valentine's Day has been my favorite gift. That bear has been with me for years and has seen me through some rough times. It meant a lot to me that they thought to get it to cheer me up.

So maybe my ideal gift would be one that is sentimental...one that meant something to both the giver and the receiver. I don't necessarily need a material gift...time, words of love, etc. would probably be worth more to me.

Jennifer Y. said...

That should read "part of the Super line rather than disappearing completely"

Oops.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL Anna - You stole my question. Jean, spill on the NASCAR connection.

The best Valentine's Gift for me would be time with my dh away from the dismal clouds and snow that typically hang around in February. HOWEVER, I won't turn down gemstones *g*. I'm not a material girl, but I'm not a fool either (hehehe).

Jane said...

You can't go wrong with something from Tiffany's. A trip to France or Italy would also be much appreciated.

Aunty Cindy said...

AHEM! About NASCAR... gorgeous guys, fast cars... What's not to love?

I'm just sayin...

AC
the NASCAR fan

Anna Campbell said...

Linda, one of the unusual things about your debut Dancing on Sunday Afternoons was the strong political themes that ran through it. And I'm gathering that there's a similarly strong political leaning in your anthology story. Is this something that is true for all your writing? Did you face resistance to this element when you set out to sell your stories? What do you think this political backbone lends to the stories?

Helen said...

Great interview Ladies

These books sound great
You both have worked very hard to get your books published and obviously with wonderful Husbands for support.
I would like to know about the nascars as well.
My best Valentines present would be to have a weekend away with my husband of 30 years even though our children are grown up and only two are still at home and with me working and the grandchildren we very rarely get time alone. I don't mind where we go the beach or the mountains I would love that. I have to say though he has got me something for valentines day every year we have been together and that is about 36 years now he is very good.
Have Fun
Helen

Linda Cardillo said...

My, you all have been busy scribblers this morning! I popped in just before heading off to work--yes, I still have a day job--and want to say thanks, to Anna for inviting us and doing such a wonderful job on the interview and to all of you who've taken the time to comment. I'll sign in again in a few hours and answer Anna's question about the political elements. Got to head off into subzero weather!

Gillian Layne said...

Congrats on the GR, Jennifer Y! :) I knew he was sneaking out the door last night...:)

Great interview! Lovely to know persistence pays off (along with very hard work and talent).

I feel like I got a Valentine's present last night--I have to head back to the day job today after holiday break, and hubby dealt with all kiddo issues so I could sleep eight uninterrupted hours. Bliss!

Maureen said...

Such wonderful answers. Congratulations on your new book. I am not interested in big Valentine Day presents. To me, it really is the thought that matters.

JeanBrashear said...

Hi gang! Thanks to the Banditas for having us here!

Before I spill on NASCAR, I want to say a special hi to Anna Sugden and Trish Milburn--so great to be here with you!

Last year, Marsha Zinberg called me up and asked me to be part of another continuity series, something I've done for her before and always enjoy. I had a lot of projects going on at the time, so when she told me it was a NASCAR series, I just laughed. "I know nothing about NASCAR except that cars go in circles for hours, and how interesting can that be?" She told me the book she wanted me for wouldn't have to have much in it and asked me to just look into it.

Well...I love research and adore learning new things, so I dove in (and, Aunt Cindy, as a fan, feel free to chuckle away at my ignorance.) I had all the usual stereotypes in my head--stupid sport (though I love sports in general), redneck fans yadda yadda.

I DVR'd about a zillion hours of the Speed channel, got on NASCAR.com every day, read some books on it, and started asking around to find fans...

And got massively hooked. So hooked that I had to warn my husband (who was very kind to me about it, unlike my friends and other family, who still think I've lost my mind) that even once I finished my book in the series, I was pretty sure I was going to keep following the sport.

And that was before I attended my first race. Got a hotpass, spent hours in the pits, etc.

I'm a story girl, as all writers are, and NASCAR is chock-full of them. It's one big soap opera, and I don't mean that in a caustic sense. I've never seen the level of personal involvement between fans and drivers in any other sport.

It's actually a very complex sport, full of strategy and drama, and the fans are far from all rednecks. I've met people in every conceivable occupation and lifestyle--1 in 4 Americans is a NASCAR fan, and nearly half of those are women. And every single one of them I met has been so kind and helpful to me. It's been a fabulous and fun experience!

But back to our anthology...it was such an honor to be asked to be part of this project, which was originally intended as a first-anniversary celebration of the Everlasting Love line, which has produced some tremendous books. If you've never tried it, please do--some great stuff. Supers, which have been my writing home, will be enriched by including books like Linda's wonderful work.

Buffie said...

What a great interview ladies!

Jean, thanks for answering the Nascar question! Living in the Atlanta area, there are gobs of fans here. And yes, several are rednecks - hahaha. My mother followed Bill Elliott's entire career and even met the man a few times.

The Valentine Gift sounds like a wonderful book. I'll have to check it out. I have just recently started ready Harlequin books -- so far just Jacquie D'Alessandro and our very own Tawny Weber.

JeanBrashear said...

Bill Elliott's still a terrific driver, Buffie.

For those of you who've never read Everlastings and might not know about them, they're stories of what happens *after* the happily-ever-after. Tales about longtime relationships of all sorts. They're a departure from the standard romance story flow, richer and more complex for it, IMO, because you're dealing with people with history, people with real-world problems that don't easily vanish.

There's tremendous variety in the stories, from settings to time periods to story execution. The line has gotten serious critical acclaim, as well. It's the brainchild of Paula Eykelhof, a very gifted editor and visionary who has never shied from stretching the boundaries. She was formerly the Sr. Ed. at Supers and made it a very exciting and unique place to be, as a writer. The wonderful Beverley Sotolov went with her to edit ELs, and together they created something very special.

doglady said...

Great interview, ladies. Congrats on the GR, Jennifer. You are starting the year off right! I too love to hear how persistence wins out in the end. I think my perfect Valentine's gift would be one more day with my late hubby. Even one would be perfect.

Kirsten said...

Thanks Jean and Linda for visiting the Lair! I love having new authors to add to the TBR pile. :-)

Jennifer, congratulations and enjoy that rooster!

I'm feeling like fantasizing this morning, so I'd say my ideal gift would be a trip to the Royal Gorge interior lodge for a weekend of cross country skiing with my hubby. Royal Gorge is near Tahoe, and has miles of groomed cross country ski trails. I haven't been there for years but dh and I used to ski a lot (and then we had kids. 'Nuff said). But it would have to be a gift from some anonymous donor. No one in our family could afford it!

Joan said...

Gillian...you're not missing any KITTENS are you? (I have the cutest image of the GR with a kitten tucked under his wing :-)

Linda and Jean, welcome to the lair. Your books sound great!

As to my favorite Valentine? Well...it would be to HAVE a Valentine. :-0 (sigh)

But if one was to materilze right now I'd grab him and drag him off to a cozy cottage on the West Coast of Ireland VBG

p226 said...

I don't really get Valentine's gifts, probably due to my general aversion to Hallmark Holidays.

Though, I once bought my wife 1000 rounds of 7.62x39.

Because nothing says "I love you" like machine-gun ammo.

brownone said...

Hmmm...perfect Valentine....Johnny Depp....gosh I've had a crush on that man forever! I swear, many of life's questions can be answered for me by just stating: Johnny Depp!
:-)

Linda Cardillo said...

I've managed to escape from a morning of meetings to get back to this vibrant dicussion. Jean has done an eloquent job of describing the Everlasting Love line. I think each of us who has written for it has loved the opportunity to really explore the challenges and richness of long-term love...which leads me to my answer to the question posed by Anna earlier today about whether I'd encountered resistance to the political themes in my stories when I set out to sell them.

DANCING ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS could not have been told without reference to the environment faced by Italian immigrants when they arrived in America in the early part of the 20th century--the immigrant experience is an integral part of the love story. In fact, it was my editor, Paula Eykelhof, who encouraged me to add even more material, to place the characters in the context of their time. My research led me to the role of Italian intellectuals in the labor movement. When I discovered that the infamous Bread and Roses strike occurred during the heart of Giulia and Paolo's relationship, I was able to weave it into the story and actually have the strike play a role in shaping their lives together.

In the same way, the politics of the Cold War and its impact on the lives of those living in a divided Europe were key elements to my novella in THE VALENTINE GIFT. Again, Paula welcomed the idea. I think that the concept of the Everlasting Love line gave us writers the freedom to tap into a wide variety of complex challenges that lovers face is sustaining love. It's been enormously satisfying to create these stories.

Anna Campbell said...

Jean, love your NASCAR history! I'll have to check it out. Must admit - sorry, AC - I'm sort of on the they just drive round and round a track, how exciting can it be? line at the moment. Something similar happened to me with Rugby Union. I'd always DESPISED football (I think because I was so hopelessly unsporty at school) but I needed an example of benign male leadership as I was writing about a general in a historical. So I discovered the Australian Rugby Union Team. Serious eye candy! And such power and testosterone. A girl didn't know where to look. Well, she sorta did. Been a fan ever since! See? Romance writing can take you in very unexpected directions, can't it?

Linda, thanks for answering my question on the politics. I'm so pleased to see it was something your editor encouraged rather than tried to squash. I think it added enormous depth to your story, the fact that it took place in a real world with real world clashes and troubles.

JeanBrashear said...

Anna, you're so right--one of the things I love most about writing is all the interesting stuff I learn! (Plus all the odd and unexpected paths I wander down.;))

What's the most unusual or intriguing research you all have done?

Anna Campbell said...

Jean, every book I do offers me a whole new range of stuff to explore. It's one of the joys of being a historical writer although I know that it's a fallacy that contemporary writers don't need to research! With CTC, I had a wonderful time reading up about courtesans. Now, that's sexy stuff! With Untouched, I got to find out about madness and its treatment in the early 19th century. Now, that's SCARY stuff. With the book I've just started, my hero worked for the East India Company so I had to do a whole stack of background reading on India in the 1820s. Both sexy and scary ;-)

Joan said...

p226....

You actually ARMED a woman that you gave ammo to for VALENTINE'S Day?????

You are a brave soul...

Anna Campbell said...

Jean and Linda, I meant to ask you, what other research gems have you turned up in your writing careers?

Jennifer Y. said...

Gillian...you're not missing any KITTENS are you? (I have the cutest image of the GR with a kitten tucked under his wing :-)

He brought Kittens???? Well, they would fit in fine here with all of our cats...maybe that is why I didn't notice. LOL

JeanBrashear said...

Anna, I love historicals--SO glad they're making a comeback! I just wish the market would widen for them...I miss medievals so much.

For my own research finds, I've had so many that fascinated me. Curanderismo, for one, and other types of herbal healing intrigued me. Learning to launder money, blow up cars, the life of a wilderness outfitter, the vagaries of the video game industry plus all kinds of cool stuff I learned when a friend gave me my own FBI agent for Christmas one year. ;)

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and I forgot to say that I am a fan of NASCAR...one of the non-redneck variety...LOL. I have been to a few races, but I am not as diehard as some of the people I have seen are. To me it is just something I enjoy watching on the weekends.

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Linda and Jean! Wonderful interview *g* The Valentine Gift sounds like a fantastic book!

My ideal Valentine gift would be a weekend away with my husband. Although I wouldn't say no to chocolate and/or jewelry ;-)

Jean, I have a lovely photo of the two of us after you presented me with the Golden Heart. It's one of my favorite pictures *g*

Anna Sugden said...

Great interview, Anna. Welcome Linda! Big hugs and waves to Jean - wonderful to see you!!

I can't wait to check out your book. I read one fab Everlasting last year, by Judith Arnold - called The Marriage Bed - and keep meaning to pick up more.

I'm with you, Jean, on the fangirl stuff ... sorry, research ... except my sport is hockey *big grin*. I'm fascinated by all I've learned and what that info has generated in the way of colour for my stories or new stories.

And, Anna, I haven't met the Aussie team, but I have seen many of the England team ... and the entire South African team was in my hotel in London a few years back.

My perfect Valentine gift? Other than The Call - which, believe me, if my lovely hubby could deliver it, he would - hmmm. I guess a signed hockey stick from my favourite player wouldn't do (hey, one girl's stick is another girl's ammo!).

Anna Sugden said...

Jean - can I share that lovely story of what your hubby did for you on that course you ran in Baton Rouge, where we met?

Linda Cardillo said...

Like Jean, I sometimes wander down unexpected paths when I get absorbed in research. I like to draw upon individuals with a particular kind of experience and tap into what they know. Because I haven't yet blown anyone up in one of my books, the research tends to be along the lines of "local color." I interviewed someone who had spent her childhood in Warsaw to recreate the home and daily life of the Marek family in my novella, and I also got to delve into the last twenty years of Riesling vintages (including the absolute necessity of tasting those wines!) in order to describe them with authenticity.

I'm also about to shadow a local restaurant owner to get the behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty (and maybe sample a few house specialties)for my latest book.

I'm often amazed at where I wind up and what texture I'm able to add to my work. It's all part of doing what I love, and I feel blessed to be doing it.

Anna Campbell said...

Linda, good to see you suffering for your art - snork! Come on, fess up. Did you REALLY have to taste all those rieslings?

Actually the strange thing with research is often very little of it actually goes holus bolus into the books. But if I know what I'm talking about, I sound like I know what I'm talking about and I think that really adds to the story. You know the iceberg principle about 90% of what you research has to stay below the waterline. As it turned out, most of what I found out about asylums, etc., didn't end up in Untouched but it gave me an understanding of Matthew's dilemmas that I hope fed into the richness of his character.

Anna, I hope you get your Call Valentine's this year!!!!

JeanBrashear said...

Beth, hi! So sorry I didn't realize you were here! I don't have a copy of that photo--would you mind sending it to me? jean@jeanbrashear.com

Anna, hey! So glad you showed up (and yes, I know your dear hubby would give you the call in a heartbeat--what a great guy he is.) If you want to tell about Baton Rouge, please do. I still get a kick out of thinking how long we've known each other!

CrystalGB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I thought about this question all day while at work, I don't think I have an ideal valentine gift. I am pretty much happy with what I get no matter what. My bf has a tendency to give sparkly things for all holidays and gotta say that ain't shabby!

CrystalGB said...

My idea of a perfect Valentine's gift is a getaway to a mountain cabin.

flchen1 said...

Congrats, Jennifer Y!

Thanks, Linda and Jean, for the great interview! And you've got some diverse writing under your belts! :)

My ideal Valentine's gift would probably be something like a surprise night away with my husband, with someone we trust watching the kids. I'd also love a heartfelt card or letter or something along those lines.

When we got engaged, my husband gave me a journal he'd kept of our relationship up until that day, and it's one of the most precious gifts I've ever received. :)

Caren Crane said...

Linda and Jean, welcome to the Lair! So good to have you both here. I've enjoyed your comments about research and NASCAR. I'm more intrigued by research, even though I live in North Carolina - NASCAR central! *g*

As for Valentine's Day, it is not a holiday we hold dear at our home. It would be lovely, though, just as a treat to run away as Crystal said, to the mountains with my husband! It's always nice not to have to be the taxi service and ATM for the teenagers for a couple of days. *g*

Anna Sugden said...

Awww Flchen1 - how lovely. Mine proposed with a poem he'd written! It was the first and last he'd ever written.

Yes - Jean and I have known each other a long time ... since the RT Conference that was held in Baton Rouge. All writers have very special people who inspire them and motivate them, who encourage them to take that leap of faith and to struggle on even when the going is tough.

Well, Jean is one of my very special people. She gave the first writer's workshop I ever went to, she encouraged me then and has been an inspiration ever since! I truly would not be writing without Jean. [okay, Jean - gushing over ;)]

Now for that special story. Jean had been asked to step in and give part of the course because Stella Cameron had injured her ankle. So, along with the late Carol Backus (aka Suzanne Barclay), she set out to help us total newbies get started. It was, and still is, one of the best courses I've ever done.

Anyway, part way through one of her sessions, Jean was reading excerpts to illustrate her point, when she stopped suddenly, blushed and giggled. She then explained that her lovely hubby had put sticky notes in her books telling her he loved her - so she'd see them when she gave her course. *sigh* What a guy.

Beth said...

No problem, Jean. I've changed my name since that night (and of course, I've changed my hair style several times) *g* I sent you the picture!

Thanks again to you and Linda for being here and to Anna for a wonderful interview :-)

JeanBrashear said...

Anna, he continues to be that wonderful--I'm not sure how I got so lucky in life (but I'm not giving him back, whether or not I deserve him!)

You are too kind in your remarks--you wouldn't be where you are without your own sheer guts and determination (as well as talent) and I hope that when the day comes, as I know it will, you'll give yourself huge pat on the back.

It still blows my mind that the RT folks let me teach that day and a half class for Stella, since I was unpublished myself and had been writing barely a year! It was strictly on her faith in me and strong recommendation, but it was a terrifying 36 hours (all the notice I had in advance) trying to put together a class (Stella had no notes for me to use as she teaches off the cuff because she knows her subject so well) on my own. Without Carol B. (how I miss her!) and Harold Lowry dropping in as guest speakers, I would have been too scared for words!

RT wasn't doing it on total faith, though--Kathryn attended the first part of the class herself to be sure I wasn't screwing everything up--I knew I'd made headway when she felt good enough to leave. It's pretty hilarious (and scary) now, to think of it, since I can't tell you to this day, with 17 books under my belt, how I do what I do--and I dang sure didn't know then! I'm totally a fly-into-the mist writer. Something to be said for the bliss of ignorance.;)

But it all worked out, I was very fortunate to receive wonderful feedback--and best of all, to meet a new friend in Anna!

JeanBrashear said...

Beth, thank you so much for the picture, even if I'm ouching over my waistline--ack! I look much better now, thank heavens--wish I could have a picture do-over, but you look fabulous, as you did that night.

If anyone wants to talk about a great diet, I'm game because I found one that has done wonders for me. I'd been my high school weight for most of my life, but the last several years, the pounds crept on. Having grown up skinny and able to eat anything I wanted, I never learned how to manage my weight--and when I did, nothing ever seemed to work, however much I worked out or starved myself.

But I started this one right before Thanksgiving (smooth move, huh? Yep, I'm a certified genius--not.) In 2 weeks, I was already psyched because it was working so well, and by now, 7 weeks later, I've lost 5 inches from my waist, almost 4 from my hips, 12 pounds and 3 percent body fat. I feel like myself again!

JeanBrashear said...

Okay...one more thing from me, then I'm shutting up! Anna, I just found the photo of you and me from GH night, and I wanted to thank you again for it. That was an amazing dress you had--va va voom!

Anna Campbell said...

Jean and Anna, what a gorgeous story! I love the way people in this business pass the torch on. And Jean, don't shut up on our behalf. We love to hear from you ;-) I'm so glad Linda brought you along as her New Year's surprise! It's been a hoot having both of you in the lair. And Jean, congratulations on losing all that weight. I must say I've just given in to genes and the forces of nature ;-)

Linda Cardillo said...

Anna, I probably didn't have to drink EVERY Riesling to be able to describe the essence of the wine, but it certainly made the research phase entertaining. I was amazed at how great a role wine plays in the culture of the Rheingau. I remember my first PTA meeting at my daughter's nursery school. After the preliminary business and the coffee and the cake, the director of the school brought out the wine at 5 p.m. and we mothers continued our discussion. On Sunday afternoons, while the children climbed on the jungle gym in the park, the local vintners took turns hosting the wine tasting stand right next door.

I agree with you completely that much of what we discover in our research doesn't directly end up in the book, but gives our stories the "telling details" that make them so distinct.

I am even more intrigued by your new book now. Can't wait to read it!

Thank you all for such a stimulating and wide-ranging day!

Anna Sugden said...

Jean - I think I'll need that diet if I ever want to fit into that dress again. Uggh. LOL.

Anna - don't mention genetics - the Middle Eastern genes could have me turning into one of those pudding-shaped women dressed in black!

p226 said...

But, but but.... I drew a heart on the crate!

From Russia with love......

She seemed pleased. And, I'm not ventilated....

JeanBrashear said...

A heart on the crate--well that just does it! LOL...my husband will love this story.

It's the thought that counts, right?;)

Nancy said...

Jennifer Y., not only do you snag the rooster, but you won part of the western booty. Congratulations!

That was a lovely exchange, ladies. There seem to be so many different ways people come to writing!

An ideal Valentine's Day gift for me would be dinner in San Francisco, where we honeymooned. Or in any restaurant with a view. And maybe snow.

We don't really make as much over Valentine's Day as we do over the day we met, about a week later. Which made the whole babysitting thing so much easier when the boy was small.

p226, I give you credit for drawing the heart. You're probably going to have the most unusual gift anyone reports today, but if your wife loved it, then that's great. I'd love a mint copy of Action Comics #1 if we had the money (which we never will), even though many of our friends would think this really strange.

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, aren't genetics a b*tch? I'm from a line of nice round gemutlich northern European types. We're cuddly in winter which is obviously why we were designed this way. But truly, it's not the fashionable shape du jour!

Linda, love the idea of wine at the PTA. I think I could easily fit into that particular community!

P226, I think you drawing a heart on a crate is the most romantic thing that's hit this blog today. If I was picking a winner, I'd pick you!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Jean and Linda, you've both been fantastic guests! Thank you so much for coming to play in the lair today.

And don't forget to check back and see who won the copies of THE VALENTINE GIFT!!!

jo robertson said...

Congrats, Jennifer Y!! Welcome to the Lair, Jean and Linda, glad to have you here today.

Jean, thanks for the great answer about NASCAR. You've busted my stereotypes.

Linda, Dancing on Sunday Afternoons sounds wonderful. I'll be sure to pick it up.

Fascinating interviews questions and responses!

JeanBrashear said...

Just checking back one last time to tell you all how much I enjoyed the day! You're a fun bunch!

All my best,
Jean

Linda Cardillo said...

Hi All,

I want to echo Jean's comments. It was a great day and lots of fun. Thank you all so much!

Best wishes for a wonderful new year,

Linda