Monday, April 21, 2008

The Exotic World Of Jennie Lucas

by Caren Crane

Trees dressed in red and gold climbed the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and descended in glorious splendor to the terminus of the Appalachian Trail: Amicalola Falls, Georgia. From the Piedmont of North Carolina and the foothills of the Rockies in Idaho, two starry-eyed Maggie finalists descended upon the Moonlight and Magnolias retreat center, with hopeful hearts and steely ambition. The two met, bonded and became fast friends when one whispered to the other at the awards ceremony, "We don't have to win. All we have to do is make third place and we'll have our names in the RWR!" (Okay, that was Jennie *g*)

Jennie Lucas and I have been friends since that magical retreat at Amicalola Falls. Though most of a continent separates us, we are there to celebrate our successes and commiserate our misses. I had the great pleasure of celebrating Jennie's Golden Heart win in Reno, 2005, and her first sale to Mills & Boon/Harlequin Presents in 2006. Jennie sent me a copy of her first US release, The Greek Billionaire's Baby Revenge, and I squealed when I held it in my hands! We are thrilled to have Jennie with us today to talk about her alpha heroes, lavish settings and the dark edge of romance. Welcome to Romance Bandits, Jennie!

Thanks so much for inviting me, Caren! I was so happy when you became a Golden Heart finalist in 2006. The Banditas rock! (I'm a member of your sister tribe, the Wet Noodle Posse.) I'm thrilled to be in the Lair. I know some of you already, and I'm particularly in awe of my current idol, Anna Campbell.

Jennie, I'm not sure when you have time to read, since you are without a doubt one of the hardest-working authors I know! Your debut release was Dec. 2007 and I see you have two books out on top of each other. The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin is out next week in the U.S., while Caretti's Forced Bride comes out in Australia and the UK. Have you cloned yourself, stopped bathing, boycotted laundry or what?

How have I written so quickly? The simple fact is that for the last year or two, I haven't done anything but either write or take care of my family. I got The Call in October 2006, when I was seven months pregnant with my second child. Since then, parts of my house seem to have become a permanent mess--and often so am I. There are days I don't even comb my hair, I just yank it back in a speedy ponytail. I don't wear nail polish because I don't know when I'll have time to take it off. I haven't scrapbooked any baby pictures, cleaned out my closet, or gone to the dentist in ages. I don't have time to shop for fun or just hang out and read a magazine. I'm often stressed and feel the need to be productive every single minute of my time. (Many moms of young children can probably identify with this feeling!)

I'm not sure if I could have handled having babies and writing to deadlines. I am in awe of you! Do you ever feel like you're in danger of burning out?

I'm happy to say, things are starting to change. A few weeks ago, a wonderful babysitter starting coming over on weekday mornings to play with the kids while I write. That has helped a lot. I love hearing the kids play downstairs, doing crafts and playing in the front yard, while I'm working in the bedroom. I'm still able to put the baby down for his nap and hang out with them during my morning "coffee breaks". It's kind of like having a part-time job--but with all the happy perks of being at home!

I handed in my fifth book last week, and starting with my next MS, I'll be writing books a month faster--going from a five-month cycle to four. I'm thrilled and so excited. I love writing for Presents! Being a mom and having my dream career at the same time--I wake up every morning feeling so lucky and grateful.

Four months between books? [fans self] Just the thought makes me feel faint. I'm not surprised Presents is so taken with your stories, though. Your books are lush and your heroes are dead sexy! Here in the Lair, we have shared our love of Presents and their alpha heroes. Are you giving us another dark and dangerous hero in The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin? The excerpt left me clamoring for more!

Alpha? Definitely. Marcos Ramirez is a dark, powerful, sexy Spaniard who has planned his revenge against Tamsin's family for years. He kidnaps Tamsin in Morocco on her way to her wedding, and drags her to his Moorish castle in Andalusia, where he keeps her captive and seduces her. Then he finds out she was a virgin. It makes him feel guilty about the way he treated her, until he wakes up the next morning to find that she's betrayed him and escaped.

Oh, my! Jennie, your books take place in magnificent, exotic locales. Have you turned into a globe trotter since you began writing for Presents?

It's funny. It seems sometimes I like dreaming of travel more than actually doing it. I spend a ton of time pouring over guide books and watching travel shows, but haven't traveled all that much - I've gone to Europe three or four times, and that's about it. But in the last six months, we definitely have started to do more.

We went to Hawaii with the kids in November. (See The Top Ten Reasons Harlequin Presents is Better than a Hawaiian Cruise.) In February, my husband and I went on a luxury romantic getaway to Cancun. (See My Romance of the Year.) And next week, I'll be traveling to Italy on my own to attend bestselling Presents author Sharon Kendrick's weeklong workshop on how to write for Harlequin Mills & Boon. I signed up on a lark because I wanted to meet Sharon and be able to hang out in Tuscany with other romance writers. (You can learn about the Watermill at Posara and their Creative Writing workshops at www.watermill.net.)
I can hardly believe I'm going! I have the best, most understanding husband in the world to let me do this while he holds down the fort at home!

I just found out that the BBC will be at the Watermill with a film crew, filming the class as British actress/presenter Stella Duffy tries to learn how to write a romance for their documentary about Mills & Boon's Centenary. The thought that I might possibly appear on television makes me think I should try and lose a couple pounds. But as I tend to ponder the idea while making double-chocolate brownies with my toddler, it doesn't seem likely. Oh well. Want some brownies before they're gone? They're really, really chocolatey.

Ack! Careful, Jennie, you'll get a reputation as a temptress around here! Ha, ha...ha. Hmm...double chocolate you say? Any chance there are chocolate chips in there? Pecans, maybe? *ahem* I mean, WOW, what a wonderful trip you have coming up. Tuscany is a dream destination for many of us here in the Lair (okay, for me too, and YES I'm insanely jealous!). I'm sure that will be inspiration a-plenty for your upcoming Presents novels. So besides the jet-setting abroad and domestic bliss at home, what else is in store for you and for us, your lucky readers?

Let's see...what's ahead. As you mentioned, my second book is coming out in the U.S. next week, The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin. That will be followed by RWA Literacy Autographing , and I'm a little nervous. I hope some of you will stop by and say hi!

I'm just getting started on writing my sixth book for Presents, and I'm trying to think of a truly exotic setting. I will probably include Tuscany, of course, as I'm sure to be inspired by being there. But what else? I'm wracking my brain around the four corners of the world. Can any of you think of a really gorgeous, unusual, evocative place that you'd love to read about? An exciting location for an arrogant billionaire to ruthlessly seduce a tender-hearted heroine?

I'll pick the answer that most captures my imagination, and send you a prize - my first book, The Greek Billionaire's Baby Revenge and a little treat from me!


There you have it, folks. Be sure to suggest your favorite exotic locale in your comments and ask Jennie anything at all about her glamorous, fabulous life! (Please don't let the following picture of Jennie's glamorous, fabulous life intimidate you...)

107 comments:

Donna MacMeans said...

Life is good - and even better with a golden rooster *g*. Give me a minute and I'll be right back.

Donna MacMeans said...

Exotic locales?? I'm still drooling over that workshop in Tuscany. I'm afraid you're living the exotic life compared to my extremely limited travels. Still I get to lose myself in the fantasy in your books. Keep them flowing *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Jennie! I was SO excited when Caren said she had invited you into the lair. The problem now is YOU'RE NEVER GETTING OUT!!! Bwahahahahahaha! Especially if you cook chocolate brownies. What a fab interview, girls. And Jennie, I love that photo of you reading in amongst the housework. Oh, I hear you! And thanks so much for the compliments - as you know, I'm stoked you enjoyed CTC so much!

Exotic locales, huh? Must say because I'm an Anne Mather fan from teenager-hood, I loved her books set in South America. And I recently read a great one by new Presents author Sarah Morgan set in the rainforests of Brazil. Hey, and now you've been to Mexico, you can do Central America! Love the sound of the Moroccan story. That's definitely on my list of places to go. When you mentioned the Moorish castle in Spain, you whisked me away to the Alhambra. Man, is that one romantic location!

Maybe you can come down to Oz to do some location research! Mind you, don't know how exotic we are!

What made you decide to write Presents?

And Donna, lovely to have you back with us after your flirtation with all those cover models at RT! And congrats on the rooster! He's been at Fedora's lately so you've got a hard act to follow!

Jane said...

My exotic locale would be the town of Dover where the White Cliffs are. I have wanted to visit there since seeing the cliffs in an old movie black and white movie.

Anna Campbell said...

Jennie, can you also tell us your call story? We Banditas love the pizzazz of a good call story!

flchen1 said...

Hi, Jennie! I think I often resemble your photo--not that I look at all similar, but I am sometimes found with a book in hand surrounded by tasks in my house that also require attention! Congrats on your successes!

Hmm... exotic locations? It seems that these are often hot-weather places (cold weather just isn't conducive to slinky clothing, maybe?) Or maybe cold weather can throw people together to generate several kinds of heat ;) I've always been curious about the poles and the kind of measures required to survive in those places. Probably not too many billionaires around to seduce virginal scientists though, right?

Congrats on the GR, Donna!! What locales is the GR clucking about tonight?

Eva S said...

Hi Jennie,
thanks for your photo, I'll have to show it to my DH, he seems to think I'm the only one to sometimes "forget" housework...
One of my favorite exotic location is Santorini in Greece, the sunset there is fabulous!
Or Lapland in Finland in winter, in a luxurious cottage with too much snow outside...
And I agree with Anna, there could be more books set in South America.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome Jennie!
You should have NEVER admitted to those double choccie brownies. I'm afraid your fate is sealed, m'lass! You are about to become a "permanent" guest in the Lair! MUAHAHAHAHA! (Yes, Foanna and I have been practicing our evil laughs.)

Exotic locales? hmmmm... (Aunty consults her travel journals) Tuscany is lovely, as is the Amalfi Coast. Istanbul is WONDERFULLY exotic! And then there's Bangkok, Thailand, GORGEOUS city, and about as exotic as you can get! SHHH! Don't tell anyone, but Aunty has never been to South America.

AC
happy to have Donna and our other traveling Banditas back in the Lair

Christine Wells said...

Welcome to the lair, Jennie! Lovely to have you here. Oh, my goodness, I was nodding my head along with you when you were talking about writing with small children. I sold a couple of months before my second son was born and it was SO much harder to write with two of the littl darlings! But you sound like you're powering along and it must be wonderful to have a babysitter.

Hmm, exotic locales... I think Monaco would be an interesting setting for a Presents. After all, I get the feeling Prince Rainier might have been a bit of a presents-type hero back in the day. What do you think? Hope you have a wonderful time in Tuscany!

Congrats on the GR, Donna!

Helen said...

Congrats Donna have fun with him

Great interview Jennie and Caren wow you are so busy Jennie I am in awe of how you cope with children and writing so many books. And what a wonderful Husband you have all those holidays.

An exotic place I would like to read about The Greek Isles a place I would truly love to visit there.

Have Fun
Helen

Buffie said...

Great interview Caren and Jennie! And I must say that I just love visiting Amicalola Falls. My family tries to go visit there often as the boys love the place.

Jennie -- I am in awe of how much you do while raising 2 children. I too have two kids and work and just feel like there are not enough hours in the week, let alone a day. But us moms just seem to have a knack for multi-tasking.

As far as exotic locales -- what about the area around the Sea of Galilee -- beautiful green hills with gorgeous wildflowers and a lake as a backdrop. I could see a few love scenes there.

Maureen said...

Hi Jennie,
I am so impressed with your ability to raise your children and work so hard. I haven't been to any exotic locations but think islands in the South Pacific would make interesting settings.

Caren Crane said...

Jennie, welcome to the Lair, my darling! As you can see, once we get our talons in you (figuratively, of course, only the Golden Rooster has *real* ones), we will never let you go! Bwahaha... (I've been taking evil laugh lessons from Anna C. and Aunty C.)

I'm with Donna in being pea green with envy (like Scarlett!) at your Tuscany trip. Sounds like heaven!

As to my favorite exotic locale, I read a Presents in the late 70s that was set on a vanilla plantation on Tahiti. Talk about exotic! That one has stayed with me all these decades!

The only Presents I recall being set in Central or S. America involved the stranded heroine eating overripe bananas. Not sexy (though the rescuer hero was *g*). I agree with Bangkok. I would also love Sri Lanka!

I think I'm tending toward the South Pacific. As much as Americans travel, we still don't get to the South Pacific as much - too far and too expensive!

Hey, maybe we need a couples research trip to Tahiti or Vanuatu! *g*

Guys, I'm off to the Dreaded Day Job, but Jennie will be with you when morning comes to the Pacific coast of North America. Have fun and play nice! *g*

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome Jennie - I've loved reading about your success!

Smooches to Jane - who loves Dover! It's beautiful on a sunny day to see those famed white cliffs.

Exotic locales? Australia definitely counts, Anna!

So does Italy - I loved Sardinia and Sicily ... Venice isn't bad either.

When I think of exotic, I think of places like the Caribbean, the South Pacific, South America. But there's also places like beautiful Iceland, Scandinavia and Holland. Being a Brit - there are places in the US that are breathtaking too.

And of course - the ancient town of Cambridge *grin*.

Eva - it's one of my ambitions to go to Lapland one day!

limecello said...

Hi Jennie - thanks for visiting today! Hmm... exotic locales... [oh, and a brownie would be great, thanks ;)] I'd say some places in Asian. Hong Kong is rather "Western friendly" - at least to the English speaking population. Taiwan is/was a pretty large business center as well.
Maybe South Africa? Otherwise, the "usual" (and gorgeous) mix of Australia, the Mediterranean, and tropical resorts throughout the world.

doglady said...

Congrats, Donna on the GR!!

Pass me one of those brownies, Jennie. Never reveal your sweet cooking ability to a Bandita. It definitely seals your fate!

Wow, a book every four months. I envy you that talent. I also envy you your dream lifestyle. Even with the kids, the house, etc, the ability to stay home and write, write, write is something I would love to have.

Hmmm. Exotic locales? Actually, I have visited the forests and mountains of Transylvania and they are very mysterious and beautiful. Budapest is so Old World and the trip into the mountains is amazing.

Salzburg, Austria is also another romantic spot. The old city side is a maze of quaint narrow streets and sudden surprises. The bishop's palace and gardens and the huge medieval castle that presides over the city and the bells of the several cathedrals make it a magical place.

rebekah said...

I think Athens would be a wonderful exotic setting. It is a beautiful city that has mountains and the gulf very close to it. It is like you get the best of both worlds. I would love to be by the sea and mountains at the same time.

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi guys! It so great to be here! Thanks again for inviting me, Caren. Such a warm, smart, welcoming group!

Sorry to be getting a kind of late start this morning... I had to make a healthy breakfast for my family (watermelon and fruit for them, coffee and Toblerone for me *grin*).

Also I awoke to a note reminding me I was supposed to post a blog on Tote Bags n Blogs today--ACK! So I wrote something in 20 minutes with my two kids hanging all over me--my fastest blog ever!

My book that comes out next week, The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin, I finished it just days before I went into labor. And now my baby is walking and growing up. We're done having children, and I know that's the right choice for our family but I'm still a bit wistful. Maybe some of you other Moms felt the same way when you knew you were done with the baby stage? [You can see it at http://authorsoundrelations.blogspot.com/]

After all that wistfulness I'm thrilled to jump in to the happiness and glee of being here in the Lair! You guys rock! It's like being at a girls' party by the pool in Cabo...all about the brownies and exotic travels and gossip about who's sleeping with whom (at least in books *grin*). I'm so thrilled to wake up to see 17 messages! Let me read them through...

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Donna! What's about this golden rooster thingie? I'm guessing it's a prize for the first commenter? Is it metaphorical or (I'm trying to picture this!) literal???

And if you're still drooling over the Tuscany workshop, a few weeks ago they still had one place left, but you'd just have to stay in the village instead of the Mill. (Not exactly a hardship!) Or planning for the future, they do the creative workshops twice a year, and non-participating spouses are welcome to come too!

It's funny how I ended up signing up for this. I still can't believe it. I read about the Watermill doing research for something else. I stumbled over this old 2004 Guardian (UK newspaper) online article that had a thirtysomething reporter trying to learn how to write for M&B. (Not so different from the angle the BBC is doing this year!)

At first I just sighed to myself, "How cool would that be..." Then suddenly I thought, "Why not me? Why don't I just go?" I can't remember the last time I did something so crazy impulsive!! (Well, at least where handbags aren't concerned. Handbags = my number one weakness!)

Donna, thanks so much for your comment about saying you love the fantasy in my books. That makes me really happy. Big hugs!

Jennie Lucas said...

Oh my gosh, Anna Campbell! SQUEE!!

I adored Claiming the Courtesan so intensely it made my hands tremble clenching the pages. Can't wait to read Untouched. I'm waiting to read on the plane next week, so I can glug it all down in one sitting like some drunken college girl on a tequila spree.

And as for the brownies....HA. I'm a good baker. (And lest that sounds like boasting, let me add that although I love to bake pastry I'm the very worst cook in the world. My idea of haute cuisine is Hamburger Helper. The only truly delicious meals in my family are provided by take-out.) My very best dessert took me two years to create and perfect the recipe--White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Caramel Butterscotch brownies. I only make them at holidays, but people bug me for them all year--and I won't even give them the recipe, either! That's how much of a cow I am. But it took me so long to create the recipe, it's a legacy that I'll pass down to my children.

The book I just handed in was set in Brazil, too! And don't even get me started on Sarah Morgan...she's one of my absolute fave Presents authors. But she doesn't have a website so I can write and tell her so. Why? Why? Why all the mystery??! If any of you know anything about the real Sarah, I'm dying to know, because she's as inaccessible and shrouded in mists as Garbo in her Paris apartment!

The Mayan ruins were brutal and spectacular. And I'm enchanted by the Alhambra, too. I was really picturing it when I dreamed up the castle where Marcos keeps Tamsin captive.

And I would LOVE to come to Oz. Next year. I've started announcing to my husband that we're going...Just figuring that if I say it enough, it will happen. *grin* Hopefully I'll attend the RWAust and the NZ conferences, and we'll also have a family adventure. By then my baby will be two, and hopefully ready to handle the 20 hour flight.

And how did I decide to write Presents? Two words: Trish Morey. Your fellow Aussie is a member of the Wet Noodle Posse. She was one of the first of us to be published. I loved her books so passionately that I started reading Presents voraciously. Jane Porter was next. Awesome. So even though I knew I would never, ever sell to Presents (everyone knew that it was "impossible", particularly as an American author), I couldn't resist trying. I'd already been writing for six years already. I'd completed four medieval manuscripts, but then my parents got divorced and I suddenly wanted to write contemporary. I wrote two sweets targeting Silhouette Romance.

But writing for Presents, it brought both together--the drama and passion and alpha hero of a Medieval, but with a contemporary happily-ever-after. It was the most fun I'd ever had writing ANYTHING. To my amazement and shock and joy, that first book sold. The Greek Billionaire's Baby Revenge came out in the U.S. last December. (You can see more details on the FAQ of my website, under "How did you sell?" http://www.jennielucas.com/meet.htm#faq.)

Jennie Lucas said...

Jane, I saw the White Cliffs once, too. I was sixteen and on the ferry traveling with a friend from Belgium to London. I've never forgotten that gorgeous moment. Thanks for making me think of it.

Just out of curiosity, do you remember what movie it was? I love old movies. I've been particularly obsessed with the Rita Hayworth movie Gilda lately. "Put the Blame on Mame." So great.

Jennie Lucas said...

Whew, time has gone by so shockingly fast--I suddenly realize I'm late to take my 3 year old to Mommy and Me preschool class!! Back in 90 minutes!!!

MsHellion said...

My favorite exotic locale is Grand Cayman. (It has Hell and everything.) Not sure this is exotic enough to inspire the imagination...but there is lots of Tortuga Rum. Maybe he's a billionaire PIRATE...that'd be nice.

jo robertson said...

So sorry I'm late to Jennie's party. Great interview, Caren and Jennie.

My network connection decided to go dead today, so I'm sneaking in on an unknown neighbor's wireless connection. If she keeps her internet access going all day, I'm okay, but if I drop off, you'll know what happened.

Jennie, in case no one's mentioned, our golden rooster is awarded to the first poster each day -- Donna's been hankering for him and we've had a competition between the states and our friends Down Under.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jennie! Welcome to the Lair! Had to LOL about the Mommy and me. I too have a 3 year old and like clock work on Thursdays it's "Little Gym, Mama! Little Gym!" :>

I sold after the boy-os were born, but like Christine, I have two little men as well. I'm right there with both of you on thanking heaven for understanding and supportive spouses. Yee-ha!

As to exotic locales, I've been dreaming over everyone's suggestions as I read the posts. Wow, what great ideas. Anna C, I loved Anne Mather too! And Anna S, I SO want to see Cambridge...sigh. Bali. That's one I've dreamed of, and pretty much anywhere in Greece and Turkey. Transylvania...ooooohhhh, yeah.

Okay, I'll stop. Now I'm going to lust over those white chocolate macadamia nut sin-on-a-plate confections you described.

It's a day for sin, I guess. Heehee.

Great interview Caren! Great to have you with us Jennie!

Cassondra said...

Jennie, welcome to the lair!

We've been threatening Caren--we were about to shove her in the lair's wine vat if she didn't quit bragging about knowing you and actually bring you in here to talk to us--so I guess she's safe now. ;0)

Your workshop in Tuscany sounds like such a dream. But honestly I don't think I'd get anything done. I'd want to be out seeing the wine country and tasting wine. My only "exotic" travels were in Scotland--not all that exotic I guess--but I loved it, and I'm envious of your Tuscany trip.

Thanks for visiting and sharing your story with us!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Doglady, so glad you are feeling better and are back with us in the Lair! Didn't I just read that you WON another contest?!?!

I've been to Salzburg once and would LOVE to return! The old part of town really did have the magical feel you describe. I could almost imagine running into the child Mozart around the next turn.

Jennie, we FULLY EXPECT some of those white choccie, macadamia nut Sin-On-A-Plate in San Francisco! Ration them if you must but we MUST TRY THEM!!!

AC

Suzanne Welsh said...

Wow, Jennie, you do get around a lot. This from a member of the Lair who's never been out of the country. I'd love to go to Tuscany...to check out the local...cuisine, yep that's what I want to see!

And I marvel at how you've been able to write so much and so quickly with little ones under foot. Mine are grown, with the last one leaving the nest next month, so your time management skills are superb!

Jennie Lucas said...

Whew, I'm back! I love taking my three-year-old to preschool but today I kept thinking about you guys the whole time, feeling bad I hadn't even replied to everyone yet!

So to continue....

Jennie Lucas said...

Flchn1 (I'm sure that's not your name, what is it really?), you made me laugh with your comment about having a book in your hand. Yup, that's usually it. Although I honestly don't have as much time to read books as I'd like.

I keep ordering them from amazon, though. My most recent order is Natasha Oakley's The Prince's Virgin Bride--it's gotten nominated for a head-spinning amount of awards and I can't wait to read it. I feel guilty reading novels, though. If only I could figure out how to read them while vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen, I'd have no problem. In the meantime, I wonder sometimes exactly how dirty my house has to be before I can call in Kim and Aggie from "How Clean Is Your House?" http://www.bbcamerica.com/content/100/index.jsp

You're right about the warm locations in Presents. That's one of the reasons I was so positive my first book wouldn't sell to them--it started out in wintry Russia, of all places! Speaking of the North and South Poles...I read an article about a chef in Antarctica, cooking from canned food and tins for six months straight. You might be on to something with the virgin scientist idea, too. Hmmm. Interesting ideas.

Jennie Lucas said...

Eva, aha, another person clamoring for South America! Very cool. As I mentioned to Anna C, I just turned in a book set in Brazil. My biggest South American fantasy right now is Machu Picchu. I really, really want to go there and take my kids. I'm resigned to waiting a few years though, until they're old enough to handle the trip and truly enjoy it. I can just see it now...the mists rising over the mountains of Peru, sunlight falling over an ancient ruined city....

And Finland--YES. A Finnish girl won the contest on my website a couple months ago, and yesterday she sent me these links about Finland that actually inspired my question about exotic places.

I would love to visit Scandinavia. I've visited Denmark very briefly (my grandmother was a Dane) but haven't made it any further north. I would love to see Helsinki and Lapland, then cross into Russia. My heart just turns over when I think about it. What's the most beautiful part of Lapland, do you think?

BTW, I love your name--I'm using a similar version, Ava, in my next book. :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Sorry for the brief delay, had to put my baby down for his nap!

Anyway...


Hi AC!

Making chocolatey brownies are all it takes to become a permanent guest in the Lair?? Whoo hoo!! :)

I love all your suggestions...the Amalfi Coast and Istanbul both sound fantastic. I know Istanbul will be in a book soon. It's just so mysterious and exotic and lush. I hope in the next few years we can take a Mediterranean cruise with the kids to see all these places. (You can see why I need to write as quickly as I can, to try to afford all these wild travel dreams!)

And AC, you've been to Bangkok? Wow! What was it like?

Jennie Lucas said...

Christine, it's great to meet another author-mom like me! I would love to hear how you handled getting your own writing done, while also feeling like you're being a good mom and enjoying this wonderful time in your babies' lives. I'm always looking for tips from other moms--maybe because they often seem like have it all put together, while I feel frazzled and like I'm never doing enough for either my family or my career.

Monaco sounds like a great idea. In fact, I set my third book, Caretti's Forced Bride, in a fictitious Monaco-esque country. The hero isn't a prince (I tend to like heroes who are self-made men) but the heroine is a princess...with a secret. I loved writing Caretti. Loved, loved it.

And researching the story, where my heroine learns to cook, I found a Fettuccine Alfredo recipe that even a hopeless cook like me can't screw up. You can see the recipe, along with pictures of Monaco and Princess Grace as a bride, on my Caretti page:
www.jennielucas.com/books/caretti.htm#more

Jennie Lucas said...

Helen--so you'd vote for a book set in Greece? That definitely seems to be popular. If I don't set my next book there, I'll be thinking about it for book 7. Finland, Dover, Santorini....hmmm.

And thanks for your nice comments about how I manage home and work. Like I mentioned to Christine, I sometimes feel like I'm coming up short but I always try really hard!

I'll pass your compliment on to my husband. *grin* He'll love to hear that. I try to be supportive of him too--like this past weekend when he ran a half-marathon all Saturday, then went autocross racing all day Sunday. We were married for ten years before we had children, and so we got in the habit of always encouraging each other to follow our passions. It's a little more complicated with a family, but we're doing our best. He's really wonderful though. I never would have become a published author if not for him--he was the one who wouldn't let me quit for the seven years it took to sell!

Jennie Lucas said...

Buffie--yay, another mom! And it sounds like you know just how it feels trying to manage both work and home the best we can. You've been to Amicalola Falls? You must live in Georgia or the South maybe? It was beautiful when I was there--although it took 14 hours of flying and then I got lost driving the rental car through the backwoods trying to find it. I was more lost than I've ever been in my life. I'm just glad no kids were anywhere near the choice words I was spouting off in the car!

The Sea of Galilee....I've never really heard of that place mentioned outside of Sunday School, so it was a new thought to consider it as a tourist destination and romantic location. It sounds like you've been there in person? It must have been a romantic trip? It's such a surprising idea. I want details!

Jennie Lucas said...

Maureen, thanks for your kind words. Is there any particular island in the South Pacific that most intrigues you? I've been to Hawaii with my family, but never anyplace further afield. Bali...Tahiti...or someplace else? Where would you choose?

Jennie Lucas said...

Caren! Okay, now I absolutely MUST know WHAT IS THE GR??! It sounds like it's literal and physical? Someone put me out of my misery and tell me!

So you would vote for Tahiti and the South Pacific? And another vote for Bangkok. Sri Lanka??? That's a totally new idea to me. My uncle lived there for a little while on a construction project. What specifically captures your imagination about Sri Lanka? I'd love to hear details!

And I would love to travel to Tahiti as couples or even our families. Wow, what a thought. Sounds like a dream trip!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, Jennie, my first SQUEEEE! We definitely won't let you out of the lair! Either that or I'll have to tape the squee and bring it out in dark moments (for me, not my books - dark moments in my books are GOOD!). I'm loving all these exotic locale suggestions. You're right about the South Pacific. Anne Weale used to set stories in places like the Caribbean and the South Seas - I learnt an awful lot reading her Mills and Boons back in the 70s and 80s. She always had some amazing piece of research in her stories like a Fortuny dress or a rain of diamonds (doesn't that sound amazing?).

Ooh, I'm jealous about Tuscany too. And there will be a spare bed, J, because you're not going to make it out of the lair. Pay attention to the plot points!!!

I WILL go to Lapland one day. I love wild northern scenery (Scotland anyone?) so that one's not even negotiable. A few other places are, but the far north of Europe, nuh!

Anna Campbell said...

Jennie, I find eastern European locations incredibly romantic. Perhaps it's all those slashing Slavic cheekbones! Under my bed is a book set in Hungary that will never see the light of day but man, it was fun to research!

And you and your personal hero would be more than welcome in Australia!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Sri Lanka was the setting for a Barbara Cartland I read as a teenager and I still remember how evocatively she did the descriptions. I know people laugh at her but man, she could sure do historical atmosphere!

Hey, Jennie, my mum's family was Danish! We really are sisters separated at birth!!! I love Copenhagen - it's one of those really magical places that lives up to the hype, a bit like Venice!

You said it took you seven years to sell. Apart from your husband's endless encouragement (I said he was a hero!), what kept you going through all that time? Did you ever get discouraged?

Cassondra said...

Jennie said:

Okay, now I absolutely MUST know WHAT IS THE GR??! It sounds like it's literal and physical? Someone put me out of my misery and tell me!

Oh, sorry Jennie. We'd all promised to do better about this with our guests, but we're failing. The GR is the Golden Rooster--he goes home with whoever is the first commenter on the latest blog. Today he went home with Donna--though she just got back from RT so I'm not sure she'll have anything in the house to feed the poor bird. He's a spoiled one. Used to manicures and lots of fluffing and fruity drinks by the pool in Australia--oh and sometimes intensive survival combat training when he goes home with P226. He needs that training when he gets nabbed by Anna Campbell--she threatens to cook him! You can see there's history behind this golden bird. I figured Caren had warned you about the wars that go on over his daily "capture."

Beth said...

Jennie, welcome to the lair! Your books sound fabulous and the excerpt was wonderful!!

My youngest is 11 (we have three kids) and I still get wistful about wanting another baby *g*

And honestly, I'm from a small town so anything outside of Northwestern PA is pretty darn exotic to me :-)

Great interview!

Annie West said...

Hi Jennie,

Just found your lovely blog! So glad I did as it's a great read. It's great to hear you feel your life is a little more relaxed and manageable now but boy, do you sound busy! I'm tired reading about it!

Tuscany sounds fabulous. I'd love to visit there. On the weekend I met an Italian chef at a party and he took my on a virtual food and history tour of Italy which was such fun. It's confirmed my desire to visit Sicily which sounds fascinating.

Oops, got to dash - have to be elsewhere very soon. Sorry not to have stayed longer, Jennie. It's a great discussion.

Annie

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jennie,

Tips for being an author-mom... Hmm, I think you've come to the wrong place! My strategies involved lots of coffee and sleeping only every second night on deadline. As for supportive husband, mine works long hours and doesn't help with babysitting at all so I've relied a lot on my mother, who comes over once a week to mind the boys while I work. That and many late nights got me through. I think childcare or having a babysitter is the answer, but then the reason I stayed home from my job as a lawyer was to be with my children, so it is a tough dilemma!

But Susan Seyfarth has some fab ideas, like setting up a nursing station in front of the computer and continuing to type while baby is nursing. We blogged about them on Romance Novel TV a while back.

SOunds like you had a blast with your European principality setting. Monaco is such a fairytale place, I could easily imagine wonderful romance playing out there.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi again, Jennie! I was loving looking at the Tuscany site. Like Cassondra, I'd never get any writing done. Slurring yes, writing no. :>

Exotic locales have been bouncing into my head all day. I got to thinking about Hong Kong. The crooked streets, the noise and smells of cooking from the shops and carts. I've never been, but I sure would love to go. Angor Wat, the temples over there too...

You mentioned Macchu Picchu. I have a friend who went and her photographs were breathtaking, so now I want to go there too. When our boys (7 and 3) are older, we're also going back to Kenya. GORGEOUS country. :> I'd love to see something set there...it's amazing.

Grins.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Gee Jennie, that last pic looks just like my house and I don't write, nor do I have toddlers.
This might be a little off the wall and I am not even sure you can call it exotic but how about way North, as in Artic.

Tawny said...

WOW, what a schedule! I'm in awe of your production :-) And love your solution to the kids and writing dilemma! What a great answer for all of you :-)

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, Jennie, my fellow Noodler pal. Great to have you here. Hmm, some exotic locations -- among those bright white cliff homes in Greece, New Zealand (fell in love with the landscape while watching the Lord of the Rings movies), Puerto Rico, Vienna, Prague.

Anna Sugden said...

Macchu Picchu - oh yes! But I'm worried my fear of heights will be a hindrance.

Hrdwrkmom - how about the Antarctic ... all those penguins! I loved the ice palace in Sweden that was also featured in one of the Bond movies - I would love to use that in a book one day.

Sri Lanka is lovely, Jennie. I've been there on business. So is Pakistan - up in the Murray Hills. I understand places like Goa are gorgeous too.

Maureen said...

Hi Jennie!
I would say that I would pick Fiji from the South Pacific

jo robertson said...

I'm with Jennifer on the Athens as an exotic locale. The only time I was there I was seriously sick and could only stagger to the balcony and look down at the streets! And a fat, little Greek doctor who gave me some amazing medicine that probably burned out a brain cell or two!

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, I dream of going to Macchu Picchu too. But friends of mine have just been (amazing photos) and it's completely unfenced and precipitous and obviously not for the non-surefooted. And I'm so unsurefooted, it's tragic. I think it's a place I'll have to admire from afar. Either that or wear padded clothing for that steep slide down the mountain on my bottom. It's such a pity to be a klutz! ;-)

jo robertson said...

Oops, sorry that was Rebekah who mentioned Athens!

Jennie, we have quite a few moms in the Lair with children of varying ages and they are ALL amazing women at balancing their writing careers, often OTHER careers, and their families.

Kudos to YOU and to them for juggling it all. I stand in awe of you -- all -- ya'll.

Jennie Lucas said...

Man, I'm so slow making it through everyone's wonderful comments! Thanks for being so patient with me!

Anna S, thanks for your kind words! You must live close to Dover? Then you already live in the number one place I always dreamed of as a child, the place of fairy tales and medieval romances and Jane Austen. I would truly love to live in the British Isles someday. And yes, set a book there! A bit of The Spaniard's Defiant Virgin takes place in London, as the heroine is British (but she's spent all her school years in the U.S.). If I lived in London I would eat takeaway curry every single day. I would weigh 40 stone, but it would be worth it!!!

You and I are of similar mind when it comes to cool locations. Some of Caretti's Forced Bride takes place in Sicily, and I would absolutely love to someday write about Venice and Sardinia. Lapland...yes. And I've always been intrigued by the idea of Reykjavik, Iceland. It's so distant and far away from everything--that definitely adds to the mystique!

Jennie Lucas said...

Limecello (is your name from the Italian drink?), you get double brownies for bringing up Asia. I drool over the skyline of Hong Kong and Shanghai every time I see them. I really like the idea too of an old colonial shipping town like Malacca. A great place for him to track her down and force her to be his bride. ;)

And South Africa is someplace I've thought about ever since a few weeks ago, when I got a copy of The Greek Billionaire's Baby Revenge that was translated into Afrikaans. (!!!) SO COOL! But it sounds like, in general, your favorite settings are the traditional ones of Mediterranean, tropical resorts, the UK and Australia?

Deb Marlowe said...

Hi Jennie! We met at a Harlequin function in Dallas, very briefly! But Caren has bragged so much on you that I feel like I know you!

I second doglady's vote for Vienna, or anywhere in Austria for an exotic locale. Ah. So gorgeous!

Congrats on all of your success! And someone please pass the brownies?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

And AC, you've been to Bangkok? Wow! What was it like?

Unbelievable HOT AND HUMID! And I've been in some pretty darn hot & humid places before and since, but Bangkok still takes the prize. However, it was also one of the prettiest cities, with high-rises, dazzling white temples, and the Chao Phraya river running right through the center. I was also pleasantly surprised at how CLEAN it was. Not that there wasn't a lot of poverty, but the Thai people are very proud (and friendly) and they keep everything sparkling clean. I would DEFINITELY RECOMMEND visiting there!

AC
who can ask "Where is the loo?" in Thai!

Jennie Lucas said...

Okay, you guys, all this talk of brownies is starting to drive me nuts. (Get it? Nuts. Heh) Of course the brownies I told Caren about were all eaten long ago. I might have to make another batch. I just ransacked my cupboard and found a peanut butter granola bar, which I'm eating with a huge block of dark chocolate.

The famous Doglady--HI! I've seen your posts around the web but don't think we've chatted before. So nice to properly meet you at last. :)

I'm very envious of your trip to Transylvania and Budapest. I can't even imagine how amazing that would be!

Re: my dream career, you are right--as crazy as my life feels sometimes, I feel so fortunate to have the family and career I always dreamed of. It's scary, actually. I almost feel too lucky. I'm sometimes waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like I'm waiting for editor to call me up and tell me she changed her mind and don't bother sending any more, or my husband to run off with his secretary or something. Knock on wood. Even when I'm stressed, with kids wailing, a messy kitchen and I have a book on deadline or whatever, I just feel so...grateful. It took me so long to break into this business, and I almost gave up heaps of times. But I just found that giving up depressed me even more than trying and failing, so I kept going. If your dream is to be a full-time writer, believe in it and throw everything you've got at it--all your time and energy at nights and weekends, if that's what it takes. It can really happen.

Speaking of which...

Your beautifully evocative description of Salzburg just bowled me over. Your answer is now the one to beat for winning the prize!

Jennie Lucas said...

Rebekah, sounds like you're another fan of the Greek settings! I've never been to Athens, but it sounds like you have. I love the whole "ocean next to mountains" thing too. It's why I set Caretti's Forced Bride in a place like Monaco--just these dramatic sharp hills clinging next to the sea.

Did you go into the Greek pubs and try ouzo? I haven't tried it yet. I'm scared, I guess. I'm a froo-froo drink kind of girl, and I'm afraid that the ouzo will burn right through my gullet. I do make my heroes drink it though. I know they can take it. *grin*

Anna Campbell said...

Pam didn't tell you, Jennie, because she's lovely and modest (I hope that check's in the mail, my canine-appreciating friend). But she studied singing at the Mozarteum there and sang at the Festival (I'm pretty sure it was the Festival, wasn't it, Pam? I know you definitely SANG there!). Isn't that cool? Someone actually singing opera professionally in Mozart's birthplace?

Jennie Lucas said...

Mshellion, I've never been to Grand Cayman. What's the "Hell" you mention? Is it a cove, a city, a bar? I'd love to hear more. And Tortuga Rum sounds very interesting. I loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie! But I would probably need that rum to be mixed up into a pina colada to handle it. :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Aha, thanks Jo for explaining the Rooster thing! But Caren made it sound like a real statue?? Surely you don't actually MAIL a golden statue to the first poster each day? (Thinking of how much shipping costs to Australia...you might as well just fly there on a plane!)

And Donna, I'm glad that you won it, too. Thanks for being my first commenter today. :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Jeanne, hehe, so you know what it's like with a 3-year-old! Little Gym, huh? It's funny but one of the other moms at preschool was raving about the Little Gym this morning! With all that good press, I'd better check it out. We'll be looking for something social and fun for over the summer until real preschool begins in the fall.

But I digress... *cough*

So you like Greece, Turkey, and Transylvania? I had no idea Transylvania was so hot. Is it the vampire connection? Or something else?

And a "day for sin"....I love that concept. I always like to think of my birthday like that. But wouldn't it be nice if we all found little ways to be "sinful" (that is, do something crazy-nice for ourselves, like take a bubble bath or eat a chocolate truffle) every single day? Why can't every day be a day for sin?

Seriously, it sounds like the title of a very fun book.

Jennie Lucas said...

Cassondra, oooh, drowned in the Lair's wine vat? Is it a Merlot or a nice Shiraz?

It sounds like you know a lot about wine. I've only recently come to like wine, so I'm a total newbie. I know I like the drier, more tannin-y wines. And I don't like white wines unless there are bubbles in them. :) But my husband and I have sometimes thought how cool it would be to take a wine appreciation class--just so we would learn the right language and know how to talk about things--and know what we're tasting!

Scotland is plenty exotic IMO. I was dreaming about Scotland on Saturday--my husband's half-marathon had a Scottish theme, with bagpipers and even a sword-clad, blue-wode-faced princess on her horse ordering the participants to "Run to the Death!" (Fortunately, no one died. Although the race is known as the toughest half-marathon in the Northwest.)

As we left, I saw a lone bagpiper standing up on the bleak brown hill next to a large bare tree, and I was utterly captivated.

Jennie Lucas said...

AC, hehe, thanks for asking for some White Choc Macadamia brownies. I've only made them once or twice since my 16-month-old was born! It takes several hours--hours I usually don't have!

I'm sure they'd be scrunched if I tried to drag them to SF. But if you're ever in Idaho, look me up and I'll make some just for you!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Yes, the Antartic would work. Rain forests would work too, going the other way.

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Suzanne!

Thanks for all your nice words. It sounds like you're interested in traveling? (And maybe sexy Italian guys?)

Now that your last chick is finally leaving the nest, maybe you should start making plans to get out of the country! My mom is the one who made me dream about France and England with all her stories (and reading to us in French when we were little) but somehow she never got around to leaving the U.S. Maybe because she always put her kids first, ahead of herself.

But she just turned 60, and I couldn't stand it anymore. It just seemed so wrong, when she loves to dream about travel even more than I do! So when I go to London in September for the AMBA (Association of Mills & Boon authors) luncheon, I'm taking her with me. I used my husband's frequent flier miles to get her a ticket. I can't wait. Traveling with my mom will be something I'll always remember.

So Suzanne, that might be another option for you, since your kids are grown--hint that you've been very, very good this year and you wouldn't mind a little Tuscany for Christmas. *grin*

Caren Crane said...

Jennie, take me with you to Machu Picchu! My husband and I visited Chichen Itza when we were in Cancun a few years back. Just getting to cross the state border and see the guards with the Kalishnikovs was pretty fun. But at the pyramid, I loved visiting the ruins of the site where they sacrificed people and the stadium where they played jai lai to the death. It was so creepy! And yet, I really wished I could see what remains were at the bottom of the sacrificial pool. It gave me chills - and it was about 85 degrees F!

Also visited ruins at Tulum, which was also quite atmospheric, but not as creepy. *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, I know I'm a pleb, but I read CHICKEN Itza and wondered if that was the rooster's new date!

Jennie, I love that you're taking your mum to London. It will be like a dream come true for her. And she's going with her multi-published daughter too!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, and I have to add a "me too" to Vienna, Santorini (I have a friend from there) and Prague. I have a real yen for all things Austrian. Haven't convinced my husband to shell out the money to go, though. He wants to wait until we're rid of the kids to go places. Then I will be a world traveler like Aunty Cindy!

Yes, Jennie, AC has been to Bangkok and anywhere else you can think of (except, what's this we heard about no South America? Can it be true?!) . She lives as much of her life on a cruise ship as possible. Right, AC?

Caren Crane said...

Jo, the term you were searching for is the fabled "all y'all". *eg* Believe me, y'all, Cassondra has tried to school her in proper usage!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, no, Anna. If Machu Picchu is treacherous, I'll have to stay far from the edges. It was bad enough being on the mountaintop in the Swiss Alps! And did I mention there were fools running up the side of the mountain, like, for exercise? Crazy people!

I love the views from up high, though I am not a fan of heights, in general. I can go up, I just have to stay away from the edges. Jennie, having taken a 12-1/2 and 14-yr old hiking in the Swiss Alps, I can tell you to wait until your children are MUCH older to tackle Machu Picchu. The tween and teen did well with the hiking in the Alps, but younger kids would not have. Also, the elevation is much higher in Peru, which makes it that much harder.

I think we need a grown-up trip there. *eg*

Caren Crane said...

You heard it here, folks. Jennie has issued a challenge to all Banditas. Ouzo must be consumed in San Francisco. I'm sure there must be a fabulous Greek restaurant where we could procure some near the conference hotel. Note to self: abduct Jennie, round up Banditas, find ouzo. (Which I have tried, by the way. Goes down easier than moonshine, that's for sure!) Must do research...

Caren Crane said...

Jennie, one of my co-workers has a picture in his cubicle of the post office at Hell, Grand Cayman. It's a town! Yes, the Caymans are great for intrigue stories with money hidden offshore. I'm sure there are many stories there! My husband loves to scuba dive and I keep telling him we need to go. He's all hung up on this "sending the kids to college nonsense. What is he thinking?

Caren Crane said...

Anna, it was your vivid, rooster-infested imagination that had you reading CHICKEN Itza. *g* You've wanted that rooster on a spit with barbecue sauce ever since doglady invented him!

Jennie, I'm sorry I gave you the impression the GR was more...er...tangible than he is. He is quite real to all of US, you see. What with the combat training and nail painting and being dressed up for Easter and whatnot, he has quite a full life! Why, I know he was spray-painted gold recently, though I can't quite recall what that was all about...anyway, he is everyone's favorite. Except Anna C. She is always trying to get the chook on a roasting spit!

Caren Crane said...

Jennie, I'm so glad you get to treat your mom to a trip! My mother turned 67 late last year and I'm afraid she won't want to travel by the time I can manage to get her somewhere. I long to take her somewhere exotic, but don't know if I'll be able to!

Oh, I did want to mention that Nova Scotia is GORGEOUS and quite reminiscent of Scotland on Cape Breton Island. My younger sister and I went there and didn't get to see quite as much as we would have liked. We got distracted by 9/11 and the fact that we couldn't get home *g* It's a day trip to Prince Edward Island from there, which I long to see. Oh, Anne Of Green Gables!

doglady said...

Good evening all! You have done an excellent job of keeping Jennie lulled into that false sense of security. Now if you can just wrestle into the dungeon/kitchen and keep her there! Cooking brownies and writing more steamy novels for Presents- that will be her life in the Lair!

Thanks Aunty Cindy! Actually I am a finalist in the Fab Five Contest and I am thrilled! Haven't won it yet!

Yes, Anna I did sing at the Festival a couple of times. Aunt Cindy is so right. Strolling down the cobblestones of Getreidegasse (the street where he was born) one would not be surprised in the least to see a young Mozart chasing his beloved older sister while old Leopold calls from a window telling them they must come inside and practice!

Yes, Jennie, I do make the rounds of the blogs. The Banditas are the most welcoming and encouraging bunch of ladies around!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Pam, you gave us away! Jennie didn't know we were doing recon on her house and planning to steal her away to the catacombs of the Lair!

Never fear, Jennie dear, we have a lovely red Aga for you to bake in and lots of cabana boys to keep you company in the deadline cave. Just ask Anna C! She's been in there for a while now. Tawny and Christie have spent time there. Aunty Cindy, too. I went in myself for a short time before the Golden Heart deadline. Matter of fact, we ALL go to the cave from time to time.

During Deadline Cave time, brownie baking duties will be offloaded to others, such as Joan and me, and food and wine will be left for you outside the entrance. We know how to treat writers in the Lair!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Pam, you made me LONG for Salzburg! I keep whispering "Austria" to my husband while he sleeps to implant the subliminal message. It is SO not working!

Anna Campbell said...

What can I say, Caren? I LOVE my chooks! Especially if they come with a nice marinade!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I cannot tell you how much it distresses me to hear you speak of the GR in such...edible...terms. He is a dear companion, not a canape!

Donna, please don't let him read any of Anna's chook-related comments. It is TOO upsetting!

Cassondra said...

Ouzo...OOOOh. Ick.

So sorry, but licorice is bad enough. Drinking it? Ew. No.

I recently got a new cookbook and noticed one of the recipes in the Greek section was a wonderful-sounding shrimp with Ouzo. I made it. Wasted $40 worth of otherwise excellent shrimp. I threw it out. I swear. Neither of us would eat it. Gack. I thought cooking with the Ouzo might actually soften it.

No. It did not. Ick.

But I promise not to spoil the fun in SanFran. I'll have a nice glass of cabernet and watch you all get drunk on liquid licorice.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, I'm shocked you tried the recipe! I agree about the anise. But you know, if you chase it with some of that fabulous tyrokafteri (the hot cheese dip), it's not so bad!

That made me want Greek food real bad...

Anna Campbell said...

Jennie, thanks for being such a blast of a guest! Hey, what are you doing? How could you break those chains, Superwoman? What? And now you're flying away. Sheesh! Don't forget to come back and see us sometime and remember brownies are always welcome!

Anna Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennie Lucas said...

Oops--sorry for the hours of silence, but I had to take a little break to spend some time with my husband and kids. :)

Where was I? Oh yes.

Anna C, it might have been your first Squee! but it certainly won't be your last! And it's CRUEL of you to taunt me with an unpublished book set in Hungary--*drool*. In fact it's downright mean!! (Although since you're a fellow Dane, I'll forgive you!)

So you'd like to see a book set in Sri Lanka as well? Interesting...

You made me laugh with your comment that I'll be trapped in the Lair forever, so there will be a free bed in Tuscany. This has been such a wonderful day--you all are such a welcoming and witty bunch. My biggest problem has been just trying to keep up with y'all! (Using the lingo Caren would use. *grin*)

Did I ever get discouraged in all the years it took to sell? You bet. Tons. All the time. The worst was likely when I got two really hard rejections back-to-back. I decided to quit writing and do something that would actually give me something for the effort!

But over the next few days, instead of feeling better, I just got more and more depressed. So I started writing again. Something totally new. And since I was writing more for fun than because I thought it would sell, I enjoyed the process. It was a pleasure.

And that ended up being the book that sold.

Jennie Lucas said...

Cassondra, thanks for the in-depth description of the meaning and history of the GR! I really appreciate it, and now feel a little less confused...about the GR, anyway. :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Beth, it's great to meet you! I certainly understand feeling a bit wistful about wanting another baby. Maybe as women it's something that never really goes away...until we can become grandparents and enjoy babies all over again. :)

What part of Northwestern PA are you from? I lived in Northeastern Ohio for several years, in Akron. We took some road trips over the beautiful hills around Punxsutawney. Gorgeous out there.

Jennie Lucas said...

Annie! Hi sweetie! Great to see you here. I hope Anna C is still working on you about coming to SF....? And I'm with you--I'd love to go to Sicily for sure!

Jennie Lucas said...

Christine--here I thought I used to have it tough, but sleeping only every other night?!?! You are one tough cookie and I take my hat off to you in amazed awe!!

You're right--it's so tough to know how to balance being a mom and having a career. My husband works pretty long hours as well, so I can totally sympathize with that. Being a lawyer and a mom would be tough--one of my best friends recently quit her job as an attorney for much the same reason. Thanks for the tips from Susan. And also for the reminder to feel grateful that I (and you, now!) can get a good night's sleep on most nights!

Jennie Lucas said...

Jeanne, your gorgeous description of Hong Kong just made you another top contender for today's prize!

Jennie Lucas said...

Dianna, I think the Arctic would be a great idea! Maybe Lapland, as Eva and some of the others suggested?

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Tawny! Thanks for all your kind words. I really appreciate them. And I love your picture! So cool and different from anyone else, and it also looks just like you!

Jennie Lucas said...

TRISH! Great to see you here! Yes, I fell in love with NZ too during the Rings movies...Are you planning to go to conference there anytime soon?

Jennie Lucas said...

Anna S--the ice palace in the Bond movie was filmed in Sweden? I didn't know that. Is it the ice hotel I've heard about?

And I love your idea of Goa. I've wanted to see that place ever since it was a scene in the second Bourne movie.

Jennie Lucas said...

Fiji--check, Maureen! Thanks!

And Jo, it's amazing to me that you still love Athens after your experience there. It must be a truly remarkable place.

Jennie Lucas said...

Anna C--I'm sure you'd be fine in Machu Picchu. Just don't step too close to the edge, right? And don't drink ouzo right before you go! And no five-inch heels. How hard could it be? ;)

And Jo, thanks for your kind words about all the moms in the Lair. As a temporary, honorary member I really appreciate it! *hugs*

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Deb! Of course I remember you--I can picture your face in my mind right now! And congrats on YOUR success. Right back atcha, babe! :)

Jennie Lucas said...

AC, you're my third contender for the prize with your description of hot and humid Bangkok!

Jennie Lucas said...

Pam, you're an opera singer? That is SO COOL!

Jennie Lucas said...

Caren--your description of Chichen Itza is exactly how I felt it was, too. Freaky. The way they cut out a heart from a victim...*shiver*.

We visited Tulum on cruise ship day, unfortunately, so although I'd been so excited about visiting the Mayan ruins on the edge of the blue sea, it really felt like I was at some kind of uber-crowded, multi-lingual mall!

Thanks SO MUCH for the tip about Machu Picchu. Guess I'll try and hold off until the kids are either much older, or just grab my husband and go!

And your ouzo idea sounds so fun. I'm totally up for it!

Jennie Lucas said...

Caren, Nova Scotia sounds gorgeous. I loved those Anne of Green Gables books as a girl!

And Doglady--you must be Pam?--love your additional comments about Salzburg. Singing opera there must have just been amazing.

Jennie Lucas said...

Cassondra, you cracked me up with your liquid licorice comments. (In the voice of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi) "No ouzo for you!"

Jennie Lucas said...

Whew! I made it--answered everyone's posts! (If I missed anyone, it was a total accident and I'm very sorry!) I got to the end just in time too, before tomorrow's blog gets posted!

I want to thank all of you for making me feel like such a star all day long. I had a fabulous time in the Lair. You guys are the best.

Viva Bandita!!!

*hugs*
Jennie

Jennie Lucas said...

Whoops, I almost forgot. The winner of the book and Godiva bar is Doglady, for her scrumptious description of Salzburg, Vienna!

Doglady, please drop me an email on my website with your name and address so I can send you your prize! CONGRATS!

Thanks again to all of you for a really fun day.

Monica McCabe said...

I'm a huge lover of novels set in exotic places. It's what I love to read and love to write. I'm in the process of trying to get published with a book set in Botswana, Africa. I call it a romantic adventure and I've found it to be a harder slice of the genre to sell. I've come upon a bit of resistance due to the setting. So anytime I find an author brave enough to throw their characters to far-flung places I have to give out a hearty cheer!

I wish I had more time to search out adventure/exotic locale writers too, more time to read blogs, post emails, write articles, etc. The darn day job gets in the way. Don't you just hate that? But today I was sneaking in some blog time at that day job and zipped out to Romance Bandits to see what's been going on.

I was thrilled to find your post, Jennie. And you can bet I'll be looking for your books!

Monica

Caren Crane said...

Thanks for stopping in, Monica. And best of luck with your Botswana book. We would LURVE it!