Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meet Terri Brisbin … and her sexy Highlanders!

by Anna Sugden

I’m delighted to welcome my good friend, two-time RITA nominee Terri Brisbin - and her Highlanders - to the Lair!

Terri has been writing romance fiction since 1995 and has had 16 historical and time-travel romances published by Berkley-Jove and Harlequin Historicals. When not living the glamorous life of a romance author in the southern NJ suburbs, Terri spends her time being a wife to one, mom to three boys as well as a dental hygienist to hundreds. Active in several RWA local chapters, Terri currently serves on the Board of Directors of Romance Writers of America.

And, on a personal note, I’d like to add that Terri is a great champion and supporter of her fellow romance writers - she keeps us motivated through the best and worst of times!

To find out more about Terri or her fabulous books, please visit her website:

Welcome Terri

Anna, thanks for that warm welcome and the invitation to visit with the Romance Bandits and readers.

I know we have a number of visitors to the blog who LOVE Scotsmen … a few Banditas too *grin*. Would you introduce us to your Highlanders?

This trilogy of stories (and there may a fourth at some point) is all about the wonderful MacLerie men – Connor, the laird, had the first book (TAMING THE HIGHLANDER), now Rurik, his loyal friend and cousin is featured in this new book, SURRENDER TO THE HIGHLANDER, and the clan tanist and negotiator, Duncan, will be featured in an August release (POSSESSED BY THE HIGHLANDER). They are all very interesting and have their flaws and strengths – Connor has a terrible reputation as a wife-killer and does not like to be questioned, Rurik is half-Scots/half-Norse and is a true prodigal son who wants more, and Duncan places honor and his clan above everything else in his life. Don’t they sound like men in need of a good woman?

Tough heroes need strong heroines. How did you choose the heroines for these three tough men?

Well! A long time ago, a wonderful author (Delia Parr) suggested during a workshop that in order to create strong conflict you should give the hero the absolutely worst kind of woman for him. So Connor, who still carries the terrible secrets of his first wife’s death, is forced to marry someone who is protecting her own secrets. Rurik, who loves women and who loves to do two things in life (both start with “F” and one is fight!) has a heroine who is a nun! (Well, he thinks she is a nun!) Duncan, who lives by his honor, is forced to marry a woman who has none...or so he thinks!

It must be fun researching these books. I know you love to travel. Have you got some interesting tales of your quest for things Scottish?

I have had the chance to travel to Scotland twice and have visited many of the places I write about. On my first trip there in 2002, Sue-Ellen Welfonder took me to Dunstaffnage Castle and I had the chance to stand on the battlements and look out over the Firth of Lorne. This turned into a scene I wrote for THE MAID OF LORNE. Also, eerily, it was also there that I found what looked to be the archway through time I described in my very first romance, A LOVE THROUGH TIME. The strange thing is that I’d never seen pictures of this castle until my visit but it all felt familiar.....

I am going back to Scotland in the spring and can’t wait to visit some places I haven’t seen yet – Stirling Castle, more of Edinburgh, and a side trip to the Highlands.

Unfortunately, my other Scottish quest – to meet Gerard Butler – has not been successful...but I’m still trying!

As lovely as your Highlanders are, you write about Englishmen too (YAY!). And a fascinating time period. Can you tell us a bit about some of the other books you’ve written?

Sigh..... I also love medieval England. I’ve written 4 novels and 2 novellas that are all set in the late 1190’s and early 1200’s and involve the Plantagenet dynasty – Henry II and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their sons Richard and John. And talk about different, non-traditional heroines! those stories feature women who were very different from most noble-women of their time—one is the king’s mistress, one is pregnant with another man’s child, one has been held hostage and pretends to not remember all that happened, one is the village harlot, one almost died and has amnesia, and one is on the run after refusing her parents’ choice of a husband.

Next up will be a trilogy set during the Norman invasion in 1066 and I can’t wait to write those! I plan on visiting some of those sites on my spring trip, too.

If you were to travel back in time to one of your favourite time periods, which would it be and what would you miss most about life in 2008?

I think I would love to visit Elizabethan England and see her up close. Elizabeth defied all the odds countless times and became one of England’s strongest rulers. She took a nearly-bankrupted, religiously-divided, politically-threatened kingdom and brought it back from the brink of disaster to make it a world superpower. You gotta’ like a woman who can do that!

Toilet paper! Email! Telephones! On a more mundane and practical level – I would miss medicines and hot water and a good bed and so many other things. I am definitely getting old and crotchety and need my comforts!

Over to the rest of you. Terri would love to answer any questions you have about her books and research trips. And we’d both like to know which time period you’d travel back to, as well as what you would miss most.

Terri will be giving away prizes to two lucky visitors. She’ll pick up something special on her upcoming trip to Scotland for two winners and they’ll get their choice of any of her available backlist books.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How to Hook Bandit Booty?

Well, you need to leave a comment, of course!

And our latest winner is....... Meredith!

Congrats! Aunty's handy dandy random number generator says that YOU are the lucky commenter who will receive an autographed copy of Tina Ferraro's newest release How To Hook A Hottie! Please send your snail mail info to Aunty Cindy at cindymm18 AT gmail DOT com so that we can get Tina's wonderful new book out to you.

If you didn't win this prize, do not despair! We have LOTS of guest bloggers waiting in the wings with more great books and other prizes to give away. But you must leave a comment to win.

Cover Story

by Donna MacMeans

I’m in love… I just received my cover for my second book, The Trouble with Moonlight. It won't be released until June, but just having the cover makes it real. A good cover, I think, is the first step to making a sale. If the cover is intriguing, I'll pick it up, check the back, and decide whether to purchase. I don't always read a few pages inside, especially if I'm familiar with the author. But with a new author - sometimes, but not always.

There's all sorts of covers. Sometimes they're sexy. Check out these from fellow Banditas.

Gotta love those abs! Yum!

Gotta love the seduction!

Sometimes the cover tells a story, like this one from Christine Wells.

And sometimes they are just plain gorgeous.(Okay, I'm biased.)

However, back to The Trouble with Moonlight. There is a slight error in the cover depiction. This is the story of a Victorian heroine who turns invisible in moonlight. She can't help it, it just happens. And it's just her skin, not her clothes. So to be technically correct, with that full moon shining up there over her shoulder, she should be invisible. The beautiful blue ball gown should be standing there up by its lonesome.

I suppose with the period crinolines and corsetry, that's entirely possible, but it wouldn't necessarily make for a sexy or a seductive cover - so I appreciate having the heroine visible. What would really be cool is one of those holographic covers where she would be visable if you look at her one way, then move the cover and she disappears ;-) But I'd have to be a bit further up the food chain for such an expensive cover.

My question for you: What influences your decision to buy a book?

Is it the back cover blurb? A story set in a particular era or exotic setting? Is it the first page? How far do you read? What do you look for? Do you thumb through the book looking for specific scenes? Is the length a factor? Are you miffed when the cover doesn't match the story? Or do you roll with the punches?

Of course there's Bandit booty to be had for a lucky commentor. I'm offering a signed copy of The Education of Mrs. Brimley, and a signed cover flat of The Trouble with Moonlight.

And don't forget to skip on over to RomanceNovel.TV where fellow Banditas KJ Howe and I are talking about extreme research - with extreme prizes offered as well :-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tina Ferraro -- "Hooked" on YA

interviewed by Aunty Cindy

A few months ago, my good buddy and red-hot YA author Tina Ferraro was kind enough to be one of our first guest bloggers here in the Lair. Well, it's a brand new year, Tina has a brand new book on the shelves NOW, and we are tickled PINK that she has come back for another guest blogger stint!

AC: Welcome back to the Lair, Tina!

Tina: Thanks, AC and all you Banditas for inviting me. I'm happy to be back!

AC: Please tell us about your latest YA release, How To Hook A Hottie. Where did you get the idea and other inspirations for writing YA?

Tina: Whereas in my previous book, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, I had an a-ha moment where the idea struck, How to Hook a Hottie happened through the course of several drafts. It wasn’t until a few pivotal characters started to breathe life that the story took off.

Here’s the plot:

Kate DelVecchio plans to be a millionaire before she's 20. When she agrees to go to a sports banquet with a hotshot baseball player, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the school is amazed that the no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn't know anything about getting guys, but for $100.00 a pop, she's more than willing to try, including inventing a 6-step-plan on How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?

AC: How was this book a different writing experience from your first, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress?

Tina: The main character, Kate, is basically doing her time in high school, feels like she’s on the road to greater things. The heroines of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, as well as my next book, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, are fixated on their present lives, wanting to make the most of them and their high school experiences. I was definitely more the latter--very social and more about my friends than my grades--so writing Kate was a stretch for me. I often had to pull back and analyze my instincts versus what Kate would naturally do, which was not so much of a problem with the other two books.

AC: Any advice to the As Yet Unpublished or Not Yet Published writers here in the Lair? Like things you wish you'd known before your first book came out? Or before your second book came out?

Tina: My advice is to keep doing exactly this--networking. Reading and commenting on writers’ blogs, participating on writing loops and in critique groups, maybe entering contests. I believe that networking was a huge contributor in me getting an agent, making my first sale, and these days, keeping me “in the game.”

AC: With the rave reviews both your books have received, Aunty is sure you'll be "in the game" for a good long time. What new and exciting things are on the horizon for you?

Tina: In the spring of 2009, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys will be released. It’s about a 16 year-old girl who doesn’t get promoted to Varsity soccer with her teammates, and the crazy-but-just-might-work scheme that she concocts to get her coach’s attention, which includes kissing the prom king at the sports’ fair kissing booth. But first she needs to find out everything she can about kissing, and that help comes in the most unlikely of sources--the freshman guy across the street. But will maintaining this secret alliance with a froshie actually become more important than making Varsity?

Right now I’m working on another contracted book, the title of which is still in negotiations, which will involve, among other things, a summer fling. The main character has some of Kate’s seriousness, but some of the playfulness of my other heroines, too, and I’m hopeful that together she and I can pull off this new book!

AC: The ABC's of Kissing Boys sounds like another fun read! And with your talent and abilities, Aunty has no doubt you'll pull off the next book and continue to delight readers for years to come.

Readers, to keep up with all the latest on Tina and her books be sure to check out her website:
She also blogs with six other YA authors at Books, Boys and Buzz.

Now Tina and AC have a question for YOU. Tina's girl-entrepreneur extraordinaire, Kate develops and sells a how-to plan for hooking hotties. What kind of how-to book or plan would YOU like to have? Don't be shy, you know anything goes here in the Lair.

One lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of Tina's new release, How To Hook a Hottie
. Good luck to all!

Cassondra's Bandit Booty!

Okay, for everyone who's been so patient with me, here, finally , are my winners for not only December, but January blogs. I DO truly apologize. Unexpected 12-hour days at work, almost every day this month, is my lame excuse.

I'm including an extra little bit for each of you because you've had to wait.

The winner of the Romance Bandits coffee mug from the December blog, "Oh the FLAME of it" is.......mshellion!

The winner of the $5 B&N gift card from the January blog, "Last Chicken Roosting," is....... Maureen!

Drop me an email at Cassondra (underscore) M AT Mindspring Dot Com and I'll get your stuff in the mail immediately. (Put Romance Bandits Booty in the subject line so I'll recognize it as good email. ) THANKS EVERYONE!

Monday, January 28, 2008


by Suzanne Welsh

Have you ever read a book and just loved it so much you gave your copy to every person you knew so they could read it too? Well, I used to do that. In fact, I did it so much, I was my own lending library! But then I started writing, hanging out with other writers and learning about the business of publishing from my published author friends.

Guess what I learned? While passing around a book might flatter the author and give our friends a good read, it does little to help the author's sales numbers. Why should we as readers care about the author's sales? Because, unless they're a household name with a regular spot on the NYT bestseller list, each author's next contract depends on the percentage of sale-through their last book had. In other words, if they had a print-run of 30,000 books, they needed to sell a large percentage of those books to get offered another contract. Each time we give that brand new book we just read to someone else whom we know would just love it, we've taken a sale away from that author.

So what do we do? We want to get that author's book to as many people who read as we can. We want to make sure that author has lots of sales so she/he can give us more great stories to read. The answer is simple. Word of mouth.

I no longer hand out my copies of books to people. I show them the cover, give them my glowing verbal review, tell them where they can buy the book. Sometimes I buy them a copy and mail them off. Whenever my critique partner, Sandy Blair, has a new book out, I buy five copies. One for me to read, one for my mom, one for each of my girls and one for my two aunts, (they live in the same house so they share). Recently, Sandy's newest book, A Highlander For Christmas, came out and I was actually a character in the book! Needless to say, I not only bought my five copies, but challenged everyone I work with to buy the book and try to find me. It's been great fun having them not only tell me how much they loved her book, but that "Yep, I found you!"

Last year at National, Anna Campbell's Claiming The Courtesan had just come out a few months before. I'd read it before going to the conference, so when she was in the Avon signing, I took the time to stand a few feet off and recommend to everyone who came in that they needed to get a copy from her. These books didn't give Anna sales, but they did give her lots of new fans, whom are happily reading Untouched and salivating for her next regency noir!

I got Julie Garwood's newest book, Shadow Music, for Christmas. I read it over four days, (stretching it out because I knew it would be a while before I got another new book by her). I loved the story. Have recommended it to everyone on my e-mail list who reads. And today I went to and ordered another copy to send to my mom. She'll love it and it repays her for that copy of Julie's book,The Gift, that I "borrowed" years ago and never returned. It also helps my favorite author's sales numbers! Because I want to read more of her books for years to come.

So here's my list of books I'd like you to buy:
Untouched by Anna Campell
Shadow Music by Julie Garwood
Warrior by Kinley MacGregor
Hot Wheels And High Heels by Jane Graves
The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritson
Does She Dare by Tawny Weber
Just Wicked Enough by Lorraine Heath **the perfect romance novel**
Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward
A Highlander For Christmas by Sandy Blair **let me know if you find me!**
The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans
Scandal's Daughter by Christine Wells
Texas Princess by Jodi Thomas
Touch Of Texas by Tracy Garrett
Every Night I'm Yours by Christie Kelley

If you could give me a book to read to hook me on an author, new or established, what one would it be? Who would you buy books for to hook them on reading romances?
One lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of A Highlander For Christmas!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

And they all lived...somehow...ever after

by Susan Seyfarth

So I just saw this movie, Once. It's been getting all kinds of good buzz, & if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. It's about a heartbroken Irish musician whose life is stuck & the woman, an amazing musician in her own right, who gets him unstuck.

I don't think I've ever seen a movie quite like it. The Commitments comes to mind, but only because it's another music movie set in Dublin featuring a cast of more musicians than actors. Once was a lot smaller, more intimate. It was about the way these two lonely, broken people found a way to fit their gifts & their hurts together to make something far larger than the sum of its parts. There was an incandescent chemistry at work, something powerful & special, something beyond the music. It was a visible connection of souls, a meshing of visions, & it was thrilling.

I won't give away the ending, but I will say that while it was completely satisfying, it was also completely unexpected. I was looking for the traditional happy ever after: the boy gets the girl & they ride off into the sunset & make beautiful music together for the rest of their lives. What I got was happy ever after, but with a twist. Nothing worked out the way I thought it would & yet I felt really, really good about it.

It got me thinking about expectations. As romance novelists, we have a contract with our readers: the boy is going to get the girl, there will be a happy ever after. It's why people read romance novels. If we writers violate that contract, the reader is (rightfully) angry, takes out her big black Sharpie & writes our name on her Do Not Buy list. And we'd deserve it.

But is there still room within that contract to surprise? When you know the ending already, where's the tension? Is it in how the hero & heroine overcome insurmountable odds? Is it in leading the reader to expect one sort of happy ending & serving up another? How far can an author stray from the traditional expectations of the romance genre without risking the big black Sharpie?

So tell us: What's your favorite non-traditional romance? Your most beloved anti-hero, your most cherished not-quite-happy ending? Which authors do you come back to again & again because they consistently serve up a fresh take on traditional expectations? Have you ever gotten exactly what you didn't want, only to find it was somehow what you wanted all along?

The Quantum of Bandit Booty!

Thanks to everyone who commented on their favorite heroes and fave James Bond men! The winner of the $20 gift card (chosen scientifically by my very own hero, who valiantly picked a number between 1 and 100) is ...


Congratulations, Jennifer Y! Please send me your address and I'll send you the gift card right away. I'm at

And don't forget -- the Bandita invasion continues Monday at! Come by for more fun and prizes!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

They Were Seriously Woman

by Nancy Northcott

As I started to think of blog topics, I gravitated toward English history. I've loved it since I saw a (highly fictionalized, I now realize) story called "When Knighthood Was in Flower" on The Wonderful World of Disney many years ago. There are a lot of choices, and a lot of attractive time periods. I finally settled, though, on strong women in history, not just English history. In romance, we like to think of "Happily Ever After," or the "HEA" ending. Most of these women didn't ever get that, but they more than fit the image in Helen Reddy's hit, "I Am Woman."

We could start with the Amazons. Loving Greek mythology led me to Wonder Woman comic books and thence to the warrior women of ancient Greece. They were my first clue that women could, as the saying goes, "kick butt and take names." An episode of the PBS program Secrets of the Dead used DNA sampling to trace the Amazons' descendants to the Mongolian steppes. Way cool, what they can do these days, huh? I just wish we knew more about the Amazons' culture.

We do know a little more about their later, British counterpart, Boadicea (or Boudicca), who very nearly kicked the mighty Roman Empire out of Britain. A gorgeous statue honoring her stands on the City side of Westminster Bridge in London. A television movie about her, starring the fabulous Alex Kingston, aired a while back. I've heard debates about the historical accuracy, but it made for interesting TV.

After Boadicea came that greatest of British Tough Babes, Elizabeth I, Glorianna herself. As a young woman, she was savvy enough to walk the fine line of not discouraging Thomas Wyatt's plot to supplant Queen Mary, yet managed not to supply anything that could be used as evidence to send her to the block, something Mary very much seemed to want at times. If I could, I'd ask her how she knew just where that deadly line lay.

Elizabeth managed to hold the throne, keep a council of male advisors from forgetting who actually ruled, and marshall sufficient forces to defeat (with a little help from the weather), the mighty Armada of Spain. At the time, the King of Spain was her former brother-in-law, Phillip II. She sent the first English colony into the New World (right here in North Carolina) and kept religious controversy from tearing her realm apart. I see Queens Anne and Victoria and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as all being cut from Elizabeth I's cloth. Unfortunately, Elizabeth had to choose between her throne and her heart. Which was probably a good thing. I mean--can you see Essex as King of England? Makes me shudder!

If we cross the Atlantic, there's Pocahontas, who helped build a bridge between the Powhatans and the strange people who came from across the ocean. She married an Englishman and went with him to England, only to die there, but she had the courage to step outside her world and explore something completely different. A couple of centuries later, another Native American woman, Sacagawea, left her world to lead Lewis and Clark across the continent. I'd love to ask them why they did it, and to ask the rest of the women in this post how they persevered to accomplish what they did.

One of my greatest childhood heroes was Helen Keller, who had to overcome so many disadvantages and proved that a person could be great without sight or hearing. Anne Sullivan rightly deserves to be called "The Miracle Worker" because her perseverance unlocked Helen's doors, but Helen walked through those doors and became a symbol of hope for so many people.

Without Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Romance Bandits might not be able to vote yet. Rosa Parks's courage became a beacon for people across the nation, and Bessie Coleman proved African American women could take to the sky. Coleman was the first African American, male or female, to earn a pilot's license. She died practicing for a stunt show in the 1920s.

All these women roared, each in her own way and some louder than others. Who are the women in history you most admire? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

Friday, January 25, 2008

He's Back ... And He's Still My Hero

By Kate

As everyone knows, we here at Romance Bandits constantly strive to keep our busy fingers on the pulse of popular culture. Regular visitors to the Lair have come to depend on our ability to deliver the very latest and most important news of the world and beyond. It's our pledge to you, one we don't make lightly.

So you can imagine my shock and dismay when I stumbled across this MAJOR piece of news literally buried under rows and rows of lesser important headlines about ... oh, whatever ... stock market crash, Britney woes, blah blah blah. Who cares?? Let's talk real news!! Here it is, folks ...

The latest James Bond film -- starring Daniel Craig! -- has begun production and will be released in November!!


(Oh, my. I need a moment.)


Okay. So the thing is, they're calling the new movie ... The Quantum of Solace.

I know what you're thinking. The Quantum of Solace. It sounds so ... smart! Right? Like, all technical and space-age-y! Or something. To be honest, I'm not real sure what it means. I had to go to to figure it out. Hey, I never said I was a genius.

And I suppose it beats Octopussy for a title ...

Anyway, back to today's topic. James Bond. Hmm, well, to be honest, that's not exactly the topic I had in mind. But it's close. I'm talking about heroes! The ones in our books. The ones we write about. The ones we fall in love with and hope our readers do, too. The ones we dream about and cherish forever.

I'll bet you can still name your favorite heroes from books you read ten years ago. I know I can. There's Lyon, the Marquis of Lyonwood, from Julie Garwood's The Lion's Lady. And Grayson Thane, from Nora Roberts' Born In Ice. So many more.

And here's the thing. In my mind, those heroes, and the heroes I write about, always look a little like James Bond. Always.

What can I say? I love him. I mean, them. All of them. Especially Daniel Craig. And Pierce Brosnan. And oh-my-God, Sean Connery. But hey, I even loved Timothy Dalton. And David Niven in the first Casino Royale.

I'm a serial James Bond lover.

I first fell in love with James Bond when I was thirteen and discovered a copy of Ian Fleming's Dr. No in my father's sock drawer. Oh sure, I spent part of my reading time giggling about all the bat guano that covered the cave walls of Dr. No's evil lair, but I was well and truly hooked. James Bond was my first crush.

And I love him still. He's the ultimate bad boy hero. A party animal to be sure, but let's face it, when the chips are down, James Bond saves the world every time.

Seriously, ladies. A man who can make a perfect martini and save the world, all in less than two hours? What's not to love about this guy?!

So ... do you have a favorite James Bond? A favorite Bond film?

And heaven forbid, if James isn't your cup of tea, who is? Is there an actor you think of when you dream up a new hero? Johnny Depp, anyone? :-)

Tell me all about your favorite hero! I've got a $20 gift card for one lucky visitor who shares today!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dreaming of Bandita Booty?

by Anna Sugden

We have a winner!!! Julie Cohen has picked one lucky visitor to receive a copy of her book ONE NIGHT STAND.

Congratulations to Wendy!!!
Please send your details to Julie at julie AT julie-cohen DOT com

Forget about Frogs…Kiss a Coqui!

KJ Howe reporting in from Puerto Rico…and after discerning the Spanish instructions, here we go!
Remember that old adage about kissing a lot of frogs to meet your Prince? Why not increase your chances of meeting the right guy by kissing a unique amphibian? No offence meant to Kermit and other frogs, but hey, a girl has to be choosy!

Some of you might wonder what I’m talking about. A Coqui (ko-kee) is a Puerto Rican tree frog that measures about one inch long (remember ladies, size doesn’t matter). Coquies can be green, brown, yellowish (but never yellow-bellied), because they are translucent. And, like most men, they can be heard from far away. Yes, that’s their distinguishing feature—male coquies sing from dusk to dawn (non-stop!) in a melodious serenade that sounds like ko-kee (hence the name).

When there is light from street lamps or the moon, coquies are less active, so to find copious numbers, head straight for desolated areas and the mountains (think mountain men!). The sad part is that these romantic amphibians are an endangered species due to deforestation. They reproduce all year round, but the active times occur during the wet season—what better way to spend time when the rain is falling???

Okay, have I convinced you to stop kissing frogs and turn to coquies instead? After all, aren’t all romantic heroes coquies in disguise? These males serenade without being asked, they live in a warm climate, they stay up all night, and they are translucent (so you actually know what they are thinking). Isn’t that what it’s all about? Mavericks, renegades, and swashbucklers. Romantic heroes should be unique, men who stand out from the crowd—an endangered species, to be sure!

Have you kissed a lot of frogs? Have you kissed a coqui? If so, any advice on how to tell the difference?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Anne Gracie chooses her winner!

Anne Gracie has chosen her winner at random and that winner is...


Congratulations, Malvina. Please email Anne at with your snail mail details and she'll get your signed copy of THE STOLEN PRINCESS out to you pronto. And huge thanks to everyone who made Anne's visit such a huge party!

Annie Has Two Mommies

by Jo Robertson

Now that I’ve gotten your attention, let me explain what I mean. My baby daughter has been tending my oldest daughter’s children for eight years while Mommy #1 works. Both mommies parent in very similar ways, and the children obey both as if that person were the “real” mommy.
But there are differences.

Mommy #1 is the woman who carried Annie for nine months, suffering a bad back, gas, heartburn, unbelievable pain as Annie claimed squatter's rights on her mom's sciatica for nearly nine months, and untold other pregnancy ailments. Mommy #1 gave birth. She is the disciplinarian, the one who puts Annie to bed at night, who takes her to the doctor (sometimes) and teaches her manners (always).

Mommy #2 is the fun mommy. She romps and rolls on the floor, she plays games, and she teases. Ironically, she also is a disciplinarian and has no trouble putting Annie in the time-out chair. Annie calls Mommy #2 May-May (for Megan) and Mommy #1 Maw-Maw (for Mommy). Sometimes I can’t tell the difference in Annie's pronunciation and neither, I suspect, can Annie.

On occasion when Annie wakes up in the night, cutting teeth or experiencing a tummy ache, she’ll peek around her mother’s arms and ask plaintively, “Where May-May?” I’m sure twenty-two month old Annie knows which Mommy is her birth mommy and which is her surrogate mommy, but she also knows how to play the game. When we’re all in a public place and baby is feeling particularly diva-ish, she will only go to May-May, batting her eyes from beneath amazingly thick lashes as if to let everyone know who’s in charge.

I think Annie's pretty lucky to have two mommies.

We should all be so fortunate.

Most of us have another person in our lives, another BFF to whom we tell secrets, fears, disappointments, perhaps secrets we don’t even tell our significant others.

Undoubtedly, there’s something to that male bonding thing. That alpha-charging into war with your best bud at your back. Or slapping each other on the butt during football practice. My dad told me that you're never as close to anyone as the man you fight beside in a foxhole.

So do women have that kind of bonding?

Absolutely! In spades! And if you haven't hopped over to to witness the Bandita Invasion, stop by today and see what I mean! There's fun, wit, and prizes!

Personally, I don’t think I could manage my life without my female friends, my critique partner, and three BFF's who just happen to be my daughters.

As writers, we rely on that other special friend. We call her a critique partner. She’s unflinchingly honest and unfailingly kind. She’s the cheerleader, coach, and critic.

So my question to you is: Who is the BFF you couldn’t live without? An aunt, a sister, a neighbor, a friend, or maybe your critique partner if you’re a writer. What role does he/she play in your life?