Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Booty!!!

We have a winner from Monday's open letter to Amy Adams! But first, I wanted to thank everyone for making it such a fun day in the Lair. Just so you know, I'm sitting by the phone, waiting for Amy's people to call. I've got a really good feeling it'll happen any time now. I'll keep you posted! ;-)

Meanwhile, the winner of the ARC of IF BOOKS COULD KILL is . . .

Elyssa Papa!!!

Congratulations Elyssa, my darling! Write me at with your snail mail address and I'll send that ARC out to you, post haste!

P.S. Hey everyone, don't miss my book launch party this Tuesday! Fun! Games! Prizes! Cocktails! Men in kilts??? Oh, yeah!! Woohoo!!

Secret Formula?

by Susan Sey

I hit a writing milestone just before Christmas. I turned in Book 2 on my first contract. Now you'd think Book 1 would be the milestone, wouldn't you? The first one, the big kahuna. The one that merited The Call we writers love to talk about for years and years to come. But I'll tell you the truth--it's Book 2 that I'm really proud of.

And why am I prouder of Book 2 than Book 1? Because I wrote Book 1 (Money, Honey, coming July 6 from Berkley Sensation--have I mentioned that?) under absolutely no pressure. Nobody cared if I wrote it, nobody cared if I finished it, nobody cared what I did between "once upon a time" and "happily ever after." It was my book, my baby, & somebody--goodness only knows why--liked it enough to buy it. That was lucky. Not that I'm knocking luck--I'm darn grateful for it--but with Book 1, I presented the publishing world with a done deal.

Book 2, though? That's a different story. That one you write with somebody looking over your shoulder from start to finish. It's the one you have to outline before you write, & get the outline approved. Then you have to write something approximating the outline, and pray you've managed to turn the outline into a story that has even a little bit of the verve & charm that sold people on the first book.

It wasn't easy, I'll tell you that much. I wrote Book 2 two separate times--not two drafts so much as in two completely separate books. I wrote it the first time in about eight months. I wrote it the second time in two months. I don't recall anything between Halloween & Christmas, I truly do not. But I finally got it right. I did the work & I'm proud of it.

I thought I was in for a well-deserved vacation but my agent has recently informed me that we should now be thinking about what we want to propose to my editor for a follow up to Book 2 (now sitting on her desk awaiting jugment.) So for the past two weeks, I've been racking my addled brains for fresh story ideas. For some gorgeous, high-concept pitch that's going to convince the powers that be to take another flier on me in an economy that (to put it politely) blows.

I'll tell you this--for all the flack romance gets for being formulaic, this was not as easy as it should have been. If there's a secret formula out there for writing a best-selling romance, will somebody please send it my way?

In fact, hey, why don't you? If you had to write a recipe for your perfect romance novel, what would it look like? Do you like your heros dark & broody? Funny & smart? Dangerous & suave? What about your heroines? Shy & sheltered? Kick butt & unapologetic? When a dog takes center stage, do you cringe or melt? Give us the skinny!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Double Bandit Booty-Jo Davis & VLT

posted by Suz
Today, I hope to warm up your winter nights by giving away double the bandit booty by announcing winners from guest appearances by Jo Davis and Vicki Lewis Thompson!

The winner of a signed copy of I SPY A WICKED SIN by Jo Davis is LAURIE! The same Laurie who won the Golden Rooster that day! Congratulations, Laurie!


The winner of a signed copy of BLONDE WITH A WAND is MARNEE!! Congratulations Marnee!!

Please send your snail mail address to swwelsh2001 AT yahoo DOT com(yes there are 2 W's in that addy.) And I will see that both Jo and Vicki get those prizes to you ASAP!

The Passing of Icons

by Jo Robertson

My husband says everything comes in three’s. Three natural disasters in a row, three appliances breaking down within months of one another, three celebrity deaths.

This week two very different but memorable writers passed away.

According to reports, American crime writer Robert B. Parker died at the age of 77 at his desk, writing, of course -- the literary equivalent of a cowboy dying with his boots on. The incredibly prolific writer, noted especially for the Spenser (no first name) series (“s,” not “c,” like Edmund Spenser), also penned the Sunny Randall series, as well as my personal favorite, the Jesse Stone books. He also wrote numerous stand-alone books and westerns.

When I heard the news of Parker's death, I felt like an old friend had died. He's one of the few writers I auto-buy in hardback and his Spenser books are a throw-back to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet.

Then on Thursday reclusive J.D. Salinger, whose iconic work The Catcher in the Rye has been read by millions of teenagers (usually in their sophomore year in high school), died at the age of 91.

The Catcher in the Rye is rich with teenage angst, rebellion, and alienation. I taught Catcher for many years and have had parents seek me out at Back to School Nights to say, “This was the defining book of my adolescence. Thank God, you’re teaching it.”
Or, on a rare occasion, a parent might grumble something like, “That damned book ought to be banned.” Such controversy has surrounded the book since its publication in 1951.

Risking the wrath of a conservative school board, I went all Holden Caulfield on the latter kinds of parents, showing a spark of courage in my career when answering, “I don’t believe in censorship of any kind.” Ouch, what a rebel.

So now I hold my breath, not really superstitious, but uneasy, wondering silently what I’d do if one of my favorite writers no longer penned the stories I love. It’s unthinkable that I’d never read a new book by Stephen King or J.D. Robb, J.R. Ward or Kate Atkinson, Meg Gardiner or Anna Campell, Mary Balogh or Anne Perry, Robert Crais or Michael Connelly. And the list goes on . . .

Salinger hadn’t published in forty-five years but by accounts there were piles and piles of notebooks at his home. He claimed he continued to write because he enjoyed it so much.

Right now I’m reading Brimstone, one of Parker’s westerns. A new Jesse Stone book comes out next month. Was this the last book he wrote, I wonder?

Now, your turn, readers. Which two authors would you mourn if they never wrote a new piece of writing? They don’t have to die! Just no more new stories. And yes, you must narrow it down to two and you must share why.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Vicki Lewis Thompson Brings Some Magical Fun To The Lair!

interview with Suzanne

I am both excited and pleased to have NYT bestselling author, Vicki Lewis Thompson in the Bandit Lair today! Welcome, Vicki, pull up a lounge chair and we'll have one of our cabana boys pour you a drink.

Suz: When you spoke at DARA (Dallas Area Romance Authors) holiday meeting a few Decembers ago, you told the story of how exposure on National TV helped your career. Some of our readers may not have heard that story. Would you care to share it with them?

Vicki: I’ll tell that story at the drop of a hat, LOL! But first, thanks for inviting me to the Bandit Lair! Cute cabana boys! Ahem. Back to the subject at hand -- Kelly Ripa used to have a book club on LIVE with Regis and Kelly. NERD IN SHINING ARMOR was my first single title, and the print run was very low. I was afraid it would sink like a stone, so I hired publicist Theresa Meyers to help me get on Reading with Ripa. With lots of lobbying and a dose of luck, we did it! I appeared on the show. The print run went from 20K to 350K and I landed on the NYT. What a rush!

Suz: I love that story and it is so inspiring to know it can happen out of the blue to an author. How did it change your writing career?
Vicki: It opened doors that would not have been open before. I’ve now worked with three mainstream publishers and have an agent who only takes on NYT authors. Most of all, though, it taught me that anything is possible. You just have to go for it. You may fall on your face, but you may shoot to the stars! I’m much more willing to take risks these days.

Suz: Recently you’ve switched gears and gone paranormal with your HEX series. What made you choose witches over say, vampires or werewolves?

Vicki: With all due respect to the vampire writers and readers out there, I’m squeamish about blood, so that lets out vampires. As for werewolves, funny you should ask! I’m working on a top-secret project right now for 2011, and it just might involve werewolves. But they’re not bloody. I’m not good with bloody. I write comedy.

Suz: Ooo can't wait to hear about those werewolves! Please tell us about the HEX series.

Vicki: The series came alive for me when I decided that instead of setting it in Sedona, Arizona, a hotbed of New Age thinking, I should set it in a conservative little town in Indiana, where NOBODY believes in witches, wizards, magic, or . . . heaven forbid . . . dragons! Big Knob, Indiana, is imaginary, but I’ve had readers ask if it’s based on a real town because they want to go there! So do I, but it doesn’t exist. I made it up totally. The series features a matchmaking witch and wizard who are sent there to rehabilitate the delinquent dragon living in the nearby woods. In between dragon-sitting, they do some matchmaking on the side, which is where the romance comes in.

Suz: Is BLONDE WITH A WAND the first in a new series for you? Can you tell us a little bit about the series?

Vicki: The Babes on Brooms series is – at present – two books long. If readers like it, maybe it’ll get longer! It’s a spin-off from the Hex series in that the matchmaking witch and wizard from that series make an appearance in both BLONDE WITH A WAND and CHICK WITH A CHARM. These two spin-off books are set in Chicago, which is less than a day’s drive from Big Knob, so it works out.

Suz: In BLONDE WITH A WAND, the heroine, Anica Revere, breaks a major witch rule and is stripped of her powers. How does she adjust to that?

Vicki: Not well! She’s always been the “good” sister and now she has to depend on Lily, who’s the rebel sister, to help her fix the magical mess she’s created.

Suz: The hero of BLONDE WITH A WAND, Jasper Danes, is the victim of Anica’s mistake. Does he exact a little revenge or does he easily find himself under her spell?

Vicki: I think it’s okay to reveal that Anica turned him into a cat, because that’s in the blurb. While revenge is definitely on his mind, he’s dependent on Anica and Lily to change him back into a man, so he has to be VERY careful not to tick them off.

Can you tell us a little about the next book in the series—CHICK WITH A CHARM?

Vicki: I would love to! It’s Lily’s story, and she’s a little jealous of Anica’s love affair with Jasper. Lily’s a bartender who has a crush on a customer. Against Anica’s advice, she gives him a devotion potion in his cocktail and discovers that it doesn’t produce quite the results she’d hoped for.

Suz: What else can our readers look forward to from you this year?

Vicki: I hope you’re ready for this. I’ve been typing like crazy and I could sure use a massage from Sven if you’re willing to loan him out. I have *seven* releases this year. Besides BLONDE WITH A WAND in February, I’ll also have RACING HEARTS, a NASCAR anthology with Dorien Kelly and Nancy Warren. This June will kick off my “Sons of Chance” series with Harlequin Blaze. WANTED! comes out in June, AMBUSHED! in July, and CLAIMED! in August. They’re cowboy stories set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the series will continue with three more books in the summer of 2011 and three more in the summer of 2012. Also in July I’ll have CUPID CATS, an anthology with Katie MacAlister and Connie Brockway. The stories are linked by an animal shelter that specializes in magical cats who become matchmakers for those who adopt them.

Suz: OMG...we'll have Sven work on those fingers ASAP!! You're going to be one busy lady this year!! Is there a question you’d like to ask our readers?

Vicki: How about this? If you could wave a wand and turn someone (a person you know or a public figure) into an animal, who would it be and what animal would you choose?

Suz: Thanks for being in the Lair with us Vicki. Vicki will be giving away a signed copy of Blonde With A Wand to one commenter today. And don't forget, you can order books by clicking on any covers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Kingdom For A Blog Topic

by Suzanne

Yes, I'm desperate, much like Richard III in Shakespeare's play of the same title. Misquoted from almost the day it was posted, often in ridicule, the actual quote is "A horse, a horse. My kingdom for a horse," says a dismounted hunchbacked villain-king Richard III in the midst of battle with the future King Henry VII. So here is this man trying valiantly to get back into the fray at any cost, even if it is his kingdom, which in reality it did cost him.

I use this quote often at work, much to the puzzlement of my co-workers, who have on more than one occasion looked at me with a raised eyebrow and asked me what the heck I was talking about.

Another great quote I use to their befuddlement is, "It's always something." I couldn't find a short video on Youtube, but this is still worth watching, and of course Roseanne Roseannadanna (the late comic genius Gilda Radner) uses the "It's always something" line to perfection.

Another marvelous quote is "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."- Mark Twain. This was one my father sort of used, I think he paraphrased it all sorts of ways, but the message was always clear. Probably why his three children have never been unemployed in 30 years!

One of my favorite people to quote is Yogi Berra, (not to be confused with Yogi Bear, who is a great quote source,too.) Yogi said, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." Okay, this can be funny, as in an eating utensil in the road. But I think Yogi was actually quite profound with this one. When life gives you a choice, you have to make one, or you end up stranded. Another Yogi-ism, "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." We all know how I have an aversion to the word, G-O-A-L. But on the great road of life, you'd better have travel plans, or you might not get where you want!

Okay...Your turn...what is your favorite quote or quotes? What makes them so great to you? Be prepared, I'll probably dig up a few more to pepper in the comments, too!

"I Spy" A New Series by Jo Davis!

interview with Suz

We're welcoming my very good friend, Jo Davis, back to the Lair today, not to talk about firefighters, but SPIES! I've been looking forward to the debut of this book and bringing Jo here to give us the details. Be prepared dear readers, you'll need a fan and the air conditioning to help you get through reading this erotic suspense series!

Suz:With your latest foray into the world of Erotic Suspense you've delivered a new series for our readers to devour. Care to give us a look into the world of sexy spies?

Jo: The idea for the SHADO Agency series resulted from my love of spy thrillers. I'm a fan of James Bond and the BOURNE thrillers, and just about any spy story out there. When faced with creating a new series, I thought what fun it would be to write a spy series, and seriously turn up the sexual heat to scorching levels?and the SHADO Agency was born. My visit this previous summer to the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. fueled my imagination even more. What an intriguing world of disguise, subterfuge, and danger! There was no way I could resist.

The mission: Seduce…and Eliminate.

Jude St. Laurent is a former assassin for SHADO, a covert homeland security agency. After a mysterious accident causes gaping holes in his memory, he embraces his career as an artist, pouring vibrant, colorful life into his erotic paintings, and he often seeks solace in the arms of his subjects. But when he’s haunted by visions of the past, he turns to his new personal assistant for help—and she knows just how to make him forget.

Lily Vale is not what she seems. An agent as deadly as St. Laurent , she uses sex to manipulate her targets—and always gets her man. When she’s sent on a mission to kill Jude, she’s startled—and aroused—to find that he’s not the monster she expects. As Lily succumbs to Jude’s decadent sexual lifestyle, one wicked sin at a time, she realizes that there’s more to this case than meets the eye—and if she’s going to save them both, she’ll have to found out who’s pulling the strings.

Suz: The book starts off with a bang:


“Sweet Christ.”

Elbows on the ratty desk, John Sandborn dropped his face into his hands. In the wake of this terrible exercise of connect the dots, he’d be goddamned lucky if he didn’t wind up at the bottom of the Atlantic. In five different oil drums.

Because a traitorous, murdering bastard was coming for him. No doubt about it.

If he had a whisper of a prayer of avoiding a grisly fate, he had to work fast.

Clicking the X in the top right corner of the laptop’s screen, he closed the classified file and opened another. Fingers flying, he activated a program he’d hoped never to use, but was damned glad he’d put into place. Next, he composed a simple coded message a ten-year-old couldn’t decipher, yet not so difficult a trusted operative couldn’t, either.

“Okay . . . got it.” He blew out a deep breath. It wasn’t perfect, but would have to do.

Last, he opened his e-mail and hit Send. He waited, every muscle tense, while the new files, along with the classified one, shot to six different destinations and burrowed into six different hard drives. A high-tech worm that would make any hacker cream in his shorts—and just might save his ass.

Action complete.

Sandborn attacked the keyboard again, clicking rapidly. His instincts screamed Get out, but he didn’t dare leave the last two tasks undone.

Precious seconds were whittled away, scraping his nerves raw, as he accessed the script file he’d written to initiate the virus that would destroy his hard drive. The final box popped onto the screen, and he executed his CTRL+F+U command.

Sandborn gave a grim chuckle at the double entendre in his chosen three-finger salute and wiped the sweat from his brow. Time to make like a ghost.

The door to his motel room burst open, hitting the inside wall like a gunshot. Sandborn spun, the SIG from the desktop already in hand, arm leveling at the leader of the traitor’s cleanup crew.

Too late. A pop split the air, and pain blossomed in his chest. He stumbled backward, managing to get off a shot, the explosion deafening in the tiny space. The leader went down with a grunt as Sandborn trained his gun on the second man, tried to squeeze the trigger. And couldn’t. His arm fell limp and useless to his side.

The second man crossed the room, a smirk on his ugly, pockmarked face. Cold overtook the pain, spreading from Sandborn’s chest to his limbs. Numbing every muscle. Looking down, he stared in fascinated horror at the dart embedded in his left pectoral.

He swayed, speaking quickly. His life depended on it. “Tell your boss I know everything. I put safeguards in place, and he’ll never find them without me,” he rasped, the drug freezing his vocal cords, fast. “If I die . . . the whole world will know . . . what he’s done.”

Sandborn’s legs buckled and he slumped to the floor, completely nerveless. Aware, but paralyzed, along for the ride and at their mercy. A nightmare.

A pair of heavy-soled leather boots appeared in his line of vision as the second man paused, obviously peering at the laptop. “You smart-ass sonofabitch,” Crater Face hissed.

John Sandborn’s last image was a snapshot of the man’s right shitkicker rocketing toward his face.

Suz: WOW! Jude St. Laurent, the hero of I SPY A WICKED SIN, is a very damaged hero. What is it that makes wounded men so sexy and how did you come about giving him the flaws in this story?

Jo: I think there's something about a tortured or damaged hero that brings out the caring and nurturing side of a woman. At least that's true for me. I want to fix it, make it all better-but not before he's put through the wringer. With Jude, I knew from the beginning he was blind and had holes in his memory due to the villain having his mind swept. (Think Bourne Identity) I said to myself, "A blind former assassin/spy? Are you nuts? He'll be such a difficult hero to write!" But it didn't matter. Jude was what he was, period. As with all my heroes, once he introduced himself to me, that was it. And on top of memory loss, can you imagine having one of your most relied-upon senses denied you, while becoming increasingly aware that you're not what you believed and that your life is in terrible danger? The challenge was too much fun to resist.

Suz: In I SPY A WICKED SIN Lily Vale is a very beautiful operative of SHADO. What is her area of expertise?

Jo: Like Jude, Lily is an assassin, and she's posing as Jude's new personal assistant. Her job in this case is to locate computer files that Jude hid regarding the theft of a weapon of mass destruction, a theft he was supposedly instrumental in pulling off. Then she'll eliminate him. Lily uses her sex appeal to bring down her targets in a much more?hands on manner than most agents. In particular, she's very proficient in using poisons that don't leave a trace?

Suz: A Jo Davis erotica wouldn't be complete without a ménage. Liam O'Neil is the third member of this trio. Is he also a spy for SHADO?

Jo: No, our sweet Liam is Jude's in-house chef, companion, and sometime lover. He's a young man with a big, open heart and almost stole the story from my clutches before I quite knew what happened. I adore Liam, and completely balked at a suggestion while writing the book that I kill him off! SO not happening! I hope readers love him as much as I do.

Suz: Since I SPY A WICKED SIN is the first of this series, will we be seeing these characters in the other books?

Jo: The two characters that will carry over from the beginning of the three-book series are handsome SHADO leader Michael Ross and the villain, ex-SHADO right-hand man and traitor Robert Dietz. The first two books in the series will have a conclusion, but Michael and Dietz will have their final showdown in the last book. Also, book two will introduce someone very important to Michael's story.

Suz: And I can't have Jo Davis in the lair without asking? WHEN will we be seeing the next firefighter book?

Jo: I'm so glad you asked! Tommy Skyler's story, LINE OF FIRE, will be released on May 4, 2010! The team's youngest hottie will get his story, and it sets up an explosive plot for the final book, RIDE THE FIRE, Captain Sean Tanner's story coming in December! In Tommy's story, lives will be irrevocably changed. Think of these last two books in the series as dominos falling, setting off a chain reaction?

Suz: Jo, thanks for being here today. We love having you with us. Do you have a closing question for our readers?

Jo: Sure do, Which type of action hero is your favorite in books, TV, or movies (cop, firefighter, Navy SEAL/other military, spy, etc.) and who is your favorite action hero of all time?

Jo will be giving away a signed copy of I SPY A WICKED SIN to one of our commeters today!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Resolutions Game

posted by Nancy

This being January, lots of us have made resolutions. This being late January, some of us will have fallen off the wagon. Kathleen O’Reilly’s January Blaze, Midnight Resolutions, is particularly timely, so Kathleen and I are chatting today about resolutions.

Welcome, Kathleen! I confess that I no longer make resolutions because the word is so intimidating. I make plans. Which are sort of like hopes with some oomph behind them. And which are not going all that well. I haven’t been back to the gym, haven’t appreciably altered my eating habits, but I have made significant progress on my latest manuscript, an indication I’m doing better at time management. Did you make resolutions you’re willing to share? And if so, how’re they doing?

I don't make resolutions that are intended to last the entire year, maybe a quarter of the year instead. It makes it a LOT easier to carry out. Most of my goal making is done in very small increments. Sadly, I have discovered that it's not any easier to drop five pounds than it is to drop twenty-five. Wimpy, they name is Kathleen. On the positive front, I have been going to the gym a lot. I enjoy working out, and walking, and I notice that I feel a LOT better when I exercise, because, alas, without exercise, I am a slug.

Without exercise, I have no hope, alas, of losing actual, noticeable weight. Another of my plans for 2010 was to whittle the TBR pile. It’s gotten to the point where I’m afraid to buy anything that’s not a new release lest I later discover it deep in the teetering stack. What’s your TBR pile like?

Hehehe.... My TBR is getting smaller. I have a Kindle, and it virtualizes your TBR pile. When my Kindle is off, my TBR pile disappears from view. Poof. Very stressless. However, I have been whittling it down. I just finished The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and enjoyed it. LOVED Anna Campbell's Captive of Sin (as always), and I'm currently reading the Help. I just got my stack of Rita books, which I cannot talk about, but it wasn't a thrilling stack like I'm lucky enough to get in years past (only one actually). But, the upside is that there are a lot of books that I don't think I'm going to enjoy that I really do. I've discovered some favorite writers that way. So, the moral of the story is 'don't judge a book by its cover, nor it's back cover copy, either.'

So you're actually not only whittling the TBR pile but have found a new way to hide it. My dh may be interested in this strategy as the books climb and teeter and spill in various corners of our house. What are you reading these days?

I'm about 25% through The Help and then after that it's the aforementioned Rita books.

I started Street Magic, the first of Caitlin Kittredge's Black London series. I'm not too far into it, but it's interesting so far. I'm almost through (because, hey, what's life without multiple books in progress?) Air Time, the third Charlotte McNally mystery from Hank Phillippi Ryan, who'll be here next week. It's living up to the other two, which were great.

What’s your biggest time management issue?

Probably that there's only 24 hours in a day. I would like to stop time for a bit, get through a task, and then start it up again when I'm done. Einstein was really onto something. Now if they could only figure out how to make my to-do list travel at a constant rate, and my watch (or my family) move at a relative pace to the constant. There's big money in that invention. Big money, I say.

You need a time turner, like Hermione had in The Prizoner of Azkaban, maybe. I need improved planning. We control freaks will settle for the illusion of control if we can't have the real thing, so I'm trying to keep everyone else in line with writing things on the master calendar. And then I need to remember to, you know, LOOK at it. But I'm doing better. I think.

The hero and heroine of Midnight Resolutions meet at the big Times Square New Year celebration. Tell us a little about them.

First of all, Ian Cumberland is one cool, albeit slightly deluded dude. I made him the romantic, the optimist, just out of his job as an investment banker, and now working in a job placement agency to help people find work. He THINKS that it's an interim job, because he wants his old life back. But he's very happy go lucky, so he doesn't whine too much about it (hate whiners; Kathleen's New Year's Resolution -- write no whiners - EVAH). Enter Rose Hildebrand, who ends up kissing a stranger (Ian, natch) on New Year's Eve. Rose has a ton of baggage. Big baggage, and she wants security and control most of all. She has her life planned, and she sticks to that plan RIGOROUSLY (now there is a woman who makes and keeps all resolutions). But fate keeps intervening, which is not a good thing for a woman who cleaves to control like other women cleave to ice cream.

Would you like to share an excerpt? And didn’t this book get a really good rating from Romantic Times?

It did! It got a Top Pick from RT. Fair warning, I don't think everyone will love Rose like I did. She's not even close to typical romance heroine material because of her past, but I'm an equal opportunity writer. It strikes me as unfair that only the happy, perky, satisfied heroines get to find love. Sometimes I want the unlovable to find love, too. And I think that's the point of the book. Everyone has a heart. Sometimes it's just more difficult to find it. And the excerpt is located here.

Any parting advice or opinions about resolutions?

I'm about to start on a whole new pack of books (two new trilogies) and it's fun to start fresh with a blank slate of people. I think with resolutions, that's the fun part as well. Starting anew. Erasing past history, past mistakes, past weight gain (sadly, they haven't figured out the science of erasing past weight gain except through exercise and diet, so we should probably strike that if we're being truthful). I think that's my favorite part of new beginnings and new resolutions. Everything is possible. Everything.

Ah, the allure of potential! I think that's part of the attraction at places like Home Depot and Lowe's and Michaels--walking down the aisles bombards a person with possibilities. My approach in recent years had been to not beat myself up for what I haven't done and to focus instead on what I have while I keep working on the bits that aren't quite there yet.

So what about you? How are you doing in the 2010 resolutions game, and what advice would you offer other people? What are you reading as the year kicks off, and what's your TBR pile like? One commenter will win a copy of Midnight Resolutions.

Monday, January 25, 2010

An Open Letter to Amy Adams

By Kate

I’m taking this opportunity to write an open letter to actress Amy Adams. Besides being adorable, she strikes me as classy and discerning, so I have no doubt that she lurks here every day, just waiting for someone to say her name. So here goes …


(See, I call her Ames because I know we’ll be best friends as soon as we meet, and I want to start off with the right, casual tone. She hates it when anyone else calls her Ames, but from me, she finds it endearing.)


My name is Kate Carlisle. I write a series of books called the Bibliophile Mysteries, and you would be perfect in the role of heroine Brooklyn Wainwright. Now, I realize people probably send you scripts all the time these days, but I promise, this is even better. There is no script. Just two books so far – Homicide in Hardcover and If Books Could Kill – with more planned in the future, so this is something you and I could develop with our new production team, Best Friends Forever! I have a lot of experience in Hollywood already--and I’m not just talking about The Gong Show. Seriously, just read the bio on my website, and you’ll see what I mean.

What makes you so perfect for the role of Brooklyn Wainwright? Let me count the ways.

1. You like men with accents.

I’ve seen the previews for Leap Year, and those long, lingering looks that you throw at Matthew Goode, your Irish costar, heat up the screen. (I know I should go see the movie in the theater since we’re best friends and all, and I want to, really. But I’ve got a deadline bearing down on me and my editor has hidden the key to the shackles chaining me to my desk here in the cave. I promise, though, I will buy the DVD and make it an annual tradition to watch the movie on February 29. I’ll make it a whole Irish evening thing, with corned beef and cabbage and lots of beer. Fun!)

Brooklyn’s romantic foil is the oh-so-sexy Derek Stone. When creating the character of Scotsman Derek, I was inspired by Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig … pretty much everyone who's ever played James Bond, except Roger Moore. (Sorry, Roger!) So you’ll get to kiss someone very sexy!

2. You don’t age.

I realize that you probably do age, but you certainly don’t look like it. In fact, like Leap Year, you look like you have one birthday for every mortal’s four. You’re 35? Seriously?! If I didn’t love you so much, I’d hate you.

Brooklyn’s going to be around for years, I hope. Just like you. And me! Together, we can create a cinema powerhouse, with each sequel getting better and better.

3. There’s no role for Meryl Streep.

It’s all you, baby. Top billing. Even your love interest is a secondary character. Eye candy for the women in the audience. Meryl stole your thunder in Julie & Julia and Doubt, but in the movie version of If Books Could Kill, you’re the star.

Although … she is Meryl Streep. If she asks for a role, whattaya say we toss her a bone? She can play your kooky mother. But her name goes below the title. My loyalty is with you, Ames. Always.

Please have your people call my people. Er … my person. Er … me. (Note to self: Get some people.) They can email me via my website. I will be delighted to send you a free copy of If Books Could Kill … even though I never understood why people want to give free stuff to wealthy celebrities who can afford to buy anything they want. But for you, I’ll do it. Because, after all, we’re best friends.

Love, hugs, and laughter,

So what do you think? Will she call? And who do you think should play Derek Stone to her Brooklyn Wainwright? The easy answer is Daniel Craig. And after seeing him in swimming trunks, I think we can all agree he’s always the right answer. But let’s think of some other actors in case Danny (who insists I call him Danny!) is unavailable.

Today I'm giving away an ARC of If Books Could Kill to one random commenter! And be sure to stop by the Lair next Tuesday for the fabulous If Books Could Kill launch party! Fun, prizes, cocktails, cabana boys, woohoo!!

Winner from Misa Ramirez' Visit!

posted by Jo Robertson

And we have another winner in the Lair. Congratulations to

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna.

Misa's husband picked your name randomly to win either a copy of Livin' the Vida Lola or Hasta la Vista, Lola.

W H O O T ! !

Please email me at jo (dot) lewisrobertson (at) yahoo (dot) com., sending me your book preference and your snail mail addy.

Way to go, Dianna!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

by KJ Howe

With all the challenges of our day to day life, we often lose sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes it takes an exceptional event to bring us out of our torpor, making us realize what is going on in the world. For example, the earthquake in Haiti has united countless nations. Funding, assistance, and an outpouring of compassion is being sent to the devastated island. No matter where I go, signs are posted asking people to contribute whatever they can to support the relief work, schoolchildren are running fundraisers, celebrities are giving generous donations, and others are making personal sacrifices so that they can assist in some way.

The incredible efforts people are making helped me realize how much the world relies on the kindness of strangers. Have you been the recipient of kindness from a stranger? Have you been the stranger who makes a difference? Let's share our stories of generosity of spirit today and celebrate the fact that there is a great deal of good in our world. Thanks for sharing!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Games We Play

Posted by Donna MacMeans

Christmas is over, the presents unwrapped. This year we had some requests for some games under the tree, and now - when ice coats the road and snow piles up outside - we can enjoy those games around the kitchen table.

I had to laugh, though. As some of those familiar games that I remember from long ago have a different look. Like these:

Harry Potter Clue. I found versions of this game based on the TV series The Office and 24. I hope they kept Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard!

Monopoly - There's nothing like the classic, but different versions keep hitting the market. I know you've seen the versions based on different cities and colleges. I found one based on dogs (to the right there), one based on Star Trek and another based on the Wizard of Oz.

I remember playing Life out on the back porch. Filling my plastic car with sticks (babies) and choosing whether to go the long way for a college education or go straight for a career. Not sure those are options in Redneck Life. I think I'd just like to read that game board.

Here's a new version of the classic Scrabble game called Bananagram.

I've played this game. It's a lot faster than scrabble and there's no triple word scores or adding up of scores. Though the instructions say it can be played with two people, it's one of those games that would be a lot more fun with a lot more people.

Anyway, as I was looking for fun games as gifts, I found quite a few that might be good to stock in the bandit lair. I picked out some games that I thought might appear to certain banditas. I challenge you to match the games to the bandita. By the way, the above games are included in the match as well.

Sherlock Holmes anyone? This is 221B Baker Street

Then there's Colosseum...

Or How about A HOT AFFAIR. (I found that one in games for adults.)

Here's a classic - Chutes & Ladders - Superhero Style

We do like our wine in the lair, and who doesn't love a good murder mystery?

Wordplay had good reviews on Amazon. It's a game about finding words with specified letters to fit certain categories. Don't think they're asking for Haikus, but it looked like it could be fun.

Anglophiles, anyone?

Okay, it's not a board game but it's all about the wild, wild west...

I don't think you have to be a senior to have a senior moment, but it helps.

Here's a timely game, Stick it to the IRS. It's a game of tax shelters, and no - purchase of the game is not tax deductible.

How about a passport to culture?

I had to add this last game because who could resist Storming the Castle with Wesley and Buttercup and the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Do you like board games? How would you match up my picks to the bandits? Any other games you'd like to add to the collection? It's Saturday, time to kick back and play.