Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LAUNCH PARTY!!!!!! Deadly Little Secrets is coming in September!

By Jeanne Adams

So, maybe I'm jumping the gun a bit but....

DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS is headed for a store near you SEPTEMBER 7th!!

And now that I have your attention by putting in something from TWILIGHT (A September calendar page, so it DOES apply!), I'll tell you about DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS.....

I love this book. It was fun to write and even more fun to surprise people (my editor included!) with the twists and turns. The book is about cold cases and art fraud, friendship and danger. How's that for vague? Ha!

It was interesting to research the book, discover how people smuggle paintings and how often, something happens and fabulous art ends up in a yard sale bin, or a library, or hanging on the wall of a little old lady in Poughkeepsie, who has no idea the painting is "real."

(That's one of my favorite paintings by John Singer Sargent over there on the left, by the way. No, quit looking at Robert Pattinson, the painting is over THERE....nevermind.)

Based on some very cool stories about just that sort of thing - lost art - and some other bits here and there, I created a cold case of art fraud for Ana Burton, brilliant, in-the-doghouse CIA agent who screwed up enough to get stuck on cold case duty. Rumor has it her data was wrong, and some of her team got killed. she's not only stuck, she thinks she DID screw up, and if she did, she'll never be the same.

Then there's her opposite number, Gates Bromley. I researched security for high-profile individuals. Who has a body guard and why would you want one? What do they do? How does it work?

So Gates is in charge of security for billionaire art collector, Dav Gianikopolis. After reading about several high-net-worth security mavins, I created Gates. He's at points Dav's partner in business as well, so he's not your average beefy thug, although he's pretty darn delicious, I must say!

At first, he and Ana clash, but within hours of meeting with her about the nine-years-cold-case of art fraud, Gates is shot at, and so is Ana.

Someone wants that cold case to stay buried in the stacks, and they'll stoop to murder to insure it.

(cue suspensful music....)

And that's the story of DEADLY LITTLE SECRETS!

Bwah-ha-ha-ha! Sort of. There's a lot more, and a lot of very, very twisty bits. The one overwhelming statement everyone's made is...."WHOA, I didn't see THAT coming!"

Heh-heh-heh. That's just the way I like it.

Just before the book comes out, the publishing house sends it out for reviews. (This will make you crazy if you let it and it nearly gave me a case of the hives on this one.)

With great thankfulness, I received my third 4.5 star review and a TOP PICK from Romantic Times magazine.

To say that it made my day is a gross understatement. I squealed, I bounced up and down in my office chair. I emailed EVERYONE, then I called everyone: my hubby, the Banditas, my family, people I barely know.
Seriously, I was stoked.

So, between the LAUNCH and a good review, THAT calls for a CELEBRATION! SVEN!!! Bring a round of drinks.

Demetrius! Paolo! Hockey Hunks! Bring on the party hats and streamers! Implore the Goddess Sangria to bless our gathering 'cause

We are havin' a LAUNCH PARTY!!!!!

Let's get out the paint, the wall sized canvas and Paint the TOWN!!!! Grab a drink and a brush and a color and let's GO!!!

(BTW, That's another Sargent over there on the left...)

And if you want to be briefly serious, tell me:

Who your favorite artist is...

What's your favorite research topic...(besides men, and sex...)

What your favorite color is....

And if you've ever kept a secret so well that no one EVER knew....

Monday, August 30, 2010

Curmudgeon Rant

by Jo Robertson

Normally, I’m a happy, cheerful person. I rarely wake up grumpy (unless I’m sick) and I’m generally given to optimistic greetings and lots of pleasant chatter.

Sadly, I live with two men who stumble from bed with a hangover kind of cloud hovering around their heads.

Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. And neither one drinks!

I’ve learned not to speak to them until it’s nearly noon. Neither drinks coffee so I don’t even have that luxury to magically transform them into something approaching normal.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a half-empty sort of gal. A realist, a skeptic, a cynic, a doubter of the highest order. But grumpy? No way, no how.

What about you? Cheery or grumpy in the mornings? Do you face each day with a little skip of joy or do such persons, quite frankly, make you sick to your stomach?

Do you need your pickmeup whatever before you're fit to talk to anyone? Or do you leap out of bed ready to meet the world?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

ICE Cold Bandit Booty!!

by suzanne

The winner of a signed copy of the cozy mystery, SCOOPED TO KILL by Wendy Watson, is fichen1! Congrats Fedora!!!

Send me your snail-mail info in an e-mail @ swwelsh2001 AT yahoo DOT com (yes there are 2 w's in that addy) and I'll see that Wendy gets that book to you ASAP, before the ice cream melts, hehehe

Happy Birthday To Me!

by Susan Sey

Okay, this is going to be a short one because a) I'm totally jetlagged and b) it's my birthday.

I'm completely jet lagged because my husband & I just returned less than 12 hours ago from a 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii (which was INCREDIBLE--I recommend Kauai without reservation), but what I really want to talk about is the birthday thing.

And, yeah, I really do want to talk about it.

I know some women like to stop having birthdays once they hit thirty or so but I'm 38, in case anybody's curious. Looking 40 riiiiiiight in the eye, thank you very much. And I have no intention of ignoring my birthday, now or ever.

And why?

Because I'm all about cake.

I like presents as much as the next girl, of course, but I don't really get my kicks out of surprises in pretty boxes, or thoughtful momentoes of cherished occasions.

I want cake.

I like parties, too. Love spending time with family & friends. Love hanging out with my kids & celebrating just about anything. And I'm easy to please in terms of gatherings.

Beer on the patio for your graduation? Great. Dinner & dancing for your wedding? Super. Back yard BBQ for a family reunion? Nice. Fancy shin dig for your parents' 40th wedding anniversary? Sweet.

But when it's my birthday?


Guess what I'm doing to celebrate my 38th birthday today?

I don't know either (the kids have been very secretively planning something with their grandparents while my husband & I were away).

But my family knows me & I'm pretty sure there's going to be cake involved.

How about you? How do you like to celebrate when it's your big day? Because it's your day, after all. Are you a presents girl? Do you love a good surprise party? Or are you like me & all sweet tooth-centric?

p.s. And where there's cake? There better be ice cream. I'm just saying...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Double Dose of Booty

posted by Nancy
I have two prizes to award tonight!

The winner of Barbara Monajem's prize, a signed copy of Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil, is Daz!

The winner of three books I picked up at RWA (Annie Solomon's One Deadly Sin (signed), Jayne Anne Krentz's Running Hot, and Karin Harlow's Enemy Lover,) for commenting on my "The Year of Lasts" is Cories!

Winners, please email contact info to romancebandits AT gmail DOT com with "for Nancy" in the subject line. Thanks to everyone who stopped by.

Book Pimping

by Suzanne

Okay, a little known secret...well maybe a widely known fact among the Bandits and my friends...I AM A BOOK PIMP. Yep. Can't seem to help it. If I read a great book, I want EVERYONE  I've ever seen holding a book, picking up my new "find" and reading it.  Here's sort of how the conversation goes:

Me, "I just read the most incredible book."
My mark, "Really? What?"
Me, leaning closer with just a hint of a smile, "Money, Honey by Susan Sey. OMG, couldn't put it down!"
Interested victim, "Really? I'd love one of those kind of books. What's it about?"

AHA! Got another one!

Here's another one:

Me, standing in the romance aisle at the local bookstore, reshelving books. Yep, I do this. Bandit's new releases at eye level or on the highly coveted "new release shelf". This particular time I'm muttering loud enough for the three ladies down the aisle to hear me, "I can't believe they have Jo Davis' firefighters on the bottom shelf. For crying out loud she's a local author!" Now, I do this while holding the highly sexy cover of Line Of Fire out for the ladies to get a good look at.

#1 lady moves closer. "That's a book about firefighters?"
Me, "Oh my goodness, yes. The sexiest team of hunky firefighters you'll ever read about."
#2 moves up and takes a book to read the back blurb. "I think firemen are so sexy."
#3, taking her copy. "And so brave."
#1, "Heroic."
Me, "Sexy."
All three nod, putting the books in their growing armfuls. Ah, my job here is finished, oh wait...I point out Lorraine Heath, Jane Graves, Tracy Garrett, Sandy Blair and Addison Fox's books, making sure they all know they're local authors, too!

See? I can't help it!

My coworkers aren't immnue. Last weekend, knowing how many of my coworkers read the YA series Twilight, I took Inara Scott's Delcroix Academy series: The Candidates bookmarks to work and handed them out.I explained it was a brand new paranormal series that was releasing Tuesday. I told them, "It's going to be the next big hit for teens and twenty year olds. I think you would like reading it too!" I'm betting when I return to work the next week I'll see one or two people holding that book. And since many of them have teenagers, I'm thinking they'll be reading her book, soon. I think these girls will be, too!

Another fun thing happened when I read Kate Carlisle's first Bibliophile Murder mystery book, Homicide In Hardcover at work. My friend Karen bought a copy because I was chuckling all the way through it. When the second book came out, If Books Could Kill, Karen and I were reading the book at the same time, almost simultaneously laughing at the same spots! (I laughed first coz I read faster than Karen.) Several coworkers said, "Are you two reading the same book?" We said, "yes" and Karen proceeded to tell them what we loved about Kate's books. At least three wrote Kate's name and the book titles down to read. YES!

Oh and if someone asks me for a good  historical author to read, my first recommendation? Julie Garwood. "What?" I say, slightly shocked voice, "You haven't read any of Ms. Garwood's works? Let me bring you my copy of Saving Grace." Why this book? It's a well worn hardback copy, (the copy I loan out, my other copy is pristine and on my keeper shelf) and I know if they love this book, they'll be buying the back list, ASAP!

So, how about you? Are you ever a book pimp? How do you go about hooking your book addicts? Any tricks I can borrow? Oh and if you were trying to pimp a book or author to me, which one would you recommend?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vicarious Competence, or Things I Can't Do

posted by Nancy
Today Barbara Monajem joins us to celebrate the release of her second book, Tastes of Love and Evil.

One of the cool things about writing books is making your characters do things you can’t. In my first paranormal romance, Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil, the heroine is a landscaper. The only things I can grow successfully are grass (by not mowing it) and wisteria (which is actually a demon in disguise and needs no help at all). It was fun writing about someone who could not only garden, but conquer. :)

For my new release, Tastes of Love & Evil, I chose another skill I don’t have: costume and fabric design and construction. Oh, I can sew reasonably well – I made clothing for my daughters when they were young, and some of the dresses were pretty cute – but as for coming out with anything elaborate or original… in my dreams. Or stories! Rose Fairburn, the vampire heroine, designs and constructs all kinds of cool costumes, and in Tastes, she’s in the process of finishing and delivering an Elizabethan gown to her customer. The costume is based on the one Elizabeth I wears in this picture.

Isn’t it scrumptious? I can’t imagine even beginning to construct something like this! Fortunately, Rose can, and does. She also designs and makes her own gorgeous, artsy fabric. My inspiration for Rose’s fabric was the work of Australian artist Dale Rollerson. I first saw Ms. Rollerson’s work in an issue of Quilting Arts magazine. These photos show the fabric I found so inspiring. You can see more examples of her fabulous artwork in her gallery at The Thread Studio.

I couldn’t resist trying something of the sort myself. (One would think, by now, that I would know better, but… sigh.) Just so you know how far I got with trying to make fabric myself (you can start laughing now), the article in Quilting Arts mentions using water-soluble stabilizer while constructing your fabric. Afterward, it washes right out.

I went to a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store and bought myself a yard of it. I couldn’t find the stiff kind Ms. Rollerson recommended, so I got whatever they had, which had a consistency somewhat like interfacing and would (I guess) need a hoop. (I have hoops from back in the days when I did a lot of cross-stitch.)

Anyway, I held it in my hot little hands while looking at yarn. By the time I got to the register, the part touching my hand already had a hole in it. I now had proof positive of how well this stuff disintegrates. I brought it home and put it away someplace. I have a feeling if I look for it now, I won’t find it. My house is so humid it has probably evaporated long since. Rose, of course, knows how to buy, hold, store, and use it perfectly.

Here’s an excerpt from Tastes of Love and Evil. Jack, the hero (a sort of human chameleon, by the way – no, he doesn’t look like a lizard; actually, he’s cute in an unobtrusive sort of way, and he can literally fade into the background), has just been shot by some bad guys, and although Rose doesn’t know him (she thinks of him as some random man), she’s given him her hotel room key so he can take refuge. But the bad guys are posing as feds, and they’re searching the hotel.

The room was empty.

No, it just appeared to be. “I told you there was no one here.” Her nostrils quivering, every sense alert, Rose scanned the bed, the curtains, the embroidered mantle draped on a chair, the Elizabethan gown on the luggage cart. “Now get out of my room!”

The gunman ignored her, ducking in and out of the bathroom, glancing into the closet, going efficiently through every hiding place. Warmer, cried Rose’s senses, warmer, warmer, damn, oh God please no, as he shoved past the luggage cart to the window, and then as he returned, colder, warmer, colder, where the hell is the man? One-handed, the fake fed lifted the mattress and box spring, but no one was concealed underneath.

Sirens cried in the distance, and a second later the gunman’s phone squawked a warning. He left without looking back.

Rose retrieved her breakfast, double-locked the door, and scanned the room. Aha. She’d seen this phenomenon once before. She knew Random Man was in the room, somewhere near the window. “They’ve gone,” she said softly. “You can come out now. You need to have that wound tended.”

Nothing. Where was he?

“I brought coffee and doughnuts.” She put the food on the table. “I’d be happy to share, once we’ve patched you up.” Pause. “I know you’re here. I can hear you breathing.”


“I can smell you,” Rose said, her voice rising, tendrils of allure escaping. You and your blood. “I’m here to help, you fool!”

Still nothing. Or maybe…a faint shimmer, like heat rising in summer air, over on the luggage cart, right by the Elizabethan gown. Damn it, thought Rose. If he stains that costume… Anger coupled with the aroma of blood overwhelmed her senses, and her fangs slotted down. Purposely this time, she directed her allure toward the luggage cart. Another shimmer, instantly controlled, and then absolute stillness.

No more pussyfooting around. She smiled and sent a wave of allure crashing across the room. Random Man resolved into view, gold and tan and brown blending with the dress, then gradually reacquiring his own muted shape and colors, blue denims and Saints jacket, nondescript but definitely all there.

“God help me,” Random Man said. “Not another vamp.”

For more about Barbara and her books, check out her website.

Which skill or talent do you wish you had? What have you tried and failed at? (Or succeeded at, of course.:))

One lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Winner of Kate's ARC!!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented so nicely about my new book cover! The random winner of an ARC of THE LIES THAT BIND is ...

Mason Canyon!!!

Congratulations, Mason! Please email me at katecarlisle99@yahoo.com with your snail mail address and I'll ship the ARC out to you ASAP!

P.S. And speaking of book covers, a friend Photoshopped *me* into my book cover, so I'm using it for my new Facebook profile picture. Isn't it a riot? I love it!


Winner of Brenda Novak's Prize Package

Sorry we've been late announcing the winner of Brenda Novak's autographed copy of WHITE HEAT and her specially created lip gloss, also called White Heat.

The winner is . . . DRUMROLL, please!

Leni!!! Congratulations, Leni.
Please send your snail mail addy to me at jo (dot) lewisrobertson (at) yahoo (dot) com. That's jo.lewisrobertson@yahoo.com

And I'll forward the info to Brenda's assistant who'll get your prizes to you.

Congrats again!

The Year of Lasts

by Nancy

In just a week, we'll load up the car, drive to Atlanta, and enthusiastically dive into the myriad aspects of DragonCon as a family unit. A year from next week, we'll load up the car, drive somewhere we don't yet know, and take the boy to college, dividing our family unit as he steps into adulthood. In between, there'll be a lot of "last" events for the three of us.

This is the first in a series of blogs about the transitions on the horizon.

I've been going to DragonCon regularly for quite a few years. I always knew the boy would love it. He's like me in his devotion to imagination and fantasy and possibility, although his particular interests and mine don't overlap much. Until a few years ago, however, the dh's job didn't allow him to come, and the boy was too young to set lose among 40,000 strangers on his own. So I went alone to volunteer in the excellent Writer Track GRW's Nancy Knight directs and poke about in the other panels. Then the dh's job changed, and we made DragonCon an annual family trip.

The boy took to it like the proverbial duck to water, as I'd expected. It's not really the dh's scene, all those people walking around in costumes and carrying mock (or real but peace-bonded) weapons. He says he goes in part for the YA lit and writer tracks and in part to watch the boy and me enjoy ourselves.

That first year, he or I walked the boy to whatever panels he wanted to attend and then met him afterward, but the next year, we cut him loose. Now he has buddies he joins at the con (short for convention), and we don't see him much.

The fannish term for someone who's not into fandom is "mundane." The dh is a mundane and proud of it, but he'll stand on the curb with me and watch the costumed contingents--super-heroes, Star Trek characters, pirates, ninjas, anime characters, Hogwarts students, Pernese dragonriders, elves, Stargate personnel, Jedi, Sith Lords, Stormtroopers (the 501st Legion always has a big turnout), Rebel Alliance and Imperial military, Dunedain, wizards, fairies, Spartans, Rohirrim, and pretty much any other kind of fantastic being you might imagine--march down Peachtree Street.

In the anime section next Saturday--for the last time--will be the boy and the two friends he met at DragonCon, one of whom became (and still is) his girlfriend. We'll cheer and wave when they march by, and I'll try to get a good photo. The boy has two costumes of anime characters he likes, and he alternates them during the con. I don't yet know which one he'll wear that day.

The people who roam in costume--cosplayers, they're called--were a huge hit with him. We walked out of an exhibit hall one day that first year, and someone called out to him using the name of his character. When we turned toward the sound, there stood a group of people dressed as characters from the same show as he was. He joined them with a big grin on his face, and I proved how useful mothers could be by taking group photos with various cameras.

Taking photos of costumes is common at DragonCon. Asking to take one is a compliment, and people are usually happy to oblige. The boy met his girlfriend when she called out to stop him because she wanted to photograph his costume.

Another hit for us that first year was a demonstration, which the boy and I attended together, of bladed weaponry combat by the late Hank Reinhardt and his students. Hank had a dry, sarcastic wit that made people forget he was actually teaching them something, and he knew a very great deal about swords and their use.

I found his workshops extremely helpful for research. He was always willing to answer questions and let people handle any weapons he'd brought. That year marked his return to the con after a long absence. Unfortunately, he died not long after that. I've always been glad the boy and I shared that hour.

The con runs closed circuit television (DragonCon TV--yes, really) in all the hotels. Programming includes panels that were hard to get into, the costume contest, and whatever else the con staff wants to include. A staple is the programming segment known as bumpers--jokes that appear on the screen in dialogue format, humorous videos, etc. There are always new ones, and we all love them. Even the ones that really, truly, are groaners.

If you decide to try the link, scroll down until you get to "Regencies and Revenants" and watch that one. (And if you have a lot of time, click on the "bumpers" link on that page and indulge.) We enjoy starting and ending our days with humor. Even if it's not all as clever as it wants to be, a lot of it is wicked smart.

So we'll head to Atlanta next week, hurry from one panel or reading or demonstration to the next, roam the exhibit halls, amuse ourselves with DragonCon TV at bedtime and in the morning, and maybe even have the occasional meal together. On the surface, this con weekend will be like the ones before it, busy and fun and sometimes chaotic. But always hovering in some corner of my mind will be the knowledge that this is the last one, a moment especially important to savor before our fledgling flies.

What event kicked off a year of lasts for your family? What did you do (or wish you had done) to commemorate the occasion? What was a highlight of your last year in the nest?

Another package of three books from the RWA conference goes to one commenter.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Have A Cover!

By Kate

And it’s a beauty! (If I do say so myself!) It’s the cover for THE LIES THAT BIND, my November 2010 Bibliophile Mystery. It comes out barely two months from now!

Much of this book takes place at a fictional books arts center in San Francisco that I call Bay Area Book Arts, or BABA, and my cover depicts one cozy corner of BABA.

And pardon me while I gush, but I’m so in love with this room with its wall of beautiful books and its gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There's Baba Ram Dass, the cat who lives at BABA, as well as a few clues scattered about. And it’s all as imagined by the brilliant artists at Penguin Books. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful team working on my book covers.

Here’s the back cover copy …

One bookbinder. One bully. One beau.
Looks like someone has got to go…

When it comes to rare books and antiquities, Brooklyn Wainwright is a master. That's why she has returned home to San Francisco to teach a bookbinding class at Bay Area Book Arts. Unfortunately, BABA director Layla Fontaine is a horrendous host who pitches fits and lords it over her subordinates. With the help of her beau, Derek Stone, Brooklyn manages to put on a brave face and endure.

Unfortunately, someone else is not so forgiving. Layla is found dead from a gunshot wound, and Brooklyn is bound and determined to investigate. But when Layla's past ends up intertwined with Derek's, Brooklyn realizes that the case is much more personal than she thought--and the killer might want to close the book on her for good.

Dare I say it? I love this book! It’s got all my favorite characters: Brooklyn and Derek and Gabriel and Minka and Guru Bob and Mom and Dad, plus a few new ones you haven't met yet, but I think you'll enjoy getting to know them. Plus there’s a lot of San Francisco in this book, which is just about my favorite city in the whole world. There's mystery and romance ... and the occasional dead body, of course. What's a mystery without them?

So … do you ever buy a book based solely on the cover? When was the last time you did so, and what book was it? Who are your favorite ongoing characters in a series, romance or mystery? What city would you most like to read about? And how do you feel about cats in mysteries? :-)

Oh, did I mention that THE LIES THAT BIND is available for pre-order here? :-)

And today I’m giving away an ARC of THE LIES THAT BIND to one random commenter. So comment away!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Linda Conrad Shares Her Magic Memories!

by KJ Howe

Please welcome talented writer Linda Conrad to the lair today to share a special moment--the release of her 25th book for Silhouette!

Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to be with the Banditas while I celebrate the release of my 25th book for Silhouette this month: COVERT AGENT’S VIRGIN AFFAIR.
It’s part of an inline continuity for Silhouette Romantic Suspense called The Coltons: Montana. How cool is that?

The only trouble with a milestone like that is all the work that went in to get there. I’ve been pretty much a hermit for the last few years and I regret that I missed a part of my life.

I’ve been thinking about the past a lot lately. My two releases this summer both deal with the double issues of regret and guilt from things done in the past. In HER SHEIK PROTECTOR, the first book in my new Desert Sons series for Silhouette Romantic Suspense (next books in the series will be out in 2011,) the heroine begins the story by regretting an argument with her father—and then everything goes much worse for her. Here’s a snippet of what happens as she races to find her father at the grand opening of her family’s shipping facility so she can apologize:

In her haste to pick up the pace and make up time, Rylie stumbled over a gravel rock and went down on her knees. Shoot!

She was up on her feet again in an instant, but then decided she should stop long enough to dust off her jeans. Bending over to brush at the worst of the gravel, she thought about how glad she was to be wearing her boots and denim today instead of a fancy pantsuit or even a dress. She’d considered changing, but…

At that moment, without any warning, the whole world came apart in a powerful cataclysm. Violent gusts of wind knocked Rylie down, putting her flat on her back and taking the breath from her lungs. A flash of heat rolled over her body, singeing uncovered skin. The back of her head banged hard against the pavement, while earsplitting explosions blew out her eardrums and turned everything eerily silent.

Mustering all her physical resources, Rylie lifted her head and looked around. Through a bleary haze she saw thick, black smoke and fire, rising over her like a towering volcano a hundred feet in the air. The smell of sulphur assaulted her nose.

Dazed and confused, it took a moment to understand what she was seeing. The new shipping facility was gone. All gone.

That must mean… But what had happened to her co-workers and the local reporters? What had happened to the Kadir company officials and their guests?

Light-headed and suddenly sick to her stomach, Rylie closed her eyes and slowly formed the most important question yet. What had happened to the CEO of Hunt Drilling? Where in God’s name was her father?

But before her wounded brain could even start processing those answers, reality began sinking away as everything in her immediate world turned from bruised purple to soggy gray—and in seconds went completely black.

As you can imagine, Rylie has plenty to regret after that!

In my August release, COVERT AGENT’S VIRGIN AFFAIR, the hero is the one with old regrets and guilt. When he finds himself falling in love for the second time in his life, and with someone totally inappropriate, the regrets and guilt from what happened with his first love nearly costs him everything.

Here’s the book blurb for COVERT AGENT’S VIRGIN AFFAIR:

“The mission always comes first.”

Undercover agent Jake Pierson figures one romantic dinner will get never-been-kissed librarian Mary Walsh to tell him everything she knows about her late father’s criminal activities. But the more Mary talks, the more Jake wants to shut her up with kisses. Because he’s falling for his own too-trusting target—and there isn’t a damn thing he can do about it. Well, maybe one thing…

With her shiny new lease on life, Mary has become wiser about a lot of things. For one, she can spot a liar a mile away. She knows her gorgeous new boyfriend is hiding something. And she has a sneaking suspicion those secrets will get them both killed unless he trusts her with the truth.

Enough with the regrets for today! I want magic memories instead! I want to remember the best things in my life; the fun times and the sweet moments when everything was super. I want to look forward to more of the good stuff!

Want to help me out? Let’s play a memory game. I’ll tell you my good stuff if you’ll tell me yours.

1. What was the most memorable piece of jewelry that anyone has ever given you?

Mine was a ring. Not an engagement ring like some folks; my husband and I got married on two weeks’ notice because he was being transferred out of town and all we had time for was a plain gold band. But twenty-five years later he produced the most beautiful diamond ring I have ever seen and wanted to rededicate our vows. I cried. Then I said yes! And now it’s the only ring I ever wear.

2. Who was your first best friend?

Mine was named Janet. We met in Kindergarten and she lived across from our school, which also housed grades one through eight. The next year, on the first day of first grade, my mother was driving on her way to pick me up but was in a terrible car accident. She went to the hospital and everyone was in a big panic about me. But I was fine. When my father came looking for me, he found me…happily playing at Janet’s! I’ll never forget my dear first friend or her lovely, generous mother.

3. What was the name of your first (or most memorable) pet?

My first pet was a tiny turtle. Don’t remember his name, but he got lost in the house and we couldn’t find him for six months! When he showed back up, he was fine. Always wondered where he’d been all that time.

My most memorable pet, however, is my current Bichon frieze named KiKi. She adores everyone and everything. Believe me, if you ever met her, you would never forget her either.

4. What was the first book you read that made a big impression?

I’ve thought about this a lot. The first book I ever read by myself was Winnie the Poo. But the book that made the biggest impression on me was the first book in the wonderful Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum. It had danger, magic, good friends and evil witches. And though it ended happily, it left me wanting more. I didn’t want to close the book on the enthralling land of Oz. (thank goodness there are more books in the series) I have decided it was that series more than anything that hooked me on being a writer. And more than just wanting to be a writer, the Wizard of Oz series made me want to read (and write) books in series. I always want to know what happens next. Where do they go from here?

You know, I suspect there are young people out there right now being hooked the same way by the Harry Potter and the Twilight series

So now, how about your memories? Let’s have some fun!

To celebrate my twenty-fifth book release, I’ll be giving away to two lucky commenters, their choice of either HER SHIEK PROTECTOR or COVERT AGENT’S VIRGIN AFFAIR along with a $10 gift card for Walmart. Post those memories to win!

Linda, thanks so much for joining us today and for sharing your magic memories. Congratulations on your incredible milestone. We're honored you're celebrating here with us in the lair! KJ

Drop by Linda’s newly designed website, http://www.LindaConrad.com to find out more Behind the Book about her new Desert Sons series, and to sign up for Linda’s newsletter and contest! Join Linda on FB at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Conrad/331439655105 and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LindaConrad

Linda Conrad’s SAFE WITH A STRANGER is a June Silhouette release, currently available online and on the stands by May 27, 2008. Check out what’s new with Linda, enter her website contest, and read her Behind the Book page for The Safekeepers at http://www.LindaConrad.com

This is Linda in Orlando receiving her 25th Anniversary pin from Harlequin! Go Linda! You might see a few other familiar faces in that prolific group.

Party Favors!

Thanks so much to everyone who chatted with me about their fantasy hunks to celebrate my newest Blaze release, RIDING THE WAVES! I promised party favors (aka, any book from my backlist) to three commenters, so here we go:

Cories, Julia Smith and Chey :-)

Congrats!!! If you'll send me an email to Tawny@TawnyWeber.com with Bandita Party in the subject line, and your shipping info and book-of-choice, I'll get that out to you right away. To check out my available titles, you can look at the sidebar on the right or head over to my website: www.TawnyWeber.com

Heading back to High School

by Donna MacMeans

If there's any question that school will be starting soon, just try dropping into your local office supply store for a quick purchase. More reliable than geese heading south, bright yellow school buses practicing their routes, and long lines at Office Max signal school is about to begin. (And I haven't even addressed the resounding cheer of mothers across America).

Sooner or later all those precious darlings will graduate high school and eagerly race for independence and a bright future. Then, years pass. Couples marry, couples divorce. Those precious darlings have precious darlings of their own and then...sometime after the lapse of many decades. Those same high school graduates race back to home for their high school reunion.

I attended my very first high school reunion earlier this month. Not the first year after high school, mind you. (Grin) When I told a writing friend that I was going to my (cough, cough) reunion, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "I wasn't even born then."

It's a miracle that she walked out of that coffee shop.

My high school, Greenhills High School, no longer exists. The building is there, but it's used for other purposes. The high school has been reduced to a memorabilia room in the town community center. (sigh)

But we still have memories...and friendships that quickly rekindle even after so many years.

Here's a photo of me and my best friend from high school. We went away to college together and lived in the same dorm. I hadn't seen her for about 35 years until this reunion.

Many of those present said this was the best of the reunions they had attended. Apparently, one has to wait a certain number of years for old wounds and memories to dim. I'm glad I joined the group when everyone was there just to celebrate good times.

We ate. We drank. We reminisced. And we danced as a couple of glum DJs played songs from our youth.

Now here's the problem with dancing. I LOVE to dance. I met my husband on the dance floor of a Cleveland bar and I fell in love when I learned he had no objections (then) to being the first out on the dance floor. I dance with enthusiasm - the music just moves me. I've had complete strangers come up and compliment me on my dancing (I think it was a compliment...does "you sure know how to dance" qualify?) It's happened several times but I have this fear that I look like Elaine on that Seinfeld episode. Here's a YouTube clip in case you need a reminder (Sorry, couldn't embed.)

The other thing about reunions...there's lots of photos and light bulbs flashing, and if I'm dancing - that provides lots of opportunities for blackmail worthy photos. The disc jockeys - the only two men in suits in the place - keyed up KC and the Sunshine Band. I believe I was doing an imitation of my Zumba class instructor who leans back during class and yells: SHAKE SOMETHING! Thank Heavens this is a photo and not video (grin).

And so my question to all of you who have picked yourself off the floor from laughing so hard after viewing my photo...Have you ever attended a high school reunion? Good memories to share? Bad? Blackmail-worthy moments? If you haven't attended one, why not? Let's all go back to High School. I'll send a book from my backlist (your choice) to someone posting a comment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Booty Repost for Contact Info!

After Saturday's blog, I posted winners, only to learn from Helen that the email contact link on the blog wasn't working. Many apologies! The winners are listed again below, with corrected contact information.

The winner of the fabulous Blood Brothers and two other books from my Synergy and Geekdom blog is Helen!

A copy of Katharine Ashe's wonderful Swept Away by a Kiss goes to Melinda Leigh!

The winning commenter today, receiving a signed copy of Demonkeepers and two other books is Janga!

Winners, please email your contact information to romancebandits AT gmail DOT com and put "for Nancy" in the subject line. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. If you didn't win, better luck next time!