Monday, November 26, 2012

Girl Power Rules!

My daughter and I helping build a house at Habitat for Humanity over the Thanksgiving break.  We volunteered for Habitat's Women Build program.

Monday, November 19, 2012

At the New Orleans Po'Boy festival with my daughter Arden and James Beard Award-winning chef Susan Spicer, owner of one of our favorite restaurants, Bayona.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby, Oh Baby!

People often ask me which of the books I've written is my favorite.  I usually answer with the name of is whatever book I'm currently working on, because my  characters seem very real and very close to me as I'm writing about them.  When I finish a book, it always feels like some dear friends have moved away, and I miss hanging out with them.

Taking the long view, though, one of my all time favorite books is Baby, Oh Baby!  This is the story of a single woman who wants to have a baby without the complications of a man, so she conceives a baby at a fertility center through a nameless donor-- only to discover that tall, dark and handsome donor standing on her front doorstep two years later, demanding joint custody of her 14-month old daughter.  The book is a comedy, but it also deals with some serious topics.

This book came to me like a gift from God.  I mean it;  it practically wrote itself.  I would find myself surprised every day that I showed up at the computer.  I  had no idea the characters were going to do the things they did.  I laughed and cried as I wrote that book.

I have never had another book come to me that  easily and effortlessly-- although heaven knows I've prayed for one!

Baby, Oh Baby! came out in 2001.  It won the National Readers' Choice Award and was a finalist for the Award of Excellence and Golden Quill Award.  I received more mail and reader comments on that book than on any other.

And then, Dorchester Publishing let it go out of print. When Dorchester finally went out of business (they suffered a long, slow, malingering death, during which they didn't pay authors and didn't reprint books), I finally got the rights back to Baby, Oh, Baby! and four other books.  

I just revised and updated Baby, Oh Baby!--- putting in cell phones, computers, GPS, etc.; it's surprising how much changed in eleven years! --- and turned it into an e-book.   I'm delighted to announce that you can now buy the new, improved second edition of Baby, Oh Baby! on and B&

I hope you'll look for it!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vintage Woman'sWorld Magazine romance

I came across a short romance I sold to Woman'sWorld  magazine in 1999.  This is a very short story-- under 1,000 words -- and a lot harder to write than I had thought it would be!

Anyway, here it is....

A Time for Love

It seemed to Sara that she had loved Jake her whole life, but he barely knew she existed. After all, his heart still belonged to Sara's beautiful older sister.....

     Aunt Gertie was backing up the receiving line like sewer clog, but Sara had no choice but to stand there and smile.  As maid of honor at her older sister’s wedding, she was required to politely chat with every guest, including her garrulous great aunt, who wanted to recount every detail of the elaborate ceremony.
..and I heard the flowers were flown in from the Maine and Costa Rica,” Gertie  was saying. “Most beautiful wedding I’ve ever attended! And I’ve never seen Annie look lovelier--not even when she was on that magazine cover.”
“She makes a gorgeous bride,” Sara agreed, eyeing the long line of guests still filing into the tent.
“You look nice, too, for a change.” Gertie’s bead-like eyes ran over Sara.  “You ought to fix yourself up more often.  Maybe you’d catch a rich husband, too, if you tried to be more like Annie.”
Sara suppressed an urge to roll her eyes.  At 26, she’d accepted the fact that she’d never look like her fashion model sister, and she’d given up trying.  After years of wishing she were long-legged and elegant, she’d made peace with her short frame, auburn curls and freckled nose.  Besides, she was more focussed on getting her new business off the ground than worrying about her appearance.
“I don’t want to catch a husband, Aunt Gertie.  I want one who catches me,” Sara retorted.  “Besides, I’m more interested in a man’s heart than his wallet.”
Gerties sniffed loudly.  “That isn’t a very practical attitude, but it’s just as well.  There aren’t many rich, single men in these parts.”
“There aren’t many single men, period.”  Finding a man she’d like to date in a town as small as Dry Fork, Oklahoma was about as likely as finding a diamond in a haystack.
The thought did nothing to lift her spirits.  But then, neither did Gertie.
“There certainly are a lot of guests waiting in line,” Sara hinted, hoping to prod her aunt along.
Gertie ignored her.  “Yes.  This is the social event of the year.”
It certainly was the most elaborate, Sara thought wryly. She and Annie loved each other, but they were as different as two people could be.  Fortunately, each had found a way of pursuing her own interests.  Annie was a model in New York, and Sara owned the Kit ‘N Kaboodle Riding Stable.
Sara patted the old woman’s arm. “I’m sure you’re thirsty after such a long ceremony.  Why don’t you go get a glass of champagne?”
“Good idea, dear.  I believe I will.”  Gertie glanced behind her.  “Oh, my-- look who’s here.”
Sara followed her aunt’s gaze to a tall, broad-shouldered man bending to kiss her mother’s cheek.  Something about him was familiar.
He straightened and turned.  Sara caught her breath.  
“That’s the O’Brien boy, isn’t it?  The one who was sweet on Annie in high school.”  Gertie adjusted her glasses.  “Oh, my---he’s not a boy anymore, is he?”
No, indeed, Sara thought. There was nothing boyish at all about those wide shoulders or that chiseled face.  He was a man--- all man.
“ He must be close to thirty by now.”
“Twenty-nine,” Sara murmured.
“What’s his name?  Joe.. Jeb....”
“Oh, yes, that’s it.  I hear he’s a big executive in Chicago.  Imagine him coming all the way down here for Annie’s wedding!  He’s probably still carrying a torch for her, poor thing.  Probably hoped she’d back out at the last moment and he’d be here to console her.”  
Sara’s spirits dropped to the toes of her dyed-to-match pink satin pumps.  She’d fallen for Jake the first time she’d seen him, back when she was a gawky 14-year-old girl and he was the 17-year-old captain of the football team.  Handsome and intelligent, he shared her love of horses.   She and Jake used to have long talks while he waited for Annie to finally finish dressing for their date.  He’d listened to her talk about young kids at the riding camp where she’d had a part-time summer job, and Sara’s crush had intensified with every conversation.  
Gertie finally moved on, and before Sara knew it, Jake was kissing her cheek.  “Sara--it’s great to see you.”
The woodsy scent of his after-shave made it hard to think. “It’s nice to see you, too.  I hear you’re living in Chicago.”
“That’s right.” The warmth of his eyes seeped right through her skin.  “And I hear you’ve opened a riding stable.”
Sara nodded, keenly aware that he continued to hold her hand.  “It was a beautiful wedding, wasn’t it?”
“Yes.  But with Annie as the bride, how could it be anything else?”
Sara nodded, her throat thick.
He squeezed her fingers before he released his hold on her hand.“Save a dance for me later, okay?”
“Okay.”  She watched him go, her heart heavy.  It had been eleven years since he and Annie had parted ways, yet he still cared enough about her that he’d flown a thousand miles to be here. Drawing a deep breath, she turned do the next guest, but her gaze kept seeking out Jake’s familiar form.
She deliberately avoided him for most of the evening, but as the hour grew late, he caught up with her and pulled her onto the dance floor. The warm, hard feel of his arms around her made her lightheaded.  She searched for something to say. “How’s life in Chicago?”
“Fine, but I like it here better.  In fact, I’m moving back next month.  Dad wants to retire, and he’s asked me to run the ranch.”  The song faded to a close, but he still held her.  “Are you here with anyone?”
“No.  I-I’m not seeing anyone.”
“Good.”  His smile made her heart slam against her ribs as the orchestra began to play another romantic tune. As he drew her close again, Sara’s head was spinning.  Good?  What did that mean?
  “Tell me about your stable,” he said.
  “Well, I board horses and I give riding lessons to children.”
“Kids and horses.  Sounds like you’ve found a way to combine two of your favorite things.”
Sara gazed up, surprised.  “You remember that?” 
“I remember lots of things about you, Sara,” he said softly.
No doubt because he remembered everything about Annie. Sara had never minded--well, not too much-- being in her big sister’s shadow, but right now, she minded terribly.  How she longed to be the kind of woman who could inspire undying devotion in the heart of a man like Jake!
The pleasure of dancing grew painful, and she was relieved when the song ended.
“I’d better go see if Annie needs help changing into her going away outfit,” she mumbled.  Turning, she fled the dance floor.
A little while later, Sara stood amid the crowd of well-wishers and watched the newlyweds drive away.  As the crowd filtered off to their cars, Sara dawdled in the moonlight.  With a sigh, she turned toward the tent, only to discover Jake standing in the shadows, watching her.  
What are you doing out here?” she asked.
“Thinking.”  He straightened and stepped toward her.  “Can you guess what about?”
Probably how much you wish you were the groom, Sara thought.  “No.”
“About the last time I saw you.  It was two years ago at Thanksgiving.”
Sara nodded.  “We ran into each other at the hospital.”
“That’s right.  You were there visiting one of your grandma’s friends because you didn’t want her to be alone on the holiday, and I was coming out of the emergency room with stitches in my hand.”
Sara laughed, remembering.  “You’d tangled with the wrong end of the carving knife.”
Jake grinned, then his expression grew serious.  “When I saw you that day, I couldn’t get over how grown up and beautiful you looked.  And I realized something.”
His eyes held a warmth that made Sara tingle.  “What?”
“That you’re just as beautiful on the inside, which is where it really counts.”
Sara looked away, her face turning crimson.
“I wanted to ask you out back then, but it seemed awkward.  I’d heard Annie was home, and since she and I went out in high school, I was afraid I might hurt her feelings.  But when I heard she was getting married, well, it was obvious the coast was clear.”
Wait a minute---Jake had come back to Dry Fork to see her, not Annie?  Sara’s heart lurched.
His eyes searched her face.  “What are your plans for tomorrow?  I have to be in Oklahoma City for a noon flight, but I’d love to take you to breakfast.”
Saras heart nearly pounded out of her chest.  “I’d like that.” The night was dark, but she felt as is she were standing in the spotlight-- not in anybody’s shadow at all.
“Good.  And I might as well warn you, I intend to take up a lot of your time when I move back next month.”
Joy gusted through Sara like a cool breeze.  “That’s okay,” she smiled.  I’ve got all the time in the world.”
Maybe, she added silently, even a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

 Want to get  Between the Sheets?

The book, that is.

 It's the story of a woman who gets a Monica Lewinsky-esque reputation in the tabloids, even though she's completely innocent.  She's done nothing wrong, but the whole world snickers at her name.  How do you ever rebuild your life when everyone thinks you gave the president-elect a heart attack in the sack?

To promote the summer e-book special --- just $2.99!--- I'm giving away a free autographed print copy of Between the Sheets.  Just drop me a note and let me know why you want a copy of the book--or possibly  tell me the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you--and I'll pick a winner August 31.  

If you don't want to wait, download a copy on your Kindle, Nook or other e-reader for just $2.99.

Happy reading!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

$2.99 e-books!

My publisher is offering a summer special on Between the Sheets in e-book format!

Also-- the dates are set for my next "How to Write a Novel" course.   I'll be teaching this five-week course on Tuesday nights from Sept. 4- Oct. 2 at Southeastern Louisiana University's St. Tammany Center.  For more information, go to, then click Continuing U, then Mandeville Courses, or call 985-893-6251.