Sunday, March 29, 2009

All Six Strapping Lads on Display at Barnes and Noble

Thanks to Allison Brennan and Toni Causey for the very cool picture. :)  It still feels very surreal to me to have six books out in less than two years.  Talk about going from zero to 60 in under a minute, LOL.  

Seeing all the books like that got me a little reflective about my own writing--not that I can ever really "see" it objectively.  If there's one thing I've really learned since becoming published--I can never guess what readers are going to respond to!  

But I do think certain "themes" have emerged.  Clearly I love tall, good-looking, muscle-bound alpha heroes, mostly because (1) that's what I like to read--hey, it's part of the fantasy (for me at least) (2) the setting really demands it--you had to be pretty darn tough to survive in these times.  They all have honorable cores, although the "line in the sand" might be a little different for each of them.  (My CPs Jami Alden and Bella Andre and I will be doing a workshop at RWA this year on Alpha Heroes, BTW, if you're planning on going.)  If they happen to resemble Clive Owen in King Arthur, Eric Bana in Troy, Gerard Butler in 300 (minus the beard) and Viggo in Lord of the Rings, it's a coincidence.

My heroines, I hope, are also products of their time.  They have what I like to call "quiet strength" (they have to be able to tame these formidable warriors after all) and are smart, though they might start out a little sheltered and naive.  I tend not to do the "super-hero, kick-butt heroines"--because I can't see myself like that, but never say never, right?

Not surprisingly, I LOVE the Romeo and Juliet "Star-Cross'd Lovers" theme--but since I write Scottish that's probably a truism, LOL.  Feuding clans...need I say more?  Actually, I think in one of my author's notes that R&J was a bit of Tudor propaganda. Queen Elizabeth was very aware of the Scottish feuding clan/border situation and Shakespeare's play--thought to be written in the 1590s--certainly picks up on the dangers. 

A couple other favorite themes:  revenge and justice.  

HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL is the first "reunion" story I've done, which is surprising since that is one of my favorites to read.  Reunion stories have all kind of built in tension that I love--you have these two people who loved each other, but are separated and then thrust back together.  In Highland Scoundrel, Jeannie and Duncan fall in love when they are very young and are torn apart by war and betrayal.  When they come back together, they are older and "wiser," but all those raw feelings bubble to the surface and bring back all those hot emotions.  

Reunion stories tap into one of the reasons I like to read romance in the first place--what my friend Jami and I call the "high school emotions," where everything is raw, emotional, very dramatic and very important.  When I read a romance, I want to remember how it felt to be in love when I didn't have two kids, dishes, laundry and bills to worry about.  I want to feel that no matter how calm, cool and collected they might be on the outside when it comes to this other person they lose it.  

Most reunions stories (Highland Scoundrel included) also tap into the first love fantasy.  To me there's just something about the idea of a first love so strong that it can weather all kind of storms.  It also taps into the fantasy of "what if?"  What if you could go back to your first love...would it still be the same?  It's the same thing that makes people google old boyfriends, LOL.

So enough self-analysis.  I've told you mine, what are some of your favorite themes or story-types in romance?  Do you have a secret love for a good boss/secretary?  Secret baby?    

Monday, March 23, 2009

Number 3 is in the Stores!

I hope I'm not exhausting you guys with all these trips to the store the past couple of months, LOL.  Today's release of HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL will be the last one for a while--promise.  Hope you guys enjoy Duncan and Jeannie's story!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Okay, today is actually "The Ides of March," but I'm getting into the spirit a little early.  St. Patrick's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I'm part Irish which probably explains some of it (I'm also part Mexican and not surprisingly one of my other favorites is Cinco De Mayo), but I guess I'm a sucker for low pressure holidays that center around bars, LOL.

My nine year old daughter has been involved in Irish Dancing for a couple of years, making it an even bigger day in our family because of her shows--there seems to always be a call for Irish Dancers around St. Patrick's day.  I just love it and watch her enviously.  I danced ballet for over ten years, and was pretty bummed when at five she told me flatly that ballet was "boring" and she didn't want to do it, but I got over it quickly.  Compared to Irish Dancing can't say I blame her. :)

I poked around on you tube for a while to find a really fun Michael Flatley clip that includes a little bit of everything: soft shoe, a Michael solo, a duo and the whole troop at the end (isn't their timing is AMAZING).  Hope you enjoy it. :)  

So do you celebrate St. Patrick's day?  Did you dance when you were younger?  

P.S. HIGHLAND WARRIOR is up for the book of the month on a fun romance blog called Jennifer's Random Musings.  You can vote for it in the poll on the right column.  

Monday, March 09, 2009

Man vs. Wild Highlander Style

I could have also titled this blog: Inspiration strikes in the strangest places.   A few years ago when we were up in Tahoe snowed in, I discovered a new show on the Discovery Channel called, "Man vs. Wild."  Since then it has turned into something of a cult hit, but we were definitely early followers. :)  

If you haven't seen it, it's a reality show featuring Bear Grylls, a former British SAS (special forces) guy, who gets dropped off in the "wild" and has to find his way out, giving plenty of survival tricks along the way.  He also eats some pretty disgusting things--bugs, snakes, spiders, you name it.  One of the more memorable: squeezing water from Elephant dung.  Yuck.  It's a great show, our whole family loves it.  

But what does it have to do with Highlanders?  Well, it was in an episode where Bear goes to the Cairngorm Mountains in the Highlands (link to part of the episode here--squeamish alert!) that inspiration for HIGHLAND OUTLAW struck.  Bear mentioned how tough the Highlanders must have been, living in brutal conditions, etc. and it seemed to me that he HAD to be talking about the MacGregors.  

I hope you've had a chance to read HO, but if you haven't--without giving too much away--that toughness really became the core of the hero Patrick MacGregor.  There's also a section in the story where he has to put all his survival skills to work.

Are you a Discovery Channel or Man Vs. Wild fan?  Any good "cult" shows you recommend?  (I'm also a HUGE fan of the "new" but soon-to-be-over Battlestar Gallactica). 

Thursday, March 05, 2009


A huge thank you to everyone who bought the book last week and helped to propel HIGHLAND OUTLAW onto the USA Today Bestseller list this week.  I've been cracking open the champagne, and I thought I'd share it with you . . . so a big cyber-toast from me!  I truly appreciate all of your support.