Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Cover Alert!

Always one of the most exciting days around my house, the arrival of my next cover! I'm so excited to share this one with you guys. I'm an arm gal myself, so I'm in heaven. Release date is 6-25-13.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

And the Winners of the Audio Version of HIGHLANDER UNTAMED are . . . 

[Insert Drumroll]

Nicole Laverdure and Bobbi Jo Moran! Congratulations you guys. Please email me [here] with your mailing address by Monday at 5 pm, and I'll pop these in the mail ASAP.

Thanks again everyone. If you didn't win this time, don't worry I'll have more. Also, I usually have a contest going on my website, so make sure to check that out [here].

Thursday, November 08, 2012


I'm thrilled to announce that THE RECRUIT has hit both the New York Times & USA Today Bestseller Lists! Although best seller lists are most meaningful to an author and publisher, readers are the ones responsible for making it happen. So as my way of saying thanks to all of you who pre-ordered or ran out and bought the book in the first couple of weeks, I have two copies of the AUDIO version of HIGHLANDER UNTAMED to give away. I am listening to it myself right now, and I love the narrator's voice!

TO BE ELIGIBLE all you have to do is tell me where you pre-ordered or bought the book. If you are on the East Coast and have been affected by Sandy just let me know, you are still eligible. We are on the honor system here . . . enough said.

FB is kind of funny about contests/giveaways, so I'm hosting it here on the blog, but feel free to comment in the link post on FB instead.

I'll pick a winner on Sunday (11/11) after 5 pm PST, so you have until then to respond. Make sure to check back here (and on FB) to see if you won. You'll have until Monday (11/12) at 5 pm PST to EMAIL ME (link here) with your snail mail address. If I don't hear from you, I will pick a different winner.

The usual contest rules apply (here), except where stated differently (i.e. the time requirement above). International is okay (although be advised these are CDs and MAY NOT WORK IN YOUR COUNTRY), and only one comment will be counted (either here or FB). If I left anything out or made a mistake in the instructions, I'll update. This is meant to be fun LOL not a legal brief!

Please leave the comments in this post or on the post on FB--makes it easier to track the numbers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Here . . .

I'm thrilled to be able to say that THE RECRUIT is now in the stores! As always, I love to hear where you see it. Dave was out and about today and saw it at Target and Safeway, which is always nice to see on the first day. I also found out the name of the cover model today--let's say hello to Thierry Pepinn. :) 

On a much more serious note, I know many of you are dealing with the devastating fall out from Sandy. We are all thinking about you and hoping you are safe! 

Monday, October 15, 2012


First I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway. As I said in my comments, it is really fascinating to see the many different ways you guys found the books. I also loved hearing about everyones favorites. I've always wondered whether people who read my books share a similar reading taste, and I think you guys have proved it. With few exceptions, your favorite authors are my favorite authors.

Anyway, since there was such fantastic response this, I've decided to pick a few more names for a little thank you gift.

So without further ado . . .

WINNER of THE RECRUIT pre-production copy: Pam Wright!

Special "thank you" winners: Corrie McDermott, Kim P, Andrea Grant Snider

If all four of you could email me at the contact address on my website here ASAP that would be great. Thanks again to you all!

Friday, October 12, 2012

As I mentioned on FB, I have a hot little pre-production copy of THE RECRUIT just waiting to find a happy new home. FB is kind of funny about contests/giveaways, so I'm hosting it here on the blog, but feel free to comment in the link post on FB instead.

So I can get this to someone ASAP, I'll pick a winner on Monday 10/15 after 5 pm PST, so make sure to check back here (and on FB) to see if you won. You'll have until Tuesday 10/16 at 5 pm PST to EMAIL ME with your snail mail address. If I don't hear from you, I will pick a different winner.

The usual contest rules apply (here), except where stated differently (i.e. the time requirement above). International is okay, and only one comment will be counted (either here or FB). If I left anything out, I'll update.

I thought I would make you work for it a little this time, LOL. So tell me more about YOUR reading preferences:

(1) How did you first discover me or my books?
(2) What was the first Monica McCarty book you read (okay if you haven't read one yet!)
(3) What is your favorite romance sub-genre? (i.e. historical romance, contemporary, paranormal, suspense, military, etc.)
(4) Do you read other Scottish authors? If yes, who?
(5) Who are your favorite romance authors?
(6) What is your favorite Monica McCarty book?
(7) Who is your favorite Monica McCarty hero?

That's it. Good luck, and don't forget to check back on Monday night.

UPDATE: Thanks for the head's up on my screwed up dates. Just fixed. Sorry about that!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Advice for New Writers 

Recently a reader sent me an email asking for advice as a new writer on how to get published. You'd think that would be an easy question, but with the self-publishing "revolution" going on in the industry, it's actually one of the most difficult that I get asked. 

A few years ago, my answer would have been fairly straightforward. I would have related how I was published (see my FAQ's) and suggested following a similar path.

  1. Join a writer's organization. If you are writing romance the RWA is an amazing organization and has been invaluable in my career. Invaluable. I mean that. RWA is responsible for my finaling in the Golden Heart which directly led to me finding a fabulous agent--at a local RWA meeting, no less--and then shortly thereafter, selling to Random House. 
  2. Hone your craft by lots of writing, reading, attending writing workshops or taking classes, entering contests, and soliciting feedback. Be careful not to overdo it on the writing books, you can freak yourself out. A couple of my favorites: Save the Cat, The Fire in Fiction, The Heroes Journey, Heroes and Heroines, and Stephen King's On Writing. The first and last are my absolute favorites.
  3. If possible find a critique group. I was fortunate to meet Bella Andre and Jami Alden at one of my first RWA meetings. We hit it off right away, and were CPs for years, although how we critiqued one another changed after we sold and added an editor into the mix. Now we mostly do brainstorming and Jami is my beta reader (or as I call her my alpha reader :) I do have a caveat though: You need to be very careful with critique groups, as they can do more harm than good. For us it helped that we were all in the same place in our career and had the same sensibility, even though we all wrote in different sub-genres.
  4. Find a good agent by either attending pitch workshops or writing lots (and lots) of query letters until you get a bite. A bad agent is worse than no agent. How do you find out who's good and who's bad? See number one. 
  5. Wait until your agent gets you a great deal, preferably with one of the "big six" (Random House, Simon & Shuster (Pocket), Penguin (Berkley/NAL), Harper Collins (Avon), Hatchette (Grand Central), Macmillan (St. Martin's). Harlequin and Kensington would also be in the mix.
So what's changed with self-publishing? Basically 4 & 5. They are still a road to publication, but they are not the only road. Self-publishing is now not only a viable, but also an extremely lucrative alternative to traditional/NY publishing. Two of my very good friends, Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy, have done extremely (I mean extremely) well by putting their work up themselves on places like Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, etc. But they aren't alone. Many of my other writing buddies (all previously NY big six published) have put up work on their own and done very well--in some cases better than their NY deals. But there are also thousands of writers out there who don't do well.

Do I think it helps to be previously NY published to succeed in self-publishing? Yes. A NY published author has a built in audience and has made it past what used to be the only gatekeepers in town (agents and editors) with presumably some acceptable level of quality. But is it a guaranteed road to success? Absolutely not. Is it the only way to be successful at self-publishing? Again, absolutely not. There are plenty of examples of not-previously-published authors doing extremely well in self-publishing.

Bottom line: self-publishing is something to think about--hard. The more readers move to ebooks, and the more that distribution channels disappear, the more attractive self-publishing becomes for authors. [ASIDE: I could say a lot more about this--i.e. differences in royalty rates, pricing v. number of sales, the importance of the "tail" etc.--but it's beyond the scope of this blog, is very involved, and goes to my point #1: before you do anything, you need to learn the industry.] However, if you want to see your name on print books in places like Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble, grocery stores, etc., a traditional publisher is the only way to go. I love my publisher, and my distribution has been incredible, but it isn't that way for every NY published author. 

So what is a new author to do? What road should they take? Should they go for a traditional deal or put their work up themselves and see what happens?

My advice--and the only advice I'm certain of--is that whatever path you choose, numbers 1-3 are still incredibly important. Just because you can put your first novel up, doesn't mean you should. Whether it's submitting to a publisher via the traditional route (like I did) or going it on your own, you want to have the best possible product up there.

Beyond that, I don't know. YOU have to answer that. What's important to you? Do you want to make a lot of money or will you simply be happy to finish a book and have it available for sale? What kind of market is there for your book? Is there something special about it that has the potential to hit a broad audience or is it more of a niche market? Do you mind doing (or overseeing) the work of a publisher (editing, proofing, covers, blurb writing)? Do you want to see your books in the hands of readers as fast as possible? Do you want to see your name on a print book at bookstores and other retail chains? Answers to these questions will help you determine, which is the best choice for YOU.

But it's even more complicated than that: you can also do both. There have been a number of recent examples of authors who started out in self-publishing who were bought by a NY publisher. Publishers seem to be mining many of the bestselling e-pub lists for self-published authors to buy for print (and e) deals (E.L James, Sylvia Day, Marie Force, etc.).

If your head is spinning, I don't blame you. There is a lot to think about. There are a ton of blogs out there right now that have much more insightful help than I can give on self-publishing. If you do decide to go that route, you'll want to check those out. Start with JA Konrath's blog, and he'll lead you to many others.

Good luck!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Unplanned Vacay

I guess I've taken a little unplanned vacation from the blog. I didn't realize how long it had been such I'd updated. I must admit Facebook is partially responsible. It's been less than a year since I started the page, and I can't believe how much easier it is than I thought it would be. I do plan to keep the blog, but I probably won't be posting as often as I had been, saving it for longer posts like today's.

So, I have a little good news and a little bad news . . .

One of the most consistent things about my writing process is that it always seems that when I'm starting a new book (started Highland Guard #7 last week), I suddenly get tons of idea for *future* books. My CP Jami Alden, and I laugh about it, but it's amazing how it happens. I'm not sure if it's because I'm thinking so hard about the current book that my mind gets in that mode, but it happened again last night.

I woke up at about 1 am wide awake, and one of the stories that I've wanted to write for a long time but has been eluding me, finally came to me. It's almost like a movie playing in my head, but when it happens it's pretty cool. Unfortunately, it's something I can't force.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from readers is "When are you going to write Niall Lamont and Annie MacGregor's story?" The question even has it's own spot in the FAQs on my website.

There are really two reasons why I haven't written their story yet:
(1) My time is booked up for the foreseeable future with Highland Guard books
(2) I didn't have their story in my head

I originally intended to write their story after I finished the Campbell trilogy, but when the time came, I just didn't know how to tell it. I'd kind of written myself into a bind with them, and I couldn't figure out how to get them out and make it romantic. For those of you who haven't read the Campbell trilogy, Annie and Niall are secondary characters in the books. Annie was in love with Niall, but he wouldn't marry her (for various reasons). In the course of the trilogy, Annie is raped in retaliation by the Campbells. Knowing what happens drives Niall crazy with guilt, he realizes he's made a mistake, that he loves her, and tries to get her back, but she doesn't want anything to do with him.

Basically, it was the rape that was holding me back. It's such an important/delicate issue--one that I know will strike a difficult button for some readers--and I wanted to make sure I got it right and did their love story justice.

So the good news is that I finally think I have it. The bad news is that I won't be able to write it for a while.

On a different topic, how many of you watched the Hatfields and the McCoys? We really enjoyed it. Talk about good insight into what a feuding clan looked like!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Cover Gods Strike Once Again!

I was going to wait until my next website update on May 1st to unveil the new cover for THE RECRUIT, but of course, guess what? Yep, Amazon already has it up (I guess Random House has already had it up for 2 weeks!). I mentioned on FB how much I love this cover. I think it's my sexiest yet--and that's saying something! I love the pose, and it really feels like there's movement to it. Oh yea, the abs aren't too shabby either :) So what do you think of Kenneth?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How much do you know about your heritage?

One of the benefits of writing about real historical figures is that I receive emails from readers who are related to some of the people/clans I've written about. I've even received emails from Bruce descendants--which is really cool! (I've also had to apologize to a few Comyn and MacDougall descendants, LOL). Sometimes, the books have inspired readers to go digging deeper into the family genealogical charts.

I went through a period, probably around fifteen years ago, when I became really interested in genealogy. My aunt is the resident family historian, and using some of her information I filled out a fairly extensive family tree using Family Tree Maker software. Unfortunately, as that was about 5 computers ago (when floppy discs were still being used), I don't have the info at my fingertips anymore. I do recall that we could trace one of my ancestors back to early 16th C. Sweden. Since I didn't realize I had any Swedish ancestors that was pretty neat. :)

Alas, I was disappointed to find no illustrious relatives. Nor--I'm sure you will be shocked--am I the long lost grand-daughter of a prince, duke or earl. Sadly, I don't think I'll be inheriting any long lost family castles.

I did find out a few things:
--One of my great grandfather's fought in the American Revolution
--Another was a semi-professional baseball player (given that I married a baseball player I thought that was cool)
--My father's Irish ancestors did not come over during the potato famine, rather my ancestor was the younger brother, so when the family farm went to the elder, he took a boat to America.
--My mom's grandmother fled Mexico to get away from Pancho Villa. She made it over the border because she was blonde-haired, blue-eyed and could say "coca-cola." (Passed for American).

My father's mother was Scottish (Ferguson), but I don't know much about where they came from. That's on the list of things to research at some point. Ironically, there was a Ferguson who fought with Bruce and was reported with him when he fled to the Western Isles. I wanted to write about him in THE HAWK, but ran out of page space :)

Are you interested in genealogy? Do you have a resident family historian? How much do you know about your family? Any cool relatives?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Saint is a NYT (#23) and USA Today (#72) Bestseller!

I'm cracking open the bubbly tonight--well, actually a Guinness--to celebrate THE SAINT's hitting the bestseller lists! Thank you all so much for your support. It's such a wonderful marker for an author, but it couldn't be done without you guys. So to all of you who have recommended the books to friends, spread the word on review sites or social networking, pre-ordered, ran out and bought a copy right away (or downloaded!), I truly appreciate it. Cheers from me!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's Here!

I'm thrilled to be able to say that THE SAINT is now in stores! I hope you guys fall in love with Magnus as much as I did! As always, I love to hear where you see the book if you are out an about. I'm blogging over at Romance at Random today to celebrate the release, stop by if you get a chance.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is there such a thing as too much reading?

One of our inside family jokes to our daughter is taken from the brilliant musical Matilda that we saw in Stratford-upon-Avon in Nov. 2010. Our 12 year old daughter has her nose in a book so often, we ask her why she can't be like a normal kid and watch telly (you can hear part of the song here).

Talk about ironic timing. I was thinking about writing this blog yesterday, and I opened up Yahoo this morning to see that Matilda has been nominated for 10 Oliver awards! We've been talking about it (raving!) since we saw the opening preview shows of the premier two years ago at the RSC. I think I've mentioned it on the blog before. It's the first musical I've ever been to where I hadn't heard any of the songs before, but absolutely fell in love with it. Really brilliant writing. If you've read the book or seen the movie with Danny Devito it's even better. When it crosses the pond to NY next year, I'm sure we won't be alone in my enthusiasm. We feel very fortunate to have caught it when it first opened (literally first few shows).

Anyway, back to reading. I did a poll on FB to see how much you read. I probably average 1-2 hours a day (average--some days will be much longer). Do you think it's possible to read too much?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And the Winner is . . .

(Insert drumroll) Sabrina Tyndall! Congratulations to Sabrina, and thank you all for the wonderful posts on the covers. I truly enjoy hearing everyone's favorites, and it's fun to see the love spread around.

Sabrina, to claim your prize please email me ASAP at the contact email on my website: with your mailing address.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guess what I have to give away?

Yes, waiting for me when I returned from Tahoe was a beautiful hot-off-the-presses copy of The Saint! I know it's only two weeks until release day, but I thought there might be someone out there who wouldn't mind an early copy? :)

Just tell me this: What is your favorite cover of mine? (Here they all are.)

All the normal contest rules apply ( To be eligible to win, you can leave your answer here on the blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter. I want to get it out soon, so you will only have until Wednesday at 5 pm PST. I'll choose a winner Wednesday night and (hopefully) pop it in the mail on Thursday.


Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Difficult Heroine

I mentioned on Facebook that I celebrated "finishing" book #6 of the Highland Guard (The Recruit), by watching the romantic comedy Leap Year. It's one of my favorites. I just love Amy Adams--actually I kind of had her pictured in my mind looks-wise for Helen, the heroine in the almost-on-the-shelves The Saint :)

But in thinking about her character in Leap Year--which I love--I realized that she's one of those slightly snobby but sweet characters that is really hard to pull off in a novel. Kind of like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. In a movie, I think it's a little easier to make that kind of a character likable. We get to SEE how cute Amy Adams is (or Alicia)--and they are both so darn cute!--that we as an audience can't help but like her. But I think it's harder to do in a book.

As I mentioned, I love this type of heroine. I took my stab with Caitrina Lamont in Highland Warrior. Whether I pulled it off, I guess, depends on the emails/reviews you read, LOL.

In my experience, both from reader email and the reviews, it seems to me that readers in general are much much less forgiving of a the heroine than they are of the hero. In books where I thought I might get some flack for the hero, it hasn't materialized, but if the heroine does anything unappealing or makes any bad choices, you can almost count on someone coming down on it. Part of me wonders if maybe it's because women (heroines) tend to react emotionally, which makes their actions/decisions easier to criticize. I'm not sure, just throwing it out there.

Gone with the Wind often appears on many readers' favorite romance lists--although I don't think it technically fits the definitely of genre romance (happy ending)--but I really can't see an author today being able to get away with a heroine like Scarlett O'Hara. Spoiled. Snobby. Manipulative. A little mean spirited (poor Sue Ellen!). Mercenary. I don't think most readers would tolerate this type of heroine. Yet, I love her, and I'd love to see a heroine like her. But I can almost hear the reviews and emails now, LOL.

Now take that type of character and make him a man and most readers will love him. Myself included. :)

So do you agree with me? Do you like the "difficult" heroine? Do you think readers are harder on heroines than they are on heroes? Do you do this yourself? (I think I do unconsciously).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Catching up with the Lunch Gang

Since you are probably tired of hearing about me, I thought it might be fun to hear what my fabulous (& talented) group of writer friends are up to. As most of you know from prior blogs (okay, prior bragging), I am very fortunate to have a great group of writer friends I rely on for everything from industry information, business advice, story plotting, brainstorming, cheerleading and sympathy. Oh yea, and just plain fun. We regularly get together about once a month for lunch, although we have plenty of email time in between. Honorable mention must go out to Candice Hern & Penny Williamson who both had the audacity to move on us. But we still miss them. :)

So here's what everyone is up to in alphabetical order:

Jami Alden when she's not helping me brainstorm the latest part of my book, Jami has been making a big splash in the world of self-publishing with her erotic novella Private Pleasures, which just spent some time in the top twenty of the bestselling nook list! She's also getting ready for the release of her third book in her romantic suspense trilogy Run From Fear which will be in stores later this month.

Bella Andre is the thirty-something wunderkind & posterchild for the brave new world of publishing. Think the Mark Zuckerberg of self-publishing and you get the picture. Sigh. I really don't know where to start. When she's not jet-setting to Denmark and London (refusing to take me!), she's building an empire. The fourth book of her bestselling Sullivan series will be released soon, and also--a little bird told me--we might be seeing another Bad Boys of Football book soon.

Carol Culver is also burning up the nook and kindle lists (sensing a theme around here?) with the self-publishing of her huge backlist of Harlequin/Silhouette books written under her pen name Carol Grace (Welcome to Paradise is free right now on kindle!). She also has great cozy mystery series from Berkley and Midnight Ink.

Barbara Freethy has been spending most of the last year on the New York Times Bestseller List. I think she's only been off for two or three weeks since April or May. She also hit #1 at some point--there aren't too many people who can write "#1 NY Times Best Seller" but she's one of them. This week it's the Sweetest Thing at #3! You know what a big deal the Times list is to us authors, but it's become so commonplace for Barbara that I sometimes forget to congratulate her--so here's a public congrats for this week, Barbara! She's also recently released an e-original novella, A Secret Wish, the first in a series I've been anxious for for a long time.

Tracy Grant is getting ready for the release of the second book Imperial Scandal (under the name Teresa Grant) in her fabulous new Regency historical fiction series, which started with Vienna Waltz. She's recently started on the third book, and has also joined the e-pub ranks by putting up her backlist of romances and historical fiction. Tracy was one of my favorite authors before I even met her, so you know where I stand on these books. Oh yea, and she is also a new mom. I think we are all living a bit vicariously right now through Tracy and baby Melanie (who is such a little cutie!).

Ann Mallory had a book out last fall, In Total Surrender, and is now working on summer 2012 release, as well as a top secret project. If I told you anything about it, I'd have to kill you. Or actually, I'd be killed.

Poppy Reiffin or MissPoppyR as she is known on Twitter is busy not only with her writing projects--Native American Women's Fiction--but also with her web development and e-book design company. Popular lady these days around these parts, as you can probably imagine.

Veronica Wolff my travel buddy has deserted me (& Scotland) lately for YA Vampires and small town Contemporary Romance--although I guess technically there is still a Scottish connection in the Vampire series :) She is currently working on the second book in her new Sierra Falls series (1st book out soon) and getting ready for the release of her second YA novel, Vampire's Kiss, which comes out in early March. I've absolutely been loving this series and hope to get my hands on book #3 soon. She's also getting ready for our big RT conference Spring Break Adventure with our daughters.

So that's the update. Oh yes, except for one person...I'm getting close to wrapping up book #6 in my Highland Guard series--the recently announced The Recruit--and getting excited for the release of book #5, The Saint, next month. I'm also suddenly dealing with a very big case of under-achieveritis after reading this blog :)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The i-Finger

Starting with the crash of my hard-drive about three years ago, I've made a complete platform switch into the world of Apple. With the exception of one computer (a laptop for my husband's work and to do Quicken on, which doesn't have a good mac program) all our household computers are macs. We have an embarrassing number of "i's" in the house--iphones, ipods, ipads, etc.

IMO the iphone is one of the most brilliantly designed technological tools of the last decade. I recommend it all the time. To me it's a total game changer. Extremely portable, with a wealth of tools available at the fingertips, easy to use . . . brilliant.

I don't feel the same way about the ipad. I sometimes feel as if I'm the only person in the world who doesn't really love it, LOL. It's "cool," but I just don't have the same love for it as I do my iphone. In many ways, it's just a bigger iphone without the phone, LOL. I don't like the reading experience at all--especially compared to my kindle. It's too heavy to hold comfortably in bed with one hand (unlike my kindle) and the backlit screen bugs me. It's great for poking around the internet and reading the morning newspapers (the USA Today App is brilliant). It's also great for watching movies on the plane and love HBO to Go for traveling. But as far as a productivity tool, I don't like it at all. I have a wireless keyboard, and I've attempted to write on it, but I much prefer a laptop and/or the alpha smart. Given the choice between an ipad or that small mac air, I'd take the latter every day of the week. And don't even get me started on flash!

But my biggest concern is for what I call the "ifinger." It happens a little bit with my iphone, but since I don't spend as much time "surfing" with it, I notice it MUCH more with the ipad. After a certain amount of time, the tip of my finger starts to feel numb. If I'm traveling and really using it a lot, I will actually start to get pain in my entire hand, stemming from using that finger too much. I try mixing up the fingers a little, but it doesn't seem to help much. My husband has noticed the same thing, so I know it's not just me :)

It really makes me worry about kids that are spending long amounts of time on these touch/finger devices. I've had discussions with my kids about limiting their time and paying attention to warning signs, but it makes me wonder what kinds of problems we are going to see down the road. I've actively discouraged their use of the ipad in favor of a desktop and/or laptop.

Do you have an ipad? So you love it? Any numb fingers around your house?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

8 Weeks And Counting!

I was just getting my bookmark order ready for THE SAINT, and I realized it comes out 8 weeks from today! Wasn't it just yesterday that THE VIPER came out? Feels like it to me. I swear the time around the holidays just zooms by.

On a less fun subject and another approaching date, this weekend, in addition to enjoying the superbowl and working (deadline approaching), I'll be pulling my tax stuff together. Definitely the most depressing time of year. We use Quicken, and it's painfully easy to see where all the money "disappears" to. Oh well, at least I can drown my sorrows in plenty of Super Bowl beer. We're off to a friend's house for the annual Super Bowl party that we usually miss because we're skiing. Really looking forward to catching up with friends I haven't seen in a while.

Any Super Bowl festivities in your future or do you just like to watch the commercials on re-runs :) Anyone else dreading the tax bill this year? Please don't tell me you've already filed and are getting a refund.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Lifeboat Test

I've been glued to the coverage of the Costa Concordia disaster the past few days and stunned by how the details have unraveled. It seems like there were failures on so many levels, and although it's difficult at this point to make any judgment of exactly "what happened"(so many stories to sort through) it seems that the Captain abandoned ship before all of the passengers had been evacuated. This, along with the number of reports that men were pushing past women and children to get off, really took me aback.

Now maybe it's because I spend way too much time reading (and writing) romance books with Alpha heroes, and it's probably not politically correct, but this feels so wrong to me. It's one of those situations where my modern woman sensibility can't explain my gut reaction. In a situation like the one that befell the Costa Concordia, I want men who to do the chivalrous thing and step aside for the women and children.

In the almost 100 years since the Titanic disaster (ironically the centennial is only a few months away), I think that might be one of the biggest changes. 100 years ago people didn't question the rightness of it--the men stepped aside. Not so anymore. I've seen a lot of comments from people saying: why should they? Maybe they're right. I'm not sure there is an intellectual explanation or one I can justify, and I'm sure I'd be begging my husband to come along with me in that situation, but it still somehow seems "wrong" to me.

I brought up the issue earlier on Facebook and mentioned that I kept thinking about my heroes and couldn't imagine Tor or Erik (or any one of them for that matter), jumping on a lifeboat before the women and children.

I've given an Alpha hero workshop with Jami Alden and Bella Andre a few times, and ironically one of the things I use to define what an Alpha hero means to me, is the lifeboat test. To me, an Alpha hero is the guy you most want on your lifeboat when the the apocalypse hits. He's the guy who knows what to do, stays calm under pressure, is tough, resilient, and a good leader. He's physically strong (to make you feel safe), capable, and dependable. In other words, he's Superman, Rambo, and MacGuyver all rolled into one--LOL. But what the Costa disaster points out is that for me, the guy I most want on my lifeboat is actually likely to be the last one to make it on!

What do you guys think of all this? Which member of the Highland Guard do you want on your lifeboat?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

A Little Unveiling...

Thought I'd kick off the New Year by posting the new cover for THE SAINT (which you might have noticed on the sidebar--obviously Amazon is quicker than I am, LOL).

I knew they were tweaking the old cover (which is why I hadn't posted the first one), but I was thrilled to see a completely new pose/take on it. I've been touched by the Cover Gods yet again! But it's actually the fabulous people in the Art Department at Ballantine. They really put in overtime on this one, and I really appreciate it. I didn't love the way he was holding the axe in the first version, but this one is perfect. I also really like the misty background. And, uh, ya, the abs aren't bad either.

Before you ask, no I didn't get invited to the cover shoot. But I'm still hoping . . .

Happy New Year to everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday break. I did a lot of writing, if not a lot of skiing. There was absolutely no snow in Tahoe.