Posts tagged with: Jeanne Adams

Conference Craziness!

Jeanne's I Phone 405It’s here!  Conference season!

Today (Wednesday) is the start of the huge RWA Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  Many of the Banditas are there, promoting their books at tonight’s Open-to-the-Public Literacy Signing!  They’ll be meeting up with old friends, new fans, and getting a start on learning what’s new in the writing biz.  Yay, Banditas!!  (That’s me and Nancy from last year’s Rita night….aren’t we snazzy?)

Virtually every field has a conference.  Most have one or two, depending on their size or location.  Miners have conferences, dentists and dental hygienists have conferences (Right Terry Brisbin?), doctors, morticians, romance writers, rodeo riders, cops, and probably robbers too.

Most fields have a group get-together to network, share new ideas, educate members on tried-and-true knowledge and, of course, to have a little fun.

I love conferences.  I feed on all that people energy and adore meeting new writers, new readers, and people of all walks, talks and ilks.  Grins.

I’m not in San Antonio this year as we were on vacation last week for Eldest Son’s last baseball tournament before he becomes a high school player.  It was huge fun, but I didn’t see how I could manage going to Myrtle Beach for a week, then turn around and head to the hottest corner of He…I mean San Antonio, for RWA.  Isn’t that a gorgeous view from our balcony?beach

Now that doesn’t mean that I’m not conferencing!  Oh, no!  I most assuredly AM!  As many of you know, I had a blast at Barbara Vey’s annual Reader Appreciation Luncheon in April.  If you’re anywhere near Milwaukee, you would LOVE this event!  It’s in April.  Check out the website here:  2015′s keynote speaker is the fabulous Tess Gerritson.

The pictures of me with Sylvia Day – could we have picked worse tops to put together for a photo? – and with the lady herself, Barbara Vey below, were from the 2014 event.  Yes, I DO have alien head bobbers on my head.  Your eyes do not decieve you.  :>

sylThis year’s Nora Roberts Writing Institute (Aug 8-10)  is coming up as well.  This amazing weekend event is a brilliant way to give your writing a kickstart, especially if you’re new to writing, or you’ve been away from it for a while.  The keynotes at NRWI this year are the AMAZING Sylvia Day and the equally AMAZING Hank Phillipi Ryan.  Hank’s been on the blog with us a number of times and she has a new book out too!  Bandita Donna and I will both be presenting at the NRWI as well as the fabulous Jana DeLeon, Susan Donovan, Gail Barrett, Jeanne Ford, and Agnes Jayne (also a fab blog guest!!)

I’m really looking forward to NRWI this year, even more than last year, because I’ll be in the company of fabulous writers and great creative energy.  You should come, it’s going to be great, great FUN.  (Check it out at )

Since I won’t be at RWA (*sniffle*) I’m going to milk NRWI for all the energy and booksigning mojo I can get.  Ha!

(Nora’s bookstore, TURN THE PAGE BOOKS  is doing the signing on Sunday if you’re in the area of Hagerstown MD on August 10!)

I know Banditas Nancy and Trish will head, along with my WRW Pal, Jean Marie Ward, to Atlanta for DragonCon here before too long, and Comicon, Balticon and others will be rolling around in the fall.

What about you, Buddies and Banditas?

Do you love conferences, or do they just wear you out?photo

Is there a major conference in YOUR field?  Do you go?

What about regional ones?

I know our Bandit Buddies Helen and Barb are fixtures at the Aus Romance Writers conference, and Banditas Christina and both Anna’s have been….Anyone else?

Ever had a conference romance?  (Harder at Romance conferences, since there’s so few men…hahah!!)

What’s your favorite “It happened at a conference…” story?  Mine’s about a logging demo….me, 300 loggers, some Caterpillar heavy logging equipment, jello….yeah, that was fun.

Tell all!!

Did you ever see….?

100074_gal Did you see The Butler?  The movie, that is.  What about White House Down?  Or it’s equally ridiculous, but fun counterpart, Olympus Has Fallen?

What about Taxi?  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

Or Princess Bride?  Or that perinnial favorite around our house, Robin Hood, Men in Tights?

Have you seen How To Train Your Dragon?  Kung Fu Panda? (1 and 2!) Or, what about Hotel Transylvania?

Two of my (nearly grown) nephews were here this weekend, one with his fiance, and we ended up in a fabulous discussion of movies and books and ranged out from there.  It was huge fun.  It was great to have company, and to have so many fun, funny discussions.  I totally enjoyed it!

There was grilling.  There was LOTS of baseball (Cubs vs. Nationals!  WOOT!!) and there were outstanding Fireworks.

Yay and hooray for the 4th of July!RobinHoodMeninTights_Poster

As to the discussions, we vociferously discussed who was the best Bond (Sean or Pierce? Lazenby or Nivens?), who was the best Captain of the Enterprise (Piccard allllll the way!)  and was there a difference in Cary Elwes character in Men in Tights vs. Princess Bride?

(Consensus was that Mel Brooks felt Robin/Elwes should be very Wesley-like to cash in on the popularity of Princess Bride).

There was even a rousing chorus of “We’re men!  We’re men in tights!”  Snork!!  The testosterone was almost more than I could stand.  Grins.

That led us to stories about movies – for instance,  The Piccard Manuver is what the crew called it when Piccard would pull down his uniform shirt.  It started because the original costume was too small.  That took us to The Red Shirt Phenomenon.  (If the landing party from the Enterprise has a red-shirted crewman, he’s the one who dies)

I really had the most fun with the book/movie discussion.  One of our nephews said that he’d re-read a book that had just baffled him in high school.  “Back then” it was required reading.  He decided that he wanted to give it another shot and see what he thought.  I understood this – I’ve done it – and so I asked him about the book.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  He said that the first read was just to get through it and get the paper written for class and he didn’t understand it at all.  He made a decent grade (more probably because he at least tried, as much as for what he wrote, he admitted)

31nqYwGSzgL._SL300_ Now, however, on re-read, he said he got so much out of it.  The layers of the book.  Philosophy.  Fiction.    Motorcycles.  Life.

Yep.  He said he’d have to stop every few chapters and just absorb all that new thought processing.

What book did he hate?  Watership Down.  (I LOVED that book!  Kehar get you mudders!!)

Hubby liked most of those depressing things – Seperate Peace, Grapes of Wrath, etc.  But we totally agreed on To Kill A Mockingbird and being absolutely outstanding.

I detested A Seperate Peace (as y’all have heard me whine), but the nephew, on the other hand, had loved Seperate Peace on first read, but agreed with me on the adult read.  That nephew likes Chekov and wants to read The Brothers Karamazov.  Hmmmm….

We also got into the total political incorrectness of some of our beloved favorites, such as Tarzan of the Apes (1914), The Bat (1920 and the origin material for Batman), and my all -time favorite, Silver Chief, Dog of the North.  OMGosh, to our 21st century sensibilities, these are wince-able in their prose demeaning servants in general, African-america servants in particular, Africans of any ilk, the Irish, the Italians, any immigrant from anywhere….you get the idea.

Then there were the movies.  OMGosh, the fun!  One nephew hated Taxi, loved Cockoo’s Nest.  The other just the opposite.  The Shining.  (Heeeeeres, Johnny!)  We all universally loved The Princess Bride – which then kicked off a virtual marathon of quotes, rebuttals, and ripostes.  Grins.

This also occured with Men in Tights, and the guys got into it with 21 Jump Street and some of the sillier “guy movies” that weren’t my cuppa.  (The Hangover.  Weekend at Bernies II.)  A favorite quote from Men in Tights –  “Henceforth all toilets in England will be known as Johns!”  Grins.

So what about you, Banditas and Buddies….

11819_galWhat book that you hated as a kid, have you re-read and liked?

What about the opposite?  Loved as a kid and either hated or winced over as an adult?  (You should have heard me verbally editing Tarzan as I tried to read it to Eldest Son!  Gave up.  Seriously, just gave up.)

Is there a book that “everyone loves and reads” (or at least finds deeply meaning ful) – Catcher; Misery; The Stand; Charlottes Web; Animal Farm – that you detest?   Have you ever tried to re-read it and see if its different as an adult?

What about movies?  Was there one that you loved that you quote all the time?  (Amok! Amok! Amok! – Hocus Pocus)

Did you love the Princess Bride?  What’s YOUR favorite quote?  (I’m not saying I want to build a summer home here, but the trees are really quite lovely…)

Is there a family/sister/best friend movie that you just LOL over and watch every time?

Is there one you quote to your children, or spouse or BFF?  

(Eldest son and I – Thanks for nothing, you useless reptile – How To Train Your Dragon; BFF – Have Fun Storming the Castle? Think it’ll work? It would take a miracle! – Princess Bride; BFF – Honestly, you should be the heroine of your own life – The Holiday; Hubby – I’m not a witch, I’m your wife! – Princess Bride)

And what did your school make you read that was “standard issue reading” when you were in high school?  (Illiad and Odyssey for me as well as Catcher and Flies)  Did you love it or hate it?  (Loved the Homer, you obviously know how I feel about the rest!!)

Can you even believe that there are people who are grown up, that haven’t read a book for pleasure since HIGH SCHOOL?  OMGosh, what are the doing??  Grins.  

Last but not least – who’s the best captain of the Enterprise?   Kirk Shatner; Kirk Pine; Piccard (Stewart); Janeway (Mulgrew); Archer (Scott Bakula)

The Joys of Chocolate!!

Trufa_de_chocolateHey gang!  You thought you were rid of me, right?  Snork!

Cassondra had technical difficulties with power outages in her area, so her blog didn’t get posted for today.  Instead, you get MEEEEEE!!!  Bwahahahah!

So, let’s talk chocolate.

I just read an article that said that people from other parts of the world think we here in America have terrible chocolate.  Having been in Hershey PA for a baseball tournament recently, and going through the neat-o presentation they do on making chocolate, I’m thinking we use waaaaaay too much sugar for most people’s taste.  Grins.  (This from a woman who loves sweet tea more than anything…)

Europeans, the article said, want their chocolate dark and with a slighlty bitter edge.

Asian countries prefer a milk chocolate, but not nearly as sweet as we like it.

And yet, somehow, M&Ms are universally loved.  Go figure.Candy-Peanut-MMs-Wrapper-Small

I’ve tasted some very high-end chocolate from Switzerland, and I know Caren has had that too, having visited the Swiss.  It ISN’T that sweet.  It’s very chocolate-y but, to our sugar-jaded American tastebuds, its bland.  I’ve also had some very dear chocolates from a famed New York chocolatier who was called upon to provide chocolate to the Queen last time she was in the US.  (One of their claims to fame!)  It too was not sweet, but it didn’t have that slightly bitter aftertone that some of the Swiss chocolates did.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Have you had Chocolate from other parts of the world?  

How did it compare to our Sees, Whitmans, and dime store chocolates?  Too bitter?  Too sweet?

Do you love M&Ms?  I believe the green ones assist in the laborious editing process.  (They are far better for editing than the yellow ones, let me tell you!)

What’s YOUR favorite color of M&M?

What’s your favorite chocolate brand, and DO tell us the good brands from outside the US!?

Do Americans use too much sugar?

Car Trouble…

800px-Chrysler_Town_and_Country_SWB_--_07-09-2009 I have a love/hate relationship with my car.

I love my van.  It Goghs.  (Snork!  That’s a really old Mom Joke…When Vincent’s Van Won’t Gogh…)  

On any given day ’round my place, it will hold a lot of guys with baseball gear and get them to the game on time.  And on another day, it’ll hold a buncha guys with Tae Kwon Do bags arguing about the variations in Minecraft texture packs.  

It hauls mulch.  

It hauls furniture.  

It hauls friends for a girls night out if I get the short straw as designated driver.  

It is (*cue super hero music*)  uber-useful-van!

Except when it won’t go.  I hate it when it won’t go.  I loathe car repair experiences in general.

This is actually rare, thankfully.  Chrysler makes a good darn mini-van.  (As well they should since they invented the darn things!  Thank you, Lee Iaccoca!)  However, I was reminded of these occasional lapses of going by Bandita Nancy’s visit here to DC.  She had car trouble.  

Now she doesn’t drive a mini-van, for which I’m sure she’s grateful, but her car was not happy when she arrived.  640px-Lewis_Hine_Power_house_mechanic_working_on_steam_pumpWe got it to my mechanic this morning and by late afternoon, it was ready to get back to the good work of serving as Bandita Nancy’s sturdy transportation.  Grins.  Nancy, I know, was dubious, but I told her I had faith in the guy.  

Now this is a hard thing for me, to have faith in a mechanic.  but let me tell you a little story…

The last time my husband’s van wouldn’t go – yes, he has one too as you can see in the “double-parked” snow van scene below – we had taken it to this “new guy” mechanic at a gas station not too far from the house.  I was a bit concerned about this, but we knew the car wouldn’t get far (certainly not as far as the expensive dealership mechanics across town!).  This guy was handy, and not busy, and we needed the DH’s van to be fixed quickly.  There was a ballgame to get to, after all, and I had to go the other direction with youngest son, so BOTH vans had to work.

The young, unfamiliar-to-us mechanic, who had just bought out the grizzled, gruff, grouchy older guy who owned the place, assured us that he could do it.  He could get the van running and running well, for a decent price, and in the necessary time frame.  I’m not sure I’d’ve trusted “old gruff and grouchy” to stick to the timeline.  (He was a decent mechanic, but let’s just say that time ran differently in his shop than it does in my world.)

So we took it in, crossed our fingers and hoped, planning to get a rental car the whole time.

Young Mechanic called sooner than expected.  There was another part that needed fixing.  The DH and I rolled our eyes, thinking we were being scammed, but since we didn’t 800px-Helical_Gearshave much choice, we winced, grumbled, then gave our okay.

Less than twelve hours later, Young Mechanic called to say he was so sorry, that he was still behind and wouldn’t have it at 7 pm because the gas station had been robbed and he’d had to spend time with the police as he and his fellow mechanic had witnessed the robbery and the second mechanic had actually torn off on his motorcycle and followed the robber’s car, allowing the police to catch them!  

Well, hard to argue with that story.  We’d heard the sirens, heard the place had been robbed via the neighborhood grapevine.  

But….no car.

We planned for, and called in an order for, a rental.

The next morning, before the DH had to leave for the baseball game, Young Mechanic called to say the car was ready.  We were on our way to pick up the rental.  Dubious, we 2009 snow 007turned around and went to the gas station/garage.  

There sat the DH’s van, ready to go.  They’d also topped off the fluids and windshield wiper stuff.  He apologized for not having had time to wash it, he said, as they were still working with the management of the gas station to allow them to wash the cars.  

We were agape.  We canceled the rental.

With trepidation, we asked Young Mechanic how he’d managed to get the car done by that morning.

“Oh, I stayed here until about midnight.  I had yours and one other that I’d promised.  If I’d’a had to wait on parts, that would be one thing, but I had the parts.  Big delay was the police stuff.  So, I knew you needed it, so I stayed till I got it done.”

Young Mechanic now has our loyalty.  We recommend him.  Obviously, when a friend needs a mechanic, as Bandita Nancy did, we go to Young Mechanic.  This guy started his business with a van and some tools.  At first he’d go to the customer with his van and his tools and fix their cars.  He built a following, a clientele.  He got a second van, hired another guy who loved working on cars to drive that van and off they went, fixing cars.  

When grouchy, gruff old mechanic with his own sense of time decided to hang up his wrenches, Young Mechanic bought the business, lock, stock and lug-nuts.  How?  He’d been saving up a portion of his receipts from Us_flag_with_eagleevery job he did with his trucks because he needed and wanted a permanent location.

It’s such an American story, isn’t it?  I don’t know Young Mechanic’s ethnicity and don’t really care – he’s as American as American can be.  I know one of his mechanics is either Polish or of Polish extraction because his name, as he told me when I asked how to pronounce it, is Polish.  Another is, I think, originally Kenyan, and the fourth, another general mutt of an American like me.  I asked one of them how he came to work for Young Mechanic.  

“I needed a job.  He’d been open about a week and I came in.”

“He hired you?” I asked.  “Just like that?”

“He was taking down an engine.  I told him where the extra bolt was that was keeping it from coming down, so he hired me.”

Yep.  American as American can be.  

Hire people who are smart.  Hire people who are smarter, or more experienced than YOU are.  Treat your customers right.  Stay late if you need to, to get the job done.  When a good customer comes in and her friend from out of town has car trouble, help them out.  

If you see a customer struggling to put air in the tires, go help.  (Saw him do this one day when I was getting gas, and no, it wasn’t some pretty young thing he wanted to flirt with.  It was a mom with a van full of kids and dogs.)  

Price fairly, and make sure you don’t overcharge for things, because eventually the customer WILL find out.  Give good advice.  Tell the customer “You have to do this RIGHT NOW.  You need to do this other thing, but it isn’t as urgent.  If you can only spend XX dollars to keep it running, spend them HERE.”

THAT is a good mechanic.  That is also a superb businessman.  Worth his weight in gold.  And I assure you, he will make really great money, doing something he loves, and will prosper.  I send him business all the time.  I know other people do too.  He’ll own the whole property before he’s done, mark my words.  Probably still have his fleet of trucks too.

Sometimes, a little car trouble leads you to a great story.  Sometimes, it reminds you that the American Entrepreneur isn’t on the Endangered Species List or as extinct as the Dodo bird!   1280px-Oxford_Dodo_display

All good things.

Have you ever had car trouble when you were out of town?  Did some good come out of it, or was it a terrible experience?

Where is/was the worst place you’ve ever broken down?

Do you know how to change your own tire?  Your oil?  Or do you barely know how to get the hood open?

Do you own jumper cables?

Do you have a good mechanic, or is that as rare as Dodo eggs where you are?

Do you know a great entrepreneur like this guy?

(Photos are either mine or Wikimedia Commons)

Peer Pressure Strikes…Or, Sneaking Around.

Wine-1If you drink at all, when did you take your first drink?

What about sneaking out of the house or staying after school to “do homework” and kissing the boys? (or girls…)

Did you ever go over to one friend’s house, the one you told your mother you were going to spend the night with, and then you and THAT friend went to someone else’s house?

I have to confess, I wasn’t much of a “sneaker” – I just have that kind of face that gives it alllllll away.  Ha!  I can keep secrets with the best of them, but about what I personally have been doing, I’m not that good at lying.

Fortunately, neither is my eldest.  Ha!  There have been several incidents this year in which some of his friends have gotten in trouble, and he’s either gotten “tarred with that brush” or it’s been big discussion amongst the parents and he’s gotten lectured.  (Picture major eye-rollage over the lectures, by the way).  I am not prone to lecture much – I lecture selectively to keep it sharp and pointy – but he got a big one tonight.

He’s in eighth grade, about to “graduate” to high school next fall.  Over the weekend, one of his friends got drunk and got busted for it.  Ooops!  

Fortunately Eldest Son was not involved, but he might have been had he chosen to spend the night with said friend, rather than be home early for baseball.  One of those “there but for the grace of God, go I” events.  He wouldn’t think of it that way, but it was.

Now it’s a HUGE drama, and with all the cell-phonage and texting and so forth, it is already all over the school and probably known throughout most of our very large area.  Baseball teams around the regions know….several of the boys who got in trouble were on baseball teams my son either plays on or against….and so it’s been big talk there.   Parents are calling, emailing, and texting one another about it as well.

Holy cow, it’s a flurry of texts coming in even yet.  Grins.1321157356

So, for Eldest Son, it’s been a day of long discussion with mom and dad, then big lecture from mom and dad, and again with the eye-rollage but compliance from Eldest Son.  He does listen, bless him, and he is smart enough to know better than to defend his friend.  (Not that he would, since he thought it was stupid) 

All this, as parents, made us, once Eldest Son had gone to bed, roll our OWN eyes and be grateful that it wasn’t our kid getting everyone else in trouble and sneaking alcohol.  The DH and I aren’t big drinkers, and it would be very obvious if alcohol was missing, so that’s one thing.  Another thing, we’ve talked to our kids about beer, wine and hard liquor and – except for the hard liquor – they’ve had a taste of each and been very put off.  Ha!  I figured if it wasn’t made “forbidden fruit” on it’s own merits, but on taste, which needs to be acquired, and must be …uh, like, LEGAL…as my son would say, then they wouldn’t be prone to sneaking.

It got the DH and I talking, however, about our own sneaking, experimenting, challenging parental authority and so on.  

I felt like SUCH a goody-two-shoes.  Snork!  

Maybe girls are just less prone.  Or maybe I was less prone because I saw very good friends get in very, very, very bad trouble and so I chose not to drink or experiment with drugs.  I also went to a school that had a lot of drug issues.  Once you’ve seen someone, high on PCP, try to fly down a set of marble stairs and break a lot of things (including the windows in the school’s front doors), as well as major bones, drugs don’t have much appeal.

8-11-12JohnnyLion'sbirthday!054Alcohol was a little more appealing, given that in my house, growing up, it WAS forbidden fruit.  My parents were teeeeeeetotallers.  :> Still.  I’d experimented some, but again had one of those experiences where, when I was an RA in my dorm, (I went to college long before I was legal to drink, btw), I had to take one of my residents to the ER for a stomach pump for alcohol poisoning.  

Let me tell you, that’s just nasty.  I didn’t drink for YEARS after that.

I love a glass of wine, and probably had my first glass of wine at 16 or 17.   Hard liquor was a little later, 20, but it doesn’t hit me the way wine does.  It doesn’t affect me much until the next day.  Urg.  

Smoking stuff and any other “substance” wasn’t much fun after the PCP incident, so I never really went there.

For the most part, my “crack” was books, and reading and dreaming.  If they’d made reading illegal, I would have been a junkie of the highest order.

What about you?  Were you like me and a goody two-shoes that stuck to the rules – at least about that sort of thing?  

Or were you a Pink Lady, wild child, experimenter?2219984

Books may be your “crack” now, but were they when you were young as well, or is it only with the advent of the Kindle that you’ve gotten back into reading?

Do you find it as shocking as I do that 60% of Americans admit to never picking up a book to read after graduating high school?  (OMG, how do they survive??  And frankly, even if I DID it, I wouldn’t ADMIT to being that ignorant!  Yikes!)

What was the first book you “sneaked”?  Mine was The Exorcist.

 (photos are either the author’s or permission was requested of the photographer)

A Visit with the Fabulous SOPHIA NASH!

SophiaNash4Bandits and buddies, I hope you’ll join me in welcoming back my dear friend, SOPHIA NASH!

Sophia’s been a guest on the blog several times, but it’s been a while. Sophia, for those new to the Bandits who might not know you, tell us a little about your journey to writing award-winning Regency-set historicals.

Sophia: A bit of a sad story really. My father was dying of cancer and when I suggested that he write a book as it was a dream of his, he replied, “No. Life is short and YOU want to write a book. So, write it and I’ll edit it.” We both loved Jane Austen and so I wrote a Regency set historical, “A Secret Passion.”

A year later my father died, but the book finaled in a contest and caught the eye of an editor, who offered a two book contract.

Jeanne: Oh, that IS sad,  and so bittersweet!  I’m sorry for your loss, but glad you actually DID write the book! When did you first know you were going to be a writer? Or more accurately when did you first want to be one?

Sophia: No one else in my family wrote, so I didn’t know right away. But I always loved books, movies, or any kind of storytelling. I became a television writer and producer straight out of college and it was during that job at a CBS affiliate that I realized how much I enjoyed writing.

Jeanne: Interesting…You’re the second award-winning author I know that worked in television! What is it about the Regency that is so attractive to writers and readers?

Sophia: I think so many people love the books (and/or the movies) by Jane Austen that that is a draw. I also liken the Regency period as 220px-Pickering_-_Greatbatch_-_Jane_Austen_-_Pride_and_Prejudice_-_She_then_told_him_what_Mr._Darcy_had_voluntarily_done_for_Lydiathe 1960s of the 1800s. There was a war going on, young men were dying, new music–the waltz, where people embraced while they danced– new art, architecture styles, daring fashion. It was an exciting time to be alive.

Jeanne: Are there any other historical periods in which you’d enjoy setting a book? Or other countries during a certain historical time?

Sophia: Aside from the Georgian period, which is fascinating to me, I also love the WWII era. And as I’m French and American, I adore both countries.

Jeanne: I’ve so enjoyed getting to know about WWII for a novella I’m working on, and since it’s partly set in France, you know I’m going to be picking your brain about France and all things French!  Grins.  

Now, tell us about this fabulous book, THE ONCE AND FUTURE DUCHESS! I adore that cover.  And about the series as well. This is the last book in the series, isn’t it?once_350

Sophia: Yes, this is, indeed, the last book in the quartet. And it ties up all the remaining questions concerning all the dukes in the series. This is truly the Duke of Candover’s story, and Isabelle Tremont, the Duchess of March.

She has been in love with him for most of her life, but duty and a promise made keep them apart. This is a story about the courage it takes to be vulnerable and to stay the course. In addition, The Duke of Sussex, from one of the other books, must find his destiny with Miss Amelia Primrose.

My absolute favorite scene in the book is when all the characters go out on a golf course. Who knew the game of golf could be so funny?

Jeanne: Well, it’s an odd game, but I can’t wait to see how funny YOU make it! Grins.

And now for some general fun that doesn’t involve golf….Since your Duchess is a bit unconventional, we’ll mix up some modern and historical questions.

mens-bambooorganic-cotton-boxer-shorts-eco-fabrik-bbx4-2a_47760_fullBoxers or briefs?

Sophia: As for me, boxers, but of course, the Duchess would not know what those were. And the Duke of Candover would not wear anything. Nothing gets between him and his breeches.

Jeanne: Snork! Well, that could make things interesting!

Lawn Darts or Lawn sex?

Sophia: Both. Together. At the same time ;)

Jeanne: OMGosh, that could be dangerous!! Hahah!

Ireland or Scotland?37988916_700x700min_1

Sophia: I love both and am dying to go, but Isabelle wouldn’t have gone to either. She’s very much the British Aristo, in love with her own country. And she’d never go there unmarried….wouldn’t want anyone to think she was after a quickie wedding!

Jeanne:England, is a great country (I know Anna Sugden, Nancy Northcott and all our historical Banditas would agree!), and I guess Scotland and Gretna Green were the Regency version of Vegas, for weddings. Snork!

Chocolate sauce or caramel?

Sophia: Are you kidding? Both!

Jeanne: Amen!

Let’s go for exotic….India or Africa?

IMG_0686Sophia: I believe Candover would choose a refreshing trip to America.  That would be sufficiently wild for him, but I’d go for the exotic and choose Africa, specifically, Namibia!  I went there this last year and loved it!

Jeanne: Ooooh! Namibia!! That is exotic!  I loved these pictures of you on the dunes!

Sidesaddle or hunt seat?

Sophia: The Duchess can, of course, ride either, but prefers hunt seat even if it’s a bit scandalous. The Duke secretly has a thing for sidesaddles–not.

Jeanne: Snork! Have YOU ever ridden sidesaddle?  I know you used to be involved in horse shows…2012445(2)

Sophia: Yes! One of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had was jumping a one foot fence riding sidesaddle. It made the nearly six foot fences that you jump while astride feel like a piece of cake!

Jeanne: I’ll bet. It just seems so off balance and…well…dangerous. Grins.

In that same vein…Riding habit or ball gown?

Sophia: For me, I’m the outdoorsy type, so I’d go for jeans and chaps to ride as opposed to the hose and ballgowns and shoes that hurt your feet.IMG_0458

As for the Duchess she would tell you she’s always dressed appropriately and meticulously. She wears whatever the occasion demands. (However, if pressed, she’d go for the riding habit and be outside in the fresh air!)

Jeanne: Riding works…Grins.

Bikini, one-piece or wetsuit?

IMG_0599Sophia: Seriously???? I’m going for the wetsuit. I like to surf, but it’s COLD in the water I like to surf in, in the Atlantic. I have to say though, if Isabelle were alive right now, she’d be rocking a bikini under her wetsuit. She’s just that adventurous.

Jeanne:  You go on with your bad self, Sophia!  Surfing!  Love it!  And from what I know about Isabelle, she would be right out there with you.  Grins.

So what about you, Bandits and buddies? What are your answers to the questions??

Boxers or Briefs?

Lawn Darts or Lawn Sex?

Ireland or Scotland? (Or both with England thrown in for luck?)

Chocolate sauce or caramel?

India or Africa?

Sidesaddle or Hunt Seat?

Riding Habit or Ballgown?

Bikini, one-piece, wetsuit or “not going anywhere near the beach”?

THE ONCE AND FUTURE DUCHESS came out YESTERDAY!  Go, buy, enjoy!  But wait till tomorrow…Sophia is generously giving away a copy to one lucky commenter! Have fun!

(All photos are the author’s, from Yahoo Free Images, Wikimedia Commons or private collection.  No copyright infringement intended)

A PARTY!!!! And a post about water, water, water!

Romance Bandits _ Facebook Event_Header

First, it’s PARTY DAY!!!  WOOT!!!

 Have you seen the cool, cool party we have going on, on Facebook??  OMGosh, you HAVE to go!  Click the picture to the left here….

Or fo to or just go to my author page and click the link.  (LIKE my page while you’re there, won’t you?)

The party starts at 9 am and goes through the whooooooole day!  You’ll love it!  Prizes, guests, fun, laughter, gladiators, hockey hunks, Sven managing everything…

Yep!  It’s a pile of fun over there!  So why am I over here?  Well, I’m pulling double duty today!  :>  Today’s my regular blog day.  

And before we started 800px-Versailles-fontene_2planning the party, I had this whole spring-themed post planned about fountains.  I love fountains.  I love waterfeatures in the garden and the sound of running water.  I have two fountains myself and am always kinda looking for more.  

I love my garden, and in the wild, on hikes and so forth, I adore it when I stumble across a stream or a waterfall in the high hills.  So gloriously beautiful

I also take pictures of fountains wherever I go.  The first time I traveled abroad, to France, I took so many pictures of fountains!  Oh, my gosh, you’d have thought I was a fountain builder.  The ones there are usually in public squares rather than in gardens.  The exception is Versailles, of course.

The grand fountain at Louis the 14th’s magnificent palace outside Paris, at Versailles, is a sight to behold.  I didn’t look up how many gallons of water it utilizes, but its a lot.  Doesn’t matter.  The sheer magnificence of it is worth the cost, don’t you think?  It just goes on and on and on.  There are figures and sculptures and the huge pool it all splashes into.  It cools the air and dusts the skin with the mist of water.  Even the hottest day is cooler by the fountain at Versailles.SavannahGeorgiaForsythParkWalkwayAndFountain_2006

Or there’s the one in Savannah, Georgia, where Bandita Nancy and I got to hang out.  There was a wedding about to take place the day we stopped to see the fountain in Forsythe Square, but neverthe less, I took pictures.  Grins.  This isn’t it as the picture didn’t turn out as nicely as this one from Wikimedia Commons.  :>

St Marys fountainThere were fountains in Brunswick too, which I duly photographed.  Gorgeous, isn’t it?

But I have to say, one of my favorite fountains is in one of my least favorite cities.  I’m not a huge fan of Las Vegas, given that I don’t gamble much and it’s hotter’n seven hells there most of the time.  Not my fav things as most of you know.  

But if you’ve been to Las Vegas, you’ve probably seen the Bellagio.  If you’ve seen the Bellagio, you’ve seen the amazing, famous, enormous, magnificent fountain.

It has music.  It has lights.  It has synchronized water jets that dance and play to the music.  It’s huge.  It’s loud.  It’s amazing.800px-Bellagio_fountain_show_2010_las_vegas

I love every drop of water in it and I love the magnificent show they put on with it every single hour.


Not much can touch the Bellagio’s fountain.  Really.  It’s beyond breathtaking.

Have you ever seen it?  The Bellagio fountain that is?

Did you ride the gondolas in the river inside the Bellagio?

Have you seen a fabulous fountain or waterfall?  Where?

What’s your favorite, if you have one?

fountainDo you have a water feature in your garden, on your patio, in your apartment, or at your desk? (That’s one of mine to the left there…)

I have a desktop fountain, do you?

What do you love about water features?

Let’s talk WATER, Water, Water!!




ROAD TRIP!!! Part III Brunswick and Savannah…

Savannah N2 and JPA at the Subway RestaurantNow, I have to tell you, writers see cities differently than “regular” tourists.  

When you write suspense, as I do, you look for places to stage murders or have people publicly discover bodies.  This leads you to take pictures of alleyways and dark corners that most people wouldn’t dream of photographing.  

Nancy, while she also writes suspenseful books, was on a different mission this time.  She took pictures of buildings where her characters might live, or work, or set up shop.  

In addition to the alleys and parks, however, I’m going to se up the headquarters for a secret 

Brunswick Fountain 2organization, so I photographed buildings that might suit that use.  It was fun to imagine our future characters living and working in these fabulous cities.

Exactly! Visiting Brunswick, Georgia, convinced me Stefan and Mel definitely need to live there. I loved the historic neighborhoods, the lovely waterfront park, and the old buildings in the downtown shopping areas. I also like the way they treat their public spaces, with fountains, trees, and historical markers. We parked near Machen Square (which is bisected by Newcastle Street). The half on the right has this lovely fountain and seating area. 

Brunswick was wonderful! Nancy and I visited a great bookstore there (big Brunswick courthouse square queen square 17surprise!), and enjoyed a fun lunch together and even visited the local farmers market.

We talked with people on porches – it was so lovely and warm in Brunswick and Savannah! – and got great directions from local merchants.

Weren’t those people wonderful? I so enjoyed that. I was struck by this marker honoring Captain Mark Carr, Brunswick’s first settlerIsiah Davenport House from the sq.

He came in the British army but stayed to become a part of the colony. I wonder if he would’ve been relieved to die before he had to choose between the country of his birth and the one he adopted.

That must have been hard for so many of the colonists. Its odd how seeing markers like that make them real people, isn’t it?  

Much as we loved Brunswick, our next destination called, and we were off to Savannah! It’s a lovely old city, settled in the early 1700s and a thriving city from that day to this one. The port is busy, the nightlife jumping, and the history vibrant and alive.

So true! The main thing I love about Savannah is that element of history. It’s everywhere SavGa_Apr2014_Pulaskiaround you, in buildings that date back from one to three centuries, in the monuments erected in the beautiful squares, and in the huge, old live oaks swathed in Spanish moss.

This is a photo of the memorial to General Casimir Pulaski, the Polish officer who headed George Washington’s cavalry. Because of his skill and the tactics he taught, he became known as the Father of American Cavalry.

It was so elegant and beautiful in its Square, I thought.  And a fitting monument to a brave man.

As most of you would suspect by now, we did hit Colonial Park Cemetery right away on the first day, then went there AGAIN today before we left!  You were expecting that, weren’t you?  Grins.  

It was an amazing place. The massive entrance arch was gorgeous, set in place by the Daughters of the American Revolution, was a fitting entrColonial Pk Cem entranceance to a misty, ancient-feeling place. There were so many historical markers. I had so much fun reading the markers and conning out the faded epitaphs, Nancy had to remind me of the time….

It was really cool. One of the things I find most interesting in the cemetery is the wall with tombstones stacked along it. When Sherman occupied Savannah, his army camped in the cemetery. They knocked over many of the tombstones. SavGa_Apr2014_FallenTmbstnes

Unsure where the fallen stones belonged and not wanting to put them in the wrong places, the people of Savannah set them up along the wall.

I loved that too, Nancy, although I damned Sherman all over again, the right b*st*rd.  (All genealogists hate Sherman)

But I adored the city parks and squares, the fountains and the monuments.  I loved the one of Pulaski that you already mentioned, but also the one of Sgt. William Jasper, who took one hill – quite bravely – then as he raised the colors and urged on his men, was struck by a musket ball in the thigh. He died of the wound, but not before rallying his men to a Madison Sq Sgt Jasper bronzesound victory.  

Just as there’s a Fort Pulaski in Georgia, there’s also a Ft. Jasper.  Those Georgians remember their heroes.  

Another great statue was that of William Oglethorpe, one of Georgia’s first governors. We found one of our fun restaurant adventures near here, but the BEST restaurant adventure was thanks to Bandit Buddy EC Spurlock who suggested Molly MacPhersons Scottish Restaurant. (That’s us at Molly’s up at the top of the blog)  

OMGosh, I have just two words: Shepherds Pie. Oh, and four more: Guinness Battered Onion Rings. I sent my husband a picture of those to make him jealous. Bwahahahah!! Thanks for the recommendation, EC!!

Kehoe inn frontHere’s a fab pic of one of the houses I’m considering as a headquarters for my very secret, hush-hush society for a series that will probably be out in 2016. It’s Kehoe Mansion, named for a prominent family who built an ironworks and prospered in the city for a couple of centuries. It was also used as a funeral parlor at one point….bwahahaha!

(It’s now a very highly regarded Inn.)

That was a beautiful one, Jeanne. I loved taking pictures of possible locations for my characters as well.

I was looking for places some of my Mage-book characters, Tasha and Lorelei, could locate their businesses. I found several Savannah stone soldiers and 4th and damned 042good candidates, and now it’s just a matter of deciding. Lorelei’s shop was originally on River Street in Renegade, but I’ve decided to move her to new digs, maybe on Broughton Street.

Some of the other sights were just breathtaking, like the cotton exchange at night, or the riverfront, but they didn’t photograph well. The flowers and storefronts and everything else were wonderful, even in the rain.  We wrapped up this morning and headed back home, with full memory cards, fuller memories, and the scene-sets for some FABULOUS books!  :>

So what do YOU take pictures of when you travel? As you know from the swamp, birds and flowers often fill my camera!

House near Warren Sq trumpet vine closeWould you visit Savannah, Brunswick or the swamp after reading all this journeying?

Do you have a fun traveling companion? Your spouse? Sister? Friend?

(Nancy and I had a blast together, as if you couldn’t tell!)

Do you like pubs? We ate at an English Pub (Six Pence) and at a Scottish one (Molly MacPhersons) since they came recommended.

Do you research the restaurants in a town you visit, go with Trip Advisor or Yelp recommendations, or, as with books, do you rely on friends to give you recommendations?

What’s your favorite kind of food? Italian? Pub Grub? American? French? Canadian? Turkish? Grins.Savannah stone soldiers and 4th and damned 039

What do you buy as a souvenir when you travel?  Nancy and I both got magnets, and books, of course!

Road Trip! (Part 1)

Hi, everybody!  As you read this, Jeanne and I are on a research trip in coastal Georgia.  As the blog posts, we’ll be getting a good night’s sleep in preparation for our Okefenokee Swamp trip tomorrow.  After that, we’ll work our way north.  Jeanne, what’s on your agenda?

 Sleep.  Ha!  Seriously, Nancy, my plan is to take it allllll in.  I’ve passed around the edges of the swamp before, travelling through various parts of Georgia, but never IN to the Okefenokee itself.  I’m really excited about the trip.  I’m looking forward to seeing some hawks and other swamp birds, hopefully some herons and bitterns.  We’ll see who/what shows up.  I’m a real bird watcher, so it’s going to be fun to see that.  Hoping NOT to see any alligators.  Really.  They can stay far away from wherever we are.  It’s going to be fun to see some of the sights you’ve seen and posted on your website, on various blog posts about the swamp, and the way you’ve lovingly described it in your fabulous books!! 


I haven’t seen the Okefenokee in early spring, so this trip will help me when I get to the books that are set at this time of year.  It will also introduce Jeanne to the wonderfulness of the swamp! *g*  Here’s a photo I took as we headed down the Suwanee Canal early in the morning in February.

Isn’t that spooky?  We can bet the mages will be heading into a landscape much like that at some point.

The mages headquarters, the Collegium is near Brunswick, a town that dates back to the 1700s. I’d like to see some of it. There are historic houses and shops, a waterfront, a marsh (not a 400-square mile swamp, but promising anyway), and various recreational opportunities.  I suspect Stefan and Mel will end up buying a house there at some point.Here’s a link to the website.

  I’ve actually been to Brunswick, lo these many years ago, but don’t remember anything about it.  But I love new places, so I’ll enjoy catching a glimpse of life in South Georgia.  Grins. 

Sav_Riverboat_Sept2012Some of my mages also live in Savannah, and it’s a great location with its historic squares, old houses, and scenic River Street.  Two members of Griff’s team in Renegade are based there.  Lorelei has a shop on River Street, and Tasha’s headquarters for her design and remodeling business will likely be there, too.  Unless I totally fall in love with Brunswick and relocate her.

Tasha has a log cabin on the Big Satilla River, but that’s for getaway weekends, not her working  base.  Maybe she has a condo instead of a house in the city.  This trip will help me decide.

Savannah is going to be aweeeeeesome!  This is actually my part of the trip.  I’m deciding between Savannah and Richmond, VA for one series of books, and pretty much have decided to set another set of books IN Savannah itself.  These books are a couple of years off, but hey, you can never do your research too early.  

Nancy’s already agreed to be a good sport and visit some of the nice, spooky old cemeteries in Savannah proper with me.  Bwahahahaha!

The dh and I actually like visiting old cemeteries.  Many years ago, before the boy, we visited one in Savannah.

I’m taking my small backpack with digital camera, spare batteries and extra memory card, the yellow pad I’ve used to take notes on my swamp trips, and an easel, big pad and tape recorder in case we get ideas we want to develop.  Maps of Brunswick, Savannah and the swamp are also going along, as is bug repellent–very important in the Okefenokee in April.  As is sunscreen.

I’d never taken a research trip with another writer until I went to England and roamed about with Anna Sugden.  I’d be looking at what I’d come to photograph, lost in how the setting would work with the story, and then she’d nudge me and say, “You might want a photograph of those flowers.” Yes, indeed, a nice little detail I did want a photo of, for reference.  But I was so busy filtering through the story forest that I missed the tree of the lovely detail.

It’s going to be an adventure!  I’ve not taken a research trip with another writer either, Nancy.  You’re one up on me having had a good roam about with Anna S.  Still, it’ll be a fine sight better than when I took a research trip to Chicago with my husband a then-3-year-old.  Eeek!!  That wasn’t as productive as I would have liked.  Ha!  I already know this will be MUCH more the thing!  And yes, maps, camera, extra memory, the cord to upload the photos….verrrrrry important!!  I’ve only had a memory card fail once, but…  So, I upload as soon as I can.  

Nancy and I have already worked out a great place for a seafood dinner.  Rewards for our labors as working authors, don’t you know!  Slurp!!

Have you ever been to the swamp, Savannah, or the Atlantic coastal US?  Do you like seafood?  What’s your favorite?  Do you ever go to the cemeteries when YOU go sightseeing? If you were going to a place to learn about it, what would interest you most–shopping, food, history, recreation, or a combination of some of those?  What place would you choose just to explore?

We’ll check in as we get a chance along the way and catch up at night, when we’re in the hotel with its nice, free WiFi.

April Coming Attractions

Last Temptation of Dr. Dalton

March was an AMAZING month in the lair. Our fabulous Tawny Weber hit the New York Times List as a part of the Lucky 7 Bad Boys boxed set, which features her story Naughty Vegas Nights. And if that wasn’t enough, Anna Campbell won the Australian Romance Readers Award for Best Continuing Series AND was nominated for a RITA award in the historical category for A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS! 


But never fear that we’ve been too busy partying in celebration of our banditas’ successes. We have an action-packed April for you this month!

 On April 2nd, Robin Giana returns to the lair to discuss whether eyes are truly the windows to the soul.  You can see her inspiration in the cover of her latest release, The Last Temptation of Dr. Dalton.

CoverFinalLG-NewWitch new

 Our very own Thelma and Louise, Nancy Northcott and Jeanne Adams, hit the road on April 4 and 5 and will bring you their latest adventures on a research trip through coastal Georgia. Savannah, Brunswick, and (of course, since Nancy is involved) the Okefenokee are all on the itinerary, and there may be some surprises along the way. Safe travels, Nancy and Jeanne! No cliff-diving now, OK?



On 12 April, Nancy welcomes Alexis Morgan for her Lair debut.  They’ll chat about Alexis’s new release, Immortal Cowboy.

Break out the cabana boys, because Tawny’s full-length paranormal, There’s A New Witch in Town will released on April 14th!  A sexy fairy tale of a witch, a hot hero and a cursed town… and a whole lot of fun!

Cross Springs In Bloom cover2

On April 15 Trish Milburn celebrates the release of CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF LOVE the second novella collection in the Starfish Shores series from MJ Fredrick, Tanya Michaels and (of course) Trish Milburn!

April 16 – Caren Crane hosts Deb Marlowe and various others of the Red Door Reads authors to talk about their exciting new novella adventure. Be sure to Like their Facebook page before April 15 so you will be first to hear all the news!




April 17 — Elke Feuer debuts in the Lair with her book, Deadly Bloodlines, in which “A serial killer is determined to repeat a murderous pattern that started twenty years ago.”

Atlantis Dark Tide concept 2
On April 18, Lisa Tapp joins Joanie to chat about her debut novel, FINDING BETH.  

April 21 Allie Burton returns to the Lair with Atlantis Dark Tides, book 4 in her YA series, where treachery and spies determine the fate of the underwater world.

UrsulaLeCoeur_TheWillingWidow_1400px (2)[1]

April 23rd brings debut author Ursula LaCoeur to the lair.  Learn how the romance of New Orleans inspired her debut, The Willing Widow.



Suzanne Ferrell’s KIDNAPPED is FREE on Amazon, iTunes, and KOBO ebooks.

Susan Sey and Caren Crane will be participating in a huge Red Door Reads giveaway (prize is an iPad mini!) starting April 15. To keep in the know, Like the Facebook page.

Tawny Weber’s There’s A New Witch in Town will be out in the Dangerous Dozen boxed set on April 7th – for a limited time, the boxed set is specially priced for only .99 cents.
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