Posts tagged with: Nancy Northcott

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!!

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)

Spring Bandit & Guest Booty

BanditBootyDrum roll, please!  I’ve fallen way behind on booty posts, so I have a several winners to announce.

First up, the winner of a signed, personalized copy or a Kindle download (winner’s choice) of Sentinel  is…

Tracy Parker

Alexis Morgan’s winners, each receiving one copy of Immortal Cowboy, are…

Becke Turner



Last not least, the winner of a copy of Suzanne Church’s Elements short story collection is…


Winners should contact nancy AT nancynorthcott DOT com (no spaces) to supply snail mail contact info, and Tracy needs to tell me which format to send.

Congrats to the winners, and thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Coming Attractions – Extra-Awesome MAY Style!

eightEvery month is a big old party here in the Lair, but MAY is especially special? Why, yes, it IS my birthday month! So kind of you to remember that my birthday is MAY 13 and I’m accepting gifts and brunches/lunches/dinners ALL MONTH LONG. :)  Still, we have another Big Event we celebrate each May. Our Romance Bandits Blogiversary! On May 8, we will be having a HUGE blowout of a Facebook party. We’ll spend almost the entire day partying like, well, Banditas and giving stuff away! You guys just have to come by and comment to win swag. We’ll have a huge prize at the end for one lucky winner: a Kindle Paperwhite and e-book prize bundle!! Super fun and easy! Go Like our Facebook page to be sure you don’t miss out!

And in other exciting news:A Rake's Midnight Kiss

Anna Campbell had a great month for contest excitement! Not only did her Sons of Sin books win Favorite Series Of 2013 at the Australian Romance Reader Awards, she received news that A Rake’s  Midnight Kiss has finaled in the historical section of the Romance Writers of America RITA® Awards. Woo hoo! We are all terribly proud of Anna!

LUD_382_LIV_COUV.inddAnna Sugden‘s French language version of A Perfect Distraction was an Amazon bestseller in France and Canada! Wonder why? I don’t think it was just the hockey player theme! :D


Elements-5_5x8_5-100dpi-c8May 3 – Nancy and guest Suzanne Church offer us a change of pace.  Suzanne will discuss her new short story collection, Elements, with maybe a bit of Game of Thrones chat stirred in. (Dragon and knights and speculative fiction, oh my! I can’t wait!)

Back In the Italian's BedMay 5 – Anna Campbell hosts the brilliant Annie West in the Lair! Annie’s going to tell us all about her wonderful new novella Back In the Italian’s Bed, the first in her Hot Italian Nights series! (Nothing about Hot Italians can be anything but awesome!)

UrsulaLeCoeur_TheWillingWidow_1400px (2)[1]May 6 - Debut author Ursula LaCoeur will guest with Donna. Learn how the romance of New Orleans inspired her debut, The Willing Widow. (New Orleans-inspired Victorian suspense should be extra-spicy!)

Osburn_HometoStay_front_cvr_FINALMay 9 – Nancy welcomes Terri Osburn to chat about secrets, secret identities, and her new Anchor Island release, Home to Stay.  Join the party and get the inside info! (Sekrits? We love sekrits!)

Murder At Honeychurch HallMay 12 - Join Kate as she hosts the delightful Hannah Dennison whose wonderful new English countryside mystery series will debut this month, with Murder at Honeychurch Hall. (I’ve met Hannah. You’ll love her!)

DragonLover_w8322_300May 16 - Karilyn Bentley returns with her dragon shifters to chat with Suz about her newest book, Dragon Lover. When opposing dreams collide, will love be the victor? (Ooh, dragons!)

Baby Steps medium cover NookMay 24 – Caren Crane‘s book launch party for Baby Steps, the second book in the Cross Springs series. Don’t miss the extra-fun return to Cross Springs for the heart-tugging story of how Connie Burns, the career-oriented, happily-childless best friend from Kick Start ends up a mommy! (Cutest cover ever!)

Lord Somerton's HeirMay 27 – Anna Campbell hosts Aussie historical romance author Alison Stuart. Alison will be talking about her latest release Lord Somerton’s Heir, a Regency romantic suspense set just after Waterloo. (Waterloo! Couldn’t escape if I wanted to!)


Anna Campbell is giving away three personalized print ARCs of What A Duke Dares, the third Sons of Sin What a Duke Daresnovel out in late August, in her current website contest. Just email her on anna @ (no spaces) and tell her the name of the hero and heroine of What A Duke Dares. You might find the answer here: For more information, please check the contest page on her website:

Hello, awesome May 8 Facebook Bandita Blogiversary party! Don’t miss it or you will feel like the out-of-the-loop kid sitting alone at home who missed the totally rad party when Kat and Bianca’s dad went out of town…or was that from Ten Things I Hate About You? Anyway, Like our page and join the party and win stuff!

Online Auction to benefit Diabetes Research: BrendaNovakForTheCure.orgAlso, the Banditas are offering a crapload of great goody packages (11 of them!) in the Brenda Novak auction to benefit Type 1 diabetes research!  Think you don’t know anyone with Type 1 diabetes? You know me and I’ve had it for 32 years! So check out the auction, bid on stuff and help cure my disease. There, I totally made it personal! You can check out our different packages by clicking the Romance Bandits link on the sidebar of the main auction page! 

Wowza! May is shaping up to be kind of amazing and – potentially – exhausting! So what do you anticipate will be your favorite thing about May in the Lair? I think it’s going to be hard to choose (but I’m totally casting a vote for MY BIRTHDAY)!

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.

What Works?

Wedding RA JA DogsAfter Bandita Susan’s post the other day about “I Do” – and receiving a very cool wedding invite just today! - I’m in the mood for a wedding!  Also, I’m ever so fond of Bandita Anna S’s Quick Fives, so I thought I’d try my hand at it and make it a combo!  Grins.  By the way, Bandita Nancy was also a bit of the inspiration for this post, since she and her DH have been married 26 wonderful years, as of yesterday! (Congrats, Nancy!!)

This one, however, is about relationships.  Whether you’re in one or not, you have an idea of what works and what doesn’t.  As Romance writers and readers we delve into the whole dynamic of relationships, and get to see both the best and worst of what happens.  As writers, we often create terrible relationships in our characters’ past so that they are overcoming those wounds in the present, and with the help of their heroine or hero, they come to see the joy and grace that CAN be in relationship. 

In short, we create characters who have either found the will to love again, or have opened up to it when they meet their match.

Peter Joseph Dowling Jr and Emma rances Stewart Dowling wedding 1896So….here we go….

1. What’s the longest running HAPPY relationship you know of? 

For me, this is my Aunt, as she and my Uncle were married for 53 years prior to his passing and were always giggling and happy with one another as well as respectful and supportive! Oh, wait…there’s also Pat Cochran – Bandita Buddy Extraordinaire – she and her Honey have been married quite a while too!  And Bandita Jo has put in some years as well….

(And NO, that picture on the right is NOT a picture of any of the aforementioned!  Hahahah!)

John_and_Gail_at_St__Stephens_church2 A  If you’re married, how long have you been married?  (Or if widowed, how long were you married?) 

I’m joyfully heading for the fifteen year mark!  That’s me and the DH up there with the Dalmatians.

2B If you’re not married, but in a relationship, how long has it been going on?  Or what’s the longest running relationship you’ve had? 

This IS the longest relationship I’ve had (Almost 17 years together!), and although I’d been married before, I gotta say…this is GREAT!

3. What is the best thing, to you, about being in a relationship? 

Love, obviously, but what’s next?  Comfort? Sex?  Security? Laughter? Fun?  Shared experiences?250px-Grace_kelly_wedding_dress 

For me, its about laughter, connection, sex (sorry, honey, gotta brag!), and shared experiences…and of course love, love, love!

4.  If you were/are single today, and were a heroine or hero in a book, what would be the most important positve trait you’l look for in a mate?  (Isn’t that kilted groom pic on the left fun? Pic from Wikimedia commons, as is the Grace Kelly photo.)

For me, the positive trait I looked for and found (besides physical compatibility!) was laughter/sense of normal_12702751491humor!

5. If you were planning a wedding for yourself today, or vow renewal, and money was no issue, would you go for a big party and a new wedding dress? 

White or cream or a color? 

Or would you go for a big party or BBQ, and just have fun with friends and family? 

Or would you go to the beach/mountains/special place with just a few close friends and say those words all over again?

Describe!!  (There’s a picture – above right - of the incredibly elegant Grace Kelly on her wedding day…do you think Nicole Kidman’s going to pull it off in the new movie?)

If I were doing it again – the wedding or vow renewal with the darling DH – I’d do it in October and have Pumpkinsall the pumpkins and hay bales and corn stalk bundles and mums I could possibly find.  Grins.

(Cake pic from Yahoo Images, pumpkins and other pics from my collection)

This should be fun!  I can’t wait to hear what YOU would do!

And just because it’s FALL and FOOTBALL season and I’m LOVING it (and the delight of going to a wedding again!), I’m going to randomly give out some Starbucks Cards to today’s commenters!!

Ready?  GO!!


Red Carpet Roundup!

stylinHello from HOTLANTA!!!

This is your roving Romance Bandits Reporter, coming to you (somewhat) live from the awesome, major, fabulous Rita and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony!!  WOOHOOOO!!!!

There are Bandits in full force here, from the awesome Nancy Northcott to Donna MacMeans, Suz Ferrell and Susan Sey to…well a LOT of Banditas!  Many of our favorite guests are here too, and all are decked out in their finery for one of Romance Writing’s finest hours.  (This is, from L to R, Gerri Russell, a frequent Guest; board member and outstanding writer Dee Davis; “Mr. Marriott” – the hotel’s Atlanta Ambassador!; Bandita Nancy, and frequent Guest, TICD, AKA Claudia Dain!)

Nominees are nervous, former winners are more relaxed, even though they’re giving awards out, and more and more people fill the ballroom.  As with any Red Carpet Event, it’s about the Metal wedgegorgeous dresses and the fabulous shoes.  So here’s an amazing selection…I didn’t get all my subject’s names, but I asked them to come on the blog and identify themselves, or their purses and shoes!!

Much as I wanted to, I didn’t list Golden Heart finalists and winners because their books are not yet available.  :>  But some of these shoes and dresses belong to finalists!!

 RITA Finalists include: (Winner marked with asterisks!)

Contemporary Single Title:

tie dye awesomeAbout Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Barefoot in the Sand by Roxie St. Claire – one of our guests! – (pictured to the left in coral with her editor, Micki Nuding!

(1) Forever and a Day; (2) Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis

Melt into You by Roni Loren

Sugar Springs by Kim Law

**The Way Back home by Barbara Freethy

Zoe’s Muster by Barbara Hannay

Historical:Pride & P

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin

Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie – another of our frequent guests!!

Defiant by Pamela Clare

A Lady Never Surrenders by frequent guest Sabrina Jeffries

The Recruit by Monica McCarty

**A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

(Just so you know, Pride and Prejudice over there on the right, is a PURSE!!)

Jeanne SharonToo Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott

Wedded in Sin by Jade Lee

(To the left is me with the elegant Sharon Wray whom I know from Washington Romance Writers!)


**Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher

An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere

A House Full of Hope by Missy Tippens  (Missy finaled in the Golden Heart with us in 2006!)The golden lady

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

Naomi’s Christmas by Marta Perry

The Soldier’s Wife by Cheryl Reavis

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck (Gorgeous cover on this one!!)

(To the right is Laura Griffin who won the Romantic Suspense category, holding her lovely, lovely RITA!)

Long Contemporary:

Jeanne and DiannaA Cold Creek Noel by RaeAnne Thayne

From Father to Son; and Making Her Way Home by Janice Kay Johnson

**A Gift for All Seasons by Karen Templeton (now a member of the prestigious Honor Roll!)

A Life Rebuilt; and A Texas Chance by Jean Brashear

No Ordinary Joe by Michelle Celmer

Out of the Depths by Pamela Hearon

(The ever-popular-on-the-Bandit-Blog-Guest, Dianna Love, who was a presenter, looking FABULOUS, dahling!)

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements:

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Le Huber  (Also up for BEST FIRST BOOK)most awesome hat ever

Before and Ever Since by Sharla Lovelace

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris

A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci

**The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James (Also Won BEST FIRST BOOK)

Time’s Echo by Pamela Hartshorne

The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine

(Check out that AB-FAB fascinator!!  Hope this lovely lady will come on the blog and give a shout out!)


I totally want this purseAngel in Chains by Cynthia Eden

Edge of Oblivion by J.T. Geissinger

Immortally Yours by Angie Fox

(1) Lothaire; and (2) ** Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole

(With this win, Kresley is ALSO now a member of the prestigious RWA Honor Roll after tonight!!)

Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne

Moonglow by Kristen Callihan

Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione

(The totally cool purse on the left is currently Bandita Nancy’s but Cassondra and I both covet it….beware, Nancy, hatsbeware!)

Romance Novella:

Breathless by Sophie Jordan

The Duchess of Love by Sally MacKenzie

Room at the Inn by Ruthie Knox

**Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James

(Check out these AMAZING dresses and fascinators to the right!!  LOVE it!  Ladies, I hope you’ll come on the blog and say hellow and identify yourselves!!)

Sleeping with a Beauty by my good friend Leslie Kelly

The Valentine’s Curse by Jodi Thomas


Romantic Suspense:

Celebrity in Death by JD Robb (Remember, Nora Roberts Writing Institute in two weeks….Grins)

Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry

Don’t Cry for Me by the fabulous Sharon Sala

Forged in Fire by Trish McCallan

Last Man Standing by Cindy Gerard

(1) **Scorched; and (2) Twisted by Laura Griffin (See the picture above of Laura with her lovely RITA!)

Vortex by Cherry Adairhot shoe

(To the left here, check out the lovely Rita Nominee Leslie Kelly and her handsome hubby!!)

Short Contemporary Romance Series:

Becoming Dante by Day Leclaire

Cowboy in the Crossfire by Robin Perini

The Last Single Maverick by Christine Rimmer

(Those totally hot shoes are red suede at the back and a black harlequin pattern across the front strap! GORGEOUS!!)

Awesome beltA Marriage Worth Fighting For by Lillian Darcy

**A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan

Surgeon Sheik’s Rescue by my dear friend, Loreth Anne White

The Tycoon’s Secret Daughter by Susan Meier

We’ll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart

(The ever-popular Guest, Addison Fox to the left there, was gorgeous in an off the shoulder number.  Go, Addison!!)

And last but never least, Young Adult Romance!

Bound by Erica O’Rourkenot hats

**The Farm by Emily McKay

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Also up for BEST FIRST BOOK)

(To the left, check out the wonderfully funny ladies, Jill Shalvis (front) and photobomber Kristin Higgins!!)

Several up for BEST FIRST BOOK which did not final in a category:

Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan

All black or don't botherFirelight by Kristen Callihan

Forged in Fire by Trish McCallan

Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

That’s a great list of books!  (Winners are marked with a double asterisk!)

(Just so you know, The Haunting of Maddy Clare won BEST FIRST BOOK!)

So, Banditas and Buddies….Omgosh that's a purse

What’s your favorite of these Red Carpet looks this evening? 

And for you, do you go for Basic Black? 

Or are you a color-all-the-way gal?

Have you read any of the finalists’ books? 

Any great recommendations from either the finalist list or winners?

(All of the photos are mine, and taken with everyone’s permission.  This totally cool purse on the right is a champagne bottle in a champagne bucket, but it’s a PURSE!  Totally COOL!!  I wish I could have used ALL the pictures I took!!)


Release Party! LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL, or Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Londons-Last-True-ScoundrelBrown-220x361 (1)Hellooo Banditas and Buddies! I’m so pleased to announce that LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL is out and my unrepentant bad boy the Earl of Davenport is unleashed upon the public.

If you are a friend of mine on facebook, you might have noticed I’ve been posting quotes from this book periodically. You might be able to tell I had a LOT of fun writing the battle of the sexes interplay between my straitlaced, no nonsense heroine and my charming rogue. Here’s the blurb:


Physically reckless, irrepressibly roguish and poised on the brink of ruin, Jonathon Westruther, Earl of Davenport, returns from the dead only to throw himself into dissipation. Until he meets his worst nightmare: a straitlaced former schoolteacher he can’t get out of his head. He resolves to seduce the delightful Miss Hilary deVere by fair means or foul. But when his past returns to endanger Hilary, he must protect her at all costs…


Dismissed from her post at a ladies’ academy because of prejudice against her uncouth family, Hilary will do anything to avoid going back to live with her loutish brothers. She longs for a London season to show the world a deVere can behave with utmost decorum and find a respectable husband. Everything about Lord Davenport appalls her but desperation makes strange bedfellows. To get to London, Hilary strikes a bargain with the devilish Davenport, confident that she’s immune to his charm. But as she discovers surprising depths beneath his rakish surface, this infamous scoundrel becomes more temptation than even the most proper lady can withstand…

You can read excerpts here.

PantsToday there’s a serious theme to our release party. We’re talking about pants.

Some of you may know that the hero on my cover (modeled by His Hotness, Paul Marron) couldn’t quite decide what colour pants to wear. At first he tried buff. Unfortunately, my publisher thought he looked like he was IN the buff and sent the cover back to the drawing board.

pants-daniel-craig-560Then they tried pale blue. Ahem. Let’s just say The Author didn’t think the colour accurately reflected her hero’s um, personality. Although I must say, if it works for Daniel Craig…

We ended with a good compromise in dark brown.

So in honour of my hero’s pants, and the most satisfying way he manages to fill them out, I asked the Banditas (many of whom are self-confessed “pantsers”) for pants quotes from their books. I was delighted with the response:

PantsThis is from Caren Crane’s KICK START, where the heroine, Linda, and her soon-to-be younger man love interest, Jack, have shown up for the first day of class and Linda is ruminating on apparel:

Today, he wore jeans with holes in both knees and a concert t-shirt from ten years ago. He looked a bit too old for such youthful fashion bravado. Of course, today I wore jeans older than my college-age son, and a tight pink t-shirt that didn’t quite meet my waistband, so I couldn’t throw stones.

And a tssssmokin’ excerpt from Joan Kayse’s BARBARIAN’S SOUL: They are confronting each other in the house’s bath. She’s in the water and he is coming in….

Bran gave no response, only watched her, his features blank save for those green eyes which glittered with a dark emotion she could not define. Her instinct to flee from danger flared hotter. Still holding her gaze, he lifted his left hand and pulled the string at his hip. The piece of linen dropped to the floor.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena 2011; GalleryLove this fun offering from a contemporary romance our Donna MacMeans wrote as Donna Richards, IN A HEARTBEAT. Donna says, “my heroine, Angela, is walking her dog off-leash in a section of a woods that she thinks is empty. Her dog, Oreo, races again and she hears a human cry of alarm.

“What in the– Oreo!”

Angela’s foot caught in the low branch of a bush, propelling her forward, head first into a blur of flannel.

She landed face down in a strange man’s crotch.

“Don’t move!” A strained voice, forced and breathless, warned. Taut denim brushed the humiliating heat of her cheeks. She breathed the deep, musky scent of the man’s most intimate parts. Oreo would be proud, she thought with a shudder.

Antonia is certainly a take charge woman in this tidbit from Anna Campbell’s MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION: “Take off your trousers,” Antonia said in a voice harsh with control. She expected Ranelaw to object to her commands. But he immediately rose from the bed, tugging off his shoes with more haste than grace before shedding his trousers.

From Anna Sugden: “Here’s an excerpt from A PERFECT DISTRACTION. (Christina: Can’t wait for this book!) This is the first time our heroine, Maggie, sees Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti .

pants henry_cavillSquare-jawed and rugged, with piercing, ice-blue eyes and a crooked grin. He was clearly a warrior of the ice, but his broken nose and scars somehow added to his appeal and made him more intriguing. Unlike the hulking bodies of the thick-necks, Jake had the firm, solid lines of an athlete in peak condition. Lean, corded muscle shaped the snug-fitting black shirt and faded jeans. Exciting and enticing, he brimmed with charm and hints of danger.

From Nancy Northcott’s fabulous RENEGADE:

Suddenly conscious that she wore only bandages and his shirt, Val crouched beside Dare. His glance skimmed her bare legs, and the heat in it made her breath hitch.

He grinned despite the shivers he was probably trying to hide. “I like the new take on combat gear.”

“Your pants would’ve made the wrong fashion statement. Besides, I was in a hurry.”

Don’t forget to go out right now and buy Nancy’s new book, GUARDIAN!


He really ought to take his wet shirt off, she thought, then blushed as the desire rose in her to see those wondrously muscled shoulders again. This time, not covered in plaster dust. This time, slathered in golden licks of firelight.

His evening trousers were mostly dry. Of course, thinking of his trousers led to thinking of his buttocks, and the tester bed upstairs, and all that pink–

BanditBootyWhat about you? What sort of pants do you like best on a hero? Do you have a favourite part of a book or movie that involves pants or a wardrobe malfunction? (I’m thinking granny pants in Bridget Jones’ Diary) Who do you think fills out a pair of pants nicely? I’m giving away a signed copy of LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL to one lucky reader today!

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