Posts tagged with: Nancy Northcott

It’s A Fine Day for Capitol Danger!

Hello everyone! First of all, thank you for being here! The Romance Bandits blog got hacked and we’ve had no way to let you know and no way to answer comments or post blogs.(Jeanne actually wrote this post but couldn’t get in to put it up, so Nancy did that for her.)You may get lighter responses today because of that, but nevertheless, please know that we’re here and reading!

CapitolDangerfinalrevisedAs you may have seen from the newsletter, Banditas Nancy Northcott, Suz Ferrell and our fabulous frequent guess, J.D. Tyler got together for a very cool anthology!

The world is changing and new things are happening – the idea of a woman president is on our doorstep, right? So we thought that we’d cook up some danger for that historic figure before she even is a twinkle in the eye of the voters. Grins.

 

Ground floo floor plan Capitol Danger

We started with “What if…” my two favorite words. What if a woman was elected president and a whooooole group of people didn’t like it? We all have met those Neanderthals who think women should stay “in their place,” right? So, what if those people were organized?

They would be the Red Mantle. A home grown terrorist organization who doesn’t want women in power. Oh, boy….(so to speak!)

So what if they wanted to cause the most havoc, the most disruption possible? What would be more havoc-inducing than to take over an inaugural ball?

Voila! Capitol Danger!

I wrote the prologue, introducing both the plot and the plotters, the Red Mantle. Suz wrote the opening of the ball and the first signs of trouble. Then it switched back to me for the next phase, then to Nancy, then to J.D. who also wrote the wrap-up. So here’s the blurb:

Capitol Danger

A romantic suspense anthology like no other! Four stories, one event and four dangerous missions on the same night.

It’s Inauguration Night. Glamorous balls throughout the nation’s capital celebrate a landmark event. The town and nation are in the mood to celebrate. But not everyone is so pleased.

A home-grown sect known as the Red Mantle plan to make it an event to remember for their reasons. As their assault succeeds it will be up to those attending the ball to step up and face the fanatics, or die trying.

UNMASKED: An Edgars Family Novella by Suzanne Ferrell

Abigail Whitson and Luke Edgars are working an undercover operation during the inaugural ball in an attempt to discover who has stolen land to air missiles before they can be sold to a broker—their target for the night. When the playboy arms dealer arrives at the ball, his bodyguard turns out to be someone from Luke’s past.

That isn’t the only surprise of the night. When the ball is invaded by terrorists, Abby and Luke find themselves trying to extract the arms dealer from the fray to protect their mission, while they also risk their lives to protect innocents from the carnage.

DEATH UNDER GLASS: a Deadly Charms Novella by Jeanne Adams

Edward Millner and his girlfriend Retta Geminous, are celebrating a glittering inaugural. When Red Mantle terrorists take the ballroom, both bullets and glass start flying. Edward and Retta help the agents still standing retake the ballroom, but casualties are high. Can Edward face his demons and use his former Special Forces medical skills to save the night? Can Retta and Edward overcome their troubled hearts in the face of certain death?

DANGER’S EDGE: An Arachnid Files Novella by Nancy Northcott

When terrorists disrupt the inaugural ball, new Arachnid Agency operative Kelsey Mitchell tables her planned undercover operation and works to bring help into the hotel. Her only ally is Greg Reed, an FBI agent on medical leave after being shot during a robbery. Kelsey dreads making a novice mistake, and Greg is afraid he’s lost his edge.

Attraction flares between them though Kelsey knows the Feds disapprove of people who work for her freewheeling agency. Together, she and Greg must fight their demons and the terrorists to gather intel for the FBI and create a safe landing zone for a rescue force. Can they succeed against overwhelming odds, or will the battle cost one or both their lives—or their hearts?

LETHAL TARGET: An Armed & Deadly Novella by J.D. Tyler

FBI Special Agent Dalton McCoy is playing a deadly game, working undercover for Methan, leader of the extremist terrorist group, the Red Mantle. He’ll stop at nothing to keep Methan and his men from achieving their goal of bringing down key members of the government. When Dalton’s plans come to an unexpected head at the glittering inaugural ball, he doesn’t count on tenacious reporter Jolie Montfort placing herself in Methan’s line of fire as well. Now the agent must take out the terrorist leader and get them both to safety before it’s too late…

It was a blast! (And fun too, because we blew a lot of things up!)

Nemesis_finalWriting together like this was an amazing new adventure as well. Each of us used characters from our own works, although this is the first readers and fans will have seen of Nancy’s spies. You are SO going to love all the characters from the Arachnid Files, folks. Such fabulously sneaky people!

Meanwhile, she’s about to bring out the next mage book.

kidnapped-revamped-finalSuz’s Edgars are all family, by now, for most of us who read Romantic Suspense. I’m sure many of you Bandita Buddies will have read those Edgars men and their trials and tribulations.

DeadRunfinalMy characters are from forthcoming books. If you read Dead Run (or its original incarnation, Dark and Dangerous), one of the secondary characters of this story, Burke Chapman, is the hero of the forthcoming Dead Reckoning. That is part of the Faithful Defenders series. (Dead Wrong, the third book, will be out in late fall) And Edward, Retta and many of the other characters will reappear in my “yes, it’s finally coming out” Deadly Charms series, again, later this fall.

9780451466921_p0_v3_s118x184J.D.’s characters are from her fabulous new Armed and Deadly series. The first book of that series, One Last Kiss, will be out soon. If you’ve not read J.D.’s Alpha Pack series, you’re missing something hot, dark and gripping, so check that out if you haven’t already. Her latest Alpha Pack novel, Chase the Darkness is just now out!

So that’s the dangerous news from the Bandit Lair! So good to see all of you! Sven and the boys have been enjoying their much-needed and various vacations, but they’re back to serve your every whim! Champagne, morning, afternoon and evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Have some icicle and snowflake cookies, some capitol shaped cookies (watch out for the ones shaped like the Washington Monument…). There’s food and drink a-plenty, so let’s have some LAUNCH IN THE LAIR fun!!

Have you ever been to an inaugural or swearing in for a politician?

What about a big Gala? Don’t you just love black-tie-events?

If you COULD go, either for the first time, or again, would you want to?

Tell us what you’d wear and what hero or Hollywood star you’d take as your hunky date for the night!

It’s AUGUST! Coming Attractions….

Hey everyone!  How’s your summer going?? How can it possibly be AUGUST already???

I hope you’ll join me and Banditas Suz and Nancy as we have a LAUNCH in the LAIR on August 8!  We’ll be joined by the always awesome J.D. Tyler because the four of us collaborated on a really cool anthology.

In the meantime, the book is up on all the platforms, so if you’re interested, take a look!  We’ll see you on the 8th!

CapitolDangerfinalrevised

June Coming Attractions

Can you believe June is here?  This year is flying by!!!  Maybe some of these new releases can accompany you to the beach this summer.  Can’t think of better company.

On June 8th, Bandita Jeanne will be doing a COVER REVEAL for her next book, DEAD RECKONING!  Woot!

Donna will be blogging on June 15th as she’ll be traveling on her regular day.

Not to worry as Jeanne will be talking on June 23 about CON CAROLINAs, a fabulous sci-fi Fantasy Con in North Carolina.  Banditas Jeanne and Nancy were both speaker-guests and had a great time at the Con!

Don’t forget CAPITAL DANGER should be launching late in the month.  Not sure when but check back for theCapitol Danger final revised party.

GreekDocCoverOn June 29th, Robin Gianna will be back in the lair.  This time she’ll be promoting her latest release, Her Greek Doctor’s Proposal, as well as sharing some of her recent adventures on a research (and family) trip to Greece.  Should be fun!

Cover Reveal

Hey everyone! Thought I’d pop in and share some news with y’all. But first, I have to ask you a question.

Do you know what happens when authors get together? Quite often the conversation turns to books and stories. Sometimes that leads to the “what if?” game. You’ve heard us address that in the Lair a few times over the years. What if…hero meets heroine, but she’s the one woman in the world he can’t have? What if…vampires met wolf shifters and they had to join forces to defeat evil succubi? What if…bad boy turned millionaire returns to his hometown and the girl he’s left behind only to find out he left three sons too?

Yep, that’s how some of those stories come out, usually accompanied by some wine. :)

Well, a while back Jeanne Adams and I got together and were talking about doing a Romantic Suspense anthology. We both like to write fast-paced, action romances. Somehow the conversation took a left turn and we got on the subject of the movie Viewpoint. If you haven’t seen it, there’s an icident in another country, and you get to see the same incident before, during and after from various characters’ viewpoints.

Of course this led to a spark of an idea. What if…all the stories in the RS anthology took place at the same time at the same event…with the same bad guys involved? Jeanne suggested an inaugural ball? The juices started turning. Then we approached two other authors we thought would get excited about this project. Next thing we knew, Bandita Nancy Northcott and National Best Selling author J.D. Tyler were on board.

While I’m not going to give  y’all intimate details…the book is in the editing phase and will be available late June, so look for a release party in the Lair…I can tell you one thing. The whole book, while written in four parts by four authors, is meant to be read from beginning to ending as one long book. :)

Yeah, I’m a tease like that.

So, for another tease, want to see the cover?

Capitol Danger final revised

Continuing Love

Have you noticed how the definition of romance has broadened in the past couple of years?  Suspense has made room for grittier stories.  Paranormal/fantasy has become more hospitable to serious otherworldly powers, extended plots, and sometimes even other worlds.

Contemporary has accepted some light paranormal elements, and historical has veered away (sometimes to my sorrow) from incorporating so much history all the time.  Books are sometimes even written in first person point of view.

One of the biggest changes, though, is appearance in the Romance section of couples whose romantic arcs continue through several books.  I hear this is most common in New Adult and Erotic Romance, but I haven’t read enough of either to know for sure.

Unknown-1One of the biggest names writing a continuing couple, albeit in books labeled Suspense, is J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts.  I would bet that the continuing romance of Eve and Roarke has been one of the biggest attractions for female readers of that series.

With Thankless in Death, one of my personal favorites, some of the longtime conflicts have been resolved.  They’ve settled the question of his involvement in her cases and come to sort of agreement about how far to bend the rules in pursuit of justice.  Yet the continuing risks inherent in her job cause tension in the relationship.

Unknown-2I recently discovered Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunters series.  This series launched after her Psy/Changeling books were well established, so maybe she had the leeway to experiment some.  The first book in the Guild Hunters, Angels’ Blood, introduces Guild vampire hunter Elena Devereaux and the Archangel Raphael, ruler of New York.  The next two books center on their relationship and the external conflicts they face.

Some of you may remember that I used to be allergic to vampires as heroes.  One of the books that got me past that was Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost.  This was the first book in her Night Prince series.  There are three books out so far, and they all center on the evolving relationship between Vlad and Leila.

Unknown-4The Night Prince books led me to Frost’s Night Huntress series, which appeared first.  The seven books in this series, which debuted in 2007 with Halfway to the Grave, all center on half-vampire Cat Crawfield and Master Vampire Crispin “Bones” Russell.  Continuing couples were less common seven or eight years ago, but this series rolled along strongly until Frost wrapped it last year.

Unknown-3Thea Harrison has also revisited her original couple, Pia and Dragos from Dragon Bound (Book 1 of The Elder Races), in Lord’s Fall (Book 5), which centers on them.

If you look at this listing, it’s hard not to notice that most of these books are paranormal.  They include, sometimes strongly, urban fantasy elements and so maybe appeal to crossover readers of both PNR and UF.  The non-paranormal series in this bunch, the In Death books, is not marketed as romance.

Many authors have taken to giving readers a peek at prior couples in their series’.  These scenes usually don’t involve a continuing arc for the couple, only a look at their lives.  As  reader, I always enjoy them, but they’re not the kind of continuation I’m thinking about here.

In mystery, especially in cozies, continuing couples abound (Our own Kate Carlisle is setting up a great romantic conflict arc in her Fixer-Upper mysteries), though settled couples often don’t have ongoing romantic conflict or a continued romantic arc.  But romance still centers on one couple per book more often than not.

What about your reading?  Do you like series that continue one couple’s arc over several books, or do you prefer a new lead couple in every book? Have you enjoyed any series with the same couple’s arc continuing over several books?

The New Face of Jeanne Adams

TheTentacleAffaireFINALHi, everybody!  If you’re a regular here, you may figure you know Bandita Jeanne.  Maybe you see her as a tall blonde who writes hot, dynamic romantic suspense?  If that’s your image, it’s right…as far as it goes.  Because there’s another side to this boom girl bandit, a side that loves science fiction and fantasy.  She has masterfully blended the two with her usual brand of hot romance in her new release, The Tentacle Affaire:  A Slip Traveler Novel, which is the first in a fabulous new series.  So we thought we’d do a post that shows you more of this new aspect of hers.

Sven has fabulous canapés on the table under the window, and Lars is tending bar.  Help yourselves and settle in for our chat.

Yo, Duchesse!  How’s it feel over there on the other side of the interview?  Also, what are you drinking?

Ha!  It feels pretty good!  And hey, there are canapes, so what’s not to love?  I’m drinking a Starbucks Venti Extra Whip Mocha.  Why?  Because I finished this book and, because I can.  Snork!  Sven and Lars have already offered to spike it for me.  I may even take them up on that as the day goes on!

How long have you been a fan of science fiction and fantasy, and what about them influences your Slip Traveler series?

Ohmygosh, I’ve been a fan of sci-fi fantasy forever.  It’s the genre I’ve written the most of, believe it or not.  I sold to New York in suspense, but I had more than 9 paranormals written when I sold that suspense.  Ha!  It goes that way sometimes.

I think my first story-love of the paranormal started  with fairy tales and things of that nature.  Beauty and the Beast was a perennial favorite.  I then moved to Madeline L’Engle, TH White, and then some of the Darkover novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I think I got into Andre Norton pretty early as well.

Those long-ago books influenced The Tentacle Affaire in too many ways to count.  From Tolkien’s magic, and the magic of Andre Norton’s Witch World, to the tech of Elizabeth Moon and Sterling Lanier, they all had an influence.

Please tell us about Cait and Aiden.Witch_world

Oh, my…well, Cait is a former Marine.  She’s smart, funny, and capable.  Aiden is one of the most powerful witches of his generation, if not THE most powerful.  (And yes, a witch is a witch, regardless of gender.)  In my magical world, the top-level magic users are called Adepts.  Someone like Aiden, who’s had lots of training and experience and is part of the magical “policing force” is an Adept Enforcer.

You know, I should probably put the blurb in here because it gives you Cait and Aiden in a nutshell…

She doesn’t believe in magic.
When human Slip Traveler Cait Brennan’s routine mission to retrieve a lost interstellar pet goes FUBAR, she ends up hip-deep in a plot to kill five US Senators that puts Earth’s entire population at risk. If she can’t uncover who’s behind the conspiracy and keep her alien employers a secret, she’ll be terminated—permanently.

 He doesn’t believe in aliens.

Haunted by a devastating failure in another city, magical Adept Enforcer Aiden Bayliss is relentless in protecting the DC area from dark entities. He’ll destroy the powerful force that’s taking out key politicians, whoever—or whatever—it is. And, in spite of the white-hot attraction sizzling between them, his main suspect is one curvy mystery named Cait.

With everything Aiden believes in question, and Cait squared off against a deadly assassin, both must choose.   Uphold their oaths and lose each other forever, or stand together and die.

What problems do they face, both in this book and in the books ahead?

In this first book, the face they problem of each other first, and then stuff just piles on…dead senators, alien assassins, the FBI and the press poking their noses into everything…well, you get the idea.  But first and foremost, how the heck do they trust one another when she doesn’t believe in magic and he doesn’t believe in aliens?

Would you like to share an excerpt?

Sure!  How about this….this is a point where Aiden reveals he uses magic. A senator has been killed in the building where Cait and Aiden live. The Kith are the aliens for whom Cait works…..

Detective Herman began to question the security guard, and Aiden caught Cait’s eye. With a jerk of his head, he motioned toward the kitchen. She gave a barely perceptible nod.

Cait’s gut trembled with suppressed anger and consternation.  Hellfire and damnation, how was she going to explain this to headquarters? She had to contact them immediately.

With a senator involved, every person on-scene, hell, probably everyone in the building, would have their background checked. And a senator dead, nailed to the wall in a fairly spectacular display of strength, meant the situation was FUBAR.

She’d already told the Kith to put in more background data, but if the Feds managed a warrant to search her place, there were a considerable number of unexplainable, highly advanced electronic devices in her living room and office.

Oh, and don’t forget the alien weapons, poisons and other oddments tucked into your underwear drawer.

All this ran through her mind as the detective shot a few more questions at Aiden. She watched Aiden keenly and knew she wasn’t mistaken.

He was the source of that blue flare she’d seen the first night. That hot electricity was at odds with the hail-fellow-well-met face he showed the world. She’d already seen traces of that “other” Aiden–the dangerously clever, questioning one–-when they met, and at the canal.  There was a sharp mind there, one that put things together. He’d watched her then, on the canal, like he was watching now. Assessing. And if she were guessing, she’d say he was not particularly liking the conclusions he’d drawn.

And none of her reaction had anything to do with the decided physical attraction she had to him either.

Liar.

Cait squashed the vivid dream pictures that threatened to pop into her mind.  Power flowed in him, somehow. She’d wondered if he was psi. No question about that now, after that electric-chair jolt. The Kith Seers told her it could be that way when two psi-gifteds met, touched. Their explanation paled in comparison to reality. But what was up with the blue aura stuff?  The Seers hadn’t mentioned anything like that.

Aiden motioned to the kitchen again and she nodded. The earlier flirting was gone. His gaze was laden with suspicion and steel.

Back atcha, buster.   Tilting her glass, she rustled the ice.

“Detective, Mr. Bayliss, is it all right if I get more water?”

“Of course. Let me show you where it is,” Aiden offered, rising.

“Come right back,” Herman said, focused again on the security guard.

Aiden followed her into the kitchen, and Cait turned immediately to face him.

“Let’s make this quick.” He sketched a symbol in the air, and it flared to life, hanging like a neon sign, just about head-level.

“Holy shit!” It was all she could manage.  No creature she’d met yet could do something like that without tools or devices.  “What is that?” She reached out to touch the sigil. On contact, the image flared to incandescence, and exploded with a soundless pop she felt in her inner ears. Her whole system whirled, like the bottom of the elevator had dropped out. “Double-effing hell!”   She hung onto the edge of the counter for dear life. She checked her hand for burns but the skin was smooth and unmarred.  “What the hell?” she demanded.

Aiden stared at her as if she were the monster.  “What are you?” he hissed, straightening to his full height. No geeky-suave smile. No calm demeanor. The man who stood before her was intense and focused. Power hung around him like a cloak, a palpable thing. The look in his dark eyes was agate hard. In this guise, to every inner sense, he was a predator. This was the warrior with the sword she had seen with her inner eye.

Was this the danger she’d sensed, but her equipment couldn’t scan? He leaned forward in menace, and she decided she had to bluff. She’d have a meltdown later.

“Pretty spectacular trick.”

“Trick?” he growled.

Her mind scrambled for options, explanations, and opportunities to figure out what the hell to do. Obviously he had some stupendously secret things he wanted to stay secret. She could use that.

“Unexplained phenomenon,” she tempered her comment. “Look. You have secrets. So do I. I didn’t kill those people. I have an assignment to accomplish which is totally incompatible with a murder investigation. I need to–have to–-make a call, or my mission is going to fail in a monumentally spectacular fashion.”  She took a breath, prayed the distraction was working and that he wasn’t going to hit her with some random light beam.  “My mission failure will blow back on you, and obviously, you don’t need that either.”

“A mission? From whom? Do you work for the Council?” He didn’t let her answer before he grabbed her arm. “Are you an adept?”

“What’s an adept?” She waved that aside, but she looked down at his hand on her arm. “Let go of me!” she hissed and yanked her arm away. “Never mind. Whatever an adept is, I’m not one.”

Is there anything you ‘d like to add about the series world?

It’s a great world to play in.  Grins.  Its very like our world, obviously, with that magical element thrown in.  An editor who read this story once said it was about a “Sexy Gandalf meets a female Men in Black Agent J.”  That might give you a little insight…Grins.

How many books do you currently have planned?DeadlyDeliveryfinal

I currently have 4 books planned for Aiden and Cait.  After that, the series will either end or…maybe another Slip Traveler will take Cait’s place.  I haven’t decided.

What’s next for you?

Oh!  I have a short suspense novella called DEADLY DELIVERY, and that’s coming out in October.  Right behind that is another novella in November that’s in an anthology with two other fabulous authors, frequent guest Barbara Devlin, and contemporary author Leah Grant.  The Anthology is called A JEWEL IN TIME and It follows an heirloom necklace as it is handed down to three different women in three different time periods.  It’s lightly paranormal and it too branches into a new place for me.  My novella, the middle bit of the Anthology, is set in WWII and is called BEHIND ENEMY LINES.

I don’t have a cover yet for the November novella, but I’ll be sure to share it when I do!

And so you have it…the new adventures of Bandita Jeanne!

So Banditas, do you know an author who’s started in one genre or sub genre and moved to another?

What do you think about it? Do you follow a favorite author to a new genre and give the new genre a try?

What’s your favorite genre or do your read just about everything?

Have you ever had a close encounter, seen a UFO, or a ghost?

Jeanne will be giving away two copies of THE TENTACLE AFFAIRE as well as two gift pack of cool alien goodies to go along with it!

September Fun in the Lair!

I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t believe it’s September already. Before you know it, shops will be stocking up for Christmas! At least those of you in North America have Halloween and Thanksgiving to keep those retailers occupied. Here in England, we’ve seen tinsel and twinkling lights as early as the beginning of October. *shakes head*

 

A SEAL's Fantasy coverAnyway, the weather may be cooling in the northern hemisphere, as summer fades into fall, but here in the Lair, the fun is heating up – rather like the weather for our friends Down Under! As usual, we have a month packed with great Bandita books and lots of fabulous guests. I can hear my TBR mountain groaning already!

Duke very low resTawny Weber’s latest Sexy SEAL hits the shelves this month with A SEAL’s Fantasy.  The title really says it all.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00004]Also, don’t forget Caren Crane’s Tiara Wars (launch party coming on September 21!) and Anna Campbell’s What a Duke Dares.

 

DamasoWe kick off the month in style tomorrow, with the return of a Lair favourite,  as the lovely Annie West stops by to talk about her latest book, Damaso Claims his Heir. Damaso garnered a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews and it’s a doozy of a read so check it out.

DangerousWorks_850HIGH1

Donna will be interviewing Caroline Warfield about her debut historical novel, Dangeorous Works, on Sept 4.

TSWL

On September 5th, debut author Patience Griffin makes her first visit to the Bandit Lair with her book To Scotland With Love, the first in her Quilts & Kilts series.

 

More fun on Sept 7th, when Nancy and Trish report on this year’s Dragon*Con adventures.

 

Duke low res*Launch party alert* On 10th September, the fabulous Anna Campbell  is holding one of the lair’s infamous launch parties to send her What a Duke Dares, book 3 in her Sons of Sin series, into the world with a bang. Swing by for a glass of ducal champagne and giveaways!

BarbaraLohr_HerFavoriteHoneymoon800 (2)

 

On Sept 12th, Barbara Lohr joins Donna to talk about her new release, Her Favorite Honeymoon. Barbara will be comparing a warmly familiar setting such as a small town series to a pulse-speeding read in faraway places or times, and asking which you prefer.

 

Vexing_The_Viscount_(eBook)A familiar and beloved face returns to the Lair on Sept 16th, as Christie Kelley joins Nancy to talk about her latest releases, Vexing the Viscount.

 

On Sept 17 Trish hosts Pam Mantovani to discuss The Cowboy on her Doorstep, her debut novel. 

 

CowboyInTheMakingFrontCover-2-2

 

More cowboys on September 18th, when Julie Benson returns to chat with Suz about her latest Harlequin American book, A Cowboy In The Making!

 

 

Don’t forget to check out this month’s Bandita contests!

Anna Campbell’s RT Book Reviews Top Pick, What a Duke Dares, is out in the UK at the end of October so she’s celebrating this momentous occasion by having a cup of tea and giving two entrants in her current website contest a chance to win a signed print edition of the beautiful Mills and Boon edition of the book. To enter just email her on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) with the names of the other full-length novels in the Sons of Sin series. There are two of them and you might find the answer here. The contest closes 31st October, 2014, and entry is open internationally.

Tawny’s giving away a free digital compilation of Hot Kisses to anyone joining her newsletter this month. To join and get your copy, just click here.

Do you have anything special that you’re looking forward to this September?

By the way, don’t forget you can buy most of these books quickly and easily by clicking on the covers!

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: http://barbaravey.com/readerluncheon/  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 http://nrwi.org/ )

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 www.ttpbooks.com  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

&

Sandyg265

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

Flchen1

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!

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