Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Hot Seller!

I got a lovely email from a reader named Annabelle today. She wanted to tell me that when she purchased the last copy of THE LAWMAN'S BRIDE at the B.Dalton at the Mall of Louisana, the bookseller told her the copies had "sold like hotcakes!"

Whoo hoo! What a delight to get a post like that. Annabelle made my day. Possibly my week.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Music & Lyrics

Is there some reason why google can't remember me for longer than an hour? Does anyone else have problems signng in each time?

Anyhoo - Kristin and I left the guys at home and went to a chick flick this wonderful snowy afternoon. The theater was empty - my favorite time to go - and we shared a giant popcorn.

I adored Music and Lyrics. Hugh Grant is an 80s pop star has-been, and the beginning song and credits set the tone for the whole movie. I was laughing right off the bat. I don't think the writers could have done a better job. I love to hear Hugh Grant talk, and he delivers snappy quips magically and believably. Drew Barrymore is adorable as always, playing a quirky writer who hasn't been writing until she meets the songwriter who needs lyrics.

I will buy this as soon as it comes out on video, because it will be one of my favorites. Add this to my list of favorite romantic movies.

Snowy Sunday

No church today. Nebraskans are shoveling. Jay helped a young couple move into their first home yesterday -- just in time.

Who's that boy in the layers of coats and hats? I dressed him warm!

Kristin got a new computer yesterday. She's a My Space addict, so no more kicking her away from my desk. Whoo hoo! She figured out how to rout the modem so we both have digital high speed. Smart girly. The good news for me: She has a cordless mouse and keyboard she likes, so I got her spankin' new keyboard! I love new keyboards. Have I mentioned I wear them out? I'm not on my 3rd for this PC and it's not that old. I wear off the letters and sometimes even make indentations on the keys.

Nobody can say I'm not pounding those keys! LOL

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Go here right now!

Grease Babies!

Don't pause, don't pass GO, don't collect dust, just go here for the best laugh I've had all week! I LOVE this! Grease is one of my favorite movies of all time and I've watched it a couple times in the past month.

Review at The Romance Reader

Thank you to Maureen for point me to this:

The Romance Reader

The Lawman’s Bride
by Cheryl St. John
(Harl. Hist. #835, $5.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-29435-2

Sophie Hollis has only ever wanted her freedom and her independence. As a child, she saw her father and brothers killed when Sioux attacked their wagon heading west. She and her mother were taken captive, with her mother eventually dying in an epidemic. The chief, who doted on her, raised Sophie, but once he died the Sioux sold her to a white man, Tek Garrett. She was about 12 years old.
Garrett is a con man and teaches Sophie everything he knows. Together they cross the country swindling greedy men out of their money. Abused by Garrett, and yearning for an honest life, Sophie sees her opportunity and takes off. She lands in Newton, Kansas where she lies through her teeth and takes employment as a Harvey Girl. She’s making good money, making friends and for the first time is truly happy. However it all gets complicated when the Marshal, Clay Connor, takes a shine to her and her past comes calling.

Fearful that she might still be found out, she dodges Clay for a while. In fact, she dodges all men – having known only the worst that the gender has to offer. But circumstances and persistence on his part begin to wear her down. Plus, Clay is a genuinely nice man. Honest, hard working, the kind of man that Sophie has never known on a personal level. He intrigues her, and she him – for Sophie seems so different from the other girls at the Harvey House.

The plot in St. John’s latest western is fairly straightforward – girl running from a past that finally catches up to her once she finds herself falling in love with the hero. The question remains on how Clay will handle her deceptions. They are deceptions born out of necessity, out of shame and fear – but nonetheless this is a girl who has been lying to everyone and has spent her entire teenage and adult life breaking the law. Sure, she was under the thumb of the villain, but Clay is nothing but an honest and good lawman.

Sophie really carries this story. Without her, it doesn’t work. While the author gives her a violent and tragic past, Sophie is not a victim. She is not a beautiful martyr, cowering in a corner waiting for a man to rescue her. She is running away, but she’s using her wits to survive. This is a woman hungry to control her own destiny – away from Garrett, and away from anyone who threatens that dream. She has seen the worst, and knows that if she wants that dream she has to rely on herself.

Clay begins to crack her resolve however. So different and sweet from anyone she has ever known. He treats her with respect; a good man when she thought none existed. But by then she has lies to keep up, and when her past shows up in Newton, she finds herself backed into a corner once again. This time though, she’s not giving up her freedom without a fight.

St. John continues to write sweet, wonderful and emotional western romances in a time when publishing keeps telling readers that the sub genre is played out and dead. Fans know differently, and as long as talented authors continue to mine a western landscape filled with second chances and redemption, it gives readers hope that a sub genre that so exemplifies everything that’s good about romance novels will never truly die. St. John is one of the few entertaining and consistent western authors who hasn’t thrown in the towel, and for that romance readers everywhere should give thanks.

--Wendy Crutcher

Busy McWriting

Most of our snow melted over the past few days, and today the sun will probably -- hopefully -- finish it off. We're having spring temperatures!

I've been writing up a storm this week, which is a good thing, you must agree.

American Idol is now in full swing with the tryouts over and the viewers voting. Bones is on hold until late in March. FYI you can watch all the past season's episodes on the Fox website. :-( but tonight is part 2 of McGray's Anatomy and we get to see Meredith revived and apparently someone else die.

Teaser: I'm using your pet names in another story.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Check it out! I have two new books out in Argentina!

Great Endorsement

Friend, Sally Walker posted this to the Romance Readers Connection and was kind enough to send it to me as well. She picked up the book at last Saturday's signing.

"Right after finishing Garwood's KILLJOY, I dived into THE LAWMAN'S BRIDE by Cheryl St. John, a Harlequin Historical. Books under 300 pages have to work hard to impress me, especially period pieces. Well, Cheryl took me by storm. The intrigue and character depth were gut-wrenching and very credible. I have read other "short books" where the author repeated the "angst points" as the characters thought about their dilemmas. This author did NOT rehash what was previously explained, but touched on aspects of the dilemma as the character tried to figure out how to cope . . . just like normal humans do. She did not "beat a dead horse." AND the fact that the heroine was flawed and fighting to overcome that as well as the doubts triggered in the lawman hero were also credible. The love that grew between the couple was intensified by the events, not a "little side trip" of the events or gratuitous. Of course, Cheryl has a LONG list of credits and I have read several, but this is her finest, ladies. You gotta buy it!"

Sally J. Walker
Editorial Director, The Fiction Works,
Script Supervisor, Misty Mountain Productions,
My Webpage:

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Today was a whirlwind, but a good one. The local booksigning with eighteen authors was a success. I saw lots of familiar faces and was pleasantly surprised by some I hadn't seen in a long time.

It was Sue's birthday and I have a picture, but I promised her I wouldn't post it without her permission.

Lucky Lou had her cruise pictures in glorious living color and it was obvious that she and the dh had a wonderful time. He looks like a fun guy!

Brenda stopped by and it was great to see her. Brenda's typing up her present employment and nearly ready to job hunt. Good luck!

These are two wild and crazy friends I used to work with, Paula and Courtney. It was great to see them and catch up. They hadn't changed a bit. Hope they come blog with us from time to time.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

McDreamy to the Rescue!

All the hype about Gray's Anatomy was on the mark -- and someone did die! Meredith Gray! Of course she is having a life-after-death experience and can't stay dead. After she chats with the dead bomb squad guy and Dead Denny, they'll revive her. It is GRAY'S Anatomy after all. A little hokey imho, but what the hey, they're looking for ratings. But it's wonderful watching McDreamy in emotional torture. At first I hated Addison, but now I love her. Izzy shouldn't have said what she did to George, I hope she's forced to take it back when Kallie makes him deliriously happy.

Not At All Mad Scientist

Teacher's conferences Thurs and Fri so no school. The Boy got himself dressed this morning and remembered a stack of my husband's cast off ties. He tied it himself and it looks better than I could have done! He came into my office and said, "I look like a scientist, don't I?" He loves to wear ties and often puts on a tie with a pullover shirt. LOL Kids are a riot, aren't they? My daughter LeighAnn had a favorite long dress that she wore with a Burger King crown all the time and wanted to wear it when we went places. Eventually she graduated to a lime green tunic top and matching pants with yellow smiley faces all over it that my neighbor gave her from her garage sale. I had to fight it from her little body to get it in the washer. Will have to see if I have a picture of that ensemble.

He took this one of us.

Not a joke

From my inside source at Nash Finch:


P.O. BOX 57078
IRVINE, CA 92619-7087


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

From my friend Bernadette

I think it's clear why men are intimidated by us.

Ice Cream Dessert

I almost forgot your prezzie!

In a 9x13 pan layer half of a 24 count box of ice cream sandwiches.
Spread 1/3 a container of Cool Whip over the top.
Over that pour half a melted jar of chocolate sauce.
Sprinkle on peanuts or sliced strawberries if desired.
Repeat first three layers.
End with last 1/3 of Cool Whip.
Melt 3/4 cup peanut butter to drizzle over the top.
Freeze until firm and cut to serve.

Take this to pot luck or serve to guests and they think you slaved over a decadent dessert!

now looking for places to visit on the web

Remember a while back when I was incommunicado because my PC was in the shop? Back then the diagnosis was that I needed to reformat my hard drive, but I wanted to wait until my book was finished and mailed off. I procrastinated.

But now that I'm brainstorming new stories I couldn't put off the deed any longer and I bit the bullet. I stayed up until 3 AM Monday morning after storing all my files on jump drives and deleting programs and reformatting. I got some of the stuff reloaded, but it was a nightmare.

I spent all day Monday working on reloading the software and getting the peripherals running: scanner, printers, floppy drive, speakers. My head was ready to explode. But it's amazing and kind of weird how some of that stuff loads itself. By late afternoon I had all restored except sound, one printer and AOL. Kristin took pity on me and figured out the printer first. The software CD had three models on it and kept loading the wrong one then giving me error messages. She figured that out. Then, and this was a big DUH moment: I had the speakers plugged into the wrong jack. LOL Kind of ironic that I reformatted the hard drive and figured out everything else, but I couldn't plug one jack in right. Oh well. I was tired and my head was exploding--that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Then after about 45 minutes on the phone with two Internet providers (I use the Internet through a high speed connection, but I use AOL for email) and having no success in recognizing my modem, Kristin put her head with mine and we figured out that one, too. Sometimes it's beneficial just to have another person sit in the chair so you can look over their shoulder with a different perspective.

In the end: I got rid of the fatal error that wouldn't let me plug in the scanner, and I'm sure I freed space, and with only one loss: my favorite places/bookmarks. I lost all the places I visit on the web, research, blogs, writer and reader sites. Bummer. :-(

I'd love it if you sent me your top ten favorite sites on the web. Maybe they're some of mine, too, or maybe I'll find new ones.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fred Harvey Changed the West

See a sample menu of what Sophie (The Lawman's Bride) served to her customers in my post at the Harlequin Historical Authors blog.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Some of you may already be familiar with Liz Fielding's books, but if not, I'm excited to introduce you. Liz's February release is perfect for our month of love and chocolate. Welcome, Liz!


Hi! I’m absolutely thrilled to be invited by Cher to make a guest appearance on her blog during February and talk about writing THE VALENTINE BRIDE.

This is the final book in a series set around the family who founded and run the fabulous BELLA LUCIA restaurants. As in all series, each book stands on its own. They have been set in the US, Europe and Australia and now the moment has come for both Max and Louise, who have a rather stormy history, to confront the past, look to the future – the future of Bella Lucia and their future together.

It won’t be easy. Louise has just discovered that she was adopted and that everything she believed about herself was a lie. But angry as she is, she knows how much she owes her family and she’ll use her PR skills to help launch the Bella Lucia restaurants into a new era before she walks away to build a new life with her newly discovered half-sister in Australia. A relationship with her birth mother.

That means working with Max and the last time they worked together, he sacked her very publicly, in front of a restaurant full of diners. Right after she threw a fully loaded vase at his head.

Their relationship has always been, well, let’s listen in on them for a moment...

“Dammit, Louise, you haven’t changed one bit –”

“Dammit, Max, neither have you!” She was on her feet, in his face. “You’re still the same arrogant, over-bearing, despotic, pig-headed idiot you always were!”, explosive.

She’ll work with him. But it’s going to cost him. And she’s going to name her own price!

* * *

It was a very challenging experience to take on characters and a back story that were part of an ongoing series. It took me a while to get to know Max and Louise and I have to admit that my first reaction to their back story was that Max needed to get himself PDA and Louise needed to grow up and get over it.

But a writer knows that people don’t always act rationally – we’d be very short of inspiration if they did! – and I began to dig for the “what’s driving them” answers. Search for the reason why Max would put the restaurant ahead of everything, everyone. To have real respect Louise for what she’d achieved entirely on her own – once Max had thrown her out of the family business. Feel her pain when she finally admits that loving Max had ruined her chance of a fulfilling relationship with any other man.

They both grew so much as people in the pages of their book; as I learned about them, they discovered, finally admitted to the buried truths about themselves and each other.

* * *

This was my first “continuity” and writing with seven other authors was huge fun. From the beginning we bounced ideas of each other, talked through scenes – especially the Christmas party where all the characters were together. Louise’s bad-girl Christmas outfit was born out of an hilarious exchange with Linda Goodnight who wrote Married Under the Mistletoe – Daniel and Stephanie story.

And Ally Blake (Wanted; Outback Wife -- the story of Louise’s half sister, Jodie and Heath) and I became really close as we exchanged scenes; she sent me hers with Louise, I send her mine, with Heath’s half brother, Cal – making sure that we got the voices right.

It wasn’t all plain sailing. There was my big scene where Louise was talking up an upcoming royal wedding, only for my editor to inform me that the wedding had happened in a previous book. I’d checked with Raye Morgan (The Rebel Prince), and she’d left it with the Prince showing his future bride to his people. It was Teresa Southwick (Crazy About the Boss) who had them appear at that Christmas party already married, sending me back to the drawing board. This was a steep learning curve!

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat.

Romantic Times said --

Liz Fielding brings The Brides of Bella Lucia to an extremely satisfying close with THE VALENTINE BRIDE (4½ stars). Strong-minded Louise and attractively arrogant Max are well matched, and their sparring is especially memorable.

She shivered, despite the heating, but still he didn’t touch her, even though her body was doing everything but scream at him to go for it, even though she could feel that his hand, still supporting her elbow, was not quite steady…

He was giving her total control. Her call...

The word shimmered from an epicentre at the core of her womanhood, spreading out through her arteries, potent, intoxicating, driving out everything but the need to consummate a desire held in stasis since she’d been woman enough to understand the yearning it fired.

Tell him…
‘Show me,’ she said, her voice scarcely strong enough to reach him and lifting her hand, she touched a fingertip to her cheek. ‘Kiss me here.’

His eyes seemed to take on a new intensity and for a moment she was afraid that she’d unleashed a passion that he wouldn’t be able to hold in check but when, after a pause that seemed to last a lifetime, his lips touched her cheek she felt no more than a whisper of warmth. Enough to send a flash of heat through her and for a moment she swayed towards him, dangerously close to flinging herself on him. If he’d made one move…

But he didn’t. He was leaving her to set the pace, take it where she dare.
If she had the courage.
Responding to his unspoken challenge, she moved her hand, touched her chin.
‘Here,’ she said, on a breath.
His eyes, darker than pitch, warned her that she was playing a dangerous game. Did he think she didn’t know that?
This was their time. Now. It would be brief, glorious but brief, like a New Year’s Eve rocket and afterwards, when it had burnt out, she would be free of him.
They would both be free…
‘Here,’ she said, raising the stakes, touching her lower lip, anticipating the same exhilarating, no-holds-barred kiss with which he’d stopped her walking away. That this time would carry them both over the threshold of restraint and beyond thought.

But he did no more than touch her lower lip, tasting it with his tongue. It was all she could to remain on her feet, her only compensation was knowing how hard this must be for him. To hold back, wait. It would have been difficult to say which of them was trembling more, but he was forcing her to make all the moves, insisting that she be the one to tip it over the edge from a teasing game into a dark and passionate reality.

Mills & Boon facts

Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited is owned by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd,
one of the worlds leading publishers of women's fiction and the
largest publisher of romantic fiction.

• We publish around the world in 25 languages and our books are
sold in more than 94 international markets.

• Impressive coverage of female audience – minimum monthly
readership estimated at 1.4 million

• We enjoy 97% brand awareness in the UK

Romance never goes out of fashion

In 2004 more than 14 million copies of romantic novels were purchased
in the generating a turnover in excess of £70 million. Within this
sector Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited is the undisputed market
leader. This is hardly surprising as Mills & Boon has been publishing
its unique brand of fiction for almost 100 years.

Originally founded in London in 1908, Mills & Boon Limited began as a
general fiction publisher. Although early authors included PG
Wodehouse and Jack London, it was the launch of Georgette Heyer as a
romantic fiction author that paved the way for the company's later

Canadian book publisher Harlequin Books acquired the North American
rights to some of the Mills & Boon titles in the 1960's and the two
companies fully merged in 1971.

Since then, romantic fiction has continued to grow and evolve as the
day's fashions and social mores have changed through each decade.
However it has remained a constant that all Mills & Boon novels are
well written love stories that offer readers the perfect escape.
Readers can identify with the heroine, meet the hero of their dreams
and travel the world all in one afternoon.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Novel Writing Not For The Faint Of Heart

Book Review: Authors--Novel Writing Not For The Faint Of Heart
By: Regis Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
The Evening Bulletin

It's a situation every writer faces at one time or another. At a book signing, reading or other literary function, a person approaches. They hesitate, smile, then state their purpose:
"I want to write a book."
Which is akin to an out-of-shape, middle-aged guy telling LeBron James he wants to try out with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Most people know they can't play professional basketball," says best-selling author David Baldacci. "They're not tall enough, they're not fast enough, they're not quick enough. But people think, 'I've got a brain, I've got a hand, I've got a computer - I can be a writer.' They don't understand the skill sets that go into being a writer as well, and sometimes they're almost as unique as being an NBA or NFL or professional athlete."
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, there were 172,000 books published in the United States in 2005. Only in the United Kingdom, where 206,000 books were released, were people more intent on putting their ideas into print. And that's not counting the thousands of books that never see the light of day and those that are self-published.
Which is why Richard Ford, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel Independence Day and has just published the novel The Lay of the Land, has this sobering message for budding writers:
"I always say the same thing: Talk yourself out of it if you can," he says, "which is the same advice I would give somebody if they're about to get married. Because, if you can't talk yourself out of it, you're on your way to a vocation, I think."
Writing, however, is not always a choice. Chuck Kinder teaches fiction writing to graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh. He's taught a Pulitzer Prize winner, Michael Chabon, and Keely Bowers, who won a Nelson Algren award for short fiction and a Scott Turow Fiction Prize.

Compulsion is what drives the students in Kinder's classes. They have to be willing to submit to often-scathing critiques from fellow students, to have paragraphs, sentences and word choices dissected, to have their motivations questioned, to swallow their pride every time the class meets.
They do it, Kinder says, because "they have no choice. They have to be here."
But without talent, Kinder says, it's not possible to teach a person how to write a book.
"I think not," he says. "I don't see how you could. I don't see how you would."
Still, people want to write. There's a cachet in having the title "author" appended to one's name; prestige-wise, it's infinitely more glamorous than being a doctor or lawyer. Authors are famous. Their books get made into movies. Sometimes they meet Oprah Winfrey. They occasionally hobnob with movie stars, and nothing in America is more alluring that attaching oneself to some stray filament of stardom.
Which makes writing all the more attractive despite a degree of difficulty that rivals scoring a 10 in an ice-skating competition. Ford especially wonders if writing is a productive use of time. Not only is the ability to write, and write well, a rare gift, it's also a process that frequently produces more frustration than achievement.

"And I would not really like to encourage people along a line of endeavor which will finally not reward them," Ford says. "And, much more importantly, not reward other people. Because once you've found you can do this - which is to say you can write to the end of a novel; you can write a novel that someone can read - then all of your attention finally turns outward to those people who will be reading it to the point of 'What can I do for you? What can I make that you will find useful?' And that's very unlikely to happen to anybody. It has nothing to do with talent, it has nothing to do with genius. It maybe doesn't have anything to do with perseverance. It has largely to do with luck."
Baldacci, however, never discourages anyone from writing - as long as their expectations are measured and reasonable.

"I think it's great," he says. "If you want to write, you don't need to write to be published. You can write just as an outlet, just for fun."
Fun might be the best that most writers can hope for by way of accomplishment. Carl Hiaasen, the author of the novels Tourist Season, Basket Case and the recently published Nature Girl, says that because companies have consolidated, it's harder than ever to place a book with a major publisher.
"Obviously, it's not something that many, many people can do," Hiaasen says. "It's not just an issue of talent - it's the time that's invested, it's the solitary nature, if you have a family, if you have a life, if you have a job. That's how all of us started out: in our spare time, with the hopes of maybe getting lucky and having a book published."

"When people tell me they want to write a book, I tell them 'good luck,'" says Michael Connelly, the author of the crime novels The Narrows, Blood Work and the recently released Echo Park. "The road to publication is hard and full of obstacles."
So, how to even begin with such a daunting task ahead? Connelly advises any would-be writers to first be good readers.
"They must know the best work out there if they are hoping to join the ranks of published authors," he says, noting that finding an established literary agent, especially one that represents new writers, also is a must.
Then, a writer must remain true to his or her vision.

"My biggest piece of advice is keep your head down," Connelly says. "You can't put your finger up into the wind to try to read the currents of commerciality or publishing favor. You have to keep your head down and write a story you would like to read. You have to believe as a writer that you are an everyman. If you like what you have written

read the rest here

Monday, February 05, 2007

Saturday was the booksigning at Dog-eared Books in Independence Missouri.
Behind us is a wall of signed bookcovers and bookmarks. Tina and Connie love authors!

There are two cats who runs the store. Tina is holding Harlee Quinn.

The girls there, Connie (left) and Tina (middle) are great! Tina owns the store and Connie runs Once Upon A Romance website. I met them several years ago at a Romantic Times conference and we've been pals ever since. They've even come to visit me in my city!

This is me guarding the chocolate.

This is my smiling friend Victoria Alexander. My friend Robyn was the driver for this road trip. Robyn is sending a pic of us together. We had great fun and after the signing we all went for Italian.

Emalee (left) and Haleigh (right) are future romance readers. Who knows maybe future writers! They visited with their mom and older sisters and we became fast friends. Who wouldn't fall in love with these two, eh? They love Dog-eared Bookstore and spend time browsing for reading material. I would have taken either one or both of them home with me.

Here's a good pic of Harlee Quinn. The other cat is named Pyewacket. he's huge and furry and totally black, so my picture didn't come out well. Maybe someone else will have one for me.

One last important thing for you to see. These are Connie's homemade cookies. Yes, homemade. Symetrical and lovely and oh so delicious. So next time I'll send you a mapquest to Independence, no?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Whoodathunkit? Slow-Cooker Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

2 pounds white almond bark (it comes in this big block at Wal-Mart)
4 1-oz squares German's bittersweet chocolate
12 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
24 oz jar plain or honey roasted peanuts

* Place all ingredients in slow cooker.
* Cook on high for one hour.
* Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
* Turn slow cooker on low and stir every fifteen minutes for about another hour until completely smooth and melted.
* Drop onto waxed paper in bite-size drops.
* Cool.
* Remove and store covered for up to one week.
(Freeze well.)