Wednesday, March 28, 2007

VERY funny, Miss Caroline!

Turn my back for a moment, and little Caroline gets into mischief!

I'm stopping home for a day to do laundry, run errands, and replenish the money supply. The kid has picked his college and I've survived driving with Caroline. (No, no, it was the OTHER drivers that caused my near heart failure, really.) I will also tell you that Miss Caroline has a charming husband, an entertaining dog, and a superior cat. (The kids were already in bed by the time I arrived.) Tomorrow I hop the train to New York City for the PASIC conference.

And since we are talking about lists, here's a very cool one--the Borders Group/Waldenbooks Romance bestsellers. Check out number 10 on the paperback list.

Can you hear me screaming? Yeehaw!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Things You Might Not Expect To Find in The Naked Earl, But Will

I feel pretty safe making this list today because Sally should be several hundred miles away from me by now, as she continues her road-trip college and conference tour.

Anyway, in honor of Ann and Wendy and their sick little "organization" compulsions...and also because I have been working feverishly on a book and haven't thought of anything else to blog about...and because I managed to talk Sally into letting me read this book a few weeks ago, while the rest of you lucky readers can only get it now...I offer the following list, color-coded for Ann:

1. A Very Virile Butler
2. Whips and Chains and Manacles, Oh My!
3. A Young Lady Engaged in Tipsy Self-Discovery
4. X-Rated Shrubbery
5. Naked People Everywhere
6. Botanists in Love
7. Hell Freezing Solid (so we are told)
8. A Desperate Duchess
9. Stage to speak
10. The Ruins of A Windswept Castle (Eve, you should be so proud of Sally! It has a dungeon and everything!)

What are you waiting for? Go forth and read!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Calling All Anal-Retentives…

Judging by yesterday’s post and some of its comments, I am NOT the only uptight list maker hanging around this blog.

Me? I like being organized, and I also like color-coding. This leads to me making endless lists on… wait for it … Post-It Notes.

Love them. Have them everywhere. In the car for when story ideas hit. On top of the fridge for when I run out of a foodstuff. In the bathroom for when I run out of toiletries. On storyboards for plotting out books: pink for the romance storyline, blue for the first subplot, and yellow for the second.

The beauty of sticky notes is that you write yourself the little note, stick it somewhere to remind yourself (the bathroom mirror works great), then throw it away when you’ve done the thing you needed the reminder about. My new favorite thing is to stick one on the door to the garage—“don’t forget snack!!!”—so that we remember to take things with us when we leave. I’m now training the kids to do their own sticky-note reminders so that my OCD tendencies won’t skip a generation.

Oh, and does anyone else use the grocery lists that come with Microsoft Word? Love those. I use them for a more formal list, when all the items I need at the store won’t fit on a sticky note.

And what about Memo to Me? Is that a brilliant organizational tool, or what?

And don’t get me started on all my colored highlighters, which I use for outlining books on writing craft.

It’s a sickness, I know.

So what about you? What are a few of your favorite organizational tools?

Saturday, March 24, 2007


My name is Wendy and I'm a Listaholic. Yup. I make lists about EVERYTHING. Just got back from a few days away and it took many lists to accomplish the mini holiday.

- a list of what clothes to pack
- a list of the food to bring
- a list of what we'd do on Vancouver Island
- a list of restaurants to try.

And, yes, I'm aware that I just made a list of my lists. It's a sickness. I just feel that I can't get a thing accomplished if it's not on my list. My list for today?

- write this blog
- take the kids to see The Last Mimzy
- get caught up on all the laundry created from our time away
- tweak the synopsis for book 2
- touch up chapter 4

So tell me, are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person or do you write lists too?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring has Sprung!!

Hallelujah--spring is here at last!!!!!! I'm one of those people who *hates* winter. I absolutely despise everything about it, and since I live in the northeast, I'm forced to suffer through several long months of it (I grew up in the southeast, and even though I've lived up here more than a decade, I don't think I'll *ever* come to appreciate true winter weather). In fact, I'm fairly certain that I suffer from S.A.D.--seasonal affective disorder. All winter long, I feel as if I'm in a funk. But as soon as the warm weather hits and the leaves begin to bud on the trees, I feel as if a veil has been lifted, and my overall mood improves a hundred fold.

We always spend a week in Miami Beach at the beginning of spring, and I look forward to it every year--sort of puts spring in motion for me. We always celebrate my youngest daughter's birthday there, and even though she's only turning six this year, she's already got her favorite trendy South Beach restaurants in which to celebrate. There's something about Miami Beach--the sun, the sand, the archtitecture, the pastel's like the polar opposite of New York City (where we live).

Anyone else as excited about spring's arrival as I am? Any other S.A.D. sufferers, and if so, any tips of getting through it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Odds and ends

I walked into my neighborhood Borders yesterday and, lo and behold, there was The Naked Earl! It's not supposed to be released until April 3--and it wasn't at Barnes and Noble--so it was a bit of a shock. But it was definitely at Borders, sitting very purple and regal amongst all the other romances on a table and then again upstairs in the romance section. So if you are on the lookout for it, you may spot it. Let me know, will you?

I've been taking some time before I start writing my next book to dig through my office, trying to sort and tidy. Since I'm unearthing papers with a 2001 date on them, I guess it's been a while since I've done this exercise. Certainly the dust bunnies--actually giant dust rabbits--strongly indicate that I've not cleaned recently. It's been a somewhat fun stroll down memory lane, though--I came upon the emails I wrote to my Golden Heart 2004 loop when I got The Call and sold my first book.

I also found some letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother in the early 1900s. (No, it hasn't been THAT long since I've cleaned--my cousin sent them to me...a while ago.) I read through one or two, though I felt a little like I was snooping. (Memo to self--destroy those letters my husband sent me back in the day.) And the diction back then was certainly different. Who writes letters anymore? I use the keyboard so much, I find I have a hard time getting my hand to move in a cursive manner. And then my brain gets ahead of my hand and I make mistakes which I can't just delete with the push of a button.

So here are my questions for you all in blogland--Is reading someone's private letters "snooping" even though the writer's been dead for years? I never met my grandfather, and I find the glimpse into the past fascinating, but still...the letter was obviously not intended for me. (Though I assure you, these missives weren't "hot" at all.) Certainly historians learn a lot about the past through letters--but would the letter writer want people pawing through his or her private correspondence? And do you still write letters? Do you save letters if you get them? Or has email replaced letter writing completely? And if it has, has something important been lost? Do we write and think differently when we write a letter versus an email?

Monday, March 19, 2007

YA, Anyone??

Because I've been working on some YA (a.k.a. Young Adult--books for teens) projects lately, I've been reading a lot of YA lately. Some new stuff, and some of the YA books that I read and loved in my youth. I must say, I'm REALLY enjoying it. There's a lot of interesting things happening in YA right now, and it's a fun genre to read, even if you're an adult (like me!).

My whole YA kick began when I read TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer a couple of years ago. I can't even say *why* I bought it--at the time, I wasn't reading YA. I simply walked by it on the shelf at at Waldenbooks, and the cover (a hard cover!) caught my eye. I picked it up, read the back blurb, and knew I HAD to buy it. I started reading it that night, and pretty much stayed up half the night reading it. It was, in a word, fabulous. The best book of any kind I could remember reading in a long, long time. It's paranormal--with a vampire hero--but really a 'human' story.

So, I started looking for other YA books, and discovered Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY. Again, the cover caught my eye--it looked like what I had envisioned for my debut book, UNLACED. It's also paranormal, but historical. It's a very intelligent book--one thing I particularly like about Libba's books (and Stephenie's, too) is that I don't feel like they are written in a 'dumbed down' fashion for teens. These are smart books for smart kids.

I've since read the sequels to both--Meyer's NEW MOON and Bray's REBEL ANGELS, and eagerly await the next books by both authors, now auto-buys for me. I've also read and enjoyed Meg Cabot's MEDIATOR series (SHADOWLAND was the first), and BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE by Annette Curtis Klause.

And then I ordered reissued copies of the paranormal YA books that I remebered reading--and loving--from my own youth, and this is pretty much *everything* by Lois Duncan (especially STRANGER WITH MY FACE and SUMMER OF FEAR--both those books have stayed with me all these years!). I'm happy to report that they were all as good as I remembered them, even now, though they are somewhat dated.

Even if you're way past the YA target age, I still recommend that you give some of the modern YA a try--I think you might be pleasantly surprised. I've seen a wide range of sensuality, from nothing but kisses, to kisses with a *hot* undercurrent of sexual tension (that would be TWILIGHT and NEW MOON, particularly!), to older teens having sex (though it happened 'off stage' in the book I read).

My question to you is, were there any YA books you read in your youth (i.e. pre-teen, early teen years) that made a strong impression on you, that you *still* remember? If so, have you tried re-reading them, and what did you think this time around? Any contemporary YA authors that you've read and enjoyed?

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Heroes. The come in all shapes and sizes. Some are the big, buff type (see Herman Munster), some are the sweet, sensitive, funny type (see Gilligan), and some are the stoic, intense, swarthy type (see Duncan MacLeod). While all are vastly different, they all certainly hold appeal for someone. Granted, most would go for the swarthy Duncan, but Gilligan's charm and humor surely won my vote as to "who I'd marry out of all the guys from the S. S. Minnow" (I was younger then). And there was something about those groovy white sailor's britches. :) And Herman? Well...he could swing that big foot and kick a solid wood door down, not to mention he had the best laugh ever! Is there a non-typical hero-type you like? I confess-I'd love to have Herman/Gilligan/Duncan all rolled into one!

Friday, March 16, 2007

All Vamped Out?

Yesterday my friend and fellow Kensington writer HelenKay Dimon blogged about the paranormal trend in romance writing and wondered if readers had reached a saturation point.

This morning I was trolling the Waldenbooks at the mall and saw more paranormal books on the front shelves than I could shake a stick at. I also bought a vampire book, Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT because Bam recommended it a while back.

This got me thinking about a narrower question than the one HelenKay raised: are we sick of vampires yet?

Apparently I’m not. I just finished reading J.R. Ward’s LOVER REVEALED, and, like I said, just picked up another vamp book today.

What about you? Are you sick of the bloodthirsty creatures yet? Have you read all the variations on the theme that you can stand? Or, like me, do you still need your fill of dark heroes with secrets and nasty little habits?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

But do you love kid sports?

Since Caroline brought up sports....

My "baby" is a high school senior, so we are doing the last round of kid sports. I have four athletically-inclined sons--I've done a lot of sports over the last 18 or 19 years. (And I do mean "I," since I'm the driver, equipment purchaser, and icky clothing washer.) Soccer, basketball, flag football (only because I forgot to sign the kid up for soccer), baseball, swimming, cross country, track--I think that's it. The oldest is now a professional triathlete--he's moved out, but not before managing to get bike grease on the new carpet.

We used to do multiple sports with multiple kids, but now we're down to "only" swimming--though after a weekend of trials and finals, dragging to the pool by 6:30 am, coming back at 4:30 pm, and leaving at 9 pm I feel like an amnesia victim. Huge chunks of my life are gone.

So, have any favorite kid sports? Found a particularly good way to manage the mayhem? And what do you think about those over involved parents--the ones who are shouting their heads off, yelling at their kids and the ref, embarrassing everyone around them?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why I love sports

The Beckhams are coming! The Beckhams are coming!

OK, so David is a lot more interesting to most people than his wife (Posh Spice) and any kids they might have. And many people want to know: can he raise MLS to a major league sport in the US? Is this the superstar needed to bring in the fans? Because it's going to take a lot of fans in a lot of seats to pay off his $250 million contract. Can he do it.

My thoughts: Yes. Yes, he can. Because the one thing America can never have too many of, is hot athletes.

It would be fine with me if the local MLS team signed some similar players. How about Fabio Cannavaro? Cristiano Ronaldo? Why should Europe get all the hot--I mean, very talented--soccer guys? We would even call it football for you, except we've already got Tom Brady.

(Yeah, Indianapolis, you can keep Peyton. We're all set here in New England, thanks)

So which athletes do you like to watch? Purely for their talent, of course.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Great Escapes

I am so lucky. As a writer I get to choose my escapes. I've spent my last couple of books in Seattle. Dreary but the perfect setting for my series. I've been other places in my writing escapes. Maui. Greece. And every day I can choose to escape to different locals in my mind.

Lately though it's been so rainy here in Vancouver, I've been thinking a lot about my top five. There are five places I still want to see for real. I feel a calling to them in my soul. They are:

The Great Barrier Reef
Angel Falls in Venezuela
Great Wall of China

I know it'll be years before I make these trips so I'm savouring the sensation of them in my mind. How about you? Where do you travel in your dreams? What worldly location speaks to your soul?


There are many things in life that I find inspiration for in my stories and characters. Sometimes it's unexpected, sometimes it's planned. Alot of times, just meeting someone by chance can lead to a new character. And then, there's something you may have been privvy to all your life, and one day, WHACK!-something happens, and presto! Inspiration! EXAMPLE: My baby sister, Tracy. The picture here was taken on the Battery in historic Charleston, SC. Tracy had never been to Charleston before, and being Savannah's sister city, we went together. Not the best of days, weather-wise. As you can see, it was quite windy! (note: inverted umbrella) I had no idea when I snapped that photo (you know, the old-timey kind, with film and stuff) that it would be not only one of my most favorite pictures, but that it would become the inspiration for one of my characters. Just the moment, the hysterical look on her face, makes me laugh every time I look at it, and soon became the core for building probably my most favorite of (my own) heroines. Totally unexpected, that inspiration. My favorite kind.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nooooooo! Don't tell me!

Not too long ago, I read a book. A good book. A book that was actually on the verge of a great book. There was action, sharp dialogue, sexual tension, and suspense: pretty much everything I like. The story was ripping along at a can't-look-away pace. There were two men, one of whom had to turn out to be the 'hero' of the story and one of whom had to be the 'villain.' Both of them were telling the lead female character things about the other man indicating that guy must be the villain, and she was somewhat attracted to them both; her job, not to mention her life, depended on her making the right call.

And the best part was, I couldn't tell which guy was which! It was awesome! In one chapter it would be the hot young guy who seemed so bad he must be good; in the next, the sophisticated older guy would seemingly be the one who was good. Back and forth it went, and I could NOT put this book down for wanting to see who and how and why. happened. Out of nowhere, a chapter appears in the true villain's point of view. It reveals who he is. It reveals his evil plot. It lays out his whole, utterly wicked motivation. It spells out his total and complete contempt for both of the other characters, eliminating any shred of a chance that he'll be so conflicted later by lust or friendship that he'll be interesting again. Swoosh. There went the story, down the drain for me.

I don't really know how to label the book; it wasn't strictly romance, and it wasn't a thriller. I knew the heroine was going to end up with one of the guys at the end, and that she'd probably have to do battle with the other guy at some point. I just didn't want to know which was which so early. Before that chapter, it was a fascinating puzzle; after that chapter, I could pretty much guess what would happen (and yeah, my guess wasn't too far off).

Am I the only one? Have you ever read a book that had a definite moment when some revelation spoiled the ending for you? Do you like to be kept guessing as long as possible, or do you want to know up front where the forces of good and evil align?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Blasts from the Past

This has been an interesting week--first, I got a phone call from a sorority sister, my very first college roommate, and someone I haven't spoken to in, oh, about SIXTEEN years! I kid you not! Talk about a blast from the past! She still lives in Mississippi, where we went to college, and is still very involved with the sorority. They're getting a new house there on campus, so she was calling to discuss the fundraising efforts, and to suggest I come to Homecoming this year, even saying maybe they could arrange a book signing to coincide with my visit, where all the Phi Mus could turn out en masse. A great promotion idea, actually. Through MySpace, the Phi Mus have just 'discovered' me--some were fans of my books, and by visiting my MySpace page, realized I was a Phi Mu, too. Some wheels were set in motion, and not only did it get me back in touch with my old roommate, but it sounds like the alumni magazine might do a story on me. Woo-hoo! The Phi Mus are rallying behind me!

Then, later in the week, I got an invitation to my high school class's 20th reunion--the class of 1987--which makes me feel REALLY old. An e-mail followed, with the itinerary and hotel information. On the one hand, I'm tempted to go--after all, I haven't been back in Ft. Walton Beach since...well, since not long after I graduated from high school! The reunion hotel is right on the beach (and Ft. Walton is GORGEOUS!) and the activities sound fun--bonfires, family beach parties, boat parties, a dinner buffet, 80's music party. On the other hand, I'm not particularly in touch with ANYONE from high school. Oh, there's the occasional e-mail with former classmates, and I went out to dinner with one when she visited NYC, but that's about the extent of it.

So now I'm batting around all these homecoming, where I can see all my old sorority sisters, or a high school reunion, where I can see all my old classmates. I'm curious, I guess, but enough to travel to Ft. Walton Beach, FL, or Hattiesburg, MS, neither of which can be reached via direct flight from New York (a definite down-side)? Is it really worth it? Will I have *anyone* to talk to? Will anyone remember me? And could I possibly lose any weight before either event?

Right now I'm really leaning toward Homecoming--I'd like to see the new sorority house, and the Phi Mus are being *so* supportive of my writing career, now that they know about it. The high school reunion...I just can't muster up enough enthusiasm, I'm afraid.

Have any of you been to any of your high school reunions, particularly if, like me, you've long since moved away from the town in which you went to school? If so, was it worth it? Were you glad you went? Did you renew any meaningful friendships? Or was it a waste of time and dieting?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Idol Addict

It’s my turn to blog, and I really should be talking about the new book I have out, Just About Sex, but I have more important things to focus on. Still, I can’t totally ignore my marketing duties--so here’s the abbreviated spiel about JAS: it’s about a sex therapist/columnist who runs afoul of a lawyer when she prints a letter from his disgruntled ex. He calls her on it, they argue, he takes extreme measures to get a little revenge … yada, yada, yada … they fall in love and live happily ever after. Please buy several dozen copies of the book at your earliest convenience.

Okay? Okay. End of marketing spiel. Now on to more important things.

You’re watching American Idol, right?

For years I’ve avoided jumping on this bandwagon, but no more. My kids insisted on watching it, one thing led to another, and now the whole family is engrossed in the unfolding human drama.

In general, I think the voting has been right on point, but last week had me scratching my head. Here’s why: Sanjaya is still here, and so is Antonella.

WHY are they still here? Has anyone listened to them SING??? I have, and I’m still shuddering.

True, Sanjaya has great hair and seems like a really sweet kid. True, Antonella is really pretty and has those nude photos on the internet.

But isn’t this a SINGING competition? Shouldn’t we vote for the best SINGERS? I’m just saying…

Me? I love Blake, the human beat-box, Jared, even though he’s a little full of himself, Chris, Sundance, Jordin, Lakisha, Melinda, Sabrina, Stephanie … oh, and A.J., who was voted off last week in favor of Sanjaya of the beautiful hair and weird Michael Jackson vibe. Can’t wait to watch the fellas tonight.

So what about you? Are you mesmerized by the Idol drama? Who’s your fav?

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Being a writer, and a gabber, I'm rarely at a loss for words. Recently, though, the unexpected happened: I didn't know what to say when someone I'd known for quite a long time and hadn't seen in a while, who just found out I'd written a book, said, as she looked at the bookmark I gave her with the cover on it, "Ooooh-so you write those kinds of books."

I stumbled-and it took me a moment, but I recovered. I put on the look I use when trying to catch my kids weasle out of something, (eyes stretched wide open, lashes batting) and said, "What kind of books, exactly?"

It's quite funny, really-the reaction romance novels have on the general, non-reading of romances public. They're either thought of as a "naughty little secret", or, well, one of those kinds of books.

I was more taken aback by this particular person than anything. For all those writers out there, have you had this question posed to you, and if so, what was your response?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What's in a Name?

I must confess that I am title challenged. I can write the 400 pages of a manuscript easier than I can come up with a reasonable title. I am more than happy to listen to my editor and agent bounce ideas around to come up with a title for my book. Just so they know that I really do care, everyone once in a while I'll offer a suggestion. Usually the sound of crickets follow or else a very polite, let's just keep trying, email. I'm fine with that. At least they don't agree with my awful titles and allow me to go ahead and make a fool of myself.

I recently read an article called Stranger than Fiction: Books whose titles range from weird to hilarious. Here are just a few of the titles:

What's Wrong With My Snake?
Movie Stars in Bathtubs
Walled Up Nuns
Scouts in Bondage

My editor gave me my new title yesterday and it's a relief to no longer call it "that book". From now on it will be called THE REMAINS OF THE DEAD. Much, much better than Walled Up Nuns.

My favorite title of all time is Pride and Prejudice. I wonder if Jane Austen got to choose her title or if it was handed to her.

So share, what's your favorite title?

Kristina's Top-Ten "Eye Candy"

I'm going to be totally shallow today, and post about my favorite "eye candy"--as in, hunky guys. I know, pathetic, right?! I admit, I'm a very visual person, and I *like* to look at men that intrigue me with their looks--they don't have to be classically handsome; sometimes it's their personality--or perceived personality--that attracts me. But you should see my screensaver--a slideshow of all my favorite eye candy. My husband is very indulgent, and luckily, he's never complained. Sometimes I wonder how I'd feel if *his* screensaver was a slideslow of gorgeous women....nah, let's not go there. Okay, without further adieu....

1. Colin Firth. Who could resist Mr. Darcy?! He's simply adorable--charming and endearing. A British accent is always a plus.

2. Colin Farrell. This one's easy. Say what you may about him, but he's an amazing actor (anyone see Phone Booth? Or Tigerland? Or A Home at the End of the World?). He's devilishly handsome, to-die-for charming, and then there's that Irish brogue...

3. Hayden Christensen. Okay, I know he's young. Very young. I'm old enough to have been his babysitter. But hey, he's cute. Really cute, in a boyishly sexy, mysterious way. Even if you hated the new Star Wars movies (it's not Hayden's fault--the dialogue was just *bad*!), you have to admit he's nice to look at.

4. Ryan Gosling. Another young 'un. Another fabulously talented one (if you haven't seen The Believer or Half Nelson, you have no idea just how talented he is!). I was *so* proud of his Oscar nomination this year!!! There's just something about his eyes....

5. Hugh Dancy. Not as young as he looks! I wonder how many young moms out there discovered him in Ella Enchanted? I know I did--he made watching it over and over and over again with my daughters a pleasure! He's just gorgeous--almost *too* gorgeous. He was great as Essex in Elizabeth I, and astounding on Broadway in Journey's End. I predict that he is a star on the rise.

6. Tony Stewart. "Who?", you're asking, unless you happen to be a fan of NASCAR (or married to a fan of NASCAR!). He's the reformed 'bad boy' of racing--much like the reformed rake of romance. Not everyone's cup of tea, I know, but he does it for me. Maybe it's his talent combined with his intensity--I don't know.

7. Richard Armitage. If you haven't seen the BBC miniseries North and South (based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel), you are *seriously* missing out. This guy can brood. I heard that after the miniseries first aired, some website devoted to him crashed from everyone and their long lost sister logging on at once. He's definitely worthy of such devotion! Oh, and there's the British accent thing again.

8. Edward Norton. I call him the 'thinking woman's eye-candy.' It's something beyond his looks--maybe the fact that he's smart, a Yale graduate. Or that he's just so frighteningly talented, always playing these super-intense characters. Whatever it is, I like it!

9. A three-way-TV-tie: John Krasinski (Jim Halpert on The Office), Josh Holloway (Sawyer on LOST), and Matthew Fox (Jack on LOST). Okay, so I couldn't seem to limit myself to ten--so sue me. But these three sure make TV-land a better place!

10. And I saved the best for husband! I think he's very hunky, and he gets better by the year! He's smart, funny, and a terrific husband and father--what could be better?! Plus, he puts up with me and all my neuroses, and doesn't mind my celebrity ogling. A true keeper!

And since I couldn't seem to get the pics in the right places, from top to bottom, they are: Hayden Christensen, Richard Armitage, Ryan Gosling, Colin Farrell, and Tony Stewart.

Now tell me, who are *your* top ten???