Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Orleans, Day 3

Bet you thought I'd forgotten to post about the rest of my trip, right? Nope! Day 3 was a hubby and me day, since Katie had left us. *sob* But it was all good, because I knew we were heading there in a couple days to spend the night at her place.

Here's a shot of me standing in the courtyard garden of our B&B just outside the French Quarter, ready to start our day. Very private and romantic, huh? I think hubby picked a fabulous spot.

After walking through the Quarter we hopped on the bus to get to the Civil War Museum. So exciting! I was like a kid in a candy store there. They had all kinds of Confederate weapons and artifacts, and a great selection of books. I bought one about a Union medical officer.

After I spent way too much time in there we were starving, so we walked back and took the St. Charles Ave. streetcar to the garden district. There we hunted down two places we'd seen featured on our favorite Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. The first place was Guy's Po Boys, and let me tell you the food was fantastic. We each ordered a small, but the sandwiches were at least six to eight inches long and almost as tall. Mine was filled with delicately fried shrimp, Creole mustard, lettuce and tomato. Amazing, and a huge amount of food considering how cheap it was. After that we walked for a while and hunted down The Creole Creamery, an ice cream place where they make homemade and unique flavors. Mine was Mexican Hot Chocolate (you know how much I love hot chocolate), a dark chocolate base with cinnamon, cayenne pepper and ancho chilies. Delicious and creamy on the way down, but then you get a bite of heat on your tongue. Really neat! It's the only ice cream I've ever eaten that made my nose run :)

On the way back to the Quarter on the streetcar, I have to mention my husband was the only man to get up and offer his seat to a woman holding a toddler and stroller. I started to get up too, but he stopped me and guided the woman into his spot. He's just like that, but I was very proud of him. Seems to me there are very few men like that left out there, and I wish everyone had manners like his.

We got spiffed up for our romantic dinner we'd made reservations for at the Cafe Amelie and strolled over. Not an easy feat in three inch heels when there are cobblestones everywhere, and sure enough I twisted my ankle. But the romantic setting and awesome food more than made up for it. We ate outside in a cozy 300 year old courtyard while a fountain bubbled nearby and lanterns flickered from the boughs of a huge live oak. The stars winked to life overhead while we ate dessert, and it was hands down the most romantic dinner of my life.

The Quarter's night life was just starting up when we made the short walk over to St. Peter's Street to Preservation Hall. We stood in line for the better part of an hour to get into the tiny hole-in-the-wall jazz club, but the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's performance made it well worth while. A visit to New Orleans wouldn't be complete without seeing that!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Interview

Stop by Long and Short Reviews today to read this interview and learn more about me and my writing process. I'll be over at the LASR Yahoo Group tomorrow, chatting with readers and introducing them to my special ops heroes. Hope to see some of you there!

Here in Vancouver we're experiencing a ridiculous cold snap and it's freaking freezing right now. Minus 8 Celsius, with a wind chill that takes us down to a bone chilling -18. There's a bit of snow on the ground, but of course now it's turned to ice. Lots of fun to drive on. It's supposed to get even colder tomorrow, then start warming up on Thursday so we're all looking forward to that except we might get more snow. What's up with that? Snow belongs on the mountains, not down here in the city! My palm tree is out there shivering in my backyard. Right now I'm curled up on my couch with a blanket next to one of our Christmas trees while a fire crackles in the hearth, and I don't plan on leaving the house again until I have to pick up big weasel from school. Great excuse to get some more writing done!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ben's Vindication

Over the weekend I got word that Ben has finally bested Dec in this little rivalry going on between them, and he's pretty damn smug about it. In the few contests I've entered both books, so far they've jockeyed for position in the top three, with Ben tying or coming in second to Dec. But this time, No Turning Back has won the 2010 Laurel Wreath Award for best romantic suspense, and Cover of Darkness came in third. So now they're even. Of course that's not okay with either of them, though. Hopefully a tie breaker will decide this at some point in the future, but for now the boys will just have to cope.

So Zosia, if you're reading this, Ben's preening with a huge grin on his face.He's so high maintenance. Even after I've finished writing about him he's still a handful. Some things never change I guess :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Dark Side

What a wild and wonderful month November has been for me so far. First the contract with Carina Press, and then today I got word that the Scarlet Rose line of The Wild Rose Press wants to contract my first ever erotic romance novella. So yup, it looks like I've officially gone to the dark side. I hear the cookies are great over there :)

No word yet on an official pen name or when the release date will be, but if I had to bet I'd say in early spring next year. The story is obviously steamier and less suspenseful than my romantic suspense titles, so I'm not sure how it will be received by any of my current readers if they decide to take the plunge when it comes out. It's going to be part of the Cowboy Kink series (dear God, I never thought I'd write anything that qualified to be labeled with the word "Kink"!), and though it's uber hot it's still going to be very emotional and romantic.

Looks like I'm going to be very busy with edits and galleys over the next few months! That's a very good thing :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kaylea at SOS Aloha

Today I'm a guest at SOS Aloha, where I've been interviewed by the fabulous Kim Adams, Air Force veteran, romance fan, and supporter of U.S. military personnel.

Come by and check out all the giveaways happening there, including books donated by authors like Roxanne St. Clair and Caridad Pineiro, as well as some Wild Rose Press authors. Enter the contest and support our troops at the same time.

Kim will be giving away one of my print books on her blog, so please stop by and leave a comment to enter. Would love to see you there!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kim Adams, Founder of SOS Aloha

Today I'm at Writers Gone Wild, introducing you to Air Force veteran and romance fan, Kim Adams. Not only did she serve her country for many years, she's also an active supporter of military personnel and their families. I heart her for that alone, but Kim has gone far above and beyond the call of duty with her latest venture.

She's been kind enough to spotlight The Wild Rose Press and its authors this past month on her blog, SOS Aloha. I'm going to be her guest this coming Saturday, November 13th, so I'd love some company over there. But first, please stop by WGW today to say hello to Kim and find out how you can help the cause and win some free books!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Absolution Research: Chemotherapy

During my research for Absolution, I was looking for information about chemotherapy that would help me write certain aspects of the book. My own experience of chemo and cancer treatment in general has come from watching friends and relatives battling the disease. It's never been pretty. Most of them lost their hair, grew gaunt from being nauseated or constantly bloated from chronic constipation. And it never cured them, not even combined with radical radiation treatments. Thankfully things are changing on that front, but the list of side-effects and complications resulting from cancer treatment is huge. Everyone reacts to it in their own way.

While I wrote this book, it was important to me to portray what it's like to go through cancer today--specifically breast cancer--because now there's more hope than ever for patients diagnosed with the disease. I found some surprising things along the way.

First off, pretty much every source I checked said that Taxol (usually used in breast cancer chemo) resulted in hair loss. Most of the people I interviewed about it said they lost their hair a few weeks after the first treatment, and they lost it suddenly. A few literally woke up with hair on their pillow. Most were terribly nauseated, especially after that first treatment, and for quite a while. Needless to say, many women going through this find their libidos at an all time low, even when in a loving, committed relationship.

To make Absolution work as a romance, clearly I had some obstacles to overcome. Hard to write a romance without the hero and heroine being together, if you know what I mean. I'd kind of painted myself into a corner, and yet I felt very strongly about the storyline. But then I found some encouraging stories out there. Several women I spoke to that had been receiving Taxol reported being very nauseated after the first treatment, but much less so during and after subsequent treatments. Some weren't nauseated at all after the first dose of chemo.

I found similar reports about libido. Some women have little or no interest in sex during treatment, while others reported little or no change in their sex drive. One lady I spoke with said it was hard for her to be intimate with her husband at first because she felt so unattractive, but connecting with him that way made her feel like a woman again and went a long way to help stave off the depression she was suffering. She credited her survival with his loving, unfailing support. Now that's a romance hero :)

What about any of you? Have you known anyone with a similar experience while going through chemotherapy?

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Got "The Call"!

This has been an awesome week for me in terms of writing. On Tuesday I got my Heart of Excellence Readers' Choice Awards trophy for Cover of Darkness, and it's now sitting on my nightstand until I get all the Christmas decorations packed away in January. Yep, I've already got half of the decorating done. (Don't hate me!)

Then yesterday I found a message waiting for me from Angela James of Carina Press, saying they wanted to contract Turbulence. I've never actually gotten a call before, just e-mails, so that was pretty cool. My heart was pounding in my chest as I listened, and I've even saved the message on my answering machine. I haven't "met" my editor over there yet, but from the sounds of it I've got some work ahead of me when we get to edits. That's okay, I'm up for the challenge and I'm sure the changes will only strengthen the book. Bring it!

I'm so glad that my Air Force PJ and Medevac heroine will have their story published. Don't know if the current title will stick or not, but the book will be released in digital format sometime next summer. I'll keep you posted!