Saturday, May 31, 2014

Keeping still is HARD for a whippet!

We have two dogs. Oliver, our toy poodle, was neutered at around eight months old. The other, our beautiful whippet girl named Eden (Edie for short), wasn't spayed for a long time. We toyed with the idea of showing her (we've never done this before) but eventually we decided against the idea. She's now three and a half years old. Dealing with her heat cycles was a bit of a pain, of course. But I was worried about surgery, so we'd put it off. Finally, though, we decided to bite the bullet and took her in to get spayed last Friday.
I was quite happy "broke", thanks guys.


Whippets are sighthounds, closely related to the larger greyhound breed. They're the second fastest breed of dog, clocking in at top speeds of around thirty-five miles per hour. They're lean, leggy and muscled, and have very little body fat in most cases. They can also be very sensitive to anesthesia, so I was really nervous going into last Friday. Fortunately, we've got a great vet, and she knows the breed well. Edie's surgery went off without a hitch. They did a dental cleaning at the same time (such narrow muzzles tend to make whippet's teeth get scuzzy fast!) so she got the complete package. 

We picked her up on Saturday with some antibiotics for her gum inflammation and two types of pain meds. Oliver the poodle stayed with my parents so we could keep a better watch on Edie. The first day or two she was really uncomfortable. She jumped onto the couch before I could stop her, and her little yelp of pain broke my heart. So I sat on the floor for the rest of the afternoon so she wouldn't be tempted to try jumping up again. 
Convalescing on the new living-room mattress

Saturday night, we moved our mattress to the middle of the living room floor. I was afraid she'd get into bed with us (which happens about every other night) so we didn't want to take the chance of her jumping onto our high bed. We've slept on the floor every night since. (Attempted to move back into the bedroom Tuesday, but the jump-yelp happened again. So back to the floor we went.)

She's been feeling increasingly better over the week. We've kept her on a leash for potty breaks even though we've got a large fenced-in yard, because whippets LOVE to run. To the point of not noticing pain because of their high adrenaline. We've got some wild bunnies living t the corner of our yard who have no problem hopping through the chain link fence. Edie's predatory instincts are way stronger than her "hey, that hurts" trigger. So leash-walking will continue until the stitches come out on Monday. She's convinced the bunnies will have taken over completely by then, despite my arguments to the contrary.
Edie's preferred laying position when she's not recovering!

She tries to play with the poodle. She tries to chase our cat. She's attempting "zoomies" through the house at least once per night. She's gone after the bunnies and nearly choked herself on the end of the leash. 

Just a few more days of keeping still. I keep telling myself that she'll feel better soon, and this will be worth it when we don't have to put panties on her twice a year. 

I may not have two-legged kids, but my four-legged ones are a definite handful. But I adore them more than I can say. 

Keep feeling better, Miz Edie-Bones! 



When Gina Lamm isn't keeping her goofy pets in line, you can find her here! Website 
 
 
 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sourcebooks Authors Rock RT 2014!


Two weeks ago I had the ecstatic pleasure of meeting several of my fellow Casa authors in person at the RT Booklover's convention. So this post will be all about my fan-girl bragging about that.

I'd never before seen a streetcar or palm trees so this was a novelty.

Right when I arrived at the hotel, and was having a cigarette outside and taking a picture of the streetcar and my very first palm tree (I know), a nice looking lady smiled at me and said, "Brooklyn Ann?" At my nod, she introduced herself as Victoria Roberts and I giddily gave her a hug. We didn't get to chat too much because she was on her way to check out a voodoo shop and I was waiting to meet up with my hotel roommate, Urban Fantasy author,Jess Haines, but I was still stoked.
Then at the Mardis Gras, Sarah Humphreys grabbed me out of the crowd so we could take a selfie and I also saw Jade Lee handing out her infamous squidges. Apparently Shana Galen was there too, but I didn't recognize her in her pirate costume, lol.


So when I saw Shana again at the Sourcebooks author spotlight, we had a good laugh. However, I was kinda bummed because I'd packed a dog-eared copy of NO MAN'S BRIDE for her to sign and had forgotten it in my hotel room. During the author spotlight I also got to meet Gina Conkle, Julian Walker, and Sarah Castille, as well as the incredible editorial team.
On Friday I managed to track down Shana Galen just as she was getting ready to leave. She was delightfully patient with me as I fan-girled all over her and got her autograph. I also ran into Elisabeth Naughton at the Kensington party!

That's Shana signing books because I forgot to take my own picture when I got to meet her.

Ditto with Elisabeth. :)


Afterward, I ended up running into Sara Humphreys again at an unexpected party and got to grab her for another selfie. I swear, that awesome lady somehow managed to get everywhere in this convention! Since she's impressively buff, I asked if I could touch her bicep. Then she touched my wrenching muscle (For the non-mechanics, that's the side of the forearm, on the inside of the elbow). I was quite proud of myself when I got a "Day-amn, girl!"

Yes, I'm short.
On Saturday I got to see a ton of Sourcebooks peeps at the private party the publisher threw for us. We were up on the swanky 40-somethingth floor with an awesome view of the city and were served drinks and appetizers. I'd just had my first hurricane, so I was a little giddy. The windows held nifty placards featuring the authors' new releases. I totally took mine home.



At the party I got to see Gina and Victoria again as well as finally meet and chat with Ashlyn Chase, Elizabeth Staab, and Terry Spear. Ashlyn and I had a blast talking about paranormal world building.



Alas, the time to come home came to soon. On the bright side, my imaginary cover model for ONE BITE PER NIGHT picked me up at the airport, so that cheered me up :)

So, for my first conference, I had a TON of fun and I hope to see my fellow Sourcebooks authors and publishing professionals at another one! You all rock!!

And a P.S. for Sara Humphreys because I think you'd appreciate this:  When I got home, I immediately had to bench press my Datsun with my LEGS because we were flushing the gas tank. I lifted the back end so high the whole car moved!  Again, I forgot to take pictures.


  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

MY BROTHER'S KEEPER by Pamela Sherwood

A couple of months ago, I blogged about fictional sisters, and more recently, about fictional mothers. Today, fictional brothers get their day in the sun--and a complicated, conflicted lot they are too!

One thing that fascinated me about brotherly relationships is the extent to which competition shapes their dynamic--and probably has since the dawn of time. Sisters can be competitive too, but when brothers go head to head over something they want, the threat of violence and even bloodshed tends to loom large. Just ask Cain and Abel!

Some brotherly rivalries are a match for that Biblical pair in drama and intensity, like that of bellicose Thor and manipulative Loki, who both aspire to the throne of Asgard--and know that only one of them can have it. Or Adam and Charles Trask in East of Eden, who compete for everything from their father’s affection to the beautiful but soulless Cathy Ames--a rivalry that continues into the next generation with Adam’s sons, Caleb and Aron.
Thor vs. Loki: The Hammer or the Horns?
Introducing additional brothers to the mix only amps up the rivalry. Think of all those fairy tales in which three brothers compete for the kingdom, the throne, and the hand of the princess--the youngest usually triumphing because that’s generally how fairy tales end.  A historical equivalent of that situation plays out in The Lion in Winter, which dramatizes the ongoing strife between a “greedy little trinity” of princes, sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: spoiled Daddy’s boy John, calculating middle son Geoffrey, and berserker soldier Richard, who happens to be Mom’s favorite. Except that there's not a “Happily Ever After” in sight!

"I'm Father's favorite--that's what counts!"
Fortunately, not all brotherly relationships are as toxic. Dallas’s J.R. and Bobby Ewing are the classic “bad boy/good boy” combo, who are constantly at odds over the family oil business and the family ranch, but still share an unbreakable bond and a deep affection that neither can easily express.
Bobby and JR, in a rare moment of accord
And some brothers, in spite of their differences, sincerely love and support each other. Like Jaime (the family Golden Boy) and Tyrion Lannister (the clever but undervalued dwarf) in A Game of Thrones, whose closeness stands out sharply from the more twisted relationships in their highly dysfunctional clan.
"What kind of mess have you gotten yourself into this time?"
And the Bolt brothers--Jason, Joshua, and Jeremy, from the vintage TV series Here Come the Brides--whose fraternal relationship is reassuringly normal and healthy. Competitive at times, but always affectionate, moving easily from wrangling to teasing to embracing, sometimes in the space of a few minutes. They may occasionally wound each other’s feelings, but they always have each other’s backs.
Joshua, Jason, and Jeremy: Seattle's Most Eligible Bachelors
 One of my favorite brotherhoods is that of Richard and Francis Crawford from Dorothy Dunnett’s The Lymond Chronicles. Neither as toxic as the Trasks nor as wholesome as the Bolts, the Crawfords occupy a fascinating middle ground that encompasses deep affection, mutual respect . . . and frequent misunderstanding. Steady, reliable Richard loves but is often baffled and infuriated by his mercurial, unpredictable younger brother. While Francis, for all his brilliance, does not always understand Richard as well as he thinks and tends to underestimate him. And like many siblings, they have an ongoing rivalry, a history of flight and pursuit, attack and counterattack, most often expressed in Francis’s challenge, “If you won’t lead, try following, Richard!” (The Game of Kings, the first volume of the series, is especially rife with brotherly love and brotherly conflict.)

Who are your favorite fictional brothers?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Series by Victoria Roberts

So how much do you love the cover for my new Highland Spies series? I know, right?

Oh, yes. I drooled over the artwork for many ungodly hours, especially since the beautiful cover was created for me by my favorite cover artist, Jon Paul Ferrara. I've admired Jon Paul's work for years. My critique partner and I have a standing joke that I know I made it when I have a Jon Paul cover. To show you just how talented this man is... This was the original artwork Jon Paul created for My Highland Spy.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the man agreed to create ALL the covers for my new series. Did you hear me squee in elation? Most of the country did.

I was also blessed with a cover quote from none other than Hannah Howell. This was really ironic for me because Hannah's Murray brothers were the first romance books that I'd EVER read. No kidding. You could say Hannah is responsible for all the kilted madness within me. I knew Scottish historical romance was the genre I wanted to devour.

I hope you'll follow me from the Bad Boys of the Highlands into the new world of Highland Spies.

"Victoria Roberts spins an exciting Highland tale of intrigue, betrayal, and love with a braw Highland hero and strong English heroine any reader will love." 
- Hannah Howell, New York Times bestselling author of Highland Master

Enjoy the back cover blurb for My Highland Spy.

THIS HIGHLAND LAIRD 
WON’T BOW TO THE CROWN
Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son 
away to be educated by the English. And he most 
definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage 
to a liege who has no respect for Scotland or its 
people. So he does what any laird would do—he lies 
to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful 
English governess to appear on his doorstep.

BUT THIS LADY SPY MIGHT MAKE HIM…
Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is 
sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious 
plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English 
governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates 
the home of Laird Ruairi Sutherland, a suspected 
conspirator. 

IF SHE DOESN’T BETRAY HIM FIRST
Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat 
Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud 
Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the 
woman he loves is an English spy?

Now Available for Pre-Order!

Award-winning author Victoria Roberts writes Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as "one of the most promising debut authors across the genres" and was also a 2013 RT Reviewers’ Choice award winner for X Marks the Scot.

Represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America® and several local chapters, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine Celtic Guide. 

Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty one years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish adventure, she’s dragging her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun. Visit Victoria at www.victoriarobertsauthor.com.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More fairies, more magic and a giveaway

When Lord of the Hunt finished Annwyn was in a terrible way. The Prince needed to find wife, his mother was imprisoned for treason and his father was dying…to find out what happens to Felan you’ll have to wait for To Love a King in October…I know that’s ages away!

The good news is you can get some more fairy mischief on June 3 with The Changeling Soldier!

So what hotter than a regular soldier…why one’s half fairy and psychic of course :)

Here’s the blurb:

Her time in the mortal world is running out…

After fleeing Annwyn three centuries ago, Ella built a life in the mortal world making gowns for European royalty and playing in mortal intrigues. Now those Courts are long gone, and she dresses Hollywood starlets. Mortals come and go, but Ella always ends up alone. She longs for the home she left behind.

He’s been dreaming of the coming battle all his life…

Isaac Norton is a returned soldier. Now home, he’s restless and his recurring dream is becoming more frequent: he’s fighting on a snow-covered field stained with blue blood. When he sees Ella, he knows she isn’t human. And she knows what he is, a changeling.

Ella can give Isaac the answers he needs, but there will be a price to pay: his soul.

Pre-order links:
smashwords itunes kobo allromanceebooks

(B&N, Amazon and print will be up by the 3rd June)

I’m going to give away an e-book version of The Changeling Soldier, all you have to do is leave a comment. Winner will be drawn on Friday 30 May at 7am WST. So either leave an email address or check back to see if you’ve won.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Here in the USA it's memorial Day, the day when we honor the soldiers who gave their lives to protect our country and freedom. I hope you have a chance to give the brave men and women who serve a few moments of thought today, whatever country you live in.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

An epiphany from conventions, past and recent

I'm sure you've all heard plenty of post-RT convention hoopla. You've probably seen dozens of tweets, facebook posts, photos, and blogs about everything from the pub-crawl to the giant book signing. Some of you are probably reliving your favorite moments and some of you, who couldn't attend, are green with envy. Many of you are probably sick of it by now. LOL

Well, I won't bore you with more of the same. I'm going to write about some personal epiphanies. This is something I learned shortly before I left--and I took it to heart. Creative people are prone to times of frenetic activity and must answer the need for quiet, alone time to stay balanced. I'm happy to say I didn't even try to get to everything...and didn't feel guilty for missing some events, as I have in the past.

As it turns out, smaller gatherings are more personal and may do more good than being among the throng. My roommate (fellow Sourcebooks author Terry Spear) and I hosted an intimate pizza party in our room. The dozen or so people who came fit nicely, enjoyed pizza and cupcakes, and actually got to know each other. They received some special swag and will in all likelihood remember where they got it and from whom.

I was able to meet reviewers in person, and maybe because they 'know me' now, it will make my books stand out in the future. I met an aspiring author who I liked immediately. I reconnected with a past Mr. Romance and made everyone laugh when I noted that he was 'in my bed.' Okay, he was just sitting on it, but hey...close enough. It was fun, but not frantic. People came because they wanted to, not because they were herded like cattle.

But that doesn't mean I didn't also attend some of the other events meant for the masses. I let my extrovert out to play on two occasions. I loved the first night's Mardi Gras World. I was in front of a float, handing out beads to readers as they walked through...um, not exactly. I was running up to readers who didn't have 'our' beads and draped them with whatever color they were missing. I was actually representing my old publisher, because even though I don't write for them anymore, they've been very good to me and continue to send me checks every month. (grin.)

The Sourcebooks party Voodoo on the Bayou was another intimate gathering, just for booksellers and librarians. Again, it was a better opportunity to connect with and actually talk to people who will probably remember us and perhaps give our books an appreciated push.

As I said, I learned some interesting tid-bits about the creative mind before I left home. I used that information to write a different blog. It posted yesterday. (If you're interested, you can find it at Rocco's blog:  http://catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Have you had any epiphanies lately?

Friday, May 23, 2014

#RT14 Whirlwind Recap by Sara Humphreys

My blog post is late because I'm still recuperating from #RT14 in New Orleans. It was so much fun but I swear I need a vacation. How much food, fun, romance, readers, and socializing can one gal take? 

A lot. Seriously. 

I thought I'd share some pics from this wild and wacky week in New Orleans. 

First and foremost...the RT Convention is all about the READERS!!!!! I found readers everywhere in NOLA. From the lobby, to fun events like the Sock Hop, to Bourbon Street. Romance readers were all over the place and I wouldn't have it any other way.










Before I was ever a published author, I was a reader and I still am. So in addition to meeting my readers, I got to do some Fan-Girling of my own!!!

Charlaine Harris!!!! OMG! I totally tried to keep my cool but inside I was squeeing my brains out.
 Damon Suede is one of my all time favorite people! Funny and sexy. 
 Susanna Kearsley and I had a blast at the Mardi Gras event with our super fab publisher Sourcebooks! She's such a fantastic woman!

EEP! I found Kristin Proby in the lobby!


Stephanie Julian writes HOT and SEXY erotic romance! And she's my buddy xx


Julie Ann Walker is always a good time. She's as fun and sassy as you'd expect her to be!!



And of course, RT would not be complete without the cutie patootie cover models!

Delonn Donovan was kind enough to let me model one of the shirts from his new clothing line.


The always adorable and super sweet, Charles Paz! Such a gentleman.


John Quinlan bringing the smolder on Bourbon Street.

Shane Rice was signing covers at the big book signing! Giddy up.
  On the Bourbon Street pub crawl I found Jeremy Rivenburg!
 Scott Nova and I caught the bus to the Mardi Gras event at Mardi Gras World.

Of course NOLA is famous for it's food and drink, so a bunch of us decided to workout every morning. Here's a couple shots of #RT14 Team Sexy Badass. 



Whew! 

That was a fun week and I'm already looking forward to #RT15 in Dallas!

Giddy up.






Thursday, May 22, 2014

Going Public by Editor Deb Werksman



RT seems to get better every year, and this year was off the charts. New Orleans has the BEST FOOD (Oysters Rockefeller anyone?) and then I got to work it off every morning at Sara Humphreys’ 7 am (yes, you read that right) fitness extravaganza. There was a core group of us working our core. Sara promises to do it again next year, don’t miss it—25 minutes of the T25 workout, easily adaptable. I bought the DVDs as soon as I got home because after only 3 days I felt thinner (is that a figment of a fevered imagination? Or are my jeans really more comfortable?).

Huge shout-out to Julie Ann Walker, who hit the NYT and USA Today lists right smack in the middle of RT for the 6th time, with her 6th book in the Black Knights, Inc. series HELL FOR LEATHER. You’re a rock star, Julie Ann!

So here’s what I love most about RT, RWA, and all the local conferences—it’s the place where we who love romance fiction can go public about our enthusiasm. Back at home, things happen like this: My dad says to me, “now that you’re editing romance fiction, do you ever get to read any real books?” I made him read THE HEIR by Grace Burrowes at that point. He loved it, and read THE SOLDIER on his own volition. So there!

There’s a big conversation here about respect for romance fiction, and what readers get out of it, which I blogged about a couple of months ago.

Meanwhile, I promised Barbara Vey that I would tweet at least once a day and Facebook at least once a week. She thought that was hilarious.

So I’m actively looking for good stuff to re-tweet/post—whatcha got?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Last Rows of Summer by Grace Burrowes

I used to hate summer.
As much as I also hated school as a kid, and loved unstructured time, summer was when my parents would uproot the entire family and drag us 2700 miles each way out to San Diego so my dad could do science with his buddies at UCSD.

What good is summer for a kid who has no one to play with, no woods to play in, no trees to climb, no local library to raid, no piano to practice, and nothing but the beach (every chubby little girl loves the beach, right) for diversion?

Southern California can be as much fun as any other place, I suppose, but as a kid, summer loomed for me as  the great ramble, the endless picnic, the reading orgy, the imaginative flight that lasted for weeks. Those summers away from home (yes, we went for the ENTIRE summer), were an abomination against summer.  Except for the year my brother Tom took up surfing, I'm pretty sure my siblings would agree with me.

Fortunately, I'm grown up now (most days). Summer is as productive as winter for me as a writer. In winter, the productivity results from all the bad weather, holidays and long weekends between Veteran's Day and President's Day. I fill up the wood stove, wrap up on my tartan blanket, brew a pot of tea, park myself before the computer, and let 'er rip. The words pile up thick and fast, and that creates even more forward momentum.

In summer, there are also holidays, but the primary advantage is the sheer length of the daylight. By 5 am, the birds are singing, and light is creeping over the mountain. If I go down to the computer that early, I don't have to wrassle the woodstove, find my fingerless gloves, or compete with the dogs for the use of my foot rug.

The alpha brain waves are still wafting about when I've first arisen, and all is new and wonderful. I can write anything I want to write, and nobody can make me go to California if I don't want to.
Bliss.

In many ways, I'm the same person I was fifty years ago. I want to be the boss of me, and now that I can be to a greater extent, summers are more wonderful than ever.

Were your childhood summers wonderful? A mix? A boring slog? Are they better now, the same or not as much fun? To two commenters, I'll send signed copies of The Captive, my July release.

  

Do Men Choose Differently than Women? By Kathryne Kennedy

The obvious answer is of course, yes. Men have different triggers that spark their interest. So I thought it would be fun to hand EVERLASTING ENCHANTMENT over to a young man and have him choose random sentences from each chapter that sparked his interest. These are definitely not sentences I would have chosen, so I found them fascinating...and am sharing them with you here today:



Quotes from EVERLASTING ENCHANTMENT

Ch. 1 Page 13: Surely her companion knew that baronets had the strength to rip them to shreds?

Ch. 2, Page 33: She studied him for a long moment, those golden eyes disconcerting in their intensity. "Your sadness is a weight I can almost feel. Perhaps that's what makes you so irresistible to women."

Ch. 3 Page 54: She glanced over at the were-vampire bat, who had returned to the wine cabinet and refreshed her glass.

Ch. 4 Page 79: He realized some of his opponents were nothing more than illusion, unable to hurt him as the greater power of Merlin's curse protected him, but since he could not tell what he faced, he must waste his strength on them.

Ch. 5 Page 89: Millicent didn't answer his question. She couldn't. No one had ever done anything like this for her before. It felt like a home. Could he even guess that she'd never had one?

Ch. 6 Page 111: He made no decisions. He followed the pattern Merlin had laid out for him. Why had it not bothered him until now?

Ch. 7 Page 121: Millicent twitched her whiskers in a grim smile and entered the tunnel, her sight quickly adjusting to the darkness.

Ch. 8 Page 144: "The duke treats his prisoners quite well."

Ch. 9 Page 160: He seemed to take for granted that he could outwit the spies, who were certainly a fearsome group of predators.

Ch. 10 Page 175: Iridescent wings twitched. "I never swoon madam. Lose my equilibrium perhaps. But never swoon."

Ch. 11 Page 207: "I would not call them warriors, Sir Knight. A motley horde perhaps, but not warriors."

Ch. 12 Page 218: "Ogres or no, we ain't goin' back," snapped Nell, yanking her skirt out of Millicent's teeth.

Ch. 13 Page 240: The door suddenly swung open and a liveried footman bowed to them, showing no surprise at welcoming a panther, sprite, and a sword-wielding knight.

Ch. 14 Page 261: Millicent shifted back to human with blood still smeared around her mouth.

Ch. 15 Page 276: She drew up the sleeve of her gown, the moonstone twinkling in the light of the wild magic dancing on the ceiling.

Ch. 16 Page 290: "Master -- it's not wise to leave behind loose magic."

Ch. 17 Page 305: Jackals, hyenas, and wolverines slinked into the light. Millicent had never felt so grateful to see her fellow creatures from the Underground.

Ch. 18 Page 315: And Gareth suddenly realized his pain wasn't all mental, that most of the blood covering his tunic might be his own.

Ch. 19 Page 336: In his time he would have composed poems about her.

Ch. 20 Page 348: The world spun. Millicent took a step, and fortunately managed to maneuver a chair beneath her when her legs collapsed.

Ch. 21 Page 358: Gareth blinked. The creature had a tail. A furry tail, with a ball of scraggly fur at the end. It stuck out of the back of his trousers through a narrow slit and waved jauntily at him.

Ch. 22 Page 366: If necessary, she would spend her entire life composing ballads to him, if it made up for the pain she had caused.


Did you note anything in common? That the male reader has focused on the action and adventure in the novel, a good deal of characterization...and just a touch of romance (which is fifty percent of the book). Fortunately, there was enough adventure to hold his interest. The parts he chose as the romance element were actually the deeper ones, the ones that delved into the souls of the characters. Neat stuff here to contemplate.:}

As Always,
My Magical Best,
Kathryne

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bahia Honda Travelogue and Rebel ARC Giveaway!

By Cheryl Brooks

Since my last post here on Casablanca, I've done a bit of traveling. And no, I didn't make it to New Orleans for RT this year. However, I will be attending Lori Foster's RAGT in Cincinnati June 5-8. Registration is full, but the signing on Saturday from 3 to 5pm is open to the public, so if you're in the Cincinnati area, be sure to drop by! I'll be signing print copies of my Unlikely Lovers series as well as books 1-9 of the Cat Star Chronicles. I'm also putting together a raffle basket that includes all of those books, plus an ARC of Rebel, so if you're registered, be sure to drop a raffle ticket in the bag! I will also be participating in a panel discussion on erotic romance on Friday at 12:30 in the Blogger Lounge.

After that, it's July and RWA nationals in San Antonio! I've never been to Texas, so I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe not as wild as RT in New Orleans, but I'm sure we'll have a fabulous time!

In April I took time out from writing my upcoming erotic cowboy series, Cowboy Heaven, and went camping with some friends at the Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys. If you've never been to the Keys, you need to go at least once, if only to see the color of the water. Pictures don't do it justice. You really have to see it with your own eyes!


I've never been much of a camper, 
but camping on the beach is an experience like no other. 
Not too many insects (mainly due to the incessant wind), 
the view is incredible,


interesting critters visit from time to time,


and you'll spot birds you certainly don't see in Indiana!


The sunsets are spectacular...


and the moonrise even more so.


Best of all, when you can't sleep,
you can look up through the window in your tent
and watch a lunar eclipse without getting a crick in your neck!


There are cool little restaurants to have a delicious lunch.

And you can visit the spot that appears to be the end of everything
 in Key West,


where you'll see fabulous trees...


and stop to rest on the Courthouse Deli bench. Two of my readers who live in Key West spotted this picture on Facebook and invited me to lunch. We had a lovely time, but none of us thought to take pictures!


Eventually the time comes when you have to pack up your gear and head home. 


Our campsite looks kinda lonely without us, doesn't it?


We celebrated our departure with lunch at the Islamorada Fish Company.


Then we drove all the way to Indiana in a 1999 Silverado
with a severe vibration that turned out to be a bad universal joint.
Scary at times, but we made it!

Where are you going on vacation this year? Have you already been, 
or are you still anxiously looking forward to it? 
Post a comment telling us where you've been or where you're headed this summer for your chance to win an advance copy of Rebel! Be sure to include your email address so I can contact the winner!


Contest closes Tuesday, May 2oth at 9am EDT!