Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: September 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Just Blogging Around...

I'm suffering from a serious case of procastination today.

So I've been popping in and out of blogs. Looking at clipart. Looking at more blogs. Working on my website update. Popping in and out of groups. Looking at more blogs.

So I've decided to make at least some of my goofing off into work.

Blogs I Like.

Paperback Writer
Alison Kent
Romancing the Blog
Dear Author
Karen S
Running with Quills

So what are some of your favorite blogs?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Alaska!

Hey all you vamps and scamps! We are having a great time in Alaska... I am still no mail, but I decided to post my customary blog from our friends' house...

I'll be home late Wednesday evening, but it may take a while to catch my breath and get back online.

But anyway, here are my top ten reasons to visit Alaska... in no particular order...

10) There are no snakes in Alaska!
9) Getting to watch a glacier "calve" is way more exciting than watching ole Bessie drop a calf...
8) The northern lights really are as spectacular as they look in books...
7) The men outnumber the women by a great margin!
6) You can visit a national park that is larger than Switzerland and has taller mountains!
5) There are so few highways that they are numbered "1", "2", etc. Saves space on traffic signs. :)
4) You can drive down the road and see a moose out your car window...
3) The stars at night are so brilliant, you decide city living may not be all that it's cracked up to be. :)
2) You can see a humpback whale and a bald eagle and a mama otter with her baby on her belly all in the same afternoon...

And the number one reason to visit Alaska???

1)It really is possible to see unspoiled wilderness and magnificent vistas and be proud that the "Last Frontier" is our 49th state. The adventure of a lifetime...

Pictures to follow over the next couple of weeks.... I'll "see" you all soon!


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Interview with Toni Blake

Hi! I'd like to thank the Scamps and Vamps ladies for inviting
me for an interview! If you frequent the Scamps and Vamps chat loop, you already know me, but time issues have kept me from taking part here on the blog, so it's great to be included in this way : )

My current release, SWEPT AWAY, is the first full-length novel
in Avon's steamy new Red line and came out in early September, so I hope you'll check it out. An excerpt and contest can be found on my website at

I'd also like to say a special thanks to Dianne for coming up
with these great questions for me! I enjoyed answering them, and hope
readers will enjoy the interview!

Toni Blake


1) What are you working on next?

I'm just about to turn in my next book for Avon Red, called
TONIGHT, to be released in June 2007.

2) What is your favorite type of story to write?

Beyond super sexy and very emotional - which I try to make all
my books – I guess I'd have to say I love reunion stories. Both my current book, SWEPT AWAY, and the upcoming TEMPT ME TONIGHT fall into that category, as did my first single title, THE RED DIARY.

3) Who do you read when you have time?

I really read all across the board - whatever looks good to me
at the time. But I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, and I know I can always rely on Barbara Samuels, Teresa Medeiros, and Rachel Gibson for books I'll enjoy.

4) What is the big advantate of writing for Avon?

Avon is known as one of the top romance publishers, and they've
given my first book for them tremendous support and enthusiasm, both of
which are things I deeply appreciate! I also feel like I've had contact with a lot more of the Avon folks than at any other publisher I've worked with. At Avon, you deal directly with publicity and other departments, and it's made me feel very "in the loop" in terms of what's happening with my book.

5) What do you like best about having an agent?

Oh wow, lots of things. My agent is my sounding board, my
negotiator, my advisor, and much more. I guess I like knowing I have someone behind me who knows the industry extremely well and is out there working for my best interests in all facets of the business.

6) What is the best part of being a writer?

I know this has become cliché by now, but it's true: being able
to work in your pajamas : )

In a bigger sense, though, it's beyond gratifying to get up and
do something you truly love every day - AND get paid for it!

7) Of all your heroes who is your favorite? Favorite heroine?

Hmm, tough question, given that I pretty much get attached to
ALL my heroes and heroines. But I guess I'd have to pick Jake from IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS, and probably Lauren from THE RED DIARY. Jake is
actually a finalist for Best Hero in the Anne Bonney Readers' Choice Awards right now - so I guess I'm not the only one who liked him : )

I would say both Brock and Kat from SWEPT AWAY are close seconds
in each category - simply because they're the most fun, the people you'd most want to hang out with : )

8) What kind of book would you never write?

A horror novel or anything with a great deal of violence or
gore. I sometimes include some suspense elements in my books, and
occasionally that takes me in a violent or gory direction - but I don't think I could write that kind of stuff on a continuing basis. I like putting a lot of emotion in my books, and sometimes some angst - but I don't want to stay in those super-dark places for very long ; )

9) Do you have any desire to write something completely
different than the stories you already write?

Oh yeah, all the time! I'd adore writing historicals - in fact,
I have a few old, unsold ones from years back - and I also have an
interest in women's fiction.

Thanks again, Dianne, for a fun interview!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Know any good Korean Recipes?

As some of you know, our family size grew unexpectedly by two teens for the rest of the school year when we got two foreign exchange students from Korea that are attending our oldest daughter's high school. Well, until tomorrow, it's three, but who's counting? Me, I'm just trying to find some good Korean recipes that I might have a hope of cooking. :)

In that vein, if you know one or a link to some, please share. :)

I'm knee deep in my next book for Brava. It's taking some fun and unexpected turns of its own, but that makes the writing interesting. Sometimes, my sense of humor takes me down paths that I had no intention of ever going and I can only hope it will make my editor smile rather than want to pull her hair out by the roots. LOL


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Take My Breath Away

I've been working on a love scene in my current WIP. Right now, it's titled Hunter's Salvation. We'll see if the title lasts or not.

So I've been working on this love scene and I dunno if my brain is tired or what. A newborn, a seven year old and an almost five year old will do that to you, I guess.

When you add in the 30+ stories I've written in the past, I dunno... three years, maybe four? I guess it's natural that my brain will get tired. Which is why after I finish THIS book, I'm taking a short break. I think I may take all of December off. Catch up on reading, relax, recharge... watch movies. ;o)

However, it doesn't help the current dilemma. The tired brain syndrome.

What to do for a tired brain when you absolutely have to get something done... *G* inspiration.

One movie that is always good for inspiration, to me, is Return of the King. Actually all three movies. The Green Mile. Brother Bear...I love this movie.

But I need some seriously romantic movies. The romance between Aragorn and Arwen... you know that kiss at the end? Talk about sappy sighs. When I saw the movie the first time, when this scene came on the screen, my breath hitched a little and then I just melted.

What movies make you melt? Or books... anything romantic will do.

image found at The Lord of the Rings Image Library

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A New Season

It's a new season in TV land. Which show are you most looking forward to seeing? For me it's The Ghost Whisperer. The last show was such a shock!! What will Andrea's fate be??? Maybe we'll know by this Friday.

And I love CSI. Can't wait for a new American Idol and The Biggest Loser. I already have the treadmill in front of the TV in the den. I am so ready to lose, lose, lose!!! LOL

What show would you want them to bring back? An updated version, that is? I'd love for them to have another soap like Dark Shadows. Hmmm, I wonder why they haven't done that already? I have to admit a fondness for paranormal shows.

So, which return show would you want to see make a comeback?

Karen Kelley
Available Now! Hell On Wheels/Brava
Available Now! Texas Bad Boys/Brava
04/07 Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind/Brava

Friday, September 15, 2006


I have always had a fair amount of skepticism when it comes to psychics and tarot readings. I think I always want to believe there are those who can see what most of us can’t, but I’ve never encountered anyone who gave specific advice or information about me. Usually it’s the sort of “there’s a change coming up” kind of vagueness that could mean anything- like a glorified horoscope.

But I can’t explain the tea leaf reading I had in New Orleans. This guy only knew my first name and presumably could guess I was married from looking at my wedding ring, though I didn’t tell him that. He didn’t know anything else about me, yet he looked at my leaves and told me very specific things. He knew I had a girl and a boy, and told me very specific things about their personalities (daughter might want to be a theater set designer, son knows every penny he has) and mentioned that I mix my work and home, and just tried to remedy that situation by moving my office. Last weekend I moved my office from my bedroom to the guest bedroom. For my career, he saw a lot of paperwork. LOL.

He also mentioned a ski trip next February we’d be taking, and he said it wouldn’t be the Rockies, but somewhere in Pennsylvania or New York (I live in the Midwest, which he didn’t know). We didn’t have a ski trip planned, haven’t even talked about a ski trip, just started skiing last year, yet he sounded so definite, he kept repeating, yes, you’re taking this trip. That one I shrugged off with a big whatever… an hour later I was on the phone with my husband and he mentioned that he and the kids had been talking that afternoon and he would like to take a ski trip to New York in February when they have a long weekend off from school.

That was a little freaky. :-)

Has this ever happened to you? Do you think it’s lucky guessing, coincidence, the real deal?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006



Spanky, I've emailed JR your name. You need to email her with your contact info.

Her email is


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Q&A and Pardon me while I sap Guest Author JR Ward

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So I want to talk about magic, if you don’t mind. I mean, paranormal blog like this, that should be okay, right? Except I’m not talking about the shape-shifter, whammy-you-into-a-frog, spelling-throwing variety. Although all that is very cool.

I’m talking about Northern Sunset by Penny Jordan.

Huh? What? Yeah, work with me, okay? A million years ago I read my first romance novel. It was a Harlequin Presents. I read it in the summer sunshine in a garden and MAN was I hooked. I was so totally enthralled that I could have been sitting in a Dumpster... because I was IN the book. Temporal reality didn’t matter. The only thing that was real and tangible was the stuff on those pages. I was utterly transported.

I started reading those Harlequin Presents like they were going out of style (collected them, too) and one of the best was Northern Sunset by Penny Jordan. I read that book over and over again. I still remember the storyline so clearly. And for some reason, the first scene where the heroine ends up stuck in a storm in a B&B-kind of setup and has to wash out her ‘under things’ has stayed with me for years.

I lost track of the book. Lost it somewhere. And I started looking for it a couple of years ago. I’d go to used book stores and search the Harlequin Presents sections and always go home empty handed. The title was so old it was way beyond what they stocked and besides, I only had the word “Northern” and the fact that the heroine was a blond. Well, and the author was Penny Jordan.

Someone found the book for me last week. Sent me an email with the cover attached. I just stared at the thing. It was my book. MY book. And the thing was, I remember what it was like the first time I read it. That transportation. That magic.

I can’t wait to hold Northern Sunset in my hands again. So... do you remember the first book that really got your attention? The first one you can remember reading where you had pictures in your head and you cared about the characters to distraction and you just hated it to end? Did you go back years later and reread it? Was it the same?

Just curious. And I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about the Black Dagger Brotherhood, writing in general... or any other Penny Jordan titles I may have read. ;)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where in the world is Janice Maynard?

I had planned to write a long e-mail to the scamps and vamps today, and then I realized it was my blog day. So today's entry is purely personal. :)

Hubby and I are leaving Wednesday for a two week trip to Alaska! It is something we have wanted to do for years are now finally able to pull it all together. I got very lucky and got tickets for $218. They were actually $718, but I had credit card points that I had been accumulating for about 7 or 8 years, and I had enough to get a $500 credit on each ticket. Pretty cool...

We will be staying part of the time with friends in Fairbanks. Bob went to high school with us, then on to West Point, and has been career military ever since. He is now in charge of all the army forces in Alaska... recently hosted the minister of defense from Russia as well as our Secretary of Defense.

Bob and Sally have invited us to use their home as "base camp" and then make forays into other parts of the state, so we won't have motel expense the whole time we are gone. Plus, it will be lots of fun to see our friends again.

Unfortunately, we won't be doing the famous "inside passage" trip you hear so much about. Those boats only go out during the summer. So that is a treat we'll save for another day. We will, however, go out on a boat from Anchorage and tour around the Kenai peninsula where the wildlife is abundant.

It is about 8 hours from Fairbanks to Anchorage... on the way, we will spend several nights at Denali National Park. We haven't made many specific plans, so we will be flexible and spontaneous, not always an easy task for two first children. :)

One thing we are definitely going to do is drive up to the Arctic Circle so we can say we have made it there. That will be cool. And of course, we are hoping to be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.

Traveling from Tennessee to Alaska is a challenge. We leave Knoxville at 2PM on Wednesday and finally arrive in Fairbanks at midnight local time (4 AM on our body clocks). We'll use Thursday to rest up and try to get adjusted to the time.

We're not taking our laptops, but I hope to be able to sneak in a couple of e-mails while we're at our friend's house. So you may hear from me once or twice.

If you have time, please stop by my website ( and check out my current contest. The winner will receive some fun Alaska souvenirs.

On September 26, the day before we return, A Very Merry Christmas officially hits the shelves. I am so honored to get to be in an anthology with Lori Foster, and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I don't know what kind of bookstores they have where I'll be, but it would be cool to see it on the shelves in Alaska.

Try not to get into trouble while I'm gone! I'll miss my daily "Scamps" fix. I count my blessings on this somber anniversary.

Love and hugs to all,

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How do you do what you do?

I just got back from lunch with a reader and a dear friend. We spent the time chatting about writing and they asked that question that always makes me think, shake my head, wonder at myself and think some more. It's that "How do you do what you do?" thing and well, the honest answer is, "I don't know." Story ideas come to me all the time from everywhere and I'm not sure how I translate those ideas from thought to computer because to a certain extent...I think making books is like magic. Something if I think about too long, I might lose. LOL

This question really has meaning for the final book in my historical trilogy out in October. Well, because it was one of those books that got written in a fit of white lightening. I wrote the black moment in a 14 hour spate at the computer with two ten minute breaks for the bathroom. I don't remember eating. Only drinking ... lots of water. 57 pages later, I was sick to my stomach and feeling like I'd had a huge catharsis of the soul. But if you ask me how I did it...why that book got written in 30 days when others of similar length can take three months, or more...I have no answer. I simply don't know.

I only know that the characters and their story remained my favorite I had written for two, maybe three years after (I wrote the book 5 years ago) and I'm really hoping readers see a glimmer of the magic I found in that book.

What book makes *you* feel like there must have been something magical about its creation?


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Long winding road to translation

Whoever would have thought it? ;o)

I opened my inbox last night to find a memo from one of my publishers. I've got close to 30 ebooks... i think...with Ellora's Cave and I've recently turned in another contemporary/light bondage type story.

I started out writing for EC purely by chance a few years ago. A book had come back from NYC with one of those pretty little rejection letters. It was around the time I'd discovered EC. I had bought a couple of their titles. The ones I remember reading were Marly's Choice, by Lora Leigh and Captive Dreams by Angela Knight and Diane Whiteside. Well, I was reading those books, had that rejection letter on my desk... and decided, I'm gonna rewrite that book for this company and see what happens.

What happened was sort of surprising. They wanted it. They've wanted lots and lots. I gave them lots and lots.

And now I'm in Spanish. Who would have thought it...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Good Morning!
It's still morning in Texas. The rain the last few days has been super!! We definitely needed it. I just recently mailed off my current wip. I love starting a new book. That means I have a little window where I can go shopping. LOL

We're remodeling our junk room. When your kids are still at home, you have junk drawers, when they move out, you have junk rooms. Anyway, Karl put a laminate floor in--the kind that looks like old wood. Love it. I painted the walls and I'm doing an old world look over that. All you do is paint a light base color, then take small sections where you put on a darker color and pounce it off. It helps that we textured the walls a few years ago.

We bought new bedroom furniture. It'll be delivered on Saturday. I'm so excited.

Change is good. It's like rebirth and creates an energy inside of me. I think everyone should re-do a room at least every couple of years. Or just buy new dishes, or silverware.

So how do you feel about changing stuff up? What was the last thing you changed in your home/apartment and how did it make you feel?

Have fun with life!
Karen Kelley
Available Now! Hell On Wheels/Brava
Available Now! Texas Bad Boys/Brava
04/07 Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind/Brava


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How can I go from trying to just add one itty bitty little thing to the blog to screwing up the whole frickin template?


So I had to redo the whole thing since I couldn't figure out what I did wrong. So I just gave us a Halloween-ish look for the next few months.

I love the image up top...found it at Graffix of Eden. She makes the most wonderful websets.

Have a guest blogger coming up next week... and you might be able to guess who....going by the cover. ;) JR Ward will be joining us to talk about Lover Awakened and there might even be a prize.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Do you believe in this stuff or not?
What about tarot cards?
Have you ever had any luck with them? What about a psychic?

I’m a Leo and they are strong and forceful and generally obnoxious and drive other signs of lesser obnoxiousness nuts. And I have to say this is pretty true for me. Ask my dh. I’m wound just a little tight, always charging ahead full steam and not having a million things going is just not my style.

I did the psychic thing once a loooong time ago, like when I was first married. The gal was a waitress at the restaurant were we dined and she said I’d have four kids, one a son and I’d write many books. Well dang, skippy, it all came true. How’d that happen?

Here’s my horoscope for today:

The desire for travel, perhaps to visit a friend who lives far away might come upon you, Dianne, and you might actually set the wheels in motion to make it happen. Social events could take up your time in the evening, and you could meet some interesting people. A friend might need a sympathetic ear, and today you're especially sensitive to others, so be prepared to hear a sad story. Otherwise, your day should go well. Enjoy!

Okay, we’re planning a trip to Savannah on Thurs to take my daughter back to school. So, I guess that’s the trip part. The whole family gets together on Sunday here for dinner so I guess that’s the social part and my kids are very interesting. The sad story is my two daughters are to Savannah and the other to Boston and that makes me sad beyond words. I suppose this horoscope is right on the money...or is it me making it work??

So, are you a believer in this stuff or not? Any weird experiences to report? Why or how do you think this works or doesn’t work?

Here’s the link for horoscopes to check yours out. Is it working for you or not?

I’m really curious!
Hugs, Dianne