An updated pic of the Himalayan kitten we adopted back in July. He's not so tiny anymore -- at five months, his paws are already adult-sized. Oh, and we did agree on a name: Dakarai (duh-CAR-ray). It's Egyptian, means happiness. He was very happy when we adopted a playmate -- Derby is a red tabby, only a couple weeks younger. Dakarai is built like a linebacker, but Derby has a longer reach, so they're well matched. (Yes, I subscribe to the theory that a clean desk is a sign of an empty mind. )

I've had many requests for a pic of our new addition, and readers seem to be fascinated by peeks into an author's office, so here's a shot that does double duty. This 8-week-old blue-point Himalayan joined our family July 1. I'd tell you his name, but my dh and I haven't agreed on one yet. Fortunately, the brilliant family that raised him taught him to come to "kitty,kitty,kitty." A cat that actually comes when you call instead of just taking a message! I won't say he's bonded to one of us more than the other yet, but as I write this, he's napping on my feet, not my dh's.
You'll never guess who we are, or what we write...
At the end of the Romance Readers' Luncheon in Portland on 4/29/06, we posed with the mondo huge posters Avon PR sent for the event. LizBo was our fabulous keynote speaker, and SuzieMac was ready to get to the sunshine outside. Marianne Stillings attended, too, but had already headed back for Seattle when we were asked to pose.
My friend Darla has taken pics at several of my signings, and she gets clear shots of me -- at the expense of making it look like no one else was there. So when I signed at our RWA chapter meeting on 2/11, I asked her to make sure other people were in the frame. Here's the result. The gals are in line for me and Stephanie Rowe (to my left). I'd never noticed before that Steph and I have the same color hair (Dishwater Blonde #5). Seated beside Steph is Marcy Dodge, RWA's 2005 Bookseller of the Year. To us, she's BotY every year.

1/20/06 -- A few yards south of Haystack Rock at Canon Beach, on the Oregon coast. I started as a photographer who wrote feature articles to accompany my pics, and every now and then my inner photog demands to be let out to play. I shot this while on one of our scheduled walks during a critique group retreat. (Know why the town is named Canon Beach? Because a ship sank off shore and ... wait for it ... a canon washed up on the beach. Seriously.)

Lulworth Cove in Dorset, England, where KISS FROM A ROGUE is set. I think this view is looking east, but couldn't swear to it. A natural horseshoe-shaped harbor formed 10,000 years ago, with a pebble beach, very sheltered. Set well apart from any major cities, it seemed perfect for my smugglers who didn't want to draw attention to themselves. I didn't take the pic, but intend to someday stand in this spot.

Out dancing on Halloween weekend 2005, with Jessica, one of my critique partners. She's tall and thin and looks good in a belly dancer costume, but we're friends anyway. With my beads, braids and eyeliner, three guesses what I'm dressed as.


Halloween 2005, paying homage to my favorite movie character. In my (ahem) research on the 'net, I found the company that made the boots for the cast of the two Pirates sequels now being filmed. I couldn't resist ordering the replicas of Captain Jack Sparrow's boots. Very comfy.
I have a sword for the costume, too, but left it at home -- good thing, because the club's dance floor got rather cozy as the evening wore on.
(I obtained the sword at a Christmas show in 2001, where I had my Shirl's Pearls booth. I waited until my neighbor's wife came to give him a break, and traded earrings and a necklace with her for the sword.)

Booksigning at the Borders Express inside the Vancouver (WA) Mall, Oct. 22, 2005. From left: Stephanie Rowe, Lisa Jackson, her sister Nancy Bush (holding The Binkster), Carly Anderson, and yours truly. Becky, the Romance Specialist at this store, treats us like royalty, and really knows the romance market and her customers. She even serves as photographer when needed.
Signing at the Emerald City Writers' Conference, in Bellvue, WA, Oct 8, 2005. The Seattle chapter puts on a marvelous conference every year, with great workshops and opportunities like this for shameless self-promotion.

After a grueling day of educational workshops and signing books at a writers' conference, there's nothing like belting out a Beatles' tune during the Romance Karaoke contest to unwind. If you'd ever heard me sing, you'd know why I've never done this before and probably never will again. From left, my cohorts include Eliza, new RCRW chapter member; Leanne Shawler, Zebra Regency writer; Michelle, EC's hospitality chair; and Barbara, who just began writing her first book after age 50.
What did we sing, you ask? "Paperback Writer," of course.

The two-masted brig Lady Washington, under full sail. This is a replica of the first Lady Washington, who sailed up and down the west coast in the late 18th century, and traded furs with China. You may be more familiar with her in her most famous movie role -- as the Interceptor, the ship stolen by Will Turner and Capt. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: CotBP. (Thankfully, the Interceptor that was blown to smithereens on screen was a stunt double.)
Sailing aboard the Lady Washington, June 4, 2005, out of the port of Ilwaco, WA. Standing right below the spanker boom would be dangerous if I weren't so short. You can see one of the Lady's 3-lb. canons mounted on the aft railing, behind me. Kiss From A Rogue has several scenes aboard a smuggler's ship, which I modeled after the Lady W, and I wanted to make sure I got the details right. Ah, the sacrifices we make in the name of research.

Just after my first sail aboard the Lady W, back in June of 2000. (Notice our zipped-up coats -- yup, that's the Oregon coast in June.) With me is critique partner Betty (middle), and Trudy, RCRW member. We sailed on a three-hour tour (insert Gilligan's Island joke here) out of the port of Astoria. The gunner's mate on this cruise, Ryan, was the captain for the cruise in June of '05. He was also on the crew that sailed Lady W down to the Bahamas to film Pirates in late 2002. (Hey, I'm starting to see a recurring theme on this page. Hmm.)

Me with Mary Jo Putney, one of the best romance novelists of all time (imho), at the "Celebrate Romance" conference in Baltimore, on March 6, 2005. MJ had just received the feather boa as an award.
If you haven't read MJ's "The Rake & The Reformer" yet, do so. I read it in one sitting -- literally could not put it down until I got to Alys and Reggie's happy-ever-after ending, at four a.m.

Signing with historical author Elaine Knighton on 2/26/05. This one was special, because my mom had just had cancer surgery the day before. I'd offered to skip it, but Mom ordered me not to -- she was looking forward to stopping by. She did, three hours after being released from the hospital.
(May 2005 update: Mom's getting back to normal after chemo and radiation, and tickled that her hair has grown back in -- curly. It hasn't been naturally curly since she was a child.)
Trying to remember how to write my own name... This was taken at my very first book signing on January 4, 2005, at the Borders in Beaverton. Friends, co-workers and book store customers braved the blustery winds and frigid temperatures (well, 'round these parts, anything below 38 is frigid) to attend.

Beau Monde's annual soiree at the RWA National Converence in Dallas, July 2004. I'm flanked by "Sir Reggie" (aka romance author Regina Scott) and Forrest Ashley, good sport and husband of romance author Jennifer Ashley.

The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods. Cats have never forgotten this. Here's Spider, aka His Majesty, in his favorite position, having summoned my husband to the chair. At 16 years, Spider has slowed down a tad but pretty much still gets whatever he wants, when he wants it, even if he has to use his "now!" voice at five a.m. Dogs have owners; cats have staff. (You're wondering why a white cat is named Spider? He doesn't meow -- he chirps like a spider monkey.)

My husband Mike on January 7, 2004. Neither sleet nor snow nor freezing rain storm that shut down the airport for three days was going to interrupt his ritual of a morning soak. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we're used to a lot of precipitation in January -- just not the kind you have to shovel or chisel.

My inspiration for Tony, hero of Kiss From A Rogue. When I mentioned Tony in What An Earl Wants, I hadn't planned to do his story, but he insisted on having his own book. (He's *very* persuasive -- just ask Sylvia, his heroine.) Based on his description already in print, he had dark hair, dark eyes, a slim build, and is not overly tall. My editor wanted a hero who was larger than life, someone who could sweep a heroine off her feet. There was only one man who met all those requirements: Johnny Depp.
Thinking of my synopsis as a movie script, I cast Johnny in the role of Tony.

He got his first on-screen acting job (Nightmare on Elm Street) because the director's teenage daughter found him "hypnotically good-looking and very charming," according to Wes Craven. Smart family.

His looks aside, JD is an amazingly talented actor. Who else could make us root for an amoral CIA agent (Once Upon A Time in Mexico), or play a hero who faints like a squeamish girl (Sleepy Hollow) but is still heroic?


The high concept of Kiss From Rogue is Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs with a twist -- my dwarfs are smugglers and Snow White is their ringleader. Captain Jack *might* have been a smuggler at some point. I couldn't come up with a good reason to put Tony in eyeliner and beads, but he does wear boots like Jack's.

I've been hooked on Johnny ever since Officer Hanson accidentally broke his partner's nose in the premiere of 21 Jump Street. Huge box office success of recent years proves that the masses have finally discovered what I've known since '87 -- no matter how off-beat or mainstream the character, JD is always worth watching. (Though I can't help wishing he'd pick a few more scripts where his character gets a happy ending.)

Writing a novel under a tight deadline while still dealing with the uproar of real life was a challenge, and this book required me to stare at pictures of JD while I wrote. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it...


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Page last modified October 21, 2006

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