At the Oregon Star Party in August 2005, on a plateau in the Ochoco National Forest. Since Alistair, my hero of Confessions, insisted he was an astronomer, I needed to do some hands-on research. About a mile of gravel roads were lined with camp trailers and RV's, leaving the center open for a sea of telescopes, covered with tarps to protect them from the sun. Our tent was downhill, below the tree line.


Workshops held during daylight hours (beginning at the crack of noon) at the star party included a tour of telescopes built by attendees. This binocular telescope offers a great view since you can use both eyes, but is bit of a bugger to reposition.

With Lacey at the Emerald City conference booksigning, October 2006.
The spyglass is just like the one Sylvia uses in Rogue and Charlotte uses in Confessions. I also have binoculars, and after using both for stargazing, I have huge respect for the sailors that were able to use the spyglass on a ship at sea. I can barely hold it steady on land, never mind a pitching, rolling deck.

Dakarai, our blue point Himalayan, and Derby, our red tabby. They're about five months old here, helping me work at my desk. (Yes, I subscribe to the theory that a clean desk is a sign of an empty mind.) Dakarai paused in grooming Derby long enough to pose, and then got right back to the serious business of gnawing on his playmate's neck.


We adopted Derby from the Humane Society, and he spent his first couple months with us earning the nickname Spaz. He has only two speeds -- full stop and full blast. He's gradually mellowing out a bit, though he still considers the world his chew toy. I often find barely-recognizable plastic milk jug rings that he's hidden amongst the bedcovers or in my shoes.
When my mom and her husband went on a three-week road trip this fall, we got temporary custody of Maybelline. She's almost three years old and weighs 25 lbs, but that didn't stop Derby from trying to play with her. Took a few days before I was sure she was playing rather than just annoyed with our little delinquents.

With Michele Young at the Beau Monde soiree in Atlanta, July 2006 RWA conference. After posing for a few pics, we joined the line of dancers to practice the moves our Regency characters would know.
My shirt and breeches are period authentic, bought from Hamilton Dry Goods. I tried to make a vest, even though I can barely sew on a button, but, um, didn't quite finish it in time. I've had the boots since last October, when I found the company that made all the boots for the cast members of Pirates II and III. I also found the company that made Jack Sparrow's tricorn, but couldn't justify $500 for something I'd wear so rarely. I'm allergic to the costume hat, which is why the blue scarf was necessary. Too bad you can't see my red-and-black striped stockings.


At the literacy signing in Atlanta, July 2006. Since the book I was signing, Kiss From A Rogue, features smugglers and there was like 500 other authors in the ballroom, I dressed as a smuggler to stand out.

Yes, I said smuggler. Why did everyone keep saying "pirate"?

At the Avon dinner in Atlanta, posing with fellow Jaunty Quills: (l-r) Anne, Shana, Robyn, Cindy, and Margo. Kim, alas, wasn't able to go to Atlanta. Check out our fun blog, You never know when we'll be in the mood to give away prizes!
Dakarai (duh-CAR-ray) at about eight weeks, shortly after we adopted him on July 1. His name is Egyptian, means "happiness." He certainly made us happy -- having a cat-less house for more than three months was just so wrong. He weighed all of one and a quarter pounds the day we brought him home.

He never bites the hand that feeds him, but he is fond of gnawing on it. Then he likes to snuggle in the crook of my arm, belly up, for a rub. Cuddle time.

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.
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 200,1 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 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: Curse of the Black Pearl." (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. cannons mounted on the aft railing, behind me. My February '06 book 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 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.

With historical author Elaine Knighton at Cozy Cottage Books in Oregon City, February 26, 2005. This one was special, because my mom had just undergone cancer surgery the day before. I'd offered to skip the signing, but Mom ordered me not to -- she was looking forward to stopping by. She did, just three hours after being released from the hospital.
(11/06 update: Mom finished chemo and radiation, and is absolutely tickled that her hair grew back -- curly!)
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 in his favorite position, having summoned my husband to the chair.
I almost took this pic down. Spider passed away on 3/12/06, shortly after his 17th birthday. That happened to be the week I was writing the "black moment" scene for Charlotte and Alistair. A black week, indeed. I take comfort in knowing he's in no pain, and boxing again with Jack, his lifelong playmate who passed on four years ago. (You're wondering why a white cat was named Spider? He never meowed -- he chirped 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.