Ballot boxIn an hour and a half the email will arrive in my inbox and each of the American Title finalists will know who has been cut and who has not.

What a pandora’s box of emotion and we haven’t even gotten the email yet!

If I’m cut, it’s not the end of my writing world, but I will be saddened. There has been a lot of effort expended here and not just by me! I want that to count for something. And dang it, I want that contract.

If I go on, I’ll be elated, but at the same time, sadness for those who didn’t will be present, as well. And then there’ll be the guilt. And gosh, I do guilt well.

Regardless of whether I go on or if my American Title journey ends here, the contest continues! November 13-26 is the next voting round and on the stage will the best Hero and Heroine.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you today if Rising Sin will be on the next ballot, but you can bet that if it is, I’ll be inundating your inboxes again in a few weeks.

Thanks everyone!

One Last Nudge – American Title III

Friday, October 27th, 2006

American TitleRound one voting for the American Title 3 competition closes midnight EST on Sunday.

Have you voted? I hope so!

It’s come to my attention that some of you are having difficulty voting from the Romantic Times website, so I encourage you to send an email directly to webmaster@romantictimes.com with RISING SIN in the subject line if that is the case.

Have you spread the news and asked others to vote? I hope so?

Are you guys the best support team around? I KNOW so!

What Happens Next – Rising Sin Excerpt


Cold and shivering, the young woman lay naked on the worn tatami mat. Chattering teeth grazed the edge of her tongue and she winced at the bright stab of pain. The coppery taste of blood spurred her senses and she pulled in tighter, cocooning her frail body within thin arms, trying to conserve precious heat. Just returned from her daily bath, skin damp, hair still dripping, the room’s cool air easily wicked away what body warmth she had.

Her body slackened, a protruding hipbone digging hard into the woven straw beneath her. Dull pulses of pain coursed along nerve endings drawn taut with the beginnings of withdrawal, but for now, her mind focused on the biting chill of the air. Her head lolled at an awkward angle as more shivers racked through her, the convulsions overtaking her aching muscles. Would her body finally snap?

Moments, minutes, hours later—she could no longer tell—thoughts returned with vague clarity. As if suspended over her life in a silken web of confusion, she was held hostage in a macabre nightmare, never quite discerning truth from hallucination.

She was due for another dose of drugs—the throb in her temple had steadily increased to an intense pounding—and while she loathed the idea of being held captive to that, too, if someone didn’t come soon, she would sink. Into the darkest depths of desperate need and she didn’t know if she could live through that. There was no place more horrific.

Not even downstairs.

The door opened and her legs twitched, blind instinct overriding addiction for the smallest thread of time. The sharp click of boots on the floor sounded up through her pulsing skull—bogeyman’s teeth snapping and gnashing, daring her to run, to flee, but then as he bent, his clothes whispered, promising salvation and soon everything would be warm and bright and beautiful.

The glorious prick of the needle then and behind it, tiny flames licking at her chilled skin and elation so pure her eyes rolled back in their sunken sockets. The heat radiated from within her now, stroking her with a lover’s gentle touch as hot, vibrant colors spread through her limbs and happiness buoyed her spirit to new heights.

Safe and warm and loved, she drifted off to sleep.

Vote by Email

The Business of Being Busy

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Vote now for Rising SinBusy, busy days are swirling around our part of the country right now and my “to do” list keeps growing. Exponentially it seems.

Besides all of the American Title contesthappenings going on, I’ve yet to pull out the potatoes from the garden (yes, I know, I KNOW!) and my TBR (to be read) pile is growing (thanks for reminding me, Toni!), there are a lot of Girl Guide commitments taking place with cookie sales and enrolment ceremonies and catalogue deliveries (I mostly ran my daughter’s designated route yesterday, so managed to kill two tasks at once) and I could keep on going, and going, but everyone is busy right?

Isn’t that what makes it all good? Or maybe not for some of you. Do you like to be busy or are you so busy that you prefer to be idle? What have you got on the go right now?

American Title III – Best First Line

Monday, October 16th, 2006

American Title 3 BannerRISING SIN (Romantic Suspense)

First Line:

Cold and shivering, the young woman lay naked on the worn tatami mat.

Judges’ Comments:

Flavia Knightsbridge — It’s a little passive, but I like the detail of the tatami mat. It might hint at an exotic setting that would make your book stand out from the suspense pack.

Hilary Ross — There could be lots of reasons for her condition (including being a prisoner in Japan!). I’ve seen similar first sentences, so this one isn’t that original.

Leslie Kazanjian — A vivid, evocative and atmospheric opening line that urges you to read on.

To read the other entries at the Romantic Times website and then vote for RISING SIN, click the button to the right. To vote now from my website click the button to the left.

Vote for Rising SinVote now for Rising Sin

Deep Breath In

Deep Breath Out.

SO. American Title 3 starts tomorrow at Romantic Times. You can vote there (and read the work) or you can vote by email …


I’m a little nervous, but I’m bearing up under the strain. Just in case you are not entirely sure what’s happening tomorrow these are the details…

At approximately 11AM EST Romantic Times will post the ten finalist’s biographies, pictures and first lines. THE JUDGES will have commented ala Simon, Paula and Randy style.

You then click on the voting link. Put RISING SIN in the subject line if that’s your choice…I’m not above begging at this point, so please do! Now press Send.

Tell all your friends about the contest. Tell all your family. Tell everyone. This is a wonderful thing to have happen and I’m delighted to share the experience with you all and delighted that you’ve come to support me. Thanks!

NOW a random sampling from the judge’s comments in the very first American Title contest…you can see how their approach differs.

FLAVIA KNIGHTSBRIDGE: Your previous entries really shone, but this one makes the story seem cliched.
HILARY ROSS: The mix-up that has the hero and heroine rooming together doesn’t seem credible, at least as presented. And the heroine’s “tick-list” that the hero helps her with seems a rather bizarre contrivance.
LESLIE KAZANJIAN: Kate and Nick sound adorable, the plot wackily wonderful. I fully expect these two to make major waves with their reluctant shipboard romance–and to tug on our heartstrings along the way. This story promises satisfying character development along with a fun plot–always a winner in my book.

I’m not sure what the judges will have to say about my entry, but I’m bracing for the worst and anticipating the best. That way I’ve got both spectrums covered.

Friends and Family

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Boys laughing

Can I just take this opportunity to say how glad I am to have friends and family like you?

The efforts that you are all making on my behalf are tremendous and I appreciate them so much.

And to those of you who are popping up out of the woodwork (hi Terrina!), don’t be afraid to drop me a line in the comments box. I’d love to hear from you!

Honestly, you have no clue what your support for the contest means to me. It warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

You guys are the best.

Rocking With The Goat!

Monday, October 16th, 2006

The GoatTune in tomorrow morning between 10:30 am and 1:00 pm (MST) as I give a little interview with Kasz and John on the Daily Grind brought to you by the fun folks at Border Rock 106.1 FM The Goat!