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Today is day 3 of my author spotlight on The Long and Short of It.  Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?  Spotlights are not a good thing for a menopausal woman!  They bring on hotflashes which invaraiably leads to a mood swing and…well, trust me, you don’t want to be there for that!  Good thing you’re protected by the vastness of cyber-space!  Anyway, today I’m talking about what I do to beat writer’s block.  Hope you’ll join me–and if you do, please, bring a fan!

Also, over on the Dames of Dialogue blog, Claire Applewhite, author of Crazy For You, is in the spotlight.  Interesting and fun read.  I find it amusing that she seems to be going in the reverse direction of most romance authors.  She started out writing mystery but as she writes, she’s finding that romance often noses into her stories.  Usually, it’s the other way around with romance authors–or at least with the ones I know–they start out writing romance then move into mystery or some other genre.

I have a theory about why that happens, but that’s a post for another day!  Meanwhile, check out yours truly on the Long and Short of It and Claire Applewhite on the Dames of Dialogue.  Between the two, you’re sure to find something you like!

with the latest Dames’ Dozen.  Denise Dietz, author of the Diet Club Mystery series is in the spotlight today on the Dames of Dialogue blog.  Her answers, not to mention the titles of her books, will put a smile on your face and give you some insight into what makes this fascinating woman tick.  Throw in a few promotion tips for authors and a romance that will warm your heart, and you have a highly entertaining and informative interview.

So instead of strangling a loaf of Italian bread or beating up a cookie or even chaining a lamb chop to the bed, hop on over to the Dames of Dialogue blog and check out her interview.  You’ll be glad you did and it just might save the life of a cheesecake!

BNTBTSBack cover blurb:

Natasha risks more than her life when she guards a defense attorney targeted by the Mafia.

Protection specialist Natasha Chamberlain thinks guarding a defense attorney from a disgruntled client should be a fairly normal job, but when she learns he’s been targeted by the mafia, she’s ready to call it quits. However, the attorney holds her to their contract and Natasha finds her own life placed in danger along with her bodyguard cohorts, Pit and Bigun. Natasha’s fiancé Jonce Striker is fit to be tied when he learns this, which only confirms to him that the bodyguard field is too dangerous for his love. After Natasha is shot trying to protect her client, Striker delivers the final ultimatum: leave the bodyguard field or lose him. Natasha makes her choice but will she live to regret it?

It’s no secret that I absolutely love this series.  I was hooked with the first book and my addiction only grows stronger with each one so instead of a review, I thought I’d share a few of the reasons why I like Ms. French’s Bodyguard series so much.

Number one—as Wilkie Collins said about cliffhanger endings, “Make ‘em cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em wait—exactly in that order.”  Ms. French does just that, sprinkling her books with touching moments, numerous laugh-out-loud scenes and then she ends them with a bit of a teaser that always leaves me wanting more and wondering what’s going to happen next.  The excellent writing and exciting plots are more than enough to keep me coming back, but that teasing hint of what’s coming in the next book hooks me every time.  In that respect, The Bodyguard and the Snitch doesn’t disappoint.  In fact, it just might be Ms. French’s best cliffhanger ending yet.  It seems Natasha…oh, wait, I don’t want to spoil it but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read it.

Number two—the way the protagonist, Natasha, grows with each book, not only personally, but professionally too.   With each story, she’s a little bit more confident of herself, her job, and even though her personal relationship with Jonce Striker, the love of her life, doesn’t always run true, the reader knows through her actions and thoughts that’s she’s coming into her own there too.  Natasha is an independent young woman and though she makes mistakes, she’s determined to learn from them.  There are several places in this book where she catches herself doing something she doesn’t consider professional and makes herself stop, step back, and rethink the situation.  She doesn’t always win the battle but at least she tries.  This also happens in her relationship with Striker, both of which tell the reader the character is maturing as a professional and as a partner in love.  Ms. French obviously knows what she’s doing when it comes to developing her characters and I think she’s bringing Natasha along nicely, not rushing things, but letting her grow at a realistic pace. 

Number three—speaking of characterization, the secondary characters are fabulous.  Yes, the main characters are well-crafted, but I think Ms. French has an extraordinary talent when it comes to creating secondary characters.  Not only the ones who show up numerous times in the series, like Pit and Bigun—who I hope and pray will get their own book one day—or Stevie and Cameron—who are a delightful mishmash of trouble just waiting to happen—but Natasha’s clients in each of the books; a millionaire computer geek, a show dog, a rock star, and in this one, a defense attorney, are all characters that I’d like to see appear again in the series.  We get a little of that in this one with Roger, the computer geek, and Giki, the rock star, and I hope Ms. French continues to weave some of these fascinating secondary characters into later books.  Her characterization skills are wonderfully apt and quite multi-faceted and it often leads to some of the most humorous passages in the books.

Number four; the romantic relationship between Natasha and Striker.  I’ve always had a thing for star-crossed lovers, whether in books, movies, or TV shows; it is a plotline that I’m drawn to.  Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona, Sam and Diane, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in almost every movie they made together, David and Maddie, even Eve and Roarke in a few of J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  I love them all and Natasha and Striker can easily be included on that list.  It’s fun watching these two alpha-personalities clash and seeing the give and take between them as they struggle to keep their relationship from crashing and burning.

Number five; humor.  Ms. French has a sly sense of humor that often takes me by surprise which only makes her books more enjoyable.  It is, of course, evident in The Bodyguard and the Snitch and I ended this one with a smile on my face…and a gasp at what’s becoming Ms. French’s trademark teaser ending, which brings us full circle, right back to number one!

With The Bodyguard and the Snitch, Ms. French has written yet another outstanding book that now rests in its pre-destined spot on my keeper shelf.  As with every one of the books in this series, the plot is compelling, the characters and dialogue are original and believable, and the ending, well, let’s just say I’m hooked and can’t wait to find out what happens when Natasha needs a bodyguard of her own.  Can you guess who it’ll be?

RomanceDreamsCelebrating today because Romance of My Dreams has officially moved from the coming soon page to the available now page!  Yippee and yuck!  Glad it’s out, but that means I need to struggle through getting the cover image in a text widget and up on my sidebar.  Sometimes it really sucks to be a computer moron!

Anyway, this is a great romance anthology and it includes my short story, Third Time’s for Keeps, along with nine other short stories.  All romance!

Here’s the blurb for Third Time’s for Keeps:

Jan Garnett and Keith Sanders fell in love in high school, but went their separate ways after graduation.  They reconnect briefly in college, but are torn apart by a secret only Jan knows.  When they meet again over twenty years later, the love is still there, but they’re leery of getting involved with each other because of painful and mistaken impressions from the past.

Jan knows she hurt Keith when she left, but she felt she didn’t have a choice at the time.  She’d give anything to have another chance with him, except he’s involved with another woman.  Or is he?

Keith loves Jan, but before he can chance getting involved with her again, he has to know the truth.  Did she leave because she couldn’t handle an interracial relationship?

This is their third chance for love.  Can they get it right this time?

Available in print at Amazon (no cover there yet but it’s coming!), in ebook for the Kindle and at Fictionwise.  Grab your copy today and enjoy!

My sister, niece, mom, and I went on a mini-vacation last week to Cherokee and Hot Springs.  The whole trip was wonderful but I enjoyed the day we spent in Hot Springs most of all.  It was fascinating to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, so to speak.  And every single person, from the librarians in both Hot Springs and Marshall who shared their wisdom and allowed us to look at records from the late 1800’s where we found quite a bit of information on the Daniels and Henderson families, to the owner of the hardware store in Hot Springs who steered us in the right direction for the cemetary where our great-grandmother was buried–we didn’t find it, but that was no fault of his–to the administrative assistant of the court house in Marshall where my great-grandfather conducted quite a bit of business while he was constable of Hot Springs, was incredibly helpful and friendly.  Whew!  How’s that for a run-on sentence?

Anyway, we have a ton of connections in Madison County, NC, and I’m so glad we found them all.  Our acknowledgement page for this one is going to be long.  I just hope we don’t leave anybody out!

Over the weekend while I was still working to clear out my email inboxes–I tell you, I used to hate getting junk-mail and I hate even more getting junk-email!–I got a bit of happy news; a contract from L&L Dreamspell for Winds of Fate!  Snoopy dances all around! 

Next up for me is the release later this month of the LLD anthology, Romance of My Dreams, with my short story, Third Time’s for Keeps.  After that, late this year or early next year, will come Storm Shadows, the second book in my Eternal Shadows series.  Winds of Fate will be my seventh book–or eighth, if you count Unwilling Angel twice since it was released by two different publishers.  Nah, I think I’ll go with seven.  After all, seven was considered a sacred number by my Cherokee ancestos.  So, seven books!  Can you believe that?  Not too shabby for someone who started writing as a way to deal with depression after learning she had MS.

So now I’m thinking about changing my blog name again.  The last time I did that, I seriously considered using the name Cait-of-Nine-Tales but I only had four–or maybe it was five–books out at the time.  I still like that name, and next year, when my seventh book comes out, I think I just might do it–hopefully, it’ll inspire me to get the next two finished and submitted, which will truly make me a Cait of nine tales!  Providing a publisher accepts them, of course!

For any authors out there who dropped their RWA membership this year–that would be me–and need a little confirmation you made the right choice, Emily Veinglory has a great post up today over on the EREC blog.  Be sure to click through to part one, which includes links to other authors’ take on the current situation between RWA and e-pubbed authors.  While you’re there, take the survey too because it gives you a chance to speak your mind about how you feel about all of this.  It’s also an interesting read for any aspiring romance author who might be thinking about joining RWA.

There’s also an informative post by Alice Anderson, creator of the CataNetwork, on her blog dealing with the same topic.

I won’t restate everything these two authors have said–they’ve done an outstanding job already–but I will say that RWA wasn’t for me.  I knew it before I joined and went ahead and wasted my money anyway–don’t ask me why, I’m still trying to figure that out myself! 

I’m fully aware there are authors who might find RWA to be the perfect place for them and if you’re one of them, by all means, sign up and send them a check…BUT if you’re trying to make up your mind, do a little research first.  These two blog posts are a good place to start.

I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom from Ms. Anderson:

“You are not alone in the world, dear writer. The internet has brought us together. You have options. Start exploring them.”

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams