Holiday Goodness Challenge 2009

Times are tough, times are hard, nobody’s denying it. And though purse strings may be tight, I’m convinced hearts are bigger and more generous than ever before.

Hope for the Holidays

In keeping with the holiday spirit of counting my many blessings, including the release of Twelve Nights, my Christmas Harlequin Historical Blaze, I’ll be giving away twenty copies of  Vanquished, the first of my “Men of Roxbury House” trilogy to the first twenty readers who donate a minimum of $10 to this year’s Holiday Goodness charitable recipient, Marian’s Dream: Philanthropy for Animal Advocates.

A Good Dream

Founded in 1981 as a memorial to Marian Rosenthal, Marian’s Dream is a 501(c)3 public charity with the mission of helping donors help companion animals through support of innovative programs and projects operating on the local, regional and statewide levels. Funding accessible, low-cost spay/neuter resources is a particular focus.

$200 will provide four feline spays or six feline neuters. If that sounds like a modest goal, consider that one female cat can birth two litters a year. That’s up to a dozen unwanted kittens, many of whom will have additional litters of their own.

Shelters and rescue groups are overwhelmed. The solution lies in prevention.

Goodness Spilleth Over

Hope holds Sweeney, once homeless, now very much homed.
Hope holds Sweeney, once homeless, now very much homed-and loved!

I’ll be running the Holiday Goodness Challenge now through January 1st. You can make your donation to Marian’s Dream online via PayPal or by check. For verification, I’ll need you to send: 1) a copy of your donation receipt, either photocopy or forwarded PayPal receipt, 2) the name of the person to whom you’d like the book inscribed if you’re giving it as a gift, and 3) your snail mail address to me at [email protected] or PO Box 1344, New York, NY 10276. If by email, please include “Holiday Goodness Challenge” in the subject header.

As we approach our $200 goal, I’ll be posting the glad tidyings here along with the first names, surname initial and home state of the first twenty generous souls to step up to the proverbial plate.

Thank you for keeping Marian’s beautiful dream of a world with no more homeless pets alive this holiday season.


PS: As always, please feel free to Re-Tweet or repost and pay the ‘goodness’ forward.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of…Miss Leanna Renee Hieber

As little girls, lots of us played at dress-up, even imagined ourselves as fairytale princesses a la the Walt Disney storybook tales. I know I did.

Some of us took the fantasy well…a wee bit farther.

(L to R) Leanna Renee with photographer, Biz Urban at the August Lady Jane's.
(L to R) Leanna Renee with photographer, Biz Urban at the August Lady Jane's.

My dear friend, Lady Jane Salon co-founder, and newly minted Dorchester author, Leanna Renee Hieber took the game up a notch, make that several notches. Parading about her parents’ living room in rural Ohio speaking in a British accent and quoting the likes of Edgar Allen Poe, it was clear Leanna Renee was doing more than playing a part.

She was living a dream and quite possibly a past life.

And so was born Percy Parker, the heroine of Leanna Renee’s Victorian set fantasy romance, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker.

Percy is a most unusual romance heroine just as Strangely Beautiful…, the first in a quartet series, is a most unusual romance-think Victorian Ghost Busters. Delicious!

But there’s more. Lady Jane’s Salon has joined forced with our friends at Romance Novel TV to bring you Lady Jane’s Book Club at RNTV. Now those of you who aren’t able to attend the physical salon (as well as those of you who do) can participate monthly. The book club offers videotaped interviews with the featured salon authors as well as the ability to interact with the author and other readers via an online discussion of the book complete with a list of suggested topics.

So much goodness…

Madame X in Soho, New York City's sexiest lounge.
Madame X in Soho, New York City's sexiest lounge, the perfect setting for Lady Jane's. Photo by

Leanna Renee will be reading and signing at this Monday’s (September 7th) Lady Jane’s Salon from 7-9 PM and yes, books will be available for purchase onsite at our beloved venue, Madame X. Special guest reader: award winning author, Isabo Kelly. A special Strangely Beautiful cocktail is being… concocted for the event for the recession busting price of $5.

As always, proceeds from the door ($5 or one gently-used romance novel) will go to support Share the Love.

In the meantime, please do visit RNTV for the book club questions and a videotaped interview with Leanna Renee.

Happy Labor Day Weekend,


PS The third and final installment of Nekkid Truth: La Touche Finale will be posted here this week, so please check back for the final unveiling: before/after publicity photos of Yours Truly by the uber talented Biz Urban.

Nekkid Truth

Yes, it’s that time. Time to retire my lovely but alas somewhat dated (2006)publicity photos and forge that new photographic frontier: photos that actually look like me. Currently.

To that end, today, all day, I’ll be primping, prepping, and yes preening for new photos by Manhattan photographer, the lovely and talented Biz Urban.

And bonus, we’re going to shoot before as well as after photos with mayhap even some behind-the-scenes tossed in. If we’re lucky, the cats may get into the picture (so to speak), too.

Check back here for the Nekkid Truth: me as God made me with (gulp) four or so decades added on.

Should be most…revealing. 😉



Lady Jane Salon Recap

Last night’s Lady Jane’s Salon was lovely indeed but don’t take my word for it. Instead, check out what Scandalous Woman blogger and savvy Lady Jane Salon attendee, Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, has to say on the subject.

Hope mugs for the camera with guest author buddy, Dee Davis, at the Jalon Salon.
Hope mugs for the camera with guest author buddy, Dee Davis, at the July Salon.

Monday, June 1st Lady Jane’s Salon: Double the Fun

This month we build on the BEA buzz to welcome not our usual two, not three, but four super fab guest authors: Marjorie M. Liu, Wendy Corsi Staub, Diane Gaston, and Amanda McCabe.

For this month only the Salon will go an extra hour from 7:00 to 10:00 PM to accommodate all the goodness. Otherwise stats remain the same: Madame X, 94 W Houston (between Thompson & Laguardia). Admission is $5 or one gently used paperback romance novel to benefit Share The Love.


Seeing Stars, Part II: NYRP Picnic

Last week I attended the New York Restoration Project’s eighth annual spring picnic as the guest of Lady Jane Salon co-founder Maya Rodale.

Founded in 1995 by actress-songstress and all ’round uber talent, Bette Midler, NYRP carries out the Divine Miss M’s vision of a cleaner, more beautiful New York for all residents regardless of zipcode. The organization “restores, develops, and revitalizes underserved parks, community gardens, and other open spaces in New York City.”

As a city resident, Ms. Midler, I heart you! 

Held at beautiful Fort Tryon Park, a NYRP recipient, the evening rolled out with cocktails and marvelous munchies at the New Leaf Restaurant. Afterward, guests retired to the dining tent where we were treated to a delicious barbecue dinner by BLUE SMOKE. Emcee Judy Gold had us rolling in the aisles, which given the quantity of barbeque I put away was pretty painful.

Throughout the night, trees were adopted, jokes cracked, and yes, songs sung. Living legend Tony Bennett favored us with a classic song, and Ms. Midler ended by leading us in a sing-a-long that included her unique version of “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Other celebrity attendees included Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Nina and Tim Zagat, Cynthia and Dan Lufkin and O Magazine editor-at-large and Oprah’s BFF, Gayle King (See photo op).

Pardon my "dear in the headlighhts" look. Hope cozies up to the camera with Oprah BFF, Gayle King. Photo courtesy of Narda Ducheine.
Pardon my deer in the headlights look. Hope and Oprah BFF, Gayle King, cozy up to the camera. Photo courtesy of Narda Ducheine.

The Divine Miss M definitely put the “fun” back in fundraiser. To heck with rushing home to tune into American Idol and learn the fate of Adam Lambert. Though the evening ended at 9:00, I could have danced all night.

 But the celebs needed their beauty sleep and well, it was a “school” night.

To learn more about the NYRP and opportunities for volunteering, visit the organization’s web site at

Divinely Yours,


Live from New York–Real Live Celeb Sighting

Okay, I just all but brushed shoulders with Matthew Modine (“And the Band Played On,” “Gross Anatomy”), one of my all-time favorite actors, and I’m just un-cool enough to hop online and report it.

I say “all but” because at six feet four he stood head and shoulders above me. I was dashing out to pick up my morning cuppa–okay, more like my afternoon cuppa but well, I am a writer–when I saw two men walking up Broadway toward me. The one was tall, good looking (make, that hot or better yet, sizzling), and wearing this uber cool turquoise tapestry vest over a white cotton tee, a look that seemed a lot more California than New York. The other guy was…well, don’t ask me. I’m sure he had a great personality.

And then I realized just who He was.

Like two ships sailing past one another in the night, Matthew and I brushed by. He never broke his stride or his conversational train-of-thought. I, on the other hand, was likely bug-eyed and slack-jawed, in the throes of a full-on Fan Girl Moment. But props to me, at least I was cool enough not to invade his personal space. I mean, it is Manhattan, not LA.

And Manhattan is well, pretty great. We city dwellers may live in apartments the size of the average workplace cubicle, but really, when the city is your oyster (shell), how much personal space do you need? Every time you walk out your building, there’s this amazing, butterflies-in-stomach feeling that something wonderful, magical, may just be around the next corner. It’s sort of like living if not in a fairytale then certainly a romance novel. You may have to slug through sidewalks stacked with garbage and wait in line with your fellow 1.2 million “neighbors” for just about everything but somehow that’s okay because you know, just know, there’s going to be something positive, something wonderful waiting at the end of it all, so long as you remember to believe.

Happy Monday,


(No Longer) Singing the Deadline Blues

I hit “Send” on Twelve Nights, the sequel to my Scottish Blaze Historical, Bound to Please last Saturday at 5 AM. After three plus weeks of self-sequestering, I’m back to living like a biped human being–exercising again and washing my hair again and eating meals off an actual table.

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Union Square, NYC. Hope could have used some of the Indian nationalist leader's renowned peace last week!
Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Union Square, NYC. Hope could have used some of the Indian nationalist leader's renowned peace last week.

Deadlining, not to be confused with mainlining (though admittedly there are similarities), allows writers to experience the duality of our natures. Think Devil-Angel, Jeykl and Hyde, The Ripper and…Jack. In my case, I go from being this fairly fastidious person to one who’s picking sushi rice out of her computer keyboard.

Deadlining puts me in touch with my inner adrenalin junkie. Deadlining is my NASCAR. I may not parachute out of planes or go on amusement park rides that spin faster than the classic carousel, but hop me up on caffeine and give me a week to write those last 20,000 words, and I’m a regular Evel Knievel. 

Random townhouse in NYC's West Village.
Random townhouse in NYC's famed West Village.

Now that the deadline drama is past, I’m living large–and enjoying spring in New York–at least until the revisions come in.


PS Check back in a few for my mid-April contest winner.

Coffee Talk with Lady Jane

When Paul Ohlson, Marketing Manager for my wonderful publisher, Medallion Press rang me up to ask if I’d be game to participate in Medallion’s online radio spot at BlogTalk Radio, I didn’t hesitate, not for a nanosecond.

“Sure thing,” I said (or something like that), “So long as you don’t mind me blabbing about this cool new reading series/salon some buddies and I put together in New York. Perchance you’ve heard of her…I mean it.

It’s… Lady Jane’s…”

Paul was more than enthusiastic and so we did this interview thing, which was uber fun due in no small part to the fact that Paul, whom I’ve never actually met “in the flesh,” so to speak, has one of the sexiest voices ever.

But I digress…

My interview is part of “Great Authors Revisited“(almost sounds as though I’m on Mount Rushmore or something–perish the thought) and the podcast will be posted starting, yeppers today through March 31st. So, if you have some time, seven minutes to be exact, I hope you’ll check it out.

Speaking of checking out, I’m off for multiple weeks to parts if not unknown then certainly ready to be explored again: Paris and London in the main. I’d like to say I’ll be blogging madly in real time on all my adventures but likely I’ll be too busy…well, adventuring. Not to mention the escargot eating and the cheese eating and the basking in butter overall. But, mes enfants, when I get back…Ooh la la, when I get back…


Happy Valentine’s Day & Congrats Contest Winners

What better way to ring in the Day of Hearts and Flowers than by announcing good news?

((Okay, well maybe I can think of an even better way, but I do try to keep the blog-o-zine at the PG-13 level)).

Congratulations to my three latest contest winners: Jean M of Broomfield, CO; Patricia B of Jonesborough, TN; and Jessica P of Norman, OK. Like so many of you who entered, these savvy ladies knew that in Every Breath You Take…, for years Cole has been rooting for Alex to finish that novel.

Each winner will each receive an Untamed coverflat keepsake and a signed copy of Strokes of Midnight.

Didn’t win this time ’round? In love and life, there’s almost a second chance lurking around the corner. Check out my current Contest and see how you can win and yes, Share the Love with women working to build independent lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day!