OMG, I saw the first sign of changing leaves! It shouldn’t be a shock – I live in Northern Vermont where the leaf color in Autumn is amazing, and we usually see the first signs of change during the first week of August. But it was a long, hard winter, and I suspect we have another long, hard one ahead of us with the *#!^%$ virus.

I want another full month of summer, maybe even two, where I can float in my pool and listen to audiobooks (I just re-read Ilona Andrews’s WHITE HOT, which is delicious). In fact, I’ve been doing a lot of rereading. I know what I want to read, and I’m quite often disappointed in the new stuff I’m trying. Still, I do keep discovering new writers that really appeal to me. There’s just something about revisiting an old favorite.

Plans for the ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE WORST MAN IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES are coming along swimmingly. I’m guessing it’ll be out in about a month, and there’s other good stuff coming. The cover is wonderful – I should start flashing that around – and I love the book.

Funny thing about books – they have minds of their own. I realize why I had such trouble with the final third of Worst Man – I was trying to force it into the mold I was used to, with a dangerous, murderous hero and the world about to explode. But that simply wasn’t this story. Obviously, given the title, my hero is a very bad man. But he’s also eminently redeemable.

More details to come. I’m getting very excited about this.


I’m finishing up the revisions on THE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY WORST MAN IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES and I’m feeling delicious. I don’t know why I have to go through so much tsuris (I think that’s the right word – meaning a whole lot of shit) but after throwing out the last third of the book and rewriting it I finally got it to a state that’s actually quite delightful. Now I just have to get the perfect cover and it’s off to the races.

Except …

There are so damned many things one is supposed to do before a book launch, months ahead of it, and I can barely keep it together enough to write blog posts. The book should be ready to go in a week or so. Why should I hold on to it?

Arrgh. Publishers may have gotten it wrong in the olden days, but at least I didn’t have this gnawing sense that I’m not doing enough.

More about the book later. In the meantime we’re wading through Covid in the state with the fewest cases (mind you, Vermont is a very small state) and doing our best just to be cheerful. I’m trying to lose my Covid-19 (like the Freshman 15 that everyone gains the first year in college) and I’m doing Noom. So far I keep eating too much everyday, so I have yet to demonstrate much success. Just got to hunker down harder – my clothes are too tight.

But the weather is beautiful (as is our entire state) so I can sit on my deck and look out over the lovely little New England town I live in (pop. 800-ish). I need to find a place by the lake where I can go and work.

Sigh. (That’s my BFF’s dock, but I have to scramble down a hillside to get there and I’m not so good at scrambling nowadays.) There’s also Cousin David’s house, possibly Sabra’s, but most of the family houses have all been sold to fat cat Californians so I’ve lost most of my nice, peaceful spots to write. That’s okay, I have my wonderful cabin …

I’ll take better pictures and clean it up so you can enjoy it. Funny thing is, books want to be written different places. Some want me in my office, some in the living room, some in the bedroom. The current one is loving the cabin (I’m getting a lot done) but I always prefer being by water. My idea of a perfect house would be a home on a secluded lake.

Next lifetime. For now I live in a beautiful place in a house of wood and windows, where I can write books that take me away to magic places. What more could a girl ask?

Heat Wave

Well, I tried to be really good and do another post but WordPress was being wonky. It’s working now and it’s too hot to do anything else, so here goes.

Just read the new Susan Elizabeth Phillips and it was WONDERFUL! (Yes, I’m shouting). Just fabulous. SEP can’t write a bad book, and she’s always fun, but this one was superlative, and the audio version rocks! I highly recommend it.

Been reading older Sandra Brown novels too, and they’re fun but a bit hard-boiled. The love story isn’t front and center, the mystery is, (I’d call them suspense rather than romantic suspense) but she’s another one who can’t write a bad book.

It’s been too hot here (hotter in northern Vermont that in NJ) to do much but sit in front of a fan and read, though I do have two quilt tops basted and ready to go. It’s just too hot to start, but maybe if I do it first thing in the morning that’ll work. Thing is, Richie and I always sit on the deck with our coffee in the morning and talk, and I don’t want to give that up. Still, I can get started earlier. (update – I started quilting until the free motion foot loosened and fell off and broke the needle).

I need to find a book to swoon over. I just bought hardcover editions of two of my favorite books (My Lord Monleigh and Bride of MacHugh) from ABE book so I’ll probably dive into them when they arrive.

The good news is that THE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY WORST MAN IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES is ready for my editor. My number one reader loved it, and I’m feeling happy happy happy with it. Now for all the extra work – the cover, the editing, the advertising, etc. (I don’t send the book to Jenny at this point because our finished products are so different – she micromanages and I paint with magic markers. If I gave it to her now she’d try to turn it into a Crusie, and while a real Crusie is incomparable, a Krissie-Crusie would end up like Frankenstein.)

In the meantime, I recommend you all seek out a favorite book to reread. More suggestions, please. I’m reading (I blush to admit it) TANGLED LIES because it’s one of my all-time favorites, and looking forward to the new Sarah MacLean Bareknuckle Bastards (all of this via Audible, because that’s how I roll).

And now, I can throw myself into the new/old book that I started a few years ago and got shot down on. That’s the lovely thing about indie-publishing. You can write your heart’s desire and no one’s gonna bitch about hooks and the market. Ah, Freedom (even if it comes at the price of all that annoying business stuff).

Happy Fourth of July out there. Stay in your backyards, wear masks, and think of your fellow woman/man. Cheers!

I’m Baaaack

So, okay, we know I’m terrible at keeping this blog up to date. I keep making promises and utterly failing, but I’m always hopeful. Maybe I actually write something every Monday.

So what’s been happening to me while the world has been falling apart (at this point I will keep away from politics – just know I’m as bleeding-heart liberal bordering on anarchist that you can imagine)? Anyway, Covid hit and I’m been locked in the house with my gorgeous husband of 45 years with nowhere to go. Perfect time to write a book, right?

Nope. I may have baked everything under the sun, but I did not want to write, even though I had a book that was two-thirds done. You know all those rules about writing? Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair. Just sit at the typewriter and open a vein. Write whether you feel like it or not.

Uh, that can be dangerous. Because I rewrote the 2/3 of a book that I had, and finally got to the love scene, and it took me days to get them in bed. And unlike some of my prissier sisters, I love to write sex. It’s central to my adult love stories – if characters have sex I want to hear about it. It changes everything in a story, it’s immensely important, and yet I couldn’t make my couple do it. And when they finally did, I was left feeling … meh. Mind you, it was good sex. I just didn’t care.

I spent the next month or so finishing the book, working so slowly I was afraid I’d lost my mojo. I really got worried when I wrote the end – I did at at a rate of 500 words a day. Now when I finish a book I zoom through it, because everything’s coming together and the action is high and I usually write at least 10,000 words straight (Which is about 4-5 hours work if the words are coming). So, okay, my career was over, the book I wanted to get back to was going to suck and I’d hate it and if this miserable experience was my writing life from now on then I was going to say fuck it and quit.

Fortunately I have people like Crusie and Lynda Ward to talk me down. Plus my therapist. So I put the wretched finished mss. to one side for a couple of weeks, and read the next thing I was going to work on. It was clumsy, it was awkward. But it was riveting.

So I went back to my hated mss. and realized I simple had to throw out that last third of the book (Oh, the humanity!) I did. Went back to before they had sex and changed it completely and then everything began to fall into place. I have no idea how that happened – in the past when I’ve gone in the wrong direction I catch it in a chapter or two. I just didn’t listen to myself this time. Didn’t listen to the girls in the basement (speaking of which, isn’t Barbara O’Neal doing splendidly nowadays? I love it when a friend hits the big time.)

So now I’m almost done, and it works, thank God. No strange directions and characters doing things that make sense but aren’t right. Taking a look at the flawed book, it could have been a perfectly decent book. I ticked all the boxes (not literally) with motivation, character development, plot coming to a big finale, bad guys conquered. It just wasn’t my book. You’d think after all these years I’d trust my instincts, but my instincts were way off.

Now I just need one of the 10,000 days and it’ll be done. And I just gotta hope I learned my lesson.

I spent part of the quarantine rereading old favorites, like Mine Til Midnight by Lisa Kleypas, and When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James, and Cotillion by Georgette Heyer (which I love as an adult but didn’t care for as a young ‘un).

Did any of you revisit beloved old favorites? There’s such a comfort in them. If you wanted to reread something, what would you pick? (I need some new keepers to discover).

See you next Monday. I swear!

Return to Thanksgiving

So, RETURN TO CHRISTMAS has been out a little than a week and I’m getting nervous (of course) but it seems to be doing well enough. There are all these rules and algorithms for indie publishing and I can only manage the bare minimum, but I’ll keep at it, and I’m hoping word of mouth will help. You all have mouths out there – go spread the word. I really love that book!

But it’s Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d list a bunch of things I’m thankful for. There are the usual suspects – my amazing husband, my two children, my grandchildren. I’m grateful for my friends, I’m grateful for my two surrogate sisters, Jenny and Sally, for the cats, Lille and Donnerpaus, for living in Vermont with our excellent services and representatives. I’m grateful there’s only a year of Trump left (please god), that Tom Hiddleston is doing a Loki series (hell, I’m just grateful there’s a Tom Hiddleston) and my sewing machines and my chair and did I mention my husband?

But most of all, I’m grateful for my gift. it’s my vocation, it’s my curse, it’s my joy. I started writing romantic novels in 5th grade (I’m serious – Troy Donahue and a round bed). Stories are everything to me, particularly stores where two people become partners, lovers and friends, and I can write stories that fill my heart. They’re not for everyone, but for me I can make them exactly what I want, and any time I feel put-upon or sorry for myself I think of that gift and said “Life’s not so bad after all.” (And trust me, there have been so pretty horrid times).

It really does make sense to count your blessings. My mother always felt that life had done her wrong, but in truth she was smart, a brilliant writer, she had wonderful children, a troubled husband who loved her. She had good jobs where she was appreciated, she had a rich life after retirement, and she had tons of younger friends who thought of her as a role model. And yet she felt bitter and resentful and it was everyone else’s fault (including the universe). If she’d ever stopped to think about the good things she could have been so much happier.

But yes, I’m even grateful for my emotionally-abusive, crazy-ass parents. They did the best they could. Never should have had children, but then, there would never have been a glorious me, and the world would be a poorer place (I’m not entirely facetious).

So I guess, most of all, I’m grateful for me, and I think that’s the sign of a well-lived life. I hope that all of you feel the same.

Er, grateful for yourself, not for me. But hey, if being grateful I’m me floats your boat then go for it. I’ll take all the help I can get.