Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rebecca Wants a Turn...

Oh, he's still playing that old took-a-bullet card, is he? He didn't happen to mention that I was abducted, tied up, and held in an abandoned warehouse, did he? Like he's the only one who looked danger in the face.

Still, he did manage to rescue me more than a few times during the course of Delia's book. And he really is cuter than the guy on the cover. I just love the way his hair curls at the back of his neck when he first gets out of the shower. And I never saw a better looking butt in a pair of old faded jeans. Did he tell you that I took him to the orchestra? Yeah, he cleans up pretty nice too.

But I wasn't looking for a man. No, it was all about the diamond for me. Do I get either one of them? Both? Neither? You'll have to read Delia's book to find out the rest. She's none too happy that we asked to take over, although she smiled and nodded. As if she could stop us. (The girl actually thinks she can direct us! Shhh....don't tell her. Let her think she's in charge.)

Catch all the action at Cerridwen Press. Diamonds really are a girl's best friend!

Thanks for listening. We'll let Delia back in tomorrow.

(Please don't call me Becky)

Friday, March 30, 2007

And Now a Word from Jake...

Hey, thanks for letting me have the blog today, Delia.

I'm Jake Crosby. Delia writes about me in her new book TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her, although I gotta say, I wasn't too pleased when she first threw Rebecca into my path.

I mean, there I was, getting by quite nicely for a washed-up detective. It worked for Bogart, didn't it? Maybe I could find a clean pair of jeans in the morning. Maybe I would even get up while it was still morning. Maybe the bottle of Jack Daniel's would have a swallow left in it.
Not a bad life for a guy, right?

Then along comes this leggy blonde with her superior attitude, crossing her arms and looking down her nose at me like I smell bad or something. Then all of a sudden, I find myself looking around for a clean shirt, driving past the bar without stopping in, actually digging into a real case for the first time in who knows how long!

It was quite an adventure, I must say. It's amazing what a man will do for the right blonde. Hell, I took a bullet for this doll!

And what does she do for me? You'll have to read Delia's book to find out the rest. I promised her I wouldn't give away too much. So click your way over to Cerridwen Press and check out TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS. You won't be sorry.

Oh, one more thing.....I'm a LOT better looking than that model on the cover.

See ya around,

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Did You Get Your Diamonds Yet?

Run on over to to see that TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS releases today! Yes, there it goes out into the world for strangers to read. It's a little bit like sending your child to kindergarten on the first day. You fully expect the teacher to call you and say he's the most brilliant child they've ever had the privilege to teach. But in your realistic heart of hearts, you know you'll be happy if he just doesn't pick his nose at the lunch table.

So, it's out there today. My Jake and Rebecca for all to see. What's the big deal about this diamond anyway? Well, for one thing it's extremely large. For another, it's been in Rebecca's family for generations. And finally, the man who has it now also has a little unfinished business with both Jake and Rebecca.

So on some level for both of them, it's not about the diamond at all. It's about revenge, and payback. And maybe even redemption.

Find out today at

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Just Your Friendly Neighborhood Burglar

Most of the time a book starts with just an image in mind. Maybe it lends itself to a scene. Maybe you aren't even sure what your image means. For me, TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS began with a burglar.

Now it's no secret among people who know me that Lawrence Block is one of my favorite authors. He is superb at the craft of writing and free with sharing his insights with aspiring writers. I knew him through his fiction column in Writers Digest before I'd ever read the first book about Bernie or Scudder or Keller. But once I started, I ran through each series with a voracious appetitie.

So maybe that's why I had this scene in my head of a woman dressed in black from head to toe sneaking through the backyard to pick the lock on the kitchen door of a large home in an exclusive neighborhood. It's even a diamond that she's after. But that's where the similarity with Block's Bernie ends.

While Bernie picks up loose jewels for a living - and possibly an obsession - my Rebecca's motive is revenge. Never the best reason to do something, really, but who wants to stand between a girl and her diamond?

Does she get the diamond? Does she get caught? And what does Jake have to do with it?

Find out tomorrow on RELEASE DAY for TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS at

Have a great day!
(and watch your diamonds!)


Friday, March 23, 2007

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

Well, who doesn't love a little bling-bling? You think Marilyn is the only one who "stands straight at Tiffany's?" No, it's in the female DNA to want the flash and sparkle. One of the many reasons I love this book.

In the spring of 2005, I was recovering from an emotionally trying time in my life. It didn't help any that my Prince was living a thousand miles away. I went to Columbia, Maryland to spend some time with him. While there, I wrote most of TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS.

Every day after he left for work, I sat at the dining room table listening to one of the local classical radio stations and writing in longhand. If I needed a break, I would take a short walk through the woods to Safeway to get a latte. Starbucks at the grocery store! What will they think of next?

It was a healing time for me. Watching those pages pile up helped tremendously.

Jake and Rebecca have been pretty beat up emotionally themselves. Isn't it amazing the way the mind works? Helping those two navigate themselves to a firmer footing and a happy resolution gave me insights to pull myself out of my own nasty spots.

We're all chasing diamonds of one type or another. I'm lucky that I found mine. Here's to everyone still on their quest. Sometimes the journey is the best part. The destination is just for show. See how Jake and Rebecca handle their quest next Thursday at Cerridwen Press.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

That's the Power of Love

My first book with Cerridwen Press releases one week from today! This particular book is dear to my heart for a variety of reasons. I'll write more about them in the next few days.

My working title for this book was DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH, which emphasized the quest for the diamond but also alluded to Jake. Yeah, he may appear to be a scruffy loser who may be just a tad too close to his buddy Jack Daniel's. But Rebecca sees the good in him. Not easily certainly, but when was love ever easy? But CP already had a book with that title, so I had to come up with something else. I struggled with it a little bit, trying to think of a way to keep the Diamond reference and still allude to the romance. That's when I came up with TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS.

Way back in the Eighties, the first romance I ever wrote was about a rock star in seclusion on a small island off the coast of Florida. While this book didn't sell, it got a fair amount of praise from a couple of editors and was the springboard for my first published work with Silhouette. All the time I was writing that rock star hero, I had Huey Lewis in mind. I had pictures of him all over my bulletin board above my desk. SPORTS was hot on the Top Ten and I played it constantly. I even got to see him in concert when he was promoting his next album, FORE. Also, MTV was fairly new at that time, and Huey was all over it, being very easy to look at.

So for Valentine's Day this year, my Prince took me to see Huey Lewis and the News at a local venue. They rocked the house that night! A few weeks prior to the concert, I loaded the player in my car with all of Huey's CDs. I was traveling at a high rate of speed, top down, singing along at the top of my voice to "Power of Love," when I coulda smacked myself upside the head with a two by four.

I hadn't realized why the phrase TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS had been floating around in my head, but there it was! "Tougher than diamonds, rich like cream."

Well, thanks, Huey. I guess you did finally show up in one of my books after all.

And that's the Power of Love.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 19, 2007

This is What Heaven Smells Like

There are some undisputably great things about living in Florida -

I have never shoveled snow in my life.
The Annual Pass makes Disney affordable.
No matter where you are, there is a beach in close driving distance.
You can easily pretend to have Jimmy Buffett's lifestyle.

But one of my favorite things is the smell of the orange blossoms. It's a fleeting thing, but one you do not want to miss if you can at all help it. This occurs in March. The citrus trees (of which we have many) are covered in tiny white flowers that release a perfume to rival anything Paris has ever put out. It's sweet without being cloying. Refreshing in the way citrus can be. And absolutley beautiful.

Yesterday, we took a drive down US 27 from I-4 south to Lake Wales, passing historic Bok Tower in the distance. This piece of Florida is known as The Ridge, probably because it's the highest elevation we can claim. And it's less than three hundred feet at its apex. It was a gorgeous day. Bright sunshine. Temperature in the seventies. Of course - look at this blog's picture, for gosh sakes! - we had the top down. The orange blossoms showered us with the sweetest perfume known to man. It was a rare treat, one I look forward to every March.

I know I'm supposed to live my life with words at my disposal, but for this experience, descriptions escape me. It's something that just has to be lived. So next time you're planning your Florida vacation, consider March. Rent a convertible and take that drive through the groves. You won't regret it.

Have a wonderful day!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Irish Car Bomb!

That's not a weapon, as you might guess. It's a drink. You start with a glass of Guinness. Fill a shot glass with equal parts Jameson and Bailey's. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness. Stir rapidly. Then chug.

Yeah, that's why they call it a Car Bomb. I became acquainted with this delicacy earlier today at Four Green Fields, an authentic Irish pub just on the edge of downtown Tampa. It was the place to be this St. Patrick's Day afternoon. Despite the fact that I stopped hanging out in Irish pubs abou ten years ago, one thing is constant. They still sing those same dozen or so songs. Whiskey in the Jar. Finnegan's Wake. The Wild Rover. Some things never change.

The barmaid's name was Ashley. The lilt of Irish laughter was sweet counterpoint to the rowdy band in the corner. She kept her cool admirably when someone asked for a Corona. "No, sorry, we don't carry that." But when the high-fashion Barbie doll walked in, clearely out of her element, and ordered a Mai Tai, she was helpless. "What's a Mai Tai?"

Which of course begs the question - who orders a Mai Tai in an Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day or any other day of the year?

My Brianna would have been right at home at this great party. The music, the laughter, the Guinness flowing like a babbling brook over green Irish fields. So if you can't go to Ireland, you can always find a corner bar or a good book to replicate the experience for you.
Try BRIANNA'S MAGIC. You'll be glad you did something Irish today.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Erin Go Bragh!!

Know what that means? "Ireland Forever" You should be able to hear it frequently and fervently tomorrow. Green Beer. Shamrocks. Silly hats. Kiss me, I'm Irish. It's that time of year again. Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

A few years ago, I had the great good fortune to be in Dublin on March 17. Through a series of wonderful circumstances, I was able to obtain VIP viewing of the parade and an invitation to the Lord Mayor's Ball. You'd think that would be about the most authentic Irish celebration ever, wouldn't you? So did I, but we were wrong.

The parade consisted largely of rowdy groups of Americans from places like Boston and Chicago who had won contests on their local radio station to go to Ireland and be in the parade. It's almost as if someone's marketing department created this parade just for the winners. The Lord Mayor's Ball was elegant with a gourmet dinner and excellent musicians. But again, the attendees were mostly American tourists.

Both of these events were loads of fun, and I'm glad I got the chance to attend. But give me the local pub any time. As our hero, Michael Gallagher, discovers in BRIANNA'S MAGIC, the authentic Irish celebration of St. Patrick's Day is not much different from any other night of the year. The Irish will always find some reason to lift a glass of Guinness.

That trip to Ireland certainly makes my Top Ten list of the best things I've ever done. But the most fun I had there was the day we left the tour group to wander aimlessly through Kenmare. We had a great time climbing over the wall of the old cemetery so we could read the headstones in the drizzling rain. It's the stuff of Irish legend, folks.

It's one of my life goals to get back there. And this time, I might be smart enough to stay!


Have a wonderful day,

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Brianna's History

The first book I wrote for Loose-Id was KELLA'S CHARM. People often ask writers, "Where do you get your ideas?" and quite often the answer is, "I dunno."

Some things come to you for reasons. Some things just come. With Kella I just had a vision in my mind of a man and a woman in an old castle. They are snuggled close together when an intruder bursts through the door. The man's first instinct is to reach for the furs to cover his love and shield her from whatever danger this may be.

That particular scene doesn't come until very near the end of KELLA'S CHARM, so I had to back up from there and find out how we get to that point. And that was the birth of that story.

Ancient Ireland, windswept cliffs, an imposing castle. It wasn't until after I started writing it that I found out Kella is a witch.

So when I started to work on a story for St. Patrick's Day, I went back to Kella. Parts of that castle would remain centuries later, wouldn't it? And if the ancient magick lasted through time, then the descendants today would have it in them, wouldn't they?

So this was the birth of BRIANNA'S MAGIC. And that is why you'll see the same ancient ruins on the covers of both books. Castle Torin binds the two stories together.

I hope you'll enjoy both stories. We all need a little sprinkle of faerie dust, don't we? Have a magical day!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Brianna Arrives Today

Now you can find BRIANNA'S MAGIC on the front page at This is the perfect story to put you in the mood for St. Patrick's Day. Follow Brianna and Michael as they struggle toward their happily ever after on a windswept cliff at the very edge of Ireland.

In today's excerpt, Brianna has decided to try dissuading Michael from tearing down the old ruins she holds sacred by scaring him with stories and legends of the little people and other magical beings in the area. While serving at the pub, she stirs up the locals to start the stories rolling. No problem in an Irish pub. The gift of gab is in their blood. Enjoy:

Behind the bar she started to pour a Guinness for him. When Daniel glanced her way, she grabbed her opening. “Danny boy, you’ve met our Michael Gallagher here?” She nodded toward him.
“Of course.” Daniel clapped Michael on the shoulder. “Trounced him soundly at darts last night.”
“I certainly hope his buildin’ skill’s better’n his darts, then.” She slipped into the more informal brogue, tightening her kinship with the men. “He’s plannin’ on some fancy hotel up by the ruins.”
“The ruins?” Daniel cocked an eyebrow.
Brianna slid the glass of stout across the bar to Michael. “That’s if the leprechauns will let him. You know there’s faerie rings up there.”
Now Old Jimmy joined in from Michael’s other side. “Aye, the faerie rings. Wouldn’t do to cross them.”
Michael kept the grin on his face, but Brianna could see the slight frown furrow his brow. “And what if I do?” he asked.
Wiping at a spot of foam on the bar with a damp towel, Brianna shrugged. “I don’t think you’re wantin’ to find that out, are you?”
His smile widened as he looked from one group of men to the other, then back at Brianna. “I’m thinkin’ I do.”
Oh, this man is good, she thought, noticing how he’d picked up a hint of the brogue himself to increase his acceptance in the group and receive the benefit of their familiarity.
“’Tis never a good idea to mess with the faeries,” Old Jimmy said. “They can be mean.”
Michael took a long drink of his Guinness. “What if I don’t believe these faeries exist?”
“Oh, they exist, all right.” Seamus leaned in from beside Old Jimmy. “Brianna’s seen the little people, haven’t you?”
She placed a fingertip against her chin, as if in deep thought. “Well, I thought I’d seen a tiny one once.” She looked at Seamus. “But ’twas only that you’d come back from the gents without zippin’ your fly.”
Both groups of men exploded in raucous laughter at the expense of Seamus’s manhood. He didn’t seem to mind, despite the redness that bloomed in his cheeks as he laughed with the rest of them. Old Jimmy picked up the thread, exactly as Brianna had hoped. The storytelling had just begun. The night would be filled with stories of faeries, hauntings, legends, all sprung from the land by the ruins. There were dozens of them, maybe enough to change Michael’s mind once he’d heard some of them.

Well, that's all for today. Check in tomorrow to see what other kind of magic may be happening to Brianna and Michael. And don't forget to start thinking about the wearin' of the green on Saturday!

Have a magical day!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cead Mile Failte

Cead Mile Failte is an Irish Blessing that means "a hundred thousand welcomes."

We welcome everyone to Brianna O'Shea's debut week as we head toward St. Patrick's Day. Tomorrow marks the long-awaited release of BRIANNA'S MAGIC at It's a smart and sexy story with a gorgeous cover about an Irish witch and an American businessman who find the old magic working its spell on both of them as they fall in love amidst the ruins of an ancient Irish castle.

Here's the opening:

Brianna O’Shea walked out the back door of her great-grandmother’s cottage toward the ruins of Castle Torin. The moon was almost full, casting an ethereal glow over the damp, heather-strewn field. The rain had stopped about an hour ago, but tiny drops still glistened in the cracks and crevices of the stone wall.

Now not a single cloud marred the night sky. Stars pricked the blackness like handfuls of sequins scattered across a velvet cloth. Black and silver. Everywhere she looked, Brianna saw the gleaming contrast of sparkle against darkness. Surely tonight, if ever, faeries danced in the moonlight.

That's all for today. I'll be adding a little bit more every day this week, so stay tuned if you want to catch a little more Irish magic.

Meanwhile, I'm chatting tonight at Romance Junkies. 9:00 Eastern Daylight Time. See you there!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Top Ten Places in the World!

Talking about Hemingway and Key West yesterday made me think about all the places that I've really loved in my life. Would Key West make the top ten? I thought about it for a while, and came up with the ten best places I've been. There may be other places I'll love equally well if not better. I just haven't gotten there yet. Like Hawaii - that's on my To-Do list. So here they are, in no particular order:

Key West
San Francisco
New York City
Yosemite National Park
Walt Disney World
Columbia, Maryland
Washington, DC
Kenmare, Ireland

Kenmare is a tiny place on the southwestern edge of Ireland. It was my inspiration for the tiny village of Torin in BRIANNA'S MAGIC. We had been on a week-long tour of Ireland which included some St. Patrick's Day festivities (they are in the book too!). By the time we got to Kenmare at the end of the trip, we were ready to get off the tour bus and just sit in a pub for a while. It was a magical experience - listening to the lilting voices of the locals, enjoying the warm soup and thick soda bread, feeling the misty rain on our faces as we walked about the village. Nothing in my life has been remotely like that little bit of Irish Magic. Some day, if things go as planned, I'll get back there. And I might just stay!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Hemingway? What's that?

One of my favorite places on the planet is Key West, Florida. Another guy who kind of liked it there is Ernest Hemingway. His home there has become a local shrine and tourist attraction. You can walk through it with a well-informed guide for a modest fee. I do it every time I'm there.

Papa Hemingway is legend on the island. He not only wrote some really good books while he lived there, he did quite a bit of fishing and more than a little bit of drinking. His daily routine started with writing. He had to write 700 words before he could do anything else. Once he got those 700 down on paper, it was off to the bar. Sloppy Joe's is a large, loud, populated place on Duval Street. But there's another bar, just off Duval that claims Hemingway also. Captain Tony's is today in the location where Sloppy Joe's was in Hemingway's day. So go to either one. You'll be steeped in the Hemingway experience in both places.

One of my favorite things on the tour is Papa's study. This is separate from the main house on the second floor of the old carriage house. You can only peer inside. They won't let you go in and touch anything, no matter how much you beg. But you can stand in that doorway, look at his things, close your eyes and absorb his essence.

I figure he's a pretty good standard to follow, so I make it my goal to write at least 700 words every day. Usually I write more than that, but once I get my "Hemingway" done, I'm sailing the rest of the day. Of course, if I lived in Key West, I'm sure I'd be off to Sloppy Joe's too. Good thing I don't live there.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

In the Zone

No matter how many books I write - and I don't even know what that number is any more - the same thing happens. The process begins easily enough. I have an idea, I have clearly defined characters in my head. I know what the conflict is and how it's going to affect them. So I start writing. The beginning chapters flow like honey in the Florida sunshine. Easy, sweet and never ending.

Then I hit the wall. Okay, the set up has been...well...set up. We know them, we love them. They love each other, although they probably don't know it yet. We see the conflict looming over them like the monster that ate Cleveland. Intimidating to be sure. But we know they will overcome it. Somehow.

So now what? This middle of the book - I once heard an author refer to it as "the muddle" - drives me freakin' crazy! I sit before the computer, staring at the blank screen, the blinking cursor. One word might appear. Ten minutes later there might be another. Then a rash of sentences, quickly tapped out, just as quickly deleted. Nothing makes sense!

It's more difficult than giving birth. More painful than a root canal. More boring than scraping spaghetti sauce off a plate your lazy son left in the sink overnight and...wait! I've been distracted. But that's part of it too.

So day after day I work at this part of the book. Barely managing to produce my "Hemingway" every day. Then something magical happens. I'll finish up a day, put my MP3 player in my ears and head out for my afternoon walk, and all the way around the one mile circle, the whole rest of the book appears as vividly as if I were watching it on the big screen of a movie theater.

That happened to me yesterday. THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS has finally hit her homestretch. I'd write a lot more about it here, but I'm eager to get back to the manuscript. More later!

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Heavy Drinkers

In every book I write, I somehow manage to have at least one scene of someone drinking coffee. Why is that? (excuse me while I take a sip of my coffee right now). Oh, sure, I occasionally change it to tea. But still, what's with all the drinking?

Well, there's a small possibility that since it comes through my brain to get on the paper, the actions are going past my thirst. It is not uncommon to find three beverages on my desk at once. There's coffee in the mornings. There is always a bottle of water somewhere. It may be brand new, or it may be down to its last few drops, but it's there.

In the afternoons the beverage collection grows to include whatever I drank with lunch. This could be iced tea, diet Coke, some flavor of Crystal Light...doesn't matter. After lunch it comes back to the desk with me. If I go to the grocery store, I always get a drink at the fountain by the Deli. There's something about that small machine ice...I don't know. So that's where the paper cup with the plastic lid comes from.

Then we have the travel mugs. My boyfriend lives 30 minutes away. I go to his place every Wednesday to cook a nice dinner for us. We usually watch a movie after dinner. Then for the long drive home, I fill one of his travel mugs with iced tea (or whatever beverage we had. Except wine. I don't put wine in a sippy cup!)and then THAT winds up on the desk when I get home.

So when I'm writing a scene that starts with people waking up, I naturally send them to the kitchen to grind the beans or put on the kettle - or both, depending on their preferences. I don't know how to avoid this. Even now, with my rich spoiled heiress heroine, it's an issue. She tries to make coffee for the hero, but winds up just staring at the beans wondering what to do.

There must be a society for this, like AA or Overeaters Anonymous. Maybe OBA? Over Beveraged Anonymous. Hello, my name is Delia, and I must have beverages!

It's a twelve-step program. Here's my pledge for today: I promise to write all day without putting liquids of any kind in the scenes.

Well, unless the characters walk past a Starbucks. That's a whole 'nother issue.