Thanks to everyone who commented on my post!
Please contact me through my website www.cindykirk.com with your snail mail information and I’ll get the book in the mail to you!!
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
Update: My winner is (cue drumroll, please!) …Tanja Haack! She’ll win a copy of Stroke of Genius! Tanja, please contact me through my website so I can send your ebook to you! (For the rest of you, don’t despair. I have a little surprise coming next week. Be sure to check my blog on May 21st & 22nd for a free read!)
I’m in Boston. My mom is in the Midwest. We keep in touch through frequent calls and on Facebook, but it’s so not the same as being in the same town and being part of each other’s lives every day. However, I did get a chance to see her for a few days before the RT convention last week and took her for a pedicure for Mother’s Day. It was a nice, relaxing girl time for us.
But that wasn’t the gift she was most excited about. I gave her my old Kindle. I hesitate to even call this a gift since it was used, but my DH gave me a Kindle Fire for my Bday and it seemed wasteful to have two of them. I worried that she’d be able to use it since she’s only recently jumped into spending time on the computer. Once I showed her how she could control the size of the font, she was thrilled and soon learned how to choose from the library of books. It’s loaded up with all my romances, my DH’s techno-thrillers and a few mysteries tossed in for good measure.
That Kindle is still attached to my account, which means when I buy a new book, Mom can read it, too. Since she put the first romance novel in my hands years ago, this seems fitting. I love this. When you share a book, you share a whole world. And even though we’re still miles apart, we’ll have plenty to talk about. The distance between us shrinks as we share the same books and live through the same love stories.
Do you have someone with whom you share books? Are you part of a book club or a circle of reading friends? What are you planning for Mother’s Day? Leave a comment for a chance to win my Stroke of Genius for your Kindle.
Georgette Heyer with ripped bodices!
“Crispin Hawke is awkward, dashing, self-assured, rude, everything you’d expect from Georgette Heyer, or even Jane Austen. Grace Makepeace is American. She’s tall, beautiful, and knows what she wants. But she falls for Hawke in a big way and decides that she wants him above everything else. Mia Marlowe is the mistress of saucy historical romance, and Stroke of Genius is pure delight!”
We had a long and pretty normal winter. Our winters in lower Michigan can be awfully cold (by that, I mean temperatures close to 0° F). But this past winter, I don’t think it went below the 20s more than a handful of days. We had more snow than last year – a little more than average for us, I think – but no big storms that dropped 2 feet or anything like that. We just had multiple drops of 5 or 6 inches. Very manageable. Here’s my house in the winter. Who wouldn’t want to snuggle up here in front of the fire?
So now it’s spring, and so far, it’s been enjoyable – amazing in fact, as always. Plants and trees go from invisible (or brown) and dormant to lively green shoots so quickly! The picture on the left is one of my little gardens and was taken nine days ago.
Lately, the temperature has been hovering around 70, and we had lots of rain, which is great for me, because I love rainy days. I thrive on the cozy feeling you get when it rains steadily all day. I like it when it’s cold and snowy outside and the radiators click on in every room. I must have a major nesting instinct, because my favorite seasons are the ones when we’re snuggled into our house and having a fire in the fireplace, when the oven is on and something is roasting or baking. Chances are, one or more of my kids will stop by because they know there’ll be something good on for dinner. I like winter sports – ice hockey and skiing. I like walking the dog in the cold weather.
And I hate being hot. Summers here are sweltering – hot and humid. It used to be that we’d have only a few days of 90°F weather, but last year, we were close to 100°F for weeks at a time. Even the people who have air conditioning in their homes complained about it. Because how do you do your yard work when it’s 98°? When do you walk your dog? At dawn? When it’s only 80° with 90% humidity? I have to insert here that my house is nearly 100 years old, and it has no ductwork. We have pipes for steam heat, but in order to put in central air, it would cost about $25,000 or more. And since we never used to have so many crazy-hot days, it didn’t matter so much. Luckily, we do put in a few room air conditioners, so we can get some relief. You can see them in the picture on the left, hanging out of the upstairs bedroom windows (and there’s my poor, parched lawn, too).
But back to the season itself. Summer is when friends and family leave town, go on vacations or away to their cottages. And I miss them. My kids always seemed to be … well, somewhat out of my control during summer vacation. A way from structure. They spent their days at our community pool, they were involved in summer sports (like swimming and baseball, which are not my favorite spectator sports), skateboarding, and riding bikes; playing with their friends. Which is all good, right? They needed their unstructured, down time between school years – because, as we all know – tight schedules and responsibilities come all too soon.
But enough whining! This summer, I’ve got a couple of things to look forward to. In July, I’ll be going to Atlanta (another hot place, right?) for the RWA conference. I’m pretty excited to be able to see – in person! – my Jaunty Quill buddies! I’m also going to Scotland during the first two weeks of August. This is exciting because it’s been eight years since I was there, and now I’m writing Scottish Highlander books, so I need to do some live and in-person research. My newest book (The Highlander’s Desire) will be released just a few days before I leave. I’ll tell you more about it when we’re closer to release day. In the meantime – what are your plans for this summer? Have you made any yet?
It’s May which means it’s my birthday month, though that’s not really what I want to talk about today (but feel free to send gifts b/c I love presents.) May also is the month when Brenda Novak hosts her annual on-line auction for Diabetes research. To date her auctions have raised over a million dollars. You can bid on anything from meet & greets with authors to fabulous vacations to jewelry. There’s truly something for everyone. I’ve donated to this auction for many years, but a few years ago the cause came near and dear to those I love and now it means so much more.
When The Professor and I started dating he was finishing up his PhD and living with his best friend since 2nd grade who was also completing a PhD – my fella had moved to Austin (from their native OH) before Jeff came, but then they were roommates until Jeff got married. While the Professor and I were falling in love I got to know Jeff and his then fiancé, Rendy – they were planning their wedding and their future. He was one of those big dreamers, lots of plans for the future, wanting the best and the most of everything. He was fiercely smart and though he could be a toad at times (what man can’t?) he was crazy about the Professor and I know would have done anything for him.
He stood next to the Professor at our wedding, gave an amazing best man speech that made me cry. There we were two married couples and for a while we all lived in the same city and we’d have dinner on occasion. Then we all moved, us to Tennessee and them to Ohio. First jobs, first homes, we were on our way. We visited each other in our perspective homes, saw each other for holidays and the guys talked for hours on the phone every month or so.
Then we moved back to Texas and the week The Professor started his job here we got the call. Jeff had died. A victim of his juvenile diabetes. He was 33 and he and his wife had just celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary. The Professor was heartbroken. He gave the eulogy at Jeff’s funeral. And all of a sudden this auction that I’d donated to because I knew it was a good cause came home to the DeHart house.
So here we are in May once again and I don’t know if you’ve had Diabetes affect anyone you know and love, but it is a devestating disease that affects millions of children and their families. If you are so inclined I’d encourage you to go over and see if there’s something you would be interested in bidding on – or you can also simply make a cash donation. I’ve linked the image at the top of this post to the auction. Also, here are the two items I’ve personally donated.
The winner of this auction will receive a complimentary copy, in the winner’s choice of digital file, of all of Robyn DeHart’s Entangled Scandalous titles
All the books in her current Forbidden Love series:
A LITTLE BIT WICKED
A LITTLE BIT SINFUL
A LITTLE BIT SCANDALOUS
Also included will be copies of her upcoming trilogy (releasing in 2014), THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SWORD.
Popular writing instructor and award-winning author Robyn DeHart is known for creating authentic characters that readerslove. Here she’ll offer one-on-one character mentoring. Get personal assistance with creating your characters from the GMC to character arcs to how to use your characters to grow the plot of your book.
**If you’re attending RWA National Conference this summer in Atlanta, GA (July 17-20, 2013), Robyn will even throw in a short meeting for coffee to get the ball rolling.
So what’s your favorite charity to donate to, whether it be time or money? I’m giving away 3 copies of the first book in my Forbidden Love series, A Little Bit Wicked, so comment and you could win!
I’ve been doing a lot of traveling over the last couple of years and especially during the April-May months. I travel for writing conferences and for my dental hygiene licensing boards (I’m in Pittsburgh writing this blog at the moment!). So, a couple of years ago I also decided (for many reasons) to avoid all the newfangled scanning machines that they make you go through at airport security checkpoints, choosing instead the more personal attentions of TSA agents. . . .
AKA the PATDOWN.
I traveled through many airports, some big and some small, from the East Coast to the Midwest and out to the West Coast, spending many minutes, hours?, being legally groped from my head to my toes. by a number of different TSA agents. I tried to be positive about this process, especially since I’d made the choice to do them and so I decided to share my experiences and evaluation of the various airports and screeners.
LOL – I even told them I was going to blog about them!
So. . . what did I learn in undergoing lots of up-close-and-personal-attention?
The first thing I learned is that TSA agents must have undergone more training in late 2011-early 2012 because I found a big change in their whole attitudes in how they took the news that someone was ‘opting-out’. Before that, they seemed ready to argue and tell you why you were being stupid. After that, they seemed to be more zen about it — nodding politely, mentioning only that it would mean a ‘thorough pat-down using their hands to search your body’.
And, their approach–calm, soothing voices, polite instructions–became nicer, too. I had some very interesting conversations as the agent would be skimming her hands over my body parts, using the back of her hands in the ‘sensitive areas like the breasts and groin’. LOL!
Looking back at all the screenings, at all the airports, I would say that the Midwest screeners were just a tiny bit nicer in carrying out their duties. They generally had a nice sense of humor and seemed to try to put me at ease during the sometimes embarassing situation. The screeners at the Grand Rapids airport receive my award for best patdown at an airport!
The worst? Well, I hesitate to say this but I have terrible travel karma at the Orlando airport – yes, the gateway to my favorite place on earth is the airport I’ve had the most trouble traveling through! Clearly, they need some Disney magic or Tinkerbell’s pixie dust applied there!
How about you? Have you experienced the up-close-and-personal screening? Do your travels go smoothly or are you travel-challenged?
I just returned from the Romantic Times Bookreviews convention in Kansas City. This year was a celebration of the Pioneers of Romance. Authors like Bertrice Small, Jude Devereaux, Julie Garwood, Robyn Carr, Mary Balogh, Thea Devine, and Laura Palmer were honored. I was able to fulfill the dream of a lifetime when I got to meet Julie Garwood and have books signed by her.
I also attended a panel where Jude Devereaux and Julie Garwood spoke and took questions. Jude Devereaux is the author of the first romance novel I ever read. Julie Garwood is the author who inspired me to write historical romance. I’m not ashamed to say I was shaking like a leaf in a hurricane when I met them. And I’m not the only one. I talked to Erin Knightley and Sarah Maclean about the panel, and both of them were also completely star struck.
Julie Garwood and Jude Devereaux took questions from the audience, and of course I couldn’t think of any at the time, but I thought of one later. What is it these authors did that made their books so iconic? Why do we read them over and over? Why has their work persisted when I’m sure many of the authors who were publishing when Devereaux and Garwood began their careers have long since been forgotten?
And so I’m asking you, the readers and experts. Who is your favorite “pioneer or romance” and what is special about her books? I’m not a pioneer, but I’ll give away a copy of one of my early books, No Man’s Bride, to two people who comment.
* Where did you get the idea for Expecting Fortune’s Heir? As you probably know, this book is one of six Fortune’s of Texas books released January-June this year. Harlequin gives the authors who are invited to participate in this “continuity” an overarching storyline and the characters. It’s up to the author to flesh out the characters–and the basic storyline–they are given. While each book can be read–and enjoyed–on it’s own, it’s fun to read all six.
* Tell us about the hero of the book? Why will we fall in love with him? Shane Fortune is a man of honor. He is his father’s right hand man and the one slated to take over JMF Financial when his father retires. But when all the evidence seems to point toward his father having a whole other family and giving a large portion of the company to this woman, Shane walks away from the father, and the company he loves.
* Tell us about the heroine? Why is she the perfect woman for the hero? Natalia “Lia” Serrano is struggling to find her place in the world when her path crosses with the hero’s. She’s a woman of principle who doesn’t shy away from doing the right thing. She’s also someone who believes strongly in family and helps Shane open his eyes to what’s really going on with his father.
* What life lessons do your H/H have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after? The issue that comes between Lia and Shane is one of trust.
* Is there any particular significance in the setting? The book takes place in Red Rock, Texas just outside of San Antonio. Many of the Fortunes have settled in this town. If you’re not familiar with the Fortunes, they are a wealthy and powerful family.
* If this is part of a continuity, tell us about your experience working on connected stories with other authors. The other authors were fabulous to work with…but that’s been my experience with all the authors who write for Harlequin Special Edition…they’re just all so nice.
* What was your favorite scene to write? * What was the most difficult scene for you to write? The first scene was my favorite but also the most difficult. The books starts with a one night stand between the hero and heroine. It’s challenging to make the characters sympathetic as well as making it believable that these two people (in particular) would hop into bed with each other.
* Do any beloved characters from your previous books show up in this one? Other characters from the other books in the continuity show up in this one. An interesting tidbit is that Shane’s brother, Sawyer, who we see a lot of in this book, is also in the next Fortune’s of Texas book I’m currently in the process of writing (though he’s not the hero) That book will be out next February.
* Why will readers enjoy this book? I’m not good at hawking my own books, but here’s a little snippet of what the Romantic Times reviewer had to say (and gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5)….Kirk’s Fortune saga starts out with the sexiest scene first and only gets better from there, with an ongoing mystery and a couple whose difference only strengthen their appeal–all set in a small Texas town full of larger-than-life characters.
In honor of this book’s release, I’m giving away a copy to one lucky person (drawn from everyone who comments). To be entered into the drawing (with the winner posted on Sunday) all you have to do is tell me some of your favorite settings for books. Do you like Texas? Or do you prefer harbor towns? West coast? I think you get the drift. :)