Monday, December 31, 2007

At Year's End!

2007 is at an end.

It’s been a year of ups and downs, of excitement and sadness, of taking one leap forward and two steps back. In short, it’s been a year like many others.

As far as my writing career goes, I feel as if 2007 was a good year, yet I still have so much more I want to accomplish. That leads me to the time-honored tradition of New Year’s Eve—resolutions!

Most folks make the same resolutions every December 31st—take off weight, stop smoking, eat better, focus on career, etc… You know what I mean. Personally, I try not to be quite so specific. I usually say I want to be happy and health. Now, I’m generally a healthy and happy person, so that’s not asking for much. LOL

This year, I think I’ll take a different approach and get very specific.

I want to cut back on the sugar intake and take off the ten pounds I’ve put on since I’ve started writing full time. Nothing like leaving a physical day job and sitting in a chair at a computer all day to pack the pounds on. I also want to get back to doing yoga at least four days a week. I used to do it all the time. I’m not great at it, but it made me feel better.

Balance. I’ve been trying to find it for a few years now, but it has continued to elude me. Since I work from home, I’m always working. If I’m not working, I feel as if I should be. Gotta love that Protestant Work Ethic and the resulting guilt. NOT! I really need to block out time for exercise and hobbies and fun.

As far as my career goes, I want to plan out this year so I know what I’m doing. I think a lot of writers spend much of their time feeling as if they are trying to catch up or get ahead of projects.

I also want to move this year. We’ve been in the same apartment for a while now and the time has come for a change. I’m feeling the need to shake things up a bit. It’s a daunting thought to have to move—it was much easier when I was younger—but I’m finally ready for it to happen.

All in all, not life-shattering goals, yet goals that are important to me. In the end, I guess that’s all that matters. Everyone’s hopes and dreams are different, but all are valid and important.

So pour the champagne and toast 2007, the year that was, and welcome 2008! Whatever you wish for in the coming year, I hope that you achieve at least some of it. May 2008 bring you health, happiness, and prosperity.

See you next year. :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A book and a book reader!

Two exciting things happened this Christmas: I got a Kindle and I have a new book out.

I'm not sure which I'm more excited about.

First let's talk about the book. If Not For You is the story of a business-drive CEO whose life is turned upside down by an independent free spirit who 'accidentally' enters his life.

Accident? Or planned? Max Lerner knew that Layla Whitford was thrown into his path for some reason, but why? What do they have in common? He's a Suit from Tieland and Layla -- Layla is like an act of nature, a tornado who sweeps him up and leaves him breathless. Who wants them to meet and why?

I'll give you one hint: you won't see this one coming. You might suspect who might be involved, but you'll be left shaking your head saying, "Now wait a minute ... isn't that too much of a coincidence? If he met her and ... oh, wait. Now I see. Oh, yeah. Okay. Wow."

At least that's the reaction I got from my critique partners, my editor and others who've read it. {insert smug smile here} I think it's a doozy.

And speaking of doozies: the Kindle. I was drop-jawed surprised when I got that one. My DH heard Jeff Bezos talk about the Kindle on Charlie Rose one night and he bought it the next day. My DH knows that (1) I am a gadget lover and hence would love this gadget and (2) I plan to stay in e-publishing for the long haul since I believe it's the future of publishing.

So .. the Kindle. I have barely scratched its surface, so to speak, but I am impressed. The resolution and ease of use is nice. The possiblities are legion. All I need is the hack to get Cerridwen and other publisher's books to load into it. There's no way I'm sticking with just "Kindle" books ... too limiting. Once I get that hack, look out. My Ebookwise reader may have to retire. Until then, though, I'll have 2 devices that I use.

What a fun Christmas ... gadgets and books.

I are happy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

Good morning, everyone!

I hope you and your family enjoyed Christmas Day. I had a wonderful day. I love the way that life slows down on December 25th and there is nowhere you have to go and nothing you have to do. I spent a lot of time on the phone talking with my family, cooked a big dinner and ate too much, and curled up with my hubby and watched Scrooge. Does it get any better!

Today, we plan to take in a movie at the local theatre. Later we'll eat leftovers. *g*

The best present of the season is the gift of slowing down and taking a moment to remember what is really important in your life. May this holiday season bring you all health and happiness.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Another Reason Why Diet Foods Are Wrong

For years I avoided anything with aspartame in it because the sugar substitute left me with headaches and a weird taste in my mouth. A number of people laughed and told me it didn't do anything negative to them. Well, they're so wrong! Check out the ugly truth about aspartame, folks.

And say no to low-calorie, low-fat food this holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

NEVER Thought I Would Say It, But....

I'm totally hooked on a video game! This totally ruins all my "mother moments" when I tell my son to "get off that blasted computer" because he's been gaming too long. Or my daughter to "get up and take the puppies out" in between wild bouts of Kirby Air Ride.

Yes, boys and girls, TJ is hooked on WarCraft. World of WarCraft, to be exact. I haven't been playing all that long, but it's something I started doing so that my son and I could have something that we do together. And we make a great team!

God, but it's become an addiction really FAST! Since it's played online you can check in on friends and group members to get help in completing quests and things like that. And I've seen some of my fellow authors out there, too! For example, Heather Holland is, like, the WarCraft goddess or something! She's awesome! And it's alot of fun. Helps to get my mind off of work (day job) and writing, so I can relax a bit before getting back to it.

Have a vice? Tell the rest of us so we can have an opportunity to pick up more habits (LOL!)


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Woo hoo! Two releases to celebrate!!!!

Book One: Shadow of the Hawk by Judith Rochelle
The Wild Rose Press
The Blurb:
Hawk Riley’s life is in a downward spiral until his truck falls on him and he meets Maggie Devereaux. Maggie has problems of her own. Lots of them. A neighbor is out to destroy her. On the verge of losing her cutting horse ranch, she needs help to prepare for the Wayback Grand Rodeo, her make-it-or-break-it moment. Pursued by a red tailed hawk and haunted by a persistent nightmare, can Hawk help Maggie save Mercy Creek and in doing so, save himself?

The Excerpt
He hauled the jack out of the truck bed, got down beneath the undercarriage and clamped it into place. As he began levering the handle the first fat drops of rain splattered on his battered Resistol hat and dripped onto his hands.
Great. Just damn great. Could anything else possibly go wrong?
He pumped the lever harder, anxious to get the job done. He could feel the eyes of the hawk, still in its circle of surveillance.
A jagged streak of lightning flashed across the graying sky and the heavy boom of thunder rumbled through the air, sounding a lot closer than he’d like. When he cast a look at the darkening sky he saw the hawk circle once then head off into the distance. He knew that with any kind of darkness they immediately sought shelter. To bad he wasn’t as smart as the hawk.
Jocko whinnied and shuffled his hooves restlessly.
“Easy, boy. We’ll be on our way in a minute.”
I hope.
With the jack finally in place, he began the task of removing the lug nuts. He had them about half done when a streak that Hawk swore looked like Thor’s own thunderbolt zapped the air. With the companion roar of thunder even closer, the rain began in earnest, pouring down over him like a waterfall. The water soaked into the ground beneath him, causing the jack to shift slightly.
Just one more damn minute. That’s all. Just one more damn minute.
He worked furiously, the aged equipment balky in his hands. One more lug nut, then another. The dirt beneath him began to shift perilously and he tried to brace against the truck with his legs.
Then the next cloud burst washed away the dirt holding the jack in place, and it slipped, the truck dropping onto Hawk like a granite boulder. Blackness rushed toward him. His last thought, strangely, was of the hawk fiercely guarding his territory. From the distance came the sound of thundering hoof beats.

The Contest
Email me at to enter the contest for a basket of Texas goodies. The winner will be announced January 1.

Book Two: Double Entry by Desiree Holt
Ellora's Cave

The blurb:
Over one too many appletinis, Lauren Henderson created a sexual wish list for her birthday. Little did she know that her friend, Marcia, would recruit her mouthwatering next door neighbor, Scott Erickson, and his brother, Curt, to make her wishes come true. Nor did she know that not only did both men lust after her, their imaginations would turn her simple list into the most erotic night of her life. A night that taught her what real sexual ecstasy is all about.

The excerpt
As she took one last glance at herself in the mirror, the doorbell rang. Her heart did a little skip and she moved forward to open it. Her hand shook slightly on the doorknob as she pulled on it, she moved her lips into a smile of welcome—and her jaw dropped.
Shock rippled through her body. Standing before her was truly one of the most magnificent male animals she had ever seen. Blond hair that had seen a lot of sun barely touched the collar of a navy t-shirt that outlined every ridge and muscle of his chest and abdomen. Soft gray slacks rested on narrow hips and outlined lean, muscular legs. His face was that of a Norse god, all high cheekbones, straight nose and eyes that rivaled the blue of a summer sky.
Next to him was his photo opposite. Where one was light, the other dark. Where one’s eyes were sky blue, the other’s were the color of a stormy ocean. But the faces were the same and the bodies could have been stamped from the same masculine mold.
Twins! My God!
But what stunned her even more was the identity of the dark-haired twin.
“Hi, Lauren. Happy birthday.”
The last person she expected to see on her doorstep ready to provide her with a night of erotic adventures was the neighbor she’d lusted after as long as she’d lived next to him. Scott Erickson. He wasn’t waving at her casually from his driveway now, or shouting a hasty greeting as he ran into his house. Instead his eyes were heated with lust and his smile was feral and hungry.
“H-Hi, Scott.” She was rooted to the floor. Scott? This was her birthday present from Marcia? How had she even pulled it off? And who was the equally gorgeous carbon copy?
He pointed at the man with him. “My twin brother. Curt.”
“Hey, Lauren.” Curt’s smile was equally as devastating.
Lauren tried to make her mouth work but no sound came out.

The contest
Email me twice at for two chances to win a download of this hot novella.

And Merry Christmas to everyone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


A Naughty Noelle, a Christmas quickie with bad guys with guns, releases in TWO days. Woohoo! It's my first release in two years and three months, give or take a few days. Uh, yeah, I had a really long bout of writer's block (25%) and lazy-ass-itis (75%).

The Blurb

Two days to Christmas and Noelle Mason is in danger of becoming a New York City statistic when a walking cliché—tall, dark and unshaven—rushes in to rescue her. Thus, when he literally and painfully bumps into her just hours later, bleeding and with bad men chasing after him, she decides to return the favor.

His cover blown by someone on the inside, Sergio Ramirez knows hospitals, the station house and even his home are off limits to him. As should be the woman determined to help him, but it’s snowing and cold outside, and Noelle’s so very willing to share her body heat and work with him to generate even more.

Then the bad men catch up with him—and this time they have guns.

The Excerpt

"Are you hurt?"

The voice was low and raspy, but it triggered something in Noelle’s still-recovering memory. Heart picking up pace once more, she peered up at the lean figure sitting rather rigidly on the backseat. She could make out the shape of the head in the gloomy interior of the moving cab. The shoulders were broad and the torso long. The line of the jaw was shadowed with stubble. Her eyes widened. "You."

There was a dry, masculine chuckle followed by a groan and a muffled curse. "Yeah, me. How are you doing down there?"

"I’m in pain, but I’ll live." It was the truth. She had banged her head before and suffered nothing more than a raging headache for a few hours. Such were the trials of wanting to play pond hockey with four older—and much bigger—brothers.

"Can you get up?" he asked.

"Yes," she answered and began disentangling their legs. She was puzzled when he didn’t offer his help. Maybe he only did one good deed per night.

Noelle slowly released her breath when she was finally seated beside the man who had saved her earlier only to violently barrel into her from behind a few minutes ago. Pain creased her brow. She closed her eyes, needing the refuge of darkness.

"I thought I told you to go straight home," he finally said quietly, turning to look at her.

"You did," she confirmed without opening her eyes. "I didn’t listen."


She made a noncommittal sound. "Where are you going?"


Noelle’s lashes lifted and she caught the driver’s gaze in the rearview mirror. She had to give the man credit for taking it all in stride. It couldn’t be every night when he gets a woman shoved into his cab by a strange man on the run. Then again, what did she know? Maybe this was a common occurrence for him.

"Then why is the cab moving?"

"I told the driver to drive," he explained, the words labored.

Noelle frowned. Was he hurt? She slowly turned her head to the right and glanced down. Her frown deepened.

"Is there a reason why you’re clutching your side like that?"

"Yes," he gritted between clenched teeth, the pain almost successfully veiling the sarcasm in his voice.

Her brow puckered, but it wasn’t because of the ache in her head this time. "Oh." Her eyes widened. Realization dawned. It was belated, but it did dawn. "Oh God! How bad is it?"

Her headache was forgotten as her hands felt all over his face. It was heated and coated with a sheen of cooling sweat. His stubble scratched her fingertips. Noelle’s exploration halted there as she savored the discreet tingle that shot through her fingertips straight to her tummy. She was a sick, sick woman to be turned on by a man bleeding all over the place.

And only hours ago, she’d believed herself in love with another man.

Noelle gingerly probed beneath her defenses. She should be hurt, torn up inside. Yet, all she felt was more anger at herself for being so stupid than at Gil for cheating on her.

The rough voice pulled her back. "Not there."

Noelle was glad of the darkness as warmth flooded her cheeks.

"Is it just your side?"


"Are you going to let me check it out?"

"Are you a nurse or a doctor or a paramedic?"

She drew back as if attacked by a kitten. Her lips thinned. "No, but I do know basic first aid. Or do you think sheer macho willpower will take care of your injury?"

A rough sound rumbled from his chest. "I’m sorry." Very gingerly, very slowly, he moved his hands away from his left side and said, "Here."

Carefully, Noelle scooted down so she could better examine the wound. She pulled the black T-shirt from his jeans and peeled it up. A blade had sliced through the leather jacket and the T-shirt and left a long cut that wasn’t as deep as she’d feared. But it wasn’t as shallow as she’d hoped.

"We should get you to a hospital. You need stitches."

The only response she got was an indecipherable grunt. She assumed it was a sound of protest.

She sighed. "Shouldn’t I call the police?"

He growled a very decisive negative.

"What is this aversion you have to the police? Is it cops in general or just the NYPD?"

"No," he repeated more firmly.

"Why not? Your tax dollars pay for their services." A thought occurred to her. "Uh, you do pay taxes, right?"

He slanted a narrow glance at her. "Yes."

The Contest

In the spirit of giving and receiving, I'm running a contest to give away 5 copies of the book. Check out my website for the details.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Writing, Sweating And Writing Some More

To be a writer is to sit down at one’s desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone – just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over….
John Hersey

Earlier last week I finished a book. Well, the first draft anyway. Then I put it down for a few days and Saturday, I picked up that huge binder and began the process of editing and revision. Then I’ll send it out, chapter by chapter to my crit partners who will pick it apart and send them back to me and then I’ll revise again. And then, I’ll send to beta readers and of course they’ll see things I need to address so I’ll revise again and then I’ll send to my agent. And then after it’s been looked at, read, picked apart, put back together, tightened, shortened, lengthened and honed - it’ll be printed up and mailed to my editor.

I was sort of afraid to pick it up. In fact, last night I was afraid to.

Afraid for a multitude of reasons - this is my first NY single title. Will it be good enough? Will my editor like it or when she sees it will she rue the day she signed me? When I read it, will it be what I remember? Better? Worse? How much work will it be to revise?

The list goes on really because I’ve found fear to be a constant companion since I sold my first book. In truth, I’m not sure anything is truly worth working for if you don’t want it bad enough you have fear of losing it.

The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing.
Ken MacLeod

But I will pick it up again tonight, and tomorrow and every day after until it's done. I will revise it and I will make it the best I possibly can. Because it’s the only way to finish. Because I love the story and I want my editor to love it too. I want the readers to love it. Because I’m a writer and we write.

Lauren Dane is currently working on Undercover - a futuristic, menage, bdsm flavored erotic romance due to release from Berkley Heat December 2, 2008.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

All I Want for Christmas... the Toshiba Portégé R500 notebook.

Just joking!

Well, not really. I do want one of those notebooks. C'mon, people. It's a 12.1" notebook that's an inch thick and weighs only 2.2 lbs! My current one is the same dimensions, but it's closer to 4 lbs. And the R500 has an LED screen! *sigh* The geek in me so wants to upgrade.

Moving onto the real list now...

To These 13 Authors: Please Come Back...I'll Buy Your Romance Books
A list compiled by Ann Bruce

  1. Laura Kinsale. It's over three years since the last release...can I expect something in 2008?

  2. Suzanne Robinson. No one does Elizabethan historicals like she did.

  3. Meagan McKinney.

  4. Michelle Martin.

  5. Theresa Weir.

  6. Jan Freed.

  7. Karyn Monk. Unfortunately, her website says she's busy with her young children. Who knows when she'll turn on her computer again?

  8. Iris Johansen. Her thrillers just aren't nearly as satisfying (in fact, some are downright awful) as her romances, both category and historical.

  9. Julie Garwood. She's going back to historicals in 2008. There is a God!

  10. Tami Hoag. I love the mainstream thrillers, but I loved the romantic suspense so much, much more.

  11. Teresa Medeiros. After two paranormals, it's time to go back to straight historicals. PLEASE.

  12. Linda Francis Lee. Why, oh, why did she have to go to chick lit?

  13. Christina Skye. Hasn't the Navy Seals series dragged on long enough?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Coming Tomorrow

I'm thrilled to announce my first new release in a long, long time. My novella, "A Vampire's Christmas Carol" is included in the anthology, BENEATH A CHRISTMAS MOON, which will releases from Cerridwen Press tomorrow.

Blurb for "A Vampire's Christmas Carol"
Can Christmas Eve get any more fun? On her way to her family's home, Carol Prescott’s car slides into a ditch in a deserted area with no cell phone signal. The only available shelter is already occupied…by a vampire. To Michael Carpenter, Carol is the bait of a trap. In an effort to hold onto his soul, Michael has resisted the urge to drink human blood for almost a century. Now he hovers between human and vampire. If he doesn’t drink from a human before the night ends, he’ll die. He’s desperately thirsty, but Michael has seen the soulless monsters vampires are and he prefers death. Carol is pure temptation to him, the Christmas present from hell…or is it from heaven?

BENEATH A CHRISTMAS MOON includes two other terrific stories by the very talented Ariana Dupre and Eden Robins.

This book is also the occasion for my first every book trailer. Rather than embed it here, I invite you to visit my web site at and take a look.

If you view the trailer or read the book, please let me know what you think!

-- Karen McCullough

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Books for the Holidays

I had my Christmas list whittled to a fine point. My dad was getting new shoes (or rather multiple relatives are each buying a share of his shoes, which he selected and purchased...I just have to pay him back and wrap them); my brother was getting a gift card to a home improvement store (he's restoring a Victorian town house...the home improvement store is like a second home to him); my brother's girlfriend was getting foodie gifts of marinades since she loves cooking; and my mom was getting Crabtree & Evelyn hand creme that she'd tried and loved while we were on a shopping trip to Manchester.

There was just one problem with this list. None of those gifts are books.

The first to succumb was the gift to my mom. She has a cherished cookbook that has been so well-used that it needs to be kept in a plastic bag wrapped with rubber bands, to keep the bits of broken pages from falling out and getting lost. About half the index has fallen to the ravages of time. But she refuses to get a replacement, since she declares the recipes were changed for the worse when the cookbook was revised in the '50s. I managed to find a copy of the 1949 edition in almost-new condition, complete with dustcover! I never even knew it originally had a dustcover. :-) It was surprisingly affordable for an antique cookbook in such good shape. Oh, well, the hand creme was bought on sale... and I know she'll *love* this.

Then I saw a book written by my dad's favorite financial pundit. With coupons, the price came down to $10. I'll just adjust everyone else's gifts up by the same amount, to keep things fair.

Hey, with that extra $10, I can get a literary food book for my brother's girlfriend. Wow. An awful lot of people have written about their adventures in cooking and eating. Still, she was saying at Thanksgiving how this is one of the only types of books she reads. She'll love it.

And now I see that there's a new novel out in a series that my brother got hooked on from the PBS miniseries. I'll just wait for the next coupon to take effect, and that'll be down to around $10, too.

Every year, this happens. Every year, people tell me, "I don't want a book." Every year, I start out with the best of intentions, trying to find the perfect non-book gift for them. ... And every year, I end up breaking down, and buying books for everyone.

And every year, I'm thrilled to find a package beneath the tree with my name on it, that contains a new book for me to read.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Winter's Daughter is Now Available!


To say that I'm excited...would be a HUGE understatment. I am stupidly thrilled that WD is now available that I'm almost beyond words. (Note the 'almost') And now for some review quotes...

"This is an incredibly engrossing tale and I did not put it down for more than five minutes once I started it." The Romance Studio, 4.5 hearts

"The first Coven tale is an exciting paranormal thriller with whodunit and romantic elements to enhance the tense drama." Harriet Klausner

"Murder, mayhem and magic will send chills down your spine in this haunting first in The Coven series." RT Magazine, 4 stars

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jessamyn's Christmas Gift

If you're looking for a break from the holiday madness in the malls, check out my Christmas Quickie from Ellora’s Cave Publishing , Jessamyn's Christmas Gift.

It's sure to heat up your cold winter night and leave you smiling.