End Of Summer Blues


My youngest son started his Freshman year of high school yesterday. His brother will start college in two weeks. And I will go back to work at the elementary school on Thursday. A lot of people complain about school starting so early. They didn’t go back until after Labor Day. The reason for the early start is to finish the first semester before Christmas break. Which means no studying for finals over the holiday. No major projects due the day after New Years. I’m good with that.

The hard part for me isn’t the day on the calendar. It’s all the things I was going to accomplish over the break. Cleaning out the closets, re-covering the patio chairs, redoing the second shower that has been unusable for months. Staining the deck. Finishing the second AND third books in my Swift River Romance series.

Add in a family vacation, which could be our last with our oldest son since he’s taken a job as a whitewater guide and will be working the whole summers for the foreseeable future.

Let’s see, what did I accomplish this summer? Besides catching up on my sleep?

I finished the second book, while we were on our family vacation. We took a road trip to Jackson, Wyoming. We were able to stay at our cousin’s place in Wilson, we took day trips to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and the boys were able to explore bike trails in the area while I worked in the shadow of the Tetons.



And I ordered the parts for the shower, calculated the tile needed, and I’m in the process of trying to figure out what to do about the fact that the tile we have is about eight square feet short of what we need. And since the tile I want to use is about ten years old, it’s going to be really hard to get an exact match. I’m thinking I’m going to have to find something in a similar texture but a different color. Darker, maybe. Then there’s the demolition of the old tile and getting a plumber in to do the inside parts of the shower so I can tile the walls after ward. It’s going to have to be a weekend warrior project.

I attended the Romance Writers of America annual convention in San Diego. Had a wonderful time meeting other authors, taking workshops on craft and finding my readers, meeting with my publisher, and celebrating the world of Romance.

My fifth book, Swept Away, was released. This is the first of three books in the Swift River Romance series.

SWEPT AWAY [23795120]

I went through the editing process on In Too Deep, the second book in the series and I’m working on Diving In, the third book.

I’m working on a proposal for a new series.

We have taken a couple of trips down the American River in our ancient raft. We even got to see our oldest son while he was working and did our best to embarrass him by asking if he remembered his sunscreen when he paddled past us.


We attended a wedding and a Bar Mitzvah. We’ve taken a couple of day hikes, gone swimming, and spent some time at our family cabin near Mt. Shasta.

So I guess it was a good summer, even if it felt too short. I have a feeling they’re only going to get shorter.


It’s Release Day for Swept Away, Book 1 in the Swift River Romance series.

Today’s the day. My new book is finally available. Cue the trumpets. Toss the confetti. Pour the champagne.

SWEPT AWAY [23795120]

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.

Available at your favorite online retailers, in eBook and print.

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google


Is It Possible To Have Jet Lag When I Didn’t Even Change Time Zones?

I’m home from #RWA16, or the 2016 Romance Writers of America annual conference. This year was in San Diego, at the other end of my home state. A short flight, but a world away. Part of me wants to stay in that world. A world where the weather was perfect. Not too hot or humid. A world where everyone smiled and made me feel like a part of a very special family. 2,000 attendees were all there to celebrate romance and learn how to further their careers. Because, yes, writing is a business. It’s not just something to fill our time while the kids sleep, or in my case, practice whatever sport they were playing that season.

Sure, many of us started out writing as a hobby, or therapy. I spent my high school years filling journals of bad poetry and teenage angst. Then I started writing stories. At first, they were only in my head, but I eventually started writing them down. And many years later, I admitted that I was a writer. I joined RWA in 2010, which is the date I attribute to when I became an author. My first book was published in 2014, the year I attended my first conference.

There is something special about finding your tribe. It doesn’t matter that they come from all over the country–and in some cases, the world. It doesn’t matter what size, age, race, gender (although the majority are women), orientation, or any other artificial means we have of separating ourselves from each other out in the “real world.” At RWA, we are all actively seeking happily ever after. Not just for our characters, but also for our books, our careers, and our genre.

Many of us are by nature, introverts. We spend the majority of our lives inside our own heads. Yet something magical happens when you find yourself among others just like you. You already know you have something meaningful to talk about. They know the struggle of being in the middle of writing a love scene and being interrupted by your teenager or a phone call from your mother. They’ve been through the rejection process, whether it’s from agents or editors or even worse, readers.

We are all romance writers, whether we write sweet small-town contemporaries, hot billionaire erotica, or seventeenth-century French historicals. We may have different opinions what type of books we consider our personal “crack.” But we all want a satisfying ending, and for Romance, that means HEA.

After all the workshops, chats, speaker presentations, and pitch sessions. After the publisher spotlights, book signings, and parties. After meeting my favorite authors (and my soon-t0-be favorite authors) and meeting my readers. After crying at literally every single RITA and Golden Heart award acceptance speech. After staying up too late and waking up way too early, I’m exhausted. But recharged. And ready to take my career to the next level.

But I didn’t take nearly enough pictures.



The view from my room.


At the Kensington signing

Getting Ready for #RWA16

In twenty-four hours I will be getting on a plane for a short flight to San Diego. I know,  the All-Star game is tonight and the San Francisco Giants don’t play until Friday. I’m not heading south for baseball, although I wish I could take part in the festivities.

I’m going to the annual Romance Writers of America conference. This will be my second national conference and I’m really excited. With my fifth book releasing next week, I’ll be in good company.

I’m packed, mostly, except for the last minute things that I’ll need between now and then, like my blow dryer. And makeup. I will be wearing makeup and dresses and high heels.

I’ll attend workshops, book signings, and I’ll be signing on Thursday with several other Kensington authors, some of whom I’ve only met online.

I’ll try to post on my Facebook and Twitter pages, look for the hashtag #RWA16.

In the meantime, here are pictures from RWA14 in San Antonio.


Better Than Perfect #Sale

The first book in my More Than A Game Series is on sale until July 3.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, make sure you download it before the Holiday Weekend.

Portrait of baseball player with bare chest holding bat






Better Than Perfect: More Than A Game #1

Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won it all on the baseball diamond. He’s even pitched a perfect game. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with young players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”


Alice Harrison once traded her dreams so that Johnny Scottsdale could make it to the Majors—and then everything fell apart. Now here comes Johnny back into her life, just when she’s ready to finally step up to bat. This time she’s not letting up, even if she has to reveal what she’s kept secret for too long from her son and Johnny. She can’t be sure how things will turn out, but she’s not leaving until she swings for the fences…

How It All Started

Twenty -three years ago I married my best friend.


It started in a fraternity house in Reno. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a guy who kept Diet Coke and good toilet paper in his room? Especially when he dazzled me with tales of his life on the river.


That was my boyfriend in the green helmet.

He bought me a life jacket long before he ever bought me jewelry.



But he did eventually buy me jewelry.


And flowers

He’s taken me out to a ballgame


And in all these year’s he’s only let me go once

He’s proven to me time and time again that LOVE is the ultimate adventure.


How Writing Is Like Baseball, Part ?

I know I’ve mentioned the parallel before, but after the first week of the new baseball season, I’m reminded how my writing life is similar to a baseball season.

Some days, it’s all good. Your team manages to score a run or two in each inning to start the game. There are home runs, amazing catches, and stellar pitching. Everything is clicking and victory seems almost assured.

Some days my writing flows. The dialogue is snappy, the underlying tension between the characters is right where it should be, and the story moves along without effort. My fingers fly over the keyboard and the real world fades into the background.

And then there are the days where it seems like nothing is going right. Your starting pitcher gives up five runs in the first inning. Your suddenly deep lineup is getting no-hit by a kid making his first start. Your normally solid defense makes an error on what should have been a game ending double-play sending the game into extra innings.

With writing, some days it’s harder to get the words down on my computer than it is to get a green vegetable down a toddler’s throat. Or I can write a whole scene before realizing it’s in the wrong character’s point of view. The scene that was so vivid while I was driving, taking a shower, or laying in bed in the middle of the night now seems as hard to grasp as the end of a rainbow.

But even on the worst of days, there’s always hope. A rookie catcher can come in and not only break up the no-hitter but tie the game on a two-run homer. Or the starting pitcher can settle down and let his offense chip away at the lead until a couple of home runs and a well-timed double get them not only back in the game but take the lead.

For a writer, sometimes it’s the little things that can get you back on track. A good review or message from a reader serves as a reminder that, yes, you can do this. You can write a book that people will enjoy. Or that witty dialogue that was so clear in the car on the way to work is still there when you finally sit down at the computer and it flows so well that you don’t even need to dialogue tags.

It’s a long season. And sometimes it doesn’t go as scripted. The ace of the pitching staff comes down with the flu and gets rocked in his first start. Or the solid start is wasted with a blown save. There will be winning streaks, and losing streaks. Comeback wins and walkoffs by the opponent. There will be moments you talk about the next day. The pitcher’s home run off the guy who never gives up the long ball. The rookie who comes out of AA and not only forces his way into the lineup, he makes a darn good case for Rookie of the Year.

There are also games your team should have won, but didn’t. Leads given up in the late innings. Bad calls that contribute to a loss. Errors, home runs off the relief pitcher who is usually lights out. Baserunning mistakes from someone who should have known better. And then health is always an issue. What would 2011 have looked like if Buster hadn’t busted his ankle? Did Hunter Pence’s absence from the lineup doom the 2015 team? Can Matt Cain make a complete comeback from his injuries?

But if we knew exactly how the games would come out, it wouldn’t be as much fun. I mean, with all the hype of Bumgarner vs Kershaw, two of the most dominant left-handed starters in the game, the baseball gods decided to leave it up to the bullpen to determine the outcome of the game. And how many long-time Giants fans would have thought they’d come back from a five run deficit to win nine to six? I mean, we all remember the torture. Or what about that time Cain got ten runs in support. Ten. So what did he do that day? Just threw a perfect game. The surprise wasn’t that he was capable of pitching that well, the surprise in 2012 was the offense he had behind him. The come from behind, elimination games. The inside-the-park walkoff homeruns. And even the devastating blown lead in game six back in 2002. I would have started Woody for game seven, but then I’d just had a baby, so what did I know.

The thing that makes a romance novel fun, isn’t in wondering how it ends. We all know the couple will get together and find their happily-ever-after. The fun part is in getting there. All the little challenges and romantic gestures along the way. The unique ways this romance is different from the last romance you read (or wrote). The journey is what makes it interesting for the reader and the writer.

And the journey is what makes a baseball season interesting. I have a feeling it’s going to be another wild ride in another even year.


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