Thursday, February 28, 2008


What I find sexy: Kissable mouth, broad chest, nice ass, six-pack abs. Dark hair, blue eyes and a five o'clock scruff that he rubs all over your naked body. Someone who towers over you, makes you feel safe, protected.

What I find romantic: A guy who doesn't talk all over you but who can actually string a few intelligent words together. A man who won't balk when you want to watch "Pride and Prejudice" for the 10,000th time but who enjoys taking you to a game (any sport, pick your poison). One who commiserates with you when you've had a rotten day and saves his griping for the next.

Alpha males are sexy. The broodier, the better. Give them a tragedy and it will make them stronger but it will break something in them that only the love of a good woman can fix. Give them hardship and they will overcome it to be hugely rich and successful. And still be able to give a woman the emotional connection she craves.

A romantic is a guy who isn't afraid to laugh at himself, hug his best friend, kiss his kids and tell his significant other he loves them.

When you find all these qualities in the same guy..he's a keeper.


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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What I Find Sexy/Romantic in a Man Is...

Okay, I will admit, I have a weakness for men who are big, blond and dangerous. Love it. I think that came about long ago. Love blonds. Then I saw Lucius Malfoy played by Jason Isaacs. OMG... I was inspired. Of course, Lucius in Descendants of Darkness [book] was inspired by Jason Isaacs in that blond wig. Hubba hubba. Readers like him...loved him. Yeah, I had a few readers thinking I was a direct link to Lucius. The book went on to be a RT Top Pick and a Reviewer Choice nominee (2004).

I've written a lot of books since, but it wasn't until Crossed Swords [book] that I revisited my image of the ultimate male--big, blonde and dangerous--with Captain Fredrick Thorne. He is a mixture of Lucius the vampire but with a slight change. He looked more like Ryan (pictured), one of EC's models. The book was one of thos stories that flowed from me onto the computer. I took a chance and wrote my passion--historical romance. It isn't vampires or wolfies, but the hero was much more real to me as a pirate bent on forcing his captive into his bed. I didn't expect much in return for the book, but I hoped readers would be swept away into the pirate fantasy. I am happy to say Romantic Times BOOKClub magazine gave it the "nod". Crossed Swords is an April 2008 Top Pick!

I wanted to write a sequel featuring Fredrick's brother, Malcolm, but I hesitated because historical erotic romance isn't as popular as dark paranormal. But now I changed my mind! More blond, big and dangerous heroes are in store as they set sail for adventure on the high seas.

Okay, so sexy man to me is blond and goreous.

Romantic is something beyond looks. The most romantic man is a man in love and is willing to stand by his woman. That is my husband. He believes in me and my writing. His endless support is the most romantic thing. I love him.

Yes, every hero I write--no matter his hair color--has a little of my husband mixed in there.

Yo ho! Yo ho! A Pirate's life for me!!! Drink me harties, yo ho!

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What I Find Sexy/Romantic in a Man Is...

The first thing I think of when I think "Sexy Man" is really good abs. I am a total sucker for washboard abs. I also have a thing for dark eyes and hair. ( The dark eyes and hair can be traced back to my senior year in high school. I went to my prom with a guy who had blond hair and blue eyes and everyone thought we were related... ewww... LOL ).

Now for a man to be "Romantic" more effort is involved. Being romantic isn't about how he looks, but the actual effort he puts forth to show you he really does care about you. Being romantic doesn't mean he spends large amount of money on you... it can be as simple as a call or email telling you he misses you when you can't be together. Gifts are nice too, as long as they aren't a new vacuum or toaster...LOL He should also like puppies and children, and believe in giving foot massages too...

And btw, I'm including a pic of a good friend of mine, Julian Fantechi. I decided this topic needed to be accompanied by a sexy man! : )


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Sunday, February 24, 2008

MY Guilty Pleasure Is...

My guilty pleasure is SLEEP.

I have to wake up first in my house, because I need to get MYSELF ready for work before I wake the kids to get ready for school.

And even though I am not the last to go to bed, I am the last to fall asleep. My mind takes a while to slow down and rest.

However right around 3PM, if I am anywhere near a chair or a couch or my bedroom, I fall asleep. Especially if I have had any sort of sugary snack. In fact, if I eat something sweet, no matter WHAT time of day it is, I get sleepy.

And when I fall asleep, I am out like a light. It only last a half an hour or so, due to the kids and the dog, but it's wonderful.

Part of my guilty pleasure is that I almost always come up with story ideas while sleeping. Sometimes if I am stuck in a plot spot, the dreams I have will work it out and I wake with ideas of how to fix a story.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Guilty Pleasure Is...

I refuse to feel guilty about anything I get pleasure out of.

Wait, does eating an entire box of Junior Mints while I write count as a guilty pleasure? I certainly feel guilty when I tip the box for more minty-chocolately goodness and nothing comes out.

Otherwise, I won't feel guilty about loving ballroom dancing. The costumes, the makeup, the dance, the movement. I'm proud to say I know the difference between American Smooth and International Standard and American Rhythm and International Latin and I'm not afraid to talk about it.

I guess you could call "Moonlight" a guilty pleasure, but really, how can you feel guilty watching a hunky conflicted vampire pine for love?

And maybe a forty-something woman shouldn't admit to loving metal music but I have two teen boys and, rather than turn my nose up at something they love, I found a way to enjoy it with them. And the hunks who sling guitars certainly aren't hard on the eyes. Check out the lead singer for Bullett for My Valentine. I also have a thing for emo-screamo. Yes, I like skinny, pale guys like Gerard Way who lament everything from losing their girlfriend to losing their life.

Okay, so maybe I should feel a little guilty for loving anything with Bruce Campbell. I mean "Evil Dead" and "Army of Darkness" are definitely guilty pleasures. But "Burn Notice" is pretty damn good.

This last one I lay on my mom. I love old films with Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee and Connie Stevens. "A Summer Place" "Parrish" "Susan Slade." Just thinking about how cheesey they seem today makes me smile because I still love them.


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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My guilty pleasure is...

Hmm... I think I have too many of these. But I suppose the things I do to procrastinate (like solitaire games on the computer) dont count.

The first one that comes to mind is that I love E!'s "reality" series "The Girls Next Door" about the three women who are Hugh Hefner's girlfriends and live at the Playboy Mansion. I envy their lifestyle - money, freedom, parties. But I also like their personalities and individuality. I can't explain it, but I guess that is one the things that makes it a guilty pleasure.

I also enjoy playing on Webkinz, just like my kids. There's something fun (and addictive) about the whole world. I guess it is a throw back to wanting my stuff animals to come to life. There's my kitten, walking, sleeping, eating and playing. It is great fun.

I think guilty pleasures keep us grounded, real. And I love when I share one with someone and find out.. it's their's too!

Have a great week!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

My Guilty Pleasure Is

My guilty pleasure is my love for Nascar. People always give me a weird look when I tell them I love Nascar. Maybe it's because I am a total city girl living in the heart of Chicago... I don't know.
The new race season just started and I now have something to look forward to on weekends. I love watching all of it... the pre race show, the drivers analysis, and even the Nascar themed commercials. I love the sounds of the cars racing around the track past the cameras. (Even though it's fast and dangerous, there's almost something soothing about it too.) And yes, I'll admit that seeing Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray in their racing suits gets my own engine running... lol (Sorry, that was REALLY bad, but I couldnt help myself!).

I was lucky enough to ride in a Nascar a few years ago. I got to go 170 miles per hour around the track at the Joliet Speedway here in Illinois twice. Once I climbed out the window of the car to turn in my helmet I couldn't walk a straight line to save my life I was so dizzy. It was awesome and I'd love to do it again someday. I also made a quick sidetrip to the Daytona Speedway in 2006 when I was leaving RT. I had to get my pic taken in front of the sign and go take a look at the track in person.

So if you are flipping thru the tv channels on a weekend and see Nascar on, chances are I am in my recliner watching the race. And chances are I'll have a big happy grin on my face


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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Things in My World That I Love

Wow. What a topic, hm?

I think I'd have an easier time if I listed things I detest. But perhaps another day for that...

I love...

my husband and my kids, above all else.

That really says it all. There's so much about this world to like. But to love, I have to keep it small.
I love far too strongly to spread it around much.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Things in my world I love

I had a fabulous Valentine's evening--watching my sons play baseball then taking them out to pizza. My husband, my three kids and I just sitting around a table, eating pizza, talking and laughing. That's what I love.

And I also love my job. I love to write. There's nothing like diving into the world of people who live so vividly in my mind. I love the readers who have supported me, and the editors who have believed in my work enough to take big risks on me.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Things in my world I love...

I am so fortunate to love my world. I really feel that at this time in my life I have let go of the things that dont work, that dont make me happy and what is left is... WONDERFUL!!

- I have a loving supportive husband who is a phenominal father to our two sons.
- I not only love my sons... I really like them too.
- I love that I am close with both my parents, my brother and his family, my sister in law and her family.
- I love having several close girlfriends with whom to share the ups and downs of being a woman.
- I love creating new characters and seeing them come to life om the page
- I love, as Stephanie said, seeing my name on the cover of my books.
- I love the writers that I am blessed to share this creative journey with.
- I love coming home when I've been away
- I love the writing space that my husband created for me (my muse salon).
- I love time to scrapbooking
- I love chocolate, sushi, champagne, chinese food, and good pizza
- I love shopping (yes, I believe in retail therapy.
- I love that I could make this list even longer

(I hate that I have a cold and didnt get to blogging yesterday - sorry)

I love that each day I get to choose to do the things I love most!

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On this Valentine's Day, I love my husband. My day would be dark without his hard-won smile or his blue eyes or his patience and willingness to put up with me. He doesn't balk at making his own dinner because I got caught up in writing and didn't get to it. He (mostly) doesn't mind when I sit beside him at night with an open laptop. Or a book. And even when he gets mad, even if it's my fault, he doesn't hold a grudge. Without him, I wouldn't be able to write, because he is the strong backbone of every quiet hero in my stories.

I love my sons. Without them, I wouldn't know the joy of Taylor's smile or the wonder of Joshua's laughter. And I wouldn't know the meaning of true conflict, when my brain tells me it's okay to let them travel outside the safety of our home but my heart is terrified of all the dangers.

I love hugs from Taylor who towers over me and I love watching TV with Josh's head on my shoulder and his soft hair under my cheek. I love watching hockey with my husband and the smile he gets when I know the theme song to Hockey Night in Canada.

I love my parents for showing me the true meaning of love and marriage. And I love my brother for making me think and argue and laugh.

I love a good book with a happy ending, one that makes me sigh when I read the last page, itching to get my hands on the author's next book.

I love my writer friends, who commiserate with me over rejection letters and who celebrate every hardwon victory in this business. I love my girlfriends from high school, who know every one of my secrets and love me anyway.

I love seeing my name on the cover of a book and the email from my editor who said she loved my revisions.

And I love the sense of accomplishment I get when I type THE END.

Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Things in my world I love...

I don't think I can top Annmarie's post. That picture of her with her boys is just so sweet.

Pictured is my family...from the back. I love my husband and two girls. This was taken on a trip to Sea World in 2007. You can see the flamingos in the background. My girls turn 6 next month.

I love my dogs, Angel and Lucky. (Pictured is Angel with one of my daughters.) My dogs are my buddies, keeping me company during the day when everyone is off at school or work. Angel is my big baby. Lucky is my Lubie-dubie doggie. (Yes, I do baby talk to my sue me.)

I love my writer friends and I have a lot of fun hanging out with them. I am looking forward to RT and spending some time with Annmarie. All we need is Julian Fantechi in our room. I'll bring the paddle... *g* Also I am looking forward to this weekend. I am going to a writer get together for ACRA. I get to hang out with writer friends Shannon Greenland and Tara Greenbaum.

I love my laptop. It is my main writing tool along with keeping me connected to my friends.

I love my EC editor Kelli K. She is so awesome and has molded me into a great writer. And understanding too. She is open for me to sub to both EC and Cerridwen, the best of both worlds.

I love my mom and brother. I love my husband's parents and brothers. I love the fact my father in law is still with us today because of a donor heart. Just before Thanksgiving 2007 he had a heart transplant. He is doing very well and is home now, building up his strength to live on for a long time. We are traveling to see him soon.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Things in my world I love...

Here is the short list...

I love listening to Michael McDermott... he's a musician from Chgo and a good friend of mine. His lyrics are brilliant. I have him on my top friends on my MySpace page if you want to hear some of his work...

I love my new puppy Max. He's a Jack Russell who has so much enegry he literally runs circles around me.

I love my best friend Kate who I've known since high school. She's been known to make me laugh so hard beverages have shot out my
I love all my readers and publishers (New Concepts, Resplendence, Whiskey Creek Torrid, Red Rose and The Dark Castle Lords) because they believe in me and my writing and that means the world to me.

I love attending writing conferences. I recently attended Love Is Murder here in Chgo with my cousin Kim who also writes. I'll be going to RT in April and rooming with Mari, which should be very entertaining. (And btw... I love laughing with Mari... we always find something funny to laugh at!!)

I love the website called It's a great resource for moms with kids. They send out daily emails with businesses owned by moms... and you can get discounts on services which is always a good thing. As soon as I see their email I check it out right away.

But the most important thing I love is my two boys. They are my heart and everything I do is for them. They are so sweet and caring and the older they get the more amazed I am at how awesome they are. They are the center of my world.

Happy Valentines Day a few days early.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Managing "Real" Life with "Writing" Life

Wow. How do I manage? I don’t think I do it very well. Most times I am just holding so many things at once that if I were Shiva I would still need more hands.

At this very moment, I have:

two works-in-progress that should have been finished by now
nearly 100 partially sketched ideas
196 little squares of wood that I need to burn pictures of cows, horses, and roosters onto so little kids can sponge paint them
lesson plans to create; papers to grade
a dog who desperately needs to be walked
kids that need attention
a husband to bother
a bathroom estimate to obtain
a kitchen wall and ceiling to repaint
bits of a pool cover my dog ripped to shreds and distributed all over the yard to pick up
a bigger dog crate to buy because the critter won’t stop growing!
the dog’s rabies tag needs to be found- it’s somewhere in the backyard I HOPE…

I have a hard time saying NO to more outside demands by work or school, but I am getting better at it. Caller ID and voicemail help a lot.

But I think we all have a million things that need to get done. It’s just that as writers, we have these people in our heads. And they really won’t shut up until one of two things happens:
1. We write down their entire story.
2. We shove them to the end of the To Do List so many times that they go away and that precious story POOF is just gone. That happened once, and from that point on, even if I don’t have time to write the manuscript, I write down as much as I can in note form so that I at least have SOMETHING to go on when I get back to those characters.

So, how to do make it work? I don’t have a choice. I have yet to let anyone down, despite the enormity of the things on my plate. I get asked because people know I will come through.

I take on so many things, probably because I enjoy them, and if I am to be honest, maybe I enjoy the struggle, the panic, the fact that I am needed. I guess we all do to an extent.

Or am I just crazy here? ; )

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Managing "Real" Life with a "Writing" Life

Rowan's right. It is about balance.

But it takes a lot of training to be able to balance husband, kids, work, writing, cooking and cleaning (well, not so much cleaning).

I'm a writer in "real" life, whether I'm freelancing for the newspaper where I've worked for almost twenty years (eek!) or writing stories about fictional people. There's not much difference between my real life and my writing life. I've managed to integrate it all into one big mess.

And I mean that in a good way.

Since my first son was born almost fifteen years ago, I've worked out of my home.
My kids don't remember a time when I didn't sit in front of a computer, tapping away on the keys. They know Mom is available for home-from-school hugs and the requisite what-happened-today discussion. But they also know that Mom is working. They know eventually we'll eat something for dinner and they'll get wherever they need to go for music lessons or sports practice.

But they've been trained from a very early age to know it's okay for Mom to sit on the sidelines at every baseball, soccer, karate practice with an open laptop. I can stop a wayward soccer ball with my feet and never take me hands off the keys.

And I've trained myself to be able to tune out distractions, from the jumble of voices at the community pool to an overthrown baseball at the field to the sound of four different instruments playing different tunes.

You have to train yourself to write. Whenever you can, wherever you can. You have to train those around you to value what you do.

You can manage it all. It just takes a little training.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Managing "real" life with a "writing" life

Balance - it's a goal, if not always a reality.

As my sons (now 8 and 5) are getting older, I am getting better about finding a balance between writing time and all other time. It's great that I can tell them "Give mommy until x:00 and I'll be all yours," and they can help themselves more. It also helps that since ROLL PLAY came out last August they know that what I do is "real".

I do my best to set times to write each day, mostly when my youngest is in preschool (a whole 2 hours to myself!). And I can do some at other times. Still, it is a push and pull with other obligations.

While writing ROLL PLAY, my youngest son was still home all the time and had a 2-3 popsicle habit. I actually once found myself writing "he put his popsicle near her...". Ah, the fun when real life intrudes.

As wives, mothers, friends, daughters and writers we have a lot of roles to play and keeping them all in line is a balancing act worthy of the finest acrobats. Still we manage. Dinner is on the table, homework gets done, groceries are bought, and deadlines are met. Sometimes it seems like a cross between magic and a miracle. Aren't we amazing??

I am looking forward to the day when my books are doing so well and my husand's therapy clinic is thriving so that I can hire one of those services that put the meals together for you and you just cook it up at dinner time.

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Managing "real" life with a "writing" life

Yeah. right. I suck at managing my own schedule. I can manage other people like my kids, a small online staff, hubby, but as for myself...I can tend to be of the thought "Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow." This is why deadlines set by someone else works for me. If I set my own, I always break them. But if EC gave me a deadline (like the deadline for my Opal story is April 1), I can usually complete that fine.

I write when I feel like it. Sounds bad, but it is true. I have a family, house, pets, kids, etc. I write when I am motivated to do so. I get free time during the week when everyone is off at school or work, and I write...or read...or work on a website...go shopping...or sleep...etc. There is life other than writing. (Pictured are my kids. You tell me, do they look like they'd be a handfull? Actually the one holding the puppy is the most challenging...I am serious.)

Speaking of which, I am starting my own online business. It is a site created to promote authors of paranormal erotica/erotic romance. That is what it is called, The idea is to spotlight this subgenre through the authors and their books. It will be a one stop shop for readers who love their hot reads with a touch of magic. The grand opening is March 1. This is my "job" outside my actual writing.

As for my writing, I am working on a synopsis for my Presents entry in the Instant Seduction contest on I just love my story. I named it Seduced by the Italian Millionaire. Yeah, totally a Presents title. I have worked on the chapter for a few weeks to make sure it is as good as it can be. I do have more beyond chapter one, but I wanted the entry to be nice and polished. I just want to have my story before their editors and be intriguing for them to contact me to give more.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Managing "real" life with a "writing" life

I suck at time management. I know it and can freely admit it. Since I have two young sons it makes finding time to write even more difficult. I spend a lot of late nights writing while my house is quiet. I am home alone on Mon/Wed/Fri when both kids are in school so I try to use that time as well. I'm known for taking the kids to school while still in my pajamas and picking them up the same way. I get some looks from some of the moms, lol, but that's alright.

I also have a huge calendar where I keep track of days kids are off school, lunch dates, days I'm supposed blog where, dates edits are due. Which reminds me... I recently got a Jack Russell puppy named Max and I forgot to make his next vet appointment... I need to do that tomorrow... In fact, I better start making my list now of what I need to do in the morning!


Sunday, February 3, 2008

It's OUT!

Ahhh...Sins of the Knight is finally out! I can't believe the day has come. And I just love how they display the Torrid Tarot books on the Ellora's Cave homepage. So classy, isn't it?

I'm just dying to know how this book is received. I really, really hope people like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Here's the blurb:
Torrid Tarot - Sins of the Knight
By Dawn Halliday
Newly widowed heiress Elena de Burgh doesn't want another abusive husband. Yet her coveted freedom is to be short-lived—the king has pledged her to a man much worse than the last. Elena knows her duty is to her king and her future lord, but erotic fantasies of having Sir Stephen de Verre in her bed chip away at her resolve to remain chaste.

Stephen has come to Elena's castle to accompany her to court, where she will be betrothed to a powerful border lord. Stephen has always had strong feelings for Elena, but to touch her will be a betrayal of the oath of fealty he has made to his king.

Torn between loyalty, duty, honor and love, Elena and Stephen have denied their forbidden attraction for too long. When they finally unleash their passion, nothing can keep them apart. Not even the risk to their honor…and their lives.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Three words that best describe me are...

I have always had trouble with topics like this one. When I was in sixth grade we had to choose a self-descriptive word for each letter in our name. When I got to the second N, I was clueless. I chose "nonchalant."
My friend Jacqui, ever the vocabulary maven, was suspicious that I'd used such a big word and she asked me what it meant. Testing me. I replied that I didn't really know, and that I was okay with that. She laughed herself right out of her desk and told me I had picked a good word. (I DID look it up later, I promise.)

Fast forward to 2008 and I have to choose three words to describe myself for this blog entry. I e-mailed my husband to ask HIM for three words that describe me. I expected him to say something like "irritating, big-mouthed, and lazy." Instead he replied: "cheerful, kind, and dedicated."


Well, I still need to give you my three words. Here they are: Lucky, lucky, and lucky.

Lucky to have such a wonderful husband. Lucky to have friends to back me up and rein me in. Lucky to have a great family.

I think I'll go cry now.