Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saying good-bye to Ronda Thompson

Many of you have already heard about Ronda Thompson’s passing on July 11 of this year. I’ve seen several posts about her. As usual, I’m late chiming in, but I couldn’t let her passing go unmentioned, because she was a special, talented woman who died way too young (age 51). But she didn’t pass without leaving her mark, both as an author whose quirky paranormal romances were beloved by many readers, and as a person with a heart as big as Texas.

Ronda was as quirky as her books, with a wicked sense of humor, an infectious laugh, a very feminine appreciation for hunky men, and a general nuttiness and sense of fun that just drew people to her. She often wore outrageous “hippy-style” clothing and big colorful jewelry that fitted her tall frame and flamboyant style. Ronda was . . . well . . . she was Ronda!

One of my favorite stories is the “Ronda Steals a Purse” saga. I believe it was the first time I met Ronda, and her friend and fellow author, Jennifer Archer, and it was 1999. They had come to Dallas for a mini conference and a large group of authors were attending a Waldenbooks book signing at Northeast Mall. We were all seated outside the bookstore, and gabbing and having a great time. Ronda and I had been corresponding online for months, and with this first personal meeting, we were old friends. At one point, Ronda announced to me, “I’m going inside to buy your book.” I was all in favor of that! She stood and went in.

A few minutes later, Jennifer Archer decided to go inside, too, only to discover her purse was gone! Panicked, we looked everywhere. Yep, the purse was gone, probably taken by a sneaky, devious passer by. Jennifer was very distraught, as you might imagine, and security was alerted. Soon we were talking the mall security personnel. Just as they were writing up a report, out walks Ronda with an adorable confused expression. “This isn’t my purse!” she holds up Jennifer’s purse. Well, duh. We hadn’t noticed Ronda’s purse beneath the table—only that Jennifer’s purse was missing. We had a good laugh over that, and I often teased Ronda through the years about being a purse thief.

That’s only one of many wonderful memories I have of her. Over the years, we met at conferences many times, and we’d have a drink and discuss our books, our publishers, our lives. She was always funny, yet sincere and concerned about others. She was warm and had that special vibe that made everyone around her feel good. Being with Ronda was like savoring an ice cream cone on July 4th in the Texas heat.

The lady was special. She’ll live on her entertaining books, and in the warm and fun memories she bequeathed to everyone who knew her.

Ronda, we love you and we miss you.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I sold another book! It’s the third book in the Sentinel Series, and is titled Touched by Light. It’s Adam and Julia’s story. You’ll get to meet them in Touched by Fire (out in October). There’s also a teaser from Touched by Light in the back of TBF.

Even after seven books, and a novella, a sale is always exciting. Not the screaming out loud, calling-everyone-you-know-even-your-best-friend’s-dog, drinking champagne from cowboy-boot mugs (okay, so I’m a little strange) kind of excitement. But it’s still very cool. And it keeps me in the writing game. Nothing like a contract hanging over your head to glue you to the computer 

So please feel free to celebrate on my behalf. Glass of wine, some chocolate, a trip to your favorite bookstore—whatever makes you happy. And have a fabulous weekend!

~ Catherine

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I'm back!

Okay, I’m back in the blogging business again, and looking forward to some fun times. I know from experience that there are a lot of great people out there, and lots of stuff to talk about.

To bring you up to date, the first book in my new Sentinel series, TOUCHED BY DARKNESS, came out in January. The second book, TOUCHED BY FIRE, comes out in October (October 2, to be exact, but I’m not fixated on it, or anything). I’m currently working on two more books in the series, TOUCHED BY LIGHT and TOUCHED BY DEMONS. Quite a few people have tagged these books paranormal thrillers. In a way, they are, but they’re also romances, because that’s what I write. The characters and the relationship are always foremost in my books. If you’ve read TOUCHED BY DARKNESS, let me know what type of story you think it is.

~ Catherine

Monday, July 24, 2006

Come to a blog party!

Ready to party? Then you're in luck. Lucy Monroe is holding a blog party this entire week (Monday July 24-Saturday July 29), partly for the authors who aren't attending the RWA national conference in Atlanta this week, and partly just for fun. Guest authors will be blogging every day, and lots of prizes are being given away. To participate in the prize drawings, all you have to do is come by and comment on the posts. I'm a guest poster today and again on Friday. We are having a blast!

Drop in if you have a chance. The link is:

Hope to see you there.

~ Catherine

Friday, July 21, 2006

A day in the writing life . . .

Now that's an original title-ha! And since this post is about my writing habits, it should really be titled "(Mis)Adventures in Writing". I don't know if it's a side effect of getting older, or the 'revenge of the hormones', or just general dementia setting in, but I don't seem to be able to concentrate like I once did. When I first started writing, I was eager, enthusiastic, full of ideas. I couldn't wait to escape my other life (children, husband, pets, "real" job, etc.) and go to the sanctuary of my office, fire up the computer and create. I spent every spare minute in front of that computer, writing, writing, writing. Of course, that was also before I knew anything about the true nature of the publishing world (that's another story).That was when I truly believed the book I was writing was the next NYT bestsller (crazy, huh?). It was also just before the explosion of the Internet and the Devil's spawn, *E-mail*. I could happily spend hours writing, and being very productive.

Fast forward twelve plus years later, with five books published, two more books and a novella coming out in 2007. Great publisher, great editor, book contract, a few awards under my belt (which, by the way is much tighter now--life is so unfair!). I have a book deadline approaching (January 1, 2007). Therefore, I have a book I'm obligated to write. Let's look at my writing day now . . .

Saturday morning: Crawl out of bed much later than I'd planned (oh well, I needed to catch up on my sleep). Stumble downstairs, get a cup of coffee, take a few slugs, wait for the jolt of caffeine (thank you!). Then I go to the downstairs computer and check e-mail (both addresses). After that, while waiting for the caffeine to kick a little harder, I play a few hands of solitare to help me wake up. Time to write, but wait-I need to do my stretching routine first (stupid getting-older body). So, fifteen minutes of stretching. Time to write-wait, I'm starving, and a writer needs fuel. Breakfast (and I have to read while I eat). The book is so good, I read a few chapters before I finally put it down. Would you look at that-it's already 11:00, and I have to write ten pages today.

Okay. Get more coffee, get glass of water, trudge to the upstairs computer. Since it's been at least an hour, I have to check e-mail again. Oh, and I have to check my book rankings on Amazon. And, oh yes, I have to stare at my new book cover and engage in a few fantasies. Time to write-finally I pull up the file with the current WIP. Have to read what I wrote last session, have to tweak and edit a little. Done. Oh, look, some new e-mails! Oh, now, I'm getting sleepy. Stand up and walk around. Back to the writing. Only my muse is not cooperating (and Nora Roberts says the muse thing is a myth-what does she know? Oh, wait, a lot . . .) So, to give my muse time to engage, I play a few hands of solitare. Back to the WIP. Oh, wait, there's more e-mail. Okay, back to the WIP. Oh, wait, I need new music. What to play? Back to the WIP . . . Gee, I'm sleepy. *Really* sleepy. I can't possilby write like this. Maybe a short nap. Curl up on the bed with the electronic timer. Maybe just read one chapter of this book before I nap. After all it is Saturday, and I deserve some down time. 30 minutes later, I close the book and take a 20 minute nap. I wake up, ready to write. Wait-I'm starving. Must be time for lunch, and more coffee.

Get the picture? This isn't pretty, but it's real. And it goes on like this until around 4:00 or 5:00, when my muse finally grabs me by the hair and says, "All right, you b*tch! Cut it out! Let's get this show on the road. START WRITING!" And believe it not, the writing actually starts flowing. I don't usually get my ten pages at this point (have I mentioned I have issues with goal setting?) but I'll get the flow of creativity going, and get out 4-5 pages, which sets me up for . . . Sunday.

But that's another (mis)adventure. Every week, I tell myself I'm going to do better, get started on my writing earlier in the day, get really serious, focus more, be more Nora-esque. But by the time Saturday rolls around, I'm tired, frazzled, and creatively-challenged. And every Monday morning, when I go to my other job, I bemoan the fact that I didn't use my time more wisely, didn't get more done. And I resolve to do better the next weekend. Hope springs eternal.

But you know what--I do usually manage to meet my contracted deadlines (or come close) and somehow-*somehow*-the book gets done. It's a mystery to me!

~ Catherine

Got Aliens?

Susan Grant is back, in full form! This groundbreaking, innovative, RITA-award winning author is known for taking chances, creating alternate worlds with hunky alien heros and lots of sexual tension. Here she is, doing it again, with YOUR PLANET OR MINE? Details below. Head out to your local interplanetary bookstore to get your copy.

Happy reading,

~ Catherine

(HQN Books, July 25, 2006)

Think the grocery store is a great place to meet men?

Hunky interstellar fugitive, aisle 5.

With outrageously false accusations piling up against her famous political family and an ex-fiancé in hot water determined to take her down with him, the last thing Jana Jasper needs is more trouble--especially man trouble. But when she heads to the grocery store for an ice cream fix, not only does the muscled hunk in the frozen foods section ranting about spaceships and invasions look crazy, he looks... familiar.

Cavin of Far Star has never forgotten the girl he met during his weeks spent on that quaint little world, planet Earth, the girl who didn't believe he was real. And now he'll risk his future to save her. All she has to do is take him to her leader. Simple enough plan--although Jana isn't so easily convinced. Hell-bent on charming his way past her defenses, he's determined to stay one step ahead of the galaxy's most feared assassin--and may just capture his favorite Earthling's heart in the process.


One of the first women in history to attend the US Air Force Academy, a former Air Force instructor pilot, and currently a 747 jumbo jet pilot for United Airlines, New York Times best-seller and RITA winner Susan Grant loves writing about what she knows -- flying, adventure, and the delicious interaction between men and women.

" of the best books of the year!" - Mary Janice Davidson, New York Times bestselling author
“...a cute, quirky otherworldly romance that’s totally delightful to read!” -- Tanzey Cutter
“Veers uncomfortably close to our actual plans to invade your pitiful little planet. Pull this book from the shelves immediately or I shall have it vaporized!” -- General Neppal, Supreme Commander of the Coalition fleet


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Now that's attitude!

I love the premise of ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE by Michell Rowen, and I think the cover is fabulous. There's just something appealing about fallen angels and demons that are sexy as hell (if you'll pardon the pun). I'm sure you'll agree with me. Grab this up for a great summer read. Details below.

Happy reading!

~ Catherine

(Warner Forever, July 2006)

When you're hot for a demon, you might as well kiss your halo good-bye...

Falling naked into the killer whale tank at MarineLand is always bad news, but it's a real bummer when you've just been kicked out of Heaven. Former angel Valerie Grace is determined to reverse her banishment-Earth's just no fun.

Her best friend is a slightly perverted human-turned-rat, and she's being tailed by a sexy Tempter Demon named Nathaniel, who's trying to lure her to hell with kisses that are almost worth the trip. With the talking rodent sneaking peeks down her shirt and Nathaniel getting more irresistible every minute, this ex-angel has only one hope: find the stolen Key to Heaven and go home.

Then the oddest thing happens-Nathaniel starts to show signs of loyalty and love. And soon Val is asking herself if it is such a bad thing to have the hots for a demon.


Michelle Rowen was born in Toronto, Ontario. As a child she decided that when she grew up she would become a flight attendant, a jewel thief, or a writer. One out of three ain't bad. She is a self-confessed bibliophile, the proud owner of an evil cat named Nikita, Reality TV junkie, and has an unhealthy relationship with all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Rowen does a delightful job mixing things up with her sassy and sexy characters. She has her own unique spin on life and the afterlife and good and evil, which makes for downright fun reading. 4 stars – Romantic Times

ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE is such a fun story...Michelle Rowen has proven herself to be an ace storyteller with a truly fresh and sharp sense of humor. I'm officially a fan! -- Lani Diane Rich, RITA Award-winning author

An amusing heavenly romance with a hell of a price to pay for not reading it. -- Harriet Klausner


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New life, sad heart

I should probably wait to write this post when I'm not so emotional. But that's what we writers create, isn't it? Emotion, the spiritual and mental heartbeats of our characters-the characters whom (hopefully) readers care about and root for. Today, I'm writing about my own emotions-feelings of sadness and pride and inevitablity, and even grief. This afternoon, my oldest child, my 23-year-old son Jim, left for Vienna, Austria. Not just a pleasure trip to Europe, but a move that could quite possibly be permanent. He's in love with a wonderful Austrian girl, whom he met when she was an exchange student at his college. She had to return home, Jim has completed his two degrees, and he's decided to go to Austria to be with her. He hopes to find a job teaching Enlish as a second language, and has very good odds of success, as there is supposedly a demand for native English speakers. Plus he's going to have a wonderful time there, stopping in London for a few days to visit a friend, vacationing in Italy with his girlfriend and her family. He plans to travel and see the world. What opportunity! What fun! And oh, to experience young love again!

So I'm also feeling wistfulness, wishing I could go explore the world. And I'm feeling old (and overweight, and staring at gray hair roots), and I know a part of my life is over. I'm not really Mom any more. Yeah, I'll always be Jim's mother, but I won't ever again be a main player. And our house is no longer his house. As long as he was four hours away in Austin, I knew he would come home for holidays, and we could always go down there to see him. He still had his room at "home". But this weekend, we cleaned out his room, and his closet, and his chest. He packed up books to give away, cleared out a large part of his life. Some of his clothes and books remain, but I suspect they'll go in the next "pass", and then all traces of it being his room will be gone forever.

Even though I know life will go on, I feel bereft, empty, and even without purpose. Regrets, too, that I didn't do more as a mother, make more memories, take more pictures, capture more special moments, etc. There's a sadness in knowing I can never go back, can never reclaim lost opportunities. And a fear that maybe I'm getting too old to have more opportunities, that my best years are gone. Empty Nest Syndrome-big time. I know a lot of these feelings will pass, and that I'm moving on to a new phase in my life, but I'm not sure what the new me wants to do. Or if I'll have the energy and the creativity and the excitement that I had when I was younger.

But I can't give up, can I? I have a lot of good years left (so I keep telling myself). Getting better with age, right? Still, I'll grieve for that part of my life that's gone, and my heart will ache for a while. I'll indulge myself in chocolate and wine, before I get back on the diet (those 10 pounds just won't go away). And back to the exercise (geez, get a little older, and the body falls apart). And I'll resolve to make the remaining years count, to try to live them to the fullest and savor life. I'll try to regularly use my favorite Hebrew phrase: L'Chiam - To Life!

And you know . . . I think I might just keep on writing. Creating characters, stories, emotions. I've got lots of fodder for the emotional part!

~ Catherine

What, No Roses?

Marianne Mancusi is known for her hip, snappy dialog and fun, quirky stories. WHAT, NO ROSES? promises to be classic Mancusi. Check it out!

Happy reading,

~ Catherine

WHAT, NO ROSES? by Marianne Mancusi
(Love Spell, July 4, 2006)

And you thought your Valentine's Day was bad?

Unless Dora Duncan can stop it, it's going to be another St. Valentine's Day Massacre. A year ago, her (now ex) boyfriend Nick stood her up at the worst possible moment. That was when she gave up important TV reporting for stories like "Too Stressed for Sex." And though such clips have a certain relevance, things have been a whole lot quieter. Too quiet. Until now.

Now she's gotta go back in time (don't ask!) and stop that very same Nick from messing up the time-space continuum. She has to travel back to a place where everybody speaks easy and cuts a rug-and this Chicago ain't no musical. Here, there are tommy guns and torpedoes, guys and dolls, gin joints, flappers, stoolies, rats and a whole lot more; and prohibition means anything but no.

It's the 1920s. Time for Dora to roar.



When not out exposing scams and righting wrongs, Emmy award–winning TV news producer Marianne Mancusi is probably writing.
Her first chick lit novel, "A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court" was called "a sparkling debut" by Publisher's Weekly. And Romantic Times magazine awarded four Stars to her upcoming 1920s time travel "What, No Roses?", pronouncing it "fast, funny and as bubbly as bathtub champagne."
In addition, Marianne has six other adult and teen books under contract, including a teen comedy vampire series from Berkley called "Boys that Bite."
She lives in Boston's historic North End.


Mancusi’s witty, tongue-in-cheek remarks and sprightly dialogue make for a joy ride of a read with an ending that’s as surprising as it is original. 4 stars – Romantic Times

Ms. Mancusi’s sense of comedic and dramatic timing is dead on... She masterfully blends a time in our history with an idea from her incredible imagination. – Once Upon a Romance