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


Wednesday, June 21, 2006


My new book cover is here, and I'm very excited about it! It really reflects the tone of the book, which will be out January 2007. If you'd like to read some excerpts from TOUCHED BY DARKNESS, along with my article on Atlantis, please visit my website at

Thank you, cover fairies!

~ Catherine

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Great Enchiladas

Hey all, I thought I'd share my new favorite recipe. I like it because it's fast and easy (an absolute prerequisite for me), delicious, versatile, and goes very well with those summer margaritas! Here it is:

Bean Enchiladas (Vegetarian, but not Vegan)

**1 to 1-1/2 cans (15 ounce) refried beans (I like the black beans the best), or you can make your own beans.
**1 8-oz package cream cheese
**1 small can (around 4 ounces) chopped green chiles.
**Regular or garlic salt to taste.
Mix all these ingredients together, adding more beans if you need them. Then spoon onto:
**10-12 whole wheat or whole grain tortillas
Roll up the tortillas, place in a glass baking dish (spray with non-stick spray first) and cover with:
**2 medium cans (8.5 ounces) of green enchilada sauce (or red, if you prefer)
**Grated cheese, your choice, for the final layer.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes (note: you might want to wait to add the cheese until the last 10 minutes or so).

If you prefer meat in your enchiladas, substitute about two-three cups chopped cooked chicken for the beans. They're just as good.

Oh, yes, and don't forget the margaritas or a Tecate or Corona beer to go with them!

Happy eating,

~ Catherine

Friday, June 09, 2006

Gotta love those bad-boy werewolves!

Rebecca York’s bad-boy werewolves have returned, this time with Lance Marshall’s story. If you like paranormal elements, a fast-paced story, and great sexual tension, check out Rebecca’s “Moon” books. You’ll be glad you did. Details below.

Happy reading!

~ Catherine

SHADOW OF THE MOON by Rebecca York
(Berkley, June 6, 2006)

Lance Marshall has a nose for great news stories-not surprising, since he's aided by his werewolf abilities. Now he's prowling outside an ultra-exclusive Washington, D.C. nightclub-"The Castle." But he is not alone. Savannah Carpenter wants to know how her sister ended up in a coma, and she knows that The Castle has something to do with it. But when Lance and Savannah pretend to be lovers to gain entrance, they learn that deception and unbridled lust can be a dangerous combination.


Ever since she can remember, Ruth Glick has loved making up stories full of adventure, romance and suspense. As a child she corralled her friends into adventure games or acted out romantic suspense stories with a cast of dolls. But she never assumed she could be an author, because she couldn't spell. Her life changed, however, with the invention of the word processor and spelling checker--and the help of her husband, Norman Glick, who spots spelling errors from fifty paces away. Writing as Rebecca York, she has authored or co-authored over 45 romantic suspense novels, many for Harlequin Intrigue's very popular 43 Light Street series, set in Baltimore, and many with paranormal elements.


The York werewolf moon novels contains several excellent paranormal romantic suspense tales (see CRIMSON MOON), but SHADOW OF THE MOON may be the best of the series so far. The action-packed story line is fast-paced and filled with sexual tension accentuated by the danger that the audience will taste as if we have the enhanced sense of a werewolf. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as they investigate the goings on at the club, what happened to Charlotte, and the attraction between them in a gripping thriller. – Harriet Klausner

Fans get to meet yet another Marshall boy in Rebecca York’s latest novel about the werewolf clan, SHADOW OF THE MOON.
This time it's freelance reporter Lance Marshall and he's scented out a story on an very exclusive D.C. establishment that he's heard rumors about, the Eighteen Club.. . .
As if werewolves, psychic abilities and lifemates aren't enough, York adds yet another element to her werewolf series in SHADOW OF THE MOON. It makes for excellent reading. --

York’s highly popular werewolf tales take an even more intriguing turn in this new story. The sexual tension is taut and the story crisp, which keeps up the momentum. The small side plot is an engrossing teaser for the next chapter in this quite compelling saga. 4 ½ stars – Romantic Times


Thursday, May 18, 2006

IMPORTANT: Keeping the Internet Neutral

Hey everyone,

I make it a point to keep this blog basically non-political, because the main purpose of this blog is to discuss writing, books, life in general. And let's face it: politics is a hot button for most of us, and me discussing my views probably won't change anyone else's views. But here's an issue that could affect *all* of us, regardless of our political persuasions. There is some legislation being considered in Congress which could drastically change the Internet. Some of the big telecommunications companies (AT&T, Verizon) are lobbying Congress to end "Network Neutrality", which basically ensures that every online site has the right to be on the Internet, and to download properly. If these big companies get their way, they will have control over the Internet and will be able to determine whose sites will download quickly and properly. Online companies like Google, Amazon, B&N, etc., would have to pay "protection money" to these companies, and the highest bidders would have the best downloading venues. This can't be good and it could affect everything on the Internet, including blogs. You can get more information by going to the following link:

I hope you'll take a little time to learn more about this movement to bleed money from Internet sites, and if you believe it's a bad thing, to sign the petition and to let your congressmen/women and representatives know how you feel about it. Regardless of your political views, I urge all of you to educate yourselves about congressional issues and to speak out for what you want. Our congressional representatives *do* listen to their constituents. Let your voices be heard.

Thanks for letting me be political this one time.

Oh, and happy reading.

~ Catherine

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

American Idol Blues

Okay, I've been watching American Idol every week. And to be honest, I haven't been able to get as fired up about these contestants as I have in the past. None have them have been consistently good like some of the previous Idols (Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, and Carrie Underwood were steady throughout). That said, I think Katharine has been getting the bad end of the deal. Is it just me, or have the judges been really hard on her, even when she's done a great performance? I thought all three of her performances last night (May 16) were great (as did my husband and a friend who's an avid "Idoler"). And yet the only one any of the three judges liked was "Over the Rainbow" (which I agree was absolutely spectacular). I've seen this pattern of criticizing Kat in earlier shows this season as well. Conversely, I've seen the judges praise other performances that just didn't do it for me. Of course, judging is always subjective and in this case, is probably colored by the personal relationships the judges share with the contestants. But still.

I think the final two contestants should have been Chris and Kat. But I'm afraid we're going to end up with Elliot and Taylor facing off. Don't get me wrong--they're great singers and appear to be nice guys. But in my opinion, Kat has the most talent and the best voice. And if she gets voted off tonight, some of the blame will go to the judges, for probably influencing the vote with their comments.

We'll see if my prediction comes true. I hope I'm wrong.

And when you're not watching American Idol, happy reading!

~ Catherine

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Midnight Secrets . . . and Dragon Curses

If you like Victorian and gothic flavor, castles, romantic suspense, and riveting characters, then be sure to put MIDNIGHT SECRETS, by Jennifer St. Giles on your "must-read" list! Intriguing details below.

Happy reading!

~ Catherine

MIDNIGHT SECRETS by Jennifer St. Giles
(Berkeley, May 2, 2006)

"When two are born together, one will die by the other's hand..."

This is the Dragon's Curse that has plagued the Killdarens for generations and continues on in this tale set on the Cornish Coast of 1879 England.

Sean and Alex thought they'd escaped the Dragon's curse until in a rage of suspicion and accusation the twins come close to killing each other the night the woman they both loved was murdered. Eight years later, the only thing they agree on is to remain unwed and childless, to never pass on the Dragon's Curse. Then another woman disappears. This time from Sean Killdaren's castle and his reclusive world is shattered when Cassie Andrews, a journalist, goes undercover as a downstairs maid. He can no more ignore her than he can ignore the murderer hiding behind the secrets of Killdaren Castle's stone walls.


Following the birth of her third child, Jennifer St. Giles quit her job as a nurse and became a home educator to her three children and pursued her life long dream of writing in her "spare time". Jenni lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband of twenty-three years, her three children, two cats, one dog, and a two-handfuls of neighborhood kids who make the household the wildest most wonderful Grand Central Station in existence.


St. Giles brings the classic Gothic to a new sensual level. . .combining dark atmosphere and the twisted plot of great mystery. Four Stars - RT BOOKClub

...a terrific Victorian romantic suspense that grips the reader and the paranormal elements blend in completely... Harriet Klausner

Midnight Secrets incorporates classic Gothic themes with its brooding atmosphere... filled with tragedies and secrets. Susan Wilson


Saturday, May 13, 2006

What's your theme?

Have you ever thought about your individual life theme (or themes, since there can be more than one)? I know this sounds funny, but I believe we all have themes in our lives. It might be personal passions (politics, writing, career choices, etc.), or it might be emotional patterns (nuturing, suffering, always down, enjoying life to the max, etc.) But we have themes. What about the person for whom nothing ever goes right? Or someone who's always in the middle of a major life drama? Or someone who's very religious? Someone who always picks the wrong partners? Musical? Political? Into arts and crafts or decorating? We're usually not aware of these "themes" that run through our lives, but they're relected in how we live, and in turn, we are a reflection of them.

Most authors also have themes in their writing, and it's usually a spillover from their personal lives. Again, we may not be aware of our themes. I'm generally not until either I re-read my work, or someone points it out. After I wrote Shielder, my first published book, one of my critique partners, Linda Castillo, said to me, "Cathy, you wrote about the Halocaust!" I was surprised, because I hadn't consciously tried to do that. But when I looked back at the story (a race of people being sysematically destroyed by another race), added that to my Jewish heritage, I had to conclude that was indeed what I had done.

Another one of my themes is spirituality and the meaning of life. I've been interested in metaphysical topics since I was eleven, and read all sorts of books on Edgar Cayce, our purpose on Earth, astrology, Tarot, etc. Sure enough, that overflows into my books, especially my latest projects--the Sentinel series (based on Atlantis and reincarnation) and my novella, Street Corners and Halos (about a Jewish girl who "dies" in the Halocaust, and is turned into a vampire by an SS soldier). Hmmm. Very interesting.

I believe that understanding the themes running through our lives can help us to lead richer lives, by further tapping into them (if they're positive themes); or conversely, help us to make our lives better, by understanding the negative themes, and working to turn them around, or "re-write" those themes.

Good or bad, uplifting or degrading, consciously or subconsciously, these themes run through our lives, shaping us, making us who we are.

So, what's your theme?

Happy reading,

~ Catherine

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Once Upon Stilettos

How's that for a great title? Even better, ONCE UPON STILETTOS is a sequel to Shanna Swendson's wonderful, fun, chick-fairy-lit book, ENCHANTED, INC. She's created a world where magic, fairies, wizards, elves, and even gargoyles, live among us unsuspecting mortals. They're shielded by magic spells which make them appear normal, so we don't see them. However, a few rare humans (who have absolutely no magic inside them), aren't affected by magic and can see the real creatures walking so calmly around New York City (and the world, in fact). Kate Chandler is one such person. I fell in love with her and the wizard Owen and all the other colorful characters in ENCHANGED, INC., so I'm delighted that ONCE UPON STILETTOS is now available.

Details are below. I hope you'll check it out.

Happy reading,

~ Catherine

ONCE UPON STILETTOS by Shanna Swendson
(Ballantine Books, April 25, 2006)

When we left Katie Chandler at the end of Enchanted, Inc., she had helped her new employers, Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. defeat Phelan Idris, a rogue wizard intent on stealing spells. By her side, and leading the battle, was hunky wizard Owen. Katie and Owen are still fighting their attraction to each other in Shanna Swendson’s hilarious and charming sequel Once Upon Stilettos, but first they have to track down a corporate spy before the company dissolves into paranoia. Then at the worst possible time, Katie's immunity to magic goes on the blink. At least she's having better luck in her social life, with men falling at her feet everywhere she goes. Has she really become that irresistible, or is it the new red shoes she felt compelled to buy? Polish your fairy wings, put on your magic shoes, click your heels three times, and join Shanna Swendson for a romantic romp amidst fairies, goblins, wizards and gargoyles.


In addition to writing fiction, Shanna Swendson is a freelance marketing consultant and writer specializing in technology and telecommunications. She is single and lives in Irving, Texas, with her many pet plants, including a vicious attack bougainvillea and a Christmas cactus that has outlasted three homes, three jobs and three boyfriends, yet still faithfully blooms every Christmas and Easter. She’s looking for a man that reliable.


"Once Upon Stilettos is not to be missed if you're in the mood for a fast and funny read where chicklit meets urban fantasy." -- Mary Jo Putney, author of A Kiss of Fate

"A princely wizard, Cinderella red stilettos, and a megalomaniac--what more could a girl ask for? ONCE UPON STILETTOS is a delightful urban fairytale with a dreamy hero and a country-wise Texas heroine who use their magical and non-magical charms to seek justice and unmask the villain. Just a few weeks in the life of a simple single girl..." -- bestselling author Patricia Rice

Once again Swendson gives her readers a hilarious and delightful romp through the world of magic with a dash of romance thrown in to titillate and make us laugh. -- Andrea Sisco, Armchair Interviews


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

American Idol

I'll admit it--I'm "semi-hooked" on American Idol. Personally, I don't like the preliminary part, where they show the really bad performers and Simon slashes them to shreds. I guess I'm just too soft-hearted for that. But after the "chosen ones" go to Hollywood, and it gets narrowed down to 12 guys and 12 girls, then I like to watch. I'm wowed by the talent and poise of most of these Idol contenders (especially since I'm not known for my singing). Then I'm glued to the set when they perform, sometimes shaking my head over the judges'comments. But I don't watch the vote-off show (again, too soft hearted). Instead, I check the news the next day. I will however, watch the crowning of the American Idol winner show (even though I always feel sorry for the loser--I'm such a wimp!).

So who do I think will win this year? Well, I don't always trust the voters to pick the most talented singers. Point in case: I think Mandisa was one of the most talented singers there, and she got voted off pretty early. We sometimes tend to vote for reasons other than pure talent (she's cute, he's hot, she's from Texas, etc.). That said, who do I think should walk tonight (May 3)? Honestly, of those who are left, I feel Taylor is the weakest. He's cute and Mr. Personality and has a nice little rasp to his voice, but he's just not as talented. I do think there's a possibility that Paris will be voted off instead tonight, although I think she's extremely talented.

My pick for the final three Idol contestants: Katherine, Chris, Elliot.

I'll tell you who my favorite is next week.

Until then, happy Idol watching. And happy reading!

~ Catherine

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day!

May has arrived, and with it, my committment to do do better at blogging. I just updated my website and sent out my electronic newsletter, in which I mentioned (probably very foolishly), that I would be blogging three to four times a week, so here goes. BTW, you might want to check my updated site at I've got excerpts from my upcoming book, The Edge of Darkness, and a new contest going.

As I started this blog today, I began wondering about May Day, and realized it has two different meanings. The first is the celebration of May 1, which I think is hardly ever done in the U.S. any more. But I have vague memories of maypoles and long streamers of ribbons being wrapped around a tall pole, and lots of flowers. But I never really knew what the actual celebration was about. So I did a little Google search, and found this link:

Here's some of what it said:

There are four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year and the modern Witches’ calendar, as well. The two greatest of these are Halloween (the beginning of winter) and May Day (the beginning of summer). Being opposite each other on the wheel of the year, they separate the year into halves . . . . May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. This month is named in honor of the Goddess Maia, originally a Greek mountain nymph, later identified as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. By Zeus, she is also the mother of Hermes, God of magic. Maia’s parents were Atlas and Pleione, a sea nymph.

Interesting, at least I thought so. Then I got to thinking about the fact that we also use the phrase "mayday" as a distress signal (very opposite of a spring celebration), and did a Google search on that as well. Here's what I found:

may·day (mā'dā')n. An international radiotelephone signal word used by aircraft and ships in distress. [From French (venez) m'aider, (come) help me!.]

So now you know all about May Day and mayday. And I actually posted to my blog and thought of something to talk about.

And hopefully, I'll be blogging again soon. Until then, happy reading!

~ Catherine

Friday, April 14, 2006

Angela Knight does it again!

Angela Knight has been creating amazing alternate worlds with hunky heroes and strong heroines and sizzling love scenes for the past few years, and she's still going strong. There's just something alluring and sexy about those bad-boy werewolves, and Angela's 'Master' series is pheonomenal. It's no surprise that this book jumped high on the USA Today Bestseller list shortly after it was released. Way to go, Angela!

Details are below, and happy reading!

~ Catherine

MASTER OF WOLVES by Angela Knight
(Berkeley Sensation, April 4, 2006)

When Jim London's best friend is murdered, Jim vows to catch the killer. Leaving it for the local police to solve is out of the question, because he suspects they are involved.
Jim is more than capable of taking action if they are -- he's a werewolf. Realizing the only way to investigate the department is from the inside, he decides to go undercover -- as a police K-9.
His "handler" is lovely Faith Weston, the only person on the Clarkston Police Department who isn't up to her neck in murder. But Faith has no idea her "dog" Rambo is a werewolf, or that the department she serves is rotten with corruption.
But it doesn't take her long to figure it out.


Angela Knight's first book was written in pencil and illustrated in crayon; she was nine years old at the time. But her mother was enthralled, and Angela was hooked.
In the years that followed, Angela managed to figure out a way to make a living -- more or less -- at what she loved best: writing. After a short career as a comic book writer, she became a newspaper reporter, covering everything from school board meetings to murders. Several of her stories won South Carolina Press Association awards under her real name. For more of Angela’s interesting bio, visit her website:


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A stunning debut from Deidre Knight!

Wow! First we get to enjoy the gorgeous, sexy cover of Deidre Knight's amazing debut book, PARALLEL ATTRACTION. Now we get to read the book itself. I had the privilege of receiving an advance copy, and it's an intriguing blend of science fiction and romance, along with a lot of passion. This book packs a punch! As she does in the other areas of her life, author Deidre Knight throws her incredible energy, focus and emotion into this book. PARALLEL ATTRACTION will carry you on a journey into other worlds, alternate realities, the bonding of souls, the heat of desire, and the message that love knows no boundaries. Even better, there are more books to come in this unique and riveting series. So buckle your safety harness and come along for the ride.

As always, happy reading!

~ Catherine

(Signet Eclipse, April 4, 2006)

It has been years since exiled alien king Jared Bennett thought of anything other than his people's fight for freedom. Now his rebel force has the one weapon that can turn the tide against their enemy: the key to the secrets of time. Victory has never been closer-but one woman has the power to change everything.

Kelsey Wells can't deny that there is something unearthly about her fierce attraction to Jared Bennett. His revelations about alien wars and time travel can't possibly be fact-yet with every seductive touch, every searing kiss, Kelsey circles closer to the truth: that although Jared is exactly what he says, he hasn't told her everything. And when the future crashes into the present, Kelsey must decide if his deception will cost them the love that should have been their destiny.


Deidre Knight is president of The Knight Agency, which she founded in 1996. Since that time, she has grown the agency to national prominence, landing authors on every major bestseller list. Deidre began her writing career at age nine, when her award-winning essay on Barbie was published in her hometown newspaper, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has been writing in one form or another ever since. After nearly a decade of working with Knight Agency clients, helping them discover their creative potential, her fiction debut with NAL in 2006 marks the fulfillment of her own lifelong writing dream. She is excited to embark on yet another new and fulfilling creative journey.


Debut author, Deidre Knight, immerses the reader in a world that’s believable, fascinating, and extremely sensual between two people who meld into one as their love escalates. The sensuality builds to a crescendo, the plot plummets your emotion then brings you back, while bating your wishes for more at the end. Completely mesmerizing, PARALLEL ATTRACTION leaves you hoping for more. – Romance Junkies

An intriguing new voice in paranormal fiction has arrived! Knight kicks off an exciting new series that explores the power of conviction and unintended consequences. This novel is chock-full of passion, betrayal and redemption and will certainly leave you wanting more! – Romantic Times

Without a doubt this is one compelling and absolutely phenomenal read! Knight's opening foray into the paranormal world is intensely erotic, passionate, and riveting … In two words, "totally fabulous"! I was instantly caught up in the heart wrenching betrayal of a precious love that was taken from two innocents. … I am so looking forward to seeing more stories … from an author who has brought a highly imaginative and provocative breath of fresh air into the paranormal realm! Brava! Overall Rating: 10 -- Marilyn of

The PARALLEL Experience

CRIMSON ROGUE -- An amazing finish

Liz Maverick created and developed the amazing Crimson City series, writing the first and last installment. She's an innovative author, creating an awesome world with kick-ass action. This final book in the series, CRIMSON ROGUE, got a Romantic Times top pick. Congratulations, Liz. You're at the top of your game with this book. To learn more about the book, check out the information below.

Happy reading,

~ Catherine

CRIMSON ROGUE by Liz Maverick
(Dorchester, April 2006)

From the four strata of Crimson City come rogues: vampire, werewolf, human, demon. These rebels, rakes and unsung heroes have turned their backs on the extravagant vampire skyway, the gritty werewolf underground, the iron-fisted human stronghold and the fiery power of the demon underworld. Walking a thin line between heaven and hell, they make their own rules and follow their own destinies. Ironically, they will be the ones to determine if the City flourishes or fails.

Cydney Brighton knows them well, for she too is now rogue. Having escaped hell, she’s discovered that the City is not what it once was—and neither is she. Only one man understands her, understands what it means to be someone or something beyond control. He’s ready to come out of the darkness; and part-man, part-machine, he’s willing to sacrifice almost anything to make himself whole.

Liz Maverick created and developed Crimson City as a series for Dorchester. The full slate of rockin’ authors and their books is as follows:

Book #1: Crimson City, by Liz Maverick
Book #2: A Taste of Crimson, by Marjorie M. Liu
Book #3: Through a Crimson Veil, by Patti O'Shea
Book #4: A Darker Crimson, by Carolyn Jewel
Book #5: Seduced by Crimson, by Jade Lee
Book #6: Crimson Rogue, by Liz Maverick


Other links:

Crimson City Hub

Crimson City city resident’s blog

Liz Maverick is a world traveler, novelist, and freelance travel writer whose contract assignments have taken her around the globe. She’s driven trucks in Antarctica, attended university in the New Territories of Hong Kong, and worked on reality TV shows in California. Liz writes women's fiction comedy for Penguin Putnam’s NAL imprint and futuristic/paranormal action romance for Dorchester and Red Sage.

“An original, dark and fascinating world….” —RT BOOKclub


Friday, February 17, 2006

Magical Goddess Story

I fell in love with PC Cast's stories when I read her first book, GODDESS BY MISTAKE. It was wonderful, sexy, creative, and original. I mean, how many books have you read where the hero is a centaur? Since then, PC has written an amazing series of goddess books. Her latest, GODDESS OF THE ROSE, is based on my very favorite fairy tale of all times: Beauty and the Beast. Needless to say, GODDESS OF THE ROSE is definitely my kind of read. I hope all of you will check it out as well. Details below.

Happy reading!

~ Catherine

(Berkeley, February 7, 2006)

GODDESS OF THE ROSE is a magical, sensuous retelling of Beauty and the Beast – with a modern slant. Our Beauty, Micki (named after the Mikado Rose), and all the women in her family have a special affinity for roses – their blood, diluted in water and applied during the night of a new moon, makes roses grow spectacularly. What the women don’t know is that they have this ability because they are descendants of a High Priestess of the Goddess Hecate. Hecate is Goddess of Night, Magick, the Crossroads of Man, and of Beasts. She is also the proctrectess of The Realm of the Rose – the place wherein all dreams and magick originate. This realm is guarded diligently by The Guardian, a creature on which the myth of the Minotaur was based. The Guardian swore himself into Hecate’s service for eternity, and in return the Goddess gifted him with the heart and soul of a man, even though he has the body of a beast. But all is not well in The Realm of the Rose. The Guardian made a terrible mistake, arousing the Goddess’s wrath to such an extent that she bespelled him and the realm, and Hecate swore that they would sleep eternally unless the Beast was awakened by a woman who carried the magickal blood of Hecate’s priestess, and was wise enough to see the truth, and compassionate enough to act upon it.

Micki does awaken the Guardian and he abducts her to The Realm of the Rose, thinking that she would automatically break the curse placed on the realm and set things to right, but modern woman Micki is a very unexpected kind of High Priestess, and there are forces at work within the realm, both of love and of hatred that might change the shape of dreams and magick for all of eternity unless Micki is brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice…

Award-winning author PC Cast is a dynamic, entertaining orator and an extraordinary teacher. Currently, her realm is in Oklahoma, where she resides with her daughter and spoiled cat.


Join Mikki on an adventure to outshine them all -- P.C. Cast’s own version of Beauty and the Beast. Fourth in the author’s Goddess Summoning series, it’s very easy to see Ms. Cast’s love and respect for mythology, and it’s even easier to fall in love with characters that I believe may be her best yet. Romance, fantasy, mystery, and adventure are all threads woven together in this beautiful account of a woman who is clearly fated for greater things. An enchanting tale from beginning to end, GODDESS OF THE ROSE truly deserves RRT’s Perfect 10, an award that is exemplified with each word and every page in P.C. Cast’s latest. -- Amy Cunningham, Romance Reviews Today

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Atlantis and romance! What more could you ask for?

Hey all,

If you're like me, you're intrigued by the stories and myths about Atlantis. And you probably love reading paranormal romance, or you wouldn't be dropping by. Add to that Gena Showalter's great story telling, and you have a winning combination. Be sure to check out her latest book, which just hit the shelves. Details below.

Happy reading!

~ Catherine

JEWEL OF ATLANTIS by Gena Showalter
(HQN Books, February 1, 2006)

Enter a mythical world populated with vampires, dragons, demons and Nymphs…enter a world of dark seduction and powerful magic…enter Atlantis…..

All Atlantis seeks the Jewel of Dunamis, which legend claims can overcome any enemy. Grayson James, human agent for the ultra-secret Otherworld Bureau of Investigation, has orders to keep it from the wrong hands – or destroy it. What he doesn’t know is that Jewel is a woman, not a stone! But once he meets this precious gem, destroying her is the last thing on his mind…

Jewel, part goddess, part prophet, is a pawn in Atlantis’s constant power struggles. She needs Gray’s help to win freedom and uncover the secrets of her mysterious origins. Gray needs her wisdom to navigate monster-ridden Atlantis. But need blossoms into passionate love as they fight demons, dragons, vampires – and a prophecy that says the bond between them could destroy them both.


Gena Showalter holds a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics (lie), is an expert in Krav Maga (bigger lie), and once worked as a body guard for the stars (the biggest lie of all). Actually, Gena Showalter is just your everyday, average girl who enjoys creating sizzling paranormal tales of kick ass women and the men who can't resist them.


Showalter has created a ripe mythological world populated with fascinating creatures and dark lore. . . , for extraordinary escapism, read this book. -- Romantic Times

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another great fantasy! Check out Robin Owen's new book.

Robin Owens is one of my favorite futuristic/fantasy/romance authors. Her first book, HeartMate was a groundbreaking blend of the above elements, and won the prestigious RITA award from Romance Writers of America. Now Robin has turned her considerable writing talent to books that are a little more fantasy, but still contain beautiful romantic elements. SORCERESS OF FAITH is now available. Isn't this a gorgeous cover? Read more about the book below.

(Luna, February 1, 2006)

With the world of Llandrana threatened by encroaching evil, the Sorcerers must do the unthinkable—Summon an outsider to stop the insidious Darkness slowly taking control of their land and poisoning the Sorcerers themselves.

Arriving in Lladrana, grad student Marian Harasta is stunned to find herself the center of a dispute among Sorcerers who want to augment their Power with her own. She must quickly learn her new magical Powers – and decide who she can trust in this strange land. She has prayed for a miracle to save her brother – could Lladrana offer that knowledge, and can she somehow return to Earth with it?
She knows she must offer the Sorcerers something in exchange, and ridding them of the Evil Sorcerer is what they want, but how will she fare in her first magical duel?

With unexpected help – and unexpected betrayal – Marian must determine where her true fate lies.