Friday, October 7, 2011

Grand And Gilded

Love lavish settings? Looking for one for your next historical? Check out the Seduced By History blog where I’m writing about the “Grand and Glided” era of Saratoga Springs when hotels spanned seven acres and dining rooms served 1400 at a single sitting. Where could you find such grandeur now? Check it out at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: The Creed Legacy by Linda Lael Miller

I am a big fan of Linda Lael Miller's novels, both contemporary and historical.  Today I'm reviewing her latest contemporary, The Creed Legacy, released in July. I know, I'm behind in my reading, but this book was worth the wait. Like all of her books, this story has strong cowboys, spirited women and warm hearts.

Brody Creed has something to prove—he’s just not sure to whom. Most likely it is himself. Having made some difficult turns in his life, things didn’t always work out how he’d hoped. And he’s put up so many walls his own twin brother doesn’t know that Brody is a widower and lost a child as well. All his family and the town of Lonesome Dove know about him is that he roamed the rodeo circuit for a decade before finally coming back home. Maybe that’s how Brody should keep things, but then there is one little lady who deserves more of an explanation for how he treated her years ago. If she can forgive him, there may be hope to mend his sore heart.

Carolyn Simmons knows all about being a rolling stone. She just never thought she’d be on the receiving end of someone else’s moving on. Brody Creed broke her heart into little pieces once—when she was most vulnerable. She’s not about to go back for seconds, regardless of how attracted she is to the man. Once Brody had given her a taste of what being loved and part of a family could be like. That will have to suffice unless her little foray into internet dating pans out. Anything not to let Brody Creed get too close.

Once again Ms. Miller mines the hearts and souls of her characters to strike at their vulnerabilities so as to make them stronger in the end. Brody Creed acts a good game, but deep inside he is hurting and all the bravado in the world won’t cure that. Carolyn is scared to open up, yet afraid that loneliness is all she’ll ever know. Together these two must learn about trust before they will be able to experience love. Sweet and sensual, this romance is all about the healing aspects of true love.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Free Books and More Give Away at Seduced by History

I'm blogging tomorrow (August 7th)  at Seduced by History on How Waitresses Fed The Western Expansion. It's on the Harvey Girls who were immortalized in the MGM movie of the same name but who really did help fuel the expansion west. The blog is giving away books to some lucky winner and here's how to enter:

Seduced by History Blog,, is hosting a month-long contest in August. One winner will receive a ‘basketful of goodies.’ All you have to do is check in on each blog during the month, look for a contest question to answer and September 1-5, 2011 send in your answers to .

Prizes award to one lucky winner include: Victoria Gray’s book "Angel in My Arms", "Spirit of the Mountain" package from Paty Jager, Cynthia Owens’ book "Coming Home", a Kansas basket from Renee Scott, Anna Kathryn Lanier’s ebook “Salvation Bride and gift basket, “Stringing Beads - Musings of a Romance Writer” by Debra K. Maher, Eliza Knight’s ebooks “A Pirate’s Bounty” and “A Lady’s Charade”, Anne Carrole’s book (that's my book) “Return to Wayback,” a 4 gb jump drive, a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, and more!

All entries must be received by midnight Monday, September 5, 2011 to be eligible for the drawing. A winner will be chosen from all those eligible on or about September 6, 2011 and contacted by email. Odds of winning will depend on the number of total number of entries received.

My question is: Who starred in the MGM film The Harvey Girls and made famous the song On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe? Hint: you can find it on the movie trailer included in the blog posted on August 7th at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

RWA 2011

Had a great time at RWA 2011 in NYC. The city is lively and full of things to do. We ate on "Restaurant Row" at both Becco's and Bourbon's and had great meals at both places. The nice thing about NYC is that besides a Zagat rating, the city makes restaurants post in their front windows their sanitation rating. Hint: go for the A rated!:) One of our group got caught up in the "deal" one restaurant was offering until I pointed at the C rating glaring from the window. Being we were in the heart of the theater district we also got out to see The Addams Family musical--cute and fun!

But enough on NYC. About the conference. Got to see some of my favorite authors like Rachel Gibson, Jodi Thomas and Susan Elizabeth Phillips at the Literacy signing--a book sale for charity.

Went to several great workshops including Michael Hauge's Scriptwriting for Novelists and one on Contemporary Romance with Susan Anderson, Robin Carr and others. I'm in the back on the aisle on the left.

 Here are five things I learned at RWA:

-Self-publishing is no longer a "dirty word". Many big name authors are thinking of going that route for their back list and new authors are exploring it. Some of those doing it are making decent money at it; many are not. But as one agent said, authors now have a lot more options.

-E-publishers are now taken seriously. It's not even a question any more.

-Two years ago publishers were saying the sexier the better. In the workshops I was in at this conference it was "whatever fits the story." I suspect that's how it really has always been.

-Publishing houses are looking for contemporary cowboy westerns (yay!); not so much historical westerns (boo!). It saddens me but unless new readers find historical westerns interesting, that's the way I fear it will stay. If you love western historical romances, as I do, share a book you love with someone new to the genre.

-Romance authors and readers are the nicest people. Can't tell you how helpful other authors were, how easy it was to make conversation with someone I didn't know, and how happy everyone seemed just to be there.

I learned a lot more, of course, about writing, readers, and publishing but the above is what I thought you'd be most interested in. :)

Hope everyone had a very happy 4th of July. Parades, fireworks and family were how I spent my weekend along with saying thank you to those who have helped to keep us a free people.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review of Creed's Honor by Linda Lael Miller

I'm a big Linda Lael Miller fan from her historical westerns through her romantic suspense period on into her contemporary cowboys. Here's my thoughts on her latest book in the Creeds Cowboys series.

Connor Creed doesn’t quite know how it happened that he’s spending his life alone on the ranch left to him and his twin brother. No brother, no wife, no family. Maybe some of it has to do with his twin stealing his girl way back when—the woman he thought he loved and the brother he thought he could trust—implicitly. Shows just how wrong a body can be.

Tricia McCall can’t wait to get back to her “real” life in Seattle after settling her father’s estate, such as it is, by selling the rundown camp and abandoned drive-in. Not that it didn’t fill her summers with a lot of fun when she was a child, but that was then and this is now. But, as she starts to live in the small town of Lonesome Bend, she can’t help but wonder if the man who has been stringing her along in Seattle is the “man of her dreams” or just someone she can “pretend” she’s involved with to avoid being involved at all.

When handsome Conner Creed starts turning up at Tricia’s great-grandmother’s house and the town social she’s helping out with and invites her and her friend’s daughter out to the ranch for a trail ride, Tricia can’t help but be intrigued, if cautious. After all, she’s got a life in Seattle to return to—a big city life, the kind of life she’s always lived (except for summers with her father after her parent’s divorce.)

Conner is well aware that anything with Tricia McCall is temporary. But loneliness and a bright and beautiful woman is too tempting a combination. He’s throwing caution to the wind—that is until his twin brother shows up after years of being away and throws a monkey wrench into everything.

Linda Lael Miller knows how to create strong yet vulnerable cowboy heroes that tug at your heart and your heart strings and Conner Creed is a prime example. And Tricia McCall is a good match for him—coming as she does with her own blind spots, especially when it comes to the men in her life. A book that will draw you in, hug you with its warmth, and leave you with a smile on your face. For me, nothing could be better.

Available at Barnes and Nobles

Thursday, April 14, 2011

For Those Of Us Who Love Our E-Reader

I remember when I first got my Sony e-reader in November 2007--a gift from hubby for my birthday, lucky me. Being a reviewer as well as a reader, the e-reader was a godsend. The things I loved and still love about my e-reader ( I now have an Ipad too which I also use for reading) are:
  1. The ability to change font size--my eyes have been eternally gratefully and I still don't need glasses for most things. How wonderful!
  2. The fact I can carry around hundreds of books in one, slim tablet.
  3. The fact I don't have storage issues with books anymore. Yes, I still read the occasional paperback but I prefer to get my reading matter digitally whenever possible.
  4. The instant gratification I get when I hear about a book and in an instant can download it to my device with a few clicks and I'm off reading.
  5. The fact that the Sony e-reader takes .pdf files so I can download from various sites and authors can send me their galleys. So convenient.
  6. That with my Sony I can read in the sunlight.
  7. That I can bookmark easily and thus, when using reference books, I am able to go back and find information that much easier.
Back in 2007 when I took my e-reader, at someone's request, to my chapter RWA, it created quite a stir. Most couldn't fathom giving up printed books to read on a digital tablet despite the advantages cited above. They thought it was just a fad. A few were very interested, including Eloisa James who thought there was potential in e-books for the publishing industry (not only is she a great writer but a smart lady).

So I found it interesting that just four short years later, U.S. publishers are "astonished" at how much of the book market is being served up digitally as referenced by this quote from an article on

Speaking at the 40th anniversary keynote seminar, HarperCollins president and c.e.o. Brian Murray said the number of US e-readers—grown from 15m a year ago to 40m today—was having a disproportionately large effect on the market because they had reached "core" readers, those buying over 12 books a year. He said: “Some of the heaviest book buyers no longer visit bookstores.” He said some e-books had a 50% share of total sales during the first few months, a “watershed” for the trade.

The full article is short but insightful and can be accessed at:
Where this will push authors, publishers, booksellers and readers is anybody's guess but I suspect those who embrace the e-book readership, rather than resist, will fare the best. It's really just another delivery method, one that has the possibility of making the written word more accessible to more people, like the printing press did. And that can't be a bad thing can it?

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Painter in the House

Ahh the smell of fresh paint and the tap, tap of another human in the house while everyone else is at school or work. We'll be selling our house in a year or two and as part of the long process of getting it ready for sale, we are having some rooms painted.

I know, shouldn't I wait until I'm closer to selling? The answer is yes--except these rooms are so awful with tons of furniture marks and lots of scrapes that I just can't wait any more. And since I'm having Easter this year, I wanted it done before that holiday.

Gratefully our painter, the European, is the nice quiet sort. Except for the paint fragrance, I could easily forget he is here. Except, of course, that my house is even more topsy turvey than usual given one of the rooms he is doing is our den--which is the center of our home.  My daughter parked herself on the covered sofa this morning and insisted she watch the TV just inches from her nose because "I"m a creature of habit, Mom." Wait until she finds out he's buried the TV under a load of vinyl and paint cloths.

Normally, I would do the painting myself--after all, I did when we first moved in a decade ago. But with writing, the day job, and a teenager who is learning to drive and wants to be in  the car every available minute, I've got more than enough on my hands. Besides, this guy is actually doing it right, spackling and caulking, sanding and priming. Amazing how much better it looks when you do it the right way.

So yes, I should have waited and let the new home owners enjoy it but I couldn't. I want those nice clean, perfectly trimmed walls for myself, at least for a little while.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: A Creed in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller

I love to read as well as write and one of my favorite authors, among many, is Linda Lael Miller. She's launced a new series, The Creed Cowboys and below is my review of the first novel just released this month, A Creed in Stone Creek.

Lawyer Steven Creed suddenly finds himself the guardian of a bright and precocious five year-old named Matt after the tragic death of his friends, the boy’s parents. Steven recognizes this is the most important role he’s ever going to play in life and, after legally adopting the boy, he moves to the small town of Stone Creek where his distant relatives, the McKettricks, live to start fresh, away from the painful memories. He’s given up a lot for Matt including the woman he thought he was going to marry until she found out about the package deal. But Steven did so without hesitation, because he loves the little boy and, besides, any woman who couldn’t love Matt wasn’t a woman he wanted to be with. Still, bringing up a rambunctious five year old as a single dad isn’t going to be easy. And then he meets Melissa.

Stone Creek’s prosecutor, Melissa O’Ballivan, has always had problems with commitment. No surprise since her mother walked out when she was little and her father passed away not too much later. Raised by her brother and surrounded by her two sisters, one of whom is her fraternal twin, family is very important to her. All of her siblings have found their soul mate and have started families of their own, apparently able to overcome their difficult childhoods. All of them but her. She seems to sabotage her relationships whenever someone gets too close. ConsideringStone Creek isn’t a hot bed of criminal activity, she doesn't have work to keep her mind off of her personal life. When the parade committee lassos her into being the chair, she can’t very well say she’s too busy, because she isn’t. Besides, a cute little boy, new to town and named Matt, seems to have his heart set on seeing that parade and how can she disappoint him—or his handsome father.

Steven is struck hard by the competent, independent-minded, and hard charging Ms. O’Ballivan but unfortunately she reminds him an awful lot of the career woman who just walked out of his and Matt’s life. He’d have an easier time keeping his distance if she weren’t so darn attractive and Matt wasn’t drawing pictures with Melissa as his “new mom.” But when a conflict over a case pits Steven and Melissa against each other, it’s clear that they see the world in very different terms. And compromise just doesn’t seem to be in Melissa’s vocabulary. Can these two find common ground and make a little boy, and themselves, happy?

This novel, the first in the Creed Cowboys series, contains strong, well-defined characters, a welcoming small town setting, and a sizzling romance. The opening scenes depicting Steven and Matt’s relationship are sure to bring a tear to the eye as Steven grapples with the emotional toll of Matt’s loss. I fell in love with Steven Creed in those scenes and, having taken the “Whose your cowboy?” quiz at Miller’s promotional site, , it was no shock that he’s my cowboy.

While I would have liked to see a little more turmoil in the later scenes where Steven and Melissa lock horns, the romance is what keeps you turning those pages. This book also introduces the two spirited and engaging brothers whose love life will be depicted in the next two books. With Miller’s signature high flying cowboys and the feisty women who tame them, this series is bound to be another winner.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring at the Philly Flower Show

I definitely have spring fever after a trip to the Philadelphia Flower show! The theme was Paris and the flowers were spectacular. A nice break after a rainy, cold weekend. These pictures speak for themselves. Just lovely. Enjoy!