Monday Mayhem – From this day forward….

Hi! I’m back from my excursion to the annual Reader & Author Get Together in Ohio. It was a great time, as always. The team of volunteers Lori Foster and Duffy Brown have assembled is top notch, and the staff at the Marriott spoiled us as usual.

The best part of the RAGT weekend is the casual atmosphere. I met so many awesome readers and fellow authors this weekend and also had a chance to catch up with some friends. I thought I’d share a few pics before I got down to today’s post.

Look! It’s Evelyn Jules! Squeeeee!

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My fabulous editrix Lola del Sol!

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I photo bombed Julie Anne Lindsey during the signing

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And pillaged my favorite Viking princess, Renee Vincent

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I also got to show off the beautiful cover art for this week’s TMP release: The Wedding Day Collection!

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Love, love, love it!

Want a taste?

“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, Maggie. I don’t care about the dress or if your hair isn’t perfect.” He smiled when she automatically reached up to tame her wild mane with her palms. The owner of a successful salon and day spa, beauty was no joking matter to Maggie. “You can’t tell me you don’t have make-up in your purse or the diaper bag. I’ve never once seen you leave the house with less than three shades of lipstick.”

“Not true,” she whispered. “I went into labor with only a Chapstick on me.”

“And you never looked more stunning.” The statement of fact came equipped with a charming smile. “You said you’d marry me, Maggie. I let you put me off and put me off—”

“Put you off? It’s been two weeks!”

Actually, it was three. Three weeks since another stick turned pink and his inner Ward Cleaver roared to life. He couldn’t help it. She was going to have his baby. Again. And damn it, this time he wanted to do things right. As right as he could make them at this point. Seemed the not-so-good Catholic boy in him joined forces with Ward to bring him to his knees. Literally.

That’s all I’m going to give you. I mean, it’s a short story. If you want to know what happens next, you’re going to have to buy the cow story.

Or catch a one of the copies my co-authors and I might be toss out there like a bouquets.

Last week, Louise won the drawing for an advanced read copy, and you can do the same!

All you have to do is comment below,share your favorite part of a wedding celebration, and I’ll draw another winner. Seriously, it can be nothing more than:

I’m in it for the cake!

See? Easier doing the Hokey Pokey!

Don’t be a Chicken dancer! All comment posted before 11:59 Wednesday, June 12th have a chance to win. Speak now or forever hold your peace….

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Monday Mayhem – Turnabout, fair play, and breakfast cereal

I do a lot of talking about me on this blog, but let’s face it, I’m not that interesting. This fact was hammered home over the weekend as I tried desperately to come up with topics for blog posts that weren’t complete snoozefests.

Then I realized something. I may be boring (wake, work, eat, write, sleep – lather, rinse, repeat), but I find YOU infinitely fascinating. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to turn things around.

I want to interview you.

Comment below with your answers and I will draw the name of one lucky commenter on Wednesday, June 5th and send them an Advanced Read Copy of The Wedding Day Collection.

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This anthology includes Always a Groomsman – the story of Tom Sullivan and Maggie McCann’s (Commitment) wedding day!

You game? Let’s do this thing!

What’s the title of the last book you read?

What is the worst job you can imagine having?

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

Name one thing you own that you wish you didn’t.

If you were famous, what would you be famous for?

 

Happy Monday, my darlings!

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Monday Mayhem – Memorabling

The Gilmore Girls fans in the crowd will know that the title is no typo. The rest of you should go watch season 1. At least, I think it was season 1….

It seems my memory is shot these days. As a matter of fact, I’m feeling pretty proud of the fact that I remembered to do this post, since I’ll be car-bound most of the day. So before I forget, here are a few things I want to share with you:

Coming in June from TMP – The Wedding Collection. Includes my story, ‘Always the Groomsman’
WeddingCollection_MD
Want a taste?
Things weren’t going the way he planned, but Tom Sullivan was getting used to the phenomenon. Life as he once knew it went kerblewie the first time he kissed Maggie McCann. This latest spin in the cosmic Cuisinart should have been a cakewalk. Still, he stood there at the end of the counter befuddled, betrothed, and—if the woman currently kneeling on a grimy Dunkin Donuts bathroom floor had anything to say about it—possibly soon-to-be-beheaded.
Just finishing edits on Long Distance Love – the collection of Jack and Ellie stories. I think you’ll like the way their story comes full circle. Look for it in August 2013.
Working on Containment. That’s the best I can say at this point. It’s been a difficult story to write. I’ve hit a couple of walls, but I think I might have found a way to smash through. Stay tuned.
And last, but certainly not least, I want to take a moment to honor the memory of all the brave men and women who have given their lives to protect our way of life.
One day seems a humble thank you, but your legacy beats in the hearts of a grateful nation.
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Monday Mayhem – Recovery

Hello! I’m home from Kansas City and recovering from my very first Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. Here are a few of the highlights:

First, check out this room key!

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Whew! Thank you, Jaci Burton!

I got a chance to catch up with some old friends like author Beth Kery (Because You Are Mine)

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And my TMP pals Grace Greene (Beach Rental) and Ruth Hartman (rescued by a Duke)

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I also got to spend time with some new friends from the Contemporary Romance Cafe.

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Leah Brammel, me, Lynda Aicher, Samantha Ann King

And spend time with my partner in crime, Emily Cale (Power Play & Love Letters anthologies)

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I took part in the EXPO signing on Thursday afternoon

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Where I was lucky enough to be sandwiched between Alyssa Everett (Lord of Secrets) and Jennifer Estep (Elemental Assassins series).

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Pulling a selfie with Alyssa Everett

I met tons of fabulous authors and readers, got to put faces in the places where only Twitter icons existed before, talked myself hoarse, and managed to slip out for a little lunch with my pal Angel.

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And that is how I spent my spring vacation. I’m home today, petting the bunny, flirting with the hubby, and processing load after load of laundry. So… how about you? Do anything fun while I was gone?

 

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RT 2013 – Day 3

I’m at the Romantic Time Booklovers Convention in Kansas City this week. To Celebrate, I thought I’d post a bit from one of my books each day that I’m away. Looking for one of my books? You can find them all on my page at All Romance eBooks!

qrcode.Margaret ARe

Today I’m featuring Contentment

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Tracy Sullivan seems to have it all, a handsome, devoted husband, three beautiful children, a steady career, and the perfect suburban home; but she isn’t happy.

The petty resentments that have built over fifteen years of marriage surface when Tracy tells her husband, Sean, that she is no longer interested in sex, and their marriage threatens to implode.

For the sake of their children, Tracy and Sean agree to lead separate lives under the same roof. With the help of a healthy dose of adult-rated fiction and some gentle prodding from a good friend, Tracy begins to rediscover who she is, what she wants, and the reasons she fell for Sean once upon a time.

After two years of soul-searching, Tracy is finally ready to embrace her happily ever after having learned that while happiness may be fleeting, contentment can last a lifetime.

And here’s an excerpt!

June 2008

   The cursor blinked, the little bastard. The flashing line taunted her, all but double-dog daring her to click the link. But there was someone on the other end. Someone who had seemingly nothing and absolutely everything to do with what may or may not be about to happen. Somewhere out there, caught in the World Wide Web, was a living, breathing person she had never met, never seen, and never heard of Tracy Sullivan.

   She glared at the cursor. Shouldn’t someone know they had this much of an impact on another human being? Doesn’t she deserve to know what she does matters to someone? Tracy assumed the author was a woman. Only a woman would understand.

   She pressed the button, and a strange sense of calm flooded her veins as the contact form appeared. After entering her email address, she typed, ‘Your stories’ in the subject line. Then she chickened out.

   Tracy wasn’t surprised. She’d been clucking like a crazed hen all day. I wonder if I’m sprouting feathers yet?

   Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the telltale pink shopping bag peeking out from under the briefcase she’d had dumped on the chair. Tracy stared at the tiny pink bag, gnawing her bottom lip and remembering the agonizing forty-five minutes she had spent surrounded by a sea of lace and satin.

   She stuck out like a sore thumb in the Pepto-Bismol pink store. Her navy blue skirt and peep-toe pumps seemed like such good choices that morning. The skirt may have been navy, but it fit lean and snug. The hem fell below her knee making her feel like a sexy secretary. She’d paired the skirt with a deceptively simple, white cotton blouse that nipped in at the right spots, and finished the ensemble with the sinfully red high-heeled pumps and a slash of scarlet lipstick. The whole combination had almost given Sean whiplash as she rushed to the car to run the morning carpool shift.

   The clucking began. Whatever confidence Tracy had when she dashed out the door fled the moment the whipcord thin, I’m-barely-old-enough-to-order-a-drink salesclerk starting pulling baby dolls, teddies and negligees from the racks. 

   Tracy gawked at the displays, trying to envision prying her body into one of the scraps of fabric without benefit of a crowbar. She caught a glimpse of herself in one of the store’s many mirrors, and her heart sank. She looked exactly like what she was: an almost forty-year-old woman buying lingerie in a desperate attempt to salvage her failing marriage.

   She could almost hear the overgrown teenager thinking she’d have to exert some serious effort if she thought she wanted to lure her man back into the nest. These girls probably dealt with a lot of this. Every day, women her age must rush through their door in a blind panic hoping to recapture their youth. They rifle through the inventory of flame red lingerie and wonder if they can tolerate wearing a piece string splitting their ass on the off chance the butt floss might rekindle a spark.

   When this same eager, young saleswoman dared to hold a teeny-tiny bustier set in front of her own non-existent bosom, a woman browsing a rack of full-support brassieres muttered, “Nurse a coupla kids, sweetie,” under her breath.

Tracy chuckled, but the clucking began in earnest. The idea of teddies, baby dolls and bustiers had to be jettisoned. The last thing she wanted was to come off looking like a wannabe pin-up girl in a froth of scratchy lace and high-heeled, marabou-trimmed slippers.

   She didn’t even have a pair of marabou-trimmed slippers.

   Tracy snatched the bag from the chair and padded into the laundry room. She extracted her oldest, softest jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt from the pile waiting to be sorted and put away and stepped into the tiny powder room, refusing to meet her own gaze in the mirror above the sink.

   Being a chicken, she refused Sean’s offer of dinner, pleading a large lunch. She pretended she didn’t notice the bewildered confusion in his eyes when she brushed past him and rushed down the steps. She didn’t want him to spot the stupid pink bag. A few minutes later she dashed upstairs again. As silently as a ninja, she checked on the kids, steered clear of the kitchen where he prepared lunches for the next day, and sought refuge in the basement room that was her lair.

   She glanced up, tentatively scanning her reflection for one little scrap of bravado. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to see him. For the first time in forever, she was dying to see him. But she wasn’t ready. She had to think, and lately she hadn’t been able to think clearly with Sean nearby.

   She needed a plan. She was nothing without a good plan, but once a plan was in place, boy watch out!

   Tracy slowly unbuttoned her blouse, but by the time she stripped out of the day’s work clothes she still had nothing. She reached into the pink bag and pulled out a matching bra and panty set in a demure, pale peach with cream lace. The choice bewildered her. For a moment, she wondered if she’d been in some kind of fugue-state when she made the purchase. Tracy hated the color orange and all of its derivatives. She hated fake, antique-looking lace. The last thing any woman staring down the barrel of forty needed was to put her body into something with the word ‘antique’ attached.

   She shook the seventy-five dollars worth of polyester at the mirror. “I should make you wear this as a punishment, chicken,” she muttered to her reflection.

She froze for a second, then cocked her head, giving the set another glance. The peach would warm her complexion, the teeny-bopper titty measurer said. The color would go nicely with her eyes. The lace might not be so old lady-ish on a pair of boobs which hadn’t gone completely south yet. She peeked at her bosom. Not bad, only halfway down.

   Tracy stripped off the serviceable bra and panties she wore. Biting off the tags, she caught sight of her body in the mirror and wished she hadn’t. Once she put the pretty new bra and panties on, though, a flicker of her fickle confidence returned.

   Turning from side to side, she inspected what little she could in the oval mirror above the sink. Not awful. She shook her boobs into the cups, pressing on the sides of the bra to be sure the girls were being displayed to their best advantage before slipping into her t-shirt and jeans.

   She caught sight of her bare feet as she left the bathroom and smiled.

   Brazen hussy red.

   That’s what Sean used to call the bright red polish she used on her toes. The glossy enamel gave her the boost she needed. Her poor toes had gone unpolished for too long. She wasn’t the girl she used to be, but she was okay with that. Now. At least she was no longer the foolish woman who had almost thrown everything away.

   This has gone on for too long.

   Tracy drew on the power of the crimson polish. After all, she needed to be brazen. She desperately wanted to be the hussy she had never been. She hurried to the computer before she could chicken out again. The cursor still winked at her. She glanced at the ceiling. Pots and pans clamored as they were piled in the kitchen sink. The cursor urged her on, flashing its silent, ‘Do it. Do It. You want to do it.’

   She wrung her hands. The water shut off, and the lilt of the familiar tune Sean always whistled while he wiped the counters carried down the steps. He was almost done. His kitchen would be sparkling clean and ready for another day’s battle.

   Another day’s battle. She straightened her spine. I can’t wait another day.

   Tracy glared at the nagging cursor and bent, ignoring the bite of the snug denim at her waist. She tabbed down to the tiny message window and paused, her fingers hovering above the keys. Biting her lip, she battled back the panic humming low and insistent in her brain and tried to think of the right words to say.

     From: Tsull1968@gmail.com

     Subject: Your stories

     Hi! You don’t know me. Well, you kind of do, because you have responded to some of my reviews, but you don’t really know me. I just wanted to tell you how much I love your stories. They have helped me more than I can ever explain. I read in your author’s notes and the messages you post on the boards that you think these are just silly stories you write and post to make people happy – and they do, I am incredibly happy whenever I get an email saying you have updated. But they are so much more. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you. I know you have no idea what I am truly thanking you for, and that’s okay. I needed to say thank you. So, thank you. Wish me luck.

    Tracy

   With a click of her mouse, the message flew off into cyber-space. Tracy stared at the monitor for a moment, wondering if she should wait for a reply.

   Maybe if I get one it would be a sign.

   But the sign came from above. The dishwasher hummed to life, and she realized she had to do something now. No more waiting. No more watching. No more sitting at the computer escaping into another couple’s world, another couple’s bed. This was it. Now or never.

   Tracy cringed at the words as they flitted through her head, but she knew they were the truth. She turned her back on the flashing cursor and headed for the stairs. The time had come. Tonight, Tracy Sullivan planned to seduce her husband of seventeen years, and he’d better damn well co-operate.

 

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Monday Mayhem – Hanging out

Hey! How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

Mine was busy but good. Same old, same old. Laundry, grocery shopping, hanging out with my DSRA pals and a internationally best selling author. You know, the usual.

Ha! I’m toally not that cool.

The Arkansas Literary Festival was held in Little Rock this weekend, and the ladies of the Diamond State Romance Authors were in the thick of it. What a fun, infomative, and inspirational weekend!

Friday night I dragged the hubby to the main library for a discussion on the evolution of erotic romance featuring editor/publisher Lori Perkins and the author of the best selling Crossfire series, Sylvia Day. Not only did the poor man survive, he actually learned some interesting things about publishing, romance, and the evolution of erotica and erotic romance in the publishing marketplace.

Then, Sylvia Day, who is also the current President of the Romance Writers of America, joined the Arkansas Diamonds for a luncheon to celebrate the chapter’s anniversary.

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Sylvia answered questions and shared her insights into the industry throughout the lunch. She put up with our clowning around quite nicely too.

Pals and partners in crime Megan Mitcham & Amy Fendley
Pals and partners in crime Megan Mitcham & Amy Fendley
Tina Medlock, Mandy Harbin, Parker Kincade, Brinda Berry, Voirey Linger
Tina Medlock, Mandy Harbin, Parker Kincade, Brinda Berry, Voirey Linger
I swear there was only Diet Coke in that glass.
I swear there was only Diet Coke in that glass.

And in the end, she graciously posed for pictures with us all.

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Yeah.. so how cool is that? Any Sylvia Day fans out there? Have you read the Crossfire series? Who did you hang out with this weekend?

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Monday Mayhem – Dead giveaway

You always know when I’m home when there’s no 6AM post scheduled on my blog. Why is it I’m so much more organized when I’m away? Oh yeah. I get lazy when I’m at home.

Did you enjoy getting to know Linda and Holly? Aren’t they great? I love getting to know my fellow authors a little better. 🙂

I’ve spent the past two weeks in the Rio Grande valley. Like the west Texas plains, the southern tip of the state is fertile ground for a romance writer, but instead of cowboys and oilmen, I’m now hung up on vacqueros and hot Homeland Security agents. And El Patos’ chicken guisada in corn tortillas. *sigh*

Two weeks was a long time to be away from home, but I was lucky enough to be able to fly my hero down for a weekend visit. We spent 2 days on the beach at South Padre Island, and it was heavenly. He built this love nest in the sand for us:

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And we enjoyed the bayside sunsets:

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But it was way too short. This was the first time Mr. Mags and I have been to the beach together. We discovered that we’re astoundingly good at it, so we will be planning another trip to the sand and surf soon!

The people I worked with in McAllen were great, but by the time Friday rolled around, I was more than ready to head home to my bed and my bunny. I also made it home in time to help this little guy celebrate his one month birthday:

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But I don’t recall telling him he could get so big while I was gone…. Raylon10

Silly monkey.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you? What did I miss while I was away?

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Monday Mayhem – Picture post

Had a busy weekend! It started with visitors:

Joey and Raylon
Mommy and grandbaby

Which led to much cooing and cuddling:

I think he likes Moogie best
I think he likes Moogie best

Then we took off to Southaven, MS for the M.R. Davis Library Mix & Mingle

I brought my lovely assistant along to flirt with the ladies.
I brought my lovely assistant along to flirt with the ladies.

Got to meet my fellow TMP author, Linda Rettstat

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Linda

And met historical romance author, Mary McCall

What can I say? I gravitate to the chicks who like men in kilts.
What can I say? I gravitate to the chicks who like men in kilts.

Then we came home to this:

And just where have you been, Moogie?
And just where have you been, Moogie?

So we had to cuddle until we got back in his good graces

Granddad and Moogie are funny!
Granddad and Moogie are funny!

All in all, it was a pretty darn good weekend. I have a busy week ahead. Getting ready to head off to Texas for the day job. I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks, but I invited some friends over to keep you company. No keggers. I mean it.

So how was your weekend? Got a busy week ahead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – The Margaret Shuffle

I updated my iPod this weekend. I know, I know…alert the media. But, it’s an anomaly in my life, trust me.

I acquired some new-to-me music thanks to my friend Julie and the good folks at iTunes. As a matter of fact, it seems every song I’ve added lately is thanks to Julie. Of course, I take her advice. She’s young and hot, and I don’t really think she’s trying to brainwash me or anything. Much. I’m sure she just thought I might really enjoy ‘Hey Julie’ by Fountains of Wayne. And she was right. I do.

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This weekend’s discovery was Caro Emerald and her fabulous song ‘Back It Up’.

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I love it, but I have to admit I’m a little afraid Julie’s getting into my head. I just tried to spell color with a U. Those Canadians are sneaky. First they seduce you with Clodhoppers then they take over your iPod. Soon it will be all Rush all the time!

My iPod is a weird and wonderful place, but I need to shake it up before Julie takes over entirely. I thought I’d share the next ten songs to pop up on my iPod’s shuffle then you can tell me what you’re listening to, and maybe we can move forward without calling in a deprogrammer.

The Point of No Return ~ Phantom of the Opera Original Soundtrack
A Million Miles Away ~ The Plimsouls
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) ~ Pink
How to Dream ~ Sam Phillips
Everyday I Write the Book ~ Elvis Costello
The Air That I Breathe ~ The Hollies
Where or When ~ Harry Connick, Jr.
So in Love ~ k.d. lang
Blue Bayou ~ Roy Orbison
Something Stupid ~ Glee Cast

What about you? Are you listening to anything new and interesting? How about old and awesome?

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