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October 12th, 2004, 9:00 p.m. EST, Brava Authors Chat

October 13th, 2004, 9:00 p.m. EST, Arabella Magazine Chat

November 2nd, 2004, 9:00 p.m. EST, Coffee Time Romance Chat



Good news on the Kensington Brava front! My novella, SARA SMILES, will be a part of next summer's
6-Pack anthology, BEACH BLANKET BAD BOYS, along with stories by Jill Shalvis, Lucy Monroe, Susanna Carr, Morgan Leigh - and headlined by Linda Lael Miller!

I've also signed to write four more single title Bravas. The first will be out next June and will star Mick Savin of SG-5 in his own story titled LARGER THAN LIFE.


I've signed with Harlequin Blaze for three more books and a novella.

The first book, working title SEX ON STILETTOS, is scheduled for an 08/05 release. It's book #3 in the new DO NOT DISTURB mini-series I'll be writing along with authors Jo Leigh, Isabel Sharpe, Nancy Warren, Debbi Rawlins and Jill Shalvis.

The second untitled book is scheduled for 12/05 and follows my 11/05 novella LUV U MADLY, part of the anthology RED LETTER NIGHTS that includes two other New Orleans set stories by Karen Anders and Jeanie London.

The third untitled book is a mystery even to me - though I am working with two other authors on a shared idea that has each of us tickled pink!



BOOK MAGAZINE - Not Just Behind Closed Doors

SUBVERSION - Big Hands and Tight Jeans





Of all the books you've written, what is your favorite? Was there one that you felt especially passionate about? Was there one that was so easy to write that it practically wrote itself? Was there one that was super difficult and you could care less if you ever saw its title again?

There are a lot of reasons a book winds up loved or hated due to all the variables of the process. Not only the writing, but all the things going on in an author's life while she's living in another dimension! *g* I mentioned on the page for STRIPTEASE that it was especially difficult because of trying to force the characters into a situation that wasn't right for them. I also explained on the page for THE GRINCH MAKES GOOD that I had just started dating my husband and wanted nothing to do with writing when there was so much other fun to be had.

THE SWEETEST TABOO was my first book to write for the second editor I worked with at Harlequin and was also written during a hard personal time, but it turned out to be one of those books that was magic, as did FOUR MEN & A LADY. For that one, I think it was the characters who made it happen.

I think that INDISCREET, though, is my own particular favorite and the one I was most passionate about. I'd wanted to write about Patrick Coffey since the minute he was mentioned in BOUND TO HAPPEN. And Poe was the last of my gIRL-gEAR girls to get a story - and the one who had drawn the most negative feedback. The entire book was a challenge, from beginning to end, but I think I'm more proud of how it turned out than any other.

Or at least I was at the time, because THE BANE AFFAIR, being my first single title, evokes other strong emotions. It was incredibly complicated and stressful to pull together, but my editor's reaction upon reading it made every moment of the pain worthwhile! And it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment to have finished the book!


What piece of advice you would give to a hypothetical aspiring romance author who has tons of ideas for stories, has large portions of some of these stories penned, but has not even a vague idea of how to go about starting to try and circulate said stories?

Join RWA. Seriously. When I started writing in 1989, I knew absolutely nothing about anything related to writing - except that I loved to read the finished products! Now I would feel comfortable with any genre should I wish to tackle it.

Yes, many of the workshops and articles are romance specific, but more than that. RWA is where I learned the nitty gritty of what makes a story. I have never heard of any other organization that encompasses everything from teaching the basics to beginners to covering the process of marketing and promotion and career planning for all stages.

A secondary route would be to study the only three books that I refer to again and again: Dwight Swain's TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER, Christopher Vogler's THE WRITER'S JOURNEY, and Robert McKee's STORY. (And because I like to show it off, here's my copy of the Vogler book!)

And, of course, read! Read, read, read, read, read - and don't just read romance. Read any genre that interests you. I'm the perfect example of a romance author who rarely reads what she writes yet applies tricks and tips and tenets from every genre to her work! A good story is a good story. All you need do is understand the audience for whom you are writing!

What are your favorite vacation spots?

Uh, what's a vacation? Seriously. I don't take them. Or I combine them with writing conferences. Or Itake short weekend trips around the state. My family members have been on different schedules for so many years now that we haven't done much together but big dinners on the big holidays. Not to mention that working and writing for so many years has meant I've taken my vacation days to write!

My ideal vacation dream? Blue water and white sand and a big bag of books! Oh, and sleep!

Have you always wanted to write?
No. Not at all. I was always a voracious reader, but the wanting-to-write bug didn't bite until I was already the mother of three elementary aged children and was running out of books that grabbed me the way I wanted to be grabbed.
How long have you been designing web pages?
Three or four years now, I think. I started with my own because I wanted complete control! My first outside job was for my friend Isabel Sharpe. After that, I believe I did the group site for the Blaze Authors - both of these have since been redesigned. I now work with two other designers through DreamForge Media. Strangely enough, when I was working full-time, I found that designing helped bridge the workings of my right and left brain so that I could do methodical accounting during the day and create imaginary worlds the rest of the time!
I have an idea for a book. Why don't I tell you and you can write it and we'll split the money?
No thanks. :) I have enough of my own ideas to keep me busy until all the cows come home. And, besides. I'm really greedy when it comes to cash!
Which *couple* (from the gIRL-gEAR series, and in general) has most touched your heart or stayed with you (and why, of course)?

I suppose I could cheat and name Poe & Patrick since INDISCREET is one of the books that gave me the most pleasure to write, but I almost think my favorite characters are a couple I didn't explore fully as they were secondary characters in WICKED GAMES and didn't have much stage time.

Isabel "Izzy" Leighton and Joseph Baron.

First of all, they were my first (and so far only!) African-American characters to create. This required a LOT of help from a reader (Thanks, Tamara!) who walked me through the culture: the expectations, the attitude, the outlook. Secondly, though short, their story was compelling and unique to anything else I'd written, and I had the best time bringing them to life.

How do you get your ideas, research your sex scenes, etc.?
Yeah, yeah. :) We know I do my sex research the same way mystery authors research murder.
I have all the gIRL-gEAR books but ROPED INTO ROMANCE. Why can't I find it in any stores?
ROPED INTO ROMANCE is not a paper/print book. It's a serial story available for FREE at the eHarlequin website. eHarlequin often offers serials that tie into authors' books. These stories stay online in the library and can be accessed indefinitely! What a deal!
What do you think of critique groups?

Ya gotta love 'em. Or hate 'em. :) Depending on the situation you're in!

For me, I have to have someone else read my work. And by reading, I mean READING. Every word. I don't ever trust that I have put on paper what's in my head. It's so easy to #1) beat the reader over the head with too much information, or #2) leave out what needs to be known. These happen because #1) an author doesn't see what she's doing - and a critique group will, and #2) an author doesn't see what she's doing - and a critique group will!

Additionally, when I have someone read my work, I don't expect to hear how wonderful everything is. *I* already know how wonderful everything is. *g* I need to know what DOESN'T work! Those are the things I can't see, the things I'm humble enough to admit I can't see, the things I crave having pointed out to me because I'm too blind to my own work to see!

That said, a good critique group is like a good marriage, or a good agent. It's better not to be involved with any of those than to be involved with a bad one!

Have a question for Alison? Ask it here! Or here!

If you've read my weblog at all these last few weeks, you know I've been working longer than I've wanted to on getting my site updates made. For a long while now, I've determined to provide more content for my visitors - it's just finding the time! Leaving the day job has not given me any more hours in the day. I'd been so sure that it would!

Right now, of course, I'm tremendously excited about my upcoming Smithson Group series from Kensington Brava. I have wanted to write action adventure for years. My first foray actually gained me several awards along with comments from at least two editors that if jungle settings and adventure were selling, they would have bought up my project in a heartbeat. Alas, those were the days of dark family drama, and so I set that story aside in hopes that the tides would one day turn.

Thanks in a big part to Hollywood, they have! Lara Croft, Sydney Bristow, Geena Davis in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, Mira Sorvino in THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS - all of these have paved the way for a resurgence in action adventure and kick-ass heroines, as have Suzanne Brockmann and Cherry Adair, to name two of the most successful authors in the sub-genre.

I can't even tell you where the inspiration for my Smithson Group came from. All I know is that one day in the fall of 2002, when I should've been working on my current manuscript *g*, I had this huge idea for an elite group of ex-military men working under the radar of governmental law enforcement. Not mercenaries exactly, because nothing they do is for money. Their cause is all about righting wrongs because of the wrongs done to each of them.

I hope you enjoy my SG-5 team when they do hit the shelves in October, November, December, January, February . . . and again in June of 2005!