Monday, May 31, 2010

New Plots in the Harper Character Graveyard

I have interred two new characters in the Harper Memorial Garden at

Click here to pay your respects.

This Blog, It Is A-Changin'

Hey All,

You may notice that the color scheme and such have changed. As I am moving to more of a "middle of the road" approach to romance. (I'm still writing some paranormal, but my next book is a mainstream romance), I figured I should move away from Morticia's decorating palette. I thought it would be nice for the blog to be more cheerful.

But I welcome your comments. If I can do anything to improve the blog, such as maybe use a less offensive shade of purple, please let me know.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

SNEAK PEEK: And One Last Thing...

Hey All,

Since we're slowly approaching the release date for AND ONE LAST THING... I thought I would give you a sneak peek at the first chapter. If you'll recall, AND ONE LAST THING... is the story of Lacey, who uses her husband’s company mailing list to send a mass e-mail to everyone they know, detailing the special brand of “administrative support” Mike’s assistant provides. Faster than you can say, “instant Snopes article,” Lacey is exiled from her tiny hometown in the wake of her widely forwarded, anti-adultery hissy fit.

Lacey takes shelter in a remote vacation cabin, which doesn’t thrill her grumpy, but oddly hot, neighbor, Monroe. Her magazine-perfect life in shambles, Lacey has to re-build from the ground up, including figuring out how to earn a living. When presented with the opportunity to write her woman-scorned divorce announcements for a living, will she follow a lucrative, but less than enlightened path? Will she ever figure out her relationship with Monroe, a man who tells her exactly what he’s thinking, instead of what she wants to hear? And will she ever resist saying that ONE… LAST… THING.

So here it is, Chapter 1

The Bumblee and the Stinger

If Singletree’s only florist didn’t deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger.

That’s not to say I blame Cherry Glick for bursting my little housewife bubble with her badly timed, incorrectly addressed floral offering. Hell, I don't even blame the aforementioned receptionist for my husband’s “misstep.” I put the blame where it’s due - on my floor-licking, scum-sucking husband.

To put this all in perspective, I’ll take you back to that fateful Wednesday morning, when Cherry, stinking of plant food and blackberry schnapps, ambled up to my front steps with the biggest, gaudiest arrangement of peachy-orangish roses I have ever seen.

The card read, "To my BumbleBee, Happy Anniversary, With all my love, The Stinger."

“The Stinger?” I read aloud, checking the name on the envelope. Sure enough, the card was addressed to “BumbleBee.” Mike had never called me that. In fact, in eight years together, Mike had never given me a nickname. And it was nowhere near our anniversary. We married on August 1, not in the second week of June.

“Cherry, honey, I think you got this delivery wrong!” I called, chasing after her with the floral albatross.

“Nope, it’s right,” she slurred. “Right here, it’s says ‘Rose Romance Special Deluxe’ from Mike Terwilliger to . . . oh. This is supposed to go somewhere else. This is supposed to go here.”

She took an envelope out of her back pocket and handed it to me. She swayed slightly against her van and shook her head. “Wait, no, both of them are supposed to go…”

“W-where are they supposed to go, Cherry?” I stuttered.

‘Um . . .” Cherry looked away from me, her eyes not quite able to focus anyway.

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” I snapped and tore the billing envelope open. Mike was listed as the ordering party. Next to “Rose Romance Special Deluxe” Cherry’s assistant had scribbled “Terwilliger-Office.”

My stomach clenched, ice cold. Somewhere, in a rationalizing corner of my brain, I clung to the hope that maybe Mike was planning to bring those roses home to me this afternoon as a surprise . . . and that he was planning on giving me the nickname, “BumbleBee.”

Oh, God. My husband was having an affair. With a woman who called him “The Stinger.”
And that's when it hit me. BumbleBee. Mike's receptionist was named Beebee Baumgardner.

“Sorry, Lacey, I’m so sorry,” Cherry murmured, climbing into the van.

She knew. Soused, silly Cherry Glick had figured out my husband was having an affair before I did. Oblivious to the fact that my front door was standing open, I tugged my keys out of my pocket and ran for my nice sensible Volvo. I tossed the roses into the passenger seat and for some reason, took the time to secure the vase with the seatbelt.

The next thing I remember was sitting in my car outside Mike’s new offices on Spring Street, watching through the picture window as Beebee answered phones. She’d worked for Mike for a little more than a year, replacing old Mrs. Keach after the secretarial dinosaur literally died at her desk. I had a healthy respect for the sunny, girl-next-door exterior God had given me, but Beebee scared me with her stunning good looks; the kind of fine features that made me feel like my face was drawn with a crayon. Her hair was so dark it seemed to absorb the light around it.
It fell in soft, careless waves around her face, the kind I was always aiming for, but ended up with a crazy blonde Shirley Temple curls. But I couldn’t even complain that Mike only hired her for her face… or her perfect heart-shaped ass… or the boobs she was still financing. She was very professional, had excellent typing and filing skills, was great at handling the clients. She answered the phone with a smile on her face. And she even made better coffee than I could manage.

It was odd that Mike and Beebee seemed to be alone in the office. Mike had two accountants working under him and he complained that all they did was hang around the lobby, ogle Beebee and plow through pastries. Still, it was possible they were out on client visits.

I sat there in an idling Volvo, feeling very stupid. Nothing was going on. I’d been sitting there for 30 minutes and Mike hadn’t even come out of his office. I was about five seconds from hauling the roses inside, explaining Cherry’s funny, schnapps-fueled mistake and having a good laugh with Mike when I saw him emerge from his office door. He grinned at Beebee and she smiled back with a familiarity that sent a little twinge through my chest. I tamped it down, ashamed of my disloyalty. I told myself it was nice that Mike had found someone so friendly to fill the receptionist spot. I was glad he enjoyed being around someone he had to share office space with for eight hours a day.

And lots of people give their secretaries affectionate shoulder squeezes, I told myself, watching after he crossed the room to rub his hands under her blouse, across her bare collarbone. It was borderline inappropriate, but not an indicator of an affair. And lots of people drag their secretaries out of their chairs like a character in a tacky romance novel. Lots of people kiss their secretaries… with tongue.

Especially when they’re having an affair with them.

Sweet merciful crap, they were going at it in front of a huge window, apparently not caring who could pass by and see. Hell, his wife was sitting less than twelve feet away from them and they hadn’t noticed me.

A whimper stuck in my throat, gagging me. How long had they been doing this? Who else had seen them? Who else knew? How many people would be chewing over this with their dinner tonight? My hands didn’t seem to work right. They wouldn’t close around the door handle so I could march into the office and toss the vase at their heads. I took a few deep steadying breaths, but instead of opening the door, my hands put the car in gear and steered toward home. I don’t remember much about the drive home, except that at one point, I saw a vinyl sign advertising Terwilliger and Associates with Mike’s stupid smiling face on it. And I ran it down.

When I got home, I braked hard to avoid running the car into the garage door. The roses bounced into the floorboard, vase and all, spilling stems and plant water all over. I rushed into the house, the door still standing open, and grabbed some paper towels. Mike was crazy about keeping the cars clean. A dirty car’s resale value fell by forty-five percent.

I tossed the empty vase and the flowers into the garbage can. Kneeling, the hot concrete scraping my knees, I wrapped my hand in toweling and started blotting. The sickly sweet smell of wilting flowers and plant preservative rolled off the upholstery and slapped me in the face. I ran into the grass, doubled over and threw up until tears and mucus hung in long threads from my face. I fell on my knees and waited for the second wave.

“Lacey, you alright, honey?” Our neighbor Mrs. Revell yelled from her yard. She gave me a knowing wink. “Ginger tea and saltines help with that.”

Mrs. Revell thought I was pregnant. Great. By the time Mrs. Revell stopped making calls, not only would I be poor Lacey Terwilliger whose husband had the bad taste to have an affair with his secretary.

I would be poor Lacey Terwilliger, whose husband had the bad taste to have an affair with his secretary after he knocked up his unsuspecting moron wife.

(Content subject to change before publication. All excerpt materials are copyright material.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photo of the Day

My Dad is in Singapore on business and found this in a Borders there!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Scenes from my marriage

Recently, while discussing my upcoming book, AND ONE LAST THING... I was trying to explain to a reporter how my husband has influenced my writing style. David and I started dating when I was 14 and he was 16. The poor man has put up with me for 17 years, more than half of his life. We literally grew up together, so our senses humor sort of influenced each other over the years. So the way my characters interact and flirt are deeply influenced by the way David and I talk to each other.

In fact, AND ONE LAST THING's hero, Monroe, is based on David. The weird sense of humor. The funny stories from his days as a police officer. And of course, the hotness. That's all David.

I don't think the reporter believed me.

So to help illustrate the profoundly warped way David has shaped me as a writer, I offer the following:

Scene 1
David: (from the kitchen) Why are there three Drumsticks missing from the brand new box in the freezer?

Me: I have hidden them strategically in remote locations around the freezer. And let that be a lesson to you about taking the last Drumstick.

David: You piled in them in the middle of the bottom shelf. You didn't even bother covering them!

Me: Clearly, you are more clever than I give you credit for.

Scene 2
David grumbles about the fact that I leave a garbage bag at the bottom of the can, so when I take the garbage out, there's a bag right there waiting to replace it. He said it just ends up covering the other bag in garbage juice.

Me: Honey, after 10 years, I think it's time I tell you that I occasionally amuse myself by doing things I know will irritate you. That's what they teach the girls in sixth grade when the boys get pulled out of class for the sex ed lecture. You think we're watching a film strip about our changing bodies, but we're learning psychological gender warfare.

David (his expression aghast): I KNEW it!

Scene 3
I have had a strange encounter in the Wal-Mart parking lot. This woman approached me and gave me the creeps. I cut her off and drove away as quick as I could. And I felt guilty for being rude. David goes into police officer mode and starts asking questions. Eventually, we decide this woman was probably just socially clueless, but I should definitely trust my instincts about that sort of thing, rudeness be damned.

David: It was probably nothing. (kissing me on the forehead and walking into the kitchen) Of course, we have no idea how many psychos we cross paths with. I mean, on any given day, you probably run into a dozen or so people who are fully capable of killing you.

Me: (yelling after him) HOW ON EARTH is that supposed to make me feel BETTER!?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interview with My Mom

Would you like to know what sort of person raised yours truly?

Click here to read an interview between my mom, Judy Harper, and

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How Cute Is This!?

Book 1. Translates to "Nice Girls Don't Bite." (At least, that's what I'm told.)

Book 2. Translates to "Dead Guys Kissing You Not."

I'm just full of posts today. The covers for the German translations are up on the Egmont site. How cute are they? Believe it or not, this model is a little closer to how I imagined Jane than the American cover model. Though, I do love my American covers. Can't wait to see what the French and Turkish covers look like!

For more info on the German editions, go here.

Slinking back into the paranormal fold

OK, so I don't have a paranormal romance coming out this year, BUT there is proof that I haven't completely abandoned my paranormal roots. The page for the first installment in my new werewolf romance series has been posted here.

HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF, is about Mo, who moves from Mississippi to Alaska to get away from her intrusive hippie parents. She settles into her new Yukon digs, getting a job at the local diner and getting along well with her new neighbors... with the exception of the hot, grumpy hunting guide who seems to disappear during the full moon...

Really, I'm just posting this so the other authors don't kick me out of the League for being a genre traitor.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Daughter, Future Super Spy

OK, so my five year old is smarter than me.

Due to the flooding in Nashville, the Romance Writers of America's national meeting has been moved from the Opryland Hotel to Walt Disney World in Orlando. And while I can't express enough concern and support for my neighbors in Nashville, I'm pretty happy with the new location. It means that my kids will be able to go to Disney World for the first time.

Now, our daughter, Darcy, is... talkative and she likes to give suggestions. So we figured it would drive us insane more slowly if we didn't tell her about the trip until a week or so beforehand. Otherwise, we would be over-run with her ideas on how we should pack our bags and color-coded route maps through the park, drawn in crayon.

So Mum's the word, right? I mean, I've talked to our 19 month old about the trip, but he's still saying one word at a time, so I'm sure he's not going to spill the beans. Except... earlier this week, a Disney World commercial came on the TV and Darcy was watching me with this weird, knowing expression. Earlier today, someone asked Darcy about her birthday, which is when we'll be in Florida, and she said, "I don't know if we'll be in town then, though."

I don't know how she's done it. But I think my kindergartener has hacked into my computer and found our reservations. Or she's psychic.

Oh, no, what if she's been faking this whole, "I can't read yet" thing and she's following my blog! Ack!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


OK, which one of you put the evil eye on me?

Over the past week, I’ve come to suspect that under some sort of whammy of weirdness/destruction. First, my daughter blew the dismount while riding piggyback on one of her classmates, and broke her arm. While we were running and jumping to cater to Darcy’s every injured whim, our son wasn’t getting a lot of attention. So my husband, David, picked him up for some post-nap bonding and realized that Carter had a high fever. So basically, we were held hostage by broken bones and strep throat for a week.

Darcy still has a cast, and figured out that when Carter annoys her, she can have an “arm spasm” and smack him with it.

On Thursday, one of my co-workers was walking across the street and fell in sight of my office window, hurting her ankle. Until Tuesday, my blinds were broken and I had to keep them open. As soon as they were fixed, I closed them. I had no idea what was going on. But my injured co-worker was waving her arms, yelling for help, thinking that I could see her and I was either ignoring her or videotaping her for my Facebook page.

Feeling bad that my co-worker had to hobble across the street un-assisted, I went to my favorite book store to get her an “I swear I’ll keep my blinds open from now on” present. I’m standing at the cash register and this older lady is standing RIGHT at my elbow, like so close I’m having trouble maneuvering my arm to get my wallet out of my purse. That was annoying enough, but then she puts her hand on the small of my back, uncomfortably close to my butt, and said, “I feel so tiny standing next to a great big girl like you!”

Even the clerk seemed aghast at that. Instead of striking back and saying something like, “Well, I feel so young and nubile standing next to you!” I ignored her and completed my purchase. (Yeah, I use “nubile” in everyday conversation. I’m a romance novelist. What of it?)

The next morning, I was bent over, unloading Carter from his carseat at pre-school and the wind kicked up. I could feel my skirt flapping against the back of my head, meaning my undies were exposed to everyone in the parking lot. I can only be grateful that I was wearing the cute ones that morning. I have started the fund for the therapy the parking lot occupants will need someday.

My friend, Brandi, says I bring this stuff on myself, that something in my personality says to the universe and its inhabits, “I am open to your crazy.” I’m still thinking whammy. So if you guys could just tell me what burial ground I disturbed so I can apologize and get this jinx off of me, I would really appreciate it.

Or, you could share your stories of “the weirdest week I’ve ever had” just to make me feel less alone.