Monday, November 30, 2009

And the winner of the "Giving Thanks" tote bag is...

Carolsnotebook! Congratulations, carolsnotebook, you are the winner of the "Giving Thanks" tote bag filled with signed books from this month's guest hosts Sherry Thomas, Tracy Madison, Jessica Trapp, and Anthea Lawson; an autographed copy of my historical romance, THE PROMISE; and a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble. You have until December 7, 2009, to claim your prize by sending me an e-mail at tjb @ tjbennett DOT com, or I'll have to select another eligible winner.

With December's arrival, I have my final giveaway contest of the year beginning this Wednesday, December 2, 2009. For December, we'll have some returning guests (Emily Bryan, Christie Craig, and Carrie Lofty), and one new guest (Jennifer Ashley) visiting with us.

You'll enjoy reading about December's theme as these authors put their spin on "All I Want for Christmas is...". And, of course, there are always goodies to be had, too. I'll be giving away a Christmas-themed tote bag to one lucky winner on December 28, 2009. The winner will receive signed books by the authors, an autographed copy of my historical romance, THE LEGACY, and a $20 gift certificate from

So be sure to stop by every Wednesday in December and visit with "Authors You Should Know" for a chance to win the tote.

This is another great lineup! Feel free to pass this announcement on to reader groups, booksellers, librarians, and anyone else who loves free autographed books.

December's Lineup:

December 2, 2009: Emily Bryan, author of light-hearted historical romance.
December 9, 2009: Jennifer Ashley, USA Today bestselling author of paranormal and historical romance.
December 16, 2009: Christie Craig, Photojournalist, speaker, and author of humorous romantic suspense.
December 23, 2009: Carrie Lofty, author of unusual historical romance.

It will be a wonderful month at IMHO, so be sure to join us! Contest rules will be up on my website soon.

Good luck!

TJ Bennett
THE LEGACY (AAR Desert Isle Keeper and "Buried Treasure 2008")
When secrets destroy, can love live on?
THE PROMISE (RT 4 stars! Eye on Romance TOP PICK!)
In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

And the winner of the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag is ...

Linda Henderson! Congratulations, Linda Henderson, you are the winner of our special Thanksgiving Day giveaway. You have until December 3 to claim your prize by sending an e-mail to me at tjb @ tjbennett DOT com.

What, you might ask, do you win in this awesome bag? Autographed copies of the books featured below (subject to changes pending receipt of books from the authors): You can click on the cover of each book to learn more. I hope you enjoyed the authors' wonderful words of thankfulness.

Remember, everyone else, if you didn't win this tote bag, you're still playing for the second tote bag prize of the month, our "Giving Thanks" tote filled with signed books from this month's guest hosts, an autographed copy of my historical romance, THE PROMISE, and a $20 gift card from Barnes & Noble. You have until November 29 to comment on our authors' posts and then I will award the prize on November 30.

I'd like to add my words of thankfulness now, too. I am thankful foremost for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who keeps me walking every day when I'd rather lie face down on the ground, howling like a baby. I'm thankful for my sons, who are brilliant and handsome, and my husband, who is the same. I'm thankful for my siblings and for my parents, who taught their kids how to love before they passed on.

I'm thankful for all my friends in and out of the writing community, and for my mentors who have shared their wisdom with me in the publishing industry. I'm thankful for my critique groups, past and present: the Four F's and the Midwives, who are the sharpest, most intelligent, and most fun gals to be around a writer could hope for.

 And I'm thankful for you, my readers: first to the IMHO crowd, who keeps coming back each week and is willing to try new authors just because I said so; and then to those of you who have read my novels and told a friend they were worth the read.

THANK YOU ALL!!! Now, back to the turkey...

TJ Bennett

THE LEGACY (AAR Desert Isle Keeper and "Buried Treasure 2008")
When secrets destroy, can love live on?
THE PROMISE (RT 4 stars! Eye on Romance TOP PICK!)
In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Anthea Lawson!

Anthea Lawson is the pseudonym for a husband-wife team who writes spicy Victorian romance. Romantic Times Book Reviews said of their debut novel, PASSIONATE, in which James Huntington leads artist Lily Strathmore and her eccentric, lovable family in search of a fabled bloom, "an offbeat adventure romance…readers will enjoy the wordplay and intriguing characters as they search for a mysterious plant." PASSIONATE was nominated for a Best First Book RITA in 2009.

Their newest book, ALL HE DESIRES, is being called "luscious," "sweeping," and "a powerful love story."  In DESIRES, a self-exiled physician meets the only woman who can bring him from darkness into the light. Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “This husband-and-wife team’s second novel sweeps from the shores of Crete to the streets of London… readers will enjoy the characters and the beautiful descriptions in this nice tale.” Coffeetime Romance says, "[The reviewer] find this to be a wonderful example of historical romance. Ms. Lawson tells a powerful love story and draws the reader in within the first chapter. This tale comes with a high recommendation from this reviewer.”

Musicians as well as writers, the two have recorded many CDs, including several with their Celtic band Fiddlehead (follow the link to hear a sample). They invite you to find them on FaceBook (Anthea Lawson), follow them on Twitter (AntheaLawson) and visit their website for all their latest news!

IMHO: Welcome, Anthea and Lawson. Thank you both for being here today. What is it you are thankful for this year?

AL: Thank you, TJ, for having us here at IMHO. We hope that everyone has a marvelous Thanksgiving, with plenty of time for reading!

There are many layers of thankfulness. We are thankful for health and family, for a sun break on a cloudy November day, for the often unrecognized bounty that surrounds each and every one of us. There are also things we are specifically thankful for as authors – the fact that our books are published, that we are part of a team writing together, that our debut novel was nominated for a best first book RITA. But there’s one thing we are absolutely, humbly grateful for, above all.

Our readers.

Like the one who sent us e-mail at 4am because she had stayed up all night to finish the book and couldn’t wait to tell us how moved by it she had been. The one who stopped at page 117 to write us a quick note because she was enjoying the story so much. The ones who take the time to write and post reviews that are beautiful pieces of writing in their own right.

Authors get their books out there, and then they hope. They hope that the stories move and delight readers. They hope that others will be as swept away as they were by the hero and heroine’s journey, feel the emotions, and bring the characters to life through the magic of the imagination. Getting published isn't the goal, it’s just a step toward the real goal – reaching readers’ hearts.

So, for everyone who has ever loved a book, gotten swept away to another world and let the story transport you – you are the reason we write.

Thank you.

IMHO: Wonderfully said, and a lovely way to wind up the month.

Okay, IMHO readers, let's make this one an easy one. Who does the cooking in your house for Thanksgiving? You? Your spouse? Your mother-in-law? Honey Baked Ham? And what is the favorite all-time dish that person(s) makes?

Leave a comment until November 29, 2009, for Anthea Lawson and at least one other guest host this month for a chance to win the "Giving Thanks" tote bag full of love on November 30, 2009. The winner will receive signed books by all of this month's guest authors: Sherry Thomas, Tracy Madison, Jessica Trapp, and Anthea Lawson; an autographed copy of my historical romance, THE PROMISE; and a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble. Rules for the contest can be found at my website's contest page.

Remember, Thanksgiving Day I'll announce the winner of the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote. It's turning out to be a fantabulous tote bag of love, with signed books from (as of this writing) previous 2009 guests Colleen Thompson, Kim Lenox, Lisa Marie Wilkinson, Trish Albright, Karen Young, and Kim Frost, as well as signed books from authors Michelle Dunaway and Kylie Brant (contents of the tote subject to change). All comments received on any post by November 25 are eligible to win.
Whatever bag our winners receive, they'll have plenty to give thanks for, that's fer shur. Good luck!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And once again...thankful thankfulness!

As mentioned in last week's post, we finish up today with messages of thankfulness from some of IMHO's 2009 guest hosts, culminating in the awarding of the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag prize on November 26, 2009, Thanksgiving Day. Here are more wonderful messages from the authors. Be sure to comment by November 25 for a chance to win. I'll announce the final contents of the tote and the winner of the tote on November 26.
Kim Lenox
The men and women who have served in the past, and who are currently serving in the US Armed Forces, at home and abroad. Especially for my "little" brother the Major, who will be spending his Thanksgiving at Camp Victory, Bagdad.

Kim Lenox
Shadow Guards #2: So Still the Night
May 2009, Signet Eclipse

Lynda Hilburn
I'm thankful that I live in a gorgeous place (Colorado). I'm thankful that I get to work in all the different areas I love (psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, intuitive arts). I'm thankful I get to sing professionally because it's so much fun. I'm thankful for my wonderful son and my two furry grandchildren. I'm thankful I sold two novels and that my writing future looks bright.
Lynda Hilburn
Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance: "Blood Song"
March 2009, Running Press

Jean Brashear 
I am daily grateful for my life--my family, my friends, my readers, the joy of doing something I love as a career--but this year, I'm especially grateful that the love of my life has survived a bout with cancer with a very hopeful prognosis. My special thanks to the medical professionals who played a part and to all those whose prayers did, I am positive, surround us with love and healing light.

Jean Brashear
The Man She Once Knew
Harlequin Superromance
October 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankful is as thankful does...

As mentioned in a previous post, we continue today with messages of thankfulness from some of IMHO's 2009 guest hosts, culminating in the awarding of the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag prize on November 26, 2009, Thanksgiving Day. Here are more wonderful messages from the authors. Be sure to comment by November 25 for a chance to win.
Kathryn Albright

I am so very thankful to have my three boys with me for the Thanksgiving holiday for the first time in six years! Two of my sons have spent it with "Uncle Sam" of late and this is the first time they will both be out of the armed forces and home for the holidays. I plan to make all their favorite dishes. Can't wait to get a "never-ending" hug from my youngest--those are the best hugs and I've really missed them.

Kathryn Albright
Texas Wedding for their Baby's Sake ~ Sept. 2009
Harlequin Historicals
Catherine Kean

Thanksgiving reminds me how lucky I am to have a loving, supportive family and a wonderful network of friends. I’m also extremely grateful for my readers, especially those who decided to try out a newer author and bought my books. Being able to spend my days with my characters, bringing their adventures of love to life, is a privilege and I say “thank you” to everyone who has helped me on my writing journey.

Catherine Kean
A Knight's Temptation ~ April 2009
Medallion Press

I'm thankful for family, friends and good health, of course, but beyond that, I'm thankful that I took the advice of a friend two years ago who said, "Karen, you should be writing Christian fiction." Even though I have a large body of work written earlier, I'm happier and more fulfilled as a writer than I have ever been. I feel blessed.

Karen Young Stone
MISSING: MAX, May 2010
Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And the thanks go on...and the thanks go on...on & on & on & on & on. Laa-da-da-da dee...

(Sorry for the Sonny & Cher homage, folks). As mentioned in Monday's post, we continue today with messages of thankfulness from some of IMHO's 2009 guest hosts, culminating in the awarding of the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag prize on November 26, 2009, Thanksgiving Day. Here are more wonderful messages from the authors. Be sure to comment by November 25 for a chance to win.

I'm very thankful for the gift of my good health this year, especially since some of my dear friends haven't been so fortunate. I'm also blessed with amazing and loyal fans. It constantly surprises me that I have connected with so many wonderful people through my writing. The emails and letters I get lift my spirits and inspire me.

Gerry Bartlett
I am thankful to be cancer-free now and my prayers go out for all who are struggling with this disease.
Emily Bryan
A CHRISTMAS BALL, September 2009

I'm thankful to be able to write
even when I look a sight!
And for my happy, working hands
that bring fun to my awesome fans;
for being goofy, and dancing weird
just being thankful makes me cheered!

Trish Albright
SIREN'S SONG, July 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Even more Thank-y Thankfulness!

As mentioned in Monday's post, we continue today with messages of thankfulness from some of IMHO's 2009 guest hosts, culminating in the awarding of the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag prize on November 26, 2009, Thanksgiving Day. Here are more wonderful messages from the authors. Be sure to comment by November 25 for a chance to win.
Linda Warren

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for my loving family, supportive friends and loyal readers who keep me going, who keep me writing. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Linda Warren 
Deanna Raybourn 

Besides the usual blessings that almost weigh me down with their fabulousness--family, friends, readers, etc--I am thankful that I discovered the transformative power of gratitude in my daily life. I am learning how to find something to be grateful for in every situation, no matter how deeply disguised it might be. There is always some good thing to be found, some bright little ribbon of sacredness that I can wind around my finger as a reminder that things are never as bleak as they first seem. I fail at this a lot, of course, and I'm awed by how much I have left to learn, but I'm immensely appreciative that I have the chance because each moment in life--each time I hold someone's hand or write a book or sweep the kitchen or clean up after the dog or kiss my child--that moment is a gift. Thankfulness isn't just for Thanksgiving anymore!

Deanna Raybourn
SILENT ON THE MOOR –  March 2009

Teri Thackston

After a difficult couple of years, I'm grateful that my family is whole and healthy, and that we are each able to pursue our dreams. God is good to us, and I'm thankful for His touch upon our lives.

Teri Thackston
FINAL WORDS – Available Now
DEADLY CLIMB – Available Now

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Jessica Trapp!

Jessica Trapp writes romances striking for their sensuality and strong conflicts between her heroes and heroines. She has placed in numerous fiction writing contests including winning the coveted K.I.S.S. award from Romantic Times Magazine. She believes a dynamic romance is one where two opposing characters are transformed into two people who share love and passion. Her writings have been described as a “bold unabashed voice” and “beautifully evocative.”

Jessica has a particularly  zesty approach to life, engaging in belly-dancing for exercise and running a "100 words a day" writing group that encourages participants to make progress toward their writing goals, even if it is at a snail's pace, because eventually, the snail gets to where it is going. Whenever I've met Jes, she's always been smiling and exuberant, so the fact that the story she plans to share today was so somber intrigued me. Still, somber or no, she tells it from her uniquely "glass-is-half-full" perspective.

Interestingly enough, Jessica has a BS degree in pharmacy. Maybe that's why she writes romance (just kidding, Jes!). She lives in Houston, Texas with a husband and son who are as passionate about books as she is. When she's not reading or writing, she dances, putters in the garden, plays chess, and drinks copious amounts of hot tea.

Jessica will put her third medieval romance, The Pleasures of Sin, (available now from Zebra Books) into the "Giving Thanks" tote bag for our lucky winner.

IMHO: Jessica, you have a harrowing story to tell of what happened to you over the past couple of months that makes you particularly thankful this year. Could you share that with my IMHO readers?

JT: I'm happy to, TJ. Here's how it started:

A hemorrhaging 10 cm tumor on my liver and the consequential two-week stay in ICU brought a whole new level to the idea of "giving thanks" for me this year. Generally speaking, I tend--like most people I know--to give at least lip service to the idea of being grateful... but... well... one thing I became quickly aware of is how much I take for granted--little things, like walking, eating, standing up unassisted. Suddenly the ebb and flow of daily life became more than I could handle alone, more than I could handle at all. I was hooked up to this beeping monitor and that beeping monitor--wires everywhere--made the most simple of chores an ordeal.

But... staying in the hospital became a time of reflection and introspection--all the little nuisances and problems I'd been worried or concerned about just days before disappeared in a heartbeat of time. There, in a beige room surrounded by a sea of pink plastic trays and cups and the scent of antiseptic, harsh soap and alcohol, I was given a forced step off the treadmill of life.

And... as I was lying there going through tests and surgery, I realized--through it all--how very, very blessed I am. My husband, mom, dad, son, friends, medical professionals, nurses, doctors and more all surrounded me with both practical and emotional care. I was absolutely overwhelmed with the outpouring of love.

The first day that I was allowed to walk, I made my way through the labyrinth of hallways so that I could go outside and breathe some fresh air. Fresh air.... now that's something we take for granted! I wanted to touch a tree and walk barefoot in the grass. I love my garden with its oaks and crape myrtles and hibiscus and I missed it terribly. And, yet, how many times had I complained about the weeds or not even glanced at it, much less taken the time to sit and meditate.

Honestly, there is nothing like being disallowed from things to really make you appreciate the small stuff--the scent of earl grey tea, the taste of apples, watching your child act in a school play, being able to cook a meal for your family. But, then I noticed that even in the midst of all of it, there were so many things to be grateful for in the moment--my family who stayed with me, nurses who cared enough to learn the skills to do their job, friends who wrote and dropped by to comfort me, and, of course, my publisher who gave me an extension on finishing my revisions.

"Giving thanks," I think, surely isn't just some big event to be done once a year on Thanksgiving--but an ongoing process... an attitude that we can carry with us through every moment in time no matter what is going on around us. With every breath, we can choose to notice what is right, what is working, what brings us joy and comfort and love. We don’t have to wait for some “special event” (and certainly not some life altering hospital stay!) to deeply partake in giving thanks. Wherever we find ourselves, right in this very moment, there are things we can take time to notice—people to love, food to eat, life to live. So many blessings to count.

Now I’m home and I have made a habit of sitting daily in my garden—no more rushing by it. I get tired, but being strong enough to shop and prepare a meal for my family is a joy. I’m still struggling with the book, but what a pleasure to be able to carry the laptop to meet friends at Starbucks. I’m grateful to be able to walk, to move, to stretch.

Through this I learned: life can change in a blink… don’t take it for granted.

IMHO: Thank you so much for sharing that, Jessica. There is nothing like a brush with our own mortality to remind us how precious life is. Puts things in perspective, doesn't it, folks?

So, IMHO readers, have you or someone you love ever had a "life-changing" experience that made you put your own life into perspective or made you look at things differently? Share your stories with Jessica by leaving a comment here for a chance to win one of two Thanksgiving-themed totes. Remember, the more authors you leave comments for, the better your chances of winning. And remember also to come back next Wednesday as we host our final guest author(s) for November, husband-and-wife writing team Anthea Lawson.

Take care,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More thankful authors giving thankfulness. Say thank-y!

As mentioned in yesterday's post, we continue today with messages of thankfulness from some of IMHO's 2009 guest hosts, culminating in the awarding of the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag prize on November 26, 2009, Thanksgiving Day. Here are more wonderful messages from the authors. Be sure to comment by November 25 for a chance to win.

Ann Macela

I'm grateful for my husband Paul, without whom I'd never have started writing. His support has been invaluable, plus, he introduces himself as my "research assistant!" I'm grateful for my friends, my real friends, my true friends, as we help each other get through both success and adversity. I'm totally grateful for my extended family, who buy my books and tell others about them and with whom we have so much fun!

Ann Macela
WILD MAGIC, Medallion Press, October 2009
UNEXPECTED MAGIC, Medallion Press, September 2010

Gemma Halliday

I’m very thankful that even in tough economic times, people still believe in happily ever after. And still want to read about it. :)

Gemma Halliday
MAYHEM IN HIGH HEELS - Dorchester, available now
SCANDAL SHEET,  Making It, November 2009


Colleen Thompson
This year, I'm especially thankful for the supportive family and friends who have allowed me the freedom to devote a large portion of my attention to my writing. I'm grateful to my agent and the editors who have helped me grow not only as a professional but as a person, to my brilliant, fascinating colleagues, and to all the wonderful readers who make it possible to live my dream.

Colleen Thompson
BEANEATH BONE LAKE, Love Spell, June 2009
TOUCH OF EVIL, Love Spell, March 2010

Deeanne Gist

I’m thankful that God is who He says He is, that He accomplishes the impossible and that His mercies are never ending. (I just completed my deadline, can you tell?) Hugs to all and Happy Thanksgiving!

Deeanne Gist
A BRIDE IN THE BARGAIN, Bethany House, June 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank-y! Thank-y! A second chance at a tote bag o' books

As mentioned in my newsletter, on Thanksgiving Day, I'll be giving away a second tote bag of Random Freebies which I'm calling "Thank-y! Thank-y!" (because I can) to a lucky winner at IMHO (this is seperate from our "Giving Thanks" tote featuring signed books by this month's guest hosts). This tote will contain Random Freebie autographed books, a few donated, some purchased by me for giveaways.

In anticipation of this event, leading up to Thanksgiving Day I will post "thankful" notes from previous guest hosts at IMHO in which they share what they are giving thanks for this year. All commentors on any post during the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag contest period are eligible to win the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote (see restrictions that apply on my contest page).

To have a chance to win, visit IMHO during the contest period and leave a comment on at least two different posts. The more posts you leave comments on, the more you increase your chances of winning. The contest for this tote ends November 25, 2009. On November 26, 2009, I will announce the winning entry drawn at random from all eligible participants for the “Thank-y! Thank-y!” tote bag. The winner will have until December 3, 2009, to claim his or her prize.

I will announce the contents of the tote bag as I get them in hand (a few are still promised, but haven't arrived yet), but rest assured you'll see some from my past guests this year. Let's kick off the contest with a few of those "thankful" posts now!



I am thankful for my family's health, happiness, and (relative) sanity. I am thankful for my loving husband of twelve years, who supports my writing ambitions both emotionally and financially. And I'm thankful to work and create within an artistic community that gives me such affirmation, purpose and joy. Love and gratitude to all!

Carrie Lofty
WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS, Zebra Debut, Available Now

Vicki Hinze

This Thanksgiving I'm especially grateful for my sight, for my supportive hubby, kids and grands, good friends, loyal readers, and life. I'm also grateful for the little things. The everyday miracles and celebrations of things important to me but insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It's all just such a blessing.

Vicki Hinze

KILL ZONE: July 2009, Medallion Press
FORGET ME NOT March 2010, Random House-Multnomah

Madeline Hunter

I'm thankful for a year of health for my immediate family, and for the chance to have a special time with my sisters and brother.

Madeline Hunter
RAVISHING IN RED, February 2010 Jove Books

I am grateful for:

1-Family and friends
3-Readers willing to take a chance on an author they've never read before

Lisa Marie Wilkinson
Fire at Midnight, Medallion Press, Available Now
Stolen Promise, Medallion Press, March 2010

Friday, November 13, 2009

Historical Novel Cover Contest

Hey, just popping in to let you know The Season Blog is having a historical romance novel cover contest that ends November 15. I'd love your vote for THE PROMISE, if you are so inclined, but even if you aren't, stop over and check out the covers and vote for your favorites. There are some lovely ones there.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Blog Talk Radio debut

While you folks were enjoying Tracy Madison's company yesterday (please be sure to leave her a comment to increase your chances of winning one of our two Thanksgiving themed totes, by the way), I was over at Blog Talk Radio enjoying some lively discussions with other authors about how we can benefit from social media.

The slate also included horror filmmaker/author Gregory Lamberson (Slime City), comedy author Kathy Carmichael (Hot Flash) (sitting in for the temporarily derailed Vicki Hinze--get better soon, Vicki!), and motivational speaker and personal trainer Staci Boyer (Motiv8n' U).

I learned a thing or two about it myself (like, I'm gonna hafta get a Facebook page) and was very impressed by the calibre of knowledge everyone had.
If you're an author thinking about how to use social media (like Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, MySpace, et al) to promote your books, you really should check it out. Here's the link: when you get there, look for the Medallion Press podcast dated 11/11/09. You can play it there, or download it to iTunes and take it with you! Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Tracy Madison!

Paranormal romance with a delightful touch is Tracy Madison’s signature style, and it’s no surprise since she grew up far more interested in the world of the make believe than the real world right outside her door. Almost from the moment she learned to read, she says, she discovered the magic of books. With Nancy Drew, C.S. Lewis, or J.R.R. Tolkien as her guide, she traveled to different worlds, solved mysteries, and had breathtaking, spine tingling adventures. Then, as a teenager, she picked up one of her mother’s romances, and fell in love all over again.

Getting completely lost in a story is still one of Tracy’s favorite things to do, but she’s also active in her local Romance Writers of America chapter, plays a variety of computer games, and is seriously addicted to reality television.

Today, Tracy lives in Northwestern Ohio with her husband, four children, and several anthropomorphized critters. She warns that her house is often hectic, noisy, and filled to the brim with laugh-out-loud moments. Many of these incidents fire up her imagination to create the interesting, realistic, and intrinsically funny characters that live in her stories.

Romantic Times Book Reviews says "[Madison] has a breezy, intimate style that's fun to read.” Tracy's debut novel was A TASTE OF MAGIC, in which "a young, divorced bakery owner discovers she's inherited her gypsy ancestress's fabulous magical powers, but learns that when seeking true love with a hunky new neighbor, a person has to be careful what she cooks up." Fresh Fiction called it "a masterpiece."

Tracy will put her sophomore novel, A STROKE OF MAGIC, into the “Giving Thanks” tote for our lucky winner. RT says A STROKE OF MAGIC is “… an uplifting and delightful story about finding love and trusting your heart." In STROKE, Alice must deal with a sexy new boss, a baby on the way, a crazy family, and a gypsy curse. Only a soul-deep bond with the right man can save her and her child. As if being single wasn't pressure enough!

IMHO: Great to have you here today, Tracy. Tell our readers: what are you thankful for this year?

TM: Well, first of all, let me give a huge thanks to TJ Bennett for having me here today! Then, let me say I’m thankful that my next release, A BREATH OF MAGIC, will be out in May 2010. Now, on to today’s topic.

So, when I first began thinking about this post, I’ll admit I came up blank. Oh, not that I don’t have plenty of things to be thankful for, because I do. I have an amazing family, incredible friends, and within these two groups of people, an unbelievably tight support system for which I am ever grateful. But come on—of course I’m thankful for my friends and family! Aren’t we all?

And while my family and friends deserve a post filled with glowing words, I wanted to write about something different. Something unique. And, therefore, hopefully something that TJ’s other guests wouldn’t write about. So I thought. And thought. And thought some more. I came up with a few ideas, but none of them really spoke to me. For the curious, here they are:

• George Clooney. I don’t think any explanation is required.
• Coffee. Oh, how I love my fresh-brewed coffee. Strong and hot, please.
• Sims 3. Because in Sims 3 I can work only one day a week and make oodles of cash. Oh, and pregnancy only lasts a few days, and even better, the kids grow up FAST. And with top gardening, fishing, and cooking skills, I can stay young forever. That’s right. Forever.
• Ordering out. Not only will people bring food to my door, but now I can order almost anything I want on the internet. I don’t even have to pick up the phone.
• The TV show How I Met Your Mother. Barney Stinson is awesome, and makes me laugh. A lot. Kind of a snorting laugh, but who cares?
• Working from home. Because my work clothes? They’re pajamas and sweats and long, baggy sweatshirts.
• Being a writer. Telling my stories and seeing them on the shelves is even more awesome than Barney Stinson.
• The fact I haven’t gotten my hand stuck in the garbage disposal for over a year. Um, again, self-explanatory. (For a full explanation, you can read about this experience here.)

So while I am quite thankful for all of the above, none of them really fired up my imagination for a thanks-worthy post. I was becoming quite flummoxed (isn’t that a great word? I love that word. Well, I like “quirky” too. Hm. Quirky vs. Flummoxed?) over the problem. But then I realized that I didn’t need one solitary topic, because at this time in my life, I am thankful for…well, everything that makes up my life. And yes, that includes my family and friends and every item, person, and/or thing represented on the above list.

In conclusion, my life—while not perfect—is pretty dang good, and I wake up every morning feeling thankful for all that I have. Besides which, by focusing on the positives, the things that aren’t so great right now don’t hold such impact. Which, on some days, is what keeps me from eating my weight in chocolate. (Oh yeah, I’m also thankful for chocolate…)

You tell me. What are YOU thankful for this year?

IMHO: You heard the woman. Yes, you may have already responded to this question before, and if you did, I’m sure you can think of something else you are thankful for this year. Right? Let Tracy know what it is for a chance to win one of two Thanksgiving-themed totes. Remember, the more authors you leave comments for, the better your chances of winning.

And by the way, since today is Veteran's Day, I want to add a grateful thank you to all the veterans who served our country, and all those military men and women serving today. Thank you all!

Comment away!


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Upcoming Events

Hi, folks!

The picture has nothing to do with this post, but I knew it would get your attention, heh heh heh. (Yes, that's a young Pierce Brosnan. Sighhh.)

So, now that I have it (your attention, that is), I just wanted to give you a head's up about two promotional events for this week. I'd love for you to join me if you can.

Okay...I'll admit that what I'm really thinking is that unless I beg shamelessly, no one will show up, and I'll have a sad, as well as being perceived as pathetically unpopular. So, you know, if you want to save an ego, save the date:

November 11th at 7p.m. CST, I will be one of a panel of Medallion Press author guests on Filmaker and horror author Gregory Lamberson, romantic suspense author Vicki Hinze, and I will discuss how authors can benefit from social media.

If you are an author or a fan, stop in and chat. Call this number to participate on the date: (347) 327-9389. Don't call before the show, however, as the number doesn't go live until then.

UPDATE: To listen to the broadcast while in progress, go to and click on the "On Air" link.

Don't forget right here on IMHO on November 11th, our guest host will be Tracy Madison, author of light paranormal romance. Be sure to stop in and say hello for a chance to win one of two Thanksgiving-themed totes filled with goodies.

On November 12th, I'll be at the Seasons Blog, a website dedicated to historical romance. They're posting an excerpt from my current release, THE PROMISE, and I'll cruise by to say hello and answer any questions you might have for me. Here's a chance to check out the book if you haven't had the chance to buy it yet.

 Please don't make me beg.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

IMHO welcomes Sherry Thomas!

IMHO is delighted to welcome our first guest host for Novemeber to celebrate this month's theme in honor of Thanksgiving. That theme is, as you might expect, "Giving Thanks," and our guest is Sherry Thomas.

Sherry burst onto the scene with Private Arrangements, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2008, as well as being honored with RITA® nominations for Best First Book and Best Historical Romance. Her sophomore book, Delicious, was a Library Journal Best Romance of 2008. The All About Romance 13th Annual Reader Poll voted Sherry as the Best Debut Author of 2008. Lisa Kleypas calls her “the most powerfully original historical romance author working today,” and I'd have to agree.

I first encountered Sherry's work when I asked her to participate in IMHO's summer 2009 RITA® extravaganza giveaway, and I was floored by Private Arrangements. I discovered that dry wit, emotion, and sensual storytelling with an edge are the hallmark of a Sherry Thomas book. I immediately bought and devoured her next two books (thank goodness for Kindle) within a week.

Sherry's story is all the more interesting given that English is her second language--she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger's Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. If you haven't had a chance to read her work yet, run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore and demand Sherry Thomas' books!

Her most current release, Not Quite a Husband, is in stores now, with a fourth novel, His at Night, due out in May 2010. Sherry will put Not Quite a Husband in the "Giving Thanks" tote bag for one lucky person to win.
IMHO: As I said, Sherry, I'm excited to have you visit with us at IMHO today. Tell us what you are giving thanks for this year.

ST: Thank you, TJ. There are many, many things about my job as a romance writer for which I am humbly grateful. The (mostly) fun work, the flexible hours, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing a story go from an idea to a finished product.

But I think not enough has—or can ever be—said about the greatest benefit of writing romance: the girlfriends.

My fellow romance writers make for awesome and kick-ass girlfriends. They are all crazy—in some way—so I don’t have to explain my own crazy. They understand the soaring bliss of writing well, the hair-tearing frustration of writing badly, and the disaster-aftermath state of the house when I am three days from my deadline.

The legendary Paul Newman once said of his wife Joanne Woodward, “She is the last of the great broads.” Much as I hate to ever disagree on anything with Paul Newman, I have to say he probably hadn’t met many romance writers. Because boy, do we count among our numbers some fabulous broads: tough, generous, and hilarious women who are great role models and—yes, of course—marvelous girlfriends.

What of the non-broads, the less immediately commanding presences? They are equally wonderful and equally fascinating. To know them is to discover ferocious wit that hides under a shy smile, whimsy that belies a seemingly no-nonsense surface, and warmth enough to counter a nuclear winter.

Writing is a fantastic pursuit and a fantastic profession, but it is not an easy one. There are disappointments at every turn and even the writers with the strongest confidence in themselves waver and doubt. Which is what makes a network of friends, working in the same trenches, facing the same pressures, so valuable. We share writing tips, we share market knowledge, we share time-management strategy. We share things about our children’s various insanities that make us laugh so hard we tear up. And when it’s crunch time and we have to look good, we share mascaras, hair gels, and bobby pins.

I don’t know all romance writers. I don’t even know 1/100 of all romance writers out there. But the ones I’m fortunate enough to know, whether they are published or not yet published, have made for delightful and steadfast friends. And they are people I never would have met if I hadn’t made the insane decision eleven years ago to start writing a romance.

So in this thanksgiving season, I am grateful for all my lovely romance-writing girlfriends. It has been an honor and a privilege sharing the ups and downs of this career with you. I have lived richer for your camaraderie, written better for your sage advice, and looked prettier for your styling expertise.

Vive la femme.

IMHO: *wiping tear away from eye* I couldn't have said it better, Sherry. My writing girlfriends are the best I've ever had. I love my non-writing friends, too, don't get me wrong, but my writing friends "get it."  Thanks for sharing your gratitude with us today.

Remember, folks, this month when you leave comments for our guests, you'll be playing for not one, but two tote bags of thankfulness. Our first tote is the "Giving Thanks" tote filled with signed books from this month's guest hosts, an autographed copy of my historical romance, THE PROMISE, and a $20 gift card from Barnes & Noble.

In addition, in the weeks preceding Thanksgiving day, I will be posting "thank you" notes from some of my previous guest hosts from 2009 in which they share with us what they are thankful for, and then on Thanksgiving Day, I'll award the "Thank-y! Thank-y!" tote bag containing Random Freebie books donated by a few of IMHO's guest authors. Comments on any posts throughout the contest periods make you eligible to win either tote. See my contest rules for more.

So be sure to leave a comment for Sherry, say hello and whether you've had a chance to read her books, and tell her what you are most thankful for this year.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Favorite quote of the day...

From Joni Rodgers, with whom I have the great fortune to share a critique group, comes this bon mot from Boxing the Octopus (on writing):

Whenever I hear that old "everyone has a book in them" axe, I can't help but point out: Everyone has a spleen in them, too, but it takes a particular skill set to get it out, and only in rare circumstances is it a good idea to display it on a shelf.