Sunday, April 29, 2012

Release Week on Rewind

It's been an incredible week. I think this photo, from a Target in California, says it all. THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME has been spotted at Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble (where I personally moved copies from the bottom shelf to the alphabetically incorrect eye-level shelf.) At this particular Target it was nested between Susan Elizabeth Phillips' latest book and Kristan Higgins'.

I've spoken many times about how much I revere Susan Elizabeth Phillips. One of the first romances I ever read was Fancy Pants, which completely captivated me. Like all great writers, she expanded the boundaries of what was possible in the genre. Kristan Higgins is a more recent discovery for me, but I'm now a rabid fan of hers as well. To see my book shelved between the two of them is simply incredible. It's almost surreal, to be honest.

In the days since my book came out, I've been at the mercy of a dizzying kaleidoscope of emotions. It's a little like my wedding -- joy mixed with a generous dollop of stress. The wedding passed in a blur so fast I immediately wanted to rewind and experience it all over again. That's how I feel about this release. I'm never going to have a "debut release" again, but worries about sales and reviews and so forth distract from the pure pleasure of this moment.

I love this photo because it brings me back to the wonder of it all. I wrote a novel that's on a shelf between books by two of my romance writing idols. How amazingly, incredibly cool is that?

Deep breath. Much gratitude. Savor the moment. Then get back to work.

Have a wonderful week!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Champagne's on Me

The official release date of THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME is April 24, which is this coming Tuesday. However, I've heard reports that it's already available in some bookstores.

So ... I'm not waiting for Tuesday. I'm officially popping the champagne corks now! Please, have a glass on me.


As you may know, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME is my first book. It's hard to believe this day has finally come, a day I've been dreaming about and working towards for so many years. I'm sending my baby off into the big world, hoping it finds some fun people to hang out with.

Since the champagne is flowing, I'd like to offer a toast to my Alaska critique group, to Alexandra my agent, Tessa my editor, to Rick my fire guru, Brody and Melissa, my hero and heroine that I adore, to my family, and to everyone who feels inspired to read THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME. My deepest gratitude to all ... Enjoy!

Here are a few links to sites where THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME is available (or will be on Tuesday!)



Have a wonderful week! If you drink too much champagne, please, call a cab.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Favorite Fireman Movies

If firemen make good heroes in books, it stands to reason the same would be true on the big screen. I watch movies about firemen whenever I come across them. The three that stand out in my mind are all excellent, but one looms far above the others -- and I bet my top choice will surprise you! Let's kick things off with:

BACKDRAFT, released in 1991.

Kurt Russell and William Baldwin star as two Chicago firefighters battling a dangerous arsonist. I'd guess this is the most famous fireman movie of all. Ron Howard directed and he did a great job with the personal drama (the two brothers don't get along) and the fire scenes. Did anyone except firefighters know what a backdraft was before this movie came out? I doubt it. This movie achieved iconic status and really put firemen on the map. I mean, look at Kurt Russell here. Sigh.

Then there's LADDER 49, released in 2004. Joachim Phoenix plays a rookie fireman to John Travolta's veteran Captain. The film tells the story of his career in flashbacks while he's trapped inside a collapsing building. It shows how tough it is to be married to a firefighter and constantly worrying about the risks. Fair warning: this movie does not have a happy ending, but it's gripping and intense and well worth watching.

And now for my favorite fireman movie of all time:

ROXANNE, from 1987.

Surprised? Steve Martin plays the Fire Chief of a tiny little Colorado town. But that's not his most outstanding feature. No, that would be his nose. And his quick, witty sense of humor. (It's a retelling of the play, Cyrano de Bergerac.)  He falls in love with an astronomer played by Darryl Hannah, but she likes the cute, normal-nosed visiting fireman. A touching, comical series of events follows from there.

The film focuses on the romantic comedy, while the fire station provides an endearing, occasionally goofy backdrop. (I'll never forget the scene in which the crew learns to haul a hose to the tune of a waltz.)

Maybe that's why I love this movie the most -- because I write romance, not gritty reality. I want to see characters falling in love, learning to see the true beauty in each other, allowing themselves to surrender to the magic. Hot firemen are a bonus.

So there you have it ... my favorite fireman movie of all time. What's yours? What have I left out? Any other other recommendations? 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Fire Guru

While I write about firemen, I am not one. Nor am I married to or related to one. This could pose a problem when I'm trying to evoke a firehouse or describe a structure fire -- if not for my secret weapon: A very generous Captain from the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Whenever I have a technical question or anything related to fire station operations, I email him or we talk on the phone. I've never met him in person, but in my imagination he looks something like this:

I'm sure he'd be chuckling over that. He has a great sense of humor, but he takes his job very seriously and wants to help get the details right. While I appreciate this greatly, it can be inconvenient. I had to rewrite one hero's entire storyline because he informed me that fire captains don't make lateral moves from one department to another. The hero of my third book, Captain Roman, is now a Battalion Chief-level Training Officer transferring from New York, which actually makes him even more interesting.

What dumb mistake might someone make at a hazmat scene? He can tell me. What exactly happens during "lineup," the gathering of firefighters at the start of a shift? He knows. How many feet high does an "aerial" go? Sometimes I wonder why I'm writing the books, not him, but I know the answer to that. His book would be a very fact-based non-fiction account of firefighting procedures, while my books are light-hearted, fun, sexy rides in which a major theme is how darn hot firemen are.

No matter what my Fire Guru looks like, I know he's hot -- because he's such a good guy. He never gets impatient with my questions, he's always gracious and good-humored, he's extremely knowledgeable. Best of all, he's very excited for the books to come out.

I, on the other hand, am very nervous for him to read them! No matter how carefully he vetted certain details and passages, I'm sure some errors slipped through. In my dedication, I made sure to say that any mistakes are mine, not his. Completely true.

I hope my Fire Guru can enjoy the books for what they are: love letters to a profession I admire deeply (and think is hot.)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Christmas in April

Here in Alaska we know how to celebrate April Fool's Day. We started with a hailstorm, phased into some serious snow flurries, then decided to go all out and have ourselves a blizzard. I'd take a picture for you, but what would be the point? It would look more or less like this:

Yep. White space.

I keep scrunching my eyes shut and muttering, "April Fool's, right?" But no. It's a white, white world out there now matter how much I picture Mother Nature getting into the spirit of our human-invented holidays.

On top of that, my husband and 7-year-old are both sick with fever, which had better not be an April Fool's joke because it would be the least funny one ever. Well - it's kind of funny when you picture me, still recovering from knee surgery, stumping through the snow on my crutch to fetch them more tea or find the Children's Tylenol. (Our kitchen is in a separate building.)

I keep scrunching my eyes shut while they take their temperatures, but no ... it's still not an April Fool's joke, poor things. Neither is the game my little girl is currently playing, in which she slurps out her tongue really fast, twice in a row, then makes me guess which time was faster. Or the game in which she whistles snot in and out of her nose and asks if she sounds more like a cat or a coffee maker. Or the crazy game called "how many chapters of Harry Potter can I read before my voice gives out?" (Hey, whatever keeps the kid entertained.)

It's a tradition in our family that when my little girl is sick, she gets to watch a movie. We could have gone with her favorites, Ella Enchanted or Princess Mononoke, but I think we picked the right one considering the weather: The Santa Clause.

That's how April Fool's Day is going here. A blizzard, two fevers, a gimpy knee, and a Christmas movie. No joke.

So ... Happy April Fool's, AKA Christmas in April! May it be a merry one. 

How about you? Any good April Fool's Day jokes? How do you pass the time when your kids are sick?