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How the heck did they do it?


29 May 1954

29 May 1954


still smiling 55 years later

still smiling 55 years later

A few random Qs from my publisher… What's your fave?

What is your favorite flower?

Magenta cyclamen. In the dead of winter, I can always find a few secretly blooming in my garden.

What are you reading now?
Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein. It’s a memoir by twins who were separated at birth and adopted by strangers, and never found out until they met for the first time as adults.
Who is your favorite Harlequin author?
That is SO not fair, because my favorites change along with my moods. When I have a rotten cold in the middle of winter, it’s tea and toast and Betty Neels. For a feel-good girlfriend book, I love Debbie Macomber, but when I need a sexy cowboy, it’s Linda Lael Miller all the way. If I’m in the mood for an alpha male, Nora Roberts or Linda Howard fills the bill. Jennifer Greene for a good cry. If I have a hankering for military guys, it’s Merline Lovelace and Suzanne Brockmann…see what I mean? I could go on like this all day. 
How many books have you written?
30-ish. I stopped counting after thirty because it was making me feel old.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Right here, right now. It’s a boring answer, but I’m really lucky to live where I do. There’s a pristine beach about ten yards from my window, a dead-on view of Mount Rainier, sailboats, kayaks and motorboats on the premises, a pool and deck, a big garden twined with pathways, a primeval rain forest 1/2 mile down the road, a cafe in the neighborhood with great lattes and pizza, a vintage movie house within walking distance and all the fishing, birding and beachcombing, sitting and reading and dreaming you could want. Provided I’m doing a good job with my deadlines, every day feels like a vacation.
Before becoming a writer, what did you do?
Wrote and illustrated long, angsty unrhymed poems, skied in the Matterhorn, rode the Orient Express, played center on my field hockey team, spoke French, played the cello, drank pastis in a cafe in Trieste with dangerous people, sneaked into a Rolling Stones concert, flirted with my master’s thesis advisor, taught Euclidean geometry, Calculus and long division, stole my sister’s boyfriend and married him, became a vegetarian, learned to dance the Cotton-Eyed Joe, made the first cut of the Teacher in Space program, taught myself Fair Isle knitting and counted cross stitch, faux finished every wall of the house, campaigned for John Anderson, ignored my mother’s advice, gave birth without anaesthesia, read Georgette Heyer’s complete oeuvre, gave my hair to Locks of Love, rode a bicycle down the volcano Haleakala, sang in a church choir, told my sister sorry about the guy and had a laugh, became an adult literacy volunteer, lived in a tract home in the ”burbs and read romance novels aloud while nursing an infant, because I was trying to teach myself the craft while bonding with the infant. Then I sold my first book, and everything changed…
Do you have a new book coming out?
Always. My latest is Fireside. I’ll have several historical reissues this year, and then Lakeshore Christmas in October.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza with melanzane (eggplant), served in a tiny cafe in Amalfi with a view of the sea and a glass of San Pelligrino, shared with the abovementioned laughing husband.
Do you have any pets?
Barkis the Wonderdog, a young Doberman with floppy ears and a stubby tail and a desperate need to be petted at all times.
What is your favorite romantic movie?
It’s a tie– “Harold and Maude” and “Last of the Mohicans” (the Daniel Day-Lewis version). Runners up: “Terminator” and “Speed.” Really.
This year is Harlequin’s 60th Anniversary. Do you have any special message you’d like to pass on?
Girl, you are lookin’ hot for a sixty-year-old! Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working well for you.
Your turn! How would you answer? Click “comments” and post there!
What’s your fave?

As a public service, I am posting this cautionary video here. Please pass it on to the men in your life.

Three things I’m grateful for:

  1. Sfogliatelle from Remo Borrachini’s bakery, and a hot cup of Lavazza coffee.
  2. Ski equipment experts who give you good advice at the ski swap.
  3. A husband who tries to do my hair when my arm is trashed.
cast by Swedish ER, hair by Jay

cast by Swedish ER, hair by Jay

What are you grateful for today?

Three things I’m grateful for:

  1. my funny, big-hearted sister
  2. a good night’s sleep next to a warm husband
  3. autumn beauty, courtesy of Jay’s cell phone
from Jay's talented cell phone

from Jay

What are you grateful for today?

In stores now!Today is the official release of Snowfall at Willow Lake. Enjoy!

Aaaand…First-time author Patry Francis also has a new book out today. It’s on my TBR. Check it out:

“The new questions and revelations just keep coming…Readers will be heartily rewarded.”—Ladies’ Home Journal

When new music teacher Ali Mather enters Jeanne Cross’s quiet suburban life, she brings a jolt of energy that Jeanne never expected. Ali has a magnetic personality and looks to match, drawing attention from all quarters. Nonetheless, Jeanne and Ali develop a friendship based on their mutual vulnerabilities THE LIAR’S DIARY (Plume / February 2008 / ISBN 978-0-452-28915-4 / $14.00) is the story of Ali and Jeanne’s friendship, and the secrets they both keep.

Jeanne’s secrets are kept to herself; like her son’s poor report card and husband’s lack of interest in their marriage. Ali’s secrets are kept in her diary, which holds the key to something dark: her fear that someone has been entering her house when she is not at home. While their secrets bring Jeanne and Ali together, it is this secret that will drive them apart. Jeanne finds herself torn between her family and her dear friend in order to protect the people she loves.

A chilling tour of troubled minds, THE LIAR’S DIARY questions just how far you’ll go for your family and what dark truths you’d be willing to admit—even to yourself.

Patry Francis is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize whose work has appeared in the Tampa Review, Colorado Review, Ontario Review, and the American Poetry Review. She is also the author of the popular blogs, and This is her first novel. Please visit her website at

By Patry Francis
Plume Paperbacks / February 2008 / $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-452-28915-4
Readers Guide available at
For more information or to schedule an interview with Patry Francis, please contact Laurie Connors, Plume Publicity
212-366-2222 /

Sometimes fiction is the best revenge. Please enjoy this video and guest post from one of my favorite writers, Sheila Roberts:

Writing as Revenge by Sheila Roberts

I think the best book ideas come from a real life experiences. And some of the most irritating experiences can provide the best material. If I hadn’t been irritated with my husband, I never would have come up with the idea for my new book On Strike for Christmas about a group of friends who go on strike to gain more appreciation over the holidays–with near disastrous results.
On Strike for Christmas     My  husband was grumbling about having to spend yet another holiday with my big, loud family and I had just had it. What was his problem, anyway? He’d been doing this for years. Now that I think about it, maybe that was his problem. The poor man spends more time with his in-laws than his own family. But when I made my threat I wasn’t thinking so rationally. “I’m going to put you in a book,” I threatened.
     He just laughed.
     Until I actually did it. And once I got rolling I’d give him regular reports. “Your nickname is now Bob Humbug.”
     “Ha! I like it.”
     The members of my critique group liked it, too, although they began to wonder about one of the couples in the book, Bob and Joy, who were modeled after my husband and myself. I even began to wonder myself – not about Bob and Joy, but about Sheila and her husband – when we’d discuss the book and I’d hear comments like, “This marriage is in serious trouble.”
     I’d think, It is? Oh, no! We’ve been married for years and we’re in trouble and we don’t even know it!
     Fortunately, I was eventually able to sort fact from fiction.  My husband had his own identity crisis once he had a chance to see an early copy of the book. Suddenly it wasn’t quite so funny being the prototype for a naughty husband. He returned one afternoon from his work commute, holding the book and looking like the personification of Elvis’s “Blue Christmas”. “Am I really that bad?” he Sheila Robert
     It was my golden opportunity to say, “Yes! That’s why you’re in a book, you big turkey.” But I didn’t have the heart. My Bob Humbug is really a sweet guy with a very tender heart, and he looked so darned sad I simply couldn’t do it. He had obviously learned his lesson, so I assured him that fiction often requires some over the top writing. (And there is plenty of that in this story.)
     Still, he took the underlying message to heart, and now, like Scrooge, he’s a changed man. And he’s given the story an enthusiastic thumbs up. He’s even planning on making guest appearances at my book signings. So there’ll be no Christmas strike at our house this year, just a lot of fun as we celebrate both the holidays (with my family, of course!) and the release of my first novel with St. Martin’s Press.

Publishers Weekly loves this book as much as Debbie Macomber and I do. From the PW review:

Roberts’s sweetly vengeful dig at do-nothing husbands follows a smalltown knitting club of wives who are sick and tired of toiling over elaborate Christmas preparations that their husbands don’t appreciate. As they go on strike, the women try to stay in solidarity, while the husbands plan retaliation at the hardware store. Roberts revels in detailing the husbands’ awkward, often disastrous handling of tasks their wives habitually do for Christmas (taking the kids to see Santa, planning the party, doing up the house). By the end of this gently feminist sendup, each side learns to be grateful for the other’s efforts.

I didn’t know them, but their story has a kind of happy ending: 


Kathleen Florence Kane Rogers, age 94, and Bruce Harris Rogers, age 93, died peacefully in their home on Friday June 15. They were residents of Bainbridge Island since 2003.

Kathleen was born July 12, 1912, in Vancouver, B.C., the only child of Northern Irish parents Emily Kane and Daniel Long Hanna. She grew up in Victoria B.C. and moved to Tacoma, Washington as a teenager. She attended the University of Washington and then Cornish School as an art history major.

Bruce was born October 16, 1913 in Toronto, Kansas to Clarence and Minnie Rogers, both school teachers. The family moved to Seattle in 1927. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1930 and the University of Washington Law School in 1937.

They were married in 1937 in Seattle, moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and then to Portland Oregon. They returned to Seattle where they lived with their family for 40 years on the shores of Haller Lake. After retirement they moved to Edmonds where Kathleen became an active member of the Friends of the Edmonds Library and the Historical Society where she served as a docent for many years.

They leave two sons, Michael of Bainbridge and John of Silverdale, 6 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren. Kathleen and Bruce recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary surrounded by family and friends.

At their request there will be no services; a family memorial gathering will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Bainbridge Library or Helpline House.

My favorite part of the blog is the comments. Take a gander at this super-romantic story from Terri Farrell, a long-distance friend and fellow writer. Scroll down to the bottom of this post. Terri, you are one lucky woman.

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I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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June 2020