Friday, December 27, 2013

'Tis the Season for Making Holiday Memories

Can you feel it?

The holiday spirit is definitely in the air. With the cold winter temperatures, fresh snow, children laughing, people passing...wait, that's a Christmas song, but I think you get the picture. Nothing says the holidays like family being together for the season.

Although my son is eight and my daughter thirteen, I still find joy in watching them open their gifts on Christmas morning. My husband starts a fire, turns on all the Christmas lights, makes coffee and hot chocolate and turns up the Christmas carols all before the kids are allowed downstairs. My daughter taps her fingers with impatience while my son shakes his legs in excitement as they sit at the top of the stairs and ask for the millionth time, "Can we come down yet?" I wouldn't trade those memories for anything in the world. I fondly remember my parents doing the same thing and proudly pass down the tradition to my own kids. As I think back to holidays past, one of the most romantic things EVER was with my pre-husband over twenty years ago on Christmas Eve.

Mr. Roberts grew up on a horse farm. We just had a fresh blanket of snow, and the man was bound and determined to make our first Christmas together a memorable one. This was also the first Christmas I didn't make it home for the holidays and needless to say, I was feeling a little down. He told me to wait in the house as I watched him through the window walk out to the barn. I had no idea what he was doing out there because he was gone forever.

To my surprise, Mr. Roberts emerged from the barn with a horse-drawn sleigh complete with sleigh bells. He pulled up to the house, put the horse in "park," and climbed down from the sleigh. He walked around and held out his hand, assisting me into the sleigh. He reached over and covered me with a heavy woolen blanket, and then he gave me a smile that would melt the winter snow. *sigh*

I was thankful when he left my side and sauntered around the sleigh because I definitely needed time to compose myself. He picked up the reins and leaned closer. "Merry Christmas," he whispered as he leaned in for a kiss. *another sigh* We rode through the fields and then took to the streets, sleigh bells jingling...wait, I think that's a song too, but who cares? You get the picture.

I have no idea why I write about Highlanders when I have a cowboy for a husband. To tell you the truth, Mr. Roberts doesn't have an answer either, especially since he's 100% German.

No matter what holiday you celebrate, I wish everyone a safe and happy season filled with love and laughter. May you all find a Highlander/cowboy of your own.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Antwerp, Gent and Brussels, Oh My!

When my sister asked me to tag along with her to Belgium, how could I have refused such an offer?

My birthday was yesterday. Yep, a Halloween baby. As a birthday present, my dear sister let me come along while she worked and I played. Och, aye, and I played hard.

We stayed in Antwerp (Atwerpen/Dutch) and I toured everything I could.

From the beautiful cathedral:

To the fun markets:

To the beautiful churches:

I could have lived there in a heartbeat. The rich history and architecture was simply breathtaking. To be honest, the pictures didn't do the country justice. My mouth dropped repeatedly at the sights.

My sister decided to take me to Gent for one day. Apparently, there was a castle there she wanted me to see. Oh, boy. A castle indeed. This was the castle they used in the TV show The White Queen. This awe-inspiring structure was built in 1100. You read that right. 1100. Needless to say, I was in heaven and didn't want to leave. Could you imagine the inspiration to be had? Even if I do have a Scottish fetish, a castle is a castle.

I learned a lot of things from my trip and thought to share.

1. Americans eat like crap. Seriously, we do. Everything is so fresh over there. No preservatives. The Belgium people cook everything according to what's available that season.

2. I'll never look at Olive Garden the same way again. With Italy being so close, this was the first time I had authentic Italian spaghetti. Enough said.

3. With all that Belgium chocolate one would think there would be a weight problem. Nope. Men, women and children all ride bikes and/or walk everywhere. The country is entirely flat for an added bonus. Let's not mention the fact that I stowed 20 pounds of chocolate in my luggage on the way home. I gained 20 pounds just looking at it.

4. The typical Belgium woman: skirt above the knee or mid-thigh, black tights, ankle or boots to the knee, nice top, jacket and a scarf. Men and women alike dress up their attire with scarves. Scarves, scarves, scarves, everywhere you look. The motto is even "Antwerp...It's all about the fashion."

5. Belgium people would never survive Pittsburgh in the dead of winter. While I was in Antwerp, we had 65-70 degree weather. I was the ONLY one in short sleeves. Seriously. I looked. The Antwerpians had winter coats on for goodness sake. The temperature there was killer for this western PA girl because every store, hotel, museum and restaurant kept the thermostat 75 degrees or higher. I swear the outside cafe's were a blessing. One hostess actually asked me if I wanted to sit closer to the heat lamp. Are you KIDDING me?

This was definitely the trip of a lifetime, and I'm so thankful to have shared the experience with my sister. I can't think of anything better than spending a girls-only week away with your closest friend. Castles, cathedrals, history and chocolate. What could be better than that?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Book, a Heroine and a Baby

Friday, September 13th, I received the most memorable news ever. 

It all started with a book. This book.

To Wed a Wicked Highlander is the latest release in my Bad Boys of the Highlands series. Of course I was absolutely thrilled when Laird Alexander MacDonell and Lady Sybella MacKenzie were given a TOP PICK from RT Book Reviews and Night Owl Reviews. Who wouldn't be? I was completely honored to be recognized for my latest novel. But imagine my surprise when I received the following message from a reader:
"I wanted to tell you that I LOVED To Wed a Wicked Highlander, as I knew I would. I let my sister-in-law read it and she fell in love with Sybella. Two hours ago, she had my beautiful niece, Sybella Marie. Thank you for your amazing stories. She named her after your heroine, and she fell in love with the name and the character. I love your work and I fall in love with every hero and heroine. I reread every one of them so many times and they are some of my most beloved treasures."
My jaw dropped, my heart thumped, and I couldn't believe the words I'd just read. A reader...named her first born...after my heroine! In my opinion, there was no greater honor for an author to receive. I was completely humbled. I still am. 
So without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the beautiful Sybella Marie. And yes, her family calls her Ella, the same as Lady Sybella. Isn't she adorable? 
Congratulations, Letha! Hugs to you and your family.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Release Day for To Wed a Wicked Highlander

Happy Release Day to Laird Alexander MacDonell of Glengarry and Lady Sybella MacKenzie of Kintail!

Night Owl and RT Book Reviews TOP PICK

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Last Summer Vacation

After having wonderful adventures in Colorado Springs, CO this summer, safely avoiding all natural disasters, the clan and I took our final summer vacation to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD.

My husband and I haven't been there in over twenty years. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then. For instance, imagine my delightful surprise when I spotted the biggest Barnes and Noble EVER. As if the clouds parted and the angels sang...This. Was. Awesome! The picture below sort of resembled that feeling. At least, I thought so.  

BTW Sourcebooks sisters...your new releases were on the tower as soon as I walked through the door.

Just to give you an idea of how truly big this place was...The building used to be a power plant.

In 92 degree heat, we played the typical tourists and did most of the attractions like touring the ships. During which, we had a hard time trying to convince my son he wasn't a pirate.


It was so incredibly hot that we found some much needed solace in the National Aquarium. The building had definitely expanded since we were there last. They had some amazing species of jellyfish that I wouldn't want to necessarily swim with but were beautiful nonetheless.

The highlight of the aquarium visit had to be my son with his warped sense of humor. Being that he's only eight, I still haven't decided if I should be worried or not. 

There was an interactive computer and you had to type one sentence on how you felt water impacted life around you. So everyone wrote about frogs, how water is used to drink, dolphins, fish in the sea, etc. lieu of Shark Week, this was my son's sentence (in the middle): Yep, all sharks love to eat humans.

We took a boat ride over to Fells Point and walked around the shops which were a lot of fun. There were a couple of Irish pubs that I would've loved to visit, but when in Maryland, you have to go for Maryland crabs. How could you not? The Old Bay seasoning could be smelled everywhere! 

I told you about my son and Shark Week. Now I have to tell you about my husband. 

I swear the man watches everything on Discovery, Travel Channel, etc. Between Duck Dynasty, Man vs. Wild, Bizarre Foods, Alaska something-or-other...He saw a clip on the Travel Channel and took us to the World Famous (which my mom would've loved since she was obsessed with everything labeled "world famous") Lexington Market. Andrew Zimmer from Bizarre Foods was there and my husband had to be there, too. We went to Faidely's Seafood and had to have their awesome crab cakes and oysters. Unfortunately, the crab cakes were demolished before I had the chance to take a picture.

While we were in Baltimore, one of my Facebook friends told me her child was conceived there. In Baltimore, not the market. And I can see why. There were a ton of these signs all around the raw bars. We had a good laugh until my son asked as loud as can be, "What's Viagra?"

So the Roberts clan had another amazing mini-vacation before the start of school. What about you? Any last minute vacation plans for the summer?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thunder, Lightning, Forest Fires and a Tornado

I'll admit that I do spin tales of fiction, but there is no way I could possibly make this up.

The clan and I recently returned from a family vacation in Colorado Springs, CO. For those of you who have never seen this beautiful state, place it on your bucket list!
As our flight traveled from Denver to Colorado Springs, we saw the raging forest fire below that destroyed thousands of acres in the Black Forest. Yep, you guessed it. The fires were in Colorado Springs.

Being from Pennsylvania, this type of natural behavior is not something that we're readily accustomed to and frankly, we were more than a little nervous. We said a silent prayer the fire wouldn't impact our vacation and it didn't, but our hearts certainly went out to the five hundred families who lost their homes. We were somewhat surprised that Colorado natives continued to go about their business as if the fires were a common occurrence. I guess they were. I suppose California natives act the same way about earthquakes.

Our travels took us to Garden of the Gods in which the name spoke for itself.

We also chuckled when we spotted the sign below since the signs in PA normally mention to clean up after your pet. lol
We took the cog train up to the very top of Pikes Peak. Yep, all 14,115 feet above sea level. They even sold oxygen at the train station.

That night, when we arrived back at the hotel, one of the hotel staff had asked me what we did that day. I told her that we had a great time taking the cog train up to Pikes Peak and a strange look crossed her face. She said, "Oh, please tell me your train was not the one that got struck by lightning today."
Thankfully, the Roberts family had managed to avoid the fires and did not get struck by lightning.
On another day, we traveled to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and we still hadn't had any rain. The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze in the air, a great day for visiting the zoo.
Yeah, well, let me tell you that mountain weather is totally unpredictable. Within minutes, rain, thunder, and it poured buckets! At least we saw most of the zoo.
We were stuck under a small roof for over a half an hour, but we were so thankful because we knew the rain would help the Colorado firefighters. As soon as the rain had quit pelting us, we made a mad dash to the car. Imagine our surprise when a huge crowd stood at the entrance to the zoo for tickets in the rain. I turned to my husband and asked him if they were nuts. We get in the car, I back out, and guess what folks? You got it. The clouds parted, the rain stopped, and the sun was blinding. Grrr...

During our vacation, I even managed to swing by two Barnes and Noble bookstores and both stores were sold out of X Marks the Scot. Woot! So I signed stock of Temptation in a Kilt. I found myself in the romance section in both stores and turned out the covers of my Sourcebooks sisters and "rearranged" them in a prime location.
When we arrived back at the hotel that night, we found out a tornado touched down at the Denver airport. Seriously. I didn't think Colorado was that dangerous.
The highlight of our vacation had to be the wolves. Yep, you heard me right. Wolves. My daughter has been forever fascinated with all-things wolves. Imagine her surprise when her awesome mother paid for her to get her picture taken with a wolf pup.
Through thunder, lightning, forest fires and a tornado, emerged a wonderful family vacation that I know we will always hold dear. 
What about you? What is the best family vacation you have ever taken?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fan-girl at RT

I thought I'd be a pro by now. After all, not many debut authors get to sign with the fabulous Nora Roberts. But did that stop me from going all fan-girl on some of my favorite writers at the Romantic Times Convention? Nope.
The first person I stalked *clearing throat* sought out was Sabrina Jeffries. I'm a huge fan. We had started chatting over Facebook several years ago. When I told her that I had started writing again, the first thing she told me to do was join Romance Writers of America. If not for Sabrina's encouragement and advice, my stories would still be floating around in my head. It was such an honor for me to finally meet her in person.

Sourcebooks has it right. "Authors are my rock stars."

As my dad and I were standing in line for the awards ceremony, Miss Thrill Ride herself, Julie Ann Walker strolled by. And I must say, she's just as delightful in person. I was also thrilled (no pun intended) to meet fellow Sourcebooks sisters Sara Humphreys, Shana Galen, C.H. Admirand and Gina Lamm. I've had the privilege of knowing the multi-talented Lady Grace Burrowes for a while now. Lucky me!

One of the biggest highlights of the convention for me... Mary Wine. To be truthful, I could've sat for hours and listened to her stories about costume making for the movies, renaissance fairs, and Mary's take on writing. She had me completely mesmerized with her tales. We sat and talked so much at the Sourcebooks party that I literally had to pull myself away to
mingle with the book sellers.
And one thing I learned about the convention? Being a Scottish historical romance writer definitely had its perks. Look at these Highland hotties who stopped by my table. Aye!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Readers Choice Contest

Wednesday, April 17th, I'll pick another random newsletter subscriber to win either an autographed copy of Temptation in a Kilt and Laird Ciaran MacGregor's Bad Boy t-shirt or X Marks the Scot and Declan MacGregor's Bad Boy t-shirt. 
Not a member? Not a problem. Join my newsletter at for a chance to pick your favorite bad boy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring is in the Air

My uncle took the fabulous picture above. He takes awesome pictures. He should! He used to be the White House photographer.

I don't know about you, but last weekend the spring bug hit me hard. And nothing says spring like spring cleaning. I know what you're thinking, but there were some things just bugging me. You know the feeling. I couldn't stand it any longer. I dry cleaned my dining room and living room drapes. BTW, nothing does it cheaper and works better than Dryel. Just my opinion.

Another thing I tackled was my great-grandmother's hutch. My Mom told me when she gave me the beautiful piece of furniture that it was the only thing that survived the Vandergrift flood of 1936. I love antiques with a story behind them. I also love the fact that when it's time for my daughter to have the hutch, she'll know the story. How cool to actually have something passed down from her great-great-grandmother.

My other grandmother also collected decorative plates. When she broke up housekeeping many years ago, I was fortunate to get a few of them. They now hang proudly displayed on my dining room wall. But I was thrilled when I actually managed to snag my favorite plate of all. The darned thing holds more memories for me than anything.
When my sister and I stayed overnight, (BTW, this is the same grandmother who had the adorable brick Cape Cod that looked like a gingerbread house), every morning she served us breakfast on these plates. I. LOVE. THE. PICTURE. I would stare at that thing all the time. The picture always reminded me of the streets of England. I look at the plate now with nothing but fond memories of my grandmother.
Is there anything that you hold sacred in your household?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sold! + Giveaway

You read it right. Sold! This author couldn't be happier. Sourcebooks has blessed me again by offering another contract on a new series.

I have to admit that I'm a little sad saying farewell to Ciaran, Declan and Alexander, especially since a lot of readers have been begging me to write James Montgomery's story. But who knows what the future holds? Perhaps James will surface again. 

My career has definitely taken some unexpected turns. Who would've thought Temptation in a Kilt would be nominated for a RT Reviewers Choice award for Best First Historical? And who would've believed X Marks the Scot received a Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews and a 4 1/2 star review from RT? Honestly, not me! This is quite a delightful surprise. 

But ask me what the most exciting part of my career has been thus far, and I will tell you the readers. I have received some of the most heartfelt messages from fans who thank me for sharing my talent and tell me to never stop writing. I find myself much like the scene in Harry Potter where Hagrid tells Harry he's a wizard and Harry replies, "But I'm just...Harry." That's exactly how I feel. 

Whether it's speaking to members of an adorable book club...

Fans who are grateful for my giveaways...

Hitting the Amazon bestseller list...

Signing with Nora Roberts...
I couldn't enjoy this rollercoaster ride without the support of family, friends and fans.
To Wed a Wicked Highlander, Alexander MacDonell's story (Rosalia's cousin from Glengarry) is scheduled for release September 2013.  
Look for more information on the Royal Rebellion series coming soon. The first book is tentatively titled My Highland Spy 
Short Blurb:
Lady Ravenna Walsingham, working as a spy for the Crown, poses as a governess in the Scottish Highlands, but she soon discovers Laird Ruairi Sutherland has plenty of troubles of his own besides plotting against the king.
I hope readers enjoy the new series and tag along with me on this exciting ride!
Answer the question below for a chance to win an autographed copy of X Marks the Scot and a Bad Boys of the Highlands t-shirt. Winner will be announced next Friday. Please don't forget to leave your e-mail address. Thank YOU, readers!  
Ciaran or Declan?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Release Day!

Happy Release Day for X Marks the Scot! Be sure to pick up and enjoy your copy today! TOP PICK from Night Owl, 4 1/2 stars from RT, and a "keeper" from LASR. 

Barnes and Noble

Decland MacGregor and Lady Liadain Campbell were a blast to write. I hope you enjoy their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sun, Sea, Sand, and a Rum and Coke? Seriously?

Greetings! The clan and I recently returned from a fabulous Christmas vacation to Riviera Maya, Mexico. We traveled with my dad and my sister and her family for a grand total of eight! Yep, a good old-fashioned Griswald family Christmas.

I was never away from the States for the holidays before and the trip was definitely an experience. But I have to admit, it was kind of odd not to have the dreary gray skies or snow. Instead, we were blessed with 85 degree weather, white sandy beaches and palm trees. This was pretty much my view every day under the cabana with an umbrella drink in hand.

This fair-skinned beauty only comes with two shades--white or red. I do not tan. I burn. The bird didn't seem to mind my company though.

The staff tried to make everyone feel at home and the resort was decorated with all-things Christmas.

This vacation was my daughter (twelve years old) and my son's (seven years old) first trip to Mexico. My tweeny pretty much rolls with anything, but my son--well, let's just say he's still at that impressionable age. Which brings me to the case in point.

The little lad played in the sand, minding his own business, when he spotted a topless woman on a lounger (the only woman on the entire beach sporting such nothingness.) His eyes widened, his jaw dropped and oh, boy...we knew it was coming.

"Where is her top? She doesn't even have a bra on!" he shouted.

We sat down and explained how some people in Europe go to the beach "natural" and I thought I had handled the situation like a seasoned pro. Then I politely added, "If it bothers you, just don't look."

Again, the little jaw dropped and my beloved son replied, "Of course I'm going to look. I'm a boy!" 

Hauling my great parenting skills to dinner that night, the entire clan had a drink beforehand at the bar. A round of drinks were ordered and my son was the only kid who wanted anything--a Coke. We sat around and waited for our name to be called for the reservation when my son came up to me and held out his glass.

"There is something totally wrong with this Coke."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

 "Taste it," he said, scrunching up his little face.

"No wonder it doesn't taste right. They gave you a rum and Coke."

"I had a rum and Coke? This vacation is awesome! I can't wait to tell my friends!"

Can you imagine this parent's nightmare? What is he going to tell his friends and teachers? I saw a naked lady and drank a rum and Coke!

We had a wonderful time, especially the kids. lol And the first day we were home, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise and four inches of snow.