Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Four and a half stars!!

ABLE-BODIED gets four and a half stars from Romantic Times BookReviews!!

Here is the review:

ABLE-BODIED (4.5) by Karen Foley: In this meltingly hot story, Reiki healer and sensitive Hannah Hartwell flees Boston after a crooked police officer frames her when she won't sleep with him. She disappears in the night, accidentally taking some money with her. Setting up her new business in North Carolina, Hannah meets Ransom Bennett of Delta Force, a man wounded in both body and heart. She works to heal him even as the powerful erotic connection between them explodes. But danger lurks. Ransom is wonderful and sexy, a strong, silent hero who protects those he cares for. Hannah is appealing and sweet. This is a wonderful romance you won't be able to stop reading. —Page Traynor

This review is the best Christmas gift I could ask for, especially considering how difficult this book was to write. I distinctly recall having just a week left before my deadline, and having to travel to upstate New York for business for two weeks. I literally locked myself into my hotel room over the weekend, lit my creativity candle, set my energizing crystals on the table beside me, and wrote for two days. I barely ate, barely slept, and kept thinking, "How am I ever going to finish this book without compromising the characters I've come to love so much?" I mean that sincerely; I love the hero in this story so much. Ransom Bennett is abrasive and rude and completely intimidating, but the heroine sees past that to the tender heart he tries so hard to hide.

I'm so thrilled that this book received such a wonderful review, and I hope that my readers love the story, too!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Robert Pattinson Photos

With nothing much to do tonight (I'm in a Dallas hotel for two weeks on business), I thought I'd just post some gorgeous photos of Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Love at First Bite

I can't believe this has happened to me; I've been bitten by the Twilight bug. In my own defense, I've only seen the movie twice, but mostly because I'm on business travel in Dallas for two weeks, am stuck in a hotel without a car, and not a theater in sight.

I read the first book when it came out, but confess that I found the story unforgettable. No disrespect to Ms. Meyer, but I found the writing a little on the insipid side and couldn't understand why Edward--the vampire hero--laughed, grinned, chuckled, and snickered his way through the story. I found his habit of sneaking into Bella's bedroom (our ordinary teenage heroine) to watch her sleep a little on the creepy side, and if the author had made one more reference to his "crooked smile," I was going to toss my lunch.

Ah...but then the movie came out.
I have two tweenie daughters, so we played hookey from school on the day the movie was released, had lunch at a nice restaurant and went to an early matinee. I sat, completely enthralled, for the entire two hours, wishing I could replay some of the scenes just to watch the expressions on Edward and Bella's faces. The music score was beautiful, the cinematography was breathtaking, and the emotion and chemistry between the two star-crossed lovers left my own heart beating faster and wishing I was, oh, about thirty years younger! I think Kristen Stewart did an amazing job, and she was absolutely luminous in her portrayal of Bella. I wasn't so sure I was going to like Rob Pattinson in the role of Edward, but he was perfect. I completely bought into the intensely smoldering looks he gave Bella, his barely-restrained passion, and his own tortured existence. And if I hadn't known he was British by birth, I'd have never guessed his American accent wasn't the real deal.

Here are some outtakes from a recent Vanity Fair shoot...I love these first two photos.

And here's a picture of Robert Pattinson that I really like...

A talented musician in real life, Rob Pattinson really played the piano in the movie.

Another VF outtake:

I'm thrilled that this movie is doing so well in theaters, and that a decision has been made to film the sequel, New Moon. I'm looking forward to seeing more of these two talented young actors.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Autumn in New England

There's nothing better than autumn in New England, and everything that comes with it. I love baking that first apple pie, or simmering that first pot of mulled cider. I love going to the farms and picking out pumpkins, and then enjoying a cider donut or a bit of maple sugar candy. I love watching the trees explode with color and feeling the air change. There is a certain amount of sadness in bringing the boat in for the winter and hauling the docks in, but then there's the anticipation of long, cozy evenings curled up by the fireplace with a cup of something hot and a good book. Yes, I love autumn in New England. Last weekend, we went up to Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH to celebrate my mom's birthday. Check out this amazing cake; we called it the Alice in Wonderland cake. The kids loved it!

My mom rented a five-bedroom home in the mountains that was spectacular, and my two sisters and their families joined us there. Here's a picture of part of the family room (there's a whole other seating area that's not shown):

The cathedral family room had floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out over a birch forest, and the morning sun through the branches caused it to glow with brilliant orange and yellow. It was fabulous. We took walks in the woods, rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain, ate delicious food, poked through some of the local shops, and generally had a fun, relaxing weekend.

I didn't want the weekend to end. I loved seeing my sisters, and really loved how much all the kids enjoyed each other's company. They only see each other once or twice a year, so this weekend was a real treat for them, as well. Here's my daughter, Caitlin, with my niece, Sophie.

And here are all the kids (Colleen Caitlin, Brenna, Emma, Sophie, & Jack), with Papa sneaking up behind them in true monster style!

Here's a picture of Colleen and Caitlin, who are only a couple of months apart in age. Colleen moved to Florida seven years ago, but she's a New England girl at heart.

Just like me!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Desert Storme

Today's blog is dedicated to my dear friend, Storme, who has bravely volunteered (repeat, volunteered!) to do a six-month deployment to Iraq. She and I first met many, many moons ago when we both worked at an office on Pease AFB. I immediately liked her; she has this energy and enthusiasm and killer sense of humor that I couldn't resist. I think we've been friends for about twelve years. A lot has changed in both our lives during that time, but her passion and enthusiasm for her job hasn't changed at all.

So here she is, over there somewhere, with a former colleague and military officer, LTC Rich Hornstein. I guess it really is a small world when you can work for somebody in Massachusetts, and then run into them again halfway around the world. Doesn't she look adorable in her BDUs? Better yet, doesn't he look adorable in his BDUs??

I admire Storme so much for what's she's doing, and trust me when I say it's important work. I admire and respect our military personnel, that goes without saying, but there's something so inspiring about a civilian woman who is willing to give up her family and support system (not to mention sex and alcohol!!) and spend six months in a hostile environment, where the workdays are long and the climate is harsh, doing what she believes in.

So, Storme, this one's for you!! Come home safely!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Language of Love...

I came home from work the other day to find a package waiting for me from Harlequin. I opened it to find the German translation of Flyboy! How totally cool is that? I took German in high school and college, and even lived in Germany for five years, but as I tried to read my own story, the words were...well, totally foreign! There's a whole vocabulary out there that they didn't teach us in German class, LOL! Here's a peek at the cover...

Roughly translated, the cover reads:

3 Sinful Romances
Sultry Nights on the Beach, by Colleen Collins (English title is Shock Waves)
When Sparks Fly by Jill Monroe (English title is Share the Darkness)
Fly with me to Paradise by Karen Foley (English title is Flyboy)
I met a woman at the RWA conference last year who is a German bookseller, and this past July we ran into each other again in San Francisco. She was excited to tell me that Flyboy was being published in Germany, but I didn't realize it would happen so soon. I just think it's way cool!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My New Cover!

Coming in February...now this is what I call a Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Subject: Ransom Bennett,
Delta Force Operator
Current status: Injured but still hot-blooded!
Mission: Regain crack military reflexes. Prove
he’s ready for active duty.
Obstacle: Hannah Hartwell. Fascinating.
Tantalizing. His new neighbor.

All Ransom wants is to get healthy enough to
return to the field. But sexy Hannah is testing his
composure. The woman is under his skin…but she’s
also fleeing a shady past. Damn! Hasn’t he learned
not to play with fire?

Still, Ransom can’t help exposing her secrets…and
a lot more! Then it’s on to his post-injury mission.
The highly clandestine operation will involve
delicate negotiations, complex maneuvers and
fiery explosions.

And that’s just in Hannah’s bed!

Uniformly Hot! The Few. The Proud.
The Sexy as Hell!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How 'bout them Red Sox?

I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to last night's Red Sox game against the Anaheim Angels, and boy, was it a game. This was my first Red Sox game (that time I had box seats at Fenway doesn't count, since we only stayed for two innings and never actually watched the game). The Angels stadium is beautiful...gorgeous rock structures with tumbling waterfalls behind the outfield, comfortable seating and everything was spotlessly clean. We had great seats, in the lower section, right behind the left field foul pole. This picture looks like we're far away, but we could see the players clearly.
Here we are, walking into the stadium:

We were right next to the warm-up cage, and at one point, I was so close to Jason Varitek that I could have reached out and touched up, if it weren't for the six foot chain-link fence, the concrete retaining wall, and the four security officers standing nearby. I couldn't get my camera out of my itty-bitty pocketbook in time to snap his picture, but did get one of Dice-K warming up:

Here we are, in our seats...we were fortunate to have a number of Red Sox fans all around us, which didn't make the Angels fans in the row behind us very happy. They left in the sixth inning to find friendlier territory.

The game was amazing, with an opening inning that saw four Red Sox runs. The Angels came back over the next six innings and tied the game 5-5 until the top of the ninth, when the Red Sox banged in two more runs, and the Angels were all done. I've never heard a crowd so loud...they were absolutely deafening. Here's a look at Big Pappy on the scoreboard...

And a look at the scoreboard at the end of the game...it was completely satisfying!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Santa Ana Blues

I'm currently in Santa Ana for the next ten days as part of a 17-member review team, associated with my day job. I've only been to California once before, and that was when I went to San Francisco in July for the RWA National Conference. So while I wasn't thrilled about the long flight out to the west coast, my boss assured me that he'd take me to see the sights, and we'd eat some fabulous, authentic Mexican food.

I love Mexican food.

You can tell me we're going to Hell, but if you tell me there'll be homemade tortilla chips, spicy salsa, and a salty Margarita waiting for me when I get there, I'll be the first one to sign up for the trip.

So tonight, we worked late and didn't head out to dinner until about 7:30. I hadn't eaten anything since 6:00 that morning. I was so hungry I would have foregone Mexican food just for something--anything!--to fill my stomach. The hotel recommended an authentic Mexican restaurant called Las Brisas. The office we were visiting also recommended this restaurant, so we figured it was probably a safe bet. I envisioned soft lighting, salsa music, maybe a man dressed in traditional Mexican dress, playing guitar and serenading us while we sipped on margaritas or sangria. Here's a picture of the Las Brisas restaurant at Laguna Beach:

This is not where we ate. After following some misguided GPS directions, the seven of us who had ventured out, ended up in a disgusting strip mall where the sidewalk was covered with old chewing gum and the public phone had been ripped out of the wall. A homeless man shuffled past the doorways which, by the way, were protected by steel bars. Neon lights flashed in the garishly lit windows and we all agreed we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. But no, there was the sign...Las Brisas. It looked more like this:
Inside was no better...Formica covered tables under flourescent lighting, and a walk-up counter where you placed your order. There were seven of us, and after laughing hysterically for ten minutes at the thought of eating here, we decided we'd do it. The menus were all in Spanish so I ordered the only thing that I recognized...Chilis Rellenos...one of my favorites back in Massachusetts at our favorite Mexican restaurant, The Border Cafe. We sat at a table near the jukebox, and drank a beer while we waited for our food to arrive. On a table behind us sat the congealed remnants of a meal that had never been cleared. When our food arrived, it all looked the same...runny, gray beans, some dried yellow rice, and the main entree. I had taken just two bites of mine, when something got wrapped around my tongue that I couldn't swallow...a long, black hair, twisted around my chili rellenos...I was so grossed out that I couldn't eat any more, and I didn't dare send it back. To me, the food might as well have looked like this:
So while we all laughed, I noticed that none of us finished our meals, and instead concentrated on swilling our bottled beers. So this weekend, we're determined to locate a Mexican restaurant that will, hopefully, erase tonight's traumatic events and leave us with a more pleasant memory instead. Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

NEIBA Booksigning

Harlequin invited me to do a booksigining of Overnight Sensation yesterday at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, as part of the New England Independent Booksellers Association trade show. So John and I took the train in, enjoyed walking through Copley Square, and browsed the convention for an hour or so before I actually sat down to sign books. Mind you, this convention is a huge event for booksellers. Every large publisher and small, local press is represented. Their tables groan beneath the weight of the books they hope to launch over the following year. The booksellers walk from table to table, scooping up free books and placing orders for their bookstores. John and I felt a little uncomfortable, since many of the publishers assumed we must be booksellers and sort of fawned over us. But even when I confessed I was just a lowly author, they were gracious, and I did score some advance copies of several coveted YA books for the girls, who thought it was very cool to have a book that looks exactly like the ones you find at Barnes and Noble, but with the words, "Advance Uncorrected Reader - Not for Sale" imprinted on the cover.

I had a great time doing the signings and am happy to say I was able to give away most of the books that Harlequin had for me to sign. Since the books were giveaways, there was no pressure and most people were happy to accept a signed copy from the author. I also really enjoyed meeting the Harlequin reps, Laurie and Carolyn, who were so friendly and fun to hang out with.

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Football -- Not Just for Guys!

One thing you might not know about me...I am a huge Pats fan. Not hard to understand, given their amazing achievements these past six years.

But today is the first time in 128 New England Patriots games that quarterback Tom Brady did not start. The last time the Patriots played a game without Brady was early in the 2001 season. As much as I love this team, I didn't think I'd be able to watch the game without Brady, despite the fact that Matt Cassel came through with a win last week after Tom was injured facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs. And this week's game against the New York Jets was strange, for sure, with Cassel getting sacked three times in the second half, and throwing just one long pass down the field. But then our team sacked Brett Favre, dragging him back down the field and almost into his own endzone, for a loss of (I think) 24 yards. Unbelievable. In the end, Cassel came through again, with a final win of 19-10. Go Pats!

So I think I know the secret to how these quarterbacks are selected, and let me be the first to say that I approve wholeheartedly.

1. You have to be at least 6'4" tall

2. You must be in superb physical condition

3. You must be cover-model gorgeous

I mean, check out the Pats quarterback lineup. First, Tom Brady. Could he be any cuter? And at 6'4", 225 pounds, he's one gorgeous slab of beefcake:

Then there's Matt Cassel, the backup quarterback who, so far, has been able to lead the Pats to two consecutive victories. At 6'4, 230 lbs, he's an able stand-in for Brady in more ways than one!

And finally, there's rookie quarterback Kevin O'Donnell, fresh out of college and learning the ropes from the best in the league. At 6'5", 225 pounds, he's absolutely adorable.

Who says girls can't enjoy football?? I say, go Pats!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Saw It!

Brenna and I finally took a drive to Borders booksellers yesterday and snapped a couple of pics of Overnight Sensation on the bookstore shelves. And here's another picture. Isn't it lovely??

Hope everyone had a good weekend and survived Hannah.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Overnight Sensation Hits Bookstores!

Well, it's official! My second book, Overnight Sensation, is now available at bookstores near you! My two daughters were at the mall last week with their grandparents, and found copies of it at Walden Books and Borders. My dad took pictures of it with his cell phone, but I haven't actually seen it for myself on the shelves.
When my first book, Flyboy, came out, my younger daughter, Brenna, and I were (again) at the mall, looking for a book for her. It was about a week before the book was due out, so imagine my surprise when I saw it on the shelves! We just sort of stood there together, admiring it, and then went and splurged on a pumpkin spice latte! So I told Brenna that she and I have a standing date this weekend to visit our local bookstores and take a picture of Overnight Sensation, and then go celebrate with something delicious.

My husband did something so incredibly sweet that I have to share...he had a charm bracelet crafted for me, with a different charm for each book I've written. The first charm is a tiny Super Hornet fighter jet, since my hero in Flyboy is a fighter pilot.

The second charm is a movie-camera, since my heroine in Overnight Sensation is an actress.
My third book, Able-Bodied, which comes out in February, features a Delta Force hero and a Reiki energy healer heroine. I don't know what kind of charm he's selected for that book, and he's told me I won't get any hints, and will have to wait until February to find out!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life--and Death--on the Mighty Merrimack

I've lived along the Merrimack River my entire life, and I've always had a healthy respect for its powerful currents and tempermental tides. We've been flooded twice, and evacuted once due to dangerously high flood waters, but thankfully we've never sustained any serious or permanent damage. Call us crazy, but we love it here. When I look out the back windows of my house, I see the long sweep of the river as it curves toward Haverhill, and we're fortunate enough to live along a section of river that has no buildings, so the opposite shore is just an endless stretch of nature. Every day brings something new; herons, cormorants, the occasional bald eagle, and once we even saw a harbor seal. We can step out our back door, walk out onto our dock and be on our boat in less than a minute. We've navigated those waters more times than I could possible count.

Here is a picture of the Merrimack River from a vantage point at Maudsley State Park in Newburyport. This will give you a sense of how wide the river can be in places. At times it feels more like an enormous lake than a river, but when the tides change you can feel the powerful pull of the currents.

Every year, it seems, we hear a story of how somebody drowned in the river. It's usually the result of risky behavior or a senseless accident; the man who fell off his dock after a few too many drinks, or the man who foolishly thought he could swim out to his mooring, not realizing the current was much too strong.

Eleven years ago, an intensive search of the river and its miles of shoreline was undertaken, as the police looked for the body of a young woman. Her boyfriend had apparently bound her with duct tape and tossed her into the frigid waters of the Merrimack, about ten miles upriver from where we live, in January. About six months later, our neighbors were dragging the bottom of the river with a grappling hook, trying to locate their mooring line when they encountered something heavy and pliable, tangled in their line. They managed to free whatever it was, but were unsuccessful in wresting it to the surface. The next morning, the body of the young woman was discovered washed up beneath the docks just across the river. There's no doubt in our minds that the "something" our neighbors encountered while searching for their mooring line was, in fact, this young woman's body. So while the sun sparkles on the water's surface, making the river look beautiful and serene, you never know what lies beneath. And you never expect that the next person to make such a tragic discovery could be yourself.

Today, John and I decided to take the boat out to a sandbar near the mouth. I love boating on Mondays because all of the pinheads and weekend boaters are gone. There is virtually nobody on the water and we have the entire river to ourselves. We had the boat on open-throttle as we neared the Rocks Village Bridge, when John shouted that he thought he saw somebody lying on the shore. Understand that this is not a river that is sunbather-friendly, and this particular stretch of riverbank is heavily forested and only accessible by boat, so it would be very odd to see somebody just lounging on the shore. So we turned around and trolled back the way we had come. As we drew closer to shore I could definitely make out something amongst the river grasses.

The tide was beginning to go out, and there, on the shallow beach was...a cow? I couldn't tell...I could only make out a broad strip of white, bracketed on either side by a strip of black. But as John brought the boat in closer, I saw it was the body of a man, lying on his side facing the water. The white strip was his torso, exposed by his black T-shirt where it had ridden up under his armpits, and beneath his belly, his black shorts. His head and face were covered in river mud and weeds, but it was his arm that struck me. Rigor mortis had set in, and his arm and hand were cocked at an angle that made it appear he was beckoning. To be saved. To be found. To be brought home.

We called 911 and the harbor patrol sent a boat and three officers, and we waited while they brought the coroner in by boat, too, until they finally told us we could go. By then, I had no desire to go to the boaters' beach, so we headed to Newburyport and had a couple of drinks at Michael's Harborside instead. I can't get the image of that slender, white hand out of my head. Who was he? How did he end up where we found him? Had he been missed prior to our discovery of him? We frequently see groups of exuberent young men, screaming past in their powerful cigarette boats, whooping and laughing and not giving a care for their own safety or that of other boaters. Had he fallen off of such a boat? Maybe we'll find out, if they run a story in the paper. Maybe we won't. But I'll go to bed tonight thankful that my own kids are safe in their beds, with my thoughts and prayers going out to the family of the poor guy we found today.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Pics from San Francisco

I found my camera download cable, so can finally share some more pictures from San Francisco with you. On the last day of the conference, we ventured down to Fisherman's Wharf. It was surprisingly chilly, and there was a brisk wind. It actually felt like autumn.

Here are Jessica and Cathryn and myself at the entrance to the wharf:It was incredibly crowded, with all sorts of smells from the nearby food vendors and restaurants, but I stopped to admire this gorgeous fruit stand:The proprietor was a lot nicer than the guys who man the fruit stands at Haymarket in Boston! I've seen women get their hands slapped for handling the produce there. We meandered our way to the water where we could see Alcatraz in the distance. The day was hazy, so the pictures didn't come out very clear. The water in the bay was very rough and choppy, not unlike a washing machine. Alcatraz is that blurry lump in the background.

We saw the famous San Francisco sea lions. They're so glossy and sleek when they first come out of the water, but after lounging around on the docks, their fur dries to a reddish-brown color. They reminded me of truffles rolled in cocoa powder! Okay, maybe that's just me...I frequently have chocolate on my mind. Here are Jessica, Cathryn and Nina in front of the carousel.

We took a streetcar from the hotel to the wharf, but opted for a taxi for the return trip. We didn't want to completely miss the Golden Heart and RITA awards. Here's a picture of the ceremony when they announced Samantha Hunter's book, Untouched, as a RITA finalist! Yay, Sam!
And for my husband, the boat-guy, here is a picture of San Francisco bay:

This year, the west coast. Next year, the Capitol!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

All About Gerard

I'm home today, recuperating from the conference and totally energized to start working on my fourth book for Harlequin Blaze; I have a Sep 30th deadline, so working on this manuscript isn't just a good thing to do, it's like an imperative. The book will be released in Nov 09 as part of a mini-series with the following authors: Samantha Hunter, Tawny Weber, and Lisa Marie Jones. And since my story is a self-indulgent fantasy based loosely on Gerard Butler, I thought I would just dish about him today to sort of get me in the right frame of mind... This picture, above, must have been taken during his 300 days, as he's sporting the beard and the six-pack. Isn't he gorgeous?

And here he is, showing off his very big, um, sword. I can't imagine anyone more suited to a kilt than Gerry.

This picture, below, is one of my all-time favorites. He could be a cop or a bad boy in this pic, but he definitely looks commanding. Personally, I love his hair short.
Or long! Here he is when he filmed the television mini-series, Attila:
Here's a close-up. I don't think I've ever seen a picture of him where he's completely clean-shaven. He always sports a little bit of scruff. I like his laugh lines.
And what's not to love about this picture, below?
Okay, now that I've had my Gerry-fix, I can sit down and begin writing. Have a Gerry-licous day, everyone! Um, just one more picture...
Alright, now I'm good!! Have a great day!