Back in the Evergreen state

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hello one and all--
Since I told you all about my trip to San Francisco, I thought you'd enjoy a picture of me with a couple of good friends--Lisa Kleypas (left) and Teresa Medeiros (right). This shot was taken by the lovely and talented Christina Dodd (who gave me endless grief for never having a camera when one is needed--thanks, Christina, for stepping in). There's another great photo of the whole group floating around, but I haven't downloaded it yet, so keep checking back!

I would have written a blog last week when I first got home, but the truth is that I was totally exhausted. For a girl like me, who spends most of her time sitting at home with a notepad in her lap--dressed in old sweats and flip flops--San Francisco with my girlfriends is quite a change of pace. Make up, high heels, handbags to match your outfits, and changing jewelry. It's all a bit overwhelming, but in a very good way. I have to say...I love it. For a short amount of time. Getting ready for it is a motivator that I definitely need--every year, the conference gets me to lose weight, get in shape, color and cut my hair, and ask someone if bellbottoms are still in style. (Thankfully, they are--phew. That's one less shoping trip).
Some of the highlights of the conference: a laughter-filled tiki night with friends Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jill Marie Landis, and Jill Barnett. We were at a totally kitschy, tiki-inspired restaurant in the Fairmont hotel. The Tonga Room. How great a name is that? You KNOW I was in my element when the maitre de hands you a fake flower lei when you arrive. :) And rain fell in sheets from the ceiling every ten minutes into a steaming turquoise swimming pool. Just makes your fingers itch to hold a pina colada, doesn't it?
Another great night was dinner with friends at the Mexican restaurant, and a fab dinner with the brilliant team from St Martins that publishes me. (I have photos--keep checking back--especially a great one of my editor). I also met with Kim and her critique group, which was a blast.
All in all, the trip was absolutely wonderful. In addition to seeing old friends, I was lucky enough to meet many of you at the literacy signing, and I really appreciate all of you for showing up. There's nothing better than meeting readers. I always love to hear who you all are reading, what you're reading, and what books you're looking forward to. And btw, what are you all reading now? I'm deep into Anna Karenina. What should I put on my tbr pile?
And speaking of the literacy signing, I got to thinking about all of my wonderful readers out there--especially those of you who dare to weigh in to this blog--and I'm trying to figure out how to identify all of you when you enter the ARC contest for True Colors. I really want to give at least one of the rare ARCs to my blogger-friends. So maybe we need a name of some kind to identify those of you who regularly read and write in. What do you think? Does anyone have an idea?
Also, I'm thinking that several of you who wrote in about the sisters' essay are right on the mark. Something like: tell me about you and your sister...or about the woman who is as close as a sister... What do you think?
Thanks to all of you for keeping in contact so often. I love hearing from you.
Now, I guess I've got to run. My son is still home and tonight is family Hearts night. I love card games! Wish me luck...


Blogger princessapr said...

As I said before, San Francisco sounds like it was a blast.

I have a ton in my TBR pile. I've been going through a Samantha James period. I don't usually read historicals, but I've been devouring her backlist. I haven't decided what to read next. I may finally finish the Traveling Pants series. I'm looking forward to a couple of books coming out in the next couple of weeks so I'm mostly stalling until those are delivered.

Hope you played Hearts well. I stink at Hearts, but I do love card games and board games. It's just hard to find anyone to play with me.

August 22, 2008 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

April, I LOVE Samantha James. I've read her for years. I'm a book behind and can't wait until I have time to get to it. I just finished Breaking Dawn (won't say anything as I don't want to give away spoilers for those who are planning to read it). Also, just finished Play Dirty by Sandra Brown. I haven't read her in a couple of years so it was fun to get back into one of her books. But April, I'm totally curious: what are the books you're waiting on?? I always love to hear what people are reading, or what they are anxiously awaiting to be released.

Kristin, I think a name for our group is a GREAT idea. And I'm thinking we need a prize for who ever comes up with the best name. Don't worry--I'll take care of the prize. But I'll find something wonderful from your books or books on tape or... :) But a name did come to me. Fireflies--since that was the book that propelled the whole new website and blog. I'd love to hear what other bloggers think and what suggestions they have.


August 22, 2008 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

P.S. Can I just say how unfair it is that not only are all of you incredibly talented but also incredibly lovely?? :)

And while I'd love to give you heck about the whole camera thing, I have to confess to everyone, I dropped the ball, not Kristin. She had the camera at the St. Martins signing and I totally forgot to snap a photo. :(

August 22, 2008 at 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim - unreal! I knew I felt like soul sisters with you, even having never met. 100% cross my heart, my suggestion was Fireflies. I thought about it all night and woke up today, ready to blog. My aunt has four close girlfriends (they are in SW La.) and they call themselves the Magnolias. My mother, her big sister of 10 years decided it would be fun to name her group as well, and being in TX, labeled themselves the Wildflowers. The Fireflies came to me, thinking of those two groups, but also realizing it was that book that started all these wonderful online friendships I've made.

I'm reading Smoke Screen (Sandra Brown); next up is Last Kiss (Luanne Rice). I'm anxiously waiting on Nicholas Sparks new book in late September.

Cheers to all!


August 23, 2008 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

Lisa--How cool you thought of Fireflies, too!

I've been eyeing Smoke Screen. Hmmm, hearing you're reading it might have just tipped the scales on me buying it. :) I have Luanne's "What Matter's Most" on my TBR. Sooooooo many books, so little time. LOL


August 23, 2008 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

I'm actually looking forward to Tess Gerritsen's Keepsake and Susan Wiggs's Just Breathe.

Actually, it's Samantha James's current series that got me hooked.

I finally picked up Suzanne Brockmann's Into the Fire which I pre-ordered and just haven't had time to read. So far so good.

I haven't read Breaking Dawn yet, but I have it on the kitchen table. I'm stalled with Eclipse. I did read spoilers though. I couldn't help it. :)

I have to admit to holding a grudge against Luanne Rice. I really enjoyed Cloud Nine, but I seriously have never cried so hard with a book, and I don't cry that often. My husband actually got off a phone call to see if I was hurt. :) Maybe I should let it go and try another.

I can't think of a name better than Fireflies. How fun!

August 23, 2008 at 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Fireflies is a *great* name.

I have been reading all the subsequent titles by Belva Plain in the Werner saga, starting with Evergreen. When last I posted, I was reading The Golden Cup. It is fascinating to read the books after Evergreen. They are not exactly sequels...the Golden Cup actually starts with Paul Werner as a boy, but as it goes on, some of the scenes from Evergreen are presented from his point of view. I couldn't get enough of this series, and I'm sorry to see it conclude. It is a satisfying conclusion. In order they are Evergreen, The Golden Cup, Tapestry, and Harvest.

I have recently finished The Color of Water by James McBride and Tribute by Nora Roberts (a great beach read).

I enjoy Sandra Brown as well and have a lot of hers on Mt TBR. One of hers I found to be quite a page turner was Chill Factor.

August 24, 2008 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to ID us regular readers....hmmm....

Well, (a little off track) whenever my sister and I wanted to talk about something a little personal - but wanted to make sure the other was able to talk with privacy - we'd sneak in a hidden phrase and password.

Example: "Are you having leftovers for dinner?" (aka, can you talk freely?)

If the other mentioned "I want something with tomatos for dinner", that meant can't talk now, someone's listening.

So I'm all for a secret passphrase ; ) But I will also readily admit to being a dork : )

August 24, 2008 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

First of all, Sheila – you’re way too funny! I was laughing so hard when I read your post. Though I had to chuckle on the inside. I am supervising an exam right now and I just read it.

I like the idea of using pass phrases, though. But I was thinking more along the lines of “Did you see any fireflies last night?” or so for our group. Funny thing is we don’t even have any fireflies in this country. Darn pity too. It’s one of the reasons why I love being in Canada. I could stay outside all night in the summer and just continuously watch those pretty little bugs. :)

As for the contest: I already have my story ready. Heck, I could have written a book about this subject, so I had to force myself not to make the essay too long. If Kristin has to read a lot of essays, I don’t want her to be busy all day just because I can’t stop talking about this. But then I always ramble about things that come straight from the heart. And this does, more than anything else, so…

Another thing I want to comment on is my current reading material. I’m still stuck on Tami Hoag for the moment (third novel in a row written by her I’m reading at this point – in English too, so that it goes slightly slower) but I’ve decided for myself that the next book I pick from the pile that’s still waiting in my bookcase, is gonna be a romance novel this time. I love those just as well as thrillers / detective stories, but I need a change from time to time. And right now, there’s just one too many people being killed in the books I’m reading. ;)

Even though I’ll have to correct a bunch of exams in the next couple of days and I’ve got other things to do too, I think I’ll try to finish my current book as soon as possible (now that I’m half way through the story, I just want to read faster since I want to know who did it – I always get that) and then I think I’ll pick up some chicklit like a Cathy Kelly novel or so.

There’s a book I read on the last day of my vacation in Canada too, that I want to pick up. My friend gave it to me to distract me from the nervousness of saying goodbye, so I read the first chapter, but then I had to go and pack and I never realized she wanted me to have it. So I left it there and now we’ve got to figure out which one it was, since I was too nervous to pay attention to anything and I now don’t remember title nor author, while my friend might take a while to figure out which one it was either. Of course, all this mystery makes me want to read it even more now! :)

So it’ll probably be Cathy Kelly next. Unless of course they finally send me my Dutch translation of “Firefly Lane”. I ordered it on August 6th, so they’re definitely taking their time to get it to me. Don’t they realize I’m waiting for it, because I only have about 30 other books sitting there and zillions of others I could reread? Hehehe.

Of course, I could always take a break from reading altogether and go back to one of my other hobbies too. I have zillions of board games from when I was younger and I know the rules of about every card game people play around here, because that’s the way I was raised. I miss that, but then there’s not always people around to do that with. And on the internet or offline on the computer is just not as much fun, I think. Whereas for reading, you just need the book and a bit of concentration to get into the story. So that’ll be me. It’s even supposed to extend your vocabulary and such too, so it’s educational also. What more could a school teacher want? :)

August 25, 2008 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

Sheila, I totally agree with Leen--that is too funny. But what's really weird, my girlfriend and I do something similar. Whenever we can't talk freely on the phone, we always say "I'm thinking about cooking a turkey." I have no idea when or how that phrase started!!

And Leen, I hope you and your friend are able to figure out what book you had started to read!!

August 25, 2008 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I can't believe you're reading Breaking Dawn spoilers!!! Oh, no, that will totally ruin it for you. Not necessarily because there were a lot of surprises in the book, but because a lot of readers are putting their spin on the plot/characters/ideas, and aren't happy with the conclusion to the series. I guess that's the risk for an author when you create something that (especially teen age girl) readers take so closely to their heart. Just for the record, I really enjoyed Twilight and Eclipse; those were my favs of the series.

Definitely try Luanne again. Not only is she a very talented writer, she's also a lovely and extremely generous person. Her books are totally from the heart. And since you're a spoiler girl, I'll tell you that very few, if any, of her current books are as sad as cloud nine.

And I love Tess!


August 25, 2008 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I can't believe I didn't even know that Evergreen by Belva Plain was part of a series, however loosely connected. I think I wrote on this blog about my memories of reading Evergreen. I was in Paris. Sitting in the falling rain. With the Louvre right there, I was stuck in a book! couldn't put it down. Loved it. It's been so long I'd have to start over to read the series, but that sounds fun. On a cruise a few years ago, I read a bunch of the old books--Destiny by Beauman, Princess Daisy, Scruples, and A woman of Substance. They held up amazingly well. Still just great reads.


August 25, 2008 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...


You're cracking me up. Just in case that's tough to understand in translation, it means you're making me laugh. :) I love the idea of a secret pass phrase. Very sisterly and fun. And the idea of using fireflies in a sentence is pretty cool, but I'm afraid that people might use it more casually because of the book title and not really because they're one of us bloggers. :) What do you think of the fireflies idea?

And hold your essay at the ready. No worries about the length. You're a firefly!


August 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...


As I said to Leen, I LOVE your idea of a secret pass phrase, I don't think it'll work here. But it sounds like you guys were crazy fun! What do you think about the fireflies idea...or do you have another thought?


August 25, 2008 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Oh, well, if none are as sad as Cloud Nine, I'll give another a shot. I used to have one hanging around. I'll have to see if I still have it. I liked Cloud Nine, I was jut completely undone by it.

I got my hands on Breaking Dawn this weekend. I still have half of Eclipse though. I actually loved New Moon which does not mean that I'm in Jacob's corner. My friend and I have similar tastes and she assures me I'll like Breaking Dawn or at least more than Eclipse.

I'm really horrible at contests and deadlines especially if it's about my sister who is in an aggravating period right now as sisters sometimes fall into. :) Maybe, by the time there's an official contest, she won't be as annoying.

August 25, 2008 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Leen said...


It would be kind of hard to read books in English all the time and to live a kind of second life in Canada when I wouldn't understand idioms like "cracking up". So rest assured: I used to think in Dutch and then translate it in English in my mind, but by now I've just skipped a step and I think, dream and even speak to myself (OMG did I just admit that? ;)) in English. It gets so bad that I sometimes can't express myself in Dutch anymore because I know the word in English but I don't remember the Dutch translation. :)

As for the "you're a firefly" comment: I think I'll take that as a compliment. I've always wanted to be a bug. Too bad I can't sting anybody who makes my life a misery sometimes, 'cause to my knowledge fireflies don't do that.

Which I guess makes it clear that I love the fireflies idea. We can all enlighten the world a bit more. Especially the fact that the light is positioned near the butt could make this all the more interesting. ;)

See? I'm at it again. Once I start to write I can't stop anymore. Good thing I have some reading to do too. And Kim: rest assured I'll remember the book once I see it again. Gives me another excuse to run off to Canada sometime soon. Actually... can I go tomorrow? ;)


August 25, 2008 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Cindy W said...

Leen- thanks for making me laugh!!!!

How about we assign ourselves each a number, like I'm Firefly 0621 (mybday), since I really like the Firefly idea?!

I can't wait to see the cover of True Colors, I just can't wait!

Now for the good stuff, I saw Somewhere in Time w/ Christopher Reeves, Great Movie. I also saw North and South, the BBC version, OH MY- 5 stars. I am so glad I purchased that. If you are on netflix, you can watch from your computer.

As for books Here's my August reading (I know I'm a dork):
1. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyers 5 stars (LOVED)
2. After the Night by Linda Howard 4 stars
3. Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves 4.5 stars
4. The Secret Pearl by Mary Balough 4 stars
5. A Woman of Virtue by Liz Carlyle stars 4 stars
6. Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran 5 stars (LOVED)
7. The Deed by Lynsay Sands 5 stars

I am currently reading Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon on a book recommendation from my group at Shelfari. We are getting ready to start our Fall Challenge 9/1 incase anyone is intersted, let me know!

Lisa Kleypas has written a story about Jack Travis (follow up to Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Devil) that will come out in March, I am looking forward to that one.

Lynsay Sands has one coming out 10/1 Devil of the Highlands.

Whew... Okay, I'll let someone else speak.

August 26, 2008 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted yesterday, but it didn't come up. I was saying again, about the Evergreen series, that it is a series, in the sense that as standalones, the reader might be a tad lost. Parts of the are indeed, sequels, but not what you would normally think of as sequels. The way the characters are connected is absolutely fascinating. Definitely worth rereading Evergreen to get to them all. It does stand up very well to the test of time. I can't believe I read it originally back when I was, uh, younger!!

August 26, 2008 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm reading Firefly Lane right now and I am loving it!! The only reason I'm putting it down is because I absolutely have to...with a three year old, hubby, job and housework. I wish I could make a living just as a reader!! Tully reminds me so much of my younger self (fresh out of college), but I think I turned in to Kate instead.

August 26, 2008 at 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a BBC version of North and South? As in the made for tv mini series based on the John Jakes books?!? Please tell me more about this. Thanks!

August 27, 2008 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Cindy: no idea what I did to make you laugh, but you're welcome. If I try hard, I can be funny sometimes. Some people even like me because of it. Go figure that! :)

Oh and I like the idea of being a numbered firefly. I just haven't decided yet which number I want to get punched in my wings. Could be so many different numbers that all have a special meaning, so I'll get back to you when I've made up my mind on that.

As for reading: I don't even get down to it anymore at this point. Got a workload from hell, so all I get to do is grab a book when I finally go to sleep, but then I only succeed in reading a couple of pages and that's it.

Then again, I got a mail yesterday from the online book shop where I wanted to buy my Dutch copy of Fireflies telling me that they're sorry because I've been waiting such a long time already for my order to arrive here (at least they realize it!) but they're going to continue to try and get it for me, even though they'd understand if I want to cancel my order instead. So... if I had a bit of time left, I might want to check some other options. Maybe at like 4 AM tonight, I'll find I can do that. :)

And finally Laura: I'm definitely a second Tully. But somehow Kristin wrote the story so that I can be proud of that too! :)

August 27, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Funny you say that about Firefly Lane, Laura (which is my baby's name). When certain books come out, the husband knows that the baby is his responsibility. I'm reading through dinner, through the evening and will come up to feed the baby and put her to sleep only (because those are my jobs and she's more calm around me than him). I watch the baby during Playoffs and big sports events, he can return the favor and let me read the important books. :)

As for me, I'm reading Celeste Bradley right now. She's a new-to-me author. I'm putting her down for Susan Wiggs's new book though!

August 27, 2008 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Cindy W said...

Leen says "I used to think in Dutch and then translate it in English in my mind, but by now I've just skipped a step and I think, dream and even speak to myself (OMG did I just admit that?)" That is what made me laugh!!!!!!!!

Lynn, here's the link for you. After 300 reviews on amazon, 5 stars!

I am planning on watching Penelope this weekend, has anyone seen it?

August 28, 2008 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger princessapr said...


I haven't seen Penelope though it's on my list. My friend saw it and thought it was adorable though. Let us know what you think!

August 29, 2008 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Dear Lisa--

I love your take on the "Fireflies." I, too, feel that we've created a fun little community of friends on this blog. I have to say it's really surprised me. When I first decided to blog, I thought it would be so difficult. As Kim will attest, I'm kind of a recluse in general, so I was so afraid to start "talking" to people. I would have been so nervous to do it at a party, but something about this blog has been really liberating. I am making friends at home. :) How perfect is that. I really appreciate all of you! Fireflies forever...


August 30, 2008 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


HOw's it going with Breaking Dawn? As I have said before, I'm a team Jacob girl--at least I was before BD. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing now, but I'm definitely pro Jacob and always will be. Of course, his future has changed with the publication of BD. Hmmm...Plenty for all of us to think about.

How's it going with your retrial of Luanne? Trust me, you'll love her.

And don't worry too much about the essay contest. I think it's going to be about memories of sisters--they can have occurred yesterday or twenty years ago. That's the thing about sisters--we all go through up and down times. The key is to remember what we love about each other. Come to think of it, that's what True colors is all about.


August 30, 2008 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


You are definitely a writer--you constantly make me laugh and think. You're right about the firefly "stinging" comment. Most of us women wish we could sting every now and again. :) And the illumination comment is perfect. Let's all be fireflies and go out into the world and illuminate the importance of friendship!


August 30, 2008 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


What a reading list!! You are a reading machine--I LOVE it! I only wish I could write fast enough to keep up with you. You obviously have a very diverse reading taste, too. Have you read the Great and Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray? I think you'd really like those. And I will pass along to Lisa Kleypas that you're looking forward to her book. She is such a great talent--and a great woman.

But now, I have to know: what did you love about Breaking Dawn? Without any real spoilers (April's still working on it) what was it that you thought was so rocking?



August 30, 2008 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Laughing about reading Evergreen when you were "younger." I had a bad perm and all most clothes in a backpack!

What are you reading now?


August 30, 2008 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Welcome to the blog! Is this your first post? I think it is: if so, way to go! It's tough to come out of the shadows in this internet age. We welcome you.

Anyway, I totally relate to your comment about kate/tully and how we all begin life as one and then turn into the other. I really wanted to be Tully--all that fire and passion--but I am definitely Kate. Most of us are. :)


August 30, 2008 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I'm not surprised you're a tully! That's where your great sense of humor comes into play. :)

Let's all talk a bit about the numbers thing. I guess it's cool if you all want to chose numbers that have some special meaning. But all we'll need for contest entries, I think, is the word "firefly" after your name, don't you think. That way, I'll be able to award special ARCs just to my fireflies....Can't wait.

The countdown is beginning, by the way. So start thinking of essay topics. We'll start taking entries in October, as soon as I get back from Africa. Boy, does that sound cool...


August 30, 2008 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

April and Cindy--

Tell me how Penelope is. I've been wondering...

August 30, 2008 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

I'm still on Eclipse. I'm sort of in a Team Bella. I want who is best for her (and obviously, it'll be Edward). I do have Breaking Dawn though.

I haven't actually found the Luanne Rice book I own. It's either in my closet or under a pile of other books. Worst case, I'll pick up another. I've been switching up genres to keep reading fresh. Sometimes, I breeze too quickly through and miss getting caught up in a story.

I do want to say that I finished Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs and it's one of my favorites by her. Definitely Top 5, maybe Top 3. Good stuff.

August 31, 2008 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Kristin,
I hope you had a wonderful time in San Francisco. Curt and I were there a couple of years ago. We had a good time, but we think that in the future we'll try to stay in Napa or the wine country and then just drive or take a bus into town. We didn't have great experiences at the downtown hotels that we stayed in, although they were nice. Once place we stayed is pretty old (but really nice). However, the bathroom was SO small that I literally had to stand outside to get dressed. There was no turning around (or even moving!) in that bathroom! But I guess people were a lot smaller in those days-who knows?

Andrea Marshall

October 11, 2008 at 2:03 AM  

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