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I know, I know. I’m late with my contest winners and updates (a big thank you to all those who have emailed me to remind me of that fact), but:

(a) Being late is [unfortunately] nothing new to me. As my editor, agent, children, anyone who was a guest at my wedding, or is in the position of waiting for a thank you note from me will attest, it is more or less a way of life.

and (b) This time I have a good reason. Well, sort of, but I’m not telling until the next update, which will come much, much sooner than this one, so tune in then. But in the meantime: as a bonus for those who have waited patiently, email me your best guesses for my worse-than-usual lateness problem and two winners (yes, two) will receive signed copies of either Much Obliged or Lord Stanhope’s Proposal (please note this will be the current cover as the new covers are not out yet. What to see the new cover of Lord Stanhope’s Proposal? I just posted it.). One winner will be picked based on most creative excuse—what can I say? I need entertainment, and besides, you never know, I may need it in the future—and the second will be picked based on the excuse that comes closest to the truth.

And since (not that anyone’s implied this directly, mind you), I do not spend all my hours not devoted to tapping away at my new book or chauffeuring children or ordering pizzas, uselessly surfing the net and eating carbohydrates (I do, also, like to read and eat carbohydrates) I have some books to recommend.

I recently dug out my old, dog-eared, read-til-it was-disintegrating copy of Elizabeth Enright’s, The Four Story Mistake to read aloud to my kids, and we all had such a great time we went straight through the rest in the series. These are books that I loved so completely in childhood that I found I could remember almost entire pages of them verbatim. And I’m pleased to report that the company of the Melendy was no less delightful now than then (in fact, my husband and I actually argued over who was going to do the bedtime reading), and now, as then, I still wish they’d adopt me. For those who missed these as children, I’d recommend remedying that now. The series order is: The Saturdays—which actually comes before The Four Story Mistake, but can easily be read after, Then There Were Five, and A Spiderweb For Two—all recently reissued by Puffin Books.

Not for reading aloud to the kids, alas, but a whole lot of fun for me was Bachelor Boys, by Kate Saunders. Saunders is a British author whose previous book, The Marrying Game, has just been pubbed in the US. Not really chicklit, not really romance, not really women’s fiction, but, in my opinion, the best combination of the three. The book managed to be funny, smart, touching and romantic all at once. I loved The Marrying Game, too. My only complaint is that I wish she would write faster.

On this unseasonably gray and windy day, as a cold wind is trying its best to hurl itself through the casement windows before it drops more vile, frigid rain on me, as I head out for an afternoon of child-fetching, I’m wishing I hadn’t cracked through Kim Green’s Paging Aphrodite quite so fast. Her funny, edgy characters and Greek island setting would be just the thing to make me forget that I’m not about to dip my toes in the Aegean anytime soon.

Up next, it’s back to romance with three eagerly awaited reads.

First, When He Was Wicked, the new Julia Quinn. I know, I’m behind all the rest of you, but what can I say (see excuse contest above)? I’ve heard this one is darker than her last few, and very emotionally complex, but that she still hasn’t lost that quick dialogue and witty writing that we’ve come to expect from her.

Then it’s on to Rules of Engagement, a first novel by emerging romance powerhouse, Kathryn Caskie. I’ve heard nothing but raves on this one and can’t wait to read it for myself.

And the third is back to my first romance love — the Traditional Regency — with A Passionate Endeavor by Sophia Nash. I had the pleasure of reading her first, A Secret Passion, in manuscript form, and from what I’ve heard this one is even better.

More on these next time. In the meantime, I've got to get back to writing.

--September 2004

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