In With Good Behavior, Grant and Sophie are both trying to make it on the outside. One condition of their parole is that they have to get employed, and Grant manages to find a job on a Chicago architectural cruise ship. Have you ever taken an architectural cruise? I thoroughly enjoyed hopping onboard myself in the “City of Broad Shoulders” in the summer of 2008, when this story takes place.

The Chicago Spire was one architectural marvel on the tour, just beginning construction. (Unfortunately, construction of the Spire has now halted due to the financial crisis facing our economy.) Once I saw an artist’s rendition of this amazing building, I became overwhelmed by the endless possibilities for using its design in a romance novel, and I simply had to include the Spire in WGB. When you see the drawing, I think you’ll know why:

                                                                          ‘Nuff said. 😀

With Good Behavior Summary

In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and little chance of redemption, is it possible for true love to persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a family member, searching for that love carries a heavy price. When their paths cross outside their parole officer’s door, the attraction is instantaneous. Beneath the surface, though, is a hidden connection that may not only shatter their fledgling love, but also prove deadly to them both.

The Release is Coming! The Release is Coming!

It’s almost July 13th, the date of the release of With Good Behavior! *squeals* I would say that it’s been a long time coming, but Omnific Publishing has worked so quickly that it actually feels more like a whirlwind. I submitted a query letter to Omnific in January, 2010, and a mere six months later, the book’s hitting the shelves. Thank you to the Omnific team for your diligent and efficient efforts!

I’m also excited to announce that the sequel, Bad Behavior, will be published by Omnific as well. We’ve selected a blurb from the sequel to include in the original, as a “carrot” to entice you. Bad Behavior continues the adventures of Grant and Sophie (a.k.a. McSailor and Bonnie) with parole and therapy in the rough seas of Chicago’s organized crime.

Would you like to see the book cover? Read the synopsis? Purchase a paperback or ebook? Check out:

Sexy Vegetables

I’ve had several friends ask me why I’m wearing a carrot costume in my Twitter and blog photo. Believe it or not, carrots and other vegetables do in fact tie into the plot of With Good Behavior!

My mother is very skilled at sewing. I remember that she would make a dress for my Barbie, and then whip up a matching dress for me. (Thanks, Mom!) She also sewed a few Halloween costumes for my sisters and me, and our favorite had to be the carrot costume. As the story goes, during bath-time my mom and sisters were discussing silly Halloween costume ideas, and at that moment the carrot seed was planted. Always up for a challenge, Mom took some orange and green felt, a yardstick, a wire hanger, and voila!

So how is the carrot connected to With Good Behavior? Roger Eaton, the captain of the architectural cruise ship that employs Grant and Sophie, has a penchant for eating Chicago deep-dish pizza and other artery-hardening foods. In one part of the story Roger tries to start eating heart-healthy vegetables, but he abhors the “tasteless pieces of crap”. Grant teases Rog about not getting along with veggies — telling him that Rog and the veggies should go out on a date to get to know each other better — and pretty soon the conversation degrades to the point where they’re laughing about “sexy vegetables”. (I guess you’ll have to read it!) So, carrots are indeed relevant to the story.

The Main Characters

The romantic leads in With Good Behavior, Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen, are two law-abiding citizens who unwittingly got mixed up with a Mafia capo, Logan Barberi. Their involvement with Logan led them both to prison sentences. The story begins as Sophie and Grant are starting parole and attempting to rebuild their lives and their dignity. Sophie is a former psychologist who’s an intelligent, spunky, strawberry-blond beauty. She has a tendency to open her heart to wounded people, including the “bad-boy” boyfriends littering her past. Grant is a former Navy lieutenant who’s hard-working and kind, with dark Italian features and stunning crystal-blue eyes. He has a penchant for brooding and self-sacrifice. Their paths collide outside their parole officer’s door, and both have no idea about the explosive hidden connection waiting for them like a ticking bomb down the road.

For more of my author interview, check out
The interview will be posted around July 13th, 2010–the release date for With Good Behavior!

Legal Eagle

I continue to learn so much throughout this publishing process. Once Omnific Publishing developmental editor Jessica Royer Ocken and managing editor Cindy Campbell finished meticulously editing each chapter, attorney/copy editor CJ Creel went over the manuscript with a fine-toothed gavel, highlighting several implausible aspects of my character’s crimes and sentences. Ruh-roh! Seems that I missed out on the pesky little issue of “criminal intent” for Sophie’s felony. I panicked at first but my Aunt Nancy’s calming words, “Set-backs can often represent good news” indeed came true. And my trusty legal advisor Nix came through with some great ideas for making changes. After reworking several scenes, I think the novel is better for it!

It looks like the release date will be sometime late June/early July. We’re inching ever closer!

Working it Out

There is accumulating research evidence that exercise is good not only for physical health but also for mental health. Exercise is a great intervention for depression and anxiety, and can also boost brainpower! It seems that cardiovascular exercise can create increased cerebral blood flow and brain connections, resulting in improvements in executive functioning tasks like planning, memory, and multitasking (

What does this evidence have to do with writing a novel? I’ve found that WALKING is the best remedy for any difficulties I’m having with the plot or characters. If I’m not sure about the next direction to take in my story, I’ll strap on the iPod and hit the neighborhood for about sixty minutes of brisk walking and voila! I’ve usually come up with a creative idea in the process.

There’s something about repetitive cardiovascular activity that helps us work out problems while working out. (

I’ve been a competitive swimmer all my life, but swimming in a pool usually involves too much thought (including switching strokes, hitting the walls right on my flip turns, keeping pace, and trying to avoid careening into my fellow lane-mates) for the writing problem-solving I’m seeking. Open-water swimming would probably work better. But I know that walking really does the trick. And, once I heal my bum hip/lower back, slow jogging can also work it out.

If you are a writer, what helps you solve problems? Or, in other performances like job, school, and relationships, what helps you “work it out”?