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spring 2001

Howdy, folks

Readers and Booksellers,

It's ole Jim finally.

Sorry it's been so long since I talked to you. Shirl didn't have a book out in 2000, but she and her partner Carol Reynard have been busy working on some neat new things. More on that later.

2001 got off to a rocky start. Carol, her husband Ken, their son Dan, daughter-in-law Jackie and two-year old son visited. One afternoon, the young adults decided to go shopping, leaving Foster to Grandparents. Shirl decided to go to church and they went with her. Guess whom that left to watch little Speedo? Here I was locked up with the kid playing blocks, cars, Russian roulette, etc. Then I turned on the tube and there was Dances with Wolves, which pleased Foster....for a bit. But suddenly he started grunting and going red in the face. He sort of raised his arms like a Harrier Jet on take-off, and the grunting got louder. I was pleading, “Don't do this, Foster. I don't even know where the diaper bag is! Please, kid. Hey, look Foster, the guys with feathers are shooting sticks into the bad guys! Look, Foster, see that guy with the hatchet? Look at him chop!” It didn't work, so Foster and I sat there in odoriferous contemplation till Grandparents got back.

Our son Matt has acquired his own two-year old, a brute of a cat named Max, who's been influenced by his new "daddy's" eating habits. The cat favors French fare, condiments a la apartment. He chews off metal door stops, licks anything polyurethane and munches coaxial cable. Matt is a gourmand grotesque himself. Food such as mashed potatoes, gravy, and meat give him terrible acid attacks, so he sensibly sticks with a trail mix snack of Fritos, ground glass, thumb tacks, and roofing nails. This is seasoned with jalapeno sauce and napalm jelly. On the culinary ladder of evolution, Matt and Max as a unit, rank somewhere between a dipsy dumpster and a landfill.

Shirl, herself, has been getting a bit weird. Whenever she isn't writing, things get sorta strange. Last fall, she was taking a bubble bath and absent-mindedly put in about three loads of bubble stuff. I heard these frantic gurgles over the sound of the whirlpool and rushed into the bathroom. Shirl was in the tub buried up to her eyeballs, with bubbles cascading onto the floor as she tried to shovel foam into the shower stall that is angled next to the tub. She'd suffocate! I ran and got my snow shovel and began shoveling foam into the shower stall. But it was hard to see where Shirl began and the bubbles ended. She was screeching, “Hey, watch that shovel! Do you know where you're poking me?” (This is an honest-to-goodness true story.) Anyway, when I tried to kiss her boo-boos to make them well, she hit me with the shovel. No wonder chivalry is dead.

Watch for Wicked Angel from Leisure in mid April, a funny and sexy blend of lords and ladies with Indians! Son of the protagonists from Love a Rebel ... Love a Rogue, Alex Blackthorne raises sufficient havoc in the Georgia backcountry that his parents send him to Regency London so his uncle, Baron Rushcroft, can straighten him out. Bad plan. By virtue of his exotic Indian blood and golden good looks, Alex cuts a swath through the lovely Cyprians. By virtue of his luck and the long skinning knife he carries in his boot, he also cuts a path through the gaming hells. The day Alex arrives, he meets Jocelyn Woodbridge, the daughter of a street preacher. Joss has more courage than common sense, more wit that womanly wiles and dresses like the Ghost of Christmas Past. She gets him into as much trouble accidentally as he can get himself into on purpose. One big trouble is a marriage of convenience to rescue her from a wicked earl and reprieve him from his family's demand that he wed in earnest. When their marriage in name becomes a marriage in fact, it's only a matter of time until Joss reforms her wicked angel, but their misadventures are hilarious, all the way from London to the Georgia woodlands of his Creek cousins.


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