Prayers needed — and a cool poll

    I more or less grew up here...

    Most of us have people in our lives who at one time or another make a big difference. John and Connie are two such people in my life. They're my parents' ages. They met my parents because my father and John worked together at Rocky Flats, the former nuclear trigger plant south of Boulder.

    I was 2 years old when John and my father met and our two families became friends. They had two girls, too, and their daughters were the same ages as me and my younger sister — that is to say, 2 and newborn.

    As time went on, my parents had a boy. And they had a boy. Then my parents had another boy, and they had another boy. Same ages. Kind of funny, really. Naturally, this only made for a closer bond.

    They lived up in the mountains, and I can say that the happiest days I had as a young child were spent at their house, running around like a wild child in the mountains. We played outside until it was dark, then slept on their upstairs deck out under the stars. It was kind of like camping, because we were in the mountains, except that we were also at home.

    I spent countless nights at their house. I couldn't even begin to guess how many. Every Sunday morning included an enormous pancake breakfast with eggs and sausage and French toast. Everything you could want for breakfast. They always held hands and said grace. And I always went to Sunday school with Debbie.

    I grew up to take a different spiritual path, but John and Connie have always represented to me what "real" Christians should be. If you've already realized who they are, you win the prize.

    When It came time to name the pastor and his wife who take Megan into their home in Unlawful Contact, the choice was easy for me. I named them John and Connie — Pastor John and his wife Connie — as a tribute to the two people whose home had been such a haven for me. A couple months ago, I had dinner with them and with Debbie and her three boys and got to tell them about the book. I guarantee you they would never read one of my stories, but they're the most genuine people you could ever hope to meet.

    Sadly, John is struggling with lung cancer, and Connie, who a few years back had to deal with breast cancer, is now facing colon cancer. It would mean a lot to me if those of you who pray could include them in your prayers. They're wonderful, wonderful people, and they've been such a blessing in my life.

    Thank you!

    On a completely unrelated topic, All About Romance is hosting their Favorite Books by Favorite Authors poll. It's not a competition between authors. Authors are competing only with themselves. I've been chosen to be featured as one of the authors this time around — ! — so AAR wants to hear from my readers as to what books of mine are their favorites. Just go to to All About Romance and fill out the form. There are 13 authors listed, and you can sound off on as many authors' books as you choose.

    I'm interested to see the results. Somehow I think Surrender and Unlawful Contact and Ride the Fire will be toward the top of the your favorites. But I could be wrong.

    If you have time, pop by. AAR uses the list to provide readers with a guide or resource for when they want to decide which books to start with for a new-to-them author.

    OK, almost done with Chapter 21 and counting...

    Oh! I almost forgot!

    When I got home from work yesterday, there was a box waiting for me. Inside the box, I found a beautiful engraved marble pen stand (is that what you call them?) announcing to my surprise that I am Colorado Romance Writer's Author of the Year. I was floored! The conference was at the beginning of May, and I wasn't able to attend because I'd just broken my foot. So I missed getting the award. They apparently decided to surprise me — and mailed it.

    So that's pretty exciting!

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