Category Archives: Travels

Dear Reader – August 2012

Joan on the upper right and grandson is the redhead on the upper left.

Joan on the upper right and grandson is the redhead on the upper left.

Dear Reader,

joanandloganatbroncos2014Having just put my grandson on a plane back to Florida, I’m thinking how lucky I am to live in a place with such great opportunities for adventure. We had a blast! From the challenging white water of the Cache la Poudre River to the wave pool at Water World, Denver Broncos football, bowling, games, movies, and an American Idol Concert, it was a crazy, hectic, amazing week.

I’ve been traveling a lot this summer, so the release of UNFORGETTABLE has been delayed, but it will be available soon. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s (finally!) on-line.

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Escape with Joan: Letter #7 from London

Escape with Joan: Letter #7 from London

Two events occurred in my life yesterday–both so earth-shattering it’s hard to choose between the two as the lead in this letter.
So here are the two “headlines” in the order they happened:

JOAN WALKS AMONG THE STONES AT STONEHENGE
and
JOAN READS HER FIRST RAYMOND CHANDLER NOVEL

I’ve attached a photo, and no, it hasn’t been photoshopped. That is me standing between two upright stones at Stonehenge, my hands a hairsbreadth from–but not touching–two of the stones.

Every so often, the British Heritage Trust at Stonehenge allows groups to walk in amongst (but not touch!) the stones at sunrise. Yesterday, I was privileged to be one of a group of 32 who had that experience (which required buying a tiny British flag alarm clock so I could get up at 4:00 a.m. for the journey from London to Stonehenge). It was exhilarating to be allowed to get close enough to see where someone etched his presence in the stone in 1814, or to see where water has worn away holes in the stone, or to see the “blue stones” within the circle concealed by the larger stones without, or the moss growing on the stones right up close or to stand directly beneath one of the stone lentils. Most visitors are required to remain on a sidewalk perhaps three or four car lengths from the stones. We were the only folks there (aside from a single security guard), and the circle is large enough for me to have been there with no one else in sight. It was a feeling of sheer joy–cold and windy bliss, to be sure–to be there as the sun rose in a bright blue sky.

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Escape with Joan: Letter #6 from London

Escape with Joan: Letter #6 from London

I’ve spent the past week working on the copy-edited manuscript for Texas Bride, which is scheduled to be in stores in March 2012. Since I’m in London, my editor asked if I’d be willing to do the copy-edit online. I agreed to give it a try. I’m not exactly computer illiterate but I am computer challenged. I printed a copy of the manuscript with all the notes so I could look at it first on paper and was surprised and pleased that I was able to insert my comments online without too much trouble. However, as with every copy-edit, I discovered just how many words I can’t spell.

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Escape with Joan: Letter #5 from London

Escape with Joan: Letter #5 from London

As I write this, police are standing at every door in Wimbledon Village, making sure the proprietors close their doors. There are rumors that riots will start in Wimbledon between 4 and 5 p.m. Rioters are communicating (organizing) using mobile phone texts (especially BlackBerry smartphones) and social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook. There have been riots–fires and looting–across London the past few days, beginning in Tottenham on Sunday, causing headlines in the Daily Telegraph such as: Lockdown in London after Third Day of Riots. And Police Losing Control of the Capital’s Streets. According to a former Scotland Yard commander quoted in the Telegraph, “By using mobile phones and social networks `these people can mass and change directions very quickly and the police tactics are being subverted.’”

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Escape with Joan: Letter #4 from London

Escape with Joan: Letter #4 from London

I never knew I could miss the sun so much!  This is the third day (in a row) that the sun has actually shown its face for what seems like weeks on end.  Mostly, the weather here must be a little like Seattle–gray or white skies with intermittent rain.  I’m spoiled because the two places I live–Colorado and Florida–are known for having lots of sunny days.   Notice I didn’t say it was warm.  The temperature is in the fifties and sixties overnight, and gets into the low seventies (high 72) during the day.  I’ve come to know and love my pashmina scarf (I’m learning to tie it lots of different ways to keep me warm), and I never leave home without an umbrella.  Opinions vary about whether this is a “typical” English summer.  I believe sometimes it’s warm during the summer in England…and sometimes it’s not!  I got one of the “not” summers.  Which makes all those long walks around London I planned to take something I have a choice of doing in the cold and rain, or not doing.  One bright spot–this is great weather to stay indoors and write!

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Escape with Joan: #3 Letter from London

Escape with Joan: #3 Letter from London

WARNING: The first few paragraphs of this letter are all about tennis. Skip down a half page if you’re not into tennis.

Wimbledon has come and gone and I was delighted to see Petra Kvitova win the Ladies’ Championship against Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in the Gentlemen’s Championship. Based on play I saw leading up to Wimbledon on the Tennis Channel, and on play I saw myself at Wimbledon, I had “picked” both the winners at the quarterfinal stage. My daughter Heather and I had seats right along the service line (but high up) at Centre Court for the Ladies’ Championship, so I had a chance to see how both women served, which was a great experience. One of the things this championship taught me is the importance of the mental element of any competition.

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Escape with Joan: #2 Letter from London

Escape with Joan: #2 Letter from London

June 25, 2011

I’m writing my reflections on the Wimbledon Ball—an Alice In wonderland Summer Garden Party—now, a little after midnight, so I won’t forget! We were greeted by Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee, who stood on each other’s shoulders.  The band (violin etc. etc.) at the entrance were dressed in Mad Hatter type hats.  Flamingos and mirror balls decorated the entrance, but I walked in the other direction toward the formal gardens—the Hurlingham Club in Ranelagh Gardens has enormous croquet greens, and bowling greens and grass tennis courts.  I met Hanna Tiller, who belongs to the club and just came there to walk in the garden.  She told me it takes about 15 years to become a member.

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Escape With Joan: #1 Letter from London

Escape With Joan: #1 Letter from London

Dear Friends,

Men in England have a serious problem.  It’s called “premature” perspiration!  This condition arises whenever a man sees a beautiful woman across a bar, or licking an ice cream or holding a pair of bikini panties at the laundromat. Before three days ago I’d never heard of “premature” perspiration–which seems suspiciously likened to “premature” ejaculation in the British TV ads I’ve seen.  But it’s clear, from the three underarm deodorant ads I saw in one hour from three different companies, that men in England must worry a great deal about how they smell.  I’ve only seen one corresponding ad for women, but British women are warned that unless they use a particular product they will–gasp!–SWEAT!  I find it interesting that the feminine word is used to threaten men and the masculine one to threaten women.

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December Letter

December Letter

The first book in a brand new Benedict Brothers family series, INVINCIBLE, is in stores now. Some of you met the Benedicts in OUTCAST. Who knew that Foster Benedict had a younger brother, Bull? Or that banking heir Bull Benedict would marry Bella, the modern-day Duchess of Blackthorne!

I’m so enjoying writing this series, which features the (dying) Duchess of Blackthorne matchmaking for her four sons and daughter. Fabulous jewels–rubies, pearls, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds–each bearing a legend–assist the Duchess in her quest to help her children find true love. INVINCIBLE features the priceless Blackthorne Rubies, a gift to the first Duke of Blackthorne from Henry II for saving his life in a battle for the throne of England.

And speaking of England, I was there on a research trip this past June. Did a lot of sight seeing all the time visualizing events and scenes for upcoming books featuring the British branch of the Benedict family. For instance, here’s the castle I imagine belonging to the Duchess of Blackthorne. My research involved taking pictures (I had nearly 300 on my digital camera) of Berkeley Square, where my Dukes of Blackthorne have a home, and Grosvenor Square (which is the location of the American Embassy in Britain). See some on my Photo Album page!

As many of you know, I play tennis and my game has greatly improved since I began playing in a tennis league several years ago. Since competitive tennis plays an integral part in my new book, I spent some time at Wimbledon. Again, I took lots of pictures so that when I’m at my desk I can “see” it all. My own playing helps me to understand the game when at Wimbledon but when it comes to the numerous aches and pains associated with tennis, no visualization required!

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