Strangers In The Night

If you had the chance to be in the car alone for about twenty or thirty minutes with one of your all-time favorite authors, who would it be?

I had that opportunity in 2009. My writers group has a romance readers luncheon every first Saturday in November. That year it was Anne Stuart. Oh, my GOD! I was so excited. She and Linda Howard are two authors that I want to be compared to whenever someone reads my romantic suspense.

Anne was flying into the Birmingham airport and I volunteered (yeah, like I would let anyone else do that) to pick her up. I was so tickled, I even took off a half day from work. Who can concentrate when they’re picking up a rock star?

So there I was waiting for the time, unable to eat or read. If I can’t do two of my four favorite things, I’m really wound up. (By the way, if you’re curious, the other two are writing and sex, not necessarily in that order.)

The time finally arrives and I’m standing near the concourse exit. I’m holding a sign with her pen name on it, so she’ll know who’s picking her up. A large crowd comes through, warning me that the flight had deplaned. No Anne. Huh? Did I miss her in the crowd? Had she changed so much from Washington DC when I met her for the first time that I overlooked her? OMG! THE HORROR!

Then I crane my neck to look down the long hallway, and I see a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair. ANNE! (I read somewhere she has a bad knee.) Then I flip my sign, and she bursts out laughing (love her laugh). What did it say?



I had a feeling she would appreciate the humor, so I said, “And I don’t own a sledgehammer.” She roared with laughter and said, “I sure hope not.”

On the way to the hotel, I had around twenty minutes to gush all over her about how much I loved her books, telling her my favorites, and then I asked about what she was writing. And somewhere along the way, she asked about my writing. Before I knew it, we were at the hotel. Talk about loving every minute with her, it was fabulous. A time I’ll never forget.

Be sure to put her books on your list to read. In fact, the last couple weeks she has been celebrating forty years (amazing!) in the business and been giving away downloads at Amazon and sometimes B&N. Click here for her blog. Click here for her Facebook page. But be aware, most of Anne’s heroes are tough and almost scary alpha. Her Ice series are some of the best and most unique romantic suspense I’ve ever read. What makes them unique?

The hero doesn’t have issues with being a badass. They make hard decisions and don’t sit around mourning the results. They are at times rough and maybe even a little cruel to the heroines. The heroes are tough men and expect the women they are fascinated by (and they are always drawn to the heroines despite what is best for him) to understand where they’re coming from. Since this is fiction, I love these heroes. In real life, hell no. They would scare the shit out of me.

And her women are strong. Some can kick butt as well as the guys, but those who can’t (kick butt), know how to stand up them. Oh, yeah, with great results.

If any of that sounds familiar, it’s because I’m such a fan that my heroes and heroines are a little like hers. I’m not saying I’m the caliber of writer that she is. But I will tell you that one of my reviews did compare my first book to Anne’s Ice series. I was thrilled.

Maybe soon I’ll tell you how I met Sherrilyn Kenyon and Linda Howard.