More Than Words Volume 4 by Linda Lael Miller

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Synopsis

Five bestselling authors
Five real-life heroines

You might meet them at the coffee shop, the grocery store, or walking down the street. They're women across North America committed to reaching out and changing lives one good deed at a time. Five of these exceptional women have been selected as this year's recipients of Harlequin's More Than Words award. And once again five New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors have kindly offered their creativity to write original short stories inspired by these real-life heroines. We hope More Than Words will touch your heart and inspire the heroine living inside you.

 

About Linda Lael Miller

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In 2006, New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller left the Arizona horse property she's called home for the past five years and listened to the call of her heart. Packing up her dogs, Sadie and Bernice, and her four horses, the author of more than seventy novels bid farewell to her home in the desert and returned to the place of her birth, Spokane, Washington.The daughter of a town marshal, Linda grew up in Northport, WA, a community of 500 on the Columbia River, 120 miles north of Spokane. Her childhood remembrances include riding horses and playing cowgirl on her grandparents' nearby farm. Her grandparents' spread was so rustic that in the early days it lacked electricity and running water. As delightful as this childhood was, Linda longed to see the world. After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class, she left to pursue her dream at the age of eighteen. Because of the success of her writing career, Linda was able to live part-time in London for several years, spend time in Italy and travel to such far-off destinations as Russia, Hong Kong and Israel. Now, Linda says, the wanderlust is (mostly) out of her blood, and she's come full circle, back to the people and the places she knows and loves.Before Linda begins her writing day, she takes her first cup of coffee while enjoying the scenic view of the wooded draw behind her new home. The first morning there, a snowfall blanketed the pine trees, something she had missed in the desert outside Scottsdale. Still enamored with the people she came to love in Arizona, she says she will still set books in that starkly beautiful area, and, of course, Washington.Devoted to helping others pursue their dreams, the author will launch her seventh round of the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women in May 2007. A talented speaker, she donates all her speaking honoraria to her scholarship fund. The stipends are awarded to women who seek to better their lot in life through education.It's no wonder the protagonists in Miller's novels are women her readers admire for their honor, courage, trustworthiness, valor and determination to succeed, despite overwhelming odds. "These qualities make them excellent role models for young women," Miller explains. "The male leads possess equally noble traits that today's woman would be delighted to find in her life's mate."The author traces the birth of her writing career to the day when a Northport teacher told her that the stories she was writing were good, that she just might have a future in writing. Later, when she decided to write novels, she endured her share of rejection before she made her first sale. When Sherryl Woods's first novel was released in 1982, her former journalist colleagues spent a lot of time reading the sexy passages that were a far cry from the news reporting she had once done. One, shaking his head, turned to the newspaper's art director and said, "And you've been taking her bowling."But those steamy love scenes aren't the heart of the romance novel, Sherryl replied. Romances are about so much more. "They're about deep and abiding relationships, about finding a soul mate, about family and commitment and, yes, of course, about joyous, passionate sex."Well over 70 books later, however, this prolific author still believes that. It is why she continues to love the genre. In addition to her two popular mystery series and romances for other publishers, Sherryl has enjoyed phenomenal success with her books for Silhouette Special Edition, Silhouette Desire and MIRA Books.Originally from Arlington, Virginia, Sherryl graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism and worked for several newspapers covering everything from suburban government to entertainment. Eventually specializing in television, she became the television editor for papers in Ohio and Florida. In 1980 she quit her work in news to write books, but again found herself in the workforce coordinating an employee program for eight thousand people at a major Miami trauma center. Two years later, her first romance was in print and publishers were clamoring for more. By 1986, she was writing full-time.Sherryl feels her natural talent for writing romance fiction stems in part from her previous work. "Journalism taught me to be concise and clear as a writer, but it also taught me to become a great observer of human nature."Though romances are her first love, this author has also proven adept in the mystery genre. Each of her fictional sleuths, Molly DeWitt and Amanda Roberts, were optioned for television, which brought Sherryl full circle to the medium she once covered.A member of Novelists, Inc., Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America, Sherryl also served as president of the guild for Miami City Ballet for three terms. She currently divides her time between her oceanfront home in Key Biscayne, Florida, and her childhood summer home on the river in Colonial Beach, Virginia, where she owns and operates her own bookstore "to keep in touch with the real people who matter in this business--the readers." There's little wonder that acclaimed author Curtiss Ann Matlock developed a creative streak early in life. She was born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in an old hospital at the edge of the Pasquotank River, which flows from the great Dismal Swamp bordering Virginia and North Carolina. Slow moving, sultry, and black as pitch, these deep-running waters created an image that still resonates within the writer's very soul. "When she had me, my Mama's hospital room looked out on the river; I fancy it was one of the first things I saw. Probably that and a book Mama no doubt had in hand."Curtiss Ann, who comes from fiercely Southern lineage ("tied with family and God, and quite eccentric and rebellious"), learned early that to fit in, she would have to share the family's pervasive love of reading. In fact, Curtiss Ann's mother taught her the joys of reading everything she could get her hands on at a very young age. "When I begged not to be made to go to kindergarten, she allowed me to stay home, where she read to me everyday, often for hours. I showed up the first day of first grade, able to expound equally on the works of Mark Twain and Humpty Dumpty Magazine!"Curtiss Ann's family moved often throughout her childhood. Her father was in the Coast Guard, and they lived "almost everywhere, from Florida to Alaska, with a couple of spots in between." Unlike some military children, Curtiss Ann has mostly fond memories of days spent packed in the family car, traveling to a new home. "We saw a lot of Route 66, and I spent the long hours reading, improving my mind but ruining my eyes and having a horrible time with car sickness."Three days following her high school graduation, Curtiss Ann married her high school sweetheart, James David Matlock. She was 17, he 19. People often ask her, in an oddly horrified tone, what her parents thought of her marrying so young. "My reply," the author states, "is that they had nothing to say about it. My parents had been unable to guide me about anything for many years. Besides, my mother saw a good thing in my husband!"From her rich and diverse upbringing springs a wealth of inspiration for the tales that run through Curtiss Ann's head and enliven her dreams. "From all of thatÿ- my own Southern family of characters, the traveling and meeting of vastly different people, and a marriage that has lasted 30 years, producing one terrific sonÿ- I draw the stories I write. With each novel, I find that I get closer to the bone. I'm finding out who I am by writing my stories, and my readers tell me that by reading them, they can find out a lot about themselves, too."Curtiss Ann, who enjoys speaking with other authors about motivation and creativity, knows from experience that it is often difficult to become motivated, and creativity doesn't always come naturally. "I had always wanted to write, but writing, like any art, takes confidence, and I had to dig to find that. I managed to find enough courage by 1981 to write an article. It was a tiny thing, about a hundred words, but it was published in a national Sunday school magazine, and I received $15," she relates. "My courage thus boosted, I wrote a warmhearted piece about my love for my woodstove, sent it off, and back in the mail came a check for $85. Hot dog! I then began writing a novel. Thank goodness it never occurred to me that it was a far distance from a 500-word article to an entire book."Curtiss Ann sold that book, A Time and a Season, to Silhouette Books, and it was released in 1985. In the following decade and a half, the number of copies of her books in print has reached 6 million. Her work has been published in 20 countries and in 15 languages. Curtiss Ann and her husband live on 40 acres of green, rolling paradise in a small town about an hour southwest of Oklahoma City. Two years ago, the author transplanted a rose bush her grandmother had originally grown in that thick mud near the Pasquotank River, a cutting taken from her family's home place in High Point. "I brought a little of the Pasquotank mud with it and mixed it with the Oklahoma red sand. That rose bush not only grew, it flourished bigger and more majestic than it had ever been. Rather like myself, I thinkÿ- a little Carolina Okie." Jennifer was born in a small town in North Central Texas the same year Humphrey Bogart died, "Beatnik" became a commonly used word in the American vocabulary and the first living being--a dog--orbited outer space on Sputnik II. At the age of one, she moved with her family to California and, over the next 10 years, moved 22 more times within six different states. During this time, Jennifer found familiarity in books. In fact, she enjoyed reading stories so much she began writing her own. After winning first place in a fifth-grade essay contest, when anyone asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Jennifer said, "A writer."While attending West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M), Jennifer put her writing dream aside while she focused on more "practical" things, like business classes, friends and falling in love. Despite living her own version of Saturday Night Fever, complete with funky clothes and embarrassing disco dance moves, she earned a degree in Business Management and married on graduation night.Jennifer's writing dream nudged her again when her children were small, so she began a creative writing class at a local community college. Six years, a couple of children's book manuscripts, two completed novel manuscripts, two stints as a RWA Golden Heart Finalist and a big fat folder of rejection letters later, she sold her first novel, Body and Soul.Now the author of five novels and two novellas, Jennifer is a frequent speaker at writing workshops, women's events and creative writing classes where she encourages others to set goals and pursue their dreams. The mother of two grown sons, Jennifer resides in Texas with her high-school sweetheart and their neurotic Brittany spaniel, Tia. She loves to hear from readers through her web site www.jenniferarcher.net. Kathleen wrote her first book in the first grade. It was a shameless derivative story about Dick and Jane, and was at least seven pages long. Her mother loved it. Her first grade teacher, Sister Anna Mary, loved it. But it would be almost three decades before Kathleen attempted another novel.In the meantime, though, she never stopped writing. She wrote some awful poetry in high school, working through the typical hormonal overreaction to having her heart broken by "the wrong boy."After college, she took a newspaper job, and she eventually worked her way up to the position of television critic before throwing it all over to follow her heart, and her husband, a fellow journalist, to make a home in Miami.When her first child was born, and her life began to consist of cleaning up after small creatures who didn't understand indoor plumbing, she decided she had to go back to writing. But she couldn't bear to leave her amazing little girl, so she turned once again to novels. And because she was a born sentimentalist, and a great believer in romance, she decided to try to write for Harlequin.Today, Kathleen still lives in Florida, still is married to the same extraordinary man, and has two children she adores. Her daughter is a university senior, a musical, magical beauty who has become her best friend. Her son is a witty, wonderful member of the tennis team and a handsome devil whose smile breaks hearts at school, warms hearts at home.Kathleen is a true Cancer, valuing home and friends above everything. She still counts as her most important people her sister, her best friend from childhood, her special buddy from high school, and the friends she has made through the years, among other writers.She has a cockatiel named Lizzie, who terrorizes the other small birds in her office/aviary. She loves flowers, colored cut glass, Mozart ,and Elvis. She is addicted to The X-Files, Dorothy Dunnett novels, and sugarfree Popsicles.
 
Published April 1, 2008 by Harlequin Single Title. 384 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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