Yesterday, we met Navy spouse Kienna Riley, who gave away an ecopy of her book, UP ON THE ROOFTOP. Today, we meet Navy Veteran Cathy Maxwell with her 2010 book, HIS CHRISTMAS PLEASURE. Hmmm ... we must have a Navy and Holiday theme going.
As many of you may know, Cathy Maxwell converted me to romance. I found her Scottish historical, THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT, in the Netherlands. Cathy's finely crafted story moved me ... literally to go to Scotland. Oh, Scotland.
From the Netherlands, we moved to Fort Meade (Baltimore) where I hosted an Old Fashioned Tea Party with local authors, including Cathy. I had no idea she wore the quadruple crown of military life - Navy enlisted, officer, spouse, and Mom. Since then, we have become friends as sisters in arms .... and romance. We've roomed together at several conventions and I could listen to her distinctive laugh all day long (I shall try to capture it at RWA).
|Cathy wtih fellow WRW member Sophia Nash -
let them eat cupcakes!
Cathy and I are members of the Washington Romance Writers (WRW). Each year, the WRW host a spring retreat. This year, Tim Jungr introduced Cathy as one of the retreat's speakers. Tim graciously gave me permission to reprint his speech ... his humor, warmth, and revelation is spot on! Take it away, Tim (I added pictures for effect).
When they asked me if I would introduce someone at this year’s Retreat, I said, that depends. I have a certain standing to uphold, you know. I can’t introduce just anyone. I only work with A-listers. They said, what about Cathy Maxwell? So I said, well, she’s no Nora, but she’s up there. I could do Cathy.
Of course, I wanted to make sure I got it right, so I Googled her.
It sounds dirty, but it’s not.
So what did I turn up? Pretty much what you’d expect. New York Times bestselling author of two dozen novels and novellas. Prominent member of RWA and WRW. A generous mentor to fellow writers. Upstanding member of her community.
|Cindy Holby, Cathy, Elizabeth Boyle, and Elizabeth Hoyt -
looking innocent at RT in LA.
So far so good. No surprises.
But I wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. So I tried another approach. I Binged her.
Which also sounds a little dirty, but it’s not.
I found more of the same. Cathy Maxwell was, by all accounts, a model citizen and a model human being. Again, no surprises.
So I asked around. Agents and editors described not just a brilliant writer but a consummate professional. Perfect manuscripts delivered on deadline with no drama . Friends and family told of a devoted mother, a trusted friend, a loyal American with an honorable record of service to her country. Talented, funny, generous, kind. Goes to church, pays her taxes, rescues dogs, loves horses . . . you get the picture. No surprises . . . at all.
No matter how widely I searched, how deeply I probed, how much I offered in bribes, no one, anywhere, had anything bad to say about Cathy Maxwell. No scandalous Facebook pages, no kinky sex tapes, no illegal Guatemalan nannies. I even saw her birth certificate. There was simply no dirt to dig.
It seems almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Now, when you have lived inside the Beltway as long as I have, you know that nobody’s record is that clean — unless it’s been wiped clean. Around here, “too good to be true” can mean only one thing. Sleeper cell.
That’s right. Cathy Maxwell is a Russian spy.
Now that I’ve brought it to your attention, it jumps right out at you, doesn’t it? You’re wondering, how did I miss that? Well, you weren’t alone. It’s been going on for years, right under our noses. If you read Chapter 11 of Falling In Love Again backwards, it’s a list of CIA operatives currently operating in Eastern Europe. The Polish edition of The Earl Claims a Wife contains a microchip in the spine with the complete floor plan of the Pentagon. Written in invisible ink between the lines of In the Bed of a Duke are plans for the invasion of Alaska. With cross-hairs on Sarah Palin.
I have to give her, and her KGB handlers, a lot of credit. It’s really an ingenious plot. The romance novel is the perfect vehicle for transmitting intelligence. They fit neatly into a pocket or purse and are passed easily from one person to another. They are translated into dozens of languages and disseminated around the world. And best of all, no one in the ruling elite takes them seriously. They look at the covers and think “this is just a trashy bodice ripper; there can’t be anything substantial inside.” But we know better, Cathy. We’re on to you.
So now, Cathy will tell us all about her life and work. And then she will have to shoot us.
|Cathy in India - the new James Bond?
Mahalo, Tim, for exposing the Secret Life of Cathy Maxwell.
Serious. He was on to something. From Cathy's bio,
You would never believe: That I’ve spent six years in the Navy. I worked in the Pentagon and did a tour with Naval Intelligence. I’ve also managed a watch factory, been a news broadcaster, and done costumes for local theater. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy.
And then she became a romance writer. Advocate of booksellers. And the best damn roomie at conventions. In honor of Cathy, I am giving away an autographed copy of HIS CHRISTMAS PLEASURE -nominated as a 2011 RITA Finalist for Regency Historical Romance:
When her father threatens to marry Abigail Montross off to a man twice her age (and with thirteen children!), she decides to elope instead with the irresistibly handsome Baron de Vasconia. She know all abut his notorious reputation. He is the most seductive man in all of London, but he’s vowed to protect her, so she allow herself to be tempted into his bed, promising to guard her heart at all costs.
Andres believes he’s entered into nothing more than a marriage of convenience with a charming and very wealthy young woman. But the days–and nights–Abigail spends in his arms soon reform this rogue. He’ll do anything to gain her love–until they each discover the truth about the other and old wounds are revealed.
It’s the season of miracles and passion–when love not only awakens the senses but delivers the greatest gift of all.
To read an excerpt, click on this link. As you may know, the RITAs are akin to being invited to the Royal Wedding - the creme de la creme of Romance. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about what Cathy should wear to the RITAs - a hat recommended by Princess Beatrice? Platform heels from Posh's closet? Or a smile ala Elton John? Let's really jazz her up!
3. Comments are open through Saturday, May 28, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll announce the winners on Sunday, May 29.
Kim in Hawaii
|Cathy reading a classified file on Tim Jungr ...
Who is Tim Jungr? I Googled him (oh, it was dirty) - I found a Facebook page with pictures from the WRW Retreat.
Then I Binged Tim (getting down to the nitty gritty) - Darlene Gardner wrote about Tim from the Retreat, "Our moderator was the delightfully funny Tim Bentler-Jungr, who loves being surrounded by females."
And for the finale - I Yahoo'd him - back to Cathy Maxwell:
My friend Tim Jungr always introduces the last speaker at WRW’s Writer’s Retreat. It’s a tradition that has become one of my favorite parts of the conference. He’s witty and wise, a fabulous writer (three Golden Heart nominations). This year I was the speaker he introduced and he made me laugh so hard tears came to my eyes. I asked Tim for permission to share his introduction with you and he was kind enough to agree. Not only does this give me a chance to share his cleverness with you, but please pay attention to that next to the last paragraph. Tim knows how to skewer with the truth.
Now for my true reason for sharing this. I would love Tim to create a blog. He’s a man’s man in a romance world. He’s also a single dad. Lots of material for him to mine. I hope you will join me in encouraging Tim to hit the internet. We need his talent AND his sharp sense of humor–
Yes, Tim, you must write a blog!