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2006 Author Biographies

The following biographical information has been provided by the authors.

Rachel Gibson

TITLE With the publication of USA Today bestselling author Rachel Gibsonís first book, readers discovered one of contemporary romances freshest voices. Four of her novels, Simply Irresistible, Truly Madly Yours, True Confessions and See Jane Score were named among the Top Ten Favorite Books of The Year by Romance Writers of America. Her fourth novel, True Confessions, was awarded the RITA, Romance Writers of Americaís highest honor of excellence. Rachelís other awards include The Golden Heart Award, the National Readerís Choice, and the Romantic Times Magazine Bookstores That Care Award for Best Love and Laughter.

Rachel's original voice and humorous style has earned the praise of reviewers... "first class entertainment," raves The Oakland Press. According to Publishers Weekly, "Gibson's characters are quirky and endearing and her clever snappy dialogue amuses at every turn of the page." Rachel's latest book, Sex, Lies and Online Dating, was just released in February 2006!

You can find out more about Rachel Gibson at her official Web site: www.rachelgibson.com.


Theresa Alan
TITLE Theresa Alan is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Denver, Colorado. Her novels Who You Know (which spent several weeks on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list), Spur of the Moment, and The Girl's Global Guide to Guys are now available from Kensington's Strapless line, and her novella Santa Unwrapped can be found in the bestselling anthology Jingle All the Way with Fern Michaels and Linda Lael Miller.

She also has novellas in Sex and the Single Witch and I Shaved My Legs For This?! Her novel Girls Who Gossip will be available in April 2006, and The Dangers of the Mistletoe will be out in December 2006.

Theresa was named Colorado Romance Writers Author of the Year for 2004. She is hard at work on her next book.

You can find out more about Theresa Alan at her official Web site: www.theresaalan.com.


Jennifer Ashley
TITLE Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest with her husband and cat. She started out writing historical romances, but has branched into all kinds of things, including contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical mystery, historical mainstream fiction, and erotic romance.

Jennifer's romances have been nominated for the Golden Quill for Best First Novel and Best Historical, RT Reviewer's Choice awards, and the RIO award of excellence. Her pseudonyms include Ashley Gardner (historical mystery), Allyson James (erotic romance), and Laurien Gardner (historical fiction).

Jennifer enjoys writing and reading above all else, but her hobbies include cooking, hiking, playing flute and guitar, painting, and building miniature rooms and dollhouses. She likes to hear from readers; contact her here.

For a (mostly) day-to-day look at Jennifer's writing life, visit her blog at www.jennifersromances.blogspot.com.

You can find out more about Jennifer Ashley at her official Web site: www.jennifersromances.com.

Pam Crooks
TITLE While expecting her first child more years back than she cares to count, Pam read her very first romance novel, and she has been in love with them ever since. Her childhood was spent in the ranch country of western Nebraska where she became fascinated with the Old West and the cowboys who lived it.

In 2001, her first western historical romance was released by Dorchester Publishing for their Leisure Books line. Three more quickly followed. She joined Harlequin Historicals with her fifth book, and her latest title with them, Wanted!, will be released in August, 2006.

Pam is a seventeen-year member of Romance Writers of America and has a long history of involvement in several of the organizationís local chapters. She frequently attends regional and national conferences and has been the featured speaker at library events and workshops. She lives in Omaha with her husband (who is not a cowboy), four daughters, two sons-in-law, and the newest addition to her family, a beautiful granddaughter.

In addition to her writing career, she is also employed full time at Clarkson West Emergency.

You can find out more about Pam Crooks at her official Web site: www.pamcrooks.com.

Jodi Dawson
TITLE Jodi Dawson (aka Jodi Beyes) is a multi-published romance writer in eleven languages. Crediting writer's conferences and contests, especially the Pikes Peak Romance Writers, with starting her on the path to the publication, Jodi now writes for Harlequin, works on the staff of Denver Woman Magazine, presents workshops on writing and uses any excuse to gain control of the microphone in front of a captive audience.

You can find out more about Jodi Dawson at her official Web site: www.jodidawson.com.


Michele Dunaway
TITLE Ever since she was in first grade, Michele Dunaway wanted to be a writer. Well, she wanted to be a nun, too, but that quickly passed when she discovered that boys were cute and didn't have cooties. So, while she didn't follow in Sister John Michael's footsteps, the writing dream did stick with her.

Writing for Harlequin has always been Michele's dream, and she made her first sale after pitching the manuscript to an editor at the RWA national convention. As Michele is fond of saying, if you work hard enough, dreams really do come true.

Michele has sold 14 total manuscripts to the line. Legally Tender (her tenth release) was out in January, and this May debuts Capturing the Cop.

You can find out more about Michele Dunaway at her official Web site: www.micheledunaway.com.


Karen King
TITLE Karen L. King fell in love with romance when her mother fed her voracious, third-grade appetite for books with a romance novel. She began writing short stories and graduated to penning novels. Sidetracked by real life, kids, husband and a career at a major Missouri newspaper where she authored a few incident reports and a system manual, she has returned to her love of romance with her debut novel, The Wedding Duel.

She lives in Kansas City with her family. She enjoys roller-skating, dancing and, of course, curling up with a good book.

You can find out more about Karen L. King at her official Web site: www.karenlking.net.

[Late news (April 4 2006): We regret to announce that author Karen King was unable to join us this year, due to a family medical crisis. We wish her and her family all the best.]

Kim Louise
TITLE Kim Louise is a hopeFULL romantic who still can't believe that she gets paid to do what she loves. She's penned over nine novels/novellas, writing for BET & Genesis Press.

She is proud of being a lead author for BET/Arabesque, being a 2-time Emma award finalist, having her books chosen as Black Expressions Bookclub selections, having her books selected as 'Top Pick' by Romantic Times BOOKclub, having her books taught in college literature and sociology classes, and her many fans and readers who continue to show her unwavering support.

In September 2004, one of Kim's short stories appeared in Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul and in July 2005 her romantic comedy novel, With Open Arms, was published by BET/Arabesque. She also had a story in the hardback anthology, Can I Get an Amen?, released in March of 2005. Kim's next book will be Chemistry, a BET/Arabesque release coming in July 2006.

You can find out more about Kim Louise at her official Web site: www.kimlouise.com.


Leigh Michaels
TITLE Leigh Michaels is the author of more than 80 books, including 75 contemporary novels and several non-fiction books. More than 30 million copies of her romance novels have been published by Harlequin Books. Six of her books have been finalists for Best Traditional Romance novel in the RITA contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. She has received two Reviewer's Choice awards from Romantic Times.

Her work has been translated and published in 120 countries in more than 25 languages, including Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Czech, Bulgarian, Russian, Turkish, Hebrew, Greek, Swedish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Africaans, Hebrew, Arabic, Indonesian, and Chinese.

She is the 2003 recipient of the Johnson Brigham Award presented by the Iowa Library Association to the Iowa author for outstanding contributions to literature.

She is the author of Writing and Selling the Romance Novel, to be published in early 2007 by Writers Digest Books

She teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers= Workshop, www.writingclasses.com, and at Barnes & Noble University www.bn.com. Men and women from around the world have participated in her workshops, and a number of them have gone on to publish their own romance novels with commercial publishers.

She wrote her first romance novel when she was fifteen and burned it, then wrote and burned five more complete manuscripts in the next ten years before submitting to a publisher. Her first submission was accepted and published by Harlequin, the first publisher to look at it

You can find out more about Leigh Michaels at her official Web site: www.leighmichaels.com.

Nancy J. Parra
TITLE Nancy J. Parra holds a Bachelorís degree in journalism but turned to writing fiction when she discovered it was more fun to interview the people in her head. She lives in the Midwest with her wonderful husband, her two almost perfect children and a mutt named George Bernard, who grew to unexpected proportions..

The Loviní Kind, June 2006, is Nancy J. Parraís seventh book for Avalon and the next in the Morgan Family series, complementing the critically acclaimed The Bettiní Kind, and The Marryiní Kind. The Morgan Brotherís Series: Saving Samantha, A Wanted Man, Loving Lana and Wyoming Wedding are also available. .

Nancy is currently hard at work on her next book. She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at: nancyjparra(at)yahoo.com.


Melanie Schuster
TITLE Melanie Woods Schuster was born in Saginaw, Michigan and educated at Ohio University. She is the author of eight full-length novels and two novellas. Her first novel, Lucky in Love, was the winner of the Romance in Color Readerís Favorite awards. She has also been nominated for eight Emma Awards.

You can find out more about Melanie Schuster at her official Web site: www.melanieschuster.com.


Jodi Thomas
TITLE A fifth generation Texan who taught family living, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

"Iíd tell them stories at night that made them too scared to get up and go to the bathroom. I got in trouble for that," Thomas claims. "I told them wild stories of school until they cried not to go. I got in trouble for that too. Mother said sheís not sure, but she thinks I was 10 before I ever told the truth about anything. And all my life stories have always been in my head."

The stories Thomas has committed to paper have earned her an impressive list of distinguished awards. Her first book, Beneath the Texas Sky (1988), won the National Press Womenís Novel of the Year in its category. Book two, Northern Star (1990), was named best novel by the (Texas) Panhandle Professional Writers and the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., an organization of writersí groups from several states. Book three, The Tender Texan (1991), was Thomasís first national bestseller and won her the first of two Romance Writers of America RITAs, the $1.5 billion romance publishing industryís equivalent of an "Oscar." Book twelve, To Kiss a Texan (1999) was her first novel to score on the USA TODAY Best-selling Books list. For The Texanís Wager (2002), sixteen was the magic number. As Thomasís sixteenth novel, the book scored number sixteen on the New York Times extended bestseller list. Finding Mary Blaine (2004), received the National Readers' Choice Award in 2005.

With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, which houses the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, the stateís largest historical museum.

"My door is usually open to students all morning," explains Thomas, who talks to the classes at the University and on other campuses during her many speaking engagements when not writing in her spacious office in WTAMUís Cornette Library. "They come by to visit and ask questions about being a writer. When I was a child, being a writer wasnít an option. All the people I knew had regular jobs. Iím hoping that students will see that being a writer is a possibility. This is particularly important in these days when programs in the arts are being cut in the public schools."

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, "When I was teaching classes full time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher, or nurse, or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, Iím still making the world a better place."

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband and renovating an historical home they bought in Amarillo. Her next contemporary novel for MIRA Books, The Secrets of Rosa Lee, is an August 2005 release. The Texan's Reward, Dalton and Two-Bit's story, will be out this coming November, 2005.

You can find out more about Jodi Thomas at her official Web site: www.jodithomas.com.

Carol Umberger
Carol Umberger Carol Umberger is the author of the highly acclaimed Scottish Crown Series from Integrity Publishers. Carol spent twelve years on active duty with the Air Force. She teaches fiction classes at Metro Community College and is a mentor for Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Carol is co-founder of the Christian Authorís Network, a cooperative promotional group.

She and her husband have been married for 25 years and have two college-age sons. Carol and her family are active members of Thanksgiving! Lutheran Church. Her hobbies include gardening, flower arranging, and listening to musicóeverything from opera to rock and roll..

You can find out more about Carol Umberger at her official Web site: www.carolumberger.com.


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This page last updated April 3, 2006

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