Mac Makes Friends

It’s the 4th of July weekend and I’m finishing my chapter 2 today of my new Harlequin, an intense ‘secret baby’ story set in Sicily.  I’ve spent the past week working on chapter 2, tearing it apart, putting it back together, editing, tweaking, and just couldn’t figure out what was wrong until I realized that the stakes still need to be higher to rachet up the tension to breathless Presents pace. 

Harlequin Presents aren’t like any other Harlequin novel.  They’re not just sensual stories with explosive love scenes, the tension, plot, and pacing is also explosive.  A wonderful Presents grabs you from page one til the very last page but it’s not an easy thing to do as a writer!  It means creating incredibly strong characters and a very good premise that connects tightly one scene to the next.  When I start a new Presents I spend a lot of time adding in layer upon layer, and now I think I’ve finally got chapter 2 figured out and can start chapter 3 this afternoon.  I’m down to two weeks before my big boys arrive and I’d really like to be over halfway done with story when they come.

Meanwhile, Mac is totally enjoying Hawaii, loving his time with his ‘summer nanny’, Haley Smith, an awesome girl who just finished her freshman year at University of Washington.  Haley’s a Pi Phi and great fun, very positive, and so good with Mac.  Everyday they head out somewhere to play–beach, park, zoo, aquarium, children’s discovery center–and on one of their outings last week Haley bumped into a friend of Ty Gurney’s who has a son the same age as Mac.  Aiden and Mac hit it off immediately as you can see from the picture below.   I love how both boys have cool beach themed shirts and crocs on!  Mac and Aiden will be getting together next week for a playdate.  Rad, as Surfer Ty would say.


I hope everyone will have a wonderful 4th of July.  I’m planning on heading to Ty’s beach tomorrow with Mac to play in the sand and surf.  I imagine tomorrow night we’ll BBQ on the deck and watch the fireworks they shoot off from the nearby Hawaii Kai park. Last year we hosted this huge BBQ and I bought tons of fireworks to light on the beach but of course the one year I throw a 4th of July party it rains.  Murphy’s Law, right?

What are your plans for the 4th?  Share and you could win an awesome summer beach prize filled with really cute, fun things that I know you’d love, PLUS a Barnes & Noble gift card to pick out the perfect summer beach read!  Contest runs through Sunday night and I’ll announce the winner Monday morning.  Now go have some fun!


  1. So far I’ve been to work, A huge Farmers market in a town by Lake Huron and cleaning my house for company tomorrow. Listening to Sizzle in audio form while i cook supper. Tomorrow my family is all coming over for a cookout and a game or two of Horseshoes. Hoping Monday i can kick back with a book and relax.

    That’s about it.

    Happy 4th of July Jane and family!

    Awesome pic of Mac and Aiden! They look like their having a ball together.

    Lisa B

  2. horray for Mac finding a new friend to play with.

    We went to the fair on Thursday, our July 1st celebration. This evening, July 3rd, we are having company and are going to BBQ and have a weiner/marshmallow roast. The weather isn’t too promising but here’s hoping.

    Happy July 4th to our neighbours to the South.

  3. Cool that Mac has a best-est Bud.
    Also, very good for you that he has a nanny that he really likes.

    We will probably grill some burgers eat ice cream and go see the fireworks that our local town puts on every fourth.


  4. Hi, Jane!
    Thanks for your update. Sounds great!
    I’ll be working a bit, cooking a bit, reading a bit, and actually phoning a lot, as I’m planning a party later in the month. We celebrated Canada Day on July 1st instead, so I enjoyed going to a “waterfront festival”, supporting good friends who were playing in a band there.

  5. Hi Jane!

    So glad things are going well with your book and that Mac is having such fun with Haley and his new best friend. Sounds like life is good and I hope it stays that way for you.

    Hamburgers on the grill and a night of fireworks for us. We have finally had some rain, so the danger of fire from the celebration is less so. Always a good thing! Take care and enjoy your 4th!

  6. Hi Jane,

    Sounds like you’re off to a good start on the new book. I’m glad Mac is enjoying his time in Hawaii as well. If you want a live in nanny next summer let me know! I spend my summers babysitting/nannying here in DC. It’d be fun to do it somewhere else.

    I don’t have any big plans for the 4th. My cousins will probably come over. Our neighborhood has a little BBQ up the street and the fire engines come and lead a parade for the kids. It’s been a family tradition since I was a little kid myself. Might go see fireworks with friends in the evening, but that’s about it.

    Hope you and your family have a fun filled 4th as well!


  7. Hi Jane!
    That is such a cute picture. I can see a future as best friends with those two little dudes. They are heart-breakers already.
    My dad just came home from the hospital after being in the hospital for a week and giving us all a real scare. There is rain in the air this weekend though I can’t complain. It’s been nice for so long and I know we need it but why, oh why, does it happen every holiday? We are either going to the river front to watch the firework or down to our future son-in-law’s parents home for a cook out and fireworks depending on the weather. If it rain, I’m going to stay home and read!!
    Oh, tonight I going to see Eclipse for the second time; I know it must sound silly. I went this afternoon with my oldest daughter and later tonight I going with my youngest daughter.

    Have a great 4th of July Holiday Jane and everyone else here! Be Safe!

  8. Glad you’re going to relax and have fun tomorrow. My hubby is barbecuing right now and we’ve got corn on the cob cooking. Tomorrow we take our daughter to camp. I know, camp on the 4th? But that’s just how it worked out. Hopefully we’ll be home in time for fireworks and she’ll see some at the lake where the camp is located.

    Have a great 4th with your family, Jane.

  9. awww. . . Aiden and Mac are adorable!

    Sunday is combination house warming, graduation, reunion, pool party! yay! (and it’s not at my house, double yay– just kidding). I haven’t seen a couple of relatives since Christmas and there’s a lot to celebrate.

    Have a great 4th of July celebration!

  10. Can it get any cuter???

    My 4th will be quiet as I have had to work the day before and after. Such is life. I will make it a day of reading, swimming and just relaxing. That sounds wonderful, can’t wait!

  11. I so understand the ratcheting up of tension in a book–and thinking you have enough but, nope, think again. I hope you’re having fun with it at least!

    The Fourth is a total three-day extravaganza here mixed with birthday festivities for my daughter (who turns 3 on July 8!). We finally bought fireworks (they’re allowed here in NH), but it’s in the 90s for the next few days and we haven’t had rain for a week, so we’re holding off until next weekend. So I guess that means the 4th of July is a week-long affair around here!

    The best part of the weekend will be going to the beach up in Maine with family and laying under an umbrella (we are NOT sun people). Sadly, my newest read is on the Nook, so I need to take my back-up: Percy Jackson. :o)

    Happy 4th Jane!


  12. Love the picture of Mac and Aiden. They are so adorable together. Hope they have fun on their playdate.

    Yay on figuring out chapter 2 and I hope the rest of the chapters flow easier for you.

    Went to a family cookout today and enjoyed myself more than I thought I would. It will be quiet otherwise around here as I have some paperwork to catch up on.

    Have a very Happy 4th of July, Jane and family!

  13. The 4th of July means All Stars Baseball in this family! Today we watched our league’s two other teams attempt a win! We almost had one, but Mercer Island got us in the bottom of the 6th, 2-1. Tomorrow, we’ll march in the 4th of July parade in Carnation, WA and then watch another AS baseball game, and then it is potluck time in the neighborhood! In the evening, we will enjoy an explosive evening of fireworks!

    Next weekend, it is our turn to try to pull off a win for our Little League when we play our All Star game! Go SVNLL!

    Hopefully it will stay dry, the clouds will move out of the sky and the sun will shine! Enough of this cold, rainy, drizzly NW weather! It is cold, not the way the 4th of July weekend should be!

    Enjoy the warm breeze in Hawaii Jane and bring home that sunshine!

  14. Mac is just adorable! He’s like a little man with that face! Adorable!
    For the 4th we are BBQ’in it up with the family! I’m a little bummed though because it’s supposed to rain here, but we’ll just take the BBQ inside! 🙂
    Have a happy 4th of July, Jane! 🙂

  15. What a great picture of the boys, they are adorable. I got to spend some time today with my new grandson (3 weeks old) and we took the older ones to buy some fireworks for today and Sunday. I’m going to a cookout at my son in law’s grandparents tomorrow and having home made ice cream and strawberry shortcake, YUM ! Have a great 4th of July. And a safe one too.

  16. I, too, love the picture of the boys, Jane! I live in Minnesota where it is very often quite beautiful in early July. There is rain in the forecast for the 4th, however. I will still spend time with family and enjoy it no matter what the weather is like. 🙂 I was in Honolulu last year for the 4th and it rained a bit then, too. The fireworks were great though. I would LOVE to be back there. Happy 4th to everyone!

  17. Hey Jane! Glad you are crankin’ out your new Harlequin Presents! :0) That shot of Mac and his new friend Aiden is precious.

    I had duty last year on the 4th, so this year is going to be a quiet one. If it doesn’t rain again manana, then I’m definitely hittin’ the beach, lol!

    Happy 4th of July, All!! ~

  18. I’m going to hang out with my mom. Do a little shopping…it’s Arizona..112 degrees…not a whole lot else to do. Then we’re going to pick up some vegetarian food from this great little place called Fresh Mint. The owners started their first Fresh Mint restaurant in Paia on Maui. Great food! Happy 4th!

  19. I’m at my parents’ house in the Chicago suburbs. They’re having family friends over for a BBQ and then we all go to fireworks down the street. It’s a tradition we’ve been partaking in for many years, even after we moved to the east coast. 🙂

  20. I am awake early today to a gloomy morning but am optimistic that this July 4th will brighten up because we have plans to go to Seattle to the Ballard locks, nearby where my sister lives, to go to a concert there and celebrate the day together with her family and my brother’s, too. We will watch the big fireworks tonight so it is going to be a long day but we don’t have to go to work tomorrow, so we can party late.
    I always recite the beginning and end of the Declaration of Independence (I skip the “facts” in the middle) because I love it – it is still as inspiring as it was meant to be and as a writer, Jane, you have to appreciate as I do the brilliant choice of words and stirring phases our country was founded upon; the most well know being “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable RIghts, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Happy Birthday, America and find happiness celebrating today, everyone!

  21. Love that picture of the boys! Too cute.

    I’m just staying close to home this weekend. Started the latest Stephanie Plum (Evanovich) novel so that’s definitely on the list.

    Have a great 4th. 🙂

  22. HI Jane,
    Happy 4th of July! I am excited about your new book; what an interesting concept for a book. I have searched for Harlequin books but no luck at my local B&N. I’ll keep looking though.

    We are having a fun 4th of July so far. We took our kids out boating yesterday and what a blast we had. The kids all skied or wakeboarded as well as my husband and me. Everyone was whipped at the end of the night and were eager to go to bed! That is the sign of a great day! Today will be mellow, my husband is off on another trip for two weeks. Sigh.

    I am hoping it is a quiet night, not too many fires from people being careless with fireworks. One of the hazards of the job, someone’s worst day is when I show up and my day begins.

    I hope you have a great, safe 4th of July. I can’t wait for She’s Gone Country!!!! Yay!

  23. Great little friends picture, Mac is getting so big and such a little doll…looks like personality plus. Having a quiet day with temps near 100…might just go in the spa later and drink a little vino and watch the ‘works’ from our deck. Happy 4th to all! Ruth

  24. Thank you for sharing this precious picture : )

    The weather here in VA this week has been a gift from heaven above–sunny, breezy, no humidity, and cool at night. Makes me feel almost human again! I am enjoying a “quiet” 4th. A few firecrackers going off in the neighborhood last night, and probably a bigger, noisier show this evening. I am on a series reading binge, which is quite intense, but lots of fun! Baked beans, hot dogs, macaroni salad, and cole slaw for lunch. I did make a blueberry pie, and I’ll serve it with some vanilla ice cream–yum, yum, yum : ) Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!!!

  25. That pic is so cute! Mac looks so happy with his new buddy. As for the 4th, pretty boring here. My man is working, my (adult) kids are out of state each on their own adventures, and I am here bored to death. Probably will read. Was going to go to the fireworks, but it’s just not the same by yourself. Made an awesome red, white & blue Jello cake, though! 🙂 Happy 4th, Jane!

  26. We’re going to go meet the family at the beach and just hang out…it’ll be fun. I would love to be Hawaii instead. Happy Fourth of July and have fun. 🙂

  27. My family is staying close to home and enjoying a pool party, BBQ, and fireworks. I love to see my kids’ faces as they watch the skies in awe.

    Happy 4th, Jane!

  28. They’re so cute. We’re going to head over to watch the Macy’s fireworks display. Happy July 4th.

  29. Wow Jane, Mac gets cuter with every photo! Those adorable cheeks, that silky hair–it’s any wonder you’re able to get stuff done. I’d be kissing those sweet cheeks all day…so yummy!!

    Today we’re heading over to my sister-in-law’s house to see fireworks and enjoy some burgers. I made a deeelish potato salad and I can’t wait to dig into it.

    Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July with all your favorite dudes!!

    Shannon in Tustin

  30. Hope you and your family have a Great fourth..
    I getting Chicken and heading over to folks Both are in their 80’s.. And both ill. So I will spend the afternoon with them.


  31. Happy 4th to you, your plans sounds nice. Were having a fish fry, fresh fish from our water in the gulf,Fla.not affected from the oil yet.I’m having a few friends from church and the family I take care of in my daycare. Then being a good friend that I am, I’m taking care of maddie and her sisters so their mom and dad can have a date. I saw fireworks last night, so Jonathon and Heather can go andsee Twilight,she loves the series. So those are my plans, I hope I win, haven’t won anything for awhile and I really want to get your book, if not thats ok. for I love reading your blog and its fun to enter your contests. Your the best!

  32. the fourth for us is we get together with friends in the eve and have fireworks and bbq. unlike the rain…it’s hot, hot, hot here. we drink a toast to the servicemen/women who have allowed us to do fireworks without the harm of threat in our way! hope it’s sunny and cool. happy fourth.

  33. What a great picture! So delightful…such joy on the cherubs’ faces. Now that’s the look freedom and safety!
    Last night, July 3rd, we celebrated at a huge party with friends and friends of friends in Poulsbo overlooking the Bay; also gave a toast to Dave and Amy on their First Week Wedding Anniversary. Tonight we’ll have “drop by friends” in to watch the fireworks over Sinclair Inlet from our balcony in Port Orchard…our gathering will be much more low keyed than last night;)! All the Best to you, your family, and other readers.

  34. Hi Jane,
    Cute picture! Glad you are enjoying your summer and getting some writing done. I am looking forward to the release of She’s Gone Country. Our plans for the Fourth changed some when my almost 6 year old fell and broke his arm last week. He had to have surgery and will be in a cast for 4 or so weeks. No pool time for us this weekend, instead we are grilling out with some friends and finishing some yard work. Enjoy your holiday!

  35. Mac looks like he is really having fun with his pal! So cute! 🙂
    My 4th of July is kind of bittersweet. My husband and I were lucky enough to both have the weekend off of work this year. At last minute, his parents invited us to the beach. Due to so prior commitments I made, I had to stay at home. So, I’m having a very quiet 4th without my husband and my girls. My mom and other family are out of town camping. Tonight will be hard, but last night I go SO many things accomplished that I have been wanting/needing to do for months! That was an amazing feeling and I plan on continuing where I left off today! I love my family but it is always nice to have some quiet, personal time. I never get it, so I can’t complain now!! 🙂 Have a wonderful and safe 4th everyone!

  36. Jane- What a cute picture! Mac is ADORABLE!! My 4th of July really started Friday. I went with a family I baby-sit/nanny for to a fireworks fundraiser for our local “soon-to-be” new children’s museum, then I took the kids home after so the mom could enjoy some time with her friends. Saturday night, I went camping with another family I babysit for. No on in my family ever wants to camp! I cam home this afternoon and have been floating around in the pool catching up on my magazines because I need to go pick up my new books at the library tomorrow! Now we’re getting ready to make some Cherry Delight and some fruit salad before grilling out later on. Since I have to work tomorrow morning, nothing late tonight. Maybe some fireworks in the road out front, if not, a movie on the couch sounds good to me!!

  37. I have a 6 day weekend for this 4th! I got all of my errands and important stuff done earlier this week. Now I am enjoying relaxing and family time. Going to BBQ tonight and do some fireworks. Hoping my children will not be scared of the fireworks this year. Last year they covered their ears, cried and ran inside the house. So far they have been loving the pop-its, so we’ll see. Have a wonderful 4th Of July, Jane! Love seeing the pictures of Mac, what a cutie!

  38. Hi Jane,
    Heading over to my daughters for a BBQ and to celebrate my son in laws birtday. Unfortunately the weather in Seattle is not cooperating but we all know that summer doesn’t start in Seattle until July 5th. Have a wonderful 4th!

  39. I’m glad you’re having a good 4th! Mac is SO cute.

    Well you’re missing nothing but cold weather here in the Pacific NOrthwest. It was freezing watching my 7 yo daughter in the parade! Now I’m making my kids rest before heading to a neighbors for bbq and the local park to set off fireworks! AND, how lucky are we?? The friend who won a huge package of fireworks in a drawing last year WON AGAIN this year (it doesn’t even matter that it wasn’t us, despite driving around firework stands entering their free drawings all morning yesterday!) We get to watch!

  40. We just got back from seeing the movie Toy Story. Later we are grilling steaks and shooting off fireworks.

    I hope that everyone has a happy and safe 4th!

  41. I’m just going to relax and have fun with friends and family. Nothing fancy, just something easy.

    Have a great 4th of July.

  42. Hi Jane,
    I do really enjoy the Presents stories. It’s great when I have the time to read it in a day because they are intense. We have just grilling some salmon and relaxing. I hope your fourth is a good one.

  43. Happy fourth everyone! I spent the weekend at my sisters house! We had a big BBQ with the family and set off a few fire works. It was a fun weekend! Just got home!

  44. Hi Jane,
    Such an adorable picture of Mac and his new friend.

    My husband and I were pretty lazy today. We did make some pulled pork in our crock pot and just finished dinner. We went to a cookout last night and met up with friends passing through NC on Friday so today was our day to relax.

    Happy 4th of July to you and your entire family!


  45. Hiya Jane 🙂 I just finished making pork tenderloin, potatoe salad and chocolate Oreo cake – yum! My family and I will be pigging out with a backyard BBQ and then heading off to see the fireworks show at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field (longtime family tradition). Happy 4th everyone! God Bless America!!

  46. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been able to check in, but I am SO glad you’re feeling better and that you were proactive about seeking help—you’re right, we need to trust our guts!

    And Mac looks so adorable with his new buddy!!!

    Happy Fourth to you and your sweet family.

    Hugs from Kieran :>)

  47. We are heading to Orting. Small town fireworks but we just found out all the other fun things are cancelled. Lack of volunteers. I should check into that.

    And Tacoma says that they might not have their fireworks next year if something doesn’t change.


  48. Happy 4th Jane! I spent yesterday cleaning the house and working on the yard. Just got home from the racetrack and now we have family and friends coming over for dinner and fireworks. Tomorrow we are going to go camping and do a lot of fishing. Love making memories with family and friends! Life is too short to not have fun! Have a safe and happy 4th!

  49. Since my Hubby, just came back from His Hometown (his father had an accident) , The best plan will be spending the day with Him. We missed him so much. 7 days without him, felt so wrong !

  50. Well, thought I would spend the day with the extended family. We just got back from a family vacation and were anticipating a day to relax with parents, sisters, brothers, nephews and nieces. But, my teenage daughter had drama created by other female cousins and I had to leave to show her that she is my primary concern. I think leaving together showed her that her happiness is what’s most important to me. I’m sure the matter will blow over but…

    Some days just don’t turn out like you plan them to.

  51. Since it is the 4th, I’ll tell you what I did for 2nd and 3rd. I spent Friday night at my youngest daughter and watched them set off fireworks they had bought. Sat. we went to their house again at noon and my husband made them zucchini lasagna. I fixed a cherry dump cake. Berneice, my daughter’s mother-in-law, fixed a cheesecake and black cherry jello with fruit in it. Then after we all overate, we loaded up and went to a small town up road to watch kids enjoy activities and wait for the fireworks. It was a lovely day.
    Today we went to church. I came home and took a nap. My husband slept until time for him to go to work.

  52. Love the picture of Mac and his new friend Aiden. They are adorable together. Finally got to sit down and chill after running all day cleaning, shopping, preparing and serving food for our 12th Annual July 4th Pool Party & Fireworks celebration. Had about 40 guests this year. The weather was very hot, but breezy and low humidity, which made it bearable. The fireworks were spectacular and this year were accompanied by a Playlist I put together on my I-Pod. I teared up when the National Anthem began to play and it seemed to be perfectly timed with the red, white and blue fireworks that were exploding overhead. My back is hurting and I’m sure I’ll be exhausted tomorrow, but all of our friends and family seemed to have a wonderful time, so that makes it worth all of the effort. This year even hubby helped with the drinks and food preparation, which made it a little easier. Maybe he’ll even help with the mass of dishes waiting for me in my sink…….I can dream can’t I?

  53. love the pic of mac and his friend. how cute they are and so sweet looking. just got back into town after spending saturday at newport aquarium, in newport, ky. then we spent the nite in florence, ky, before heading to my dad’s house in cincinnati, ohio. we hung out with him, shot off some fireworks and ate some of his delicious meal before heading back to louisville, ky, area. set some more fireworks off with my youngest and am winding down to go to sleep. of course, i have to read for a few minutes before that…hope you had a great 4th and can’t wait for your book to be out next month!

  54. Hi Jane! What a cute picture of Mac and his buddy. I miss that age, they are so much fun! I am exhausted. Did a few get toghethers and BBQ’s with friends and family today. Watched a parade and some fireworks. Now if only I can get to bed with all of these fireworks still going off. 🙂 I wouldn’t be such a party pooper if I didn’t have to work tomorrow. This sounds like an awesome giveaway! I am in need of some new books so a B&N card would be awesome! Hope you had a “rad” 4th of July. Lol

  55. We went camping in Buelton and it was beautiful. But, I had to drive home early, the afternoon of the 4th to check on my cat. He was recently diagnosed with cancer of the jaw and only has a month to live 🙁 He was ok, but skinnier and seemed to move a little slower. So sad. I’m dreading the day “that” decision has to be made.

    BTW Mac is absolutely adorable. What a face!

  56. by brother in law and his family came into town and we just chilled and hung out by the pool. Last night we popped fireworks untill midnite with 3 other families for the neighborhood. We had a blast.

    Mac is too cute!

  57. My husband flew to Utah to drop off our son with his sister yesterday and turned right back around and flew home. We actually had a date!

  58. What an adorable picture 🙂

    We spent the day at my dad’s in the Sierra Foothills. The kids had a great time swimming and playing with the dogs. It was a really nice day.

    Happy 4th!

  59. Happy Belated 4th of July, Jane! I’m so happy to hear that you’re writing your newest HP…I can’t wait to read it!! I came home to celebrate the long weekend with my parents and sister…we went to a museum and then watched the fireworks in the evening. Good times! Hope the weather cooperated with you this year!!

  60. Funny how things work out…the rains came…we huddled under umbrellas and blankets…took turns holding the umbrellas so we could sip our beverages and snack on treats…and laughed our silly heads off! Finally the skies cleared and we were rewarded with the best fireworks we’ve seen in years! Talk about the rainbow following the rain!

  61. Good morning everyone and hope you had a wonderful 4th! I’m still tidying up the kitchen from our BBQ but definitely enjoyed last night’s fireworks that we could see from our deck. Mac really loved them, too!

    I ended up drawing two winners names:

    #13 Latesha

    #58 Kelly

    Latesha and Kelly please send me your mail addresses so we can get your fun beach theme prizes out in the mail this week!


  62. Thank you, Jane and congratulations Kelly. Address is on the way to you. Hope you have a great week.

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