I write two books a year, so the fact that I have a hardcover out in August is no surprise to my readers. Of course, I hope new people will find my book and enjoy it. To that end, I spent the last year thinking about what kind of stories I’m giving readers for their hard earned money. Carly Phillips writes SEXY FUN. I’ve worked hard to establish this branding in the minds and hearts of those who read and enjoy my work. But I put out two books a year. One hardcover, one paperback. What am I doing to help a reader justify spending more money on a Carly Phillips book?

This was my dilemma. This was at the heart (no pun intended!) of CROSS MY HEART, the story of three childhood friends who become one another’s family. I decided to challenge myself in the writing of this book. To that end, I feel that I dug emotionally deeper into the hearts and minds of my main characters, Tyler Benson (Ty) and Lacey Kinkaid (born Lilly Dumont). I also decided to explore the concept of what makes a family and in this case, family is born not of blood, but of childhood experience and a bond that couldn’t be broken.

So what is CROSS MY HEART about?
Lacey is a rags to riches story . . . sort of. Because Lacey's harboring a secret—she was born Lillian Dumont, and spent her childhood with a silver spoon in her mouth. Until the deaths of her wealthy parents and the evil schemes of an abusive uncle placed her in foster care, where she met Ty and her other best friend, Daniel Hunter. The three friends faked her death instead of allowing her to return to her uncle’s care. She never planned to reclaim to her former life or her abandoned identity—but when Ty (her childhood sweetheart) resurfaces and urges her to claim her rightful inheritance, she decides that maybe being the Dumont heiress wouldn't be so bad. Lacey's uncle doesn't see it that way, though—and he's willing to do anything to stop her. Now it's up to Ty to protect and see what the future holds for a past love.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Carly Phillips story without some light moments, brought to you courtesy of Digger the Dog, the canine star of CROSS MY HEART. Some of you may know by now, most Carly Phillips stories have an animal star. For example:

Under the Boardwalk – Spank the Capuchin monkey
Summer Lovin’ – Ima Pig
Cross My Heart – Digger the Dog
The Hot Zone Series – Noodle the Labradoodle

Yes, I love animals. And coming up in SEALED WITH A KISS, the SEQUEL to CROSS MY HEART, due out next summer (August 2007) is a mouthy macaw/parrot named Ollie. Ollie’s namesake is Colonel Oliver North. Maybe next year I’ll fill you in on his story. But for now, just know that SEALED WITH A KISS will bring you Hunter and Molly’s story, secondary characters in CROSS MY HEART. And like CROSS MY HEART, SEALED WITH A KISS also digs deep.

Digger the Dog happens to be a mutt who needed a home. Lacey found him digging in the garbage for food outside her NYC apartment and when nobody claimed her, Lacey took her in. Because I’m so excited to be here at THE IDEA BOUTIQUE, I am GIVING AWAY a DIGGER and a signed copy of the CARLY PHILLIPS book of the winner’s choice – winner chosen at random from everyone who posts here today.

If you’d like to read more about me, visit my newly designed website at: www.carlyphillips.com where I run a monthly contest, where you can sign up for my newsletter, and join my Fan Group where friends, readers and I gather to chat. And if you’re a blog lover, you can find me at http://www.plotmonkeys.com/.

Thanks for visiting me here!